“Minister gets a pass from Liberal MNAs”
Labour hammers health-system trusteeship
Quebec’s suspension of the CSSS de Gatineau (CSSSG) administration has prompted an outcry from the unions involved. “The CSSSG made cuts of $18 million but the government said it wasn’t enough and requested another 25% cut (to achieve a balanced budget by next year). For a dozen years the government has asked medical staff to do more with less. Employees are exhausted and yet are asked for additional effort,” said Christian Meilleur, local vice-president of the Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS). “Is this imposition of a new administration a foretaste of a ministerial dictatorship Minister Barrette wants to establish with the CSSS in Quebec, under Bill 10?”, Meilleur askedL’Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS), representing about 1,000 workers at the CSSSG, also worries about the consequences of this imposition.
“Services to the public cannot be maintained, if additional (cuts) are implemented by Minister Barrette,” said APTS. “The CSSSG is struggling because of chronic under-funding, on top of the $8 million cut last September,” said André P. Gaudreau, local APTS president. “Already absences are not replaced. More staff cuts will impose an unworkable workload. Our members refuse such compromises at this (public service) level.”
Added Meilleur, “Each year Quebec reimburses Ontario roughly $125 million. That’s plenty of money. The government wants us to cut millions to balance next year’s budget, but this will worsen our services and encourage residents to use Ontario services and increase Quebec’s reimbursement fees. This is going to cost more for Quebec.”
The Conseil central des syndicats nationaux de l’Outaouais (CSN) and the FSSS also denounced the region’s under-funding and proposed spreading the cuts demanded by Quebec City.
The ATPS claims that budget deficits have followed one another without solving the problem of allocations, all based on historical funding. “The minister, with his Bill 20, stipulates that health facilities will be financed by their volume of activity, so why not let that do its work?” asked the APTS. Michel Quijada, president of the local CSN, argued the trusteeship exists here only because of the region’s love affair with the Quebec Liberal Party. “Minister Barrette is guaranteed no objection here since our MNAs are exclusively Liberals,” said Quijada. “Barrette wants to make an example of the CSSS-G. He wants to set the tone for the rest of Québec. No one will growl here, except the unions,” added Meilleur. “Trusteeship can bring drastic cuts without measuring the impact to public health services.”