CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

August 2016

Contents

  1. 1 August 31, 2016
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  2. 2 August 30, 2016
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 2.2 "We are the Rivers" - The Guardian Opinion piece by David Weale
  3. 3 August 29, 2016
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 3.2 Wrong decision on Cornwall bypass - The Guardian Opinion piece by Ryan Herlihy
  4. 4 August 28, 2016
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  5. 5 August 27, 2016
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  6. 6 August 26, 2016
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  7. 7 August 25, 2016
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 7.2 New initiative designed to boost yields and profits for P.E.I. process growers - CBC Online News article by Angela Walker
    3. 7.3 Taking care of our water and soil, part 2 - Blog by Peter Bevan-Baker
  8. 8 August 24, 2016
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  9. 9 August 23, 2016
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  10. 10 August 22, 2016
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 10.2 I Was Wrong - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 10.3 Renewed Vision - Vision PEI Facebook post by David Weale
  11. 11 August 21, 2016
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  12. 12 August 20, 2016
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 12.2 Contrast Between Photo-Op Justin And Policy Trudeau Is Night And Day - The Huffington Post "The Blog" post by James Di Fore
    3. 12.3 Thank you, Trudeau, for your bountiful gifts - The Guardian columnist Russell Wangersky
  13. 13 August 19, 2016
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 13.2 Native Council supports city’s decision - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Lisa Cooper
  14. 14 August 18, 2016
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 14.2 High capacity wells permits contrary to Water Act? - The Guardian Opinion article by Catherine O’Brien, Don Mazer & Gary Schneider
  15. 15 August 17, 2016
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  16. 16 August 16, 2016
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  17. 17 August 15, 2016
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  18. 18 August 14, 2016
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 18.2 Consume, use up and discard for bunch of pigs? - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky
    3. 18.3 Wangersky: You behind the wheel - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky
  19. 19 August 13, 2016
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  20. 20 August 12, 2016
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  21. 21 August 11, 2016
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 21.2 "It's Not a Partisan Question: P.E.I.'s Lesson on Electoral Reform" - iPolitics article by Mackenzie Scrimshaw
  22. 22 August 10, 2016
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 22.2 GLENN K. ROBERTS: Perseid meteor shower to peak over P.E.I. Aug. 12 - The Guardian article by Glenn k. Roberts
  23. 23 August 9, 2016
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 23.2 LETTER: Fish kills on P.E.I. should not be acceptable - The Journal Pioneer Letter to the Editor
  24. 24 August 8, 2016
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  25. 25 August 7, 2016
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 25.2 Fish kills raise red flags - The Guardian Main Editorial
  26. 26 August 6, 2016
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 26.2 A Tribute to Mel Hurtig - Behind the Numbers article by Ed Finn
  27. 27 August 5, 2016
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 27.2 Where's the Evidence? - The West Prince Graphic Letter to the Editor
  28. 28 August 4, 2016
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 28.2 Taking Care of Our Water and Soil - online blog from Peter Bevan-Baker
  29. 29 August 3, 2016
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
    2. 29.2 Five Things We Can Learn from Brazil's School Meal Program - The Tyee.ca article by Colleen Kimmett
  30. 30 August 2, 2016
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News
  31. 31 August 1, 2016
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CA News

August 31, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Wednesday means some Farmers' Markets are open:

Stanley Bridge 9AM-1PM
Charlottetown 9AM-2PM
Summerside 4-7PM

This was on the "Green Living" page of Monday's Guardian.  It's a screenshot and I apologize for the poor quality.
The source was not given for little article, but it sums things up very nicely.

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If you are near Murray Harbour or Murray River today, Elections PEI will be in the area.  Just look for a bright yellowish, or a small event tent.
http://www.yourchoicepei.ca/#!home/mainPage

The website is only showing events for next week, though.
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The Prince Edward Island Proportional Representation Action Team is hosting some Campaign Training events this week -- tonight in Charlottetown, Bloomfield and Summerside on Saturday.  More details here:
http://www.pronpei.vote/signup_aug_trainings

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District 17 (Kelly's Cross-Cumberland) MLA Peter Bevan-Baker is hosting a blueberry social tonight, 6-8PM, in Bonshaw at the Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road.  All welcome.

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As you may have heard on the news, the National Energy Board has called off meetings on the Energy East pipeline until it figures out what to do about the two board members who had meetings that surely looked inappropriate. More details from the alternative investigative news site, DeSmog Canada:http://www.desmog.ca/2016/08/24/why-trudeau-should-call-reviews-trans-mountain-and-energy-east

August 30, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some environmental news and thoughts, from far and near:
The Energy East pipeline talks by the National Energy Board (NEB) scheduled in Montreal have been disrupted by protesters. From the NEB website:
http://www.one-neb.gc.ca/pplctnflng/mjrpp/nrgyst/index-eng.html

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The Council of Canadians reports on the Ontario town that sold some of its water rights to Nestle for their bottling water business.

http://canadians.org/blog/town-loses-nestle-bid-buy-well-secure-water-supply

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Bluefin Tuna has not been listed on the endangered species list.
CBC News story:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/atlantic-bluefin-tuna-species-risk-endangered-species-dfo-1.3740178
People can make comments to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans about this for the next 30 days.
http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?mthd=index&crtr.page=1&nid=1117939

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David Weale wrote this essay, which was printed in the paper and on VisionPEI's Facebook page last week.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/2016-08-25/article-4624250/FISH-KILLS%3A-We-are-the-rivers/1

"We are the Rivers" - The Guardian Opinion piece by David Weale

Published on Friday, August 25th, 2016

The death announcements used to be at the back of the sports section of the Guardian, but recently they are to be found on the front page as well.

I am speaking of the fish kills (or ‘river-kills’ as Peter Bevan-Baker more accurately describes them) that appear intermittently these last few years; the years since the Island potato industry was forced by the PVYN crisis to turn away from growing seed potatoes, and was forced to ramp up production of potatoes for processing, where the margins are so slim that the land has to be driven like a slave in order to see any profit for growers. It meant that within a few years in the early 1990s there was a dramatic increase both in potato acreage, and in the amounts of pesticides and fertilizer dumped onto the landscape.

That’s when the rivers, and all the creatures living within, or alongside them, began to die.

It is also important to recognize that many of our fields are also dead. The death of worms, and of the micro-organisms in the soil, is not so visible, or dramatic, as the belly-up images of bloated trout, but those fields are even more dead that the waterways, and we need to see them for what they are.

There are many Islanders passionately concerned about this, but many others who either have their heads in the sand, or are genuinely ignorant of the central principal of ecology, and of all life: that all things are deeply and intimately interrelated. Stated plainly, the death of those rivers is the death of all of us. There is no wall, nor can there ever be a wall, between different aspects of the landscape, of which we are but one. What appears to be different things is one thing. We are those rivers, and those rivers are us.

It might be convenient for us to think otherwise; to imagine that other forms of life can be destroyed with impunity, or that we can pollute the landscape without polluting ourselves. But that is an illusion. It is also a manifestation of human conceit to imagine we are somehow in a position above the other life forms, and able to manipulate them as we wish, without repercussions.

It is difficult in a society so driven by competition and dominance to even glimpse the deeper realities of symbiosis and cooperation, but if we don’t soon change the way we are regarding the world and our place within it, we will soon ‘compete’ ourselves right out of existence. The universe will be fine, but the expression of life known as humanity will be gone. And though that will bring relief to many species, it is not yet something I am ready to accept with resignation, though that day might be coming.

When I served for two years as Principal Secretary to former Island Premier, the late J. Angus MacLean, I heard him speak often, and with firm conviction, of the great ‘web of life’ of which we are all a part. He understood very well the interconnectedness of all things, and that, in my opinion made him a man of wisdom, superbly fit to be a leader of the community. And though it may sound very strange to some, he also regarded himself as the representative of all the non-human life forms in the province, which is about as far as you can get from the usual partyism and cronyism of Island politics, and why I worked with him gladly.

I am not a member of any political party, yet I recognize thankfully that there is one politician in the province who possesses, and extols, the vision of interconnectedness. That man is Peter Bevan-Baker, and I respect him for that as I respected Angus. There might be other like minded individuals in our legislature of whom I am not aware, and if that is the case I would encourage them to speak up.

Speak up for the rivers, and the fields, and all the other flora and fauna that we are so heedlessly destroying. And if you do that you will be speaking up for Islanders, for we are the rivers. 

And if we do that perhaps we will all be able to go back to reading the death announcements at the back of the sports section.

- David Weale is the publisher of RED magazine, and a member of VISION P.E.I.

August 29, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

An interesting point of view from Cornwall resident Ryan Herlihy on the phases of the Cornwall bypass, and one of the original plans to build a second bridge upstream on the North River.  Many may not agree with the environmental impact of a second bridge, or yet more paving over acres of farmland, or putting more roads near people's homes; however, he accurately describes the chasing federal dollars and writing a project to fit the money (not the needs or land), the lack of transparency and discussions on any sort of plans, not to mention the supercilious tone of the chief engineer. These are actually "business as usual" for the MacLauchlin government, as they were for the Ghiz government.

from:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/2016-08-26/article-4625370/Wrong-decision-on-Cornwall-bypass/1

Wrong decision on Cornwall bypass - The Guardian Opinion piece by Ryan Herlihy

Why isn’t original plan being completed when Charlottetown bypass extension was built in 1999?

Published on Friday, August 26th, 2016

I'd like to open by saying, while I live in Cornwall, my home won’t be directly impacted by the finalized Cornwall bypass route, based on the current plans.  I’m not one of the landowners that were invited to previous sessions from the government, or have any property that would be purchased to make this plan happen. However, I feel a lack of feedback opportunity from the general populace on a project of this scale is not encouraging.  

I went to the information session this week and was disappointed with its method of presentation, and the lack of any policy makers in attendance. This is clearly being brought forward as a project that is going to happen, regardless of what the population may or may not want.  

From my perspective, it appears it’s similar to the "Plan B" highway, where things are being built just because there’s an opportunity for federal dollars.  It’s not wise to buy things just because they’re on sale, if it’s not what you need/want.  

I fail to see why the original plan isn’t being completed from when the Charlottetown bypass extension was built in 1999; a bridge completed north of the existing Poplar Island causeway/bridge. Yes a bridge is expensive, but money would be saved by not building three new roundabouts (the proposed plan will end up with four roundabouts within 4 kms, between the North River intersection and Upton Road), and the associated land to go with them. 

Land was already acquired for a lead-up to a bridge during the Charlottetown bypass extension project (now a long since sunk cost), and purchasing land for the bypass around Cornwall is going to have to happen anyway, so do it from where a bridge would land rather than split part of Cornwall. Speaking to members of Cornwall Town Council in the past, I was told that there was never a desire to split any part of the town. Based on them approving these proposals, it would appear the town is now caving on that decision.  

Talking to a few engineers at the information session last night, I'm told that a new bridge could not be built because they might not get permits and authorization from Agriculture and Fisheries due to potential water-way impact, as well as lack of proof that the existing causeway/bridge can’t handle the traffic capacity.  

Regarding the first point, might not is not a reason to go ahead with spending millions of dollars on unnecessary roundabouts, until there is confirmation a new bridge cannot happen. What investigation was actually done to confirm a bridge cannot be built?  One of the same engineers I spoke to pointed out how after one year of changing the small spillway that was on the North River causeway into the bridge that is there today, shellfish returned to the northern side of the causeway and health of the waterway was vastly improved.  How would building a new, proper bridge change this to the negative? Particularly if any impact would settle out within a year of the project at the likely worst, based on newer environmental standards and handling?

And regarding the second point, once we move forward with the roundabouts being built, we’ll no longer be in a position to ever have a proper bypass extension built with a bridge, with so much more infrastructure invested in the current causeway. Why continue with upgrades to a road that is not the best route option?  

After the last time the Liberal government pushed through a large cost highway re-route project, with land expropriation, and lack of consultation to the populace impacted, I didn't vote for them at the general election despite consistently having done so before. I hoped the policy of a new Liberal leader might change handling on these types of project. Yes, I understand that government is voted in to make these decisions on behalf of the public, but I feel this is the wrong decision. 

- Ryan Herlihy grew up in the Cornwall area, and returned with his young family eight years ago.  He currently works for IBM from his home office.


Another note:

Victoria Playhouse and Anne and Gilbert are offering a special detail for the the last week of the play The (Post) Mistress.

The (Post) Mistress is a one-woman play performed by acclaimed actress and singer Martha Irving.  The director is Catherine O'Brien, who is playing the role of Rachel Lynde in The Anne and Gilbert production.  (Catherine serves at chairperson of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI water.)

http://victoriaplayhouse.com/

August 28, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

My vegetable garden, and its volunteer poppies, from July 2016.

Almost a year ago, on September 22nd, the Council of Canadians' hosted a forum on Water in Charlottetown.  The moderator was Catherine O'Brien of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, and those speaking included Council Chairperson Maude Barlow and P.E.I. farmer and environmentalist Stephen MacKinnon, who unexpectedly died earlier this year.

Maude related a story about a person of great power in industry, who had a watershed moment (pun intended) about the state of the environment one day while cuddling his grandchildren.  Referring to the detrimental project, he had a change of heart and promised them, "Poppy won't let that happen."
We started calling it The Poppy Moment -- when a maturing person realizes that they must work to leave this Earth better for their grandchildren.
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That same night, Provincial Community, Lands and Environment Minister Robert Mitchell addressed the audience and shared his revelation here, (specifically the last 30 seconds), relating the impending birth of his third grandchild to his determination to protect P.E.I.'s environment:
"....will be doing the right thing when it comes the protection of the quality of water and quantity on Prince Edward Island."
from Pesticide Free PEI's posting, with thanks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJBHX7Y59EY

After that he became known to many as "Poppy" Mitchell, who has promised to stand up to political pressure and do the right thing, and whom we hope will keep that promise to his grandchildren, and all Islanders.

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David Suzuki had his Poppy Moment a long time ago, and works with his Foundation to encourage all generations to go hand-in-hand outside and appreciate nature.  He has a "Get Back Outside" pledge you can do with children, modifying the activities for the size and age of the group, classroom or otherwise.

http://getbackoutside.ca/


"In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." --Senegalese forestry engineer Baba Dioum

August 27, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open all across the province today:

Murray Harbour -- 9AM - noon
Stratford -- 9AM - 1PM
Morell -- 9AM - 1PM
Cardigan -- 10AM - 2PM
Morell -- 9AM - 2PM
Stratford (Robert Cotton Park) -- 9AM - 1PM
Charlottetown -- 9AM - 2PM
Summerside -- 9AM - 1PM

And tomatoes and many other summer crops are abundant.
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Also today:
The Wheatley River River Day and Duck Race is from 12noon onward at Rackham's Pond. http://www.wheatleyriver.ca/

Art in the Open, the free outdoor contemporary set of art exhibits, 4PM-midnight, various locations in Charlottetown.
https://artintheopenpei.com/

Market on the Plaza, gorgeous crafts displayed by vendors in the Confederation Centre Plaza area, 12noon to 9PM.  More details:
Facebook event details
 
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Elections PEI (not Elections Canada as I mistyped earlier this week) will be at the Sunday Downtown Farmers' Market on Queen Street., Sunday, August 28th, from 11AM to 4PM.   More details here:
http://www.yourchoicepei.ca/#!events/hy72w

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The national media occasionally produces a story on federal election reform, and I am a bit alarmed at the content or tone.  There seems to be a sense that it's much too complicated for the general public and "worse than Meech Lake".

But the best quote from Elizabeth May, MP from Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Federal Green Party:
from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/wherry-green-party-electoral-reform-1.3708974
a good article from earlier this month but with a silly title of how electoral reform could benefit "May's Greens"

"Once you get rid of the first-past-the-post voting system, you allow people to vote for what they want," she said. "You empower people to use their vote to deliver, not only a message, but MPs who will work for what they want to see done in the country." -- Elizabeth May

And we have that chance provincially, first, in the Plebiscite October 29th to November 7th.

August 26, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Cardigan Farmers' Market is open this morning. 10AM to 2PM.

Some other notes:

Tonight and tomorrow:
Gaelic Folkways Festival and Summer Institute,
various times, Macphail Homestead.
More details: http://www.macphailgaelic.com/

Saturday, August 27th:
Wheatley River Improvement Group's (WHIG's) Festival, noon --onward,
Rackham's Community Pond. Donations accepted.
BBQ -- Noon, River Duck Race -- 1PM
Officially called the Wheatley River Improvement Group's River Festival and Duck Race, the event boasts many fun family activities.

There will be a scavenger hunt, kid-friendly activities, and watershed information displayed at the pond as well.  The River Duck Race will begin at 1:00pm, so bring your family and friends out to enjoy the fun!  The rubber ducks are released into Rackham’s Community Pond and race down to the Wheatley River Bridge.<snip>  More information: www.wheatleyriver.ca, or contact our Watershed Manager, Kayla, by calling 902-963-3198 for more information!

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Yesterday was the deadline for Islanders aged 16-34 to apply for the provincial Youth Futures Council.  The application was rather extensive, and I thought having a deadline on a Thursday in the midst of summer holidays a bit odd.  If it had been extended a few weeks, kids in high school and post-secondary schools could have been engaged more.
There is a daylong conference open for people from this same age group, to discuss the future for young people on the Island, called "Y Day", on a public school professional development day, Friday, October 21st.  The deadline to register to attend is in mid-September.  More details here:

http://www.yday.ca/


And about using Biomass to create electricity in Nova Scotia:

Cartoon by Bruce MacKinnon, Chronicle-Herald

The following was passed on by a friend in that province and I haven't verified the numbers, and it applies to using biomass for electricity generation (something not promoted in the P.E.I. Energy Strategy draft):
- 26% of clear cutting in NS is for the creation of biomass for electricity production.
- This equates to 18,000 acres annually.
- Wet, green trees that are burned to make electricity create 50% more CO2 per unit of electricity than the burning of coal to make the same amount of electricity.
- It takes 100 years for the "carbon debt" of the burning of 1 tree to be paid off via the re-growth of other trees. Meanwhile, we lose the CO2 sequestering powers of that tree for those 100 years.
And in NS, the burning of biomass is defined as a "renewable" energy source.

August 25, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Elections Canada has a Plebiscite information booth, 12PM-3PM, County Fair Mall, Summerside.

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This is the business-as-usual kind-of-article from a few weeks ago:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/potato-process-growers-yields-agronomy-initiative-1.3718842

New initiative designed to boost yields and profits for P.E.I. process growers - CBC Online News article by Angela Walker

Published on Friday, August 12th, 2016

The P.E.I. government, P.E.I. Potato Board, Cavendish Farms and its process growers have all teamed up for a new three-year initiative designed to increase yields and profits.
Money has been earmarked to do targeted research to improve yields on the Island and at the same time protect the environment.
Potato board officials say yields on the Island for process growers haven't been increasing the way they have been in some other parts of North America.
The project will also ensure all that information gets to growers in a timely manner said Ryan Barrett, the research coordinator at the P.E.I. Potato Board and the project lead of the Enhanced Agronomy Initiative.
"All parties want to see increased marketable yields of potatoes so that's not just gross yield of potatoes but also high quality potatoes," said Barrett. "And so the processor wants to see that but the growers very much do as well."
About $180,000 has been set aside each year for the project for the next three years. If successful,the work could move beyond that period, said Barrett.
Some research projects are already underway, while others will be developed later this year.

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And another perspective: http://www.peterbevanbaker.ca/blog/2016/08/taking-care-of-our-water-and-soil-part-2/

Taking care of our water and soil, part 2 - Blog by Peter Bevan-Baker

by Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA for District 17 (Kelly's Cross-Cumberland)

published on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016, on-line

My last blog was about the problems associated with current agricultural practices on PEI, and because I never like to criticize or complain without offering a positive alternative, I promised to write my next blog on how farming might be done differently on PEI.

I’d like to start by outlining the principles from which I think the future of Island farming should be drawn. I’d like to see agriculture on PEI which:

  1. Provides a good living for hard-working farmers.
  2. Grows a diversity of high-value, high-quality produce.
  3. Protects the health of Island soil and waterways.
  4. Plays a central role in revitalizing rural communities.

Perhaps it’s best to start by assessing how the status quo measures up to these criteria.

  1. While it is true that the value of farm exports has risen substantially over recent years, that is not what determines net farm incomes. If you compare farm receipts to profits (Time and a place: An environmental history of PEI, p197) , it is crystal clear that the take-home pay from farming has been steadily decreasing. Profit margins are wafer-thin (much lower than other provinces’ potato farmers), despite increasing yields. Just last week the Potato Board and government announced that they are plowing $540,000 into a 3-year program to increase yields, but what we need to do is increase farm incomes, not yields.
  1. On PEI we farm one dominant crop – potatoes, which account for over three quarters of total crop value (see Annual Statistical Review 2015, Table 60).
  1. I talked in my last blog about the environmental consequences of industrial agriculture on PEI, and I won’t repeat it here.
  1. The spread of industrial agriculture across PEI has coincided with the withering of rural communities. In other words, the status quo is moving us in exactly the opposite direction from what I believe is healthy, prosperous and sustainable.

So how could things be different? How can we move to a farming model on PEI which supports farmers, protects and enhances the health of our land and water, and regenerates rural PEI? Answering that question requires two distinct but related threads of thought: one is a long-term vision, and the other is a plan to get from where we are now to that vision.

The Green Party vision flows from the principles above, and would mean more farmers and more farms growing a wider variety of produce which would focus on high-value, low-volume products recognized for their purity and health. It would also mean more livestock and mixed farming operations to restore balance to an unstable system. That doesn’t mean the end to growing potatoes on PEI, and it doesn’t mean all farms must be small: it means focusing on income per acre, and an end to our failed attempt to compete in a global commodities marketplace where PEI has some insurmountable disadvantages. Some say we can and should become the organic Island, and for many of us that is an attractive idea, which leads us to the second aspect of new farming on PEI – how to get there from here.

To a certain extent the transition is already happening, as consumers demand to know more about the origins and health of their food, and as new young farmers embrace the challenge of supplying this new market. But there are many obstacles in the way of existing farmers making the transition from the potato processing sector to something else. Many of these farmers are stewards of a multi-generational family farm, to which they are deeply attached. They have invested heavily in machinery and other infrastructure which is dedicated to a very specialized crop. They also care profoundly about the environment of the Island they call home.  Many have contracts with a particular buyer in a market where no others exist. All of these things make exiting their current situation almost impossible without some form of help.

If government is serious about creating a sustainable, prosperous farming community on PEI, it will have to step up and help guide the transition towards that goal. Creating a land bank to help new farmers establish themselves (recommendation 21 in the Carver Report, pp.49-50), supporting existing farmers financially in the transition to new methods of working the land, and ensuring that any job losses that may occur as a result of a change in direction are mitigated for properly are just some ways that government must be involved. (New agriculture is far more labour intensive, and on balance hundreds if not thousands of new jobs would be created).  I am not suggesting that this is an easy task, but I am suggesting that we cannot carry on doing what we are doing today. Our land, our water and our farmers deserve better.

-Peter

August 24, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Cassandra PEI summary document, "Charting a Better Future for Prince Edward Island", is found at:
http://freepdfhosting.com/2b910bf747.pdf
It can be viewed or downloaded from that site. The document has graphics and is over 2Mb in size, (not that big, but people's internet varies), so I can send the document as an attachment if you wish.
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Today:
Stanley Bridge's Farmers' Market is open from 9AM to 1PM,
Charlottetown's Farmers' Market from 9AM to 2PM, and
Summerside's from 4-7PM.

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Last night I went to the information session at the Rodd's Royalty Inn basement room for the two roundabouts (Phase 1) of the Cornwall Bypass project.  These kind of sessions feature some maps printed on foamboard set up on easels, and a powerpoint of some aspect, and a lot of staff around that will answer questions, some water, and hard candies that wouldn't unwrap.

The local media will have lots of details but here are some photos of the maps and (more) comments from me; errors are mine:

The whole project looks like this:

Cornwall Bypass Phase 1 Roundabouts on TCH between Cornwall and Charlottetown.
BoomBurger/Factory shops"Poplar Island" on left, Nissan/Upton Farms "Maypoint" on right.  Little red lines indicate roundabouts.

Two roundabouts, $5million, tenders to be awarded tomorrow, work to start Wednesday, September 7th (I was hearing Tuesday the 6th, too), with hope to be completed by the usual times the asphalt plant closes just before Remembrance Day.

The Poplar Island one:

Poplar Island roundabout design sketch.

 BoomBurger is not in this 2010 satellite image, apparently, but it's in the left side of the gray squares representing parking. As you can guess, they will have to build the road up and out to the land's edge on that south side.  They are bringing in some shale, and some Rock From Away to make an "Armourwall" (if I have that right -- it was a noisy room) retaining wall.
It's apparently three and a half metres above sea level, and when pressed, staff said they did build it with some idea of Climate Change in mind.  It's very close to the water's edge. 
There will be a separated, two-way bike lane on the southside (it is the tiniest of green lines in the photo), which is a good start for encouraging cycling and walking.  (Congrats to people like Josh Underhay for putting public pressure on the cycling issue.) 
The bike path will have to connect with something further west towards the North River Bridge and into Cornwall, but that will likely come with the "Sam's Intersection" construction planned for next spring.
-------------
Here is what the Maypoint Roundabout diagram looks like:

The Maypoint Intersection will see a roundabout trim into Nissan's shiny new parking lot (which they extended after cutting down a row of trees several months ago), but Upton Farm appears to be untouched.

Traffic WILL be disrupted, and any folks commuting in from Cornwall and west really ought to start planning for 10-15 minutes earlier start to deal with slowness, as the Boomburger intersection will go from four lanes to two lanes pretty soon in the project start (they will shift traffic to two lanes on the westbound lanes to begin with, it sounds like, while they pad out the land for the roundabout and bike lane). And the Maypoint intersection work will start simultaneously.
----
The Maypoint intersection will have an extensive temporary road encircling the whole project, which various spurs going in various directions:

Maypoint Roundabout construction temporary road complex design

So you can imagine a lot of flag people.  Except nobody uses flags.
------
The project did not require an Environmental Impact Assessment, due to not meeting size criteria, but a can-work-in-watercourse permit has been applied for from DFO and the provincial department.

August 23, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
Public Information Session on the Cornwall Bypass Roundabouts, 7-9PM,
Rodd Royalty, Capital Drive in Charlottetown. 
Presumably, there will be a powerpoint running and maps on easels and staff from the Department of Transportation there to answer questions.  The department is quick to point out this session is only about the two roundabouts (one at the Maypoint/Upton/TCH  intersection and the other somewhere around the intersection into the very poorly thought-out development at Poplar Island), but there are issues of environmental protection and of traffic flow during construction.
---------------
The fishkill discovered in western P.E.I. yesterday is under investigation; no further details of the fishkill along the Clyde River last month have been released at this point that I have seen.

Yesterday's fishkill brought to mind all the work that has been done already to find "the path forward" to island agricultural and environmental sustainability from the small group behind Cassandra PEI.   Here is their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/Cassandra-PEI-1450894901842563/?fref=ts

And an excerpt from Cassandra PEI's work, from March 2015:

They were referred to the Environment Department.
------------
I can find the PDF of the summary document of CassandraPEI's work and send it out to interested people.

August 22, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Checking with people who are looking at the big picture and the well-being of our Island:

From Saturday's Guardian, but not on-line yet:

I Was Wrong - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Saturday, August 20th, 2016

OK I know it’s hard to believe. My friends and legion of fans will be shocked! How could this be possible? Joking aside, the sad and disappointing truth is that I was wrong about our Premier, Wade MacLauchlan. I supported him in the last election. I argued with friends and acquaintances on behalf of him, and told all who would listen that he would be a fine Premier. Transformative, I declared!

The major factor influencing my opinion was his book: Alex Campbell-The Premier Who Rocked the Cradle. Read it cover-to-cover in one sitting….loved it. I remember those days. Premier Campbell was a home town hero to me; a larger than life person who literally transformed PEI…some say for the better, others disagree. In any event, he was and is a true Island patriot and a man of the utmost integrity; a man with vision! I argued that if MacLauchlan was half the man Campbell was, PEI would be well served.

A further factor I considered was that Mr. MacLauchlan is independently wealthy: beholden to no one I believed; a man raised on the periphery of the political scene who had seen it all and was unlikely to wallow in the political mire of PEI politics; a man ready to make a difference; a transformative leader in waiting. To date, in my view, he has failed us.

All I have seen and heard is politics as usual. Patronage abounds. Corporate farmers are treated as privileged citizens to the detriment of all others. Despite all the talk about transparency there is a culture of secrecy. Sketchy loans and appointments to party insiders are commonplace.

I am appalled; where is the vision? Where are the lessons learned from Alex Campbell?  

PEI, in the view of many, is in an extended period of decline. Low wages. Break even (at best) in our primary industries. Our young and educated leaving because of the lack of opportunity.

Islanders crave a long term vision; a big picture roadmap to a diversified economy based on excellence. An island free from the destruction of our watersheds and environment. An island governed responsibly, and free of the ugly, secretive privilege afforded to a small cadre of insiders.

Mr. MacLauchlan please stand up and prove me wrong again.   

Dale Small is one of the founders of Vision PEI

-----

From Facebook's Vision PEI page, posted Sunday, August 21st, 2016:

https://www.facebook.com/visionPEI/

Renewed Vision - Vision PEI Facebook post by David Weale

by David Weale one of the founders of Vision PEI

Unlike Rip van Winkle we did not go to sleep for 20 years, just for a little while, but we are awake again and prepared to get a renewed Vision back in front of the citizens of PEI once again. The poor - disturbingly poor - performance of the present administration demands it, as was outlined by Dale in his recent letter to the Guardian.
If you haven’t seen it checkout the Vision timeline on Facebook.
Soon you will receive a document entitled ‘The Way Forward’ which will lay out the objectives and strategies of the group.

One thing we can say right now is that we realize there are many excellent and committed groups who are speaking to a variety of issues important to the future well being and prosperity of the Island. We see no need to attempt to duplicate the efforts of any of them, but rather to join forces with them.

Vision’s niche, or defining concern, is with the long term. Or, expressed negatively, we are appalled by the absence of any semblance of long term, visionary planning by the present administration. It is our conviction that good decision-making depends entirely on thoughtful Islanders creating a shared, overarching vision about the kind of society and economy they want.

Our purpose is to assist in the building of that consensus, and to enlist the help of like-minded Islanders.

We welcome your comments, and we’ll be in touch again soon.
--David Weale

August 21, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

(This is longer than many posts, and so I hope you can make a little time today to read through it.  Thank you -- CO)

Just to clarify that getting this newsletter does not mean you have to be a member of the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. (CAPEI) (which is free and open to all Islanders), nor does it imply you agree with everything CAPEI proposes. But we hope it's useful and perhaps inspiring at times.

When we started this, when we couldn't "Stop Plan B", we looked at what allowed an expensive highway few people wanted and fewer even needed to be built through such lovely woods and fields and people's homes.  We sketched out three main areas a new organization could be different and make a difference. It could:

  • point out flaws in environmental laws (and explore and promote environmental rights with groups like Blue Dot)
  • point out how our current electoral system allows these lopsided and false government majorities, and promote alternatives (and we have promoted citizen engagement in these issues and also presented to the Democratic Renewal committee),
  • and work to support other groups (like helping form the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water to shed light on the high capacity well issue) and communicate information with Islanders

It's the second objective that is out there right now waving its little hand in a roomful of the arm-waving of other initiatives -- the provincial energy strategy, the climate change federal and provincial plans, the water act and amalgamation stuff, to name a few.  All of these are really important, but when it comes down to it, most of the areas we encourage folks to get involved in to improve things stem from having complacent, large governing majorities that basically go unchecked.  If our elected representatives reflected voters more accurately, our politicians perhaps would not have these decades of being in power with little effective opposition.  Of course, that leaves the other Party -- the Opposition -- in the political desert. Then the two major Parties on P.E.I. switch places, apparently figuring it is better to hope to have a majority half the time, then to work on effective collaborative government all of the time.  As one wise woman put it:

"Our politicians are more interested in power than governance."  At least the ones who follow the "conventional wisdom."

A more proportional system would require our politicians to work together all the time.

---

Some of us are not comfortable telling people that they must vote one way or another, but I hope people reading this will seriously look at this chance to try something that sounds reasonable, and see if it results in more accurate voter wishes and better governance. And go vote. And I hope that people will be motivated to help get others thinking about it.  We have this chance to send a message this Fall.

A lot of Islanders are busy with other day-to-day responsibilities, and their civic ones take a backseat; but these are people who need to be encouraged to think about this plebiscite, too.

Here are some points:

  • we have a non-binding referendum taking place over a few days in late October to early November
  • It's on how we elect our provincial legislators, and the result could be a strong message to our legislators to act on democratic renewal
  • Islanders 16 and older can vote, and voting is on-line or by phone or in person (the last way is just for a couple of the days)
  • There are five Voting Systems listed (in alphabetical order) as choices
  • You, the elector, gets to rank them in the order you prefer, 1 and 2 being your favourites, then 3, 4 and your least favourite 5
  • The systems include:
    •  two types of PR or proportional representation  (where the percentage of votes for a party is reflected in the makeup of the provincial legislature)
    • a ranked ballot system
    • the current system we use (often called First Past the Post or Winner Take All), and a modification of it.

There is relatively non-partial material at ElectionsPEI's website:
http://www.yourchoicepei.ca/
---
And here is from the
P.E.I. Proportional Representation Action Team (let me know if the links don't work):

The campaign for PR on PEI is warming up, getting ready to hit the ground running once the Summer holidays are over. Here are three ways to get involved before the Labour Day weekend:

1.      I can collect at least 10 pledges at home and in my community.

2.      I will help make 10 phone calls to other campaign volunteers and supporters.

3.      I will come to a 2-hour campaign training event. (All volunteers should aim to attend one, before the campaign really kicks off in September!)

We hope that all volunteers can get involved in at least one of these ways during August. We aim to respect your time and make sure that every minute you spend working on the campaign is as high-impact as possible. Get involved today!

If we win Proportional Representation in the plebiscite this November, it will be thanks to the energy and efforts of wonderful people like you! 

With thanks for your support and enthusiasm,

Anna K
Volunteer Coordinator

PR Action Team
http://www.pronpei.vote/

August 20, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets open today:

Murray Harbour -- 9AM - noon
Stratford -- 9AM - 1PM
Morell -- 9AM - 1PM
Cardigan -- 10AM - 2PM
Morell -- 9AM - 2PM
Stratford (Robert Cotton Park) -- 9AM - 1PM
Charlottetown -- 9AM - 2PM
Summerside -- 9AM - 1PM

Also today:
Macphail Woods Volunteer Planting Day, 1-4PM, Macphail Homestead in Orwell, free.
"Come out and help expand our native plant arboretum, one of the most beautiful settings for native plants in the province.
Anyone interested in native plants, wildlife enhancement or Acadian forests is encouraged to attend. These plantings will be used in our educational activities for young and old. They will also improve wildlife habitat, increase biodiversity and provide future seed sources for both rare and common native plants.<snip> Volunteers should dress according to weather conditions. Macphail Woods staff will be on-site to lead the work and there will be lots of shovels and other tools available."  More details from their website
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Tuesday, August 23rd,
Public Information Session, Cornwall Bypass Phase 1, 7-9PM,

Rodd Royalty, 14 Capital Drive in Charlottetown, open to the public.
For information  about the two roundabouts at the Upton Road intersection and at Poplar Island (Cows and Boom Burger, etc.). The routes, timelines and plans for minimizing traffic during construction.  My understanding is that they will not be talking about the second phase of new highway north and west of Cornwall.


Some press and reflection about our Prime Minister's visit to Atlantic Canada this week and a review of his work so far:

From the Huffington Post, an opinion piece about the gloss covering:
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/james-di-fiore/justin-trudeau-transparency_b_11594200.html

Contrast Between Photo-Op Justin And Policy Trudeau Is Night And Day - The Huffington Post "The Blog" post by James Di Fore

by James  Di Fiore, published in The Blog Thursday, August 18th, 2016

An excerpt:

Inadvertently, the piece <an article about the official photographer and his vast access to Trudeau> outlined one of the most glaring problems with the Trudeau government: its brain trust has placed such a high value on presenting a certain image to the public that they have replaced transparency with celebrity, a strategy meant to seduce and distract rather than inform the public.

This calculation is duplicitous; it showcases an accessible leader but one with little time to get into the specifics of the policies that run counter to Trudeau's reputation of a real progressive. Keep giving the media the casual, approachable Trudeau, but keep the centre-right material in the vault.

It is the best of Trudeau, it is the worst of Trudeau, and until his gushing fans and the complicit media start doing their jobs by demanding transparency, we will be stuck having to tolerate both.<snip>

-----
Russell Wangersky, TC regional columnist, wasn't so arched in his criticism, but hit a lot of points:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Columnists/2016-08-19/article-4619706/Russell-Wangersky%3A-Thank-you%2C-Trudeau%2C-for-your-bountiful-gifts/1

Thank you, Trudeau, for your bountiful gifts - The Guardian columnist Russell Wangersky

Published on Friday, August 19th, 2016

There are things to dislike about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent Atlantic tour.

Selfies with adoring or star-struck Atlantic Canadians aren’t one of them.

There’s been a fair amount of heat over the prime minister’s spin through the Atlantic region, most of it directed towards whether or not a prime minister should be travelling on the government dime for a public relations tour. Why not? If people want a chance to see their prime minister — and, judging by the crowds he’s attracted, they clearly do — it’s a nice change to see an incumbent who has the time of day for his constituents.

I wish he’d stop something else, something that’s become a staple for almost all governments, federal and provincial.

And that’s the expectation that we’re supposed to be grovelingly grateful when a government actually does its job.

For me, the most repulsive part of the current tour is the events where the prime minister whips out the federal wallet and drops a few twenties among the assembled serfs.

On Aug. 15, it was a meeting with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball to talk about equalization assistance and the possibility of more federal support for Muskrat Falls.

Aug. 16, it was $119 million in funding in Nova Scotia, with Trudeau announcing $119 million for wastewater infrastructure work and public transit projects.

Then it was off to Prince Edward Island for another prime-minister-fronted announcement of $20 million in additional federal funding for new underwater power supply cables linking the island with New Brunswick.

These aren’t decisions that are struck the way they are described, during a 20-minute sit-down between the premier of P.E.I. and the prime minister. “Hey, Premier Wade, what’s up?” “Well, Prime Minister Justin, I really think the federal government should kick in another $20 million.” “Well, Wade, I have to say you’ve certainly convinced me. … Let’s go out and announce this puppy.”

No, it doesn’t happen that way at all, no matter how much our elected leaders like to play let’s pretend. It’s just the theatre that covers the fact a politician wants to be right there to take credit for agreeing to spend your own money on your needs.

Fact is, building infrastructure using tax dollars is the job of governments, and it’s a job that should be based on the practical needs of the population — needs that have been ranked objectively and without political priority.

It’s just the theatre that covers the fact a politician wants to be right there to take credit for agreeing to spend your own money on your needs.

If a new highway bridge needs to be built to keep a stretch of roadway safe, there’s no reason we should be expected to be grateful for a politician agreeing to fund the project.

It is taxpayers’ dollars being used to address taxpayers’ needs. If there is a legitimate role for the federal government to play in regional power infrastructure, whether it’s in P.E.I. or in Labrador, then they should play that role, quietly and professionally. If a municipality needs help buying a fire truck, the province should help — but it doesn’t need a grinning provincial cabinet minister passing over the keys to the forelock-touching masses.

Kiss babies? Serve ice cream? Pose in selfies? Fill your boots. If people show up to see the prime minister, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be there to meet with them.

Just don’t ask the population to kiss your ring. You’re working for us, with our money. Remember?

August 19, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This was an op-ed piece in yesterday's Guardian, and written by Lisa Cooper, president and chief of the P.E.I. Native Council.  She explains her group's concerns with the proposed Friendship Centre on the Charlottetown waterfront and explains the differences in membership and representation between the Native Council and the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I.  (In addition, there is a concern by many of us in waterfront development and shared public spaces in general.)  http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/2016-08-18/article-4618602/Native-Council-supports-city%26rsquo%3Bs-decision/1
http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/CLE_AquaB_Extr.pdf

Also, the Native Council Pow Wow is at Panmure Island from 1PM-5PM this weekend.

Native Council supports city’s decision - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Lisa Cooper

Published on Thursday, August 18th, 2016

In light of recent generalized claims and rhetoric expressed by the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island (MCPEI), the Native Council of Prince Edward Island (NCPEI), would like to provide clarity, and to set the record straight regarding our organization’s objectives, stance and situation surrounding recent events.

The NCPEI considers Charlottetown City Council’s decision to be sensible and based on due diligence; and is not “narrow-minded” as MCPEI asserts. Our position opposes the creation of an Aboriginal Friendship Centre in P.E.I., because of its redundancy in services, and questionable use of resource dollars.

We are a self-governing organization, operating independent of the First Nation Indian Act Bands. For over 40 years the NCPEI has provided representation to all Status, non-Status, Inuit, and Metis Indigenous peoples from various nations, including First Nations residing off-reserve on traditional Mi’kmaq territory, and who are treaty right holders, like myself.

The membership for NCPEI is broken down into two forms of representation: Citizenship, who are Mi’kmaq Indians determined by the Daniels Declaration and continue to be heirs to the original Mi’kmaq inhabits of P.E.I. The other form being membership who are Status, non-Status, and Metis from other Indigenous communities, who freely chose NCPEI as the best organization to represent their interests.

With the effect of the Indian Act and creation of reservations on P.E.I., this prompted two distinct Aboriginal Representative Organizations being created on P.E.I.: The First Nation Bands and Native Council of P.E.I. - both having distinct histories, cultures, norms and communities. This distinction was supported in 1983 by then Premier James Lee, who stated, “…we want to guarantee that all Aboriginal peoples – status Indians, non-status Indians, Inuit, and Metis – are treated equally in the future.” This has not always been the case however.

The inequality of funding allocations and opportunities has always been a challenge for NCPEI. Having programs cut and removed like NCPEI’s National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program is discouraging and impacts our membership negatively. Not having the same access to the millions of dollars provided over the years to the First Nation Bands and MCPEI is a failure of the above statement of being treated “equally,” despite the fact that 80 per cent of the 2,230 self-identified Aboriginal or Indigenous peoples residing in P.E.I. are in fact living off-reserve.

I am equally shocked and disappointed by the vague and unsubstantiated claims given by MCPEI. What “factual” and “legal” errors have been misunderstood? NCPEI was formed in 1973 and has always operated with the self-governing mandate of representing, advocating and servicing off-reserve Aboriginal or Indigenous peoples. This mandate has never changed since the organization’s formation.

Notwithstanding, the simple fact that NCPEI has delivered programs and services in: housing, employment, education, health and wellness, addictions, and child & family services for over 40 years is a testimonial to the success of our organization. If only funding were to be allocated by Aboriginal population who live on and off reserve – our programs and services would have the ability to challenge or surpass existing programs and services – but the unequal playing field continues to impede the full potential of our organization’s objective. However, with our limited resources, NCPEI has continued to be efficient and effective in developing and providing much needed services to the entire off-reserve community.

I am optimistic with further establishing our partnership with the provincial and federal government, and continue to improve the social economic needs of our community. We are simply seeking to ensure that we are acting in the best interest of the entire off-reserve Indigenous population of P.E.I. We are asserting our rights, and wish to partner with all levels of government and organizations to meet the needs of our community.

NCPEI represents and advocates for Status, non-Status, Inuit, and Metis Peoples residing off-reserve on traditional Mi’kmaq territory in P.E.I. and is committed to ensuring the off-reserve Indigenous Peoples of Canada are no longer situated in the jurisdictional wasteland that continues to marginalize and subjugate P.E.I.’s Indigenous peoples residing off-reserve as stated in Daniel’s declaration and assert our Section. 35 and 91(24) Constitutional rights.

Lisa Cooper is president and chief of the Native Council of P.E.I.

August 18, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

From this week's Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/2016-08-16/article-4616537/High-capacity-wells-permits-contrary-to-Water-Act%3F/1

High capacity wells permits contrary to Water Act? - The Guardian Opinion article by Catherine O’Brien, Don Mazer & Gary Schneider

Published on Tuesday, August 16th, 2016 (bold is mine)

On June 17, the Department of Environment issued permits for the operation of four high capacity wells and approved the application of AquaBounty for expanding its aquaculture operation in Rollo Bay.
On July 22, The Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water wrote to the Minister expressing our concerns, and requesting a public response.
We still await this response. This is an abbreviated version of our letter.

Dear Minister Mitchell:

We regard approval of this application as a breach of faith. This action seems in direct contradiction to the goals and values of the consultation process conducted by your department through the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) in the development of the Water Act. The major impetus for developing a Water Act was the widely shared concern about the possible lifting of the moratorium on high capacity wells for agriculture. This concern was reflected in numerous thoughtful presentations made to the EAC.  This is exactly the kind of issue we believed a Water Act would address.

Many presentations and the EAC report emphasized the importance of transparent processes and meaningful community engagement on water issues.  The approval of the AquaBounty application fails to meet these standards.

The EAC report recommends that the province should:
- Insure transparency on the status of our water and the decision-making process that affects that status
- Clearly define the process for approval/rejection and regulation of high capacity wells
- develop a watershed budget and water allocation system in consultation with local advisory groups and communities.

The AquaBounty ‘consultation process’ was simply inadequate.
-  A single notice for one public meeting was published in the back pages of The Guardian. Level 2 Public Consultations require "The meeting must be properly advertised by the proponent in the Guardian, as well as the local newspaper, for 6 consecutive days.”
- Key environmental stakeholders (the Coalition, other environmental and watershed groups) were not notified or invited to a public meeting to provide meaningful community input.
- There was no response to the issues raised in letters by the Coalition and other environmental organizations. Any input that was received was not made publicly accessible.

This is a disturbing failure of process of the consultation values you supported. But most startling is the issuing of permits for high capacity wells allowing AquaBounty to pump almost two million gallons of water a day, about half of the water used by the city of Charlottetown. The problems resulting from this level of extraction on the Winter River watershed are widely known.

We question how you can issue permits based upon policies and regulations recognized as inadequate by your department and by the EAC, the very policies requiring the kind of change a Water Act would bring?

It is a minor distinction whether these are new wells or existing wells to be reactivated, or that they are for aquaculture and not agriculture.  This approval appears to be an expedited negotiation between your department and AquaBounty, designed to bypass the public and the development of a Water Act.

We are left with many questions:
1) Isn’t the issue of the approval of high capacity wells one of the key decisions a Water Act should address?
2) Why was the approval of this application so urgent that it could not await the development of the needed policies for water use in the new Water Act?
3) Will other new applicants have access to the same process and get permits approved before the new Water Act?
4) Will all existing permit holders (now including AquaBounty) be required to comply with Water Act regulations, or will there be a grandfather clause that allows existing users to bypass these regulations and potentially exercise their permits in perpetuity?

We ask you to make a public statement indicating your justifications for this decision, and addressing its inconsistencies with your own high standard for openness to consultation, transparency and responsiveness to community concerns. We believe an appeal process is required that would make it possible to reconsider the approval of these permits.

We hope that you will take actions to restore public faith and affirm the legitimacy of the process of developing the Water Act. We have been active and committed contributors to this process up to this point. It is disheartening to see fundamental values so easily bypassed.

- Catherine O’Brien, Don Mazer and Gary Schneider are members of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water.

August 17, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

If you dodge the puddles, you can visit these Farmers' Markets today:
Charlottetown: 9AM-2PM
Stanley Bridge: 9AM-1PM
Summerside: 4-7PM

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A sweet story about some summer actors portraying farmers and growing food for other actors:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-actors-real-farmers-gardeners-1.3707588

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From the United States, here is an okay article on using grocery money wisely if you are avoiding pesticide exposure:

http://www.foodmatters.com/article/your-easy-guide-to-buying-organic-produce

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Old Home Week not only has Elections PEI there to talk about the plebiscite, but the Certified Organic Producers Co-operative have cooking demonstrations each day, from 2:30-3:30PM.
From a posting:

Wednesday sees Sandy (MacKay) from Alexander Fresh Vegetables back on stage. He’s bringing with him colored carrots, red beets and Yukon Gold potatoes

On Thursday learn some secrets of fermenting from Amy Smith & Verena Varga of Heartbeet Organics.

Garlic from Tina Davies of Emmerdale Eden Farm is the featured product on Friday; and,

On Saturday, August 20, Chef Tyler wraps it all up with oat groats from Speerville Flour Mill.

Chef Tyler’s recipes are simple, fun and delicious; and our summer student Aidan is there to tell you more about the PEI COPC, our farms and our work! Stop by, you won’t be disappointed.

Yeah, oat groats!  The Gold Cup and Saucer of local grains.

August 16, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

As you likely know, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is stopping in Charlottetown this afternoon.  The schedule is likely to be:
3PM -- Charlottetown Airport with Premier Wade MacLauchlan
4PM -- walking around downtown Charlottetown, presumably with MP Sean Casey (the 2016 sign on the waterfront is to be featured)
7PM -- Old Home Week with MP and Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay and Sean Casey

The press were told all the stops were "photo opportunities only", so actual questions from the media, and no real opportunity to have any dialogue.  But anyone posing for a selfie with Prime Minister could also mention climate change (and why two Island MPs --MacAulay and Egmont's Bobby Morrissey-- have refused to hold public meetings on this in their ridings), the apparent dropping support for regional representation on the Supreme Court, pipelines, oil drilling in the Gulf, electoral reform, organic agriculture....

Someone mentioned that despite the press today that the current P.E.I. Lieutenant Governor would like to stay on (his term has just expired), the Prime Minister may be announcing his replacement of Mr. Frank Lewis with Mrs. Frances MacAulay, spouse of the Cardigan MP.  (OK, that's the rumour mill for today.)
-----------------------------
Provincially, people aged 16-29 ages are being encouraged to apply for the provincial Youth Futures Council. 

https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/apply-youth-futures-council

This council of 12-15 people will "advise the Premier and Ministers on ways to enhance programs, policies, strategies and resources."  The terms are either one or two years, and the application deadline is Thursday, August 25th.  Many, many of the young people who were involved in the Plan B highway protest and the electoral campaigns of 2015 would make excellent members of this committee.

-------

I received a note from Megan Burnside, excerpted here:

"College Acadie... is looking for families to host a college student for 4 to 8 months, and all families will receive financial compensation of $750 a month. The students are Mexican, aged between 18 and 30. They will be here for 4 to 8 months, and will be studying French or other collegial programs. Becoming a host family is a great opportunity to supplement your income and enrich your household by welcoming an international student into your home and family. Your role would be to provide a friendly, caring environment and help students adapt to living in Charlottetown.<snip>

More details can be obtained by calling:902-314-5550.

------------------

Enjoy the sunny day!

August 15, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

It's a relatively quiet week, event-wise, which is nice since the provincial exhibition is in full swing. 

Elections PEI has its display and outreach workers on the electoral reform plebiscite there -- you could stop by and share your comments on the job they are doing if you are at the Old Home Week's grounds.  I would guess the display will be with the other ones from various organizations and businesses, near the food area at the Eastlink Civic Centre.

More details about Elections PEI's work in today's Guardian and at their website:
http://www.yourchoicepei.ca/

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The National Energy Board (NEB) is holding hearings on the Energy East Pipeline in Fredericton today and tomorrow.  More information at this link:

https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/pplctnflng/mjrpp/nrgyst/index-eng.html#s5_1

It's hard not to look at parts of the process of pipeline approval without narrowing the eyes.  For instance, apparently, the NEB's appointments were "stacked" and locked in by the Harper government before he left office, there is the news story from last October where Justin Trudeau's national campaign co-chair "sent a detailed email to people behind the Energy East pipeline on how and when to lobby the new government" (CBC story link here) , and there is the revelation that NEB panelist Jacques Gauthier met with former Quebec premier Jean Charest, said it wasn't about the pipeline at all. But the agenda shows otherwise.  Charest was working for Trans-Canada at the time, if I have the details right. The smells a bit bad.

Some National Observer articles on it:

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/08/08/news/charest-pipeline-controversy-flares-may-calls-resignation-federal-panel

--

"Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another." -- Juvenal, Roman poet

August 14, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Two (completed unrelated to anything) columns by Russell Wangersky, lyrical and pointed. Wangersky is a fiction and non-fiction writer based in St. John's.  His website link is below the columns.  These were originally printed in The Guardian.

The first was around the time of the annual P.E.I. Women's Institute Roadside Cleanup, so it struck a chord.

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Columnists/2016-05-10/article-4524455/Consume%2C-use-up-and-discard-for-bunch-of-pigs%3F/1

Consume, use up and discard for bunch of pigs? - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky

Printed on Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Years ago, I used to go fishing with my father; we’d pack up the van and take our rods to small-town wharfs all over Nova Scotia. We’d use bait rigs and catch flapping, curling flounder, use Red Devil and Mr. Champ lures to file Dad’s stringer with the fast, bullet-shaped and zig-zag-print-camouflaged mackerel, and sometimes even catch a tomcod or two.

We’d land big-headed, maw-mouthed sculpins and toss them back in, and ocean perch, which, if large enough, could become chowder, once we’d dealt with the scales and bones.

Pollack, soft and mealy once cooked, was never a favourite, but like the perch, good enough for chowder during the years when cash was tight. We’d generally catch more than our gas money, but we never caught the fish my dad always hoped for: I didn’t understand the need to dream for something more then. Dad wanted striped bass, and even bought a big surf-casting rod to fish for big bluefish.

And because I was little and Dad dreamed while fishing, eventually, I would put up my rod and look over the edge of the wharf into the water, the sun hot on my back. There was always the hot-tar smell of the pilings, the small whorls of multicoloured oil sheen coming off the wood on the surface, and down on the bottom, the uneven pattern of rocks, often crawling with small crabs and spiny urchins.

After a few minutes, though, I’d always start to see the other things: a row of perfect circles lined up next to each other, a metal ring starting to chancre over with thin white coral, all shapes too even to be natural.

Even as a youngster, I learned to recognize the discarded engine block, the wheel rims, the familiar shapes of castoff bottles and cans, the thin metal leaves from the core of the car battery someone just heaved off the wharf.

I thought of that this past weekend, when I was walking in the woods and came across, for no particular reason, an oil filter simply tossed into the woods. An oil filter, then a collection of discarded snowmobile parts, and at least seven kinds of bottles and cans - just another weekend in paradise. It’s the kind of thing you can see almost anywhere: I’ve been well off the beaten track in the woods behind Sussex, N.B. where people have the kind of off-grid cottages they call camps and have come across old cars pushed off embankments. I’ve been at the very end of Prince Edward Island, up at North Cape just one road in, Route 12 and I’ve seen how someone marked the occasion by dumping their car ashtray in the parking lot, while someone else parked and carried their coffee cups all the way to the very tip of the Cape to mark their personal presence by tossing them over the edge.

Why? Just, why?

Is it because we feel threatened by the hugeness of our surroundings and have to prove we have some small power over nature?

It is because, faced with huge wild spaces, we’re just blind to its beauty, caring more about the inside of our car than we do about flinging the latest cup out the window?

Or is it, as is more likely, that we just simply don’t give a damn?

Somewhere, some time in the distant future, a PhD student will write a dissertation on just what sort of man versus nature imperative drives the urge to despoil.

It will totally ignore the fact that we may be nothing better than a bunch of pigs.

-------------------------------------
The second is from his view as reporter and first responder; it's certainly a time of year when there are a lot of people (both from P.E.I. and elsewhere) speeding to get to their vacation destinations.

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Columnists/2016-08-02/article-4603949/Wangersky%3A-You-behind-the-wheel/1

Wangersky: You behind the wheel - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky

Published on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Hello, car-in-my-lane, wandering as if in a daydream, back and forth as if lanes were their own streams of consciousness.

Hello, car-on-my-bumper, heavy metal extension of your driver’s personality, using tonnes of metal to make a point of your driver’s contempt that, even at or slightly above the speed limit, I’m not going fast enough.

“It all happened so suddenly” — I’ve heard that more times than I care to count, coming on accident scenes as I used to as a volunteer firefighter.

The accident is sudden, but the cause? Rarely. Many accidents are months in the making. Just as young drivers crash cars because of inexperience, many of the rest of us crash because of our own bad habits, bad habits that build on themselves because the first few times we found ourselves too close to the car in front or taking a turn too fast, there were no consequences.

And sure, things have gotten better, at least from a safety engineering point of view.

Your car is different, but you are not. Yes, there are better safety systems — front airbags, side airbags, seatbelt tensioners — but you?

You are still the same soft tissue and bone that you always were, that we all are, no better prepared physically for the high-G corkscrew spin of a highway rollover or the sudden stop of a collision. The equation is a simple one: Newton’s second law — force times mass equals acceleration. Your car comes to a sudden stop at 120 kilometres an hour never forget how fast you are going when your vehicle stops and you — especially unrestrained, unseatbelted you — continue moving until you reach something solid enough to stop you. Equations deconstructed. You are the mass and the acceleration — get ready for what the force will do.

I’ve seen you broken at the ankle and speared with things as innocuous as the keys on the keychain in your ignition. I’ve cut steering wheels free to get you out of the driver’s seat. I’ve immobilized you with neck collars and on backboards, counting in the gravel the number of times your car pitch-poled or barrel-rolled.

I’ve held back and stopped your running girlfriend as she recognized your overturned car and tried to reach you, while the paramedics cut off your shirt in the ditch and the road was shiny with radiator fluid and gasoline.

Go ahead and push me, if that helps to calm you, if that vents a little of your steam. I won’t go faster, even though I’m aware of the complex physics of what can happen if two objects, both at 100 km/h, clip or touch each other.

When we reach a safe passing zone, I’ll let you pass, I’ll even make clear room for you to pass. If it ever looks like a line of impatient cars is building up behind me, I’ll find a place to pull over safely and let them all pass.

And should I come upon you off the road and upside-down, I’ll stop to help the same way I always have, to do what I can, absolutely everything I can, even without the most basic equipment.

Only later on will I shake my head at the waste — at how, for the want of a few short minutes, you confused your power with the much greater power of what it is that you drive. Would you play so carelessly, so thoughtlessly, with a running table saw? Probably not. Yet your car has a far greater power for speed, and for careless and massive destruction.

Don’t make the mistake that your car is an extension of you or a sign of your power.

You are, I hope, at the very least, the thinking part of the conveyance.

Russell Wangersky is TC Media’s Atlantic regional columnist. He can be reached at russell.wangersky@tc.tc

-----

Here is his website:
http://www.russellwangersky.com/

August 13, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

These Farmers' Markets are open today:
Murray Harbour -- 9AM - noon
.   The word is that Miss Julie the Pretzel Lady will be there, among many others. Full list here: Facebook page.
Stratford -- 9AM - 1PM
Morell -- 9AM - 1PM
Cardigan -- 10AM - 2PM
Morell -- 9AM - 2PM
Stratford (Robert Cotton Park) -- 9AM - 1PM
Charlottetown -- 9AM - 2PM
Summerside -- 9AM - 1PM


Here is an interesting, quite readable, article on what exactly is permaculture:

"Permaculture: You've Heard of it, But What the Heck is It?"
by Brian Barth,
published in April 2016 in
Modern Farmer
http://modernfarmer.com/2016/04/permaculture/
excerpt:
“The conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.”  -- definition by Bill Mollison


Earlier this week, The Guardian published a letter by Ivy Wigmore, but I can't seem to find the digital link.  Fortunately, it was share by Pesticide Free PEI on social media, and I am sharing their copy of it:

"Here is Ivy's letter followed by a link to the environmental election promises of all parties.

Editor:  The purpose of government, theoretically, is to serve the people it represents. Does our government do that? I don’t think so.

We have had repeated fish kills – more accurately described by David Weale as river kills – even when regulatory guidelines have been followed. What does that indicate? Clearly, regulations are inadequate. Our government is silent on the issue, apparently unconcerned – as long as there is no impact to corporate interests.

A study of pesticide levels in wells found about 43% were contaminated, while Environment Minister Janice Sherry blithely spun that fact and reported she was 'pleased to say that no pesticides were detected in the majority of wells province-wide.'   'Almost half the wells were contaminated' doesn’t sound as good.

There was another big smile from then-Minister of Community Services, Valerie Docherty, when the budget allocated to serve Islanders in need went unspent by millions of dollars in both 2013 and 2014. At the same time, the rate of child poverty on PEI has risen to just about 1 in 5, and many people can’t afford to put food on the table and heat their homes. Yet, often these families are refused help because they fail to meet the department’s increasingly stringent criteria.

I can’t believe that Islanders are unconcerned about the steady degradation of of our soil, the poisoning of our waterways and the withholding of funds from those of us in need. However, our government appears to be. Does it represent us? I don’t think so.

Ivy Wigmore, Charlottetown"
-------
Here is the link to the CBC story on the Environmental Forum held over a year ago by provincial political party leaders:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/elections/prince-edward-island-votes/election-promises-3-environmental-issues-1.3051946

August 12, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
PEI Farm Centre Legacy Garden Fundraiser, 8-10PM,
Timothy's World Coffee, 54 University Avenue, admission by donation.

Come and have a delicious cup of tea and some snacks while supporting a wonderful, local garden!
Entertainment includes: Kenzie Whalen, Dean Dunsford, David MacKay, Peter Holden, and Jordan MacPhee!
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1566975880271842/


Here is the last of the five videos from Elections PEI on the Fall Plebiscite, on Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fskEeYj4kWo
When these videos were first released a couple of weeks ago, Islander Ron Kelly (and member of the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation) remarked on social media:

It's too bad that they continue to insist that both the United Kingdom and the United States use First-Past-the-Post. That's not entirely true. Scotland and Wales -- which are part of the United Kingdom -- use MMP. And the election of President of the United States is not First-Past-the-Post (as Al Gore discovered in 2000 when he received 500,000 more votes than George Bush). It's FPTP only at the state level, not on the national level. Once each state determines its own outcome, its Electoral College seats vote accordingly -- leading to the possible distortions and the undermining of a national FPTP outcome.
For more on Proportional Representation -- including a list of the 91 countries that use Proportional Representation at the national level -- please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation. Remember, though, that even this list doesn't include ALL the jurisdictions that use Proportional Representation, as PR is also used at the sub-national level in many cases (such as some of the states in Germany).

---------
Energy East Pipeline hearings with the National Energy board:
From Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club Canada National Program Director, in an e-mail to supporters yesterday:

It's good to be home.Thanks to everyone who wrote to me to show support and send their good wishes as we entered Day 1 of the National Energy Board’s public sessions on the Energy East pipeline.
A couple people wrote to ask if pipelines like Energy East were really so bad – what about the dangers of carrying oil by rail, or would the pipeline result in less oil being imported?

We decided to put these questions to TransCanada. The response Emma Hebb, Chair of the Atlantic Canada Chapter, received will not reassure those who think this pipeline will reduce the amount of oil being shipped by rail car or oil imported into Atlantic Canada.  

TransCanada told us they have no commitments to divert oil from these pathways. Rather, they said, “market forces” would determine if the oil would go in the pipe or in a rail car. Similarly, there is no firm commitment that the oil in the pipe would be refined at the refinery in Saint John, thus decreasing the need for imported oil. In fact, the section of pipe that would carry any oil to the Saint John refinery is not even part of the maps drawn up for the assessment.

Almost three decades of climate inaction and industry-fed climate denial has shown that leaving environmental protection to “market forces” is simply not going to work. Essentially, there is no reason to believe that this oil will displace any of the oil being shipped around the continent. And a recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives by energy expert, Dr. David Hughes, shows that there is no economic case for a new pipeline if we are serious about our climate commitments.

 We also asked about impacts of an oil spill on the watersheds that supply New Brunswickers with drinking water and the tidal waters of the Bay of Fundy, and whether the company had considered the fact that spills of bitumen are harder to clean up because the oil sinks and is sticky. We heard that no special considerations have been taken to address these issues and, most importantly, a spill was so unlikely we should feel these places are safe from spills.

As we said in our press release yesterday (see Sierra Club Canada website), the NEB Panel is going to have their work cut out for them.

But there is much more to share than simply the proceedings in the Hearings themselves.

Ron Tremblay, Grand Chief of the Wolastoqewi Kci-putuwosuwinuwok (Maliseet Grand Council) spoke at a press conference about the history of the place where we stood, on the banks of the Wolostok (Saint John) River. He told us the people who lived there were called Wolastoqiyik meaning "People of the Bountiful and Good River." He said his heart went out to the people of Saskatchewan who were experiencing a pipeline spill now, and said it was too big a risk for the rivers and lakes in this region, where his people have lived, hunted and fished for thousands of years.

Residents of Red Head / Anthony’s Cove made powerful presentations. Some of them live right next to where twenty-two, six-story high storage tanks are to be built. They are concerned about explosions, fires, and spills from the tanks – catastrophes for which TransCanada has not yet developed emergency response plans. With one road in and one road out, no wonder they are worried. Lynaya Astephen, leader of the Red Head / Anthony’s Cove Preservation Society, spoke eloquently about how the beauty, peace of her property would be destroyed forever by the project, and how there should be a right to a safe and healthy environment. Others spoke of the danger to water wells from contamination from the tanks.

What I also experienced was the support and camaraderie of those citizens and groups who are bringing their expertise, experiences, and courage to these hearings. The well-respected leader of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick – the province’s largest environmental group - Lois Corbett, patting the arm of a resident from the community before she addressed the rows of TransCanada representatives, saying, “just breathe” is but a small glimpse of this.


Meantime, as the National Energy Board Panel travels to communities along the pipeline route (link here: https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/pplctnflng/mjrpp/nrgyst/index-eng.html#s5_1 ) I encourage you to attend, and observe deliberations about a project that will affect all of our futures. I encourage you to provide us with information you have about how this pipeline will affect you, concerns you have, and the places you love, so we can incorporate these things in our submissions.  

And finally, please remember, that for the residents of Red Head, Anthony’s Cove, and other communities of the Bay of Fundy being asked to accept 1.1 million barrels of oil per day oil from this pipeline, this is their home. It should be good to be home.

Gretchen Fitzgerald - National Program Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation

August 11, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Here is a fourth video from Elections PEI on the Fall plebiscite, this one describing the Proportional Representation system called Dual-Member Proportional Representation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdN7Jb1wCBY

It's about two minutes long.
--------------
P.E.I.'s work on electoral reform was discussed in an article in iPolitics yesterday.  Thanks to Ian Petrie for originally passing it on. There is a great chart on the link that didn't get copied and pasted with the text, so it is worth looking at.

https://ipolitics.ca/2016/08/10/its-not-a-partisan-question-p-e-i-s-lessons-on-electoral-reform/

"It's Not a Partisan Question: P.E.I.'s Lesson on Electoral Reform" - iPolitics article by Mackenzie Scrimshaw

Published in iPolitics on Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

CHARLOTTETOWN – As federal MPs on the special parliamentary committee on electoral reform spend the summer in hearings on the issue, they’ve been looking to the relatively harmonious example set recently by their counterparts on Prince Edward Island.
In contrast to the process in Ottawa — which has seen the major parties split on several issues from the question of whether to hold a referendum on electoral reform to the make-up of the committee itself — the politicians who have led the Island’s electoral reform process describe a relatively amicable experience.
P.E.I. Progressive Conservative MLA Sidney MacEwen said he gives credit to his peers for their smooth-sailing process.
“The members of the committee were quite flexible and I don’t think anybody came in with an agenda,” he said.
“I think all committee members just really wanted to get it done right and then let Islanders decide.”
By “done right” he means “to take any perceived bias out of it (the process).”

Conversations with Ottawa
It seems that P.E.I.’s experience is not lost on federal parliamentarians.
Mark Holland, parliamentary secretary to the democratic institutions minister, reached out to P.E.I. government whip Jordan Brown last month to talk about the Island’s undertaking.
They sat down together in mid-July, joined by local MPs Wayne Easter and Sean Casey, prior to a federal town hall on electoral reform in Charlottetown. Held in a meeting room at Holland College — also the site of the town hall — their meeting ran for about an hour.
Among his questions for Brown, Holland said he wanted “to get his reflections on what was important to P.E.I. in our process.”
The parliamentary secretary brought several pieces of Brown’s advice back to his colleagues in Ottawa — to keep the options open and to listen, for example.
“The main thing that I was hearing was to let it be very publicly-driven and self-evidently publicly-driven,” Holland said.

Five Options
In P.E.I., eligible voters, including those as young as 16, will vote in P.E.I.’s electoral reform referendum from October 29 to November 7, online, by phone and in person.
The five options on the ballot will be:
    •    First-past-the-post, the current system whereby the candidate with the most votes wins the seat.
    •    First-past-the-post plus leaders, which would also give a seat to the leader of any party who wins 10 per cent of the provincial popular vote.
    •    Dual-member proportional, which assigns half the seats through the current system and the other half based on the provincial popular vote.
    •    Mixed-member proportional, which includes district representatives and province-wide members chosen by voters from a party list.
    •    Preferential voting, in which voters rank all the candidates, and the second choices of voters who picked lower-ranking candidates are redistributed until someone wins 50 per cent of the vote.
The referendum formula was produced by two rounds of public consultations, during which the committee heard directly from Islanders about their preferred options for reform. The feedback helped to shape the committee’s recommendations, including the referendum question, to the legislature.
Now, the committee has taken a back seat, while Elections Prince Edward Island travels across the province, educating Islanders on the five options on the ballot this fall.
Reflecting on the process, the committee’s Green and Progressive Conservative (PC) members, as well as Brown, say there is little, if anything, they would change were they to start over from the beginning.
This is significant given that they sit on a committee dominated by the governing Liberals.
In Ottawa, by comparison, the opposition parties couldn’t fathom the Liberals having a majority on the electoral reform committee. And now they, not the government members, hold the balance of power. The committee has to report by December.

The consensus model

So, how did they pull off a non-partisan process in P.E.I.? The committee members shelved their biases and made decisions by consensus.
As one of the two opposition members, MacEwen admits that he was initially “a little bit concerned” about the committee’s Liberal majority. But, he says, the Liberal MLAs listened and, for the most part, agreed when the opposition MLAs had ideas.
MacEwen also says the province’s last referendum on electoral reform served as a cautionary tale. Held in 2005, that plebiscite asked Islanders a yes-no question: “Should Prince Edward Island change to the mixed member proportional system as presented by the Commission of PEI’s Electoral Future?”
In short, the ‘no’ vote won at 63.58 per cent and the province kept its first-past-the-post system. But then-premier Pat Binns’ government faced myriad criticisms — the process leading up to the vote was rushed, for example — for a plebiscite that, in MacEwen’s words, left a “sour taste.”
Echoing his Progressive Conservative colleague, Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker says the committee’s success was due in large part to the “character” and the “attitudes” of its members, who “came to it with an open mind and a sense of common purpose.
“Although we represent different parties in the House, that was never really clear in the discussions we were having,” he said. “I was never aware of interference or influence coming from the back rooms of either of the other parties.”
That is, he says, except for on one occasion: when Premier Wade MacLauchlan said, in a 2015 year-end interview with CBC News: Compass, “I’m not a believer in proportional representation.” That statement had advocates of that system accusing the premier of sabotaging the reform process by stating a preference.
Otherwise, Bevan-Baker describes a process in which “people were willing and keen to work together.”
Brown, meanwhile, acknowledges that the government did initially face criticism for stacking the committee with Liberals.
“Frankly, in the end, I don’t think it made any difference,” he said, sitting at a bustling café in downtown Charlottetown just blocks from his office.
The committee has operated by consensus since day one, he says, arguing that its members could not have carried out their task “effectively” any other way.
“The minute you get away from consensus, you’re off with your own agenda and it’s probably not a palatable thing,” he said. “There’s nothing really to be gained politically from doing that.
“People (Islanders) are going to want what they’re going to want: it’s not a partisan question.”
‘The chains are off’
Although the P.E.I. Greens, like the federal Greens, are partial to proportional representation, Bevan-Baker says that, given his role on the committee, “It would’ve been completely inappropriate for me to have been a champion of one or other system.”
However, describing his committee duties as “fulfilled,” Bevan-Baker says, “I sort of feel now that the chains are off.”
Starting next month, the Island’s Green Party leader — also its (first and) only Green MLA — will travel across the province, hosting town hall-style education sessions on proportional representation. The referendum question includes two variations — dual member proportional and mixed member proportional — but rather than advocating for one, Bevan-Baker will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both options.
“I hope, in my trip across the province, that I will be able to draw a connection, join some dots between decisions that are made sort of every day by parliament and by government, and the electoral system by which we elect those people that are making those decisions,” he said.
The PCs, meanwhile, haven’t taken a stand on an electoral system — which MacEwen says could have to do with the fact the party has an interim leader.
Regardless, he says he’s encouraging his colleagues to “keep an open mind.”
“Why would we take a stand?” said MacEwen, also the party’s whip. “If you’ve got your own personal stance, that’s fine, but encourage your constituents to get out and see the options because there are a number of interesting options out there.”
This, he says, will prove that the process isn’t biased and help to achieve the result that Islanders want.
The Liberals haven’t taken a stand on a system, either.
“I think that’s still up for debate,” Brown said, adding that, to his knowledge, the party hasn’t spent much time discussing this subject.
Worth noting is that MacLauchlan’s government faced criticism for its White Paper on Democratic Renewal, which some people — including Bevan-Baker — saw as favouring a form of preferential balloting described in detail in the document.
“I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty that it wasn’t put out to be that,” Brown said.
Although preferential balloting is part of the referendum question, the specific model outlined in the white paper will not appear on the ballot. <end>


I wasn't able to make it to Sean Casey's Climate Change Strategy consultation yesterday, but would appreciate hearing thoughts from people there. I do know co-host ECO-PEI will take excellent notes which I can pass on when they are ready.

August 10, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets open today:
Charlottetown: 9AM-2PM
Stanley Bridge: 9AM-1PM
Summerside: 4-7PM

-------------
Tonight:
Climate Change Consultation, hosted by Sean Casey (MP-Charlottetown) and ECO-PEI. 7-9PM,
Confederation Landing Park Gazebo.
Lemonade and meet and greet from 6:30-7PM.
From the Facebook event listings:
https://www.facebook.com/events/865563716882051/
https://www.facebook.com/events/279152012476973/

A critical subject at an important time. Join in the conversation with co-hosts Sean Casey, MP for Charlottetown and
ECOPEI, the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island.
Enjoy a summer evening sharing thoughts and ideas in an open dialogue about climate change. It's an outside venue so bring along a lawn chair if you wish, and share in some lemonade as we open a conversation about climate change.

---------------------
It's up to us to show up and speak up in support of an ambitious national climate strategy.<snip>
Together, we'll show our support for a People's Climate Plan that keeps global warming below 1.5 degrees, builds a 100% renewable energy economy that works for transitioning fossil fuel workers, and enshrines justice and reconciliation for Indigenous peoples.
To learn more about the People's Climate Plan:
http://peoplesclimate.ca/


Here is a third of the five videos made by Elections PEI to inform Islanders about the Plebiscite on Electoral Systems happening Fall (end of October to early November).
The one is two minutes and is on Preferential Voting (PV).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZA0tLf0300


There is a lot of talk about the Perseid Meteor Showers, which are supposed to be really prolific this year.  It's a bit of a bell curve -- they "peak" around August 11th, but there should be meteors tonight and all the way through the weekend.

photo from August 2011 of a Perseid meteor (bright line in centre) taken from the International Space Station

And here is this month's astronomy column by Glenn K. Roberts:

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Living/2016-08-03/article-4606004/GLENN-K.-ROBERTS%3A-Perseid-meteor-shower-to-peak-over-P.E.I.-Aug.-12/1

GLENN K. ROBERTS: Perseid meteor shower to peak over P.E.I. Aug. 12 - The Guardian article by Glenn k. Roberts

Printed on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Predictions are that this will be a superb meteor shower with, perhaps, as many as 200 plus meteors per hour

This month’s big celestial event is being touted as the summer’s —if not the year’s — most spectacular display of meteors.

The Perseid meteor shower (radiant in Perseus — the Warrior Prince) is due to peak in the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 12.

Predictions are that this will be a superb meteor shower with, perhaps, as many as 200 plus meteors per hour.

It seems that Jupiter has slightly nudged the debris stream from Comet Swift-Tuttle closer towards earth's orbit and, as a consequence, earth is likely to plow through a denser part of that stream.

Every August, earth passes through some portion of the Swift-Tuttle debris stream; some years through a denser portion, other years, through a less dense portion. The debris hitting the Earth’s upper atmosphere results in the Perseid meteor shower.

Traditionally, if the moon is out of the sky, and the weather co-operates, the Perseids put on one of the year's best meteor displays. This year, the waxing, gibbous moon will set around 1 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 12, leaving the pre-dawn hours free of interfering moonlight. If we have good, clear skies on the night/morning of Aug.11/12, the 2016 Perseids could be one of the best meteors showers in quite a few years.

Of course, as with any meteor shower, the farther you are away from city lights under a dark sky, the more meteors you will see.

The Perseids actually begin to appear around the middle of July, and usually last until some time around Aug. 24. Meteor shower peaks are notoriously unpredictable, so watching a few nights/early mornings, both leading up to and following the predicted peak date of Aug. 12, could prove surprising and worthwhile.

So, mark your calendars for Aug. 12, and your clocks for 1 a.m. (if not earlier) and plan on getting out under the pre-dawn sky to view what may be an excellent meteor shower. 

Place your armchairs or blankets so that you have the radiant  (constellation of Perseus) behind you (your back/head to the NE). Just remember to dress warmly. It may be mid-August, but it will still be quite cool at that hour of the early morning. And pray for clear skies.

Five planets are visible after sunset. Mercury, Venus and Jupiter are all visible in the west in the deepening twilight all this month.

As August opens, you will find Mercury, Venus and Jupiter in a near straight line above the western horizon about 30 minutes after sunset. Venus (mag.-3.8) will be closest to the horizon, with Mercury (mag. -0.1; may need binoculars to spot) to its upper left, and Jupiter (mag. -1.7) the highest up.

On the evening of Aug 3, with a clear, unobstructed view of the western horizon, you might be fortunate enough to spot the one-day-old, crescent moon sitting just below Venus.

Jupiter, unfortunately, sinks lower into the glare of the setting sun this month, while Venus slowly climbs higher into the darkening, evening sky.

Mercury arrives at its greatest eastern elongation from the sun on the Aug. 16, and will appear at its highest point in the evening sky. Though fading to mag. 0.2 by then, it will still be visible sitting below Jupiter that evening.

On the evening of Aug. 23, the three planets will form a discernable triangle (Mercury to the left, Venus to the right, and Jupiter at the apex) above the western horizon about 30 minutes after sunset.

On the evening of the 27th, Venus and Jupiter come the closest to each other (as seen from Earth) since 2007, when they will appear almost as one object in the evening twilight.You will need binoculars or a scope to resolve them into two objects. 

Mercury sits low to the horizon below the planet pair. After this date, the two planets drift apart, and, by the last evening of the month, Venus sits well to the upper left of Jupiter, and Mercury is lost in the glare of the setting sun.

As Mercury, Venus and Jupiter slip below the western horizon by mid-evening, look to the southern part of the sky. Mars (mag. -0.8) sits to the WNW of its rival Antares, the 1.0 mag. reddish star in the constellation of Scorpius - the Scorpion. Yellowish Saturn sits 6 degrees N of Antares.

On Aug. 11, the gibbous Moon sits N of Mars and NW of Saturn. On Aug. 23, Mars has moved closer to Antares, more in-line with the star and Saturn.

The best view of Mars (now passed its prime viewing of May 2016) will be around 10 p.m., when it sits about 15 degrees above the horizon. Saturn and its magnificent ring system (tilted 26 degrees towards Earth) are best viewed during the early evening.

August's full moon on the 18th was often referred to as either the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon, since August is the month when both these foods begin to ripen in readiness for harvest in September.

Until next month, clear skies.

August events (ADT):

9 - Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth), 9:05 p.m.

10 - First quarter moon, 3:21 p.m.

12 - Perseid meteor shower peak, pre-dawn hours.

16 - Mercury at greatest eastern elongation from sun, 6 p.m.

18 - Full moon, 6:27 a.m.

21 - Moon at perigee (closest to Earth), 10:19 p.m.

25 - Last Quarter Moon, 12:41 a.m.

27 - Venus and Jupiter closest since 2007; after sunset.

Glenn K. Roberts lives in Stratford, P.E.I., and has been an avid amateur astronomer since he was a small child. His column appears in The Guardian on the first Wednesday of each month. He welcomes comments from readers, and anyone who would like to do so is encouraged to email him at glennkroberts@gmail.com.

August 9, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This second of five videos from Elections PEI about a Fall Plebiscite on electoral systems focuses on two choices of the five that will be on the ballot in late October/early November:
First Past the Post AND First Past the Post Plus Leaders:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFI6A-p3TQI
First Past the Post (FPTP) is the system we currently use, and FPTP-Plus Leaders would be the same thing except Party Leaders (if the popular vote is above a certain threshold) would get seats, too.
 This video is about two minutes long.  Consider sharing with your friends.


The Watershed Alliance wrote a letter, published in The Journal-Pioneer, about the most recent fishkill. They stand with other Islanders waiting for any sort of government recognition of the overall problem.

http://www.journalpioneer.com/Opinion/Letter-to-the-Editor/2016-08-05/article-4607641/LETTER%3A-Fish-kills-on-P.E.I.-should-not-be-acceptable/1

LETTER: Fish kills on P.E.I. should not be acceptable - The Journal Pioneer Letter to the Editor

Published on Friday, August 5th, 2016

The P.E.I. Watershed Alliance is disappointed but not surprised by the fish kill found last Monday in Clyde River. This is the seventh fish kill since 2011, and the Island has experienced more than 50 such events over the past few decades.
Despite efforts by various sectors, the frequency of fish kills has not declined over this time.

This did not come as a big surprise.

While there are individual landowners who have taken large measures to prevent these occurrences, in the big picture, we are only taking small steps in the right direction.

The problem is far from solved. Until the powers that be realize this and are willing to take steps to address it, we can expect more in the future.

Fish kills are not acceptable.

Our organization recognizes that solutions to fish kills and related issues can be complex, and one-size-fits-all legislation is not the answer. It is time for a serious, multi-sector discussion about how and when action will be taken to prevent fish kills and protect watercourses for all Islanders.

The P.E.I. Watershed Alliance is a non-governmental organization that aims to improve and protect the environmental quality of Prince Edward Island watersheds, for the benefit of all Island residents.

It helps Island watershed groups achieve their goals by promoting co-operation, serving their needs and providing a strong, united voice in addressing Island-wide watershed issues.

Dale Cameron,
Chairman, P.E.I. Watershed Alliance

The PEI Watershed Alliance website is here:
http://peiwatershedalliance.org/web/

August 8, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
Stratford Town "World Cafe" on Energy consumption/reducing greenhouse gas emissions, 7PM, Stratford Town Hall.  CBC story details:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-stratford-energy-consumption-1.3710198
-----
Hearings on the "Energy East" pipeline begin today in Saint John.  The committee is starting in New Brunswick and going west to several other cities.
It sounds like the National Energy Board will make its recommendations to the federal government in March 2018, and the federal government will decide by Fall 2018.
Some details from the NEB site:
http://www.one-neb.gc.ca/pplctnflng/mjrpp/nrgyst/index-eng.html

Nature Canada is following this closely, and articling student Adam Bond is presenting today for the organization.  A recent blog is here:
http://naturecanada.ca/news/blog/nature-canada-to-make-first-submissions-to-neb-energy-eat-review-panel/
An excerpt:
"First thing Monday morning, Nature Canada will lead the way in making submissions to the NEB in order to ensure that proponents’ evidence is rigorously tested and the Panel is provided with the facts about the risks the pipeline poses to nature."

---------------------------

Provincial Electoral Reform -- short videos about the Plebiscite:
Elections PEI has produced a series of short, two-minute "white board" videos: the first explaining what's going on with the plebiscite this Fall, and then four more about the various voting systems choices (they combine First Past the Post and First Past the Post with Leaders in the same video).

Many of you have watched these already, but there are a lot of folks who haven't that you could share the indented part below with.
Maybe people could be encouraged to watch one each day this week. 

Monday:
Here is the general overview video about the Fall PEI Plebiscite on voting systems produced by Elections PEI. 
It is about two minutes long:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHlDdIKcpF8

Tomorrow, August 9th:
Elections Canada information booth about the Fall Plebiscite, 12:30PM-1:30PM, Georgetown Town Hall, 36 Kent Street, Georgetown

And Wednesday, August 10th,
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey and ECO-PEI's community forum on Climate Change, 7PM
, Confederation Landing Park. All welcome.

August 7, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The main editorial in The Guardian yesterday addresses the problem of fish kills on P.E.I., with some strong words and few excuses.  Bold is mine. 
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Editorials/2016-08-06/article-4608813/Fish-kills-raise-red-flags/1

Fish kills raise red flags - The Guardian Main Editorial

main editorial, The Guardian, Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Concern about fish kills is deeply ingrained into the Island psyche. Nothing grabs our attention like photos of dead fish littering a shoreline or floating belly-up in a quiet stream. It shouldn’t happen in this day and age. Yet it does.

A fish kill hammers home a myriad of messages.

It reminds us that P.E.I. is the most heavily-farmed province in Canada. Whatever happens in agriculture directly affects many other Islanders.

It reminds us that our water table is extremely sensitive to agricultural practices. Nitrates and pesticides leech into the soil and eventually find their way into our water table. It’s inevitable.

It suggests that government must be pro-active to protect Islanders and our water supply.

It sends environmentalists and biologists into an angry tirade. Dead fish in placid streams is anathema to them.

It disappoints volunteer watershed groups who work hard to protect rivers and streams. They co-operate with citizens, landowners and farmers but no matter how many safeguards seem in place, it’s never enough.

It disturbs anglers who wonder if another popular fishing stream has been rendered useless.

It tells both rural and urban dwellers alike to be vigilant. When a farmer sprays, they must be cautious. There is an impact.

It affects farmers to the point of distraction. They have made many sacrifices in recent years to avoid fish kills. A farmer wishes there is never a fish kill because the attention and criticism is endless, and let’s face it, they live here too.

It’s almost inevitable that as long as farmers till the land and spray to protect their crops, that a fish kill will happen.

A fish kill is like a canary in a coal mine. It’s a signal there is a larger problem and action is required.

It doesn’t matter that the fish kill July 25 in the Clyde River is the first such incident in over a year, where pesticides might be a possible cause. It doesn’t matter that ‘An act of God’ was blamed because of heavy rains in the area the night before.

It doesn’t matter that three other P.E.I. rivers with fish kills this past week were not the result of pesticides.

This has been a warm, dry summer. While it means the threat of pesticides being washed into streams is lessened, is also worsens another problem – anoxic events.

Fertilizer and septic run off from farming operations are the chief human causes of oxygen-poor surface water, caused by algae and sea lettuce growth in warm, slow moving water.

Pesticide Free P.E.I. is calling for leadership from the government following the fish kills. It argues that the recent not guilty verdict in a fish kill trial is evidence that current regulations are inadequate. The farmer took required precautions but fish still died.

There is a growing demand to reduce the usage of the most toxic chemicals - and ultimately chemicals of any kind.

Many Islanders and visitors alike would love to see a new tourism slogan – ‘Come Play On Our Pesticide-Free Island.’

----

anathema: someone or something intensely disliked or loathed

I don't think that the media has done any more stories on the fishkill; i.e., the landowners near the fishkill, and regulations concerns, etc. Nor any more on the anoxic rivers.

screenshot from part of the home page of the official provincial website: www.princeedwardisland.ca

-----

From Cathy Grant on social media, in sharing The Guardian editorial:
Premier MacLaughlin, PEI needs to address this problem. It is ridiculous that PEI promotes its "pristine waters" and wants to be "Canada's Food Island". The agricultural monoculture widely promoted and supported by the PEI Government has directly resulted in "river kills" (as Green leader Peter Bevan-Baker more accurately describes "fish kills") each and every year in recent years. Apart from the Clyde River kill that resulted from a reasonable (and needed!) rainfall, we have had four kills in four rivers resulting from anoxic events. Let's get our heads out of the river silt.

Another screenshot from the government's official website opening page (it is the second of two rotating photos).  www.princeedwardisland.ca


Here is something else we care about -- our Island owl population.  Gary Schneider spoke with Sara Fraser of the CBC for this on-line article posted yesterday:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-owls-macphail-woods-gary-schnieder-1.3705462

and said this fantastic quote:

"If you love these birds (owls), and people do ... you have to fall in love with forests, because they're together. We need that habitat for them." -- Gary Schneider

August 6, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets open today:

Summerside -- 9AM - 1PM
Charlottetown -- 9AM - 2PM
Stratford -- 9AM - 1PM
Morell -- 9AM - 1PM
Cardigan -- 10AM - 2PM
Murray Harbour -- 9AM - noon

-------

From last month's PEI Food Security Network newsletter, an article entitled: "The Role of the Family Farm in a Health Food System" by Douglas Campbell; it is illustrated with a wonderful photo of P.E.I. farmers Reg Phelan and Stella Shepherd.  The entire newsletter is here:

https://peifoodsecurity.wordpress.com/

and here are a few excerpts, with the bold from me:

from: "The Role of the Family Farm in a Health Food System"

<snip> The current PEI vision is one of producing one or two crops for the export market. And yet we know that monoculture presents environmental and pest management problems and leaves us open to the dictate of the markets. Government is selling PEI as a “Food Island” with even greater export potential.

Our local markets must not be overlooked. Why is the family farm disappearing, and what is disappearing with it? <snip -- description is in the link >

<snip> As farmers decrease in numbers, so does their political influence. If food sovereignty is to become a reality, all Canadians have to become aware that it is in their interest to support independent farmers. If unfair trade agreements are going to be prevented and Canada’s food sovereignty protected, Canadians must become aware and voice their concerns to government. While Canada may be a trading nation, farmers’ profits and independence should not be used as a negotiating tool to sell more consumer goods to world markets. The family farm is not a quaint way of life that has outlived its usefulness. History has proven it is the backbone of this country and history always comes full circle. <end>

----------------------------------------------------

Elections Canada will have its Public Education Team at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market today from 9AM to 2PM regarding the November voting system plebiscite. More on their schedule and on the plebiscite itself:

http://www.yourchoicepei.ca/#!events/hy72w

------------

Remembering Canadian Mel Hurtig:

http://behindthenumbers.ca/2016/08/04/a-tribute-to-mel-hurtig/

A Tribute to Mel Hurtig - Behind the Numbers article by Ed Finn

Thursday, August 4th, 2016 in
from "Behind the Numbers", a publication of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

When author, publisher and activist Mel Hurtig died on Wednesday, Canada lost one of its most ardent champions and defenders.

Renowned as the publisher of The Canadian Encyclopedia in 1991, Mel devoted most of his life to battling foreign ownership, “free” trade, and the poverty and inequality spawned by neoliberal politics. He was a steadfast supporter of the CCPA from its inception, and a contributor to the CCPA Monitor.    <snip -- see link for rest of tribute>   

Mr. Hurtig also co-founded the Council of Canadians with Maude Barlow, who wrote a tribute here:
http://canadians.org/blog/council-canadians-founder-mel-hurtig-passes-away

August 5, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Cardigan's Farmers' Market is open from 10AM to 2PM today.

From their Facebook page posting earlier this week:

Expecting visitors? Why not drop in to pick up your local vegetables, bread, meat, cheese and berries at the market Friday and Saturday? Our 2 organic farmers will be on the deck Saturday and happy to answer any questions you may have. Bring your friends to check out the crafts and participate in the silent auction.
Invitez vos invités à explorer notre marché remplis de produits locaux et artisanaux, vendredi et samedi, 10-2

More details at their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/203609703088266/

-----------------
The Olympics officially start today.  Some athletes are also carrying a message of battling climate change.  Here is a 30-second video on that:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GHDaNunRrQ

A reminder the second Island MP to co-host a Federal Climate Change Consultation is next Wednesday, August 10th, 7PM, Confederation Landing Park.  Co-hosted by MP Sean Casey and ECO-PEI. All welcome!
Facebook event details
-------------------------------------

From last week's West Prince Graphic, some thoughts from Walter Wilkins in response to an earlier Allan Rankin column suggesting Premier Wade MacLauchlan should be considered for a Supreme Court appointment:
http://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/article_55d9e9e2-5350-11e6-a2c7-270ba4248b1f.html

Where's the Evidence? - The West Prince Graphic Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

I’d send this directly to Allan Rankin, but it appears he doesn’t solicit feedback.

I do admire Rankin’s opinions, but is he being ironic when he suggests Mr. MacLauchlan ought to replace Thomas Cromwell?

While MacLauchlan may not be the most absurd choice, I can’t agree with Rankin’s rationale - at all. Especially since there are women and men out there who are much more equipped to do the job. For the record, from Atlantic Canada my vote would be for Wayne MacKay (head and shoulders above MacLauchlan). If you don’t know of him, Google Wayne MacKay; now, he’s an “expert” who has the one feature needed at the Supreme Court - courage.

Is there any evidence (significant publications) that Mr. MacLauchlan “was a constitutional expert” as Rankin claims? I have tried to find MacLauchlan’s peer reviewed publications that relate to his constitutional expertise, but I can’t find anything. Maybe my searches are wonky, maybe it’s a matter of transparency.

Anyway, I’m not saying the evidence for Mr. MacLauchlan’s expertise is not out there, I just can’t find it. Indeed, with the exception of Alex B. Campbell: The Prince Edward Island Premier Who Rocked the Cradle, I can’t find even one substantive monograph. And, while the biography is cute and entertaining, it’s far from something that reveals any degree of constitutional or even jurisprudential expertise.

While I admire MacLauchlan’s professional (and nonprofessional) political acumen, I can’t see much else. Clearly, my high expectations have devolved towards disappointment, and that fogs my perspective. Hmmmm, I wonder, maybe a tad more transparency would help?

Walter Wilkins, Stratford

August 4, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some environmental notes:
Reports came out yesterday of recent anoxic river conditions apparently causing high mortality among small fish (South West River, story here).
from CBC News.  This news is of course on top of the fishkill in the Clyde River area last week.

Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Green Party PEI and District 17 MLA (Kelly's Cross-Cumberland), took a look at the bigger picture regarding fishkills and other insults to the health of our waterways, in his blog yesterday.  He captures the dismay, sees the main cause (uncomfortable as it may be to pinpoint it), and expresses hope and a way forward.  Some text in bold by me.

From:
http://www.peterbevanbaker.ca/blog/2016/08/taking-care-of-our-water-and-soil/

Taking Care of Our Water and Soil - online blog from Peter Bevan-Baker

by Peter Bevan-Baker, published on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

My generation has done a terrible job of living on this planet.

Collectively, we have created no end of enormous problems – social, environmental and economic. It was this that caused me to get involved in politics, and the consequences to future generations of our mismanagement remains my political inspiration today.

We talk of global climate change as a “problem”, but more accurately it is the symptom of a deeper and larger problem – our collective choice to pursue unlimited economic growth on a finite planet. Insatiable greed and short-sightedness are the problem, and one of the symptoms of those attitudes is climate change. There are countless other examples of the current challenges we are facing that are the result of a misguided set of priorities and values.

This week there was a fish kill on PEI. We call them fish kills because whatever causes the sudden mass mortality is made visible by the hundreds of dead fish which suddenly appear. But other aquatic life forms – insects, amphibians, invertebrates etc – while perhaps not as obvious as the brook trout, are just as dead. River kill is a much more accurate description of such events.

But these regular and catastrophic incidents (there have been 51 “fish kills” since 1962 on PEI which have been proven or suspected to be caused by pesticides) are really only symptoms of a deeper problem.  That problem is the way we farm. This isn’t just a PEI problem, it is something which is happening all over the world where industrial agriculture has risen to prominence. The unavoidable consequences of the type of farming we have embraced on PEI are many – increased erosion, decreased organic matter, and contamination of surface and groundwater to name a few. Although we have been farming PEI for many generations, the type of agriculture that has come to dominate our Island is a relatively recent event.

Many highly sophisticated and successful civilizations have come to a crashing halt because they failed to take care of their soil (Robin Wright discussed the examples of Rome, Sumer, Maya, and Easter Island, among others, in the 2010 CBC Massey Lecture A Short History of Progress; audio). We need to treat soil as a finite, non-renewable resource. This is especially true here on the Island where our topsoil is thin and friable. We have “gotten away” with the loss of topsoil that the Island has endured in recent years only by pumping more chemical fertilizers to sustain yields. The soil has become little more than a medium for growing chemical-dependent crops. But healthy soil is a living organism. It has been said by some more traditional farmers that they are not just growing crops, they are growing soil.

And when our pesticide-contaminated soil ends up in streams, we are not only losing arguably our most precious resource, we are ruining our watercourses in the process. And that’s a problem – or more accurately that’s a symptom of a problem. It is not useful to attach blame for why we are where we are, but it is absolutely necessary that we acknowledge the unavoidable problems created by the system of agriculture we use. It is equally necessary that we develop a vision of how we can grow our food differently, and how we can support Island farmers in getting from here to there. Next time I will talk about what options we have to support Island farmers in a transition to a more sustainable way of growing our food.

-Peter

Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Third Party and District 17 MLA

August 3, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Wednesday means Farmers' Markets are open in:

Charlottetown: 9AM-2PM
Stanley Bridge: 9AM-1PM
Summerside: 4-7PM

And lots of farmgates are open with vegetables abound.
---
With much press about the Olympics starting in Brazil at the end of the week, and all the unflattering press that the area is getting, I am reminded of an article from May in The Tyee about their successful national school meal program.  The author spent several weeks examining it and offers suggestions if Canada would choose to do the same.

http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/05/11/Brazil-School-Meal-Program/

Five Things We Can Learn from Brazil's School Meal Program - The Tyee.ca article by Colleen Kimmett

It spends $1.3 billion a year to feed students and help small farmers. Your move, Canada.

Published on May 11th, 2016

The idea that Canada should catch up with the other G8 countries and create a national school meal program has been on the public radar since at least 2011.

Last year, Food Secure Canada put a price tag on a program -- $1 billion over five years -- and launched a campaign to win support for a national initiative that would provide a healthy meal or snack for every public school student. The program would build on existing programs, and be free or low-cost depending on how much provinces were willing to kick in. Schools and school boards would get a say in what kind of food is served.

But Canada is a huge, diverse country, with about 5.1 million students of varied cultural backgrounds. How could such a program actually work?

Brazil offers some clues. That country spends $1.3 billion per year on its national student nutrition program, known as the Programa Nacional de Alimentação Escolar, or PNAE. The program has been around since 1954, but over the past 15 years it has been transformed thanks to a series of pro-food security reforms -- in particular, legislation passed in 2009 that said at least 30 per cent of food purchased for the program must come from small family farmers.

<snip>

The main five points of making something like this possible in Canada

So what can Canada learn from this experiment?

Lesson 1: Delegate decision-making power to local governments

Lesson 2: Craft policies to support small farmers

Lesson 3: Regional and local government commitment means more success

Lesson 4: Change can be slow, but will pay off

Lesson 5: There must be broad public support

<snip>

The rest of the article and the "lessons" explained in the article link above.

--------------------------

And think even more local -- what about a Provincial School Meal program where a the primary principle was locally-sourced and made food?  It would be a good start to all provincial institutions moving to this principle.  Various not-so-free-trade agreements would have to allow the principle of sourcing local food.

The PEI Food Exchange has many pages on sources for obtaining local food, and opportunities to get involved. Scroll to the bottom of the home page to see the list in blue lettering.

http://www.foodexchangepei.com/

August 2, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight:
Composting Workshop
, part of Breaking Ground Series, 5PM, Legacy Garden, Farm Centre, 420 University Ave., Charlottetown.  This will start with a potluck BBQ and then the actual workshop will begin about 6PM.
Facebook event details
---------------------
Janice Sherry, MLA for District 21: Summerside-Wilmot, yesterday announced her retirement after about nine years as an MLA.  She held quite a number of portfolios in the Robert Ghiz government, including Environment and Justice Minister during the Plan B highway approval and construction time. 
Most recently she was on the Special Legislative Committee on Democratic Renewal; that will be a loss, since she seemed very engaged in the committee's work and there is still a lot to happen with the plebiscite on voting systems this fall, and other areas of democratic reform to be examined.
-------------------------------
As mentioned yesterday, here is the list of resources and of events people can explore, complied by Andrew Lush of the Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group.  (Thank you, Andrew.) I can also send it as an attachment is you wish.  Please note that the dates are in "Day.Month.Year" format.  If the links don't work directly, they can be copied and pasted in your browser.

Want to get more involved with environmental issues on PEI?

 

Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group and Wheatley River Improvement Group are your local environmental groups. They employ summer students, plant trees, restore fish passage, trap sediment, build bird boxes, monitor stream health, and run educational programs. See www.hcwg.ca and www.wheatleyriver.ca for details.

Find your own watershed group on the Watershed Alliance website www.peiwatershedalliance.org

There are many environmental groups on PEI that need your help - some of these are listed below. This list is also available on the web for easier browsing: look for ‘Pageant Resources’ on the page www.hcwg.ca

Some of the Watershed Groups on PEI

Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association: www.bbema.ca

Central Queens Wildlife Federation: www.centralqueenswildlife.com

Cornwall and Area Watershed Group: www.cawg.ca

Ellen’s Creek Watershed Group: www.ellenscreekwatershed.ca

Friends of Covehead and Brackley Bay: www.fcbbwatershed.ca

Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group: www.hcwg.ca

Kensington North Watersheds Association: www.knwsa.com

Lot 11 & Area Watershed Management Group: www.lot11andarea.org

Richmond Bay Watershed Association: www.rbwa.ca

Souris & Area Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation: www.souriswl.com

South Shore Watershed Association: www.sswa.ca

Southeast Environmental Association: www.seapei.org

Stratford Area Watershed Improvement Group: sawig.wordpress.com

Wheatley River Improvement Group: www.wheatleyriver.ca

Winter River – Tracadie Bay Watershed Association: www.wintertracadie.ca

 

Some other PEI Environmental Groups

Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water: http://peiwater.com

Nature PEI – Natural History Society: http://naturepei.ca

Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery: http://abegweithatchery.ca

Birding on PEI: www.facebook.com/Birding-on-PEI-157504117632145

Don’t Frack PEI: www.dontfrackpei.com

Save our Seas and Shores – PEI Chapter: http://saveourseasandshores.ca

Environmental Coalition of PEI: http://www.ecopei.ca

Citizen’s Alliance of PEI: http://www.citizensalliancepei.org

Fish and Wildlife PEI: www.gov.pe.ca/forestry/wildPEI

Island Nature Trust: http://www.islandnaturetrust.ca

MacPhail Woods Ecological Forestry Project: http://macphailwoods.org

PEI Invasive Species Council: http://peiinvasives.ca

Blue Dot PEI: http://www.bluedotpei.com

PEI Wildlife Federation: https://www.facebook.com/PEIWildlifeFederation

Pesticide Free PEI: https://pesticidefreepei.com

Sierra Club PEI Wild Child Program: https://www.facebook.com/wildchildpei

When you locate your local watershed group, many of them have newsletters, e-news, and facebook pages. The PEI Citizens’ Alliance (http://www.citizensalliancepei.org) has a daily e-newsletter which includes upcoming environmental events.
The Buzz (http://www.buzzon.com) has a calendar of environmental and community events. Many of the environmental groups listed above send out e-mail news, and most of them are looking for volunteers.

Upcoming Environmental Events/Volunteer Opportunities

‘Beach Hut’ environmental displays

Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group & Wheatley River Improvement Group & Parks Canada

Where: Cavendish Main Beach

When: 05.08.2016 & 12.08.2016 from 1pm to 3pm

Annual Lobster Dinner Fundraiser

Souris & Area Branch of the P.E.I Wildlife Federation

When: 07.08.2016

For Tickets Call: 902-687-4115

Basin Head Eco-Tours

When: Tuesdays & Thursdays in August @ 09:30

To Book Call: 902-687-4115

Charlottetown Climate Change Consultation

MP Sean Casey

When: 10.08.2016

Where: Confederation Landing Park

More Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/865563716882051/

Boughton Island Kayak & Clean Up

Southeast Environmental Association & Nature Conservancy of Canada

When: 13.08.2016

More Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/613650295471728/

Stanley Bridge River Days Festival

Trout River Environmental Committee and other groups
When: 19.08.206 – 21.08.2016

http://festivalspei.com/event/river-days-festival-2/?instance_id=5886

Native Shrub & Wildflower Planting

MacPhail Woods Ecological Forestry Project

When: 20.08.2016

More Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/203893323329119/

Duck Race

Wheatley River Improvement Group

When: 27.08.2016

More Info: http://www.wheatleyriver.ca/

Nature Trail Walk

MacPhail Woods Ecological Forestry Project

When: 16.10.2016

More Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1218924864799394/

August 1, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Happy August!
The River Clyde Festival this past weekend sounded like an amazing event, with the environmental health of the river not ignored.  Many folks might want to see what they could do to help, and there are many ways to get involved.
Andrew Lush, of the Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group (HCWG), has put together an excellent list of resources, opportunities for engagement, and upcoming events of interest to many of us.  (The actual content is not copying clearly for me to share completely but I will ask for the text.)

In the meantime, the actual link to the PDF document on the HCWG website is here:
http://hcwg.editme.com/files/Home/Pageant.pdf

And as those PDFs sometimes don't open for some of us directly, the link from the website to the document can be found on this page under "Pageant resources".
http://hcwg.editme.com/

Hope you can take a look at it. 
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"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." 
-- Aldo Leopold, early 20th century American author and environmentalist
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