The Shadow Blog is where our Opposition Shadow Critics share their thoughts on current Prince Edward Island policy issues and their visions for a brighter future for all Islanders.

To learn more about the Green Party of PEI's Shadow Cabinet, click here.

Response to the 2019 Budget

Green Finance Critic Michele Beaton's response to the 2019 Budget is copied from the official Hansard transcript of her speech in the Legislature on June 25, 2019.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I thank you, the Minister of Finance.

However, I’m not entirely sure if I should be addressing my thanks to the Minister of Finance or to the Member from Cornwall-Meadowbank, as it would seem that he is the mastermind behind this document.

I appreciate we are still in the early days of this new administration, but I still can’t help but feel disappointed to see that almost all of the budget is warmed-up, Liberal leftovers. 

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Labour Rebates

hand_shake_smile.jpgBy now we’re very familiar with a ‘grip and grin’ photo accompanying a government press release trumpeting the number of great new jobs created. The latest examples of this are the recent announcements at Invesco and DoseCan for workforce expansion.  But why are we celebrating jobs that are only marginally above the poverty line? According to a CBC article most of these new jobs will start at around $30 K a year: that works out to about $15 an hour at full time. These are not ‘good paying new jobs’ - they are entry level roles, created with labour rebates funded by millions of taxpayer dollars. And what will happen to those jobs when the labour rebate runs out? Those jobs may well turn out to have an expiry date.

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Three kinds of lies

Last week I attended the Premier’s State of the Province address at the annual gathering of the PEI Rotary Clubs.  As expected, his speech focused on economic issues and he provided handouts with charts showing a number of key indicators that support his narrative of unprecedented growth and prosperity.

Throughout the presentation I was reminded of the saying made famous by Mark Twain: There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.  Of course, the problem with statistics is not their accuracy, but how easy it is to cherry-pick them to tell a particular story. For example the Premier’s handout provided a chart on Net Interprovincial Migration from 2013-2017 that showed migration going steadily from -941 to +444.  That tells a story that migration is consistently improving. At least until you add the numbers for 2017/18 which show it dropped back down to -446 in 2017-2018. But that information didn’t fit into the story the Premier wanted to tell, so it wasn’t included in his chart.

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"Trust" and the TOSH renovations

Since the beginning days of the renovations at Three Oaks Senior High (TOSH), concerned parents have been expected to simply “trust” that their children have been safe throughout construction, though it was found that breaches in asbestos safety protocol have occurred.

Air quality test results that started being shared with these parents in April 2018 have led to email exchanges and a few select meetings with representatives from the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, the Department of Education, the construction company leading the project, and others. However, many questions have been left unanswered, and concerns for the current and future wellbeing of students persist. Some parents have even been forced to request (and pay for) information through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy act- a process that has been slow and frustrating.

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Fixing the system

When a system is failing there are stopgap measures one can put in place to keep it running - albeit much less efficiently than if it had a complete overhaul.  We have all kicked various motors or rebooted our computers or pleaded to inanimate objects. Sometimes effective in the short term, but eventually the things that these objects or machines can’t do increase and accumulate and the system fails.

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Vice article

It’s been just over a year since I was sworn into the PEI legislature as MLA for Charlottetown-Parkdale, and in that time I have had so many opportunities to help people and make a real difference in provincial affairs.  From working with the Ostomy Support Society to advocate for provincial coverage of ostomy supplies to introducing and passing an amendment to the Innovation PEI Act to include culture and green technology on our list of strategic sectors, I have relished advocating for progressive change and I have tried to live up to the trust my constituents have placed in me.

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Whole-Child Leadership needed

An early interest in Autism led me to study psychology several decades ago and, eventually, to become a Psychologist.  Therefore, it was with much interest that I read Peter Rukavina’s opinion piece “An Integrated Network” and listened to MLA Sidney McEwen introduce a private member’s bill to establish an Autism Secretariat.  Integrating services will not only help families navigate the system, but will allow decision makers to identify gaps and create the best flow possible through the system for these Islanders.

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Would you rather

A simple playground game - would you rather? You can only pick one!

  • Would you rather jelly beans or gummy bears?
  • Would you rather go swimming or to the movies?
  • Would you rather get a puppy or a kitten?

A simple PEI social assistance game - would you rather? You can only pick one!

  • Would you rather have a heated apartment, or food until the end of the month?
  • Would you rather the prescription medication and supplies you need to be healthy and well, or pay your rent on time?
  • Would you rather have a safe affordable place to live, or keep your pets who have been your constant companions for many years?

 

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Update P.E.I.’s sexual education curriculum

“Sexuality is a part of our humanity and an integral part of who we are as individuals. Good, current curriculum recognizes this and promotes nurturance, understanding, appreciation, knowledge and community.”

In Jane Ledwell’s opinion piece printed in the Guardian on the first anniversary of the #MeToo movement, she asks the question – “what can we do?” One solution she provides is to develop good, sound policy. In light of recent headline news, it is more important than ever to connect the dots and draw the lines between education, awareness and behaviour.

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Worker health, not financial surpluses, should be WCB's priority

The recently released annual report from the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) outlines the financial status of the organization and highlights recent enhanced education efforts to increase employee safety in the workplace -- a worthwhile endeavour for prevention of workplace injuries. In the report, the WCB board also celebrates that “the average duration for a claim was 20 per cent shorter, with more workers returning to work more quickly than the previous year” (Guardian, July 2018).

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