Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann say the Q2 Fiscal Update has Alberta on the edge of a financial cliff

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann declare the Q2 Fiscal Update has Alberta on the edge of a financial cliff that should concern all Albertans.

Khan stated, “We are facing a precarious future. Spending is continuing to increase and GDP growth is shrinking. Both investment income and corporate income tax income are lower. Non-renewable resource revenue and revenue from personal income tax are both up, for now. The deficit is lower, but it’s still a whopping $7.5 billion.”

Swann stated, “The government continues to draw money from the Heritage Trust Fund to artificially reduce the deficit. They have pulled out over $4.4 billion in the past 3 years. That is like pulling money out of your RRSP to pay down your credit cards. It makes no sense. It is robbing future generations of Albertans just to deal with a current financial problem.”

Khan added, “Oil continues its roller-coaster run, taking Albertans on a yet another stomach-churning ride. The Western Canada Select (WCS) oil price differential will be the key. The Government is projecting the WCS differential average for the year at just below $30/barrel. That is marginally better than the almost $50 spread that has been punishing all Albertans for the past month. But it could get worse in the months to come.

“The NDP Government claims our economy is roaring back. At best it’s limping along. The most recent unemployment rate is well above 8% in Calgary. That city’s downtown office vacancy rate is still staggering, at upwards of 30%.

“This NDP Government is continuing to make expensive, speculative promises or proposals in the lead up to the election.

“This includes throwing up to $3 billion at rail cars. This proposal wouldn’t kick in for another 13 months, and may increase WCS prices a paltry $4/barrel. This is a costly scheme designed to win votes in the next election. But it delivers nothing now to Albertans.

“The other alleged solution is oil production reductions. This could reduce royalty revenues and leave less money for social programs. It could also lead to more job losses. Some oil companies are strongly opposed. This is yet another “Hail Mary” plan.”

The Alberta Liberals are extremely concerned that things are going to get worse before they get better. Oil service companies have announced more layoffs just this week. Major oil companies are declaring we are in a financial crisis. The construction of more pipeline capacity would provide considerable relief. We support the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. But we also know the consultation and approval process must be properly completed and past mistakes avoided.

Albertans are facing a grim Christmas. We are all in a heap of hurt. We can’t keep running up our credit card. We must address revenue sources, spending priorities, and structural deficits.

Alberta Liberals know the people of this province are hard working and resilient. We will get through this together.


Alberta Liberals issues Statement on Transgender Day of Remembrance

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following statement in recognition of Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Khan stated, “Transgender Day of Remembrance is an important and solemn time. We must remember and honour those who have been tragically lost to violence against the Transgender Community.

“We must also work to improve the lives of all Transgender Albertans with initiatives like improving access to hormone replacement therapy.”

David Swann stated, “Transphobia is horrific and hateful. We must work to end violence against transgender individuals. We also have to defend against anyone who would undermine their identity and existence. Let us all remember those who lost their lives and work together to stop these tragedies in the future.”


Alberta Liberals recognize Holodomor Awareness Week

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following statement in recognition of Holodomor Awareness Week.

Khan stated, “We honour the victims of the terrible famine genocide committed against Ukrainians 85 years ago. 12 million Ukrainians died at a result of this horrific act of peacetime aggression against a people from their own Government.

“We remember those who lost their lives and honour their memory by ensuring such a tragedy never happens again.

Swann stated, “The senseless loss of lives in the Ukraine 85 years ago is a black mark on human history. Let us spend this week of remembrance honouring the dead and learning from history.”

David Khan and David Swann will be attending today’s Holodomor Awareness Week event at the Alberta Legislature.


Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann and Leader David Khan call for independent review of Alberta’s pesticide use regulations, monitoring, enforcement and public accountability

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann and Liberal Leader David Khan are calling on the NDP Government to strengthen pesticide use regulations, monitoring, enforcement and public accountability.

There has been more than a 60% increase in pesticide use in Alberta over a 10-year period ending in 2013, according to data from Alberta Environment. This rising trend is concerning to some Albertans. More alarming is the NDP Government’s lack of enforcement and accountability on pesticide use.

Sheryl McCumsey, Coordinator, Pesticide Free Alberta, stated, “Compliance officers with Alberta Environment are not properly monitoring pesticide applications. Nor are they fully investigating public complaints of clear violations that place Albertans and the environment at risk. We have expressed our concerns in meetings with Alberta Environment but it produced no results. That must change. Albertans deserve answers.”

David Khan stated, “We strongly urge the NDP Government to launch an independent investigation of the current Alberta government system of monitoring and enforcement of pesticide applications, especially in public places. Alberta Liberals are also pushing for immediate action by Alberta Environment to improve transparency in the public complaint process. Albertans deserve to be fully protected from the misuse of pesticides.”

David Swann stated, “We should be using less pesticides, not more. There are numerous studies that demonstrate a link between some pesticides and their harmful effect on human health. Furthermore, the lack of comprehensive provincial regulations and full enforcement may be exposing Albertans to potential risk. There must be robust, consistent public policies that increase and improve safeguards.”

MEDIA AVAILABILITY:

10:30 am, Monday, November 19, 2018

Legislature Media Room

Dr. Swann, David Khan and Sheryl McCumsey will attend the news conference on Monday. They will be joined by a group of concerned Albertans including biologists and health professionals.


Alberta Liberals host expert panel forum on Drug Decriminalization – Help Not Handcuffs

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA Dr David Swann will host an expert panel to discuss Drug Decriminalization – Help Not Handcuffs..

Two Albertans are dying every day from drug overdoses. Alberta Liberals have constructive suggestions to better manage the Opioid Crisis. We urge the NDP Government to work with the Federal Government to Decriminalize Drugs. ,

Khan stated, “It is time we treat addicts as people with a horrible disease. They are sick. They are not criminals. Decriminalization of drugs is an essential part of reducing stigma and improving their chances of healing.”

Dr Swann stated, “We must remove the stigma of drug use and provide hope. We must also address the financial impact of this crisis. Canada spent $550M in 2017 on recurrent hospital visits, policing, court proceedings, and incarceration. Decriminalization will lead those with addictions and devastating mental illness to help and recovery – not thrown into jail.”

The issue will be fully discussed by panelists on all sides of this issue  including medical clinicians, harm reduction advocates, a former drug user turned health advocate and those who lost loved ones to opioids.
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WHERE: O’Brien Institute for Public Health
HSC Room G500 – 3330 Hospital Dr NW.

WHEN: 7:00 pm Wednesday Nov 14
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: 6:30 pm


Alberta Liberals release Remembrance Day Statement

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann release the following statement in recognition of Remembrance Day:

“Today we remember those who served in Passchendaele, Normandy, Korea, and those who continue to serve with honour in Afghanistan and abroad.

“Many lives were tragically cut short in service to their country. Others return to Canada wounded both physically and emotionally. We owe them all a tremendous debt of gratitude and must fully support them and their families.

“We enjoy freedom because of the sacrifice of our men and women in the armed forces. We will never forget their duty to our country and to all Canadians.

 

“Peace is never free. Peace is earned. We honour those who paid the price for Peace for all of us.”


Alberta Liberals call for emergency debate on $260 billion in unfunded oil patch liabilities

The Alberta Liberal Opposition has submitted a Standing Order 30 Motion with the Speaker’s Office. It calls for an emergency debate today on the publicly estimated $260 billion in unfunded oil patch liabilities.

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA David Swann have been demanding answers on this issue. The NDP Government has been silent. Khan and Swann now believe a full and immediate public debate in the Legislature is essential to inform Albertans. Oil patch cleanups could become a financial, economic and environmental disaster for all Albertans.

Khan stated, “Taxpayers are on the hook for billions of dollars in cleanups. But how much exactly? The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) said it could be $260 billion or more. The NDP Government said it was $58 billion. Alberta taxpayers have a right to know how big this problem really is.

“The potential financial hit could bankrupt Alberta. The potential environmental impact is unimaginable.

“There are also risks to a sustainable energy industry. ATB and Canada’s major banks may be exposed as both investors and lenders to the oil patch. All these issues should be publicly examined.”

Swann stated, “This emergency debate must be an open and honest discussion. We need to hear ideas from across the political spectrum on how to resolve these enormous challenges. We need non-partisan constructive solutions on behalf of all Albertans.”

Alberta Liberals appeal to all political parties to work together on this issue. We ask for unanimous support on this Emergency Debate in the Legislature. Albertans deserve answers.

David Khan and David Swann are available for media interviews.


Alberta Liberals demand emergency debate on $260 billion in energy reclamation liabilities

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann are demanding the NDP Government hold an emergency debate about the shocking cost to taxpayers of oil patch project reclamation.

It could cost up to $260 billion to clean up the Alberta oil patch according to an Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) senior official. The NDP Government had said the cost is $58 billion. What is the truth? Why can’t Albertans get a straight answer?

AER has now apologized, claiming the $260 billion figure was in error. AER also admitted they were attempting to frighten the industry into paying a bigger share if the cleanup costs. But the CEO of AER is suddenly resigning in the aftermath. Is he being made a scapegoat for NDP mismanagement of this important issue? What’s the next shoe to drop?

Khan stated, “Clearly the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Did the NDP order the AER to mislead the energy industry? Why is the NDP trying to cover up and then punish the AER for doing its job? Albertans have the right to know what the facts are and why the NDP is using scare tactics.

“Albertans are being told there could be a quarter-trillion in reclamation liabilities. But, only .6% has been collected from energy companies. That leaves Albertans on the hook for a potentially massive bill 3X greater than Alberta’s projected total debt. Taxpayers deserve more than evasive answers and damage control by the NDP Government.”

Swann stated, “Alberta Liberals have repeatedly requested more transparency on these costs. Instead, Albertans are getting more cover up by this NDP Government. Albertans should be outraged the NDP are playing politics with our environment.

“Alberta Liberals are demanding an emergency debate on this issue for tomorrow. Albertans deserve the truth.”

David Khan will be available for interviews at the “Inns” today at the Legislature.


Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr. David Swann call for protection of Albertans’ rights to medically assisted dying

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr. David Swann are calling on the NDP Health Minister to enforce a patient’s right to medically assisted dying at Alberta’s religious-based health facilities.

Covenant Health facilities are refusing to allow medically assisted deaths on their premises, according to media reports. They are also blocking patients from receiving medical assessments. They will not even allow them to fill out paperwork at their facilities. This is shameful. This is also illegal.

Swann stated, “These patients have a constitutionally-guaranteed right to humane medically assisted death.

“It is unreasonable to force vulnerable and very ill Albertans to undergo physician assessments at other facilities. It is shocking that they are being forced to undergo those assessments or fill out forms on the sidewalk and at bus stops. Alberta Liberals insist this practice end immediately.””

Khan stated, “Patients have rights. Why is this NDP Government not defending them? These are public facilities using public funding. They must not be allowed to circumvent the law because of their ties to the Catholic Church. The NDP Health Minister must protect patients’ rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Alberta Liberals are calling for the law to be enforced. We stand with these vulnerable Albertans. They deserve to die with dignity.

David Khan and Dr. Swann are available for interviews.


Alberta Liberals demand answers on staggering Oil Patch Liabilities

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann are demanding answers from the NDP Government on an estimated quarter of a trillion dollars in total oil and gas liabilities.

It could cost up to $260 billion to clean up the Alberta Oil Patch according to FOIP documents based on comments by a senior official with Alberta Environment Regulator (AER).

Khan stated, “That numbers are utterly shocking. It’s more than 16 times greater than the $1.6 billion in liability payments collected from energy companies. It’s more than 4 times greater than the $58 billion cleanup costs publicly estimated by the NDP Government. It’s almost 3 times greater than the $93 billion in projected total debt for Alberta.

“Alberta Liberals have demanded greater transparency on these liability numbers. We tried to boost accountability by suggesting an amendment to Government Motion XX during the spring session of the Legislature. The NDP turned us down.”

Swann stated, “We now know why the NDP rejected our amendment. They were trying to hide these disastrous figures from the public. It’s clear the NDP are not being honest with Albertans. The NDP are not living up to their fiscal or environmental responsibilities to this province.

“The Government must make all this information fully public including how these costs were calculated. Alberta Liberals demand there be safeguards for the environment and protection for Alberta taxpayers.

The NDP have criticized previous governments for not addressing the industry’s cleanup responsibilities. But, after 3 ½ years in office the NDP Government has not made any progress. Clearly, they are also kicking the can down the road.

Albertans should not be learning about these staggering liabilities from a FOIP search. The NDP Government must stop hiding this important information. Albertans deserve the truth.

David Khan and Dr. Swann are available for interviews.