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Lawyer for former Alberta cabinet minister says law society has no jurisdiction

The Law Society of Alberta doesn’t have the jurisdiction to address several complaints about former provincial cabinet minister Tyler Shandro, his lawyer suggested Monday.
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The Law Society of Alberta doesn’t have the jurisdiction to address several complaints about former provincial cabinet minister Tyler Shandro, his lawyer suggested Monday.

Shandro, a lawyer who was defeated as a member of the legislature in last month’s provincial election, had three complaints filed against him from his time as health minister for the United Conservative Party government early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

They include confronting a Calgary doctor in the front yard of his home, calling two Red Deer doctors on their personal cellphones and contacting a woman who sent a message to his wife’s company accusing the couple of being in a conflict of interest.

The hearing into whether Shandro broke the lawyers’ code of conduct in relation to the complaints is expected to continue until Wednesday after adjourning in January.

Shandro’s lawyer, Grant Stapon, told the law society panel in the online hearing Monday that he would be bringing forward a motion related to jurisdiction because there doesn’t appear to be any connection between the complaints and Shandro’s legal practice.

“This is, in fact, a proceeding brought for collateral or improper purposes,” Stapon said.

Bud Melnyk, chairman of the panel, said it would hear those arguments following the cross-examination of Shandro, which took several hours Monday.

Shandro said several times that he believed an escalation of threats against him and his wife between December 2019 and March 2020 were related to rocky negotiations with health-care unions and the Alberta Medical Association, which represents doctors.

When his lawyer tried to bring forward the application for a dismissal, the chairman said jurisdiction is established by the fact Shandro is a lawyer.

However, Melnyk said Stapon could make his arguments in closing statements.

“The arguments you’ve raised … are valid arguments, but they are arguments that we would hear at the conclusion of this hearing,” Melnyk said.

He adjourned the hearing until Tuesday, when Shandro’s lawyer is scheduled to start presenting evidence.

The hearing is to start Tuesday with testimony from provincial ethics commissioner Marguerite Trussler.

It’s then expected to continue Wednesday with oral arguments from both sides.