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P.E.I. Premier Dennis King not ruling out election before spring budget



CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Premier Dennis King will not be ruling out the opportunity of taking the province into an election earlier than his authorities tables a spring price range.

Talking at a Progressive Conservative occasion nomination assembly at Hillsborough Park Group Centre Feb. 16, King advised occasion supporters {that a} current health-care funding deal reached between Ottawa and the provinces will present comparatively extra {dollars} for smaller provinces like P.E.I. This may imply round $50 million in extra health-care {dollars} within the 2023-24 fiscal 12 months alone.

Well being P.E.I. CEO Michael Gardam has mentioned an extra $100 million is required to enhance the province’s health-care system. The well being authority is grappling with a extreme scarcity of nurses, medical doctors and allied well being workers.

However the distribution of those badly wanted {dollars} to the province’s health-care system might not come earlier than an election is known as this spring.

When interviewed later by SaltWire Community, King didn’t decide to tabling a price range this spring within the legislature.

“Effectively, a price range would come after we get into the legislature. We would not have a set date for that but. So we’ll see what comes.” King mentioned.

Premier Dennis King speaks before a nomination meeting in Charlottetown Feb. 16. After speaking positively about a new health-care deal reached with Ottawa, King did not rule out calling an election before tabling a budget that would set out how these funds will be spent. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire Network
Premier Dennis King speaks earlier than a nomination assembly in Charlottetown Feb. 16. After talking positively a few new health-care deal reached with Ottawa, King didn’t rule out calling an election earlier than tabling a price range that may set out how these funds will likely be spent. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire Community

A media advisory issued by the P.E.I. legislature on Feb. 14 famous the spring session of the legislature is because of resume on March 7.

SaltWire Community requested King if his authorities will likely be returning to the legislature at the moment.

“Keep tuned,” King mentioned.

P.E.I.’s Election Act units October because the month wherein elections are presupposed to be held however little restricts the premier from calling an election at a time of his selecting. 

4 PC candidates had been formally nominated Thursday night time, together with incumbent Charlottetown-Winsloe MLA Zack Bell, Training Minister Natalie Jameson, Charlottetown-Belvedere candidate Susie Dillon and Charlottetown-Victoria Park candidate Tim Keizer.

The Progressive Conservatives have nominated 9 candidates to this point.


Complete candidates formally nominated thus far, by occasion, as of Feb. 16.

  • NDP: 9
  • PC: 9
  • Liberal: 1
  • Inexperienced: 0

Well being care shaping as much as be main problem

In current days, SaltWire revealed one household physician and two specialists plan to go away their practices on P.E.I. Over 27,000 Islanders are listed on the patient registry, however that quantity doesn’t embrace lots of or maybe hundreds whose household medical doctors have left in current months.

Since early February, each the Opposition Inexperienced and Liberal events have launched a string of press statements attacking King’s file on well being care.

The emergency department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire Network file
The emergency division at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire Community file

In a single assertion, Liberal chief Sharon Cameron instructed an election name may come both on March 5 or 6, after the shut of the Canada Video games. Cameron mentioned this name would imply Island residents “is not going to obtain a proof for the present disaster in well being care.”

Talking earlier than occasion supporters, King acknowledged that adjustments in well being care are wanted. 

However he additionally touted lots of the adjustments launched within the health-care system beneath his watch, together with the introduction of the Pharmacy Plus program, investments in a deliberate psychological well being campus and the opening of collaborative medical residence practices.

King mentioned the Pharmacy Plus program has been a selected success. He mentioned over 1,200 Islanders are handled by pharmacists every week for 32 frequent illnesses, which retains them from visiting hospital emergency rooms.

“In order that’s a beautiful, fantastic innovation that we put into this technique. And each single premier on the conferences in Ottawa was asking me about Pharmacy Plus, eager to know the way we did it,” King mentioned.

Former Health P.E.I. board chair Derek Key told a P.E.I. standing committee he found a decision by Premier Dennis King and the Department of Health to provide retention bonuses to nurses but not allied health workers to be
Former Well being P.E.I. board chair Derek Key advised a P.E.I. standing committee he discovered a choice by Premier Dennis King and the Division of Well being to supply retention bonuses to nurses however not allied well being staff to be “unhelpful.” – Stu Neatby

Governance questions

In late December, Well being P.E.I. board chair Derek Key resigned after calling for “jurisdictional change” within the province’s health-care supply mannequin.

Key had publicly mentioned Well being P.E.I. ought to function as an impartial crown company with management over its personal staffing, hiring and human useful resource planning. At present, the Public Service Fee hires health-care workers.

Talking earlier than a standing committee on Feb. 15, Key recalled one occasion wherein it took two years for a nurse practitioner place to be posted publicly.

In an interview with SaltWire Community, King defended the function of the Public Service Fee. He mentioned the Fee has employed 20 new folks solely devoted to well being care hiring.

“The challenges with hiring in well being care aren’t across the HR. It is across the entry to the folks truly in well being care. There is a scarcity of health-care professionals. Canada’s brief 20,000 medical doctors,” King mentioned. “So it is not that we’re slowed down within the strategy of hiring a person. The people aren’t there to rent.”

Stu Neatby is a political reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He might be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @stu_neatby.

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