Don’t poach our doctors in Quebec’s time of need

Don’t poach our doctors in Quebec’s time of need

By Beverly Akerman

Dear Lakeridge Health,

This week, you started a direct mail campaign targeting Quebec doctors, medical residents, and medical students. I agree with your nearly 500 “likes” on Facebook: it’s one great ad. But I’m writing to ask you if things aren’t tough enough here in Quebec right now without you Ontarians trying to lure away our professionals? Thirty-thousand of us don’t have a GP at the moment. We need more doctors in Quebec, not fewer. And who suffers most directly if our doctors and medical students leave? (Hint: it’s not the PQ!)

For your information, the vast majority of Montrealers are against this proposed Values Charter thing. Mayors of virtually every town on Montreal island are against it (and nearly 90 per cent of Quebec immigrants live in Montreal). All Montreal’s mayoral candidates — Richard Bergeron, Denis Coderre, Marcel Côté, and Melanie Joly — are against it (we have civic elections November 3), as is the current municipal council. And a 3,000 word “Manifesto for an inclusive Quebec” was published at (in French) on Sept. 10, and is being translated into English as I write. Quebecers can read and sign here.

It says, in part: “Nous dénonçons vivement qu’une poignée d’événements anecdotiques ayant marqué l’imaginaire serve de justification à notre gouvernement pour retirer des droits fondamentaux à certains de nos concitoyens les plus vulnérables. La publication de ce manifeste vise à expliquer à nos concitoyens et à nos décideurs les fondements de notre opposition.”

My translation: “We strongly condemn the handful of anecdotal events, sparking the imagination, that serve as justification for our government’s removal of fundamental rights from some of our most vulnerable citizens. This manifesto is to explain to our fellow citizens and our decision-makers the foundation of our opposition.”

It talks about the slippery slope, fear of “the other,” the exclusion effect. I’m sure you’ll find it fascinating. Two hundred sixty-eight Quebec professors, lawyers, students, political activists, other thought leaders, and people of conscience have signed already. They have a website, with info on their Facebook and Twitter feed. They’re collecting more signatures, too.

(Anyone reading this who might have something to say to Lakeridge Health can find them on Facebook, Twitter, or via email at

In any event, Lakeridge Health, please let us know who your ad company is: we’re going to need them here in Quebec, once this damn thing finally blows over. I’m sure you didn’t really mean to kick us when we were already down.

All best,


Categories: News, Opinion

About Author

Beverly Akerman

Beverly Akerman’s story collection, ‘The Meaning of Children’ won the David Adams Richards Prize, the Mona Adilman Prize, and made the CBC – Scotiabank Giller Prize Readers’ Choice Contest Top 10. Credits include Maclean’s, major Canadian newspapers, CBC Radio, myriad literary magazines, scientific journals, and other publications. She’s strangely pleased to believe she’s the only Canadian writer ever to have sequenced her own DNA.

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