Competition can be a way of life. From the cradle to the grave, we compete with those around us in many ways.
Beside the obvious games we play and sports we are involved in, there are smaller, more subtle competitions we have – with ourselves, with our families and friends and the world at large.
And its not always true that it is how you play the game, not whether you win or lose. Some competitions are all about winning or losing. In those cases, nothing else matters.
For Premier Danny Williams, it seems that posturing, verbal jousting and game playing are a way of his political life.
Many of those games he has won. And, by association, so have all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. He has been quoted as saying fighting is in his blood.
As a lawyer, Premier Williams won plenty of competitions and secured more than one award from insurance companies for clients.
He won a personal victory when he sold his regional cable television company years ago and decided that he could help save the province from financial despair by entering politics.
After a stare-down with then Prime Minister Paul Martin that involved the lowering of Canadian flags in the province, he won another battle over equalization that secured more than $2 billion for the province.
Then there was that thing with Steven Harper involving the alphabet; the expropriation of timber and water rights from AbitibiBowater and the list goes on. He even won a fight with a bad heart. And now, we have the doctors of the province, seemingly engaged in a competition of sorts with the government, with Premier Williams standing next to the bell with a hammer.
Given the premier’s recent scare with his health, the dispute with physicians going on now is almost as ironic as the fact that AbitibiBowater was on e o f the sponsors of this past weekend’s Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliances event, which he cohosted in Bixoli, Mississippi.
The people of Newfoundland and Labrador do not need to play games with the physicians who are not, in the grand scheme of things, asking for too much.
To request a wage comparable with their colleagues is not asking for the moon. Evening the playing field for doctors would go a long way in the retention of these highly sought after professionals at a time when our aging population needs them the most. Premier Williams is a great watcher of polls. One cannot help but wonder if an independent poll were conducted on this issue in our province, would people object to giving doctors a raise? It would be doubtful. When it comes to the lives and well being of our parents, children, sisters and brothers, there is usually no cost we would not pay.
So let’s not play games with the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association. Sit down like reasonable businesspeople and work out a deal.
Save the competitions and games for the golf course or the hockey rink where they belong.
At the end of the day, what we might end up with is a better healthcare system. If that happens, then everybody wins.