Will the political class have the audacity of a real debate?

Never again.

How many times will we hear this sentence about the carnage of the first wave in CHSLDs between now and the next election?

We suspected it, it is now confirmed by the report of coroner Géhane Kamel. It is the neglect institutionalized for decades that has killed 3,675 seniors in CHSLDs in frankly revolting conditions.

COVID-19 has only worsened an already seriously deleterious situation.

The real scandal is our too long indifference. This is the real push to give.

Museum of Horrors

The shameful indignity in which seniors perished at the CHSLD Herron struck our humanity.

But the stories of Ephrem Grenier, Lucille Gauthier, Yvan Luc Brodeur and Maria Lermytte, to name a few, are just as horrifying. The poor quality of care they received dates back to long before COVID-19.

At the CHSLD Yvon-Brunet, where Ephrem Grenier died, the nauseating odor and traces of urine were part of the decor. Her daughter has never seen an employee wash their hands, even after eating.

At the CHSLD des Moulins, Lucille Gauthier lost 11 pounds between January and March 2020. Overworked, the nutritionist did not have time to follow patients properly.

At the CHSLD René-Lévesque, Yvan Luc Brodeur almost died of severe dehydration in January 2020, following an outbreak of influenza. The doctor offered to let him go with comfort care!

At the CHSLD Laflèche, the staff did not know Maria Lermytte’s complex medical file.

The list is as long as it is horrifying, because without COVID, we would not have faced the magnitude of the drama that neglects the end of life of so many seniors abandoned to a failing and unworthy care system.


And yet, this sad reality, we have known it for too long.

Through their respective investigations, the coroner, the health commissioner and the ombudsman have offered an exhaustive roadmap to bring our lodged seniors out of this stone age.

Easy for opposition parties to criticize the government, demand a public inquiry. But what will they propose to correct this injustice unworthy of a rich and modern society like ours?

Will the political class have the audacity of a real debate, with real reforms? Or will she be satisfied with a honeyed and reassuring empathy? Will the government adjust its seniors’ homes project?

Because let’s not forget one essential thing. It is the population that has the power to dictate the future of our seniors who are losing their autonomy.

Technically, an election is the best time to make this claim heard. Now, it must be admitted, nothing is less certain.

On October 3, will Quebecers vote on urgent reforms in seniors care, or will they choose to prioritize their wallets?

This is the question we should all think about.


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