Calgary, AB (October 11, 2017): Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan released the following statement in reaction to the release of the first Alberta Trans Youth Survey:
“I’m deeply saddened to see that so many trans youth in Alberta continue to be targeted by discrimination and violence. While trans issues have started to achieve increased awareness in recent years, this report is a sobering reminder that we still have a long way to go before trans persons - and particularly trans youth - feel safe and accepted in our society.
“One urgent step that we need to take in this regard is providing better health supports for the trans community. Alberta lags far behind other provinces on LGBTQ2S+-inclusive health care. As recently as February of this year, my colleague Dr. David Swann drew attention to Calgary’s Metta Clinic, one of the only health resources available for trans youth in the province, which at the time only received enough funding to operate for one day a month. Over 500 Albertans recognized that three years is an utterly unacceptable wait time for such a vulnerable group and signed our petition to increase funding for the clinic. Edmonton, too, suffers from fragmented medical supports which need to be addressed.
“Further, we need to ensure that trans youth feel safe in their schools, where they spend most of their days. I am calling on Education Minister David Eggen to add specific accommodations and supports for trans youth into the School Act, such as the right to access gender-neutral washrooms and to change their names and pronouns in school records. These accommodations and supports are included in the Minister’s “optional” LGBTQ guidelines - which should be mandatory.
“Trans youth in Alberta need to know they are supported, and they are loved. Our government needs to take more tangible measures to demonstrate that.”
Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann released the following statement to mark World Mental Health Day:
“One of the key findings of the Mental Health Review 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.
“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.
“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.”
Opioid Dependency Treatment Programs Need Further Expansion, Less Politics
Calgary, AB (October 6, 2017): Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann has released the following statement on the expansion of Alberta’s opioid dependency treatment programs:
“$4.6 million in additional resources to combat the opioid crisis is undoubtedly welcome news, and I am pleased to see that the Renfrew Recovery Centre in my constituency of Calgary – Mountain View will receive more support, which will enable it to be an integral part of the solution.
“However, access to harm reduction measures needs to be further expanded, particularly in smaller urban centres and rural areas where wait times are still too long.
“As I have said many times following each of these one-time announcements, this is an emergency situation requiring an evidence-based, co-ordinated and comprehensive public strategy, not a reactive, piecemeal approach.
“The government is failing to make significant headway in reducing the overall number of overdoses, which continues to rise each quarter, and is clearly not treating this matter with the urgency and importance it deserves.
“Opioid addiction and abuse is quite literally a matter of life and death, yet the government habitually releases reports and makes announcements on the opioid crisis at times when they will receive the least amount of public attention.
“For example, conducting these activities just prior to a holiday weekend sends the wrong message to send to Albertan and belies the severity, urgency, and importance of the opioid crisis.
“As one of the most important issues facing Alberta and Canada today, we need to be very conscious and cautious about the dangers of playing politics with people’s lives.
“Whether it comes to addressing concerns over the over the location of treatment clinics, federal approval for supervised consumption sites, or involving all stakeholders in developing and implementing solutions, we must remember that we are all on the same team, and the goal is to save lives, not score political points.”