MEDICARE IN CRISIS
This election is about the future of medical care in Canada. Not since the drafting of the Canada Health Act have the provinces been so divided. Patients have never been as restive and unhappy with the system. Physicians have never been more burned out or dissatisfied. Pessimists see the collapse of the Canada Health Accord, and the resulting lack of national agreement on transfer payments as more proof that the system is broken.
Even an optimist might agree the federal government is ducking its responsibility to fund a national system, and perhaps undermining that system by making side deals with smaller provinces. But only the optimist, with a strong streak of pragmatism and political experience, can see the inherent opportunity for provinces, patients, and physicians hence my interest to stand.
While the CMA has been successful at many levels, it lost national influence during the previous government’s tenure. Just three months younger than Canada itself, our national association is searching for a new identity and a reinvigorated role in national affairs.That new identity lies in becoming the key advocacy organization, for both patients and physicians across Canada, by focusing on the political realm. I am keen to bring my energy and experience to revitalize our association and capitalize on the opportunity presented by the current “flux”. I started the ball rolling on behalf of young doctors across Canada in Winnipeg last May at the Liberal Convention. It was here I raised with Justin Trudeau the idea of the potential mutual benefits of a collaborative meeting between the PM and our young Medical Students and Residents, the idea since picked up upon across the country.
Five years ago I put forward a vision for the Doctors of BC. In serving as your Chair of the General Assembly and later President my reorganization efforts focused on creating a more engaged, united, and relevant BCMA.
Given the most recent PMA and WCB negotiations, and your overwhelming vote to bring in a new Doctors of BC governance model, I believe I made a difference.
Now I am hoping you will trust me to bring BC’s current momentum to the CMA.
VISION 2021 – DOCTORS OF CANADA
Here in BC we now lead the country in our re-democratization of positions encouraging rank and file access to the upper echelons of influence. Ours is the only province outside Ontario whose CMA General Council caucus is open to members outside their respective Boards. This sort of move to open up the CMA to new faces and fresh ideas is essential to its revitalization as a nationally relevant advocate for patients and physicians.
With this in mind I want transparent and open elections for CMA Board Delegate–Directors — in which candidate capacity I am writing to you today — to be extended across the provinces and the nation. I plan to move pointedly to open up for election CMA Board Director positions to all paid up members in all of the CMA’s divisions throughout Canada.
As well as renewing the people and kinds of thinking in the CMA from the grass roots of our profession, we must also join the national debate as advocates that must include influential non physicians in our governance structure.
It is through this diversity that we will revitalize the CMA’s voice and legitimacy as we engage governments and patients to restructure the nation’s publicly funded health system. Other urgently required structural changes to the CMA include: immediately reducing the 26 member Board to a more workable and effective level; and lengthening the term of CMA presidencies to allow real progress.We urgently need a workable Pan Canadian Health strategy that gives practical form to ideals of accountability, equity, quality, improved efficiency and meaningful measurement. To make these ideas reality, and the new norm in healthcare, it is up to the CMA to work closer than ever before with the public to lead the way.
A reinvigorated CMA following a clear strategy will engage the public, and government, informing the national debate and enforcing accountability for politicians as we head into the next federal election.
If elected I will work tirelessly on these changes and issues to ensure our association re-attains its voice, and reflects the values of all its members.