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Statement on proposed amendments to Emergency Measures Act and Public Health Act

This afternoon government released draft amendments to the Emergency Measures Act and the Public Health Act that will give itself sweeping new powers. 

Specifically, these amendments will allow government to unilaterally suspend or vary any piece of legislation without seeking permission from the Legislative Assembly during a state of emergency or a public health emergency. Additionally, it will allow these decisions to continue for 90 days beyond the lifting of the emergency. There is no other Canadian jurisdiction with powers this expansive.

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Statement on government’s lack of leadership on the economic future of our province

Joint Statement by Lynne Lund, Official Opposition Critic for Green Economic Development, and Hannah Bell, Official Opposition Critic for Economic Growth on government’s lack of leadership on the economic future of our province

How we move forward from COVID-19 will be one of the most important economic undertakings of our times. A coherent vision is critical for our province. The Official Opposition is deeply concerned by the lack of a clear plan for the economic future of our province.

There have been numerous announcements from government over the last number of weeks that clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding of the issues facing Islanders and how to best meet those needs. These include matters like access to childcare as it reopens on PEI, and how enterprises can safely restart their business. The essential worker top up fund, and the Workplace Adaptation Fund are also desperately short on details and seemed to be rushed forward. While government has been quick to react, they have failed to produce well thought out plans to ensure we are able to weather this economic storm.

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Lack of foresight by government jeopardizing invaluable piece of our natural heritage

Charlottetown, PE – Government has recently proposed a Highway 1 route extension that  runs through 0.72 acres of old growth forest – Charlottetown’s last remaining piece of the Island’s historic Acadian forest. This stretch of forest is known as Royalty Oaks Natural Area and it is protected by designation under the Natural Areas Protection Act. This plan also includes the creation of a new bike path as part of government’s active transportation initiative.

“The Official Opposition supports this government’s initiative to establish new cycling and walking routes along Highway 1. Indeed, the expansion of the province’s active transportation system is not only an important part of improving public health – it’s also essential to reducing our carbon footprint,” said Lynne Lund, Official Opposition Critic for Environment, Water and Climate Change. “However, the creation of a viable, Island-wide active transportation network should not come at the expense of losing invaluable pieces of our natural heritage.”

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Statement: Karla Bernard on anxiety created by lack of clarity on access to childcare during Renew PEI Together phases

Lack of clarity and information in government communications regarding who does and who does not have access to childcare services during the Renew PEI Together plan is creating unnecessary anxiety amongst parents and caregivers.

In Phase 2, which is set to begin May 22nd, all unlicensed child care providers and all licensed child care centres are set to reopen. They will operate under the guidance of the Chief Public Health Office.

I am hearing from Islanders requiring child care who are concerned they may not be eligible. Both unlicensed child care providers and licensed child care centres are contacting families to ask if they are hoping to have their child’s spot secured. Of course, families want their spots secured. Childcare is difficult to attain in the best of times. However, it seems childcare spots may only be secure for those returning to work. This is concerning. Some families require child care for reasons other than work. It could be due to health and wellness concerns, caring for an unwell family member, or many other reasons.

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Government must consult seniors and their families when making decisions that affect their health and well-being

Charlottetown, PE – The Official Opposition is very concerned to learn residents of Prince Edward Home and their families have not been consulted in advance regarding the facility being designated a COVID-19 unit. 

“For the residents, this is their home,” said Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition. “These people and their families are understandably upset about decisions being made that could potentially have consequences on their health and well-being. It is unconscionable for Health PEI and government to not adequately consult and inform these residents.”

All indicators of the impacts of COVID-19 show the elderly, and specifically those in long-term care facilities, are at the highest risk for infection. Prince Edward Island has been very fortunate and has not yet experienced any COVID-19 cases in long term care or community care facilities. This has provided public health authorities an opportunity to learn from what has worked in other jurisdictions.

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Official Opposition will host virtual QP until House reconvenes for regular sitting

Hampton, PE - COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty and anxiety for Islanders. This is a fragile time for our Island and decisions being made by government have impacts on all aspects of our Island life. With a brief emergency session scheduled for May 22, 2020, the Official Opposition caucus feels it is important to hold government to account and ask the important questions Islanders have been asking.

Beginning today, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the Official Opposition will issue Virtual QP questions via its Twitter (@peigreencaucus) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/peigreencaucus/) social media channels. These questions will be directed to a Minister in government as it would be during Question Period in the Legislative Assembly. The Official Opposition will issue a question at 9 am each day during the week.

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Statement on Premier King’s disparaging description of workers impacted by COVID-19

We were dismayed to read Premier King has been actively lobbying the federal government to change the rules around the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.

It is unfair and inappropriate for the Premier to state people are being “paid not to work” at a time when work has been disrupted and staying home has been required. If there is any reluctance to return to work, it is because people want to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy. 

As a result of COVID-19, work as we know it is changing, and different sectors are being impacted in different ways. Reopening the economy safely will happen in phases and until we have some idea how it is working, no one really knows what the future of work will look like.  In the meantime, families need to eat and pay the rent. 

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Statement: On the critical importance of journalistic independence

On the outside, a recent tweet by Minister Trivers regarding a news story in The Guardian doesn't look like a big deal. It was just a Minister reacting with petulance on Twitter to a headline he didn’t like. However, we only need to look south to see the impact of politicians calling “#fakenews” has on the quality of public discourse. As one national political reporter said, it is “never a good sign when a cabinet minister accuses journalists of writing fake news.

Journalistic independence and integrity is critically important for a well informed and democratic society. Independent journalists help provide government transparency on matters of importance to or effect on Islanders. This is especially crucial during this time. The Legislative Assembly and the elected MLAs are not currently meeting to provide public oversight of government’s actions. Without that forum, the public has a right to access this transparency through the work of the media.

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May Green News | Dreaming Forward

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April 23rd marked the first anniversary of the 2019 provincial election which saw PEI Greens make history by electing 8 MLAs - the majority of them women - and forming the Official Opposition of Prince Edward Island.

Happy May - and I hope you're enjoying the increasing springiness of PEI!

Thinking back on the last month is almost dizzying in its intensity as Islanders have done so much to adapt our personal and work lives to the "new normal" of COVID-19. But already, as we begin our first phase of "easing back" to normal, many are starting to think ahead, or as we like to say "dreaming forward". Just what do we want "back to normal" to look like? Can we imagine - and create - something better?

Just over one year ago, during the election, the Green Party of PEI asked you to "imagine something better". Today, we are renewing that call, and want you to share your ideas with us! Please join us on May 7th for a special online forum with our Green Caucus, which will kick off a new grassroots mobilization to imagine, then create, the better future we know is possible for PEI.

Jordan Bober
Executive Director (interim)

In this newsletter:

  • Dreaming Forward Forum May 7th
  • Other upcoming events
  • From the desks of our Green Caucus
  • Remembering Josh Underhay
  • Freecycling launches on PEI
  • COVIDIY - Homemade masks and homegrown microgreens
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Statement on need for government to recall the Legislature

The legislative branch is an essential function of our governance system. While it is a privilege for Members to sit in the House, there is also an obligation that accompanies that privilege. As legislators we have a mandated responsibility to do the work of careful oversight and to provide accountability to the Islanders we represent. Recalling the Legislature is a critical necessity to meet our obligations and to ensure no Islander is falling through the cracks.

For example, there are important amendments that are required to be passed in order to protect the wellbeing and livelihoods of Islanders now and for any future disruption such as what COVID-19 is causing.

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