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

Improving Rural Governance on PEI

As a Green Party MLA, I approach all issues through a couple of lenses: is this position the right one for the people I represent, and is this position consistent with Green Party values?

Most of the time those two lenses are aligned, and as I’ve discovered to my delight over the last couple of years, Islanders’ values line up beautifully with Green values, so generally the right path is clear to me. And those same Green Values are used in the development of all our policies, to make sure that our platform reflects the principles on which our Party is built. But occasionally an issue will arise where, due to its complexity, or contentiousness, it is hard to craft a position that makes me feel completely comfortable and confident. That, I suppose, is one of the central challenges of politics – as an elected representative, you are repeatedly tasked with making difficult decisions on behalf of your community.

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Let the games begin …. in April 2020

Canada just came off our best winter Olympics ever, with 29 medals. And right afterwards we got to enjoy watching Islander Mark Arendz in the Paralympics win six medals for Canada and have the honour of carrying the Maple Leaf Flag into the closing ceremonies. The winter Olympics only happen once every four years, and perhaps their infrequency is a big part of the reason that so many people - even those who don’t typically get excited about sports - become so caught up in the whole thing.

We already know when and where the next games will be – in Beijing, China from the 4th to the 22nd of February 2022 – and no doubt plans are already being made and training strategies drawn up with an eye on those dates.

There is another event that also comes in four-year cycles – provincial elections. And because, like the winter Olympics, we have fixed election dates, we already know when our next election will be. Or do we?

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Getting Local Government Right

 

We often hear how Prince Edward Island, with its 150,000 souls, is really just one smallish community, and that is how it feels for me as I travel from tip to tip on a fairly regular basis. However, under that appearance of unity, there remains a simmering rural/urban divide which seems to be a permanent - and to many regrettable - part of Island life.

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Making “openness and accountability” more than buzzwords

There’s hardly a day goes by without our present government claiming to be open and accountable. Like a lot of words politicians repeat, the hope is that if they say them often enough, they will be accepted as truths not to be challenged.

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Waste time

A few days ago we learned that a mountain of plastic waste has accumulated on PEI. China abruptly stopped importing our recyclable waste, and suddenly we find ourselves left with a 100 tonne hill of garbage with nowhere to go. The story presents us with an opportunity to look at how we understand buying and selling – the fundamentals of economic activity; of how powerful our consumption patterns have become, and how we could use it as an opportunity to question the wisdom of our actions.

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From drills and maws to bills and laws

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.

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Reconfederation

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.”

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Happy Anniversary

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.

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Party Tricks

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.

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Ch-ch-ch-ch changes

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.”

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