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Nature morte avec oignons par Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté (Fine Arts Canada)


The above is a copy of a Susor-Coté of still life entitled Nature morte avec oignons (Still life with onions). It is the work of Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, a prominent Canadian artist and a friend of my grandfather’s family. The legend goes that my grandfather met my grandmother when she was an employee of Suzor-Coté. She was an artist. Would that I could interview her. She died many years ago.

Medicine in Quebec

I have gone to a hospital emergency room five times. I did so whenener I felt I would go into cardiac arrest because my heart was queezed as in a vice and my blood pressurce was climbing rapidly. I am suffering from pericarditis, from inflamed muscles in the rib cage as well as a musculoskeletal condition on the left side of the rib cage including a damaged schoulder and pain from the shoulder to the fingers. Using a computer is well nigh impossible, but I will try to carry on as soon as I can use my left arm again. I am left handed.  

My visits to Emergency Rooms gave me the opportunity to see that medicine in Quebec was facing great difficulty. At the time of the Quiet Revolution, a prosperous Quebec planned to be a Welfare State (un État-Providence). Canada could be described as a Welfare State. It should be noted that Welfare States cannot sustain their programmes without levying taxes, nor can Welfare States afford extremely high fees. When Quebec declared it would be unilingual, Bill 22 (1974), and passed Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language (1977), affluent English-speaking citizens of Montreal left Quebec. I may be wrong, but I believe Quebec’s status as a unilingual province inside a bilingual Canada and ensuing laws caused well-to-do English-speaking Quebecers to leave. There cannot be a unilingual province in a bilingual Canada. It makes no sense.

My visits to the Emergency Room in Magog’s hospital provided me with an opportunity to witness what  could be the impending breakdown of the medical system in Quebec. For instance, it surprised me not to be asked to remove my earrings and necklace when X-Rays were performed. Only one radiologist asked me to take off my jewellery. I could not lift my arms, so he helped me. I was also surprised that very scant attention was given to the severe pain I felt. If my mother had been subjected to this much pain at the age of 77, I do not think she would have survived. I have aged more slowly.

Yet, my worst experience was watching an old lady who had taken her number and was waiting her turn. At one point, she went to the wicket to ask when she would be seen. She was told that she would have to wait for her number and her name to be called. She sorrowly returned to her chair. Never in my life had I seen so immensely sad a face. What, in Canada? There are no doctors in Magog. The clinic closed when the doctors retired. If one is unwell, one must go to a hospital Emergency Room, take a number, and then wait, however dire one’s needs.

Leaving Quebec

It could be that some doctors will attempt to leave Quebec, but one wonders whether doctors who do not hold a Bachelor of Science degree would be hired elsewhere. French-language universities do not require a Bachelor of Science degree for admission to a medical school. Future doctors spend two years in a Cegep: Grades XII and XIII, and then enter medical school. Yet, there are excellent doctors in Quebec, but many, if not most, are good technicians. They know how to send a patient for a test and probably count on the test to determine a diagnostic. They also have a book listing medications. As well, outside Quebec, a pregnant woman may be delivered by her obstetrician. In Quebec, one goes to a humble birthing-room, however complicated the pregnancy and childbirth. 

I should also note that when a patient enters a hospital, he or she will not be treated by his or her doctor. Doctors do not leave their office. I have already mentioned that medicine is more successful if there is a trusting relationship between a doctor and his or her patients. One must be able to reach one’s doctor if a crisis occurs, such as the death of a child. There is no center in my depiction of medicine in Quebec.  

Premier Legault

Quebec’s Premier François Legault is trying to get doctors to work a little more, but they are protected by powerful syndicates and command very large salaries. I fear the premier will not succeed. It has been about fifty years since doctors worked under the best possible conditions. 


I do not know what caused my sudden heath problems. It could be solitude and my not finding help to remove books from my apartment and settle comfortably. It has been a very stressful time in my life. 

I wish to thank you for being my community. I hope to continue operating my weblog, but I will not be at the computer for as many hours as I used to. Lying down and using the swimming pool will now be more important. I will also require help performing household tasks. Everything has to be simplified.  

Love to everyone  💕

Suzor-Coté (FR)
Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal
M.A. Suzor-Coté, R.C.A. (1869-1937)
“Still Life with Lilies”, 1894
Oil on canvas 25.1/2  x 32 in.  (SOLD)
(Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Montreal)

© Micheline Walker
24 November 2021