FortMac Heroes

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann today made this statement at a government ceremony honouring the heroes of the Wood Buffalo wildfire.

“Experts will tell you that when confronted with a beast, you’re supposed to run away. Such experts obviously don’t live in Alberta.

Today, it is my profound pleasure to recognize those who stood toe to toe and fought tooth and nail with the worst beast Alberta has ever seen.

Some here fought with water and fire-axe, some fought by supporting those in harm’s way, and some fought by providing tens of thousands with desperately needed food, clothing and shelter. All are heroes. As are their families who supported them, often without knowing whether their loved one was safe.

There are many dramatic images of the Fort Mac fire but for me it is the images of the fraught evacuation, lit by an eerie orange glow that will live forever in my mind. With the fire burning right to the sides of the road, an entire city was hurriedly evacuated and moved south along a single, slender ribbon of asphalt. I still marvel at this accomplishment. Those here and the citizens of Fort McMurray have my undying respect for this marvelous feat.

I would like to take a moment and remember Emily Ryan and Aaron Hodgsen who were killed in a car accident during the evacuation. For their families and friends, no amount of rebuilding will be able to make their home the place it once was. Such tragic loss provides us a stark reminder of how fortunate so many others were.

Though the fire is out, the work of heroes does not stop. Raising Fort McMurray from the ashes will be a job requiring different skills but no less strength, dedication and determination.

I want Ft. McMurray to know that Alberta is here for you. The people of our province have always responded in times of need – it is, perhaps, our defining trait. Throughout our history, we have supported each other after drought, flood and fire – this time will be no exception. 

The beast destroyed many homes and neighbourhoods but the heroic efforts of those here today shielded much of Ft. McMurray from the flames. You have given us a foundation on which to rebuild.

Words are not nearly enough. Your bravery and sacrifice helped nearly 100,000 Albertans flee a monster, find them shelter and, against all odds, give them something to go home to.

Thank you, Alberta is in debt to you and your families.”

Some progress in the fight against opioid overdoses

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is pleased with news the government has finally announced changes to the way it is fighting against opioid overdose and addiction.

Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne today announced an improvement in collection and publishing of data, expanded access to opioid replacement therapy, funding for supervised consumption sites and improvements to opioid prescription monitoring.

“For months public health experts, doctors and victim’s families have been calling for these changes,” Swann said. “I’m pleased the government has finally committed to taking these life-saving actions.”

Swann and other public health experts have repeatedly asked the government to alter the way it is handling the opioid overdose epidemic. Of particular concern has been the collection and dissemination of data crucial to understanding the nature of this crisis and access to addiction treatment.

The province also released third quarter statistics showing there were 47 fentanyl related deaths in the third quarter. Down from 66 in the same quarter last year.

“It’s far too early in this epidemic to claim any successes but this small dip in tragic and preventable deaths is encouraging,” Swann stated.

“The long called for measures announced today will undoubtedly aid in the fight against opioid overdoses,” Swann continued. “I, and all those who have fought for change, will be watching closely to see that these vital tools are implemented in a timely manner.”

See the Alberta Health news release here:



Decisive action on Trinity Christian School sends a message

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann has praised Education Minister Eggen’s decisive action in revoking Trinity Christian School’s (TCS) registration and accreditation.

A Ministry of Education investigation into the operation of TCS, a private school operator revealed many financial irregularities including: excessive leases, salary remuneration and funding transfers. The entire report can be found here:

“I applaud Alberta Education for reacting decisively to a serious breach in the financial operations of an independent private school operator,” Swann said. “I only wish this could have happened before September as thousands of families must now find alternate schooling for their children.”

“Alberta has a distributed education system giving parents many educational options,” Swann continued. “Unfortunately this also increases the opportunity for mismanagement, intentional or otherwise.”

“By taking decisive action, the Minister has clearly shown that school boards, public or private, must adhere to Alberta’s educational standards,” Swann concluded.

Parents seeking more information can visit Alberta Education’s website here:

They can also contact Alberta Education’s Greater Edmonton Services Branch by phone at (780) 427-9296 (dial 310-0000 for toll-free access)