Premier Ghiz is a poor Secret Santa

Gary MacDougall
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I’m not sure if Premier Robert Ghiz participates in Secret Santa, a Christmas tradition in which a group of people randomly select the name of a colleague or friend and anonymously purchase a gift for that person.

If so, I don’t want him drawing my name. Who knows what he might buy me? In fact, the premier’s gift could end up being a tease, simply a promise to give me a present.

Which is what he did a week ago when Summerside feted hometown gal and Olympic gold medallist Heather Moyse.

The premier, perhaps blinded by the glare from the gold medal around Ms. Moyse’s neck, proclaimed she was to become a member of the Order of Prince Edward Island. The audience clapped enthusiastically and Ms. Moyse responded politely. The moment was grand.

But try, wish, long, push and shove as much as he wanted, Premier Ghiz was actually not in a position to proclaim Ms. Moyse a member of the Order of P.E.I.

He did indeed announce she was going to become a member but he didn’t present her with any of the documentation or the trappings that go along with becoming a member of the highly respected order.

A few days later that pledge became a bit awkward when it was pointed out his promise goes against the rules and procedures established when the order was created. And the rules aren’t confusing, in fact they are very straight forward.

To nominate someone to join the order you simply send in a recommendation. When the deadline ends for nominations, they are reviewed by a respected panel of Islanders and the year’s inductees are named. Everything is done above board and everyone is appeased.

The problem with the premier’s pledge is that the deadline to nominate someone for 2014 is not until March 28. And after that deadline closes, it will take a while for the panel to select this year’s nominees, if we are to believe all nominations are given fair consideration.

When it was pointed out to the premier he jumped the gun on the announcement, he said no problem; he would change the legislation to allow for Ms. Moyse to join the order this year. Notice I didn’t say the premier said “rules be damned,” but that’s what it sounded like to many Islanders.

Ms. Moyse is an outstanding athlete and representative of her city and province so I doubt she has been sulking at the fact she doesn’t have a signed and sealed certificate saying she is in the order.

But here’s some advice to Premier Ghiz: don’t try that tactic on Christmas morning. It would be the equivalent of someone opening their gift and reading a promise that a gift is in the mail. It likely wouldn’t fly, much like the time an aunt gave me a stocking cap in a gift exchange at Christmas and I threw it back at her.

Some say rules are made to be broken. In some cases that may be so, but in this case when the rules don’t satisfy the province’s most powerful person so he plans to change them to get his way, an obvious question has to be asked: why would he do that? No one likes to see someone jump the queue.

Many say the Order of P.E.I. flap is much ado about nothing, that Ms. Moyse belongs in the order and was always going to get there. They are correct. Ironically, I am sure someone would have nominated her before the March 28 deadline and she would have been a shoo-in to join.

The premier should do the right thing, let someone else nominate our Olympic champion and allow her to join the order on her own merit, not under the threat of legislation. And he should remember what he was likely told at one time or another: the road to Summerside isn’t always paved with good intentions.

Gary MacDougall is managing editor of The Guardian. He can be reached by telephone at (902) 629-6039; by email at; or on Twitter @GaryGuardian.

Organizations: The Guardian

Geographic location: Summerside, P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • alice
    March 09, 2014 - 09:43

    Well, I am a long time liberal, and I don't think Ghiz did the right thing, - McDougall's piece is right on, a nice counter balance to an earlier Guardian editorial, that was way off base.

  • don
    March 08, 2014 - 20:13

    ghiz scerwed up again but we all know he will and did. but he will change the law to suit him. that is called do it my way or i'll force you to by the law. it is called a lair and not knowing what is going on on pei and how the law works. bully status.

  • Justin
    March 08, 2014 - 16:34

    Gary ...This respected panel you speak of got onto the committee how? They are politically appointed. Not to mention if you done some investigative reporting and looked at many of the recipients who received the award so far and are saying they are appalled you will see an interesting connection between them and the Governing party of the time they received the ward. I get a chuckle out of the people who have spoken out about this terrible thing the premier done and ask these people how they got the positions they had. Lets be clear politics played a huge part in most of the recipients and the committee members so far. If anything Moyse may actually be the first recipient who actually deserves the medal for her NON political work. Also Gary you might check the Political Donations List for many of these so called appalled people.

    • nitpicker
      March 09, 2014 - 09:54

      Politics played a huge part in most recipients? I'd be interested in seeing how you back that up. The list of recipients is easily googled. Which names are suspect? And which former recipients are saying they are appalled? I have missed that story and would like to read it.

  • Laughable
    March 08, 2014 - 10:40

    Wayne Collins Former Tory MLA Nils Ling Tried for the tory nomination to run against Ghiz and lost.. Elmer Willams Tory organizer. Steven Myers Tory Interm Leader. Common denominator TORY Politics. If the Guradian wants to actually report the news maybe it should be how the tories have tarnished the right thing to do once again.

    • Joker
      March 08, 2014 - 20:25

      Sorry, Laughable, but the joke is on you if you think kneejerk Ghiz's action was "the right thing to do." Since when is going against the well established rules correct behavior for a leader?

    • Liberal; no matter what!!!!
      March 09, 2014 - 13:22

      Laughable will support Ghiz and his inept government, no matter what!!!!