What They Said: Candidate Priorities in St. Francis | Elections Quebec 2022
Over the next few weeks, candidates from the ridings of Mégantic, Brome-Missisquoi and Saint-François marched in front of Laurie Dufresne's microphone at Vivement le retour to express themselves on the issues affecting their region, and the priorities they intend to defend on behalf of their fellow citizens.
The riding of Saint-François
Half-urban and half-rural, the riding encompasses part of the Ville de Sherbrooke – Lennoxville, Brompton and Fleurimont – as well as municipalities such as Waterville, Coaticook, Compton and Saint-Venant-de-Paquette. The population of Saint-François is divided almost equally into the different age groups. One in five people in the riding does not have a diploma, and the average income is $8,000 less than the provincial average.
The Coaticook emergency has repeatedly made headlines as a priority issue for the region. High-speed Internet connection for rural communities, access to child care services and services for seniors are other challenges in the riding.
Teachers and childcare workers protested outside the outgoing MP's office for better salaries.
There was still a salary increase for our teachers, also significant salary readjustments for our child care workers. Several working conditions have been improved. Our government is at school, and if more needs to be done, we will look at how we can support them.
The Coaticook emergency is a concern for the riding and a priority for Geneviève Hébert.
The partial closure of the emergency room caused a major citizen mobilization.
I am committed that when we have favorable conditions, when we have the staff, we will be able to reopen the Coaticook emergency. […] There are the paramedics that we can put more to use, increase the autonomy, the powers of health professionals. We want to decompartmentalise certain professions. […] Currently, our two emergencies which are also in Saint-François have a shortage of personnel. We must ensure that the basic services in our hospitals are adequate.
High-speed Internet connection and cellular access
< p class="e-p">Despite the CAQ's promise to connect all Quebecers, the deployment of high-speed Internet has been delayed in the riding. Citizens who have not obtained optical fiber before the deadline must therefore turn to the Starlink satellite.
Geneviève Hébert, CAQ candidate in Saint-François.
All citizens currently have access or have the possibility of having access to high speed Internet with Starlink. They can order the kit for free and they have a monthly discount for being plugged in. […] Our next commitment is to have the cell phone on the MRC of Coaticook. There are municipalities that simply do not have cellular access because there really is a discovery. As a government, we are committed to having the cellular network within four years. But for high-speed Internet, by March 2023, everyone should be connected.
Geneviève Hébert's interview at Vivement le retour
The candidate says he is not giving up on the goal of giving all Quebecers access to a family doctor.
We are not giving up, we will continue to push to produce doctors. That's all we can do. In reality, it's a question of priority, so we're going to push on the file and it'll be done in three or four years, we don't know, but we must not let go.
Emergency in Coaticook
Claude Charron assures that the issue of the Coaticook emergency “should be settled” if he is elected.
By reopening, it's also reducing the emergency in Sherbrooke, so it's really absolutely necessary that we open the emergency.
As for the ambulance service, there is one thing that I have learned, it is that our paramedics are at home when they receive the callso they have to surrender. The solution we are proposing is that we have a position so that the paramedics are there immediately to serve more quickly, suggests the candidate.
Claude Charron, Liberal candidate in Saint-François.
Charter of the regions
The Liberal Party of Quebec also promises more collaboration with the regions and municipalities.
The big advantage is that we will sit the people of the region at the table and we will adapt the needs to the region. These are big social changes, because we have centralized and we are decentralizing to better serve people. The priority is health and access to services, and the environment.
Interview with Claude Charron at Vivement le retour
Urgence de Coaticook
Mélissa Généreux indicates that she is offering the “most concrete” commitment to the Urgence de Coaticook.
This project is to make a living laboratory where we have interns in training from the health network who will come to rally all the actors together and at the end of their two-month internship, they will arrive with a prototype of how we can better use student resources in medicine and nursing, paramedics, more community care… It's really to get out of what we already have as resources to get to have local solutions to a local problem.
Mélissa Généreux wants to work to bring back professionals from mental health in the public network.
We have psychologists in Quebec, it's just that they have gone a lot to the private sector because the working conditions are not interesting at the moment to the public. People may not know it, but a psychologist currently in public service will have a lower salary, but also less autonomy. […] It is enough to regain professional autonomy with better working conditions, and we really bet that we will be able to repatriate a lot of psychologists, because working for the public is the fun to work in interdisciplinary, they are great teams.
Mélissa Généreux, solidarity candidate in Saint-François.
In recent months, the co-spokespersons of Québec solidaire have increased their visits to the riding, where the fight promises to be tight.
We think that at home, in Saint-François, it's still tight, so we don't tell ourselves that everything is won in advance and that we can let down the guard and the efforts, really not. I think we are all hard at work in our rooms, the volunteers are all there, but what I hear as a message is that if we put the package until the very end is because we think we can win.
The interview with Mélissa Généreux at Vivement le retour
Urgence de Coaticook
If she is elected and her party takes power, Sylvie Tanguay promises to reopen the Coaticook emergency room 24 hours a day.
With the priorities of our health plan, we will be able to recover people. There are several possible scenarios for doing this. It is not necessarily to have emergency personnel who are there 24 hours a day, but you can have an emergency physician on duty, that is done at the CHUS Fleurimont or at the Hôtel-Dieu. We could have a doctor on call. It is also necessary to ensure that there are enough paramedics. I promise to sit down at least with a consultation table.
The PQ candidate recalls that the Parti Québécois intends to abolish compulsory overtime and the use of private agencies to try to make the public network more attractive to health care workers. It also offers other incentives, such as daycare centers open at irregular hours for health care workers and paid internships for students.
We have no choice, in fact. If we continue as we are right now [in the health network], we're going into a wall, that's clear.
Sylvie Tanguay, PQ candidate in Saint-François.
On his chances of winning
Even if Paul St-Pierre Plamondon did not come to the riding in recent months, Sylvie Tanguay remains optimistic.
It's not me who makes his schedule, but at the same time, I know that he has confidence in Estrie. Estrie is historically liberal, but we campaign as best we can with all the energy we have. […] Anything can happen by the end of the campaign. We're in a marathon, and we're in the final sprint. Thefinal sprintends when the finish line is crossed.
The interview with Sylvie Tanguay at Vivement le retour
One of the most important issues for Dany Bernier is the labor shortage, the sinews of war, according to him.
Whether it's by finding places in daycare or private daycare so that parents can return to the labor market or whether it's to facilitate immigration, which I hear, in Saint-François, it's that people need employees.
Urgence de Coaticook
The Conservative candidate says he does not want to make promises that he cannot keep in the Coaticook emergency file.
What we are aiming for is to decentralize the health system so that in Coaticook, they are able to take charge of their current financial resources, human resources, and say: “Here is what we have available, and now we are going to take stock of the situation." I would like Coaticook to have the freedom to say: "we others, our issue, it may not be, depending on the resources they have, a 24-hour emergency."
Dany Bernier, Conservative candidate in Saint-François.
Management of the pandemic
Dany Bernier says he is dissatisfied with the management of the pandemic by the current government.
People say they are satisfied, and it belongs to them. They absolutely have the right to have that opinion. […] We are mainly opposed to the abusive measures that have been put in place. If there are measures to be taken [in the event of another wave of COVID-19], they will be sensible, intelligent measures. We will not talk about abusive measures. We really want to leave in something logical.
The interview with Dany Bernier at Vivement le retour