EI benefits reinstated to protester

Steve Sharratt
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Marlene Geirsdorf received the good news one month after beginning her one-woman protest against changes

MONTAGUE – Marlene Geirsdorf will get her benefits back and prays never again to join the ranks of the unemployed.

“It’s been the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through and I never want to do it again after I graduate my course,” she said Monday. “But I’m not giving up the protest to help others in the same boat.”

The 30-year-old became the poster girl against EI changes after she was denied her benefits in early January because she couldn’t take a job in Charlottetown because she doesn’t own a car or have access to public transit.

“I was elated to open the letter today,’’ she told The Guardian after leaving the Montague post office. “I was jumping up and down.”

Geirsdorf has been advised that her claim will be reinstated and she is now in the process of applying for the resident care worker program with Holland College in which she hopes to find full time work.

“Ever since this started it’s been like a bomb of everything going wrong….today is the first day I feel things are going to go right,’’ she said tearfully clutching the letter of reinstatement.

The official letter from Ottawa said the “commission has withdrawn its appeal to the Umpire” which prevented her from receiving benefits. It was signed by senior appeals officer Louise Laviolette from the EI appeals division.

But while it may be a personal victory, Geirsdorf said the work is not over and she will continue to protest outside Services Canada officers here to help others who have supported her but after too afraid to go public with their concerns. Since January, she has protested with homemade signs and a survival suit outside the federal agency offices here.

“I’m not the only one affected by the radical changes,’’ she said. “I’m just the one who stood out there and protested.”

Since she began her protest, she has been the object of praise and derision. People have offered her money (which she refused), people offered to buy her car (which she gratefully declined) and people have offered her support. Some would stuff twenty dollar bills into her gloves or bag when she wasn’t looking.

However, many have chided and ridiculed her suggesting the single mother with no phone, computer or car was a societal leach and should head to Alberta.

“One day I didn’t go out because it was too embarrassing and so many negative comments. People don’t know my whole story but show their ignorance with such harsh comments,’’ she said. “I have an eight year old son and have 50/50 custody so at this time there is no way… my son is my main goal.”

Some detractors said she shouldn’t have had a child, some said it was her own fault and some said she was an embarrassment to the country. Some newspaper columnists, like Globe and Mail writer Margaret Wente suggested she was taking full advantage of the system and that seasonal work should disappear if it can’t survive.

“Employment insurance is paid by the worker and the employer, not the taxpayer,’’ insists Lori MacKay, president of CUPE on P.E.I. who showed support. “This woman was fully entitled….this is a province where we can’t grow potatoes year round or land fish twelve months a year. That’s why there is such a thing as EI.”

When she received a standing ovation at a Souris EI meeting calling for change over a week ago, Geirsdorf was the guest speaker shaking with nerves and reading from handwritten pages she had composed the night before. The single mom said she would love to invite Prime Minister Stephen Harper, National Revenue Minister Gail Shea, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley and Wente to her modest lodgings for afternoon tea.

“Not one of them took the time to respond to my phone call,” she said.

Organizations: Holland College, Services Canada, Globe and Mail CUPE

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Ottawa, Alberta

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Recent comments

  • Candy Drover
    February 21, 2013 - 08:50

    I dont believe she shud get it other people deserve it as well and just for the fact she said there was no work ..when there was work !! and due to the fact she quit a job I dont think she shud get it ... It funny how she couldent work in Charlottetown but she can go to school there

    • jamie
      April 02, 2013 - 11:00

      i am in the some boat,i was working in kellys cross i live in montague. my old boss hired someone he new.the guy he hired took the job of someone else, a few weeks few weeks later i was told i was being layed off.the guy who lost his job took my job. a week later i was working the boss (i felt) was trying to push me out the door,with the way he was treating me (for no reason).i l went home with 2 days of work left. i text him (because he would not answer his phone) saying i would not be in for 2 days.i phoned him on monday and asked him if he had work for me, he said no u quit.when ei phoned him he lied, i got a letter from the employees that seen this happen. this was going on since nov23 it is now april.no body can give me info on what is going on and no one can help.their is more to the story

  • Gerry
    February 13, 2013 - 11:38

    Time to move on to another saga Guardian. She's happy now that she is able to better her life by taking the RCW course, albeit a dubious way of entitlement. The people who continually pay into EI (deduction rate based on one's income; therefore, huge difference in various levels of deductions) but never "deliberately" put themselves in a postion of filing a claim are also very happy. Everyone wins!

  • Captain Canuck
    February 13, 2013 - 09:33

    Thank you Marlene for fighting this for all of us. You are a hero, and based on the garbage posted in derision, you are also a martyr to the cause of the worker. I've been lucky enough to be employed non-stop for 30 years, but if I lose my job I want to know that the insurance plan that I pay into will be there for me! Once again, thank you Marlene. All the best! ^5

  • observer
    February 13, 2013 - 01:15

    Most of these comments are such a sad reflection on the mind set of some residents. Why are you on here whining about things you don't understand or have all the details about. Go volunteer your time or lend a hand somewhere instead of sitting in front of your computer griping. Sad lives!

  • concernedislander
    February 12, 2013 - 22:30

    A big congrads goes out too you Marlene, not only did you take the EI system to task you also beat the bully behind it all Harper and his followers,i hope you get the retraining that you are seeking and land ah good year round job that changes the quality off you and your sons life,you were front and centre off the media and in many peoples conversations , there were ah lot off people wishing for the out come just as it happened and those whom were negative towards you and still are laugh at them because in the end its all about you and your child and only you can make the difference as you chooze too,in the end eveyone has ah right to there opinion but none really matter good or bad we do for ourselfs what makes us comfortable in life and thats really all anyone should expect congrads again

  • schooling for the future
    February 12, 2013 - 21:47

    I was for her right till now since i now know she was planning on going to school on the ei system,no damn wonder she fought so hard. This is just the beginning of the new use for the EI system.Every student needs to take a year off before going to collage and work so EI will pay 3/4 of their fees. Why do students get student loans and go into debt when they can just play her cards and have no debt in the end.

  • SMD
    February 12, 2013 - 20:52

    This is disgraceful. And she had the nerve on Compass tonight to say that she was still not satisfied, that her well-being was affected. Everyone else on EI has to follow these rules. I hope she reads this. There are thousands of other Canadians who are on EI and who have to follow these rules. Just because she doesn't wanna work, doesn't mean that she can run her mouth on TV like shes the ony single mother suffering. There are so many other Islander in a worse situation who are not complaining as much as she is. She has her benefits now. If she's not happy, shut the hell up and get a job, or at least make an effort to look like everyone else is!!!!!!!

  • Really??
    February 12, 2013 - 16:45

    Does anyone else catch what was really going on? She got a doc note to quit her full time job to go on ei to qualify for SKILLs so that they could pay for her RCW course... In my opinion.

    • Justine Thyme
      February 12, 2013 - 19:12

      Of course we see it, but then if we point that out, we are accused of being bullies.

    • sap
      February 12, 2013 - 20:13

      Right on the money, but hey , she paid in 600-700 dollars, so it's all her money right? I would think many employers would be a bit hesitant to hire someone who famously quits when she gets tired from her job.

    • Joy
      February 12, 2013 - 20:47

      Does "full time job" mean a job at 30+ hours per week, at minimum wage? The whole term "full time job" needs, in our economy, to be qualified, before being used. It's relative, and doesn't mean as much as it was did!

  • Donnie
    February 12, 2013 - 14:49

    You had a 57 BILLION DOLLAR EI surplus in the fund paid out of your paycheques, until the Harper government raided the fund and put it into the general funds and excused itself from ever having to pay it back. The EI system was working just fine before that! It's not the government's money, it was your deductions off your paycheques.....

    • dawdwda
      February 12, 2013 - 22:26

      No it's not. People plan on going on EI every year - that's not insurance. If working people had the choice whether to pay in or not, the fund wouldn't exist because it wouldn't be fiscally sustainable. Let's face it: people on PEI don't want to work. The real unemployment rate is probably less that 5%. Businesses can't find people to work because it's not people preferred job, so they sit around and do nothing.

  • Travis
    February 12, 2013 - 14:19

    I don't really want to speak on this situation as I'm not familar with the girl or her exact situation but I do have a suggestion that maybe might make a little more sense than just denying people EI. EI was created to help someone in case of loss of employment through an employer no longer needing the services of the individual. It's since expanded to include things like maternity leave and having to leave a job because of a spouse requring you to move. I can understand these as well. But if a person needs EI because of seasonal work, shouldn't we create a separate program with separate rules for this. I believe in some countries, that the seasonal industries are required to take care of their employees year round. To me this makes a little more sense and the industry pays for it. It might cause the price of things to go up but honestly, if only a select group takes interest in let's say lobster, why should all workers have to pay. If the industry were forced to take care of their own during off periods of employment, then if they have to charge more, only those who actually want lobster have to pay. Seems to make a little more sense than trying to use a program that was built for a different purpose than what we want to use it for. Just my two cents!

  • Daisee
    February 12, 2013 - 14:02

    Congratulations young woman! You fight the good fight. Now let's switch pension plans for our elected officials with our volunteer army or injured workers or the unemployed.

  • simplelogic
    February 12, 2013 - 13:46

    to upwester, in regards to your comment on those who pay income tax or othertaxes if you know your arithmetic the total deductions on your hourly rate of pay, (look at your pay stub) includes your payable amount to EI deductions , as well CPP & income tax. therefore totaling the percent of whatever income bracket your in. so, everyone gets different EI , according to thier total insurable earnings. however, if it should be felt that sympathy be expressed by you to Ottawa thats your decision, but those that pay into the EI program are all canadians which would be in the Millions of National population, so therefore I see no need as to why a Federal Goverment should make it so difficult on the seasonaly employed maritimers, but at the same time give millions of dollars to very wealthy corporations, in closing i would suggest to you and all like you that if you value the amount of taxes your paying now, you better start asking yourself. who is more inportant , you or corporate canada.

  • TO BILL FRANKLIN
    February 12, 2013 - 13:40

    You have your opinion. however so does everyone submitting a comment. You only make yourself look bad by bad mouthing people that do not agree with you.

  • LACKING
    February 12, 2013 - 13:37

    For all those that think this girl is right then perhaps you have a deficiency in the thinking department. For far too many years the people of this province appear to falsely believe that it is the responsibility of all workers in this country to allow them to sit on their backsides for or more months a year. The vast majority of those that appear to think that the girl did right are also EI veterans. They have to bring workers in from outside this province and outside Canada to do the work that you think you are too good to do, yet you expect to be paid at the same rate as people that completed an education and trained (mostly at their own expense). Wake up people and start taking responsibiilty for you own lives instead of being freeloaders on society. Please do not say that you pay EI because the majority of people who draw pay less then one fifth of what you draw annually. Read all the articles on this girl In one article of the Toronto Globe when asked if she had drawn EI before her answer was yes when I needed a break from work.

  • Are you kidding me
    February 12, 2013 - 13:28

    To Bill Franklin.......I did not call anyone names unlike yourself.......I just stated a fact that she QUIT her job and does not qualify for EI......no name calling needed. When my son quit his job when the place kept getting robbed and was stressed... he did not get EI he got another JOB....so why call everyone losers. I have a right to my opinion just like you but without the name calling.

    • Bill Franklin
      February 12, 2013 - 23:39

      Are You Kidding Me, but you are too stupid to have an opinion on anything.

  • Really?
    February 12, 2013 - 12:39

    Oh come on. She can spend her time protesting instead of looking for a job. She QUIT a full time job because they were offering her too many hours. Now that she has sat around complaining, she is going to get the Gov't to pay for her to go to school? At a program offered in Charlottetown? So what, she can get her butt to Charlottetown for school but not for a job? If she wanted to go to school so bad, apply for a student loan like 90% of the other young single mothers on PEI. EI is in place for temporary support while you find another job, not to sit on while you go to school, or live on seasonally. All I see here is abuse of the system and some girl thinking she is special cause she is a singe mother. Just another person to abuse the system. NEXT!!!

  • Really?
    February 12, 2013 - 12:37

    Oh come on. She can spend her time protesting instead of looking for a job. She QUIT a full time job because they were offering her too many hours. Now that she has sat around complaining, she is going to get the Gov't to pay for her to go to school? At a program offered in Charlottetown? So what, she can get her butt to Charlottetown for school but not for a job? If she wanted to go to school so bad, apply for a student loan like 90% of the other young single mothers on PEI. EI is in place for temporary support while you find another job, not to sit on while you go to school, or live on seasonally. All I see here is abuse of the system and some girl thinking she is special cause she is a singe mother. Just another person to abuse the system. NEXT!!!

  • Fish "n" Taters
    February 12, 2013 - 11:53

    Now it's time to kick the fishermen off EI. If not, then now is the time to put potato farmers on E.I. They are both seasonal and they are both self-employed Besides fish and taters go good together.

  • Superanne
    February 12, 2013 - 11:42

    Margaret Wente said "seasonal work should disappear if it can’t survive." I mean, really, how dumb is that statement? Margaret Wente should disappear. Congratulations to Ms. Geirsdorf for holding her own against the Harper buffoons; she has elevated my opinion of PEIslanders in spite of Mike Duffy and some of the ignorant commenters here.

  • SAP
    February 12, 2013 - 11:17

    I take it they are building a new campus in Montague, since Charlottetown is too far to travel?

  • Piet Hein
    February 12, 2013 - 11:10

    SOO, maybe you should get a job first and UPWESTER, please stay up west..

  • Bill Franklin
    February 12, 2013 - 11:00

    Until I began reading the comments on this story I had no idea there were so many Islanders so full of hate with nothing better to do than mock someone who was standing up for their rights. They do not have the courage to go and tell Marlene Geirsdorf to her face what they think but they will hide behind fake names and spew hate and lies at her. Frankie, Cat, Vick, Are You Kidding Me, Justine Thyme, JRS Place, Up Wester, Outraged, So Now, Hunh, Ha, BS, SOO, In My Opinion and many others like them are the uneducated losers who come out smelling the worst in this story.

  • Dont matter
    February 12, 2013 - 10:59

    This is one of those stories that people on prince edward island thrive on getting their opinion in on, thats the island way isnt it? We take someones misfortune and pain and we have to turn it into some huge news storey and whether we actully care about the situation or persons involved we as islanders feel we have to get our opnion in there and it is rediculas? We teach our children if they dont have anythig nice to say then dont say anything at all but as adults we are bullys and treat other adult islanders like they are worthless its a joke? Anyone thats is on here supporting this girl good for you because im sure most of you like myself do not know this girl or do we know the full details of her situation and as far as im concerned if she is out fighting for a little help from our goverment and so called leaders well i wish her luck because you know darn well those people sitting behind a desk making these decisions are not worried where their next tank of oil or their next meal is coming from and sure as hell they are not loosong sleep at night worrying about the majority of us islanders that are struggling!

  • I want EI too
    February 12, 2013 - 10:25

    I want EI and go to school too. How does that work? Sign me up!! Could I get EI then go on a trip first, then go to school?? Sign me up for that one too!!

  • Misguided
    February 12, 2013 - 10:24

    “Employment insurance is paid by the worker and the employer, not the taxpayer,’’ insists Lori MacKay. Pretty bad when the president of CUPE says something as ignorant as this. If the taxpayers aren't paying into EI, then who is? Also, I find it a bit backwards for Giersdorf to be too proud to take money from those that offered voluntarily on the side of the road but she is more than willing to take it from those that were forced to pay into EI. I would feel better about taking the money from those that actually wanted to help rather than those that are legally obligated to give her a cut of their cheque.

    • wow
      February 12, 2013 - 13:26

      Ah but you forget, that she herself paid into it as well. Taxpayers are just that taxpayers. There is taxes taken off each check, and then there is EI taken off as well. There are many who do not pay into EI who still pay taxes...go figure.

  • What's wrong with people
    February 12, 2013 - 10:20

    OMG people some of you should get a life.....Yes she quit her job due to stress thats her business not yours...too many Islanders think they know everything and has to stick there nose in our peoples business...no one knows what problems she was having...the federal gov stole Canadians money from the EI fund which they had no right to touch....people do not get rich on EI as its the other way around as they get further behind in there bills....as for an Island with three major industries that are seasonal, what do you think people should do...starve...Did anyone hear in Britain that there hamburger was made from horsemeat.....glad that I support our farmers and fishermen...

    • SAP
      February 12, 2013 - 11:21

      When other people are footing the bill, it becomes their business where the money goes.

  • It's a joke
    February 12, 2013 - 10:14

    Glad she can look after her child's needs. But hmmm don't you need a car to get to school?? And wasn't that the kind of job she quit due to stress?? We all get stressed. Guess all o our tax dollars will be paying for her again when she finds the RCW work too stressful.

  • fred
    February 12, 2013 - 10:12

    Great to see her get reinstated . She finally gets a few drops of milk ;out of the gov;s . big cash cow; that they stole . If gov. would tighten their own waste and spending the way they handle Ei; we could all retire at age 50 with a big pension.

  • Simone
    February 12, 2013 - 10:01

    Unbelievable! I hope as she continues to protest, she goes indoors for an hour or two a day to keep up that "job search".

  • Once a single mom
    February 12, 2013 - 09:53

    Good on you Marlene. As a once single mom who moved out of your area for the simple reason that there are so many that are ready to tear you apart when you stand up for yourself and seek advancement in your field of work. I too furtered my career in my chosen field of work . I was grateful enough to secure a position in Ch'town before moving with 4 boys. No one offered help and I haven't looked back since only to see how far I've come. Congrats! on everything that comes your way . Do becareful of those that may say they need your help as there will be those who will try to bring you down. Jealousy lives in many corners of the world. But if you believe in yourself and ask your higher power to guide you , you will continue to grow and achieve a special journey in life for you and your son and the circumstances surrounding that. God Bless and may the Angels continue to help you.

    • SAP
      February 12, 2013 - 11:25

      I am not sure how quitting a job is standing up for yourself and advancing in your field.

  • corrupt
    February 12, 2013 - 09:37

    What a role model! I hope I can be so lucky as to get EI some day. That's my new goal. E.I., and new sweat pants.

    • I. L. Raby
      February 12, 2013 - 11:20

      Maybe your new goal should be to get a job. Don't mean to be mean but seriously if someone's goal is to get EI something is wrong. I know all about the PEI job situation for I lived there for the first 21 years of my life.

  • SG
    February 12, 2013 - 09:23

    Marlene: I'm so happy to hear your EI Benefits were reinstated. I also hope your application for Resident Care Worker will be accepted. I applaud your courage and strength while under such stress and hardship. Many would not have been able to endure your plight. Nobody should have to go through what you have endured. All Canadians whether working full time or part time pay their share of EI contributions. No one knows when they may be the next candidate for EI. While Senators are receiving six digit salaries plus living and travel expenses many Canadians have to live on minimum wage, many are experiencing lay offs, many can't find work and don't know where their next meal will come from. Yet, our Government has implemented new rules making it more difficult for Canadians to qualify for EI ! Maybe those making negative comments regarding Marlene's Experience should look at the Big Picture! All The Best Marlene! Keep the Faith.

  • Fred Up.
    February 12, 2013 - 09:19

    To the ones who are upset. If you think these people are ripping us off what about the Welfare handouts to large corporations, the fat cats in overpaid jobs, and the fat cats we voted for? These people never settle for pocket change. They are the reason for the mess we have.

  • A Voice
    February 12, 2013 - 08:42

    I commend Marlene for standing up for her rights. Even though, she quit her job, it shouldn't mean that she doesn't qualify. Because of her circumstances, as she relayed not only in her claim but also to the public, why does she need to receive so much ridicule. Her claim was denied, when she refused to take a position in Charlottetown, when she had no transportation, child care, etc. For the little money that she would receive , albeit too, that she paid into, to get her on her feet until she is able to find work, why kick her when she is already down. If the EI benefits are not working for everybody, then why are they put in place, in the first place. Employment Benefits are there for a purpose, and rightly so. Good for you Marlene, for taking a stand, and the best of luck to you in the future. When the likes of the same people making the rules against you, the likes of others " at the trough " abusing the system, reaping the benefits of taxpayers money, like some senators, who live quite comfortably, here lies the real problem. Pointing a finger at you, when three are pointing back at them.

  • Get your facts straight
    February 12, 2013 - 08:41

    Please get your facts straight if your going to comment. Yes she did quit her job, BUT THATS NOT WHY THEY CUT HER OFF. They gave her EI after she left her job, but cut her off because SHE COULDN'T TRAVEL TO CHARLOTTETOWN.

    • huh
      February 12, 2013 - 15:29

      Still a valid question though as I thought you had to lose your job through no fault of your own.

  • Ashamed to be an Islander
    February 12, 2013 - 08:41

    All I really know about Marlene Geirsdorf is that she is a single parent, living on her own and trying to raise a young child with some dignity. Yet, she is attacked, ridiculed and treated with derision by her fellow citizens. Aren't we a wonderful group of human beings - so vindictive, nasty, unforgiving, cruel! It sickens me to read the comments here. What happened to kindness, compassion - have we really all sunk so low. If most of the comments here reflect the attitudes of Islanders, I am deeply ashamed to be one. Good luck Ms. Geirsdorf in your future endeavours. I wish you well.

  • DOOR IS OPEN
    February 12, 2013 - 08:37

    Well here we are again. Going backwards instead of forward. By giving this girl who quit her job to get EI benefits the door has been opened for all in this province who feel it is below them to work for a living and have the right to quit and live of the people who want to work in this country. It makes me sick to think that people feel it is their right to work part year only because of potatoes and fish. News flash folks the world continues all year round and it's time to get a full time job and they are out there. And please don't give me your garbage about paying in to EI. The majority of people who draw EI do not even pay in one fifth of what they draw annually.

  • Islander
    February 12, 2013 - 08:36

    I can't believe how many are so fast to put this lady down!!!!! Typical Island ignorance, knock the woman down and assume the worst about her! Karma will meet up with all you ignorant people someday! And then, try to do something for yourself and have the strength to endure what she has done!!!!! So many people want "The Island" way of peace, but truth be known, it's full of ignorant NOSEY people, who have nothing better to do than gossip and put others down to make themselves TRY to look good! Excellent job Marlene! I don't know you, but I'm very proud of you and the strength you have! YOU made a stand for many, and WILL go down in history as a STRONG WOMAN!!!! All the best in the future

  • Islander
    February 12, 2013 - 08:36

    I can't believe how many are so fast to put this lady down!!!!! Typical Island ignorance, knock the woman down and assume the worst about her! Karma will meet up with all you ignorant people someday! And then, try to do something for yourself and have the strength to endure what she has done!!!!! So many people want "The Island" way of peace, but truth be known, it's full of ignorant NOSEY people, who have nothing better to do than gossip and put others down to make themselves TRY to look good! Excellent job Marlene! I don't know you, but I'm very proud of you and the strength you have! YOU made a stand for many, and WILL go down in history as a STRONG WOMAN!!!! All the best in the future

  • Frankie
    February 12, 2013 - 08:13

    can someone explain to me why she wants to go to school for a job that she quit because of stress? I could understand if she went back to school for another trade but the same one she just quit??? Smells fishy to me.

  • Bertha
    February 12, 2013 - 08:06

    I feel the rude comments mentioned is terrible!! Obviously these comments are from people who have good paying jobs and never had to deal with EI!! Some people should do their research as they think they know the EI system. EI will help pay her way to Charlottetown for school so your rude comments are uncalled for. As for these people who hate people on EI we will take your good paying job any day and you can see what it's like to live on half of your income and struggle! So stop the rude comments as you don't live in other peoples shoes! Consider yourself bless that you have good paying jobs and stop judging other people!!!

    • Lame
      February 12, 2013 - 08:41

      Bertha maybe you should do your research, why should she get unemployment if she quit her job? I've been on ei before in the off season so I do know about ei, and I certainly wouldn't of quit a job getting 60 hours a week year around that's for sure, and yes ei will help pay for schooling but if she couldn't find transportation to town to take up a job how will she do it to go to school?? There are people that do depend on ei that are seasonal workers and by all rights should get. You wouldn't see them quitting there job "when they needed a break" there's people that deserve ei that are getting rejected because of people like her

    • Townie
      February 12, 2013 - 10:32

      A lot of those people in the High paying jobs either went to post secondary school to achieve that job so they never have to use EI as welfare or they were seasonal workers who became embarrassed that they were using the system in a manner that wasn't proper and decided to go back to school for retraining. Myself I fall into the second.

    • YIslander
      February 12, 2013 - 11:29

      I am in total agreement and I have a well paid full-time job. I have no problems supporting people who have get EI. For those people who are complaining...be grateful that you have a full-time job.

    • Mike
      February 12, 2013 - 11:39

      Hey there Lame! I'M with Bertha on this, I can't believe how hateful Islanders are!! This isn't the Islanders I know!! How can she work 60hours a week with a child!! Mr. Lame get a life and stop judging other people! You have issues as far as I'm concern to be sooo rude and hateful toward this young woman! I'm upset to think that there are Islanders like this! If you all want EI then give us the unemployed your jobs!! Then see how your life is! Stop judging other people!

  • CAT
    February 12, 2013 - 08:04

    I'm confused, you don't have a car or transit to a job in Charlottetown, but you have transportation to get to Holland College in Charlottetown?

  • Vick
    February 12, 2013 - 07:53

    Hopefully EI nails you now, you got what you wanted and now your going to continue to protest! Well you state on your claim each week your able and available for work, if your standing out front protesting your far from available for work! Cut her off I am tired of paying for the laziness in this province........now start the same system for welfare this is even worse!

  • B Shutt
    February 12, 2013 - 07:49

    Good Luck getting Harper and Shea together for tea,she would probably have to ask him first if she could drink it the little Puppett Follower she is.Congrats on standing up for your rights and Good Luck in your future endeavours By the way does anyone know where Shea went after she walked out on the E.I. vote,did Harper put her into hiding?

  • Are you kidding me
    February 12, 2013 - 07:47

    She QUIT her job....she didn't qualify for EI in the first place...what an abuse of the system.

  • Connor
    February 12, 2013 - 07:35

    How is she able to travel to Holland College in Charlottetown for the Resident Care worker program, if she wasn't able to travel down to Charlottetown for work? Seems a little absurd!

  • Justine Thyme
    February 12, 2013 - 07:26

    The only poster child she represents is the slanted view of the Guardian paper where journalism ethics have been tossed out. Shame Guardian. Interesting though how she is heading back to school to get a job exactly like the full time one she held, before she quit.

  • Stewart
    February 12, 2013 - 07:22

    "we can’t grow potatoes year round or land fish twelve months a year. That’s why there is such a thing as EI" That is *not* why EI exists. Insurance is supposed to protect against an unexpected adverse event. The CUPE rep is advocating EI as a subsidy for seasonal industries, which is unfair to everyone else who pays in. And as to her other claim, that EI "is paid by the worker and the employer, not the taxpayer", she's splitting hairs. Workers ultimately shoulder the burden of an unfair EI system, and workers are in fact taxpayers.

    • UPWESTER
      February 12, 2013 - 09:31

      "Employment insurance is paid by the worker and the employer, not the taxpayer,’’ insists Lori MacKay, president of CUPE on P.E.I. who showed support.....Where the employee and employer can both deduct the cost of EI, who do you think picks up the portion that they deduct from their taxes?The taxpayer, that's who,thru reduced income taxes. Lori Mackay, you should know what you are talking about if you are going to represent unions.Assuming both employee and employer are in the 30% tax bracket,that means the government,or taxpayer, is picking up that percentage.

    • john
      February 12, 2013 - 09:42

      Exactly!

    • A PORCINE
      February 12, 2013 - 09:49

      ThaThaThat's all for now folks!.....Porky Pig!

  • Islanders need Marlene Geirsdorf's help
    February 12, 2013 - 07:21

    As an employed white middle class male with an employed wife, there's absolutely no way for me to walk in Marlene Geirsdorf's shoes. How would it feel to be in Geirsdorf's situation? I just don't have that much imagination; nor is it any of my business. I also don't have access to the facts behind the decision making process that denied and then reinstated Geirsdorf's EI benefits. However, as a tax-payer, that is my business. So that's why we need Marlene's help. If there's a way for her to make the facts behind that decision making process visible, she could contribute a great deal to public understanding . . . certainly more than I could contribute.

  • Good news
    February 12, 2013 - 07:14

    It's good to see that she is taking this opportunity to pursue eduction that may get her long term work. A lot of people sit back with their feet up on EI and don't do a thing year after year all winter for decades which is a ridiculous abuse of this system. Congrats Marlene and good luck with your studies.

  • Frustrated Islander
    February 12, 2013 - 07:10

    "However, many have chided and ridiculed her suggesting the single mother with no phone, computer or car was a societal leach and should head to Alberta" How is this living off the system and being a societal Leach? She has no phone, no computer or car. There are people on welfare with iPhones, cars and the deluxe package in cable, that is living off the system! She is living within what small means she has. She is standing up for what she believes in and sending her to Alberta is not going to help anyone in the maritimes. At least she is doing something about the way she was treated and not just complaining about it like most islanders!

  • jrsplace
    February 12, 2013 - 07:04

    Funny thing is if she would have had a friend or relative to give her lobster fishing stamps none of this would have happened to her . They are untouchable . She could have driven around drinking coffee all day and not worried about a thing . Lobster fishermen have a multi generational EI leisure class for 10 months every year forever.

  • CUPE
    February 12, 2013 - 06:58

    Dear CUPE President, With the exception of public service employees, the employee IS the taxpayer, not the tax collector. I can understand in the case of public service employees where you are getting a heck of a lot more from the government that you don't consider this a tax.

    • Fed Up
      February 12, 2013 - 08:05

      Maybe you might want to consider the fact that Public Service employees also pay taxes as well, often times more because some are in a slightly higher tax bracket than those receiving minimum wage, and they have to deal with small minded people like you thinking that they do not deserve the paycheque that they also work hard for! Think before you speak! You shouldn't fault people for getting an education and wanting to pursue jobs that they are fully qualified for!

  • UPWESTER
    February 12, 2013 - 06:57

    If she continues to stand outside the EI office in protest, then she is not actively looking for work nor is she ready, willing and able to work. It seems to me that she is looking for more than her 5 minutes in the spotlight.She should be glad to take her EI and go away somewhere and look after her child, not stand around ouside an unemployment office embarrassing other Islanders who work for a living. It's time to move on sweetheart.

    • Ulfric
      February 12, 2013 - 17:36

      Do you EVER have anything to say about ANYTHING that is not negative? There are only so many places to apply. I lived in Charlottetown and went a couple months without a job and put out over 100 resumes in the first few weeks. From there it's a waiting game. Now imagine I lived in Montague with no transportation. I wouldn't have been able to get a fraction of the resumes out. The point of all of this is that they unjustly cut her off. She had every right to take in EI and still does. I hope you lose your job. Sometimes you gotta get a taste of the bad medicine to understand how it works.

  • This Means
    February 12, 2013 - 06:48

    I guess this means anyone can now quit their job for whatever reason & get the people that are working to pay their way . My,My things have changed . Not sure if it's for the betterment of the country or not ???????

  • So what is this
    February 12, 2013 - 06:48

    So this is good news for her but an investigation into the arbitrary way Ei officials are cutting people off this insurance program is long over due. I guess they are motivated to achieve the 58 million in EI cuts, given as the quota for this region, by the Harper Minister Diane Finley. This was truly a devastating story. This young mom would never have gotten her EI if she had not had the courage to stand on the side of the road with a sign. People should not have to do this to receive their UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE! Shame on this whole Conservative Government.

  • cndinmaine
    February 12, 2013 - 06:46

    Whether I agree with you or not, I applaud you determination,, ok, your guts,,for taking a stand when many of us would not. Good on ya!

  • Tom Paine
    February 12, 2013 - 06:46

    I'm glad that the social safety net finally has caught this young lady. Nevertheless, I would like to remind everyone that she did quit her job. EI might not be the most appropriate program. (And Ms MacKay, her position was a FT position -- that's why she quit -- and involved neither growing potatoes nor fishing)

  • Outraged
    February 12, 2013 - 06:41

    "Marlene Geirsdorf will get her benefits back and prays never again to join the ranks of the unemployed." Then next time don't quit your job!! I'm so sick to death of this lady. Does nobody realize that quitting your job AND refusing to look for work are both grounds for denial of benefits? So she quits her job, refuses to look for work,, and gets her benefits back... someone want to explain this one to me?

    • mej
      February 12, 2013 - 07:57

      Well if those are grounds for denial, then how was she approved in the first place. I wish people would get there facts in line. She left her position due to stress, which in EI's eyes was a vaild reason for leaving her job thereby she was receiving EI. She was cut off EI because she would not look for work 60 kms away from her home. END OF!

    • nm
      February 12, 2013 - 08:24

      Totally agree... She quit her job, if she was that stressed she should have went on leave and then when things got better in her health returned to work or taken another job even if it was something she didn't want to do while she looked for something else. Tim Horton's is always hiring etc... EI should be there for people that need it not abuse it...

    • outraged
      February 12, 2013 - 21:29

      MEJ.. yeah sure.. she couldn't look for work 60 kms away but is now going to be going to school in guess where? Charlottetown... 60 kms away. Funny how she can find transportation to school but not to work. Funny how someone would fight to be on EI instead of looking for employment. Sounds like she was looking for --and got-- her handout.

  • Shirley
    February 12, 2013 - 06:40

    So pleased for you Marlene you stood up for yourself even when at times it was hard with all the negative comments from some.I hope all will go good for you and your little boy from now on.

  • So now
    February 12, 2013 - 06:28

    first thing when she gets her back pay in EI, social services will take back what they gave her. Nice that she can now travel to Ch'town for a year to Holland College to take her course. Stuffing $20's when she wasn't looking. What a FEELING, Math doesn't add up well here in places does it.

  • Hunh?
    February 12, 2013 - 06:27

    Didnt she leave a job as that due to stress?

  • Chester L
    February 12, 2013 - 06:16

    The View from here...............congratulations Marlene for you " sticking to itness " and to face the criticism and the naysayers in the process..........You are a fine example for someone only wanting their rights under the EI Insurance Program as the meat of this issue is all about " The Insurance Program " and the Employer and Employee making their contributions and being insured under the plan and not penalized under duress or suffering public ridicule........To much " politics " and not enough communication to those who contribute who " contribute preminums " and those who are charged with " Administrating the plan " on behalf of the insured clients...to much emotion involved and more of dealing with " The issues and focusing on resolve of those issues in a friendly environment " is what is needed............well done........and for those who made little of you in print ..they might learn something from this.:) Well done and I hope your future is looking better!

  • nitpicker
    February 12, 2013 - 06:15

    I wish the media would stop referring to online comments in stories such as this. Many comments are written by those who are trolling, have not even fully read the story, and are anonymous. As such, good journalism should not reference them.

  • Ha
    February 12, 2013 - 06:04

    I personally know 3 people that got jobs in montague since this story came out, maybe she should of spent her time and engery trying to get a job instead of standing outside with a sign. I guess its up to the rest of us working folks to pay her way now

    • OH RLY?
      February 12, 2013 - 08:16

      Three folks in a community landed employment!? THREE ENTIRE PEOPLE? I wonder what their education background is ... I wonder if they have children....Oh, the hell with all that. If three people you know can get jobs in the span of a month, I'm sure there must be employment equality across the board! Good grief. Go home.

  • louannmac
    February 12, 2013 - 05:59

    Good for you, it takes courage to fight the system and you are a role model !!!!

  • Bs
    February 12, 2013 - 05:57

    “This woman was fully entitled" No she wasn't, she quit her job

  • Bs
    February 12, 2013 - 05:57

    “This woman was fully entitled" No she wasn't, she quit her job

  • Crys
    February 12, 2013 - 05:55

    Congrats!! So happy for you! Hopefully this doesn't happen to you or anyone again. We pay in EI, we should be able to use it! :)

    • Soo
      February 12, 2013 - 08:27

      So I guess I'll quit my job and just draw the ei

  • d from queens
    February 12, 2013 - 05:26

    they took this ladies benefits away because she had no transportation.last week a judge gave a guy charged with DUI weekends in jail so it would'nt interfere with his EI. does this make sense.

    • UPWESTER
      February 12, 2013 - 09:41

      It's just another reminder of how entrenched the EI system is in PEI.People on PEI are rewarded for not working. Everyone complains that the government is having to run up large debts to give us service and they wonder why. It's because Islanders don't work enough to pay any significant amount of taxes, so they have to run deficits to offset the lack of revenue thru taxation, hence the HST.

  • Dave
    February 12, 2013 - 05:16

    My goodness be careful now these guys will be laying for you. Most of them don't have the ethics that God gave a gnat. You've ruined there ploy of getting people off EI by sending them many miles for work. Have you not thought why would they send someone to Charlottetown when there are lots of unemployed there. They will send people from Charlottetown to Montaque for the same reason. Think of how many people they can get off of EI by doing this all across Canada.

    • The Facilitator
      February 12, 2013 - 21:44

      And where do you think the Residential Care Worker Course is delivered? You guessed it, The Prince of Wales Campus of Holland College in CHARLOTTETOWN. The same City she wouldn't consider for a job because she lacked transportation.

  • In My Opinion
    February 12, 2013 - 04:58

    If she is going to be protesting instead of looking for work.................then I suggest this will not be the last time we see her in the paper. She should attend her course, look for part time work around her school hours, and stay out of the news.

  • Enought Already
    February 12, 2013 - 02:33

    Enough already, she was in no way a poster girl for the EI changes, except she is the reason the rules needed to change. SO, the truth of the story now comes out. She likely quit her job, hoped to get on EI, have the government help pay for her College course and not have to worry about her income for the next couple years while she is on more government programs to get the education to seek full time employment at a full time job she already quit. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

    • margaret
      February 12, 2013 - 10:09

      My GOD people, how can so many people be so spiteful of anyone.Grow up and leave this girl alone . I am sure she may not have done some things right but she stood up for herself and that tells me a lot about her.What these negative comments tell me is that you should look in your own closets and remember what comes around ,goes around.Plus say it to her face instead of hiding behind a computer screen.So sad people like you still exist..Congrats to her!