Statement from David Swann in response to the Speech from the Throne

Edmonton, AB (March 2, 2017): Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement in response to the Speech from the Throne:

“Overall, I am broadly supportive of a number of government initiatives promised in today’s Speech from the Throne. Much of the proposed legislation echoes long-standing Liberal policies that I have looked forward to seeing brought into law.

“However, there are a number of areas where the Alberta Liberal Opposition differs from the NDP government, both in broad strokes and specific details. My first priority is better management of health care, particularly mental health and addiction services. I also want to make real progress in controlling the ongoing opioid crisis and saving lives, which is why I called for an emergency debate on the issue starting this Monday.

“I will be vigilant in ensuring that the government finally follows through on the implementation of the Mental Health Review. Since the committee submitted its report in December 2016, we have seen very little progress on its 32 recommendations, and the Ministry of Health has been less than forthcoming about what it is doing on this file.

“As a member of the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention, I will urge the government to take more action to prevent any further deaths of children in government care.

“Our public education system is another area in which we would like to see improvement. Affordability has always been a Liberal concern, and we firmly believe that public money should go to public education. As well, we support wrap-around services and affordable lunch programs, which we hope to see implemented in this new session.

“I am concerned that we face the true cost of electricity, which is why I will be bringing forward my own new ideas on how to make sure it is affordable for all Albertans.

“Finally, I will be vigorously holding the government to account on the performance of Alberta’s health care system. We need to reduce wait times in our emergency rooms, and improve community supports so we have less people being warehoused in our hospitals. We also need massive investments into primary care, prevention and wellness initiatives.

“The Liberal Opposition has always been a strong defender of fiscal, social, and environmental responsibility, and I will be continuing that tradition as a strong voice on the floor of the legislature in this session.”