Posted on Sep 24, 2020
NDP OPPOSITION AND LETHBRIDGE FIREFIGHTERS CALL ON SHANDRO TO SCRAP PLANS TO TAKE AWAY LOCAL EMS DISPATCH
LETHBRIDGE - Opposition Leader Rachel Notley and MLA Shannon Phillips joined Lethbridge firefighters today to call on Health Minister Tyler Shandro to abandon his misguided plan to take local ambulance dispatch away from Lethbridge and three other Alberta communities.
“There is no evidence that this move will improve ambulance services,” Notley said, “and there’s a real chance it will make services worse. It’s just not worth it to roll the dice on such a critical system with the lives of Albertans at stake.
“Tyler Shandro did not consult with the Albertans who know best, the emergency responders, or the elected mayors of Lethbridge, Calgary, Red Deer and Fort McMurray, who have been crystal clear that their communities want to keep their existing emergency dispatch system.”
Shandro’s plan to centralize the four regional dispatch centres was previously rejected by the Notley NDP government, as well as previous PC governments. The plan was harshly criticized by MLA Prasad Panda when he was a Wildrose MLA, and two current UCP MLAs, Tany Yao and Drew Barnes, have also urged Shandro to drop it.
“This is not a partisan issue. It’s a public safety issue and a Lethbridge issue,” said Shannon Phillips, MLA for Lethbridge West. “Nathan Neudorf’s silence on this issue is a big problem. It’s not how we do things in Lethbridge. We have a proud tradition of co-operation between MLAs and city council. We do what’s right for Lethbridge, and we don’t take too kindly to having bad ideas imposed on us from Edmonton. So I invite Nathan Neudorf to put his loyalty to his community ahead of his loyalty to Tyler Shandro.”
Notley and Phillips were joined by Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services Deputy Chief Kelly L’Hirondelle and IAFF Local 237 president Warren Nelson, an active Lethbridge firefighter.
“We believe that the City of Lethbridge, our partner municipalities and the Province of Alberta have the same goals when it comes to emergency services,” said L’Hirondelle. “The best possible patient outcomes, financial efficiencies, and operational efficiencies. It is our opinion that consolidating EMS dispatch services accomplishes none of those things.”