18 November 2015
For immediate release
Bevan-Baker proposes to measure quality of life
Office of the Third Party
Yesterday, Peter Bevan-Baker introduced his first private members bill for First Reading in the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island. The Well-being Measurement Act (Bill 101) will direct the development and publication of a set of indicators to supplement existing economic measures such as gross domestic product (GDP).
Efforts to measure quality of life are not new in PEI. In 2006 a study in Tyne Valley directed by the Institute of Island Studies asked Islanders what matters most to them. More recently, the Georgetown Conference in 2013 set out to investigate what could be done to restore vitality in rural Prince Edward Island. With this bill, Bevan-Baker hopes to revive the discussion on quality of life and to create a tool that government can use to better inform its policy decisions.
“I believe the Island way of life we all cherish is our greatest asset”, said Bevan-Baker. “On PEI we’re different from much of the rest of the world. We don’t just strive to get bigger and faster; we value other things, like a strong sense of community, a healthy environment, and taking time for families and friends. Here progress is defined by something more than simply the amount of money we make; it is about valuing those things that make life really worthwhile.”
“Developing a complementary set of indicators to Gross Domestic Product is not a new idea”, continued Bevan-Baker. “The Canadian Index of Well-Being has been established in Waterloo University for many years, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Community Accounts are used to track the health and prosperity of its citizens and communities. This bill will allow us on PEI to measure those things we value most deeply, and to say to the rest of the world ‘we care above all about the well-being of our communities, our land and our citizens, and we are tracking those things to make sure we are heading in the right direction.’”
Bevan-Baker is optimistic about the potential of the bill. “I fully expect that MLAs from all parties will get behind this initiative, because when it comes down to it, I know that my colleagues care deeply about the communities they represent, and this bill will help us be better advocates for our districts.”
Previous versions of this bill have been presented in Ottawa by Liberal and Green members, and received support from all parties. It was also presented in Nova Scotia by the New Democratic Party. Despite wide support, these attempts have so far all died on the order paper.
The Well-being Measurement Act will direct the Standing Committee for Public Accounts to engage with the public to determine what matters most to Islanders and how they think that real progress should be measured. The Committee’s report will determine a set of indicators that will be used to measure the well-being of Islanders. A management committee will then be established to oversee the development and publication of these indicators.
The attached document provides further background on the Well-being Measurement Act. More information will be posted over the coming days to www.peterbevanbaker.ca/wellbeing.
Office of the Third Party