Ghiz tables 'Heather Moyse' bill

Teresa Wright
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Healther Moyse with Premier Robert Ghiz during rally in Summerside Feb. 28, 2014.

Premier Robert Ghiz has tabled legislation to help smooth the controversy he stirred last month when he awarded the Order of P.E.I. to two-time Olympic gold medalist Heather Moyse.

Ghiz tabled amendments to the Provincial Emblems and Honours Act – the law that dictates the process by which Islanders can be nominated and chosen for the Order of P.E.I.

The amendments will allow the Order of P.E.I. advisory council to submit a selected nominee to the premier’s office at any time during the year.

The lieutenant governor would then automatically and immediately approve this nomination.

Ghiz says this will give the advisory council more freedom to award the Order of P.E.I. for special, unscheduled circumstances.

“This legislation will allow the committee, in the future, if they so choose, if there’s a special occasion for something, to be able to not be so tied down to the exact legislation that was in place before.”

Ghiz faced criticism last month when he unilaterally named Prince Edward Island's Olympic gold medalist Heather Moyse to the Order of P.E.I.

The chair of the Order of P.E.I. Advisory Council said at the time proper procedures as laid out in law were not followed.

The current rules say nominations are open until April. The committee then chooses three recipients and the awards are given out during a ceremony in May.

Ghiz named Moyse a recipient well before nominations were even closed. Also, the premier is not normally involved in the nomination process, except to endorse the committee’s selections every year.

"It kind of puts politics into the Order of P.E.I., which we're trying to take the politics out of it," the Order of P.E.I.  Advisory Council chair Charles Curley told The Guardian in March.

Ghiz made no apologies about his decision to announced Moyse a recipient, which he did at a big rally to celebrate her homecoming from the Sochi Olympics.

“We had Heather there, a hometown crowd, and I thought it would be a nice idea,” Ghiz said.

“I asked the committee and they thought it would be a great idea, but unfortunately the legislation wouldn’t allow them to do it.”

The amendments tabled this session will fix what Ghiz says is a problem wherein the Order of P.E.I. committee cannot react more immediately for special circumstances.

Ghiz also noted he did not actually give Moyse the award that night in Summerside. She will receive her Order of P.E.I. in May, along with the year’s other recipients.

As for the criticism he has faced over the issue, Ghiz shrugged it off, saying he believes it’s simply coming from people who like to attack him.

He said he only feels bad for the fact Moyse was drawn into what turned into a political controversy.

“I was being tarnished, which I’m fine with that’s my job, but I felt bad that she was involved in the issue,” Ghiz said.

“But I spoke to her by phone when this was going on, and she was a class act all the way, and as she said, I think, to the media, it’s the thought that counts and hopefully we’ll see her receive it later on this year.”

The amendments also say council can select a minimum of three recipients, which means they could nominate more than three people if they choose.

The bill must yet go through second and third readings before it will pass in the House.

Organizations: P.E.I. advisory council, The Guardian, P.E.I. committee

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, May.Ghiz, Summerside

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Recent comments

  • sipowicz
    April 20, 2014 - 15:33

    Looks like the people on her commenting need to look at the legislation, as far as I can tell Heather has not received the order of PEI I would also assume that Ghiz is not the person giving it to her as the legislation doesnt allow him to. Mr. Ghiz may be right seems everyone on here is trying to tarnish him and jumping to conclusions and not paying attention to facts . must be the Haters who have come out to play today

    April 19, 2014 - 10:50

    Heather does not deserve to be caught up in another of Ghiz's farces. The Medal had now been turned from a prestigious award to a GHIZ WILL DECIDE WHO GETS ONE AWARD. Another show of his arrogance and compete disregard for the people of this Province

  • There are
    April 19, 2014 - 09:18

    There have been several special olympians who have won many medals on the provincial national AND WORLD stage olympics & I've not heard of any one of them getting an Order of PEI.

  • paula
    April 19, 2014 - 08:57

    Enough Complaining. I believe the Premier had an honest response to a great event, got caught up in the moment of such a wonderful accomplishment and wanted to recognize such a great Ambassador for PEI in a special way. And the haters are not only saying nasty things about him but by reference are demeaning Ms. Moyse. Do you people not have anything important or positive in your lives. Enough from these silly people.

  • Shirley
    April 19, 2014 - 07:35

    If Robert (in his words ) believes it’s simply coming from people who like to attack him( and again in his words ) “I was being tarnished, which I’m fine with that’s my job. If he thinks for one minute it is because people who like to attack him or his name is been tarnished because it is his job he has another thought coming if he did what he is suppose to do in my opinion and that is look out for the people here in PEI like he promised in both elections and listened to those who voted him and his party in he would not have people saying things or feel his name is tarnished because it is his job if he was doing his job people would respect him like they did his father Joe before him. Robert has to realize you earn trust and respect when you make promises keep your promises or do not expect people to just sit back and watch and see their beautiful Island in my opinion been run right into the ground by Robert and his party . He makes me think of a child when he makes comments like he feels it is coming from people who like to attack him I do not like to attack him but am very upset to have voted for his party and to be let down by him and his party over and over again. It was your father's job years ago too and he was respected and trusted because he listened and heard the people who voted him in he was a smart man a lesson you could learn by.

  • Pete Schurman
    April 19, 2014 - 07:25

    You are all a bunch of jealous complainers! Can't even imagine how much misery it must be yo live with your glasses half empty. Heather put Summerside on the international stage! Kudos to our premier to honor such an achievement. My your lives must be full of arguments and misery. All you are is bags of unwanted hot air. Get off your $&@& and find something positive to do to support our great island instead of complaining about everything! If you really believed in your message you wouldn't hide behind a nick name and use you own name!

    • SoPeterSchurman
      April 19, 2014 - 08:52

      So you think it is completely okay for Ghiz to ignore Mark's accomplishments? Didn't he also put Summerside on the International Stage? So it is okay for Ghiz to ignore a paraolympian... in favor of those lovely photo opportunities with a pretty blonde Olympian? Every single move that Ghiz makes is carefully orchestrated to make himself look good.. Heather is very deserving of this award... but Mark is just as deserving. Ghiz is a whinny, cry baby.

    • Craig
      April 19, 2014 - 09:25

      Sounds like someone needs their road paved this year Pete!

  • voter
    April 18, 2014 - 19:58

    no - mr ghiz , it is not your job to be tarnished --you have to earn that punishment !! and you have !!!

  • wolfwolf
    April 18, 2014 - 18:44

    Have we established that Ms. Moyse really fits the required criteria for this award? I was under the impression that persons to be considered selflessly should have contributed to the community in some beneficial way at some sacrifice on their part. I see a person who has pursued her own interest and hobby, (at taxpayers expense to some degree) and through her diligence has achieved personal rewards in the form of athletic awards. By doing this she has secured her financial future as well. The potato people will now have a person who has been recognized through the Olympics, and may see an increase in her fees for representing them. All in all, this person, however nice and good, is not order of PEI material, in my view - not with standing the Premier's nomination of her.

    • Another Ghiz mistake!!!
      April 18, 2014 - 20:57

      I agree with your comments 100%!!!!

  • linda cross
    April 18, 2014 - 18:23

    IS who you are, rather than what you did that counts in this 'game? It looks that way, -

  • keith
    April 18, 2014 - 18:20

    Certainly the other medal winners should be honored the same way, - and what about Eli MacEacheran , retroactively, or will the Committee now be bound to select people nominated by Ghiz?, ---phew

  • oriole1973
    April 18, 2014 - 15:32

    This Premier just doesn't get it!! I believe that all Islanders agree that Heather should get such an honour but it should not have been done by Political grandstanding by our Incredibly arrogant Premier!! The format set up always worked before and still can!! Should Mark Arendz and Billy Bishop not receive the same kind of treatment???

  • intobed
    April 18, 2014 - 14:16

    While I am sure Heather would have been awarded the Order of PEI if it had gone through the proper channels, Ghiz has now made it a political appointment, no matter how the new legislation is written. He has cheapened this award. What is next - award it to Wes Sheridan for good financial management? The potato farmer who best supported the Liberal party? The possibilities are endless, one legislative rewrite at a time.

  • Fitz
    April 18, 2014 - 12:27

    It would be refreshing to see any mla actually work on some of the problems we have on pei healthcare, education, roads ,low wages ,etc ! Instead this is the big concern for ghiz! Nominate miss moyse like anyone else and I'm sure she will receive the reward threw the normal process.

    • mark
      April 18, 2014 - 14:19

      Of course it is a big deal for Ghiz. If he doesn't have control of everything, he might think we are living in a democracy. Dictator is the only word that comes to mind, maybe narcissistic as well.

  • Nice gesture
    April 18, 2014 - 11:34

    This is a great gesture for heather, but I'm a little perplexed now as to why Mark Arendz hasn't been mentioned for the same thing. Sure Mark didn't win a gold, but a silver and bronze and the first person from North America to do so. Not just little ole PEI

    • agree
      April 18, 2014 - 13:39

      Everything points to a double standard