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Dr. David Swann elected Liberal leader

The new Alberta Liberal interim leader and leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, David Swann, MD emerged from the Clarion Hotel in Calgary on Sunday, February 1, 2015 with an overwhelming majority vote from Alberta liberals. Dr.
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The new Alberta Liberal interim leader and leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, David Swann, MD emerged from the Clarion Hotel in Calgary on Sunday, February 1, 2015 with an overwhelming majority vote from Alberta liberals.

Dr. Swan is serving his third term as MLA for Calgary-Mountain View. He entered politics in 2004.

The 65-year-old MLA and medical doctor was born in Taber, Alberta. He grew up with four siblings and his parents on the "edge of downtown Calgary." To finance his education he worked at gas plants, hospitals, and farms. This no doubt sparked an early interest in the plight of farm workers, seniors, youth; social policy, health, and the outdoors.

His voice warms as he articulates his vision for Alberta. Dr. Swann supports an alliance of the Liberal party and the Alberta Party, preferring, however, at this time to "focus on the next Provincial election." He states we "must find common ground" with other parties as presently "we're splitting the vote."

He perceives health care and finances as the major concerns of seniors in Alberta. We need more palliative care beds but home care is important; "double the investment" in home care, keep seniors in their homes. "There are too many Alternative Level of Care (ALC) seniors in acute beds in facilities, who could be at home with community support and increased home care." This will not only lead to increased quality of life for seniors but also save the system money.

"This not a democratic system we have here in Alberta," he continues. "It's a top heavy administration that doesn't understand health care. They govern from the top down and front line workers are afraid to speak up." Dr. Swann's entry into politics was motivated by his own frustrating experiences with the system and how front line workers such as doctors and nurses are treated disrespectfully by the Alberta government.

"Change the system," he says. We must be advocates for ourselves, "write letters to the government and send copies to [David Swann's] office, with a copy to the media. Write letters to the editor. Let them know you're concerned."

Dr. Swann states that prevention is important. Presently only 3 percent of tax health dollars go toward prevention.

People should be allowed to die with dignity, Dr. Swann believes, but it can be a "slippery slope." Safeguards must be put in place and we must proceed cautiously.

David Swann completed his Family Medicine residency in 1975 at the University of Alberta. After graduation he worked at mission hospitals in South Africa for three years. On his return to Alberta he entered private medical practice from 1975 to 1984. He "served as a public health consultant from 1988 to 2004." (mapleleafweb.com) He obtained a specialty in Public Health (Prevention) at the University of Calgary in 1989.

He and his wife, Laureen Ross, also a physician, have three children.

From December 2008 until his resignation in 2011, Dr. Swann was the Alberta Liberal leader. He succeeded Kevin Taft.

Sources:

Biography for Dr. David Swann (AL); Article by Colleen Schmidt, CTV News Calgary – http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/david-swann-picked-by-alberta-liberals-to-lead-party-1.2215822; wikipedia.org; Gwyneth Midgley, Director of Political Operations for the Alberta Liberal Party 780-414-1124; Shannon McClennan and Layne Douglas, Constituency office, Calgary Mountain View, and Dr. David Swann, website www.davidswann.ca