CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

February 2021


  1. 1 February 28, 2021
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 P.E.I. standing committee to subpoena Brendel report - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
    3. 1.3 Hard truth about butter - The Guardian article by Sylvain Charlebois
  2. 2 February 27, 2021
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 LETTER OF THE WEEK: Lack of political will continues to plague land policy in P.E.I. - The Guardian Letter of the Week by Joan Diamond
  3. 3 February 26, 2021
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  4. 4 February 25, 2021
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  5. 5 February 24, 2021
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  6. 6 February 23, 2021
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 Atlantic Skies For February 22nd - February 28th, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts
  7. 7 February 22, 2021
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 LETTER: Angus MacLean had it right - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  8. 8 February 21, 2021
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 Government, media are silent on proportional representation - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marie Burge
    3. 8.3 Will new ministers lead or parrot bureaucracy silos?  - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
    4. 8.4 IRAC CEO questioned about Buddhist landholdings on P.E.I. - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  9. 9 February 20, 2021
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 Water Act protects drinking water and the environment, supports research - PEI Government
    3. 9.3 P.E.I. Water Act comes into force June 16, with allowance for high-capacity well research - CBC online article by Sara Fraser
  10. 10 February 19, 2021
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 Blaming the Wind for the Mess in Texas Is Painfully Absurd - The New Yorker article by Bill McKibben
  11. 11 February 18, 2021
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  12. 12 February 17, 2021
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Why are Indian farmers protesting against the government? - The Guardian (UK) podcast
  13. 13 February 16, 2021
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  14. 14 February 15, 2021
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 Atlantic Skies for February 15th-22nd, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts
  15. 15 February 14, 2021
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Government is playing a high stakes game with Islanders' lives - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Peter Bevan-Baker
  16. 16 February 13, 2021
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 Is Charlottetown a Community OR a Commodity? - by the Future of Charlottetown, on their Facebook Group
    3. 16.3 I Dissent - by Sally Bernard, Barnyard Organics Farm
  17. 17 February 12, 2021
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 Canada Post has the ability to change the country for the better - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  18. 18 February 11, 2021
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 Daryl Guignion remembered for passion for conservation - The Guardian article
  19. 19 February 10, 2021
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 PETER McKENNA: What’s wrong with allowing 16-year-olds to vote? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Peter McKenna
  20. 20 February 9, 2021
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 JIM VIBERT: Finally, Nova Scotia hits land protection landmark, barely - The Guardian article by Jim Vibert
  21. 21 February 8, 2021
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 Atlantic Skies for February 8th - 14th, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts
  22. 22 February 7, 2021
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 Iain Rankin will be next premier of Nova Scotia - CBC post by Michael Gorman
    3. 22.3 "NFL Green" Tackles Coral Restoration Project in Florida Ahead of Super Bowl LV - ECOWatch article by Tiffany Duong
  23. 23 February 6, 2021
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 P.E.I.'s outgoing environment minister places responsibility for long-delayed Water Act on standing committee - TheGuardian article by Stu Neatby
  24. 24 February 5, 2021
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  25. 25 February 4, 2021
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 GUEST OPINION: Disappointed and bewildered by P.E.I. budget - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Wayne Carver
  26. 26 February 3, 2021
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 LETTER: Potato board shows sense of entitlement - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  27. 27 February 2, 2021
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  28. 28 February 1, 2021
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews|

February 28, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Posted Saturday night, here is a link to the latest COVID exposures and notifications from the P.E.I. Government:

Page with updated exposures date and locations, in Summerside (a lot) and Montague and Charlottetown (a few).

A reminder to consider keeping a log of when and where you are, basically, when you're outside your home.

Basically, "Circuit-breaker" measures of no indoor dining (but you can order take-out and delivery), some gathering limits reinforced, etc.  The PEI Symphony has cancelled the concert with soprano Tracy Cantin scheduled for today.

On Friday, after the Legislative Assembly finished sitting for the week, the Standing Committee on Health and Social Development met at 2:30PM to discuss the IRAC report on the Brendel/Red Fox/Irving land transfer.  Here is from an on-line article from The Guardian, which summarizes it well:

P.E.I. standing committee to subpoena Brendel report - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published ONLINE on Saturday, February 27th, 2021 (probable PRINT date Monday, March 1st, 2021), in The Guardian

A Legislative standing committee has passed a motion to require the Province’s Minister of Agriculture and Land to release an investigative report into the Brendel land sale, a land transaction that allegedly went afoul of the Lands Protection Act.

The Brendel report was completed by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) but has been a carefully guarded secret since last fall. Agriculture Minister Bloyce Thompson has said the report must go through the Freedom of Information process; some information may be redacted under this process as it would be considered personal information. 

However, standing committees have the ability to compel the production of documents without going through the Freedom of Information process. 

The investigation concerned a transfer of 2,200 acres of land between a family farming operation and Red Fox Acres Ltd., a company which lists a member of the Irving family as a director. 

Friday’s motion called for the committee to subpoena the report along with “any other associated documents necessary to interpret and understand the report and its findings.” The motion also called for the subpoena to be issued no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 2.

But the motion, passed by the standing committee on health and social development, also calls for the documents to be produced at an in-camera meeting, in physical form only. This means the standing committee will not release the report publicly. The motion stated that this would balance the need to respect privacy concerns of the parties involved with the duty of the committee to hold government to account.

While committee members cannot release details contained in the Brendel report, they can make recommendations based on these details.

The motion was introduced by Green MLA Trish Altass. 

"Islanders really want to ensure that the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act is being upheld. And there are a lot of questions about what happened with this particular situation,” Altass told The Guardian on Friday.

“It's unfortunate that it got to that stage. It's very unfortunate that the Minister did not choose to simply table the report in the legislative assembly."

Thompson had turned down an earlier request from the committee to provide the Brendel report. He said this was done in order to avoid compromising the legal position of the Province. 

Legal counsel representing Red Fox Acres Ltd. and Rebecca Irving have filed for a judicial review of a Ministerial decision by Thompson ordering divestiture of land, due to the findings of the Brendel report"I've followed the letter of the law all the way through this,” Thompson said in an interview. 

"One misstep and the investigation could be thrown out. I have to take this seriously and follow every legal procedure.”

Nevertheless, Thompson said he would comply with a subpoena of the committee.

"I will hand-deliver the report. I'll carry it in myself," he said.

The Brendel investigation could have implications for a planned overhaul of the Lands Protection Act, as well as the Planning Act. A land matters committee is expected to make recommendations to update and change these laws in the spring. Agricultural groups have suggested loopholes in the Act allows certain actors to circumvent its limits on landholdings.

During Question Period on Friday, Green agriculture critic Michele Beaton suggested the juggling process over the release of the Brendel report could compromise the work of the land matters committee.

“What answers can they give you if they haven’t seen what’s in the report?” Beaton asked, referring to the Brendel investigation.

“I will follow that letter of the law. And I guarantee you, every Islander will see this report, Mr. Speaker, in whole,” Thompson responded.

In an interview, Thompson said the Land Matters committee has not yet seen the report but “will definitely see the report” before they present their recommendations in June.


Catch-up on anything from the P.E.I. Legislative Assembly this week (Question Period Friday should be available in written format, and videos) on their

and some other clips and notices:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Sunday Breakfast Butter:

Paul MacNeill, published of the The Graphic publications and commentator on many things, tweeted off-the-cuff a couple of days ago:

"As wave 3 rolls around the world, the lead story on PEI is whether butter creams like it did years ago #pei #bubble #CovidWhat" and I was glad people pointed out that this *is* actually a bit of deal, environmentally, ethically for the cows, and certainly about public trust in an industry that promotes its wholesomeness in golden advertisements.

Sylvain Charlebois, who really is our local expert on food policy and distribution (he's at Dalhousie University, and writes op-ed pieces prolifically) wrote this column published in some Saltwire publications in the region earlier this month and just this Friday in print in The Guardian. 

It's worth a careful read:

Hard truth about butter - The Guardian article by Sylvain Charlebois

Published IN PRINT on Friday, February 26th, 2021, in The Guardian

ONLINE link:

For months now, thousands of Canadians have taken to social media, saying they’ve noticed that butter is harder and does not get softer at room temperature. Not all butter is harder. Some people blame winter and the colder weather, but the truth is more troubling than that. Disturbing reports are now pointing at some practices on the farm that may have altered the quality of the butter we buy.

Since last summer, thousands of dairy farmers have been giving more energy supplements to their herd — palm oil. Sources suggest it has been going on for more than a decade, but the problem has become more apparent since August, when butter demand went up suddenly, forcing the dairy industry to produce more dairy fat.

To explain it simply, palm oil given to dairy cows increases the proportion of saturated fat in milk compared to unsaturated fat, thus increasing the melting point of butter. This explains why butter made from cows fed with palm oil remains difficult to spread at room temperature.

Due to our supply management regime, farmers are under tremendous pressure to meet their quotas so they can get paid. What is also making the use of palm oil on supply-managed farms the most probable cause is that many specialty products, like organic butter and butter made from grass fed cows, don’t appear to have been affected at all. The use of palm oil in dairy has been going on for at least a decade without consumers knowing about it, but since last summer, the practice suddenly expanded to hundreds of farms, if not thousands.

Demand for butter in 2020 was up 12.4 per cent in Canada. Having more Canadians at home cooking up a storm has added more stress on dairy production, and more specifically, on the production of butter fat. Hard butter is now more noticeable because so many farms are participating in the practice. It is believed about 30-35 per cent of Canadian dairy farmers are doing this to meet their lucrative production quotas, but nobody knows for sure, not even the Dairy Farmers of Canada or the Canadian Dairy Commission.

In fact, the Dairy Farmers of Canada are still turning a blind eye and denying everything even though suppliers, farmers and processors have now come forward admitting the problem.

Canadians may wonder why a dairy farmer would ever use palm oil to increase fat production. Even though palmitic acids come at a cost, it is less expensive than adding cows to their herds, which would substantially increase the cost of production. There is nothing illegal about giving palm oil to dairy cows, and nothing prevents dairy farmers from following this practice.

However, little research has been conducted on how giving palmitic acids to dairy cows could compromise the health of both animals and humans. What we do know is that palm oil may increase certain heart disease risk factors in some people. The effects of palm oil production on the environment, health and lives of Indigenous people in different parts of the world are well documented and deeply concerning. So, given the dairy farmers' Blue Cow campaign, which is constantly reminding us that dairy products in Canada are among the best in the world, such practice is ethically questionable.

Complaints have been filed with processors, which then get filed with the dairy boards. The number of complaints is making this situation tricky and dairy boards have been unbelievably quiet on the hard butter issue on social media and elsewhere.

This subject is obviously taboo in the industry, and many dairy farmers with a high sense of integrity are seemingly upset and want this practice to cease immediately. Nobody in the industry wants to openly address the issue, at least not within media.

The presence of palm oil in dairy fat can be detected but does require time and effort. Some firms are apparently trying to develop a technology that will allow dairy manufacturers to detect palmitic acids in the product they receive. Sources are suggesting that dairy boards want to use this technology to discipline farmers, allowing manufacturers to reject sub-par butter fat in the interest of the industry and the public.

The dairy industry is quite concerned about its angelic image and does not want this story to come out in the open, but now it has.

Unlike other countries, in Canada milk is essentially a public good. Not only do dairy farmers have exclusive government-sanctioned quotas, which make it a privilege for the few to produce milk, but Canadians taxpayers have also given $1.75-billion to the industry to assure us continued access to wholesome dairy products.

Dairy Farmers of Canada has only itself to blame. Despite its dismal transparency track record, it should have asked Ottawa to ban these products from the market, or at least openly condemned the practice. A step in the right direction would be to see supply-managed dairy farmers including Canadian grown oils in their feed additives over imported palm oil. However, they chose not to, simply to uphold the image they desperately try to protect, at any cost.

So disappointing.

Sylvain Charlebois is professor in food distribution and policy and senior director of the AgriFood Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University. @scharleb


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, today until 6:30PM
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by David Alden. From December 8, 2012.  2 hours 40 minutes

Verdi’s Il Trovatore, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Dolora Zajick, Yonghoon Lee, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Sir David McVicar. From October 3, 2015.   

Two Verdi operas, both with Dmitri Hvorostovsky as the conflicted (but in the end) bad guy, ending a week of tribute to the beloved brilliant baritone, who died too soon in 2017.  Article on him

February 27, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets and local stores open today:
Charlottetown (9AM-2PM),
Summerside* (9AM-1PM),
Heartbeet Organics Farmacy (9AM-6PM, with local food out until 1PM),
and Riverview Country Market, etc.

*Note on the Summerside Farmers' Market Facebook page from last night:

"The Summerside Farmer’s Market will be open tomorrow, February 27th, 9-1.

Some vendors have decided not to attend, given the current circumstances so perhaps it is best to contact your favourites directly before venturing in.

Stay safe."

"Watering the Grassroots" conference online continues today and tomorrow, details here.
Rainforest Lounge, with Todd MacLean, in conversation with potter Robert McMillan, 7PM.
Instagram Live, here:

To catch up with the two days of the Legislature, see the following sites, below. 

(To recap: the Speech from the Throne Thursday, and Welcomes, Question Period, and beginnings of response to Speech from the Throne Friday.  New PC MLA Zack Bell moved the Throne Speech motion, Cory Deagle spoke about his own mental health struggles in his seconding of the motion, and Peter Bevan-Baker started a lively Official Opposition Leader comment on it, with the hour ending before he was finished.)

The Legislature resumes sitting Tuesday at 1PM.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Over the weekend:
Covid-19 News Updates may be found here:

In addition to the P.E.I. Government's Facebook page: 

LETTER OF THE WEEK: Lack of political will continues to plague land policy in P.E.I. - The Guardian Letter of the Week by Joan Diamond

Published on Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

The coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Lands was recently invited to make a presentation to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability. 

We welcomed this opportunity to present our concerns and make recommendations. We were surprised that one committee member seemed intent on using this precious time to ask irrelevant questions and was given an inordinate amount of time for this. He obviously did not agree with our presentation. Rather than use the time for a discussion of our differences, he appeared to want to focus on whether we had watched him proposing an amendment to the Lands Protection Act in the Legislature. He might be surprised to know that we have more substantial things to research. The whole thing was a moot point since the amendment proposed by this member of the Third Party, was defeated in the Legislature. 

Our coalition is made up of volunteers who stay on top of all things concerning land on P.E.I. We do this on our own dime, spending much of our precious spare time working together to change P.E.I. for the better. Unlike the MLA in question, Minister of Agriculture in a former government, this is not our job. He is well paid to do what he does. He could afford to better prepare himself so that he would at least attempt to understand different perspectives submitted by concerned citizens. The problem is not a lack of solid, well-researched input from the community.

The problem is a serious lack of political will to legislate in favour of what is best for Islanders and the land rather than supporting the interests of large corporations and their shareholders.

Thankfully, other members of the Standing Committee asked thoughtful questions and made insightful comments.

During our presentation, one of our Coalition’s founding members shared with the committee that she took part in her first presentation on P.E.I. land protection over 40 years ago. Sadly, the recommendations all those years ago were much the same as the ones we made to this 2021 standing committee. Over the years, there have been countless committees struck, studies done, presentations written and submissions made. After all this exhausting work, the same problems continue and many new ones plague our fragile P.E.I. lands. While we go on with endless studies and consultations, suspicious land transactions are happening at an alarming rate around us.

Our committee appreciates being given the chance to share our research with any and all committees working towards improving our relationship with P.E.I. lands. We feel we have much to share and remain hopeful that the government will soon commit to making at least some of our recommendations become reality. In future, we hope that all government-appointed committee members take their task up with enthusiasm and an honest will to learn from citizen volunteers, rather than pushing their own agenda.

Joan Diamond, on behalf of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Lands


The Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability's page is here on the Legislative Assembly's website:
And the transcript for the February 4th, 2021, meeting (when the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Lands presented) can be found on this page.

Video and such can be found by searching for Year 2021, and the date was February 4th meeting, from the Committee's page.

Opera-tic Saturday

Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, recorded Met Opera performances on Radio, 2PM, 104.7FM
Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier
With Renée Fleming (Marschallin), Elīna Garanča  (Octavian), Erin Morley (Sophie), Matthew Polenzani (A Singer), Günther Groissböck (Baron Ochs)
Performance from May 13, 2017.  An excellent cast, even Polenzani's tiny bit in the first Act. 

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s La Traviata. until noon today
Starring Natalie Dessay, Matthew Polenzani, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by Willy Decker. From April 14, 2012.

Met Stars Live, 2PM,
Sonya Yoncheva in Germany
, ticketed, details here
Available on-demand for the next two weeks

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, 7:30PM tonight until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by David Alden. From December 8, 2012.  "David Alden’s elegant 2012 production moves Verdi’s thrilling drama to a timeless setting inspired by film noir."  Pretty cool.

"If you do not pick a day to relax, your body will pick it for you."

         --- Neal Owusu

and parts of today look pretty nice for a bit of relaxing time outside, and parts of tomorrow inside!

February 26, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-2PM

Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 2:30PM, online.

Topic: Consideration of the committee's work plan regarding request for Brendel-Red Fox Acres land sale report

Both sitting and meeting will be live-streamed here:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Fridays4Future, **12noon**, **Coles Building**, off Richmond Street.
Note the time to be outside the buiding while the Legislature is in session.

Facebook event details

A multi-day workshop of interest:
February 26th-February 28th:
Watering the Grassroots: Applied Activism Virtual Conference, various times, online

“Watering the Grassroots” is a free 3-day (approx 3 hours each day) virtual conference that aims to bring together environmental clubs and grassroots organizations to work on developing important skills and knowledge bases to improve their organization’s function and impact. Envisioned by University of Toronto Environmental Action (UTEA) and Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC), WTG attempts a nation-wide approach to delving into pressing, intersectional, and important issues related to the environment and climate change by bringing together workshop leaders and panelists spanning from Newfoundland to British Columbia.
Each day of the conference lasts from 2.5 to 3 hours, and the themes follow an intuitive order that builds upon the previous day’s learning and skills-building.

more at:
Facebook event details

The Speech from the Throne's complete text is found at the end of this newsletter, from:

Reading it from the bottom up provides some perspective on the closing part as you read through the sections.

News article on Speech from the Throne:

House opens with throne speech - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby 

Collaborative health care, mental health, green jobs, childcare spaces emphasized for coming year

Published on Friday, February 26th, 2021

Two years into his mandate, Premier Dennis King has chosen to emphasize a commitment to collaborative health care and the development of a clean tech sector in P.E.I. as key initiatives for the coming year.

The throne speech, a prelude to the province’s operating budget, was read to P.E.I. MLAs by Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry on Thursday, opening the winter sitting of the legislature. The speech emphasized planned initiatives in health care, mental health and addictions, education, childcare and sustainability. The economic recovery of the province in the post-COVID-19 period was mentioned but was not a dominant theme of the speech.

A key focus of the health-care commitments announced in the throne speech were aimed at both attracting nurses and establishing collaboration healthcare centres. King had signalled this earlier in the week during a state of the province speech, in which he said that providing all Islanders with a family doctors was not a realistic possibility.

“Despite the efforts and intentions of our health-care professionals, many of us remain frustrated with our health-care system,” Perry told the legislature. “My government has adopted a model of health care which will move the primary focus from acute and long-term care toward community-based care.”

This will mean the creation of a program called "medical homes and medical neighbourhoods". This will initially involve the establishment of three new “primary care homes”, which will have a collaborative team of health professionals. It is not clear where these new homes will be located.

"The doctor will be at the centre of that delivery for sure but there will be other professionals, whether they be nurse practitioners, RNs, LPNs, social workers," King said in an interview.

The speech also pledged to expand post-secondary programs for registered nurses at UPEI and licensed practical nurses for Holland College.

A planned $5 million dollar fund for recruitment of nurses and nurse practitioners will also be established, to provide student debt forgiveness for those working in P.E.I.

On mental health and addictions programming, the government pledged to establish a $10-million mental health and addictions fund for new programming. In addition, a new P.E.I. Centre for Mental Well-being will be established, which would be composed of non-profit partners.

A new 24-hour mental health phone line is planned.

A new seniors' health strategy was also mentioned in the speech but few details were offered. The speech noted the province will be piloting a new at-home respite program as well as a so-called multi-disciplinary dementia team.

The speech also said nurse practitioners would be introduced into the care teams for private long-term care facilities.

Perhaps the most ambitious effort involves a $50 million pot of seed funding for clean tech initiatives in P.E.I. King has pledged to create 2,000 jobs in the sector.

The speech said the funding would assist enterprises focused on climate change, clean air, clean water and soil health.

In addition, the speech pledged the creation of three “tax-free development zones” for clean tech businesses, as well as a $10 million research and development fund.

A P.E.I. energy academy will be established, involving Holland College and UPEI.

The throne speech also pledged to create 300 new childcare spaces on P.E.I. this year. A plan to establish universal half-day pre-kindergarten for four year olds, initially planned to be in place last fall, is planned for this fall.

The province is also pledging to provide micro-loans for under-represented populations such as Black, Indigenous, people of colour, women, LGBTQ+ individuals and youth to establish businesses.

Finally, the throne speech said a report from the Premier’s Council for Recovery and Growth, a body established to chart the course for P.E.I.’s post-COVID recovery, would be tabled in the legislature this session.

The speech also pledged $1 million to help the Charlottetown Airport Authority to develop an air travel recovery strategy.

Green Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker painted the throne speech as a “tepid, trite and timid” vision for P.E.I.’s future.

He said he was disappointed the speech did not provide more substantial investments in mental health and addictions, or for addressing poverty. He noted the speech did not heavily emphasize the new mental health campus on the grounds of Hillsborough Hospital.

"We've gone in two years of this administration from shovels in the ground on day one to 'here's a phone line,'" Bevan-Baker said.

"I heard nothing about wages, nothing about minimum wage, nothing really about the elimination of poverty."

Interim Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant said his caucus was dismayed that there was not more of a long-term economic vision for the province. He also said there was not enough focus on seniors. The Liberals plan to introduce a bill that would see the creation of a seniors' advocate on P.E.I.

"There's a lot of different seniors that can't navigate the system, they don't have family members here," Gallant said.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Ernani, today until 6:30PM
Starring Angela Meade, Marcello Giordani, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Pier Luigi Samaritani. From February 25, 2012.

Verdi’s La Traviata, tonight 7:30PM until noon tomorrow (special concert tomorrow afternoon)
Starring Natalie Dessay, Matthew Polenzani, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by Willy Decker. From April 14, 2012.  A startlingly refreshing production and performances by Dessay, with the stern but compassionate Hvorostovsky as the father of the always lyrical and sympathetic Polenzani.

February 25, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

February 24, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

February 23, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"We live in a society, not an economy."
     -- Islander Jonathan Greenan, on social media, February 19th, 2021


Dr. Heather Morrison will give her Tuesday COVID update at 11:30AM, unless she doesn't because other stuff comes up.
Also CBCPEI's Facebook page and Island Q93 FM Radio


Tuesday, February 23rd:
ECO-PEI AGM, Meeting: 6:30PM, Presentation panel discussion on "Creating an Environmental Bill of Rights", 7PM, online. 
Facebook event details

Wednesday, February 24th:
West Royalty Active Transportation Trail Public Meeting, 7PM, in-person (limited) and online.

from the event notice:
You're invited to a Public Meeting on the proposed West Royalty Active Transportation Trail!

We want to hear your thoughts, ideas, and concerns so we can prepare a plan that meets the needs of all residents. Specifically, with this project, we aim to connect both ends of the community, provide a space for all Islanders to enjoy nature sustainably, and fostering an active and healthy lifestyle among our neighbours.

To learn more about the proposed trail system, watch this video:

Please note, due to Public Health restrictions, this event is limited to 50 in-person participants. Pre-registration required, visit

(I had a little trouble getting the in-person meeting registration link to work, so apologies if this doesn't work after being sent out.  I am not sure if Facebook live or Zoom will be the online platform.  Also, the video is almost a year old now, and pretty, but could use some more maps, and there are likely to be areas that need clarity to discuss.  I know people who exercise their dogs in the Upton Park area are concerned and should be addressed.)
Thursday, February 25th:
Speech from the Throne, 2PM, PEI Legislature.
That's usually that's the main work of that day.

Friday's sitting time is now an hour longer -- 10AM-2PM, and next week begins the regular Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday hours of 1-5PM.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

The State of the Province video from Premier Dennis King is on the Government's Facebook page:

CBC Online article summarizing speech-- link only:

I am all for levity in the news, but not at a confused wild animal's expense, with the element of (the) police force:

CBC online article headline

Surly seal spotted on Charlottetown sidewalk apprehended by police

Atlantic Skies For February 22nd - February 28th, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts

Planet X and Great-Uncle George

Planet X artistic rendition credit : Wikimedia Commons         

Silhouette credit : Ruth Monsell, Silhouettist

Planet X and Great-Uncle George have something in common - both are thought to exist, but no one has actually seen either of them. I know, I know...who the heck is Great-Uncle George, and what does he have to do with Planet X?

Most (well, many anyway!) families have a Great-Uncle George - that family member who is listed in the family registry, but who no one has ever seen, though he is reputed to periodically send postcards to faroff, distant family members (none of whom you've ever personally met, and only have blurry, faded pictures of) when he happens to be in their neighbourhood. He is believed to be an extreme recluse, living at the very edge of civilization (perhaps in the wilds of the Amazon jungle), and like all elusive, shadowy individuals, is attributed larger-than-life qualities.

Like Great-Uncle George, Planet X is an enigma. It is theorized to be a super-sized planet that orbits well beyond the orbit of Neptune. Its existence (like that of Great-Uncle George) is surmised, not by direct visual observation (at least not to date), but, rather, by its influence on a number of trans-Neptunian (meaning "outside the orbit of Neptune") objects in the Kuiper Belt, a doughnut-shaped ring of icy objects beyond Neptune. Over the past two decades, a number of large Kuiper Belt objects have been discovered, including the dwarf planets Sedna (2003) and Eris (2005), as well as smaller objects such as VP 113 ("Biden") in 2012, TG387 ("The Goblin") in 2015, and  VG18 ("Farout") and  AG37 ("Farfarout") in 2018; the latter object now designated, to date, the farthest orbiting object in our solar system.

Except for the orbits of Sedna and "Biden" (which do not approach Neptune), the orbits of the other distant objects all swing out in one direction from the Sun (something that should not normally occur). Astronomers surmise that this is due to the gravitational influence of a massive, as yet undiscovered, object (labelled Planet X) somewhere in the neighbourhood. It is now believed that this hypothetical Planet X has an orbit 20x that of Neptune. At such a distance, Planet X, if it exists, would take approximately 1,000 years to complete one full orbit around the Sun. Preliminary calculations put its size at 4x that of Earth, with a mass about 10x that of our planet (somewhat less that the mass of Neptune).

Each time astronomers locate another far-flung object at the extreme edge of our solar system (such as recently found "Farout" and "Farfarout"), and indications show that their orbits are shaped by the gravitational influence of a massive celestial object in their neighbourhood, the case for the existence of Planet X is strengthened. It is only a matter of time, as larger telescopes are developed and trained skyward, and as the potential location of the elusive planet is narrowed down, that Planet X will be found, or some other explanation put forth. If Planet X is discovered, it will become the ninth planet of our solar system, replacing once-noble Pluto, now sadly demoted to dwarf planet status.

Now, about Great-Uncle George. Do we really want to find him? Wouldn't it be more fun to keep him as one of those elusive, colourful, eccentric family members who everyone talks about at the annual family gathering, and who just might appear completely out of the blue one day? Wait a minute, was that the doorbell?

It will be very challenging to view Mercury (mag. +0.5, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) this coming week. It makes its highest appearance (its greatest elongation west of the Sun) in the pre-dawn, southeast sky on the 24th, reaching an altitude of approximately10 degrees above the horizon, though it may be difficult to spot in the pre-dawn glow. Likewise, Jupiter (mag. -1.9, in Capricornus), though bright, will be difficult to spot, barely reaching 2 degrees above the east-southeast horizon at dawn. Saturn (mag. +0.7, in Capricornus) rises no higher than 9 degrees above the northwest horizon at dusk. Mars (mag. +0.9, in Taurus - the Bull) is visible 61 degrees above the southwest horizon by about 6:30 p.m., remaining observable until it sets shortly after 1 a.m. Look for Mars to the lower left of the Pleiades ("Seven Sisters") star cluster on the 28th, about halfway up the southern sky as the sky darkens. Compare the reddish colour of Mars with that of the reddish star Aldebaran, the "eye" of the bull, Taurus. Venus, close to the Sun, is not observable this week.

The Full Moon on Feb. 27 was referred to by the indigenous tribes of North America as the "Snow Moon", as February was often the month of winter's heaviest snowfalls.

Until next week, clear skies.


Feb. 27 - Full ("Snow") Moon

        28 -  Mars to lower left of Pleiades star cluster


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Il Trovatore, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Sir David McVicar. From April 30, 2011. 2 hours 30 minutes

Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
From April 15, 1999. Elijah Moshinsky’s atmospheric production, designed by Mark Thompson, sets the stage for this gripping performance of Tchaikovsky’s passionate setting of Pushkin’s classic novel. Valery Gergiev’s idiomatic and authoritative conducting inspires a superb cast, headed by Plácido Domingo (Ghermann), breathtaking in his portrayal of a man unraveling toward suicide. Galina Gorchakova is Lisa, the woman he loves and destroys, Dmitri Hvorostovsky lends a superb voice and regal bearing to Prince Yeletsky; and Elisabeth Söderström is hair-raising as the old Countess. Olga Borodina is Paulina and Nikolai Putilin is Count Tomsky.   2 hours 51 minutes

February 22, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

This year, and let's hope it becomes standard, the annual speech can be broadcast to all Islanders (with OK internet).

State of the Province Address by Premier Dennis King, 7PM, Government website.

"The Rotary Clubs of Prince Edward Island will host the annual state of the province address with Premier Dennis King on Monday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m.

The annual address is an opportunity for the premier to reflect on the past year and provide Rotarians and their guests with an outlook on the year ahead. The event is typically held in person and includes a number of presentations and updates from local Rotary clubs.

This year, because of the current public health restrictions, the event will be virtual and open to all Islanders to watch. The address will be available on the Government of Prince Edward Island Facebook page and YouTube channel."

excerpt from:

P.E.I. Government Facebook page and YouTube Channel links:

P.E.I. Government YouTube channel
Local Food:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2Go, order by TUESDAY NOON, for Thursday pick-up/delivery,

EatLocalPEI --
Order by Wednesday night
for pickup/delivery Saturday/Sunday

Zinging viewpoint #1, from F. Ben Rodgers:

LETTER: We have more gambling options than P.E.I. needs - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Online gambling needs to be regulated according to Darlene Compton, minister of Finance, in order to protect Islanders.

Well yes, I’m sure it does. However, illegal land purchases need to be regulated, digging huge holding ponds need to be regulated, our ground water needs to be regulated, clear cutting needs to be regulated, and the list goes on.

Of course, there is a big difference between the other issues and gambling. The government is quick to move to regulate online gambling as it represents taxable income for them.

All this nonsense about protecting Islanders is insulting. It has nothing to do with Islanders, it's all about money. If the government really cared about its citizens, they would be moving to stop online gambling. It's a huge drain on family incomes of those who can ill afford to gamble. It's an addiction that destroys lives and families causing loss of homes and everything else. Often leading to mental health problems.

Mental health problems, oh yeah, I almost forgot, we don’t have a treatment clinic or staff for people suffering and in need of help. But online gambling goes ahead.

This government needs to get its priorities right. We have much greater issues than online gambling.

We already have more than this tiny island needs. Lotto machines in legions and Lions clubs, bars and private clubs. We have instant lotto tickets sold at every corner shop and service centre. People spend thousands hoping to hit the jackpot. A jackpot that for the masses never happens. Remember the two politicians on the milk carton — they wanted to make the Island an internet gambling centre. We all know how that turned out.

F. Ben Rodgers, Abram-Village

Zinging Viewpoint #2 from Ranald MacFarlane in Fernwood:

LETTER: Angus MacLean had it right - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Here and globally when farm land is owned in large measure by the filthy rich, young people don’t get to farm. It’s too expensive to start and they don’t want to be a tenant farmer all their lives.

Without new farmers coming on, it stifles adaption and we as a culture lose knack and knowledge.

The political paralysis we have experienced since Angus Maclean was premier has set us on a very unsustainable course. Eventually we will have to look at amending the 1,000-acre limit. I’m sure it needs to go down to accommodate more sustainable numbers.

For now, Premier King, please fire up the enforcement of the LPA as is.

Ranald MacFarlane, Fernwood

And thanks to the sharp-eyed reader for pointing out that I predated Marie Burge's letter printed in yesterday's newsletter as "February 29th" which was a bit of a leap.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s Turandot, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Maria Guleghina, Marina Poplavskaya, Marcello Giordani, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From November 7, 2009.

This week begins:

Dmitri Hvorostovsky Week

This week of free streams pays tribute to Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the beloved Russian baritone who passed away in 2017. Celebrate his extraordinary career with some of his most riveting Met appearances, and explore the articles and resources (at this LINK) to expand your knowledge and enhance your experience as you enjoy the screenings.

Verdi’s Il Trovatore, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM

Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Sir David McVicar. From April 30, 2011.

February 21, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


When she's not keeping track of the Water Act with the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water,
Catherine O'Brien will be the guest with fellow Fascinating Lady Kelley Mooney at the King's Playhouse, 2PM, today. Pay what you wish.
Of course seats are limited due to physical distancing restrictions, but you can check here for details or how to see if there still is space in this lovely Georgetown space:
Facebook event details

Another Citizens' Alliance Board member, Don Mazer, has been busy with his work on ECO-PEI's board and putting together their usual informative,timely and clock-work-precise AGM with feature presentation.

Tuesday, February 23rd:
ECO-PEI AGM, 6:30PM, online.  Presentation will start about 7PM.
This year its about "Creating an Environmental Bill of Rights", with special guest Tina Northrup from East Coast Environmental Law Association, and Dr. Nino Antadze from UPEI's Environmental Studies.
Facebook event details
with a quick registration link, and you will be sent a Zoom link a day or so before the meeting

Thursday, February 25th:
Throne Speech Thursday, 2PM!
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Getting caught up with an excellent opinion piece this week: 

Government, media are silent on proportional representation - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marie Burge

Published on Thursday, February 29th, 2021

It must be a mystery to all Islanders why proportional representation (PR) has practically disappeared from the communications of all four political parties.

Just two short years ago PR was a real possibility and a well-founded hope for many P.E.I. residents in most sections of the province. It was top of mind for the majority of the voting population across 23 of the 27 electoral districts. Do politicians feel that the people of P.E.I. are tired of democratic reform or that they are not interested?

It is hard to believe that the Island population would so easily give up after such a long history of fighting for democracy and for needed changes to the electoral system. If our ancestors had listened to twisted and false advertising, we still would not have the secret vote, women’s vote, or Indigenous vote. In no other stage of P.E.I.’s democratic reforms would Islanders have given up. So why would we give up now when we are so close to reaching our goal of proportional representation?

The organization Islanders for Proportional Representation (IPR) notes that with the exception of a sentence or two in an op-ed or a letter to the editor, PR is “dead in the water” for the media. Who or what is influencing the media’s silence on this crucial issue?

Islanders for Proportional Representation has expected that at least the P.E.I. government would keep democratic renewal and electoral reform as a high priority. In reviewing the mandates of the various cabinet ministers we are struck by the shocking reality that no department is responsible for democratic renewal. It appears, therefore, that having no other ministerial home, this responsibility, by default, falls back on the premier. 

We remind the current government, including the official opposition and the third party, that they are dishonouring almost 50 per cent of Island voters by not keeping proportional representation in the limelight. It is the hope of Islanders for Proportional Representation that it will show up in the speech from the throne on Feb. 25.

In particular, it is important to remember that many more Islanders voted “yes” for PR than the number who voted for the Progressive Conservatives, the party brought to power in the 2019 election. Where are their voices heard?

Marie Burge,
Islanders for Proportional Representation


Paul MacNeill's publisher's column in The Graphic publications this week, with good insights:

Against the tide

Will new ministers lead or parrot bureaucracy silos?  - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, February 18th, 2021, in The Graphics

A cabinet shuffle is the art of making one domino fall gently onto another. And while Premier Dennis King’s shuffling of chairs was billed as a tweak it turned into much more, with half of cabinet finding new roles.

The impetus came on two fronts: the perception that James Aylward’s performance was not up to snuff in health and wellness and a desire to centralize government’s ambitious Net Zero initiative in the hands of Steven Myers. The timing does raise eyebrows, less than three weeks before start of the spring session of the legislature. Normally, shuffles occur months before, allowing ministers the time to get up to speed on new responsibilities. It means some King cabinet members will be walking a high wire when Question Period opens on the 25th.

When you have two big needs, shuffles very quickly become more than a tweak. And so it was that Myers moved from transportation to the newly-coined Environment, Energy and Climate Action. It rewards Myers for effectively managing transportation, albeit with criticism for prioritizing paving over other frontline services, while moving big ticket initiatives like Net Zero forward. It removes questions of departmental jurisdiction.

There was never a question of dropping Aylward from cabinet. He represents Stratford and is owed a massive IOU from the party for his surprising decision to quit as leader, allowing Dennis King to vault onto the provincial stage. Aylward struggled to find his footing in health, most notably on the mental health and addiction files, areas of pressing need that he represented strongly in opposition. Transportation, while a significant drop in the cabinet pecking order, offers Aylward an opportunity to rebound and refresh the trajectory of his political career.

Replacing Aylward in government’s largest department is Ernie Hudson, who is already sending out worrisome statements of support for questionable policy decisions by Health PEI, an organization riven by professional jealousy, silos and pet projects. Only a partisan would look at its health and addiction efforts and say it’s been effective. Bureaucrats at a legislative committee last week showed just how out of step they are with leading thinkers on mental health by promoting a mobile mental health unit that includes an armed police officer on every call. The bureaucrats bragged about how they worked to obtain lived experience via surveys and consultations.

What they don’t realize, because of institutional bias, is this is not lived experience. Lived experience is having a knowing voice at the decision making table. This does not exist for any Health PEI file on mental health, addictions or transmittable disease. And the proof in the pudding came when the officials explained away why the model was selected over the advice of an expert panel that specifically recommended against it. The decision to ignore advice was made in the executive suite - effectively saying to hell with input, we’ll do whatever we want.

If Hudson wants to be something more than a name added to the long list of ministerial public apologists for Health PEI’s narrow, siloed decision making, he needs to push back and demand better, more responsive programming.

Natalie Jameson’s switch from environment to education is the surprise of the shuffle. While Jameson has significant upward potential, there were too many days in the legislature when she appeared caught off guard by opposition questions. Even Tories were quietly grumbling she wasn’t doing the necessary homework. If this trend continues, education will only make the issue worse. It is a department always high on the opposition’s radar. Like health, education is driven by talking points and pet projects. Mediocrity is accepted, when our goal as a province should be to create the best education system in the world. Rural areas of small jurisdiction, like Finland, have changed perceptions and their economy by setting the bar very high. We need to get past gobbledygook and start delivering for our children and province.

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


News Article and note about in-depth reporting features starting tomorrow:

IRAC CEO questioned about Buddhist landholdings on P.E.I. - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Saturday, February 21st, 2021

Editor's Note:

The Guardian has spent months interviewing members of Buddhist organizations and residents of Kings County about the hundreds of Buddhist nuns and monks who now live P.E.I. The story that has emerged, which will be published in two parts this coming week, is one that involves land holdings, immigration, housing, government transparency, religious freedom and geopolitics in Asia. Watch for the first part on Monday.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —  (The) subject of land holdings of two Kings county Buddhist organizations was briefly raised during a standing committee meeting on Thursday.

During a meeting of the standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability, Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission CEO Scott MacKenzie was asked if the commission would consider a public land audit of two Buddhist organizations.

Green MLA Michele Beaton said the public lacks clarity about the issue.  “There is concerns over land holdings down in the eastern end of the province,” Beaton said.  "From the side of the individuals with the land holdings, they're also concerned and it's kind of a 'he-said-she-said.'”

Suggestions have been circulating online for years that two Buddhist organizations – the Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute (GWBI) and the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS) – have accumulated more land holdings than they are permitted under the Lands Protection Act.

There is no clear evidence this has happened. Both groups own significantly less than 1,000 acres, which is far below the land size limits under the act.

But some of these concerns played into a decision made by Three Rivers Council in September to deny a permit for a proposed dormitory and campus proposed for GWBI. The organization of Buddhist nuns says it needs to construct the campus due to a lack of housing for hundreds of its members.

Buddhist nuns are currently scattered between a monastery farmhouse in Uigg, a dormitory in Brudenell, a converted lobster shanty in Montague and several individual homes.

“At what point in time does IRAC make a decision to help out individuals in a situation where the public believes that they are doing something — whether they are or not — but have an arms-length body like yourself do an investigation or an audit of some sort?" Beaton asked.

"I don't think we've ever done that. I think anyone who knows what their landholdings (are), can disclose what their landholdings are," MacKenzie said.

Three Rivers' denial of the building permit has had real consequences for GWBI.

In an interview last weekend, three board members of GWBI confirmed that about 30 students aged 14-17, enrolled at a private school run by the monastic organization, left P.E.I. in January, in part, due to the lack of housing.

“They need space," Venerable Sabrina Chiang, a GWBI board member told The Guardian.  “They're lively. They need to run around and to play.”

"I think it's the best decision for everyone," Venerable Yvonne Tsai, another GWBI board member, told The Guardian.  "Everyone wants everyone to live better. So that's why they made that decision."

Both Tsai and Chiang said they hope to work directly with IRAC to address land concerns that have been raised in the community.

MacKenzie did not directly say whether IRAC has looked into land holdings related to the Buddhist organizations.

“Have you ever done an investigation on, for instance, GEBIS or GWBI, on their landholdings?" Beaton asked MacKenzie.

"I can neither confirm nor deny. We will not talk about any possible investigations that may have or may not have happened,” MacKenzie said.

Stu Neatby is The Guardian's political reporter.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

The last days of the week highlighting productions of Franco Zeffirelli, with amazing casting:

Bizet’s Carmen, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Waltraud Meier, Plácido Domingo, and Sergei Leiferkus. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From March 25, 1997.  Smoking hot.

Puccini’s Turandot, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Maria Guleghina, Marina Poplavskaya, Marcello Giordani, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From November 7, 2009.  Icy cold.

February 20, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure."
      --- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Read more

Some local food places:

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

Heart Beet Organics Farmacy and Fermentary, store with local fresh vegetables and ferments; restaurant, too. 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

Riverview County Market, Riverside Drive,  local food.

Catch-up on anything political from:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Whatever, it's Friday afternoon...wait! Water Act!!
Water Act enactment announcement: from:

Water Act protects drinking water and the environment, supports research - PEI Government

Prince Edward Island will bring the Water Act into effect June 16, 2021, ensuring government is able to manage and protect water resources for the common good, including humans and the environment now and into the future.

“Islanders want and deserve strong regulations, evidence-based decisions and healthy rivers and streams. Bringing the Water Act and water withdrawal regulations into effect will allow us to manage and track who is using what amounts of water, provide government experts with additional data and increase public transparency on water use.”

- Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers

The Water Act is supported by four sets of regulations including updated Water Withdrawal regulations, which were the subject of public consultation in the fall of 2019. Under these regulations all water wells drawing above the level of domestic household consumption will require a permit.  
Following public and community feedback, government is strengthening the water withdrawal regulations.  Changes include:

  • conservation of water resources is explicitly noted as a policy objective of the minister;

  • government’s water withdrawal policy for healthy stream flow and aquatic environments is included defining acceptable levels needed to allow or prohibit extraction;

  • the minister can require a drought contingency plan for selected, large water withdrawal programs;

  • a provision is being made for construction of high capacity wells for research in agricultural irrigation and there is a policy  to guide government’s decisions on research projects; and,

  • a provision is being made to grandfather existing clusters of low capacity wells used for agricultural irrigation (e.g. holding ponds); however, no new clusters that have the same impact as a high-capacity well will be permitted. 

As required under the Water Act, government will provide the regulations to the Standing Committee of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability for 90 days, at which point they will take effect. The regulations continue to be available online for public comment.

Under the provision for research, the Province will be permitting the proposal by the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) into the impacts of high capacity wells in agricultural irrigation and the environment. The Province will invest in the project, removing the need for financial contributions from industry. The research program is also being expanded to consider soil health and the relationship between soil health, nutrient management, and supplemental irrigation. Maintaining soil health and organic matter levels is important for soil productivity and for maximizing the benefits of supplemental water use. 

Farms participating in the irrigation study will be asked to develop a Soil Health Improvement Plan. Producers will create individual plans for each farm property that outlines the management practices in place to support soil health; including the monitoring of soil health over time with soil health testing.

Additional enhancements are planned to support soil health through Department of Agriculture and Land including a merit-based program for the construction of erosion control structures, an incentive for soil building rotational crops, an increase in support for spring tillage and winter cover crops, and the addition of the soil health testing package to the long term Soil Quality Monitoring Project. 

“Our goal at the Department of Agriculture and Land, is for a progressive, dynamic, agriculture industry that is both financially sound and environmentally responsible. I support decisions about water being informed by science and this research will provide valuable information on supplemental irrigation as part of a sustainable approach to farming,” added Bloyce Thompson, Minister of Agriculture and Land.

SO holding ponds will be grandfathered in (allowed to be kept) which could mean a rush on new construction, so the Minister enacting the moratorium on those the previous Minister said she would would be great.  Are there reasons the King government isn't following through on this -- murmurs of legal challenges?

Also, the rather skimpy-on-details research proposal from the Canadian Rivers Institute/UPEI has been seasoned a bit to make it more palatable, removing the direct industry funding and tying in soil health; but it's still wells being punched in fairly vulnerable areas, which is worrisome. It's tough, tough situation but if we were really adhering to the precautionary principle, we probably wouldn't drill the wells....even to find out if we could drill wells without causing harm.  It's a bit of a catch-22.

The water extraction regulations can be found here:

Some good things:  Steven Myers is stressing water protection.  And he certainly has a "let's get this done" attitude and gets his team to do just that.  It will be good to see that verve focused on climate *action*, also.

CBC Article:

P.E.I. Water Act comes into force June 16, with allowance for high-capacity well research - CBC online article by Sara Fraser

Published on Friday, February 19th, 2021

Environment minister insists: 'We're not anti-agriculture ... This isn't an attack on farming'

Regulations attached to a new Water Act on Prince Edward Island will not allow any new high-capacity irrigation wells, except for a new agricultural research project the University of Prince Edward Island is conducting. 

That news came as the province announced Friday that it intends to bring the long-awaited Water Act into effect on June 16, 2021.

"This has been the most consulted-on bill probably in the history of the P.E.I. government," Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action Steven Myers told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin in an interview Friday afternoon.
(see link for interview tape)

Myers, formerly P.E.I.'s transportation minister, took over the Environment portfolio just two weeks ago, after a cabinet shuffle. "When I got in the chair here, I said, 'It's time that this gets moved into the final stage.'"

Designed to manage and safeguard the province's water supply, the Water Act was passed by the P.E.I. legislature in 2017 but never enacted.

One of its key roles: Regulating how water is extracted for use on the Island, including water farmers get from irrigation wells.

The government placed a moratorium on any new high-capacity wells back in 2002, and it has been hotly debated ever since. Some farmers, especially potato growers, have for years lobbied passionately in favour of more access to irrigation, as hot, dry summers shrink their yields. 

Since January 2020, P.E.I.'s Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action has been working on a second draft of the regulations to be attached to the Water Act, following public consultations during the summer of 2019. Consultations on the Water Act itself took place in 2015 and again in 2017.

'Moratorium will stay in place' 

The act is underpinned by four sets of regulations — including updated water withdrawal regulations, which say all water wells drawing above the level of domestic household consumption will require a permit.  

"The moratorium will stay in place," Myers said. "It's pretty exciting what we're doing here; it's the first time ever we've protected water on Prince Edward Island from a holistic viewpoint." 

He added: "We're not anti-agriculture. This isn't an attack on farming ... we have to protect drinking water on Prince Edward Island."

There is, however, a provision to grandfather existing clusters of low-capacity wells such as holding ponds used for agricultural irrigation, and a provision for new high-capacity wells for agricultural irrigation research.

That's where things get interesting. 

UPEI study to measure high-capacity well impact

Under the provision for research, the province has given the go-ahead to a proposal by the Canadian Rivers Institute at UPEI that will study the impacts of high-capacity wells in agricultural irrigation. 

Michael van den Heuvel, the Canada Research Chair in Watershed Ecological Integrity at UPEI, proposed the study, and suggested it be jointly financed by government and the private sector.

As CBC News reported in September 2020, the study would involve installing new high-capacity irrigation wells on four P.E.I. farms and measuring the impact their use has on the local watershed. Van den Heuvel said the data would take four years to collect.

However, Myers said on Friday that the government alone will invest in the project to remove the need for financial contributions from industry. He also said the research would be expanded to consider soil health and the relationship between soil health, nutrient management and supplemental irrigation. 

More help to develop better soil

According to a written news release, farms participating in the irrigation study must develop a soil health improvement plan. Producers will create plans for each farm property that outlines management practices to support soil health, including monitoring and testing soil health over time. 

The Department of Agriculture and Land plans to help farmers manage soil health through new incentives including a merit-based program for building erosion control structures, an incentive for soil-building rotational crops, an increase in support for spring tillage and winter cover crops (to prevent winter soil erosion), and more. 

"I support decisions about water being informed by science and this research will provide valuable information on supplemental irrigation as part of a sustainable approach to farming," Bloyce Thompson, minister of agriculture and land, was quoted as saying in the government news release.

As required under the Water Act, the regulations will take effect after they've been in front of the standing committee of natural resources and environmental sustainability for 90 days. The regulations continue to be available online for public comment, the release said.

Regulations can be changed much more easily than legislation can, Myers noted. 

Does that mean the results of the research could eventually allow the moratorium to be lifted? 

"I'm going to let the scientists take it and do their piece," Myers said. "If the time comes where there's a requirement for more water, it's not going to be something that's handed over easily." 

At the same time, he noted that climate change is an extenuating factor in agricultural water use, "so we have to be open to change." 


Related article on holding ponds, from CBC News, yesterday (link only):

Puccini’s La Rondine, 2PM, CBC Music Radio, 104.7FM
Performance from January 10, 2009
Marco Armiliato; Angela Gheorghiu (Magda), Lisette Oropesa (Lisette), Roberto Alagna (Ruggero), Marius Brenciu (Prunier), Samuel Ramey (Rambaldo)   So sweet, Gheorghui is like the Swallow of title, this fragile but strong little bird.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, today until 6:30PM
Starring Carol Vaness, Karita Mattila, Dawn Upshaw, Jerry Hadley, Samuel Ramey, Ferrucio Furlanetto, and Kurt Moll, conducted by James Levine. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1990.

Bizet’s Carmen, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Waltraud Meier, Plácido Domingo, and Sergei Leiferkus. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From March 25, 1997.  Sure to be a fiery Carmen, with the same La Rondine Angela Gheorghiu as the cast-aside Micheala (she has some beautiful arias in a opera with so much for the Carmen to sing).

February 19, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"We have to wake up to the fierce urgency of the now"
        --Jim Yong Kim, physician, anthropologist, former president of the World Bank,
        on Climate Change


Fridays4Future, 3:30PM, outside Province House.
It's the last one before the Legislature resumes late next week, reminding politicians and people about the need for Climate Action.
More details here at Facebook event link

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Rainforest Lounge with Todd MacLean and special guest, Hailey MacIsaac, 7PM, Instagram Live.


The Smog -- Need-to-know basis
Published on Thursday, February 18th, 2021

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the independent government agency that regulates the United States’ energy landscape, warned Texas that its grid was unprepared for cold conditions a decade ago. But it’s unclear what, if anything, the state did to prepare for extreme weather — and four days after winter storms began pummeling the Lone Star State, hundreds of thousands remain without power, and millions more are experiencing water disruptions.

Blaming the Wind for the Mess in Texas Is Painfully Absurd - The New Yorker article by Bill McKibben

Published on Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Sometimes, all you need is a map. In the wake of this week’s power failures in Texas, which have left millions without heat in subfreezing conditions, right-wing politicians and news networks decided that the emergency was down to “frozen wind turbines,” a phrase that has now been repeated ad infinitum on all the various ganglia that make up the conservative “information” network. The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, which has managed to be wrong about energy and climate for more than four decades, put it like this: “Gas and power prices have spiked across the central U.S. while Texas regulators ordered rolling blackouts Monday as an Arctic blast has frozen wind turbines.” Governor Greg Abbott took time out from failing to deal with the emergency that had imperilled many in his state to tell Fox News that “this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.” Not to be outdone, on Tuesday afternoon, Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Republican who represents Texas’s second congressional district, including parts of Houston, tweeted that “this is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source.” The Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, who is “known for his right-wing Facebook posts that have, in the past, spread misinformation and amplified conspiracy theories,” the Texas Tribune reported, “also posted an unvarnished view of wind energy on Facebook: ‘We should never build another wind turbine in Texas.’ ”

The usual responsible voices eventually responded with a large amount of data showing that Abbott, Fox, and the rest were completely wrong. Failures in renewable-energy generation accounted for a small percentage of the outages. The biggest problems were in “thermal”—which is to say fossil-fuel—generating plants and systems; simply put, natural-gas pipelines froze in the cold, as even Governor Abbott admitted. His own energy regulators at the ill-named Electric Reliability Council of Texas explained that “it appears that a lot of the generation that has gone offline today has been primarily due to issues on the natural-gas system.” Or, as Michael Webber, an energy-resources professor at the University of Texas at Austin, put it, “gas is failing in the most spectacular fashion right now.” (A nuclear power plant also went down, likely as a result of freezing temperatures shutting down cooling systems or sensors.)

I’m glad that there were plenty of authorities to try to set the record straight, but, of course, the truth was still searching for the winter boots in the back of the garage by the time the falsehoods had spread across the Internet. It’s particularly annoying because the bad-faith nature of the whole idea should have been obvious to anyone with an iota of geographical knowledge. Besides Texas, the biggest producers of wind power in the country are Iowa, Oklahoma, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, Kansas, North Dakota, and California. Except for California, all these places are situated to the north of Texas, and deal with much harsher winters. The idea that wind turbines cannot deal with cold weather is, prima facie, ridiculous: countries with huge wind-power installations include Germany, France, and Italy, all of which have managed in the past to host the Winter Olympics—and Italy is planning to host them again, in 2026. People have developed plans for building giant wind farms in Greenland to feed the European Union and the United States. If cold weather somehow made it impossible for wind turbines to operate, you would think someone would have noticed by now.

Cold weather can, however, make it hard to operate wind turbines if you don’t plan for it—installations of “cold-weather kits” prevent icing and freezing—and it appears that the Texas authorities didn’t plan for much. State officials, it turns out, had been gleefully tweeting at California authorities for months, making fun of them for not planning well enough to prevent brownouts when heat waves struck the West Coast. But tweeting—and a deep and abiding faith in markets to solve all problems—seems not to have been a good strategy when faced with a severe cold snap.

A cold snap that, by the way, seems likely to be linked to the jet-stream collapse that comes when you warm the Arctic, as we have been doing by burning large quantities of fossil fuel. If you wanted to do something about that, you’d need more wind turbines. Funny about that.

Bill McKibben is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign and a contributing writer to The New Yorker. He writes The Climate Crisis, The New Yorker’s newsletter on the environment.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s Tosca, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Hildegard Behrens, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From March 27, 1985.

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Friday 7:30PM until 6:30PM Saturday
Starring Carol Vaness, Karita Mattila, Dawn Upshaw, Jerry Hadley, Samuel Ramey, Ferrucio Furlanetto, and Kurt Moll.  Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1990.

Two classics!

February 18, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM, online. 

Topic: Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission's process of investigating land sales

The committee will meet with representatives from the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission for a briefing on how land sale investigations are conducted.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link


Bill Gates: Interviewed by Anderson Cooper, Online, pay what you can, 7:30PM PST, (11:30PM here) and available for two weeks afterwards

Various payment options, which include a copy of Gates' book on Climate Change.  Bill's getting a tremendous amount of media attention for his ideas, so if you've felt out of the loop, here is a chance to see what all the fuss is about.


Tuesday, February 23rd:
ECO-PEI AGM, meeting 6:30PM and Panel Discussion on Creating an Environmental Bill of Rights, starting about 7PM, online

The theme of our annual meeting this year is environmental rights - exploring the concept and the idea of creating legislation.

We'll start with a short business meeting at 6:30 pm, which will be followed by a panel discussion at 7, with guest speakers Tina Northrup, Staff Lawyer with East Coast Environmental Law Association and DR. Nino Antadze, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, UPEI.

Register for the meeting at - a link to the zoom meeting will be sent to you one or two days before the event.

Facebook event details

When The Guardian writes that the Minister of Finance and Manager of Policy, Planning and Regulatory Affairs faced "harsh" questions, I can only be glad that committee members and other MLAs asked such questions.  Might it not be "harsh" for a government to aid in addicting more people to gambling saying it's no different than buying scratch tickets at a local convenience store?


Online casinos could ‘repatriate’ P.E.I. gamers from offshore sites: Compton

by Stu Neatby
published on Thursday, February 18th, 2021, in The Guardian

Allowing the Atlantic Lottery Corporation to establish an online casino for P.E.I. gamblers will create an alternative to illegal, unregulated offshore sites, while contributing to provincial tax coffers, P.E.I.’s minister of finance told a standing committee on Wednesday.

Darlene Compton faced harsh questions from MLAs during an appearance before the standing committee on health and social development. The minister spoke about cabinet’s decision to allow the Atlantic Lottery Corporation to establish an online casino for P.E.I. gamblers. 

The ALC established an online casino site in New Brunswick over the summer. This gaming site is currently geofenced, meaning P.E.I. residents cannot access it. 

But P.E.I.’s cabinet has authorized the P.E.I. Lotteries Commission to develop “an enhanced digital platform” that would allow a similar site to be set up for P.E.I. gamblers.

"The intention of the platform is not to create new players. It is to repatriate play from illegal, for-profit entities in other countries back to ALC's responsible and regulated platform," Compton told the committee.  “We will be having discussions with health and wellness on possible harm mitigation measures and responsible gambling education campaign."

Compton said P.E.I. is “early in the process” of developing the online gaming platform.  Gambling in Canada is regulated and run by provincial gaming authorities. But online gaming has been eating away at bricks and mortar gaming revenues for years. The ALC estimates $100 million of revenue leaves Atlantic Canada each year due to offshore online gaming sites. 

Compton also said an online casino for P.E.I. gamblers is estimated to turn a $750,000 profit in its first year alone. Forecasts estimate net profit would reach $985,000 in the second year and $1.2 million in year three.

But several opposition MLAs argued allowing a provincially sanctioned online gambling platform could boost gambling addiction in P.E.I. The same standing committee heard earlier this month that about 950 people in P.E.I. are considered to have some form of gambling problem.


“Somebody has to lose in order for P.E.I. to make money. And all of the studies show that that person is more likely to be a low-income Islander," Opposition Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker said.   "Do you still feel that this is a responsible way for Prince Edward Island to generate revenues?"

"It's no different than going to the corner store and purchasing lottery tickets," Compton said in response.  "People are going to gamble. And the percentage that have a problem are going to have supports here on P.E.I. to help them."

So far, regulations governing advertising for the new online casino have not been created.

“We’re not interested in creating brand new players. Our focus is on repatriating play,” said Jennifer MacDonald-Donovan, manager of policy, planning and regulatory affairs with the department of finance

But at least one ALC promotion has been pulled in P.E.I.   Green MLA Michele Beaton revealed that one promotion involved an email sent out recently by ALC to an unknown number of individuals with dormant accounts, advertising a $20 credit to reactivate their accounts. The promotion was also advertized on Facebook. 

“We have no idea how many of those people were recovering addicts. We see (ALC) advertising on Compass,” Green MLA Michele Beaton said of the ad campaign.   “That doesn’t sound responsible to me,” she said.

MacDonald-Donovan did not disagree with Beaton.   "We saw that ad, and the minister sent notice to Atlantic Lottery that that's not to happen again," MacDonald-Donovan said.  “They are not to try to incentivize with a cash bonus or credits to non-players."

However, as of late Wednesday afternoon, an ad offering the $20 "bonus" for individuals setting up a new online account was still up on the Atlantic Lottery mobile website.

In an interview, MacDonald-Donovan and Compton both said part of the marketing of the P.E.I. online casino would involve communicating that it is a trusted option for gamers. Players can limit their bets and place time limits on access to the site.

“If someone is going to go play online, they're probably going to take a site and stick to it,” MacDonald-Donovan said.  “If that site is a regulated site versus a non-regulated site … that's probably a better alternative.”




Checking in on Nova Scotia:


JIM VIBERT: Rankin brings ambitious plan to build back better

Opinion piece published on Monday, February 8th, 2021, in The Guardian

Nova Scotia Liberals looked past the pandemic and picked as their new leader, and Nova Scotia’s next premier, the candidate who offered the most ambitious plan to build back better.

When he and his new Liberal government are sworn in sometime in the next two weeks, Iain Rankin will become the province’s first millennial premier — he was born in 1983 — and he’ll arrive in office with an aggressive social and economic agenda that is, above all else, inclusive and green.

Rankin won the three-way leadership race Saturday night, edging out Labi Kousoulis on the second ballot by 265 points out of a total of 5,500. Former health minister Randy Delorey, who’d campaigned as the best choice to lead the province through the pandemic, finished third on the first ballot and was eliminated.

Rankin succeeds Premier Stephen McNeil, who is leaving him a province that’s become almost a sanctuary amid a sea of COVID, and the new premier’s immediate political prospects hang on maintaining that enviable position.

Formidable task

He also takes over a province that, prior to the pandemic, was on an economic upswing, with record immigration, thriving exports, a growing population and the highest employment levels ever.


Rankin now faces the formidable task of assembling a cabinet and a staff, putting together a throne speech and a budget and meeting the legislature for the first time as premier on March 9 — just one day shy of a full year after the House last met.

He also takes over a government with a one-seat majority and that’s just three months away from entering the fifth and final year of its mandate.

So, right out of the gate, he’ll have to try to put his stamp on the government, even as he and his team look for the right window of opportunity to ask Nova Scotians to elect a third successive Liberal government.

But first, Rankin will be seized with the immediate demands of cabinet-making from among the other 25 Liberals in the current 51-seat assembly. (Redistribution will increase the legislature to 55 seats at the next election.)

That cabinet will, in essence, be the government Rankin leads into the next election, and conventional wisdom says it will consist of Liberals who will reoffer in that election.

Weighing options

If Rankin follows that convention, current ministers Leo Glavine (health); Karen Casey (finance); Geoff MacLellan (business) and Gordon Wilson (environment) in addition to McNeil, wouldn’t be included, so Rankin needs to find talent on the Liberal backbench to fill those sizable holes.

Suburban Halifax MLAs Brendan McGuire and Ben Jessome along with Kings South’s Keith Irving — three Liberal backbenchers who backed Rankin — are first in line for those cabinet vacancies.


The premier-designate said he’s weighing his cabinet options, that it will include new faces but that he will also make use of the experience that’s available to him.

Rankin will also need to be mindful of the divisions a leadership race can leave in the party, and his cabinet choices can go a long way to healing those rifts.

He’s already said his leadership opponents, Kousoulis and Delorey, have places in his cabinet and, given the rather shallow talent pool he has to draw from, so too will ministers from McNeil’s government who backed Rankin’s opponents.

He will also need to quickly assemble a staff of trusted political and policy advisers, people who, past experience shows, can gum up the works of government in a hurry if they exert their influence before they figure out how to use the levers of power.

Fiscal footing

But the first real tests for Rankin will come in about a month, when his government brings first a throne speech and soon after a budget to the legislature.

That’s when Nova Scotians will discover how, and if, the youthful premier’s bold and idealistic vision can mesh with the stark realities of a province trying to keep the pandemic at bay while struggling to regain the economic footing that eroded under the virus.

Rankin believes that the solid fiscal footing McNeil had the province on before the pandemic hit provides some flexibility to meet the demands of the moment, while advancing his broader agenda.

“This is our moment to activate an economic plan that ensures no Nova Scotians are left behind, a plan that is low-carbon, and that is climate-resilient,” Rankin promised during the campaign. Those twin themes of environmental responsibility, and social and economic inclusion and justice, permeated almost everything he said during the leadership race.

Whether Rankin leans into his brand as a new generation of leader, flush with the aspirations of that generation, or whether the hard realities of the moment will temper or delay his ambitious plans will become clearer as we move into the spring.

Protecting parks

Rankin has early opportunities, particularly on environmental files, to burnish his bona fides.

He’s committed to protecting the 100-plus places in the Parks and Protected Areas plan that have yet to be designated for protection. Early action to move those sites along in the process would help cement his environmental credentials.

And, if he includes the controversial Owl’s Head land, which the McNeil government surreptitiously removed from the list to make way for a proposed golf resort, among the areas for protection, he’ll send a loud message that when he balances potential economic activity and the environment, the environment stands a fighting chance. That hasn’t been common in these parts.

Others will be watching to see how Rankin’s government advances its other key priority, building a more economically and socially inclusive province.

“If our province is to truly build back better, we must confront our past and learn from our mistakes, in particular those that continue to harm and hold back African Nova Scotians and Mi’kmaq Peoples,” he said. “We must include marginalized groups in all of government’s decision-making, with honest deference to their lived experience — and then we must act.”

Nova Scotia’s new, millennial premier arrives in office amid the worst health crisis in a century and the economic ruin it is has wrought. He brings an ambitious agenda of progressive social, economic and environmental action, and he faces an election within 15 months at the absolute outside, likely much sooner.

It’s at this point where I suppose we should wish him luck.

Journalist and writer Jim Vibert has worked as a communications adviser to five Nova Scotia governments.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, today until 6:30PM
Starring Tatiana Troyanos, Jean Kraft, Plácido Domingo, and Vern Shinall; Teresa Stratas, Plácido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, and Allan Monk. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1978.

Puccini’s Tosca, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Friday.
Starring Hildegard Behrens, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From March 27, 1985.


Astronomy note:
Mars Rover Perseverance is set to land today about 3PM

and others, including this Facebook Live event from the Yorkshire Dales Astronomy Club, will have some sort of coverage.  NASA TV is pretty much about the rover the whole day!  TV schedule here -- scroll down to Thursday.


"A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows."

        --Francis of Assisi (1181-1182)

February 17, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?' "
---Rachel Carson (1907-1964), American biologist, writer, and pioneer environmentalist

maybe we can look that way at glorious icy structures all over the place today....


Standing Committee meetings --
**note these may be delayed or rescheduled due to road conditions**

Health and Social Development Standing Committee Meeting, 9AM, online
Topic: The committee will meet to receive two briefings:
1. Briefing on challenges and areas of opportunity with respect to information and protection of privacy, and other matters, with Information and Privacy Commissioner, Denise Doiron
2. Briefing on the processing and completion of information requests, and other matters, with Acting Director of Privacy Services, Justice and Public Safety, Clare Henderson. 

Health and Social Development Standing Committee Meeting, 1:30PM, online

Topic: Expansion of online gambling services

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on the decision to expand access to online gambling, with Minister of Finance, Hon. Darlene Compton and Department of Finance Manager of Policy, Planning and Regulatory Affairs, Jennifer MacDonald-Donovan

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

EatLocalPEI food ordering deadline today for Friday/weekend delivery/pickup -- more details here:

Podcast with background, from The Guardian (U.K.), about something far away yet very familiar: 

Why are Indian farmers protesting against the government? - The Guardian (UK) podcast

The Guardian’s south Asia correspondent and the founder of a sustainable farming movement explain why farmers are so angry
from Tuesday, February 16th, 2021: 25 minutes long:

Rachel Humphreys talks to the Guardian’s south Asia correspondent, Hannah Ellis-Petersen, about the farmers’ protests taking place in India. The farmers object vociferously to new laws that constitute the most sweeping reform to agriculture for decades. The government of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, says the laws will bring necessary modernisation and private competition to an ailing sector that has left millions of farmers destitute. Farmers say the laws were passed without consultation and will allow private corporations to control the prices of crops, crush their livelihoods and take away their land.

Rachel also talks to Umendra Dutt who runs the Kheti Virasat mission, a people’s movement for sustainable farming and food safety in the state of Punjab. Umendra feels optimistic about the protests – he believes the government will no longer be able to ignore the issues facing farmers.

Unfortunately, the police are presumably being instructed to be rather forceful...article from the newsletter The Beacon at Grist:

A 22-year-old Indian climate activist, Disha Ravi, was arrested over the weekend for editing and distributing an online “toolkit” for helping Indian farmers who are protesting agricultural reforms that could hurt their livelihoods. The toolkit had been shared on Twitter by Greta Thunberg, the founder of the Fridays for Future youth climate movement which Ravi helps lead in India.
from February 15th, 2021
Original News Article
the article is from the Thompson Reuters Foundation:
"We are the corporate foundation of Thomson Reuters, the global news and information services company. We work to advance media freedom, foster more inclusive economies, and promote human rights."
Some P.E.I. webpages from organizations promoting local farming, local care of land:
National Farmers Union -- PEI

Coalition for the Protection of PEI Lands Facebook page

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Gorgeous Productions by Franco Zeffirelli Highlighted This Week continue with:

Verdi’s Falstaff, today until 6:30PM
Starring Mirella Freni, Barbara Bonney, Marilyn Horne, Bruno Pola, and Paul Plishka. From October 10, 1992.   Just over 2 hours.

Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
From April 5, 1978. "This video captures a real rarity: one of the very few times the brilliant Plácido Domingo performed both of the great tenors roles during the same evening at the Met. Domingo singing either Turiddu (in Cavalleria) or Canio (in Pagliacci) would be remarkable, but to get both in the same incandescent performance is to see history...(with) the sensational singing actors Tatiana Troyanos (Santuzza), Teresa Stratas (Nedda), and Sherrill Milnes (Tonio), these searing one-act operas blaze."
2 hours 30 minutes

February 16, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"Be silly.
Be honest.
Be kind."

--- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist and philosopher
Noon today is the deadline to order from the Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO service for Thursday pickup:

Softly snowing inside reading today:

Two issues have have been in the news recently, and had a vigorous rebuttal, and it shows it's good to see dialogue.  The first is Wayne Carver's piece from Monday, February 8th, 2021, about the acclamation of Doug Currie as the Conservative Party of Canada's candidate for the Charlottetown Riding in any upcoming federal election (I have to admit, Doug Currie in the same grouping as Stephen Harper, Erin O'Toole and Andrew Scheer makes me rub my eyes), and Carver's call for independent candidates. 

Acclamation a dangerous precedent - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Wayne Carver

Published on Monday, February 8th, 2021

Popular educator and politician Doug Currie has been acclaimed as the federal Conservative Party candidate for the Charlottetown area in the next federal election.

He has earned the trust of his community and constituents during his time in provincial politics and would no doubt be an excellent representative of the people in Ottawa. And while Mr. Currie’s world is changing, so too is the world of politics.

To have a national political party seek out respected candidates in a province is not new but to have a national leader “acclaim” a candidate in one of the provinces without the input of the provincial voters is most unusual.

Here on Prince Edward Island voters have always felt isolated from Ottawa, even though we have several members of Parliament in our midst. Except for Gail Shea’s tenure, there has not been local representation by the federal Conservatives between elections, for decades. I have not seen a representative from any federal party at the door, ever. Lots of literature, no politician. We are accustomed to being taken for granted. But to have a local candidate acclaimed is unsettling.

The democratic process is supposed to allow citizens the right to choose a local candidate from a field of other likeminded individuals interested in representing their communities. The nomination process at the local level has always been a short-term activity wherein prospective candidates and the community have an opportunity to interact and express their concerns and goals. In that way the community has at least an opportunity to choose from among interested candidates.

Having your candidate acclaimed by the federal leaders denies the citizen the right to chose their own candidate. That is a dangerous precedent.

How much does the federal Conservative leader know about our community and our wants and needs? Would the leader of the party know for example that the voters on P.E.I. have long been proponents of electoral reform and many citizens want to move forward with change? The most glaring obstruction in our current system is the bipartisan corporate control of government. People recognize this and want change.

Does the leader of the federal Conservative party really know or care about our political concerns, or is he just looking for a solid candidate?

Is Erin O’Toole, or Doug Currie for that matter, willing to fight for electoral reform on behalf of local constituents or will it be the same old “me first” philosophy? Does Erin O’Toole realize this province has voted on electoral reform twice? Both times the criteria for the vote was such that the results were guaranteed to fail at the outset. In fact, in the run up to the 2019 vote, the provincial Wade MacLauchlan government introduced legislation that provided for up to $150,000 to groups running in support of or opposed to change in the electoral system. Advocates for electoral reform and informed residents brought the subject to a vote, twice. So why did the government decide to provide financial assistance at the last hour? Was it because they thought the electoral reform proponents needed opposition, something to dampen the enthusiasm?

Whatever the reason, both sides received $75,000 and the provincial government claimed not to have taken a position on the issue. Duh!

Almost as democratic as having a local candidate “acclaimed” by the leader of a federal party without any input from the voters in the constituency. Or the Municipal Government Act limiting public input in municipal affairs and allowing private investors to snap up our most valuable assets.

Actions such these diminish and make a mockery of the electoral process. It seems an effort is underway to further centralize our government. Is the day at hand where public input will not be required for government programs? Will the councillors, MLAs and MPs be making decisions on our behalf like officials in one-party political systems?

No wonder we want change. If there is any question in a person’s mind about the political process being about the “people”, incidents such as these should be a wakeup call.

Hopefully we will have answers to questions before the election. What we really need is independent candidates. Let us get rid of the old knotted political parties and corporate politicians. They are simply a group of like-minded individuals working together to promote their own interests. Seems very few are concerned about the greater public good. One thing for certain, if either of the old, tired federal corporate parties are elected, not much will change except for the people’s descent into serfdom. A $900 billion debt can do that.

Wayne Carver is a member of Vision P.E.I. who lives in Longcreek.

There was an immediate and predictable response from the CPC PEI representative, LINK only: 

Another is the idea of a Basic Guaranteed Income and what it's meant to do (combat poverty with dignity), and other options to do this.  There is no doubt P.E.I. seems like a perfect place to try this, pilot project or whatever, as called for by the Official Opposition of P.E.I., the NDP PEI I think, and many anti-poverty groups.  Recently, three of P.E.I.'s Senators have written about this (I wonder about Percy Downe's opinions on this).

P.E.I. Senators: Basic income is an idea whose time has come - The Guardian Guest opinion by Diane Griffin, Brian Francis, and Mike Duffy

Published on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

Last spring more than 50 members of the Senate of Canada urged the federal government to implement a guaranteed basic livable income program. At the same time, a special committee of the Prince Edward Island legislature called on Ottawa to join the province in creating a GLBI.

Doubters suggested a GLBI would be too costly, and too complicated. They’d prefer tinkering with the status quo. The GLBI idea seemed stalled. Faced with this hurdle, a group of Island Senators has written Premier Dennis King and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to suggest a way to end the stalemate. Why not start with a small pilot project in Prince Edward Island?

In our letter we reminded Mr. Trudeau that Prince Edward Island’s modern economy is a result of an innovative 1969 federal-provincial program called the “P.E.I. Comprehensive Development Plan.” Ever since, successive governments have used P.E.I. (population ~150,000) as a “test bed” for important innovations in agriculture, fisheries, energy from waste, wind energy and so on.

Now out of the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, P.E.I. and the federal government have another historic opportunity for social innovation. The arguments for a guaranteed livable basic income (GLBI) are well-known and are persuasive, especially in an economy like PEI’s with an ageing demographic. 

Last week the British Columbia government stepped away from the GLBI idea because of the plan’s perceived potential shortcomings. A pilot project in P.E.I. would test those concerns and allow the program to be adjusted as needed.

Critics may argue against an incremental approach, but we should not forget that medicare, our most successful social program, began incrementally, one province at a time starting with Saskatchewan.

In 1984, the Macdonald Royal Commission recommended a GLBI as a counterbalance to the negative effects of free trade with the United States. The Mulroney government passed free trade, but ignored the rest of Macdonald’s report.

Mr. Trudeau now has an opportunity to finish that work and, in so doing, turn the page on the economic devastation caused by COVID-19 and build a brighter future for P.E.I., and one hopes, eventually for millions of Canadians. The government response to the economic disruption caused by the pandemic was a scramble, with some covered and others not. Had a Guaranteed Livable Basic Income been in place, Canadians would have been automatically protected.

We closed our letter by urging Mr. Trudeau to begin Canada’s post-pandemic recovery with a pilot GLBI program in Prince Edward Island, the birthplace of Confederation.

A guaranteed livable basic income truly is – an idea whose time has come!

Diane Griffin, Brian Francis and Mike Duffy are Senators for Prince Edward Island.
One persistent voice arguing for fighting poverty a different way, on a different scale, is Mary Boyd:  

GUEST OPINION: A tale of two provinces - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Mary Boyd

Published on Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

Editor, in recent months two provinces released reports on a universal basic income (UBI). The special all-party committee of the P.E.I. legislature recommended in its Nov. 27, 2020 final report that the province of P.E.I. begin immediate negotiations with the federal government for the development and implementation of a UBI at an annual net cost of $259,958 million. If the federal government is not supportive, they recommend that the government of P.E.I. initiate the development and implementation of a UBI pilot for Prince Edward Island involving a minimum of 3,000 people for at least three years.

On the other side of the country, an expert panel was appointed by the British Columbia government to explore the idea of a basic income guarantee for British Columbia. The panel was composed of Dr. David A. Green of the Vancouver School of Economics, Dr. Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University and Dr. Lindsay M. Tedds, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. The panel received 40 research papers, 16,000 simulations and wrote a 529-page report.

While the P.E.I. committee began with the bias of exploring how to establish a UBI and how to cost it, the B.C. panel had a much broader mandate and wider input. Their report is philosophical, inspired by the words of the great Nisga’a leader, Joseph Gosnell. It focuses on ways to improve society as an integral part of eliminating poverty. The authors wrote in their Dec. 28, 2020 final report, “We have concluded that moving to a system constructed around a basic income for all as its main pillar is not the most just policy change we can consider. The needs of people in our society are too diverse to be reflectively answered simply with a cheque from the government.”

They noted that the basic income (BI) is a very costly approach to addressing any specific goal such as poverty reduction, but also in the way it would try to accomplish those goals. For them, the BI approach supports only one element of their set of just characteristics and does it to the exclusion of approaches that emphasize social interactions and cooperation. The BI is more individualistic, placing too little emphasis on communities in which the recipients live. 

The B.C. panel refuses a pilot project concluding that it is not an effective use of government money. They contend that a pilot of three to five years cannot fully evaluate the situation and that a longer pilot is unlikely to survive for political reasons. They state that waiting for results before policy changes, would delay too long-needed changes and that the pilot cannot include the changes needed to finance a real-world basic income.

The P.E.I. Coalition for a Poverty Eradication Strategy and the MacKillop Centre for Social Justice question the conclusions of the all-party committee of the P.E.I. legislature. Granted, they were following a vote in the P.E.I. legislature to establish a guaranteed income, but later some MLAs explained that they did not fully understand what a guaranteed income was and their vote was in favour of doing something about poverty. Furthermore, the community was not fully consulted.

The all-party committee failed to consider alternatives to the basic income, some of which would be less costly, could be implemented more quickly, would be more effective in eradicating poverty and would build healthy communities while respecting the dignity of work and the worker. The P.E.I. approach was narrow from the beginning.

The job guarantee (JG), which was presented to the committee is proving to be a popular and effective program in Europe, India, South Africa, Argentina and especially the USA where the majority of voters and politicians prefer it to the BI. A job guarantee for P.E.I. would cost around 1 to 1.5 per cent of gross provincial product but once established it would be close to revenue neutral. The job guarantee is a component of the Green New Deal (GND), and has been called its most crucial component. The GND insists that a green transformation requires basic economic security for all. Its demands are strongly supported by many corners of civil society. It offers decent jobs at decent pay to the most disadvantaged of society and to all who wish to work. It also offers hands-on training. Green jobs are, “those that address all forms of destitution and neglect of our most valuable resources, both natural and human.” (Dr. Pavlina Tcherneva)

Tcherneva states that the GND calls for a wholesale transformation, necessary to produce a rapid and robust answer to global warming. It is an all-hands-on-deck industrial strategy that has been called the “moonshot of our time” and linked to “wartime mobilization.” It results in economic security for all. Green projects rehabilitate the environment, strengthen communities, and improve the social determinants of health. “Every climate solution and the manner of its implementation will have deep economic, social and political ramifications.”

A bill to eliminate poverty on P.E.I. will have to go way beyond the narrow perspective of the all-party committee of the legislature. It requires shared public dialogue rather than inviting like-minded witnesses and ignoring other alternatives. It is surprising that all of the party representatives on the committee agreed to the Legislative Committee report. If we repeat this we will be leaving P.E.I. behind the more progressive movements everywhere. The solution to poverty is urgent.

Mary Boyd, MacKillop Centre for Social Justice and P.E.I. Coalition for a Poverty Eradication Strategy.

I see that there is a lot of common ground, and probably a lot of shared history working on this issue that I don't know the depth of.  It's a bit of a platitude but it helps to focus on the where we agree and on going forward.

Soft snow or stormy day listening:
Bill Gates on the podcast Sway from The New York Times on his ideas for climate change, 43 minutes (I have not listened to the whole thing):

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming: 

Puccini’s La Bohème, today until 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Ainhoa Arteta, Ramón Vargas, Ludovic Tézier, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 2008. Just over two hours of simply sublime.

Verdi’s Falstaff, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday 6:30PM
Starring Mirella Freni, Barbara Bonney, Marilyn Horne, Bruno Pola, and Paul Plishka. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From October 10, 1992.  A good old-fashioned Falstaff, grand costumes and acting and singing superb. Two hours.

Finally, Shrove Tuesday pancake roundup, from The (U.K.) Guardian (LINK only):

February 15, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Islander Day!  And lucky Islanders we are.  We just need to protect this little Island as best we can.


Snowshoeing -- South Shore (Crapaud area), 1:30-3:30PM, meeting at Crapaud Public Library parking lot (that's down and behind the firehall/ the old pharmacy location), TCH, Crapaud.
Bring your own snowshoes, but a limited number will be on hand.  Hot chocolate afterwards.  Hosted by the South Shore Citizens Group and South Shore Pharmacy (the spiffy new building further west and across the highway)

more details:
Many other events listed here on the Government's website Islander Day page; note that some may be sold out or at capacity, so check first:

Islander Day is a provincial holiday (no schools, post-secondary or provincial services) and a "civil observance" of National Flag of Canada Day, but not a federal or postal holiday. 
Most grocery stores, malls, libraries are closed, no bus service, but federal government offices are open, apparently. more at this: CBC article link

And when you get hungry and plan food for the rest of the week:

Organic Veggie Delivery week, order by Monday PM for delivery Friday.  Next order week of March 1st

Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2Go, order by TUESDAY NOON, for Thursday pick-up/delivery,

EatLocalPEI --
Order by Wednesday night
for pickup/delivery Saturday/Sunday

Today is (was?) the deadline for the Animal Welfare Survey from the P.E.I. Government. 
However, the survey software the Department of Agriculture used for the survey literally meant February 15th as midnight this morning, so it's saying it's closed. You can also write to the Department's Media Contact Ron Ryder to mention that it really should be extended as the deadline was perhaps unintentionally misleading.

We'll let you know if we hear it's been opened back up again, if you didn't get a chance to participate already.

Diana Lariviere, animal welfare advocate who resides in the South Shore, posted some notes on social media several weeks ago, which I am reprinting with her permission (from December 15th, 2020):

Have your say on animal welfare legislation in PEI >> BUT >> A few points of possible interest before completing the survey:

1) very near the end, there is a problem with the question … “who should be responsible for animal welfare” … in that the options do not include “other”. This might have been an inadvertent error of omission, BUT it is also a tactic often used by governments to support what that government has already decided (for example, so that they can state >> 80% of respondents stated that organization “x” should have responsibility for…). On the positive side and as an alternative, there is a “comment” block just below that particular question in which you may use to offer an alternative.

2) Throughout the survey, there is no acknowledgment of the EIGHTEEN (18) animal rescue groups that exist within PEI. The only one that is highlighted is the Humane Society.

3) PEI Wildlife Legislation does not allow for “rescue / rehabilitation” of wildlife -- >> similar to “Hope for Wildlife” in Nova Scotia and similar to what exists in other Canadian jurisdictions. Yet…PEI legislation DOES allow for “farming” of select wildlife. The message? …profit is ok but not rescue??

Diana also requested from the Department, and passed along to me, a printable PDF of the survey and $20 Tim Horton's gift card participant incentive draw ballot, to print out and mail in or scan/fax; if you wish to email me, I can forward those forms to you.

It's all about Mars this week!

Atlantic Skies for February 15th-22nd, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts

Touchdown Mars - 'Perseverance' and 'Ingenuity' Arrive

On Thursday Feb. 18, after a voyage of 203 days, NASA's  'Perseverance' rover (part of the Mars 2020 mission), and its sidekick 'Ingenuity' helicopter-drone are scheduled to touch down in the Jezero Crater, just north of the Martian equator.  Launched on July 30, 2020, as part of  NASA's Mars Exploration Program, 'Perseverance' will be only the fifth rover to land on the Red Planet. It is also the first artificial object to land on Mars since 'Insight Mars' in 2018, and the first rover to land on the planet since 'Curiosity' in 2012. Its primary mission will be to roam the Martian landscape, exploring and investigating the planet's ancient surface geological formations, while assessing the possibility of past habitability by seeking evidence of water and any biosignatures of past microbial life that might be preserved within accessible geological materials.

Another important rover objective will be to scoop up surface material samples as it traverses the Martian surface, and cache them in containers for potential retrieval by a future Mars sample-return mission, possibly in 2031. Other duties relate to the assessment of new technologies (including precise landing technologies), as well as the planet's environmental conditions, both critical to future manned and robotic expeditions to Mars. 'Perseverance' has a planned surface mission timeframe of at least one Mars year (687 Earth days). It will be the first rover to utilize all five "senses" - "sight" (it has 16 cameras); "touch" (its robotic arm has a "hand" with a drill and ground contact sensor); "taste" (its spectrometer uses chemistry instruments to analyze rocks); "smell" (its SuperCam's infrared laser beam vaporises samples to analyze mineral composition); and "hearing "(its two microphones will record and transmit to Earth actual audio recordings of sounds on Mars).

'Perseverance's' robotic 'Ingenuity' helicopter-drone is a small (1.8 kg) autonomous aircraft, which will operate independently of the rover. Its sole purpose is experimental - to test the potential of powered flight on Mars. The Martian atmosphere is 1% as thick as that of Earth, and its gravity 1/3 that of our planet's. 'Ingenuity' will operate on rechargeable, solar- powered batteries, and has internal heaters to maintain operational temperatures during the long, cold Martian nights. It will make one or more test flights within its first 30 days on the planet, guided by Earth-generated commands relayed through the rover. It has two cameras - one black and white, one colour.

NASA's Mars 2020 mission was one of three space missions launched to the Red Planet during the July 2020 Mars launch window. The other two missions were the United Arab Emirates' 'Hope' orbiter (which arrived and successfully entered orbit on Feb. 9) and China's Tianwen-1 mission (with an orbiter, lander, and rover, expected to enter orbit on Feb. 10). For more information about the 'Perseverance' landing, go to, or simply Google 'NASA's Mars 2020 mission'.

The dearth of bright planets in the night sky continues this coming week, with Mercury (just past inferior solar conjunction on the 8th), Venus, Jupiter and Saturn all unobservable. The lone planet visible throughout the night is Mars (mag. +0.6, in Aries - the Ram). Visible around 6:20 p.m., 61 degrees above the southern horizon as dusk gives way to darkness, Mars, despite its historic noteority on the 18th, quietly sets in the southwest around 1:10 a.m. Look for Mars to the upper right of the waxing Moon on the evening of the 18th.

Until next week, clear skies.


Feb. 18 - Mars 2020 mission lands

             - Mars to upper right of Moon

        19 - First Quarter Moon; Pleiades ("Seven Sisters") star cluster to the right


On the Chinese Mars Mission:
excepts from

Update: As of Feb. 10, 2021, Tianwen-1 (China's first independent interplanetary mission), has arrived on time and successfully into orbit around Mars...coverage of the arrival here: China has joined the ranks of the Mars-exploring nations.

The probe, a combination orbiter, lander and rover, launched from Earth aboard a Long March 5 rocket on July 23, 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having traveled 292 million miles (470 million kilometers) from Earth, Tianwen-1 will enter orbit around the Red Planet on Feb. 10. The Tianwen-1 rover will attempt to land on the Red Planet in May or June of 2021.

(more details in the article, and a mention of the United Arab Emirates orbiter that was launched in that same advantageous time in 2020.)

Like many explorations of space, Tianwen-1 has a philosophical side. According to the
team that built the probe, "Tianwen" means 'questions to heaven,' a phrase taken from the name of a famous poem by one of the greatest poets of ancient China, Qu Yuan. Future interplanetary missions from China are expected to share the "Tianwen" moniker.  >>

And maybe I'll figure out how to spell perseverance right! (murmuring to self "per...sever...ANCE!")
Speaking of subtle misspellings and word choice, someone pointed out the "saintly" setting of the proposed idea to put a bandstand, firepits and more seating in the Green Space in front of Founders' Food Hall (...and were local residents asked of their opinion of this?)

Founders Food Hall to have more outdoor seating - The Guardian 

Published on Saturday, February 13th, 2021, in

Founders Food Hall & Market is adding additional outdoor seating, fire pits and a bandstand in front of the building.

Charlottetown council approved the additions during a regular meeting Feb. 8. The additions will go on the section of green space that Founders owns off of Water Street.

"It certainly will be a nice improvement and a great way to attract some people down there," Coun. Alanna Jankov said.

The space will also include a landscaped area for beatification, and Jankov noted the existing trees will not be affected. As well, music or events would end whenever the facility closes each evening.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Wagner’s Die Walküre, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Hildegard Behrens, Jessye Norman, Christa Ludwig, Gary Lakes, James Morris, and Kurt Moll.  Production by Otto Schenk. From April 8, 1989.  Great "old-fashioned" staging, super singing, riveting, action-packed story.

February 15th-22nd, 2021
Franco Zeffirelli Week!

This week of free streams celebrates Franco Zeffirelli, the Italian director and designer whose grand, historically informed, and intricately detailed productions have delighted generations of operagoers.

Puccini’s La Bohème, 7:30PM tonight until Tuesday 6:30PM
From April 5, 2008. " Puccini’s evergreen paean to young love and the bohemian life has captivated generations of Met-goers through Franco Zeffirelli’s iconic production. Movie theater audiences for the high-definition transmission of this staging got to see it with fresh eyes in a touching performance starring Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas as the frail seamstress and her poetic lover."  2 hours 16 minutes.

February 14, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

A little more difficult that chocolates or flowers today, but could make plans for spring...

"He that plants trees loves others beside himself."
        --Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), English writer

Tomorrow, Monday, February 15th, is the last day this survey will be open:
Animal Welfare Act review:

Here is the link to an opinion piece (the entire piece was printed here recently) by animal law expert Elizabeth Schoales about it, for some perspective:

There is plenty to criticize about each political party, but it's interesting that the Island's current and former Progressive Conservative governments, which sometimes project themselves the party of family values and such, plunge ahead with increased access to gambling venues, however the platforms change with the times.

Peter McKenna wrote an Opinion piece published in The Globe and Mail on May 9th, 2004, sections below, entire piece here:

The Conservative government of Pat Binns is currently debating whether to bring the province of Prince Edward Island further along the road of gambling addiction. Or, more correctly, its own addiction to the revenues flowing from gambling-related activities.

No matter how I look at it, I can't for the life of me wrap my mind around the thought that politicians on PEI would welcome such a development. Most people who seek public office do so because they genuinely believe that they can make a difference. That is, if they continue to work tirelessly (and often thanklessly), they can improve the lives of ordinary islanders, and especially the life chances of our young adults....

As an instructor of political science, I have to believe that this is still the case when I stand before my students. But I must confess that when I hear media reports about hundreds of VLTs for the driving park, I do begin to wonder.

I keep asking myself: How can a provincial cabinet and caucus honestly believe that it is helping young islanders by knowingly getting them hooked on VLTs? If even one person goes on to commit suicide, as has happened in far too many other provinces, it will be on the hands of the Binns government. What will the Premier say to the parents of that lost soul? Will he argue that the provincial deficit made him do it? That rationalization, I'm sure, would offer little comfort.

Perhaps a deluge of costly gambling-related lawsuits, which have become all the rage in other parts of Canada, would get the government's attention? Do we really want to go down this mindless path?

Peter McKenna is an assistant professor in the department of political studies at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown.
And now, another Peter writes: 

PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Government is playing a high stakes game with Islanders' lives - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Peter Bevan-Baker

Published on Friday, February 12th, 2021

Governments operate on income that, in large part, comes from taxes. It is used to carry out two of their core functions: to provide services, and to redistribute wealth in our society.

I have always subscribed to the view that people are fine paying taxes if they know two things: taxes are being collected in an equitable and ethical way, and those monies are being spent thoughtfully and productively to enhance the common good.

Recently, the P.E.I. government approved a new online casino initiative to be operated by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC). There was no debate on the decision in the house and no consultation with Islanders on how they might feel about it. In fact, government has never mentioned the project, and most Islanders heard about it first in the news, weeks after the final decision had already been made behind closed doors.

ALC is a government Crown corporation that manages gambling activities in the Atlantic region and distributes revenues from these activities to four provinces. The most recent figures available show that ALC generates about $1.2 billion annually in gambling revenue. Revenues come from the sale of ticket lotteries, video lottery terminals (VLTs) and casinos like Red Shores here on Prince Edward Island. VLTs are both the most profitable and the most addictive of these revenue streams, contributing over half of the net income to ALC.

Many have referred to gambling as a “voluntary tax”, recognizing that more money is taken in than goes out in prizes. That money, like income and sales taxes, goes straight into general government revenues. 

Equitable and ethical tax policy is progressive, meaning those who are most able to pay shoulder the greatest burden. This is why we have stepped income taxes, it is how sales taxes work, and how a well-crafted carbon tax would work. However, if we look more closely at where revenues for gambling come from, it is clear that the greatest burden falls on those least able to afford it.

The new online casino is different from the VLTs that Islanders are used to playing at their local legions. The limits are way higher and government is actively encouraging Islanders to try it out with $20 starter gifts to set up an account, including placing ads on CBC Compass.

It is estimated that gambling addiction is the primary reason for nearly 400 Canadians a year dying by suicide. That translates to two Islanders every year.

Addiction is a terrible thing, and governments have formed an alarming habit of relying on the revenues it receives from gambling. P.E.I. receives about $18 million annually from gambling, $11 million of that through VLTs. The government spends about $200,000 on problem gambling services and none of the revenue is targeted to support those with lower incomes who contribute disproportionately to it.

Last week, in a meeting of the standing committee on health and social development, we heard from experts that governments should spend 30-40 per cent of gambling revenues on supports. On P.E.I., that would equal over $3 million. The P.E.I. government is underspending by 90 per cent, and yet it sees no problem with targeting Islanders with dreams of paying off debt or purchasing the home they always wanted, knowing full well that the group most susceptible to that form of advertising are those for which these things are by and large out of reach.

More needs to be spent on helping those with gambling problems. We have a crisis on Prince Edward Island in the area of mental health and addictions. So far, government has not begun to properly manage that crisis. Creating new avenues in which addictions may be worsened is both unethical and callous.

Government should treat gambling the same as other addictive things like alcohol, cannabis and tobacco. It should limit its advertising and make the provision of gambling services revenue neutral. Any and all revenues generated should be redistributed back to those who need it.There is still time for Premier King to recognise the numerous issues with this decision and to reverse it. Government is gambling with Islander’s lives, and the cost is far too high.

Peter Bevan-Baker is the MLA for New Haven-Rocky Point and leader of the Official Opposition.


Several years ago, blythely walking around "The Vatican" (one of the nicknames for the Charlottetown complex of buildings of Province House, Coles Building, J. Angus MacLean, and the little house by St. Paul's Church that's the Clerk's office), seeing an old friend and her partner, who looked embarrassed when I said something like "I am going to watch the Legislature.  What are you doing here?" , I later realized they were seeking help for his serious gambling problem.  And of course this was around the time the cash-cow of VLTs was being milked.

[Just to give lumps all around, it's not like the Liberals under Robert Ghiz eschewed pursuing gambling revenues, as the e-gaming debacle shows, but somehow perhaps there was some justification in that they were trying to milk GFAs (Gamblers From Away).]

So opening up more opportunities for gambling need way more thought and public consultation.

Standing Committee meeting on this issue:

Friday, February 5th, 2021
Health and Social Development

the search is clunky but the date and committee should help you find transcripts or video archives:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Berlioz’s Les Troyens, until 6:30PM today
Starring Tatiana Troyanos, Jessye Norman, Plácido Domingo, and Allan Monk. Production by Fabrizio Melano. From October 8, 1983. Placido as Aeneas!

Wagner’s Die Walküre, today 7:30PM until 6:30PM Monday
Starring Hildegard Behrens, Jessye Norman, Christa Ludwig, Gary Lakes, James Morris. Production by Otto Schenk. From April 8, 1989.  Just under four hours but all riveting!

February 13, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"Hope" is the thing with feathers--
That perches in the soul--
And sings the tune without the words--
And never stops--at all.

   ---Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet


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

Heart Beet Organics Farmacy and Fermentary, store and order pickup 9AM-1PM, store with many fresh vegetables and ferments; and restaurant open until 6PM. 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.


Starts today!

Great Backyard Bird Count begins today, February 12-15th, anywhere, details here
(and someone from P.E.I."s extensive bird watching
community can tell me if this is "worth it" or if there are other opportunities for backyard birding.

And Phillips Feed, Exhibition Drive, is open until 12noon with sale on birdfood and feeders this week.
Rainforest Lounge with Todd MacLean and special guest Logan Richard, 7PM, Instagram Live.
Valentines Eve Concert at The Haviland, 7:30PM, The Haviland Club, Charlottetown, email for reservations, proceeds to help local and international charities.
Contact David MacKay at <>
to see if they are still accepting reservations or donations.

Consultation and stewardship -- town...

Is Charlottetown a Community OR a Commodity? - by the Future of Charlottetown, on their Facebook Group

Posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021
In the past two years, almost every Charlottetown neighbourhood has encountered unfortunate decisions by city hall. The list includes Simmons rink/pool closure, 15 Haviland urban design disaster, asphalt plant, original Trainor Street decision, funding of developer infrastructure, questionable tendering practices, and on and on.

We’re not alone.

Vancouver recently encountered a city hall that was losing touch with residents. Excerpts from the following article explain what they have done about it and why.

"Residents of Vancouver believe that their views on planning and development are being ignored. Vancouver’s communities have united to propose a different approach. Working together as the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods we aim to restore neighbourhood-based planning while strengthening community involvement and influence in decision making.

If Vancouver is to remain an inclusive, liveable and healthy city, we must have a City Council that will respect our diverse neighbourhoods as the fundamental building blocks of our city.

Community consultation means more than making planning and development decisions in private, then informing residents... The City must work collaboratively with residents, neighbourhood associations and community organizations throughout the planning process. The decision-making process must be transparent and accountable to ensure that planning reflects the needs, aspirations, and local knowledge of residents.

The interests of communities and residents must come before private profits. Housing and developments should be consistent with established neighbourhood character."

Sound familiar? In the Charlottetown case, our community seems to have become a commodity in which our neighbourhood facilities are traded off, our waterfront and green areas are turned over to developers with little or no thought, and our citizens are treated like they don't matter.

Future of Charlottetown is trying to assist our neighbourhoods in being heard by city hall and in encouraging our provincial officials to recognize their oversight responsibilities.

Please help get the message out and let us know your thoughts, concerns and ideas.

Consultation and stewardship -- country...

I Dissent - by Sally Bernard, Barnyard Organics Farm

Published on Wednesday, February 10th, 2021, on her blog,

What does Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the late and celebrated American Supreme Court Justice have to do with agriculture on PEI? Perhaps not much, but her famous dissentions have inspired this letter. Because like Ruth was, I am a member of a collective in which I am often the minority opinion, and likewise, my opinion is rarely represented or supported by the collective, in this case the PEI Federation of Agriculture. I am a farmer and I support other farmers, which is why I continue to support farm organizations and hold membership with them, expecting them to represent my voice and values to higher authorities. 

Sadly, I’ve watched my representative organization continue to rally around decisions that support economy over environment, corporations over small farms and commodities over communities. The most recent push to remove the moratorium over high capacity wells and increase the capacity for irrigation has me feeling like a very small voice in a large room. 

I receive newsletters encouraging me to contact my MLA regarding “the water issue”, assuming I will rally support for increased irrigation and water usage. But as I work in the buckle of the potato belt, waking to the whine of sprayers most mornings, watching soil wash into our deteriorating waterways, washing blowing red dirt off my siding, I struggle to get behind the chorus for measures that would facilitate even more industrialized exploitation of our resources.
Three new ‘ponds’ have been constructed within 5km of our farm in the last few weeks and while I of course do not support the use of high capacity wells for golf courses or leisure activities either, I cannot allow those objections to prevent me from acknowledging the short-sightedness of further loosening of regulations around our water. And while I abhor the pressure that farmers feel to take perfectly arable land out of production to build huge well-water-fed ponds, I again cannot let my empathy for their position overshadow my concerns for the water the future farmers and generations will be able to access.

So while my farming organization calls on politicians to consider the plight of drought-affected producers, with irrigation as the solution, I dissent.

Escarpment Blues by Sarah Harmer
If they blow a hole in my backyard
Everyone is gonna run away
The creeks won't flow to the Great Lake below
Will the water in the wells still be okay?

We'll keep driving on the Blind Line
If we don't know where we want to go
Even knowledge that's sound can get watered down
Truth can get sucked out the car window

We're two thirds water
What do we really need?
But sun, showers
Soil and seed

We're two thirds water

The aquifers provide
Deep down in the rock
There's a pearl inside

If they blow a hole in the backbone
The one that runs across the muscles of the land
We might get a load of stone for the road
But I don't know how much longer we can stand



Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, 2PM, CBC Music, 104.7FM,
Massenet’s Cendrillon
Performance from April 28, 2018
Conducted by Bertrand de Billy; Kathleen Kim (La Fée), Joyce DiDonato (Cendrillon), Alice Coote (Le Prince Charmant), Stephanie Blythe (Madame de la Haltière), Laurent Naouri (Pandolfe)  Sweet version of Cinderella

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming: Serious history stuff!

Philip Glass’s Akhnatentoday until 6:30PM
Starring Dísella Lárusdóttir, J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein, and Zachary James, conducted by Karen Kamensek. Production by Phelim McDermott. From November 23, 2019.

Berlioz’s Les Troyens7:30PM until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Tatiana Troyanos, Jessye Norman, Plácido Domingo, and Allan Monk. Production by Fabrizio Melano. From October 8, 1983.

February 12, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children."

        --Charles Darwin, (1809-1882) British naturalist

(whose birthday is today)

and especially when one of those children is Greta Thunberg...

Fridays4Future, 3:30PM, near Province House.
Facebook event details

Great Backyard Bird Count begins today, February 12-15th, anywhere, details here
(and someone from P.E.I."s extensive bird watching community can tell me if this is "worth it" or if there are other opportunities for backyard birding.

Deadline for Public Comments:
Proposed Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act

More details:

Tomorrow, Saturday, February 13th:
a bit on Darwin and all:
Webinar: "A Most Interesting Problem -- What Darwin Got Right and Wrong about Human Evolution in The Descent of Man", Darwin Week Event," 3-5PM, free, online.

"Join The Leakey Foundation for a celebration of Darwin’s birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Descent of Man.

This event brings together seven world-class scholars and science communicators to explore what Darwin got right and what he got wrong about the origin, history, and biological variation of humans."

Facebook event link for more details
Event link to register

Which MLA represents where, and what?  Who is in what cabinet seat?  Constituency and roles are listed for each of the Members of the Legislative Assembly on this page, here, but you have to click on each one:

The LEAP folks have also been promoting a better role for Postal Services in connecting the country in a green way.


Canada Post has the ability to change the country for the better - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, February 11th, 2021

What if Canada Post was part of the post-COVID recovery? Last year was a record year for parcel delivery. Parcel delivery at CPC has been growing exponentially for the past five years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. With this kind of growth, a corporation like Canada Post must roll up its sleeves and review its values, its commitment, and the service portfolio it offers to the population. 

Canada Post already has the infrastructure and the network to be an integral part of the post-COVID recovery and development. In doing so, it would create jobs across the country and be part of the government’s environmental plan, while also respecting its mandate to be financially self-sustaining. 

To achieve this, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has launched a bold campaign called “Delivering Community Power.” Post offices are everywhere throughout Canada. CPC has more than 6,400 outlets, the largest retail network in the country. CUPW proposes to accelerate the electrification of Canada Post’s vehicle fleet. CPC operates more than 20,000 vehicles, generating 65 kilotons of CO2 every year. 

The acquisition of electric vehicles would benefit the environment, stimulate the automotive sector and create decent jobs. Now, imagine if Canada Post installed charging stations at its facilities and made them available to all, creating the largest network of charging stations in Canada. 

COVID has brought to light the problem of high-speed Internet access in hundreds of communities. With its extensive presence in those communities, Canada Post could play a central role perfectly in line with the government’s commitment to bring high-speed Internet access to all communities. This also fits with Canada Post’s mission, because it supports online shopping and online shopping fuels parcel delivery. In 62 countries, the post office also provides banking services. Canada’s extensive postal network could also provide crucial banking services, especially in remote, rural and Indigenous communities, which have been abandoned by major banks.

Finally, imagine letter carriers knocking at the door of someone who lives alone. They could offer this check-in service at the request of a family member who could receive a notification saying that everything is fine, or that help is needed. 

My 56,000 brothers and sister from CUPW will not accept that Canada Post is sitting idly, refusing to change its old values and habits. I urge you to contact your Member of Parliament to demand a strong postal service for the future. 

Scott Gaudet, postal worker, Summerside

And let's start with resuming door-to-door delivery.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Rather different experiences as rulers, with Luciano Pavarotti as a King of Sweden and his awful fate in Verdi's A Masked Ball, and Anthony Ross Costanzo as Ahknaten and his awful fate in a Philip Glass opera of the same name. But both mesmerizing in their own way.

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Aprile Millo, Harolyn Blackwell, Florence Quivar, Luciano Pavarotti, and Leo Nucci. Production by Piero Faggioni. From January 26, 1991.

Philip Glass’s Akhnaten, 7:30PM Friday until 6:30PM Saturday

Starring Dísella Lárusdóttir, J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein, and Zachary James, conducted by Karen Kamensek. Production by Phelim McDermott. From November 23, 2019

February 11, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

requiescat in pace, Daryl, and condolences to your family and friends, and the many students and Islanders whose lives you graced

Always an environmental advocate

Daryl Guignion remembered for passion for conservation - The Guardian article

Published on Thursday, February 11th, 2021

from a celebration of his retirement, on the West River, in 2008. 
Photo by Diane Griffin

“I believe that Daryl is an example to us all by what he did in a positive way to maintain our natural world, perhaps more than any other individual in the province.” Sen. Diane Griffin

With the passing of Daryl Guignion on Feb. 8, 2021, Prince Edward Island has lost one of the greatest advocates for environmental conservation in the province, say those who knew him.

“As a university professor, he educated many about the importance of our environment. Because of his influence, teachers and other professionals brought environmental concerns to younger generations and to Islanders at large," said Rosemary Curley of Nature P.E.I. His students went on to positions of influence in university faculties, environment departments and nongovernmental organizations throughout Canada.

“A strong advocate for Atlantic salmon conservation, erosion control, and natural areas, Daryl mentored many Islander," said Dan McAskill, president of Hillsborough River Association. “He was one of our foremost spokespersons for watershed conservation on P.E.I. and media sought his comments on the prevention of watershed problems.”

Guignon understood that conservation meant wise use of our environment and he constantly spoke and acted for the province's natural resources. His free time was often spent helping organizations committed to river restoration, and he assisted hunters and trappers with problems. He was a founder and the second president of the Island Nature Trust, set up to protect habitat on the Island through land acquisition. He was also a founder of the Morell River Management Cooperative. As a former president of the P.E.I. Wildlife Federation and a board member of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, his advocacy and influence was felt beyond the university and immediate community. He operated at the policy level as well as the practical “hands on” level to get things done. For his efforts he received many awards including the Hon. J. Angus MacLean Natural Areas Award, National Recreational Fisheries Award and the Prince Edward Island Environmental Award.

A UPEI professor, Guignion retired in 2008 from his faculty position at the biology department, but still taught sessional courses and led workshops. At the University of Prince Edward for 41 years, he served on many committees, the university senate, and was chair of the biology department.

Sen. Diane Griffin, who was a student in the first class taught by Guignion said, “I believe that Daryl is an example to us all by what he did in a positive way to maintain our natural world, perhaps more than any other individual in the province.”

He was an inspirational teacher, and UPEI students awarded him as Faculty Member of the Year. With his tremendous knowledge, pleasant, easy-going manner, and sense of humour, he was always in demand as a popular speaker.

In honour of Guignon and his colleague, Dr. Ian MacQuarrie, former students established the Daryl Guignion and Ian MacQuarrie Graduate Scholarship in Science at UPEI to assist students in ecological and wildlife studies. While donations are still being sought, several students have received scholarships to date.


"The best way to remember Daryl is to plant a red oak tree."

     --- from the full obituary, sweetly detailed and poignantly personal, below 


Outside the Rails -- Better Health Care Governance for PEI, with MLA Trish Altass, 7PM, Zoom

Green MLA and Health Critic Trish Altass presents a bill she's working on to restore Health PEI's ability to carry out its strategic plan and operations without undue political interference, reversing controversial changes made by the Liberal government in 2018.

Zoom registration link   If that doesn't work, more details and another link here:

Saturday, February 13th:
Valentines Eve Concert at The Haviland, 7:30PM, The Haviland Club, Charlottetown, email for reservations, proceeds to help local and international charities.
Love songs define Valentines and there will be a variety of love songs at the Valentines Eve concert on Saturday, February 13th, 7:30 at the Haviland Club, in Charlottetown.

Part of the net proceeds from the concert will go to support a local international development organization ISCA ( which is beginning a new agriculture initiative in Legane, Haiti. Proceeds will also be shared with Lennon House P.E.I (

Admission is by donation and reservations are available by emailing

if confirmations are NOT received within 12 hours seating may be at capacity, due to Covid restrictions ( 4 and 10 persons person tables available).

Haiti project online donations are being accepted at or by contacting: 902-940-5864.

The event is being is being organized under guidelines provided by Health PEI.

Now until 12noon, Saturday, Feburary 20th:
Bird Food and Feeders sale at Phillips Feed Store,
Exhibition Drive, Charlottetown

Some percentage off for the buyer, and Phillips donates to Island Nature Trust, from the sale, too.

It you want to catch up on any P.E.I. Provincial Legislature Standing Committee meetings or other business, here are two ways:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Battle, Rockwell Blake, Leo Nucci, Enzo Dara, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Ralf Weikert. Production by John Cox. From December 3, 1988.  It's just Madcap.

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, 7:30PM until 6:30PM Friday
Starring Aprile Millo, Harolyn Blackwell, Florence Quivar, Luciano Pavarotti, and Leo Nucci. Production by Piero Faggioni. From January 26, 1991.  Although another opera featuring the  "brooding power and elegance of Verdi’s drama of love and politics", it's really gripping!  And the costumes are delightful.

from The Guardian, Thursday, February 11th, 2021, page B7

GUIGNION, Daryl Lloyd 1942-2021
Daryl Lloyd Guignion died on February 8, 2021 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, PEI. He was born to Lloyd and Mabel Guignion in Rosebridge, Gaspe. Daryl and his siblings, Garth, Sandra and Marlene, grew up in a small house on land that today borders on Forillon National Park. To say that Daryl came from a modest background would be an understatement. He didn’t experience the luxury of indoor plumbing or a telephone until he was in high school. Money was scarce and Daryl developed his strong work ethic as a young boy, working in the woods alongside his father and brother cutting pulpwood, milking the cow, tending the garden and raising chickens and later, working in copper mines in Murdochville. He inherited his mother’s gentle nature and she encouraged him to do well in school. Daryl saw the damage inflicted on the family by his father’s alcoholism and promised his mother he would never drink. He stayed true to his word. Grade 12 was unavailable in Gaspe and Daryl left to attend Dartmouth High School in Nova Scotia. He became the first in his family to get a university degree, completing his BSc at Mount Allison University. Daryl spoke often about the influence of Dr. Hinrich Harries at Mt. A in encouraging a holistic view of the environment and developing a passion for field work. Wilfred Carter encouraged Daryl to do his Masters Degree at Laval University and he completed his Masters research project studying eider ducks in the St. Lawrence estuary. His Gaspe wilderness background came in handy when he spent a summer on an isolated island. He had many stories of harrowing trips in a small boat going to and from Brandy Pot Island, and eating gulls’ eggs when there were no other supplies. Father Charlie Cheverie offered Daryl a position in the Biology Department at St. Dunstan’s University which eventually turned into 40 plus years of teaching in the U.P.E.I. Biology Department. Daryl and Father Charlie would remain lifelong friends and enjoy fishing trips in the Morell River and in Gaspe for many years. Daryl cherished his years at the university and spoke often of how well he was treated, from cafeteria staff, custodians, and maintenance workers to lab technicians, secretaries and fellow professors. Daryl taught a variety of field courses and his students recall field trips to parts of PEI most of them had never visited - canoe trips to wetlands, snowshoeing, visits to old growth hardwoods and sand dune ecosystems. Some remember when he told them to lie on the beach at the Conway Sand Hills, close their eyes, and listen to the waves and the birds to fully experience and appreciate the beauty of the natural world around them. Daryl took students to the Atlantic Society of Fish and Wildlife Biologists annual meeting every year and they have lasting memories of hikes in Fundy National Park and of climbing Gros Morne Mountain. Other residents of Duffy Science Centre were less enthused when he brought in muskrats for the class to skin and examine or when students were asked to find an animal carcass and prepare the skull in his mammalogy class. The smell of rotting flesh lingered in the building for many days. Daryl sat on countless environmental committees both in PEI and across the country. One that was especially important to him was the 1985 National Parks Centennial Citizens Committee. He was able to visit national parks across Canada and in working with people from various backgrounds, he finally gained the confidence in his abilities and knowledge that had been lacking. He often pointed to that Committee as being a turning point in his life. His involvement in environmental issues in PEI included many hard-fought battles. Daryl may have been quiet but could be formidable when he was passionate and determined about something. He would often speak of his involvement in the development of the Island Nature Trust, the protection of Greenwich, and the Morell River Conservation Zone as perhaps his most proud achievements. He also took great pride in the development of two technical manuals for watershed management on PEI and two Atlantic salmon strategies which continue to provide guidance for river restoration in PEI. The journey was always more important to Daryl than the destination itself. No trip, long or short, could be done without frequent stops at an apple stand, donut shop, or dairy bar. The drive from PEI to his ancestral home in Gaspe took most people just over eight hours. For Daryl, it often stretched to twelve, as he stopped for a picnic, a walk along a river or beach and numerous naps. During the month of Daryl’s sudden illness, many former students reached out to share memories and comment on how he had shaped and influenced their lives. Many have said that they would not have chosen their career without Daryl’s influence and inspiration. The word most often used to describe Daryl was “gentle”. He had a quiet, positive approach and tended to see the best in people. He believed that fostering relationships was just as important as carrying out research, and enjoyed talking with landowners in their kitchens as he carried out work across PEI. He often spoke of how good it felt to be welcomed into homes and offered tea and biscuits when he would be seeking permission to access properties. Daryl was known for his generosity. He shared his knowledge of the environment willingly and with anyone who would listen. Even after his retirement from UPEI in 2008, Daryl continued to work with watershed groups in the province to improve habitat and populations of fish and wildlife. His generosity knew no bounds, and he was constantly delivering raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb and his famous raspberry jelly to anyone who would take them. Even when he was admitted to hospital, he insisted on having us bring in jelly for nurses and doctors involved in his care. Many people have also received red oak tree saplings from Daryl. He could be seen collecting acorns at his property in Canavoy, which he recently protected under the Natural Areas Protection Act, as well as on the UPEI campus and city parks. Not only would he give you saplings, he would often come to your property to plant them. The best way to remember Daryl is to plant a red oak tree. Although Daryl spent time in most of the rivers in PEI, the Morell River held a special place in his heart. He knew the river intimately, and when he had trouble going to sleep, would “launch” his canoe and paddle his way down the river until he fell asleep. He took pride in his involvement in the salmon restoration program for over 30 years and assisted in the collection of salmon up to this past fall. Daryl was very proud of his children and their accomplishments. It was fortunate that the children living out of province were able to visit and spend time with their dad during the past month. In the last few years, Daryl could be seen in a lawn chair watching Evelyn and Harrison play soccer or in the bleachers at a basketball game. Daryl and Rosie worked as a team over the past thirty years, sharing many days and nights in the field, and entertaining others with their bickering and banter. Pillow talk in their household was discussions around brook trout, salmon and smelts. Daryl received much recognition and many awards for his decades of environmental involvement and achievements and was particularly proud of his National Recreational Fisheries Award received in 2012. The recognition was appreciated, but Daryl’s greatest wish has always been for Islanders to continue the fight and work to protect and restore our environment for future generations. Daryl is survived by his wife Rosie, children Jeff (Wendy), Suzanne (Diana), Daryl (Lisa), Amanda (John), Evelyn and Harrison; grandsons Justin (Tia), Zakary (Tatyjanna), and Sam (Savannah), as well as great- granddaughters Atlas and Arya Guignion. Daryl is survived by his brother Garth and sisters Sandra Adams (Arden) and Marlene Guignion, as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Donations in Daryl’s memory can be made to the Island Nature Trust or the Daryl Guignion and Ian MacQuarrie Graduate Scholarship in Science at UPEI. Arrangements entrusted to MacLean Funeral Home Swan Chapel. Online condolences may be made at

February 10, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

(The United States and the Soviet Union) "...tend to speak of national security as though it were still capable of being dissociated from the universal well-being; in fact, sometimes in these political addresses it sounds as though this nation, or any nation, through force of character or force of arms, could damn well rise above planetary considerations, as though we were greater than our environment, as though the national verve somehow transcended the natural world."
        -- E.B. White (1899-1985), American essayist amazing quote from decades ago, from the author of many essays, and Charlotte's Web

Eat Local PEI local markets order today for delivery/pickup later this week/weekend.  Details here:

Standing Committee meetings today:

Health and Social Development, 9AM, online

1. Treatments options for Cystic Fibrosis

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on treatment options for Cystic Fibrosis from Advocacy Director for Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Hunter Guindon.

2. Technology for Type 1 Diabetes

The committee will meet to receive a briefing from Brooks Roche on the technologies available to manage Type 1 Diabetes.

Health and Social Development, 1:30PM, online


1. Supervised consumption sites

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on supervised consumption sites and harm reduction.

  • Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison

  • Senior Public Health Policy and Planning Officer, Erin Bentley

2. Mobile mental health crisis units

  • Chief Administrative Officer of Health PEI - Mental Health and Addictions, Lisa Thibeau

  • Manager of Community Mental Health and Addictions (West), Lorna Hutt

  • Director of Mental Health and Addictions Research, Dr. Amanda Hudson

This last topic was rescheduled from a week ago.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Outside the Rails -- Modernizing Electricity on PEI, with Steve Howard, 7PM, webinar

Modernizing Electricity Background reading blog by Steve Howard:

(even though the date listed on this article has passed, I think they still want feedback)

I can't find a link to register for tonight's webinar, which should be all over the place -- we can share it on the Citizens' Alliance Facebook group page, which you can go to and join
Also tonight:
Webinar: Why We Organize, by the David Suzuki Foundation, 8PM
, online

from the event description:
Future Ground Network is a new David Suzuki Foundation initiative designed to support your grassroots groups and initiatives by providing training, resources and connections to help you strengthen your impact. Whether it’s creating urban agriculture projects, campaigning for climate justice or advancing sustainable transportation, Future Ground Network allows groups to collaborate to bring about the social and ecological transitions we and the planet so badly need. Learn more:

Do you want to help transform your neighbourhood or municipality? Are you already part of a community group and want to register your group to take advantage of the network? On February 10 at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET, for the length of a Netflix show or two, you can join us for our Future Ground Network launch webinar!

The webinar will feature guests from the Future Ground Network community, along with David Suzuki, to talk about what it takes to inspire collective action. Join us to learn more about what the network has to offer and help us answer the question: Why do we organize?

Facebook event link for more details

Registration Link:

Charlottetown News:

New hope for Simmons Arena as 3rd ice service at UPEI deemed not feasible

CBC article -- link only:


PETER McKENNA: What’s wrong with allowing 16-year-olds to vote? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Peter McKenna

Published on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

When my UPEI political science class on parties and elections tackled the thorny question of whether 16- and 17-year-olds should be able to vote in elections, there was no shortage of opinions. I started off by asking two pertinent questions: What problem is lowering the voting age trying to fix and, secondly, what harm would it do?

There were, of course, many other queries and plenty of thoughtful comments and lively discussion. Alas, there was no real consensus for or against changing the voting age. In fact, the students had more questions than answers.

I essentially identified the problem at hand as a disturbingly low voter turnout rate in Canada. And that participation rate has been declining sharply since 1988 (when it stood at 75 per cent). It barely broke 61 per cent in the 2011 federal election (and the provincial numbers for voter turnout are shockingly worse, with the exception of P.E.I.).

There are a handful of arguments against allowing 16-year-olds to vote for legal, educational and political reasons. One of the central objections is that 16-year-olds lack the requisite civic or political maturity to vote — that is, they don’t have sufficient knowledge of Canadian politics, policy issues and party platforms and leaders.

Not surprisingly, there are an equal number of arguments in favour of lowering the voting age. Many of them revolve around boosting voter turnout, ensuring that politicians pay attention to the issues (like the climate emergency) of younger Canadians and instilling in youth a habit of early voting to sustain our democracy over the long term. 

It is worth pointing out here that political parties in Canada, at both the federal and provincial level, have their own electoral agendas when it comes to lowering the voting age. Indeed, parties on the political left tend to embrace the idea because they surmise that younger voters will naturally gravitate toward their progressive policy platforms. Those on the right, however, tend to oppose the change so as to block the left-leaning parties from benefitting from such a measure.

Call me a cynical political scientist, but I’m just not convinced that those advocating for or against lowering the age of voting are doing so in the absence of electoral motives.

Now, does the general public itself support lowering the voting age? According to a 2016 Angus Reid poll, the answer is a resounding no (not even among younger voters). In fact, 75 per cent of respondents overall were strongly opposed to lowering the voting age to 16.

But what was really interesting was that 66 per cent of those in the 18-34 age range also objected to such a move. It was less surprising that those 55 and older rejected the idea by a whopping 82 per cent.

The fact of the matter is that we really don’t have a lot of solid data to bolster either side’s arguments. There has been some statistical evidence from Germany, which does allow voting at 16, showing that turnout numbers have increased by 5 to 8 per cent. But then there is a drop-off in turnout in subsequent elections for those in the 21-30 age range.

Obviously, the dismal 32 per cent turnout for those aged 16 and 17 in P.E.I.’s fall 2016 electoral reform plebiscite is not encouraging. There is just no way to sugar-coat that awful participation rate. And that figure is even more problematic when you recall that Elections P.E.I. undertook a youth mobilization campaign, made it easier to vote online and by phone and allowed for a week-long advance poll.

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not exactly sure where I stand on lowering the voting age. When I listen to young people speak on matters of a political nature, I’m often impressed with their knowledge and level of understanding. But then I think about the fact that so many voters in the 18-25-year-old range have completely tuned out of politics altogether and just can’t be bothered. 

Yet, if there was data from those countries permitting voting at 16 confirming a trend toward higher voter turnout and youth engagement in politics in general, then I would certainly lean toward supporting the idea. But given the historically low turnout rates by that 18-25 age cohort in Canada, I’d like to see the data first.

Along with the statistical voting info, I would also make two other suggestions. First, any move to implement voting at 16 should be accompanied by a mandatory civics education course (with a passing grade) at the high school level. Secondly, it wouldn’t hurt to first test the waters of youth voting at the municipal level to gauge the interest and turnout of 16- and 17-year-olds.

I realize that these recommendations are not a perfect solution. But at least we would have some hard data to work with going forward.

Peter McKenna is professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island.


Energy News (LINK only) from The (U.K.) Guardian:

Why oil giants are swapping oil rigs for offshore windfarms

The fossil fuel giants need to find new ways to reduce emissions, generate growth and maintain their share price

finally, but still some issues regarding renewables....

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:  two legendary performances available, honouring Black History Month.  More details:

Verdi’s Ernani, until 6:30PM
Starring Leona Mitchell, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, and Ruggero Raimondi. Production by Pier Luigi Samaritani. From December 17, 1983.

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Battle, Rockwell Blake, Leo Nucci, Enzo Dara, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Ralf Weikert. Production by John Cox. From December 3, 1988.  A fun classic performance.

February 9, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books."
      --- Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913) ,Vice chancellor, University of London


Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO order deadline noon today for Thursday pickup:

Standing Committees Today:
Public Accounts, 9:30AM

Topic: Briefing on Procurement of Goods Act

The committee will receive a briefing on the Procurement of Goods Act and its regulations by Lori Richard, Acting Manager of Procurement Services, Department of Finance; and Kal Whitnell, Executive Director of Economic and Population Growth, Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture. 

Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM

Topic: Briefing on PEI's economic recovery

The committee will meet for a briefing on plans for PEI's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for women.

  • Minister of Economic Growth,Tourism and Culture, Hon. Matthew MacKay

  • Deputy Minister of Economic Growth,Tourism and Culture, Erin McGrath-Gaudet

Please note: A meeting with Hon. Minister Jameson and the Director of the Interministerial Women's Secretatiat will be rescheduled for a later date. 

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

On Modernizing legislation on Electricity on P.E.I:
a reminder from Tony Reddin, who among many things also serves at the Energy Coordinator for ECO-PEI:

Here is an "invitation for feedback on this initiative for important legislation...comments can still be sent to See also Wednesday, February 10th presentation and feedback notice at

Action to Consider-- Federal Aquaculture Act

from the David Suzuki Foundation

Share your thoughts in the federal consultation to shape Canada’s first-ever Aquaculture Act!

Canada is creating its first-ever federal Aquaculture Act. We’re concerned that this legislation could undermine existing environmental protections for the sake of economic growth.

Now is our chance to ask Canada to put nature first in the Aquaculture Act.

Don’t let the industry off the hook! Demand that the new Aquaculture Act will not exempt industry from environmental protection standards and will provide a clear framework for enforcement.

You can help ensure that the aquaculture industry remains bound by strong environmental protection standards. Many regulations that help protect aquatic environments from the harmful impacts of aquaculture already exist. The new act must not water them down.

We don’t need a new law that exempts the aquaculture industry from these regulations, but we do need one that builds on existing standards and focuses on protecting the environment.

Speak up now for Canada’s aquatic environments. Tell Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Minister Bernadette Jordan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put nature first in the Aquaculture Act.

Read the very well-put-together letter here and consider signing:

Interesting to read analysis of land protection in our neighbouring province:  

JIM VIBERT: Finally, Nova Scotia hits land protection landmark, barely - The Guardian article by Jim Vibert

Published around Saturday, February 6th, 2021, in Saltwire publications
(before Iain Rankin's win as Nova Scotia Liberal leader and next Premier)

It’s a classic case of better late than never.

This week the provincial government announced 20 sites for designation as parks or protected natural areas, bringing the province – barely – to its long-held goal of protecting 13 per cent of the province’s land for nature, and for people to connect with and enjoy nature, respectfully.

It’s late because Stephen McNeil promised that the goal would be achieved during his first term in office, which ended some 45 months ago.

The announcement, coming in the dying days of McNeil’s Liberal government, gives his successor a little breathing room, at least on this file.

Liberals pick a new leader today, and he will be installed as Nova Scotia’s 29th premier sometime in the next week or two.

Each of the three leadership contenders – Labi Kousoulis, Iain Rankin and Randy Delorey – pledged to hit the 13-per cent target post haste, so the winner can strike that promise from the daunting to-do list that already awaits him.

Rankin went a step further, promising to protect all of the remaining sites – more than 100 still remain unprotected – on the eight-year old Parks and Protected Areas plan that McNeil’s government inherited.

While this week’s announcement bought the next premier a little time, the reprieve will be short-lived. As the McNeil Liberals dithered, balked and winced all the way to the modest – if not timid – 13 per cent, the world passed us by.

In 2010, the UN adopted a new goal to protect 17 per cent of the world’s land. Canada signed on to that goal and Bill Lahey included it in his seminal 2018 study and report recommending the province move to ecologically sound forestry practices. The province accepted Lahey’s report and is implementing it at a lazy snail’s pace.

More recently, the 30-by-30 movement has taken hold and much of the world – including Canada and, since the election of President Joe Biden, the United States – has pledged to protect 30 per cent of its land by 2030.

That’s an ambitious – even audacious – goal, but scientists say 30 per cent is both essential and minimal to combat the Earth’s twin environmental crises – global warming and mass extinction.

Post-pandemic, when the world turns its attention back to, well, saving the world, the 30 per cent target is likely to become the standard and Nova Scotia’s 13 per cent will be seen for what it is – wholly inadequate.

Many Nova Scotians won’t be happy with a government that’s making them laggards in the global effort to make peace with nature. There will be political pressure to protect more of Nova Scotia, and their will be opponents to the protection of one more hectare of “usable” land.

Word seeping out of the provincial government is that there are voices in McNeil’s cabinet opposed to protecting any new land and who consider every acre placed under protection another acre lost to economic exploitation. That’s the same mindset that brought the world to the brink of environmental ruin, climate catastrophe and the mass extinction of thousands of plant and animal species – where we are today.

The provincial Lands and Forestry Department confirmed this week that when – and if – the 20 new sites are protected the province will have about 720,000 hectares of land under protection. This includes wilderness areas, provincial parks, nature reserves, private conservation lands (land protected by organizations like the Nova Scotia Nature Trust and Nature Conservancy of Canada), and federal lands such as National Parks and National Wildlife Areas.

Even with of all that, the province barely breaks the 13 per cent barrier.

Nova Scotia’s landmass is roughly 5.5 million hectares so, when the proposed sites are added, the province will have protected 13.09 per cent of its land. It will have cleared the 13 per cent bar by a mere five hectares. By comparison, New York’s Central Park is about 340 hectares and Truro’s Victoria Park is over 1,200 hectares.

Nova Scotia attainment of the 13 per cent goal is still only notionally, because a dozen of the named sites will undergo a period of public comment before they are officially designated, but that’s considered largely a pro forma exercise.

All the sites in the Parks and Protected Areas plan – including the 20 announced this week – got there after extensive consultation, so the places in question have already cleared that hurdle once.

Plus, most folks living near those sites will likely be surprised to learn that they aren’t already protected, just as folks on the Eastern Shore were shocked to learn that Owl’s Head provincial park wasn’t a park at all, but prime real estate for a golf resort.

The Liberal government surreptitiously removed Owl’s Head from the Parks and Protected Areas list a couple of years back to clear the way for a golf development, unleashing a firestorm of protest that still rages on.

The next premier, like the departing premier, will have to find his own “balance” between often competing interests to preserve the land or to exploit the land.

For generations, politicians have been claiming to balance environmental and economic considerations and for generations economic considerations carried more weight and, almost invariably, the day.

That’s changing in more enlightened jurisdictions, where the existential threat from continued environmental degradation has sunk in, and where they’ve discovered that there are new economic opportunities to be found in protecting the planet.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Wagner’s Das Rheingold, until 6:30PM Tuesday
Starring Wendy Bryn Harmer, Stephanie Blythe, Patricia Bardon, Richard Croft, Gerhard Siegel, Dwayne Croft, Bryn Terfel, Eric Owens, Franz-Josef Selig, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by James Levine. Production by Robert Lepage. From October 9, 2010.

Verdi’s Ernani, 7:30PM until 6:30PM Wednesday
From December 17, 1983. "Pier Luigi Samaritani’s romantic production beautifully captures the sweep and passion of Verdi’s music. ...The great Luciano Pavarotti is at his stunning best in the title role as the wronged nobleman turned bandit. A beautiful and heartbreaking Leona Mitchell is Elvira, the woman he loves. But she is also pursued by two other men: King Don Carlo (Sherrill Milnes in one of his greatest roles) and her aged guardian, Don Ruy Gomez de Silva (a superb Ruggero Raimondi)." This is the one where the sound of the hunting horn messes up the couple's happiness.

February 8, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"No matter how dark the cloud, there is always a thin, silver lining, and that is what we must look for.  The silver lining will be come, if not to us then to next generation or the generation after that.  And maybe with that generation the lining will no longer be thin."
        --Wangari Maathai (1940-2011), Kenyan environmental political activist
, Nobel Laureate

Local food ordering this week:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2Go, order by TUESDAY NOON, for Thursday pick-up/delivery,

EatLocalPEI --
Order by Wednesday night
for pickup/delivery Saturday/Sunday

"Outside the Rails" Series, from the Official Opposition, continues, via Zoom, with three MLAs sharing what they are working on for this next sitting of the Legislature, with discussion:

Wednesday, February 10th:
Green MLA and Energy Critic Steve Howard, 7PM, has two pieces of draft legislation he is working on to modernize electricity on PEI and pave the way for a renewable future, and invites your input. 

Thursday, February 11th:
Green MLA and Health Critic Trish Altass, 7PM,  presents two bills she's working on to create an accountability framework between the Minister of Health and the Health PEI board and Clarifying the grounds for the disclosure of health information.

Wednesday, February 17th:
Green MLA and Net Zero Critic Ole Hammarlund, 7PM.  The green architect by profession - will present the promise and potential of net-zero buildings, which means buildings that produce the same amount of energy as they use.

LINK to register for any of the "Outside the Rail" events:

Friday, February 12th:
Deadline for public input on
Temporary Foreign Worker Proposed Legislation

An aside:
Let's put in protections for these workers;  we need to look at why there are these labour shortages and could wages, length of shifts and working conditions be improved.

Standing Committees this week:

Tuesday, February 9th:
Public Accounts, 9:30AM

Topic: Briefing on Procurement of Goods Act

The committee will receive a briefing on the Procurement of Goods Act and its regulations by Lori Richard, Acting Manager of Procurement Services, Department of Finance; and Kal Whitnell, Executive Director of Economic and Population Growth, Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture. 

Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM

Topic: Briefing on PEI's economic recovery

The committee will meet for a briefing on plans for PEI's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for women.

  • Minister of Economic Growth,Tourism and Culture, Hon. Matthew MacKay

  • Deputy Minister of Economic Growth,Tourism and Culture, Erin McGrath-Gaudet

  • Minister of (Education and Early Learning) and Responsible for the Status of Women, Hon. Natalie Jameson

  • Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change, Brad Colwill**

  • Director of the Interministerial Women's Secretariat, Michelle Harris-Genge

Wednesday, February 10th:
Health and Social Development, 9AM

Topic 1. Treatments options for Cystic Fibrosis

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on treatment options for Cystic Fibrosis from Advocacy Director for Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Hunter Guindon.

Topic 2. Technology for Type 1 Diabetes

The committee will meet to receive a briefing from Brooks Roche on the technologies available to manage Type 1 Diabetes.

Heath and Social Development, 1:30PM
Topic: Supervised consumption sites

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on supervised consumption sites and harm reduction.

  • Hon. Minister of Health and Wellness, James Aylward**

  • Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison

  • Senior Public Health Policy and Planning Officer, Erin Bentley

**Minister/Deputy Minister at the time the meeting was posted, so subject to change**

Watch online:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Atlantic Skies for February 8th - 14th, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts

The Dogs of Winter

As anyone interested in observing the night sky knows, Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. Located in the constellation of Canis Major - the Big Dog, situated to the lower left of the constellation of Orion - the Hunter, Sirius is often referred to as "the Dog Star". Canis Major, along with Canis Minor - the Little Dog, are Orion's four-legged hunting companions. From the ancient Greek seirios, meaning "glowing" or "scorching", Sirius was considered a bad omen by the ancient Romans, who were said to sacrifice dogs to protect their crops from disease, which they associated with the presence of the star in the night sky. The ancient Greeks believed Sirius affected the behaviors of dogs during the hottest part of the summer, what they called the "dog days"; from which we inherited the phrase "the dog days of summer" to denote abnormally warm weather during the summer months.

Sirius is actually a binary star system, consisting of a hot, white primary star (Sirius A), and a tiny "pup", white dwarf star (Sirius B). Interestingly, the Sirius binary system is thought to have originally consisted of two large, bright, bluish stars, with one of them eventually evolving into a red giant, shedding its stellar atmosphere, and collapsing into a white dwarf (Sirius B). Sirius A is twice as massive as our Sun, and 25x brighter. At mag. -1.46, Sirius is located 8.6 light years (lys) from Earth, making it one of our nearest stellar neighbours; actually the fifth closest star to Earth. For the next 60,000 years, Sirius will slowly move closer to our planet, gradually brightening as it does; it will then begin to move away from Earth, but will remain our brightest star in the night sky for approximately the next 210,000 years.

Although it was important to numerous ancient cultures, Sirius was particularly important to the ancient Egyptians. Due to its heliacal rising (when a star, after being behind the Sun, and thus unobservable, for a season, appears above the eastern horizon just before sunrise), Sirius marked the pending annual flooding of the Nile River.Its appearance afforded the Egyptian farmers time to move their livestock and temporary buildings from the river's delta area.

The other "dog star" in the night sky is Procyon, the brightest star in the constellation of Canis Minor - the Little Dog, to the upper left of Orion. At mag. +0.34, Procyon is the eighth brightest star in the night sky, situated  a mere 11.46 lys from Earth. It, too, is a binary star system, consisting of a hot, white, primary (Procyon A) and a small companion, white dwarf star (Procyon B). The name Procyon comes from the ancient Greek Prokyoh, meaning "before the dog", in reference to the fact that Procyon precedes Sirius ("the Dog Star") across the night sky, due to Earth's rotation. Orion, Canis Major (with Sirius) and Canis Minor (with Procyon) are all prominent in the mid-evening, winter night sky, about 1/3 the way up the sky above the southern horizon. On a clear, crisp winter's evening, away from city lights, these three constellations and their bright stars (especially Sirius) are breath-taking. If you have your binoculars with you, or are using a telescope, have a look at the magnificent Orion Nebula hanging below the middle star of Orion's belt. As well, have a look at Betelgeuse (a large, red, variable star, mag. +0.6- +1.6) in Orion's upper left- hand corner, and Rigel  (a variable, blue supergiant, mag. +0.05 - +0.18) in the lower right-hand corner.

Mars (mag. +0.6, in Aries - the Ram) remains the only planet visible again his coming week. The other bright planets - Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn - are too close to the Sun to be readily observable; Mercury achieves inferior solar conjunction (passing between Earth and the Sun) on Feb. 8. Visible around 6:10 p.m., 61 degrees above the southern horizon as the dusk sky darkens, Mars remains observable until it sets in the southwest around 1:20 a.m. Next week, we'll look at NASA's Mars 2020 landing on the Red Planet on the 18th.

Until next week, clear skies. 


 Feb.   8 - Mercury at inferior solar conjunction

          11 - New Moon


The Guardian (U.K.) has a feature interview with Canadian actress Catherine O'Hara in their paper today:
Schitt’s Creek, the story of a family holed up together against their will, is one of the biggest television hits of the pandemic. The show’s star, Catherine O’Hara, tells Hadley Freeman about her long working relationship with co-star Eugene Levy, starring In Home Alone and why she loves playing Moira Rose.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s Tosca, until 6:30PM tonight

Starring Shirley Verrett, Luciano Pavarotti, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Conlon. Directed by Tito Gobbi. From December 19, 1978.

Wagner’s Das Rheingold, 7:30PM Monday until 6:30PM Tuesday

Starring Wendy Bryn Harmer, Stephanie Blythe, Patricia Bardon, Richard Croft, Gerhard Siegel, Dwayne Croft, Bryn Terfel, Eric Owens, Franz-Josef Selig, and Hans-Peter König. Production by Robert Lepage. From October 9, 2010.

February 7, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy.  What a source of power!  I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
        --Thomas Edison, in 1931


Today, and sorry for the late notice:

Lecture Topic: Indigenous Fishery: Rights, Resilience, and Revival, The Father Daniel O'Hanley Memorial Lecture, 2PM, via Zoom. Presented by LAMP (Latin American Mission Program)

The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP) is presenting the 29th annual Daniel O’Hanley Memorial Lecture on Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. Due to COVID 19 restrictions, the lecture will be on-line. The link to register for the webinar is: The topic of the lecture is Indigenous Fishery: Rights, Resilience, and Revival. It is a timely subject, given the recent fishery conflicts which have arisen which reveal a lack of understanding of the rights of indigenous people, the treaties and the definitive and irrefutable court decisions over the years. The joint lecturers are Dr. Andrea Reid, a citizen of the Nisga’a nation (British Columbia), and her spouse, John-Francis Lane. They live in British Columbia. Both were brought up in West Prince, PEI with close ties to the Lennox Island First Nation. Andrea Reid is Assistant Professor with the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries She leads the Indigenous Fisheries Research Unit. John-Francis Lane is a conservationist with a B.Sc. in Natural Resource Conservation from the University of British Columbia. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in conservation science. 

John-Francis will begin the lecture by situating the audience on traditional, ancestral and unceded Indigenous territories. He will speak about the need for education for productive dialogue, indicating that many people lack the tools/language to have fruitful conversations. He will present the context of Maritime Mi’kmaq rights, legal rights and early settlement. Andrea will speak about Indigenous knowledge systems, active and sustainable management. She will present the history of Indigenous fisheries showing how the Fisheries Act made way for the dispossession and criminalization of Indigenous fishers. She uses a case study of Pacific salmon in BC, which brings out some of the larger truths. She will lay out the critical Supreme Court of Canada decisions that shape Indigenous fisheries realities today. She will speak about current conflicts like Sipekne’katik (Nova Scotia) arising from failing to reconcile ways of knowing and being. She will suggest some essential resources/readings/tools to guide the audience beyond this talk. 

As is the custom in the Daniel O’Hanley Memorial Lecture, a local person knowledgeable on the topic will give a short response to the guest presenters’ presentation. to connect the lecture to local realities. The responder for this event is Judy Clark, a respected Mi’kmaq Elder, a member of Abegweit Mi’kmaw Nation and Elder in Residence of the UPEI Mawi’omi Indigenous Student Centre. Each year since Daniel O’Hanley’s death on July 3, 1991, LAMP honours him and all Islanders by presenting the Daniel O’Hanley Memorial Lecture. 

Registration link:

Once again, apologies for bobbling Steven Myers' name once more, as the new Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action has "v" and not "ph" in his first name. 

It's Iain with two "i's" for the next Premier of Nova Scotia, and he is looking at Climate Action as a huge priority.  The former Environment Minister won the leadership of the Liberal Party via a ranked ballot. 

Iain Rankin will be next premier of Nova Scotia - CBC post by Michael Gorman

Posted on CBC Nova Scotia on Saturday, February 6th, 2021

Iain Rankin will be the next premier of Nova Scotia.

Rankin was elected following a vote by Nova Scotia Liberal Party delegates, with the results announced Saturday night during a virtual convention.

He defeated fellow former cabinet ministers Randy Delorey and Labi Kousoulis. Delorey was dropped following the first ballot after earning the fewest points.

About 97 per cent of the 8,100 delegates cast a ranked ballot.

"It's a monumental task and I'm up for it," Rankin told reporters.

He instantly becomes leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party and is now premier-designate. Stephen McNeil remains premier of the province until Rankin and his cabinet are sworn in, likely in a few weeks, although Rankin could not say for sure when he expected an event to take place.

Plans for a greener economy

At 37, Rankin was the youngest of the three candidates and he positioned himself as a candidate for generational change.

Much of his policy was framed around the environment, with Rankin pledging to form an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic rooted in green policies. He believes that resonated with voters.

"Obviously, younger people want to see action on a number of files that I spoke to, but the Liberal Party has always been a pragmatic party and one that really valued social progress," he said.

Rankin said that won't come at the expense of good fiscal management; now, he said, it will be done through a green lens.

Rankin has pledged to get the province off coal and increase the use of renewable energy sooner than commitments established by McNeil's government, and make Nova Scotia the first province in the country to be net carbon neutral.

He has also promised to implement the recommendations of the Lahey Report on forestry practices, which would see a drastic reduction in clear-cutting.

A premier for everyone

He dismissed suggestions that he was particularly different than McNeil, whom he said "has shown more political courage than any premier in our history."

Instead, Rankin said his plans are simply an evolution of things McNeil started and reflect things people want now, including confronting systemic racism.

"[People] want to see action on climate change. They want to see us continuing down the path of righting historic wrongs," Rankin said. "[McNeil] believes in those things, too, and I'm just proposing that we start taking those steps forward together and the party, I think, by and large, wants to see action in those areas."

During his acceptance speech, Rankin acknowledged it was Liberal delegates who put him in the position to become the next premier and he pledged to be a voice for everyone.

"Whether you're a union member or a business owner, whether you live in downtown Halifax or in a rural community, whether you work in an office or on the land or on the sea, or you are a student or are retired, I'll be calling on your skills, your experience and your expertise to guide our decisions," he said.

Next steps

Rankin inherits a province with a low COVID-19 case rate but a massive deficit as a result of the pandemic.

With mass vaccinations not expected before the fall and the province's vital tourism sector already bracing for another down year, Rankin has acknowledged that efforts to tackle the deficit must take a backseat to keeping as many small businesses above water as possible.

He said his top priority would be meeting with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang to discuss the province's pandemic response. Rankin pledged to follow McNeil's example of allowing the advice of Public Health, not politics, to take precedence in making decisions.

He also plans to speak with Kousoulis and Delorey on Sunday to discuss what role each will take in his cabinet, as well as opposition leaders to see what areas of common ground there are ahead of the spring sitting of the legislature.

Between then and now, a budget and throne speech also have to be finalized.

McNeil says goodbye

Rankin declined to discuss his transition plans, but said more news on that would be coming soon.

Bringing Kousoulis onside will be particularly important as the party works to achieve a unified front ahead of the next provincial election. On the second ballot, Rankin received 52.4 per cent of the points to Kousoulis's 47.6 per cent.

Saturday's event also included a tribute video to McNeil's time as leader of the party and premier. He announced last summer that he would be stepping down and not re-offering in the next election.

During his own address to the convention, McNeil talked about the importance of party members coming together quickly following the result and said the next 48 hours would be crucial.

"We've never been in a better position to grow, to take off, to launch," McNeil said.


It is SuperBowl Sunday, after all...

"NFL Green" Tackles Coral Restoration Project in Florida Ahead of Super Bowl LV - ECOWatch article by Tiffany Duong

Published on Thursday, February 4th, 2021

When we think of the Super Bowl — America's most popular sporting event, according to Arcadia Publishingocean conservation and military veterans usually aren't top of mind. But, for the last two years, a unique collaboration ahead of the annual game has placed coral restoration at the forefront of the world's attention.

For almost 30 years, NFL Green, the NFL's environmental and sustainability program, has managed community greening initiatives for the sports league. Each season, these culminate with "Green Week" before the big event, with projects undertaken by the NFL and Super Bowl Host Committee benefitting each host community, explained NFL Green Associate Director Susan Groh.

"The goal of NFL Green is to reduce the environmental impact of our events and to go well beyond that to leave a positive green legacy," Groh told EcoWatch. Efforts include recovering food, recycling and waste management, donating used event and building materials and offsetting energy for events.

This green legacy has also included a touch of blue in the last two years, meaning conservation efforts focused on the waters of host cities Miami in 2020 and now Tampa in 2021. Miami Green Week activities for Super Bowl LIV entailed planting 100 endangered staghorn corals in Biscayne Bay in honor of the NFL's 100th season, Groh said.

In the past year, the effort expanded to "100 Yards of Hope," a football field-sized coral restoration project. The end zones and center of the field-sized reef were placed in fall 2020, followed by divers planting thousands of staghorn and mountainous star corals from The Florida Aquarium (FLAQ), the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), SECORE International and Frost Science, explained FLAQ Senior Vice President of Conservation Debborah Luke.

"This critically important project is helping to restore Florida's Coral Reef, the third-largest barrier reef in the world, which is in crisis," Luke told EcoWatch.

Florida's Coral Reef provides key nursery areas that support the oceanic ecosystem and protect coastlines from storms and erosion, Luke said. It also provides significant economic benefits by pumping $3.4 billion annually into the U.S. economy through jobs, tourism, seafood and medicine, NFL's Groh added.

Unfortunately, global factors such as the climate crisis, ocean warming and acidification remain threats, along with regional pollutants and a mysterious coral disease.

"Over 90 percent of [the reef's] corals have died... restoration of Florida's Coral Reef is imperative if we are to continue reaping [its] benefits," Luke said.

100 Yards of Hope intends to reverse this trajectory on a single showcase reef, explained Dalton Hesley, a senior research associate at RSMAS, whose team spearheaded restoration efforts. This is the first large-scale restoration project to combine thousands of sexual and asexual multi-species coral transplants, along with disease tracking and mitigation, urchin relocation and high-resolution mapping. These actions all increase coral cover, diversity and recovery, Hesley noted.

55 divers remove marine debris from Tampa Bay as part of the NFL's Green Week. photo by Force Blue

"100 Yards of Hope is a symbol. It is a symbol of what passionate, hopeful individuals can accomplish when working towards a shared vision," Hesley told EcoWatch. "What started as a celebration of the NFL's 100th season has transformed into a fight for the future of our coral reef."

Last week, 150 elkhorn corals, another threatened coral species, were added to the field. RSMAS provided 55 of the endangered corals, in celebration of Super Bowl 55, this past weekend. FLAQ provided the remaining corals. A final planting of massive brain and star corals in the spring will complete 100 Yards of Hope, Groh said.

Military combat veterans from Force Blue assisted with the plantings. The nonprofit retrains and deploys former special operations veterans and military-trained combat divers to work alongside scientists and environmentalists on marine conservation work, explained Executive Director Jim Ritterhoff.

"If we can do something good for veterans by giving them a new mission to save the planet and provide a highly skilled workforce to the scientific community, all the better," Ritterhoff said. "But, maybe the [touchdown] of it all is how this effort uses Navy SEALS and the NFL, people you don't traditionally see talking about conservation, to reach an audience who wouldn't necessarily pay attention to coral reef scientists. People listen because these guys are their heroes."

Noting that this is more of a world project than a local Florida project, Ritterhoff added, "I think it's imperative that everyone be cognizant of these issues. The Florida Coral Reef is a national treasure, and it could be 100 percent gone in our lifetime. If we don't behave differently, it will be gone."

In addition to the coral restoration efforts, NFL Green completed traditional community greening projects. These involved creating pollinator gardens, planting mangroves, restoring shoreline and adding sand dunes to prevent erosion and storm damage.

NFL Green also connected land and sea with an underwater cleanup called Dive 55 at the mouth of Tampa Bay. For this, Force Blue team leaders led 55 divers to retrieve more than 1.5 tons of waste, not limited to old fishing traps, rope, netting, plastics and beach debris, Groh said. Some of the recovered items will be used by local students to create art projects that will be displayed at FLAQ to increase marine debris awareness.

"It's all about leadership and legacy," Groh said. "Large events have an opportunity to not only offset the environmental impact of their events but to go well beyond that and leave the communities hosting events better than they found them. The world faces significant environmental challenges and it's going to take all of us to address them."


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Tatiana Troyanos, and James King. Production by Bodo Igesz. From March 12, 1988.

Puccini’s Tosca, tonight 7:30PM until Monday 6:30PM
Starring Shirley Verrett, Luciano Pavarotti, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Conlon. Directed by Tito Gobbi. From December 19, 1978.  Stellar, stellar, stellar.  Like a SuperBowl of Opera.

February 6, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Saturday, February 6th:
Winter Woodlot Tour, 9AM-1PM
, near Rustico (215 Buffalo Road, accessed via Church Road/Rte. 243)
Though things may be a bit soggy, it's organized to be a good experience.

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

Heart Beet Organics Farmacy and Fermentary, store and order pickup 9AM-1PM, store with many fresh vegetables and ferments; and restaurant open until 6PM

Winterdine: A Toast to Winter, special Island dining festival, happening these next few weeks -  participating restaurants and details here:


If you want to catch up on any Standing Committee meetings or other Legislative Assembly business, here are two points of contact:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

My Bad not Mey Bad:

Apologies to the new Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action, Stephen Myers, for my repeated misspelling of his last name in communications yesterday. 

Well, okay...since "responsibility" means "blame for the delay" ...
(and sorry for the formatting errors and big gaps)

Some of this trouble with regulations and some sort of public consultation goes back to the second term of Richard Brown as Environment Minister, when the Water Act was chugging through the Legislature, and he unfortunately and perhaps inadvertantly garbled attempts to clarify amendments the then-Opposition (including later Environment Minister Brad Trivers) tried to include.

P.E.I.'s outgoing environment minister places responsibility for long-delayed Water Act on standing committee - TheGuardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Friday, February 5th, 2021


P.E.I.’s outgoing environment minister says blame for a delay in proclaiming the long-awaited Water Act can be placed at the feet of a legislative standing committee.

Following a swearing-in ceremony at Government House on Thursday, Natalie Jameson was asked about why the Water Act had not been proclaimed during her tenure. 

"Short answer? The committee," Jameson said, referring to the standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability.

"It sat with them for a year and a half. To be quite honest, I was losing my patience and I was getting frustrated because it was taking so long."

On Thursday, Jameson moved out of her role as environment minister to become minister of education and lifelong learning. Steven Myers will move into the role as minister of environment, energy and climate change.

The Water Act was passed by the legislature in the fall of 2017 during the previous Liberal government’s tenure, but the bill was never proclaimed.

Specific regulations on water withdrawal were not complete until 2019.These regulations would provide oversight of irrigation on farming fields, including the use of high-capacity wells. The most recent draft of regulations would maintain a moratorium on high-capacity wells.

The standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability is composed of six members of the legislative assembly, two from each of the Liberals, Progressive

Conservatives and the Greens. PC MLA Cory Deagle is the chairman of the committee. The committee provides policy advice to cabinet. 

During the 2020 spring sitting of the provincial legislature, Jameson told The Guardian that proclaiming the Water Act was a priority.

On Thursday, Jameson said members of the standing committee were aware that cabinet would wait for their recommendations on the regulations before proclaiming the act. 

“There was an understanding between cabinet and committee that we would wait until their recommendations were received. We are almost ready to go with a second draft of regulations which we will present to the committee," Jameson said. 

"The second draft is based on the recommendations of the committee. The last thing we wanted to do was give a second draft without those recommendations because then what was the point of the committee?"

The standing committee presented its report, including a recommendation to expand a moratorium on high-capacity wells to non-agricultural uses, in November. The report also recommended cabinet immediately proclaim the Water Act. 

The recommendations were criticized by the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture. P.E.I. farmers suffered severe drought conditions during the summer of 2020.

But Jameson said the second draft of the regulations, which must be in place before the Water Act is proclaimed, needs to be presented to committee 90 days before they are proclaimed. 

Standing committees have assumed increased importance during the government of Dennis King. The all-party committees are perhaps the most tangible parliamentary reforms made in the name of increased “collaboration”, a regular mantra of the King government.

In an emailed statement, Lynne Lund, Opposition Green critic for environment, water and climate change, said the committee received a briefing on the Water Act regulations in February of 2020. But the outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in cancellation of standing committee meetings between February and September.

“The outgoing minister continues to blame others for her inaction right until the last moment,” Lund said in an emailed statement.  “She can blame the committee, which is chaired by a government member, but it's been back with her for months now. It's my sincere hope that under a new minister, we'll finally see leadership on this file.”

Stu Neatby is The Guardian's political reporter.


It's a super opera day, and you could block out time in the next few days to be able to enjoy all the offerings...

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, until noon today
Starring Carol Vaness, Kathleen Battle, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Allen, and Ruggero Raimondi. Production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From December 14, 1985.

Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, 7:30PM this evening until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Tatiana Troyanos, and James King, conducted by James Levine. Production by Bodo Igesz. From March 12, 1988.  If you could call an opera goofy, this one is, with it's madcap opera-within-an-opera as two different entertainment productions are forced to merge into one production.  The amazing Jessye Norman as the prima donna and equally amazing Kathleen Battle as the leader of comic troupe.

In between, and for the next two weeks as on-demand, is a LIVE concert in the Met Stars Live productions:
Anna Netrebko, 2PM, tickets $20, Live concert from the Spanish Riding School
in Vienna. 

Presumably, the horses will not be performing simultaneously.  But mezzo-soprano Elena Maximova will join Netrebko for two duets, which will be even more stunning. More info and tickets:

Radio:  Saturday Afternoon at the Opera Broadcast, 2PM, 104.7FM
Listeners’ Choice:  Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor
Performance from December 8, 1956
Fausto Cleva; Maria Callas (Lucia), Giuseppe Campora (Edgardo), Enzo Sordello (Enrico), Nicola Moscona (Raimondo).  This is the awful story of the Scottish noblewoman forbidden to marry the one she loves, and she goes mad and the singing is other-worldly.  And apparently the only recording of Maria Callas at the Met.

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life karma, whatever.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

   ---Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

February 5, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

We need not wait to see what others do.
   --- Mahatma Gandhi  (1869-1948)


Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 1:30PM, online for us.
Topic: Gambling addiction

The committee will meet for a briefing on gambling addiction and what an increased access to gambling services could mean for those already experiencing addiction issues, particularly during the pandemic.

1)  Dr. David Hodgins, Professor at the University of Calgary (Department of Psychology)   VIA ZOOM

2) Lisa Thibeau, Chief Administrative Officer of Health PEI - Mental Health and Addictions  and  Nora McCarthy-Joyce, Community Relations Specialist, Deparment of Health and Wellness

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Fridays4Future, 3:30PM today, outside Province House.  Reminding our elected officials that the Climate Crisis needs action, now.**

Friday night Rainforest Lounge with Todd MacLean and special guest Becca Griffin, 7PM, Instagram Live.  "... tune in for tunes and a chat with the glorious, zazzley Becca Griffin in the Rainforest Lounge!"

I think today is the deadline to comment on the City of Charlottetown's budget for the next year.  Their website was down early this morning but details should be here:

TOMORROW, Saturday, February 6th:
Winter Woodlot Tour, 9AM-1PM
, near Rustico (215 Buffalo Road, accessed via Church Road/Rte. 243)
so much going on -- all with social distancing and education and just being outside.  Dress appropriately!
Managing woodlots, maple syrup, Gary Schneider, Island falconry, displays, etc.
More Details:

In case you need to see the changes to the provincial cabinet in print:

  • Hon. James Aylward was sworn in as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure;

  • Hon. Steven Myers was sworn in as Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action, which will replace the former ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change, in addition to taking responsibility for energy policy, the PEI Energy Corporation and Net Zero strategy for Prince Edward Island;

  • Hon. Brad Trivers was sworn in as Minister of Social Development and Housing;

  • Hon. Ernie Hudson was sworn in as Minister of Health and Wellness; and

  • Hon. Natalie Jameson was sworn in as Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning and the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women. 

You may notice "Water" is missing from the title of the Environment portfolio, which could be a signal it's "demoted" from being so important, so citizens will have to monitor and remind Government.  But it's good to see the Climate Crisis/Energy/Action part get molded together.  While there is a touch of eyebrow-raising at the appointment of Stephen Myers to Environment, I think he appreciates the Island's natural beauty and fragility, and has a big heart (under that sometimes-bluster).  So best wishes to him, and all of them in their new roles.

**Stephen Myers also has the extremely competent deputy minister Brad Colwell in EECA.
You can send him a note of congrats and wishes for that Climate Action and respecting the environment at:
Stephen Myers statement on social media late yesterday:

"Change is never an easy thing for anyone. That said I was excited when the Premier asked me to take on a new duty in his cabinet today. Before I talk about that new opportunity I want to just talk about great opportunity that I had that I'm leaving.

I don't even know where to start when it comes to talking about some of the accomplishments we had in transportation but what I can say is that I was very fortunate to have an extremely smart and competent deputy in Darren Chaisson. I also had the opportunity to work with an extremely dedicated and professional group of employees throughout the whole department. I tried to bring new ideas with me to the job and each and every person in the department responded in a positive manner. I made great friends and I'm sad to leave them but I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet them.

Now on to what's next. I've been given a really great opportunity to continue to take a file that I'm really passionate about in our NetZero file and to push heavily to bring it to action. I've also inherited numerous files in the environment portfolio that I look forward to advancing. I've been told I have one of the smartest deputies in government in Brad Colwill and from sitting down with him today I would say that is probably true.

Today change is good. This will be an active file. We are going to build a team that will make changes that will be impactful. Islanders will see change.

Stay tuned.

'Be the change you wish to see in the world.'

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Rossini’s La Cenerentola, today until 6:30PM
Starring Elina Garanča, Lawrence Brownlee, Simone Alberghini, Alessandro Corbelli, and John Relyea, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Cesare Lievi. From May 9, 2009.

Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, tonight 7:30PM until noon tomorrow
Starring Carol Vaness, Kathleen Battle, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Allen, and Ruggero Raimondi, conducted by James Levine. Production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From December 14, 1985.  A classic production with super sopranos!

February 4, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once it awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.  Wash your spirit clean.
        --John Muir

Just be careful of the ice.


Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM, online.

Topic: Land use on PEI

The committee will meet for a presentation on the use of land in the province from the representatives from the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Lands.

The Citizens' Alliance is a member of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Lands; this group has so many deeply committed Islanders representing an array of organizations, big and small, who really care.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Note that yesterday's Health and Social Development Committee meeting on Mobile Mental Health Crisis Units was postponed and has not been rescheduled yet. 
The EOS Eco-Energy sponsored Climate Change webinars continue with one on Food Sustainability:

Food Sustainability in a Changing Climate, 3-4PM, online webinar, free.

Dr. Holly Abbandonato is an Assistant Professor at Mount Allison University specializing in; plant ecology, native seed quality, grassland restoration, climate change and arctic plant phenology. She will be giving a webinar on food sustainability in a changing climate.
Facebook event details and registration link
These are being such an informative series!

Outside the Rails with MLA Lynne Lund -- An Environmental Bill of Rights, 7-8PM, online.
Green MLA and Environment Critic Lynne Lund presents legislation she is working on to create an Environmental Bill of Rights for PEI. Learn more about what an Environmental Bill of Rights is, and provide your feedback.
Facebook event details with registration link

Also more details on the whole series:

More on Environmental Rights, from East Coast Law Association, here:

And, of course, David Suzuki has been championing environmental rights in the Blue Dot campaign (note this website starts out very video-clip heavy, but then gets to more readable content):

An op-ed from last month, by Wayne Carver, who observes and comments on Island politicians decisions with redoubtable reserve:

GUEST OPINION: Disappointed and bewildered by P.E.I. budget - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Wayne Carver

Published on Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Liberal finance critic Heath MacDonald, a former Liberal finance minster, understated the public sentiment when he said the provincial budget was a disappointment. It would be more accurate to say the public is disappointed and bewildered. Bewildered to witness a political party that campaigned with the slogan "It's about people" then promote and increase the financial commitment to an infrastructure plan which was clearly designed to make Liberal party supporters richer, at the expense of our offspring. Most Conservative voters felt the infrastructure plan was too ambitious.

A Conservative government was elected in 2019 based on the understanding new members of the legislative assembly would investigate the sale of prime historical and publicly owned properties, to non-resident real estate investment trusts (REIT). Voters expected the new government would re-evaluate the projects and curtail the massive land grab underway in the province. Many transactions smacked of partisanship and were conducted in privacy, thanks to the understated provisions of the Municipal Government Act (MGA). By the time the public realized what was happening, investors had laid claim to many of the cherished historic and publicly owned properties in the region. The public’s confidence in the democratic process was shaken again.

The present “housing boom”, an initiative being driven by the federal and provincial governments, as they usually are, is an age-old attempt to stimulate the economy and enrich the fat cats of entitlement before the Liberal party folds. Governments have a greater influence on the housing market than any natural phenomenon. They create the demand and supply the resources by making money available to industry and financial markets. The incentive is good for the economy, when properly planned and always good for the ruling party and its supporters.

In the present circumstance here on Prince Edward Island (the same thing is happening across the nation) there seems to be confusion between between affordable housing and housing for the poor. 

Affordable housing is built by and for real estate trusts, with borrowed federal funding and easy, if not questionable access to prime properties. The MGA , enacted without a public “vote” here on the Island, clears the way for that by authorizing city council to conduct their business without public input. It also allows council to override the recommendations of the city planning board and strangely the voting process allows for a voting “abstention” to be considered as a “Yes” vote.

If city council can act on behalf of the people without public input and override the planning board, then they are not acting in the interest of the greater public good. Somehow, our elected officials have allowed due process to be hijacked by partisan politics and corporate pressures. They are acting on behalf of vested interests, not the people.  

REITs do not cater to housing crises. They are an investment trust for wealthy people. Those who have money and want to invest funds to shelter from tax and earn a return on their money.

Most people who invest in REITs know little of what is happening here on P.E.I. Contractors have access to hordes of federal infrastructure money (public debt). Creating low-profit public housing would not be priority when there is so much more profitable infrastructure funding available. Sadly, housing funds for the poor can sit in the provincial budget fund until the affordable housing funds have been depleted. In the vernacular, they have bigger fish to fry. Small wonder the provincial government is still sitting on the low-rental housing allotment.

The federal Infrastructure Canada Program is the lifeline of our current economic growth with the promises of grand things to come. Grow our economy, affordable housing, better roads, long-promised internet upgrades that might improve our .05 upload speed. Grandiose ideas leading to an uncertain future. Clearly a partisan federal government work plan designed to benefit the party stalwart. It also created the ability for the MGA to facilitate the transfer of resources to the province by approving projects under consideration. In this case, it allows the federal Liberal government to earmark every borrowed infrastructure dollar allocated, while in power.  

Spending of this nature cannot afford to be interrupted by due process.

The decision by the provincial Conservative government to enhance infrastructure spending for more roads and paving will not go down as one of the finer moments in our province's history. 

The inability of our ministers to explain clearly the goals and objectives of strategic policies suggests they had little input during the planning process. At a time when most people would expect fiscal restraint, we are charging head on into significantly more public debt. It appears the former provincial Liberal government and Ottawa have tied up all regional development for the near future. That implies the ground is shifting in our so called democracy. It begs the question, how far into the future can a sitting government make financial commitments on behalf of the electorate? All to satisfy the greed for money, the need for power and the possibility of future electoral successes.

What started out as a world vision with a global economy and economic growth for the nation has ended up as sheer bedlam. But we still have choices. 

Reform our destructive partisan political process or put the country up for a closing-out sale. We don’t have the luxury of time. If you look closely, interested parties are already at the door.

They are our creditors, for the most part, our philosophical opposites. Others, international investors interested in their financial welfare. If we do nothing, the choice will not be ours to make.

Wayne Carver is a member of Vision P.E.I. who lives in Longcreek.


News from across the pond:

from The Guardian (U.K.)'s newsletter, Thursday, February 4th, 2021:

Choose your place in history, PM told – Boris Johnson’s decision to press ahead with a new coalmine in Cumbria shows “contemptuous disregard for the future of young people” and will lead to “ignominy and humiliation”, says James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who is one of the world’s foremost climate voices. Hansen has written to the prime minister calling on him to stop all support for fossil fuels and “earn a special place in history” for tackling the climate crisis. Hansen copied to the letter to John Kerry, now special climate envoy to Joe Biden. The government says the Cumbria mine is needed to provide coking coal for steelmaking but Hansen rejected this argument. “We have to replace the old ways of doing things – there are alternatives. This is possible and we have to do it, because science tells us we can’t continue business as usual.”

Article link:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, today until 6:30PM
Starring Maria Ewing, Jessye Norman, Betsy Norden, Régine Crespin, and Florence Quivar, conducted by Manuel Rosenthal. Production by John Dexter. From April 4, 1987.

Rossini’s La Cenerentola, tonight 7:30PM until Friday at 6:30PM
Starring Elina Garanča, Lawrence Brownlee, Simone Alberghini, Alessandro Corbelli, and John Relyea, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Cesare Lievi. From May 9, 2009.  SOOO cute, with the most darling Cinderella (Garanca) and Prince (Brownlee).

February 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.

Provincial Chief Public Health Office Covid-19 briefing, possibly today and possibly 11:30AM, on Government's website and Facebook page, and local radio (93.1FM)
Government Covid website:

Government Facebook page (which should have an announcement):
Webinar today:
Compost with Worms! (Vermiculture), 12noon-1PM, online, hosted by EOS Eco-Energy, from Sackville, NB

Attend an engaging panel on Zoom and hear from 3 folks who have experience composting with worms.

John Castell had his first introduction to vermiculture during a 1 month Master Composter course that he took almost 20 years ago. Since then he has been involved giving (many) composting presentations...He and his wife have been using vermiculture to convert kitchen scraps to compost (worm castings) for about 16 years. He says the "nice thing about vermiculture is that you can keep it in the kitchen handy for feeding food scraps to the worms. Done properly, there is no bad odour. The worms convert wast food into on of the best composts available."

We will also hear from Michael Freeman who is excited to share his methods, take questions, compare with other compost aficionados and neophytes.

Our third guest is Michelle Strain, who is the Administrative Director at Mount Allison University. Compost is her favourite topic, and says that "making good compost from food waste is a wonderful way to use that resource that might normally not be composted to go back on the land. There is too much food waste on our planet for sure! My own household food waste goes into a bin for my worm pets to eat."

Register for this meeting: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

More details on the webinar and on EOS Eco-energy and their other events:
Facebook event link
Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 1:30PM, online (see links)
Topic: Mobile Mental Health Crisis Units,
briefing by Minister of Health and Wellness James Aylward, Chief Administrative Officer Lisa Thibeau, and Manager if Community Mental Health and Addictions (West) Lorna Hutt.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link


Tonight: Wednesday, February 3rd:
Outside the Rails with Hannah Bell, MLA -- PEI Poverty Elimination Strategy Legislation Discussion, 7-8PM, via Zoom.

Green MLA and Social Development Critic Hannah Bell talks about the legislation she is working on to create a Poverty Elimination Strategy for PEI, and seeks participants' feedback.

Register for this Zoom event at:

Background is here:


LETTER: Potato board shows sense of entitlement - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

I felt great disappointment, and an even greater irreverence for the P.E.I. Potato Board after reading their recent Guardian piece (Fighting for the same thing, Dec. 30) submitted in response to an opinion piece by the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island (Issue is not urban versus rural, Dec. 16). The P.E.I. Potato Board ’s response was an insult to Islanders. Apparently, our perception and what we actually see happening in our communities is an “unclear and unproven perception”.

The board members who signed the letter criticized the coalition for “not acknowledging that we are all essentially fighting for the same thing – informed, evidence-based decisions for the use and protection of our water resources on P.E.I.” That “farmers agree that water should be protected, conserved and used responsibly”.

Then, the board played the victim card, that farmers are being denied water. Apparently, you are the only Canadian farmers whose “access to water is held hostage by an unclear and unproven perception of what constitutes sustainable agriculture.” You are “well past the point of patiently waiting”, are you? Really, how ironic. Actions speak a whole lot louder than words, sirs. Many of your members are obviously not interested in waiting for the “evidence-based decisions for the use and protection of our water resources on P.E.I.” as they scramble to put in holding pond after holding pond. Drilling multiple wells, running pumps 24 hours a day until the ponds are filled.

Then, the episode this past summer, when potato farmers drew irrigation water from a river when it was not environmentally sound to do so. How was that “protected, conserved and used responsibly”?

The board’s letter shows the sense of entitlement and non-accountability for past and current harmful farming practices. This came through loud and clear. I suggest to Island farm families that we consider who is speaking and acting for us. I doubt, it is the P.E.I. Potato Board. 

James Rodd,
Farmer, livestock and vegetables
North Milton

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Leontyne Price, Isola Jones, Giuseppe Giacomini, Leo Nucci, and Bonaldo Giaiotti. Production by John Dexter. From March 24, 1984.  One of those awful stories of secret love, and a mistake that triggers lifelong revenge, that makes such good opera, apparently.

Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
Starring Maria Ewing, Jessye Norman, Betsy Norden, Régine Crespin, and Florence Quivar, conducted by Manuel Rosenthal. Production by John Dexter. From April 4, 1987.  "... the stark drama of Poulenc’s only full-length opera, which tells the story of a group of nuns caught in the maelstrom of the French Revolution."  It's really quite beautiful, despite its grim subject.

February 2, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

February 1, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews|