Friday, December 01, 2017

Speaking of Quebec, Speaking in Quebec... We're on the road to a provincial election so naturally swords have been drawn for battle in the Quebec legislature, and, as always, the issue of language is raised. This time around the politicians have been offended because shop people in Montreal have a tendency to say to customers "Bonjour/Hi!" You know, saying a friendly 'hello' in both languages so the customer can feel relaxed and the shop person can speak either/or. This is beneficial in a lot of ways. Such courtesy reassures industry that they can settle here, and also encourages tourists who are not from a French-speaking country like, say, the U.S.--our closest neighbor to visit and not only NOT be snarled at (as I know some have in the past), but to actually feel welcome. But language is one of those basic hot-topic issues brought up before every election and ALL parties must support getting rid of the Hi! part of this welcome-to-my-shop/cafe/supermarket/etc. in order to keep the French language from becoming extinct. And of course to insure they win the election. And they all did vote to remove the Hi! because there's little if any backbone in a pre-election to say: Really? This matters? It's not a law (yet!), just a suggestion to shop owners to encourage their staff to avoid what some politicians called an 'irritant', that little word in English, 'Hi!' Legislators, I have a suggestion: how about devoting your time and our tax money to fixing problems with QC's health care system instead? Things like my health care issue.

My personal physician (GP) retired June 2016. He told me in March 2016 that in his office, which has 5 or 6 other doctors, none of those doctors had space for taking on another patient; he suggested I get onto the CLSC wait list for a family doctor. (The CLSC is a government set-up agency with offices all over the province where you can deal with small issues, somewhere to get help between the person with the issue and the ER or hospital.) Anyway, I got on the list April 2016. Hearing nothing, I phoned November 2016. A very nice guy told me that yes, I'm still on the list. But he said that since I am healthy, anyone who is ill gets placed before me (completely understandable). People with heart problems, diabetes, lung issues, cancer, etc. etc. all go ahead of me and I am bumped. He said "Maybe next November" I'd get a call. November 2017 has come and gone and still, no call. I am a medical wallflower Now, I'm not one to run to the doctor for every little thing. Mainly I get a checkup so I can buy travel insurance because I travel every year out of Canada. But still, what if I NEEDED a doctor, someone who recognizes me and has my medical history in a folder and it all comes back to him or her when they scan my history. Without such a person, I'd have to go to a clinic and wait (and 6 hrs. is not unrealistic because before I had my GP, I did wait 6 hours a few times). Then I'd see a stranger who would start at square one because he/she wouldn't know me or have any records of my health history.
It seems to me I'm not the only one in this leaky medical boat. I would prefer the legislature to deal with this issue of a family doctor for everyone who wants one, rather than spending hours ranting about shop girls and boys saying 'Bonjour/Hi!' to customers. If there was a candidate with balls, yeah, I'd vote for that person, but since they unanimously voted to do away with the Hi! 'irritant', it tells me that yet again, citizens in Montreal (the vast majority of whom like and value being bilingual), have been thrown under the political bus. And since I'm ranting, it's probably important to add that if I did a survey of all the politicians of every party sitting in the Quebec legislature, I would bet my hard-earned writerly income on what I believe to be true: Every single one of those elected officials of every party has a personal physician. It's just that many of the people they represent do not!

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