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The winter session of the P.E.I. legislature will begin today with a speech from the throne, which could deliver some hints about P.E.I.’s planned economic recovery post-COVID-19.
Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry will deliver a throne speech starting at 1 p.m. It is expected to contain details about the Progressive Conservative government’s spending priorities in the year ahead.
A budget is expected to be introduced early in the session, P.E.I.’s second since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislative session will be the first held without evening sittings. In 2020, the legislative assembly voted to enact a new calendar that will see MLAs sit for a longer period during daytime hours from Tuesday to Friday.
In his state of the province speech to the Rotary Clubs of P.E.I. on Monday, Premier Dennis King stated the coming budget would involve a deficit, but also indicated it would be smaller than the $173 million deficit from the previous year. King also spoke about some initiatives that will likely be included, such as plans to create 2,000 jobs in P.E.I.’s clean tech sector, a new P.E.I.
Centre for Mental Wellbeing and further details on collaborative health-care centres in the province.
The government plans to introduce 20 pieces of legislation during the winter session. The Opposition Greens have released details of several pieces of legislation they plan to introduce including on the subjects of health-care accountability, poverty alleviation and green energy.
The legislative sitting was preceded by a shuffle of King’s cabinet in early February. While no new MLAs were added to cabinet, the shuffle involved replacing James Aylward with Ernie Hudson in health and moving Brad Trivers from his education post. Natalie Jameson became the new education minister, while Aylward became the minister of transportation, infrastructure and energy. Trivers became social development and housing minister while Steven Myers stepped into the role of environment minister.
Due to COVID-19 health measures, the Coles Building will be closed to the public for the duration of the sitting. Livestreams of the proceedings can be watched online at assembly.pe.ca.