Since the beginning days of the renovations at Three Oaks Senior High (TOSH), concerned parents have been expected to simply “trust” that their children have been safe throughout construction, though it was found that breaches in asbestos safety protocol have occurred.
Air quality test results that started being shared with these parents in April 2018 have led to email exchanges and a few select meetings with representatives from the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, the Department of Education, the construction company leading the project, and others. However, many questions have been left unanswered, and concerns for the current and future wellbeing of students persist. Some parents have even been forced to request (and pay for) information through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy act- a process that has been slow and frustrating.Read more
Part of the skill of being human is to figure out what really matters; to choose what priorities you will place at the front of your life. Since it’s impossible to do everything, we need to pick what things we’re going to be truly, deeply committed to fulfil. I think that’s true in our individual lives, and for me, I carry it into my political work.
Politics is how we make collective decisions, and it touches on every aspect of our shared lives. Part of the art of politics, I believe, is in choosing what priorities get placed at the front of the line. The word priority quite literally means “prior to” – what things need to be done prior to the rest. In that sense you can’t have a whole bunch of priorities, only a few.Read more
It’s been just over a year since I was sworn into the PEI legislature as MLA for Charlottetown-Parkdale, and in that time I have had so many opportunities to help people and make a real difference in provincial affairs. From working with the Ostomy Support Society to advocate for provincial coverage of ostomy supplies to introducing and passing an amendment to the Innovation PEI Act to include culture and green technology on our list of strategic sectors, I have relished advocating for progressive change and I have tried to live up to the trust my constituents have placed in me.Read more
Last week I wrote a blog with my “Thoughts on grandchildren and grand challenges” which explained why I became involved in politics 25 years ago and why I believe our response to the risk of climate change is the defining challenge of our generation. As political leaders in the 21st century, we must carry the heavy responsibility of making the policy decisions that will determine whether or not we will “leave a habitable home for those that follow us.”
I take this responsibility very seriously, which is why I have become so discouraged by the recent approach our provincial government has taken on this issue. In 2016, our Premier signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change committing PEI to introduce carbon pricing to meet our Paris Accord targets. Yet, since then, he and his government have been trying to evade their responsibility under the Framework.Read more
On October 3, 2016 Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the provinces had until 2018 to adopt a carbon pricing scheme, or the federal government would create one for them. Each province had complete latitude to create the plan in its own best interests, so long as certain minimum thresholds were met. All revenue generated under the carbon pricing scheme would remain within the province.
Provincial reaction to the announcement varied: Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec already have carbon pricing regimes in place, and are generally fine with the federal mandate. They have indicated that their economies have suffered no ill-effects under carbon pricing.
Cynthia 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?Read more
Being fiscally responsible is socially responsible. As the special edition of The Guardian (April 6) dramatically demonstrated, poverty is a huge issue in PEI with 15.8% of Islanders classified as low income. The reality for too many Islanders is that our social systems are not meeting their needs, and band aid solutions are not going to be enough. We are not meeting our obligations to our citizens if we are not providing basic and equitable quality of life to all – and that requires a commitment to fiscal policy that is different, but not radical.Read more
When making difficult decisions, there is a surefire method we can employ to determine the way forward. It’s not about making lists of pros and cons, or necessarily doing what is popular, expedient, or most ‘economical’. It’s about identifying your core values and choosing the option that best reflects those values. The way forward then becomes clear.