CA News


  1. 1 December 17, 2018
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 Climate Negotiators Reach an Overtime Deal to Keep Paris Pact Alive  - The New York Times article by Brad Plumer
  2. 2 December 16, 2018
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Critics sound alarm over proposed oil and gas exploration around Sable Island - CBC News online article by Brett Bundale
  3. 3 December 15, 2018
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 OPINION: Governing by consensus - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Bush Dumville
    3. 3.3 LETTER: MMP system offers open list - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  4. 4 December 14, 2018
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 OPINION: Serving the greater good - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Shelly Glen
    3. 4.3 Call on Prime Minister Trudeau to ban single-use plastics by 2021 - The Broadbent Institute website post
  5. 5 December 13, 2018
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 All parties suffer self-serving amnesia - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
    3. 5.3 9 Tips To Reduce Plastic Use This Holiday - Don't Let Plastic Steal Your Holiday - Sierra Club of Canada
  6. 6 December 11, 2018
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 Climate fears are real, so oilsands must close - The Star article by Thomas Walkom
  7. 7 December 10, 2018
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  8. 8 December 9, 2018
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 LETTER: In violation of moratorium - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 8.3 OPINION: Stop this attack on our Island farmland - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Edith Ling
  9. 9 December 8, 2018
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 OPINION: P.E.I. plans to keep poverty - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marie Burge
  10. 10 December 7, 2018
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 LEAD EDITORIAL: A sensible suggestion - The Guardian
    3. 10.3 OPINION: Who gets seat at table? - The Guardian - Guest Opinion by Don Mazer
  11. 11 December 6, 2018
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 Fall session of P.E.I. legislature saw passing of carbon tax legislation, capital budget, private members’ bills - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
    3. 11.3 B.C.'s new climate plan means big changes for industry, homes, cars - The National Observer article by Tracy Sherlock
  12. 12 Plan's goal is to make B.C. the cleanest place in the world
  13. 13 December 5, 2018
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 13.2 Notley's supply cuts should be the beginning of a just transition away from the oil sands - Council of Canadians blog post
  14. 14 December 4, 2018
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  15. 15 December 3, 2018
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 Free renewal for P.E.I. driver's licences as of Jan. 1; vehicle registration costs drop 20 per cent
  16. 16 December 2, 2018
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 I'm striking from school to protest inaction on climate change – you should too - The Guardian UK article by Greta Thumberg
  17. 17 December 1, 2018
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 LETTER TO ALL MLAs, NEW BRUNSWICK LEGISLATURE - by Deborah Carr, Water & Environmental Protection for Albert County
    3. 17.3 OPINION: Not all animals are equal - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Elizabeth Schoales

December 17, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Not many events today, but many Climate Change thoughts, as the "COP24" ends in Poland:
from: The New York Times article

Climate Negotiators Reach an Overtime Deal to Keep Paris Pact Alive  - The New York Times article by Brad Plumer

Published on Saturday, December 15th, 2018
Many of the attendees at this year’s United Nations climate talks — known as COP24, shorthand for their
formal name — expressed disappointment at what they saw as half measures to deal with a mounting climate crisis. Greenhouse gas emissions are still rising around the world, and millions of people are facing increased risks from severe droughts, floods and wildfires.

But supporters of the deal reached Saturday said that they hoped the new rules would help build a virtuous cycle of trust and cooperation among countries, at a time when global politics seems increasingly fractured.

“Particularly given the broader geopolitical context, this is a pretty solid outcome,” said Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “It delivers what we need to get the Paris Agreement off the ground.’’
<snip> full story at the link

CBC Radio's The Current ran a segment late last week on human nature and acting on climate change, with several perspectives.  This is from Elizabeth May:

Do we want to survive or not?': Elizabeth May says climate change talks too focused on bureaucracy

'Fundamental question' of action needed to meet targets not addressed, says May

article and transcript on CBC Radio ·CBC Radio, Friday, December 14th, 2018
(this link has Elizabeth's part)

Those hoping for decisive action from the UN talks on climate change will be disappointed, according to MP and federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

"This negotiation was focused on technical issues, and diplomatic and bureaucratic issues instead of the fundamental question: Do we want to survive or not?" May told The Current's guest host Laura Lynch.

Catherine McKenna, minister of environment and climate change, told The Canadian Press last week that Canada will be ready — as the Paris Agreement requires — to increase its targets for cutting emissions in 2020.

Sean Fraser, McKenna's parliamentary secretary, told Lynch that Canada will continue to monitor its progress and gauge whether more ambitious action on emissions could be taken.

"The climate negotiations always take place in November/December of every year, so a pledge for 2020 is really 2021," May said.  "As the Secretary-General of the United Nations said at this conference … every year matters. Well, I'd say every month matters."


Elizabeth May's last video update recorded Sunday night from the COP24 is found a little way down on the Green Party of Canada's Facebook page:
The non-profit news organization Truthout interviewed Simon Pirani, about his book Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption, in this article: Until We Confront Capilatism, We Will Not Solve the Climate Crisis by Anton Woronczuk, published on Sunday, December 16, 2018

One of the most memorable comments:

"Right-wing commentators have falsely claimed that the protest movement (in France) was against climate policies. I saw no evidence of that. While the movement is politically heterogeneous, an overarching theme is that working people are sick of being asked to pay for everything."
-- Simon Pirani, author of Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption

In their own words -- what some people in Nova Scotia are saying about offshore drilling -- in this series by the Council of Canadians:

"This is own home, not a cash cow. As L'nu, our job is to protect Mother Earth."
-- Marilynn Leigh Francis, Mi'kmaq Fisherwoman, Digby/Yarmouth, Acadia First Nation, interviewed by Robert van Waardon (photos all taken by Robert)

December 16, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events focus on buying, singing and dancing...

Charlottetown Farmers Market Artisan Market, 10AM-3PM, Belvedere Avenue.  Last one.

George's Island Market 1st Annual Christmas Market with Santa, 12noon-4PM, MacMurdo Road, Bedeque (former Fabric Outlet).  "We will be having children's activities, FREE hot chocolate and cookies AND Santa & Mrs. Clause will be there at 2 o'clock to meet your kiddies!"  Nice phrasing. 

Sing Noel, 3-6PM, Confederation Centre of the Arts, tickets $20. "The Confederation Centre Youth Chorus make merry, performing classical and contemporary Christmas carols together alongside guest artist, Charlottetown’s own Joey Kitson."

Christmas Dance Party, 7-9PM (Live Swing Music and Dancing), 9-11PM (Recorded Blues and West Coast), DownStreet Dance Studio, 165 John Yeo Drive, Charlottetown. Admission $10.  (John Yeo Drive is by the Kent Store off Rte 2 and goes towards Mt. Edward Road by Superior Sanitation.)  "The Charlottetown Jazz Ensemble will pack into the studio and provide all the musical joy we could need to dance all night long! The live band will primarily play Swing (Lindy Hop/Charleston) styles, but there is usually a musical mix suitable for other styles of partner dance too. There will be DJ music for all dance styles after the band wraps up their set!"

Casual Christmas Kitchen Party, 7:15-11:15PM, ((music starts at 8PM), John Brown's Richmond Street Grill.  Join Todd MacLean and Becca Griffin and friends for stories and songs.  Admission by donation with proceeds going to the PEI Humane Society and the IWK Musical Therapy Program.
Facebook event link

The Nova Scotia regulatory board moving to allow hydrocarbon exploration offshore, so soon after word of the oil spill off Newfoundland (latest Newfoundland oil spill article:

Critics sound alarm over proposed oil and gas exploration around Sable Island - CBC News online article by Brett Bundale

Published on CBC on-line Thursday, December 13th, 2018

"Sable Island is a massive, shifting sand dune adrift in the wilds of the North Atlantic and we must safeguard its tenuous existence," Gretchen Fitzgerald, director of the Atlantic Canada chapter of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, told a news conference Thursday.  "This is a test for how we must change if we're going to truly tackle climate change and protect global biodiversity."

The board's call came one day after Parks Canada wrapped up a survey about how to manage the Sable Island National Park Reserve, home to the largest colony of grey seals and the only known breeding location for the Ipswich sparrow.

Fitzgerald called it "absurd" that while the federal parks agency consulted Canadians about whether to allow camping and increased tourism on Sable Island, the provincial regulator moved ahead with plans to allow hydrocarbon exploration in the area.

"Sable is so special to the world and to us. One industry can't be allowed to put that at risk."

An alliance of environmental and industry groups wants the call for bids cancelled, and an immediate moratorium placed on offshore drilling and a public inquiry to examine oil and gas development off Nova Scotia's coast.

The regulator's decision to call for bids, as well as the potential granting of an exploration licence, are both subject to review by the federal natural resources minister and the province's energy minister.

However, Premier Stephen McNeil said Thursday he supports the development of Nova Scotia's offshore oil and gas industry.  "We believe in the offshore," he said following a cabinet meeting in Halifax. "If there's a resource there, we'll continue to work with partners, and invest heavily in geoscience."

McNeil added: "We're going to continue to look for activity off our coast."

John Davis, director of the Clean Ocean Action Committee, a group that represents thousands of people who work in the fishery in southwestern Nova Scotia, criticized the province's decision to spend millions on offshore geological and geophysical assessments.  "The power of the oil and gas lobby, and the requirement for dollars for broke provincial governments ... creates a perfect storm," he said, noting that the province is willing to put an "unbelievably beautiful and unique environment" at risk.

Marilyn Keddy with the Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia said revenues from oil and gas development are "short term and minuscule" compared to the province's fishing and tourism industries.  "A catastrophic blow out could destroy our sustainable fishery, which brings in close to $2 billion every year," she said, adding that fishery revenues stay in the community while the bulk of energy industry profits go elsewhere.

Stacy O'Rourke, a spokeswoman for the offshore energy regulator, said there are specific protections in place for Sable Island with respect to oil and gas activities.  "Should any exploration licences ultimately be issued, an oil and gas company must demonstrate that they will be able to perform the work in a safe and environmentally responsible manner before any authorization would be provided by the (board), with specific consideration to proximity to the Sable Island," she said in an email.

O'Rourke added that exploration and drilling platforms must be at least one nautical mile — about 1.85 kilometres — from the island's shores.

Halifax MP Andy Fillmore, whose riding includes Sable Island, said in a statement that protecting the environment and responsible management of petroleum resources are fundamental parts of Canada's regulatory system for all offshore oil and gas activities.  "Regarding the call for bids issued this week, if any successful bids are received they will be required to undergo a rigorous environmental assessment," he said. "The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board must also consult with Indigenous groups and the public. Going forward, I will be watching this issue very closely."

Robin Tress of the Council of Canadians said the federal and provincial governments are "rolling out the welcome mat" for oil and gas companies by opening new lease sites and encouraging more offshore drilling.  "It's incredibly urgent that we wind down the fossil fuel economy," she said.

Input requested by the P.E.I. provincial government regarding its Provincial Sustainable  Transportation Strategy.  The deadline for this is Tuesday, December 18th, 2018.

from the following government page (edited)

Provide Input to the Provincial Sustainable Transportation Strategy

The Province of Prince Edward Island is developing a 'provincial sustainable transportation strategy' that will shape our future transportation needs. We are now seeking Public input to help develop the strategy.

What does sustainable transportation mean?

For the purposes of the strategy, sustainable transportation refers to a transportation system that meets the transportation needs of individuals, is affordable, efficient, adaptable to the future, and limits greenhouse gas (GHG) and waste. Sustainable transportation includes the following:

  • walking, biking, carpooling, and public and community transit;

  • cleaner and more efficient vehicle technologies; and

  • community planning and design.

Why does PEI need a sustainable transportation strategy?

Transportation accounts for 48% of our provincial GHG emissions. A sustainable transportation strategy will provide actions we can take to lower our GHG emissions. In addition to reducing emissions, proposed actions will also increase transit options, develop healthier transportation options, and change the way we think about our communities. 

The development of a sustainable transportation strategy was one of the recommendations brought forward in the 2016/2017 Provincial Energy Strategy. A sustainable transportation strategy will also help achieve Change Action Plan - Action #11: to develop initiatives that contribute to a more sustainable transportation system.

What will be in the strategy?

We have identified four topic areas for the strategy:

  • public and community transit;

  • vehicles and transportation;

  • active transportation; and

  • community design and infrastructure.

How can I participate in the strategy?

Feedback from the public is invited through the online questionnaire below until December 18, 2018. Please limit responses to 250 words per question. 

How will input be used?

The ideas and feedback of individuals, families and communities gathered during the public input process will guide the development of the action plan.


If you have questions about the questionnaire, contact the PEI Climate Change Secretariat:

Phone: (902) 368-4686

Just noting that this is not true public consultation: Once again, while seeking public input and making the process easier by having webpages and e-mail, there is still a continuation of this confessional style of consultation, where what an individual contributes, by whispering through a screen to an unseen somebody on the other side, is not shared by government so that others could see and add to ideas already submitted. Nor have there been any recent public meetings hosted by government for people to gather and discuss what they would like to see in this strategy.

Still, the more they hear Islanders thoughts on transportation, the better.
This is from a maker of electric vehicle charging stations, but it's interesting information on electric vehicle powering, FYI:

December 15, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Light: A Solstice Celebration
, 7PM, Watermark Theatre, Rustico. "...Becca Griffin and Rebecca Parent in a magical evening of song, story, and light!"   With Aaron Crane.  Tickets at the door, $20.

Bonshaw Christmas Concert, 7PM, Bonshaw Hall. All the usual great Christmas concert components.  Admission by donation, proceeds going to the Hall.  Donations for the South Short food bank accepted.

Classic movie:  Raiders of the Lost Ark, (1981), 9:10PM, City Cinema, tickets $10. Harrison Ford in the first Indiana Jones installment, 1 hour 55 minutes. 
Facebook event link

Next Friday:
Friday, December 21st:
"All I Want for Christmas is PR!" -- A Mixer, 7:30-9PM
, Bar 1911, Longworth Avenue, Charlottetown.  (PR being Proportional Representation.)  "We're having a Mixer to celebrate all things PR happening right now! We'll talk about the Referendum results in BC and the unbelievable progress in Quebec, as well what is happening here to prepare for the next Referendum on the Island."
Facebook event link

Independent MLA Bush Dumville (West Royalty-Springvale) wrote this opinion piece last week, with some good intentions and ideas but a few misunderstandings:

OPINION: Governing by consensus - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Bush Dumville

Electing Independent MLA’s will ensure they represent viewpoints and concerns of constituents

Published on Monday, December 10th, 2018

Existing elected members of the legislature realize that a breakdown in the governance of the province can and has actually already occurred whether they will admit it or not. The political history of P.E.I. over the last 20-30 years has seen increasing levels of consolidation of power and control into the backrooms of the leading political parties. I do not see this changing in the event of a Green Party minority or majority government.

A Mixed Member Proportional electoral system advocated by the Green Party of P.E.I. gives even more power and control to the back room of the political parties with some of the MLA’s appointed by the Party. This power and control limits true engagement between the people and its political leaders.

This feeling can also be magnified with the people being weakly represented in the legislature because it sits for only three months of the year. For the other nine months, the political back room of the governing party has free reign to make secretive decisions impacting everyone without being properly held to account.

There are three conditions that must be present in order to change our province’s political future. The challenge of not being able to govern successfully because of the fractioning of the electorate with multiple parties represented in a minority assembly can lead to instability with fringe populist movements radicalizing our political system and sacrificing common Canadian values of the majority.

This has already occurred in New Brunswick, and has a real possibility of becoming a reality in P.E.I. during the next election or in the following election. This fractioning of the political system provides the first condition to change our province’s political future.

The second condition is for the electorate to realize that the party system is heading towards a governing crisis, and that a new approach to governing is not unrealistic, and is in their best interest. It was not that long ago that we removed religious affiliations from politics, education and health care. So, surely, we can remove political parties from our political system in this province.

We all find methods to establish our identity. The alignment to a particular party is powerful, but it is the identity of your parents and your grandparents. It does not necessarily have to be your identity today – where politics is a blood sport culminating in an election every four years.

Everyday needs should never be considered a sport. The organizers of this sport pick winners and losers for government favors and only the top 20 percent of the people benefit. Unfortunately, the majority of the electorate always lose because a multi-party system for just 155,000 people is an extremely expensive form of governance. The present system in P.E.I has election campaigns costing $1 million, paid for by donors, so abuses are just waiting to happen.

The third condition requires 27 serious, respected community leaders to come to the aid of their province in this critical time in its political history. These community leaders may acquire the confidence that they do not need party backing to have political success.

I believe that a consensus form of government will alleviate most of our concerns. Consensus government is like a municipal style of government that we are already familiar with. There is no political back room to control policies and people. Electing Independent MLA’s with no party affiliation will help ensure that they represent the viewpoints and concerns of their constituents and work together to find the common ground to govern the province and provide engagement with Islanders. It will take more time to negotiate the policies of the province with the other members of the House and will mean that the House will need to sit more frequently.

However, the process will be more open and transparent than the present system of government. The people’s business should be exercised on the legislative floor. These are your legislative rights. Please do not give them away. Independent candidates forming a consensus government will give everyone a voice in the governing of our province. Please join me in changing our province’s future for the betterment of all Islanders.

- Bush Dumville represents the electoral district of West Royalty-Springvale as an independent member of the legislature

And the always independent and free-thinking Wayne Carver clarifies:

LETTER: MMP system offers open list - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Friday, December 14th, 2018

Bush Dumville’s efforts to convince civic-minded and concerned Islanders to run for a seat in the Legislative Assembly is to be commended. It would be refreshing to see new faces on the political scene committed to governance for the greater public good. It seems we have had too many business people posing as politicians far too long.

We must take exception however, to some of the comments made by Mr. Dumville concerning the MMP system supported by many citizens. For example, opponents of PR constantly assert falsely, that parties will appoint MLAs to the nine province-wide seats. In many jurisdictions with MMP, parties publish a list of the candidates who will occupy any proportional top-up seats by order of priority.

That is known as a “closed list” system (i.e. the voter has no influence over which of the people on the list will sit in the top-up seats as it is decided in advance). That is what MMP opponents call “appointment” of MLAs. That is not what is proposed here on the Island.

Here on P.E.I., the MMP system we will be voting on is an “open list” version, which means that parties will each present a number of candidates on the ballot for province wide seats. The voters will mark their vote next to any one of them. So, if a party is allocated any top-up seats, it will be the voters who decide which of that party’s candidates take those seats, not the party.

There is a difference.

Wayne Carver, (Long) Creek


To learn more and discuss ideas with others about Proportional Representation, plan on going to the mixer next Friday, and visit and join the PEI Proportional Representation Network:

December 14, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Christmas Hearts (Paper Craft and fundraiser drop-in), 11AM-6PM
, Y Lofts, Prince Street, Charlottetown.  Ole Hammarlund and friends will show how to make these woven Danish decorations that can be used as ornaments. Donations accepted for his campaign running as the Green Party candidate for District 13 (Charlottetown-Brighton).
Facebook event link

Women's Network Annual Open House, 12noon-2PM, Royalty Centre Room 119, 40 Enman Crescent.  "Come and join us for delicious refreshments and great conversation." 
Facebook event link

Light: A Solstice Celebration, 7PM, TONIGHT AND TOMORROW, Watermark Theatre, Rustico. "Join Becca Griffin and Rebecca Parent in a magical evening of song, story, and light!  Last seen together in the 2018 production of Anne & Gilbert, they team up once more to explore the delights of the season's many celebrations. Come take part in the laughter and cheer, and hear some holiday favourites, old and new!"  With Aaron Crane.  Tickets at the door, $20.
Facebook event link

Arts Education Celebration: Light Up the Dark!, 7:30PM, Confed Centre main stage, tickets $15.  "...spirited celebration of theatre, dance, and holiday music! Members of the Centre’s arts education programs — dance umbrella, the School of Performing Arts, and visual arts classes and community friends — come together for an unforgettable evening to mark the coming of the winter solstice."
Facebook event link

Saturday, December 15th:
Bonshaw Christmas Concert, 7PM,
Bonshaw Hall. " evening of songs and stories, 50/50, cookies and hot cider, trumpets,fiddles and piano, carols, good cheer AND a visit from Santa and his family!  Admission is by donation. All proceeds to support the Bonshaw Hall. We will also be collecting non-perishable food items for donation to the Crapaud Food Bank."

Until Friday, December 21st:
Discount passes for the P.E.I. National Park for sale, Monday to Friday, 8:30AM-4:30PM
, Argowan Historic Site (and Parks Canada office).  Valid for unlimited entry to P.E.I. National Park for the 2019 season.  $49 for a family/group pass (regular cost $78.50); individual adult ($19.60) and senior ($17.10)   (Early bird passes will also be available for sale between April 1st and June 15th, 2019.)

From yesterday's paper:

OPINION: Serving the greater good - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Shelly Glen

Published on Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Successive Island governments have buckled under the politics of fear played by corporations such as Irving

Prince Edward Island has men and women that were born to farm. They know healthy soil when they hold it in the palm of their hand or stir it beneath their feet. They know it is filled with nutrients and minerals and will retain moisture to produce an abundant crop yield.

True farmers know that farmland and water are limited resources to be used with care and respect and that there are only so many hours in a season in which to plant, nurture, and harvest a crop before Mother Nature closes the door. They are proud to be true stewards of the land.

In his brief appearance Nov. 1 before the P.E.I. Communities, Land and Environment Committee, supposedly examining corporate land holdings in the province, Robert Irving, the industrial potato processor/grower, in his attitude and demands, made it clear he is not a steward of the land or water resources.

His blatant command for land limits to be changed so potato farmers can have twice as much land along with unlimited access to water to pay for their investment in the industry, is clearly about Robert Irving’s corporate profits and control, not the welfare of Island potato farmers or the land of which they are stewards.

The fact is, Island potato farmers know that twice as much land will not make life more profitable for them. They know if they were paid a fair return on their crop, twice as much land is not needed to pay for their investment in the industry. I believe they also know that to speak publicly would be financial suicide as the processing/farming corporation that determines their contracts is being supported by the Island government, through violation of the Lands Protection Act, to drive independent farmers to extinction.

As more Islanders become aware that farmers are being used as pawns to support Robert Irving’s agenda, Irving’s company language has suddenly changed. Cavendish Farms is now concerned about climate change. The demand for water has become the desire to partner in testing, monitoring and researching the impact of three deep water wells. This will enable Cavendish Farms to further exploit the public resource of water to irrigate their crops under a different pretext.

If Cavendish Farms is that concerned about climate change, perhaps Irving should start growing and processing varieties that will flourish with well-cared for land under dry conditions, instead of growing varieties requiring high volumes of water and longer seasons to create long french fries.

Successive Island governments have buckled under the politics of fear played by corporations such as Irving. The line is always the same – give us what we want, or we will leave, and take jobs with us. Who is finally going to have the guts to say, “You are invited to do business in our province under land and water regulations that serve the greater good of both our human and natural resources.” I would hazard the guess that Cavendish Farms will still be here and still making a very profitable return. If not, another company no doubt will be.

If Island governments continue along the path they have been following, we will no longer have the natural resources on Prince Edward Island to be Canada’s “food island.”

- Shelley Glen is a resident of Summerside. This letter is endorsed by the Cooper Institute.

From the Broadbent Institute:

Call on Prime Minister Trudeau to ban single-use plastics by 2021 - The Broadbent Institute website post

Following a recent vote by the European Parliament in favour of a complete ban on single-use plastics, and mounting public pressure by the thousands of Canadians, the House of Commons passed a motion to develop a national framework to reduce plastic pollution and eventually eliminate single-use plastics.

The Broadbent Institute congratulates MP Gord Johns for putting M-151 forward and receiving support from over two-thirds of members of the House of Commons, including Prime Minister Trudeau.

We now call on Prime Minister Trudeau to move swiftly in developing a framework that bans single-use plastics by 2021. Action is needed now more than ever.

Plastic waste is choking our oceans, threatening to outweigh the amount of fish by 2050 if nothing is done1. Recent studies show microplastics are in our bodies. It’s only a matter of time before we discover resulting health impacts.

Here in Canada, we have a long way to go when it comes to the phasing out of single-use plastics. We generate about 3.25 million tons of plastic waste every year3. 1.6 billion coffee cups sit in Canada’s landfills4. And Canadians throw out about 57 million plastic straws a day5.

Canada needs leadership. Join us in calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to continue his support for a national framework to reduce plastic pollution and follow the European Union’s lead by completely banning single-use plastics by 2021.

See link for signing information and references.

December 13, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

(Yesterday, there was no Citizens' Alliance News sent)

Voluntary Resource Council Open House, 3-5PM,
81 Prince Street, Charlottetown.  Great conversation, and a chance to find out about this gem if you don't know what the VRC does.

Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Allan Dale Holiday Social, 7-9PM, 14 Campbell Road (which runs between Rte. 2 and Winsloe Road).  Facebook event link

Green Drinks Summerside, 7-9PM, Dooleys.  Monthly chat to meet local Greens and discuss issues important to you.

Friday, December 14th:
Christmas Hearts  (paper craft drop in and fundraiser), 11AM-6PM,
Y Lofts on Prince Street.  "Please join us in making Danish woven paper baskets for your Christmas tree! Hearts are an integral motif in the Danish Christmas (Jul), and can be seen hanging on most Christmas trees there, usually filled with candy. The paper heart folds flat and fits in a letter and is the perfect handmade little gift.  Bring your children (if capable of using scissors delicately) and your friends for an hour of Danish 'HYGGE' and bring home a delicate personally designed heart.
Please bring a pair of good scissors and any food or drink you wish to share.  ... Donations will be accepted to help cover the costs of materials and to raise funds for the Green Party election campaign in District 13 Charlottetown-Brighton." Tea, coffee and paper supplied.
Facebook event details

Article: Paul MacNeill's big opinion of the week:

All parties suffer self-serving amnesia - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

by Paul MacNeill, published on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018 in The Graphic publications

My friend Campbell Webster and I had a fun social media back and forth on an assertion that his beloved NDP is the only party truly open to internal debate and criticism. It came on the heels of the Green Party of PEI booting a member who proclaimed support for a candidate in the PC leadership.

Now I suspect part of Campbell’s motivation is to subtly convince Islanders that it’s OK to vote PC, which may bleed support from the Greens and maybe, just maybe, allow the NDP to slip up the middle to steal a seat or two in the next provincial election.

This minor piece of electioneering aside, our to and fro did raise an interesting question on the ties that bind a provincial party to its federal arm.

The NDP, like every political party, extends a hand of welcome when it suits, and turns its back when needed. When provincial parties need to raise money they bring in heavy hitters with name recognition to drive ticket sales or donations. All provincial parties do this.

The NDP brought new leader Jagmeet Singh to PEI to support local efforts. Singh has shown himself a leader more interested caving to political correctness than doing what is right. He banned a Saskatchewan MP found guilty of harassment in a process many suggest was built on questionable credibility. So much so that 68 leading Saskatchewan N-dippers urged him not to take such draconian action. Singh called their efforts an attempt to intimidate him.

So much for the spirit of internal debate.

For a decade, provincial PCs ignored the mean spirited, spiteful, race-baiting of the Harper administration. And they are unanimously silent on the lurch to the right by current leader Andrew Sheer who is doing the same with his big fat lie about a UN immigration agreement, suggesting – wrongly – that it opens the door to “foreign bureaucrats telling Canada how to manage our borders.”

Sheer’s reckless absurdity is aimed at winning the support of right wing nationalists, and he is willing to poke the bear of racism to do it.

Just last week Liberals brought federal cabinet minister Dominque LeBlanc to PEI as guest speaker for its annual fall fundraising dinner, ignoring that LeBlanc should be fired from cabinet because of a serious ethical violation involving the awarding of a lucrative Arctic surf clam license to a company with ties to his wife’s cousin. The federal ethics commissioner found him in conflict of interest. But he remains in cabinet and oblivious provincial Liberals are just happy counting the cash he helped to raise.

So much for Wade MacLauchlan’s promise to bring a new level of ethical accountability. It’s a promise that doesn’t extend to Liberal fundraising.

Greens do not yet have either a strong presence nationally or in most provinces. Still its handling of the local membership issue is telling when it comes to being open to scrutiny. By defending its decision in part with the time honoured excuse of ‘everybody else does it’, the Greens diminish their argument of being different.

The reality of political parties is their primary reason for existence is to benefit the party, which invariably leads to political amnesia. Some suggest a form of consensus government is the only way to rid ourselves of this partisanship, ignoring that consensus government often comes with the same form of self-serving decision making.

What’s really needed is leadership to call out hypocrisies when they occur regardless of political stripe. All parties are quick to jump at missteps of those they oppose. It is a rare day when even a modest rebuke is handed within a political family.

If the Tories want civility, start with demanding it from some members of the Tory caucus.

If Liberals want transparency, show it by letting Public Accounts actually do its job.

If Greens want to be seen as different, then they must act differently by welcoming divergent opinions.

If we start seeing this then maybe we can believe civility actually has a betting chance of taking hold for the long term, rather than talking points that don’t live up to reality.

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


And something seasonal, just for your information or perhaps sharing with others  :-)

9 Tips To Reduce Plastic Use This Holiday - Don't Let Plastic Steal Your Holiday - Sierra Club of Canada

published by the Sierra Club Canada Foundation on Monday, December 10th, 2018

Reining in consumerism and reusing last year's wrapping paper doesn't make you a grinch.

About 90% of plastic waste is not recycled in Canada. Household waste volumes double in the week after Christmas in Canada 1 - and we already produce way too much to begin with!

To try and tackle the #ProblemWithPlastics while keeping the season warm and bright, here are some tips to reduce plastic waste during the holidays:

1) Buy less, give more. This time of year we're tempted to overspend on gifts, many of which are are made of or wrapped in plastic that will end up in landfills. Before you pull out the plastic to pay for even more plastic, pause. Take a moment to consider your loved ones and what they really care about. Is this a gift that will bring them joy, or is it simply a placeholder? Consider alternatives, like the gift of spending time together, re-gifting, or homemade gifts. Make a list before you shop, and check it twice - before you hit the shops.

2) Go real. If a tree is part of your festivities, look into getting a real one rather than artificial. While plastic trees seem more ecologically friendly, they often end up in landfills. Real trees can be used in municipal compost systems or even in your own garden as mulch or ground-cover.

3) Keep it sorted. Prepare your sorting bins ahead of time to maximize the amount you're able to recycle after unwrapping gifts.

4) Buy to minimize. When you do make purchases, look for items with less packaging, and check to see if that packaging is recyclable. Make sure to tell the retailer why you chose that item. Buying second-hand items is another way to reduce and reuse. Why not help someone go plastic-free in 2019 by getting them items like reusable utensil packs, reusable containers or even consumables like package-free soaps, shampoo and toiletries.

5) Feast with care. Bring your own bags when you shop for holiday meals, and look for items with minimal, recyclable packaging. If you can shop at a local market, where food often has minimal packaging. Be mindful of food waste – plan for realistic servings, including smaller servings for little ones. This will reduce food waste at the end of the day and the packaging it comes in.

6) That's a wrap for plastic. Use recycled paper or paper from last year (the record in Gretchen’s family is ten years for one sheet of wrapping paper!) before buying new. If you are buying new paper, make sure it is glitter-free and non-metallic - these are non-recyclable and end up in landfills or the environment. Ditto for plastic ribbons and bows. There are natural touches you can find, such as branches and berries, that will spruce up a package just as nicely!

7) Pack a Cheer Kit. 'Tis the season for holiday parties, drop-ins, and teas. Keep a reusable mug and cutlery with you. Not only will you reduce waste that ends up in the bins after the party, you'll also cut down your host's post-party workload. If you are hosting, try to reduce or eliminate the plastic cutlery, cups, and plates.

8) Leave no trace. For many, the holiday season is a time for travel, perhaps even to locations that have little to no waste management - the lack of which are the major sources of plastic pollution in our oceans. Before you book: ask how your hotel is reducing plastic waste and making sure it does not end up in rivers and oceans. If you are traveling to an area providing  no options to manage the waste you create, consider a donation to a local group helping tackle the plastic problem, and make sure you are helping out by using less single-use plastic and packing your own reusable bags, coffee mug and utensils.

9) Send a letter. After mailing your wishlist to the North Pole, write a letter to your elected official telling them you want 2019 to be the year we sincerely address plastic pollution. So far, the response from provincial and federal leaders has been lacklustre at best, with aspirational goals and no concrete steps to eliminate needless plastic waste across the board. It's time for Canada to take action – decades of voluntary measures have shown, all the individual waste reduction tips in the world are just not enough without policies to back them up.

The Grinch may be the only green character in How the Grinch Stole Christmas - but the lesson of the story is, of course, that the spirit of the holidays “means a little bit more” than the shiny baubles. Christmas comes to the Whos of Whoville, regardless of  “their presents, their ribbons, their wrappings, [t]heir snoof and their fuzzles, their tringlers and trappings!”

Hope your holiday can “mean a little bit more”, too, this year - with a little less plastic.

Happy Holidays from the Plastics Steering Committee,
Becky, Lino, and Gretchen

December 11, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Norwood Road Roundable Public Information Session, 7:30PM, Hillsborough Park Community Centre, 199 Patterson Road, off the bypass.  Regarding the Norwood Road, Northridge Parkway, and Rte. 2 intersection.   All welcome. 
This article by National Affairs reporter Thomas Walkom, in yesterday's print Guardian (but not their website yet) was so powerful, I found the original to share.  Please share:  

Climate fears are real, so oilsands must close - The Star article by Thomas Walkom

Published on-line on Monday, December 4th, 2018

In Poland, Canada and close to 200 other nations are making a last-ditch effort to save the world from devastating climate change.

At home, the Canadian and Albertan governments are trying to salvage an industry that is one of this country’s largest emitters of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

If this sounds like a contradiction that’s because it is.

The Liberal compromise devised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government two years ago is not working. It was to be a grand bargain that somehow reduced greenhouse gas emissions without costing Canadians any pain.

In particular, it was to be a pact between Ottawa and Alberta. The federal government would help Alberta Premier Rachel Notley exploit and transport bitumen from the province’s oilsands. In return she would support Trudeau’s demand for some form of national carbon tax.

Each side would give a little in order to reach a classic Canadian compromise. That was the theory.

And in normal circumstances it should have worked.

But the circumstances today are far from normal. Climate change is not simply another blip in federal-provincial relations that can be resolved by, say, changing the equalization formula.

If the scientific consensus is correct, it is a crisis on par with worldwide nuclear war.

Already, climate change is producing unusually severe droughts in some areas and unusually wild storms in others. It threatens to swamp much of Florida. It is melting the Arctic ice.

It has expressed itself through flooding in Europe and devastating wildfires in British Columbia, California and Alberta. It is generally accepted as one of the root causes of the Syrian civil war and is expected to lead to more conflict.

When United Nations General Assembly President Maria Espinosa warned that humankind is “in danger of disappearing” because of climate change, she wasn’t exaggerating.

The world tried to deal with this through the 2015 Paris climate summit. There, nations agreed to work together to keep global temperatures from rising too quickly.

But the Paris accord was non-binding. Nations set their own emission-reduction targets and were under no obligation to meet them.

Since then, UN scientific panels have made two disturbing findings. First, the pledged targets are not enough; climate change is happening more quickly than expected. Second, most countries, including Canada, are not on track to keep even the inadequate pledges they have made.

The two-week climate-change conference in Katowice, Poland is an attempt to encourage the Paris signatories to become more ambitious.

Good luck with that. U.S. President Donald Trump has abandoned the Paris Accord. Others are threatening to do the same.

Canada is probably more typical. While rhetorically an ardent accord supporter, it is less enthusiastic about taking the necessary actions.

More to the point, Ottawa insists on supporting an oilsands industry that is one of Canada’s most storied contributors to climate change.

While the oilsands are responsible for only 10 per cent of Canada’s carbon emissions, they remain one of the country’s biggest single-point sources of greenhouse gases and a potent symbol of what humankind is doing wrong.

Economically, the oilsands are doomed. In a world awash with cheap shale oil, new tarsands projects are ultimately too expensive to develop — even if the $4.5-billion Trans Mountain pipeline that Ottawa bought to deliver Alberta bitumen to the Pacific coast goes ahead.

Environmentally, they are a disaster — in terms of both the tailing ponds created to store their waste and the carbon emissions they spew into the air.

Government-mandated production cuts and government-purchased rail tanker cars can keep the oilsands limping along. But in a world whose very existence is threatened by the greenhouse gases this industry creates, the more sensible option is to shut it down.

Thomas Walkom is a Toronto-based columnist covering politics. Follow him on Twitter: @tomwalkom


"No decisions should ever be made without asking the question, is this for the common good?"
-- Filmmaker and commentator Michael Moore

December 10, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tonight, Monday, December 10th:

Dennis King: "My Two Cents", Montague, 6:30-8PM, Copper Bottom Brewery, Montague. Progressive Conservative leadership candidate continues on the road talking at small venues to Islanders with his vision. King's campaign headquarters is having its Grand Opening Wednesday, December 13th, 5-7PM, at 500 Queen Street, Charlottetown (the building behind the strip mall with the cannabis store).

Science as a Right: A Panel Discussion in Recognition of the UN Human Rights Day, 7-9PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Free. Topics and UPEI panelists: "Lest we Forget: Muzzling Scientists under the Harper Regime", Dr. Adam Fenech, Director, Climate Lab; "US President Trump and the New Climate 'Science' ", Dr. John McIntyre; "Mourners and Modellers: Communicating Sustainability Science", Dr. Joshua MacFadyen, Canada Research Chair in Applied Communication, Leadership, and Culture; "Climate Science for the Younger Generation", Stephanie Arnold, Graduate Student.

Christmas in Brass 2018, 7PM, Zion Presbyterian Church, corner of Prince and Grafton Streets, hosted by the Great George Street Brass Band."The warm, rich tones of PEI's only full brass band lend a traditional sound to many Christmas favourites. This year we are also featuring a Gaelic version of Silent Night, the Tuba Christmas players, our popular sing-a-long and our own Great George Street Singers."

Special Ceili featuring Kate Bevan-Baker, Michael Pendergast and Shane Pendergast, 7:30-9:30PM, Benevolent Irish Society Hall/ Irish Cultural Centre. "There will be a 50/50 draw during the evening and a light lunch is served during the intermission. Doors open at 6:30
and show starts at 7:30. Admission price is $12 at the door. Children twelve and under remain at $5. Everyone is welcome. For more information call 902-213-3924." More details on the performers at the link.
Facebook event link

Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 11th:
Norwood Road Roundable Public Information Session, 7:30PM, Hillsborough Park Community Centre, 199 Patterson Road, off the bypass. Evidently plans are for some sort of roundabout at the Norwood Road, Northridge Parkway, and Rte. 2 intersection. All welcome.

from the David Suzuki Foundation (if the links do not work in the letter from Peter Wood, the one after the letter will take you to the page with the campaign link):

Today is International Human Rights Day, providing a moment to consider how we can strengthen human rights in Canada.
A growing body of research suggests that environmental rights — including the right to clean air, safe water and a stable climate — are necessary to ensure that other human rights are upheld.
Environmental rights are the fastest growing body of human rights internationally, recognized in law in more than 150 countries, but not Canada — yet. Countries with these rights tend to perform better environmentally and take bolder steps to fight climate change.
That’s why we launched the MP Pledge for Environmental Rights on October 20, to secure public commitments from federal politicians to support this concept. Since then, we have received dozens of signatures from MPs across the political spectrum. Thousands of you have sent letters to your MPs asking them to join, and dozens of people across the country have volunteered to lead local efforts.
Today, I want to thank all who have helped us launch this initiative, celebrate the MPs who have come on board and invite others to join and take action to ensure that Canada recognizes the right to a healthy environment. Please visit our website for a look at the successes we achieved together in 2018, and stories from our volunteer teams across the country.
I wish you all a very happy holiday season, and the very best for the New Year.
Yours truly,
Peter Wood,
National Campaign Manager, Blue Dot, David Suzuki Foundation

Here is the link to write your MP:
Also, today is the deadline for feedback to Parks Canada about Wood Buffalo National Park.
LeadNow has a petition, which is here:

from the LeadNow posting:
"Unfortunately, the Action Plan falls short in responding to all 17 recommendations from UNESCO’s reactive monitoring mission. A significant shortfall is the failure to respond to Recommendation 4 – “conduct, in line with ICUN World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and environmental and social impact assessment of the Site C Project, and if moved forward, any hydropower projects potentially affecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the Property” (p. 43).
By failing to meet this recommendation, Parks Canada undermines efforts to successfully address the threats to Wood Buffalo National Park. Water quality and quantity are the key underlying challenges to the other 16 recommendations identified."

Here is some more background, from last year and some maps, from the Institute of Critical Heritage and Tourism, which"...promotes critical approaches to heritage and tourism studies. While ICHT takes a global approach to the subject, our primary areas of interest are North America (United States and Canada) and the Pacific Northwest, particularly maritime British Columbia and Washington State."
The P.E.I. Department of Communities, Land and Environment is hiring a Wildlife Management Biologist, closing date next Monday, December 17th. Details here (scroll down to the right job title):

December 9, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Sunday Holiday Artisan Markets:
Charlottetown Farmers Market, 10AM-3PM, Belvedere Avenue

Indigenous Artisan Market, 10AM-4PM, Founders Hall. Link includes an amazing list of artisans participating and items available.
Facebook event link

Christmas in Riverdale Holiday Market, 11AM-4PM, 599 Riverdale Road, off TCH west of New Haven.  Cider, apples, maple syrup, lavender, baked goods, pottery, woodworking, dog treats, etc.

Meeting tonight:
Extinction Rebellion -- PEI formation meeting, 7-9PM,
Voluntary Resource Centre, 81 Prince Street.  This is for a P.E.I. group as part of a global movement.

Monday, December 10th:
Science as a Right: A Panel Discussion in Recognition of the UN Human Rights Day, 7-9PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Free.  Chaired by Dr. Katherine Gottschall-Pass, Dean of Science, UPEI. Panel session topics and panelists from UPEI include: "Lest we Forget: Muzzling Scientists under the Harper Regime", Dr. Adam Fenech, Director, Climate Lab; "US President Trump and the New Climate 'Science' ", Dr. John McIntyre; "Mourners and Modellers: Communicating Sustainability Science", Dr. Joshua MacFadyen, Canada Research Chair in Applied Communication, Leadership, and Culture; "Climate Science for the Younger Generation", Stephanie Arnold, Graduate Student.
Facebook event link
It's been quite a few days of letters to the editor in response to rather eye-rolling editorials or columns on the concerns about land and water  Here are two from brilliant, direct, dedicated women:

Straightforward on water:

LETTER: In violation of moratorium - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Saturday, December 8th, 2018 in The Guardian (formatted changed slightly)

The Guardian editorial of December 5, "A sensible suggestion," clearly supports the proclaimed commitment to environmental sustainability expressed by Cavendish Farms. While I salute the editor's optimism, it raises a few questions:

  • The province has indicated that the moratorium on high capacity wells for agriculture will remain in place at least until 2021, when the research of Dr. Mike Van den Heuval and the Canadian Rivers Institute is completed. No new high capacity wells should be considered or permitted until that time.

  • If this proposal were to be accepted, and the water drawn from these wells used to irrigate agricultural lands, would this simply be a happy byproduct of “determining the impacts of agricultural irrigation on the water table”? And if Island water sources are shown to be “at risk” as a result, how would those negative impacts be addressed?

  • The editor states, "The Irvings are successful because they make sound, and sometimes hard, business decisions." So when exactly does a "pilot" project undertaken in the name of sustainability become a hard business decision to irrigate more agricultural lands, and circumvent a moratorium on deep water wells endorsed by Islanders?

Let’s call "a spade, a spade" or in this case " a spud, a spud." The proposal requires violating the moratorium. The “sensible suggestion” is that government should simply reject it on that basis alone - no matter who is making the application.

Marie Ann Bowden, Charlottetown

Clear talking on land (and water) from a farmer:

OPINION: Stop this attack on our Island farmland - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Edith Ling

Published on Saturday, December 8th, 2018 in The Guardian

Islanders need to wake up and learn what is being allowed to go on with respect to P.E.I. farmland - GUEST OPINION

In response to David Weale's opinion article in The Guardian Nov. 29, Alan Holman, in the Dec. 1, issue of the newspaper, expressed his opinion that farmers and many Islanders are not concerned about who owns the land despite the takeover of Island farm land by large corporations, including the Irving empire and the sale of precious farm land to Asian interests (GEBIS, etc.).

David Weale is totally correct in stating that it is high time that more Islanders wake up and learn what is being allowed to go on with respect to P.E.I. farm land. Members of the National Farmers Union (NFU) are aware of what is happening and for years have been bringing these concerns to the governments of the day. In fact, it was the NFU that was instrumental in having the Lands Protection Act (LPA) passed in our provincial legislature.

One of the main purposes of this act is to preserve Island farmland for farm families and to prevent the accumulation of farm land in the hands of large industrial corporations, i.e. the Irvings. Now, they and other large corporations have found loopholes in the act all with the apparent blessing of the provincial government.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Holman did not attend the meeting of the Select Standing Committee on Communities, Land and the Environment Nov. 1, 2018 and witness the snow job presented by Robert Irving. Mr. Holman would have easily seen a very smooth presentation in which Irving asked that the land limits under the LPA be increased for potato producers.

Mr. Irving also subtly alluded to the fact that more high capacity wells are needed for irrigation purposes. The purpose of his appearing before the committee was to disclose his land holdings in this province. He did not provide this information, and not one committee member asked that question before the meeting was quickly brought to a close.

Mr. Irving applauded the P.E.I. Crop Rotation Act but later in the meeting it was revealed that many of his 83 process contract growers follow a two-year rotation rather than the three-year rotation suggested in the Act. Such action is resulting in the destruction of organic matter in Island soils which decreases the water-holding ability of the soil. Does Mr. Irving care? No, all he is interested in is higher yields per acre from the soil which is already over-taxed. It is clear that Irving wants our land and our water and his corporation is already making recommendations to government on what the regulations under the Water Act should look like.

Mr. Irving has been complaining about the lack of potatoes available for his plant. He might have sufficient potatoes if he had not dropped the contracts of a considerable number of growers several years ago. He has the current contract growers right where he wants them - buy every input, i.e. fertilizer, chemicals, etc. from the company store. Most contract growers would not dare to speak out about the bondage under which they exist for fear of losing their contract.

His contract price to growers is the lowest possible. Growers then are docked up to 20 per cent on every load delivered. All this results in many growers being kept in difficult financial situations. One can be assured that increased yields per acre will not result in better income for the farm families producing potatoes for the plant.

Mr. Weale has issued a clarion call for Islanders to wake up. We need to hear this call and act accordingly. If we don't, it will be almost impossible for young farmers to obtain farm land; it will be very difficult for existing farmers to expand within the land limits, and the fabric of our rural communities will be further torn apart. Farmers represent a very small percentage of voters on election day so we need the general public to come on board and stop this attack on our Island farm land.

- Edith Ling lives in North Winsloe and is women's district director with the National Farmers Union

December 8, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets are open today:
Charlottetown 9AM-2PM
Summerside 9AM-1PM

Book signing, local authors, JoDee Samuelson and Katherine Dewar, 1-3PM,
The Bookmark, Confederaton Mall.
Facebook event link

Film: A Christmas Carol, 1951, 3PM, City Cinema.  $10

Tomorrow, Sunday, December 9th:
Sunday Holiday Artisan Markets:

at Charlottetown Farmers Market, 10AM-3PM.

Indigenous Artisan Market, 10AM-4PM, Founders Hall. Link includes an amazing list of artisans and items available.
Facebook event link

Extinction Rebellion -- PEI formation meeting, 7-9PM, Voluntary Resource Centre, 81 Prince Street.  This is the formation of a P.E.I. group as part of a global movement.
"Our political establishment has failed to protect its people from climate chaos, prevent further mass extinction of species on earth and prevent the possibility of human extinction in the near future. Civil disobedience is the primary strategy of Extinction Rebellion. We must rebel to protect the livelihood of citizens and our natural world, or risk losing everything we cherish.
The December 9 meeting is for anyone interested in helping to shape the strategy of Extinction Rebellion in Prince-Edward-Island. We will take a moment to focus on our shared intentions, before having an open space discussion in groups on what strategies we want to pursue, and coming back together to create a timeline of activities.  We are creating a resilient, adaptable and healthy rebellion - all welcome, come join us!  Please get in touch if you have any special requirements, we want to adapt to your needs."  from:
Facebook event link
In the Legislature in the last week or so, MLA Hannah Bell (D11: Charlottetown-Parkdale) brought up to the Minister of Family and Human Services the incredibly low vacancy rates, and noted about people struggling to find any place to live, and being homeless.  The Minister dismissed these comments, and said that she has not heard from anyone. 

MLA Bell shared this on social media (edited):

If you or anyone you know needs emergency housing, please call Minister Mundy’s office today at 902 368 6520 or email Let me <> know what response you get in the comments below and share this post. (Bell's Facebook page link) With your feedback we can get a better picture of the need - and then we can do something about it. No one can or should ignore the sound of many voices raised in support of security and dignity for all Islanders."

It's some news that there are plans to open an emergency women's shelter in January 2019, called "Blooming House".
From someone who has witnessed a lot and has long-range vision on the whole issue:

OPINION: P.E.I. plans to keep poverty - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marie Burge

Published on Wednesday, December 6th, 2018

Actions outlined in report will neither overcome poverty today nor prevent poverty in future on Island

Cooper Institute, with many other organizations on the Island, looked forward to the release of the P.E.I. government’s “Poverty Reduction Action Plan.” This was a work in progress for the past six years. The government put the development of the plan in the hands of its Poverty Reduction Advisory Council in early 2018. It was clear to us from the beginning that reduction of poverty, not its elimination, was the goal. The framework was the development of policy based on a charity model rather than a social justice, rights-based model.
Cooper Institute, since its founding 34 years ago, has promoted the ideal of the universal right of every human being to uninterrupted access to the basic necessities of life. We have listened to many voices across P.E.I.

People of every sector and every class have told us that we need to have a total change of mind and heart in the community and in government concerning the high percentage of people in P.E.I. who live in poverty and/or who live on the edge. P.E.I. needs to end poverty in the long run, not only to reduce it. Reducing poverty involves incremental changes, but no change in direction or structures.
It is important to acknowledge that the collaborative engagement process designed by the Poverty Reduction Advisory Council was impressive. The hours of dedicated work were inspiring. Many people from all walks of life told the council about the need to address the effects of inadequate income on the lives of too many people.
Out of the many consultations, the council came up with an elaborate plan of action to improve many aspects of low income Islanders over the next six years, which interestingly will correspond to the span of two elections.

They proposed ways of improving access to food, housing, mental and physical health care and education. All who were engaged in any way in the six-month consultation process would rejoice that more people would be helped, either by increased services or a raise in the amount of money they could receive to meet basic needs.

It is clear that the life of some people living in poverty would be somewhat better in the coming years. We rejoice in that. However, we have a number of concerns about the Poverty Reduction Action Plan as presented by the government.

The major concern, and disappointment, is related to one of the guiding principles which states: “Addressing the inter-related root causes of poverty to overcome poverty today and prevent poverty tomorrow.” It would have taken extraordinary courage to dig deeply enough to identify the current overriding economic model as a direct root cause. It is an economic system which has made the rich richer, and the poor poorer. This is an economic system which defends the trickle-down theory, that the riches at the top will somehow trickle down to the impoverished masses. This has never happened.

The actions outlined in the report will neither overcome poverty in P.E.I. today nor is there a path for prevention of poverty in the future. True, there are improvements which will improve the situation of a number of people living in poverty. These important measures certainly do not overcome poverty, even in the short term.

In every consultation session, we and our collaborators introduced a Basic Income Guarantee (B.I.G.) as a long-term solution. However, there is not one mention of B.I.G. as a future possibility for the elimination of poverty in the years to come.
In conclusion: Cooper Institute rejoices with those whose lives will be improved in increments. We are grateful for the work of the Poverty Reduction Advisory Council. We congratulate the government for taking some sincere steps to alleviate the suffering of some people living in poverty.

On the other hand, we see the action plan as a plan to keep poverty as part of the structure of P.E.I. long into the future. We can do better.

- Marie Burge, on behalf of Cooper Institute Collective, of which she is a member and a project co-ordinator

December 7, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

This afternoon and evening:
Water Street Double Block Party, 4-8PM,
Charlottetown.  The shops between Queen and Great George and area are having specials and free cider and such. "Shop and Dine Local" they say.
Facebook event link

Last Irish Heritage Lecture for Fall 2018, 7:30-9:30PM, Kate Bevan-Baker speaking on "Media Ecology: the dissemination of early-20th century Irish & Scottish tune books, the advent of radio, and their impact on PEI fiddlers." Benevolent Irish Society/Irish Cultural Centre, 582 North River Road, Charlottetown.
Kate will also be playing fiddle in a ceili at the BIS Hall Monday evening, with Michael and Shane Pendergast, and be talking on a related but different aspect of her PhD thesis on Tuesday, December 11th, as part of an Institute of Island Studies presentation (link here)

Also tonight:
Night Music with Pianist Sarah Hagen, 8-9PM
, St. Paul's Church, Charlottetown.
"Join pianist Sarah Hagen for an hour of reflective music in the middle of the busy holiday season. Selections will include works by Bach. Chopin and Beethoven and others. The audience is encouraged to enter quietly; each piece will flow from one to the next. Pay what you will."
Facebook event link

Wednesday, December 12th:
Jim Munves Peace Commemorative, 7PM,
Farm Centre.  Celebration of recently deceased Jim, a gentle giant who touched many lives both on and off P.E.I. All welcome.
The Guardian, like most print and digital media outlets, works by having people subscriptions or paying some amount to see content (though this may be a small part of their income), and by seeing ad content and being motivated to buy whatever is being offered; advertisers buy ads (which are not cheap) to be seen by readers, and this income allows the publisher to pay reporters and news services and keep the news coming.  Sometimes, papers and other publications are owned by big names/corporation conglomerates like Jeff Bezos of Amazon (owning The Washington Post as a separate company than Amazon) or Rupert Murdoch of Fox Media (swallowing National Geographic into its fold), and may or may not influence content.  Sometimes there are subtle temporary corporate connections -- an article on a particular business, and a nice ad for that business a few pages or editions later. Sometimes you wonder: J.D. Irving, Ltd. owns most of the papers in New Brunswick. 
Saltwire Media, which bought the Transcontinental papers including The Guardian and The Journal-Pioneer, is not owned by Irving, but rather run by Mark Lever (and newspaper publishing has been in his wife Karen Lever's family for a couple of generations -- an article about the ownership, here).  (Aside:The Chronicle-Herald is also in the Saltwire, but I don't know enough about the labour dispute to make any comments about how that was handled.)

The Guardian had a time during the Robert Ghiz years where most editorials were enthusiastically cheerleading that government, but have shown more independence and higher thought in the past few years.   It is notable that recently, expansive double-page ads for DeKalb GMO seed and other ads from apparently well-funded agri-industry groups have appeared.  OK, anyone can buy ads.

Some editorials in just the past weeks have had that cap-in-hand, "Yes, Guv'nor" tone (with not very deep understanding of the complex science of deep water wells), like this one Wednesday:

LEAD EDITORIAL: A sensible suggestion - The Guardian

Accusations of secret meetings and backroom schemes don’t serve the company, province or our MLAs well.

The complaints of many Islanders are often left on the Irving’s doorstep. Cavendish Farms, because of its involvement in recent land and water issues, is a favourite target. The Irvings are successful because they make sound, and sometimes hard, business decisions. A company without a viable plan for the future is leaving town or going under.

The Irvings rarely get recognition for providing the major market for P.E.I.’s potato crop and keeping hundreds of farmers and their families in business. French fry processing jobs and economic spinoffs across the province are immense.

So, when the company sits down and discusses proposals with all parties in the legislature, it deserves a little more respect than becoming a political football on the house floor. Accusations of secret meetings and backroom schemes don’t serve the company, province or our MLAs well.

Cavendish Farms is accused of having undue influence on government policy. The moratorium on deep-water wells is still in place -- for more than 15 years; and land ownership limits for individuals and corporations are still in place -- since1992. Communities, Lands and Environment Minister Richard Brown said he had one meeting this year with Cavendish Farms.

What Cavendish Farms has urged, in an open committee meeting of the legislature, is that government relax acreage limits on farmers who, the company suggests, need more than double the current 1,000 acres to remain viable.

Cavendish Farms has talked about a water usage plan with watershed groups, the potato industry and academic and research groups to see if supplemental irrigation can happen in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Some MLAs are playing fast and loose with the facts. Opposition parties met with the Irvings and heard the same proposals that were presented to government. But that doesn’t stop grandstanding in the legislature to suggest there are secret proposals afoot. It’s fine if the Opposition thinks the land and water proposals are wrong. These are real, substantive issues. Take a stand and go on the record.

The past two summers saw farmers suffer through prolonged droughts. Potatoes were left in the ground later this year to mature and an early fall saw 7,000 acres lost. It’s a critical setback for farmers and Cavendish Farms. Sustainable, supplemental irrigation would protect the potato crop. But Mr. Brown said the Island’s moratorium would remain in place until at least the completion of a scientific study in 2021. That means that three more harvests could suffer.

The company has suggested a pilot project for irrigation to monitor the impact on the water table. It is not asking for the moratorium to be lifted but does hope science can determine if irrigation is detrimental to the aquifer or puts Island water sources at risk.

An environment-first policy does not have to be at odds with a sustainable potato industry. Cavendish Farms has signalled publicly, with its recent proposals, that it wants to remain on P.E.I. and to see company, farmers and province prosper. It makes sense to approve these prudent pilot steps.

This editorial on-line was accompanied by a photo with Mr. Robert Irving and a surgeon, marking a huge donation to the health system; they have donated lots of money, true, and the editorial does make a good point about politics being played on who knew what when about this proposal.  The public certainly knew nothing.
This op-ed was written and submitted several days before Wednesday's editorial, and printed Thursday, December 6th, 2018 (edited slightly for spelling or clarity):

OPINION: Who gets seat at table? - The Guardian - Guest Opinion by Don Mazer

Published on Thursday, December 6th, 2018, in

Minister Brown, government must listen carefully to all who have interest of the environment first

Recently in the legislature, Opposition MLA Steven Myers challenged Communities, Land and Environment Minster Richard Brown on the undue influence of Cavendish Farms on government policy, particularly the Water Act. After several frustrating attempts to clarify what private meetings the government had held during the time when regulations for the Water Act are being developed, he concluded: “Irvings get to have a special seat at the Liberal table when it comes to making policy . . . especially when it comes to dealing with our water . . .”

The minister emphatically denied any special relationship. “We are working with anybody that wants to work with government that has the interest of the environment first. We will continue to meet with each and every person in order to make our environment great.”

But this is simply not the case. Everyone does not have ready access to a place at Minister Brown’s table. I am a member of three organizations that have ‘the interest of the environment first.’ Each has had considerable difficulty arranging a meeting with Minister Brown.

The Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water formed in 2013 in response to the Cavendish Farms proposal for lifting the moratorium on high capacity wells for agriculture. Its membership includes 20 environmental, watershed and social justice groups and more than 200 individuals. The coalition has been actively involved in the ongoing process of development of the Water Act. The previous minister, Robert Mitchell noted in the legislature the important contribution the Coalition had made to the Water Act.

The Coalition made several requests for meetings with Minister Brown since he was appointed in January. Eventually a meeting was arranged and then cancelled by the minister. He said he would reschedule. We contacted him again at the end of May. We’re still awaiting his call.

The Environmental Coalition of P.E.I. has a long history of working on behalf of the environment. For 30 years, ECOPEI has been a leader in environmental education, done pioneering work in the restoration of the Acadian Forest through the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, and done extensive tree planting across the Island, and organizing electoral forums on environmental issues.

ECOPEI has made several requests for meetings with the minister since January to discuss our concerns about a range of important environmental issues. He called back in June, talked about setting up a meeting. We’re still waiting for his call.

The Citizens’ Alliance (CA) formed out of the response of a large group of concerned Islanders to the Plan B (highway) project. And while the battle to stop Plan B was unsuccessful, CA formed to continue the spirit and energy of this group. Its mission is to be a vigilant observer and advocate for the environment and to promote democratic process. CA was instrumental in the initial organization of the Water Coalition, in bringing the Blue Dot/Environmental rights campaign to P.E.I., and in opposing the plan to bottle P.E.I. water for export.

CA’s request for a meeting with Minister Brown also went unanswered.

By contrast, there’s Cavendish Farms. Government is interested in developing collaborative relationships with them. They are welcomed at the government table, supported with public money, lauded by the minister for their environmental stewardship. Environmental costs, like the steady decline in the organic content of Island soils in a province with a dominant potato industry, were not even mentioned at a recent Cavendish Farms presentation to the standing committee.

Why such a different response? Do the citizens of Prince Edward Island really feel that industry deserves meetings and access while the public does not? Do Islanders believe that the health of the environment that sustains all of us should always take a back seat to the promotion of unlimited economic growth? Do citizens believe that those interests with money and power are entitled to more of a say about what happens on P.E.I. than the rest of us?

The issue of access to water and the health of our waterways is of great importance to all Islanders and not just to those who own processing companies. It’s time for Minister Brown and the government to listen carefully to all of us who truly do have ‘the interest of the environment first.’

- Don Mazer is a member of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water, ECOPEI and the Citizens’ Alliance. He lives in Suffolk on the Winter River.

December 6, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happening today:

This morning, from the Institute for Island Studies newsletter:
Island Morning Radio, this morning:  "...curious about the connection between PEI nurse Edith Cox and the Halifax Explosion? Listen to Island Morning on Thursday, December 6, to find out, when Katherine Dewar explains the connection in an interview with CBC radio host Mitch Cormier."

Also, there are highlights of the Affordable Housing forum hosted last night in Charlottetown by CBC Prince Edward Island.

Montreal Massacre Memorial Service, 12noon, Memorial Hall, Confederation Centre of the Arts.  All welcome to remember victims of violence against women in Canada and P.E.I..

Charlottetown Holiday Artisan Market (rescheduled from last week), 6-9PM
, Knest Studio, 15 Cumberhil Court, Unit C, Charlottetown.  "Knest Studio is a new creative community hub in support of local entrepreneurs and small businesses."  Items for the food bank as donations at the door would be appreciated.
Facebook event link

Saturday, December 8th:
Book signings, Island Studies Press authors JoDee Samuelson (The Cove Journal) and Katherine Dewar (Called to Serve), 1-3PM,
The Bookmark, with two other Island authors: Finley Martin and Gene Rogerson.

Usually, it would be,
"The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5 and 7-9PM today."
Except apparently the Legislature closed yesterday afternoon (while I was at Parent-Teacher interviews and in a bit of a news blackout).
It sounds like it closed in time for those interested to get to the Liberal Party Fall Dinner.

Some details on the afternoon's events (you can scroll through the Twitter feed or the News):

and more comments in this newsletter in the coming days.

From The Guardian:

Fall session of P.E.I. legislature saw passing of carbon tax legislation, capital budget, private members’ bills - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - As the fall sitting of the P.E.I. legislature concluded Wednesday, Opposition and government MLAs noted the session had been marked by a rare quality in politics: co-operation.

Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry arrived at the Coles Building at 5 p.m. to officially close the session, capping off a sitting that lasted just over three weeks.

The session is closing days before new polling numbers are due to be released by Corporate Research Associates. Recent polling by the company has shown numbers for the governing Liberal party dropping, while support for the Green party continues to rise.

Seemingly undeterred, Premier Wade MacLauchlan emphasized the achievements of his government on Wednesday night, but also drew attention to the instances of collaboration across the aisle.  MacLauchlan pointed to the passing of the Island’s largest ever capital budget in November. The $154 million capital budget including funding for a new high school in Stratford, as well as new investments in mental health and infrastructure. The budget comes at a time of significant economic growth on the Island.

MacLauchlan also emphasized his government’s efforts to reduce costs for Islanders. He noted the increases to the basic personal income tax exemption and cuts to small business taxes. "Our province is doing well and we're in a position to take substantive initiatives and invest for Islanders to continue doing well," MacLauchlan said.

MacLauchlan also cited the passing of two bills, the Climate Leadership Act and an amendment to the Gasoline Tax Act, which will put in place the Island’s carbon pricing regime. The bills will see a net one cent rise in gasoline taxes in 2019 and another cent rise in 2020.

Opposition Leader James Aylward viewed the closing of the session as bittersweet. The session will be Aylward’s last as leader of the opposition, as the PC party is in the midst of a leadership race.

A leadership convention is scheduled for Feb. 9.

“I feel it’s going to be an extremely busy winter,” Aylward said.  Aylward said he was proud of the passage of two private members’ bills introduced by PC members during the session. One bill, introduced by Borden-Kinkora MLA Jamie Fox, will require incoming judges to receive sexual assault training, while another, introduced by Morell-Mermaid MLA Sidney MacEwen, will see the creation of an autism secretariat to help coordinate autism-related programming on the Island.

The Green party also had successes during the session. Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker said the party managed to pass its first ever private members bill, which would officially recognize arts and culture organizations and clean tech companies as being under the mandate of Innovation P.E.I.

The party also passed amendments to a government bill that will require post-secondary institutions to pass sexual violence policies, and introduced a motion, which was passed unanimously, condemning the practice of conversion therapy.  "In terms of our legislative achievements, it was a good session for us," Bevan-Baker said.

Echoing the sentiment from Opposition and government MLAs, Speaker Buck Watts also noted the co-operative tone of the session in his closing remarks.  “It was probably the best session I’ve seen as speaker,” Watts said.


Climate leadership from the other side of the country:

A summary courtesy of the David Suzuki Foundation, posted yesterday:

With all the daunting headlines about climate change lately, we’re thrilled to share some good news with you.
(British Columbia) B.C. is one step closer to a clean energy future!
The B.C. government’s
CleanBC climate and clean growth plan, released today, shows the province is serious about meeting climate targets.
The strategy moves B.C. 75 per cent of the way to meeting 2030 emissions-reduction targets in Phase 1, and the rest of the way in Phase 2.
This progressive plan includes:

  • Regular targets up to 2040 when all new vehicles purchased in B.C. will be 100 per cent zero emission 
  • Increasing the supply of biomethane, such as gas captured from farms and food waste
  • More low carbon fuel in gasoline during the transition to zero emission vehicles
  • A pathway to increase the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings
  • Benchmarks for industry based on global best practice

and more details from The National Observer:

B.C.'s new climate plan means big changes for industry, homes, cars - The National Observer article by Tracy Sherlock

Published on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018, in The National Observer

B.C.’s new plan to reduce carbon emissions in the province will require changes in how we drive, where we live and how industry operates.

Premier John Horgan today announced CleanBC — a strategy to reduce emissions by 40 per cent by the year 2030. The plan only accounts for three-quarters of the required reductions, with the rest to be announced over the next two years and the financial details will not be available until the provincial budget is released in February. Nonetheless, environmentalists and business representatives applauded the plan as a good first step.

“With CleanBC, British Columbia is rising to the challenge of climate change,” Horgan said. “By moving to clean, renewable energy — like our abundant supply of B.C. electricity — we can power our growing economy and make life better and more affordable for British Columbians.”

B.C. has seen unprecedented wildfire seasons over the past two summers, as well as devastating flooding and droughts. The United Nations has warned that drastic cuts to emissions need to be made by 2030 to limit global warming.

Although the costs of the climate strategy will not be announced until February, Environment Minister George Heyman said it would be “fully funded.”

“This isn’t a choice between the economy and the environment,” Heyman said. “That’s a false choice and it’s one we just don’t have to make.”

The province’s carbon emissions today are about 60 megatonnes.

The lion’s share of the reduction will come from industry, where emissions must be reduced by 8.4 million megatonnes, largely through the electrification of oil and gas operations, a pilot project on clean trucking in the Lower Mainland and providing incentives to industry through existing carbon tax revenues.

Four megatonnes will be cut by switching to cleaner fuels at the gas pump. The low carbon fuel standard will be increased to 20 per cent by 2030. Some of this can be accomplished by increasing the amount of renewable fuel that is blended with liquid fuels.

New buildings will be required to be more energy efficient and there will also be funding to renovate and retrofit older homes, which the plan says will cut two megatonnes. The plan calls for 16,000 homes to be updated each year.

Plans to reduce residential and industrial organic waste will save a further 0.7 megatonnes.

Last month, the government announced that by 2040, all cars sold in B.C. will be clean energy vehicles. That, combined with more charging stations, will cut 1.3 megatonnes by 2030, the government said.

There will be incentives for industry, incentives for homeowners and incentive for people buying electric cars, but none of the details of those programs were announced today.

Plan's goal is to make B.C. the cleanest place in the world

The goals of the plan are to make B.C. the cleanest jurisdiction in the world, while the province’s industry remains competitive, even during the transition, reporters were told in a technical briefing.

This plan is missing about one-quarter of the cuts that will be required to meet the target by 2030, but the government says it will announce those plans over the next 18 to 24 months.

B.C. will need to increase its electricity production about eight per cent to meet these targets — an amount about equal to the demand from a city the size of Vancouver, reporters were told in a technical briefing.

Horgan was asked if this will mean a Hydro rate increase.

“We are working as hard as we can to keep rates down,” Horgan said.

When asked about recent protests in France over rising fuel taxes, Horgan said B.C.’s economy and unemployment rates are the best in the country and the plan shouldn’t mean any downsizing. Rather, the plan includes training for people to learn the construction and mechanical skills to work in the clean construction and zero emission vehicle fields.

Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party and Horgan’s power-sharing partner, said this plan puts B.C. on the path to be a world leader.

“This is not only a climate plan, this is an economic plan,” Weaver said. “This is about sending a message to the international community that B.C. is going to rise to this challenge.

In a media scrum, Weaver expressed doubts that the province could meet its further 2040 goal to cut emissions by 60 per cent and its 2050 goal to cut emissions by 80 per cent if the recently approved LNG project is allowed to expand in the future. He’s now confident that emissions can still be cut if only the first phase, which is forecast to add 3.45 megatonnes to the province’s emissions, goes ahead.

CleanBC was announced at an event attended by hundreds of environmental leaders, business people and government representatives. The material given to the media includes supporting quotes from federal and American politicians, Indigenous leaders including Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, and many representatives from business, labour and environmental groups.

“With other provinces faltering on climate action, B.C.’s climate strategy brings hope for all Canadians concerned about the wellbeing of their families and communities,” said Karen Tam Wu, the BC director of the Pembina Institute.

Stephen Cornish, CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation, said most British Columbians know climate change is harming us now and we need to respond.

“Today, the B.C. government delivered phase one of a plan that repositions the province as a Canadian climate leader,” Cornish said. “British Columbians can be proud to be at the forefront of landmark solutions for transportation and renewable energy.”

Tzeporah Berman, international program director at, said it’s a relief to have the government in B.C. taking climate change seriously again.

“The CleanBC plan has some of the strongest climate policies in North America and British Columbians should be proud,” Berman said. “The recent UN report makes clear that we cannot expand fossil fuels and ensure a safe climate. There is still hard work ahead for British Columbia in the second phase of the plan to reduce emissions from industry and I look forward to working with this government to address this challenge.”

Later, in an interview, Dan Woynillowicz, policy director for Clean Energy Canada, said he thinks British Columbians can have confidence in the plan, particularly because it is comprehensive and has clear goals and timelines.

The upcoming budget will be a “litmus test” that will show if the money is there to meet the goals of the plan, Woynillowicz said. After former premier Gordon Campbell introduced the carbon tax in 2008, emissions started to go down, Woynillowicz said, but they plateaued and started to creep up again under former premier Christy Clark.

“You’re never done. You have to put these things in place and then keep turning the dials again,” he said.

The federal government has indicated it may be willing to pay for some of the electrification of remote oil and gas operations, he said.

Regarding the missing 25 per cent that is still required to meet the 2030 targets, Woynillowicz said they will be in sectors like cleaner buses, more improvements on waste and even greater electrification of industry, but that the government is still working out the best ways to do those things.

The Sierra Club BC’s campaigns director Caitlyn Vernon said the plan has transparent reporting and accountability.

“We will be watching to ensure that the climate advisory council has sufficient budget and capacity to do its work, can set interim sectoral targets and has the ability to revise pollution reduction targets in future in light of the latest science,” Vernon said.

The plan calls for annual reporting of spending, results and anticipated emission reductions, as well as forecasts for emissions for the next three years.



from the article above:

“With other provinces faltering on climate action, B.C.’s climate strategy brings hope for all Canadians concerned about the wellbeing of their families and communities.”
  ---Karen Tam Wu, BC director of the Pembina Institute

December 5, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fanningbank Open House, 1-3PM.
  Very nice Christmas decorations. 

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM today

Progressive Conservative Leadership candidate Kevin Arsenault's launch, 7-9PM, Murchison Centre.  Town Hall style event
Facebook event link

CBC Public Forum on Affordable Housing, 7-9PM, PEI Farm Centre, University Avenue. Panelists include new Charlottetown mayor Philip Brown, Provincial Minister of Finance Heath MacDonald, developer Tim Banks, Pamela Deltor, and Hannah Gehrels representing the PEI Fight for Affordable Housing group (Facebook page link).  People attending or via Facebook Live can ask questions or share opinions.

The 15 year old Greta Thunberg from Sweden has gone to the climate change talks in Poland, chastising the leaders and sweeping away distractions:
Story here (link only):

Two articles from the Council of Canadians' postings, from Tuesday, December 4th, 2018:
A fantastic photo by Islander Robert van Waarden accompanies this dismaying article by Angela Giles with an update on the oil spill off Newfoundland article (Robert's photo is toward the end):
(link only)

and also from the Council of Canadians (copied):

Notley's supply cuts should be the beginning of a just transition away from the oil sands - Council of Canadians blog post

On December 2nd, Rachel Notley announced her government will cut oil production by 325,000 barrels per day in early 2019. She cited the measure as a solution to Alberta’s oil price differential, which her government says is costing Alberta $80 million a day. (It is worth noting this number, from a Scotiabank report, has been called into question for incorrectly assuming every barrel Alberta exports is exposed to maximum losses from higher transportation costs.)

If we were having honest discussions about climate change or the economics of the oil sands in this province, Notley's announcement would be the beginning of a managed and just transition away from the sector and towards renewable energy and other low-carbon sectors, not a temporary cut. From a scientific point of view, it is honestly wild that in 2018 the Alberta government is willing to cut oil production to support the industry but not to avert climate catastrophe.

But politically, it is not surprising at all. Rachel Notley has tied her re-election firmly to an unbuildable pipeline project and blind support of the oil sands, and it is a short-lived fluke of economics that right now supporting oil company interests looks like what effective climate action would. 

I think it is useful at this point to consider how we got here, and what it would take to actually create the circumstances where a supply cut like this is part of a just transition away from the oil sands.

How we got here

It is in this absence of any meaningful climate action that the movement to stop new oil sands pipelines has sprung up and it has been overwhelmingly effective. Diverse coalitions using a variety of tactics have stopped or stalled all but two of seven largescale (over 150,000 barrels per day) proposed pipelines for oil sands expansion since 2005: Northern Gateway, Keystone XL, Energy East, Line 3, and the TransMountain Expansion. Enbridge's Line 67 and Line 9b have been built largely due to regulatory loopholes that afforded them less scrutiny with respect to environmental safety and Indigenous rights. And while rail transport of Alberta bitumen has expanded dramatically, the new rail that has come online or is set to still pales in comparison to what these new pipelines would have added.

These pipeline-stalling efforts are a large part of the reason that there is a supply glut in the oil sands right now, and why Notley has called for a temporary cut. (Though again, it is important to note that this glut is not as economically damaging as Alberta's UCP, NDP, or media would have us believe.) 

But this "climate policy from below" is not enough for us to make adequate progress. On top of these powerful 'NOs' we need to have a more concrete and hopeful vision to push people towards. 

How we get to an actual just transition

Rachel Notley's government could have told a different story, that we need to be planning for the world to move on from oil, instead of trying to out-Kenney Kenney at squeezing out as many barrels as we can. This has meant adequate climate action continues to be outside of what's politically possible in this province. But I do think this is a reality we can shift. Whenever I have talked to other Albertans in person about the need to transition, what that transition could look like, and how we can protect workers through it, they are overwhelmingly open to it.

So in addition to keep-it-in-the-ground efforts to curtail oil sands expansion, we also need to knit all the climate solutions we know into a more compelling and tangible vision. We need to call more loudly than ever for funding for renewables, energy efficiency, health, education, ecological agriculture, and other low carbon sectors. We need to call for worker retraining, clean up of abandoned oil projects, making our cities walkable, bikeable & transit-friendly, and upholding Indigenous rights. We need to call for a Green New Deal as the progressive wing of the U.S. Democrats, amongst many others, are calling for these days.

If we do it right, the next time the Alberta government calls for a supply cut, it will be part of a managed transition plan to a better future, and not a questionable strategy to keep a dying industry afloat.


It's hard not to look at some of the exquisitely decorated and large residences in Charlottetown (Fanningbank, the "Bishop's House" on North River come to mind) and think about the lack of housing, and big houses pretty nearly empty; maybe it's time to consider revamping old models like rooming houses and such.

December 4, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Getting to see these Halls all decked out....

Tuesday, December 4th:
Fanningbank Open House, 1-3PM and 5-7PM,
Wednesday, December 5th, 1-3PM

and: Beaconsfield Open House, 1-3PM, today only.

from The Guardian, published yesterday:

Visitors can view the decorations artistically arranged by Shelly Campbell of Tyne Valley and stroll through Fanningbank. Music will be performed on Tuesday by pianist Jacqueline Sorensen-Young, Sirens/Harmonia Choirs and pianist Andrea Ellis. Canada Remembers Chorus will perform Wednesday afternoon.  There is no admission (charge). The viewing areas of Government House are wheelchair accessible and parking is available on the grounds for those with mobility limitations. For those who may wish to extend their enjoyment of viewing seasonal decorations, Beaconsfield Historic House will also be hosting a Christmas Open House on Dec. 4 only from 1-3 pm.


NaturePEI, meeting and special talk on P.E.I. Orchids, 7:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, all welcome.  Colin Chapman will be describing these rare beauties.

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

Legislative Assembly website link

A festive Festive Season this week for the P.E.I. Liberals:

Tuesday, December 4th:

PEI Liberal Party Christmas Social, 5-7PM, Rodd Charlottetown (Kent Street).

Wednesday, December 5th, turning the calendar around a bit, is the:

PEI Liberal Party Annual Fall Dinner, Reception at 6PM, dinner at 7PM, PEI Convention Centre.

Friday, December 7th:

Cardigan Federal Liberal Association Annual Christmas Party, 8-9:30PM, Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner.  Music by “The Decoders”. Cash draw tickets can be purchased from District Presidents and at the door. No admission fee……..all nineteen and over welcome. Hosted by Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay.

Saturday, December 8th:

District 16 Cornwall-Meadowbank Christmas Breakfast, 8-10AM, Cornwall Civic Centre, all welcome.


The P.E.I. Legislature starts another week, and one gets the feeling government is pacing this sitting at a good clip as not to have it last right up to Christmas.  But we will see.

Last week saw collaboration and mutual respect about legislation for autism services coordination and for judicial sexual assault training -- both Private Members' Bills that resonated and all three parties worked together.   We will have to see how these bills are put into action.

Not so encouraging and warm-hearted was the discussion of the carbon tax, now only called a "levy", which doesn't sound quite like a tax, right? 

Nobody is looking especially brilliant about this issue, and in the end it's a distraction from the main issue -- climate change is happening and we need to move quickly away from burning fossil fuels, for ourselves and the economically and geographically more vulnerable people of this planet. 

The Friday Island Morning CBC Radio political panel, with the smart and engaging trio of Stu Neatby of The Guardian, former reporter Kathy Large, and publisher Paul MacNeill, actually discussing issues.  Unfortunately, it appears CBC didn't archive the two past Friday panels (November 16h and 23rd) and they are in effect, lost to the public, in case you weren't able to listen live for the whole time those weeks.  They have heard us, and the November 30th political panel is here:


Here is an Action you can quickly sign to add your name to a list of people asking the Prime Minister and First Ministers to move to good jobs in the renewable sector.


THIS is the Wade MacLauchlan of the Better Nature, who spoke these words like a leader with vision during his remarks at the Symons Lecture on November 23rd, regarding populist political movements:

“The downside is the extent to which populism trades in fear, in division, in over-simplification and isolation as opposed to the harder work of inclusion, engagement, shared prosperity, evidence-based governance and national and global citizenship.”
-- Wade MacLauchlan, November 23rd, 2018

Then later last week, like a certain Robert Lewis Stevenson character, we saw a different side of the Premier's nature, shift to fear, division, over-simplification and isolation in discussing pricing carbon and helping Islanders vigourously fight climate change.  (Video link from Friday, November 30th)  Let's call out distractions to the real issues facing Islanders today.

December 3, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Book Launch: Flax Americana: A History of the Fibre and Oil that Covered a Continent, 7-9PM, Upstreet Craft Brewing, 41 Allen Street, Charlottetown, by UPEI professor, Joshua MacFadyen.
Facebook event link

Tuesday, December 4th:
Nature PEI Meeting and Presentation on Island Orchids by Colin Chapman, 7:30PM (talk starts at 8PM),
Beaconsfield Carriage House, Free. from the notice: botanist Colin Chapman on Orchids of P.E.I.

Wednesday, December 5th:
Progressive Conservative Leadership candidate Kevin Arsenault's launch, 7-9PM,
Murchison Centre.  Town Hall style event
Facebook event link

Also Wednesday:
CBC Public Forum on Affordable Housing, 7-9PM,
PEI Farm Centre, University Avenue.
P.E.I. is currently facing record low vacancy rates — putting a pinch on people looking for homes — and leading some to call it a crisis. CBC P.E.I.'s No Fixed Address series is looking at some of the struggles Islanders are facing — as well as possible solutions.  Audience members, both in person and online, will be invited to share their experiences, express their opinions or ask questions of the panellists.  The site is wheelchair accessible and if anyone has any further accessibility questions please contact CBC P.E.I. here or email Sally Pitt at
Facebook event link
OK, so I am not sure this poll reflects how people understand what a carbon tax is supposed to do:
from this morning's Guardian poll on the front page:

Guardian article from Friday, November 30th, 2018:

Free renewal for P.E.I. driver's licences as of Jan. 1; vehicle registration costs drop 20 per cent

Provincial government announces a number of fee changes Thursday

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The provincial government announced Thursday that the cost to register a vehicle will drop 20 per cent as of April 1.

It was one of many initiatives announced as government commits to returning all revenue from the carbon levy on gas and diesel directly back to Islanders.

New incentives also include reduced transit fees.

As of Jan. 1, the province will provide an annual grant to T3 Transit to reduce monthly passes, tickets and coin fares by 10 per cent.

As of Jan. 1, Islanders will receive new and renewed driver’s licenses for free. In addition, license renewals will be required every five years instead of every three.

As of Jan. 1, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be registered at no charge.

Also as of Jan. 1, non-plug in hybrid vehicle owners will pay 50 per cent less to register their vehicles.


Bears repeating:

But instead of talking about (seriously fighting climate change), all our politicians go on about is economic growth, energy prices and shareholder value. What value is there in a future where hundreds of millions of people suffer?
--Greta Thunberg, Swedish student and political activist

December 2, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Sunday, December 2nd:
Artisan Christmas Market, 10AM-3PM,
Charlottetown Farmers' Market location, and running for the 9th and 16th

Benevolent Irish Society Christmas Tea and Craft Fair, 2-5PM, BIS Hall, North River Road.
Facebook event link

Handel's Messiah, 2:30PM, Confederation Centre of the Arts, tickets.  "... the Confederation Singers, orchestra, and four guest soloists perform George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, The concert is an annual tradition at the Centre, led by Choral Music Director Donald Fraser." This is the one where you are supposed to listen and enjoy the music, not belt out singing, too (that's the Sing-Along-Messiah later in the season).
Facebook event details

New Glasgow’s Annual Tree Lighting and Candlelight walk, 6-9PM, starting at Gardens of Hope. "...walk through the gardens by candlelight stopping to sing some festive songs along the way. Please dress accordingly and bring a flashlight in case of windy weather.
Our Christmas tree lighting will take place at the park across from the Toy Factory with a visit from a very special person. Following the lighting we will head indoors to warm up, mix and mingle and enjoy a few hot beverages and treats.
This event is organized by The New Glasgow Community Corporation and is a free event, but we are accepting donations that go towards the upkeep of our community and are greatly appreciated."  All welcome.
Thanks to Jeanne Maki for the original posting, and Ecological Consciousness for the following paragraph and links, including to The Guardian article, printed below.

posted Friday, November 30th, 2018:
In Sweden, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg has been protesting inaction on climate change since August, going on strike from school every Friday to sit outside her country's parliament. Greta writes for the Guardian Australia about why she believes Australian students should join her: "The adults have failed us. And since most of them, including the press and the politicians, keep ignoring the situation, we must take action into our own hands, starting today."

I'm striking from school to protest inaction on climate change – you should too - The Guardian UK article by Greta Thumberg

by Greta Thumberg, published on Monday, November 26th, 2018, in The Guardian (U.K.)

I first learnt about climate change when I was eight years old. I learnt that this was something humans had created. I was told to turn off the lights to save energy and recycle paper to save resources.

I remember thinking it was very strange that we were capable of changing the entire face of the Earth and the precious thin layer of atmosphere that makes it our home.

Because if we were capable of doing this, then why weren’t we hearing about it everywhere? As soon as you turned on the television, why wasn’t the climate crisis the first thing you heard about? Headlines, radio programmes, newspapers, you would never hear about anything else, as if there was a world war going on.

Yet our leaders never talked about it.

If burning fossil fuels threatened our very existence, then how could we continue to burn them? Why were there no restrictions? Why wasn’t it illegal to do this? Why wasn’t anyone talking about the dangerous climate change we have already locked in? And what about the fact that up to 200 species are going extinct every single day?

I have Aspergers syndrome so, for me, most things are black or white. I look at the people in power and wonder how they have made things so complicated. I hear people saying that climate change is an existential threat, yet I watch as people carry on like nothing is happening.

We can no longer save the world by playing by the rules because the rules have to be changed.

Countries like Sweden need to start reducing our emissions by at least 15 per cent every year if we consider the aspect of equality or climate justice – a principle that is clearly stated everywhere in the Paris Agreement. And that is just so we can stay below 2 degrees, which we now know will still create misery for so many people and ecosystems around the world.

For Australia – given its even larger carbon footprint – that percentage is likely to be higher still. Now the Secretary General of the United Nations argues that we should aim for 1.5 degrees. Change on a scale we’ve never imagined.

If I live to be 100, I will be alive in 2103. Adults often don’t think beyond the year 2050. But by then, I will, in the best case, not have lived half of my life. What we do or don’t do right now will affect my entire life and the lives of my friends, our children and their grandchildren.

When school started in August this year, I decided enough was enough. Sweden had just experienced its hottest summer ever. The election was coming up. No one was talking about climate change as an actual consequence of our way of life.

So I decided to walk out of school and sit on the ground outside the Swedish parliament to demand our politicians treat climate change for what it is: the biggest issue we have ever faced.

Because if climate change has to stop, then we must stop it. It is black and white. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival. Either we continue as a civilisation or we don’t. One way or another, we have to change. Countries like mine and Australia must start reducing our emissions dramatically if we believe in equality and climate justice.

But instead of talking about this, all our politicians go on about is economic growth, energy prices and shareholder value. What value is there in a future where hundreds of millions of people suffer?

According to the Swedish Uppsala University, countries like Sweden and Australia must get down to zero emissions within six to 12 years so that people in poorer countries can have a decent future and build some of the infrastructure that we already enjoy. How can we expect countries such as India or Nigeria to care about the climate crisis if we, who already have everything, are not living up to our commitments?

Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of coal, one of the leading causes of climate change. Your politicians want to help Adani build one of the biggest coal mines in the world. Right now, there are no policies to change this. There are no rules to keep coal in the ground.

And it has to start today. As a student, one way I can push for urgent change is to go on strike from school. I’ll be sitting outside the Swedish parliament every Friday from now until my country is in line with the Paris agreement.

I urge other students to join me: Sit outside your parliament or local government wherever you are and demand that they get on track to keep the world below 1.5 degrees.

Some say I should be in school. But why should any young person be made to study for a future when no one is doing enough to save that future? What is the point of learning facts when the most important facts given by the finest scientists are ignored by our politicians?

We are running out of time. Failure means disaster. The changes required are enormous and we must all contribute to the solutions, especially those of us in rich countries like Australia.

The adults have failed us. And since most of them, including the press and the politicians, keep ignoring the situation, we must take action into our own hands, starting today.

--Greta Thunberg is 15 years old and lives in Stockholm, Sweden


from the above opinion piece, as it can easily be applied locally....

"But instead of talking about (drastically reducing carbon emissions), all our politicians go on about is economic growth, energy prices and shareholder value. What value is there in a future where hundreds of millions of people suffer?"
---15 year old Swedish student Greta Thunberg

December 1, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy December, everyone!

Christmas in the Villages 2018, 9AM-2PM,
really, some might say "Christmas in The Murrays".  Murray Harbour Farmers Market (at the Community Centre), the Murray River Hall, the Northumberland Minor Hockey Association (Arena), Sandi Komst Gallery (Out of Our Mind Gallery, 2060 Cape Bear Road, Beach Point) and Ocean Acres.  "All five venues will offer you an unique variety of products and items from local artisans, Farmers, bakers and businesses with the Komst Gallery featuring the artist’s paintings for purchase or a browse. Some venues as well will introduce you to local talent with ALL venues giving you the opportunity to get in the Christmas spirit."
Facebook event link

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

Solidarity with Postal Workers, 12noon-1PM, MP Sean Casey's Office, 75 Fitzroy Street, Charlottetown. Rally organized by Friends of Public Service: "Basic human rights, and our ability to win the economic transformation we need to survive climate change, are under attack. The Liberals' new back-to-work law now imposes millions in fines if Postal Workers go on strike.  On Saturday, December 1st, we’re calling on our allies in labour, environmental, Indigenous movements and affected community members to rally in solidarity with postal workers. We’ll send a clear message: we support everyone’s right to strike – for better working conditions, better wages, and a better world."  from:
Facebook event link

UPEI Christmas Choral Concert, 7:30PM, moved to Park Royal Church, tickets $15/$10 (discount for seniors and students).  Under the direction of Prof. Sung Ha Shin-Bouey, the UPEI Concert Choir and soloist will present Bach's Magnificat., with: Atlantic String Machine, Leo Marchildon, Morgan Saulnier.  Other performers include: UPEI Chamber Singers, and Le Ragazze/Ragazzi Jrs Vocal Ensembles, as guest performers. edited from:
Facebook event link

Sunday, December 2nd:
Artisan Christmas Market, 10AM-3PM,
Charlottetown Farmers' Market location, and running for the 9th and 16th
News from New Brunswick regarding the Progressive Conservative government partially lifting the moratorium on fracking for shale gas, passed on by environmental watchers in New Brunswick:

The PC's just announced they will lift the moratorium on fracking in one location (Sussex area). Below is a message from Water and Environmental Protection Albert County. It raises an important detail about the range of the Frederick Brook shale formation which was named in the PC's sub amendment. 

LETTER TO ALL MLAs, NEW BRUNSWICK LEGISLATURE - by Deborah Carr, Water & Environmental Protection for Albert County

With respect to the PC party’s sub-amendment to the Throne Speech:

"We recognise that communities in and around the town of Sussex, including McCully Field and extending southeasterly to the Frederick Brook Shale, where natural gas exploration and production has been safely taking place on leaseholds for close to 20 years, have demonstrated their desire to proceed with shale gas development. We urge the government to take necessary steps to respect the wishes of these specific communities."

Most may not realize that the Frederick Brook Shale formation extends from Penobsquis and Elgin, through Turtle Creek, Rosevale and Albert Mines to Hillsborough, as well as parts of Memramcook, Taylor Village, Dover and Saint-Joseph.

The Albert County municipalities of Hillsborough, Riverside-Albert and Alma do not support lifting the moratorium and all three municipal councils have made their position clear to our MLA for Albert, Hon. Mike Holland. He has assured he will respect these wishes, but it’s important for all other MLAs within the New Brunswick Legislature to be aware of the implications of this amendment as it opens the door to potential industrial development throughout a large rural area of southeast NB where residents live outside municipal boundaries.

Social License cannot be granted without a process that provides for ‘Free, Prior and Informed Consent,' whereby all existing knowledge of the risks and benefits is brought to the discussion

Also, it must be said that social license can not supersede the Charter of Rights’ guarantee of the Security of the Person, including the right to breathable air and drinkable water. These civil rights cannot be disposed of by a majority of voters in a referendum. So long as a credible threat to any portion of the citizenry exists, social license should not be granted.

Just as governments enact laws for helmets, seat-belts and no smoking zones in order to protect the public, governments also have an moral obligation to protect us from industrial impacts when they have been clearly documented.

You also have an obligation to pursue and uphold the Precautionary Principle, which denotes a duty to prevent harm, when it is within your power to do so, even when all the evidence is not in. This principle has been codified in several international treaties to which Canada is a signatory.  And in this case, we have plenty of documentation that hydraulic fracturing has significant potential for harm, and no credible evidence that it can be done safely. And we haven’t even started a discussion on its contribution to climate change. We all have responsibilities to reduce fossil fuel use to safeguard a livable earth for future generations.

I trust you will vote wisely and with due consideration to the importance and implications of this issue to New Brunswick constituents.
Deborah Carr,
Water & Environmental Protection for Albert County

More about the Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County group and this issue:
"Water and Environmental Protection for Albert County (WEPAC) is a group of concerned citizens who believe that we must consciously take better care of our natural resources to ensure a vibrant future for our children. We are located in southeastern New Brunswick."
Elizabeth Schoales has dedicated many years to animal welfare and animal rights.

OPINION: Not all animals are equal - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Elizabeth Schoales

Published on Thursday, November 28th, 2018

For protection under the law, it all depends on whether they end up on your couch or on your plate

No compassionate person could hear about the two boys in Alberta who recently tortured and killed a coyote without being horrified. Many ask what kind of society could produce children like this, with such a frightening lack of empathy for another living being that they even thought nothing of filming their brutality and posting it to social media.

Sadly, this atrocity isn’t unique. It was only five years ago that three boys in P.E.I. were convicted for bludgeoning 65 seals to death.

These examples of cruelty should be aberrations, but they aren’t. Animals are imprisoned, tormented and killed daily by the thousands in Canada in research labs, on farms, in transport trucks and slaughterhouses, in the ocean, in the wild, in stores, in zoos, in rodeos – the list goes on. We’re conditioned from birth not to acknowledge their suffering because someone is profiting from it, or just enjoying it.

We’re surrounded by advertising and campaigns encouraging us to accept it, whether it’s telling us to buy fur trimmed coats we don’t need, or eat animal products we don’t need, or accept unsupported claims that killing wildlife is good for the environment, or believe that testing on animals will cure our diseases.

We’re told it’s acceptable because that’s what we’ve always done - as though society’s values never change. We’re told it’s acceptable because it’s based on science - as though science is somehow a substitute for morality. Yet while science is overwhelmingly showing that other species are far more intelligent, emotionally complex and capable of suffering than we’ve ever given them credit for, the logical conclusion that we shouldn’t be exploiting them gets pushed aside.

Animal welfare legislation sanctions this violence by protecting the interests of those who inflict it, and providing defences for them. That includes P.E.I.’s Animal Welfare Act, which, like legislation in other provinces, segregates animals into different groups, based not on their needs, but on their economic value. Companion animals receive the most protection, while animals used for profit are left to suffer cruelty that would sicken us if inflicted on our pets. Fish, marine mammals and non-captive wildlife get no protection at all.

To make matters worse, the P.E.I. Humane Society only has jurisdiction over companion animals. Responsibility for most animals falls to government officers – and they don’t work on weekends. What little protection there is for most animals stops on Friday afternoons. So, if a member of the public sees an animal on a Saturday or Sunday at a fair or exhibition, on a farm, in a petting zoo, or in a travelling animal show who isn’t receiving the standard of care the Act requires, no one is going to help them.

At a recent public presentation about the Animal Welfare Act held at the Atlantic Veterinary College, someone summed it up well. Not all animals are equal under the law. It depends on whether they end up on your couch or on your plate.

Laws across the country justify this double standard with vague terms like “necessary,” “generally accepted,” and “reasonable.” But there’s no logical, scientifically credible or morally defensible argument to support the notion that violence towards other sentient beings capable of feeling physical and emotional pain is any of these things. We have no inherent right to inflict suffering on others, or decide who gets to live their own life or not. There’s no humane way to kill someone who doesn’t want to die.

We can’t continue allowing people with vested interests in animal abuse and the politicians who give it legal license to decide what we find acceptable. Otherwise we shouldn’t be surprised when children beat animals to death for fun. If we have any compassion for other living beings, we must stand up and make it clear that we don’t accept animal abuse anytime, anywhere, from anyone. It is not necessary or reasonable. If we don’t, we are the society that produces children like this.

- Elizabeth Schoales works in animal right law. She lives in Charlottetown.