David Swann

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David Swann
David Swann - April 12, 2010.jpg
David Swann, Leader of Alberta's Official Opposition
Leader of the Official Opposition in Alberta
In office
December 15, 2008 – September 10, 2011
Preceded by Kevin Taft
Succeeded by Raj Sherman
Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party
Assumed office
February 1, 2015
Preceded by Raj Sherman
In office
December 13, 2008 – September 10, 2011
Preceded by Kevin Taft
Succeeded by Raj Sherman
MLA for Calgary Mountain View
Assumed office
2004 election
Preceded by Mark Hlady
Personal details
Born David Richard Swann[1]
(1949-06-19) June 19, 1949 (age 65)
Taber, Alberta[2]
Political party Alberta Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Laureen
Alma mater University of Alberta
University of Calgary
Profession Medical doctor
Religion United Church
Website davidswann.ca

David Richard Swann, MLA (born June 19, 1949)[3] is a medical doctor and Alberta Liberal Member of the Legislative Assembly for Calgary Mountain View. He was the leader of the Alberta Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition in the Alberta Legislature from December 2008 until resigning as party leader in September 2011. He returned as interim leader of the Alberta Liberal Party on February 1, 2015, following the resignation of Raj Sherman.[4]

Family and early life[edit]

Swann was born in Taber, Alberta, and was raised in a middle-class family on the edge of downtown Calgary. His father, Richard Swann, was head of oil and gas exploration for Canadian Fina for many years, before that company was sold to Petro-Canada. His mother Margaret was an active volunteer while raising him and his four siblings.

His summers as a child were spent in the countryside and mountains of Alberta. As he grew up, he worked on farms, at gas plants and hospitals to finance his education.

Swann attended Western Canada High School before entering the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1967. While at the U of A, he was a member of the Golden Bears Basketball team that went to the national basketball finals in 1969. He is still a sports fan and considers himself an outdoorsman; Swann is a regular runner, biker, hiker and canoeist.[5]

After graduating in Family Medicine in 1975, Swann worked in mission hospitals in South Africa for three years, where he met his future wife, Laureen Ross, also a doctor. There he discovered the deep connection between medicine and politics firsthand. He was deeply affected by the human rights abuses of apartheid, particularly the killing of Steve Biko, who lived near the mission where he worked.

Swann and his wife returned to Canada in 1979, were married and settled in Pincher Creek for seven years. This is where their three children were born, and where he participated in a private medical practice with four other physicians.[6]

In 1984, he began specialty training in Public Health (Prevention) and, after graduating in 1989, co-ordinated a primary health care project for the University of Calgary in the Philippines. After returning to Canada, he joined the Alberta Association of Medical Health Officers, becoming their president in 2000 while serving as Medical Officer of Health for Palliser Health and Headwaters Health regions.

In 2002, the Alberta Society of Health Officers passed a resolution calling for real government action on climate change and reductions to air pollution. Swann supported this resolution, the government fired him from his position with Palliser Health within days. This led to widespread condemnation of the Alberta Environment Minister, Lorne Taylor, who had influenced Health Chairman Len Mitzel to terminate him.[7]

Under intense public pressure, the Palliser Board was forced to offer Swann his job back. He declined, instead making humanitarian trips to Iraq, then returning to Alberta to run in the 2004 provincial election.[8]

Political career[edit]

Swann entered electoral politics as a candidate for the Alberta Liberals. He was elected to the Alberta Legislature in the Alberta general election on November 22, 2004. Along with Harry B. Chase, and Dave Taylor, Swann was part of a re-emergence of provincial Liberals in Calgary which had been completely held by the Progressive Conservatives. During his first term Swann was environment critic and also served as deputy chair of the Standing Committee on Resources and Environment and as a member of the Private Bills Committee and the Standing Committee on Health.[9] Swann was re-elected in the March 3, 2008 election.

Swann won the 2008 Alberta Liberal leadership election on December 13, 2008, defeating Dave Taylor and Mo Elsalhy.[10] On February 1, 2011, he announced his resignation as leader with effect after the spring session of the Legislative Assembly.[11]


Swann has advocated for many causes related to peace and development, human rights and social justice and has worked with organizations such as Physicians for Global Survival, Amnesty international, and Doctors without Borders.[12] Swann has been a vocal supporter of farm worker's rights and regularly campaigns for occupational health and safety laws for Alberta's agricultural sector.[13]

Electoral history[edit]

2004 Alberta general election results[14] Turnout 49.57% Swing
Affiliation Candidate Votes % Party Personal
     Liberal David Swann 7,162 53.31% 28.94% *
     Progressive Conservative Mark Hlady 4,088 30.43% -29.91%
Greens Mark MacGillivray 884 6.58% *
     NDP John Donovan 712 5.30% -9.99% *
     Alberta Alliance Ryan Cassell 589 4.38% *
Total 13,435 100%
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 97
27,299 Eligible Electors
     Liberal pickup from Progressive Conservative Swing 29.43%
2008 Alberta general election results[15] Turnout 38.64% Swing
Affiliation Candidate Votes % Party Personal
     Liberal David Swann 7,086 51.51% -1.80%
     Progressive Conservative Leah Lawrence 4,252 30.91% 0.48% *
     Wildrose Alliance Cory Morgan 892 6.48% 2.10% *
Greens Juliet Burgess 865 6.29% -0.29% *
     NDP John Donovan 661 4.81% 0.49%
Total 13,756 100%
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined 86
35,819 Eligible Electors
     Liberal hold Swing -1.14%
2012 Alberta general election Turnout % Swing
Affiliation Candidate Votes % Party Personal
     Liberal David Swann 6,849 41.09% %
     Progressive Conservative Cecilia Low 5,293 30.38% % *
     Wildrose Shane McAllister 3,942 22.22% % *
     NDP Christopher McMillan 863 5.02% % *
     Alberta Party Inshan Mohammed 255 1.28% *
Total ' 100%
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined '
Eligible Electors
     Liberal hold Swing %


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Canada.com
  3. ^ Albertaliberal.com
  4. ^ "David Swann chosen as interim leader of Alberta Liberals". CBC News. February 1, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  5. ^ Facebook.com
  6. ^ Davidswann.ca
  7. ^ CBC.ca
  8. ^ Albertaliberal.com
  9. ^ Assembly.ab.ca
  10. ^ CTV.ca
  11. ^ Fekete, Jason (February 1, 2011). "David Swann will step down as Alberta Liberal leader". Calgary Herald. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  12. ^ David Swann Global Peace Initiatives Retrieved 6 Nov 2012
  13. ^ MLA asks chip giant to boycott Alberta potatoes until child labour laws reformed Retrieved 6 Nov 2012
  14. ^ "Calgary-Mountain View Statement of Official Results 2004 Alberta general election". Elections Alberta. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  15. ^ The Report on the March 3, 2008 Provincial General Election of the Twenty-seventh Legislative Assembly. Elections Alberta. July 28, 2008. pp. 238–241. 

External links[edit]