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.

Joe Byrne

Joe Byrne

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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