This post was originally published as an Op-Ed in the Journal Pioneer on April 7, 2021.
Living on an Island, we understand limits in a way that isn’t as obvious in other places. I think that’s why discussions on land and water use drum up so much interest.
The strain of climate change is being felt in many places, especially in agriculture. We need a sustainable irrigation strategy for PEI. And two of the pillars of that strategy must be environmental protection and fairness.
Past governments, led by both PC and Liberal, have shown with their choices that they do not really believe in environmental protection. It is treated mostly as an inconvenient afterthought. That has real consequences and, I would argue, the farming community especially suffers when government does not take their role as environmental stewards seriously.Read more
The following was delivered in the Legislature as a Member's Statement by Leader of the Official Opposition, Peter Bevan-Baker, on March 30, 2021.
I often stand in this House and speak about what a warm and welcoming province we live in. Every day I wake up feeling such gratitude that I live on this beautiful Island, filled with people from all backgrounds and walks of life, who love this province as much as me.
When I walk into the Legislature, I’m aware of the immense privilege I carry as one of 27 people who get to represent our province, and the people who live here. But I am also aware of the immense privilege I carry every day as a white man, and the benefits and opportunities I have been awarded simply because of that.
Because while it is true we live in a province filled with kind and welcoming people, it is also true that our province has a long history of discrimination, xenophobia, and racism. From the moment that white settlers arrived on these shores, colonizing Epekwitk, our Island has been steeped in white supremacy, genocide and violence against Black, Indigenous, and people of colour.Read more
This transcript of Steve Howard's response to the Speech from the Throne is copied from the official Hansard record of the Legislature.
To watch the video recording of this speech, go to www.assembly.pe.ca/video-archive, select "Spring 2021", click on the March 5th video and advance to the 2:36 mark.
I won’t be too terribly long here. A lot has been already said about this throne speech. But I had a lengthy response to the throne speech less than two years ago. All of what I said then still stands today.
One item from my previous response that remains entirely dormant is electoral reform. I asked the Premier about his thoughts on it at the end of the last sitting and I was encouraged to hear that he was still open to exploring this. More Islanders voted for changing the system by which we elect MLAs than voted for any one particular party that sits in this House. I think that bears attention and I implore the Premier to take action on this. Islanders like how collaborative governments work. Let’s see that it becomes the norm instead of the exception.Read more
This transcript of Michele Beaton's response to the Speech from the Throne is copied from the official Hansard record of the Legislature.
It is a pleasure to rise to speak to the throne speech. I believe it’s a great honour to be in this House and to be a part of this type of proceeding and to get the opportunity to speak on behalf of your constituents and Islanders who have reached out with priorities, thoughts, concerns.
First of all, I’d like to recognize that I know a lot of work has gone into this throne speech. I know a lot of consultation and looking at what’s the best road to travel for this province, which I think is important.
I also look at how front-end loaded the throne speech is. We have some really interesting concepts and visions at the very beginning. I see something that’s really missing, and that is information from a finance perspective. I do know that there’s a couple of paragraphs focused on agriculture, but they’re jam-packed paragraphs. So, I’d just like to dig in a little bit.Read more
This transcript of Trish Altass' response to the Speech from the Throne is copied from the official Hansard record of the Legislature.
Mr. Speaker, the intention of this throne speech was to outline a brave and bold vision that our government has for this Island and it is no surprise to anyone that health care is front and centre.
We all know that not much sounds more exciting to Islanders than a brave and bold vision for their health care. The number one topic that I hear from constituents is about health care. I’m sure I’m not alone.
What are we without our health? In recent years, mental health and addictions has become a major concern for many Islanders – again, no surprise. It’s been years of broken promises from one government to the next – promises by the former Liberal government of new supports with no followthrough, and then, promises directly from this current Premier to get shovels in the ground on day one. Maybe he’s digging the hospital foundation by hand and that’s why it’s taking so long – should have promised a backhoe, perhaps.Read more
This transcript of Hannah Bell's response to the Speech from the Throne is copied from the official Hansard record of the Legislature.
I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to speak in response to the tabled Speech From the Throne. Unlike my Liberal colleagues, I am actually going to respond to the Speech From the Throne. I have not only comments on that, but also, given that the speech is a vision or a plan, what I’d like to do is actually introduce some immediate actions that I would hope to see – that the government take, particularly in response to some of those topics and challenges that have been a big point of discussion in the last few days.
I’m really encouraged to hear my Liberal colleagues speak so much about poverty, given that over the past couple of years, we’ve had to spend quite a lot of time explaining what poverty actually meant. It’s really encouraging to see them now embrace that and I really look forward to seeing that perhaps that will be reflected in support for the poverty elimination strategy act that we’ll be bringing forward later in this sitting.
This transcript of Ole Hammarlund's response to the Speech from the Throne is copied from the official Hansard record of the Legislature.
To watch the video recording of this speech, go to www.assembly.pe.ca/video-archive, select "Spring 2021", click on the March 2nd video and advance to the 2:32:40 mark.
I am, of course, so pleased that after almost two years of a resistance and little action, that this government has finally accepted the net-zero agenda that our caucus has promoted at every sitting since the last election. Changing your mind, even for good reason, is difficult for politicians, so I really respect when politicians do that, in this case, for really good reasons, as net-zero and climate change are fundamentally nonpartisan issues.
I have observed the hon. Premier is sensitive to giving and getting proper credits so please let me assure him – I hope you hear this, since he’s not here – that I give full credit to this government for adopting hook, line and sinker, our entire net-zero agenda.Read more
This transcript of Karla Bernard's response to the Speech from the Throne is copied from the official Hansard record of the Legislature.
I have to start out by saying how difficult it was for me to pull my thoughts together on this throne speech. I feared it would appear tone deaf, given what’s going on in the province right now.
It had a lot of initial thoughts jotted down in point form in front of me on the computer screen and had all sorts of things to say on each point. Then, the weekend happened and our COVID numbers started to grow, and there was so much uncertainty. I would find myself starting a task and then drifting back to scrolling through social media. It is a scary, high-anxiety time. We are all human and when our bodies spend this much time in a fight or flight response, it is hard to focus. It is energy sucking and not very productive.Read more
This transcript of Lynne Lund's response to the Speech from the Throne is copied from the official Hansard record of the Legislature.
I have really mixed feelings about the Speech From the Throne. There are some major issues in my district and I’m just not hearing the solutions we need addressed in them.
Housing is still a huge problem in Summerside. The speech says the vacancy rate is up to 3%, but it isn’t in Summerside. It’s still at 1.5% in Summerside. This lack of access to affordable and appropriate housing comes up all the time for me and in fact, even in the Charlottetown area, where the vacancy rate has somewhat improved, that’s largely credited to the short-term rentals being returned to the housing market due to a depressed tourist season on PEI. That’s acknowledged in this speech. And then, in essentially the next breath, the speech talks about the desire to reestablish the Atlantic bubble, which, of course, we need, but without any plan to protect the small gains that we’ve made in the long-term housing market.Read more
This transcript of Peter Bevan-Baker's response to the Speech from the Throne is copied from the official Hansard record of the Legislature.
It’s my honour to rise today and to respond to the Speech From the Throne and to be the Leader of the Opposition in Prince Edward Island and to be the representative of the citizens of District 17 New Haven-Rocky Point. It is a privilege to sit in this House and I never forget that – always try and remind myself how lucky we are to be here.
The central defining characteristic of our country is the constant tension between the unique and largely independent provinces that are also part of a grand, singular collective called Canada.
As Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island has all of the jurisdictional privileges of the other provinces with all of the unique benefits that come with being able to craft our own path, which is suited to our unique, individual, particular situation.Read more