By Medicine Hat News Opinion on March 28, 2020.
Enough is enough. People will die here.
Ongoing adjustments to the Medicine Hat News has left Laying It Out with a lot less space to work with than previously, so we’ll have to get straight to the point.
Tyler Shandro should resign immediately as Alberta’s minster of health, and if he won’t resign then the premier needs to remove him from the position. It’s just that simple.
While the province continues to shut down and the virus continues to spread, the health minister actually decided it would be a good idea to show up at a Calgary doctor’s home, send his kids inside because they “don’t want to listen to what is going to happen,” then berate him through a teary-eyed rant over a meme the doctor shared on Facebook.
Seriously. Albertans are going to die during this pandemic and the man in charge of keeping them alive is now picking fights with doctors on their own doorstep – through rage tears.
This fight revolves around Shandro and his wife Andrea’s part-ownership in a supplementary health benefits company – somewhat of a news story this week. As the minister has repeatedly pointed out, the ethics commissioner found no conflict of interest and his wife has been subject to reportedly vicious attacks on social media – apparently receiving death threats as well.
That’s important to note because Shandro’s immediate need to step down has nothing to do with his ties to that company or his right to stand up for his own family (in a professional manner). To anyone that went after Andrea, you’re a counterproductive ass and should be ashamed. To anyone who threatened her physically, you should be arrested, and so I hope the police are already investigating these claims… Surely they are.
As for his ties to Vital Partners Inc., not many hate this government’s shift to privatized health care more than I do, but even I’m inclined to take the ethics commissioner’s word for it at the moment and set aside my skepticism over this particular issue. In case anyone hasn’t heard yet, we have a much bigger problem on our hands.
No, Shandro is unfit for his position because instead of focusing on Albertans’ health at the most important time ever, he’s throwing toddler-like tantrums on the front lawn of a respected physician. Forget the fact that in three days the bulk of fee changes for doctors will kick in – including cutting all compensation for treating a patient without a registered Alberta health number. And forget the fact that every move Shandro’s office makes directs more public funds toward private entities (this week, see: Babylon medical app). The man is so unable to control his childish outbursts (I haven’t even mentioned emails CBC obtained where he called a concerned citizen ‘crazy’), that he went all the way to a man’s home in a fit of rage and never once took a second to see it as a terribly stupid decision.
We are still seeing exponential growth of COVID-19, and the next couple of months could very well end up in tragedy for many Alberta families. Can we please, for the love of each other and our collective wellbeing, ignore the logo on Shandro’s jersey and staple his butt to the backbench where he belongs?
Children shouldn’t be cabinet ministers.
Scott Schmidt is the layout editor for the Medicine Hat News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @shmitzysays. Scott’s opinions are his own.