Alberta Liberals concerned about Government’s third quarter fiscal update numbers

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.”

Alberta Liberals urge immediate ban of seclusion rooms, not waiting until September

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan and MLA David Swann issue the following release on banning seclusion rooms:

David Khan stated, “Alberta Liberals believe the continued misuse of these rooms should end today. Education Minister David Eggen waiting another seven months is deplorable. The NDP Government is taking one step forward and two steps back.
“Our continuing concern is the ban will not take effect until September. That means this NDP Government will continue to expose the most vulnerable young Albertans to this draconian practice for the rest of the school term. That is unacceptable.

“Alberta Liberals urge Education Minister David Eggen and the NDP Government to amend its decision and immediately end the continued misuse of these rooms. There is no evidence that seclusion rooms help students. In fact, they cause long-term harm to some of our most vulnerable.
“We have been pushing for this decision for months. The NDP Government finally agreed with the Alberta Liberal policy position. It is the right action to safeguard vulnerable Alberta school children and to remove this barbaric activity from our school systems. We wonder what took this Government so long to respond to the demands of parents and concerned Albertans.”
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. Finally, the NDP Government responded, but it should have acted much sooner.”
Khan continued, “A seclusion room should never be used to correct behaviour or punish. Schools must be provided the resources to protect students and staff from physical harm. The only way to maintain safety is to properly support teachers and schools with adequate funding for more teachers and educational assistants. In addition, resources must be provided to ensure students with disabilities can be properly included in our public school systems.

“Advocates were right to demand 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 practices rooms until September. We will vigorously hold this Government to account on this important issue.

“True inclusion should be a priority for this NDP Government. It IS a priority for Alberta Liberals.”

Alberta Liberals react to NEB Ruling on Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project Marine Review

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan issues the following statement regarding the National Energy Board’s release of its Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project marine review report today.

David Khan stated, “We welcome the approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project by the NEB, finding that it is in Canada’s national interest, and the robust further 16 recommendations designed to protect the marine environment, resident orcas, traditional Indigenous marine activities, and the entire Salish Sea ecosystem.

“We look forward to the federal government continuing to effectively and comprehensively consult with all affected First Nations along the proposed pipeline expansion’s route, and we have confidence in the process being overseen by retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci, and Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi. We understand this consultation process can’t be rushed.

“As a lawyer and an expert in this area of constitutional and Indigenous rights law, I know the only way to comply with Canadian constitutional law and the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision is to effectively understand and address First Nations’ concerns with respect to this project.

“It is unacceptable that initial consultations with affected First Nations were mismanaged by successive federal governments, and that Albertans were left hanging. However, there is nothing to do now but see the process through properly. Any attempt to ram the project through will only delay it further.

“We expect the federal government to accommodate First Nations’ concerns with all the resources at its disposal, and to continue to ensure this consultation and accommodation process remains at the top of the federal Cabinet’s agenda and list of priorities. The future of Canada’s energy industry and the benefits Canadians enjoy from resource revenues hang in the balance.”