Steven Myers calls on premier to apologize for alleged threat

Teresa Wright
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Premier Robert Ghiz denies making threats towards MLA’s wife during heated debate

Opposition Leader Stephen Myers

Opposition Leader Steven Myers is calling on Premier Robert Ghiz to apologize for allegedly threatening the employment of a Tory MLA’s wife during a heated exchange in the legislature.

Tensions were running high during question period Wednesday when Opposition MLA James Aylward raised questions about a school principal that a group of concerned parents in Miscouche wants replaced.

The principal has brothers in high places — one is the deputy minister of education and another is the premier’s executive assistant.

Aylward said parents at the school claim the principal has used the phrase, ‘Do you know who my brother is?’ when confronted with their concerns over bullying and curriculum issues.

“Minister, does the principal have a brother in your department?” Aylward asked Education Minister Alan McIsaac.

That’s when Ghiz remarked from his seat: “Do you have a wife working in government?”

Myers was visibly upset by the comment and began to voice his concern, interrupting McIsaac, who was delivering a response.

“For a premier to make a threat like that,” Myers interjected, raising his voice.

Just as the two began to argue, Speaker Carolyn Bertram ordered McIsaac, who still had the floor, to sit down and she stood up.

“You can take this discussion outside the rail at some point, but we’re listening to the minister of education and early childhood development at this time,” she said sternly to Ghiz and Myers.

After question period, Myers raised a point of order, accusing Ghiz of threatening Aylward’s wife’s job. She works in the Innovation Department.

“I want an apology in this house, he yelled right across the floor at us,” Myers said.

“We cannot do our job if the premier of Prince Edward Island is going to be threatening the jobs of spouses on this Opposition.”

Ghiz later categorically denied making any threats.

“The only thing I was trying to point out was that pretty much every member of the legislature is somehow related to someone working in government or somehow connected with government, and I don’t think it’s fair to raise people’s names in the house that aren’t able to defend themselves,” Ghiz told reporters.

“It was a contentious issue to begin with, but bringing up personnel in different departments I don’t think is the appropriate way to go.”

Ghiz admitted he has previously named unelected individuals in the legislature, but now regrets doing so and believes strongly against the practice.

“I’m not saying the questions today were not legitimate, I’m saying I don’t believe people should be brought up that are unable to defend themselves.”

But Myers insists he believes Ghiz was trying to threaten and intimidate Aylward into backing off on the issue by bringing up his wife’s employment in the civil service.

“I totally took it as — he was either going to make life difficult for her or fire her. And that’s not acceptable,” Myers said.

“He’s been a premier for a long time, he’s been a politician for a long time. He should totally know better than to put himself in a position that there would even be a question of what his motives were.”

 

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Innovation Department

Geographic location: Miscouche, Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • george
    May 02, 2014 - 17:14

    who got the pnp money

  • Changes
    May 01, 2014 - 19:17

    I really hope that people around here decide to make some changes next time we go to the polls....The current government is a complete mess. By watching the PEI Government on Eastlink TV, I think that Steven Myers has some great thoughts and knows what problems people are really facing. I especially liked the comments that were made about the school board. Here's to hoping!

  • tuned out
    May 01, 2014 - 18:56

    The goings on in the legislature is an embarrassment. Why doesn't the speaker of the house set boundaries: no name calling, no interrupting, no yelling, exaggerations, or foolishness. Everyone present should be attentive and focused on the job at hand. Civilized behaviour would be a wonderful example to our youth. R-e-s-p-e-c-t.

  • One parent to another
    May 01, 2014 - 18:47

    Just tossing an idea out there to the parents who are trying their hardest to have that arrogant man replaced, if you all were to pull your children from the school, and keep them pulled out of school, the education minister will have to look at this a little more promptly!! No one would turn their heads away once they notice a school has lost over 50% of their children in classrooms due to parents looking out for their best interest!! Get together, pick a day, and boycott school!! Watch people react quicker! Protest it!! You can not be charged for watching over your children's health and education!! Children come first!!

    • hahaha
      May 02, 2014 - 12:37

      Pull their kids from the school for a day and no one will care. They'd have to take them out for a year and homeschool them? Schools are built and closed based on demongraphics of the past and future, not based on idiotic parents taging a one day protest.

  • don
    May 01, 2014 - 15:42

    we need a real islander whose heart is for the people not the rich and not for gain. we NEED OLIVE CRANE. she was the only person who wanted the truth to come out about the dishonest deals made by the liberals and who it helped. like the back room babies in the pc party etc. olive i hope and pray that you can be our next leader of PEI. but we know it will take years to fix what ghiz screwed up

    • Wake Up
      May 01, 2014 - 19:53

      Don, you're a joke. Olive is the reason the Liberals got away with their corruption/theft in the PNP. The way she went about it let the Liberals off the hook and now the police won't even investigate because of the witch hunt she turned it into. Robert Ghiz getting away with theft is 100% the fault of his junior partner in crime, Olive-the-socialist-Crane.

  • give me a break
    May 01, 2014 - 14:31

    absolutely the allegations should be checked out, impartially and fairly. However, this article is about Myers accusing the Premier of threatening his wife's employment. From what is reported, nothing even close to that occurred. In grandstanding with false/exaggerated accusations, Myers' is only harming his own credibility and public image.

  • justin
    May 01, 2014 - 12:09

    Myers seems a tad over dramatic. Aylward doesn't mind throwing dirt at other people's family members but doesn't like it is coming back at him. If politicians of any stripe are going to attack unelected family members then they open themselves up for attack. Aylward seems to have tendency to scream about other people but then cower in the corner when it comes back at him.

  • My Thoughts
    May 01, 2014 - 11:45

    I don't think it was inappropriate for the Tories to ask questions about a school principal who is ignoring parents. Our government should take education and the safety of children seriously. We shouldn't run off an hide because it makes Alan McIsaac uncomfortable to ask about a school principal. The issue is more important than his comfort. If he can't handle the discomfort of dealing with his deputy's brother, he should resign from cabinet immediately.

  • My Thoughts
    May 01, 2014 - 11:41

    Liberal hacks are working overtime on today's comment boards, I see. Whether or not that's what Ghiz meant to convey, obviously his comments were interpreted as being mean-spirited. He should just apologize and put it to rest. All he's doing is dragging the story out for another few days.

    • Apology
      May 01, 2014 - 12:42

      How would his apology go? I am sorry you are not smart enough to understand the comment even though it seems most of the Island understood the context.

    • huh
      May 01, 2014 - 18:49

      Nonsense. Myer's interpretation is unrealistic. If a child throws a temper tantrum do you just give her what she wants? And you don't have to be a hack (whatever that is) to call it as you see it, even though the prevailing mentality around here is that everyone must be politically biased and motivated.

  • AMAZED
    May 01, 2014 - 11:27

    It is obvious Myers took the Premiers words completely out of context and now he wants to spin it some more. Maybe he was sleeping like Bagnall use to do .Perhaps he could get Pat Binns to apologise for all the REAL misery he and his cohorts inflicted on people instead of complaining about imagined offences !

  • Grandstanding
    May 01, 2014 - 11:01

    Just when we thought the Tories couldn't go any lower or get any smaller they start this silly questioning. Now they are about to swallow their own. Unlike when the Tories came into power- the Liberals kept the Tories in their jobs. So maybe Myers and Aylward should tread a little more softly here and stop biting the hand that feeds them. The taxpayers are disenchanted with the Tory activity in the legislature. Soon and very soon (ie next election) they will find out that keeping Myers and Aylward around will guarantee Another election loss. Lavie will end being 'an also ran'. Olive must be truly glad she distanced herself from these three stooges.

  • harold
    May 01, 2014 - 10:56

    it is great to see such support for the liberal government, - by all accounts here they are doing a wonderful job, - maybe it is time to tell the opposition they can stay home and get paid anyway, as it appears most people do not understand that in a democracy that is the absolute duty of the opposition, ---- to ask questions, and expect honest answers.

    • watchdog
      May 01, 2014 - 21:16

      Doing a wonderful job? Are you serious? I myself was once a Liberal and voted for these guys in 2007. I was not foolish enough to vote for this incompetent yet arrogant group again, but unfortunately enough islanders were as they did not see a viable second option. Give your vote to someone that is not red OR blue next time! It is time to give someone, anyone else a try!

  • Tory's daughter
    May 01, 2014 - 10:37

    My late father would not appreciate the childish behaviour in the legislature. Not sure, what Mr. Myers was yelling about, a threat from the premier??? i think not! An analogy , perhaps! Until the PCs, find a leader who can offer some positive ideas, and does not believe his job is only to dig up dirt and act like an attack dog, they won't get my vote! Where are there advisors??? Would such behaviour be tolerated in grade school? How is " bullying " defined??? Where is the example set by elected reps?

    • grapefruit
      May 01, 2014 - 11:26

      Yes, Mr.Ghiz is leading the way in bullying! !!!

    • don
      May 01, 2014 - 12:07

      they had a great leader but the back room babies could not control her as she was in for the people not there bank accounts.

  • huh
    May 01, 2014 - 09:37

    Let's say it straight up: the decorum in question period is deplorable. That said Myers is being juvenile and playing the strawman tactic to the hilt. I don't see any threat to his wife at all, in the exchange as its reported by the guardian.

  • voter
    May 01, 2014 - 09:23

    these people where they should be -- in the house of fools -- they prove it everyday --they are not very much different than Rob Ford --NO SHAME -at least Rob Ford admitted he was drunk -- congratulations , though- has to go to steven myers -he and ghiz are of the same low as a scintilla IQ and Myers knows how to press Ghiz's buttons

  • give me a break
    May 01, 2014 - 09:05

    so... I must be missing something big here... how is asking if someone's wife is employed in government come anywhere close to threatening her employment in any way??? What I hear in that comment is an attempt to point out (albeit, a little sarcastically) that many others in the legislature also have relatives employed at various government jobs. Either there's a lot more to this incident than is reported in the article, or someone has a very vivid imagination.

  • Jan Roach
    May 01, 2014 - 09:01

    It's ok for Mr. Alyward to bring up family within the Gov't but it's not ok for anyone to respond??? Stick to things that really matter please & not just trying to make each other look bad.

    • Try Reading
      May 01, 2014 - 15:51

      Try reading the article. Pathetic how the liberal shills jump up do defend the incompetents in this government. Myers brought up the issue because THAT'S WHAT CONSTITUENTS WANTED. I guess that is far too difficult a concept for the drooling sycophants to comprehend.

  • april
    May 01, 2014 - 08:46

    I'm not a Ghiz fan either but I don't believe he was threatening anyone. His comment was taken out of context. I think they need to stop their childish bickering and nitpicking each other and get down to business with real issues that need attention.

  • PC
    May 01, 2014 - 08:29

    Steven Meyers has to be the worst politician ever; most times I either turn off the TV/Radio or change the channel when he speaks. Let the PC's keep him and the other crows going and the island will be painted red again. The back room boys let the wrong person go....

    • Close But Not Worse
      May 01, 2014 - 10:25

      If you go across Canada, there are certainly worse politicians but he does rank near the bottom. His big issues are $16 upgrades and trying to say that this was a threat against her employment. I have spoken to people close to both these PC MLA's in this story who strongly support "clearing out ever Liberal working in government" when they get elected" and even say the lawsuits are just part of politics and worth it to get the right team in. At such a young age Myers is a dinosaur of politics. The strategy in keeping him there must be to make the next leader look good. And we pay him over $100,000 a year.

  • townie22
    May 01, 2014 - 08:24

    i take it to mean that both parties have family/friends working for the Government.

    • It's PEI
      May 01, 2014 - 11:27

      Yes and in any other industry you will find family members. This is such a non issue.

  • Rob McEachern
    May 01, 2014 - 08:21

    Ghiz has given himself to smearing my name in the Legislature on many occasions, without any sense of shame or apology. I am a member of the Public and entitled to ask questions. IIDI has repeatedly told people and reporters that I recieved PNP funds, which is a lie. Dissenters are smeared by Liberals as they prepare to move back into Ottawa.

    • Joe
      May 01, 2014 - 09:45

      You're understating your activities, MacEachern. If memory serves, your "questions" also included accusations and your own share of insults.

    • Rob McEachern
      May 01, 2014 - 11:25

      @Joe, Joe who? Anonymity will provide fools flapping at the mouth, safe hiding. The Public are entitled to ask questions and when I asked a civil and normal question I was physically assaulted by a moron like you Joe. The Ghiz team and CBC continue to tell people I received PNP funds to smear my name. Stay in hiding Joe and God Bless you.

  • IN HIS OWN WORDS
    May 01, 2014 - 07:32

    GHIZ states "pretty much EVERY MEMBER of the legislature is related or connected to someone working in the Government. There you have it, qualifications be damned it's family and friends that get the jobs. Enough said.

    • be fair
      May 01, 2014 - 10:24

      Three times over 20 years, I have been hired by Provincial Government. I have no connections to anyone, and I know for certain that I was hired over those who did have big connections. So, please be fair. My personal experience shows that there is definitely equity in their hiring processes.

  • concerned Islander
    May 01, 2014 - 06:46

    i'm surprised anything ever gets accomplished in the legislature with the juvenile antics of these members. Its like watching a group of 5 year olds : except the 5 year olds out grow it.

    • Wow
      May 01, 2014 - 08:27

      You are so right! Pathetic!

    • IBC
      May 01, 2014 - 12:35

      Ghiz should go now,not later .Five years of age that gives him some credit, he act like most 2 year old . He has not or will never get my vote .not even for dog catcher .