South Dundas - May 15, 2012 - Dalton McGuinty lobbed another volley last week in his plan of selective wage freezes in Ontario. This time the target was Ontario’s doctors, and it will prove be a costly misfire by the Premier.
Let’s call these wage freezes McGuinty wants by the real name for them, another “Social Contract”. Remember Bob Rae’s infamous 1993 wage freeze and unpaid “Rae Days”, to help curb the tide against Ontario’s then-record $12.4 billion deficit. Rae’s plan was a kick in the proverbial groin for Ontario’s public sector unions and no one was left who wasn’t smarting a little from the pain of those cuts. Front line health care, education, service delivery, you name it; everything and everyone were affected.
For the most part though, it was fair. No one liked the cuts, but everyone got hit with it. It was unilateral, relatively unbiased and strong medicine. Like a dose of Buckley’s, you took it and life moved on.
McGuinty doesn’t play fair though. If you belong to a union or a group that supported his government when it was election time, you get an easy ride. If you criticised “Dear Leader” however, you are an enemy. Doctors find themselves in that position now.
It is true that doctors have become more efficient when it comes to diagnosing and treating certain conditions thanks to advances in technology. They can perform Cataract surgery in their office in 15 minutes instead of a four hour hospital procedure for example.
McGuinty’s charge is that since they can do the job quicker, it should be cheaper. You could make that argument if you forget that doctors invest their own money in acquiring that technology. The government doesn’t invest all of this money in for doctors offices, the doctors do. And doctor’s fees are not just a big pay cheque for them, they have expenses like payroll for their office, supplies, rent and other expenses to deal with. Doctors are small business owners like many other Ontarians.
No so says Daddy Dalton, doctors are the boogiemen. They are the reason health care costs skyrocket. It’s not bloated administration, Local Health Integration Networks or high executive salaries for non-frontline care personnel. Nope. It’s the doctor’s fault.
McGuinty is even taking his case to his provincial counterparts across the country, as if he is doing them a favour. It’s more like a desperate plea asking the Premiers in the other provinces not to poach his doctors now that he’s trying to screw them over.
This ploy by McGuinty just exacerbates the issues in health care in Ontario and really, to any service delivery in this province. This province is broke; Ontario is close to being the Greece of Canada. To fix the problems, ones caused through eight years of mismanagement by “Dear Leader”, McGuinty continues to play favourites with his union buddies. That is not fair, nor it is wise. In the end we will all suffer from McGuinty’s mis-diagnosis of the problem.