Shea leaves before EI vote

Teresa Wright
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Gail Shea

National revenue minister and Egmont MP Gail Shea is taking heat for leaving just before being asked to vote on an Opposition motion in the House of Commons Wednesday calling on government to reverse its EI reforms.

The NDP motion called the controversial changes made over the last several months to employment insurance eligibility and benefits 'devastating.' NDP members in the House at the time stood one by one and voted to support the motion.

But just before it came upon her time to vote, Shea suddenly left the floor of the House of Commons.

Charlottetown MP Sean Casey says he believes Shea should have stayed to vote in order to show Islanders where she stands on the EI changes.

“I think her constituents in particular and Islanders in general are entitled to see whether she supports the government's position or whether she supports (P.E.I.'s) view,” he said.

“The fact that she denied them the opportunity to see whether she would stand on her feet with her constituents with the prime minister is troubling.”

Shea was not made available for an interview Thursday, but her director of communications Clarke Olsen told The Guardian she had to leave the vote “for personal reasons”.

Casey and other politicians of all political stripe, both federal and provincial, say they're hearing daily from Islanders concerned and fearful about the changes to the EI system that have been rolling out over the last several months.

These changes specifically target frequent users and put a greater emphasis on claimants looking for and accepting available work. The feds also cancelled a pilot project that saw an additional five weeks of payments for those in higher areas of unemployment, including P.E.I.

P.E.I. and other Atlantic provinces have raised serious concerns over the impacts these controversial new EI rules will have on seasonal industries and workers.

The NDP motion Wednesday called on the Harper government to reverse these changes, which they believe “restrict access and benefits, depress wages, push vulnerable Canadians into poverty and download costs onto the provinces.”

The motion was defeated by a vote of 148 to 130.

Casey reviewed a videotape of the voting Wednesday evening, and noted Shea would only have had to remain for just over a minute in order to stay for the vote.

He said he finds it hard to believe she could not stay this additional minute and show Islanders where she stands on the issue.

“The single biggest political political issue on Prince Edward Island is the changes to EI,” Casey said.

“Wherever she had to leave to go to, the urgency was such that she saved just one minute and fifteen seconds by leaving early.”

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Organizations: NDP, House of Commons

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • unowho
    February 09, 2013 - 12:48

    No backbone no Guts no gumption no value=a coward of the country or of P.E.I.in particular.

  • upwest
    February 08, 2013 - 11:49

    I'm from Tignish and always thought that Gail was still one of us. I am simply aghast that she left like that... a MINUTE before she would have had to stand up for us? I truly hope there was a good reason. -Other than escaping commitment, because that action could truly have been her downfall. I will be waiting for a statement from her. I also hope that the same reporters and concerned citizens who nailed Duffy don't let this get swept under the rug either. People need to be held accountable.

  • Ron Mexico
    February 08, 2013 - 09:49

    she should have stay and voted, after all we all know that you can't spell pei without ei

  • Cover your Butt
    February 08, 2013 - 09:07

    It's all about CYB and looking out for #1. We see it all too often in politics at every level. Some enter politics with good intentions and become corrupted after the fact. Most enter fully intending to buy into the corruption for self gain. Very few leave provincial politics untainted especially if a 2nd term (aka pension) is the goal. If it wasn't so sad it would be amusing when we see how politicians hide when the wishes of their constituents oppose the wishes of the party. Plan B comes to mind. "I don't want to lose my cushy cabinet post" It's sickening how political interference affects the job hiring procedure here too. It's a complete mockery and farce. The corruption has a trickle down affect which means non politicians also play a part in the corruption in order to protect their own job. Everybody has a story on how they, or someone they know, has been affected by political corruption. Let's hear yours!

  • SG
    February 08, 2013 - 08:45

    IMO our Veterans should be Senators and MP's. Who would be more deserving of the positions than our Veterans, True Canadians who Fought for the Freedom of others. There are many Veterans under the age of 75 yrs! Although each and every Veteran put their lives on the line the Pensions they receive compared to our present Senators are pathethic. They certainly don't receive Living Expenses. Some can't even afford groceries. Now our Federal Gov. is making it more difficult for our unemployed Canadians. Yet our Island Minster Gail Shea couldn't find time to Vote on behalf of her Island Constituents re EI Changes that will have a detrimental effect for Many Islanders! I won't find time to Vote for Shea come next Election either! Our Gov. makes generous contributions to the needy Countries around the world while many Islanders and Veterans are COLD AND HUNGRY! Truly Sad.

  • PEIMom
    February 08, 2013 - 08:40

    If that's REALLY the case, then Shea should've had the integrity to enter her vote. The problem (for me anyway) isn't so much that we're facing an EI change (I for one believe that it is misused -blastphomy I know- and that if you want to work seasonal, you better find a job each season) but that this MP didn't stay for the Vote. Plain and simple. She ran like a coward. She should have at the very least, had the ovaries to vote her position. Her walking out is not only a slap in the face to those she represents, but it's an indication of her character.

  • PEIMom
    February 08, 2013 - 08:36

    Gail Shea has had no problems staying in her seat for abortion related votes. I find it hilarious that on PEI it's now more sensitive to discuss EI then Abortion! And that this MP would feel she couldn't also 'vote her conscience' on the EI issue as well. How the folks in her riding put up with the fact that she had so little integrity as to walk out on one of the most important votes of her career, is beyond me. Are they rallying in her riding? Are the writing Editorials? Are they standing outside her office? Are they doing anything? Sorry folks, but too many Islanders love their 'kitchen table' politicians. If they've been in your house and sat at your kitchen, and they've attended your anniversaries and birthday gatherings ... they can do no wrong. How about all of you who voted her in try and realize that what you voted in was a Conservative party member, I don't care who she is as a person ... you elected the platform and policies of the Federal Conservatives. You made your bed ... now sleep and be oblivious in it!

  • Fool's
    February 08, 2013 - 08:35

    It is sure funny to read these posts , Gail is not the one here that should be ashamed . The fools that sent three liberals to Ottawa & believe this country can keep going along as it has . Gail & Harper are trying to save Canada from becoming Greece . Just look at PEI at present & that should tell you how foolish the majority of you are . Shake your heads & realize that the gravey train is getting smaller because the rest of Canada is getting tired of supporting you & your desire to work only 14 weeks a year . Wake up .

    • fools gold
      February 08, 2013 - 08:40

      We may be fools for sending Liberals to Ottawa but we'd be equally fools if we had sent Reformers to Ottawa. The Reform party can sit pretty in Alberta on top of that pool of oil - things are rosy with that. Take it away and you have a shell of a province out there and they have nothing to stand on. We are fools for not electing NDP who have real policies and ideas for helping people and improving our society and economy as opposed to the ***holes under Harper.

  • confuzzed
    February 08, 2013 - 07:36

    were you ready willing and capable for work every day y/n did you quit part time work for full time work y/n ,,,,,does she have enough hours to file in under the new ei changes....pei is getting a ripping bad enough from the rest of canada ,,hope there is a shred of light after what all our represenitives have been doing to us lately

  • Political Junkie
    February 08, 2013 - 07:17

    Steven Harpers little puppet just made herself look like the real person she is,a pure disgrace of a politician.Can't believe she would pick Harpers values over P.E.I.'s concerns. SHE SHOULD RESIGN..

    • D
      February 08, 2013 - 11:28

      thanks for the representation

  • Ron
    February 08, 2013 - 07:14

    "Sorry Grapes" You all need to get your Heads out of the sand and work for a living.

  • Why bother???
    February 08, 2013 - 07:06

    You know, I am constantly reading comments about 'this is the worst government in history', etc, etc. Well folks, they were voted in. Its NEVER been good. It will never BE good. If I didn't have my family here I would have left this country years ago. Its truely sad my grandfather fought in a war to protect this. If he and his friends really knew what this country would become, I bet they would have had second thoughts about enlisting. I am disgusted. I am shocked nobody has tried to take Harper out by now. Every other world leader has had an attempt.

  • voter
    February 08, 2013 - 07:04

    She is just practising to be another spineless SENATOR FROM PEI ---catherine callbeck hid from people in her tunnel ,michael duffy figured he could get the cooks to help him get away --and now gail shea just EXITS STAGE RIGHT similar to a scared fox on the run

  • johnthames
    February 08, 2013 - 07:01

    Former GST Center clerk Gail Shea forgets who put her in the House and instead does what Steve tells her. Won't matter to Gail she has a nice big fat pension lined up now.... no EI for Gail. You're done Gail, fired, and you better hide when you're done cause no one will want to see your face on this island.

  • Robo-ministers
    February 08, 2013 - 06:52

    It's one thing when Islanders elect someone who doesn't represent our interests - we've all seen that before. Then it became well known that Shea, our elected official, wasn't able to represent her own views. Now she proves that she can't even represent her masters! Ghee, first they gave us robo-calls, now we have robo-ministers. Pathetic.

  • voter
    February 08, 2013 - 06:38

    NO BIG DEAL --hound the arrogant so and so until she publicly states how she would have voted ----you all know she doesn't have to gonads for the job

  • Sylvia
    February 08, 2013 - 06:34

    Gail Shea does not represent my district and I've always respected her since she got elected. I'm not going to get into name calling but I would like to know why she left before the vote was taken. I think she owes the people who elected her and all Islanders an explanation. I'm retired, don't depend on E.I. and I know this must be very upsetting for those that do, especially during this terribly cold winter, in order just to buy oil for their furnaces and pay for electricity. As far as Mr. Duffy goes, what I think of him is not fit to put into print.

  • grampie
    February 08, 2013 - 06:24

    What do Gail Shea and Mike Duffy have in common? They are both embarrassment to PEI residents. She could have saved her seat in next election by voting as the people of her riding wanted her too. To bad, so sad.

  • billy
    February 08, 2013 - 06:10

    Gail Shea was elected by her constiutiants and all the gripping her is just sour grapes.Only we on PEI would elect 3 moes whom are not even in the opposition and the only press they get is on PEI.Why in gods name are they even on the radar as they push out their chests and claim foul. C'mon boys get out of your sandbox and get a leader of the stripe Harper is ......oh wait ,ya have a past glory icon(Trudeau) and a glorified astronaut........... Great gene pool boys and Harper has more guts than you all put together!

    • my two cents
      February 08, 2013 - 09:13

      If all the torys acted like Duffy and Shea, then I'm glad all of PEI didn't send torys to Ottawa. Imagine if none of them had the decency to stand up for seasonal workers, Canadian Vets, and all the others who unfortunately don't have a voice in Ottawa!!

  • jon
    February 08, 2013 - 05:58

    Boy does pei need a voice, we're being ridiculed by our entire country. Sad state of affairs. Gail i'm ashamed of you. Prince Edward Island.

  • HadEnoughYet?
    February 08, 2013 - 05:47

    Gail Shea walked out on the vote because she was suffering from cognative dissonance - a mental state where two contradictory ideas exist in the same brain. She KNOWS that the EI changes will financially devastate her desterate constituants, but she is "conditioned" by the Reform Party (read: CEO) Meim Kamph on public policy to do exactly as she is told. She has sold her soul for a pension and hates herself for it. She betrayed poor Islanders, but she was too cowardly to admit it. Instead, she raises her arm to the monsterous Fuhrer Harper, who I am sure enjoyed her running off. And every other NeoCon, Reform Party MP who voted with the Fuhrer also put the boots to the poor. The Canadian Parliament has now become The Dragon's Den.

  • Ralph Malph
    February 08, 2013 - 05:28

    Puffy Duffy and Bail Shea.

  • peibossman
    February 08, 2013 - 05:26

    MP Casey seemed to be fixated on watching Shea during the EI vote, but did he notice if LAWRENCE MACAULAY VOTED???...

  • BUDDY
    February 08, 2013 - 02:28

    STEVE THE DICTATOR PULLED HER STRINGS ...SHEA DOES WHAT SHES TOLD...PATHETIC!!!!!

  • Bill
    February 08, 2013 - 00:27

    Pathetic, simply pathetic that she sold her soul for the fear of going against to rule of the party policy. I think that this will show islanders what is TRULY important to her, not the plight of the people that actually voted her in, but the acceptance of the Federal party that she would rather be a part of. I really think that the next time around, her seat will be given to somebody else that will actually care about the voters, do I hear an NDP majority in that riding next time around? It really seems to be the only party that actually want to be accountable to the Canadian voter.

  • David
    February 07, 2013 - 23:08

    The optics of this are so bad plus coming on a week when Conservative Mike Duffy's fraudulent behavior is already making the federal Conservatives look really bad. I would hope Harper would be stepping in dealing with both Duffy and Shea. They both should be removed from their current positions until they learn how to behave in public. I would bet history will paint this move by Shea as the main reason she will be defeated in the next Federal Election in her riding. Don't these people have any sense or concern about how their lame actions make all politicians look?

    • Stroback
      February 08, 2013 - 04:55

      Can't remove senators. Only remove them from the Conservative caucus.

    • mike
      February 08, 2013 - 06:15

      only time you see a mla is when there getting something out of us like filling there pockets with our tax money to buy new running shoes for the next dash from responsibility

  • concernedislander
    February 07, 2013 - 23:05

    Im sure if you think about it the only thing personal that come about that quick for Shea to bail out off the vote was ah quick trip to the crapper nature called and we all have by now come to realize or should have that Shea is so full off it that the toilet bowl has become her best friend its the only thing that will accept her crap just another politician who hit the big times and forgot where she come from no surprize here.

  • Ryan
    February 07, 2013 - 23:03

    Gail Shea. Parliamentary disgrace.

  • Piet Hein
    February 07, 2013 - 22:49

    The so called personal issue she had to attend to was not letting islanders see her vote against the motion and how she has turned her back on Prince Edward islanders. She has neither the courage nor the intelligence to stand up for her convictions. She and Mike Duffy show the true stripes of today's politicians. By The way, both are Conservative so that should tell you something.

  • MFH
    February 07, 2013 - 21:26

    Not Surprising !!! This is a typical example of what is going to be regarded as the worst government this country has ever had.

  • Ghiz and harper both tyrants casey but a fool
    February 07, 2013 - 21:13

    Sean Casey should be acting in movies if he wants to act surprised about the railroading tactics of Robert Ghiz and Stephen Harper. Difference is only that Casey wants at the money like he had it in Charlottetown. Phoney acting baby! funny eh?

  • James Macgoo Lakeside PEI
    February 07, 2013 - 21:10

    Gail Shea voted with "her Feet". It is distirbing to see that it appears over the past several days PEI representatives on a local and federal level seem more interested in their "public image" than the reality of what their stances mean to the people of PEI. Shame on the public for allowing this to happen. Do these individuals really represent your needs??

  • AllDone
    February 07, 2013 - 21:09

    All Done with the reform conservatives. I'm trading in my colors to whoever fixes this EI mess. Hope they are kicked so far out at election time they have to use their version of EI. I wouldn't wish that on many! 148 for and 130 against. Alot of people aren't happy.

  • Jarrod
    February 07, 2013 - 21:07

    Personal reasons = Backbone transplant

  • redman
    February 07, 2013 - 20:42

    PUPPET......we will remember!!!!!!!

  • Disgusted
    February 07, 2013 - 20:33

    Duff's in the kitchen and Gail is a missing............. Go PEI

  • Jerry Only
    February 07, 2013 - 20:27

    Say goodbye to your seat Minister. What a coward, towing the party line and not standing up for the people that put you there!

  • JSmith
    February 07, 2013 - 20:25

    Totally disgraceful. She should be enpeached! Do the right thing Minister and resign. I can understand you supporting the bill, but to leave before the vote and have the audacity to say you left on personal reasons. This is disgraceful and utterly disrespectful to the people you represent and the political system our society is based on.

  • Adolphus
    February 07, 2013 - 20:24

    I hope you took that break to write your letter of resignation as an MP from P.E.I.

  • Standingupforislanders
    February 07, 2013 - 20:14

    It is sad indeed to see that Shea did not stand for Islanders who find themselves hurting in these difficult times! What is Harper and his so called government doing to Atlantic Canada....Gail, you should be ashamed!