CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

July 2019


  1. 1 July 31, 2019
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 OPINION: Continuing P.E.I.’s clean energy leadership - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Matt Hall
  2. 2 July 30, 2019
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Ten ways you can help fight climate change - compiled by the David Suzuki Foundation
  3. 3 July 29, 2019
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: 'Hope is contagious' - The Guardian (UK) article by Emma Brockes
  4. 4 July 28, 2019
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 GWYNNE DYER: Gaia revisited — James Lovelock at 100 - The Guardian column by Gwynne Dyer
    3. 4.3 RUSSELL WANGERSKY: A natural remedy - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky
  5. 5 July 27, 2019
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 OPINION: Treat carbon tax like a ‘sin’ tax - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Phil Ferraro
    3. 5.3 OPINION: P.E.I. can be a climate change leader - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Phil Ferraro
  6. 6 July 26, 2019
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 Patchwork of promises solves nothing - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor
    3. 6.3 PC promises lost in spin cycle - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill, publisher
  7. 7 July 25, 2019
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 New Argyle Farmery making its own P.E.I.-grown tea leaves and herbs - The Guardian article by Daniel Brown
    3. 7.3 Seafood choice labeling - by David Suzuki and the David Suzuli Foundation (DSF), from this week
  8. 8 July 24, 2019
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 ANDREW COYNE: Reforming Canadian democracy starts by reforming candidate nomination process - The Guardian article by Andrew Coyne, Postmedia
  9. 9 July 23, 2019
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 News from the Council of Canadians, from yesterday:
    3. 9.3 OPINION: Appetite for electoral change still strong in P.E.I. - The Guardian article by Stephen DeGrace
  10. 10 July 22, 2019
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 JIM VIBERT: Liberal secrets in Alton Gas briefs getting expensive - The Guardian article by columnist Jim Vibert
  11. 11 July 21, 2019
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 DARK CORNERS MUST NOT REMAIN DARK - Facebook post by David Weale
    3. 11.3 P.E.I. whistleblowers sue former premier, officials after privacy breach - CTV News article by Michael Tutton in Halifax and Teresa Wright in Ottawa (Canadian Press)
  12. 12 July 20, 2019
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 We Went to the Moon. Why Can’t We Solve Climate Change? - The New York Times article by John Schwartz
  13. 13 July 19, 2019
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 13.2 Fossil Fuels are Unethical - blog post by Peter Rukavina
  14. 14 July 18, 2019
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 Young P.E.I. producers selling locally-made products at Pop-up Market in Charlottetown - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart
    3. 14.3 Scheer says he'd 'absolutely' review Canada's new Food Guide - CBC News online article by Guy Quenneville
  15. 15 July 17, 2019
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 OPINION: Employment Development Agency: Time for a reset - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Herb Dickieson
  16. 16 July 16, 2019
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 A New Book Encourages Birding for Mental Well-Being - Audobon magazine article by Amelia Langas, editorial fellow
  17. 17 July 15, 2019
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 Fracking is neither climate solution nor economic blessing - David Susuki Foundation article by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington
  18. 18 July 14, 2019
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  19. 19 July 13, 2019
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  20. 20 July 12, 2019
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 As Boat Harbour closure looms, premier hopeful about Northern Pulp's fate - CBC News online article by Michael Gorman
    3. 20.3 JIM VIBERT: Panel names top risks from climate crisis - The Guardian article by Jim Vibert
  21. 21 July 11, 2019
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  22. 22 July 10, 2019
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 Sierra Club and Allies Respond to New Protection Measures for Right Whales in Canada
  23. 23 July 9, 2019
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 The Three Most Important Graphs in Climate Change - article by Jonathan Foley 
  24. 24 July 8, 2019
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  25. 25 July 7, 2019
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 Stop building a spaceship to Mars and just plant some damn trees - article by Jackie Lynn Mogenson
  26. 26 July 6, 2019
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 Reducing Wasted Food At Home - EPA article
  27. 27 July 5, 2019
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 27.2 Islanders invited to comment on water withdrawal regulations - PEI Government announcement
    3. 27.3 Backgrounder 
  28. 28 July 4, 2019
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 Charlottetown council green lights second asphalt plant leaving residents and business owners furious -The Guardian article by Dave Stewart
    3. 28.3 Intergovernmental panel on climate change - Government of Canada website
  29. 29 July 3, 2019
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  30. 30 July 2, 2019
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 3 Islanders selected to receive Order of P.E.I. - CBC News on-line article by Tony Davis
  31. 31 July 1, 2019
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 31, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Wednesday Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM
, Belvedere Market. Lots of fresh food and crafts and prepared food, too.
Fringe Festival Patron Buttons ($5) will be available.

Pride 25 -- Pride Week Closing Garden Party, 6-9PM, Brakish, 2 Water Street, Charlottetown
Facebook event link

Island Fringe Festival Kickoff, 8-11PM, Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street. A gathering with an open mike/dramatic reading time, pitches of the shows in the Festival, and Patron pins for sale. Facebook event link
A positive review of where we are and where we can be....

OPINION: Continuing P.E.I.’s clean energy leadership - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Matt Hall

Published on Saturday, July 13th, 2019, in The Guardian

When it comes to energy and emissions on P.E.I., some important factors often seem to go overlooked. Thanks to improving technology, switching to clean energy sources is feasible and, frankly, inevitable. But how quickly that happens has major implications both for the climate and for economic competitiveness. Though P.E.I. has a valuable head start with its wind power, it will take smart and decisive energy policies to keep that lead, starting with a strong emissions reduction target.

There’s little question that a widespread transition to clean energy is a matter of when, not if. Concern about climate change is playing a steadily expanding role in everything from investment decisions to infrastructure planning to insurance calculations. Meanwhile, renewable energy technology has improved to the point that renewables are now the cheapest energy source available, making up the majority of new electrical generation installed globally for four years running.

On the consumption end, efficient heat pumps are steadily replacing oil furnaces, while electric cars and busses are entering the mainstream and already displacing fossil-fuel vehicle sales in some countries. In addition to lower operating costs, electric solutions are often cleaner and more convenient. The combination of climate concern and technology advancement has set an irreversible clean-energy transition into motion.

Although the transition is inevitable, its speed is uncertain and tremendously consequential. Essentially, we are in two races. The first is a collective race against climate change. How quickly we, as a planet, reach sustainable emissions levels will determine whether global warming is held to 1.5 C or goes beyond 2 C. The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report details severe consequences that reside in that half-degree of difference.

The second race is between competing economies. In a carbon-priced world, being ahead of the decarbonization curve positions a local economy for comparatively lower energy costs. It also protects the competitiveness of export industries. As major global economies adopt carbon pricing, it’s likely they will implement emissionsbased tariffs to keep a level playing field in international trade. These so-called “carbon tariffs” would be applied to the emissions associated with imports coming from jurisdiction that lack equivalent carbon pricing, putting economies that are slow to decarbonize at a distinct trade disadvantage.

Fortunately, P.E.I. is perfectly positioned to be a low-carbon economy leader. The Island has a world-leading wind power resource, and Islanders appreciate the value of renewable energy for both sustainability and selfsufficiency. However, mixed political signals around carbon pricing, non-“smart” utility investments, and head-scratching about whether P.E.I. should try to achieve its fair share of emissions reductions have left the Island spinning its wheels while other jurisdictions are moving quickly. A growing list of cities and regions, including Vancouver and California, have set 100 per cent clean energy goals, far exceeding the emissions targets being debated in P.E.I.

P.E.I. should adopt clear and ambitious emissions reduction targets so that the Island can get down to the important work of decarbonizing its emissions-intensive sectors. High home heating emissions can be reduced through expanded energy efficiency programs and updated building regulations. Transportation emissions can be reduced through more serious investment in public transit, active transportation, and electric vehicle infrastructure. Carbon pricing can incentivize innovation toward additional solutions across the economy.

Lastly, because electrification is key to most emission reductions, it’s essential that the electricity supply be clean and affordable. That means installing more on-Island renewable energy capacity and using smart-grid technology to reduce reliance on imports from New Brunswick. Solar power and energy storage can help smooth out wind power variations, and Maritime Electric could follow Summerside’s example of using smart meters and demand response to increase renewable energy utilization while saving money.

P.E.I. has the resources to excel in a clean-energy transition, including forward-thinking programs at UPEI and Holland College, a broad array of cleantech companies and innovators, empowered Provincial energy entities, and strong connections between government, research institutions, industry, and communities. But it starts with provincial leadership: strong emissions reduction targets and strategic policies that guide progress toward a cleanenergy future.

Taking a proactive approach will help position P.E.I. as a climate leader with a global reputation for clean-energy innovation, exportable cleantech products and services, and a competitive economy in a carbon-priced world.

Matt Hall is an assistant professor (on leave) in the Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering at UPEI.
Good words for all us of people who think we are so smart to keep in mind....always....

"When you have the choice between being right and being kind, just choose kind."
--- Wayne Dyer (1940-2015), American author and motivational speaker

July 30, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Pride PEI sponsored events:
PrideTalk #3 -- Pride Forward, 5:30-7PM
, Delta Prince Edward Island. "... the third and final Pride Talk of the festival.... The panel will look ahead and discuss the short and long-term needs for the Island's gender and sexually diverse community."

Queer Clothing Swap, Pride PEI-sponsored event, 6-8PM, Startup Zone, 31 Queen Street, Charlottetown.
"...with PEERS Alliance and Pride PEI...stop by with your gently used clothing whether masculine, androgynous or femme and drop it off for others and make sure to take a peak at what others brought! This is a size and gender inclusive event meaning that people off all sizes and genders can bring clothing and find clothing at this event."
News Bits:

Ron Kelly of Emerald Junction writes that the airing of the Island duo's single "Take Me Back, December" on American radio station WFUV was postponed from last Saturday, due to a power outage in the studio, until Sunday, September 22nd. More details to follow.
Maritime weather forecaster Kalin Mitchell explains why radar for the Maritimes has been patchy:

from Friday, July 26th, 2019:

"The weather radars at both Chipman, N.B., and Marion Bridge, N.S., are getting major upgrades.

Both sites are having completely new systems installed and are expected to be up and running by the fall. For safety reasons, the old radar equipment must be shut down during the installation process. This does leave the Maritime area with reduced radar coverage, though not completely in the dark."

Rest of his blog on the radar upgrade is here:

Pure EV is a new business selling used electric vehicles.  Owner Mike Kenny is sourcing and bringing over vehicles from other parts of Canada.  It's located on Sherwood Road next to the Volkswagon place, and getting off the ground slowly. Facebook page 

and the PEI Electric Vehicle Association Facebook page is here:

Psychologist and Economist Per Espen Stoknes delivers a 15 minute TED talk from September 2017 on:

"How to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming"

if you aren't able to watch the talk, the transcript can be read in a very short period of time. It identifies why we can't process the overwhelming news that what we hear, and how we can look at the issue in a manageable way by "flipping" aspects of it.

(I have shared this before, but worth it, again)

Not all of these are possible or practical on P.E.I. right now, but it's good to see a list of what can be. With a comment or two in italics from me.

Ten ways you can help fight climate change - compiled by the David Suzuki Foundation

1. Get charged up with renewables

The global push for cleaner, healthier energy is on. With costs dropping every day, renewable energy is the best choice for the environment and the economy.

People throughout Canada are leading on renewables, making a difference in towns, cities and rural areas. You can, too!

Start by sending a message to Canada’s federal party leaders to get charged up with renewables now.

Get Canada charged up with renewable energy

2. Green your commute

In Canada, transportation accounts for 24 per cent of climate-polluting emissions, a close second to the oil and gas industry.

The many ways to reduce your transportation emissions will also make you healthier, happier and save you a few bucks. Whenever and wherever you can:

  • Take public transit.
  • Ride a bike.
  • Car-share.
  • Switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle.
  • Fly less (if you do fly, make sure you offset your emissions).
  • Walk or bike if it's a short trip in your neighbourhood -- you just have to plan more time than zipping there in a car

Let’s get electric vehicles rolling!

3. Use energy wisely — save money, too!

On a per capita basis, Canada is one of the top energy consumers in the world! By getting more energy efficient, you’ll pollute less and save money.

The small changes you make add up:

  • Change to energy-efficient light bulbs.
  • Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you’re not using them.
  • Wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water.
  • Dryers are energy hogs, so hang dry when you can and use dryer balls when you can’t.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
  • Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances.
  • Winterize your home to prevent heat from escaping.
  • Get a home or workplace energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains.

Get great tips from the Queen of Green

4. Eat for a climate-stable planet

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”~ Michael Pollan

Here are four simple changes you can make to your diet to reduce its climate impact.

  • Eat meat-free meals.
  • Buy organic and local whenever possible.
  • Don’t waste food.
  • Grow your own.

Get more info on how to eat for the climate and how eating less meat will reduce Earth’s heat.

P.S. You can also help save the planet by eating insects!

5. Consume less, waste less, enjoy life more

“We use too much, too much of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.” ~ The Story of Stuff

Focusing on life’s simple pleasures — spending time in nature, being with loved ones and/or making a difference to others — provides more purpose, belonging and happiness than buying and consuming. Sharing, making, fixing, upcycling, repurposing and composting are all good places to start.

Take the One Nature Challenge

6. Divest from fossil fuels  (Attention, PEI Government!!)

Let industry know you care about climate change by making sure any investments you and your university, workplace or pension fund make do not include fossil fuels. Meet with your bank or investment adviser and/or join a divestment campaign at your university.

Fossil fuels are a sunset industry. They’re a risk for investors and the planet. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged.”

Learn more about why it’s important to divest from damage and invest in a healthier future.

7. Invest in renewables

Even if you can’t install solar panels or a wind turbine, you can still be a part of the clean-energy economy. Search online for local renewable energy co-ops to join. By becoming a co-op member you will own a slice of its renewable energy projects and can get a return on your investment.

You can also speak to your financial adviser about clean energy/technology investments.

8. Help put a price on pollution

Putting a price on carbon is one of the most important pillars of any strong climate policy. Carbon pricing sounds boring, but it helps makes polluting activities more expensive and green solutions relatively more affordable, allowing your energy-efficient business and/or household to save money!

Most market economists agree that pricing carbon is an efficient and business-friendly way to reduce emissions. The federal government is working with the provinces and territories to put a national price on carbon, but they need your support.

Tweet the minister of environment and climate change

9. Vote

All levels of government, from municipal to federal, can have a big effect on our ability to lower emissions, prepare and adapt to climate change and shift to a clean-energy economy.

Make sure you are registered to vote and then get informed for all elections — not just the federal ones that get most of the media attention. Research the party, ask questions about climate change at town halls or debates and let your candidates know you are voting for the climate. Candidates often hold a wide range of positions on climate change, so your vote really matters.

If you are too young to vote, encourage your class or school to join a Student Vote program, a parallel election for students under voting age that provides the opportunity to experience participation in the election process.

Upcoming elections:

The first step is registering to vote. You can start with that now by following the links above.

10. Tell your story, listen to others

A healthy planet and stable climate aren’t political issues. It’s all about families, communities, energy systems and humanity’s future. It’s important to get everyone on board, working toward climate solutions.

People are more often influenced by friends than by experts, so make sure to talk about climate change with friends and family. Tell your stories — about changes you’ve seen where you live, how climate change has affected you, and the changes you’re making to lessen your impact. Encourage friends and family to explore the top 10 things they can do about climate change.

Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share ideas and articles, write comments and help get the word out. Or, write your own letter to the editor about climate action in your local paper.

Get your climate action opinion published

One of my favorite quotes:

When asked her beauty secrets....
"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others;
for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness;
and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."
   --- Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), British actress

July 29, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event tonight:
Pride 25 Potluck Plus town Hall, 5-8:30PM
, Startup Zone, 31 Queen Street, Charlottetown
"You've heard of tough luck, blind luck, and beginner’s luck, but the best luck of all is…a potluck!
Join us for our second potluck and town hall of the year at the Startup Zone! Be sure to bring the recipe of your dish for both sharing and food sensitivity purposes. Please note that bringing a food contribution is NOT mandatory, nor is chowing down.
In addition to eating (or not eating) lots of great food, we will be hosting a town hall featuring a special community discussion on ACRONYMS.
Don't miss your chance to ask the Board of Pride PEI your questions.
FREE event ($5 suggested donation) Everyone is welcome
Safer Spaces Statement
Pride PEI is dedicated to providing space that is accessible, inclusive, and free from oppression, harassment, and discrimination. In this space, we will treat each other with respect and dignity, regardless of age, race, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, levels of ability, and all our other diverse identities. Everyone entering this space has a responsibility to uphold these values."

Thursday, August 1st to Sunday, August 4th:
Island Fringe Festival, various times and locations
, eclectic line-up of very accessible art and stories. A "patron pin" is to be purchased for $5 before the Festival or at any venue, and then the patron is encouraged to make a donation to the particular play. The pin is required an bought only one.
Island Fringe Festival website
This actually happened about a month ago: a meeting via technology between two of the youngest people making change in this world: young U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, conversing with Swedish 16-year old climate crisis fighter Greta Thunberg; their phone conversation was transcribed for the U.K. Guardian publication.

It's an encouraging read.

(The editors played with photos to make it look like they are in the same room, by the way.)

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: 'Hope is contagious' - The Guardian (UK) article by Emma Brockes

One is America’s youngest-ever congresswoman, the other a Swedish schoolgirl. Two of the most powerful voices on the climate speak for the first time

Published on Saturday, June 29th, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez enters a boardroom at her constituency office in Queens, New York, after a short delay which, a political aide hopes, hasn’t been caused by a constituent waylaying her in the corridor. (“They can get really excited to meet her.”) Greta Thunberg is in her home in Sweden, her father testing the technology for the video link while the teenager waits in the background. The activists have never met nor spoken but, as two of the most visible climate campaigners in the world, they are keenly aware of each other.

Thunberg, now 16, catapulted to fame last year for skipping school every Friday to stand outside the Swedish parliament, protesting against political inaction over the climate crisis and sparking an international movement, the school strike for climate, in which millions of other children followed suit. Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district is, at 29, the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress, whose election over a well-funded incumbent in 2018 was a huge upset to politics-as-usual. She has been in office for less than a year, which seems extraordinary given the amount of coverage she has generated. In February, Ocasio-Cortez submitted the Green New Deal to the US House of Representatives, calling for, among other things, the achievement of “net-zero” greenhouse gases within a decade and “a full transition off fossil fuels”, as well as retrofitting all buildings in the US to meet new energy efficient standards.

The Green New Deal, while garnering support from Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, was mocked by speaker Nancy Pelosi (“the green dream or whatever they call it”), and defeated in the Senate by Republicans. Like Thunberg, however, Ocasio-Cortez gives every appearance of being galvanised by opposition, and has the kind of energy that has won her 4.41 million Twitter followers and makes establishment politicians in her path very nervous.

In the course of their conversation, Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg discuss what it is like to be dismissed for their age, how depressed we should be about the future, and what tactics, as an activist, really work. Ocasio-Cortez speaks with her customary snap and brilliance that, held up against the general waffle of political discourse, seems startlingly direct. Thunberg, meanwhile, is phenomenally articulate, well-informed and self-assured, holding her own in conversation with an elected official nearly twice her age and speaking in deliberate, thoughtful English. They are, in some ways, as different as two campaigners can get – the politician working the system with Washington polish, and the teenager in her socks and leggings, working from her bedroom to reach the rest of the world. There is something very moving about the conversation between these young women, a sense of generational rise that, as we know from every precedent from the Renaissance onwards, has the power to ignite movements and change history.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez It’s such an honour to meet you!

Greta Thunberg You, too!

AOC Thank you. I’m so excited to be having this conversation. I remember first hearing your speech a few months ago – I was hanging out with a friend in Harlem, who said, “Have you listened to this young woman?” And I heard your speech and was thrilled, because here in the United States, even when I was running, people were saying there’s no need to convey this kind of urgency [about the climate], and it’s radical, and it’s unnecessary. To hear you articulate the belief that I’ve had as well is so exciting and validating. So I wanted to thank you for your work and your advocacy.

GT Thank you so much for standing up and offering hope to so many people, even here in Sweden.

AOC One of the things I’m interested in hearing from you is that often people say, “Don’t politicise young people.” It’s almost a taboo. That to have someone as young as you coming out in favour of political positions is manipulative or wrong. I find it very condescending, as though, especially in this day and age with the access to information we have, you can’t form your own opinions and advocate for yourself. I’m interested in how you approach that – if anyone brings that up with you?

GT That happens all the time. That’s basically all I hear. The most common criticism I get is that I’m being manipulated and you shouldn’t use children in political ways, because that is abuse, and I can’t think for myself and so on. And I think that is so annoying! I’m also allowed to have a say – why shouldn’t I be able to form my own opinion and try to change people’s minds?

But I’m sure you hear that a lot, too; that you’re too young and too inexperienced. When I see all the hate you receive for that, I honestly can’t believe how you manage to stay so strong.

AOC I think the thing that people sometimes don’t realise is that here in the United States, because of the gap between the rich and the poor, people really identify Wall Street as a very potent political force. With our rules, politicians are allowed to accept campaign contributions on a level that is probably beyond what happens in other parts of the world.

But what people don’t recognise is how strong the fossil fuel lobby is. The Koch brothers in the US have essentially purchased the entire Republican party, but people forget they made their money off oil and gas. That is where their fortune comes from. And I think that’s what we’re up against. So the severity of the pushback indicates the power that we are challenging. You can look at that with despair, or you can look at it with hope. That’s how strong we are: we’re so strong that we’re able to take this on credibly and actually build a movement against it.

GT Yes, I mean, the oil lobby is huge in the US, and we also have that kind of lobby in Sweden. Not as much, but...

AOC What is the most effective tactic in gaining attention for the environmental movement? What have you done, or what have been the practices that have been most galvanising?

GT I think this whole movement in which I just sat down in front of the parliament, alone – I think that had a huge impact, because people saw it and were moved, and became emotional. Millions of children around the world, striking and saying, “Why should we study for a future that may not exist any more?” This is not only me, but everyone in the movement.

AOC Another question I have for you is that a lot of people talk about Sweden and other Nordic countries as an inspiration. People say that [advanced thinking around the climate crisis] could never happen in the US, because we’re a multiracial democracy – the fact that Sweden and other places are more homogenous means they’re able to get along better. That because of the racial diversity here, and issues with immigration and so on, there’s no way we can come together in order to combat this. I’m interested in what you say in response to that.

GT Many people, especially in the US, see countries like Sweden or Norway or Finland as role models – we have such a clean energy sector, and so on. That may be true, but we are not role models. Sweden is one of the top 10 countries in the world when it comes to the highest ecological footprints, according to the WWF – if you count the consumer index, then we are among the worst per capita.

In Sweden, the most common argument that we shouldn’t act is that we are such a small country with only 10 million inhabitants – we should focus more on helping other countries. That is so incredibly frustrating, because why should we argue about who or what needs to change first? Why not take the leading role?

AOC We hear the same exact argument here. And this is the United States of America! People say, “Well, we should wait for China to do something.” There’s this political culture of people trying to say America First – that the US is the best nation in the world, yet at the same time they’re saying, “Well, China’s not doing it, why should we?”

And I think it’s the same argument: are we going to choose to lead, or are we going to sit on our hands? It seems as if they take pride in leading on fracking, on being the number one in oil, in consumption, in single-use plastics. But they don’t seem to want to take pride in leading on the environment and leading for our children.

GT Yes. I mean, countries like Sweden or the US, since we are rich countries, need to go first. Because people in poor countries need to be able to raise their standard of living. We have a duty to lead when we already have, basically, everything.

AOC Yes. People think of leadership as this glamorous, powerful thing. To be a leader is to come first, to set the agenda. But what people don’t realise is that leadership is also enormously difficult. Leadership is a responsibility. Leadership is not fun. Leadership is about doing things before anybody else does them. Leadership is about taking risks. Leadership is about taking decisions when you don’t know 100% what the outcome is going to be.

It’s enormously easy to follow – it’s the easiest thing in the world. And there are detriments to following. You are too late. You do not control your destiny. You are not in control, period. You are often under the thumb of someone else. But it is enormously easy because you don’t have to determine the future. It seems as if, really, it’s a decision on whether we’re going to lead or not.

I wonder what, to you, is encouraging, and what keeps you going? There’s a school of thought – I personally disagree with it – that says if you educate people too much [about the climate] they’re going to think it’s too late and they’re going to wallow in despair and not act at all. So I’m curious, given how daunting the issue is, why aren’t you so filled with despair that you’re staying on your couch every day, and just waiting for the apocalypse? [Laughs]

GT Before I started school striking, I was like that. I was so depressed and I didn’t want to do anything, basically. But what I find encouraging is having all these people who are fighting on different sides in different ways, to create a better future and to make us avoid catastrophic climate breakdown.

The school-striking children, when I see them – that is very hopeful. And also the fact that people are very unaware of the climate crisis. I mean, people aren’t continuing like this and not doing anything because they are evil, or because they don’t want to. We aren’t destroying the biosphere because we are selfish. We are doing it simply because we are unaware. I think that is very hopeful, because once we know, once we realise, then we change, then we act.

AOC I had a similar tipping point, although it had more to do with income inequality. Many people know that several years ago I was working in a restaurant, and I had gone to college, and I had worked on so many things, but my family had fallen in to a lot of misfortune – my father had gotten sick and so on. And I was working in this restaurant and I would go, day in and day out, and I was so depressed. I felt so powerless, and as though there was nothing I could do that could effectively counter the enormous number of societal structures that are designed in the US to keep the working class poor, and to keep the rich, richer.

I was really wallowing in despair for a while: what do I do? Is this my life? Just showing up, working, knowing that things are so difficult, then going home and doing it again. And I think what was profoundly liberating was engaging in my first action – when I went to Standing Rock, in the Dakotas, to fight against a fracking pipeline. It seemed impossible at the time. It was just normal people, showing up, just standing on the land to prevent this pipeline from going through. And it made me feel extremely powerful, even though we had nothing, materially – just the act of standing up to some of the most powerful corporations in the world.

From there I learned that hope is not something that you have. Hope is something that you create, with your actions. Hope is something you have to manifest into the world, and once one person has hope, it can be contagious. Other people start acting in a way that has more hope.

GT Yeah. I know so many people who feel hopeless, and they ask me, “What should I do?” And I say: “Act. Do something.” Because that is the best medicine against sadness and depression. I remember the first day I was school-striking outside the Swedish parliament, I felt so alone, because everyone went straight past, no one even looked at me. But at the same time I was hopeful.

AOC It’s true that people don’t know when those small actions can manifest into something. I’ve seen it even in office. There’s so much cynicism about, how powerful can this be? Just me showing up?

I think sometimes we’re so obsessed with measurement. What does me standing outside of parliament with a sign do? It doesn’t lower any carbon emissions immediately. It doesn’t change any laws directly. But what it does is make powerful people feel something, and people underestimate the power of that. It is becoming harder and harder for elected officials to look people in the eye.

Just this morning I was sent a picture of an older gentleman from the midwest, which has just seen some catastrophic flooding – we’re starting to see flooding in the US where there was never flooding before. In the midwest there’s a disaster package that’s not getting passed, and he was just there with a sign saying, “Do you care about me?” He stood outside the congressional building, knowing that members are going to have to pass him by, and it’s very much inspired, I would say, by the actions that you’ve taken.

The biggest weapon people have is to try to make you think that you don’t matter. It is to say, “This doesn’t change anything.” Because if you can convince people that it doesn’t matter, then they won’t do it and people can go on as though it’s business as usual. We are no longer at the point of preventing [climate disaster] from happening entirely – we are now at the point of minimising the damage. And as these floods and storms are here, I think more and more people are going to be willing to stand up for themselves.

GT I have a question. I have heard about how bad the situation is in the US with climate denialism, but I find it very hard to believe. It’s bad here in Sweden – but I have seen reports of how little the US media mentions the climate crisis and how it is treated. How bad is it really?

AOC I would say that it has historically been very, very bad. But it’s actually getting much better.

In the 1970s, ExxonMobil had internal science that not only definitively proved that climate change was real, but they themselves, the oil company, invested in modelling to see how bad it was going to be. Some of their models were so sophisticated that, back in the 70s, they were predicting our weather patterns as far out as 2012 – and many of them were accurate. They knew exactly what was happening.

So what they did, starting the year I was born, around 1989, was to start funding a lot of media and lobbying campaigns. They knew they couldn’t fund campaigns outright saying climate change is not real. But they could fund campaigns sowing confusion. So they would run campaigns saying we need to see more science, to sow doubt around the consensus. For a very long time it worked, and it got very bad. We came very close to acting on the climate in 1989, but the lobbying was so powerful that they effectively prevented action – we had almost 40% of Republican voters not believing that climate change was settled fact.

But I think because of our advocacy and our movement, those numbers have been dropping precipitously in just the last few years. And in the last year especially, with our push for a Green New Deal, connecting everything that is happening to climate change. People who cover increasingly worse hurricanes as though they are accidents, or just things that happen – now, every time a storm comes, we talk about climate change. The other piece of it is not just acknowledging that it’s real, but prioritising it as a top issue. We just received some very encouraging numbers yesterday – a year or two years ago, only 20% of Democratic voters, the more liberal voters in the country, saw climate change as a top issue. With our action, and the youth organising that’s going on now, it has surged. We’ve seen in very early voting states, something like 70% of Democratic voters think that a Green New Deal should be a top issue, and that they would support candidates who support it, and not supporting it is a red flag for many voters. I think we’re moving, but it takes this radical action to move it.

We have historically had an issue with media coverage of the climate crisis – I think they don’t realise that not covering it is just as bad as denying it. We have issues because much of our media is profit-driven, and if it doesn’t drive ratings they will not cover it as much. But we simply don’t have a choice. We have to do this.

GT I saw very recent numbers, I think it was yesterday, that suggested about 2% of Sweden’s population don’t believe in the climate crisis. Here it’s not as acceptable to not believe in it. Everyone accepts that it’s a fact. But still we aren’t talking about it, and it’s not a priority. We are just treating it like any other issue.

AOC Why do you think young people have been more powerful and persuasive on this issue, in particular?

GT Many reasons, but I think the main one is that it is our future that is at risk. Most of us know that this is going to affect us in our lifetimes – it’s not just something that might happen in the future. It’s already here and it’s going to get worse, and many of us understand that this is going to make our lives much worse. And also that as young people, we aren’t as used to the system. We don’t say, “It’s always been like this, we can’t change anything.”

AOC I’ve always said to people that youth is a mindset. And young people, we tend to come in and almost take that mindset for granted because as you said, we haven’t seen the world before, this is our first path, and so we have a tendency to question all of the nonsensical things that have just gone on for reasons of outdated logic. I have three- and four-year-old nieces and nephews, and they’re always asking, “Why, why, why, why?” For a lot of people it can be somewhat irritating. But I think sometimes it’s irritating because they don’t have the answers.

You can be much older and still part of a youth movement, if you refuse to do things just because that’s the way they’ve always been done. I believe that young people just have a natural distillation of the world that is so pure. I’ve always felt that social movements, and youth movements in particular, should continue to be the moral compass that guides our vision.

GT Yes, it always reminds me a lot of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Everyone believes in this lie, that only a child dares to question.

AOC Right. When I was first running [for office], people often mocked me as a child. I’m much older than you! But I was still very young for someone who was running for such a powerful seat. People would say, “But don’t you know this is how it’s always been done? He has so much money, and power. There’s no reason you should challenge someone in your own party – we should challenge people in other parties.” And so on and so forth. And they were all veiled ways of saying I was too inexperienced, too naive, too young, and too powerless.

I think the mere refusal to accept that can change our world. That’s exactly what you’ve done.

GT I think we’ve both done that.

Thunberg says that she is planning to travel to the US in August, so she can attend the UN Climate Action summit on 23 September.

GT I don’t fly for climate reasons so it’s not 100% yet, but we are figuring it out. It’s very hard, but I think it should be possible.

AOC That’s incredible. I’m so excited to follow that. Let us know how we can help from over here. I think one of the things that we need to start communicating is that this a global struggle, and it’s not about what is Sweden doing, and what is the US doing – it’s about what are all of us doing, as one movement? I think the power of that is very real. I wish you well, and I know many members of Congress who would be thrilled to meet you.

GT Thank you so much.

AOC Thank you so much, Greta. Be sure to let us know when you have an arrival date. If you land in New York, we will give you a Queens’ welcome!

• This conversation appears in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine and has been abridged for length.
"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self."
--- Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), English philosopher and writer

July 28, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Brunch Series Talk: The P.E.I. Railroad -- Where Did It Go? 11:30AM-1:30PM
, Macphail Homestead, Orwell. $25 which includes brunch. "Peter Metaxas, a Belfast resident and business owner, will present a brief history of the PEI railroad with emphasis on the stops local to the Macphail Homestead. There will be several interesting railway artifacts will be on display as stories and memories of the railway era gathered from residents are presented. Discussion will also center on some of the challenges faced when moving and renovating the Fodhla station. Mr. Metaxas operates his business out of the historic Iona Railway Station building that he procured several years ago."

Downtown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street, between Grafton and Dorchester Streets. Fresh food, prepared food and many crafters.

Neighbourhood Potluck Picnic in (Orlebar) Park, 1-3PM, Orlebar Park.
Facebook event link And prepare for the nice, hot summer weather.
"All welcome! See friends and neighbours who feel connected to the neighbourhood north of Euston Street. Bring something to share at the potluck or just bring yourself. We will celebrate the wonderful additions to Orlebar Park that the City of Charlottetown has made, with support from neighbours: the new water fountain is running and the foraging wall is planted. Greens are abundant in the veggie planters. Maybe we'll continue the conversation about what we call our neighbourhood. Please invite neighbours who are not on social media."

Broadcast of Island duet Emerald Junction's "Take Me Back, December" song on New York City's "Woody's Children" radio program, sometime between 5-6PM, during the "New Voices" segment of radio WFUV. Ron Kelly, musician and social activist, and Anne Quinn make up the group. Broadcast will be archived and available for two weeks at:
Facebook event link with much detail.

Bonshaw Ceilidh, 7PM, Bonshaw Hall, various artists, admission by donation and proceeds this month going to the G'ma Circle of P.E.I./Stephen Lewis Foundation. Facebook event link
International Affairs columnist Gwynne Dyer celebrates the 100th birthday of eminent planetary scientist and thinker James Lovelock:

GWYNNE DYER: Gaia revisited — James Lovelock at 100 - The Guardian column by Gwynne Dyer

Published on Friday, July 26th, 2019

link from another source:

Forty years ago James Lovelock published his book “Gaia: a New Look at Life on Earth,” setting forth his hypothesis that all life on Earth is part of a co-evolved system that maintains the planet as an environment hospitable to abundant life. Today his approach is known as Earth System Science, and is central to our understanding of how the planet works. But back in 1979, he already had a warning for us.

“If ... man encroaches upon Gaia’s functional powers to such an extent that he disables her, he would then wake up one day to find that he had the permanent lifelong job of planetary maintenance engineer....

“Then at last we should be riding that strange contraption, ‘the spaceship Earth,’ and whatever tamed and domesticated biosphere remained would indeed be our ‘life support system’. (We would face) the final choice of permanent enslavement on the prison hulk of the spaceship Earth, or gigadeaths to enable the survivors to restore a Gaian world.”

For the past 30 years I have travelled down to Devon every four or five years to interview Jim, but essentially to ask him “Are we there yet?” The last time I went, he said “Almost.” But he seemed remarkably cheerful about it, even though “there,” he believed, would imply the death of around 80 per cent of the global population (“gigadeaths”) before the end of the century.

There’s nothing harsh or cold about Jim, but it would be fair to say that his manner is impish. He’s a dedicated contrarian who delights in challenging the accepted wisdom – and is generally proved right in the end. And although he was one of the first scientists to sound the alarm about global warming, he never bangs on about our folly, he never raises his voice, and he never despairs.

Once I asked him if he thought things would ever get so bad that human beings would go extinct.

“Oh, I don’t think so,” he said. “Human beings are tough. There’ll always be a few breeding pairs.” But, he added, they’d have trouble trying to rebuild a high-energy civilisation, because we have used up all the easily accessible sources of energy building this one.

It is a rather god-like perspective, but that probably comes naturally if you have spent your whole life trying to stand back far enough to see the system as a whole. The Gaian system, that is, which he defines as “a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.”

In other words, it’s all connected. The Earth’s temperature, the oxygen content of the atmosphere, all the qualities that make it a welcoming home for abundant life are maintained by the actions and inter-actions of the myriad species of living things. They are the creators as well as the beneficiaries of this remarkably stable status quo.

It sounds a bit New Age – he and American evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, who collaborated with him in the earliest thinking on the proposition, took some flak for that from their scientific colleagues – but he wasn’t really suggesting that the super-organism he proposed had consciousness or intention. Gaia was from the start a serious scientific hypothesis that could be subjected to rigorous testing.

It has now been elevated into an entirely respectable and widely accepted theory. Indeed, Gaia provides the broader context in which most research in the life sciences, and much chemical, geological, atmospheric and oceanographic research as well, is now done.

Jim Lovelock has changed our contemporary perspectives on life on this planet as much as Charles Darwin did for the 19th century, and like Darwin he has done it as an independent scientist, mostly working on his own and with relatively modest resources. Even more remarkably, he published his first book, and his Gaia hypothesis, when he was already 60.

That was 40 years ago, and on Friday he turned 100. But he hardly seems to have aged at all, and to celebrate his birthday he has published a new book (his 10th). It’s called “Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence,” and it’s just as much off the beaten track as his first book, “Gaia.”

He’s being cheerful again.

Yes, we are approaching the “Singularity,” the artificial-intelligence takeover when our robots/computers become autonomous.

Yes, after that it is AI, not us, that will lead the dance.

But don’t panic, because the AI will be fully aware that its platform needs to be a more or less recognisably Gaian planet, and will cooperate with us to preserve it.

In that case, we will no longer be in the driver’s seat, but we will probably still be in the vehicle. “Whatever harm we have done to the Earth, we have, just in time, redeemed ourselves by acting simultaneously as parents and midwives to the cyborgs,” he writes, and he may be right. He’s certainly right a lot more often than he’s wrong.

Happy birthday, Jim.
And a lovely naturalist essay by Russell Wangersky:

RUSSELL WANGERSKY: A natural remedy - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky

Published on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
Someone’s cut fir near the trail and left it, the now-rust-red boughs ready to shed their needles, and the warm air is redolent with the scent of it.

The alder’s grown in — that is its specialty — and there’s more shade along the trail, so even though the ATVs have kept some growth at bay, the understory is changing. Less of the open-ground flowers like colt’s foot, more of the plants and mushrooms that like shade (or at least dappled light). Lady slippers, failing into decay now but still like small religious statues deserving of their own grottos, Amanita mushrooms as bold and upright and deadly as a dare, bunchberries shedding their petals and fattening their berry fists for the fight.

The first part, the climb up from the old railway bed, has been a ride on the life cycle; a single footprint of a young moose in road dust so soft that the outline seems to flatten even before your finger touches it. Wounded trees, especially the long-needle pines that seem so unequipped for winter’s war, battered and with branches torn down by the last ice storm. There in the gravel, a dead yellow-capped warbler, feet gripping air, the small feathered corpse undulating softly from the maggots hard at work. The triptych of birth, life, death — and for the bright-green-metal carrion flies, at least, a quick rebirth as well.

I forget, every time. I forget how piercing it is to hike a good solid distance through the woods, how the sounds and smells and even the changing light seems to press buttons inside you — slowly, everything becomes alert, everything necessary and poignant and sharp.

I’m fishing a small pond we’ve trekked to, five kilometres in, and I’m hopeful that the topography is actually what it looked like last year, the only time I’d been there. That first visit was without a fishing rod, but there was something about the swimming-pool-sized patch of open water that suggested some promise.

A long, declining ridge hems in the western edge. On the eastern side, the pond was clearly flooding, the trail underwater, greyed stumps of trees poking up through the open water; the outlet, 400 metres or so to the south of me, would almost certainly boast the breastwork and engineering skills of beaver. On the other side of the water, a long, flat expanse of cotton grass and pitcher plant, the lay of the land too flat for anything but water meadow. So, if I’m right, much more pond than is actually open water, and many more fish than the clear water would suggest.

I cross in along the shortest traverse; it’s hard to guess how deep the bog is, or how thick the overlaying mat of bog plants is. Will it support my weight? Will it support it only in some places? Is bog-knowledge about to become critical? The pitcher plants are gathered, mouths open like dark-throated choristers singing. But they’re singing to the flies, and don’t spend any time on warnings.

I cast, but there are no trout, not for me at least. But I do get to see the wind touch down on an acreage of cotton grass, get to watch the wave of white tops pulse away towards the foot of the marsh.

I think that there are so many open flowers now, flowers whose beauty no one but bees will ever even see. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Later, a potpourri of the plant life from the whole day, leaves and sticks and needles, spills from my rubber boots and heavy socks as I pull out tired, sore feet. Sore feet, happy heart.

Russell Wangersky’s column appears in 36 SaltWire newspapers and websites in Atlantic Canada. He can be reached at — Twitter: @wangersky.

"It is the law of life that if you are kind to someone you feel happy.  If you are cruel you are unhappy.  And if you hurt someone, you will be hurt back." 
  ---Cary Grant (1904-86), British-born American actor

July 27, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

It's a great time of year, crowds or no, and finally there are carrots....

Tracking the Mammals of Prince Edward Island, 10-11:30AM, Macphail Woods Ecological Nature Centre, Orwell, P.E.I. Free. "Come on out and learn about the native and introduced mammals found on PEI, as well as a brief look at some of the mammals we've lost. After a brief slideshow, we'll head off to the woods looking at a variety of animal tracks and signs. A great activity for the whole family!" Facebook event details

Pride Parade, 1-2PM, followed by Party in the (Rochford Square) Park afterward. Most groups are assembling to march in the parade about noon. Here is the route:

Phil Ferraro wrote a two-part essay on Island-made ways we can fight the climate crisis -- they are quick reading but mark these to contemplate again later this weekend when you are cooling off from the hot day.

Part One sets the stage and tackles the Carbon Tax political games by refocusing it.

OPINION: Treat carbon tax like a ‘sin’ tax - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Phil Ferraro

Published on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Congratulations to the Prince Edward Island legislature for approving the bill that calls for a 14-per-cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Those who are keeping abreast of the science realize that if we are acting alone, Islanders will not have much impact on the global situation. However, if we proceed wisely in meeting this goal, we can enhance our economic and social prosperity and rehabilitate our Island environment while being leaders in solution-based actions.

As we transition to action, I expect the debate on a carbon tax will continue to be a controversial subject. During the recent election campaign, all four parties made valid points. The Greens insisted something more must be done. In their view, leaving it to the marketplace with a revenue neutral tax was the best solution. The Liberals said we are already doing a lot. The NDP focussed on a more comprehensive mandate of government-run programs and the Progressive Conservatives took a firm stand on opposing a carbon tax which, in their opinion, would disproportionately hurt low income and rural Islanders. While the debate dragged on, our fossil fuel consumption rose, resulting in record levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

We have finally moved beyond debating the reality of our impact on climate change. We are now in a crisis that can, quite literally, result in climate collapse. No credible argument remains to deny taking immediate and substantive actions to reduce our carbon footprint.

So, if carbon pricing is going to be on the table, I propose that we treat it like the “sin” taxes that we placed on tobacco and alcohol, which may make it more palatable and equitable to those who are opposed to a carbon tax. Rather than taxing the rural Islanders who have no option but to rely on their vehicles for transportation, let’s tax the non-essential use of internal combustion engines. I am referring to the Sea-Doos and Ski-Doos and pleasure watercraft that line our cities’ harbours.

Let’s even tax lawn mowers, which are far more polluting than cars. I am also talking about the 100 plus cruise ships that enter our harbours, each one of which consumes the equivalent amount of fuel as one million cars, and I am talking about private airplanes. These are all burning carbon for convenience and entertainment at the expense of our planet. We can do this by taxing the pumps at harbours and airports and taxing those who are filling cans at the gas stations. Some folks may say that this targeted sin fuel tax is not enough. However, if we are taxing the “sinful” uses of fossil fuels, then it would eliminate the need to make the tax revenue neutral. Instead, government could allocate this revenue to programs that conserve energy and also provide incentives for the adoption of home-based or publicly-owned renewable energy systems.

Phil Ferraro is an Island resident, director for the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation, the Institute for Bioregional Studies and an advisor to the Centre for Local Prosperity. This is part one of a two-part series looking at climate change.

Part two offers an assortment of Island-specific ideas to move to a greener economy and wraps up how and why P.E.I. should do this.

OPINION: P.E.I. can be a climate change leader - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Phil Ferraro

Published on Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Here on P.E.I., the current energy strategy states that the path forward to achieve energy security, environmental sustainability and economic development will require specific government action in the form of support, legislation, incentives or regulations.

We are well positioned to create incentives that demonstrate that a sustainable future is not only necessary but also socially and economically sensible and popular.

We can start to do this by implementing a few cost-effective, revenue-generating policies. For instance, in July of 2018, the government of Ireland passed a resolution to divest all government funds from the fossil fuel industry. As of December 2018, a total of 1,000 institutions and over 58,000 individuals representing $8 trillion in assets worldwide had been divested from fossil fuels.

P.E.I. could do the same – starting with a transition of civil service pension funds to social enterprises (preferably local) that are reducing carbon output. Already, over eight trillion dollars has been divested from the fossil fuel industry. So, it is clear that financial advisers no longer consider oil as a good investment.

We could also pass regulations that force Maritime Electric to pay a fair price to small scale energy producers so that land owners can generate electricity from wind and solar that they are putting into the grid. Farms with south facing barns and rural residents with good wind sites would help bring prosperity to rural P.E.I.

Our government can also prioritize the student summer employment program placements for businesses that are making serious progress in reducing their carbon footprint.

Let’s regulate the Immigrant Investor Program so that rather than encouraging any investment that seems to lead to silly hardware, gift and clothing stores, we should be recruiting specific investment in social enterprises that will lead to carbon reduction, such as green energy, sustainable agriculture, mass transit and green building.

The province’s Community Economic Development Business (CEDB) program provides tax incentives for Islanders to invest in local businesses. In Nova Scotia, the very similar CEDIF program has raised money to build several publicly-owned wind energy farms. Our CEDB program should be revised so it is simpler to implement and has an emphasis on businesses that reduce our carbon footprint.

Seventy-six per cent of P.E.I.’s energy needs are supplied by oil and 46 per cent of what Islanders spend on energy dollars goes to transportation. So, let’s place a toll on the Confederation Bridge for incoming traffic. If the vehicle has P.E.I. plates, there is no charge. For non-Islanders, let’s charge a fee and have the revenue go toward green energy and Islandwide mass transit.

In Charlottetown, we already have “smart” parking meters. Perhaps we should use them more wisely. Let’s keep the cost the same or even lower if an Islander uses the parking app. For non-residents and those who don’t use the app, make parking on par with other major cities and use the revenue to install electric recharging stations and mass transit.

We can implement a program to displace imports with a strategy that prioritizes local procurement of environmentally beneficial products and services. Every Islander has a health card. On the back of the card is a magnetic strip. We can code the cards to be like Optimum or Air Miles cards. So, every time Islanders shop local, they can swipe their Island health card and earn points for discounts on conservation and green energy products, such as bus passes, insulation, LED lights and solar panels.

Let’s also institute an Islandwide building code, starting with commercial buildings, condos and apartments that require the latest water and energy conservation measures.

P.E.I. may not be large enough for these policies to have a global impact. However, we can lead by example and demonstrate that Islanders are serious about the climate crisis. A government that implements these or similar policies will also demonstrate to Islanders that they are prepared to enact programs that have measurable benefits and provide economic incentives.

Phil Ferraro is an Island resident, director for the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation and the Institute for Bioregional Studies and an advisor to the Centre for Local Prosperity. This is the second of a two-part series.

"The best thing to hold onto in life is each other."
--- Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), British actress

July 26, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Tacos for Your Time, presented by Sugar Skull and Art in the Open, 11:30AM-2:30PM
, Sugar Skull Cantina, Water Street, Charlottetown.
Sign up today to volunteer at Art in the Open (which is Saturday, August 24th), and get a taco for $3 from this unique culinary hot-spot.
Facebook event details

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Province House on Grafton Street. Weekly protest for Climate Crisis awareness, all welcome to this peaceful gathering.
Charlottetown Critical Mass for Climate Change Awareness, 4:30-5:30PM
, meeting at Province House, also hosted by Extinction Rebellion.
Bring your bike, invite your friends and your family to this kid-friendly peaceful protest for a more bike-able Charlottetown!
We will meet in front of the Province House, after the usual Fridays for Future demonstration and from there we will bike around Charlottetown.
A more bike-able Charlottetown may be a small part of the solution for the climate crisis, but it is a good step in the right direction.
Our goals are to raise awareness to the sad state of Charlottetown's bicycle infrastructure, which in turn is part of a much deeper message that urges the government to find viable solutions to the climate crisis. Reducing the car traffic in a city is just one of the many ways we can move forward.
After visiting the unpractical so-called "bike lanes" in Charlottetown for a light warm-up in the first Critical Mass episode, this time we may go deeper into the dynamics of Friday afternoon traffic by exploring the options of a bicyclist when trying to get to more "remote" places like Stratford using the bridge.
Lets make it count, please join us with your bicycles for this next action!
DON'T FORGET YOUR HELMETS! Visibility jackets, banners and signs are welcome!
Itinerary will be updated on the event's FB page.
Facebook event link

Friday Night Live at the Haviland Club, 7-10PM, with hosts Mike Mooney and Laurie Brinklow, with special guest Tian Wigmore.
Hosted by singer-songwriters Mike Mooney and Laurie Brinklow, the evening features an introductory set by Mike and Laurie, followed by Tian. Tian has been a touring guitarist and backing vocalist for many of Canada’s best artists including Big Sugar, The Trews, Tim Chaisson, and Andy Brown. In 2017 Tian won the ECMA Indigenous Artist of the Year Award with his EP Warhorses. Originally from Manitoba, Tian grew up on Prince Edward Island, and is back on the Island for the summer with his family. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the music starting at 7. Admission is $10, $8 for Haviland Club members. Adapted from the: Facebook event details.

Saturday, July 27th:
Tracking the Mammals of Prince Edward Island, 10-11:30AM
, Macphail Woods Ecological Nature Centre, Orwell, P.E.I. Free. "Come on out and learn about the native and introduced mammals found on PEI, as well as a brief look at some of the mammals we've lost. After a brief slideshow, we'll head off to the woods looking at a variety of animal tracks and signs. A great activity for the whole family!" Facebook event details
The extraordinary Susan Hartley writes in yesterday's Graphic newspapers:

Patchwork of promises solves nothing - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor

Re: "Help on Hold: Over 1,000 PEI patients unable to see a psychiatrist despite having a referral" (The Guardian, July 8, 2019)

It was curious to see that the current government’s solution to the concern raised in this article was not to question Health PEI’s lack of review and evaluation of how patients move (or don’t) through our system, but to move quickly to increase the complement of psychiatrists on the Island.

In his latest editorial in the Eastern Graphic, Paul MacNeill comments on this announcement: “If we can’t fill existing holes, adding new positions will not help.” I would agree.

I am reminded of how one creates a beautiful, visually-cohesive, and functional, patchwork quilt. Quilt makers begin with a vision of the final product - a goal. They may be working from pieces of fabric they already have or they may need to find more to add to their inventory. Either way, they must create a collaboration of colours, patterns, and shapes that when put together with consideration and planning become a whole that reflects their vision. With planning, evaluating, and keeping focused on the final product, one cannot simply fill in the gaps by using more of the same cloth, or by placing pieces haphazardly.

To stretch the analogy further - our mental health system is unravelling and has been for some time. Patching it with promises of more psychiatrists will not fix the system. Our leaders must step back - not adopt the first or loudest suggestion that presents itself - to view the system as a whole and start with the goal of a complete, well-balanced, well-planned system accessible to all Islanders. One that encompasses the full-spectrum of care: promotion,prevention, early intervention, and acute and long-term care. Minister James Aylward is reported to have said, “A lot of people seem to think that psychiatry is the end-all and be-all. Well, it’s not. It’s one of the many components that we have in our basket to help treat people.” Given the last government largely ignored their own Mental Health and Addictions Strategy will our current government and Minister Aylward share their plan for moving forward in a logical manner toward their goal or vision?

A good, logical plan based on research, evaluation, and community needs can provide the essential frame for our mental health care quilt. Now let’s fill it with the full-range of services and professionals to make it healthy - functional, effective, accessible and responsive. And please, Minister Aylward, don’t compromise on this - keep the goal in mind, be brave, have the difficult conversations, make the tough decisions that leaders have to make, and truly collaborate.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan Hartley, PhD,
Georgetown Royalty

And Paul MacNeill thinks on leadership and spin once more....

PC promises lost in spin cycle - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill, publisher

Published on Wednesday, July 24th, 2019, in The Graphic newspapers

In a previous life Premier Dennis King was a spin doctor, a paid hired gun who managed political events to best public advantage for government or party. He’s good at it. His government, not so much.

There is a place in politics for communication strategies. Government needs to explain policies and issues to the public. Over the last 20 years, however, reliance on so-called communication experts has increased exponentially. It’s gotten to the point where communication staff have a significant, and often negative impact, on government policy development.

If communication specialists were around 50 years ago, they likely would have advised Premier Alex Campbell not to proceed with the merger of St. Dunstan’s University and Prince of Wales College to form UPEI. The argument would go that it would stir up a hornet’s nest of sectarian opposition.

We can be thankful that Alex Campbell had the courage to do what was right.

Same for the development plan. It turned the Island on its ear. Communication advice would likely conclude the pace of change to be too quick and dramatic, especially for rural Islanders.

Campbell was right.

As risk analysis becomes more entrenched in policy development, bold leadership is often the victim - despite the very dramatic issues our Island faces.

The King administration has relied more on style than substance since its April 23rd election, not a huge surprise given the intense campaign schedule of both a leadership contest and provincial election.

But three months into office, Islanders are still waiting for the premier to release Mandate Letters for each of his departments. These are vital documents that establish key priorities for the ministry and minster. It makes both accountable to the public and informs both the public service and general public of key legislative and policy initiatives. There are departments that the public still has little idea what the primary focus is.

Tories are following the administrative road map established by the previous Liberal government, with no dramatic variance for its own priorities. But King did make specific promises that resonated, such as to dramatically improve delivery of mental health services and a commitment to enforce not only the letter of the Lands Protection Act, but the spirit as well.

Now both promises are examples of communication failures on the part of the bureaucracy and minister.

James Aylward expressed surprise that 1,000 Islanders referred to a psychiatrist had not seen one. Health PEI has no idea how many were treated by other health care professionals. He offered a political response in promising to add five psychiatrists, if we can’t fill the existing provincial allotment of 15.

But the unanswered question is how was PEI’s new Minister of Health surprised by such a staggering failure to provide reasonable and timely access to treatment?

Every new minister is briefed on major issues within their portfolio. Yet, at no time since assuming office did anyone think it important to brief the minister on the state of psychiatric referrals. If they had it would not have come as a surprise to the minister.

Agriculture Minister Bloyce Thompson should have known better than to suggest an Irving company was not in violation of the Lands Protection Act. Many companies and families skirt ownership rules within the act. Thompson knows it. The Tories know it. It’s why PCs campaigned on enforcing the spirit of the law.

Thompson’s ministry fed him a weak argument and bad messaging. As a new minister, Thompson parroted what he was told. So did veteran MLA Brad Trivers when he initially refused to support a private members bill updating PEI’s carbon reduction goals. After criticism, the minister of environment quickly backtracked.

It’s still early days, but already you hear background muttering from Tory insiders that communication considerations are making it more difficult to bring forward needed change. The problem will only manifest if strategies offered have more to do with entrenched bureaucratic thinking than PC policy.

At some point in time, Premier Dennis King needs to put substance behind his political rhetoric. Spin and leadership do not always mix.

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

"What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."
--- Jane Goodall

July 25, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

PopUp Thursday Market, 3-6PM, Farm Centre front lot, 420 University Avenue. Vegetables, meats, eggs, bread, herbal products, cold drinks, prepared food. Below is the front-page feature on Janell MacDonald of The New Argyle Farmery in today's Guardian.

Cake and Ice Cream with the Summerside MLAs, 6-8PM, Sherbrooke Community Centre, all welcome.
"Join MLAs Lynne Lund, Steve Howard & Trish Altass for cake, ice cream and a town hall! Hear what they have been up to in the legislature and ask questions important to you. Free to attend." They are the MLAs for Districts 21: Summerside-Wilmot, D22:Summerside-South Drive (not South Park, as the Speaker often misaddressed the MLA), and D23: Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke, respectively.
Facebook event details

New Argyle Farmery making its own P.E.I.-grown tea leaves and herbs - The Guardian article by Daniel Brown

Published on Thursday, July 25th, 2019


A rural Prince Edward Island business owner has found giving up her job as an accountant and running a farm just her cup of tea.

Janell MacDonald just planned to move into the farmhouse at first. It, along with the barns and land, originally belonged to her late father, who was a dairy farmer.

Soon, she and her partner started growing their own vegetables. Eventually, they took in some goats and some chickens.

“I kind of felt like I should do something with some of the land,” she said.

After beginning an online course on herb farming, the former accountant is now known for her tea.

“I actually don’t like traditional black tea, but I really like herbal tea,” she said.

Her business, the New Argyle Farmery, grows all sorts of herbs for the tea, like mint, chamomile, holy basil and lemongrass.

She has land set aside to grow and harvest the herbs. It’s in the process of becoming certified organic. She also grows perennials so that the land doesn’t have to be tilled as much.

“We do have quite a bit of land,” she said. “[But] I prefer just the smaller scale for right now.”

After harvesting her herbs, she takes them into her shop, strips away any loose leaves, and sets them on racks to dry. Drying can take around four days, she said.

Then she seals and sells them.

She’s taken part in the Thursday Pop-Up Market and Farm Day in the City in Charlottetown, and her products are at the P.E.I. Preserve Company in New Glasgow.

“People really enjoy them and keep coming back,” MacDonald said, noting one of her friends doesn’t drink any other kinds of tea now.

Tea isn’t the only use for her herbs. She also infuses them into a variety of locally sourced products, from apple cider vinegar to deodorant.

She plans to make her own hydrosols, which is water distilled from herbs and fruits.

“It’s kind of like the byproduct of essential oils.”

Right now, she cycles through selling different kinds of teas, but she’d like to one day have five signature teas. She’s also working to sell her product online.

She still works as an accountant, picking up contract work in the winter months when she can’t garden as much. But she transitioned to focusing on herb farming full-time last year, and it’s been going well, she said.
To consider:

Seafood choice labeling - by David Suzuki and the David Suzuli Foundation (DSF), from this week

Tell federal food regulators you want to know more about the fish you eat

Seafood labelling in Canada does not require the correct species name or country of harvest. Tell the Canadian Food Inspection Agency you want Canada’s seafood-labelling laws brought into the 21st century so they reflect what Canadians are looking for, meet or exceed standards enjoyed by other countries and are consistent with issues the CFIA has itself identified.

For several years, SeaChoice has been working on your behalf to ensure that seafood labelling in Canada is truthful and not misleading. You told us you want confidence in the seafood you buy — what it is and where it comes from. We shared your concerns with the government, but its draft regulations don’t require this important information.

We have one last chance to voice our concerns about seafood-labelling laws in Canada. The CFIA is seeking feedback on the draft regulations. Please send an email now. -- DSF

We must be must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
---Joseph Campbell (1904-1987), American writer and broadcaster, especially on comparative mythology

July 24, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM, Belvedere Avenue.

Organ Recital Series 2019, 1PM, St. Dunstan's Basilica, with Don Fraser.
."..The programme will feature the Prelude and Fugue in C major and the thrilling Prelude and Fugue in D major of J.S. Bach. Follows is the Te Deum of Jean Langlais and the Benedictus of German romantic composer Max Reger. Rounding out the program is the virtuosic Transport de joie by Olivier Messiaen and the Prelude and Fugue on the name of Alain. There is a free-will offering admission for each concert." With composer, music director and conductor and organist at Trinity United Church Donald Fraser.

Friday, July 26th:
Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Province House on Grafton Street. Weekly protest for Climate Crisis awareness, all welcome to this peaceful gathering.
Charlottetown Critical Mass for Climate Change Awareness, 4:30-5:30PM, meeting at Province House, also hosted by Extinction Rebellion.

Bring your bike, invite your friends and your family to this kid-friendly peaceful protest for a more bike-able Charlottetown!
We will meet in front of the Province House, after the usual Fridays for Future demonstration and from there we will bike around Charlottetown.
A more bike-able Charlottetown may be a small part of the solution for the climate crisis, but it is a good step in the right direction.
Our goals are to raise awareness to the sad state of Charlottetown's bicycle infrastructure, which in turn is part of a much deeper message that urges the government to find viable solutions to the climate crisis. Reducing the car traffic in a city is just one of the many ways we can move forward.
After visiting the unpractical so-called "bike lanes" in Charlottetown for a light warm-up in the first Critical Mass episode, this time we may go deeper into the dynamics of Friday afternoon traffic by exploring the options of a bicyclist when trying to get to more "remote" places like Stratford using the bridge.
Lets make it count, please join us with your bicycles for this next action!
DON'T FORGET YOUR HELMETS! Visibility jackets, banners and signs are welcome!
Itinerary will be updated on the event's FB page.

Facebook event link
Opinion piece:

ANDREW COYNE: Reforming Canadian democracy starts by reforming candidate nomination process - The Guardian article by Andrew Coyne, Postmedia

Published on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019, in The Guardian

One of the paradoxes of Canada’s pantomime democracy — the meaninglessness of Parliament, the impotence of its members, the wildly unrepresentative process that puts them there — is the impossibility of fixing it.

The changes that are most needed, after all, require the consent of the people who stand to lose most from them. No parliamentary reform is possible without the consent of the prime minister. No party reform is possible without the consent of the party leaders. The same stifling control from the top that makes reform necessary also makes it unlikely.

And yet in theory MPs could take back the power they have lost at any time. They just choose not to. This is the other paradox of reform: the people who stand to benefit most from it show the least interest in it. This came up repeatedly during debate on Michael Chong’s ill-fated Reform Act, which aimed (before it was watered down) to redress the imbalance of power between leaders and caucus members by legislative means. What is the point, critics scoffed, of asking MPs to do by Act of Parliament what they are plainly unwilling to do within their own caucuses: defy their leaders?

This was not so insoluble a paradox, however, as the critics pretended. If members of caucus are subservient to the leader, it is in part because they are themselves the product of the same system; they are the beneficiaries of it, in their own way, just as much as he is. They depend on the leader’s favour for any chance of advancement in Parliament. They depend on the leader’s performance in the campaign for their election. And, as an extraordinary new study by the Samara Centre for Democracy (“Party Favours: How Federal Election Candidates are Chosen”) makes clear, they depend on the leader for their very nominations.

This was always apparent with respect to one specific stage of the nomination process: the requirement, added to the election laws in 1972, that a candidate’s nomination papers bear the signature of the party leader. But the Samara study documents show how thoroughly the leadership controls the process at every stage before then. Of the more than 6,600 candidates who ran for the five major parties in the last five federal elections, Samara found, just 17 per cent were chosen to represent their parties in competitive nomination races.

More than 40 per cent were simply appointed, without a nomination vote of any kind. (Necessary, parties will say, to ensure racial and other forms of “diversity.” Bunk, Samara finds: candidates chosen by appointment turn out to be no more diverse than those chosen by a vote of the members.) While the leader’s hand in appointments is obvious, what is more striking, and insidious, is the further 40 per cent-plus who “won” their nominations in races where they were the only contestant.

Doubtless some of those were candidates of such obvious merit or unassailable popularity that no one dared to run against them. But the rules, if that is the word, governing party nomination races are so opaque, so arbitrary and so wholly at the discretion of the party executive as to make it likely in many cases that the absence of competition for a particular candidate was at the behest of the leader.

An unknown number of candidates, for example, are ruled out from the start by the parties’ highly secretive vetting procedures. Again, in most cases this is probably by virtue of some genuinely disqualifying bit of information from their past. But given the lack of transparency surrounding the process — the Greens were the only party to even say how many of their candidates were vetted out — there is corresponding potential for abuse.

Still more opportunity for mischief lies in the timing of nomination races. The dates on which the votes are held varies, but is typically long (as much as two years) before the actual election — indeed long before, as Samara notes, ”ordinary citizens are thinking about the next election.” Their duration, likewise, is various, shifting and uncertain — but typically short. Half last less than three weeks; five days is not unusual. In 253 races, Samara found, nominations opened and closed the same day. The candidate with inside knowledge of when a particular nomination race starts, and when it ends, will be at a decided advantage.

Of course, it is still possible for the blessing of the leader to be decisive, even in those races where the other potential candidates did not take the hint and take a hike. For that matter, the “fairly” contested races — perhaps especially those — are often the scenes of the worst excesses, thanks to the tendency of the parties to treat nomination races, not as an opportunity for the party’s loyal members to choose who should represent them in the election, but as a chance to sell memberships en bloc. The cut-off dates for new members is often indecently close to voting day, leaving races to be decided by “instant members,” stacked nomination meetings, and worse.

This is not only a matter of the legitimacy of the candidates themselves. So long as members of caucus are nominated in this fashion — either by appointment, or by favouritism, or at best by the kind of street-corner politics that went out decades ago elsewhere — then not only will they be unwilling to challenge the leader’s power: no one else will want them to.

If MPs are ever to assume their rightful place in our system — holding their leaders to account, rather than, as now, the reverse — they will have to be more accountable to the members of their party riding associations. Reform of Canadian democracy starts there.

"I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings." ---Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), American writer

July 23, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

OUTspoken Poetry Slam, 7-9PM
, Confederation Centre Public Library. All welcome but some poetry may have mature themes. Facebook event link

Ceili and Craic at the BIS with special guest Roy Johnstone, 7:30-10PM, BIS Hall, North River Road. Featuring Cian Ó Móráin & Mary MacGillivray with Roy Johnstone, Family & Friends, Adults: $10, children under 12: $5. (Craic, if you didn't know, means: ", gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation" and more explaind here at IrishCentral )

News from the Council of Canadians, from yesterday:

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Posted on social media
Last week the Hibernia drilling platform operating offshore St John’s, NL, had an oil spill. At first it was reported as a sheen. Then we learned that the company was shutting down the rig to deal with the spill. Now we know it’s at least 12 000 L. What will we learn about it tomorrow?

Offshore drilling is risky business for more reasons than one. It risks life in the ocean – and the people who depend on a healthy ocean for food and livelihood. It risks the global climate – we well know that in order to avoid a bleak future we need to stop exploring and extracting fossil fuels immediately.

This risk is being allowed under the not-so-watchful eye of the Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB), which is dominated by ex-industry leaders and is soon to be handed even more undemocratic, non-transparent decision making power through federal Bill C-69.

NL’s own Minister of Natural Resources has called for greater scrutiny of the Board – and we are calling for the same. Sign our petition calling for an inquiry into the Offshore Petroleum Boards, and a moratorium on exploration while that inquiry is conducted!

Our communities, our oceans, and our climate deserve better.


OPINION: Appetite for electoral change still strong in P.E.I. - The Guardian article by Stephen DeGrace

Published on Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Islanders for Proportional Representation (IPR) is a new community organization dedicated to carrying on the effort to improve our Island democracy by adopting Proportional Representation. Our newly elected government’s first legislative sitting was disappointing. There was a complete absence of how exactly the new government will be following up the referendum results on proportional representation.

In an attempt to inform and engage the MLAs before the sitting of the legislature, our organization contacted all MLAs. We wanted to assist them in what we expected would be one of their major concerns: how they should respond to the referendum results. Even the speech from the throne barely acknowledged the referendum.

Why the concern? The referendum commissioner publicly stated on May 21 that the results mean: “That neither the ‘No’ nor the ‘Yes’ sides received enough votes to bind the Government according to s.4(1) of the Electoral System Referendum Act”. It seems an ideal situation for government to lead boldly and educate on what is needed. However let’s look at what happened.

Despite referendum rules having been designed to legally intimidate and stifle speech, an inordinately short referendum period, and the distraction of an election that sucked much of the oxygen out of the room, the Yes side came very close to winning. Vote Yes won the majority of ridings, and 48.6 per cent of the popular vote, despite these disadvantages. Widespread support bridged rural and urban areas. In seven electoral districts percentage of Yes support was in the mid to high 40s.

In the opinion of many, the previous government did not adequately acknowledge the strong appetite for reform, remaining fearful of meaningful progress. Even a slightly longer campaign may have yielded a very different result.

Islanders are fortunate that the makeup of the legislature today happens to be roughly aligned with the way Islanders voted. We are optimistic that the parties will work well together for the betterment of Islanders. Evidence shows, however, that the result is an anomaly under our current system. It is antiquated and ensures that future elections will produce more lopsided results out of line with the will of Islanders, and that parties have an ongoing, perverse incentive to trigger unnecessary elections to play in that electoral casino.

We thank MLA Steve Howard for his excellent response to the speech from the throne, which made a number of important points. We call on this government, and the Opposition parties, to make electoral reform a front burner issue in future sittings of the Legislature and to work on strategies in the interim before the next sitting.

We applaud the government’s commitment to form a panel of citizens and elected members to consider reforms to the Legislature, but this commitment is vague, doesn’t go far enough and fails to outline any clear objectives. Islanders’ beliefs in proportional representation do not deserve to be shunted to a back burner.

Therefore, Islanders for Proportional Representation is urging the P.E.I. government to take seriously their obligation to promote electoral reform in the form of concrete plans. We suggest that the proposed special committee on committees be mandated to create immediately a new special commission on proportional representation, on mixed member proportional representation in particular. The new commission would be made up of MLAs and other citizens. The commission would be mandated to propose a step-by-step process for establishing proportional representation for P.E.I. in preparation for the 2023 election. The commission would be expected to submit that process to the spring 2020 sitting of the legislative assembly.

Stephen DeGrace wrote this piece on behalf of Islanders for Proportional Representation.

"If you cannot be a poet, be the poem."
--- David Carradine

July 22, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Pride-by-the-Sea, 12noon-2PM
, Victoria-by-the-Sea. All welcome. Full details for the coming days here:

Maritime Noon -- Exploring Reconciliation, Assembly of First Nations broadcast, 12noon, CBC Radio or CBC online.

"The Assembly of First Nations 40th Annual General Assembly (AGA) is the backdrop for Monday's Maritime Noon broadcast as the show hits the road for a special live remote from the AGA Cultural Village in Fredericton.

The show will explore practical forms of reconciliation by asking the question, how do we turn words into action? Interviews from guests attending the AGA will be featured, including conversations with artist Charles Gaffney.

Listen to this special edition of Maritime Noon on Monday, July 22 by tuning into CBC Radio One in the Maritimes, by visiting and clicking on the LIVE link at the top of the page, on the CBC Radio app on your mobile device, or on the CBC Listen website. It all starts at 12 p.m. AT."
Article: Commentary from Nova Scotia which seems to indicate how far a provincial government will go to justify a business scheme.
Read the bolded part first if you want to get the background on who Alex Cameron is.

JIM VIBERT: Liberal secrets in Alton Gas briefs getting expensive - The Guardian article by columnist Jim Vibert

Published on Saturday, July 20th, 2019

The second best question about the provincial government’s legal war with Alex Cameron is: How much are those high-flying Toronto lawyers the Liberals hired costing Nova Scotia’s long-suffering taxpayers?

The best question is: What is the government so desperate to hide?

The government retained top-flight, high-priced Toronto-based lawyers from Lenczner Slaght, to help it try to dodge what looks like a well-aimed political bullet, locked and loaded in Cameron’s suit against the McNeil government.

The provincial Justice Department refuses to say how much the Lenczner Slaght lawyers are costing Nova Scotia taxpayers, claiming legal costs are “confidential” because they are covered under the solicitor-client-privilege exemption in the Freedom of Information Act. Seriously.

The folks at Justice are also unable to articulate any benefit to Nova Scotians from its high-cost appeal — on the Liberals’ behalf — to the Supreme Court of Canada. That appeal is the government’s third attempt to bury the documents Cameron needs to pursue his suit. It tried and failed in the Nova Scotia Supreme and Appeal courts.

If there’s no benefit to Nova Scotian taxpayers, why is the province appealing two decisions from Nova Scotia’s top courts to the Supreme Court of Canada, and incurring extraordinary expense for taxpayers in the process?

Government types might try to argue they are protecting the principle of solicitor-client privilege, but the Nova Scotia courts made clear that the release of the documents does not damage that principle. The government waived its privilege when it publicly blamed its solicitor, Alex Cameron.

The documents in question should shed light on whether Cameron, as a Justice Department lawyer, took an argument to court without the knowledge or consent of his client, the government. Various provincial officials, including Premier Stephen McNeil claim that’s what happened.

Of course, if the documents show the government was aware and approved — tacitly or explicitly — of Cameron’s brief, which has become known as the “conquered people” argument, the government has very big problems. Its credibility with the Mi’kmaq would be destroyed, and the rest of the province should likely follow the First Nations’ lead.

Cameron wants the documents unsealed for all to see. The government wants them locked away forevermore. There may be a clue there as to who’s telling the truth.

Cameron, you may recall, was the provincial government’s lawyer, who submitted a brief to court arguing that the province is not obligated to consult the Sipekne’katik Mi’kmaq because the Mi’kmaq submitted to the Crown back in 1760. The Sipekne’katik band was appealing the province’s permission for Alton Gas to empty tonnes of salt into the Shubenacadie River and store gas in the emptied caverns.

The “conquered people” argument is offensive to Indigenous people, who have a point when they note the Crown has broken pretty much every treaty it ever made but will still try to use disputed history against them.

Premier McNeil and others in his government were quick to lay all the blame for “the conquered people” argument at the feet of Cameron, and disavow all knowledge that he intended to include it in court documents.

Cameron was removed from the case and the offending argument was removed from the province’s brief. Cameron left the provincial civil service about a year later and sued his former employers for defamation, constructive dismissal, abuse of office and violating his charter rights.

In order to effectively pursue those matters, Cameron needs the court to unseal the documents.

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Appeal Court have ruled the documents in question are no longer protected by solicitor-client privilege, because the client — the Liberal government — effectively waived that privilege when various Liberal politicians tossed Cameron under a bus.

“It would be manifestly unfair to allow the Province to hide behind solicitor-client privilege while at the same time impugning the conduct of its solicitor,” said the Appeal Court in a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel that ordered the documents unsealed.

But the government appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, and this week sought and got that court to order the documents in question remain sealed until the court decides how to proceed.

The McNeil government is going to extraordinary lengths and running up big bills to keep those documents under wraps.

One can only speculate what they would reveal. But, if they confirmed the Liberals’ story that Cameron went rogue, it’s a good bet the government wouldn’t have gone to the highest court in the land to try to keep them secret.

"I am a former child, and I haven't forgotten a thing."
--- Ursula Nordstrom (1910-1988), juvenile children's literature editor and publisher

July 21, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Downtown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM
, Lower Queen Street, between Grafton and Dorchester Streets. Fresh food, prepared food and many crafters.
DiverseCity, Alberton, 1-8PM, Main Street.
More details from The Buzz.

Pride25 -- Field Day in Victoria Park, 1-5PM, Charlottetown. "Let's get out and play! Join us in Victoria Park for an unforgettable day of music, sports, yoga and other fun outdoor activities for the whole family. FREE event with snacks provided. Everyone welcome!"
Article: From David Weale, published on Thursday, July 19th, 2019, on social media


DARK CORNERS MUST NOT REMAIN DARK - Facebook post by David Weale

With the election of a new Government it is easy (and for some convenient) to whistle cheerily and attempt to forget the patterns of corruption and deception that infected Island politics so deeply over the past decade or so.

The view from this branch is that that would be a serious mistake. There are still too many dark corners left unilluminated, and bad actors left unnamed and uninvestigated. If that continues it will be just too easy for creepy political opportunists to crawl back into those same corners and revive the same shady practices that so angered and sickened concerned Islanders during the Ghiz and MacLauchlan regimes.

There needs to be out-in-the-open accountability, and as unpleasant as the process might be it is now incumbent on Premier King and the other leaders in the Legislature to shine the light of full disclosure on the dry rot of patronage and self-aggrandizement that grew like mould under the aforementioned administrations.

For many of you that is part and parcel of the reason you were elected – to clean up the mess. Anything less than that will signal weakness -- even acquiescence. The process of healing and restoration, whether in individuals or communities, can not occur without honest and courageous full-disclosure.

We haven’t had that yet, and we need it to usher in the beginning of a new era in Island public life.

My suggestion is that a good place to begin would be to deal justly with the three whistle-blowers. What a powerful and positive signal that would send.

Alternatively, if this present government ends up in court in an adversarial posture with regard to those three it will be a clear message to Islanders that, despite the rhetoric, nothing much has changed..

--David Weale

From earlier this year, about The Three Whistleblowers:

P.E.I. whistleblowers sue former premier, officials after privacy breach - CTV News article by Michael Tutton in Halifax and Teresa Wright in Ottawa (Canadian Press)

Published on Thursday, February 7th, 2019

CHARLOTTETOWN -- Three whistleblowers whose private information was leaked from Prince Edward Island's government to the Liberal Party are suing a former premier and other top officials for a total of $1.3 million in damages for the economic and emotional toll on their lives.

The lawsuit says that after the three women came forward at a 2011 news conference with allegations of bribery and fraud in the province's business immigration program, personal information designed to damage their claims was deliberately given out to the media by top Liberals.

A statement of claim, which has not been proven in court, filed in the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island by Susan Holmes, Cora Plourd Nicholson and Svetlana Tenetko, describes the action as a "conspiracy."

The lawsuit names former premier Robert Ghiz, former innovation minister Allan Campbell, former deputy minister of economic development Michael Mayne, and former Liberal party spokesman Spencer Campbell as defendants.

Asked to comment, Ghiz said he has "no comment as the matter is before the courts." Spencer Campbell, Allan Campbell and Mayne were not immediately available for comment.

John Kingman Phillips, a Toronto-based lawyer who was one of the lawyers who represented Omar Khadr in civil litigation, said his clients were badly mistreated. "The privacy violation is beyond egregious. ... it demands a response," he said in an interview.

A report by the province's privacy commissioner -- completed six years after the women's initial complaint -- found the province had breached the women's privacy rights, though it couldn't specifically say how the leak occurred.

The statement of claim says personal information was printed out on Sept. 15, 2011, in the innovation minister's office as the province was just weeks away from an Oct. 3 provincial election. It also says the defendants were involved with "organizing a press release ... that included defamatory statement about the plaintiffs in order to undermine their standing and the strength of their allegations against the government."

Ghiz denounced their allegations before going on to win the election.

One of the released files revealed Nicholson's affiliation with the Tories years earlier, as well as confidential details of a human rights complaint she'd launched for job discrimination on the basis of her political affiliation. Emailed records of the two other employees were also shared with the media.

The women had come forward to discuss the province's provincial nominee immigration program, alleging applications that didn't meet dcriteria were approved and that bribes were provided for fast-tracked applications. Holmes also sent the allegations of fraud to federal officials at Citizenship and Immigration. The RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency later starte investigations but decided not to proceed with any charges.

The women allege in their lawsuit that the defendants had devised "a strategy ... to undermine the plaintiffs' credibility by portraying them as liars, 'crazy,' or partisan towards the Prince Edward Island Conservative Party." They also claim the intent was to "send a message to other individuals involved with the program that whistleblowers would be punished."

The immigration program was suspended in 2011 after the federal government determined it was permitting immigrants to provide investment but didn't have sufficient actual involvement in the businesses -- as many of the PNP immigrants moved on to other parts of the country.

A more recent incarnation of the program was also shut down recently, as the majority of applicants simply didn't start a business or created short-lived enterprises before moving on to other parts of Canada or remaining abroad.

The statement of claim says the women had provided their personal information to the Crown agency Island Investment Development Inc. on the understanding it would be kept private and not distributed, and the province was "negligent" in allowing the information out. It also alleges that the women's charter rights to freedom of expression and the right to "life, liberty and security of person" were violated by the defendants' actions.

The action says the plaintiffs' actions harmed their mental health, left them humiliated and isolated, caused them to lose income and have difficulty finding work, diminished the value of their homes and resulted in medical and prescription drug expenses.

After the release of the privacy commissioner's report last year, Liberal Premier Wade MacLauchlan promised to follow the privacy commissioners' recommendations to improve education in government on privacy rules, and create clear rules requiring an internal investigation if a privacy breach occurs.

However, Holmes said he declined to meet with her and discuss what had occurred personally, leading her to start seeking legal counsel for her lawsuit.

"In a gentle way, you can shake the world."
--Mahatma Gandhi

July 20, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
with the Montreal-based group Bùmarang (Kate Bevan-Baker, Sarah Pagé and Dave Gossage), reflecting "jazz, classical, African, bluegrass, and traditional music to create an unforgettable Celtic sound" playing on the front steps from 9AM-1PM.
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

Pride Week PEI Kick-Off BBQ, hosted by Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, 11AM-1PM, Rochford Square.
"There will be BBQ'ed hot dogs, tasty chips, cold drinks, and live music by Joce Reyome... playing with Island musicians ...Dylan Menzie and Russell Louder, she’s excited to play some classic covers and share a few original songs for the first time. All are welcome!"
Happy 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing!

We Went to the Moon. Why Can’t We Solve Climate Change? - The New York Times article by John Schwartz

The original moon shoot inspired billions. Calling climate action a moon shot isn’t a perfect parallel — but maybe we should try it anyway.

Published on Friday, July 19th, 2019, in The New York Times

Could a “moon shot” for climate change cool a warming planet?

Fifty years after humans first left bootprints in the lunar dust, it’s an enticing idea. The effort and the commitment of brainpower and money, and the glorious achievement itself, shine as an international example of what people can do when they set their minds to it. The spinoff technologies ended up affecting all of our lives.

So why not do it all over again — but instead of going to another astronomical body and planting a flag, why not save our own planet? Why not face it with the kind of inspiration that John F. Kennedy projected when he stood up at Rice University in 1962 and said “We choose to go to the moon,” and to do such things:

“ … not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …”

But President Kennedy did not have to convince people that the moon existed. In our current political climate, the clear evidence that humans have generated greenhouse gases that are having a powerful effect on climate, and will have a greater effect into the future, has not moved the federal government to act with vigor. And a determined faction even argues that climate change is a hoax, as President Donald Trump has falsely stated at various times.

And the moon shot had a clearly defined goal: Land on the moon. A finish line for fighting climate change is less clear. Back to 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? (We have already passed 412 parts per million.)

Still, it should come as no surprise that Kennedy’s stirring words and accomplishments have made the idea of a moon shot one of the most enduring metaphors for our time. Roger Launius, a retired NASA chief historian and author of a new book, “Apollo’s Legacy: Perspectives on the Moon Landings,” said that “moon shot” has become shorthand for “a big push,” and it’s almost become a trope: ‘We need a ‘project Apollo for name-the-big-thing-of-your-choice’.”

Climate change is certainly an urgent challenge. Rising levels of greenhouse gases are raising temperatures worldwide, leading to shifting weather patterns that are only expected to get worse, with increased flooding and heat waves, and drought and wildfires afflicting millions. The task of reversing that accumulation of greenhouse gases is vast, and progress is painfully slow.

The idea of a moon shot for climate has been gaining supporters. Beto O’Rourke and Kirsten Gillibrand use the idea in their presidential campaigns, as did Michael Bloomberg in unveiling his recently announced $500 million Beyond Carbon campaign. In a commencement speech this year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he said, “It is time for all of us to accept that climate change is the challenge of our time.” He concluded, “It may be a moon shot — but it’s the only shot we’ve got.”

Does the enduring metaphor fit the task of countering the grinding destructiveness of a warming planet?

Climate presents more complicated issues than getting to the moon did, said John M. Logsdon, historian of the space program and founder of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

In 1970, Dr. Logsdon wrote a book, “The Decision to Go to the Moon,” that laid out four conditions that made Apollo possible. In the case of the space program, the stimulus was the first human spaceflight of the Russian cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin, which filled Americans with dread of losing the space race. In an interview, Dr. Logsdon said it has to be “a singular act that would force action, that you couldn’t ignore.” Other moon shot prerequisites, he said, include leaders in a position to direct the resources necessary to meet the goal on “a warlike basis,” with very deep national pockets — people like President Kennedy, who began the program, and Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, who brought it to fruition.

Finally, Dr. Logsdon said, “the objective has to be technically feasible.” Scientists and engineers had told Mr. Kennedy that “there were no technical show stoppers in sending humans to the moon — it would just take a hell of a lot of engineering.”

What would be the “action-forcing stimulus” for a climate moon shot, he asked? He suggested it would have to be something deeply dramatic and immediate, like “Manhattan going under water.” What’s more, he noted, “Apollo did not require changing human behavior” as fighting climate change would, through the need for measures like carbon taxes or changes in consumption patterns.

One more important difference between sending people to the moon and solving a problem like climate change was cited in a recent editorial in the journal Nature, which noted that attempts to counter climate change have lobbyists fighting against them. The editorial said “for decades, energy corporations have stymied global efforts to make equitable reductions to greenhouse-gas emissions because such efforts would reduce their profits. Influential private companies are central to today’s Earth shots, but the historical moon shot approach will be ineffective if potential conflicts of interest are not addressed.”

Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, lauded the inspiration that the moon shot provided, but said she had a less sweeping example of a good comparison to the challenge ahead: fixing the ozone hole. It required international cooperation, detailed in the Montreal Protocol of 1987, and a concerted effort of nearly 200 countries to rid the world of the chlorofluorocarbons that were damaging our atmospheric protection. “There are bumps on that road, but largely the ozone hole is on the road to recovery because of actions that humans took,” she said.

Yet she treasures a necklace that recreates the Apollo 11 trajectory from the Earth to the moon. “It’s incredibly nerdy,” she said, but it’s also a reminder of a national act that people think of “with nothing but good will.” And so, she said, comparing a climate push to the Apollo program makes a kind of sense. “Just because a metaphor is not exact,” she said, “doesn’t mean it’s not useful.”

If we did choose once again to do an important thing because it is hard, the task ahead would be more than technical, said Hal Harvey, chief executive of the research firm Energy Innovation. The deceptively simple goal, he said, should be to “decarbonize electricity, and then electrify everything.” That would involve building up renewable energy and dropping electrical generation from fossil fuel plants, and building up the use of technologies like heat pumps that can make home heating and cooling more efficient. China has invested heavily in electric buses, electric scooters, and other ways to stop burning fossil fuels. There are further advances in industrial processes and power systems engineering that will help, he said, ticking off a dizzying array of avenues that would allow society to reach those goals.

But mostly, he said, it will require a shift in national attitude.

“The moon shot technology we need is political will.”

Here is a link to a photo of the Moon trajectory necklace which I think is the one mentioned in the article:

"At 10:39 p.m. EDT on July 20, 1969, Commander Neil Armstrong opened the Eagle's hatch and squeezed through. He inched slowly down the 10-foot, nine-step ladder, stopping along the way to activate a television camera that would transmit his image to Earth. At 10:56 p.m., he sank his left foot into the powdery soil of the Moon and radioed the sentence that, thought of just a few minutes before, earned him a place in history: 'That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.' "
--- from an article in Scientific American online magazine

July 19, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Fridays for Future, 3:30PM
, outside Province House on Grafton Street side. Symbolic weekly Climate Emergency protest; all welcome.

Friday Night Ceili Series, Kate Bevan-Baker with Mike Pendergast, 8PM, Benevolent Irish Society (BIS) / Irish Cultural Centre Hall, North River Road. Tickets $15 adults, $5 kids.
"Every Friday night, from May 17 until October 18, the hall springs to life, when some of the best traditional musicians PEI has to offer play at the Irish Cultural Centre. Join us for a night of great music, song and dance...a homemade lunch served at intermission!"
Facebook event link

Kate is the oldest child of Leader of the Opposition Peter Bevan-Baker; and the Premier's son Jacob Hemphill is in both shows (Boeing Boeing and Crimes of the Heart) at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico this summer.
Watermark Theatre Facebook page

Silver-voiced singer Teresa Doyle will be at the Watermark, Sunday, July 21st, playing songs of the best of the
Queens of Country, 7:30-9:30PM, Watermark Theatre, tickets needed. Facebook event link
Peter Rukavina documented and commented on the exchange in the Legislature last week about the unethical implications of investing in fossil fuel companies with provincial public monies; from his blog earlier this week:

Fossil Fuels are Unethical - blog post by Peter Rukavina

Published on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019, in his blog, link above. Reprinted with a kind of trusting carte blanche I hope from the author.

On July 11, 2019 there was an exchange between the Hon. Peter Bevan-Baker and Hon. Darlene Compton in the Legislative Assembly surrounding a question by Bevan-Baker about government investment from fossil fuels:

Government funds divest from fossil fuels

A question to the minister: Will the minister commit to ensuring that all provincial government funds divest from fossil fuels?

Ms. Compton: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will not commit to that, unless you’re willing to drive a bicycle to work every day. I mean, we have to have fossil fuels. It’s as simple as that.

Ms. Compton: Everyone in this place, except for maybe the hon. Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change, have fossil fuel vehicles, so it’s pretty hard for me to say that we could do that when everyone in this place is driving a vehicle that needs a fossil fuel.

Leader of the Opposition: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I should perhaps clarify this is not about the personal choices we make. Indeed, I own a fossil fuel car as well. −

Leader of the Opposition: It’s about the value of those investments and what the potential future value will be as more and more fossil fuel investments become stranded assets.

There are a number of places, both jurisdictional and private companies that are divesting in fossil fuels strictly for financial reasons. I’m not talking about any sort of ethical issue here at all, although there may be something attached to that. I’m talking purely from a financial point-of-view for the wellbeing of the finances of this province.

The province invests a significant amount of money and these investments have an influence on developments within and even beyond this province, private prisons and fossil fuels are just two examples of investment practices that are not socially or environmentally responsible, and increasingly acceptable.

A question to the minister: Does the province have a policy to ensure its investments are done in socially and environmentally responsible manners?

Ms. Compton: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I cannot say a definite yes to that, but I would be assuming that we would have looked at ethical reasons. I never really thought of fossil fuels as being something that’s unethical, but I guess we have to change the lens that we look through. It’s very hypocritical for all of us to say we’re going to say ‘no’ to everything involving fossil fuels when we’re all still using fossil fuels on a daily basis.

Leader of the Opposition: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Clearly, I don’t think I stated that there was anything unethical about the use of fossil fuels, indeed I own a car. Hybrid car, but it’s still a car and it burns gas.

This was an unsatisfying exchange for several reasons:

  1. Bevan-Baker was asking a question on divestment from fossil fuels for reasons not directly related to their role in climate change; in essence he was suggesting that investing in fossil fuels is a bad investment because the bottom is going to fall out of the fossil fuel market, and the investments will lose value. But then, in the follow-up, things got tangled up with social responsibility, which is an entirely different issue. The effect of the question was thus blunted.
  2. Compton’s “unless you’re willing to drive a bicycle to work every day” comment was unhelpful in a discussion about divestment; to suggest that until we achieve individual net zero we cannot take collective action is disquieting to hear from the person charged with managing the province’s finances.
  3. Both Compton and Bevan-Baker appeared to initially be willing to admit that our use of fossil fuels is unethical, but both backed away from this. That is unfortunate: there’s a clear case to be made for the continued use of fossil fuels to be considered thus. It is possible to label something as unethical and to also act unethically; the two are not incompatible. Unfortunate, yes. Hypocritical, perhaps. But we cannot reserve “unethical” to describe actions only once we’ve stopped taking them.
  4. Investment in detention camps is something to be examined, but invoking this example, in this exchange, was another unfortunate distraction.
Put all this together, and a clear opportunity for important action on fossil fuel divestment was missed by both sides.
I hear what Peter Rukavina is saying, and the exchange reminds me how graceless Question Period is as a way of discussing any sort of issue. It seems it can still be a "gotcha-game", hoping to score the big surprise admission, or Government trying to deliver a zinger that smites the questioner. Colleagues still pound desks as if on cue to add thunderous support. It becomes the most swarmy of the definition of rhetorical -- grandiloquent.
I can also guess how difficult it is to get a line of questioning back to the original point.
MLAs perhaps could use a short course in logical debate, and voters would be less entertained but better served if Question Period dropped the grandiloquent question lines asked and the talking-points non-answers. Also, you can tell when a Minister is backed into a corner when he or she ignores the question and holds up their department's civil service as exemplary workers, and professes shocked at Opposition's attack on them.

Things are MUCH better in my opinion that when Robert Ghiz was in Opposition (one could almost hear the flourish of trumpets when he got going asking questions), or during the long Liberal government rule just ended of often pontificating instead of answering questions. Premier Dennis has led his Government in bringing answers back quickly, but a few Ministers, documented in exchanges like that above, aren't making Government look like it has a clear long-term vision. There is time, and there is good, real collaboration with the Opposition Parties to be done that will help.
"And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening, too!"
--- Dr. Seuss

July 18, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Thursday Farm Centre Pop-up Market, 3-6PM
, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. The market tents will be set up in front of the building, for a breezy, shady space. Vegetables, meats, herbal products, prepared food, and such.
Guardian article below

Zero Waste Night Market, 6-10PM, outside Riverview Country Market, 21 Riverside Drive, Charlottetown. I am not quite sure how access will work, so drive carefully and parking may be towards the Ag Co-op store. Over 35 vendors will be selling items aimed at Zero Waste packaging, so buyers should come prepared with their own containers and such.
Prince Edward Island's very first Zero Waste Night Market.
It is all about bringing the community together to encourage a conscious plastic free lifestyle. This event will have many awesome local business’s.
Vendors | Music | Food & Drinks
Facebook event link

Until Wednesday, July 24th:
Bulk Barn, Charlottetown and Summerside, offering 20% off products
purchased when you use your own containers or food bags.
They should have some sort of discount in place every day, since they do not have to pay for all those thin (and exempt from the P.E.I. Legislation) plastic food bags.
nice news:

Young P.E.I. producers selling locally-made products at Pop-up Market in Charlottetown - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart

Published on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019


Christine Loock-Friesen planned her trip to P.E.I. all the way from British Columbia just so she could try one of Scottie Miller’s New Zealand pies.

Loock-Friesen, a developmental pediatrician and associate professor at the B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, was coming to the Island this summer to visit family anyway, but she made sure the dates lined up with when Miller was going to be selling his New Zealand food at the Thursday Pop-up Market at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown.

Miller’s story was actually featured in The Guardian in mid-June. The New Zealand immigrant was in the process of converting a 1973 Neonex Leisure trailer into a travelling kitchen called Kiwi Kai P.E.I., complete with a 1950s-style diner look on the outside.

Miller, who also works as a chef at Kettle Black, made his debut at the Thursday market on July 11, the day The Guardian dropped by for a visit.

“I came all the way from B.C. to try these,’’ Loock-Friesen said as she ate her New Zealand pie.

She was more than pleased with the end product. The pies, made with bacon, eggs and onion are best eaten with the fingers, Miller said, even though it can be a rather messy affair.

Miller is one of about a dozen young locals (the oldest producer is 35 years old) selling homemade products at the Thursday market, which runs each Thursday, 3-6 p.m., until Oct. 11. It operates outside the Farm Centre on University Avenue in Charlottetown.

Soleil Hutchinson kicked things off a few years ago with the Legacy Garden at the Farm Centre. The Thursday market has been operating for the past three years.

“It’s all new younger producers who are growing stuff,’’ said Philip Humming, the deputy manager of the market who also sells pasture-raised meats at the market and works on a farm. “It has to be all local. All of our meat is pasture-raised meat, and the grains are local.’’

Hutchinson runs Soleil’s Farm in Bonshaw with her partner, Lauren King. Together, they sell their organic mixed vegetables at the market.

Hutchinson said she created the Thursday market to give people a chance to pick up products typically sold at a farmers’ market after work before the weekend so they could enjoy the food on the weekend.

“On their way home, they can get everything,’’ Hutchinson said. “It’s a curated farmers’ market that is only food. We have a variety of baked goods, different types of pasture-raised meats (and) organic vegetables.’’“The economy is different (today). Farms come with a tremendous amount of overhead and it’s tough."
-Philip Humming

The customers like the Thursday market idea.

“It’s a nice change of pace from the usual market,’’ Misha Nosachenko said, referring to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market on Belvedere Avenue.

“I like it because it's on a Thursday, it’s kind of like a night market,’’ said Maureen Leunes. “It seems to fit in really well with people coming after work. I like it because it’s organic and everybody is local . . . and it’s not as busy (as the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market).’’

Humming said he grew up farming and continues to work on a farm, but owning a farm is a daunting task for anyone in today’s world.

“The economy is different (today). Farms come with a tremendous amount of overhead and it’s tough,’’ Humming said.

Travis Cummiskey, 25, who also sells produce at the Thursday market, said initiatives like the one at the Farm Centre, help open the door slightly for young people to get involved in agriculture and selling local products.

“It’s nice to see some young people take a crack at it. Sometimes, you just need to find your niche,’’ Cummiskey said, referring to the different products the young local growers sell at the Thursday market.


apologies if the graphics of the plate and of the proposed labelling don't come through

Scheer says he'd 'absolutely' review Canada's new Food Guide - CBC News online article by Guy Quenneville

Conservative leader also vows to abolish Liberals' planned front-of-package nutrition labelling

Published on Wednesday, July 16th, 2019

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is promising another review of Canada's recently updated Food Guide should the Tories come to power this fall, saying the latest guide is the result of a flawed and biased process.

Scheer made the comment at the Dairy Farmers of Canada's annual general meeting in Saskatoon on Wednesday, after being asked by a young farmer about the Conservatives' food policies.

"The process was flawed," Scheer said of the new guide. "Complete lack of consultation. Seems to be ideologically driven by people who have a philosophical perspective and a bias against certain types of healthy food products.

"So absolutely we want to get that right."

Scheer added his party wants the guide to "actually reflect what we know, what the science tells us."

"The work that you have done as a group to prove the science behind the product that you produce has been incredible and that went completely unused during the development of the new food guide," he said.

The federal health minister called Sheer's attacks "ridiculous."

"Andrew Scheer [is] spreading lies about a Food Guide that was enthusiastically welcomed by Canadians and celebrated as a world leader," Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in an email to CBC News.

"These totally inaccurate comments are hardly surprising coming from the same Conservative Party that muzzled government scientists and blatantly ignored evidence. Health policy should be based on evidence, not industry, and meet the needs of all Canadians. That's exactly the approach our government took in crafting Canada's new Food Guide."

The Liberal government unveiled its new, simplified Food Guide this past January. It had been updated previously in 2007.

The word "dairy" appears nowhere in the text-only version of the Food Guide snapshot, while a glass of water is shown in the main diagram as "your drink of choice."

It's a stark contrast to 1992, when Health Canada increased the recommended servings of meat and dairy foods in response to industry pressure.

The Liberal government unveiled a new, simplified Food Guide this past January. (CBC)
'Chocolate milk saved my son's life'

Scheer also vowed that a Conservative-led government would abandon the Liberals' plan for front-of-package nutrition labelling.

"I can make all those decisions myself," Scheer said of the currently proposed labels, which Ottawa already has confirmed would not apply to milk.

Scheer nevertheless spoke of his own son's past "picky" eating habits in defending the importance of milk as a source of calcium.

"I truly do believe that chocolate milk saved my son's life," Scheer said in jest.

He went on to speak about the years when his son was aged two to six.

"He was eating toast, would eat bacon, he would eat very plain grilled meats and we couldn't get him to eat much else. And so [we] were really worried about it. Where was he gonna get his calcium and other vitamins? And he loved chocolate milk and he would drink chocolate milk by the tumbler-full," Scheer said.

He added: "The idea that these types of products that we've been drinking as human beings and eating as human beings for millennia — that now all of a sudden they're unhealthy — it's ridiculous."

CBC News has reached out to Health Canada for comment.

Health Canada has released four proposed designs for a new front-of-package label for food and beverage packaging. (Health Canada/CBC)

"Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet that your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years." -- Richard Bach (b. 1936), American writer

July 17, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

CBC Political Panel discussing the complete Legislative session and the deferred election, before 7:40AM
, CBC Radio.

Food Exchange Social/Picnic, 5-6:30PM, Legacy Gardens,Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Bring your own picnic and utensils, etc. If you are part of this organization or want to meet these creative and giving souls, you'd be welcome.
Facebook event details

Kronborg, the Hamlet Rock Musical, plays four more times: tonight through Friday night, and Saturday at 1PM, Confederation Centre. It's an amazing effort. Confed Centre Box Office

OPINION: Employment Development Agency: Time for a reset - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Herb Dickieson

Published on Monday, July 15th, 2019

The Employment Development Agency (EDA) sounds like an important program to match Island residents seeking employment with community organizations and government departments offering work, and could be with the assurance of fair and objective hiring practices.

Reports from community residents and now from a concerned Opposition MLA in the provincial legislature expose an avenue for possible ongoing political interference and patronage, staining what should be an important tool, not only for employment provision but also for community development, particularly in rural Prince Edward Island. Policy change must be enacted to make it clear that MLAs are not to be involved in the application of the EDA program.

The specter of a member of the legislature deciding which community organization is granted an EDA worker, and even who that worker may be, leaves dedicated, mostly volunteer community groups in the lurch as they plan, and attempt to direct valuable community development projects, such as stream enhancement, town and village beautification or youth and sports activities.

The most pointed criticism levelled at EDA is the potential undemocratic enticement and intimidation by MLAs on vulnerable constituents seeking basic employment.

This robs residents, particularly in rural areas where work is scarce, of their free expression of political belief and causes them to feel threatened, preventing them from speaking out on issues important to their families or communities.

Some less affected from the direct sting of political interference may dismiss this unethical and undemocratic practice as “an Island way of life.” In truth, political patronage has been more of “an Island politician’s way of life” because that’s whose interest it would most serve, not Island workers and certainly not Island community organizations and taxpayers.

As the party governance tide changed, some in the more politically advantaged position have in the past uttered, “if you live by the sword, you die by the sword” to justify continuing the morally bankrupt practice of denying jobs to seasonal workers of suspected alternate political persuasion.

We must bury the sword. All Islanders need work with a paycheque to provide for their families. We all contribute to the Employment Development Agency through our taxes. Community organizations and Island residents seeking employment deserve assurance of fair access to the EDA resource based on objective criterion, not the whim of an MLA for political advantage.

It is now 2019 and time to reset EDA, and end the tainted practice of earlier eras.

Fair hiring procedure with safeguards from political interference, can be instituted as it is in other jurisdictions to improve democratic discourse and opportunity to Island workers, community organizations and taxpayers.

Dr. Herb Dickieson is the former leader of the Island New Democrats

It's past the half-year -- let's check in with some good resolutions from the beginning of 2019:

"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?"
---Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Swiss philosopher

July 16, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Election results for District 9: Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park, candidates and votes from Elections PEI website

Natalie Jameson (Progressive Conservative): 1080
John Andrew (Green Party): 709
Karen Lavers (Lib): 635
Gordon Gay (NDP): 46

Peter Bevan-Baker, leader of the provincial Green Party, wrote this on social media this morning, and it says it so well (tiny spelling error corrected):
Congratulations to Natalie Jameson on winning the deferred election in district 9. I look forward to working with you in the Legislature.
Huge thanks to John Andrew for stepping forward and running such a spirited campaign, and kudos to Karen Lavers and Gordon Gay for their solid efforts and willingness to run for public office.

Natalie Jameson and Premier Dennis King will be on CBC Radio this morning soon, and presumably, The Guardian will have the results in tomorrow's paper, since their publishing deadline is now SO early in the evening it's not in today's print edition.
Event tonight:
Documentary: Human Flow, 7PM
, City Cinema, free admission. from the event link:
Human Flow is a 2017 documentary about the global refugee crisis. Filmed in over 20 countries, it portrays the scale and the personal impact of this massive human migration. 140 minutes, rated PG.
Caution: Please be advised that this film discusses refugee issues and difficult migration journeys. Although it is a very important message some images of the conditions and experiences of refugees may be upsetting for some viewers.
For more information: (902) 628-6009 ext. 232 (PEIANC staff contact, Melissa Coffin)
An intriguing book reviewed here..maybe people suggest the Provincial Library System purchase this? And get out today to be with some sort of Island birds.

A New Book Encourages Birding for Mental Well-Being - Audobon magazine article by Amelia Langas, editorial fellow

Published on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Blogger and teacher Joe Harkness reflects on what prompted him to write “Bird Therapy.”

On an August day almost four years ago, Joe Harkness stood at Blakeney Point, a nature reserve in Norfolk, England. Rain poured along the North Sea coastline, a hotspot for observing avian migrants, and Harkness had his face turned to the sky as birders often do. Soon, it wasn’t just water coming down; flocks began descending, too. “I find it difficult to put into words how it feels to be standing while it's raining birds,” Harkness says. “It was unbelievably magical, and when I got back, I wrote my [first] blog.”

The phenomenon Harkness experienced, called a “fallout” of birds, occurs when winds funnel migrating species toward the shore where they hit a wall of rain and are forced from the sky. For Harkness, it was a climactic moment. He began writing a blog called “Bird Therapy,” with his first post documenting the awe-inspiring event and the positivity he felt through birding. After many more revelations and entries, Harkness decided to spin the series into a book of the same title. It releases in the United Kingdom and eReader libraries today.

Since he was young, Harkness has struggled with his mental health, self-medicating by turning to drugs and alcohol. After suffering a breakdown in 2013, he took time off work to care for himself and began spending more time outside, particularly watching birds. “Because I've been trapped by my mental health for so long, I found their freedom and their majesty quite enchanting,” he says. “I wanted to experience that feeling again, so I decided to take a bit more of an interest in what was around me bird-wise when I was outside.”

Harkness was familiar with birding, but he hadn't developed his own appreciation for birds. As a child, his grandfather would take him on walks through the Norfolk Broads and point out avian species like Great Crested Grebes, moorhens, and Eurasian Coots. Harkness says he was “such a mess” that he never really got into the discipline. Only once he began his recovery did he start taking a deeper interest.

After the event at Blakeney Point and the creation of his blog, Harkness says a friend encouraged him to write a book. Although he was apprehensive at first—he's a special education teacher by profession, not an author—he realized it meant having a broader platform to try and help others facing similar struggles. Using his semi-weekly entries as the bones of the manuscript, Harkness paired up with Simon Spanton, a projects editor at Unbound, an agency that publishes books by crowdfunding. Spanton says he saw potential in the material. “Joe is very unvarnished as a writer,” he says. “He doesn't hide; he doesn't keep anything back; he admits to weakness and failings. The book really works because of that.”

Throughout the funding process, Harkness says he doubted he’d ever raise enough money. But much to his surprise, supporters covered the publishing costs in six weeks, based off the idea alone.

In the book, which caters to beginners, Harkness describes his own birding experiences and gives advice for getting the most out of the activity. His suggestions include:
Consider finding yourself a local birdwatching patch. The consistency and security that visiting a regular patch provides can also help you to connect with yourself and with nature.
Investigate local bird groups or clubs, as they can widen your local birdwatching network with others who share your interest.
Keep and submit your bird records as they can help to map local and national data trends, as well as potentially encouraging others to monitor and visit different areas.
Familiarize yourself with the natural sounds of your bird community, either in your own garden or in a place you visit often.
Explore different places in different weather conditions as they alter your local avifauna.

With tips like these at the end of most chapters, it's clear that Harkness didn't just write Bird Therapy to help himself. By sharing his experiences, he hopes the book will guide those who’ve had similar downturns to embrace nature as a form of self-care. “I think that it's going to do a lot of good,” he says, “even though I didn't allow myself to think that for a long time.”

"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."
--- Bertrand Russell ( 1872-1970), British philosopher and thinker

July 15, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Voting for MLA in the Deferred Election in District 9, 9AM-7PM
. Malcolm Darrach Community Centre.

Official Election Day results for District 9:Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park:
Elections PEI Website

Summer City of Charlottetown Socials, all 5-7PM, with Mayor Phillip Brown and City Councillors
This week:
Tuesday, July 16th: Skyview Park, which is in Ward 5: Ellen's Creek (Councillor Kevin Ramsay)
Rain Date: Wednesday, July 17th

Thursday, July 18th: Malcolm Derrach Centre, in Ward 10:Falconwood (Councillor Julie McCabe)
Rain location: Inside

City of Charlottetown Mayor and Councillors' webpage

Fun with Photoshop poster from the City of Charlottetown
You may recall that a ban on fracking was put into the provincial Water Act, with an allowance that Executive Council could overturn the ban any time. Islanders spoke out clearly this was unacceptable and and then-Third Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker and several Progressive Conservatives pushed to have an outright ban, and an amendment was added. So though we don't have fracking here (nor any indication of actual deposits), we are close enough to New Brunswick, where the moratorium on fracking is being lifted by the Progressive Conservative government:

CTV online News, Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Corridor Resources currently has 32 producing wells in the Sussex area and operates a 50-kilometre pipeline, and a natural gas processing facility.

In a corporate presentation, the company has said if the moratorium is lifted, it would drill five vertical evaluation wells, complete three existing wells, identify "sweet spots" and drill a second round of up to five horizontal wells.

(New Brunswick Premier Blaine) Higgs has argued that with dwindling gas supplies off Sable Island, gas prices will increase dramatically if new supplies aren't developed in the Atlantic region.

and Nova Scotia, where Alton Gas plans to store natural gas in a salt cavern and dump salt into the Shubenacadie River

Stop Alton Gas website

Alton Gas website
...with its "Orwellian rationalizations"
Article from the David Suzuki Foundation: Sent to subscribers on Friday, July 12th, 2019

Fracking is neither climate solution nor economic blessing - David Susuki Foundation article by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington

The rush to exploit and sell fossil fuels as quickly as possible before the reality of climate disruption becomes too great to deny or ignore has generated some Orwellian rationalizations. Somehow a bitumen pipeline has become part of Canada’s plan to tackle the climate crisis. Another fossil fuel, fracked gas, is being touted as a climate solution.

It's twisted logic that exposes a lack of honesty, imagination and courage from many of those we elect to serve us. Pipeline proponents say we need the money to fund the transition to green energy. That’s like saying we have to sell cigarettes to fund lung cancer research. It’s also premised on the idea that “we can’t get off fossil fuels overnight” — something I’ve been hearing since I started talking about climate change decades ago, during which we’ve done little to get off them at all.

Natural gas, which now almost always means liquefied fracked gas, is being vaunted as a climate remedy because it burns cleaner than coal. In Canada and the U.S., governments are so intoxicated by the dollars that they’re helping industry build as quickly and massively as possible. As research in Canada and the U.S. shows, it’s not a climate solution; it’s another way to keep fossil fuels burning.

Natural gas is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas about 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. It’s responsible for about a quarter of atmospheric warming, and emissions are rising. Scientists estimate about 40 per cent is from natural sources, while 60 per cent is human-caused — from agriculture, landfills, coal seams and oil and gas industry leakage. Even some natural emissions are indirectly caused by human activity. For example, human-caused global heating is causing permafrost to melt, which releases methane.

Research by the David Suzuki Foundation and St. Francis Xavier University revealed methane pollution from B.C.’s oil and gas industry is at least 2.5 times higher than reported by industry and government. Studies in Alberta and the U.S. reached similar conclusions.

New research from Global Energy Monitor, a U.S. non-governmental organization that tracks fossil fuel development, found even greater problems with the recent fracking frenzy. Its report, The New Gas Boom, found that the 202 LNG terminal projects being developed worldwide — including 116 export terminals and 86 import terminals — represent warming impacts “as large or greater than the expansion of coal-fired power plants, posing a direct challenge to Paris climate goals.” Canada and the U.S. account for 74 per cent of these developments.

The report also questions the long-term viability of this gas rush, cautioning that many developments could become “stranded assets,” given rapidly falling renewable energy costs. It points out that, because only eight per cent of terminal capacity under development has reached the construction stage, “there is still time to avoid overbuilding.”

Beyond its climate impacts, fracking comes with a range of environmental and health problems, including earthquakes, contaminated water, excessive water use and health issues. A recent review of more than 1,500 scientific studies, government assessments and media reports by the Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility concluded that fracking contaminates air and water with chemicals that can cause serious health problems — especially in children, pregnant women and other vulnerable people, as well as industry workers — including cancer, asthma and birth defects.

Yet, the B.C. and federal governments are going all out to help foreign-owned gas companies. B.C. says total financial incentives for the $40 billion LNG Canada project — owned by Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp., Malaysian-owned Petronas, PetroChina Co. and Korean Gas Corp. — are $5.35 billion. The breaks are in the form of sales, income and carbon tax exemptions, rebates and reductions; reduced electricity rates; and generous royalty credits. The federal government is also offering tariff exemptions and infrastructure improvements amounting to more than $1.2 billion.

Conserving and using energy more efficiently, rapidly declining renewable energy costs and advances in clean energy, energy storage and power grids make continued climate-altering fossil fuel development unnecessary. But our current economic system demands the kind of massive profits and continued growth that fossil fuel development entails.

Change is never easy, but given everything at stake, choosing clean energy over dirty should be obvious.

"Be kind to unkind people. They need it the most."
---Ashleigh Brilliant (b. 1933), British American cartoonist and author

July 14, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Downtown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street, between Grafton and Dorchester Streets. Fresh food, prepared food and many crafters.

Open House, Anniversary of the Haviland House, 1-4PM, 2 Haviland Street.
The Haviland Club is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Esther Lowden building this Charlottetown landmark.
We will have an open house on July 14 from 1-4 pm
There will be complimentary coffee, tea and lemonade.
Strawberries and biscuit will be available for $5
Volunteer guides will be available to explain the history of Esther.
All welcome!

Somerset Kinkora Festival is this week Details on their town Facebook page

Montague Summer Days Festival concludes with Carnival, Music, Fireworks
Facebook page
The P.E.I. Legislature closed Friday with a bit of a bang and a whimper
(with apologies to T.S. Eliot and The Hollow Men.)
Please note the following are my opinions and perceptions alone and don't necessarily reflect the Citizens' Alliance as a whole.

In Question Period, female Official Oppositon MLAs questioned Minister of Finance and Status of Women Darlene Compton about her just plain tone-deaf response about "perceived" barriers for women candidates, and she just kept digging in, making it personal, avoiding the actual concerns the other MLAs had in what she said. Finally, Lynne Lund (D21: Summerside-Wilmot) asked the Premier about her mandate as Minister responsible for the Status of Women. Premier Dennis showed that he really may have only been operating on "nine minutes sleep" (due to his whirlwind trip to the Premiers' meetings out west), and got more and more wound up and almost giddy with his responses. No mention of mandate letters**, no clear, clear statement that Compton must represent without hesitation the interests of Island women, just amplification and hyperbole....and it appeared as if the other MLAs aped and beat their desks in fraternity at the answers.
I was not proud to be an Island voter or have that Party making up Government, nor comfortable in their way of encouraging women to run for politics, nor of making decisions affecting all women.

Note**Mandate letters ("Ministerial mandate letters outlining the strategic priorities of departments to enhance the transparency and accountability of government.") have not been issued yet, according to this government website page from May 23rd, 2019

Several other questions provoked the same effusive answers from the Premier, which may make good entertainment on stage on a Saturday night, but for some of us don't give us a picture of calm, inclusive leadership.

My final area of dismay Friday was during the inexorable push to Close the House that day's sitting, in the fast-paced, carefree and careless last budget departments' review, while discussing the over 100 million dollars we spend on interest payments each year, the representative from the Department mentioned that it was great, they were reducing the debt extending the loans out longer. I thought: Hey, kids! Guess what the P.E.I. government is doing to plan for your future!!

(Though kudos to D6: Stratford-Mermaid Michele Beaton for still asking many good questions that morning, and to be sure throughout the budget estimates review.)

So those were the standout downer points from the Closing day, but on the whole, it was a good Spring session -- the Official Opposition (and Gord McNeilly from the Third Party) picked up their duties with way more speed that many other new MLAs after previous elections, they worked through Question Period professionally and actually listened to the responses before asking supplementary questions. Dennis and his team for the most part were exemplary in responses and timeliness of additional information. MLAs and Ministers showed that they were learning their new responsibilities, taking care of their constituents' concerns, and being very attentive. Some showed that they could think about issues and maybe even change their minds a little bit and that's OK. (The Liberals still showed flashes at times of the acrimony, that the old ways are entrenched, even on the last day serially calling the provincial Progressive Conservatives "The Conservatives", alluding perhaps to connections with the federal party and other provincial governments....)
Huge issues languishing in former years got some moves going to tackle them, notably Climate Change and Poverty.

The Official Opposition got many ideas discussed and a bunch of Legislation proposed and passed, when in olden days with Robert Ghiz and Wade MacLauchlan, there would have been maneuvers to stymie the Opposition ideas and much more political eye-poking. Things have opened up somewhat. Premier Dennis, despite the cringe-worthy bluster at times, seems to be dragging his Party towards actual Democratic Renewal.
"Be a Lighthouse....shine for others when they are in Darkness.
--- Anonymous

July 13, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon,
Murray Harbour Community Centre
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM

Here is the lovely website of the Charlottetown Farmers' Market, with Food and Artisan vendors having portfolios. Nice to see!

This afternoon:
Unpacked Presents: Package-Free Party, 1:30-3:30PM, Sugar Skull Cantina, 83 Water Street..
TICKETS: $20 on our website
$25 at the door
The funds from this event will go towards Unpacked AND Climate Action Network Canada.
FULL LINE UP: Max Koughan, Maria Campbell, Josh Carter, Mat Hannah, Logan Richard and Jennifer Roberge
Facebook event link

Ebb and Flow: Tides of Settlement on P.E.I., Opening Night and running Saturdays, 7:30PM
, Beaconsfield Carriage House.

Performers and co-creators/producers Laurie Murphy and Amanda Mark invite people of all ages to experience Ebb & Flow: Tides of Settlement on PEI, their new multi-media stage show ...."With fellow Island artists, historians, economists, and community cultural organizations, we are presenting original literature, music and dance along with photography, archive materials and film that together present a living poem,” Murphy says, “a snapshot of PEI’s in and out-migration of settlers, from the indigenous Mi’kmaq to colonizers, and from newcomers to refugees.”
Each evening includes an exhibition of photography, newspaper articles and artifacts, an instrumental ensemble playing 7:30pm, followed by a multimedia stage presentation, at 8pm. For those wishing to join in post-show activities, there will be a facilitated Q&A, with weekly guests, and a music jam.
Onstage artists include Luis Anselmi, Ava Brooks Murphy, Tiffany Liu, Amanda Mark, Laurie Murphy, Shannon Mullally and Julie Pellissier-Lush. Additional writing is by Margie Carmichael, Yvette Doucette (a poem, “All Fruits Ripe, Mama” as recorded by the author), Jason Kun (a short story about working at his parents. restaurant, The Golden Wok), Emily Nasrallah (a passage from Flight Against Time, as recorded by Mona Nasrallah and David Rashed) and Dr. Jim Sentance.
Contributions to the production include historical expertise by Jim Hornby, Dr. Ed MacDonald (U.P.E.I. History) and Linda Berko (PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation), select articles featuring newcomers to the Island, by Sally Cole (The Guardian), Acadian Reunion Facebook photo albums courtesy of Georges Arsenault, presentation of DiverseCity photos by courtesy of Craig Mackie, production advisement by Melissa Mullen, technical advisement from Renée Laprise, FilmPEI, sound and visual imagery by Wink Audio PEI, and show photography by Mistsuki Mori.
The facilitated Q&A features a panel of individuals and organizations providing historical, artistic and community expertise. It will be an opportunity for the audience to learn more about settlement on Prince Edward Island. Guest panelists will vary each Saturday. The music jam is an opportunity for audience members to share music from their own backgrounds. They are encouraged to bring an instrument, song or tune to suggest, sing or play.
To book $25 per person advance tickets, write to; otherwise, tickets are $30 at the door (limited and cash only). All ages are welcome. Refreshments will be provided for sale. The PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation Beaconsfield Carriage House, at 2 King Street, Charlottetown, is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible.
Facebook event link
The P.E.I. Legislature closed yesterday, just a few minutes before 1PM -- how timely! Comments on the last day and the overall session tomorrow.
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly, endless."
--- Mother Teresa

July 12, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Last Advance Poll Date for D9:Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park Deferred Election, 9AM-7PM, Malcolm Darrach Community Centre. Election Day is Monday, July 15th. More info at Elections PEI

The P.E.I. Legislative Assembly is scheduled to sit from 10AM-1PM. It may be one of the few remaining days, so consider attending in person, or watch at the Legislative Assembly website:

Sixties Scoop info session, Charlottetown. 10:30AM-1:30PM. Class action law suit is being planned; More details

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Grafton Street Cenotaph area. "We plan to meet weekly in front of the Province House to stand in solidarity with international movement, founded by Greta Thunberg to force governments and corporations to do what is necessary to ensure that she and future generations will have a habitable planet."

Bulk Barn stores -- 20% Discount for shopping with reusable containers, now until July 24th
Yesterday afternoon in the P.E.I. Legislature:
These Opposition Bills reached third reading:
No. 102 -- An Act to Amend the Climate Change Leadership Act (strengthening targets of amount of carbon emissions allowed
No. 104 -- An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act (making certain minimum wage review options standard)
No, 105 -- An Act to Amend the Rental of Residential Property Act (improving renters' rights)

Once given Royal Assent, these are new laws.

Yesterday evening was budget estimates of many departments and area, including Health and Executive Council.
Other news -- Northern Pulp paper mill in Pictou, Nova Scotia:

As Boat Harbour closure looms, premier hopeful about Northern Pulp's fate - CBC News online article by Michael Gorman

Effleunt treatment lagoons must close by Jan. 31, 2020, but company doesn't have approval to build replacement

Published on-line on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Premier Stephen McNeil says he has "a responsibility to look at all possibilities" if the company that operates the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County, N.S., can present an environmentally sustainable plan for a new treatment facility.

Legislation passed by McNeil's government in 2015 says the effluent treatment lagoons the mill uses in Boat Harbour must be closed by Jan. 31, 2020, but the company still doesn't have approval to begin construction on a replacement site.

In March, then-environment minister Margaret Miller said she didn't have enough information from the company about the project, which would also include a pipe to the Northumberland Strait, to allow it to proceed. Northern Pulp was ordered to produce a focus report to address shortcomings Miller identified, work the company has up to a year to complete.

But McNeil said that year, as well as the company's own projection that it would be at least the summer of 2021 before it could have a new treatment site in place are "the extremes." He said it would be up to the company to provide a proposal showing it can meet the province's environmental requirements and create "a path forward."

"It took them a while to get at it, but they are really working hard now to present something to the regulator and at that point we can assess what our path is," McNeil said.

"If [Northern Pulp] can provide something that makes sense, that they can present to the community, that they can present to government that gets a permit, then I believe I have a responsibility to look at all possibilities as the premier."

McNeil noted that while mill officials continue to go through the provincial process, there is also a federal environmental assessment of the province's Boat Harbour cleanup project happening and that will "continue to push that cleanup out quite a ways."

Federal officials announced earlier this year they would review the project and it's expected that process could take up to a year. The current estimates from the provincial government put the start of the cleanup project at sometime in 2021.
'Working diligently'

Kathy Cloutier, spokesperson for mill owner Paper Excellence Canada, said the company has been "working diligently" since getting the terms of reference for the focus report and the goal is to complete the necessary work as soon as possible.

"We are committed to this project," she said, noting the annual 10-day maintenance shutdown at the mill was recently completed at a cost of $10 million.

Cloutier said marine geotechnical work that started in April is now complete and being analyzed. Officials are meeting with stakeholders and determining the best way to share information as it becomes available, she said.

While people who work at the mill and in the forestry industry have lobbied the government for an extension on the Boat Harbour Act, fishermen, tourism operators, members of Pictou Landing First Nation and environmentalists have opposed the idea.

Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul said she has no concerns McNeil might be looking to amend the legislated closure date.

"I've never gotten that feeling," she said. "He hasn't expressed that to myself or to the community that there may be a possibility of a change in the date. I still feel confident with the Jan. 31, 2020 date."

Mill officials have said without an extension to the closure date, the operation would be forced to shut down, a move that would send major waves through a forestry industry that relies heavily on its existence. McNeil said he understands why people who work in the woods and other parts of the industry are nervous.

"This is not being lost of me," he said. "It's not just those in the woods in terms of how much fibre to cut, it's about investment in capital. All of that with an uncertain future in front of them."

That's why the government is focused on diversifying markets, he said, pointing to recently-announced pilot projects to use wood to heat six public buildings. Regardless of what happens with the mill, McNeil said the government would keep looking for new markets for the industry.

A spokesperson for the Labour Department said officials there don't begin planning workforce transitional supports until and unless they receive a notice from an employer that 10 or more employees will be terminated. The premier said he remains hopeful it won't come to that.

"I believe this operation can coexist environmentally in this province with an active fishery and with a sustainable forestry," said McNeil.

"I want to continue to see my neighbours, who work in the woods, to have access to that, but it has to be done in an environmentally-sustainable way and that's why I encourage all sides to continue to work hard."

Climate Change and the clear-eyed Jim Vibert:

JIM VIBERT: Panel names top risks from climate crisis - The Guardian article by Jim Vibert

Published on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Dear Humanity: Either stop trashing the place or you’re outta here — Mother Nature.

If you missed the old girl’s memo, you should know that she’s plenty mad, and she’ll get to you sooner or — if you’re lucky — later.

This week produced another climate-related report from an expert panel, mostly scientists, about the immediate risks to Canadians from the climate crisis.

The panel emphasized that action is urgently required to adapt to the extreme weather and other threats wrought by humans fouling the atmosphere and the earthly environment. That the damage to both Earth and sky continues almost unabated is testament to man’s undying greed, arrogance and propensity to push his luck if there might be a buck in it.

Adapting to very weird and violent weather can’t wait, the scientists tell us, because our carbon-choked atmosphere will spawn increasingly frequent and horrendous storms, rising seas, droughts, wildfires and other nasty stuff for the next 20 years or more. Those conditions will only lessen if the world succeeds in first reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — dramatically over the next decade — and then getting to about zero GHG emissions by mid-century.

The good news from the panel, tasked by the federal Treasury Board to do the study and write the report, is that the risks can be “meaningfully reduced through adaptation measures that lessen vulnerability or exposure.”

The panel also noted that “no risk can be completely eliminated through adaptation alone. Thus, decision-makers need to anticipate and plan for consequences that are unavoidable in the short and medium term, while working to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions globally.”

The bad news here on the East Coast is that coastal communities and the fishery are both on the short list of things that face the greatest risk. Vulnerable infrastructure like roads and electrical grids; Canada’s North; human health; and natural ecosystems, round out the panel’s top risks.

The report didn’t offer specific recommendations. It’s intended to spur more and more urgent action at the federal, provincial and local levels. Building codes should change; transportation systems, electrical grids and other critical infrastructure need to be hardened, and natural ecosystems must be protected.

Canada is warming at a rate roughly double that of the rest of the world, and northern parts of the country are warming at three times the global rate. Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, spurred by energy demand.

“Even with our best efforts, the climate will continue to change in Canada, meaning adaptation will become an increasingly important matter. Understanding our top climate change risks and identifying how to manage and adapt to them will help reduce the impact of climate change on people in Canada,” writes the panel’s chair, John Leggat.

Scientists the world over are doing everything they can to warn us and global political leaders that this is not a drill. Last year, we learned that we have a decade to reduce GHG emissions by almost half or face the most dire of consequences.

It is fallacy to think the climate crisis snuck up on us. Global heating from man-made pollution has been widely accepted by legitimate science for more than 30 years. But the fossil fuel industry, following the lead of the tobacco merchants before them, bought some pseudo-scientists to discredit the greenhouse effect, as it was once called, and because people wanted to believe there wasn’t a pending disaster, they did.

And now, while the world scrambles to adapt to an increasingly hostile climate, our political leaders are slow-walking the transition off fossil fuels. That will allow the oil and gas sector, which is among the most heavily subsidized industries on Earth, to maximize profits until the taps finally have to be shut off.

Bucket lists were all the rage there for a while, and I’m of an age where such a thing might be worth considering.

Before shuffling off this mortal coil, I just want to see one thing. A report from credible scientists that says we’re getting there; that GHG emissions are falling toward the benchmarks we need to meet.

After that, they can burn my bones so long as they capture the carbon.

"But somehow, if taken seriously, if treated as fate, as goal can make an odyssey out of what would otherwise just be the small hours of life."
--- Rivka Galchen (b. 1976), Canadian-American writer

July 11, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Malpeque MP Wayne Easter's Strawberry Social, 7PM, Kingston Legion on the TCH in New Haven, all welcome.

Cultural Goings on:
Recital: Registered Music Teachers at Fanningbank, 7PM
tickets free but need to be reserved. **Contact for availability**

The recital will include performances by Suzanne Campbell, Stephanie Cole, Andrea Ellis, Frances Gray, Joyce Hein, Frances McBurnie, Hannah O’Donnell, Margot Rejskind, Justin Simard, Dale Sorensen, Jacqueline Sorensen Young and the PEIRMTA Members Choir. Featured works include music by Debussy, Handel, Ravel, Bach, Weill, and more. The evening will also include a presentation to founding member, Carl Mathis, who will receive a Life Membership for his dedication to music education and performance.
The PEIRMTA (made up of private music instructors) is an organization dedicated to the teaching and promotion of music. from:
Facebook event details

Book Launch: Illustrated History of the Acadians of PEI, 7PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, all welcome to see and to celebrate Georges Arsenault's new book. Published by Acorn Press.
Some Legislative Notes:
For today: the afternoon agenda, after the welcomes and Question Period and such, is usually determined by the Opposition Parties on Thursday afternoon.

After Official Opposition matters, the proportion of time for the Third Party may be a continuation of a motion discussion left off Tuesday PM, when MLA (D25:O'Leary-Inverness) and former Agriculture Minister Rob Henderson proposed Motion No. 29 motion urging government to "Facilitate the Development of a Livestock Strategy"
and was speaking rather eloquently about farming. It was good to hear his experiences and perspectives.

The "budget estimates train" picked up steam Wednesday afternoon with an extended session lasting until about 6PM, going through the estimates for the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning (which includes IRAC; discussion for another time) being looked at. The Department of Health and Wellness is coming up next, but even covering most questions with cheerful readiness, one can tell the entire House has left the building blinking at the fading sunsets and realized summer is passing by.

Laudable work is being done by all Official Opposition Members and most Third Party members. There is a lot to understand (e.g., what's makes repairs or replacements in the Capital Budget which is scrutinized by the Legislature in the Fall, versus things in the Operating Budget now), including the formality and manners of communications "going through the chair" during these Committees of the Whole House.

Some good questions by:
Official Opposition (Green Party)
Michele Beaton (D5: Mermaid-Stratford) on Agriculture and Land
Karla Bernard (D12: Charlottetown-Victoria Park) on Education and issues affecting families
Lynne Lund (D21:Summerside-Wilmot) on environment and much else
Steven Howard (D22: Summerside-South Drive) on anything Energy and infrastructure, and
Trish Altass (D23:Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke) and Hannah Bell (D11:Charlottetown-Belvedere) on just about anything.
Ole Hammarlund (D13:Charlottetown-Brighton) will pause, and ask about goals the government has, about the future, and vision, and has been met with some open-mouth pauses before some rather parochial answers. (More on Government members another time)

Third Party (Liberals)
Robbie Henderson, Heath MacDonald (D16:Cornwall-Meadowbank), and Leader of the Third Party Robert Mitchell (D10:Charlottetown-Winsloe) have been seriously critical without too much spite at the ignominious outcome of the election,
Gord McNeilly (D14:Charlottetown-West Royalty) is paying attention,
Sonny Gallant (D24:Evangeline-Miscouche) is always kind,
Hal Perry (D27:Tignish-Palmer Road) "conducts the budget committee train" with a bit of an edge but without malice,

And applause to Colin LaVie (D1:Souris-Elmira) as he appears to be doing a fine job as Speaker, with both quick wits at keeping things moving along, and his usual quick wit (or what was his "quack" wit).
"Have courage to use your own understanding!"
---Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), German philosopher

July 10, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM only today
, Coles Building, around Richmond and Church Streets. They may continue with the budget estimates of the Department of Agriculture and Land. You can watch here on the Legislative Assembly website or attend in person.

Charlottetown MP Sean Casey's Strawberry Social, 5-7PM, West Royalty Community Centre, 1 Kirkdale Drive.

Proposed Asphalt and Concrete Plants in the City Public Meeting, 7PM, West Royalty Community Centre.
Lynne Lund (MLA District 21: Summerside-Wilmot) had her BIll, An Act to Amend the Climate Leadership Act, Bill No. 102, passed in the Legislature last night, after a rally outside the building before the evening session began. All Official Opposition and all Third Party (Liberal) MLAs voted for it, as did the Environment Minister Brad Trivers (who felt that recommending an all-Party committee to work on how the stronger targets would be achieved was pretty much what he had hoped for in recommending it go to committee), and other Government MLAs Matt MacKay, Sidney MacEwen, and Bloyce Thompson. The Premier had said earlier he supported the bill but was out of province at the Interprovincial Premiers' meeting today.

MLA Cory Deigle, and Ministers Darlene Comptom, Ernie Hudson, James Aylward, Jamie Fox and Steven Myers voted against this bill, even after a brief scolding from Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker that nay-sayers either didn't acknowledge science, math or a reasonable future for their children. Video from last night, going to the little boxes on the lower right of the screen to select the Evening Session; this Bill's part was about 16 minutes long.
Regarding Right Whales: from the press release

Sierra Club and Allies Respond to New Protection Measures for Right Whales in Canada

Sierra Club Canada Foundation is alarmed that not enough is being done to prevent the extinction of North Atlantic right whales in Canada's waters. Sierra Club and allies have signed a joint letter in response to new right whale protection measures announced by the Canadian government.

"We are calling for a slow down of vessels in the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence," states Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director with Sierra Club Canada Foundation. "Aside from preventing immediate causes of these deaths, we have got to tackle chronic threats like seismic blasting and also look at the entire Gulf ecosystem if we want a future that includes right whales.”

Since June, six whales have died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Canada’s East Coast, three from collisions with vessels. The cause of the remaining deaths have not yet been identified. Three whales are currently entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf.

DFO released a much-anticipated report on right whale threats on Friday, July 6. Canada's Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Jonathan Wilkinson announced new protection measures on July 8, including a one-week commitment for increased aerial surveys, increasing the number of ships covered by the slow down rules to include vessels 13 metres or larger, and larger slow down zones for ships.

“We have got to switch from being reactive to proactive to save this species. We acknowledge the work being done to triage this crisis, but we need information to be shared and applied more quickly and in a precautionary fashion,” adds Fitzgerald.


More info:
Review of North Atlantic right whale occurrence and risk of entanglements in fishing gear and vessel strikes in Canadian waters, DFO Science Advisory Report, 2019/028:

New Protection Measures Announcement, July 8:
And this letter brings to like another critical issue, the sad but too common situation, and a brilliant idea of forming a commission to cross the Island and make recommendations right away.

LETTER: Set up commission to address seniors' care - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, July 8th, 2019

My 87-year-old mother is in Kings County Hospital awaiting a new home in a long-term care facility. Depending on who you talk to, this wait could be a year or more. Despite the generous and skilled frontline staff, her quality of life is being compromised.

There is very little opportunity for social activity, she has had limited physiotherapy. The programs that would be available to her in a manor are simply not available in an acute care hospital.

From what I have seen, the entire ward is filled with others who are in a very similar situation. I’ve been told there are at least 14 people ahead of my mother who are also waiting for placement.

Recently, the Riverview Manor in Montague was opened with the predictable wave of photo opportunities. The need for this facility was established in 2007. It was announced by various governments over the last 12 years.

Misguided priorities and short-sighted political decision making kept it on the shelf for nearly a generation.

By the time the manor was replaced, it was already inadequate, with one less bed than the original building had. It doesn’t address the desperate need of the increasing senior population.

To fine tune the chain of culpability for this systemic negligence will not address the crises that we are in the midst of.

Islanders need definitive action.

A commission similar to the framework and scope of Horace Carver’s Land Use could and should be established immediately. This arm's length commission would go tip-to-tip, mandated to identify the needs of senior Islanders and those approaching their senior years.

Senior care must stop being a political football and a line item on a department head's budget.

Recommendations from this commission should be given priority. One can hope, given this consensus-based government, that appropriate action will be taken without delay. Another generation should not be forced to live with the status-quo.

Boyd Allen, Pownal

"There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness."
---Han Suyin (Rosalie Matilda Kuanghu Chou -- 1917-2012), physician and writer

July 9, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM
. You can watch at the Legislative Assembly website, here. or on their Facebook page.

Rally for Real Climate Targets, 6:15PM (speakers start at 6:30PM), outside Coles Building.
"Opposition MLA for Summerside-Wilmot, Lynne Lund, has proposed an amendment to the Climate Leadership Act, an amendment which would align our yearly emissions targets with the IPCC report at 1.2 mega tonnes of carbon per year by the year 2030 and carbon neutrality by the year 2050. Our current targets are 1.4 mega tonnes of carbon emissions per year by the year 2030.

This non-partisan rally will occur outside the Legislative chamber - before debate of the bill. Our rally is timed to help persuade MLAs on the fence about the amendment to cast a vote in favour of honest, realistic targets. It is crucial that we show up and show our support for this crucial amendment.

Alignment with the IPCC report is crucial for the health of Prince Edward Island, and Islanders. If you support aligning our emissions with the recommendations of climate scientists, come out to the rally and show your support! Afterward we will fill the gallery to watch the evening session. The audio will also be broadcast outside in case there is not enough seating" <snip>.
from: Facebook event link

Wednesday, July 10th, coincidentally the same place one right after the other...
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey's Strawberry Social, 5-7PM
, West Royalty Community Centre, 1 Kirkdale Drive.
"Join us ... for a free strawberry social .... There will be delicious ADL ice cream, fresh strawberries, and the musical stylings of Emily Coffin and Ryan Merry. All are welcome. I hope to see you there!"

Proposed Asphalt and Concrete Plants in the City Public Meeting, 7PM, West Royalty Community Centre...This is a citizen-led meeting, I think, to discuss opposition to this kind of industry in the area.
Article on Climate Change: This is an excellent, informative article "simplifying" climate change by explaining three graphs by Project Drawdown's executive director, Jonathan Foley. It's listed as an 11-minute read but I needed a bit more time, so perhaps it could be read in stages. With thanks once again to Tony Reddin for flagging it.

"Climate drawdown is the point at which greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere level off and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis. Drawdown is a milestone in reversing climate change, and eventually reducing global average temperatures."
Project Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan proposed to reverse global warming
More at:

The Three Most Important Graphs in Climate Change - article by Jonathan Foley 

There’s a lot of confusion about climate change out there, especially when it comes to finding viable solutions. How can we determine what solutions make the most sense, and where to focus our efforts? It turns out that starting with these three little graphs helps a lot.

Published on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2019

When it comes to climate change, confusion is rampant.

Why? Many people might point to the lack of robust science literacy in America today. Others might point to the deliberate attempts by industry groups and their political allies to obfuscate the issue, sowing doubt and confusion. Others might criticize our media outlets, where facts and respectful dialogue are trumped by sensationalism, manufactured controversies, and shouting matches.

While this is all true, I think it might be more basic than that. Maybe it’s because people literally can’t see what we’re talking about, so it’s easy to be confused.

By their very nature, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, nitrous oxide, et cetera, are invisible to our eyes. That’s the point. Solar radiation — and the visible spectrum of light our eyes see in — does not get absorbed or emitted by these gases. Sunshine goes right through them, allowing the sun’s radiation to pass unencumbered, illuminate and warm the Earth’s surface, and do it all without us seeing a thing.

Greenhouse gases cause a problem, of course, because they are not transparent in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum, where the Earth’s radiates back to outer space. So-called greenhouse gases absorb and re-emit that radiation, some of it back to the Earth’s surface, making the planet’s surface warmer than it would otherwise be. In other words, Earth has a Greenhouse Effect, something scientists have known about since the 1830s. (Yes, that’s correct, the 1830s is when we first started to understand the greenhouse effect.)

It’s basic physics, it’s simple, but it is something we can’t actually see with our own eyes. So it’s easy to ignore or dismiss it.

Moreover, I sense that people have a hard time thinking about polluting the sky. We can see landfills, plastic pollution on the beach, noxious chemical foams floating on the water, and it all makes immediate sense to our senses. But changing the sky with invisible gases? That seems so impossible to our brains, since the sky overhead appears infinite to us. And, for most of human history, it was seen as the realm of the gods, not us.

But that’s not true. We can change the sky, and we have. Dramatically. As of this spring, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to about 415 parts per million, shattering the highest levels seen in the last few million years — 270 parts per million. And it’s still climbing, year by year.
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

The confusion about climate change gets even messier when it comes to solutions. The discussions usually don’t start with facts or basic science; instead we can hear from numerous “experts” who want to tell you how they will solve climate change — usually with their favorite pet theory or business idea. Often with little data or scientific understanding to back it up.

Before debating the merits of different climate solutions, it’s best to start with the basic science, and learn a little about how greenhouse gases actually work. Then we can have more informed debates and discussions about which solutions to climate change are the most viable.

Here’s where a couple of simple graphs may help.
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

First, here’s a chart of the anthropogenic (a fancy word which means “human generated”) greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gas emissions by major gas. Each of these gases is emitted by human activities, contributing to a warming planet. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important greenhouse, stemming from fossil fuel combustion, land use, and industrial processes. Methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gases (f-gasses) are also important. Here we compare each gas on an “apples to apples” basis by averaging their “global warming potential” over a 100 year period. Data from the EPA, with adjustments to separate chemical and cement emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion based on data from the World Resources Institute.

This graphs shows us a few basic things.

First of all, there are several key greenhouse gases to consider — carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and so-called f-gases (mainly hydrofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, and other fluorinated gases). It’s not just CO2.

Each gas behaves a little differently in the atmosphere, and we need to take that into account. For example, some gases trap heat much more effectively than others, because their molecular structure absorbs infrared radiation better, and they each last a different amount of time in the atmosphere. So to compare them in a consistent, “apples to apples” way, we often convert them into equivalent units by averaging their “global warming potential” over 100 years. (This is a standard tool to compare different greenhouse gases and their impact on climate change. But it does bury a few important points. For example, methane is far more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, but it doesn’t last in the atmosphere very long. So, in the short term, say 10–30 years, methane is extremely important to climate change. But in the longer term, like a century or two, it’s much less so.)

Of our greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide gets most of the attention, and for good reason. It represents about 76% of our greenhouse gas emissions each year. And the lion’s share of it (about 62% of total emissions) comes from burning fossil fuels, including our use of oil, coal, and natural gas. That’s why a lot of the focus on climate change solutions is centered on replacing fossil fuels — it causes about 62% of the problem.

But a lot of carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, aren’t generated from fossil fuel combustion, and we need to look at those too.

In fact, it’s a big mistake to equate greenhouse gas emissions with burning fossil fuels alone; you’d be missing about 38% of the emissions, and 38% of the opportunities to address climate change.

For example, about eleven percent of our greenhouse gas emissions stem from carbon dioxide released from land use, especially deforestation. Remember, burning trees, which are also largely made up of carbon, is like burning coal. They both release CO2.

And some carbon dioxide is released from chemical processing and curing cement. Those are significant sources too.

Then we have methane (CH4), which can be released from leaks from fracking and natural gas pipelines, landfills, and biomass burning. Another major source of methane comes from agriculture, especially from rice fields and cattle. (Funny fact: cattle mainly burp methane, not fart it.)

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is another greenhouse gas, mainly produced from overusing fertilizer in agricultural soils.

Finally, we have fluorinated gases (f-gases) such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). These chemicals are typically used as refrigerants or in industrial processes.

There are other minor greenhouse gases, and something called “black carbon”, that we humans emit into the atmosphere as well, but for the sake of simplicity, this is a good starting point.

The bottom line is that the greenhouse gases that warm our planet include more than CO2, and come from more than just burning fossil fuels. We need to widen our perspective to understand, and address, climate change.
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

It’s a big mistake to equate greenhouse gas emissions with burning fossil fuels alone; you’d be missing about 38% of the emissions, and 38% of the opportunities to address climate change.
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

So where do all of these emissions originate? And what human activities causes them? That’s where we can start to think of the most viable solutions to reduce their emissions.

In order to figure this out, we can trace the greenhouse gas emissions back to their different sources around the globe, and assign them to major economic categories. Here’s a graph breaking them down at the global scale

Sources of greenhouse gas emissions by major economic sector. It’s important to note that these data are for the world as a whole, and each country has a different emission profile. In the United States, for example, food & land use are a smaller fraction of emissions, but transportation is higher. Data from the EPA.

What this graph shows is that there are a lot of different things that contribute to climate change — not just burning fossil fuels.

Globally, the two biggest sectors that contribute to climate change are electricity generation (~25%) and food & land use (~24%). In other words, burning coal, oil, and natural gas to generate electricity is the single largest source of global emissions, but the food & land use sector is nearly tied with it.

Some people are surprised by how important food & land use is to climate change. It turns out that food & land use release greenhouse gases for three major reasons. Deforestation and clearing other lands for food production is the largest source of these emissions. Methane production by cattle and rice fields is the second most important contributor of greenhouse gases from food & land use, followed by nitrous oxide emissions from overusing fertilizers on agricultural soils. Interestingly, the differences between local food and industrial food systems, and the differences in “food miles” they might involve, have only minor impacts on climate change. While local food systems may have a lot of other benefits, they are not crucial to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, we need to focus on deforestation, methane emissions from cattle and rice fields, and nitrogen fertilizer overuse.

The rest of the graph tells the whole story. Electricity (~25%) and food & land use (~24%) make up about half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and industry, transportation, buildings, and other sources make up the rest.
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

Six major sectors — electricity, food & land use, industry, transportation, buildings, and other emissions — are causing the problem. So that’s where the opportunities to reduce emissions will largely come from too— by eliminating the sources of greenhouse gases where they originate.

There are some immediate lessons we can draw from these graphs. Most importantly, and I have stressed this before, is that climate change is not just an energy problem; it’s about 62% an energy problem — food & land use are also crucially important — and so are leaking natural gas pipelines, landfills, cement, and refrigerant gasses. Several gases, and several emission sources, contribute to climate change, not just CO2 from burning fossil fuels. So, in the end, we need to look for solutions in many different areas, not just eliminating fossil fuels, although that is still crucially important. We need to look at the whole board.

At Project Drawdown — the non-profit environmental organization I help lead — we have examined 100 of the most viable solutions to climate change, ranking them against their climate impact and cost. And you can see them all by visiting

Many of the solutions we explored involve changing energy use, of course, but we also propose crucial solutions in land use, the chemical industry, cement, building construction materials, forests, and the food sector. I’ll be writing about many of these in future posts.
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

Six major sectors — electricity, food & land use, industry, transportation, buildings, and other emissions — are causing the problem. So that’s where the opportunities to reduce emissions will largely come from too…
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

So far we have only talked about the sources of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere — what they are, where they come from, and the potential solutions to reduce them.

But we can also look to ways to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through so-called “sinks”. A sink is a process — typically found in land-based ecosystems, in the oceans, or possibly in an engineered device — that removes greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere.

This may sound far-fetched at first. What could possibly remove pollution from the atmosphere at a scale that would matter to climate?

Well, it turns out that nature already does this, and does a great deal of it every year for free.

If we focus on carbon dioxide, it turns out that only ~45% of the annual CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change; the other ~55% is basically soaked up by the oceans (~23%) and land-based ecosystems (~32%).

The fate of annual CO2 emissions from human activities. About 45% of the emissions stay in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. But the remaining 55% are absorbed by the oceans and by land-based ecosystems. These natural carbon sinks have greatly reduced climate change from what it would have otherwise been, absent these carbon absorbing processes. The question is: Can we somehow enhance these natural sinks, or add to them with engineered devices? Data from the Global Carbon Project.

That’s important to reiterate: Over half of our annual CO2 emissions are immediately absorbed by land-based ecosystems and the oceans, dramatically reducing the impact of our activities on climate.

And it might be possible to enhance these natural sinks — on land and in the oceans — so that they absorb even more carbon dioxide. Planting large areas of new forest, restoring carbon rich soils under our agricultural and degraded lands, restoring coastal ecosystems, and protecting natural ecosystems under current threat are all ways to do this right now. And there are many others.

(A side note: To me, it’s very interesting to notice the central role of land use and our food system in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their potential role in creating additional carbon sinks. Land-based solutions are crucial to reducing emissions, and they are crucial to enhancing sinks. This area deserves much more attention in the research, policy, and funding communities.)

It is also conceivable that we can design technologies to act as supplemental sinks, with devices that remove greenhouse gases through industrial and chemical processes. So far, machines that can remove greenhouse gases at scale are just a dream, and I’m quite skeptical of them. I’d rather help Nature do the job, with a proven track-record of results, but we may want to keep an open mind here.

In short, we have to address the sources of greenhouse gases, immediately, but it is also important to recognize the potential importance of sinks as well.
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

In the end, we need dramatic, rapid, and informed action to address climate change.

We should always cut emissions first, which come mainly from fossil fuels, land use & food, and industrial processes. Again: CO2 from burning fossil fuels is crucial, but not the only issue.

I think we need a portfolio approach to address climate change, and not put all of our greenhouse eggs in one solutions basket. I’d focus on several issues to start, including enhancing energy conservation, scaling up renewable electricity generation, reducing food waste, shifting diets to less damaging foods, improving agricultural systems, electrifying transport where possible and using sustainable fuels where not, constructing and retrofitting buildings for extreme energy efficiency, and electrifying heating and cooling systems. We should also target methane, and so-called super-pollutants, as soon as possible, to help us buy time to do the rest.

And we should look for ways to remove greenhouse gas emissions (especially those emissions that will take time to eliminate at the source) through the development of safe carbon sinks. I strongly recommend natural carbon sink solutions, like replanting forests, increasing “carbon farming” on agricultural lands, and restoring coastal ecosystems, as an excellent “no regrets” strategy to start.
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

Addressing the climate crisis is possible, but it won’t be easy. We will need to transform policy, business practices, capital flows and infrastructure, and personal behaviors on a massive scale. It will be a huge transformation of our world. But we must do it, and I believe we can.

But, first, we have to understand where the key issues are, and where the best opportunities might be to address climate change. And starting with a little background science might be a helpful place to begin.
size=2 width="100%" align=center>

Dr. Jonathan Foley (@GlobalEcoGuy) is a global environmental scientist, sustainability expert, author, and public speaker. He is the Executive Director of Project Drawdown (@ProjectDrawdown). These views are his own.

"The wisest of all, in my opinion, is he who can, if only once a month, call himself a fool."
--- Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881), Russian writer

July 8, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today, July 8th and Friday, July 12th:
Advance Poll, District 9:Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park Deferred Election, 9AM-7PM, Malcolm J. Darrach Community Centre.

(Monday, July 15th is Voting Day)

Sunday, July 14th:
150th Birthday of the Haviland House, 1-4PM, 2 Haviland Street, Charlottetown.The Haviland Club is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Esther Lowden building this Charlottetown landmark with an Open House. There will be complimentary coffee, tea and lemonade, and Strawberries and Biscuit will be available for $5. Volunteer guides will be available to explain the history of Esther.
Details of the house on
Facebook event link
Action you can take, by Wednesday morning, July 10th:

from Tony Reddin:
Kali Ross, Sarah Donald and others on PEI have a quick petition campaign to ban seismic testing in Canadian waters; they require in-person signatures of PEI residents. Petition with signatures needs to be at the VRC, 81 Prince St by early Wednesday morning (July 10)- if you can help &/or sign please send them a message!

"The seismic airguns produce one of the loudest human-made sounds in the ocean, affecting over one-hundred species ranging from zooplankton to whales. Marine life in seismic testing areas is exposed to the intense noise for up to 24 hours a day and for days or weeks on end. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans revealed that in the past five years, zooplankton populations off of Newfoundland and Labrador have plummeted by fifty-percent, presumably due to the seismic testing in the area. Unfortunately, whales and other cetaceans are experiencing hearing loss, habitat abandonment, disruption from breeding, beaching, and death as a result of this harmful gas and oil exploration tactic..."

To message for petition details, message Kali:
Kali's contact info
And there may be a petition at the VRC at 81 Prince Street to sign.
Midwifery and User-Pay
...were words used together in the Legislature Friday. During Question Period, Leader of the Opposition Peter Bevan-Baker remarked positively about dedicated funding in the 2019-2020 Provincial Budget for establishing midwifery care, and asked for timelines. Health Minister James Aylward said by January 2020, and then listed those that have to be consulted with, and mentioned the words "user-pay". I perhaps was not the only Islander who said aloud, "User Pay? What?"

As Peter Rukavina so wryly writes in his excellent synopsis here:

I share Bevan-Baker’s shock at the suggestion that midwifery would be even considered as a “user pay” service, both for the fact itself, and for what this suggests about how midwifery is conceived of by the government.

Midwifery is not an upgrade to business class, it’s basic health care.

There is no rationale whatsoever for classifying it as anything other than this, and to fly a trial balloon that positions it otherwise is an insult to those who have worked so tirelessly for so long to reintroduce a practice that was standard and accepted during our grandparents’ day.

I trust that the opposition will continue to make this point clear to government.

full blog post at:
(bold was my emphasis)
The other major concern I have is that in the list of those that need to be consulted about initiating a service, Minister Aylward mentioned this College and that Society, but did not mention BORN, the Birth Options Research Network on P.E.I., and families -- the women who will having their babies with midwives.
"The best way out is always through,"
--- Robert Frost (1874-1963), American poet

July 7, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Downtown Queen Street Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM
, Queen Street between Grafton and Dorchester. This year they have resumed closing Queen Street to vehicle traffic so people can actually walk around and shop and socialize.

For those wanting to try mountain biking, thanks to the Island trails info people:
(Mountain bike) Fat Bike rentals, 10AM-2PM, Nordic Lodge, Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale, Saturdays and Sundays. "Rental information: 2 Hours: $25.00, 4 Hours: $50.00, Each rental includes a helmet and is on a first come first serve basis."
Planting Trees
Many of you may have seen the photos in social media and this CBC article about Leaders from three Island political parties and MLAs from all sides of the Provincial Legislature planting about a hundred white spruce trees and goofing around a bit together at a Habitat for Humanity home build yesterday.

CBC story
Jamie MacKay's Facebook page

Tree-planting politicians included Premier Dennis King, Official Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, NDP Leader Joe Byrne, Environment Minister Brad Trivers, Environment Critic Lynn Lund, and MLAs Trish Altass and Michelle Beaton. (No, it appears no one from the Liberal Party, which was also invited, made it.)
Appreciation to the folks who made time in their schedules.

All good fun, relationship-building, and at least a nod to the environment.

This leads to this article:

Stop building a spaceship to Mars and just plant some damn trees - article by Jackie Lynn Mogenson

Published at on Friday, July 5th, 2019

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

When it comes to climate change research, most studies bear bad news regarding the looming, very real threat of a warming planet and the resulting devastation that it will bring upon the Earth. But a new study, out Thursday in the journal Science, offers a sliver of hope for the world: A group of researchers based in Switzerland, Italy, and France found that expanding forests, which sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, could seriously make up for humans’ toxic carbon emissions.

In 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s foremost authority on climate, estimated that we’d need to plant 1 billion hectares of forest by 2050 to keep the globe from warming a full 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. (One hectare is about twice the size of a football field.) Not only is that “undoubtedly achievable,” according to the study’s authors, but global tree restoration is “our most effective climate change solution to date.”

In fact, there’s space on the planet for an extra 900 million hectares of canopy cover, the researchers found, which translates to storage for a whopping 205 gigatons of carbon. To put that in perspective, humans emit about 10 gigatons of carbon from burning fossil fuels every year, according to Richard Houghton, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, who was not involved with the study. And overall, there are now about 850 gigatons of carbon in the atmosphere; a tree-planting effort on that scale could, in theory, cut carbon by about 25 percent, according to the authors.

In addition to that, Houghton says, trees are relatively cheap carbon consumers. As he put it, “There are technologies people are working on to take carbon dioxide out of the air. And trees do it — for nothing.”

To make this bold prediction, the researchers identified what tree cover looks like in nearly 80,000 half-hectare plots in existing forests. They then used that data to map how much canopy cover would be possible in other regions — excluding urban or agricultural land — depending on the area’s topography, climate, precipitation levels, and other environmental variables. The result revealed where trees might grow outside of existing forests.

“We know a single tree can capture a lot of carbon. What we don’t know is how many trees the planet can support,” says Jean-François Bastin, an ecologist and postdoc at ETH-Zürich, a university in Zürich, Switzerland, and the study’s lead author, adding, “This gives us an idea.”

They found that all that tree-planting potential isn’t spaced evenly across the globe. Six countries, in fact, hold more than half of the world’s area for potential tree restoration (in this order): Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and China. The United States alone has room for more than 100 million hectares of additional tree cover — greater than the size of Texas.

The study, however, has its limitations. For one, a global tree-planting effort is somewhat impractical. As the authors write, “it remains unclear what proportion of this land is public or privately owned, and so we cannot identify how much land is truly available for restoration.” Rob Jackson, who chairs the Earth System Science Department and Global Carbon Project at Stanford University and was not involved with the study, agrees that forest management plays an important role in the fight against climate change, but says the paper’s finding that humans could reduce atmospheric carbon by 25 percent by planting trees seemed “unrealistic,” and wondered what kinds of trees would be most effective or how forest restoration may disrupt agriculture.

“Forests and soils are the cheapest and fastest way to remove carbon from the atmosphere — lots of really good opportunities there,” he said. “I get uneasy when we start talking about managing billions of extra acres of land, with one goal in mind: to store carbon.” Bastin, though, says the study is “about respecting the natural ecosystem,” and not simply planting “100 percent tree cover.” He also clarified that planting trees alone cannot fix climate change. The problem is “related to the way we are living on the planet,” he says.

Caveats aside, Houghton sees the study as a useful exercise in what’s possible. “[The study] is setting the limits,” says Houghton. “It’s not telling us at all how to implement it. That what our leaders have to think about.”

This was under the subtitle: "Trees bien" and thanks to Leo Cheverie for passing it on.
How many dern trees are we planting?

Before week's end the Midsummer Night's Dream-like daisy-chain crowning, Environment, Water and Climate Change Critic (Green Party, MLA for D21:Summerside-Wilmot) Lynne Lund posed good questions to Minister Brad Trivers during budget estimates about the Province's forestation plans (I think Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening)

Very brief summary: while the provincial forest division does propagate a lot of trees and the province supports planting what sounds grand (e.g., a million trees), that's not that many acres/hectares and does not even really replant the trees cut down for subdivisions, expanded agricultural purposes, pulp and woodchip production, oh, and bloated construction projects like the Cornwall Bypass. So we could be doing better, keeping in mind that we Climate Change adaption and studying all that is pretty good (CBC story on announced Research Centre in St. Peters), but efforts for Climate Change Mitigation by reducing carbon emissions is probably even better and has a way tighter timeline. It sounds like Lynne Lund's Bill No. 102, An Act to Amend the Climate Leadership Act -- which is one line long and proposes:

SECTION 1:  amends subsection 2(1) of the Act to further reduce the target for greenhouse gas emissions in the province from 1.4 megatonnes to 1.2 megatonnes per year by 2030.

is going to be debated on the evening of Tuesday, July 9th, with a Rally beforehand starting at 6:15PM outside the Coles Building.
"A warm smile is the universal language of kindness."
---William Arthur Ward (1921-1994), American writer of inspirational maxims (!)

July 6, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM
Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM
OPENING** Murray Harbour Farmers Market, 9AM-noon
, Murray Harbour Community Centre
Article from the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States, and though it's totally redundant for many of you, it's a nice refresher for some of us, keeping in mind reducing plastic and waste in purchasing and storage options.


Reducing Wasted Food At Home - EPA article

Most people don't realize how much food they throw away every day — from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. About 94 percent of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. In 2015, we disposed 37.6 million tons of food waste. By managing food sustainably and reducing waste, we can help businesses and consumers save money, provide a bridge in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat, and conserve resources for future generations.

Helpful Links
  • Resources for businesses, organizations and government agencies
  • Saves money from buying less food.
  • Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.
  • Conserves energy and resources, preventing pollution involved in the growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling food (not to mention hauling the food waste and then landfilling it).
  • Supports your community by providing donated untouched food that would have otherwise gone to waste to those who might not have a steady food supply.
Ways to Reduce Wasted Food

Planning, prepping, and storing food can help your household waste less food. Below are some tips to help you do just that:

Planning Tips

By simply making a list with weekly meals in mind, you can save money and time and eat healthier food. If you buy no more than what you expect to use, you will be more likely to keep it fresh and use it all.
  • Resources for businesses, organizations and government agencies
  • Saves money from buying less food.
  • Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.
  • Conserves energy and resources, preventing pollution involved in the growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling food (not to mention hauling the food waste and then landfilling it).
  • Supports your community by providing donated untouched food that would have otherwise gone to waste to those who might not have a steady food supply.
Storage Tips

It is easy to overbuy or forget about fresh fruits and vegetables. Store fruits and vegetables for maximum freshness; they’ll taste better and last longer, helping you to eat more of them.
  • Find out how to store fruits and vegetables so they stay fresh longer inside or outside your refrigerator.
  • Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables - especially abundant seasonal produce.
  • Many fruits give off natural gases as they ripen, making other nearby produce spoil faster. Store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves, and store fruits and vegetables in different bins.
  • Wait to wash berries until you want to eat them to prevent mold.
  • If you like to eat fruit at room temperature, but it should be stored in the refrigerator for maximum freshness, take what you’ll eat for the day out of the refrigerator in the morning.
Prep Tips

Prepare perishable foods soon after shopping. It will be easier to whip up meals or snacks later in the week, saving time, effort, and money.
When you get home from the store, take the time to wash, dry, chop, dice, slice, and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking.
  • When you get home from the store, take the time to wash, dry, chop, dice, slice, and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking.
  • Befriend your freezer and visit it often. For example,
    • Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.
    • Cut your time in the kitchen by preparing and freezing meals ahead of time.
    • Prepare and cook perishable items, then freeze them for use throughout the month.
    • For example, bake and freeze chicken breasts or fry and freeze taco meat.
Thriftiness Tips

Be mindful of old ingredients and leftovers you need to use up. You’ll waste less and may even find a new favorite dish.
  • Shop in your refrigerator first! Cook or eat what you already have at home before buying more.
  • Have produce that’s past its prime? It may still be fine for cooking. Think soups, casseroles, stir fries, sauces, baked goods, pancakes or smoothies.
  • If safe and healthy, use the edible parts of food that you normally do not eat. For example, stale bread can be used to make croutons, beet tops can be sautéed for a delicious side dish, and vegetable scraps can be made into stock.
  • Learn the difference between “sell-by,” “use-by,” “best-by,” and expiration dates.
  • Are you likely to have leftovers from any of your meals? Plan an “eat the leftovers” night each week.
  • Casseroles, stir-fries, frittatas, soups, and smoothies are great ways to use leftovers too. Search for websites that provide suggestions for using leftover ingredients.
  • At restaurants, order only what you can finish by asking about portion sizes and be aware of side dishes included with entrees. Take home the leftovers and keep them for or to make your next meal.
  • At all-you-can-eat buffets, take only what you can eat.
Toolkit for Your Home and Your Community

The Food: Too Good to Waste Toolkit will help you figure out how much food is really going to waste in your home and what you can do to waste less. By making small shifts in how you shop for, prepare, and store food, you can save time and money, and keep the valuable resources used to produce and distribute food from going to waste!

Food: Too Good to Waste also contains an Implementation Guide that is designed to teach local governments and community organizations how to implement a Food: Too Good to Waste campaign in their community using the Toolkit.
If You Can't Reduce Wasted Food, Divert It From Landfills
Nutritious, safe, and untouched food can be donated to food banks to help those in need.
Compost food scraps rather than throwing them away.

even messy and weedy...
"A garden is a delight to the eye and a solace to the soul."
--- Saadi (1210-1290), Persian poet

July 5, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-1PM
today. Attend or watch online:

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Grafton side of Province House, all welcome. Peaceful weekly protest standing in solidarity with the international movement....reminding government (and citizens) that we want a habitable planet. All welcome.
Water Act Regulations:
Yesterday in the Legislature, Environment,Water and Climate Change Minister Brad Trivers announced that regulations for the Water Act were now all released for public comment until October 2nd. (My understanding is that they will not go into effect until after that period.) There will be public consultation meetings in September, but people can look through them and/or the plain language versions and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and submit comments -- which will be share online after identifying information removed -- anytime. (Many good public consultation practices proposed, so good job there, Government.)

Provincial Announcement:

Islanders invited to comment on water withdrawal regulations - PEI Government announcement

The public is invited to provide input on new draft regulations under the Water Act. These regulations will control water extraction and outline how much water can be drawn from wells, watercourses and wetlands.

Brad Trivers, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change, tabled the water withdrawal regulations today in the legislature. It is the last of three sets of regulations required to bring the Water Act into force this fall. 

“Islanders care deeply about our water. The water withdrawal regulations will help us manage and track how much water is being used and by whom, closing loopholes that currently exist in our regulations,” said Minister Trivers. “It will ensure our water is protected as we prepare to make future policy decisions that will be science based, and backed by local research.”

The water withdrawal regulation consultations begin online today and will continue until October 2, 2019. Public meetings will be scheduled in the fall. To review the regulations and comment, visit Water Act.

The water withdrawal regulations provide enhanced permitting of low capacity and high capacity wells. The regulations require permits for those who use more than normal household levels.

Under the new regulations, wells will now be categorized into three types, with the following approval and permitting requirements:

  • Domestic wells have a flow rate less than 25 m3 (cubic metres) per day and no approval requirements under the water withdrawal regulations;
  • Low capacity wells have a flow rate greater than 25 m3 and less than 345 m3 per day and will require assessments and permits; and,
  • High capacity wells have a flow rate greater than 345 m3 per day and will require detailed assessments and permits.

Media contact:
Leanne Ritchie
Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change
902-314-0134 (link sends e-mail)


The Prince Edward Island Water Act was passed in the legislature in the fall of 2017. 
To bring the act into force, there are three sets of regulations that are initially required to replace the previous regulations of the Environmental Protection Act:  

  • Well Construction Regulations      
  • Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Regulations
  • Water Withdrawal Regulations     

The Water Act provides scope and direction for water management, whereas individual regulations lay out how government will fulfill the goals of the Water Act.

The Water Act identifies government’s leadership role in managing and protecting water.  It recognizes water as a resource for the “common good”, prioritizes human and ecological wellbeing and brings more transparency and accountability to the management of water.


Link to Water Act and newly released regulations for public comment:

and what about the moratorium on high capacity wells for agriculture? from the above site:

"The existing moratorium on new high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation will be replaced by regulatory prohibition."
from the Question and Answer section:

Q18: Can I get a permit to irrigate an agricultural crop?

A18: Perhaps. You may be able to a permit to irrigate an agricultural crop if you will be using a well that pumps under 345m3per day or are using a stream as a source. You cannot get a permit to drill a new high capacity well for agricultural irrigation nor can you repurpose an existing high capacity well to be an agricultural irrigation well. Existing agricultural high capacity irrigation wells already have permits.

There is still a lot to go through and relate, so that will come in the following days.

By the way, photos from David Weale and Chris Wall's tour of holding ponds "The French Fry Tour" -- which will now fall under greater regulatory scrutiny -- can be seen on Facebook at least by looking for David Weale or Vision PEI.
"Choose people who lift you up."
---Michelle Obama

July 4, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

This morning:
Tour of Holding Ponds "The French Fry Tour", meeting at 10AM
at Indian River Church Parking lot, all welcome. This informal tour (probably not on the cruise ship tour list) is organized by fisherman Chris Wall (who will lead the tour) and Vision PEI founder and activist David Weale. Excerpt from Weale's posting:

(The) Purpose of this 'educational' tour is to inspect up close the immense irrigation/holding ponds being gouged out of the earth by the Irvings in the Kensington/New Annan area in order to circumvent the Island's prohibition against deep water wells. Apparently the press will be there so it would be great to have a robust turn-out. It's the way change happens, when ordinary Islanders demonstrate their concern by showing up.
We will be meeting Chris Wall (let's just say he is not a big Irving fan) who will guide us on a tour,.and be assured that no point will we be trespassing on private property. We will be viewing what is going on from public roads.
<David can be messaged through Facebook if you have any additional questions.>

Protest of City Asphalt Plant, 12noon, City Hall, Queen Street at Kent. Residents and other concerned people are invited to voice concern about Charlottetown City Council's decision to approve an asphalt plant within city limits.
Public meeting regarding this issue is being held next Wednesday, July 10 at 7pm at the West Royalty Community Centre (1 Kirkdale Drive, Charlottetown).

P.E.I. Legislature session, 2-5PM and 7-9PM, Coles Building, entry at lower level of building at Richmond and Church Streets. Bring photo ID to pass security. All welcome. The afternoon session after welcomes and Question Period will be determined by the Opposition Parties, and the evening is likely to return to a Consideration of the Estimates (i.e., going through the Budget department by department).

Thursday Farm Centre Pop-up Market, 3-6PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. Vegetables, meats, baking, flowers, all local. Lots of fun and spirit.
Future events:
Tomorrow, Friday, July 5th:
Fridays for Future, 3:30PM
, Grafton side of Province House, all welcome. "We plan to meet weekly in front of the Province House to stand in solidarity with international movement, founded by Greta Thunberg to force governments and corporations to do what is necessary to ensure that she and future generations will have a habitable planet."

Tuesday, July 9th:
Rally for Real Climate Targets, 6:15-7PM
, outside Coles Building.
(Environment, Water and Climate Change Critic and) Opposition MLA for Summerside-Wilmot, Lynne Lund, has proposed an amendment to the Climate Leadership Act, an amendment which would align our (P.E.I.'s) yearly emissions targets with the IPCC report at 1.2 mega tonnes of carbon per year by the year 2030 and carbon neutrality by the year 2050. Our current targets are 1.4 mega tonnes of carbon emissions per year by the year 2030.
Alignment with the IPCC report is crucial for the health of Prince Edward Island, and Islanders. If you support aligning our emissions with the recommendations of climate scientists, come out to the rally and show your support! Afterward we will fill the gallery to watch the evening session. The audio will also be broadcasted outside in case there is not enough seating for us all." from: Facebook event link

This is billed as a non-partisan/any party event, as climate change will affect us all and Lund is pushing for stronger actions by bigger targets of reduced emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG) proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Charlottetown council green lights second asphalt plant leaving residents and business owners furious -The Guardian article by Dave Stewart

Published on Friday, June 21st, 2019, in The Guardian (bold mine)


Charlottetown city council has paved the way for a second asphalt plant in the city, a decision that left some residents and business owners furious. “Very disappointed is an understatement,’’ said a visibly upset Jamie Brown, owner of Brown’s Volkswagen on Sherwood Road. “The business community was not informed (Friday’s meeting) was going to take place.’’

Council voted 5-4 at a special public meeting on Friday in favour of an amendment to the zoning and development bylaw to permit an asphalt, aggregate and concrete plant in the M2 zone.

Voting in favour were councillors Greg Rivard, Alanna Jankov, Terry MacLeod, Mike Duffy and Terry Bernard.

Voting against the amendment were councillors Jason Coady, Julie McCabe, Mitchell Tweel and Bob Doiron.

Coun. Kevin Ramsay did not attend Friday’s vote.

Asphalt plants can be located in two different areas of the city — M2 or heavy industrial zones. The two areas are in the West Royalty Industrial Park and on the Sherwood Road. Last June, Chapman Bros. in Souris made headlines when it applied to build an asphalt plant on Sherwood Road but it withdrew that application over opposition from area businesses and residents. However, Coady, who represents the area in question on council, provided a document to the media on Friday that shows Chapman Bros. applied in March to the Island Regulatory and

Appeals Commission to purchase a 15-acre parcel of property on Sherwood Road for commercial use. The Guardian reached out to Chapman Bros. after the council meeting but the phone call wasn’t returned. “We all know that’s not a commercial business,’’ Coady said, referring to Chapman Bros. “It’s a heavy industrial use business . . . it’s an asphalt paving company.’’

Doiron was upset at the lack of discussion, the lack of publicity the meeting had beforehand and over the fact that Rivard, the chairman of planning, did not attend the meeting. Rivard participated via teleconference call, which is permitted under the Municipal Government Act. Rivard said he could not attend in person due to personal reasons. “It’s getting ridiculous,’’ Doiron said, his voice rising.

Mayor Philip Brown said the city is not required under the bylaws to send out notices of Friday’s meeting.

Jamie Brown said the city already has an asphalt plant in the area, one that was built in 1944, back when the area would have been considered rural and not surrounded by businesses and residential homes. “It’s absolutely ridiculous,’’ the dealership owner said. “It’s going to reduce our property values on the Sherwood Road and Brackley Point Road and Mount Edward Road. We’re going to have . . . more trucks hauling aggregate coming into the Sherwood Road. This is absolutely ridiculous. What the city did today was they put us behind 50 years.’’

While there is now an as-of-right to build a second asphalt plant (it doesn’t require council’s approval) those opposed to it do have options. They have 21 days to appeal council’s decision to IRAC. And, any project would have to go through an environmental assessment by the province’s Department of Environment. “It’s very disappointing to me, personally, (and) it’s disappointing to the business community and the residents I represent in Ward 8. We went down this road last year,’’ Coady said, referring to a public meeting held last year over this issue, a meeting that was accompanied by a 175-name petition opposing an asphalt plant. “I can’t understand it. I don’t know what is driving this agenda when nobody wants it.’’

Coady has fought this process from the beginning, delivering an impassioned plea at council’s regular meeting on June 10. Tweel attempted to have the issue deferred that night and sent to a public meeting. The majority of council supported him. However, this past Monday, there was a sudden about face with council choosing to rescind Tweel’s request for a public meeting and give the amendment first reading. “I am shocked,’’ Coady said Friday.

Rivard said there was nowhere in the current bylaws, in the zoning, that allowed for an asphalt or concrete plant so the city was asked to look into it. He added that staff were able to identify a zone they felt was applicable for such a use and it was in the M2 zone, of which there are two in the city.

Mayor Brown agreed this issue has been contentious from the beginning, who noted that he asked for a show of hands when it came to the vote to show who was for and against it when the procedure is normally all of council saying "yay" or "nay" as a collective. “There are other ways of dealing with this issue,’’ the mayor said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it. There’s more to this to unfold in the coming weeks or coming months.’’

from the Government of Canada website (bold mine):

Intergovernmental panel on climate change - Government of Canada website

Official title: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Plain Language Summary

Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time adding considerable stress to societies and the environment. In addition, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Such impacts will affect many aspects of our lives in Canada and around the world. Tackling climate change is a complex challenge requiring sound science to inform government decisions, policies and activities. The IPCC is the leading international body for the scientific assessment of climate change. Through its various reports, the IPCC provides the scientific evidence needed to help policy makers and others make decisions on how to adapt to and reduce the impacts of climate change. Canada has been an active participant in the IPCC since 1988.

"If you are tired, keep going. If you are scared, keep going. If you are hungry, keep going. If you want taste freedom, keep going."
---Harriet Tubman

July 3, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM only.
(Thursday: Sessions 2-5PM and 7-9PM)

You can attend in person any time, or watch online at the Legislative Assembly website,
or their Facebook page:

Global Jam, 6PM
, Sadat's Cuisine, University Avenue. "Global Jam is an opportunity to share your music with other musicians from various cultures and countries. This is an informal social music circle, not a formal performance. If you would like to teach other musicians a song or tune from your culture, you can play it and we will join in!" from:Facebook event link

Also tonight:
Green Drinks, 7-9PM, Shaddy's, 144 Great George Street. "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."
News from last night that Anna Keenan won the nomination to be the Green Party candidate for the Malpeque Riding. There were three qualified and articulate people running for this -- with congrats to Perry Williams and Randy Gass for their efforts.

Anna Keenan now completes the Parties candidates for Malpeque and the October 2019 federal election:

Anna Keenan, Green Party of Canada
Craig Nash, NDP
Stephen Stewart, Conservative
Wayne Easter, Liberal and incumbent
The provincial District 9: Charlottetown-Hillsborough deferred election is Monday, July 15th. Good idea by Elections PEI to have the site be kid-friendly (CBC article)

Chart of voting deadlines:

The lack of coverage about political cartoonist Michael de Adder being fired from having his cartoons in New Brunswick's Irving-owned newspapers finally made "mainstream media" . Briefly, de Adder drew a cartoon incorporating an image of real-life drowned refugees with a callous U.S. president golfing right through the area. Thanks to Walter Wilkins for bringing it to my attention a couple of days ago.

CBC did a story on it later yesterday:  which includes the more recent cartoons.
Happy Birthday to Darcie Lanthier, one of the most hard-working, kindly people I know.
"Intimacy requires courage because risk is inescapable."
---Rollo Reese May (1909-1994), American existential psychologist

July 2, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM. It is likely the afternoon will be more going through the budget estimates, and the evening time will be set by the Opposition Parties.
The Legislature sits tomorrow from 2-5PM only, Thursday the same as today, and Friday 10AM-1PM.
You can attend in person any time, or watch online at the Legislative Assembly website,
or their Facebook page:

Tonight: :
Director's Cut: Presentation about preparing the theatrical production Kronberg, with director Mary Francis Moore, 6PM
, Confed Centre Library. " Mary Francis will discuss the production's history, rich themes, and the challenges she faced adapting the original 1974 Confederation Centre musical for 2019." Free with a free ticket to a performance as a door prize.

Malpeque (Federal) Green Party Nomination meeting, 7PM, North Rustico Lion's Club at 17 Timber Lane. Anna Keenan Randy Gass and Perry Williams are seeking the nomination. Voting limited to those with federal party memberships, but all welcome.
The Order of Prince Edward Island shows its premier role and true value recognizing Islanders who have made significant improvements to P.E.I. by being given this year to Jeannette Arsenault, Najmul H. Chishti and Leo Broderick. Happy for them and very proud. (I also think Farida Chishti and Vangie Broderick share in this, as they had both worked with their respective partners on many initiatives over the years, and provided support so Najmul and Leo could do as much as they do.)

CBC Article:

3 Islanders selected to receive Order of P.E.I. - CBC News on-line article by Tony Davis

Published on-line on Friday, June 28th, 2019

Najmul H. Chishti, Jeannette Arsenault and Leo Broderick have been selected to receive the Order of P.E.I. from a group of 46 candidates. The 2019 recipients were announced Friday by Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry, according to a news release from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Chishti is a retired research scientist, has been community leader as the president of the Muslim Society of P.E.I. and the driving force of youth table tennis for over 32 years, the release said. "Chishti has been instrumental in building the first mosque in Charlottetown and his committee fundraised over $800,000 for the project," the release said.

Arsenault is the co-founder and owner of Shop and Play, formerly Cavendish Figurines, which has been operating since 1989, and is still there as the manager, the news release said. She has also mentored many of her fellow Islanders over the years by providing over 30 years of service to her community and held many positions with different organizations and most of them on a volunteer basis, the release said.

Broderick was awarded the order for his work as a passionate activist for social and environmental justice, with a deep understanding of global and local issues, the release said. "In addition to his distinguished career as an educator, he consistently proves how ordinary citizens can have an influence to make the world a safer, fairer place," the release said.

He spent most of his professional teaching career at Colonel Gray Senior High School and worked with the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation, serving as its vice-president. He was also the first P.E.I. teacher to serve on the Canadian Teachers' Federation national executive, the release said.
Award presentation in September

The honour was first created in 1996 as a way to recognize Islanders who have shown individual excellence or outstanding leadership in their community and in their profession.

It is awarded annually following a public nomination process, with recipients being selected by an independent nine-person advisory council each year.

The insignia of the order will be presented by the lieutenant-governor at a ceremony in September at Government House in Charlottetown.

And an appropriate Quote for today, in light of Jeanette, Najmul and Leo:

"Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings and propel us, on occasion, to greatness."
--- Mr. Tushman in the book, Wonder, for the Quote-a-day calendar

July 1, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews