Friday, March 31, 2023

Duplicitous Denny

In college, at the end of the year, we'd have a night called "Drink the Pub Dry" in the name of clearing out the fridges for the season, in the form of cheap liquor. 

In the agricultural debate that the PEI Federation of Ag hosted this week in the run up to the election, I was reminded of that night, for the first time in years. I listened as my premier bragged about the time he approved a Pump the Dunk Dry during a "drought that was as high as it's probably been" for farmers whose irrigation permits had been 'shut off'. He foolishly went on to compare the sprinklers being used in downtown Charlottetown to the watersheds of the potato belt here in "the middle part of the province".

Denny King's own civil servants had to sit in committee and answer questions from concerned MLAs following that decision by the premier, that he was so proud of and those very civil servants agreed, time after time, that it was indeed detrimental to the watershed, it was against the rules and was a bad decision.
Why the needs of a potato crop would be put before the needs of residential wells or the water needs of a livestock farmer would be difficult to fathom anywhere else in the world. But not here in the Potato Republic. Apparently thats exactly the kind of thing that you can be so proud of that it's central to your debate strategy against the other party leaders in a provincial election. 

My main concern is not even the rash decision or the bragging about it. My primary frustration with this scenario is Denny's duplicity. You can be sure that his debate notes (spoiler, he doesn't really have any because he's so condescendingly confident and cocky) for the Environmental Forum didn't mention this wonderful decision he's so pleased to take responsibility for. Pulling from the handbag of tricks of the greasiest politicians of yore, King will say whatever it is that he thinks the people he's talking to want to hear. This was evidenced when he was recorded making statements about the drag and trans community, or even, for heaven's sake, CBC radio! He had to backtrack and pretend that they were out of context and apologize. But we all know that he is that kid in high school, so eager to be voted onto student council, that he'd sell cigarettes to the smokers, while simultaneously helping to draft the petition to get rid of the smoking area with the try-hard kids.

I started this election as a sincerely undecided voter, but it's become increasingly clear to me that the current government has no interest in my opinion, my water security, land use, reforestation or any other number of topics relevant to voters here on PEI. To our faces, maybe, but once we're out of earshot, it's just an eye roll and a shake of the head, a dismissive snort and back to the game of selling PEI and her resources to the highest bidder and the best lobbyist.

PEI is not a pub to be emptied of the old booze, and we're not a bunch of college students, all too eager for cheap drinks that we'll swallow whatever drivel you're feeding us. 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Questions for Candidates

The Canadian stereotype of politeness is often dismissed by some and certainly there is no shortage of examples to prove otherwise, but I think that Maritimers may be particularly polite, if not downright friendly, as a default. With the provincial election called here on PEI this week, it reminds me that sometimes folks find it hard to strike a balance between polite and assertive when party candidates show up at their door. 

I've only ever had one politician come to our house and it was years ago, when nitrate levels were the topic du jour, particularly in our potato belt district. This particular politician tried to convince me that what had been overlooked in all the hullabaloo about fertilizers, was graveyards and the amount of nitrates coming from decaying bodies. Needless to say he did not get my vote and he remains a household joke to this day. 

Here are the nominated candidates running in the P.E.I. election | CBC News

Mark's family are not overtly political, unlike my roots. So I expected to have more politicians arrive through the years, vying for my/our affection. Then I made the move of outwardly supporting one party, which likely quashed any chances for candidate visits. *sigh*

But this year! This year, I'm a clean slate, a truly undecided voter. I'm certainly leaning but its not definitive like other years, so I'm hopeful for a door knock and an opportunity to be swayed. To prepare, I've made myself a list of topics from which I'd like to hear candidates' thoughts and figured maybe other polite Islanders might find useful as a reference.

  • If you could pick two main priorities for yourself as a candidate and also for your party as a whole, what do you think they would be?
  • How do you spend your leisure time?
  • If you had a significant surplus, can you think of a better way to spend it than to give everyone making less than $100,000, a $500 bonus at tax time? (hint, the answer should be yes)
  • Deforestation is a major concern of mine and there seems to be very little willingness to wade into the topic by government. What do you think should be done to address deforestation in the province? What can be done to encourage diverse plantings of native species on available land? Are you aware of the impacts of deforestation on a region and the greater community?
  • Just what the heck is going on with the GEBIS and the land down in Kings County anyway? The whole thing is shady and I want to know what your party has planned to address the issue of land limits and those who are skirting them with loopholes.  This includes the Irvings. If your party is elected, how would you address conflicts of interest in land sales when currently final approval comes from Executive Council?
  • On a related topic, how do you feel about the water use legislation and the permitting process for new irrigation wells? What is your party planning for water conservation going forward? Does your party have anything in the platform regarding water use in this province?
  • What's your take on the rent control situation here on PEI? Has it been fair to both renters and landlords do you think? How could we do better?

  • This one is particularly for the incumbent candidate but regarding health care, it was nice to see some ideas and plans in the platform but why were these held off until an election?  They seem like ideas that should have been implemented a year ago when it became clear that we were headed for disaster. Why wait until now and why should I believe that you'll implement anything now and not just decide to wait until the next time you need votes? 
  • And if it's an opposition candidate, what are you most proud of from your party in the last term?
That would probably take as much time as they could give me for that day, and the answers to the first couple might tell me everything I need to know to form an opinion. 

Feel free to make use of these questions when you get a knock at the door!  This might be the only time you ever hear from your representative so you might as well make it count now!