Health Professionals in the Outaouais Continue to Uphold Their Rights
Demonstration outside Gatineau Hospital, September 16, 2019.
On September 16 and 17, nurses at the Gatineau Hospital staged two sit-ins to denounce the compulsory overtime imposed by hospital management.
According to their Code of Ethics, nurses are the only ones who are qualified to decide whether they are capable of undertaking another work shift or not. In spite of this, management intimidated certain nurses, telling them they had “no choice,” that they had to be “supportive of their team” and that if they did not stay to provide care, patients would be endangered because of them.
Also, on September 16, a demonstration was held by health professionals in front of the Gatineau Hospital as well as the Papineau Hospital in Buckingham, to denounce comments made by the executive director of the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais, who publicly implied that the high level of avoidable deaths in the Outaouais in recent years was not due to a lack of human and financial resources but rather to a lack of rigour and poor practices attributable to the employees.
Health care is not recognized as a right in either Quebec or Canada, which reduce the people to a cost which should be done away with. The Canada Health Act stipulates that the federal government must, among other things, make sure that the health care provided in the provinces is universal and accessible. But this is devoid of meaning when subsequent federal governments simply cut transfer payments to the provinces and hold no provincial government to account, claiming it is not their jurisdiction. It reveals that in Canada rights are not enforced. Recent shortages and damages are in part attributed to the Harper government’s 2011 reduction of $36 billion in health transfer payments to the provinces over ten years. This has not been replaced by the Trudeau Liberals despite the problems which exist. Coupled with this are the threats of special legislation and fines used to intimidate health care workers who fight to defend the integrity of their profession and the public’s well-being.
Health care workers are a crucial part of the work which humanizes the social and natural environment. The demand to stop paying the rich and increase investments in health, education and social programs is more relevant than ever.