Dr. David Swann Calls for Economic Stimulus

CALGARY, AB (August 31, 2015): Dr. David Swann outlined his recommendations for stimulating the economy in reaction to the lack of action being taken by the NDP.

“I heard little in today’s fiscal update to suggest that the NDP has a strategy to get our economy moving,” says Swann. “They were well aware that the economy was slowing when they were first elected. Yet, after more than three months in office, they are still holding their cards to their chest. You can only do that for so long before someone calls your bluff.”

Swann’s comments come as the government provided its first quarter fiscal and economic update which confirmed that the Alberta economy is expected to retract, while showing a projected deficit of $5.9 billion, and an approximate $20 billion drop in investment in oil and gas from last year. Economic forecasts are also showing a decline in retail spending versus last year.

Alberta Liberals recommend the following measures:

  • Boost infrastructure spending to repair Alberta’s roads, bridges, and hospitals and build new schools, waste water facilities, affordable housing, and public transit. This spending can and should be debt financed, provided that the government provides a clear debt repayment plan.
  • Stimulate job creation by phasing out the small business tax. Lower the small business tax immediately by one percentage point and reduce it by a further one percentage point in each subsequent year until it is eliminated.
  • Continue to support and encourage economic diversification by shielding new technology initiatives under Innovation and Advanced Education from any significant cuts in the upcoming provincial budget.
  • Scrap plans to give businesses $10,000 for low wage hiring – which is not a sustainable approach to job creation.
  • Financial incentives to encourage the creation of new, clean technologies in the private sector.

“The reality is that Alberta remains on the resource revenue roller-coaster,” says Swann. “Unless action is taken to stimulate and diversify the economy and fix our broken fiscal structure, we are going to find ourselves back in this kind of fiscal situation again and again.”

Government Managers Need to be Held Responsible: Swann

CALGARY, AB (August 29, 2015): Dr. David Swann called on the NDP to dismiss managers in the ministry of Innovation & Advanced Education who have been found to have committed “gross mismanagement of public funds.”

“The NDP were elected on a promise to restore accountability to government,” says Swann. “Their response to the actions of these managers are the first test of that commitment. If they do not fire these individuals, they will have failed to fulfil that promise.”

Following revelations that three managers in Innovation & Advanced Education manipulated the awarding of contracts, Minister Deron Bilous did not outline what disciplinary actions were taken. Swann says that under the circumstances the only acceptable solution is for the employees to be fired.

“This is a matter of restoring the public’s trust in their government and making it clear that those who violate that trust will face the consequences.”

Government Missed Opportunity to Advocate for Keystone

CALGARY, AB (August 27, 2015): Dr. David Swann expressed his disappointment today that the Minister of Environment did not take advantage of an opportunity to engage US lawmakers on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“It’s no secret that Keystone is a top priority for the energy industry,” says Swann. “I’m surprised and frankly disappointed that the Minister of Environment would not take this opportunity to discuss it.”

Earlier today Environment Minister Shannon Phillips hosted a delegation from the US congress, including presidential candidate Senator Lyndsey Graham. In a hastily called media scrum late this afternoon, Phillips admitted she did not speak to the delegation about Keystone.

“I think the government had an obligation to advocate for this important project, and seek to understand any concerns. I’m disappointed this opportunity was lost,” added Swann.

Swann Calls on NDP to Pursue Legal Action on Polluter

CALGARY, AB (August 27, 2015): Dr. David Swann says the government should pursue all legal option to force Domtar Corp. to clean up pollution it left at the former wood preserving plant in Calgary.

“This is a basic question of enforcing a polluter pay model,” says Swann. “Companies need to be aware that they are responsible for the costs of environmental damage done as part of their business.”

Swann conceded that there is some dispute as to whether the province is able to pursue legal action against Domtar because the company does not have a presence in Alberta. However, he emphasized that several legal experts have said the province still has the authority to act.

“Clearly there are some mixed legal opinions about the government’s options but the province has a duty to exhaust all potential options here,” says Swann.

“It is the government’s responsibility to hold companies that pollute responsible for their actions.”

Time to End the Revolving Door of AHS Administrators

CALGARY, AB (August 25, 2015): Dr. David Swann says it is time to end the constant changeover of AHS Administrators and establish an independent, arms-length governing board to run Alberta’s health system.

“I congratulate David Carpenter on his appointment as Official Administrator of Alberta Health Services,” says Swann. “However, the reality is he is the third administrator since the position was created barely two years ago. Our system requires more stability than that.”

Swann also noted that Carpenter’s appointment only runs until the end of this year.

“Presumably, there is every likelihood that we will have yet another administrator following the end of Mr. Carpenter’s term. This revolving door needs to stop.”

Swann reiterated previous calls for the NDP government to establish an arms-length governing board to run Alberta’s health system free from political interference.

“We need a new board, consisting of experts that will set and work towards the long term priorities for AHS based on best practices and best evidence.”

Dr. David Swann Hosts Eleventh Annual Farmworker Day BBQ

CALGARY, Alberta—On Thursday, August 20, 2015, Dr. David Swann, MLA for Calgary Mountain View, will host a BBQ in Calgary to mark the eleventh Alberta Farmworker Day. This is the second year Dr. Swann has hosted this free, public event in Calgary. For more information, please visit davidswann.ca/2015-farmworker-bbq.

The BBQ will take place between 11:00am and 2:00pm at The Rehabilitation Society of Calgary, #7 – 11 Street NE, in Bridgeland. Parking is available onsite, and the Bridgeland LRT station is within walking distance. Donations to the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank are gratefully accepted. A suggested $5 donation per person, made to the Farmworkers Union of Alberta, is also welcome.

Dr. Swann will be joined by special guest, Eric Musekamp, President and Founder, Farmworkers Union of Alberta, to mark the annual Farmworker Day, which commemorates the death of agricultural worker Terry Rash, who lost his life at the hands of his employer on August 20, 1999. Each year since, Albertans commemorate Rash’s death, as well as the many other agricultural workers who have lost their lives as a result of work-related illness or injury.

Ill-Advised Cuts to Primary Care Will Hurt Health Care Delivery

CALGARY, AB (August 5, 2015): Dr. David Swann today expressed disappointment in the NDP’s decision to not restore funding to Primary Care Networks in Alberta, saying it will add to the burden of our already overburdened hospitals.

“Failing to restore the $75 million dollars in funding will limit the capacity of our Primary Care Clinics,” says Swann. “That lack of capacity will drive more patients to emergency rooms and hospital beds – ballooning our costs and ballooning wait times.”

Swann’s comments come as the NDP has revealed it has not restored cuts to PCNs by the former regime.

“PCNs are a vital piece of an overall strategy to fix our health care system,” says Swann. “I hope the government will realize that and restore supports for them in the budget this fall. If they fail to do so, they will need to present an alternate strategy to alleviate the pressure on our ERs and hospitals.”