Questions for all those who plan to run for office in the upcoming PEI Election
1. The economy - In the next 4 years (the life of the government) the potato processing side of our economy will collapse and will take down its surrounding infrastructure. As it collapses - US markets will close, there will be a drought/flood/ more disease etc, it will try even harder to survive and threaten our water and environment even further.
Will the new government use up all its resources to "save the jobs" or will it work to create an alternatives such as a local food system?
If they choose to "save the jobs" they risk the new future of tourism - eco tourism. A last ditch attempt to "save the jobs" will threaten in turn our landscape and will turn away the real future for this sector. The days of the beach holiday where families are satisfied with a cottage with 7 others on the Brackley Point Road are over as well - demography and shifts in values are seeing to that. Golf is also oversold and over capitalized.
Will the new government spend all their time and money in keeping this side of tourism alive and "saving the jobs" or will it support eco tourism that fits who we are and where the market is going?
We are seeing the end of the lobster fishery this year. The processors have not sold the spring inventory - changes in world taste and too much of a production based approach - the fall season has seen stocks collapse. The industry is also over capitalized. There are too many mussels in the bays and they do not have enough feed - notice how small they are. There was huge die off of Malpeque oysters this spring. Are you looking at the reasons for this failure?
Will government "save the jobs" in the fishery? There are already $100 million in loan guarantees out to this sector alone.
Will we waste our limited resources on saving what cannot be saved or will we build the new?
Do we understand that it is our economy that produces the cash to pay for the education and healthcare that we feel is so important
2. Energy - Do we understand that we can break fee from oil by going to wind? Do we understand what this type of freedom might mean. Who chooses gas and oil over wind? Tell me why you prefer to be a slave to the oil industry when we could be free?
3. Education - is the issue about keeping schools open or is the issue how badly our kids are doing? Why is there no data available on drop out rates? Why will we not allow measurement? Why do we sit by and allow 40% of Islanders to leave school basically unable to read and write. Is the issue money? In the US they have poured money into this problem and have seen no improvement! Why are boys doing so badly? If more than 30% of boys are on drugs to get them through the school day is it the boys or the system?
Answer these question please Mr Politician before you waffle about money, school opening and class size
4. Health care - Our health care system now costs over 400 million a year and is growing exponentially faster than our economy. If this trend continues in 4 years time Healthcare will cost more than 60% of our budget. Don't talk about services anymore - tell me if you understand this dynamic! Tell me how you see what we have to do to get this growth stopped. Tell me what your plans are if you fail.
Why do you not talk about the fact that we spend half the total lifetime spend on care in the last 6 months of life in a vain attempt to defeat death. That is about 200 million a year! Tell me how you plan to help us and the medical profession deal with this most important cost driver.
Tell me that as our population ages and we have the oldest group in North America that you have a strategy for seniors that will shift them from being dependents to contributing members of society.
Tell me that you understand that drug use is growing at more than 9% compounded and will soon be the # 1 cost in the system. Tell me that you understand that most of this drug use is for lifestyle issues such as depression, hypertension and cholesterol. Tell me that you understand the research that these so called threats are minor when compared to our personal ability to cope.
Tell me that you understand that most of our ability to cope, to learn and to think is set by the age of 6. Tell me how you intend to shift resources to get behind this knowledge.
Tell me that you understand that it is not business as usual. Tell me that you understand that we are coming to end of the industrial system Tell me that you can see how fragile our world is today. Tell me that you would, like to ask us to help.
My sadness is that of course the election will not be fought around these questions but about the same old stuff of my job versus yours - of being bribed with our own money - of offering simple solutions to complex problems - of blaming the others.
It is even more sad that we have run out of time. In the next 4 years - the life of the next government - the forces will converge. Our resource based economy will fail and our primary social institutions will fail as well.
But we can surely attempt to change the political conversation? Is this not our responsibility. Politicians do not lead they follow.
Can we not use the tool of the internet to talk about the real issues? Why not pillory those who talk rubbish. Why not support those who talk sense?