When I was a boy growing up in the Highlands of Scotland, I was a member of the Cubs and later the Sea Scouts. There were many rules and routines associated with scouting that helped instil in me a sense of order and responsibility for which I am thankful to this day. Leading the way to this goal, and providing a vision for the organisation was the motto “Be Prepared”. The motto was devised in 1907 by Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout movement and an English soldier. In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.” The motto has two distinct parts – preparedness, and service: to be ready for whatever comes, and to do your part.Read more
Part of the skill of being human is to figure out what really matters; to choose what priorities you will place at the front of your life. Since it’s impossible to do everything, we need to pick what things we’re going to be truly, deeply committed to fulfil. I think that’s true in our individual lives, and for me, I carry it into my political work.
Politics is how we make collective decisions, and it touches on every aspect of our shared lives. Part of the art of politics, I believe, is in choosing what priorities get placed at the front of the line. The word priority quite literally means “prior to” – what things need to be done prior to the rest. In that sense you can’t have a whole bunch of priorities, only a few.Read more
When I hear people saying that we don’t need to do anything more to reduce carbon emissions it is tempting to label them as “climate change deniers.” We often hear that term bandied about in reference to political parties that are fighting against carbon prices or arguing in favour of the continued use of oil, gas, and coal as primary energy sources. But within my experience “climate change deniers” are actually pretty uncommon, at least in Canada. There are only a few stubborn souls left who refuse to accept the overwhelming scientific evidence and still claim that human activities are not having an impact on the global climate.Read more
Last week I wrote a blog with my “Thoughts on grandchildren and grand challenges” which explained why I became involved in politics 25 years ago and why I believe our response to the risk of climate change is the defining challenge of our generation. As political leaders in the 21st century, we must carry the heavy responsibility of making the policy decisions that will determine whether or not we will “leave a habitable home for those that follow us.”
I take this responsibility very seriously, which is why I have become so discouraged by the recent approach our provincial government has taken on this issue. In 2016, our Premier signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change committing PEI to introduce carbon pricing to meet our Paris Accord targets. Yet, since then, he and his government have been trying to evade their responsibility under the Framework.Read more
Twenty-five years ago when I was running for the first time as a Green candidate, the opening lines of my speech at the initial debate went like this: “Future generations will look back at the decades we are now living in and they will call them the crazy years: that time when humanity, with full knowledge of the consequences of our actions, carried out the systematic destruction of our only home, planet Earth.”
In some ways everything has changed since then; in other ways nothing has.Read more
In a blog post a couple of months ago, I lamented the amount of time that is required to get information out of government. In it, I mentioned that I have been trying to obtain copies of ads from Executive Council Office. In light of recent developments, I think this makes an interesting case study on the absurdities that can result when government and those responsible for holding them to account both lose sight of the principles of openness, transparency, and respecting the taxpayer.Read more
Last week I wrote a piece on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the potential implications of a (then pending) new agreement on our provincial economy. We now have NAFTA 2.0, and it’s useful to examine how it might impact our Island.
In my previous blog, I wrote about the threats to our provincial economic sovereignty and well-being posed by such international agreements. The sector most impacted by the new agreement is our Island dairy industry. Farmers are often caught in the vortex of trade agreements, as perhaps more than any other part of our globally integrated economy, agriculture exists in a dizzying environment of subsidies (both overt and hidden), protections and other market distortions. Free trade agreements over the past few decades have pushed us inexorably towards a world of open markets, fewer regulations and dominance of multinational corporations.Read more
Last week The Office of the Third Party released our Carbon Pricing Plan after months of research and years of debate within the Party on how best to address the threat of climate change. We sincerely believe that the most effective way to reduce emissions is to put a price on carbon pollution. Some others may prefer to call it a levy, fee or tax, but personally I don’t care what we call it, as long as it helps address the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In order for Islanders to understand why I am so committed to this plan, I think it’s important to describe how the Green Party went about crafting it.Read more
Recently our provincial government has been very self-congratulatory about export success and how the Mighty Island has been steadily asserting itself in the global marketplace. Yet, with uncertainty hanging over the future of NAFTA, I hope they also have a plan to ensure the future prosperity of our economy, which is heavily dependent on our current exports to the United States.Read more
It is quite common for politicians to seek public recognition whenever they see themselves doing something particularly appealing to voters - thus the endless photo-ops and self congratulatory press releases being spun out by Communications PEI. But these days the messaging has taken on an oddly partisan tone.Read more