Where is MNA André Fortin? Where are you and I?

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Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

In the uproar with Quebec’s plan to turn Pontiac’s health facilities over to a Gatineau-based super-committee, one voice has been conspicuously absent: our MNA, André Fortin. He is supposed to be stick-handling this file for us, defending our

Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

In the uproar with Quebec’s plan to turn Pontiac’s health facilities over to a Gatineau-based super-committee, one voice has been conspicuously absent: our MNA, André Fortin. He is supposed to be stick-handling this file for us, defending our
highly-rated services from the urban bureaucrats. A re-assuring statement,
followed by silence, is not enough.
Mr Fortin has “said” we have no worries – Pontiac’s CLSC network is not under threat. As a novice MNA, Mr Fortin does not speak with tremendous authority. We want him more
proactive.  
Shouldn’t we expect Mr Fortin to repeat that Pontiac’s CLSC network is safe, that the Upper Pontiac can count on its 24/7 emergency clinic – rather than assuming we’ll end up driving over to Ontario for care? Can we see Mr Fortin’s determination to fight for our
services to Health Minister Barrette and even the
premier?
Shouldn’t we expect to see our MNA endorsing the call for two Pontiac seats on the new regional board, rather than assure us that our one lonely voice on a twelve-seat body will keep our services and their quality intact?
Shouldn’t we expect that Mr Fortin will do the same with the quota system Minister Barrette wants to impose on rural physicians, as though they worked in a city full of support services and specialists?
Shouldn’t we expect
to see Mr Fortin make
common cause with MNAs from other rural areas who face these same threats? Where is the “common front” in which he joins with them to stand up
for rural Quebec’s quality of life?
Mr Fortin was elected with a strong mandate. He is still very popular. He has nothing to fear by playing these cards in Quebec City. So why so quiet? The details are coming out, new appointees are taking their positions . . . and still Mr Fortin remains silent. This isn’t what we voted for. We elected a young man and rejected his opponent who was seen more a party man than a constituency man . . .
Over to you, honourable deputy.

Sign the pledge! 
All this can be like
complaining about weather, these gripes about
losing the management of our local health services. There’s nothing we can do about weather (except battle climate change,
you could say). There is something we can do about keeping our health system.
Sure, illness is expensive. Hospitals are gigantic money pits – but for good reason! They wouldn’t be effective if they were done on the cheap. No doubt there are economies to find – and there are many Minister Barrette hasn’t looked at – but no one in their right minds thinks hospitals and CLSCs are devices for saving money. Schools aren’t, either, nor are highways and roads. These are part of government – and we insist on good
government! So what can we do, besides complain?
We can all sign a pledge to ourselves that we will not vote Liberal
in the next provincial election. 
The Liberals are doing this without consultation and in hopes we’ll forget by the next election. We can make sure Quebec City sees these pledges. We can take this pledge campaign across Quebec, anywhere people are angry with losing local control of health facilities.
Will you, dear readers, forget the old separatist boogey-man for one election and sign this pledge? Or are we just happy to merely complain? And complain. And complain.