Dozens of anglo organizations team up to say no to healthcare reform
The battle against Bill 10 is intensifying as dozens of groups are uniting to speak out against the proposed healthcare reform legislation.
More than three dozen groups, including community organizations and school boards argue Bill 10 could have a devastating impact on English-speaking communities and the bilingual status of health institutions.
Bill 10 will revamp healthcare throughout Quebec by merging boards and slashing the number of administrators and managers.
“This government has fallen perhaps in the trap of cost cutting without looking at the impact on community,” said Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director of the Quebec Community Groups Network.
The QCGN was one of only three anglophone groups allowed to speak at the public hearings, and it is worried that by losing control of the boards of directors, English institutions could stop providing service in English.
Martin-Laforge said her organization had a clear goal in mind.
"The objective was to send a message to the government that this coalition is there and working very hard to make Bill 10 either go away, or to have substantial changes to it," said Martin-Laforge.
Clifford Lincoln, a former Liberal MNA, is one of those opposed to the changes Bill 10 would make.
"I was in the National Assembly when Therese Lavoie-Roux fought very hard to make sure English-speaking institutions in the health field would be designated and stay, and Mr. [Claude] Ryan entrenched it in the Charter of the French Language," said Lincoln.
"It's a very important Liberal legacy and now it's going to be wiped out, it's going to go out of the window through Bill 10. I think it's a sad day for me as Liberal that it should happen under our watch.”
Martin-Laforge said it was important not only to oppose Bill 10, but for anglophones to be seen in opposition.
"It was also a message to our own community to show people that there are concerned citizens, and if you haven't thought about Bill 10 you probably should," said Martin-Laforge.
Quebecers who are healthy and don't think about what they will need in terms of healthcare in the future should also be concerned about massive changes to hospital and health clinic management, she said.
"It will have an impact on you as an individual Quebecer, in terms of access to services, later on down the road," said Martin-Laforge.
Richard Walling of the Quebec Health and Social Services Foundation agreed.
“If you don't have that there, if you don't have people who are looking at that every day, over time those services will be eroded,” he said.
QCGN has launched a petition against Bill 10 and is soliciting signatures.