As the controversy over the new medical school grows, I want to make the Liberal
position on this matter very clear: We are in favor of any idea that improves
access to health care.
Over the last several years, the crisis in health care has grown steadily worse.
In early January, it was reported that more than 36,000 Islanders are now on a list
– waiting for a family doctor. We are now in a worse position than any province in
Canada when it comes to this kind of basic health care access.
This is a crisis, to say the very least.
In October of 2022, Premier Dennis King announced the work on a medical
school. The projected cost was $129 million.
And every Islander was assured that this major announcement – this huge
investment of tax dollars – was part of the answer to the challenge of health care
Like nearly every Islander, I took the government at its word. And like nearly
every Islander, I shared a great sense of optimism that a medical school would
form part of the answer to our worsening crisis.
Furthermore, the great challenge of launching a new medical school really hit a
major chord. In so many ways, I felt a great sense of pride at the idea that we
would be able to educate and train new doctors – and that we could keep them
here on the Island.
However, in recent weeks the concerns have grown.
First, a government report strongly suggested that a medical school could drain
much-needed resources from Islander.
The former Chief Executive Office at Health PEI has said that he resigned his
position – in part – over worries that the medical school could seriously damage
Island health care.
And to this point, neither I nor any Islander has heard any clear explanation from
the provincial government that supports its early advocacy and current support
for the medical school.
Again, I very much want this concept to work. If a medical school will address
these shortages, this will be a magnificent development. And again, I share the
pride of many Islanders that we may be able to successfully launch this ambitious
But – I am also extremely concerned with the capacity of the current government
to handle this project.
There are too many issues that have been left to get worse for me to be
The growing crisis in health care access
The lack of a strategy to deal with the pressures of our current
A housing crisis that continues to get worse
Cost of living pressures that are hurting every Islander
So – my support for the medical school remains. But there are many, many
questions to be answered. And I am growing quite concerned that a potential lack
of due diligence, planning and foresight may leave us with a white elephant that
will cost Islanders for many years to come.
Leader of the Official Opposition