This is where members of the Green Party of PEI elected caucus share their thoughts about contemporary issues on Prince Edward Island.

MICHELE BEATON: This is no time to abandon sound hiring practices for health workers

I was completely taken aback to hear the Minister on Friday contemplate abandoning the practice of conducting interviews for healthcare jobs. I do not and cannot support this in any way, shape, or form.

Even though we are in a health crisis, it does not mean the Minister should just abandon sound hiring practices. That is unfair to the worker you just hired, the team that is struggling on the frontlines, and it is absolutely unfair to Islanders who are depending on government to meet their healthcare needs through diligent planning. This is another example of the Minister making decisions in silos without consultation with key stakeholders.

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PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Where is the promised dental program for seniors and low-income Islanders?

As a long time dentist, I am acutely aware of the importance of good dental care on overall well-being. There are numerous studies that show poor dental health has been linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, as well as the effect the appearance of your teeth has, for better or worse, on your mental health. I also know the financial barriers that exist for many Islanders who desperately need access to necessary dental care.

In 2020, the Official Opposition asked government in its budget submission to provide an additional $2.5M for dental coverage for seniors and low income Islanders. At that time, the King government promised to provide that funding.

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OLE HAMMARLUND: Local wood is the most sustainable option

While my motion urging government to allow unstamped wood to be used for single family homes was defeated by PC and Liberal MLAs during the spring sitting of the legislature, there are still options available for people who own a wood lot and want to use their own wood to build.

If you qualify as a farm or forestry operation you can build workshops, storage buildings, and other non-residential buildings from your own unstamped wood. If you want to build something to live in, you will of course need stamped wood.

Here you have a couple of options that you could consider.

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MICHELE BEATON: Hemlibra must urgently be added to the provincial formulary

Vial.jpgHemophilia A is a serious inherited bleeding disorder. It is characterized by frequent, painful, and debilitating internal bleeding. It often happens with no apparent cause. When the bleeding happens in joints and muscles, it can lead to serious joint damage and crippled limbs.

When we have the ability to change peoples lives for the better, we must do what we can to make that happen. This is why the Official Opposition requested additional funding to the PEI Drug Formulary in its most recent budget submission. We want to make sure more life changing treatments are available to Islanders.

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KARLA BERNARD: Why won't the King government enforce its own laws on short-term rentals?

PEI is in a housing crisis. This crisis has only grown in the last number of years and the King government has done almost nothing to address it. In fact, the King government seems unable or unwilling to fulfill its duties as a responsible government that makes the hard decisions.

Not only does this mean we are in a dire housing crisis where renters can no longer find affordable apartments and prospective home buyers are being priced out of the market, it also means this inaction from government is having a negative effect on our tourism industry.

As my colleague, Hannah Bell, pointed out: The King government is responsible for all Islanders – not only the ones that can afford to invest in stocks and properties. This leaves Islanders with the question, why is Premier King reluctant to enforce legislation his own government has put in place?

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HANNAH BELL: What it means for Islanders that PEI has the highest inflation in Canada

The King government loves to talk about our strong economy and growth, and how their policies are keeping the good times going. So how is it possible that PEI has the highest inflation rate in the country this month? And, what does this mean to everyday Islanders?

When the rate of inflation is high, the cost of living increases. Islanders already know this - they see the cost of food, housing, and gas increases every day. Increased inflation also reduces economic growth as people’s purchasing power decreases, and those who can afford to do so invest their money to protect it.

Islanders are paying a higher percentage per month every month for their housing, leaving less disposable income in their pocket. And, surprising no one, the rise in inflation is tied to one of the wicked problems this government has been absolutely reluctant to tackle - short term rentals and their effect on the PEI housing market.

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The King government abandoning Islanders in need of access to primary care

It is becoming increasingly clear that Premier King has abandoned Islanders hoping for and needing a family doctor. In fact, last spring the Premier said in the House that it was unrealistic for Islanders to expect to have access to a family doctor. We are now seeing the effects of this terrible plan of the King government.

Last fall a family doctor in Charlottetown retired. He had over 3600 patients. When Health PEI learned of the retirement, they put in a temporary band-aid solution to cover the patients with nurse practitioners and locums. The contract has since finished and nothing else has been offered in its place.

Patients are now discovering that they will not be assigned a family doctor as there is no family doctor available. They have to join the over 17000 other Islanders already waiting for years for a family doctor. In fact, we were told by the Health department that they themselves had just learned of the situation late last week. Our healthcare system is deeply fractured.

 

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Better School Bus Safety Needed

In a recent CBC article, a mother told the story of how her child was involved in a near-miss with a car that passed a stopped school bus. The diligent bus driver saw the vehicle wasn’t going to stop and kept the boy on the bus. No doubt this saved the boy from serious harm and possible death.

I am so thankful for the quick actions of the bus driver. However, we shouldn’t expect our bus drivers to also actively observe and report on the actions of other drivers when they’re also operating a vehicle and monitoring the children inside the bus. It’s even worse when we realize our drivers aren’t able to see the vehicle licence plates and record them. This means the offender is free of consequence and is likely to try it again.

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What is government's plan to deal with increasing ER wait times?

I am extremely concerned about Dr. Jain’s announcement last week that wait times at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are increasing significantly due to shortages of board certified emergency physicians and emergency trained nurses. Anyone who has attended the ER already knows wait times are often hours long for urgent care.

So, with this new announcement that those wait times are increasing significantly, what does this mean for Islanders who need to access ER services? What is the plan for the QEH to address this shortage? Will it mean bed closures in the emergency room?

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Environmental bill of rights — What is it and what does it mean for Islanders?

Recently in the provincial legislature, Bill 108 - Environmental Bill of Rights passed unanimously in its second reading. The support it received from all parties really speaks to how the conversation around sustainability has shifted. I’m grateful that discussions on getting serious about protecting our environment — now and into the future — is something all political parties are in agreement about. I thank all the MLAs in the house for voting to support this important piece of legislation. Getting environmental rights secured for P.E.I. is now one step closer to reality. So what exactly does an environmental bill of rights mean for Islanders? Let’s talk.

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