Statement from Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, on the lack of communication and action during recent outbreak of COVID
The Premier and his government have shown a distinct lack of clarity and openness in their communication around the latest outbreak of COVID in the province. This is a worrisome trait that has only gotten worse.
We are at a point in the pandemic that is new territory for Prince Edward Island. We are breaking records with new case counts and as of yesterday’s briefing we have three hospitalizations due to COVID and a further five patients in hospital who have contracted COVID. The situation is now worse than it’s been at any other point in the pandemic.
Islanders are rightfully frightened, confused and worried. They need and deserve clear and consistent leadership. What they don’t need is the unclear and unkind manner in which the King Conservatives are handling communications around how to manage the spread of COVID in Island communities.
I would caution the Premier from falling into the same trap we saw other Conservative leaders go down by assuming we were out of the woods far too soon. That approach has not worked in other Conservative-led provinces, and if Premier King is truly progressive, he would learn that lesson well and now.
I am calling on Premier King to immediately do the following:
- Provide more frequent scheduled briefings, and begin them on time, so Islanders are fully aware of the evolving situation and how to best manage this ongoing public health emergency;
- Immediately issue PINs to COVID positive Islanders so they can utilize the COVID Alert app to help manage contact tracing and allow our already stretched frontline workers the space to do the important work of providing healthcare to those who need it;
- Make a clear decision about the return to school in the New Year so that parents can plan ahead;
- Put in place further protections to buy the time we need to slow the spread of COVID and ensure Islanders can get vaccinated, including youth and children and those waiting to get their booster.
Premier King has had two years to manage his communications and to keep his promise of open, transparent government in a manner that is different from his predecessors. Throughout the pandemic the Premier has called on Islanders to be kind. Kindness requires clarity, and it's time for the Premier to provide that clarity to Islanders.
Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA
New Haven - Rocky Point
Leader of the Official Opposition