The spring session of the Legislature following the April election was a historic one, with the first minority government in modern history, and the PEI Green caucus forming the Official Opposition. There was a lot of work done behind the scenes to navigate in this new working environment, and as House Leader I worked with government and third party leaders to negotiate inclusion of the Opposition priorities in the Throne Speech and Budget Address. One of the most important outcomes from these discussions was the inclusion of our priority to eliminate poverty in PEI, not just reduce it.
Despite the busy legislative schedule, I was able to table and pass two simple but important pieces of legislation that had been in the works prior to the election call and were developed with the invaluable assistance of our great team in the Opposition Office.
- Amendments to Employment Standards Act to require measurements of poverty to be considered when establishing the minimum wage
- Amendments to Rental of Residential Property Act to extend the period for appealing an eviction notice from 10 days to 20 days (for evictions that are a result of renovation)
Being in the legislature is not just about passing or debating bills – we also have the opportunity to raise issues that are important to our constituents, districts, and critic portfolios – in my case, Social Development and Housing. This included holding government to account on the lack of funding for the Charlottetown Women’s Shelter Blooming House; pressing the Minister on rental subsidies; increasing social assistance rates; defining inclusive and affordable housing; and allowing pets in public housing.
As a result of some of these debates, we saw another historic first – unanimous support for a Special Committee on Poverty in PEI with a mandate to define measures of poverty, a living wage, and a costed model for Basic Income Guarantee in PEI. I serve on this committee and on the Standing Committee for Health and Social Development, as well as chairing the Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges. In my role as House Leader, I also serve on the Legislative Management Committee. More information on Legislative committees can be found here: https://www.assembly.pe.ca/legcommittees)
Out and About in the Community