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P.E.I. opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker moves to limit heckling in legislature

Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, left, and Premier Dennis King share a hug before the opening of question period Tuesday. It was the first question period under the newly-elected PC government.
Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, left, and Premier Dennis King share a hug before the opening of question period Tuesday. It was the first question period under the newly-elected PC government. - Mitch MacDonald
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Green leader of the opposition Peter Bevan-Baker took the occasion of his first question period to press Premier Dennis King to support a motion to limit heckling in the legislature.

Bevan-Baker’s motion was one of three Green motions introduced on Tuesday. Heckling between government and opposition members has been a long tradition within the P.E.I. legislature, but has often been criticized as creating an unruly and overly theatric tone to Question Period.

King responded that he intended to support the motion. He said his government had committed to a new spirit of collaboration in government, one that would involve better cooperation between government and opposition.

King said the development of his first throne speech involved consultation with opposition parties for the first time.

"I think it's very important that the business of the people of Prince Edward Island is reflected in what the quality of the individuals of the province of Prince Edward Island want to see in this government," King said.

“We will be courteous, we will be honest and we will be fair.”

King said he had discussed the motion to limit heckling with his caucus. He said his caucus would "adhere to the highest standards that we put forward."

The motion introduced by the Greens does not actually ban heckling, which is defined as “to harass or to try to disconcert with questions, challenges, or gibes.” Members will be simply urged to “refrain from heckling.”

The motion was later passed in the legislature.

The issue of climate change was the subject of the second volley of questions by the Greens. Summerside-Wilmot MLA Lynne Lund asked the Premier to speak specifically about the commitment in the throne speech to address climate change.

King responded that the goal of his government was to see P.E.I. become carbon neutral. He noted his government had included the word ‘climate change’ in the name of the department of Environment, Water and Climate Change Minister Brad Trivers.

Lund then asked Trivers if he had read a 2018 special report by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. The report found that the planet has already warmed by 1 degrees Celsius. Lund also asked Trivers if he felt P.E.I.’s goals to addressing climate change were adequate.

Trivers responded he had read the IPCC report and noted the current goal was a reduction of greenhouse gas output by 1.4 megatonnes by 2030 in P.E.I.

"In the IPCC, in fact, it's 1.2 megatonnes that would be required in order to meet the goals that they set out," Trivers said.

The target of a 1.4 megatonne reduction (or 30 per cent below 2005 levels) was a target committed by the previous Liberal government.

A government representative confirmed that the goal of the King government is carbon neutrality by 2050.

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Green leader Peter Bevan-Baker kicked out of P.E.I. legislature as fall sitting ends


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