L’affair Moyse blown out of all proportion

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

Premier awards Order of Prince Edward Island while overstepping normal protocols, process

Heather Moyse was notified Friday she will become the newest recipient of the Order of Prince Edward Island later this year. Applause, please. But wait, we are hearing some boos from the gallery. It has nothing to do with Ms. Moyse and yet she is left in an uncomfortable situation caused by a series of events not of her making.

All she did was train hard, overcome much adversity and win another gold medal for Canada in women’s bobsled at the Sochi Winter Olympics. In so doing, she repeated the gold medal performance from Vancouver four years earlier. Her two golds are the first for any P.E.I. athlete, a feat that likely will never be duplicated.

So, does she deserve the award? Of course. That ordinarily would be the end of it. But this is P.E.I where everyone has an opinion and where the minority and the critical bend the ear as much as the majority and the supportive.

The premier went to Summerside last Friday evening with the best of intentions to help welcome and recognize our greatest Olympic hero. There was a joyful celebration and the premier was determined, on behalf of a proud and grateful province, to show her proper appreciation. In the excitement of the moment, he perhaps went too far, too fast. Yes, it could have been handled better.

The highest award the province can bestow is entry into the Order of P.E.I. The premier decided to sidestep usual protocols. He could have waited and allowed the rules to play out where nominations end in March, a committee selects three people by May and an induction ceremony is held in the fall. The premier decided to speed up the process.

If Mr. Ghiz went to Summerside with a simple plaque, both he and the province would have been justly criticized for an underwhelming show of appreciation. Ms. Moyse merited much more.

The award, instituted in 1996 by the lieutenant- governor on the advice of the provincial cabinet, is administered by the Governor-in-Council to honour current or former Prince Edward Island residents for conspicuous achievements in any field. A committee then makes its selected recommendations to the cabinet which vets the list and passes it on to the lieutenant governor.

The intent was to leave politics and politicians out of it, but last Friday the premier did intrude, although we feel with the best of intentions. Premier Ghiz argues the original rules were flawed and the government will amend them to allow for special recognition in exceptional circumstance. If this exception was included in the original act, we wouldn’t be having this discussion today.

The rules will change this spring where the premier or government of the day can act decisively and recognize an Islander where there is an exceptional accomplishment. The key fact here is the premier is acting on behalf of the entire province, not a politician or representing a political party. There is a big difference. Yes, the premier could have said he would personally fill out her nomination for the order and invite all Islanders to add their names to the entry form in support of her induction. But that didn’t happen.

The premier had discussed the idea around caucus and got unanimous support to announce the good news Friday night. The selection committee was also aware of his plan.

It’s unfortunate some people get caught up in the trivial. We hope Ms. Moyse doesn’t feel embarrassed by the critical comments being made. By attacking the process, they are also attacking her award, however much they wring their hands and protest to the contrary. It’s their criticism which has politicized the announcement.

Ms. Moyse deserves the award, so let’s congratulate her. To suggest the premier of the province is dragging Ms. Moyse into the turmoil is an insensitive criticism of her. This announcement is about Ms. Moyse and the province’s recognition of her incredible, historic feat. Think about it and move on.

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Summerside, Canada Sochi Vancouver

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  • Brenda Lawless
    March 06, 2014 - 08:31

    Premier Ghiz has proven before that he will do what "he" wants and if the people don't like it they can show their displeasure with their vote at the next election. I believe Heather deserves this honor and it is a shame she was put in the middle of his political ambitions.

  • John
    March 06, 2014 - 07:53

    Could not disagree with you more Brian. Heather Moyse is deserving of much more than what she got from Mr. Ghiz, which was in my opinion for nothing more than political gain. Now he wants to take the order and make it a political award. Nice way to take the common folk out of it. Worked perfect since 1996 and its not good enough for the politicians. So sad you could ever support such an idea. Maybe all provinces and the federal government should do the same and it could just become another in the line of trivialized political events.

  • Baygirl
    March 05, 2014 - 20:23

    . Article says, "..[Ghiz could] have waited and allowed the rules to play out where nominations end in March, a committee selects three people by May and an induction ceremony is held in the fall". IMO Moyse deserves to be awarded, no question. Doing it this way was a demonstration of what I consider to be serious ongoing flaws in the leadership style of our premier (arrogance and disregard for processes/rules/laws), an opportunistic move to gain politically and to politicize the Order of PEI going forward via the required changes to the legislation to enable this move, and has diminished the significance of Heather being awarded the Order.

  • Adam
    March 05, 2014 - 20:08

    You are wrong sir, to say that criticism of the Premiers actions are the politicizing. There were avenues for the effusive praise that Ms Moyse deserves that Ghiz chose to overlook. If the long standing process can be thrown out on the whim of a politician, then clearly the politicization lies there.

  • VOLUNTEER
    March 05, 2014 - 17:29

    just goes to show how little volunteers are appreciated by Mr.Ghiz and all who who agree with his stupid move Moyse is an athlete with two shiny gold medals ////// Some people are impressed by that !!!!! Some are not !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A LOT OF WANNABEES WILL BE HOLDING ON TO HER COAT TAILS -- mR gHIZ WAS FIRST ,OF COURSE !!!!!

  • Cap'n C
    March 05, 2014 - 17:19

    Too much ado about meaninglessness. Sure, the Premier is abusing his position, albeit in an unimportant issue, what is entirely lost in this is that it is never a citizens' (the Premier in this case) place to award this order. The abuse is not that he gave Heather the award, which she well deserves IMO, but rather that he is not a ligitimate honourer. He bullied his way to that office (also IMO).

  • Jumbo Jim
    March 05, 2014 - 14:57

    The rules written in law were broken. This is cheating. H.M. Is a hero and a Role model. Perhaps Jared Connaughton should be awarded an order for his courage in accepting that he broke the rules and missed an Olympic medal. But As Voltaire said "it is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong"!

  • Summerside Resident
    March 05, 2014 - 14:52

    This is the biggest bunch of BS I have read in a long time. Heather Moyse is a hero and well deserving of such an award. End this foolishness and let her appreciate and enjoy every award she receives. Summerside, PEI, Canada and the world are very proud of her.

  • RIGHT AND WRONG WAY
    March 05, 2014 - 13:52

    If she is deserving then nominate her as everyone else is nominated. Appears that DAVID seems to believe that the sun rises and sets on Ghiz. When you take away his arrogance and dictator like personality there is not much left. I am sure that if properly nominated Heather would have been accepted but she has been used for political gain.

  • Islander
    March 05, 2014 - 12:02

    TO DAVID : Oh for goodness sakes get real this lady won two gold metals and she did great. You sound like she is above all what she did is win in a sport YES A SPORT . I am pleased and proud of her but I am not going to go on as if she is a God or something like you are. What Robert did was clearly wrong and not fair to others so grow up. Talk about little man syndrome when you have to hang on to someone else's shirt tail of fame to feel big LOL that is as little as you can be. GO have a coffee with Robert that should add to your day also.

  • alice
    March 05, 2014 - 11:44

    Predictable response by the Guardian, - you go ahead and move on Sir, the rest of us, who have no bias, will heed our own counsel.

  • David
    March 05, 2014 - 10:36

    The whole issue is a combination of petty politics and few stuffed shirts who don't like the fact they were outshined by the Premier. The so called committee was put in in place by the premier and without a doubt also get paid to sit on this committee and were appointed mostly likely based on their own political views. The committee attacking the premier shows they obviously don't know or have forgotten how they got onto the committee to begin with so to be saying the premier can't do this shows a serious case of inferiority complex or in some circles might called little man syndrome.( we all know what little man syndrome is ). The former conservative politicians and the current sitting ones who should be speaking up about countless other issues pick this issue to break their silence shows why they are not called formerly elected. If anyone who feels they deserve the medal more then this girl then stand up and let your gold medals be counted.