Sometimes throwing money at a problem is the best solution.
In the case of BC doctors and teachers, the BC NDP government has done the right thing by handing them big salary increases because it’s the quickest way to address shortages in the classroom and in healthcare.
BC liberals almost blessed Health Minister Adrian Dix’s announcement that doctors will increase by about $ 135,000 annually. Aside from a little rumbling from Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond about how the NDP plans to measure the effectiveness of the new spending, there’s not much to complain about.
It is not necessary to instruct some public officials to create spreadsheets when the only measure that matters will be the ability of voters to obtain a family doctor and to confront that doctor in a timely manner when needed. We add the previous announcements (signing bonuses for new family doctors, faster recognition of internationally trained doctors and more space for medical schools) and there should be improvements on the healthcare front soon.
Part of that will come from old-fashioned poaching from other provinces, most notably Alberta, where the united Conservative government has fought with its doctors for pay and working conditions for years.
Let’s start with someone like Dr. Matthew Church, the resident chief of cardiology at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. Duchess Park and a UNBC graduate (and Jeopardy champion!) Left Prince George to attend medical school at Queen’s University in Kingston before landing in Alberta. Come home, Dr. Church, if not to Prince George than to St. Paul’s Heart Center in Vancouver, the province’s premier cardiac care facility.
Meanwhile, BC teachers will go from the lowest paid to some of the highest paid in the country, thanks to increases of between $ 6,000 and $ 8,500 per year. As with doctors, recruiting teachers starts with great pay and retaining them means keeping those trained in BC and attracting talent from elsewhere.
Both jobs require meaningful education and constant updating, while addressing the daily pressure of parents and patients. Both jobs are key positions for a healthy and thriving province. The service provided by teachers and doctors is priceless, so paying and treating them well makes fiscal and political sense.
Neil Godbout is chief editor of Prince George Citizen.