PEI

Ghiz gets to work

Robert Ghiz slept in on Sunday, and on Monday began the job of rebuilding the Island Liberal party. Ghiz, 29, was elected leader on Saturday afternoon.

Robert Ghiz slept in on Sunday, and on Monday began the job of rebuilding the Island Liberal party. Ghiz, 29, was elected leader on Saturday afternoon.

  • Liberal leadership campaign coverage
  • He is the son of late premier Joe Ghiz, and had been working as an Atlantic advisor for the Prime Minister's office, and for MP Sheila Copps before seeking the leadership of the party.

    Ghiz says while he has been near politics all his life, Islanders should not expect the same the same type of leadership his father Joe brought to the party in the late 80s. "He was more of an intellectual than I am," Ghiz told CBC Radio's Island Morning on Monday. "I'm more of a grassroots person."

    It was those grassroots Liberals that helped Ghiz win the leadership by a slim margin on Saturday. He ended the day 161 votes ahead of former Liberal cabinet minister Alan Buchanan.

    The Ghiz team was at work months before the official announcement securing the votes needed to win the leadership.

    He told Liberal he offered youth and new blood for a party that has been reduced to a single seat in the Island legislature.

    Ghiz will spend most of Monday talking with the press, and has scheduled a meeting with the lone Liberal MLA, Ron MacKinley.

    Though outside the rail at Province House, Ghiz will have to deal with the Auditor General's report and a provincial budget during his first week as leader of the Island Liberals.

    Ghiz says he's not sure if he'll take a job in the opposition office working for Ron MacKinley, the lone Liberal MLA. MacKinley has offered Ghiz a research job where he would develop questions to be asked to the government MLAs.

    "I will basically be working for the people in helping Ronnie with the decisions, so therefore my role would be as a member of the opposition team providing strategic advice for Islanders to get out their views on questioning the government," Ghiz said on Monday.

    MacKinley refuses to say how much he would pay Ghiz.

    Bringing them back together

    One of the people who chaired the Liberal leadership convention says the next big challenge for the party will be to convince everyone to fall in line behind their new leader.

    Just under half of the people who voted on Saturday watched their choice for leader lose.

    "It's a tough task early days, because people working for one particular candidate or other put their heart and soul and all their energy into that campaign, and so there is some angst that follows at the end of that," says Ewan Clark. "But Robert Ghiz is up to the challenge in terms of getting the support of the party and carrying the torch as the new leader."

    He says Alan Buchanan, an experienced politician, did his part by telling his supports to support Ghiz during his concession speech on Saturday afternoon.

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