CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

January 2019

Contents

  1. 1 January 31, 2019
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 January 30, 2019
      1. 1.2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    3. 1.3 January 29, 2019
      1. 1.3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.3.2 Fracking In 2018: Another Year Of Pretending To Make Money0. - Huddle: Business is Good on-line article by Jim Emberger
    4. 1.4 January 28, 2019
      1. 1.4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    5. 1.5 January 27, 2019
      1. 1.5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.5.2 Canadian pipeline push promotes false and misleading claims - The David Suzuki Foundation newsletter article by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor Ian Hanington
    6. 1.6 January 26, 2019
      1. 1.6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.6.2 Planetary health diet: Developed countries must cut red meat eating by 80% to protect Earth - The Independent article by Alex Matthews-King
      3. 1.6.3 New Canada Food Guide asks, ‘You really gonna eat that?’ - The Beaverton article by Mark Shyzer
    7. 1.7 January 25, 2019
      1. 1.7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.7.2 High Speed Internet Now - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Herb Dickieson
    8. 1.8 January 24, 2019
      1. 1.8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.8.2 P.E.I.'s ‘shared prosperity’ a lesson for other provinces, MacLauchlan says - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
      3. 1.8.3 LETTER: Help Islanders year round - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    9. 1.9 January 23, 2019
      1. 1.9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    10. 1.10 January 22, 2019
      1. 1.10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.10.2 Mary Oliver did something rare: She made poetry accessible. That’s not a bad thing - The Washington Post article by Maggie Smith
    11. 1.11 January 21, 2019
      1. 1.11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    12. 1.12 January 20, 2019
      1. 1.12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.12.2 The next generation of voters is more liberal, more inclusive and believes in government - The Washington Post article by Colby Itkowitz
    13. 1.13 January 19, 2019
      1. 1.13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    14. 1.14 January 18, 2019
      1. 1.14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.14.2 10 Ways to Stay Positive in a Negative World: - The Power of Positivity website article
    15. 1.15 January 17, 2019
      1. 1.15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.15.2 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study  - The Guardian (U.K.) article by Damian Carrington, Environmental Editor
    16. 1.16 January 16, 2019
      1. 1.16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.16.2 Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds - The New York Times article by Kendra Pierre-Louis
    17. 1.17 January 15, 2019
      1. 1.17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.17.2 Water Act regulations on the way but not for high-capacity wells - CBC online news article by Nancy Russell,
    18. 1.18 January 14, 2019
      1. 1.18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.18.2 Symposium in Charlottetown to tackle electoral reform subject for seniors - The Guardian article
    19. 1.19 January 13, 2019
      1. 1.19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.19.2 Why is the referendum rigged to fail? - The Guardian article by Alan Holman, regular columnist and freelance commentator
    20. 1.20 January 12, 2019
      1. 1.20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.20.2 RUSSELL WANGERSKY: Chicken soup as therapy - The Guardian article by columnist Russell Wangersky
    21. 1.21 January 11, 2019
      1. 1.21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.21.2 IRAC review brings change - The Guardian Lead Editorial by Bill McGuire
      3. 1.21.3 IRAC requires full review, says Opposition MLA - CBC News website article by Kerry Campbell
    22. 1.22 January 10, 2019
      1. 1.22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.22.2 No pipe in the Strait - Why paper mill’s effluent pipe issue is so important to Prince Edward Island fishers - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ian MacPherson
    23. 1.23 January 9, 2019
      1. 1.23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.23.2 OPINION: Signs show health care system is failing - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Susan Hartley
    24. 1.24 January 8, 2019
      1. 1.24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.24.2 New Democrats alive and well in 2018— really alive! - NDPPEI website post by Rob Thomson
    25. 1.25 January 7, 2019
      1. 1.25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.25.2 Northern Pulp to register plans for replacing treatment facility by end of January - The News article by Adam McInnis
      3. 1.25.3 Jim Vibert: Forest sector will fight for Northern Pulp - The Cape Breton Post article by columnist Jim Vibert
    26. 1.26 January 6, 2019
      1. 1.26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.26.2 New taxes, wage hikes and more: <some> new laws across Canada in 2019 - MacLean's Magazine article by Steve Brearton
    27. 1.27 January 5, 2019
      1. 1.27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.27.2 Change in senior management team announced - PEI Government announcement
    28. 1.28 January 4, 2019
      1. 1.28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.28.2 Don’t assume PEI will follow BC’s PR lead - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
    29. 1.29 January 3, 2019
      1. 1.29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.29.2 P.E.I. PC leadership debates kick off Jan. 3 - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
      3. 1.29.3 Japan: Stop Slaughtering Whales - The New York Times Editorial Board article
    30. 1.30 January 2, 2019
      1. 1.30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.30.2 VIDEO: How to make your community a Blue Community! - The Council of Canadians article by Emma Lui
    31. 1.31 January 1, 2019
      1. 1.31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  2. 2 Canadian pipeline push promotes false and misleading claims
    1. 2.1 An Angus Reid poll found 58 per cent of Canadians think lack of pipeline capacity is a national crisis. They can be forgiven for this. The company that owns a near monopoly on newspapers in Canada, aided by politicians and fossil fuel interests, has put significant effort into convincing them.

January 31, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tonight:
ReferendumPEI Public Information Session -- KINKORA, 6:30PM
, Kinkora Regional High School.
Next week, it's Monday Kensington, and Thursday Summerside.
Full list of ReferendumPEI information sessions

Live Music at the "Craft Beer Corner" with Brielle Ansems, 7-8:30PM, corner of Great George and Kent Street. Part of their series of encouraging Island musicians.
Facebook event link

Next week:
Tuesday, February 5th:
"Waves of Change": Discussion of Single-Use Plastics, 7PM
, The Guild, Charlottetown. Hosted by CBC PEI. The evening includes "...a free public screening of Land and Sea's 'Ocean Devotion', followed by a conversation about reducing our consumption of single use plastic. We'll get an update from Nancy Russell on how PEI is managing this, and we'll hear from guest panellists Rachel Willcock, an innovative stay-at-home mom from Summerside, PEI Environment Minister Richard Brown, and 'Ocean Devotion' producer Jane Adey. Audience members will be encouraged to comment, ask questions and share their own ideas about reducing consumption of single use plastic. Doors open at 6:30 and seating will be limited to 140 (people)."

This should be a very positive discussion, and they will record segments to play later.

If you are able and wish to join the Facebook Group "CBC:Waves of Change", there are lots of stories and tips shared.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1155262757963048/

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Sorry for the bluntness, and this is focused mostly on parenting/grandparenting choices and explaining those to children in our world full of "cheap plastic crap", but you may find it useful:

Infographic from the Science Moms, a group that introduces themselves:

We believe in making evidence-based decisions for our families. Read our blog, where we look at questions ranging from allergies to environmental issues. Follow our comic, where our characters fight against pseudoscience and misinformation. Read some of the articles we’ve written for other outlets. You can also watch Science Moms, the documentary featuring the SciMoms.
https://scimoms.com/

And the plastic one from this blog:
https://scimoms.com/2019/01/16/cheap-plastic-crap/

(A disclaimer that you may not agree with everything in the website, but I am glad they are out there writing about issues.)
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CBC Radio has a two-part roundtable with the five Progressive Conservative party leadership candidates, broadcast yesterday and today, and archived here
(Just yesterday's is up as of this writing) and on some of their other platforms.
https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/island-morning

Apparently, if you have a P.E.I. Progressive Conservative membership which has lapsed (so if you bought one to vote in the Rob Lantz/James Aylward/Darlene Compton race a few years ago), you can renew/reactivate it until February 3rd and then vote in this year's leadership race.
Details here
or by talking to any of the candidates.

There is a lot of distraction-talk in the leadership race, and it's hard to keep listening for the statements that show long-term vision for the Island to have a healthy future....but that's what seems important to some of us. Is it growth-growth-growth, anger and "It's Our Turn" sentiment, placating the "sacred cows", wait-for-the-experts-to-tell-us-what's-right, saying basically nothing or promising everything? (I am not referring to any particular candidates in that list!! Just categorizing statements I have heard. :-) )

Or are they talking transition to really caring for Islanders and the land?

This is a good warm-up for filtering messages in the upcoming election and referendum vote!
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While this quote stings, as it makes me feel a bit small-minded a lot of the time, it does appeal to our better natures, and from who better than Eleanor Roosevelt.

"Small minds discuss people.
Average minds discuss events.
Great minds discuss ideas."

---Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

January 30, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happening today:

Island Morning Radio PC Candidates interview, 96.1FM, 7:15AM. The five Progressive Conservative leadership candidates recorded a session for CBC Island Morning. The first part, about immigration and abortion services and other topics, is to be broadcast at 7:15 this morning.

On-line Green Rights Course, with Silver Donald Cameron, third "live" lecture, 1:30-3PM, on-line at Cape Breton University link. If you are registered, you can view it later.
If you are having trouble with passwords and such, you can write to <helpdesk@cbu.ca>Our Common Journey: Making the Transition to Sustainability, 7-9PM, Charlottetown Rural High School, room 343. Tonight's topic:"Principals of Social Ecology and enabling techniques of Permaculture".
When asked if people could still join, the response was: "Yes, you are welcome to join us. ...Community School charges $20 for the 10 week program. we are now into Week 4. So, I am not sure what they will charge."
Facebook event link, keep poking around postings for resources and discussion.

Green Drinks Charlottetown, 7-9PM, Next Door, 54 Water Street. (near Merchantman Pub and GrabNGo store) "Please join us for our monthly Charlottetown Green Drinks - an informal gathering where all those Green and Green-curious are invited to connect and get to know one another, and talk about 
the issues important to you. Accompanied minors are good to go in this venue until 9pm."
Facebook event link

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I am not sure of impressions from the ReferendumPEI information session last night, but here is cartoonist Wayne Wright's on the voting system referendum:

from Monday, January 28th, 2019, in The Journal-Pioneer

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Hey!  Maybe this could apply to electoral reform, among other things :-)

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
---Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934), double Nobel Prize winning Polish physicist and chemist

January 29, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Referendum PEI Public Information Session:  CHARLOTTETOWN, 6:30PM, Holland College, MacKinnon Lecture Hall, off Kent Street entrance. **This is the only one scheduled in Charlottetown at this point.**

Public Forum on Employment Insurance (E.I.) meeting, 6:30-9PM, Delta Hotel, 18 Queen Street.
Pierre Laliberte, Ottawa, Commissioner for EI, and Fernand Thibodeau, Northern NB.  Forum to hear Islanders' concerns about E.I. issues including the Zones. The event is sponsored by the PEI Coalition for Fair E.I. All welcome.
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Article:
from Jim Emberger, spokeperson for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, passed on by Bradley Walters at Mount Allison

"I had an article published in the online business journal 'The Huddle'. The first part of the article concerns the financial situation of the shale industry, and the second part is on the latest about climate change. I used many year end reports to organize the article and, because it is online, I packed the article with 'many' links. The result is that if you want to know the latest on climate change (especially), and some interesting bits on the shale industry, please check out the article and follow the links that interest you - should keep you busy for a while."  --Jim Emberger

https://huddle.today/fracking-in-2018-another-year-of-pretending-to-make-money/

Fracking In 2018: Another Year Of Pretending To Make Money0. - Huddle: Business is Good on-line article by Jim Emberger

Commentary published on Sunday, January 27th, 2019

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Of course, the purpose of sharing these encouraging infographics is not to poke people into reacting defensively, or shaming, or pointing out the supreme virtuousness of the person posting (ha!), but to share possibilities and give ideas, encourage reducing usage of most things, and hope people vote with their dollar, talk to management at places they buy stuff, etc.  It's shared with positive good sunbeam thoughts ;-)

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Sweet Quote:

"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."
---Roald Dahl (1916-1990), British writer (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda and may short stories

January 28, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Monday, January 28th:
VegPEI Monthly Potluck Dinner, 6:30-9PM,
Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street.  Some conditions apply as far as kinds of dishes and such; please check the Facebook event link for a list.

Referendum PEI Public Information Session:  SOURIS, 6:30PM, Souris Regional School

District 23 (Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke) NDP Nomination meeting for Robin Enman, 6:30PM (meeting called to order at 7PM), Miscouche Legion, all welcome. "Robin Enman has been the Recreational Director with the Lennox Island First Nation and Athletic Director for John J. Sark Memorial Elementary for the past 20 years.  An active volunteer and respected leader in the sporting community, he has been involved with many successful national and international events...the Island Games in Rhodes Greece, the North American Indigenous Games, and the Canada Winter Games.  In recent years he has been head coach for JUDO-PEI and will be team manager for the 2019 Canada Winter Games."

Tuesday, January 29th:
Referendum PEI Public Information Session:  CHARLOTTETOWN, 6:30PM,
Holland College, MacKinnon Lecture Hall, off Kent Street entrance. **This is the only one scheduled in Charlottetown at this point.**

Public Forum on Employment Insurance (E.I.) meeting, 6:30-9PM, Delta Hotel, 18 Queen Street.
Pierre Laliberte, Ottawa, Commissioner for EI, and Fernand Thibodeau, Northern New Brunswick. Commissioner for E.I., will be here to hear Islanders' concerns about the Zones and other issues. All welcome. The forum is sponsored by the PEI Coalition for Fair E.I.




Thursday, January 31st:
Referendum PEI Public Information Session:  KINKORA, 6:30PM,
Kinkora Regional High School,  54 Anderson Road.
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Inspired by today's quote from Carl Sagan, from the Wonder page-a-day calendar (below), thoughts let to Sagan's fantastic, mindblowing three minute essay from his Cosmos series, reflecting on the 1990 photograph that Voyager 1 spacecraft took, looking back to Earth, as it waved and said goodbye.



Pale Blue Dot, February 14th, 1990 photo from Voyager 1 -- it's the tiny white speck in the light brown vertical band on the right side of the photo, about halfway down
NASA Caption  (caption and photo from here):

This narrow-angle color image of the Earth, dubbed 'Pale Blue Dot', is a part of the first ever 'portrait' of the solar system taken by Voyager 1. The spacecraft acquired a total of 60 frames for a mosaic of the solar system from a distance of more than 4 billion miles from Earth and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic. From Voyager's great distance Earth is a mere point of light, less than the size of a picture element even in the narrow-angle camera. Earth was a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size. Coincidentally, Earth lies right in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image so close to the sun. This blown-up image of the Earth was taken through three color filters -- violet, blue and green -- and recombined to produce the color image. The background features in the image are artifacts resulting from the magnification.

Sagna narrating the Pale Blue Dot video (the "official" video, though there are many other montages):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO5FwsblpT8

Sagan's text
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.


And that led me to the video and this fantastic website meant for kids but for people of all ages, call "The Kids Should See This" (TKSST) which posts intriguing short videos from all over, that are at least a good of a use of time as those "Which Character in ____ are you?" quizzes.
from:
https://thekidshouldseethis.com/about

<<The internet is full of amazing content…

Sometimes it’s just challenging to find it! TKSST spotlights a wide variety of short, videos that can start conversations, spark questions, & inspire offline exploration for all ages.  >>

Founder and editor Rion Nakaya  (a self-described "digital flaneuse", living in California) loves storytelling, sustainable tech, well-designed spaces, and wandering the halls of small museums and science centers. She's produced educational videos for kids at JAM and DIY.org, and mixed brand strategy and UX into interactive projects for museums, Fortune 100 clients, and art startup 20x200. Most recently, she's curated kid-friendly digital content for MPR's Brains On! podcast. Rion started TKSST in 2011.

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"We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers."
---Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

January 27, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fun Events today:
Bonshaw Ceilidh, 2-4PM
, Bonshaw Hall, corner TCH and Green Road.

Free Community Skate and Hot Chocolate, 3-4PM, Cody Banks Area, Maple Avenue in Sherwood.  Hosted by Josh Underhay/Green Party of P.E.I.
Facebook event link

"Iceland Dreaming... with a frosting of Greenland", Vinland Society AGM and featured program, 6:30PM AGM, 7PM Program, Beaconsfield Carriage House, 2 Kent Street.  Pamela Swainson, a descendant of Icelanders, will discuss making the high protein yogurt Skyr, and her artist residency. "Views from Greenland," will be presented by Dr. David Cairns, discussion of travelogues, and fun with Icleandic vocabulary and treats.

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Some articles:

Here is a link to an article published Friday on-line, from Islander and "Conservation and Travel Journalist" Zack Metcalfe on his blog here about Eastern Hemlock trees and a aphid-like pest that has been found in Nova Scotia hemlocks.  Hemlocks were a touchstone in the Plan B highway protest,  the line drawn went right through a stand of very old growth, on this rather deforested Island; and the Liberal government of Robert Ghiz, Robert Vessey and Janice Sherry really didn't "get" the value of these natural areas.  So we have to have the persistence to keep informing and reminding. 
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Recently, from the David Suzuki Foundation's newsletter:

Canadian pipeline push promotes false and misleading claims - The David Suzuki Foundation newsletter article by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor Ian Hanington

Published on Thursday, January 24th, 2019, on-line

An Angus Reid poll found 58 per cent of Canadians think lack of pipeline capacity is a national crisis. They can be forgiven for this. The company that owns a near monopoly on newspapers in Canada, aided by politicians and fossil fuel interests, has put significant effort into convincing them.

That the number rises to 87 per cent in Alberta, with 96 per cent believing that not building new pipelines would have a major impact on the Canadian economy, isn’t surprising. All mainstream newspapers there are owned by the same company, political parties across the spectrum prioritize oil and gas interests over everything, and even educational institutions like the University of Calgary have been compromised by industry influence.

When the National Post signed a 2013 agreement with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, its publisher, Douglas Kelly, said, “We will work with CAPP to amplify our energy mandate and to be a part of the solution to keep Canada competitive in the global marketplace. The National Post will undertake to leverage all means editorially, technically and creatively to further this critical conversation.” That agreement and similar language later extended to its parent company, Postmedia, which owns most major daily newspapers in Canada, as well as many community papers.

The National Post’s opinion pages are full of climate-science denial, with few opposing viewpoints. And the Alberta government has spent $23 million on a slick, misleading ad campaign to convince people B.C. is hurting the country by opposing a pipeline project from the oilsands to Vancouver.

Is lack of pipeline capacity a crisis? Are there not things that should concern us more?

Much of the information governments and media are spreading about pipelines is false. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley claims Canada is losing $80 million a day because of a “price discount” on Canadian bitumen that could be overcome with a pipeline to ship more to markets beyond the U.S. Her figure is double the estimate in a Scotiabank report that itself was found to be flawed.

There is no real “discount” on Canadian product, nor are there countries outside the U.S. clamouring for our bitumen. The lower price is because it’s costly to extract and process and must be diluted before being shipped by pipeline. As Will Horter writes in the National Observer, new international marine shipping fuel standards limiting high-sulphur heavy crude “will shrink Alberta’s share of marine fuel market and add an additional two to three dollars a barrel in refining costs to remove the sulphur.”

Beyond that, the economic and societal costs from the pollution and climate impacts of rapidly digging up, shipping and consuming these fossil fuels, whether the end product is burned here or in other countries, continue to rise along with global emissions and temperatures. That’s a crisis!

An Insurance Bureau of Canada report found damages to homes, businesses and vehicles from extreme weather events in 2018 cost insurers here $1.9 billion, up from $300 to $400 million in 2009. That represents just a fraction of overall costs to governments, businesses and individuals of extreme weather events, increasing health impacts, habitat damage and loss, cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells, fluctuating global energy markets, food and water security, and even increasing refugee claims.

A study in Nature Communications concluded the world could meet Paris Agreement climate targets and slow impacts by immediately phasing out fossil fuels and their infrastructure. That’s in line with a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that concluded we must take significant action over the next dozen years to reduce the threat of catastrophic global warming.

Phasing out fossil fuels won’t be easy, but it’s necessary, and we have to start now. There’s no shortage of solutions. Clean energy technologies are improving as costs are dropping, providing economic and employment opportunities. Carbon pricing has been proven effective in reducing reliance on coal, oil and gas and encouraging energy conservation, efficiency and cleaner alternatives.

What won’t help is continuing to dig up, frack and sell climate-disrupting fossil fuels as quickly as possible before markets tank in the face of climate change and better alternatives. Those in media, government, industry and society who lack the insight, imagination or courage to recognize our plight and work for change are putting everyone at risk.

So what can we do after the gloomy news, on Suzuki's website, they answer that question, with encouraging you to write a letter to local publications (on the pipeline, or any issue!), and basically walking you through doing one which is the most straightforward encouraging "tutorial" I have seen.  They may not have all of the P.E.I. publications listed, but we wrote and told them about most of the ones that may not have come up.  And while it may seem ironic to write newspapers that may have vested interests or get lucrative advertising from certain interests, most still will present "hot topics" letters, so that is something we can all do.

(The other suggestion they have is to donate to the David Suzuki Foundation.  ;-)  )

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Wow:

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear."
--- Rosa Parks (1913-2005), biography

January 26, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

News of the passing of Sol Feldstein, DeSable and more recently Charlottetown resident, and a most kindly, interested and interesting person.  He will be missed by very, very many, including me.
Guardian article
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Events today:
Electoral Referendum Choices: What do seniors want to know?, 8:30AM-12:30PM, Murphy Community Centre.  If you want to go, just show up, and I am sure they will find you some space.
Facebook event link

Farmers' Markets Open:
Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM
Summerside, 9AM-1PM
George's Market in Bedeque, 10AM-2PM

Gifts from the Heart, Free Give Away, 10AM-3PM,
Native Council of PEI office, 6F J. MacAuley Court, Charlottetown.  "For low income and those going through hardships".

Chat Rural (Green Party drop-ins): District 15, 1-3PM, By the River Bakery and Cafe, Hunter River.  Green Party candidate for MLA Greg Bradley will be at the cafe to hear your concerns and ideas about the area, and the Island.  If you are not sure what land and communities are in this newly redrawn District 15, as the boundaries all are wiggly, a map of it is here.
http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/NewDistrict15.pdf
The four "corners" are Hunter River (west), Oyster Bed Bridge (north), Warren Grove (south) and Brackley (east), approximately.
Facebook event link.

Please note that the Citizens' Alliance News plans to feature one provincial District each day in February to introduce the new shapes of the Districts and highlight the changes.
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I am embarrassed to admit I can't remember who wrote the following quote, as I copied it earlier this week, around the same time the new Canadian food guidelines came out, so thank you to the writer on-line.

"These screaming headlines, dictums, dire warnings and shamings, are really just trying to sell papers or on-line clicks. The meat (ha!) of the story is that we do need to continue to shift what we eat so we can continue to eat --- all of us continue to have access to food and water.
It's not saying don't enjoy food or never ever eat these things, just cut back, cut back, stretch your palate with new options and....Don't get distracted by the gloom, the real message is actually a gift, to eat this way is more healthy..." 

Here is the article about global food choices that caused a "stir":
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/planetary-health-diet-red-meat-methane-cattle-cut-consumption-earth-climate-change-a8731656.html

Planetary health diet: Developed countries must cut red meat eating by 80% to protect Earth - The Independent article by Alex Matthews-King

Plan to minimise climate change and rainforest destruction while preventing millions of premature deaths would require developed nations' meat eating to fall by 80 per cent

Published on Friday, January 18th, 2019

Scientists have drawn up a “planetary health diet” to safeguard the Earth from environmental disaster and ensure enough food is available for its booming population to stay healthy.

This would require red meat consumption to halve across the world but fall by more than 80 per cent in developed countries like the US and UK, the study says.

Dairy and sugar consumption would also need to decrease drastically, while the proportion of nuts, fruit, vegetables and legumes like lentils and chickpeas needs to double.

If this is achieved it could minimise the damaging effects of climate change, deforestation, and the loss of animal and plant species while preventing 11 million premature deaths a year.

“We are currently getting this seriously wrong,” Professor Tim Lang, one of the authors from City, University of London, said. “We need a significant overhaul, changing the global food system on a scale not seen before in ways appropriate to each country’s circumstances.” 

The world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. But people’s health and the planet’s scarce resources are being put under increasing strain by a shift towards high calorie western-style diets.

Health campaigners have already called for meat taxes to save lives, but the Eat-Lancet Commission is the first to propose a diet on environmental grounds as well. It brought together 37 experts from 16 countries specialising in health, nutrition, environmental sustainability, economics and politics to look at how a balance could be struck.

What would the ‘planetary health’ diet look like?

An average daily calorie intake of 2,500 calories would include...

7g of red meat and pork – less than two cocktail sausages

29g of poultry – equivalent to one and a half nuggets

28g of fish – roughly a quarter of a medium sized fillet.

250g dairy – around one glass

Eggs – 1.5 per week

500g of fruit and vegetables – reducing amounts of starchy staples like potatoes

125g of legumes, peanuts, tree nuts or soy – rich sources of plant protein

52g fats – mainly from plant sources

The solution, based on three years of statistical modelling, is a diet consisting of around 35 per cent of calories obtained from whole grains and tubers, and protein mostly derived from plants.

While permitting variations based on local need and culture, the recommendations, published in the Lancet medical journal would require meat to become a weekly or fortnightly treat rather than a daily staple.

The shift to sustainable food production requires food waste to be cut in half and no more additional land to be turned over to agriculture – as is happening with rainforests destroyed for cattle ranching and palm oil production.

To achieve this livestock and fishing subsidies would need to be abolished, with the expansion of marine conservation zones and changes to shopping habits in developed nations – as well as protections for low income groups.

Professor Johan Rockstrom, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany – who co-led the commission, said this would require “nothing less than a new global agricultural revolution”.
“There is no silver bullet for combating harmful food production practices, but by defining and quantifying a safe operating space for food systems, diets can be identified that will nurture human health and support environmental sustainability.”

Free market groups and the meat and dairy industry accused the authors of pushing for the “nanny state” and said meat and dairy were a key part of good dietary health after the Lancet report found key claims, such as dairy being a integral for bone strength, were often not borne out in large studies. 

Alexander Anton, secretary general of the European Dairy Association, said: “[The report] goes to the extreme to create maximum attention, but we must be more responsible when making serious dietary recommendations.“

"Milk protein has been recognised scientifically, and in EU legislation, as the most valuable protein for human consumption," he added

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And some light-hearted satire -- from last Fall, when there were some discussions on the this new Guide that has now come out -- from The Beaverton:

https://www.thebeaverton.com/2017/09/new-canada-food-guide-asks-really-gonna-eat/

New Canada Food Guide asks, ‘You really gonna eat that?’ - The Beaverton article by Mark Shyzer

September 27, 2017 by Mark Shyzer

OTTAWA – Canada’s Food Guide is getting a complete overhaul, revamping the ten-year-old publication to deliver a clear nutritional message: “You’re doing it wrong.”

The new Food Guide will place less emphasis on meats and dairy, and take environmental impact into account. As a result, the guide will be able to tell you how many litres of water were used to farm a chicken breast, and then shake its head condescendingly when you explain you thought having chicken quesadillas for dinner was a sensible option.

Previous versions of the guide faced criticism for giving Canadians the false impression that they were feeding themselves competently, when in fact they’ve been stuffing themselves with toxic garbage this whole time.

Health Canada acknowledged criticism of the guide in a statement on its website. “Canadians deserve a nutritional guide that goes ‘hmph’ under its breath when you order a cheese omelette, and sucks its teeth when you open a bag of Cheetos.”

The new guide will wait until you’ve poured milk into your cereal, then pointedly ask, “did you know that humans are the only animals that drink milk past infancy? Think about it,” and leave the kitchen.

The guide will also see a design overhaul, with the familiar food pyramid replaced with a single raised eyebrow, arched in silent condemnation of your cheese and white bread sandwich.

For some the new guide doesn’t go far enough. “It’s progress,” says nutritionist Lucy Biel, “but I’d like to see it go farther. I’d like to see a guide that substitutes ground beef for textured vegetable protein without your knowledge while you’re asleep.”

For Canadians who want even more detailed information, the Guide will recommend a list of alarming food documentaries on Netflix.

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

“More grass means less forest; more forest less grass. But either-or is a construction more deeply woven into our culture than into nature, where even antagonists depend on one another and the liveliest places are the edges, the in-betweens or both-ands..... Relations are what matter most.”

  ― Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

and Pollan's very easy to remember from another book several years ago:

eat real food

not too much

mostly plants

Organic farmer and shepherd Adam MacLean adds, with a last bit from me:

Eat less meat

of a higher quality*

with greater nutrient density.

*Preferably grass-fed and grass-finished for optimum nutrition

and of course, local.

OK, enough food-preaching -- enjoy whatever you eat!

January 25, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events:
Tonight:
Deep Roots Concert, doors open 6:30PM, kickoff at 7:30PM
, The Pourhouse (above Old Triangle), featuring Emerald Junction (Ron Kelly and Anne Quinn), Todd MacLean, Richard Wood and others who in addition to caring very much about this Island, are great musicians.  $15 admission.
Facebook event link

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 26th:
Electoral Referendum Choices: What do seniors want to know?, 8:30AM-12:30PM
, Murphy Centre, there may still be space and the more information on the referendum, the better!
Facebook event link
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Yesterday, there was info on the Premier's State of the Province address and the infographic.


Here are what some of the Opposition parties are working on:
The Official Opposition Progressive Conservatives have put together this very comprehensive series reviewing the Fall Legislative Session. This link will take you to all the parts:

https://officialoppositionpei.ca/2019/01/fall-2018-part-one/
It is good to have this communications and roundup of all the good stuff they have been doing.
-----------------------------------------
The NDP has been meeting and calling out inequities:

High Speed Internet Now - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Herb Dickieson

Published on Saturday, January 19th, 2019, in

Times have changed in Prince Edward Island.

At one time electricity and indoor plumbing were rare and unavailable throughout our province.

Former four-term premier Alex Campbell noted that when he took office in 1966, 85 per cent of homes had no indoor plumbing. That would be unthinkable today.

Fifty years ago, in 1969, Premier Campbell introduced the Comprehensive Development Plan to bring Prince Edward Island into the modern age: transformation for a generation. It included finer details, such as requiring school teachers to have university degrees before teaching students, something we take for granted today.

Today we have Premier Wade MacLauchlan, not Alex Campbell, with plans that seem to be narrow in scope and lopsided in terms of who benefits, lacking a vision for the betterment of the province. Our province has been at a standstill for four years, and before that, eight wasted years under Robert Ghiz.

The Ghiz government, without issuing a tender, made a dubious deal with Bell Aliant that has cost all of us in P.E.I. tens of millions of dollars. They promised reliable high-speed internet; instead we have no better than dial-up in some areas, and for more than double the price we were charged before.

Wade MacLauchlan’s government has been no better with more bad deals for the benefit of Bell Aliant, with yet another untendered deal, this time for the province’s radio system. It was in the newspaper this week that Charlottetown is going to have to pay $75,000 per year to use their radios after the province strongarmed them into a deal with Bell Aliant. To sweeten the deal, we the taxpayers must cover the $360,000 cost to purchase these new radios, which seem to only work with Bell Aliant.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the MacLauchlan and Ghiz governments have been salesmen for Bell Aliant with all the deals they gave them. As if we needed more proof, in 2016 Ghiz was appointed President of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, which entails lobbying for companies like Eastlink and Bell Aliant.

We can and must do than this.

Fibreoptic lines exist all over P.E.I., so there is no reason why we cannot work right away to make connections for rural residents and stop convoluted arrangements with Bell Aliant.

Government has promised us for years that they will make things better, and more than once they announced big plans to fix the things they never built in the first place. You can count on them to announce another scheme just in time for the coming elections, but it will likely be another twisted deal with Eastlink or Bell Aliant that will hold Islanders hostage to high prices, just like Charlottetown that is going to have to pay more than twice as much to run their radios thanks to Wade MacLauchlan’s deals.

It’s way past time we get every single home in Prince Edward Island online with a fibreoptic connection to the internet. Back in the 1950s the Rural Electrification Program brought electricity to all parts of our province, and if we had the will to do that then, we should have the will to do this with the internet today.

Islanders should not be held better hostage to deals Liberal governments have cooked up with Bell Aliant, or any other company for that matter. Local Island companies have worked to provide service to Islanders for years but appear to be blocked by a provincial government that is in deep with Bell Aliant and Eastlink and thwarting local initiatives.

I use a local company, but I know people who do not, and their bills went up again to start the year. As long as we keep sending boatloads of money off the Island, we are never going to get good service for all Islanders because the Eastlinks and Bell Aliants keep taking more and more, and so it seems, does this government.

The Liberal government has delayed, denied, and disappointed Islanders for years. They may try to make a last-ditch deal before the provincial election, but they have already proven that they just cannot be trusted with this, or any other number of things. We need and we deserve quality and affordable fibreoptic internet in our homes and businesses throughout rural Prince Edward Island.

--Dr. Herb Dickieson is the Rural Affairs Critic for the Island New Democrats

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A deep, beautifully simple quote:

"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future."
--- Paul Boese (1923-1976), American writer

January 24, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Many Events today:
Thursday Coffee and Conversation at the Haviland Club, 10-11:30AM
, 2 Haviland Street, Chalottetowmn. All welcome.
"Our guest will be Ben Favro, the cheese ambassador from Sobey's in Stratford."  Part of many activities to continue to reviatize the lovely old place.  Recent Newsletter
Facebook event link

Wet'suwet'en Solidarity Rally at Province House, 12noon-1PM, hosted by the Native Council of P.E.I. "The Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidumt'en Territory are conducting peaceful actions as sovereign peoples on their territories, and ask that all actions taken in solidarity are conducted peacefully and according to the traditional laws of other Indigenous Nations. Forcible trespass onto Wet’suwet’en territories and the removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands must be stopped. Provincial and federal governments must be confronted.
Canada has a longstanding history of violence toward Indigenous peoples who seek to protect the environment and uphold their sovereign rights. In support and solidarity for the Wet'suwet'en people, NCPEI will hold a rally to keep momentum rolling."
Facebook event link

Nature Conservancy of Canada - P.E.I. Open House in new office, 3:30-4:30PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.
Join NCC on Thursday January 24th for an open house at our new office location at the PEI Farm Centre. Bring a friend and come out for a casual meet and greet with new PEI Program Director, Lanna Campbell, and learn about our latest projects. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with other NCC supporters and staff. Light refreshments will be served.
Facebook event link

Young Greens PEI: Hot Chocolate Chat, 6-7:30PM, rescheduled from Monday, UPEI Chemistry Lounge (Room 200, KC Irving Building). "This event is open to anyone under 30 years-old. We’ll be holding an accommodating open discussion complete with, of course, free hot chocolate...Hot Chocolate Chats is for both those Green-curious and those already active mean-Green-fighting-machines."
Facebook event link

PEI Referendum Public Information Session -- ALBERTON, 6:30PM, Westisle Composti High School.  Commissioner Gerald Mitchell continues his stops across P.E.I. to discuss First Past the Post, Mixed Member Proportional Representation, and how the election-associated Referendum will work.  All welcome.
Facebook event link

Saturday, January 26th:
Community Symposium: "Referendum Choices: What do Seniors Want to Know?", 8:30AM-12:30PM,  Murphy's Community Centre, 200 Richmond St. Charlottetown. "This interactive symposium gives seniors an opportunity to learn and share about the two choices in the electoral referendum which will take place at the time of the next provincial election. The choices are: change to a new system, Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP); or stay with the current system, First Past The Post (FPTP)."  This event is free of charge. All are welcome. Pre-registration is requested. To pre-register call Sylvie Arsenault at (902)368-7337 or email vrc@eastlink.ca  ASAP

----------------------
The Premier gave his "State of the Province" address to the Rotary Club last week.  Guardian political reporter Stu Neatby was there and submitted this story.   A video is here on the government website's YouTube channel
https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/islands-shared-prosperity-a-lesson-for-other-provinces-maclauchlan-says-277750/

P.E.I.'s ‘shared prosperity’ a lesson for other provinces, MacLauchlan says - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – In what may be a dry run for a campaign stump speech, Premier Wade MacLauchlan gave his state-of-the-province on Monday night at the annual gathering of Rotary Clubs of P.E.I.  MacLauchlan’s speech, a yearly tradition, touched on a wide array of economic indicators that showed P.E.I. besting Ontario, B.C. and Quebec, the traditional economic powerhouses of the country.

A hand-out placed before each audience member bore the headline "getting ahead, together." The hand-out displayed a series of economic charts on one side, and an infographic showing social program spending of the P.E.I. government under MacLauchlan on the other.

LINK TO INFOGRAPHIC

During his speech, MacLauchlan referred several times to economic statistics and charts displayed in the hand-out.  Since December 2016, he said, P.E.I. has seen the greatest rate of full-time job growth – at 8.8 per cent - of all provinces. He also said that, during his tenure as premier, 5,000 new full-time jobs have been created.  "The jobs that we're talking about, together with other social measures and initiatives and investments, have translated into a shared prosperity," MacLauchlan said.  "Prince Edward Island can teach the rest of Canada about getting ahead together."

MacLauchlan also argued P.E.I. has emerged from its status as a ‘have-not’ province and has achieved economic and job growth rates that can compete with Canada’s highest performing province.MacLauchlan did acknowledge the fact that P.E.I. has the lowest average weekly wages in the country. But he downplayed the importance of this.

"We sometimes fall into saying to ourselves about Prince Edward Island, 'oh, we've got the lowest average weekly wages.' Well that's largely a function of the fact that, in some other provinces, they've got some pretty big numbers in the top end of that average,” MacLauchlan said. “The point is not about our average anything, it's how we're doing and how Islanders are doing, relative to how we were doing last year and the year before and whether Islanders have got money in their pockets.”

The hand-out stated that, according to Statistics Canada, average disposable income in P.E.I. has increased from $21,081 in 2015 to $21,770 in 2017.

In addition to attracting new immigrants, the Island has begun to buck the trend of out-migration of young Islanders, MacLauchlan said. "We know this. We meet people on the street, we have family members, we have people working in our workplaces, who are coming to Prince Edward Island and choosing to be here," MacLauchlan said.

MacLauchlan claimed this has resulted in a drop in the average age of Islanders for the first time since 1968.  However, P.E.I.’s most recent statistical review showed the Island saw a net loss of 436 people to other provinces for the year 2016/17, the most recent year measured.

MacLauchlan also said the economic growth has allowed the province to invest in social programs. He listed several programs that have seen increased funding by his government, including the creation of a generic drug program in 2015 and recent increases in social assistance rates.

He also acknowledged that P.E.I. is facing a housing “crunch” but said the commitment to fund over 1,000 rent subsidies over the next two years represented a fivefold increase in housing funding.

MacLauchlan closed his speech by summing up what he described as the Island’s accomplishments over the last four years.  “Our economy is strong, we are investing in Islanders, we're going where the people are and people have more money in their pockets," he said.  "That is a track that we can and will continue on."

-----------------------------------------
This could serve as a kind of rebuttal to the State of the Province speech, and goes back to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s quote printed in the Tuesday, January 15th, edition of this newsletter  (
"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar.  It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." )

https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/letter-help-islanders-year-round-277094/

LETTER: Help Islanders year round - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Friday, January 18th, 2019

As our local Lions Club here in Souris winded up another year organizing, preparing, and delivering over 125 food boxes, including 24 non-perishable food items, a gift card or two, a complete turkey dinner with all the trimmings and most importantly, a present for all the children in those families up to the age of 18.

Our club had another wonderful year of donations that came in from the community, including individuals, businesses, and organizations from pretty much all of Kings County and beyond.

It is very important for people to realize this, though. It’s that we just don’t go to a grocery store and buy all this food at once. Volunteers watch the sales sheets weekly and we buy the items, over a two-month period. Otherwise, it just couldn’t be affordable.

Our problem is, and I think a lot of service clubs on P.E.I. experience the same thing, our club’s members are fast approaching an age where they can’t do as much as in the past.

I think that 2018 was our 33rd year doing our Christmas Boxes Campaign, and in my personal view of being chairman organizing it, something has to change.

Our provincial government has been bragging over the last 18 months of how well our economy is doing as well as our surplus of $75 million. In my opinion, the right thing is for our government to help these people have food and shelter all year round – not just at Christmas time!!! And now that money is available, what better time.

A program should be started to help the families with children, kids should not be going to school hungry and parents should not have to choose between medicines or food or rent.

This conversation seems to be coming up more lately, and one thing people say is that there would be too much abuse of this system, meaning people would use the money for tobacco, liquor, or worse. Well, why not do the same as they did years ago, make it in the form of food stamps that are forbidden to be used other than for food.

An election is coming up soon, so I must ask like-minded people to look for discussion on this problem in the candidate’s platforms.

I believe this government or the next has to focus on the needs of fellow Islanders who are just making it paycheque to paycheque, because these people have the children of the future. The children who are going to be, or have a better chance of being our doctors, nurses, teachers, etc. in the future generations.

Let's look after these children first before more millions are spent on non-essential highway rotary roads, arenas, etc.; or wasting our efforts appraising large companies with more water and acreage of land. Because when all is said and done, these companies will abandon us, but maybe our children will stick around and make our Island their home forever.

Peter Boertien, Souris

There are people all over this Island helping others, and thinking about why people need the help and what would be more effective ways of dealing with that. 

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

We know the country music legion from Pigeon Forge, Kentucky tends natural areas and doesn't really call for more asphalt -- you get her meaning. From the Wonder page-a-day calendar for today:

"If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one."
---Dolly Parton (b. 1946), country music singer

January 23, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Seminar: "Climate Change impact assessment and mitigation strategies for sustainable water and agriculture management in PEI", 12noon,
UPEI, Engineering Building (SSDE), Room 128A, with Dr. Ahman Bhatti, PhD, Environmental Sciences Program.  All welcome.  This sounds really interesting and it's too bad notice is so short, but the public is definitely invited to attend it.

Green Rights Course, with Silver Donald Cameron, second "live" lecture, 1:30-3PM, on-line at Cape Breton University link.  If you are registered, you can view it later.  You can register here
If you are having trouble with passwords and such, you can write to <helpdesk@cbu.ca>

Tonight:
Our Common Journey: Making the Transition to Sustainability, week 2, 7PM
, Charlottetown Rural High School. 
Theme/Resources from last week Week One and tonight (Week Two) are:

Week 1: Project Drawdown:
(January 16th) The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_WSURyhXhM&feature=youtu.be

Week 2: Journey to the Future: A Visionary Perspective of the Possibilities
(January 23rd) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJHuam61Vrc&t=6568s

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

Apparently there was a tiny titch of Tory turmoil at the National Farmers' Union forum on Land Issues held last night.  Three candidates did not show up, issuing a notice that they had not promised to be there and were surprised it was called an all-candidates debate; or something like that.  Kevin Arsenault and Shawn Driscoll were there, and it sounds like they each offered a lot of opinions and appreciated having the opportunity to focus on the land, and many people initially angry at the lack of candidates appreciated the discussion.



photo by Darcie Lanthier, used with some sort of permission, Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019, Murchison Centre

This year the Citizens' Alliance News is making the point to point out distractions (which are usually negative, consume energy and time, and keep us from focusing on the real issues), so let's look beyond the umbrage at the invitation imbroglio and try to find out what all the candidates feel about land, water, the Lands Protection Act, and of course, P.E.I. preparing for Climate Change.  

Not only what they feel -- we all know they love the land -- how are they going to show it if they become Leader of the Progressive Conservatives and how will they work with their caucus and party members across the Island?

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

Some respected media is listening to caring Canadians and reporting on our concerns:

The Canadian national on-line investigative reporting publication, The National Observer, asked its readers about how news was being reported in a recent survey, which I participated in.  Here are some of the results of the survey, sent Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019: 

NATIONAL OBSERVER SURVEY FINDINGS

1. WHERE IS NEWS COVERAGE TODAY MOST LACKING?

Seven in ten say that the news media in Canada is not paying enough attention to the issue of corporate control of the economy.


In which areas would you say mainstream news coverage is most lacking? 

 

Corporate control over the economy (70%) and the environment (65%) are viewed as most lacking in coverage by news media. When it comes to the environment, climate change is the dominant concern and the lens by which nearly all other issues are framed.
 
A plurality of approximately four in ten readers feel that media & democracy (47%), indigenous affairs (42%), social equality & human rights (38%), and crime & government corruption (38%) are areas that most deserve more attention from the news media.

One in three point to the spread of hate & right-wing extremism (34%). Fewer than three in ten see stories that offer hope as priorities for more coverage (29%), and approximately one in five point to local & regional issues(23%), foreign affairs (23%), politics & elections (22%), or ideas, culture & art (21%).
 
Coverage of new technologies (19%), health (18%), food (11%), and lifestyle (8%) are at the bottom of the list, with fewer than one in five saying that these are areas where coverage is most lacking.


2. WHAT ISSUES ARE COVERED TOO FREQUENTLY IN THE NEWS?

Our readers are nearly unanimous that news media are too concerned with gossip about the rich & famous.

What would you like to see less of in the news media? 

While nine in ten readers would like to see less coverage of the rich & famous (93%), strong majorities are also fed up with consumerism & infotainment (70%), and Donald Trump (65%).

Fewer than one in three want to see less coverage of crime & scandal (30%). Reading between the lines, it seems that readers are fine with current media coverage of political scandal, just not celebrity scandal.


3. IF YOU COULD FIX ANY PROBLEM IN THE WORLD TODAY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Climate change overshadows all other issues as the problem we most want to fix.

As a thought experiment, imagine you had the money and power to fix one problem facing the world today. What would it be? 

Without prompting or lists, we asked readers to name the one problem in the world today you want to see fixed.

Our question included the preamble, “imagine you had the power and money to fix one problem in the world today” so as not to get bogged down in qualifications or noise about what may or may not be possible.

We wanted to know, in the purest form possible, what one issue you want solved. The near unanimous response is climate change





Readers may have different views on how the problem may have come about, who is to blame, who has the capacity to solve it, or the best approach to solving it. But one thing is clear, you are extremely concerned and this one issue eclipses all others. Nowhere else is the focus as stark.
And yet, it’s clear from your answers to other questions that you understand the problem has not arisen in isolation from the political, social, and economic context of the age in which we live.  
 

OK, so that doesn't solve anything, or make our politicians exercise better political will, but it does reinforce that some media is paying attention and is trying to report accurately and honestly about issues, ask tough questions; not simply cover stories always presenting issues as binary with equal sides, and not reporting government press releases verbatim and carrying abundant ads for oil and gas companies...

Having publications like The National Observer is really good news (pun intended), even if the news isn't all good.

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

from the Wonder quote-a-day calendar, this little bon bon:

"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."

   ---Coco Chanel (1883-1971), French fashion designer

January 22, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events:

Today, Tuesday, January 22nd:
PC Leadership Candidates Debate Land Issues, 7:30-9PM,
Murchison Centre, St. Pius X Avenue, Charlottetown. 

from The Guardian:

The National Farmers Union (NFU) is sponsoring a forum with the five Progressive Conservative candidates on the issue of the shifting control of land on P.E.I....The NFU has maintained for years that weaknesses in the Lands Protection Act and other land-related acts have caused an alarming consolidation of land in fewer and fewer hands.
“The land is being excessively used for the profit of the few,’’ said a news release issued by the NFU. “This results in the impoverishment of Island lands. There is little hope of curtailing the corporate greed for the control of more land when there is lack of political will on the part of government.’’

The NFU will be asking the five PC hopefuls how they plan to protect the land.  The forum will be chaired by long-time, newly retired journalist Bill McGuire. Douglas Campbell, district director, will represent the NFU.
Facebook event link

Referendum Information Sessions, 6:30-8:30PM

Tonight:
Tuesday, January 22nd -- Montague (Montague Regional High School)

also Thursday, January 24th -- Alberton (Westlisle School)

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American poet Mary Oliver died at 83 last week, and people reacted in different ways, some never hearing of her and sad they didn't find her works sooner, those who knew some of her pieces or confused her with other poets, etc. but most of us calmed and inspired by her tangible word-images. From The Washington Post: Mary Oliver obituary
And a lovely tribute from the science writer at The Washington Post:

Mary Oliver did something rare: She made poetry accessible. That’s not a bad thing - The Washington Post article by Maggie Smith

Published on Friday, January 18th, 2019

“Wild Geese” was trending on Twitter on Thursday, and poetry lovers — not naturalists or ornithologists — were responsible. Mary Oliver, arguably America’s most beloved best-selling poet, had died earlier in the day, at the age of 83. Her poem “Wild Geese,” from her 1986 collection “Dream Work,” was written in the second person, so the poet seems to be speaking directly to us. It ends this way:

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

As the news of her death spread across the country and around the world, my social media feeds filled with poems, quotes, links to Oliver’s work and personal stories. What struck me was how many people were moved to tears by her death, people who had never met her. Her work touched millions of people deeply, and not only those who consider themselves poets or poetry lovers. Oliver’s work managed to do something rare: It reached people who didn’t particularly like or “get” contemporary poetry.

She once told NPR that simplicity was important to her. “Poetry, to be understood, must be clear,” she said. “It mustn’t be fancy.” But her work has been criticized by some for its simplicity. Oliver’s poems have been labeled “inspirational” and “accessible,” and while those adjectives may sound positive, they are too often backhanded compliments. I think this criticism comes from a deep misunderstanding of her work, and also from an ugly disdain for poetry that consoles and inspires. Dare I call it snobbery?

Oliver certainly received critical acclaim in her lifetime, too. Her fifth collection of poetry, “American Primitive,” won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1984. Her “New and Selected Poems” (1992) won the National Book Award. Her many honors and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and a number of honorary doctorates.

Yes, Oliver’s poems are eminently quotable. Yes, they inspire. They speak to people who have found much of contemporary poetry befuddling. But the poems also speak for themselves. They are full of wisdom and joy and deep loneliness and gratitude. As someone who loves challenging, genre-bending poetry, I also love the poems of Mary Oliver.

Oliver was born in Ohio, so I like to claim her as a fellow Ohio poet. She lived in Provincetown, Mass., from the 1960s until the death of her partner, Molly Malone Cook, in 2005. She was living in southern Florida at the time of her death. Though the bulk of Oliver’s poems are set on the northwest tip of Cape Cod, I can’t help but see in them so much of our shared Ohio landscape: the deer, the birds, the grass, the water, the trees, the light and the darkness.

“I spent a great deal of time in my younger years just writing and reading, walking around the woods in Ohio, where I grew up,” Oliver said in a 2011 interview in O Magazine. “I very much wished not to be noticed, and to be left alone, and I sort of succeeded.”

I, too, spent much of my Ohio childhood walking among trees or with my nose in a book. Like Oliver, I started writing in my teens and published my first book at 28. And, yes, my work is concerned with place. It is full of deer, birds, fields, rivers, trees, light and darkness.

In a sense, Mary Oliver, and another Ohio poet, James Wright, gave me permission to write about Ohio’s flora and fauna. It was only natural — no pun intended — for me to write about what I saw every day and to build metaphors using my surroundings. It did not surprise me to learn that Whitman, Emerson, Keats and Rumi were some of Oliver’s favorite poets. These are poets of big ideas, poets who used metaphor — often based in the natural world — to build a bridge or open a door.

[At 81, Mary Oliver shares her spiritual journey in ‘Upstream: Selected Essays’]

I learned from Mary Oliver how attention is a kind of love, how shining your mind’s light on a thing — a grasshopper, a bird, a tree — is a way of showing gratitude. I learned that poems do not need to be “difficult” to be intelligent, that poems can be both inspirational and investigative, that poems can be tender without being soft. I learned from her to own my wonder and to stay open to uncertainty.

The most famous, most shared Mary Oliver quote has to be from her poem “The Summer Day,” from “House of Light” (1990), which ends, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?

What did Mary Oliver do with her one wild and precious life? She survived a difficult childhood. She loved a woman for 50 years. She wrote poems that will stand the test of time. She touched us.

Maggie Smith’s most recent book of poems is “Good Bones.” Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, American Poetry Review, the Paris Review and Best American Poetry.

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"Laughter is sunshine; it chases Winter from the human race."
   ---Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

Another French writer, children's book author and illustrator Jean de Brunhoff, created the world of Babar the Elephant.
My annual card of hope:


from Babar the King, published in 1933, written and illustrated by Jean De Brunhoff

(If the photo of the page of the book doesn't come through)
In this part of the story, Babar, the king of the elephants, is having an awful dream the night before his coronation. All sorts of Misfortunes are causing havoc. Then he sees:
"...graceful winged elephants who chase Misfortune away from Celesteville and bring back Happiness. -- At this point he awakes and feels ever so much better."

The Misfortunes are:
Anger, Cowardice, Despair, Discouragement, Fear, Ignorance, Laziness, Misfortune, Sickness, Spinelessness, and Stupidity.

The Graceful Winged Elephants are:
Courage, Happiness, Health, Hope, Intelligence, Joy, Kindness, Knowledge, Love, Patience, Perseverance and Work.
(Humour could be another -- maybe she was flying a bit behind schedule)

And I think many Islanders are closer to the Graceful winged elephants than they realize.

January 21, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Biologist Bob Bancroft will be on Maritime Noon today as the phone-in guest.

Events:
Referendum PEI Public Information Session -- MORELL -- POSTPONED
until Monday, MARCH 4th
(due to the public school closure today).

Young Greens PEI: Hot Chocolate Chats, 6-7:30PM, UPEI Chemistry Lounge (Room 200, KC Irving Building). "This event is open to anyone under 30 years-old. We’ll be holding an accommodating open discussion complete with, of course, free hot chocolate. There'll be no special guests or limited topic, just a bunch of scrappy young folk figuring out what areas we, as youth, should tackle... the evening is free and has no strings attached; however, we have cozy chairs and a Super Nintendo!! The building is accessible and gender-neutral bathrooms are nearby. As our events are always open to the young public, you don't have to be a UPEI student to join. 
Hot Chocolate Chats is for both those Green-curious and those already active mean-Green-fighting-machines."
NOTE:  This event may be postponed due to weather, so check the link.
Facebook event link

Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 22nd:
Referendum PEI Public Information Session -- MONTAGUE, 6:30-8:30PM
, Montague Regional High School.
Facebook event link

-----------------------------------------
Roy Johnstone passes on suggestions for learning a bit more about environmental rights, taking fairly easy actions of being able to tell others, including our politicians; from the Green Rights course that started last Wednesday:

1)  The Blue Dot campaign for Environmental Rights is looking for volunteers willing to help organize locally to get their member of parliament and candidates for the 2019 election to sign the MP pledge.  This is a great opportunity to learn storytelling, government relations and other skills, please sign up here - http://bluedot.ca/mp-pledge-leader-sign/

 2) The is a House of Commons e-petition out concerning a federal environmental bill of rights that the legislature will soon be considering.  Please sign the petition here https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1984.

It appears that you can still register and watch the recording of the first session and participate as you can in the course.  Information/registering and getting more info on the "Curiosity" (free option) of Silver Donald Cameron's Green Rights course from Cape Breton University (CBU), here:
https://openonlinelearning.cbu.ca/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=128169

...with apologies for the frustration you may encounter as many University software/websites seem to be rather stodgy and buggy, but you can e-mail CBU if you can't make the link work.
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Strong words from Dan Rather, American journalist and now kind of a Elder Statesman in his own right. At 87, he is just writing and speaking straight out with his fearsome intelligence and big Texas heart, and recently wrote this on his personal social media page:

The young men trying to intimidate Native American veteran Nathan Phillips rightly outrage. But who taught them the chants, fostered the intolerance, stirred up racial division for political gain? Adults and political leaders hold the greatest responsibility for our times.

History has taught us over and over how easy it is to use hate of “the other” as an organizing principle for mob rule. In these images of today we see the echoes of the Civil Rights Era and other moments in the American story of persecution, harassment, and violence.

We're repulsed by smug privilege in the face of pain, a lack of empathy in young people - symptoms of a much deeper rot stretching back centuries. But history also shows the chorus of the complicit can be vanquished by the heroic actions of those who will not be silent. -- Dan Rather, January 20th, 2019
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If you are having a storm day or find some other time on your hands, the American Public Broadcasting System (PBS) series Eyes on the Prize from the 1980s chronicles the painful times of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.  It is amazing documentary work in the 14 hour-long episodes.  Well
worth the hour watching the first one today, on what's celebrated as Martin Luther King Day in the United States.
Wikipedia article about the series

Eyes on the Prize Episode One on YouTube (with links to other numbered episodes in the series)

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"Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated."
---Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 20, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events coming up in the next weeks:

Tuesday, January 22nd:
PC Leadership Candidates Debate Land Issues, 7:30-9PM,
Murchison Centre, St. Pius X Street, Charlottetown. 
The National Farmers Union (NFU) is sponsoring a forum with the five Progressive Conservative (PC) leadership candidates on the issue of the shifting control of land in PEI...The NFU for years has maintained that the weakness of the Lands Protection Act and other land-related acts has caused an alarming consolidation of land in fewer and fewer hands. The land is being excessively used for the profit of the few. This results in the impoverishment of Island lands. There is little hope of curtailing the corporate greed for the control of more land when there is lack of political will on the part of government. The question that the National Farmers Union asks of each of the five PC leadership hopefuls is: How will you exercise your political will to protect the land?
The forum chair is Bill McGuire, well known Island journalist, newly retired. Representing the NFU is its District Director, Douglas Campbell.
All Islanders welcome, especially those who want the protection of PEI lands and who expect MLAs, in government and opposition, to be accountable for the future of the land.
  from:
https://www.facebook.com/events/335215430415423/

Referendum Information Sessions
This week has three stops, all beginning at 6:30PM:
Monday, Janaury 21st -- Morell (Morell Regional High School)
Tuesday, January 22nd -- Montague (Montague Regional High School)
Thursday, January 24th -- Alberton (Westlisle School)

Reserve the Date --
Thursday, February 7th:
ECO-PEI Annual General Meeting, 6:30PM, Featured Speaker 7PM,

The Environmental Coalition of P.E.I.'s usually brisk and informative AGM will be followed by guest speaker Todd Dupuis (Executive Director of the Department of Communities, Land and Environment’s Climate Change and Environment Division) discussing P.E.I.'s Climate Change plan.
This AGM is described in a line-up of events related to International Development Week Atlantic (IDWAtlantic), February 3rd-9th, 2019; other events going on that week are listed on the Atlantic Council of International Cooperation's website, here:
https://www.acic-caci.org/idw

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This Washington Post analysis article is about the "Generation Z" young people, specifically in the United States, propelled to action by the gun violence in their schools; the same age grouping in Canada shares much of the same compassion and energy, which gives us all reason for hope.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/17/next-generation-voters-are-more-liberal-more-inclusive-believe-government/

The next generation of voters is more liberal, more inclusive and believes in government - The Washington Post article by Colby Itkowitz

Published on Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Parkland students have quickly become some of the country’s most effective opponents of gun violence, after a man fatally shot 17 people at their Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The teens are organized, well-researched and poised. They’ve weathered social media abuse with maturity because they’ve been dealing with it their entire lives.

According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, the teens may offer a window into the politics of Generation Z more broadly.

Generation Z, defined as those born after 1996, is on the cusp of adulthood. The oldest are graduating college. By 2020, almost half will be eligible to vote in the presidential election, which means their values and opinions could soon help shape national politics.

According to the survey, released Thursday, Gen Z teens and young adults have overwhelmingly adopted left-leaning beliefs similar to those of the millennials before them. They overwhelmingly disapprove of President Trump, believe the government should do more and reject American exceptionalism. 

(Pew Research Center)

It’s not uncommon for young people to hold liberal views that moderate as they age. But Gen Zers grew up in a very different world than previous generations. The oldest among them was 11 when the first black president was elected. They became teenagers as same-sex marriage was legalized around the country. They also, according to Pew, will be the most racially diverse and well-educated generation.

This younger generation is much more likely to see climate change as a result of human behavior and to believe black Americans are treated unfairly.

These differences are particularly pronounced among Gen Zers who self-identify as Republican. While older Republicans overwhelmingly support Trump, his job approval drops off significantly with the younger generations. Eighty-five percent of baby-boomer Republicans believe Trump is doing a good job. Fifty-nine percent of Gen Zers share that view.

Historically, younger people are less civically engaged and vote in fewer numbers than older generations. In 2018, 31 percent of eligible millennials voted in the midterms. If millennials and Gen Zers increased their participation in elections, they could have the power to decide the outcome.

But events such as the partial government shutdown are not going to inspire them to get more involved. While the Parkland teens’ tremendous efforts influenced changes at the state level and got pro-gun-control candidates elected to Congress, they’ve been met mostly with dysfunction at the federal level.

But these Gen Zers remain slightly more optimistic than the two generations before them about how change can happen. While just 46 percent of millennials and 50 percent of Gen Xers say ordinary citizens can do a lot to influence government, 53 percent of Gen Zers believe they can make a difference.


Here is the link, I shared several months ago, a blog by author Michael Tallon from March 2018 about the Parkland, Florida Majorie Stoneman Douglas High School kids and hope for the future (a bit of rough language in the blog), "These Magic Kids."
----------------------------------------
And this quote from the Wonder calendar for this weekend reminds me that the kids in Generation Zed are helpers, too -- helpers come in all ages and sizes.

(I have a vivid memory of TV coverage of the 1972 commuter train wreck in the Chicago area, and of course being upset, and my mother pointing out the helpers, nurses in their white shoes and uniform dresses and caps, who had been on their way to work in the train but not hurt, scrambling out and over the wreckage to help people.)

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' "
---Fred Rogers

January 19, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Farmers' Markets are opening Charlottetown (9AM-2PM) and Summerside (9AM-1PM), and George's Market in Bedeque is open after 10AM.

Women's March for Equality, 12noon, meeting at the Coles Building.
This is the third Women's March for Equality, it's both a local and an international event. In Charlottetown we'll meet at the Coles Building, march across Grafton to Queen, up Queen to Euston, across Euston to Great George and finish up at The Confederation Court Mall with a rally and entertainment.
A woman working full time in Canada earns about 88 cents for every dollar of hourly wages earned by a man. It noted that Canada ranks 15th out of 29 OECD countries based on the hourly gender wage gap.
Internationally, women, men and gender nonconforming people, young and old, of diverse faiths, differently abled, immigrants and indigenous--came together, 5 million strong, on all seven continents of the world.
On January 19, 2019, we march again. The theme for the 2019 Women's Marches around the world is ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.  

from the Facebook event link
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Something completely different:
There is a silly series of kids' books called Captain Underpants.  The kids in the book would hear the first part of an announcement and go "YAY!!" and then the rest of it and go, "Aww, MAN!" and that's what some of us felt late yesterday hearing that the province had appointed a Children's Commissioner and Advocate (Provincial Government media statement here).  The person appointed is Michelle Dorsey, who was Deputy Minister at Community, Lands and Environment until being replaced by lawyer/former CBC Island Morning political panel Liberal spokesperson Mary Lynn Kane. 

This Children's Something-and-so-on-Advocate sounds like what Opposition Leaders James Aylward and Peter Bevan-Baker (and Leader of the NDP Joe Byrne) had been calling for; but it's not quite -- it's not an independent office, and the process certainly wasn't an advertised competition.  The
Green Party Leader had a media statement out quickly, clearing some of the smoke and wiping the mirrors:
   "Based on government’s press release this is not actually a Child Advocate as the term is understood in other jurisdictions. Island children deserve an independent non-partisan advocate--an advocate whose authority is set out in legislation, who is hired through an open merit-based process, and who can act independently of government interference. That is not what the Premier is providing."


It is something positive for children, albeit a bit sullied by political control.
--------------------------------------------------------------
This is an awfully cute graphic with a lot of information in it about storing food, especially in your fridge or cold area, without using new plastic bags.  Let me know if it is readable or you cannot find it at the link.





from the creative pens of Em Ehlers, and her website, eco with em_
http://ecowithem.com/

More from her:


I am joyfully, hopefully eco. I know that our planet is in pretty bad shape but I don't think we are doomed. Legends, like you, are making the connection that this big blue marble that we're floating around on is rather lovely. And rather important. And that dugongs are awesome. This blog is for the people who are ready to fight for our home - but might not know quite where to start. I created this blog in the hope of helping you to become an everyday environmentalist and to make the journey joyful.
   ---Emily Ehlers, Australian writer and illustrator,
                      
eco_with_em_blog

January 18, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Lots of event notices, and some ideas about looking at things differently.

Events:
These are all fun, interesting events organized by wonderful people who want to share what they enjoy.  What a lucky bunch of Islanders we are.

Sunday, January 27th (note originally planned for January 20th but postponed now due to storm forecast):
"Iceland Dreaming... with a frosting of Greenland", 7PM
, Beaconsfield Carriage House, corner of West and Kent Streets, Charlottetown. The Vinland Society presents “Iceland dreaming...,” an evening devoted to all things Vinlandic....This year we have a special presentation lined up. Have you noticed the influx of Icelandic dairy products on our grocery store shelves? We're especially pleased to have Pamela Swainson, a descendant of Icelanders who settled in Manitoba in the early 20th century, joining us to discuss how to make your own Skyr: a high-protein yogurt from Iceland – a skill she learned from her Amma (Grandmother) as they had dairy cattle on their small farm. Pamela will also tell us about an artist residency that she did in Akureyri in 2016.
We'll also feature "Views from Greenland," presented by Dr. David Cairns, as part of a year devoted to exploring the "Vinland Arc" that stretches from Scandinavia to Iceland and over to eastern North America. And, taking our cue from past meetings where we've discussed travel under the theme: "So you want to go to Iceland..." we'll once again offer time for pictures and stories from your recent trips to Iceland. If you'd like to share your experiences, please send a note to David, along with 3-5 photos.And, as always, there'll be some fun Icelandic vocabulary and treats.
We'll start with a short business meeting at 6:30 p.m. To that end, we need to fill several vacancies on the Vinland Board for 2019. If you're thinking about this, or even if you're not, read this personal testimonial from David: “The Vinland Society is the best Board membership experience of my life. The themes are always intriguing, the atmosphere is always convivial, it only meets a few times a year, and best of all we never have money problems (the cookie jar provideth).” If you are interested in standing for the Board please send an email to David.
Contacts: David Cairns davidkcairns@gmail.com, Laurie Brinklow laurie.brinklow@gmail.com, and Megan Macdonald macdonald.megan@gmail.com.arr


To me, the Vinland Society is one of Harry Baglole's many, many legacies.
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A line-up of dates from Nature PEI, the Natural History Society of P.E.I.:

Tuesday February 5th:
Nature PEI’s Members' Night, 7:30PM, Beaconsfiled Carriage House, corner of Kent and West Streets, Charlottetown.  "All are welcome to share photography, poetry and maybe even a few natural history tall tales with Nature PEI members...Please submit pictures and natural history items to Gerald MacDougall at <eagle.dynasty@gmail.com> "

Saturday February 9th:
7th Annual PEI Winter Woodlot Tour, 9AM-1PM
, Strathgartney, off the TCH in Bonshaw.

Sunday February 10th:
Winter Waterfowl Identification, 8AM,
meeting at corner of Grand Pere Point Road near the Lobster Shack in Cymbria. Nature PEI birding field trip focused on identification of overwintering waterfowl with field trip leader Brendan Kelly.

Friday, February 15th to Monday, February 18th:
2019 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)
-- This free 4-day annual event allows bird watchers to contribute their sightings be it in their backyard or on a field trip. The GBBC creates a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. Anyone can participate, from beginners to experts. You can count for as little as 15 minutes on a single day, or for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy – and it helps the birds See http://gbbc.birdcount.org/

-----------------------
Some other date notes:

Today:
Atlantic Region Seed Royalty Consultation,10AM
-4PM, Delta Hotel, 18 Queen Street, Charlottetown.  Hosted by Agriculture and AgriFood Canada (AAFC).  Any Islanders, farmers or otherwise, is welcome to observe, support those who comment, or make comment.
The National Farmers Union is strongly against the proposed legislation and goes into details at this link:
https://www.nfu.ca/campaigns/save-our-seed/

Today is the deadline for PC member purchase to be eligible to vote in leadership convention whcih will be held Saturday, February 9th. 
http://www.peipc.ca/become_a_member
Can people become a member just to vote for Leader?  Presumably.  You can cancel your membership at any time by writing to the PEI PC Party.  Why would you want to vote in the leadership race if your are not a tried and true party loyalist?  One of these people will go on to become Leader, and after the next election, if they win their MLA seat, will likely either be the Leader of the Third Party, Leader of the Opposition, or Premier.  Many people want to have a say in which of those five people they would prefer to see in that position. 

-----------------------------------------
Just because.  Some thoughts and ideas for your consideration:
from: https://www.powerofpositivity.com/10-ways-to-stay-positive-in-a-negative-world/

10 Ways to Stay Positive in a Negative World: - The Power of Positivity website article

1. Surround yourself with loving people who bring out the best in you.

The company you keep should inspire you, support you, and bring your best self to light. If the people you hang around don’t make you feel loved and respected, it’s time to reevaluate why you chose these people as friends. Focus on people who spread love and a zest for life, not those who perpetuate hate and fear.

2. Smile in celebration of all the good in your life.

You may not feel you have much to smile about, but even your own heartbeat is reason enough to feel happy. Despite your current circumstances, you can turn your whole life around simply by showing thanks for your blessings. Smile because you’re alive and you have the power to create greatness, and life will give you even more reasons to feel alive.

3. Have a positive accountability partner.

You can lovingly keep each other in check by keeping tabs on each other’s energy, and kindly point out when the other one starts to draw in too much negativity. If you catch your partner watching too many negative programs on TV or listening to mindless music on the radio, call them out on it and suggest some alternatives, such as going outside or reading an uplifting book. This will help keep both of your energy levels up, and give you a support system for becoming your best, most positive self.

4. Limit negative media and entertainment.

“The news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then tell you why it isn’t.” – Robert Orben

Most of the time, the news, radio, latest big-screen movies, and other modern media portray the world in a shallow, depressing, and hostile way. Too much exposure to these programs might awaken anger, anxiety, or depression in you, which will affect your energy levels. Instead of turning on the evening news, read positive articles like the ones you see on our website, or watch some motivational videos on YouTube. Pretty soon, you will most likely catch yourself craving the positive outlets and keeping the negative ones at bay.

5. Replace negative habits with more positive ones.

Just like limiting your contact with negative media, you can easily replace other negative habits in your life with more uplifting practices. Ditch junk food and incorporate more fresh, whole foods into your diet, or trade shopping for helping out at the local homeless shelter. Just do anything that makes you feel good instead of subjecting yourself to things that make you feel lousy. We were meant to feel vibrant and thrive in this lifetime, so seek out activities and habits that make you feel that way!

6. Practice “flipping your focus”.

Many times, we magnify the world’s problems while forgetting about all the positive aspects of life that are right in front of us. When you catch your mind drifting to the darker parts of this world, focus on things that make you feel light instead: families playing at the park, a stranger smiling at you, or the person who complimented you on your outfit. The world is only as dark as we make it out to be.

7. Laugh more often!

According to a recent study, children laugh 200 times a day while the average adult only laughs 4. If you haven’t laughed yet today, spend some quality time with your kids, watch funny videos on YouTube, or do something silly with friends. The world presents plenty of opportunities to laugh, we just have to take them!

8. Disconnect from the world and learn to enjoy some quiet time alone.

Go to a sacred space in the woods or on the coastline where you feel peaceful and closest to the stillness all around you. Turn off your phone for a while, and just meditate, go within, and embrace some solitude. Avoid over-thinking, center yourself, and get away from all of life’s responsibilities for a while.

9. Give more hugs.

If you have to, wear a free hugs t-shirt and offer people a warm embrace as they walk into the mall or local grocery store. This will help spread the love revolution and increase your positive energy as well; we may have a lot of violence in the world, but a hug can instantly remind us of our true loving nature.

10. Cleanse your mind, body, and spirit.

Your body is your temple, and it’s vital that you keep it healthy and strong so that it can serve as your haven when life starts to throw you curveballs.  <snip>

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"Blame it or praise it, there's no denying the wild horse in us."
--- Virginia Woolf

January 17, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events tonight:
Thursday, January 17th:

Ellerslie's Public Information Session on the Electoral Systems Referendum, 6:30PM,

Ellerslie Elementary School, 1226 Ellerslie Rd, Ellerslie

PC Leadership Candidate Debate, Charlottetown, 7-9PM, Murphy Centre gymnasium, Richmond Street.

Tomorrow, Friday, January 18th:
Musical Event: Friday Night Live at the Haviland, 7-10PM, Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street, Charlottetown.
"Members Mike Mooney and Laurie Brinklow are generously organizing a public monthly music event at the Club, There’ll be broad range of music, with a set by our hosts Mike and Laurie, a set including a guest, and an open mic. Cover charge is $10 at the door."
Facebook event link

Saturday, January 19th:
PC Leadership Candidates Meet-and-Greet, 10AM-12noon
, St. Joachim's Hall, Vernon River. Hosted by District 4 (Belfast-Murray River) MLA Darlene Compton.
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Referendum Commissioner Gerard Mitchell has come bursting out of the gate, with a meeting tonight; a list of public information sessions around the Island and press releases from the Referendum PEI office catching up to him this week.
If you are interested in learning more about First Past the Post (if you need to) and Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), then you can go to the Referendum PEI's website (no typo here!) of:
http://www.referendumpei.ca

The ballot wording is there, with the fairly simple question,
"Should PEI change its voting system to a mixed member proportional system?
No (or)
Yes."


If you want to learn more and participate in conversations about the Referendum and more about proportional representation (PR) and  MMP, then go to the PR Network's website:
https://sites.google.com/view/peiprnet/
----------------------
Here is the full list of session planned by the Referendum Commissioner, from this page:
https://referendumpei.ca/information-session-schedule/

"Referendum PEI is holding public meetings at the times and locations set out in the schedule below. The purpose of these meetings is for the Referendum Commissioner to provide education about the upcoming referendum on electoral reform which will be held in conjunction with the next provincial general election. These sessions will provide information about Prince Edward Island’s current electoral system “First Past The Post” (FPTP) the proposed proportional representation system “Mixed Member Proportional” (MMP) and the rules pertaining to the referendum.

As additional meetings dates are added they will be posted to this schedule."

All are at 6:30PM

Thursday, January 17th: Ellerslie
Ellerslie Elementary School
1226 Ellerslie Rd, Ellerslie

Monday, January 21st: Morell
Morell Regional High School
100 Little Flower Ave, Morell

Tuesday, January 22nd: Montague
Montague Regional High School
274 Valleyfield Rd, Montague

Thursday, January 24th:  Elmsdale
Westisle Composite High School
39570 Western Rd, Elmsdale

Monday, January 28th: Souris
Souris Regional School
15 Longworth St, Souris

Tuesday, January 29th: Charlottetown
MacKinnon Lecture Theatre at Holland College Prince of Whales Campus
140 Weymouth St, Charlottetown

Thursday, January 31st: Kinkora
Kinkora Regional High
54 Anderson Rd, Kinkora

Monday, February 4th: Kensington
Kensington Intermediate Senior High
19 Victoria St E, Kensington

Thursday, February 7th: Summerside
Three Oaks Senior High
10 Kenmoore Ave, Summerside

Monday, February 11th: Hunter River
Central Queens School
19821 Route 2, Hunter River

Tuesday, February 12th: Stratford
Stratford Town Hall – Southport Room
234 Shakespeare Dr, Stratford

Thursday, February 21st: Belfast
Belfast Rec Centre
3033 Garfield Rd, Belfast

Monday, February 25th: Cornwall
Cornwall Civic Centre
29 Cornwall Rd, Cornwall

Tuesday, February 26th: York
North Shore Community Centre
West Covehead Rd, York

*Thursday, February 28th: Wellington
École Évangéline
1596 Route 124, Wellington
*Access to French/English interpretation will be available at this session

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So maybe our politicians need to read this:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/immediate-fossil-fuel-phaseout-could-arrest-climate-change-study  

Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study  - The Guardian (U.K.) article by Damian Carrington, Environmental Editor

Scientists say it may still technically be possible to limit warming to 1.5C if drastic action is taken now

Published on Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Climate Change could be kept in check if a phaseout of all fossil fuel infrastructure were to begin immediately, according to research.

It shows that meeting the internationally agreed aspiration of keeping global warming to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is still possible. The scientists say it is therefore the choices being made by global society, not physics, which is the obstacle to meeting the goal.

The study found that if all fossil fuel infrastructure – power plants, factories, vehicles, ships and planes – from now on are replaced by zero-carbon alternatives at the end of their useful lives, there is a 64% chance of staying under 1.5C.

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the difference between 1.5C of warming and the earlier international target of 2C was a significantly lower risk of drought, floods, heatwaves and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Christopher Smith, of the University of Leeds, who led the research, said: “It’s good news from a geophysical point of view. But on the other side of the coin, the [immediate fossil fuel phaseout] is really at the limit of what we could we possibly do. We are basically saying we can’t build anything now that emits fossil fuels.”

Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics, who was not part of the research team, said: “We are rapidly approaching the end of the age of fossil fuels. This study confirms that all new energy infrastructure must be sustainable from now on if we are to avoid locking in commitments to emissions that would lead to the world exceeding the goals of the Paris agreement.”

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, used computer models to estimate by how much global temperatures would rise if a fossil fuel infrastructure phaseout began immediately. The lifespan for power plants was set at 40 years, cars an average of 15 years and planes 26 years. The work also assumes a rapid end to beef and dairy consumption, which is responsible for significant global emissions.

In this scenario, the models suggest carbon emissions would decline to zero over the next four decades and there would be a 66% chance of the global temperature rise remaining below 1.5C. If the phaseout does not begin until 2030, the chance is 33%.

The analysis did not include the possibility of tipping points such as the sudden release of huge volumes of methane from permafrost, which could spark runaway global warming.

The scientists accept their scenario is at the extreme end of ambition, but said it was important to know that meeting the 1.5C target was still physically possible and dependent on the choices made now and in the coming years. “The climate system is not stopping you [hitting the target], global society is stopping you,” Smith said. Other work, using a different approach, has also shown that keeping within the 1.5C limit is possible if radical action is taken immediately. In some sectors, zero-carbon technology already exists, such as renewable energy. But in others, such as aviation, it does not. “Maybe the solution here is flying less,” Smith said.

Prof Dave Reay, of the University of Edinburgh, who also was not part of the research team, said: “Whether it’s drilling a new gas well, keeping an old coal power station open, or even buying a diesel car, the choices we make today will largely determine the climate pathways of tomorrow. The message of this new study is loud and clear: act now or see the last chance for a safer climate future ebb away.”

Smith’s personal belief is that global heating will surpass 1.5C. “We are going the right way, but I don’t think we will do enough, quickly enough. I think we are heading for 2C to 2.5C.”

But he added: “If you don’t have a goal, you are not going to get anywhere. If you have a target that is really hard to achieve and you miss it slightly, that is better than wandering aimlessly into a future climate that is no good for anybody.”
-------------------------------------------
"Maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. The universe takes care of all its birds."
---Justin, a character in the book (and movie) Wonder, which inspired the page-a-day calendar from which many of the quotes are taken

January 16, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Lots going on and getting started from last week's storm postponements:

Events Today:
Silver Donald Cameron's free online 12-week class on Environmental Rights,"Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World", Wednesdays until April 10th(?), 1:30-3PM,
online (follow link).  This Cape Breton University Course has been generously set up with an option to be free and available "for the curious" who have access to an internet connection.  The link has been slow and sometimes hard to get to work for some.
https://thegreeninterview.com/course/

Allan Dale (PC Leader candidate) Student Meet and Greet, 4:30-5:30PM,  UPEI Campus, Engineering Building (School of Sustainable Design Engineering).  Refreshments.  Memberships available.
Facebook event link

Fisheries and Seaplants on PEI (The Environmental Studies Book Club Discussion Series), 5PM, The Fox & Crow (UPEI campus pub, formerly The Wave), Student Union building.
from the Institute of Island Studies newsletter:
This winter we will be reading and discussing Time and a Place: An Environmental History of Prince Edward Island (Island Studies Press, 2016). Our discussions will probe into past and present environmental changes on PEI, and how and why Islanders are particularly sensitive to environmental issues and enmeshed in their landscape in a way that is unique among Canadians.
During our first discussion we will focus on two chapters: “Lines in the Water: Time and Place in a Fishery“ and “The Mermaid’s Tresses: Seaplants in the Culture and Economy of Prince Edward Island.”  We are thrilled that the authors of these chapters and the book editors, Dr. Edward MacDonald and Dr. Irené Novaczek, will join our discussion.
 All are welcome!   The e-book is available through the UPEI library. https://library.upei.ca/
 If have any questions/suggestions, please feel free to contact Dr. Nino Antadze at nantadze@upei.ca

Our Common Journey -- Making the Transition to Sustainability, 6PM registration, 7PM course starts, Charlottetown Rural High School. (Regarding the reality of Climate Change,) " ‘Our Common Journey:’ will explore how individuals and society can make the transition to a brighter future. We will look beyond highly technological solutions and political debates and delve into day-to-day actions that will inspire new skills, creative solutions, supportive networks and the valuable contributions we can make to our common future."  Registration begins at 6PM.

Sarah Stewart-Clark (PC Leader candidate) Meet and Greet "It's our time to step up.", 7-10PM, Upstreet Brewing Company, Allen Street.
Facebook event link

Tomorrow, January 17th:
PC Leadership Candidate Debate, 7PM,
Murphy Community Centre, Charlottetown.

Later this week:
Friday, January 18th:
Deadline to purchase membership to be eligible to vote in PC leadership race.

Website membership info

There is another debate on Land Issues hosted by the National Farmers' Union for the PC leadership candidates next Tuesday, in Charlottetown.  Details to follow.
-----------------------------------------
Article:
Thanks to Martin Rutte for passing on this informative, sobering article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/climate/ocean-warming-climate-change.html

Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds - The New York Times article by Kendra Pierre-Louis

Published on Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters.

A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years.

“2018 is going to be the warmest year on record for the Earth’s oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the independent climate research group Berkeley Earth and an author of the study. “As 2017 was the warmest year, and 2016 was the warmest year.”

As the planet has warmed, the oceans have provided a critical buffer. They have slowed the effects of climate change by absorbing 93 percent of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gases humans pump into the atmosphere.

“If the ocean wasn’t absorbing as much heat, the surface of the land would heat up much faster than it is right now,” said Malin L. Pinsky, an associate professor in the department of ecology, evolution and natural resources at Rutgers University. “In fact, the ocean is saving us from massive warming right now.”

But the surging water temperatures are already killing off marine ecosystems, raising sea levels and making hurricanes more destructive.

As the oceans continue to heat up, those effects will become more catastrophic, scientists say. Rainier, more powerful storms like
Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018 will become more common, and coastlines around the world will flood more frequently. Coral reefs, whose fish populations are sources of food for hundreds of millions of people, will come under increasing stress; a fifth of all corals have already died in the past three years.

People in the tropics, who rely heavily on fish for protein, could be hard hit, said Kathryn Matthews, deputy chief scientist for the conservation group Oceana. “The actual ability of the warm oceans to produce food is much lower, so that means they’re going to be more quickly approaching food insecurity,” she said.

Because they play such a critical role in global warming, oceans are one of the most important areas of research for climate scientists. Average ocean temperatures are also a consistent way to track the effects of greenhouse gas emissions because they are not influenced much by short-term weather patterns, Mr. Hausfather said.

But, historically, understanding ocean temperatures has been difficult. An authoritative United Nations report, issued in 2014 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, presented five different estimates of ocean heat, but they all showed less warming than the levels projected by computer climate models — suggesting that either the ocean heat measurements or the climate models were inaccurate.

[The I.P.C.C. also issued a report last year that described a climate crisis as soon as 2040.]

Since the early 2000s, scientists have measured ocean heat using a network of drifting floats called Argo, named after Jason’s ship in Greek mythology. The floats measure the temperature and saltiness of the upper 6,500 feet of the ocean and upload the data via satellites.

But before Argo, researchers relied on temperature sensors that ships lowered into the ocean with copper wire. The wire transferred data from the sensor to the ship for recording until the wire broke and the sensor drifted away.

That method was subject to uncertainties, particularly around the accuracy of the depth at which the measurement was taken. Those uncertainties hamper today’s scientists as they stitch together 20th-century temperature data into a global historical record.

In the new analysis, Mr. Hausfather and his colleagues assessed three recent studies that better accounted for the older instrument biases. The results converged at an estimate of ocean warming that was higher than that of the 2014 United Nations report and more in line with the climate models.

The waters closest to the surface have heated up the most, and that warming has accelerated over the past two decades, according to data from the lead author of the new study, Lijing Cheng of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Beijing.
As the oceans heat up, sea levels rise because warmer water takes up more space than colder water. In fact, most of the sea level rise observed to date is because of this
warming effect, not melting ice caps.

Absent global action to reduce carbon emissions, the authors said, the warming alone would cause sea levels to rise by about a foot by 2100, and the ice caps would contribute more. That could exacerbate damages from severe coastal flooding and storm surge.

The effects of the warming on marine life could also have broad repercussions, Dr. Pinsky said. “As the ocean heats up, it’s driving fish into new places, and we’re already seeing that that’s driving conflict between countries,” he said. “It’s spilling over far beyond just fish, it’s turned into trade wars. It’s turned into diplomatic disputes. It’s led to a breakdown in international relations in some cases.”

A fourth study reviewed by the researchers strengthened their conclusions. That study used a novel method to estimate ocean temperatures indirectly, and it also found that the world’s oceans were heating faster than the authors of the 2014 study did.

The study initially contained an error that caused its authors to revise their estimates downward. But as it turned out, the downward revision brought the study’s estimates much closer to the new consensus.

“The correction made it agree a lot better with the other new observational records,” Mr. Hausfather said. “Previously it showed significantly more warming than anyone, and that was potentially worrisome because it meant our observational estimates might be problematic. Now their best estimate is pretty much dead-on with the other three recent studies.”

The scientists who published the four studies were not trying to make their results align, Mr. Hausfather said. “The groups who were working on ocean heat observations, they’re not climate modelers,” he said. “They’re not particularly concerned with whether or not their observations agree or disagree with climate models.”

Laure Zanna, an associate professor of climate physics at the University of Oxford who was not involved in the study, said the new research was “a very nice summary of what we know of the ocean and how far the new estimates have come together.”

Dr. Zanna published a study this week that used existing data to estimate ocean temperatures dating back to 1871. The goal was to figure out places where sea level rise might happen even faster than expected because of the way ocean currents redistribute heat, allowing regions that are especially at risk to better plan for those changes.

“We are warming the planet but the ocean is not warming evenly, so different places warm more than others,” Dr. Zanna said. “And so the first consequence will be that sea level will be different in different places depending on the warming.”

Though the new findings provide a grim forecast for the future of the oceans, Mr. Hausfather said that efforts to mitigate global warming, including the 2015 Paris climate agreement, would help. “I think there’s some reason for confidence that we’ll avoid the worst-case outcomes,” he said, “even if we’re not on track for the outcomes we want.”

for the article with more links and photos, see the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/climate/ocean-warming-climate-change.html
-----------------------------------------

"Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
---Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), Irish writer

January 15, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events:
Tonight:
"To be free is very sweet": The story of Mary Prince, a West Indian slave, with Dr, Margot Maddison-MacFadyen, Institute of Island Studies Lecture, 7PM
, Faculty Lounge, Main Building, UPEI.
Related CBC story

Tomorrow:
Sarah Stewart-Clark (PC leader candidate) Meet and Greet "It's our time to step up.", 7-10PM,
Upstreet Brewing Company, Allen Street.
Facebook event link
-----------------------------------------

The Office of the Referendum Commissioner, with Commissioner Gerard Mitchell, has released a list of public info sessions to be held this week and in coming weeks about the referendum, First Past the Post, and Mixed Member Proportional Representation voting systems.  The "launch" was a bit rocky, with the completely wrong website URL listed in the ad (not "www.refereudumpei.com")  and no heads up any earlier since his appointment as to the make-up of the public info campaign, or welcoming public interaction in its planning....
The functioning website:
https://referendumpei.ca/

Wednesday, January 16th:
Fisheries and Seaplants on PEI (The Environmental Studies Book Club Discussion Series), 5PM,
The Fox & Crow (UPEI campus pub, formerly The Wave), Student Union building.
from the Institute of Island Studies newsletter:

This winter we will be reading and discussing Time and a Place: An Environmental History of Prince Edward Island (Island Studies Press, 2016). Our discussions will probe into past and present environmental changes on PEI, and how and why Islanders are particularly sensitive to environmental issues and enmeshed in their landscape in a way that is unique among Canadians.
During our first discussion we will focus on two chapters: “Lines in the Water: Time and Place in a Fishery“ and “The Mermaid’s Tresses: Seaplants in the Culture and Economy of Prince Edward Island.”  We are thrilled that the authors of these chapters and the book editors, Dr. Edward MacDonald and Dr. Irené Novaczek, will join our discussion.
 All are welcome!   The e-book is available through the UPEI library.
https://library.upei.ca/
 If have any questions/suggestions, please feel free to contact Dr. Nino Antadze at nantadze@upei.ca
-----------------------------------------

Catherine O'Brien, with the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, was on CBC Radio, aired this morning; if the audio is archived, we will share it.  Here is the on-line article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-water-act-regulations-1.4977748

Water Act regulations on the way but not for high-capacity wells - CBC online news article by Nancy Russell,

Water advocacy group concerned provincial election may disrupt public consultation

Published online at CBC news this morning (bold and formatting changes mine)

Environment Minister Richard Brown says Prince Edward Islanders will soon get their first look at some of the regulations to go with the province's Water Act.  But that will not include regulations for high-capacity wells, the issue that sparked the creation of the Act.  The Water Act was passed in the legislature in December of 2017. But it will only start to be implemented when regulations are passed to go with it.

"We have a number of regulations ready," said Brown, minister of communities, land and environment.  "We want to start proceeding with public consultations on them, so early in February I'm hoping to get before the standing committee and we will post those regulations."

'We've made it that way in order to make it flexible enough to allow us to get underway right away and not wait for all the regulations at once because that could take up to years,' says Communities, Land and Environment Minister Richard Brown.

Brown says there is no official timeline for the public consultation.  "We're leaving it open, as much as needed," Brown said.  "We will put it on the web and then we'll see how many people want to participate and then from there we'll start hosting meetings and if people want more meetings, we will have more meetings."

Brown says the regulations will also be done in sections, starting with:

  • well construction

  • municipal water systems

  • (with the controversial) high-capacity wells after that.

"That's number three," Brown said.

"We're just waiting for some more information in terms of that. We're hiring some people to administer the high-capacity wells that we have currently in place so we're going to get some more data then go to the public with that." 

If all goes well, Brown hopes to have the first two sets of regulations in place by spring.  "Executive council can implement and proclaim sections of the act as we go along," Brown said.   "We've made it that way in order to make it flexible enough to allow us to get underway right away and not wait for all the regulations at once because that could take up to years."

Parts of the act will then take effect as the regulations are approved.  "Once we start passing our regulations, the sections that are prudent to those regulations will be proclaimed," Brown said.

But a water advocacy group on P.E.I. is worried there may not be time for public consultation before a provincial election call. 

"We had been told at the fall sitting of the legislature in 2017 that the regulation consultation would be happening in the spring of 2018," said Catherine O'Brien, chair of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water.  "That didn't happen. We've been anxiously waiting."

O'Brien says her group had been asking for a meeting with Brown since he took over as minister in January 2018.  "Waiting a whole calendar year is a little frightening when we had such a great consultative process and then silence for a year," O'Brien said. "A lot can happen and a lot has happened in a year before this Water Act comes into place."

O'Brien points to a couple of water issues that have caused concern for the coalition in 2018, including new high-capacity wells for aquaculture and the increased number of holding ponds across the province.

"He did apologize and said from now on moving forward we'll be meeting more and he is concentrating on water so we hope that is the case," O'Brien said. "We're just still very nervous about this because this is likely an election year and if we wait until after an election, we don't know what will happen with the Water Act."

Brown had no prediction as to what will happen if the writ is dropped. "If there is an election and I don't know when there is an election, what regulations are passed will be passed and what sections of the act are passed will be passed," Brown said.  "The rest will be left up to the newly elected government."

As for more high-capacity wells in 2019, Brown says the moratorium will remain in place. "We've commited to no new high-capacity wells in 2019," Brown said.

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

Today would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 89th birthday. 

This is an amazing quote of his, and resonates today...for instance, seeing the press this morning about the province chipping in to provide funding to a community-based women's shelter, or remembering the former Premier magnanimously dropping off turkeys at the local radio station on behalf of his caucus at Christmastime....

"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
---Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15th, 1929 - April 4th, 1968)

January 14, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Just seen in today's Guardian:


Hopefully, you can read this --
sessions this week:
Thursday, January 17th:
ReferendumPEI Public Information Session-- Ellerslie, 6:30PM
, Ellerslie Elementary School.

Saturday, January 26th:
“Electoral Referendum Choices: What Do Seniors Want to Know?’’, 8:30AM-12:30PM
,  Murphy’s Community Centre.  Hosted by the Voluntary Resource Centre. See article below
-----------------------------------------
Providing information, this focused for seniors:
https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/symposium-in-charlottetown-to-tackle-electoral-reform-subject-for-seniors-274578/

Symposium in Charlottetown to tackle electoral reform subject for seniors - The Guardian article

Published on Thursday, January 10th, 2018

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The Voluntary Resource Council (VRC) is giving seniors a lesson in electoral reform.

A symposium entitled “Electoral Referendum Choices: What Do Seniors Want to Know?’’ will be held at Murphy’s Community Centre on Richmond Street in Charlottetown on Saturday, Jan. 26, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The storm date is Feb. 2.

Pre-registration is preferred. Call Sylvie Arsenault at 902-368-7337 or email vrc@eastlink.ca. The deadline to register is Jan. 19.

This event is open to all ages, and there is no charge. It will emphasize the importance of seniors’ participation in P.E.I.’s electoral system. It aims to encourage seniors and others to vote in the referendum which will be held with the next provincial election. According to the Electoral System Referendum Act, the referendum question on the ballot will be: “Should Prince Edward Island change its voting system to a mixed member proportional voting system?’’ No/Yes.

The symposium offers an opportunity to share knowledge about and understand the two choices in the referendum question. Participants will hear about and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of first past the post and mixed member proportional representation. The organizers hope the symposium will identify ways and means of encouraging seniors and others to learn about the choices and to vote in the referendum.

-----------------------------------------
"The world was designed and built to overwhelm and astonish."
--- Mary Ruefle, American poet (b. 1952)

January 13, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Glenaladale Snowshow and Tour, 1-3PM, start at St. Bonaventure Church (1289 Donaldston Rd.) Guided tour with Winter River-Tracadie Bay watershed people, refreshments at Glenaladale after the snowshoe. Participants must bring their own snowshoes, as none are available to loan for this event."
Facebook event link

Premier's New Year's Levee, 1:30-3PM, Confederation Centre, Queen Street entrance.  "Join me for the rescheduled 2019 New Year's Premier's Levee. Let's celebrate all that we have accomplished by working together, as we look towards the New Year.
Bring the whole family for an afternoon filled with the best our mighty Island has to offer.
- Free Face Painting for Children
- Special Guests -- The Beck Sisters
- Refreshments Provided
Please use the Queen Street entrance."
Facebook event link
-----------------------------------------
Article:
The Guardian, perhaps in the busyness of saying goodbye to Editorial page editor Bill McGuire, hasn't put up the editorials and letters from Saturday, yet, but there were two very good ones, which I am sharing without links:

Why is the referendum rigged to fail? - The Guardian article by Alan Holman, regular columnist and freelance commentator

Published on Saturday, January 12th, 2019

The question of changing the Island’s system of electing MLAs was raised at the Conservative leadership debate in Summerside on Tuesday night. Unlike other subjects where the five candidate’s trip over one another trying to say the same thing differently, Dennis King was the only candidate who unequivocally supported the idea of proportional representation.

In 2015, Wade MacLauchlan won 66 per cent of the seats in the P.E.I. Legislature with only 41 per cent of the vote. With only four percent fewer votes, 37 per cent, the Conservatives only got 30 percent of the seats. Both the Greens and the NDP received 11 per cent of the vote and the Green’s got a seat, but the NDP didn’t.

The present first-past-the-post system worked when there was only two parties and a greater political involvement. Today, there are at least four parties and the interest in traditional old-style politics, the ins vs the outs, has waned. The results of the 2015 election, coupled with lop-sided results in other earlier elections, sparked an interest in finding another way to choose governments.

Mix-member proportional was the preferred choice in a 2016 plebiscite that was ignored because of claims the turnout was too low, even though 52 per cent of the 37,000 Islanders who voted, favoured it. It might have been the first time in the Island’s history where people who didn’t bother to cast a ballot had more influence than those who voted.

However, legislation was passed establishing the upcoming referendum to be held in conjunction with the up-coming provincial election.

“The purpose of this act is to make the process for the referendum transparent and fair in order to obtain a clear expression of the will of Islanders . . .”

Fairness is in the eye of the beholder, what’s fair to some, is not to others. While Mr. MacLauchlan can become premier for four years with less than 50 per cent support from the electorate throughout the Island, his government has established a different set of rules for the referendum.

For those Islanders who want to change the electoral process to mixed-member PR, they, the Yes voters, must get more than 50 per cent of the all ballots cast, and they must also get more than 50 per cent of the ballots cast in 60 per cent of the ridings.

To win the referendum, the Yes side must get more than 50 per cent in at least 16 ridings, plus more than 50 per cent over all. Given the demographics of the Island, with more than 60 per cent of the population living in the greater Summerside and Charlottetown areas, it is not inconceivable that PR could get more than 50 per cent of all the ballots cast, but if the majority of their votes comes from the 12 seats in those urban areas they would lose the referendum.

Some might say that’s okay, after all we’re a rural province, which is true.

But the Island is not the small ‘c’ conservative rural province that some people like to think it is. In fact, Islanders are more progressive than the so-called urbanites of central Canada. When it comes to politics and elections, we have led, not followed.

While still a colony, the Island was one of the first to have representative government. For years there were dual-ridings, giving Islanders, not one, but two votes in each election. More recently, the Island was the first province to elect a woman as premier. The Island was also the first province to elect a premier who didn’t come from a European background.

Islanders know how to do the right thing without rigging the game. The requirement of more than 50 per cent in 60 per cent of the ridings doesn’t seem fair.

Why? Are they so afraid of losing, they have to rig the game? It’s not scaring Dennis King in his leadership run. It might not help him, but it doesn’t scare him.

---------------------
And this very
good letter!

Proportional representation

In Tuesday’s PC leadership debate, the question on proportional representation (PR) largely resulted in thinly veiled displays of self-interest from the candidates.

One candidate – who is presenting themselves as a champion for marginalized Islanders – led the disappointing charge by suggesting that “we’re having the wrong conversation” about PR, then went on to add that a more collegial legislature would fix what ails our politics on P.E.I. while asserting that PR won’t “magically” create a different political experience.

Though they’re expecting to be taken at their word when they say they can deliver a different political experience without presenting even one concrete idea on how they’d do it.

For over a century, the same two parties have exchanged power and we find ourselves still listening to childish snipes during Question Period, still enduring unbalanced standing committees, and still indulging candidates promising to do things differently; a political rallying cry as old as democracy itself. In my mind, PR is about creating a political marketplace wherein the consumer has more options, thus resulting in stiffer competition and eventually a superior product; certainly an idea a conservative should support.

It would also be wise for the PC party to remember that they’ve worked hard over the past decade to hold the government to account for its perceived transgressions while suffering both frustration and low polling numbers, so you’d expect they’d well understand how bloated majorities can sometimes be the antithesis of democracy.

Conversely, Dennis King deserves credit for boldly pledging his support for PR, undoubtedly to the chagrin of party brass.

Opponents of PR cite the need for sturdy majorities and fear of power centralization within urban centres as reasons to forgo PR. However, the notion that FPTP produces stable majority governments is perhaps no longer a given here as we may be headed towards a minority government of our own alongside New Brunswick and B.C.

And, correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t centralized power already a major concern for rural Islanders? The coming referendum will reveal whether Islanders have an appetite for PR, but if not, we better hope that stale platitudes are edible.

Justin Clow, Charlottetown

-----------------------------------------
Quote:

"No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrown them."
---Linus, a character in a Charles Schulz' Peanuts cartoon

January 12, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

George's Island Market in Bedeque opens at 10AM

Events outside (bundle up!):

Winter Birds Around Town – Nature PEI birding field trip, 8-11AM, meet at Charlottetown Rural High School parking lot at 8:00 am.... (This walk will focus) on feeder birds, gulls and waterfowl with field trip leader Brendan Kelly.
Facebook event link

Tomorrow:
Glenaladale Snowshow and Tour, 1-3PM,
meet in the parking lot for St. Bonaventure Church (1289 Donaldston Rd, corrner of Donaldston Road and Station Road).  Co-hosted by Winter River- Tracadie Bay and Glenaladale Heritage Trust. "The watershed group is working on several projects with this newer organization in our area that we would like to show to community members. We will have guides from our group on the trail to talk about the forests and other natural features of the area. Tours of the historic house overlooking Tracadie Bay will be available with knowledgeable guides from the Trust. A snack of cookies and hot chocolate will be provided at the house. Participants must bring their own snowshoes, as none are available to loan for this event."
Facebook event link

Tuesday, January 15th (additional forum planned):
PC Leadership forum: West Prince, 7PM, Mill River Resort.

Friday, January 18th:
Deadline to purchase membership to be eligible to vote in PC leadership race.
Website membership info
-----------------------------------------
On the issue of the pipeline through unceded territory in British Columbia, here is an excerpt from an opinion piece by Carey Newman, published on CBC online on Friday, January 11th, 2019:


'The division between elected and hereditary leaders is no accident. It was engineered by Canadian colonial policies that have disrupted traditional ways and is now strategically exploited to enable access to valuable resources.
The general confusion between elected and hereditary leadership, and reserves and traditional territories, has been used to make it appear as though government and industry have Indigenous consent, while casting land protectors as "protestors" who represent a fringe element. Instead of divide and conquer, it is a tactic of divide and deceive.'

--Carey Newman, OBC MSM, who carries the traditional name Hayalthkin’geme, is a multi-disciplinary artist and master carver of Kwakwak’awakw, Coast Salish and Settler heritage. He is the current Audain Professor of Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest at the University of Victoria.

full article here: 
https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/gaslink-pipeline-1.4973825
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OK, this is not at all about Island democratic or environmental issues, but a lyrical recipe and bit of self-care and self-help.  Consider getting a local chicken, and some carrots and such, today, if you eat meat and might enjoy working through this recipe.
Article: https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/columnists/russell-wangersky-chicken-soup-as-therapy-273665/

RUSSELL WANGERSKY: Chicken soup as therapy - The Guardian article by columnist Russell Wangersky

Published on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

When things go wrong — really wrong — I recommend soup.

Two-day soup. Chicken. Not the eating, necessarily — the making.

Keep in mind this is not a recipe. This is a coping mechanism.

My mother-in-law, a lovely woman, died Friday. If she were in my shoes, she would have made a spaghetti sauce, her mouth pursed in a way that was uniquely hers — for me, it’s soup.

First, roast a chicken. Rub the outside of the chicken with spices and stand it up off the bottom of the roasting pan on a base of peeled carrots. Let chicken and pan stand in the fridge for at least an hour, then roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until it reaches 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Put the chicken, whole, in a large pot, and add enough water to completely cover it.

These are the steps your hands will learn to do almost on their own, with just enough thought going on to distance and distract you from all the other things.

Three cloves of local garlic, left nested inside their papery white outer skins. A yellow onion, skinned and quartered. The drippings from the roasting pan. The cooked carrots. Some wine; some Worcestershire sauce. Bay leaves — many. Thyme — a small bunch. More black peppercorns than you would think necessary. Simple things: keep moving. Don’t think. Don’t think.

Bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for two hours.

Let cool, and refrigerate.

The next morning, scrape the chicken fat from the surface, but don’t be too thorough. Fats carry flavour, so you want to leave enough to keep the broth rich.

Reheat.

Look down into the pot as the heat brings the liquid back to life.

The flat pearls of chicken fat on the surface swirling, coalescing, breaking apart again, burnished gold. The stock so full of flavour and protein that it gelled as it cooled, and now, as it warms again, it liquefies from the edges of the pot inwards to the middle, small pieces of cooked chicken, little more than specks, obeying their own laws of physics as they course through the stock.

Steam will rise gently and play across your face, almost solid.

The smell of the stock will fill the kitchen. It will try to fill every corner of the house. It will try to fix anything it comes across that’s broken.

Taste the broth. Taste it again: you’re allowed to. The universe of soup is fully in your control; little else is controllable, and life smacks you hard each time you forget that.

Simmer for two hours. Sometimes, a thin skein of proteins will form on parts of the surface as the stock burbles. This is good.

Allow the soup to cool again. Strain out the broth. Set the liquid aside. Pick out the meat, removing the chicken bones, the skin. Pay attention here: stay alert. As in many things, there are many small bones and sharp surfaces to steer clear of.

Take those careworn pan-bottom carrots with some stock and blend them into paste. Blend the now-transparent curls of quartered onion, too. Put the paste back into the broth along with the chicken meat. The clear broth may turn cloudy, but that’s fine.

Cut new peeled carrots into rings. Cut and add green horseshoe-slices of celery stalks. Test to see if it needs salt. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar; I don’t know why.

Cook again.

Some people would prefer to add potatoes. I like to wait until just before dinner, and add an overloaded half-cup of star-shaped pasta noodles.

I like my universe full of stars, each one a possibility.

Fill a bowl. Eat. Share.

Cry.

If you’re still in trouble, I would recommend making biscuits, too.

Flour, butter, salt, baking powder, milk — that’s all I have for you right now.

You’re on your own.

--Russell Wangersky

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

"Fortune favors the bold." (audaces fortuna iuvat)
---Virgil, from The Aeneid (70 BCE-19BCE)


A rather overused sentiment, and currently one adopted by politicians....

January 11, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events tonight involve picking your politics and your potation location:

Joe Byrne, NDP Leader, hosts Gary Burrill, Nova Scotia NDP Leader, 5-7PM, Haviland Club, Haviland Street.  Chili and entertainment, tickets $10 at the door or at:
Facebook event link

Dennis King, PC leader candidate, 5-7PM, Upstreet, Allen Street, Charlottetown
Facebook event link

Allan Dale, PC leader candidate, 7-9PM, Benevolent Irish Society Hall.  Music and conversation.
Facebook event link

Apologies for ones missed being reporting on.
-----------------------------------------

The above the masthead today in The Guardian:
"GAS PRICES UP BY THREE CENTS PER LITRE IN UNSCHEDULED JUMP (page A2)"

IRAC, the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, usually adjusts prices regularly on the 1st and 15th.

A recent lead editorial: https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/editorials/editorial-irac-review-brings-change-274248/

IRAC review brings change - The Guardian Lead Editorial by Bill McGuire

Published on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

The auditor general should see if similar transparency problems are found elsewhere in IRAC.

P.E.I. auditor general Jane MacAdam has dealt effectively with the key issue and the most obvious complaint; but there is more to be done. Much more.

Her review of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) dealt with the question asked countless times by Islanders: “Why is the price of gas going up?” She determined there is a lack of transparency about how IRAC makes gas and heating oil pricing decisions; no explanation how it sets petroleum prices; and no place where the average Islander can find such information.

IRAC found itself under review, for the first time since it was created in 1991, so it’s refreshing to see the commission is accountable to someone. For that, we have Opposition MLA Jamie Fox to thank, who, as chairman of the Legislative Audit Committee, asked for the review.

RELATED: Gas price-setting decisions lack transparency, says P.E.I. auditor general

Before other provinces brought in price controls, P.E.I. used to brag that it had the cheapest gas in the region because of regulation, which offered some consolation for high tolls on bridge and ferries. Many Islanders can recall when visitors would drive over for a day’s excursion and then fill up before heading back to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.

Apart from the twice-a-month petroleum adjustments, Islanders are keenly interested in IRAC because its decisions impact so many other issues – rents, land use, water and sewer rates, waste watch, electricity and insurance.

Other regulated provinces use a clear, established formula in setting gas prices, taking out the guess work and the criticism. P.E.I. has a formula but also applies other subjective criteria. Do we really expect a provincial regulatory body to assess current unrest in the Middle East before setting oil prices?

Ms. MacAdam recommended that IRAC document the reasoning behind each pricing decision and make it public. It didn’t take long for IRAC to act, implementing five of her seven recommendations, and making a pledge to conduct a review with pricing decisions in other areas to satisfy Mr. Fox and Ms. MacAdam. IRAC also posted its methodology on its website Dec. 19, two weeks before the AG report was made public.

Mr. Fox suggests that IRAC requires a complete restructuring to curb its absolute powers. He suggests a full review by a special standing committee of the legislature, with hearings in 2019. He should remember that IRAC’s responsibilities were greatly expanded under the previous PC government when more and more duties were handed over – to avoid blame for unpopular rate increases and decisions.

The AG should see if similar transparency problems are found elsewhere in IRAC. Maybe Mr. Fox is right -- that a full review is warranted. The province is also reviewing her report to make the commission more accountable and transparent. The initial review was certainly worthwhile.

Mr. Fox is obviously fishing for Liberals when he seeks a legislature review, and by questioning if politically-appointed individuals are qualified to make regulatory decisions. The question and answer are obvious so don’t expect the government to go along with any such review – especially in an election year.

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

A recent article: https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/gas-price-setting-decisions-lack-transparency-says-pei-auditor-general-273209/

Gas price-setting decisions lack transparency, says P.E.I. auditor general - The Guardian article by Political Reporter Stu Neatby

Published on Friday, January 4th, 2019

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - P.E.I.’s auditor general says the methods used by provincial regulators to set gas, diesel and home heating oil prices lack transparency.

In a report released on Friday, Jane MacAdam found there was no public explanation of the methodology used by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission in setting petroleum prices. The audit of IRAC’s methods in relation to petroleum pricing was conducted between April 2016 and March 2018.

"Nowhere could the average Islander find information on IRAC's methodology," MacAdam said during a press briefing on Friday morning.

MacAdam said the prices of gasoline, diesel and heating oil affect all Islanders. As such, IRAC is mandated by law to ensure petroleum prices are fair.

"IRAC has broad powers under the Petroleum Products Act to set prices that are just and reasonable," MacAdam said.

"It is important that Islanders know how it interprets those broad powers and applies them."

MacAdam’s report also found applications from petroleum retailers for reviews of margins were not processed in a timely manner. IRAC sets the margins that wholesalers and retailers can charge for gasoline, diesel, furnace oil and propane. Wholesalers and retailers can apply for an increase in the margin for petroleum products.

The report looked at two examples of margin reviews. In one case, a margin application submitted by a group of furnace oil retailers took 23 months before a decision was made. In the second case, no decision had been made by IRAC 21 months after an application from another association representing retail gasoline dealers was submitted.

“IRAC has the authority and obligation to develop and document policies and procedures that are transparent to applicants and provide for the timely review of margin applications,” the report said.

The report also recommended IRAC document the reasoning behind each pricing decision and communicate this information to the public. The report noted that it is the practice of IRAC to simply attribute the reasoning behind gasoline price changes in media statements to “increased demand and restricted supply.”

In a response to the report, IRAC has since posted a description of its methodology on its website. IRAC also stated in its response to the report that it will be conducting a review of its practice of documenting and communicating pricing decisions.

In a media statement, IRAC CEO Scott MacKenzie stated the commission has so far implemented five of the seven recommendations outlined in the report, which was made available to the commission in December.

In an emailed statement, provincial spokesperson Mary Moszynski said the province is currently reviewing the report.

“While IRAC operates at arm’s length from government, it is expected that they take every step possible to be accountable to Islanders,” Moszynski said.

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

A note about where IRAC is placed in the government structure, to my understanding, which is under Education, thought to be the department with the least conflict with IRAC, but with Minister Jordan Brown also being Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Public Safety, it can seem a pretty short arm.
--------------------------------

What the Official Opposition is asking https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-irac-full-review-1.4969020

IRAC requires full review, says Opposition MLA - CBC News website article by Kerry Campbell

Jamie Fox says lack of transparency at regulatory commission goes beyond setting gas prices

Published on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019 on the CBC website

Opposition MLA Jamie Fox is calling for a full review of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission following a report from P.E.I.'s auditor general criticizing the commission for a lack of transparency when it comes to setting fuel prices.

The PC MLA welcomed the auditor general's report, saying it "opened the door" to a larger review looking at more of the decision-making processes for which the commission is responsible.

"How are they making decisions when it comes to land transfers?" Fox said. "Water and sewer rates? Tenant [rental] increases? Maritime Electric [rates]?"

It was Fox who requested the review by Auditor General Jane MacAdam in 2017 when Fox was a member of the legislature's audit committee. While he had hoped MacAdam would look at other aspects of the commission, her report dealt solely with the way it regulates fuel prices.

Now Fox is calling for a full review of IRAC to be conducted by a new committee of the legislature.

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

This is how some of us thought IRAC determined fuel prices

A money wheel, stock photo.
-----------------------------------------
Very Anne-ish:

"It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will."
--Lucy Maud Montgomery, quoted in the Wonder page-a-day calendar

January 10, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Several things were postponed yesterday, including the start of Silver Donald Cameron's free course through Cape Breton University, on Environmental Rights, and the Sustainable Transition Community program at Charlottetown Rural High School.  Both will start next Wednesday, January 16th.

Events today:

Thursday, January 10th:
PC Party Candidates Meet-and-Greet at District 13 AGM and Social, 7PM, Merchantman Next Door, Water Street. The five candidates will be at this event.

Thursday, January 10th:
PEI in Solidarity with Migrant Caravan, 6PM, Timothy's World Coffee, Great George Street, Charlottetown. "....stand in solidarity with those who have been displaced from their homelands through violence, resource extraction, climate change, and more.
Facebook event link

Community Drop-in -- Fitzroy Street Bike Lane Plan, 7-9PM, Provinces Room, Rodd Charlottetown, Kent Street. Facebook event link

Extinction Rebellion PEI: Planning Meeting, 7-9PM, Trinity United Church Gym, Charlottetown.  "...for anyone interested in helping to shape the strategy of Extinction Rebellion in Prince-Edward-Island.  Facebook event link

Green Trivia with Wil!, 7:30PM, Evermore Brewing Company, 192 Water Street, Summerside. Facebook event link
-----------------------------------------
From yesterday's Guardian:

No pipe in the Strait - Why paper mill’s effluent pipe issue is so important to Prince Edward Island fishers - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ian MacPherson

Published on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

As the media coverage of the proposed Northern Pulp effluent pipe in the Northumberland Strait ramps up, it is important to understand the concerns of Island fishers on this important issue.

For generations, Island harvesters have fished side by side with their Nova Scotia counterparts in the area that will be impacted directly by the proposed project. The Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association, Gulf Nova Scotia Fleeting Planning Board, Maritime Fishermen’s Union and Pictou Landing First Nation are united in opposition to this project.

The proposed pipe is required due to the closure of the Boat Harbour treatment facility where mill effluent is currently being discharged. This facility will be closed in January 2020 directed by the Boat Harbour Act of 2015.

The proposed replacement facility is long overdue as the Pictou Landing First Nation has endured an environmental disaster on their lands that rivals the infamous Sydney Tar Ponds.

The current Boat Harbour process provides a settling time of approximately 30 days before a low flow is discharged into surrounding water. During this time, organics, heavy metals and other contaminants in the effluent have a chance to settle.

The proposed new system offers a mere 8 hours for settling before discharging 65 to 90 million litres per day into the Northumberland Strait. As a point of reference this water volume is more than the entire Municipality of Halifax uses in a day.

The effluent will be fresh, warm treated water that will contain a mix of chemicals of an unknown composition. The dispersion model projections presented are based on information acquired during a very limited (1 month) sample period.

This discharge will be a steady 24 hours a day, year-round. The total backup for a plant upset will only be eight hours. The plant then must shut-down or discharge directly into the Strait.

From a marine perspective, the Northumberland Strait is a unique eco-system. There are gyres (continuous circulating ocean currents) located at each end of the strait making it a self-contained unit. Residence time of water in the Strait can be weeks to months, increasing chances of effluent accumulation. Unfavourable conditions will cause the migration of marine animals from the area.

We have not been given a list of the chemical composition of the effluent, but have been told by mill representatives that there would be more solids released from the new system. There is not enough information to prove that negative impacts will not occur to marine species or their environment.

There are contaminants documented in kraft-bleached pulp mill effluent that can disrupt shell hardening in lobsters. There are also numerous hormone disrupting contaminants documented in similar effluents which have a negative impact on numerous fish species. This poses a great a risk to numerous species that depend on a healthy ocean environment for survival.

Herring is one of these species and one of their main spawning beds in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is located not far from Pictou and Caribou Harbour. Damage to this spawning bed will negatively impact the regrowth of the herring biomass.

Those in support of the project state that the pipe will meet current environmental standards and many pipes discharge into the waterways of Canada. These current environmental standards are presently under review.

Our research shows areas on the west coast of Canada that are permanently closed to bivalve fishing due to contaminants in the water, most likely due to these types of discharges.

(We) have a worldwide and world class brand that needs to be protected.

The insistence that a 1 meter diameter pipe discharging millions of liters per day into the ocean is the only technical option available in 2019 is frustrating. We understand that all mill discharges are not the same but find that no other technical options are possible - questionable.

It is not the fishing community that is advocating closure of the mill but a Northern Pulp company slogan that states “No Pipe = No Mill.”

Our fishing organizations remain steadfast in requiring a federal environmental assessment be carried out at the very least.

Any compromise of one industry over the other will be at a cost that Canada cannot afford.

- Ian MacPherson, general manager of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association; science information provided by PEIFA marine biologist Melanie Giffin.

-----------------------------------------
This does make a difference.

"...I believe without any doubt at all that our greatest good fortune was that even in the most extreme difficulties we might lose our patience but never our sense of humor."
---Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) Colombian novelist

January 9, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events Today:
Silver Donald Cameron's free online 12-week class on Environment Rights,"Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World", Wednesdays until April 3rd, 1:30-3PM,
online (follow link).  This Cape Breton University Course has been generously set up with an option to be free and available "for the curious" who have access to an internet connection.
Details at the link:
https://thegreeninterview.com/course/

Tonight:
Our Common Journey -- Making the Transition to Sustainability, 7-10PM, Charlottetown Rural High School.  A several-week-long course accepting that Climate Change is happening and preparing for it.  Registration begins at 6PM.
Facebook event link
**Check the Facebook link later today to see if this has had to be postponed** 
Notice will also be passed on the Citizens' Alliance Facebook group page

Thursday, January 10th:
PEI in Solidarity with Migrant Caravan, 6PM,
Timothy's World Coffee, Great George Street, Charlottetown.  "....stand in solidarity with those who have been displaced from their homelands through violence, resource extraction, climate change, and more. Specifically focusing on those who have been displaced from Central America, and how Canada is playing a large role in that forced displacement.
...."   from:
Facebook event link

Community Drop-in -- Fitzroy Street Bike Lane Plan, 7-9PM, Provinces Room, Rodd Charlottetown, Kent Street.  " learn what the project involves, how it will benefit Charlottetown, and to share input that will inform the design and implementation of this exciting initiative."
Facebook event link

Extinction Rebellion PEI: Planning Meeting, 7-9PM, Trinity United Church Gym, Charlottetown.  "...for anyone interested in helping to shape the strategy of Extinction Rebellion in Prince-Edward-Island.

Green Trivia with Wil!, 7:30PM, Evermore Brewing Company, 192 Water Street, Summerside.  (The event contains the disclaimer that:  "Evermoore Brewing is not affiliated with any political party, if you or your organization (political or not) want to host or partner on an event we'd be more then happy to work together!")
Facebook event link

Friday, January 11th:
Deadline: Survey input deadline: Gender Inclusion in Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture. 
Info and link to survey:
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/agriculture-and-fisheries/gender-inclusion-agriculture-fisheries-and-aquaculture-line

Happy Hour with Joe Byrne and NS NDP Leader, 5-7PM, Haviland Club,
"Join us in celebration of a new year, new growth and succcess for the NDP and connect with other party members. Meet our Leader Joe Byrne and Leader of the NS NDP Gary Burrill. There will be tasty chili, music and an auction. Come out and be happy!  Tickets $10 available at the door or from Joe Byrne."
Facebook event link

Monday, January 14th:
Local Fundraising Dinner, proceeds to P.E.I. Legacy Garden. "Join us for a fabulous meal, fine wine and good company.... For reservations contact Chef Hunter Guindon at: hunter.guindon@hotmail.com"
-----------------------------------------

Health care was one of the topics at the Progressive Conservative leadership candidates' debate last night in Summerside.  It touched on rural access, and focused on the doctor shortage, with Allen Dale having energetic recruitment plans, Dennis King and Shawn Driscoll mentioning making rural communities have the infrastructure and reasons for practitioners to come to P.E.I. and settle across the Island, and Kevin Arsenault brought up the bulky health bureaucracy, and the lack of transparency in the actual numbers of people on the list.   Sarah Stewart-Clark talked about improving efficiencies in the system, using professionals for their scope and delegating (not their scope) work more effectively.
------------------------
Green Party shadow Health and Wellness critic Susan Hartley wrote about the system very clearly recently:
https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/opinion-signs-show-health-care-system-is-failing-273164/

OPINION: Signs show health care system is failing - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Susan Hartley

High level of turnover or dissatisfaction in staff, long waits for urgent care, a lack of health promotion

Published on Saturday, January 5th, 2019

When a system is failing there are stopgap measures one can put in place to keep it running - albeit much less efficiently than if we had a complete overhaul. We have all kicked various motors or rebooted our computers or pleaded to inanimate objects. Sometimes effective in the short term, but eventually the things that these objects or machines can’t do increase and accumulate and the system fails.

It’s not that we don’t know we’d have better results if we looked after the whole system rather than the most obvious ‘quick or simple fix.’ After all, the evidence is there. Whether it be a machine or a health care system, we have the evidence that investing in knowledge (how do I keep my machine/health in good shape), prevention (are we doing regular maintenance), early intervention (check out those noises), and proper use (the right tool for the right task) makes a difference in the longevity, efficiency, and effectiveness of a system.

So how do we know if a system is failing? In health care, the signs include a high level of turnover or dissatisfaction in staff, long waits for urgent care, a lack of health promotion and prevention services, professional territoriality and limited scope of practice, top down governance, and an increasing call for more and more high cost professionals whose job it is to offer services to fewer and fewer people.

The care model gets tipped on its head and we are no longer investing enough in promotion, prevention, early intervention, and efficient use of a wide range of professional and paraprofessional expertise.

It’s not that we don’t need more doctors but perhaps what people mean when they say, “I need a doctor,” is in many, if not most, cases, “I want the security that comes with knowing my (and my family’s) physical and mental health needs are being met.”

(When) we understand that this is the task, or desired outcome, of our system we will build and support a medical system that will be more upstream, patient-centred, comprehensive, wellness focused, and successful in matching the need of the individual with the appropriate program or professional.

- Susan Hartley, shadow critic for health and wellness, Green Party of P.E.I., and clinical psychologist

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

"Give me a firm place to stand and I will move the Earth."
---Archimedes

A bit braggy, but trying to explain the power of levers

January 8, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Tuesday, January 8th:
NaturePEI monthly meeting, 7:30PM,
Beaconsfield Carriage House.  Moths!  All welcome.

Progressive Conservative Debate #2, 7PM, Summerside, Credit Union Place. All welcome.  This may be lived-streamed by individual candidates, but there are no plans for the PC Party to broadcast this debate; there are plans for the last debate, Thursday, January 17th, in Charlottetown, to be live-streamed by the party.  (NOTE: the time was incorrectly listed yesterday.  It is 7PM.)

Film Screening:  Rising Voices, 9PM, City Cinema, Free.  A documentary that "...offers insight into the lives of diverse individuals across Canada — their passions, struggles and stories connecting them."  Discussion afterward.
edited from:
Facebook event link
----------------
Thursday, January 10th:
PC Party Candidates Meet-and-Greet at District 13 AGM and Social, 7PM
, Merchantman Next Door, Water Street. The five candidates will be at this event.

More info on events and the PC leadership candidates (including plans for feature pieces on each candidate) through the PC Party Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/peipcparty/

PEI PC Party membership info:
http://www.peipc.ca/become_a_member
(I cannot find the deadline date to have a membership if you wish to vote February 9th in the leadership race)
-----------------------------------------
News:

Mark Greenan and Gary Morgan were invited on CBC Radio's Island Morning show in the 7AM hour to discuss the BC referendum on proportional representation (PR) and what it means for P.E.I. (What today's feature possibly means for P.E.I. is that media coverage is going to be middling, perhaps undistinguished.) 
If the piece is archived, I will post that link.
---------------------
The National Observer
has a troubling news story on the RCMP raid and a so-called "coincidental" communications network failure that took place late yesterday in British Columbia against Indigenous people protesting fracked gas pipeline construction. 
https://www.nationalobserver.com/
----------------------
Provincial NDP recent news:
https://www.ndppei.ca/2018/12/31/new-democrats-alive-and-well-in-2018-really-alive/

New Democrats alive and well in 2018— really alive! - NDPPEI website post by Rob Thomson

Posted on Monday, December 31, 2018

What a good year PEI’s New Democrats have had.

• Things got moving with the fresh leadership of President Leah-Jane Hayward and regular meetings of an active Provincial Council

• The excitement built through a healthy Leadership contest with three good candidates — Margaret Andrade, Susan McVittie and Joe Byrne — with well-attended debates in each region.  A spirited Leadership Convention in early April chose Joe Byrne as Leader.

• That Leadership Convention was paired with the party’s productive Annual General Meeting, which included a visit by federal Leader Jagmeet Singh.

• The provincial Leader position became a part-time paid one, and that has allowed Joe to work continually at growing the party’s profile, but also in the background at building essentials.

• Joe was also able to put in daily duty at the Legislature to monitor goings-on during the fall sitting.

• A major policy on Harassment was developed and officially adopted.

• An NDP petition was presented during the spring sitting of the Legislature, with signatures from across the Island in support of keeping home-care programs as a public service — a reaction to the Liberals’ awarding a contract to Island EMS, a private subsidiary of the Medavie corporation.

• The party President and Leader met in June with the Minister of Health to discuss such concerns.

• Our party committees got down to constructive work:

 – The Policy Committee has been re-examining the resolutions passed at conventions over the years, noting gaps, and laying the groundwork for new policies, with attention to links with platform themes for the coming election.

 – An Election Readiness Committee has already been meeting for months to develop the platform and logistics (office, financial, printing etc.) for the campaign.

 – The Fund-raising Committee has been undertaking several tactics to provide the party with needed resources. — for example, a major revenue-yielding dinner in June.

 – The Women’s Committee is working on a video to promote women running for office.

 – The Communications committee has a practical quarterly action plan to raise the party’s profile via such channels as the web, Instagram, Linkedin.

• We have a bold new — and very orange! — website (ndppei.ca), with news and thought-provoking postings every week or so, plus ‘Joe’s View’, a blog of reflections by the Leader.

• There’s also an active Facebook page, with lots of features and pictures.

• We’ve seen a host of media releases, Op-eds and Letters to the Editor by Joe as Leader and several other New Democrats — on such subjects as Housing, Immigration, the Minimum Wage and Income Security.

• There have been a number of potlucks and similar social get-togethers.

• Another successful Hilda Ramsay Dinner was held, sponsored by the Women’s Committee.  The guest speaker was Kathleen Monk, the NDP strategist who is a regular CBC TV political panelist.  The proceeds are devoted to helping women candidates.

• The party already has a half a dozen credible candidates nominated in preparation for the coming election, and others are in the wings.

• Dr. Herb Dickieson has been leading candidate recruitment efforts, and he has also been named specialist/spokesperson for Rural Affairs, including Agriculture and Fishing.

• Leah-Jane Hayward, besides being President, was appointed as Deputy Leader.

• An innovative experiment in non-partisan collaboration happened just before Christmas: a live Facebook discussion of the Housing crisis between Joe as NDP Leader and Dennis King, one of the candidates in the current race for Leadership of the Progressive Conservative party.

• Typical of New Democrat activists, many, many members have been involved, whether as representatives of the party or on their own, in many community organizations and events, in forums on issues, and in promoting Proportional Representation.

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

"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor."
---Truman Capote

January 7, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events:
Tonight, Monday, January 7th:
Coalition for the Protection of Water meeting, 7PM, Farm Centre
.  This general meeting is not a public forum with guest speakers and such, but a chance for member groups and individuals to get an update on where regulations are concerning the Water Act, and to bring up other concerns. All welcome!

Tomorrow:
Tuesday, January 8th:
NaturePEI monthly meeting, 7:30PM,
Beaconsfield Carriage House.  The featured talk will be on Moths.

Progressive Conservative Debate #2, 7:30PM, Summerside, Credit Union Place. All welcome to hear the five candidates discuss issues.  Not sure if this is going to be live-streamed. 

Film Screening:  Rising Voices, 9PM, City Cinema, Free. "Join us for FREE screening of the documentary Rising Voices, a film produced by TakingITGlobal (TIG) in partnership with Heritage Canada as part of TIG’s Explore150 project. It is a poignant and telling motion picture that offers insight into the lives of diverse individuals across Canada — their passions, struggles and stories connecting them, unexpectedly. (The film was) was shot over one year in 12 different locations across Canada...and features... 25 individuals, primarily youth, who share personal and communal experiences, as well as thoughts on how we, as a nation, can improve in the years to come.
After the film, we will host a community discussion and share community service grant opportunities!"  This event is free and refreshments will be served.  edited from:
Facebook event link

Wednesday, January 9th:
Our Common Journey -- Making the Transition to Sustainability, 7-10PM, Charlottetown Rural High School.  A several-week-long course accepting that Climate Change is happening and preparing for it.  Registration begins at 6PM.

Thursday, January 10th:
PEI in Solidarity with Migrant Caravan, 6PM,
Timothy's World Coffee, Great George Street, Charlottetown. *This event will take place in Abegweit, the unceded, unsurrendered land of the Mi'kmaq people*   Join us for a short event to stand in solidarity with those who have been displaced from their homelands through violence, resource extraction, climate change, and more. Specifically focusing on those who have been displaced from Central America, and how Canada is playing a large role in that forced displacement.
"(Three or four) speakers (will) share words of solidarity, followed by acknowledging and remembering the lives and stories of several people who have lost their lives through their exodus from their home to new lands. Then we will have sign making materials to write out messages of solidarity to send to migrants facing uncertainty, racism, violence, and hardship. We will be taking photos of individuals holding their signs to post to social media afterwards.  Kids are welcome...Thank you to Timothy's coffee for donating their space and hosting us...."   from:
Facebook event link

Extinction Rebellion PEI: Planning Meeting, 7-9PM, Trinity United Church Gym, off Richmond Street.
"...for anyone interested in helping to shape the strategy of Extinction Rebellion in Prince-Edward-Island.
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Updates on the Pictou, Nova Scotia Northern Pulp Mill -- a news article and then an analysis piece.
https://www.ngnews.ca/business/northern-pulp-to-register-plans-for-replacing-treatment-facility-by-end-of-january-273173/

Northern Pulp to register plans for replacing treatment facility by end of January - The News article by Adam McInnis

Published on Saturday, January 5th, 2019 in The Chronicle-Herald

ABERCROMBIE POINT, N.S. 

Northern Pulp will register its plans for replacing the Boat Harbour treatment facility with Nova Scotia’s Department of Environment by the end of January, triggering the start of the provincial environmental assessment.

Kathy Cloutier, director of communications for Paper Excellence, which owns Northern Pulp, says despite the fact the mill hasn’t yet been able to have a survey crew complete their work, the project will be registered using existing data. “That is a heavily surveyed area, so there is data we’re able to rely on, although our preference would have been our own updated survey,” she said. 

A survey boat had been blocked repeatedly from doing work in the area by fishermen opposed to the plans of pumping treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait. A judge has since issued a temporary injunction to prevent fishermen from stopping the survey boat from doing work. 

Cloutier didn’t rule out the possibility of the survey work being completed before the end of January, but said it would depend on availability of the survey boat, weather and safety. 

The project Northern Pulp submits will include the primarily land-based route for the pipe carrying treated effluent from Abercrombie Point, which will empty in the area off Caribou Point. Initially, Northern Pulp had been considering a route which would have emptied in the area of the Northumberland Strait off of Pictou Road, however, there were concerns about that route, including ice scours as well as a shipwreck that was located along the initially planned route. 

Cloutier said the Caribou route is their preferred route for various reasons, including the volume and depth of water in that location which would improve the mixing of the treated effluent flowing out with the water in the Strait.  “It’s a better disbursement area and a shorter in-water pipe which answers some of the concerns raised by the community and others.” she said. 

While the initial route would have had between 10 and 13 kilometres of pipe underwater, this route will only have about three kilometres underwater. 

One of the biggest advantages of the new treatment facility over the existing Boat Harbour treatment facility is the fact that no untreated effluent will leave Northern Pulp’s property on Abercrombie Point, Cloutier said. With the existing system that’s been in operation since the mill opened, untreated effluent is piped from the mill at Abercrombie Point to the Boat Harbour treatment facility near Pictou Landing where it is treated before being released into Boat Harbour and then flows out to the Northumberland Strait. 

The province has decided the new treatment facility would fall into the Class 1 Environmental Assessment Category, which would take approximately 60 days. It hasn’t been determined yet whether a federal environmental assessment will be required. A federal assessment could take much longer to complete. 

Cloutier said the company has no doubts the project will meet the requirements of the environmental assessment. “We are confident in the project and the science,” she said ,adding it’s been designed by world-class engineers and will be built by a world-class company.  Cloutier said engineers and design teams are currently trying to work on a feasible timeline for completion of the project. 

The company has already said it will not be able to meet the deadline of January, 2020 to close the existing Boat Harbour facility and are lobbying for the province to extend the deadline. She believes the extension is supported by those who understand the importance of the mill to the forestry industry and overall economy of the province. 

“This is an extension that is necessary to provide the time to complete construction," she said. She said it would be impossible to keep the mill going even under a hot idle without a treatment facility. 

The company is not even considering the option of temporarily closing at this point. No time would be optimal if they did have to shut it down, said Cloutier, but winter would particularly be difficult.  “It would be a ripple effect from suppliers to contractors to the port of Halifax almost instantly.” 

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https://www.capebretonpost.com/opinion/columnists/vibert-forest-sector-will-fight-for-northern-pulp-273246/

Jim Vibert: Forest sector will fight for Northern Pulp - The Cape Breton Post article by columnist Jim Vibert

Published on Saturday, January 5th, 2019, in The Chronicle-Herald 

The battle lines are drawn, but the battle is not yet joined.

When Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil conceded in year-end interviews that the future of Northern Pulp’s Pictou County mill is very much in doubt, his words didn’t surprise the province’s forestry sector, but they still sent a shiver down its collective spine.

The same concession gladdened the hearts of the mill’s long list of detractors, who clearly have the upper hand at the moment, but again, the battle is not yet joined.

The province’s politically potent forestry sector won’t sit idly by and allow that mill to close.

Northern Pulp is expected to submit its plan for a new effluent treatment system — replacing the infamous Boat Harbour facility — to the provincial Environment Department for assessment by the end of this month.

If the plan is approved, the company still faces an impossible deadline to get the new treatment system up and running before Boat Harbour is shut down — by law — at the end of January 2020.

Industry insiders estimate Northern Pulp will need, at minimum, an additional 18 months beyond the deadline to complete the new treatment system. That would require the province to extend the deadline it enshrined in law in 2015.

Premier McNeil has been adamant that won’t happen, and Boat Harbour will shut down on schedule in just over a year. With no way to treat its effluent, Northern Pulp would have to cease operations and, the same industry insiders say, if it shuts down at all, it will almost certainly be for good.

To survive then, Northern Pulp needs both a favourable environmental assessment from the province and an extension of the deadline to shut down Boat Harbour, also from the province.

The environmental assessment is supposed to be beyond the reach of politics. The science decides and those in a position to know say Northern Pulp has done its homework and will submit a state-of-the-art treatment plan.

But, given that that plan includes pumping treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait for dispersal, a positive assessment would be incredibly unpopular with fishermen and, it would seem, with most folks who live on or near the Northumberland shore.

It could also be moot, absent a decision to extend the life of Boat Harbour.

Unlike the assessment of the new treatment plan, the Boat Harbour deadline is a purely political decision. The provincial government established it in law and the province can extend it by amending the same law.

If it comes down to that, the pressure on the province to do so and save the mill will be intense. Liberal MLAs will hear from saw mill operators, woodlot owners and the men and women who earn a living in both.

In Halifax, the forestry sector has powerful friends in the financial sector, in the big law firms and among the economic elite who’ve always had the ear of premiers and are accustomed to being heard.

Armed with a positive environmental assessment — assuming Northern Pulp’s plan gets the green light — all of those forces will be brought to bear on the government to extend Boat Harbour and save the Abercrombie Point pulp mill.

And, the government will face that decision at a time when the provincial economy is, to be charitable, sluggish. The Conference Board of Canada predicts Nova Scotia will trail the country in economic growth this year, at an anemic 0.9 per cent.

In a weak economy, the province’s determination to stick to its guns and its deadline will be tested.

The mill has economic tentacles that stretch across the province, into most saw mills and many woodlots. Its closure will hit the sector hard and be felt beyond, in places like the port of Halifax where Northern Pulp is the largest single shipper.

If the premier and the deadline are indeed unmoveable, the best outcome is a speedy end to this drama. Then the players that remain in the forestry sector can get to work on whatever transitions they need to make to survive and adjust to the loss of a mainstay.

However all of this plays out, in addition to the economic and environmental concerns, the province needs to consider the communities that are bitterly divided by this issue and bring it to a speedy resolution.

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This sounds like a one-liner (ba dum chiss!) until you discover what the author writes about almost exclusively -- the positive aspects of introverts. From the Wonder page-a-day calendar for today:

"Everyone shines, given the right lighting."
--- Susan Horowitz Cain, American lecturer and author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking 

January 6, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events:
Benevolent Irish Society Levee, 3-5PM,
BIS Hall, 582 North River Road, Charlottetown.  Postponed from January 1st.  Talented Island fiddler Ward MacDonald will be providing the music.
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Also:

Wednesdays, January 9th to April 3rd:

Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World, An on-site/online course from Cape Breton University, 1:30-3PM, Cape Breton University and Online
Silver Donald Cameron, writer, documentary maker, and all-around caring Earth Guardian, is offering a course about Environmental Rights, through Cape Breton University, for free on-line for the curious, starting this Wednesday.
More details and how to register:
https://thegreeninterview.com/course/

from the flyer:
"
... noted author and educator Silver Donald Cameron and Cape Breton University will offer a course called Political Science 3750, Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World. The course features stories from Dr. Cameron’s award-winning documentary film Green Rights  and the companion book Warrior Lawyers (Amazon) and interviews from www.TheGreenInterview.com. In Ecuador, New Zealand and the Philippines, in Argentina, India, Colombia and the Netherlands, citizens are winning big battles against corporate polluters and complacent governments by flexing their environmental rights.  
 Dr. Stepan Wood of the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia will be participating, using the online material in his concurrent UBC seminar, Green Rights and Warrior Lawyers. A unique feature is real-time “virtual visits” by several of the trailblazing lawyers being studied  – “like having Václav Havel and Virginia Woolf visit a class on modern literature,” says Dr. Cameron.
 This “3-C” course can be taken for Credit (on-site), for a Certificate (online) or just out of Curiosity (also online, and free). For more detail, go to www.TheGreenInterview.com/course/ or visit the CBU website, here – and that’s also where anyone, anywhere, can enroll."


You may have to adjust your screen size to get the "sign-in" page to work correctly.
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East Coast Environmental Law (ECELaw) shared a Maclean's story on new legislation coming into effect in 2019.  I have edited it to laws mostly concerning the environment.
from: https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/new-taxes-wage-hikes-and-more-49-new-laws-across-canada-in-2019/

New taxes, wage hikes and more: <some> new laws across Canada in 2019 - MacLean's Magazine article by Steve Brearton

A ban on plastic bags, Inuktut language classes, edible marijuana rules and more

Published on Sunday, December 30th, 2018 in Maclean's magazine

Some changes are tiny and bureaucratic. Others will fundamentally change the country. The federal and provincial governments have announced numerous new rules for 2019. Most federal, provincial and territorial laws come into force immediately after their passage and assent. But legislation requiring greater planning or notice is typically delayed to allow affected parties time to prepare. Here are <some> new laws that come into effect across Canada in 2019. They range from the arrival of a federal carbon-tax plan to a fee for plastic bags in Prince Edward Island.

January 1, 2019

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Canada)
For provinces that either did not adopt Prime Minister Trudeau’s carbon pricing system or failed to develop their own pricing plan—that’s Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan—the legislation institutes a fee on carbon pollution beyond a certain threshold for larger industrial facilities.

Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (Alberta)
Requires owners of contaminated land—including oil and gas sites—seeking remediation certificates to report “new information” as well as meet specific timelines and instructions to

Environment Act (Nova Scotia)
Cap and trade pricing comes into effect in the province, a system that costs carbon and allows producers polluting above a certain threshold to buy credits from firms that burn less.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (Ontario)
Requires hunters to report hunting activity and “harvests” and allows the on-line purchase of hunting dog licenses.

January 15, 2019

Safe Food for Canadians Act (Canada)
Significantly expands the list of individuals and firms required to hold a Canadian Food Inspection Agency license, a ‘food safety preventive control plan’ as well as a food tracking and tracing process.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Canada)
Under federal legislation, a charge on fossil fuels paid by producers and distributors goes into effect for provinces that haven’t passed their own legislation. In Yukon and Nunavut fuel charges begins July 2019

An Act to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (Canada)
Among the impacts of this trade agreement with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam is a lowering of the Japanese tariff on Canadian fresh beef to 26.6 per cent from a pre-pact level of 38.5 per cent.

Local Food Sector Act (Alberta)
Establishes an Alberta local food council, create a local food week and establishes new organic certification requirements for products sold within the province.

July 1, 2019

Environmental Protection Act (Canada)
Sale of toiletries containing microbeads – miniature manufactured solid plastic particles – prohibited except in natural health products or non-prescription drugs. Microbeads, often used in skin cleansers, are characterized as toxic and can harm aquatic organisms

Prince Edward Island • Plastic Bag Reduction Act (Prince Edward Island)
Consumers will no longer receive plastic bag at checkouts or with take-out food orders. Recyclable paper bags can be provided at a cost of no less than 15 cents and reusable bags at no less than $1.

An Act to Enable Clean Energy Improvements (Alberta)
Allows municipalities to establish Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs that pay for energy-efficient upgrades or renewable energy systems for home and business owners with financing repaid through property tax bills.

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

Silver Donald Cameron fits this quote, too.

"I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do."
-- Jana Stanfield, self-described "funny, musical, motivational speaker"

January 5, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets open today in Charlottetown (9AM-2PM) and Summerside (9AM-1PM)
George's Island Market in Bedeque opens at 10AM

Tonight:
Yr. Obedient Servant, 7:30PM,
Faculty Lounge, Main Building, UPEI.  Co-produced by Vagabond Productions, and admission by donations which will go to the UPEI Food Bank.  Terry Pratt, Professor Emeritus, stars in the one-person play on Samuel Johnson about "the 18th century author, conversationalist and personality who, in spite of facing countless challenges, put together the first true dictionary for English."  from: Guardian article

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The provincial Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has started a project on Gender Inclusion in Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture and is seeking input from Islanders until Friday, January 11th. 
"The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) recognizes that there exists a diversity of ways in which people experience programs and policies and that unintended barriers to participation can occur.  Therefore, the DAF is administering a survey and will be facilitating a series of focus groups which will allow the department to better understand the barriers to increased gender inclusion in the agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture industries in PEI."
from:
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/agriculture-and-fisheries/gender-inclusion-agriculture-fisheries-and-aquaculture-line

---------------------------------
Good to know what former CBC political panel people are doing....
published on Friday, January 4th, 2018 by the P.E.I. government  (Bold is mine, comment in black)

Change in senior management team announced - PEI Government announcement

Changes were announced today to the senior management team of government.

Mark Spidel has been named Deputy Minister of Family and Human Services. 

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Spidel served as Director of Social Programs for Family and Human Services. In this role, he provided leadership on the transformation of the Social Assistance Program and the Disability Supports Program, and the Poverty Reduction Plan. Previously, he worked for 15 years in the health field in both Prince and Kings counties, including in the role as Chief Information Officer for Health PEI. 

Mr. Spidel has extensive knowledge and experience in nutrition and food security, having earned a Master of Science in Nutrition and Metabolism and he has developed curriculum and facilitated educational workshops for dietitians. Mr. Spidel fills the deputy position that was vacated when former deputy Craig Dalton accepted the federal appointment as Veterans’ Ombudsman. Acting Deputy Minister Deborah Bradley provided valuable interim leadership while a permanent deputy was confirmed. 

Mary Lynn Kane, Queens’ Counsel, has been named Deputy Minister of Communities, Land and Environment. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Kane led a 31-year law career, with 15 years as managing partner of the Prince Edward Island office of Cox and Palmer. She was admitted to the bar in Prince Edward Island in 1988 after receiving a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University, and has been recognized as a leading lawyer by national organizations. Ms. Kane has extensive professional leadership experience and community involvement in business, health, and women’s organizations, including serving as past-deputy chair of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Capital Campaign. 

Current Deputy Minister Michele Dorsey has accepted a position within Executive Council as a special advisor on social policy.  (Ed. question: So is this a new position and requires new funding?)

Brad Colwill has been confirmed as the Deputy Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning. Mr. Colwill has been serving as acting deputy minister and during his time has overseen a number of significant initiatives related to job creation, the creation of the Youth Futures Council, and historic supports in financial aid for post-secondary students. Mr. Colwill received his Chartered Accountant designation and began his career in public service with Innovation PEI in 2009. He is a graduate of University of Prince Edward Island, where he also assumed a teaching role in the Faculty of Business as a Sessional Lecturer. He has been actively involved in higher education in Prince Edward Island, serving as past member of Holland College Board of Governors, College de l’ile Board of Directors, and the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission. 

“Islanders rely on a professional public service to advance their priorities and move our province forward. Prince Edward Island is fortunate to have dedicated public servants working throughout our province,” Premier Wade MacLauchlan said. “The senior leadership team will ensure that government’s work advances the lives of all Islanders.” 

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"Happiness is in your ability to love others."
--Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), (Count Lev Nikolayavich Tolstoy) Russian writer

January 4, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events coming up -- so you mark your calendars:

Tomorrow, Saturday January 5th:
Kensington Meet and Greet with PC Candidate Allen Dale, 5-7PM
, 30 Garden Drive, Kensington.

Tuesday, January 8th:
Nature PEI Monthly meeting, with guest topic "A Midsummer's Night Screen -- Moths at the Back Door", 7:30-9PM
, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Kent Street, Charlottetown.  Bob Harding will talk about these fascinating creatures.  All welcome.

Also, Tuesday, PC Leadership debate #2, 7PM, Summerside.

Wednesday, January 9th:
Our Common Journey -- Making the Transition to Sustainability, 7-10PM, Charlottetown Rural High School.  A several-week-long course accepting that Climate Change is happening and preparing for it.  "Join us for a conversation on making the transition to sustainability.
In October of 2018, The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that if we do not act quickly, climate change and the depletion of natural resources will trigger potentially catastrophic consequences on a planetary scale.
Our Climatologists insist that, ‘Climate change is real. It’s our fault. It’s going to get worse and there is nothing we can do about it.’  Fortunately, the good news is that solutions exist that can actually help us to reduce the impact of climate change and eventually make the transition to live fuller, happier and contented lives.
This is not a course to debate the reality of climate change nor is it going to dwell on the doom and gloom of potentially horrific destruction. Instead, ‘Our Common Journey:’ will explore how individuals and society can make the transition to a brighter future. We will look beyond highly technological solutions and political debates and delve into day-to-day actions that will inspire new skills, creative solutions, supportive networks and the valuable contributions we can make to our common future.
Registration Date: 01/09/2019 Rural High School
Registration Time: 6:00pm
Facebook event link


Similar but different:
Thursday, January 10th:
Extinction Rebellion PEI: Planning Meeting (rescheduled from an earlier day), 7-9PM,
Trinity United Church Gym, off Richmond Street.
"...for anyone interested in helping to shape the strategy of Extinction Rebellion in Prince-Edward-Island. We will take a moment to focus on our shared intentions, before having an open space discussion in groups on what strategies we want to pursue, and coming back together to create a timeline of activities."  from:
Facebook event link

Thursday, January 17th:
Final PC Leadership Candidates' Debate, 7PM,
Murphy’s Community Centre in Charlottetown.

Saturday, February 9th: 
PC Leadership convention, 9AM, Eastlink Centre, Charlottetown
Also that day:
Winter Woodlot Tour, 9AM-1PM, Strathgartney Provincial Park
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From the First leadership debate, last night at Kaylee Hall in Pooles Corner, two folks on Twitter:

Darcie Lanthier's amazing citizen-reporter coverage:
https://twitter.com/DarcieLanthier/status/1080991828202139648

Kerry Campbell from CBC Radio also covered it, teweeting extensively as he does all his political reporting:
https://twitter.com/kerrywcampbell/status/1080957159255539712

With both, you can find the beginning of their respective threads and scroll-read their comments as the evening wore on.  Huge thanks to them for capturing the night, for those of us unable to attend.
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While I don't think the upcoming election (whenever it is called) and the referendum on Proportional Representation were discussed last night by the PC leader candidates, we should be talking about it now!
www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/article_9a29effc-0aaf-11e9-98b1-af3e2e481a16.html

Don’t assume PEI will follow BC’s PR lead - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019 in The Graphic publications

In the end, even British Columbia’s history of supporting parties other than the Liberals and Conservatives was not enough to carry the day in a provincial referendum on electoral reform. When all votes were counted it was a decisive win for the no side, which followed a predictable confuse the electorate strategy with a smattering of scare-the-bejesus out of them on the path to victory.

At 61 per cent in favour of retaining first past the post compared to 39 for some form of proportional representation, few can argue with the final tally. But like Prince Edward Island, the devil is always in the detail.

BC’s third referendum in the past 15 years was a result of a political bargain to bring the New Democrats to power. Liberals campaigned against. Greens campaigned for. And the NDP, which is now enjoying the spoils of power, backed away from a commitment to fully support a PR model. Instead, the government concocted a system that involved two votes: A generic FPTP vs PR vote, followed by the ranking of three potential proportional representation systems

Like the Island experience when the PC government of Pat Binns held a PR plebiscite, the question was not intended to achieve a clear result but confuse the electorate.

Mission accomplished.

In every jurisdiction where ordinary citizens have pushed to change the system that rewards entrenched party power, BC establishment moved to sway voters from adopting change. The threat of ‘unstable’ government is always the bogeyman used. The only difference this time is the NDP is part of the establishment.

Well, it worked yet again.

But will it work in Prince Edward Island when Island voters get to choose between first past the post and mixed member proportional, a one-on-one scrap that holds the potential to forever change how our Island is governed.

Some already suggest the BC results received a muted response here because of some nefarious agenda on the part of the media and Green and NDP parties. It’s a ridiculous assertion. The reality is results of the mail-in ballot were released just prior to Christmas when our political leaders had already left the legislature for the year.

Only a political partisan would argue PEI has been well served by the Liberal-PC 100 plus year tag-team.

Our provincial debt is $2.5 billion and climbing (even with the surprise $75 million surplus lumped on it this year, the debt continued to grow).

Our education system is mediocre.

Our health system is centralized with only marginal interest in rural services, most notably when it becomes a political problem.

Patronage is still rampant, with Islanders in every corner fearful of criticizing government for fear of being cut off.

Seasonal industries are promoted as economic drivers, only with the support of federal programs like employment insurance. It’s a tried-and-true way to ensure party dominance over individuals.

Our rural communities are struggling, while government announces for the umpteenth time – and tens of millions wasted - high-speed internet which it promises will transform the rural economy. By the time we get it, the ‘high-speed’ of today will be the slow-speed of tomorrow.

Our political system is manipulated into 18 month windows of pre and post election feast or famine.

And most importantly the rural voice is continually eroded by a mandatory Supreme Court of Canada ruling that decrees electoral boundaries must be reviewed after every third election. The result has been a consistent loss of voice.

When combined with the reality that power is now centralized in the premier’s office (starting decades ago), MLAs routinely ditch representing their constituents and parrot the party line regardless of the negative impact government policy will have on a community.

This does not make our MLAs bad people. Nor does it mean they do not care. It simply means the current system is broken. Case in point in the antiquated, broken water system in Georgetown, that routinely shuts down if the power flickers.

The Liberals knew the issue existed and did nothing, even though it is a provincial responsibility. The Tories failed to champion a fix. Only when the new Three Rivers council sat for the first time and identified the Georgetown water issue as the most pressing in the new community did it resonate loudly. Access to a clean, dependable water source is a basic human right our provincial politicians forgot about.

Will PR fix all our problems? No. But it is our best chance to shake our province free from the shackles of two party dominance that has yielded some positive results and many acts of self-serving manipulation.

Like BC, the Tories and Liberals will try to scare Islanders. But given the current trajectory of Island politics it is a safe bet those firmly ensconced in party back rooms are far more scared of how you may vote.

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

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"Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay."
--- Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)

January 3, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events:
This afternoon:
PEI Coalition for Women in Government New Year's Levee, 4-6PM,
Upstreet Craft Brewing, Allen Street, Charlottetown.  All welcome. 
Facebook event link


Progressive Conservative Leadership Debate 1 of 3, 7PM, Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner. from today's The Guardian:

P.E.I. PC leadership debates kick off Jan. 3 - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on-line last night and in print this morning

Over the next two weeks, five PC leadership hopefuls will kick off the new year by squaring off in a series of debates.

The candidates – Kevin Arsenault, Allan Dale, Shawn Driscoll, Dennis King, and Sarah Stewart-Clark – are scheduled to take part in three debates in January. The first will take place today at 7 p.m. at Kaylee Hall in Pooles Corner.

Another debate will take place at Credit Union Place in Summerside on (Tuesday) Jan. 8 and the final debate will take place at the Murphy’s Community Centre in Charlottetown on (Thursday) Jan. 17. These debates will all start at 7 p.m.

The PC leadership convention will be held in Charlottetown on (Saturday) Feb. 9. For the first time, party members will have the option of voting online for their choice of leader. The party says the online voting system will involve secure PIN numbers, which will be issued to each eligible voter.

More info and updates:
https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/pei-pc-leadership-debates-kick-off-jan-3-272580/

[My question: Can they drink the water at Kaylee Hall? (It was ironic attending water act meetings there, when the taps had "Do not drink" signs on them.) If so, good for those who worked on the issue. If not, then there are two issues the candidates could address -- how would they protect such sources of water and how would they help smaller communities remediate their infrastructure.]
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Some background and a strong opinion in this New York Times editorial, with thanks yet again to Ian Petrie for gleaning and sharing important news and opinion pieces daily.

Japan: Stop Slaughtering Whales - The New York Times Editorial Board article

By The Editorial Board, www.nytimes.com

Monday, December 31st, 2018

There is no commercial, cultural or scientific justification for killing these magnificent creatures.

Japan, in many respects a model global citizen, has long been an outlier on whaling, an industry that most nations have abandoned as cruel, unnecessary and a danger to the survival of the great mammals of the seas, but that the Japanese claim as part of their culture. That divide has come to a head with Japan’s exit from the International Whaling Commission, a politically motivated decision Tokyo should reconsider.

Japan’s argument is that the commission was set up in 1946 to manage commercial whaling, not to ban it. After global populations of whales plummeted in the 1970s, the commission ordered a moratorium that went into effect in 1986 and looks to continue it indefinitely, despite intensive lobbying by Japan and other countries that defend commercial whaling, most notably Norway and Iceland.

In reality, Japan always flouted the moratorium, using a loophole that allowed “scientific research” to continue slaughtering thousands of minke, fin and sperm whales far from its shores and selling their meat on the domestic market.

That charade ends with Japan’s withdrawal from the whaling commission, which is good news for whales off Antarctica, since Japan said it would limit commercial whaling to its own territorial waters. This portion of Japan’s decision was welcomed by Australia, which has supported sanctuaries to protect Antarctic whale populations and which challenged Japan’s “scientific research” in the International Court of Justice in 2014. Australia won, but Japan made some cosmetic changes and kept hunting. The environmental organization Sea Shepherd, which has actively interfered with Japan’s annual hunt in the Southern Ocean, said Japan has now effectively declared itself a “pirate whaling nation” instead of pretending to abide by international rules, and so would be easier to challenge.

Just as Japan’s claim that it was conducting scientific research was a myth, so is the notion that commercial whaling is somehow central to Japanese identity. Hunting whales for food and oil does have a history in Japan, and in the years after World War II, whale meat had a major place in the diet of a conquered and impoverished nation. And not all species of whales are endangered, though the populations of some, like the blue and right whales, are at worrisome levels. Commercial whaling, moreover, is not the greatest threat faced by whales so long as the moratorium is in place — collisions with ships, getting tangled in fishing nets, pollution and other human activities are currently far greater dangers.

But as in most other former whaling regions, the Japanese taste for whale meat has sharply declined over the decades. A survey conducted in 2012 by the Nippon Research Center on behalf of the International Fund for Animal Welfare found that nearly 90 percent of Japanese had not bought whale meat in the previous year, and only about a quarter of Japanese supported whaling. As of 2013, the Japanese whaling industry employed fewer than 1,000 people and required government subsidies to survive. That is hardly equivalent to the cultural importance of whale hunting in indigenous communities in Alaska or Greenland, which the whaling commission allows.

But the fact is that most of the world — and most Japanese — have moved on from the days when killing whales was deemed an acceptable pursuit. Like shooting elephants or rhinoceroses for trophies, cruelly killing animals now shown to possess a high level of intelligence on the pretense that the practice has a cultural importance is untenable. Japan, moreover, has not said how many whales it plans to catch in its waters, or what impact this might have on global whale populations.

In the end, the Japanese government’s decision to quit the commission is no more than a gambit by nationalist politicians to posture as defenders of a traditional way of life, akin to President Trump’s defense of coal mining. They know it won’t bring back an industry that has had its day, or a diet that nobody needs any longer.

Withdrawing from the whaling commission for short-term political gain is a dangerous and foolish move, especially for an advanced country like Japan that has generally supported multilateral efforts on the environment. The commission is not a Western cultural imposition, as some Japanese nationalists might portray it, but the expression of a universal obligation to manage dwindling resources and protect the planet, including the magnificent giants of the oceans.

Mr. Trump’s cavalier rejection of the Paris climate treaty and dismissive attitude to most other international treaties, alliances and trade accords have done incalculable damage to the postwar international order. That is not a model Japan should emulate.

The non-profit community action group Avaaz has an older petition here, but it has been getting more signatures recently, if you wish to sign it:
https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/whales_last_push/

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"Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something."
--H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (b.1940), American author of instructional and inspirational books

January 2, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

An event today:
Film: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), 3-5PM
, City Cinema.  The first movie in the franchise, and so charming.  Tickets:  Adults $7, kids $5.  The second film in the series (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) plays this Sunday at 3PM.
Facebook event link

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On water:
As the P.E.I. government moves towards regulations to go along with the 2017 Water Act, here is a look at efforts both local and global to protect water.  The Council of Canadians, with national Chairperson Leo Broderick, understands the issue of water protection:

Last month
Maude Barlow, Honourary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians,

"...presented at the official Nobel Week Dialogue events in Stockholm on the theme of Water Matters. Barlow was a keynote speaker and moderated a panel on taking action to protect water.  Video is available here.

“In 2010, the people of the world took an evolutionary step forward when the United Nations recognized water and sanitation as fundamental human rights,” Barlow said in her remarks at the event. “That day, we collectively declared that it is not acceptable for someone to die or watch their child die because they cannot afford to buy clean water. Now, nearly four dozen countries have amended their constitution or written new laws to recognize the right to water.”

Barlow also highlighted the importance of the growing Blue Communities movement in achieving clean, affordable, accessible, public water for all everywhere. “If you get clean, safe water from the tap, there is no reason to drink bottled water,” said Barlow.
<snip> 
full article with links is here

also from Council of Canadians Water Campaigner Emma Lui (from November 15th, 2018):
https://canadians.org/blog/video-how-make-your-community-blue-community

VIDEO: How to make your community a Blue Community! - The Council of Canadians article by Emma Lui

by Emma Lui, Water Campaigner

         The Council of Canadians recently launched a new Blue Communities video with Eau Secours and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.The video gives an overview of the Blue Communities Project where municipalities, faith-based and other communities resist the corporate takeover of water by committing to three resolutions that:

  1. Recognize water and sanitation as human rights.

  2. Ban or phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events.

  3. Promote publicly financed, owned, and operated water and wastewater services.

       The Blue Communities Project is a growing global movement that encourages municipalities and Indigenous communities to support the idea of a water commons framework, recognizing that water is a shared resource for all. 

            In Canada, there are 20 Blue Communities including Victoria, Thunder Bay and Amqui, Quebec. The Council of Canadians recently welcomed the Sisters of Mercy, recognizing the religious congregation as the 47th Blue Community worldwide. Globally, there Blue Communities spreading around the world with Paris France and recently Berlin and three other communities in Germany going Blue!

            I have been traveling across Ontario and Quebec for the Corporatizing Canada book tour and speaking to residents and local communities about Nestle’s water grabs and the Blue Communities Project. And I can tell you communities are eager to protect water from being commodified and committed to protecting the human right to water. 

            Please help share the videos on Facebook and retweet here on Twitter. The videos can be watched in English and French.

            Be sure to take the Blue Communities Pledge and learn more about how to turn your community into a Blue Community. 

            Together we can protect water as a human right and commons for today and tomorrow’s generations.

For more informaiton, visit our Blue Communities Project webpage
https://canadians.org/bluecommunities

So far, Lunenburg, NS is the nearest officially declared Blue Community.

On the Island, the Council of Canadians, PEI Chapter, is a member of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, which is keeping track of where the water regulations are, and other issues regarding water on the Island.
Links:
Website: Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water's webpage
Facebook pages (if I have them right) (the Coalition only can post, anyone can read) and then Group page (public can join and post)
Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water's page
Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water group page

January 1, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy 2019!

New Year's Levees today, Tuesday, January 1st, 2019:
As weather threatens, best to check the with the event organizers or this list for updates -- already the PEI Women's Institute and the Canoe Cove Levees have been cancelled.
https://ruk.ca/levee-2019

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

Progressive Conservative Leadership Debate 1 of 3 proposed, 7PM, Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner. 
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Just too cute:


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The Wonder page-a-day calendar by R.J. Polacio will fit the bill of providing some positive thoughts to share this year.  And any calendar that starts with a quote from Carl Sagan is heading in a good direction.


"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."
  -- Carl Sagan (1934-1996), astrophysicist and science popularizer

Fun Events today:
Bonshaw Ceilidh, 2-4PM
, Bonshaw Hall, corner TCH and Green Road.

Free Community Skate and Hot Chocolate, 3-4PM, Cody Banks Area, Maple Avenue in Sherwood.  Hosted by Josh Underhay/Green Party of P.E.I.
Facebook event link

"Iceland Dreaming... with a frosting of Greenland", Vinland Society AGM and featured program, 6:30PM AGM, 7PM Program, Beaconsfield Carriage House, 2 Kent Street.  Pamela Swainson, a descendant of Icelanders, will discuss making the high protein yogurt Skyr, and her artist residency. "Views from Greenland," will be presented by Dr. David Cairns, discussion of travelogues, and fun with Icleandic vocabulary and treats.


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Some articles:

Here is a link to an article published Friday on-line, from Islander and "Conservation and Travel Journalist" Zack Metcalfe on his blog here about Eastern Hemlock trees and a aphid-like pest that has been found in Nova Scotia hemlocks.  Hemlocks were a touchstone in the Plan B highway protest,  the line drawn went right through a stand of very old growth, on this rather deforested Island; and the Liberal government of Robert Ghiz, Robert Vessey and Janice Sherry really didn't "get" the value of these natural areas.  So we have to have the persistence to keep informing and reminding. 

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Recently, from the David Suzuki Foundation's newsletter:

Canadian pipeline push promotes false and misleading claims


By David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor Ian Hanington
published on Thursday, January 24th, 2019, on-line

 

An Angus Reid poll found 58 per cent of Canadians think lack of pipeline capacity is a national crisis. They can be forgiven for this. The company that owns a near monopoly on newspapers in Canada, aided by politicians and fossil fuel interests, has put significant effort into convincing them.

That the number rises to 87 per cent in Alberta, with 96 per cent believing that not building new pipelines would have a major impact on the Canadian economy, isn’t surprising. All mainstream newspapers there are owned by the same company, political parties across the spectrum prioritize oil and gas interests over everything, and even educational institutions like the University of Calgary have been compromised by industry influence.

When the National Post signed a 2013 agreement with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, its publisher, Douglas Kelly, said, “We will work with CAPP to amplify our energy mandate and to be a part of the solution to keep Canada competitive in the global marketplace. The National Post will undertake to leverage all means editorially, technically and creatively to further this critical conversation.” That agreement and similar language later extended to its parent company, Postmedia, which owns most major daily newspapers in Canada, as well as many community papers.

The National Post’s opinion pages are full of climate-science denial, with few opposing viewpoints. And the Alberta government has spent $23 million on a slick, misleading ad campaign to convince people B.C. is hurting the country by opposing a pipeline project from the oilsands to Vancouver.

Is lack of pipeline capacity a crisis? Are there not things that should concern us more?

Much of the information governments and media are spreading about pipelines is false. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley claims Canada is losing $80 million a day because of a “price discount” on Canadian bitumen that could be overcome with a pipeline to ship more to markets beyond the U.S. Her figure is double the estimate in a Scotiabank report that itself was found to be flawed.

There is no real “discount” on Canadian product, nor are there countries outside the U.S. clamouring for our bitumen. The lower price is because it’s costly to extract and process and must be diluted before being shipped by pipeline. As Will Horter writes in the National Observer, new international marine shipping fuel standards limiting high-sulphur heavy crude “will shrink Alberta’s share of marine fuel market and add an additional two to three dollars a barrel in refining costs to remove the sulphur.”

Beyond that, the economic and societal costs from the pollution and climate impacts of rapidly digging up, shipping and consuming these fossil fuels, whether the end product is burned here or in other countries, continue to rise along with global emissions and temperatures. That’s a crisis!

An Insurance Bureau of Canada report found damages to homes, businesses and vehicles from extreme weather events in 2018 cost insurers here $1.9 billion, up from $300 to $400 million in 2009. That represents just a fraction of overall costs to governments, businesses and individuals of extreme weather events, increasing health impacts, habitat damage and loss, cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells, fluctuating global energy markets, food and water security, and even increasing refugee claims.

A study in Nature Communications concluded the world could meet Paris Agreement climate targets and slow impacts by immediately phasing out fossil fuels and their infrastructure. That’s in line with a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that concluded we must take significant action over the next dozen years to reduce the threat of catastrophic global warming.

Phasing out fossil fuels won’t be easy, but it’s necessary, and we have to start now. There’s no shortage of solutions. Clean energy technologies are improving as costs are dropping, providing economic and employment opportunities. Carbon pricing has been proven effective in reducing reliance on coal, oil and gas and encouraging energy conservation, efficiency and cleaner alternatives.

What won’t help is continuing to dig up, frack and sell climate-disrupting fossil fuels as quickly as possible before markets tank in the face of climate change and better alternatives. Those in media, government, industry and society who lack the insight, imagination or courage to recognize our plight and work for change are putting everyone at risk.
-30-

So what can we do after the gloomy news, on Suzuki's website, they answer that question, with encouraging you to write a letter to local publications (on the pipeline, or any issue!), and basically walking you through doing one which is the most straightforward encouraging "tutorial" I have seen.  They may not have all of the P.E.I. publications listed, but we wrote and told them about most of the ones that may not have come up.  And while it may seem ironic to write newspapers that may have vested interests or get lucrative advertising from certain interests, most still will present "hot topics" letters, so that is something we can all do.

(The other suggestion they have is to donate to the David Suzuki Foundation.  ;-)  )

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Wow:
"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear."
   --- Rosa Parks (1913-2005), biography

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