Minister wages 'anti-Ritter' campaign

Barb Sweet & Steve Bartlett
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Health

Jerome Kennedy went off on a Rob Ritter rant Wednesday morning. While announcing plans to counter an information and advertising campaign being waged by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA), the health minister took numerous shots at the organization's executive director.

Ritter, according to Kennedy, is the root of all that is wrong as the province and physicians go toe-to-toe in public over contract negotiations.

Jerome Kennedy (left) and Rob Ritter

Jerome Kennedy went off on a Rob Ritter rant Wednesday morning. While announcing plans to counter an information and advertising campaign being waged by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA), the health minister took numerous shots at the organization's executive director.

Ritter, according to Kennedy, is the root of all that is wrong as the province and physicians go toe-to-toe in public over contract negotiations.

"We've got an executive director of the NLMA who is going to show Danny Williams who's boss," Kennedy said. "We've got an executive director of the NLMA who is playing internal politics."

There are a lot of doctors, the minister elaborated on the latter point, who'd accept the province's offer of 24 per cent across the board. But the difficulty, he continued, is when you bring up Atlantic parity and it doesn't address the internal disparity Kennedy says Ritter is causing by choosing which groups of doctors get more money.

He also accused Ritter of causing internal strife.

"I understand - and Minister (Tom) Marshall can correct me if I'm wrong - that Mr. Ritter will say to one group, 'We'll give you 10 per cent and to another group we'll give you 32 per cent.' That's what I understand the difficulty is."

The province's doctors are ultimately seeking parity with their colleagues across the Atlantic region.

The province is offering 24 per cent over four years, a deal that it says would bring doctors to 98 per cent parity with their peers.

According to Kennedy, doctors are not being represented by their executive director because he won't come back to the table and work out a deal.

The minister was asked if he thought the association should replace Ritter.

"I'm not calling on the NLMA to do anything. I'm just pointing out the facts here. This is the individual who has publically challenged the premier. This is the individual who has publically said he's going to show Danny Williams who's boss. This is the individual who has shown and demonstrated an inability to reach a deal, and that's really unfortunate to all those doctors out there who want a deal. But you know something? It's even more unfortunate to the people of this province."

A letter from the NLMA showed up towards the end of the news conference, and in it, the physicians expressed a desire to deal.

Kennedy's repeated "show Danny Williams who's boss" remarks have people at the NLMA scratching their heads, although Ritter and Williams have traded public barbs in the past.

Ritter responded to the minister's attack when the medical association held an information session for reporters an hour later.

"To me, that's an hallucination on (the minister's) part. Frankly, I think he's crediting me with a lot more power than I have," he said.

"I wish I was as powerful as he is describing me. But the fact of the matter is, I am an employee of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association. Clearly, I have a leadership role and I'm happy that I do, but essentially, I am a servant of the board of directors."

Ritter said it's up to the membership to accept or reject an offer, and Kennedy's comments are not helping to achieve the "mutually agreeable and constructive result" in negotiations Marshall desired in a May 4 letter.

"For some reason, he seems to be focusing on me. But I can tell you that our agenda is to focus on the facts. We're not going to be detracted by any comments by Minister Kennedy," Ritter said.

As for deciding which specialities get what raise, he said there's a mixed bag of circumstances, and some doctors have fared better than others in past negotiations.

"Our job is to try to come up with a plan that satisfies everybody as best as we possibly can," he said.

"It's really unfortunate that these kinds of tactics are being used. I don't think it's helping to reach a solution and stabilize our health care system and that's our agenda."

sbartlett@thetelegram.com bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association

Geographic location: Atlantic

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Frank
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Minister Kennedy needs to take a pill.

    Seriously.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    There was a time when I actually thought that Jerome Kennedy may have been a logical choice to succeed Danny Williams as a leader of the PC party.

    However after seeing this man in action he most definitely has a bad case of his mouth not being properly attached to his brain.

    Heaven help us if that day ever comes.

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    hmmmmmmmmmm, similar tactic for every baragining unit, attacked Forward, Furlong, Ritter etc....great negotiators we have here.

  • topsailbill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Haven't we seen this before? When you have nothing intelligent to say in a dispute or argument, attack the individual. It's sadly typical and shows who is the childish one. What's next? Oh yeah, and so is your mother!

  • robroy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I can't see what the problem is.I bet If Mr kennedy went to the hsc with a heart attack he would say yes by the drs are worth their weight in gold. so why are you tryin to pay them with lead.I am the dad of a disabled child. I could have went all over the place with my child. My child has faces life and death situations four times. I can tell you with no uncertainity if the same care was given in the us instead of nl the drs alone would have made millions of dollars so why should Drs at the Janeway make the same. I would go further to say the drs at the jane way are more talanted.Pay the Drs what they ask you can nevr pay them what they are worth

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I hope Minister Kennedy has the written approval to use my money to do this. I do not remember seeing a request from his office for me to sign off on before he took out these TV spots.

    More government waste. What else is new for these fools.

  • Tax Payer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Neither of these two gentlemen is showing much maturity in this whole fiasco. Mr. Kennedy is basically saying na na na to Mr. Ritter, who is thumbing his nose at Mr. Kennedy and taking his ball and going home. Forget the foolish bickering and childish behaviour - get back to the 'bargaining' (I'm sure Mr. Webster can provide you with a definitition of this word) table and stay there till you have a deal that satisfies both sides. Neither of you will get 100% of what you are looking for - but hopefully you can reach a good compromise that suits both the doctors and the people, whom the government represents, of this province.

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Go Jerome go. You have my support. Can you imagine someone making anywhere from 500,000 to 1,000,000 a year complaining about a 24% raise over 4 years. I say offer them nothing, They make enough.

  • Geoff
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    When Kennedy says, ''We'll give you 10 per cent and to another group we'll give you 32 per cent.' That's what I understand the difficulty is,'' that may well be true. But some doctors are making $175,000, while equally-qualified doctors are making $350,000. Is Kennedy suggesting that both doctors should get the same increase? If so, that's dumb. If not, then what IS he saying? That we are too stupid to figure this out for ourselves?

  • Polly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    That age-old DIVIDE AND CONQUER TACTIC is counterproductive . This could be considered Neanderthal behaviour , and has no place in modern-day negotiations .

  • CB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I, for one, would love to see these men of power behave in a way that is constructive and responsible. Be a positive role model...Take the personal stuff out of the equation and deal with the real issues. It's not about you...it's about the people you serve.
    Imagine how much more productive the day could be if you approach it with positivity and exuberance! Finding solutions to problems. That's where the reward is guys...kick some real butt...find the all elusive solution, then you will be a great politician. Someone we can be proud of. Anyone can get up there and be what you all have been. The true challenge comes with a positive change in attitude and approach. So much more may be accomplished for all of us.

  • DEE GEE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Jerome it's the same way your govt. negotiates. Not so good when it happens to you .

  • Blair
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I can't believe I am saying this, but Tax Payer is absolutely right in this matter.

    I feel that public jabs do nothing but discredit both parties. Let's get a deal boys so that you can both tell the media that you won.

  • Frank
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Minister Kennedy needs to take a pill.

    Seriously.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    There was a time when I actually thought that Jerome Kennedy may have been a logical choice to succeed Danny Williams as a leader of the PC party.

    However after seeing this man in action he most definitely has a bad case of his mouth not being properly attached to his brain.

    Heaven help us if that day ever comes.

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    hmmmmmmmmmm, similar tactic for every baragining unit, attacked Forward, Furlong, Ritter etc....great negotiators we have here.

  • topsailbill
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Haven't we seen this before? When you have nothing intelligent to say in a dispute or argument, attack the individual. It's sadly typical and shows who is the childish one. What's next? Oh yeah, and so is your mother!

  • robroy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    I can't see what the problem is.I bet If Mr kennedy went to the hsc with a heart attack he would say yes by the drs are worth their weight in gold. so why are you tryin to pay them with lead.I am the dad of a disabled child. I could have went all over the place with my child. My child has faces life and death situations four times. I can tell you with no uncertainity if the same care was given in the us instead of nl the drs alone would have made millions of dollars so why should Drs at the Janeway make the same. I would go further to say the drs at the jane way are more talanted.Pay the Drs what they ask you can nevr pay them what they are worth

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    I hope Minister Kennedy has the written approval to use my money to do this. I do not remember seeing a request from his office for me to sign off on before he took out these TV spots.

    More government waste. What else is new for these fools.

  • Tax Payer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Neither of these two gentlemen is showing much maturity in this whole fiasco. Mr. Kennedy is basically saying na na na to Mr. Ritter, who is thumbing his nose at Mr. Kennedy and taking his ball and going home. Forget the foolish bickering and childish behaviour - get back to the 'bargaining' (I'm sure Mr. Webster can provide you with a definitition of this word) table and stay there till you have a deal that satisfies both sides. Neither of you will get 100% of what you are looking for - but hopefully you can reach a good compromise that suits both the doctors and the people, whom the government represents, of this province.

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Go Jerome go. You have my support. Can you imagine someone making anywhere from 500,000 to 1,000,000 a year complaining about a 24% raise over 4 years. I say offer them nothing, They make enough.

  • Geoff
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    When Kennedy says, ''We'll give you 10 per cent and to another group we'll give you 32 per cent.' That's what I understand the difficulty is,'' that may well be true. But some doctors are making $175,000, while equally-qualified doctors are making $350,000. Is Kennedy suggesting that both doctors should get the same increase? If so, that's dumb. If not, then what IS he saying? That we are too stupid to figure this out for ourselves?

  • Polly
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    That age-old DIVIDE AND CONQUER TACTIC is counterproductive . This could be considered Neanderthal behaviour , and has no place in modern-day negotiations .

  • CB
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I, for one, would love to see these men of power behave in a way that is constructive and responsible. Be a positive role model...Take the personal stuff out of the equation and deal with the real issues. It's not about you...it's about the people you serve.
    Imagine how much more productive the day could be if you approach it with positivity and exuberance! Finding solutions to problems. That's where the reward is guys...kick some real butt...find the all elusive solution, then you will be a great politician. Someone we can be proud of. Anyone can get up there and be what you all have been. The true challenge comes with a positive change in attitude and approach. So much more may be accomplished for all of us.

  • DEE GEE
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Jerome it's the same way your govt. negotiates. Not so good when it happens to you .

  • Blair
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    I can't believe I am saying this, but Tax Payer is absolutely right in this matter.

    I feel that public jabs do nothing but discredit both parties. Let's get a deal boys so that you can both tell the media that you won.