Pay your own way

Posted 01.20.15

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | In Quebec, faced with the sudden Couillard Cuts to much of our health, social services, education, day-care, youth employment and municipal infrastructure, and faced with Health Minister Barrette's well-known intransigence, it may behove us to take a totally new approach to this Conservative wave which is sweeping through Quebec politics. The new approach is that we revisit an old idea.

That idea, and one first introduced on the Bulletin d'Aylmer's editorial pages, is the noble Conservative view that everyone should pay their own way, and never, never depend upon state funding. This plan flows from the Second Law of Political Thermodynamics, which states that any government cost-cutting will result in more costs and no savings.

Today Quebec's three main parties are all conservative parties. The CAQ is unapologetically reactionary; the PQ, having sadly lost Rene Levesque's guiding hand, the one with the cigarette, is apparently embracing Lord Union-Buster, the former head of Quebecor's dark empire. And now we have the Liberals with their Harper-like austerity cuts.

The revolutionary idea is that these costly institutions -- hospitals and CLSCs, schools and day-cares and so on -- should be obligated to earn their own way, just like you and I. This plan was proposed when Quebec City was studying the Hull and Gatineau hospitals; those geniuses, and they deserve this title, had decided that the two hospitals which were unable to work together an any file, should be given a brand new super-hospital for them to run jointly. Being in one building, they would have to, at least, talk to each other in the hallways.

Into that debate, the Bulletin proposed that, yes, a new hospital would be fine, but it should be the casino in Hull.

By taking over the government-owned casino, the hospital could generate its own funding. There would be many benefits. No longer would a waiting room be stuffed with miserable people, sneezing and coughing on each other, but the waiting room would be full of slot machines and gaming tables. Patients could spend their eighteen-hour waits playing the slots -- having some excitement and putting some cash into the health care coffers while they wait. Doctors could do the same on their breaks.

Since Premier Couillard, obviously a brain surgeon, has decided to chop everything, or close it, and thus save a lot of money, this pay-as-you-go plan could expand to schools and universities -- hiring out students, for example -- and to other social and community facilities. Since there are schools everywhere, they are a natural for the next big fast-food chain, complete with low-paid workers on site, no immigrants needed.

With the hospitals and schools generating profits, we can expect to see even more facilities spring up; finally First Nations would get their hospitals and schools.

The final question for Dr. Premier Couillard (and all the other Tories in the National Assembly) is: how are you going to make the National Assembly pay its own way? Will prostitution be legalized? Is this where the euthanasia clinics will be set up? The opportunities are certainly mind-boggling.

And, there, I didn't write a word about Charlie Hebdo.


Copyright © 2015 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/01.15