Absent from PEI election for Fiona disaster victims | The 2023 Elections in Prince Edward Island

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For victims of Fiona, the climate is the great absent in l’election in l’Î.-P.- | The 2023 Election in Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island will vote on April 3. After a week of campaigning, it was mostly about health and housing, but little was said about climate change or erosion.

Fiona mess cleanup in North Rustico, late September.

After a week of campaigning in Prince Edward Island, one topic seems to have barely been discussed, much to the surprise of some observers: climate change.

Observers wonder why climate change is not a main issue in the election of 3 april. A few months ago, Hurricane Fiona hit the province with full force, raising serious concerns about rising sea levels.

Phyllis Carr, whose restaurant was slightly damaged during Fiona's passage, says the coastline has changed in recent years. For her, climate change is undoubtedly one of the main topics of these elections.

The degree of erosion in our area is insane. Same thing all over Prince Edward Island. How are we going to rebuild? she asks. Owners who live on the coast, how will they react to the loss of plots of land?

Two heavily damaged homes in French River, Prince Edward Island on September 25, 2022, the day after Hurricane Fiona.

Marvin Graham's fishing boat was damaged in the storm on September 24. He hopes to be able to return to work during the next season.

He too is convinced that climate change and erosion should be as important topics as the health system.

However, unless there is a natural disaster that threatens a home or affects the food supply, climate change seems to be an abstract subject. That should be the priority, says Mr. Graham.

A lobster fishing boat in Stanley Bridge, Prince Edward Island, September 25, 2022 , after Fiona passed.

According to Peter Bevan-Baker, the leader of the Green Party, which has formed the Official Opposition in the provincial legislature since 2019, the Progressive Conservative government has demonstrated a complete lack of imagination and an inability to present a plan on many topics, including environmental protection.

He really, really failed to foresee and implement plans to respond effectively to these climatic events and to improve the situation, he underlines in an interview.

Peter Bevan-Baker, leader of the Prince Edward Island Green Party, in Summerside on April 16, 2019.

The Greens may claim that the environment is their reason for being, but it was mainly about health, housing, the cost of living and the lack of manpower during Peter Bevan-Baker press conferences.

He says he does not want to run away from the subject of climate change, far from it. According to him, this is a fundamental issue for the health of society.

He promises to put climate change at the heart of his campaign in the coming weeks.

Prince Edward Island Progressive Conservative Leader Dennis King on March 6, 2023 in Charlottetown.

Progressive Conservative Leader Dennis King says his government has responded and is proactively addressing climate change.

Even though it has made few environmental announcements so far, Dennis King denies wanting to avoid this topic. We are addressing this issue with the sense of urgency it deserves. Every islander knows that climate change is a reality.

Sharon Cameron, Leader of the Prince Edward Island Liberal Party, on March 8, 2023 in Charlottetown.

Liberal Leader Sharon Cameron argues that Prince Edward Island is not a big emitter of greenhouse gases.

I have always believed that a good program should be based on three pillars, i.e. social, economic and environmental. At any given time, one of these areas may stand out as the most important, she says.

Climate change will be a key part of the Liberal platform, promises Sharon Cameron, but right now the most important topic for the province is health care.

Potato production is a major industry on Prince Edward Island.

Xander Wang, an associate professor at the University of Prince Edward Island, points out that Storm Fiona demonstrated the province's vulnerability to coastal erosion from to warming temperatures.

Farming and fishing practices will need to change to protect crops, he adds.

According to him, the next government should be ready to implement effective policies to adapt to climate change and to limit its consequences.

In the short term, the people will need support and solutions to protect land and homes against the next storm. fart. Everything is changing very quickly with global warming, says Professor Wang.

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