(Aaron Derfel/ Montreal Gazette) — The plight of overworked and burned-out nurses dominated the first debate of the Quebec election campaign on Wednesday, with candidates of the four main political parties offering starkly different prescriptions for what ails the province’s health-care system.
Danielle McCann, of the front-running Coalition Avenir Québec, made the most dramatic promise of the debate: the immediate abolition of mandatory overtime for nurses if the CAQ forms the next provincial government on Oct. 1.
“We want to give nurses back their dignity,” McCann said during the debate, alluding to the case last winter of Émilie Ricard, a young nurse in Sherbrooke who posted a tearful selfie on Facebook describing her exhaustion after taking care of at least 70 patients on an overnight shift.
Still, McCann offered few specifics on exactly how a CAQ government would abolish forced overtime.
Diane Lamarre, health critic of the Parti Québécois, also invoked Ricard’s name during the mostly civil debate, pledging that a PQ government would set up an emergency $10-million fund to deal with the OT crisis. (…)