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

Getting Local Government Right

 

We often hear how Prince Edward Island, with its 150,000 souls, is really just one smallish community, and that is how it feels for me as I travel from tip to tip on a fairly regular basis. However, under that appearance of unity, there remains a simmering rural/urban divide which seems to be a permanent - and to many regrettable - part of Island life.

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Making “openness and accountability” more than buzzwords

There’s hardly a day goes by without our present government claiming to be open and accountable. Like a lot of words politicians repeat, the hope is that if they say them often enough, they will be accepted as truths not to be challenged.

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Waste time

A few days ago we learned that a mountain of plastic waste has accumulated on PEI. China abruptly stopped importing our recyclable waste, and suddenly we find ourselves left with a 100 tonne hill of garbage with nowhere to go. The story presents us with an opportunity to look at how we understand buying and selling – the fundamentals of economic activity; of how powerful our consumption patterns have become, and how we could use it as an opportunity to question the wisdom of our actions.

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From drills and maws to bills and laws

Writing laws is lots of work. It’s also very complicated, especially if your main training was how to stick needles in people’s faces and fill holes in their teeth. None of that prepares you terribly well for the analysis and development of legislation. But in my new occupation as a legislator, I consider the writing and scrutiny of laws as the most important aspect of my job. Looking after the concerns of my constituents, representing their views in the House, and advocating for district 17 is important and serious work, but like my 26 colleagues in the House, the study of new and existing laws should be the centrepiece of all our work lives.

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Reconfederation

25 years ago historian Francis Fukuyama wrote a book called “The End of History.” In it he suggested that with the advent of Western liberal democracy, we had all that was needed to ensure sustained prosperity, peace and good government for the entire world forever and a day. We had reached, as the author puts it: “…the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

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Happy Anniversary

Ann and I have been married for 30 years on July 4th, or “end of Independence day” as it is sometimes jokingly referred to in our house! Maintaining a relationship with another human being over a long period of time is - as anyone who has attempted it is aware - complex and challenging, so having reached this milestone intact, and in some ways with an even stronger and deeper connection, is definitely something worth celebrating.

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Party Tricks

Money, as we all know, makes the world go round, or so the saying goes. I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to figure out money, and it still remains largely a mystery to me. I remember reading somewhere that if you aren’t confused about money then you haven’t thought enough about it. Money is useful as a store of value and as a unit of exchange that we can trade with each other, and all ventures need it.

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Ch-ch-ch-ch changes

My favourite David Bowie song is “Changes” – a catchy tune, brilliant lyrics, raunchy sax solo, and hidden meanings galore. I saw Bowie live in 1983, and it remains one of the most amazing concerts I’ve ever attended. Life sometimes unfolds in unexpected and testing ways: my last blog was written before Bowie died, and before the most recent session of the PEI Legislature opened. It is now three weeks since the House closed, and, to quote the song – “time has changed me.”

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House renovations

It’s been two weeks since the PEI Legislature closed for the summer, and as some distance opens up between the peculiar environment which exists inside the rail and more normal life on the outside, it feels like a good time to reflect on the spring sitting - and political life generally - in all its glory and oddness.

After two full years and five legislative sittings, I feel that I understand my new workplace much better - which is different from saying I am comfortable there.

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The age of enlightenment?

Not that I needed to be reminded of this fact, but last week once again demonstrated that politics is an unpredictable animal. The simple – at least on the surface – idea of reducing the voting age from 18 to 16 created a debate that has clearly stirred up a lot more controversy than I ever imagined when we decided to introduce the private member’s bill following the plebiscite last year when 16 and 17 year-olds were allowed to vote for the first time in Canada.

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