Education Minister Yves Bolduc, who steadfastly refused he had done anything wrong when he collected $215,000 in patient premiums while he was a sitting MNA, now says he'll repay some of that money.
- Q&A: Gaétan Barrette says doctor incentive program flawed
- Yves Bolduc unapologetic for $215K bonus
- INFOGRAPHIC: Breaking down Quebec's doctor premiums
Bolduc, a physician and former health minister, said after a meeting with the premier, he will repay a portion of the premium he collected on 300 to 400 patients he followed for fewer than 12 months.
"I'm going to do more because it's very important to be very sensitive to the situation and for the patients. I'm going to give the same amount to a charitable organization," he said.
Bolduc said he is awaiting a letter from the province's health insurance board (RAMQ) to find out exactly how much that amount is, but it will amount to 50 per cent of the full amount he collected on those patients.
Under an agreement between the health ministry and Quebec physicians that was signed while Bolduc was health minister, physicians can collect between $100 and $250 for each patient they take on from the wait list maintained by the province's health and social services centres.
The premium amount varies depending on the urgency of the case.
Bolduc took on 1,500 new patients after the Parti Québécois took power in 2012. He took on the patients while he was a sitting MNA, but later abandoned them when the Liberals were re-elected this spring.
The revelation that Bolduc took on that number of patients and collected the premium while serving in the official Opposition led some former politicians to publicly call for his resignation.
Sitting Health Minister Gaétan Barrette and Bolduc maintained that he had done nothing wrong, but would pay back any money he wasn't entitled to following an investigation by the RAMQ.
Barrette did say the ministry was reviewing the premium agreement and is expected to provide an update in the fall.
Opposition says pay full amount, or resign
Parti Québécois MNAs Agnès Maltais and Diane Lamarre issued a news release on Wednesday calling on Bolduc to repay the whole $215,000, or step down.
"Repaying only part [of the $215,000] is not sufficient; 1,600 patients no longer have a doctor, they have no support, and they now must find another doctor," Lamarre said.
"The more time that passes, the less people understand the minister's resistance, who should act in a reasonable and exemplary manner," she said.
Coalition Avenir Québec MNA Éric Caire also called on Couillard to request the resignation of Bolduc, who Caire said no longer has the "moral authority" to run a ministry.
"The honourable course of action is relieve [Bolduc] of his duties," Caire said.