“These increases are all the more shocking because our nurses, clerks, and other professionals face very difficult working conditions, while our patients live with the lack of access to required services because of the drastic cuts in recent years.”
Hundreds of doctors in Quebec, Canada are asking the Ministry of Health to cancel a proposed pay raise it wants to give them, imploring the government to instead redirect the funds to other healthcare workers and patient care in the province.
“We, Quebec doctors who believe in a strong public system, oppose the recent salary increases negotiated by our medical federations,” wrote Médecins Québécois Pour le Régime Public (MQRP), in a letter signed by nearly 800 physicians. “We, Quebec doctors, are asking that the salary increases granted to physicians be canceled and that the resources of the system be better distributed for the good of healthcare workers.”
“If you ask physicians in the street, most will tell you that they would rather have more support and have a good working environment and have other professionals to refer their patients to, rather than having more money.” —Isabelle Leblanc, MQRPQuebec’s healthcare system, administered by the province’s Ministry of Health, has suffered “drastic cuts” recently, note the doctors, which they say should be reversed with the funds the government plans to use for raises.
The province’s 20,000 doctors make an average of $198,000 to $314,000, and the government has proposed annual raises of 1.4 to 1.8 percent, costing Quebec about $1.2 billion over the next five years.
“These increases are all the more shocking because our nurses, clerks, and other professionals face very difficult working conditions, while our patients live with the lack of access to required services because of the drastic cuts in recent years,” wrote the MQRP.
The funding cuts are the result of austerity measures taken by the province’s health minister, Gaetan Barrette. In February, nurses staged a sit-in at a hospital in the Montreal suburb of Terrebonne to denounce overwork, echoing the concerns of Emilie Ricard, a young nurse who posted a photo of herself in tears and looking exhausted after working a night shift in which she alone cared for more than 70 patients. Nurses’ unions say funding cuts have reduced the number of full-time positions available.
The cuts also appear to have caused the quality of patient care to suffer. Quebec’s health and welfare commissioner found in 2016 that the province had the longest emergency room wait times in the West, with 35 percent of patients waiting five hours or more for care.
“If you ask physicians in the street, most will tell you that they would rather have more support and have a good working environment and have other professionals to refer their patients to, rather than having more money,” Isabelle Leblanc, the president of MQRP, told the Guardian.
The Quebec government has taken a “positive first step” toward a universal basic income with its commitment to provide a set amount of money to those unable to work, says a proponent of the idea.
“I think it’s a move in the right direction,” said Jonathan Brun, co-founder of Revenu de base Québec.
It also, Brun said, “puts the terminology square and centre within government policy.”
The new measure is part of a larger $3-billion anti-poverty plan announced Sunday. An estimated 84,000 Quebecers would qualify for the minimum income, largely those with physical and intellectual disabilities.
By next year, they will see their government assistance increased by at least $73 per month. That figure will reach $440 per month by 2023, bringing their annual guaranteed minimum income to $18,029.
Ideally, Brun’s group would have liked the Liberal government to have gone farther, switching many of its welfare programs to a negative income tax that would provide low-income earners with supplemental pay from the government.
He said the new measure, along with the Old Age Security pension provided by the federal government, means two of the most vulnerable segments of the population will receive a guaranteed income in Quebec.
“Hopefully, over time, we’ll add a basic income for others in our society,” he said, adding that, realistically, a more radical move by the Liberals was unlikely less than a year before the next provincial election.
Other supporters of a universal basic income — which guarantees everyone has enough money to meet their basic needs, regardless of work status — argue the province’s plan doesn’t go far enough.
Karl Widerquist, an associate professor at Georgetown University-Qatar, said the advantage of a true universal basic income is there is no judgment or red tape involved in assessing who is eligible.
The measure being implemented in Quebec is “limiting,” he said, and isn’t necessarily a stepping stone toward something more ambitious.
The plan was announced by Employment Minister François Blais, who championed the notion of a universal basic income before entering politics.
The former academic makes an impassioned case for the policy in his 2001 book, Ending Poverty: A Basic Income for All Canadians, describing it as a politically fraught proposal that would require “a huge effort both morally and intellectually” to implement.
“It is a simple yet radical idea for changing our world and allowing a better life for those who truly need it,” Blais wrote in his book. “It proposes daring solutions to neglected yet fundamental problems.”
The new measure isn’t quite daring enough, in the view of several anti-poverty groups. Yann Tremblay-Marcotte, a spokesperson for the Front commun des personnes assistées sociales du Québec, said it will foster divisions between low-income Quebecers who are eligible and those who are not.
“In his approach, Minister Blais seems to believe that people on social assistance who have no recognized severe limitations do not deserve to improve their conditions,” Tremblay-Marcotte said.
Serge Petitclerc, the spokesperson for the Collectif pour un Québec sans pauvreté, echoed that view, saying the province isn’t “tackling other categories of people in social need or people living in poverty.”
The idea of a universal basic income, while rarely implemented, has supporters on all sides of the political spectrum.
Proponents on the left argue it represents an opportunity for greater redistribution of wealth, while those on the right see it as a chance to cut back on red tape and give individuals more control over their own lives.
Ontario is testing out a variation of the idea, with 4,000 low-income earners in three communities being given a basic annual income of $17,000.
Finland is also experimenting. A total of 2,000 citizens who receive unemployment benefits will get 560 euros ($782 Canadian) a month over the two-year trial.
The new measure in Quebec will serve as a kind of pilot project in its own right, with a far greater sample size than those in Ontario and Finland, Brun said.
Social scientists will be able to use the data to analyze whether the guaranteed income produces benefits in other areas, and reduces the overall burden on the health system and social services.
An experiment carried out in Manitoba, dubbed “Mincome,” between 1974 and 1979, was found to have improved the overall health of residents.
Montreal police are handing out more cannabis-related charges, but the rest of Canada has eased its policing of the soon-to-be legal drug.
By Roberto Rocha, Verity Stevenson
Posted: Jul 25, 2017
Marijuana charges are on the rise in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec, while in the rest of Canada cannabis-related charges are declining ahead of Ottawa’s plans to legalize the drug.
The number of cannabis-related charges has ebbed countrywide from last year, continuing a downward trend since a peak in 2011.
For Canadians older than 12, 17,700 were charged with possession last year, according to police-reported statistics released by Statistics Canada. This is down from 21,300 in 2015.
More serious charges of trafficking were also down, while production and importation charges remained flat but relatively low.
This trend was observed across most provinces, and in many of them, the rate of charges is the lowest on record.
But Montreal and other Quebec cities have been bucking the trend. Charges for possession have been slowly going up since 1998, and are virtually unchanged from 2015.
Eric Sutton, a criminal defence lawyer in Montreal, said the disparity surprised him, but he has noticed concerns of the medical community and other lobby groups being aired in Quebec media more than elsewhere in the country.
“In Quebec, there has been a fairly hot debate, and that may have had an effect on policing and the attitude of prosecutors,” Sutton said. “Legalizing something doesn’t mean it’s good. It’s a legal decision, not a moral decision.”
Sutton said prosecutors usually take into account whether someone has a prior criminal record, as well as other factors that could determine whether charges are pursued or not.
He said the push to legalize “reflects an understanding that so many people use marijuana and, like it or not, it’s probably here to stay.”
In 2016, an average of 73 Montrealers per 100,000 people charged for cannabis possession, and 76 in Quebec as a whole, while the Canadian rate was 56 per 100,000 people.
One of the most dramatic decreases was in Alberta.
Because the population in the territories is so low, the rates tend to skew higher. Here they are, in separate charts with a different scale. All have seen lower numbers.
The picture is more varied in metropolitan areas. While most police forces seem to be reducing pot-related enforcement that leads to charges, some forces are more ambitious than others.
Halifax, Winnipeg, Calgary, Windsor, Ont., and Barrie, Ont., have changed the least from 2015 in the number of charges.
In other police districts, the abating of charges may be a question of resources and capacity, according to the president of the Canadian Police Association, Tom Stamatakis .
He said police forces haven’t targeted simple possession “for years now.”
“The focus is on high-level trafficking, organized crime, and other related activities that are more serious and have a bigger impact on the community,” Stamatakis said.
“I would anticipate that police forces are redirecting priorities on the basis that marijuana will become legal in the near future.”
It’s unclear whether Montreal police are doing that or not.
“There’s a much bigger market here, there’s much more activity, more grow-ops, just as a percentage of criminality,” said Montreal Coun. Alex Norris, speculating on what could cause the discrepancy, which he said was interesting.
Norris is part of Montreal’s public safety commission and said he planned to ask police Chief Philippe Pichet or senior staff on the force about it at the commission’s next meeting.
Marc-Boris St-Maurice, a longtime advocate of legalization and the head of the Montreal Compassion Centre, said it’s a disappointing trend.
“It would be nice if there could be a bit more tolerance towards people who are using marijuana, given that legalization is just around the corner,” St-Maurice said.
He said provincial leadership “is a lot more afraid of marijuana in Quebec.… We think we’re all so open, but I guess these numbers here show that it’s not always the case.”
Historically, Quebec police appear to have been more tolerant of cannabis possession than other provinces. In 1998, there was an average of 53 people charged with possession per 100,000 in the province. Canada’s rate at the time was 76.
The rate in Quebec has risen ever since, following the Canadian trend, but still registering lower every year until now.
Individuals who abuse animals and their rights in Quebec could face up to 18 months in prison.
“Animals are not things. They are sentient beings and have biological needs.”
According to CBC News, Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis was responsible for proposing the bill. He – along with many other animal rights activists – is inspired to quell the injustices being done against all kinds of species around the world.
Those who abuse animals and their needs may be fined unto $250,000. And, up to 18 months in prison is a possibility for repeat offenders.
Paradis told the press that Quebec’s new legislation would put it in line with the other provinces in Canada, such as British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario. He also said he wants to see animals “treated with dignity as much as possible” it doesn’t matter what animal.”
It is important to note that the legislation applies to ALL domesticated and farm animals and certain wild animals. That’s right, even abusing a goldfish will warrant a reprimand. Inspectors now have increased power to demand to see if an animal is being cared for properly as long as they invoke a “reasonable cause.” In order to enter a home and seize animals, however, they must provide a warrant.
Paradis has a simple solution to avoiding the harsh consequences of abusing animals, however. He states:
“If you have a goldfish you have to take care of it. Don’t get a goldfish if you don’t want to take care of it.”
Is this a sign that humans are evolving in consciousness and learning to treat other beings with respect?
Comment: To all the simpleton coppers out there: Give it up. The people have spoken. Marijuana is almost decriminalized in Canada. Why do you persist in enforcing laws that Canadians do not want or respect?
Perhaps we should set up a hot line where ordinary Canadians could document the crimes committed by police officers on a daily basis. We don’t want to do that, but if you keep on going after pot users, (hear me Nanaimo RCMP troglodytes?), we shall have no choice but to begin the process of documenting police crimes across the country. Hint: coppers have the highest rates of domestic abuse, alcoholism and suicide in the overall population. Then we’ll proceed with planting false evidence, perjury, and just being plain stupid. We don’t have to cater to you. We are your bosses, get it? You work for us. Don’t like it? Quit your job and do something useful for a change. Or move to the Barbaric State of Dumbmerica, you’ll fit right in.
For example, all coppers have their favorite bars. Here they even have their own private club. It’s just a matter of placing a volunteer citizen outside their drinking hole and documenting the evidence. It won’t take long. They are human, just like the rest of us. If they don’t stop harassing pot users, I suggest we turn the heat on them by making them accountable for their own behavior.
Judge Pierre Chevalier just issued a stunning statement on marijuana prohibition. He said in unequivocal terms, that a man brought before him for the “crime” of growing 30 marijuana plants at his home, should face no more than $1.30 fine. The ruling was symbolic, but it went beyond the mere gesture when the judge said point blank that the rules prohibiting […]
by M. David
Judge Pierre Chevalier just issued a stunning statement on marijuana prohibition. He said in unequivocal terms, that a man brought before him for the “crime” of growing 30 marijuana plants at his home, should face no more than $1.30 fine.
The ruling was symbolic, but it went beyond the mere gesture when the judge said point blank that the rules prohibiting the man’s action are “obsolete” and “ridiculous.”
Mario Larouche, 46, had been facing possession charges for the 30 marijuana plants kept at home.
The Canadian judge’s ruling was in line with what the new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his party have said about legalizing marijuana.
The Quebec judge said this about it all:
We are in a society where people are accused of possession and use of marijuana while more than half the population has already consumed. These are laws that are obsolete and ridiculous. When one is in the presence of laws which would have more than half of the population has a criminal record in Canada… And probably most Crown Attorneys and defense, and perhaps judges, but I will not comment on it.
Then Judge Chevalier explained that “46 year old Mario Larouche had tried numerous times to get a prescription for medical marijuana, unsuccessfully”
There are “so few doctors are willing to prescribe marijuana for pain relief, despite the mountains of evidence proving its effectiveness without the disastrous side effects of prescription painkillers. This forced Mr. Larouche to break the law in order to treat his pain.”
Chevalier said the system itself is broken.
“Monsieur is in a broken system where it does not give people access to a natural medicine that goes back centuries, millennia.”
Do you agree? If you want to see more judges TAKE A STAND like this, then help SPREAD THE WORD!
Here’s some French Canadian humor to warm up this short cold Winter day.
A presentation of JustForLaughsTV, the official Just For Laughs Gags YouTube channel. Home of the funniest, greatest, most amazing, most hilarious, win filled, comedy galore, hidden camera pranks in the world!