Jill Clayton’s re-appointment should prompt more action on transparency

Calgary, AB (February 2, 2017): Today Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann praised the recent re-appointment of Jill Clayton as Information and Privacy Commissioner. The Order in Council was issued on January 31st, appointing Ms. Clayton for a term lasting to 2022.

“As Commissioner, Ms. Clayton has been a champion of accountability and strong voice for public access to information,” said Swann. “I am glad to see the office remaining under her capable direction.”

With many government departments much delayed in their obligations under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP), Ms. Clayton has a big job ahead of her.

The Ministry of Justice, despite being specifically singled out by Ms. Clayton in the past, routinely fails to meet legally mandated deadlines. An example of this can be found in its reply to a recent Liberal FOIP request, in which they warned that, “due to a high volume of requests at this office,” their response time may exceed the 30 day requirement.

Swann is calling on the government to use Jill Clayton’s reappointment to reaffirm its commitment to openness and transparency. In particular, Service Alberta should restart the practice of posting FOIP statistics publicly, which it discontinued in 2013.

“I look forward to seeing the changes Ms. Clayton will effect – not only in the Ministry of Justice, but in the Government of Alberta as a whole,” said Swann.

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann responds to CFIB’s Bill 6 Paperweight Award

Calgary, AB (January 30, 2017): Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann argues the protections provided by Bill 6 outweigh the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s criticisms.

The CFIB recently awarded the bill a Paperweight Award for “outrageous regulatory headaches for small businesses,” arguing that the regulations were not written with the realities of farming in mind.

Swann replies that the protections provided to employers and workers by Bill 6 are paramount, and invites the CFIB to help ensure the bill’s smooth and effective implementation.

“Bill 6 benefits farmers as well as farm workers,” said Swann. “Workers’ Compensation offers no-fault coverage to employers, protecting them from liability in case of an accident. More importantly, Bill 6 gives basic legal protections to farm workers that have been lacking for almost a century.”

The CFIB sits on a technical working group consulting on the bill’s regulatory framework. Swann expects the organization to work to reduce difficulties for farmers, but to ultimately ensure workers continue to receive these vital protections.

“I encourage the CFIB to use its position on the government’s Technical Working Group to improve Bill 6’s implementation, creating a framework accessible to farmers and ranchers while still preserving the fundamental rights of their workers,” Swann concluded.

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann reacts to Cabinet shuffle

Calgary, AB (January 19, 2017):

In reaction to the NDP government’s Cabinet shuffle today, Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann welcomed the dismantling of the Human Services ministry, but raised concerns about yet more upheaval and instability in the Municipal Affairs portfolio.

“I am thrilled to see the lumbering behemoth that was the Ministry of Human Services finally reduced to a manageable size,” said Swann. “This marks the end of a failed multi-year PC government experiment in cost cutting that has done little to improve the lives of our most vulnerable populations – especially children and families in distress.

“However, I am concerned that Minister Larivee was shifted from her position as head of Municipal Affairs as part of this change,” Swann continued. “Shaye Anderson will be the third Municipal Affairs Minister in less than two years of the NDP being in power. Even prior to that, the position was a veritable revolving door in the final years of the PC government. Given the importance of municipalities and the recently updated Municipal Government Act, this recurring upheaval is worrisome. So many NDP MLAs have backgrounds in social work and would likely be capable of handling Children’s Services – why does the Municipal Affairs portfolio have to suffer to put out a political fire in Human Services?

“I congratulate Minister Anderson on his appointment to Cabinet nevertheless, and I know that Minister Larivee will do well in her new position,” Swann concluded.