Redford to docs: There’s no raise, and you’re not getting it!

The Alberta Progressive Conservative position on negotiations with the doctors explained. Yes, we’re just as confused as you are. Below: AMA President Michael Giuffre. Premier Alison Redford.

Every day, it just gets weirder and weirder.

The day before yesterday, we’re told, Alberta Premier Alison Redford waded into her health minister’s already strangely muddled negotiations with the province’s physicians to state that the only way the docs will get a raise is if the province goes back to charging health care premiums.

What’s more, she said in an impromptu news conference in Calgary, there’s no way that’s ever going to happen.

And what’s even more, she went on, there’s also no way they’re going to get a raise either. Period.

So that would seem pretty definitive, huh? There’s no raise, and you’re not getting it!

According to the Edmonton Journal, the president of the Alberta Medical Association said he was flabbergasted by the premier’s commentary and accused her of trying to derail the negotiations with the docs.

To Dr. Michael Giuffre’s observations we can only say that we’re all flabbergasted at the kind of stuff being emitted lately by Alberta’s famously brainy premier. As for derailing the negotiations, if what she said Tuesday is true, the obvious question is, What negotiations?

Other than the ones with Fred Horne, the health minister, that is, and heaven only knows what’s going on with those. Alert readers will recall that Mr. Horne has complained that Alberta’s doctors are paid $20 to $29 million more than all those other Canadian doctors, and seeing as the price of oil has unexpectedly gone and acted volatile again leaving Alberta facing the prospect of a deficit, there’s no way we can afford to pay them what he told them they had to take back in November.

So let’s all negotiate, he told them right after that, which brings us back around to Ms. Redford’s remarks on Tuesday.

Which leaves us all exactly where? Well, don’t ask me!

Like Dr. Giuffre, I’m flabbergasted. (Unlike Dr. Giuffre, I’m not going to waste time trying to use logic to pick apart Mr. Horne’s and Ms. Redford’s reasoning by adding up their sums and pointing out they’re talking about needing to raise a billion dollars to pay for a $25-million cost increase. The AMA president should know by now that telling voters “the numbers don’t make sense” just gives them a headache.)

Ms. Redford’s PC predecessor as premier, Ed Stelmach, got rid of Alberta’s health care premiums back in 2008, costing the government about $1 billion in revenue.

Actually, I have a confession to make: I’ve been flabbergasted at this government ever since Ms. Redford took over. Back in March and April 2012, as the April 23 provincial general election screamed down upon us like a freight train hauling carloads to soon-to-be-sworn-in Wildrose MLAs, Ms. Redford seemed to switch course every day, and drop the ball every time she did it.

Like everyone else, I started to think that as a result a Wildrose government was pretty likely.

Then she and her Progressive Conservatives won a very nice 61-seat majority, thank you very much.

It’s all very well to blame that on Pastor Allan Hunsperger, the Lake of Fire Guy, but really people, there had to be more to it than that. Anyway, somebody had to tell on him and make sure the media heard about it.

Now it’s starting to sound like déjà vu all over again – with outrageous revelations of illegal donations to the PCs, strange flip-flops almost every day in the negotiations with the docs, untested cabinet ministers being made to walk the plank, and bad ideas like legislating teachers into involuntary servitude for a couple of years surfacing regularly, not to mention a stream of broken election promises.

And then the demonstrably smartest premier in Canada starts saying stuff like her confusing comments about the doctors’ negotiations. There’s got to be a Youtube video in this: maybe … S**ff Premiers Say…

It’s getting so – well, flabbergasting – that one can only assume that if an election were held tomorrow … we’d all march out and vote in another Progressive Conservative majority!

Where do we go from here? Well, invitees gather in Calgary on the weekend for the Premier’s one-day summit to solve all of Alberta’s economic problems.

And talk about being flabbergasted, I’m still waiting for my invitation from Finance Minister Doug Horner, my MLA. What’s with that?

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

5 Comments on "Redford to docs: There’s no raise, and you’re not getting it!"

  1. Alvin Finkel says:

    A modest increase in income taxes would allow the AB government to pay the doctors more at the front end and yet reduce their cost to the provincial treasury overall substantially. Of course, the AB government would never want to use “socialist” Manitoba as their model. But what about (now) equally capitalist petro-state Saskatchewan? They charge 11 percent on the first $42,906 of taxable income, 13 percent on the next $79,683, and 15 percent on income over $122,589. For an Alberta doctor with a pre-tax income of $300,000, it would mean a tax bill of an additional $12,000. So if the government gave them a three percent salary increase, that would be $9000 before provincial taxes and only $7550 afterwards. And with all the other high income folks, including me, paying something closer to our fair share, this silly melodrama of rich Alberta pretending to be broke could come to a quick end. The rest of Canada need not sympathize with Albertans other than low-income Albertans who pay more tax than people in a number of other provinces. The well off and even just the modestly comfortable in Alberta pay almost nothing in provincial taxes though they delude themselves that this is the divine right of citizens of a petro-province, much as the oil companies delude almost everyone that the tiny royalties that they pay amount to a “fair share.”

  2. irene jacobson says:

    Surprised? Redford is saving our Tax Dollars for the POOR Corporations, and BIG Business—-can’t see their profits go down! It’s The CONSERVATIVE WAY—–ROB THE POOR AND GIVE TO THE RICH! Doctors will get a few tokens, once Stephen Harper and Cons, PRIVATIZE OUR HEALTH CARE. Isn’t that the game? You know, set Social Services up to FAIL, so they will have an excuse to REWARD their friends by selling off our Health Care System to the highest bidder.

  3. Concerned Albertan says:

    Redford is well on her way to making her mark as the worst Premier in Alberta’s history. If she could only stick to one pronouncement for more than a few moments, her credibility would grow in leaps and bounds. She’s a liar and a flake. Flip flopping on most any issue is not endearing to the tax paying public. Pick a lane and stick with it.

  4. Julie Ali says:

    This was a funny post. We have irrational voters and we have irrational government and in between there is supposed to be democratic processes and laws.
    Instead we have had a series of cartoons given to us and we are to pretend they aren’t hilarious events but serious matters that we believe in.

    It is beginning to be very farce-like.
    But I have to say it is amusing because what worked in the past for the Tories is not going over so good now.
    They’ve called “wolf, wolf” or “boom, bust” once too often and folks like myself no longer believe them.
    Why should I?
    I’ve gone through the yearly financial statements of Suncor and other companies and they are all booming.
    So why aren’t Albertans also similarly flush?
    Because we aren’t getting the right rate for our oil.

    The yapping about no money in the government bank —is such a lie when we have tons of money —-that we are giving away to oil companies. If you look at the profits of oil companies like Suncor they sure get a lot of profit from our tarsands.

    I begin to wonder if the oil companies only make electoral contributions to the fragmenting folks like we have had in government for the last forty years to make everything so confusing and odd and muddled that citizens can’t figure out that we are selling our oil for rock bottom prices because the Tories (both PC and Wildrosies) are oil company hires and do not represent citizens.

    That’s my take on the business. I mean if they represented up wouldn’t they simply increase the oil royalty rate and have money in the government bank? If we increase the oil royalty rate we could fund everything like education and health easily and have money left over for the Katz payback arena.

    A simple increase in the royalty rate would end all the slash and burn cutting in government that is going to be the next drama in Alberta.
    I guess cutting staff is one way to control all the rebellious folks in AHS and education from further dissent–there is nothing like having the threat of a job loss to get you to zip your lip.

    Sigh.
    You think you hire intelligent folks.
    But in reality you hire devious folks (they call this strategy in politics) who cleverly spin fictions so as to make it seem that we need to cut when really we need to spend. And we need to earn more from oil companies for our oil so that we can spend to match the increases in population.

    But there you go.
    Ideology rules in Alberta and until all the oil is gone we will have this sort of silliness and plain dumb governance because heck —we–the citizens –can’t seem to hire a good set of managers that represent us and not big oil or the corporations.

  5. cyberclark says:

    The so called crude oil coming from the bitumen is as pristine as any oil coming from conventional sources. Weight is not a factor!; its’ not “heavy” as it floats on water! unlike bitumen and Bunker C the latter being used in furnaces to make steam. (Ship’s fuel).

    In fact, Alberta crude oil from the sands is a designer oil made to specifications of the companies down south. They only have to warm it to make their various diesels etc. This result is planned too as the US can claim a low carbon footprint and the Alberta Conservatives are content to wear the roses for the bad stuff.
    http://albertathedetails.blogspot.ca/2013/02/bitumen-vis-crude-oil-difference.html

    The Conservatives are linked at the hip with the US Republicans. It is easy to see which ones are calling the shots! http://albertathedetails.blogspot.com/2011/03/conservativerepublican-alliance-pnwer.html

    Alberta voluntarily elected to discount this polished crude coming out of the tar sands by 30% some 15 years ago! There was no market pressure on them; there was a massive shortage of crude oil they could have asked above market price and got it.

    The Oil Industry is meddling in Alberta Politics as if we were a third world country! Its got to stop!
    http://albertathedetails.blogspot.com/2012/08/alberta-putting-aside-fear-what-do-we.html

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