Shandro, Copping swap roles as Kenney shuffles cabinet

There is a new Health Minister in the province, but in a surprise move the former wasn’t booted from Jason Kenney’s caucus. Tara Overholt has the details.

EDMONTON — Two Alberta ministers will be swapping roles as Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shuffles his cabinet Tuesday afternoon.

With the changes, former Health Minister Tyler Shandro will now take on the role of Minister of Labour and Immigration, while the man who held that role since 2019, Jason Copping, will be the province’s new Minister of Health.

WATCH: Jason Kenney makes changes to his cabinet at a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. 

Tuesday’s ceremony was a rather quick one, with just the two changes being made.

The shuffle comes as Shandro and Kenney face sharp criticism for their handling of the COVID-19 crisis that has pushed the provincial healthcare system to the brink of collapse.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been soaring for weeks, leading to the mass cancellation of surgeries and doctors being briefed on how to decide, if necessary, who gets life-saving help and who does not.

Now, the handling of the pandemic and the responsibilities of the province’s healthcare system will shift to Copping.

During Tuesday’s COVID-19 update, Copping took to the podium for the first time as health minister, saying he will be working on three key issues to shift how the province manages COVID-19.

“First, increasing our baseline hospital capacity permanently. Second, educating vaccine-hesitant Albertans to get more Albertans immunized. And third, preparing our health system to more adequately respond to potential future waves of COVID-19,” said Copping.

“I know there are many questions of how, and there will be details to come in that, but for now, I will be stepping into this vital role and executing on these priorities.”

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