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Shandro hearings revisit controversial tenure as health minister

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Alberta justice minister Tyler Shandro will continue to face questions in front of a panel of lawyers on Thursday as a hearing into his conduct while he was the minister of health continues into day three.

Shandro is at the centre of a Law Society of Alberta hearing for a trio of allegations dating back to early 2020.

The former health minister testified that the response from the public to a provincial decision to end its master agreement with the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) in February of 2020 was "extreme."

"Both publicly and behind the scenes, both in traditional and social media — phone calls to our office, phone calls to the constituency office. We were bombarded by robust advocacy from the AMA," Shandro said Tuesday under questioning from his own lawyer.

Shandro also said there were "hundreds" of threats directed at himself and to his family, including one incident in which a person showed up to the workplace of his wife and threatened her.

Days after the AMA decision, Shandro took part in a provincial funding announcement in Red Deer. The then-health minister sent text messages to the Vice President of Communications for Alberta Health Services (AHS) to request help in identifying two doctors who had confronted Shandro in the hospital.

He testified that the doctors were "yelling" and reading off a prepared statement as Shandro was being shuffled out of the hospital. Shandro said he still wanted to talk to the physicians and that's why he wanted to identify them. He called them the following day.

The doctors he had phoned testified earlier this week that they were surprised by the minster's calls and felt intimidated by Shandro.

An AHS report concluded that the doctors' privacy had been breached when their phone numbers were shared with Shandro without their consent.

VITAL PARTNERS INC.

Part of Shandro's testimony surrounded questions about Vital Partners Inc., a company his wife is a part owner of that provides services including private health insurance.

A Calgary doctor testified on Tuesday that he had posted a meme about Tyler Shandro on social media to call into question a potential conflict of interest with the then-health minister and his connections to Vital Partners.

Shandro testified that his wife Andrea worked with her sister to launch the company sometime in 2014 and 50 per cent of the shares belong to Andrea through a corporation Tyler had set up years prior.

Shandro said his shares are held in trust by his wife and was cleared with the province's ethics commissioner.

"I've never been an owner or director of Vital Partners," Tyler Shandro testified.

Shandro's testimony will continue on Thursday. His wife, Andrea Shandro, is also expected to be called as a witness.

The LSA panel will decide whether the minister's actions nearly three years ago go against the Society's code of conduct.

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