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Where are the Women?

Screen_Shot_2018-01-12_at_10.31.38_AM.jpegCynthia Enloe, a prominent scholar in the area of gender, challenges us to ask “Where are the women?”   When we ask this question, Enloe argues, we become aware of the attitudes and behaviours that sustain inequality, aggression, poverty, gender based violence, and much more.   We begin to see that sustainable solutions that benefit all peoples economically and socially come from elevating the status of women in all spheres of decision making.  

Last month as I sat in the gallery at the PEI Legislature, Enloe’s question surfaced for me once again.  I was disheartened to see that Minister Biggar’s identification plate on her Legislative seat read “Transportation, Infrastructure, and Energy”.   Where is the Status of Women?

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Incubators

boardroom_(1).jpgCabinet shuffles bring with them the potential to breathe new life into a portfolio. Every department has room for more vision, and economic development in particular (one of the newly shuffled portfolios) is an area with seemingly limitless room to dive deep. The potential benefits go far beyond a possible increase in the GDP.

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Life Outside ‘the rails’

legislative-chamber-in-the-coles-building.jpgThis  past week the Speaker of the House ruled against MLAs speaking to the gallery outside of the rails. The rails became a focus again later in the week when courageous MLAs chose to speak of their personal experiences with trauma in the House - and the government listened and responded - yet information obtained directly from Islanders about their experience with mental health, including trauma, was devalued and discounted.  Perhaps MLAs need to do less speaking to people outside of the rail and more listening.

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Hopeful Agriculture

alfalfa_field.jpg'Tis the season on PEI, of hand-wringing and questioning and general unrest when it comes to considerations of the agricultural variety. There is much displeasure at the perceived, if not accurate, deforestation and ecological damage happening at the hands of what has come to be accepted as corporate farming operations or those operations under the 'guidance' of corporate entities.

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Green Party announces nominees for District 11 by-election

Charlottetown - The Green Party of PEI announced Sunday that two nominees will be seeking candidacy in their nomination contest Monday evening. Karla Bernard, shadow critic for Education and Hannah Bell, shadow critic for Finance have both come forward.

“I’m looking forward to the Island Green Party’s first contested nomination tomorrow,” said Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker. “The calibre of the people who have come forward, even in such a compressed timeframe, is a real testament to the party’s growth in recent years, and the hard work done by our team to build the Green Party into a politically viable alternative to old-style politics.”

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From drills and maws to bills and laws

Writing laws is lots of work. It’s also very complicated, especially if your main training was how to stick needles in people’s faces and fill holes in their teeth. None of that prepares you terribly well for the analysis and development of legislation. But in my new occupation as a legislator, I consider the writing and scrutiny of laws as the most important aspect of my job. Looking after the concerns of my constituents, representing their views in the House, and advocating for district 17 is important and serious work, but like my 26 colleagues in the House, the study of new and existing laws should be the centrepiece of all our work lives.

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Six young mothers die

Essential Island workers dying at their workplace, doing unpaid job of caring for children

mother_and_baby.jpgSince January of this year, six young Island women have died in their workplace.

To my knowledge, there has been no investigation by any government agency leading to an identification of the circumstances that led to their deaths, an implementation of - or increase in - safety measures to make the job safer or support for the family members left without a mother, wife, sister, or daughter. 

The Island women who died on the job were doing the unpaid and essential work of caring for children; their workplace was the home. They suffered with postnatal (postpartum) depression, which eventually led to their deaths. 

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Reconfederation

25 years ago historian Francis Fukuyama wrote a book called “The End of History.” In it he suggested that with the advent of Western liberal democracy, we had all that was needed to ensure sustained prosperity, peace and good government for the entire world forever and a day. We had reached, as the author puts it: “…the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

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Investing in mental health care

Our Health Minister Robert Henderson continues to assure us that there is no mental health crisis on Prince Edward Island.  

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In June 2015, I had the honour of representing Prince Edward Island as a member of the Canadian Citizen Reference Panel in Ottawa. Alongside the Mental Health Commission of Canada and countless other organizations and individuals too numerous to list, we aided in the creation of a mental health action plan for Canada. 

I did my best to represent Prince Edward Island, and the voices of all our communities were well represented, including LGBT communities, Indigenous and First Nations communities, immigrant and refugee communities, our youth, elders, families struggling with mental health/health issues, people living with addictions, professionals working in these areas, families living in poverty, caregivers, our farmers, among others. 

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Happy Anniversary

Ann and I have been married for 30 years on July 4th, or “end of Independence day” as it is sometimes jokingly referred to in our house! Maintaining a relationship with another human being over a long period of time is - as anyone who has attempted it is aware - complex and challenging, so having reached this milestone intact, and in some ways with an even stronger and deeper connection, is definitely something worth celebrating.

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