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

Fun and Games with FOIPP: Part One

Some of you may remember me complaining in January that I was forced to place a Freedom of Information (FOIPP) request to receive a copy of an internal review of the FOIPP Act.  At the time I thought it was the height of irony. I wanted to see the report because government had launched a consultation with the grandiose title “Open and Accessible Government--Modernizing the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.” I was eager to participate in such a monumental endeavour, and immediately asked the Minister Responsible, at the time Premier Wade MacLachlan, to table the internal review.

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Your Tax Dollars at Work

Advertising plays an important role in swaying public opinion. Companies use ads for a number of reasons; to raise their profile, to secure their place in the market, to demonstrate superiority over their competitors or to brag about how wonderful they are. Most of us are savvy enough to take some of the claims we hear in commercials with a grain of salt because we know that the opinion being presented is not completely objective.

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There is no “away”

On Friday I joined hundreds of people, including a large contingent of Islanders, in Pictou where we expressed our concerns about a plan to pump effluent from Northern Pulp’s mill through a pipeline directly into the Northumberland Strait. The company’s own estimates predict that upwards of 70 million litres will be discharged every single day of the year. That’s a lot of waste water from a paper making process which produces some of the most dangerous chemicals known to mankind; carcinogens like furans and dioxins, and heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. For over 50 years this water has been “treated” by flowing it through Boat Harbour – a lagoon near the mill, now profoundly contaminated – where much of the particulate matter in the effluent would settle out, and eventually the water was released into the strait, which locally has suffered severe environmental problems as a result.

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Reflections on the Spring Sitting

The morning after the legislature closed on June 12th, I took advantage of a suddenly free schedule and went for a long walk in the woods with our dogs, Balloo, Murphy, Jane and Knox (yes, that’s a lot of dog!)  There’s nothing like a beautiful PEI landscape and the uncomplicated companionship of man’s best friend to help me restore my mental equilibrium after a long legislative sitting. And when it comes to length, this sitting was one for the record books--the longest sitting since 1999.

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Health in all policies

The following are the speeches in the Legislature delivered on May 1, 2018 by Peter Bevan-Baker and Hannah Bell in support of Peter's Motion 40, Encouraging government to adopt a “Health in all Policies” approach to governance.

Peter Bevan-Baker's speech

Improving the physical and mental health of Islanders is often viewed as the work of the healthcare system. But in reality what we currently call health care could better be described as illness management, as it is primarily tasked with caring for individuals when they are sick or injured.   That is, of course, a critically important service. We all need to know that we will have access to timely care when we are ill. Indeed in Canada, we rightly take pride in providing all citizens with access to critical interventions that often mean the difference between life and death. Yet these systems are mostly designed to respond to the absence of health and rarely focus on building health and resiliency nor do they bring significant improvement to the health of the population.

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Improving Rural Governance on PEI

As a Green Party MLA, I approach all issues through a couple of lenses: is this position the right one for the people I represent, and is this position consistent with Green Party values?

Most of the time those two lenses are aligned, and as I’ve discovered to my delight over the last couple of years, Islanders’ values line up beautifully with Green values, so generally the right path is clear to me. And those same Green Values are used in the development of all our policies, to make sure that our platform reflects the principles on which our Party is built. But occasionally an issue will arise where, due to its complexity, or contentiousness, it is hard to craft a position that makes me feel completely comfortable and confident. That, I suppose, is one of the central challenges of politics – as an elected representative, you are repeatedly tasked with making difficult decisions on behalf of your community.

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Let the games begin …. in April 2020

Canada just came off our best winter Olympics ever, with 29 medals. And right afterwards we got to enjoy watching Islander Mark Arendz in the Paralympics win six medals for Canada and have the honour of carrying the Maple Leaf Flag into the closing ceremonies. The winter Olympics only happen once every four years, and perhaps their infrequency is a big part of the reason that so many people - even those who don’t typically get excited about sports - become so caught up in the whole thing.

We already know when and where the next games will be – in Beijing, China from the 4th to the 22nd of February 2022 – and no doubt plans are already being made and training strategies drawn up with an eye on those dates.

There is another event that also comes in four-year cycles – provincial elections. And because, like the winter Olympics, we have fixed election dates, we already know when our next election will be. Or do we?

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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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