Official Opposition responds to timid, tepid vision for PEI offered by King government in Throne Speech

Charlottetown, PE - After asking for a reset, the King government outlined its priorities and vision for Prince Edward Island in its Speech from the Throne yesterday. Today, Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, voiced concerns over the government’s lack of vision and Premier King’s satisfaction with the status quo.

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Official Opposition releases its Throne Speech submission and list of priorities for Winter-Spring 2021 sitting of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown, PE – The Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island is set to resume Thursday, February 25, 2021 with a new Speech from the Throne. After nearly two years in power, the King government is resetting its agenda.

“Islanders have seen decisive action when it comes to our COVID response, largely guided by Dr. Morrison, so it is deeply troubling that we see such a complete absence of decisive action from Premier King on a number of other critical matters,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition. “PEI has some serious and complex issues that were affecting Islanders long before COVID arrived, and will be there after the pandemic passes: mental health, housing, agriculture and land, and implementing a just and clean economic recovery. Government must come forward with a vision and execute a coherent plan to tackle these wicked problems.”

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February Green News

Did you know that you can receive our newsletters straight to your inbox? Never miss a thing by signing up to our mailing list here!

District 21 MLA Lynne Lund reading with her children on Family Literacy Day, January 27th. What is your family reading?

I hope 2021 has been good to you so far! I know that I am constantly counting my blessings to live here on Prince Edward Island.

All of us at the Green Party have been very active during the first few weeks of the year, none more so than our MLAs who are preparing no fewer than eight bills for the spring sitting of the Legislature, which begins on February 25th. The "spring" sitting will open with a throne speech, which is the government's way of pressing the "reset" button and creating a new agenda. We also saw the Premier shuffle several members of his cabinet last Thursday. Our Green MLAs will be pressing for a throne speech that puts the needs of people and a sustainable future first and foremost.

If you'd like to learn more and provide your feedback on the bills our MLAs are proposing, please check out our Outside the Rails series (see below). These have been really interesting and useful discussions, and you can view recordings of any you've missed and sign up to participate in the ones coming up this week and next.

If you support the great work Green MLAs are doing and want to keep building on that, why not join the Green Party of PEI as a member? Right now, we are inviting members to help create our new strategic plan, join our Provincial Council or Election Readiness Committee, or to participate in the development of new Green policies. If you want to learn more about politics and make a positive impact on PEI's present and future, please join us!

Jordan Bober
Executive Director

In this newsletter:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Green MLA updates
  • In loving memory of Bernadette Mulligan
  • Statistics Canada hiring 2021 Census workers

 

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Official Opposition responds to King shuffle of cabinet

Charlottetown, PE - Premier King has signalled his priorities today with a shuffling of his cabinet. A number of portfolios have been suffering due to lack of attention, direction, and investment. Primarily, these have been the Health and Wellness portfolio, and Social Development and Housing.

“Islanders’ patience has been stretched to the limit in these areas. Unfortunately, many families are suffering the consequences of leadership that is either unconcerned or unable to meet these wicked problems,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition. “It is a little concerning that the Premier is choosing to appoint Minister Hudson to Health and Wellness - which is arguably one of the most demanding and critical portfolios - when his work in social development and housing has been so insufficient.”

 

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Statement on King government not using available dollars for COVID relief

Premier King’s government was very enthusiastic in taking federal dollars for pavement, but for some reason it is willing to leave millions of dollars on the table for important, critical investment in such things as small business, LTCs, housing, and our post-COVID recovery.

With over 90% of COVID funding coming from the federal government, the primary requirement for provinces was not financial, it was to be well-organised and to coordinate a plan to spend the federal dollars. Premier King clearly failed at this.

 

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Statement by Trish Altass, Official Opposition Critic for Health and Wellness, on organizational changes at Health PEI

The health crisis on PEI demands real and immediate action. The past two Premiers have made grand  promises to fix the Island's health system. Sadly, when it came to actual action to improve services, they have failed Islanders time and time again.

These new organizational changes announced yesterday are interesting. They have the potential to be good improvements to a broken system. I am cautiously optimistic and hopeful. The first words I am hearing from the new Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Gardam, are promising. It seems he understands there are deeply rooted issues that are negatively affecting our healthcare on PEI.

Yet, I am also skeptical. While the changes are promising, many Islanders are wondering if this is just a government rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship. Advocates, and those who have seen similar changes to our healthcare system over the years, are skeptical this will make any real improvements on the frontline.

 

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Official Opposition asking Islanders and Island Businesses for feedback on legislation to Modernize Electricity on PEI

Charlottetown, PE - Recent government announcements have committed PEI to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2040. These goals are reconfirmed in the Net-Zero Carbon Act, legislation that was introduced by the Official Opposition last fall. This became law after all parties and MLAs agreed unanimously to pass it.

A major part of the transition to Net-Zero will require modernizing our electricity system. This system is primarily regulated by the Electric Power Act and the Renewable Energy Act.

Stephen Howard, MLA Summerside-South Drive and Official Opposition Critic for Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy is planning to introduce two bills in the PEI Legislature to amend these Acts. The House will resume again on February 23, 2020. In advance of this, the Official Opposition is asking the public for feedback on the proposed changes.

 

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Critical Transportation Services Need Support: Peter Bevan-Baker

Statement by Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, calling on government to support critical transportation services


COVID has had a devastating effect on communities and economies around the world. It has impacted things as diverse as human relationships, food and supply chains, employment, and all parts of the economy. One of the sectors most impacted is transportation. We are seeing that impact on critical transportation services right here on Prince Edward Island and throughout the Atlantic region.

News today tells us that air transportation, already significantly reduced in the region, is being curtailed in some airports entirely, and here on PEI, only a single daily flight to Montreal remains. This means for Islanders who need to travel via air to appointments or work commitments, the only option they have is to fly via Montreal. 

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With Deacon House closure, government shows incoherent policy on shelters

Statement by Hannah Bell, Official Opposition Critic for Social Development and Housing, on government misinformation and inadequate shelter services on PEI


We have learned that Deacon House, an emergency shelter for men struggling with substance abuse, was closed on December 10 – despite recent assurances from the Minister of Health that the rumours of the closure were unfounded. With the closure of Deacon House, there are now only three shelters on Prince Edward Island that have been given the responsibility of meeting the diverse, critical needs of Islanders without secure housing. Two of these shelters are managed by two different government departments that do not share a common mandate or policy regarding Islanders without a home.

The piecemeal, inconsistent approach to giving Islanders a safe place to live is jeopardizing their safety, well-being, and health. It is burdening a system that is already unable to provide the level of care that is necessary to give people the minimal support they need to survive.

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Fall 2020 Legislative Wrap-up

On the final day of the Legislature, the government's $195 million capital budget - the largest in PEI's history - was passed. By focussing more on investments in pavement than on much-needed investment in people (mental health, addictions, and affordable housing, for instance), this was a difficult budget four our Green Caucus to support. Making matters worse, the government also provided much less detail to the Opposition parties on the line items in this budget than it had been for past budgets - perhaps a reflection of the fact that it now has a slim majority of seats in the Legislature.

 

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