Martin C. Barry
With the unmistakable but unconfirmed certainty that a provincial election will be taking place in October, Quebec Liberal Health Minister Gaétan Barrette paid a visit to Cité de la Santé in Laval on Jan. 16 for the inauguration of two new endoscopy diagnosis rooms made possible with funding from Quebec.
And while he was there, Barrette told the media attending the event that he will be running in the election for another term as the Liberal candidate for MNA in the riding of La Pinière in Brossard on Montreal’s South Shore.
Polo to run again
At the same time, Laval-des-Rapides Liberal MNA Saul Polo confirmed he also expects to be in the running once again, although he was waiting last week for party leader and Premier Philippe Couillard along with the riding association to approve his nomination.
With the addition of a network of “superclinics” in Laval by Barrette’s ministry, effectively taking a burden off Cité de la Santé’s emergency department, the minister said CISSS de Laval has become one of the most efficient and performing in the network of provincial health care agencies across Quebec.
According to Barrette, Cité de la Santé’s emergency department stood out positively recently after having registered the shortest period of patient overcrowding.
New clinic system praised
“There is a direct correlation between the emergency here at Cité de la Santé being less congested over the past holidays compared to all the other hospitals in the greater region of Montreal,” Polo said in an interview with the Laval News.
“The reason is these clinics are having a direct impact, so people are becoming more and more aware that they can go to any of these clinics instead of to the emergency Cité de la Santé,” he added. “We don’t live in a perfect world, but I think in terms of health care we’re offering better and better services and more accessibility as well.”
The new endoscopy facilities will allow Cité de la Santé to carry out 7,440 additional diagnoses of ailments in the digestive tract annually.
“When we know that colorectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer in Quebec, you can understand the importance of early detection of this disease, which at the same time reduces as much as possible the waiting times of patients for this type of examination,” said the health minister.
“The needs in the region of Laval in terms of health are increasing steadily, notably because of its demographic growth,” added Francine Charbonneau, the MNA for Mille-Îles and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region.
Earlier detection of cancers
“It is thus crucial to adapt the capacity of the services offered with respect to this increased demand,” she continued. “I am therefore very pleased with the implementation of this project which will allow even more cancers than before to be detected as quickly as possible, contributing at the same time to saving numerous lives.”
On the question of his running in the October election, Polo said that “ultimately the prime minister has to approve my candidacy with the support of the riding association first. But my intention is to submit my candidacy for another run at it.”
Some election speculation
Whatever the outcome of the election, it’s anyone’s guess what party and what candidate the voters in Laval-des-Rapides will end up choosing. The riding is notorious for its voting pattern instability, wavering closely between the Parti Québécois and the Liberals almost from election to election.
However, what is more certain is that the citizens of Laval-des-Rapides appear to be strategic in their choice of who to support, making the riding a “bellwether” of the overall trend. They are known to have supported the winning party in every general election since 1981 when the riding of Laval-des-Rapides was created.