Dear Minister Currie,
I am honoured to welcome you to your new role as Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture and as a continuing 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 ensure excellence in our education system and cultural industries.
The Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture is a newly-constituted Department and, working with your Deputy Minister, your first aim is to build a strong and cohesive effort that provides the young people in PEl’s education system with every opportunity to grow and succeed and that our cultural efforts and institutions are developed through enterprise and collaboration.
In this context, I ask to you place particular priority on the following areas:
- Leading the implementation and delivery of the changes announced to advance education excellence in Prince Edward Island;
- Providing leadership in building opportunities for success, achievement and excellence for PEl’s children and students in our education system;
- Streamline effective education leadership and focus resources on front-line capacity;
- Building the technology capacity and engagement in PEl schools to enhance learning possibilities for Island students;
- Advancing opportunities for Island youth where they can thrive on PEI;
- Guiding labour negotiations to provide stable and sustainable arrangements with our front-line delivery in education;
- Contributing to the Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy; and
- Leading the development of a 10-year Strategy on Culture that updates our approach to heritage and arts development on and from 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 education, culture and community leaders, as well as with other levels of Government regionally and nationally.
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.
Premier of Prince Edward Island