The Law Society of Alberta is due to hold a hearing to determine whether Labor and Immigration Minister Tyler Shandro breached the society’s code of conduct.
A notice posted on the company’s website details three allegations made against Shandro, who is a practicing attorney and a member of the Law Society of Alberta.
The company said it could not comment on the complaints filed against the lawyers, but additional subpoenas were issued and the case was referred to a hearing by a three-person panel on January 28.
A citation alleges that 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 second alleges that Shandro “used his position as Minister of Health to obtain personal mobile phone numbers, contacted one or more members of the public outside normal working hours using this information”.
The third alleges that Shandro “responded to an email from a member of the public addressed to his wife by threatening to refer that person to the authorities if they did not direct future correspondence to his office as Minister of Health “.
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In a statement on Friday, Shandro’s press secretary said the minister “looks forward to resolving the matter through the Law Society of Alberta’s complaint process.”
“Two years ago, an anonymous social media account posted an article encouraging the public to file complaints with the Law Society of Alberta,” said Joseph Dow.
“The complaints that have been filed are all matters that have been made public.”
In March 2020, when Shandro was Alberta’s health minister, it emerged that he and his wife went to the personal home of a Calgary doctor and angrily confronted him over a meme.
Dr. Mukarram Zaidi said the confrontation came after he shared a meme on Facebook showing Shandro sitting at a desk with a thought bubble above his head that read, “So every Albertan I can start health care health is another client we can sign up for. Vital partners! We are going to be RICH! The meme also included an emoji of a surprised face.
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Zaidi said he and Shandro have known each other for many years, having previously served together in a constituency office. Zaidi said he agreed to take down the meme.
Vital Partners is the extended health benefits company that Shandro’s wife co-owns. Although it was approved by the Ethics Commissioner when Shandro became minister, some Albertans still see it as a conflict of interest.
At the time, Shandro said in a statement that when he saw a longtime political acquaintance of his was participating in the attacks on his wife, he felt the need to talk to her and “beg her to stop. to propagate this false information”.
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He also said he personally responded to emails from people criticizing his wife for disagreeing with her actions as health minister.
“I expected to face attacks when I registered to run for office, but my wife didn’t. This is true of the family of any chosen one,” Shandro said in March 2020.
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On Friday, Zaidi said he had not filed charges, but added that he had been questioned by the bar a few months ago.
He said he was happy to hear from the hearing and hopes Shandro will be held accountable for his actions.
Zaidi also said he believes Shandro should be removed while the investigation is ongoing.
“He should have been fired from the cabinet at that time,” Zaidi said.
NDP Leader Rachel Notley called for Shandro to be removed from the cabinet at the time, and doubled down on Friday.
“It’s kind of a permanent position for us that this minister is not really equipped to function in cabinet. You can’t behave that way and be part of the firm and the fact that he’s now under investigation by the trade association should be enough to ask him to step down,” Notley said.
Lori Williams, associate professor of political studies at Mount Royal University, said while these are not new allegations, news of the bar hearing will bring them back to the minds of Albertans.
“It’s certainly a tough thing for Minister Shandro’s reputation, and of course it’s been around for a while now, but it’s being raised again in the context of a larger model of government, or a model of Cabinet minister.”
Williams thinks this is likely to hurt the UCP government as a whole more than Shandro individually.
“It is reminiscent of a series of events that occurred which raised very serious questions about the conduct of the Minister of Health then and now in the context of a series of cabinet resignations or suspensions, questions about how this government is run – if ethics is a central part of leadership in this government – I think that will be a question that will obsess over the government, and Jason Kenney, in particular, during the leadership review.
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Shandro was originally sworn in as Minister of Health in April 2019.
In September 2021, Prime Minister Jason Kenney said Shandro had tendered his resignation as Minister of Health. He was then sworn in as Minister of Labor and Immigration.
Jason Copping, who previously headed the Ministry of Labor and Immigration, took the oath of health minister at the same time.
The Law Society of Alberta states that as an autonomous profession, lawyers in Alberta are expected to conduct themselves and their practice of law in a highly ethical and above reproach manner. the Code of Conduct sets out the principles and high standards that apply to every lawyer in Alberta.
The date for the hearing has not yet been set. The Law Society of Alberta said once citations are issued, the court office manages the hearing process from that point on. The company said it could not speculate on how long the hearing process will take.
Generally, when a lawyer is found to have engaged in conduct deserving of a sanction, they are subject to a reprimand, suspension or disbarment, according to the Law Society of Alberta. .
The lawyer may also be ordered to pay a fine and/or costs.
Global News has contacted the Prime Minister’s Office to comment on the story.
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