Alberta Liberals’ Priorities for Spring Session

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue their priorities for the 2019 Spring Legislative Session.

Khan stated, “The Alberta Liberals priority issues will be improving public healthcare, the TMX Pipeline, boosting education and an immediate ban on conversion therapy. We will hold the NDP Government to account for failing to deliver on its progressive promises. We will also battle against the UCP efforts to push the legislative agenda towards their 1950s social conservative vision of Alberta.”

Swann stated, “We must preserve public healthcare. We will hold the NDP Government to account with its Bill 1 for failing to reduce wait times, not providing sufficient mental health resources, and limiting access in Central Alberta.”

Khan added, “Alberta Liberals will also fight against any and all efforts to privatize this vital service for Albertans. The UCP are prepared to cut healthcare funding and boost the fee-for-service model. All Albertans deserve affordable and accessible public health care.

“We will push the NDP to demand Federal Government accountability on the status of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Indigenous consultation process. As a Constitutional Law & Indigenous Rights lawyer, I know this consultation can be complex, extensive and sensitive. We must get this right. Albertans cannot afford another mistake on this project so vital for job creation and our economy.”

Khan continued, “We will continue to tackle education issues, including the Government’s failure to reduce class sizes, boost inclusive education and immediately end seclusion rooms.”

Swann stated, “We called on the Government for legislation banning Conversion Therapy 13 months ago, in February 2018. Nothing has happened. We will continue to pressure them on this issue. A Jason Kenney Government cannot be trusted to care about this issue and legislate a ban. cuttle a legislated ban. We must have action on this issue during the session.

“We know Albertans are anxious about their future. They see other political parties squabble and stumble from scandal to scandal. Alberta Liberals will be different. We will present constructive solutions. We will make life better for all Albertans.”


Alberta Liberals demand immediate ban of seclusion rooms

David Khan stated, “Alberta Liberals demand that seclusion rooms be banned immediately.

Education Minister David Eggen’s decision to wait another six months is deplorable. The NDP Government continues to subject vulnerable children to the barbaric practice of seclusion rooms for the rest of this school term. That is unconscionable.

“Even worse is that some Alberta schools will be allowed to continue seclusion room use after August 30 if they can convince the NDP Government. This is one step forward and 10 steps back.

“Alberta Liberals believe the NDP Government has also failed to address the key issue of true inclusion of special needs students. We must have more resources to properly support teachers in classrooms with these vulnerable children. We need to hire more educational assistants and provide more funding for the creation of Individualized Education Plans and Positive Behaviour Intervention Supports. Unsupported mainstreaming of special needs children is not inclusive education.

“We have been pushing for this decision for months. The NDP Government finally agreed with the Alberta Liberal policy position. The right action is to safeguard vulnerable Alberta school children NOW – not next Fall. There must also be proper resources allocated to ensure special needs students are fully included in mainstream education.”

David Swann said, “We called for more stringent rules and mandating clear reporting practices last fall. We helped concerned parents organize a demonstration on the steps of the Legislature. We put forward our recommendations for a ban and more resources to facilitate special needs students. The NDP Government should have acted much sooner. But clearly, this government still does not get it.”

Khan continued, “Advocates are right to continue demanding a ban from the NDP Government. We will continue to work with these concerned Albertans. Our priority is to monitor the misuse of these draconian rooms for the rest of the school term. We will vigorously hold this Government to account on this important issue.

“True inclusion is a priority for Alberta Liberals.”


Alberta Liberals concerned about Government’s third quarter fiscal update numbers

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann respond to the Government’s third quarter fiscal update.

Khan stated, “The Alberta economy is not rebounding. It is just staying afloat. We are extremely concerned because Albertans are barely holding their heads above water. We are not better off today than we were a year ago. 2019 is shaping up to be gloomy based on the NDP Government’s own economic forecasts. Alberta Liberals suggest some new economic strategies to put Albertans back to work and get this economy going.

“The NDP Government is estimating a meager 1.6% in economic growth (GDP) for 2019. The original GDP forecast was for 2.5% based on the NDP Government’s Budget. We are clearly heading in the wrong direction. The Conference Board of Canada forecasts an even worse number of 1.3% growth.

“Our biggest concerns are for jobs. The Conference Board of Canada projects a 1.1% boost in jobs for 2019 after almost flatlining in 2018. Most are part time minimum wage jobs. Albertans are barely able to pay their bills working at minimum wage jobs.

“Alberta Liberals believe we can do better. Our strategy focuses on job creation by attracting investment for new industries and creating a pro-investment business climate. We also want to build Alberta’s world-class workforce by improving skills training and re-education. There is no silver bullet solution to Alberta’s economic slump. But these are steps that will help get us on track for a more sustained recovery.”

Swann stated, “Alberta’s growing debt continues to hamper the economy. A $600 million projected deficit reduction in this update is a drop in the bucket. Alberta’s total debt numbers are still projected to reach $96 billion by 2023-24. We cannot continue to spend as if oil was at $100 a barrel. We cannot burden ourselves and future generations with massive debt.”

Khan added, “Albertans continue to face tough times. We need to put more Albertans back to work and to boost our economy. We can get through this together.”


Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA David Swann issue Thanksgiving Day Statement

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA David Swann issue Thanksgiving Day Statement:

“We wish all Albertans a Happy Thanksgiving Day with plenty of turkey and pumpkin pie to share with family and friends. The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving are traced to settlers who came to Kanata/ “New France” in the early 17th century and celebrated their successful harvests. They typically had feasts at the end of the harvest season and continued throughout the winter season, mutually sharing food with the Indigenous peoples of the area.

“Unfortunately, some Albertans do not have much to be thankful for. Unemployment continues to creep up and is now 7% in the province. Many are still struggling to make ends meet and continue to live paycheque to paycheque. The wobbly economic recovery, overcrowded classrooms, the opioid epidemic and EMS “Red Alerts” crises are issues that concern Albertans. The marginalized need strong social services but find they have been left to fend for themselves. Seniors are concerned about access to adequate long-term care.

“Alberta Liberals are pushing the NDP to live up to its promises as a progressive, caring Government. All Albertans deserve opportunities to work, have access to quality healthcare and education. There must be support services for the most vulnerable. We can no longer afford to dance around a provincial debt that is on its way to top $100 billion. We need a viable, sensible financial plan to reduce this fiscal millstone. With rising interest rates Alberta taxpayers will be forking over more almost $4 billion in debt interest costs every year. That money should be spent on new hospitals, smaller classroom sizes and higher AISH payments for the most vulnerable Albertans.

“Alberta Liberals are fiscally responsible and socially progressive. We are forward thinking and believe Alberta has a bright future. Albertans are hard working and resilient. They want a good quality of life for themselves, their children and their extended families. We will help them to achieve those goals.

“We urge all Albertans to enjoy Thanksgiving Day. We ask that you reach out to those who may be alone and not be sitting down to a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Let’s work together to make Alberta a better place for everyone!”


EMS workers spend many unproductive hours waiting in hospital hallways: survey

RYAN RUMBOLT

Emergency Medical Services employees in Alberta say more can be done to cut down on patient transfers, hallway wait times and ambulance “red alerts.”

The Liberals conducted an anonymous survey of Alberta paramedics this summer. Gary Bobrovitz, spokesperson for the party, said copies of the survey were given to the EMS union for distribution to members.

David Khan, Liberal party leader, shared the results with EMS workers and Calgarians at a panel on Thursday. Bobrovitz said the crowd of attendees was small but included at least a few EMS workers.

The survey findings helped the party draft a number of EMS improvement recommendations to the NDP, calling on the province to reduce overtime hours, lengthy waits for patient handover in hospital while bolstering the community paramedic program.

Over 100 EMS staff responded to the survey anonymously to avoid workplace repercussions, the Liberal party said. And while Bobrovitz said some of the results are “largely anecdotal,” the numbers show EMS members have ongoing concerns with the level of service they can provide and long patient transfer wait times.

The survey summary shows 57.3 per cent of those surveyed believe hallway wait times have increased since they had begun working for EMS. Another 28.2 per cent of respondents believed the wait times were unchanged, with only 9.7 per cent believing wait times have gone down.

The Liberals’ data showed paramedics spent more than 650,000 hours in 2016 waiting to transfer care of patients to hospital staff. EMS staff also clocked more than 135,000 hours of overtime that year, for an estimated $10 million in additional wages at the taxpayers’ expense.

In the survey, EMS workers identified long hallway waits for patient hand over “as a source of delayed response times,” are “impacting the quality of care they were able to deliver,” and are having “a negative impact” on relationships with other healthcare workers and on their “quality of care.”

Workers also said the long waits have “led to red alerts that have forced ambulances out of surrounding areas to cover the Calgary region.”

The Liberals say those surveyed identified a lack of beds, a lack of communication between facilities, and patients who don’t require emergency care using emergency services as possible causes for the long waits.

As far as solutions, workers said more fast track zones, having a doctor present at triage and more long term care options to free up beds could cut down on wait times and take pressure off frontline hospital staff.

In addition to the survey, the Liberals also set up a hotline this summer for EMS workers and citizens to anonymously report their EMS concerns. “In regards to the response from citizens, individuals highlighted increased wait times, as well as issues with provision of care,” the summary reads.

“Individuals spoke about their experiences in the case of some who waited a long time to have their call answered or others whose provision of care was not patient-centred.”

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman criticized the hotline for “directing patient and frontline feedback” away from AHS’s feedback line “and toward their own political party.”

The province increased funding for EMS by $23 million in its 2018 budget and has “committed to creating 2,000 long term and dementia care spaces by 2019,” Hoffman said in a statement.

Albertans with EMS feedback should contact the AHS Patient Feedback team by calling 1-855-550-2555.

(HTTPS://CALGARYHERALD.COM/AUTHOR/RCRUMBOLTPOSTMEDIA) Updated: October 5, 2018

Calgary EMS ambulance P O S T M E D I A A R C H I V E S

RRumbolt@postmedia.com (mailto:RRumbolt@postmedia.com)

On Twitter: @RCRumbolt (https://twitter.com/RCRumbolt)


Dr. David Swann on the EMS crisis in Alberta – The Homestretch

On the Homestretch: “The Alberta Liberals say Emergency Medical Services are in crisis in our province and more needs to be done. The party surveyed patients and EMS workers to get their thoughts on care. They will be talking about the results and some possible solutions this evening at a public forum. Dr David Swann is a Liberal MLA for Calgary Mountain View. He joined host Doug Dirks on the line.”

October 3rd: https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1337022531587


Alberta Liberals call on NDP to fix EMS, emergency room ‘crisis’

RYAN RUMBOLT (HTTPS://CALGARYHERALD.COM/AUTHOR/RCRUMBOLTPOSTMEDIA)

The provincial Liberals are calling on the NDP to fix issues leading to increased wait times in Alberta’s emergency rooms.

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan said data collected by the party through freedom of information requests show “systemic issues” and “mismanagement” of the health-care system are causing a shortage of available staff, ambulances and hospital beds.

Numbers from the Liberals show there were 35 ambulance “Code Reds” (where no ambulance is available for 911 calls) in Alberta every month of 2016, with Calgary and Edmonton suffering the most frequent ambulance shortages.

That’s an average of more than one Code Red in the province every day in every month in 2016. “It’s just unacceptable in our province, in our society, to have ambulances not available for 911 calls,” Khan said in Calgary on Tuesday. “We all expect in that type of emergency — when we’re calling 911 — there’s going to be an ambulance there.”

In the event of a Code Red, ambulances from outside the city are often called in to assist local crews and take on emergency calls.

The Liberals’ data showed paramedics spent more than 650,000 hours that same year waiting to transfer care of patients to hospital staff. EMS staff also clocked more than 135,000 hours of overtime, for an estimated $10 million in additional wages at the taxpayers’ expense.

In Alberta, EMS workers waited an average of one hour for patient handover to ER staff. Khan said that means pulling a two-person crew and their ambulance out of service until the patient is transferred.

Those same handover times in the U.K. are an average of 15 minutes, according to the Liberals.

Calgary MLA Dr. David Swann said Alberta emergency rooms are in “crisis,” and Khan challenged the province to improve ER handover efficiency by hiring additional “intermediate” triage workers and adopting new technologies to “streamline” the process.

“In the short term we need more community care after regular hours, as well as paramedics and intermediate ER health care providers . . . Long term, we need to expand the continuing and community care to free up bed spaces,” Khan said.

The Liberals also identified issues with EMS and ER patients experiencing long hallway wait times because beds are being used by patients who would benefit more from community care.

Swann said these patients, called “bed blockers” by some in the healthcare field, are an additional drain on the healthcare system.

He said improving and expanding the AHS community paramedic program by hiring more paramedics — and allowing EMS crews to decline patient transport in select cases — could cut down on bed blockers and wait times in Alberta hospitals.

But the NDP said they have already taken steps to address issues raised by Khan and the Liberals, including a commitment to create 2,000 beds for long-term dementia patients by 2019 and expanding the community paramedic program.

The Liberals conducted an anonymous survey of Alberta paramedics this summer, something Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said is “directing patient and frontline feedback away from established processes within AHS and toward their own political party.”

Swann said the survey results will be released on Thursday and show EMS workers are facing personal and professional issues due to staffing challenges. AHS said paramedics work overtime as a “last resort … to ensure patient care is not impacted.”

Albertans with concerns about EMS services can contact the AHS Patient Feedback line at 1-855-550-2555.

RRumbolt@postmedia.com (mailto:RRumbolt@postmedia.com)

On Twitter: @RCRumbolt (https://twitter.com/RCRumbolt)

Updated: October 2, 2018

C A L G A R Y H E R A L D


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann releases statement on Seniors’ Week 2018

MLA Dr. Swann has released the following statement to mark Senior’s Week June 3 to 9 in Alberta.

“Seniors’ Week is a time to recognize the many and varied contributions of Alberta’s seniors. Their life experience and hard work has laid the foundations of Alberta’s past and present. Their wisdom continues to guide Alberta’s future.

“We must take the time to reach out and connect with these Albertans who add value to our communities and continue to improve our quality of life across this province.

“Alberta’s seniors deserve our respect and appreciation.

“I encourage Albertans to take time this week to reflect on the contributions of seniors and to honor seniors who have enriched the lives of all Albertans.”


Edmonton Journal: Lone Liberal MLA David Swann warns of ‘dark money’ dangers

Swann is smart, compassionate and continues to speak truth to power. If only we’d stop now and then to listen.

This week, he raised questions in the assembly about an important issue that has serious implications for our elections — and our entire democracy, come to think of it — but hasn’t been getting much attention.

Read More