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

Navigating NAFTA - Part One

Recently our provincial government has been very self-congratulatory about export success and how the Mighty Island has been steadily asserting itself in the global marketplace. Yet, with uncertainty hanging over the future of NAFTA, I hope they also have a plan to ensure the future prosperity of our economy, which is heavily dependent on our current exports to the United States.

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Governing by Photo-op

It is quite common for politicians to seek public recognition whenever they see themselves doing something particularly appealing to voters - thus the endless photo-ops and self congratulatory press releases being spun out by Communications PEI.  But these days the messaging has taken on an oddly partisan tone.

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Closing the PNP barn door

On Wednesday, the provincial government announced its intention to scrap the entrepreneur stream of the provincial nominee program (PNP).  It’s a decision that’s well overdue. Despite ongoing federal investigations, government has repeatedly denied that there is anything wrong while simultaneously refusing to release documents that would allow the public to make that assessment. It’s no wonder that Islanders have lost confidence in this government’s ability to properly administer this stream of the PNP.  

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Fishy Business

As the lone MLA representing the Green Party, I have the great privilege and responsibility of sitting on every standing committee of the PEI Legislature. Although this means a lot of reading and preparation, I am sincerely happy for the opportunity, and have learned so much about a wide array of issues of which I previously had little or no knowledge.

One of those topics is the halibut fishery. There were a few things I knew about halibut – they are tasty, they can be huge, there’s some weird thing about their eyes, and they are expensive – but as for quotas, history of the fishery, worldwide stock health, and that its name means “holy flatfish!” I knew almost nothing. Last year we devoted half of a standing committee meeting to the issue, and in my research and during questioning, I came to understand why the 135 Islanders who fish halibut can get so worked up about it.

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Carbon Pricing Leadership

The recent debate around carbon pricing has created challenges I would never have anticipated three years ago when I was first elected.  Back then, I was the lone Green MLA, I had a tiny but enthusiastic group of advisors, and party membership was small. On the issue of tackling climate change, I could stand up and defend my conviction that carbon pricing is the most effective and efficient means to reduce emissions. Economists agree, and it has been implemented successfully in dozens of jurisdictions.  When done properly, it not only reduces emissions without placing any additional burden on low and middle income families, it can actually improve the economy by easing the transition to new green tech opportunities.

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Fun and Games with FOIPP: Part One

Some of you may remember me complaining in January that I was forced to place a Freedom of Information (FOIPP) request to receive a copy of an internal review of the FOIPP Act.  At the time I thought it was the height of irony. I wanted to see the report because government had launched a consultation with the grandiose title “Open and Accessible Government--Modernizing the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.” I was eager to participate in such a monumental endeavour, and immediately asked the Minister Responsible, at the time Premier Wade MacLachlan, to table the internal review.

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Your Tax Dollars at Work

Advertising plays an important role in swaying public opinion. Companies use ads for a number of reasons; to raise their profile, to secure their place in the market, to demonstrate superiority over their competitors or to brag about how wonderful they are. Most of us are savvy enough to take some of the claims we hear in commercials with a grain of salt because we know that the opinion being presented is not completely objective.

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There is no “away”

On Friday I joined hundreds of people, including a large contingent of Islanders, in Pictou where we expressed our concerns about a plan to pump effluent from Northern Pulp’s mill through a pipeline directly into the Northumberland Strait. The company’s own estimates predict that upwards of 70 million litres will be discharged every single day of the year. That’s a lot of waste water from a paper making process which produces some of the most dangerous chemicals known to mankind; carcinogens like furans and dioxins, and heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. For over 50 years this water has been “treated” by flowing it through Boat Harbour – a lagoon near the mill, now profoundly contaminated – where much of the particulate matter in the effluent would settle out, and eventually the water was released into the strait, which locally has suffered severe environmental problems as a result.

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Reflections on the Spring Sitting

The morning after the legislature closed on June 12th, I took advantage of a suddenly free schedule and went for a long walk in the woods with our dogs, Balloo, Murphy, Jane and Knox (yes, that’s a lot of dog!)  There’s nothing like a beautiful PEI landscape and the uncomplicated companionship of man’s best friend to help me restore my mental equilibrium after a long legislative sitting. And when it comes to length, this sitting was one for the record books--the longest sitting since 1999.

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Health in all policies

The following are the speeches in the Legislature delivered on May 1, 2018 by Peter Bevan-Baker and Hannah Bell in support of Peter's Motion 40, Encouraging government to adopt a “Health in all Policies” approach to governance.

Peter Bevan-Baker's speech

Improving the physical and mental health of Islanders is often viewed as the work of the healthcare system. But in reality what we currently call health care could better be described as illness management, as it is primarily tasked with caring for individuals when they are sick or injured.   That is, of course, a critically important service. We all need to know that we will have access to timely care when we are ill. Indeed in Canada, we rightly take pride in providing all citizens with access to critical interventions that often mean the difference between life and death. Yet these systems are mostly designed to respond to the absence of health and rarely focus on building health and resiliency nor do they bring significant improvement to the health of the population.

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