Adieu 2019 and Welcome to 2020!

The year welcomed in a new government and a new opposition.  There is a new agenda, definitely a new tone, and both are welcome. Newness is often infused with hope. 

This is also a time to thank those who ran as candidates in our recent elections. Democracy works in part because of the courage and commitment of those who run for office and the people around them who support them through organizing voter contact and fundraising. 

2020 is another year that offers both hope and challenge. 

We are challenged by the continuing housing crisis, and the need for the planned 1,200 new affordable units. We are challenged by so much in health. It seems like physician shortages, access to mental health and addiction services and insufficient movement on social determinants of health are almost unsurmountable. 

Through these challenges though we are hopeful. Hopeful that there will be advances on a basic income, further discussion of a UPEI medical faculty, addressing climate change, livable wages and worker rights, food security, senior care, racism awareness and economic justice.

Hope is visualized and our spirits are nurtured by people throughout the world working for change. Young people are rising up to save our planet; others offer hope in movements to address poverty, eliminate family violence, and broaden our community inclusion for trans people. Some responses are big and audacious while others such as the immediate response to support the people of Tyne Valley to rebuild a rink are  focused on individuals, families or a community. Each of these are hopeful signs  of actions to build a better world. 

As we say goodbye to 2019 let us step forward to 2020 with courage, hope, kindness and generosity. A better world is possible, it starts with caring for those around us and expanding that to include everyone.  Let us build this better world together, after all it is the only way to get it done.

Here on PEI, Joe has worked on numerous social programs in rural communities. He has done field work on issues faced by university and college students, has been Director of Youth Ministry, and has also coordinated pastoral planning for the diocese. He remains active in the Latin American Mission Program, and is President of the Cooper Institute, a grass-roots collective for community development. He also counts among his volunteer and community work Charlottetown Abbies soccer, church Youth and Music ministries, Voluntary Resource Council, Peace Vigil Group, Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, Canada World Youth, and Katimavik hosting. He keeps up his interaction with young people as a part-time instructor for the Abegweit Driving School. All of this, he does in addition to his work in the NDP. His vast array of church and community experiences have helped him cultivate his skills in communication, organization, and consensus building, and also brought him the joy of forming hundreds of friendships.

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