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PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Recent news stories clearly show why the King government needs to protect temporary foreign workers

A CBC Investigates story is pulling back the veil on conditions facing temporary foreign workers and what is being revealed is shocking.

In June 2021 the TFW Maritimes (Cooper Institute, St. Thomas University, and Dalhousie University) released a report via the Migrant Workers in the Canadian Maritimes partnership titled Safe at Work, Unsafe at Home highlighting concerns about the treatment of temporary foreign workers.

Upon the release of the report, many said it reflected poorly upon Island farms and fishery operations. They called into question the findings of the report and some said, “there is always the odd bad apple”. One bad apple is one too many; as we know a ‘bad apple spoils the bunch’.

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PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Statement on the contempt the King government is showing Islanders

This week has seen stories in the media about Islanders who have no option for shelter but a tent in the woods. We have also heard how the absence of a plan for healthcare is eroding the system across the province and especially in rural PEI. And our inflation rate remains the highest in the country.

Today’s announcement of another $6.6M in paving shows the King Government does not understand the crises facing Islanders, or simply does not care.

The Official Opposition Green Caucus has been asking over and over for the Premier to stand in front of Islanders and tell us all his plans for improving all these things. Yet he chooses to remain silent while things steadily get worse.

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LYNNE LUND: Gaps in gender-affirming care in PEI

All Islanders deserve to receive the healthcare services necessary for their well-being, their safety in the community, and their ability to live their healthy, authentic self. This should be true no matter the person’s background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Our healthcare system is founded on the principle that everyone should have access to the care they need.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

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Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, and Amita Kuttner, Interim Leader of the Green Party of Canada, call on federal government to step up inflation relief for Islanders and all Canadians

Charlottetown, PE – Canadians across the country are faced with a crisis of rising costs. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Prince Edward Island where inflation has soared into double digits. For months, the PEI Green caucus has been calling on the provincial government to do more to help Islanders.

“Every day we hear from people who are struggling with these higher prices, and who are being forced to cut back on the basics they need,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the PEI Official Opposition Green Caucus. “Nobody should have to choose between food, medicine, and paying their bills, but we’re seeing more and more people being forced to do so.”

“Premier Dennis King took months to get relief into the hands of Islanders, and what finally has come has been five months late and nowhere near what is needed. This is not good enough.”

 

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MICHELE BEATON: Statement on the absence of Premier King and Minister Hudson as PEI’s healthcare system teeters on the brink of a collapse

A traffic accident last evening revealed just how close PEI’s healthcare system is to collapsing. With more than 80 people already in the ER waiting to see a doctor, a major accident required a Code Orange to be called. This meant an already overwhelmed ER had to pivot all resources to meet the demands of this emergency. It meant already exhausted healthcare workers were called back into the ER to provide emergency care.

Throughout the pandemic healthcare workers have risen to the occasion to provide lifesaving care for Islanders. They have done this while being understaffed, under supported, and under resourced. They have answered the call time and time again and they are exhausted. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, we continue to see no action or leadership from Dennis King’s government.

 

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Official Opposition makes case for an increase to $15.21 for minimum wage

The past few years have been challenging for Islanders, but especially challenging for lower-income workers. Far too many Islanders are putting in the hours but still earning poverty wages. This is why the Official Opposition has made a submission to the Employment Standards Board’s minimum wage review, outlining a case to immediately increase minimum wage to $15.21 and set a living wage as our minimum wage target.

“Minimum wage earners have little or no bargaining power and are dependent on policies like the minimum wage to improve their well-being,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus. “We must be bold in committing to move our economy toward a more equitable future. It begins with an immediate increase to the minimum wage and a plan to quickly bring it to a liveable wage level.”

 

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MICHELE BEATON: Wait times

Since being elected, I have heard countless stories of long wait times in our healthcare system — from ER waits to waiting for needed surgeries. It is heartbreaking to hear from families whose loved one is living in agonizing pain for months, and often years, while they wait for help.

Although long wait times are nothing new, I have been hearing from a growing number of healthcare workers who are worried that our already long wait times are getting worse. One way this can change is if the Dennis King government starts to actually value and respect our frontline workers.

MRI and CT wait times

A patient in PEI can expect to wait up to 214 days for a non-urgent MRI scan – for example, imaging required for a knee surgery. The “target” length to wait for a non-urgent MRI should be less than 84 days. This is the length of time that Canadian experts say is an appropriate, maximum length of time for most patients (90%) to wait. Waiting longer than this can negatively affect patients’ health. Only 25% of Island patients receive an MRI during the target time.

Delays in getting these surgeries can mean that the person not only lives in terrible pain for a longer period of time, but they will also physically get worse.

For a CT scan, the wait time is 106 days for Island patients who are deemed non-urgent. The “target” length to wait for a non-urgent CT is 56 days. Access to imaging services affect health in a number of ways. One of the most devastating effects is delays for needed surgeries. Knee and hip replacements require a number of imaging scans before and after surgery. Delays in getting images can delay a surgery.

Delays in getting these surgeries can mean that the person not only lives in terrible pain for a longer period of time, but they will also physically get worse. I have heard many horrible stories from Islanders who had to endure significant pain during year-long wait times for these very necessary surgeries.

 

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Official Opposition Green Caucus support Island Families calling for public inquiry into long-term care on Prince Edward Island

Charlottetown, PE – Imagine being confined to your bed for days on end with no one answering your calls for help. Or imagine not being able to bathe for weeks because there is no one to help you. Or imagine not being able to go to the washroom on your own and being left to sit in soiled clothing because there aren’t enough staff to provide the dignity and care you need.

“I can only imagine the shame and anger a person goes through when they learn that their mother, father, or loved one prematurely passed away and did not receive the care they needed,” said Michele Beaton. “Islanders deserve to know the truth about the state of long-term care on Prince Edward Island. We owe it to the family members and we owe it to the frontline healthcare workers that have been raising concerns for years.”

Today two Island families shared the experiences of their loved ones while in long-term care on Prince Edward Island.

 

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PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Healthcare is collapsing and Premier King is MIA

It is disappointing to look for leadership in a crisis and find the leaders have abandoned their posts. Healthcare is in a crisis on PEI, so where are Premier King and Health Minister Ernie Hudson?

Just this weekend I heard from an emergency room (ER) healthcare worker who told me that doctors and nurses are very concerned for the ability of ERs on PEI to keep up with demand. Health PEI leadership responded by saying things get busy in the summer and they already have a plan in place. When asked what the plan was, there was nothing offered or shared. This means ERs continue to face overcrowding with no communication on how this will be managed from either leadership or Minister Hudson who is ultimately responsible for the state of healthcare. This is unacceptable.

How desperately bad do things have to get before Premier King begins to demand accountability and action from his Minister?

 

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HANNAH BELL: Islanders need more than words of disappointment from the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action

When Minister Myers had the opportunity to improve electricity rates for Islanders through legislation, he said no. This is why it is a little rich to hear Minister Myers describe the recent rate application by Maritime Electric (MECL) as ‘disappointing’ and ‘ridiculous.’

When the Official Opposition Green caucus introduced legislation last year to modernize electricity on PEI, the Minister spoke against it. He said no to eliminating the existing rate structure that sees Islanders paying more for their power while saying yes to discounts for big corporations that use more power.

 

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