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 Liberals say NDP Railcar Strategy is shell game economics

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following release criticising the NDP’s deeply flawed railcar strategy.

Khan stated, “The NDP’s railcar strategy is scary shell game economics. Alberta taxpayers will be on the hook for $3.7 billion for the next 3 years. The potential benefit is a paltry $4 increase in oil prices for producers. It will move less than 1% of daily production by July. Some analysts say it creates tremendous risk with questionable return on investment for the Province.

“Most of the oil and gas sector is not currently pursuing a rail car strategy. In fact, shipment volume has fallen by over 50% just this month. Some companies say their rail shipments will be 0% in March. That is largely due to the NDP Government’s own production curtailment plan. So, why is the NDP Government plunging ahead with yet another new plan that contradicts their last plan?

“The current price differential is about $14 for Western Canada Select (WCS). That would make current rail shipments uneconomic for most oil companies. How can the NDP predict the WCS price for this July or July 2020 or July 2022?

“Another possible solution will soon be available which won’t burden Alberta taxpayers with more massive debt. The Line 3 replacement pipeline is coming online this fall. It won’t cost Alberta taxpayers a penny.

“The NDP are short on details. They are not explaining who the oil buyers will be. They are not explaining which export markets will be filled. There are concerns about rail safety and the impact on grain shipments. Albertan taxpayers deserve more answers with $3.7 billion on the line.”

Swann stated, “We need a more focused long-term approach instead of short-term reactionary policies. We need to focus on building a pipeline to tidewater. We need to develop a welcoming investment climate. We don’t need a scrambled-together batch of NDP pre-election pronouncements.”

Khan added, “The NDP’s strategy seems thrown together to score political points. It looks a lot like election campaigning to win votes using billions of our taxpayers dollars. Albertans won’t be fooled.”

Alberta Liberals condemn NDP and UCP gutting opposition caucuses’ and MLAs’ budgets

Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan and Caucus Leader David Swann condemn NDP and UCP strong-arm tactics to weaken opposition parties and independent MLAs.

Khan states, “This is a bad day for democracy in Alberta. Albertans’ voices are being silenced. The NDP and UCP are ganging up to slash opposition parties’ and independent MLAs’ budgets by up to 60%. Clearly, the NDP and UCP fear the effectiveness of independent opposition MLAs.

“The “Gang of Two” are trying to entrench dual party rule in Alberta. This brutal tactic may work in tin pot dictatorships but not in this province. Alberta is an open democracy where citizens are legally entitled to many political choices.

“The Liberal Opposition pressured the NDP Government on many issues. We fought to get Albertans a better deal on AISH funding and classroom sizes. We battled against EMS-ER wait times and conversion therapy. We pushed for oil patch cleanup bonds to limit taxpayer liability.

“Competition is necessary for a strong democracy. When you muzzle democratic voices you are ignoring voters. The NDP and UCP will soon have to face those voters in the upcoming provincial Election. Alberta voters will not stand for this brutal attack on democracy.”

Swann stated, “Two-party politics increases partisanship and personal attacks. Albertans are sick of this type of politics. Alberta Liberals have positive solutions to make life better for all Albertans. We will not be muzzled.”

Khan added, “Albertans deserve a strong multi-party democracy. The “first-past-the-post” electoral system is broken. Alberta Liberals are the only party campaigning for electoral reform in this next election. Clearly, it is needed.

“The NDP and UCP are trying to hijack the upcoming election. Alberta Liberals will not let them trample democracy. Alberta voters will punish this abuse of power.”

Alberta Liberals celebrate Lunar New Year

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following statement celebrating Lunar New Year.

Khan stated, “On behalf of the Alberta Liberals, I wish all Albertans of Asian heritage a happy Lunar New Year. We hope they enjoy newfound prosperity in the coming year. We honour the families who gather for their traditional reunion dinner to share this joyous event.

Swann stated, “This is the year of the Pig. Pigs are associated with with being realistic, hard-working and enjoying life. These are all traits we share together as Albertans. I hope all those celebrating enjoy the day and the coming year.”

Khan stated, “The year of the Pig also means being financially responsible. We encourage a prudent approach to rebuilding our economy for the benefit of everyone without saddling current and future generations with debt. We support a society that is diverse, inclusive and caring for all Albertans. Let’s use our cultural connections as the foundation to build a better future in Alberta.

Alberta Liberals issue Black History Month Statement

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann released the following statement for Black History Month:

Khan stated, “The black community in Alberta has made a tremendous contribution to our province’s history. Black History Month is an opportunity for all Albertans to share their stories in building this Province.

Alberta Liberals celebrate and honour the black community. We support a tolerant, inclusive, and multicultural Province.

Swann stated, “Black History Month reminds us that our diversity is our strength. We must always fight against pervasive racism, xenophobia and discrimination. The outstanding contributions of black Albertans and Canadians demonstrates that skin colour is never – and should never – be a barrier to greatness.”

Alberta Liberals applaud Redwater Supreme Court decision and renew call for Cleanup Bonds

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following release on the Redwater Supreme Court decision.

Khan stated, “We believe in the polluter pay principle. We also believe Alberta taxpayers must be protected from massive liabilities. This historic Supreme Court ruling goes a long way to strengthening safeguards for our environment and Alberta taxpayers. Bankruptcy can no longer shield irresponsible energy companies.

“Alberta Liberals believe more must be done to address the province’s estimated $260 billion in cleanup liabilities. We have to adopt proactive measures against worst case scenarios.

“We are renewing our call that Alberta energy companies be mandated to purchase reclamation and cleanup bonds as insurance against financial catastrophe.”

An Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) senior official offered up the estimated $260 billion cost of cleanup.The NDP government admits that a mere $1.6 billion has been collected from industry. It’s about 0.6% of the total bill. That just won’t do.

Swann stated, “The court decision is good news. But it is not a complete solution to one of the biggest environmental and financial issues facing Albertans. We must not pass this massive burden on to future generations. Cleanup bonds are about taking responsibility today. The Alberta Liberal proposal brings us in line with other jurisdictions where bonds are an effective measure.

“We also believe greater transparency is needed. Albertans deserve independent verification of liabilities and regular public disclosure of progress.”

Khan added, “It’s time to take Alberta taxpayers off the hook. It’s time industry steps up to shoulder more of the financial responsibility. Alberta Liberals believe it’s the right thing to do.”

Alberta Liberals extend greetings on Orthodox Christian Christmas

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann release statement on the celebration of Orthodox Christian Christmas.

“We wish all Orthodox Christian Albertans a Joyous Christmas.

“The Orthodox Christian community is an ongoing and integral part of Alberta’s heritage. They gather with friends and family to celebrate Christmas according to the Julian Calender. This includes enjoying the 12 traditional dishes of the Nativity Feast.

“On behalf of the Alberta Liberals, we wish all our Orthodox Christian friends and neighbours:

“Christos razhdayetsya

“Hristos se Rodi

“Christos etexthi

“Kristos rozhdaetsya!”

Alberta Liberals issue New Year statement

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA David Swann wish all Albertans a Happy New Year.

The past year has been tough for many Albertans. Falling oil prices and a sputtering economy have led to job losses and personal hardships. Mental health hotlines have seen a significant increase in calls from people in distress. Inflamed political rhetoric has spawned calls for separation.

Albertans deserve better. We are hard working, resilient and honourable. We love our province. We love our country.

Alberta Liberals will continue to fight for all Albertans. We will hold the Government to account on issues like boosting job creation, building the Trans Mountain pipeline, accessing quality healthcare, reducing classroom sizes, protecting our precious environment, safeguarding LGBTQ2S+ rights and improving the quality of life for all of us.

Albertans have a chance to vote for change in the next provincial election. They can vote for a brighter future with improved opportunities for everyone.

We have hope for a prosperous and promising New Year.

2018 has been tough. Alberta Liberals have your back. 2019 will be a better.