We are surprised by how quickly the judge came to her decision. In less than 24 hours, she came to the conclusion that was evident: the agreement between the Province and Medical Society is binding and must be respected. She also awarded the Medical Society costs. This is all we were seeking in court.
Prior to the court decision, we did not disclose that as recently as Friday, the Medical Society was actively trying to reach a settlement. To avoid court, we said we'd drop the lawsuit if the Alward Government would sign a court order acknowledging our agreement is binding. Of course, by signing a court order, they could not back out of that commitment. They had no interest in signing such an order. In her decision, the judge stated: "it was challenging for me to determine why the Respondent [the Province] did not agree to this prior to a court appearance." New Brunswick's doctors agree. This simply proves our constant refrain: why do doctors have to go to court to get their agreement respected - even when doctors were clearly willing to settle beforehand?
New Brunswick's doctors are considering our next steps. It is not lost on us that we had to go to court to get our agreement respected - and it took a judge less than a day to agree with us. We hope this puts an end to the Alward Government's misguided approach to dealing with the medical profession.
Robert Desjardins, MD FRCPC
President, New Brunswick Medical Society