Quebec spending millions to improve health care access for Anglos
As promised in the spring budget, the provincial government is spending $6.9 million to improve access to health care for anglophones and to help other anglophone groups.
Kathleen Weil, the Minister responsible for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, detailed on Tuesday how the money will be spent: $5.7 million for community groups that work with anglophones, and $400,000 each to the English Language Art Network (ELAN), Seniors Action Quebec, and Literacy Quebec.
Those funds will be spent over the next three years to help the organizations expand upon their core functions.
While studies show that up to 66 per cent of Anglos with university degrees leave Quebec, Weil said that part of the reason for the expenditure is help keep highly-educated Anglophones from leaving, or to return to the province.
"They should have a choice and feel that Quebec is a warm and welcoming place," she said. "It's one of the issues that you hear the premier talk a lot about. We mention to young people we want you to feel it's your home here, we want you to feel that you can fully participate, so we want to be able to support you in your dream to have your own children and grandchildren grow up here," said Weil.
The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) said it was pleased with the funding but that anglophone groups still deserve more.
"There's several billion dollars being spent on healthcare," said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers. "Our share of it should be proportional to our needs. It's not limited to these special sideline budgets. The core funding for core programs aimed at the public at large have to deliver what the community needs."
The province also reiterated that it has another $4.9 million available for more projects that will assist anglophones.
ELAN Executive Director Guy Rodgers said he believes the positive message and the province's currently booming economy will help reverse the brain drain.
"When I went to Concordia or McGill to speak to graduating university students 10 years ago, they all had their tickets bought," he said. "They were leaving, almost without exception. Now, the vast majority would like to stay in Quebec. They just need an opportunity, they need a job."