CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

December 2018


  1. 1 December 31, 2018
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  2. 2 December 30, 2018
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world's biggest investors - The Guardian (UK) article by Damian Carrington
  3. 3 December 29, 2018
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 Unlike a Globalized Food System, Local Food Won’t Destroy the Environment  - Truthout website post by Helena Norberg-Hodge
  4. 4 December 28, 2018
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  5. 5 December 27, 2018
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  6. 6 December 26, 2018
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 GLENN K. ROBERTS: Bright meteors and a bright comet
    3. 6.3 GRANDMA SAYS: A journal from Santa, a forecast from Grandma! - by Cindy Day
  7. 7 December 25, 2018
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 Love As Well As Gifts - by Tanya Davis
  8. 8 December 24, 2018
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 The Ties That Bind - The Southshore Breaker column by Russell Wangersky
  9. 9 December 23, 2018
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 The Green New Deal, explained - Vox article by David Roberts
  10. 10 December 22, 2018
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 LETTER: Wildlife faces global holocaust - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  11. 11 December 21, 2018
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 OPINION: Islanders expect a fair process - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Brenda Oslawsky
  12. 12 December 20, 2018
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 OPINION: Farmers become shopkeepers of crops - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Bruce MacEwen
  13. 13 December 19, 2018
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 13.2 'People talk about deep sadness:' Scientists study climate change grief - The Canadian Press article printed in The Guardian
  14. 14 December 18, 2018
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 Fracking halted in Lancashire after largest earthquake so far - The Independent article by Josh Gabbatiss, Science Correspondent
    3. 14.3 Quoting 'The Lorax,' Court Pulls Permit For Pipeline Crossing Appalachian Trail - National Public Radio online article by Laurel Wamsley
    4. 14.4 Nobody asked us if we want fracking, Sussex LSD* chair says - CBC News online article by Tori Weldon
    5. 14.5 New low-cost wind energy contracts in Alberta demonstrate excellent value as province reduces greenhouse gas emissions - Canadian Wind Energy news release
  15. 15 December 17, 2018
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 Climate Negotiators Reach an Overtime Deal to Keep Paris Pact Alive  - The New York Times article by Brad Plumer
  16. 16 December 16, 2018
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 Critics sound alarm over proposed oil and gas exploration around Sable Island - CBC News online article by Brett Bundale
  17. 17 December 15, 2018
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 OPINION: Governing by consensus - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Bush Dumville
    3. 17.3 LETTER: MMP system offers open list - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  18. 18 December 14, 2018
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 OPINION: Serving the greater good - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Shelly Glen
    3. 18.3 Call on Prime Minister Trudeau to ban single-use plastics by 2021 - The Broadbent Institute website post
  19. 19 December 13, 2018
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 All parties suffer self-serving amnesia - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
    3. 19.3 9 Tips To Reduce Plastic Use This Holiday - Don't Let Plastic Steal Your Holiday - Sierra Club of Canada
  20. 20 December 11, 2018
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 Climate fears are real, so oilsands must close - The Star article by Thomas Walkom
  21. 21 December 10, 2018
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  22. 22 December 9, 2018
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 LETTER: In violation of moratorium - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 22.3 OPINION: Stop this attack on our Island farmland - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Edith Ling
  23. 23 December 8, 2018
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 OPINION: P.E.I. plans to keep poverty - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marie Burge
  24. 24 December 7, 2018
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 24.2 LEAD EDITORIAL: A sensible suggestion - The Guardian
    3. 24.3 OPINION: Who gets seat at table? - The Guardian - Guest Opinion by Don Mazer
  25. 25 December 6, 2018
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 Fall session of P.E.I. legislature saw passing of carbon tax legislation, capital budget, private members’ bills - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
    3. 25.3 B.C.'s new climate plan means big changes for industry, homes, cars - The National Observer article by Tracy Sherlock
  26. 26 Plan's goal is to make B.C. the cleanest place in the world
  27. 27 December 5, 2018
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 27.2 Notley's supply cuts should be the beginning of a just transition away from the oil sands - Council of Canadians blog post
  28. 28 December 4, 2018
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  29. 29 December 3, 2018
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 Free renewal for P.E.I. driver's licences as of Jan. 1; vehicle registration costs drop 20 per cent
  30. 30 December 2, 2018
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 I'm striking from school to protest inaction on climate change – you should too - The Guardian UK article by Greta Thumberg
  31. 31 December 1, 2018
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 31.2 LETTER TO ALL MLAs, NEW BRUNSWICK LEGISLATURE - by Deborah Carr, Water & Environmental Protection for Albert County
    3. 31.3 OPINION: Not all animals are equal - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Elizabeth Schoales

December 31, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


New Year's Levees tomorrow, Tuesday, January 1st, 2019:
This list has been annually compiled by Peter Rukavina, who is generous with his time creating and managing it, and kindly answers even the most peevish or obvious questions.
If weather threatens, best to check the event itself or this list for updates.

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019:
PEI Coalition for Women in Government's New Year's Levee, 4-6PM,
Upstreet Craft Brewing, Allen Street in Charlottetown.

First Progressive Conservative Leadership Debate, 7PM, Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner.  The five candidates running will have the first chance to debate in public. 

Saturday, January 5th:
Performance: Yr. Obedient Servant: an Evening of Chamber Theatre with Samuel Johnson, 7:30PM,
UPEI Faculty Lounge, UPEI Main Building, Admission by donation with proceeds to the UPEI Food Bank.  In conjunction with UPEI's Vagabond Players. Terry Pratt performs the titular character.
As you may have guessed from your e-mail inbox if you are on any lists, today is the last day to donate to various charities and political parties and get a tax receipt for 2018.

Information from "Tax" with some basic information and a chart that shows federal contributions and tax credits given:

and some of Canada'e environmental charities, by the Canada Helps organization:

A smattering of local groups:
ECOPEI (their website is not coming up properly today), but here is there Facebook page:
Island Nature Trust
Cooper Institute
(Cooper Institute is a member of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water and the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land, and undoubtedly will work towards proportional representation in the Referendum when there is a provincial election.)
Conservation Council of New Brunswick <>
Ecology Action Centre

Some organizations like the Council of Canadian

"The Council of Canadians operates with no corporate or government funding, and always has. Our work is 100 per cent independent and sustained by generous donations from people like you. Due to our political work, the Council of Canadians is not a registered charity."             ...could still use donations, even if they cannot grant tax receipts.
One year ago this article by Graeme Hamilton in The National Post -- on the Pictou pulp mill -- had this insight, from:

Joan Baxter is the author of The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest, which provides a critical history of the company. But she says she sees the main culprits as successive governments that have failed to protect the environment and people’s health.

“They are desperate for jobs because they want young people to be able to stay in the province,” she says. “Every time (the government) sees a big multinational coming, they take it as proof that we’re a great place to work, instead of perhaps that we’re a great place to get what you want."

December 30, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Leo Cheverie's New Year's Eve Eve Party, 7-10PM
, Hot Shots Lounge, 101 Longworth Avenue, Charlottetown. All welcome.  "This event returns to its roots as a reunion of friends and a place to get together."  One of the most caring Island individual hosts this annual gathering inviting any and all of his many, many family members and many, many friends.

Year End Celebration and Dinner, hosted by 4S Catering, 5:30-8:30PM, APM Centre, Cornwall.  Fantastic menu of Indian foods. edited from the listing: The event is "... filled with lots of food and programs, featuring diverse local young artists, (supporting) a couple of the vulnerable people in our PEI community."   Tickets: $25 each.  **Contact 4S Catering via Facebook or phone (902)-213-1553 / (902)-388-8130
Facebook event link
Climate Change opinions

Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world's biggest investors - The Guardian (UK) article by Damian Carrington

UN summit urged to end all coal burning and introduce substantial taxes on emissions
Published on Monday, December 10th, 2018, in The (U.K.) Guardian

Global investors managing $32tn issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning. Without these, the world faces a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis, they said.

The investors include some of the world’s biggest pension funds, insurers and asset managers and marks the largest such intervention to date. They say fossil fuel subsidies must end and substantial taxes on carbon be introduced.

Ministers arrive at the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, on Monday for its crucial second week, when the negotiations on turning the vision of the Paris agreement into reality reach a critical point, with finance for fighting global warming a key area of dispute.

“The long-term nature of the challenge has, in our view, met a zombie-like response by many,” said Chris Newton, of IFM Investors which manages $80bn and is one of the 415 groups that has signed the Global Investor Statement. “This is a recipe for disaster as the impacts of climate change can be sudden, severe and catastrophic.”

Investment firm Schroders said there could be $23tn of global economic losses a year in the long term without rapid action. This permanent economic damage would be almost four times the scale of the impact of the 2008 global financial crisis. Standard and Poor’s rating agency also warned leaders: “Climate change has already started to alter the functioning of our world.”

Thomas DiNapoli, of the $207bn New York State Common Retirement Fund, another signatory, said taking action on global warming not only avoided damage but could boost jobs and growth. “The low-carbon economy presents numerous opportunities and investors who ignore the changing world do so at their own peril.”

Lord Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics said: “The low-carbon economy is the growth story of the 21st century and it is inclusive growth. Without that story, we would not have got the 2015 Paris agreement, but the story has grown stronger and stronger and is really compelling now.”

The US Trump administration will hold its only event at the UN summit on Monday and is expected to promote “clean coal”. But Stern said Trump’s suggestion that action on climate change was a jobs killer was “dead wrong”. Stern said: “You don’t create jobs for the 21st century by trying to whistle up jobs from the 19th century.”

A key demand of the Global Investor Statement is to phase out coal-fired power stations across the world. Peter Damgaard Jensen, the CEO of Danish pension fund PKA, said: “Investors, including PKA, are moving out of coal in their droves given its devastating effects on the climate and public health, compounded by its poor financial performance.”

Dozens of nations will affirm their commitment to end their coal burning on Thursday. However, the UN summit has seen US, Chinese and Japanese financial institutions cited as leaders in providing nearly $500bn in backing for new coal plants since the Paris agreement was signed.

Another investor demand on governments is to introduce “economically meaningful” taxes on carbon. Most are below $10 per tonne, but needed to rise to up to $100 in the next decade or two, the investors said. The French president Emmanuel Macron’s botched attempt to increase fuel taxes and the gilets jaunes protests that followed were a model of how not to do it, said observers in Poland.

“It failed to take people along with them, accompanying the policy with social measures to allow citizens to embrace the opportunities of the transition and ride out the challenges,” said Camilla Born, of advisers E3G. The host government of the climate summit, Poland, is heavily reliant on coal and is stressing the need for a “just transition” for workers in the fossil fuel industry.

The investors include some of the globe’s largest pension funds, such as Calsters and ABP, and insurers, including Aviva, AXA and Zurich. They also want an end to subsidies for coal, oil and gas, which the IMF rates at $5tn a year and which the G20 has been promising to tackle for a decade. This measure alone could cut global CO2 emissions by 10% by 2030, according a UN report released in time for the Poland summit.

The investors said current national pledges to cut carbon would lead to a catastrophic 3C of global warming and that plans must be dramatically increased by 2020. For developing countries, ”finance is the critical enabler of increasing ambition,” said Niranjali Amerasinghe, of the World Resources Institute.

UN climate summits are frequently dogged by disputes over the $100bn a year that rich nations have promised to poorer ones by 2020 to tackle climate change. Direct government funding and private company finance were needed, Amerasinghe said: “It is really great when private sector is out there saying we are going to invest in climate-friendly activities.”

Here is a link to a perfectly adequate Globe and Mail editorial published Christmas Day discussing Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accusation of the Liberals committing "Intergenerational Theft" about the federal debt; the editoral dismantles the economics of that, and says the real threat is
climate change inaction.

Straight talk from an excellent citizen blogger from Ontario, Norm Russell, who writes under the listing of "hopecanada":
"Children grow up hearing how broken the environment is, how broken beyond repair. Plant strawberries together, make wild medicines, paint the sunrise. Show them proof that for every act of destruction, they can sow a seed, however small, of beauty."
---- Nicolette Sowder, homeschooling mother and writer

December 29, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Markets today:
Farmers' Markets open in Summerside (9AM-1PM) and Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)
(but not George's in Bedeque). 
Remember that some vendors take this week off, so there may be some "gaps", but remember, too, that many have lots of items of food and drink) that might make your New
Year's Eve or New Year's Day extra special. There is also the Riverview Country Market and KJL Meats on Riverside Drive, the Kent Street Market in the Confederation Centre Shopping Centre, and the KJL Market in North River, which has other foods and local items in addition to meat.
More on Food:
Davida Leverle writes as "The Healthy Maven" and has this pleasant description of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and reasons they are wonderful.

Link to PEI Food Exchange's List of CSAs on P.E.I.
A well-written, longer piece for when you have time to read it, on the local and global importance of local food systems, which are "low-carbon" (as far as agriculture goes)

Unlike a Globalized Food System, Local Food Won’t Destroy the Environment  - Truthout website post by Helena Norberg-Hodge

Published on the Truthout website on Saturday, December 1st, 2018

(more about Truthout here)

If you’re seeking some good news during these troubled times, look at the ecologically sound ways of producing food that have percolated up from the grassroots in recent years. Small farmers, environmentalists, academic researchers, and food and farming activists have given us agroecology, holistic resource management, permaculture, regenerative agriculture and other methods that can alleviate or perhaps even eliminate the global food system’s worst impacts: biodiversity loss, energy depletion, toxic pollution, food insecurity and massive carbon emissions.

These inspiring testaments to human ingenuity and goodwill have two things in common: They involve smaller-scale farms adapted to local conditions, and they depend more on human attention and care than on energy and technology. In other words, they are the opposite of industrial monocultures — huge farms that grow just one crop.

But to significantly reduce the many negative impacts of the food system, these small-scale initiatives need to spread all over the world. Unfortunately, this has not happened, because the transformation of farming requires shifting not just how food is produced, but also how it is marketed and distributed. The food system is inextricably linked to an economic system that, for decades, has been fundamentally biased against the kinds of changes we need.

Put simply, economic policies almost everywhere have systematically promoted ever-larger scale and monocultural production. Those policies include:

  • Massive subsidies for globally traded commodities. Most farm subsidies in the US, for example, go to just five commodities — corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and rice — that are the centerpieces of global food trade. At the same time, government programs — like the US Market Access Program — provide hundreds of millions of dollars to expand international markets for agriculture products.

  • Direct and hidden subsidies for global transport infrastructures and fossil fuels. The IMF estimates these subsidies and ignored environmental costs at $5.3 trillion per year — the equivalent of $10 million every minute.

  • “Free trade” policies that open up food markets in virtually every country to global agribusinesses. The 1994 NAFTA agreement, for example, forced Mexico’s small corn producers to compete with heavily-subsidized large-scale farms in the US; the recent re-negotiation of NAFTA will do the same to Canadian dairy farmers.

  • Health and safety regulations. Most of these have been made necessary by large-scale production and distribution — but they make it impossible for smaller-scale producers and marketers to compete and survive. In France, for example, the number of small producers of cheese has shrunk by 90 percent, thanks in large measure to EU food safety laws.

These policies provide a huge competitive advantage to large monocultural producers and corporate processors and marketers, which is why industrially produced food that has been shipped from the other side of the world is often less expensive than food from the farm next door.

The environmental costs of this bias are huge. Monocultures rely heavily on chemical inputs — fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides — which pollute the immediate environment, put wildlife at risk and — through nutrient runoff — create “dead zones” in waters hundreds or thousands of miles away. Monocultures are also heavily dependent on fossil fuels to run large-scale equipment and to transport raw and processed foods across the world, making them a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, scientists estimate the greenhouse gas toll of the global food system at one-third of total emissions.

There are social and economic costs as well. In the industrialized world, smaller producers can’t survive, their land amalgamated into the holdings of ever larger farms — in the process decimating rural and small town economies and threatening public health. In the Global South, the same forces pull people off the land by the hundreds of millions, leading to poverty, rapidly swelling urban slums and waves of economic refugees. In both North and South, uprooted small farmers easily spiral into unemployment, poverty, resentment and anger.

There are also risks to food security. With global economic policies homogenizing the world’s food supply, the 7,000 species of plants used as food crops in the past have been reduced to 150 commercially important crops, with rice, wheat and maize accounting for 60 percent of the global food supply. Varieties within those few crops have been chosen for their responsiveness to chemical fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation water — and for their ability to withstand long-distance transport. A similar calculus is applied to livestock and poultry breeds, which are skewed toward those that can grow rapidly with inputs of grain and antibiotics in confined animal feeding operations. The loss of diversity even extends to the size and shape of food products: harvesting machinery, transport systems and supermarket chains all require standardization. The end result is that more than half of the world’s food varieties have been lost over the past century; in countries like the US, the loss is more than 90 percent. The global food system rests on a dangerously narrow base. Without the genetic variety that can supply resilience, the food system is vulnerable to catastrophic losses from disease and the disruptions of a changing climate.

The Benefits of Local Food

The solution to these problems involves more than a commitment to ecological models of food production, it also requires a commitment to local food economies. Localization systematically alleviates a number of environmental problems inherent in the global food system, by:

  • reducing the distance that food travels, thereby lessening the energy needed for transport, as well as the attendant greenhouse gas emissions;

  • reducing the need for packaging, processing and refrigeration (which all but disappears when producers sell direct to consumers, thus reducing waste and energy use);

  • reducing monoculture, as farms producing for local or regional markets have an incentive to diversify their production, which makes organic production more feasible, in turn reducing the toxic load on surrounding ecosystems;

  • providing more niches for wildlife to occupy through diversified organic farms;

  • and supporting the principle of diversity on which ecological farming — and life itself — is based, by favoring production methods that are best suited to particular climates, soils and resources.

Local food provides many other benefits. The smaller-scale farms that produce for local and regional markets require more human intelligence, care and work than monocultures, thus providing more employment opportunities. In the Global South, in particular, a commitment to local food would stem the pressures that are driving millions of farmers off the land.

Local food is also good for rural and small-town economies, providing not only more on-farm employment, but supporting the many local businesses on which farmers depend.

Food security is also strengthened because varieties are chosen based on their suitability to diverse locales, not the demands of supermarket chains or the requirements of long-distance transport. This strengthens agricultural biodiversity.

Local food is also healthier. Since it doesn’t need to travel so far, local food is far fresher than global food; and since it doesn’t rely on monocultural production, it can be produced without toxic chemicals that can contaminate food.

Countering the Myths

Although local food is an incredibly effective solution-multiplier, agribusiness has gone to great lengths to convince the public that large-scale industrial food production is the only way to feed the world. But the fact is that the global food economy is massively inefficient.

The global system’s need for standardized products means that tons of edible food are destroyed or left to rot. This is one reason why more than one-third of the global food supply is wasted or lost; for the US, the figure is closer to one-half.

The logic of global trade results in massive quantities of identical products being simultaneously imported and exported — a needless waste of fossil fuels and a huge addition to greenhouse gas emissions. In a typical year, for example, the US imports more than 400,000 tons of potatoes and 1 million tons of beef, while exporting almost the same tonnage of each. The same is true of many other food commodities, and many other countries.

The same logic leads to shipping foods across the world simply to reduce labor costs for processing. Shrimp harvested off the coast of Scotland, for example, are shipped 6,000 miles to Thailand to be peeled, then shipped 6,000 miles back to the UK to be sold to consumers.

The supposed efficiency of monocultural production is based on output per unit of labor, which is maximized by replacing jobs with chemical- and energy-intensive technology. Measured by output per acre, however — a far more relevant metric — smaller-scale farms are typically 8 to 20 times more productive. This is partly because monocultures, by definition, produce just one crop on a given plot of land, while smaller, diversified farms allow intercropping — using the spaces between rows of one crop to grow another. What’s more, the labor “efficiencies” of monocultural production are linked to the use of large-scale equipment, which limit the farmer’s ability to tend to or harvest small portions of a crop and thereby increase yields.

Making the Shift

For more than a generation, now, the message to farmers has been to “get big or get out” of farming, and a great number of the farmers who remain have tailored their methods to what makes short-term economic sense within a deeply flawed system. To avoid bankrupting those farmers, the shift from global to local would need to take place with care, providing incentives for farmers to diversify their production, reduce their reliance on chemical inputs and fossil fuel energy, and to seek markets closer to home. Those incentives would go hand-in-hand with reductions in subsidies for the industrial food system.

After decades of policy bias toward global food, some steps in this direction are being taken by local and regional governments. In the US, for example, most states have enacted “cottage food laws” that relax the restrictions on the small-scale production of jams, pickles and other preserved foods, allowing them to be processed and sold locally without the need for expensive commercial kitchens.

Several towns in the state of Maine have gone even further. Seeking to bypass the restrictive regulations that make it difficult to market local foods, they have declared “food sovereignty” by passing ordinances that give their citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.”

In 2013, the government of Ontario, Canada, passed a Local Food Act aimed at increasing access to local food, improving local food literacy and providing tax credits for farmers who donate a portion of their produce to nearby food banks.

Even bolder action is needed if there is to be any hope of eliminating the damage done by the global food system. A crucial first step is to raise awareness of the costs of the current system, and the multiple benefits of local food. No matter how many studies demonstrate the virtues of alternative ways of producing and distributing food, the destructive global food system is unlikely to change unless there is heavy pressure from the grassroots to change the entire system. That needs to start now.

Helena Norberg-Hodge is the founder and director of Local Futures. She is the author of the book, Ancient Futures (Chelsea Green, 2016), and the producer and director of the award-winning 2011 documentary, The Economics of Happiness. Helena is the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the Goi Peace Prize and the Arthur Morgan Award.

Still food-related, kind of:

Nice to hear that Frank Lewis, former Lieutenant Governor of P.E.I., and Dr. Ian Dohoo, are granted the Order of Canada.  Frank Lewis is known on the Island tip-to-tip, but some people may not know Ian.  One thing (if memory serves) is that Ian was on the national committee that stood up to much pressure from American big agribusiness and strongly recommended that Health Canada ban rBST (recombinant Bovine Somatotropin, or "bovine growth hormone" -- "Posilac" is the trade name from Monsanto) from being administered to dairy cows in Canada, which they did in 1999.

So, cow's milk labeled 100% Canadian should not have rBST in it -- how much more other milk and milk in products like pizza cheese will end up in Canada with the "Afta' NAFTA' new USMC trade agreement, is not clear.
CBC online article on Order of Canada recipients


"And so it appears that most and perhaps all of industrial agriculture's manifest failures are the result of an attempt to make the land produce without husbandry.”
― Wendell Berry, farmer and essayist

December 28, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


This afternoon:

Danish Paper Hearts crafting workshop/fundraiser for District 12 Green Party Candidate for MLA Ole Hammarlund, 3-6PM, Y Lofts, Prince Street in Charlottetown. (A second date due to interest.) "We will be making Danish Christmas hearts, suitable as tree decoration and can be filled with candy. We have the special Danish paper required and our espresso machine will be making your favorite drink. Bring a pair of sharp scissors ( and your checkbook!)" as donations will be accepted for his campaign.
Island politics take funny little turns over the holidays, with year-end interviews and glimpses into the minds and lifestyles of our most prominent politicians.


NDP Leader Joe Byrne was interviewed on Tuesday, December 18th, 2018, on CBC Compass with Louise Martin, about 28 minutes in:
and the related news article is here:

Official Opposition Leader and Progressive Conservative Leader James Aylward was interviews on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018:
CBC News: Compass, about 26 and a half minutes in:
and the related article:

Third Party Opposition Leader and Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker was interviewed on Thursday, December 20th, 2018:
CBC News: Compass, about 28 minutes in:
and the related news article is here:

Premier and Liberal Party Leader Wade MacLauchlan was interviewed on Friday, December 21st, 2018, on CBC News: Compass, about :
and the related article is here:

The Guardian

The Guardian's political reporter Stu Neatby interviewed the Premier last week and printed the interview yesterday, with the article and links to the video segments, and the spelled-out recipe for MacLauchlan's seafood pie, here:

The Seafood Pie recipe is followed by one for PEI Cranberry Applesauce relish, and MacLauchlan emphasizes the P.E.I. ingredients in his cooking (including pickled peppers from Kate The Spice Lady at the Farmers' Market).

Tasty Island-sourced food and good cookery skills aside, it was noted by keen observers that the interview (filmed by Foukes Productions at the PEI Brewing Company and showcasing that family's flagship business quite well) was heavy on economic and business words and phrasing, and light, or completely non-existent, on the environment, climate change and education. 

December 27, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Keeping it positive and simple, here is a list, with cute illustrations, of positive things illustrator Mauro Gatti thought happened in the world in 2018. 

It is a link from the Bored Panda website, and you have to scroll down and down to see them all, ranging from France banning particular bee-killing pesticides, to the Giant Panda (bored or otherwise) being removed from "endangered" status (this happened before 2018, but it's the holidays and we won't quibble too much).

Not the most positive of titles, but a nice idea and a good list. For example:


December 26, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some natural world notes and reasons for note-taking, on what I hope is a quiet, relaxing Boxing Day for you.

Christmas Bird Count -- Hillsborough Event, all of today.

"Started in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count is North America's longest-running Citizen Science project. Counts happen in over 2000 localities throughout the Western Hemisphere.
The information collected by thousands of volunteer participants forms one of the world's largest sets of wildlife survey data. The results are used daily by conservation biologists and naturalists to assess the population trends and distribution of birds.
Each Christmas Bird Count is conducted on a single day between December 14 and January 5. Counts are carried out within a 24-km diameter circle that stays the same from year to year. They are organized, usually as group efforts, at the local level, often by a birding club or naturalist organization." from:
with a Boxing day present full of interesting information and maps
So the photo of the 24km radius for the Hillsborough count is a lot of river, but there are still a lot of places people can spot birds and report. The coordinators mention that if you can't get out, you can still count birds at your feeders. For more information, contact Dan McAskill <>
Facebook event details

Usually published the first Wednesday of the month in The Guardian, the astronomy column by amateur astronomer Glenn Roberts outlines what to watch out for in the night sky.  The January one should be in the paper and on-line on January 2nd, 2019.  Here is December's:

GLENN K. ROBERTS: Bright meteors and a bright comet

End off 2018 with plenty to watch in the night sky

Saturn will be difficult to spot without the use of binoculars or a scope this month. Shining at -0.5 magnitude, the ringed planet sits only about a hand's width high in the SW about 30 minutes after sunset, setting about 90 minutes later during the first half of December.

By mid-month, it disappears into the glow of the setting sun and is lost from view, heading towards its superior conjunction with the sun in early January. Look for the faint, barely-visible, waxing, crescent moon to the lower right of Saturn on Dec. 8 and to the planet's upper left on the evening of Dec. 9.
Mars is visible from dusk until around 11:30 p.m. each evening in December. The red planet fades this month from mag. -0.1 to +0.5, as it moves from Aquarius - the Water Bearer into Pisces - the Fish. Look for Mars (as a reddish "star") just above the near-first quarter moon on the evening of the 14th.

Venus has been steadily moving higher in the pre-dawn sky since early November and will reach its peak sunrise altitude (33 degrees) in the pre-dawn sky on Dec.13, when it will sit about 1/3 (33 degrees) the way up the eastern sky about 3 1/2 hours before sunrise. Currently at its peak brightness as a morning apparition, our "morning star" will dim slightly from mag. -4.9 to -4.6 by the end of the month. Venus will be visible in the pre-dawn sky until mid-August 2019.

Having passed through inferior conjunction with the sun on Nov. 27, Mercury appears as a pre-dawn apparition throughout December. Our solar system's smallest and innermost planet should be visible by Dec. 6 at around mag. +0.5. By Dec. 15, Mercury will have reached is greatest western (morning) elongation from the wun (21 degrees), rising in the east about 75 minutes before the sun. Mercury brightens considerably throughout December, from 0.0 on Dec. 8 to -0.5 by Dec. 31.

Like Mercury, Jupiter also had a conjunction with the sun in November (superior conjunction on Nov. 26), and follows Mercury into the pre-dawn sky in December. Moving from Scorpius - the Scorpion into Ophiuchus - the Serpent Bearer by mid-month, Jupiter (mag. -1.7) rises about 1 hour before the sun by Dec 12. On Dec. 21, look for Jupiter in close conjunction with Mercury (just to the upper left of Jupiter) low above the SE horizon, when the two planets will be less then 1 degree apart. Though Jupiter will be fully lit, and Mercury only 3/4 lit, the diminutive planet will actually have a greater surface brightness than its larger sibling. From about mid-month onward, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter will form a straight line (slanted downward to the left) in the eastern, pre-dawn sky (about 1 hour before sunrise), with Venus uppermost, then Mercury (until Dec. 21), followed by Jupiter just above the horizon. After their close conjunction on Dec. 21, Jupiter begins to rise higher in the pre-dawn sky, while Mercury sinks lower towards the horizon. On the morning of Dec 31, look for the reddish star, Antares (in Scorpius), to the lower right of Jupiter.

The Geminid meteors shower (radiant in Gemini - the Twins) peak in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 14. The Geminids are unique, in that they are one of only two meteor showers that have an asteroid source. The Gems, as they are affectionately called, are associated with the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, a "rock comet", which ejects or outgases dust and rock material from its rocky surface, rather than ice-related dust and vapors like a regular comet. Asteroid Phaethon is also unique, in that it comes closer to the sun than any other named asteroid. The near-first quarter moon sets around midnight. As the Gems will start to intercept the Earth's upper atmosphere about 2 hours after sunset on Dec 13 and if the weather is clear, you may catch sight of numerous "Earth grazers" - bright, long-lasting fireballs streaking across the night sky. Expect to see 120+ meteors/hour. from a dark location in the pre-dawn hours.

As mentioned last month, Comet 46P Wirtanen is expected to reach naked-eye visibility this month. Having reached perihelion (closest approach to the sun) on Dec. 12, 46P should (hopefully) put on fine display when, on Dec. 16, it make its closest approach to Earth (perigee) at approximately 11.7 million kms. Google '46P Wirtanen' to find locator charts and current information.

The winter solstice, the official start to winter here in the northern hemisphere, occurs at 6:23 p.m. on Dec. 21. It also marks our shortest day and longest night of the year.

Until next month, happy holidays, happy new year and clear skies.

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


Dec. 7 - New moon

Dec. 12 - Moon at apogee

Dec. 14 - Geminid meteor shower peak; pre-dawn

Dec. 15 - First quarter moon

Dec. 16 - Comet 46P Wirtanen at perigee

Dec. 22 - Full moon

Dec. 24 - Moon at perigee

Dec. 29 - Last quarter moon

Noting the weather is mentioned often in columns by Cindy Day, Saltwire Network's chief meteorologist.  She wrote about her start in this on Monday, December 17th:

GRANDMA SAYS: A journal from Santa, a forecast from Grandma! - by Cindy Day

I grew up with a weather journal. It wasn’t fancy, but it allowed me to make daily weather entries, keep track of big rain and snow storms and monitor Grandma’s quirky but always intriguing weather observations. You can find lovely handmade journals at most local markets.

The very first entry I made in my new journal every year came before I was tucked into bed Christmas night: it was the weather conditions for Christmas Day. My notes were not very detailed but they served to paint a picture of the day that was. I usually indicated the sky condition with a little icon. Dad always checked the morning low temperature before going to the barn – that went in. I kept an eye on how warm it was during the day. Mom was a keen observer of the direction of the wind; I later learned the importance of that one.

I did this every day, but the first 12 days were the most important.

Here’s why:

You are most likely familiar with the seasonal favourite, The 12 Days of Christmas. Aside from being a cute song, the 12 Days of Christmas can help you forecast the weather for the year ahead. Or at least Grandma thought so.

According to weather lore – and Grandma, of course – the weather on Christmas Day and the next 11 days determine the weather for each month in the coming year.

Here’s how:

The weather on Dec. 25 foretells the weather for January, Dec. 26 gives you an idea of what to expect in February, and so on.

It’s not too late to pick up a journal for that someone special. It can become a lovely family activity. Who knows, had it not been for my weather journal, I might not be a meteorologist today!

  "Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the starts...and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.  Look at the flowers -- for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are."

--  Osho (a.k.a. Rajneesh, 1931-1990

December 25, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The best of the season to all, and wishing you your "resilient daydreams".

A "repeat" from previous years: Poet and musician Tanya Davis put so much of the simple truth and complexity of the holidays in her poem:

Love As Well As Gifts - by Tanya Davis

by Tanya Davis

What if angels were just people having generous days
and the realms of glory were all the world's corners from which they came
and the night was silent 'cause no one was crying out in loneliness or pain?

What if coming home for christmas meant you never had to run again
and no bombs dropped and there really were good kings
and all ye faithful came together while having faith in different things.

What if the most wonderful day of the year
was 'cause peace on earth was finally here
no matter what or where we sing

This is my resilient daydream
I call it: joy to the world
I have it all year long
while I make my way through the world
I am not that strong
I crumble often from the truth
like the fact that guns and bombs are still lawful things we use
and there's too much yet there's not enough food
and still the void we're aching with – the pain, the love, the wound

Meanwhile empty tables
meanwhile we sing carols preaching morals that we're scared of
we are wary more of strangers, giving gifts while building walls

It's a host of contradictions and christmas won't fix it
I crave connection as I close off to it.

Can you see me?
Do you hear what I hear, it's the sadness of humanity
it's the basic human joy
it's the bonds thereof, it's the bombs of lost love
once we all have love enough – o holy night

And by the sun's returning shine I trust we will
in the meantime let us align our hearts with our goodwill
open arms for strangers seeking refuge in our midst
while welcoming our neighbours with love as well as gifts.

--Tanya Davis

A CBC interview with Tanya about this poem and the 2015 Halifax CBC Food Bank show were she performed it, is here.

I cannot find a recording of her reading this poem, though. But Tanya recites more of her artistry, this time about the land, people and their connections, in Mille Clarkes' documentary Island Green, the 25 minute documentary, always worth gathering with others and watching, here
From Keith Kennedy, who I believe will be spending a lot of the morning with Santa's Angels:

"The day is upon us where most folks say happy this and that. I wish you peace and if you are happy that's great. But mostly I hope you find the peace and the love you need. For this is the greatest gift of all."
-- Keith Kennedy, December 2018

December 24, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

In addition to the many things you may be preparing for the next few days for yourself, friends and family, preparing for disposing of trash is pretty important:

Some main points:

  • Three R's plus the "pre-R" of Rethink:  Less is better

  • COMPOST:  Most wrapping paper, greeting cards and present box boxboard (not wavy like corrugated cardboard)

  • WASTE: Tinsel, foil wrapping paper, bows, styrofoam, and broken and artificial stuff.  Wreaths, unless you dismantle them scrupulously into their components.

  • TREE PICK-UP: Real trees can be picked-up curbside if they are out before 7AM, Monday, January 7th, or dropped off at a IWMC when they are open during the month of January.

  • CARDBOARD (wavy) is to be flattened and bundles and tied up with string or something and set out with Recyclables

  • A big change from not too long ago, but not too widely publicized, is that for compost and waste, "No Bag is Best", meaning they are encouraging residents just to dump their waste and compost in the bins, not feel obligated to use plastic or compostable garbage bags.  (Many folks may remember that this was how it used to be, before black garbage bags took over.)  You do have to figure out how not to let the wind blow your stuff away as you dump. and figure out collecting in the house to make this work, but it really cuts down on the carts seeming so full, as items settle instead of being cushioned in bags.

From last year, a CBC article on sorting tips during the holidays:

And the official Island Waste Management Corp. flyer on Holiday Sorting, which was hard to find on the website (!):


This essay was originally written by columnist Russell Wangersky as a Boxing Day piece, but I like it too much not to share it at the beginning of the few real days of the holiday time. 
Here is one of the few links to the on-line published column:

The Ties That Bind - The Southshore Breaker column by Russell Wangersky

Published on December 26th, 2015,
in his column "Eastern Passages" in what was the Transcontinental newspaper syndicate (now owned by Saltwire)

For me, it’s clementines first.

The lasting smell of the torn peel on your fingertips, the tart slices, the horn-of-plenty feeling of that old-school wooden slat box stacked high with fruit, that box that you can bust down into kindling as soon as the fruit is gone.

I don’t know about you, but right about now, I’m probably eating something. Washing it down with something else. And that will be Christmas more than anything I know.

I’m not much for the lights and the carols and the cards and, as the years have gone by, for the presents either. Christmas, especially with children pretty much fully-grown, is a smaller thing now. And I always get cranky in the lead-up. I don’t like the way the songs start in the malls in the second week of November — I don’t much like the malls, either. I never have.

But what I do like is that handful of days that really are Christmastime. Like today.

And the foods. Some things are expensive — some things not. Brewis, the soaked hardbread that, in Newfoundland, you soak and then fry up with salt fish or steak. Fishcakes, made with salt cod, the noble rot smell of the fish when you drain it that’s both enticing and off-putting at the same time. Enticing, because you know how good it will taste. Off-putting, because some primal part of your senses says “there’s something slightly off about this” — what you might call the Stilton or blue cheese reflex.

Dark, fresh strong coffee in the morning shadows of some of the shortest nights of the year. Dark chocolate, one bittersweet square at a time. Somewhere, you might be fortunate enough to get to cadge a strip of smoked salmon, salty and oily and rich and so smooth on the tongue. Deep red olives with their sharp-ended pits and almonds, smoked.

I remember that, when I was growing up in Halifax, a family my older brother knew passed on one of their favourite foods. It was simple enough, but also a fascinatingly different flavour. We’d always had pancakes with butter and syrup, or butter and cinnamon sugar. They introduced us to putting dark brown sugar on pancakes, and then squeezing lemon juice over the top. A sweet and sour concoction that you can bring up in your mind at will after youve tried it even just once. Flavours that are their own bookmarks.

And ham.

My son once dared me, years ago, to buy a ham in the grocery store. A Christmas ham — a monster ham. A ham so large, the girl at the checkout burst into laughter at the sight of it. I gave ham to everyone that Christmas, and I nipped salty strands of it from the fridge and ate them every time I opened the door. Ham sandwiches with mustard. Fried ham. A stupid extravagance. One I repeat now, on a smaller and more dignified scale, every year.

A big screen television? No chance. No out-of-reach, pay-for-months bills, no need to break the bank on finding just the right present. It’s present enough to be, well, present.

The smell of a real Christmas tree, a hint of wood smoke in cold, clean winter air, a strange cheese or two, the smell wafting up as they warm, ungentle as a locker room.

I hope you can find that simple comfort, and that you have helped others to find it, too.

--Russell Wangersky is TC Media’s Atlantic regional columnist (now Saltwire's)

December 23, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Holiday music today:

CBC Radio Broadcast "Joy to the World", 9AM-6:30PM, 104.7FM and internet.
"One of the most popular events of the year on CBC Music, Joy to the World is a full day of holiday music programming from the countries of the European Broadcasting Union. It's a tradition that's been going strong for 25 years, uniting the globe through traditional music for the holiday season. This year's broadcast, hosted by Tom Allen, will include performances from Austria, Finland, Germany, Portugal and other countries — including Canada!"

In person:
A Very Forte Christmas, 2:30-4PM, St. James Presbyterian Church, 35 Fitzroy Street, Charlottetown. "Quickly becoming a December tradition, Forte Men’s Choir present (this) joyful holiday concert featuring gorgeous new carols, fun twists on old favourites, a few lesser-known gems, readings, and audience sing-alongs, all wrapped in the warm sound of male voices. A Christmas treat that will make you laugh, cry, sing, and reflect on the meaning of the Christmas season."
Facebook event link
Naomi Klein of The Leap thanked people for their support this year, and mentioned the support that is building for the Green New Deal.  Here is a little about it from a very long article that gets into the politics facing it, too.


The Green New Deal, explained - Vox article by David Roberts

An insurgent movement is pushing Democrats to back an ambitious climate change solution

Published on Friday, December 21st, 2018

As we will see, the exact details of the (Green New Deal) GND remain to be worked out, but the broad thrust is fairly simple. It refers, in the loosest sense, to a massive program of investments in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, meant to transform not just the energy sector, but the entire economy. It is meant both to decarbonize the economy and to make it fairer and more just.

But the policy is only part of the picture. Just as striking are the politics, which seem to have tapped into an enormous, untapped demand for climate ambition.  <snip>

(rest of the article at the above link)


“ shouldn’t have to be on the frontline of climate change. It’s the job of our leaders to take action for us. I want to be able to work as a musician, as well as an activist."

--then 15 year old climate activist Xiuhtezcaht Martinez, a hip-hop artist, environmental activist and speaker. (His first name is pronounced, roughly, "shoo-TEZ-cat") who has been speaking out about the environment since he was six, interviewed three years ago for this U.K. Guardian article:

More about him from Earth Guardians, where he is the Youth Director

and an energetic speech, spoken work, music and dance performance (20minutes) at the 2017 Young Adult Forum at the Aspen Ideals Festival.

December 22, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)
Summerside (9AM-1PM) and
George's Market in Bedeque (10AM
until not sure; this market is closed after today until January 5th).

Music presentation: Holiday Favourites!, 7-9:30PM, St. James Presbyterian Church, 35 Fitzroy Street, Charlottetown.  "Come one, come all to this festive seasonal event celebrating togetherness in music :)  The winter holiday is a season highlighting togetherness and the importance of spending time with family and friends, but it is often a stressful time of year where not everyone feels welcome. This concert will be an inclusive space where everyone will be embraced and celebrated within the repertoire presented. The night will range from operatic, musical theatre, to folk and pop selections while featuring femme and queer composers, both current and historical. This night will be presented in part with PEERS Alliance PEI as a third party fundraiser to support their various programs and general needs. We chose to donate funds to PEERS Alliance because we admire the massive amount of support they provide to Islanders. Their focus of creating a safe space free from judgment, and where everyone who goes to them can be truly themselves is something we wish to incorporate for our evening of music. Although it is framed as the most wonderful time of year, the weather and various other elements can make it into an isolating time of year. This is an event where we hope to welcome as many as possible and hopefully provide them with musical healing."
Facebook event link

Last night's discussion on housing between NDP Leader Joe Byrne and PC leadership candidate Dennis King from Facebook live LINK
(I have not had a chance to watch it yet, but I am told it is worth it.)

Tony LLoyd spells out the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

LETTER: Wildlife faces global holocaust - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Friday, December 21st, 2018

British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, in a recent speech at a United Nations climate conference, said the UN founding promise is to “help protect the weakest ... from war, famine and other man-made disasters. Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale; our greatest threat in thousands of years, climate change. If we don’t take action the collapse of our civilization and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

When I first came to P.E.I. in 1975, I had never seen so many birds anywhere in North America; P.E.I. was a wonderland for birds. And lots of insects, snakes, mice, squirrels and frogs. In the morning, I would find feathers in the yard, a sign of birds eating birds - not true anymore; not this century. We used to have three of the four subspecies of garter snakes - now we have none. The bats have been gone for five years.

What has caused such a catastrophic, rapid decline? For one thing, the boreal forest is migrating north; through deforestation the earth's albedo has been changed. Segments of the circumpolar boreal forests – in Russia, Canada and Alaska - with thin soils and melting permafrost, are in distress, sick and dying.

Climate change is a large-scale geophysical experiment to study, modify and transform the earth's climate by first altering the earth's albedo. But today, climate change proves itself to be a global wildlife holocaust, and has run amuck.

Tony Lloyd, Mount Stewart


Sad news of the passing of Richard Davies, whom I met during the Water Act consultations; a very kind and deep-thinking gentleman.

from the obituary:

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Richard James Davies of Flat River, PEI in his 75th year at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Sunday, December 16, 2018. Richard was born in Birmingham, England to the late Sidney and Elizabeth Davies. Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 51 years, Judith (Judy) Davies; son Bradley (Lisa), Hong Kong and daughter Elisa, Toronto, ON and grandchildren Emma and Iain Davies. Richard is survived in England by his sister Diana (David) Cliff, nephew Spencer (Lisa) Cliff, and nieces Susan (Edwin) Bray and Elizabeth (Ian) Grundy. He is lovingly remembered by his mother-in-law Georgena (late Neale) Stuart, sister in law Margaret Ruth (Roy) Thorburn, all of St. Catherines, ON. Richard immigrated to Canada in 1965 and moved with his young family to Prince Edward Island in 1976. His professional career involved being the Director of Environmental Health for many years. He established his own company, Eastern Food Safety Consulting and taught courses in food safety for the food service industry, as well as the Culinary Institute of Canada. He was a proud chairman of the PEI Environmental Advisory Committee for several years and was involved in the development of a water act for the province. Richard’s great passions were sheep farming and forestry management on his farm in Flat River. Richard will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues across the Island and beyond. His remains have been cremated. According to Richard’s wishes, there will be no visitation or funeral at this time. However, his family will announce a celebration of Richard’s life in the summer of 2019. Donations in Richard’s memory may be made to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation or the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The family would like to thank Dr. Wotherspoon and nurses in Unit 1, as well as the ICU team at the QEH for all their efforts. They greatly appreciated the kindness and care of Chaplain Mark Buell. Remembrances of Richard can be shared through the Belvedere Funeral Home.

December 21, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Francophone Fridays -- Vendredi francophone -- aujourd'hui, 11AM
, Timothy's World Coffee, Great George Street.  The description specifically welcomes those learning and wanting to learn French. 
Facebook event link

Housing Crisis discussion with NDP Leader Joe Byrne and PC leadership candidate Dennis King, 6-6:30PM, Facebook Live (presumably watchable later).
"NDP Leader, Joe Byrne and PC Leader Candidate Dennis King will discuss and debate the NDP's housing strategy which was released December 4th - Housing: Back to the Future.
There will be a Q & A opportunity at the end of the event. See the event discussion for the link to the Op-Ed written by Joe Byrne about housing. Good Ideas are good ideas.  This is a joint, and collaborative event aimed to drive discussion around the serious Housing Crisis on PEI."
Facebook event link

"All I Want for Christmas is PR!" (Proportional Representation) Mixer, 7:30-9PM, Bar1911, Longworth Avenue, Charlottetown.  Ah, well, it's a bit more of a wish now for British Columbia for the short-term, but as someone said, "It's now up to PEI and Quebec to lead the way."
Facebook event link

OPINION: Islanders expect a fair process - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Brenda Oslawsky

Mitchell will not be able to wait until the election is called to launch his education campaign

Published on Tuesday, December 17th, 2018

Congratulations to Gerard Mitchell on being appointed referendum commissioner. If MLA Bush Dumville’s comments in his opinion article - -Governing by consensus,’ are anything to go by, Mr. Mitchell will have his work cut out for him.

Despite Mr. Dumville having been in the legislature when the Electoral Referendum Act was tabled, debated and then amended 27 times, he somehow missed the fact that Islanders would vote directly for their choice of province-wide candidates in Mixed Member Proportional. This is the same version of MMP that won the 2016 plebiscite, when he was still a member of the Liberal caucus.

If come voting day, any Islander is still under the impression that province-wide candidates are not voted for directly, that will be a failure on the part of the referendum commissioner to run an adequate public information campaign for the referendum.

Education will be required to ensure that people aren’t under the same misapprehension that Mr. Dumville is about the benefits of PR. Because no one party tends to have the support of a true majority of voters, parties in proportional democracies have to form coalitions to pass legislation and govern.

Countries that have PR, like Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and New Zealand, find that this consensus-style government provides better oversight, transparency and accountability. Interestingly, and to Mr. Dumville's point, the MMP system being proposed would be better at allowing independent candidates to be elected than our current system - a voter could choose a strong local Independent candidate because they can still cast a vote for their preferred party in the second part of the ballot.

Islanders will expect - and parties will be expected to deliver - a fair process by which candidates from across the Island can be represented on the ballot.

There will be a lot of attention given to that part of Mr. Mitchell’s mandate that deals with his responsibilities to police those advertising either for or against proportional representation during the referendum. The education portion of his mandate will likely not receive the same attention – but it should.

He will not be able to wait until the election is called to launch his education campaign as that will not allow sufficient time to properly inform Islanders. He will have to get started before the spring on the assumption that we will have a spring 2019 election.

We know from the plebiscite that one mailing 3 or 4 weeks before the vote is not sufficient - he will have to actively start educating before the writ is dropped.

How robust an awareness and education campaign he launches will significantly determine the percentage of people who cast a ballot in the referendum or who feel that they can make an informed choice.

- Brenda Oslawsky lives in Spring Valley and is an active member of the P.E.I. Proportional Representation Network


"I am the kind of person that believes that there's a part of your voting has to be on purely on principle, and there's a part that has to be on strategy."

    --Michael Moore, American documentary maker and commentator

(This is of course with the American first-past-the-post voting system, the rather oddly-shaped Congressional districts, and of course the Electoral College aspect in the president election....)

December 20, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

A year ago today the Fall Sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature wrapped up, with the passing of The Water Act and the, um, "absurd event" that it was.  I have peeked down Memory Lane and copied and pasted what I wrote about the last day of the session for this newsletter, at the bottom of today's newsletter.  It's a review of what happened with The Water Act and what has and hasn't happened since then.
"All I Want for Christmas Is PR" -- Social about Proportional Representation, 7:30-9PM
, Bar 1911, Longworth Avenue, Charlottetown. Come chat about the state of PR and readiness for the referendum, find out what's happening in B.C. and Quebec, and see if there is any discussion about Independent MLA Bus Dumville and his ideas about who influences list candidates, and more!
Facebook event link

OPINION: Farmers become shopkeepers of crops - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Bruce MacEwen

I'm reminded of the words of John Steinbeck in his 1939 masterpiece "The Grapes of Wrath" and how chillingly prophetic his words were and are

Published on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

As I read with interest the piece by Shelley Glen on the Irving's holding the government and farmers of P.E.I. hostage, capitalizing on our government's fears and because they (Irving) believe they are indispensable, I'm reminded of the words of John Steinbeck in his 1939 masterpiece "The Grapes of Wrath" and how chillingly prophetic his words were and are.

And I quote "And the farmers arose no more in the dark to hear the sleepy birds first chittering and the morning wind around the house while they waited for the first light to go out to the dear acres. These things were lost and crops were reckoned in dollars and land was valued by principal plus interest and crops were bought and sold before they were planted. Then crop failure, drought and flood were no longer little deaths within life but simple losses of money.

“And their love was thinned by money until they were no longer farmers at all, but shopkeepers of crops, manufacturers who must sell before they can make. Then those farmers, no matter how clever and loving they might be with the earth and growing things; those who were not good shopkeepers lost their land to good shopkeepers. And the farms grew larger and the owners fewer and there were few farmers on the land anymore."

And it came about that owners of these large farms no longer worked on them. They farmed on paper and they forgot the smell and the feel of the land and remembered only that they owned it and what they gained and lost by it. Then such a farmer became a storekeeper and kept a store. He paid the men and sold them food and supplies and took the money back. A man might work and feed himself and when the work was done, he might find he owed money to the company. And the owners not only did not work the farms anymore, many of them had never seen the farms they owned."

Is it any different now?

- Bruce MacEwen, Charlottetown, is son of a farming family


You can find the book The Grapes of Wrath at the provincial library, here:

Free on-line reading, here:

Or at local booksellers like The Bookmark and sometimes the used books places.

Noting the extraordinary and increasing additions to the food charity matrix on P.E.I.:

Food charity is not food security.
-- Pauline Howard, PEI Food Exchange


Yours truly,
Chris Ortenburger,
Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.

From December 21st, 2017, the Citizens' Alliance News:
Hi, everyone,

As you may know, the P.E.I. Legislature closed last night, but not without Overtime Drama.

The Short Form:

  • The Whistleblower Act passed with no real changes.
  • The House amended the Water Act to ban fracking completely.
    • It passed with no other major changes.
  • Peter Bevan-Baker tried a little-known rule to send those two pieces (plus the Lobbyist one) back to committee, and in doing so called out inattention of other MLAs during debate a "farce", stood by the word, and got removed.
  • The session ended as usual but with a slightly chastised government a bit before 6PM.

Here is a short form of improvements to the Water Act, and after that, a few longer  comments on yesterday (more to come in the following days):

Water Act -- a good job to Minister Robert "Poppy" Mitchell, always very open and welcoming, and he tried really hard.  The Act still has a "permitting" feel, not an overarching enshrining of Water Sustainability; and the work people concerned about fracking had to do just to get that in the Act was a bit much, honestly.

Five ways it could be strengthened (errors and inaccuracies my own):



Results as





Recognizing the right of people to water, including indigenous rights

Discussed, with Opposition parties proposing amendments last week but didn't get accepted.





Fracking ban a real ban

YES, yesterday





Use the proper terms

no, past that section last week





Municipal water extraction limits

No, despite VERY good tries by Peter Bevan-Baker with some support by others





high capacity wells

No, despite VERY good tries by Peter Bevan-Baker with some support by others




So now the work will turn to the Regulations, and there will be public meetings this spring.   The Tories idea of an equally-balanced-by-MLAs committee to help with this was not accepted.


December 19, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


City of Charlottetown will have its second Advisory Committee meeting today, 4-5PM, Charlottetown City Council Chamber, followed by a Special Meeting of Council, 5-7PM.
Councillors Mike Duffy and Terry MacLeod are the committee along with Mayor Philip Brown (non-voting) and Chief Administrative Officer, Peter Kelly, I think.
The public is welcome. 
City of Charlottetown civic events/meeting calendar page

Green Drinks, 7-9PM, Bar1911, Longworth Avenue, below the Jail Pizza Delight.  For people interested in meeting  Green Party PEI members and executive and discussing ideas and issues.
Facebook event link
Dealing with Climate Change
The term coined is solastalgia -- sadness for home when it changes around you

'People talk about deep sadness:' Scientists study climate change grief - The Canadian Press article printed in The Guardian

Published by the Canadian Press, Thursday, December 13th, 2018  (Excerpt)

"People talked about deep sadness," Cunsolo said. "People talked about anxiety. A lot of different words for pain. A lot of trembling in the voice. There were definitely tears. People were feeling displaced in their homes."

Sometimes it happens slowly, sometimes all at once. Hayes has been looking into the effects of the 2013 flood in High River, Alta., the sort of catastrophic event that is expected to occur more and more.  "There are still lingering effects from the flood," she said. "There's anxiety when it rains, on the anniversary, as (people) cross the bridge to go into High River."

Kids crawl into bed with mom and dad when the clouds open. People thinking about that box of Christmas decorations in the basement catch themselves when they realize it's gone.  "People would talk about the smell of musty moldiness or the sound of a generator coming on. It gets them welled up. It gets them nervous. It gets them recalling the flood, everything that they lost."

A University of Alberta study found similar effects 18 months after the wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., that destroyed one-tenth of the city. A survey of visitors to health-care facilities found high levels of post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders as well as substance abuse.

"We're looking at broader psycho-social impacts, things like weakened social ties or increased addictions or even increased aggression in relation to domestic violence," said Peter Berry, science adviser at Health Canada. "Some of the impacts can take place right away or take months or even years."

Nor are disasters the only way weather related to climate change can cause stress.  "Volatility," said Ron Bonnett of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. "What we're seeing is a lot more variation than we did in the past."

Farmers can endure months without rain, then see their fields submerged in a cloudburst. More than just a business, farms are a home and a tradition and that can raise the mental stakes, Bonnett said.  "There's almost a mental block: 'What do I do next? How do I make a decision?' You're just paralyzed. All you can see is that crop lying out there that you can't get off."

The words "paralyzed" and "powerless" come up often when solastalgia is discussed. Feeling there's nothing you can do is doubly corrosive, said Julia Payson of the Canadian Mental Health Association in B.C.'s Okanagan region, where fires and evacuations have been a constant feature of recent summers.

"Powerlessness tells you you can't fix this and you're not going to stop feeling bad. There's no point in reaching out, in gathering with community and seeing what you can do."

In fact, she said reaching out is one of the best ways of coping.  "Powerlessness breeds a feeling of isolation and when we can break that down by building community, it makes a huge difference.

"We acknowledge our feelings. We know it's important to have them. We look for people to support us, we look for actions we can take to take back a feeling of control."

Talking about climate change, talking to others about climate change (TED Talk link below on why continuing to talk about Climate Change can only help normalize it for people who don't want to acknowledge it), and taking some steps with personal lifestyle and civic engagement are all actions people can take:
TED Talk by Katharine Hayhoe  "The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Fight Climate Change: Talk about It"

Ocean Protectors:
After seeing the effects of plastic pollution in oceans around the world, a small group of people formed an organization called Ocean Protectors.  They sail around and help communities by learning what they need and providing some funding for the self-initiated projects; they obtain money by fundraising and most recently, starting a monthly subscription for people in North America to reduce plastic in their lives.  Each month focuses on a particular aspect and gives locally made or well-researched and sourced alternatives (for Shopping, for personal hygiene, etc.). 

There are conflicting feelings about buying and consuming being the vehicles of help, though it IS a clever way to engage and raise funds. Decide for yourself:

Putting a signature into an Action doesn't take much time, effort or money, but does add some weight, and politicians do count these things:
from the Broadbent Institute:

Call on Prime Minister Trudeau to ban single-use plastics by 2021

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

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

We now call on Prime Minister Trudeau to move swiftly in developing a framework that bans single-use plastics by 2021.

Action is needed now more than ever.

Plastic waste is choking our oceans, threatening to outweigh the amount of fish by 2050 if nothing is done1. Recent studies show microplastics are in our bodies. It’s only a matter of time before we discover resulting health impacts2.

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

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


MLA Al Roach's Private Member's Bill, which passed in June 2018, will make single-use plastic bags illegal after July 2019, with certain exceptions.  Here is the text of the bill.

It is a small step, a huge amount of discussion for one facet of the problem, and something the government, with a majority for a decade now, could have easily brought in as part of some sort of vision on improving the environment/reducing plastic use overall.... BUT it is something, nonetheless. 


Live less out of habit and more out of intent.
--attributed to many, but particularly toAmy Rubin Flett, Nova Scotia resident, blogger, working with people with addictions

December 18, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today, now that some people may have a bit more time on the computer if power remains to do this, if they haven't:

Deadline for provincial Sustainable Transportation Strategy public input. 
from the provincial government website: 
"What does sustainable transportation mean? For the purposes of the strategy, sustainable transportation refers to a transportation system that meets the transportation needs of individuals, is affordable, efficient, adaptable to the future, and limits greenhouse gas (GHG) and waste. Sustainable transportation includes the following:

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

  • cleaner and more efficient vehicle technologies; and

  • community planning and design.
If you are in Nova Scotia already:
Rally at the (Halifax) Courthouse, 1PM, Upper Water Street, Halifax. 
Supporting fishers (and the Indigenous Peoples) who are against the planned effluent pipe for the paper mill in Pictou, Nova Scotia.  (Helpful to have suggestions for signs on the rally poster.)  Hosted by Friends of the Northumberland Strait.

Later this week:
Friday, December 21st:
Last day for 2018 sale on P.E.I. National Park early bird passes, 8:30AM-4:30PM, Ardgowan (National Park office, 2 Palmers Lane, Charlottetown)
They give the purchaser a card voucher instead of the rear view mirror tag, if you were expecting the tag.  You exchange the card for a tag on your first visit after the kiosks open at the park in June 2019.
Energy News:
From Far away, north of Liverpool, England:

Fracking halted in Lancashire after largest earthquake so far - The Independent article by Josh Gabbatiss, Science Correspondent

Event comes shortly after operations at Cuadrilla site started up for first time since October

Published on Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 in
The Independent (U.K.)

The largest earth tremor so far has been recorded at Cuadrilla’s fracking site near Blackpool, forcing the company to pause operations.  A minor earthquake of 1.5 magnitude struck late on Tuesday morning following a series of far smaller tremors, and after fossil fuel exploration had stopped for the day.

Recurring seismic events throughout October meant fracking at the new site in Lancashire had to be repeatedly put on hold.  Most events could not be felt, although locals did report feeling the most recent 1.5 tremor.

Cuadrilla has insisted that these quakes are not a major concern, and compared the latest one to “dropping a melon”.  However, any tremor measuring 0.5 or above means fracking must legally be put on hold while tests are carried out.

<snip>  rest of article at the link, above
Not so far away:
The Southeast United States:

Quoting 'The Lorax,' Court Pulls Permit For Pipeline Crossing Appalachian Trail - National Public Radio online article by Laurel Wamsley

Published at National Public Radio on-line on Friday, December 14, 2018

A federal appeals court has thrown out a power company's permit to build a natural gas pipeline across two national forests and the Appalachian Trail – and slammed the U.S. Forest Service for granting the approvals in the first place.

In a decision filed Thursday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., a three-judge panel declared the U.S. Forest Service "abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources" when it issued permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to build through parts of the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests and a right of way across the Appalachian Trail.

"This conclusion," they wrote in a unanimous judgment, "is particularly informed by the Forest Service's serious environmental concerns that were suddenly, and mysteriously, assuaged in time to meet a private pipeline company's deadlines."

The judges cited Dr. Seuss' The Lorax: "We trust the United States Forest Service to 'speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.'"

The court concluded that the Forest Service's decisions violated both the National Forest Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, and found the Forest Service lacked the authority to grant the pipeline a right of way across the Appalachian Trail.

<snip>  rest of the article, including links to maps of the area, at the link, above
Pretty close:

Nobody asked us if we want fracking, Sussex LSD* chair says - CBC News online article by Tori Weldon

PCs accused of sacrificing Sussex-area communities for 'a few pieces of silver' 

Posted on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Some people in communities surrounding the town of Sussex are hoping the province slows down and asks the people who will be affected by fracking if they want it.

On Friday, the throne speech passed by the legislature included a sub-amendment that exempts "communities in and around the town of Sussex" from a shale gas moratorium. The precise area around Sussex wasn't identified.  The province hopes a cabinet order will happen in the next few weeks to make the amendment official.

Gordon Kierstead of Ward's Creek, chair of the local service district in Sussex, said no one has come to him to ask if the roughly 2,600 residents in the area support fracking. "There's been no town halls," said Kierstead. "There's been meetings, no nothing to determine if there is a social licence or a willingness."

Kierstead said it's easy for politicians to say they have community support, but he questions where the support is coming from.  "For a few pieces of silver, they're willing to sacrifice the surrounding area."

Energy and Resource Development Minister Mike Holland has said the government will make sure there's a "means and mechanism" for consulting people in the Sussex area before accepting people want fracking there.   Premier Blaine Higgs said in August that he'd measure support for development by listening to municipal councils, then let the consultations "spread out" to surrounding local service districts through open meetings.

On Friday, Higgs said passage of shale-gas language in the throne speech was a green light for a localized lifting of the fracking moratorium in Sussex-area communities that have demonstrated support for it.   

Kierstead is concerned the government will rely on the opinions of business and municipal leaders in Sussex, who he said are not in a position to make decisions for surrounding rural communities. He pointed to a 
dust-up back in 2011, when Ralph Carr, the mayor of Sussex at the time, denounced a seismic surveying company for sending exploration trucks inside town limits without municipal approval.  Carr's stern reaction was reinforced by many councillors, with the mayor explaining that some people in his community are wary of the shale gas industry.

Kierstead said it is frustrating to be the one area in the province where the moratorium could be lifted by 2019."There needs to be a lot more consultation. I mean they're rushing this through and they don't want to listen."

Twenty-five kilometres north of Sussex, Stephanie Coburn was disappointed by the proposed lifting of the moratorium in and around Sussex, and questioned if more communities will follow.  "I really feel this is the thin edge of the wedge, if they can frack in Penobsquis again," said Coburn, who lives on a beef farm in Head of Mill Stream.  In 1999, natural gas wells were installed in Penobsquis, 14 kilometres northeast of Sussex, where they are still being met with a mixed reaction

Bruce Northrup, the MLA for Sussex-Fundy-St. Martins, has said the community supports a resumption of drilling.

Coburn said she would favour a referendum but not just for Sussex and surrounding communities. She'd like to see the question put to the entire province because there is a larger question at play.  "Do we want to be taking carbon-based product out of the ground and burning it and increasing our carbon footprint?"  She'd rather see the province's financial resources go toward increasing the energy efficiency of homes so carbon-based energy wouldn't be in such high demand.

Coburn would also rather her own energy be spent elsewhere.  "I am 71 years old," she said. "I would love to be home playing with my grandchild instead of talking about fracking again."

*LSD= Local Service District, so I guess "rural municipality" isn't so bad

In other news,

A renewable energy watcher posted on Facebook:

"Good news in Alberta. Wind's generating jobs and low-cost energy."

Though the following reads like the press releases churned out by our P.E.I. government communications ward, this is from CanWEA, on their About Us page 
"...the Canadian Wind Energy Association, is the voice of Canada's wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy. A national non-profit association, CanWEA is Canada's leading source of information on wind energy's social, economic, health and environmental benefits for Canadian communities and provincial economies. Established in 1984, CanWEA represents the wind energy community — organizations and individuals who are directly involved in the development and application of wind energy technology, products and services."

New low-cost wind energy contracts in Alberta demonstrate excellent value as province reduces greenhouse gas emissions - Canadian Wind Energy news release

Alberta’s procurement of 763 MW of renewable energy will create jobs and economic benefits for Indigenous and rural communities

Published on-line on Monday, December 17th, 2018 at:

Calgary, Alberta, December 17, 2018 – The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) commends the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) and the Government of Alberta for its continuing success in attracting some of the lowest prices ever seen for wind energy generation in Canada, as revealed today with the announcement of contracts for Rounds Two and Three of the Alberta Renewable Electricity Program (REP). The AESO will secure power from five new wind energy projects representing 763 megawatts (MW) of capacity at an average weighted price of $39 per megawatt-hour.

Since REP was originally announced in 2016, the AESO has awarded contracts to projects that will nearly double Alberta’s installed wind energy capacity, positioning Alberta as the leading province for wind energy investment in the country today. These commitments will result in a 10 per cent increase to Canada’s installed wind energy capacity, which currently sits at just under 13,000 MW.

The companies behind the projects announced today have each signed a 20-year Indexed Renewable Energy Credit (IREC) agreement with the AESO, providing predictable revenues while protecting Albertans against increases in the price of power. Under the IREC, when the market price is lower than the contracted price, the generator will be paid the difference; and when the market price is higher, generators will be required to pay back the difference to the government.

As mandated by the procurement process, all of the projects providing power through REP Round 2 (363 MW) meet the required minimum 25 per cent equity partnership with Indigenous communities. Such partnerships have also been seen in other jurisdictions across Canada and have proven to provide training opportunities, jobs, revenue sharing and other economic benefits to participating communities.

The projects announced today are expected to be operational by mid-2021.

The wind energy industry looks forward to details about the schedule of future procurements for new renewable energy and will be active participants in the process.

(All those links may work, and certainly will at the orginal story link provided above.)

"I am 71 years old. I would love to be home playing with my grandchild instead of talking about fracking again."
-- Stephanie Colburn of Sussex, New Brunswick (from the article, above)

(However, one day her grandchildren will thank her for vocally opposing fracking.)

December 17, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

One of the most memorable comments:

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

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

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

December 16, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events focus on buying, singing and dancing...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from the following government page (edited)

Provide Input to the Provincial Sustainable Transportation Strategy

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

What does sustainable transportation mean?

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

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

  • cleaner and more efficient vehicle technologies; and

  • community planning and design.

Why does PEI need a sustainable transportation strategy?

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

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

What will be in the strategy?

We have identified four topic areas for the strategy:

  • public and community transit;

  • vehicles and transportation;

  • active transportation; and

  • community design and infrastructure.

How can I participate in the strategy?

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

How will input be used?

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


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

Phone: (902) 368-4686

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

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

December 15, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published on Monday, December 10th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published on Friday, December 14th, 2018

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

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

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

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

There is a difference.

Wayne Carver, (Long) Creek


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

December 14, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

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

From yesterday's paper:

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

Published on Thursday, December 13th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the Broadbent Institute:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See link for signing information and references.

December 13, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much for the spirit of internal debate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 11, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And in normal circumstances it should have worked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

December 10, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tonight, Monday, December 10th:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 9, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

Straightforward on water:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Ann Bowden, Charlottetown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 8, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

at Charlottetown Farmers Market, 10AM-3PM.

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

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

MLA Bell shared this on social media (edited):

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

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

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

Published on Wednesday, December 6th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 7, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

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

LEAD EDITORIAL: A sensible suggestion - The Guardian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published on Thursday, December 6th, 2018, in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 6, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happening today:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and more comments in this newsletter in the coming days.

From The Guardian:

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

Published on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A leadership convention is scheduled for Feb. 9.

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

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

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

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


Climate leadership from the other side of the country:

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

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

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

and more details from The National Observer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



from the article above:

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

December 5, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

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

and also from the Council of Canadians (copied):

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

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

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

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

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

How we got here

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

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

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

How we get to an actual just transition

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

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

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


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

December 4, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

from The Guardian, published yesterday:

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


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

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

Legislative Assembly website link

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

Tuesday, December 4th:

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

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

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

Friday, December 7th:

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

Saturday, December 8th:

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

December 3, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

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

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

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

Guardian article from Friday, November 30th, 2018:

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

Provincial government announces a number of fee changes Thursday

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

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

New incentives also include reduced transit fees.

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

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

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

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


Bears repeating:

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

December 2, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet our leaders never talked about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

December 1, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy December, everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published on Thursday, November 28th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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