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.Read more
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?
Am I the only one who feels that there are two Prince Edward Islands? There is the one that we are constantly being told about by government--the “Mighty Island” that’s “on a tear” and where everyone is “getting ahead together.” On this Island, no matter what the question, the answer is economic growth, population growth, export growth, growth, growth, and more growth. If you say anything negative on this Island, you can be sure the Premier will respond with a big confident smile and cherry-picked statistics to prove just how well we are doing, as he did recently in O’Leary when he was asked about the closure of the Cavendish plant and the loss of 40 jobs. Instead of addressing the workers’ anxiety, he reminded us that employment is up overall, so we really don’t need to worry about the 40 families who will be impacted.Read more
For many Islanders, the day-to-day cost of living is overwhelming. Most of us know what it feels like to have more month than money - deciding what bills will be paid late this month so we can get caught up on the others; saying no to activities and events because we just can’t afford it and still get groceries or gas. Low and moderate income households are often managing at or near the poverty line, and the lack of affordable housing is at the crisis stage in the current PEI market. It is affecting families who are being evicted from their rented home as it is converted to an AirBnB, and prospective homeowners who cannot find a property in their price range; it is preventing Islanders from coming home and keeping Islanders new and old from staying. But what we mean by affordable isn’t always clear - and if we are going to make major decisions and investments with tax payers money, we should agree on the terms we are using.Read more
We were delighted to read the province’s recent announcement of one-time financial support for 16 non-government organizations (NGOs). Discretionary funds are invaluable for these non-profit community organizations to move forward on projects and activities, and we applaud this move.
Supporting the NGO sector is a good investment for so many reasons; the very nature of NGOs means that in addition to creating meaningful jobs, they also are tackling social, environmental or financial injustices. Many provinces have taken steps to recognize and value the contribution of this sector, and rightly so. This announcement, however, did leave us with a few questions.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