Merrifield Firing Should Spur Creation of Independent Appointments Commission

MERRIFIELD FIRING SHOULD SPUR CREATION OF INDEPENDENT APPOINTMENTS COMMISSION 

Following the firing of Alberta’s Senior Representative to the U.S. by the NDP government, Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is once again calling for the creation of an independent public appointments commission to manage the recruitment and vetting process for candidates seeking appointments to agencies, boards and commissions and other key provincial positions.

“For decades, the former PC administration presided over an increasingly flawed and discredited public appointments process whereby political party affiliation gradually came to trump skill and experience,” says Swann. “We now have a tremendous opportunity in the first year of this new Alberta government to fix this repugnant aspect of the PC legacy.”

Alberta Liberals have long advocated for an independent appointments commission modeled after Ontario’s Public Appointments Secretariat. Such an idea has enjoyed support at all levels of government and among those of every political stripe.

Swann notes that there are important lessons to be learned from both Rob Merrifield’s hiring and dismissal.

Here you had an individual whose appointment seemed to be based solely on his connection to the former premier. When Albertans elected a new government, he was promptly shown the door,” says Swann.

“At no point in this entire saga was there ever any independent review of whether he was the right person – or indeed the wrong person – for the job. We can and should do better than that, and the obvious solution is having an independent commission pick the best candidate for the job among all interested and qualified persons.

Swann questioned Premier Notley about the creation of an independent appointments commission during the summer session.

 


Statement on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

STATEMENT BY DAVID SWANN: SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS

September 8, 2015Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann issued the following statement:

“In the past week, Canadians learned of and witnessed several heart wrenching media accounts of Syrian refugees fleeing for safety from their war-torn homeland. Many of us saw the haunting image of young Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian toddler, and shared the pain of his distraught and inconsolable father. Thousands of other refugees could no doubt recount similar stories of personal tragedy. 

“And while Canada can sometimes feel very far removed from international crises such as this, it is not hard to imagine the horror, fear and desperation that so many families are now experiencing. The world, once so large, is in many ways much smaller now. Indeed, many of us recall the sad plight of the Vietnamese boat people, and how our nation stepped up to welcome so many with open arms.    

“When an event such as that is viewed through the prism of today, the complete inadequacy of our federal government’s response under Stephen Harper is both painfully obvious and profoundly disappointing. Precious few countries on this planet have the means and the wherewithal to be a safe harbour in the tempest, and yet our federal government’s response is underwhelming at best – so much so that this effectively amounts to an abdication of who we are as a nation.

It is because of this that I am appealing to my fellow Canadians to once again step up and demonstrate to the world that we are a caring and resourceful people. Get involved. Contact a local charity or non-profit that you know can facilitate refugee sponsorship, or consider sponsoring a refugee along with your friends or faith community. If you do so, know that you will be saving a life.

“In my time as a physician working in South Africa, the Philippines and Iraq, I saw firsthand the dire consequences of when public policy fails to protect people. In such times, the only thing that people have is our common humanity.

“In the past Canada has often been a leader in helping those who are fleeing persecution or violence. Together, we can make a difference again.”

 


Celebrating Calgary Pride

STATEMENT BY DAVID SWANN: CALGARY PRIDE

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann issued the following statement to mark the Calgary Pride Parade which will take place this Sunday, September 6th:

“Diversity and inclusivity are among the greatest strengths of Alberta. This weekend, we will see these strengths on display as we celebrate the Calgary Pride Festival.

“This year, as students are returning to school, we have much to celebrate. Thanks to the efforts of Alberta Liberals, in particular former MLAs Laurie Blakeman and Kent Hehr, students in Calgary and across Alberta have a right to create Gay-Straight Alliances in any school where they may be needed.  We also repealed the homophobic section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act, which banned discussions of sexual orientation in the classroom.

“There is still work to be done to protect the LGBTQ community. In particular, it is past time to explicitly protect transgender individuals from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity or gender expression. I have written to the Minister of Justice on this matter, I will continue to advocate for these needed protections, and I call on all MLAs to support this change.

“This weekend, we celebrate. Next week, we continue with the work that is needed.”