Greens pass first bill in P.E.I. legislature

Thursday marked the first time the Green Party of P.E.I. passed legislation in the legislative assembly, a milestone for the third party.

Greens also pass amendments to post-secondary institutions sexual violence policies act

For the first time, the Green Party of P.E.I. has passed a bill in the provincial legislature. (Government of P.E.I.)

The Green Party of P.E.I. passed its first piece of legislation Thursday, a milestone for the third party.

A bill introduced by the party to amend the Innovation PEI Act passed second reading Thursday.

The amendments add the sector of "creative and cultural industries" to the Act and expand the definition of renewable energy to include "clean technology."

Green Party MLA Hannah Bell said updates to the Act are long overdue. 

"I think it's something that's a no-brainer. [Creative and cultural industries] is who we are on P.E.I."

Bell said that adding "clean technology" to renewable energy sectors was "critically important."

"This is the next wave of economic opportunity in Canada," she said.

"This is a chance for us to show our commitment, just with those three words, that we are open for business in some of the economic activity that can actually come from that expansion of that part of the industry."

Amendments to sexual violence bill

The Greens also passed several amendments which were incorporated by government into its Post-Secondary Institutions Sexual Violence Policies Act, tabled last week by Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning Sonny Gallant.

The bill requires that post-secondary institutions develop policies and a process to address sexual violence involving students. 

Charlottetown-Parkdale MLA Hannah Bell said changes to the Innovation PEI Act are long overdue. (P.E.I. Legislative Assembly)

The schools must also report all incidents of sexual violence to the department.  

The Greens proposed an amendment that expands the definition of sexual violence to include "the distribution of sexually explicit photograph or video as an example of sexual violence."

Consent training and cultural sensitivity

Green party leader Peter Bevan-Baker said the changes are to make the bill more specific in its ability to protect victims of sexual violence.

"The word prevention was not even mentioned in the legislation initially," Bevan-Baker said. "So we added a number of clauses that talked about training and understanding what consent means."

The bill is also meant to ensure that any sexual violence policy be culturally sensitive to include vulnerable groups like members of the LGBTQ community and people living with disabilities.

"These [amendments] were in large part taken from other pieces of legislation like this in other jurisdictions," said Bevan-Baker.

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