Thoughts about CMA General Council

August 17, 2018

Hello Members:

As you may be aware, the 2018 Canadian Medical Association General Council and Annual General Meeting is taking place next week in Winnipeg. This promises to be an historic meeting, with key governance changes being voted on at the AGM. I wanted to let you know about some of the important points and considerations that our 31 AMA delegates will be deciding upon as we vote on these governance changes.

These governance changes will be substantive and could impact the relationship between the CMA and the provincial and territorial medical associations. The key point is that these changes will potentially diminish the role of PTMAs as the link between the CMA and its members. As a member organization, the CMA will become much more focussed on receiving input from members directly. The complete CMA information on these proposed changes is available on the CMA website.

I wanted to let you know some of my thoughts about the proposed changes…

We are fortunate in that our CMA representatives and the CMA CEO have kept us well-informed throughout this process. We have had regular discussions with the CMA and our Board reps at each of our own Board meetings. This has also been discussed at our AMA Representative Forum meetings.

In terms of having an official AMA position, it has always been our practice to give our Alberta delegates the information they require to make an informed decision and ask that they vote the way they think is best. The AMA does not have a caucus whip as some other organizations do. This has always been our approach and it has served us well.

My own personal feeling is that this is a huge change of governance, but it may also be a huge opportunity for the CMA and AMA to work together on common interests, especially with the funds from the sale of MD Financial Management. I am personally concerned that the proposed changes will largely remove the PTMAs from the governance structure. I am, however, waiting until I hear the discussions in Winnipeg to make my own final decision with respect to where to cast my vote. I would like to emphasize that a strong relationship with CMA, along with our sister divisions, will continue to be important and we will work toward building these national connections.

Several of you have raised the question of our conjoint membership and CMA dues collection. The Board has decided to make this a topic at the Fall RF and we will seek further advice there once the outcome of the CMA vote is known.

I look forward to updating members on key outcomes and information coming out of the Winnipeg meeting.

As usual, I would like to hear your thoughts on this issue. You can reach me in the following three ways:

At your service,

Neil D.J. Cooper, MD, FRCPC, Dip. Sport Med.

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