Part of the skill of being human is to figure out what really matters; to choose what priorities you will place at the front of your life. Since it’s impossible to do everything, we need to pick what things we’re going to be truly, deeply committed to fulfil. I think that’s true in our individual lives, and for me, I carry it into my political work.
Politics is how we make collective decisions, and it touches on every aspect of our shared lives. Part of the art of politics, I believe, is in choosing what priorities get placed at the front of the line. The word priority quite literally means “prior to” – what things need to be done prior to the rest. In that sense you can’t have a whole bunch of priorities, only a few.Read more
A Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) would be a universal, non-means tested government program, that would ensure everyone has a sufficient income to meet their basic needs. Undoubtedly, a BIG would have significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of Islanders- impacts that overlap many government portfolios. For example, a BIG would provide all workers with the freedom to engage in unpaid work in their homes and communities, to retrain or explore new employment or business ventures, and the safety net needed to stand up to unfair of unsafe workplace conditions.Read more
In Canada we are fortunate to have access to a publicly-funded health care system to meet our medical needs when sickness or injury occurs. But what about access to justice when unforeseen legal issues arise?
The issue of “access to justice” most commonly refers to the inability of a growing number of people to obtain legal representation. In many cases, these are people requiring assistance with family law matters, including child custody and access rights and child support.Read more
I find it interesting how many portfolios prioritize 'growing the economy' in their mandate. Designing an economy is certainly a worthy goal, but it seems the primary focus for the Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning should be the Island’s workers, rather than a sort of second Economic Development Minister. Too often, the rights and needs of our workforce are overlooked, conceived of only in terms of unemployment rates and GDP growth. These measures reveal very little about the quality and conditions of jobs, if workers are making enough money to meet basic needs, or if workers are able to achieve work-life balance and maintain healthy lifestyles.Read more
In a recent op-ed piece, Economic Development and Tourism Minister Chris Palmer rightly stated ‘If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.’ I wholly accept this logic and thank him for opening the dialogue around this.
I, too, learned this while running my first business. I expect all business owners quickly learn the need to associate a value to things that go beyond the goods or services they have for sale. We learn to measure the cost of time, both time spent and time lost; the cost of mistakes; the value of relationships with our suppliers and the connection to our clients; the worth of a reputation. We quantify things that we’ll never need to report on our tax returns, but that we will use as filters to inform countless decisions we make all the time. After all, if we don’t measure it, we can’t manage 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