Kenney stands by health minister as doctors’ group votes non-confidence

Kenney stands by health minister as doctors’ group votes non-confidence

Kenney stands by health minister as doctors’ group votes non-confidence

EDMONTON — Alberta’s premier says an overwhelming vote of non-confidence from members of the Alberta Medical Association won’t sway him into turfing his health minister.

The group representing doctors and medical students held a referendum this past week on Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s ability to manage the province’s health-care system.

The minister has been embroiled in a bitter dispute with doctors that escalated when he tore up the government’s master pay agreement with the medical association in February.

Many doctors, particularly in rural areas, have said they can no longer afford to work in hospitals and keep up their practices. The medical association has said at least 40 per cent of its members have at least contemplated leaving Alberta, which Shandro has dismissed as a bargaining tactic.

“I think Minister Shandro is doing a fantastic job of getting us through the COVID crisis while also addressing huge challenges that we were elected to address,” Kenney said Wednesday at a news conference touting the 34 bills the United Conservative government passed during the spring legislative sitting.

Of the nearly 9,000 who voted in the association’s survey— two-thirds of the number who were eligible — 98 per cent said they did not have confidence in Shandro.

“Over the past year, Mr. Shandro’s words and actions have created a chaotic state in health care and have alienated most of the people responsible for actually delivering the care in the system,” said association president Dr. Christine Molnar. “It’s a toxic situation, and physicians have clearly had enough of it.”

Kenney said his government is not accountable to members of an “interest group” that make up a quarter of one per cent of Alberta’s population, yet account for up to 10 per cent of the province’s budget.

Opposition NDP health critic David Shepherd said Wednesday that the UCP’s approach to negotiating with doctors has been like “scorched earth warfare.”

“No one’s saying it’s easy to be a cabinet minister, but Tyler Shandro, more than anyone else, shows that he is not capable of and does not deserve this job.”

Contentious health and labour bills passed during an all-night session that ended early Wednesday.

The government says Bill 30, which amends nine pieces of existing legislation, will strengthen Alberta’s health-care system and reduce surgical wait times. The NDP contends it would open the door to American-style health care.

Also Wednesday, Kenney defended sweeping legislation that, among other things, would prevent unions from spending dues on political causes without their member’s consent.

“We believe it is frankly offensive that people should be compelled through their forced union dues to pay for advocacy which violates their most deeply held values or their own economic interests,” he said.

He cited the examples of energy workers’ dues going toward anti-pipeline campaigns, or those of Jewish workers’ funding anti-Israel advocacy.

The NDP has decried Bill 32 as a union-busting strategy that attempts to shut down free speech. The Alberta Federation of Labour has said a coalition of 25 unions plans to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation in court.

Kenney said that his government believes the opt-out provision is “entirely lawful.”

The bill also includes changes that the UCP said are meant to allow for more flexibility in how overtime is calculated and how employers who break the rules are punished.

Labour federation president Gil McGowan called Bill 32 a “noxious, anti-worker piece of legislation.”

“Bill 32 will end overtime as we know it in Alberta and, in the process, vaporize huge chunks of income for many Alberta families,” he said in a statement.

“It will allow employers to essentially opt out of basic workplace protections, making a mockery of the whole notion of minimum workplace standards. And it will deny working Albertans the bargaining power they need to stand up to bad bosses.”

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Doctors

Just Posted

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk at school and in the community was identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Teen killer, rapistdenied parole had plans to relocate to Kelowna

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

Most Read