Rural and Regional Development Mandate Letter
Honourable Patrick Murphy
Minister of Rural and Regional Development
Government of Prince Edward Island
Dear Minister Murphy,
Thank you for your ongoing work on behalf of Islanders, and the leadership you are providing in Rural and Regional Development. As we move beyond the thirty-month point of our mandate, we have achieved much and are well-positioned to work from the current strength of the Province to deliver further positive results to and for Islanders as we help build a prosperous, collaborative and diverse society in Prince Edward Island.
As a Government, we have worked hard to deliver on the commitments made to Islanders in our policy platform, People, Prosperity and Engagement. We have led with integrity and purpose, and have held ourselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct in our decision-making. We have engaged actively with Islanders on a wide variety of initiatives. And we have been open and transparent in our effort to serve the best interests of our Province and its people.
This is an important period in our mandate, and we move forward knowing that our plan is focused, balanced and consistent. The plan confirms our commitment to families, health care, education, and employment opportunities for all Islanders. It reflects our collective responsibility to grow the economy while spending public dollars wisely in areas that matter most to Islanders. And it seeks to spread that growth to all parts of Prince Edward Island. I expect you and your Ministry to continue to play a leading role in fulfilling these core commitments.
As Minister, I encourage you to accomplish your work by working collaboratively across government and with partners from community, business and social organizations. I also expect you to continue to bring Islanders together to discuss and shape our path forward to progress and sustainable prosperity. We are a government that works on behalf of all Islanders, and we must never forget that central to our Province’s future success will be the proper development and management of our most valuable resource: our people.
Building on our ambitious, multi-year plan, we will advance our efforts on building a prosperous economy, achieving growth above the national average, and attaining progress for all Islanders through our three core priorities: people, prosperity, and engagement. Over the past thirty months, we have made real progress and delivered significant results:
- Our economy is stronger than it ever has been, and growing faster than the region and the overall Canadian economy. Islanders are better off and our businesses and communities are growing and diversifying into new areas of activity.
- More Islanders are working, with more full-time jobs available, including more than 2,500 new full-time jobs in the last year.
- Total labour income in the province is experiencing the second fastest growth in the country.
- Our population is growing, reaching 152,000 in 2017, the fastest growth in Canada. For the first time since 1968, our median age has declined. We are well on track to meet the goal of a population of 160,000 Islanders by 2022.
- We have balanced our books, with the first balanced operating budget in a decade, allowing for more investments in health, education, children and families throughout PEI.
- The Generic Drug Program has provided 18,000 Islanders with greater access to needed medication at a reasonable cost to them.
- We have provided direct tax relief to 85,000 Islanders and 3,000 fewer islanders are paying any provincial income tax than in 2015.
- Together with our Federal partner, we have made historic investments in infrastructure, including the PEI-New Brunswick Submarine Cable Project, the single largest infrastructure project since the Confederation Bridge. Further significant investments have been made in water and wastewater, transportation and strategic infrastructure throughout the Province.
- We have taken ambitious steps toward greater government transparency and accountability, including the establishment of the position of Ethics and Integrity Commissioner, the development of whistleblower policy and draft legislation, extended conflict of interest requirements, and more public disclosures.
- We have placed significant emphasis on modernizing the legislative foundations for our province and have pursued an active legislative agenda, with 113 bills across all aspects of life and governance.
The strength of accomplishment on behalf of all Islanders is supported by your active leadership in your portfolio, your commitment to work with your Cabinet colleagues, a professional public service and through openness and active engagement with Islanders. I encourage you to continue this approach as we seek to achieve further progress for our Province.
As Minister of Rural and Regional Development, your overarching goals will be to lead the interconnected work of rural and regional development issues related to economy, population, community and growth and be the voice of rural Prince Edward Island in broad government discussions. Working closely with your Deputy Minister, you will ensure that departmental focus will be on supporting the overall plan outlined in the 14 November Speech from the Throne while addressing priorities specific to your mandate:
- Lead the work of the Regional Economic Advisory Councils and, in collaboration with the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Development address the top priorities identified by the Councils within the year;
- Develop and implement rural components of the Population Action Plan, including working with municipalities to develop “welcome to the community” initiatives;
- Working with the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, provide leadership to the development of a Province-wide fibre backbone, working with communities across Prince Edward Island;
- Identify and pursue strategic infrastructure opportunities that enhance regional growth possibilities;
- Working with the Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning, ensure that post-secondary and training opportunities are well matched to the job market and emerging fields; and
- Develop, in consultation with the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, navigation and support tools for small businesses in communities across the Province, including incentives for businesses to provide mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities to encourage the next generation of business leaders.
Our Government has made progress on matters that are most important to Islanders and we are right to be proud of the results that have been accomplished. Our ongoing commitment is to work hard to achieve more on behalf of all individuals, families and communities in our Province. I encourage you to build on the momentum that we have created with the help of Islanders, to work with your Deputy Minister and departmental staff to advance our plan forward, and to make decisions that contribute to sustained prosperity for all.
I look forward to our work together in the coming months.
Premier of Prince Edward Island