Gaétan Barrette at the CHSLD: a beautiful gesture that destabilizes

Gaétan Barrette au CHSLD: un beau geste qui déstabilise

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
Gaétan Barrette, at a press conference in Montreal in February 2018

The decision of the ex-minister of Health Gaétan Barrette to go to work in NURSING has given rise to many smiles in the corner this week. It was dealing with a mere gesture ? An effective maneuver for political marketing ? Or both ?

The liberal member has first made known his intentions to the radio during an interview with the columnist Patrick Lagacé. Then the next day on Twitter, he gave more details about his tasks. “Well, it is tomorrow. I talked to my new boss. I will do a hybrid clerk / nursing assistant. I go there with pleasure. And frankly, the need for help is everywhere. Bravo to those who show up every day. The merit rests with you. “

Beyond the fact that the gesture was just a politician, he has done a lot to react because Mr. Barrette was the conductor of a reform considered by some as one of the causes of the crisis in the NURSING homes.

“I cannot pass over in silence the devastation of the reform Module, which has only added to the problems in NURSING homes in general by creating these mégastructures that are CIUSSS “, wrote this week in a public letter Joëlle Lévesque, a former director of nursing in Montreal.

In spite of everything, some of the fiercest critics of Gaétan Barrette welcomed his gesture. “Honestly, I find it all to his honor of wanting to go help,” said Dr. Simon-Pierre Landry, who has actively campaigned against the reform.


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“It is, of course, I thought the ironic thing, he, however, conceded. He has been at the centre of reforms against which I am much beaten “. “But there is more, minister,” he adds, pointing out that the current government will have to tackle the structures of the reform Module in the decentralization. “One of the priorities of the CAQ was to put the power in the institutions at the local level. We haven’t seen much progress. […] We need flexibility at the local level to organize those that care-here. “

But Mr. Barrette is not the only political figure to have offered his services to NURSING homes. Thursday, it was the turn of deputies Enrico Ciccone, Monsef Derraji and Marie Montpetit volunteer. All of the liberals.

Within other political parties, we are told that the question was raised going to help or not in NURSING homes, but that the members felt more useful elsewhere.

The PQ, sources have pointed out that there were “a lot of work in the offices of county” because of the crisis. First of all, all the mps are in the regions, where the needs are less desperate than Montreal. “The territorial reality comes change everything “, a-t-on pointed out.

In Québec solidaire, it is a little different since some members are in the city, including Sol Zanetti, who was himself a care attendant during her studies. Yet, here also, the mps have said they feel “more useful — and better trained — to solve the problems of their fellow-citizens in their counties,” replied their spokesman.

On the side of the Coalition avenir Québec, it has not encouraged the deputies in this sense. Questioned about it Friday, prime minister François Legault has said that it had to be ” prudent “. “When there is one who is a doctor, that is one thing. What we need above all in NURSING homes in particular, nurses and the orderlies who have a certain skill, qualifications in this area here, he said. I saw Enrico Ciccone, who said : “But as for me, while I go and wash the floor, the attendant, she will be able to do something else.” Perhaps, but it remains that, ideally, what we want, it is the people who are qualified. “

A sincere attempt, ensure the liberals

When questioned about the part of political marketing in these beautiful gestures, the spokesman of the liberal Party have placed much emphasis on the sincerity of their members.

Enrico Ciccone, for example, was considering a volunteer “for several days” when the prime minister launched a call for help. The residence Herron in his constituency, he felt particularly concerned by the drama.

It is income that is “upset” after his first quarter on Friday, we did we told. If, at the outset, the member for Marquette had proposed to clean the floors, he finished by providing hygiene care, as there was not enough staff on his floor, was added.

“They have signed contracts, they are not there for an afternoon “, a-t-it is argued. Dr. Barrette, who has over 60 years of age, he takes a real risk by going to work there, has there continued.

From the outset, it is also because the media themselves are interested that we have heard so much talk about it, we did it is noted. The director of communications Cynthia St-Hilaire was also said to have refused a large number of requests for interviews with Dr. Barrette on Friday.

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Give the example

In this context, does it matter to the political communication anyway ? “Politics is the activity provided. When it is not communicated, it does not really exist “, writes the director of the research group in political communication at Université Laval, Thierry Giasson.

“The public display of good actions, it can generate a boomerang effect. You have to be very measured in the way in which it communicates these actions, ” he said. This may not be necessary, in fact, communicate. It starts to be a problem when the bénévolence is advertised. And there, it falls into something that is more of the staging and which can bring a doubt in the mind of people about the real bases of its actions. “

For the leader of the liberal Party, Marc Tanguay, this allows mps to lead by example. “The mp has an exemplary role : he can not do anything, no matter how. When a deputy made a check mark badly cut, everyone is talking about it and it is correct. “On the other hand, it is well that it is “known” that he is doing something well, according to him.

Beyond that, this experience in NURSING is going to allow members to take notes, ” he said. “When they go back to the national Assembly and suggest that we do things differently in NURSING homes, they are going to have a witness excessively relevant to bring. “

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