Shandro appointed Alberta Health Minister

    Says objective is to make the system more “patient centred”.

    NP-UN Western Bureau.

    Alberta’s newly appointed Health Minister says his government will aim to make the system more “patient centred” than it currently is.

    Tyler Shandro told New Pathway – Ukrainian News this would mean measuring outcomes, and making sure the money the government is spending on the system will ensure the outcomes they want.

    Shandro also said spending on health care will not necessarily be frozen.

    “We didn’t commit to freezing the health budget. We committed to either maintaining or increasing the health budget. It’s going to be a very difficult and long conversation with my colleague, Minister (Travis) Toews in Finance and to understand from the ministry as well what they are looking at and be able to find efficiencies and cut spending and where we need to increase,” he said, adding that spending will depend upon the number of people in the province.

    “We have a significant increase every year in our population and that inevitably does increase in a lot of ways what we do spend in our province on our health system. And that pressure is going to make it difficult,” he noted.

    Health care occupies the biggest portion of the provincial budget, close to 45% of the total. For Shandro, a rookie MLA, being charged with such a challenging portfolio is an honour

    “I am really excited to serve the people of Alberta,” he said.

    In announcing his cabinet upon his inauguration, April 30, Premier Jason Kenney noted that giving newcomers cabinet portfolios was one of his priorities.

    “This is a young, energetic and diverse team with deep experience. With an average age of 43, most members of this cabinet are new to public service. They ran for all of the right reasons: because they want to work hard to reverse years of economic decline and stagnation, and to get our economy moving again. This is a team that will be obsessed with creating jobs, showing the world that Alberta is open for business again, and fighting for a fair deal in Canada,” he said.

    Tyler Shandro, elected for the UCP in Calgary – Acadia, is the grand nephew of the very first Ukrainian MLA in Alberta – Andrew Shandro, who served as a Liberal for the Ukrainian bloc settlement constituency of Whitford from 1915 to 1922.

    Tyler Shandro was one of the first directors of the Calgary Ukrainian festival and still volunteers for the event. He belongs to the Ukrainian Hockey League, has volunteered for the Calgary Branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, used to be a board member of the University of Calgary Ukrainian Students’ Club and was recruited into the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Calgary by Past President Bohdan Romaniuk, whom he considers a mentor.

    “I met Tyler several years ago through UCPBA Calgary. He’s young, intelligent, principled and very hard working. I have no doubt that he will serve his constituents and the residents of Alberta faithfully and to the very best of his abilities,” said Romaniuk, who also serves as Vice-Chair of the NP-UN Board of Directors.

    “Just as importantly, from the perspective of our own community, Tyler will do so as the proud descendant of Ukrainian pioneers who came to this country over a century ago to secure the rights and freedoms that we now all share,” he added.

    Another incoming MLA of Ukrainian origin, Nate Glubish (Strathcona – Sherwood Park) was named Minister of Service Alberta. Returning UCP incumbent Mike Ellis (Calgary-West), whose maternal great-grandparents came from Ukraine was appointed to the non-cabinet position of Government Whip.

    Alberta’s new government is one of the most youthful in Canada, as well as being diverse, with 13 different languages spoken by ministers and, for the first time, Alberta will have a minister responsible for Multiculturalism, as well as a dedicated parliamentary secretary.

    “Albertans gave our new government a huge democratic mandate for bold change that gets our economy back to work and stands up for this province. This is a strong team that is ready to lead, and to deliver that change starting today,” said Kenney.