New Brunswick

Rino Volpé plans lawsuit over firing as Vitalité Health's CEO

Rino Volpé is planning a lawsuit against the New Brunswick government over its decision to fire him as the chief executive officer of the Vitalité Health Network, suggesting it may be language-related.

Suggests dismissal may be for speaking up on language issues

Rino Volpé is planning a lawsuit against the New Brunswick government over its decision to remove him as the chief executive officer of the Vitalité Health Network.

Rino Volpé is planning a lawsuit against the provincial government over his firing as the chief executive officer of the Vitalité Health Network. (Radio-Canada)
​Volpé said in a media statement obtained by CBC News/Radio-Canada that he wants the court to “confirm that the minister of health [Victor Boudreau] had no grounds to justify my dismissal.”

The former Vitalité CEO said Boudreau has refused to meet him following his dismissal. Volpé has filed notice with the Office of the Attorney General of his plans to sue the provincial government.

Volpé believes his dismissal is based on his insistence that the province and organizations do a better job of with working with Vitalité in French.

For example, he says spoke up about committee meetings that were only in English.

Pushed the francophone agenda

The medical staff at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton is standing by Volpé.

Dr. Hubert Dupuis, president of the group, also believes Volpé suffered the consequences of speaking out on language issues.

He says the Health Department has never looked at the francophone community as equal to the anglophone one.

"When a person like Mr. Volpé stands up for the francophone community, pushes the francophone agenda, pushes the institutions the francophone institutions in the right direction, he gets fired." said Dupuis.

Staff members and those who worked in Vitalité are shocked by the way Volpé was let go, he said.

The Health minister has attacked Vitalité and Volpé, and his reasons for firing the CEO are erroneous and unjustified, Dupuis added.

Volpé was appointed chief executive officer of the Vitalité Health Network in 2013.
In Volpé's dismissal letter, Boudreau accused the CEO of refusing to work co-operatively with the provincial government and with partners and stakeholders in the health-care system.

Volpé said in his statement that he finds it “reprehensible” that Boudreau has refused to retract statements in which he explained the decision to fire him as the chief executive officer of the health network.

“The actions of the minister of health are appalling insofar as they have a detrimental impact on New Brunswick’s francophone community,” Volpé’s statement said.

“Indeed, the minister’s actions sends the message to all francophone public servants that they put their livelihoods on the line when, just by doing their jobs, they defend the rights of the linguistic minority.

“They could be dismissed, like I was, without justification.”

Boudreau declined to discus the matter with CBC on Tuesday and refused to speak about Volpé during Question Period.

Volpé was appointed CEO of the health authority in 2013.

He had been working for the health department designing a new strategic plan when then health minister Ted Flemming said that made him the right person to run Vitalité.

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