Barrette denies allegations he shelved pediatric pavilion in PQ riding

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Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette says he did not shelf a proposal to build a pediatric pavilion in Longueuil because it’s in a PQ riding.

Barrette denied the allegation, saying it simply was not a priority, but PQ health critic Diane Lamarre is seeking an investigation from the ethics commission.

“When I put in the balance a situation like this with ORs at the Charles-LeMoyne Hospital, where we have an (insect) infestation, or the situation of emergency rooms at Pierre-Boucher Hospital, those are much more urgent issues to address,” said Barrette.

His assertion comes after Radio-Canada’s investigative program ‘Enquete’ claimed that politics may have played a role in putting the idea on hold.

Barrette said that the proposal to build the pediatric centre doesn’t come from those on the front lines, but rather was brought forward by senior officials within his ministry.

Lamarre, who is the PQ MNA for the riding where the proposed pediatric pavilion would be – and also happens to be the party’s health critic – thinks there is more to it.

“If he was able to delay this project for children in my district, I think it should be clarified clearly,” she said.

Premier Philippe Couillard said he stands by his health minister.

“There is no question of having given preference over political alliances or political affiliation for a project, it just didn’t happen,” he said.

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