Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Island's Adopted Son

Tim Banks says "A Great Canadian recognizes a great Island and its people. It never hurts having someone like Frank McKenna singing our praises."
McKenna sings P.E.I.'s praises
The Guardian
Well known politician and business leader Frank McKenna had nothing but good things to say about Prince Edward Island during his address at the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce annual president's luncheon Monday.McKenna praised the over 400 business and political leaders and entrepreneurs for their work in growing the P.E.I. economy. As a past Canadian ambassador to the United States and in his current role as deputy chair of TD Bank Financial, McKenna said he is usually exposed to more negative market economies.'In the life that I lead, all I get is doom and gloom every day,' he said. 'Banks are in the hole by tens of millions of dollars, industries are closing down — it's just misery.' Coming to P.E.I. is a welcome change, he said. 'You drive into Prince Edward Island and everything is fresh and the sun is shining and everybody’s so happy and the economy’s good, unlike the rest of Atlantic Canada, you're actually growing your population base. It's just so positive.' McKenna, who also served 10 years as premier of New Brunswick, also had some anecdotes to amuse the crowd. He said coming across the Confederation Bridge always makes him sore. 'It reminds me one more time just how much Catherine Callbeck ripped us off when they did that bridge,' he joked. 'Now there's not a damned thing on the New Brunswick side, everything is in Prince Edward Island — you even have to pay to get off the Island, you don't have to pay to get on it. 'The only thing we made a little money on over the years was selling a few cans of pop to Islanders. Now that’s gone.' The crowd loved it, as did Premier Robert Ghiz.Ghiz said his decision to run for leadership of the Liberal Party in 2002 was partly due to some advice he received from McKenna. 'For anybody here who perhaps is not to happy with myself being premier today, you can blame part of it on Frank McKenna,' Ghiz said. With little experience in the political arena and a lot of pressure to run, Ghiz said he turned to some old friends of his father's for advice, including McKenna. 'Robert, it's a no-brainer,' McKenna had told Ghiz.'You’ll either lose the leadership in an election and you'll go on to do great things and learn from the experience — or in five years time, you'll be premier of the province of Prince Edward Island. 'Ghiz then thanked McKenna for this advice.'Because five years later, I'm standing here.'

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