Official Opposition Realigns Caucus to Address Climate Commitments

Charlottetown, PE – PEI has an opportunity to be a leader in the new green economy in North America. It will require bold vision and a willingness to do the work needed to transition to a green economy. In response to this, the Official Opposition is realigning strengths within its caucus.

“We must begin the hard and exciting work needed to meet targets set in the Climate Leadership Act,” said Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition. “We must dedicate expertise and resources to provide the bold leadership required as we transition PEI to a prosperous and sustainable economy. With this goal in mind, our caucus is drawing upon its internal strengths to help shape policy for the most responsible path forward.”

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Statement by Hannah Bell, Official Opposition Shadow Critic for Social Development and Housing on public consultations on proposed Residential Tenancy Act

I am pleased to see public consultations have begun for the proposed Residential Tenancy Act. This is the most significant update to PEI residential rental legislation in decades, and when government first shared with me the draft legislation, I was adamant they undertake a full public consultation before bringing it to the legislature.

The former Rental of Residential Property Act is woefully out-of-date and the Official Opposition has been calling for it to be updated or replaced. I appreciate that government considered the Official Opposition Housing Strategy as well as further submissions made by the Official Opposition during its drafting of the legislation.

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Minister of Health and Wellness failing Islanders in crisis

Charlottetown, PE – Official Opposition Shadow Critic for Health and Wellness, Trish Altass, is shocked and disappointed that the Minister of Health and Wellness, James Aylward, is not adequately addressing the critical issue of Mental Health and Addiction. The suggestion, however, does seems to shed light on a government ill-prepared or unable to meet the demands of Islanders in crises or experiencing mental health issues.

“During a public forum organized by Ellen Taylor, Minister Aylward’s suggested that government should create another cabinet position to address Mental Health and Addictions,” said Trish Altass, Official Opposition Shadow Critic for Health and Wellness. “Ellen created a space for Islanders to share the pain and hopelessness they feel when facing addictions. After listening to people share their personal experiences with addictions, hearing stories of families being torn apart, and about loved ones lost, the Minister could only imagine it may be best to split the health portfolio into two areas. His suggestion to creating another cabinet position for a Minister of Mental Health is useless and tone deaf.”

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Statement by Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, on protests in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Protests in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, which started on Canada’s west coast, have spread all the way across the country to the foot of the Confederation Bridge this past weekend. These protests are the result of centuries of unresolved issues between this continent’s Indigenous people and the settler governments of the land we now call Canada.

The complexities of this long-standing situation from which this current dispute was born have built up over many generations. It is unrealistic to imagine we can resolve the underlying matters easily or over a short period of time.

What we can do, however, is become more fully informed on the history behind the structural problems that underlie the grievances of Indigenous People across the country. We must encourage governments on all sides to approach discussions on working to resolve immediate and longer-term challenges with openness and respect.

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February Green News

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On January 11th, 2020, twenty Green Party of PEI members got together for a Policy Pilot Event - testing out a workshop model to help members explore issues, their root causes, and potential solutions. The topic: The dependence on the personal automobile for transportation on PEI. Lots of insight and ideas were generated!

We've got lots of material in this month's newsletter, because the Green Party of PEI and its members and MLAs have been very busy over the past few weeks.

I'm particularly excited for our upcoming Spring Convention on March 27th and 28th - registration is now open. Our theme for this convention is "2020: A Clear Vision" - not only because we couldn't resist the play on "20/20" and "vision", but because of the importance the convention will play in setting a clear vision for the party. Did you know that our last strategic plan envisioned us winning four seats in an election to be held sometime this year? Yeah, we've kind of outgrown that - and as work to redefine what the Official Opposition can be while setting our sights on government, now is the time for us to check in with ourselves about who we are, where we're going, and who/how we want to be. 

If you're not yet a member of the Green Party of PEI, you can join anytime before the convention to attend and participate, and join by February 27th to have full voting privileges. When registering for the convention, you'll have the opportunity to make a contribution that will entitle you to a voting membership.

As you'll see, our Green Caucus has also been very active on their committees and holding government to account on everything from doctor retention to the Lands Protection Act. The Special Committee on Climate Change is about to hit the road to hear from Islanders in five different communities about how best to meet out greenhouse gas emission targets, and we're sure you'll have an idea or two to share!

There's lots more - if your New Year's resolution was "to become a more engaged citizen", this is your newsletter! 

Jordan Bober
Executive Director (interim)

In this newsletter:

  • Registration open for Spring Convention
  • Our Green Caucus
  • Upcoming events
  • District Association updates
  • Provincial engagement opportunities
  • "No Planet B" song
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Statement from Ms. Michele Beaton, MLA for District 5, Mermaid-Stratford, and Official Opposition Critic for Agriculture and Land on failure of IRAC to produce report on land sale by Brendel Farms to Haslemere Farms (Red Fox Acres)

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I first raised concern that a land sale between Brendel Farms and Haslemere Farms (now known as Red Fox Acres) was circumventing the Lands Protection Act (LPA) in the Legislature on July 10, 2019. After sustained pressure from me on the issue, the Minister of Agriculture and Land, Bloyce Thompson, stated in August he had asked the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) to review the transaction as per Section 15 of the Act.

During a Standing Committee meeting on October 29, 2019, officials with IRAC committed to providing a report on the transaction within 60-90 days. That timeline has come and gone. There is no report. Nor has there been an update on the status of that report.

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Government must stop playing politics with Islanders’ health

Summerside, PE – Since being appointed to the Health and Wellness portfolio, Minister Aylward has been talking about all the conversations he has been having with community and stakeholders. However, evidence seems to show this has not really been the case. Announcements and promises being made demonstrate a lack of understanding regarding what is needed, the appropriate timelines to implement those commitments, and even what is actually possible.

“During last week’s meeting of the Standing Committee for Health and Social Development, we learned representatives of the Department of Health and Wellness had advised South Shore Inc. it would not be recruiting a doctor for the Crapaud clinic. The reason given was policy to recruit to general areas of the province based upon the three counties,” said Trish Altass, Official Opposition Critic for Health and Wellness. “They even advised South Shore Inc. not to independently advertise for the vacancy at their clinic.”

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Islanders know Prince Edward Island best

Charlottetown, PE – Islanders are proud of Prince Edward Island. They know every inch, nook, and cranny of this beautiful red Island like the back of their hand. Ask any local you meet where to find the tastiest food, best fishing hole, breath-taking vista, the most secluded beach, and awe-inspiring walking trails and you will be given directions to the hidden, and some not-so-hidden, gems of PEI. Yet, Tourism PEI seems to think this knowledge is not enough. It has said it is engaging the services of Vancouver-based Twenty31 to help develop a 5-year tourism growth strategy for Prince Edward Island.

“Islanders don’t understand how Tourism PEI reached the conclusion that an off-island marketing firm from the opposite side of the country is the best option to tell our story, to share our gems, and to engage tourists to visit our beautiful Island paradise,” said Ole Hammarlund, Official Opposition Critic for Tourism and Culture.

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Where’s the Vision in government’s School Lunch Pilot Programs?

Charlottetown, PE – Recently, the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning provided an update to the Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth on its two universal school lunch pilot programs. What was presented lacked both detail and vision. Even Minister Trivers admitted government is not fully prepared to implement and evaluate a school lunch program.

“I am flabbergasted by this admission,” said Karla Bernard, Official Opposition Critic for Education and Lifelong Learning. “Significant work has already been done by the PEI School Food Project on a comprehensive plan to implement a universal school lunch program across the province. That plan has a model, including a realizable timeframe for expanding and scaling up a rollout into all schools. It was presented to the previous Liberal government who did nothing with it.”

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Failure is NOT an Option

Simply recruiting physicians to a broken system is not the answer

Charlottetown, PE – It is no secret Islanders are facing a crisis in the provision of health care services on Prince Edward Island. Under the previous Liberal government, Islanders watched things go from bad to worse. After twelve years of failure, it is not enough for the current PC government to continue following the road to nowhere built by the previous administration.

“We are facing a deeper problem than the recruitment of physicians alone,” states Trish Altass, Official Opposition Critic for Health and Wellness. “It is one thing to recruit a doctor, but that is simply not enough. We need to support our healthcare professionals, give them opportunities to grow and expand in their careers, and to be fully involved in decision making processes that affect them and their ability to provide the level of care they desire to give Islanders.”

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