Shriners Hospital Large
Quebec Delegation Heads to Baltimore
Montreal, June 28, 2005 - In unveiling its plans for Baltimore today, The Keep the Shriners In Montreal Committee announced that Premier Jean Charest along with Ministers Couillard and Bergman will be joining the Quebec delegation at the Imperial Sessions in Baltimore from July 2 to 7 in order to lobby delegates in favour of Montreal. The delegation also includes the Mayor of Montreal Gerald Tremblay as well as representatives of the City of Montreal, the Board of Trade, McGill University, the McGill University Health Centre, the Shriners Hospital of Canada and Karnak Shrine Centre.
In the final week before the vote, we will be stressing that it is in the best interest of the kids to keep the hospital in Montreal and build a new facility next to the Montreal Children's Hospital on the MUHC's Glen Campus, explained Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. Established in the city 80 years ago, the Montreal Shriners Hospital is recognized by the Shrine organization as a centre of excellence that provides outstanding care primarily to children from across Canada and the northeastern United States and at times to needy youngsters from around the world. The aim of all the partners is to work with the Shriners to build on this clinical and research foundation.
Over the past ten weeks the Keep the Shriners in Montreal Committee, with the help of Montreal's Karnak Shriners and other supportive Shrine Centres, has been making the case for Montreal directly to delegates who will be voting on the Hospital's fate at the Imperial Sessions through phone calls from Shriners as well as community leaders, direct mail and face-to-face meetings.
We are encouraged by the response to date but are well aware that we have work to do in Baltimore, explained Alex Paterson, co-chair of the Committee. In Baltimore, we will have a booth at the Shriners' marketplace and will be hosting information sessions on both Sunday and Monday. We will be inviting delegates to a July 4 th reception to watch the fireworks and be making our presence felt in the corridors.
The Montreal campaign will focus on the benefits of our proposal, explained Mayor Gérald Tremblay. We will be emphasizing the talented team in Montreal that would take at least a decade to recreate in another city, the benefits of being associated with research powerhouses like McGill and the University of Montreal and the accessibility of our city.
Other key elements of the case for Montreal are:
- There are thirteen pediatric orthopedic surgeons at the Shriners Hospital. This critical mass of colleagues is not available elsewhere in this country. In fact there are only 2 such specialists in London.
- The new site for the Shriners Hospital will lead to even closer collaboration with the Montreal Children's Hospital, the MUHC and McGill University. Children who need acute care, for example, will no longer have to be transported to The Children's by ambulance. All of the necessary services and facilities will be right next doorincluding an Emergency Room and a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The hospital will gain immediate access to these essential services while preserving its independence. The Shrine will own the hospital site and maintain a separate address.
- The MUHC is offering free underground parking as well as a family accommodation centre.
Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services Philippe Couillard indicated that the delegation will not hesitate to address head-on the concerns that have been raised surrounding the environmental clean-up, fundraising and the political climate in Quebec. We will share with delegates, he indicated, information on the environmental clean-up of the Glen Yard, demonstrating that it is proceeding on schedule and meeting Quebec's tough environmental standards. With regards to fundraising, we will point out that the Quebec Government is donating the land valued at $5 million and the MUHC Foundation is contributing $5 million to the construction of the hospital. The latter has also agreed to provide the infrastructure required for the Shriners cross-Canada fundraising campaign.
We will remind delegates, continued the Minister, that it is important to act in the best interest of the children and that the ultimate decision should reflect our common goal of providing children with top quality care. We will also point out that the MUHC has agreed to buy the facility if the Shrine decides to cease operations for any reason.
In urging delegates to the Imperial Sessions not to close the Montreal hospital, Natalie Cinman, a former patient and co-chair of the Keep the Shriners in Montreal Committee, stated, The Shriners Hospital is like a second-home to me. It is not the building; it is the people the physicians, nurses and staff who make the difference, who bring hope to so many young people and their families. I am confident that Shriners will vote in the best interest of the children, that they will vote to keep the Montreal hospital open.
The vote on the Canadian hospital is planned for Tuesday, July 5. A list of the Quebec delegation is attached.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015
Optimum Public Relations
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