Alberta Politics
Dr. David Swann, former medical officer of health of the Palliser Health Region and former leader of the Alberta Liberals (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Here’s what happened when a courageous medical officer of health was fired by Alberta Conservatives

Posted on January 12, 2022, 1:47 am
8 mins

The sudden firing of a medical officer of health was a shocking development in Alberta politics. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2002, the medical officer of health for the Palliser Health Authority in southeastern Alberta was informed he’d been terminated for speaking out on the harmful health impacts of burning fossil fuels and expressing his support for the Kyoto Protocol.

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw as she appeared at Monday’s news conference (Photo: Screenshot of Alberta Government video).

“I was shocked,” David Swann told the CBC three days after his dismissal by the health authority’s board. 

“This is not the board that I have worked with for five years.” he said. “They have been respectful, they have been supportive of public health.”

But board chair Len Mitzel, who also happened to be president of the Cypress-Medicine Hat Progressive Conservative Constituency Association, made no apologies. 

The Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty drafted in 1997 with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and thereby slowing global climate change, was bad for Alberta’s economy, he told the media.

“The whole health industry, which the board is charged with administering and delivering, is driven by the economy,” Mr. Mitzel said. “Everything is economy-driven, and any downturn, especially as severe as this looks like it’s going to be in the economy, is going to have a very detrimental effect on the health industry and the ability for us to deliver health services.”

Mr. Mitzel denied the fact the MLA he’d worked to elect, environment minister Lorne Taylor, had anything to do with Dr. Swann’s firing – although plenty of Albertans didn’t believe him. 

As for Dr. Swann, he said a medical officer of health must be able to speak out on health issues. 

Len Mitzel, who was chair of the Palliser Health Authority and president of the Cypress-Medicine Hat Progressive Conservative Constituency Association in 2002 (Photo: PC Association of Alberta).

“The Society of Medical Officers of Health supports the Kyoto Protocol as a way of improving health, particularly respiratory health, in the country,” he observed. He was president of the society at the time he was fired. 

He continued to support Kyoto, Dr. Swann said. 

The resulting brouhaha didn’t last long. Shamed, only eight days after he was unceremoniously canned, the Palliser Health Authority Board held an emergency meeting and offered Dr. Swann his job back.

“There is complete agreement the medical officer of health has the right and responsibility to be an independent voice on issues related to public health,” a statement jointly released by the authority and Dr. Swann said.

In the event, Dr. Swann didn’t return to his role as Palliser medical officer of health. A physician, he did humanitarian service in Iraq, then returned to Alberta to run successfully as a Liberal in the 2004 provincial election. Also in 2004, Canada signed the Kyoto Protocol.

Dr. Swann would serve as MLA for Calgary-Mountainview until 2019.

Mr. Mitzel was apparently able to overcome the embarrassment of firing Dr. Swann. He was elected to the Legislature as MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat in 2008 and served two terms as a back-bench PC MLA. He was unseated in 2012 by Wildrose candidate Drew Barnes. 

University of Alberta law professor Ubaka Ogbogu (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

In 2008, Dr. Swann became the leader of the Opposition, a role he filled until 2011. He would lead the Alberta Liberals again on an interim basis after the end of Raj Sherman’s troubled leadership.

While Dr. Swann never successfully challenged the PCs’ hold on power, he was an effective critic of the government and a strong voice in the Legislature for moderation in policy and common sense in health care. His advocacy had a positive impact on the policies of several PC premiers. 

Compare that to the performance Monday of Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw. 

With the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic crashing through Alberta, powered by the hyper-infectious Omicron variant of the virus, Dr. Hinshaw seemed, via a video link to her pandemic briefing, both dispirited and cranky. 

Asked by a reporter about the possibility of new restrictions to slow the Omicron wave, she responded sharply: “Decisions about restrictions are not mine to make.”

That was followed by several uncomfortable seconds of dead air as everyone listening waited for another shoe to drop. None did. 

Was that the verbal shrug of a disillusioned functionary, who has basically given up on her job in the face of more COVID-19 cases than ever before, overwhelmed and rationed testing, and a recalcitrant government skeptical of sound public health measures? 

It was certainly “a higher-than-normal degree of buck-passing,” observed Maclean’s Magazine correspondent Jason Markusoff via tweet.

Pressed again, Dr. Hinshaw insisted her role is only to advise government, and she couldn’t comment on cabinet decisions. 

Nevertheless, it is clearly not true that medical officers of health do not have the authority to make decisions, even those that the government of the day might not approve. 

Three health law experts interviewed by the Calgary Herald yesterday challenged Dr. Hinshaw’s opinion. 

“Strictly legally speaking, she is the decision-maker,” University of Calgary law professor Shaun Fluker told the Herald. (Emphasis added.)

The chief medical officer of health is “clearly granted” authority to do what must be done to address a public health emergency, University of Alberta law professor Ubaka Ogbogu told the Herald’s reporter. 

Section 29 of the Public Health Act “demands that government listen to her,” Dr. Ogbogu said. “As a matter of fact, the government should not overrule her.”

The United Conservative government could fire her if she challenged the Kenney Cabinet’s dangerous advice, but what of it? 

Sometimes, as Dr. Swann illustrated, the courage to take a difficult stand is required to do the right thing – and sometimes a demonstration of courage will bring the public to the side of a brave public official. 

Dr. Hinshaw has chosen another course. 

Whatever happens in the weeks and months again, I doubt very many Albertans would vote for her based on her job performance.

47 Comments to: Here’s what happened when a courageous medical officer of health was fired by Alberta Conservatives

  1. Just Me

    January 12th, 2022

    It’s more than apparent that Dr. Hinshaw checked out a long time ago. She’s only working for a pension now, and perhaps an early retirement, if she provided Ken-Babe with cover for all his stupid. As for her moment of tension, where he was ready to tell off a journalist for assuming she has any influence over the UCP government, was nearly a colossal revelation that would have left no one surprised. It’s hard to believe they were actually putting Hinshaw’s likeness on t shirts, as though she was some kind of Joan d’Arc. I hate to break the bad news, but Joan was burned at the stake for being a little too cute with her position. Hinshaw will get a better fate, though all the blame.

    Reply
    • Lars

      January 12th, 2022

      As I recall, Deena Hinshaw was lauded in the early stages of the pandemic because it was so refreshing to see a face of this government that appeared to be fact-based and representative of objective expertise, two qualities that are anathema to the UCP. This probably accounted for the way Kenney began to edge her out of the spotlight as the pandemic went on – he couldn’t be expected to share public attention with a woman who is better-educated and more competent than he is.
      Now she’s being allowed to appear solo and take the heat. Goes to show you that Kenney besmirches everything that he comes into contact with. She didn’t fall off her plinth unaided.

      Reply
      • Just Me

        January 12th, 2022

        You have to remember that Kenney is something of an enigma. Anyone should wonder why Alberta would vote for someone who has no past, apparently nothing in his present that appears to be that of a normal adult, and clearly has ambitions that go beyond Alberta. He was only using the premiership as a stopping-off spot before a move to the PMO.

        In regard to Kenney’s more personal behavior, it’s fair to say that he is a strange cat and likely a true blue misogynist.One wouldn’t have to take much of a great leap in to believe that, considering his apparent disinterest in the bad behavior of Devin Dreessen and others in his government. And judging by the shabby treatment that Ariana Kimmel received when she communicated her dissent over the sexual misconduct in the government. Kenney doesn’t care about what happens to women, because, Biblically speaking, they are imbued with sin and lead men into temptation. In other words, everything is the woman’s fault.

        Hinshaw knows what’s going on, but she may be too weak of the spine to stand up the way Kimmel did. Sounds like Kenney’s kind of flunkie.

        Reply
  2. Dave

    January 12th, 2022

    Well compared to some other more outspoken public officials, Dr. Hinshaw sure does seem to be the good compliant bureaucrat who knows her place. Perhaps it helps somewhat when survival is key and your boss is a bit of an ogre.

    Perhaps in the short term, Kenney was happy with Hinshaw, but I have to wonder if she even served him well with her limited view of her job. I don’t think that view has served Albertans well either.

    I don’t think the position was intended to be a glorified order taker/advisor to politicians. The reason the powers are set out in the law so clearly is because those that set it up realized the value of expertise and independence in managing public health. It isn’t really something that should be left to politicians, who may have different interests, or little interest at all and of course no expertise.

    Unfortunately Mr. Kenney seems to have gotten what he wanted. He is a micro manager who has become the de facto public health officer.himself.
    Unfortunately, this has been reflected in the quality and type of decisions made and he gets the blame anyways. So in the end, even he is not really well served here either.

    However, Dr. Hinshaw still has her job even if she seems to have given up on the spirit of it long ago. I don’t know, perhaps that is what matters for her. Not everyone is courageous or believes in principles.

    Reply
  3. Abs

    January 12th, 2022

    Let me put this another way. If we could vote for her, she would get the same percentage of the popular vote as a certain pandemic denier and anti-vaxxer who was picked up by U.S. Border Patrol recently and unceremoniously deported.

    Speaking of anti-vaxxers and pandemic deniers, can she please explain what “more transmissible but less infectious” means? How about “with Covid” vs. “because of Covid”, because I can’t see the difference. Can you see the difference? I’m sure she can pull that out of the hive mind, as usual.

    Reply
    • Rob

      January 12th, 2022

      I think I can help you out with those questions, ABS.
      I believe transmissible means how easily the virus is passed from one person to another. I think she is using infectious as a synonym for virulent, which would mean how sick it’s likely to make you. That’s a bit of a guess on my part, but I think it’s what she intended.

      Hospital admissions as with COVID and because of COVID are a lot more straightforward. If someone presents “with COVID”, it means that they came in with something non-COVID related as the primary issue (e.g. a broken arm) and, since we test everyone on admission (or, we did… I am not certain that we still do) it was discovered they also have COVID. They might be asymptomatic, or mild. The point is, they are in the hospital, and require infectious disease management, even if COVID wasn’t the complaint. This is an indicator of the degree of community spread. It’s a big drain on resources though, as this fictional person with the broken arm must be in a COVID ward and not next to non-COVID patients. “Because of COVID” is the other version, where COVID is the primary problem and it’s why they sought hospital care.

      I hope that helps!

      Reply
    • Just Me

      January 12th, 2022

      Hinshaw’s propensity for word salad is on par with Kenney’s, though not nearly as over-thought. Kenney could fill an entire hour with verbiage and say nothing. With Hinshaw, she seems to choke her words out, like she can’t believe this is what has happened to her life.

      Reply
  4. ronmac

    January 12th, 2022

    At this point it just doesn’t matter anymore. The virus is going to do what the virus is going to do and politics aside, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Fact: more Americans died of Covid in the Biden era than under Trump and that’s with the vaccine.

    Kenny is probably hoping this omicron surge will be sharp but short as these wildfire pandemics burn out pretty quickly. Hospitalization rates may rise sharply in the next couple weeks, stress the system a little but the “covidcito” (that’s what they are calling the milder omicron in Mexico -little Covid) but then go away almost as quickly as it came. That has been the experience in South Africa.

    Reply
    • A Human

      January 12th, 2022

      You and your “covidcito” again, ronmac. Maybe you should change things up a bit as you wander from blog to blog. Shut out of one, onto another.

      Next you’ll probably tell us that the virus liked Mr. T better, and so it was kinder and gentler to him. It couldn’t be because the virus keeps mutating? Phfffttt.

      Reply
      • ronmac

        January 13th, 2022

        Is Mr. T still a thing?

        Reply
        • A Human

          January 14th, 2022

          You tell me. Ever since his coup on the Capitol and the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference, I don’t think so.

          Reply
    • mr perfect

      January 12th, 2022

      Attention Dr. RonMac: The first recorded death from Covid-19 in the USA was on Feb 28, 2020. According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) that 327 days later on Jan. 20, 2021 when Trump left office and Biden assumed the Presidency there were 424,401 deaths from Covid-19. It’s been 357 days since Biden took over and the latest count for total deaths in the USA stands at 842,000 or approximately 418,000 under Biden. So the “fact” more Americans have died under Biden is fake news. You’re passing on lies, Dr. RonMac. When Biden took office, the previous five weeks the USA saw 100,000 deaths or approximately 3,000 deaths per day with no federal oversight into the vaccine program. Trump told the states they were on their own. People who were dying were the elderly, the poor, minorities and Americans of African descent. With Biden, who had to contend with massive numbers of death during his early Presidency the people who are dying are mostly white evangelicals who refused to get the free vaccine and instead ingest bleach, hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and now their own urine as a cure for Covid-19. This during a time when the deadliest strain, Delta and the most virulent strain, Omicron are ripping through the population. Check out a website called Sorry Anti-Vaxxer to see what’s happening to people like Saskatoon’s Mark Friesen who have similar beliefs as you, Dr. RonMac. For your sake, I hope you are or do get vaccinated and I don’t have to read about you there.
      By the way Dr. RonMac, where did you study medicine? And Mathematics?

      Reply
      • ronmac

        January 13th, 2022

        Me get vaccinated against omicron, a common cold? What a silly idea. Just the other day Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla was admitting the two-dose vaccine “offers very limited protection if any.” There’s a growing opinion in the scientific community that that repeated boosters of these vaccines may eventually weaken the immune system. No thanks. Besides I already tested positive for Covid and I breezed through it with barely a slight cough.

        Reply
        • mr perfect

          January 14th, 2022

          So Dr. RonMac, have you discussed the “Omicron is a cold” with your fellow physician, Dr. Laura Sang?https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/first-person-covid-19-hospital-omicron-staffing-shortage-1.6314226
          Remind me again how many people have died by the common cold when we have statistics on Omicron deaths.
          Being a doctor, could you show me a link to studies by peer groups demonstrating vaccines are weakening immune systems. It should be easy for you since you are within the medical community.
          I assume you didn’t research recent PPC candidate Mark Friesen who caught Covid-19, was intubated, lost 60 lbs, had physiotherapy to learn to walk again, denied he had Covid-19 and claimed he had necrotizing pneumonia which is a condition that happens frequently to intubated Covid-19 patients. He now has long term Covid-19 at 48 years old. You may have heard of Glenn Beck, who claims to have contracted Covid-19 last year and didn’t get vaccinated. He has Covid-19 again and is very sick while trying to treat himself with Ivermectin. You claim to have had Covid-19 yourself Dr. RonMac, yet I’ve shown you pass along falsehoods. So I’ll take your word for it but I’m afraid you’re not out of the woods and I may be reading about you in the future.
          Again, where did you study medicine?

          Reply
    • mr perfect

      January 17th, 2022

      Dr. Suneel Dhand is not an epidemiologist and his video is a rant, not a discussion stating he’s being censored with big pharma is to blame. Just another Dr. Phil wannabe. The EMA is not a regulatory commission nor are there any links or names to any studies following up to demonstrate their or your claims. Epic fail, Dr. RonMac.
      Where did you study medicine?

      Reply
  5. Phlogiston

    January 12th, 2022

    I used to feel considerable sympathy for Dr. Hinshaw. I think she is a good person and likely deeply regrets accepting the position of CMOH. It may be that initially she thought that she was in the best position to influence the government to take the right path. However, if you just keep banging your head against the same brick wall, perhaps it is time to recognize you may have a concussion and are not thinking straight. Einstein’s definition of insanity may also be apropos: repeatedly performing the same process and expecting a different outcome.

    It is pretty clear that Bumbles and the UCP more or less want Covid rip through the province to achieve the (possibly unattainable) goal of herd immunity. How else to explain the crazy, stupid change to the law to trample on worker’s rights and let the employer determine who is essential and whether the worker is well enough to be forced to return to work?

    The government is not interested in listening to the CMOH and has not been interested in listening to sound, scientific advice for some time. So, what is the point of staying on when the government continues to do stupid things that put the health of Albertans at risk? The alternative is that she is the source of the bad advice. We, of course, don’t know because of a lack of transparency regarding the actual advice the government is receiving. In any event, these are both reasons to call it a day.

    Reply
  6. Bob Raynard

    January 12th, 2022

    Thanks for writing this, David. Dr. Hinshaw’s capitulation has certainly been a significant sidebar in Alberta’s Covid story. Rachel Notley has talked about a public inquiry examining Alberta’s response to Covid, once this pandemic is behind us, and I certainly hope we will see one. I would certainly be interested in hearing what sort of pressure the Kenney government put on her – or what sort of reward was promised her. Meanwhile, the ‘What would Dr. Hinshaw do’ T-shirt I bought at the beginning of the pandemic languishes in my closet, never to be seen in public again.

    As a teacher I was professionally obligated not to publicly criticize a colleague, and I assume doctors also have the same obligation. I do wonder, then, what sort of private communications have occurred between our CMOH and her professional body.

    Reply
  7. A little bird

    January 12th, 2022

    The only thing Hinshaw could do to maintain credibility at this point is to resign. She absolutely should be fired, unlike the good Dr. Swann

    Reply
    • jerrymacgp

      January 12th, 2022

      There have been numerous occasions over the 22 months & counting since the first declaration of a Public Health Emergency in Alberta back in March of 2020, when people have speculated that Dr Hinshaw might resign on a matter of principle due to the way this government has responded to her advice on management of the pandemic. But it hasn’t happened.

      We can’t know anything about her personal circumstances, her family, her debts & financial obligations. It may be that she needs the job, desperately, even though she could potentially just hang up a shingle and open a private family medical practice.

      But I’m sure many of the folks that were getting T-shirts made with her face on them last year, are using them to spit-polish their shoes this year.

      Reply
  8. Murphy

    January 12th, 2022

    David, some crazy people have been saying that the threat of SARS CoV-2 was exaggerated by the media and government. I know that even though a month after unprecedented restrictions were imposed in Alberta, with the closure of schools, colleges, universities, gyms, restaurants, churches, and the shut-down of organized leisure activities like dance and gymnastics and swimming, (weed stores and liquor stores remained in full swing), the Alberta government announced that we would see 800 000 infections by the end of May, 2020, and we actually only had 7000 cases at the end of May, 2020, but this overestimation of 11428% was not indicative of any failure to accurately assess the threat prior to imposition of these life-affirming and life-saving measures.
    https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-case-modelling-projection.pdf
    Some really crazy people have been saying that the military in Canada was involved in stoking an atmosphere of terror that was in no way in line with the threat posed by SARS CoV-2. Only crazy people could believe this, of course.
    “According to a directive released Wednesday by acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre and Sajjan’s deputy minister Jody Thomas, the military deployed propaganda techniques in Canada without approval during the pandemic and gathered information about Canadians’ online activities without permission from authorities.
    …DND insists the activities undertaken to monitor and shape public discourse as it related to the pandemic did not constitute psychological operations.”
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/psychological-warfare-influence-campaign-canadian-armed-forces-1.6079084
    I think that part of the problem with these crazy people is that they don’t appreciate the role of miracles in the progress of the Covid story.
    The PCR tests used to show the power of Covid to cause 800 000 infections in Alberta within the first ten weeks of the pandemic are bullet-proof. Some really crazy people think that there are significant problems with them, but of course, they’re just crazy. Maybe Wexit people, or Q-tards. I heard that Nazis secretly cloned Jim Keegstra and grew a bunch of these people on a Hutterite colony near Callihoo, so maybe that’s the root of this whole problem.
    Here’s an example of these super crazy people who don’t think that PCR tests were a good basis to measure a pandemic:
    “Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/22/health/22whoop.html

    I know that came from the New York Times, but it doesn’t mean Ezra Levant was not behind the whole fake story.

    It’s important to never underestimate the cunning and brilliance of SARS CoV-2, particularly this Omicron character. It’s obvious that this bug studied Brusilov’s 1916 offensive, in which he attacked the Central Powers all across the front at one time, because the positive rate in Alberta shot up in all five zones at exactly the same time.
    https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm#laboratory-testing
    Some crazy people think that this might have to do with changes in the PCR testing protocol, in which one of three target sites for the test dropped out, and this drop-out is taken as evidence of Omicron, as if eliminating one of three test sites as evidence could produce a vast increase in false positives. Some crazy people think that just because disease prevalance in Alberta was below 10% throughout the entire pandemic, this led to large numbers of false positives, but they’re crazy.
    “WHO reminds IVD users that disease prevalence alters the predictive value of test results; as disease prevalence decreases, the risk of false positive increases (2). This means that the probability that a person who has a positive result (SARS-CoV-2 detected) is truly infected with SARS-CoV-2 decreases as prevalence decreases, irrespective of the claimed specificity.”
    https://www.who.int/news/item/20-01-2021-who-information-notice-for-ivd-users-2020-05
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3503683/
    https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-covid-19-and-medical-devices/sars-cov-2-viral-mutations-impact-covid-19-tests

    I just hope we can continue to drive home to Albertans that with over 73% of the population double-vaccinated, and mask mandates in full swing, we’re in more peril now than we were in March of 2020 when we were saved from Covid by preventing people from playing shinny hockey. I’m sure that the 81% of active Covid cases who are double-vaccinated, and the 52% of hospitalized Covid patients who are double-vaccinated are just evidence of the 90% effectiveness of the vaccines, and it’s all part of His plan. (Stephen Bancel? Larry Fink? Jesus?)
    https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm#vaccine-outcomes

    Anyhow, like the song says, “sometimes it causes me to tremble”.

    Reply
  9. Alan K. Spiller

    January 12th, 2022

    Eight of us senior conservatives met with Dr Swann in September 2009. We had thrown our support behind the Liberals to try to get rid of Klein. Swann is a good friend of a friend of mine. He told me that he had no intention of ever becoming a politician but felt that someone had to try to save our health care system from this manic Ralph Klein and we appreciated him for doing that.

    I felt that we had a lot in common I didn’t want to be a politician either and had turned down the request from a group of lawyers led by Marilyn Burns to become leader of the Alberta Alliance Party formed in 2002 to fight Ralph Klein. In 2008 they changed the name to the Wildrose Party and when Danielle Smith got control of their party and turned into another Ralph Klein reform party wanting to carry on where Klein left off destroying us and we know what has happened since.
    There is no question Dr Swann has a lot of respect for what he did and we still enjoy his letters fighting Kenney.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      January 12th, 2022

      ALAN K. SPILLER: If Albertans do not wake up and see the damage these pretend conservatives and Reformers in the UCP are doing, it’s going to be a horrific mess if the UCP are given four more years. Postmedia will still be brainwashing Albertans to support the UCP. Ralph Klein was a disaster, and the UCP are the same, and they seem to be copying his policies, right down to the vote buying tricks. Where’s the sense in that?

      Reply
  10. Geoffrey Pounder

    January 12th, 2022

    As medical officer of health, David Swann defended the Kyoto Protocol. As Liberal leader, Dr. Swann supported oilsands expansion including Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.
    Funny what petro-politics does to a man’s integrity.
    Kevin Taft explores this dynamic in his book: “Oil’s Deep State: How the petroleum industry undermines democracy and stops action on global warming — in Alberta, and in Ottawa.”

    The champion of Kyoto said a pipeline to Kitimat would “guarantee greater prosperity and economic security for all Canadians.” What oil well was he drinking from?
    How does a man go from supporting Kyoto–at the cost of his job–to supporting expanded markets for oil and gas?
    One day Dr Swann stands up for Albertans’ right to clean water. The next day he stands up for Northern Gateway. Does he not think that Albertans downstream of the oilsands and British Columbians on the Northern Gateway pipeline route also value clean water?
    As I wrote at the time, the Liberals’ mental gymnastics would put a contortionist to shame.
    *
    Press Release: “Swann Sets Record Straight on Alberta Oil Sands”
    June 21 2010
    https://web.archive.org/web/20110514025106/http://www.davidswann.ca/swann-sets-record-straight-on-alberta-oil-sands/
    “Concerned that the Premier’s response has been inadequate and that attacks on the oil sands have been increasing, Official Opposition Leader David Swann spoke today to the city councillor who authored the resolution to defend Alberta’s energy industry and challenge the facts behind the initiative.
    “…Swann notes that the technologies now being employed to extract Alberta bitumen are moving towards being the most sophisticated, least impactful, and cleanest in the world.
    “Swann is challenging the Premier to do much more to defend Alberta’s oil sands against such attacks. “I’ve done my part. Now it’s time for the Premier to do his.”
    *
    On July 13, 2010, AB Liberal Leader David Swann countered federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s position on the proposed oilsands pipeline to the northern B.C. coast:
    “Alberta Liberals support oilsands pipeline to northern B.C.”
    “Canada and Alberta need more markets for our oil and gas, and Enbridge’s plan to construct a pipeline to Kitimat would open up those markets for us. Combined with the Alberta Liberal plan to increase bitumen upgrading here in Alberta and western Canada, the pipeline would guarantee greater prosperity and economic security for all Canadians.”
    *
    “Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann pushed against the federal party line, backing the project as critical to opening new markets for Canadian oil.
    “Swann said he would back the project’s importance to any party in Ottawa, Liberal or Conservative.
    “‘We have supported the Northern Gateway in the context of the ongoing development of the oilsands,’ he said. ‘We have no choice but to develop alternate markets. It makes no business sense to develop one single market.’
    “Pipeline won’t be derailed, Enbridge chief says” (Calgary Herald, 01 Apr 2011)
    *
    On the oilsands, Swann’s policy was virtually indistinguishable from Stelmach’s.
    Expand the markets, build the pipelines, and full steam ahead.
    You cannot be a champion of Kyoto and support oilsands expansion at the same time.
    David Swann and Raj Sherman are both medical doctors.
    Neither of them connected the dots between oilsands pollution, oilspills, climate change, and public health.
    *
    Enter NDP critic Rachel Notley, 2014: “We do have a culture in this province which actively diminishes healthy and important debate about the health and environmental effects of our dominant industry.”
    Power corrupts; petro-power corrupts absolutely.

    Reply
    • pogo

      January 12th, 2022

      What we need is absolutism? Prescriptive and preferably painfully destructive opposition?
      Ya! Like that’s worked perfectly in our past, that we refuse to remember. We not only have to manage what we’ve created, we have to prevent the inducements we’ve created from interfering with managing the doom they induce! https://youtu.be/gOChk-crMQM?t=3

      Reply
    • Alan K. Spiller

      January 12th, 2022

      Geoffrey Pounder Were you ever in Prince Rupert to talk to the people about the Northgate pipeline? I have been going out there for years salmon fishing and everyone I talked to made a really good point and oilmen I have talked to also agreed. The risk was just too high.This pipeline was going to cross prime fish spawning habitat around 1,000 times I was told.

      Over the years their people have gone for weeks at a time without any natural gas because the pipeline had been taken out by a landslide or a raging River. There was no way the people were going to risk their salmon fishing industry and why should they to please some wealthy oilmen from Alberta. Twice when my son and I were there raging rivers took out most of the highway leading to the west coast.

      From what I was told Enbridge executives finally agree and scraped the project. You certainly can be a supporter of Kyoto and still be a supporter of oil expansion also. Kyoto was about doing it in clean manner and that’s why the oil executives tried to join Kyoto and Klein and Harper refused to let them do it. The same Stephen Harper who refused to implement a carbon tax when the oil executives wanted it and executives of TransCanada pipeline think that if he had listened to them Obama would have approved the keystone XL pipeline.

      It’s no secret that these fake conservatives Reformers have been telling the world that they don’t give a dam about global warming or the pollution Alberta is producing when the world does care. It’s the reason we were told why Norway took all their investments out of Alberta and why Encana moved their head office to the U.S.

      Reply
      • Alan K. Spiller

        January 12th, 2022

        The comments in this article says it all Enbridge The Dirty Dozen. Oilmen I have talked to certainly agree the risk was just too high.

        Reply
      • Anonymous

        January 12th, 2022

        ALAN K. SPILLER: Even trappers, farmers and ranchers in Alberta were saying how pollution from industry is affecting what they are able to do. These pretend conservatives and Reformers don’t care and won’t listen. The true conservative, Peter Lougheed, would never allow compromising the environment, so some corporate big wigs could get rich.

        Reply
        • Alan K. Spiller

          January 13th, 2022

          ANONYMOUS The big question is why are so many of our fellow seniors so easy to fool. My senior friends and I talk about it all the time over coffee . Another senior fool , in the Calgary Herald Blog, is once again blaming Notley for the oil crash in Alberta . Too damn dumb to understand that it was in internal crash and it occurred a year before her or Trudeau were elected.

          The retired RCMP officers in our group aren’t surprised at all . They have had to deal with stupid seniors who allowed con -artists steal their life savings. I saw a lot of it as a bank manager.

          Reply
        • John Kenny

          January 19th, 2022

          I’m always get a chuckle when people post brave comments like “we must stand-up” or “we are being brainwashed”, then they cowardly post under “anonymous”.

          Reply
  11. Hana Razga

    January 12th, 2022

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall at these Covid19 cabinet meetings to hear the discussions. One of these days, we might have an inquiry into the Jason Kenney’s handling the pandemic. Or someone will write a book about it. Then we will know.

    Reply
    • Alan K. Spiller

      January 12th, 2022

      Wouldn’t you like to know what this Australian coal company was willing to put in the pockets of these fake conservatives to give them the chance to destroy our mountains. Former MLA for the Klein government Doug Horner would say it was just gifts and it was alright for MLAs to accept them.

      Funny how Kenney can straight faced lie to Albertans that B.C. is mining coal safely when Teck Coal Limited pleaded guilty to polluting rivers in B.C. and Montana and was fined $60 million. It certainly makes my friends and I wonder what he is so afraid to lose, don’t you?

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        January 13th, 2022

        ALAN K. SPILLER: You certainly raise excellent points. These pretend conservatives and Reformers have brainwashed generations of Albertans, from seniors, who influence their younger relatives. We end up with a horrific mess. Peter Lougheed, a true conservative, certainly knew that Reformers can’t be trusted.

        Reply
      • A little bird

        January 13th, 2022

        These are the *real* conservatives your eyes do not deceive you.

        Reply
  12. pogo

    January 12th, 2022

    So when you point out duty and courage to some simpering factotum and they hiss at you? What do you learn? They might yet sing for their supper! https://youtu.be/PLQ677I50vw?t=72

    Reply
  13. Bret Larson

    January 12th, 2022

    Usually you get fired for pushing your own political agendas when you are a government worker that’s not a surprising thing.

    Whereas Hinshaw has been effective and consistent in a much more pressure job and job circumstances.

    Comparing their body of work is like comparing a hat trick in peewees with a Gordie Howe trick in the big league.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      January 12th, 2022

      BRET LARSON: You cannot politicize something that affects people’s health and well-being, or the well-being of things like the environment. Ralph Klein was a dictator, who didn’t support democracy. That’s why Ralph Klein had something to do with Dr. David Swann getting fired. Electricity deregulation, which has cost Albertans over $40 billion so far, the flat tax fiasco, which has lost Alberta billions of dollars in revenue, privatization ploys, such as registration offices, driver education, highway maintenance, and liquor stores, among other things, were also very costly disasters, and these were never brought up with Albertans to see if they wanted them. The UCP also doesn’t support democracy. Cheating to get into power, rescinding sound decisions, like Peter Lougheed’s 1976 Coal Policy, during a long weekend in May, among other things, doesn’t seem like democracy to me.

      Reply
  14. Anonymous

    January 12th, 2022

    The pretend conservatives and Reformers in the UCP are doing an incredible amount of damage and don’t care who their bad policies affect. Albertans have certainly been fooled, just like they were fooled by a Liberal turned Reformer, Ralph Klein. Dr. Deena Hinshaw is like a puppet on a string. The UCP manipulate her completely. She can’t make any decisions on her own, and this won’t end well. I see similar parallels to Dr. David Swann, and Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

    Reply
    • Alan K. Spiller

      January 13th, 2022

      ANONYMOUS : From having known Klein and his family since the early 1960s I can assure everyone that he didn’t have anyone in his family or our family fooled. The guy was a high school drop out, an ignorant bully with a major drinking problem who loved to trick stupid Albertans into believing all his lies and he was great at it. Although he accused Jason Kenney of spreading lies and stealing from seniors Kenney still considers him a hero and has obviously tried to copy him.l think Kenney was a good student he certainly has a lot of stupid seniors convinced.

      When Klein was campaigning to become premier his mother Flo told my mother that she didn’t think he was capable of running the province properly. Mum told her that her family agreed and none of us had any intention of sporting him and we didn’t. Mum said Flo wasn’t surprised.

      Reply
      • Bret Larson

        January 14th, 2022

        Did a pretty good job for a drop out. Might be one of those cases which proves that the current education system run by government workers is a joke.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          January 16th, 2022

          BRET LARSON: Ralph Klein did a very good job? In what way, shape or form? Calgary never had a massive debt load of around $1.5 billion before Ralph Klein became mayor. That massive debt load came after Ralph Klein became mayor. Ralph Klein was primarily responsible for why Alberta lost $575 billion, because the oil royalty rates that Peter Lougheed was getting, weren’t gotten anymore, due to slashing them sharply. Also, Ralph Klein is why Albertans are on the hook for $260 billion to fix up the messes the oil companies gave us. The tax policies of Ralph Klein weren’t good either, and this made Alberta lose $150 billion. So many very costly shenanigans happened under Ralph Klein. To top it all off, Ralph Klein’s cuts, did major amounts of damage, and cost Albertans their lives. In addition, the other privatization and deregulation mistakes also cost us a fortune. That doesn’t look like a pretty good job to me.

          Reply
          • Bret Larson

            January 18th, 2022

            Pretty much every way shape and form available for a politician. He balanced the budget and paid off all of the debt. Which provided the environment for opportunity for the workers of Alberta.

            I mean where would you rather start a business, invest your capital, and hire people? In a jurisdiction that is heavily in debt that is looking for more taxes or a jurisdiction which has controlled its spending and you wont be viewed as a convenient entity to tax more.

            Really think about it.

  15. alkyl

    January 12th, 2022

    “. . . . the courage to take a difficult stand is required to do the right thing – and sometimes a demonstration of courage will bring the public to the side of a brave public official.” . . . .

    . . . . is a reminder of that old chestnut that states, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Now, of course, the personally derived calculus involved in individual decision making involves multiple variables; where oftentimes, moral and/or ethical concerns are overridden by other ‘immediate’ concerns. Everyone, or mostly everyone, bases their personal decision making on the principle of, “If I do this, what will happen, i.e, what will be the most likely outcome(s)?” Sometimes doing the ‘right thing’ requires great strength of character, along with personal sacrifice.

    In our current society, the one that idealizes the hyper-individualism and the self interest of looking out for number one , values such as integrity, honesty, virtue, truthfulness, sincerity, and honor are viewed by the self interested many as the values of losers and chumps.

    With that awareness firmly in mind, perhaps Dr. Deena Hinshaw needs to revisit the CMA CODE OF ETHICS AND PROFESSIONALISM:

    “INTEGRITY. A physician who acts with integrity demonstrates consistency in their intentions and
    actions and acts in a truthful manner in accordance with professional expectations, even in the
    face of adversity.”

    “Commitment to professional integrity and competence: Practise medicine competently, safely, and with integrity; avoid any influence that could undermine your professional integrity.”

    https://policybase.cma.ca/documents/policypdf/PD19-03.pdf

    Reply
  16. CovKid

    January 14th, 2022

    Your headline should read “health”even though a pretty fit medical officer might also prefer the heath.

    Imagine if Kenney had been confronted throughout this pandemic with Medical Officers of Health with the intestinal fortitude demonstrated by David Swann? How many resignations could he have survived before the evidence of his incompetence became so apparent that even the numbskulls of the “Freedumb” movements may have had reason to pause?

    Hinshaw’s complicity indicates that she’s more concerned with salary and pension than public health.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      January 14th, 2022

      CovKid: Fixed. Thanks. Better late than never. DJC

      Reply
  17. Murphy

    January 14th, 2022

    Interesting that the two politician subjects of your last two articles are both linked by their advocacy for this neoliberal faith-based 3P abomination:
    “3 Youth Treatment Centers Linked by Abuse Accusations
    The KIDS centers in El Paso and Orange County closed last year because of financial difficulties, but the facilities in Hackensack and Salt Lake City are still operating. In addition, Newton has authorized the opening of KIDS of the Canadian West in Calgary this spring. The Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission has agreed to allocate $600,000 toward setting it up. Private donors are expected to match the government grant. More than 40 Canadian youngsters are currently under treatment at KIDS of Bergen County in Hackensack.”
    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1990-03-24-mn-711-story.html

    “The provincial NDP’s children and youth services critic is calling for an investigation into an addictions recovery centre in Calgary following reports some teens were victims of abuse.

    Edmonton-Strathcona MLA Rachel Notley made the call for the investigation following question period Tuesday, where the issue was raised.

    Liberal MLA Harry Chase initially called on the government to explain how the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre is licensed and monitored.”
    https://www.fornits.com/phpbb/index.php/topic,27007.msg326465.html#msg326465

    Brave Dr. Swann remained silent while poor ol’ Harry Chase got blasted by Kon torpedo Ron Liepert in the Legislature. This puzzled me, so I addressed Dr. Swann directly. His response was unfortunate:

    “I have reviewed the material you sent and have certainly concerns about the policies and procedures at AARC which I am now pursuing. I will be discussing it with various people in the addictions/mental health field so I have not ignored this new information.
    I also have several people in my immediate circle who believe their child’s life was hanging by a thread and was saved. This is not a ‘black and white’ issue.”
    https://www.fornits.com/phpbb/index.php/topic,44679.msg428294.html#msg428294

    I take some solace in the fact that his response was indicative of greater intestinal fortitude than that of Rachel Notley.

    Reply

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