François Legault Justin Trudeau French language health care meeting

François Legault continues to prioritize language over health care

The “historic crisis” unfolding in ERs, particularly in children’s hospitals, is top of mind for many Quebecers, but Legault prefers to talk language politics.

Quebec Premier François Legault met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Francophonie Summit in Tunisia on Saturday, and once again Legault prioritized language politics over everything else, including discussing the critical state of the province’s health care system — a topic that’s top of mind for many Quebecers, but which Legault rarely references.

A September study by the Angus Reid Institute found that 45% of Quebecers who had recently required emergency care said that it was difficult or impossible to access. Since then, the situation in ERs, particularly in children’s hospitals, has reached the point where doctors are labelling it “a historic crisis.”

Based on accounts of Saturday’s 20-minute meeting from the Prime Minister’s Office and Legault himself, health care was addressed — specifically in terms of health transfers from the federal government (Legault and most if not all Canadian premiers request an increase in funding at every meeting with the feds) — but the conversation was dominated by the decline of French in Quebec (and Montreal in particular), the promotion of the French language and other ways to remedy the perceived problem.

“I had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau today. We took stock of the decline of French in Montreal and the means to remedy it. We also talked about health transfers. We agreed to meet again in December.”

—François Legault

According to the PMO, Legault and Trudeau also spoke about immigration (likely in relation to boosting the numbers of French-speaking immigrants) and inflation on Saturday.

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