CA News


  1. 1 June 18, 2018
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 1.2 Province appoints Health PEI trustee - CBCNews online article
    3. 1.3 Mitchell moves to neuter Health PEI - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
  2. 2 June 17, 2018
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 2.2 Aylward: Referendum Commissioner selection process needs to be public and transparent - Progressive Conservative of PEI website post
  3. 3 June 16, 2018
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 3.2 LETTER: Practical solutions - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 3.3 LETTER: Living world disappearing - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  4. 4 June 15, 2018
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 4.2 LETTER: Solutions at hand for transportation - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  5. 5 June 14, 2018
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 5.2 Can Liberals find focus in poll slump? - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
  6. 6 June 13, 2018
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  7. 7 June 12, 2018
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  8. 8 June 11, 2018
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 8.2 OPINION: Rural revival - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ole Hammarlund
  9. 9 Can we design villages that preserve farmland and offer some of the social and business support systems found in cities?
  10. 10 June 10, 2018
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 10.2 The Death & Birth of an Idea - article by Larry Jones
  11. 11 June 8, 2018
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  12. 12 June 7, 2018
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 12.2 WHY CAN'T LIBERAL LAWYERS UNDERSTAND LAW? - Facebook post by Kevin J. Arsenault
  13. 13 June 6, 2018
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 13.2 WADE'S MISGUIDED REFEREN-DUMB STRATEGY - Facebook post by Kevin J. Arsenault
  14. 14 June 5, 2018
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  15. 15 June 4, 2018
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  16. 16 June 4, 2018
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  17. 17 June 3, 2018
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  18. 18 June 2, 2018
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  19. 19 June 1, 2018
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 19.2 LETTER: Restrictive manipulation on Bill 38 - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 19.3 Richard Brown flips ‘Honour the Vote’ the bird - PEI Canada online article by Paul MacNeill, Publisher

June 18, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some events this week:
Tuesday, June 19th:
Year-Round Gardening presentation, 7-9PM,
with gardener and author Niki Jabbour, Carrefour de L’Isle-Saint lecture theatre, free but space may be limited.

Tuesday, June 19th:
Chat Local in Cornwall, with Green Party nomination contestant Ellen Jones, 7-9PM,
Sam's Restaurant in Cornwall.  "#ChatLocal is an invitation to chat about issues and ideas with other engaged citizens in a casual setting... Hosted by the Green Party's Central Representative Joan Diamond, District 16 (Cornwall-Meadowbank) Green nomination contestant Ellen Jones, and Judy Herlihy, a Cornwall citizen seeking election to Cornwall Town Council this fall. Be there for an evening of unfailingly interesting conversations!"

Thursday, June 21st:
ACIC Keynote Address: Sheila Watt-Clothier, 7PM
, UPEI, Engineering Building, Room 128
Watt-Clotheir is an environmentalist and human rights advocate, and the author of the memoir, The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet, published in 2015.  ACIC (Atlantic Council for International Cooperation)'s symposium runs Thursday to Saturday and registration is closed, but this presentation is free and open to the public.   More details: on Conference

On Sheila Watt-Clothier

Thursday, June 21st:
Presentation on "Climate Change Impacts and How We Can Adapt", 7PM, North Shore Community Centre, 2120 Covehead Road, Rte #25. 
Presented by the Friends of Covehead Brackley Bay Watershed and the Rural Municipality of North Shore.
Peter Nishimura (Climate Change Adaptation Policy Advisor) will offer an illustrated presentation on climate changes such as sea level rise, warming temperatures, altered precipitation patterns and their local effects on land, water, coastal erosion etc. and how we could deal with them in the long term.
Cindy Crane (provincial Surface Water Biologist) will focus on sediment and nutrients as the key issues affecting water quality and the aquatic environment.  She will then address factors in making sustainable choices for the protection or improvement of our changing environment.
Question period and open discussion to follow.
Some articles on the recent changes at Health PEI
The Board has been replaced with one Trustee

Province appoints Health PEI trustee - CBCNews online article

James Revell is a former board member

Published on Friday, June 15th, 2018

Health PEI has appointed a temporary trustee after the agency's board resigned in May.  James Revell will serve in the position, the province announced Friday.  On May 23, the entire Health PEI board resigned, citing concerns with the new Health Services Act.  At that point, all board meetings were postponed until a trustee was appointed.

Revell is a former member of the board and retired from his position in March before the mass resignation in May. When asked he didn't seemed bothered by the controversy.  "I think that going forward not a whole lot will change from the way that it operated in the last eight years," he said.  "I've had those discussions with the minister and also with a couple of other people … we have a very good health authority, thought there were tremendous people on the board through that whole eight year period and I think it's really important that we go forward and things change."

Revell said his priorities going forward are simple.  "This is a 24/7-365 operation with a tremendous number of employees that Islanders count on every day, every day, and so to the extent that I can ensure that that happens — those are my priorities."

'Expertise' to benefit system: Mitchell

Revell is a member of the P.E.I. Law Society and Canadian Bar Association, and a former Health PEI board member.  In a statement, Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell said he was "delighted" Revell agreed to take on the position.  "His expertise, along with his experience, will be of great benefit to the health-care system," Mitchell said.

Seeking new board members

The trustee position is expected to be temporary until a new board can be established.  Meanwhile, the province is seeking applicants with the skill, knowledge and experience necessary to serve on the Health PEI board of directors, Mitchell said.  "Board members create linkages to the community and oversee the day-to-day operation of our health-care system," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said his department is getting a lot of calls about the positions, and that he hopes to have the new board in place in 60 to 90 days. 


And Paul MacNeill, published of the Graphic newspapers, wrote this a couple of weeks ago after the Board resigned:

Mitchell moves to neuter Health PEI - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018, in The Graphic publications

Can you hear it? That unique sound of a politician trying to suck and blow at the same time. It’s Health Minister Robert Mitchell talking out of both sides of his mouth.

The minister took direct aim at the former Chair of the Health PEI Board of Directors, Alex MacBeath, and 10 of his volunteer colleagues after their unprecedented decision to quit over what amounts to government meddling. The decision brought into full light the rupture between what is supposed to be an arm’s-length management of the system and a provincial government with a long record of imposing its will.

Control over hiring of a CEO of Health PEI appears at the heart of the dispute. The board found a candidate it wanted. The provincial government said no. Mitchell has now tabled legislation giving his department authority to hire a CEO.

In doing so government will neuter the supposed independence of Health PEI, established almost a decade ago to stop exactly the kind of political interference Mitchell is now guilty of.

To be fair, Health PEI and its board of directors has never quite lived up to its billing. Most notably Health PEI has consistently failed to engage Islanders in a discussion about how best to move the system, which accounts for almost 40 per cent of government’s $1.9 billion budget, forward. Decisions are made behind closed doors that have a direct impact on the type and quality of service provided. There have been numerous occasions where the board has been tone deaf to the need of providing quality service in rural areas.

Mitchell raised, without evidence, the bogeyman that the board wants to close beds and eliminate positions. This despite the reality that PEI has among the longest hospital stays in the country. On average Islanders spend three days longer than anticipated in an acute care bed, which drives costs up and adds to surgery wait times.

So rather than deal with issues impacting the cost and delivery of a quality health care system, the minister has firmly come down on the side of the status quo. In a statement rich in hypocrisy, Mitchell even blamed Health PEI for going over its annual budget by $20 and $24 million, which amounts to a rounding error in a $700 million total spend and is oblivious to the Liberals spotty record of hitting their own budget targets. Health over-runs would be largely attributable to government approved contracts with health care workers.

The reality of the Health PEI and Department of Health and Wellness model is neither has shown any particular interest in finding true efficiencies that allow us to scrimp where appropriate while focussing on frontline services.

PEI spends five times that of other Atlantic provinces on administration of health care. We are three times the national average. But rather than partner with other provinces to deliver services more efficiently we pour tens of millions of dollars into cash sinkholes like electronic health records and ‘made in PEI’ solutions that fail to deliver a province wide solution, let alone communicate effectively with systems in other provinces where Islanders routinely receive treatment for which we pay tens of millions of dollars every year.

Robert Mitchell says the Health PEI board wants to eliminate jobs, but offers no solution on how money can be better spent. He is playing politics with the health care system to ensure no hot button issues arise prior to the impending election.

What PEI needs is an honest discussion about what services our citizens demand and how best to deliver them. Maybe there is merit in transferring patients from the QEH post surgery for recovery in a community hospital? Maybe there is merit in convincing our Maritime neighbours to invest in a single electronic health record system? Maybe there is merit in sharing the cost of delivering the administrative side of the system in a way that could save precious dollars for front line services.

These are discussions Robert Mitchell doesn’t want to have. Instead his idea is to simply appoint a new board while centralizing more authority into his department and office.

That effectively kills the Health PEI model because any future CEO cannot be accountable to two masters. And it’s almost guaranteed that when push comes to shove they will side with the person who hired them.

Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at

June 17, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Concert: Songs Without Words, Atlantic String Machine ensemble, 2:30PM,
St. Paul's Church, Church Street, Charlottetown, tickets at the door.  This concert was moved from an earlier date.   More about the excellent five-member Atlantic String Machine here.
A little bit of provincial voting systems politics:

Community organizers (and really, about two of the kindest, giving people on a Island that boasts many) Leo Cheverie and Marcia Carroll were interviewed for a national press story (originally published Wednesday, June 13th in the Toronto Star) on the occasional of the proportional representation referendum bill passing in the P.E.I. Legislature last week, along with Don Desserud, political scientist, and Gary Morgan who wants to maintain the current system; and MLAs Jordan Brown, Peter Bevan-Baker, and James Aylward.
It's a short read and good synopsis of what's going on, looking into P.E.I. from away.

It was also reprinted in The Guardian later in the week.
Here is the link to the 17 minute Island Morning Political Panel from Thursday, June 14th, 2018
featuring Paul MacNeill, Mary Lynn Kane, Dennis King and Roy Johnstone.  One panelist toned down the partisan intensity for the most part -- maybe CBC realized the panel was turning away listeners -- but there is still room for improvement, as noticed by a  wise person afterward: "defaulting to fallacious strategies rarely yields clarity, or truth."

The NDP needs to be included in these discussions, despite CBC's concern about space in their broadcast studio.

Now that the Green Party has significant portion of popular support, some people are asking (as in this Guardian op-ed on Saturday, June 16th) if the Party, forming government, would still support Proportional Representation.  The Green Party of PEI's Core Values page here says: "Enthusiastic participation in the democratic process requires an electoral system in which every vote counts and results in a Legislature that reflects the diversity of political viewpoints of all citizens."
Regarding the referendum, PC Leader James Aylward reminds us that the selection, not just the approval, of the Referendum Commissioner needs to be more publicly discussed:

Aylward: Referendum Commissioner selection process needs to be public and transparent - Progressive Conservative of PEI website post

Published on Thursday, June 14, 2018

Opposition Leader James Aylward believes the process for selecting the Referendum Commissioner needs to be more public and transparent.  "During the long debate over the government’s referendum bill it became clear one of the big issues was a question of trust about how fair the process would be. To try and address that I’m calling for the Legislative Management Committee to conduct the next step in the process in a more publicly transparent way, " said Aylward.

According to the referendum bill a Referendum Commissioner will be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Legislature upon recommendation from the all-party Legislative Management Committee. Aylward is calling for the position of Referendum Commissioner position to be publicly advertised through Engage PEI and for any Legislative Management Committee meetings to select the Referendum Commissioner to be open to the public. Aylward has also written the members of the Legislative Management Committee to recommend this course of action.

Legislative Management Committee meetings are typically held in camera behind closed doors. Aylward noted that the House of Commons Board of Internal Economy, which is the federal counterpart of PEI's Legislative Management Committee, has held all their meetings open to the public and webcasted since last June. Additionally, several provinces such as Newfoundland and British Columbia hold similar committee meetings publicly and broadcast the proceedings.

"The debate over the Referendum was a public process for all to see. The referendum itself will be a public process. The process for selecting the Referendum Commissioner should also be done openly and transparently for Islanders to have confidence that there’s a fair process in place. That’s why we’re making this call and we hope that the other committee members from the Liberals and Greens agree and support it too," said Aylward.

Happy Father's Day to those that fit the bill!

June 16, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open today in:
Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM; note that the summer Wednesdays begin this week on the 20th.
Summerside, 9AM-1PM
and opening today:
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM, Old Train Station.  Saturdays only until July, then Fridays, also. "Hot coffee and snacks for sale at the Polehouse, Breadworks rustic breads, Island cheeses, preserves and many other artisanal treats await."
Other events previously mentioned for today:
Cleaning at Lennon House, 12-5PM, North Rustico. Facebook event details

"Let Them Eat Cake!", 7-10PM, Haviland Club.  Annual fund raiser for Rock Barra Artist Retreat.   Facebook event details

Green Party Nominations in Summerside Area, 3-5PM, Wilmot Community Centre.  D19 - Borden-Kinkora, D21 - Summerside-Wilmot, D22 - Summerside-South Drive, D23 - Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke
Facebook event details

The Habitat for Humanity "Jail and Bail" fundraiser continues until June 21st; the list of the good sports that are participating in being "jailed" for donations pledged by friends is here and include singer Irish Mythen, Gord McNeilly, and "Queen of the Fries" Caron Prins:
Habitat for Humanity PEI's 2018 "Jail and Bail" Fundraiser List

Two letters on worrisome conditions in our natural world, from Islanders who have observed conditions for some time and care deeply about this Island:
Garth Staples talks about water conservation, published on Friday, June 15th, 2018, in The Guardian. 

LETTER: Practical solutions - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Learning is important. Schools and universities play a significant role in the process. For too many years, society has been convinced that is the only way to learn, to get a better job, to solve problems and to contribute to our communities. I believe people also learn by doing. Today, when a problem develops, too many people run to their computers and adopt solutions which may not work and in fact cost our communities dearly. Water has become a problem for farmers. No deep-water wells, no irrigation, no practical solutions. On P.E.I. millions of liters of rain fall on every acre of land annually. Much goes to rivers, thus to the ocean to cause problems there.

Charlottetown and other municipalities contribute to the problem. The volume of water running from the roofs of large buildings, houses, driveways, streets, and massive parking lots is enormous. Where does it go? It goes to the ocean via systems which have cost millions.

Some possible answers to this waste are simple, practical and less expensive than the taxes required to pay for some grandiose suggestions to date. Farmers could build ponds using water diverted from houses, barns, warehouses, factories, and machine sheds and used for washing potatoes, watering cattle and irrigation on a timely basis.

Cities and towns can devise a plan to divert water collected in the same way to high end users, car washes, parks, sports fields and community gardens. Malls with huge paved lots have opportunities to collect and become self-sustaining.

Garth E. Staples, Charlottetown

Tony Lloyd about something is completely wrong about the loss of some insects, published on Thursday, June 14th, 2018:

LETTER: Living world disappearing - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

A society of insect scientists and citizens in Krefeld, Germany and the Netherlands has trapped and collected flying insects from 1989 to 2016 in nature reserves. The society traps flying insects from March to October using Malaise traps which are always positioned in the same location and orientation.
The Malaise trap targets insects flying within one metre of the ground. The traps funnel the insects into bottles of alcohol. Once the bottles are collected, an estimate of the total insect weight called the insect biomass is made.

The insect society reports a 76 percent reduction in Germany’s flying insect biomass over 27 years. Many citizens reason that the die-off of insects is caused by herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, pesticides; further, the loss of insect's ecological services is an externalized cost of a false economy.

When you think back over the past you realize that insect strikes on the windshield of your car are fewer today. Thirty years ago, when people gassed up, they were always cleaning their windshield. Today, there are often no windshield bug strikes.

A researcher in Uruguay, where grasslands have been converted to industrial agriculture during the past 15 years, reports a loss of wildlife diversity plus a decline in insects, small birds and small mammals. Sixty percent of birds rely on insects as a food source. German researchers report a 15 percent decline in bird abundance in just over a decade. The living world is disappearing, dying, before our eyes, in our time.

Tony Lloyd, Mount Stewart

June 15, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Helping some good causes tomorrow:

Saturday, June 16th:
Cleaning at Lennon House, 12-5PM, North Rustico.  Help tidy the place up or whatever else needs doing, as they get closer to opening the facility to help those suffering from additions.  Any time welcome. Facebook event details

Let Them Eat Cake, 7-10PM, Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street, at corner of Water Street, Charlottetown.  "An evening of art, music and delicious cakes, 'Let Them Eat Cake' is an annual fund raiser for Rock Barra Artist Retreat. Every year we invite some of the finest bakers on the island to whip up delicious cakes...including gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free options. Some are sinfully decadent and others like raw key lime, are filled with only wholesome healthy ingredients. And you get to try them all!"  Facebook event details

Also tomorrow:
Green Party Nominations in Summerside, 3-5PM, Wilmot Community Centre.  "Please join us as we nominate Green Party candidates in four districts:  (D19 - Borden-Kinkora, D21 - Summerside-Wilmot, D22 - Summerside-South Drive,D23 - Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke)"
Facebook event details
United States Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Sonny Perdue will be on Island
Morning after 8AM, and touring around part of the Island with Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay.  Perdue is visiting Lawrence's farm, a lobster boat, and a potato farm.
Ag minister and secretary's tour details

Perdue is quite the supporter of industrial agriculture and the cheap food policy.  And apparently not a supporter of the dairy supply management Canada has.
Medium's article on Sonny Perdue from last year

The U.K. Guardian's article from this week on dairy supply management in Canada, and the United States

A little more on transportation, from Harry Smith, who lives out my way, from yesterday's (P.E.I.) Guardian:

LETTER: Solutions at hand for transportation - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Included in the new P.E.I. climate change plan is a discussion of the need to transition the transportation sector away from fossil fuels. Unfortunately, this discussion is not followed by any significant actions.

Incentives are routinely used to move behaviour in socially desired directions. Fossil fuels, for example, receive a worldwide subsidy of over $4 trillion a year. Until recently the consensus was that those incentives were vital to the growth and maintenance of our societies. Now, however, we understand that this energy source is poisoning us and our environment, and exacerbating worldwide disruptions.

This can be addressed by redirecting only a small amount of the lavish annual fossil fuel windfalls.

For ground transportation, we already have the solutions at hand. The only thing keeping us on our path to destruction is perceived price. Redirecting fossil fuel subsidy dollars can create a new set of incentives for nonpolluting private automobiles, school buses, city buses, commercial transportation, etc. One incentive should be a temporary tax rebate program for renewable-fueled vehicles. P.E.I. had such a program – simple and inexpensive. Re-funding that program would greatly increase the number of alternative fuel automobiles on the Island.

Like the U.S. rebates, the program should have limited life, terminating when a defined number of alternative fuel automobiles are in use on the Island. Other incentives can be tailored to other subsectors.

It will take dedication and a host of actions at every level of society to ameliorate this crisis. This is one.

Harry Smith, Bonshaw

June 14, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

CBC Radio Political Panel, after the 7:30AM news, weather and sports.

Fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity:  Jail n' Bail (throughout the day), and BBQ, 11AM-3PM,
Belvedere Golf Club.  Keep tabs on social media for folks who have been "jailed" needing help via donations to Habitat.  Kiwanis Club of Charlottetown is hosting the BBQ.
Facebook event details

Tonight, Summerside:
Poverty Reduction Public Community Conversation, 6:30-8:30PM,
Community Connections, 701 Water Street, Summerside.
More information at Government website.

Green Drinks, 8-10PM, Doolys in Summerside, chat time with local Green Party members and party representatives. All welcome.  Facebook event details.

Tonight, New Haven:
West River Amalgamation Proposal information meeting, 6-9PM
, Kingston Legion on Route 9 at TCH.  Concerned about meeting requirements under the Municipal Governance Act, five incorporated communities outside Cornwall (so, no unincorporated areas which would have to be approached to annex into the plan) surrounding the West River have obtained a consultant to report on the economic (and new provincial regulatory) reasons to amalgamate as a larger community. Some information -- and presumably public input -- to be share and to be taken up tonight.  As a resident of Bonshaw, I know our council has said it will wait until a final report of recommendations from the consultants, Stantec (Fall at the earliest) has been issued and discussed, and will then have a community vote on joining or not.

A small news item with HUGE impact on the Atlantic Region, as far as protection of the Gulf goes -- The Old Harry drilling project in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been suspended.

from Tuesday, June 12th, 2018:

    Halifax-based Corridor Resources Inc. (TSX:CDH) says it has suspended exploratory work on the Old Harry project in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the foreseeable future.
     In a news release issued Monday, the company says it has completed a geotechnical analysis and has determined that it wouldn’t be “prudent” to continue with additional capital spending, and as a result is suspending all further technical work and expenditures.
     The Old Harry site is located about 80 kilometres off the southwest tip of Newfoundland in an area that straddles the Newfoundland and Labrador-Quebec border, and has been previously thought to hold significant oil and gas reserves. 
     But Corridor says its analysis has determined more complexity than previously suggested.
The company says it now believes the prospect could be more “gas prone than oil prone” and the overall quantities could be less than originally estimated.
     Corridor says it has determined that a three-dimensional seismic survey should be conducted before an exploration well is drilled, and adds that it has been unable to attract a joint venture partner. --end--

Paul MacNeill's editorial on the recent CRA poll and his take on what it means for the political parties on P.E.I.,  in The Graphic publications, from yesterday:

Can Liberals find focus in poll slump? - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, June 13th, 2018, in The Graphic publications:

If provincial Liberals thought they could push through referendum legislation followed shortly thereafter by a snap fall election the quarterly CRA poll, which shows Liberal support in free fall and Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s personal support at historic lows, will kibosh the idea.

The cloud hanging over Team Liberal is dark, but opponents should not assume it is a guarantee the three term Liberal reign is over. Government is not required to hold a vote until the fall of 2019, so time is on its side. And while Liberal support dropped to 34 per cent, satisfaction with government remains above 50 per cent.

History shows that governments dip in polling conducted when the house is in session. It makes sense. This session has been particularly difficult for the Grits, staggered by a continuous string of self-inflicted wounds.

The spring session is abnormally long because Liberals believed they could ram through highly partisan referendum legislation. Both the Tories and Greens rightly pushed back, forcing government to back peddle.

Then there was the spectacle of two former cabinet ministers, Alan McIsaac and Allen Roach, tag teaming against a group of Montague Consolidated School students who researched and promoted making the red fox our provincial animal, an idea that even won the backing of a legislative committee.

And of course there was Richard Brown’s stubby middle finger jabbing the air in response to a cry of ‘Honour the Vote’. Pick your adjective: arrogant, disrespectful, childish, unprofessional. They all apply. Brown has yet to stand in the provincial legislature and offer a sincere apology that include the words ‘I’m sorry.’ His actions and lack of apology were all but condoned by the premier.

Waiting in the wings is the Green Party, which lacks the money and ground game of the Liberals. But it is catching up, especially on the latter. It is the only party that can boast public enthusiasm. The Greens will have no problem recruiting quality candidates, lured by leader Peter Bevan-Baker’s growing coattails. Their significant disadvantage in spending could be offset if Islanders’ frustration with old school politics translates into default votes at the ballot box.

While Conservatives jumped 11 per cent, its 28 per cent standing only equals where it stood last November with an interim leader. The jury is still out as to whether James Aylward is capable of convincing Islanders he is a leader with core beliefs or simply a pliable mishmash depending on which way the political winds blow.

The CRA poll does offer Liberals an opportunity to fine-tune a communication strategy that focuses more on ordinary Islanders and those in need than simply boasting about GDP growth and an economy on a ‘tear’.

Our economy is performing well. Lobster catches are on record pace, although the price to fishermen is lower than to be expected given expanding markets. Home construction is gangbusters. A major bond rating agency offered a glowing analysis of the state of the Island economy. But it is important to remember not everyone is feeling the love. We still have by far the lowest wages in the country. The unemployment rate is still stubbornly high despite a significant dip to 9.3 per cent in May. Government introduced major changes to social assistance payments that will offer recipients increased dignity and opportunity by allowing them to earn more and keep more. It’s good public policy.

In fact there is a lot of good news. But the MacLauchlan government must make its messaging less about analytics or the minutiae of the economy and more about people. Whether government is able to change what has been effectively been a failure to communicate, combined with too often unnecessary partisanship, may decide its electoral fortunes. Liberals have a window to convince Islanders they can change their spots and stem a growing tide of inevitability that the Island’s political environment is undergoing a sea change.

If they can’t, frustrated Islanders will ensure some form of the inevitable occurs come election day.

Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at

June 13, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

In Vernon River:
Progressive Conservative District 2 (Georgetown-Pownal) Nomination Meeting, 7:30-9:30PM

Vernon River Hall.  Presumably, Steven Myers is reoffering for the PCs in the redrawn District.

(If you are unsure of the boundaries of District 2 in the next election (since its boundaries are some of the more changed than others in this new reckoning which will be in effect for the next provincial election), all the maps are here:

Elections PEI District Maps for next provincial election)

In Lennox Island:
Movie Screenings: Mohawk Girls by Tracey Deer (2005), and Boxed In by Shane Belcourt (2009), 6PM, John J. Sark Memorial School, Lennox Island, free.  Sponsored by the APTN and NFB, in collaboration with the Aboriginal Women's Association of PEI and the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI
"... director Tracey Deer takes us inside the lives of three teenagers as they tackle the same issues of identity, culture and family she faced a decade earlier... Deeply emotional yet unsentimental, Mohawk Girls reveals the hope, despair, heartache and promise of growing up Indigenous at the beginning of the 21st century.
In this short 4-minute film (Boxed in), a young woman of mixed ancestry struggles with an Equal Opportunity Form that requires her to respond to the dilemma: Ethnicity - Choose One." 
The screenings are followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Tracy Deer.  from Facebook event details

In Cornwall:
Public Information Session:  Renewable Groundwater Notes, 6-7PM,
Cornwall Town Hall, free and refreshments provided.  Community member Ron Bourdon will present his extensive web-based research on Prince Edward Island's Groundwater availability.
Facebook event details

In O'Leary:
Poverty Reduction Public Community Conversations, 6:30-8:30PM,
Community Centre (Fire Hall, 18 Community Street)
(The final one is tomorrow in Summerside)
More information at Government website.
Next week:
Thursday June 21st:
Presentation on Climate Change Impacts and How we Can Adapt, 7PM, North Shore Community Centre, 2120 Covehead Road, Rte #25. 
Presented by the Friends of Covehead Brackley Bay Watershed and the
Rural Municipality of North Shore.
Peter Nishimura (Climate Change Adaptation Policy Advisor) will offer an illustrated presentation on climate changes such as sea level rise, warming temperatures, altered precipitation patterns and their local effects on land, water, coastal erosion etc. and how we could deal with them in the long term.
Cindy Crane (Surface Water Biologist) will focus on sediment and nutrients as the key issues affecting water quality and the aquatic environment.  She will then address factors in making sustainable choices for the protection or improvement of our changing environment. Question period and open discussion to follow.
As you have already heard, there won't be any sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature this afternoon since it closed last night.  The Electoral System Referendum Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (and a few others) were the last bills passed yesterday, and the usual closing ceremonies happened with the gracious Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry presiding.  As she walked out, Transportation Minister Paula Biggar shouted her usual "Call the Hour" as a jest, and after Speaker Buck Watts returned and gave heartfelt thanks to many at the end, the always-ready Robert Henderson festooned the government side of the Chamber with ripped up paper, joined in by Justice Minister Jordan Brown, Richard Brown, Pat Murphy, J. Alan McIsaac, and Chris Palmer.  Fortunately for those workers there late to clean up, it appears that all the other MLAs did not participate in this ritual.  Pleasant handshakes and some hugs ended the evening on the video archives, which you can watch here:
Kerry Campbell has a nice synopsis of the sitting here and quoted in red:
CBC News story on Legislature closing

After 39 days of debate, the spring 2018 sitting of the P.E.I. legislature came to a close Tuesday night after government passed a controversial bill paving the way for a referendum on electoral reform.
Debate on the bill ranged over nine sitting days, with government passing 17 amendments to its own bill, and opposition parties introducing even more.
That drawn-out debate made the sitting the longest the provincial legislature has had since 1999, when Pat Binns was premier. That spring the house also sat 39 days.
Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker had raised concerns the bill might not withstand a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. His concerns were based on what he called "draconian" limits on free speech in the form of advertising spending limits and wording which might have restricted what the media were able to publish in the lead-up to the referendum.
In the final bill those spending limits were doubled from $500 to $1,000 and restrictions on the media were loosened, but both the Greens and PCs still voted against the amended bill.
Government also passed legislation to pave the way for legalized marijuana, along with a bill to bring the province's four largest municipalities and post-secondary institutions under its freedom of information regime.
The MacLauchlan government also reversed course — for a second time — on election finance reform, passing legislation to cap annual donations to political parties at $3,000 for individuals while banning corporate and union donations. The province previously had no limits on donations. Money raised by political parties which came in before the end of the sitting was to be exempted from the new limits.
A number of private members bills passed, including one from Liberal backbench MLA Allen Roach which could make P.E.I. the first province to ban single-use plastic shopping.
The Opposition PCs were able to pass their own bills, one which will provide paid leave for victims of sexual violence, another which will allow members of the public to sit on the board of the Crown lending agency Island Investment Development Inc.
Independent MLA Bush Dumville also passed a private members bill to have the red fox declared as the animal emblem of P.E.I., though it led to one of the more remarkable debates of the sitting, as Liberal MLA Alan McIsaac argued at length the distinction should be given to the Holstein cow.
The fox vs. cow debate became contentious because the original proposal to go with the red fox was made by a group of schoolkids. McIsaac admitted that in arguing at length for the Holstein he took "a little bit of a shot" at his former caucus colleague Dumville, who left the Liberal party before the sitting began.
With speculation around a possible election in the fall, there is the possibility the current legislative assembly might not meet again. The last provincial election was held May 4, 2015.
The province's fixed election date in legislation is set for the fall of 2019, but with a federal election also scheduled for that time, P.E.I.'s legislated date would switch to April 2020. Under repeated questioning during the sitting, the premier would not commit to holding an election on the legislated date.
However, thanks to one of the measures in the Electoral System Referendum Act, Islanders will get a heads-up that an election is coming whenever cabinet enacts the start of the period for the referendum. That will mean an election is to be held sometime within the next eight months.  -- Kerry Campbell, CBC News online

The print edition of The Guardian is now wrapped up sooner (since it's published off-Island, now, I think), so no coverage of the 9:10PM closing of the Legislature in the paper copy today;  this doesn't help make print journalism more relevant.   You can find the "update" on-line:
On-line Guardian coverage

"People's participation is the essence of good governance."
--Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

June 12, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature resumes sitting today, from 2-5PM and 7-9PM.  You can watch via the internet, from the link at the Legislative Assembly website, on Eastlink, or attend in person in the Gallery. 

Tonight and this week:
Poverty Reduction Public Community Conversations, all 6:30-8:30PM:

Tuesday, June 12th: Charlottetown, Murphy’s Community Centre, Room 207
Wednesday, June 13th: O'Leary, Community Centre (Fire Hall, 18 Community Street)
Thursday, June 14th: Summerside, Community Connections, 701 Water Street.
More information at Government website.

Thursday, June 14th:
Fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity:  Jail n' Bail (through the day), and BBQ, 11AM-3PM,
Belvedere Golf Club, 1 Greens View Dr. in Charlottetown, all welcome.  People you may know have agreed to be "jailed" and have their sad selves photographed and shared on social media, for their friends to take pity and pledge money to the cause to get them out.  Since these events often happen on regular weekdays, there have been times that only a few of the jailed people's friends actually realized what was going on. 
Kiwanis Club of Charlottetown is hosting a BBQ from 11AM-3PM for additional revenue for Habitat.
Facebook event details
In the Legislature today, there should be a Question Period and various statements, but the major piece of business will be the inexorable march through the Electoral System Referendum Act, Bill No. 38, and all its amazing technicolour amendments (just kidding, they're rather drab).  The evening session may be Opposition time; it's assumed once the government majority allows discussion against but then passes its amendments and the entire Bill, the Legislature will send word to the Lieutenant Governor, complete all the end-of-session paperwork and traditions, and close until Fall. 
On the federal side of things, Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (that is its real title!) continues through Second Reading in the House of Commons as of yesterday. 
Open Parliament website on this Bill
More information from "LegisInfo"
(LegisInfo is a legislation research site, a "collaborative effort of the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament."

Gretchen Fitzgerald at the Sierra Club of Canada wrote some critical thoughts about the proposed Bill earlier this year.
David Suzuki Foundation invites you to join "Charged Up!", the community network for all those interested in renewable energy:

"Charged Up is about people power — people coming together in their communities to invest in a low-carbon economy.

We’re inspired by the people who are leading on renewables and making a difference in towns, cities and rural areas.
Do you want to learn how to get involved in the renewable energy movement? Want to join a local solar co-op or even start your own? Interested in connecting with leaders in your community on everything from wind energy to electric vehicles? Maybe you’re already a community leader and are looking for help to overcome technical or policy obstacles.
No matter what your experience with renewable energy, we’re here to connect the dots so you can help get Canada charged up with renewables."
Link to sign-up:

"How you imagine the world determines how you live in it." 
    --David Suzuki

June 11, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Event today:
Book Launch: Living Lightly on the Earth:  Building an Ark for PEI, 7:30-9:30PM
, Beaconsfield Carriage House, 2 Kent Street. All welcome. 
Ole Hammarlund writes: "Please join us for a free public lecture by author Steven Mannell as he recounts stories from the design and construction of the Ark for Prince Edward Island, a bio-shelter that '[wove] together the sun, wind, biology and architecture for the benefit of humanity,' integrating ecological design features to provide a self-reliant life for a family.  The lecture will be followed by a book signing and reception."
Wednesday, June 13th:

Movie Screenings: Mohawk Girls by Tracey Deer (2005), and Boxed In by Shane Belcourt (2009), 6PM, John J. Sark Memorial School, Lennox Island, free.  Sponsored by the APTN and NFB, in collaboration with the Aboriginal Women's Association of PEI and the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI
"With insight, humour and compassion, Mohawk Girls director Tracey Deer takes us inside the lives of three teenagers as they tackle the same issues of identity, culture and family she faced a decade earlier. Like her, they are outspoken, honest and wise beyond their years. Deeply emotional yet unsentimental, Mohawk Girls reveals the hope, despair, heartache and promise of growing up Indigenous at the beginning of the 21st century.
In this short 4-minute film (Boxed in), a young woman of mixed ancestry struggles with an Equal Opportunity Form that requires her to respond to the dilemma: Ethnicity - Choose One.  The screenings are followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Tracy Deer.  from Facebook event details

Wednesday, June 13th:
Public Information Session:  Renewable Groundwater Notes, 6-7PM,
Cornwall Town Hall, free and refreshments provided.  Community member Ron Bourdon will present his extensive web-based research on Prince Edward Island's Groundwater availability.  "...(A) Cornwall community member with a background in educational counselling and agriculture, he has focused his research on PEI's groundwater and will be delivering the information he has deduced in a way the community can understand with this 1 hour public event titled 'Renewable Water Notes'.  Ron has some perhaps very telling information about our groundwater's future that you may never know otherwise. He has put together around 160 pages of notes on the subject and he hopes to share it with you."  from
Facebook event details
I haven't heard anything more about this talk besides the events listing, but it sounds interesting.
Ole Hammarlund submitted this Opinion Piece on a new, but old, way of revitalizing at rural communities.

OPINION: Rural revival - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ole Hammarlund

published on Monday, May 29th, 2018 in The Guardian

illustration submitted with the opinion piece

Can we design villages that preserve farmland and offer some of the social and business support systems found in cities?

The past governments’ approach to rural revival has been very piecemeal and ineffective: small industrial malls or parks, the occasional seniors home, help to a community center or, lately, a roundabout.  

Meanwhile the rural areas are being depopulated due to farms getting bigger, people choosing to shop in malls, government closing local schools or killing a small village with a highway widening.

Clearly a different and more comprehensive solution is required, a solution that centers on providing a living environment that compares favorably to living in a city. Rural living actually appeals to a lot of people judging from the many bungalows now bordering our rural highways and using valuable farmland.

What if we could design a community that preserved farmland and offered the best of rural living along with some of the social and business support systems found in cities?

One possible solution is found among the many co-housing communities in Denmark and now getting popular in North America. They come in many varieties such as rural and urban, but common to all of them are shared facilities: in addition to self contained living units that usually include bedrooms and kitchens, there are extensive common facilities that include a common kitchen and dining room, workshops of all kinds and recreational facilities for children and adults. Ownership models vary but usually residents own their home and the facility is governed like a co-op.

For rural P.E.I., a major concern is to leave most of the land available for agriculture, so we want the buildings to be close together, like in Victoria-by-the-Sea or even closer like downtown Charlottetown.  The agriculture on the open fields surrounding the community will of course have to be pesticide free so that residents can live a healthy life. Common facilities should allow for residents to have a local business, such as a furniture shop or ceramic studio and the kitchen would be licensed so residents could process locally produced crops such as berries, into jams or pies for sale. There would be a fiber-optic connection for fast internet, allowing other residents to work from home and energy could be supplied by a jointly owned windmill and/or solar collectors, maybe with a wood fired joint heating system back-up. The common rooms could serve as a local daycare, home school or special care facility offering additional local employment opportunities and a jointly owned van could ferry people to town when needed.

One or more of the residents could be farmers tilling the land surrounding the “village.” The farming aspect could also be delegated to Amish or other farmers who are already committed to non-chemical farming. The land would be protected against further development and high taxes. Local production of staples like vegetables, eggs, milk and meat would find a ready market right in the community.

Depending on the size of the community, which could range from 50 to 500 people, there could even be a resident nurse practitioner or other health service available to the surrounding community. The mix of people could include seniors and singles as well as people benefiting from support of a close community. Location could be an old expanded farmstead or one of the numerous communities that have been dying a quiet death during the recent decades. The point is that we need more than just economic opportunities and more housing. We need it all to work together for a sustainable.

This is what we need in rural area communities. Not more bureaucracy and forced amalgamation.

Ole Hammarlund is an architect who has designed many housing co-ops and seniors homes on P.E.I. He can be reached at

If you have 15 minutes, or just time to read the transcript, this is the author Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything, The Shock Doctrine), in a TED Talk from last September.  Below is the description of her talk.

TED Talk:  Naomi Klein -- "How Shocking Events Can Spark Positive Change"
Things are pretty shocking out there right now -- record-breaking storms, deadly terror attacks, thousands of migrants disappearing beneath the waves and openly supremacist movements rising. Are we responding with the urgency that these overlapping crises demand from us? Journalist and activist Naomi Klein studies how governments use large-scale shocks to push societies backward. She shares a few propositions from "The Leap" -- a manifesto she wrote alongside indigenous elders, climate change activists, union leaders and others from different backgrounds -- which envisions a world after we've already made the transition to a clean economy and a much fairer society. "The shocking events that fill us with dread today can transform us, and they can transform the world for the better," Klein says. "But first we need to picture the world that we're fighting for. And we have to dream it up together."

Here is Peter Bevan-Baker's touching tribute to Bonshaw resident and Island champion Harry Baglole, from Peter's "Member's Statement" in the P.E.I. Legislature last week, four minutes long.

And I truly don't mean to trivialize Harry's death with a quote by a fictional (though esteemed) wizard, but it came to my mind with smiley tears during the lovely cerebration of his life last week, which he of course had a had in planning.

"After all, to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure."
  -- Albus Dumbledore (J. K. Rowling character), Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, 1997

June 10, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Note that there was not a Citizens' Alliance News yesterday, as I was in transit.

Events Today,
Sunday, June 10th:

Hands-on farming workshop at Hope River Farm, 12noon - 4PM (carpool to meet at Farm Centre in Charlottetown, or meet at the farm at 1PM). "Help out a hard working small farmer, learn about sustainable farming, meet some of the farm animals, learn about raised beds and we will install an irrigation system. It is always a delight to be on Nancy's farm.  Organized by the Food Exchange - empowering people to improve food security for themselves and their community through gleaning, growing food and education....Dress for the weather. Bring a shovel if you have one". 
**This may be postponed due to rain -- check on their Facebook page or the event listing.**

Talk: Acadian Forests and their Inhabitants at Risk, with Bob Bancroft, 2-3:30PM, Macphail Woods Ecological Centre, Orwell.  Free but donations accepted.  "We are thrilled that Bob is coming over again from Nova Scotia. The well-known CBC Radio Noon guest and advocate for nature will explore how forests across the region are being clearcut and the dependent species are being threatened. Bob will offer insights into how we can protect and enhance our forests and what individuals – whether woodlot owners or concerned citizens – can do to stem the tide of destruction."

Presentation and Discussion: "Another Type of Gold: Analyzing Canadian Mining in the DR", 2-4PM, Our Lady of Assumption Church, Stratford. "The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP) invites all to a presentation and dialogue on Canadian Gold Mining in the Dominican Republic. Canadian and Western companies have a long, violent history of extracting natural resources from the Caribbean and Central America without regard for the families living in these communities, nor the environment surrounding them. The latest chapter of this tragedy comes from Vancouver-based GoldQuest, who is exploring land to mine in the San Juan province.
Join us for a presentation from Ryan MacRae, a missionary currently in the Dominican Republic, as well as up-to-date information from Eddie Cormier and Maureen Larkin on Canadian Mining operations in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala.
Rather than monetizing natural resources, let's explore ways to treat the environment - and those living within it - like gold.
This presentation will be part of LAMP's Annual General Meeting."

Choral performance: Luminous Ensemble --Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem, 2:30-4PM, St. Paul's Anglican Church, Church Street, Charlottetown. Costs, tickets at the door.  "This extraordinary work is one of the most important in the choral repertoire.  Join us to experience a composition so exceptional that it cemented its creator as one of the "3 B's" of Western music history -- along with Bach and Beethoven.  Presented here in Brahms' own version for piano and chamber choir, this is an opportunity to experience a choral tour de force in a most intimate setting."  With soprano Shannon Scales, baritone Parker Clement, and pianists Stephanie Cole and Jacqueline Sorensen Young.
Deja vu
My flight path leaving Charlottetown last week to visit family went over the Cornwall bypass, and the extensive excavated lines, so short of a distance from existing roads, with so much destruction of farmland and woods, reminded me keenly of seeing the Plan B highway path five years ago from above.  (From that flight came this three-minute YouTube video "Flight Over Plan B -- November 2012")

Larry Jones, the architect of the Hughes Jones Centre, wrote in a blog this week about his thoughts regarding the current Cornwall Bypass project, and the Centre, his and his daughter Ellen Jones' work:

The Death & Birth of an Idea - article by Larry Jones

Published on Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

It’s been an interesting process watching an Idea be demolished, placed in dumpsters and hauled away. Emotionally sickening at several levels and oddly instructive about current political affairs.

The Idea was one developed by my daughter to help people, of all ages, genders and ethnicities deal with the traumas and dramas of modern relationships. The Idea incorporated animals (horses, dogs, cattle) and interaction with people. In many ways it is a very simple idea that has been utilized for thousands of years but never quite been scientifically studied. Many people recognize the benefits with dogs & cats as they are part of many households. Farmers know there is a peace that comes in working with animals that is not found in our large human communities. My daughter learned how to tap into that peacefulness and she taught others. It not only has curative power but is also preventative.

The Idea also incorporated the concept espoused by Bill Strickland that Environment builds Behaviour. The farm and buildings that housed the Idea were designed to support the program and it worked.

Politics; however, don’t operate at a contemplative level, nor do politicians understand the benefits of preventing illness, they would sooner treat the symptoms. Also, traditional Canadian politics are about adversarial confrontation. About besting your opponent so you and your party get elected in the next vote. Trumpian politics are even worse because helping people has become a sign of weakness and bullying is now de-rigour for leaders and governments.

So, it is on PEI, where building a highway becomes a financial bonanza because federal funding covers half the cost, the local taxpayer the other half and the benefits accrue to a construction company. Even though the provincial government is in debt so deep there is no salvation, politicians spend more money to build a highway. Criticizing is dismissed as silliness and political power is exercised. At some point in this tragedy, common sense and imagination were lost and highway engineers went to work and designed a roadway without regard for the environment, the people or the long-term implications, only cost was a factor.

Don’t get me wrong, roads are important infrastructure in modern society. But more important is protecting our environment, our communities and our land. None of this can be retrieved once lost therefore we must proceed with care and thoughtfulness before making decisions affecting future generations. The road could have been designed differently, the route could have been adjusted to avoid active agricultural farmlands, the route could also have been adjusted to avoid dividing the community. It may have been more expensive but this kind of road lasts over 100 years and impacts forever. Politicians and engineers chose not to do this for financial reasons only, consideration of community, environment or agriculture were not relevant.

In the way of all this road building was the Idea. A farm property designed and built for helping people. The Idea didn’t make financial sense but it helped people, especially girls and women. It was a place of safety, of peace and where help was always available. We were told the Idea didn’t have any value because it didn’t make money. No one would listen to the concept that value is not only about money. Values that are truly important are the one’s that don’t relate to money
values like caring, like honesty, like truth. These are real and lasting values and these were the values incorporated into the Idea.

The buildings fell this morning to the bulldozers. It is bittersweet because the buildings were designed and built to be a place of comfort, now they are gone and a roadway is taking their place (cue Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi). The silver lining to this tragedy is that my daughter is living proof of the lesson of values and not the economic kind. She has not lost the Idea but is growing it into a new and perhaps more important concept to help those of us that have forgotten about real morals. The moral values of helping our neighbours, of caring for our people and for thinking about the long-term effects of our actions, not just as defined by the next election cycle.

This gives me hope that a younger generation will rise up to counter the vitriol and self-serving hegemony being expressed by some media and politicians. It gives me hope that the Idea was not bulldozed because it is much stronger than a physical building. People who matter know this and will embrace it, others who can’t see true value are fearful of it.

As an architect this has been an astounding journey and I am learning more about human character and the importance of sustainable values than I ever learned in school or university.  -- Larry Jone

June 8, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today, Friday, June 8th:
The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-1PM.

Legislative Assembly video link
(apologies if the links do nor work)

Saturday, June 9th:

PC District 8 and 9 BBQ, 3-5PM,
Malcolm Darrach Community Centre, 1 Avonlea Drive. Darren Creamer (D8) and Sarah Stewart-Clark (D9) are offering.
Facebook event details

NDP Potluck, 5-8PM, Bonshw Community Centre, 25 Green Road, all welcome, Joe Byrne and others with great food, conversation and music.  Facebook event details
Here are some things that happened in the last day or two while the Electoral System Referendum Act, Bill No. 38, was debated:

Early Thursday morning, a pipeline exploded in near Moundsville, West Virginia, a TransCanada Columbia gas transmission pipeline. Bill McKibbon of , tweeted: 
"The pipeline that exploded in WVA today? When Transcanada put it in service Jan. 1, it said 'This is truly a best-in-class pipeline and we look forward to many years of safe, reliable, and efficient operation on behalf of our customers.' ”
It was actually called the "LeachXPress" and carried shale gas from the Marcellus shale beds to the southeast U.S. More on the pipeline's opening from this West Virginia newspaper in January of this year: 

The Senate passed the cannabis legislation.  It appears a few new Independent Senators were appointed quite recently and showed up to vote; actions like this make the NDP's call to abolish the Senate seems worth listening to.  
Story on the vote and new Senatores:

Even though Gerard Gallant and the Vegas Golden Knights didn't win the Stanley Cup last night, they had a fantastic inaugural year, and now the Mayor of Dauphin, Manitoba gets to come to Summerside as Mayor Bill Martin's guest.  The Washington Capitols have been waiting 41 years for this, and it was nice to see the whole District of Columbia area be so excited about their hockey team.

Ontarians elected Doug Ford to a majority of seats in the Ontario legislature with 40% of the vote. Perhaps this is a walking billboard for Proportional Representation (PR).  It appears politicians, parties and some voters would rather have all the pie every ten years or so, as opposed to a goodly share all the time. It may be unlikely that the Doug Ford government will rule as if they don't have 60% of voter support., and be more collaborative.

The Guelph region elected their first Green Party Member of Provincial Parliament, Mike Schreiner. Like Elizabeth May in Parliament, David Coon in New Brunswick and Peter Bevan-Baker, it'll be a long hard road but he'll be a voice of reason.

Yesterday, in the Annals of the Stewards of Democracy,
James Aylward, Leader of the Opposition, proposed a motion (No. 76) which would send the Electoral System Referendum Act Bill No. 38, back to the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal, to be worked on to bring back to the full Legislature.  The Motion was seconded by Peter Bevan-Baker.  Though Aylward later added that he would like to see consensus government given a fuller assessment at these Special Committee hearings and added to the Referendum Question, the point was that both Opposition Parties and the Independent Member Bush Dumville all agreed that the Bill is too messed up to piece together and put into action.  Souris-Elmira PC MLA Colin LaVie spoke to it, pleading from his heart for the government to be reasonable and get this bill off the floor. It's unfortunate that the MLA still feels that Mixed Member Proportional Representation is too confusing to be used.   There was also some indication that while PR may be used in a lot of places, that was true of Consensus and First Past the Post.  This is not completely accurate if you are looking at states/provinces/countries in most "modern" democracies.
For the governing party, both Chris Palmer, always ready to jump right in, and Pat Murphy, spoke briefly, and I honestly can't recall a single thing either said.

The Motion was defeated, and as the rest of the afternoon was for Motions Other Than Government,  Al Roach's Plastic Bag Reduction Act was finally passed, with the immediate unanimously Motion (No. 77) moved by Georgetown-St. Peter's MLA Steven Myers to have the Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environement work on additional measures to cut plastic use and increase recycling. 
Bevan-Baker reminded the House that while we should feel good about this, there is much to do to improve the environment.

The last few minutes of the afternoon was a bit more from Peter Bevan-Baker on the Third Party's "Seeking Improved Governance" Motion 73, and then the House adjourned for supper.  The Evening session (which I didn't see much of but heard reports) was more tedious.

"Going Through the Motions" as Kevin J. Arsenault sad/humorously labled it from yesterday is found on his link, here is an excerpt below:  
We're all familiar with the saying, “The writing's on the wall”.  Well, that particular saying aptly captures the current government's dogged intention to feign as much patience needed to drag the entire legislative assembly through a month of so-called "debate" on the  referendum Bill - plodding relentlessly, clause by clause - listening intently to every comment and/or amendment brought forth by the opposition MLAs like they really care; then, when they're all done going through those unfeeling, robotic motions, whipping the caucus vote and dismissing each and every one of those really good and important ideas and Motions like they never existed. Poof!
In the end, they'll have successfully reached their goal: a referen-dumb Bill full of most of the same internal inconsistencies and flaws they started out with, and it'll only take a month of our short Island summer to accomplish. 
The “writing's on the wall” with this Bill for sure, although it's writing that will have to methodically endure amendment, after amendment, after amendment...dozens of them. But not to worry: it will be accomplished. The Liberal government has set itself to the task of literally, “going through the Motions," as it goes through the motions. And what happened today in the House established the precedent - the "genesis template" you might say - for what we can expect to see each and every additional day of this sitting until the Emperor finally gets his new cloths...uh....I mean Bill.- Kevin J. Arsenault, June 7th, 2018

June 7, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM

Bluefin, the movie by John Hopkins, is being screened in Halifax.

Sunday, June 10th:
Bob Bancroft at Macphail Woods, 2-3:30PM,
Orwell. The noted naturalist will talk about the Acadian Forest and the pressures faced.  Always an engaging speaker. Free but donations accepted.
Yesterday, serious concerns about the air quality were raised in the Legislature by Progressive Conservative leader James Aylward, with a usual stonewall and defend strategy employed by the Transportation and Infrastructure Minister to try to move the conversation on.  

The rest of the afternoon was spent in a committee of the Whole House working on Bill No. 38, Electoral System Referendum Act.  The Justice Minister brought copies of all the new amendments, and said they would pass them out as needed.  It looks incredibly rushed and half-baked, despite the neat stacks of brown envelops and post-in notes. 
My main points are:
The Liberals wrote a bill that was seriously flawed.  They are trying to amend basically the whole thing due to public reaction (good work to all those talking about this), the unstitched mess is being pushed forward with haste and a total lack of interest by many MLAs, with notable exceptions Brad Trivers, Sidney MacEwen and Matt MacKay, Hannah Bell and Peter Bevan-Baker, who are working for our children, really, and the future of the Island.  Richard Brown, Jordan Brown and the Premier, the troika of Stewards of Democracy,  pledged yesterday to take an oath in a ceremony that they will Honour THIS Vote.

I am impressed by the calmness and persevereness of those asking questions, in the face of the Spring Session Farce, and am appreciative.  

Now it may take as long to read as the Legislature talked aout Bill No. 38 yesterday ;-)  but Kevin Arsenault spells out exactly what happened.  

This is from Kevin Arsenault later yesterday:

WHY CAN'T LIBERAL LAWYERS UNDERSTAND LAW? - Facebook post by Kevin J. Arsenault

(The Liberal Art of "Crash & Burn" lawmaking in PEI)
[Legislative Assembly, Wednesday, June 6, 2018]

NOTE: Both the string of "clips" and my commentary are a little longer than usual today; but if you want to see how dysfunctional and flawed the current process is to enact a referendum Bill, take the time to read and watch.  


Today's episode of the PEI Legislative Assembly was brought to you by the letter "eeeeeee" and the word "binding".

How Ironic that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice (Jordan Brown) and the Premier who is dubbed as a constitutional law expert (Wade MacLauchlan) had to be schooled by a dentist on the statutory meaning and significant legal consequences of one key word those two so-called "legal experts" have woven throughout the fabric of their flawed Referen-dumb Bill.

The law regarding parliamentary sovereignty states that a current government cannot pass legislation that “binds” a future government. That seems so straightforward and simple that it's truly mind-boggling that the Premier and Minister of Justice/Attorney General wasted half the afternoon refusing to accept this legal fact. They fought Peter Bevan-Baker tooth and nail (obviously forgetting that Peter is a dentist) with Peter steadfastly refusing to relent on his key point (I wouldn't have either); namely, that the government should abandon the pretense that the referendum is legally “binding” on a future government, and remove the words "bind" and “binding” from the draft legislation.

Despite not having a legal leg to stand on, Jordan and Wade pontificated with their now familiar and patronizing slow, passively-aggressive drawlin speaking style, and elaborate (but legally-senseless) arguments that, in the end, amounted to equating the word "binding" with a spittled handshake or a "we promise" oath (with hand-over-heart) from politicians, which they claimed was the essence of democracy in PEI and something Islanders fully understand. Right.

Peter's insistence that the words used in statutes should be interpreted based on the word's "meaning" was massively important, but trivialized and construed by Jordan as some kind of inappropriate hang-up with "technicalities," which he expressed as shock that Peter Bevan-Baker couldn't see that politicians honouring their promises is equivalent to a statutory legal requirement here on lil ole PEI.   "Bind" and "binding" would remain in the Bill (he declared with authority at one point)...because to remove them (even though they don't have the legal force of their own "meaning") would be to, as Brown put it, "water down" the Act. What an utterly ridiculous line of reasoning! 

Hannah jumped in with some good reminders of what the Premier once said about a referendum not being able to "bind" a future government - which the premier seemed to acknowledge as something he did in fact say (how could he not, since she quoted him) but then muttered something about "clarity" and proceeded to fully defend the fallacious line of reasoning that was just presented by Jordan....which was so pathetic and weak, but also laughable, given the sorry track record of broken "promises" and dishonoured "words" the Premier is still dragging behind him from the last election.

The Premier argued that those elected are “bound” by their "word" and the promises they make to the electorate, suggesting that it would be fundamentally anti-democratic (and pretty despicable) to rely on “parliamentary sovereignty” to frustrate or ignore the will of the electorate [cue in Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror"}, which certainly made me gasp in disbelief, given the memory of the all-party debate on education just prior to the last election when Wade was presented with a “clear” question, in a "fair process,"  and provided a “clear” answer:

Moderator: “Do you support an elected English School Board?”
Wade: “Yes!”

Then Jordan Brown tried to make the case that new governments are bound to follow the “law of the land” as it exists when they come into power – until such time as they decide to change it, of course – so the law would be the outcome of the referendum.  Sounds reasonable, right? Well it's not.

Peter matter-of-factly explained to these two law experts that the referendum result is not a “law".... it's just a referendum outcome, and the Bill before the house specifically states that the next government (following the election and referendum) will need to introduce legislation to create a LAW to put a new electoral system into effect (if that's the outcome of the referendum). That legislation will have to be drafted, debated, possibly amended in committee, and could, in fact, ultimately be defeated; and NONE of that would be contrary to the Bill, which proves Peter and Hannah's main point of today's debate: the legislation is not “binding”.  

Indeed, the referendum Bill doesn't say that the legislation introduced by the next government MUST be passed. It can't. The architects of the Bill knew full-well that no statute of an existing government can “bind” a future government.  Yet, despite being 100% correct on this point, Peter and Hannah were made to appear like trouble-makers by Jordan and Wade for insisting on statutory language that is accurate, clear and, more importantly, not designed to convey an idea that is false, e.g., that the use of the word “binding” actually means that the legislation is legally “binding”.

But alas!  No amount of common sense could steer either the Premier or Jordan from abandoning their deceptive language. The manner in which Jordan wrapped up “debate” by saying that he and his fellow MLAs were prepared to “bind” themselves while Peter was free to do whatever he wished, was just more deception....attempting to make the Greens out to be somehow “against” "honouring the vote," when it was the Liberals who collectively gave the finger to the call to “honour the vote” in the House last time around (which Richard Brown later solemnized with an explicit, public act) and routinely ignored numerous promises they made “pre-election” once they were elected in 2015.  

And to boot, Jordan introduced a raft of new amendments today - now totalling 27.  It's what you might call the “jigsaw puzzle” method of creating legislation...dump a box of puzzle pieces in the middle of the table and start trying to piece them together - then half-way through the process, realize that someone inadvertently mixed puzzle pieces together from several different puzzles. What a mess. What a gong show! And how utterly senseless. If the Premier would just honour the fixed election date and send the Bill to the committee for emergency surgery, all would eventually be well.  -- Kevin J. Arsenault


Pauline Howard is providing *excellent* observations , too, and posting them on the Citizens' Alliance Facebook page, with huge admiration and thanks.

If the inserted link doesn't work for the Citizens' Alliance Facebook group, here it is again:

June 6, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Thanks for your patience -- and all your comments -- about how MailChimp packages e-mails.  So far I haven't figured out how to get them to be more "responsive" and fit on mobile devices, but will play around some more as time allows.  I am also not sure why the text is coming out too small on some computers and too large for others, and why the logo can look weird. 
But there is a lot going on in P.E.I. this week to share.

Today, Wednesday, June 6th:
The P.E.I. Legislature sits in the afternoon, from 2-5PM.  You can watch in the Gallery, on Eastlink able, or on-line at the Legislative website  -- not a real link below.

Mussels, Malt and Music in Cardigan, 6-8PM, Clamdiggers Restaurant, pay for your refreshment.  #ChatLocal with Green MLAs Peter Bevan-Baker and Hannah Bell, plus Susan Hartley and other Shadow Cabinet critics.

As I am unable to be around to watch the Legislature this week, I am thankful for the sharp eyes and more-than-capable summary and commentary powers of Kevin J. Arsenault and others.
This is from Arsenault, this morning, but the link to the clips is only on Facebook on his page or the Citizens' Alliance group (thank you to those who posted it).

WADE'S MISGUIDED REFEREN-DUMB STRATEGY - Facebook post by Kevin J. Arsenault

[Legislative Assembly, Tuesday, June 5, 2018]

If there was ever a reason to scrap the political electoral system PEI has always known – First Past the Post (FPTP) – one has to look no further than what happened in the legislative assembly today with debate on Wade's referen-dumb bill. 

While bending over backwards to appear “cooperative” and “reasonable,” spending hours listening to - and seemingly taking to heart suggestions from opposition MLAs on ways to improve the Bill - in the end, it's the same ole, same ole with legal, (but mathematically and morally illegitimate) majority governments:  those recommendations contained in amendments are being voted down one after another in “whipped” votes.    

At the same time, government MLAs  will say they are taking the “best” of those opposition recommendations and amendments and are incorporating them into their own “new and improved” amendments. In fact, the promoter of the Bill, Hon. Jordan Brown, provided opposition MLAs with a whole “package” of new amendments to the Bill less than an hour before the House opened today.  We can be sure those amendments will render the current amendments on the floor from opposition members - including a fundamental amendment proposed by the leader of the third party, Peter Bevan-Baker (which was on the floor when the house opened today) essentially an exercise in futility and frustration for the legislative process as they are gutted and discarded. 

In the end, I'm sure Wade MacLauchlan and Jordan Brown will argue that debate on this bill was a truly collaborate and democratic process, when it was nothing of the kind.  Those particular provisions within the Bill which are so anti-democratic and offensive - clearly designed to confuse issues and restrict the freedom of Islanders - are the very provisions opposition members want gone; but they're unfortunately the parts of the Bill government is bent on keeping in tact and even worsening. That became clear as a bell today. Brown repeatedly stated that he is not fundamentally opposed to the third Party's amendment being discussed today, but proceeded to vote it down with his whipped government colleagues anyway.  

It's important that Islanders realize what exactly the government voted against today to understand  how draconian and restrictive government's efforts really are to manipulate the entire process in which Islanders can consider, debate and ultimately decide the type of electoral system we will have in the future.

When all is said and done, the government will be able to say “this part came from Peter Bevan-Baker” or “this part came from “James Aylward” and they will be correct of course; but like Peter's excellent analogy of the house repairs – they'll conveniently not mention that the proposed roof has been left out of the picture and Islander's expectations of having a fully-democratic process are about to get all wet.

Today was a watershed moment for me in this debate: by voting down Peter's amendment – again, an amendment that was supported by the PC Party – the government has  shown it's hand and immutable resolve to push forward with the oppressive and anti-democratic elements of the current Bill: the rest of the changes they will make will be largely cosmetic.

These two separate, but related, video clips from Peter speaking to his amendment today clarify in straight-forward terms the difference between how the government is presenting Peter's amendment in a totally misleading way, and the actual facts concerning the core issues and problems which Peter's amendment would address.  The government wants to restrict debate for up to 8 months, creating an intimidating framework within which individuals could be fined for expressing their views and promoting them, especially if they pay for ads or work with others in organized ways; or newspapers could be fined for writing or promoting editorial views, etc.

The great deception by the government today was saying over and over that by having the period within the Act be the same as the election period – the time from the day the writ is dropped to election day – that would constitute a time-frame that was “too short” for debate on such an important issue, when the truth of the matter is that Peter's amendment would ensure a much longer, freer, less encumbered, and fuller debate by ensuring that the excessive “restrictions” outlined in the Act apply to the shortest time possible – namely, the period from the writ being dropped to the election. 

What a shameful government we have which speaks incessantly about guaranteeing Islanders a “clear question” and a “fair process” with a “clear outcome” when the only thing "clear" is that they are "clearly" doing everything possible to muddy and confuse the entire process and intimidate Islanders with threats of serious fines, restrictive and complicated rules and processes concerning who can say or do what when, where and how.......all of which will have a massively “chilling” effect on what should be the free exercise of our most fundamental democratic freedoms and charter rights. Again...shame!

Why are they doing it? The only intelligent response is that they are hell-bent on doing everything they possibly can to make sure their beloved option of “first-past-the-post,” wins the day. -- Kevin J. Arsenault, Facebook posting, June 6th, 2018

CBC Story:

Can the public see the Amendments first mentioned late last week on CBC Radio (when Jordan Brown called Premier MacLauchlan and all "Stewards of Democracy"?  No, I can't find them on the Legislative Assembly website so they must be "advanced" copies that the Opposition Parties are working from and discussion was about yesterday. Stewards of Democracy, indeed.

June 5, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM today. You can watch it here (crossing fingers that the link works):

Nature PEI monthly meeting, presentation on "Battle of the Crabs" about the invasive species green crabs, 7:30PM,
Beaconsfield Carriage House, free and all welcome.

Presumably, the Electoral Systems Referendum Act, Bill No. 38, is going to be the focus of the Legislature today; the florid and tattered document with its trailing government-moved  amendments and the shadow of constitutional incompetence is, twenty months after the plebiscite, the best offering (along with dropping one evening session) of "democratic renewal".

Kevin J. Arsenault's "Wade's World" comic for today.

note the "Simpsons' Mr. Burns' hands"

Another visual:
A Tale of Two Referendums
Graphic shared by FairVote PEI
**Note that this is the based on the original Bill, not with any amendments.**

The Political panel on CBC Radio yesterday was lively -- though those with delicate constitutions may have preferred to eat breakfast without the commotion.  Toward the end, panelist Dennis King mentioned about the Green Party having as many internet trolls as any other party, and he later clarified it on social media:

Dennis King, June 4th, 2018  on Facebook, reprinted with permission:

"Perhaps the word troll was not the most appropriate. In truth I’m not even sure I know what that term means. I am growing more afraid everyday that term is used to refer to those who may disagree with us...and that makes me sad. So forgive me please for using that term incorrectly on the radio this morning.
The point - which I evidently failed to make - was that each party has their loyal supporters who are quick to weigh in on political issues. The social media world allows those of us politically-aligned to more easily gravitate to one other and provides an instant platform for us to share our opinions. I hope we never fully lose our objectivity and our willingness to hear dissenting viewpoints.
Peter Bevan-Baker himself knows, because I’ve told him many times, I admire what he has brought to the Legislature and to the public discourse. It’s refreshing and long overdue.
Though our system of government has allowed party colours to divide us far too often, there is much more that unities as Islanders!
That is my view and I’m sticking to it!"

Dennis supports a particular party  (the Progressive Conservative) but is nearly unfailingly fair in his critique of that party and others.

Here is a petition to go to the House of Commons for Canadians opposed to the Kinder-Morgan pipeline buyout proposed by the Federal Liberal government.
The rally against the pipeline and demonstration at Charlottetown MP Sean Casey's office was well-attended and sent a message to him via his Charlottetown staff. 
On CBC news it was reported that Sean Casey (in Ottawa) said he really has not heard much about the pipeline when he has been on doorsteps.
If he has not been on your doorstep recently, you can write or call him and tell him what you think:
(902) 566-7770
(Sean does seem to express his opinions even if they are not in lockstep with the Prime Minister's views, so he might appreciate hearing Islanders' views on this.)
The Celebration of Harry Baglole's life last night was a touching, tear and laughter filled time of music and story.  A crowded place told the story of his many ideas and projects about "Islandness", and how many people he touched.  I think Peter Bevan-Baker will pay tribute to him today or tomorrow in a Member's Statement after Greetings in the provincial Legislature, which will likely make many of us smile through our tears.
Thanks for bearing with a shift in e-mail technology for the time being.  You may need to adjust your junk filters or add the <> address to your address book, if you are getting very dark banners about these messages being spam.  :-)

June 4, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Thanks for your patience while I test on-the-road newsletter sending options.
Here is a cartoon from Wayne Wright in The Journal-Pioneer today:

cartoon of "NO or NO"

And I will test a link, of the Legislative Assembly website, of the documents "tabled by leave" last week:

and the specific document tabled to the Assembly,
of one of many Amendments to Bill No. 38, the Electoral Systems Referendum Act:
This Amendment, tabled on Tuesday May 29th, 2018, is from Minister Heath MacDonald and raises the limit an individual can spend to $1000 from $500 and the Advertisers to $125,000 each side.

It's kind of writing amendments on the fly -- not too confidence- building.  Debate will probably resume tomorrow, Tuesday.

June 4, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Monday CBC Radio Political Panel, after the 7:30AM news and sports, 96.1FM.  Roy Johnstone will join the others be around the table for a special Monday convening of the this partisan and dynamic discussion.

Before that (at 7:15?), it sounds like former MLA Cletus Dunn and another proponent of First Past the Post will be on CBC Radio.  Someone will have to fill us in on a memory of Dunn and an electoral boundaries map.

No Kinder Morgan Pipeline, 4PM, Sean Casey's Office, 75 Fitzroy Street.
from the event noticed (edited)
"We acknowledge that this event will be taking place on unceeded Mi'kmaq territory.
The deal isn’t done yet – the sale of the Kinder Morgan pipeline won’t be finalized for at least a month. Let’s come together. Let’s be loud and tell the Trudeau government that we say NO to buying out Kinder Morgan!!
We will meet in front of Sean Casey’s office (75 Fitzroy street) and visit the staff (Sean’s in Ottawa) to present them with a blank cheque for Kinder Morgan on behalf of Islanders. Following this, we will converge at a TBD location for speakers, music, discussion, and education around the Kinder Morgan pipeline and what this will mean for Canada. <snip>
It's not too late, there's still time! Bring your signs, pots, pans, and voices to make some noise and keep the conversation going."
More details here.

A Celebration of Harry Baglole's life, 7PM, Spring Park United Church,  (see Tribute, below)
This week:
Tuesday, June 5th:
Battle of the Crabs (Nature PEI presentation), 7:30PM,
Beaconsfield Carriage House, Kent Street, free.  "Learn more about the highly invasive green crab" and the effects it is having on our Island ecosystems, with PhD student Paula Tummo    n Flynn.  Facebook event details. 

Wednesday, June 6th:
Mussels, Malt and Music in Cardigan, 6-8PM
, Clamdiggers Restaurant, buy-your-food event.  "#ChatLocal is an invitation to chat about issues and ideas with other engaged citizens in a casual setting.  Sit down with Green MLAs Peter Bevan-Baker and Hannah Bell, Health & Wellness Critic Susan Hartley and Workforce & Advanced Learning Critic Trish Altass. Enjoy some tunes by local musician Andrea MacDonald.
Mussels optional!"
Belated felicitations for milestones yesterday on the third anniversary of the Wade MacLauchlan government's inaugural Speech from the Throne.
(Bold is mine )from the webpage of the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal:

In the speech from the throne delivered June 3, 2015, government included a commitment to "initiate and support a thorough and comprehensive examination of ways in which to strengthen our electoral system, our representation, and the role and functioning of the Legislative Assembly." As part of this process, government issued a White Paper on Democratic Renewal.
A five person Special Committee of the Legislative Assembly was created to guide public engagement and make recommendations in response to the White Paper on Democratic Renewal. This Special Committee consists of Jordan Brown (Charlottetown-Brighton) (Chair), Dr. Peter Bevan-Baker (Leader of the Third Party), Honourable Paula Biggar (Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy), Janice Sherry (Summerside-Wilmot), and Sidney MacEwen (Morell-Mermaid).
Since it began work studying electoral systems and consulting with Islanders on potential reforms, the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal has presented two reports to the Legislative Assembly.

The two reports are on the webpage link (above)

from David Weale, originally published on his Facebook page on Friday, June 1st, 2018, and in today's Guardian.

So Long Old Friend

by David Weale

        My friend of almost seventy years, Harry Baglole, died this week, and it is difficult for me to get used to the idea that there will be no more visits to his ramshackle little house tucked in against the little hill in Bonshaw. No more boiled dinners with mustard pickles. No more talks about the Island. No more awkward hugs at the door upon leaving.

        There are many things I could say about Harry, especially about the many ways he contributed to the enrichment of Island society. It’s a very long list, and I’m sure many of you will have read the fine tribute in today’s Guardian the made reference to all the wonderful causes he championed over the years.
        In a word, Harry was a champion of the Island, and I can honestly say I know of no one more resolutely and indefatigably committed to the well-being of his beloved Island than he.
        Yes, there are many things I could say about Harry, but the one thing I want to say is that he was absolutely relentless: relentless in his promotion and defense of those things he believed would create a strong and free society on this Island.
        There were two things in particular about the Island that Harry cared about deeply.
The first was self-determination. He believed passionately that Islanders should never compromise themselves by making decisions or choosing options that eroded our ability to choose our own future and celebrate our own uniqueness. This conviction was at the heart of his actions as a founding member of the pro-Island advocacy group known as the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt. And yet, those who knew Harry were very aware that he was not at all parochial or narrow in his insularity. His vision of the Island was universal in its reach.
        For him the Island was a microcosm of the world.
        The second great passion that motivated Harry was his love of the land. Son of a farmer, he possessed an instinctive aversion to those profane aspects of modernity that viewed the land merely as a resource to be exploited, rather than as the living fundament of a healthy rural culture.
        In 1973 – forty-five years ago -- we wrote together:
        “…it is important for the Government of Prince Edward Island to enact tight, decisive and drastic legislation which will successfully curtail the present trend toward foreign ownership and corporate or large scale commercial farming, and which will, simultaneously, be designed to encourage the preservation of the Island’s family farm tradition.” (Cornelius Howatt Superstar).
        We didn’t know then what a long and difficult struggle that would be, but he never faltered. He was relentless about those things he cared about deeply, and I love and respect him for that.
        And so, I say, “So long worthy comrade. It was a good fight we fought, and an interesting path we travelled together. And now that you have finished the course, I miss you.”


Cornelius Howatt: Superstar!, by Harry Baglole and David Weale.

June 3, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Sustainable Development Fair, 1-5PM
, Jack Blanchard Centre (next to Holy Redeemer Church), Pond Street, Charlottetown.  Hosted by St. Paul's Anglican Church. 

from their website and a media release:

This no-charge afternoon will include informative displays and activities provided by multiple organizations which are devoted to sustainable development — doing things which accord with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the City of Charlottetown’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, concerning environment, climate, poverty, education, decent work, clean energy, equality, innovative technology, healthy communities, social justice.

“If you care for our planet,” says Rev. John Clarke of St. Paul’s, “and want to learn more about doing your part to help end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, this event is for you.” He says, “it’s a great event for families, young and old. There will be give-aways, demonstrations of technology, theme-related children’s activities, refreshments, and other fun, family friendly activities.”
More details:

The "Global Goals" (Sustainable Development Goals) are visually represented here:

PEI Pops! Concert:  From Broadway to Hollywood, 3-5PM, St. Paul's Anglican Church, Church Street, Charlottetown. Hosted by the PEI Pops and the Starthgartney Chamber Orchestra.  "Music from Oklahoma, West Side Story, Chicago, Salute to the Big Bands, Star Wars, Jaws, Star Trek, Magnificent Seven, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Casablanca, Singin' in the Rain. Leo Marchildon, conductor. Free will offering."

Later on this month:
Thursday, June 21st:
Youth Day, in association with ACIC (Atlantic Council of International Co-operation) Symposium

"ACIC is organizing their annual symposium at the end of this month, including a Youth Day on June 21. ACIC’s 2018 symposium will tackle these questions through a focus on climate change, indigenous issues, structural inequalities associated with access to wealth and natural resources, and the necessity of exploring collaborative responses as one of ACIC’s main focus is on sustainable development.  The Youth Day will focus on reconciliation with the indigenous peoples and promote different internships/programs that are available in Atlantic Canada. There are the information and registration links for both events if you would like more information."


Youth Day:

That evening will have the Keynote Address, by Sheila Watt-Cloutier; more information from UPEI:


A reminder of visitation and memorial for Harry Baglole:

Visiting hours, 2-4PM and 6-8PM,
Belvedere Funeral Home.

Monday, June 4th:
A celebration of life filled with stories and music, 7PM
, Spring Park United Church, Charlottetown, with a reception to follow.


Thursday afternoon in the P.E.I. Legislature, Opposition Environment Critic Brad Trivers brought back his Private Member's Bill to improve the Water Act Bill No. 115 An Act to Amend the Water Act with the appropriate names for the terms intergenerational equity, precautionary principle, etc., and adding more about conservation and greywater.  It was defeated in the House.  Some government members (including a Minister) appeared not to care what was in the bill - -they shouted "Nay" at every opportunity.  Environment Minister Richard Brown dismissed it out of hand.  That's too bad, as Trivers did his homework, researching and cobbling definitions that suit P.E.I. from scientific and other sources and checking with many people who offered help, including the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, the Green Party PEI, and and some individuals.

The time spent on it did lead to some slightly uninformed discussion around the room regarding organic soil matter (which Peter Bevan-Baker tried to correct), and on greywater from industrial or commercial purposes.   At one point Minister R. Brown said he would arrange a meeting with Robert Irving so they could talk - he was misrepresenting his fellow MLAs Matt MacKay and Jamie Fox and they caught him on it and it led to some desk-pounding from MacKay.)  (See below)

Status of the Regulations and public consultations:  This also came up with the discussion.  Former Minister Robert Mitchell believes the regulations should be brought all over the Island by the Environment Minister for public input.  But he knows each minister has his or her own ideas.  The term that something happens " the Minister's Discretion" was a term that many in the Water Coalition strenuously objected to; for it works OK if you have an enlightened and bold Minister, but not so well if you don't.  Current Environment Minister Richard Brown (this was the same afternoon he admitted to making a rude gesture to the person who shouted "Honour the Vote!" in 2016) said the wonderful, knowledgeable people in the water division where finishing up regulations and then they would go to the Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment and then be ready to implement. This is about the third completely different thing we have heard from Minister R. Brown about the regulations.  By the end of the afternoon, it sounded like Brown was saying maybe the Standing Committee would like to host public meetings in a few places on the proposed regulations. 

Kevin J. Arsenault compiled the video clips from the part of the Legislature and wrote his own very accurate account of the Act to Amend the Water Act episode, here (let me know if you cannot access it):


(perhaps read this with environmental and not simply political colours :-) 

"No water, no life. No blue, no green."

--Scientist Sylvia Earle, (b. 1935), founder of Mission Blue, which works to establish Marine Protected Areas

June 2, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

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

Workshop and Walk: Plants of PEI with Kate MacQuarrie, 10AM-12noon,
Macphail Woods, Orwell. Dress for rain and bugs, but worth it. Free but donations accepted.

Spring Social With Peter (Bevan-Baker), 7-9PM, Canoe Cove School, conversation, music, snacks. Free, all welcome.


Yesterday the P.E.I. Legislature sat in the morning, the Opposition questioned about PNP and about apparent favoritism in road repair work, some housekeeping bills were worked on, and there was a continued big discussion on the government's Motion to replace evening sitting times by putting those hours in the daytime. It's one step that could promote more diversity in the Legislature -- but it's only one of 16 or so other recommendations from a report that's now a few years old from the PEI Coalition for Women in Government (which Darlene Compton read for the record -- and edited version might have been better to have read at this point).  There seemed to be some consensus to do something now like drop one evening sitting (maybe Thursday night), leaving the Opposition Evening on Tuesdays; and renewing the Committee's focus (which didn't meet very often this winter due to the Cabinet shuffle and other government members' inaccessibility) to evaluate and act on more of these suggestions.

The Legislature did not return to the electoral referendum bill.  Justice Minister Jordan Brown indicated on Island Morning radio Friday morning with Peter Bevan-Baker that government might be ready to introduce the amendments which talk about a eight month period of referendum restrictions...hard to follow the latest details...but J. Brown said the Liberal Government had been nothing but "Stewards of Democracy".

More on the Stewards of Democracy...

The photo shoot from November 2016 were a person called out "Honour the Vote" and was responded to with  raised fist and rude gesture by Richard Brown, laughs by him and Jordan Brown and stifled smiles by another was captured by Island videographer John Morris, who was filming the photo shoot for his "vlog."

Yesterday, he made a video explaining the day.  Morris films many things -- some poignant Plan B highway documentary pieces, some fun tourist destination pieces, etc.
His website:

John Morris' video log on his "Honour the Vote" Liberal 2016 Christmas card photo shoot (about three minutes)

An MQO Research poll showing 50% of voters support proportional representation.

CBC Compass from Friday, June 1st, with their Political Panel of journalism instructor Rick MacLean and publisher Paul MacNeill, on at about 32 minutes into the show.
CBC Compass from June 1st, 2018
Rick MacLean says, regarding the Liberals and this bill, "They seem to take turns chewing on one foot or the other,"  and when a government has been in power for a while -- and our First Past the Post voting system makes this easier to happen --and they are being labeled as arrogant, "There is nothing more arrogant that a Cabinet minister giving the finger to a constituent, with another laughing...."

As far as the Electoral System Referendum Act, Steven Myers put it well earlier when he said that there really are three choices government can make:
1. have the discussion on the Bill stalemate (and plan the opposition for no Act, and no referendum)
2. push it through as they have a majority
3. send it to the appropriate Standing Committee where is can be worked on, have public consultation, and actually be something that might work.


I stumbled across this and thought it might resonate with some people.  There are a lot of MLAs who keep saying that a person only supports PR because they are members of a particular Party or another, forgetting that PR will actually help all Islanders and all Parties.

Jo MacKinnon works in the Office of Third Party and has been invited on the Floor of the Legislature to be the "stranger" expert witness to help with some Legislation, which I figured out after reading this quote and wanting to share it.

from February 23rd, 2018, Facebook, reprinted with permission:
"Here's a great documentary produced by Jacob MacDonald, one of the Legislative Assembly's pages. It looks at a number of things including third parties and proportional representation. People say to me "Of course you believe in Proportional Representation because you're a member of the Green party." But the truth is that I'm a member of the Green party because I believe in proportional representation. I figured out that first-past-the-post doesn't work in a multiparty system after the 1993 federal election. But it was only when the PEI Premier refused to act on the results of his own plebiscite, that I realized I needed to get politically active if I was going to see any change--and the Green Party aligned most closely with my personal values. Like any good English major, I also appreciate the wonderful irony of joining a political party because I thought that partisan politics was destroying democracy." -- Jo MacKinnon

June 1, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This morning:
Peter Bevan-Baker and Jordan Brown
on CBC Radio (96.1FM), after the 7:30AM news, weather and sports, to "discuss electoral reform legislation and the decision last night to pull the bill for changes."

The P.E.I. Legislature sits today from 10AM-1PM.  You can attend in person in the Gallery or watch on-line here.

Saturday, June 2nd:
Plants of PEI with Kate MacQuarrie, 10AM-12noon,
Macphail Woods, Orwell.  edited from media release:  Biologist Kate MacQuarrie will share her love of plants at Macphail Woods.  Starting at the arboretum, then a walk along trails, pointing out common and uncommon species of flowering and non-flowering plants (wildflowers, ferns, club mosses, shrubs).  Dress appropriately. Free but donations accepted. More info: 651-2575 or <>

Spring Social With Peter (Bevan-Baker), 7-9PM, Canoe Cove School.  "This is a free event for the whole family. This will be an evening of celebration with music, good times and silent auction. Beverages and light snacks provided. Bring a friend along!"

Monday, June 4th:
Visit Sean Casey's Office regarding KinderMorgan pipeline purchase, 4PM, 75 Fitzroy Street. 
Rally at the Charlottetown MP's office to discuss the pipeline the Canadian government has just bought, and share your feelings. Organized by Leadnow (More information)

Tuesday, June 5th:
World Environment Day, theme of "Beat Plastic Pollution."  Related is that Chile has become the first country in the Americas to ban plastic bags.  This news was shared with MLA Al Roach, who has a Private Member's Bill (No. 114, Plastic Bag Reduction Act) that I think is still in Committee of the Whole House (but it was in the confusion of the last minutes of Tuesday night's session), and he tabled the following story in the Legislature Wednesday.
Chile Bans Bags EcoWatch story
Beat Plastic Pollution story

Saturday, June 9th:
NDP PEI Potluck/Music Socialwith Joe Byrne, 5-8PM
, Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road. "Summer is almost here!  Come out and say hello and let's get together and share some food, music and laughs ..Everyone is invited - so bring a friend, your favorite dish, and an instrument.  NDP Leader Joe Byrne will play a song... or two."
More info: or 902-892-1930
Facebook event details
More from Joe:

LETTER: Restrictive manipulation on Bill 38 - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Bill 38 — the “Electoral System Referendum Act” — looks good on the surface, doesn’t it? It’s a referendum with rules for fairness, so that Islanders can do serious thinking about how we choose our government, right?

But consider the big picture: why do we pass a law to construct a bunch of rules to specify just who can advocate for what they believe to be a good political system? What this really is — it’s an infringement on basic freedom of expression of opinion.

Our elitist governing party feels the need to stack the vote towards the status quo. It is an error to think that people who don’t vote do not care; reasonable and rational people may simply not choose either yes or no.

We should also include young people. We recognized anyone over 16 as capable to vote in the plebiscite (which was not honored), and that same group should have the right to vote in the referendum. There is no need to discount the stake of youth in the future electoral system.

Why are advocates crassly called “advertisers” rather than people who want to share information and analysis? If the government was truly interested in discussion, dialogue and debate, it would not impose such restrictions. Rather it would encourage Islanders to engage and allow us to present the best case for or against reform.

And if the province is to provide funding then it should be adequate. The approximate 50 cents per person seems woefully inadequate to engage our population in a full debate on electoral reform.

This is a piece of legislation that is more about restrictive manipulation than about democracy. I, and all the Islanders who believe in fairness, call for consultation and significant amendment of Bill 38.

Joe Byrne, P.E.I. NDP Leader, Charlottetown
More tomorrow about Brad Trivers' attempt to Amend the Water Act in the Legislature Thursday afternoon.
As reported in the news, the Electoral System Referendum Act was taken off the floor of the Legislature Thursday evening, as Justice Minister Jordan Brown and Committee of the Whole House chair Kathleen Casey tried to work the Bill through even thought they didn't have amendments which Brown said hadn't been prepared yet, reasoning that they already had the "stranger" (expert person, usually from the department the Bill is under) there.  Peter Bevan-Baker had an amendment on the floor at the time, and Steven Myers pointed out that being in Committee for this Bill was a waste of time with Government so unprepared.  So they moved on to some other Legislation.  No sense going on without getting these amendments out there.  Very amateurish for a Government that has has a lot of time to get things clear and level.

And from Paul MacNeill, a story tying together an unprofessional expression by MLA Richard Brown and the whole referendum preparation:
printed in The Graphic
on-line on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Richard Brown flips ‘Honour the Vote’ the bird - PEI Canada online article by Paul MacNeill, Publisher

The Liberal caucus were dressed in their finest, assembled on a crisp fall day in front of the provincial Legislature for their 2016 Christmas card photoshoot. 

It was not, however, the pretty picture government hoped it would be.

As the caucus stood in neat rows an unknown bystander shouts ‘Honour the vote’, a reference to the Liberal government’s decision to ignore results of the 2016 electoral reform plebiscite. Instantly, Richard Brown raises his arm and flashes his middle finger. Behind him Jordan Brown smiles and slaps his colleague on the shoulder. Robert Mitchell appears to stifle a laugh.

No other Liberal MLA reacts, including Premier Wade MacLauchlan who was standing front and centre with Speaker Buck Watts to his right. Watts and MacLauchlan stood to Richard Brown’s left.

Video of the incident exists. I’ve seen it. 

Wednesday evening I contacted both Richard Brown and Jordan Brown, as well as the Premier’s office.

“That would be something I do not recall,” Jordan Brown, who was not in cabinet at the time, said in a facebook response. “Bit of a strange question - why do you ask?”

The answer is simple. It’s newsworthy.

And in the environment PEI currently finds itself, where the provincial government is putting obstacles in front of those who support electoral reform and suggest government can impose regulations on how media will cover the upcoming referendum, it is even more relevant if a government MLA flipped the middle finger at an Islander who simply said ‘Honour the vote.’

The Liberal government has brought forward Bill 38, the Electoral System Referendum Act, which limits groups and individuals from spending more than $500 on advertising unless they are registered with the province. Those that do register, on either side of the debate, will be entitled to a share of $75,000 earmarked for each side.

Justice Minister Jordan Brown is quoted as saying the bill is ‘tailored to ensure that freedom of expression is not limited more than is reasonably necessary in order to give effect to the stated purposes of the proposed legislation.’

As part of its attempt to be fair to both sides, the minister said a newspaper could potentially be in violation of the act if it published a special section on the referendum.

The PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation finds the proposed legislation so restricting that it has disbanded. The group consisted of a wide range of members including, among others, the Status of Women, PEI Council of People With Disabilities, Green Party, NDP and ordinary Islanders.

Wednesday in the provincial legislature Richard Brown strongly defended the legislation. "There are limits on everything. We do not allow people, in freedom of speech, to promote hatred, racism,” he said. “have allowed some limits."

Neither Richard Brown nor the Premier’s office responded to a request for comment.

(Brown admitted Thursday during Question Period that it was he, and said he regretted it. I happened to be in the area that day and saw him not honouring the voter....)
From this newsletter, November 13th, 2016:

An aside: Richard Brown, District 12 (Charlottetown-Victoria Park), who defended First-Past-the-Post most robustly, saw his district go overwhelming for PR options....