Senate scandal a distraction in 2013, Shea says

Teresa Wright
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Egmont MP and federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea spoke with The Guardian for a year-end interview earlier this month.

Egmont MP Gail Shea says the Senate expenses scandal was a distraction from important work  accomplished this year in Ottawa, work she believes will positively benefit Islanders and all Canadians.

The federal fisheries minister told The Guardian in a year-end interview this week she believes the Canada-European trade agreement signed this year was a highlight accomplishment for the Harper government for 2013.

But it was overshadowed by the expenses scandal that dogged the Senate, and in particular P.E.I.’s Senator Mike Duffy.

“It definitely has been a distraction, because everyone watches the news and the media and of course it has dominated the news when a lot of other very important things were happening, such as the Canada-European trade deal,” Shea said.

“I find it ironic that all this started because someone was trying to pay back money to taxpayers, which is quite the opposite of what you usually have.”

Until his spectacular fall from grace this year, Duffy was a star in Harper’s Conservative caucus — a top fundraiser for the party and a loyal representative who would make funding announcements on behalf of cabinet ministers.

In previous interviews with The Guardian, Duffy referred to himself as “Gail Shea’s little helper” in Ottawa — assisting the Island’s only Conservative MP to bring home the bacon for P.E.I.

Duffy’s expulsion from the party caucus and the scandal surrounding him has left Shea the lone federal Conservative representative in P.E.I.

She calls the whole Senate scandal an “unfortunate situation,” but one she hears about constantly.

“I do hear a lot about it, but it’s not the first scandal that’s ever happened in government. We’re still hearing about the sponsorship scandal, which was more than a decade ago,” she said.

“Everybody is speculating on this and that and what happened and what didn’t happen, but I think the proper place to do the investigation is with the RCMP, so I’m sure many people are looking forward to that conclusion.”

In the meantime, she believes the new trade deal with European Union will be good news for Islanders, especially those in the lobster industry.

Lobster prices were also an issue that sparked controversy this year, not only in P.E.I., but across the region.

Record-low prices for the highly-valued crustaceans led P.E.I. fishermen to initiate a strike that lasted six days in the height of the spring fishing season. The strike swept through the Maritimes and nearly brought the industry to a standstill.

As federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Shea’s name is often invoked on the issue of lobster prices.

Shea echoed statements made by provincial fisheries officials, saying solutions to the problems in the lobster fishery must be led by industry.

“In the past there was some mistrust among different sections of the industry — the fishers, the buyers, the processors and the exporters. That entire industry has to come together.”

She said she is encouraged by the cooperation among the provinces in the recent regional panel that produced a report filled with recommendations that include introducing a price-setting mechanism and a marketing levy on fishers and processors.

Shea believes the key to solving many of these and other economic issues in P.E.I. lies in finding new markets for P.E.I. products. This is what the Canada-EU deal can accomplish, she said.

“Particularly coming from an area where we depend a lot on exports where fishing and farming were such big industries, I think that this is one thing that certainly is going to benefit Prince Edward Island.”

Shea said her priorities for 2014 include working with the province to develop a plan to honour Stompin' Tom Connors and commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.

Organizations: RCMP, European Union, Canada-EU

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Ottawa, Canada Charlottetown

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Jim Cupboard
    December 29, 2013 - 16:15

    Gail SHAME and her opinions mean absolutely nothing. Her and her corrupt party are a national disgrace. Start packing your bags lady, you will soon be thrown out!

  • dissed distracted
    December 28, 2013 - 19:27

    distraction? Saying it was a "distraction" is like saying last weeks storm was moisture!! Do yourself and every islander a favour, do some meaningful work for your constituents and our island , we deserve it

    • Garth Staples
      December 29, 2013 - 08:07

      In my 45 years on PEI I have never seen a MP deliver so much to this Province than Gail Shea has delivered; programmes that mean real results for people.

    • What Really Matters?
      December 29, 2013 - 12:48

      Garth, as mentioned elsewhere in this comment section, dumping (other people's) tax dollars on her constituents cannot be the only indicator of political performance . . . the truth matters too. Courage to speak the truth also matters, and in this Mrs. Shea has misreably failed. Her almost complete silence on the PMO's performance gives tacit approval to the abuse of power. It also fails to show our youth what really matters.

  • Summerside Resident
    December 28, 2013 - 15:09

    Distraction my ass. Its called getting caught abusing taxpayers money and than covering it up and not admitting any fault. We saw the same situation in Summerside when Mayor Basil Stewart and past CAO Terry Murphy set up our Deputy Chief of Police David Griffin. This fiasco last 13 yrs and Griffin bet them at five different Courts and to this day has never received an apology from anyone. Than we had another cover up known as the Concert Fiasco, another 3 plus million given away, Hopping Report hinden and noone held accountable. Again, everyone who caused this mess never admitted guilt, some are gone, some passed away and the Mayor is still there claiming he was robbed. All boils down to mismanagement and poor leadership. Only victims in all of this are the taxpayers of Summerside.

  • Tell the truth
    December 28, 2013 - 15:03

    Shea has no power over what Mike Duffy or what the PMO did or does.......She already said that what happened was WRONG...she did not condone it....she herself has been and has always been above board...either Federally or Provincially ....and if your Liberal NDP or whatever you have to tow the party line... .... so cut the partisian political barbs what ever lacky you put in position ,does the same thing, she herself is a good genuine person,she has played the game and has produced for her riding....Jimmy did it in Kings CO. when the Liberal held the reins.. as did Danny Dan........they HAD no control of the senate or the PMO.....and there were questionalable political shenanigans under their regimes also ............ and I did not even vote for the comments here are just political one upmanship......and so blatant..........people tire of that BS after while. Give her some's politics......and she .has done some good for her riding

    • Rancid Bacon
      December 29, 2013 - 09:20

      Being a card holding Conservative, I have to say that Shea is a great pork barrel politician - she has brought home the bacon. However, is the cost of that bacon forgoing ethical behavour and turning a blind eye to deception? If so, I'd rather become a vegetarian. Dumping tax dollars on her constituents cannot be the only indicator of political performance. Surely the truth matters too. Doesn't it?

  • Jarrod
    December 28, 2013 - 14:11

    A paper airplane is a distraction. We're talking about theft/fraud/abuse of power here. C'mon Gail.

    • Real Canadian
      December 29, 2013 - 10:41

      If thats the case the liberals in ontario should go to jail they lied ,fraudulently altered and deleted emails and lied to cover there mismanagement of over a billion dollars

  • Kal Itea
    December 28, 2013 - 13:20

    Harper must have sent his serfs home for the holidays to tell constituents that the "Senate Scandal" is a distraction when in fact it is the unraveling of a government whose foundation was built on wet sand.

  • John
    December 28, 2013 - 11:17

    Shea should be ashamed of herself. For someone who claims to represent the interests of Islanders, she has a lot of nerve defending and downplaying the actions of the federal Conservatives. Election time is coming soon.....

    • don
      December 28, 2013 - 14:05

      i agree i know a senior couple that has been trying for 2 years to talk to her but either her staff on PEI / ONT is blocking messages from reg islanders and only allowing the rich to make contact. but i remember her saying she is here for all islanders. gee sounds like a liberal statement from ghiz. so gail who is lieing you or your staff? i know i i sent emails to you but never got a reply for the couple. and what really gets me is your staff said you were not on PEI but yet you were in s'side that day taking pictures for money you gave. so to me you and yor staff is here for the RICH NOT every islander shame on you and your staff but you will see the same as the liberals what goes around comes around. remember the islanders you stepped on when you moved up as they will be the ones you meet on your way down to the bottom.

  • Angus
    December 28, 2013 - 10:33

    Well there should be plenty of distractions come the 2015 federal election. By that time any charges for Liberal or Conservative Senate indescretions should have been laid, (not to forget that one Liberal senator is already in jail) and of course that Trial of Chretien's pal who allegedly ripped off the taxpayer for a million bucks in the Sponsorship Scandal should be well underway. Voters will have lots to think about if they want to make their decisions based soley on Scandals!

  • Neil
    December 28, 2013 - 09:47

    It's sad when the best paying jobs on pei are those of mps mlas and senators. The weird thing is that they attract people that have done absolutely nothing in the private sector. The dumber you are the better chance you have at success

  • Jackofalltrades
    December 28, 2013 - 08:23

    It all started when someone tried to pay back money?!?!? No, it all started when people in the senate were making like pigs at the trough with tax payer money. Then it continued when the PMO, and chances are the Prime Minister as well, tried to cover it up.

    • don
      December 28, 2013 - 14:11

      i think the mla's should also be investigated. as we have had a few island mla's doing the same thing and they have been in Ottawa back in the 1600"s. and why should we pay for the wives or hubby's free ticket to go to Ottawa etc? and one mla said that it is hard on families with them away for long periods. BULL CRAP what about our military and there families? let them pay for there own ticket not from my tax's.

  • Shea's Disgraceful Attempt at Distraction
    December 28, 2013 - 08:17

    So, the next time one of our youths goes to court for making fraudulent decisions or stealing, can she just say, "hey, it was only a distraction" to the judge? If those same actions are tied to her gang's conspiracy to commit fraudulence, does that allow her to say, "Opps, just a distraction your honor"? Give Islander's some credit Shea, how stupid do you think we are? Mike Duffy's and the PMO's Senate Scandal isn't a "distraction." It's a disgrace!