Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, March 18, 2020 - The current public health situation has required many changes to regular routines for all Islanders as health officials advise citizens to stay home, if at all possible. The situation is evolving at a rapid pace and, in keeping with the precautionary measures regarding gatherings recommended by the Chief Public Health Officer of PEI, I am, for the moment, suspending the spring sitting of the legislature which was to begin on April 7, 2020.
The Rules of the Legislative Assembly state that the legislature opens for the spring sitting during the first week of April each year, and that members and the public shall be given sixty days’ notice for the opening of each sitting. The Rules also provide authority for the Speaker to waive these requirements. Following conversations with the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Leader of the Third Party, I am waiving both the requirement that the House be recalled to sit during the first week of April and that sixty days’ notice must be given for the opening of the Legislative Assembly. The first measure is out of an abundance of caution, and the second will ensure that the House can be called to sit at any moment, should it be required.
The legislature will be recalled after consultation with the other parliamentary leaders as the situation evolves.
This decision has not been taken lightly. The Legislative Assembly provides government with the authority to execute their policies. Should the Assembly be required to meet to pass emergency legislation or for any other reason, it can be recalled on short notice.