I’m beginning to realize that in politics – as in life – you almost never get everything you want. This week was a good illustration of that truth.

On Tuesday I brought forward my first bill for second reading, the first chance for the House to debate it. The Well-being Measurement Act was generally well received, with nobody in the House having any particular issue with the essence of the legislation, more so with the procedure of the bill.

A bit of background is needed here. Most pieces of legislation you can think of as small apps being added on to a pretty well established operating system: small tweaks to an already established structure. What makes the Well-being Measurement Act a little awkward for some legislators to get their heads around is that it isn’t an “add-on” piece of legislation like most other new bills, it is more like a change to the operating system itself. It asks that government use something other than (or perhaps more accurately, in addition to) Gross Domestic Product as a measure of our progress as a society. Without getting too wonky (but fill your boots with wonkiness here if you wish), the Well-being Measurement Act would take into account, in addition to economic indicators, social and environmental factors to give a more accurate and complete picture of how PEI is doing: of how government is meeting the goals of improving the quality of life of all Islanders, as we ourselves define it. Well that all sounds very sensible and lovely, but the gears of political machinery grind slowly, and new ideas – no matter how attractive and timely – can get stalled. However, I’m still excited that this bill will be discussed further in committee and brought back to the House at a later date.

Also this week, we had the release of the interim report from the special committee on Democratic Renewal, of which I am privileged to be a member. For those professional political cynics out there, I need to say that this committee has largely restored my faith in both politicians and the political process. Positive things can happen when people of good will come with an open mind and principled intentions to make things better. Much work is left to do on this file, but I have faith in my fellow committee members, and in our Premier’s commitment to transformative change, which would make Islanders, as he puts it “pioneers” in electoral reform. While I understand that electoral reform is never at the top of anyone’s political agenda, I hope that the next year of consultation and education is sufficient to allow Islanders to truly understand the opportunity we have to lead the way in substantial electoral change. In my opinion, this would have profound implications on everything from how politicians behave and think, to how we craft policy. A lot to ask for? Maybe, but I think Islanders are ready to provide inspiration to the rest of the country.

So the fruits of my week …. A process that holds the promise of heading somewhere exciting, and a bill that sort of maybe made some kind of progress. Not everything that I had hoped for …. but that’s life.

-Peter

 

10 Comments

  1. Garth Matthews 1 December 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Good work Peter … keep it up … there are thousands of Islanders who think this is a great idea and will help you in any way. Don’t let them bog you down ! Keep us in the loop and keep them in the heat.

    Thanks Garth Matthews

     
    • Peter 5 December 2015 at 7:24 am

      Thanks for this Garth. Best wishes,
      Peter

       
  2. Catherine Hennessey 2 December 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Peter thank you for the museum question. Drop in sometime and I’ll give you a paper I wrote once on In Search of a Museum. Happy Christmas season, CGH

     
    • Peter 5 December 2015 at 7:19 am

      You’re welcome Catherine. Let’s follow up on this. Happy Christmas to you too.

       
  3. Gord McNeilly 2 December 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for your updates Peter. You are working hard, inspiring many and working to be a positive change for PEI.

     
    • Peter 5 December 2015 at 7:21 am

      Thanks Gord – and so are you! Best wishes, Peter

       
  4. Sandra Skeffington 2 December 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Stay optimistic Peter. I love the notion of measuring MORE than the GDP. I was wondering myself why this determines how a country/province/state is doing overall, how could it possibly and why has that become the most important measure? If PEI is receptive to the Electoral Reform, it may be more ready for more than a “tweak” to the operating system of government. There is a breeze of change starting to be felt…and on an Island, it can quickly turn into a good stiff wind!

     
    • Peter 5 December 2015 at 7:23 am

      Lovely thoughts Sandra – thanks for reading, and for caring about our Island.

       
  5. Bob Butler 2 December 2015 at 8:08 pm

    An interesting and thoughtful post. I hope your positive feelings about political colleagues in both committee and in the House are borne out in their subsequent actions. I worry that spoken in committee support and cooperation will not so translate. Once again thank you for the update and insights. I shall look forward to more.

     
  6. Peter 5 December 2015 at 7:22 am

    Thanks for the kind words Bob.

     

Leave a Reply