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What’s Needed This Session – Part 1

 

Joe Byrne outlines NDP-PEI priorities as the Legislature meets

 

  The house opened yesterday (November 13), and we’re about to see how the MacLauchlan Government is going to position itself for an upcoming election.

  During this Session there are two main issues which the NDP-PEI wants to address: first, the crisis that island farmers are facing; second, the matters of poverty and housing.  Let me come back to the second one in a separate post.

  Snow fell today as the Legislature began sitting, and a significant portion of the Island’s potato crop is still in the cold, wet ground.  We are conscious that other produce — soy beans, carrots, cole crops — may also be affected.  It’s the worst harvest in the memory of many farmers.  This comes just after the dark vision posed by Robert Irving that the potato industry may not have a future on PEI.

  This is not a problem for farmers alone.  It affects processors and workers; it’s a mainstay of rural communities and the major generator of our Province’s economy.  We’re all in this together.  Government needs to respond this week with concrete plans.

  We need extra resources to be assigned for assessing crop loss and compensation.  We need to be sure that mental-health supports can be available if wanted.  And with longer-term vision, we need to be ever-mindful of the growing implications of climate change, and be planning for how Island agriculture is bound to be affected.