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
On Wednesday, the provincial government announced its intention to scrap the entrepreneur stream of the provincial nominee program (PNP). It’s a decision that’s well overdue. Despite ongoing federal investigations, government has repeatedly denied that there is anything wrong while simultaneously refusing to release documents that would allow the public to make that assessment. It’s no wonder that Islanders have lost confidence in this government’s ability to properly administer this stream of the PNP.Read more
As the lone MLA representing the Green Party, I have the great privilege and responsibility of sitting on every standing committee of the PEI Legislature. Although this means a lot of reading and preparation, I am sincerely happy for the opportunity, and have learned so much about a wide array of issues of which I previously had little or no knowledge.
One of those topics is the halibut fishery. There were a few things I knew about halibut – they are tasty, they can be huge, there’s some weird thing about their eyes, and they are expensive – but as for quotas, history of the fishery, worldwide stock health, and that its name means “holy flatfish!” I knew almost nothing. Last year we devoted half of a standing committee meeting to the issue, and in my research and during questioning, I came to understand why the 135 Islanders who fish halibut can get so worked up about it.Read more
The recent debate around carbon pricing has created challenges I would never have anticipated three years ago when I was first elected. Back then, I was the lone Green MLA, I had a tiny but enthusiastic group of advisors, and party membership was small. On the issue of tackling climate change, I could stand up and defend my conviction that carbon pricing is the most effective and efficient means to reduce emissions. Economists agree, and it has been implemented successfully in dozens of jurisdictions. When done properly, it not only reduces emissions without placing any additional burden on low and middle income families, it can actually improve the economy by easing the transition to new green tech opportunities.Read more