Members: Do you have confidence in the Minister?

July 21, 2020

Dr. Christine Molnar, AMA President

Dear Members:

Today, for the first time, I am offering my President’s Letter in both video and written formats.

Our relationship with the provincial government has reached an all-time low.

Last weekend, we held an emergency meeting of the Representative Forum to discuss our next steps. We are in unprecedented times, and by an overwhelming majority, RF took the step of requesting a Confidence Vote Referendum on the Minister of Health.

Over the next week, we are asking Alberta physicians to let their voices be heard on this vital matter. This is your choice and your voice. We want every single doctor across this province to have an opportunity to vote, as this grassroots direction will guide our next steps and send a strong message to government.

For months now, the AMA has repeatedly attempted to engage the Minister of Health in an honest and fair negotiation with physicians. At every turn, we have been met with a combination of indifference and increasing hostility. It is damaging your practices, our health care system and patient care every day that it continues.

How the referendum vote will work

If members tell us they DO have confidence in the Minister of Health, then we will continue to try to work with him and to engage him in a meaningful way. This will not be easy and unfortunately, will likely be much more public than it has been to date.

If members tell us they DO NOT have confidence in Minister Shandro, our next course of action will be to elevate our impasse to a higher authority; namely Premier Kenney. We will not be demanding the Minister be fired. This is a statement about our confidence in the Minister of Health’s ability to work with physicians, our representative association - the AMA and to make decisions that are in the best interests of supporting the public health care system.

We will make only one request of the Premier: that is to give his personal attention to this pressing issue. The Premier certainly could fire the Minister, but he could also use his “good offices” to encourage a meaningful dialogue between physicians and the Minister to reach an agreement. He could also appoint an independent third-party to arbitrate a new agreement with physicians.

Regardless, a non-confidence vote in the Minister will tell the AMA Board that physicians feel its time to move this file from the Minister’s office, down the hall to the Premier’s office to find a resolution. And if the Premier is unable or unwilling to address the issue, then there really is only one higher authority to whom we can appeal - the public, our patients - and that’s where we will need to concentrate our efforts.

The voting platform is open now, and will be open until next Tuesday, July 28 at 11:00 p.m.

It takes 30 seconds, but the power of a strong response by grassroots physicians can have an impact that lasts for generations of doctors and their patients.

I am asking every physician (i) to vote and (ii) get at least two of your colleagues to do the same! If you’re on social media, use #IVoted and tag two colleagues.

We have very limited means to demonstrate our concerns about the current assault on our profession. We need to stand up and be heard.

It’s now in your hands. It’s your choice and your voice. Please let it be heard and vote today!

In your service,

Christine P. Molnar, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

P.S. You’ll be hearing more about other motions coming out of the RF to help the Association achieve our goals.


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