GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO PUT SAFETY FIRST AS STUDENTS RETURN TO SCHOOL
Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is calling on the government to mark the first day of school by taking steps to improve vaccination rates in Alberta.
“The reality is that Alberta continues to have a worryingly low vaccination rate for many preventable diseases,” says Swann. “There are proactive steps the government should be taking to ensure the public is informed of the risks of not vaccinating their children.”
Swann has long advocated for the government to create a system of mandatory education on vaccinations, requiring those parents who opt out of vaccinating their children to be informed by a doctor of the risks of doing so and to sign a waiver indicating that choice.
Swann’s proposal was echoed in a recent statement by the Canadian Medical Association and has been advocated by public policy organizations including the C.D. Howe Institute.
“We need to keep in mind this is a basic question of public safety,” says Swann. “There is simply no reason we should be seeing break-outs of preventable diseases like measles or whooping cough. The government needs to get proactive in informing people of the risks and enable parents to protect their children.”
LIBERAL LEADER DAVID SWANN CALLS FOR ECONOMIC STIMULUS
Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann outlined his recommendations for stimulating the economy in reaction to the lack of action being taken by the NDP.
“I heard little in today’s fiscal update to suggest that the NDP has a strategy to get our economy moving,” says Swann. “They were well aware that the economy was slowing when they were first elected. Yet, after more than three months in office, they are still holding their cards to their chest. You can only do that for so long before someone calls your bluff.”
Swann’s comments come as the government provided its first quarter fiscal and economic update which confirmed that the Alberta economy is expected to retract, while showing a projected deficit of $5.9 billion, and an approximate $20 billion drop in investment in oil and gas from last year. Economic forecasts are also showing a decline in retail spending versus last year.
Alberta Liberals recommend the following measures:
· Boost infrastructure spending to repair Alberta’s roads, bridges, and hospitals and build new schools, waste water facilities, affordable housing, and public transit. This spending can and should be debt financed, provided that the government provides a clear debt repayment plan.
· Stimulate job creation by phasing out the small business tax. Lower the small business tax immediately by one percentage point and reduce it by a further one percentage point in each subsequent year until it is eliminated.
· Continue to support and encourage economic diversification by shielding new technology initiatives under Innovation and Advanced Education from any significant cuts in the upcoming provincial budget.
· Scrap plans to give businesses $10,000 for low wage hiring – which is not a sustainable approach to job creation.
· Financial incentives to encourage the creation of new, clean technologies in the private sector.
“The reality is that Alberta remains on the resource revenue roller-coaster,” says Swann. “Unless action is taken to stimulate and diversify the economy and fix our broken fiscal structure, we are going to find ourselves back in this kind of fiscal situation again and again.”
SWANN CALLS ON NDP TO PURSUE LEGAL ACTION ON POLLUTER
Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann says the government should pursue all legal option to force Domtar Corp. to clean up pollution it left at the former wood preserving plant in Calgary.
“This is a basic question of enforcing a polluter pay model,” says Swann. “Companies need to be aware that they are responsible for the costs of environmental damage done as part of their business.”
Swann conceded that there is some dispute as to whether the province is able to pursue legal action against Domtar because the company does not have a presence in Alberta. However, he emphasized that several legal experts have said the province still has the authority to act.
“Clearly there are some mixed legal opinions about the government’s options but the province has a duty to exhaust all potential options here,” says Swann. “It is the government’s responsibility to hold companies that pollute responsible for their actions.”