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The PEI Green Caucus Working for You - March 27, 2022 Updates

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This bulletin includes updates on the activities of the Green Official Opposition Caucus in March, in the weeks prior to and following the March break.

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The PEI Green Caucus Working for You - March 6, 2022 Updates

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Thank you to everyone who joined us on February 16th to talk about all things Housing at our Housing Forum!

As you'll see in this update, housing continues to be a top priority of the Green Caucus during this legislative sitting.

What better way to introduce this update on the Green Caucus' activities in the legislature over the past two weeks than with an inspiring statement that leader Peter Bevan-Baker made in the Leg on the very first day back?

>>Watch: Peter Bevan-Baker "There is still hope"

Now is the winter of our discontent. We don’t quote Shakespeare terribly often in this House, but I think that little excerpt from Richard the Third seems entirely appropriate today. It’s been a rough time for the Island since the last sitting in this Chamber.

Omicron has claimed the lives of 15 Islanders. Our national capital streets were paralyzed by protests. Friends and families have endured continued isolation from each other as yet another wave of the pandemic swept around the world and across our province.

More Canadians than ever are finding it hard to put food on the table at the same time that Island farmers are forced to destroy millions of pounds of perfectly good potatoes. Lots of businesses lovingly and carefully built over many years are facing financial hardships created by forces far beyond their control, and unsurprisingly, many people are struggling with mental health issues.

And just last night, the geopolitical stability of our entire world came under threat. You could be forgiven for thinking that Shakespeare was writing about the winter of 2022, but of course, as with everything the bard wrote, that seasonal reference is a metaphor. Winter – the darkest, coldest, cruelest season – represents struggle and hardship. And we all know the first line of that soliloquy, but to understand all that is being said in that speech, you need to read all of it; the rest of the speech. The very next line talks about a glorious summer and suggests that the end of our unhappiness is close.

I certainly hope that’s the case, but as we all know, Island winters can be stubbornly persistent, and I suspect that emerging from all the challenges that we’ve endured over the last two years is not going to be a straight line to the beach days that we all know lie ahead. It will likely be more of a stutter step, an awkward stumbling around potholes and through mud that are cluttering the road ahead.

I want to thank all Islanders who have persevered through this difficult time and who continue to understand that the only safe way to the other side is to travel together, looking out for each other and taking care particularly of our most vulnerable. I hope that all of the divides, large and small, local and global, can be bridged and healed quickly.

Peter Bevan-Baker

In this Update:

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Statement on the need to develop an immediate strategy to address soaring inflation

This morning Islander's had a rude awakening with a historic leap in the price of fuel. These are numbers we have never seen before.

During business at the Legislative Assembly today, the Leader of the Third Party asked for an emergency debate to immediately cut the provincial tax on fuel. Any debate and discussion that could lead to relief for all Islanders is welcome.

We need to address the full scope of the soaring costs of inflation. Islanders are feeling this at the grocery store, at the gas pumps, as they look at their monthly budget. Islanders need a robust response from the government to slow and soften the rising cost of living.

Any plan must include a change in how we are doing business and how we are leading Islanders in a volatile and uncertain world.

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Hannah Bell responds to the 2022 Budget

 

I want to take a moment first to thank the many public servants in the Department of Finance and  across government who have worked hard over the past weeks and months to develop this budget.  

For the past two years, our Province—along with every other jurisdiction in the world—has had to  grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has had a profound impact on daily life: how we interact with  our families, friends and the world around us. 

The pandemic has laid bare a plethora of issues—many systemic in nature—that have held back our  province and its residents for years. We’ve seen the challenges in maintaining acceptable standards of  care for our most vulnerable in long-term care. We’ve seen how our economy buckles when access to  childcare is threatened. We’ve seen just how inadequate and ill-equipped our social safety nets are,  even in the best of times. And we’ve seen how lower-income Islanders, women, and racialized Islanders  continue to disproportionately experience the worst of what our society has to offer.

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Official Opposition invites the public to provide feedback on its proposed legislation to provide 10 paid sick days to Island workers

 Throughout the pandemic, access to paid sick leave has been a critical tool to protect our communities and support workers. Now, as government relaxes pandemic measures, it is more important than ever that our province is prepared to help both Islanders and our economy weather any health-related storms that come our way.

Trish Altass, MLA for Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke and Official Opposition Critic for Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, is proposing legislation to amend the Employment Standards Act. The amendments are designed to provide workers with the necessary supports needed to safeguard their health, their families, and their workplaces.

 

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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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