Jason Copping takes over as Alberta health minister
September 22, 2021
EDMONTON – Tyler Shandro is out as Alberta’s health minister and Jason Copping (pictured) is taking over the key cabinet position. Shandro and Copping are swapping portfolios, Shandro takes over as the minister of labour and immigration. Premier Jason Kenney shuffled his cabinet Tuesday in a short swearing-in ceremony at Government House.
At a news conference later in the day, Kenney said Shandro had offered his resignation.
“He and I both came to the conclusion that it would be best to get a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh start at the health ministry,” Kenney said.
He noted the role was particularly difficult during the pandemic and referenced an incident where protesters threatened Shandro over the UCP government’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“I am deeply committed to helping steer the province through this current crisis and on to better days,” Copping said.
He outlined three key priorities: increasing hospital capacity, educating vaccine-hesitant Albertans to get more people immunized and preparing the health system to respond to potential future waves of COVID-19.
“I will be stepping into this vital role and executing on these priorities,” said Copping.
The shuffle comes as Alberta is struggling with a devastating fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and Kenney faces turmoil within his own caucus.
The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the province’s healthcare system, bringing it to the brink of collapse.
Also on Tuesday, Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver issued a letter to the federal government asking for help dealing with the crush of patients. However, Kenney insisted his government asked federal agencies for backup measures as a precaution.
As of Tuesday, there were 20,917 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta – more than twice as many as any other province or territory.