Alberta Votes

Alberta election 2015: David Swann insists he's not killing the Alberta Liberal Party

David Swann fired back at criticism Monday that he is killing the Alberta Liberal Party.

Politcal analyst Stephen Carter says interim leader 'will likely cause the death by drowning' his own party

David Swann was accused over the weekend of killing the Alberta Liberal party. (CBC)

David Swann fired back at criticism Monday that he is killing the Alberta Liberal Party.

Swann, now serving as interim leader for the beleaguered party, was accused of narcissism over the weekend in a Calgary Herald column written by Stephen Carter.

Carter managed Alison Redford's Progressive Conservative leadership campaign in 2011 and for a time served as her chief of staff. He worked on the campaign for Alberta Party leader Greg Clark in the byelection last fall but is not involved with the party this election. 

Carter wrote on the weekend that Albertans are angry at the Conservatives and looking for a party to support to form a new government.

"That party could have been a new Liberal-Alberta Party," Carter wrote. "Instead, David Swann, through his narcissism, has scuttled any opportunity for a centrist alternative to the Progressive Conservative Party.

"Although David Swann is unlikely to suffer direct punishment, he will likely cause the death by drowning of the once proud Alberta Liberal Party."

Swann told CBC News Monday the criticism is unfounded and off-base.

"I've been on the record since 2009 as having an open door for co-operation," Swann said. "It's almost impossible, in my view, to work in a co-operative way with so little time. I want to get down to that after the election. But clearly the NDP are not interested in any kind of co-operation."

Failure to nominate candidates

Several recent polls suggest strong support for the NDP, particularly in Edmonton.

Swann was asked why his party failed to nominate a full slate of candidates in all 87 ridings in the upcoming election. The party has 56 people running.

"I think Jim Prentice broke his promise to Albertans," Swann said. "He called an early election. That's part of the issue. The other part of the issue is that rural Alberta has always been a challenge for Liberals.

"We have to do a better job of connecting with rural Alberta."

Swann said his party plans to form the official opposition after the May 5 vote.

When Swann was asked about his party's plan to fix health care, he accused the longtime Tory government of breaking the trust of doctors, nurses and other workers in the system.

"We have to restore morale," he said. "We have to to stop the culture of intimidation and bullying that got me into politics. It's only gotten worse since I was fired back in 2002."

Swann says he served as the medical officer of health for the Palliser Health Authority in southeastern Alberta before being fired for publicly supporting the Kyoto Protocol.

He said staff working in the health system have long known that speaking up can cost them their jobs, and he accused the PC government of routinely interfering in decisions that should be made by front-line experts and medical professionals.


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