Health care reform law not so devastating to Quebec anglos after all, says group
English-speaking Quebecers will not be getting such a raw deal from the province in the newly-passed health care reform after all.
A long and tough set of negotiations to allow English Quebecers to maintain some control over their health care institutions in the Bill 10 reform has ended without too much heartbreak, the Quebec Community Groups Network announced at a press conference Monday.
The recently-passed health care reform initially threatened to greatly diminish anglo input in health care institutions but changes were made in the legislation to assuage some of those concerns.
The new law aims at cutting bureaucracy and saving $220 million from the provincial treasury while lowering the total of individual boards of health institutions from 182 to 34 larger-sized boards each known as a CISSS (Centres intégrés de santé et de services sociaux).
Some of the gains include the enshrining of bilingual status for two of the new integrated health and social services centres in Montreal, on the West Island and West End. The new health and social centres will include English-speaking representation throughout the province and English universities will also get two seats on the board of the university hospitals.
Eric Maldoff, the lawyer who represented the QCGN during negotiations, said that the group had little bargaining power but the Liberal government proved willing nonetheless to make some amendments.
“Their message was clear: 'we’re doing this whether you like it or not.' So from there the challenge was to develop a scheme that could compensate to the greatest extent possible and mitigate the adverse effects of losing those boards. If we have good people on those committees, they will be as effective as any of the boards I’ve seen so far and I've sat on some of them,” said Maldoff.
Former Liberal MNA Clifford Lincoln, also on the QCGN, said that the situation now calls for able personnel to step up and fill the new roles.
“The important issue is to treat this as a wake up call to be present and to serve and be open and fill these important positions," said Lincoln.
"Too often the positions are filled by people like myself, of my generation because there aren’t enough people stepping up, so this is a great opportunity for us to fill these important posts to represent our community to make sure all the gains we’ve made under this bill are fulfilled."