With the release of the latest budget, it is now clear to all that Brian Gallant’s government is entering into election mode. However, our Premier is clumsily undermining his own efforts of being re-elected by letting his Health Minister engage in unnecessary privatization.
If the Atcon episode was not enough to keep Victor Boudreau away from ministerial portfolios, the ongoing “Sodexo Saga” should be the last straw.
Recently, Dr. Georges-L. Dumont University Hospital Centre doctors have joined their voices to those of workers, the NB Health Coalition, Égalité Santé en Français, CUPE, the Societé Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick (SANB) and other citizens groups opposing privatization. Now, Gilles Lanteigne, Vitalité’s CEO, who has obtained unanimous support from his Board of Directors to fight imposed contracting out, is demanding an emergency meeting with the Health Minister.
By letting his Health Minister illegally bypass the authority of the Vitalité Health Network, Premier Gallant is showing disrespect to the principle of duality in health care.
By handing over to a multinational corporation the management of food services in hospitals, Premier Gallant is abandoning our farmers and our regions. Rural New Brunswick will lose an important ally for an effective “Buy Local” food strategy.
By handing over cleaning services to a multinational corporation, Premier Gallant is willing to trade cleanliness for private sector profits. Vulnerable citizens, such as seniors and infants, will be the first affected by life-threatening hospital-borne infections.
Never in my life have I seen an incumbent government win re-election when it antagonizes seniors, farmers, doctors, administrators, workers and their unions.
Instead of dismantling our system and removing public control over health care, this government should be working on in-house solutions to raise the quality of services.
Premier Gallant, it’s time you pull in the reins – or else the voters will take them away from you.
Daniel Légère is the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) NB.