Canadian doctors offer help in Ont MDs fight

Dr. John Haggie, President of the Canadian Medical Association is seen at a press conference in Toronto on Friday, June 1, 2012. The organization representing Canada's doctors has voiced its support for Ontario colleagues who are in a battle over fee cuts imposed by the provincial government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

YELLOWKNIFE - The organization representing Canada's doctors has voiced its support for Ontario colleagues who are in a battle over fee cuts imposed by the provincial government.

Delegates to the Canadian Medical Association's General Council voted to back Ontario doctors, and any other provincial or territorial medical association which finds itself in similar straits.

The resolution calls on the CMA to offer unspecified support for provincial associations which resort to the courts to contest the right to a fair bargaining process.

Outgoing CMA president Dr. John Haggie of Newfoundland and Labrador won't elaborate on what form the organization's support might take.

But he says the country's doctors won't stand by silently while governments impose unilateral measures that are counterproductive to good patient care.

The Ontario Medical Association has asked the Ontario Superior Court to reverse fee cuts imposed by the provincial government.

"That contagion of confrontation in there needs to be quarantined," Haggie said during a news conference in Yellowknife.

"It's not acceptable and the CMA will not stand by idly and it must not infect other jurisdictions. The bottom line is and must always be improving the health of Canadians."

Dr. Gail Beck, an Ontario delegate, says she and other physicians attending the CMA's annual general meeting were moved by the support they received from counterparts from across the country.

Haggie says collaboration, not confrontation, is the way to improve health care in Canada.

"The change management experts will tell you that if you want to change a system for the better, it has to be done in a collaborative, negotiated way. And you can't impose it by diktat from the top."