David Swann statement on National Day of Mourning

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement on the National Day of Mourning:

“Today we take the time to remember and to mourn those who have suffered injury or death while on the job.

“I am deeply saddened that this past year has seen an increase in workplace injuries over the previous. This trend simply cannot continue, especially given that many of these incidences are preventable.

“This is the second National Day of Mourning since WCB coverage was extended to farm workers and Occupational Health and Safety inspections were permitted on farms, and the first year that paid farm worker deaths were included in WCB statistics.

“While these basic legal protections were long overdue, they are no substitute for safe worksites that allow workers to do their jobs without fear of harm.

“It is my sincere hope that, by remembering the loss of these loved ones, we strengthen our commitment to building a safe work environment.

“I urge all employers and workers alike to strive to create a culture of safety. Our first priority should be ensuring the well-being of every Alberta worker, so that, at the end of the workday, they return home safe and healthy.”


NDP government must reinforce polluter pay principle following latest Redwater Energy ruling

In response to the Court of Appeal upholding last year’s Redwater Energy ruling, Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is calling on the NDP government to ensure the ‘polluter pays’ principle is upheld.

“Now that the courts have clearly signaled an insolvent company’s assets cannot be used primarily for remediation of non-producing wells, it is up to the NDP government to ensure reclamation costs are borne by industry and not Alberta taxpayers,” says Swann.

While abandoned oil and gas wells are a rapidly growing problem, the government is also failing to enforce polluter pays on tailings ponds and oil sands mines.

In his July 2015 report, the Auditor General was highly critical of the Mine Financial Security Program (MFSP) for not ensuring that mines hold sufficient cleanup funds. While the Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips accepted the Auditor General’s recommendations, and promised a MFSP review, subsequent government action on the file has been lacking.

“The province seems to be expecting the federal government to swoop in and help cover the cleanup costs, which should be the industry’s responsibility,” says Swann. “Forward thinking and greater financial security is a must if we are going to ensure that energy producers aren’t saddling Alberta taxpayers with massive liabilities.”


David Swann statement on Earth Day

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement for Earth Day:

“No matter who we are, or where we live, we all depend on our planet for the air, water, and soil to give us life. We have a solemn duty not only to ourselves, but to all humanity, to preserve and protect it.

“Today the greatest threat to our planet is intensifying climate change, caused by human activity. While there has been much discussion about government’s role in combating this issue, we must remember that the true power to create lasting and meaningful change lies with us.

“When joined together, all of our individual lifestyle changes can have an enormous impact. By committing ourselves to conservation, energy efficiency, and reduced pollution and waste, we help lower the cumulative effects of human activity on the environment – and therefore the destructive consequences of climate change.

“This Earth Day, I urge every Albertan to reflect on how we can give back to the planet. The Earth, and all the life it makes possible, is precious. Let us ensure it flourishes for generations to come.”


Edmonton Journal: Changes coming this spring as child intervention panel enters second phase

Liberal party panel member David Swann said Thursday there needs to be an objective review of that change.

“In 2014, we were so concerned about the government hiding information that we wanted to open everything up,” Swann said. “Now we realize the families affected feel they have no capacity to make a timely decision given the grief they’re in.”

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David Swann statement on Yom HaShoah

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann made the following statement on the floor of the Legislature for Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day:

“This coming Sunday marks Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Today we stand in the Legislature to remember the millions of Jewish women, children, and men brutally murdered by the Nazi regime. Their only crime was being what Adolf Hitler and his government hated and feared: different. Because of their religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, they deviated from the Nazi ideal of a pure Aryan nation, and so were exterminated.

“The full official name of Yom HaShoah translates to “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.”

“While we remember humanity at its darkest, and mourn those lost, we also acknowledge the incredible strength of the human spirit.

“Opposition to the Nazi regime took incredible courage. Many lost their lives. Nevertheless, resistance was widespread. Once-ordinary men and women became heroes as they fought back in countless ways. Their bravery gave others a glimmer of hope – a candle in the darkness.

“As the Holocaust fades into the past, we risk forgetting the consequences of not being vigilant against racism, hatred, and genocide in all its forms, and that we must be prepared to act when we see evidence anywhere, anytime, across our world.

“‘Never again’ is more than a hope – it’s a promise to act.

“When we say these words, we promise that we will follow the example of those who stood up and resisted, to fight to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are never repeated.”


Statement on including teaching of consent in sex education curriculum

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann issued the following statement in support of including the teaching of consent in the sexual education curriculum:

“Alberta Liberals have advocated for a number of years to include the teaching of consent as part of the sexual education curriculum. I am proud to say that we adopted this position as formal party policy in 2014.

“That is why I am very pleased to see influential voices in the Catholic School Board showing leadership by publicly discussing this matter. In particular, I applaud Marilyn Bergstra for putting forward a motion today that would call on the Board to lobby the government to include important concepts such as safe sex and consent, as well as programming that would address a variety of sexual orientations, in the sexual education curriculum.

“Consent is a subject that sex education teachers need to start discussing with students as early and as often as possible. Teaching that yes means yes, no means no, and that permission must be sought, and given, before any sexual activity can occur is fundamental to the understanding of proper sexual, and, indeed, societal behaviour.

“As a graduate student in public health, Ms. Bergstra brings an important perspective to this debate. Her motion is aimed at equipping students with crucial, practical knowledge – not encouraging sexual activity. Concerns that providing students with such knowledge would promote promiscuity are, in my view, misguided.

“Therefore, I would encourage the Board to carefully consider approving this motion, and help to show leadership in this important area of the sexual education curriculum.”