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|On Pink Shirt Day (Feb 24), the Green Caucus joined other Islanders in taking a stand against bullying, saying "Wherever we are, whatever we do, let's do our best everyday to create a more inclusive, safe space where we lift each other up."|
First of all, we hope you are well and want to thank the incredible 11,000 Islanders who went and got COVID tests over just three days last week. Wow! While the sudden emergence of COVID clusters and the B.1.1.7. variant on PEI served as a reminder that we are not out of the woods yet and vigilance is always required, the fact that 7% of our entire population, including thousands of youth, heeded the call to get tested (often waiting long hours to do so) was also a reminder of what makes PEI such a special place to live, and the lengths we are prepared to go to protect this place and each other.
In the backdrop to this, our MLAs were back at work in the Legislature. The Winter/Spring sitting began with a Speech from the Throne outlining the government's new agenda, one that Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker calls "timid and tepid". I was so impressed by Peter and our other Green MLAs' articulate responses to the throne speech - and have highlighted several of them in this newsletter. I HIGHLY recommend listening to or reading them - they will surely get you thinking!
The incredible work of our MLAs reminds all of us how important the work of the Green Party is to find, encourage and support these people, and to do all we can to ensure that the Legislature is filled with intelligent, passionate, articulate and hard-working MLAs guided by Green values. In this newsletter, we remind you of some of the many ways that our Members can get involved in this important work. Not yet a member? It's never too late to join and get involved!
Please enjoy today's newsletter, and have a great weekend!
In this newsletter:
- Greens in the Legislature - responses to the Speech from the Throne
- April 24 AGM and Provincial Council elections
- Call for Motions
- Committees and Working Groups want you!
- March 17 St Patrick's Day Green Drinks cancelled
- In loving memory of Daryl Guignion
Since the Legislature started sitting again on February 25th with a Speech from the Throne, one of the focusses of our MLAs in the Legislature has been responding to it. The Speech from the Throne is where the government lays out its agenda for the next several years, and every MLA has the right to speak in response to it, and this is an especially important way for the Opposition to hold government to account and highlight what it feels is missing, to lay out an alternative vision and advance new ideas - and of course, to also give credit where it is due.
Unfortunately, this throne speech was found very lacking. Peter Bevan-Baker calls it "timid and tepid", saying "A Throne Speech is the time for government to express its biggest dreams and to tether those dreams to practical and attainable policy. Making good choices now will set PEI up for a future that is both fair and sustainable,” said Bevan-Baker, “However, from what we heard yesterday, it seems the Premier is happy with maintaining the status quo. He is content with the state of our mental health and addictions services. He is fine with the housing crisis we face. He is okay to see so many Islanders without a family doctor. In fact, he went as far as to say it is unrealistic for Islanders to expect to have a physician dedicated to their health. It seems the Premier is giving up on the issues that are so very critical to the health and wellbeing of Islanders."
You can also see what the Green Caucus had asked the government to include in the Throne Speech here.
The Green MLAs individual responses to the Speech from the Throne are well worth watching or reading. Below, we highlight four of them (the ones whose transcripts were available as of today). We will bring you the rest in our next update from the Legislature!
As the Leader of the Official Opposition, Peter Bevan-Baker took the lead. His speech is long (it took about 1.5 hours to complete over two days), but we are sure you will find it captivating as this speech represents Peter at his finest. In contrast to the Speech from the Throne, Peter lays out a true vision for a happy, healthy, sustainable and prosperous Prince Edward Island.
In her speech, Lynne Lund opens by taking the government to task for a continued lack of action on the lack of housing availability and affordability as the government pats itself on the back for a slight increase in rental vacancy rates in Charlottetown driven primarily by the collapse of tourism this past year. She then focusses most of her speech on giving the government and its past environment ministers a scathing assessment of their (lack of) work on the Environment file, including water and climate change.
On Island Morning's Political Panel on March 5th, commentator Kathy Large highlighted Lynne's speech as one of the best responses to a Speech from the Throne that she had ever seen.
Karla Bernard, the Green Party's Critic for Education and the Status of Women, speaks about the government's failure to meaningfully address the systemic, "wicked problems" that continue to cause suffering for many Islanders - "affordable housing crisis, poverty, food insecurity, mental health crisis, child care issues, livable wage issues, outdated education systems, lack of job security with no opportunity, the importance of life skills in our economy, truly understanding and practicing what it means to support women in roles traditionally held by men, just to name a few."
Ole Hammarlund is the bringing his passion for innovative solutions to the climate crisis to the Legislature, as he has done throughout his illustrious career as a green architect. Ole congratulates the government on adopting the Green Party's net-zero agenda, but warns that "progressive goals are not enough. Far too often, governments and politicians declare goals that are never implemented." He urges the government to take real, bold action, like requiring all new buildings to meet new net-zero standards, and even more - how about net-zero villages? Also the Green Party's Tourism critic, Ole notes that innovative sustainability projects are not only needed to accelerate progress towards our net-zero goals, but that they can become top tourism attractions too - as the famous Ark was in the 1970s.
|Photo credit Steve Bruce/CBC|
|Photo Credit Stu Neatby/The Guardian|
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.
The Green Party of PEI is a grassroots party - in other words, members rule! Members, new and old, are the driving force of this party, and right now there are many different ways you can contribute. Here's a roundup of opportunities to get involved and take leadership in the party:
Annual General Meeting and Provincial Council Election 2021
The Green Party of PEI 2021 Annual General Meeting will take place online on Saturday, April 24th, 2021. Click here to register.
Provincial Council and Ombuds Committee Elections:
As usual, our 2021 Provincial Council and Ombuds Committee elections will begin 30 days prior to the AGM, on March 25th. We have a number of important positions coming up for election this year, and hope you will consider putting your name forward. The Provincial Council is the governing body of the Green Party of PEI, and Ombudspeople are independent officers of the party responsible for upholding member rights and the GPPEI Code of Conduct and Ethics.
Will you help steer the Green Party of PEI successfully over the years ahead?
Click here for more information about the roles that are up for election, and how to submit your nomination.
Curious about Provincial Council? Sign up here for the Info Session on March 11th, 2021 at 7pm!
The deadline for nominations is March 24, 2021.
Members in Motion
Motions debated and voted on by members at General Meetings are an important part of the party's internal democracy. There are three kinds of motions: policy motions (about what the Green Party stands for and will work towards), governance motions (to amend the Constitution or Bylaws), and directive motions (directing Provincial Council to take an action).
All members are encouraged to participate in building the Green party and its vision by participating in the motion development process. The deadline for the submission of motions to be considered at the April 24 AGM is March 18, 2021. Please click here for more information about how to develop and submit motions.
Committees and Working Groups
Much of the important work of the party happens in Committees and Working Groups. Here are the ones that are currently seeking new members to participate:
Motion Submission Committee and Policy Helper Corps
As part of our ongoing Motion Submission Process, we are calling on members who would like to volunteer to help steward this process as members of the Motion Submission Committee or the Policy Helper Corps. We are hoping for as diverse a committee as possible, and encourage all to apply!
The Motion Submission Committee will play a critical role in the policy motion process by:
- Receiving and offering feedback on motions;
- Ensuring that motions meet basic standards;
- Helping match members with other party member, such as Policy Helpers (see below) and Shadow Critics, who can assist them with their motions.
The Motion Submission Committee will be appointed for the year 2021, and will help process motions leading up to both the April 24th AGM and the Fall Convention (Oct 2). It will consist of at least three members. Due to their role, Members of the Committee will not be eligible to create or co-sponsor their own motions. This role is about upholding the process and supporting the ideas of others, not about advancing your own.
The Policy Helper Corps is a pool of Green Party members willing to assist in the policy development process: some may be experts in a particular subject area, others may advise on governance, history, group process, writing, or advocacy. We want to bring to bear the full richness of our members’ skills and experiences to the policy development process. Those developing motions can think of the Policy Helper Corps as an elite squad of smart assistants, ready to deploy, as needed, to make policy better. Read more about Policy Helpers here.
Election Readiness Committee
Are you someone who loves elections? Loves planning? Loves being ready to make an awesome impact? If so, you should consider joining our Election Readiness Committee!
With the next election expected within 2.5 years, it is definitely not too early to start planning for the next election. That's why the Provincial Council is currently preparing a mandate for an Election Readiness Committee. This committee will work with the Executive Director and party leadership to help prepare the party for an election by:
- Creating strategies to identify, encourage and support potential candidates;
- Ensure all nomination procedures are up to date;
- Create an election plan that draws on the lessons learned from the last one.
We are seeking up to seven members with a diversity of skills and perspectives to form this committee.
If this sounds like something you could be interested in, please write to us at [email protected] and tell us a bit about yourself, your background and interests and why you are interested in joining the Election Readiness Committee.
Strategic Planning Working Group
The Green Party of PEI is currently in the process of creating a new strategic plan to guide us for the next several years. A Strategic Plan helps everyone in the party understand and share its key priorities and strategies so that we can go further together.
If you would be interested in participating in this process, please contact us at [email protected]to let us know!
CANCELLED: Summerside & Area Green Drinks (St Patty's Day!)
Sadly, due to the concerning public health situation, we have had to cancel the Summerside & Area Green Drinks that was planned for St. Patrick's Day :-(
Have a safe St. Patrick's, and we look forward to painting the town Green again next year!
Darryl Guignion (1942-2021)
On February 8th, Daryl Guignion, a remarkable advocate for PEI's natural world, passed away. On March 2nd, Peter Bevan-Baker spoke the following words about Daryl, a constituent of his in District 17 New Haven-Rocky Point, in the Legislature:
A friend to so many, Daryl Guignion, died last month. By so many, I mean not only a whole lot of Islanders, but his love extended to the four-legged, the winged and the finned beings that shared this special place with us. There can be few Islanders who spoke for or who cared for or who advocated for the natural world of Prince Edward Island more than Daryl Guignion. It was my privilege to know Daryl and to call him a friend and all of those who knew him were inevitably affected by him. His was not the loud, brash sort of activism, but his advocacy was no less deeply fierce and its style reflected his own understated, gentle personality. His life story is as remarkable as the man himself and the quiet determination that drove him to accomplish all of the extraordinary things that he did, was born of humble beginnings.
One privilege he had and which shaped his life philosophy and journey was an early immersion into nature. From his work and play as a young boy in the wilderness outside his backdoor in the Gaspe, Daryl developed a profound love and understanding of the natural world, of how all of its pieces fit together holistically and his and our place in the intricate web of life. Here in this place he chose to call home, his love of nature got expressed in ways that will leave an indelible mark for many generations of Islanders to come. From his four decades of teaching at UPEI that influenced so many people, to being a founding member of the Island Nature Trust, to the protection of Greenwich and the Morell River Conservation Zone, Daryl was instrumental in protecting our Island’s natural heritage. He also took great pride in his work on watershed management, including two Atlantic salmon strategies, which continue to provide guidance for river restoration here on Prince Edward Island today. More recently, he led the restoration of the Clyde River following the construction of the Cornwall bypass.
Daryl received a lot of recognition and many awards for his decades of environmental involvement and achievements and he was particularly proud to receive the Hon. J. Angus MacLean Natural Areas Award a number of years ago. This was special to Daryl because of the respect he had for our former premier and his belief that we and our environment would be well served if there were more politicians like Mr. MacLean, with vision and integrity.
All this recognition was appreciated but Daryl’s greatest wish has always been for Islanders to continue the fight and work to protect and restore our environment for future generations. Many people have also received a red oak sapling from Daryl. He could often be seen collecting acorns at his property in Canavoy, which, by the way, he recently protected under the Natural Areas Protection Act, as well as finding them on the UPEI campus and in city parks. And the best – not only would he give you these saplings, he’d come and plant it on your property. I think he was just wanting to make sure it was done right. The best way to remember Daryl is to plant a red oak tree.
Daryl was a constituent of District 17 New Haven-Rocky Point and his loss will be felt keenly by many friends and neighbours in the south shore region. I had the pleasure of sitting down with him just for over an hour or so just a couple of weeks before his death and his warmth, his generosity, and his earnestness were very much in evidence right to the end. Senator Diane Griffin, who was a student in the very first wildlife biology course that he ever taught, said this of Daryl: He was first and foremost an inspirational leader, both at UPEI and in the broader conservation community. Daryl was widely respected for his work to conserve natural areas and fish habitat. And, said Diane, I will miss him. As will I, and a whole host of Island residents of all kinds. I invite you to join me in passing our deep condolences on, on behalf of this Legislature, to his wife, Rosie MacFarlane, his six children – and I have to say particularly to Evelyn and Harrison, whom I know well – and to his large and loving extended family.
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