Islanders are being priced out of living in PEI.
Instead of acknowledging the severity of the situation, the Premier tours and the Minister of Finance disappears. Last week at committee, despite being invited to share government’s plan to help Islanders, the Minister chose to send finance officials in her place to say that the worst is behind us when it comes to inflation.
Today’s report by Statistics Canada reveals that was a premature assessment of the situation. The report showed that in May, PEI again led the country with an atmospheric level of inflation at 11.1%. We are the only province with an inflation rate in double digits.
Islanders are deeply concerned and anxious, and rightfully so.
Now is not the time for government to hide from Islanders. It is time for Premier King and Finance Minister Darlene Compton to explain what government is doing immediately—not five or six months from now—to help Islanders facing threats to the wellbeing and security of themselves, their families, and their businesses.
The Green Party of PEI launched our grassroots policy development process in 2020 and, following a delay brought about by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrated the adoption of our first member-created, member-approved policies at our 2021 General Meeting in May 2021.
The establishment of a formal process to empower and encourage party members to take an active role in forming the party’s policy agenda has been a key priority for the Green Party of PEI for many years and aligns strongly with our core value of Grassroots Democracy.
According to the Party Constitution, policies are defined as “Motions that, if adopted in a vote open to all members, articulate what the Party would work toward if elected (Article 7 (1)(i)).” Going forward, all policies approved by the membership will be added to a Party Policy Book. Where member-approved policy does not yet exist on a particular issue, the Green Party of PEI’s official position is determined by its Legislative and Shadow Caucuses. This document presents policies that were discussed and approved by the membership in 2022.
The Grassroots Policy Development Process is open on a continuous basis and supported by the Motions Development Committee. Motions may be discussed and voted on at Annual General Meetings or at other General Meetings of the Party called for this purpose. Members interested in developing a policy proposal are encouraged to learn about the process and support available at www.greenparty.pe.ca/grassrootspolicy and to contact the Motions Development Committee to share their ideas and get support at [email protected].
Yesterday, the Province announced its isolation requirement for COVID-19 is ending on June 30th, and it will be reviewed next week. I am extremely concerned by this development, especially the timing.
Under the current public health rules, Islanders must self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19. At its core, the isolation requirement exists to protect the health and wellbeing of Islanders. It was a key part of keeping COVID case numbers low in the early days of the pandemic.
Though the Premier might be done with COVID-19, COVID-19 is not done with us. New COVID-19 cases on PEI have increased in each of the past three reporting periods. Hospitalizations are also trending upward again.
COVID-related illness hurts our healthcare system and our economy. It places additional burdens on our hospitals in the short-term and additional burdens with long-COVID in the future, at a time when our healthcare workers are already burnt out from more than two years of COVID.
STATEMENT on the out-of-touch and callous response by the King government to the predicament of Islanders facing record inflation levels
Reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake”, the suggestion by the King government for Islanders to “tighten their belts” reveals the Premier and his Ministers are simply out of touch with the very real, very painful struggles Islanders are facing each and every day.
For example, the cost for someone to travel from the Minister of Finance’s district to Charlottetown and back is around $15 a day or $75 a week if they were doing this every day as a commute to their workplace. That means for a minimum wage earner, more than the first hour of their work day is just to cover the expense of getting to their job. Their fuel expenses aren’t covered by taxpayer dollars.
Fuel costs are just one area that record inflation on PEI is creating unsustainable expenses for Islanders. Yet, the cost of fuel affects everything from access to goods and services for things from food, medicines, and healthcare.
PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Calling on the Prime Minister to address rising cost of living by implementing a windfall profits tax on oil and gas companies
Today Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of the Green Party of PEI, joined provincial Green leaders across the country calling on the federal government to address the affordability crisis and implement a windfall profits tax on oil and gas companies.
“Islanders continue to feel the rising cost of living – at the grocery store, the gas pumps, and when they are paying their home-heating bills,” said Bevan-Baker. “In the absence of leadership from Premier Dennis King and his provincial government, I, along with my provincial counterparts, am calling on the federal government to step in and support Canadians during this difficult time.”
KARLA BERNARD: Calling on Minister Trivers to immediately hold a public meeting on the Community Outreach Centre
The community of Charlottetown-Victoria Park is feeling unsafe. The community has serious concerns about the safety and security of its residents and the clients of the Community Outreach Centre.
By ignoring the concerns of the community and the concerns of the clients, by choosing to misrepresent the reality or ignore it, the Minister responsible is choosing to place the safety of the community of Charlottetown-Victoria Park at risk.
Many have expressed concerns about the garbage around the Centre, including the safe disposal of used needles. There has been theft from residents including the theft of bicycles. There are concerns about loitering. There are not enough shelter beds in Charlottetown so people are sleeping in the hallways of private buildings, backyards, and in tents wherever they can find space. These are the direct outcomes of a government that has failed to invest in people and the services they need.
I have brought these concerns to the attention of Minister Trivers numerous times both publicly in the House and in conversations, meetings, and emails. In every instance, the Minister has questioned my account of the concerns of constituents in my district. His willful ignorance of the issues and refusal to take action has led to a crisis in our community.
MICHELE BEATON: Calling on Premier King to Listen to Nurses and Stop Denying Healthcare Workers Their Vacation
Union leaders are speaking out because healthcare workers, including LPNs, RCWs and RNs are being denied their vacation requests. It is unacceptable that nursing professionals are being denied their much-needed and well-earned vacation.
I have heard from many staff at different facilities who have been denied their vacation. They are frustrated and rightfully so. Nurses have held our healthcare system together and they are carrying a massive burden with no end in sight. They are exhausted.
For two years, Premier King and Minister of Health Ernie Hudson have praised healthcare workers for their work on the frontline of this pandemic. Praise isn’t enough. They need time off to rest and relax, to spend time with loved ones and to take care of themselves but the King government continues to say no to their health needs. PEI’s healthcare worker shortage is not going away and denying nurses vacation is only going to make the rate of burnout so much worse.
Recent COVID updates have left me uneasy. I am especially concerned about the conditions in long-term care on PEI, particularly private facilities. Over the past two years, there has been a complete lack of action by this government to protect both residents and frontline healthcare workers.
For example, the number of beds in private long-term care and public long-term care are roughly equal—624 and 632, respectively. Both are also given the same public health guidance. Yet COVID outcomes have been considerably worse in private care homes.
There have been at least 244 cases among residents of private LTC homes, compared to at least 127 cases among residents of public LTC homes. In other words, private LTC residents have been nearly 2x more likely to catch COVID than public LTC residents.
With the release of the PEI Partnership for Growth economic action plan today, the Island’s business community has outlined its economic vision for Prince Edward Island.
“I was pleased to see the plan recognize that the well-being of all Islanders is critical, and that livable wages, affordable housing, and access to critical services like health care will be central to that prosperous future,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus. “Our caucus could not agree more.”
Yet there is something conspicuously missing in the process.
“The role of government is to create an environment where small businesses and communities can succeed,” said Trish Altass, Official Opposition Green Caucus Critic for Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture. “We have not seen the necessary action or planning from this government that workers and businesses need to thrive.”
PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Government must act now to help Islanders facing crippling costs of living increases
Once again Prince Edward Island is leading all of Canada with a soaring cost of living. According to new Statistics Canada data released today, PEI recorded an 8.9% inflation rate, year over year, in April.
In the spring sitting of the Legislature, my caucus repeatedly called on this Government to share its plan to support Islanders through this unprecedented period of inflation. Instead of a plan, the Minister of Finance, who earns twice the median Island household income, could only offer unhelpful advice to ‘tighten your belts.’ This was not simply a terrible choice of words – it was a clear expression of the King Government’s approach to supporting Islanders.
When given the opportunity to provide Islanders a full carbon rebate—hundreds of dollars more than what his actual plan provides—Premier King questioned whether putting more money in Islanders’ pockets was the best approach. When pressed to rapidly provide food gift cards to Islanders—something that was so easily done for tourists—this government did nothing.