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QAHN Letter Re. Bill 10 to Health and Social Services Minister Dr. Gaétan Barrette

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Sherbrooke, October 29, 2014

Dr. Gaétan Barrette
Ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux
Édifice Catherine-de-Longpré
1075, chemin Sainte-Foy, 15e étage
Québec (Québec)
G1S 2M1

RE: Bill 10

Dear Dr, Barrette,

The Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) has serious concerns about the speed with which Quebec's proposed Bill 10 is being moved forward towards adoption. We feel strongly that this bill will have a profound impact on the English-speaking community of Quebec and its institutions.

Although we agree that there are certainly areas of our current health and social services system that need reform -- not least of which is the dire shortage of family doctors in virtually every corner of this province -- we urge you to proceed with caution when considering a complete overhaul of the very institutions that have served our community for so many years, which is what Bill 10 entails.

Bill 10, we believe, will have a profound adverse impact on the English-speaking community of Quebec. A massive centralization of the institutional structure of our health and social services system will diminish the vitality and identity of that community. Ours is a community with a deep attachment to its institutions. Our active participation in, and support for, these institutions, however, is contingent on our ability to have some significant level of control over the way those instiutions are run, and on the degree to which we are able to participate in those institutions and in the way that services are delivered.

A massively centralized system will not result in institutions that are better supported by the communities they serve, and will certainly not improve patient care. The abolition of hospitals and their governing boards, and their replacement by centralized, state-controlled regional bureaucracies, will succeed only in alienating the public they are supposed to serve. Furthermore, such an approach will eliminate public input and oversight.

In respect to the institutions that have historically served the English-speaking community of Quebec, the bilingual status of these institutions will be eroded, and exemptions that permit internal hospital communications, board meetings, signs, and patient record-keeping in English (along with French) will be placed in jeopardy. Equally troubling, the contributions of independent foundations to the provision of services will be at risk, since donors will lose their sense of connection to the hospitals they are supporting -- hospitals that will now be under the control of centrally appointed government officials. Any potential savings generated by the adoption of Bill 10 may well be offset by an alienation of individual and corporate donors.

We therefore urge you, Dr. Barrette, to reconsider the haste -- and the lack of proper consultation -- with which this bill is being pushed forward. Before it is adopted, all of its potential adverse effects to the community need to be thoroughly analyzed, and weighed against any potential benefits, and the community your government serves -- including the English-speaking community -- needs to be well and properly consulted. Our health care system has been a century in the making. It needs improving -- of that we can all agree. But in our haste to make it better, let us not do away with everything that is good about it.

Yours truly,

Matthew Farfan
Executive Director, QAHN

About QAHN:
Founded in 2000, the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization engaged with its members in promoting the preservation of the built, cultural and natural heritage of Quebec. QAHN aims to promote a greater understanding of the history of Quebec’s English-speaking communities by informing, inspiring and connecting people through its activities. Membership is open to any organization or individual, regardless of language or cultural affiliation, with an interest in the history, heritage and culture of Quebec’s English-speaking communities. Currently, in addition to several hundred individual members across Quebec and Canada, over 90 organizations in Quebec hold institutional membership in QAHN.

c.c. Dr. Philippe Couillard, Premier of Quebec
Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN)