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 Liberals join with concerned parents to demand immediate changes to Seclusion Rooms policy in Alberta school systems.

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann are joining with concerned parents to demand immediate changes to Seclusion Rooms policies in Alberta’s school systems. They are making their voices heard from the steps of the Alberta Legislature on the opening day of the Fall Session..

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan stated, “We are demanding an immediate stop to the misuse of Seclusion Rooms. These incidents have traumatized special needs students and their parents. It is a shocking ongoing practise in Alberta’s school systems. It must not continue.

“We are further demanding that new mandatory province-wide rules governing the use of these seclusion rooms be approved by the NDP Education Minister during the Legislature’s Fall Session. These rules must provide safe, sensible and compassionate direction for school systems on the use of these rooms. The priority should be full communication with parents and a positive outcome for special needs students.”

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr David Swann stated, “Seclusion rooms can be devastating for some students and are counterproductive to helping them address misbehaviour. Seclusions rooms should never be used as a form of punishment or a way to modify student behaviour.

“We are also recommending the creation of a sub-office of the Disability Advocate focused specifically on advocating for and listening to children with disabilities and their parents.”

Jenn Thompson, a mother of a special needs student, is a leading community activist with the Serious Spectrum/Sensory Support Group and co-organizer of the rally.

Thompson stated, “We are calling on the Education Minister to make several immediate changes including mandatory video monitoring of Seclusion Rooms. The videos could be reviewed to determine where the behavioural breakdown occurred so that we can support our students and set them up for success. There must be more funding to properly train school staff in the positive and practical use of Seclusion Rooms. Finally there must be consequences for the misuse of Seclusion Rooms especially in cases where parental consent has not been obtained.”

David Khan, Dr Swann and Jenn Thompson will be speaking at the rally and will be available for media interviews.


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.”