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Official Opposition proposes improvements to new Residential Tenancy Act that will recognize housing is a human right and ensure tenants can live in dignity and security

Charlottetown, PE – Earlier today, the Official Opposition attended a briefing on the government’s proposed new Residential Tenancy Act. The shared priorities of tenants and the Official Opposition Green caucus for improving tenancy protections on PEI were presented to the Minister of Social Development and Housing.

“In our response to the briefing by Minister Trivers, we reiterated that we must begin from the standpoint that housing is a human right,” said Karla Bernard, Official Opposition Critic for Social Development and Housing. “Recognizing that housing is a human right sets a foundation and framework on which to strengthen families and communities through the Act. Without this recognition, we continue to treat housing as a commodity and further deepen the housing crisis.”

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February 2022 Green News

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More than 80 people from all over PEI participated in each of our first two Rural Roundtables on Jan 12 & Feb 3. The discussions were awesome and we took pages and pages of notes that will inform Green policies and our next platform.

We plan on holding more of these, so stay tuned!

We're pleased to bring you another month of Green news.

The buzz around the Green Party of PEI these days is: Dialogue! As a political party, it is so important for us to continually check in with Islanders, so that the work we do is rooted in the needs, hopes and experiences of people throughout PEI. To this end, we have held two rurally-focussed online forums over the past three weeks, as part of our Rural Roundtable series. We have been just blown away by the participation and the fruitfulness of these discussions, leaving us all (including our Green MLAs) feeling newly energized. So thanks so much to all who joined us in those forums!

Later this month, on February 16th, we will be shifting our focus to the critical Island-wide issue of Housing, with our Housing Forum. If you are concerned about the state of housing on PEI and want to talk about the way out of the crisis, we hope you can join us there!

Until then, take care,

Jordan Bober
Executive Director

In this newsletter:

  • Upcoming Events
    • Housing Forum Feb 16
  • Green Caucus updates
    • Let us know what topics you'd like to see Green MLAs raise in the House
    • From the desks of Green MLAs
  • Members' Corner
    • Member survey and tax receipts coming soon
    • Volunteers wanted for the Election Readiness Committee
    • Grassroots policy discussions
    • The Downtown Charlottetown Greens want you!
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OLE HAMMARLUND: Blah blah blah — Actions, not words, are needed to solve our climate crisis

You may have heard about Greta Thunberg’s devastating criticism of the climate crisis conference that took place last fall in Glasgow, Scotland. It expressed her frustration over the glacial speed with which our leaders are responding to our world’s climate crisis. An example is the agreement on eradicating the earth's forests, which won’t even start for another eight years. Eight years! That will probably mean that forests the size of many countries will disappear, just when we need those forests to capture and store carbon.

The excuse is, of course, that it is very difficult to get the consensus required when you are dealing with hundreds of countries, each with different situations, and different pressing needs.

So, what about Canada?

The answer is “Blah Blah Blah.”

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PETER BEVAN-BAKER: With great freedoms come great responsibilities

At times of great strife, politicians can either rise to the occasion and inspire, or use the occasion to try and gain partisan advantage, and in doing so, disappoint and make things worse.

I believe what we are currently witnessing in Ottawa represents just such a moment of discord. Canadians are looking to their political leaders to inspire and unite, not disappoint.

After two years of disruption, of restrictions, of separation, of lost wages, of lost businesses, of lost friendships, of lost loved ones, many people are reaching their limits.

While each of our experiences of living through the pandemic so far has been unique, none of us has escaped some really difficult impacts and stresses along the way. Because of this, I think we can understand how some people may have reached a breaking point.

When we hear Islanders and Canadians say “it’s time for restrictions to be lifted and our lives to return to normal”, or versions of that, what I really think many are saying is “I wish it was time for restrictions to be lifted, and for our lives to return to normal.”

While I 100% agree with the wish that it was time for us to put COVID behind us, I also know what a rash and potentially deadly mistake that would be. Places that lifted restrictions prematurely often created unnecessary suffering and just ended up having to reimpose them soon afterward. That sort of lurching back and forth is bad for our economy, it is bad for our individual well-being, and for our collective resilience as a society.

 

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LYNNE LUND: Calling on Minister Jameson to clearly communicate and consult with parents, teachers and all Islanders on a safe back to school plan

Since yesterday’s announcement on the details of the return to in-person learning, I have been hearing from unions, parents, teachers, and concerned Islanders.

During the briefing, Islanders were told that if parents were worried about sending their child back to school on Monday, their only option would be to enroll them in homeschooling for the rest of the year. This heavy handed approach only creates more stress for families.

With high case counts and community spread, many parents are asking to be permitted to wait, for example until their child has their second vaccine, before going back into the classroom. Providing no options or accommodations for temporary online learning is unfair to parents, teachers, and students. 

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HANNAH BELL: P.E.I. government’s response to soaring inflation must reflect the burden it is placing on Island families

Last week Statistics Canada published the Consumer Price Index report for December 2021 and the news for P.E.I. isn’t good. P.E.I. experienced the highest rate of inflation in the country. Our inflation is 5.1 per cent while for the rest of Canada it is 3.4 per cent. P.E.I. has the highest increases in the country from fuel oil costs to housing prices where rental cost increases are four times the national average.

These numbers represent something Islanders already know. They are feeling the real impact of these inflation numbers, especially when it comes to housing, transportation, heating, and food.

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OLE HAMMARLUND: Calling for improvements to ventilation in Island schools

The King government has failed to update and maintain the ventilation systems in Island schools. As the Official Opposition has pointed out, 10 schools on PEI still have no mechanical ventilation at all. Over the last two years, we have been facing the additional threat of airborne COVID transmission in the classroom. With the Omicron variant, the threat to students, teachers, and staff is even greater.

The King government’s response has been to purchase portable HEPA filter units for classrooms with inadequate ventilation. These units could be a great solution for a small or medium-sized room occupied by a few people, but they are not designed to deal with crowds or larger rooms. It is like trying to heat an auditorium with a plug-in electric heater.

A portable HEPA unit will clean the air in its vicinity but may never reach areas in the classroom further away. It is also slow, so the unit may take many hours to filter the contamination from a crowd of 25 people. They also do not bring in the fresh air, leaving it stale. This lack of fresh air contributes to students feeling drowsy.

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TRISH ALTASS: Inconsistency of COVID restrictions and lack of support for Island workers leave many feeling anxious

Yesterday’s COVID briefing brought in much-needed restrictions to address the growing cases of COVID in our province. However, with the announcement came very little on how the government will support Island workers during this stressful time. This is leading to many questions about where they fit into the King government’s plans to keep all Islanders safe.

First of all, the restrictions announced yesterday include only a partial shutdown of businesses. What is considered essential, and why are some things that were not deemed essential in prior lockdowns now open? In fact, there has been no discussion of what is or is not essential this time around. For example, we see gyms closed while retail remains open even though we know physical activity is a critical component of Islanders’ physical and mental health.

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MICHELE BEATON: Calling on King government to enforce COVID protocols in LTC to keep residents and workers safe

Despite having two years to plan for the COVID outbreaks happening in long-term care (LTC) today, the King government did nothing.

Earlier this week, Peter Bevan Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition, called on Premier King to take immediate action to address the growing crisis in long-term care. Since then, the Official Opposition continues to hear from concerned families of LTC residents and healthcare workers. They are worried and scared for the safety of both residents and workers. It is time for this government to accept the responsibility of oversight of our LTC facilities.

 

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PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Immediate action is needed to address the growing crisis in long-term care

The Omicron wave of COVID is showing us how vulnerable our healthcare system is on PEI and is highlighting real challenges in our long-term care (LTC) system.

Last week, I shared concerns from healthcare workers and family members that staffing shortages in LTC homes are putting Island seniors at risk. Michele Beaton, the Official Opposition Critic for Health and Wellness, also shared how Minister Ernie Hudson can improve these staffing shortages. 

Since then, I have heard numerous reports that the situation in some LTC homes has deteriorated further. Worsening staff shortages are leading to a decrease in the care provided to residents, and COVID protocols not being followed. This is putting both LTC residents and healthcare workers at risk. 

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