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MNA’s absence a serious breach of trust

June 19th,2024 | Opinion

It’s one thing when you don’t get back to a newspaper about the housing crisis, English rights or healthcare, but when our MNA won’t even discuss the death of a care home resident with their family, you have to question where his priorities lie. 

When Guy Maisonneuve desperately contacted Gatineau MNA Robert Bussière for help in dealing with the death of his mother, Aline, who was left screaming all night long on April 12 at the Résidence Villa des Brises and died two days later, he barely spoke to them. 

According to Guy, he didn’t offer his condolences; he didn’t visit the Masham family who has been devastated by the tragic death of their ‘Grandmama’; he didn’t hug the family or vow to bring about systemic change at care homes across Quebec. 

Instead, he pushed them off in a not-my-problem kind of way and directed his family to the “bureaucratic complaints labyrinth” as Guy puts it. 

While it’s not surprising, given Bussière’s record of facing the public on significant issues, it’s deeply disturbing to learn that, at least in this case, he doesn’t really care about those he represents. 

Imagine what Guy, his wife, Shelley Langlois, their kids and grandkids are going through. On the one hand, they are trying to grieve their loving mother and grandma. But they can’t do that until a coroner determines how she died. Doctors at the Hull Hospital reportedly found bed sores all over her back and hips and immediately filed complaints against the care home. Nurses at the Hull Hospital told Guy and Langlois that they had never seen bed sores that bad in 30 years. 

A family is reeling. They are angry. They want answers. Their mother was left to die alone at a care home, and Bussière doesn’t have time for them? What does he have time for?

Certainly not his constituents. Certainly not this newspaper. The Low Down has been trying to pin Bussière down on several significant issues both local and provincial, and we’ve been met by near silence for the past two years: Quebec’s budget, no response; the healthcare crisis, no response; the housing crisis, no response; Bill 21, no response. In the last 20 times we’ve reached out to his office, we have gotten two responses, both statements in political jargon.

The only way this newspaper was ever able to get Bussière to comment on issues like Bill 96 or English healthcare rights was when our reporters cornered him at PR events and grilled him. 

Is this the best representation we can get in the Hills? One who won’t fight for his constituents when lives are on the line. One who won’t sit with a grieving family and offer his condolences? One who doesn’t seem to care  about the people he’s supposed to fight for? An absentee MNA who only shows up for superficial CAQ-sanctioned photo-ops

It’s time to find someone who cares about us. The 2026 election can’t come soon enough. 

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At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

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