It should come as no surprise to anyone, especially anyone in public office, that mental health and addictions is a serious issue on PEI. Our office has heard countless heartbreaking stories of individuals who are struggling. Even more upsetting is the lack of help they often receive when they cry out for help. This was an issue long before COVID-19, but unfortunately, like many things, the pandemic has made it worse.
I know the current government is aware of this issue. One of their most talked about and popular campaign promises was to replace the current Hillsborough Hospital with a state of the art “Mental Health Campus.” While on the campaign trail, before he became Premier, Dennis King said he would “put shovels in the ground on day one if elected.” How exciting!Read more
On Tuesday, government announced its intention to achieve net zero energy consumption by 2030. During the event, government released a framework document outlining what it hopes to do. In attendance were Premier Dennis King, Steven Myers who is Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, and Natalie Jameson who is Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change. While the Premier and Minister Myers spoke about government’s intention, Minister Jameson left without making a comment.
First of all, the Official Opposition is glad to see government finally realize what we have been saying all along. Which is, we can be responsibly ambitious in our goals to become net zero.
We are also very happy to hear government say it wants to include Islanders and Island businesses in the development of this plan. We have said a number of times in the House that in order to transition to sustainable, green communities and economy, everyone must have an opportunity to be engaged in the process and be given a stake in the decision-making.Read more
Islanders all know about our many windmills, which on some windy days produce almost all the electricity needed here. What Islanders do not know is how the windmills benefit us and where the funds come from to build them.
The $30 million windmill project planned for Kings County, for instance, is being built by the P.E.I. Energy Corporation, a Crown corporation owned by us. They can borrow the needed funds at low government rates, around two per cent, and pay back the cost of the initial investment by selling the electricity produced to Maritime Electric. Ultimately, the Energy Corporation makes millions of dollars in profit, which they can use to increase energy efficiency for ordinary Islanders.Read more
As I pass the 5 year mark of being elected to the legislature, while I don’t feel like a veteran of the House, I do have a unique perspective from the corner of the room in which the newcomers to our provincial parliament sit.
So much has changed during that time and a few moments from this sitting demonstrate just how much politics on PEI has been transformed.Read more
The following was delivered by Peter Bevan-Baker in the Legislature as a Member Statement on June 9, 2020.
One of the biggest challenges of living in a society based on systemic racism, misogyny, and homophobia is that the assumed superiority of the white male heterosexual is built into every fibre of our culture. It is in the air that we breathe, the history we read, and every aspect of our daily lives. For someone like me, who fits into that norm, it is often hard to clearly see what is so glaringly obvious to others. Privilege creates blind spots and the greater the privilege the larger the blind spots.
In some ways it is like driving on a crowded multilane highway. When I learned to drive I was trained to always check my blind spots. A driver can do a lot of damage if they change lanes and are not aware of what is happening around them.Read more
As Renew PEI moves through the various stages, it’s not enough to simply open the doors of businesses again and hope everything turns out just right. Island owned businesses now need local support more than ever. An important way to help save local businesses during this crisis is through creating a local procurement strategy. Governments on PEI have the largest buying power in the province. The provincial government alone spends millions of dollars in procurement. Now is the time to use that buying power to support our local businesses.Read more
COVID-19 has made the world seem smaller for many of us. Our daily commute is often to the back yard or a wellness walk around the block. We are driving a great deal less than we were, and we still have all the same road infrastructure. It’s just not being used as much. Maybe this is an opportunity for us to rethink how we can better utilize it in this time of changed behaviours.
A time for courageous creativity
We could take advantage of the underutilized streets around PEI and set in place additional active transportation lanes. We could encourage and support healthy activities like biking and walking by turning some streets into safer and more easily accessible active transportation routes. Some roads could be blocked off to vehicular traffic, while others could be turned into one-way streets thereby freeing up safe and fun lanes for alternative, active transportation.Read more
The Premier’s Economic Recovery Council could well be a very helpful tool. According to a government press release on March 30th, the council was established with the expressed intent of engaging the business community to advise the Premier on the road to recovery, and on the challenges they face as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Of course, this prompts the questions: which parts of the business community are we engaging? And who’s missing from the table?
First rule: don’t talk about the economic recovery council
Since the announcement, the Official Opposition and the media have been endeavoring to get these details, but to no avail. It seems the first rule of the economic council is “Don’t talk about the economic council”. But that is not helpful! So, why do details of this economic council matter in the first place? The questions you ask at the onset have a profound impact on the answers you wind up with at the end.Read more
It is often difficult to start a conversation about why things are harder for women, or how some things affect women more or differently. In my experience, some people want to jump in with “what about the men in those situations?” Valid point, however, when we are talking about the experiences of one group, we need to value it and give that conversation space. It is in truly hearing and understanding people’s stories that change happens.
As we move into the phases of the plan to “Renew PEI Together”, I am concerned a Gender Based Analysis lens has not been used to ensure the safety of women from COVID-19 and from unnecessary stress and burden. Using this analysis you are able to assess the different experiences of women, men and non-binary people to policies, programs and initiatives. This assessment ensures equitable support is offered to everyone affected.Read more
The opening of Lennon House is wonderful news and a long time coming. Led by Dianne Young, who tragically lost her own son to addiction, Lennon House has been a grassroots initiative. Community members have come together to fill an identified gap in service for those in recovery and in need of housing and treatment supports.
During the current COVID-19 crisis, Lennon House has received pilot-level funding from government to open in limited capacity for a 6-month period. However, the long-term status of Lennon House, and other mental health and addictions services in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, remains uncertain.Read more