CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

August 2018

Contents

  1. 1 August 18, 2018
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews Notice
  2. 2 August 11, 2018
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Joe Byrne Issues Challenge - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  3. 3 August 10, 2018
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 Equalization Means Sharing Canada's Wealth - The Guardian article by Wade Maclauchlan
  4. 4 August 9, 2018
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 When bad news hits, who has our back? - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
    3. 4.3 Your Tax Dollars at Work - Green Party PEI blog by Peter Bevan-Baker
  5. 5 August 7, 2018
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 OPINION: A have-not province? Says who? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by David Weale
  6. 6 August 6, 2018
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 Major grower backs away from contentious pine-to-potato expansion - The Minnesota Star Tribune article by Josephine Marcotty
  7. 7 August 5, 2018
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 Two seniors sentenced to 7 days in jail for pipeline protest - CTV News online article by Jon Woodward
  8. 8 August 4, 2018
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 Charlottetown community garden moves a few blocks south - CBC News online article by Josh Lewis
    3. 8.3 An Apple Shows Just How Broken Our Food System Is - Huffington Post online article by Otto Scharmer
  9. 9 August 3, 2018
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 Drivers cause accidents, too - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky
  10. 10 August 2, 2018
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 GLENN ROBERTS: Watch for Mars and shooting stars - The Guardian article by Glenn Roberts
  11. 11 August 1, 2018
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 On climate change, Conservatives and Liberals encourage the narcissism of small differences - The National Post article by John Ivison

August 18, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews Notice

Just a note to let you I have been in the States with my family caring for my mother in her final days, and now with various family events celebrating her life. 

The Citizens' Alliance News will resume in a couple of weeks.

Best wishes to all.

Yours truly,
Chris Ortenburger

August 11, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets are open:
Bloomfield, 8:30AM-12noon
Stanley Bridge, 9AM-1PM
Summerside, 9AM-1PM
Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM
Cardigan, 10AM-2PM
Murray Harbour, 9AM-12noon


Also Today:
Macphail Woods Volunteer Aboretum Afternoon, anytime during 1-4PM
, Macphail Woods.  Volunteers needed to spread mulch, plant trees and other sutoes to continue to beautify the area.
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Saturday, August 27th:
ACORN AGM and Permaculture Workshop -- Sackville, N.B., 5PM on ward. "
In collaboration with the Tatamagouche Centre, ACORN is very pleased to host a talk by Starhawk, renowned permaculture teacher, following the business portion . "There’s a Place for You At Our Table-Regenerative Farming, Eating, and Thinking"

In collaboration with the Tatamagouche  Centre, ACORN is pleased to present our featured speaker Starhawk, following the business portion of our 2018  Annual General Meeting. 
ACORN Annual General Meeting 5:00 - 6:00 pm
Special Permaculture Guest Lecture featuring Starhawk at 7:30PM.
Starhawk is an author, activist, permaculture designer and teacher, and a prominent voice in modern earth-based spirituality and ecofeminism. She is in the Maritimes to teach her 2-week permaculture design certification course, Earth Activist Training at the Tatamagouche Centre from August 18-September 1st (space is still available)."
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Leader of the Island New Democrats Joe Byrne on housing:

Joe Byrne Issues Challenge - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Printed in The Guardian 
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/opinion-joe-byrne-issues-challenge-233008/

Everyone knows we’ve got a crisis: that many Islanders cannot find housing that works for them and that they can afford. Even the MacLauchlan government issued a report this past May on ‘Housing Data and Trends,’ which affirmed that “stable, safe, adequate housing is a fundamental human need,” and concluded that near-zero vacancy rates and rising rents are creating “major and growing challenges of access and affordability for low-income Islanders.”

To be fair, government did appoint a Housing Supply Task Force, and a couple of weeks ago we had the announcement of a Provincial Housing Action Plan.

But when you take a closer look, you find that the promise of 1,000 affordable units is pretty empty at this point. When asked about building to meet the pressing demand, the director of Housing Services has said that most of the units, at least for the present, will be in the form of rent supplements, and that detailed planning for the remaining units is to be worked out by the Housing Council and Housing Hub as the needs get better defined.

In other words, the main tactic for helping people to find a place to live is to offer a money-discount to renters. Beyond subsidies, there seems to be no concrete plans, and subsidies don’t help much if there are no decent accommodations to move into. In fact, they tend to be an invitation to landlords to inflate rates. A growing bureaucracy of a ‘Hub’ and ‘navigators’ is not what creates places for people to live.

The blunt fact is that the recent decades of government reliance on private, for-profit developers to build affordable housing has simply not produced many units that limited-income people can rent or buy.

What has worked, what has proven itself in the past, is publicly built and managed accommodation — whether it’s been Habitat for Humanity homes, provincial Housing Authority complexes, co-ops or municipal projects.

As leader of Island New Democrats, I say let’s equip municipalities and non-profit community groups with the money and supports to do the job of creating and operating a fresh supply of affordable housing. They’re the ones who know the local need and what it takes to get things happening.

That’s why, as we approach municipal election-time, I want to put out this challenge. Candidates for councils, what are your ideas? How can we best create and manage appropriate housing in our communities? New Democrats have a list of concrete strategies. So how about we share thoughts and start to get things going?

- Joe Byrne is leader of the New Democratic Party of Prince Edward Island

August 10, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The Cardigan Farmers' Market is open, 10AM-2PM.
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Prince Edward Island and Equalization is an interested discussion.  Here is the original piece by Premier Wade MacLauchlan where he defended equalization but also reminded readers that the Ialand was disadvantaged in not having any natural resources like oil or gas.

Despite that 19th century thinking of natural resource extraction as the only way to fiscal success, MacLauchlan does what any Premier should and defends what keeps his Province "afloat".
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/wade-maclauchlan-equalization-means-sharing-canadas-wealth-229423/

Equalization Means Sharing Canada's Wealth - The Guardian article by Wade Maclauchlan

Published on Saturday, July 28th, 2018

One of Canada’s greatest strengths is its understanding that every citizen deserves to share in our country’s great wealth and resources – and that all of us have the freedom to thrive and excel, regardless of where we choose to live.

It is especially important that our country expresses that perspective – not merely in sentiment – but in law and longstanding practices.

The federal equalization program is part of the glue that keeps Canada together, economically and politically.

Equalization does so by ensuring that every jurisdiction is able to provide roughly comparable levels of service at comparable levels of taxation. In other words, equalization is a program that helps to ensure that every citizen in our country enjoys the benefits of being Canadian.

Now, there will always be those who question the equalization program - the issue has most recently been discussed in advance of last week’s meeting of the Premiers in New Brunswick. Additionally, David McKinnon with the right-wing think tank Frontier Centre for Public Policy recently had an oped in this newspaper repeating the same tired arguments that fail to recognize the Maritime provinces’ contributions to Canada.

First of all, a program like equalization allows us to be a nation.

By ensuring that the natural bounty of our country benefits each and every one of us, equalization helps to assure a roughly level playing field – in which there are no ‘second-class’ Canadians.

Second, equalization allows Canada to have a national economy.

Prince Edward Island is committed to growing our prosperity, and to improving our incomes relative to the rest of Canada. Equalization is a central building block for our economic growth and fiscal capacity. In both 2016 and 2017, Prince Edward Island had the third-highest rate of year-over-year economic growth among the provinces. We are enjoying further growth in 2018, while maintaining balanced provincial budgets. This is a reflection of hard work, entrepreneurial leadership and innovation, without the advantage of either conventional energy or natural resources.

And these accomplishments are very important, because it means that our province will continue to grow its capacity to contribute to Canada’s economy and the welfare of Prince Edward Island – and become an ever-more active trading partner with other provinces.

Third, equalization means that Canada will continue to have a nationally mobile workforce – so that Canadians are able to work and prosper anywhere in our country,

More prosperous provinces have clearly benefited from the productive efforts of hundreds of thousands of workers who have been educated and trained in equalization-receiving provinces, and who often choose to retire to their province of origin. When it comes to trade, it is no accident that Prince Edward Island buys more than it sells and that Ontario is our most important trading partner.

Over the last several years Prince Edward Island has enjoyed a remarkable level of economic growth. Simultaneously, we have experienced a strong and stable increase in our population.

These achievements were hard-won – and they took a lot of work, discipline, care and energy.

Right now, Prince Edward Island is at a place where we are working very hard to continue building greater prosperity – both for the citizens who live here and as contributors to the national economy.

So, while I understand there will be critics of programs designed to build a stronger and more prosperous Canada, I would encourage them to look to the deeper issues of what it means to be a Canadian in 2018.

Wade MacLauchlan is the premier of Prince Edward Island

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Also is the obligatory response from the Frontier Institute, saying a lot of things, but notably that provinces shouldn't get equilization payments unless they allow the same resource extraction other provinces do...bold is mine.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/opinion-the-equalization-debate-232165/


The Equalization Debate - The Guardian Guest Opinion by David MacKinnon

All that is guaranteed in the constitution is a vague commitment to the principle of equalization

In recent days, readers of the Guardian have read very different articles on equalization, one by Premier Wade MacLauchlan and one by me.

This is healthy. One hopes that the debate continues.

It is important to be factual as we go forward.

For example, Mr. MacLauchlan notes that in his view programs such as equalization allow us to be a nation.

Canada functioned well as a nation for nearly 100 years before equalization even started. His observation has little merit given this history.

The constantly repeated and misleading observation that equalization funding is guaranteed in the constitution is also not factual.

All that is guaranteed is a vague commitment to the principle of equalization. Funding levels are not mentioned, yet alone guaranteed.

It is important that Islanders are not further misled. To repeat: equalization funding is not guaranteed by the constitution.

The most important reason that this debate should continue is that equalization and other federal subsidies are the dominant influencers of economic life on the Island.

From 2007 to 2016, P.E.I. received a remarkable $10.9 billion more in benefits than it contributed to the federation.

Recent growth on the Island may be attributable in part to increased federal spending on equalization which grew by nearly $60 million in the past five years.

There are few positive results from all this. P.E.I.’s growth rate over time is at or near the bottom of Canadian provinces and US states.

Most social indicators are also negative. For example, the poverty rate in P.E.I. is 14.4 per cent, the highest in Atlantic Canada.

Two things are evident from this summary. First, something must change if Islanders are to secure their future and second, the strategy of relying on massive funding from other Canadians has failed.

This strategy is also risky. Things have changed in Ontario and Alberta in ways that are not recognized by federal and provincial political leaders in Atlantic Canada.

The people of these provinces cannot continue to provide the funding support that Quebec, Atlantic Canada and Manitoba expect.

The reasons are obvious.

Mr. MacLauchlan notes that there are no “second class’ Canadians.

This is an error. In terms of access to government programming, equalization and other federal subsidies have contributed to second class status for a large group of Canadians.

These people do not live in Tignish, Truro or Tracadie. They live in places like Gananoque, Brantford and London.

These communities are experiencing difficulties because their industrial bases have been eroded and because their access to government programming is low, less than in Atlantic Canada.

The poverty level in Ontario at 13.5 per cent is the same as the average poverty level of the four provinces in Atlantic Canada.

The issues relating to regional subsidies in Alberta are different but the consequences are similar.

The collapse of oil prices has affected hundreds of thousands of Albertans and they are struggling. Also, Albertans have contributed $228 billion more to the federation than they received from 2007 to 2016, a remarkable burden.

A vocal body of public opinion has emerged that objects to this. There has been discussion of a referendum on equalization.

What should Islanders and other Atlantic Canadians do to respond to these circumstances?

They should be open to change.

Provincial programming in the region could be delivered better and at lower cost by a common services organization operating under contract to each province.

Each Atlantic Province could agree that they would not prohibit any industrial activity that is in operation elsewhere in environmentally sensitive ways. Nova Scotia has prohibited uranium mining and New Brunswick fracking. This offends westerners who send equalization funding to these provinces that comes in part from these activities.

The four Atlantic provinces could jointly propose a renewed equalization program for the region that includes financial support for restructuring the vastly oversized public sectors in each province.

There are other possible new directions. Leading implementation of these would be consistent with the role of Prince Edward Island in getting Canada started.

Attitude change is also important. Islanders need to be sensitive to changes in the rest of Canada. They need to set aside myths such as the myth that equalization funding is guaranteed. Finally, they should remember that the biggest risk may be not addressing fundamental problems.

- David MacKinnon is an analyst at the Frontier Centre for Public Polic

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Speaking of the 19th mindset of resource extraction, the company BP (which has video billboards in a major U.S. airport showcasing how environmentally friendly they are), the Council of Canadians has a petition 

"We must send a strong message to our federal government that putting our environment and economy in the hands of an oil company with a history of catastrophic accidents is unacceptable."

https://secure.canadians.org/page/20746/petition/1?locale=en-CA

August 9, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today:
Farm Centre Farmers' Market, 4-7PM
, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.  Lots of vendors.

Green Drinks Summerside, 7-9PM, PEI Lobster House and at the Shipyard, all welcome.  Monthly get-together to discuss current events.

Old Home Week (Provincial Exhibition) starts today and runs until next Saturday, August 18th.  The Guardian has a supplement today with details of what is going on when, and see here for more information:
http://oldhomeweekpei.com/
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Tomorrow:
Friday, August 10th:
Mayor's BBQ to kick off Old Home Week, 11:30AM- 1PM,
Great George Street at Fitzroy Streets, downtown, residents and visitors welcome.

"The Mayor and Councillors will be joined by City staff and Hot 105.5 and Ocean 100 personalities. The event will include free food, entertainment and a small petting zoo for children."

from:  Facebook event

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Paul MacNeill gives his opinion about government response to the closure of the potato packing plant in O'Leary.

http://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/article_f55f503a-9a46-11e8-9584-fb61484d8e77.html

When bad news hits, who has our back? - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 in The Graphic newspapers

When Cavendish Farms announced the imminent closure of its fresh potato packaging facility in O’Leary last week, it rightfully set off alarm bells with community leaders. By any measure 40 jobs in a rural area is significant. Many employees are long-serving; for some it is the only job they’ve known.

“It’s gonna hurt because that means there’s that many people who are going to have to go somewhere else to get work, and that might mean there are people who might have to move away from here,” said O’Leary Mayor Eric Gavin.

Bingo.

Yet the mayor’s concern was missing when Premier Wade MacLauchlan commented the following day at an unrelated event. The premier took the opportunity to brag about the Island economy and its growing diversity. He also praised Cavendish Farms even though the company used the closure to issue a thinly veiled threat to government to lift the moratorium on deep water wells.

“If farmers are not able to grow more potatoes (by increasing yields, not acres) then the Prince Edward Island industry may not be sustainable as competition in the frozen potato export market intensifies. The PEI industry will require supplemental irrigation as part of the solution. The Island cannot afford to have its largest export product entirely dependent on rainfall,” stated the release.

Cavendish Farms is entitled to express conditions needed for it to remain competitive in a very competitive international marketplace. Linking the moratorium to the future of potato processing on the Island may not play well with ordinary Islanders but Cavendish is doing what any business of any size would do – put its best interest first.

Government’s role is as an independent arbitrator, weighing credible science (when it is finally available) with economic pros and cons.

The premier’s comments, however, sounded neither independent nor supportive because he opted to speak about a ‘dynamic’ Island economy rather than the issue at hand – closure of a substantial rural business that will have a real impact on real Island families.

Rural PEI is doing well. Our lobster industry is flourishing, as is agriculture. Innovative Island companies from Trout River Industries in the west to Eastern Fabricators in the east are competing nationally and internationally.

But it is also true that the ‘dynamic’ Island economy is centralizing in and around Charlottetown, with the Queens County population now topping 90,000, up 8,000 since 2013. The population of both Prince and Kings county has decreased by roughly 500 during the same period.

Then there’s the unemployment rate. Provincially the rate has dipped to 9.8 per cent on an annualized basis, the lowest it has been in years. But there are two EI regions on the Island: Charlottetown with a current unemployment rate of 7 per cent and the rest of Prince Edward Island with an almost double rate of 13.1 per cent.

The dynamic economy the premier speaks of is developing more slowly in rural areas where stagnant or dwindling and aging populations make it difficult to diversify.

The governing Liberals were hit with yet another poor poll result Monday, with the quarterly MQO research showing the government with just a one point lead over the Greens, 34 to 33. Tories remain stagnant at 29 per cent and the NDP under new leader Joe Byrne has fallen to four per cent. Undecided stands at a very sizable 34 per cent.

When an election is held Liberals will rely on traditional strength in rural areas like Prince County to hold power. That is why messaging is so vital for a premier whose personal popularity lags behind his own party.

The big picture is important, especially as the province navigates an uncertain economic future in the face of trade tariffs and an unpredictable US government. Perhaps more than any recent premier, Wade MacLauchlan has a deep understanding of the cogs that drive the economy.

But Islanders don’t want a deep dive into economic minutia. They want to know government and premier has their back.

And last week that didn’t happen for either West Prince or the 40 people directly impacted by the Cavendish decision.

Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at paul@peicanada.com

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The amount of advertising trumpeting the great job government is doing under the banner of information announcements has appeared to increase substantially recently.  (And not just paid advertisements -- The Buzz is awash with little information pieces that are clearly taken from press releases.  Leader Peter Bevan-Baker noticed it and wrote this Green Party PEI blog:)

Your Tax Dollars at Work - Green Party PEI blog by Peter Bevan-Baker

Published on Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 here

Advertising plays an important role in swaying public opinion. Companies use ads for a number of reasons; to raise their profile, to secure their place in the market, to demonstrate superiority over their competitors or to brag about how wonderful they are. Most of us are savvy enough to take some of the claims we hear in commercials with a grain of salt because we know that the opinion being presented is not completely objective.

Governments also use advertising, but the purpose of government advertising is to inform citizens about programs and services available to them, to promote health, well-being and public safety, and to keep Islanders informed of everything from public tenders to property tax sales. These ads are paid for with taxpayer dollars, and need to be completely non-partisan.  Government advertising should never be seen as promoting the party in power.

A particularly egregious example of how government resources can be abused recently appeared in Ontario. Newly minted premier Doug Ford has started his own news station “Ontario News Now”, which is funded with taxpayers dollars and broadcasts partisan pieces on Mr. Ford’s impeccable work as the province’s new leader. This allows him to bypass the messy business of speaking with the media, who have an irritating habit of questioning some of his statements and actions. Much easier to deliver your message independently and without that sort of annoying interference.

Here on PEI, while we haven’t yet seen that level of naked brinkmanship, there are things that I believe should concern us. According to PEI’s 2018-2019 budget estimates, the Communications and Public Engagement division of Executive Council has a budget just short of three million dollars ($2,982,700), and over $300,000 of that is for paid advertising.  That’s an awful lot of money just to ensure the public is kept informed of programs and services.

Now some provinces have legislation in place to ensure that governments do not use tax dollars to create partisan communications masquerading as government messages. On PEI we don’t. Anyone who received a property tax bill earlier this year would have also received a colourful insert reminding us just how excellent our government is. And commercial-style video press releases are common place these days all over social media, incorporating beaming ministers, and always touting the fineness of PEI’s current government. As a taxpayer, I’d prefer not to see advertisements from government telling me what a great job they are doing. I particularly don’t want my tax dollars to pay for the ads that are telling me how well my tax dollars are being spent.

What I’d like to see is a mechanism in place where an independent body – the Auditor General for example - could decide whether any particular advertisement has crossed the line from simply informing Islanders of government programs and activities to blatant self-congratulation. I’d also like to see each government communication accompanied by the note “this message is paid for by the taxpayers of PEI”. And finally government shouldn’t be running ads that feature an MLA's name, picture or voice - that type of self-promotion shouldn’t come out of taxpayers’ pockets.  With rules like this, I think we’d see a few less ads, but more importantly, we’d have a few more tax dollars available for other programs.

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The Citizens' Alliance News is likely to be a bit unpredictable, as I am on the road again, but likely to find some time to share some news most days.  I'll try to keep the dates straight and make sure to reprint (mostly) well-thought-out opinion pieces.

August 7, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tonight:
Presentation by historian Doug Sobey:  Early Homes of PEI, 7PM,
Acadian Museum in Miscouche, in English, admission by donation.
"A P.E.I. historian will explain how the province’s first settlers built their homes...focus(ing) on the history of log homes in PE.I.  When the first settlers arrived here from Europe, or elsewhere from North America, the first priority was to build a house to shelter them from the elements, especially during severe winter weather. Almost at once they set about building a log house using the resources at hand. However, the type of building was completely unknown in their home countries and required a new set of skills.
Sobey, a historian of P.E.I. forests, will explain how they learned those skills during an illustrated talk that will examine historical records of log home construction during both the French and colonial periods.  Sobey will also look in detail at some of the log houses that are still to be found on the Island, including the Doucet House in Rustico and some log houses in Charlottetown.
He will consider the extent to which log houses were part of the Acadian building tradition.  As a research associate with UPEI’s Institute of Island Studies since 1992, Sobey has been studying the province’s forests and their past history. His research has been published in Canadian journals, The Island Magazine and in P.E.I. government publications.  He also co-authored the 2015 book Samuel Holland – His Work and Legacy on Prince Edward Island.

Documentary: Bluefinby John Hopkins, 10:15PM, free, part of the Projections on the Plaza series. Victoria Row.

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The link to the original opinion piece, in defense of equalization policy, by Premier Wade MacLauchlan, mentioning what P.E.I. lacks in a "traditional" economic sense:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/wade-maclauchlan-equalization-means-sharing-canadas-wealth-229423/

And David Weale's defence of the Island and its people:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/opinion-a-have-not-province-says-who-231655/
 

OPINION: A have-not province? Says who? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by David Weale


Premier believes future of Island depends almost entirely on importation of people and capital

Published on Monday, August 6th, 2018

When I first read it, I thought it must have been a typo, or perhaps a slip of the tongue, or an inadvertent mistake. Why else would Premier MacLauchlan, in a recent op-ed to The Guardian, maintain that the prosperity of the Island has taken place “…without the advantage of either conventional energy or natural resources.”

Yes! That’s what he wrote.

Prince Edward Island, a place without the advantage of natural resources? Really? What ideological filter is he looking through that would prompt him to say something so outrageously wrong, and so detrimental to the spirit of Island enterprise. Surely, he didn’t mean to write that. Surely it is not possible to look at the fields, harbours, shores, rivers and scenic vistas of the Island and say we do not have the advantage of natural resources.

But, of course, it is not a mistake. It is how he thinks, and helps explain why he believes the future of the Island depends almost entirely on the importation of people and capital. Or, more specifically, very rich people with capital; i.e. PNP investor immigrants and large corporations.

All my adult life I have been aggravated by those federal politicians and bureaucrats who referred patronizingly to the Island in particular, and the Maritimes in general, as “have-not” provinces. It is an entirely demeaning and damaging designation, but to hear it out of the mouth of our own premier is all of that and more. It is dangerous, that’s what it is; a formula for defeatism and dependency.

Prince Edward Island is one of the most richly endowed communities on the face of the earth, abounding in natural resources. It is arable from tip to tip, surrounded by waters that produce some the highest quality seafoods harvested anywhere, possesses a pastoral landscape of beguiling natural beauty that is a magnet for attracting tourists, and has a wind regime favourable for the producing of electrical energy. On top of all that, it is inhabited by residents fiercely proud of their Island home.

Further, at Vision P.E.I., we maintain that when they are viewed positively and creatively, rather than pessimistically, the smallness and separateness of the Island are also great natural advantages. But not if we buy into a system that worships scale, and continuous growth.

It makes me wonder what, aside from a gas and oil industry (a waning resource worldwide), the premier thinks we are lacking. And I’m afraid the answer is that he thinks we are too small, and that there are not nearly enough of us, to operate successfully within the globalist/corporate economic model that drives his thinking.

And he is right about that. We are not a good fit for that. And never can be, no matter how large or populous. So, give up the grandiosity Mr. Premier and get back to basics … small Island basics.

If we embrace the globalist model of unfettered capitalism, and the economies of scale, it condemns us to feelings of inferiority and insignificance, and creates a kind of envy that makes us want to become something we are not. And I see that happening more and more every year as the self-aggrandizing political and commercial leaders of the province continue to preach their gospel of size and continuous growth as the answer to everything, even though the upshot is that we end up thinking of ourselves as disadvantaged.

Finally, one critical natural resource that has gone missing on the Island is political leadership that is confident and creative in imagining a sustainable, made-in-P.E.I. economy that builds on our unique strengths: one that doesn’t depend on millionaire immigrants, or the exploitive presence of bully-boy corporations that don’t give a damn about what kind of society we are building here, or how our natural resources are managed for the long-term good of Island people.

We don’t have that kind of responsible, caring leadership just now, and haven’t had it for a long time.

- David Weale is the publisher of RED Magazine, and a founding member of Vision P.E.I.

August 6, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some events this week, with some Party colours if applicable:

Today:

District 9 (York-Oyster Bed) annual Strawberry Social, 5-7PM, North Shore Community Centre, all welcome.  Hosted by the Liberal District Association, with MLA and Premier) Wade MacLauchlan.

Projections on the Plaza (Island movies screened outdoors, on rotation -- Monday is Queen of the Crows (Harmony Wagner) and Mabel's Saga (JoDee Samuelson), 10:15PM, off Victoria Row on Confederation Centre building, free.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 7th, the movie is:
Bluefin, by John Hopkins
Facebook event details

Wednesday, August 8th:
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey's Strawberry Social, 6-8PM, West Royalty Community Centre, all welcome.

Progressive Conservative District 10 Executive Summer Social, 6-7:30PM, Mulberry Park, Sherwood.

Thursday, August 9th:
District 13 (Charlottetown-Brighton) Liberal District Association barbecue, 4-6PM, DesBrissey Crescent Park, with MLA (and Education and Early Learning, and Justice, and Attorney General) Jordan Brown.

Green Drinks, Summerside, 7-10PM, Dooly's, all welcome to chat with local Green Party candidates and party members.
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Islander Ivy Wigmore shared this short little video by The Years Project, which confirms the American Petroleum Industry knew about the causes of Climate Change in the 1960s and started a disinformation campaign since then, and had this commentary on Saturday, August 4th, 2018, on social media:

"Among other things, this clearly shows why you can't trust everything that's called science, in particular when there's any profit motive involved.

That's the case right now with industry-funded science into not only fossil fuels but also pesticides, household products, pharmaceuticals."   -- Ivy Wigmore

The Years Project video link

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The Minneota StarTribune in the United States had a story about potatoes, trees and water recently that was shared with me.  The parallels and tactics (taking size into account) are pretty similar in their patch of sandy soils and precious groundwater, and in ours.
http://m.startribune.com/major-grower-backs-away-from-contentious-pine-to-potato-expansion/490038361/

Major grower backs away from contentious pine-to-potato expansion - The Minnesota Star Tribune article by Josephine Marcotty

Published on Saturday, August 4th, 2018, in the StarTribune
excerpt:

"Minnesota’s largest potato producer is backing away from a controversial expansion just south of the Mississippi River headwaters after state regulators insisted on an environmental study of the potential contamination of groundwater.

For local citizens, who for years have been urging the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to consider the wider impact of expanding row crops and irrigation in a region prized for its forests and clean lakes, it’s a small victory. For R.D. Offutt, a major supplier for McDonald’s French fries, the decision seems to be targeted regulation that will force it to take its business out of state, according to an angry letter the company sent the DNR."
<snip>

One possible scenario is that less demand for fast food French fries would result in less demand for this kind of industrial agriculture in North America.

Some events this week, with some Party colours if applicable:

Today:
District 9 (York-Oyster Bed) annual Strawberry Social, 5-7PM, North Shore Community Centre, all welcome.  Hosted by the Liberal District Association, with MLA and Premier) Wade MacLauchlan.

Projections on the Plaza (Island movies screened outdoors, on rotation -- Monday is Queen of the Crows (Harmony Wagner) and Mabel's Saga (JoDee Samuelson), 10:15PM, off Victoria Row on Confederation Centre building, free.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 7th, the movie is:
Bluefin, by John Hopkins
Facebook event details


Wednesday, August 8th:
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey's Strawberry Social, 6-8PM, West Royalty Community Centre, all welcome.

Progressive Conservative District 10 Executive Summer Social, 6-7:30PM, Mulberry Park, Sherwood.

Thursday, August 9th:

District 13 (Charlottetown-Brighton) Liberal District Association barbecue, 4-6PM, DesBrissey Crescent Park, with MLA (and Education and Early Learning, and Justice, and Attorney General) Jordan Brown.

Green Drinks, Summerside, 7-10PM, Dooly's, all welcome to chat with local Green Party candidates and party members.

August 5, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Morell Famers' Market, 9AM-1PM

Downtown Charlottetown Queen Street Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM. So many kinds of vegetables available.

Fringe Festival Final Day, various locations.  More info.

PEI Highland Games and Scottish Festival, today until 4PM,  Lord Selkirk Provincial Park.
Facebook event details

Afternoon Tea at Historic Haviland Club (fundraiser), 1:30-3PM, Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street.  "Sandwiches (fancy!), sweets, tea and a touch of neighbourhood and Charlottetown history at the historic Haviland Club (1869). Enjoy the elegant setting, tour the house. Families are welcome. The price is $25 per person, please call 902-894-4421 to reserve."

Charlottetown Mayoral candidate Jamie Larkin Backyard BBQ, 2PM, please RSVP. Details:Event details
------------------------------
On Tuesday of this week:

Two seniors sentenced to 7 days in jail for pipeline protest - CTV News online article by Jon Woodward

excerpt of story by Jon Woodward, published Tuesday, July 31st, 2018, on CTV News on-line  https://bc.ctvnews.ca/two-seniors-sentenced-to-7-days-in-jail-for-pipeline-protest-1.4035318

Two senior citizens have become the first Trans Mountain pipeline protesters to be sentenced to jail time for defying a B.C. Supreme Court injunction.  Laurie Embree, 70, and Constance Lasheras pleaded guilty but continued their stand against the pipeline during an address to the court before they were sentenced to a seven-day jail term.  (Laurie Embree's address in full below)

<snip>
There have been 214 arrests and 88 sentences for those opposing Justice (Kenneth) Affleck’s injunction earlier this year against blocking the work to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs between Edmonton and Burnaby.

Crown prosecutors said that each of the arrested people were given opportunities to leave their sites, but did not. Politicians including Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Vancouver mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart were among those arrested and fined.

On May 28, as arrests mounted, officials warned that they would pursue jail time for anyone else violating the injunction.  “I have no doubt these protests have been carefully organized,” said Justice Affleck. “They did so to gain publicity for a cause in which they believe. That is not a basis they can defy this injunction without consequences.  “I am not persuaded that either of the persons are likely to repeat the contempt but I am convinced there needs to be a general deterrence. It is regrettable that prison sentences must be imposed. But that must be the outcome,” he said.

Several other pipeline protesters made a first appearance after arrests on June 30, including Vancouver COPE council candidate Jean Swanson.

Constance Lasheras, who works in Surrey, said she was not interested in getting recognition. “I am a mother and I worry about the future of my children,” she said. “Climate change is very real.”

Senior citizens should not escape punishment, said Crown lawyer Monte Rattan, arguing that protesters will simply pick the elderly to be arrested.

“This is the population that must be deterred,” Rattan said, prompting laughter from the gallery.
------------------------

In Laurie Embree's own words to the court, Tuesday, July 31st, 2018:

“Your Honour, I have lived my 70 years abiding by the law. But, if we look back into our history, there have been many times when our laws have supported injustices.

In the 18th century there were laws that supported child labour to the benefit of the Industrialists of the times.
In the 19th century, laws were created to support the ownership of black people to the benefit of Plantation Owners.
In the 20th century, we made laws that allowed us to take native children away from their parents and to place the rest of the family on reserves, to the benefit of Europeans that wanted their land.
And again, laws that suppressed women’s rights, to the benefit of their husbands.
All of those laws were created through the judicial system- that you are a part of, sir – but they were actually designed by influential people behind the scenes that would profit from them.

As much as we think we have come a long way, the mentality behind the Industrialists, the Plantation owners, the European lust for Indigenous land, and the men that wanted their wives to do their bidding, is still very present in our society.
Our judicial system is still being manipulated by rich and powerful people that have the influence to make our legal system work for them.
I truly believe that when we have laws that support injustices, it is the duty of all good men and women to stand up and challenge those laws.

A prominent and recent case in point would be when Director Chatenay of the Canadian Wheat Board was jailed for protesting the Canada Customs Act and its restrictions on grain exports. In his own defence, Mr. Chatenay stated that, 'The greatest respect for the law is to change an unjust one.'
Subsequently, on August 10th of 2012, Mr. Chatenay, and others jailed for that protest, were pardoned by then-Prime Minister Harper who, in doing so said, and I quote,
'These people are not criminals. They are our fellow citizens who protested injustice by submitting themselves peacefully to the consequences of challenging injustice.'

I believe the man I just quoted is the person who appointed you to the position you hold today.

This law sir, that you have created, and that I, and many others are peacefully challenging, is unjust.
It supports an industry that is not just harming children, or black people, or women, or Indigenous peoples. Your law, in fact, is supporting an industry that has been scientifically proven to be harming the whole world and every living thing on it.
Today I feel privileged and proud to be standing on my side of the bench before me.”

     --Laurie Embree is a potter and owns and operates Pine Branch Pottery  in 108 Mile Ranch, British Columbia

August 4, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets are open:
Bloomfield, 8:30AM-12noon
Stanley Bridge, 9AM-1PM
Summerside, 9AM-1PM
Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM
Cardigan, 10AM-2PM
Murray Harbour, 9AM-12noon


Also, this morning, if you hurry:
Farm and Food Care PEI's Breakfast on the Farm, 8AM,
Crasdale's Farm in Rustico.  Hosted by the PEI Federation of Agriculture.  Free breakfast locally sourced and lots of information on island farming and agri-business from the Farm and Food Care PEI program, which appears to be a government sponsored information program.
Facebook event details

The Island Fringe Festival continues today and tomorrow, various locations.  More info: http://islandfringe.com/
(apologies for misspelling yesterday)
------------------------------
In case you were wondering where the sweet, diverse Charlottetown Community Gardens went -- "there was interest in the land":
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-community-garden-move-charlottetown-wilfred-j-smith-1.4727309

Charlottetown community garden moves a few blocks south - CBC News online article by Josh Lewis

First published on Thursday, June 28th, 2018.

Charlottetown's oldest community garden has a new home.

The Wilfred J. Smith Community Garden had been growing in a field just south of the bypass off Mount Edward Road since 1974.

The garden and its 60 plots can now be found a few blocks to the south, near Oak Drive.

Emerson Gorrill, the chair of the garden, said the land at the previous site is owned by the St. Dunstan's University Board of Governors.

There was interest in the land, so the move was arranged, said Gorrill.

A request for comment from the board was not immediately returned.

The garden still has the same number of plots and members, Gorrill said.  It's one of three community gardens in Charlottetown. It was named after Wilfred Smith, a landscaper and greenhouse owner, to recognize his contributions in creating it.

The article is a little inaccurate, as this is at least the second move for this establishment -- as there was interest in the land.  My little family had a garden plot in the late 1990s when we lived in Sherwood, in the previous previous location, where the Toyota dealership is now.

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

And a sobering look at our present-day food system:
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-scharmer-our-broken-food-system_us_5b06b0a0e4b05f0fc8455acb

An Apple Shows Just How Broken Our Food System Is - Huffington Post online article by Otto Scharmer

Published on May 28th, 2018

excerpt:
Buying and eating apples seems a pretty healthy thing to do. But a new study has found that every 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of conventionally grown apples creates health effects costing 21 cents due to the effects of pesticides and fungicides, resulting in sick leave and eventually shorter life expectancies.

The study, from the Dutch organization Soil & More Impacts, to be published at the end of May, highlights a key problem: The price you pay for apples in the store doesn’t cover the hidden costs of producing them. Instead, these are paid for by society — through the ever-increasing costs of health care and health insurance.

The apple example is not an outlier; it’s indicative of the bigger picture. Agriculture is the world’s largest industry, with 1 billion people engaged in farming worldwide. Pasture and cropland use about 50 percent of the earth’s habitable land. Agriculture also is one of the worst-polluting industries on the planet — even though it could be one of the most powerful forces for good.

It’s easy for people to distance themselves from the problem. Most people aren’t farmers and don’t think about these issues daily. But it’s the food choices we make every day that feed into our farming practices.

Conventional farming practices focus on monocultures, genetically modified organism (GMO) seed use and pesticides, polluting both crops and groundwater, as well as conventional plowing methods that result in topsoil erosion. Regenerative farming practices use no pesticides and non-GMO seeds and focus on ecosystem diversity, crop rotation, composting and no-till cultivation (growing crops without disrupting the soil). 
<<snip>>  rest of the article at the link

August 3, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Cardigan Farmers' Market is open from 10AM-2PM

The Island Fringe Festival runs until Sunday, August 5th, at various locations and for very cheap admission. Island Fridge Festival Website
------------------------------
The Council of Canadians:
"Founded in 1985 by a handful of citizens including Tommy Douglas, Margaret Atwood and Farley Mowat, the Council of Canadians is Canada's leading social justice organization."

This newsletter from the Council of Canadians for last month included many updates on their campaigns -- NAFTA, water rights, Kinder Morgan pipeline, etc.   The Island's Leo Broderick is the national Chairperson, with Maude Barlow serving as Honourary Chairperson.
-------------------------------
Russell Wangersky travels around the Atlantic region, and has this to say about roads and safety, and anyone who remembers the Plan B highway episode may know how "the mantle of safety" was used to justify the most ridiculous of things, that it made all of us question government's judgement.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/columnists/russell-wangersky-drivers-cause-accidents-too-229933/

Drivers cause accidents, too - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky

Published on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Two weeks ago in Nova Scotia, the provincial and federal governments announced a combined total of $285 million — $90 million from the federal government, $195 million from the province — to twin a dangerous stretch of Nova Scotia highway.

The 38-kilometre span between Sutherland’s River and Antigonish has seen more than 400 accidents, with 16 deaths, since 2009.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, $4.8 million is being spent to add rumble strips, passing lanes and new on-ramps to the Veterans Memorial Highway, after more than 200 incidents on the 40-kilometre stretch of road in the past four years, and a string of fatal accidents.

But will the money really reduce car accidents, or just move them to different places?

First, let me be clear that I’m not suggesting that the work doesn’t need to be done, nor that people killed and injured are to blame for what happened to them.

I’ve driven both roads; they’re poorly designed for their respective traffic loads and use, and are in need of the critical upgrades they’re now getting. They are pinch-points where people get killed, and if we can fix those hazards, that’s a good thing.

But that’s only part of the story. Will the work significantly change the number of highway accidents and deaths in the Atlantic region? Probably not.

The Atlantic provinces have had a long-running history of constant highway improvements. Year after year, brush is cleared, bottlenecks are repaired, bridges are widened, dangerous curves are rebuilt and things like rumble strips are added.

Our cars are safer every year, too, designed to absorb the energy in crashes in ways that protect the driver and passengers. New cars surround people in airbags, and blind-spot indicators warn those among us who can’t keep track of traffic behind us. There are cars that warn their drivers when they are travelling too close to the car in front; there are automatic braking functions in case something darts in front of your car. Driving is easier and more comfortable than ever.

But there are still crashes, and plenty of them.

Because driving well is as hard as it has ever been — and may be harder than ever, as our vehicles lull us into a false sense of 110 km/h security.

So, the roads are better, the cars are better, the technology is better, the view planes are clearer.

What hasn’t changed?

And what has gotten worse?

This weekend, in driving rain, I drove towards St. John’s and saw a camper, clearly in trouble, driving slowly with its inside wheels on the shoulder, four-way flashers flashing. I saw it first from almost a kilometre away — distance enough that I could slow easily while watching other speeding traffic approach the trailer before a bloom of taillights as car after car jammed on their brakes before running into the camper. Cars sped up tight behind me before swinging into the already clogged passing lane, making an already-dangerous situation even more dangerous.

Whether I’m walking or driving, I see mistakes made by inattentive drivers every single day. Drivers on cellphones, drivers texting, drivers making right turns while steadily looking left. Saturday, I watched a cellphone-talking driver miss almost an entire cycle of a flashing green arrow, only to turn onto a two-lane section of road and drive with the centre line directly underneath his car.

If you’re ill-prepared for the road, is that the road’s fault, or yours?

My mother used to be quite blunt: “You can’t fix stupid,” she told me on more than one occasion.

You can fix all the roads in the world, but it will make no difference if you can’t find a way to fix bad driving, too.

Russell Wangersky’s column appears in 39 SaltWire newspapers and websites in Atlantic Canada. He can be reached at russell.wangersky@thetelegram.com — Twitter: @wangersky.

August 2, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farm Centre Farmers' Market, 4-7PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.  Micro-workshop, 6:30PM on 'Food Forest Gardens, a "low-maintenance food production and agroforestry system, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables."

Retirement Celebration for Baker John Dale, 6-9PM, Receiver Brass Shop Breadworks and Roastery, Water Street, all welcome to stop in to pay tribute to this incredible baker.

Projections on the Plaza, 10:15PM, Confed Centre outside wall, by Victoria Row, free.  Tonight's features are:  A Brief History of Charlottetown by JoDee Samuelson, and the hilarious Crow Agenda by Jason Arsenault.

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

Outgoing (in November) Charlottetown Clifford Lee has officially been named the Special Advisor to the Housing Hub.  Thanks to Micheal Redmond for sharing that news a few days before The Guardian picked up that detail of the story.  (I cannot find the link to the story on the website yet.)
-------------------------------
Beginning in September, but registration now:
Seniors Engaging in Electoral Democracy Project  


from the information notice, edited slightly:
    

       The Voluntary Resource Council (VRC) is beginning a new project for 2018-19, called Seniors Engaging in Electoral Democracy.  The main goal of the project is to prepare seniors to encourage other seniors and soon-to-be seniors to delve into the various options in PEI for electing politicians.
       The project will involve a 5-week non-partisan & practical senior-directed training of 10-12 seniors in many of the aspects of electoral reform. A senior from Cooper Institute has designed the program and will be leading all the training sessions.  Seniors in the training sessions will learn how to become mentors for other seniors by sharing their knowledge and practical suggestions for deeper engagement in the up-coming referendum on the electoral system to be held at the same time as the next provincial election.
       According to the Electoral System Referendum Act, the question on the ballot will be: Should Prince Edward Island change its voting system to a mixed member proportional voting system? No/Yes.
       The interactive training sessions held at the VRC will be on Thursdays, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, September 13 to October 11. Free of charge.  Lunch is provided.

The sessions will be centered on five themes: 

  • History of Democratic Change in PEI (1720-2016);
  • Description of the current Electoral System (First Past the Post) - Advantages and Disadvantages;
  • Description of the Proposed Electoral System (Mixed Member Proportional Representation - Advantages and Disadvantages;
  • Frequently Asked Questions;
  • Role of Seniors Engaging Other Seniors in Referendum Preparation.

       At each of the interactive training sessions there will be a ten minute reflection on the theme of the session, presented by a guest speaker, a knowledgeable senior. This will be followed by open dialogue in various forms.
 
It is important to register right away. Seating is very limited. To register: contact Sylvie Arsenault by phone (902) 368-7337 or e-mail vrc@eastlink.ca.

-------------------------------
A nice star-gazing month, as outlined by amateur astronomer Glenn K. Roberts:
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/community/glenn-roberts-watch-for-mars-and-shooting-stars-230646/

GLENN ROBERTS: Watch for Mars and shooting stars - The Guardian article by Glenn Roberts

Published on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Venus shines bright in the constellation of Virgo - the Virgin in the WSW sky at dusk this month. While its magnitude increases from -4.3 to -4.6, its height, as it first becomes visible in the evening sky, actually decreases from 20 degrees to around 15 degrees as August progresses.

This "evening star" reaches its greatest eastern elongation from the sun on Aug. 17. Watch the waxing, crescent moon slide from the right of Venus on Aug. 13 to directly above on Aug. 14 and to its upper left on Aug. 15.

Jupiter also shines bright in Virgo in the SW in the early evening sky as August opens, setting just before 10:30 p.m. by month's end. Its brightness will diminish in August, dropping from mag. 2.1 to -1.9. On Aug. 31, Jupiter sits to the upper left of Venus in the SW sky about 30 minutes after sunset.

Saturn resides in the constellation of Sagittarius - the Archer throughout August. It, too, sits rather low in the SSE sky this month, as the sky begins to darken. As it begins to pull farther away from Earth in its orbit around the sun, its magnitude will diminish this month from +0.2 to +0.4. Though its apparent size will also diminish, its magnificent ring system is still tilted favourably to our line of sight. Look for Saturn to the left of the waxing, gibbous Moon, just above the "teapot" asterism in Sagittarius in the SSE evening sky, about 1 hour after sunset on Aug. 20. Mars sits to the lower left of the "teapot".

The full moon of July 27 somewhat diminished the view of Mars in the late evening sky this past week. Having reached opposition on July 27, Mars continues to shine brightly from its rising in the east just after sunset to its disappearance in the predawn, western sky. It will have just made its closest approach to Earth since 2003 last night (Aug. 31), and so will still shine brightly in western Sagittarius in the night sky for weeks to come. Though dimming slightly from mag. -2.8 to mag. -2.2 this month, any decent telescope or quality binoculars should, under clear weather and a dark site, show some of the planet's surface features. The waxing, gibbous moon sits just to the upper left of Mars on the evening of Aug. 23.

Having passed through inferior conjunction (passing between Earth and the Sun) on Aug. 9, Mercury becomes visible in the predawn sky after Aug. 20, when it reaches its greatest western elongation from the sun. If you have a clear view of the ENE horizon, and a pair of binoculars, look for our solar system's inner most planet low above the horizon on Aug. 26, about 45 minutes before sunrise.

Though technically not actual shooting stars, the Perseid meteors are, as is everything in the universe, made of the stuff of stars. So, when you watch a Perseid meteor streak across the night sky this month, you are, in spirit at least, seeing a shooting star. Associated with the Halley-type comet 109P Swift-Tuttle, the Perseid meteor shower (radiant in Perseus - the Warrior Prince) began in mid-July and usually lasts until around Aug. 24. The actual peak of the shower will come on the evening of Aug. 12 through the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 13, with the predawn hours being best (weather permitting).

This year, the waxing, crescent moon (the new moon is on Aug. 11) will set early in the evening of Aug. 12-13, leaving the remaining night/pre-dawn hours free of interfering moonlight. If the weather co-operates, expect to see approximately 100-plus bright meteors per hour (under a dark sky away from city lights) streak across the sky.

Though you may not be able to "catch a falling star", you will, at least, see one...or many!

Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner could possibly become naked-eye visible by the end of August. It is forecast to make its closest approach to Earth sometime in September. Watch for more about this comet in next month's column.

Until next month, clear skies.

Look up
Aug. 4 - Last quarter moon
Aug. 10 - Moon at perigee (closest to Earth)
Aug. 11 - New moon
Aug. 12/13 - Perseid meteor shower peak
Aug. 18 - First quarter moon
Aug. 23 - Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)
Aug. 26 - Full moon

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 1, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open from 9AM-2PM

------------------------------
National columnist John Iverson reminds us that we are all pretty much on the same page, that the polarization is for political advantage, not the people's or environment's:
https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/john-ivison-on-climate-change-conservatives-and-liberals-encourage-the-narcissism-of-small-differences 

On climate change, Conservatives and Liberals encourage the narcissism of small differences - The National Post article by John Ivison

New research suggests political polarization on climate change is less than might have been supposed — and that political parties exaggerate the problem for their own gain

Published on Monday, July 30th, 2018

Politics has always leaned heavily on social psychology but never more so than in these days of rabid polarization, where there is little interconnection between political tribes.

Research published this month revealed the importance of what other people think when it comes to climate change policy differences between Republicans and Democrats. Those findings have profound implications for the debate in Canada.

Social psychologists Leaf Van Boven and David Sherman conducted two surveys of more than 2,000 respondents across the United States on the issue of climate change. Their research, published in early July in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science and promoted in a New York Times op-ed last weekend, found that Republicans believed climate change is happening, threatens humans and is caused by human activity — and that reducing carbon emissions would help alleviate the problem. The findings suggested Republicans were in basic agreement with Democrats on the issue — but not on the policy solutions, which were viewed as being specific to the Democratic Party. “This tribalism leads to political fights over differences between the parties that either do not exist or are vastly exaggerated,” Van Boven and Sherman concluded. “This implies that if the tables were turned — if Republican politicians proposed a climate policy — Republican voters might support it. In our research, this is exactly what we have found.”

The authors say they were not totally surprised. A fundamental lesson of social psychology is that people are profoundly affected by what other people think.

But it does suggest political polarization on climate change is less than might have been supposed — and that political parties in the U.S. and Canada are exaggerating the problem for their own gain, a classic case of the narcissism of small differences at work.

According to a study last year by Abacus Data, only 2 per cent of Canadians dispute the climate is changing, and 68 per cent of people attribute that change to human and industrial causes. More than 85 per cent agree that the consequences of taking no action will be severe, very severe or catastrophic.

Half of Canadians won’t contemplate voting for a party that doesn’t have a climate change plan and only 6 per cent prefer a party or candidate that ignores the issue. A sizeable number — 44 per cent — are concerned but would consider a party that didn’t “emphasize” the issue. Even they are looking for a plan to make inroads on CO2 emissions.

The Abacus poll arrives at a similar conclusion as did Van Boven and Sherman — 85 per cent of Conservatives feel there is a moral responsibility to act; 67 per cent see a looming financial disaster if more is not done.

All of this suggests the Conservative Party is in urgent need of a climate plan.

Andrew Scheer and his front-bench team have made it clear they would love to fight an election on the question of Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. The Liberal plan is on the ropes, as provincial governments in Saskatchewan, Ontario and even New Brunswick howl about the cost. Judging by the polls, they’ll be joined by a Jason Kenney-led Alberta before the next federal election.

Will the federal government really impose the threatened backstop against the wishes of half the provincial governments in the country? (The federal government has said it will introduce a $10-per-tonne levy this year, rising to $50 per tonne by 2022 — roughly $0.11 per litre of gas — for those provinces that don’t have their own system.)

Trudeau’s trump card is that he could levy the tax and then return the proceeds directly to households in the province where they were raised.

But the perils facing the carbon tax do not absolve the Conservatives from coming up with a solution of their own.

They may want to hammer the carbon tax, in the belief that when the debate is over taxes they win nine times out of 10.

Scheer has committed to meeting Canada’s Paris climate targets, however — emissions 30-per-cent below 2005 levels by 2030 — without a carbon tax. The Abacus poll and Van Boven and Sherman’s findings suggest his own supporters are going to demand a policy response. Since a carbon tax and cap-and-trade are off the table, the plan is likely to centre on regulations that are likely to prove less noticeable to voters but more expensive for the economy than a revenue-neutral, market-based carbon price.

Perhaps the smart thing for the Liberals to do is wait until the Conservatives show their hand, then steal the policy, as they have done with innumerable NDP ideas.

They could claim, with some justification, that provincial opposition has made the carbon tax untenable and then adopt regulations equivalent to Scheer’s suggestions.

The rationale, based on Van Boven and Sherman’s research, is that political disagreement was substantially reduced when it came to Republican-backed climate policies.

In Canada as in the U.S., a climate change plan proposed by the right-of-centre party holds more promise for bipartisan agreement.

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

Maria Eisenhauer is an Islander photographer, artist and environmentalist, and wrote this on social media Tuesday, July 31st, 2018, after the news of the O'Leary potato packing plant closing was announced (related:  CBC story interviewing Agriculture Minister Robert Henderson)

When one door closes another one opens. Growing all those potatoes has not been sustainable for PEI. There always seems to be the perfect storm.

Either it tends to rain too much causing blight or not enough. Then there is the high pesticide use. Invasions of wireworm and other harmful pests. Depleted vital soil organic matter which serves as a reservoir of nutrients and water. Unquenching thirst for limited water resources. Loss of smaller farms. Lack of valuable and essential crop diversification. There has even been some years of a glut of potatoes where they rotted and farmers lost money.

We simply can not continue growing a seemingly endless supply of potatoes to meet Irving's insatiable hunger for them. Best for PEI to diversify its agriculture business practices into more sustainable and varied crops. Time to feed our soil what it truly needs by opening new doors.  -- Maria Eisenhauer

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