Dennis King's Progressive Conservatives need to reassure Islanders they learned the right lessons from Fiona as peak hurricane season nears, the Green Party says.
On Thursday, Interim Leader Karla Bernard said the government hasn't given people enough information about how hurricane preparations are going in the province. She said that's generating anxiety among Islanders, particularly since they've had to live through post-tropical storms Fiona and Dorian in recent years.
"If we've got something to share with Islanders, we should be sharing it to give them comfort," she said. "It was a mess last time. Whether we want to point fingers or not is irrelevant. What are we doing this time to make sure that some of the very obvious things that went wrong aren't going to go wrong again?...
"If we've done nothing in between storms, we're going to find ourselves in the exact same boat. And whose fault is that?"
Tropical storm Franklin is expected to pick up strength and become a hurricane on the weekend. (Jay Scotland/CBC)
Meteorologists with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have forecast an "above-normal" Atlantic hurricane season for 2023.
On Thursday, the Nova Scotia government announced it was launching a four-week emergency preparedness campaign, just as tropical storm Franklin began to pick up strength on its path north from the Caribbean.
Franklin is expected to reach the Maritimes by the middle or end of next week, though CBC meteorologist Tina Simpkin said it's still too early to tell what impact the storm might have on the region.
The Greens said P.E.I. should follow Nova Scotia's example. Bernard called on the government to hold a briefing immediately and offer Islanders a clear plan.
'Why are they not talking about it?'
Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Wellness sent out an email asking long-term facilities to stock up on supplies in light of the long-term hurricane season forecast. The premier also instructed the province's environment minister, in a recently released mandate letter, to take action and prepare for future extreme weather events.
But Bernard said she hasn't seen any indication the government has done enough.
"We need to have learned lessons from the storms before in order to be prepared, and there's no sign that that's happened," she said.
Power crews from other provinces came to P.E.I. to help restore power after post-tropical storm Fiona. (Alexandre Silberman/CBC)
"Even if we look in the budget in terms of money that's been set aside, we had set aside roughly $30 million, spent roughly $94 million, and we're still only budgeting $30 million."
During last fall's legislature sitting, the Greens had called for a public inquiry on the province's response to Fiona, which landed on Sept. 23 as a post-tropical storm. King did commit to a review, but Bernard said Islanders haven't heard much since then.
"There's absolutely some really low-hanging fruit that we could be talking about, but it's just been crickets," she said.
"Have they done a review? We need to talk about this because if they are doing work on this, if they have done a review, if they have been doing work on our emergency preparedness, why are they not talking about it?"