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|On January 11th, 2020, twenty Green Party of PEI members got together for a Policy Pilot Event - testing out a workshop model to help members explore issues, their root causes, and potential solutions. The topic: The dependence on the personal automobile for transportation on PEI. Lots of insight and ideas were generated!|
We've got lots of material in this month's newsletter, because the Green Party of PEI and its members and MLAs have been very busy over the past few weeks.
I'm particularly excited for our upcoming Spring Convention on March 27th and 28th - registration is now open. Our theme for this convention is "2020: A Clear Vision" - not only because we couldn't resist the play on "20/20" and "vision", but because of the importance the convention will play in setting a clear vision for the party. Did you know that our last strategic plan envisioned us winning four seats in an election to be held sometime this year? Yeah, we've kind of outgrown that - and as work to redefine what the Official Opposition can be while setting our sights on government, now is the time for us to check in with ourselves about who we are, where we're going, and who/how we want to be.
If you're not yet a member of the Green Party of PEI, you can join anytime before the convention to attend and participate, and join by February 27th to have full voting privileges. When registering for the convention, you'll have the opportunity to make a contribution that will entitle you to a voting membership.
As you'll see, our Green Caucus has also been very active on their committees and holding government to account on everything from doctor retention to the Lands Protection Act. The Special Committee on Climate Change is about to hit the road to hear from Islanders in five different communities about how best to meet out greenhouse gas emission targets, and we're sure you'll have an idea or two to share!
There's lots more - if your New Year's resolution was "to become a more engaged citizen", this is your newsletter!
Executive Director (interim)
In this newsletter:
- Registration open for Spring Convention
- Our Green Caucus
- Upcoming events
- District Association updates
- Provincial engagement opportunities
- "No Planet B" song
Registration is now open for the Green Party of Prince Edward Island's Spring 2020 Convention, which will take March 27th & 28th at the Loyalist Country Inn in Summerside.
Register today at peigreens.ca/spring_convention_2020
- You must become a member of the Green Party of PEI no later than Feb 27, 2020 in order to vote or take part in the member-only part of the convention in the afternoon of Saturday, March 28th.
- The deadline for submission of motions (first draft) for consideration at the convention is TONIGHT at midnight.
- The deadline for nominations for the Provincial Council & Ombuds Committee elections is February 21, 2020.
PEI Public Accounts Committee gets national recognition for overcoming partisanship
The PEI Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Green Party MLA Michele Beaton (Mermaid-Stratford) who is joined there by fellow caucus member Karla Bernard (Charlottetown-Victoria Park), has been recognized by the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation for practices it has put in place to promote the non-partisan nature of the committee. The Public Accounts Committee has the very important job of improving public administration in partnership with the Auditor General.
What they do is quite simple: At the beginning of every meeting, the committee starts by reading out a statement of the purpose and values of the committee, including its non-partisan nature. The committee also sent letters to each of the 27 MLAs to make them aware of the non-partisan nature of the committee's work.
“Committee members agreed that beginning meetings with this reminder is a great way to stay focused on the committee’s purpose and to work collaboratively to improve public administration for all Islanders,” Beaton noted.
The Special Committee on Climate Change is hitting the road to hear from you!
The Special Committee on Climate Change is holding a series of meetings in communities from tip to tip over the next month to get public input on the best ways to meet our provincial greenhouse gas emission targets, which are now the most ambitious in Canada. Meetings will take place on the following dates and locations:
Thursday, February 6 at 6:30pm: Miscouche Rec Centre, 31 School Street, Miscouche
Thursday, February 13 at 6:30pm: Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6, 221 Phillip Street, Tignish
Thursday, February 20 at 6:30pm: Cymbria Lions Club Community Centre – 2184 Church Road, Rustico
Thursday, February 27 at 6:30pm: Morell Fire Hall, 15 Park Street, Morell
Thursday, March 5 at 6:30pm: Loyalist Country Inn & Conference Centre, 195 Heather Moyse Drive, Summerside
Meetings will begin with a presentation from the UPEI Climate Lab to help set the context.
About Legislative Committees
When the Legislature is not in session, most MLAs are hard at work in one or more committees. Committees are smaller groups of MLAs (usually six) who focus in on particular types of issues (eg. health, education, public accounts). This is where a lot of the groundwork for legislation comes from.
There are currently six standing committees plus two special committees that were established with the passage of Green motions: the Special Committee on Climate Change, and the Special Committee on Poverty on PEI.
In the past, committees membership was based on the number of seats each party had in the legislature, meaning that when there was a majority government, committees were dominated by government members. This was often frustrating for MLAs from other parties, as it meant that the governing party controlled the agenda even at the committee level. Sometimes, government MLAs would simply decide that the committee would not meet, or decide to block hearing from certain individuals, if it was not convenient for the government.
One of the remarkable changes that took place last year is that the rules were changed so that each party in the Legislature would have equal representation on all committees - so two members from each the PCs, Greens and Liberals. This is a first in Canada!
Currently, 5 of the 8 Committees are chaired by Green MLAs.
Learn more about the committees here, and check out the calendar to see when they are meeting and what's on the agenda. You can watch committee meetings from the gallery in the Coles Building or via video.
From the desks of Green MLAs
Here are recent blog posts, statements and media releases by our Green Official Opposition Caucus:
On Health Care
The state of our health care system has been the focus of much attention lately, as PEI continues to lose health professionals even as the Minister of Health makes confusing statements that don't inspire much confidence that the government has a vision or a plan for health care on PEI. Official Opposition Health Critic Trish Altass has been working hard to hold the government to account for better.
Playing games with Islanders' Health - January 27, 2020
The Challenge of Retaining Healthcare Professionals on PEI - January 16, 2020
Failure is NOT an option - January 9, 2020
On the Lands Protection Act
On bus driver shortages
Children and Bus Driver Shortages - Michele Beaton, January 23, 2020
On the off-Island outsourcing of PEI tourism promotion
Islanders know PEI best - Ole Hammarlund, January 22, 2020
On a Universal School Lunch Program
Where’s the Vision in government’s School Lunch Pilot Programs? - Karla Bernard, January 21, 2020
The Green Caucus has been hard at work to improve the lives of Islanders. If you haven't already, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And check out their new website at www.peigreencaucus.ca for blogs, videos and more!
Charlottetown Family Skate with MLAs Hannah Bell, Karla Bernard and Ole Hammarlund - Monday, February 17 2:30-3:45pm
Find this event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/861972584231395/
Coffee with MLA Karla Bernard (Monday mornings 10am-12pm; location varies, please click here for locations)
Coffee with MLA Michele Beaton (Feb 10 & 24, 8:30-11:30am @ Stratford Tim Hortons)
Remember: You can request a meeting with an MLA anytime - see the PEI Green Caucus Contact page.
Stratford Regional Association founding meeting March 9th, 2020
By the conclusion of the Stratford Green Café last month, it was determined that there was strong interest in founding a Stratford Regional Association including both districts 5 (Mermaid-Stratford) and 6 (Stratford-Keppoch).
Provincial Council has approved the request to hold a founding meeting for a Stratford Regional Association, which will take place on Monday, March 9th at 6:30pm at Stratford Town Centre.
Separate official notice will be sent to Districts 5 & 6 members soon. We hope you'll join your neighbours on March 9th, and consider putting your name forward for a position in the Association Coordinating Team, too!
More information and RSVP: https://www.greenparty.pe.ca/stratford_regional_association_founding_meeting
D21&23 Regional Association Quilt Raffle now available online
In our last newsletter, we told you about a quilt raffle that the Districts 21&23 Regional Association are doing this year, featuring a lovely handmade quilt by Debbie Graham.
Now, you can easily purchase tickets for this raffle online at www.peigreens.ca/quiltraffle! The lucky winner will be drawn on December 12, 2012.
The PEI government is currently seeking applications from citizens who wish to take part in two important advisory committees:
Rural Communities Council
The Rural Communities Council will provide advice and make recommendations to Government regarding rural topics related to the themes of people, communities, the environment and wellness and explore opportunities for development in rural PEI.
Learn more and apply here: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/fisheries-and-communities/rural-communities-council
Environmental Advisory Council
The purpose of this council is to provide advice to the Minister and the department of Environment, Water and Climate Change on environmental issues. Typically, the Minister will ask the Council to give advice on a topic of interest. Also, judging of the PEI Environmental Awards and judging of the provincial science fair. The Minister may request that a sub-committee be struck to provide a report on a specific topic. Past examples include: Managing Land and Water on a Watershed Basis; Recommendations for the Regulation of Construction and Demolition Debris Sites in PEI; and Recommendations for the Regulation of Pesticides in PEI.
Learn more and apply here: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/executive-council-office/environmental-advisory-council
Here's something fun to share on a Saturday night: Recently, Calgary-based folksinger/songwriter Gerry Madigan reached out to share a new song he's written called "No Planet B". Click on the image below to watch the music video, and you can also download the song for $0.99 from iTunes. All proceeds from the retail sales of this song (downloads from iTunes, etc.) will be donated to Habitat for Humanity Australia’s Emergency Bushfire Appeal. Thanks Gerry!
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