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.”


Statement on 30th anniversary of Seniors’ Week in Alberta

David Swann has released the following statement to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Seniors’ Week in Alberta:

“What began 30 years ago as a local event, has now become a province-wide week of celebration of seniors.

“This is a week to recognize the valuable contribution of seniors in our society and to reaffirm our commitment to improving the lives of every senior citizen in Alberta.

“As a senior myself, I can think of no better way to honour our contribution than to provide humane and comprehensive seniors’ care in this province. We must stop warehousing our seniors in acute care facilities. We need to invest more in home care and community care that treats our seniors with the dignity they deserve.

“We would also be wise to follow the traditions of our First Nations peoples by ensuring elders are included in more community activities, shown respect and valued for their experience, wisdom and guidance.

“Seniors have given much to build this province, but there is still much more we have yet to contribute. Let’s all commit ourselves to combating ageism and ensuring seniors remain active participants in our society.

“On behalf of the Alberta Liberal Opposition, I wish you a safe, healthy and happy Seniors’ Week!”


Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann statement on the BC Provincial Election

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann issued the following statement on the results of the British Columbia provincial election:

“While many votes remain to be counted and many decisions remain to be made, I want to extend my congratulations to Premier Christy Clark for her victory last night. This has been an exciting election and I, like many Albertans, will be watching closely in the weeks ahead.

“As close neighbours and partners in Confederation, our two provinces have many shared interests – as well as points of difference. I encourage the incoming Premier to work with our government to resolve these differences to our mutual benefit, and look forward to our shared prosperity in the coming years.”


Statement: One-year anniversary of the Fort McMurray wildfire

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the Fort McMurray wildfire:

“On this day in 2016, Albertans watched in horror as Fort McMurray was engulfed by a wildfire of apocalyptic proportions. With staggering speed, a small wildfire on the banks of Horse River quickly evolved into the ‘Beast,’ which pounced on the city shortly thereafter.

“Yet through a haze of smoke and flame, Albertans witnessed a miracle. Along a single highway, the flames beating at their backs, almost 90,000 people escaped the city. The incredible heroism of our first responders saved Fort McMurray’s vital infrastructure and thousands of lives.

“One year later, the difficult task of rebuilding continues. We must remember, however, that we need to rebuild more than homes and infrastructure – we must also work to rebuild the mental health and well-being of the residents of Fort McMurray.

“The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can surface suddenly or emerge long after the trauma has occurred. Today, many continue to struggle with the aftereffects of the fire.

“Albertans are strong, but the strong also suffer. It is not weakness to struggle with mental health; rather, it takes great courage to ask for help managing that struggle.

“I want to remind those who are still suffering from the devastating effects of the wildfire in Fort McMurray that they are not alone. I stand with you together with all your fellow Albertans.”


Dr. David Swann statement on Mental Health Week

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement to mark Mental Health Week.

“The theme for this year’s Mental Health Week is ‘Sick of Waiting: Get Loud for Mental Health.’ Across the country, Canadians are calling for earlier intervention for those in distress, and action on the long waits for mental health care.

“Mental health is a critical part of our overall health, and must be properly planned and funded in our health system. At present there are still too many barriers to treatment, and too many people are unable to afford critical counselling and psychological help.

“This is also a deep concern when discussing our management of the ongoing opiate overdose crisis, which is now claiming two lives every day and cries out for focused leadership and a coordinated plan. It is unacceptable that we have few, if any, after-hours treatment facilities, leaving few alternatives to those trying to get help after hours.

“At the end of the day, however, the stigma surrounding mental health issues remains the greatest barrier to treatment. We are all responsible for making it easier for people to reach out for help, and avoid unhealthy options like drug abuse to address the pain.

Each of us can play a critical role as we reach out to offer support and speak out for better mental health services, so those who are suffering know they are not alone and that help is available.


David Swann statement on National Day of Mourning

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement on the National Day of Mourning:

“Today we take the time to remember and to mourn those who have suffered injury or death while on the job.

“I am deeply saddened that this past year has seen an increase in workplace injuries over the previous. This trend simply cannot continue, especially given that many of these incidences are preventable.

“This is the second National Day of Mourning since WCB coverage was extended to farm workers and Occupational Health and Safety inspections were permitted on farms, and the first year that paid farm worker deaths were included in WCB statistics.

“While these basic legal protections were long overdue, they are no substitute for safe worksites that allow workers to do their jobs without fear of harm.

“It is my sincere hope that, by remembering the loss of these loved ones, we strengthen our commitment to building a safe work environment.

“I urge all employers and workers alike to strive to create a culture of safety. Our first priority should be ensuring the well-being of every Alberta worker, so that, at the end of the workday, they return home safe and healthy.”


David Swann statement on Earth Day

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement for Earth Day:

“No matter who we are, or where we live, we all depend on our planet for the air, water, and soil to give us life. We have a solemn duty not only to ourselves, but to all humanity, to preserve and protect it.

“Today the greatest threat to our planet is intensifying climate change, caused by human activity. While there has been much discussion about government’s role in combating this issue, we must remember that the true power to create lasting and meaningful change lies with us.

“When joined together, all of our individual lifestyle changes can have an enormous impact. By committing ourselves to conservation, energy efficiency, and reduced pollution and waste, we help lower the cumulative effects of human activity on the environment – and therefore the destructive consequences of climate change.

“This Earth Day, I urge every Albertan to reflect on how we can give back to the planet. The Earth, and all the life it makes possible, is precious. Let us ensure it flourishes for generations to come.”


David Swann statement on Yom HaShoah

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann made the following statement on the floor of the Legislature for Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day:

“This coming Sunday marks Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Today we stand in the Legislature to remember the millions of Jewish women, children, and men brutally murdered by the Nazi regime. Their only crime was being what Adolf Hitler and his government hated and feared: different. Because of their religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, they deviated from the Nazi ideal of a pure Aryan nation, and so were exterminated.

“The full official name of Yom HaShoah translates to “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.”

“While we remember humanity at its darkest, and mourn those lost, we also acknowledge the incredible strength of the human spirit.

“Opposition to the Nazi regime took incredible courage. Many lost their lives. Nevertheless, resistance was widespread. Once-ordinary men and women became heroes as they fought back in countless ways. Their bravery gave others a glimmer of hope – a candle in the darkness.

“As the Holocaust fades into the past, we risk forgetting the consequences of not being vigilant against racism, hatred, and genocide in all its forms, and that we must be prepared to act when we see evidence anywhere, anytime, across our world.

“‘Never again’ is more than a hope – it’s a promise to act.

“When we say these words, we promise that we will follow the example of those who stood up and resisted, to fight to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are never repeated.”