Massive Federal Support Allows Provincial Flexibility in Mental Health and Addictions
Over the last several months, the federal contribution to the economic and social well-being of Prince Edward Island has been remarkable, says Liberal Finance Critic Heath MacDonald.
According to the provincial Department of Finance, Ottawa provided more than $600 million to the Island during the pandemic period.
On an annual basis, that works out to $7,500 for every single Islander. In other words, the average support for a family of four is $30,000.
“Given the huge level of support from the federal government, I remain surprised the Conservative government here on the Island hasn’t had a more forceful plan to support Islanders. There has been very little forward-thinking in terms of sectors like tourism and food services.”
Furthermore, it is now clear that access to health care has not improved – in spite of obvious needs.
“With the federal government doing all the heavy lifting, there was an opportunity for the province to re-energize mental health, addictions and primary care. Instead, we have seen very little progress in these areas. And we know from statistics released from the Canadian Mental Health Association that people already struggling with their mental health are three times more likely to be having trouble coping.”
Additionally, it is unfortunate that Provincial Finance Minister Darlene Compton chose to blame the provincial deficit on the federal government.
“According to Compton’s own figures, Ottawa provided $10.4 million to the Island for the safe re-opening of schools and more than $25 million to cover testing, contact tracing and protective equipment.
“I will look forward to questioning the Minister at a Standing Committee on these and other issues facing our province as we head into winter."