EDMONTON - Alberta doctors have agreed they will not take strike action even if contract talks with the province fail.

Hundreds of members of the Alberta Medical Association met over the weekend.

AMA President Michael Giuffre says it looks like both the AMA and the province are close to settling on a third party mediator.

Giuffre says negotiations should be in full swing by the new year, with a deadline of the end of February 2013 as a possibility for a deal.

Earlier this month, Giuffre asked his membership to "batten down the hatches'' in the organization's contract dispute with the province.

He complained that Health Minister Fred Horne was refusing to withdraw a four-year, $463-million wage package imposed on Nov. 16.

Horne said the government was trying to be reasonable and insisted there is no imposed settlement.

He said he simply needed the AMA to understand "there's a limit to the additional funding the government can contribute to this."

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    Our system is not perfect, but US is 10 times worst then ours... (for the not wealthy) They can do what they want, but if they want to remortgage their house because they have cancer and need treatments, it's their choice. In Canada, you don't have to! You might wait a little and that's frustrating, but if your case is serious you will go in front of the line. simple. Proud to be Canadian and not American ! I broke bones skiing, biking in Canada, except for the ambulance, it was completely free. I don't want to imagine how much it is in the US. - <a href="https://www.facebook.com/HuffPostCanada/posts/358991540845074?comment_id=2503306&offset=50&total_comments=73" target="_hplink"> Guillame Martin-Dore</a>

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    I had a life threatening brain tumor. The docs here would have sent me to Johns Hopkins if they couldn't do the surgery safely here. OHIP would have paid my fees and travel costs. My surgery was cancelled once because there was a multi-vehicle pile up and other people needed the spots more than I did. Otherwise, care was excellent and timely! <a href="https://www.facebook.com/HuffPostCanada/posts/358991540845074?comment_id=2503342&offset=0&total_comments=73" target="_hplink">- Laura Cooper Lyons</a>

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    My husband and I just spent 3 months living in Ottawa because our 13 year old son was diagnosed with Cancer in April and he was so very well taken care of! Everyone was amazing and we didn't wait for anything! Even before he was diagnosed and we didn't know what was wrong, the wait times for testing to figure out what the heck was going on was good, and we live in Northern Ontario! We still own our home and are not in debt to pay for treatment! Because we live in beautiful Canada :) My son is alive because we live where we do and we are forever grateful! - <a href="https://www.facebook.com/HuffPostCanada/posts/358991540845074?comment_id=2503362&offset=0&total_comments=73" target="_hplink">Jennifer Guerard</a>

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    They should know that everyone here gets health care. That no one is declaring bankruptcy or losing their home because of medical debts. No one is going without insurance because of pre-existing medical conditions or because they can't afford it. That it may not be fancy, but we get what we need and our government spends less per capita than theirs does. I won't say that it's a perfect system, but I'm terribly grateful that it's there for me and my family. - <a href="https://www.facebook.com/HuffPostCanada/posts/358991540845074?comment_id=2503367&offset=0&total_comments=73" target="_hplink">Amanda Young Brinda</a>

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    They need to know that I have my life back due to a new hip and knee....went from being crippled to leaving city life and buying a farm, working with my 6 horses, playing with 4 boisterous dogs. If I lived in the States, as a contract worker so no insurance plan, I would be immobile and probably suicidal, unable to afford what my Canadian Medicare has provided for me. What I received is truly priceless. - <a href="https://www.facebook.com/HuffPostCanada/posts/358991540845074?comment_id=2503414&offset=0&total_comments=73" target="_hplink">Val Tannage </a>

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    They need to know you can go to sleep every night and if illness strikes they can access health care without fear of losing their home, their life savings or incurring huge debt. They should know that they are being cared for by a system that has a far lower infant mortality rate and longer life expectancy. They Should know that their coverage won't be cancelled because of previous illness. - <a href="https://www.facebook.com/HuffPostCanada/posts/358991540845074?comment_id=2503605&offset=0&total_comments=73" target="_hplink">Martin Palmer</a>