Calgary, AB (October 19, 2016): Dr. David Swann made this statement in response to the Premier’s State of the Province Speech:
“Today, Premier Rachel Notley addressed Albertans to give them an update on the state of our province and the provincial government’s plans to return Alberta to economic prosperity.
“Unfortunately, Premier Notley offered very little in the way of an update on Alberta. Rather, she described a series of previously announced government initiatives.
“Leaders across North America, including President Obama, have identified fentanyl and opioid overdose as an immediate health emergency needing stronger leadership and transparency. It was disappointing it didn’t warrant a mention in Premier Notley’s speech.
“Several times in her speech the Premier mentioned investing in Alberta. None more so than when she blamed oil prices for the lack of capital flowing into the province. That is partially true but the government’s own actions on several issues have not improved the investment climate.
“An investment cooling list would include the lawsuit against the power purchase agreement holders, the unknown ramifications of the carbon tax, and the uncertainty surrounding electricity pricing and capital recovery for coal plants.
“Perhaps the most disappointing part of today’s update was the warning to municipalities to not expect provincial funds for their chosen infrastructure projects.
“Proposals like the Green Line in Calgary and the Yellowhead highway upgrade in Edmonton have city and federal funding already committed, all that’s needed is for the province to come on board. Instead, it appears the province will go it alone and decide for itself which projects are best for municipalities.
“And, while increasing minimum wage is one tool to address the growing gap between rich and poor, it has significant adverse effects in the current climate and there is longstanding need for a serious poverty reduction plan in Alberta.
“I applaud the new agreement in principle with AMA which will move towards fewer fee for service physicians, greater accountability in PCNs and better sharing of appropriate health information among professionals for the benefit of all patients. Though there is still a long way to go in creating a more equitable fee schedule that rewards quality and prevention among the various medical professionals.
“The news that ATB has lent $750 million to small and medium businesses is also good to hear.
“However, Premier Notley and the NDP government need to realize that Albertans cannot continue to wait on their big plans. Albertans and especially the business community, as well as international investors deserve essential details about the plan going forward.”