Shandro ‘confrontational’ in call about city’s 911 dispatch concerns, councillor says

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“He treated me like a three-year-old child — that I didn’t know anything about this issue,” she said.

And in city council Monday, she detailed the conversation in public, saying that she felt Shandro was “cross-examining” her.

“He was phoning to put me in my place. There was no question about it, and that I really didn’t know the facts. His approach was confrontational. He was arrogant.”

Colley-Urquhart and Shandro previously served on Calgary Police Commission together before Shandro became an MLA.

Last week, city council reviewed a letter from Shandro that expresses support for shifting Alberta’s remaining municipally run ambulance dispatch services to centres run by Alberta Health Services. The letter, obtained by Postmedia, says “a borderless and consolidated dispatch system will in fact provide better patient care,” a position mayors in Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Wood Buffalo have vehemently opposed.

Coun Diane Colley-Urquhart wears a Calgary Flames sticker on her jacket at City Council Tuesday, July 30, 2019. Jim Wells/Postmedia

Shandro’s press secretary Steve Buick said in a statement that Shandro reached out to Colley-Urquhart after her concerns appeared in the media.

Buick characterized the call as “a lengthy conversation about the decision, and the overwhelming evidence supporting it.”

AHS and the provincial government have defended the consolidation as part of bringing all of Alberta’s municipalities under the single consolidated system. Most of the province, including Edmonton, moved to the consolidated EMS dispatch model in 2009. Officials in the affected communities, however, raise concerns about dispatchers having a lack of knowledge of local geography as well as creating delays by splitting up ambulance dispatch from local police and fire response.


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