Premier Robert Ghiz announces resignation

Teresa Wright
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P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz is resigning early in the new year, saying he wants to spend more time with family and leave the Liberal party in a good position to move forward without him.

Ghiz made the surprise announcement Thursday morning, just one day after delivering his seventh speech from the throne since taking office in 2007.

SLIDESHOW: PREMIER ROBERT GHIZ CAREER IN PHOTOS

The news sent a shockwave of surprise among his entire caucus, who found out just 15 minutes before he stepped in front of a crowd of cameras and media, telling Prince Edward Islanders he plans to step down as soon as the Liberal party selects a new leader.

He did not offer a concrete reason as to why he is resigning, but pointed to his three young children, his wife, Kate — a practising physician — and also noted his wish to leave the party well-placed for the next election.

“There’s always time for renewal and I’m leaving in a position today that I’m proud of our record, but I’m also proud of the team that’s going to be here to continue on.”

TO WATCH PREMIER ROBERT GHIZ TAKE QUESTIONS FROM REPORTERS FOLLOWING HIS RESIGNATION ANNOUNCEMENT CLICK HERE

He said he first made the decision to leave after hosting the country’s premiers for the Council of the Federation meetings in late August.

After speaking with his wife about their future, keeping in mind a provincial election coming in the next year and a half, he said he felt the time had come to step aside.

Speculation has been swirling for the last year about Ghiz planning a jump to Ottawa. He has made a number of trips to the capital for meetings and speaking engagements. He also regularly makes the rounds on the national media circuit, even attending the annual parliamentary press gallery dinner last May.

When asked if he plans to run federally, he said he has no immediate plans to do so, but would not rule it out in the future.

“As of now, I don’t have anything specific, but as you know, I am a friend of Justin (Trudeau) and a fan of Justin and I guess we’ll wait and see,” Ghiz said.

“Hopefully my options are wide open.”

He also noted he has served 12 years as leader of the Liberal party of P.E.I., eight as premier and, at the age of 40, still has some years ahead of him to consider a future in politics down the road.

Looking back on his time in office, he said he is most proud of the changes his government made to the province’s early childhood education system.

In 2010, kindergarten was moved into the province’s public school system and a provincial curriculum was developed for daycares based on expert studies in early childhood development.

As for the timing of his decision to resign, Ghiz said there is never a good time to make this kind of announcement.

But UPEI political science professor Don Desserud says he finds both the timing and reasoning for Ghiz’s resignation unusual.

“It would make sense if he announced his resignation in the summer, or if he came in with an agenda for one more (legislative) session, and then when the session was over, announced his resignation,” Desserud said.

“But this, with the timing the day after the speech from the throne, strikes me as just a little odd … it just doesn’t add up in my mind.”

Desserud was loath to speculate on another reason why Ghiz is suddenly resigning, except to say he does not believe the rumours he’s planning a federal run.

“He wants to leave a sure thing, which is the premiership of a province, to be a cabinet minister under Justin Trudeau if Trudeau wins and if Ghiz can find a seat and not make that a messy situation? I don’t see that as a possibility at all,” Desserud said.

“So if you take that out of the picture, is there something else going on? You just get big question marks.”

Ghiz offered little in the way of hints, saying: “I have absolutely no plans for what I am going to do in the future.”

But he did say he is looking forward to taking some time away from public life.

“I’m looking forward to perhaps being a bit of an armchair quarterback, so to speak, and pontificating.”

Ghiz will remain premier until after the next Liberal leader is chosen.

He plans to resign as both premier and MLA at that time.

 

Twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

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Recent comments

  • fat lawyer
    February 03, 2015 - 22:44

    Bob ghiz is a winner for sure

  • big fan
    November 14, 2014 - 14:16

    I hear he is going to UPEI to teach English ---------------

  • august
    November 14, 2014 - 14:14

    Listen to the bragging, ,I,I,I, - he was nothing but a figurehead doing what he was told by his lawyer friend and hangers on. He was never his own boy/man. He was willingly and elatedly letting himself being manipulated into become Premier before he was dry behind the ears. Then told what to say and do by those same peope (filling the pickets of those) through the Premiership, and now his wife told him to quit. Any programs or policies coming about during his rein were thought of and done buy somebody else, civil servants and consultants, after approval by his friend and hangers on, of course. Yesterday was a lucky day for all of PEI, the day rebuilding can begin.

  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    November 14, 2014 - 07:51

    It would seem the thought of having to support the Conservatives on recall legislation ,scared him into getting out ..lol . Better to leave then take a chance and be forced to leave . Plainly he saw the writing on the wall stating the Liberals are through and decided to jump the sinking ship , not much of a captain that won't stay with their ship when the seas get rough . Yes he is leaving quite a legacy a legacy of having placed us billions of dollars in the hole ,never having produced a balanced budget in 8 years or improving the life of Islanders in any way . Cost of living doubled under their reign , his biggest Legacy will be the PNP and all the pockets of party faithfuls he helped fill . They were giving a second chance last Election but blew it with their greed .

  • RB
    November 14, 2014 - 03:58

    You were a Great Premier. Your father would be so proud of you. You were governing at a time hen many people would rather think the glass was half empty rather than half full. There are many people who think they know it all but never have the spine to put their name on the ballot and find out if they are right or are just blowing wind. You had the courage and desire to do and you done and were very successful. Good job ROBERT!!!

    • Really?????
      November 14, 2014 - 10:05

      You MUST be blind,dumb or stupid if you believe that he was a great premier! He has caused the province's debt to double in his two terms, the broken promise of the HST, the broken promise of doing away with patronage, the broken promise of building a new provincial museum, the PNP scandal, where Liberal friends and their wives received hundreds of thousand of dollars through the creation of fake companies, the increase in the cost of living during his reign and the list goes on and on!!! What a premier! Good ridence!!!

  • Senator Ghiz
    November 13, 2014 - 23:39

    Sounds like he is going Ottawa.For more money and leaving us poor people behind to pay for his mistakes.

  • Peter
    November 13, 2014 - 20:47

    Is Sheridan next? Please, Please, Please, say yes.

  • Peter
    November 13, 2014 - 20:35

    “I love my job, I think it’s an absolute privilege to be premier of Prince Edward Island in particular, ... If he loves his job so much, why did he run? (oooops ... "quit")

  • Abercombie Fitch
    November 13, 2014 - 20:19

    Let us all hope that his replacement will not be that guy standing in the background, behind a head in the front row. That would be the fellow from Seaview.

  • Good for him
    November 13, 2014 - 20:01

    Good for the premier to make the decision to move on, and to honestly say he believes when you stay too long you can get stuck in your ways. He actually is leaving at a time that works half decently for his party - which is a commitment he made, similar to that he made to voters - and decently for voters. He almost completed this term. He has to leave time for another leader to emerge and get ready. Good for him! Good for the Island! Nice try as Premier, not all bad, in a very lose-lose role.

  • Steve Thompson
    November 13, 2014 - 18:53

    Unfortunately, among the current crop of Liberal MLAs, pickings for Premier Ghiz's replacement are rather slim. If the Conservatives had their act together, the next election could be theirs, particularly if Mr. Sheridan or Mr. Currie were to take the helm. Unfortunately, such is far from the case.

  • Islanders for Maritime Union
    November 13, 2014 - 18:48

    Perhaps now we will get a premier who looks beyond our red shores to understand that PEI in its current iteration as a province makes zero sense from a fiscal nor governance perspective. With our 27 current sitting MLA's and over 100 retired legislators drawing gold plated pensions, as well as 70+ incorporated municipalities and close to 500 municipal politicians, the time is rapidly approaching where a clear majority of islanders will recognize the futility and irresponsibility of maintaining the current system. PEI should ideally be a single municipality in a larger province. Our island municipality would have a mayor and a dozen councillors. We'd be represented in a Maritimes provincial legislature by about 5 MLAs and have 1 MP in Ottawa. May Mr Ghiz be one of the last premiers of PEI in history.

    • intobed
      November 14, 2014 - 01:46

      Garbage. If we ever joined the larger provinces would simply over ride us, and PEI would turn into a giant toxic potato farm to satisfy the Irvings of NB. Other toxic industries would move here due to the tax breaks the Maritime government would give to isolate the pollution from them. NO NO NO.

    • marcus
      November 14, 2014 - 06:34

      your onto something union too many pols & too many pensions pei & nb & ns needs to be reformed into 1 province

  • thanks HERB D
    November 13, 2014 - 18:32

    Kind of liked Justin until now, though a leader role he may not be ready for by a long shot.Thank you Herb Dickieson for having the guts to introduce daycare and kindergarten as a need on PEI. I believe that was your idea and platform.

  • Media spin
    November 13, 2014 - 18:23

    Interesting the media thinks that three cabinet ministers are likely candidates for leadership. Nice spin. Stay tuned.

  • Courageous
    November 13, 2014 - 17:46

    It takes courage to run for public office. It takes courage to put in the long hours for an electoral district -never mind an entire province. It takes courage to know when it is time to move on. Mr. Premier - you sir - have courage. Thank you for your 12 years of service to the people of PEI. Godspeed in your future.

    • It Takes
      November 13, 2014 - 18:20

      Oh yes. It takes GREAT courage to make 160k per year. What a hero.

  • Islander
    November 13, 2014 - 17:44

    Let talk about the PNP and our 3 billion dollar debt and how did we get there. What about the state of unemployement, people barley making ends meet. Lets get it all out.

  • Billy
    November 13, 2014 - 17:30

    Does that mean no more roundabouts. I can not think of anything else he has done. Lots that he has not done.

  • Serious Reader
    November 13, 2014 - 15:39

    Smart - he would never get re-elected. Good luck whatever you do.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    November 13, 2014 - 15:37

    Being premier is not a job. It is an undertaking of the people, for the people, to do what is best for the people, passionately, and not to worry about "THE PARTY". The party comes first attitude has killed this province and this country. With attitudes like this in public office, is it any wonder we've crawled down this political and economical rabbit hole. I long for truth, and real honesty, and a real, open, and transparent government. That would be progress. Yes, the "numbers are favorable" if you twist them to your advantage. His globe trotting to places like Rio De Janeiro, China, and other "financial hot spots" to meet with the heads of state and corporations will undoubtedly assure his financial security. What about the financial security of the people of PEI. Not the best premier, not the worst. When you are groomed from a young age for public office, doors are opened. Watch out for Trudeau because he is cut from the same cloth. BIO-TECH and BIO-SCIENCE are the demons of the future. That is all that he has done for PEI.

    • Do You
      November 13, 2014 - 17:29

      kays, do you ever get tired of rambling with no point? You should have stayed on hiatus.

    • to Bill
      November 13, 2014 - 19:29

      Hey Bill, why don't you run for the leadership of the party? You seem to have all the answers.

  • Steve
    November 13, 2014 - 14:43

    Interesting. Likely would have cake-walked to victory in the next election, given the sorry state of the PC's. I'm sure he has something else lined up.

    • bulldog
      November 13, 2014 - 21:38

      His current poll shows that he was in trouble that is why he is bailing out. Great for our Province considering where he put our finances over the last 8 years. No pun but the party is over.

  • Nancy Beth Guptill
    November 13, 2014 - 14:23

    Thank you for your many years of service. You have accomplished many great things for PEI and the residents living here. You have bolstered Innovation & Technology in High Tech industries while also bringing innovation to traditional sectors. Thank you for always being a gentlemen, and demonstrating professional leadership, where putting respect and honor in relationship.

    • Steve
      November 13, 2014 - 14:44

      Oh, barf!

    • Former liberal
      November 13, 2014 - 22:42

      In the last thirty years 2 great premiers in Joe Ghiz and Pat Binns and two disasters in Katherine callback and little silver spoon Robert. Does anyone truly believe this kid with no work experience other than jobs his dad found for him would have been elected without his dads legacy.

    • intobed
      November 14, 2014 - 01:39

      When you are done, Steve, pass me the bucket.

    • Observer
      November 14, 2014 - 14:02

      I would also like the bucket after reading the comment above from Nancy Guptil; it would make anyone with some common sence barf!

  • Resident
    November 13, 2014 - 14:13

    Another broken commitment to voters...