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LYNNE LUND: Families, students and teachers need more than empty platitudes from the Education Minister

Statement by MLA Lynne Lund on empty platitudes offered by the Education Minister at recent COVID briefing


During yesterday’s COVID briefing, I was disappointed that the Minister of Education only managed to offer platitudes for the challenges experienced by families, students, and teachers during the last two years of the pandemic.

Teachers and parents have been quite clear in speaking about their questions, fears, and anxieties over a safe return to school as we deal with the Omicron variant of COVID. Yesterday was an opportunity for the Minister to speak directly and plainly to Islanders about what plans she has developed to ensure the safety of every person involved in our education system. For some reason, the Minister passed on the chance to give a confident answer to those concerns.

A safe learning environment has been identified as priority number one by teachers, parents, and caregivers. Yet, the Minister has not made this a priority.

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PETER BEVAN-BAKER: To be kind, the Premier needs to provide clarity on COVID

Statement from Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, on the lack of communication and action during recent outbreak of COVID

The Premier and his government have shown a distinct lack of clarity and openness in their communication around the latest outbreak of COVID in the province. This is a worrisome trait that has only gotten worse.

We are at a point in the pandemic that is new territory for Prince Edward Island. We are breaking records with new case counts and as of yesterday’s briefing we have three hospitalizations due to COVID and a further five patients in hospital who have contracted COVID. The situation is now worse than it’s been at any other point in the pandemic.

Islanders are rightfully frightened, confused and worried. They need and deserve clear and consistent leadership. What they don’t need is the unclear and unkind manner in which the King Conservatives are handling communications around how to manage the spread of COVID in Island communities.

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As Islanders face uncertainty this holiday season, will this government act now to support Islanders while also planning for the future?

Charlottetown - Islanders are facing a lot of uncertainty and anxiety with the rising number of COVID cases in the province. Now is the time for government to step up and provide immediate supports to all Islanders during this difficult time.

“This is not a time to be close-fisted in helping Islanders,” said Trish Altass, Official Opposition Critic for Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture. “It’s time for this government to initiate supports for Islanders instead of hoping the federal government will do the heavy lifting.”

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PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Tried, tested, and tired but not defeated

Last year I wrote a blog looking back at the year which I titled A year unlike any other. It ended like this:

As we approach the shortest day of the year, I am reminded of ceremonies celebrated by so many religions and cultures around the winter solstice. The darkest days of the year begin to fall away behind us, and we start emerging back towards the light. I hope that in our journey through COVID, the darkest days are also behind us, and we will emerge to a brighter year ahead. I also hope the strains caused by the pandemic will soon ease.

Could I have been more wrong? Exactly a year later the strains of living through a global pandemic are still very much with us. Indeed, the unrelenting presence of living with restrictions 12 months later makes this holiday season perhaps harder to bear than the last.

I wrote a column many years ago about the Statue of Liberty that has for over a century greeted immigrants arriving by sea. She holds a torch to enlighten the world and is an icon of the promised freedoms of a new life in a new place. In my piece, I suggested that Lady Liberty should really have a companion sculpture beside her called the Statue of Responsibility. A healthy society needs to embrace both freedoms and obligations: to understand that being a good citizen in any community is about finding a balance between individual liberties and collective responsibilities. I am encouraged by how many Islanders understand this dynamic, and a big part of our ongoing success these last two years comes down to our willingness to make personal sacrifices and to contribute to a group effort.

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Government needs to improve COVID-19 testing clinic services

There is an immediate need to improve our COVID-19 testing clinics. Islanders have been quick to respond to guidance provided by the CPHO on the need and requirement for testing. What has not been quick is the response by government to improve the testing facilities to meet the demand.

Despite it being nearly two years since the start of the pandemic, the province has not improved how it is managing the response of Islanders who are doing their part and getting tested.

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MICHELE BEATON: Silencing healthcare workers is damaging Islanders’ health

Since becoming the critic for health and wellness I have discovered two things about the working conditions of our healthcare professionals. These need to be acknowledged and addressed if we are to see any improvement.

First, I learned some healthcare workers are carrying unsafe workloads and working in unsafe environments. Secondly, I learned they are being prevented from speaking up about these problems because they have been forced to sign a confidentiality agreement (often called an NDA) with their employer.

I want to walk you through these two things to illustrate the problem and suggest a way forward. Ultimately it is in the power of the Minister of Health and Wellness to make the changes required to create a safe work environment for our healthcare workers.

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KARLA BERNARD: A statement on the 30th anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child

Thirty years ago today, Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This groundbreaking legal instrument is guided by four principles: non-discrimination, the best interests of the child, the right to life and development, and participation.

On this 30th anniversary, I encourage the government to reflect on how it can better implement the principles and provisions of the UNCRC and take meaningful action to improve the status of children and youth in our province.

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Minister Jameson is breaking her promise to provide menstruation products in Island schools and failing Island youth

In late 2020 Minister Jameson made a commitment to Island youth to provide free period products in Island schools. The Official Opposition has learned the extent of that commitment amounted only to making a poster available to Island schools.

“This is ridiculous,” said Karla Bernard, Official Opposition Critic for the Status of Women. “The Minister promised to provide period products in our schools for Island youth who need them over a year ago. It seems during that time the Minister was only able to advocate for and secure funding for a poster.”

Schools contacted by the Official Opposition indicate that the Minister provided a poster advising products are available but did not provide any additional funding to actually secure those products.

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December 2021 Green News

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Districts 12 and 13, unite!
At a meeting held on December 2nd, GPPEI members voted to establish a new Regional Association for Districts 12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park and 13 Charlottetown-Brighton! District Associations and Regional Associations are the local grassroots organizations of the Green Party of PEI.

As we approach the end of another year, I want to thank everyone who has walked with us as a party and a movement over the past year - our members, volunteers, donors, caucus and council members, by-election candidate and team, and everyone who reads our newsletters and helps spread the word about the difference Greens have been making.

Recently, while preparing for our end-of-year fundraising campaign, we had the experience of putting together a list of all the legislative accomplishments of our Green Official Opposition since 2019 - and it was such a long list that even we were surprised! You can check it out here.

We can also be proud of the work the party organization has accomplished this year, which includes the election of our most diverse Provincial Council ever, passing seven new member-created policy resolutions at our spring AGM, launching our Election Readiness Committee, and organizing an energetic by-election campaign in District 16.

There's a lot to look forward to in the new year, and we hope you'll continue to be be involved. In the meantime, we wish you a very warm and happy holiday season!

Jordan Bober
Executive Director

In this newsletter:

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What have Greens accomplished since 2019?

The end of 2021 marks an important way station for the Green Party of Prince Edward Island.

To begin with, our Green Official Opposition Caucus has now served out more than half of its first term in office, allowing us to look back on what we have already accomplished over the past two and a half years together, thanks to your support. 

Unequivocally, we can say this: Great things happen when Greens are in the House! The work our Green Official Opposition Caucus has been doing is making PEI and Islanders better off.

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