Minister MacKinley in ‘hiding’ while lobster fishery flounders, says PC Opposition

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P.E.I. Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley answers questions from the media following a meeting of fisheries ministers in Amherst, N.S. on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in this Guardian file photo.

Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley is a “failure” for his complete absence on the rapidly expanding crisis in the lobster fishery, which saw boat quotas established and some fishermen unable to sell their catch at all this week, says PC Fisheries Critic Colin LaVie.

“Even though the fishery is spiraling back to where we were in May 2013, the minister is nowhere to be found,” said LaVie. “He has offered no guidance or solutions while the fishery flounders in a major crisis.”

LaVie referred to reports that processors are facing a labour shortage, which is contributing to a backlog of lobster at the plants.

“If this is true, then Minister MacKinley has failed both fishers and processors. He sat on $4.5 million in Rural Development money, which could have been directed to assisting rural Islanders get to work in our processing sector, or to assist processors to bring Islanders into the labour force. Instead, the minister let $4.5 million dollars in rural development funding lapse, and look where we ended up.”

Just for once, Lavie said, MacKinley needs to listen to fishermen and processors.

“It is time for the minister to either come out of hiding and take his job seriously, or turn it over to someone who will.”


Organizations: Rural Development

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Recent comments

  • Poor Lavie
    June 05, 2014 - 08:17

    Lavie really doesn't know any better does he. Better stick to fishing- politics is just too complicated for you to understand.

    June 05, 2014 - 02:10

    I would not say Ronnie is hiding . Pat Binns ,the man who orchestrated the Polar Foods deal and then Ocean Choice which killed the lobster industry , now there is a man who is hiding ! While on the taxpayers nickel at that ! SHAME !!!

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      June 05, 2014 - 08:35

      @ Amazed . polar food was a screw up but get over it folks that was 15+ years ago . Ocean Choice is still getting handouts from this Government even tho they are supposed to be getting sued by this government ,yet they are still giving them handouts .. This group has been in power for 2 terms now and what have they done to fix the mess with fisheries ,they took a couple buddies to china on a road trip . . They took a good ole boy an gave him the fisheries portfolio of which he knows nothing . Not only do they know nothing they don't care ,all they care about is being able to buy meals for people an play the hero . Their finest hour was the millions they spent on the mud hills in Borden . This my friend is what is wrong with a lot of the fisheries on this island . No representation in Government not on the federal or provincial level . You may say Government has no business in the fisheries . Well I agree but then again they have no businesses in farming or any other industry either . I don't understand how any business can fail these days with all the free cash passed around .

  • In away over his head!
    June 04, 2014 - 18:12

    Ronnie once again is showing clearly that he is in away over his head as a cabinet minister! It was very evident when he was Minister of Highways; and even more so, as the Minister of Fisheries!

  • Al
    June 04, 2014 - 17:25

    Stop the ei cheques for two months then you will have lots of help in the lobster plants

  • 101
    June 04, 2014 - 14:37

    There is a principle of supply and demand. Regardless of the type of job, if you increase the hourly rate enough, the demand for jobs will eventually overtake the supply. Problem solved. Who do I bill?

    • don
      June 04, 2014 - 16:24

      send the bill to ronnie he will pay for it by using our credit card.

    • Dave
      June 04, 2014 - 23:31

      If they pay their workers more, won't they then have to give the fishermen less?

  • country boy
    June 04, 2014 - 13:59

    The headline is astounding. It is a supply and demand issue. Too many lobster are being harvested. I'm sorry but my taxes should not cover this problem. Fishermen/women had better start looking inward because the public has very little sympathy for you. You are running a business like any other. Stop looking at government to solve your mismanagement.

    • WTF
      June 05, 2014 - 02:49

      Government caused this fiasco both provincial and federal and both Tory .Should they not clean this up ,just like the cod fishery they really got this screwed up !

  • Just What In He** Is He Suppose To Do
    June 04, 2014 - 13:34

    Just what is he suppose to do , use taxpayers money to buy the lobster . The government is not & never was in the business of buying fish . Seems to me that they offered to assist the fishers in building holding structures if the fishers would share the cost , lo & behold the fishers refused to use any of their own money for this worth while project . Now they are crying foul . Typical of them .

    • don
      June 04, 2014 - 14:34

      this is bully ronnies duties. The mandate of the Department is to contribute to the growth of sustainable, prosperous fishing, aquaculture and seafood processing enterprises and to provide policy leadership in developing new approaches to rural community development, service delivery and employment programs, the majority of which are rural based. The Department also has responsibility for Access PEI which provides programs and services to Islanders on behalf of the Province of PEI. and is he doing any of this? "NO"

    June 04, 2014 - 13:20

    Is anyone besides me tired of listen to, Not enough lobster, too many lobster, NS and NB and getting more then we are, we need more and more and more taxpayers money. price is to low, price is too high in other provinces. Sell our catches for us, cook our lobster for us, pay for our boats for us, etc, etc, etc. Fish or don't fish your choice but stop crying for 4.2 million more to have taxpayers build holding areas because you are catching to many lobster. Here's a thought, If you can't sell all you catch then let go of the greed and catch less. Greed always prevails on PEI.

  • Stan Lee
    June 04, 2014 - 12:43

    Here is a thought.Over 1,000 fisherman that are usually back in port by 1000-1200,why can they not work at the plants in the after noon adding 1,000 plus help to the plants. Oh sorry forgot that would effect their 2 fishing claims. And why should the Liberals pay for a lobster holding plant?Oh forgot again to give the fisherman more money ,using us tax payers money.How about better health care and schools.

  • Tax payed to death
    June 04, 2014 - 12:15

    Check the Cornwall Road house.

  • not so funny now
    June 04, 2014 - 11:47

    When the employees at the processing plants were looking for support when Polar foods and Ocean Choice crippled the industry, Lavie and the rest of the merry band of fishermen/women were no where to be when they are bringing in loads of lobster they want the government to get workers for the processing plants. Here's an idea....fishers should decrease their trap numbers, and set up a quota system...that eliminates the so-called glut and if workers in the plants can't keep up with the demand, then the processors just won't buy. You have 8 plants processing on PEI and you have how many fishers fishing 300 traps each???(and believe me I know some fishers who fish two fleets) Seems to me that fishers are cutting their own throats!!

    • fisherman
      June 04, 2014 - 14:32

      we fish 272 traps now,get your facts straight...

  • Right on!!
    June 04, 2014 - 11:13

    Lavie is correct in his description of MacKinley's absence! He has to be the most inept ministers of the many that exist in the Ghiz government! It is hard to believe that he let the 4.5 million slip away; when he could have used it to construct holding facilities for the surplus lobster. The poor man is painful to listen to anytime he tries to answer questions; and often relies on personal attacks, instead of answering questions! It must be due to the extreme lack of talent and ability in Ghiz's caucus; that he became a cabinet minister; after he was past over by four previous liberal premiers in selecting their cabinets.

  • Liberal Higher Tax Plan
    June 04, 2014 - 11:06

    Would now be a good time to talk about the Liberal Party's plan to put higher taxes on fuel for fishers? Asking for a friend. Named Justin.