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

Help! I’m a homeschool teacher!

Dear Parents,

We are certainly in uncharted territory with the outbreak of COVID-19. New terms like social distancing and self isolation make our family, professional, and social lives come together in ways in which they may never have before.

Recently, under the direction of the Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, our government announced Island schools would be closed until at least April 6. Soon after, talk of parents’ responsibility to homeschool became a hot topic of discussion on various social media platforms. As a result, I see many parents feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. 

Read more
Share

When the foreseeable future goes blurry

Dear Friends,

I think, most of the time, we expect tomorrow will be pretty much like today was. This belief in constancy is necessary for our mental well-being and for us to make life plans with a certain degree of predictability.

But then COVID-19 visited our world.

Welcome to a new reality where so much of what we thought was normal has been turned on its head. This is a time where everyone everywhere across the entire world is simultaneously living a bewildering and disjointed new existence.

Read more
Share

Getting serious on climate change

In the last few months, I have come to believe we should be applying a climate lens to more than just “environmental” issues. A lot of the work we need to do to fight climate change can, and must, be done in other areas. This has been discussed a great deal within the Official Opposition, and it has resulted in our decision to specifically bring an economic lens to the climate change portfolio.

We have seen climate action referenced frequently by the current government through mandate letters and during the recent State of the Province address. But we haven’t actually seen a climate lens applied to government departments. This is a missed opportunity to find solutions that not only benefit the environment, but also improve other aspects of Islanders’ lives.

For example, how would government make decisions if there was a Department of Economic Development and Climate Change on Prince Edward Island?

Read more
Share

Pain and hopelessness felt in mental health and addictions

“It’s not acceptable.” These are the words used by Ellen Taylor when describing her own struggle with addiction and the frustration she faced when looking for help on PEI.

Last week, Ellen organized a forum for Islanders to share the pain and hopelessness they feel when facing addictions. She definitely hit a nerve. About 200 people crammed into a small room at the Guild to show the government that something needs to change.

As I stood among the crowd listening to story after story after story of Islanders who couldn’t get the help they so desperately needed and deserved, I realized just how right she was. It is not acceptable.

Read more
Share

PEI lives in an internet dark age

Prince Edward Island depends very much on tourism. We have spent lots of money on promoting our beautiful Island. In fact, people come from all over the world to enjoy the scenic vistas, experience our wonderful beaches, and eat copious amounts of seafood. They take pictures and video to share with family and friends back home. Some are even travel bloggers and vloggers. Imagine their surprise when they arrive on our Island and find themselves in the dark ages of modern technology.

PEI has some of the worst internet connectivity and speeds in the country. Our province depends a lot on the tourism dollars of travelers seeking great experiences. We want those people to share their experiences and to showcase all that we have to offer. So, why have we not yet overcome the obstacle of subpar internet service?

Read more
Share

Lands protection needs leadership

Pop quiz for Bloyce Thompson, Minister of Agriculture and Land, and Brad Trivers, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change. What is the difference between leadership and interfering?

I’ll let you in on a little secret, you can lead without interfering.

I have asked both these Ministers for an update on the Brendel/Fox Acre land sale. When I asked Minister Thompson in the House about the transfer of over 2000 acres of land from a local family operation to a corporation owned and operated by the Irving family, he sidestepped the question. When I asked Minister Trivers about the status of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) review of that sale, he spouted concern of getting involved because IRAC is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal.

Read more
Share

Period Poverty

One third of Canadian women under the age of 25 years live in period poverty. This is defined as not being able to afford menstrual products. In Charlottetown alone, there are over 400 women who live in period poverty.

It is estimated women spend approximately 6 years of their lives menstruating. This is a natural process a woman’s body goes through, yet it remains a stigma and huge barrier for many women. Many are too embarrassed to leave their homes when they are on their period because they do not have menstrual products.

Read more
Share

Childcare programming needs a firm foundation

Our children are important. Our early child care providers understand that care, consistency, support, nurturing, teaching and love are all crucial to healthy development. From this solid foundation, our children thrive and grow. The same holds true for any program developed to support families and the healthy development of children. It requires a strong foundation.

The government has plans to roll out a universal preschool for four-year olds in the fall of 2020. I am concerned it is attempting to build on shaky and unstable ground. Child care providers and staff have been sounding the alarm already about serious issues affecting our current childcare system and the ability to provide a solid foundation from which to improve child development. For some time, these professionals have been asking for help. Has the government been paying attention? Or are they simply ignoring those cries?

Read more
Share

Has government abandoned good governance?

The political climate on PEI has changed dramatically over the last year. So many things are vastly different; the functioning of standing committees, the degree of collegiality in the House, the ability of Opposition Parties to get legislation passed. All of these changes are, in my mind, significant improvements after the often suffocating and hyper-partisan environment that was politics as I experienced it on becoming elected in 2015.

And while the environment has improved to where debate often actually feels meaningful, colleagues listen respectfully to each other, and the House is much more productive, some things remain depressingly familiar. We are starting to see what look like incidents of the old-style political patronage and cronyism that have dogged Island politics for decades. Whether it be the mishandling of special warrants, or the manner in which Clifford Lee’s contract on the housing file was managed, or the most recent incident of a $50,000 report on establishing a land bank which government has failed to make public, confidence that this administration would behave in a new and better manner is rapidly fading.

Read more
Share

Facing an Agricultural Nightmare

The impacts of Dorian on the agriculture industry reach far into our food chain. Those impacts require a strong response that goes past providing an insurance claim to just get farmers through the loss. While insuring loss is important, there must also be a proactive approach to manage for the next loss event. Current policy and programming by the Department of Agriculture is leading many to ask: what is its purpose? Is it to administer crop insurance and claims? Or, is it to provide vision and leadership?

It is well known Dorian had a major impact on the 2019 corn and soybean harvest. We have all seen reports and evidence of this damage in media. But did you know there is another scary secret that is not being talked about and that it directly effects our food chain? The farming industry is all intertwined. What impacts one sector will also impact other sectors. For everyone’s benefit, let me shed a little light on what this nightmare is and what our farmers are facing.

Read more
Share