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.
We’ve seen this government move with lightning speed to put gift cards in the hands of tourists but delay “emergency” relief to Islanders for 5 months. It’s time we show the same level of urgency for the real issues affecting Islanders. Over the last number of months we have shared solutions and opportunities that can provide very real help—things like a full carbon rebate, targeted supports for Islanders, and providing free public transit. For some reason there seems to be no desire by the King government to act.
Mr. Premier, it’s time to show you are willing and able to give the help and leadership you were elected to provide. Islanders need more than a free bag of potatoes and a block of cheese to make ends meet. It’s time to care for people.
Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA New Haven-Rocky Point
Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus
Hannah Bell, MLA Charlottetown-Belvedere
Official Opposition Green Critic for Finance