Originally published as a Letter to the Editor, "The Guardian" Charlottetown, P.E.I.
I could not agree more with the headline that accompanied Mike Redmond’s recent letter — “Partisanship crushing P.E.I.” I could not disagree more, however with his suggested remedy — to reduce the number of MLAs. Our Island is indeed small, in population not much more than a large town, and yet we have the gift of jurisdiction that comes with being a province. In our Westminster system of parliamentary democracy, a goodly number of opposition members and government back-benchers are necessary for the system to work effectively — for there to be adequate checks and balances on the power of the Premier’s Office. When we look at other small-island jurisdictions, some with populations significantly smaller than P.E.I., it’s very rare to find a legislature or parliament with fewer than 30 members. In the Isle of Man, for example, the Parliament (the Tynwald) has 35 members for a population of 86,000 people.
The Green Party is calling for a thorough review of the systems which determine the price which is offered to fishers for lobster on PEI. In the short term the Green Party is calling on the Provincial government to conduct an inquiry into possible price fixing and settle this issue once and for all. In the longer term the Green Party would like to see the Provincial government brand and promote the excellence of our seafood and agricultural products - including arguably the best lobsters in the world - far better than they currently do.
"It is clear that the economic system in this case is simply not working," stated Peter Bevan-Baker, leader of the Green Party. "Primary producers - whether they be potato farmers, lobster fishers or beef producers - are all struggling just to meet their costs of production; that simply would not happen in a functional, fair economy. Sometimes it seems like it is the lobster fishers themselves who are trapped in an unjust system."
The Green Party has reiterated its concerns about the potential corrupting influence of unchecked corporate donations on the political process.
“There is a deep cynicism about politics today, and part of that stems from the view that there is corporate influence on political decision making. Limiting donations from corporations is the only way to remove this perception,” stated Green Party leader, Peter Bevan-Baker.
Prince Edward Island has no legislation limiting either personal or corporate donations to political parties, and this is something that the Green Party is actively involved in changing.
“Islanders are continuously telling me that we need to change not only some of our politicians, but the system in which they work. It is critical that new, fresh voices on PEI are serious and sincere when they offer to change the way we do politics here on the Island,” continued Bevan-Baker.
The Green Party of Prince Edward Island is concerned that focusing on MLA salaries obscures the bigger picture - the overall cost of government here on PEI. There has been a lot of posturing from other parties on this issue as they try to endear themselves to voters, but until any of them shows a clear understanding and commitment to dealing with the overall structure and cost of government, their words are largely meaningless.
Rather than simply abolishing the Indemnities and Allowances commission, the Green Party urges a more comprehensive approach through a review of its selection process and mandate.
The Green Party of Prince Edward Island is strongly opposed to hydraulic fracturing - more commonly called fracking - and will do everything possible within its power, whether in government, in opposition, or simply as a voice of reason and principle, to outlaw its use on the Island.
“Green Parties throughout North America and the world have long spoken out about the profound risks to people and the environment posed by fracking, and we have been at the forefront of the movement opposed to this dangerous practice. The risks to Prince Edward Island from fracking are particularly worrisome because 100% of our potable water comes from groundwater,” said Green Party leader, Peter Bevan-Baker.