Canada: Final arguments in Law Society case against Alberta’s former justice minister

CALGARY — The lawyer for a former Alberta cabinet minister who is alleged to have broken the legal profession’s code of conduct says complaints against his client were politically motivated, while counsel for the Law Society of Alberta says he was trying to quell legitimate public debate.

The allegations against Tyler Shandro, dating back to his time as provincial health minister early in the COVID-19 pandemic, involve an interaction with a longtime friend and party colleague about a social media post and two family doctors in central Alberta the former minister contacted about their concerns.

“These are all efforts to make an attack on Shandro’s political activities and that should be a factor this panel considers in dismissing each of these complaints as not having the appropriate nexus as to the practice of law,” said Grant Stapon, in his final argument to the Law Society of Alberta panel.

“I want you to consider the difference between prosecution and persecution in a case like this.”

The lengthy hearings into the three complaints began in January. Shandro, who was later moved to the justice portfolio, was defeated in the May provincial election.

Dr. Mukarram Zaidi, who had posted a photo on social media of Shandro with a caption related to privatizing health care, earlier told the hearing the minister and his wife visited his home in March 2020. He said it occurred during fractious negotiations between the government and the Alberta Medical Association over fees.