Statement by Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, on agreement by all party leaders regarding COVID safety measures and the PEI Legislative Assembly
Yesterday I met by teleconference with Premier King and the Leader of the Third Party, Sonny Gallant, to discuss the Legislative sitting during the modified red restrictions that are in effect until Wednesday, February 3rd at 11:59 pm.
After initial discussions, a second call was scheduled with the Speaker and the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. In this call, it was decided and agreed by all three party leaders to adjourn the Legislature until Thursday at 1:00 pm. It was agreed by all present that the best thing to do was suspend the House so government could carry on the immediate and necessary work to assist Islanders through this difficult time. It was suggested at that time by the Leader of the Third Party that the Speaker would draft a letter for all Leaders to sign and return to the Speaker, and then a joint announcement would be made.
The Premier and I signed the letter and returned it yesterday by the end of business day. It was communicated late last night through the Clerk’s office that the Third Party would not be honouring the verbal agreement, would not be signing the letter, and would not agree to adjourn until Thursday.
This abrupt about face was made despite earlier assurances that the health and safety of Islanders was paramount and that government should not be distracted from doing the important, critical work Islanders need right now.
I immediately reached out to Liberal interim leader, Sonny Gallant, for clarity on why his caucus would not be honouring the agreement they made. I have not yet received a response from the Third Party.
This can only be described as a political stunt in an attempt to secure some political gain. I am at a loss to understand how following CPHO guidelines, striving to secure the health, safety, and security of Islanders is of less importance than political posturing and gamesmanship. This is truly an incomprehensible stunt by the Liberal Party at a time when Islanders expect all parties to be focused on the health and safety of our communities.
Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA New Haven-Rocky Point
Leader of the Official Opposition
March 2, 2021