David Swann statement on World Water Day

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement in honour of World Water Day:

“Without water, earth cannot support life. This World Water Day we remind ourselves of this fact, and commit to fighting for clean water.

“Here in Alberta, I have long been an advocate for defending our water supply. In particular, our lifeblood comes out of the mountains through the Eastern Slopes, supplying southern Alberta with vital water for drinking and agriculture.

“I was pleased to see today’s government announcement of grants for watershed planning and advisory councils. However, we still lack a comprehensive, long-term plan to protect our water from careless industrial, recreational, and agricultural activities, including clearcutting and poorly managed gravel mining. Given the current challenges of climate change, this should be a priority for any responsible government. It is simply too important to ignore.”

David Swann Statement on International Day Against Racial Discrimination

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann made the following statement today in recognition of International Day Against Racial Discrimination:

“Important days of observance such as today’s International Day Against Racial Discrimination take on increasing relevance in light of recent events here in Alberta and around the world.

“Unfortunately, there are still far too many examples of hatred and discrimination based on race and religion. Just last week, police in Calgary were called to investigate anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic graffiti in an off-leash dog park, and a recent attack on a Quebec mosque has demonstrated that hatred has a cost – a cost that is often paid in human lives.

“That is why is we take a stand today to support and promote the Albertan and Canadian values of inclusion and diversity. We must be clear that such hatred is not acceptable.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to call our attention to more subtle forms of racial discrimination, particularly against indigenous peoples. Already burdened with a long and destructive legacy of racism that we have only just begun to address, First Nations people continue to struggle with racial discrimination that robs them of opportunity and contribute to isolation, mental illness, suicide rates 5 times the national average and violence. I acknowledge the leadership of both this provincial and federal governments on this.

A recent Maclean’s article compared Aboriginal Canadians to African-Americans, and found that Aboriginal Canadians were in a worse state on almost every metric from median income, to incarceration rate, to life expectancy.

“We cannot be complacent about this racial discrimination happening underneath our noses, Mr. Speaker.
And so I stand with the members of this Assembly in condemning any and all forms of discrimination. Our Islamic and aboriginal friends and neighbours have the right to live free of discrimination based on their religion and the colour of their skin. We must be ready to put these fine words into action – including policies and funding every day.”

David Swann, leader des Libéraux albertains, reconnaît la Journée internationale de la francophonie

Edmonton, AB (March 20, 2017): David Swann, leader des Libéraux albertains, a fait la déclaration suivant en reconnaissance de la Journée internationale de la Francophonie:

“Ce Journée internationale de la Francophonie, nous célébrons nos amis et voisins francophones, qui ont contribué – et continue to contribuer – leur culture vivante à notre patrimoine pendant 200 ans. Actuellement, les franco-albertains faire partie importante de notre diversité culturelle et nous lient à la grande communauté de la francophonie. J’attends leurs contributions davantage à l’Alberta en futur.”

Edmonton, AB (March 20, 2017): Alberta Liberal Leader released the following statement in recognition of International Francophonie Day:

“This International Francophonie Day, we celebrate our friends and neighbours who have contributed – and continue to contribute – their rich culture to our heritage for 200 years. Today, Franco-Albertans play an important role in Alberta’s diverse society, and link us to the greater francophone community worldwide. I look forward to their further contributions to Alberta in the future.”

Drapeau des franco-albertains

Member’s Statement by David Swann, March 9th

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann made the following Private Member’s Statement to the assembly today:

“This week, in a rare display of nonpartisan cooperation, we held an important debate on the opioid crisis, and I thank my colleagues for that.

“We also heard from two courageous advocates for better education and more action on the devastating effects of opioid abuse and addiction.

“Petra Shultz, who lost her son, Danny, works with Moms Stop the Harm – a network of Canadian mothers and families whose loved ones have died from substance misuse. And Rosalind Davis, who lost her partner, Nathan, and works with Changing the Face of Addiction, a not-for-profit seeking political change and to educate the public about drug and addiction issues. They say the government’s refusal to call a state of emergency is unacceptable and that it perpetuates a stigma about opioid-related deaths.

“To its credit, the government has taken many positive steps, which I applaud, but its approach has mainly been reactive and piecemeal.

“Opioid-related overdoses and deaths are reaching unprecedented levels and have now become a national crisis.

“We don’t have the whole picture yet because the data is simply not available. But what we do know, is deeply troubling. In 2016, there were 343 deaths from fentanyl, and many more from other opioids yet to be classified. But, a 33 per cent increase in one year shows this crisis is growing at an alarming rate.

“If we were getting ahead it, then I might agree with the NDP, but, we’re five years into this, and the government, by its own admission, is still developing the strategy.

“We require focused leadership, and a cross-departmental strategy that would provide co-ordination between all government ministries and across all sectors of society.

“Finally, we need to recognize this for what it is, an emergency, and use every means at our disposal to save Albertans’ lives.”

Statement from David Swann on International Women’s Day

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann made the following statement on the floor of the Alberta Legislature for International Women’s Day:

“Today we celebrate the achievements made in gender equality over the years. Just over a hundred years ago, women did not have the right to vote. Even fifty years ago, the franchise was still being withheld from First Nations women.

“Today women hold one in three seats in this House. While there is still much progress that needs to be made on many women’s issues, this is an encouraging trend, and I look forward to seeing it continue into the future.

“The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Be Bold for Change. Across Alberta, Canada, and the world, individuals and organizations are honouring this day by encouraging women to be bold, and by doing so – hopefully with the full support of men – creating real change.

“I particularly want to acknowledge the work of Ask Her, a group in Calgary that is working to encourage greater representation of women in municipal politics. Ask Her recognizes that one of the reasons so few women hold public office is that they are too rarely asked to run. As such, they encourage Calgarians to seek out strong, well-qualified women in their communities and ask them to take leadership roles.

“This year, Ask Her will ask 20 women to run for Calgary City Council. At present only two of the City’s fourteen Councillors are women, a meagre 14%. Ask Her aims to achieve 50% female representation on Council after this fall’s municipal election on October 21st, and they have my full support in this.

“Our province – our country – our society is made better when strong, passionate, and engaged women become involved in their communities and bring their voices to the table. This International Women’s Day, we have much to celebrate in the progress women have made in civil society. I encourage women – especially young women – to continue to press forward, be bold, and take the lead in creating change.”

Statement from David Swann in response to the Speech from the Throne

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement in response to the Speech from the Throne:

“Overall, I am broadly supportive of a number of government initiatives promised in today’s Speech from the Throne. Much of the proposed legislation echoes long-standing Liberal policies that I have looked forward to seeing brought into law.

“However, there are a number of areas where the Alberta Liberal Opposition differs from the NDP government, both in broad strokes and specific details. My first priority is better management of health care, particularly mental health and addiction services. I also want to make real progress in controlling the ongoing opioid crisis and saving lives, which is why I called for an emergency debate on the issue starting this Monday.

“I will be vigilant in ensuring that the government finally follows through on the implementation of the Mental Health Review. Since the committee submitted its report in December 2016, we have seen very little progress on its 32 recommendations, and the Ministry of Health has been less than forthcoming about what it is doing on this file.

“As a member of the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention, I will urge the government to take more action to prevent any further deaths of children in government care.

“Our public education system is another area in which we would like to see improvement. Affordability has always been a Liberal concern, and we firmly believe that public money should go to public education. As well, we support wrap-around services and affordable lunch programs, which we hope to see implemented in this new session.

“I am concerned that we face the true cost of electricity, which is why I will be bringing forward my own new ideas on how to make sure it is affordable for all Albertans.

“Finally, I will be vigorously holding the government to account on the performance of Alberta’s health care system. We need to reduce wait times in our emergency rooms, and improve community supports so we have less people being warehoused in our hospitals. We also need massive investments into primary care, prevention and wellness initiatives.

“The Liberal Opposition has always been a strong defender of fiscal, social, and environmental responsibility, and I will be continuing that tradition as a strong voice on the floor of the legislature in this session.”

Statement from David Swann on Pink Shirt Day

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement in support of Pink Shirt Day:

“I am proud to wear a pink shirt in solidarity with victims of bullying. Bullying happens every day in schools, workplaces, and online, and, today, we make a statement that such behaviour is unacceptable in our society.

“While awareness campaigns such as Pink Shirt Day are powerful reminders that victims of bullying are not alone, we must continue to stand against harassment every day, and speak out against abusive behaviour when we see it.

“Thank you for showing your support today and working together to create a safer, more inclusive and accepting future.”

David Swann statement on Family Day

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

“Today we take the time to refocus on our families. Family is our most important support network and the building block of our communities. Like many Albertans, I always look forward to having this long weekend to spend with my wife, children, and grandchildren.

“On behalf of the Alberta Liberals – but more importantly, from my family to yours – I wish you all a happy and loving Family Day.”

David Swann statement on Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day

David Swann released the following statement to mark Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day:

“Our sexual health is something that we don’t like to discuss, yet is an important part of our overall well-being. Healthy sexual attitudes through open discussion and greater understanding of sexual consent at earlier ages are critically needed.

Safe sex practices are very much needed to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and there is no shame in seeking out medical treatment.

“We need more open attitudes to healthy sexuality in our province, but the first step comes from reducing the stigma.”

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann challenges Albertans to break down stigma for Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement to mark Eating Disorder Awareness Week:

“Most of us take for granted the privilege of being able to enjoy a good meal without fear and anxiety. Eating is a universal human experience, and many of us value the simple pleasure of our favourite comfort food.

“For the many Albertans that suffer from an eating disorder, however, food is a source of angst and mental discomfort from which they cannot escape. Earlier identification and better counselling resources in our health system can help those afflicted recover; the most important thing we can do as citizens, however, is reach out with compassion and support.

“As with any mental illness, the greatest barrier to treatment of an eating disorder is fear of being dismissed or shunned. Only by breaking down the stigma surrounding eating disorders can we remove this barrier.”