Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Superior OMA?

Wallopin' Websnappers! More news from the Ontario Medical Association?

Issue 700 of Amazing Spider-Man contains one of the better plot twists in the history of everyone's friendly neighborhood superhero. Longtime Spidey villain Dr. Octopus, having been relegated to B-list status since the 1990s and closing in on death, unhatches a Brilliant and Devious Scheme to swap consciousnesses with the younger, more muscular, and more powerful Peter Parker.

His Moment of Triumph at hand, however, Doc Ock finds the mind of his accursed foe replete with painful, guilty memories, memories that kept the wisecracking web-slinger fighting the good fight lo these many years.

His own consciousness now trapped in a dying body, Parker makes a last request of his conqueror...

...and the erstwhile Dr. Octopus finally understands...

...that he must commit himself to a new identity...

Well, that's comic books, and it doesn't have much to do with the OMA. Except perhaps that with the en masse resignation of its Board Executive, the OMA, too, is looking to reinvent its identity. No sooner did the OMA ship lose its proverbial captain(s), though, that it assembled a brand-spanking-new negotiations team for the presently moribund fee negotiations process.

Not to be outdone, the Ontario government announced its intention to hold off on unilateral action until another attempt was made at a negotiated settlement. The province then appointed a new, "friendly neighborhood" negotiations team, without Premier Black Cat Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Health Venom Eric Hoskins, or Deputy Minister Hobgoblin Bob Bell. And just when you thought the truth couldn't get any stranger than fiction, the government declared its first goal of reopened negotiations was to hammer out an arbitration process(!)

While new OMA leadership will be voted on in the spring, and new negotiators on both sides might seem like the start of a cozier OMA-Ministry relationship, don't hold your breath. The OMA leadership up-and-comers remain openly critical of the provincial government, and even the parameters of an arbitration agreement are known unknowns.

In comic books, major changes almost never stick, and it turns out Peter Parker was hiding out in his own brain all along. Sooner or later, push came to shove, and the "Superior" Spider Man needed to step aside for the original to step in once more.

Will the OMA leadership fall into old habits, getting too tight with government and letting the membership grow restive without a decent deal? Stay tuned, true believers. Excelsior!

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