Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann releases Statement on 14th Annual Farm Workers’ Day

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement to mark Alberta’s 14th annual Farm Worker’s Day:

“I am pleased to spend another Farm Worker’s Day celebrating the vital work every day of the year that puts food on our tables. This day also recognizes the fundamental rights and protections now offered to farm workers under the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act. There is still much work to do in realizing health and safety in agricultural operations and ensuring paid farmworkers are fairly treated. For too many years, I spent this day mourning those killed or injured on the job, and calling for the government to guarantee their basic rights to a healthy and safe workplace, and a guarantee of compensation for injury.

“I am therefore deeply disappointed that some politicians in Alberta are treating these rights as a political football, and threatening to repeal them. Alberta cannot afford to return to the last century of shame that they promise.”


Alberta Liberal MLA Dr David Swann calls for decriminalization of drugs and more resources to battle Opioid Crisis.

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann issues statement on the Opioid Crisis:

The Opioid Crisis continues. The Calgary Fire Department responded to 144 opioid overdose calls in the month of July. That is a new record.

Swann stated, “Clearly we are not getting ahead of the curve on the Opioid Crisis. The NDP Government is spending less than 6% of the health budget on mental health and prevention. This is not adequately dealing with the issue.

Swann added, “Drug addiction is a mental illness and must be treated as such. It should not be a criminal offence. That does nothing to help deal with this illness. It’s time we join Ontario and BC as well as other jurisdictions calling for the Federal Government to decriminalize drugs and save lives. We must bring people into a system that can help them heal and recover their lives.”

“The NDP Government must also commit more resources, expand hours of care and improve physician capacity to deal with what is a life or death issue. The Mental Health Review concluded that effectively addressing this tragedy requires consistent communication between Health, Community and Social Services, Schools and Police. We need more public education. We need more safe injection sites.

“The Medical Examiner’s Office is still not providing timely death reporting on all drug overdose deaths with methamphetamine a growing threat. This is critical information needed to form effective strategies for this crisis.

Fentanyl was the leading cause of death in Alberta in 2016. More than 228 people died from fentanyl overdoses from January-May this year. Free substitute therapy and expanded hours of service are needed.

The opioid crisis is ongoing. It’s time to call this for what it is. It’s time the NDP Government declared a “Public Health State of Emergency.”


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann releases statement on Paramedic Services Week

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann has released the following statement for Paramedic Services Week:

“From May 27th to June 2nd we celebrate Paramedics Services Week. This important week is a time to recognize the tremendous dedication and skill of our EMS staff and their continued service to Alberta. They deal with the most serious injuries and illnesses with professionalism and self-control.

We should honour these hard working individuals with more than words. The NDP Government must act to improve working conditions for EMS workers.

There is an urgent need to address wasteful and frustrating ER hallway delays in transfer of patients to nursing staff. In 2016 this amounted to 650, 000 hours of time when they are not in the communities responding faster to crisis and cost roughly $21M annually. These wasted hours also contribute to both the substantial overtime demands (135, 000 hours in 2016) and increased sickness and stress leave for EMS staff.

Addressing these issues is the best way to honour the dedicated service of EMS employees. It is also a smart investment into better healthcare for Albertans. On this Paramedic Services week I renew my call for the NDP Government to fix these problems.”


Statement on World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

Since 2003 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development has been celebrated by UN members across the globe. Cultural diversity helps promote economic growth and improved intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual lives.

Canada is a proudly multicultural nation that celebrates diversity but there is more we can all do. It is imperative we reflect on ways to improve dialogues and promote not just greater acceptance but greater understanding of the broader benefits of cultural diversity.

Diversity is a core Liberal value and we will continue to promote values and policy that reflect it’s immense social value.


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann hosts public forum on cannabis: The Risks and Benefits of Legalization

Liberal MLA David Swann will be hosting a public forum on cannabis this evening:

“The Risks and Benefits of Legalization” will feature Dr. Swann and a panel of experts discussing with the public the effects cannabis legalization will have on crime, health, safety, and our economy in Alberta.

The forum is taking place from 7:00-9:00 pm on Wednesday April 25, 2018 in room 205 of the Kerby Lecture Hall.

Swann will be joined by the following panelists for the forum:

Rebecca Haines-Saah, BA, MA, PhD: Assistant Professor, Community Health Science, Co-Lead and Member, O’Brien Institute for Public Health.

Lorian Hardcastle, JD, LLM, SJD: Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Member, O’Brien Institute for Public Health

Scott Calling Last, Outreach Worker with Alberta Health Service’s Indigenous Health Program

Michele del Valle, MA, BA: Business Strategist, Calgary Community Standards, The City of Calgary

Constable Andrew Fairman, Drug Recognition Expert, Calgary Police Services

 

Dr. Swann will be available for interviews in advance of the event by phone or skype and from 6:30 – 7:00 pm at the forum.

You can view Dr. Swann’s video invitation to the event here


Alberta Liberals React to NPD Colour Change

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley is pleased to announce her party will be adding blue as an official colour to the signature NDP orange.


“The NDP have been going through a lot of changes since the Calgary Lougheed by-election in December.

“Every since we followed Jason Kenney’s lead and started making hyperbolic threats on pipelines the old orange just hasn’t felt reflected our new political values.” Notley said in a news release issued at midnight on Easter Sunday.

“The colour blue started to feel “Very Right” after our 2018 budget included a massive deficit, more corporate welfare funding and only token support for Alberta’s disadvantaged.

“Our image consultants believe the blue and orange combination will attract the support of Alberta voters, especially in rural ridings.” Notley added.

Reacting to the change, Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann stated, “Albertans are not colour-blind. This is a effort by the NDP to be Politically Correct (PC) on issues ranging from clear-cutting to wildlife protection to the EMS crisis.”

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan commented, ”By altering their colours to blue and orange, the NDP have shown they are still honest politicians who are willing to change, not to desperately win cheap political points but to reflect their new values”

Notley also told reporters her Government will soon unveil new revenue-neutral strategies for the Carbon Tax as the NDP moves swiftly to balance the books by 2043.

 


More, culturally-sensitive resources needed for opioid crisis in southern Alberta

Alberta Liberals say the government must provide more targeted, culturally-sensitive resources for the opioid crisis in southern Alberta.

“We applaud the local response by Lethbridge Fire and Emergency Services and the Blood Tribe Police Service,” says Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann. “First responders have done an excellent job of responding to overdoses and preventing further deaths.”

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan agrees and is calling for more government resources to be mobilized in southern Alberta for the opioid crisis.

“Opioid overdoses and fatalities in Alberta are heart-breaking,” says Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan. “While we mourn the loss of loved-ones and send our sympathies to affected families, we also know many more lives could have been lost given the potency of these drugs.

“There remains an urgent need for more resources in southern Alberta that are culturally-sensitive to Indigenous people and their communities.”

Alberta Liberals believe federal funds for opioids and future cannabis revenue should be invested in mental health and addictions prevention, and expanding access to treatment in smaller municipalities, as well as rural and Indigenous communities.


NDP’s Bill 32 fails to deliver on promise to get dark money out of Alberta politics

Alberta Liberals say Bill 32 is a half-measure, and not the comprehensive regulation of Political Action Committees (PACs) needed to get dark money out of Alberta politics.

“The NDP told us to expect better, and we expect better,” says Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan. “This is clearly an elections amendment act with a section on third party advertisers added at the last minute in response to pressure from Alberta Liberals and Bill 214, An Act to Regulate Political Action Committees.

“Simply put, our bill is a better bill and will do a better job of getting dark money out of politics.”

Bill 32, An Act to Strengthen and Protect Democracy, includes of a series of common-sense measures aimed at improving voter access, which Alberta Liberals strongly support. However, it also contains what appears to be a rushed attempt to fix the loopholes left open by the NDP that are being exploited by political action committees.

“This is an omnibus bill that does not allow Members to support one aspect without the other,” says Liberal MLA David Swann. “Bill 32 should be split in two – one with reforms to the Elections Act, and another amending the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.
“Nonetheless, Bill 214 remains the most comprehensive regulation of political action committees in Canada. It should be passed or adopted entirely into the government’s legislation.”

Among Bill 32’s key failures:

  • Political Action Committees are not mentioned at all. The government makes no attempt to define PACs as distinct from all other third party advertisers.
  • The Independent Election Commissioner can only conduct investigations into third party advertising, not PACs. If third parties do not advertise, there is still no accountability in terms of registration, contribution limits or disclosure requirements.
  • Prohibitions on government advertising allow for ongoing advertising, further infrastructure spending announcements, and a strange exemption for matters before the Assembly, which could easily be exploited by using government backbenchers to raise topics the ruling party plans to promote.
  • Spending limits outside of an election period have been struck down in BC as unconstitutional. This is further complicated by Alberta’s fixed election period. The NDP should have heeded the Chief Electoral Officer’s advice to set a fixed election day to reduce unnecessary confusion and uncertainty.
  • Weak anti-collusion provisions regarding incurring a campaign expense leave loopholes for other political promotion activities.
  • Refined regulations of third party advertising still permit corporate, union and out-of-province donations to PACs outside of an election period.

“Bill 32’s preamble says it is intended to keep corporate and union money out of politics, but it fails to do this,” says Khan. “Only Bill 214 defines political action committees as distinct from other third parties and has the regulations needed to get dark money out of Alberta politics once and for all.”