IN THE NAME OF ST. JOHN, THESE ROGUES THREATEN HEALTH CARE AND LIVES
The Americans have the Ku Klux Klan -
Without their robes in public office.
Quebec has the St. Jean Baptiste Society.
When you threaten health care,
You threaten life.
Montreal's nationalist Saint-Jean Baptiste Society is beseeching provincial politicians to cut-back rights to English services in the health care system.
There should be no right to English health care outside of designated bilingual hospitals, and only those who speak English as their mother tongue should be allowed to obtain care in English, the SSJB told a National Assembly hearing.
English-speakers should, instead, use a bank of interpreters.
"There is no reason to bestow English-speaking people a status higher than those who speak Spanish or Chinese who go to our francophone institutions," president Maxime Laporte told MNAs, who are examining bill 10, which deals almost exclusively with the structure of health care administration.
Laporte and researcher Mathilde Lafebvre spoke of an startling increase in the use and requirement for English in health care, something they attribute to a policy of providing English speakers with the broadest selection of health care services as possible, as close as possible to the clientele.
A practice that they worry will become even more widespread as administrations merge.
"We will find ourselves with de facto bilingual establishments in greater numbers in Quebec," said Lefebvre.
She said institutions in the Gaspé and Magdalen Islands already consider the level of an employee's English or "even sometimes practically require" bilingualism of their day staff.
She said in the Townships, the language ability of job candidates is evaluated, even if a position is does not officially require bilingualism.
That gives bilingual job-seekers an advantage over those who speak only French.
"It's dangerous. It's worrisome. Because it directly encroaches on the right to work in French," she said, stressing that establishments should not be allowed to decide for themselves whether positions should require English.
And, she says, Quebec city should not have a bilingual hospital, as it currently does with the Jeffrey Hale, when only 1 percent of the population is English-speaking.
"Why should we bend over backwards for such a small quantity of the population?"
The SSJB's proposals were cut down from every direction.
The health minister told the SSJB they were trying to rewrite the Charter of the French Language and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
And what about allophones who speak English rather than French, asked the CAQ's François Paradis.
"What do we do with those people who need to be cared for and they can't talk to anyone? We say 'Goodbye, go home?'"
Maka Kotto, the PQ's language critic, asked whether the SSJB had measured or simply extrapolated the number of positions that require English and questioned whether they were against people becoming bilingual.
"We're talking about sick people. Vulnerable people. People who need a social service," said Françoise David, of Quebec Solidaire.
But, the strongest reaction came from Jean-Françoise Lisée, who said they were "throwing rocks at the English" and that the proposals "make no sense."
"That (the recommendations) means an anglophone woman in the Gaspé, who goes to the ER in the Gaspé, where the ER doctor speaks English, because they almost all do, (they) would not be allowed to speak to each other in English. There would be an interpreter."
Lisée was most scathing of the recommendation to only allow direct English services for those who speak it as a mother tongue.
He said there are an enormous amount of people in Côte-St-Luc whose mother tongue is Yiddish, Polish or Hungarian.
"If a Jewish anglophone who's been here since the second world war goes to the Jewish general, you are going to ban them from speaking directly to the medical personnel?"
But the presenters for the SSJB said their thoughts were being distorted, and that their main point was that bilingualism not be required, and that access not be a right.
Mathilde Lefebvre said English-speakers are always being treated in a very different way from people like those in the SSJB who want to preserve a culture.
"I listened attentively to the presentation of the Quebec Community Groups Network. The tone of the health minister was incredibly different."