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Key Issues

Ensure responsible management of public tax dollars

The Island Party feels a strong economic platform which is reflected across all industries will ensure the province can deliver a high level of services. The present government fought the last election mainly on a platform of improved healthcare and education services. For the most part, there was no economic platform, which makes it difficult to hold the government accountable on economic issues. As a consequence, development spending has been mainly in the bio-tech sector while the traditional industries of agriculture, fisheries, and tourism have taken a back seat. Infrastructure development seems to be the province's preferred method of economic stimulus in many communities over more difficult industrial development which would create longer lasting economic impacts. At the current rate of rural decline, it will be difficult for taxpayers to support new infrastructure costs.

Fight regionalization

Small community councils will no longer exist under regionalization, which will lead to greater government control and less community control of our future. All decisions will be made by a regional council and small communities will lose their identity. The Island Party feels that regional cooperation should be promoted through the creation of economic development zones. Representatives from community councils and industry sectors within these zones could be elected to serve on a regional board while preserving and strengthening our small municipalities.

Work for quality education, healthcare and senior services

With proper planning and public consultation, education reform can achieve appropriate standards and avoid much of the upheaval experienced recently. There needs to be a shift from capital intensive projects in healthcare to improvements in service delivery. Seniors who live on fixed incomes are the most vulnerable to rising costs of home repair, prescription drugs, electricity, oil and food. The province should ensure seniors on low incomes are protected so that they are not forced to choose between these basic staples. While the Island Party supports the need for up-graded and new seniors' housing, we do not support public-private partnerships (P3's), which are more costly than government-owned facilities in the long term and we believe unsustainable. To ensure a high quality and level of services is sustainable, a strong economic platform will be a key component of our agenda.

Provide an appropriate level of support for traditional industries

The province's slow response to the decline in our rural industries and its inability or unwillingness to charter a new course for these industries is disturbing. It is the Island Party's position that strategic planning should precede rural development. Development in rural PEI has been random and not part of a cohesive overall plan. The status of our industries in the global economy needs to be examined. Ways of empowering the primary producers and harvesters to ensure they have greater control over their industry need to be explored. Opportunities for co-opting need to be investigated. It is vitally important that they receive appropriate monetary compensation for their contribution to our traditional industries.

Commit to a poverty reduction strategy

The Island Party will implement a poverty reduction strategy that addresses its root cause. Social assistance levels will be established which enable low-income household families to better meet their needs. It is important that the province ensures that affordable, accessible, and appropriate housing is available for low income Islanders. Many young parents of pre-school children, particularly single parents, earn the lowest wages and find it difficult to obtain accessible and affordable childcare programs. Our party will make an appropriate investment in pre-school programs to ensure these families can provide a positive future for their children. We will provide incentives for employees to offer on-premises daycare services. Costs could also be supplemented by serving non-employees' children as well. There should be a strong commitment to public planning and programming in the area of family violence prevention with particular attention being given to women of high risk.

Ensure property tax assessments reflect level of services provided

The Island Party sees regionalization (amalgamation) as an attempt to unload some of the tax burden for major infrastructure on rural Islanders. We feel this is inappropriate, and the key defining factors should be property values, especially considering the travel constraints, limited job opportunities and the level of services in rural PEI.

Planning for sustainable economic and social development

Traditional industries are in a decline and social economic programming is in a crisis mode due to the lack of a government plan for Island development. Appropriate goals and performance evaluation systems are needed to ensure a prosperous future in a rapidly changing global economy.

Provide energy security and achieve public ownership of utility

Ownership of Maritime Electric should be brought under the umbrella of the PEI Energy Corporation for the greater benefit of Islanders. Under an Island Party led government, no rate increases will be approved until there is an appropriate level of government transparency and public consultation. It is important that this be required by legislation. We feel that the energy needs of Islanders should be met before we export any energy. Most importantly the province needs to achieve long-term security of supply at competitive rates.

Promote and support private enterprises

The Island Party feels it is vitally important to maintain and strengthen competition in the marketplace by establishing start-up programs for entrepreneurs and cooperative endeavours. Legislation should be implemented to protect industries from domination by monopolies. Government can facilitate business growth by providing one stop shopping for consultation and financial assistance. Low interest loan assistance for small business should be available, and programs to encourage cooperatives should be established. Measures should be taken to ensure government development does not compete with private initiatives.

Ensure provincial food security

The Island Party will take measures to ensure provincial food security by fostering opportunities for primary producers. We believe in the basic principle that a society should be able to feed itself. The resources to do so are rapidly being depleted as farmers struggle to remain competitive in a global economy. A future dependence upon imports could spell disaster for not only Islanders but Canadians in general in times of crisis. Measures should be implemented to ensure we continue to have stable local food supply which can meet Islanders' needs, not only for food security reasons, but also to ensure an appropriate level of diversity in our economy.

Assure appropriate political representation for all Islanders

According to the charter, the two key criteria for ensuring appropriate political representation is representation by population and communities of interest. Representation by population ensures political districts have similar population levels and are not over-represented. Communities of interest refers to communities which are linked geographically, socially, and culturally that do not have their political boundaries defined strictly by population when divisions could possibly be a de-stabilizing factor. It is the Island Party's belief that political representation should be weighted to ensure less populated regions of the province have adequate political clout to ensure future development of traditional industries. A fixation on representation by population will generally weigh in favor of greater representation for urban areas which could create a disproportionate level of representation in urban areas in the long term. If this happens, centralization and rural decline become self-perpetuating.

Enhance and enforce workplace and labour standards

It is the Island Party's position that overtime and minimum wage standards need to be brought in line with other provinces and more emphasis placed on enforcement. We do not support the concept of a two-tier minimum wage level since the most vulnerable in society will be affected adversely by the policy which will be enforced by employers. Stricter enforcement of health and safety regulations in the workplace is also required. This will reduce injuries which will ultimately lower employer's premiums to workers compensation. We feel the principle of equal pay for equal work should be enforced by the province when everything else is deemed equal. Measures should be initiated to ensure that discrimination based on sex is not tolerated and that a fast track system of resolving disputes is implemented.

Allow Islanders to vote on key issues

Islanders should have the ability to vote on issues that will have long-term and potentially irreversible impacts on the province, such as regional amalgamation and energy agreements.

Establish full disclosure of and free access to information

The Island Party feels that full public access to information should be a fundamental right of taxpayers. It not only ensures that the public is well informed about government dealings but also motivates politicians to be honest with taxpayer dollars. Our party will mandate the Provincial Auditor to disclose details of the Provincial Nominee Program. The province is setting Islanders up for repeat performances if it does not address current scandals head-on. If wrong-doing is disclosed, these individuals will need to be held accountable.

Make agencies, boards, and commissions more accountable

The Island Party will review the responsibilities of commissions, boards and agencies to ensure they are more accountable to government.

Ensure property stewardship and respect individual property rights


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