CA News


  1. 1 August 20, 2019
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 Elections Canada says warning covers activities, ads identifying a candidateor party that cost $500 or more -  Canadian Press article
    3. 1.3 Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change - The Guardian (U.K.) article by Agence France-Presse
  2. 2 August 19, 2019
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Sussex-area fracking plans shelved over 'regulatory uncertainty' - CBC New Brunswick News article by Shane Magee
    3. 2.3 ‘I Want Them to Have Justice’: Inside the Fight to Save the Shubenacadie River - The Tyee article by Michael Harris
  3. 3 August 18, 2019
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 Will I be able to tell when we’ve reached a climate tipping point? - The Grist "Ask Umbra" advice column by Eve Andrews
  4. 4 August 17, 2019
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  5. 5 August 16, 2019
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  6. 6 August 15, 2019
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  7. 7 August 14, 2019
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 Cast Adrift - The Guardian article by Russell Wangersky
  8. 8 August 13, 2019
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 Kombucha on tap at Heart Beet Organics' new Charlottetown business - The Guardian article by Daniel Brown
  9. 9 August 12, 2019
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 P.E.I. Farm Centre program to prepare people for green economy - CBC News online article by Tony Davis
  10. 10 August 11, 2019
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  11. 11 August 10, 2019
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 ATLANTIC SKIES: Preparing for the Perseids - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts
    3. 11.3 Fighting Climate Change on the Farm - The NY Times article by Alan Sano
  12. 12 August 9 2019
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Some clarity finally on irrigation ponds - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie
    3. 12.3 VisionPEI -posted on their Facebook page
  13. 13 August 8 2019
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  14. 14 August 7 2019
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 'Unloved': Despite the oilsands' relentless cost cutting, investors are still wary of jumping back in - The Guardian article by Geoffrey Morgan, Postmedia News
  15. 15 August 6 2019
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 Bedeque man making a statement with roadside pollinator garden - The Journal-Pioneer article by Colin MacLean
  16. 16 August 5, 2019
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 OPINION: Fishermen still determined: No pipe in the Strait - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ronnie Heighton
  17. 17 August 4, 2019
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 MARGARET PROUSE: Wisdom from a pro - The Guardian article by Margaret Prouse
  18. 18 August 3, 2019
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 Wind research facility looking to complementary solar energy - The Guardian article by Eric McCarthy
    3. 18.3 New solar incentives available to Islanders - from: Government press release
    4. 18.4 Enbridge pipeline explodes in Kentucky, killing 1 person and sending 5 to hospital - CBC online article
  19. 19 August 2, 2019
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  20. 20 August 1, 2019
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 Climate emergency brings youth leaders to Thinkers Lodge - The Amherst News article by Darrell Cole

August 20, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The Talk: The Ongoing Climate Crisis and What We Can Do About It, 6PM
, Trinity United Church Hall, Charlottetown. "... this is a place where you can meet with like-minded people, and find ways to do something about it."
Facebook event link
This is one of those headlines, like Trump musing about buying Greenland, that you have to wonder if it's our plentiful and razor-sharp satire like The Beaverton or The Narwahl. But, alas, no.

Environmental groups were warned that some climate change ads could be seen as partisan during election period

Elections Canada says warning covers activities, ads identifying a candidateor party that cost $500 or more Canadian Press article

Posted on the CBC's website on Monday, August 19th, 2019

Elections Canada has warned environmental groups that running ads about the dangers of climate change during the upcoming federal campaign could be deemed partisan activity.

An Elections Canada official warned groups in a training session earlier this summer that since Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People's Party of Canada, has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of climate change, any group that promotes it as an issue in its paid advertising could be considered partisan and may need to register as a third party with Elections Canada.

Elections Canada said the warning applies only to "activities or ads that specifically identify a candidate or party" and cost $500 or more.

"The only place the act covers the promotion of an issue without mentioning a candidate or party is where someone spends money on 'issue ad' during the election period, but the issue must be associated with a candidate or party," Elections Canada said in a statement.

Such issue ads have been regulated during the election period for the last 20 years, the agency said.

Tim Gray, executive director of the advocacy group Environmental Defence, says registering as a third party is not only onerous for groups like his; it could also draw unwanted attention from the Canada Revenue Agency, which prohibits charities from engaging in partisan activity if they want to maintain their tax exempt status.

It is "discouraging" that Environmental Defence and other charities may have to revise their messaging about climate change during the campaign period "because one party has chosen to deny the existence of this basic fact," Gray said.

An Elections Canada spokesman confirmed "such a recommendation would be something we would give." It doesn't mean Gray is forbidden from giving interviews or press conferences about climate change during the campaign, the spokesperson said.

Rather, it would affect things such as Facebook ad campaigns that cost $500 or more.

"Lots of other activities, such as sending emails or text messages, having a website or canvassing door-to-door about issues raised during the election are not covered by the act, where they do not identify a candidate or a party," Ghislain Desjardins, Elections Canada's senior media relations adviser, said in a statement to CBC News.

"This is true even if the activity promotes an issue that is associated with a candidate or a party." 

Audits targeted some environmental charities

Environment groups in Canada are still on edge after being singled out by the Canada Revenue Agency in recent years for their political advocacy and some fear that if Elections Canada accuses them of being partisan, it will attract another round of audits.

In 2012, the former Conservative government unveiled a $13-million audit program to seek out charities the Conservatives alleged were abusing their tax status with partisan activities.

The probes went after two dozen environment, human rights, anti-poverty and religious groups — none of them considered partisan — for going beyond a rule that limited their spending on political advocacy work to no more than 10 per cent of their funding.

The program was launched as the Conservatives labelled some environment groups "radical" and a "threat" to Canada.

The Liberals promised to end what they called a "witch hunt" against any civil society groups that opposed the government's policies. It took more than three years, but eventually legislation was changed last year to lift the 10 per cent limitation. The non-partisan rule, however, remains.

Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network Canada, called the Elections Canada warning "shocking."

"Climate change is a scientific fact," she said. "It's not an opinion."

The situation is "contributing to ongoing confusion" about what environment charities can and cannot do, and will give fuel to pro-oil groups that want to silence their opponents, Abreu added.

Natasha Gauthier, a spokesperson for Elections Canada, told CBC's Power and Politics that any action taken against specific advertising activities would be decided on a case-by-case basis and only if someone made a complaint. She said the decision whether to issue a fine would be made by the commissioner of Canada Elections.

Completely annoyed? Here is something we can do, contributed by Suzanne Coutrine, on CBC Waves of Change Facebook group comment section:

"Elections Canada warned some environmental charities that promoting climate change as real or an emergency during the upcoming federal campaign could be deemed partisan activity.
If you think it is important to maintain that science doesn't become partisan because someone who denies it runs for office, and that it is important for Canadian environmental organizations to continue to raise awareness about climate change facts at this time, you can send a letter to the Commissioner of Canada Elections."

Commissioner of Canada Elections
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M6


Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change - The Guardian (U.K.) article by Agence France-Presse

Nation commemorates the once huge Okjokull glacier with plaque that warns action is needed to prevent climate change

Published on Monday, August 19th, 2019

Iceland has marked its first-ever loss of a glacier to climate change as scientists warn that hundreds of other ice sheets on the subarctic island risk the same fate.

As the world recently marked the warmest July ever on record, a bronze plaque was mounted on a bare rock in a ceremony on the barren terrain once covered by the Okjökull glacier in western Iceland.

<snip> rest of article at the link above
"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers."
--- Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

August 19, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Green Party Egmont Federal Election MP Nomination Meeting, Registration 6:30, Meeting at 7PM
. Silver Fox Curling Club. Two candidates are running for the Green party Nomination in this riding, currently held by Bobby Morrissey.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 20th:The Talk: The Ongoing Climate Crisis and What We Can Do About It, 6PM, Trinity United Church Hall, Charlottetown.
from the event listing:

"There is only one question left: Will we chose extinction or rebellion?” -XR
Why come to this meeting?
If you get a nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear about or experience extreme weather events like floods, fires, massive hurricanes and tornadoes, or see serious coastal erosion on the Island;
If you are nagged by worries about the effects of global climate crisis, but feel powerless to do anything about it;
If you try to avoid thinking about what the future will bring;
Then this is a place where you can meet with like-minded people, and find ways to do something about it.
Join the rebellion!

What is Extinction Rebellion (XR)?
A movement attempting, through non-violent direct action (NVDA), to stave off the extinction of humans and other species, due to accelerating climate change.
We have three demands of governments:
1. TELL THE TRUTH about the oncoming climate crisis
2. ACT AS IF YOU BELIEVE IT by enacting legislation to force a reduction to net zero Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2025, and
3. Create a Citizen's Assembly, advised by acknowledged leading climate scientists, in charge of deciding the measures needed to reach goals and guarantee a just and fair transition.
History and social science research have shown that the only way to succeed in changing established political systems is through NVDA. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Suffragettes, all used these tactics to win advances in social justice. XR is effectively using these tactics in the UK, and around the world.
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.” -Arundhati Roy
Extinction Rebellion Canada’s website:

News from our neighbouring provinces:
there are some concerns this is just a last minute "ploy" to get the New Brunswick government to get moving and make things easier.-- CO

Sussex-area fracking plans shelved over 'regulatory uncertainty' - CBC New Brunswick News article by Shane Magee

Posted on Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Corridor Resources says it is halting a search for investors to back a multimillion-dollar plan to frack for natural gas near Sussex, citing "regulatory uncertainty" in New Brunswick. The provincial government recently took steps to partially lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial process that breaks shale deposits to extract gas.

But the Halifax-based company says the provincial government has advised it's "unable to consider applications for an exemption to the moratorium as they undertake a consultation process with the New Brunswick First Nations."

The company made the announcement in a quarterly financial update to investors Monday. "Due to the regulatory uncertainty in New Brunswick, in particular when or if Corridor's lands will become exempt from the moratorium, Corridor is and has been limited in its ability to market the Frederick Brook Shale prospect to potential joint venture partners," the company said in a news release.

Given the uncertainty, the company says it has deferred "the marketing" of the work "until such time that the moratorium is lifted in respect of our licenses and the New Brunswick regulatory process becomes clear and is consistent with other oil and gas producing jurisdictions."

Mike Holland, the New Brunswick minister of energy and resource development, said the department hasn't received an application from the company to begin fracking. He directed questions about whether the government told Corridor it isn't able to consider applications back to the company.

Steve Moran, Corridor's president and CEO, declined an interview Tuesday.

Corridor Resources has extracted natural gas east of Sussex since 1999. It stopped fracking after the former Liberal government imposed a moratorium after the 2014 election. Corridor was seeking investors to expand its extraction network.

The company's 32 existing wells are centred in the Penobsquis area in the McCully Field. The company was looking for a partner to develop wells in the Frederick Brook shale, farther east toward the Elgin area.

Holland said it's disappointing the investment isn't taking place at this point. "I would have loved to see more activity take place," Holland said in an interview.

Sussex Mayor Marc Thorne said the town would love to see more money spent in the region but understands consultation must take place. "We certainly would love to see them at work exploring and contributing to the economy, but we also realize having said that that it needs to be done right," Thorne said.

Meanwhile, the company said it is looking to spend outside the province. "With working capital of approximately $64 million, Corridor enjoys considerable optionality to pursue opportunities for deployment of our capital," Moran said in a news release.

Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs said lifting the moratorium would help the company as it sought investors. "My goal is to be able to tell Corridor [Resources] within a month's timeframe that we are open for business," Higgs said in June.

Higgs, after announcing the partial lifting of the moratorium, said the government would consult with Indigenous people.

The announcement about loosening the moratorium was called a "serious mistake" by top Indigenous leaders. Chief George Ginnish of Natoaganeg First Nation had said the province must consult with Indigenous people before making a decision, not after.

Last month, Higgs told the Assembly of First Nations that the duty to consult remains vague and undefined. "We also need a clear understanding of what consultation means to ensure we've done it effectively," he said.

The province's 2011 policy on the duty to consult says it must take place when "contemplating an action or a decision that may infringe upon proven or asserted Aboriginal and treaty rights."

On Tuesday, Holland said consultations with Indigenous people have been taking place on a number of files, including natural gas. He wasn't able to provide a specific date when talks began on fracking.

He said consultation isn't "checking a box" but about building a relationship.

Also, this very good in-depth article by Michael Harris (a bit too long to copy, so just leaving the link), about the gas storage project proposed by Alton Gas in Nova Scotia.


‘I Want Them to Have Justice’: Inside the Fight to Save the Shubenacadie River - The Tyee article by Michael Harris

In Nova Scotia, water protectors have fiercely opposed a gas company’s plans for a decade, helped by a celebrity supporter.

by Michael Harris
published on Tuesday, August 13th, 2019, in The Tyee

It is so quiet on the banks of the Shubenacadie you can almost hear the river breathe.

Standing by the Treaty Truckhouse with Rachael Greenland-Smith and Dale Poulette, the instinct is to fall silent. The landscape draws you in with elemental power — an Alex Colville painting come to life.

Blue sky above, tawny long grass below, all of it bisected by the reddish tidal waters of the Shubenacadie. The only sound is the flapping of the Indigenous Unity flag when the wind picks up from the river.

The RCMP didn’t want any flags flying on nearby Treaty Island, but Mi’kmaq water protectors felt they had no choice. They believed that the Alton Gas company’s storage project, which would dump huge amounts of brine into the Shubenacadie, would endanger the river.

rest of article here:
"Do anything, but let it produce joy. Do anything, but let it yield ecstasy."
---Henry Miller (1891-1980), writer

August 18, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

With today's rain, I am not sure if this is still going on:
Large outdoor fundraising concert for the fire victims of the (Harley Street) Charlottetown Apartment Complex, 11AM-evening,14155 St. Peter's Road (Music at the Manse). "Bring your chair. silent auction. 50 50 draw.
for more information call 902 213 2861."

This IS going on, rain or shine, but the bouncy house won't be set up:
OUT in the Park, 1-5PM, Victoria Park, hosted by PEERS Alliance. All welcome for "...a day of fun for Island 2SLGBTQ+ families and their allies! Same as last year we will have face painting, crafts, barbecue hot dogs, and lawn games! We also have the absolute joy of this year bringing in a bounce house, dunk tank, cotton candy and snocones! And even better this is a free event!" Facebook event link

Celebration and Open House for Leo Broderick, 2-4PM, home of Marian White, 1257 Donaldton Road, Tracadie. "Leo recently retired as Chair of Council of Canadian National Board where he put in many, many hours building a strong Council. In addition, Leo received the Order of PEI - a well deserved honour for a man who cares and advocates for his community. We want to acknowledge the work that Leo and Vangie contribute to our Island home." I think anyone who knows Leo Broderick is welcome, though the original invitations came to organizations through the Council of Canadians PEI Chapter.
Climate Change "Ask Umbra" advice column:

Will I be able to tell when we’ve reached a climate tipping point? - The Grist "Ask Umbra" advice column by Eve Andrews

Published on Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Q. Dear Umbra,

What is the full list of climate tipping points for melting ice, permafrost, etc.? And what’s the best guess of when each becomes irreversible?

— Not Ever Ready for Vast Ocean, Understanding Science


Woooo, OK. I’m not going to deny that this is an important question, especially given that it conveys a sense of much-needed urgency around climate change. But I’m going to be very candid: It took me a lot of anxiety-fighting self-care steps to start writing this column. I lay on the floor for a while, checked statements for every financial account I have, stared out the window, watched the Audubon Puffin Cam for too long, and drank about four liters of water.

It wasn’t because I’m a reckless procrastinator (I am, but this behavior is above and beyond even for me); your question is inherently, existentially, and unavoidably upsetting.

Simply put, a climate “tipping point” would mean that an ecosystem or social system has reached a degree of change that results in a new state of reality. That kind of milestone is the result of “feedback loops” — some kind of mechanism that causes change to compound on itself, like melting sea ice creating more water that melts more ice. The system could become so transformed that the rules governing it would be fundamentally changed: “Hundred-year storms” become regular occurrences, temperatures across the U.S. regularly exceed the current National Weather Service heat index range, and a delta becomes a gulf.

That is a new world for which humans are not currently ready. We are barely able to wrap our heads around the ecosystem changes going on right now. But pretending we don’t understand what’s going on isn’t going to make the situation any better, so we might as well get into what kinds of apocalyptic predictions pave the path of climate inaction.
The tipping points you can’t see

So let’s start with the big ones. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report names four major planetary components that we really, really don’t want to change that much: the ice sheets of West Antarctica and Greenland; the El Niño and La Niña cycle; the circulation of water throughout the Atlantic Ocean; and the Southern (Antarctic) Ocean’s ability to absorb carbon.

Let’s start with those ice sheets: They’re already melting. Greenland is currently suffering through a heat wave that’s turning its glaciers into water — this July, the country lost 2 billion tons of ice in a single day. And recent observations of the West Antarctic ice sheet already suggest it might be approaching instability. While all that ice isn’t necessarily done for at this point, we’re getting closer to the warming range (between 1.5 and 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels) at which there’s a “moderate” risk of those sheets melting into 1-2 meters of sea level rise.

Next up, El Niño — the periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean, with worldwide weather consequences. As Eric Holthaus wrote for Grist, “The so-called Godzilla” El Niño of 2015-2016 boosted global temperatures to all-time records, snuffed out entire coral reef ecosystems, and created havoc for about 60 million people worldwide.” The hotter the atmosphere gets, the higher the frequency of extreme El Niño events.

The Southern Ocean one has to do with the Antarctic water’s ability to function as a carbon sink — something we really don’t want to “break.” Even a 1 degree C temperature increase (which at this point is already locked in) comes with a moderate risk of reducing its ability to uptake and trap CO2 from the atmosphere.

As for North Atlantic Ocean circulation, we know that is already changing, but scientists aren’t sure if that’s due to human activities. That changing circulation is problematic because, for example, it can push warm water up to the Arctic and keep it there for longer periods of time, further contributing to melting ice. But scientists know for sure that slowed circulation in the North Atlantic would have global climate impacts.

So what are we to do with that jarring information? I assume you’re asking this question because you want to know how to tell when the worst happens and it’s too late to save ourselves; if the point of no return is already here, or if it’s yet to come. Well, of course it’s not quite that straightforward.
… and the ones you can

It’s good to be aware of the big, scary tipping points, but they’re hard to envision and fully comprehend. For example, I’ve never thought about the circulation of the Atlantic ocean in my entire life, and now I learn it’s key to keeping the globe intact?

More localized ecosystem “tipping points,” which I think you’re referring to with your mention of permafrost, are easier to grasp. Between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming, up to half of permafrost is predicted to melt, releasing even more carbon into the atmosphere; deadly heat waves are likely to increase; and summers in which Arctic sea ice disappears completely become 50 percent more likely.

Another reason not to get too focused on the big four tipping points alone: smaller species- and ecosystem-related milestones are also quite serious, and should snap us to attention.

“Is it too late for the coral reefs that died in 2016 due to ocean warming? Yes, it’s too late, they’re not coming back. It’s too late for a lot of Arctic melt, for the Greenland ice sheet that’s fallen into the ocean, it’s too late for quite a few important things,” said Kim Cobb, paleoclimatologist and director of the Global Change program at Georgia Tech. “But it’s not too late to avert the worst kind of ugly surprises that come from pushing the accelerator down on a geological system that we know has not responded steadily.”

Cobb explained that predictions for what will happen in Earth’s physical systems should theoretically be informed by what has happened, but what is happening is so new and unparalleled in Earth’s history that even the best projections carry a hefty amount of uncertainty. There has never been such a rapid change to the atmosphere in human history.

“All we can say, as loud as we can, is that every half degree matters, but especially regarding stability of polar ice sheets,” Cobb explains.

You could think of those half-degree increments of warming — 1.5 to 2 degrees C, 2 to 2.5 degrees C — as their own tipping points. “Overall, the difference of 0.5 degrees can possibly be the difference between a degraded — but still functional — ecosystem and a collapsed one,” said Sonali McDermid, a professor of environmental studies at New York University. “The risks go up substantially across most of these systems between 1 and 1.5, and all these systems would experience unprecedented levels of risk and harm at 2 degrees C.”

René W. Brown, a natural resources manager for county government in Florida, added that even if we eventually reach 2 degrees C of warming, prolonging the amount of time it takes us to get there will give species time to adjust — and a better fighting chance at survival.

“If we can’t avoid 2 degrees [of warming], the longer it takes to get there, the better,” Brown said.
So what’s to become of us?

Over geologic time, Earth may be able to “correct” what humans have done to it; temperatures can drop, ice sheets can refreeze, different habitats can move around and change and resettle. That doesn’t take into account, of course, the millions of species that will go extinct, and the “corrected” planet may be unrecognizable from the one we see today. But it’s one reason I tend to balk at the term “good for the planet” when describing actions or behaviors that will slow climate change or curb carbon emissions. The planet will eventually take care of itself, thank you.

Our actual concern is whether we humans can survive that correction process, which will be longer and more aggressive depending on how much carbon we pump into the atmosphere. If the outcome of that correction — the reformation of ice sheets, for example — is thousands or millions of years down the line, we won’t see it.

But at least when it comes to climate tipping points, it’s not just about our own demise — it’s about the ushering in of a world that, on a fundamental, physical level, we don’t recognize or understand. We can prepare for all kinds of random ways death might find us — a car crash, a brain amoeba, a slippery set of stairs — but as the planet keeps warming, we begin to venture into risks so foreign to our current state of being that our brains struggle to fathom them.

The “tipping point” that I believe we should look out for is the one at which we have no idea what’s coming, and we can’t possibly prepare for it. And make no mistake, some communities are already reaching something very close to that reality. We’re currently at 1 degree C of warming, but barring some swift and comprehensive change, our business-as-usual policies and practices have us on track for as much as 3.5 degrees C.

In my mind, that means the tipping point we should all be looking out for is the one that tips the scales in the direction of timely and aggressive slashing of carbon emissions.


"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart."
-- Kahlil Gibran

August 17, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 16, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 15, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

August 14, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

A Legislative Standing Committee meeting:
Health and Social Development Standing Committee Meeting, 10AM-12noon
, Coles Building.
This group will meet to figure out its work plan.
The committee is chaired by Gordon McNeilly, new Liberal MLA, more information about the Committee is here.
Today marks one year since my mother died, and my father passed away several years ago. This essay by Russell Wangersky was in The Guardian last month and I thought it too poignant not to share, and saved it for today.

Cast Adrift - The Guardian article by Russell Wangersky

Published on Saturday, July 13th, 2019

It’s just one of all those things that no one really can tell you. The things you’re destined to learn — to really learn — for yourself.

Two days from the end of June, and I was on the edge of a huge field under the hot Manitoba sun with a collection of my in-laws, the wind fickle and dry on our skin. Standing on dry, stiff grass, watching the dust rise.

The soil bone-dry deep down into the ground, powdery black-grey, the sky thrown up blue and huge above us from flat horizon to flat horizon.

We were there to spread the comingled ashes of my mother-in-law and father-in-law, Ralph and Elizabeth (Billie) Vryenhoek.

He died several years ago: she passed away in January. I could tell you plenty about both of them, most of all that they were truly good, caring, charming people. I could tell you stories — of which there are plenty — but that wouldn’t help you with what I really want to explain. About the true line of many families, and how suddenly it vanishes.

What I want to tell you is something I realized myself after my parents died, but could never really put together in words. I was too much at the core of it then, reeling. Now, I’m slightly further away, so here goes.

When one parent dies, all of your attention goes to the other: you focus on them, keenly aware that they have suffered the greater loss. You’ve lost someone you love, absolutely, but your surviving parent may have lost the only constant they still had in their lives. The natural response is to try to help: to sort out what you can about how they’re live, what you can do to ease the pile of complications, from funerals to finances to living arrangements. Things have to be done. You tuck your loss a little to one side, aware of the greater needs, and perhaps hiding yourself in them.

When a second parent dies, a lot of that still has to be done — but sooner or later, you realize that the one crucial string has broken as well, sinking out of reach.

Right then, you lose the ability to contact the past, left only with your own memory and perhaps the memories of your siblings.

It was far easier to pick up the phone, dial, and ask my mother whether Fanny Brown was the first dog we ever had, and be sure to get the right answer. My memory works in strings of pictures or strings of film clips: often, they’re ordered most by what age I was when they happened, and what concerned me the most. I will never forget the otherwise useless memory of being a child in front of a Florida beach vending machine that dropped a plastic-smelling elephant figurine into my hands, still warm from its twin metal molds. I was so impressed with the hot pressed plastic that I can still remember the palm trees hemming the whole scene in like a picture frame. I have no idea where that beach was.

Before I was 10, my memories have very little in the way of organized mapping: I went where I was taken, so I didn’t have to remember how I got there, beyond the confines of my immediate Halifax neighbourhood.

But I could always anchor loosely remembered trips by going to the Dewey decimal systems of my parents’ memories, and eventually just my mother’s, after Dad died. “Where did this happen? When, exactly?” I might not get a complete answer, but I’d get a starting place.

But that firm history flees from reach along with the second parent — and it’s an unwelcome surprise.

The rope is gone: the world you know is adrift in a way it hadn’t been before.

And there is nowhere left to turn, no one to turn to.

I thought that on the Manitoba prairie, miles from the ocean and watching ships at sea around me.

Shivered, in the heat.

Anchors, away.

“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.”
– William Gibson, writer

August 13, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tuesday, August 13th:
Bumblebee Walk (6-7PM) and Talk (7-8PM)
, P.E.I. Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. Free. Hosted by the Ellen's Creek Watershed and others.
Pollination Biologist, Victoria MacPhail, will lead a walk through the Farm Centre Legacy Gardens where people can join her (weather permitting) in catching native pollinators which she will help identify. We will have insect nets for people to try. Following the walk, we will move into the Farm Centre for further discussion on the insects we captured and her presentation on native pollinators....This is a free child friendly event and people are welcome to attend either the walk or the talk or both.
(And tomorrow, the vegetable stand with ferments. at the downtown Farmers' Market...)

Kombucha on tap at Heart Beet Organics' new Charlottetown business - The Guardian article by Daniel Brown

Published on Sunday, August 11th, 2019


Kombucha lovers now have a place to call their own.

Verena Varga and Amy Smith, co-owners of Heart Beet Organics farm in Darlington, opened their first store on Great George Street in Charlottetown on Aug. 1. The marché and taproom called Farmacy+Fermentary will sell locally-sourced produce, fermented vegetables, and seven flavours of kombucha, which is a fermented tea drink.

They’ve been selling their produce and kombucha at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market and a few restaurants for the past while. They were looking into becoming more independent, so when the space beside Timothy’s World Coffee became available, they decided to go for it, Varga said. “It just all kind of lined up. We wanted to do something more.”

They’ve been working on it since last March. They wanted to open sooner, but renovations slowed things down. “So it’s been a long time in the works," she said.

Other restaurants sell kombucha, which caused some controversy due to its minor liquor content. In 2018, a warning from a liquor inspector forced one restaurant to stop selling it.

“Our liquor laws on P.E.I. are fairly outdated.” Smith said.

But the ban was lifted just a couple days later, and the situation made opening Farmacy+Fermentary much easier.

“Working with the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission was great. They were really supportive,” Smith said. “(Because) they were already well aware of what kombucha was.”

The business has two extra taps for local beers and ciders. They can use these to mix their booch with some booze, resulting in kombucha cocktails.

Many are turning to kombucha as an alternative to alcohol, rather than less healthy drinks like soda. Smith hopes the downtown taproom will provide a social setting where people who choose not to drink alcohol can be more comfortable.

“I think it’s new for Charlottetown.”

She and Varga also hope to host lots of live entertainment, and they want to offer workshops teaching people to ferment kombucha and kimchi. There are lots of possibilities, Smith said.

The store space they’re using has had lots of turnover throughout the years, with many small businesses coming and going. But Smith and Varga thought hard about their business plan, and with all the support and feedback they’ve received, they’re confident locals and tourists will love the concept.

“We’re pretty confident that Charlottetown is ready for a business like this,” Smith said.

"And since, when a joyful thing happened, they looked to see whether joy was on her, it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials."
---John Steinbeck (1902-1968), writing about "Ma" in The Grapes of Wrath

August 12, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 13th:

Tuesday, August 13th:
Bumblebee Walk (6-7PM) and Talk (7-8PM), P.E.I. Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. Free. Hosted by the Ellen's Creek Watershed, NaturePEI, and the City of Charlottetown.
Pollination Biologist, Victoria MacPhail, will be doing a walk through the Farm Centre Legacy Gardens where people can join her (weather permitting) in catching native pollinators which she will help identify. We will have insect nets for people to try. Following the walk, we will move into the Farm Centre for further discussion on the insects we captured and her presentation on native pollinators....This is a free child friendly event and people are welcome to attend either the walk or the talk or both.

Saturday, August 17th:
Volunteer Afternoon at Macphail Woods, 1-4PM, Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, Orwell. "...Come out and help expand our native plant arboretum, one of the most beautiful settings for native plants in the province.
Anyone interested in native plants, wildlife enhancement or Acadian forests is encouraged to attend. Macphail Woods staff will be on-site to lead the work and there will be lots of shovels and other tools available. This will be a great time to learn about native plants and to work with other volunteers. You can come for all or part of the afternoon.
For more information on this or upcoming events, please call 651-2575, visit or check out our Facebook page."

Save the Date:

Tuesday, August 20th:
The Talk: The Ongoing Climate Emergency & What We Can Do About It, 6-8PM, Trinity United Church, Charlottetown. Hosted by Extinction Rebellion PEI.
here is an excerpt from the event description -- full listing here
If you get a nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear about or experience extreme weather events like floods, fires, massive hurricanes and tornadoes, or see serious coastal erosion on the Island;
If you are nagged by worries about the effects of global climate crisis, but feel powerless to do anything about it;
If you try to avoid thinking about what the future will bring;
Then this is a place where you can meet with like-minded people, and find ways to do something about it. <snip>

News! Phil Ferraro to help assist younger people be ready to participate in the Green Economy

P.E.I. Farm Centre program to prepare people for green economy - CBC News online article by Tony Davis

CBC online on Sunday, August 11th, 2019

There's a new program coming to P.E.I. to help young people find work in the green economy.

The pilot project is offered by the P.E.I. Farm Centre and is called Engaging Youth in the Era of Climate Change.

"Our objective is to work with young people to help them develop transferable skills that would be important in the emerging new economy in terms of the green economy, dealing with climate change and social enterprises," said Phil Ferraro, CEO of the farm centre.

He said he is always concerned about climate change and he has heard more and more about how the "jobs of today and yesterday" could be lost to automation. "It's the youth of today that will be most impacted tomorrow and what we wanted to do is develop a program that helps them develop their general employability skills, but also to prepare them for the future," Ferraro said.

He said the program is geared toward people ages 18-30 who have had trouble finding work. The program will combine classroom studies, experiential learning opportunities and work placements.

"This is a pilot project that we will be running over the course of the fall, winter and spring and the total budget really depends on the number of participants," Ferraro said.

The program is being funded by the federal government. Depending on the number of participants that funding could reach $450,000, he said. "We actually have money to pay the participants during their training period," he said.

The program is looking for at least 20 paid participants. Ferraro said he expects the program to begin in October.

And a timely post from "Umbra" at

We have a guest Umbra this week, and it’s Grist senior fellow Zoe Sayler! Follow her on Twitter here.

Q. Dear Umbra:

What types of programs, initiatives, etc. can help high school students prepare for employment within the green economy?
— Leaping Onto the Sustainability Train

A. Dear LOST,

This advice goes out to all the climate-conscious teens out there. And, at least career-wise, I have some good news: There's never been a better market for a climate-related job. I mean, someone’s gotta design disaster-resilient buildings, get wind turbines up and running, and litigate all those new climate change lawsuits. How’s that for a silver lining?

Although the Green New Deal resolution isn’t yet a fully formed plan, that doesn’t mean the green job boom isn’t already in motion. Major metro areas like New York are taking on projects that push economic, social, and environmental change simultaneously. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the two fastest-growing jobs between 2016 and 2026 will be solar installers and wind turbine technicians. As a bonus, both jobs pay well over the median U.S. salary — and that’s before activists rise up and murder all the billionaires in their quest for more equal wealth distribution! I’m kidding — one-percenter assassin is not a green job.

And remember, you certainly don’t have to be dangling from a wind turbine for your career to be climate-forward. Receptionist at a solar technology company? That’s a green job! Sustainable landscape architect? That’s a green job! High school counselor working your butt off to connect students to green jobs? That’s a super-meta green job! If you want work that will help the climate, the best way to prepare for it is simply by pursuing what you love to do. (Unless your passion is pouring oil on pelicans, in which case you might be out of luck.)

"If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting the rest of our lives."
---Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler, b. 1970)

August 11, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event coming up:
Tuesday, August 13th:
Bumblebee Walk (6-7PM) and Talk (7-8PM)
, P.E.I. Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. Free. Hosted by the Ellen's Creek Watershed, NaturePEI, and the City of Charlottetown.
Pollination Biologist, Victoria MacPhail, will be doing a walk through the Farm Centre Legacy Gardens where people can join her (weather permitting) in catching native pollinators which she will help identify. We will have insect nets for people to try. Following the walk, we will move into the Farm Centre for further discussion on the insects we captured and her presentation on native pollinators....This is a free child friendly event and people are welcome to attend either the walk or the talk or both.
Housing Issues
Jordan Bobar, Charlottetown resident and who has worked for various levels of the Green Party, wrote last month about being evicted from his rental apartment. He has since found another place to live, and clearly described the problem and potential short-term solutions, in this social media posting in mid-July (and this was a week before the fire at the new building The Harold displaced over fifty city residents):

The housing crisis just hit home for me yesterday, when I was served notice by my teary-eyed landlady that, due to an order by the Charlottetown Fire Department, all tenants in the house I live in, plus another multi-dwelling house next door that they also own, will need to move out by August 11th.

Apparently, these houses are no longer deemed to be compliant with the latest fire code, and the cost of renovations that would be required to bring it up to code are cost-prohibitive for my landlord if the buildings are to be kept as affordable rental units. 

My landlady also told me that, according to the fire marshall, there are at least half a dozen buildings in the immediate area that are similarly being shut down. Some of these houses have operated as rooming houses for a century, providing affordable housing to many. That means that within a month, dozens more renters will be out looking for a new place to live in a city with a 0.2% rental vacancy rate. I'm worried enough about myself, but I know that I am by far not the most vulnerable person to be affected by this situation. What will become of us all? Will we even be able to remain in the province? Where is there to go in a province with virtually no rental vacancy? 

What particularly angers me about this situation is that, of all the pressures on Charlottetown's rental stock, this is the City itself systematically shutting down affordable rental units - and for no good reason. If the house I am living in was used as a single-family home, there would be no issue. But because its rooms are rented out individually to provide affordable housing to several individuals, we are instead help up to the same fire-safety standards as an apartment building. How does that help alleviate our current housing crisis? 

I believe in the strongest terms that both the City and the Province need to recognize and declare that Charlottetown and PEI are in a state of housing emergency, and not just rhetorically, but by bringing in immediate measures to help protect existing rental stock.

At the municipal level, the very least that the City of Charlottetown could do right now is place a moratorium on the enforcement of bylaws that arbitrarily shut down well-functioning affordable housing at a time when there is virtually nowhere else for tenants to go.

At the provincial level, I believe it is time for a moratorium to be placed on evictions on the pretext of renovations, which has become an epidemic in this province. It is so nakedly obvious that renovictions are being exploited as a loophole to convert affordable rentals into much more expensive rentals or into lucrative short-term rentals.
Having moved to PEI from Vancouver three years ago, it is highly distressing to see the exact same patterns of affordable housing loss repeating themselves here on PEI. Without immediate action, the social upheaval caused by the housing crisis will tear at the fabric of this beautiful Island in a way that it may never recover from.
--Jordan Bobar
July 13th, 2019

Related CBC on-line story from July 24th, 2019.

Bobar makes two clear and relatively easy immediate action points. I did not notice a comment in the CBC article or anywhere else from former Charlottetown mayor and current provincial "Affordable Housing Chief" Clifford Lee, who was appointed on August 1st, 2018, to that role.
Guardian story on Lee's appointment as Affordable Housing Chief

All Charlottetown and Summerside city councillors, and all MLAs, need to be reminded to work together, but to work on this issue.
"The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment."

August 10, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

Summer Social and Birthday Party with District 11 MLA Hannah Bell, 1-3PM
, J. Frank Macaulay Park, Spring Lane.
"...Cake and ice cream will be served. In lieu of birthday gifts, bring a non-perishable food or toiletry item to be donated to the Food Bank. Please bring your own chair."

Ebb and Flow: Tides of Settlement on Prince Edward Island, 7:30PM, Beaconfield's Carriage House, co-created by Laurie Murphy and Amanda Mark. Saturdays until August 31st.
“With fellow Island artists, historians, economists, and community cultural organizations, we are presenting original literature, music and dance along with photography, archive materials and film that together present a living poem,” Murphy says, “a snapshot of PEI’s in and out-migration of settlers, from the indigenous Mi’kmaq to colonizers, and from newcomers to refugees.”
Each evening includes an exhibition of photography, newspaper articles and artifacts, an instrumental ensemble playing 7:30pm, followed by a multimedia stage presentation, at 8pm. For those wishing to join in post-show activities, there will be a facilitated Q&A, with weekly guests, and a music jam."
So much information! More at Facebook event link
August! The beginning of Old Home Week! It must mean the Perseid Meteor Showers are about here. Glenn Roberts explains the night sky for this part of the month.

ATLANTIC SKIES: Preparing for the Perseids - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts

Published on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

The summer's premier (and one of the year's best) meteor shower - the Perseids - will peak during the evening/pre-dawn hours of Aug. 12-13.

This is when the Earth, in its orbit around the sun, intercepts the Perseid meteor stream. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, the moon interferes, as will the waxing, gibbous moon this time around. All is not lost though, as this shower is known for its bright fireballs; the possibility of seeing several streak across the night sky, even as the moonlight washes out the majority of fainter meteors, is quite good.

The Perseid meteor shower's radiant (apparent point of origin in the night sky) lies in the constellation of Perseus - the Warrior Prince, which during mid-August clears the northeast horizon around 10 p.m., and is directly overhead (the zenith; usually when the most meteors are observed) around 4 a.m.

The Perseids are debris associated with Comet Swift-Tuttle, a comet which was discovered in 1862 by astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, and which has an orbital period of approximately 133 years. The Perseid shower is usually a very reliable and prolific meteor shower, with a zenith rate (under a moonless sky, and from a dark site) of about 100+ meteors per hour. The shower itself actually lasts from around July 17 until Aug. 24, so it will still be possible, on any clear night, to catch sight of some of the later Perseids after they peak on Aug. 12 and 13.

To see the greatest number of Perseids, start watching the night sky as soon as it turns dark. You may see some meteors skim across the Earth's upper atmosphere. If possible, try to put a tall object - like a tree or a building - between you and the moon. The best, and most comfortable, way to observe any meteor shower is to lie on a blanket on the ground or a lounge chair, with a pillow behind your head, and an extra blanket to keep the late night/early morning chill and mosquitos at bay. If you place the northeast horizon behind you, you stand the best chance of maximizing the number of meteors seen, as the meteors will be radiating out across the sky from that direction. Of course, the later you stay up, the higher the Perseus constellation will rise in the night sky, until the radiant is directly above you around 4 a.m. The meteors will then radiate downwards, streaking towards all points of the horizon.

For anyone interested in the night sky, the Perseids are a favourite rite of summer, given the fact that a great many people are usually camping out during August, the weather is almost always warm, and the night sky above is usually clear (and moonless). Some of my fondest memories of when my children were young, were the summer nights we spent together lying on the beach late at night in the PEI National Park, observing the Perseid meteor shower. Wrapped in sleeping bags, we would ooh and ahh as each bright meteor streaked across the sky, until, as the eastern horizon began to lighten and Perseus faded from into the brightening sky, we drifted off to sleep to the sound of the waves gently rolling against the shore.

My kids often recall those magical nights when I mention that the Perseids are coming. It is a legacy that they will, I'm sure, pass along to their young children in the coming years. Though I may not be with them then, I know, as they lie there with their youngsters oohing and aahing at the "shooting stars", they will think of me; I am content with that.

While waiting for the Perseids to arrive, there is still much to see in the night sky. In addition to the many bright stars and constellations, two bright planets are visible during the coming weeks. Even the waxing moon will not wash out glorious Jupiter shining high in the south-west sky as the early evening sky darkens. Binoculars will show the four largest Galilean moons - Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede - circling Jupiter.

If you are unsure which object is Jupiter, look for the brightest point of light just under and slightly to the right of the waxing, gibbous Moon on the night of Aug. 9. Jupiter remains visible almost the entire night, not setting in the south-west until the pre-dawn hours.

The bright, reddish star to the lower right of Jupiter is Antares ("Rival of Mars"), the heart-star of Scorpius - the Scorpion.

Though the ringed planet shines only at mag. +0.2 (10 times fainter than Jupiter's mag. -2.4), Saturn is still readily visible to the far left of Jupiter in the southern sky as it darkens. On the evening of Aug. 11, Saturn (still in the "teapot" asterism of Sagittarius - the Archer) sits immediately to the left of the near-full, gibbous moon. Like its larger sibling, Saturn stays up until the pre-dawn hours.

Having made its inferior conjunction with the sun last month, Mercury has transitioned from the evening sky to the morning sky. It should be visible above the east-northeast horizon about an hour before sunrise during the middle two weeks of August, though it will be too close to the Sun to be readily visible during the month's final week.

On Aug. 9, Mercury reaches its greatest western elongation (angular distance from the Sun as seen from Earth), and highest point in the pre-sunrise sky. Incidentally, when Mercury made its inferior conjunction between the Earth and the sun on July 21, it passed south of the sun's disk. When it makes its next inferior conjunction in November of this year, Mercury will actually transit (pass) across the sun's surface as seen from Earth. More on this rare event in November.

As they have for the past two weeks, Venus and Mars remain lost from view in the glare of the sun this month.

Until next time, clear skies.

Aug. 7 - First Quarter Moon

9 - Mercury at greatest western elongation

12/13 - Perseid meteor shower peak

15 - Full Moon

17 - Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth)

Glenn K. Roberts lives in Stratford, P.E.I., and has been an avid amateur astronomer since he was a small child. His column, Atlantic Skies, appears every two weeks. He welcomes comments from readers at

Reminders from Martin Rutte and others to pass this article link, a synopsis from The New York Times, about a recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on how we grow food and how we will need to change that to mitigate, and adapt, to climate change. From The New York Times:

Fighting Climate Change on the Farm - The NY Times article by Alan Sano

A new study warns of widespread disruptions to agriculture.

And this page about the IPCC has a direct link to the report, and to others:
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
---Mary Anne Radmacher, writer

August 9 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM
, Province House, Grafton Street side, all welcome to join Extinction Rebellion at these weekly reminders about the urgency of climate action.

Gallery Under the Stars, 9:30-11PM, Confederation Centre grounds.
"Gallery Under the Stars is a unique art experience featuring a series of video installations projected on the walls of Confederation Centre of the Arts. Featuring works of art by 12 renowned artists from around the world, this series of video installations has been curated by Ihor Holubizky. Gallery Under the Stars is available for viewing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Aug 1 - Oct 12 between 9.30pm and 11pm.
Artists featured in the gallery: Shaun Gladwell, John Marriott, Mischa Kuball, Suzy Lake, Gary Pearson, Liss Platt, Arryn Snowball, Jinny Yu, Michael Snow, Judith Scherer, Bard Isaacs, and Paul Collins.
Presented by Discover Charlottetown and Confederation Centre of the Arts with support from ACOA, the Government of Canada, the Government of Prince Edward Island and SERF.
For more information visit:
Ian Petrie strives for common, and with adequate moisture, ground:

Some clarity finally on irrigation ponds - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie

from Island Farmer, PEI Canada publications
Published on Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

I can be a little dense, so it took a while, including some phone calls and emails, before I came to understand what Environment Minister Brad Trivers was saying about multiple wells supplying water to irrigation holding ponds. In the end it made perfect sense.

“Under the new regulations, when multiple low-capacity wells are used together to pump the same volume as a high capacity well, they will be treated as a high capacity well” said Trivers in early July.

And here’s what matters, because there’s a moratorium on high-capacity wells, multiple low capacity wells will be illegal.

There is some irony in this. These ponds are being built because of the moratorium on hi-capacity irrigation wells. No one would spend the tens of thousands of dollars constructing a pond if there was any chance new permits would be issued. The moratorium is now so central to the environmental credentials of all political parties, especially the opposition Green Party whose support is needed by the minority Conservatives, that it could well become entrenched in law once the new Water Act is declared.

But there’s a more serious consequence from the current focus on holding ponds, the continuing loss of trust between large farmers and many in the general public. It’s been self-evident for almost two years now that the province would strictly regulate how these ponds could be supplied with water. It was laid out in recommended management practices for pond construction with little doubt these practices would be the law once the Water Act is proclaimed. It clearly states one low capacity well (like the ones used by rural Islanders) per pond, per property, and that properties could not be subdivided to get around the restriction.

The only exceptions: if farmers already have a permit for a high capacity well, it can be used to fill a pond, and some farmers have bought adjacent properties to increase pumping capacity. Regardless, Trivers’ comments indicate there are farms not following these guidelines. This gives concerned citizens every reason to declare that the ponds have become a workaround to the moratorium, and that farmers will break the rules whenever they’re given a chance.

The fact that these ponds are very expensive to construct, and only farming operations with deep pockets can afford them adds to their notoriety (could use a different word). I expect there will be calls to outlaw irrigation holding ponds during the next round of public hearings on the Water Act this fall.

There have been many times I’ve been tempted to join the anti-irrigation brigade. People I respect have been fiercely opposed to the practice for years. I worry too that if there’s any relenting on the issue, Cavendish Farms will make irrigation a condition for getting a contract, and this will further burden farmers already carrying heavy debt loads.

I just can’t get past a few things. Groundwater is our “hidden resource” so precise information will always be hard to get, but credible hydrologists say Islanders use about 2% of the recharge (rainfall) every year, and of that farm irrigation (including golf courses) uses about 2% of the fresh water pumped on PEI annually. The biggest user of groundwater, 47%, are homeowners, both urban and rural. 36% is used industrially by food processors, fish plants, aquaculture industry, car washes and so on.

Interestingly about 10% flows through heat pumps to heat and cool homes. Livestock farmers use the remaining 6%. There are definitely areas on PEI that are at risk of saltwater intrusion, or over pumping (Kensington area watersheds, Charlottetown), but generally the professionals say there is lots of water down there.

There were 288 high capacity wells on PEI as of 2018. The ones pumping the most water are for cities and towns (full list: ). What’s important here is that all of these other big users of water, and others, can get permits for more high capacity wells. It’s only farmers that are prohibited from doing so.

Again I wish irrigation wasn’t necessary, but climate researchers say the worrying trend is rain in the spring and fall, and dry summers. Farmers may well need this option. It’s not perfect but I like the use of ponds that can capture snow and spring rains, use a low capacity well when the water table is high in the early summer, and as important pump water from shallow depths, the chequing account of our groundwater reserves rather than the deeper layers, the savings account that keeps saltwater at bay.

If the goal of those opposed to ponds is to squeeze the french fry industry hard enough so it shuts down, let’s talk about that directly. Otherwise farmers have to be given a chance to succeed in the challenging years ahead, and they have to show they’ll use these ponds responsibly.

And an excerpt from a rebuttal by the Vision PEI main writers, from

VisionPEI -posted on their Facebook page

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

"We have great respect for our friend Ian Petrie. In regard to the irrigation of potato crops, we disagree.

There are a number of factors we believe he has failed to recognize.

1. There is a tremendous loss of water (90% , depending on temps, wind etc. ?) due to evaporation using the current overhead spray equipment. Incredibly wasteful and inefficient. Why not irrigate overnight rather than daytime? Why not rely on rain and snow-melt exclusively?

2. Freely acknowledging our limited knowledge of geology and hydrology, we do know that PEI's fractured shale substrate is unique to Canada. There is currently no credible science dealing with the complex impacts of water draw-downs over various levels of substrate like ours. Given this fact, we must use the precautionary principle. It's simply not worth the risk for a longer french fry. People before potatoes 3. The fact that Irvings and others have blatantly circumvented the current deep well moratorium speaks volumes regarding their commitment to environmental responsibility. How can Islanders possibly trust them?
"Never explain -- your friend do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyhow."
---Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), American writer, publisher and artist

August 8 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Thursday Pop-Up Farm Centre Market, 3-6PM
, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Food, fresh and prepared, herbs, and more.
Facebook page

The on again/off again Charlottetown Natal Week Food Council Garden Party, rescheduled to tonight from 5-7PM at the Farm Centre Legacy Garden, appears to be off again.

However, there is:
Free Strawberry Social with MP Sean Casey, 5-7PM, Sherwood Recreation Hall, 56 Maple Avenue, Charlottetown. "Join MP Sean Casey and special guest, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Canadian Citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen for a FREE Strawberry Social.... Enjoy strawberries, ice cream, and cake while listening to the tunes of local duo Ryan Merry and Emily Coffin. All are welcome!"

did it mention it's free? Is there no such thing as a free strawberry social?

Just around the corner!
Elections Canada is looking for workers for the October 2019 Federal election. Start here.
-----------------------'s weekly Climate Change question is answered by Umbra, with apologies from me for the formatting....

Q. Dear Umbra,

What's the best way to offset the carbon emissions from my vacation?
(--Guilty-feeling vacationer)

A. We’ve been getting so many versions of this question that I figured I should address it, well, quickly. I’m sure a lot of you already have vacation plans that involve boarding a plane, even though we know flying is pretty much the most carbon-intensive activity a person can participate in. If that makes you feel a little bad, you’re not alone. The Swedes already have a word for this: flygskam, or flight shame.

Many people see carbon offsets as an antidote to that flygskam feeling. When you buy a carbon offset you’re ostensibly buying a tiny piece of some sort of venture that reduces carbon emissions, like a reforestation project or a hydropower plant, with the idea that the carbon saved by that contribution makes up for your expenditure. Last summer, associate video producer Jesse Nichols and I looked into what a carbon offset I’d buy for a trip to Japan would actually accomplish. LINK

The answer? That offset would have paid for a teeny, tiny bit of the operational costs for a device that burns methane coming off a landfill so the gas didn’t end up going into the atmosphere. It was a little, ah, uninspiring. But other types of carbon offsets can be much worse than that: They can be straight-up deceitful, as an excellent in-depth report from ProPublica showed this year. LINK So what’s a guilty traveler to do?

Our suggestion: Take the money you’d use to buy a carbon offset and put it where it might go further, such as a direct donation to an organization that you know is doing solid, empirically beneficial climate-fighting work. If you wanted your carbon offset to, say, help reforest the Amazon, give directly to an organization that can show receipts of its accomplishments.
---Umbra at

"Yes, if you're looking for eternity, just close your eyes!"
---Milan Kundera (b. 1929), author (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)

August 7 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM, Belvedere Avenue. Look at their gorgeous social media photos, and stop by for local food and crafts:

Polly Day Tea, 2-4PM, at Orwell Corner Historic Village. Small admission fee.
Belfast Historical Society has arranged for a very special painting of The Polly at Anchor to be brought out of storage and unveiled at Orwell Corner Historic Village in their hall. Canadian artist John M. Horton painted the piece in 2003 (the 200th anniversary of "The Landing"). Admission to the Village will be reduced to $5 and that includes tea and all of the activities of the park.
adapted from: Facebook event link
Sometimes a series of news headlines or articles can make some of us feel like "Same planet, different worlds" as in this old The Far Side by Gary Larsen comic drawing:
The Far Side comic by Gary Larsen
These three stories are highlighted here not just to be grumpy and complain, but to point out an issue that could use some deeper digging to get to more of the whole story, and to point to positive change that could result, especially if we as Islanders speak up, continue the conversation, and take action.

1) There is no mention in this article that I could find of the divestment movement due to awareness of climate change, etc.

'Unloved': Despite the oilsands' relentless cost cutting, investors are still wary of jumping back in - The Guardian article by Geoffrey Morgan, Postmedia News

Published on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019, in The Guardian online

CALGARY – Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. president Tim McKay describes his company’s ongoing push to convince fund managers that oilsands are a more investible business today than before the oil price collapse of 2014 as “a marathon.”

On the company’s earnings call last Thursday — and indeed, as all oilsands companies reported second quarter results in the last two weeks — executives faced questions about why their stocks continue to suffer institutional investor apathy despite significantly improved costs and a better market outlook for heavy oil given production declines in places like Mexico and Venezuela.
<snip> Despite the belt-tightening and efficiencies, major Canadian energy companies continue to trade near multi-year lows and some oilsands focused producers are trading near their historic lows as analysts say generalist investors have largely abandoned the sector to invest in tech.

To date, McKay said, Canadian Natural and its competitors in the oilsands haven’t gotten much credit for the cost cutting initiatives the industry has undertaken.

However, with ground breaking imminent on projects such as the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the company is hopeful sentiment toward the industry is turning.

“I think we’re starting to get some traction,” CNRL executive vice-chair Steve Laut said, adding that part of his responsibilities for the past year have been highlighting his company’s and his industry’s improvements on cost and environmental performance. “That’s starting to make a difference,” he said. <snip>“Generally, broadly speaking, energy is an unloved sector,” said Jennifer Rowland, a St. Louis-based oil and gas analyst for Edward Jones, who covers both U.S. and Canadian oil producers. “It just seems like the industry can’t win.”“General investors are saying, ‘To heck with energy,’” she said.

Positive Actions: Call on provincial and federal government for Fossil Fuel Divestment, especially citing responsible financial stewardship, in addition to the "moral ambiguity" of these investments and our children's future.

Read more and discuss the Green New Deal ideas with friends and family and investing in clean energy jobs and improving people's lives
Perhaps due to the atrocious mass shootings in the States, this blog by Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer from May 2017 "Common Sense on Firearms" is being passed around again.

While he does raise some points to discuss, he is scoring political points, and his description with all but "30-point buck" braggadocio is a bit chocolate-milk rich.
"I won’t go into all the details about the trip (except to say that I dropped a buck from 400 metres away using a friend’s .308 precision rifle! And the jerky tasted terrific)."

Actions: See through the political bombast, and look for the valid complaints, and work together to address those.
3) Worrisome state of Tuna and other fisheries -- stark, forceful observations from John Hopkins, who has been documenting changes over the years (and made the gorgeously filmed and heart-breaking film Bluefin)

John Hopkins, late yesterday, commenting on this CBC story on government investing in a bluefin tuna processing plant:

'PEI based Tuna-buyer-turned-tuna butcher Jason Tompkins has just opened Canada’s first “chop shop” in Souris. Here he cuts up what is left of pathetic, skinny and starving Bluefin mature tuna caught here. The federal and PEI government supported Tompkins with $500,000 of taxpayer’s money to do this. Then he pays fishermen squat for tuna because they have no fat (due to the herring overfishing collapse off PEI) and then sells them to American and Canadian sushi joints for customers who don’t know the difference. Tompkins pays no where near $10 lb he claims and continues to deceive as fishermen know he is buying garbage tuna (no or little fat content). Two years ago the largest tuna caught on PEI sold for $1.25 per pound. Why is local CBC reporting and taking what these guys say verbatim without researching their answers or providing balanced reporting.Tompkins’ friend, Chef Michael Smith also continues to serve bluefin and distribute bluefin to Island chefs.

Show these people that this greed and contempt for endangered ocean wildlife is unacceptable: Boycott the Poke Shack and Smith’s retail/restaurant/hotels and let them know that butchering and selling endangered animals is not acceptable on PEI.

It is clear to ocean scientists that these tuna are important breeders (which you can hand feed off PEI) yet they are in such poor condition here they will not fetch a high enough price to pay for the airfare to send to Japan. Pathetic. This is how we treat endangered ocean animals in Canada.

Last year, PEI could not catch its tuna quota (most have left the region from lack of baitfish) yet the federal government this year under Trudeau, (following Harper) has raised the quota for both tuna and collapsed herring.

Meanwhile, the PEI Fishing Association has been recently stripped of its MSC herring certification this year, while DFO reports the herring stock has fallen to critical levels thanks to its own mis-management (yet doubles the quota?)

Mackerel also in deep trouble in the Gulf. Fishermen are sweating bullets because of the bait shortage from overfishing these bait fish and putting their own fishery and communities in peril. Whales, dolphins, sharks are also starving as a result.

The tuna abundance in the Gulf turns out to be 59% European Bluefin, according to DFO’s own otolith research. This means they used a mixed stock numbers (both Western and European bluefin) to go to ICCAT to successfully get mote quota to kill more mature tuna here using false data. Catch effort data reported is also false as starving tuna are far too easy to carch.

It’s a complete and crooked scam which should be exposed. Demand your MLA and MP do away with the slaughter of these endangered animals in PEI. Time for PEI to grow up. Why did out government’s approve $500,000 to open up a tuna slaughter house on PEI with your tax dollars? Shame on our elected officials and their continued ignorance. Time to see this all end here. With the <federal> election coming make your voice heard on PEI. Demand your politicians state their position on this." -- John Hopkins, Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Some background on bluefin tuna from the World Wildlife Fund
"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of a single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."
---Bukkya Denda Kyokai (Society for the Promotion of Buddhism)

August 6 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

One of many ceilidhs happening this month, this one with Arygle Shore resident and world-renowned fiddler Roy Johnstone:

Ceili and Craic, 7:30PM, Irish Hall (BIS Hall, North River Road), featuring Cian Ó Móráin & Mary MacGillivray with Roy Johnstone, Family & Friends. Admission charged.
Facebook event link
A monarch butterfly visited my common milkweek yesterday, after many years of common milkweek blooming. I am also trying to grow swamp milkweed, which is native.
every little bit helps...

Bedeque man making a statement with roadside pollinator garden - The Journal-Pioneer article by Colin MacLean

Published on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019


As Ron Rayner and Garth Harper laboured under Monday’s hot sun to pull weed after weed from the former’s new pollinator garden, a truck with Nova Scotia plates pulled over on the road above them.

Hella Barwise clambered out of the vehicle and down the small embankment onto Rayner’s lawn.

“This is just beautiful,” she said before adding, “we don’t have enough bees."

Rayner has an expansive front lawn on his Bedeque property and routinely uses parts of it to grow things that strike his interest, towering sunflowers especially.

But a couple of years ago he decided he wanted to do more for local pollinators, like bees and started tilling up a handful of large patches of earth near his property’s border with Route 1A.

“I love it,” he said. “I’ve got the time, I’ve got the energy, I’ve got every piece of equipment you could want to do this,” he said.

The butterfly and pollinator garden movement has been growing around the world for years now. The idea is to give nature’s workhorses, bees, birds, moths, bats, butterflies and other pollinators a helping hand by growing plants with them in mind.

The Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association (BBEMA) has been at the forefront of this movement locally for several years.

That group’s executive director, Tracy Brown, was happy to hear about Rayner’s gardens. They regularly get people reaching out, looking for more information about how to help pollinators, she said, and it’s always nice to see people getting involved. For more information about BBEMA’s pollinator and monarch butterfly programs, check out their website

But Brown also encouraged caution for any potential green thumb who buys “wildflower mixes,” to help pollinators.

Some of these mixes have been shown to include potentially problematic species that, if left unchecked by inexperienced gardeners, can spread quickly and become invasive.

“Just see what species are in there before you dump them. Because you could have your neighbour be cranky with you in about two years,” said Brown.

John Barrett, media representative with Vessey’s, said the company has horticulturalists on staff who can answer questions from the public if they have those types of concerns.

Rayner did his research before planting his pollinator garden. The poppies flowers that currently make his beds so colourful can spread like crazy, so they have an upcoming date with a scythe to prevent most of them from setting seeds. He still expects many to grow back next year but they will be in manageable numbers.

Rayner expects all beds to change significantly as the various species mature and die back over the course of the summer and fall.

Just so there’s no confusion about what the flowers represent, he’s installed three bright signs, provided at a discount by Sign Station, explaining what the garden is for.

Since the signs went up, people have been pulling over to take a look or snap pictures, which Rayner doesn’t mind people doing at all.

“I love my property,” he said, smiling as he went right back to weeding.

Buzzing about colours

Want to attract pollinators to your garden? Keep an eye on what colours you’re planting.
  • Bees are more attracted to blue and violets and like cup-shaped flowers they can crawl inside of.
  • Hummingbirds are attracted to pinks, reds and fuchsias and like bees prefer cupped flowers.
  • Butterflies are more attracted to yellows and oranges and enjoy flat flowers that are easy to settle their weight on. Monarchs especially require swamp milkweed as part of their diet.
  • Night pollinators like lunar moths and bats are attracted to whites and pale-yellow flowers.
  • If you’re looking to find a happy medium that will attract some of all these species, focus on red and purple flowers.
The weeks can be measured by the local fruits that come and go -- rhubarb, strawberries, sour cherries, and now black currants.
from Sara Lippman Walsh in near Hunter River:
We are harvesting now and it is a very good year for black currants.
Same price as last year.
A discount for
6lbs at $36.00
or $7.00 per lb.
More information: e-mail <>

The do freeze nicely and can be added to just about anything and just a small amount really boost the flavour and nutrition -- and local and organic and seasonal.
"There is a crack,
a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in."
---Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

August 5, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

It is relatively quiet due to the Civic holiday federally and in our neighbouring provinces, but some food and nature things going on.

Raspberry U-pick Fundraiser, 8AM-noon, Wheatley's Raspberries, 630 Suffolk Road. U-pick raspberries with all proceeds donated to Winter River - Tracadie Bay Watershed Association.
More info

Community Outreach -- The Ecology of Charlottetown Ponds -- Barbour's Pond, 2:30-6PM, near Elmer MacFaydan Ball Diamond, MacRae Drive in East Royalty.
"The Holland College Environmental Science program is hosting an afternoon of ecological exploration at Barbour's Pond. Join us as students from our program guide you through invertebrate identification and a water quality testing station. Microscopes will also be set up to give you a look into the life in Barbour's Pond. This event is a great opportunity to experience and learn about the new East Royalty Trails. A BBQ will also be held behind Elmer MacFaydan Ball Diamond. All are welcome
This free Community Outreach Event is part of a larger study into the ecology of Charlottetown ponds and is partially supported through the Charlottetown micro-grant program.Facebook event details
Entertainment and good theatre in all directions this month, at sweet little venues:
Kings Playhouse in Georgetown, Mondays:
Tellers and Tunes with Gary Evans and Rachel Beck and special guests each week.

More info

Victoria Playhouse, Victoria-by-the-Sea, August 6th-September:
Real Estate by Allana Harkin.

More info

Fast approaching:
Thursday, August 8th-Saturday, August 17th:
Old Home Week (Provincial Exhibition), Charlottetown, various events each day
Old Home Week website

Friday, August 9th- Sunday, August 11th:
Cloggeroo, Georgetown

Facebook event details

OPINION: Fishermen still determined: No pipe in the Strait - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ronnie Heighton

Published on Saturday, July 17th, 2019

Lobster traps are out of the water now in Nova Scotia as fishermen along the Northumberland Strait wrap up a successful spring season. The wharves on the Nova Scotia side are quieter than they were a year ago when 200 fishing and pleasure boats and 3,500 people readied for the #NOPIPE Land and Sea Rally on July 6 in Pictou Town and Harbour.

People and boats from Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick and Pictou Landing First Nation gathered in strong and vocal opposition to Northern Pulp’s proposal to discharge 60-80 million litres of treated pulp effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait.

Don’t be misled by the calm surface of fishing activities today. #NOPIPE determination remains solid. #NOPIPE flags still fly from fishing boats, and lawn signs still proclaim, “No Pulp Waste in our Waters.”

It’s been a year and a half of hard work to protect the Northumberland Strait. It’s not over yet.

One year ago, days before the Land and Sea Rally of July 2018, Northern Pulp announced that their plan to discharge effluent into Pictou Harbour would not work due to risks from ice and the presence of shipwrecks. They would need to find another route. Then the company went quiet.

Almost four months later in October 2018, a leak from Northern Pulp’s effluent pipe was discovered by neighbours out for a walk. Not everyone realizes that Northern Pulp is required to have a system in place to immediately alert the company of a pipe leak. Why that system did not work, how much effluent leaked and what was the composition of the effluent – all these questions remain unanswered today, nine months later.

Yet the day after the leak was discovered, Northern Pulp announced a new pipe route. The company planned to run their effluent pipe 11 kilometres overland through the Town of Pictou’s watershed, underwater through Caribou Harbour, the busiest fishing wharf on the Nova Scotia side of the Strait, four kilometres through a scallop protected area, to discharge effluent offshore of Caribou Island.

It’s hardly surprising that the Mayor of Pictou objected, and local fishermen gathered for a floating protest across the entrance to Caribou Harbour in opposition to survey activity for the new route.

Fast forward to Jan. 31, 2019. As Pictou Landing First Nation held a countdown celebration, marking 365 days to the end of 53 years of pollution of their community, Northern Pulp held a press conference to announce they were submitting their project for environmental assessment, and would ask for an extension to the Boat Harbour Act for as long as needed to allow the mill to continue operating without interruption.

But the information the company submitted to N.S. Environment had holes big enough to drive the P.E.I. ferry through.

Our organizations, along with hundreds of other people, submitted detailed information to N.S. Environment, pointing out the gaps and errors in Northern Pulp’s submission. Biologists, chemists, ecologists, pharmacists and physicians added their expertise to the local knowledge of fishers and residents, pointing to risk after risk to the delicate ecosystem of the strait and to the health of local residents.

The problems with Northern Pulp’s information were too big, and too public, to be ignored. N.S. Environment did not approve Northern Pulp’s project, and required the company to provide more information in nineteen critical areas. The missing information included wetlands, species at risk, migratory birds, freshwater and marine fish, effluent composition, marine water quality, ice impacts, air contaminants, impacts on human health and more.

And that is where we stand now. Northern Pulp has not yet presented a viable plan. Pulp effluent must stop flowing into Boat Harbour in seven months.

Fishermen are as determined as ever to protect the Northumberland Strait, and we support the closure of Boat Harbour on schedule.

We do not believe that Northern Pulp’s plan to discharge treated effluent into the strait can ever meet the environmental standards of not harming fish or fish habitat. Similar plans have been rejected before on environmental grounds.

As lobster season ends, we switch out our gear and get ready to fish for other species in the pristine waters of the strait – rock crab, scallops, mackerel, herring, tuna. We wait and we watch, ready to ensure there will be no effluent pipe in the Northumberland Strait.

Ronnie Heighton is the president of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association, Nova Scotia.

"You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it."
---John Updike, American writer

August 4, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown Natal Day Parade, 10AM, Kent Street Fire Hall to Queen, Grafton and Prince, ending at Trinity United Church at Prince and Richmond Streets, rolling road closures for this short but traditional parade of mayor, councillors, and military units.

Natal Day Church Service, 10:30AM, Trinity United Church.

Downtown Charlottetown Sunday Market, 11AM-4PM, lower Queen Street. Lots of fresh food, prepared foods, and artisans' wares.

Veg on the Block, presented by VegPEI, 12noon-6PM, Confederation Landing, 2 Great George St. "PEI's first ever plant-based festival. A day full of delicious food, activities, music and fun! There will be local plant-based entrepreneurs, restaurants, farmers, artisans and musicians all showcasing what they have to offer."

Afternoon Fun in the Park, 1-4PM, Victoria Park, Cupcakes, and goats from Island Hill Farms (1-3PM). What more could you want?

Island Fringe Festival, Last Day. Website

Tomorrow, Monday, August 5th:
The Ecology of Charlottetown Ponds and BBQ, 2:30-6PM, Barbour's Pond, by Elmer MacFayden Park, MacRae Drive in East Royalty. Holland College Environmental Science program is hosting this event, and all are welcome to this afternoon of "ecological exploration" followed by a BBQ. Presumably, the contents of the ecology of Charlottetown ponds will not be the BBQ offerings. ;-)
A forthright comment from PEI Extinction Rebellion's David Woodbury, regarding the full-page ad in Thursday's Guardian from three oil and gas companies/lobby groups:

"...a classic "straw man" argument. No one is saying it would be possible to halt all fossil fuel production and consumption instantaneously. But, we could stop subsidizing it TODAY, and stop enabling the continued growth of green house gas emissions. To continue on this course is to be an accessory to the crime of ecocide: truly a crime against Humanity!"
The Amazingly talented Chef Peter Hicks took time from his busy schedule to prepare and explain accessible and tasty dishes using local foods, at the Crapaud Exhibition last weekend.
Margaret Prouse wrote this in her column on Food in Thursday's Guardian, and both Margaret and Chef Peter were pleased to share the following in this newsletter.

MARGARET PROUSE: Wisdom from a pro - The Guardian article by Margaret Prouse

Chef Peter Hicks has plenty of food for thought at Crapaud Exhibition

Published on Thursday, August 1st, 2019


I love to take advantage of opportunities for learning from experts, and last Saturday I had such an opportunity. Chef Peter Hicks spent much of the day doing food demonstrations at Crapaud Exhibition, and, as his announcer, I was able to watch every one of them.

Hicks loves to use local ingredients to create food that looks appealing and tastes great, and last weekend he demonstrated dishes that do so. Both practical and realistic, he planned his demonstrations with the intention of sending people home with recipes they will actually use. The food had to taste good, but it was just as important that a person with average cooking skills could prepare the recipes in the limited time they have available for cooking. He knows that busy people seldom have time to prepare complicated recipes, regardless of how delicious they are.

He gave me permission to share the recipes he used at Crapaud Exhibition. I added the metric measurements. You will find all of his Crapaud Exhibition recipes, featuring Island lamb, potatoes, sweetened condensed milk, berries and salad greens, at

For an impressive budget-friendly dish featuring P.E.I. lobster, try these Lobster Fritters. Manage your time by making them early and reheating quickly in the oven just before serving. To make fritters of uniform size, follow Hicks’ example and portion batter with a scoop when frying.

Lobster Fritters

From Chef Peter Hicks
Crapaud Exhibition 2019

150 mL (⅔ cup) flour
5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder
1 mL (¼ tsp) salt
0.5 mL (⅛ tsp) pepper
250 mL (1 cup) minced lobster meat
1 egg
45 mL (3 tbsp) milk
30 mL (2 tbsp) lobster juice
75 mL (⅓ cup) minced green onion

Drain lobster meat and reserve juice.

Beat egg and add milk and lobster juice. Stir in dry ingredients until evenly moist. Add lobster meat and onion.

Heat deep-fat fryer oil to 190 C (375 F). Drop tablespoons of batter into fat. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown, turning occasionally. Put on paper towel to absorb excess fat.

Serve fritters with tartar sauce or lemon wedges.

Makes 14-16 fritters.

With his years of experience as a culinary professional, Hicks knows how to manage his time and the kitchen environment. When days are hot, and people are busy, he suggests making this slow cooker pulled pork. It calls for one of the less expensive cuts of pork, the shoulder roast, and sauce made from ingredients that you might just find in your fridge and pantry. Put it together early in the morning, go about your day’s activities, and serve it for dinner or – even better – make it today, refrigerate overnight and serve tomorrow.

Pulled Pork

From Chef Peter Hicks
Crapaud Exhibition 2019

1 medium onion, chopped
125 mL (½ cup) ketchup
75 mL (⅓ cup) cider vinegar
50 mL (¼ cup) brown sugar
50 mL (¼ cup) tomato paste
30 mL (2 tbsp) sweet paprika
30 mL (2 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce
30 mL (2 tbsp) prepared mustard
7 mL (1½ tsp) salt
7 mL (1½ tsp) pepper
1.8 kg (4 lb) shoulder pork roast

Mix all ingredients together well.

Put roast in slow cooker. Spread mixture over roast, turning roast so all sides are coated. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Remove roast from cooker and turn to high. Cover and heat to boiling to thicken the sauce.

Pull pork roast apart, return shredded pork to cooker, mix and heat through.

Serve on a bun, on top of rice or with a baked potato.

The Southern tradition for pulled pork on a bun is to top the pork with coleslaw so that you get the combined flavours with each bite. Here is Hicks’ recipe for a speedy but flavourful, coleslaw to serve with slow cooked pulled pork.

Quick Coleslaw

From Chef Peter Hicks
Crapaud Exhibition 2019

750 mL (3 cups) chopped cabbage
2 green onions
1 medium carrot, shredded
125 mL (½ cup) mayonnaise
5 mL (1 tsp) celery seed
2 mL (½ tsp) ground mustard
1 mL (¼ tsp) salt

Put cabbage, onions, and carrot in bowl and toss.

Mix mayonnaise, celery seed, mustard, and salt together well.

Pour over vegetables and toss until evenly mixed.
Margaret Prouse, a home economist, can be reached by writing her at RR#2, North Wiltshire, P.E.I., C0A 1Y0, or by email at
"Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind."
--- Eric Hopper (1898-1983), moral and social philosopher

August 3, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

Note that the Down East Farmer's Market (at Kaylee Hall in Pooles Corner) has closed. They cite poor attendance, but thank their patrons and hope they will support other markets. "If anyone is looking for large quantities of beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, herbs etc for preserving, let us know and we can help you out." contact through

Charlottetown Natal Day Activities (my synopsis):
Family-Friendly Yoga in the Park, 8-8:30AM,
Rochford Square. Bring your own mat.

Pancake Breakfast, 8:30-10:30AM, Rochford Square (if raining, Kent Street Fire Station)

Wheeled Stuff competitions (skateboard, BMX, scooters), 10AM-2PM (registration 9:30AM), Victoria Park Skateboard park. Prizes, fun to watch. Helmets required if participating.

Seniors' Social, 2-4PM, Murphy Community Centre

19+ Dance, 9PM-midnight, West Royalty Community Centre. Phase II performing.

Island Fringe Festival continues today and tomorrow
Food event in the Future:
Saturday, August 10th:
Farmers Helping Farmers Annual Beef Barbecue

Tickets available at Riverside Market, PEI Federation of Agriculture's office, or through a Farmers Helping Farmers board member.
Energy News:

Wind research facility looking to complementary solar energy - The Guardian article by Eric McCarthy

Published on Friday, August 2nd, 2019, in The Guardian

ACOA is providing funding


The Wind Energy Institute of Canada is about to tiptoe into solar energy at its national research facility at North Cape. Scott Harper, executive director of WEICan said the research facility is not looking at a switch to solar, but a way to maintain production at times when the wind is not blowing.

On Friday Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey announced the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is providing a non-repayable $600,000 contribution to WEICan to help with the purchase and installation of solar panels and to increase the facility’s energy storage capabilities.

The total cost of the project is around $800,000 with WEICan covering the remaining costs. It will allow for the creation of a 100-kilowatt solar farm beside the facility’s substation in Norway, near North Cape.

Solar, Harper explained, will help the facility’s wind farm respond to challenges that can occur when the wind is not blowing or the wind turbines are down because of a storm or a power outage. Oil in the wind turbines gearboxes must be kept warm even when the blades are not turning so that the turbines can be switched on again as quickly as possible when conditions permit. Solar energy, in tandem with power supplied from a battery storage system, could help keep the oil warm while reducing the energy demand from idle turbines.

“Renewable energy is a broad area. I think, at our core, wind is where we’re going to be. The resource here is why we’re here. We’ve cut our teeth on that,” said Harper. “We’re interested in getting more engaged with solar, but I think, frankly, it will be what solar does as a complement to wind.”

In the end, it doesn’t matter to the consumer where the power comes from, he agrees. “The battery doesn’t care and, frankly, your house doesn’t care once it gets in.”

Morrissey acknowledged WEICan’s expertise in green energy production. The research facility at North Cape has been operating for 38 years. He said the North Cape area has always been receptive to wind energy and has one of the best wind regimes in the region. We’ve embraced it and we should also benefit from that.

WEICan to study green energy options for Tignish port

Besides the $600,000 ACOA is providing the Wind Energy Institute of Canada to expand into solar energy it is providing the national research facility with $60,000 to conduct research to help the Tignish Harbour Authority and Tignish Fisheries/Royal Star Foods explore green energy alternatives.​​​

Port Authority manager, Russell Gallant said it is something the fishermen and the fish processor have been interested in pursuing. “We toyed around with putting several solar panels at least provide enough energy to provide the consumption that we as a harbour authority consume,” Gallant said . Besides the 60 street lights that illuminate the area, Gallant said many of the boats require nighttime power for their electronics and other equipment.

He said the port and Royal Star combined consume about 1.5 million liters of diesel and about three-quarters of a million dollars worth of electricity annually. “Electricity is a big cost.” He said the two organizations believe green energy could help reduce their energy costs and their carbon footprint.

The $60,000 is just for a study, Gallant said, estimating with could cost five to seven million dollars to get the actual infrastructure in place if the research project deems it feasible. To boost the feasibility, they hope to involve other energy consumers in the same general area.

Scott Harper, executive director of the Wind Energy Institute of Canada, suggested there might be a possibility for a microgrid to be erected near the fishing port, but he stressed everything is still on the table. A steering committee made up of representatives from the port authority and Royal Star has held an initial planning meeting. Gallant said the study will look at different green energy options as well as energy storage.


New solar incentives available to Islanders - from: Government press release

Friday, August 2nd, 2019 

Islanders will soon be getting financial help to install solar panels that will convert sunlight into clean energy for their homes, farms and businesses. <snip>

efficiencyPEI’s solar incentives provide a rebate of up to 40 per cent of the cost of installing solar panels – up to $10,000. The incentives are supported by $2 million in funding from the Government of Prince Edward Island and the Government of Canada through the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund.

"I have seen the interest in solar grow exponentially over the past ten years and this new incentive program means that solar is a lot more affordable for Islanders," said Matt Eye, a solar PV installer and owner of M.B. Eye Electrical. "If you’ve been on the fence about this investment, now is the time to do it. Solar energy is good for the planet, and it’s a great way to reduce utility costs."

Islanders can apply for solar rebates through efficiencyPEI starting August 7. Financing is available through Finance PEI. For more information or assistance with your application, call efficiencyPEI toll-free at 1-877-734-6336.

The last page of Thursday's Guardian, August 1st, 2019 (screenshot of headline and of text of open letter, signed by presidents of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, Cenovus Energy, and MEG Energy):

Screenshots of page C8 from Thursday, August 1st, 2019's Guardian
smack-dab in the middle of Kentucky:

Enbridge pipeline explodes in Kentucky, killing 1 person and sending 5 to hospital - CBC online article

 Thursday, August 1st, 2019

A regional gas pipeline ruptured early Thursday in Kentucky, causing a massive explosion that killed one person, hospitalized five others, destroyed railroad tracks and forced the evacuation of a nearby mobile home park, authorities said. <snip> Purdy said several agencies are investigating to determine what caused the explosion. The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending three investigators to the site.
"Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”
– Stephen Leacock (1869-1944), Canadian political scientist and humourist

August 2, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"It's Alive!" -- Microscopic Examination of Dead Man's Pond for the Public, drop by 10AM-2PM
, Victoria Park, free. Co-hosted by Ellen's Creek Watershed.
edited from the event notice: "Dead Man's Pond in the centre of Victoria Park is full of life. The Holland College Environmental Science Program... students ...will be on hand to help any budding kid scientists or curious adults discover what lives in Dead Man's Pond. There will be microscope station set up so you can get a good look at the smaller creatures that live in the Pond, and it can be pretty amazing what you can see. A light snack will be provided. If you haven't been to Dead Man's Pond before, the easiest is to come in the ball field entrance, take the first path on your right, and a path to the left will lead you to the pond."

Roma Heritage Chocolate Festival, this weekend, more details here:

"One Peace Won't Hurt", business seminar by Tareq Hadhad, 1-3PM, Georgetown Playhouse complex, ticket info at above Roma link.

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Province House, Grafton Street side, all welcome to join Extinction Rebellion at these weekly reminders about the urgency of climate action.

Today through Sunday, August 4th:
Island Fringe Festival, various times and locations
"...a site-specific summer festival celebrating independent art and alternative theatre and performance in downtown Charlottetown. The Island Fringe gives local, Canadian, and international artists the opportunity to create and perform new theatrical works in unconventional venues throughout the city. After the purchase of a $5 Patron Pin, all Island Fringe shows are pay-what-you-can admission, with 100% of the donations going directly to the artists. More information can be found at

Saturday, August 3rd and Sunday, August 4th:
Charlottetown Natal Day Weekend Festivities
-- special and regular weekend events happening all day Saturday and Sunday, schedule here.

Saturday, August 3rd:
Farm and Food Care Free Breakfast
, Vanco Farms, free, reserved tickets all gone, but invitation is here

Encouraging local food and helping Islanders understand the challenges of farming are great goals; people just need to be aware that Farm and Food Care PEI (and more so in chapters in Ontario and Saskatchewan) have some pretty big corporate sponsors and the messaging originally had more of an edge about providing "valid" information which would refute those concerned about pesticides and run-off, and pressures on small family farms. One is reminded of there being no such thing as a free lunch (or breakfast).
Speaking of some farming practices, the relationship between particular crops grown (with their fertilizer inputs needed, the excess "leaking" into waterways, the resulting algal blooms, die-off) and anoxic events seen every summer was discussed in a refreshingly cogent and forthright manner by Bruce Raymond, Manager of Water and Air Monitoring for the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change in a CBC Radio news story (not on-line yet).

A description of anoxic events, with links to where there have been any reported this year, is here:
and here is the most recent map:

Compass TV News may have carried an interview with Mr. Raymond and Jessica Doria-Brown, but I couldn't get it to play on my rural internet yesterday.
"Remember one thing only: that it's you -- nobody else -- who determine your destiny and decide your fate. Nobody else can be alive for you: nor can you be alive for anybody else."
--- E. E. Cummings, poet (1894-1962)

August 1, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Thursday Pop-Up Farm Centre Market, 3-6PM
, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Food, fresh and prepared, herbs, and more.

Book Launch -- Anne of Green Gables: the Original Manuscript, 3:30-5PM, Confederation Centre of the Arts. “Anne” as you have never seen her before! This new volume shows L.M. Montgomery’s creative process in crafting one of the world’s most famous novels. Editor Carolyn Strom Collins will discuss some of the discoveries she made while transcribing the manuscript.

Island Fringe Festival, today through Sunday, various times, locations and performances, more details
New story:
Greta Thunberg is to sail across the Atlantic in a high-speed racing yacht next month to attend UN climate summits in the US and Chile as part of a sabbatical year the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist will spend in the US.

Climate emergency brings youth leaders to Thinkers Lodge - The Amherst News article by Darrell Cole

Published on Monday, July 29th, 2019

High school, university students answer call to action


If anyone should be sounding the alarm about climate change it should the young people of today. After all, it’s them who will inherit the mess that’s been left for them to deal with.

Youth climate leaders from across the Atlantic region came to historic Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash for a three-day retreat that featured what organizers called brave and deep discussions about climate change and culminated July 28 with statements, poetry and a tree-planting ceremony.

“Climate change is important to me because it’s about my future. I know I’m going to be the one that has to deal with it because of the past generations and the actions they made,” 15-year-old Pugwash District High School student and conference participant Cadence Steeves said. “It’s my responsibility to take care of the earth and make sure I have a safe place to grow up, have a family and my children and their children are safe and can life safe and happy lives.”

The youth retreat was co-hosted by the Centre for Local Prosperity and the Thinkers Lodge.

Steeves said it was important for all the young people attending the conference to open up to help themselves so they would be in a better position to help others. There was also a lot of anti-oppression training and learning to listen to other people’s stories and experiences.

“We have to make decisions that benefit everyone when focusing on issues like this,” fellow Pugwash student and participant Megumi Ozawa said. “This conference really helped. I’m 15 and I don’t have a lot of experience doing a lot of conference and being an activist.”

Steeves said she and Ozawa are from rural Nova Scotia and they don’t get the exposure to activism in larger centres. It was also beneficial to hear from older students about their experiences and learn how those strategies can be used in smaller areas like Cumberland County.

Ozawa said she hopes to spread the message through social media and the school community. Steeves said science has already provided answers on how to stop climate change, but it’s up to the people to become activists for that change to occur.

“We have to break the systems that are meant to destroy us,” Steeves said. “We have to talk to people to understand and be informed.”

One of the youth organizers, Lily Barraclough, said the weekend was powerful and transformational.

“Twenty of us came together from all across Atlantic Canada to learn, to open our hearts and minds, to connect and to build relationships across our generation that will help us solve this crisis that we are in,” Barraclough said. “These thinkers have been brave, vulnerable, and open with each other. We have people from ages 15 to 29 involved with the student movement, free tuition, migrant rights, fighting for a liveable wage, 2SLGBTQ+ rights, Indigenous sovereignty, science, arts and many others. Everyone has been brave and open.”

A red oak tree planting ceremony was led by Mi’kmaq women Hannah Martin and Paulina Meader, which included a smudge and water offering ceremonies.

A commemorative plaque will be placed at the foot of the tree acknowledging the previous seven generations that built the work and to protect the world for the next seven generations.

Robert Cervelli, the executive director of the Centre for Local Prosperity, said conference participants included high school and university students.

“This was probably the first opportunity for youth from across the region to get together, bond, look at how they can network and leverage their energies and work for climate change,” Cervelli said. “They’re the ones that have to live with it more than my generation. The biggest joke I’ve heard about my generation is we’re future challenged. It’s the youth who are going to bear this and they know that.”

The conference was the latest in a series of climate change meetings at Thinkers Lodge. Last fall, a group of leaders from across the region met in Pugwash to identify a list of actions that every citizen, business and government can take immediately to lessen the impacts and decrease the harm from global warming.

Cervelli said another conference is being planned for this fall for faith leaders from around Atlantic Canada while plans are in the works for another conference in 2020 of municipal leaders.

“This is a three-year plan, if not longer, of continuing what is called the Pugwash Mission – a location to have deep, brave conversations about existential threats to mankind. It started with nuclear proliferation that continues today and now it’s climate change,” he said.

"A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words, and deeds is like that."
--- Dorothy Day (1897-1980), social activist