BC at GC: Why care? (So long and thanks for the fish)

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 57, No. 8, October 2015, page(s) 350 Pulsimeter
Eric Cadesky, MD, CM

The members of your Doctors of BC delegation to the Canadian Medical Association General Council have just come back from Halifax and I want to make two clarifications:

First, I am vegetarian and did not personally partake in the true Atlantic cuisine (although my 10-month-old daughter ate her weight in lobster and mussels).

Second, although there were plenty of opportunities for socializing, the delegation from BC was hard at work.

Why care?

The CMA GC is the parliament of Canada’s doctors and sets policy for issues that matter most to its over 80 000 members. Your voice is carried by the delegates in the motions they raise and the opinions they express. This year was precedent-setting in that a Doctors of BC board motion allowed us to bring Mr Nitai Gelber and Drs Alexander Frame, Arun Jagdeo, Jessica Otte, and Raj Bhui, who represented BC medical students, residents, international medical graduates, and doctors in early practice.

Doctors of BC usually punches far above its weight, and this year saw us bring motions that passed on telehealth, obesity, polypharmacy, palliative care, electronic health records, genetic testing, and precision medicine.

Your views were also represented on ongoing issues such as seniors’ care, physician-assisted dying, innovation, opioid overprescribing, vaccination, climate change, and health human resources (also known as Why Aren’t There Enough Jobs for Surgical Specialists?). You should also know that your delegates represented various views; for example, some felt that physicians should be able to consciously object to helping patients who request assistance in dying while others felt that a physician’s duty is first to the patient and that, at minimum, a doctor should refer such patients if they cannot provide the care themselves. Indeed, 79% of all delegates voted against a motion proposing that physicians who consciously object to assisted dying would not have to refer patients to a colleague for further assessment.

What next?

If you have ideas for motions for next year, please contact your local Doctors of BC board members; their information is found on the Doctors of BC website.

Also, next year’s CMA GC will be in Vancouver as our own Dr Granger Avery will be installed as CMA president. We hope to have a record number of attendees from BC, so if you are a student, resident, or practising physician, watch for announcements in the new year. Just don’t expect lobster.
—Eric Cadesky, MD, CM, CCFP
Honorary Secretary Treasurer, Doctors of BC

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