2018-19 Budget: Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA David Swann say the NDP is gambling away Albertans’ future

The NDP Government continues to spend away the future of Albertans, their children and grandchildren with a staggering $96 billion of debt by 2023.

Speaking on the 2018-19 Budget, David Khan said, “Instead of getting off the Resource Revenue Roller Coaster, the NDP just bought a ticket for the front seat. Albertans are being asked to hold their breath and hang on for a wild ride.

“Albertans are facing another massive $9 billion deficit this year and almost $9 billion again in 2019.

“The NDP is spending without corresponding revenue and spending on the wrong things. The money isn’t going to reduce class sizes. It’s not going to support AISH recipients and vulnerable Albertans. Instead, the NDP is doubling down on our volatile oil and gas sector with corporate welfare such as the announced billion-dollar partial upgrader boondoggle and the Energy Diversification Act. Many Albertans are being left behind as the debt skyrockets ahead.”

David Swann added, “To make matters worse, we are paying almost $2 billion every year in interest costs to service the provincial debt.  How many schools would that pay for? How many nurses would that hire? How many services could that have provided to the citizens of this province?

“I am encouraged by the increases in funding to address the EMS, mental health and opioid crises. However, the massive health budget needs to be managed more effectively.”

The NDP Government says it hopes to eliminate the deficit in 5-6 years, gambling on hypothetical future revenue from an energy project that is still in limbo – the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. There is no guarantee if or when this project will get built.

Khan concluded, “You can’t take phantom revenue to the bank and spend it. We must reform our tax system to pay for the services Albertans need today.

“Albertans deserve a sensible financial plan, not an uncontrolled plunge into staggering debt.”

David Khan and David Swann are available for media interviews.


Liberal MLA David Swann and Liberal Leader David Khan says EMS Union (HSAA) data shows systemic crisis

Liberal MLA David Swann says, “The NDP Government should immediately boost frontline resources for EMS across Alberta.”

“AHS statistics show EMS events are up almost 19% over 5 years but there has been only a 2.9% increase in new ambulances and 3.4% increase in new full-time equivalent paramedics.”

“EMS is struggling to meet day-to-day demands of Albertans and the situation is escalating.”

“The opioid crisis is only making the crisis worse and lives are at stake.”

“When ambulances cannot reach patients in a timely fashion the safety of those patients is put at risk.”

Liberal Leader David Khan says, “There are more than 63,000 extra EMS calls over the past 5 years and EMS is stretched to the limits to handle the needs of over 500,000 new Albertans.”

“The NDP Government must not only provide additional resources but improve the efficiency of the system with paramedics spending 650,000 hours per year in ER awaiting patient transfers to nursing staff.”

David Swann is available for interviews at 1:15 pm on the “INS” at the Alberta Legislature. He is also available by phone or Skype.

David Khan is available for interview by phone or Skype.

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For more information, contact:

Keegan Wynychuk
Alberta Liberal Opposition
Tel: 780.644.7719
Cell: 780.919.3158
liberal.communications@assembly.ab.ca


Alberta Liberals react to $2 billion bitumen upgrading facility proposal “letter of intent”

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan issues the following release on the announcement today of a “letter of intent” for a proposed $2 billion bitumen upgrading facility.

Khan stated, “Alberta taxpayers should not have to pay to create jobs for themselves and boost our economy. Every single Albertan is now on the hook for $110 per person with the $440 million loan guarantee by the NDP Government for this project. Even worse, the project needs additional private sector financing which has still not been secured by the operating company. The company admits the project won’t be finally approved until the end of 2019 or early 2020 – if at all. The benefits of this project are entirely speculative today.”

Khan added, “If the NDP Government has an extra $440 million to spend, then Alberta Liberals have some suggestions. We would use it to pay down the massive provincial deficit, end overcrowded classrooms or invest in more mental health supports. That will help all Albertans today. We can’t afford to wait for a year or more for a project that may never get off the ground.

“Alberta Liberals believe Government should not be in the business of private business. The NDP should leave this project to the experts – the private sector.

“The company admits this project is at the exploratory stage until it raises more private sector money. Albertans will have to hold their breath until those dollars show up and are committed to the project. Albertans need jobs. Albertans don’t need another pie in the sky project.

“The NDP Government is gambling with taxpayers dollars to shamelessly promote its chances for re-election. Albertans will not allow their votes to be bought with their own money. The NDP Government should not be playing the part of an investor in a political theatre stage show.”


Alberta Liberals extend greetings on Orthodox Christian Christmas

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann release statement on the celebration of Orthodox Christian Christmas.

“We wish all Orthodox Christian Albertans a Joyous Christmas.

“The Orthodox Christian community is an ongoing and integral part of Alberta’s heritage. They gather with friends and family to celebrate Christmas according to the Julian Calender. This includes enjoying the 12 traditional dishes of the Nativity Feast.

“On behalf of the Alberta Liberals, we wish all our Orthodox Christian friends and neighbours:

“Christos razhdayetsya

“Hristos se Rodi

“Christos etexthi

“Kristos rozhdaetsya!”


Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann supports strengthening federal Bill C-71 amending Firearms Regulations

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann has issued the following release on federal Bill C-71:

Swann stated, “We must do more to reduce over 1,300 firearms related deaths in Canada annually.”

More than 60% of gun deaths are suicides linked to mental health and addiction issues and are not the result of criminal activity. More than 350 children or youth are injured by gun violence with 25 dying from firearms injuries each year (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Dr. Swann stated, “As a public health physician and an Alberta provincial legislator, I stand with the Coalition of Gun Control and support their proposal to strengthen public policy to reduce preventable gun injury and loss of life. These unfortunate fatalities cost the national health care system billions of dollars.

“A priority is updating lists of restricted and prohibited weapons including handguns based on recommendations from the RCMP and police experts.

“We ust limit the proliferation of prohibited (military-style, rapid fire) and restricted weapons (handguns) while also restoring mandatory records on sales of rifles and shotguns.

“We need to provide more rigorous licensing protocols including tougher screening of applicants, restore more comprehensive records of firearms ownership, and improve controls on the transportation of restricted weapons.

“Public health recommendations include investing in youth and primary prevention services, requiring physicians to report cases where individuals are a threat to themselves and others.

“I urge all Albertans and Canadians to call for the strengthening of federal Bill C-71 an Act to Amend Certain Acts and Regulations in relation to Firearms by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) on Tuesday June 5.

“Join me with the chorus of Canadians demanding these amendments be approved.”


Alberta Liberals issue New Year statement

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA David Swann wish all Albertans a Happy New Year.

The past year has been tough for many Albertans. Falling oil prices and a sputtering economy have led to job losses and personal hardships. Mental health hotlines have seen a significant increase in calls from people in distress. Inflamed political rhetoric has spawned calls for separation.

Albertans deserve better. We are hard working, resilient and honourable. We love our province. We love our country.

Alberta Liberals will continue to fight for all Albertans. We will hold the Government to account on issues like boosting job creation, building the Trans Mountain pipeline, accessing quality healthcare, reducing classroom sizes, protecting our precious environment, safeguarding LGBTQ2S+ rights and improving the quality of life for all of us.

Albertans have a chance to vote for change in the next provincial election. They can vote for a brighter future with improved opportunities for everyone.

We have hope for a prosperous and promising New Year.

2018 has been tough. Alberta Liberals have your back. 2019 will be a better.


MLA Swann’s open letter to the OIPC

MLA Swann and the Alberta Liberals believe in accountable Government. Access to information is deteriorating under the NDP. That is why we’re making our letter to the OIPC public. Albertans have a right to know what their Government is doing.


Alberta Liberals relieved AHS finally implementing Liberal EMS solutions

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann are relieved the Government and Alberta Health Services are finally implementing a series of Liberal solutions to improve EMS service for all Albertans. But more needs to be done.

Khan stated, “On Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, Alberta Liberals recommended that Paramedics be hired and placed in emergency rooms to facilitate patient transfers. We also suggested the community paramedic program be expanded. Now, in December, the Government and AHS have finally decided to hire 100 paramedics for that very purpose. Albertans were being forced to wait an hour or more in ER hallways due to system problems. AHS also addressed our concern to increase supports for the mental health of paramedics suffering from stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, overwork, and low moral. It’s about time.”

Swann stated, “We provided constructive solutions to AHS after spending months researching this problem and consulting with health practitioners and the community. Liberal pressure finally forced them to act. Alberta Liberal data concluded paramedics spent 653,000 hours—135,000 hours of costly overtime—waiting for patient transfers in a year. That was wasteful and compromised response times. There were on average 35 “Red Alerts” (when there are no available EMS crews to respond to the volume of 911 calls) per month across Alberta. That compromised patient safety. That is unacceptable to Albertans.”

Khan added, “Alberta Liberals set up an EMS Hotline on July 19 for Albertans and healthcare workers to call confidentially and express their concerns with the current service. Health Minister Sarah Hoffman criticized the Liberals as being “irresponsible”—in her words—for giving Albertans an opportunity to inform the NDP Government about the EMS crisis. AHS employees told us they didn’t feel safe expressing their concerns through normal channels. Minister Hoffman apparently needed almost five months to assess the problem and respond. We think we did what was right and necessary for Albertans. We wish the NDP wasn’t so slow to address their concerns.”

Khan continued, “We have more suggestions that could be adopted. Paramedics identified misuse of ERs by the public as a major issue. AHS needs to raise public awareness about when and when not to use ERs. We need to maximise the use of advanced technology and create streamlined handover procedures to boost efficiencies.

“The overarching issue is reducing access block in our hospitals by providing more community and continuing care. These need to be a long term priority.

“We are pleased that some our solutions have been adopted. But we will be pushing for more changes and improvements. Albertans deserve the best EMS service.”

David Khan and Dr. David Swann are available for interviews.


Alberta Liberals pleased that Prime Minister Trudeau has listened to our call to help Alberta with reinstated extended Federal EI benefits and rail car purchase

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue statement after reports Prime Minister Trudeau will consider rail car purchase and enhanced employment insurance benefits to help Alberta.

Khan stated, “We congratulate Prime Minister Trudeau for his willingness to consider funding Alberta rail car purchases to boost oil shipments to international markets. We are also pleased that he will look at temporarily extending employment insurance (“EI”) benefits for laid-off Alberta workers. These two measures will help Albertans enjoy a Merry Christmas.

“Alberta’s energy sector has been hit hard. Albertans need help. The oil price differential and new mandated production cuts could lead to more layoffs, with Alberta’s GDP growth predicted to be slashed by up to 50% next year. Calgary’s unemployment rate is already a staggering 8.4%. We must do all we can to help our workers through this troubling time. The Federal Liberal Government will deliver that help, and we appreciate that effort.

“The proposal to purchase more rail cars could move 120,000 barrels of Alberta oil to ease pipeline bottlenecks. That increased daily volume will access higher world oil prices which will provide more revenue to pay for social programs in Alberta. It is a medium-term solution, and not a replacement for the Trans Mountain expansion, but it is a step in the right direction.

“The enhanced EI benefits will assist Albertans who lost their jobs due to the oil price crisis. It could mean extra benefits and reduce requirements to qualify for these benefits. The benefits boost is needed by Albertans struggling during this economic downturn.”

Swann stated, “Alberta Liberals first called on the Federal Government to reinstate enhanced EI benefits on Sunday, Dec. 2. I renewed our call in Question Period in the Alberta Legislature on Tuesday, Dec. 4. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, we called on Premier Notley to deliver our message to the Prime Minister personally at the First Ministers’ Meeting this weekend.”

Khan added, “In 2016, the Federal Government provided enhanced employment insurance benefits to unemployed Albertans. It extended EI benefits for unemployed workers for an additional five to 20 weeks, decreased wait times by 50%, and reduced eligibility requirements from 910 hours of insured employment to as little as 420 hours. It’s time for them to do so again. We’re asking the NDP Government to join with us in demanding this action. Prime Minister Trudeau must move faster than he did 3 years ago.

“We are pleased Prime Minister Trudeau has heard our message.”

David Khan and David Swann are available for interviews.


Alberta Liberals looking forward to 2019 Provincial Election

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue statement on 2019 Provincial Election.

Khan stated, “Alberta Liberals welcome the Premier’s confirmation of a Provincial Election in the Spring of 2019. We are gearing up our efforts to rollout a vigorous campaign in the coming months. Albertans will finally have a chance to exercise their choice on the future of this Province.

“The NDP have been a failed progressive government that did not deliver to Albertans on key issues such as protecting vulnerable Albertans, reducing classroom sizes, protecting our precious environment, paying down the massive debt, and keeping unregulated dark money out of our political system. They failed to introduce gender pay equity legislation, implement the recommendations of the “Valuing Mental Health” report or provide access to MAID services for all Albertans.

“The UCP will gut our social safety net with slash-and-burn spending cuts. They will destroy hard-fought gains for equality, inclusion and tolerance in Alberta. They courted Political Action Committee (“PAC”) money to undermine democracy that will disenfranchise Albertans. They want to turn back the clock to the 1960s.

“Alberta Liberals are a forward-thinking, progressive party. We will spend more wisely, not just spend more, like previous governments. We will invest in healthcare and education. We will protect vulnerable Albertans. We will safeguard our precious environment. We are not beholden to big unions or corporations. We will put Albertans first.

“Alberta Liberals will work hard to improve the quality of life for all Albertans. We look forward to the 2019 Provincial Election.”

Swann stated, “I will be working vigorously to help elect Liberal MLAs across this province in this upcoming election.

David Khan is available for interviews.


Alberta Liberals release statement on National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following statement on National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Swann stated, “On December 6, 1989, 13 female students and a female administrator at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal were murdered because they were women.

“Twenty-nine years later, Canada continues to feel the effects of this attack. Women are still targets of abuse and violence because of their gender.”

Khan stated, “We celebrate the of tearing down of patriarchal values and institutions that treat women unfairly. That is real progress. But, we must also guard against aggressive, misogynistic worldviews. They are pushing back, sometimes violently. This hate poses great risk to all people.

“We must continue to make progress on gender equality issues. We must prevent all forms of violence against women.

“Alberta Liberals are advocating for more women’s shelters funding. 16,722 women, children and seniors were turned away last year. That cannot continue. We believe there should be greater focus on the root causes of violence against women.

“Let’s work together on these challenges. Let’s improve quality of life for all people.”


Alberta Liberals ask Premier Notley to deliver our call for reinstated extended Federal EI benefits to Prime Minister Trudeau at the First Ministers’ Meeting this week

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann are asking Premier Rachel Notley to join with them and call for the Prime Minister to reinstate extended federal EI benefits at the First Ministers’ Meeting.

Khan stated, “The Prime Minister must do more than just talk about the oil price differential crisis. He must understand its impact on Alberta jobs. We want him to reinstate extended federal EI benefits. We want Premier Notley to strongly deliver our message this week. Albertans do not want more words. Albertans want action.

Khan stated, “We know Albertans want to work. But if they can’t get a job, they need help. The oil price differential and new mandated production cuts could lead to more layoffs. Calgary’s unemployment rate is already a staggering 8.4%. We must do all we can to help them through this troubling time.

“Bank of Montreal’s economists forecast the oil production cuts will have a harsh effect on Alberta’s economy. They estimate Alberta’s 2019 GDP annualized growth may be cut in half from 2.4% to 1.2%. TD Bank’s economists echo those forecasts, predicting Alberta’s GDP growth could fall to as low as 1.1% from 2.3% next year. Those are serious hits to Alberta’s economy. They will hurt Albertans.

“In 2016, the Federal Government provided enhanced employment insurance benefits to unemployed Albertans. It extended EI benefits for unemployed workers for an additional five to 20 weeks, decreased wait times by 50%, and reduced eligibility requirements from 910 hours of insured employment to as little as 420 hours. It’s time for them to do so again. We’re asking the NDP Government to join with us in demanding this action. Prime Minister Trudeau must move faster than he did 3 years ago.”

Swann stated, “The Federal Government must do much more to relieve the economic pain being endured by Albertans. They have been struggling in the wake of this price differential crisis. It is my hope Premier Notley will join us in demanding this necessary measure when she meets with the Prime Minister this week.”

Alberta Liberals support the Government’s temporary oil production cuts as an emergency intervention to bolster prices. But, we also have concerns about execution and unintended consequences. There could be negative impacts on jobs.

The Prime Minister and the Federal government must step up with action, not more rhetoric.  Albertans need help now.

David Khan and David Swann are available for interviews.