Alberta Government Leaving Calgarians Out in the Cold on Freak Snowstorm Relief

CALGARY, AB (July 29, 2015): Dr. David Swann says he is disappointed that the NDP government is refusing to help fund disaster recovery costs in Calgary following last September’s freak summer snowstorm.

“There was significant damage done to the city’s parks and tree canopy and the province has a responsibility to support Calgary in paying for remediation,” says Swann. “Instead, it seems the new government is indifferent to the city’s unexpected financial burden.

“The NDP has essentially told Calgary: ‘sorry, you’re on your own.’ That is just plain wrong, and it’s particularly concerning given that Alberta is widely viewed as the natural disaster capital of Canada and the federal government is also reducing its financial support for disaster recovery.”

Swann’s comments follow Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s announcement to the media that Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous has refused the city’s request to fund a portion of the remediation costs through the Disaster Recovery Program.

“This is not simply about fixing trees,” says Swann. “This is about the government failing to do its part by properly supporting Calgary following a natural disaster.”

Government Must Ensure Confidence is Restored Following Spill

CALGARY, AB (July 23, 2015): Dr. David Swann says the NDP must announce concrete actions to get to the bottom of the recent Nexen oil spill.

“We all know that pipelines are, by far, the safest way to transport oil products and that is why it is clear that something went horribly wrong here,” says Swann. “This spill has caused serious environmental damage and it should not have happened. The government needs to find out what went wrong, why it wasn’t prevented, and – if required – hold people responsible.”

Swann’s says the Minister of Environment must announce a government investigation when she tours the site of the spill tomorrow. He added that a failure to take concrete action puts Alberta’s economic interests at risk at a time when the province desperately needs partners to get our product to market.

“We need to be able to look other jurisdictions in the eye and assure them that not only is this spill not typical, but that we have worked to ensure that it never happens again.”

Swann Calls for Minister to Widen Review of Dental Care

CALGARY, AB (July 10, 2015):  Dr. David Swann is calling on the government to create a new independent College of Dentistry with a mandate to protect the public interest as part of its review of skyrocketing dental costs in Alberta.

“Dental care is an important contributor to health and patients need information surrounding costs before they are surprised by a massive bill,” says Swann. “Ironically, the Alberta Dental Association and College, as currently constituted, is actually standing in the way of more competition among dentists by putting extreme limitations on advertising.

“This has the predictable result of disallowing dentists from offering special rates for low income Albertans, special days for seniors and ban on informing the public of a dentist’s extra training in various specialties.”

Swann’s comments come as Health Minister Sara Hoffman’s announced that she would initiate a review of Alberta dental costs, which are the highest in Canada. Since 1997, when Alberta stopped publishing a fee guide, dental costs in Alberta have skyrocketed faster than other provinces at double the rate of inflation.

Swann notes that, unlike other provinces, Alberta has no independent dental College whose role is to oversee ethical practice, investigate complaints about dentists and fine or remove a dentist’s license if needed. The Association is inherently conflicted as it tries to promote and police the profession by the same officials.

“This is a basic question of separating the roles of the Association and College to achieve fairness not only for patients but also for the dentists themselves.”

Details Needed on $6 Billion Borrowing

CALGARY, AB (July 9, 2015): Dr. David Swann says the Minister of Finance has a duty to immediately provide details on the $6 Billion in borrowing the government authorized by order-in-council.

“There is no information on what this borrowing is for; presumably it is for capital projects but we don’t know which projects or how they are being prioritized,” says Swann. “The NDP also has yet to provide a debt repayment plan so Albertans know how this will be paid off.”

Albertans learned about this latest borrowing via a general order-in-council news release, which Swann describes as problematic.

“Last month the government took the laudable step of calling the legislature into session in order to authorize interim supply for the government,” says Swann. “Part of their explanation for the lack of detail in their interim supply bill was its similarity to the previous government’s plan. But now we have a $3 billion difference in the amount that is being borrowed.

“There are too many questions here for the Finance Minister to not provide a full explanation—something he should have done when the legislature was in session.”

AG Report Highlights Importance of Mental Health Review

CALGARY, AB (July 6, 2015): Dr. David Swann says today’s Auditor General (AG) report on mental health delivery highlights the importance of the mental health review he is conducting.

“Today’s AG report documents the total failure of the previous regime to make progress in the area of care for those with mental health and addictions,” says Swann. “The PCs ignored recommendations from the AG, left their own action plans to collect dust, and simply played lip-service to improving the delivery of care.

“This failure has incredible economic and human costs, with individuals left to navigate a system with too many gaps in services.”

Swann was appointed by Premier Notley to co-chair a review of mental health care delivery along with MLA Danielle Larivee.

“I expect this report by the AG will certainly inform our work,” says Swann. “We have the benefit of a large collection of literature that we have to review, prioritize and make recommendations based on.

“Our biggest lesson today is the need for action to follow these studies, and the need for us to make sure our recommendations are actionable and close these gaps in service.”