Our Health Minister Robert Henderson continues to assure us that there is no mental health crisis on Prince Edward Island.
In June 2015, I had the honour of representing Prince Edward Island as a member of the Canadian Citizen Reference Panel in Ottawa. Alongside the Mental Health Commission of Canada and countless other organizations and individuals too numerous to list, we aided in the creation of a mental health action plan for Canada.
I did my best to represent Prince Edward Island, and the voices of all our communities were well represented, including LGBT communities, Indigenous and First Nations communities, immigrant and refugee communities, our youth, elders, families struggling with mental health/health issues, people living with addictions, professionals working in these areas, families living in poverty, caregivers, our farmers, among others.Read more
It has been a stormy few months on the Island. Someone I spoke to recently likened it to a game of Whack-A-Mole. It’s almost frenetic as Islanders risk being vulnerable and speak up about challenges they have faced with their mental health, or a family member’s mental health, and their experiences in the health system. And as practitioners in health speak out in frustration. And as politicians offer solutions that may calm the storm, but don’t help navigate out of it.Read more
Being fiscally responsible is socially responsible. As the special edition of The Guardian (April 6) dramatically demonstrated, poverty is a huge issue in PEI with 15.8% of Islanders classified as low income. The reality for too many Islanders is that our social systems are not meeting their needs, and band aid solutions are not going to be enough. We are not meeting our obligations to our citizens if we are not providing basic and equitable quality of life to all – and that requires a commitment to fiscal policy that is different, but not radical.Read more
Events on PEI lately have me thinking about bandaids. You know - we’ve all had that experience of being in a hurry, not preparing well or safely, not thinking of possible consequences - the knife slips and we cut a finger. We grab a bandaid, stem the bloody flow and chastise ourselves for being so careless.
But the thing is, more often than not, the bandaid doesn’t stick don’t you find? It gets wet and falls off, it is on an awkward joint and falls off when we use that finger, or it just isn’t good enough quality to stick.
Closing schools is an easy fix: it’s quick, decisive and demonstrates action on a file. The flip side of course is that it’s also unimaginative and shortsighted. I’ve been pondering school closures and hub schools through an economic lens, and I wonder if the Minister of Education will sit down for coffee with the Minister responsible for economic development.
Rural PEI has been neglected and overlooked, the Bell Aliant contract serving as a powerful example of this. Our current approach to job creation tends to focus on incentivizing industry to set up shop, creating a measurable amount of new positions in one shot. It looks good on paper, and a government can state with confidence a set number of jobs created during their mandate. Whether the jobs stay or go is secondary.Read more
It was with much curiosity that I read Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Allan MacIsaac’s Report on Agriculture in PEI for 2016 with the headline, “Banner Year for Agriculture on PEI”. Curiosity because the top headline in the same paper indicated that blueberry producers were struggling with overproduction issues. Having previously heard of these overproduction issues at a regional level and from individual growers and associated bee keepers, I was surprised to note a great hurrah-for-blueberries arising in the midst of Minister MacIsaac’s speech, for the not insignificant increase in yields that Island producers have seen recently.Read more
When making difficult decisions, there is a surefire method we can employ to determine the way forward. It’s not about making lists of pros and cons, or necessarily doing what is popular, expedient, or most ‘economical’. It’s about identifying your core values and choosing the option that best reflects those values. The way forward then becomes clear.