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|Just the girls in the Leg - Gotta love this behind-the-scenes pic from the Office of the Official Opposition, depicting a historically very usually scene on PEI - five women MLAs debriefing after kicking butt in the Legislature!|
We hope you've had a good first week of July so far!
Even as many of us start heading to the beach, our MLAs continue heading to work at the Legislature, working every day (and often until late into the evening). I find myself with so much admiration for their stamina these days, which as you can read in this newsletter, is resulting in a Legislature that is everything it should be: a place for accountability, oversight, advocacy and bold, new thinking. In this newsletter, we attempt to provide you with at least some highlights of our MLAs' activities in since our last update two weeks ago.
And if you have any thoughts or ideas on any of the ideas being discussed in the Legislature, we love to hear from you! Our Facebook page has been a forum for lively discussion lately, but we also invite you to get in touch via email as well! You can reach us at [email protected], or feel free to write directly to any of our MLAs as well - you can find their contact information at https://www.greenparty.pe.ca/caucus.
Until next time,
Executive Director (interim)
In this newsletter:
- Recent highlights from your Green Caucus
- District 12 EDA grows its team!
Canada Day was a little different this year, but that didn't stop our MLAs from participating in community celebrations across the Island!
Here are some highlights from your Green MLAs' work over the past two weeks since our last update.
On Friday, the Special Committee on Climate Change, chaired by Green MLA Lynne Lund, tabled an interim report to the Legislature. The committee still has work to do to complete its mandate of presenting government with costed recommendations for achieving PEI's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, but has made 14 recommendations that the government can begin to implement immediately.
It was almost exactly one year ago that Lynne Lund's first private member's bill passed, causing PEI to adopt new, higher 2030 emissions reduction targets and to become the first province in Canada to adopt targets in line with what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says is necessary in order to hold global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
On June 23, Peter Bevan-Baker introduced a motion calling on the government to examine the feasibility of a four-day work week for PEI's civil service (in hopes that, if it is shown to be beneficial there, it could be introduced to other sectors as well). As Peter said when introducing his motion:
Our relationship to work has been constantly evolving and although most of the habits that we have become attached to are over 100 years old and they’re designed for a time when most households had a single breadwinner so we need to question whether or not they are still appropriate in our modern world, especially after COVID and all of the forced restructuring that it will bring to our lives, our work lives and the rest of our lives.
The five-day work week is neither natural nor inevitable. We need to be open-minded and courageous enough to make some bold steps outside of conventional thinking. If COVID has shown us nothing else, it is that we can do things differently and respond rapidly and efficiently and effectively when we need to. COVID has invited us or perhaps, more accurately, it has demanded that we reassess many aspects of our lives in how we organize ourselves and it’s caused us to ask a repetitive single question: Can we do this better?
The concept of a four-day work week is about rethinking old ideas, of how we measure productivity and work schedules and our relationship to daily routines, shaped by outdated attitudes that are increasingly out of place in our new world. The concept of a four-day work week itself is not new. It may be an idea whose time has arrived.
On June 25, Peter Bevan-Baker put a motion forward calling for a fully public review by a committee of the Legislature on missing government records related to the e-gaming saga - and of government record retention practices in general.
This motion passed on June 30 in a split 14-12 vote, with all PC government members voting Nay and all Opposition Green and Liberal members voting Yea. Guardian reporter Stu Neatby described this as a "bizarre twist", seeing as the PC Party had called vocally for such an investigation while in Opposition.
Rural internet - whose failings have been felt so acutely during the COVID-19 pandemic - was again on the agenda in the Legislature on June 26th. After repeated delays in the often-promised investments in rural internet capacity, Peter Bevan-Baker called on government to renegotiate its contracts with Bell and Xplornet.
“The timelines on the completion in that agreement mean that some rural Islanders could wait years before seeing any improvement to their services, and that’s just simply not acceptable in a world where COVID has put an increased amount (of importance) on having workable internet from your home,” Bevan-Baker told the legislature on Friday.
Congratulations to Karla Bernard, whose private member's bill, the Intimate Images Protection Act, passed second reading on June 30th!
Since the non-consensual distribution of intimate images became a criminal offence in 2015, Prince Edward Island has reported more incidents per 100,000 people than the national average. In 2018, the province had the highest incident rate in the Atlantic region. It is clear the sharing of intimate images without consent is a growing problem in our communities. Bernard's bill aims to help stem this problem by providing an additional legal remedy for those who have been hurt by the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
Last week, Green Environment, Water and Climate Change Critic Lynne Lund tabled a petition initiated by the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land calling for a moratorium on holding ponds. Many thanks to the 2305 people who signed this petition asking the government to impose a moratorium to prevent the further construction of such holding ponds, which have been recognized by the government itself as a possible way to circumvent the measures that will come into effect with the proclamation of the Water Act (when the government finally gets around to it...) to protect this precious, shared resource.
Last week, Green Education critic Karla Bernard helped voice the concerns of parents with autistic children facing unacceptable long wait times for an autism therapy program needed to help children with autism transition to a school learning environment.
"For a child to be set up for success, this program is crucial," said Bernard, who said she's spoken with "a lot of parents who have been waiting for this service for so long that their child is starting school in September and they still have not had this crucial program."
Meanwhile, Summerside-Wilmot and Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke MLAs Lynne Lund and Trish Altass helped bring attention to the urgent state of disrepair at the Harbourside Health Centre in Summerside, where weeds are literally growing through a waiting room floor while sewers back up and some patients need to be carried up the stairs due to a broken elevator.
Fortunately, it's a bit easier to get the attention of government in a minority legislature, and just a few days later Infrastructure Minister Steven Myers came to Summerside to visit the health Centre and find out more about what its needs are. We're hopeful that the people of Summerside will soon have the top-notch health centre they deserve once again!
The Green Caucus has been hard at work to improve the lives of Islanders. If you haven't already, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And check out their new website at www.peigreencaucus.ca for blogs, videos and more!
Left to right: Norman Finlayson (new), Financial Coordinator;
Heather Irving, (new) Communications Coordinator; Barbara Dylla, Chair; Peter Rukavina, Data Coordinator
The District 12 Electoral District Association has been busy in the last month! They held their online Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 9th, and expanded their leadership team by two members, welcoming Heather Irving as the new Communications Coordinator, and Norm Finlayson as the new Financial Coordinator. Barbara Dylla was elected Chair (formerly Financial Coordinator and interim Chair), and Peter Rukavina continues as Data Coordinator.
The team held its first meeting two weeks after the AGM, having gathered on a social basis the evening before in Peter’s backyard.
Congratulations to the new District 12 Team! You can learn more about the District 12 Electoral District Association on our website at https://www.greenparty.pe.ca/d12eda.
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