Edmonton, AB (March 24, 2017): Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement in response to the Ministerial Order directing two schools to allow gay-straight alliances (GSAs):
“I thank the Minister of Education for his decision to enforce the law permitting gay-straight alliances to be established in all schools where students request them.
“However, I admonish him for not having taken a firmer stance from the beginning on this matter. By allowing a situation of open defiance to continue for as long as it had, he empowered a willful act of discrimination. This is something that he should not and must not permit.
“The incident further highlights the fact that many school board LGBTQ policies simply do not make the grade – the Minister even called them ‘clunky’. In some cases, students are even discouraged from using the terms LGBTQ or GSA. This goes against both the spirit and the letter of the law.
“One way to ensure transparency and accountability in this matter is to require all school boards, including private schools, to make their GSA policies publicly accessible. That way, parents, students, and the community can review them.
“The investigation that led to the Ministerial Order also raised concerns about a school’s ability to "out" LGBTQ students by notifying parents if students attend GSAs. If true, this is deeply troubling.
“Therefore, I call on the Minister to do everything in his power to protect these vulnerable students, and ensure their privacy and confidentiality is explicitly safeguarded.
“Finally, let us not forget that GSAs save lives. While students have the legal right to form GSAs, more needs to be done to remove all barriers to establishing these safe and inclusive student-led initiatives.”
Banning paid donations will not ensure a safer, more sustainable plasma supply
Alberta Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann will not support Bill 3, the Voluntary Blood Donations Act, over concerns that banning paid donation will not ensure a safer or more sustainable supply of plasma.
“Alberta currently imports 80 per cent of its plasma products from clinics in the United States which pay donors,” says Swann. “There is absolutely no way for the government to replace this capacity with volunteer donors.
“Growing our domestic plasma supply is a critical goal. Systems allowing for paid plasma donations have had success in other jurisdictions without any of the adverse effects that the NDP are raising as justification for this bill.”
Paid plasma donations are regulated by Health Canada regulations and have been deemed to be every bit as safe as those that come from unpaid donors.
Swann is also concerned about the additional burden Bill 3 might put on the public health care system.
“Health care is already the largest line item in the provincial budget. The government cannot hope to ‘bend the cost curve’ by adding more public services that could be provided through private sector partnerships,” says Swann. “We saw this same approach with private laundry services.
“Albertans deserves a safe, sustainable supply of plasma. I am not convinced Bill 3 helps us get there. For those reasons, I cannot support it.”