P.E.I. Tories promise 'bold actions' and 'difficult decisions' in upcoming mandate

·2 min read

CHARLOTTETOWN — The spring session of the Prince Edward Island legislature opened Friday with a throne speech promising "bold action" and "difficult decisions" from the re-elected Progressive Conservative government.

Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry read the speech outlining Premier Dennis King's plans for health care, housing, climate change and policing, echoing some of the promises made during a campaign that saw King's Tories win 22 of the province’s 27 ridings.

To tackle the housing shortage, the government said it has created a special cabinet committee that will focus on finding ways to immediately increase housing starts over the next 24 months and restore the vacancy rate to three per cent.

A 25-year coastal management strategy will be launched to protect shores and mitigate erosion to address effects of climate change, the speech promised.

“My government also recognizes that climate change is real and is happening before our very eyes daily," it said. "We do not need to look back any further than this past fall and the devastating impacts of hurricane Fiona."

The province also plans to launch a cyberbullying prevention strategy to improve education on internet safety and adequately deal with online harassment.

"As a society, we often only think of safety when it comes to our physical environment. However, our society is changing — and rapidly in many respects," the speech said. "Our children and youth socialize and interact in many different formats and using a variety of technology in today’s world."

The Liberals won three seats in the April 3 election and the Greens, who had been the official Opposition going into the vote, fell to two.

Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker said the speech lacked a compelling vision of what the government wants to do.

"In a lot of the big areas, it looks largely like status quo, and that's not going to get us out of the challenging situations we have, whether it's in health care, housing, or affordability," he said in an interview.

The government said it plans to implement 30 "patient medical homes" by next year that will provide care through a mix of nurses, social workers and other health care workers.

Bevan-Baker noted there was no mention of plans for long-term or senior care, a glaring omission after the toll taken on this group by COVID-19.

He also worried there was no plan put forward to mitigate the effects of climate change.

"There was no reference to climate change beyond the erosion of our shores, or (a sign that) this government is seized by what is the biggest existential threat to humanity," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2023.

The Canadian Press