Bill 10: A “line in the sand” that cannot be crossed

I am writing to join the chorus of voices expressing concern about Bill 10 and the devastating effect it would have on the vitality of the English-speaking community of the Capitale-Nationale region and on the survival of its health and social services establishment, Jeffery Hale - Saint Brigid's.

Merged into one organization as a result of the last health reform in 2007, Saint Brigid's Home celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2006, and Jeffery Hale will have its turn next year. The English-speaking population founded both institutions before Confederation and has continually mobilized its efforts since then to ensure their sustainability and success. Members of our community are part of the Jeffery Hale - Saint Brigid's at all levels: they are volunteers; they are the employees who give the services; they donate to foundations that support the institution; and they are active in its governance. It was in a volunteer capacity that my great-great-grandfather, the Reverend David Marsh, founded the hospital thanks to a bequest from the estate of businessman Mr. Jeffery Hale. It is with pride that I served as a volunteer member of the board of both the hospital and the foundation. Today, my father resides at Saint Brigid's, where he receives wonderful care in English from a very dedicated and committed staff. This would not be possible if our community had not been successful in maintaining the governance of this key establishment.

In the Greater Quebec City region, Jeffery Hale - Saint Brigid's plays a key role for the English-speaking community because of its leadership in providing innovative, efficient services adapted to the evolving needs and culture of our community, in both official languages.

I laud the efforts of Liberal MNAs who have agreed to support the community in its efforts to preserve the direct involvement of its members in the governance of Jeffery Hale - Saint Brigid's. I am also encouraged to hear in the media that there is some openness on the part of the Minister of Health, Dr. Gaétan Barrette, and the members of the parliamentary committee on Bill 10, to work with leaders of our community. I am convinced that, through this important dialogue, an appropriate solution will be found for Jeffery Hale - Saint Brigid's in the proposed reform.

Rest assured that the community cannot accept losing control of the governance of this institution. Governance is the main means through which we can ensure that the members of our community, like my father, will continue to receive such excellent quality care. We must maintain our control of the board of directors of Jeffery Hale - Saint Brigid's; this is a "line in the sand" that we cannot allow to be crossed.