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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Greenway

All we want for Christmas is…

What do you most want to find under the tree this year? New socks? A new sweater? A regifted Christmas candle?

It’s a bit different at the Low Down. The things we want won’t come in a stocking; Santa won’t bring our wishes down the chimney, and a couple of weeks off won’t fix the problems plaguing this province and region.

So here is the Christmas list we’re sending to our local politicians this year.

Affordable and seniors housing

It’s been over 10 years since The Chelsea Housing Corporation began its journey to build a 12-unit seniors home in Farm Point, and they haven’t even purchased a shovel yet. Numerous delays have plagued the project, and many of the seniors on the original waiting list a decade ago have died. The $4.1 million facility won’t solve the issues, but it’s a start. There are just 162 private and social housing units for seniors in the region, and with close to 6,400 residents over the age of 65, the need for a housing strategy is now. Chelsea does not have a seniors home, but it does have a $7 million trail that they keep sinking money into.

More healthcare money

A lot more. This province has a healthcare crisis, especially in the Outaouais, where doctors and nurses are leaving in droves for greener pastures. A 2018 Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS) report found that the Outaouais was underfunded by $250 million compared to similar regions in Quebec. A child from the Outaouais had to be airlifted to Quebec City last month because there were no facilities to intubate him here. Legault spent $3.8 billion enticing voters with his $400 inflation cheque promise. How many doctors or nurses could that money have hired?

A new MNA for Gatineau

It sure would be nice to have an MNA that would speak to the newspaper. With a major crisis in healthcare and housing, and a large constituency of anglophones looking for answers on Bill 96, Robert Bussière’s silence is unacceptable. We’re stuck with him for four years, so this may be a wasted wish.

Scrap Bills 96 and 21

We all know the effects of Bill 96 on anglophones in the province — restrictions on services, added French courses for students and sweeping powers for governments to seize confidential company documents and equipment without a warrant. We are all for protecting the French language; we think it’s essential to preserve French culture in this province, but not at the expense of minorities.

Similarly, Bill 21 is keeping trained professionals out of the workplace by restricting teachers, cops and others in authoritative positions from wearing religious symbols at work. With all the problems in the world, is now the time to play identity politics?

If just one of these showed up under the tree this year, it would be the best Christmas ever.


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