This transcript of Steve Howard's response to the Speech from the Throne is copied from the official Hansard record of the Legislature.
To watch the video recording of this speech, go to www.assembly.pe.ca/video-archive, select "Spring 2021", click on the March 5th video and advance to the 2:36 mark.
I won’t be too terribly long here. A lot has been already said about this throne speech. But I had a lengthy response to the throne speech less than two years ago. All of what I said then still stands today.
One item from my previous response that remains entirely dormant is electoral reform. I asked the Premier about his thoughts on it at the end of the last sitting and I was encouraged to hear that he was still open to exploring this. More Islanders voted for changing the system by which we elect MLAs than voted for any one particular party that sits in this House. I think that bears attention and I implore the Premier to take action on this. Islanders like how collaborative governments work. Let’s see that it becomes the norm instead of the exception.
I expected that, in light of proroguing the Legislature – a reset – that we would see the government take the opportunity to put forward a truly inspiring piece of forward-looking work. While some of what the speech contains is welcome, it’s also lacking in so many ways. Some major issues are left floundering in the unknown while some, like climate action, get plenty of attention, but no truly revolutionary actions are committed to. Government admits it right there in the speech that it’s taking an evolutionary, not revolutionary, approach.
Well, in order to achieve some of the necessary goals of our society, we desperately need to be revolutionary. I’ve heard the Premier say that it will take an effort on par with the mission to the moon to achieve our goals and that he believes that is possible. Well, the mission to the moon started with a speech that inspired the masses and convinced them all that it can be done – that we will do what some consider impossible. I hold out hope that the Premier will hold more to his previous mindset of the moon shot than relying on the slow crawl of evolution to get us to our lofty goals.
We have multiple crises to deal with: housing, access to health care, climate, mental health and addictions, poverty, land, water, and COVID recovery, to name some. Go back to the moon shot mindset, Mr. Premier. I’m here to support good policy that sets us on that path.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.