P.E.I. premier pleased with federal election results

·4 min read
'The issues that we've been working on, the issues that remain important to Islanders remain the same,' P.E.I. Premier Dennis King told CBC News Tuesday. He had predicted the Liberal sweep that happened on the Island. (CBC - image credit)
'The issues that we've been working on, the issues that remain important to Islanders remain the same,' P.E.I. Premier Dennis King told CBC News Tuesday. He had predicted the Liberal sweep that happened on the Island. (CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King says he is pleased with the election outcome of a minority Liberal government in Ottawa and four Liberal MPs once again for P.E.I.

"The issues that we've been working on, the issues that remain important to Islanders remain the same," King told CBC News Tuesday.

"I suppose there's a little bit of comfort in knowing that we don't have to reintroduce these issues to new cabinet members sitting around the table."

This isn't a magic bullet. — Premier Dennis King

"Overall, it's business as usual," he said.

Those issues are economic opportunities through green technology, a pharmacare program and new health-care investments for P.E.I.

'Not just talk and promises'

Before the election, King said P.E.I. signed a letter of intent to negotiate a new pharmacare program with the federal government.

Craig Chivers/CBC News
Craig Chivers/CBC News

P.E.I.'s provincial drug formulary covers less than most Canadian jurisdictions, putting Islanders at an unfair disadvantage health-wise and economically, King said.

"We really want to see action on this, not just talk and promises," King said. "We've been lobbying for many years."

King said he thinks the prime minister will come through on the funding.

"I think he's genuine in his desire to get that done for P.E.I.," King said.

The Liberals also committed to providing more money to help provinces hire 7,500 more family doctors. Per capita, that would boil down to about 30 more doctors for P.E.I.

King said 30 doctors will not simply "appear" on P.E.I. with that financial commitment.

"I wish that were the case but we know it isn't," he said. "I think it's a good investment for the federal government to be making ... But this isn't a magic bullet ... certainly increased, consistent funding from Ottawa will mean a great deal."

The election meant P.E.I. delayed plans for a carbon-pricing plan, which had been scheduled for Sept. 1. The previous one ended in March.

"Now that the government is returned, I expect those discussions will pick up where they left off," King said.

'Positive steps' made on housing

Housing is both a national and provincial issue that was a hot topic during the election.

Kirk Pennell/CBC
Kirk Pennell/CBC

King said he believes P.E.I. has done well making housing investments but needs to do more, and that he is looking forward to combining provincial and federal funding for more affordable housing.

"We've made a lot of positive steps in this regard," he said.

The executive director of the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government said the re-elected Liberals need to make so-called affordable housing projects actually affordable.

"I think the first thing that's important is really revisiting what the federal government defines affordable housing as. Of course we know CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing) defines affordable housing as 30 per cent of one's income, but we don't know whether that is the definition being used. Especially in the few affordable housing projects that have been rolled out in P.E.I. thus far," said Sweta Daboo Tuesday.

King agreed with Daboo that "There needs to be more resources put in to assist non-profits or co-operative groups to take greater leadership in this."

The other challenge is limited construction capacity, King noted, which he said is delaying building.

Didn't join in bashing election call

King himself is holding a slim majority. Did he take notes on what happened during this election? And does he have advice for federal politicians?

"The electorate sent you back to Parliament to get some work done. They'd like you to put the silly partisan nature of politics aside, focus on what unites us and not what divides us and try to deliver results for Canada. That's what we've done here in P.E.I.," he said, refusing to join some other provinces in bashing Trudeau's election call timing.

King committed to waiting for a fixed election date before calling an election in 2023, no matter whether the polls show his party is doing well.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting