Islanders don’t want to leave P.E.I.

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Recent comments made by the federal minister responsible for Prince Edward Island were very disappointing and insensitive to the many Islanders who have faced the difficult decision to leave home and try to find work elsewhere.

After hearing of the Statistics Canada numbers, which confirmed that 1,100 Islanders packed up and left in 2012-13 (the greatest loss in the last 30 years), Minister Shea commented that more people were leaving in order to make a better life for their families.

None of the Islanders I’ve talked to would come anywhere near agreeing with this statement.

More Islanders are not leaving in search of a better life. There is no better life in the world than here on the Island. Most people I talk to do not agree that leaving the Island, packing up their families or being separated from them for months at a time is something they do out of choice in search of a better life. It is something they do out of necessity.

More Islanders are leaving because they are being forced to leave by a federal government that has all but forgotten the eastern end of this country. It’s not just the EI changes which have hit our seasonal industries and workers so hard here on the Island. It’s also the massive cutbacks and closures of federal jobs and services which have hit the Island so disproportionately – for instance the severe cuts and job losses at DVA, and the loss of the EI Claims Processing Centre and the Addictions Research Centre in Montague.

Not only will our communities and seasonal industries be hurt with these cutbacks and new EI policies, but Island businesses and their employees are suffering as well. Every sector of the P.E.I. economy is feeling the effects of this Conservative government. McInnis Cooper estimated an economic loss of $50-60 million to our province due to Conservative cuts.

Rather than job creation, the Conservative government has only brought unfair job destruction to our shores.

Thousands of Islanders are leaving, not in search of a better life, as Minister Shea says, but because they are being forced to leave by the actions of the minister’s Conservative government.  

Lawrence MacAulay

Member of Parliament for Cardigan


Organizations: Statistics Canada, EI Claims Processing Centre, Addictions Research Centre

Geographic location: Iceland, P.E.I., Montague

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Recent comments

  • Lynn MacDonald
    December 28, 2013 - 21:02

    Think of all the wives and children missing their husbands and fathers because of the lack of work on P.E.I. I'm one of them and now will be losing my second son due to lack of employment on the Island for people in the trades ,also meaning not allowing all these people that are taking the trades a chance of acquiring a bluebook due to no unions on PEI accepting trades people, All the best trades people will not be on the Island they will be out West. This is not a choice it is the only way to be able to work and live on this lovely Island that we love. I also believe that all airplane flights and because of the inconvience to our life we should be given a tax break as the money is made in Alberta (low taxes) and spent in PEI (high taxes). Spoke to a my MLA who was going to make some calls but never happened ! Gone to the Bahamas. must be very nice to have a home there.

  • Dear MacAulay
    December 27, 2013 - 09:11

    The Ghiz LIBERAL government has done NOTHING to help islanders get jobs & have an affordable income to stay on PEI. The recent HST tax brought in by the Ghiz LIBERAL government is also HURTING islanders. The Ghiz LIBERAL government also gives away a lot of taxpayers money to cronies & wastes a lot of taxpayers money on the Ghiz LIBERAL government's stupid projects. Meanwhile islanders work their butts off trying to make a living -often working 2 - 3 part time jobs to get a full week pay, & many with the help of local food banks to put food on the table. So MacAulay, it is not all the Federal government but MOSTLY a provincial LIBERAL government who does not care one iota about the ordinary people (taxpayers) on this island.

  • Heather Watterson
    Heather Watterson
    December 25, 2013 - 06:11

    Very well put.

    • Brenda Gingrich
      December 26, 2013 - 14:18

      I had to leave the Island. I didn't want to. I had a house which I had to sell because I couldn't make a living on PEI. Seasonal work on minimum wages and trying to live on EI just didn't cut it. Also I felt like (somehow) it was my fault that I couldn't earn enough to provide my myself & my daughter. My move was only going to temporary . Since nothing has changed except , (in my Opinion ) the Government making things more difficult to collect EI ,allowing employers to pay a pittance to employees and making ridiculous statements like this . It is only to divest themselves of actually doing their jobs . These officials have a duty to their constituents . It certainly is not in their job description to let themselves off the hook for sloth & greed. Now that I have been" away" for seven years I feeling the red soil of PEI calling me back. Unfortunately I cannot afford to return . Why would I go back to the very same problems that I had to leave my home for? If our elected officials don't get their heads out of the sand and stop behaving like it is their personal money the Islanders are asking the Government to invest ,the exodus will continue.