A candidate forum hosted by CHIP 101.9 for the participants in the ongoing provincial elections was held at the Pontiac Conference Centre this past Tuesday (September 6). Five of the seven candidates who have declared thus far were present: incumbent Liberal André Fortin, Mike Owen Sebagenzi of Québec solidaire, Terrance Watters of the Quebec Conservative Party, Corinne Canuel-Jolicœur of the Coalition Avenir Quebec, and Pierre Cyr of the Quebec Greens.
The first theme to be discussed was the state of health care services in the Pontiac region. Fortin highlighted the lack of nurses in particular, pointing out that the competitive salaries in Ontario facilities make staff retention more difficult.
Watters said that the Conservative Party’s view was that more private health care options are the solution to the many issues facing Quebec’s network, pointing to the systems in European countries like Sweden or the U.K.
Canuel-Jolicœur said that the health care system has been underfunded for decades, and highlighted the CAQ government’s plans to build a 600-bed university affiliated hospital.
Cyr said that there needs to be a comprehensive assessment of the system in order to arrive at systemic solutions instead of just “patching holes”.
Sebagenzi pointed to previous governments’ interventions in the health care field and said that QS would work to improve salaries and work conditions in health care facilities.
The full video of the forum will soon be available on our website.