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Law Society of Alberta investigating Tyler Shandro's conduct while health minister

The Law Society of Alberta will hold a hearing to decide if Labour and Immigration Minister Tyler Shandro has breached its code of conduct.

Conduct panel will hear three allegations of professional misconduct

The Law Society of Alberta is proceeding with a hearing into three complaints filed against Alberta Labour and Immigration Minister Tyler Shandro alleging his conduct was unbecoming of a lawyer. (Government of Alberta)

The Law Society of Alberta will hold a hearing to decide if Labour and Immigration Minister Tyler Shandro has breached its code of conduct.

The development comes after a Calgary doctor said Shandro and his wife yelled at him on his driveway in front of his kids in March 2020. 

Calgary family physician Dr. Mukarram Ali Zaidi said the Shandros, who live nearby, confronted him on his driveway over a derogatory meme he had posted on social media sites.

Another doctor said Shandro called him on his personal cellphone at night after he challenged the minister at a Red Deer Hospital funding announcement.

Zaidi said on Thursday Shandro, who is also a lawyer, shouldn't stay in cabinet while the law society is looking into his behaviour.

"Because his conduct has been inappropriate," Zaidi said. "Because he never apologized for what he did, right?"

In an email response, Shandro's press secretary, Joseph Dow, did not say whether Shandro would step aside, or how he would respond to the society's citations.

Dow said two years ago, an anonymous social media account published a post encouraging members of the public to file complaints against Shandro with the law society. He said all the complaints have previously been reported on.

"Minister Shandro looks forward to resolving the matter through the Law Society of Alberta's complaint process," Dow wrote.

The premier's office did not respond to questions Thursday about whether Shandro would retain his cabinet position.

A three-member conduct panel will hear evidence on three allegations against Shandro, according to a notice posted on the society's website.

A spokesperson said the society decided on Jan. 28 to send the allegations to a hearing.

One citation alleges that Shandro "responded to an email from a member of the public addressed to his wife by threatening to refer that individual to the authorities if they did not address future correspondence to his office as Minister of Health."

Another citation says Shandro "attended the private residence of a member of the public, behaved inappropriately by engaging in conduct that brings the reputation of the profession into disrepute."

The third allegation says he "used his position as Minister of Health to obtain personal cell phone numbers, contacted one or more members of the public outside of regular working hours using that information."

A date hasn't been set for the hearing, and the Law Society would not provide any more information about the citations.

Shandro was health minister from April 2019 until Sept. 21, 2021, when Premier Jason Kenney swapped in Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping, and gave Shandro Copping's old portfolio.

When a society panel finds a lawyer has acted unprofessionally, the lawyer can face a reprimand, fine, suspension or disbarment. The society is entitled to investigate a lawyer's behaviour on and off the job. Their code of conduct also includes standards for lawyers holding public office.

In March 2020, the Shandros had been subjected to a flurry of sometimes vicious personal attacks on social media after it was revealed that Andrea Shandro operates a Calgary company called Vital Partners Inc.

Among other services, Vital Partners brokers supplementary health insurance, including for some coverage delisted through legislative changes advanced by Shandro.

Ethics commissioner Marguerite Trussler had said Shandro was not in a conflict of interest because he had transferred his shares in the company to a blind trust.

Dr. Mukarram Zaidi, a family doctor in Calgary, says Tyler Shandro shouldn't remain in cabinet while the law society is investigating his conduct. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Zaidi, who said he was interviewed by the law society for the case, said when the Shandros showed up at his house, they were crying and angry about a meme he had shared about the health benefits issue. He said they yelled at him while his wife and children looked on.

Zaidi says he deleted the meme from his social media accounts to attempt to de-escalate the situation.

He says he didn't file a complaint to the law society, and he doesn't know who did, but he's anxious to see a resolution.

Kenney responds to calls for Shandro resignation

2 years ago
Duration 1:05
Opposition leader Rachel Notley is calling for Jason Kenney to fire Alberta's health minister after Tyler Shandro allegedly berated a Calgary doctor at this home — but Kenney is standing by Shandro.

Zaidi says he was targeted and harassed by members of the public after Kenney dismissed his complaint and defended Shandro's behaviour.

He said he remains concerned about the government's attempts to privatize parts of the public health-care system.

Shandro answered emails directed to his wife

In March 2020, CBC also obtained copies of emails Shandro had sent in response to people who had contacted Vital Partners.

Calgary resident Janice Fraser said she received an email from Shandro threatening to report her to legislature security if she contacted his wife again.

In February 2020, Red Deer family Dr. John Julyan-Gudgeon said Shandro called him on his personal cellphone, at night, the day after he had confronted Shandro at a hospital announcement. Alberta Health Services later acknowledged giving Shandro two doctors' phone numbers without their permission.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janet French

Provincial affairs reporter

Janet French covers the Alberta Legislature for CBC Edmonton. She previously spent 15 years working at newspapers, including the Edmonton Journal and Saskatoon StarPhoenix. You can reach her at janet.french@cbc.ca.

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