Alberta Liberals urge immediate ban of seclusion rooms, not waiting until September

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan issues the following release on banning seclusion rooms:

David Khan stated, “Alberta Liberals believe the continued misuse of these rooms should end today. Education Minister David Eggen waiting another seven months is deplorable. The NDP Government is taking one step forward and two steps back.

“Our continuing concern is the ban will not take effect until September. That means this NDP Government will continue to expose the most vulnerable young Albertans to this draconian practice for the rest of the school term. That is unacceptable.

“Alberta Liberals urge Education Minister David Eggen and the NDP Government to amend its decision and immediately end the continued misuse of these rooms. There is no evidence that seclusion rooms help students. In fact, they cause long-term harm to some of our most vulnerable.

“We have been pushing for this decision for months. The NDP Government finally agreed with the Alberta Liberal policy position. It is the right action to safeguard vulnerable Alberta school children and to remove this barbaric activity from our school systems. We wonder what took this Government so long to respond to the demands of parents and concerned Albertans.”

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. Finally, the NDP Government responded, but it should have acted much sooner.”

Khan continued, “A seclusion room should never be used to correct behaviour or punish. Schools must be provided the resources to protect students and staff from physical harm. The only way to maintain safety is to properly support teachers and schools with adequate funding for more teachers and educational assistants. In addition, resources must be provided to ensure students with disabilities can be properly included in our public school systems.

“Advocates were right to demand 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 practices rooms until September. We will vigorously hold this Government to account on this important issue.

“True inclusion should be a priority for this NDP Government. It IS a priority for Alberta Liberals.”


Alberta Liberal statement on Family Day

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following Family Day statement:

Khan stated “Today we celebrate a made-in-Alberta holiday, Family Day. It is a time to spend with our loved ones. It is an opportunity to remember the importance of families as an invaluable support network and source of love and strength.

Swann stated, “I hope all Albertans enjoy this Family Day. Our thoughts also go out to those who are estranged from or without Family. We hope you take this time to spend with friends and loved ones.”

Khan continued, “On behalf of the Alberta Liberals I wish you all a happy and loving Family Day.”


Alberta Liberals Stand up for Freedom of Information

Alberta Liberals know that a strong Freedom to Information system is pivotal to our  democracy. Yet, under the NDP Government the system seems to have gotten worse. The actions of Government have never been more opaque. That is why we we are making public our letter to the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner. You can read it below.


Alberta Liberals issue statement on International Human Rights Day

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue this statement on International Human Rights Day.

Khan stated, “We celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. It establishes inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being. These rights stand regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Swann stated, “This is a day of reflection. We are grateful for the rights we enjoy here in Canada. We must continue to protect the human rights of others around the World.”

Khan added, “We must maintain our vigilance here in Canada. Our treatment of First Nations Peoples has been rightly criticized internationally. We must do more to protect their rights and the rights of all Canadians.

“Alberta Liberals will guard against those who turn back the clock on the hard-fought human rights gains of LGBTQ2S+ individuals, racial and religious minorities, women and other marginalized groups.”

Alberta Liberals pledge to support and build on our precious Human Rights.

David Khan and David Swann are available for interviews.


Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann supports AFN resolution calling for the phasing out of game farms to help combat CWD

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann was in attendance at the Assembly of First Nations AGM in Ottawa today. There, a historic resolution was passed calling for a phasing out of game farming to stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (“CWD”) in Canada.

Swann stated, “I applaud this bold resolution from the AFN. CWD poses a huge agricultural, environmental, and economic threat to Alberta and Canada. It is especially dangerous to certain First Nations communities, threatening their way of life and their ability to live off the land.

“Game farming is how CWD has developed in cervids. This resolution is a partial measure to help prevent its spread and possible mutation into a more serious disease that could harm our agriculture industry and even pose a risk to human health.

“CWD is a fatal and incurable (prion) animal disease comparable to BSE (mad cow disease) in its potential to kill humans as well as severely damage our agricultural economy for decades. Given that Norway has banned the import of all hay and straw from any CWD infected region, it’s clear the time to take action is now.

“Federal and Provincial Governments must work cooperatively with First Nations to enshrine this resolution in law and on other strategies to combat CWD. They must make this an urgent priority.”

Dr. Swann is available for interview by phone.


Alberta Liberals call on Federal Government to extend EI benefits to struggling Alberta workers

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann are calling on the Federal Government to reinstate extended unemployment benefits for Alberta workers losing their jobs.

Khan stated, “We know Albertans want to work. But if they can’t get a job,they need help. The oil price differential and new production cuts could lead to more layoffs. Calgary’s unemployment rate is already a staggering 8.4%. We must do all we can to help them through this troubling time.

“Bank of Montreal’s economists forecast the oil production cuts will have a harsh effect on Alberta’s economy. They estimate Alberta’s 2019 GDP annualized growth will be cut in half from 2.4% to 1.2%. TD Bank’s economists echo those forecasts, predicting Alberta’s GDP growth could fall to as low as 1.1% from 2.3% next year. Those are serious hits to Alberta’s economy. They will hurt Albertans.

“In 2016, the Federal Government provided enhanced employment insurance benefits to Albertans. It extended EI benefits for unemployed works for an additional five weeks. It’s time for them to do so again. We’re asking the NDP Government to join with us in calling for this action.”

Swann stated, “The Federal Government could do a lot to relieve the economic pain being felt by Albertans in the wake of this price differential crisis. It is my hope the NDP Government will join us in calling for this necessary measure.”

Alberta Liberals support the Government’s temporarily oil production cuts as an emergency intervention to bolster prices. But, we also have concerns about execution and unintended consequences. There could be negative impacts on jobs. Albertans need to be protected.

David Khan and David Swann are available for interviews.


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 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.”