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KARLA BERNARD: Concerned about the new " basic income guarantee"

Last week, some new increases to social assistance allowances came into effect, including increases to optical, funeral, and pregnancy food allowances and the expansion of some shelter supports for people with disabilities. The Official Opposition Green caucus has been a consistent and vocal advocate for ensuring our social programs take care of the most vulnerable. We are pleased to see these limited increases.

 

However, I am concerned by what the Minister is framing as a targeted basic income guarantee.

 

A basic income guarantee is unconditional and would be available to every Islander not having a basic level of income to meet their fundamental human needs. Simple top-ups to existing allowances based on complicated eligibility rules and policies do not constitute a basic income guarantee. In fact, the $2.3M budget investment to extend the secure income pilot program falls short of investments in tourism or tax cuts for businesses. (see:
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/publications/web_dpc-1689_budget_backgrounders_final_march_11.pdf)

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Green News - October 2021

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Rain or shine!
Greens were out spreading the word in Cornwall recently, emerging a bit soggy but with smiles bigger than ever :-)

Happy October! Don't you just love this time of year - the crisp air, trees preparing for winter in a blaze of glory, the Earth's abundance in full evidence all around us?

This is also the time that political life gets into full swing. Today, we are:

 

Read on for all this and more in this edition of Green News!

Jordan Bober
Executive Director

In this newsletter:

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MICHELE BEATON: We need more leadership in restorative care

I am happy to hear that the residents at the Sherwood Care Home are getting a much needed upgrade to their living quarters. The Sherwood Care Home has deteriorated to a point that it no longer meets building code standards.

To make this move, it means the Prince Edward Home has lost 12 restorative care beds. These beds were refurbished to become long-term care beds to house Sherwood Home residents. Health PEI was forced to remove restorative care beds because this government has refused to invest in public long-term care infrastructure. This is of grave concern to me. I have spoken to so many seniors regarding the lack of care beds already, and it appears that things are only going to get worse.

Why does this matter? What importance do restorative care beds play in our healthcare system? Restorative care beds house patients who no longer need hospital services, but are not quite ready to return home. These patients are also known as Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients.

For example, restorative care beds are used after a surgery or a fall when a patient still needs to heal and receive therapy but doesn’t need the acute services that a hospital bed provides. When restorative care beds are not available, those patients end up staying in hospital.

Financially, it costs significantly more to operate a hospital bed than a restorative care bed. Living in a hospital for months on end is also not a good quality of life for ALC patients. We are, unfortunately, the number one province in Canada when it comes to keeping patients in hospitals when they would be better served in community or long-term care settings. This is not a title we should be proud of.

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TRISH ALTASS: Women should not be invisible members of society when it comes to our provincial economic recovery!

The COVID-19 pandemic has had disproportionate impacts on women in the workforce. They are more likely to work in sectors of the economy most impacted, they are more likely to have lost their employment, and they continue to face challenges returning to work. Yet, there has been no specialized response or strategy to ensure a just and fair economic recovery for women.

While I’m appreciative of government’s commitment to conduct regular gender and diversity analyses of its programs and policies, I’m worried about the serious absence of key women-focused actions to support their economic conditions. The absence of recommendations specific to women in the long-awaited report from the Premier’s council for recovery and growth, is stark.

Affordable and accessible child care is key to women’s labour force participation. In recent months there have been cursory references to increasing investment in early childhood education and child care, and we are cautiously hopeful for the new Federal-Provincial child care agreement.

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PETER BEVAN-BAKER : We need a clear and compelling vision that will prepare our province for the post-pandemic world.

The Green caucus, for months and months, has pushed the King Conservatives for its economic recovery plan. The report from the Premier’s Economic Council, finally released yesterday, clearly expresses the vast difference between the Conservative idea for PEI’s future and the Green vision.

The Green caucus firmly believes that any economic recovery plan must be framed in how we can work together to achieve a fairer and more equitable society on PEI. Our province works better when it works for all of us. Unfortunately, this is not the approach advocated by the Premier.

Unsurprisingly, the Conservative idea for the future of our province is extremely pro-business. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on workers, yet there are only vague mentions in the report of changes to improve the working conditions of Islanders. In fact, the report makes no concrete commitment to legislated paid sick days or raising the minimum wage to a living wage.

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NB and PEI Green Leaders call for better Atlantic collaboration to improve transportation and energy integration

CHARLOTTETOWN/FREDERICTON – The leaders of the Green Party caucuses in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are calling on the Atlantic Premiers to collaborate on the development of public transportation and renewable energy infrastructure for the region.

“Islanders routinely seek health care services in Moncton and Saint John, but the public transportation infrastructure is inadequate to get them there and back without access to a private vehicle,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, Prince Edward Island and Green Party of PEI.

“It is time to serve people’s need for transportation services without forcing them to rely on expensive private vehicles,” said David Coon, Leader of the New Brunswick Green Party. “We need a more convenient bus network integrated with a new regional rail service and improved ferry services if we are serious about doing our fair share in response to the climate emergency.”

The two Green leaders also want to see a fully integrated electricity grid in order to share electricity from the region’s abundant renewable energy resources among the Atlantic provinces.

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Peter Bevan-Baker: Calling on the King government to implement a one-year pilot to open the scope of pharmacists on PEI.

We all get sick sooner or later. Currently on PEI, almost 20,000 Islanders have no family doctor to turn to when they get sick and need care. Sadly, when they need help they will end up standing in long lines at a walk-in clinic or waiting for hours in an emergency room.

Prince Edward Island desperately needs more family doctors. It is going to take time to recruit these doctors. Time is a luxury that many Islanders simply do not have.
Just this week a father reached out to me to tell me about his experience trying to get stitches removed from his daughter’s injury. It took several days of lining up at walk-in clinics, and missing work and school to finally have this simple procedure done.

Telling this father, and other Islanders like him, that the government is working towards recruiting more doctors does nothing to help.

Access to primary care is fundamental to our system, and to supporting Islanders’ health. Doctor and nurse shortages are at critical levels. It means many Islanders are without access to continuity of care for their health needs.

There are ways we can help sick Islanders now by relieving some of the pressure on our health care system as we work diligently to recruit new doctors. One way to divert some of the workload out of walk-in clinics is to allow pharmacists to work to their full scope of practice.

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LYNNE LUND: Preventing sexual violence is everyone’s responsibility

It’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week, and this is an important time for conversations on how preventing sexual violence is everyone’s responsibility.

It’s well known that sexual violence is widely under reported, and a big piece of that is the very real fear survivors have of not being believed. There is necessary work at virtually every level of society.

We must ensure survivors feel safe and supported to come forward after a sexual assault, to improve their experiences in the justice system, and to do whatever is necessary to eliminate the culture that makes these assaults all too common in the first place.

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HANNAH BELL: It’s Time for Free Residential Water Testing

Did you know that in PEI the recommended residential drinking water test (bacterial and chemical) costs at least $135 + HST?

It is generally recommended that homeowners using drinking water from their own well should get their water tested for bacteria at least once a year and should have a chemical analysis of their well water done when a new well is first drilled, and at least once every 3 to 5 years. It is also recommended that you test your water any time you notice a significant change in the taste, smell, or appearance of the water. This is not an optional or nice-to-have perk; this is a health and safety issue. But, the costs associated with this basic water test are a barrier for Islanders who have the right to ensure they have quality, safe drinking water.

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Hannah Bell: Feeling the pinch? PEI needs an economic recovery plan

You may have recently seen stories about Canada’s annual inflation rate reaching an 18 year high at 4.1%. You may, however, have missed the part that PEI’s inflation rate year over year increase is the highest in Canada. Our rate is 6.3%. Some of this drastic increase in the pace of inflation can be attributed to COVID flattening prices a year earlier, but the numbers are still shocking.

Most Islanders are probably not talking about inflation rates, but they are talking about the rising cost of just about everything – from houses to gasoline to groceries – and that’s what inflation looks like in the real world.

Inflation is impacted by a huge range of factors, many of which are not things that can be addressed directly or quickly. The long term effects of the pandemic – supply chain challenges, labour shortages, and fluctuating demand – have made day-to-day life even more expensive. These are global issues that we feel in our wallets every day.

As we move out of the pandemic, these spiking inflation rates should be temporary. But do we really think that prices will go back down as inflation eases?

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