Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan issues statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day
Calgary, AB (June 21, 2019): Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan says, “National Indigenous Peoples Day is a time for Albertans and all Canadians to celebrate the cultural diversity of Indigenous peoples. I encourage everyone to learn more about the rich tradition and history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across this Province and throughout Canada.
“It is not enough to celebrate Indigenous culture. We must also commit to improving the quality of life of all Indigenous Peoples. Past policies have caused incalculable harm to Indigenous Peoples and some current policies continue those regrettable effects. This is unacceptable and must change immediately.
“We, as a society, and our governments must accept the conclusions of the Final Report of the National Inquiry on Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women & Girls (“MMIWG”) that genocide was perpetrated on Indigenous Peoples, and act on its 231 individual “Calls for Justice” and the 94 “Calls to Action” of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Parliament and provincial Legislatures must enshrine the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”) into law.
“Colonial practices and contemporary underfunding on reserves have resulted in higher rates of drug use, mental illness, suicide, incarceration, and a modern “Sixties Scoop” or “Millennial Scoop” of Indigenous children being taken into state care. Some reserves are still challenged in accessing basic necessities such as clean water.
“Indigenous Albertans also face greater economic challenges as well. In 2017 the unemployment rate for Indigenous Albertans was 12 per cent compared to the 7.7 per cent unemployment rate for non-Indigenous Albertans. “Economic reconciliation” includes sharing resource revenues and opportunities with Indigenous communities, including Indigenous equity participation or ownership in resource and infrastructure projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline and expansion.
“Both the Alberta and Federal Governments must do more to resolve these serious issues. We must address the rising number of Indigenous children in state care, close funding gaps, guarantee access to clean water, improve education and eliminate the gap in funding for on-reserve vs. off-reserve schools, and provide sustainable police services.
“Jurisdictional wrangling must be overcome: First Nations governments and the Provincial and Federal governments all have a role to play, while respecting and enhancing First Nations sovereignty and governance, in the spirit of reconciliation.
“I encourage all Albertans and Canadians to celebrate Indigenous Culture and commit themselves to support real change on the shared path towards reconciliation.
“We must do this not just today, but every day.”
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan reacts to the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
“The Federal Cabinet has made a balanced and responsible decision approving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that benefits both the economy and the environment.
Alberta Liberals believe this project is in the national interest and could contribute tens of billions of dollars to the economy and create and sustain thousands of jobs. We also support a commitment that an estimated $500 million a year in federal corporate tax revenue should be invested in clean energy projects to transition away from fossil fuels.
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan said, “This is a Win-Win for Albertans and all Canadians. We support approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. Today’s decision shows the importance of working multilaterally, consulting with Indigenous Peoples, and taking environmental concerns seriously. Co-operation and responsibility get projects built, not threats and war rooms.
“This will mean good-paying jobs for Albertans and a boost to the provincial and national economies. It will also help advance solutions to deal with the climate crisis we all face.”
Khan added, “We strongly endorse current negotiations with Indigenous groups to purchase the TMX expansion. We are pleased the Cabinet addressed environmental concerns by accepting all of the National Energy Board’s 156 conditions and made six of them stronger and better. This includes improving marine and emergency response plans with far more Indigenous participation.
“The federal Cabinet is also proposing eight new accommodation measures to address specific Indigenous concerns. This includes the Salish Sea Initiative to curb the impact of increased tanker traffic on the southern resident killer whale population and the Quiet Vessel Initiative to reduce noise pollution.
“There are still challenges for this project, including a number of permits and regulatory hurdles. We must move forward as rapidly as possible. Our country must not lose any more opportunities to achieve market access for responsibly-produced Canadian energy.
“We must stop being held hostage by the American market that shortchanges us for our resources. Alberta oil should be sold at fair prices. All Canadians should share in that increased revenue and together we must all address the climate crisis.”
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan releases statement commemorating Pride Month
Calgary, AB - June 1, 2019:
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan has issued the following statement in recognition of Pride Month:
“As the first openly-gay Leader of a political party in our province, I am proud and privileged to join with Albertans in celebrating LGBTQ2S+ communities across Alberta.
“Alberta Liberals led all political parties in support for LGBTQ2S+ Albertans in 2014 with Private Member’s Bill 202 to make gay-straight alliances (GSAs) mandatory in schools where students ask for them.
“The former PC government credited the Alberta Liberals as the driving force behind the GSA legislation that eventually became Bill 10, and in 1994 we were the first party to call for sexual orientation to be added as a prohibited ground of discrimination to the Alberta Human Rights Act.
“I urge Premier Jason Kenney to reverse his planned elimination of school GSA club protections for vulnerable LGBTQ2S+ youth and leave these fundamental protections in the School Act in place. He must now represent all Albertans in a fair and equitable manner.
“We have been calling on the provincial government to ban conversion therapy, and will continue to fight for an end to this hateful practice in Alberta and at the federal level, and for progress on other LGBTQ2S+ Albertans’ issues, like fair and accessible access to hormone therapy and Medicare-insured gender reassignment surgery for Trans Albertans.