Yesterday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé took one more step toward privatizing the hospital system by issuing two calls for interest, on the government’s online platform, for tenders to build two privately administered mini hospitals.

“What price is the minister willing to pay to privatize a portion of our hospital system? Once again, we’re weakening publicly run services, because the new hospital will poach staff from the public system. We denounce the ideology that underpins this program, which is a lucrative health care system for the private sector. That’s not what most Quebeckers want, because they understand that a private company will charge more for the same care, and in the end, taxpayers will be on the hook,” says Maxime Ste-Marie, president du Conseil provincial des affaires sociales (CPAS) of CUPE.

Both mini hospitals are slated to be built in Quebec City and Eastern Montreal.

“Why invest in a new hospital in Eastern Montreal, when this same government is unable to build a new Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital?” says Ste-Marie.

The health minister cited the cumbersome bureaucracy as the reason behind the government’s decision to turn to the private sector.

“He has the power to cut the red tape he created and is maintaining. Instead of showing leadership and investing in the public system he leads, he is pulling out and opening the door to privatizing the system he should be responsible for,” says CUPE representative Karine Cabana.