An­glo­phones de­mand ma­jor changes to Bill 10

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Montr/al

ish the English-speak­ing com­mu­nity’s hos­pi­tals and nurs­ing homes as stand­alone in­sti­tu­tions. As well, it would elim­i­nate com­mu­nity vol­un­teers from the gov­er­nance of our health and so­cial ser­vice sys­tem; fa­tally com­pro­mise the bilin­gual sta­tus of our in­sti­tu­tions; and ex­clude th­ese com­mu­nity in­sti­tu­tions from the crit­i­cal role they play in the vi­tal­ity of the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.

too fast,” warned for­mer Lib­eral MNA Clif­ford Lin­coln, not­ing that “sud­denly re­duc­ing the num­ber of health and so­cial ser­vice in­sti­tu­tions from 182 to 28 will have an un­de­ni­able im­pact on ac­count­abil­ity, trans­parency, vol­un­teerism and cit­i­zen par­tic­i­pa­tion. And for Que­bec’s English­s­peak­ing com­mu­nity this means the loss of 23 out of 24 of its bilin­gual in­sti­tu­tions and boards, and their pro­tec­tion un­der law,” he said.

As a newly elected MNA in the 1980s, Lin­coln bat­tled along­side for­mer health and so­cial ser­vices critic and later Health Min­is­ter, Thérèse Lavoie-Roux, for the au­ton­omy of com­mu­nity in­sti­tu­tions, and for the right of the English-speak­ing com­mu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the con­trol and man­age­ment of the in­sti­tu­tions it had built and sup­ported for gen­er­a­tions. Claude Ryan, as min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the Char­ter of the French Lan­guage, later en­sured the le­gal pro­tec­tion of des­ig­nated in­sti­tu­tions. Lin­coln said this Lib­eral legacy is hur­ried and dras­tic plan that pro­poses a one-size-fits-all model for mas­sive in­sti­tu­tional merg­ers.

Given the di­verse re­al­i­ties of English-speak­ing mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties across the prov­ince, the gov­ern­ment must work with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to see what ap­proach fits best, ar­gued Richard Walling, past pres­i­dent of the Provin­cial Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee on the dis­pens­ing of health and so­cial ser­vices in the English lan­guage and cur­rent pres­i­dent of the Que­bec Health and So­cial Ser­vices Foun­da­tion in Que­bec City.

“In the case of Jef­fery Que­bec City, the com­mu­nity has made it clear that it must pre­serve this in­sti­tu­tion and its sta­tus un­der the French lan­guage char­ter, and pre­serve the con­tin­ued role of the com­mu­nity in its gov­er­nance,” Walling said. “If it is swal­lowed up into a huge struc­ture where it rep­re­sents less than 2 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion, this would be a dev­as­tat­ing blow to the in­sti­tu­tion and the cul­tur­ally and lin­guis­ti­cally-adapted ser­vices it pro­vides. It would also se­verely com­pro­mise the in­tri­cate web of foun­da­tions and com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions that op­er­ate in­ter­de­pen­dently. It would be a blow to the very vi­tal­ity of the com­mu­nity it­self.”

“If the Char­ter of the French Lan­guage saw fit to cre­ate ex­cep­tions that al­low the pro­tec­tion of the English-speak­ing com­mu­nity’s in­sti­tu­tions, the Health Care Act can and must do the same,” added Sara Saber-Freed­man, 10 must be amended in or­der not to abol­ish in­sti­tu­tions -- and es­pe­cially not those that are des­ig­nated to pro­vide bilin­gual ser­vices.”

“The goals of the gov­ern­ment can be achieved with­out elim­i­nat­ing this unique and ir­re­place­able com­mu­nity her­itage,” added SaberFreed­man, not­ing that some im­por­tant mod­i­fi­ca­tions en­sure that the leg­is­la­tion does not com­pro­mise a 30-year con­sen­sus that is cru­cial to the vi­tal­ity of Que­bec’s English-speak­ing mi­nor­ity.”

has in­di­cated that he will amend the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion to take into ac­count the con­cerns of Que­bec’s English-speak­ing com­mu­nity, plans to have his law adopted be­fore the Na­tional Assem­bly breaks for Christ­mas in early De­cem­ber. “We ap­pre­ci­ate en­sure the in­ter­ests of our com­mu­nity will be pro­tected, and we look for­ward to an amended bill that main­tains our in­volve­ment in the gov­er­nance of our in­sti­tu­tions and up­holds the leg­isla­tive guar­an­tees that pro­tect our com­mu­nity’s right to qual­ity ser­vices in our own lan­guage. How­ever, as the process comes down to the wire, we worry that the Min­is­ter has not given him­self the time to get things right given the wide-rang­ing im­pacts this will have on our com­mu­nity. The QCGN and our part­ners are more than will­ing to help him come up with the right so­lu­tions.”

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