“We’re moving forward through our new funding framework, and we’re committed to maintaining spending on physicians at $5.4 billion a year, the highest level ever and the highest level in Canada per capita. It's questionable that doctors would leave for other provinces when statistics show they'd earn far less than in Alberta under our current funding arrangement.
“The Alberta Medical Association (AMA) has never presented a credible proposal to meet our priority of maintaining spending at the current level, a fact that is confirmed in our statement of defence in response to the AMA’s lawsuit. They’ve never taken bargaining seriously. In years past, the AMA 'promised' savings, only to see actual billings come in billions of dollars higher than what they promised. This is not sustainable.
“The AMA needs to stop playing games, and start taking the economic crisis facing this province and this country seriously. We’re still offering to hold our spending at the highest level in Canada, and frankly that commitment is looking more generous by the day, considering the fiscal situation in this province and this country. But we stand by it. Now it’s up to the AMA to decide what part they want to play in decision-making as we go forward.
“Since Albertans should know the facts, the government is also exploring introducing physician compensation transparency, as exists for public servants in Alberta and physicians in a number of other provinces."