April 23rd marked the first anniversary of the 2019 provincial election which saw PEI Greens make history by electing 8 MLAs - the majority of them women - and forming the Official Opposition of Prince Edward Island.Happy May - and I hope you're enjoying the increasing springiness of PEI!
Thinking back on the last month is almost dizzying in its intensity as Islanders have done so much to adapt our personal and work lives to the "new normal" of COVID-19. But already, as we begin our first phase of "easing back" to normal, many are starting to think ahead, or as we like to say "dreaming forward". Just what do we want "back to normal" to look like? Can we imagine - and create - something better?
Just over one year ago, during the election, the Green Party of PEI asked you to "imagine something better". Today, we are renewing that call, and want you to share your ideas with us! Please join us on May 7th <[link removed]> for a special online forum with our Green Caucus, which will kick off a new grassroots mobilization to imagine, then create, the better future we know is possible for PEI.
Executive Director (interim)
In this newsletter:
- Dreaming Forward Forum May 7th
- Other upcoming events
- From the desks of our Green Caucus
- Remembering Josh Underhay
- Freecycling launches on PEI
- COVIDIY - Homemade masks and homegrown microgreens
Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 7pm
"We have a unique opportunity to imagine a different kind of Island. I want Islanders together to create a vision of the best Island that we can possibly imagine. So rather than thinking of "easing back", let's think of "dreaming forward". Let's create a working model of what it looks like to live well together, in community, in this vastly changed world."
This spring, the world has changed before our very eyes - so much so that virtually everything we had accepted as "normal" before the pandemic is now open to question, re-evaluation and re-invention.
Just one year ago during the election, the Green Party of PEI asked Islanders to "Imagine something better". Today, we are renewing that call to imagine the better, stronger, and more resilient Island that we can become as we emerge from the current crisis.
Please join us on May 7, 2020 to share your ideas - and let's "dream forward" together!
This online forum will take place using the Zoom videoconferencing platform. To register and receive a link to participate in this forum, please click here: [link removed]
Friday, May 8 at 7pm: Green Online Board Game Night with Charlottetown Rep Adina Nault
Are you starting to wonder what to do with another Friday stuck at home? We have a solution for you! I would like to invite you to join us for a board game night! How???? With the help of Board Game Arena <[link removed]>, we can play a variety of different games together - online!
This time, we will be playing the game Saboteur, in which there are two teams: one trying to dig to the gold while the other tries to stop them. This game can be learned quickly, therefore no experience is needed. When you enter the game, you will be able to review the rules at the bottom of your screen. We will encourage you to join us on Zoom while playing this game and join us for some friendly conversations.
Click here for more information and to register! <[link removed]>
Saturday, May 23, 2020 - Women's Institute Roadside Cleanup
The Women's Institute's Annual Roadside Cleanup is an important annual event that helps get our Island in tip-top shape again for the summer. We're thrilled to learn that the Cleanup will tentatively go ahead this year on May 23rd. Let's pitch in!
If you'd like to join a Green roadside cleanup crew, please RSVP here <[link removed]>. We'll connect you with others in your area to form a lean, Green, roadside cleanup machine!
May 26, 2020 - District 12 Electoral District Association Annual General Meeting
The District 12 EDA is holding its Annual General Meeting onTuesday, May 26, on Zoom.
The 30-day notice of the meeting was e-mailed on Saturday, April 25, to all members living in the district.
Three positions on the Coordinating Team are currently vacant. Green Party of PEI members in good standing are invited to seek election. Members whose membership has expired since June 2019, fret not! You can renew at any time right up to the meeting date and regain voting rights. Have been thinking how you can become actively engaged at the Party’s grassroots level? Now is a perfect time to seize this golden opportunity to join a dynamic EDA and contribute your knowledge and experience to help our Party work towards a more fair, caring, and sustainable society.
Note: Members wishing to participate in the AGM are requested to register <[link removed]>in advance to get the link to the Zoom meeting.
From the desks of Green MLAs
Our MLAs have had a lot to say of a diverse array of topics in the past month!
Homeschooling in a Pandemic <[link removed]> - Lynne Lund, April 6, 2020
In her previous life before becoming an MLA, Lynne Lund homeschooled her two young boys. She has a few tips to offer the many parents who have suddenly found themselves thrust into the the role of "home educator".
Can a Basic Income Guarantee help close gaps in social support structures? <[link removed]> - Trish Altass, April 15, 2020
The Green Party - and Trish Altass personally - have long advocated for a Basic Income Guarantee to ensure that all Islanders can meet their basic needs while improving outcomes for our society and ultimately, saving taxpayer money. COVID-19 has shone a light on the problems with patchwork and often insufficient social support programs.
Rural Islanders need fair and equitable access to supports <[link removed]> - Trish Altass, April 17, 2020
With many service locations closed and Islanders asked to go online for critical support services, Trish Altass is concerned that some rural Islanders - especially those with poor rural internet services - are being denied equitable access to those services.
Small Business Survival <[link removed]> - Hannah Bell, April 22, 2020
MLA Hannah Bell has been a small business owner and has worked with many small businesses through her former role as Executive Director of the PEI Business Women's Association. She shares some tips with small businesses on ways to adapt and supports they can access during COVID-19, and urges Islanders to adapt some of their buying habits to help small businesses survive during this time.
Thriving in Balance <[link removed]> - Lynne Lund, April 22, 2020
Chronic and acute crises such as COVID-19, climate change and persistent poverty are forcing us to re-evaluate our economic model. Lynne Lund suggests we take a seriously look at "Doughnut Economics".
Is government considering all factors for safely opening our fisheries? <[link removed]> - Trish Altass, April 24, 2020
Official Opposition Fisheries Critic Trish Altass is concerned that the government may have some blind spots when it comes to ensuring the safety of local and temporary foreign workers when the fisheries are re-opened.
Without a Child and Youth Advocate, Island children remain at risk <[link removed]> - Karla Bernard, April 24, 2020
Although the Legislature voted unanimously in 2019 to appoint an independent Child and Youth Advocate, the position remains unfilled - and COVID-19 is the worst possible timing for such an important vacancy, argues Karla Bernard.
Are announced farm supports helping Island farmers - or processors? <[link removed]> - Michele Beaton
Is the $4.7 million in funding announced for the Potato Board going to help farmers, or processors? Opposition Agriculture Critic Michele Beaton still doesn't have an answer from the Minister of Agriculture.
Wicked Problems <[link removed]> - Hannah Bell, April 30, 2020
Poverty is a "wicked", complex and persistent problem that is made worse during crises like the pandemic. Hannah Bell believes that it is our moral and ethical responsibility to raise our voices for a Basic Income that lifts our friends and neighbours out of poverty.
Official Opposition Statements
Statement from Michele Beaton on unnecessary restrictions placed on “ferment-on-premise” businesses <[link removed]>
MLA Michele Beaton highlighted the plight of brew-on-premises businesses and those who depend on them, and provided suggestions for how to fix it. Fortunately, Cabinet took her up on those suggestions <[link removed]>!
Statement by Peter Bevan-Baker on the importance of accountability and transparency through public oversight during this pandemic <[link removed]>
During an emergency, writes Peter Bevan-Baker, is it more important than ever that all MLAs are able to do their job and bring the diverse voices of their constituents to the table while holding the government to account.
Statement on Tragedy in Nova Scotia <[link removed]>
The past couple of weeks have shaken the Atlantic region with the impact felt throughout the country. Many Islanders are closely connected with individuals who have either lost their lives, or someone they love in the senseless acts of violence in Nova Scotia.
Statement on need for government to recall the Legislature <[link removed]>
Peter Bevan-Baker argues that it is both possible and essential for the Legislature to be recalled in some manner to pass important legislation and agree to new rules that would allow it to carry out at least some of its business online, as is the case in so many other workplaces.
The Green Caucus has been hard at work to improve the lives of Islanders. If you haven't already, be sure to follow them on Facebook <[link removed]>, Twitter <[link removed]> and Instagram <[link removed]>. And check out their new website at www.peigreencaucus.ca <[link removed]> for blogs, videos and more!
Remembering Josh & Oliver Underhay
On April 19th, many Islanders in the Green community and beyond took time to remember the lives of Josh Underhay and his son Oliver, who were tragically taken from us one year earlier. Josh was known to many of us as a passionate and hardworking candidate, former Provincial Council member, friend, teacher, colleague, bandmate, active transportation advocate, polyglot and bridge-builder among diverse communities, and a dedicated husband and father.
It was extremely touching to see the many ways in which people took the time to remember Josh and Oliver and to build upon Josh's legacy, in particular to advance his vision of a Greater Charlottetown in which it is safe and enjoyable to get around anywhere by bicycle. Many shared photos <[link removed]> of candles they placed in their windows and bikes they put out front of their houses with ribbons, and Greg Bradley installed a bicycle memorial just off the Confederation Trail by the Charlottetown Farmers Market (pictured above). MacQueen's Bike Shop is urging folks to get out on their bikes <[link removed]> on May 8th (International Bike to School Day) and May 17th (International Bike to Work Day) to help keep the momentum behind Josh's vision going strong. And we even received a beautiful poem from Leon Berrouard <[link removed]>, one of Josh's former high school teachers.
Thank you to the whole community for once again coming together to mark this significant date of remembering and mourning.
Freecycling has come to PEI!
"Freecycles" - groups and systems set up to connect people with things to give away with people who need them - have long existed in many communities around the world. Freecycling is easy, saves items from the landfill, and helps to avoid downcycling. Now PEI has it's own Freecycle Group in the form of a Facebook Group established (appropriately, on Earth Day) by Sarah Charette (who also serves as one on the Green Party of PEI's Ombudspersons)!
The idea seems to have gained traction, and the new group already has more than 120 members and many items on offer. You can join the Freecycle PEI Facebook group at [link removed].
Last month we launched our new skill-sharing series, COVIDIY - and have two great episodes to share with you so far!
In our first episode, Sue Whitaker demonstrates how she sews non-medical masks at home, and also how to make a non-sew mask out of shop paper.
In our second episode, Eddie Childs demonstrates how to easily grow your own supply of microgreens at home, and Sue Whitaker returns to demonstrate an easy way to grow sprouts in a jar.
You can access both webinar recordings and other resources on our COVIDIY page, www.greenparty.pe.ca/covidiy <[link removed]>.
Do you have a skill you'd be willing to share with other Islanders? Please contact us at [email protected]!
<[link removed]>In March, we launched our COVID-19 Resources page on our website to help Islanders. This is a continuously updated list of resources arranged in categories including:
- Provincial government initiatives
- Provincial and other supports for small businesses, artists and freelancers
- Options for Buying Local during the pandemic
- School, children and family resources
- Mental Health, Social and Justice Services
- Additional Community Resources to Assist Individuals and Families
- Federal government programs that have been announced
Access the COVID-19 Resources list at peigreens.ca/covid19 <[link removed]>