Protest over federal decision to transfer Veterans hospital to province
MONTREAL—Dozens of people gathered in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue on Saturday to protest a federal government decision to transfer the last remaining Veterans hospital into the province's care.
Canada’s last federally run Veterans hospital comes under Quebec control in September and that has employees fearing services could be affected.
“We know that a hospital that is under federal care has the upmost quality, much more than any provincial hospital,” said Sylvain Chartrand of the Veterans Right’s Advocate.
The Quebec government is looking to use the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue’s three floors of empty beds for long-term care patients, Some fear Veterans services could suffer.
“Priority still goes to veterans first,” former Minister of Veterans Affairs Jean-Pierre Blackburn said. “And, second, services have to be offered in both languages.”
Union representatives are looking for a role in transfer talks to ensure employee salaries and benefits are also maintained.
Veteran Affairs Canada said services will not suffer.
"Veterans will continue to enjoy the same world-class service they have come to expect from Ste Anne's Veterans facility," said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, spokesman to Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney.
"Not only will this transfer ensure exceptional care for Veterans but the result will open any unused beds to address the long-term care shortage facing the general public in Quebec."