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Environmental Bill of Rights passes, securing sustainable, green future for Islanders

Green bill will enshrine protections for the environment in law

Charlottetown, PE - Today, the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) introduced by the Official Opposition passed in the legislature. When rights are recognized and protected, people flourish. The same holds true when we articulate and acknowledge the rights of the environment and the right for all people to have a safe, healthy, and sustainable world in which to live. This EBR will hold government accountable to Islanders to promote and protect those communal rights.

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Fair taxation

Charlottetown - It’s not easy to develop budgets to pay for the necessary programs and services Islanders need and depend upon. An important responsibility of government is how it spends tax dollars. If it spends wisely, Islanders benefit. If it does not, Islanders suffer needlessly by not having their needs met and having to pay more than their fair share.

“Last week I asked the Minister of Finance about how government is making decisions regarding the funding of programs and services Islanders depend on,” said Michele Beaton, Official Opposition Finance Critic. “Islanders are concerned government is choosing to find an easy way out of fulfilling its responsibility to spend Islanders’ tax dollars in a fair and ethical way.”

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May Green News - Legislative updates and Events

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Green MLA and Environment Critic Lynne Lund scored some good laughs with her analogy comparing the fight against climate change with a game of hockey on Earth Day. Click on the image above to watch it!

A lot's been happening in the Legislature lately - our Green caucus has had some significant successes as well as a few defeats (such as the Voting Age Act.) This newsletter will give you a chance to catch up on some of the highlights.

Have an amazing May, and we'll be in touch again soon!

Jordan Bober
Executive Director

In this newsletter:

 

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Increased transparency and accountability in healthcare decision making with passing of Official Opposition Bill

Charlottetown, PE - After a fulsome debate in the Legislature, amendments to the Health Services Act introduced by the Official Opposition were passed today. These changes return authority back to health experts to implement our provincial wellness plans.

“I am pleased to see government recognize the need for increased transparency in the decision making process for health care,” said Trish Altass, Official Opposition Critic for Health and Wellness. “The changes I put forward for the Health Services Act give more power and authority to the Health PEI board to implement our provincial wellness plans. This change greatly reduces the possibility of political interference.”

 

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King Government denies Island Youth a voice in decisions impacting their futures

Charlottetown, PE - The Official Opposition legislation to lower the voting age to 16 was defeated by the King government today.

“It appears the slogan ‘it’s about people’ is nothing more than a politically convenient tagline. Today the King government decided to exercise its majority privilege to deny Island youth an opportunity to engage in the democratic process,” said Karla Bernard, Official Opposition Critic for Education and Lifelong Learning and bill sponsor.

“As MLAs we are elected to represent Islanders, regardless of their ability to vote,” said Bernard. “What government seems to not understand is, by denying franchise to our youth, they are refusing to empower a valuable, important sector of our society and are denying them a voice in decisions impacting their futures.”

Youth are already showing leadership by advising government through such bodies as the Premier’s Youth Council and the PEI Children and Youth Table. In fact, the Child and Youth Advisory Committee of the PEI Office of the Child and Youth Advocate has written to all parties recommending a voting age of 16.

“Youth are absolutely engaged as far as they are permitted to be,” said Bernard. “Our youth are educated, passionate, and in many ways leading in areas of community and social responsibility. We have invited them to such things as the Premier’s Youth Council. We allow them to vote on the leadership of a political party at age 14.”

The United Nations, through the Convention on the Rights of the Child, has called on legislative bodies to ensure the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in all actions. UNICEF Canada has also written in support of lowering the voting age to 16.

“Today we learned that the King government is not really progressive at all. We have also learned the big Liberal tent actually does not have enough room for everyone. These old school attitudes and exclusionary policies are tiresome, outdated, and out of touch.”

“I would ask my colleagues in the House: ‘how did your vote today advance the best interests of the child?’”

 

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Member & Caucus Updates - April 17, 2021

This week, Green Party of PEI members are preparing for our Annual General Meeting next Saturday, April 24th, while our MLAs are preparing for another week in the Legislature.

Read on for important updates for members, as well as some highlights from the Green Caucus since our last newsletter!

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Water Act regulations favour some farms over others

This post was originally published as an Op-Ed in the Journal Pioneer on April 7, 2021.

 

Living on an Island, we understand limits in a way that isn’t as obvious in other places. I think that’s why discussions on land and water use drum up so much interest.

The strain of climate change is being felt in many places, especially in agriculture. We need a sustainable irrigation strategy for PEI. And two of the pillars of that strategy must be environmental protection and fairness.

Past governments, led by both PC and Liberal, have shown with their choices that they do not really believe in environmental protection. It is treated mostly as an inconvenient afterthought. That has real consequences and, I would argue, the farming community especially suffers when government does not take their role as environmental stewards seriously.

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April Green News

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Ever a trendsetter, Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker may just have sparked a Sanders-esque mitten fashion craze as he was supporting the Cows Ice Cream #MooLetsTalk Mental Health campaign last month!

Happy Easter and Passover, friends! We hope that you are well and able to enjoy a few of your favourite traditions this year.

It's incredible how much can happen in a couple of weeks in the Legislature, even with this past week being a short one due to the Easter break. In this newsletter, you'll find a digest of what our Green MLAs have been up to.

Have a wonderful weekend, and happy reading!

Jordan Bober
Executive Director

In this newsletter:

 

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Peter Bevan-Baker's Member Statement on Xenophobia on PEI

The following was delivered in the Legislature as a Member's Statement by Leader of the Official Opposition, Peter Bevan-Baker, on March 30, 2021.

I often stand in this House and speak about what a warm and welcoming province we live in. Every day I wake up feeling such gratitude that I live on this beautiful Island, filled with people from all backgrounds and walks of life, who love this province as much as me. 

When I walk into the Legislature, I’m aware of the immense privilege I carry as one of 27 people who get to represent our province, and the people who live here. But I am also aware of the immense privilege I carry every day as a white man, and the benefits and opportunities I have been awarded simply because of that.

Because while it is true we live in a province filled with kind and welcoming people, it is also true that our province has a long history of discrimination, xenophobia, and racism. From the moment that white settlers arrived on these shores, colonizing Epekwitk, our Island has been steeped in white supremacy, genocide and violence against Black, Indigenous, and people of colour.

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Greens working for you in the Legislature - March 14 Update

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With the Legislature now taking a one-week pause following Friday's tabling of the 2021/22 Budget, we wanted to bring you an update highlighting some of the work our Green MLAs have been doing for all of us.

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The government tabled its 2021 Operating Budget on Friday. While the budget includes some good things, it also reflects the same lack of overall vision (and the same vagueness) that we saw with the Throne Speech, and crucially, it leaves out relief for many of those hit hardest by the pandemic: low-income Islanders, essential and frontline workers, seniors, and students.

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