Quebec MNA Yves Bolduc answered swirling questions about his ethics on Tuesday by saying the only thing he was guilty of was having a strong work ethic.
Bolduc came out swinging on Tuesday against allegations he acted unethically by collecting $215,000 in premiums while working as a general practitioner and a Quebec MNA.
Bolduc is currently education minister for the Quebec Liberals, and previously served as Quebec health minister between 2008 and 2012.
He returned to his medical practice for the 19 months between the two stints, taking on 1,500 patients in need of a family doctor. He also served as health critic in the official Opposition during that time.
He earned a bonus of between $100 and $200 per person — totalling $215,000 — thanks to an incentive program meant to encourage Quebec doctors to take on more patients from wait lists.
The bonus was in addition to his salaries as a doctor and an MNA.
Bolduc said at a Tuesday news conference that he earned that bonus fair and square, shrugging off recent calls to refund the premium.
Instead, he urged Quebec's provincial health care plan to fast-track its investigation into the bonus he was awarded.
On Tuesday morning, Quebec's current health minister Gaétan Barrette said the incentive program is under review.
Worked 7 days a week
Bolduc said he worked tirelessly to tend to his patients' needs without compromising his responsibilities as a member of the Quebec legislature.
He said he worked between 20 and 30 hours a week as a doctor, often on evenings and weekends.
“I wasn’t even tired at the end of the day. That’s just the way I’m made," Bolduc said.
He referred to the comments made yesterday by former health ministers Claude Castonguay and Réjean Hébert, in which they called on Bolduc to resign and return the money.
"Quebec is a very strange place in the world because, apparently, working very hard is a reprehensible thing," Bolduc charged.