No money for increase in doctors' pay, premier says

Alberta Premier Alison Redford clarified her stance on Wednesday regarding a contract dispute with Alberta doctors.

“When we have a $6 billion revenue gap, there is simply no more money to start increasing public sector salaries, particularly in cases where there are people that are already making more than the national average — significantly more,” Redford said while attending the official opening of a property rights advocacy office in Lethbridge, Alta.

Redford previously hinted that a raise for doctors could mean an re-introduction of health-care premiums.

Dr. Lloyd Maybaum, president of the Calgary and Area Medical Staff Society, said that physicians and patients could live without these kinds of threats.

"This is really becoming a messy gong show — public debate of nonsense facts and figures. I don't think it’s helpful for anyone, certainly not the public, undermining their confidence in the health-care system," Maybaum says.

The Alberta Medical Association wasn't available for comment on Wednesday, but in the past has criticized the premier for misleading the public

Jim McCartney, a chartered mediator and arbitrator, says nothing will get resolved while negotiations continue to be hashed out in public.

“I've seen words like massive, flabbergasted — there's only one way — it’s a war of words, and it should be about principles,” McCartney said.

The Alberta Medical Association and the province have been negotiating a new deal for doctors for almost two years.

The deadline for those talks was recently extended until after Redford's government delivers its new budget on March 7.

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