Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann releases Earth Day Statement

Liberal MLA David Swann has issued the following statement in recognition of Earth Day:

I’m inviting all Albertans to join me in participating in Earth Day this Sunday.

For nearly 50 years people across the globe have come together on Earth Day to raise awareness and fight for positive change on environmental issues.

This year’s theme is ending plastic pollution. Earth Day Network is asking citizens of the world to pledge to reduce the amount of plastic products they use.

It is of vital importance that we take care of our planet for our own well-being and that of the rich and diverse life that share it with us.

The Alberta Liberals are proud to be the most environmentally responsible party in the Alberta Legislature.

We’ll keep fighting for progress on important environmental issues like wildlife rehabilitation, combating climate change, protecting our watersheds and implementing Extended Producer Responsibility recycling in Alberta.

This Earth Day, let’s all aspire to be better stewards of our planet.


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann calls out the NDP Government’s half-measure wildlife rehabilitation reforms

Liberal MLA David Swann is calling out the NDP Government for their half-measure reform on wildlife rehabilitation that only allows for wildlife rehabilitation of orphaned black bear cubs:

“Sadly, this is yet another example of the NDP doing the bear minimum on environmental and progressive issues.”

Dr. David Swann tabled a petition with over 20 thousand signatures demanding the Minister of Environment and Parks to reassess, update, and complete written protocols for all species on which restrictions on rehabilitation or fostering are placed earlier this month.

That pushed the NDP Government to announce they were lifting the ban on rehabilitating orphan black bear cubs but the government hasn’t extended this to all mammals.

Swann stated, “I’m disappointed that NDP Government can’t use the existing research to permit rehabilitation of other mammals.”

“We need to improve protocols for species for which there are rehabilitation restrictions.”

“Grizzly cubs are particularly vulnerable as an at-risk species. It is troubling that this Government did not consider their protection important enough to include in this policy change.

“We have a moral responsibility to help ensure the health of species in our ecosystem. Restricting rehabilitation permits prevents injured and orphaned animals from receiving the assistance and rehabilitation they need.”


Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann demand more action on Legal Aid, court wait times

Alberta Liberals David Khan and David Swann have released the following statement in response to today’s announcement from Alberta Justice:

Alberta’s Justice Minister announced the government is introducing more duty counsel services at first appearance bail hearings to reduce court backlogs.

Both Khan and Swann say this will help as a limited step forward – but ultimately this is a grossly inadequate solution.

“We are supportive of the move but it does not address the real issues. The NDP Government lacks a comprehensive strategy to address systemic problems with court wait times.”

Khan stated, “This only addresses first appearances. There is too much self-representation in the courts which slows down trials, clogs up the system and denies disadvantaged Albertans a fair and equitable hearing.

“The Government should be heeding the advice of Criminal Defence Lawyer Association (CDLA) and providing an immediate 40% funding increase for Legal Aid as part of a 65% increase over the next four years. We also need to see income thresholds for support raised. Too many Albertans who need this service aren’t even eligible to receive it.

“The Government also needs to be implementing other strategies for reducing court wait times, such as reviewing the efficiency of the “file ownership” system for Crown Prosecutors, implementing a universal province-wide trial scheduling system, enforcing timely release of disclosure, appointing and funding more provincial court justices, and pressuring the federal Government to fill Superior Court Judge vacancies.”

Swann added to Khan’s remarks “This Minister is not listening to all sides on this issue. I am hearing from defence lawyers in Alberta that they are not being properly consulted. Justice is about balance and that means bringing all stakeholders to the table to find solutions to these problems.

“The Minister also needs to get serious about addressing the backlogs and systemic issues at the Calgary Medical Examiner office which have led to lengthy turnaround times for death investigations.”


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann calls for action on broken Calgary ME Office

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann is demanding the Justice Minister take responsibility for Calgary’s broken Medical Examiner Office and act swiftly to address systemic issues:

Swann is calling for concrete action to deal with the staff revolving door at the Calgary ME Office and repeated reports of lengthy turnaround times for death investigations and the impacts on morale that result.

Swann stated, “Eleven months waiting for drug toxicology and final reporting is unacceptable.

“The Minister has not met her 2017 commitment to reduce turnaround times by 50% and now 4 out of 5 pathologists have left or are leaving the Calgary office. This seriously compromises death investigations including homicides and overdoses.

“Despite extra training, forensic pathologists working in the Justice department are receiving substantially less pay and benefits than their AHS counterparts and will continue to leave for better working conditions elsewhere in North America. Additionally, they receive no pay incentive to address massive backlogs with such departures.

“Dealing with these issues is a necessary first step to addressing high-turnaround times and high turnover rates.”


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann and Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan are calling for support to the Siksika Nation as they face state of emergency with flooding crisis

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann and Liberal Leader David Khan are calling for action from the NDP Government on the Siksika Nation state of emergency flooding crisis:

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann says the NDP Government should immediately reach out to support the Siksika Nation as it is facing a crisis today and not wait for proposed changes to the Emergency Management Act in the fall.

The Siksika Nation has declared a 7-day local state of emergency as it struggles with massive overland flooding and limited resources to deal with the crisis.

Siksika Nation chief and council says there is a risk to people, property and infrastructure.

At an emergency meeting Tuesday, Chief Joseph Weasel Child said 30 homes are affected by flooding and up to 300 kilometers of the 500 kilometers of road on Siksika land are under water.

Weasel Child added “the crisis is now” and is concerned about river flooding once the snowpack melts.

“This is the worst I have seen in my life on the nation,” he said.

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan says “Siksika Nation needs help now – not later this year.”

“Waiting for the report will be too late to assist the Siksika Nation which has suffered a series of disasters including the flooding this week, wildfires in October and the massive Southern Alberta Flood in 2013.”


Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann react to Bill 12

Alberta Liberals David Khan and David Swann have issued the following release on the NDP Government’s proposed legislation to reduce natural gas, crude oil and refined bitumen exports to B.C. through licensing:

Khan and Swann spoke on Bill 12 saying, “Pushing the price of gasoline to $2 a litre in BC won’t build the Trans Mountain Pipeline. It will build a backlash against Albertans.”

David Khan stated, “This is divisive strategy that will harm Alberta with job losses, reduce provincial revenue and will not get this pipeline built.

“Bill 12 grants extreme new powers to the NDP Government that will them to unilaterally force industry to reduce exports without any accountability. That is undemocratic.”

Dr. Swann criticized Bill 12 saying, “The lack of details in this legislation is disturbing. The NDP Government wants extraordinary powers to interfere with the oil and gas industry but won’t provide specifics or limitations on those new powers.

“There is no proper arm’s length appeal process. The NDP Energy Minister will act to both cut export licenses and renew export licenses. The NDP Government drafted this legislation for its political convenience – not for the good of Albertans.”


Statement from Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann has released the following statement on Yom HaShoah:

I am encouraging all Albertans to take time for somber reflection on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On this day we remember the evil committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis that saw six million Jews brutally murdered solely because of their faith. It is a day for us to reflect and mourn on a horrific and shameful chapter in human history.

As the Holocaust fades into the past, we must remain vigilant against hatred in all its forms. We must be alert and watchful against the systemic violence, persecution, and racism that sadly still threaten our society today.

There were many during the Holocaust who stood up to persecution and acted to save the lives of their neighbours shielding them from this murderous evil. We must honour those heroic efforts and be mindful of their courage so that we continue to be steadfast and determined to ensure the horrors of the Holocaust never happen again.


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann releases statement on Humboldt tragedy

Today in the Legislature: Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann made the following statement on the Humboldt tragedy:

As a father and grandfather of a passionate hockey player let me express my deepest sympathies on this heartbreaking tragedy. Neither tears nor words can adequately express the devastating loss. I and many Canadians are still struggling to understand this profound incident.

Amidst the devastating sorrow there is hope. We have rallied as Canadians to support families and friends who have suffered the loss and injury of loved ones. We also stand with the community of Humboldt which has been so dramatically impacted.

As a nation we are still in mourning. But, we are also showing that we care. Canadians are launching fundraising campaigns, opening their homes and reaching out to provide emotional support. Canadians are doing all they can to help. I applaud their efforts and urge them to continue this assistance.

We are a nation that stands together in the wake of this tragedy as we continue to grieve.

I encourage Albertans struggling with the emotional impact of this crash to reach out to family, friends and if needed a mental health professional. You are not alone.


Morley medical crisis exposes inadequate EMS Surge Capacity

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann says the Morley medical crisis may have put Calgary patients at risk due to EMS resources being stretched beyond capacity by the crisis.

EMS said at least 6 ambulances arrived on the scene to deal with 15 patients on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. Tragically, one child died and 14 others were hospitalized yesterday.

Dr. Swann stated, “This issue demonstrates EMS’s lack of surge capacity. This event stretched EMS to its limits. Sources indicated EMS needed to call off-duty paramedics to meet the extra demand and an ambulance from Priddis, another from Kananaskis and two from Calgary had to be called in. EMS was clearly under-resourced for this mass patient event.

“Sources indicated a city-wide appeal was made to find 5 ambulances free to travel an hour out to Morley. This left the City vulnerable to any large patient event and highlights the fact that we cannot safely manage a major disaster.”

“The issue could have been worse. Morley has a unique-in-Alberta policy in place that forbids flexing their ambulances to other jurisdictions. Without this policy in place it could have potentially made this tragedy much worse.

“95% of patient transfers are taking over 15 minutes in Alberta.The Minister could end excessive hallway waits tomorrow by directing AHS, as they have in the UK and Israel, to make 15 minutes the standard transfer time from EMS to nursing staff within15 minutes. Failure to fix this will inevitably result in preventable loss of life.”

Dr. Swann is available for interviews at 1:15 pm on the “INS” at the Alberta Legislature. He is also available by phone or skype.


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann demands NDP Government end hallway waits for EMS

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann demands the NDP Government solve the EMS Crisis.

“More money for ambulances and paramedics will not reduce the wasted transfer time from paramedic to nurse in the ER”, he said.

Alberta paramedics are spending 650, 000 wasted hours per year waiting for patient transfers at emergency rooms with a median wait time of 53 minutes and 42 seconds. This takes ambulances out of commission and costs Albertans $20 million a year.

Swann stated, “In Great Britain any delay of more than 15 minutes is deemed a potential threat to life. When it hits 30 minutes it’s considered a crisis. So why is this NDP Government content to let Alberta patients wait for 1 hour?

“The funding increase from this Government is not enough. More money is not a strategy. AHS must shorten emergency room transfer times. The UK and Israel have done it. What is Alberta waiting for?”

 

Dr. Swann is available for interviews at 1:15 pm on the “INS” at the Alberta Legislature. He is also available by phone or skype.