CA News



  1. 1 May 13, 2021
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 Epekwitk Assembly say they weren't adequately consulted on P.E.I. environmental rights bill - The Guardian and online article by Stu Neatby
  2. 2 May 12, 2021
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 The Cicadas Are Coming. It’s Not an Invasion. It’s a Miracle. - The New York Times online article by Margaret Renkl
  3. 3 May 11, 2021
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 Hummingbirds put a temporary halt on Trans Mountain - The National Observer article by Cloe Logan
  4. 4 May 10, 2021
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 Atlantic Skies for May 10th - May 16th, 2021 "The Inner Planets Return" -  by Glenn K. Roberts
  5. 5 May 9, 2021
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  6. 6 May 8, 2021
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 Some Fish Kill Facts - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  7. 7 May 7, 2021
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 Reusable takeout containers are a popular pandemic trend - What on Earth? CBC newsletter article by Emily Chung
  8. 8 May 6, 2021
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 LETTER: Remember there is no Planet B - The Guardian Lettter to the Editor
  9. 9 May 5, 2021
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  10. 10 May 4, 2021
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  11. 11 May 3, 2021
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 Beekeepers get the short end on two counts - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor
    3. 11.3 Atlantic Skies for Monday, May 3rd to Sunday, May 9th, 2021 "Why Every Full Moon Isn't a Supermoon" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  12. 12 May 2, 2021
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Charlottetown garden share program launches pilot program - CBC online post by Sara Fraser
    3. 12.3 We have to get this right - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie
  13. 13 May 1, 2021
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  14. 14 April 30, 2021
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 P.E.I. standing committee recommends limits on ‘grandfathered’ holding ponds - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  15. 15 April 29, 2021
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 PEAT: Public Engagement, Accountability and Transparency - Future of Charlottetown's Facebook page posting
  16. 16 April 28, 2021
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 P.E.I. environment minister pledges a halt to holding pond construction
  17. 17 April 27, 2021
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 SUPPORT FOR AN EBR - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 17.3 GUEST OPINION: Too much power in too few hands - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Wayne Carver
  18. 18 April 26, 2021
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 OPINION: Where is the planning for the Sherwood area of Charlottetown? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Philip and Catherine Mullally
    3. 18.3 Atlantic Skies for April 26th - May 2nd, 2021 "Super Moon Closes Out April in Style" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  19. 19 April 25, 2021
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 Does Earth Day need a day off? - The Grist "Umbra" column by Eve Andrews
  20. 20 April 24, 2021
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 No, You’re Crying About a Helicopter on Mars - The Atlantic article by Marina Koren
  21. 21 April 23, 2021
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 Increased transparency and accountability in healthcare decision-making with passing of Official Opposition Bill - by the Office of the Official Opposition (Greens)
    3. 21.3 Stephen Lewis is fighting for his life - article by Steve Paikin
  22. 22 April 22, 2021
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 GUEST OPINION: Weird slant on holistic approach offered by Federation of Agriculture - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Byron Petrie
  23. 23 April 21, 2021
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  24. 24 April 20, 2021
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 24.2 Is a healthy environment a right? New CEPA bill says so - The National Observer article by Marc Fawcett-Atkinson 
    3. 24.3 NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made history by flying on Mars - Science News article by Lisa Grossman
  25. 25 April 19, 2021
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 Rule changes would require timely P.E.I. government responses to petitions, written questions - CBC PEI online article by Kerry Campbell
    3. 25.3 Atlantic Skies Column - by Glenn K. Roberts
  26. 26 April 18, 2021
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 Statement by Premier King regarding Ontario’s request for support - issued by the Office of the Premier on Saturday, April 17th, 2021
    3. 26.3 Health P.E.I. CEO moves into Finance as government shuffles top civil servants - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  27. 27 April 17, 2021
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 27.2 Don Martin: Folly green giant meets Big Brother in Conservative carbon scheme - CTV News online article by Don Martin, CTV columnist
  28. 28 April 16, 2021
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 RUSSELL WANGERSKY: Do our democratic rights even matter?- The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky
  29. 29 April 15, 2021
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  30. 30 April 14, 2021
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 Charlottetown council throws up road block on proposed new road in East Royalty - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart
    3. 30.3 P.E.I. NDP kicking off search for new leader The Guardian article by the new "Atlantic Briefs Desk"
    4. 30.4 A Daily Email Newsletter Supporting Active Island Citizenship
    5. 30.5 Hon. James Aylward Gets Interesting
  31. 31 April 13, 2021
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 31.2 GUEST OPINION: Who is the special interest group? - The Guardian Guest Opinion byGary Schneider
    3. 31.3 LETTER: Low-flow toilets won't make up for french fry processing water loss - The Guardian Letter to the Editor by Carol Carragher
  32. 32 April 12, 2021
    1. 32.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 32.2 Atlantic Skies for April 12th - April 18th, 2021 - "Understanding Stellar Magnitudes" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  33. 33 April 11, 2021
    1. 33.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 33.2 Protecting the Planet can Protect us from Pandemics - David post by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Write Ian Hanington
  34. 34 April 10, 2021
    1. 34.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 34.2 Tell MPs to Support a National Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform - FairVote Canada post
  35. 35 April 9, 2021
    1. 35.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 35.2 STATEMENT: NFU is a member in good standing of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Lands -The Guardian Guest Opinion by Douglas Campbell
  36. 36 April 8, 2021
    1. 36.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 36.2 LYNNE LUND: Water Act regulations favour some farms over others - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Lynne Lund,
  37. 37 April 7, 2021
    1. 37.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  38. 38 April 6, 2021
    1. 38.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  39. 39 April 5, 2021
    1. 39.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  40. 40 April 4, 2021
    1. 40.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  41. 41 April 3, 2021
    1. 41.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  42. 42 April 2, 2021
    1. 42.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 42.2 LETTER: Time to show leadership on environmental issues - The Guardian Letter to the Editor by Jeanne Maki
  43. 43 April 1, 2021
    1. 43.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 43.2 LETTER: A public school board should be fully elected and inclusive - The Guardian Letter to the Editor by Dr. Herb Dickieson

May 13, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Dr. Heather Morrison to give a COVID-19 update today, probably around 11:30AM.

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Virtual Talk: Building a Rain Garden at Home, 7PM, with Norman Dewar of Ellen's Creek Watershed Group.  Hosted by the City of Charlottetown's Resilient Homes Parks and People Program.

Norman Dewar with Ellen's Creek Watershed Group will discuss building a raingarden for Spring Park Elementary school and how you can build one at home here in Charlottetown.
More details and registration link

A Volunteering event Saturday, May 15th:
Farm Centre Legacy Garden Volunteer Day, 10AM onward, meet at Garden behind PEI Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown

wonderful Island artists and engaged citizens

Until Monday, May 24th:
Art Exhibit: "The Many Faces of Fire" Group Show, The Guild Gallery, 12noon-5PM (closed Sunday), organized by the PEI Crafts Council @ The Guild

"Come feel the heat, these artists express their passion through fire in glass, clay and wood. You may be familiar with Trudy Gilbertson's carved bone, now she gives carved wood with a fired finish. Glass artists Dean Smith and Cathy Krolikowski are further exploring glass work through stained & fused glass while Robert McMillan is experimenting with reconstructed shapes and unexpected layers of colours. Jamie Germaine will be exhibiting her newest pieces that are smoke fired and always intriguing."

Pause for deeper consultation (and some politics)

Epekwitk Assembly say they weren't adequately consulted on P.E.I. environmental rights bill - The Guardian and online article by Stu Neatby

Published on Thursday, May 13th, 2021

Both the Lennox Island First Nation and the Abegweit First Nation are raising concerns about the consultation process for a bill that will see a code of environmental rights established in P.E.I.

A statement sent to The Guardian on Wednesday by L’nuey on behalf of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, said there was “no meaningful engagement or collaboration” with the Mi’kmaq organizations prior to debate of the environmental bill of rights in the legislature last week. The bill, a private member’s bill introduced by Green MLA Lynne Lund, passed second reading last week.

The Epekwitk Assembly of Councils is the joint overseeing forum that governs both the Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations.

The environmental bill of rights spells out the right to “a healthy and ecologically balanced environment” in law in P.E.I. It would also create an independent environmental commissioner. This commissioner could allow any five individuals to challenge legislation, policies or regulations they believe has had a negative impact on their right to a healthy and sustainable environment.

The bill was also intended to address environmental racism and specifically notes that such racism has been experienced particularly by “Indigenous people and people of colour.”

The bill passed second reading in the legislature on May 6, with no dissenting votes. Debate on bills usually occurs during second reading.

The environmental bill of rights was originally intended to be presented to the legislature for third reading on Tuesday. This did not happen.

“L’nuey confirmed that the assembly was pleased the bill did not proceed to third reading,” the statement from L’nuey said.

“L’nuey referenced the critical importance of the proposed legislation and the need for Mi’kmaq consultation and engagement, which has not occurred to date.” 

In an email statement, L’nuey said all bills that could impact Mi’kmaq treaty rights are subject to consultation.

“These would include, but not be limited to, legislation that could have an impact on land and/or resources, including water,” the email said.

L’nuey said the assembly plans to complete its examination of the bill to ensure “the rights and interests of the Mi’kmaq are not impacted by the draft legislation.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Lund said she had sent correspondence to L’nuey in January and also in March and April. But she also said she was told earlier this week that L’nuey and the assembly did not feel they had been able to fully analyze the bill.

"The Mi'kmaq have been the protectors of Abegweit since time immemorial and I have no doubt that they have lots to offer to this conversation," Lund said.

Lund said she would be prepared to wait for L’nuey and the assembly to complete their analysis before presenting the environmental bill of rights for third reading and royal assent.

"Knowing that they would like to weigh in on this bill, I would be happier to pause and take the time to hear what they have to say than to move it to third reading," she said.

Lund said she was not aware of what the specific concerns were of the assembly with respect to the bill.

During question period, however, Environment Minister Steven Myers appeared to offer a hint of what some of the specific concerns may have been. Myers was asked by Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker about forest conservation and appeared to indicate that members of the Liberal caucus had been communicating misleading details about the environmental bill of rights.

“I’ve spoke to a number of people, I’ve received emails. It seemed that there was some sort of a combination between the environmental bill of rights and the discussion that we’ve been having about forestry here,” Myers said.

“One particular member of this legislature might have been telling people things that weren’t true. It wasn’t from your caucus, so not you guys,” Myers said, pointing to the Green side of the house.


The letter from L'nuey is embedded in the Guardian article.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, today until 6:30PM
Starring Jane Eaglen, Katarina Dalayman, Ben Heppner, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen, and René Pape. Production by Dieter Dorn. From December 18, 1999.

Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM  Friday
Starring Renée Fleming, Christine Schäfer, Susan Graham, Eric Cutler, Thomas Allen, and Kristinn Sigmundsson, conducted by Edo de Waart. Production by Nathaniel Merrill. From January 9, 2010.  About 3 hours

May 12, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

I think sometimes we need to take a step back and just remember that we have no greater right to be here than any other animal.
     --- David Attenborough

David Attenborough turned 95 a few days ago, and the BBC made a "card" of about 95 seconds of footage of the British natural historian and broadcaster from the past decades, here:

The P.E.I. Legislative Assembly sits from 1-5PM today.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Dr. Heather Morrison will give a COVID-19 Update tomorrow, Thursday, which will coincide with the day that all Islanders 16 and up can book appointments to get COVID vaccinations.

This Sunday, May 16th:

Spring Education Forum, hosted by The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP), 2PM
The theme of the forum: The Land is Alive

Inspirational Presenters:
Jill McCormack  and Julie Pellissier-Lush
This forum will be a mixture of Zoom at a central point and smaller regional in-person groups. The in-person groups will be in West Prince, Charlottetown, and Kings County.
To register:


The Haviland Club is hosting a "Chase the Ace" fundraising draw every Friday evening at 6:30PM.
Tickets can be purchased online from Wizard Ticket at:
(which opens to an interesting selection of Ace-chasing fundraisers from across the Island!)

opinion on how cool life on Earth is :-) with thanks to Ian Petrie for passing it on

The Cicadas Are Coming. It’s Not an Invasion. It’s a Miracle. - The New York Times online article by Margaret Renkl

Published on Tuesday, May 10th, 2021

NASHVILLE — Deep beneath the spring-warmed soil, a great thrumming force is beginning to stir. Trillions strong, these insects have been living in the dark since George W. Bush’s first term as president. Now they are ready for the light. They are climbing out of the darkness, out of their own skins and into the trees. They are here to sing a love song. Their only purpose among the green leaves is love.

Well, it’s not singing so much as vibrating. And not love so much as sex. Their only purpose among us is to mate.

There are more than 3,000 species of cicadas worldwide, and they can be divided into roughly two groups. Annual cicadas surface every summer, much later in the year than the cicadas emerging now. The song of annual cicadas is an undulation, a pulsating chant that rises in waves as one cicada begins and others join in, and join in, and join in before falling off gradually, one after another. The song of annual cicadas is the sound of summer itself.

Periodic cicadas emerge in cycles — every 13 years or every 17 — and they are generally smaller than their annual cousins. Grouped according to their emergence in a particular area, each brood of periodic cicadas is identified by a Roman numeral. Brood X includes three species with synchronized life spans. It is one of the largest and most widespread of the cicada broods.

For the past 17 years, these insects have lived as nymphs deep beneath the soil, drinking sap from tree roots. For the past week, they have been emerging in much of the eastern South — Georgia, East Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia — and they will arrive soon in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Look for them when the soil eight inches deep reaches a temperature of 64 degrees. (If you’re in Brood X’s range, you can be part of a citizen-science project that tracks their emergence.)

After a year of weather calamities and pandemic shutdowns, people are already muttering about the apocalypse, but this, mercifully, is a natural occurrence, not a biblical plague. Cicadas are not locusts. They don’t even belong to the same order of insects as locusts. Cicadas don’t strip fields of every grain of rice or wheat, as swarming locusts do. Cicadas don’t sting, and they don’t bite. The strawlike appendage they have instead of a mouth works only for inserting into tree bark. Cicadas don’t even hurt the trees. (Not the mature trees, at any rate; saplings should be protected with cheesecloth before the cicadas emerge.)

The life cycle of the cicada is unique among insects. A nymph tunnels up from deep in the soil, climbs onto a tree trunk or a plant stem — or anything else it can reach that offers a bit of vertical clearance — and then commences to shed its exoskeleton as dramatically and beautifully as any butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. The new adult appears white, almost translucent, but its armor hardens and darkens as the hours pass. Its eyes turn red. Its intricate wings unfurl.

And then it takes to the treetops, where the males begin to sing and the females have their choice of suitors. After they mate, the female deposits her eggs into slits she makes in the bark of tender shoots. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground and burrow into the soil, beginning their lives in the dark. The adults live four to six weeks before they, too, fall to the ground, returning to the earth for a new purpose.

Owing to their mind-numbing numbers — up to 1.5 million per acre — periodic cicadas are louder than summer cicadas, less like a chorus and more like a fire hose blasted directly into your ear canal. At the height of the emergence, the sound appears to come from everywhere and nowhere at once, vibrating in the bones of your ears and in the fillings of your teeth. The sound can feel like a form of madness.

The relentless buzzing, the red eyes — perhaps they explain why so many of the headlines about this phenomenon default to negative metaphors. It’s an “invasion,” according to ABC News, an “infestation,” according to CBS.

It’s no such thing.

The most destructive species the earth has ever known likely emerged some 315,000 years ago, and we have not stopped roaming and eating and pillaging for one minute since. Cicadas, by contrast, benefit the ecosystems into which they emerge, a boon to hungry birds and reptiles and a huge range of mammals. Fish eat them when they fall into streams and lakes. After cicadas die, they decompose and feed the very trees that hosted their brief days in the sun.

Nashville is not in Brood X’s range, but I have lived through two emergences of Brood XIX, a periodic cicada on the 13-year schedule, and I’m jealous of all of you whose skies will soon be blurred by wings and whose trees will be filled with song. At a time when wildlife is being threatened by human activity from every side, your baby birds and possums and lizards and snakes and turtles will grow strong, fed on the cicadas’ bounty. Your hawks and owls and foxes will live this year because their prey has become bountiful, too. And you will be surrounded by reminders that the darkest tunnels always bend, in time, toward the light. That resurrection is always, always at hand.

Margaret Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South. She is the author of the books “Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss” and the forthcoming “Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South.”


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, today until 6:30PM
Starring Carol Vaness, Karita Mattila, Dawn Upshaw, Jerry Hadley, Samuel Ramey, Ferrucio Furlanetto, and Kurt Moll. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1990.  About 3 hours.

Wagner’s Tristan und Isoldetonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
From December 18, 1999.  This is a different production than these wonderful free HD broadcasts have shown, so that's a treat, and with Canadian tenor Ben Heppner!!  under four hours.
"Ben Heppner and Jane Eaglen are Tristan and Isolde, overwhelmed by their all-consuming love for each other which defies society and the law. René Pape is a devastating King Marke, the man robbed of his wife by his best friend."

May 11, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Dr. Heather Morrison may give a COVID-19 update at 11:30AM.  Facebook (Government of P.E.I. or CBC News) are places to tune in on-line, along with Ocean 100 Radio.


Charlottetown Farmers' Market Thursday pick-up orders due today at noon:
The P.E.I. Legislature resumes sitting, 1-5PM today, tomorrow and Thursday, and 10AM-2PM Friday.

Viewing options here:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

From the P.E.I. Farm Centre Legacy Garden:

Introducing the Legacy Garden Online Store!

We are moving all of our sales to our website and have created an online store! This will help us streamline order processing! You can find all our products and the store will be updated all throughout the season! You can find the new store here:

with fertilizer and other garden amendments, and plants and some crafts.

News from today's (U.K.) Guardian:

Sad goodbye to Thames whale – The baby minke whale that was found stuck at Richmond lock in London had to be put down by vets on Monday evening. The whale was freed on Sunday, only to escape the rescue raft and get stuck again in vines at Teddington weir. It was the furthest up the Thames a whale had ever gone, according to British Divers Marine Life Rescue. “The last 45 minutes we were with the whale its condition was deteriorating, its breathing wasn’t right and it wouldn’t have survived much longer,” said Julia Cable from the BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue Service). “The vets said it was clearly suffering and that it was the right decision.”

Full article:

Little birds with big impact:

Hummingbirds put a temporary halt on Trans Mountain - The National Observer article by Cloe Logan

Published on Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

One of B.C.’s smallest birds is responsible for a four-month stop-work order on one of the federal government’s largest projects, the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Anna’s hummingbirds are protected by Canada’s Migratory Bird Act, which says any work that could negatively affect the population has to be halted until nesting season is over. The order, issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada, was put forward after conservation officers saw the company felling a tree with an active hummingbird nest in it earlier this month.

The pipeline, originally built in the 1950s, was taken over by Texas’ Kinder Morgan in 2015, which then made plans to triple the exports of the existing operation, upping production to up to 890,000 barrels each day flowing from Alberta to the coast of B.C. The federal government purchased the pipeline in 2018 for $4.5 billion. The Trans Mountain expansion (TMX) is projected to cost $12.6 billion.

Trans Mountain says the order will not delay the projected completion date of December 2022 and would not answer whether the stop-work order would increase project costs. However Protect the Planet Stop TMX, a group advocating against the project, says an earlier affidavit by a company executive suggests it will.

“Trans Mountain said in an affidavit (pages 18 to 20) that tree clearing in the area had to be completed prior to August 1 to allow access to the streams. If that didn’t happen (which now it can’t) Trans Mountain will miss its 2021 window for watercourse crossing, its 2022 window for hydrotesting and its 2022 in-service date,” said the group.  “Pipeline work at this location must now wait until next year, 2022. The delay comes at a cost of at least $100 million per month of delay past the in-service date, according to Trans Mountain.”

The stop-work order does not apply to the full 1,500 kilometres of pipeline, but rather to about 1,000 metres along the Brunette River in Burnaby.

Eugene Kung, staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, agreed the order will result in significant losses for the company.  “This is another costly example of Trans Mountain’s disregard for the rules that has happened far too often throughout construction. It was only because of the incredible work of local residents that they were caught red-handed,” said Kung.

“With every delay, the total cost to taxpayers balloons and the project falls further outside the public interest. We have not seen a cost update in more than a year, but it’s easy to estimate the cost being closer to $20 billion today.”

A group called the Community Nest Finding Network (CNFN), which alerted the feds with concerns about TMX violating the Migratory Bird Act, found eight active nests on site but says there are many more along the pipeline route.

“Starting in about mid-February, spring migrations start — nesting can start that early. And it goes until the mid or the end of August ... in the last 30 years, we've lost 70 per cent of our birds,” said Donna Clark, co-founder of CNFN and former director of Wild Bird Trust of BC.

“These beautiful mama Anna hummingbirds, these little birds that have stopped the pipeline, they are what we call in English the canaries in the coal mine.”

Sara Ross, also founder of the CNFN, said the group has been reporting its nest findings directly to TMX as well as the government. However, Ross says the line gets blurred when the owner of the pipeline is also the regulator.

"It's like if we were the bank robber and the police," she said.  "So that's why groups like ours are imperative. It's the reason why we're doing this work, because no one else is."

Both the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby are opposed to the pipeline, as are hundreds of First Nations.

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, executive board member of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, was at an April 26 press conference announcing the stop-work order. She said the government needs to invest in renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. She pointed to the hummingbird as a fitting mascot for the order.

“It is very symbolic that a tiny hummingbird has stopped local construction of this pipeline. At the same time, it is not entirely surprising, either,” she said.

“Many stories honour the qualities of Hummingbird, and one that stands out, in particular, is Hummingbird’s tenacious loyalty to the forest. Even as the forest burned and all the other animals fled, Hummingbird carried drops of water — in their tiny beak — from the river to the forest fire. In response to the other animals, Hummingbird said: 'I’m doing what I can.'”


A map by the Wilderness Committee organization of the Burnaby pipeline area:

And it was nesting belted kingfishers, spotted by eagle-eyed environmental observers Larry (James) Cosgrave and others, which halted part of the Plan B highway project in July 2013.  A female Belted Kingfisher is on the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. logo, above, from a beautiful image by Island potter Ron Arvidson.

plate by Ron Arvidson

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s La Bohèmetoday until 6:30PM
Starring Teresa Stratas, Renata Scotto, José Carreras, Richard Stilwell, and James Morris. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From January 16, 1982.  The magical first cast of this new production.

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, 7:30PM tonight until about 6:30PM Wednesday
Starring Carol Vaness, Karita Mattila, Dawn Upshaw, Jerry Hadley, Samuel Ramey, Ferrucio Furlanetto, and Kurt Moll. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1990.

May 10, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

A post-Mother's Day entreaty:

May we raise children

who love the unloved

things - the dandelion, the

worms & spiderlings.

Children who sense

the rose needs the thorn

& run into rainswept days

the same way they

turn towards sun...

And when they're grown &

someone has to speak for those

who have no voice

may they draw upon that

wilder bond, those days of

tending tender things

and be the ones.

~ Nicolette Sowder,
founder, WilderChild


Local Food opportunities:
Organic Vegetable Delivery, order by tonight for delivery Friday, May 14th.
More details here:

Charlottetown's Farmers' Market 2 Go, order by Tuesday noon for pick-up Thursday

Local Coffee:
Brett's Caledonia House Coffee, takeout window only,  7AM-2PM, Weekdays, Charlottetown Farmers' Market, Belvedere Avenue.

Remember the CBC article on the women that are organizing the Charlottetown Garden-Share project?

**Gardeners are needed**

"Your job as a Gardener is to provide the knowledge, skills, and labour needed to care for a garden. If you have a green thumb, a strong work ethic, and an interest in growing food, you are an ideal candidate for this role.

As a Gardener, your responsibilities will include:

·         Completing the day-to-day tasks associated with maintaining a productive home garden (preparing the soil, seeding, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, etc…)

·         Providing your own Personal Protective Equipment (gloves, boots, rainwear, etc…)

·         Providing your own transportation to the place where you will be gardening

As a Gardener, you will NOT:

·         Be asked to contribute financially to the success of the garden

·         Be asked to source any tools, materials, inputs, and implements

·         Receive payment for your work"

Rhea and Erin are trying to get this organized a as soon as possible, so if interested, More info:

or contact: or call (902) 892-3006

Atlantic Skies for May 10th - May 16th, 2021 "The Inner Planets Return" by Glenn K. Roberts

After being absent from the night and pre-dawn skies for the past several weeks, Mercury and Venus, our solar system's two innermost planets,  finally return (albeit a brief appearance) to the western, evening sky this week.

Mercury (mag..- 0.39, in Taurus - the Bull) appears around 8:30 p.m., low above the west-northwest horizon as the Sun sets and dusk gives way to darkness, reaching an altitude of around 11 degrees above the horizon before setting by about 10:20 p.m.. It will steadily climb higher in the post-sunset western sky during the following week, reaching its highest point in the evening sky as it achieves its greatest eastern elongation from the Sun on May 17 - its best appearance of the year for northern viewers. On May 12, Mercury reaches dichotomy, its half-lit phase (as seen through a telescope from Earth). 

With a clear sky and an unobstructed view of the west-northwest horizon, you might glimpse bright Venus (mag. -3.9, in Taurus - the Bull) sitting low above the horizon (look for a bright "star-like" point of light in the post-sunset twilight), to the right and below Mercury, before it drops below the western horizon by about 9:20 p.m.. Mars (mag. +1.6, in Gemini - the Twins) should be visible around the same time as Mercury and Venus (between 8:30 - 9 p.m.) about 29 degrees above the western horizon before it sets shortly after midnight. 

If you're having difficulty finding these three planets in the post-sunset, western sky, use the waxing crescent Moon as a guide. On the evening of May 12, a very slim crescent Moon will sit low above the west-northwest horizon just after sunset (you'll need a clear sky and an unobstructed view of the horizon); the bright point of light immediately to its right will be Venus. The next evening, a slightly larger crescent Moon will be a bit higher in the evening sky, with Mercury to the lower right. The waxing Moon is about equidistance between Mercury and Mars on the evening of May 14, and to the lower right of the Red Planet on the evening of the 15th.

Jupiter and Saturn are late risers this coming week. Saturn (mag. +0.8, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) tumbles out of its celestial bed around 2:30 a.m., visible 20 degrees above the southeast horizon, and then fading with the approaching dawn by about 5 a.m. Sleepy Jupiter (mag. -2.3, in Aquarius - the Water Bearer) makes a bright but brief appearance in the pre-dawn, southeast sky, rising around 3:10 a.m., reaching an altitude of 20 degrees above the horizon before it, too, fades with the glow of the approaching dawn by about 5:20 a.m.

Keep a sky-eye on Comet C/2020 T2 (Palomar) over the next few weeks. Currently at mag. 10.5, in the constellation of Canes Venatici - the Hunting Dogs (beneath the tail of Ursa Major - the Great Bear), Comet T2 is visible all night for viewers in the northern hemisphere. Under a clear sky away from city lights, It will become visible by about 9:50 p.m. (ADT), 60 degrees above the eastern horizon, reaching its highest elevation in the night sky shortly after midnight, 75 degrees above the southern horizon, before fading from view around 4:30 a.m., 38 degrees above the western horizon. Although not currently expected to achieve naked-eye visibility, Comet T2 should brighten to be visible in binoculars in the coming weeks.

Until next week, clear skies. 


May 11 - New Moon; Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)

         12 - Mercury at dichotomy (half-lit phase)


Whale stranding appears to end OK in London, England, this morning:

Whale rescue – A small whale – believed to be a minke – has been freed after becoming trapped in a lock in south-west London. A crowd gathered at Richmond lock and weir to watch rescuers try to help the whale after it became snared on the lock’s boat rollers. It was finally freed and moved to a safe location for vet checks.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Handel’s Agrippina, today until 6:30PM
Starring Brenda Rae, Joyce DiDonato, Kate Lindsey, Iestyn Davies, Duncan Rock, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Sir David McVicar. From February 29, 2020.

Nightly Opera Streams, May 10–16

National Council Auditions Alumni Week

"Leading up to the 2021 National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert on May 16, this week of free streams pays tribute to some of the extraordinary Met artists who have participated in the competition over the past 60 years—and also includes an exclusive screening of Susan Froemke’s documentary The Audition, which goes behind the scenes of the program."

Puccini’s La Bohème, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Teresa Stratas, Renata Scotto, José Carreras, Richard Stilwell, and James Morris. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From January 16, 1982.   This is an amazing version with an all-star cast.

May 9, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Mother's Day to all who mother and care about people and this earth,  And to those for whom Mother's Day is not a Hallmark card or Dairy Queen cake commercial, a special hug.

Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.

   ---- Barbara Kingsolver, writer

Conservation International's short films on the power of nature are very ....well, powerful, and the one with the voice of Julia Roberts as Mother Nature particularly so:

The rest of the series (especially nice to sit around and watch on a rainy Sunday):

And more about Conservation International's work, and their little logo which would be the envy of the P.E.I. Progressive Conservatives for its colours and prettiness:

Just in case you haven't heard any news on the Chinese rocket junk falling back to Earth: from The Guardian (U.K.), this morning:

The remnants of China’s largest rocket have plummeted back to Earth, plunging into the Indian ocean near the Maldives, according to Chinese state media, ending days of speculation over where the debris would hit.

Most of the debris burned up in the atmosphere, it reported, citing the Chinese Manned Space Engineering office.Parts of the 30-metre core of the Long March 5B rocket re-entered the atmosphere at 10.24am Beijing time (2.24am GMT) and landed at a location with the coordinates of longitude 72.47 degrees east and latitude 2.65 degrees north, state media cited the office as saying.

On the problem of space junk:

Instead of treating space entrepreneurs as rock stars, people should hold them to account instead, Jah said. That involves engaging the public in understanding that while outer space may be infinite, "near-Earth space is a finite resource" equally deserving of conservation along with our forests and oceans.

"Then people can go and start exerting pressure on, you know, elected officials in that sort of stuff."

Jah notes that the focus now has to be on preventing the problem from getting much worse, given the challenges of scaling any of the technologies proposed for removing the space junk already out there.


That excerpt is from an interview with Dr. Moriba Jah from the University of Texas, recently with Matt Galloway on CBC's The Current, about the problem of space satellites/rocket debris.
Full interview article, photos and link to audio recording here (I may have posted this before but it's worth a second listen):

And on regular junk, if you have time and the weather lets up to pick some trash, you can place clear bags and the yellow WI-branded bags alongside paved road as collection starts tomorrow. 

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Two very different mothering styles....
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, today until 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Maria Zifchak, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Anthony Minghella. From March 7, 2009.

Handel’s Agrippina, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Brenda Rae, Joyce DiDonato, Kate Lindsey, Iestyn Davies, Duncan Rock, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Sir David McVicar. From February 29, 2020.  About how Claudius's whife Agrippina works to get her son Nero on the Throne.  Set in modern dress; DiDonato is a tour de force.

May 8, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Opportunities

Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM
Summerside, 9AM-1PM

Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)
Riverview Country Market
North River KJL Market

The annual Roadside Cleanup designated "Day" is today,
but the trucks from Transportation will make the bag pickups starting Monday, driving by most paved roads once.  The yellow Women's Institute bags can only be picked up roadside by these crews -- Waste Watch has to reject them if they are in carts.  Clear bags are fine to use for roadside cleanup, too.
Litter (especially take-out containers and alcohol bottles/cans) is a really big problem, and while the Roadside Cleanup doesn't address the problem, it's obviously helps things look better, so thanks to all who pick some trash this weekend.

Wright's Creek Watershed Enhancement group tree planning, today and tomorrow,
more details at their online signup link,  or Facebook group page

Todd MacLean's Rainforest Lounge Finale, 6:30PM, with special guest Amanda Jackson, on Facebook Live.
In addition to music, and fundraising for good causes, *Todd* is going be the one interviewed tonight.
Next Sunday, May 16th:

The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP) invites you to their annual Spring Education Forum on Sunday, May 16, 2021, 2:00 pm

 The theme of the forum: The Land is Alive

 Inspirational Presenters: Jill McCormack  and Julie Pellissier-Lush

 This forum will be a mixture of Zoom at a central point and smaller regional in-person groups. The in-person groups will be in West Prince, Charlottetown, and  Kings County.

 To register:

The P.E.I. Legislature decided unanimously Friday to continue sitting next week, starting on Tuesday, May 11th, at 1PM, as their new Parliamentary schedule could have had a Planning Week.  The budget review completed the Department of Health and Wellness  (I think), and it looks like they want to start wrapping up business.

More at:

Recent Letter to the Editor:

Some Fish Kill Facts - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, May 3rd, 2020

In a full-page ad in The Guardian on April, 21, 2021, Bryan Maynard states that “the media and fear mongers have continued to verbalize and print false information.

“It seems they do not need to provide evidence for their opinions.” Well, Mr. Bryan Maynard, I’ll fill you in on one fact that is well known and can be easily fact checked via government websites. Since 1962 to present day, there have been 63 reported fish kills on P.E.I. In 49 of the 63 fish kills, authorities were able to identity the cause, and in 14 cases they were inconclusive or N/A. Of the 49 cases where they were able to identity the cause, the cause was listed as pesticides such as chlorothalonil, endosulfan, diazion, azimphos metyl, mancozeb, diquat, etc.

After checking the facts, I have drawn the conclusion that in 100 per cent of the fish kills where the cause is known, the cause has been pesticides applied to farmers’ fields. Until farmers stop killing the fish in our streams with their chemicals, I will continue with my negativity and criticism of those farmers.

John E. Clow, Summerside, P.E.I.

Saturday is always a big opera day, most of it free:

Metropolitan Opera radio performance, Saturday afternoon at the Opera:
2PM, CBC Music, 104.7FM:

Anna Netrebko Puccini Gala
Performance from December 31, 2019
A whole afternoon of Anna Netrebko singing just every overwhelmingly sad Puccini hit.  Not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon. 
Details here:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Berg’s Wozzeck, until noon today
Starring Elza van den Heever, Tamara Mumford, Christopher Ventris, Gerhard Siegel, Andrew Staples, Peter Mattei, and Christian Van Horn, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by William Kentridge. From January 11, 2020.

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, from 7:30PM tonight until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Maria Zifchak, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Anthony Minghella. From March 7, 2009.

Met Stars Live, 2:30PM here, ticketed live-stream event (then available to ticket-holders for two weeks)

"A quartet of opera’s most powerful and dramatic singers comes together for a program of soaring selections by Wagner and Strauss. Transmitted live from the grand Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany, this unbeatable summit of leading Wagnerian voices features sopranos Christine Goerke and Elza van den Heever, tenor Andreas Schager, and baritone Michael Volle, with pianist Craig Terry."

Ticket details

May 7, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-2PM today. 

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Despite that the Parliamentary Calendar does not show any key for next week (it would be a Planning Week if they are following a three weeks Sitting and one week planning), there is still a lot of budget and bills to go through Third Reading and such for it to end today.  But you never know.  Some have called the 3 weeks on- 1 week Planning as "inane", which is too bad, as I think the week every month to review legislation, talk to constituents, attend meetings, and give reporters and reviewers  ;-)  a bit of a break was not a bad thing.
Fridays4Future, 3:30PM, Province House at Grafton Street (as far as I know)
Borrowed Kitchen Sugar Shack baked goods, 384 Pownal Road, open 10AM-5PM today, Including Owl Cookies fundraiser for Macphail Woods
Facebook business page

EBR for PEI!

Prince Edward Island is closer to having its citizens have Environmental Rights.

The Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) passed Second Reading in the Legislature about 5PM yesterday, and it was due to collaboration between Bill-promoter Lynne Lund and Environment Minister Steven Myers.   The Third Party supports the idea, too.

The Bill still comes back for Third Reading for a vote and can be called out on issues (and may not pass) then.  The Third Party Liberals were not impressed with the number of Amendments (some to strengthen the Bill, others to clarify, some surely felt like a watering down to me) which apparently had been brought up and already given the nod by the Opposition. Papers were flying, ironically for a Bill from a Party which tries to save trees, but procedures on paper must be followed. And the timing was rushed as the Opposition wanted to get the next steps moving along (which would be going to the Legislative Management Committee, LMC, I think, for getting the Environmental Commissioner's role sketched out). 

Still, there are both Substantive and Procedural Rights in this Bill, and proper dues to Summerside-Wilmot MLA Lynne Lund for pushing it along, and to people like Cindy Richards and Don Mazer (of various organizations but I will claim them here for all their work in the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.) who have promoted Environmental Rights for almost a decade now, helping organize workshops with East Coast Environmental Law (ECELAW) and working with Blue Dot PEI and David Suzuki's tour and efforts, among other endeavors.

And thanks to people for writing MLAs to support this, which actually may needto be done again before Third Reading, especially as politics could gum things up.

But for now, smile and enjoy the birdsong today.

Two interesting articles:

Reusable takeout containers are a popular pandemic trend - What on Earth? CBC newsletter article by Emily Chung

Published on Thursday, May 6th, 2021

 We’ve previously talked about the waste that takeout generates and some of the potential solutions. Since the pandemic started, a lack of indoor dining has made takeout the only restaurant option in many places, and as a result, both the problems — and the solutions — have multiplied. 

At least five new startups across Canada are hoping to eliminate waste by allowing you to order your meal in reusable, returnable containers.
A Friendlier Company (in Guelph, Ont.), Suppli (Toronto), Ekko (Waterloo, Ont.) and Reusables (Vancouver) are already serving restaurants and customers, while Re-Vita (Edmonton) is getting ready to launch.

Why now? The pandemic might not be an obvious time to launch new services for the struggling restaurant industry. But many people have started ordering more takeout and feel guilty about the waste, said Anastasia Kiku, co-founder of Reusables (whose wares are shown in the photo above). “We just wanted to solve this problem,” she said. 

Also, in October, the federal government announced it would
ban “hard-to-recycle” single-use plastic food takeout containers, such as black plastic and polystyrene. Kiku and the others say reusables are the best solution.

Jacqui Hutchings, co-founder and chief operating officer of A Friendlier Company, said the pandemic has also forced people to get used to change. “Now is the time to implement a new system,” she said. “Just offer it as an option and see what happens.”

What kind of container: In most cases, the food comes in stainless steel containers. Crystal Kruis, who co-founded Ekko with her daughter Chloe, said metal is more durable and is what customers said they wanted.

The exception is A Friendlier Company, which uses polypropylene plastic containers. The company says the containers are light, stackable and their low cost reduces fees (it’s the only service that’s free for customers).

How it works: Suppli, Reusables and A Friendlier Company give customers the option to order through popular food delivery apps, although you generally have to sign up through their own website or app first, and leave a note about the use of reusable containers in the delivery instructions.

Suppli and Ekko have per-order fees ranging from 50 cents to $2, while Reusables charges a $5 monthly fee. A Friendlier Company doesn’t charge customers for the service, although diners do have to pay a refundable deposit of 50 cents to $1 per container.   

Restaurants pay the companies a fee that includes the container rental, cleaning and restocking. Generally, the fee is designed to be comparable to what the restaurants are already paying for disposable containers.
The companies track their containers using QR codes or electronic ID tags to make sure they’re returned to a participating restaurant or drop-off point within one to two weeks. Otherwise, customers get charged.

How it’s going: So far, each company has between four and 30 participating restaurants.

Crystal Kruis at Ekko said in the first two days after her company launched in April, the company replaced 231 takeout containers with reusables — roughly enough to stack up to the height of a four-storey building. 

She said some customers told her they had been avoiding takeout because of the waste. Having a reusable option allowed them to resume supporting local restaurants.

Hutchings at A Friendlier Company, which launched in October, said some participating restaurants have switched completely to reusables and stopped offering customers disposable options at all.


In America’s cities, inequality is engrained in the trees - The Grist article by Adam Mahoney, Environmental Justice Fellow

A new study finds that low-income blocks have less tree cover and hotter average temperatures than high-income ones.

Published in Grist on Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

The amount of greenery on your street depends on the amount of green in your pockets, according to a new study. 

You’d have hard luck trying to convince someone that trees are somehow biased. Their sprawling roots, awning-like leaves, and huggable trunks offer protection and solace to everybody and everything, big and small. For humans, they help clean our air and water, and offer cover in the summer from blistering heat. 

But a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE shows that their distribution often depends on race and class, a result of exclusionary zoning laws, racial segregation, and the country’s stark wealth inequality.

In the two-year-long study, a team of researchers from the Nature Conservancy found that 92 percent of low-income blocks in the U.S. have less tree cover and hotter average temperatures than high-income blocks. The inequality is most rampant in the Northeast, with some low-income blocks in urban areas having 30 percent less tree cover and average temperatures 4 degrees Celsius higher than high-income blocks. Five of the ten worst discrepancies are found in Connecticut, home to the most economically unequal metropolitan area in the country and known to be one of the most residentially segregated states in America.

When it comes to tree cover, the biggest disparity in the country is found in the metro area of Bridgeport, Connecticut — the metropolitan area with the greatest income inequality. Rob McDonald, lead scientist at the Nature Conservancy, said that’s no coincidence. The poorest blocks in the area have 54 percent less tree cover and are 5 Celsius hotter on average. “For the most part, income inequality will always correlate with other major health, environmental, and social inequities,” McDonald told Grist.

In Connecticut, roughly 90 percent of housing tracts are zoned for single-family homes, which combined with policies that barred people of color in the state from owning certain homes and even living in certain public housing projects, has kept many areas segregated by class and race. “Bridgeport is a perfect example of the issue we were trying to highlight,” McDonald said. “It is a product of exclusionary zoning which has reinforced a pattern of inequality forcing poor people into dense areas.”

Across the country, low-income neighborhoods had 62 million fewer trees than comparable high-income neighborhoods. On average, tree cover was 15 percent less for low-income blocks compared to high-income ones, which resulted in those low-income blocks having an average temperature that was hotter by 1.5 Celsius. The study, which examined the amount of tree cover in the 100 largest urban areas in the country, home to more than 5,700 communities and 167 million people, is the first-ever national survey of tree cover and temperature inequality — and it showed exactly what the authors expected. 

“We knew this inequality existed but we wanted to see the whole picture because we know heatwave events are getting more frequent and more intense,” said McDonald. “So understanding which neighborhoods are more vulnerable is the first part of harm reduction planning.”

The research, McDonald says, was meant to explain how past economic and social policies continue to permeate even unexpected aspects of American life. Historically racist policies have made homeownership and economic mobility less attainable for Black and Latino people forcing them into heavily polluted and more densely populated neighborhoods — and made them much more unlikely to have generational wealth. Gaps in ownership also correlate to tree cover inequality, McDonald said, because people owning private land have the power and ability to plant more trees on their property. Other cities with large tree cover gaps include Baltimore, home to a huge homeownership gap and relentless heatwaves, and Boston, which has served as a flashpoint for residential desegregation for decades. 

Beyond reversing the economic impacts of discriminatory housing policies, a more equal distribution of trees could help revitalize neighborhoods. The research suggests that a $17.6 billion investment in tree planting and natural regeneration could correct these disparities and benefit 42 million people by protecting them from heatwaves — shown to cause the most harm to poor people of color — and lowering air pollution levels while improving both physical and mental health

“There are many problems facing the US, so I’m not going to pretend like tree cover is the most important problem,” McDonald said. “But it relates to all these conversations about climate adaptation, climate change risks, and also health outcome and income inequalities that we’ve seen play a big role during the pandemic.” 

“As the US is starting to talk more seriously from a policy perspective about climate change, we have to think about adaptation and also think about how inequality amplified climate risk, starting with the nature in our backyards,” he added. 


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Bellini’s Norma, untio 6:30PM tonight
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Joyce DiDonato, Joseph Calleja, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Production by Sir David McVicar. From October 7, 2017.

Berg’s Wozzeck, 7:30PM tonight until Saturday noon (special ticketed concert at noon)
Starring Elza van den Heever, Tamara Mumford, Christopher Ventris, Gerhard Siegel, Andrew Staples, Peter Mattei, and Christian Van Horn, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by William Kentridge. From January 11, 2020.

May 6, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I.Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

It sounds like the Environmental Bill of Rights was discussed ("and progress made") and it may be called back up today?  There is still time to write your MLA to support it.  Members' contact info here:
Deadlines for Comments on Community of West River Proposed Electoral Boundaries/names:

Today for responding to Electoral Boundaries Commission

Thursday, May 13th for responding to Council
More information at:

And keep in mind in your comments that several residents think the area (the entire Rural Municipality -- Rocky Point to Bonshaw to Meadowbank, Riverdale, New Haven, etc. ) might be better served with a complete name change (which was rather lackadaisically picked), to
Rural Municipality of Eliot River.
(" 'West' only makes sense if you are east of it," one person explained, citing an older name for the River around which the communities formed.)


Now until Friday, May 21st:
NDP-PEI Online Auction Fundraiser, items and information here:

Action to consider: 

FariVote Canada is urging the responsible Federal Parliamentary Committee to consider forming Citizens' Assemblies to discuss proportional representation and other electoral reforms.

Here is FairVote's website:

and here is
the link to the campaign urging MPs to support Citizens' Assemblies

Recent Postings from Charlottetown commentators:

New Charlottetown Project and the Value of Natural Assets:

And the Future of Charlottetown Facebook page has regular updates and thoughtful essays:

And a bit of a bite from F. Ben Rodgers:

LETTER: Remember there is no Planet B - The Guardian Lettter to the Editor

Published on Friday, April 16th, 2021

The whole world is in a mess, trees being felled at an unprecedented rate, certainly here on P.E.I. Water is vital and yet under threat from so many directions. The soil is being destroyed by money-grasping farming corporations. People like David Suzuki, nationally, and competent local environmentalist like Gary Schneider are crying out for change. They are only two of many thousands of concerned citizens. We are losing so many of nature’s natural resources/species every day. Insects, bees, butterflies, bird, fish, just to name a few. Governments are doing little to stop this dangerous slide into extinction of life on this planet. On Prince Edward Island our provincial government is more concerned with online gambling and grandfathering in holding ponds. We get one excuse after another, “Oh! they have a permit!” “Can’t interfere, it’s private property.” I do not understand these people we have elected; they promise but then turn their backs on the people they are supposed to be representing. Why? Is it money, bribery or greed or just plain stupidity? Because it is definitely not in the smartest interest of this province. 

F. Ben Rodgers, Abram-Village

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Thomas’s Hamlet, today until 6:30PM
Starring Marlis Petersen, Jennifer Larmore, Simon Keenlyside, and James Morris, conducted by Louis Langrée. Production by Patrice Caurier & Moshe Leiser. From March 27, 2010.

Bellini’s Norma, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Friday
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Joyce DiDonato, Joseph Calleja, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Production by Sir David McVicar. From October 7, 2017.  3 hours.

May 5, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Just before the Legislature starts....

Alert Ready System Test, 12:55PM today, various communication channels

from PEI Public Safety's social media posting Tuesday:

It's that 'loud noise' time again!

....Wednesday, May 5 at 12:55 pm a test of the Alert Ready system will be conducted on TV, radio and compatible wireless devices.

This will be a test. No action required on your part (except trying to remember that it's happening so you don't jump out of your skin when it sounds).

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.

Watch here options and documents:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Tonight, Reminder of:
Government Website Interruption, 7-10PM, all online services.

In the Legislature today, after the Ordinary Day's Proceedings (Welcomes, Question Period, Statements and such) the Official Opposition will have its time and it is likely to call up the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) legislation, Bill No. 108, found here:;e=LegislativeAssemblyBillView;id=b3e26a6c-433c-4524-ab5a-d9e77a348486

It's the legislation that, in essence, strengthens that people have a right to a healthy environment, and ensures some way to help make that happen.

A longish blog from East Coast Environmental Law (reprinted here before, and I am listed as co-author), is here:

And here is an infographic on the Legislation.

Infographic on the EBR, produced by The Official Opposition support team

(I have a better slightly larger copy as a PNG if you wish to have your own for sharing on social media and such; contact me)

What can you do today or tomorrow?
You can ask (email or call) your MLA to support this. 

"Please support the Environmental Bill of Rights in the Legislature."

MLAs' contact information can be found here:

The "Other" (U.K.) Guardian celebrates its 200th birthday today, with an special page where you can look at archival papers and other features, here:

It's older than our P.E.I. Guardian, and:
"It is exactly 200 years since a four-page weekly first appeared in Manchester. More than 54,000 editions – and several million articles – later, we’re proud to say we’re older than Germany, fish and chips, the FA Cup, the New York Times, the bicycle and the state of Texas. So for the next few days and weeks, we will be resurfacing the Guardian journalism that changed the world, celebrating the impact that we’ve had, and thanking our millions of readers and supporters without whom none of this would have been possible."

Monday, May 3rd, was "Press Freedom Day", and it's a good time to remember how important good reporting is, and support it anyway you can.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Handel’s Rodelinda, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Andreas Scholl, Joseph Kaiser, and Shenyang, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Stephen Wadsworth. From December 3, 2011.

Thomas’s Hamlet, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 7:30PM
Starring Marlis Petersen, Jennifer Larmore, Simon Keenlyside, and James Morris, conducted by Louis Langrée. Production by Patrice Caurier & Moshe Leiser. From March 27, 2010.   Simon Keenlyside is astounding whenever he is on stage, so this can be no different.  2 hours 50 minutes.

May 4, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market Thursday pick-up orders due today at noon:
The P.E.I. Legislature resumes sitting, 1-5PM today, tomorrow and Thursday, and 10AM-2PM Friday.

Viewing options here:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link


This afternoon:
 What Canada can learn from Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan, with Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna with host Linda Solomon Wood , 2:30PM. 
Registration link

Nature PEI Meeting (room is full, but viewable on Facebook Live), 7:30PM.
The Invention of Polar Bears and the Spoiling of the Great Arctic Party – Dr. David Cairns will be Nature PEI’s guest speaker with his presentation on polar bears which evolved an eye-blink ago in geologic time. His presentation recounts what happened when they arrived in an unsuspecting and unprepared Arctic world. Meeting starts at 7:30 pm at Beaconsfield, the Carriage House, corner of West and Kent Street, Charlottetown.
This meeting is currently at capacity with pre-registrations but it will be broadcast via Facebook Live starting at 7:30 pm. It will be available here:

Note that: All meetings start at 7:30 pm, on the first Tuesday of the month.

Government website note for tomorrow:

Scheduled Website Interruption

There will be a temporary interruption for maintenance at

Impacted Service(s): All online services
Expected Duration: 3 Hours
Date: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 between 7-10pm

The Official Opposition Green Party has put its May newsletter online, here:
and it includes many updates on areas the Opposition has been holding Government to account, or working on their own ideas -- and the links may work or just visit the main link, above.

Subject headings in the May Green News -- Legislative Updates and Events:

New Walking/cycling trails in Britain, if you want to start planning or dreaming of gorgeous, preserved country and coastal views, from today's (U.K.) Guardian:

Ride or walk – A Cornish cycling route that takes in some of the UK’s most spectacular coastal scenery as well as atmospheric old industrial works and bronze age monuments is due to open in the autumn. The West Kernow Way covers 150 miles beginning and ending in Penzance. Cycling UK has plotted the route along bridleways, byways and quiet country roads, taking in Land’s End, the most westerly place in mainland England, the Lizard Point, the most southerly spot of mainland Britain, and St Michael’s Mount.

There is also an article on discussion about making more walking trails in London on historical waterways -- a city that may be working to preserve and enhance its views and history for residents and visitors.

Network of green walks proposed along routes of London’s forgotten rivers

Charity urges mayor to back plans for signage and maps to guide walkers around lost waterways
Article Link

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Elektra, today until about 6:30PM
Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Production by Patrice Chéreau. From April 30, 2016..  Short (under two hours), intense, psychological drama, and Stemme makes you care about this character of myth as a real person.

Handel’s Rodelinda, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Andreas Scholl, Joseph Kaiser, and Shenyang, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Stephen Wadsworth. From December 3, 2011.  Over three hours.  "Rodelinda is faced with an impossible dilemma: With her husband Bertarido believed dead, she either has to marry the despised Grimoaldo (the elegant Joseph Kaiser), who has usurped her husband’s throne, or see him murder her son. But Bertarido (leading countertenor Andreas Scholl) is alive and eventually reclaims both throne and wife—and makes peace with his enemies."

And  because it is today, May the Fourth Be with You....

somebody's very patient cat,

photo uncredited

May 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Pessimism is an indulgence, despair an insult to the imagination. There are wonderfully positive things out there.
      - Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis

Many MLAs will be have a constituency day today.
Contact information here:
Later this week:
American-focused, but if of interest:

Thursday, May 6th:
Interview with Senator and former Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, Washington Post's webinar series, 10:30AM. online.

"Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) ran for president as a champion for working families and the middle class and pushes corporations and politicians alike on progressive issues. Warren joins Washington Post Live to discuss her memoir, Persist, as well as her top legislative priorities following President Biden’s joint session speech. (Hosted by )"Power Up” author Jacqueline Alemany."
More information and streaming link:

As we head into spring, pollination, blueberries, etc., and proper dues to MLA Michele Beaton from Mermaid-Stratford for her pressing on this issue, too.  She spoke in the Legislature last week about this, and here is a link to her blog post from about a year ago:

Beekeepers get the short end on two counts - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021, in The Graphic publications

The government seems resigned to infecting PEI bee hives with small hive beetle (SHB). It is a serious pest. If you pull your boxes of honey off the hives and leave them without bees to guard them for a few days the beetle larvae can slime them and spoil the honey and even the equipment. If you have weaker hives or mating nucs you are trying to raise queens in, the beetles can kill them. Nova Scotia closed its border to the import of hives in 2017 in order to keep them out and it has closed to PEI as well because the policies of our government are obviously extremely high-risk.

Every year the beetle keeps expanding its range in Ontario and the Ontario government has given up on containing them and ended all movement controls on hives in the province.  And the PEI government keeps reducing the import restrictions on hives moving from Ontario to PEI for blueberry pollination. They want the hives, whatever the consequences, and there are just not enough low-risk hives available.

In 2017 the Minister of Agriculture assured us the department had a robust inspection protocol. Then, just before a load of bees, which had been inspected for SHB (using that ‘robust’ protocol) and passed, SHB were accidentally found by a tech transfer working in that yard. That year New Brunswick was infected with SHB, Nova Scotia closed their border to importations, and PEI did not get imports. After that for the next two years PEI excluded imports from the areas of Ontario where SHB were known to exist. But the question of infected ‘operations’ was raised. One large bee operation (based in the infected Niagara area) bought a smaller bee operation in Grey County and after declaring they would disinfect their vehicles and not transfer any bees or equipment between the smaller operation and their main operation the PEI Provincial Veterinarian allowed those hives to come to PEI. We were lucky that year, but by the next year, 2019, Grey County was no longer SHB-free (likely because that operation spread SHB there).

Last year, the import protocol from the two years before was dropped and there were no ‘restricted’ geographical areas, but most of the hives came from eastern Ontario which was not known to have SHB (and a few from the Newmarket area). But now SHB have been found both sides of Kingston in the east, and also north of Toronto near Newmarket. So we do not have geographic area protection anymore. We do not have much inspection anymore. There will be 10 per cent inspection of the hives by Ontario inspectors. That is it. There will be more inspection in PEI, but the amount is left unspecified in the most recent protocol. It is a far cry from the 100 per cent inspection asked of the candidates in the environmental debate before the last election and it is the first protocol where the number of hives to be inspected here is not stated. Will it be an additional 10 per cent, 1 per cent, 2 per cent?

The PEI Beekeepers Association executive met with the Minister of Agriculture and asked for the most basic of biosecurity measures. They asked that if any apiary of a beekeeping operation had a find of SHB that beekeeping operation should be excluded from exporting hives. Beekeepers move bees and bee equipment between apiaries and trucks get loaded with dead hives. SHB is a little beetle that likes to hide in cracks in the equipment or on the truck. Allowing hives in from an operation that has the pest is allowing the pest in.

But here is what is in the 2021 Protocol Regarding The Importation of Honey Bees into Prince Edward Island ...

3) If any stage of SHB has been detected in at least one APIARY operated by any beekeeping operation in EACH OF the last three consecutive years (i.e. 2019, 2020, and 2021), then NO colonies from that OPERATION will be permitted to enter PEI. (end quote)

So PEI can import hives from any place in Ontario, even areas that have had SHB for many years and from any operation that for one year in the past three did not find SHB. But how much inspection was done that year? The protocol does not specify. So, let us say a big beekeeping operation in the Niagara area did not have any apiaries that showed SHB last year because due to COVID there was little inspection, they can export as long as a few hives in one yard were inspected. There are no numbers quantified. Is that science? Is that protection? Would the Minister of Agriculture want protection like that for his dairy herd? Would he be satisfied if the disease brought in would probably not be able to be eradicated (because no one has eradicated SHB once it has come in, and in Italy they have spent millions burning hives just to contain it: but with containment strategies based on science). Would he be satisfied if we had an eradication protocol that could ask him to burn any cows that became infected but did not say anything about compensation? I doubt it, and the regulations for cows (federal) do specify compensation for destruction. The eradication policy for SHB is very specific on how to burn beehives but says nothing about compensation. Apparently beekeepers will have to bear the cost of destroying their hives in order to subsidize the import of hives for blueberry companies.

I remind the premier of his words during the environmental debate on this issue ‘based on science’. This protocol is NOT based on science. It is based on capitulation to the blueberry companies and their need to acquire hives from Ontario where the locations to access those hives keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Stan Sandler, Iris

Atlantic Skies for Monday, May 3rd to Sunday, May 9th, 2021 "Why Every Full Moon Isn't a Supermoon" - by Glenn K. Roberts

After viewing the Full Pink Supermoon of April 27 (12:31 a.m.), one of my readers emailed me with the following question: "Why isn't every Full Moon a "supermoon"?

The Moon's orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle, but, rather, slightly elliptical or oval in shape. As a consequence, the Moon's distance from the Earth can vary considerably (as much as 1,000 kms in just 6 hours) as it orbits the Earth; the average being approximately 384,400 kms. The lunar cycle is 29.53 days long; as a result, the Moon's phases vary when compared to calendar months (i.e., a particular lunar phase does not repeat itself on the same day each month). Also, the lunar perigee (its closest approach to Earth) and apogee (farthest distance from Earth) follows a 27-day cycle. Add to this the fact that the Moon's orbital plane around the Earth is not the same as the Earth's equatorial plane, but is tilted, varying between 18.28 and 28.58 degrees), with the result that, at some point in its orbit around the Earth, the Moon is either above or below Earth's equatorial plane. The Moon's orbital path is also influenced by the gravitational pull of the Sun, Earth and other planets.

Given that a supermoon is broadly defined (by astrologers, but not astronomers) as a New or Full Moon that occurs at or near (within 90% of) perigee, when you add the 29.53 lunar cycle, the 27 day perigee-apogee cycle, the Moon's tilted orbit around the Earth, and the gravitational influence of the Sun, Earth, and other planets, it is not difficult to appreciate that a number of things have to synchronize just perfectly for there to be a supermoon. This helps explain why every Full Moon is not a supermoon, and why there are usually only 3 or 4 supermoons in any given year. According to the Farmer's Almanac, there are only two supermoons in 2021 - April 27 and May 26 - although other sources list the June 24, 2021 Full Moon as a supermoon as well. However, according to astronomers, who have a stricter definition of a "supermoon" - the Full Moon that makes it closest approach (perigee) to Earth in any given year - there is only one real supermoon this year, the one occurring on May 26, 2021, when the Full Moon will be only 357,462 kms from the Earth (the April 27 supermoon was 357,615 kms from Earth), thus the closest perigee for 2021. Incidentally, there will be an even closer supermoon on Nov. 25, 2034, when the Moon, at perigee, will be only 356,445 kms from Earth, the closest supermoon of the 21st century..

Although supermoons can be up to 14% larger than a normal Full Moon, it is almost impossible to discern the size differential with the naked human
eye. Supermoons are, however, usually much brighter than a normal Full Moon, up to 30% brighter. The May 26, 2021 Full Supermoon will be the brightest (approximately 30% above normal) and the largest (approximately 14% larger) of the year.

With a clear view of the west-northwest horizon, you may catch a quick glimpse of Mercury (mag. -1.4, in Aries - the Ram) low above the horizon around 8:45 p.m. on May 3. You will have to be quick though, as our solar system's smallest planet will drop below the horizon soon after. Venus is below Mercury, and too close to the Sun (and the horizon) to be readily visible. Mars (mag. +1.6, in Gemini - the Twins) is visible about 22 degrees above the western horizon as the sky begins to darken, before dropping below the horizon shortly before midnight. Saturn (mag. +0.7, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) rises above the pre-dawn, southeast horizon around 2:50 a.m. this coming week, before disappearing from view as dawn approaches. Saturn will appear just to the upper left (north) of the Last Quarter Moon on May 3 in the pre-dawn sky. Jupiter (mag. -2.3, in Aquarius - the Water Bearer) rises in the southeast about 3:30 a.m., reaching a height of about 19 degrees above the pre-dawn horizon, before fading with the approaching dawn by about 5:35 a.m. It will sit to the upper left (north) of the Moon in the pre-dawn sky on the morning of May 4.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks during the pre-dawn hours of May 5. One of two meteor showers associated with the famous Comet Halley (the other being the Orionids in October), the Eta Aquarids appear between Apr. 19 - May 28, with a broad peak occurring during the week centered on May 5.  The shower's radiant (apparent point of origin in the sky) lies near Eta Aquarii, the brightest star in the constellation of Aquarius - the Water Bearer, which clears the eastern horizon between 1 -2 a.m. Eta is one of four stars representing the "water jar" asterism in the constellation. The Eta Aquarids are known for their speed (about 237,000 kms/hr), and, as a consequence, often leave glowing "trains" (incandescent bits of debris visible in the wake of a meteor) lasting several seconds (makes for some great photo ops). Expect to see about 10-15 bright meteors per hour under a dark sky away from city lights. You might actually see some of the Eta Aquarids even before the constellation clears the eastern horizon; these are often referred to as "earthgrazers" - long, fast meteor trains that appear to skim the Earth's upper atmosphere starting at or near the horizon. You should also make a point, weather and determination permitting, to watch in the pre-dawn hours of May. 4 and 6; there is likely be as many meteors those mornings as on May. 5. The waning, crescent Moon show not interfere too much, though it may wash out some of the fainter meteors. 

Until next week, clear skies.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s La Rondine, today until 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Nicolas Joël. From January 10, 2009.  A happier time for Gheorghiu and Alagna, in this beautiful, bittersweet, bird-like (La Rondine means the Swallow) opera.

Nightly Opera Streams, May 3–9

Theme: Happy Mother’s Day

"Celebrate Mother’s Day with a week of free streams showcasing some of the best—and worst—operatic moms"

Strauss’s Elektra, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Production by Patrice Chéreau. From April 30, 2016.  Under 2 hours.  Based on the Greek myth and classic play, and set in modern times.  I think Electra's mother is considered one of the worst, though she's a bit pitiable in this opera.

May 2, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown garden share program launches pilot program - CBC online post by Sara Fraser

Published on CBC online on Saturday, May 1st, 2021

Erin Bateman and Rhea Szarics joke their idea to match up gardeners with homeowners in Charlottetown and Stratford is like Tinder for gardening.  "We've been joking about it quite a bit," said Szarics with a laugh.

The green-thumbed friends met this past winter when they were both forest educators for the Sierra Club's Wild Child Program, and came up with the idea of matching homeowners with gardeners without land but want to grow their own food.

Szarics is an avid gardener who moved into an apartment in Charlottetown this winter. She said she found herself approaching the growing season with no space to garden, and with community garden plots in short supply.   She found a friend with a backyard who agreed to let her use the space to garden.

"She's a busy professional, loves cooking, but definitely does not have the time to grow fresh ingredients herself. So it was an ideal arrangement."

How it works

"I just thought to myself, I can't be the only person in Charlottetown with this problem," Szarics said.  She and Bateman came up with a plan to share the solution with others in the capital-city area. It's called the Charlottetown garden-sharing initiative, and it's free. 

Here's how it works: those who wish to garden, or those with land, can visit the initiative's website,, where they can download a form to sign up. The deadline is May 10. 

The women will match up a homeowner and a gardener based on criteria participants indicate are important to them such as location, amount of space needed and what they might like to grow. 

The idea is the gardener provides the knowledge and the labour, and the homeowner provides the land and the tools, and pays for inputs like seeds, compost or tomato cages. If a gardener is inexperienced, they may be matched with a homeowner who wants to mentor them, or they could garden with a third, more experienced gardener. 

There will be a two-week trial period where the two can get to know one another and make sure the arrangement suits them both. There is an opportunity to be re-matched if needed. 

Participants must then draft a written agreement that outlines things such as garden size, a crop plan, a list of tools that will be needed, an estimated budget and how they'll divvy up the garden's bounty. 

After that, the organizers will hold a virtual meeting with both parties to review the agreement and make sure they're on the same page. This is what Bateman and Szarics jokingly call "gardening marriage counselling." Everyone signs the agreement, then the gardening can begin.  

Szarics said she and Bateman will check in on participants every so often, to see how things are going. 

"Part of the beauty of this initiative is that we give homeowners and gardeners a lot of freedom in deciding what they want out of their partnership, so people can kind of choose the route that they want to go." 

Will you let strangers dig in your yard?

So far, six people have signed up for the initiative. Organizers are looking to keep the project fairly small in this pilot summer. 

Szarics said right now they have more homeowners than gardeners looking for garden space, which surprised them.

"Erin and I both thought that we would have the opposite issue — that it might be a little challenging to convince the residents of Charlottetown to let a stranger come in and dig up their yard," she said. 

There are only a few rules. The biggest is that participants must not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. The program also encourages participants to use organic growing methods as much as possible. Participants must follow provincial COVID-19 guidelines such as wearing a mask when in contact with others and wearing garden gloves. The program is providing a free kit for participants to sanitize any shared surfaces such as tools. 

Other than that, the pairs can decide how they want to handle who does what. Some homeowners may choose to pitch in on garden labour, while others may not.

"We don't really want to tell people what to do," Szarics said. 

Anyone can learn to garden'

Szarics worked at Legacy Garden in Charlottetown for a couple of summers and said she enjoyed the community aspect of public gardening. 

"Having the opportunity to garden with other people was one of the most fulfilling parts of that job. And working with people also offers lots of opportunities for sharing knowledge about gardening, which I always get really excited about. But there is also something fulfilling about creating a space for someone that they'll enjoy being in," she said. 

"I think there is an element of satisfaction both in gardening 'with' people and gardening 'for' people."

A couple of city organizations are partnering on the garden-sharing initiative. The Desbrisay Community Garden will be a central location for any programming and give our participants a chance to connect with a group of gardening enthusiasts. And participants will get a half-price membership to the Charlottetown Tool Library, which loans out everything from rototillers to shovels.

Bateman and Szarics have also reached out to the two Charlottetown-area high schools, which have gardens that may go unused in the summers. They may pair up a gardener with a school.   

Szarics said the goal of the garden-sharing initiative is not just to enhance food security or create meaningful connections among neighbours — it's to create more "beautiful, productive urban green spaces" in Charlottetown and Stratford. 

"There's a number of really fantastic positives that come with having more home garden spaces," she said. 

Worried you don't have what it takes? The women said they're there to offer support and direct participants to resources in the community. 

"Almost anyone can learn to garden," she said. "Doing it on a small scale is a really great way to acquire the skills that you need to scale up."

A similar garden-sharing program was piloted in Charlottetown in 2017 by the P.E.I. Food Exchange. It was designed as a self-serve website, but fell apart because participants needed more support.

"The time is ripe, and perhaps it wasn't when we floated the boat out a few years ago," says Pauline Howard from the food exchange. "I do believe, knowing Rhea and Erin, that this will happen."  


Bonshaw and Area notes:

I forgot to mention the special meeting last week (Thursday, April 29th) regarding Electoral Ward Boundaries for the Amalgamated Municipality of West River.   Unfortunately, Charlottetown is not alone in having gaps in communication of meetings and such with residents (on issues certainly affecting residents), as it wasn't too widely advertised.  And it appeared no effort was made to live-stream or record it, which isn't really acceptable in this day and age. 

from the Rural Municipality of West River's website, where the maps are:




The Electoral Boundaries Commission is proposing the ward boundaries shown on the maps below for each of the six wards. The Commission is also proposing both English and Mi’kmaq names for each of the wards. The proposed names are as follows (Tap Blue Letters to Access Maps):

Rural Municipality of West River Wards Boundaries

Ward #1
                   MAQTEWE’K JUPU’JIJ 


Ward #3

                  PITA’Q JIPU’JIJ

                   MAQTEWE’K KWESAWEI

Ward #6 – THE HILL

Each ward is to be within 10% of the average of all the wards or 410 electors (i.e. between 369 and 451 electors).  A full report from the Commission will be made to the Council at its May meeting.

There are three ways in which to provide comments. 

By email at
By Hand Delivered Mail marked CONFIDENTIAL to the Municipal Office at 1552 Rte. #19, New Dominion
By Phone:  902-566-5584

Questions should be directed to either the email address or the phone number above.

Your comments are welcomed by the Commission up to THURSDAY, MAY 6th  OR directly to the Council up to THURSDAY, MAY 13th .
The Electoral Boundaries Commission.

   Funded by the Department of Fisheries and Communities through the Transitional Funding Agreement between the Government of Prince Edward Island and the Rural Municipality of West River.

Please note the Council for the Rural Municipality of West River will hold a special meeting on Monday, May 3, 2021, at 5:30 pm at Afton Community Center.

Perspective on the water situation:

We have to get this right - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie

Published in Island Farmer on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

(things have changed since this was written as we have the Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister recently declaring he has all the information he needs to apparently ban certain wells for holding ponds but lift the moratorium on high capacity wells for others)

The Water Act should be named for the late Daryl Guignon. The well-respected UPEI biologist was the firmest voice saying no in December of 2013, when it was announced that the moratorium on high-capacity irrigation wells would end.

Not on his watch. By June of 2014, former Liberal Environment Minister Janice Sherry announced a new Water Act would be created. What followed were hundreds of hours of public consultations, thoughtful presentations by dozens of individuals and public interest groups. The Act itself was passed in 2017, and will finally come into force with regulations on June 16th. The moratorium continues, but with a backdrop of continuing drought from climate change during the critical growing season endangering the survival of many farms, there will be new research to determine if the moratorium can safely end.

The Water Act is a singular achievement Islanders should be proud of, not just regulations to protect groundwater resources, but values to guide future decision making. However there’s one skunk at the celebration--irrigation holding ponds.

It’s a challenge to write or talk about holding ponds. Many continue to think or hope that the Water Act will make holding ponds illegal. It does not. It does have regulations about the wells that feed water to holding ponds, and those will come into effect in mid-June. If new ponds are built then multiple low capacity wells that mimic a high capacity well will not be allowed as long as the moratorium is in place.

What’s the controversy? The former Liberal government had written “requirements” for supplying these ponds: one low capacity well (capable of filling an Olympic sized swimming pool in just over a week). Some pond owners followed this rule but many didn’t. The government became convinced that each of these additional low capacity wells on their own were legal, and therefore they’ve been grandfathered in to the new regulations. A legislative committee had recommended a two year compliance period. New Environment Minister Steven Myers has increased that to five years.

I’ve written several times that it was the dozen or so farmers who risked not following these “requirements” and they should have to wait like everyone else for the research to show whether the additional wells can be used safely. It’s also unfortunate to start this fresh era of regulating water use by making an exception everyone is noticing.

The number of holding ponds has increased over the last five years as the impact of climate change, wet springs and falls, dry summers, became firmly established, and farmers saw little hope of the moratorium ending. Used properly these ponds can capture water when it’s flush in the spring, but still no farmer would build a pond if there was any possibility of a high-capacity well in the near future.

However I know for some Islanders these ponds are big, ugly things that represent the physical manifestation of all their concerns: the scale of water needed for irrigation, that selfish farmers will never follow the rules, and government won’t make them.

According to a survey done a year ago there are 30 of these ponds, using a mix of established highcapacity wells, and 67 low capacity wells, to fill them. Two well capitalized operations, Vanco and Indian River Farms, own the majority, with another dozen farms the rest.

I think the trust issue is as important as water use right now. The truth is we really don’t have solid information about water use in these ponds. It’s the impact on local stream flow that’s measured, not the actual amount of water being pumped. The insistence on proper record keeping in the Water Act, the new research that will start this summer, all will build a better understanding of how irrigation is impacting watersheds and should build trust that it can be properly regulated.

Trust and credibility will also be an issue for Island politicians and interest groups. The easiest thing for Premier Dennis King would be to leave this for the next government. He didn’t. In the Environment department, the minister has gone from a series of Steve Yzermans, a cerebral play maker, to Bobby Clarke, willing to whack an opponent on the ankle with his stick to win a game.

Maybe that’s what Steven Myers had to do. Irrigation opponents reminded everyone about Cavendish Farm’s role in all of this, but then ignored that certified organic farmers are also calling for well regulated access to water for farmers. Not surprisingly, the Potato Board was supportive of the new research and the grandfathering of additional wells for pond owners. It also welcomes required new studies on soil health, and one I’ll be watching, what impact is there when plowing is done in the spring leaving fields covered through the winter.

Despite the impact of climate change I don’t think the late Daryl Guignon would have moved off his well-earned conviction that the moratorium is the right thing to do. I remember him talking about the importance of “old” water, our savings account of water deep underground that keeps the salt water all around us at bay. Whatever happens let’s make sure we’re all a part of honouring that. He deserves it, and our gratitude for making us try to do this right.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, and Ambrogio Maestri, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 12, 2019.  Confusion, infidelity, rage, revenge.  But such gorgeous singing.

Puccini’s La Rondine, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Nicolas Joël. From January 10, 2009.  So charming, and so sad.

May 1, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food:
Farmers' Markets are open in
Charlottetown (9AM-2PM) and
Summerside (9AM-1PM)

Farmacy on Great George Street, from 9AM-1PM offering produce and ferments,
and other stores like
Riverview County Market and the KJL shops are open today.


Also today:

PEI Craft Council Bloom Spring Sale, 9AM-4PM, Delta Hotel, Water Street, Charlottetown, free admissions but donations accepted.
  "The PEI Craft Council is proudly presenting its first ever Spring Market! Just in time for Mother's Day, this market will showcase 56 local vendors, spread across 4 ballrooms at the Delta to ensure social distancing.

Come down and support your local makers at this event!

There is no admittance fee for this event, but donations will be taken at the door. Stay tuned to see who we'll be donating to this year!"

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, May 5th:
BreatheEasy Presents: Lessons from London with
Gary Fuller Webinar, 1-2:30PM, online, free

The BreatheEasy Project is excited to present "Lessons from London" with Dr Gary Fuller. A webinar focused on the history of air pollution in London, England, how they are tackling it and what we can learn from them for Ottawa and the rest of Canada.

Dr Gary Fuller is an air pollution scientist at Imperial College London. He led the development of the London Air Quality Network to become Europe’s most advanced regional measurement network. His research interests focus on the urban air pollution sources; how these are changing and how they affect our health. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian newspaper. His air pollution book, “The Invisible Killer” is published by Melville House in Europe and North America.

This is a free and virtual event. A link to the Zoom meeting will be provided 24 hours before the event to those who register.

Registration link

Thursday, May 6th:
Webinar: Community Science, 6:30-7:30PM, online, free, hosted by the Nature Trust of New Brunswick

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: All levels, kid-friendly

The Nature Trust completes various species surveys on nature preserves – many of which are achieved thanks to our hard-working and dedicated volunteers.

Join the Nature Trust stewardship team on Thursday, May 6th, for a free, family-friendly webinar to learn about the different community science skills you can gain as a volunteer and how you can get involved in the new Ambassador Program this summer.

Space is limited, so please register by clicking the registration link below.

This webinar is a part of our digital Passport to Nature, a series of educational webinars and videos created with you in mind, whether you are new to the outdoors or an avid outdoor explorer..

*If you cannot attend this webinar live, please register to receive a recorded copy following the webinar.


Sunday, May 16th:
The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP)'s Annual Spring Education Forum, 2PM

The theme of the forum: The Land is Alive

Inspirational Presenters: Jill McCormack and Julie Pellissier-Lush

This forum will be a mixture of Zoom at a central point and smaller regional in-person groups. The in-person groups will be in West Prince, Charlottetown, and Kings County.
To register:

All are welcome!
For more information, Contact: Marie Burge 902-569-3504

Interesting short video:

Documenting Changes to the Earth, via timelapse and Google Earth (about 3 minutes):

Science Matters with David Suzuki

Leading thinkers call for fossil fuel halt

from the David Suzuki Foundation
sent on Friday, April 30th, 2021

website link


In 1970, to make the world safer from humanity’s worst self-destructive impulses, most nations joined the
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (Only India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and South Sudan are not signatories.)

Now the world faces a threat as great as or greater than nuclear weapons: global warming. That’s led to calls for a “Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.” Recently, 101 Nobel laureates — in peace, literature, medicine, physics, chemistry and economic sciences, including the Dalai Lama — signed a letter to world leaders endorsing the proposal.

“Climate change is threatening hundreds of millions of lives, livelihoods across every continent and is putting thousands of species at risk,” they write.

The letter points out that burning coal, oil and gas is responsible for 80 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution and that “pollution, environmental and health costs associated with extracting, refining, transporting and burning fossil fuels … are often paid by Indigenous peoples and marginalized communities.”

It also notes that the Paris Agreement doesn’t mention oil, gas or coal and that the industry — funded by major banks — continues to expand. By 2030, 120 per cent more of these fuels will be produced than is consistent with meeting the agreement’s aspirational goal of keeping global average temperature from rising more than 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.

As the laureates write, “The solution is clear: fossil fuels must be kept in the ground.”

The letter calls for ending coal, oil and gas development expansion; phasing out existing production in a “fair and equitable” manner; and investing in a transitional plan “to ensure 100% access to renewable energy globally, support dependent economies to diversify away from fossil fuels, and enable people and communities across the globe to flourish through a global just transition.”

This isn’t the first time leading thinkers have joined to urge humanity to resolve environmental problems. In 1992 and again in 2017, top scientists issued “warnings to humanity.” The first, signed by 1,700 scientists, including most science Nobel laureates, warned, “Our massive tampering with the world's interdependent web of life — coupled with the environmental damage inflicted by deforestation, species loss, and climate change — could trigger widespread adverse effects, including unpredictable collapses of critical biological systems whose interactions and dynamics we only imperfectly understand.”

It called for action in areas including “ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth.”

Twenty-five years later, more than 15,000 scientists issued a second warning, noting that “with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.” That warning pointed to the increasing threat of climate disruption from fossil fuel burning, deforestation and agricultural production and to the growing mass extinction crisis.

When will we heed these voices of reason? When will we stop listening to those who have been telling us for decades that “we can’t stop using fossil fuels overnight” as they ramp up production and make no attempts to stop at all? Why do politicians continue to talk about their climate commitments while buying and supporting fossil fuel pipelines and other infrastructure, and expanding production of fracked gas and oilsands bitumen?

We talk about the urgency of the climate and biodiversity crises but act as if we have all the time in the world to address them.

The COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into a crisis with immediate impacts on everyone, but it also taught us important lessons and gives us an opportunity to change. It’s shown that we can resolve crises and develop solutions rapidly if we come together and spare no expense. It’s shown that prioritizing the human-created economy over human and planetary health has dire consequences and only prolongs the crisis.

The world has paused to deal with a critical health emergency — also rooted in environmental degradation. It’s a chance to reset, to start governing our lives in ways that won’t lead to possibly deadlier pandemics, or to a planet heated beyond its ability to support healthy life or to continued mass extinction.

We must devote everything to resolving these interrelated crises. We’ve been warned.

Written by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington


Metropolitan Opera Radio "Saturday Afternoon at the Opera" performance, 2PM, 104.7FM, recorded live

Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux
Performance from April 16, 2016
Maurizio Benini; Sondra Radvanovsky (Elisabetta), Elīna Garanča (Sara), Matthew Polenzani (Roberto), Mariusz Kwiecien (Duke of Nottingham)
Marvelous cast, sad (possibly embellished) tale of later life of Elizabeth I and relationships that were not meant to be.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s La Traviata , today until 6:30PM
Starring Ileana Cotrubas, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Levine. Production by Colin Graham. From March 28, 1981. 

Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, and Ambrogio Maestri, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 12, 2019.  A "killer" cast in this drama of love and political ambition.

April 30, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-2PM.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link 
Fridays4Future, 3:30PM, Province House near Grafton Street, all welcome!

Local and sweet and supporting local:

Borrowed Kitchen Sugar Shack (whooose owl cookie fundraiser is for Macphail Woods) is open today 10AM-5PM, in Pownal, P.E.I
More details here

Rainforest Lounge with Todd MacLean, 7PM, Facebook Live.
The Global Forest author and musician chats and shares live music with Islanders, hosting Bonshaw's own Tim Hamming along with Ashley Gorman.

Lynne Lund, MLA for District 21: Summerside-Wilmot and Opposition Environment Critic, made a statement on Earth Day where she compared the Government's Climate Change action to a hockey game.  Very funny.  Under 3 minutes:
Facebook video of Lynne Lund's statement

Guardian article on Legislative Committee's Report (Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability):

P.E.I. standing committee recommends limits on ‘grandfathered’ holding ponds - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Thursday, April 29th, 2021

A standing committee has recommended government not allow agricultural holding ponds to use more water than a high-capacity well when P.E.I.’s Water Act regulations come into effect.

A report by the all-party standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability was tabled in the legislature on Tuesday. The committee was tasked with examining the draft water withdrawal regulations of the Water Act, which are due to be proclaimed on June 16. These regulations would govern groundwater wells used for agriculture irrigation.

The committee’s report included seven recommendations. One of these regulations urged government to amend the existing regulations to require low-capacity wells that feed existing holding ponds to reduce the amount of water withdrawn to less than 345 square metres per day – the amount of water used by a high-capacity well.

Farmers using holding ponds will have five years to bring them into compliance with the regulations. But the existing regulations could allow existing holding ponds that are "grandfathered-in" to withdraw more water than a high-capacity well as of 2026.

Cory Deagle, a Progressive Conservative MLA, chaired the committee. He said the holding pond recommendation was the subject of the most intense debate amongst members of the all-party committee.

"Everyone supported the report to the legislature,” Deagle said.  “There was a number of them that had significant debate on them."

Another recommendation called on provincial authorities to develop drought contingency plans for each watershed in P.E.I., prior to issuing permits for wells for irrigation and other uses.

Deagle said this would provide more clarity and fairness for farmers.

"I think the discussion we had at committee was, each person who files an application has to come up with this contingency plan. It's a lot of work for farmers,” Deagle said.  "The committee came to a consensus that it sounds like it would be the department that should draft those."

Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers said he would be considering the recommendations but did not commit that his department would take on the role of preparing watershed drought contingency plans.

"The basis is we have to do it altogether. It's hard to say any one body should come up with a full plan,” Myers said.

The recommendations are not likely to be incorporated into the regulations before June 16, when they are proclaimed. But Myers said these regulations could be amended after that date, based on the committee’s recommendations.

“We may have several iterations of tweaking the regulations to find kind of what the sweet spot would be," Myers said.

Myers did not commit that he would incorporate the recommendation about holding ponds into the regulations. On Tuesday, Myers announced he would halt construction of new holding ponds that draw from multiple low-capacity wells due in part to concerns from conservation groups.

Another committee recommendation called for the regulations to include provisions requiring ongoing testing and monitoring of irrigation permits. The report also recommended a “water budget” for each watershed, and a regime of metering of water usage.

Other recommendations called for a sustainable irrigation strategy based on the needs of each watershed, which would not consider agriculture water permits to be different from those of other commercial or industrial permits.

Myers suggested a metering-based regime for water usage to be more fair than the current moratorium on high-capacity wells for agricultural usage.

“There's been 91 high-capacity wells approved since the moratorium has been put in place. Zero of them are for agriculture," he said.  "So if you talk about fairness, agriculture clearly wasn't being treated fairly at all."


 The report is here.

If you want to read through the Question Periods for the last week in the Legislative Assembly (and who doesn't?), they are listed here (no indexing, just the text of the day's Question Period, which the Hansard team fast-tracks to make available soon after Question Period for the press and interested citizens :-)  )

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Massenet’s Manon, today until 6:30PM

Starring Lisette Oropesa, Michael Fabiano, Artur Ruciński, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Laurent Pelly. From October 26, 2019. Gorgeous, but sad and engrossing story.  Oropesa and Fabiano are charming. About 3 hours.

Verdi’s La Traviata, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM

Starring Ileana Cotrubas, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil. Production by Colin Graham. From March 28, 1981.  Forty years ago!!  Swift production at just over 2 hours.

April 29, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Local Food:
Today at 5PM, deadline to order from Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO, for pickup at the Market Saturday afternoon between 2-4PM.
Second of two panel discussions on The Bay of Fundy, webinar
Panel Two -- The Bay of Fundy: Natural Wonder of Nuclear Test Site, 7:30PM,

Hosted by RAVEN (Rural Action and Voices for the ENvironment), free, all welcome.  More details and registration link here:

Notes on Charlottetown with some real Vision for the Future:

1) The New Charlottetown Project author Barbara Dylla has done an excellent job summarizing the public meeting Monday, April 26th about the Master Traffic Plan. 

More at:

For people unable to be at the meeting, here is a page with contact information for the City of Charlottetown mayor and councillors

(And another note regarding the City's proposed plan, that it's awful that a plan for 2041, from a City with wonderful sustainability people, isn't taking into account Climate Change Mitigation / Greenhouse Gases and pollution caused by vehicles and working to reduce those drastically in future planning.)
2) from the Future of Charlottetown's Facebook page posting,
Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

PEAT: Public Engagement, Accountability and Transparency - Future of Charlottetown's Facebook page posting

Islanders have three recurring concerns when it comes to many different public issues in our fine province. These are the frequent lack of authentic Public Engagement, the denial or fudging of Accountability, and the avoidance of Transparency.

As Islanders, we live in a wonderful natural setting, but we are in many ways a wink-wink province when it comes to PEAT. Decision-makers often tell the public as little as possible in talking points often as embellished as possible. The strategy is to keep public concerns under control by ignoring or paying lip service to issues while continuing to advance the agenda of narrow special interests who, for one reason or another, often have far more clout with decision-makers than citizens, except on election day.

So, why does this happen? Because as citizens we allow it to happen. The average citizen believes he/she has enough on their plate each day without taking time away from family or making a living to keep abreast of community issues and to recognize that their interests are sometimes not being properly represented by their elected officials. Until it is too late! It is also passing strange that for the four years of the Trump administration, many Islanders daily ranted and raved about the obvious excesses of Trump [something they couldn't do even the slightest thing to change] and yet, in many cases, didn't even seem aware of, or prepared to influence, significant public issues in our own community.

Public apathy is a problem for our community, but it is also the weakness which enables the City of Charlottetown, and sometimes our provincial government, to get away with things it shouldn't. The problem is made worse because our mainstream media situation is bad and becoming worse. CBC PEI, as an Island news organization, is only a shadow of its former self. It does a great job on COVID, but it has a responsibility to be more than the Covid Broadcasting Corporation. The Guardian is struggling for survival, provides an important public platform in its Letters to the Editor, has an excellent provincial reporter, but many days it has more news on downtown St John's than on Charlottetown.

On the positive side, there are many fine community organizations [eg Citizens Alliance of PEI] which are increasing public awareness day after day. Most importantly, citizens/residents themselves are mobilizing with real impacts. For example, many Sherwood residents attended the April 26 public meeting on the Transportation Master Plan and made outstanding comments strong and clear and are not going away until/unless their concerns are addressed.

For its part, Future of Charlottetown has a large and growing following and we will be focusing regularly, with compelling examples, on abuses of PEAT-Public Engagement, Accountability, Transparency at the City and provincial level. We will also be introducing The PEAT Council, a stronger way to ensure and track that politicians better respect the need for public engagement, accountability and transparency. Or those politicians will hopefully be voted out come election day.


I was planning to copy the essay before seeing the praise of the Citizens' Alliance, but I will add that I don't fault people too much for not being involved, as when they do, jumping through many hoops, they are often patronized and their opinions not taken meaningfully, or they are bamboozled by process, tradition, illusion, hierarchy, etc. 

Two interesting reads, one long and one short and sweet.

About England's patches of rainforest, from The (U.K.) Guardian:

And from astronaut Michael Collins, who died yesterday, but lived with the preconceived notion of many that he was pitiable as he sat in the spaceship Columbia while the other two Apollo 11 astronauts got to walk about on the Moon, his short little essay about his sweet little spacecraft:

If you wish to find and contact your MLA about any matters, including asking for their support of the Private Member Bill 108 (Environmental Bill of Rights), information is here:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, today until 6:30PM
Starring Maria Guleghina, Wendy White, Stephanie Blythe, Luciano Pavarotti, and Juan Pons. Production by Nicolas Joël. From October 15, 1996.  Two hours.  Star crossed lovers in the French Revolutionary times.

Massenet’s Manon, tonight 7:30PM until Friday about 6:30PM

Starring Lisette Oropesa, Michael Fabiano, Artur Ruciński, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Laurent Pelly. From October 26, 2019.  About 3 hours.  "As the young ingénue, Oropesa delivers a stunning performance, marked by brilliant coloratura, melting lyricism, and enchanting stage presence."  Oh, but it ends so badly.

April 28, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page:

LETTER: Remember there is no Planet B - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Friday, April 16th, 2021

The whole world is in a mess, trees being felled at an unprecedented rate, certainly here on P.E.I. Water is vital and yet under threat from so many directions. The soil is being destroyed by money-grasping farming corporations. People like David Suzuki, nationally, and competent local environmentalist like Gary Schneider are crying out for change. They are only two of many thousands of concerned citizens. We are losing so many of nature’s natural resources/species every day. Insects, bees, butterflies, bird, fish, just to name a few. Governments are doing little to stop this dangerous slide into extinction of life on this planet. On Prince Edward Island our provincial government is more concerned with online gambling and grandfathering in holding ponds. We get one excuse after another, “Oh! they have a permit!” “Can’t interfere, it’s private property.” I do not understand these people we have elected; they promise but then turn their backs on the people they are supposed to be representing. Why? Is it money, bribery or greed or just plain stupidity? Because it is definitely not in the smartest interest of this province. 

F. Ben Rodgers, Abram-Village

Here is the LINK to The Guardian story by Stu Neatby on the announcement yesterday by Environment, Water and Climate Action Minister Stephen Myers, to halt construction of more ponds filled by multiple low capacity wells:

P.E.I. environment minister pledges a halt to holding pond construction

Comment on an excerpt:
Unfortunately, Myers again attempts to "simpsonfly" the complex situation of supporting agriculture and the environment by making cartoonish statements such as:

“The Green Party, they're against everything. They just don't want farmers to survive here on Prince Edward Island,” Myers said.  “The Watershed Alliance brings life to our streams and rivers, they brought fish back to our streams and rivers."

He continued:
Myers also said his department was currently working on an irrigation strategy, and that experts in his department had all the necessary data on the capacity of watersheds on P.E.I.

...which may be news to Professor van Den Heuvel and his plan for a four year long research project. 

Full story at link, above. 

Here is the East Coast Environmental Law Blog on the P.E.I. Environmental Bill of Rights -- a good, thorough read.

Why Legislate Environmental Rights on Prince Edward Island? - East Coast Environmental Law Association (ECELAW) post by Tina Northrup, staff lawyer, with the tiniest bit of help by Chris Ortenburger

Published on Friday, April 23rd, 2021

On April 8, 2021, Bill 108—a proposed Environmental Bill of Rights—was introduced to Prince Edward Island’s Legislative Assembly. The bill was tabled as a Private Member’s Bill by Lynne Lund, Green MLA for Summerside-Wilmot and party Critic for Environment, Water, Climate Change and Green Development. If it were enacted as tabled, the bill would create substantive and procedural environmental rights for all residents of Prince Edward Island. 

In this blog post, East Coast Environmental Law staff lawyer Tina Northrup and Board member Chris Ortenburger—a founder of the Citizens’ Alliance of P.E.I.—offer some initial thoughts on the value of legislating environmental rights on Prince Edward Island.

Environmental Rights Legislation Across Canada

Although many Canadians take it for granted that we have legal rights to clean air, safe drinking water, and healthy ecosystems that create oxygen, regulate planetary temperatures, and enable our existence on Earth in countless other ways, the reality is that our legal rights to healthy, ecologically balanced, and biodiverse environments are tenuous at best. 

Without legislation (written law created by the federal government or the provincial and territorial governments) that establishes clear environmental rights, it can be very difficult for Canadians to protect themselves, their families, their communities, or their neighbours near and far from environmental harms, and it can be even more difficult to get justice when such harms occur. 

Today, no federal statutes in Canada recognize the right to a healthy environment or to human necessities like clean air and drinking water (although proposed amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act may do so). 

Two provinces, Ontario and Quebec, and two territories,the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, have environmental rights legislation that establishes substantive or procedural environmental rights, or both, for persons within their jurisdictions. 

The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and Environment Quality Act and the Yukon Environment Act give substantive and procedural environmental rights to the residents of each jurisdiction, respectively. The Northwest Territories Environmental Rights Act and the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights give procedural, but not substantive, environmental rights to the residents of each jurisdiction, respectively. 

substantive environmental right is an enforceable legal right to enjoy or benefit from the environment in some way. Procedural environmental rights are enforceable rights that relate to processes such as the collection and sharing of relevant information, participation in environmental decision-making, and participation in environmental compliance and enforcement. Procedural environmental rights can be created without substantive environmental rights, but ideally the two kinds of right will be paired so that they can work together and be mutually reinforcing. We say more about each kind of right in our discussions below.

If it were passed as tabled, the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights for PEI would give Islanders substantive and procedural environmental rights. This is positive, as the strongest environmental rights statutes combine both kinds of right.  

Exploring Substantive Environmental Rights

As we noted above, a substantive environmental right is an enforceable legal right to enjoy or benefit from the environment in some way. Substantive environmental rights can take many different forms. For example, they can create specific rights of access such as rights to clean air and drinking water, and they can also create specific rights to the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. 

            The Proposed Substantive Environmental Rights for PEI

If it were passed as tabled, the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights for PEI would create substantial environmental rights in these terms:

46(1) Every resident has a right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment and the right to be protected from environmental hazards.

This language connects the concept of a “healthy” environment—i.e., an environment that would be healthy for humans and presumably include clean air and drinking water as absolute minimums—with ecological balance. Although biodiversity is not mentioned explicitly, human rights to the protection of biodiversity could arguably be included under the concept of an “ecologically balanced environment”. The human right to be protected from environmental hazards could possibly be interpreted to mean protection from contaminants in air, water, and harvested foods, and it might also be interpreted to mean protection from harmful consequences of climate change. 

To get a better sense of how this proposed language compares to the language of existing environmental rights legislation in Canada, let’s take a look at the provisions that create substantive environmental rights in Quebec and the Yukon. 

            Substantive Environmental Rights in Quebec and the Yukon

Section 46.1 of Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms states that “[e]very person has a right to live in a healthful environment in which biodiversity is preserved, to the extent and according to the standards provided by law”. 

Additionally, section 19.1 of Quebec’s Environment Quality Act states:

Every person has a right to a healthy environment and to its protection, and to the protection of the living species inhabiting it, to the extent provided for by this Act and the regulations, orders, approvals and authorizations issued under any section of this Act and, as regards odours resulting from agricultural activities, to the extent prescribed by any standard originating from the exercise of the powers provided for in subparagraph 4 of the second paragraph of section 113 of the Act respecting land use planning and development (chapter A-19.1). 

Here, we see that Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms draws an explicit connection between a “healthful” environment and the preservation of biodiversity. This connection is not made as clearly in Quebec’s Environment Quality Act, but even there the statute connects a human person’s right to a “healthy” environment with a corresponding right to protect other living species inhabiting the environment—a connection which arguably recognizes the importance of biodiversity implicitly. 

By comparison, section 6 of the Yukon Environment Act is relatively sparse: it states simply that “[t]he people of the Yukon have the right to a healthful natural environment”. Arguably, the language used to create a substantive environmental right in the Yukon Environment Act could be interpreted more narrowly than the language used to create environmental rights in Quebec, because the concept of a “healthful natural environment”, as used in the Yukon statute, does not clearly recognize the value of biodiversity or the value of protecting other-than-human species.

When we compare the language of the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights for PEI with the language used in Quebec and the Yukon, it’s clear that the PEI bill is more closely aligned with Quebec’s legislation because it recognizes the importance of ecological balance and, in doing so, could potentially enable better protection of biodiversity as well. This is positive, as human beings are part of nature, and the survival of our species depends upon the other-than-human beings with whom we share the planet.   

            Noteworthy Preambular Language in the Northwest Territories and Ontario

Even though the environmental rights statutes of the Northwest Territories and Ontario don’t actually provide substantive environmental rights, it’s worth taking a quick look at the preambular language of both statutes to see how their conceptions of environmental rights measure up.

By “preambular language”, we mean the statements that appear in the preambles of the statutes. Preambles are the introductory parts of statutes that describe governments’ motivations for creating the legislation, often by naming specific issues and identifying important principles. Preambles can offer important insight into statutes’ intentions and purposes and can shape how laws are interpreted, but, in and of themselves, preambles do not create binding legal rights or responsibilities.

The preamble to the Northwest Territories Environmental Rights Act states that “the people of the Northwest Territories have the right to a healthy environment and a right to protect the integrity, biological diversity and productivity of the ecosystems in the Northwest Territories”. If this language were used to create a substantive environmental right, the right to a “healthy” environment would clearly be informed by an ecosystem approach and would include a right to protect local biodiversity. This language resonates with the language used in Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and Environment Quality Act, discussed above.

By contrast, the preamble to Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights says simply that “[t]he people of Ontario have a right to a healthful environment”. If this language were used to create a substantive environmental right, that right might be interpreted more narrowly than the one that could be created using the Northwest Territories’ language, because the concept of a “healthful” environment does not clearly recognize the value of biodiversity or ecosystem integrity. This language parallels the language used in the Yukon’s Environment Act, discussed above.

If it were passed as tabled, the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights for PEI

would create substantive environmental rights that connect the concept

of a healthy environment with ecological balance.

 Envisioning Procedural Environmental Rights

As we noted above, procedural environmental rights are enforceable rights that relate to processes such as the collection and sharing of information, participation in environmental decision-making, and participation in environmental compliance and enforcement. Procedural environmental rights can be created in the absence of substantive environmental rights, but ideally the two forms of right will be paired so that they can work together and be mutually reinforcing. 

Speaking generally, procedural rights can play important roles in enhancing government transparency and fostering better public participation in decision-making that affects the air, land, and waters on which we all rely.

If it were passed as tabled, the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights for PEI would create several procedural rights that would help Islanders exercise their substantive environmental rights in meaningful ways. The bill envisions the creation of an environmental registry where important information about provincial environmental policies and standards, proposed developments, and environmental compliance and enforcement actions (among other things) would be gathered and made available to the public. The bill also describes minimum public participation requirements that would be mandatory in several forms of environmental decision-making within the province, and it proposes a right of action that would allow Islanders to go to court to prevent environmental harms or seek justice after an environmental harm occurs. These are just some examples of the procedural rights the bill envisions: it includes several others as well.

Notably, one of the other procedural rights envisioned by the bill is an application process that would allow any two residents of PEI to apply for a review of an existing provincial policy, statute, regulation, or other legal instrument which they believe should be amended in order to ensure that their environmental rights are protected. To imagine how this could work and why it would be useful, consider the environmental impact assessment process that is currently in place under PEI’s Environmental Protection Act. As things stand now, PEI’s Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action has no legal obligation under the Environmental Protection Act to provide opportunities for public participation in environmental impact assessment processes. 

Subsection 9(2) of the Environmental Protection Act states:

The Minister, in considering a proposal submitted pursuant to subsection (1), may

(a) require the person submitting it to supply such additional information as the Minister considers necessary;

(b) require that person to carry out an environmental impact assessment and submit an environmental impact statement; and

(c) notify the public of the proposal and provide opportunity for comment.

[Emphases added.]

The use of the word “may” in this subsection means that the Minister is not obliged to do any of the things listed above: instead, the Minister has discretion to decide to do them or not. 

In our view, Islanders shouldn’t have to question whether or not they will be able to participate in such processes or fight for their right to do so. Among the Atlantic provinces, PEI is an outlier in not requiring public participation in environmental impact assessments: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia all impose legal requirements for public participation opportunities. Not least for these reasons, PEI’s Environmental Protection Act could be a great candidate for consideration under the review process that the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights envisions.


As things stand today, residents of PEI do not have clear and enforceable legal rights to clean air, safe drinking water, or the many other components of a healthy and ecologically balanced environment. 

Environmental rights legislation is a perfect fit for PEI. Islanders deserve an Environmental Bill of Rights that gives them substantive and procedural environmental rights and draws on strong examples from other provinces and territories that have rights like these in place. As can be seen from the fact that the Government of Canada has proposed amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act that would spark environmental rights implementation at the federal level, the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights for PEI is a timely reflection of growing recognition that legally enforceable environmental rights are valuable and necessary.

In recent years, the Government of Prince Edward Island has recognized the need for progressive environmental laws in the province. PEI's new Water Act includes promising language that emphasizes the importance of protecting one of the province’s most precious natural resources. For example, subsection 2(b) states that “access for everyone to a sufficient quantity and safe quality of reasonably affordable and accessible water for personal and domestic uses, and to basic sanitation that is safe and hygienic, is essential for an adequate standard of living”. The language is subsection 2(a) is also noteworthy: it states that the provincial government “has a guardianship role to play in ensuring that the quality, quantity, allocation, conservation and protection of water is managed in the interests of a common good that benefits and accommodates all living things in the province and their supporting ecosystems”. Enacting an Environmental Bill of Rights for PEI would go even further in enabling better protection by empowering Islanders to participate more actively in environmental decision-making and take action to prevent environmental harms. 

Islanders want more input into environmental decision-making processes on PEI. The public outcry against the “Plan B” Trans-Canada Highway realignment in 2012 is a particularly memorable example of the betrayal and sense of loss that residents feel when major decisions with lasting environmental impacts are made without their involvement. By legislating substantive and procedural environmental rights, the provincial government would take another step forward on the path toward a legal regime that truly recognizes and protects the natural resources, landscapes, and ecologies that Islanders hold dear—and upon which their quality of life depends.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Lehár’s The Merry Widow, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Gunn, Alek Shrader, and Sir Thomas Allen, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Production by Susan Stroman. From January 17, 2015.

Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday 6:30PM
Starring Maria Guleghina, Wendy White, Stephanie Blythe, Luciano Pavarotti, and Juan Pons, conducted by James Levine. Production by Nicolas Joël. From October 15, 1996.

"Luciano Pavarotti is at his most ardent as the romantic poet Andrea Chénier who is overwhelmed by his impossible love for the beautiful Maddalena (Maria Guleghina). She is a pampered aristocrat and he is but a poor member of the French Revolution. But even though their entire world is being torn apart in by unprecedented violence, their love will not be denied—even if it costs both of them their lives."

April 27, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

People at birth are entirely good.  I still truly believe [that] even if it might seem the opposite.

This [the Oscar] is for anyone who has the faith and courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves and in each other. This is for you; you inspire me to keep going.

   --- Chloé Zhao, winner of Academy Award for Best Picture

Dr. Heather Morrison may give a weekly COVID-19 update at 11:30AM, but you'll have to keep an eye on news sources if that changes.
Noon today, deadline for ordering from Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO for Thursday pickup.
The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.  You can watch it at either of these two sites online, or Eastlink cable TV.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

from today's Guardian --  succinct, and the Bill may be called this week in the Legislature for second reading.

SUPPORT FOR AN EBR - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

Lynne Lund, MLA, has tabled an environmental bill of rights (EBR). This will establish in law the right to a healthy environment.

People are often surprised and frustrated to learn that this isn’t a right they have currently. The EBR also gives Islanders a right to participate in environmental decision-making. It would establish an environmental commissioner who is independent from government to oversee these rights, and would set out a process for people to be able to potentially have questionable environmental decisions and policies changed. And, with the right to pursue legal action expressly spelled out, we’ll have the accountability that has been sorely lacking in environmental issues. I hope to see this become law and be an example for Canada and the world.

David L.B. Woodbury, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

where the goodness of people is sorely tested...

GUEST OPINION: Too much power in too few hands - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Wayne Carver

Published Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

The Venus flytrap of provincial legislation has ensnared another group of professionals. As the pleased mayor of Charlottetown likes to remind us, “Council makes the final decision.”

The reality is, there is too much power in the hands of too few people. In this case, the Municipal Government Act assumes that all those involved in the various processes know naught of what they speak and suggests something other than the greater public interest, reason and common sense, drive the decision making process.

The act was hastily passed by the provincial legislature, without public consultation or a public vote. City and municipal councils have been entrusted with extraordinary powers by the former Liberal government. The implementation of the act was a divide-and-conquer operation where anyone opposed to the legislation was labelled as disgruntled and ignored. Citizens in favour of using large amounts of infrastructure money being made available by Ottawa to promote development and the prospect of community growth were eager to better their communities. It was this group that helped guide the program to the final stages.

Representatives of the minister’s office have been quietly travelling the Island for almost two years trying to familiarize and align the municipalities with the requirements of the act. The prospect of benevolent federal government funding is difficult to ignore and has people looking for ways and places to spend money. We watched as prime city properties, including harbour views, were snatched up by developers and real estate investment trusts. We also watched in dismay, as elected city and provincials officials did nothing to intervene. Citizens were being denied their right to historic properties while others prospered from their loss. We realized late in the game "affordable housing“ is not really affordable but a misnomer to allow the federal government to support favoured builders with financial support. It allowed REITs to designate units as “affordable” in exchange for taxpayers’ financial support. But the rent was/is beyond the means of most people on fixed incomes.

Welcome to the Canada Infrastructure Program and the Canada Infrastructure Bank. All part of Ottawa’s plan to grow the economy through immigration, privatization and deficit spending. Money is flowing like water.

It seems the purpose of the Municipal Government Act is to allow Ottawa to earmark every infrastructure dollar delivered to the provinces and municipalities.

Islanders have stood by in disbelief as a heavy-handed city council has overruled professional bodies and organizations to permit further acquisition of properties and continued construction with infrastructure money.

It is against this background that residents and long-standing local establishments have been thrust, to face a “you can’t stop us!” attitude. To say the Municipal Government Act smacks of partisanship and entitlement is laughable. It appears our municipal government’s strong hand on regional development did not happen by chance, but by design. Simply put, politics and profit are driving the Canada Infrastructure Plan. Leading the charge is the Canada Infrastructure Bank and our prominent elected officials.

It is the Canada Infrastructure Bank and its private partners who will make the profit. As always, it is the taxpayer who will pay the cost of our spiralling deficit. 

Wayne Carver is a member of Vision P.E.I.who lives in Longcreek.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s La Bohème, today until 6:30PM
Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Susanna Phillips, Michael Fabiano, Lucas Meachem, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From February 24, 2018. 

Lehár’s The Merry Widow, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Gunn, Alek Shrader, and Sir Thomas Allen, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Production by Susan Stroman. From January 17, 2015.  2 hours 30 minutes and in English!

April 26, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food:
Organic Vegetable Delivery, order by tonight for delivery Friday, April 30th.
More details here:

Charlottetown's Farmers' Market 2 Go, order by Tuesday noon for pick-up Thursday

Local Coffee:
Brett's Caledonia House Coffee, takeout window only,  7AM-2PM,
Weekdays, Charlottetown Farmers' Market, Belvedere Avenue.

Webinar tonight:

Panel One: The Bay of Fundy:
Natural Wonder or Nuclear Industry Test Site?, 7:30PM
, online

Free, but Registration is required.

Organized by the RAVEN project at the University of New Brunswick

This event date is the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

The Bay of Fundy is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of North America, one of the richest marine ecosystems on the planet and feeding ground for millions of migratory birds.

The governments of Canada and New Brunswick have funded two start-up companies to develop experimental nuclear projects beside the Bay of Fundy on the site of the Point Lepreau CANDU nuclear reactor.

Canadian regulatory agencies have no experience with these technologies and experts have raised many safety concerns. After nuclear industry lobbying, the Canadian government exempted these projects from a federal environmental impact assessment.

Point Lepreau is located on the shared traditional and unceded territories of the Peskotomuhkati and Wolastoq Nations.

The panel features Indigenous leaders and academic and medical experts as presenters followed by Q&A with registrants.

Panel One:

Dr. Susan O’Donnell, University of New Brunswick
Introduction • moderator

Chief Hugh Akagi, Peskotomuhkati Nation
The Bay of Fundy and Peskotomuhkati peoples

Dr. Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
The Point Lepreau reactor vs. the experimental reactors for the Bay of Fundy site

Dr. Dale Dewar, Former Executive Director, Physicians for Global Survival
Chernobyl: What we learned about the health impacts from a nuclear disaster

Free • Registration is required.

Organized by the RAVEN project at the University of New Brunswick

Facebook event link

A short article on Chernobyl (history, and what's going today, from National Geographic Magazine online:

City of Charlottetown letter:  

OPINION: Where is the planning for the Sherwood area of Charlottetown? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Philip and Catherine Mullally

Published on Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Sherwood is being rapidly overrun by developments which are drastically changing the character of the community and creating a traffic nightmare for the residents.

Just a few years ago, on the corner of Mount Edward Road and the Towers road, Charlottetown city council approved Sherdale, a subdivision with 80 duplexes. Shortly after, they approved a 41-unit apartment for nearby Pine Drive, despite strong protests from area residents. Last summer they approved Geneva View, a 60-unit apartment building adjacent to Sherdale.

On the north side of the Towers Road, the massive Sherwood Crossing has received the first level of council approval. It will consist of a pair of five-storey apartment buildings containing 88 units; one five-storey apartment building containing 78 units; one four-storey apartment building containing 60 units, 7 townhouses containing 36 units, and one commercial building – in all, a 300-unit development.

Two high-density developments are proposed for the area north of the proposed extension of Spencer Drive – between Towers road and the walking trail.

Now, parallel to the Towers Road, the city is proposing to extend Spencer Drive and Capital Drive to cross Mount Edward Road and open on to Ash Drive. The proposed extension will be widened to four lanes. Traffic from this extension will inevitably spill over into all of the neighbouring side streets of Montgomery, Kenlea, Oak, Pine and Maple, with motorists seeking short-cuts from Capital Drive through to the eastern side of the city. This development will bring thousands of cars through what has been a quiet residential area with a popular community park and a large elementary school.

Traffic volume is projected to exceed 10,000 cars at peak hours with even higher volumes on weekends. These several changes will drastically increase traffic on Mount Edward Road, a two-lane street whose traffic flow is already like that of a busy highway.

All of this development is going ahead before the city has an approved traffic plan for the area.

What effort has been made to address or mitigate the existing and anticipated congestion? Has there been any effort to reduce the number of vehicles using these streets, in particular Mount Edward Road? Where is the planning?

Are developers exploiting the restrictions imposed by the pandemic to push through a landslide of new construction? Is this the way our city council looks after the people of Sherwood? What did we do to deserve this?

Philip and Catherine Mullally have lived on Mount Edward Road for 44 years and are regularly affected by the increased traffic.

Public meeting -- TONIGHT

A public meeting on the traffic master plan will be held on Monday, April 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown. To reserve a seat, phone 902-566-1267 or email


Atlantic Skies for April 26th - May 2nd, 2021 "Super Moon Closes Out April in Style" - by Glenn K. Roberts

When our solar system first formed from a primordial cloud of dust and gas approximately 4.6 billion years ago, a lot of the dust that wasn't integrated into the Sun, planets, and asteroids floated free in interplanetary space. Some of this dust eventually got caught up in what is referred to as "orbital resonance" - when orbiting bodies exert regular periodic gravitational influences of one another - with the result that the dust orbits along the same orbital path the planet takes around the Sun. We can see this dust illuminated by the sunlight as the Zodiacal Light when the ecliptic is at a steep angle to the western horizon in the spring and the eastern horizon in the fall.

In varying degrees of size and composition, all the planets of our solar system have dust rings (plus other components). Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, has a dust ring, discovered in 2006, with much of the planet's dust ring surmised to have come from the dust trails of comets 2P/Encke, 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, and 169P/NEAT. Just recently, astronomers managed to photograph the circumsolar dust ring circling the Sun along the orbital path of Venus, using NASA's Parker Solar Probe. The larger than expected amount of dust in this
ring is thought to be due to the presence of a number of unseen asteroids sharing the planet's orbit.

Our own planet, Earth, possesses a faint ring of asteroidal dust, which was discovered in the mid 1990s, and which trails our planet around the Sun. The Juno mission to Jupiter in 2011 detected sufficient dust particles while crossing the orbital plane of Mars to indicate the presence of a dust ring along the orbital plane of the Red Planet. Incidentally, it is thought that Mars itself contributes additional dust to the inner solar system via the huge, annual, global
dust storms that occur on the planet. Jupiter's faint dust ring was discovered by the Voyager 1 space probe flyby in 1979. First spotted by Galileo in 1610, Saturn's ring system consists of large chunks of a mixture of water ice and dust. The ring system of Uranus is composed
of dust particles and larger fragments of rock from small moons that once orbited the planet and, at some point in the planet's history, collided. In 1989, the Voyager 2 space probe flew by Neptune, and discovered a faint, tenuous ring of organic compounds and dust.

These dust rings are of considerable interest to astronomers as they contribute to the understanding of the dynamics of our solar system and its gravitational interactions. For example, one theory posits that the resonant capture and subsequent release of the dust particles within the rings may provide a mechanism whereby carbonaceous material from the asteroid belt (the Kuiper Belt) is transported to Earth. They also demonstrate that there is yet much we can learn and discover about our solar system.

Mercury and Venus are too close to the Sun to be observed. Mars (mag.+1.52, in Gemini - the Twins) is visible 36 degrees above the western horizon by about 9:10 p.m.,dropping to the horizon and setting by 1 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.72, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) rises around
3:15 a.m., reaching 17 degrees above the southeast horizon before fading from view by about 5:30 a.m. Jupiter (mag. -2.2, in Aquarius - the Water Bearer) rises around 3:55 a.m., reaching 16 degrees above the southeast horizon before fading with the approaching dawn by about
5:45 a.m.

The Full Moon of Apr. 27 is classified  as a "super moon" - a  New or Full Moon that occurs when the Moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth. This month's Full Moon is known by a variety of names, among them - "Pink Moon" (after the ground or moss phlox, one of spring's earliest flowers), "Fish Moon" (for the shad that run up the rivers of eastern coastal North America), "Sprouting Grass Moon" (for the new grass sprouting), and "Egg Moon" (for the eggs laid by the birds at this time of the year). The Full Moon on the 27th will appear slightly larger and brighter than normal.

Until next week, clear skies.

Apr. 27 - Super Full Moon; 12:31 a.m.
           - Moon at perigee (closest to Earth)


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:  

Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, today until 6:30PM
Starring Isabel Leonard, Adrianne Pieczonka, and Karita Mattila, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by John Dexter. From May 11, 2019.

Nightly Opera Streams, April 26–May 2

Theme:  "City of Light" -- Spend April in Paris with a dazzling lineup of seven operas, all set in the inimitable French capital.

Puccini’s La Bohème, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Tuesday

Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Susanna Phillips, Michael Fabiano, Lucas Meachem, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Franco Zeffirelli.

From February 24, 2018

This is one of the most darling casts.  Yoncheva and Fabiano are so earnest and likeable as Mimi and Rodolfo, and Susanna Phillips is a most marvelous Musetta.  So short,  2 hours 20 minutes of bliss and heartbreak.

April 25, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Keeping up with Charlottetown planning issues, and the public consultation going on this week (Monday, Transportation Plan, City of Charlottetown website details HERE), and here are new and very thoughtful sources:

New Charlottetown Project (blog, lots of info, great design and readability):

and the Future of Charlottetown on Facebook:

but Twitter has their real account and one that looks a little fishy with a similar name and photo:

Actual Future of Charlottetown Twitter account:

"Official Account of the Future of Charlottetown. We are working together to ensure a better future for the city of Charlottetown, PEI. Managed by @AmberMac"

(notice the "Of")

Not quite right:
Prepositions matter, and I am banking on somebody figuring out who is behind this.

This captures what some of us are feeling (please note the column is U.S. based):

Does Earth Day need a day off? - The Grist "Umbra" column by Eve Andrews

After 51 years, Earth Day has buckled somewhat under the weight of the world’s environmental problems.

Published on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Dear Umbra,

Why does Earth Day make me feel so… weary?

— The Impossible Race to Escape Despair


April 22 can feel a bit exhausting if you are someone who cares about the environment or, to go a step beyond, someone who tries to maintain the integrity of the climate on this big old blue ball. You recycle, even though you know recycling is very flawed. You try not to eat a lot of red meat, even though you know individual action won’t fix climate change on its own. You never miss a local election even though some politicians continue to discuss global warming as a hypothetical. And now the day has once again arrived for you to “celebrate” the planet while being acutely aware of just how much we’re trashing it the other 364 days of the year.

Some context about how we ended up here: The holiday started in 1970 as the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson, who had been trying to make environmental issues a political priority in the U.S. for years without any real headway. And the first Earth Day was a resounding victory: With roughly 13,000 demonstrations and events nationwide, it captured the attention of the country on the urgency of the national pollution crisis, which paved the way for the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

But after 51 years, Earth Day has buckled somewhat under the weight of the world’s environmental problems. Perhaps because those problems have become increasingly imminent, life-threatening (on a human species scale), and complicated to address both diplomatically and politically. And rather than stake hope in a widespread societal overhaul, many understandably overwhelmed people have adopted the “do what you can” approach when it comes to personal environmental footprints. Indeed, Earth Day’s 20th anniversary in 1990 helped to usher in the idea of green consumerism, complete with big corporate sponsors. Big brands and corporations really took that marketing angle and ran with it right up to today — which is probably no small part of your disillusionment! 

And now here we are in the year 2021, when the issue of climate is more or less mainstream. On the one hand, growing environmental awareness has given us the best chance in decades of just maybe passing some kind of meaningful climate legislation. And yet when, say,  Coca-Cola instructs its brand accounts to tweet “Love your mother <3” on April 22, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in our ability to tackle climate change as a society. After all, many of the businesses attempting to greenwash themselves are responsible for the same greenhouse gases, plastic pollution, toxic fumes, illegal land-grabs, and human rights violations that have landed the planet in its current predicament. It can be hard to avoid thinking that a day that was meant to be both celebratory and revolutionary has become so appropriated that it’s a tawdry insult to real progress.

Setting aside a day to wallow in our own cynicism generally does not feel good. It’s exhausting to believe the world is bad or lost.  

I called Elizabeth Kolbert, the Pulitzer-winning environmental journalist who has spent her career covering such uplifting topics as the political machinations that perpetuate climate change, mass extinction, and geoengineering the climate to save ourselves. I imagined that if anyone would be warranted in cynicism, it would be Kolbert. And yet! When I asked her about how she wards off a sense of defeat given her particular beat, here’s what she said: “There just really isn’t any option besides trying to press forward, persisting in the hope that something will be done, even despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary.” Or, as Oscar Wilde famously put it, “the triumph of hope over experience.” (Granted, Wilde was talking about second marriages and not the mitigation of climate change, but it works!)

Kolbert’s response really stuck with me. Earth Day has been ridiculed for being too individual-oriented — something along the lines of the “hopes and prayers” approach to societal improvement. But as I remarked to her at the time, there’s something almost religious about her Wildean approach to environmental action because it’s so dependent on faith in a better future. 

And you don’t seem to be asking about how to fix Earth Day as an institution, TIRED. You are asking about how to resolve your feelings about Earth Day itself. You seem fearful of the effect your own disillusionment is having on your motivation, and that is where some quasi-religious practices might actually help. It’s kind of funny to advocate for something so intangible as “faith” on a day that’s ostensibly to bring attention to scientific fact — the measurable and observable degradation of the environment, that is. But a lot of people engage in religious practice to recenter themselves and reassert their values, and I think that something many of us could use right now.

I spoke with Adam Rome, a professor of environment and sustainability at the University at Buffalo who literally wrote the book on Earth Day and asked what he thought the holiday’s founder would think of its current devolution. He emphasized that Senator Nelson never had any expectation that future Earth Days could match that spirit or legislative success, but the day’s cultural trajectory may have been a surprise. Rome says that Nelson “had no idea that [Earth Day] would become a trade show, which it is in a lot of places now, or that some of the discussions that kids would have in school would be with corporate-sponsored materials.”

Because part of Nelson’s real intention was that Earth Day would be about — believe it or not — soul-searching. Environmental issues are extremely complex. That reality forms the foundation of this very column! And change that addresses the root causes (like structural inequality, consumerism, racism) of something as seemingly straightforward as pollution  requires a real assessment of what we want for the future and why. “That’s never easy,” Rome said. “There has to be some struggle, some hard work that leads to it. Gaylord Nelson, I think, hoped that would happen: that people would grapple with the issues in a way that would be transformative.”

Even — or especially? — people who are very wrapped up in the conundrum of climate change on a daily basis can be in need of the occasional moment of reflection. Elizabeth Kolbert said she considered Earth Day to be a good opportunity to spend time with yourself, reflect, maybe enjoy nature. I personally can’t think of better advice. I hesitate to use the term “self-care” because that’s a concept that’s been as cheapened and commercialized as April 22 itself. But if the idea of Earth Day makes you tired, that probably speaks to your exhaustion with the realities of climate change and environmental degradation writ large. And they are very exhausting realities!

I think everyone can agree it is supremely dumb to devote only one day a year to appreciating the Earth. What if, instead of a day spent wringing your hands over greenwashing, Earth Day were the one day you could make a conscious effort to get some hope and energy back? It could be a kind of annual Sabbath devoted to rest and reset and reflection and reappreciation of what we’re all trying to do here: Live on this planet as carefully and as well as we can.

Take the day off, babe, and feel better tomorrow. 



(So perhaps today can be the day to "take off" and enjoy the Earth, however you can.)

An interesting article (LINK only) with some intriguing photos, about highways and planning for the future (though they never quite show places that have the cold and snow we have):
from the Institute for Transportation and Design Policy, from Friday, April 2nd, 2021:

Leapfrogging Past the Urban Highway

Urban highways are obsolete technology. By investing in walking, cycling, and public transit, rapidly developing cities can leapfrog past the outdated urban highway, and skip straight to the future.


And you can always pop inside and watch some opera....
Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Beethoven’s Fidelio, today until 6:30PM
Starring Karita Mattila, Ben Heppner, Falk Struckmann, and René Pape. Production by Jürgen Flimm. From October 28, 2000.  The faithful power of love.

Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Isabel Leonard, Adrianne Pieczonka, and Karita Mattila, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by John Dexter. From May 11, 2019. About three hours.
"Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard is the fearful Blanche de la Force, who joins a convent of Carmelite nuns in order to escape the terrors of the French Revolution. The exceptional cast also features sopranos Erin Morley and Adrianne Pieczonka and mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as some of Blanche’s fellow sisters, with tenor David Portillo as the protective Chevalier de la Force. Maestro Nézet-Séguin leads a gripping performance throughout—from the opera’s chaotic first bars to the chilling death scene of Madame de Croissy (sung by the incomparable Karita Mattila) to the work’s harrowing final moments."   Karita Mattila is the star, 19 years earlier, of Fidelio!

April 24, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food:
Farmers' Markets are open in
Charlottetown (9AM-2PM) and
Summerside (9AM-1PM),

The Farmacy on Great George Street has local produce and ferments for sale between 9AM-1PM, and other stores like Riverview County Market and the KJL shops are open today.

Confederation Trail Cleanup AND Sustainability Booths/Shops event, 1-4PM, at Farm Centre (420 University Avenue)

"Let's get'er done PEI! Come and grab a bag along the Confed Trail at one of:
1)Towers Road
2)PEI Farm Centre
3)Red Island Cider Parking Lot
For showing up, and for every trash bag filled, you will receive a ballot to win tons of local prizes from places like Truckn'Roll, Stir It Up, Urban Daisy Boutique, and more!
Be sure to drop by the PEI Farm Centre at 420 University Ave between 1 and 4 to visit booths and shops. Buy a few plants for your garden, sign-up for a youth program, check out stock fro the new zero waste shop, and so much more!"
Facebook event details

Marking the two-year anniversary since the Referendum on voting system on P.E.I.

Proportional Representation in Scotland, Viewing Party of October 2020 workshop recording hosted by Islanders for PR, 2PM, YouTube (link below)

"We are having a viewing party for the recording of our event from the fall, 'PR Vision 2020 and Beyond', featuring Willie Sullivan from the UK Electoral Reform Society, explaining the success of electoral reform in Scotland."
You can make comments in the comment section and a couple of people from the group will answer questions.

Watch directly:

Islanders for PR YouTube channel

consider subscribing to the Islanders for PR channel
The video will be available to watch anytime, also, if you can't make it to watch it today.

Rainforest Lounge with Todd MacLean and special guest Jon Matthews, 7PM, Facebook Live.
Facebook Live link

East Coast Environmental Law (ECELAW) has written a blog post which goes over the submitted P.E.I. Legislative Assembly's Private Member's Bill Environmental Bill of Rights, Bill No. 108, which Opposition Member Lynne Lund has submitted, and is likely to go to Second Reading (to be debated on the floor of the Legislature) next week.

It's a really good primer on what Environmental Rights legislation looks like, too, both this proposed bill and in other parts of country.  I helped in the slightest bit in this excellent work by Tina Northrup, staff lawyer at ECELAW. 

So grab a cup of whatever and do enjoy (and share this).   
And consider getting a hold of your MLA to have them support this legislation, if you wish to see stronger environmental legislation and public participation. (More on the importance of doing that in the next days)

Here's the link to ECELAW's blog:

and the proposed legislation:

Some other notes and news:

The Broadbent Institute writes about this week's Federal Liberal budget
(Link only):

5 Tips for Building Resilience in Your Garden - post by Elizabeth Waddington

Make sure you don't put all your eggs in one basket this gardening season.

Published on Friday, April 9th, 2021, online at:

In an organic garden, it is important to be resilient. That means making sure you do not put all your eggs in one basket.

Gardens can be unpredictable places. And we live in what can be, at times, an unpredictable world. By building diversity in our gardens, we can make sure we have no weak points — we can make certain that even when some things go wrong, there are other things that succeed.

Choose A Variety of Seed Types and Different Cultivars

The first and arguably most important step in boosting resilience in your garden is ensuring you have rich biodiversity within the system.

Boosting biodiversity, when it comes to building resilience, is not about simply cramming in as many different plants as possible. It is about increasing the number of beneficial interactions between unique plants (and animals) in the ecosystem.

Amplifying beneficial interactions in a system makes it a more stable one. It means finding a natural balance and working in harmony with nature over time. As such, it is vital to choose seeds and plants not just for their benefits to you, but also for their benefits to the garden ecosystem as a whole.

Beyond the general ideas of diversity and its benefits to the ecosystem, it is also useful to think about how it can increase yield and reduce losses to you and your family.

For example, planting just one variety of carrots or tomatoes may mean you lose the lot if something goes wrong. Planting two or three different varieties can increase your chances of success. Over time, you can begin to see what works well where you live and what does not and can tailor your choices accordingly.

Don't Focus Exclusively on Annuals

Those new to grow-your-own gardening often focus on creating a vegetable plot and growing annual/biennial common crops. But annual gardens take a lot of work. And through unforeseen events as well as human error, things can often go wrong.

To increase the chances of obtaining a worthwhile yield from your efforts over the gardening year, consider moving away from solely annual production and growing perennial fruit trees, fruiting shrubs, and perennial vegetables and herbs. Food forests or forest gardens offer extremely diverse yields — often with a lot less work from the gardener once established. So these are definitely good growing systems to consider.

Stagger Sowings, Especially Early in the Season

When growing annual crops, timing is key. This is especially true when it comes to sowing early in the season, when sudden, late frosts may descend. Not sowing or planting out all at once is an important way to minimize risk. Stagger sowings and planting so that even if early ones are killed off by surprising weather events, you will still have more to replace them. Always sow a few more seeds than you think you'll need.

Consider Growing Undercover And Outside

Many of us are finding that our climates are increasingly erratic — and we all know why. It is difficult to predict all weather events ahead of time.

Just this week, where I live, we would expect to be well into spring and around our last frost date. A few days before we were sitting outside without coats on and enjoying the spring sunshine. But temperatures have dipped to the low 30s for the last few nights due to icy winds from the Arctic, and we feel like we have been plunged back into winter once more.

I have found that growing both undercover (in my high tunnel) and outside means that I cover all the bases. And even when some plants are lost, there is still plenty of resilience within the system and I still obtain good yields from my garden.

If you do not have a greenhouse or tunnel for undercover growing, this is definitely something to consider. It can make your growing systems more resilient, as well as increasing the range of crops that you can grow successfully throughout the year.

Have Back-Ups and Build In Resilience

Make sure every element in your garden has multiple functions, and each purpose is served by more than one element.

For example, if you rely on a municipal water supply, ask yourself what you would do if it was shut off for some reason. Rainwater harvesting might allow you to build in that backup. And careful water management can allow you to build in further resilience over time, catching and storing water more effectively on your property. This is just one example. 

Stacking functions and integrating elements wisely is one more important way to make sure you do not put all your eggs in one basket.

More Astronomy
Why the Mars robots are so personable:

No, You’re Crying About a Helicopter on Mars - The Atlantic article by Marina Koren

NASA just flew a tiny (and totally lovable) robot on another planet for the first time.

Published online on Monday, April 19th, 2021

For the first time in history, humankind has taken flight on another planet. Millions of miles from Earth, on an alien world with a wisp-thin atmosphere, a tiny helicopter rose into the air, hovered for 39 seconds, and then gently touched back down on the surface of Mars.

Today’s historic flight is a tremendous feat of engineering and a marvelous display of—as the aircraft is named—ingenuity. Attached to the robot is a piece of fabric from the wing of the Wright brothers’ first aircraft, an emblem of humanity’s desire to take to the skies. And yet, when I look at pictures of Ingenuity or listen to NASA engineers discuss it, my reaction has nothing to do with the sophistication of the machinery or what it means for the robotic exploration of Mars. My thoughts are mostly Omgggg and look how cute it is and It’s doing such a good job.

I am not a spacecraft engineer, nor do I know this robot personally. But I am mortal, and we mortals tend to anthropomorphize robots and even have fuzzy feelings toward them. (The exception: If their appearance falls into the “uncanny valley” category, they can creep us out instead). A whole assortment of research on the relationship between people and machines shows that we can’t help attaching our little human feelings to the little mechanical robots we build. And NASA knows it. As with other robotic missions, NASA maintains a Twitter account for Perseverance, the rover that brought Ingenuity to Mars in February, and dispatches are written from the perspective of the machine. “I love rocks,” Perseverance tweeted in February to its followers, who currently number 2.7 million. “I’m on the move!” it exclaimed in March as it took its first drive. “I’ve taken my first selfie,” the rover said earlier this month, showing us a picture of its robotic frame, with Ingenuity in the background. NASA has already shared imagery of Ingenuity’s flight—from Percy, stationed nearby, and from the helicopter itself, which captured its shadow flitting across the surface of Mars

Perseverance and Ingenuity were not designed to be lovable. They can’t pout or whir with delight like Pixar’s WALL-E. But Percy can drill, and Ingenuity can wiggle its blades. Although these behaviors are programmed by engineers on Earth, to the public, watching from afar, the movements seem deliberate, as if the robots chose to probe the Martian soil, or to stretch their metal appendages. And when robots show such lifelike behaviors, our social brains react with empathy. (It also helps that Ingenuity, weighing less than four pounds, is smol; we’re more likely to find tiny things cuter than large things, and we tend to feel nurturing toward cute things.) Sometimes, such as in the case of Opportunity, the Mars rover that stopped working after a massive dust storm, people feel grief. In the case of Ingenuity’s first flight, we experience joy.

The Ingenuity helicopter arrived on Mars tucked safely inside the Perseverance rover’s belly. Percy carefully deployed Ingenuity in a delicate sequence over a few days, and then drove away, exposing the aerial explorer to the Martian elements. After a cold, dark

night, Ingenuity soaked up the sun, charging its little solar panel. Percy watched from a distance as Ingenuity took flight and reached an altitude of 10 feet (3 meters), chirping pings of progress back to the rover. The whole scene resembled a mother bird watching her fledgling learn to fly into a big world full of dangers. “I think many people would empathize with the little bird because, to some extent, it’s a big achievement for that bird,” Marynel Vázquez, a computer scientist at Yale who studies interaction between humans and robots, told me. “Now the challenge is with engineering. We see this little tiny thing trying to survive on the red planet, which is a very harsh environment.”

Over the next few weeks, there will be more flight attempts. Ingenuity was designed to be lightweight, with blades that spin 40 times per second, so that it could generate enough lift to rise in an atmosphere that has 1 percent the density of our own. It’s capable of covering a distance of 980 feet (300 meters) at a time, and reaching an altitude of 15 feet (4.5 meters). Because of communication delays between Earth and

Mars, engineers can’t control the helicopter with a joystick, so Ingenuity makes some decisions on its own, analyzing real-time data from its sensors and adjusting course so that it doesn’t stray from its programmed flight path. What a smart little robot!

MiMi Aung, the Ingenuity project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told reporters at a recent press conference that the team will instruct the helicopter to make more daring flights. The Ingenuity mission is what NASA calls a technology demonstration, and it has been allotted just 30 Martian sols, equivalent to 31 Earth days, to do its work. So the team is going all out. “By the fifth flight, if we get that far, we are going to take very bold flights and take high risks,” Aung said, adding that the helicopter is unlikely to land safely after a certain point. The sight of Ingenuity smashed to bits might cause consternation for some people; studies have shown that people feel sympathy for robots when they see them being yelled at or physically abused, even machines that don’t have any human characteristics, such as Roombas.

When Ingenuity’s time is up, Perseverance will drive away to do its own work, searching for signs of fossilized life embedded in the craggy landscape. Ingenuity will remain where it is, possibly in pieces, but maybe as whole as the day it arrived. It might still be

functional, capable of charging itself day after day. But it won’t be able to communicate with Percy, or us here on Earth. The rover won’t come back. Ingenuity will remain alone forever, warming itself in the sunlight that streaks through the Martian skies. Perhaps one reason NASA hasn’t given Ingenuity its own Twitter account is because most of its posts would be something like “Hello? Guys? Can anyone hear me?”

But there is more than empathy at play here. People also have a tendency to project their own feelings onto inanimate objects. When Ingenuity took off this week, I thought of the boat. You know the one. Giant, stuck, blocking traffic in the Suez Canal for days. As my colleague Amanda Mull wrote last month, the story of Ever Given exposed all the messy substratum of the shipping industry, “the persistent frailty of the global system on which corporations have built our physical world.” The boat also seemed, for many people, like the perfect encapsulation of how bogged down they had felt during the coronavirus pandemic. The story of the little Mars helicopter feels like the opposite. We do not see the technical challenges and failed test runs that took place on Earth, only the beautiful, butterscotch-colored expanse of Mars. Ingenuity is very

much unstuck, and its historic flight feels hopeful because it has coincided with a different moment for Americans: the thaw of spring, the steady distribution of vaccines, the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.

For NASA’s part, the agency hopes that Ingenuity is the first in a line of aerial explorers on Mars. The first rover on the red planet—named Sojourner, in honor of Sojourner Truth, the enslaved woman who escaped bondage and became a civil-rights activist—was a technology demonstration too, and its mission led to the development of more rovers: Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance. (NASA is also currently at work on a drone mission to another world: Titan, a moon of Saturn with a thick atmosphere, where it rains methane instead of water.) Scientists and engineers, always looking ahead, say future generations of Mars flyers could explore hard-to-reach spots and carry important payloads during astronaut missions.

But that future is still many years away. For now, robots are our best explorers, on Mars and beyond. With their help, we have roamed, drilled, and gazed on the red planet. We have flown through the rings of Saturn, grabbed a piece of an asteroid, and discovered a heart-shaped plain on Pluto’s surface. We’ve even thrown ourselves into the atmospheres of other planets. Robots have been our eyes and ears and, now, our wings.


Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, Radio, 2PM, 104.7FM
Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten
Performance from November 26, 2013
Vladimir Jurowski; Anne Schwanewilms (Empress), Christine Goerke (Dyer's Wife), Ildikó Komlósi (Nurse), Torsten Kerl (Emperor), Johan Reuter (Barak), Richard Paul Fink (Messenger)

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, today until 6:30PM
Starring Rachelle Durkin, Richard Croft, Kim Josephson, and Alfred Walker, conducted by Dante Anzolini. Production by Phelim McDermott. From November 19, 2011. Ghandi!

Beethoven’s Fidelio, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Karita Mattila, Ben Heppner, Falk Struckmann, and René Pape. Production by Jürgen Flimm. From October 28, 2000.  " Jürgen Flimm’s haunting production of Beethoven’s only opera brings the work’s desperate plea for freedom and justice into the modern era, reminding us just how powerful and urgent its story is. Under James Levine’s passionate leadership, Beethoven’s score blazes, as does the superb cast. Karita Mattila is Leonore, the faithful wife who disguises herself as a man to search for her husband Florestan (Ben Heppner), unjustly imprisoned by his political enemy, Pizarro (Falk Struckmann). René Pape is Rocco, the jailor caught between conscience and duty."  Ben Heppner, Canadian tenor legend!!

April 23, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-2PM.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Fridays4Future, 3:30PM, Province House near Grafton Street, all welcome!

Borrowed Kitchen Sugar Shack (of the wise owl cookies fundraiser for Macphail Woods) is open today 10AM-5PM, in Pownal, P.E.I
More details here

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 24th:
"PR in Scotland" Talk Replay, 2PM, online (YouTube)
"We are having a viewing party for the recording of our event from the fall, 'PR Vision 2020 and Beyond',  featuring Willie Sullivan from the UK Electoral Reform Society, explaining the success of electoral reform in Scotland."
Facebook event link
YouTube channel link

from the P.E.I. Legislature, Thursday, April 22nd, 2021, with proper dues to Trish Altass, MLA for District 23: Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke, who showed tenacity, grace, patience, and keeping her eyes on the shared goals of better health care on P.E.I. and a willingness to work with everyone to see that we all got there.  An example for every MLA in the House.

News Release written by the P.E.I. Official Opposition Office on yesterday's passage of the Health Services Act  (and the collaboration that occurred), written much better than I could have, so copying here:

Increased transparency and accountability in healthcare decision-making with passing of Official Opposition Bill - by the Office of the Official Opposition (Greens)

Published late on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Charlottetown, PEAfter a fulsome debate in the Legislature, amendments to the Health Services Act introduced by the Official Opposition were passed today. These changes return authority back to health experts to implement our provincial wellness plans.

“I am pleased to see government recognize the need for increased transparency in the decision making process for health care,” said Trish Altass, Official Opposition Critic for Health and Wellness. “The changes I put forward for the Health Services Act give more power and authority to the Health PEI board to implement our provincial wellness plans. This change greatly reduces the possibility of political interference.”

The amendments came to a vote on April 8 and resulted in a tie vote. At that time the Speaker cast the deciding vote to keep the bill alive and continue debate.

“After the tie vote in the Legislature, I reached out to the Minister of Health and Wellness to discuss the concerns government had with returning authority to the Health PEI Board,” said Altass.

On April 15, the Official Opposition sent changes to its proposed legislation addressing feedback received from government back to them and other opposition MLAs for review. These amendments were reflected in the debate today and ultimately accepted into law.

These changes mean that, in limited circumstances, if the board makes a decision that does not align with the strategic plan or is not in the public’s best interest, the Minister can direct the board. In this situation, the Minister would be required to make the reason for directing the board public within 30 days. Today’s changes also clarify the hiring process of the Health PEI CEO. During the hiring process, the Health PEI board will recommend three candidates to the Minister and the Minister will choose from those three candidates.

“I am pleased to see government recognize the need for increased transparency in the decision making process for health care,” said Altass. “These amendments have been something past and current Health PEI board members have been asking for. These changes will increase confidence amongst healthcare professionals, making recruitment and retention easier and more successful.”


Very sad news:
  Canadian Statesman Stephen Lewis is ill with painful terminal cancer

Stephen Lewis is fighting for his life - article by Steve Paikin

This country’s greatest political orator is battling abdominal cancer as he continues to fight for causes near and dear to his heart

Published on Tuesday, April  20th, 2021, online at:

It was August, during the federal-election campaign of 2015, and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair was giving a stump speech near the west end of Queen Street in downtown Toronto. At this moment in the campaign, the New Democrats were extremely competitive in the polls, and Mulcair’s speech was almost giddy, pondering the possibility of victory.

It was a really good speech. But then Mulcair invited a guest to the microphone, and the electricity in the room just shot up to the stratosphere. The speaker was 77 years old, had been out of politics for almost four decades, was not using a teleprompter, and had the crowd in a frenzy. Moreover, he was having a blast himself.

It was by far the best speech I heard during the entire 2015 election campaign.  

The speaker was Stephen Lewis.

His sister Janet Solberg was at the event. “Janet,” I asked her, “why can’t anyone else in the country give a speech like that?”

“Well, come on,” she responded. “That’s Stephen.” As in, don’t try to compare mere mortal politicians to what my brother is capable of. And I never did again.

I wasn’t alive to hear William Lyon Mackenzie or John A. Macdonald or Agnes Macphail speak. But I can definitively say that, in my lifetime, I’ve never seen anyone move an audience like Stephen Lewis. He is simply the greatest political orator of his time.

That time started in 1963 when he was the newly elected 25-year-old MPP representing Scarborough West for the Ontario NDP. Seven years later, he was the party’s leader — coincidentally, at the same time his father, David, was the federal NDP leader. The Ontario Liberal leader of the day, Robert Nixon (now 92 and living in Paris, Ontario), once told me: “Competing with Stephen Lewis back then was impossible. The guy could read the phone book and make it sound like Shakespeare.”

Today, I’m concerned that others will not have the opportunity to hear Lewis’s mastery of passion, vocabulary, moral outrage, and hopes for a better tomorrow, because the now 83-year-old Lewis is fighting a particularly dastardly form of inoperable abdominal cancer.

To see and talk to Lewis is completely confusing. Despite his illness, he still looks and sounds 15 to 20 years younger than he is.

“Yes, I look in the mirror, and it’s curious,” Lewis told me in an hour-long phone call last weekend. “It’s abnormal to look fine but deal with the unpleasantness of this pain.”

Three years ago, Lewis had surgery for this same thing when radiation and chemotherapy had proved not to be viable options. He got through that agony and hoped that was it. But it wasn’t. A couple of months ago, the cancer returned, and now Lewis has once again put his fate in the hands of trusted doctors and nurses at the Princess Margaret and Mount Sinai Hospitals, who have him on an experimental drug regimen.

“The recurrence of the cancer is obviously deeply unsettling,” he says. “When you come to a point in your life where you’re battling a disease like cancer, you reflect philosophically on life and what you’ve done and what the future might or might not hold. Fortunately, I lived an interesting life, surrounded by bright and principled people and a loving and supportive family.”

If that sounds as if Lewis sees the finish line in the not-too-distant future, disabuse yourself of that notion.

“I’m not depressed or moping about the house,” he assured me with vigour. “I’m feeling I want to beat this thing again!”

Interestingly, Lewis doesn’t just want to get through this so he can watch how his three adult children and four grandchildren pursue their passions, although that would be reason enough for most of us. The fact is, he’s still working full-time on issues that have animated him all his life.

His relationship with the United Nations began in 1984 when a Conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney, shocked the country by appointing this avowed, doctrinaire socialist to be this country’s ambassador to the UN.

“It’s an example of how you can form relationships with people that you may have visceral differences with, but also a shared understanding,” is how Lewis describes his surprise appointment today. The post gave Lewis a prime perch from which to fight one of the great evils of the previous century, namely South Africa’s apartheid system.

“Apartheid came to an end to some significant degree because of Canada’s role,” Lewis now says. “It was a joy to be engaged with a prime minister who was so active on the case. Brian Mulroney was really the heart and soul of that.”

Lewis also notes the role of Ontario’s former high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Roy McMurtry, whom he also knew from his days at Queen’s Park when McMurtry was attorney general.

“He was in London fighting with Margaret Thatcher,” he says. “That’s kind of a nightmare if you think about it. But he did it with dexterity and intelligence.”

Even after helping consign apartheid to the dustbin of history, Lewis’s lifelong commitment to that continent wasn’t over. In 2001, he became the UN’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Then, two years later, with his daughter Ilana, he created the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which has raised and directed nearly $200 million to 150 community-based projects all over Africa to fight HIV/AIDS. He still co-chairs the organization’s board.

“HIV is still taking a million people a year,” he says. “There are still 1.5 million infections a year. There’s terrible carnage with these infectious diseases.” Having said that, Lewis allows that “fighting apartheid and HIV are the two moments in life I will forever value. We did humanitarianism with a human face. We saved real lives.”

As odd as it sounds, for a man with such an international pedigree, Lewis now looks back and says his 15 years as an MPP at Queen’s Park “had the single greatest influence on what I did.” As NDP leader from 1970 to 1978, he learned how to give a human face to an issue, to do the research required to make a case, and to do the press conferences necessary to put the spotlight on an issue.

“My political experience proved to be invaluable,” he says. “I learned more than in any other work, even if other work was more important in the grand pageant of life.”

In 1975, Lewis led the NDP to what at that time was its best-ever showing. He became the leader of the official Opposition in a minority parliament and thus had a significant influence over the provincial agenda. He also found in the premier of the day, Bill Davis, “an exceptional politician with whom I had profoundly different political views, but he was such a decent human being.”

Lewis burned to make progress on mental health, rent controls, and occupational health and safety, “and I know I was deeply appreciative about [Davis’s] flexibility and generosity on those issues. They were tough issues for him. The political circumstances of the day often forced him into it, but Davis ultimately accommodated it.”

Lewis recalls an incident where an irresponsible employer in northern Ontario was causing asbestosis in the local population. “One day before question period, he passed me a note saying, ‘I’m closing down the plant.’ This is classic Davis. He will do things that are unusual.”

In their post-political lives, Davis helped Lewis raise money for his foundation, and McMurtry served on the foundation’s board.

“Political behaviour was civilized back then,” Lewis recalls. “It did not raise malice to an art form.”

To be sure, Lewis himself could be a rhetorical nightmare back in the day. He could skewer with the best of them. Not anymore, he says.

“I’ve mellowed into non-descript mush,” he jokes. “I just don’t feel the animus anymore that people feel is required. I have a more subdued view of the world. There’s no point in being brutal with those with whom you disagree.”

I ask Lewis, if not him, who did he think was the best orator in Canadian political history? He mentions the first-ever federal NDP leader, Tommy Douglas, “who was a magnificent stump speaker and raconteur.” He says, “David Lewis was a particularly fine speaker. At his rhetorical heights, he was particularly fine.” (Interesting that twice in our conversation, he referred to “David Lewis” rather than “my father.” I should have asked him why he did that but neglected to.)

On the international stage, Lewis admired the speaking abilities of former president Bill Clinton and the former first lady of South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s wife, Graca Machel.

Did David Lewis ever tell Stephen Lewis what a great speaker he thought his son was? “Yes,” Lewis says, “but he would have said it to mollify me. I’m not sure how much he meant it!”

Does Lewis know why oratorical flourish seems to run in the family? “I guess it’s part of our molecular structure,” he says. “It’s the environment I was brought up in — a family inheritance. Speaking was assumed to be part of your genetic disposition.”

Given that both David and Stephen Lewis became NDP leaders, the speculation about whether Stephen’s son, Avi, will enter elective politics has persisted for decades. You get the sense the father is ready for that to happen.

“He may, in his fifties, emerge,” Lewis says of his author, activist, and documentary-filmmaker son. “But Ilana and Jenny [his daughters] are also very gifted. Just as David vacated his tenure, I’m now vacating mine — the door is open to all of them.”

Then Lewis confesses: “I’m hoping Avi is on the cusp and hoping I can stay around long enough to watch him take down Justin Trudeau’s engaging smile.”

Given his skills and pedigree, it would be reasonable for Lewis to look back on his life with a quite enhanced ego. But he stressed throughout our conversation that “you realize you can’t appropriate unto yourself life’s successes as if they were independent of others. I’ve always relied on others who were so crucial.”

Two things in particular still drive Lewis. First, he is preoccupied with diseases that have perhaps understandably, at the moment, taken a backseat to COVID-19 (tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and Ebola). Once the current plague is under control, he’s desperate not to have the world suffer fatigue from fighting deadly viruses.

“To the extent that I have any influence, I want to be in that fray,” he says. “We can’t have societies so devastated to another series of plagues.”

He must still have some influence, because Lewis has been asked to testify before a parliamentary committee on the issue of how best to get life-saving pharmaceuticals to those suffering from these diseases.

And then second, there’s the desire to “fight the good fight on the emergence of authoritarianism and the willingness to subjugate and diminish civil society,” he says. “I’m enamoured of democracy. The world has been lurching into an abyss that’s terrifying. I want to be engaged on those issues.”

After a wide-ranging and free-flowing conversation, I ask Lewis a blunt and final question: Is he afraid of dying?

“No, I don’t worry about death,” he says carefully. “I just don’t like the dying part of it: the pain, the discomfort, the sadness that accompanies it.”

I don’t know whether Lewis will have occasion to return to the campaign trail and dazzle yet another audience with a bravura performance. But I hope so — partially for the audience, but mostly for him.

’Cuz nobody does it better.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Vasile Moldoveanu, Sherrill Milnes, and Paul Plishka. Production by Tito Capobianco. From December 29, 1984.  Two and a half hours.

Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM
Starring Rachelle Durkin, Richard Croft, Kim Josephson, and Alfred Walker, conducted by Dante Anzolini. Production by Phelim McDermott. From November 19, 2011.  About three hours.

"Following the success of his first foray into opera, Einstein on the Beach, revolutionary American composer and musician Philip Glass soon turned to another great figure of the 20th century for inspiration. Set to lines from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita, Satyagraha depicts scenes (arranged thematically rather than chronologically) from the life of Gandhi as he developed his philosophy of non-violent resistance in South Africa between 1896 and 1913. The opera became the second installment of Glass’s Portrait Trilogy, which also includes Einstein on the Beach and Akhnaten and focuses on innovators from across history...."

April 22, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Earth Day!

Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs, --
To the silent wilderness,
Where the soul need not repress
Its music.

        -- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Sara Fraser at CBC News has put together an article featuring what some Islanders are doing for Earth Day, and includes some resources and cross-posting of other articles:

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Dr. Heather Morrison may give a COVID-19 update today; check social media news.


Saturday afternoon (2-4PM) pickup of orders from the Charlottetown Farmers' Market  are due today by 5PM.  See website here:

Webinar this afternoon, hosted by the Canadian Nurses for the Environment:
Nurses and Climate Change, 1PM, online

"Join us this Earth Day, April 22, for a webinar on using our power as nurses to take action against climate change. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), climate change affects many of the social and environmental determinants of health. Extreme heatwaves, intense storms, and various other natural disasters will increase the number of patients and deaths we see. We cannot run from this crisis; we must face it head-on. Join hosts Tyler Levitan, CFNU Government & External Relations Officer, and Jessica Madrid, President of the Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment, to discover how you can be a green leader in the workplace.

The Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment (CANE) represents Nurses dedicated to improving environmental health across all domains of nursing practice, policy, research and education."

Visit the CANE/AIIE website to learn more:

Facebook event listing
Webinar this evening, hosted by the National Observer:

Earth Day 2021 with Elizabeth May and violinist Yolanda Bruno, 8PM, online (registration link below)


For many folks, going back to the 1980s might signal a return to neon leg warmers, Star Wars, and synthpop. For Elizabeth May, it would probably mean fighting for international ozone layer protection and the 1987 Montreal Protocol, a benchmark in multilateral agreements for climate action. Through the ‘80s, the former Green Party leader was beginning her career as an environmental lawyer and policy advisor in Canada.

You can’t tell the story of modern environmentalism in Canada without Elizabeth May. May helmed Canada’s Green Party from 2006 until stepping down in 2019. Over those 13 years, she led the party from obscurity to prominence through a seismic shift in culture as the climate crisis became a pressing international concern. Her tireless work ethic has garnered bipartisan respect; in 2013, she was recognized by her colleagues as the year’s Hardest Working MP. May currently serves as a Member of Parliament for her longtime, loyal riding in Saanich-Gulf Islands. She’s also contributed guest columns to National Observer.

Now, May is returning as a guest with National Observer founder and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood for a special Conversations event: Earth Day With Elizabeth May.
Event is free and open to all."

Registration link

Friday morning, don't try to get on the govt website between 6-8AM

Scheduled Website Interruption

There are will be a temporary interruption for maintenance at
Impacted Service(s):, all online services 
Expected Duration: 2 hours
Date: Friday, April 23, 2021 from 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM

The Guardian has indeed converted to its parent Saltwire publication website, and going to now sends you to:

and the masthead looks like this:

screenshot of the website formerly known as The Guardian

There is a little key symbol for articles behind a paywall, and there is a "PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND" small banner which are not necessarily about P.E.I. but presumably in the P.E.I. publications.

A realistic Earth Day opinion piece for P.E.I., in a way.  Thanks to Byron for speaking truth to power:

GUEST OPINION: Weird slant on holistic approach offered by Federation of Agriculture - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Byron Petrie

Published on Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

It was a good public relations try on the part of the Federation of Agriculture president, Ron Maynard, in his op-ed defence of the increasing construction of holding ponds by some in the agricultural sector (
Response on agricultural irrigation pond use, March 18). Mr. Maynard tried selling the idea that holding ponds are a more holistic approach for what he called supplemental agricultural irrigation. Holistic is such a powerful word, because it means to see the big picture. When used in reference to the environment it means seeing the whole and its interconnectness and taking an integrated approach to environmental management and sustainability.

Unfortunately, Mr. Maynard undermined his own argument with his justification as to why some were making the choices they have. It didn’t appear holistic, but rather self-serving in fear of the bottom line.

Mr. Maynard is right. We do need to holistically address the viability of food production in this province; especially the french fry industry. So if the Federation of Agriculture is in truth serious about a holistic approach, what will be its actions going forward? Will it use its influence to end deforestation to make way for more farm land and to end the destructive practice of removing tree lines and hedgerows to increase the acreage of fields for larger machinery and irrigation equipment? Because of its leadership will Islanders see a replanting of hedgerows and trees that are known to cut down wind and soil erosion and hold that water the industry is so desperate for? Will we see the continuation of strip farming when irrigation comes into play? Through the work of the federation will we stop seeing attempts to get exceptions under the crop rotation law so the Irving contract can be filled? Will we see real crop rotations and an effort to move away from such heavy dependency on monoculture farming? All of which will reduce a need for irrigation.

Because, Mr. Maynard, that is what the holistic approach is about. It is not just freely taking another resource. It is time to stop talking as though climate change is something the world has done to us, and instead acknowledge it is something humans have done to the world. That includes farmers and the farming practices they have been sold and which apparently some want to hang on to at their own determinant.

And if the Federation of Agriculture really wants a holistic approach, will it call out its own members who circumvent the Lands Protection Act at a cost to other farmers? Will it address the french fry processor who has put itself in direct competition with farmers? Will it start holding government accountable for their role in allowing corporations to control the industry at the expense of many Island farmers, and our environmental resources? Hopefully, the federation is serious about a real holistic approach, because there is a saying Mr. Maynard, “When we take what isn’t ours, it doesn’t last.

Byron Petrie is an organic farmer who farms with his spouse, Carina Phillips in Byrnes Road, Green Meadows, P.E.I.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s La Fanciulla del Westtoday until 6:30PM
Starring Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani, and Lucio Gallo, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. Production by Giancarlo Del Monaco. From January 8, 2011. 

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, tonight 7:30PM until Firday 6:30PM
Starring Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Vasile Moldoveanu, Sherrill Milnes, and Paul Plishka. Production by Tito Capobianco. From December 29, 1984.  Classic!

April 21, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.

To watch:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

from the P.E.I. Government, tonight 6-8PM,

Scheduled Website Interruption

There are will be a temporary interruption in service for maintenance at

Impacted Service(s): Online services with payment
Expected Duration: 2 hours
Date: Wednesday, April 21 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

If Dr. Heather Morrison is to have a COVID update today, Louise Martin at CBC News tends to hear and share on her Twitter account faster than anyone else.

(Some) Earth Day / Week Plans

Tonight, Wednesday, April 21st:
Documentary: I am Greta, 7PM, hosted by Fridays4Future Charlottetown, at City Cinema, regular ticket prices.   Still some seats for TONIGHT
but tomorrow is SOLD OUT.  Reserve seats at:
Earth Day, Thursday, April 22nd:

Ode to the Earth, a Conversation with Elizabeth May and Yolande Bruno, 8PM
from The National Observer:
"We’re thrilled to announce that May, along with host and Observer founder and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood, will be joined by violinist Yolanda Bruno for a special performance.
A member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and London Mozart Players, Bruno was described by La Presse as possessing "total control of her instrument with infinite variety in the sound palette." The laundry list of accomplishments, awards and accolades for Bruno is nearly endless, and the pandemic has hardly stymied her work.
Bruno joins us from Toronto, together with her 1737 Domenico Montagnana violin, to celebrate the beginning of this exciting Conversations event, warming up our brains and our ears — to say nothing of our hearts — with a rich sonic experience. You won’t want to miss it."
Register HERE


Not quite Earth Day related, but the two year anniversary of the election in 2019 with the referendum on electoral reform.

Saturday, April 24th:
PR Forum Viewing (form October 2020), with Willie Sullivan from Scotland, 2PM, YouTube.

islanders4pr We are having a viewing party for our talk in the fall (Oct. 24, 2020) where we hosted Willie Sullivan from the UK Electoral Reform Society to talk about proportional representation in Scotland. Scotland is a subnational division like PEI, and is a country from the Westminster Parliamentary tradition for which PEI has close cultural affinity. Their successful adoption of PR, putting them leaps and bounds ahead of much of the Commonwealth, has important lessons for PEI, as well as offering us profound inspiration. This is something we can do as well! Join us on YouTube ( as we play the recording of the talk and host questions in the chat!

Today is Queen Elizabeth's 95th birthday, with details in this (U.K.) Guardian article (link only):

Monday, April 26th, 7-9PM (meeting in person and live-streamed):
Public Consultation announcement for Charlottetown Traffic Plan, hosted by Public Works, before it submits its proposal to the City's Planning Department:

April 13, 2021

City to Hold Public Consultation on West Royalty Area Traffic Master Plan

The City of Charlottetown Public Works Department wishes to invite the public to a public consultation for the City to receive feedback on the Transportation Master Plan for the West Royalty Commercial Area. This public meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 26, 2021 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Confederation Centre of the Arts (145 Richmond Street).

Those who wish to participate in the public meeting in person must reserve a seat by visiting and clicking “Book Now.” Members of the public can also book by phone at 1 (902) 566-1267 or by email at For contact tracing purposes, and due to the capacity limit of 300 seats, those wishing to participate in person must register in advance. If capacity is reached, or residents are unable to attend in person, the presentation will also be live streamed at and will be available to watch anytime on the City of Charlottetown’s YouTube channel following the public consultation.

The Confederation Centre is an accessible venue. For more information about the Centre’s accessibility, or to notify box office representatives of specific requirements, please visit

In addition to the master plan presentation, uploaded on February 26, 2021, the City’s Public Works department has made the Full Report of the West Royalty Commercial Area Transportation Master Plan available online for residents to consult prior to the public meeting. Both documents are available at

The plan can also be accessed in the Transportation & Infrastructure tab under the Resident Services dropdown menu on the City of Charlottetown homepage. It is also available in the Plans, Reports & Studies tab in the Resident Services dropdown menu.

Anyone attending the public meeting in person is asked to adhere to the guidelines established by the Chief Public Health Office, which includes washing your hands frequently with soap and water, staying home if you are not feeling well, staying two meters (6 feet) apart from others, and wearing a mask while in closed, indoor public spaces. Up-to-date information about COVID-19 on Prince Edward Island is available at

Those who are unable to attend the meeting in person are welcome to submit comments on the Master Plan to

For those who do not wish to submit via email, written submissions will be accepted to the attention of:

Manager, Public Works - City of Charlottetown
P.O. Box 98, 199 Queen Street,
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2

Written feedback can also be dropped off at City Hall, 199 Queen Street, with the envelope clearly marked to the attention of the Manager of Public Works.

A final West Royalty Commercial Area Transportation Master Plan will then be prepared based on the public input received during the consultation process.

For more information on the Public Works Department and the West Royalty Commercial Area Traffic Master Plan, please call 902-566-5548.


Yesterday, in the P.E.I. Legislature (with apologies for a bit of rambling):

Highs...Sweet and homey tributes on the passing of Ross Young, and Roger Solomon, both MLAs in the 1990s, by the Premier and several MLAs, after the formal tribute on the death of Prince Philip.

Also, there were some notes about Josh and Oliver Underhay, who died two years ago this week, and besides the (of course) unspeakably sad expressions from Peter Bevan-Baker, the comments from the Premier and especially Third Party Interim Leader Sonny Gallant were very moving, too.

Whys...the dual seat Districts were mentioned in reminiscing about Ross Young and Roger Solomon, who both represented 1st Kings.  Some of us think that the dual seat district system actually has some merits (a resident can find the representative they jive with better, and a Mixed-Member Proportional Representation system would make use of this by having geographic seats and at-large seats).  
Saying that, I vaguely and with slight "you're kidding me, right?" reaction recall that traditionally, one seat was for a Catholic, the other a Protestant, and the religion was kind of paired with being Liberal or Tory.  Premier Denny's story about Solomon being switched to run in the "other" seat really befuddled me.  It was like when a patient neighbour tried to explain who did what in the "Polar Foods" Escapades almost two decades ago.

The Election Age Act came up again, and this time, since the list of organizations that were asked if they had been consulted with was finally exhausted, the objections raised (especially by MLAs who supported previous iterations of this bill) were that some MLAs heard from concerned constituents about concerns and chose to change their original support.  It sends a bit of a message, perhaps, to young people we want to grow up here and eventually settle here to pay taxes and take care of us and the Province as we age.

Proper dues to MLA D:12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park Karla Bernard for tenacity and grace under pressure.

Green Party policy analyst Nathan Hood (who was on the floor of the Legislature for some of the debates answer questions) writes his opinions about why it was good, timely legislation, here on Twitter:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, today until 6:30PM

Starring Lucy Crowe, Barbara Frittoli, Elina Garanča, Kate Lindsey, Giuseppe Filianoti, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From December 1, 2012.

Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM

Starring Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani, and Lucio Gallo, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. Production by Giancarlo Del Monaco. From January 8, 2011.   A California Gold Rush miners' settlement is the setting for a love triangle written in the early 1900s by the colourful Italian composer, and it could be a mess, but his music and the charm of Deborah Voight and Marcello Giordani shine.  Two hours twenty minutes.

April 20, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2 Go, noon,
Deadline for Thursday afternoon pickup.  The ordering period for the Saturday afternoon pickup starts tonight at 5PM.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison will have a P.E.I. Covid-19 update, probably at 11:30AM, more info at:
the P.E.I. Government page,
Facebook page or
CBC Facebook page.


The P.E.I. Legislature resumes sitting today (1-5PM) after the break for a planning week (and ending early the Friday Prince Philip's death was announced), so there will be a lot of catching up in the "welcomes" at the beginning of the day.

You can watch live either at:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

or on Eastlink Cable TV.

Provincially, MLA for District 21: Summerside-Wilmot Lynne Lund's Opposition Bill No. 108, Environmental Bill of Rights, is starting its slow journey in the Legislature, and will likely be called for Second Reading this week.  There is a lot in here, and she has consulted widely in putting this bill together, and we'll go over it as it goes along.  Here is its page at the Legislative Assembly website:;e=LegislativeAssemblyBillView;id=b3e26a6c-433c-4524-ab5a-d9e77a348486

Federally, when some of the excitement from the Federal Budget being tabled last night settles down, the MPs will probably attend to the bill updating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), including adding what seems to be some sort of language about Environmental Rights for Canadians. 

Here is an article from The National Observer:

Is a healthy environment a right? New CEPA bill says so - The National Observer article by Marc Fawcett-Atkinson 

Published online on Wednesday, April 14th 2021

A new law could soon see toxic chemicals, including harmful plastics, undergo more rigorous assessments aimed at better protecting vulnerable Canadians, the Trudeau government has announced.

Under the proposed law, agencies responsible for regulating toxic chemicals, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada, would need to evaluate the cumulative impacts of exposure to multiple chemicals over long periods of time.

The proposed bill tabled by Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson on Tuesday, would bring in sweeping changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). It would fast-track the regulatory process for particularly harmful chemicals, making it easier to restrict their use; encourage companies to avoid toxic chemicals entirely; and force manufacturers to be more transparent about the chemicals used in their products.

The move comes nearly four years after the federal environment committee recommended updates to the decades-old law, which was last revised in 1999.

The proposed update would help address long-standing environmental injustices in Canada. It would also give the federal government better tools to deal with environmental threats and health impacts posed by the dizzying array of chemicals used in Canada.

“The Canadian Environmental Protection Act really is the cornerstone of federal environmental laws,” said Lisa Gue, senior policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation.

“It’s our pollution and toxics legislation, and the law under which many important regulations and programs — from climate regulations to the proposed ban on single-use plastic … These are all children of CEPA.”

While the legislation remains in development, it could offer a promising path to help redress the disproportionate impact of toxic chemicals. Indigenous people, people living in poverty, and other marginalized Canadians bear the brunt of exposure to toxic chemicals.

A 2020 report by Baskut Tuncak, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and toxics, found that “marginalized groups, and Indigenous people in particular, (regularly) find themselves on the wrong side of a toxic divide, subject to conditions that would not be acceptable elsewhere in Canada.”

For many Canadians, a healthy environment remains “an elusive privilege,” he wrote. Not a right. That could soon change, Wilkinson said in a statement.

Under the proposed bill, the federal government would “recognize” that every Canadian has a right to a healthy environment and have a duty to protect it.

“For the first time, there’s this broad recognition of environmental rights, but also a framework for implementing (them) within CEPA — and that’s where the rubber hits the road,” said Gue.

Critics doubt the proposed bill, as it’s currently written, can be effective.

“This bill does not create a right to a healthy environment,” said Joe Castrilli, legal counsel for the Canadian Environmental Law Association. “There’s a preamble provision which says the government recognizes that … it has the duty to protect the right to a healthy environment. But it doesn’t actually create a remedy for any individual seeking to protect the environment.”

For a right to be effective, however, Canadians must be able to force the government to prevent pollution and penalize companies, governments, or people who pollute. That’s nearly impossible under the new act, Castrilli said.

Furthermore, he noted that the proposed law will let the government infringe on Canadians’ right to a healthy environment to prevent other negative social or economic impacts. For instance, the government could let a company pollute and justify the decision by referencing that business’ economic contributions.

“(A right) doesn’t mean the government has a right to decide how it’s going to protect you,” he explained. “It (is the) instruments you have been given by Parliament to protect yourself if the government won’t act.”

Laurel Collins, MP for Victoria and NDP environment critic, shared similar concerns.

“I think a lot of the measures announced today are steps forward … but there are some loopholes and weaknesses in this bill, (including) some serious limitations on the right to a healthy environment,” she said.

Those concerns include the lack of enforcement against polluters, a long-standing issue carried over from earlier versions of CEPA. Provisions that would allow the environment minister to easily override regulatory decisions in favour of social and economic factors are also worrisome.

“We’ve seen time and time again that this government caves to the interest of corporations, (so) we need to make sure that we have strong laws that ensure we are following the advice of scientists and environmental experts,” she said.

Still, the proposed update — and the possibility it could get stronger as it winds through Parliament over the coming months — is promising she said. Gue, from the David Suzuki Foundation, agreed.

“At the outset, this does appear to be a strong starting point (and) these are really long overdue updates to a very important act,” she said. “Parliament needs to prioritize this legislation, move it along, improve it, strengthen it, and pass it because strong environmental laws are going to be the backbone of the green and just (post COVID-19) recovery.”


Space news:

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made history by flying on Mars - Science News article by Lisa Grossman

The autonomous flight in Mars’ atmosphere is the first in a series of more daring flights planned

Published online on Monday, April 19th, 2021

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter took this photo of its own shadow while hovering about three meters in the Martian air on April 19.
from the article

A helicopter just flew on Mars. NASA’s Ingenuity hovered for about 40 seconds above the Red Planet’s surface, marking the first flight of a spacecraft on another planet.

In the wee hours on April 19, the helicopter spun its carbon fiber rotor blades and lifted itself into the thin Martian air. It rose about three meters above the ground, pivoted to look at NASA’s Perseverance rover, took a picture, and settled back down to the ground.  <SNIP>

More at link above

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Wagner’s Lohengrin, today until 6:30PM
Starring Eva Marton, Leonie Rysanek, Peter Hofmann, Leif Roar, and John Macurdy. Production by August Everding. From January 10, 1986.

Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Wednesday
Starring Lucy Crowe, Barbara Frittoli, Elina Garanča, Kate Lindsey, Giuseppe Filianoti, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From December 1, 2012.   Two and a half hours.   Set in ancient Rome, quite a revengeful tale of misassumptions (or a misassumption tale of revenges),  with beautiful Mozart singing and music....

April 19, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown's Farmers' Market 2 Go, order by Tuesday noon for pick-up Thursday

Same location, now for weekday Coffee:
Brett's Caledonia House Coffee, takeout window only,  7AM-2PM
, Weekdays, Charlottetown Farmers' Market, Belvedere Avenue.

The Federal Budget will be announced this afternoon, with coverage on CBC Radio and TV at 5PM.
Finance Minister and Deputy Chrystia Freeman will read and go through it.
MLAs are having Constituency time today -- see how to find and contact your MLA by email or phone at this link:

Tomorrow will begin a three-week sitting stint, presumably focussing on finishing going through the Provincial Operating Budget, and some other matters, including the Opposition Environment Critic Lynne Lund's Environmental Bill of Rights, more links in the coming days.

More general info on Legislative matters:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

A recent article from CBC online, in case you missed it:

Rule changes would require timely P.E.I. government responses to petitions, written questions - CBC PEI online article by Kerry Campbell

Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2021

A pair of rule changes proposed for the P.E.I. Legislature would require government to provide timely responses when petitions are put forward on behalf of the public, and when MLAs submit written questions to a cabinet minister.

The two recommended changes are contained in a report from the province's standing committee on rules, regulations, private bills and privileges, which was supposed to be debated Friday, but the house adjourned to recognize the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Committee chair Hannah Bell said there are exacting standards that have to be met by members of the public in order to have their petition tabled in the house by an MLA, but no requirement for any government response. 

"What would be the point? If the government isn't required to respond, why would people put all that effort in?" said Bell.

She said the committee, made up of two members from each party in the legislature, "agreed that we should be giving more value to the work that happens when people put that kind of effort in" to get a petition onto the floor of the legislature.

"Even if that's an acknowledgement that 'yes, we've seen it and we've read it and we're going to do something,' that's important here."

The rule change proposed by the committee would require government to respond to a petition within 14 days. While the legislature can't actually compel government to do that, Bell said the rule would allow for "moral pressure" to be applied to prompt a response.

Time limit on written questions

Another rule change addresses an issue that's proven contentious in the past — giving cabinet ministers a time limit to respond to written questions submitted by MLAs.

Under the current rules, ministers are required to respond "without any unnecessary delay." There are more than 300 unanswered questions listed in the database on the legislative assembly website, most dating back to the days of the previous Liberal government, some questions dating as far back as 2015.

Records show that 1,149 written questions were submitted in 2016 — the vast majority by the PCs who were the Opposition at the time.

In 2017, the Tories tried to get a rule change to require responses to be submitted within 45 days, but when that recommendation came forward from the committee, the report also included a new rule to limit MLAs to submitting just 15 questions per session.

The PCs openly wondered how the question limit made it into the committee's report. PC MLA Steven Myers, now the environment minister, attributed it to Liberal committee members "drunk on their power" trying to protect government.

In the end the rule changes were never put forward for a vote, and so were never adopted.

Now the 45-day limit is back in play, but also an allowance for ministers to provide a rationale if they can't answer a question in that time limit.

Bell said the fact committees now have equal representation from all parties leads to recommendations more likely to be adopted by the house, because they "come from that thoughtful place where we found compromise and balance across the caucuses."

Bell said she'll present the committee's report for debate when the legislature resumes sitting Tuesday, April 20.

While it's not included in the current recommendations, the committee is working toward developing a protocol for the legislature to be able to accept petitions in electronic form. Bell said that should be ready for the fall sitting.


Atlantic Skies Column - by Glenn K. Roberts

for Monday, April 19th to Sunday, April 25th, 2021 

The Lyrid Meteors Arrive

The Lyrid meteors (radiant in Lyra - the Lyre or Harp) are visible annually between Apr. 10 - 30, with the peak usually arriving during the pre-dawn hours on Apr. 22 and  23. One of the oldest known meteor showers,  the Lyrids were observed by the ancient Chinese 2,500 years ago. The Lyrids are debris left by Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1), a comet with a 415 years orbital period; last seen in 1861, Comet Thatcher will not be visible again until 2276. Thatcher is what is known as a "long-period" comet, in that its orbital period is greater than 200 years. Comets whose orbital period is less than 20 years are referred to as "short-period" comets, while those between 20 and 200 years are known as "intermediate-period" comets.

While most meteors originate from comets that have swung in around the Sun, streaming their rocky debris behind them before heading back to outer space, some meteor showers can originate from asteroid debris. Meteor showers have three stages, depending on where the shower particles are relative to the Earth and its atmosphere. "Meteoroids" is the name given to the particles when they are traveling through space outside the Earth's atmosphere (think "o" in "oid" for "outside"); "meteors" when the particulars pass through the Earth's atmosphere; and "meteorites" when the particles strike the Earth's surface (think "i" in "ite" for "inside the ground"). It is only when the meteors pass through the Earth's atmosphere and burn up that we see them as "shooting stars". The burning up is actually caused when the air ahead of the traveling meteor particle gets compressed at such a high rate that it forms a super-heated shockwave which, in turn, causes the dust or rock particle to glow, and, in most cases, disintegrate (what we see as the flash of the meteor). Some particles are large enough to survive the atmospheric entry and make it all the way to the Earth's surface, where they may be found as meteorites. The larger the particle, the brighter the meteor, and the longer the trail that it leaves across the night sky. Some meteors, usually very large ones, can fragment into numerous, smaller pieces, with each piece then leaving a flash and trail across the sky.

Meteorites are classified according to their mineral composition. In appearance, stony meteorites (or "stones") look very much like any normal stone you see lying on the ground, except that they are usually covered with a fusion crust (the meteor's outer layers are melted by the heat generated by the meteor's fiery passage through the atmosphere). When stony meteorites are cut open and polished, they usually reveal tiny flecks of iron in the rock. Although stony meteorites compose about 95% of the meteorites that strike the Earth's surface annually, they are the most difficult type to find, as exposure to the elements over a period of several years usually results in them becoming indistinguishable from ordinary rocks. A second meteorite classification - stony iron meteorites - are composed of approximately equal amounts of iron and rock. This type of meteorite is extremely rare, comprising only about 1% of all meteorites that survive to strike the Earth's surface. The final class of meteorites - the iron meteorites (or "irons") comprise about 4% of all meteors that fall to Earth. Composed of mostly iron with little or no stony material, these meteorites can also contain 10% - 20% of the element nickel. Interestingly, prior to the extraction of iron from ores around 2,000 BC, the only source of iron came from iron meteorites; as such, iron meteorites were valued more than gold and silver.

Meteors can display colours as they streak across the night sky, indicating the mineral and chemical composition of the meteor. As the meteor passes through the Earth's atmosphere, friction with the air molecules causes it to heat up. Depending on the mineral and chemical composition of the meteor, different wavelengths of light (colour) are emitted as those minerals and chemicals ignite and burn. A green colour in the trail of a meteor indicates the presence of burning copper; the colour yellow, the presence of iron; while a reddish colour indicates elemental silicates. The presence of calcium produces a purplish or violet colour; magnesium, a green or teal colour; sodium, an orangish hue; and nitrogen and oxygen, the colour red. Although it is usually very difficult to spot any of these colours with the naked eye (astro-photos can usually capture colours), with an exceptionally clear sky at a dark site away from lights, it is sometimes possible. The next time you see a "shooting star" streak across your night sky, watch to see if you can observe any of these colours in the brief flash of the meteor; better yet, set up your camera and take a time-exposure of the night sky during a meteor shower; you just may be pleasantly surprised at what you capture in the photo.

On the 22nd and 23rd, Lyra will be visible about halfway up the northeast sky shortly after midnight. Unfortunately, this time around, the waxing Moon (77% lit, and only five days from Full on the 27th) will be up most of the night. However, after it sets around 4:30 a.m. on Apr. 22 (4:55 a.m. on the 23rd), you will have a brief period (about an hour) before the approaching dawn lightens the sky, when you should, weather permitting, catch sight of some of the Lyrid fireballs streaking from the shower's radiant (directly overhead by then).  Just remember to dress warmly, let your eyes dark adjust, and, if possible, get away from city lights.

Mercury and Venus remain too close to the Sun to be seen this coming week. Mars (mag. +1.46, in Taurus - the Bull) is an early evening object, visible approximately 40 degrees above the western horizon around 9 p.m., before dropping towards the horizon and setting  shortly after 1 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.74, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) rises around 3:45 a.m. in the pre-dawn, southeast sky, reaching an altitude of 16 degrees above the horizon before fading by about 5:40 a.m. with the approaching dawn. Jupiter (mag. -2.17, in Capricornus) rises in the southeast around 4:25 a.m., reaching an altitude of 15 degrees above the horizon, before it, too, fades with the approaching dawn by about 6:30 a.m.

Watch for news of the maiden flight of NASA's Ingenuity helicopter on Mars in the coming days.

Until next week, clear skies.


 Apr.      20 - First Quarter Moon

         22-23 - Lyrid meteor shower peak, pre-dawn sky

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Rossini’s La Cenerentola, today until 6:30PM
Starring Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, Pietro Spagnoli, Alessandro Corbelli, and Luca Pisaroni, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by Cesare Lievi. From May 10, 2014

This week's theme:
  Moral Authority

This week of free Nightly Opera Streams celebrates virtue, freedom, and the power of the human spirit. Explore the articles and resources (at this LINK) to expand your knowledge and enhance your experience as you enjoy the screenings.

Wagner’s Lohengrin, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday 6:30PM

Starring Eva Marton, Leonie Rysanek, Peter Hofmann, Leif Roar, and John Macurdy. Production by August Everding. From January 10, 1986.

Under four hours, it's a tale of the Knights of the Round Table from Richard Wagner.

April 18, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some odds and ends today:

The P.E.I. Legislature will sit this week and for the next two after that, Tuesdays through Fridays.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link


Statement by Premier King regarding Ontario’s request for support - issued by the Office of the Premier on Saturday, April 17th, 2021

Premier King issued the following statement after speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford in response to the request from Ontario for assistance with health human resources:

“This afternoon I spoke with Premier Ford and subsequently with Prime Minister Trudeau about the concerning situation in Ontario.  

Our first priority remains to protect the health and safety of Islanders.  While we will remain as open as possible to offering as much help as we can to our fellow Canadians during this difficult time, we also have to remain focused on the needs of our province, as we brace for the reality this growing third wave of COVID-19 may hit our Island shores.

At the request of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford, we have asked health officials to undertake a scan of our current situation to determine if there are any resources which could be available. This process includes officials from the Department of Health and Wellness, Health PEI, Chief Public Health Office and consultation with health unions. 

We have been in contact with the President of the University of Prince Edward Island and the President of Holland College asking them to share information with pending graduates who may be willing to assist.

This is a worrisome time. While we want to try to provide some assistance to our fellow Canadians in need, we need to remain fully prepared for what we could be faced with in Prince Edward Island as COVID-19 case counts grow in the country.  

In consultation with CPHO, we continue to believe that our best effort to keep our province safe rests with limiting the possibility for importing the virus to our province so we will be looking at further strengthening our - already strict - border measures in the days ahead.”

Media Contact:
Adam Ross
Office of the Premier

Senior Civil Servants Shuffle prompted by a couple of exits:

Health P.E.I. CEO moves into Finance as government shuffles top civil servants - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published in print on Thursday, April 15th, 2021


The Dennis King government has shuffled its roster of senior decisionmakers within the civil service.

A key move will see Health P.E.I. CEO Denise Lewis Fleming move into a role of deputy minister of finance. Lewis Fleming will replace Dan Campbell, who had served in the role since 2019. Campbell will become the new clerk of executive council and secretary to cabinet, a role that will see him work closely with the top decisionmakers of the King government.

Lewis Fleming’s new role will mean cabinet will be tasked with appointing a new CEO for Health P.E.I. after she formally assumes her new role on May 10.  Health P.E.I. board chair Derek Key said the board would likely recommend an interim CEO.  "The practice has been, with a singular exception, that the board would ultimately make a recommendation,” Key told The Guardian.  “If it's acceptable to lieutenant-governor in council, then they would appoint the acting or interim CEO."

Lewis Fleming’s appointment comes almost three months after a re-orientation of key senior managers at the health authority. The changes reduced the senior leadership team at Health P.E.I. from seven to five.

Campbell, the new clerk of executive council, will replace Paul Ledwell, who had served in the role since 2016 with both the King government and the previous Liberal government of Wade MacLauchlan.

“Paul has been instrumental in leading a professional and responsive public service in Prince Edward Island over the past six years,” said King in an emailed statement.  “I want to thank Paul for his service to Islanders in his role with the province of Prince Edward Island and best of luck in his next adventure.”

In all, King announced the appointment of 11 new members of the senior management team on Wednesday.

Christopher Gillis, who served most recently as the executive director of the Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences, will step into a new role as deputy minister of priorities and intergovernmental affairs.

Jonah Clements, former general counsel for the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, will move into the position of deputy minister of Justice and Public Safety and deputy attorney general. Karen MacDonald, who had previously served in this role, has been appointed the CEO of the Island Waste Management Corporation.

Sonya Hooper, the executive director of the Early Childhood Development Association, has been appointed the assistant deputy minister of early years within the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning. The position had not existed prior to this appointment. The department will be launching an expansion of childcare spaces in P.E.I. in the fall.

Lisa Thibeau, who has held the position of chief administrative officer for mental health and addictions with Health P.E.I., will move into a ministerial role as a new assistant deputy minister of mental health and addictions with the Department of Health and Wellness.

Stefanie Corbett, a partner at Island Capital Partners, has been named CEO of Innovation P.E.I., replacing Tyson Bradley. Bradley will move to the role of CEO of the P.E.I. Energy Corporation.

Daniel MacDonald, the current director of marketing and sales for the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission, will step into the role of CEO for the commission. He will be replacing James MacLeod, who has served in the role since June of 2019.

Mary Hunter, a former director of immigration with the province, will move into the role of executive director with Skills P.E.I.

Stu Neatby is The Guardian's political reporter.


The article does not mention that Kim Horrelt must be moving on from P.E.I. Energy Corporation, if Tyson Bradley is taking over that role.    We can certainly see why the parking lot behind the Shaw/Sullivan/Jones buildings near Victoria Park is still pretty full.

You could probably spend a nice messy afternoon reading a bunch:
The Broadbent Institute has compiled a list of articles and blogs in preparation for Monday's Federal Budget announcement.

The Broadbent Institute is Canada's leading progressive, independent organization championing change through the promotion of democracy, equality, and sustainability and the training of a new generation of leaders.

About Ed Broadbent:

First elected to Parliament in 1968, Ed served as an MP for 21 years, 14 of which were spent as leader of the New Democratic Party....

more from:

Don't laugh, it was an amazingly honest, funny interview:

William Shatner on q with Tom Power,  from Tuesday, April 6th, 2021:

'Getting older is terrifying': William Shatner on turning 90, loneliness and what keeps him going

(LINK only, article and recording of interview (21minutes) at the link) 

And in all seriousness, the Province has some materials compiled to help Islanders figure out Advanced Care Planning:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s Turandot, today until 6:30PM
Starring Eva Marton, Leona Mitchell, Plácido Domingo, and Paul Plishka. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 4, 1987.  Classic staging with such classic performers, including Domingo singing the gorgeous Nessun dora.

Rossini’s La Cenerentolatonight 7:30PM until Monday 6:30PM
Starring Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, Pietro Spagnoli, Alessandro Corbelli, and Luca Pisaroni, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by Cesare Lievi. From May 10, 2014.  Rossini's take on a Cinderella story, with mistaken identities but a happy, beautifully sung, ending.

April 17, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food:
Farmers' Markets are open in Charlottetown (9AM-2PM) and Summerside (9AM-1PM), The Farmacy on Great George Street has local produce and ferments for sale between 9AM-1PM, and other stores like Riverview County Market and the KJL shops are open today.

Rainforest Lounge with Todd MacLean and special guest Justin Shaw, 7PM, Facebook Live.
"Time for some laughs on the Rainforest Lounge this week with comedian Justin Shaw."
Facebook Live link

Night Music with pianist Sarah Hagen, 8-9PM,  in-person concert sold out, livestream (free), see link below. 
"Classical pianist Sarah Hagen invites anyone yearning for an evening of repose through music to join her for Night Music, an experience inspired by Natkirke, a contemplative initiative in Denmark. The carefully curated hour-long programme will include works by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, and others. In the spirit of shared reflection, the pieces will flow from one to the next without pause or applause."

Facebook Live link

(I got to see the Friday night performance and it was gorgeous and uplifting.)
Today is the last day to comment on the Water Act regulations (and anything else Water Act related) addressing it to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability.   Though this is the Committee regulated to the "back seat" by Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action Steven Myers, the Committee would like to have its say after consulting with the public.  This is what the legislation is supposed to do -- improvements on public consultation the then-Opposition PC MLAs wanted during the odyssey of the creation of this Act.   So take a minute or two to write to the Standing Committee at
<>   perhaps with "Water Act" in the subject line.

This website has some comments already submitted, fyi.

It's understandably unfair for most of us average people to try to decode the regulatory language; the Plain Language guide (government webpage with document links) offered has some lack of detail that may make some of the details be hiding in plain sight.  For instance, it appears -- and I may be interpreting this wrong -- that in this last round of regulations,  there is a change in what it means to be compliant with the Act.  The holding ponds being built now and being filled by multiple wells won't have to get below a certain total amount of water extracted in five years or less (as I thought it was in previous drafts of the regulations).  They'll need permits, and to follow rules, but it appears that they can pump a lot of water; basically, that they are getting around the existing moratorium on high capacity wells this way.  It seems clever and logical and legit,  but doesn't feel right.

Gary Schneider and other Wise Owls have discussed the role an Environmental Ombudsperson could make in helping the public interpret legislation affecting our environment, interpreting it independently of government's or big business's wishes..  It sounds like that would really help the volunteers trying to decode these documents and help look out for the interests of nature and of a safe environment for all.

smart cookies, from link below

Speaking of Wise Owls, a bakery called the Borrowed Kitchen Sugar Shack sells owl cookies when it is open, which is Thursdays and Fridays 10AM-5PM, with proceeds going to Macphail Woods Ecological Centre.
Details and scrumptious photos of baked goods from the Borrowed Kitchen Sugar Shack in Pownal:


Don Martin: Folly green giant meets Big Brother in Conservative carbon scheme - CTV News online article by Don Martin, CTV columnist

Published on Thursday, April 15th, 2021

OTTAWA -- For a few hours there, it looked like Justin Trudeau had something to worry about.

After all, the prime minister wants a Neanderthal to fight in the next election and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole would’ve been dragging his knuckles around the campaign trail if he didn’t put a climate change plan on the platform.

On Thursday, the Official Opposition unveiled its green scheme for voter approval in the next election.

And, well, fear not prime minister.

The Conservative leader’s flip on carbon taxes was an instant flop.

Not only will suddenly reversing a dozen years of howling at the “job-killing carbon tax” infuriate the party’s western base, but O’Toole’s headscratcher of a plan seems unlikely to widen the party’s appeal in key Ontario battlegrounds

What O’Toole rolled out was some sort of Frankensteinian cross between a folly green giant and Big Brother.

It leaves Liberal carbon pricing intact and existing provincial plans untouched, but the collected revenue would flow into “low carbon savings accounts” instead of government coffers.

That, proclaimed O’Toole in deploying pretzel-twisted logic, means it’s not a tax but a “pricing mechanism.”

Sorry, no. Government-mandated revenue collected involuntarily is a tax no matter where the money ends up.

But the even bigger puzzler lies in those low-carbon savings accounts.

If there’s a model for this concept anywhere on the planet, O’Toole wasn’t sharing it and I can’t find it.

And there may well be very good reasons why this is exclusively a made-in-O’Toole’s-Canada scheme.

Consider the resources it will take for some sort of arms-length, government-created agency to track every litre of fuel consumption, splice off the carbon tax, deposit it in an individual savings account and only allow that individual to use the money for approved environmentally sustainable products. The mind reels.

And, as more than a few reporters pointed out, what’s the incentive to curb carbon consumption if the tax is all rebated into some sort of new Interac system for government-endorsed spending? There isn’t.

The flip side is to wonder how this plan would reward those leaving no carbon footprints while tiptoeing through their utopian lifestyle. Gosh, there isn’t one.

It’s a polluter-pay, polluter-reward concept which would be a very hard sell to average Canadians even if the Conservatives suddenly discover some masterful communicators in their midst.

But no amount of forced smiling could mask the fact O’Toole was not comfortable fielding befuddled reporter questions, clearly underlined by the awkward dodging in his answers.

To be fair, O’Toole advanced some ideas worth implementing. Support for small modular reactors, hydrogen fuel and electric cars are all good policy directions.

And his tariff plan might be one way to ensure equilibrium on trade with countries that don’t have carbon pricing into their goods.

But the policy anchor putting a price on carbon for consumers, which this leader swore repeatedly and regularly to axe the minute he became prime minister.

Now he’s given it an assumed name and insists he remains on script with a decade of party carbon-tax condemnation. Nice try. No sale.

The truth is O’Toole desperately needs a carbon-pricing proposal to neutralize Liberal attack ads portraying him as a climate-change denier.

And his leadership on this file needed to be reasserted and damage control enacted after this month’s party convention where members voted against recognizing climate change as being real.

But he would’ve been better off either swallowing hard and embracing the relative simplicity of the existing carbon-pricing structure or finding a new way to make big emitters pay for it before passing along the cost to consumer.

Much like the Green Shift pushed by the Liberals under Stephane Dion in the 2008 campaign, this policy defies comprehension and the voters will be equally unimpressed.

Let's give O’Toole this much: It took guts to reverse thrust his party’s defining carbon-pricing opposition, particularly when he faces considerable internal dissent and an unimpressed membership.

But this gamble could mean the biggest threat to Erin O’Toole’s prime ministerial ambition won’t be the Liberals he will face. It’ll be the angry party behind his back.

That’s the bottom line.


Erin O'Toole, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, is scheduled to be on Question Period, CTV's political affairs show,which airs Sunday, April 18th, between 12noon-1PM, on CTV.

Saturday Afternoon at the Opera radio broadcast:
Janáček’s From the House of the Dead, 2PM, CBC Music, 104.7FM
Performance from December 2, 2009
Esa-Pekka Salonen, Stefan Margita (Filka Morozov/Kuzmich), Eric Stoklossa (Alyeya), Peter Mattei (Shishkov), Willard White (Gorianchikov)   Tough prison drama with multiple stories, based on a Fyodor Dostoevsky novel.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Dvořák’s Rusalka, today until 6:30PM
Starring Kristine Opolais, Katarina Dalayman, Jamie Barton, Brandon Jovanovich, and Eric Owens, conducted by Sir Mark Elder. Production by Mary Zimmerman. From February 25, 2017.

Puccini’s Turandot, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Eva Marton, Leona Mitchell, Plácido Domingo, and Paul Plishka. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 4, 1987.

April 16, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Friday4Future, 3:30PM, Province House (Grafton Street side). All welcome. Climate Change still needs to be dealt with.

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 17th:
Deadline for submissions to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability on the last round of Water Act Regulations. I am not sure why the 17th, but I do know if you want to write anything of any length about your opinions on water protection and management for this Island, here is your opportunity.
Start here for background, contact info, links to the regulations and plain language versions, and other comments from other Islanders:

The P.E.I. Legislature ends its planning week today and resumes sitting on Tuesday, April 20th, at 1PM.
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Music and conversation combos:

Conversation and Music:
Rainforest Lounge with Todd MacLean and special guest Justin Shaw, 7PM, Facebook Live.
Facebook link

Tomorrow (tonight, too, but not live-streamed):
Music only
Night Music with Sarah Hagen, 8PM. This is sold out tonight and tomorrow and the Saturday performance will be live-streamed.
Facebook event details and links

Music and a bit of conversation:
Sunday, April 18th:
PEI Symphony Orchestra, 2:30PM, a few seats left.
Details at Facebook event link

From the P.E.I. National Park Facebook page:

Update: Season passes can be purchased in person at Ardgowan National Historic Site (2 Palmer's Lane in Charlottetown, PEI) starting Friday, April 9, 2021.

Ardgowan is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.

Passes can also be purchased online:

Early bird pricing will be offered until June 15, 2021.

Some interesting notes from Russell Wangersky about the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election:

RUSSELL WANGERSKY: Do our democratic rights even matter?- The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky

Published online on Friday, March 9th, 2021

Is it politics as usual, or beyond the pale?

The 2021 provincial election will not go down in this province’s history as a shining moment in democratic governance. Just too much went wrong, especially with the stopgap solutions put forward by the province’s chief electoral officer, Bruce Chaulk, to deal with a sudden COVID-19 outbreak.

Elections officials seemed to class the abrupt outbreak of the B.1.1.7 COVID variant that stalled the election as some kind of unexpected event — even though public health officials had warned that, during a global pandemic, we could expect a localized outbreak at any time, especially as more contagious variants of the virus started turning up in Canada.

The only thing really unexpected about the outbreak was that Elections NL had no effective backup plan whatsoever, and ended up changing voting methods, changing deadlines, and just generally appearing to be entirely reacting to the situation on an ad-hoc basis, rather than having prepared.

The offshoot? That a significant number of people didn’t get to vote, including people who have near life-long records of getting to the polls — people who take their responsibilities very seriously indeed.

Voting is a right, one that’s even enshrined in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s section 3 of the Charter, so sacrosanct that, unlike many other sections, individual provinces can’t even override it with the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause.

As the federal Department of Justice spells out in the purpose of the section, “The purpose of section 3 is to protect the right of each citizen to play a meaningful role in the electoral process. Participation in the electoral process has an intrinsic value independent of its impact upon the actual outcome of elections.”

But if that mess wasn’t enough, there’s a new little tangle, and that has to do with the length of the provincial election campaign. The premier of the province gets to pick the length of the campaign. As the Elections Act spells out, the time between an election call and voting day, “shall be a day not less than 28 clear days from the date of the proclamation nor more than 35 clear days.”

So, either four weeks or five.

And even before the election was called, the province’s chief electoral officer was warning against a shorter campaign.

“I have concerns that a significant number of ballots may not be returned in time to be counted,” Chaulk wrote to Premier Andrew Furey on Jan. 6. “Although we attempt to speed up the mailing process by utilizing express post out and back for electors in Canada, it is still a short time frame. However, every day added to the writ period is an additional day to get the kit out and back.”

So, Furey was clearly aware that a shorter election campaign would mean that some voters would likely be disenfranchised. Clearly, he felt that the political strategy of a short campaign would help his party’s fortunes, otherwise he wouldn’t have chosen the shortest campaign possible under the law.

Likewise, Chief Electoral Officer Bruce Chaulk had to be aware that his emergency plan to replace in-person voting with special ballots by mail would also result in voters losing their legitimate right to vote. In his original pandemic lockdown plan, announced on Feb. 12, voters were given until March 1 to return their ballots — a 17-day turnaround, even though Chaulk knew the time it took Elections NL to receive an application, send out a ballot and have it returned could be at least 15 days.

The premier knew that voters’ rights would be infringed: he was told exactly that.

Yet he did it anyway.

Not a shining moment at all.

Russell Wangersky’s column appears in SaltWire newspapers and websites across Atlantic Canada.


And an update on the Yukon Territory election results, which also highlights the vagarities of our voting systems.

Article link only:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, today until 6:30PM
Starring Judith Blegen, Frederica von Stade, Jean Kraft, Rosalind Elias, and Michael Devlin, conducted by Thomas Fulton. Production by Nathaniel Merrill. From December 25, 1982. Short, 1 hour 45 minutes, and in English.

Dvořák’s Rusalka, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM
Starring Kristine Opolais, Katarina Dalayman, Jamie Barton, Brandon Jovanovich, and Eric Owens, conducted by Sir Mark Elder. Production by Mary Zimmerman. From February 25, 2017. Under three hours. Gorgeous set and costumes, and a "new" soprano to own the role in Opolais since legendary soprano Renee Fleming hung up her fins.

April 15, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Lots of Events:
Haviland Coffee and Conversation Talk, 10AM.  The presenter is Ole Hammarlund, architect, and MLA for District 13: Charlottetown-Brighton, with a talk on Net Zero and The Ark project. 

Haviland Club is at 2 Haviland Street, in Charlottetown, by Water Street and the Queen Charlotte Armoury.   Free but donations accepted.  Also, please follow physical distancing and mask requirements, and note space is limited, so you may consider getting there a bit early.
Haviland Club website

Also at and for the Haviland Club:
Saturday, April 17th:
Fund Raiser, 6:30PM onward, with presenter Mike Beamish from Deep Roots Distillery.  Foods and various liquids.   Ticketed; call: (902) 894-4421 for more info.


CBC Radio Maritime Noon Thursday Phone-in, 12noon-1PM (phone-in usually starts almost a quarter past the hour), 96.1FM:
"We'll be talking about development versus land conservation. How can we protect our environment but also allow for economically sustainable construction? Get in touch to share your thoughts on development and land protection. 1-800-565-1940"

or if you miss it, it'll be posted to listen to later:

Sunday, April 18th:
PEI Symphony Orchestra April concert, 2:30PM, Confederation Centre of the Arts main stage.  "An Ecstatic Excursion" features cellist Natalie Williams Calhoun, violinist Sean Kemp, and pianist Glen Montgomery,  "the concert centering around Johannes Brahms’ sublime Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major. Other works on the program will include Brahms’ Capriccio Opus 76, No. 1 in F# minor and a suite of PEI-themed compositions by Glen Montgomery." 
**Just a few tickets left - go here to reserve**:

from Phil Ferraro at the Charlottetown Farm Centre Legacy Gardens:
Wednesday, April 13th, 2021:

Garden Plots available:

We are expanding the Community Garden with additional allotments. So, if you [are a current member and] wish to do more gardening or know someone who would like to join us, send an email to:

Other Notes:  Fruit Trees
The Legacy Garden had a fruit tree order set up this week, but quickly sold out, but if you would like to be on their mailing list for future notices,
here is a LINK to the form.

The Legacy Garden also has fish/seaweed fertilizer and other garden amendments for sale -- notices are posted on their Facebook group page:

from The (U.K.) Guardian:

published on Thursday, April 15th, 2021;
article synopsis:

Wildlife could hold key to saving habitats

Species such as elephants and wolves should be reintroduced to help restore ecologies ravaged by human development, scientists say, after research revealed that only 3% of the world’s land habitats remain properly intact. The remaining fragments of wilderness where flora and fauna remain unspoiled are mainly in parts of the Amazon and Congo tropical forests, east Siberian and northern Canadian forests and tundra, and the Sahara. But researchers, who combined maps of human damage to habitat with maps of the original range of species, suggest the reintroduction of a small number of species could restore up to 20% of the world’s land to ecological intactness. Elephants spread seeds, for example, while the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone park in the US showed how ecologies could be transformed. Dr Andrew Plumptre, the lead author of the study and head of the Key Biodiversity Areas Secretariat in Cambridge, UK, said: “Let’s think about restoring species so that we can try and build up these areas.”

Keeping it local/saving some wildlife:
And while we are thinking about that, here is a plea to drivers on P.E.I. to remember how fragmented our wildlife areas are by all our roads, roads, roads.  It's spring and many animals are on the move for their own reasons, and have terrible options to get to other bits of land and face too many drivers going way too fast to stop for them.   So please remind yourself and others to slow down a bit and keep your eyes watching the edges of roads for the eye-reflections (at night) or shapes of foxes, skunks, geese, raccoons, and others anytime.  (And we are lucky we don't have deer or moose, from an injury point of view.)  And if you either hit or see a dead animal, call the Dispatch (below) as soon as possible so its poor carcass can get taken off the road before it's further run over.

We could at least be re-designing roads to include wildlife-friendly crossings. 

On a very large scale (but still cost-effective, when accidents are taken into account), here is a post from last year from the Nature Conservancy of Canada about ARC: Animal Road Crossing and more.  It also contains a 12 minute documentary preview of projects in Nevada.  NOTE: The doc starts with one of a group of deer getting hit by a truck, so skip the first 20 seconds if you'd rather not witness that.
Just a note about what to do if you come across a dead animal on P.E.I. roads, to contact the local County's Dispatch:

If the dead animal is on a rural road or highway, please call the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy's local dispatch office.

  • Prince County 902-888-8275

  • Queens County 902-368-4770

  • Kings County 902-652-8960

Who should I call to report an injured animal?

During regular working hours you can call 902-368-4683 or 1-866-368-4683. For after hours and weekends, leave a detailed message with your contact information and the location of the injured animal.

You could consider adding the numbers to your phone. 

Info from:
The webpage this is from also has information on who to contact if you find injured or dead marine mammals.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, today until 6:30PM
Starring Golda Schultz, Kathryn Lewek, Charles Castronovo, Markus Werba, and René Pape.  Production by Julie Taymor. From October 14, 2017.  Magical, truly.

Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Friday

Starring Judith Blegen, Frederica von Stade, Jean Kraft, Rosalind Elias, and Michael Devlin, conducted by Thomas Fulton. Production by Nathaniel Merrill. From December 25, 1982.  Traditional set and costumes, darling Gretel with a little black kitten at the beginning, lots of fun from the Children's Chorus in various roles in the Forest.

April 14, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some notes:
Starting today, The Guardian online is changing some of its location coordinates to its parent-ship name "Saltwire", as are several other daily and weekly publications in the Atlantic region owned by the same company.
Some things probably won't change, like daily Guardian "Doug Currie for Charlottetown" ad with a picture of the former Liberal MLA and cabinet minister letting the public know repeatedly who he is and what he's for.   Presumably the "C and maple leaf" logo is for the Conservative Party of Canada, not the Currie family crest.

News from Monday's City Council meeting, indicating that Charlottetown City Council heard the concerns of local residents.

Charlottetown council throws up road block on proposed new road in East Royalty - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart

Published in-print Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

Vote goes 8-1 against a connector street between Angus Drive and Mel's Convenience Store


Charlottetown council threw up a road block to a proposed new street off St. Peters Road.  At its regular public monthly meeting on Monday, council voted 8-1 against adding a street just off St. Peters Road that would connect Mel’s Convenience Store to Angus Drive.

The proposal would have involved rezoning lots and changing the future land use map to commercial.  This follows a recent public meeting where a handful of residents expressed their opposition to the idea.

The proposed rezoning was motivated by a roundabout the province is expected to install where Angus Drive intersects St. Peters Road. According to what some councillors said at the meeting Monday, work could begin in the next few weeks.

“It was crystal clear that no one was in favour of this road ... except the business owner," Coun. Mitchell Tweel said in reference to the recent public meeting and Dan MacIsaac, who owns Mel’s.   Tweel said to rezone three properties and allow a new road that would connect Angus Drive with Mel’s would change the entire complexity of the neighbourhood in East Royalty.

Coun. Terry Bernard said development in East Royalty is “exploding" and worries that a connector road would add too much traffic to the surrounding neighbourhood.  “I’m concerned for the kids on the residential streets," Bernard said. “This could direct more traffic onto the residential streets." 

At the public meeting, MacIsaac and representatives from the province said the suggestion of putting in a connector street was for safety reasons, so traffic heading out of Charlottetown would not have to turn left into Mel’s and cross against traffic heading into the city. Instead, traffic could use the roundabout to access Angus Drive and use the connector street to get to Mel’s.

MacIsaac added that he doesn’t anticipate any truck traffic using the connector street. However, Coun. Julie McCabe, who represents the area, said Monday she wants more reassurance than that.

McCabe said even though she was told the connector road wasn’t intended for truck traffic “who controls that access?’’

Coun. Mike Duffy, chairman of council’s standing committee on planning, which moved the resolution, said he doesn’t think a connector street would increase traffic in the surrounding neighbourhood at all, accusing other councillors of being swayed by a few residents at the public meeting who were opposed.

There was talk of deferring the rezoning application in a bid to reach an alternative solution for Mel’s but it never went to a vote and the original application was defeated.

Following is additional information on two planning resolutions that were passed at Monday’s council meeting:

  • Voting against a rezoning application that would have resulted in a connector road between Angus Drive and Mel’s Convenience Store were councillors Mitchell Tweel, Terry Bernard, Julie McCabe, Alanna Jankov, Greg Rivard, Terry MacLeod, Kevin Ramsay and Bob Doiron. In favour was Coun. Mike Duffy. Coun. Jason Coady abstained from the vote, declaring a conflict of interest.

  • Council also voted in favour of sending a proposal by a developer to construct a six-storey, 84-unit apartment building at 199 Grafton St. (the Polyclinic parking lot) to a public meeting.


The Provincial New Democratic Party has announced its leadership race has begun and a new leader will be chosen on October 2nd, 2021.

P.E.I. NDP kicking off search for new leader The Guardian article by the new "Atlantic Briefs Desk"

Published in-print on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021, in The Guardian

The NDP in P.E.I. is searching for the party's next leader.  The party has launched a public advertising campaign inviting interested Island New Democrats to put their name forward for a leadership bid.

In a news release, Jason Alward, NDP P.E.I. president, said the election will take place on Oct. 2

“Our search committee looked at the current vaccination roll out and determined that a fall leadership convention date would be the safest course of action," Alward said in the release.

The Island's NDP has been without a leader since Joe Byrne stepped down in September 2020 after two years on the job. 

The party ran candidates in all districts during the 2019 provincial election but failed to elect any representatives to P.E.I.’s legislature.  The last NDP member to be elected to the provincial legislature was then party leader Herb Dickieson in 1996.

To register in the leadership race, interested candidates can visit to complete an application. The registration fee is a one-time payment of $150, and the deadline is June 26.

The (U.K.) Guardian, who name hasn't changed, has this note:
W Galen Weston, the Anglo-Canadian retailer who built an empire including Primark, Selfridges and Twinings tea, has died aged 80. Weston inherited the family business from his father but expanded it on both sides of the Atlantic into a group that also includes Fortnum & Mason and the Canadian grocery chain Loblaws.

Island blogger and more Peter Rukavina was the host of the segment "Spin Time" on CBC Radio last Friday.  He writes about the experience here. 

In case you missed it, here is the recording:

This was a coincidence, since I had been back in the Citizens' Alliance News "archives" for around this time three years ago, and noted a lot of PR notes (for both Peter Rukavina and Proportional Representation). 
A note that I mentioned reposting this to both Peter Rukavina and now provincial  government Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jame Aylward, who had no objections.

From April 2018:
Peter Rukavina distills his talents down to "Printer -  Developer - Writer", with more pretty darn impressive details here; the Island is very fortunate that he and his family call it home.  His blog is here
and if you wish to subscribe, here is a link
or scroll to the bottom page (the "about" page is pretty short)

I am copying two entries here, one wonderfully self-serving on the Citizens' Alliance (please feel free to copy and share it) and the other, a recent one about James Alyward's ideas about consensus government.
(I have only changed the indentation of the paragraphs to shorten the spacing and added some colour.)
published on Friday, April 6th, 2018, here:

A Daily Email Newsletter Supporting Active Island Citizenship

One of the good things to spring from the regrettable Plan B expressway development here on PEI some years ago was the PEI Citizens Alliance.

        And one of the great things about the PEI Citizens Alliance is its daily email newsletter, which they describe as “a daily e-newsletter of Island environmental and democratic news, and upcoming events.”
        I think of it more as a “daily email newsletter that supports active citizenship,” and I have been a happy subscriber since learning about it earlier this year.
        Editor Chris Ortenburger crafts a daily package of information about the Legislative Assembly and its sittings and committee meetings, political events, environmental activities and other useful miscellanea.
        You can subscribe simply by sending an email to and you can find back issues here.

        --Peter Rukavina, April 6th, 2018

published on Son Rukavina's blog, Saturday, April 7th, 2018, here:

Hon. James Aylward Gets Interesting

By all accounts, Hon. James Aylward, Leader of the Official Opposition here in Prince Edward Island, is a capable politician: he seems well-respected by peers of all political stripes, and well-regarded as the new leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.
Well-regarded as he may be, he would not historically be the kind of person you’d look to for bold ideas.
Until, that is, his guest opinion Consensus Government model could be effective solution to many concerns P.E.I. faces was published in The Guardian newspaper on March 23, 2018.       
        Suddenly Mr. Aylward catapulted from being one of the least interesting politicians on the Island to one of the most interesting ones.
The heart of Mr. Aylward’s argument:

It may seem strange for the leader of a political party to be suggesting the possible adoption of a system that does not involve the political parties. Nunavut was established in 1999 and deliberately opted for an elected assembly void of political parties. We now have four main registered political parties in the province, vying for support, advancing policies, raising money, nominating candidates. It may seem like a healthy political environment but is it the most effective? Each party offers some highly talented individuals, some are elected in government and have either a cabinet or backbench role, others are elected in opposition. Many times, the talent of backbench members and opposition members are underutilized in the governing process although they have an equal interest in helping Islanders. My interest in changing the current system is to come up with a process that fully utilizes the talents of all elected MLA’s.

Our current system is based on the winner take all, decide all. This reduces the role of individual MLA’s. As you may recall from part one of my article there is a need for serious reform of the role of MLA’s.

Consensus government achieves that. Each MLA is elected on an individual independent candidate basis. No party platforms, no party signs, no party advertising, no premiers selected by a party, no focus on politics over policy, no backbenchers, no formal opposition. Just good people elected by each district working to provide good government.

This is an interesting idea for three distinct but overlapping reasons.

        First, as Mr. Aylward himself states, it’s “strange for the leader of a political party to be suggesting the possible adoption of a system that does not involve the political parties.” That not only takes courage, but it also immediately vaults the idea into a place where it can be seriously considered: proposed by someone on the fringes of the established Island political scene, it would be seen suspiciously anarchistic; from the leader of a long-established political party whose seen where the bodies are buried, it’s something we all need to take seriously.
        Second, it speaks well of Mr. Aylward’s skills as a leader. We’re in the heart of a protracted multi-year debate about the future of electoral politics here on Prince Edward Island, with intractable sides having dug in deep on both sides of the issue as to whether we should adopt proportional representation or maintain first-past-the-post. Rather than jumping into the fray of choosing option A or option B, Mr. Aylward has, instead, proposed option C. Or, indeed, more like option Σ. In a world of “should we have pizza or Thai?”, Aylward has proposed “bicycling.”
Third, and most significant, is that it sounds like a very good idea.
It has been my almost-universal experience that if a diverse group of fair-minded people come together to make a plan, great things–things that none of them as individuals would be capable of–can result. That is the heart of consensus, and the skills it fosters–compromise, creativity, compassion, cooperation–are all ones mostly absent in our current “you’re a jerk–no, you’re a jerk” method of governing ourselves.

In a fascinating January essay The problem with voting, Nadia Eghbal wrote, in part:

The goal of consensus seeking is to discuss concerns until no blockers remain, without coming to a vote. A vote is considered the “failure” outcome. Participants voice their concerns and listen to each other, but try to avoid blocking (or stalemating) the proposed course of action. When no blockers remain, stakeholders are said to have reached consensus.
Under consensus seeking, a proposal theoretically might have won 10–2, but if those 10 felt weakly about their support, and those 2 feel strongly opposed, the minority could still win.

        This is decidedly not how we are governed here on Prince Edward Island, but I believe that we all have it deep within us to cooperate at this level.
Mr. Aylward deserves our thanks for raising this issue now, at this important juncture; I am hopeful that it will broaden the boundaries of the upcoming re-debate of proportional representation.
Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Third Party, agrees, writing in a response to Mr. Aylward’s opinion piece:

        Personally, I’d love to see a full discussion on the appropriateness of the Nunavut style of government for P.E.I. – indeed it was brought up by a small number of presenters during the community engagement phase of the electoral reform process we underwent leading up to the plebiscite in 2016.
        So, thank you, James Aylward, for your radical idea. In the meantime, let’s honour the vote, adopt Proportional Representation, and take a bold step towards what many of us – including Aylward, and apparently the PC caucus — would love to see practised in Island politics: Politicians collaborating in non-partisan consensus decision-making for the betterment of our community.

        With its overturning of the results of the last electoral reform plebiscite, and generally antediluvian attitude toward anything but the electoral status quo, the Liberal Party of Hon. Wade MacLauchlan has appeared dramatically out of sync with the progressive zeitgeist burbling through the Island; together Mr. Aylward and Mr. Bevan-Baker are raising the ante even further. The coming months, as a result, may make for some of the most interesting, substantive political debate the Island has seen since Confederation.
        --Peter Rukavina, April 7th, 2018


And I was thinking about consensus government as the Provincial Legislature had its vote last week, which ended in a tie, which the Speaker broke to cause the Bill No. 106,  to amend the Health Care Act, to have more discussion.
Bill info:;e=LegislativeAssemblyBillView;id=0c10d238-dd60-4dac-9c0a-a64d62db5453

And that by the slimmest of margins it was winners and losers, while more discussion is needed to have MLAs come to more of an agreement on issues.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta / Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczała in Iolanta, and Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko in Bluebeard’s Castle, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Production by Mariusz Treliński. From February 14, 2015.

Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday 6:30PM
Starring Golda Schultz, Kathryn Lewek, Charles Castronovo, Markus Werba, and René Pape. Production by Julie Taymor. From October 14, 2017.   So serious and mysterious, but such fun and a happy ending, an d a storybook production of giant puppets and kites.

April 13, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
      — The Dalai Lama

Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2 Go, noon,
Deadline for Thursday afternoon pickup.  The ordering period for the Saturday afternoon pickup starts tonight at 5PM.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison will probably give her weekly P.E.I. Covid-19 update at 11:30AM, more info at:
the P.E.I. Government page,
Facebook page or
CBC Facebook page

The P.E.I. Legislative Assembly is not assembling this week, but will resume one week from today.  Any catch-up can start here:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Reminder: Deadline, Saturday, April 17th, 2021:
The Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability is seeking public comments on the last draft of regulations regarding the Water Act, before the Act is put into effect on June 16th.

There is a lot to "unpack" in the regulations, understandably some confusion on details, politicians changing their tune, and use of words like "equal access to the resource" which can really be interpreted differently.

The point is, the Standing Committee is seeking written input from Islanders until this Saturday, and if you have any opinions on water and its usage and protection, especially but not limited to concerns about holding ponds, high capacity wells, grandfathering, etc., please consider writing it down and sending to the committee:

from the Legislative Assembly website (link above):

Consultation on the revised draft of the Water Withdrawal Regulations

The Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability considers issues concerning agriculture, fisheries, land, water, forests, wildlife, energy, natural resources, environment, climate change, and issues related to natural resources and the environment.

The Water Act was passed in 2017 and will be in force on June 16, 2021. Regulations to accompany the Act are being developed and the Committee would like to hear your input on the revised consultation draft of the Water Withdrawal Regulations.

If you or your organization would like to share your views, send us your comments by April 17, 2021, to:

  • email:

  • fax: 902-368-5175

  • hand delivery: Office of the Clerk, 197 Richmond Street (Church Street entrance)

  • fill in this feedback form (please type "Water Withdrawal Regulations" in the subject)

Submissions will be published on this page.

Read the submissions to the committee <snip>

(so far there are a good handful on the site, and they are thoughtful, so consider adding yours.)


GUEST OPINION: Who is the special interest group? - The Guardian Guest Opinion byGary Schneider

Published on Monday, April 12th, 2021

It seems that the many members of the public who are concerned about water use in the province are now a “special interest group”, according to the P.E.I. Potato Board and the Federation of Agriculture. This deliberate attempt to pit some potato farmers against anyone with water concerns is actually quite incorrect. It brings to mind the old adage of “the pot calling the kettle black”.

A special interest group is, by definition, “a group of people or an organization seeking or receiving special advantages, typically through political lobbying”. I have been involved in the development of the Water Act since its humble beginnings in 2015. I read all the public comments and heard many of the presentations. A very large majority – not a vocal minority, as these organizations repeatedly claim – expressed genuine concerns over the threats to water in the province.

Many identified the fish kills that continue to ravage wildlife in our waterways. A teacher spoke of pesticides in the drinking water at her school. Homeowners talked of nitrate contamination in their wells, through no fault of their own. Others told of anoxic conditions in estuaries that were affecting shellfish health, or decreasing levels of soil organic matter that lead to water deficiencies. It was a long list of concerns presented by a great many people and organizations.

To add fuel to this controversy, we had a clear example last summer of why so many people have a hard time putting their faith in government. The province has regulations about using surface water to irrigate crops. A government publication reads: “The department’s maintenance level is deemed to be 70 per cent of the monthly median flow. This threshold is based on the research available that indicates that a 10 per cent reduction would have some impact, a 20 per cent would present some challenges for habitat and the ecosystem would have a hard time handling a 30 per cent reduction in levels.” 

In a recent presentation to the standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability, a hydrogeologist with Agriculture Canada spoke of the model predicting the impact of expanded agricultural irrigation on the Wilmot River watershed.

Yefang Jiang found that “a significant increase in agricultural irrigation during a summer with 2001-like conditions would have reduced the streamflow by 40 per cent in the Wilmot River watershed.”

In front of the same committee, Mike van den Heuval, the UPEI biologist who has been proposing the study on high-capacity wells, was asked his opinion about what the level of streamflow reduction would be safe. He responded that “as a good precautionary guideline, I think 20 per cent is a good number.”

Ignoring science and his own rules, the premier responded to requests from five farmers in the Dunk River area last August and allowed them to withdraw surface water. At the time, there was already a 30 per cent reduction in water levels. Any withdrawals after hitting that level were in violation of P.E.I.’s Water Extraction Policy. And yet the day after the requests, once again the environment was placed a distant second to economic interests.

We need open discussions around these issues, and the public is more than willing to be involved. But it does no one any good to demonize members of the public — including some excellent farmers — who speak for the environment, who have genuine concerns over water quality and quantity, and who watch the industrialization of potato farming with a heavy heart. It smacks of bullying, and that is not helpful in the least.

Look at the facts and ask yourself who really is the special interest group? 

Gary Schneider is co-chair of the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island and past member of the Round Table on Resource Land Use and Stewardship.

from Island concerned citizen and former Citizens' Alliance Board member Carol Carragher:
on social media, Monday, April 12th, 2021:

"The Water Act has been sitting for 3 years waiting for regulations to actually protect our water. The past government did not have the will or desire to make water a priority and the present King government seems to be taking the Santa Claus route and ignoring the Act, islanders concerns, and the science of its own public servants by giving the water away to a chosen few who feel their needs overrule all others. Premier King would have every right in asking these farmers about their soil organic matter and what crop rotation plan they followed? Otherwise you may see them again next year. When Island residents no longer have safe drinking water and our rivers, streams and soil can no longer sustain life who will you blame? (The Government, the Minister, the public servants who said nothing, the farming practices of industrialized/corporate potato farming or ourselves for not speaking up...) " <snip>
---Carol Carragher

and Carol's Letter in The Guardian recently:  

LETTER: Low-flow toilets won't make up for french fry processing water loss - The Guardian Letter to the Editor by Carol Carragher

Published on Friday, April 9th, 2021

Efficiency P.E.I., a government program, is doing great work helping Islanders in numerous ways to reduce their carbon footprint and build a better tomorrow. An example of their work is encouraging us to find ways to reduce our water consumption. In the Kent sales flyer for the week of March 14, there was a Water Sense dual flush toilet advertised with an Efficiency P.E.I. $75 instant rebate. The toilet met EPA criteria.

How does that action match up with the same government department giving grandfathered access to the agricultural sector through holding ponds (many existing and many just built since December 2020 without permits or environmental studies) that are filled with water pumped from wells? I believe most of those ponds have been and will be used in the potato sector, and in particular, those supplying potatoes for french fry processing. Apparently, to achieve one inch of water per application, approximately 26,000 gallons an acre needs to be pumped. So, if we stop to think about every processing acre irrigated numerous times throughout a growing season the amount of water pumped is mind boggling. It is going to take a lot of low-flow toilets to off-set that sector’s water consumption. Consumers concerned about climate change need to be asking themselves if they are willing to gamble our water supply for the perfect-sized french fry.

Carol Carragher, Cumberland

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Massenet’s Cendrillon, today until 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Kim, Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote, Stephanie Blythe, and Laurent Naouri, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. Production by Laurent Pelly. From April 28, 2018.

from a darling illustrated synopsis of the opera, here:

Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta / Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczała in Iolanta, and Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko in Bluebeard’s Castle, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Production by Mariusz Treliński. From February 14, 2015.  this is a double feature, with both one act operas adding up to about 3 hours.

April 12, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.
---Wangari Maathai  (1949-2011), Kenyan environmentalist and activist


Local Food:
Organic Vegetable Delivery, order by tonight for delivery Friday, April 16th.
More details here:

Charlottetown's Farmers' Market 2 Go, order by Tuesday noon for pick-up Thursday

Local Coffee:
Brett's Caledonia House Coffee, takeout window only,  7AM-2PM, Weekdays, Charlottetown Farmers' Market, Belvedere Avenue.
Especially if you're "uptown", near the University, and looking for coffee or tea.

sign of the times, at the Market

This afternoon:
Charlottetown City Council Meeting, 5PM, public can view online here:

The agenda can be found here:

and it appears the Angus Road/Mel's Convenience store new access road/roundabout project (off St. Peter's Road northeast in the city limits) is on the agenda.

Barbara Dylla discusses it in the New Charlottetown Project website here:

For whatever reason, and after a bit of confusion in the P.E.I. Legislature last week, Premier Dennis King said there were no MLAs "responsible" for the City of Charlottetown matters, nor anyone for Stratford or Summerside, either, as it was unnecessary.  While most of us can see that having an MLA swagger into City decisions could cause issues, most residents seemed to appreciate having one person provincially they could address their concerns about issues to, when Charlottetown has several Districts.  The Green Party as Official Opposition I think has appointed particular MLAs responsible for these jurisdictions since the 2019 elections (there were no PC MLAs elected in the City at that point).  It seems a loss of democratic voice not to have a particular, focused provincial person paying attention to issues concerning residents of these areas.  Especially when Charlottetown has a lot of issues. 

It's not too late for Premier Denny to reconsider and decide that maybe the Island's larger areas need a cohesive voice for residents to go to, and to speak to issues in the Legislature.  Newly elected MLA for District 10:Charlottetown-Winsloe Zack Bell likely could handle the extra duties, D6: Stratford-Keppoch MLA James Aylward for Stratford and Matt MacKay (D20: Kensington-Malpeque) for Summerside (since it borders the east and north side).

In case you are thinking of signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture program  (CSA) for this summer, you can look at the page put together by Pauline Howard of the PEI Food Exchange to get an idea of what is out there and how some of them worked last summer.

Atlantic Skies for April 12th - April 18th, 2021 - "Understanding Stellar Magnitudes" - by Glenn K. Roberts

Astronomers use two different types of stellar magnitudes to measure the brightness of a star or other celestial body - apparent magnitude, and absolute magnitude. Although it is generally termed "stellar magnitude", the same principles of magnitude apply when measuring the brightness of other celestial objects, such as the planets, comets, galaxies, the Moon, and the Sun, etc.  Apparent magnitude (sometimes referred to as "visual magnitude") relates only to how bright a particular star appears visually to an observer on Earth. Absolute magnitude is the intrinsic brightness a celestial object would exhibit if it were viewed from a distance of  32.6 light-years (approx. 310 trillion kms.). Most amateur astronomers are more interested in apparent magnitude than in absolute magnitude.

It was the Greek astronomer, Hipparchus, who, in the second century B.C., created the magnitude scale.  He labelled the brightest stars he could see in the night sky as first-magnitude (+1.0) stars. Stars dimmer than +1.0 magnitude were labelled second-magnitude (+2.0), stars dimmer than +2.0 magnitude were labelled third-magnitude (+3.0) stars, and so forth, down to sixth-magnitude (+6.0) stars, the dimmest stars that he could see. This is primarily the stellar magnitude scale that modern-day astronomers still use, though with a slight, but significant, change.

In 1850, the English astronomer, Norman Robert Pogson, established a new system of ascribing magnitudes to celestial objects. He determined that a difference of 5 magnitudes corresponded to a brightness factor of one hundredfold. Simply put, a first-magnitude (+1.0) star is 100x brighter than a sixth-magnitude (+6.0) star. Since the fifth root of 100 is approximately 2.512, a difference of one magnitude corresponds to a brightness or dimness factor of about 2.512, meaning that a +6.0 magnitude star is 2.512x dimmer than a +5.0 magnitude star. Pogson was eventually forced to add negative magnitude values in order to accommodate the vast range of celestial object magnitudes. As the magnitude scale currently stands, brighter objects are assigned negative numbers (the higher the negative number, the brighter the object), and fainter objects are assigned  positive numbers (the higher the positive number, the fainter the object); e.g., the faintest star that can be seen (under a clear sky, away from city lights) with the naked eye by the average human is usually around +6.0 magnitude, while the brightest star Sirius in Canis Major has an magnitude of -1.5,  the Full Moon approximately - 11, and the Sun a whopping -26.7 magnitude. While this manner of ranking magnitudes appears "backward" to most people, it does become easier the more one uses it.

Speaking of which, here is a small test for you. On a clear spring or summer night, go outside and see if you can spot, with just your naked eye (remember to give yourself about 15-20 mins for your eyes to dark-adapt), the following stars in the northern sky (star/constellation/magnitude):  Mizar/Ursa Major/+2.27; Talitha/UMaj/+3.14' Alcor/UMaj/+4.01; and Chalawan/UMaj/+5.05; Polaris/Ursa Minor/+2.02; Pherkad/UMin/+3.05; and Yildun/UMin/+4.36. You may need to consult a star atlas or go online to find some of these stars. Ursa Major and Minor are visible all night long, every night of the year. Let me know how you made out..

Mercury, heading towards superior solar conjunction (passes behind the Sun as viewed from Earth) on the 18th, is currently too close to the Sun to be seen. Venus is likewise too close to the Sun to be observed. Mars (mag. +1.4, in Taurus - the Bull) becomes visible in the evening sky about 43 degrees above the western horizon by 8:40 p.m., before dropping to the horizon and setting by 1:15 a.m. Look for the waxing, crescent moon near Mars on the evening of Apr. 16. The Red Planet will form a triangle with two other celestial red objects in the mid-evening, western sky - Betelgeuse in Orion - the Hunter to its lower left, and Aldebaran in Taurus - the Bull to its lower right. Saturn (mag. +0.7, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) rises in the southeast around 4:10 a.m., reaching 14 degrees above the horizon before fading with the approaching dawn by about 5:50 a.m. Jupiter (mag. -2.1, in Capricornus) rises in the east-southeast shortly after Saturn, around 4:40 a.m., reaching a height of 13 degrees above the horizon before fading from view by about 6:10 a.m.

Until next week, clear skies.


Apr. 14 - Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth)

        16 - crescent Moon near Mars, W, mid-evening


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Luisa Miller, today until 6:30PM
Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Olesya Petrova, Piotr Beczała, Plácido Domingo, Alexander Vinogradov, and Dmitry Belosselskiy, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. Production by Elijah Moshinsky. From April 14, 2018.

This week Met Opera video streaming Theme:
Once Upon a Time

Wicked witches, fairy godmothers, and storybook princesses cast their spell in this week of fairy tale–inspired operas....
more related articles on this week's opera broadcasts

Massenet’s Cendrillon, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday 6:30PM

Starring Kathleen Kim, Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote, Stephanie Blythe, and Laurent Naouri, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. Production by Laurent Pelly. From April 28, 2018.  Cinderella, fairy tale books abound.

April 11, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


At the Macphail Woods Ecological Centre:
Lots of events still taking place at Macphail Wood this spring and summer, but registration is required for now, and spaces are limited.
Their nursery catalogue of native trees and plants is also available, here:

Announcement from the PEI Certified Organic Producers Co-op:

We're looking for landowners to complete a 3- minute survey - so we can work together to match our farmers with conscientious landowners! Follow this link to learn more:

The little Mars helicopter's first flight, which was scheduled for today, is delayed until Wednesday, as there may be a rotor issue. story here:

from the David Suzuki Foundation's weekly "Science Matters" column:

Protecting the Planet can Protect us from Pandemics - David post by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Write Ian Hanington

sent on Friday, April 9th, 2021

With COVID-19 vaccines becoming more available, we can breathe a small sigh of relief — through our masks! But we can’t get complacent. This pandemic isn’t over. And if we’re not careful, others could be on the horizon.

A coalition of health and conservation organizations is trying to prevent that. It points to evidence that “increasing rates of deforestation and land-use change due to population growth and urbanization — coupled with growing globalization and excess production driven by consumerism” are increasing our vulnerability to “zoonotic” diseases, which spread from other animals to people.

They also note that “large-scale commercial trade in live wild animals, often traveling long distances to crowded food markets, increases the risk of transmission of pathogens to people from those animals.”

This information isn’t new. Most “novel pathogens” to which we haven’t developed immunity are zoonotic, including Ebola, zika, West Nile virus, SARS, HIV and others. We’ve long known about the possibility of something like COVID-19. We should have been better prepared for it or able to prevent it.

We must learn from the current crisis to prevent worse emergencies and prepare for new diseases. The next virus could be deadlier than COVID-19 (as some variants already are). As the coalition points out, outbreaks are increasing and spreading faster in our interconnected world.

“Because of our broken relationship with nature, these events are already happening more frequently: more than 335 emerging infectious disease outbreaks were reported worldwide from 1940 to 2004 — over 50 per decade,” the coalition reports.

In identifying parts of the world where outbreaks are likely to start, the coalition is mapping out solutions, which “will require dialogue and coordinated action between sectors — particularly health and environment, but also agriculture, trade, food and nutrition, and others.”

Its proposed “three-pronged strategy” would include a scientific task force and high-level panel on prevention at the source, a global action fund for pandemic prevention, and global and local public awareness campaigns.

The task force — to be convened by coalition members the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment, with scientists worldwide — will “examine what we know and what we must learn to prevent the next global pandemic.” It will inform a panel that includes “high-level representatives from governments” to “develop and recommend policies to prevent spillover, and, critically, advocate for adoption of these policies globally and in high-risk countries.”

The coalition also proposes a global action fund to help co-ordinate knowledge, dialogue and action and “support a pipeline of existing prevention solutions to scale up, while also financing the development of new solutions (cutting-edge behavior change approaches, diagnostic platforms, incentives programs, technologies, and data solutions).”

Finally, it proposes global and local public awareness campaigns to prioritize prevention and health-system preparedness.

To prevent pandemics, we must recognize our interconnectedness with nature and protect natural systems that make the planet habitable for humans. Doing so will also help with the climate emergency.

As Amy Vittor from the University of Florida’s division of infectious diseases and global medicine told the Guardian, “Forests — and tropical forests in particular — harbour complex networks of microbes and their wildlife hosts. Degrading these landscapes carries the potential of unleashing these microbes upon our domesticated animals and ourselves. Therefore, maintaining the integrity of forests serves to not only protect biodiversity and mitigate climate change, but also to contain these complex and potentially dangerous pathogen networks.”

Reducing wildlife trade and reforming livestock practices are also crucial. All require recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples worldwide, and incorporating knowledge they’ve gained from living in place for millennia.

These measures are necessary regardless of cost, but a recent study found they’re also sound investments. Global spending on COVID-19 has already exceeded US$20 trillion, but spending just $27 billion a year over 10 years could substantially reduce the risks of a similar pandemic.

As with the coalition’s recommendations, the study outlines the benefits of early disease detection and control, monitoring wildlife trade and ending China’s wild meat trade, reducing disease spillover from livestock and protecting tropical forests in critical regions.

Our major crises — pandemics, climate disruption and biodiversity loss — all have roots in our lack of recognition of our place in nature. We can and must do better.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Roberto Alagna, Nathan Gunn, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by Plácido Domingo. Production by Guy Joosten. From December 15, 2007.

Verdi’s Luisa Miller, tonight 7:30PM until Monday 6:30PM
Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Olesya Petrova, Piotr Beczała, Plácido Domingo, Alexander Vinogradov, and Dmitry Belosselskiy, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. Production by Elijah Moshinsky. From April 14, 2018.  Such beautiful acting and singing by Yoncheva, Domingo as her dad, and Beczala as her beloved.

Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be unlocked from the inside.
      --- Marilyn Ferguson (1938-2008) American author

April 10, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Farmers' Markets plan to be open in Summerside (9AM-1PM) and Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)

Other sources of local food today include:
Heartbeet Organics (vegetable store running 9AM-1PM) and Riverview Country Market (9AM-5PM)

The PEI Symphony Orchestra volunteers may have citrus fruit for sale at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market.

Today, Saturday, April 10th:
Anti-Oppression Workshop on Zoom, 2-5PM,
sponsored by the PEI Women's Institute
The PEI Women's Institute invites you to a 3-hour interactive workshop entailing exercises, visual presentations and scenarios to better understand and welcome our differences in organizations and communities.
Presenters include Dante Bazard, MSc, founding member of BIPOC USHR,  and Dr. Sobia Ali-Faisalm, PhD, president BIPOC USHR, in collaboration with PEI  Association for Newcomers to Canada.  

You can still sign up here:

Always a well-organized meeting with excellent information and guests, and good food.

Friday, April 16th:
National Farmers Union District 1, Region 1 Convention,  Registration begins at 9:30AM, Credit Union Place in Summerside.
The cost is $20 per person and includes a noon meal.  For more information, please contact Edith Ling at 902-368-1262.

If you want to listen to Friday morning's CBC Radio Political Panel, it is here (21 minutes):

The Legislative Assembly had a short day yesterday, out of respect for the passing of Prince Philip.  Next week is a planned no sitting/prep week, so the next sitting day is Tuesday, April 20th.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link:

Suggested action opportunity:

from FairVote Canada, a few days ago:

Tell MPs to Support a National Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform - FairVote Canada post

image from FairVote mailing, at the link, below

A brand new chance to kick-start electoral reform is imminent in Canada’s Parliament. To seize it, we must act together now! 

Since Justin Trudeau broke his promise, we have been pushing relentlessly for a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

To get action after 100 years of broken promises, we must take the power out of the hands of self-interested politicians and put electoral reform to a process we can trust!

Thanks to the leadership of the NDP’s Democratic Reform Critic, MP Daniel Blaikie, a motion on a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform is about to be put to a vote at the Procedures and House Affairs (PROC) Committee!

To win this vote, we need six principled MPs to say YES to a courageous next step to strengthen Canada’s democracy.

Send a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the MPs on the PROC Committee urging them to support a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform!


find form and more details at:

Two Proportional Representation events coming up -- one is tonight!

PR 101 with Dennis Pilon, 8PM tonight, Zoom, hosted by FairVote Canada

Are you new to electoral reform and want to get up to speed on the basics of proportional representation?

What is proportional representation? Why do we need it?

How do the two most popular systems recommended in Canada actually work?

Join our PR 101 webinar on Saturday April 10 at 7 PM Eastern! REGISTER FOR PR 101:

And in two weeks,
Saturday, April 24th:
Replaying Watch Party from Islanders for PR,
PR in Scotland, 2PM

Facebook event link


Metropolitan Opera Saturday Radio Matinee, 2PM, 104.7FM
Puccini’s La Bohème
Performance from October 2, 2017
Alexander Soddy; Angel Blue (Mimì), Brigitte Kele (Musetta), Dmytro Popov (Rodolfo), Lucas Meachem (Marcello), Duncan Rock (Schaunard), David Soar (Colline), Paul Plishka (Benoit/Alcindoro)
Just over two hours of beautiful music, a terribly sad story, and this version has some of the Met's younger rising stars (just like the characters were supposed to be)

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Shostakovich’s The Nose, today until 6:30PM
Starring Andrey Popov, Alexander Lewis, and Paulo Szot, conducted by Pavel Smelkov. Production by William Kentridge. From October 26, 2013.  (Conducted by Smelkov...The Nose...such a this "satirical opera...about a nose that goes missing...")

Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Anna Netrebko, Roberto Alagna, Nathan Gunn, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by Plácido Domingo. Production by Guy Joosten. From December 15, 2007.  So they aren't the youngest of actors, but they act very convincingly, and their singing is to die for. (sorry, couldn't resist)

April 9, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-2PM today, then there are no sittings next week.

To watch and for more background information:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link


Fridays4Future Charlottetown, 3:30PM
, Province House on Grafton Street side, all welcome.
Facebook event details for more information.

Rainforest Lounge with Todd MacLean and special guest Kate Currie, 7PM, Facebook Live
This Friday at 7pm right here on Facebook Live - what a joy this will be to have a chat and some tunes with Katie Currie (McGarry) in the Rainforest Lounge. 🌿
Saturday, April 10th:
Anti-Oppression Workshop on Zoom, 2-5PM,
sponsored by the PEI Women's Institute

About the Event
Are you familiar with BIPOC? Do you know it stands for black, Indigenous, and people of color?  It is more important than ever to understand racism and its effects in our communities, province and beyond.T he PEI Women's Institute invites you to a 3-hour interactive workshop entailing exercises, visual presentations and scenarios to better understand and welcome our differences in organizations and communities.
Presenters include Dante Bazard, MSc, founding member of BIPOC USHR,  and Dr. Sobia Ali-Faisalm, PhD, president BIPOC USHR, in collaboration with PEI  Association for Newcomers to Canada.  

Zoom links will be forwarded on Friday, April 9 to the email you provided.      
Please note a quick survey will be sent after the event in conjunction with the PEI Department of Agriculture and Land agreement.



Fridays for Future, PEI is presenting the documentary film, I Am Greta during Earth Week, Tuesday, April 20 - Thursday, April 22nd, 7PM, City Cinema, Charlottetown.
Tickets are available on the City Cinema website or at the door -- however, due to covid spacing, seats are limited so it is suggested that you book your ticket online:

More in this space this weekend on Speaker Colin LaVie and his breaking the tie from last night after 5PM,

but Kerry Campbell sums the situation and provides background in this CBC story:

P.E.I. Speaker settles rare tie vote by keeping Opposition bill alive

Slim PC majority not enough to kill legislation aiming to restore powers to Health PEI board

LINK to CBC online story

Here are links to the two parts of the feature story that CBC Radio has done on water, related to their requesting documents about decision-making for allowing pumping from the Dunk River, even when the levels were too low, last summer.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2021 ... Groups Demands Strict Water Act Enforcement

Thursday, April 8th, 2021 ... Balancing Water Needs and Growing Food

And a link to the most recent CBC story on the meeting of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, which is looking at the latest draft of the regulations about water extraction, and the chair's comments on "fair access to water":

Said a wise old owl about this week's water news:
"No critique of the kind of agriculture that holding ponds and high capacity wells support or its destruction of our water. We may well have plenty of groundwater water at the moment but it will be poisoned water we are drinking."

STATEMENT: NFU is a member in good standing of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Lands -The Guardian Guest Opinion by Douglas Campbell

Published on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has been asked if we are members of the Coalition for the Protection of the P.E.I. Lands. This was in relation to the ads which have been aired recently on CFCY radio. The ads addressed the reality of increasing corporate and foreign ownership of Island land through circumvention of the Lands Protection Act and the negative impacts of industrialized farming. Islanders were asked to contact their MLAs, noting that successive Island governments have failed to uphold the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act. This failure that has brought us to the current threat to the P.E.I. lands. The resulting consolidation of ownership and control of land has led to the abuse of the land.

The NFU has a long tradition of transparency, a trait which seems to be in short supply in many institutions in P.E.I. Therefore, the National Farmers Union, District 1, is hereby publicly stating its affiliation with the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Lands. When the lands coalition was formed in May 2018, the NFU accepted the invitation to become a member along with other like-minded organizations. We know that the invitation was extended to other agricultural groups.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the NFU is a coalition member. The protection of our land is a chief focus in our mandate to promote the economic and social betterment of Canadian farmers, promote environmentally safe farming practices, the building of vibrant rural communities and a safe food supply. 

The NFU was instrumental in having the Lands Protection Act passed in the P.E.I. legislative assembly in 1982 to prevent corporate and foreign interests with deep pockets from gaining control of Island land to the determinant of family farms and rural communities. We make no apology for trying to prevent our land from becoming a commodity of the few. We find it perplexing that others are not assuming a larger role in the fight to hold the provincial government to account in protecting our primary natural resource.

When a former NFU president, Roy Atkinson of Saskatchewan, addressed an Island group of farmers in the early 1970s, he said “the agribusiness sells you the machinery, and equipment, as well as the fertilizer and seed you need to operate your farm and then they turn around and buy the products of your labour. When they sell you a tractor, they set the price and you have to take it or leave it. The same thing happens when you go to sell your crop. The agribusiness offers a fixed price and you can take it or leave it. The farmer is caught in a squeeze which, if allowed to go on, will force him into bankruptcy.”

This is also why we have an issue with industrialized farming which has become increasingly heavily dominated by large vertically integrated corporations interested in consolidating natural resources for the greatest profit. Small- and medium-sized independent farming operations are being forced out of business, while large scale independent operations are being heavily impacted by debt load and low commodity prices. This is impacting farmers, rural communities, consumers, and the environment. So if some find the term, “industrialized farming”, offensive perhaps they should ask themselves why.

The above is why the NFU is part of the coalition. When you stand for the land you stand for farmers. NFU P.E.I. website and the coalition Facebook page give valuable information.

Douglas Campbell lives on his family farm in Southwest Lot 16 and is district director of the National Farmers Union.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, today until 6:30PM
From April 7, 1984. "This sumptuous production by Piero Faggioni (sets by Ezio Frigerio and costumes by Franca Squarciapino) seduced Met audiences into the enchanting world of Zandonai’s rarely heard opera. His retelling of Dante’s story of the immortal passion of Paolo and Francesca in 13th century Italy is as musically elegant and beautiful as the details of the production on stage."  2  1/2 hours

Shostakovich’s The Nose, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday about 6;30PM
From October 26, 2013.  "Acclaimed artist William Kentridge directed and designed this visually dazzling Met premiere production of Shostakovich’s satirical opera, adapted from the classic short story by Nikolai Gogol. Baritone Paulo Szot leads the cast as Kovalyov, the hapless bureaucrat whose nose has mysteriously gone missing. Alexander Lewis and Andrey Popov co-star, and Pavel Smelkov conducts."  2 hours

April 8, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility.  Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time.
   --- Robert Browning


Water Extraction In-depth Report, CBC Radio Island Morning, 96.1FM (and others), after the 7AM news and weather.  Second part of Laura Chapin's series, with reaction from the Federation of Agriculture and from UPEI professor Mike vanDen Heuvel, so presumably the opinions about greater access to groundwater will be emphasized.
The first part of the CBC story is in print, here  (but have not found a recording of the radio segment from Wednesday's show):
The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1PM-5PM today.  Presumably, the provincial Operating Budget will continue to be examined.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Take a trip out west:
Webinar from the Nature Conservancy of Canada Nature Talk Series,
Prairie Places: A Look at Community Pastures,
online, free

Facebook event notice

"Managed by federal and provincial governments for over 75 years, community pastures are a precious ecological, societal, and economic resource. Now largely cared for by local and provincial community groups, there is a new opportunity for us to help conserve these grassland, forest, and wetland habitats across western Canada.

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba there are 141 pastures that encompass an area twice the size of Prince Edward Island and support at least 36 species at risk. The continued existence and good management of these lands contributes to biodiversity, water quality, soil conservation, and carbon sequestration. These lands also improve human wellbeing by supporting a sustainable livestock industry, and by providing an important connection to the land. Join us as we explore the amazing natural spaces these pastures represent and why they are important for all of us."

Shopping with less waste notes:

April 2021:
"Bulk Barn on PEI has permission to allow customers to bring in their own containers.

They must be brought up to cash for inspection before filling."

This is now also the case with the Monsieur Vrac Store. 

In both cases make sure they are clean and dry, glass, plastic and metal should be acceptable.

A few notes from Wednesday, April 7th, in the P.E.I. Legislature:

Why... internet access update coming....
Economic Development Minister Matt MacKay gave an update about getting internet to "the last mile" or the final 3-5% of the households, that they are expecting a report on this from Stantec Consulting Firm, but were guessing 2023 (details to follow).  And while kudos to MacKay for his continued pushing of this issue, the discussion on making internet truly affordable in addition to accessible, for our seniors, underwaged people, etc., would be very, very good to have.

In Question Period yesterday, MLA and Opposition Environment Critic Lynne Lund asked about protecting water, to which a very animated Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers accused the Opposition of a lack of questions on Net Zero and wanting to toss out Cavendish Farms and all its jobs (aside: which few believe is true if the company heeded calls for it to be a vastly improved corporate citizen and environmental leader). 
While Myers' "Command Performance" had some viewers reaching for antacids, Lund retained her trademark cool and repeated her question. Just after 40 minutes in the video archives for April 7th, 2021:

Highs....the passing through Second Reading of Hannah Bell's Private Member's Bill on Poverty Elimination Strategy Act, Bill No. 107, guiding the government in creating its strategy that results in the elimination of poverty. 

As fellow caucus member Steve Howard put it on Twitter later:
Tireless, gentle, relentless. @hannahbethbell  congratulations!

Social Development and Housing Minister Brad Trivers offered his thanks and congratulations, too; this can be one way how the Legislature can work together for Islanders.

The April 2021 Green Party of PEI News is here: and has lots of background on the issues the Official Opposition is working on.

timely opinion piece:  

LYNNE LUND: Water Act regulations favour some farms over others - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Lynne Lund,

Published on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Living on an Island we understand limits in a way that isn’t as obvious in other places. I think that’s why discussions on land and water use drum up so much interest.

The strain of climate change is being felt in many places, especially in agriculture. We need a sustainable irrigation strategy for P.E.I. And two of the pillars of that strategy must be environmental protection and fairness.

Past governments, led by both PC and Liberal, have shown with their choices that they do not really believe in environmental protection. It is treated mostly as an inconvenient afterthought. That has real consequences and, I would argue, the farming community especially suffers when government does not take their role as environmental stewards seriously.

I am happy the Water Act is finally being proclaimed, but with the recent regulation changes around holding ponds, the King government is demonstrating once again that their approach to environmental protections will be one of hindsight, not oversight. It also means that government is going to have to pick winners and losers.

I’ve heard it said again and again that we have plenty of water on P.E.I. I don’t believe our province is at risk of running out of water and that’s really never been the question. To present it as such is an oversimplification that misses the point entirely. It shows a real absence of understanding to the complexities of water management.

While we have plenty of water as a province, at the local level things are experienced differently. Our groundwater isn’t held in one shared pot that we either have or don’t. We have many aquifers, and some are far more strained than others. What happened last summer with the Dunk River is a good example of that.

This is why a blanket approach to water management will leave some communities worse off than others, and it leaves farmers in those communities with unequal access to water. What we really need to understand is how much water we can access in any given watershed without causing harm to the ecosystems. Then we need to figure out how many large users of water are within that watershed in order to determine what would be the fair share for each.

Premier King’s newest environment minister is taking an approach that doesn’t take into account fair access to the resource. His choices do not even consider what the fair share of any watershed actually is. Even the research the King government is funding doesn’t look into this. If the holding ponds popping up in the areas of the Dunk and Wilmot rivers put us close to the maximum we can safely extract, does that mean farmers in the area who didn’t put in holding ponds should have no access to water? How is that fair?

Minister Myers is pitting farmers against farmers, and his actions prefer farms that could afford to take a risk on holding ponds against the ones who could not. Instead of leaving the regulations as they were, with holding ponds being required to withdraw less than a high capacity well in a few years, Minister Myers has now created a situation that requires constant management and a system that makes some farmers winners and others losers. 

Islanders want to know how Premier King will decide who comes out on top and who has to suffer loss.

Decisions on our limited water resources must be based on providing equitable and fair access within the means of whatever watershed is being tapped. This should mean all farms are entitled to water use - not an unlimited amount of course, but to use their fair share of the amount that can be safely taken out. Decisions should not be based on who lobbies harder, or has the deepest pockets.

The standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability heard from presenters about how important it is to ensure fairness to all farmers in decisions around water use. We also reviewed years worth of presentations and feedback to help inform our report. The Minister forgets that when he dismisses the work of a legislative committee, he isn’t dismissing his colleagues in the Legislature, he is intentionally choosing to ignore and go against countless Islanders who gave us their opinions and expertise.

On behalf of all Islanders, I am asking Premier King to explain why he is content to stand by while his minister, who is responsible for the environment, ignores the legislative committee tasked with oversight on the Water Act, and with it, fair and sustainable access to water.

Lynne Lund, MLA for Summerside-Wilmot is the Official Opposition crtic for environment, water and climate change.


Unrelated to environment and such, but not found spelled out in many places....In case you want an update on the Olympics, from CBC Sports

Clouds hang over the next two Olympics

Excerpt from: The Buzzer, newsletter from CBC Sports,
sent on Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Next Thursday is exactly 100 days from the official opening of the Tokyo Olympics. But expect a more muted marking of the milestone this time as countries around the world experience another spike in COVID-19 cases and Olympic organizers try to deal with the extra challenges that presents.

Meanwhile, another cloud hangs over the Olympic “movement.” Calls to boycott the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing are not going away, and the heat on this simmering debate keeps getting turned up on a semi-regular basis.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department raised the temperature when he indicated that the Biden administration hasn’t ruled out supporting a boycott as a means of protesting China’s rights abuses. With the International Olympic Committee refusing to move the Beijing Games, which open in less than 10 months, human-rights activists are calling for national Olympic committees, athletes and sponsors to pull out in protest of China’s actions against Uighurs, Tibetans and residents of Hong Kong.

Many Republicans are on board with this, as criticizing China has become something of a pet project in that party. Recently, a few Republican Congressmen formally called for the IOC to move the Beijing Games or, failing that, for the U.S. to boycott. Opinion remains split, though, even within the party. Grandstanding Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, for whatever this is worth, tweeted recently that instead of boycotting “we should go to Beijing and kick their commie asses.”

However, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee remains fiercely opposed to boycotts. USOPC president Susanne Lyons argued today that “they've been shown to negatively impact athletes while not effectively addressing global issues," and added that athletes should not be used as “political pawns.”

In Canada, there’s a similar divide between politicians and the national Olympic committee. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh are among those who have called for the Beijing Games to be moved, and O’Toole also supports a boycott if China doesn’t change its “conduct.” There’s an extra layer to the debate in Canada with China’s ongoing detention of Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor on espionage charges — widely viewed as retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the request of the U.S. In February, the House of Commons voted unanimously (minus Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Cabinet, who abstained) in favour of a non-binding motion to declare that China is committing genocide against more than 1 million Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. The measure also called on the IOC to move the 2022 Olympics from Beijing.

But the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees, like the USOPC, are against boycotts and argue that they don’t work. They also don't want the Beijing Games moved. COC CEO David Shoemaker said in February that it would be “next to impossible” to pull it off this close to the Games.

For now, at least, the federal government seems happy to defer to the COC. The Press Secretary for the Minister of Canadian Heritage issued a statement yesterday saying that, while the government remains “deeply concerned by horrific reports of human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities” in China, it “must recognize the independence of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees with regards to Canada's participation in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.” If other countries move toward boycotting, though, it’ll be interesting to see whether this hands-off approach continues. Read more about the Beijing boycott issue here.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Elena Maximova, Alexey Dolgov, Peter Mattei, and Štefan Kocán, conducted by Robin Ticciati. Production by Deborah Warner. From April 22, 2017.  From the Pushkin novel.

Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, tonight 7:30PM until Friday 6:30PM
Starring Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil. Production by Piero Faggioni. From April 7, 1984.  A Dante story.

April 7, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

April 6, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

April 5, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

April 4, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

April 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

April 2, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

There will be
no Fridays4Future today, as even the intrepid folks need a holiday break.

Tuesday, April 20 to Thursday, April 22nd:
The movie "I am Greta
" about Fridays4Future Climate Strikes instigator Greta Thunberg will be shown at City Cinema, 7PM.  You may want to reserve tickets early if interested, as they may sell our fast.
City Cinema website
click on "Book Now" to see the film listings.

April Fools? 
Perhaps -- it is quite ham-fisted. The reader is supposed to support high-capacity well irrigation as it means clamshell-packaged giant strawberries in the fridge and that's Food Security = Survival. Hmm.

Image from social media posting from "Farm and Food Care PEI":


Image link -- Farm and Food Care PEI Facebook, April 1st, 2021

and accompanying text:
"Food supply and what it means to you?
Rainfall just like the sun are needed to grow and nourish crops. Too much sun and not enough water or vice versa can hurt crops during the growing season.
Water is a precious resource and currently, there is a research project underway to study the impacts of using high-capacity wells to irrigate crops and how agriculture can remain sustainable with less and less rainfall during the growing season. Research partners include the University of Prince Edward Island, Canadian River Institute, Dalhousie University, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, University of Laval and Environment Climate Change Canada. Six PEI Farms will be included in the research: blueberries, potatoes and organic beets."

It's more than a bit misleading to imply the wells and holding ponds are the solution to drought, that they are paramount to survival, and that the research project (not yet started) supports all this.  A lot of taxpayers' dollars goes to Farm and Food Care PEI.

from their About Us page:
Farm & Food Care PEI is a program of the PEI Federation of Agriculture and is supported by the PEI Department of Agriculture and Land.
and their steering committee consists of no fewer than two current P.E.I. Government Deputy Ministers and two former ones. (see same link)

So consider buying local, seasonal, sustainable.

The April 2021 Burger Love replacement is promoting Island meat and potatoes with graphics of hip chefs.... and old ladies in glasses and curlers. Like the attempts at the potato name being cutesy-Olde Timey, the graphic is more awkward than endearing.
Smiles to clever producers such as Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy on Great George Street to have an entry of marinated tofu with scalloped potatoes.

LETTER: Time to show leadership on environmental issues - The Guardian Letter to the Editor by Jeanne Maki

Published on Monday, March 29th, 2021

The failure of governments over decades to implement solutions in a co-ordinated manner has left P.E.I. in a mess.

There’s been a lot of talk, a lot of “experts” hired, and a lot of public input requested. An example of how all the efforts to protect the environment can be wiped out with the stroke of a minister’s pen was Steven Myers' decision, within weeks of becoming minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, to do just that.

In this case it affects our critical resource—water. Another critical resource is trees. The federal government has a plan to plant two billion trees over the coming years as a way to capture carbon. There is no consideration of what kind of trees or where these trees will come from and where they’ll be planted.

Meanwhile on P.E.I., many acres of healthy forests are being clear cut to be used for potatoes, blueberries and land speculation. These trees are already established, are capturing carbon, producing oxygen, offering shade and wind protection. Their disappearance will lead to loss of carbon, erosion, loss of valuable seed sources and loss of biodiversity and wildlife.

Trees aren’t an annual crop — some of these trees can live hundreds of years. Once you lose the minerals in forest soils by using it for agricultural use, the damage cannot easily be undone, if at all. About 90 per cent of forested land on P.E.I. is privately owned. What will it take to convince people to protect their woods as we face the crisis of climate change?

The standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability was showing us how well the political parties could work together for the betterment of all. With two members from each party, these MLAs have spent countless hours listening and questioning stakeholders and experts. Their decisions are more likely to reflect Islanders’ viewpoints than one minister, new to the job, with no background in environmental issues. It’s up to Premier King to show leadership by supporting their efforts.

Jeanne Maki, Charlottetown


By the way, Jeanne was awarded the 2020 Island Nature Trust  (INT) Hon. J. Angus MacLean Natural Areas Award, with INT citing "Ms. Maki has spent her adult life working to safeguard one of PEI’s most important and threatened ecosystems: our forests."  (INT AGM report link)

Thank you, Jeanne.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Il Trovatore, today until 6:30PM
Starring Eva Marton, Dolora Zajick, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, and Jeffrey Wells. From October 15, 1988.  Two brothers, who don't know they are brothers, love the same woman, with of course tragic results.  And one of them is the great singer (but perhaps not known for his sword-fighting skills) Pavarotti! 

Massenet’s Werther, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM
Starring Lisette Oropesa, Sophie Koch, Jonas Kaufmann, and David Bizic, conducted by Alain Altinoglu. Production by Sir Richard Eyre. From March 15, 2013.

"Kindness is like snow.  It beautifies everything is covers."
   -- Kahill Gibran (1883-1931)

The inverse may be true, that unkindness is like melting snow, revealing sodden detritus.

April 1, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity."
   --- Amelia Earhart (1897-1939)


The P.E.I. Legislature is NOT sitting today or tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Friday, April 2nd:
Rainforest Lounge with Todd MacLean and special guest Trevor Grantin.  Instagram and Facebook live
"Got a busy week? Then plan to put all those cares on hold, to sit back & relax with us this Friday @ 7pm right here on Facebook Live - for the enchanting sounds of Trevor Grantin the Rainforest Lounge."

MacPhail Woods Ecological Centre has its Spring and Summer programming up.  Most workshops are free but pre-registration is required, and a lot of events are already waitlisted, so check it out now:

Journalism note:
Happy Retirement to Donna Allen, longtime producer at CBC Radio on P.E.I.  (and neighbour in Bonshaw).  Sometimes criticized as being too willing to duck big issues, she also lead the local organization through many challenges, hard money times, tech changes, and kept it connected to loyal listeners.  Good timing as she just became a grandmother last week.  Those waiting for CBC to change course now should comment to them:  Contact Us link:

Not good news at all:

from a Facebook posting by CBBEP Coastal Bird Program:
The Coastal Bird Program is part of the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, based in Corpus Christi, Texas. South Texas is home to an amazing variety of birds, and their migratory habits connect our area with regions as far-flung as the Canadian Arctic, throughout Mexico, and to the southern tip of Argentina. The Coastal Bird Program works to create, restore and enhance bird habitats throughout south Texas, and works with a vast array of great partners throughout the hemisphere to better understand and conserve our shared natural heritage.

March 31st, 2021
The explosion of yet another (3rd so far this year) SpaceX rocket prototype yesterday showered metal and potentially toxic debris far into the sensitive tidal flats of the South Bay Coastal Preserve, Boca Chica State Park and the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. On the right side of the highway is the SpaceX fenceline, and on the left is what has historically been one of the single most important sites for wintering Piping Plovers and thousands of other shorebirds. Since SpaceX gets County orders to close the highway and beach most weekdays we have had to cut back extensively on our monitoring there. Sadly, most news stories about these explosions neglect to mention the extensive damage being done to these highly unique coastal public lands.

South Texas, debris from crashed SpaceX rocket, March 31st, 2021 (photo from Facebook)


GUEST OPINION: Mayor of Charlottetown has too much influence, not enough leadership - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Doug MacArthur
Published on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

At the municipal level, the buck stops at the mayor's desk. He or she is expected to lead and provide wise direction, especially in a place like Charlottetown, our capital city, Birthplace of Confederation, and one of the finest and most beautiful cities anywhere. However, our current mayor seems missing in action on the leadership side.

Examples of his unacceptable leadership as mayor include the following:

It is unacceptable when a highly respected Charlottetown architect's firm places first in the competition to design a third city fire station, but instead, the city awards the tender to a lower-placed firm. It is even more concerning when other leading architectural firms courageously speak out against the inappropriate City Hall decision and say they are losing faith in the city's tendering process, and go on to say "it's an embarrassment throughout the Atlantic region for our city hall." And the Mayor's pathetic response: "Anytime you do something and issue an RFP, you'll get feedback." If Mayor Brown is still around for the 2023 Canada Games, will he want to award the gold to the third-place finishers? 

It is unacceptable recently when the city's proposed 2021 budget seemed to be off by about $2.5 million in the calculations, that Mayor Brown proposed that council approve the budget anyway and hopefully find the missing money later. How can citizens/taxpayers have confidence in such judgment and leadership when he is so cavalier about millions of taxpayer's dollars?

It is unacceptable that the mayor is a member of every city committee and has input and voting rights on every committee. He has far too much influence on every matter proceeding through committee stages, and he has shown no hesitation to use that influence to advance or thwart various matters involving the city. In a December, 2019 City Remuneration Report, the authors (Gerard Mitchell, retired Supreme Court judge; George MacDonald, former Charlottetown mayor; and Stan MacPherson, accounting firm principal) expressed a number of concerns regarding city operations, and they suggested consideration of "revising the Municipal Government Act so that the mayor of Charlottetown is not a voting member of council committees. The mayor’s vote should be reserved for breaking ties at council meetings." Needless to say, Mayor Brown has not advanced that proposal which would greatly roll back his powers.

It is unacceptable that the mayor does not excuse himself, at the committee and council level, from city development decisions, given that his bio states that he "works with the family business (EB Brown's Transport and Crane Service) as a business accountant and public relations officer." His firm is also a member of the Construction Association of P.E.I. and Philip Brown is listed there as the contact. We have seen in the examples above that Mayor Brown seems to play fast and loose with city tendering processes and city budgeting, but he is also in the construction business at a time when the city is allowing and enabling approval of some weakly scrutinized construction projects city-wide, sometimes with little or no regard for neighbourhood impacts or bylaw provisions.

It is unacceptable that the Mayor Brown administration frequently calls special meetings of council (which are for the purpose of dealing with urgent matters that cannot wait until the next regularly scheduled council meeting) and also frequently goes into closed sessions with no public access. For example, during the previous administration from 2015-2018, there was an average of six special meetings of council (urgent meetings) per year. With the Brown administration, there have been 38 in 2019, and a further 38 such meetings of council in 2020. Why?

Finally, it is unacceptable that since Mayor Brown came to power, almost every neighbourhood in the city has had to defend itself from questionable city hall decisions. The result has been IRAC appeals, neighbourhood campaigns like Save Simmons, Save Sherwood, Save Our Waterfront, and it gets worse by the day. There is little or no respect shown by the mayor for our bylaws, our neighbourhoods, our tendering processes, our tax money, and on and on. We are too good a city and a province to continue putting up with this nonsense. I hope Mayor Brown will either quickly get his act together or recognize that the position of mayor may be too much for him.

Doug MacArthur is co-ordinator of Future of Charlottetown.


Dr. Herb has the acuity to make clear analyses of many situations -- he was a great MLA, and a reason we need electoral reform to have voices like his inside the Legislature -- but it's too bad this letter was after the public consultation time closed. (but better late than never)

LETTER: A public school board should be fully elected and inclusive - The Guardian Letter to the Editor by Dr. Herb Dickieson

Published on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

The Island needs and deserves an elected public school board with a trustee representing each of the 10 school families (high school with feeder elementary and junior high schools), as well as an elected First Nation trustee for reason of redress and constitutional provision.

After two years into its mandate, the King government is taking tentative steps to fulfill its election promise to reinstate an elected school board, maybe...

A few days before Christmas past while we were focussed on gift giving and COVID-19, the provincial government issued a media release offering “public consultation” on the makeup of an elected board for the English public school system. The Island’s French school board is presently composed of elected trustees.

The King government’s “consultation” provided for only an online survey or mailed in written submissions, with no mention of legislative committee hearings where proposals could be publicized, shared and openly debated. No assurance is made as to whether the discrete individual presentations will influence policy on the elected school board design, or find their way to the shelf or the round file.

Despite King’s election commitment to reinstate an elected school board, the delayed and muted approach with its dubious online survey raises further doubt for the establishment of a fully elected school board.

*Question 1 of the survey asks if the school board should be elected or appointed.

*Question 2 seeks suggestions for an alternative process for board selection.

*Question 4 implies a hybrid model (combined elected and appointed).

*Questions 5 and 6 are both based on the hybrid model. 

So five of the first six questions in King’s consultation survey “to reinstate an elected school board” are predicated on notions of something other than a fully elected school board.

Government already has the mandate and authority in the provincial education system through the minister and the Department of Education to work collaboratively with school boards, teachers’ federation, Home and School Association, Mi’kmaq Confederacy and other Island groups to effect general policy direction, and provide educational resources for the benefit of our next generation. The King government does not need to further place appointed fingers on the scale of school board decision-making, while breaking its promise to reinstate an elected school board.

The King government must get on with fulfilling a commitment from which it gained office, allowing a fully elected school board to operate without political interference.

Dr. Herb Dickieson, O’Leary

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, today until 6:30PM
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani, and Mariusz Kwiecień, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Sir David McVicar. From April 16, 2016.

Verdi’s Il Trovatore, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
Starring Eva Marton, Dolora Zajick, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, and Jeffrey Wells. From October 15, 1988.  Two hours 13 minutes of gorgeous, classic opera singers!