May 18th, 2024

Mayor wants Shandro fired

By Lethbridge Herald on January 12, 2021.

Herald photo by Ian Martens An ambulance leaves the downtown Fire Headquarters Station 1 Monday afternoon on its way to a call, as the mayors of Lethbridge, Calgary, Red Deer and Wood Buffalo are calling on the province to overturn the decision to consolidate EMS dispatch.

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
Mayor Chris Spearman called for Health Minister Tyler Shandro to be turfed by Premier Kenney over his lack of understanding of the life-saving nature of integrated EMS dispatch in Lethbridge, and three other municipalities, impacted by an Alberta Health Services plan to scrap local EMS dispatch when the current contract ends today.
“I am very concerned this Health Minister is not listening to Albertans on a series of important issues related to health,” Spearman stated in a press conference alongside the mayors of Calgary, the RM of Wood Buffalo and Red Deer on Monday.
“In this case when seconds matter, when lives are at stake, we have a minister who is ignoring the best practice, and choosing to impose a system bureaucrats have long desired, which is not in the interests of Albertans. My appeal is to Premier Kenney. Overrule your health minister or change the health minister. He is not listening to Albertans.”
Spearman reiterated his previous criticisms of Alberta Health Services’ plans to take over ambulance response at call centres located nowhere near Lethbridge, without regard to the potential cost in local lives lost.
“Siloing EMS dispatch and separating it from the other emergency services will result in fragmented patient services and poor patient outcomes,” he said. “Minister Shandro has consistently failed to address this issue and has not demonstrated he understands it. The decision to proceed with EMS dispatch consolidation is a reckless one that will jeopardize patient outcomes. Our municipalities have spent four months trying to work with our provincial government on this issue. There has been no indication from Minister Shandro, or this provincial government, that they wish to work with municipalities. And our appeal to Premier Kenney appears to have fallen on deaf ears.”
Three of the impacted municipalities, Lethbidge, Red Deer and Wood Buffalo, had offered to take over the cost of maintaining EMS dispatch in their communities in a proposal made to Premier Kenney in December, and had hoped Kenney would intervene to override his health minister’s decision to allow AHS to consolidate dispatch service from six call centres to three.
That proposal now appears to have been ignored by Kenney, who had not spoken to the mayors about it as of Monday.
“Right now it has been a wall of silence, and they are determined to move forward with this change,” stated Spearman. “I think it is completely unacceptable. A government needs to be accountable to Albertans. People have been asking for accountability for this government, and there has been no credibility in their dealings with municipalities.”
Spearman and the other mayors confirmed not only had there been no communication with the premier’s office on this issue, there has also been no communication to date from Alberta Health Services on how the system will be handed over as of Jan.19 from local dispatch. And there are no answers from AHS on how it intends to work with other local emergency response agencies like law enforcement or fire services in the formerly integrated communities.
“The City of Lethbridge has six (ambulances) — it is not unusual to have three of those ambulances out of the city on inter-facility transfers,” stated Spearman. “Under the AHS system, we are counting on them to call back and request a fire apparatus, and we’re not confident they will consistently do that, and the nearest ambulance might be 20-30 minutes away. I think that is shocking service. It is a blatant disregard for people who are suffering health emergencies.”
Lethbridge West MLA and NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips also weighed in on the issue Monday.
“It was very clear to me the UCP was busy making vacation plans rather than engaging with municipalities (on this issue),” said Phillips. “That is really unfortunate, and I think it is no coincidence, the (former) Minister of Municipal Affairs was one of the people sunning herself on the beach, and had planned to be away for almost four weeks while these kinds of issues were bubbling, and while millions of Albertans felt they weren’t being heard on something as fundamental as emergency response.”
Lethbridge East MLA Nathan Neudorf declined to give comment on the issue when given the opportunity by The Lethbridge Herald on Monday.
Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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Southern Albertan

In addition to this bungling of integrated EMS dispatch, this is another description of the Shandro fiasco and why he should not, be the health minister….should not with regard for the Kenney UCP drive toward private-for-profit health care and not, because of what is explained here, let alone his fight with his neighbour in Calgary:
“The Shandro Fiasco”


This ideologically driven government is not listening.
Jason Kenny and the UCP have lost the moral authority to govern.
Albertans will remember in 2023.


People will die or be maimed due to slow responses. The facts from other regions that have been under this system show multiple issues, including overlap of services, ambulances sent on long runs, leaving their home region vulnerable, higher costs . . . it is a bad idea and you will see the UCP lose the next election, without a doubt. Sadly, we will lose a great MLA, Nathan Neudorf!
I have to really wonder if the Premier is purposely trying to destroy this province under some ‘agenda’ . . . can he really be that stupid? Are the accountants that are only looking at figures and missing all of the variables blind? You don’t have to have a Grade 7 education to see this is not going to work!
Anyone looked at Ontario’s EMS issues recently???
We should have a province wide panel observing every life lost and every person maimed due to slow responses and CODE RED’s, this will create!
Did the Premier come from Ottawa to destroy this province . . .? If not, he is doing a great job doing just that!!!
Can we Impeach him?


Remember the non-elected 12 member panel Jason Kenney selected to advise his government vis a vis economic recovery? No word this panel has been disbanded, so you can bet your money major decisions based on free-market fundamentalism/trickle down theory together with privatizing EMS/dispatch is responsible.
Government by non-elected panel!