Writing laws is lots of work. It’s also very complicated, especially if your main training was how to stick needles in people’s faces and fill holes in their teeth. None of that prepares you terribly well for the analysis and development of legislation. But in my new occupation as a legislator, I consider the writing and scrutiny of laws as the most important aspect of my job. Looking after the concerns of my constituents, representing their views in the House, and advocating for district 17 is important and serious work, but like my 26 colleagues in the House, the study of new and existing laws should be the centrepiece of all our work lives.Read more
25 years ago historian Francis Fukuyama wrote a book called “The End of History.” In it he suggested that with the advent of Western liberal democracy, we had all that was needed to ensure sustained prosperity, peace and good government for the entire world forever and a day. We had reached, as the author puts it: “…the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”Read more
Ann and I have been married for 30 years on July 4th, or “end of Independence day” as it is sometimes jokingly referred to in our house! Maintaining a relationship with another human being over a long period of time is - as anyone who has attempted it is aware - complex and challenging, so having reached this milestone intact, and in some ways with an even stronger and deeper connection, is definitely something worth celebrating.Read more
Money, as we all know, makes the world go round, or so the saying goes. I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to figure out money, and it still remains largely a mystery to me. I remember reading somewhere that if you aren’t confused about money then you haven’t thought enough about it. Money is useful as a store of value and as a unit of exchange that we can trade with each other, and all ventures need it.Read more
My favourite David Bowie song is “Changes” – a catchy tune, brilliant lyrics, raunchy sax solo, and hidden meanings galore. I saw Bowie live in 1983, and it remains one of the most amazing concerts I’ve ever attended. Life sometimes unfolds in unexpected and testing ways: my last blog was written before Bowie died, and before the most recent session of the PEI Legislature opened. It is now three weeks since the House closed, and, to quote the song – “time has changed me.”Read more
It’s been two weeks since the PEI Legislature closed for the summer, and as some distance opens up between the peculiar environment which exists inside the rail and more normal life on the outside, it feels like a good time to reflect on the spring sitting - and political life generally - in all its glory and oddness.
After two full years and five legislative sittings, I feel that I understand my new workplace much better - which is different from saying I am comfortable there.Read more
Not that I needed to be reminded of this fact, but last week once again demonstrated that politics is an unpredictable animal. The simple – at least on the surface – idea of reducing the voting age from 18 to 16 created a debate that has clearly stirred up a lot more controversy than I ever imagined when we decided to introduce the private member’s bill following the plebiscite last year when 16 and 17 year-olds were allowed to vote for the first time in Canada.Read more
Do you remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? He kept telling those around him that a wolf was about to eat his flock of sheep, but when they went to check, there was nothing there. Eventually they stopped paying attention, assuming that he was having them on, until one day the wolf actually showed up, but no-one was listening.
Finance Minister Allen Roach has been promising, literally EVERY year since he took on the position, that we will reach balance, and have a surplus …… next year. For a while, people may have believed him, but consistent annual disappointment at budget time has led many folks to roll their eyes and think - as those repeatedly misled by the boy who cried wolf – that he’s deluded.Read more
As the Public Schools Branch lumbers its way towards the conclusion of the awkward and much maligned process of school reviews, I thought it would be a good time to review the process itself and point out a few learning opportunities for those tasked with the development, administration and delivery of public policy.
I have acknowledged many times before that governing is difficult, but I think those in power could make things a lot easier for themselves if they followed a simple and consistent set of rules.Read more
A few decades ago we had hundreds of small schools dotting the PEI landscape, their locations determined by how far a child could reasonably be expected to walk to get there each day. Today, in line with the general trend to centralization of everything, we have a few “families” of schools, and with this week’s recommendations from the Public Schools Branch, a few more of the children in those families of schools are being cut loose as being no longer viable.Read more