David Swann statement on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement on International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

“On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities we take the time to appreciate the unique struggles faced by those with disabilities, who are all too easily forgotten. One in six Albertans live with a disability, and need support to overcome the various barriers that face them. Sadly, that support is all too often lacking.

“Here in Alberta, changes need to be made to the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program; as well, a Disability Advocate remains to be appointed. The government needs to move now to make people with disabilities a higher priority, and offer them the support they need.

“Albertans with disabilities deserve the same happiness and prosperity afforded any other Albertan. As we celebrate this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we must pledge to do more so disabled Albertans have access to the same opportunities as everyone else.”

David Swann statement on Project Red Ribbon

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement on Project Red Ribbon:

“Project Red Ribbon was launched thirty years ago to raise awareness about the risks and consequences of impaired driving. The campaign was timed to coincide with the beginning of the holiday season, when plentiful parties and celebrations dramatically raise the risk of deaths and injuries that are all the more tragic for being so, so preventable.

“This thirtieth anniversary takes on special significance when we consider that we are on the verge of a major change in law: the upcoming legalization of cannabis, a drug that poses a new danger to those on the road. As cannabis becomes readily available, Albertans must know that driving while high is not consequence-free, and an accident while impaired can be just as deadly whether the driver is under the effects of alcohol, cannabis, or both together.

“Ultimately the Red Ribbon campaign reminds us that the most effective way to reduce tragedies from impaired driving is through urging those around us to take personal responsibility for their decisions. As we all know, “friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”

“We wear red ribbons to remind ourselves and others that choosing to drive impaired is choosing to put lives at risk. I join with my colleagues in the Legislature in wearing a red ribbon, to commit to driving sober and call on others to do the same.”

Dr. David Swann statement on World Mental Health Day

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement to mark World Mental Health Day:

“One of the key findings of the Mental Health Review showed serious underfunding for mental health treatment in Alberta – only six per cent of the overall health care budget. This has led to critical deficiencies and severe delays in access to care, particularly when it comes to culturally sensitive services for Indigenous peoples.

“However, increased funding is only part of the solution. Each of us has a role to play in helping those struggling with mental distress. We need to talk more, and more publicly, about these issues, and be ready to reach out to those around us who may be suffering.

“On this World Mental Health Day, let us be mindful of the impact we have on the mental well-being of others, and make a sincere effort to build honest and open relationships in order to be able to encourage others get help when they need it.”

David Swann statement on World Teacher Day

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement for World Teacher Day:

“On this day we celebrate the contributions our teachers and educators make to our society. Learning is a lifelong process, and we are eternally grateful for those who help us down the road to knowledge.

“On behalf of myself, Leader David Khan, and Alberta Liberals, I extend my thanks to all the teachers in Alberta working to make sure our future generations have the tools they need to create a better, more thoughtful, and more prosperous world.”

UCP plan to privatize health care is wrong for Alberta

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann has released the following statement regarding the UCP’s plans to privatize health care:

“Those who have a better understanding of how health care works in Alberta know that introducing more private options at this time is wrongheaded. In fact, experience has taught us that the profit motive has not served us well in health care. A properly managed public system can and will deliver a higher quality of care for a lower cost.

“Before making drastic, fundamental changes to health care deliver, Alberta first needs to address the systemic issues from increasing physician and pharmaceutical costs, unnecessary waste and bureaucracy, to long waits at every stage along the spectrum: primary, acute and continuing care.

“The issue of wait times stems directly from the fact that there is a severe lack of investment in disease and injury prevention and a chronic underinvestment in public community care and home care.

“The Health Quality Council of Alberta’s Focus on Emergency Departments website clearly indicates that acute care facilities are consistently running near capacity, at times overcapacity, due to the exceedingly high number of alternate level of care patients.

“Long waits and surgery cancellations are a direct result of acute care hospitals being used to warehouse patients who are better served elsewhere. The NDP has failed to deliver on its pledge to build 2,000 new public long-term care spaces. This is just the first step in the process of getting caught up on our backlogs, which it still hasn’t taken.

“Until the government address these root causes, no amount of investment in public or private service providers will alleviate this problem.

“Alberta Liberals know how to fix health care by making these strategic investments and eliminating waste. It is certainly not by asking the sick to pay more or setting up a systematic queue-jumping scheme.

“Albertans should reject the UCP based on this proposal alone. It is not in line with our values as a society, and it will ultimately exacerbate the challenges in our universal health care system.”

Statement on International Overdose Awareness Day, 2017

“Today I join far too many Albertans in mourning those whose lives were cut short by drug overdoses, specifically fentanyl.

“With the skyrocketing pace of overdose deaths due to the ongoing opioid crisis, it is easy to get caught up in the numbers and lose track of the real cost in life and suffering.

“People struggling with addictions are not just junkies – each one is someone’s sibling, someone’s friend, someone’s child. Every death plunges a community into grief.

“On this day we remember those who have died of drug overdose not as statistics, not as addicts, but as fellow humans. We must work in their memory to break the stigma surrounding this disease, and make sure that those struggling with addiction in the future have the help they need.

“Of course, the single greatest way to raise overdose awareness would be for the NDP government to declare a state of emergency in response to the opioid crisis – something it has refused to do despite repeated calls from the opposition and stakeholders such as Moms Stop the Harm and Changing the Face of Addiction.

“Declaring a state of emergency would send a signal to every Albertan about the seriousness of the issue itself and the government’s commitment to putting all resources at its disposal to stop the needless deaths of so many of our friends and family.”

Statement on Black Ribbon Day

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement in recognition of Black Ribbon Day:

“On this day, we remember the victims and survivors of the totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

“Even decades later, the brutal, painful legacy of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact still lingers. On this day in 1939, two of history’s worst regimes agreed to cooperate to lay waste to the continent, setting into motion countless heinous atrocities in Europe and around the world.

“Today, in memory of the many lives lost to this period of incredible cruelty and heartless indifference, we reaffirm our commitment to the ideals of democracy, tolerance, and respect for human rights. We further pledge to stay vigilant against the forces of hatred, bigotry and xenophobia, standing up to them wherever and whenever they surface.”

David Swann Statement on Farm Workers Day

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement to mark Alberta’s 13th annual Farm Workers Day:

“I am pleased to spend another Farm Workers Day celebrating their vital work every day of the year that puts food on our tables. 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.

“Now this day 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 farm workers are fairly treated, but the Act marks a significant step forward.

“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.”

Statement on the World Day Against Child Labour, 2017

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann has released the following statement in recognition of the World Day Against Child Labour:

“The World Day Against Child Labour is an important time for all of us to recognize that unfair and unjust employment practices continue to harm children around the world.

“Childhood is an important time for mental, physical, spiritual and social development, which should not be sacrificed for professional development – to put it mildly.

“We need to protect children by ensuring laws are in place such as minimum age requirements and restrictions on children conducting certain types of economic activities.

“While I applaud the government for taking some of these important steps in Bill 17, the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act, I am disappointed by the NDP’s repeated refusal to extend employment standards for overtime and rest periods to paid farm and ranch workers, many of whom are youth.

“Platitudes make for fine speeches, but strong, preventative government action can actually protect people from unfair labour practices. That is why I am repeating my call to remove exemptions for paid farm and ranch workers for overtime and minimum rest periods.

“Let’s mark World Day Against Child Labour this year by renewing our commitment to labour fairness right here in Alberta.”

Government should legislate timing of the release of post-disaster reports

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann says that the government should legislate the timing of the release of post-disaster reports.

“Natural disasters are an unfortunately predictable occurrence in Alberta and reporting on them should be just as predictable,” says Swann. “Last night’s hastily arranged and awkward release of two independent reports on the Fort McMurray wildfire is something that should never be repeated.”

The comments come after it was revealed that the NDP government had not released a damning report into the Fort McMurray wildfire, which it received months earlier, until it was forced to do so as a result of the information being leaked to media.

Swann is calling on the NDP to amend the Municipal Government Act to require the public release of any such disaster event reports within a specified time period.

“The government amended the Municipal Government Act three times in as many years, yet chose not to make this a requirement,” says Swann. “There should be a specific amount of time, perhaps one year, in which all post-disaster reports must be released to the public.

“Leaving the release of disaster event reports up to those may be most embarrassed by its contents undermines the process and politicizes a matter of critical public importance.”