Alberta Liberals release statement on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following statement in recognition of International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

Khan stated, “Today, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we work to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life and to promote their rights and wellbeing.”

Swann stated, “This year’s theme is “empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” It is about focusing on how we can lift persons with disabilities up and ensure they have equality of opportunity in society.”

Khan added, “Alberta Liberals will continue to do all we can to be allies to persons with disabilities community. We will fight, for example, for further increases to AISH and more supports for students with extra needs in the classroom.”


Alberta Liberals Stand with Alberta on the Oil Price Differential Plan

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA  David Swann stand with all Albertans on the Government’s plan to mandate reduced oil production.

Khan stated, “Alberta Liberals are calling on all Albertans to work together to solve our oil price crisis. This is not the time for finger pointing or the blame game. The Government’s proposal is not a silver bullet solution. But, it does point this Province in the right direction for price recovery.”

Swann stated, “We support any efforts that could help Alberta. We support getting the best price for our resource. We still have concerns about execution and unintended consequences of the oil price recovery plan. The Government has assured us that there will be no significant legal or trade challenges to this plan. We hope this is the case.”

Khan added, “There are no guarantees there won’t be more layoffs. We call on the Federal Government to reinstate enhanced employment benefits for oilpatch workers still losing their jobs. We must do all we can to protect Albertans from additional economic pain.

“This is a short-term strategy for price recovery. The long-term strategy is to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. Alberta Liberals urge the Federal Government to properly consult with First Nations. Their concerns must be accommodated as needed. The same applies to marine shipping issues. We want this pipeline approved and built.

“Albertans must stand strong together. We are hardworking and resilient. We will get through this crisis.”

Khan and Swann are available for interviews.


Alberta Liberals issue statement in recognition of Hanukkah

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following statement in celebration of the beginning of Hanukkah:

“Tonight marks the beginning of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. As families across Alberta gather to light the first candle of the menorah, we want to extend them our warmest wishes.

“As the commemoration of the rededication of the defiled Holy Temple, Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of light in dark places, and of hope in dark times.

“Hanukkah’s message of renewal and light is a particularly important one for Albertans at this time, as we face uncertainty and economic challenges.

“As you observe this holiday in the company of dear friends and loved ones, I hope your own home becomes a source of light and warmth in this cold Alberta winter.

“A blessed and happy Hanukkah to you all. Chag sameach!


Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann and Leader David Khan call for independent review of Alberta’s pesticide use regulations, monitoring, enforcement and public accountability

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann and Liberal Leader David Khan are calling on the NDP Government to strengthen pesticide use regulations, monitoring, enforcement and public accountability.

There has been more than a 60% increase in pesticide use in Alberta over a 10-year period ending in 2013, according to data from Alberta Environment. This rising trend is concerning to some Albertans. More alarming is the NDP Government’s lack of enforcement and accountability on pesticide use.

Sheryl McCumsey, Coordinator, Pesticide Free Alberta, stated, “Compliance officers with Alberta Environment are not properly monitoring pesticide applications. Nor are they fully investigating public complaints of clear violations that place Albertans and the environment at risk. We have expressed our concerns in meetings with Alberta Environment but it produced no results. That must change. Albertans deserve answers.”

David Khan stated, “We strongly urge the NDP Government to launch an independent investigation of the current Alberta government system of monitoring and enforcement of pesticide applications, especially in public places. Alberta Liberals are also pushing for immediate action by Alberta Environment to improve transparency in the public complaint process. Albertans deserve to be fully protected from the misuse of pesticides.”

David Swann stated, “We should be using less pesticides, not more. There are numerous studies that demonstrate a link between some pesticides and their harmful effect on human health. Furthermore, the lack of comprehensive provincial regulations and full enforcement may be exposing Albertans to potential risk. There must be robust, consistent public policies that increase and improve safeguards.”

MEDIA AVAILABILITY:

10:30 am, Monday, November 19, 2018

Legislature Media Room

Dr. Swann, David Khan and Sheryl McCumsey will attend the news conference on Monday. They will be joined by a group of concerned Albertans including biologists and health professionals.


Alberta Liberals host expert panel forum on Drug Decriminalization – Help Not Handcuffs

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA Dr David Swann will host an expert panel to discuss Drug Decriminalization – Help Not Handcuffs..

Two Albertans are dying every day from drug overdoses. Alberta Liberals have constructive suggestions to better manage the Opioid Crisis. We urge the NDP Government to work with the Federal Government to Decriminalize Drugs. ,

Khan stated, “It is time we treat addicts as people with a horrible disease. They are sick. They are not criminals. Decriminalization of drugs is an essential part of reducing stigma and improving their chances of healing.”

Dr Swann stated, “We must remove the stigma of drug use and provide hope. We must also address the financial impact of this crisis. Canada spent $550M in 2017 on recurrent hospital visits, policing, court proceedings, and incarceration. Decriminalization will lead those with addictions and devastating mental illness to help and recovery – not thrown into jail.”

The issue will be fully discussed by panelists on all sides of this issue  including medical clinicians, harm reduction advocates, a former drug user turned health advocate and those who lost loved ones to opioids.
.
WHERE: O’Brien Institute for Public Health
HSC Room G500 – 3330 Hospital Dr NW.

WHEN: 7:00 pm Wednesday Nov 14
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: 6:30 pm


Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr. David Swann call for protection of Albertans’ rights to medically assisted dying

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr. David Swann are calling on the NDP Health Minister to enforce a patient’s right to medically assisted dying at Alberta’s religious-based health facilities.

Covenant Health facilities are refusing to allow medically assisted deaths on their premises, according to media reports. They are also blocking patients from receiving medical assessments. They will not even allow them to fill out paperwork at their facilities. This is shameful. This is also illegal.

Swann stated, “These patients have a constitutionally-guaranteed right to humane medically assisted death.

“It is unreasonable to force vulnerable and very ill Albertans to undergo physician assessments at other facilities. It is shocking that they are being forced to undergo those assessments or fill out forms on the sidewalk and at bus stops. Alberta Liberals insist this practice end immediately.””

Khan stated, “Patients have rights. Why is this NDP Government not defending them? These are public facilities using public funding. They must not be allowed to circumvent the law because of their ties to the Catholic Church. The NDP Health Minister must protect patients’ rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Alberta Liberals are calling for the law to be enforced. We stand with these vulnerable Albertans. They deserve to die with dignity.

David Khan and Dr. Swann are available for interviews.


Alberta Liberals demand answers on staggering Oil Patch Liabilities

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann are demanding answers from the NDP Government on an estimated quarter of a trillion dollars in total oil and gas liabilities.

It could cost up to $260 billion to clean up the Alberta Oil Patch according to FOIP documents based on comments by a senior official with Alberta Environment Regulator (AER).

Khan stated, “That numbers are utterly shocking. It’s more than 16 times greater than the $1.6 billion in liability payments collected from energy companies. It’s more than 4 times greater than the $58 billion cleanup costs publicly estimated by the NDP Government. It’s almost 3 times greater than the $93 billion in projected total debt for Alberta.

“Alberta Liberals have demanded greater transparency on these liability numbers. We tried to boost accountability by suggesting an amendment to Government Motion XX during the spring session of the Legislature. The NDP turned us down.”

Swann stated, “We now know why the NDP rejected our amendment. They were trying to hide these disastrous figures from the public. It’s clear the NDP are not being honest with Albertans. The NDP are not living up to their fiscal or environmental responsibilities to this province.

“The Government must make all this information fully public including how these costs were calculated. Alberta Liberals demand there be safeguards for the environment and protection for Alberta taxpayers.

The NDP have criticized previous governments for not addressing the industry’s cleanup responsibilities. But, after 3 ½ years in office the NDP Government has not made any progress. Clearly, they are also kicking the can down the road.

Albertans should not be learning about these staggering liabilities from a FOIP search. The NDP Government must stop hiding this important information. Albertans deserve the truth.

David Khan and Dr. Swann are available for interviews.


Alberta Liberals to sponsor rally about the Seclusion Rooms Issue at the Alberta Legislature

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann are sponsoring a rally in support of concerned parents on the use of Seclusion Rooms prior to the opening of the Fall Session of the Alberta Legislature.

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan stated, “We are raising awareness in support of many parents across Alberta who are concerned about the use and misuse of “Seclusion Rooms” in provincial school systems. These rooms are frequently utilized with special needs students. There have been several shocking incidents that had traumatic effects on the students. Parents neither approved of nor were even made aware the child was placed in an isolation room. This must stop immediately.

“We are also demanding that new mandatory rules governing the use of these seclusion rooms be approved by the NDP Education Minister during this Fall session of the Legislature. These rules must provide sensitive and compassionate direction for school systems surrounding the use of these rooms. Communication with parents and the outcome for special needs students must be included as key parts of these guidelines.”

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr David Swann stated, “Seclusion rooms can be devastating for some students and are counterproductive to helping students and addressing misbehaviour. Instead, evidence shows Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and Positive Behaviour Intervention Supports (PBISs) are the key to helping these students. Seclusions rooms should never be used as a form of punishment or a way to modify student behaviour.

“We want the NDP Government to implement a mandatory province-wide policy on seclusion rooms. We are also recommending the creation of a sub-office of the Disability Advocate focused specifically on advocating for and listening to children with disabilities and their parents.”

Jenn Thompson, a mother of a special needs student and a leading community activist with the Serious Spectrum/Sensory Support community, will be hosting and speaking at the rally.

WHAT:        Rally on Seclusion Rooms

WHERE:     Alberta Legislature Front Steps

WHEN:       11:00 AM – 1:00 PM on Monday, October 29, 2018


Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr. David Swann release World Mental Health Day Statement

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr. David Swann issue the following statement to mark World Mental Health Day:

Swann stated, “One of the key findings of the Mental Health Review I chaired showed serious underfunding for mental health treatment in Alberta – only six per cent of the overall health care budget. This has led to critical deficiencies and severe delays in access to care, particularly when it comes to culturally-sensitive services for Indigenous peoples.

“We need to address this funding shortfall and fully implement the 32 recoOmmendations of Alberta’s mental health report.”

Khan stated, “However, increased funding is only part of the solution. Each of us has a role to play in helping those struggling with mental distress. We need to talk more, and more publicly, about these issues, and be ready to reach out to those around us who may be suffering.

“Stigma around mental health and addictions often prevents people from seeking help. That can have life-ending consequences for some. That is why we must pursue the decriminalization of small quantities of drugs. This will go a long way towards helping those struggling with addiction to reach out and find help.

“On this World Mental Health Day, let us be mindful of the impact we have on the mental well-being of others, and make a sincere effort to build honest and open relationships in order to be able to encourage others get help when they need it.”


Alberta Liberals renew call to declare Public Health Emergency for Opioid Crisis

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA Dr David Swann issue release renewing call for Alberta Government to declare Public Health Emergency for Opioid Crisis:

The NDP Government should be ashamed. Alberta health officials declined to participate in a major national opioid study that examined the demographics of overdose victims earlier this year. This underlines the Alberta Government’s failure to deal fully and effectively with this critical issue which is killing two Albertans a day – every day.

Dr Swann stated, “I demanded in September 2016 that the NDP Government declare the opioid crisis a Public Health Emergency. That was more than 2 years ago. Hundreds of Albertans have died from fatal opioid overdoses since then. What is this Government waiting for?

“Alberta continues to play “catch-up” due to a lack of deeper understanding about this issue. Addiction and the connection to mental illness along with the interaction of social and economic conditions must be studied to provide effective prevention and treatment services.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada says Alberta health officials claimed they did not have the resources to participate in the Federal study. Alberta did not have any coroners or medical examiners who could have been spared to provide data for the study. Newfoundland, Labrador and P.E.I. were the other provinces that did not participate. They have a combined total population equal to about half the size of Calgary.

David Khan stated, “The opioid crisis has taken a heavy toll on Albertans. We have the second highest per capita death rate among provinces. How can we not have the resources to participate in this important study that could help save Alberta lives? Alberta’s Medical Examiners Office has been a revolving door of staff due to the working environment and mismanagement. NDP Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley’s response to this situation has clearly been insufficient. The NDP Government has to step up and fix the problems.”

Alberta has said it will conduct its own opioid study. That will be released sometime in 2019.

Albertans can’t wait. Too many people are dying from the opioid crisis in this province. Alberta Liberals are pushing the NDP Government to act now and declare a Public Health Emergency.