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Analysis

Tyler Shandro has Resigned. Here are His Worst Moments as Alberta’s Health Minister

Don't worry, he's going to be Labour Minister now

Following years of missteps that left Alberta’s public health system on the brink of “collapse,” Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro offered his resignation to Premier Jason Kenney, this week.

 Shandro was shuffled into the Ministry of Labour and Immigration portfolio  Tuesday. Kenney announced he will be replaced by past Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping. 

Copping will oversee a heavily strained system. The province’s ICUs are nearly full, with 302 patients — the highest since the pandemic began.  Kenney’s government is also in talks to move patients to other provinces, and implement a  triage protocol, ready to go should doctors have to decide who receives care. 

Calls for Shandro’s resignation go back at least one year, however.

Scrapping Agreements With Doctors To Save Money

In March 2020, seeking to cut costs, Shandro “unilaterally” ended the province’s master agreement with its doctors.

In August 2020, Kenney’s government tabled Bill 30, the Health Statutes Amendment Act. The act aimed to shorten approval times for private surgery clinics and even gave private companies the potential power to take over physicians’ clinics “administrative functions.” It also replaced the government’s previous “master agreement” with legislation allowing the government to sign direct contracts with physicians.

In response,  doctors voted 98% that they had no confidence in Shandro.

Kenney, however, repeated throughout the pandemic that Shandro had his personal confidence.

Chasing Doctors Out of the Province

The Alberta Medical Association warned in Summer 2020 Alberta faced a “looming exodus” of doctors.

42% of AMA members surveyed planned to leave the province,  citing government changes as the cause.

Personally Confronting Critics

Shandro’s conflict with the province’s physicians also took a strange and personal turn.

In March 2020, the former Health Minister made a house call to a doctor that criticized him with a meme on Facebook. The same doctor said he feared for his family’s safety following the incident.

When another citizen highlighted a perceived conflict of interest with his wife’s private health insurance brokerage, later last year, Shandro threatened to dispatch “protective services” to deal with the complaint.

 

 

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