We, the NDP P.E.I. Poverty Issues Team, would like to add the issue of poverty to what is not being adequately addressed by the decision makers in P.E.I. and point out that not having an adequate income does impact on our mental health.
Being unable to afford many things, even basic needs, also means we cannot afford non-publicly funded mental health. If we do seek out private mental health services we sacrifice other necessities and risk dire economic problems.
Income instability that is caused by low incomes, risk of job cut backs, seasonal and part time work hour cutbacks, public program funding and hence services cut backs is very stressful. Mental health issues can develop or be exacerbated due to the worries we have because we can't afford even necessary things.
Certainly we face critical decisions when government departments do not provide adequate counselling and other services in Mental Health.
A Basic Income Guarantee program would go a long way towards lessening this stress. Exempting the HST from more essential services and products would be another. Raising the provincial income tax exemption or credit would help low and middle income earners who would otherwise face dropping into the poverty bracket.
And of course the P.E.I. government ensuring there is adequate funding for health and education public services which would also mean a full quota of front line workers.
Edith Perry, Paulette Halupa and Chris Clay
P.E.I. NDP Poverty Issues Team