Calgary·Audio

Stephen Mandel ready for new portfolio, expects Question Period challenges

Edmonton's former mayor admits he's got a lot to learn but says he is up for his new role as Alberta's health minister.

Former Edmonton mayor now Alberta's health minister

Newly-appointed health minister Stephen Mandel still has to run in a byelection. (CBC)

Edmonton's former mayor admits he's got a lot to learn but says he is up for his new role as Alberta's health minister.

Premier Jim Prentice appointed Stephen Mandel to the portfolio earlier this week when he announced his cabinet

Mandel says he has no plans to implement massive health care reform, but wants to "fine tune" a system he says is largely working well. 

“We have a system in place and we can work with that and I don’t believe we should be looking to destroy that,” he said. “We need to look to improve it so that people can feel more comfortable with that system.”

Mandel has never held a seat in the legislature but has promised to work hard overseeing the $18-billion portfolio.

“There’s no reason to allow us to say we can spend the kind of money we’re spending and not have the finest system in the country, or really in the world,” Mandel said. “We should not strive for mediocrity, we should strive for as close to perfection as we can.”

The rookie minister says he has been enjoying learning about the role but expects he will be challenged in Question Period.

"I'll get killed probably," Mandel said. "I don't know, I'll do my best. They will ask questions and I will try to answer. I can only do so much. I am learning and reading those wonderful books that are so interesting and trying to learn as we go through the process."

Mandel would not say where or when he would run to a byelection.

Interested in hearing more about what Mandel has to say? Listen to his full Edmonton AM conversation with host Mark Connolly:

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