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|District 21 MLA Lynne Lund reading with her children on Family Literacy Day, January 27th. What is your family reading?|
I hope 2021 has been good to you so far! I know that I am constantly counting my blessings to live here on Prince Edward Island.
All of us at the Green Party have been very active during the first few weeks of the year, none more so than our MLAs who are preparing no fewer than eight bills for the spring sitting of the Legislature, which begins on February 25th. The "spring" sitting will open with a throne speech, which is the government's way of pressing the "reset" button and creating a new agenda. We also saw the Premier shuffle several members of his cabinet last Thursday. Our Green MLAs will be pressing for a throne speech that puts the needs of people and a sustainable future first and foremost.
If you'd like to learn more and provide your feedback on the bills our MLAs are proposing, please check out our Outside the Rails series (see below). These have been really interesting and useful discussions, and you can view recordings of any you've missed and sign up to participate in the ones coming up this week and next.
If you support the great work Green MLAs are doing and want to keep building on that, why not join the Green Party of PEI as a member? Right now, we are inviting members to help create our new strategic plan, join our Provincial Council or Election Readiness Committee, or to participate in the development of new Green policies. If you want to learn more about politics and make a positive impact on PEI's present and future, please join us!
In this newsletter:
- Upcoming Events
- Green MLA updates
- In loving memory of Bernadette Mulligan
- Statistics Canada hiring 2021 Census workers
We still have three more instalments of our "Outside the Rails" series coming up, in which Green MLAs engage in discussions about legislation they are working on right now. These have been really interesting and have generated great feedback for the MLAs! In case you missed the first three sessions, you can still watch the recordings on our YouTube channel:
Here's what's still coming up:
Wednesday, February 10th at 7pm: Steve Howard
Green MLA and Energy Critic Steve Howard presents two pieces of draft legislation he is working on to modernize electricity on PEI and pave the way for a renewable future, and invites your feedback.
Thursday, February 11th at 7pm: Trish Altass
Green MLA and Health Critic Trish Altass presents two bills she's working on to create an accountability framework between between the Minister of Health and the Health PEI board, and to clarify the available grounds for the disclosure of information to assist family members and community groups who are closely connected to persons receiving care.
Wednesday, February 17th at 7pm: Ole Hammarlund
Green MLA and Net Zero Critic Ole Hammarlund - a green architect by profession - will present the promise and potential of net-zero buildings (buildings that produce the same amount of energy as they use). He will explain why he tabled a motion last year calling on government to require all new provincially-constructed buildings to be net-zero.
District 22 Summerside-South Drive Electoral District Association - Annual General Meeting
WHEN: February 22, 2021 at 6:30pm - 7:30pm
WHERE: Silver Fox Entertainment Complex, 110 Water St, Summerside
Click here to learn more about how you can get involved. And remember that nominations to join the D22 Coordinating Team close this Monday, February 8th!
Save the date: Summerside & Area Green Drinks (St Patty's Day!)
WHEN: Wednesday, March 17th at 7pm
WHERE: Dooly’s, 298 Water Street, Summerside
DETAILS: Join fellow Greens in Summerside at Dooly's for St Patrick's Day, just like in the good ol' days! Masks are mandatory - as is social distancing. We will be doing contact tracing. We are limited to 25 people, so be sure to come early. We look forward to seeing you there!
Our Green MLAs have been busy lately - this year the pause between Legislative sittings is shorter than usual as the new legislative calendar takes effect and the "spring" sitting will now begin on February 25th instead of at the beginning of April as it used to.
Here's a look at what our MLAs have been saying, doing and writing about recently:
Peter Bevan-Baker - Leader of the Opposition
February 5, 2021: Government is playing a high stakes game with Islander lives
Peter speaks out against the closed-door, reckless decision by Premier Dennis King and his cabinet to approve and promote an online casino targeting the most vulnerable Islanders during a mental health epidemic and economic crisis.
February 4, 2021: Official Opposition responds to King shuffle of cabinet
February 3, 2021: A long and difficult delivery
The establishment of midwifery on PEI has been a long, painful, and to date, unproductive labour. It is way past time for the Minister and Premier to deliver on this promise.
January 25, 2021: We need a new and fresh foundation to build a better story
Neoliberalism, the almost universally accepted political doctrine of the last few decades, is in its death throes. Physical growth on a finite planet has its limits. We have already blown by some of them. Growth, however, can also be about getting better, not bigger. Development, both personal and collective, can be utterly sustainable if we choose to do it right.
January 11, 2021: Critical Transportation Services Need Support: Peter Bevan-Baker
December 15, 2021: Island Youth are showing the leadership we need to create a brighter, fairer PEI
My belief and confidence has shifted to the next generation, who said last week in a rousing chorus, that we can do better; that we will be better. Not only did they say we can do better, they showed how it will be done. It will be done together, for each other, and in ways that make an immediate impact.
Trish Altass - Health & Wellness Critic, Fisheries & Communities, and Opposition Whip
Last month, Trish Altass took on new responsibilities as the Official Opposition Whip, a role previously served by Lynne Lund. She's also been working on two new bills: one to create an accountability framework between the Minister of Health and the Health PEI board, and to clarify the available grounds for the disclosure of information to assist family members and community groups who are closely connected to persons receiving care.
Click here to register for her Outside the Rails Zoom session on February 11th, when she'll present and discuss the bills she's working on right now.
All the while, Trish has been a strong voice for those Islanders frustrated with government missteps and inaction on key health files, especially mental health.
January 18, 2021: We need action on mental health, not another piece of fiction
Premier King, you told Islanders a beautiful and hopeful story about what mental health treatment would look like under your leadership. But we need more than stories now. It is time for you to step up and step in. The buck stops with you.
Michele Beaton - Critic for Finance, Agriculture & Land, and Opposition House Leader
Michele Beaton also took on an important new responsibility last month, taking the baton from Hannah Bell to become the new Opposition House Leader - an important role that involves coordinating and negotiating with the other parties on the proceedings of the Legislature. Michele speaks about this new role in her first weekly wrap-up video.
Be sure to check out Michele's other short weekly wrap-up videos on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MicheleBeatonMLA/videos. So far, she has spoken about the new ALC online casino plans, PEI Cannabis, the refusal of the Minister of Agriculture and Land to publicly disclose the IRAC report on the Brendel land sale in Bedeque, crop rotation and soil health, the REACH Foundation's mental health services, and the importance of public consultation in drafting good legislation and policy. And a bit about herself personally, too!
In her role as Finance Critic, Michele was also busy these past several weeks preparing the Green Party's requests for the 2021 Operating Budget. She even hosted an online session with Green Party members on January 6th to explain the role of the Operating Budget and to give members tips about how to write successful budget proposals to the Finance Minister. If you missed that session, you can still check out the recording on YouTube.
Hannah Bell - Critic for Social Development and Housing, and Economic Growth
Hannah has been extremely active in her work to stand up for the most vulnerable on PEI, including those living in poverty, renters struggling with the lack of affordable housing, and small businesses struggling to survive. She is currently preparing to table a groundbreaking bill that will require the government to create a strategy and set targets to eliminate poverty on PEI. Wow!
February 1, 2021: Eliminating Poverty on Prince Edward Island
Hannah writes about the Poverty Strategy and Elimination Act that she is working on, and invites feedback on her draft bill.
See also the recording of Hannah's February 3rd Zoom discussion about her bill.
January 27, 2021: Smart small business investment can lead to sustainable growth in our Island economy
Small businesses create job opportunities and growth – that’s why governments at all levels should prioritize entrepreneurship in the recovery from COVID. This means rethinking how we support new businesses to start and grow, and how we can help existing small businesses make it through the pandemic. Support doesn’t just look like funding, but a community-wide effort to help small businesses survive and thrive.
January 6, 2021: Failure to ignite
With over 1000 women in business on PEI, why have so few of Innovation PEI's Ignition Fund grants for entrepreneurs gone to women-owned businesses?
Karla Bernard, Critic for Education and the Status of Women
|Karla Bernard holds a stack of letters from UPEI students asking for the moratorium on student loan repayments to be extended. The Province had put in place a student loan repayment moratorium earlier in the pandemic and that expired September 2020. Despite our attempts asking government to renew it, there has been no further commitment. Karla is happy to support their call to action and support students!|
Karla is working to bring two bills to the Legislature this spring. The first is the Election Age Act, which would reduce the voting age on PEI from 18 to 16. This bill was first tabled and debated last fall, but was referred for more stakeholder consultation. Karla has been consulting widely on this bill and will bring it back this spring - hopefully passing it and continuing PEI's rich tradition as a Canadian leader in democratic inclusiveness.
The second bill Karla is preparing is an amendment to the Education Act, which would require educational authorities such as the English- and French-language school board to maintain modern sexual misconduct policies, including reporting requirements. Karla was inspired to work on this bill in light of some recent high-profile cases of sexual misconduct being ignored for years.
Listen to the recording of Karla's Outside the Rails session on January 28th, in which she discusses these two bills with members.
Ole Hammarlund - Critic for Tourism and Culture; Net-Zero Critic
December 30, 2020: The season of hot air
Ole questions why the government is ignoring the best advice and its own commitment to achieving Net-Zero emissions by expanding wood chip heating, but won't build more net-zero government buildings which will eliminate emissions while saving on operating costs.
December 17, 2020: Tourism needs long-term vision and immediate action
So far, the government has not shared a vision to support a tourism industry on life support. The Official Opposition will continue to listen to and advocate for our province’s vital tourism industry as it navigates these unprecedented challenges.
Do you live in District 13 Charlottetown-Brighton? If so, join Ole between 6-7pm at the Haviland Club this Tuesday, February 9th, where he will be available to meet with any constituents who might want to drop by to discuss concerns or ask questions.
Steve Howard - Critic for Transportation, Infrastructure & Energy, and for Justice and Public Safety
Steve is preparing a set of two bills for the legislative sitting starting February 25th, both of which are intended to modernize the electricity system on PEI.
In a nutshell, the changes Steve is proposing will:
- Provide legal requirements to transition to 100% clean electricity by 2030;
- Create more affordable electricity by removing the minimum purchase price for large producers;
- Introduce electricity rates that promote energy efficiency and reduce bills for most Islanders;
- Give farmers protections against rate shock;
- Reward and invest in people powered solutions such as home energy generation, storage and vehicle-to-grid technology in PEI;
- Introduce time-of-use rates for electricity.
Lynne Lund - Critic for Environment, Water and Climate Change
In addition to her work on the Special Committee on Climate Change and the Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Committee (and holding the government's feet to the fire to be good stewards of our precious water resources!) Lynne has been busy preparing a very significant piece of legislation which, if passed, could be a game changer for environmental health on PEI.
The Environmental Bill of Rights would embed rights to a healthy environment in legislation, and provide a mechanism for citizens to participate in government decisions that could endanger those rights through an independent Environment Commissioner. There are precedents for this kind of legislation in other parts of Canada going back to the 1970's, including in Quebec, Ontario, the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
To learn more, please tune into this extremely interesting session of Outside the Rails in which Lynne presents and discusses her Environmental Bill or Rights with members.
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 website at www.peigreencaucus.ca for blogs, videos and more!
Last month, many Greens were saddened to learn of the passing of member Bernadette Mulligan of Kinkora.
Bernadette was an avid volunteer who helped out in several Green Party campaigns both provincially and federally. Matt MacFarlane, the 2019 Green candidate for her district of Borden-Kinkora, shared these fond memories of Bernadette:
"During my 2019 election campaign, Bernie and I spent two full days together, as she introduced me to her friends, family and neighbours door to door in and around Kinkora. Her smiles and energy were limitless, as was her passion for the Green Party. She knew everyone behind every door, and they knew her, and everyone was happy to see her when we knocked. We had so many laughs those two days; she had a funny memory or a story to share about almost everyone. And by the time we finished the second day, the number of memories and stories had doubled. Without doubt those are my favourite memories of the campaign and I'll remember and cherish them always. Bernie was one of a kind. She will be so missed by everyone who knew her."
2021 Census Jobs - Statistics Canada
Looking for a job? Statistics Canada is now hiring enumerators and crew leaders for the 2021 Census. There are positions available in every Canadian community. This is a great way to get to know and serve your community! For more info, visit census.gc.ca/jobs
Please do not contact the Green Party of PEI with inquiries about Census jobs. This notice is posted as a public service announcement to help Statistics Canada recruit the hundreds of Census workers it needs on Prince Edward Island.
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