Tories accuse premier of slow reaction to federal EI reforms

Teresa Wright
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Ghiz offers to stand side by side with Crane in opposing Ottawa's changes to employment insurance benefits

Premier Robert Ghiz walks to the provincial legislature Wednesday.

The federal government’s employment insurance reforms were the topic of criticism from both sides of the house today in the P.E.I. legislature.

Opposition Leader Olive Crane questioned Premier Robert Ghiz on what actions he has taken to raise concerns over the impacts Ottawa’s EI changes will have on P.E.I.’s workers and seasonal industries.

“Islanders are tired of an arrogant government that speaks and spins and does no work,” Crane said.

“How many meetings have you actually had with the prime minister of Canada on this issue in the last six months?”

But Ghiz fired back, pointing to a thick pile of news clippings he tabled in the House yesterday in which he is featured taking a leading role nationally in speaking out against the EI changes.

He also said he has a meeting next week with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during which he will be raising his EI concerns.

“Next week? Are you crazy? People are out there suffering five to six months later,” Crane replied.

“Next week? Are you crazy? People are out there suffering five to six months later." Olive Crane on premier's plan to meet with prime minister

But Ghiz called Crane’s attempts to discredit his efforts on the EI issue “petty politics.”

Then he took direct aim at National Revenue Minister and P.E.I. MP Gail Shea.

“I’m going to give credit here where credit is due… This is something that every single Island politician with the exception of one – Gail Shea – has spoken out against the federal government for making changes that will be detrimental to our province,” Ghiz said.

He added he would be willing to stand side by side with Crane to fight the EI changes rather than engage in “petty politics on the floor of the legislature.”

“(Crane) should be standing up for Islanders, like every single politician is in this province with the exception of Gail Shea,” Ghiz said.

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Ghiz knows exactly what he's doing
    November 22, 2012 - 09:21

    Why should Ghiz bite the hand that's going to lead him towards his next trip to the trough? He's a strategic guy, just too bad he's an Islander.

  • Henry Sow
    November 22, 2012 - 02:05

    Arrogance at its best is the only way I can describe Premier Ghiz's attacks not only on Olive Crane, but now on Gail Shea. Isn't that a great way to divert blame. I have always heard that the best defence is a good offence and Ghiz is a whiz at this tactic. Unfortunately he has to be so arrogant in his ways. Like my grandfather would say, "Bold little Pup, or Brazen Brat". What a disgrace as a Premier, a leader for the people of PEI. And that ridiculous looking mustache!

  • John W.A.Curtis
    November 21, 2012 - 23:29

    Until the recent changes there has been no onus os seasonal industries to employ workers more than 14 weeks. The last election was unconstitutional and the current 27 MLAs can't legally speak on the issue of Employment Insurance changes.

  • unbelievable
    November 21, 2012 - 20:32

    Brilliant Premier, naming Gail Shea as not helping PEI, next week you will be begging for more federal money. With 40% of your budget coming directly from Ottawa what are you thinking. That is not to mention over $200 million in EI benefits, over 2000 high paying federal jobs, millions from ACOA and Transport Canada in funding and the list goes on. This is the dumbest move a PEI premier could make, your father knew enough to get along with PM Mulroney, Binns could get along with PM Chretien and Minister MacAulay, that's the way it works. You and Crane make a great pair, I think it is called dumb and dumber.

  • Jungle goerge
    November 21, 2012 - 19:47

    Whiz blew it this time by insulting Shea . Shea has given more jobs in the. Past with infr. Structure and such then whiz can ever do and now he bites the hand that fed us. Watch as Shea pulls out the investations on all the pnp and an other money sent to island. How to get by this maybe more jobs lost at gst and dva. Smart move!!!

  • Upset Islander
    November 21, 2012 - 19:38

    This Premier is away out iof line with his personal attacks on Olive Crane and Gail Shea. Must be his guilt catching up on him with all the mistruths he slung to the Island populations over many issues. I would say he is a very lucky man to be in a protected arena, if this was in public face to face with people the situationj could be much different. Why our house leader allows this is beyond many of us. We are to believe no Politician holds a grudge, from what many of us are seeing this can't be true. Keep probing Olive for a PNP inquiry and yes lets see the investigation to date on companies who got PNP units with no plan in place, as Colin Younger has stated. This auditor general(past) done his job in a most professional manner, how come the Government is not holding up their end, other than being scared of exposing some of the law firms and accounting firms as they are the ones who fraudunlently managed the Immigrants money to the tune of millions. I wouold remind the Premier of the religious qoute" the truth will set you free" We will wait and see how he reacts.

  • lanny
    November 21, 2012 - 19:37

    on a completely different and ridiculous note; i think the mustache looks magnum style!

  • John W.A.Curtis
    November 21, 2012 - 16:02

    There has been no onus on seasonal industries to hire employees beyond 14 weeks till now. reducing employment benefits to 23 weeks is the first step towards P.E.I. becoming a have province. the current 27 MLAs are illegally elected and can't speak about the changes to Employment Insurance benefits