Ev­ery­body wins

The Compass - - OPINION -

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.

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