Against the backdrop of the crisis in our public health care system, two important but completely different events took place last week.
At the Université de Moncton, the Institut d’études acadiennes, in collaboration with the Comité du 100e anniversaire du Centre hospitalier universitaire Dr- George- L-. Dumont, organized two “Journées de réflexion prospectives sur la santé en français” (Days of prospective reflection on health in French). At Mount Allison University in Sackville, university researchers and the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity organized a Summit on the Valuation of Care Work.
In Moncton, the audience sat in rows of chairs and listened to 15 presentations made by officials from the Vitalité health network, the Université de Moncton and university researchers. There were no presentations from health care workers or community organizations. The presentations dealt with governance in a minority setting, accessibility of care and services, recruitment and retention, and the mission of the university in the health system. A few question periods were allowed, but there were no workshops for discussion among the participants.
In Sackville, participants listened to presentations, with simultaneous translation, by researchers, care workers and employers, family caregivers and advocacy groups to an audience seated around tables of eight. The focus was on the exchange of information between academic research, the day-to-day experiences of health care workers and employers, and the real-life experiences of citizens. Three 45-minute workshops and a plenary session allowed participants to reflect and exchange on ways to improve our health care system, on delivery models, and on work and employment in the health care sector.
Two similar events, but certainly two completely different experiences for participants: at the Université de Moncton, two days of reflection, but no discussion; in Sackville, a day of reflection filled with exchange among participants. One is inward looking, the other is outward looking. Which one would you have chosen?
Jean-Claude Basque is the former provincial coordinator of the NB Common Front for Social Justice.