The Alberta Medical Association says government ads that promote the salary settlement imposed on doctors earlier this month are "misleading."
The radio and print ads, which describe pay for Alberta doctors as the best in the country, come just over a week after Health Minister Fred Horne imposed the five-year $463 million settlement following an impasse with the AMA after 20 months of negotiations.
"The AMA believes that the minister’s $130,000 ad campaign is misleading; these negotiations are about far more than money," Dr. Michael Giuffre, the AMA president, said in a written statement.
"They are about fairness and respecting the rights of physicians but the minister doesn’t want to talk about that."
"Physicians have the right to dispute resolution," Giuffre added. "We can’t just have one side say: 'That’s it and here is what you are going to live with for five years.' That’s what government is trying to distract people about with the ad campaign."
Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, an emergency room physician, is also unhappy with the government's tactics.
"The minister is wasting $130,000 on running something that's akin to a negative attack ad," he said.
But Horne said the ads are intended to inform the public.
"We wanted to make the public aware and there's certainly no antagonism or negativity in those ads whatsoever," he said. .
The imposed setttlement shocked the AMA, which publicly rejected the package and signaled its willingness to resume negotiations.
Doctors say that they will actually lose more than $200 million through the province's changes.
Giuffre is to meet with Horne on Thursday to talk about the contract