29 September 2015 | Download original letter
Honourable Robert Mitchell
Minister of Communities, Land and Environment
Government of Prince Edward Island
Dear Minister Mitchell,
I have been honoured to welcome you to your new role as Minister of Communities, Land and Environment and as a member of our Cabinet team, and for the collaborative work we have begun in the past few months. Together, we will work to fulfill the trust that Islanders have placed in us to lead with integrity and purpose as we build a prosperous, caring and engaged society for the people of Prince Edward Island. We have a clear and coherent plan to enhance PEl's quality of life, to advance our economic growth, and to build strong community across our Island, as outlined in the Speech from the Throne, and your Department will play an important part in achieving those goals.
As a Government, we are committed to openness and transparency, and to the highest standards of ethical conduct in our decision-making and governance processes. We will be accountable for our actions, and we will increase opportunities for Islanders to engage in shaping our future path and in carrying out the work of Government. You and your colleagues play a crucial role in fulfilling those commitments.
I look to you to ensure adherence to the strengthened measures that are being put in place for expense disclosure by Ministers and senior officials; to be frugal in conducting your duties; to deal with citizens and clients in a fair, transparent and balanced way; and to ensure open, merit-based processes for hiring and board appointments within your area of responsibility.
I also encourage you to commit to making sure that Prince Edward Island Government services can be easily accessed by our citizens, community groups and businesses. As we work internally and with regional governments to reduce unnecessary regulation and improve service delivery, I welcome your ideas and leadership.
Our work over the coming term of office will be shaped by our commitments to the people of Prince Edward Island as set out in our campaign document, Let's Work Together! We have set out a plan to build a prosperous economy, achieving growth above national averages, and develop a stronger society through the three integrated priorities of people, prosperity and engagement. Working across Cabinet, Government and community, we will strive to put in place the best supports for all Prince Edward Island residents, to allow them to meet challenges and to flourish as individuals and families. We will create more opportunities for business, trade and jobs. And we will strive to put Prince Edward Island on the map as an innovative leader.
I look to you to help our Government achieve these goals by taking action to safeguard our environment, to protect our land and water resources, and to foster strong, vibrant communities and local governments across the Province. In so doing, you will work closely with your colleagues and particularly with the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries to promote the sustainability of our industries- recognizing that this is vital to the success of our brand as Canada's Food Island and more importantly to the long-term future of our resourcebased industries.
The Department of Communities, Land and Environment is a new department and, working with your Deputy Minister, your first aim is to build a strong and cohesive effort that engages Islanders to jointly attain our community-strengthening and environmental stewardship goals.
In this context, I ask to you place particular priority on the following areas:
- Lead the effort, through public consultation, on a new Water Act that supports the protection and responsible use of our water resources and bring that forward in 2016 to the Legislative Assembly;
- With input from the public, update the Planning Act to include land use policies, and work with your Cabinet colleagues, communities, and Islanders to support the implementation of renewed policies in the Act in line with the recommendations of the Handrahar Task Force Report;
- Move forward on the continued implementation of the recommendations of the Carver Report on the Lands Protection Act;
- Take proactive action to prepare for and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, including joint planning with the Atlantic and Federal Governments, and support for measures to increase PEl's move to more green energy sources and enhanced coordination in all aspects of energy use;
- Conduct consultations on and bring forward a new Municipal Government Act to integrate and modernize existing legislation and increase accountability, accessibility, transparency, responsiveness, and efficiency; and
- Work with the Department of Finance on a new funding system for municipalities on PEl.
All of this work can and will only be accomplished through active engagement with Government and community partners. To this end, I expect you to build positive and constructive relations with local governments, watershed and environmental groups, farmers and agricultural producers, as well as with other levels of Government.
I also look to you to develop and maintain effective, trusting relationships with your Deputy Minister and departmental officials. Our dedicated and professional public service is vital to the attainment of our goals as a Government, including careful, prudent management to achieve our commitment of a balanced budget in 2016- 17. Your Deputy Minister is your primary source of support in achieving your responsibilities as outlined above. Within this context, your Deputy Minister is ultimately accountable to me, through the Clerk, for supporting you in a manner consistent with the duly-approved policies of Government, and the overall agenda and direction of Government. I ask you to bear these dual accountabilities in mind as you continue to develop your working relationship with your Deputy.
These are exciting times for Prince Edward Island. I am confident that, working together, we will make great strides to fulfill the potential and opportunities of our Province and our residents and ensure that we can face the future strong, proud and optimistic.
Sincerely, Wade MacLauchlan