Legislature opens Tuesday

Teresa Wright
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Focus will be economic growth, health, schools - Ghiz

Speech From the Throne in April this year.

Premier Robert Ghiz says his focus for the next year will be on growing the economy while also improving health care and education.

Provincial politicians will head back to Province House next week when the fall legislative session opens.

This session will be kicked off with a Speech from the Throne. It will detail government’s priorities for the province over the next year.

“It is a time still of fiscal restraint and, out of government, we’re trying to grow the private sector and we’ll be concentrating on that during this session,” Ghiz said in an interview.

“(The Throne Speech) will be about continuing on where we were and what we’ve done and the improvements we’re going continue to make in the education system; will talk about the changing delivery of health care in Prince Edward Island and talk about some of the challenges that we have to face in the province.”

This session will be a heavy one for legislation with approximately 25 bills coming forward.

One of the key pieces to be introduced will be the much-anticipated HST legislation. After holding province-wide public meetings to explain the new tax this summer, government will now move forward with putting in place the tax law to allow for HST to be implemented as planned next April.

Opposition Leader Olive Crane says her Tory caucus will be voting against the HST.

“This is the government that said they’d never bring HST, this is the government that added (millions) in new fees and services so it’s really up to government to clearly show how they’re going to help ordinary Islanders with all these extra expenses,” Crane said.

“We will have lots of debate on the floor over the bill that they bring in. Opposition cannot support this bill.”

Also coming during this session will be government’s capital budget. This budget will outline the Ghiz government’s five-year plan for infrastructure expenditures across P.E.I.

Ghiz warned that since federal stimulus funding has dried up, the multitude of infrastructure projects seen a few years ago will not be quite so plentiful.

“We’ll be returning back to original spending levels in our infrastructure… back into the traditional $65- to $70-million spend,” Ghiz said.

An update of the province’s finances will also be released sometime during this session.

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan has warned that financial pressures in health care and agriculture will affect the province’s spending targets for the year.

That could have implications on the province’s deficit target for the year, which currently sits at $74.9 million.

Ghiz admitted this deficit projection will likely be adjusted. But he does not expect it will be a drastic difference.

“We’re probably off by a little bit right now. There’s a couple of unexpected expenditures in health care,” he said.

“It’s not going to be off by $100-million, but it should be close and within, I’m guessing, 10 or 15 per cent.”

The province’s finances will be a key issue of focus for Crane and her Opposition MLAs.

She said she believes the Ghiz government has pushed forward with its own agenda that is “out of touch” with the needs of Islanders.

“Whether that’s the Plan B highway, spending $4 million on a failed lottery while at the same time they leave out the needs of a whole lot of Islanders,” Crane said.

The legislature will open Tuesday with the Speech from the Throne, read by Lt. Governor Frank Lewis at 2 p.m. at Province House. All proceedings of the House are open to the public.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Province House

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • ALFREDD
    November 11, 2012 - 10:48

    I will be there Monday Nov. 12, at 2 p.m. - we are beeing trampled on by this government, - can't even stand to see their faces, - a bunch of worms all of them, ---but it will be helpfull to just share the misswery among ourselves, -

  • Rob McEachern
    November 10, 2012 - 20:22

    Islanders if they are really disgusted they should be at the Legislature yelling "disgust" every day Ghiz sticks his head out, or just watch this city of dubious professionals carry on with the majority powerhouse of Robert Ghiz and associated lemming MLA's.They are getting ready to build a taj Mahal next door, under regular capital budgets which will make it all O K.

    • The tories are just as bad
      November 11, 2012 - 12:38

      Yes, these Liberals have shown they are incapable of honest representatation. After years of Tory corruption, the Liberals have failed Islanders miserably! These liberals simply carried on where the tories left off, and our society is totally corrupted. Last week, the tories have shown that they will continue to backstab and destroy even their own leader in the most disgusting display of arrogant, undemocratic abuse of power that was just plain stupid and unjust! Where do we go from here? We will be bankrupt soon under the Liberal mandate. The tories are just as corrupt and remain unethical. The tories started the pnp and abused this program for years. It is disgraceful that some are coming out to finger point at the liberals. One such hypocrit was the leader in the attempted coup of Crane who has connection with a pnp that appears to be a company that exists on paper only. A lawyer who is connected with the PEI Law Society, go figure! Then there is the RCMP investigation. Are they going to charge half the Island who are involved? Don't think so as it would take years to convict so many. Maybe we need to follow Iceland when so many officals, reps, gov't offices became corrupted. A temporary gov't needs to be selected who has no ties with corruption or those corrupted. Certainly, no tories or liberals, at the present time are capable of representing the Island. We are, at present, a failed and lost society!

  • What a mess
    November 10, 2012 - 13:36

    What a mess the Island is in! A government proceeding with plans to continue to tax and increase taxes which will put extreme hardships on all hard working Islanders that are left. Of course, the revenues from all monies will go to the rich and connected, and what is left over will help to fund with their continued priviledged lifestyle into retirement. An opposition party who has a leader who not only has to fight the gov't on such bills but has to watch her back continuously for those in her own party who are trying to oust her from power, which is, by the way, against the democratic way. So half of the tories are against democracy. Liberals and tories, not much difference. Shame on those who would backstab their own party leader and yet still call themselves tories, or maybe that is the tory way. Hard to say at this point, but they have shown their true dirty and underhanded ways in this past week. We can only pray that the NDP and Green parties come out strong so there can be a party who will truly represent Islanders. I ask those who respresent the NDP and Green parties to make your stances, come out strong and united, and to please help Islanders so we can have a responsible and honest government representation. To help Islanders instead of what we have seen from both the liberals and tories, that is, representation that is filled with greed, self indulgence and narcissistic behavior which is destroying or has destroyed most of the Island and severely harmed Islanders. Not a bright future for Islanders with the Liberals or tories. It is the worst mess I have ever seen for any province in history!

    • We need real Liberals too
      November 10, 2012 - 20:47

      I agree with WHAT A MESS. However, we need real liberals too. I've been a Liberal most of my life, but even if I wanted to vote for them again I couldn't. I couldn't because there is no Liberal party on PEI. We do have a party driven by a corporate agenda and without a moral compass, and they call themselves Liberal. But they sure don't look liberal, talk liberal or act liberal. Nope, I'll go to this rally thing because I think it's my duty, but I go as a lost, very sad Liberal . . . and I just couldn't all myself a Liberal if I didn't go.

  • NDP Is For Me
    November 10, 2012 - 11:03

    The PC's are voting against HST? Only in public. Behind closed doors they've told many that they support it. The only party that would get rid of HST next election is the NDP so that's how I'll be voting.

  • Can we find the courage to do something?
    November 10, 2012 - 09:02

    We didn't elect politicians to be Mommy and Daddy, we want to be represented, not parented. Islanders are mature enough to be involved in the decision making process, we want authentic input. Awkward as it is, maybe it's time to show this government Islanders want better governance? Given the repressive culture of patronage Island governments have fostered, it takes a lot of courage to show our feelings in public. But, if you have that courage please think about attending the rally at our Legislature Monday, November 12 at 2:00.

    • RALLY IS NEEDED
      November 10, 2012 - 12:26

      PROUD TO BE ABLE TO HAVE THE RIGHT TO STAND UP TO THIS GHIZ GOVERNMENT!!! I WILL TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE...ALL ISLANDERS SHOULD TOO!!!!

  • John W.A.Curtis
    November 10, 2012 - 08:44

    I support the HST but a referundum is needed. the ghiz government will use HST revenues to pay pension shortfalls for teachers and civil servants but not pay for health and education. Minimum wage will also have to increase because of the higher cost of living on P.E.I. The province has lowballed how unaffordable it is for people earning under $55,000 a year.

    • JOHN W.A.CURTIS is right . . .
      November 10, 2012 - 12:49

      Yet one more reason to show up - even if it's a silent presence - Monday, November 12 at 2:00.

  • don
    November 10, 2012 - 08:16

    they are trying to figure out how to give away more money so we are a billion bucks in the hole.and lets see how they feel when it comes to there pay increase. i bet they all will take it.

  • Sal.R.Ree
    November 10, 2012 - 07:05

    We should have known, if Ghiz could get re-elected why not Obama. Rules/Laws be damned -full steam ahead its just a iceberg - we're too big to sink !

  • Big red
    November 09, 2012 - 22:06

    I can't believe the audacity of our premier stated they will be focusing on deficit reduction,he should have thought about this quite sometime ago. Mr.premier you do know that we have to pay the capital expenditures as well as the operating expenses even thou it is over a longer timeframe but it is still debit. Maybe you should tell Wes the cat this tidbet. Maybe the waste on Borden hills,geo game,Melissa grafts,Brooke's gafts(numerous)pnp accountability,roach giving money to Ellis and didn't know why or what he was going to do with it. You should be ashamed of yor leadership and the incompetence of your ministers and deputies. I near forgot the waste of money on plan b as I drove this route for thirty years and never had a problem.fdid you every drive thru the Rockies far worst.

  • Ashamed to be an ISLANDER.
    November 09, 2012 - 21:40

    Not one mention of PNP in this article. I guess Olive must have forgoten about yesterday. I wonder if she even brings it up on Tuesday. Ghiz has already spoke to her and told her she should not bring it up.This is POLITICS on P.E.I. wheather you believe it or not. The rich get richer and we get more stupid.

    • Chet
      November 10, 2012 - 05:53

      Do not expect too much from Olive on PNP. Her new president Blake Doyle was a major beneficiary under the huge PNP grab of 2008. If you want to change direction then we will need to vote NDP. They have a PNP press release on their website right now. None of the other parties are saying too much on PNP.

  • What Up
    November 09, 2012 - 20:25

    And I quote "I'm guessing"... Rofl lol OMG! I'm glad the commander and Chief is guessing how much money we owe, makes me feel warm an fuzzy.