PETER BEVAN-BAKER: post-Fiona recovery and King government’s failure to respond to Islanders’ needs

Twelve days after the hardest storm to ever hit our Island home, the King government is still unable to respond to gaps in its post-Fiona recovery efforts.

Last week the Official Opposition Green Caucus highlighted a number of those gaps. By and large, those gaps still remain. For example, the continued lack of support for Island tenants who have been displaced is particularly glaring, and I implore the Premier to show some compassion to these Islanders who have so far been ignored.

This week it is also becoming clearer that the distance between the help offered and the help needed is becoming wider and wider. And that’s simply not good enough.

The Premier has said he is working hard but those assurances are not translating into actual help for Islanders who are struggling after the greatest storm in the history of our province. Working his hardest, here is what Islanders received from him:

  • Premier King took 10 days to get money into the hands of *some* Islanders. Most fridges and freezers were emptied on day two.
  • Premier King thinks $250 will refill a fridge and deep freeze with food. Many Islanders will tell you this is simply not enough when the costs of basic necessities have sky-rocketed.
  • Premier King took a week to get seniors in provincially run homes checked on. During that time they were without power, phone, and easy access to food for a week. Some had even taken a fall and had to be admitted to hospitals for treatment.
  • Premier King has provided no money for parents who couldn’t go to work because schools and daycares were closed. His business subsidy does not even cover this.
  • Premier King has offered no support to Islanders who have been displaced or are living in unsafe conditions after damage from Fiona.

 

In addition to our previous asks, we are calling on government to immediately:

Seniors

  • Provide regularly scheduled checks of government-owned seniors buildings, including checking in individually with all residents to ensure they are safe, warm, fed, and have access to their medicines, as well as access to information regarding government financial support
  • Give a refund of minimum one month’s rent to seniors in public housing.

Students

  • Allow a one month deferral of provincial student loan payments similar to the deferral of other provincial loans.

Workers

  • Expand the wage subsidy to support those who lost pay because childcare centres were closed and people working for off-Island employers.

More money for Islanders

  • Increase the amount available through government relief to $500 for Islanders impacted by Fiona.
  • Remove any barriers preventing Islanders from getting the financial help they need.

Government exists to do the things people cannot do themselves. In government’s absence, we’ve seen Islanders come together and help each other throughout this crisis. It’s long past time the King government stepped up and did its part.

Honourable Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA New Haven – Rocky Point
Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus