Online campaign begun to buy EI protester a car

Steve Sharratt
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Marlene Geirsdorf continues to picket outside Service Canada's Montague office

MONTAGUE – Some want to take her to lunch, some want to give her money, and some want to buy her a car.

But Marlene Geirsdorf, who started a one woman protest here last Friday after being denied EI benefits and told to go on welfare, has become a lightning rod of controversy.

While there are those who rail against her in the comment pages of media reports, there are even more comments of encouragement, honking horns and visitors stopping by her lone vigil here to endorse her stance.

And as of Tuesday — and more than 40,000 page views on the original story about her on The Guardian website — an online campaign was launched to raise money to buy her a car.

She was denied EI benefits – she rightfully qualified for — because she wouldn’t take a job in Charlottetown (60kms away) since she had no car and there is no public transportation in the region.

“It’s a national disgrace,’’ says Mike McGeoghegan, president of the P.E.I. Fisherman’s Association. “This woman is a courageous individual who is standing in the line of fire and fighting for benefits that she qualified for and should be receiving.”

The burly fisherman from Pinette dropped by to visit her lone vigil Tuesday afternoon and praised her fortitude. Like many others, he tried to give her money to help her situation, but Geirsdorf refuses gratefully.

“I’m very thankful for the help, but I won’t accept,’’ she smiled in the sunshine and cold. “I’ve always gotten by on my own and I will again.”

Geirsdorf is the 30-year-old single mom who qualified for EI but was cut off because of her inability to get to Charlottetown about 45 minutes away. She has stood outside the Service Canada building with her hand made signs almost daily to bring attention to the drastic changes initiated by the federal government.

She’s been offered coffee, food, money and lots of encouragement; and was told to apply to a local donut shop by the owner just in case an opening surfaced in the future.

Meanwhile, two Ontario men have launched a fundraising site to help buy her a car.

“Canada is a great place to live, the people here are kind, generous, and we really do care for our own,” says Frank Mosey. “Some of the practices of our government work great, however, some cracks are in the system.”

Mosey says his parents are from eastern Canada and he understands the struggles and situations are different from other parts of the country.

“I understand why Marlene would not want to move or travel 60 km., she has a young son who is in school and to uproot him from home is hard on young kids. Family comes first….good for her for standing up and making a point.”

Mosey said Kelly John Rose, co-founder of Panda Robotics in Toronto, was “kind enough” to start up a fundraising page to purchase Geirsdorf a functional vehicle that will allow her travel and better opportunities for employment.

“If lots of folks donate $20, it won't take much to raise enough for an economical vehicle. We have been in touch with a local dealer that may help out and are hopeful that through social media we can bring awareness to people about some of the EI changes that have been made.”

Geirsdorf says she will continue her protest while awaiting her appeal even though the weather is planning to dip to -15C on Friday.

“I’ll wear my orange survival suit,” she said.

Organizations: Service Canada, The Guardian, Panda Robotics

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I. Fisherman, Canada Ontario Toronto

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Recent comments

    January 17, 2013 - 00:43

    I think this is wonderful that people are stepping up to help this poor woman. It is very difficult to find a decent paying job in PEI which is why I moved away. This is not what most people want to do but being a single mom it costs money to move. I had support from my family which was the only way I could do it. How determined she is and how wonderful it is to see someone taking a stand. I wish her all the best.

    • Kelly John Rose
      January 17, 2013 - 09:41

      We are already at 22% of our desired goal. If you can spare $10 or $20 to help out, it will be appreciated and possibly give a real leg up to this young lady so she can work.

    • SAP
      January 17, 2013 - 12:26

      If she gets free car, and the decision is reversed and she gets EI, and decides to take the winter off, does that satisfy all of those that donated? Just asking, are people donating to get her transport to get to work, or to give her a car regardless. just wondering.

    • SAP
      January 17, 2013 - 13:08

      So, if she gets a car, will she take a job she needs to drive to? Maybe the problem with EI in the first place was that you could quit a job that was difficult, so you can sit around getting a cheque. If she has no mode of transport, did she plan on looking for a job at all? Was she going to wait until the pogey ran out? maybe when the weather got nicer? Was any of this considered before walking away from a job which apparently scarce where she lives? If the last job was too stressful, how will she be able to work having to drive icy roads every day?

    • FullTimeHardWorkingResident
      January 20, 2013 - 19:06

      Disgusted with the amount of sympathy this woman is getting. Not only did she LEAVE her full time employment, but now she's getting everyones vote because she has a child and her plan to sit on her ass all winter (EI) backfired? My god! My job is stressful. I've had someone threaten me with a weapon before. I leave an hour early to WALK to work wearing sneakers (with holes mind you) and bags over my feet. (and yes, even in winter storms and rain) I have to save up just like everyone else to get a vehicle. What will she do once this is handed over to her for insurance? I'm sure that'll be the next campaigning sympathy bullsh** story. Or maybe she'll just quit her next job as well because she cant afford gas.

  • Rudeness
    January 16, 2013 - 21:32

    The only rude comments regarding this story were by Bill Young. People are only voicing their options. If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen....CBC news ( compass) actually showed there was two sides to this story when they interviewed Gail Shea.....I agree it's time for a new story , there are things that just don't add up, like her employer trying to accommodate her and she still chose to quit and what she stated in the Eastern Graphic ,that she shared custody. That shared custody could be 50/50 for all we know. She wouldn't have her son full time. The Guardian articles make it sound like she is raising a child on here own, even people on here seem to think that....So don't blame people for their options just because they stick to the facts....The truth always comes out regardless of any option...

  • noella
    January 16, 2013 - 18:06

    i dont beleive what im reading people are getting into her life AS ALWAYS its always somebody falt maby she dont have a car .maby she quit her job.maby this .maby that. but that not the problem. the problem is you STOP talking about her and talk about harper and EI for a change it all over, have you read the paper have you lesson to the news come on people help her out for EI SUPPORT HER MABY THE WORLD WILL BE BETTER and then she will do the rest taking care of her privited life i dont know her but if i would be closer i be on the side of the road for supporting her for EI AND NOT HER PRIVATE LIFE

    • andy
      January 16, 2013 - 21:40

      Maby you should learn how to spell maybe, then you will be taken seriously.

    • fed up with the bull s...t
      January 18, 2013 - 17:44

      here we go again about wrong spelling. if someone could spell maybe they would have a job. Bull Crap. i know a civil service worker, works summer mts. misses work whenever. very poor penmenship. doesn't pronounce words very well. does not have gr. 12. maybe g.e.d. so don't say if someone can't spell they would have a job. u go work @ f.c. lodge nights by yourself 60 hr. wk. 33 residents by yourself and get treated unfairly. THAT IS NOT GOOD FOR ANYONE. stand up people for marlene. maybe their should be a union their. All people should be treated the same @ a job. this is wonderful marlene gets a car. ya ya ya. she deserves that and more. i would not work in that place. never did and never will. u go girl. give it all u got.

    January 16, 2013 - 16:59

    With all the comments here, whether positive or negative, everyone seems to have missed the salient point. Cutting her off EI because she won't take a job 60 km. away without having a car or any public transportation, is just plain wrong.They may as well have told her there was a job in Alberta and she has to take that. Instead if villifying this woman, people should be protesting to their MP and get some civility and common sense in Service Canada.

    • SAP
      January 16, 2013 - 17:26

      Actually, the other point is-she quit the job she already had, and has put herself in the situation of not having a way to care for herself or family. I wish her no ill will, but the fact is the decision to quit her job to go on EI was hers alone.

      January 17, 2013 - 09:46

      The fact is she qualified for EI, whether she quit or not. She is being cut off because she refused to take a job 60kms away without having any transportation. That is the issue.

  • Give it a rest lady
    January 16, 2013 - 16:09

    She quit her job instead of being sensible and waiting until she found a new one. Now she's got a problem with the fact that taxpayers won't pay her bills for her? Boo freaking hoo. Educate yourself and read the EI information which is readily provided and easily accessible. I hate my job and it stresses me out but I would never quit and cross my fingers that EI will pay my bills.Especially with a child to care for! I'm shocked she got EI to begin with. EI is for those who have lost their job due to circumstances beyond their control, not those who quit their job. I've been working full time and paying into EI for the last two decades and I don't feel entitled to it, why should she?

  • chellybean
    January 16, 2013 - 16:00

    I really don't understand all the hate in the comments! Really, she should not have her child? Come on people, don't be so judgemental when you do not have all the facts-- this is one story you hear-- many people have been denied! And as for those of you who believe that social assistance is the answer?? So as a seasonal Island, we are known for higher EI stats, but you want us to change from Employment Insurance to a bigger well fair collective. This makes no sense, people work and they pay into Employment Insurance for this! People checking the job bank will really tell you there is very little on there, and those applying are rarely getting called back. The applicants to position ratio is too unbalanced. As for people raising money to get her a car== that is their choice and if they want to help a fellow Islander kudos to them, this should happen in more cases. Heaven forbid people helping other human beings!! Also, the comments discaimer asks that We ask that users remain courteous. You may not post insulting, discriminatory or inappropriate content, which may be removed at our discretion. I see many insulting/discriminatory comments on this article. I believe that Employment Insurance is a right you should have should you have no history of abusing the system in place and have paid into and done your hours as criteria calls! Assitstance for wellfare should be kept for those who truly are in need and not just having a tough time waiting for practical employment opportunity-- that is what Employment Insurance is for!!! Those of you who are insulted because you are working and even if you have chose to travel for employment-- don't hate a stranger for this-- you decided that it is what you Needed and are able to do to support you and yours-- which is respectable- but circumstance is different for everyone!! If a large amount of Islanders are experiencing the same dilema-- perhaps even if you are employed you could at least recognize that some people really are falling into deeper hardship!!

  • Gerry
    January 16, 2013 - 15:26

    Amazing, the number of people who actually believe that at a time when jobs are scarce, they have the right of passage to quit their current employment because they are undoubtedly confident the entitlement to EI will be there. Operative word being "entitlement." Similar to many other benefit programs, there has to be a qualification criteria when applying for those benefits. It was only a matter of time whereby the eligiblity and administering of the EI program would be over-hauled. Otherwise, those who justifiably "qualify"; have paid EI premiums for ions without ever having made a claim; yet are earnestly willing to work, would be compelled to resort to social assistance, as the EI bank would be depleted. Why is it when a supposed adult makes a choice in life which is detrimental to him/herself and/or innocent children, then it's someone else's fault, e.g. the parents failed them, government (taxpayers) screwed them over, etc., etc.? In the real world, when we make poor choices, there are repercussions aka "life-lessons.".

    • There's a reckoning a coming . . .
      January 16, 2013 - 16:35

      It appears that there's little more annoying to the those willing to keep the menial wage earner in chains than the existing EI system. If it were up to the franchise owners, and others of like ilk, there would be no way out for the working poor. This sign waving lady is just a crack in the illusion that we're all happy to be repressed and used as demo-slaves willing to be exploited. Yep, I guess the masters think we should be happy about our repression too - just smile and take it? Problem is, the public education system slipped up. Some of us know about the flaws of government enabled corporatism. Some of us learned about what impedes and enables the distribution of wealth . . . and it scares the hell out of the masters. Doesn't it?

  • SG
    January 16, 2013 - 15:07

    To those stating they are making a Donation to the New Car re: the Website set up for donations. Just My Opinion but I would check it out first before making a Donation to confirm this Website is Legimate. I'm not saying it isn't and have no proof as to whether it is or not. However I won't be making a donation for that reason. I would rather send a Money Order in the Mail to Marlene in support. Just my Opinion.

    January 16, 2013 - 14:18


  • Bertie
    January 16, 2013 - 13:28

    Do not trust the Liberals. Do not trust Mike McGeoghegan. Do not trust Charlie McGeoghegan. Do not trust Allen Roach. Do not trust Allan McIsaac. Do not trust Lawrence MacAulay. They are all riding on loads of cash and do not carry about people on EI. They only care about people who donate thousands to their war chests. They are PNPing and HSTing all of the way. Vote NDP!

  • Islander as well
    January 16, 2013 - 13:19

    It's not easy to stand up publicly for what you believe in ! There will always be the ones who disagree. BUT ... When you stand up, as this young lady does, for many others who are scared or intimidated not to, you stand proud and are an inspiration to many. I hope all you commenters who are talking down about this young lady , one day will appreciate what she is braving and that someone does it for you too! And also don't condemn her , why not try to help her or the situation ? Take the time instead to work for the good of fellow islanders, then we all are better off. If you have a job , be thankful yes for sure! Work hard and proud. But we cannot judge others for not having a job as we in no way know the situation of others. I wish her well and I hope she can instigate change that I'm sure will benefit many . Maybe even you ! Judge others ready to be judged yourself !

  • David
    January 16, 2013 - 12:58

    IT IS NOT HATE that is being shown in the comments on this story. It is however a simple showing of disgust by many people who get up everyday and go to work and do things they nmay not like but have to support their families. When they see people like this woman trying to trying ride the gravy train and have things easy they get disgusted. This woman as stated in the story had a good job but chose to quit because it was to hard. Well I hate to say it but we all do things we may hate at times but we do it because supporting families is always more important than your own selfish needs. What is making people sick about this story is the fact that many people seem to think that collecting EI is their god given right if they chose to relax and take the winter off and sit at home. EI should be a temporary income suplement until you find new job. Not the job you think is perfect or the job that is next door to your home. No a new job. You may have drive 30 minutes to it and that is your respsonsibility not the resposnbility of the other taxpayers to get you to your job. This woman just needs to wake up and smell the coffee and understand that HER wants and desires are not what is important here but the needs of her child and she may have tosuck it up and do something shje doesn;t like because supporting her child should be the most impoirtant thing in her life. This girl was obviously taught some very bad lessons by her parents and now she will find out that her parents were wrong.

  • Respect
    January 16, 2013 - 12:46

    Wish I could be there to stand beside you Marlene .. for now I just want to express my support and Respect. Good for you! You have more guts than most people, admirable.

    • SAP
      January 16, 2013 - 14:59

      Having "guts" means doing a job, even if it may be difficult, if it means putting food on the table and caring for your family. Many people have he guts to work hard to feed their kids and not ask for anyone else to subsidize it.

  • John Getson
    January 16, 2013 - 12:45

    While I agree with, nor am I surprised by, the intention of Islanders and other Canadians to help-out, I think that a continuation of acceptance that 'charity' will bail them out, only reinforces Governments position that they have no responsibility to those being subjected to the consequences of governments decisions. I agree that the insurance registration gas and over all maintenance costs of this car can be more significant than the actual purchase costs... that being said they are, for the most part, spread out over the period of time of use, and are somewhat dependent on the actual of use...unlike the purchase price which is a fixed cost over period of time or requires prepayment not having the significant fixed cost or requiring prepayment would allow for more exposure to job prospects in the hope that would lead to a job which could cover the operating expenses. at best... Or at worst, could circumvent discontinuation of claim, based on the specific ruling she refused based on lack of transportation, and put it back where it belongs - individual has a medical condition that was being afffected by her previous job.... let's see them them try to discount the opinion of the medical professional...

  • stop the foolishness
    January 16, 2013 - 12:19

    She had a job. She felt stressed. She quit her job. When you quit a job you stop getting paid. When you stop getting paid, you can't pay your bills. When you can't pay your bills you become stressed. When you become stressed you quit your job

  • WOW
    January 16, 2013 - 11:49

    The Hate on this comment section is even too much for my cynical old nature. I am amazed at how much pure unadulterated HATE is being expressed here.... are the times that hard on the Island that so many have lost the capacity for a little generosity and compassion and can only sit in judgement and condemnation. Shameful display! If I were not so old I would drive down to montague and stand with this young mother!

  • concerned
    January 16, 2013 - 11:40

    i don't understand why others on E.I. are not standing out with this woman supporting her and protesting the new changes that are now in many supporters, if you're on E.I. and the majority of the people disagree with the changes...GET OUT THERE AND SUPPORT HER, AND PROTEST WITH HER. There is a purpose here other than her's "all" your E.I. claims...STAND UP for yourselves

  • John
    January 16, 2013 - 11:40

    I travel 45 Kms everyday to work and I hate my job because I have to work 55 hours per week at least and some weeks more. But I also have 3 boys which my wife and I are rasing to responsible people and show them that sometimes life is not easy and sometimes you have to struggle to make ends meet and pay your bills. Maybe this woman could go take some ife lessons or I have to wonder just who her parents are and what did they teach her? Obviously this girl is not an adult and should not be responsible for her child because she has no level of responsiblity. I hate to tell her but life is not always easy and when you are raising kids sometimes life is not what you thought it would be when you were in high school. You don;t always like the job you are in but you stay in it because your kids are your most important things in your life and making sure they have better life than you is your greatest gift. Showing your kids that if you don;t like something you don't have to it and if anyone tells you have to than you should protest on the street and other people will take care of you. Quite the lessons this gilr is teaching to her child. Maybe the child protection agency people should be having a clsoer look at this girl and her ability to be a resposnsible mother. I am not sure who taught her how to be adult or show responsiblity but I hope her parents have no more children.

  • West Islander
    January 16, 2013 - 11:31

    No sympathy from me a all... She can obviously still afford a cell phone make some calls get some work. I agree with the rest of the folks commenting that you have to do what you have to do. I am from a small town in eastern PEI and was sick of seeing my whole family using the EI gravy train! It has been abused for years. I realize their is people on the island that do you need the assistance and do qualify. I explained this to my mother recently, get of her ass and make something of herself. Sitting around wishing and hoping for work, gossiping about the people who are getting the jobs and not her well too bad. Life works in a funny way sometimes doesn't it. I moved from PEI 13 years ago with high school education, I know own and run a very successful business which I never ever dreamed off while living on PEI cause everything was poor me and heaven forbid I work a weekend or a 10 hour day. My mother has moved to Alberta now and is working in a senior's home making $20/hour with no experience. I am not saying uproot and move to Alberta, it is a VERY hard to decision to do such a thing. My point is do what you have to do to better yourself and family and I don't believe standing out front of a EI office accepting new cars etc is going to get you or your son anywhere in life. Your son will be well known for his mom who got the free car and didn't want to work... tough life in small town PEI. I do wish her all the best and hope she gets her life on track in the near future. I just hope that this does not start a copy cat train at all EI offices through out PEI.

    January 16, 2013 - 11:23

    For all you eia activists there is nothing wrong with the EI system. it is finally doing what it was mean to do. assist people who are out of work, not be a slush fund for people who enjoy their winters of. You have to live year round then you must work year round. The main problem is that people who left school expect to make the same wages as people who stayed in school. The minimum wage is $10.00 per hour. If you think that you are better then that then work or train to get it and stop the poor me, poor me attitude. This girl not only quit her job she has not excepted a job offered to her since then. If they change the rules for her then that opens the floodgates to the majority who have been doing this for years and years. I do not think that the rest of Canada would be happy to see people in PEI not working when jobs are available when they are being cut of.

  • Nora
    January 16, 2013 - 11:22

    My son quit his job and guess don't get EI when you quit........just like I told him. So he had to scramble and get did she qualify in the first place. Who did she know at EI to qualify in the first place. You don't quit a good job when your employer will accomodate you. And these rules are just the same ones that apply in other provinces. Its nothing new people.

  • misguided
    January 16, 2013 - 11:12

    This individual is not trying or misinformed ! There is a shuttle that runs from Murray River to Montague on to Charlottetown ! It is called Shuttle Up and there is a poster at the CDS office in Montague ! He travels Monday To Friday ! Oh wow what about car pooling or moving to Charlottetown . I just moved to Charlottetown from Stratford because I could not afford to inspect my car . In life we have challenges and change ! You do have options !

    January 16, 2013 - 10:58

    I have alot of respect for a young women who wants to work and provide for her son ! As a Nurse in a Facilty on PEI I know there is alot of times I want to leave nursing due to stress, and I have been nursing since 1982 shift work plays with your health and sleep paatterns and causes Depression and Anxiety and a variety of other health situations ! I now can not sleep till 3 am and have to be at work at 7am somedays do you think that is safe ! and I know she wouldbe working hard in the nursing care facilty because they do work the care-givers hard for low pay. On another front my Husband has been working in Alberta for years leaving me alone to run everything and care for kids and a home alone..alot of marriages would not survive this and I know of many but because og his trade and the lack of work in the area this is our life and it is not EASY ! So untill we can retire thats the way it goes and all our money though made in another province is spent in PEI. and we are taxed the highest but if he is layed off is EI going to say go to Alberta we will hire immigrants..So Marlene good stand proves 1 person can make a statement!

  • boondoggle
    January 16, 2013 - 10:32

    I don't understand how she qualified for EI if she quit her job. I don't understand how she could need to work 60 hours either. The story is confusing. Anyway, she will be able to get work in the spring in Montague, so I think for the sake of getting through the winter, she should be able to continue drawing EI. She would not qualify for welfare, I don't think, because she is healthy and able bodied. She is looking for work.

  • Confused
    January 16, 2013 - 10:30

    How can she can get to Charlottetown to protest but not to work?

  • Justasking
    January 16, 2013 - 10:26

    I admire this Mom and the lengths she is going to to bring this plight to the public eye, lets face it, every islander will most likely face similar scrutiny should they need EI given the pathetic changes the Harper Government has made to the EI system. Don't working folks pay into the EI fund every paycheck and the Government is telling them that they are not entitled to access fund when needed. Bet they didn't ask her if she had a car when they were accepting her EI deductions? You go Girl!!

  • fred
    January 16, 2013 - 10:09

    I just can;t believe some of the negative comments on here! I guess some of the morons; on here ;with their 2 cents worth of tax money ; would sooner see gov. spend hundreds of billions of dollars ; bailing out the big banks and the automotive industry ( so the presidents and the ceo;s get to keep their big 6 and 8 million dollar a year salaries) she could of created a phoney business;and receive a few hundred thousand p.n.p. dollars. No she is just looking for what she is entitled to. Good luck marlene. This is just the start of what is to come. What is to stop a business from laying off employees that make 15 dollars an hour and rehire them for 10 dollars an hour .

  • moe
    January 16, 2013 - 09:57

    I seem to remember that when these EI reforms were coming out that Mike McGeoghegan was crying to the media about how this would hurt the fishermen. The big burly cry baby got his way and fishermen are exempt from these changes. So while she is protesting in the cold in Montague there is a handful of snow mobiles from these poor fishermen at Red,s Corner tipping back some cold ones.

    January 16, 2013 - 09:51

    A number of the comments keep repeating it's our money. No and it will never be your money, The amount seasonal workers pay into THEIR EI is less than 10 per cent of what they draw yearly. The EI is paid for by FULL TIME workers so please stop says it's your money. WHEN YOU GET A FULL TIME JOB AND START PAYING YEARLY THEN YOU CAN SAY IT'S YOUR MONEY.

    • SAP
      January 16, 2013 - 11:15

      Absolutely right, when you pay in 600-800 and take out 3000-5000, that is NOT your money. If we are crying foul, what about the voices of those in other areas of Canada who have had to work longer for benefits all along to make it easier for people in rural PEI. What about fairness to them?

  • Chucker
    January 16, 2013 - 09:46

    I heard Lawrence macAulay spouting off with his supposed compassionate concern for this woman on the radio yesterday. Crocodile tears. Nobody cut UI more deeply than the Chretien Liberals and he was a cabinet minsiter then. He backed all of those cuts and is losing no sleep over Marlene ither. Not a wink. And as for the nasty comments on thi sstroy they are coming as much from Liberals as from Conervatives. I know because I know them. Have voted for them both but never will again. NDP all the way from now on. Go Marlene!

    January 16, 2013 - 09:43

    For the many islanders who have the selective reading and hearing syndrome (reading or hearing a story and picking out the parts that you like and discarding the rest) a common problem on PEI. try the parts again where she QUIT HER JOB, REFUSED EMPLOYMENT while on protest , I would very much like to hear the real story, To bad that the Government is not allowed devulge what really happened. this will be the first case of many many more where people feel it is their right not to work in the winter and go on EI as they have done for many years in the past.

    January 16, 2013 - 09:32

    For all you sympathy mongers. This girl HAD A FULL TIME JOB. She quit because she was getting too many hours??? Give the majority of those without work reading this article the same opportunity and see if they would quit to draw EI. The Government is finally doing something to make people get off the gravy train and work year round and all we hear from the EI community is why us, why us. we have be doing this for years and years. So you have to look for work or be cut of. Welcome to the real world where people have to take at least a little responsibility for themselves. If some people put as much effort into finding employment as the do into getting EI then pehhaps we would not have to bring in workers from others countries.

    • lost in translation
      January 16, 2013 - 10:49

      where does it say she quit her job

  • Marie
    January 16, 2013 - 09:31

    Ms. Geirsdorf: I'm not sure how you ended up quitting a 60 hour a week job....your boss should not have been able to force that on you, and the Labour Board should have backed you on less hours. If the job caused unneeded stress, there are labour rules and doctors for that. You should still be employed, maybe even on stress leave!!! That set aside, it's great to see Canadian goodwill, but this is not something that can be fixed by anyone but the Federal gov't. Charity is NOT the answer to this. All the free cars in Canada won't change the ruling, and although I feel bad that this is happening to you, I believe that someone needs to stand up for the seasonal workers being affected by this stupid ruling! There is absolutely NO comparison between PEI and Alberta, and our government needs to recognize that, instead of suggesting uprooting home and family and going west....idiotic idea...,they need to help the maritimes even more. WORK for the locals is what is needed...not an influx of immigrants to take the little work there is. Better to cut the "don't WANT to work" off welfare and roll these funds to "I was working and paying into"EI!!! But then, the Fed gov't needs to stop stealing the collective funds to cover their own mismanagement of monies. Keep up the good fight girl because some day there will be a "Geirsdorf" report!!!! P.S. Don't let too much pride get in the way of the generous people willing you help in your fight!!!

  • Frank
    January 16, 2013 - 09:27

    I am a former IsLander and love my IsLand. But we must go were the jobs are,the jobs will not come to us. That is why i am in Toronto.

  • Stew
    January 16, 2013 - 09:07

    It will be interesting to see if Geirsdorf accepts the offer of a vehicle that will allow her to travel for work. Many people commute or move for the sake of having employment. That's life.

  • Kerry Duggan
    January 16, 2013 - 09:02

    The number of negative comments about this story and toward this individual is makes me ill... It's easy to sit at your computer and hurl insults while this courageous young woman is standing outside the HRDC protesting bravely and peacefully on behalf of all of us.

  • Faye
    January 16, 2013 - 08:59

    I for one admire Marlene for standing up to this Government.I have been blessed with a full time job and am very thankful for it. I have been in her shoes before and I guess that is why I understand. I have given a donation for her car and I challenge all those,who can afford it,to do the same. This is the sign of the times and I know there are many more that could use help,so let's help one at a time.

  • Fed up
    January 16, 2013 - 08:56

    I too was denied EI, politics ,government ,theifs of our money

  • Bmac
    January 16, 2013 - 08:55

    Well said Bill Young.The kind of back biting,dog-in -the-manger,superior attitude you allude to is sadly too common on this Island.These are apparently people with charmed lives who will never fall on hard times,and can afford to point a crooked finger at others and hide behind a false name.Yet they haven't the guts this young lady has to do what she has to do for herself & her child.The Irish call them begrudgers & judges.Shame,shame on them!

  • Newsfeed
    January 16, 2013 - 08:43

    I don't feel bad for her one bit because there are lots if families on pei that have to work 5000+ kms away from home and aren't seen for weeks, months! I know this girl and there a lot she's not telling you

  • bernard
    January 16, 2013 - 08:38

    people have to understand this is someone who quit a decent job with excellent wages, not something that anyone can get in this day in age, so that she could stay at home and earn high EI, this is why these rules for the system are put in place, and if anyone knows if you cry enough people will listen, and not all will support it as there are thousands of people and familes across the island that cant find work that have more than 1 kid and when they do its for minimal hours and minimum wages. So while they fight to survive and raise their families or the single parent familes these people are making it a crime to do what they do, i believe if she had any smarts at all she should seek help from family and friends if she needs to before accepting anything from anyone else. As people will feel bad as she keeps the single parent little kid at home goin, if she was a single person with no kid, the offers and such would not be happening, to many people nowadays use their life as a benefit for reason and excuse for their mistakes when it comes to why they cant work, i would absolutely dream of 60 hours a week, stop crying and trying to help, your only keeping the on goin PEI situation for further people down the road to work these angles when they feel they need a break on life and want to ride it on someone elses tail. The media should step aside on this garbage and let people handle stuff on their own, as its blown way out of porportion, obviously news is slow on the island right now for this to keep making waves. I work to hard for peole like this to get what they want and not earn anything other than have people who work hard on their own feel bad for them.

    • Another single mom
      January 16, 2013 - 13:39

      Perhaps you should go find some more hours to work rather than spending time attacking people online. If she was a single person with no kid, her situation would be completely different. She could relocate without thought. Also, if anyone here paid attention to the whole story, rather than just this one source, you would have heard on the news the other night that she was on stress leave. I would love to see you, Bernard, try to work 60 hours a week and raise a child alone without gaining any stress. And how do you know it was a decent job or excellent wages? I had a job that I loved and paid decent, but my boss was so abusive I had to leave. I even went to the board of directors on more than one occasion with complaints (along with more than 20 other ex-employees and volunteers) and did everything I could to keep that position , but in the end, apathy and scorn from people like you is all I got. I would also like to take a moment to point out that the majority of comments written in support of Marlene are grammatically correct with few spelling errors and intelligently written, while most of the negative, are written by people who can't seem to spell or use punctuation properly. Just an observation.

    • Another single mom
      Another single mom
      January 16, 2013 - 14:07

      Perhaps you should go find some more hours to work rather than spending time attacking people online. If she was a single person with no kid, her situation would be completely different. She could relocate without thought. Also, if anyone here paid attention to the whole story, rather than just this one source, you would have heard on the news the other night that she was on stress leave. I would love to see you, Bernard, try to work 60 hours a week and raise a child alone without gaining any stress. And how do you know it was a decent job or excellent wages? I had a job that I loved and paid decent, but my boss was so abusive I had to leave. I even went to the board of directors on more than one occasion with complaints (along with more than 20 other ex-employees and volunteers) and did everything I could to keep that position , but in the end, apathy and scorn from people like you is all I got. I would also like to take a moment to point out that the majority of comments written in support of Marlene are grammatically correct with few spelling errors and intelligently written, while most of the negative, are written by people who can't seem to spell or use punctuation properly. Just an observation.

  • Just wondering
    January 16, 2013 - 08:34

    Just wondering. What happened to the part of the story that said she quit her job?

  • Am I Wrong ???
    January 16, 2013 - 08:30

    Am I wrong ? I believe this article is not telling the truth & should be corrected .Geirsdorf is the 30-year-old single mom who qualified for EI but was cut off because of her inability to get to Charlottetown about 45 minutes away. If I am not correct : She quit her job , so therefore is disqualified according to the rules . Quitting was her choice & I'm sure she knew thr rules before making the decision to leave her job . The word QUALIFIED is false in this statement .

  • wilson
    January 16, 2013 - 08:29

    There is a solution to this. Don't wait for a job to land in your lap, go to where the jobs are. I picked up my family and moved to Alberta for six years. With those six years experience and a lot of hard work, I was transferred to NFLD and manage a team here. I didn't use the system. It is a good system, but unfortunately too many lazy people abused it and are ruining it for others who need it. Look ate fishermen...I know guys on the Northside making $100000 in two months and then drawing off the system. Its a joke! If fishermen can draw off the system making $100000, why cant a farmer draw after making $35000 to $40000

    January 16, 2013 - 08:22

    The question is why would the EI office target a single mother with a child already established in school with no means of transportation and very likely with little means financially. That is a family in most need of the little help actually ever offered in this so-called "great" country of Canada. For them to tell her to apply for welfare is a double dose of insult. She wants to raise her child and make her own way the best she can, not be swung around dizzy by the welfare system.

  • PEI mom
    January 16, 2013 - 08:20

    so after watching the video, she really doesn't have to go without income, because she could go on Social Assistance and provide for her and her family, but she chooses not go to that route. Does she really think she is the only one that has no job and can't 'provide for their family. after having to leave my job due to health reasons and can't find another job (after sending out over 200 resumes in the last 6 months), and I am not the only that that has to compete with the other thousands of islanders to find a job. Is it really that easy to protest and get someone to raise money for a car? I guess we better all start protesting because we don't have work and can't travel.

  • one sided story
    January 16, 2013 - 08:19

    It is unfortunate that Gov't offices cannot release the facts of this case and Ms Giersdorf will not tell the public all the facts. How did she qualify when she quit her job? How long did she work at her last job? Was she hired knowing she would have to work a 60 hour week? How many times has she collected E.I.?

  • Islander
    January 16, 2013 - 08:19

    Why doesn't she just take the job she was offered in Montague? I'm sorry but everyone goes through tough times.

  • Resident
    January 16, 2013 - 07:58

    The best help to this person would be a job in Montague, not EI. I am amazed how energetic anti-work and pro-EI activists are. I wish your energy would be directed toward looking for work, not avoiding it. Before you respond, remember, I am the one who is paying your free ride. I am - the working Taxpayer.

  • Paperboy
    January 16, 2013 - 07:57

    I sincerly hope that this comment will get published as my opinions as expressed below do not jive with many of the comments that have been allowed to be posted. I find the one sided reporting of this news paper and others outragous. Why won't The Guardian report or investigate the accusations that this woman is out of work by her own doing. She says that she quit her job due to being too stressed out. She quit her job, not she got a doctors not and went on stress leave, she quit. I don't know how she would have qualified for EI in the first place. It shouldn't have even gotten as far as to be cut off for changing her mind on being able to travel to Charlottetown for work. Shame on you Guardian shame on you for not reporting this as what is truely is: An abuser of the EI system that was caught red handed (with her hand out) and was rightfully cut off.

  • Buddy Spud
    January 16, 2013 - 07:53


  • peiman
    January 16, 2013 - 07:42

    Guess this person and her supporters don't get the picture that one has to help themselves......she had a job she quit and won't go elsewhere for another job offer......two reasons why "normal" citizens of Canada should not fund her needs. She needs to help herself.....not rely on someone else t buy her a car, get her a job, or more likely, just fund her EI, or in this case "welfare"!!

  • billg
    January 16, 2013 - 07:23

    I think this woman should get UI, absolutely...everyone who cant get to work should be able to get UI. Now, we'll also have to increase immigration because business's need workers, they kind of go hand in hand. Now, since we need more immigration and more cash for UI, business taxes and personal taxes will have to be increased as well to cover all of this. Hey, dont blame me cuz I can do basic math. Or, instead of raising taxes and bringing in more immigrants we can always plant money tree's in magic soil and pixie dust and have unicorns harvest them. Or....we can do what was done to make this country one of the greatest places to live and this is, quick whining and moaning and asking someone else to pay for you to live and figure out a way to get to work.

  • The whole point
    January 16, 2013 - 07:20

    Some of you are missing the whole point. She wasn't looking for a hand out from what I can see. She was just trying to get what was owed to her. I completely agree with her. These new rules are absolutely foolish and until we as a group stand up and complain then there will be more of this.

  • Mike Mcg
    January 16, 2013 - 07:04

    Mike Mcg stopped by-spare me-Mike your son has done NOTHING since being elected-he's sat on the back benches and done whatever Robbie and the boys tell him to do-wait till this working poor woman and thousands more have to pay HST come April 1st-will you be out supporting someone with an HST protest? Your a joke.

  • Well, well, well . . .
    January 16, 2013 - 07:03

    The public reaction to Marlene Geirsdorf's story is more difficult to interpret than the story itself. Think about it. If the story was "women falls in open well" the reaction would be, "that's sad". If the story was "women pushed in open well" the reaction would be, "that's bad". If the story was "women jumps in open well" the reaction would be, "that's troublesome". Whether Geirsdorf fell, pushed or jumped, shouldn't the story be more about the fact that there's open wells in our society as the manner in which she ended up down there? Isn't that what her sign says?

    • There's a theme here . . .
      January 16, 2013 - 10:26

      There's an ugly underbelly to PEI. It's often not a very gentle place to be. The "who has a penny more than me" mentality has a lot of history and EI has often made, and still makes, that mentality very visible. Another place it's very visible is in third world countries and poverty infested illiterate backwaters. Hmmmm, starting to see a theme?

  • voter
    January 16, 2013 - 06:59

    to buy her a car is a really foolish idea !!! does it stop with this person in need or will everyone get such attention !!!! Mr. Harper will be glad you are playing right into his line of thinking -- the problem is not the car she does not have -- the problem is the EI system !!! Gail Shea wouldn't agree with me !!

  • Former single mom
    January 16, 2013 - 06:53

    I can totally sympathize with this woman as I have been in her shoes. I'm not sure buying her a car is the right thing to do though cause then there are so many other costs associated with that - insurance, gas, repairs, registration.... etc...etc... I was given a second hand car by a family member and it has cost me more in repairs in the last few years than if I had simply gone without or financed a new car. I also think, as someone who has been there, that while the thought of someone giving her something is nice and makes us all feel warm and fuzzy inside, my thoughts are she'd rather be able to buy her own car and not get any handouts. By the looks of things, she wants to work and doesn't want welfare!! Way to go!! So many people would choose the easy way out and go on welfare!! And while I don't know how anyone could live on welfare..... when my EI had run out after a year on maternity leave and no job to go back to, all they would offer me is $76 per month! Thank goodness I was able to find work as I don't know how I would have lived on that!! Good luck to Marlene..... hang in there, you've got a lot of people standing by you!! Something good will come out of this!

  • Have A Heart
    January 16, 2013 - 06:32

    How quickly some people judge without even knowing the woman. Is there anyone who could do what she's doing and not get the same judgement? Ask yourself that if you're one of those throwing her under the bus. What qualification do you require for her to be a legitimate victim of Harper's brutality?

  • lester
    January 16, 2013 - 06:29

    I,ll tell you Mike McGeoghegan what disgrace is! It,s all the fishermans wives sitting home drawing EI and never set foot in the boat all season. And people who worked and are down on there luck can't draw it.

  • daphne
    January 16, 2013 - 06:12

    Let's be sensible, folks. Giving a car does not solve the problem. I have a friend who was given a van, which sits as useless because an an unemployed person she doesn't have the money to register it ,insure it, or put gas in the tank. It's the EI criteria that needs to be changed.

  • hugh
    January 16, 2013 - 05:36

    What is Gail Shay's position on this young woman's plight? Why hasn't Gail been interviewed?

  • Oh come on
    January 16, 2013 - 05:32

    I feel badly for this woman's predicament however, I recall that she initially quit her job due to stress, right? She would have only qualified for 3 months sick leave through EI and that's it. She would then either have to apply for short or long term disability benefits, not EI.

  • Islander Abroad
    January 16, 2013 - 05:23

    Hundreds of people across the Island get up at 5:30 am , take common transport and go from O'leary, Alberton, Wellington to go work at DVA and other Government offices in Charlottetown and Summerside every day. When I worked at the provincial government, my vehicle was not an SUV so I rented a motel in Charlottetown during the winter. This case is just sensationalism. If she is qualified for a good job in Charlottetown, she can certainly find a ride with someone from Montague. It is not the responsibility ofGovernment to create jobs in every small community or else everybody goes on EI.

  • Darn Right
    January 16, 2013 - 05:11

    Good for her to be out in freezing temperatures standing up for what she believes in. Too bad more people didn't have the guts to join her. Can't believe Gail Shea has her mouth duct-taped on this.. What a shame.

  • Justine Thyme
    January 16, 2013 - 04:30

    What happened to her job offer in Montague yesterday (according to yesterdays article)?

  • We have all been there
    January 16, 2013 - 04:18

    I think Kelly said it right, we need to get to the root of the problem, buying a car for this lady will not solve the issue. After you buy the car, who pays the insurance, the gas, maintenance, and what if this women gets the car and is killed in an accident traveling to Charlottetown. Who pays for the funeral cost. Its great that Islanders want to give, but for once stand together and fight this body of power that we put into place. Marlene Geirsdorf I do support you for what you are doing, I was in the same spot not to long ago, I went to the media and I was ridicule after, I went into locals stores and people made rude comments, I had people on facebook send me disturbing messages, I even had one person tell me to get off my lazy ass and find a job like everyone else. Well I had a job, I was just sick with a serious medical condition. I do believe we all need some help from time to time but not sure buying a person a car would solve the situation, and how many other people will abuse people kindness if she does get a car( not saying Marlene Geirsdorf is doing that). We all remember the Yap case from montague as well.. I just think there is better solutions, and Marlene Geirsdorf, if you need the support I will come and stand beside you in montague with my own sign.. Its about time our government his held accountable for there actions, they are all living pretty fat, and no worries about where there next meal is going to come from.

    January 16, 2013 - 02:47

    Be careful how you judge this Montague mother as you talk about "making up a sob story", because the way things are going, you could well find yourself in very similar circumstances before too long. She has a lawful right to EI. She is bearing insults that you also, or any of us, could be facing before too long. When that happens to you, there will be no need for you to "make up" anything. So try and put yourself in her place and think about it.

  • SG
    January 16, 2013 - 00:26

    If I make a Donation I will send it directly to Marlene not via the online Campaign.

  • Jeff
    January 16, 2013 - 00:04

    Charlottetown is not 45 minutes away....its about 30 minutes. I hope she finds a solution to her problem I hope the people who fall through the cracks are helped. I've heard about some of them....also heard about people who just don't want to take particular jobs. I hope people are willing to help themselves and not stand up for nothing. Sometimes change is for the better.

  • Bill young
    January 15, 2013 - 23:54

    It is really sad that people like Cathy Dawson, Island Mom, Chris, Matt and Don't Pay Her a Dime, along with many other morons, feel so inadequate after reading about this woman that they have to heap scorn on her to make themselves feel better. Geirsdorf is doing something that they would never have the guts to do and that is to stand up to the government when an injustice is being done. They are cowards who hide behind phony names to attack another person. They would not have the courage to drive to Montague and face Geirsdorf in person, but because they can hide behind false faces they feel brave knowing no one knows who these low-lifes are. They are a small minority of Islanders, but they shout loud and that makes it seem like there are many of them, but they are small in number and low on intelligence.

    • dm
      January 16, 2013 - 00:55

      your so right about them not having the guts to say what they have to say online to her face, couldn't see one of them evening thinking about that lol

    • Lives Away
      January 16, 2013 - 05:19

      Yes big injustice.....I quit my job so the Government owes me money now. Drive to Montague, no thanks....I don't need to waste my hard earned money doing that....I am also too busy working (off Island) at my job I didn't quit to support my family. Islanders are too concerned with the plight of their neighbours and not concerned enough with their own.

    • John Mc Tavish
      January 16, 2013 - 05:45

      Bill you have absolutely no idea what your taking about. Go back to Tims.

    • Snookie
      January 16, 2013 - 06:40

      What everyone is avoiding is the fact that wages in PEI are so low that most employed people can't afford a car. Wake up and do the math... people earning 10 to 12 dollars an hour can not afford the gas or insurance never mind car payments. How many people have to move to Calgary before the politicians will wake up and get the industrial economy on its feet in this tiny little province. Shame on all of you politicians. Stop beating up your own tax paying citizens and give them high paying jobs!!!!

    • Unbelievabe
      January 16, 2013 - 07:02

      I totally agree Bill Young! All I can say is jealousy, for not being as brave as her and that karma will get each and every one of them!

    • Bullying
      January 16, 2013 - 08:23

      This comment section of the Guradian is the worse i have ever seen for Cyber Bullying. I agree with Bill %100 . Below it readsWe ask that users remain courteous. Very rarely that happens !

    • Jennifer
      January 16, 2013 - 08:48

      While it is true that we all pay into this "insurance" scheme, and if we have a job loss we should get the appropriate benefits....the lady in question created her own job loss by quitting. We all pay into house insurance too, but we can't burn our own houses down with an expectation that the insurance company will pay off. This lady committed the employment equivalent of burning down her own house. I don't think she deserves a penny from anyone.

    • Frankie
      January 16, 2013 - 08:56

      Why are you so mean Bill? All this name calling against people who are just voicing their opinions. Not everyone is going to agree with you, doesn't make them wrong. I don't blame people for not wanting to support her. It would be different if she was laid off because of lack of work, BUT SHE QUIT HER JOB!! I have a hard time feeling sorry for anyone that quits a good paying job to sit home all winter. I know, I know, she says she had to quit because of stress... but welcome to the real world, we all have stress in our lives. Her former bosses said they tried to work with her to give her what she wanted so she didn't have to quit but she quit anyway. Smells funny to me. I just think she'd have a lot more support if she was laid off than quitting, that's what most people are saying. For the record, I drive 80km, 5 days a week, for a $13.50/ hour job, don't see me complaining.

    • The Facilitator
      January 16, 2013 - 10:06

      That's a very good question. That's why I suspect that there is another side to this story that would give you the real reason why her claim was rejected. I would be very very surprised that she was targetted by HRSDC for not wanting or being able to travel to Charlottetown. Even the Minister stated that the fact that she had no means of transpotation would have been taken into consideration. There is definitely another side to this story.

  • Bmac
    January 15, 2013 - 23:26

    It's admirable that folks want to give this girl money, buy her a car etc ,but doesn't anyone see that it's just band -aid stuff they're doing when the real problem still festers below the surface? This also sets a bad precedence as there are many,many other people like Marlene out there in similar straits.Are we just going to buy them all cars as a fix for this evil excuse for a government?

  • Glen from North York
    January 15, 2013 - 23:14

    @Island Mom... And maybe when you do get another car, for your 55 km commute. It might be a good idea, if you gave Marlene your old one. It seems to me as I read, unlike yourself she doesn't have a car, for her to 60 km commute. But, I do believe, at least she could read!!!

  • jibjab
    January 15, 2013 - 23:01

    Good for her. I understand her fight. It is not a matter of a few donations today, or even a car. The big fight is that our Island is hurting. Fishermen and farmers are barely making a living, our youth is forced to head out west to work, and the Federal Gov't is cutting jobs in PEI. Enough is enough. I hope she brings lots of attention to her cause as it is for the benefit of ALL Islanders.

  • island mom
    January 15, 2013 - 22:42

    I am a mother and have to travel 55 kms to work. How about I make up sob story too and see if I can get a new car too.

    • I Wonder
      January 15, 2013 - 23:34

      Island Mom, who says your story is not already made up?

    • Be Thankful you have a Car
      January 16, 2013 - 00:12

      I totally agree with Bill Young ,it is people like you who give Islanders a bad name,be thankfull you have a good enough job to afford a car. I hope Marlene keeps her head up and all the best. And yes Harper and the Tory,s are the worst this fine Country has seen,he even make Mulroney look good and he used to hold the Crown.

    • To Island Mom
      January 16, 2013 - 03:26

      Do you have a car that takes you the 55 kms to work? She doesn' was reported in the article.

    • mike
      January 16, 2013 - 07:12

      the point here is she did not own a car, had no way to get to town for work because there is not bus travel. Because she was in a bad situation she was being basically punished. I know the new rules have hurt me. I am a student with a part time job and because of the new rules i make about 500 less a month supporting a family of 4

    • also an island mom
      January 16, 2013 - 08:36

      I don't think the traveling to work was the issue, it was more the fact that she had no reliable method of transportation. She isn't looking for handouts, she is trying to stay off of welfare and get access to EI which she had paid into for times like this and is now being denied access to. She didn't make up a sob story to get a car, that was other people reacting kindly to her situation rather then insulting her for taking a stand. It is great that you can travel to go to work but I bet you have a way to get there everyday. She has already said she would take a job in Charlottetown if she had a way to get there.

    • Disgusted
      January 16, 2013 - 08:43

      Island Mom I do not beleive this woman made up this story, nor do I beleive she is protesting E.I. to get a new car. I think people like you should go back to whatever Island you came from and if you have nothing better to do @ 11:42pm than cut up people who are trying to make a difference, stay on YOUR Island

  • Kelly
    January 15, 2013 - 22:23

    It's great that people are supporting her but it still doesn't get down to the root of the problem. We need to fight the government on this.

    • The Truth
      January 16, 2013 - 05:47

      The root of the problem is the Maritime EI Lifestyle!!!

    • Read the Whole Story
      January 16, 2013 - 08:09

      This woman quit her job, her employer even tried to accommodate her with reducing hours or what ever to make her stay and she still chose to quit. She should have gotten a dr's note to go on stress leave. Also, she lied on her EI application and said yes she would be willing to travel to Charlottetown to work. When she was offered a job, she declined (refused work)!! THAT is why she was cut off. It has nothing to do with the length of travel. And there is a company in Montague who is hiring, check the job bank!!! Maybe she should be spending her time working on her resume and cover letter to hand out to different businesses in hopes of finding employment. It makes me sick that people are feeling sorry for her when she brought it all on herself with poor choices. Time for a new story.......

    • island trucker
      January 18, 2013 - 08:36

      The operative word in this whole story is she quit her job.....If you quit a job you don't qualify foe EI, it's that simple. At the most she might have got 3 months sick benefits and then her claim would end......all you bleeding hearts need to take your blinders off and wake up...if you just up and quit your job would you be demanding ei?.....I don't think so