Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan issues the following release on vaccination education for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children.
Khan stated, “I oppose excluding children from public schools if they have not been vaccinated. While I fully and completely accept the science behind vaccination and herd immunity, there are social factors that complicate this.
“Instead, I support mandatory education for any parent who chooses not to vaccinate their children who attend public school. Parents who do not vaccinate their children should be required to review the science behind vaccinations. They should then have to sign a waiver recognizing those risks, and acknowledge that they will be required to withdraw their children temporarily from school if an outbreak occurs.
“Banning these children from public schools is heavy-handed and harsh. Many “anti-vaxxers’” rejection of vaccinations is rooted in a fear of Government. This skepticism is especially prevalent among certain minority groups such as Indigenous peoples or the differently-abled who have been historically subjected to harmful and hateful mandatory Government medical procedures including sterilization, and child apprehension policies including residential schools.
“Banning these children from school only reinforces that skepticism and fear. It does not address the root cause of a lack of information and a lack of trust. It also further isolates these children from mainstream society.
“Children going without vaccinations is a serious problem, but it is not one we can solve with heavy-handedness and coercion. Instead, we need to keep a level head and use the tools of education and trust.”
David Khan stated, “Alberta Liberals demand that seclusion rooms be banned immediately.
Education Minister David Eggen’s decision to wait another six months is deplorable. The NDP Government continues to subject vulnerable children to the barbaric practice of seclusion rooms for the rest of this school term. That is unconscionable.
“Even worse is that some Alberta schools will be allowed to continue seclusion room use after August 30 if they can convince the NDP Government. This is one step forward and 10 steps back.
“Alberta Liberals believe the NDP Government has also failed to address the key issue of true inclusion of special needs students. We must have more resources to properly support teachers in classrooms with these vulnerable children. We need to hire more educational assistants and provide more funding for the creation of Individualized Education Plans and Positive Behaviour Intervention Supports. Unsupported mainstreaming of special needs children is not inclusive education.
“We have been pushing for this decision for months. The NDP Government finally agreed with the Alberta Liberal policy position. The right action is to safeguard vulnerable Alberta school children NOW – not next Fall. There must also be proper resources allocated to ensure special needs students are fully included in mainstream education.”
David Swann said, “We called for more stringent rules and mandating clear reporting practices last fall. We helped concerned parents organize a demonstration on the steps of the Legislature. We put forward our recommendations for a ban and more resources to facilitate special needs students. The NDP Government should have acted much sooner. But clearly, this government still does not get it.”
Khan continued, “Advocates are right to continue demanding a ban from the NDP Government. We will continue to work with these concerned Albertans. Our priority is to monitor the misuse of these draconian rooms for the rest of the school term. We will vigorously hold this Government to account on this important issue.
“True inclusion is a priority for Alberta Liberals.”
Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann respond to the Government’s third quarter fiscal update.
Khan stated, “The Alberta economy is not rebounding. It is just staying afloat. We are extremely concerned because Albertans are barely holding their heads above water. We are not better off today than we were a year ago. 2019 is shaping up to be gloomy based on the NDP Government’s own economic forecasts. Alberta Liberals suggest some new economic strategies to put Albertans back to work and get this economy going.
“The NDP Government is estimating a meager 1.6% in economic growth (GDP) for 2019. The original GDP forecast was for 2.5% based on the NDP Government’s Budget. We are clearly heading in the wrong direction. The Conference Board of Canada forecasts an even worse number of 1.3% growth.
“Our biggest concerns are for jobs. The Conference Board of Canada projects a 1.1% boost in jobs for 2019 after almost flatlining in 2018. Most are part time minimum wage jobs. Albertans are barely able to pay their bills working at minimum wage jobs.
“Alberta Liberals believe we can do better. Our strategy focuses on job creation by attracting investment for new industries and creating a pro-investment business climate. We also want to build Alberta’s world-class workforce by improving skills training and re-education. There is no silver bullet solution to Alberta’s economic slump. But these are steps that will help get us on track for a more sustained recovery.”
Swann stated, “Alberta’s growing debt continues to hamper the economy. A $600 million projected deficit reduction in this update is a drop in the bucket. Alberta’s total debt numbers are still projected to reach $96 billion by 2023-24. We cannot continue to spend as if oil was at $100 a barrel. We cannot burden ourselves and future generations with massive debt.”
Khan added, “Albertans continue to face tough times. We need to put more Albertans back to work and to boost our economy. We can get through this together.”