Québec Solidaire promises $400M to hire medical professionals

Québec Solidaire says it would invest $400 million over five years to hire more medical professionals and improve access to health care in the province.

Quebec Liberals promise to create 50 medical 'super clinics' and 2,000 nurse practioners

Québec Solidaire co-spokesperson, Andres Fontecilla (left), is running in the Montreal riding of Laurier-Dorion. He is pictured here with Mercier candidate Amir Khadir. (CBC)

QuébecSolidaire says it would invest $400 million over the next five years to hire more medical professionals and improve access to health care in the province.

On Tuesday, Québec Solidaire's co-spokesperson, Andrés Fontecilla, said a Québec Solidaire government would prioritize patient needs.

"It's extremely important to us to reform our health system, so that it's not based on the needs of the system or staff, but on the needs of patients," Fontecilla said.

"About one in four Quebecers doesn't have access to a family doctor and we know from surveys that 50 per cent of the population go to emergency when their problem could be treated at ... a clinic or a CSLC."

Fontecilla said his party would also improve health care access by keeping local CLSCs open 24/7.

Mercier candidate Amir Khadir said Québec Solidiare would finance those changes by cutting down on other health care costs. He said the province is currently paying too much for medication, and his party could save up to $2 billion towards medical expenses. 

Liberals promise to create 50 medical 'super clinics'

Earlier on Tuesday, the Liberals unveiled their health care platform with a promise to revamp Quebec’s health care system and create 50 "super clinics" to help alleviate the stress on hospitals.

Quebec Liberal Party Leader Philippe Couillard (centre) flanked by candidate Gaetan Barrette, unveils his party's health policy while campaigning. (Jacques Boissinot/CP)

Leader Philippe Couillard said his party would improve the health care system by opening the clinics — which would be open seven days a week — training 2,000 nurse practitioners who would be able to prescribe medication and perform certain exams.

Couillard also said that, if elected, he would reduce the price of generic medication and ensure that all medical imaging, such as scans and ultrasounds, carried out in private clinics would be covered by public health care.

The Liberals said in order to finance those changes, they would ask health agencies — including each Agence de la santé et des services sociaux as well as the ministry and government organisms — to reduce their bureaucracy by 10 per cent. 

​Couillard also said a Liberal government would reintroduce the 'dying with dignity' bill. 

Bill 52 was left in limbo because of the election call.

The Coalition Avenir Québec and the Parti Québécois have yet to roll out their health care platforms this campaign. 

Heath care system worries

A new CROP poll commissioned by Radio-Canada suggests that 62 per cent of people are not satisfied with Quebec’s health care system.

One of the issues most cited by respondents was access to a family doctor (33 per cent). Twenty-six per cent of respondents said the wait for emergency services was a principle issue, and 21 per cent listed a shortage of nurses as a problem.

A total of 1,400 Quebec residents aged 18 and older participated in this web poll between March 5 and March 8. The CROP poll was commissioned by CBC/Radio-Canada. A total of 1,148 francophones and 252 people who's mother tongue was a language other than French were surveyed. 

Because the survey was conducted online, there is no margin of error.

CAQ focuses on union transparency

The Coalition Avenir Québec focused on its anti-corruption agenda on Tuesday, vowing to root out intimidation and secrecy from the province's unions. 

On Tuesday, CAQ leader François Legault said his government would introduce three key measures that would force the province's unions to be more transparent and democratic.

“After what we’ve seen at the Charbonneau Commission, there are certain union standards that are no longer acceptable. We have come to the point where we must modernize the ways that unions work,” Legault said.

Legault said if he is elected he would force unions to publish the state of their finances and would impose a secret ballot system for union certification votes.

He said a CAQ government would also forbid unions from using dues paid by members for political purposes.

The Parti Québécois highlighted its anti-corruption agenda last week, with the introduction of candidate Daniel Lebel, the president of the Quebec Order of Engineers.

At the time, PQ Leader Pauline Marois said in the 18 months since her party took power, corruption in the province has declined.