Serious debate on legislature size needed

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Editor,
Thank you for your Dec. 4 editorial addressing the optimal number of MLAs in the P.E.I. legislature and discussing my specific proposal of a reduction from 27 to 15 MLAs, a position I have been advancing for many months now.

I appreciate your criticism of my proposed number, especially your point that a government must have enough MLAs to form a cabinet and still have additional MLAs not in cabinet. You argue that a provincial cabinet must have six ministers while I think five — the premier and four others — could to the job.

Furthermore, why should a premier not choose a cabinet minister or two from the other MLAs outside of his or her own caucus? Has blind partisanship not given us extensive patronage, bad policy decisions, huge public debt and failed programs? A mixed cabinet could focus government on the business of the public rather than the back room priorities of a political party.

Large government caucuses and cabinets have not served Islanders well. Now almost seven years in power the Ghiz government of 23 MLAs with 13 in cabinet has brought us to a familiar low point. The debt is crippling and with it we now have the HST, increased small business taxation, higher fees on many services, and deep cuts to the pensions of public sector workers.

The worst educational outcomes in Canada and in the whole Western World. The most ineffective health care system in Canada. A horrible record on the environment. The highest rate of food insecurity in the country. The lowest wages. The highest unemployment rate. And the worst standard of living.

Partisanship is crushing us. And when it comes to political representation bigger is definitely not better.

We need a serious debate about changing the size and role of the legislature.

What we have now is not working.

 

Mike Redmond

Leader, NDP P.E.I.

Geographic location: Canada

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