BY RONNIE MCPHEE
FREDERICTON, N.B. - I spent the better part of four years working for the Province of Prince Edward Island as a cabinet liaison. I was very lucky – I got to meet so many amazing Islanders and work with some great people. (I recently moved to New Brunswick to take on a new job – and before you jump to conclusions – I left P.E.I., not because I had to, but because I wanted to expand my horizons. There are plenty of opportunities on the Island for young people – and I will be back.)
In this role, I was fortunate to have the ear of a lot of the cabinet members, and in fact, most of the members of the legislative assembly. I found myself bringing forward issues facing Islanders and making the legislators of our province aware. But, there was a day earlier this year that, for the first time, I was a bit selfish and went to one of our ministers with a personal issue.
I am far from ashamed of where I come from. I grew up in my formative years in a household with a single mother who wasn’t employed. The relationship with my mother has been far from perfect over the years – she has had a lot of challenges. And her challenges, be it health or social, really affected me and other family members in a negative way. There was a time where we didn’t speak, but deep down I knew I had to stick with her.
The social assistance program has always been a hot topic. The messaging always being ‘we need to do more, government isn’t doing enough. ‘I am a strong believer that with any file, any government, of any political stripe, can always do better. But, I am very proud the work being done to revamp the program.
Earlier in June, Minister Tina Mundy and the province announced changes that are not only just helping those who are benefiting from the changes, but also their support systems. And for that, I thank the government. Keep it up.
Because of these changes my mom is in better shape to make a change in her life. She still has work to do, but the climate we have now in P.E.I. will better help my mom with something she has struggled with her entire life – confidence and independence.
Love you mom.
- Ronnie McPhee, is a native of Charlottetown and a UPEI graduate. He is a former P.E.I. cabinet liaison and current special assistant to N.B. Premier Brian Gallant