The historically low voter turnout at Alberta'’s general election last year is cause for concern about the health of democracy in our province. The ruling Progressive Conservatives increased their already commanding majority at the legislature, reducing the number of seats held by opposition parties to just eleven: 9 by the Liberals and 2 by the NDP. Can so few opposition MLAs ensure that the major concerns of all Albertans are subjected to rigorous debate in our 83-seat legislature before the ruling party decides what becomes the law of the land?
The Alberta Liberals have a new leader: David Swann, M.D. the MLA for Calgary Mountain-View. Will he be able to ensure that the government adopts a balanced policy between energy and the environment during economic recession? What is his long-term vision for our province? And does he have a strategy to bring about the change that many of the electorate seek?
The Alberta Liberals are strapped for cash; they are reported to have a $400,000-plus debt. They have a low membership base. Does David Swann and his team have the capacity to bring about a political revival in Alberta?
Speaker: David Swann, MLA
David Swann was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 2004 and reelected in 2008. He currently holds the environment, sustainable resource development, and aboriginal relations portfolios within the Alberta Liberal Caucus. In December 2008, he was elected as the Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party.
Dr. Swann graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.MSc in 1971 and an M.D. in 1973. He received his FRCP(C) from the University of Calgary in 1988. He practiced as a family physician from 1975 to 1984 and then as a public health consultant from 1988 to 2004. He was honored with the Gold Star Teaching Award in both 1999 and 2003 from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary.
David Swann has been a long-time social activist, both at home and abroad.