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
When healthcare decisions and plans are made by experts, Islanders benefit greatly. When those same decisions are left to the whims or political will of an individual, they can be devastating.
In 2018 government amended the Health Services Act to move decision-making power and authority away from the Health PEI board and gave it to the Minister of Health and Wellness. This means the minister can make decisions and changes on how plans are implemented without consultation and discussion with health experts or consideration of best practices and evidence. It means politics can interfere with and directly influence Islanders’ health outcomes.Read more
It was surprising to hear the former minister of the environment make excuses on the way out the door as to why she never had the chance to have the Act proclaimed. This is rather unbecoming for a minister, especially as the excuse she gave threw her caucus colleague, who chairs the Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability committee, under the bus.
The department began briefing the committee on the draft regulations on January 30th, 2020. That briefing concluded February 20th, just before MLA Jameson was sworn in as minister. The committee submitted recommendations to proclaim the Water Act in November. That report was sent directly to her for review.
According to her own briefing book, there are changes to the draft regulations that the department would like to make. For that to happen, those changes need to be sent to the Natural Resources committee so they can review them. This has to happen 90 days before the Act can be proclaimed.Read more
Death and taxes are, so we’re told, the two inevitabilities in all our lives. This last year has focused our attention on the fragility of life, and the economic fallout from the pandemic has disrupted government operations and budgetary forecasts everywhere.
Governments operate on income that, in large part, comes from taxes. It is used to carry out two of their core functions: to provide services, and to redistribute wealth in our society. Graham Steele, author of What I Learned About Politics: Inside the Rise-and Collapse-of Nova Scotia’s NDP Government and former elected Nova Scotia MLA, puts the role of taxes this way: “taxes = services, and services = taxes.”Read more
Perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into the slogans that political parties adopt for their campaigns. However, presumably, they are crafted to not only capture our attention and be memorable, but also to reflect the character and goals of the party itself.
“It’s about people” was Premier King’s promise to Islanders and invitation to vote for his team. Politics is, of course, all about people. My understanding is that it means all the people, and that good politics is about providing the most benefit possible to the most people possible.
In many respects it is our littlest people that require the greatest care. Children are unable to fend for themselves and it is the responsibility of society to ensure that all newborns are protected and nurtured from day one – actually from before day one. The best start in life means proper information and supports before conception, prenatally, during delivery, and postpartum. Everywhere in Canada, unless you live in Prince Edward Island, one of the options available to mothers for these supports is midwifery services.Read more
Tackling poverty is the right thing to do from both an ethical and economic perspective. People in poverty are not only those who are utterly destitute, but those who are treading water, paycheque to paycheque.
Recent data show that over 50,000 Islanders live at or below the official measure of poverty (Market Basket Measure). We also know that one in five Island children are not getting enough to eat. When poverty is the experience of a third of our entire population, it has to be a priority for government.Read more
If you are starting or growing a business in Prince Edward Island, you may already know that there is an extensive range of programs, loans, grants, and tax rebates available to businesses. These are provided by the Department of Economic Growth and Culture, and primarily delivered through Innovation PEI and Finance PEI.
Innovation PEI has a mandate to focus on accelerating economic development in PEI by investing in people, innovation, and infrastructure. A recent and long overdue strategic review of the Innovation PEI business support programs will bring a welcome update and simplification to better meet the needs of small and medium businesses on the Island. But we also know that COVID has had a devastating impact on small businesses, and PEI is no exception. We don’t just need to review what we have, we must be bold with new approaches to invest in what is frequently called the engine of our economy – small businesses.Read more