CBC P.E.I. Leaders Debate
You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. You. Welcome. To the 2018, CBC, Pei leaders, debate live from, Harbourfront theater in Summerside, welcome. What. A great audience we have here tonight and we'd like to welcome our viewers on CBC, television of course and online, on YouTube, on Facebook on. CBC CA / PEI and also. To our listeners, on radio. We're pretty much everywhere, tonight, I'm, Louise Martin I'm your host and moderator for tonight, and we're really looking forward to a great discussion for, the next hour and a half we are live commercial. Free until. Eight o'clock so tonight we're gonna hear from the four party, leaders the, questions, that we are asking, them tonight came from you our viewers and our listeners that they did not get to see the questions ahead of time that is top secret, information we. Grouped the, them by topics so, we had a number, of categories we put them all together and that's how we came up with, our list of questions of course we can't get to all the questions so we, added in a few 30-second. Errs in there so I'm calling them rapid, response, questions, and so, you'll only have 30 seconds this. Is me hard right, hard for anyone nevermind a coalition. So. Here's how tonight will unfold we, will begin with a one minute opening statement and, then, we will get into questions leaders. Will have one, minute to answer. Those questions so how. Are they going to know if. They're over time I will gently nudge them but we have an even better system here so Sarah kidney boss my colleague at CBC Pei is our. Lightkeeper tonight so Sarah I don't know if you can show us how that works when. You hit 50 seconds, you'll see that light go on it'll stay on until, your minute it's, nice yes it's great, and. That light will stay on until you're done if you go over your time I will gently. Ask. My kids about being gentle. Moving. Along and after, that I will ask for some debate you. Don't have to raise your hand just jump in if you want some lively debate and then we'll move on to the next topic and then shortly before 8 o clock we, will have one-minute closing statements, so then we'll begin in the opposite, order of will. End in the opposite order of how we begin so speaking of the order these. Were chosen randomly number. Out of a hat we have proof we have witnesses, and so, let me tonight introduce. The. Four leaders of pis for parties so we start with pick number one and if, he leader Joe. The. EITC, leader Dennis, King. Green. Party leader Peter Bevan Baker. And Liberal. Leader wait mcLaughlin. So. Jobber and you begin tonight you can start with your one-minute, opening statement. Great thanks, thanks, Louise it's and wonderful to be here thank you all for hearin that are listening, online and radio, we're. Told the p i-- is working. But i wonder working, for who it's. Certainly not working, for the thousands, of islanders, that, are on a wait list for a family doctor it's definitely, not working for so many children that are living in poverty we, can no longer ask. People. To choose between feeding. Their children and saving, the planet we, either have to do both of these things together or we, will fail miserably on, both we. May have some big problems but the NDP, solutions, are, bold we. Can invest in a clean energy economy creating. Thousands. Of good-paying jobs, lifting. People out of poverty, while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, we. Can train the doctors that we so desperately need right. Here in PEI, and we, can have a government that invests in, housing, so that every, Islander can, have a decent, affordable.
Quality Place, to call a home together. We. Can bring change for the better. Now. We'll move on to Progressive Conservative leader Nemus, king well, good evening party, leaders and fellow Islanders in, just a few days voters. Will elect their. Government, so please, vote whatever your choice, everywhere. I have travelled in this province everyone I have spoken with has, a dream for a better future but. Many are frustrated they, fear the system isn't working for them they know the challenges, are serious and the solutions, aren't easy but they also know and understand, that the best way to reach these solutions is to work together for me, it's about people more, money in your pocket, getting health care when you need it a good education, for students and respect, for our seniors, we. Often look at Election Day as the end of a process but for me it's the beginning the, beginning of a new model of cooperation led. By a government, that respects, listens. To and is accountable to Islanders, that is the government that I want to lead that, is the leadership I'm determined, to provide and ready, to provide as, Premier of Prince Edward Island I will, lead a government that speaks for and works for the people of Prince Edward Island and I ask for your support thank you. An. Out Green Party leader Peter Bevan Baker well firstly I'd like to thank the CBC, in Louise for hosting tonight's debate and it's it's, always a pleasure to meet with my fellow leaders here, and and to, talk about the ideas and the policies and the various visions that we all share for, this island four, years ago I stood, on this very same stage and at the same moment in the debate I said this I thought. Islanders, were looking for a couple of very simple, and very reasonable, things they. Want a few good honest, people to. Provide good, honest, government and I think for the most part that still applies I've. Campaigned, from, tip to tip during, this election and the one thing that I've heard over and over and over again is that, Islanders, are longing, for change and, what. Makes this particular election. So extraordinary, is, that for the first time in well over a hundred years, Islanders. Have an opportunity, to vote for real meaningful, change for truly, transformative. And hope, change by, voting for the Green Party on, April the 23rd. Liberal. Leader Wayde mcLaughlin Thank. You Louise thank you to my fellow leaders to. All of you in attendance here tonight or watching.
From Home four. Years ago Islanders, gave us a mandate to. Work together to. Bring positive change and, greater prosperity to. Prince Edward Island, and together. We have made real progress, our. Economy, and our, ability to care for and support each other, have never been stronger, more. People than ever are working and at, the same time we. Have been able to make historic, investments. In health, care in education, and, in, other critical, areas like, poverty reduction and housing but. There is more work to do I believe. We have the strong and experienced. Liberal team that, is that needed, to get the work done for Islanders. We. I believe we have the right plan to. Seize this special, moment and to, move Prince Edward Island forward, our. Plan for, the future is positive. It is clear, and it, is achievable, Pei. Is working, let's, keep working. So. There we have the opening statement so now we can move on to some of the questions that were sent in from. You people. At home people listening on radio and, so we're gonna start, the first question and Dennis King you, get to answer this first, so this will be for all of you what. Will you do differently to recruit and retain doctors. On Prince Edward Island well, I think one of the things that we want to do in the PC plan is to, increase, the complement from 92, to a hundred family doctors also, work. With professionals. Like doctors, like nurses, to make them more inclusive. In the recruitment process I think when you talk to the Medical Society when, you talk to health professionals in this province they believe that doctors, help recruit doctors and they need to be given the mandate and the tools to help the government do that I also think communities, have a role to play in that if you're an Albertan, or Monaco or Surrey and you want to play a role in recruiting, doctors, we need you to do that and our government, would like to give you the tools to, do that, so that's one of the things that I think we need to do immediately we cannot, just sit back and say we can't do it we have to focus on how to do it how to do it better government, needs to put the resources in place to do that in our PC, plan is as chock-full of, ideas. With, the recruitment of physicians. Nurse. Practitioners LPNs. RNs everyone. In the health field has a role to play here and we need to give them the tools to plan. Islanders, need comfort, that. Those health services that, we all require. A need and pay for will. Be there when we need them and I. Had a meeting with the Medical Society a couple of weeks before the election happened, and one. Of the things that the one, of the doctors said to me actually was on your program. A few, days later dr. Chris Saunders he said this to me that. Doctors recruit doctors the. Communities, retain, doctors, and systems drive doctors, away and by, that what he meant was that if doctors are comfortable, and they feel supported, and they are working in an environment, in which they are happy, they will speak to their colleagues and they will come here and the, communities, have to support those doctors in my own district, in.
District 17. The South Shore community, has really worked hard to. Create a welcoming, environment, for, a new doctor there we haven't done it yet but we're working hard and systems. Are driving, these doctors, away they come here and they, don't feel supported they don't feel like they have a system here that is a place they want to stay and that's the real problem he just can't throw money at this if you have a systemic problem you, have to deal with that issue at a systemic level. The. First thing you need to recruit physicians. And other health professionals is. Of course the resources, and we have been putting significant. Additional, resources into the health system over, the past several, years and, have committed to further resources, the other piece that goes together with the resources and we're learning this is that, doctors, physicians and, other health professionals want to work as part of a team we, have undertaken to create a collaborative practice, a new collaborative practice, with for physicians, four, or five nurse practitioners. Other professionals, including, the, systems, of health records and other equipment, in that practice in, Queens, County to pick up, 8,000. Patients who are currently, not served by a primary, health care professional, and that's really the key is for the the doctors, to, have a chance to work directly, with communities. Directly as part of the team to, have the resources to support them and in, turn and this is really important to your question, Louise to, work with communities, to not, only recruit but to retain those. Physicians, and I can cite, a number of communities, the South Shore has been indicated, they, can go to the west you can go to the East and that's why the physicians, will come and that's why they will stay. So very. So. I'm. One. Of those twelve, thirteen thousand Islanders that doesn't have a doctor and I knocked at a door the other day and the gentleman that opened up told, me that it was it's been six years and, I said so you're asking me to go home and tell my wife Rose that they were gonna wait six years this. Is this, crisis. That we're in has, been developing. For a long time and doing the same things and expecting. Different results just, isn't going to work our, plan includes. Besides. Involving, the doctors because doctors, will recruit doctors, nurses will recruit doc nurse, and we need the professionals, to help recruit other professionals, but, we also have to change and adapt the system we're. Looking to, double. The residency, positions so the physicians, in training when they're in residency, why, don't we have more of them here we need to double those positions so that they can actively engage in the system and talk to their fellow professionals. And see that, this is a wonderful place to work and the. Idea of a medical faculty at UPEI is absolutely. Doable it's working in Windsor it's working in Saint John it's working in Moncton they're talking about it in Sidney we, can do this but, we have to get started right now. If. Anyone wants to jump in sure. I. Was. Driving here this evening and along, the side of the road of course all kinds of signs I'm one of them it's a liberal sign that says we have a real plan for health care now. Over the last four years the, number of patients, waiting for doctors here on Prince Edward Island has ballooned I'm. Not quite sure why they were keeping that real plan in their back pocket, for the last four years but. I, on. How any of us can trust that the same government that, created, the mess that we are in now has, a new plan a real plan to fix it I don't understand. Let. Mr. Magoffin respond you can compare, the. Plans that have been put forward to, this point and the. Liberal, plan has, the most resources. It has the clearest measures that collaborative, practice, working, with working, with communities, working with professional, communities, and to ensure that the, professionals, are giving the service in a primary, care context. So that the rest of the health system. Can, give the acute care when, and where it's needed we're. Jurisdictions. Right across this country we're not the only the only one that that's there we have to actually change the system if we're gonna if we're going to start recruiting, the doctors the nurses the, nurse practitioners, the the the, medical, text that that we need and if we don't start, looking at how we can train to, train those professionals, right here then, we're still going to be relying on decisions.
That Are being made in medicine medical, schools to determine, who gets to do a residency, here we, have to have more say in that and we have to begin to expand that if we can develop a medical faculty, at UPEI this. Is going to give us some control and it'll put doctors, and nurses. In a relationship, with other doctors and nurses that will sustain our that, can sustain our health system I think that's a good, idea that Jo talks about the other thing that I think Islanders, are really, a little bit fed up with is we've. Got to stop worrying about the, problems, and who caused them and all of these things and start focus on the solutions, and one of the things that you have to focus on is is. We. Have so many wonderful health professionals, in this province we have v, our 150,000. People in this province we spend seven hundred million dollars in this province. On health care certainly. We can get together we, can figure out and broaden the scope of practice so when you need health care you can get it and stop, worrying about what the problems are focus. On what the solutions, can be and that's the road forward for Prince Edward Island. And. Louie. Louie's. Let me add that we have indeed supported, health, professional. Development, nurse practitioner. Program there, have been 40 people through that there more coming through with, psychology. Program, at PhD, level starting at UPR this fall and it is indeed the objective, that we should have in that we have is that Prince Edward Island becomes a living laboratory where. Health professionals, can learn together because it's the learning together that, will get them here and keep them here. Thank. You so my next question will begin with the Green Party leader Peter Brendan breaker it's also related to health care which is obviously a major, issue for people here in Prince Edward Island so I'll start with you mr.. Bevin Baker what changes, would you make if any to, the way rural. Hospitals, operate, in. Our platform, we. Have a very clear vision of what, we can and should do with our four rural hospitals, here on Prince Edward Island, and that is to convert them to, rural hub, medical, centers there's, a model in Ontario, where they have done this with a number of rural hospitals, and it. Actually, enhances the, services, that are offered there it becomes a much more collaborative and comprehensive, place where you go for medical care you go there for diagnosis, you, go there for primary, treatment care you go there for help with mental health issues you, go there for all sorts of things including better. Access, to home care resources. And indeed. In many of these rural hospitals, in Ontario, which I look at is the model they have long-term care attached, so, you have this really, integrated. Holistic place. Where. The hospital's not only provide primary care which, is what hospitals, do and emergency, care but they have this expanded. Suite of services that they offer and ever, and the critical, thing about these rural centers. Is that they are given autonomy they, are given a sum. Of money related, to the per capita of that, area and they're given the autonomy to run it as they wish but it's creating, the, services. That a particular, community, requires, okay. Thank you very much. We. Are fortunate to have four, rural hospitals, and other health centers in communities. Throughout our province, and they provide service, where, it's needed when it's needed for where the patient is the most comfortable, and we, have in addition, to that created, walk-in. Clinics, where we'll be expanding, that capacity. For walk-in. Clinics, including walk-in. Clinics for mental health and addictions but let me say Louise in terms of our rural hospitals, I was in the Western Hospital recently, in, a room with a patient who was using the teller rounding, technology, and it was a great example that, the patient, was happy was talking directly to his physician and they knew each other they were talking about how much he could, get up and do some more exercising. They were joking with each other they knew each other and that's, a model that others other rural hospitals, or other provinces. In this country are studying, and learning from another. Successful. Model, is the collaborative emergency center that will now be implemented. On a 24/7. Basis, at the Kings County Memorial Hospital, as it is at, the Western Hospital and that is how our rural hospitals.
Can, Give the service, can be can. Ensure. That, primary health care is being delivered in, their communities, and that people are happy. Any. Field leader Joburg. This. This discussion, on rural, hospitals, and. Dr., herb Dixon got elected in 96 on this very question because. The when we talk about rural hospitals, our rural communities are fearful, of losing the, few services that they have and. This. Is where we we have to change the discussion there has to be a commitment, to, making sure that we have all the the required professionals, the, doctors, the nurse practitioners, the nurse is somebody, familiar with western hospital told me the other day that, they're one, long. One, sick day away from having to close the emergency, because, they don't have the full complement, of nurses that are there and we, have to begin to engage our rural hospitals, you'll see in our platform that, we're talking about hubs. And the the. Hubs that are gonna bring together the, medical professionals, but also the social workers a psychologist. Because we have to start expanding this discussion, around where, people are getting, sick how they're getting sick we have to include the social determinants of health and people, need a full response, to. In, across, Pei for this Thank, You Jo burn. Yeah. I think all three of the. Leaders, have very good ideas on this but I think we're forgetting one key component and that is you need doctors and needing nurses in these hospitals, if they're going to be functional, I think, that I'm. Rural. Born I'm rural bread I'm rural to the bone and the one thing I do know about rural Prince Edward Island is that you, need to invest in rural Pei if you want people to stay in rural Pei if you want people to move the river for Pei and, you want people to have a steady, quality, of life in rural Pei so, that's one of the big proponents, that are playing talks about is to put the professionals, in place but yes you do have to be open to new hub models you have to be open to new technologies. We, have to utilize technology when, we can but it can't replace people all the time the, bottom line is when, you need healthcare and Prince Edward Island regardless, of where you live there has to be a place for you to get that in a timely manner, and there has to be a time and. A place in, rural Prince Edward Island for that to happen and the PC government, under Dennis King will, work toward providing that. I'll. Go first again I. Think. Fundamentally is a couple of things here we need to move the focus of the provision, of healthcare services out, of our two large hospitals, and back into the communities, close to people where they live that is one of the critical things another. Aspect, of this is that the old-style traditional. Model of delivery, of healthcare services was funneled, through your general practitioner your family doctor these. Days so, many of, the healthcare services that could only historically. Have been provided, by a family doctor are, now provided, by allied, healthcare professionals, and just. As an example the. Green party platform, talks about bringing midwifery, here to Prince Edward Island at, last. And, we have a very clear plan over, the first mandate, to, introduce midwifery, here in our rural hospitals, and in our central hospitals, and for those that wanted for, home births so there's all kinds of work that can be done by allied health care professionals, nurse practitioners. Physiotherapists. Whatever and, we need to get away from that model of funneling everything, through the general. Practitioner, jobber. And I know sorry you were like neck and neck there so I'll let you have your say well, I think, it's, the. The principle of saying that when people need, to know what they can rely on and right. Now there's, just so. Much anxiety, about, what's. Gonna happen if I go there or what's gonna happen if my doctor retires, or what happens if my nurse practitioner leaves. Their practice, and that. That, level of participation. With. Hubs and understanding, that our healthcare is going to be part, of our physical health but, of our mental health but, of our social engagement, and our networks we, have to create those, in a way that people can rely on that when you start engaging your health professional, whether it's a doctor a nurse practitioner a, social, worker or psychologist, that you're going to be able to access a system, not, just one person, on one response, that, we have to make we, have to broaden that scope and make sure that the resources, are there because we can't do this without any money it's, just not going to happen.
King. Do you have anything to add the. Key to this is to get us far upstream, as we can in meeting, health needs and to. Recognize, them to celebrate the, achievements, of our health care professionals, where they are developing. And delivering innovative. Services, for example in palliative. Care today, almost, 20% of the people who take advantage of our palliative, care centers services. Die, at home if. You look at what's going on in the women's reproductive health, and the number of centers that have been established to, deliver. That as a primary care service, throughout, Prince Edward Island one, of the pieces that I'm most proud of is the student, well-being teams, getting. Right into the schools with a multi professional, team and to serve those students, where they year. So. We can if we can encourage these professionals. And give them the resources and, put them together in teams I believe. We're going to get at the main issues, that Prince Edward Island errs have in terms of their healthcare needs, sure. The. One thing that I would add is I think we have to look at this and, a very broad scope, I think we need to invest, in in, healthy, living so that less. People need to get to the hospital or get to, have, emergency care I think we need to look at and we're doing that through a, $500. Tax and activity grant, for. Islanders the other thing we have to look at is what is going on in those rural hospitals, right now too many of those beds are being filled with patients looking, for long-term care beds that can't get them in their community, so we have to have a really broad look at how we attack this issue and, we have to attack it from many fronts to make sure we're, getting, solutions. That are actually, strategic, and helpful to Islanders from, all walks of life and both of my colleagues on my left and on my right I think we do agree on many of the things of what we have done and and what we can do differently we, just have to make it a priority not just during election time but we have to do it every day. Most. Of the questions here tonight so we're gonna begin with Liberal leader Wayne McLaughlin mr.. McLaughlin what do you believe is the single, most important. Solution, when it comes to a lack of affordable housing, on Prince Edward Island Louise.
I Understand, that affordable, housing is an, issue in Prince Edward Island, we've been talking about this and indeed in mid. 2008. Dean put forward a housing action plan in a word the answer is supply I mean this is a supply demand issue and our. Whole. Industry our. Whole community our, municipalities. Are, responding. And in fact we heard here in Summerside yesterday, that there are five major plans. Five major projects, underway in, this city in the, current year that's, an indication that Islanders, will respond. On. Affordable, housing it, is to have programs, that get, to where the people are so, we went from having, 275. To about more than 700. Rent, supplements, so that gets some money into people's budgets, it alleviates, the burdens, it deals with the price issue and it, makes it affordable right, there where they are the, second part of course is to build new, affordable. Housing that's taking place throughout, our province, great, collaboration. And them in a word, collaboration. Is the answer, developers. Municipalities. People. Who are knowledgeable, and to put the resources there so that will have that affordable, housing. I've, been working. As a community activist for years in the. Mid 1990s when, the federal Liberals cut funding, to housing. Developments, we saw just, a break, on all, kinds of not-for-profit housing. But, it, was never replaced with with initiatives from the province we, didn't get into a housing crisis in the last couple of years this, has been developing, they were told 20 years ago this crisis were going to was going to be there we, have to get the. Government, to put public dollars, into public, housing the. Subsidies. Subsidies. Are, great, for, a subsidy, there they're a crisis, response they're, not creating, the stock and they're not creating the, stock that's controlled by the public, so, it, breaks my heart I'm on, the weekend there was two voters that are losing their homes by the end of August from the developers, that are moving, in to create hotels and short-term rentals and they don't have a place to live and we. Have to start building we have to start building now and it needs to be a huge, investment but, it's going to be owned and controlled by, the public, permanently. Well. I certainly admire, Joe's. Passion, and knowledge on this issue, and that's one of the reasons why when I was running for the PC leadership, I asked Joe to participate. In a conversation about. Affordable. Housing and how we can address this because I don't think it belongs to one party to find a solution to find this I think it belongs to all Islanders, the biggest issue that we are facing is that there, is a huge gap between the amount of money people, have in the cost of the units that are available if, they are available at all that's, a big big issue so. What we're trying to help with that through our platform with. With a mobile rental, voucher that we can attach, to people as opposed to attaching. To a development, but we do have to as both, Wade, and Joe said we have to make new, units available we are committing, to 1200, additional, affordable units over the course of our mandate and that is to do so in partnership with NGOs, to, do it with private, and public funds, to make sure that that need can be addressed across Prince, Edward Island for Islanders, we're, a hundred and fifty thousand, people certainly, we can have a roof over our heads for the people we love throws, our Islanders, that don't and it's not acceptable, anymore, we have to deal with it. Thank. You I see. Some similarities in the. The, issue here of housing, along. With healthcare that we were just talking about I appreciate. Louise that you asked about the single most important, thing but, these are complicated problems, they're multi-layered, problems, and there is no one single, solution, to this it's complex, and it's going to take time and it's, going to take a number of things, coming together, and.
Fixing. This problem. Five, and a half million dollars is what the Green Party has set aside in the first year of our mandate, to deal with this, now, that's. Not going to be enough to build a lot of houses but. It is going to be enough for the government to be an active, partner to help all sorts of other people build, houses NGOs. Private. Companies, people. Here are other layers of government there are things that we can do accessing, fronts from ch MC in order to do this Joe, talks about the huge investment, required to build public housing, and that's, we have to balance this with fiscal, responsibility. Government, absolutely has a role to play in providing land for example in providing, the skills necessary and, accessing. Those funds that other levels of government that cannot, but, this is a very complicated problem, and cannot be fixed with just one solution. And. Don't, don't, wait for me Oh talk amongst yourselves, I think. Peter raises a very, good point and I think it would be remiss if we did not credit the current government they have made some important strides to. Address this issue that's very important, because I think we all agree up here that there are no there, isn't one party that owns this ingenue owns all the solutions, and the. Broader we look for solutions, the more eager we are to work together the, easier it is to us find, solutions, for these complex problems and. I would, love to play a role in that going, forward and I I admire, the passion of these three gentlemen on the stage and many islanders who have been leading the charge municipalities. Have a role to play the provincial government the federal government NGOs, there's. So many individuals, communities, have, to play a role in this and I, think you could tell from the passion that's up here that I think this issue is in good hands going forward. And. Louise I want, to build on the earlier, comments, that have been made and this, is about cooperation, that's about multiple, priorities being involved federal, government's got a role to play and indeed at Prince Edward Island keeps going the way we are we, may indeed set the example for the country in terms of accessing, the, resources that are available through the National Housing Strategy that are profiled over a 10-year.
Period Let me tell you a story about, a building, that is on the next block to where our offices are for the provincial government, and there's. A building with 30 units, would have been 43 people who were currently and affordable. Housing would. Have been on the streets if things had followed, the, course they might have with. The building being bought and turned into some. Sort of upscale or. Housing. But the developer, had took an interest that was patient the. Canadian Mental Health Association, was, an active partner the province helped to finance it and those. 43, people are now guaranteed with, the CMHA. As their, landlord, that, they are going to have secure, and affordable and probably, renovated, housing. Because, of that cooperation, and that's going on right. And. That's, good but, what we've seen is, just, no. Concerted. Action, to really. Broaden, the scope of public, investment in public housing, look, the developers, and we have some wonderful developers, here but they've been clear they, need, to produce a profit the, job of government is to take care of people especially. Giving. People a decent affordable, place to live it, look I walk. In on on the in, the district, in Charlottetown. Two, weeks ago I walked, up to people that were moving they were renovated, ran. Affected out of a house and they're they're, forced 15, kilometres out of town to find a place that they could afford to live in we, don't have, the, luxury of time those. Two people that are losing their homes in, August they, need a place to live now and we can continue to subsidize and, we'll probably have to do some of that because it is crisis. But, we have to engage the public and, this. Is in in Charlottetown, this is the projects that we saw the. Not-for-profit. Housing, the. On, Water Street and great George at, Gateway housing, Hensley. Green across to the street from the polyclinic. Kings. Square across the street from Holland College and 292, University, right. Across from the from the Credit Union these, were built through, the 70s 80s and 90s with, public funds and that, stopped in the mid 90s and we have to put those projects, back in place it's the only way we can develop the stock. We'd, started out weight, started out by talking about, supply, as being the problem here and I absolutely agree, with that and, we have to remember that in order to rectify this it's, not just about building new housing, I'm. Particularly affordable, housing and I agree with Joe that government, absolutely has a role because you need to incentivize, builders, to build affordable housing, and accessible. Housing particularly, but, I think we have lost so many housing. Units through, to short-term rentals over the last few years that's a huge part of the problem. And. At, this point we have done nothing to regulate, that there are two things I think we can and should do one, is to look at regulating, those short-term for short-term rentals, and there are various models a number of jurisdictions both. Nationally. And municipal. And provincial II have, come up with ways of regulating short-term, rentals, like Airbnb s the, other thing I think that we have to do is to, look at the rental of residential, properties, act a piece of legislation that is about forty five years old has never been significantly. Updated Iraq, did a review in 2006. Made, a huge number of recommendations. At what should be done the act is not serving landlords. Well but particularly, its not serving renters well and that, piece of legislation needs, to be significantly. Amended so, that we bring back onto the market some of these short-term rentals, which were until very recently, long term rentals available. To Islanders to live your rent. A. Rapid-response, question. And this comes to you first Joe, Byrne so in 30, seconds, or less what, makes you the best choice. For premier. I've. Spent my, life as a. Community, advocate and. Activist. And I've, seen, that we, when, we have the right ideas and we and we take them and develop them together because.
It's A principle we call it subsidiarity, is what it is that the changes that we affect, have, to be affected, at their level that's closest to the people that are going to be that are gonna have to live with them I understand. That I'm absolutely committed, to it I have, no, fear that, in this island then when we work together we'll, find the right solutions, to whatever, issue we have to deal with because we'll do it together Dennis. King well. III. Think I'm very human, I think I understand, people, I the challenges. That we, talk about here I've lived throughout, my life I feel like I connect well with Prince. Edward Island errs I think that you, know when we talk about things like school lunch programs, for kids in school I can relate to that when, we talk about struggling, to, to. Pay the light bill when you're growing up I can relate to that I just, think that I've been a great collaborator, throughout, my life throughout my career and I think that's a perfect. Time a perfect. Body. Of work to bring to the position at this particular time. Peter, Bevan Baker what, makes you the best choice to be Premier Prince Edward Island four. Years ago when Bruce asked almost, that exact, question I, said I wasn't sure that I was, but. This is four years later and I feel entirely. Different, about that I. Have. Spent four years working, in the legislature. Understanding. How government works how, the legislature, works I've learned things about myself, I've. Learned all sorts of things that I feel have prepared me at this time in this place to be the next premier of Prince Edward Island. Louise. Let me give you three quick answers. One I care that's why I got into public life to care about our province, that's Who I am a Prince Edward Island their. Track. Record, of working in teams building, teams working, together that's been a very important part of what we've gotten done over the past four years and three. Experience. I've now had four years of this and you do learn and there's. An opportunity to, keep building on that experience for, the betterment of Islanders. Leader. Dennis King mr.. King currently there's a moratorium on high capacity wells for, agriculture, what, will you do to protect the water supply for everyone, on PEI, well. A PC government will extend the moratorium, on deepwater wells, because, we're understanding. That water is the most precious resource, we have here in Prince Edward Island we, also want, to. Expand. That moratorium. To the shallow wells. And and, the ponds, that are being held because we, feel that in a rush to get around the moratorium, on the deepwater wells perhaps, for causing more damage with the job with. With what we're doing with the holding ponds and so we really want to get a grip on what we, can do with our water what available water is there if any and make, sure that it is regulated, by the government and protect. It forever because, once water is gone it's not coming back once the wells get deep and if there's encroachments, from the salt water we have a really, big problem here in Prince Edward Island so I think it's important, to follow along.
With The moratorium, that's in place you always have to be open to two, to, two science, but it must be independent science, and it can't be something quick it has to be something that we take a long, hard look at for a long period, of time before we make any moves on the, moratorium, on deepwater wells thank, you very much. A, Green Party would maintain the moratorium, for, agricultural, use of deep, of high-capacity wells, I. Think. It's important, a couple, of things legislatively. That we need to do we, need to proclaim the Water Act the Water Act is a wonderful piece of legislation, not without its flaws but it was a great piece of legislation and, we had an opportunity just, a few weeks ago to proclaim. All of the regulations, which are part, of the Act and actually activate, it make it active and we have not done that and I know that those regulations are ready I asked the question in Standing, Committee of the bureaucrat. The civil servant who was there yes those regulations, are already peer and. Yet we have not done that so, for whatever reason, the government is holding back on that and I think you need to know with great comfort, that no government here on Prince Edward Island, is going to squander the, water which is absolutely. Essential to each and every one of our lives to the environment, here to the economy, here on Prince Edward Island and we have to ask some very serious, questions, and one, other thing and I want to pick up on something Danny said about, about. The science, you know climate change is real and it's here and the water patterns, that we have water and rainfall patterns we've had in the past aren't necessarily, what's coming in the future that's critical, to know that thank you very much. Louise. There's, a moratorium on, deepwater wells agricultural. Context, been in place since 2003. There's, no reason for that to change the, what has changed is that we now have a water out to water act that was worked out with extensive, consultation. With expert input with leadership, from, the non, from the from the voluntary. Or the NGO community, and. Louise. The, essential. Provision, in, the, Water Act is that, the water is a public, resource we, have not had that before in Prince Edward Island so that is the starting point from which any, action, taking undertaken, under the Water Act must. Derive and from there you build regulations. You build the public engagement, you. Gather the science, and I agree with what Denny said about that is to have the best possible, science that has to be developed over time and I agree with what Peter said about incorporating. And, building. Into this an, understanding. And an active, understanding. Of the effects of climate change because there's no question that what is going on in our weather and otherwise Center Natural Resources is being affected by the changing, climate thank, you. We'll. Continue the the moratorium. And that, discussion has to unfold, and I appreciate, what, they what, the other, three said about, different. Aspects of this but there's something else that I think we we need to do we. Need to, engage the public in this we have to make this, information, searchable. On a database if we, start engaging people, in our communities, because I've, seen, the the Twitter feed saying because, of the shallow wells being fed into upon my wells going dry we, need to give people a chance to see that information to, review it to start having those, discussions in the community, because, if, we keep, seeing the the shallow wells into the ponds then, we, are gonna reasonably. Expect, to see neighboring, well start, to go dry and people having, to spend more money to dig, deeper so, we can't we. Can't just say that we're gonna end the moratorium this, way but we're gonna let all the water be used in this other way and we have to engage the public in that that's why this information, has to be publicly accessible okay, thank you very much water. Debate, discuss, the. One thing that I would just like to add is that this is another one of these issues that we can't just look at in isolation we do realize that we're in agricultural, province is one of the biggest economic. Drivers of our economy is, agriculture. So when, farmers talk about the need for water we can't have that in isolation without talking about the organic, matter in our soil and when, the organic matter in our soil isn't strong enough it, needs more water for the crops need more water so we cannot just address, one. Issue of, this we have to look at it in a broader scope we have to talk about helping farmers, get to 3-year crop rotations, with crops that can actually add organic matter into the soil and. I think when we begin to look at this not.
Just As one particular issue of one versus the other but we look at it across the board I think we have a better chance to find any success and keeping our agricultural. Community, and industry, very strong. Just. On that piece I think we, also have to. Extend. The timeline on this they the time horizon is often. Too short like we're talking about we, have been talking about getting, the p.i population. To 180,000. Well, we can't do that without adequate, water and sewage systems, and we can't do that and, and destroy, the. One. Of the essential, economic drivers in our economy, which is agriculture, and all. Of this is going to require water and that's, where the, that idea of making sure that that everybody can adequately. Engage, in this debate yes we need the committees and yes we need the Commission's but, you know there's such, a wonderful, group of people out there that are able to do with lots, of formation, to, do the research on it and develop. Solid. Scientific opinions, on what we can do where we can do it and where we can't do it we just have to make that information available but, extending the timeline is essential. Jump. In. So. I was involved, very. Actively. In the original, consultation process. To the Water Act itself as were hundreds, and hundreds of Islanders it was in my mind a really. Stellar example, of proper public consultation, should look like it. Was lengthy it was detailed, feedback. Came, you, know back and forth between the government and those who who. Came, to submit, at those hearings and it was a really excellent process. We, were promised the same level, of consultation, in the development of the regulations, and that unfortunately, has been sadly lacking I'd. Like to pick up on something Danny said you're absolutely right, and I appreciate, Danny bringing, up the fact that all things are connected and the health of the soil is is extraordinarily, important. As is the health of farmers farmers, are really stressed out if you look at the mental health program that's available to farmers now the. The number of farmers accessing, that is has skyrocketed in. The last year, so, what we really need is we need healthy, soil we. Need healthy farmers, and we, need healthy, profit margins and at the moment we're really struggling, in all three, of those areas so it's government's, responsibility.
To Support, farmers. Here on Prince Edward Island absolutely, agriculture, always has been is and. Will continue to be a really. Important, part of our. Both of our character, of this province but also of our economy, and we need a government that recognizes that we cannot perpetuate. The kind of farming that has caused the problems that we currently live with we need to move to something different. I. Am, totally, confident, in every every expectation, that, as. These regulations. Come forward, they will be, engaged and, the public will be engaged in the same way and to the same standard, as was, developed, as, Peter said when, the legislation, for the Water Act came, forward, and went through various. Iterations let. Me make three. Further. Points, on this one there's, no question, that the public and Prince Edward Island is engaged, on this issue and they are concerned, and the more that we can do to, ensure. That people have information, I'm sure they know what's going on will, be to their benefit, and will, be to the benefit of our environment, but we should celebrate that too. This, is about, working, together as is most of the things that we'll talk about here tonight we, have 40, some watershed, groups in this province and collectively. They cover, 97%. Of the, surface area of our province and those, people, volunteers. Some, paid. Supported. By, government by other sources do, fantastic, work in their communities, for the environment, and that, is a great resource for us as we continue to engage on this issue the. The third point I want to make is the investments, and I pick up on a point that Joe made about. The water resources, in, one of the biggest issues we had up until a few years ago, indeed. Up until about last year was, the over taxing of the Winter River watershed, which is in my district, by, the City of Charlotte Town now, we have that second well-filled a big, investment, and in fact over the past four, years we. Have had, with. 26, projects, for, water and wastewater throughout, our province, with ninety million dollars of investment, and that to me is what, Islanders can look to and say that the municipalities. The, provincial, government, and the federal government, have, worked together and are working together and have the capacity to continue working together to. Put, in place the infrastructure, and the systems, that will ensure that we can count on our water. With, Green Party leader Peter Bevan Baker mr.. Bevan Baker The Conference Board of Canada says, it expects PEI to lead all provinces, and economic, growth this year how. Will you ensure the benefits, of that reach Islanders, living, in poverty that is, such, a great and important, question, it, used to be that. When the economy was doing well when. The economy was growing the benefits, of that economy the wealth that was generated, by that economy, would be equitably. Spread, throughout the population and, people would do well that. Historically. Held, true until about the 1980s. And after. That you, see a diver die, those. Lines going in different directions the, economy has continued, to grow but, we have seen an increasingly, large gap between that economic. Development that economic, growth and people's. Lives there, is a huge, disconnect, currently. Between, the, health of our economy and, the, health of Islanders, and I'm not just talking about economic. I'm talking about socially, and environmentally, as well there, is a huge disconnect here, and it's not just on Prince Edward Island that is everywhere, so how do we fix that person that's another enormous, ly complicated, question, but I think we need to measure progress, by. Things beyond, the economic we have to understand, that the well-being of all people is what's most important, we need to create a situation where, the economy works for us not, us working for the economy. Louise. We have to be careful, not to ascribe to Prince Edward Island, the characteristics. Of the economy, of Toronto, or United States or other big capitalist. Corporate. Structures. We have small. Economy, we've got the highest degree of equality of any, province in this country and over the past three years. We. Have actually seen the disposable. Income of Prince Edward Island errs increase by. $1,400. That's real progress it's, not the own it's not the end and in, fact in our program, we, have committed, and we are really dedicated, to this we've, got five thousand new full-time jobs, for aiming to create thirty five hundred further full-time, jobs it to, be sure that the people who are on the lower end of the earning scale yet. To have the fullest possible benefit, of the prosperity, that we are enjoying as a problem, than we are introducing. A PGI, worker benefit, that will benefit. 12600. Prince, Edward Island errs whose income.
Will Be supplemented bought. Through the tax system to, the tune of 4.5 million dollars, a year. If. People could actually earn, fair. Wages and livable. Wages then, a worker benefit, actually wouldn't be necessary, because workers would actually just survive on what they're able to earn I gotta. Tell you it to, my mind is it really, is ridiculous, that we, ask people, to live, and work in poverty, when. They're making such a contribution, to. To, our society, our plan to raise the minimum wage to fifteen dollars immediately is just, a recognition, that, people on, the lower end of the income scale actually, have a right to live and live, their dreams and live their hopes we, have to do this. Our. Economy, is resilient, we can handle this because, for, every dollar that somebody, on the low end of the income scale makes they're gonna spend it all locally, this is not going to flights. Off to Europe or investments, in rsps or in the Panama papers they're, going to spend it that creates employment it, that's, that's, where we need this the the economy to work for workers I. Just. Think that this is just one of these issues where it would be disingenuous, for, any of us to sit in this stage and say some of the economic, factors in Prince Edward Island aren't pointing in the right direction and, they're strong they are but. As I said in my opening there. Are a growing number of Prince Edward Island or so don't feel like they're having any part of that economic success, and I think that's where the PC platform is a little bit different here is that I think you have to put money in the hands of Islanders we're going to increase, the basic personal income level from ninety one hundred to twelve thousand dollars that's, a something, that hasn't moved for a long time and, we have to move it up so more money's in your pocket the low income people. In Prince Edward Island the low income earners now if you make two under, our plan if you make twenty thousand dollars you won't pay any provincial, income tax I never think it's a bad idea to, put money in the hands of islanders and as joe said islanders do spend that money we, have to also remember that our economy, can't be taken for granted we have to make the necessary investments, at. The top end as well we want to lower the business tax the, small business tax to 1% so that part of the economy is running along and continues. To run a lot but, we need to make sure people have money in their pockets and the PC platform addresses, that. I. Would. Just like to address, like there's there's some inequalities. That are built into the into the market and for some reason we, think that these are market, truths and they're in fact not truths they, depend, on isolation. And poverty for, further wealth to be concentrated.
You Can't have the concentration, of wealth that we have in this country unless there's, somebody paying that price and the. Best example I can give to. Two people tonight is that, decision, by, the Liberal government federal. Liberal government, to give 12 million dollars to Galen Weston superstores. And Loblaws a guy, that is worth 8 billion, dollars does, not need a 12 million dollar investment by, the any government, to save the planet just, doesn't need it. That's. That, is the kind of equality that we've created this. Is not an accident it is a deliberate. Focused. A way. To see, an economy that concentrates, wealth and concentrates. Poverty, and we don't need it. You're. In your question, Lewis, you talked about poverty. Here on Prince Edward Island and how how the economy, is how, come if the economy is doing so well and on a tear how come we have poverty here if. You look a couple of years ago we had a magic surplus year of 75 million dollars that, suddenly, appeared from nowhere and, at the same time that we at the same time you were accumulating. That massive, surplus. We. Were under paying Social, Services, social and social, programs here, that is, why in the green party platform, the single biggest, ticket, item is 10, million dollars just to, get us caught up so, all the time that, this Liberal government, was accumulating, a massive surplus they were not looking after the most vulnerable people here on Prince Edward Island, and we really, need to do something. Peter. I'll see, your ten million and uh put 2:35, we. Increase. Your. Calendars, mixed up you're talking about years ago the, we increased, we. Increased, we, and we increase, over, the time that we have been in government the, funding. For, the social. Programs, and Family and Human Services by. Thirty, five million, dollars. And. That doesn't, that doesn't get rid of poverty, there are a lot of different pieces, involved, in this and I want to come back to the question which was about workers, Louise. To say that that's not a simple question either, and it's it's, appropriate. For government, to identify that, and to focus on it in particular people. Who were earning at the lower end of the income and. I'll call it so the worker benefit, is for anyone up there was earning up to twenty eight thousand, we, would increase over.
Three Years or three steps we now have the highest minimum wage in the in the region we, would increase it to fourteen, dollars by 2022, we. Have a worker acceleration. Program, for training that if that encourages, people in, jobs, and with their employers, to upgrade and have further chances, to an, increase, their, professional, standing, and we, have a first, worker initiative which, will encourage employers. To employ. People for the first time and to support the success, of that worker. In the workplace, and the final thing louise and it's, a very important part of this total package is childcare we. Have increased, childcare, spaces by. 600, we're adding another three, hundred and louie's, in particular those. New spaces will be dedicated. To or flexible, according. To enabling. People to be, in their workplace. I. Think. I think for me it comes back to the very basic, principle that this is really about people and Islanders, are the hardest-working people in the country and they're the lowest paid Islanders. Don't feel like they're getting a benefit from this I will. Yes. The economy is on a tear but is the economy fair that's one of the questions we have to ask ourselves many, Islanders when you knock on doors across Prince Edward Island would say no that they feel like they're being left behind and it's incumbent upon all of us to address, that in a meaningful way and to make sure that programs, and. Tax cuts are in place so that more money is in the pockets of Islanders it's basic, principle, of economics. If Islanders, have, money they spend, it and they spend it in Prince Edward Island, and that creates that economic, churn that we need to keep going just. Just. Follow to, follow up on Danny's point like, and, my. Understand is the feds of. That. We have two zones. On Pei we, have we don't have seasonal workers we, have seasonal, industry we, have year-round workers, that are able to work when they're just be as old and. Now, we have we have this we have this this. Crazy criteria, that if you live in the Charlottetown area Yuri is running out there's, so you're short, two or three months and.
This Is this is what this, is what people are telling me at the door and we. Have we, have a federal government and we have a provincial, government that just is not willing, to take this on there should be just one e Izone, if you work seasonally, it's not easy to live on e aí but. It's impossible to live on no income, and so we have to make those changes and that is the unfairness that is built into this system that we have to fix. This. Is a rapid response of, 30 seconds I'm going to start with Wade, McLaughlin, on this one mr., McLaughlin do, you support a mixed-member proportional system. Why, or why not. We. Put this question, to Prince Edward Island errs in the form of a referendum, with. A threshold that, is set, out in the legislation and, indeed. The structure, of that referendum, Act is that, the political parties and those of us on the side of the ballot looking to get elected, to serve as the, next government should. Stay, out of what. Islanders are being asked to do on the referendum. And. I, believe and I believe that the, best thing for me to do is to recognize that that is a personal choice and I've been telling people that on the doorsteps, that they should make up their mind to vote yes or no on the referendum. I absolutely. Agree it's a personal choice which is why I'm voting yes look, first. First-past-the-post. It's. Going to give us this for. Middle, class white. Males, we, can't get diversity, in the house unless, we change the system and we need to change the system because we need diversity of voices at the table. So. And, and. I think and I, invite. The other leaders to say I think that I'm the only leader on the on the on the stage. Tonight that, are saying there's one threshold, 50%. Plus one if, it gets to 50% plus one it goes back to the ledge because, that's where that discussion should always happen, he could have done that with the Pelosi site by the way mr. King weigh in on this question. Well. I've been advocating since, I've started in this job to change. The tone and style of our legislature. And our government, so I voted. On Saturday, I voted, for the. Mixed-member proportional option. I think, it's designed, to, give. Us legislature. That's more inclusive, of changing. And broadening views of politics. In Prince Edward Island it is a personal, choice everybody, in my party has been asked to make their own choices and I respect, that and. I will honor the vote whatever that is on April 23rd I will honor the vote and I hope as I've been saying that this is only the beginning of how we look at our democracy and, how we elect people and how we act and govern ourselves I hope it's just the beginning and not the end thank you mr. king okay Peter Bevan Baker I am.
Extremely. Interested in, good governance I got involved in politics, because I wanted to improve governance I believe. That a proportional. Representation, system will, give us a better chance of having, good governance, here in Prince Edward Island, that I will be voting YES I, fat. In the legislature. As, the lone voice in favor. Of proportional, representation, for a very long time and I, saw how difficult, it is in a majority situation, a government elected by 40% of Islanders has 100, percent of the power and that just ain't right. Back. To you, leader. Joe Vern okay, PDI has, recently cancelled, the controversial. Entrepreneurs. Stream, of the Provincial Nominee program otherwise. Known as PNP, what further changes, would you make to immigration, policies, on PEI. Okay. Where do I start, I've been working on immigration issues for over 30 years so I can't say a lot of it this look. We. Want people to come here we need people to come here some of the most amazing, experiences I've had are being. An immigrant myself because I lived, in Dominican Republic for six years and I know what that transition, is like but, I've been privileged, to be in a space where I work with lots of newcomers, I think. That there's there's two, things that, well three, things that we can do fairly. Quickly we. Are going to find a way through the investment program with that doesn't, get. Just, tied up in who's, getting what kind of money and where is the money going because, when you put that much money on the table it needs the sunlight, of disinfect. The disinfectant, of sunlight to show, look. We can mpi and I've said this for a long time if we expand, the family class immigration, and and, change, some of the criteria then we can do this we need to get rid of the level for language, barrier most of my family, that's that's immigrated has not come in with level four and everybody. Has been working and everybody's been contributing, we're, not we're not and we don't need linguists, to immigrate we need workers to immigrate and finally, the expansion, of the of the refugee, program I think is good for our communities thank you very much, yeah. I would, follow, Joe's lead I think immigration is very very important to Prince Edward Island I think we've done a very good job in recent years of attracting, new Canadians, to Prince Edward Island and and I think that needs to continue I think one of the things that I would like to see us do is is, to use those, streams. Of immigration, to attract more professionals, more doctors, that can help with some of the shortages, that we've talked about I've, spent the last five years of my life working with the seafood industry in Prince Edward Island there's, a labor force gap. In that sector as there is in many other sectors I think, that's a great opportunity for us to use immigration, to, help address. Those labor chan but also work. People into the rural parts of our province which are in decline and we need to see that the. Rural parts of Prince Edward Island strengthened, again with people with new energy and that's a very important stream that I think we have to look toward, to. Me and it comes down to this changing, world that we're in I think, Prince Edward Island is so beautiful. And diverse over the l