HST Ghiz’s greatest accomplishment in 2013

Wayne Thibodeau
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Island voters took their concern over the introduction of the harmonized sales tax on April 1 to the front steps of Province House, calling Premier Robert Ghiz and Finance Minister Wes Sheridan liars and calling on them to resign.

Still, Ghiz says the introduction of the HST is the single greatest accomplishment his government has achieved in 2013.

“From a policy perspective — not from a politics perspective,” Ghiz said in his annual year-end interview with The Guardian.

“While it’s tough politically, from a policy perspective I still say it was the right move. It puts us on a level playing field with every province east of Manitoba.”

The HST, which combined the five per cent GST with the 10 per cent provincial sales tax, came into effect in April. 

Hundreds of protesters marched to the steps of Province House in June, demanding Ghiz and Sheridan resign and calling the Liberal administration liars.

During that protest, Sheridan said the province was proceeding with the HST because it would level the playing field for every farmer, fisherman, tourism operator and every small business operator across Prince Edward Island. 

“It is the right thing to do,” he said.

During the year-end interview, Ghiz also triumphed the introduction of the catastrophic drug plan, which went into effect Oct. 1.

P.E.I. was one of only two provinces without a catastrophic drug plan. The other is New Brunswick.

“Being able to bring that program in is going to really make a difference in the lives of Islanders who are going through some difficult times. As a politician, that’s really why you get into politics.”

Ghiz also discussed the province’s finances.

The P.E.I. government has been forced to push back its plans to balance its budget until 2016, which also coincides with the next provincial election. 

Last spring, the province budgeted for a $58.9-million deficit as part of its plan to balance the province’s books by 2015-2016.

That plan includes a projected $34.5-million deficit for 2014-2015 and a surplus of $600,000 in 2015-2016.

Ghiz said the province’s finances remain healthy. He said the bond raters continue to describe the Island’s debt as manageable. 

“I don’t think people need to worry,” said Ghiz. “But at the same time it’s something we need to keep our eye on.” 

Premier Robert Ghiz’s full year-end interview with The Guardian will be published in the Dec. 26 edition of The Guardian. A special, one-hour prime-time special A Conversation with Premier Robert Ghiz airs Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m. on Eastlink TV, Channel 10 and HD Channel 610. The special will be rebroadcast Dec. 30 and 31 at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Jan. 1 at 9 a.m. and Jan. 2 at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The premier’s full year-end interview with The Guardian will be published in The Guardian Dec. 26.

A Conversation with Premier Robert Ghiz, a one-hour prime time special, will air on Eastlink TV Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m. with rebroadcasts on Dec. 30 and 31 and Jan. 1 and 2. 

Ghiz said he’s confident his government will balance its budget by 2016. 

“Yes, we have a deficit but I think pretty much every jurisdiction in Canada — including the federal government which would probably be the most right-wing government we’ve had in Canada in the last number of generations is still running a deficit.” 





Organizations: Province House, Twitter.com/GuardianWayne Facebook.com/JWayneThibodeauYouTube.com/JWayneThibodeau

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, P.E.I., Manitoba New Brunswick Canada 165 Prince Street Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Kevin Rawle
    December 17, 2013 - 17:52

    Follow B.C.'s lead, start a public referendum to have the tax removed from your Province, Contact Bill Vander zalm (ex B.C. Premier) on how to do it. Bill Vander Zalm Books, P.O. Box 1, Delta BC Canada, V4K 3N5 B.C. was able to rid itself of this insidious tax, which only serves to make the Government wealthy. Don’t roll over and take this, rid your selves of this tax and The Premier who installed it -during the next election, no one person can think he is above the people he represents.

  • big trucker
    December 16, 2013 - 15:08

    Ghiz’s greatest accomplishment in 2013 was give less to the poor and more to his rich buddies........;)

  • In This Case, Us Sure Ain't Me
    December 16, 2013 - 11:25

    Their penchant for idioms aside, Ghiz and Sheridan are correct when they say, "It puts us on a level playing field." That is, as long as they don't define what they mean by "us". As Aristotle said, "The biggest injustice is to treat equally things which are unequal.” If the "us" Ghiz is referring to is large business and multinationals - yep, sort of, maybe. But if the "us" he's referring to is something other than that, then I'd like him to explain how the HST is level - or for that matter, even a playing field. It's not very level and there's not much play if you can't buy healthy food, live in decent shelter, find meaningful employment. Bottom line is that the "us" that controls political decisions got their way. And, Ghiz not only enabled this to happen - he's damn proud of it. Yikes, is this what "Liberal" really looks like?

  • don
    December 16, 2013 - 10:55

    i wonder how the voters are really feeling about there vote? these polls to me are fake. in 50 plus years i have been called only once about a poll on PEI. i wonder if they have a list of people to call that will give the right answers ? ghiz you are in your little world.

  • liberal dong
    December 16, 2013 - 10:24

    If this HST was such accomplished act,I would like to know your best failures were lots I'm sure of,this gov has to go now not 2014-2016 like right now if any of those so called liberals ever vote you back in they are really stupid.I'm the last election the motto was and I quote (this gov is for the people )ya right that all you ever done since being elected we will not forget we all remember the Callback. 7.5 wage rollback and she was never elected again,my point is what goes around comes around (remember that motto) after the next election.

  • Laughing
    December 16, 2013 - 09:37

    Sounds like someone slipped him some Wacky!! He, I am sure cannot be serious!!

  • Greatest Accomplishment
    December 16, 2013 - 08:53

    Let's tell the truth about what is their greatest accomplishment . Proving what real liars they are . Thats got to be at the top of the long list of theft & wrong decisions !

  • Going West
    December 16, 2013 - 07:25

    News flash! Mr. Ghiz, there are thousands of Islanders going through "difficult times" because of your "great accomplishments". Unbearable arrogance.

  • What the heck?
    December 16, 2013 - 06:48

    Saying the HST is the single greatest accomplishment of Ghiz's government in 2013 is like saying he allowed the tide to come in and out. Let's face it, large corporations wanted it, so even if he wanted to (or the people wanted to) Ghiz couldn't have stopped it. On the other hand, he is a relentless white washer - Plan B is about safety it is not about patronage which, by the way, doesn't really exist. Corporate welfare doesn't exist either and the PNP was great for PEI - just like the Holman Hotel. Egad, maybe it is best that our education system keeps us uninformed and passive.

    • Paul "Punch" Meagain
      December 16, 2013 - 12:02

      Perhaps that explains why almost half of Islanders recently polled will vote Mr. Ghiz and his government back into power? Or, is it that there's no other choice? Or, is he actually doing a pretty darn good job? Let the debates begin!

  • What is wrong with this guy
    December 16, 2013 - 06:03

    So this is why they do the things they do, a complete disconnect from reality. Wow. "My greatest accomplishment is driving every Islander but those in close with this government further in to the poor house, where they belong." This guy is so far removed from the actual needs of Islanders that it is unreal. But what does he care? He has his pension. I just wonder how long of a memory Islanders will have when it comes time to vote. If Ghiz goes back in I think I'll add myself to that left the province stat.

  • Jason
    December 16, 2013 - 04:25

    The HST has been a pain in the ass this Christmas for sure! Since when did this have not province need to be on par with all other provinces, with our small population. The problem with small business on PEI is that there are people trying to run one and get rich . We only have 140,000 people on the entire Island...I don't get the race to compete with other provinces..we used to have lower cost gas, groceries, housing etc etc..and now we are higher than the rest of Cnada..WHo is living and where do people work on this Island that can afford the high cost for homes, taxes, etc etc..WHat the hell happenend? The sky doesn't have to fall herer buddy..you need too.

  • don
    December 16, 2013 - 03:29

    ghiz i challenge you and your money hungry liberals to take some of the money you took from the poor and for the 1st time in your lives DONATE double the amount of turkey's raised by the turkey drive plus all the trimmings. that is if you all care? but i know you all do not. but when you all sit down to have a nice big diner every day for the rest of your lives and i hope you all see the poor. and that goes for the pc party as they are no better. as you said back in 1997 your government is here for the people. now prove it. You have no problem taking a raise 2 times in less then 2 months now you will be getting another from a group that is nameless to get another.

  • Oh Really?
    December 15, 2013 - 21:35

    HST Ghiz’s greatest accomplishment in 2013 If this is his greatest accomplishment, I'd hate to see what his greatest failure was. Or maybe Premiere Ghiz has the words "failure" and accomplishment" backwards?

  • Peter
    December 15, 2013 - 21:31

    Last spring, the province budgeted for a $58.9-milliondeficit as part of its plan to balance the province’s books by 2015-2016. Seems to me, the $400 Million PNP dollars would have more than covered this deficit... if only we could find it eh?

    • I agree
      December 16, 2013 - 08:58

      Islanders should be informed 100% re PNP. Ghiz, Sheridan, & the LIBERAL Party are ruining PEI.

  • don
    December 15, 2013 - 21:17

    HST Ghiz’s greatest accomplishment in 2013. LOL in your own mind ghiz as you are not living on your own min wage are you now? you have everything paid for by the tax payers plus your wife is also paid by the tax payers. if you had to live on $10.00 an hour for you and your family you would STARVE. in fact lets see you and your family live for one year on the average low income islander? have you got the back bone to do it? LOL we know you would not. that would mean no fancy meals and wine, fancy cloths for your kids. but that day will come God will show you what it is like. he done it before in the 30's and will again.