The QCGN is alarmed by the last-minute amendment in Bill 15 by the Coalition Avenir Québec government, which aims to give Santé Québec the power to revoke the rights of health institutions from offering services in English. “We are shocked that minister (Christian) Dubé would try and drop an amendment like this into Bill 15 at the last moment, just before the government is about to invoke closure to ram it through the National Assembly,” says QCGN President Eva Ludvig in a statement.
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There is fresh urgency to sign a petition demanding the Quebec government slam the brakes on its massive Bill 15, which is designed to create a vast centralization of our health and social-services network.
The imperative arrives in the form of a last-minute, government-proposed amendment, suspended for the moment, that would give its new central controlling body, Santé Québec, the power to strip health institutions of their right to offer services in a language other than French if the numbers no longer warrant.
QCGN President Eva Ludvig was on hand at a town hall meeting at Dawson College earlier this week to warn attendees of the potential negative impacts Bill 15 could have on accessing health services in English. “This act is centralizing under one body, under control of the bureaucracy,” she explained. “They know nothing about the communities.”
Quebec’s Bill 15 has been structured to create a centralized provincial agency that will oversee the public health-care system — using a top-to-bottom approach many critics suggest constitutes a recipe for disaster. Elizabeth Zogalis reports, with video, on a Town Hall at Dawson College where Eva Ludvig, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), was among panelists. Ludwig states that a centralized system under Santé Québec is likely to be out of touch with the community, both Anglophones and Francophones: “This will be a huge loss and will certainly have an impact on patient care, on innovation, on the ability to fund projects.” Petitions to the National Assembly (below) have pulled in some 3,800 signatories.
More than 150 individuals pack a town hall at Dawson College last night to express grave concerns about the potential impact of Bill 15. This sweeping proposed overhaul of the Quebec medical system would create a single, all-powerful Santé Québec to govern and operate health care throughout the province. “Command and control by a government is always a danger to democracy,” states Eva Ludvig, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN). She suggests this may be the real motivation behind Bill 15, while reiterating concerns that this legislation would erode access to health care in English, especially in regions of Quebec like the Eastern Townships and the Gaspé.
Deep into its coverage regarding the Bloc Québécois targeting of federal funding for the English-speaking community of Quebec – and after quoting an assertion by Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon that it is “as inconceivable as it is unacceptable that our taxes are used to finance our own assimilation so openly and clearly” – Le Devoir takes note of yesterday’s statement by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN): “Support for official language minority communities across the country aims to promote the vitality of these communities, whether they are French-speaking or English-speaking.”
Quebec French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge expresses the hope that a portion of the $4.1 billion from the federal Action Plan on Official Languages be allocated to francization. This reiterates a request he issued last spring. Such a move would set a precedent. Ottawa officials confirm they are open to discuss this subject with Quebec, with the proviso that the objective is to protect minority language communities – not to train them in French. Eva Ludvig, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network, condemns the approach adopted by the Bloc Québécois and notes that the QCGN pleaded for removal of any mention of Quebec’s Charter of the French Language from the new federal Official Languages Act because it feared negative repercussions on Quebec’s English-speaking community of a two-tier framework.
Bill 15 will hurt patients, researchers, communities, and more, writes Eva Ludvig, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network. “This legislation is focused on structure and governance and will do nothing to address the crises in our emergency rooms, delays in surgeries, the lack of family doctors, or other major and urgent shortcomings of our health care system.”
QCGN President Eva Ludvig joined CBC’s Radio Noon yesterday. The discussion covered the Quebec government’s intention to hike tuition costs for out-of-province students at English-language universities, as well as the universities’ rejected proposal to improve the teaching of French. “The English-speaking community of Quebec is not the enemy of the French language,” Ludvig said.
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