Charlottetown, PE - Premier King has signalled his priorities today with a shuffling of his cabinet. A number of portfolios have been suffering due to lack of attention, direction, and investment. Primarily, these have been the Health and Wellness portfolio, and Social Development and Housing.
“Islanders’ patience has been stretched to the limit in these areas. Unfortunately, many families are suffering the consequences of leadership that is either unconcerned or unable to meet these wicked problems,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition. “It is a little concerning that the Premier is choosing to appoint Minister Hudson to Health and Wellness - which is arguably one of the most demanding and critical portfolios - when his work in social development and housing has been so insufficient.”
“I am also a little surprised by the appointment of Minister Trivers to housing - another critical area facing crisis - who seems to know very little about housing, and seems to not understand the value of social programming,” said Bevan-Baker. “In fact, recently, he stated during a meeting of the standing committee on health and social development that if a unit is unsuitable, tenants ‘have the freedom to choose to make their own decision about whether they stay there or not.’ Given PEI is in a housing crisis with not enough safe, affordable housing units available, this is not the bold leadership Islanders need.”
The new Ministers will have just three weeks to prepare for the upcoming sitting of the Legislative Assembly. This leaves questions about whether or not the issues plaguing these files will be fully grasped, and leaves concerns that some critical steps may be missed during the transition.
The Official Opposition has been diligently working, researching, and offering possible solutions to address the issues. Despite words like ‘collaboration’ and phrases like ‘doing politics differently’ and ‘it’s about people’, actions have not always lined up with those assertions.
“With the changes made by Premier King, we hoped to see much needed progress and movement in key areas. However, at first glance, it seems the two critical crisis areas desperately requiring attention are not really priorities for this government,” said Bevan-Baker. “Islanders deserve strong leadership, genuine concern, and the support of their government. My caucus and I will be ensuring that happens by holding government accountable and offering policy solutions that address the needs of Islanders.”