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{August 15, 2012}   Ontario Docs get CMA Support in Fee Fight

CMA delegates rally behind Ontario MDs in fee fight

Council delegates overwhelmingly pass two motions in relation to Ontario fee cuts
Written by Colin Leslie on August 15, 2012
 

YELLOWKNIFE | Doctors from across the nation thunderously proclaimed their support of Ontario doctors at the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) general council meeting here.

That contagion of confrontation needs to be quarantined!“We stand beside our colleagues in Ontario. That contagion of confrontation needs to be quarantined!” said outgoing CMA president Dr. John Haggie. “It is unacceptable and the CMA will not stand idly by.”

Delegates to general council—the “Parliament of the profession” as it is called—overwhelmingly passed two motions related to the unilateral fee cuts imposed by the Ontario government after master agreement talks had been at a standstill for a couple of months.

The first motion called on the CMA to support any “medical association in a court challenge to a refusal by their provincial government to participate in a fair bargaining process” as the Ontario Medical Association recently did.

“I am concerned what is happening in Ontario is going to spread across the country,” said Dr. Robert Rae of Saint John, N.B., who moved the motion.

Indeed Dr. Linda Slocombe, president of the Alberta Medical Association, said that is already happening: “Our health minister is taking lessons from the Ontario health minister. It is a concern and I think it is going to move across the country.”

After that it was a parade of medical association presidents standing up to offer their support for Ontario’s physicians. “These things shouldn’t be done unilaterally without our consent,” said Dr. Janet Shannon, president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association.

“Size does not matter,” said the president of the Yukon Medical Association, Dr. Rao Tadepalli. “We stand with our colleagues in Ontario.”

Dr. Doug Weir, president of the Ontario Medical Association, expressed gratitude for the support from other medical associations. “It was very much appreciated by Ontario doctors,” he said. “It is important that we support each other as this may come up in other jurisdictions.”

Dr. Robert Woollard of the group Canadian Doctors for Medicare said: “The evidence is that reluctant conscripts never give you the best results.”

At a press conference after the vote, Dr. Haggie was asked what kind of “contagion” he was concerned about. “The problem that is facing governments—being fiscally challenged—has put them in a defensive position,” he replied. “As part of that defense I think you see a rather oppressive approach sometimes—if it doesn’t involve negotiation and collaboration. Fear is contagious and I think it needs to be managed.”

The second motion passed by delegates said the CMA supports an amendment to the Canada Health Act that would require “disputes relating to compensation” go to “conciliation or binding arbitration” or the provinces would lose full federal funding.

 

 

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