Anyone who has wandered the beautiful north shore at Point DesRoches this summer would have been dismayed to see the destruction of a pristine beach and historical property. If you have tuned into Island social media over the last 10 days, you are more than aware that it has sparked a wave of anger that will rival what we are likely to see when Hurricane Fiona pays our region a visit.
For those of us who have for many years been trying to protect the dwindling viewscapes, unspoilt beaches, and architectural gems that dot our province, this particular development represents a lightning rod that has channelled decades of growing discontent.
Here’s what we know about the situation.
A 17 acre piece of land including a former train station that was turned into a cottage was sold back in 2020. The buyer is an investment company with an Ontario address. The sale was approved by Premier King’s Cabinet. The new owners have torn down the old cottage and are building a new structure closer to the beach.
Associated with this new building is a massive amount of new imported hard rock armoring reaching out beyond the high tide mark. This is concerning for a couple of reasons.
The decision by IRAC to approve maximum rental increases of either 5.2% or 10.8% depending on how landlords heat their properties is unconscionable and will threaten the housing of thousands of Islanders.
It is impossible to get blood from a turnip, and it is cruel to expect Islanders already tapped out due to the high costs of living to somehow magically produce hundreds of dollars more to keep a roof over their heads.
Earlier today, the Employment Standards Board issued its minimum wage order with the Cabinet's approval. This minimum wage order includes an increase to $14.50 effective January 1, 2023, and an increase to $15 effective October 1, 2023.
While I’m happy to see the minimum wage increase and that the Board took into account the submission from the Official Opposition on the minimum wage order, I am concerned that these increases are simply not enough to help Island workers keep pace with inflation that continues to lead the country.
A $15 minimum wage is a milestone that workers, experts, and advocates have been calling for, for years. As we pointed out in our submission, it should be a step toward a living wage.
Our caucus had called for an increase to $15.21 by April 1, 2023, which would help the wages of low-income workers keep pace with rising inflation. The decision to delay a further $0.50 increase until October 1, 2023, hurts workers in seasonal industries that disproportionately rely on low-wage labor.
KARLA BERNARD:Statement on government’s plan to create temporary housing at former government garage
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Social Development and Housing and his department for their work in providing temporary housing for Islanders needing a place to live this coming winter.
Yesterday the province said it had purchased 52 mobile units to be placed outside the former government garage at the corner of Riverside Drive and Park Street in Charlottetown. These units will ensure that more people have a roof over their heads and the dignity of access to showers and bathrooms this winter. This is something the Official Opposition has been pushing the government to provide for the last four years.
The Minister has indicated that it could take two months to get these units delivered and ready for tenants. Currently, we have Islanders living in tent encampments around the city, one of which is being threatened with displacement. If these Islanders are forced to leave their encampments before the mobile units are available, where are they supposed to go?
The first day of school for Island students is less than two weeks away. As summer is winding down, parents and students plan their back-to-school routines. This is a significant shift for many Island families, and a lot of planning goes into adjusting to the new routines and schedules.
Official Opposition: requests emergency meeting of the Standing Committee on Health and Social Development to call on Premier King and Minister of Health and Wellness Ernie Hudson to provide update on PEI’s healthcare crisis
This morning, the Official Opposition Green caucus sent a letter to the Standing Committee on Health and Social Development urgently requesting an emergency meeting to receive a public briefing from Premier Dennis King and Minister of Health and Wellness Ernie Hudson on their plans and intentions to address the healthcare crisis on PEI.
The Official Opposition is concerned that a private healthcare model could be in the cards. The Premier met with other Conservative premiers yesterday, and during a public media Q&A session afterward, there was a refusal to rule out the further privatization of healthcare. We can only imagine what these same premiers are saying behind closed doors.
We’ve seen from experience that private healthcare means worse outcomes for most patients. A privatized healthcare system allows the rich to get care faster, while most Islanders will wait even longer for care. The Official Opposition believes that public healthcare is one of the most crucial policy achievements in Canadian history and that everyone is equal and deserving of timely, equitable access to healthcare. Your paycheque should have no impact on your ability to access care.
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’.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.”