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Quebec set to adopt controversial health care reform

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After trying to reach an agreement with the opposition parties, the Quebec government says it will invoke closure to adopt its controversial health care reform bill.

More than 200 hours have been devoted to studying Bill 15, Premier François Legault said while walking to the Blue Room on Friday morning.

"It's been 238 hours that (Minister of Health) Christian Dubé has been listening to the opposition's suggestions. Do you think that's long enough?" he asked.

The government had previously proposed extending the detailed study of Bill 15 for another four days next week -- an "admission" that more time is needed, according to Quebec Solidaire (QS) MNA Guillaume Cliche-Rivard.

Last week, Dubé admitted to not understanding an amendment that affected the English-speaking community that he himself had presented.

He then had to back down on the amendment after Liberal MNA and opposition health critic André Fortin intervened.

The closure is set to be triggered at 3 p.m. Friday and should quicken the debate to allow the bill to become law without all the articles being studied.

Bill 15 would create the Santé Québec agency, which will be responsible for coordinating the network's operations, including its main priorities.

The Santé Québec agency would become the sole employer for the health and social services network, and the CISSS and CIUSSS would be integrated into it.

Because there would be just one employer, union certifications would be merged, creating a single seniority list allowing staff to move from one region to another.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 8, 2023.

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