Ghiz offers to stand side by side with Crane in opposing Ottawa's changes to employment insurance benefits
© Guardian photo
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.