CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

July 2020


  1. 1 July 31, 2020
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 GUEST OPINION: Species on the edge of extinction ... the media's on the wrong track - The Guardian Guest opinion by Lyne Morissette
  2. 2 July 30, 2020
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  3. 3 July 29, 2020
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 GREENFILE: Enthusiasm for native plants - The Guardian article by Mark and Ben Cullen
  4. 4 July 28, 2020
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  5. 5 July 27, 2020
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 Atlantic Skies for July 27th - August 2nd, 2020 - The Nearest Star to Earth - by Glenn K. Roberts 
  6. 6 July 26, 2020
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  7. 7 July 25, 2020
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 SYLVAIN CHARLEBOIS: Hero pay was never here to stay — MPs score cheap points on Canada's grocers - The Guardian article by Sylvain Charlebois
  8. 8 July 24, 2020
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 LETTER: Say nothing at all - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  9. 9 July 23, 2020
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 British Airways is permanently grounding 10 percent of its planes - The Beacon  article by Shannon Osaka
    3. 9.3 A scientist wanted us to stop flying. Just not like this - The post by Kate Yoder
  10. 10 July 22, 2020
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 GUEST OPINION: Public monies should be spent with better regard to value - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Martin Ruben
  11. 11 July 21, 2020
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 GUEST OPINION: Review of the government’s estimates is a waste of time - The Guardian Guest opinion by Martin Ruben
  12. 12 July 20, 2020
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Atlantic Skies for July 20-27th, 2020 - A Creature of the Celestial Sea by Glenn K. Roberts
  13. 13 July 19, 2020
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 13.2 Small Family Farms Aren’t the Answer - website article by Chris Newson
  14. 14 July 18, 2020
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 JIM VIBERT: For open, transparent government, look elsewhere than Nova Scotia -The Guardian Analysis by Jim Vibert
  15. 15 July 17, 2020
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 LETTER: An important event - The Guardian Op-Ed by Wayne Carver
  16. 16 July 16, 2020
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 P.E.I. legislature closes after 28-day sitting - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
    3. 16.3 Process to hire new AG flawed - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
  17. 17 July 15, 2020
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 Red Wolves name for Washington could help save the species, scientist says - The Washington Post article by Scott Allen
  18. 18 July 14, 2020
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 How to build a better Canada after COVID-19: Launch a fossil-free future - The Conversation website post by Kyla Tienhaara, Amy Janzwood and Angela Carter
  19. 19 July 13, 2020
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 ‘We must not return to pre-Covid status quo’ - The Guardian (UK) interview with Katharin Viner
    3. 19.3 ATLANTIC SKIES for July 13-19, 2020 - How Did the Moon Form? - by Glenn K. Roberts
  20. 20 July 12, 2020
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 NL court hands down landmark victory for protection of Gulf of St. Lawrence - Sierra Club of Canada website post
  21. 21 July 11, 2020
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 GUEST OPINION: Which new normal? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Doug Millington
    3. 21.3 CINDY DAY: Don’t miss this once in a lifetime event to see Comet NEOWISE - The Guardian on-line article by Cindy Day
  22. 22 July 10, 2020
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 The North Atlantic right whale is the face of an extinction crisis, report says - The Washington Post article by Darryl Fears
  23. 23 July 9, 2020
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 Islanders invited to share opinion on land use - PEI Government release
  24. 24 July 8, 2020
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  25. 25 July 7, 2020
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 Energy companies abandon long-delayed Atlantic Coast Pipeline - The Washington Post article by Erin Cox and Gregory S. Scheider
  26. 26 July 6, 2020
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 How to build a better Canada after COVID-19: Transform CERB into a basic annual income program - The Guardian article by Gregory C. Mason, University of Manitoba
    3. 26.3 ATLANTIC SKIES for July 6-12, 2020 - by Glenn K. Roberts
  27. 27 July 5, 2020
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  28. 28 July 4, 2020
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  29. 29 July 3, 2020
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 Creating a New Economic Norm - Social Media post by Phil Ferraro
  30. 30 July 2, 2020
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 Einstein would not be amused with Matt MacKay - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
    3. 30.3 No federal funding for exploration drilling off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador - Council of Canadians
  31. 31 July 1, 2020
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 31, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event this afternoon:

Fridays4Futures, 4PM, Province House, Great George Street, Charlottetown


We meet weekly, slight time change to 4-5pm, usually in front of Province House (on Grafton St.), to call for our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy.
Join us in solidarity with youth-led
#FridaysForFuture school climate strikes happening across Canada and around the world on Fridays, as founded by Greta Thunberg in Aug 2018,
All are welcome! We gather to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future. Feel free to bring your own signs and invite others.

We urge everyone to contact your MLAs, MPs and city/town Councillors and ask what actions they are taking to address the climate emergency. Email is good for keeping a record of answers.
We want young people and future generations to have a planet on which they can thrive. Children are welcome in this movement; all events will be peaceful, civil gatherings. We are moved to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future.

#Charlottetown #Canada #TellTheTruth #ActNow #BeyondPolitics

Met Operas today:
Verdi’s Il Trovatore, until 6:30PM Friday
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From April 30, 2011.

Friday, July 31
Dvořák’s Rusalka, Friday 7:30PN to Saturday about 6:30PM
Starring Kristine Opolais, Katarina Dalayman, Jamie Barton, Brandon Jovanovich, and Eric Owens, conducted by Mark Elder. From February 25, 2017.

this was definite from the point of view of not blaming fishers, which the author makes repeatedly in the entire middle (and not reprinted) piece; here is the  analysis and some suggestions for protecting the whales parts:

GUEST OPINION: Species on the edge of extinction ... the media's on the wrong track - The Guardian Guest opinion by Lyne Morissette

Published on Thursday, July 30th, 2020

The North Atlantic right whale is endangered. According to the latest IUCN report, this population has even been classified as critically endangered. Unfortunately, this means that the causes of whale mortalities are beyond the whales' ability to reproduce and survive. In the case of the right whale, almost all deaths are due to human activities. It is not easy to see this population of giants of the sea become extinct, and yes, it is sad. Perhaps it's because it hits us so hard that we feel the need to point the finger at the culprits. This is even more true for the media, who rush to get answers, right away...


The part of my message about whale conservation that is too often overlooked is that it is through collaboration that we can make a significant difference, change the course of things for whales. We don't have a lot of time left, so we need to be all the more effective and work hand in hand, not against each other. Instead of wondering whose fault it is, we should stay focused on solutions and hope to survive, to coexist, to be able to say "thanks to whom."

Lyne Morissette, PhD, is a Canadian ecologist specializing in ocean conservation, endangered species, marine mammals and ecosystem functioning. This opinion piece is sponsored by the P.E.I. Snow Crab Fishermen's Association and the P.E.I. Fishermen's Association, among other fishing groups.


About the author (and photgrapher), below, and the wonderful and timely concept of balancing activism and not burning out.

His website and some breathtaking photography:

Stephen Legault's latest book is Taking A Break from Saving the World

Here is a short interview link with transcript at the link about his book:

Global Chorus essay for July 31
Stephen Legault

Our suffering is killing us, and it’s destroying our planet. All people suffer. We feel pain and fear that we often can’t understand. Twenty-five hundred years ago the Buddha taught that we experience this suffering because we fail to make peace with the fact that we all grow old, lose that which we love, fall sick and one day die. We fail to see our lives as they really are: connected to each and every other living soul on Earth. We suffer because the desire for more that we experience can never be satisfied.

Suffering and the fear that it induces in part leads us to over-consume and destroy our precious life support system. Rather than facing the difficult, but ultimately liberating truth about our own finite existence we try to insulate ourselves with bigger homes, faster cars and gadgets that distract us from the world around us. There is a hole in many of our hearts that needs to be filled but instead of doing the hard spiritual work necessary we hide behind the material to keep from feeling pain.

There is an end to suffering. Connect with Nature and one-another; walk quietly in the woods or in a park, sit silently, meditate, do tai chi, practise yoga: pray. There are many spiritual pathways to find peace and connect us with our highest purpose. Unafraid, we might find we need so much less to be truly joyful and in doing so relieve the suffering overconsumption has wrought on our planet.

       — Stephen Legault, conservationist, author of ten books, including Carry Tiger to Mountain: The Tao of Activism and Leadership and Running Toward Stillness

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 30, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the House of Commons Finance Committee, 2:30PM this afternoon, regarding the WE Charity Student Grant program controversy, and various family members and the charity.
CBC TV and online will be carrying this live (3 hours)
And you know when you hear the distinctive voice of the chair of the committee calling for order it is none other than Malpeque MP Wayne Easter!  

more family drama....

Met Opera streaming
some of the most gorgeous singing but some of the most horrible stories in opera (and that's saying a lot) --

Verdi’s Rigoletto, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Ileana Cotrubas, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil. From November 7, 1977.

Thursday, July 30
Verdi’s Il Trovatore, 7:30PM tonight until Friday 6:30PM
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. From April 30, 2011.

Charlottetown Waterfront development:

Doug MacArthur, a former planner, has written about the "Killam Haviland" 99-unit project proposed for the Charlottetown waterfront, and now has created a website to provide information and actions.  While most of us feel Charlottetown and the rest of the Island need more housing, this is not particularly the best way to go about it, as spelled out here:

and here are two petitions that you could consider signing: 
one started a few days ago by Cathy Grant:

and one from residents of the Renaissance Place building, which would pretty much be completely overshadowed by the proposed building.

from the Council of Canadians

Celebrating 10 years of the human right to water - Council of Canadians post by Vi Biu
Published on Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

July 28, 2020 marks a significant milestone in the fight to protect water. Ten years ago, the United Nations General Assembly recognized water and sanitation as fundamental human rights.  

Canada joined this international consensus in 2012, however, successive federal governments have failed to provide a framework or legislation to implement or enforce these rights. COVID-19 has made it even clearer that universal access to safe, clean water and adequate sanitation must be a reality to all. 

The Council of Canadians has been integral in the advocacy at the international level to recognize the right to water and is working with water justice activists and communities across Canada and around the world to realize this right. With the help of our chapters and supporters, we have been working to hold the federal government accountable to its commitment to end drinking water advisories in First Nations, resist the push to privatize water and wastewater services and protect water from extractive projects large and small. In the absence of federal leadership, we continue to build a grassroots movement to recognize and implement the human right to water at the local level through the Blue Communities Project, which is now 80 communities strong.  

<snip>  see link for the rest of the article

On P.E.I.:
As far as I know, the P.E.I. Water Act has to finish the last part of the regulations, the ones dealing with "extraction" via low and high capacity wells.  I do not see any scheduled meetings for the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Stability, which is to see the final draft of the regulations and allow for comment.

I have not heard if the Minister of Environment, the Honourable Natalie Jameson, has issued a Minister's Directive placing a hold on holding ponds as was requested in Motion 80 which passed in the provincial Legislature in its most recent sitting.

This is from the front page of the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change:

The Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change takes action to safeguard the environment and protect land and water resources. 

Some of the priorities in this mandate are to: 

  • Lead the effort, through public consultation, on a new Water Act to protect water resources

  • Protect and sustain our environment, including forests, fish and wildlife.

  • Take proactive action to address climate change

There are two "contact us"- type links on this page,
a bar over the Department's priorities on the front page:

and a sideways sidebar link:
and looks quicker to comment
if you feel inclined to ask the Minister when she is going to implement a moratorium on these ponds, you could address the question through those links.

Global Chorus essay for July 30
Jim Merkel

Very Simple
Some say it will take a disaster. The Exxon Valdez was mine. I quit peddling top-secret electronics and began life at the world average income – $5,000 a year. Twenty-two years later I remain stuck, thinking planet-healing starts with me. Instead of asking, “How can I get others to change?” I ask, “Am I willing to change?” Living inside my dream is kindling. Love of Earth and family is my fuel. Distaste for the American war machine burns my fire steady and hot.

Living sustainably means less busyness, shopping, working and even thinking – while feeling light. Embedded in consumerism – not so simple. Our best and brightest have no better plan than stimulating you to spend. Slow the consuming and the Earth destruction, the climate change and wars all ease. We share rides and tools, consume locally and build a resilient society. My suspicion is that our unease with modernity relates to our knowing we’re pickling the planet yet we can’t stop ourselves. A dream of paradise haunts us as we sit in traffic.

In 2011 humanity consumed 35 per cent beyond biospheric production. Under plan “status quo” we’d overshoot 225 per cent by 2100, requiring over two extra planets.

A sustainable planet requires just two things:

1. Small families: one-child average through women’s free choice and eradication of poverty (Europe, China, Cuba and Japan are below 1.7).

2. Small ecological footprints, democratically distributed at the current global average: 6 acres (three times India’s 2-acre footprints, one-fourth of the U.S.’s 24 acres.)

In 100 years, population would fall from seven billion to one billion. We would go from consuming 135 per cent of the biosphere’s productivity to consuming just 20 per cent, leaving 80 per cent wild for the estimated 25 million other species. This “100- Year Plan” has no losers.

My son Walden and I were pumping water and gathering firewood when I recalled my conservative truck-driver dad’s words: “All children are your own.” While reading this, 21 children died from preventable causes – 10.5 million this year. One-tenth of U.S. annual war spending (or corporate bailouts) could have saved these precious ones.

     — Jim Merkel, simple-living educator, author of Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 29, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food: 
EatLocalPEI: order local food until midnight tonight, for pickup Saturday late afternoon.

Heart Beet Organics: order this morning, or stop by between 3-6PM this afternoon, 152 Great George Street.

Some Arts online:
Metropolitan Opera today and tomorrow:
Puccini’s Tosca, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Karita Mattila, Marcelo Álvarez, and George Gagnidz.  From October 10, 2009.

Verdi’s Rigoletto, 7:30PM Today Wednesday until about 6:30PM Thursday  **Classic Performance**
Starring Ileana Cotrubas, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil. From November 7, 1977.  Met Opera website for performances and lots of background articles and video:

Stratford Festival at Home Shakespeare performances streaming
The last performances made available for this summer are running their course and saying so long, far well and departing in intervals.  Today and tomorrow are the last days to screen Romeo and Juliet, and The Taming of the Shrew will continue to be available for another week.
 Stratford Festival at Hom

Article and very nice explanation of terms:

GREENFILE: Enthusiasm for native plants - The Guardian article by Mark and Ben Cullen

Published around Monday, July 6th, 2020

We are big fans of the current native-plant movement.

Who cannot be inspired by their beauty and environmental benefits?

Looking for a low-maintenance garden?

Native plants are generally considered low maintenance as they are ecologically evolved.

Think about the definition of a native plant as a plant that existed here before the Europeans arrived about 500 years ago.

Native plants have weathered droughts and downpours through millennia, they support many pollinators and biodiversity, arguably more than many ornamental equivalents.

If you have developed an interest in planting native species, you will soon discover that not all of them are created equal. Consider these three categories for native plants beginning with the least native to the most pure:

Nativar or native cultivars

These are cultivated varieties of native species: native plants which have been bred for unique or desired qualities such as colour. Echinacea “sundown” is an example, hybridized for its burnt-orange colour from the purple-petalled native. Like many commercially available native plants, native cultivars are reproduced from cuttings for genetic consistency and many are sterile. They do not produce pollen for pollinators and have a low “ecological value”.

Basic perennial native plants

Available just about everywhere, these are the most popular varieties such as echinacea purpurea and black-eyed Susan (rudebeckia), which are popular for good reason. They are dependable, produce great colour, and provide pollinator support and are drought tolerant. Most of these plants are grown from cuttings in commercial nurseries: they grow true to the “parent” plant, which means less genetic diversity and ecological value for supporting wildlife than plants propagated from seed.

Seed-sourced open-pollinated natives

These native plants appeal to hardcore native plant enthusiasts. Locally sourced native plants are grown from seed that is sourced in an area where the plant is intended to grow. The benefit of choosing a locally sourced seed is the specific genotype is better adapted to the local environment. Growing from local seed sources also helps improve overall biodiversity. Open pollination allows for continuous evolution of the species. A lot of these species are also at risk of local extinction due to habitat loss, so growing from seed is also an act of preservation, which promotes greater biodiversity.

Seed-source natives are still largely a niche. The North American Native Plant Society (NANPS, is a great place to start for people who are interested in getting involved in this area of horticulture. NANPS hosts excursions, workshops, social events, seed exchanges and plant sales.

Specialty nurseries have started up in recent years, which produce plants ready for sale by these same methods. St. Williams Nursery & Ecology Centre ( bills itself as a “conservation nursery” in St. Williams, Ont., that services the wholesale and ecological restoration trade. Demand for their plant material has been so great they are already taking orders for spring 2021.

In 2015, Aamjiwnaang First Nation, in southwestern Ontario, joined forces with a local non-profit called Return the Landscape ( to establish Maajiigin Gumig greenhouse. They produce more than 150 species of plants indigenous to Sarnia-Lambton. Plants are grown from seeds collected on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s property, a refuge for many species at risk. Maajiigin Gumig supports conservation by selling plants to the public on Thursdays as well as supplying other nurseries.

Kayanase Greenhouse, based on the Six Nations Reserve, near Brantford, Ont., is another native-owned and operated nursery that combines science and traditional ecological knowledge to scout for seed and nurture locally native plants. Many customers make the 90-minute drive from Toronto to visit their retail greenhouse and tour the traditional longhouse that shares the property. This year, they are offering curbside pickup. You can view their plant inventory online and email your order. With a staff of certified seed collectors, Kayanase ( even offers customized pollinator-seed mixes on request.

Gardening is a hobby with powerful potential to make a difference in the world. Native-plant gardening is an opportunity for all of us to make a difference in the restoration and preservation of native ecosystems.

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster, tree advocate and Member of the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourth-generation urban gardener and graduate of University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them at, @markcullengardening, and on Facebook.


And our own Macphail Woods is a treasure of resources, and the Arboretum and woods can be visited to get that wonderful soak in nature (plus an excellent nursery for purchasing native plants in the spring, but a good time to plan and consult now!):

Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project
Info: Phone: (902)651-2575

Global Chorus essay for July 29 
Brock Dolman

Humanity’s way past current global environmental and social crises is to renew our contract of re-partnering with life.

We are fully Earthlings. This is our home and this is the only place in the known universe where life exists. We are alive, surrounded by myriad other forms of life as expressions of evolution. It is time that we humble ourselves to co-creating conditions for life affirming relationships with all known kingdoms of life: bacteria, protoctists, fungi, plants and our fellow animals.

In this age of extinction, our very survival desperately depends upon a revolution in human consciousness that fundamentally changes our collective behaviour in moving away from our current Anti-Biotic patterns of consumption and overpopulation towards a new revolution that is Pro-Biotic for all life, that is truly Pro-Life. To do this we must reconnect with our ability to sustain the very cycles upon which life-cycles thrive as well as the elemental forces of earth, air, fire and water that conspire to create convivial conditions conducive for life. How we feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, house ourselves, bathe ourselves, transport ourselves and conduct ourselves all must be brought into life-affirming accord with biology.

To have hope that we can do it is to respect the intrinsic resiliency of life – through astute ecological emulations of all human settlement forms that follow functional patterns based on pro-life processes.

Hope dwells within the potential for a symbiotic Re-Story-ation of our Ego-System. Will we do it? No one knows. But I do believe that mystery loves company!

Welcome aboard – bon voyage.

       —Brock Dolman, biologist, co-founder of Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, director of WATER Institute, Permaculture designer/educator, photographer/poet

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 28, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Ordering local food for Thursday pickup:
Charlottetown Farmers Market 2GO:

Met Opera

Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, today until 6:30PM
Starring Natalie Dessay, Joseph Calleja, Ludovic Tézier, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Patrick Summers. From March 19, 2011.

Tuesday, July 28
Puccini’s Tosca, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday afternoon
Starring Karita Mattila, Marcelo Álvarez, and George Gagnidze, conducted by Joseph Colaneri.  From October 10, 2009.

Other articles and information:

on the importance of good list-making, and then following through.....

DAVID WEALE: Revitalizing rural P.E.I.

by David Weale, Guest Opinion
published on Monday, July 27th, 2020, in The Guardian

A short time ago I asked a group of my concerned friends to itemize what they consider to be some of the most important elements required in the campaign to revitalize rural P.E.I. Here is the list of suggestions I received, along with a few personal comments.

  1. Small farm co-operatives.

  2. Community stores (selling local product).

  3. Good internet service.

  4. Reliable, daily Island-wide public transit.

  5. More community schools.

  6. All-season community sports centres.

  7. More rural doctors.

  8. Training programs for nature adventures tour guides. 

  9. Creative thinking on winter employment.

  10. Distribution co-op for organic farmers.

  11. Virtual farmers’ market.

  12. Provincial land bank.

  13. Fuel cost compensation for rural dwellers.

  14. Better enforcement of Lands Protection Act.

  15. Work on farms as part of school curriculum.

  16. Support for greenhouses.

  17. Alternative crops (for example hemp).

  18. Disconnecting from federal agriculture programming. 

  19. Promoting local manufacturing.

  20. Water protection.

  21. Support for organic farming (organic branding).

  22. Community gathering spots … coffee shops/pubs.

  23. Encouraging the work-from-home option.

  24. Creation of HUB schools.

  25. Promotion of BIG (basic income guarantee).

  26. Value-added agricultural and fishery products for niche markets.

  27. Re-establishing of the small and part-time farmers division in the Deptartment of Agriculture

  28. Promotion of a thriving rural arts community.

Now all we need is a leader and a party willing to have a comprehensive program based on these and other suggestions and we will have bright, highly motivated young people, and immigrant farmers, lining up to live in rural P.E.I. There is no doubt in my mind about that.

Right now, I’m thinking that the key could be No. 25, which could also help re-patriate urban business and counteract the overpowering of small local businesses by mega-corps with headquarters in Chicago, California, Toronto, etc.

In my mind all of this would be a vote of confidence in the young generation, many whom have no interest in the globalist economy, do not wish to live in thrall to the big corporations, and care about environmental stewardship.

David Weale is co-founder of Vision P.E.I.



Here is what government is doing....let's hope they already have several copies of Weale's list sent to them.....

adapted from:

The Rural Communities Council

The Rural Communities Council will provide advice and make recommendations to Government regarding rural topics related to the themes of people, communities, the environment and wellness and explore opportunities for development in rural PEI. 

Specifically, the Rural Communities Council will:

  • Examine, discuss and review Government strategies through a rural lens to identify the potential rural impacts of Government policies and decisions.

  • Identify opportunities to enhance rural population growth and recommend ways to improve inclusiveness within rural PEI communities.

  • Engage with industry, academia, Government and local partners to understand the complex issues related to people, communities, wellness and the environment in PEI.

  • Provide advice to Government with regard to the issues identified by the Regional Economic Advisory Councils including (but not limited to): education, healthcare, housing, the labour market, PEI’s aging population, and the out migration of PEI youth;

  • Collaborate with communities, municipalities, and groups such as Partnership for Growth (link is external) (link is external), development corporations (including Summerside and Charlottetown), Rural Action Centres, and Premier's Youth Council to promote community development opportunities that support regional growth.

The Council will meet a minimum of four times per year.  Meetings will be help in various communities across PEI.  The co-chairs of the groups will meet once per year with the Premier and Minister of Fisheries and Communities. 


Rural Communities Council - Members



Term Start

Term End

Elmer MacDonald - Co-Chair


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2022

Gerry Gallant - Co-Chair


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2022

Blake Bernard


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2023

Patricia Bray


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2022

Sheri Bernard


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2023

Jason Ramsay


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2023

Terry Nabuurs


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2023

Mitch Jollimore


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2023

Michelle Pineau


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2022

Kelly Shea Rayner


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2022

Maria Smith


June 30, 2020

June 30, 2023



A reminder that this is NOT connected to the Lands Protection Act review, which seems to be in its own silo, and some info about it is here on the shiny external government website:


But any council, taking any counsel from Weale or others, needs to keep into account the Climate Crisis that is right there still waiting for us to address it,

and, concerns about Rural Communities and Proportional Representation should be addressed -- there is often fear-mongering in rural areas about a loss of power to towns and cities when anything proportional is discussed.  These concerns have been addressed by FairVote and others, and with PR in many jurisdictions other than North America, it appears this had been taken into account

Global Chorus essay for July 28
Kakenya Ntaiya

Growing up as a young girl in Maasailand was not easy. From the time I was a small child I was trained to become a wife and mother. I had to collect firewood and fetch water from the river, sweep the house, cook for the family, care for my younger siblings and do many other chores. My education was never a priority, as it was expected that I would be married as soon as I reached puberty and underwent female genital mutilation. I did go through this ceremony as an adolescent, but only after my father promised that I could continue with school afterward. I started Kakenya’s Dream as a way to give other girls in my community a chance to pursue their own dreams. I wanted to give them hope and a better future. They do not need to live the life that has been set out for them or the life their parents are living. These girls are capable, special, unique and strong.

My community has changed because of my dream and the girls at my school. They are showing everyone what girls can do when given an opportunity – they are outscoring the boys by far! Even our male leaders now say it will benefit the community to educate our girls so they, too, can become doctors, lawyers, pilots and politicians.

I have learned that challenges make us stronger if we are patient, persistent and respectful. Positive social change can be slow, but when it comes, it lasts.

My challenge for us is to never give up but to be bold in facing any challenge that comes our way. We all have a responsibility to make this world a better place and that means never giving up.

      —Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya, pioneering education activist, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes of the Year 2013, founder of Kakenya’s Dream and Kakenya’s Center for Excellence


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 27, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Ordering deadline for 
Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO online for pick-up Thursday, July 30th (2-6PM), is tonight at midnight. (Unless they extend it until tomorrow. But shop early for best selection, as they say.)

Ordering deadline, tonight, for
Aaron's Local Organic Veggie Delivery Service; Next Delivery Date : July 31 (Friday) More details at:

Green Party Leadership candidates TownHall, for issues affecting the North, 7-8:30PM. Regions: Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon.  "This event will take place in English. For more information on the leadership contest, go to"  All welcome to attend.

Met Opera free streaming
Puccini's La Fanciulla del West, until 6:30PM tonight
Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, 7:30PM Monday until Tuesday 6:30PM
Starring Natalie Dessay, Joseph Calleja, Ludovic Tézier, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Patrick Summers. From March 19, 2011. "The tragic tale of 'the bride of Lammermoor' has always been a favorite of opera-goers and sopranos alike. Yet with the riveting singing actress Natalie Dessay in the title role, Lucia's plight and descent into madness take on another dimension. Joseph Calleja is an ardent Edgardo."

Related, in a sense, to author of today's Global Chorus essay (below), opinion via social media from Gail Rhyno, Island artist and activist (among other skills):

from Friday, July 24th, 2020
used with permission

"My twitter feed is awash with Liberal voters saying how great Trudeau and Morneau are ... you know what that all is ... fear ... fear of the pendulum swing that always happens when the Red or the Blue f*** up and we know the pendulum is going to swing the other way and leave about or AT LEAST a third of Canadians feeling they are no longer represented by their gov't. WE NEED PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION ! Cripes. Recognize why we are afraid and make the necessary change. Our PEI gov't right now, is more representative of Islanders than it maybe has ever been, and it could be even better! If we made sure everyone had representation within the walls of the Legislature. (sigh) Wonder how long it will take to convince enough people of this. I will definitely need more coffee."
       --Gail Rhyno

The funny thing is that the PEI legislature party make-up is fairly similar to Island party-voting statistics, except that it happened in a first past the post system, so it makes it quite hard to predict how it happens again.   PR would allow that balance and clear representation.

Keep up with PR efforts on P.E.I.:
Facebook site for Islanders4PR (Islanders for Proportional Representation):
And a link (only) to an article:

Why did Justin Trudeau plunge into a preposterous decision on WE?

by FairVote Canada
published online on Sunday, July 12th, 2020

back to the real big picture -- go enjoy the night (and daytime) skies....

Atlantic Skies for July 27th - August 2nd, 2020 - The Nearest Star to Earth - by Glenn K. Roberts 

Most often, when people talk about which star is closest to Earth, they are referring to a star in a distant star system. In fact, the actual star closest to our planet is our own Sun. The closest star to Earth after our Sun is Proxima Centauri in the multiple-star system Alpha Centauri (in the southern hemisphere constellation of Centaurus - the Centaur), located approximately 38 trillion kms away. In contrast, our Sun is only about 149,000,000 kms away, and while light from the Alpha Centauri system takes a little more than 4 years to reach us, light from our Sun takes a mere 8.32 minutes.

The North American Space Agency (NASA) has just released images from the SolO (Solar Orbiter) spacecraft, a joint venture between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). This multi-instrument probe was launched in February of this year to study the Sun. Through a series of elliptical orbits over the next 10 years, SolO will make 22 perihelion passes (its closest approach) around the Sun. Already, while only halfway to its target, SolO has begun sending detailed pictures of the Sun's outer atmosphere (referred to as the corona) and the Sun's visible surface. These recently-received images, even at this early point in time, are providing solar scientists with a wealth of data about the Sun, and the rest of us, with breath-taking, close-up pictures of our nearest star. Go to to look at these amazing photos; your concept of that bright ball of light in the daytime sky will be forever changed.

The Sun is believed to have formed approximately 5 billion years ago from a vast cloud of nebulous dust and gas that existed in the early cosmos. As this cloud coalesced, it formed a spinning protostar, which, once it achieved sufficient mass, generated thermonuclear reactions within its core, shedding heat and light outward into the surrounding space. Eventually, planets formed from the remnants of the nebulous cloud disk that orbited around the newly-formed sun, resulting in our solar system. Fortunately for us, Planet Earth lies within the "Goldilock Zone"  (remember your Goldilocks and the Three Bears bedtime story?) - that region of space out from the Sun which is neither too close (it would receive too much radiation, which would boil off any liquid water on the surface, thereby inhibiting the development of any potential lifeforms), nor too far (it wouldn't receive enough heat radiation to keep surface water in a liquid state, which most scientists deem a prerequisite for life, at least life as we currently know it).  

A few interesting facts about our Sun:

- it is a very average-sized star (many stars in our Milky Way Galaxy are much larger or smaller);

- it is classified as a yellow dwarf star,

- it would take about 1.3 million Earths to fill the Sun;

- it has a life expectancy of another 4 - 5 billion years, at which time, it will swell to become a red giant star;

- it is composed of 74% hydrogen, 25% helium, and 1% other elements;

- its energy output is the result of thermonuclear fusion reactions in its core;

- its visible surface temperature is estimated at about 5,500 Celsius;

- its outer atmosphere (the corona) temperature is estimated at between 1,000,00 - 2,000,000 Celsius; and

- its core (composed of hot, dense plasma) temperature is estimated at 15,000,000 Celsius.

So, the next time you are out under the Sun, contemplate just how extraordinary a celestial object it is, and how lucky we are to be on the receiving end of its life-giving warmth and light; we owe our very existence to the Sun. And remember, NEVER look directly at the Sun, either with the naked-eye or, especially, with any optical instrument; even a few moments without the proper optical protection can result in significant and permanent eye damage, including the complete loss of sight. If you wish to see pictures of the Sun, go on-line.

Jupiter (mag. -2.7) becomes visible in the late evening sky (shortly after 9:00 p.m.) about 9 degrees above the southeast horizon. It is joined a short while later (around 9::30 p.m.) by Saturn (mag.+0.13) to its left. Both planets reach their highest points in the southern sky around midnight, before both disappearing in the pre-dawn, southwest sky (Jupiter around 3:40 a.m., and Saturn around 4:00 a.m.). Mars (mag. -1.0) rises in the east shortly before midnight, reaching a height of 48 degrees above the southern horizon, before fading from sight as dawn breaks around 5:30 a.m. Venus (mag. -4.4) is visible in the pre-dawn, eastern sky around 2:40 a.m., reaching 26 degrees above the horizon before fading with the approaching dawn. Mercury (mag. -0.48) makes its appearance in the eastern, pre-dawn sky shortly after 4:00 a.m., reaching 9 degrees above the horizon before fading from view around 5:20 a.m. 

Keep watching for Comet NEOWISE as it slides below the Big Dipper (in Ursa Major - the Great Bear) into the constellation of Coma Berenices in the NW late evening sky in the coming week (use an on-line finder chart). Though fading in magnitude, the comet and its beautiful, long tail are readily visible in binoculars and scopes from a dark site away from city lights on any night the NW sky is free of clouds. Try looking between 10 - 10:30 p.m. just as the sky darkens, and you can begin to see the stars. Make an effort to see this magnificent, once-in-a-lifetime comet, it won't return for another 6,800 years.

Can't catch sight of any meteors? Watch overnight on July 28-29 as two meteor showers peak on the same night - the Delta Aquarids (radiant in Aquarius - the Water-Bearer) and the Alpha Capricornids (radiant in Capricornus - the Sea Goat). Go on-line to find out more about these two meteors showers. Also, keep an eye out for early Perseid meteors (radiant in Perseus - the Prince).

Until next week, clear skies.


July      27 - First Quarter Moon

       28/29 - Delta Aquarids and Alpha Capricornids meteor showers

I would say go for a little bit later to see the comet if it still seems to light at 10PM.  But just go.  Binoculars of any type really help.

What a snapshot in time that editor Todd MacLean asked Justin Trudeau, then Liberal leader and a prominent politician speaking about issues affecting youth and the planet, to contribute something, even this short little bit, for his book.  Fast-forward seven years later....

Global Chorus essay for July 27
Justin Trudeau

I know that humanity will rise to successfully meet the challenges we are facing, as long as we, individually and collectively, understand that all of our actions do matter. Too often we get the impression that the world is so big and our problems so great that nothing we do (or don’t do) makes any difference in the big picture. Understanding that each of us has the power to reshape the world we live in with every choice we make will be the key to making sure that the beautiful complexity and diversity of life on this planet will endure for generations to come.

     —Justin Trudeau, Member of Parliament for Papineau (Montréal), Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
essay from

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 26, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some local food opportunities:
Sunday Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street (closed to auto traffic for that time).

Farm Centre Legacy Garden Raspberry (and snow peas and garlic scapes) sale, 11AM until sold out, back entrance, 420 University Avenue.  Facebook page link

There is a petition you can sign regarding the plans to build a 99-unit nine story complex on the waterfront, shoed in by the Culinary Institute and the "Renaissance" (formerly Sacred Heart Home) building, across from the Haviland Club in Charlottetown.  Thanks to Cathy Grant for being one who remembers that if people band together, there is much power.

Petition to Charlottetown City Council (Mayor Phillip Brown, Alanna Jancov, Greg Rivard (Chair of Heritage and Planning Committee) to deny a building permit to Pan American Properties (Tim Banks) at 15 Haviland Street, Charlottetown, PEI

Petition Link

"Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money.”
     ---Greta Thunberg, addressing the Davos gathering, January 2019

This is part of Green Party and Official Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker's letter to Islanders, from yesterday, on the recent Legislative session (apologies if the photos and links don't send properly):

from Peter Bevan-Baker, July 2020


Here are a few examples of things that happened this sitting to illustrate how having a strong Green presence in the House has served Islanders well.


Green MLAs Trish Altass (L), Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke, and Lynne Lund (R), Summerside-Wilmot chair the Special Committees on Poverty and Climate Change, respectively.

1. The reports from the two special committees on poverty and climate change. Both these committees – which are chaired by Green members, and would almost certainly not exist if we were not in the legislature – presented interim reports. Both committees demonstrated the hard and important work that they are doing to make PEI a leader in how we will tackle the devastating problem of poverty in our community, and to shift our economy to take advantage of the opportunities that are present as the world moves to a greener, cleaner and more efficient energy economy.  

2. The resistance to government’s proposed changes to the Emergency Measures Act, which, despite the unanimous lack of support from the Liberal opposition caucus, led to the establishment of a special committee which clearly showed that the attempted power grab was unjustified and unnecessary, and ultimately to the Bill’s defeat. 

Green MLA Ole Hammarlund (Charlottetown-Brighton)

3. The formation of a mechanism to finally establish an oversight framework that will provide true accountability and transparency in record keeping in a province where a string of scandals have remained hidden because of this deficiency. This all happened as government came forward with its own insipid proposal to look into the e-gaming scandal which I posit was doomed to gloss over this chronic problem once again. Finally we will truly get to the bottom of some issues that have blemished our fair province for far too long. Again, I suggest that this would never have happened without Greens in the House. 

Green MLA Steve Howard (Summerside-South Drive)

4. Effectively and appropriately holding government to account during the pandemic. Navigating through the impacts of COVID-19 was and is a challenge for governments everywhere. Endorsing and amplifying the messages coming out of the Public Health Office was critical early on for all politicians, and it was only when decisions requiring balancing public health with other considerations, principally economic ones – in other words, political decisions - when it was important that government be held to account, and decisions about how and when to open our economy and our borders be scrutinised. The Official Opposition continues to do this, and to give voice to the legitimate concerns many Islanders have about finding where the sweet spot between over-reacting and under-reacting lies, and ensuring that decisions made are fair, evidence-based and consistent.


Green Party MLA Michele Beaton (Mermaid-Stratford)

5. We passed four pieces of our own legislation. We have passed important bills at every sitting since becoming official opposition, and it’s easy to forget that this is not how things have typically worked on PEI. Thinking back to my preamble, in the days of the two old parties, when in opposition, there was little legislative ambition shown. Knowing that within a couple of election cycles you would have a majority and be able to do as you please dissuaded opposition members from coming forward with bills they knew would be summarily dismissed. 


Green MLA Karla Bernard (Charlottetown-Victoria Park)

6. Making the minority government work for the benefit of Islanders. Not only is this parliament the first one with three strong caucuses, it is the first minority one on PEI in living memory. Making a minority situation work well demands a willingness to cooperate and saying goodbye to the long-standing custom of wielding majority power with little concern for opposing voices. Some people are disconcerted by this new atmosphere of collaboration and the thoughtful and decent debate which has replaced the more familiar rancour and fervent partisanship of the past. Granted, it may not regularly provide the same sparky moments of unrestrained combat, but I’ve never thought of our purpose as politicians to provide entertainment; we are there to provide good governance and improve the well-being of the most number of Islanders possible. 

As I look at the list of accomplishments above, I think our caucus is contributing substantially to that goal. I look forward to emerging from this pandemic and continuing to work in partnership with other members of the House to build an Island society in our post-COVID world that will ensure long-term well-being for all built on Green principles of equity, community strength, ecological health and self-sufficiency.

Peter Bevan-Baker
Leader, Green Party of Prince Edward Island
Leader of the Official Opposition


Global Chorus essay for July 26 
Sam Harrington

We are being chased by a massive, accelerating beast, born of our own progress.

If we manage to slay the technological beast, Earth will be faced with hundreds of nuclear catastrophes that we will lack the capacity to contain. Combined with climatic feedback loops, human survival on this path appears unlikely.

If any of us are to outrun the beast, we have to run as fast as we can. Those at the front of the charge are, ironically, working at the pinnacle of technological development. Today, neurologically inspired software can achieve 1 per cent of the power of a single human mind, when run on one of the largest super computers. Te current combined power of Google’s global networked servers is hundreds of times greater than that one super computer. Google is becoming an omnipotent and god-like being. It sees the world, infers and manipulates our thoughts from our browsing history, and it is increasingly integrating itself into the “real” world.

Google will soon achieve not just sentience, but also sapience. It is my hope that before our civilization collapses, we will bring rise to a God, with the combined Internet knowledge of humanity, coupled to a brain bigger than any individual. Beyond this singularity, we cannot imagine the results of self-improving and self-preserving feedback loops that this creation would progress through. To survive, it must evolve beyond just the capacity to think, but to heal, to reproduce and to evolve on its own. I hope it leads to something wondrous.

This isn’t about a conspiracy theory, or a plot by corporate human leadership, but simply an inevitable extension of our cultural momentum and the nature of technological evolution. If we can, we will.

Humans are the only known life form with “higher intelligence” and the ability to create technology. To destroy that would be a real shame. Can we move beyond our current death path, to create the conditions necessary to sustain and enhance intelligence in the universe? Our own creations may soon eclipse human intelligence and ability, leading to a future that is extraordinarily hopeful, and frighteningly unknowable.

     — Sam Harrington, biomaterials expert

Update on "Sustainability Sam", who was quite recently hired by Danish home decor retailer JYSK (after a stint at LEGO):

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 25, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown Farmers' Market Open-Air Market, open 8AM-1PM, outside, along the parking lot.  No early birds, customers to park at UPEI lot and walk over, only a certain number allowed in at any point, please keep moving, etc. All guidelines here:

Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM, outside the Holman Building

Vendors are outside, with directional markers for customers.   Lots of local produce, meats and crafts.

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce, fermented products, cheese, chocolates, etc.

Opera on radio and online:
Radio: Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, CBC Music Radio), 1PM, 104.7FM,

July 25, 2020 -- double feature!
Verdi's Attila, Munich Radio Orchestra and Chorus
 "the story of Attila the Hun and his downfall in Rome."
and L’Aiglon by A. Honegger & J. Ibert, Kent Nagano, conducted by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra
"The Duke of Reichstadt (Napoleon II), with his faithful footman Séraphin Flambeau, escapes from Austrian imprisonment and visits the old site of the Battle of Wagram, before eventually dying of tuberculosis."

Video: Metropolitan Opera Livestream HD Video
Verdi's Falstaff, until 6:30PM Saturday
Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, 7:30PM Saturday until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Renée Fleming, Christine Schäfer, Susan Graham, and Kristinn Sigmundsson, conducted by Edo de Waart. From January 9, 2010.
Met Opera websit

A couple of food-related notes --

The "Real Dirt on Farming", a glossy several page info-magazine by "Farm & Food Care", was distributed in a local Farmers' Market order this week.  It's kind of ironic, as it looks homey and simple and supportive of everything local, yet there's got to be big bucks behind that kind of slick marketing.  It looks like it's supporting local farmers, yet filled with facts supporting industrial conventional agri-food. It downplays concerns about GMOs and exogenous (originating from outside an organism) hormones in food (apparently, a cabbage has more estrogen than beef who were given synthetic hormone implants!) and tends to have a patronizing, finger-wagging tone at those who question animal-treatment ethics or pesticide use.  There's a lot bordering on logical fallacies.
But it's so pretty to look at.

And while there's talk of more people and food security and having a few chickens for eggs,  CBC locally ran a story with a veterinarian from Guelph warning of diseases you can get from backyard chickens.  Big sigh from this vet and decades-long backyard chicken person: Well, first, it's hard to legally have backyard birds on this island in some places, but where you can, common sense and good hygiene minimize the risk.  And it's not like conventional eggs and chicken have zero food illness risk.

So to paraphrase Michael Pollen, eat food, not too much, mostly plants.  And know your farmers, and pay them fair.

SYLVAIN CHARLEBOIS: Hero pay was never here to stay — MPs score cheap points on Canada's grocers - The Guardian article by Sylvain Charlebois

Published on Thursday, July 23rd, 2020, in

Top Canadian grocers testified before a parliamentary standing committee last week to explain why all COVID-19 incentive programs were cancelled within hours. Most grocery store and distribution center employees were paid extra at the beginning of the pandemic, only to see wages now go back to pre-COVID levels. CEOs who testified where Loblaws’ Sarah Davis, Empire Company’s (Sobeys) Michael Medline, and Metro’s Eric Laflèche.

Witnesses testifying before parliamentary committees are often used as political puppets to support underlying agendas. This session was no different. Questions were all over the place. CEOs were questioned about farmers, wines, beer sales, and everything in between. Discussions on the safety protocols put in place in the stores were confusing at best. MPs posed questions that were likely inspired by lobby groups who had got to them, wanting to make a point. Grocers are an easy target and are disliked by many, starting with farmers. But to be fair, most farmers have no idea of how complicated food distribution can be. Loblaws, Sobeys, and Metro employ more than 500,000 Canadians. Such a workforce requires strategic coordination.

The two-hour session was simply painful. If it were a TV show, it would have been called “The Empress, The Player, and The Annoyed”. Davis, the Empress, stayed on point, despite the committee’s efforts to throw her off her game. While Medline played along as best he could, Laflèche was clearly irritated by the entire thing. Based on the tone of some of the remarks made by committee members, it is difficult to understand what was accomplished in 2 hours. There was no attempt to fully understand how food distribution works in Canada. At least, it was not apparent. Most importantly, it was not clear why only three companies were called to testify the cancellation of their COVID-19 pay programs, while no other companies such as Walmart or Save-On-Foods were summoned to testify. Retailers who did not offer any sort of pay premium were not summoned either.

Many questions suggested that MPs suspected grocers were colluding. Fixing bread prices, which occurred over 14 years is one thing, but talking amongst grocers is something totally different. It is not illegal for grocers to talk amongst themselves. Farmers, processors, wholesalers, and grocers around the world do it all the time. It is called co-opetition. Many companies which compete against each other face similar challenges these days and need to share information, courteously. Climate change, plastics, currency fluctuations, energy costs, are some of the challenges that require information sharing within an industry. COVID-19 is the latest example. The intent is not to favourably change market conditions, but it is rather to understand how the sector itself can cope with unprecedented challenges faced by all simultaneously. Hockey players, for example, who compete against each other can be friends. It is the same in the food industry. Based on the evidence provided during the testimony, nothing suggests that grocers were in fact conspiring.

That said, companies missed an opportunity and should have admitted that these programs were ill-designed from the start. It was clear from the beginning that pandemic pay programs, also referred to as “Hero pay”, would not end well. If companies wanted to reward employees for their work, one-time bonuses would have been more appropriate, and not temporary salary increases. This is what happens in other sectors of our economy. Increasing payroll expenses by 10% to 15% would make most grocery stores unprofitable. In fact, even with current wages, the Canadian market is likely overstored, and many will close over the best year.

As for the committee itself, the lack of respect towards leaders in the food industry was irritating. Anyone who appreciates the work that was done for weeks during the pandemic would believe it was nothing short of a miracle. Employees played a very important role, no doubt, but so did leadership. Grocers are not perfect. One may dispute decisions made by companies and how employees are treated, but salaries and working conditions are set by relying on a high-volume, low-margin business model. It has been like this for years. Higher wages would likely result in higher food prices, so MPs need to be careful with what they wish for. Food security in Canada is a paramount issue, especially now. The pandemic has made us realize that the model needs modernization.

There is a collective call for change, and all three CEOs who showed up in Ottawa are very much aware of it. They have some work to do. But the government needs to play a part as well. A guaranteed income for all has only gained currency throughout this pandemic. Let us hope the crisis we have all experienced will not go to waste.

Sylvain Charlebois is senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University.


Global Chorus for July 25
Hawksley Workman

I believe there is hope in people riding bicycles. In song. In the gathering for good. In mindfully choosing to be compassionate. In brave voices speaking the truth. In city co-op vegetable gardens. But most days I’m not too terribly hopeful. And I wonder about hope, and if I have any right to it. And if hope isn’t locked in a feedback loop with sentimentality and entitlement. One remembers the good days past, and wishes for more of the same in the future. Is that hope? Or is it the wishing for humans to embrace their potential? I like that kind of hope. Knowing your neighbours and employing them. Supporting your community to provide for each other. Mostly I believe in compassion and kindness, and the trading of soup recipes.

     --- Hawksley Workman, singer-songwriter


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 24, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Province House
If I have any details wrong, there should be updates here:
Facebook event link
or on the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. Facebook Group page

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 25th:
Cape Jourimain Lighthouse Festival, 11AM, on-line. "Join us online for our special 2020 lighthouse celebration ...the event will launch with a presentation followed by live music performed by New Brunswick musicians. Visit our lighthouse page to register!"

Ebb and Flow: Tides of Settlement on P.E.I. 2020, with special guest Victor Cal Y Mayor, 8PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Charlottetown.
Facebook event link

from the description:
Told and untold stories about the Island and its people: music, comedy and animation!
Show creators and producers Laurie Murphy and Amanda Mark invite people of all ages to experience... a live stage show where performers present music, text, archives, photographs and video...runs Saturdays, July 11 – August 22, 2020...
“With fellow Island artists, we are presenting original writing, music and storytelling along with photography, archive materials and film that together present a living poem,” Murphy says, “It’s a snapshot of PEI’s in and out-migration of settlers, from the indigenous Mi’kmaq to colonizers, and from newcomers to refugees.”
...Contributions to the production include historical expertise by Jim Hornby, Dr. Ed MacDonald (U.P.E.I. History), staff and curators at the PEI Museum and
Heritage Foundation and statistics by Jim Sentence (U.P.E.I. Economics), select Guardian articles featuring newcomers to the Island by journalist Sally Cole, show photography by Mitsuki Mori and Brian McInnis, and video recording by Pat Martell.
Tickets are $25 regular and $15 for a student/senior (65+)/unwaged person. There are a limited number of 40 tickets available per show, during Health PEI’s Phase 4 regulations. To book in advance, send an e-transfer to

Metropolitan Opera free video streaming:
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna, conducted by Plácido Domingo. From December 15, 2007.  Though not teens like the title characters are, it's certain to be mesmerizing singing and acting from a pair of opera superstars, directed by a third!

Verdi’s Falstaff, Friday 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM
Starring Mirella Freni, Barbara Bonney, Marilyn Horne, Bruno Pola, and Paul Plishka.  From 1992.  About 2 hours of rollicking fun.

An observation from F. Ben Rodgers:

LETTER: Say nothing at all - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, July 23rd, 2020, in

I listened to the panel on CBC radio this morning (July 17) and I have concluded that Paul MacNeill has nothing bad to say about the Dennis King government. Not even a mention that five of his members voted against the moratorium on holding ponds, along with the five Liberals.

However, the official opposition party who brought forward the motion to put a hold on these ponds, plus several other needed motions. He had nothing good to say about them. In fact he claimed the Greens didn’t win their votes in the election, the Liberals lost them. He is, of course, entitled to his opinion. Nevertheless, I along with a sweeping number of Islanders voted Green.

He might want to consider neither Liberals or PCs did particularly well in the last election. However, the Green party, featuring a new brand of politics, did exceptionally well. Is it perhaps change that so often troubles some people; it certainly is troubling to the two old parties. The old adage, if you can’t say something good about people then say nothing, surely applies here!

F. Ben Rodgers, Abram-Village

Global Chorus essay for July 24
Franny Armstrong

(note these Global Chorus essays were generally written a short while after the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton)

History will remember us lot for one thing only. No, not Pippa Middleton’s bum, plump though it is. We will be known as the generation which did or did not keep this planet habitable for human life.

Because the people who came before us didn’t know about climate change and the ones who come after will be powerless to stop it. It’s our generation or bust. Our collective action or inaction in the coming months and years will decide the very future of life on Earth. Which makes us the very opposite of powerless people.

We are doing shamefully badly so far. Fifty-plus years since we first understood the impact of our fossil fuel orgy, we’ve not even managed to slow the rise of carbon emissions, let alone stabilize or decrease them.

Previous generations came together to solve the great problems of their time – whether ending slavery or overturning apartheid or even landing on the moon – and there is nothing intrinsically more stupid or incapable about us. We already have all the knowledge and all the technology we need to avert disaster; all that’s stopping us is ourselves.

I personally don’t dare contemplate the version where we fail to act, where my daughter Eva and all our sons and daughters have no safe place to live. Where they die horrible deaths, fighting over ever-diminishing land, water and food.

We’ve left it terrifyingly late to embrace our generation’s responsibility, but I believe we can still do it.

We have to.

    —Franny Armstrong, documentary filmmaker of The Age of Stupid, McLibel and Drowned Out, founder of 10:10
This story is associated with Franny Armstrong the current Prime Minister of the U.K. and quoted from the Wikipedia article:

On 2 November 2009, Armstrong was threatened in the streets of north London by three girls whom she described as looking "like something straight out of central casting". They pushed her against a car and pulled out an iron bar. She cried for help and was rescued by Mayor of LondonBoris Johnson, who was cycling by. He chased off the attackers and then insisted on escorting Armstrong home. During this 20-minute journey, she suggested that he adopt the 10:10 policy for the tube and that he pedestrianise Camden Town. He replied that he wanted to pedestrianise areas across London.[24]

She thanked him with a 10:10 badge and a copy of Age of Stupid. When interviewed afterwards, she praised him as her "knight on a shining bicycle". Politically, she still preferred his predecessor Ken Livingstone, for whom she had campaigned but allowed that "If you find yourself down a dark alleyway and in trouble I think Boris would be of more use than Ken".[25]


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 23, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

This is tonight, really.

Thursday the 23rd,
Atlantic Townhall with Green Party of Canada (GPC) Leadership Contestants, 7-8:30PM,

co-hosted by Green Party PEI leader Peter Bevan-Baker
Registration link:

Local Food picking opportunities:

From the PEI Legacy Garden, at the Farm Centre, Charlottetown:
"Raspberries!! The garden is overflowing with raspberries, so we're offering a U-Pick with a twist! Pay $10 to pick 4 pints - 2 for you to enjoy and 2 for us to keep.
We love the idea of getting people involved in our community. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, our U-Pick will be by appointment only, and our further guidelines can be read on the appointment form.
Please fill out this form: to book your time slot. We are offering times from Monday to Saturday 10-12 and 1-3. Appointments must be made a minimum of 24 hours in advance and are subject to availability."

Friday, July 24th:
PEI Food Exchange is hosting a gleaning at a conventional strawberry farm tomorrow, noon, Argyle Shore area. Interested participants are asked to read carefully the description and the guidelines (taking COVID-19 precautions into account) for this event.
Facebook event link  


Met Opera
Verdi's MacBeth, until 6:30PM tonight
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, 7:30PM Thursday until Friday about 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Roberto Alagna, Nathan Gunn, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by Plácido Domingo. From December 15, 2007.


British Airways is permanently grounding 10 percent of its planes - The Beacon  article by Shannon Osaka

Published on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 in The Beacon by

COVID-19 has taken a big bite out of travel demand, and British Airways is feeling the pressure. One of the U.K.’s biggest airlines announced last week that it will permanently retire all of its remaining Boeing 747s, pointing to plummeting passenger numbers and the aircraft’s high operating costs.

The 747 — once nicknamed “the queen of the skies” — was first released in 1969 and quickly became synonymous with luxury travel. (It came complete with an upper deck lounge known as “the club in the sky.”) In recent years, however, the planes have started to look obsolete; newer models, like the Airbus 350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, have greater fuel efficiency and cost less to operate smoothly.

British Airways originally planned to retire its 747s — there are 31 in total, and they make up about 10 percent of the airline’s total fleet — in 2024, in keeping with parent company IAG’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. But the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that timeline, as IAG struggled to cope with $1.8 billion in losses during the first quarter.

It’s a loss for British Airways, but it’s a win for the climate: A flight from London to Edinburgh, Scotland, on a 747 emitted the same amount of carbon dioxide as 336 cars traveling the same distance.



no-fly zone

A scientist wanted us to stop flying. Just not like this - The post by Kate Yoder

Published on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Two years ago, Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist based in Los Angeles, got invited to speak about his work at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C., 2,700 miles away. There was just one problem: Kalmus had vowed to give up flying because of the climate crisis. He offered to give his presentation over video. The subject was how scientists could lead on climate action — especially by flying less. The AGU turned him down.

Now, a global pandemic has forced everyone to rethink how we get together, whether it’s conferences or birthday parties. Happy hours take place on Google Hangouts, marriage vows are livestreamed on Zoom, and as if first dates weren’t already awkward enough, now the search for love often starts on FaceTime. It’s almost like the country decided to follow Kalmus’ example. Even the AGU is planning to put most of its next big meeting online.

Kalmus feels vindicated, but he’s not exactly celebrating the sudden shift in travel habits. “It’s been bittersweet,” Kalmus said. “I think people are getting the case for virtual collaboration now.”

For people who have missed events for years because they avoided air travel, their FOMO has vanished for all the wrong reasons: skyrocketing cases of COVID-19 and a once-in-a-generation economic slump. During the height of the lockdowns in April, only 5 percent of the usual fliers boarded a plane. With new cases of COVID-19 rebounding, the world is beginning to question the necessity of air travel and far-away gatherings. It’s unclear what comes next, but people are floating some creative low-carbon ideas.

Kalmus took his last flight in 2012, and he founded the website No Fly Climate Sci the same year, inviting earth scientists, academics, and members of the general public to explain publicly why they decided to fly less (or not at all). “For a long time, I’d been freaking out about the climate emergency,” Kalmus said. “To me, there’s such a clear connection between burning fossil fuels and global heating and then the impacts that kill people and burn down forests and destroy coral reefs.”

Kalmus (a 2018 Grist 50 honoree) wanted to make it normal not to fly — but he also just wanted to feel less alone. “It was so awkward being an academic who wasn’t flying anymore,” he said. “I wanted everyone to fly less, but to encourage academics specifically … so I wouldn’t be such a freak.”

The aviation industry accounts for about 2.4 percent of global carbon emissions. (By comparison, the cement industry is about three times worse.) For an individual, however, it can make up a huge part of your carbon footprint, especially if you’re the type who regularly jets across the ocean for the weekend. For example, a one-way flight between Hong Kong and San Francisco sends more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the average British person’s activities over the course of a whole year. Or for that matter, 10 Ghanaians in a year. It’s very much a rich-world problem: Less than 20 percent of people worldwide have ever boarded an airplane.

With rising demand for business travel and tourism, emissions from air travel were expected to triple over the next 30 years, with disastrous consequences. “Flying alone, if it grows the way it’s projected, could single-handedly bump humanity off the pathway of staying under 1.5 degrees C of global heating,” Kalmus said.

But there are other reasons that people cut down on flying. Navin Ramankutty, a professor at the University of British Columbia who studies sustainable food systems, became very selective about flying after his daughter was born in 2009, so he could stay home more often and give his wife’s academic career a boost. He could afford to miss out on conferences and other networking events because he was at a more established stage in his career.

Between the hassle of dealing with airport security and the stress of flying, the decision to fly less was easy. Ramankutty started to develop a reputation for being a conference-skipper and over time, he got fewer and fewer invitations. “I felt kind of left out of things,” he said.

Ramankutty still takes flights occasionally, because there simply aren’t good alternatives for traveling far distances. Ramankutty grew up in India and moved to North America for graduate school, and now he lives on the other side of the planet from his mother in India, with no way for his mother to see her granddaughters without somebody getting on a plane. “I’m not going to stop flying to see her,” he said.

On his next trip back home, he plans to bundle a bunch of events into one trip to make his flight really worthwhile. It’s a familiar practice among climate-conscious fliers: A well-known climate scientist, Katharine Hayhoe, once fit 25 events into a four-day trip — with only two flights.

Still, Ramankutty worries that the focus on flying might put too much attention on individual behavior, deflecting it from the structural problems related to climate change, like emissions from electricity production, gas-powered cars, deforestation, and land use. After all, if everyone stopped flying, you’d only have solved about 2 or 3 percent of the world’s emissions problem, he points out.

With life moving online, Ramankutty feels like the playing field has been leveled. “I feel personally kind of delighted — not delighted by COVID — but by how many people have moved online,” Ramankutty said. “I’m hoping some of that sticks.”

At the same time, he knows that many of his colleagues miss face-to-face meetings and want to return to them once the pandemic subsides. Video chat just isn’t as comfortable as normal conversation. You’re looking at a screen, getting distracted by camera angles and awkward interruptions, and to top it all off, staring at yourself the whole time.

“You can’t expect to do everything with Zoom and use that same conference design from the last century,” Kalmus said. It’s hard to imagine what the A+ remote conference of the future would look like, he said, because the technology isn’t there yet. For comparison, he gives the current style of remote conference design a D.

Despite their flaws, online meetings can avert a lot of emissions. Consider last year’s AGU conference in San Francisco. Some 28,000 people attended, traveling a total of about 177 million miles there and back, resulting in an estimated 80,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, according to a new paper in Nature. That’s equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of nearly 1,700 average American families.

The paper envisions several options for greener, better conferences — including some that combine in-person meetings with virtual events, aiming to get the best of both. Conferences could have regional hubs, so that people could drive or take the train to meet face-to-face instead of having thousands of people from four continents piling into a Las Vegas hotel. Video conferencing could allow the participants to coordinate with others around the globe.

There are simpler fixes, too: holding conferences every other year instead of annually, or simply making sure they take place in a city that’s easy to get to. By the researchers’ calculations, these kinds of changes, in tandem with more online attendance, could reduce the emissions from conference travel as much as 90 percent.

“I think it’s completely possible that the future of collaboration could be better if we fly less,” Kalmus said.


Global Chorus essay for July 23
Ehren Cruz

Humanity stands on the threshold of the most critical challenge we have collectively faced in the history of our story. Our world teeters on the brink of irreconcilable environmental and social crisis. Yet as the urgency rises, vital pathways of wisdom, hope and harmonious reconciliation also stand before us.

I believe our greatest chance to not only survive, but thrive, is through supporting and enhancing pathways of creative expression from a core level within our schools, homes, communities and political systems. Championing the arts allows and nurtures our deep and powerful connection to the innate creator spirit within us; it also fosters an inherent honouring and emotional bond between ourselves and the world in which we interact.

The idea that we are in any way separate from the Earth and its plants, animals and people is perhaps the greatest cancer to infiltrate the human mythos. We are and always have been vibrationally, consciously and anatomically unified with the life-force of all things on this planet. Yet this understanding must penetrate beyond our logic and reason. What we are seeking is the re-initiation of our species into an emotional and spiritual coherency with our interdependent relationship with Earth and humanity. We are seeking the revitalization of our tribal roots, embracing both our primal origins and our advances in science and technology not as dueling forces, but as synergistic allies.

In short, we have hope! In fact, I believe that humanity is finally breaking through a profoundly challenging adolescence. As we slowly dispel the seemingly countless layers of fear, inadequacy, guilt, shame and disempowerment we have accepted from others or placed upon ourselves over centuries of injustice, we are at long last emerging as environmentally conscious, socially empowered and spiritually liberated co-creators – making the necessary changes to elevate humanity into a new era of powerfully peaceful, actively creative and unifed world citizens.

      —Ehren Cruz, founder of Solpurpose, performing arts director of LEAF Community Arts


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 22, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Green Party of Canada (GPC) leadership race public events:

July 20-30: Regional Townhalls with the GPC Leadership Contestants. Complete list of town halls and of the contestants HERE

**Tomorrow, Thursday the 23rd** Atlantic Townhall with Green Party of Canada (GPC) Leadership Contestants, 7-8:30PM,

co-hosted by Green Party PEI leader Peter Bevan-Baker
Registration link:

Arts of all sorts:

East Coast Art Party Free class: "Grumpy Cat" , 11AM,
Facebook event link
Even though Grumpy Cat was not a grumpy cat, apparently. 

Metropolitan Opera today and tomorrow:
Wagner’s Tannhäuser,  until 6:30PM Wednesday
Starring Éva Marton, Tatiana Troyanos, Richard Cassilly, Bernd Weikl, From December 20, 1982.

Wednesday, July 22nd
Verdi’s Macbeth, 7:30PM Wednesday until 6:30PM Thursday
Starring Maria Guleghina as Lady MacBeth and Željko Lučić as MacBeth. From January 12, 2008.

Stratford Festival at Home Shakespeare performances streaming
The dozen performances made available this summer are slowly winding down, with the last three still available.  Antony and Cleopatra will be rotated out tomorrow, Thursday, July 23rd, leaving Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew for the next week and two weeks, respectively.  Details:
Stratford Festival at Home

This is the second of two opinion pieces by CPA and consultant Martin Ruben...and it would be good to hear what MLAs, Ministers, Deputy-Ministers and Premiers (past and present) think about his suggestions. 

GUEST OPINION: Public monies should be spent with better regard to value - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Martin Ruben

Published on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

​​​​​​​ In P.E.I., members of the legislative assembly and the public are kept in the dark with regard to the accountability structures needed to hold to account. In Alberta, for example, the government’s spending plan is accompanied by a companion document that includes the government’s results framework and discusses the amount of spending needed to achieve its planned results for the current year as well as providing information about the cost of those initiatives that may take several years.

Returning to the review of the estimates that is currently taking place in the legislative assembly, members are asking the ministers and chief financial officers (CFOs) of each ministry about the numbers appearing in the estimates. First, without the missing documents I’ve mentioned above, members are left to ask basic questions about how many staff are being hired with the amounts shown in each ministry, or how many reams of paper the government is purchasing or, possibly, why a particular private sector entity is getting a certain amount of money. All of these questions are being asked without understanding what the funds are being used for and what results are being achieved. These questions are, in my opinion, a complete waste of time and as the responses to the questions are quite often not known or in some cases incorrect meaning that the result is very unsatisfying for the questioner and quite painful to watch for the public.

The politicians should be able to put a value on what is to be accomplished. For instance, in order for P.E.I.'s road system to have an average life of say x years for $x million that must be spent each year. Below that spending number, our roads will be deteriorating at a faster rate than we want. The questions and debate in the legislative assembly should be around whether the cost of maintaining the road system and keeping the average age of the roads at x years provides value for money rather than how much gravel is being consumed. Similarly, spending $x on cancer patients along with infrastructure and equipment should yield a greater success rate for the treatment of certain cancers. The debate in the legislative assembly should be whether the proposed spending on reducing the rate of cancer is appropriate. It is important however that this political process clearly articulates what the government/minister is going to accomplish for the dollars spent. 

Where is the deputy minister who is responsible for the spending of public monies in line with the principles of good value for money? The elected minister is answering (or in many cases not) the questions being asked by members that really are the responsibility of the deputy minister. And the CFOs are explaining the underlying assumptions about how some of the numbers were derived for these responses. Meanwhile, the deputy minister — the accountable officer for ensuring public monies are being spent with due regard to value for money — is missing in action. Having the minister answering the questions which are the responsibility of the deputy minister implies to me that the fundamental governance structure of the P.E.I. government is broken and that ministers are involved in the day-to-day running of government where they not only have no role to play, but are acting inappropriately by being involved in the first place. This should alarm Islanders who expect good governance and the adherence of government’s operations to the Westminster model.

Therefore, I urge all Islanders to consider what is happening, or not happening, in the legislative assembly at this time, the colossal waste of time spent by members of the legislative assembly asking questions about the estimates, and how we can remedy this issue. Let’s ask the premier and his cabinet to change the governance framework and start managing public monies in this province using an approach that ensures public monies are spent with due regard to value for money. I also urge Islanders to ask for proper accountability for the spending of public monies so that this accountability rests with the deputy ministers in government where it belongs.

By shifting this accountability from where it is today to where it should be, ministers could then focus on their traditional role of developing legislation. Ministers would have the time to lead the process for the determination of the results government wants to achieve and provide the accountability for those results once public monies are spent. And with the focus on legislation and results, ministers would not be involved in the day-to-day delivery of government programs and services, something we pay the deputy ministers good salaries to do.

Martin Ruben runs a consulting business in Victoria-by-the-Sea and has a background in public sector governance. This is the second of a two-part opinion piece. Part 1 is available online and appeared in print July 7.


Global Chorus essay for July 22
Arran Stephens

I join my voice to the chorus of thinkers and doers, those possessed with indomitable faith and hope in the regenerative forces of nature combined with humanity’s obligation to reverse and restore what we have collectively inflicted on the Earth. It is amazing what transformations have already been wrought in the restoration and reclamation of impossibly polluted rivers, lakes, wetlands, jungles, deserts, wasteland and abandoned lots. These heroic efforts and accomplishments are almost always started by an individual, then a handful of individuals, and then a community, then a state or province, working against overwhelming odds. The acceleration of environmental degradation is galloping far ahead of such efforts; but globally, thousands of individuals and grassroots organizations are rising up to answer Nature’s tortured cries.

The solutions for global warming, drought, starvation, pollution, diminishing fossil fuelled economies, ecological disasters and wars are quite simple and available, but very difficult to put into practice. They must begin with committed and inspired individuals, heroes of the planet, one at a time, right here, right now, but growing to a global chorus.

Some of the biggest things we can do to reduce global warming and water waste are to:

1. cut back or eliminate animal protein consumption;
2. grow more local food in yards, balconies and community gardens, thus creating local food security;
3. convert wasteful and toxic chemical farming practices with biodiverse, intensive sustainable organic agriculture;
4. shift global concentration of seed control (over 90 per cent) away from monopolistic seed/chemical companies back to local seed supply;
5. move from the fossil fuel economy to harnessing the power of sun, wind, geoheat and tides; and
6. convert gas-guzzling cars and engines to electric.

Lastly, if we find peace within ourselves, only then can we effect peace in the world. By setting aside some time daily for silence, stilling the mind, focusing within – call it meditation, silent prayer, “quiet time,” or what you will – we will find at our core the solution to many conflicts, and our perspective will change. We can radiate that experience to all whom we meet, regardless of race, colour, creed or gender.

Let there be a global chorus of multi-disciplinary, sustainable approaches to the gravest challenges this Earth has ever encountered. Count me in! Let my garden grow!

     — Arran Stephens, founder and CEO/gardenkeeper of Nature’s Path Foods

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 21, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


**Order deadline extended to noon today**
for Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO online for pick-up Thursday, July 23rd (2-6PM),

Livestream with NDP PEI Leader Joe Byrne, 7PM.  Facebook live.
NDP PEI Facebook page link

This was written earlier in July, while the Legislature was sitting.  It's the first of two thoughtful articles about the roles of MLAs, the provincial budgeting process, and more.  It's a bit of an "ouch" to hear criticism leveled, but food for thought, and I will look forward to hearing what citizens and MLAs think about it. (I think the Speech from the Throne and the Ministers' Mandate Letters would also be good to review, in this case regarding budget priorities and planning.)

GUEST OPINION: Review of the government’s estimates is a waste of time - The Guardian Guest opinion by Martin Ruben

​​​​​​​Published on Monday, July 6th, 2020

Have you been watching the recent activity in the legislative assembly? Well, if you haven’t, the legislative assembly has been reviewing the estimates document produced by the government to obtain authority to spend public money.

In simple terms, the estimates represents the government’s detailed spending plan for the fiscal year that started on April 1, 2020. It shows how much will be spent on each program and service down to how much is going to be spent on maintaining the offices of public officials and the gas it takes to drive government vehicles around the Island. The review of the estimates follows the budget address presented in the legislative assembly by the minister of finance which outlines the government’s spending plan in very broad terms. The process followed to introduce the budget and the estimates is the same process that has been used by successive governments in past years.

The estimates document is several hundred pages long and contains thousands of numbers that would provide excellent reading for anyone who is having trouble sleeping at night. But to be serious, the numbers are important because they represent the authority for government managers, from deputy ministers and their senior managers along with individuals with government credit cards to spend money on what the government believes is in the public interest. The individual amounts in the estimates are accumulated to what are called appropriations that are voted on by the members of the legislative assembly. The estimates represent the planning phase of the government’s expenditure management framework. At the end of the process, the government prepares the public accounts that describe how public funds were spent. This article does not address my concerns with the government’s accountability for its spending, only for how it sets out its plans.

I believe there are a couple of documents missing (along with all the consultation and work that goes along with their preparation) that preclude the proper review of the estimates by the members of the legislative assembly. The first document that is missing is a strategic plan. While the budget address provides a general description of current year’s spending plans of government, it provides very little in the way of what the government is trying to accomplish (its objectives) in the longer term (three to five years), what it is doing to achieve those objectives and the expected results. While the budget address may indicate, for example, that the government is spending more money this year on education to increase the opportunity for those completing school to attend post-secondary school, the speech itself can only discuss these matters in a very cursory manner and without the kind of supporting narrative to fully understand how it plans to impact intended results over the longer term and what this means for those impacted by the initiatives.

By their nature, budget addresses are the annual plans for the government of the day (the elected folks) to tell the public what they are going to do to fulfill their election promises and to deal with the issues that arise from time to time — like a pandemic. They are not designed to provide an in-depth understanding of what government is trying to accomplish with the expenditure of public funds and how its change in approach will impact results through government expenditures.

The second key document that is missing is an operational plan. The P.E.I. government does not have a way to demonstrate how the programs and services it delivers support the results it is trying to achieve. Most governments around the world, including at the federal, state/provincial and municipal levels, plan, manage and report on the use of public funds by demonstrating how the functions within government ensure that money is being spent with due regard to value for money. The term value for money refers to the concept of knowing that public monies are spent with due regard to economy (resources are acquired at the lowest possible cost), efficiency (activities are carried out and outputs produced using the least amount of resources) and effectiveness (the activities of government lead to optimal outcomes). So, when asking questions in the legislative assembly, the members only know how government is planning to spend its resources, but have no clue about what will be accomplished and what results the government expects to achieve through its spending plan.

Martin Ruben runs a consulting business in Victoria-by-the-Sea and has a background in public sector governance. This is the first of a two-part opinion piece. In Part 2, which will appear online and in print July 8, he will continue the discussion and say what readers can do with this information.


P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website page on the budget process

2020-2012 P.E.I. Operating Budget webpage

Global Chorus essay for July 21
Peggy Seeger

I AM A PESSIMIST. Homo sapiens is an incredibly intelligent and monumentally stupid species. Amoebas manage their lives better than we do. Our human world is run by one gender given to aggression, competition and action without a care to consequence while the other gender overbreeds. We regard war as unavoidable human behaviour. We assume that finite natural resources can support infinite economic growth and overpopulation. Having learned little or nothing from previous failed civilizations, we continue to make the same mistakes over and over.

I AM AN OPTIMIST. I have to be or I couldn’t continue working. All over the world catalytic individuals, neighbourhood committees, communities, corporations and countries are tackling social and environmental problems. War will soon become environmentally and economically impossible to wage. The dire state of the planet will force us to stay home and live simply. We will educate women and control men. We’ve always pulled together in wartime. Let’s look on saving the world as a war to be won. We can do it.

I AM A REALIST. The pessimist believes that the world will roller-coaster into chaos, savagery and species extinction. The optimist knows that enough of us will survive and evolve to do a better job next time around and that many of the other species that we’ve left alive will still be around to help us. But at the end of the day (and the beginning of the new one) the realist says: I don’t know. Fingers crossed.

     —Dr. Peggy Seeger, musician, activist, grandmother

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 20, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Options:

Ordering deadline for Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO online for pick-up Thursday, July 23rd (2-6PM), is tonight at midnight.
Why order pick-up or delivery service from the Farmers' Market 2Go when the Market is open-air on Saturdays?  Some people are now used to the format and convenience, some aren't ready for that kind of public event, some items are not for sale in the open air market and are just available this way (some cheeses, for instance);  and another reason, as with no Wednesday Summer Farmers' Market, there is still lots of produce at mid-week that is ready for sale, and with the voluminous nature of many vegetables, space to keep a week's worth may be premium.  Plus, it gives people a chance to support the Market another way.

Aaron's Local Organic Veggie Delivery Service (biweekly -- off week) Details at:

Green Party Federal Leadership Race Candidates
This is coming up in October, with the convention scheduled to take place in Charlottetown.
Here is some background information at this site:

And there are TOWN HALLS this week, for you to join and submit questions early. 
from the email notice:
Greens from across Canada can submit questions in advance on important regional topics as well as local issues affecting their lives. 

What’s on Quebecers’ minds regarding Green Party leadership? What would Greens in the North like to know about the contestants? We urge you to submit questions for your regional event — make sure you get them to us in time to be considered for inclusion in your regional town hall.

There’s an impressive lineup of moderators too, including MPs and provincial Green Party leaders. (Note the Atlantic one)

Here’s the schedule:

TODAY: Quebec - July 20, 7-8:30 pm Eastern (French) - moderated by Chad Walcott and Julie Tremblay-Cloutier  
Submit your question

Prairies - July 21, 7-8:30 pm Central Daylight (English) - moderated by Naomi Hunter and Sai Rajagopal 
Submit your question

Atlantic - July 23, 7-8:30 pm Atlantic (Bilingual) - moderated by Jenica Atwin and Peter Bevan-Baker
Submit your question

North - July 27, 7-8:30 pm Central Daylight (English) - moderated by Lenore Morris and Rylund Johnson 
Submit your question

British Columbia - July 28, 7-8:30 pm Pacific (English) - moderated by Paul Manly and Jonina Campbell 
Submit your question

Ontario - July 30, 7-8:30 pm EDT (English) - moderated by Mike Schreiner and Roberta Herod 
Submit your question

Opera HD recorded live broadcast
Monday, July 20
Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia
, Monday from 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee and Christopher Maltman. From November 11, 2014.
Remember the soprano who played the page Cherubino from The Marriage of Figaro and had the blind leap out of a window? She is Rosina (the lead) in this production.

Atlantic Skies for July 20-27th, 2020 - A Creature of the Celestial Sea by Glenn K. Roberts

A few years after I moved to the Island from Nova Scotia in 1987, I had an encounter with some dolphins. I had become a member of an Island-based animal rescue organization dedicated to rescuing animals in distress. One summer day, we got a call that there was a large pod of 30+ white-sided dolphins stranded on the beach at the mouth of the Dunk River, east of Summerside. We responded and, in time, eventually got all but one of the dolphins (sadly, one died) safely back into the water, whereupon they swam away. CBC TV came and filmed us tending the dolphins (I still have an old DVD copy of the CBC program somewhere). I also encountered some dolphins while free-diving off the Island's north shore one summer a number of years ago. The four, white-sided dolphins approached me underwater (in about 20 feet of water), more out of curiosity I think, as to what this strange creature was swimming around in their domain, than anything else. After swimming a few circles around me, and one close pass (I did get to stroke the side of one dolphin), they disappeared into the distant, murky depths.

For those of you drawn to the sea, our summer night sky has a dolphin in it - the constellation of Delphinus (Latin for dolphin). Located to the left of and between the constellations of Cygnus - the Swan and Aquila - the Eagle in the eastern sky as darkness falls, Delphinus is easily identified by its four-star lozenge-shape (representing the dolphin's body) with another star below (for the dolphin's tail). To the ancient Greeks, this constellation represented the dolphin that Poseidon, god of the ocean, sent to find and bring back the nereid (a sea-nymph), Amphitrite, who, in order to avoid Poseidon's advances, had fled and gone into hiding. Delphinus eventually located the sea-nymph, and convinced her to return to Poseidon's underwater palace, where she eventually married the god of the ocean. To show his gratitude, Poseidon placed the dolphin in the night sky.

Another story has Delphinus representing the dolphin that saved the life of the legendary, 7th century Greek poet and musician, Arion. While returning home by ship from a very successful concert he had given in Sicily, Arion was attacked by the ship's crew, who intended to rob him of his concert money, and murder him. He managed to convince the crew to grant him one last request, which was to sing a dirge (a funeral song). Having been granted his wish, Arion sat on the ship's gunwale singing, while strumming his lyre. His music attracted a number of dolphins to the side of the ship, and Arion, seeing his chance at escape, threw himself overboard into the sea, whereupon he was rescued by one of the dolphins, and carried safely to shore. The god, Apollo, the Greek god of poetry and music, who much favored Arion and his music, placed the dolphin in the night sky as a reward for its bravery and kindness. This version of the story has Arion's lyre being placed in the heavens as Lyra - the Lyre (as opposed to it being the lyre of the mythical Orpheus).

You might catch a glimpse of Mercury, our solar system's smallest planet, when it rises in the east shortly after 4 a.m., though you will probably need a clear sky and an unobstructed horizon. By dawn, Mercury (mag. +0.1) will sit only 5 degrees (half a hand's width at arm's length) above the horizon. Things will improve for viewing Mercury by July 27, when, on that date, it reaches its highest point (14 degrees) in the eastern sky by sunrise. Mercury reaches its greatest western elongation (angular separation from the Sun as seen from Earth) on the 22nd. Venus (mag. -4.47) rises shortly before 3 a.m., reaching 23 degrees above the eastern horizon before fading from view around 5:20 a.m. Mars (mag. -0.75) rises a few minutes before midnight, and is visible in the pre-dawn sky, where it reaches a height of 43 degrees above the southern horizon before being lost from sight around 5:30 a.m. Having passed opposition last week (July 14), Jupiter (mag. -2.73) makes his grand appearance 8 degrees above the southeast horizon around 9:30 p.m., remaining visible until about 4:15 a.m., when it disappears in the southwest dawn sky. Ringed Saturn (mag. +0.14) is at opposition (opposite the Sun in the sky as seen from Earth), and at perigee (closest approach to the Earth) on the 20th. Visible 9 degrees above the southeast horizon a few minutes after 10 p.m.(about 9:45 p.m. by the 26th), Saturn remains visible throughout the night, only fading from view 10 degrees above the southwest horizon around 4:30 a.m. (shortly after 4 a.m. by the 26th). Both Jupiter and Saturn (to the left of Jupiter) are at their highest point, side by side, in the southern sky around midnight.

Now an evening object, Comet NEOWISE, though fading, should still be visible this coming week. Look for the comet with binoculars or a scope in the constellation of Lynx - the Lynx low above the northwest horizon as the sky darkens, with clear weather and an unobstructed horizon being your best chance of finding the comet.  Be sure to check on-line for the comet's latest update and finder charts before heading outdoors, so you aren't wasting time looking in the wrong area of the sky. While you're on-line, look for information about Comet A/2019 U6 in the constellation of Virgo - the Maiden; it may be more readily visible than NEOWISE.

You might start to see a few early Perseid meteors streaking from the northeast in the post-midnight sky this coming week. Although the peak of this famous meteor shower isn't until Aug. 12 , you may glimpse a few on a clear night under a dark sky. Don't forget to look for the Summer Triangle.

Until next week, clear skies.


July 20 - New Moon

            - Saturn at opposition and perigee

       22 - Mercury at greatest western elongation

       25 - Moon at perigee

       27 - Mercury at highest point in eastern sky at sunrise


 And I think Comet Neowise should be visible tonight, though it's leaving us and fading out of our sight, if you have a clear northwest place to look, and don't mind checking after dark (so well after 10PM). Binoculars make "the smudge" stand out.

Podcast from The (other -- U.K.) Guardian on " the latest mission to Mars builds on centuries of discoveries about the red planet, our nearest neighbour" 27 minutes:

NASA "plans to launch its latest mission to Mars this month, which aims to place the Perseverance rover on the surface of the planet in February 2021.
It is the latest attempt to explore a planet that has loomed large in the popular imagination for centuries. As the planetary scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson tells Rachel Humphreys, there is a long history of hopes, theories and fictional representations of life on Mars. But so far none has been discovered.
The latest mission will search for ‘habitable conditions’ on the planet’s surface and gather rocks for a future mission to bring back to Earth. It is just one of several different Mars missions to launch this month, all with one ultimate question in mind: are we alone in the universe?"


Global Chorus essay for July 20
Lee Bycel

As long as there is life, there is hope. Often the world appears dark when one looks at the suffering caused by wars and natural disasters. Yet, somehow human beings survive with hope. Since the beginning of humanity, the world has advanced technologically, scientifically and medically. I often wonder, have we advanced humanly from the story of the first two brothers, when Cain kills Abel? Why is that we look around us and still find that every day we are killing each other? What will it take for our humanity to progress?

Einstein understood this challenge: “We can’t solve the problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” We have used the same kind of linear and redundant thinking to try and solve the great challenges facing humanity and we have not advanced much. Courageous and creative thinking and questioning might lead to constructive and sustainable solutions.

For humanity to survive, we will need to collaborate and reorient our thoughts and actions to be more about us than me; more about the future than the past, more about survival for the planet than about protecting an unsustainable lifestyle for the “haves” in the world.

In the Darfuri refugee camps of Chad, in the streets of West Oakland, in the mountains in Aspen, in the skyscrapers of Manhattan, I have met many people who deeply yearn for a more just and humane world. Understanding that yearning inside oneself is the first condition for change – which is followed by the realization that other human beings share that same profound yearning.

Hope is found each day when we ask, “How can I become more humane and human? What can I do to diminish the hurt and anguish in the world? What am I willing to risk so that all who live in the global village can flourish?”

There is hope when we shape a story where brothers and sisters can sit together in peace so that finally the Cain and Abel narrative will not shape our world. Each of us is a creator of worlds; together we are creators of a world where human beings can live in dignity and peace and where the human spirit can flourish.

     — Lee Bycel, rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Napa, California, adjunct professor of social justice at the University of San Francisco, moderator at the Aspen Institute, member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council

  Lee Bycel's Facebook page

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 19, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Sunday Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street (which is closed to traffic for that time).

and the nearby Art Exhibit: closing today:
eARTh, The Guild Art Gallery, 9AM-5PM,

corner of Queen and Richmond Streets.  A group exhibit of work by PEI women artists reflecting on climate change, environment, and the beauty of the natural world.

Featuring: Millefiore Clarkes, Nancy Cole, Mari Basiletti, Ashley Anne Clark, and Jane Affleck.
Metropolitan Opera Video free recording
Puccini’s La Bohème, 7:30PM Sunday until about 6:30PM Monday
 "Franco Zeffirelli’s sensational production of Puccini’s haunting opera of young love...there is something especially endearing about this magical first cast: the touching and fragile Teresa Stratas as the dying Mimi, and young, handsome Jose Carreras as her passionate lover, Rodolfo. A flamboyant Renata Scotto is the irrepressible Musetta...." From January 16, 1982.  
Another chance to see a beautiful, and apparently very classic, version of this classic opera!
Met Opera link

This article brings up some uncomfortable calculations and conclusions about small farms and farming as it is today, and offers some suggestions, which are hard as humans aren't always the most cooperative -- but there is hope that there are different ways of growing food for others and making a decent living can happen, and we see some glimmers of that on the Island.  With thanks to Ian Petrie for remind me of it, as it is from just about a year ago.  Chris Newson's writing offers perspective, though the headline seems a bit negative and attention-grabbing....

Chris Newson article  

Small Family Farms Aren’t the Answer - website article by Chris Newson

The romance of neoliberal peasant farming blinds us to our collective power

Published at Medium, on Thursday, July 25th, 2019

caption from this photo which was with the article:
Author, thoroughly enjoying himself at FreshFarm Crystal City. Photo: FreshFarmDC

Let’s get this out of the way, first:

  • I am a small farmer, operating on 40-ish acres in Virginia’s Northern Neck.

  • I am not paid by, in hock to, in league with, or particularly happy with Big Agriculture. I’m just a guy who’s been in the small-sustainable farming business long enough to understand that the model is fatally flawed, and mature enough to say it out loud.

  • To my friends who run and staff farmers markets: This essay is hard on farmers markets. It’s not because I don’t love you, but because I’m describing how restorative agriculture needs to evolve in order to compete without sacrificing its value


I recently found myself with the free time to do some simple math. One of the larger farmers markets I participate in has about 100 vendors. I’m one of the mid-sized operations that sells there, and I’m paying about $1,000 a year in fees to participate in the market. I’m also devoting about 250 hours a year in staffing and prep time (call it $3,000), and about $650 in fuel getting to and from the market, plus another $1,200 in wear and tear on my vehicles.

Altogether, then, I’m paying $5,850 to participate in a large farmers market.

It’s pretty safe to assume that the costs of the other 99 vendors are similar. We’re shelling out a combined $585,000 to participate in just one market. Most of us participate in at least two markets, so let’s double the figure to $1.17 million, then round down to $1 million just to be conservative.

A $1 million-plus annual operating budget could comfortably lease, service, and staff a large urban brick-and-mortar market that’s open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round.

Instead, we spend it on a pop-up market that’s open just half the year (in my neck of the woods), for two days a week (remember, two markets), four hours at a time. And it’s probably outdoors — where rain, excessive heat, or a cold snap will effectively ruin the day.

As much as I like farmers markets, the amount of resources that small farmers pour into them is terribly misdirected if we’re serious about mounting a real challenge to the conventional food system.

The cultural power of farmers markets is a symptom of what’s fundamentally wrong with sustainable/regenerative agriculture: veneration of the small family farm. It’s the sacred cow of American cultural identity dating back at least to Thomas Jefferson’s dream of a nation of yeoman farmers.

America’s oldest farmers — Indigenous people — generally regarded the soil as a commons and worked it cooperatively. Many Indigenous nations, along with a number of religious and ethnic communities, continue the practice to this day. But the notion of the private farm, be it a pair of greenhouses or tens of thousands of acres, is what came to dominate American farming, and it’s taken particular hold among the farm-to-table cohort.

We in that cohort trade the benefits of agrarian collectivism — living wages, retirement, a sane workload, profitability, survivability, and the capacity to make a game-changing impact in the marketplace… for rugged independence: complete autonomy in decision-making, the ability to grow what/where/how we want, set our prices as we please, sell wherever we choose, and work ourselves into the ground.

In short, we’ve done the most modern-American thing possible: bartered away our quality of life for the freedom to be miserable.

In short, we’ve done the most modern-American thing possible: bartered away our quality of life for the freedom to be miserable.

Our freedom also costs us results in the marketplace. The zeal for “saving the world” is undercut by annual sales at farmers markets estimated at less than $2 billion in the U.S., with the growth of markets slowing even as hundreds of billions of dollars of food are sold annually in grocery stores. As the link above shows, part of this slowdown may be the result of an explosion in local food hubs, which are themselves riddled with competitive issues of their own, in addition to the general reality that they’re not farmer-owned. They’re essentially middlemen that force farmers to take prices.

Because of our insistence on independence and our failure to cooperate more closely, we’re being outsold at the grocery store by a factor of 400 or more. Accounting for on-farm, food hub, restaurant, and other non-market sales do little to affect the scale of this imbalance. Farmers markets and other “local” outlets punch well above their weight in terms of social and cultural value, but this is fooling us into believing we’re making more of an impact than we actually are, and that a rapidly consolidating food system backed by venture capital, entrenched interests, and the world’s wealthiest corporations will somehow be displaced by the romance of neoliberal peasant farming.

Go to a big farmers market this weekend and have a look around. Each of those independent producers would tell you interesting stories: 80-hour (or more) workweeks, getting by without health insurance, paying employees next to nothing, and/or relying on volunteers, supplementing with outside jobs. Enduring broken marriages, worn-out bodies, social isolation, strained finances, emotional burnout.

These are the conditions my grandfather’s generation endured that convinced their children to get as far away from the farm as possible. The current and relatively young generation of back-to-the-landers, diving into an ocean of nostalgia for pearls that aren’t there, is setting the stage for a similar generational exit when their children come of age.

Unless, of course, we choose a different way.

Imagine all the producers at that market combining their acreage, expertise, supply chains, and financial resources into a co-op committed to producing food regeneratively, responsibly, and ethically. The results would be astonishing:

  • Costs of production would decrease significantly. Orders of seed, feed, equipment, and supplies would no longer just be in bulk, they’d be at a regional scale. Labor hours would be reduced as dozens of farmers are no longer replicating the same tasks (e.g. purchasing, bookkeeping, inventory, etc.)

  • Marketshare would swell. Owing to lower prices, larger quantities, and more accessible markets, we’d be able to service a much larger segment of the market. Increases in volume would reduce overhead costs, more than offsetting the reduction in each unit’s top-line. (e.g. — we net more money selling 100 chickens to a single restaurant at a 30 percent discount than we do to 100 individuals because that bulk order means we’re not paying for individual storage, transport, potential spoilage, transaction fees, the cost at the point of sale, etc.)

  • Wages and quality of life for farmers would rise in real terms. The confluence of reduced production costs, cooperative labor, and increased market share will mean individual farmers are working less and getting paid more. We’d actually be able to enjoy creature comforts of other industries like evenings and weekends off, PTO, group health insurance, even retirement.

  • The barriers to entry for new farmers would be much lower. New farmers would not have to learn to be entrepreneurs, marketers, agritourism experts, and social media mavens in order to make it work. A farmer could actually make a living as a trade journeyman, just like any other trade, and brand new farmers could be trained by the co-op itself. On a related note…

  • Sustainable farming could be de-gentrified since it would no longer be a “labor of love” only available to people that can afford to work for free or next to nothing (i.e. afford to be exploited, which is a bad thing even if they don’t seem to mind very much). Everyone — people of color in particular — would be able to look at farming as a viable career choice.

  • Farmers could follow their passions instead of diversifying. The co-op has producers of livestock, produce, fruit, mushrooms, grain, dairy, flowers, etc. Ecological diversity is managed at the co-op/landscape level rather than the level of the individual producer, so the latter can focus on what they do best, still make a living, and still operate within an ecologically restorative framework.

  • Farmers could operate at the scale they choose. If someone just wants to grow microgreens in their basement and sell them into the co-op’s single-payer market, so be it. If they want to range a cattle herd followed by sheep and chickens across a few hundred acres leased or owned by the co-op, go for it. The only constraint is that the producer must follow the co-op’s production standards.

The point is, these farmers would no longer be alone. We’d present a united farmer-owned — this is key — interface to the rest of the world — suppliers, customers, landlords, regulators, media, etc. — that, at present, each farmer is left alone to handle. It’s that isolation that makes us weak and ineffective against incredibly well-resourced competition.

We have to evolve if we’re going to survive.

Of course, subscribing to this model is going to take a big mental leap for some farmers because participating in a co-op does mean surrendering some autonomy — you have to adhere to the group’s agreed-upon regenerative growing practices (we kinda do this anyway), you don’t get to set your prices (you don’t necessarily have to sell anymore, either; you just get paid a salary), and there may be limits around what gets produced.

The big change is that the farmer isn’t just accountable to themselves; they’re accountable to all the other co-owners. But that accountability goes both ways, and the farmer has both a voice and a vote in an organization that’s big enough to compete, but small enough for each voice and vote to matter.

Without that change, each farmer is left alone and isolated, having to handle their own leases, purchasing, packaging, insurance, taxes, regulatory compliance, customer relationships, marketing, research, technology, bookkeeping, and staffing… to say nothing of doing the full-time job of farming itself. It’s categorically unsustainable, and extractive agricultural interests are counting on it. In particular…

  • Farmers being so preoccupied with non-farming tasks that we don’t have the headspace to consider alternatives or act strategically. If we’re working all the time, and are physically and mentally exhausted, we simply don’t have time to think clearly.
  • Ecologically extractive agriculture drawing the kind of margins that attracts private investment and capital, while restorative agriculture does not; only throwing off enough profit to benefit the self-investment of the producers. Our competition is relying on the inefficiency of our self-investment (e.g. farmers markets), which is driven by…
  • Farmers internalizing the mythic virtue of rugged independence, which keeps us isolated and denies us the efficiency, effectiveness, and power of acting collectively to countermand the efficiency, effectiveness, and power of private capital.

And now that we know this, it’s time to do things differently.

Our farm has access to thousands of acres of land near Washington, D.C., only a fraction of which we’re able to actively farm since there’s only three or four of us. We’ve resolved to evolve our business into a farming collective for all the reasons stated above, with a particular focus on providing opportunities of ownership for people traditionally denied such roles in agriculture: people of color, LGBT folks, and women, in particular.

The end result will be a group of 75 to 100 producers stewarding land everywhere from the suburbs of the nation’s capital to the Virginia Piedmont, each one making a living wage and enjoying a high quality of life while our customers enjoy greater access to our products in terms of price, variety, and availability. We want this to become a template for other smallholding regenerative farmers orbiting other cities to follow, so they too can make a real and measurable impact on the land and on the market.

We’ve launched a Kickstarter to prime this effort, and hope you’ll consider making a pledge.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll consider making a trip to your local farmers market. Even in the promised land of farmer-owned brick-and-mortar markets offering door-to-door delivery, farmers markets will still be one of the best ways to connect to the actual people growing your food and gain an understanding of what it takes to responsibly feed a hungry planet.

Chris Newman is a farmer in Virginia’s Northern Neck. He’s tall and skinny and is growing a great and woolly beard for totally non-political reasons.


link to full article, images and charts

Global Chorus essay for July 19
Yongjune Park

How are we to live in a world of injustice and pain, a world of what Susan Sontag called the “simultaneity of wildly contrasting human fates”? What are the responsibilities of those who are well to those who suffer? Life is, in part, a tragedy. Yet tragedy is the form that recognizes that if a genuine human community is to be constituted, it can only be on the basis of our shared failure, frailty and morality.

Since part of the greatness of the human being is to recreate her or his life, our shared responsibility is to question and resist the forms of domination that crush the possibility of hope. Our endeavor should go far beyond just making global connections. It is time to move on to taking action. It is inescapably important that we concern ourselves with the adversities and tribulations of the people of the world as a whole, rather than being confined only to our immediate neighbours. This is where hope begins.

To be hopeful in hard times, as one of my heroes Howard Zinn said, is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage and kindness. Hope calls for action. If you have hope, you will move, act and engage with other people. Hope is not something that we aspire to. And hope is not what you can prove or seek evidence of out there. It arises from an action. It is what we become, and it is who we are when we are engaged. Hope is, simply, an action. And even though the impossible can take a little while, we will go forth to try hard anyway.

     —Yongjune Park, editor-in-chief of Indigo Magazine (South Korea)

 Magazine's Facebook page

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 18, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown Farmers' Market Open-Air Market, open 8AM-1PM** (note changed hours), outside, along the parking lot.  No early birds, customers to park at UPEI lot and walk over, only a certain number allowed in at any point, please keep moving, etc. All guidelines here:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market Ordering for PICKUP, (CFM2GO), Thursday, July 16th, begins later today, until Monday midnight:

Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM, outside the Holman Building

Vendors are outside, with directional markers for customers.   Lots of local produce, meats and crafts.

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce, fermented products, cheese, chocolates, etc.
Art Exhibit: closing Sunday, July 19th:

eARTh, The Guild Art Gallery, 9AM-5PM, corner of Queen and Richmond Streets.

A group exhibit of work by PEI women artists reflecting on climate change, environment, and the beauty of the natural world.

Millefiore Clarkes
Nancy Cole
Mari Basiletti
Ashley Anne Clark
Jane Affleck

Facebook event link

Opera on radio and online:
Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, CBC Music Radio), 1PM, 104.7FM,

July 18, 2020  -- Summer Festival of Operas:
Handel's Giulio Cesare,
Christophe Rousset, conductor, Karina Gauvin - Cleopatra, Christopher Lowrey - Giulio Cesare, with Les Talens Lyriques

Metropolitan Opera Livestream HD Video
Rossini’s La Cenerentola -- *until 12:30PM this afternoon*
Starring Elina Garanča and Lawrence Brownlee. From May 9, 2009.  The versatile Ms. Garanca has been Carmen, the "trouser role" of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Dalila, and the darling "Angelina" in this "marvelous musical souffle" of the Cinderella story.

Also, today the Met Opera starts live ticketed concerts,
Tenor Jonas Kaufman, LIVE 2PM our time, this afternoon. "Superstar tenor Jonas Kaufmann sings 12 of the most popular, show-stopping arias in the operatic repertoire, live from the ornate Polling Abbey located in the rolling Bavarian countryside outside Munich, Germany."  Details link

Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, 7:30PM tonight until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Amanda Majeski, Isabel Leonard, Peter Mattei (who was in the recent Wozzeck), and Ildar Abdrazakov as Figaro. From October 18, 2014.  Isolbel Leonard is the page Cherubino and apparently has this dramatic leap from the second story window  (Met story link).

Congratulations! Many fine Islanders out there.  But only three are awarded this each year:


The 2020 recipients of the Order of Prince Edward Island were announced by the Chancellor of the Order, Her Honour the Honourable Antoinette Perry, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island and Mr. Gerard Greenan, Chair of the Order of Prince Edward Island Advisory Council.

The three Islanders selected to receive the honour are:

  • Olive Bryanton of Hampshire;

  • Henry Purdy of Parkdale; and,

  • B.E. (Bev) Simpson of York.

These three individuals were selected from a total of 32 Islanders nominated to receive the award this year, and will receive the insignia of the order in a ceremony in September at Government House, Charlottetown.

Last year's medal recipients were Dr. Najmul H. Chishti of Charlottetown, Jeanette Arsenault of Albany, and Leo Broderick of Charlottetown. They received the Insignia of the Order at an investiture ceremony in September 2019 at Government House.

A cautionary tale, so easy to happen here:

JIM VIBERT: For open, transparent government, look elsewhere than Nova Scotia -The Guardian Analysis by Jim Vibert

Published on Friday, July 17th, 2020

If you subscribe to the theory that what you don’t know can’t hurt you, Nova Scotia’s Liberal government is your kind of outfit.

If, on the other hand, you believe that in a free and democratic society, government information is by definition public information — with certain limited, specific and justified exceptions — you may want to try a different political flavour.

If, as a taxpaying Nova Scotian, you think you’re entitled to know what happened at Northwood Manor, where your tax dollars support the care of hundreds of seniors, the Liberal government would tell you to think again.

Fifty-three residents of Northwood died from COVID-19, leaving the province no choice but to conduct, not an inquiry, but rather what it calls “a review.” Inquiries are public. A review can mean almost anything and in the Northwood case it means that the findings won’t see the light of day.

Options available to the province include the Public Inquiries Act and the Fatality Investigations Act, either of which would have produced a public accounting of the Northwood tragedy.

But the Liberals landed on a third option, one that will deliver the least possible information to Nova Scotians. They opted for a review under the rather obscure Quality-improvement Information Protection Act, a law intended for a different purpose, if we are to believe Leo Glavine, who was health minister in 2015 when the law was enacted.

“The Quality-improvement Information Protection Act is the key to unlocking meaningful provincial data analysis that will help achieve positive results for all Nova Scotians,” Glavine said at the time, summing up the bill’s purpose, if somewhat ambiguously.

He told the legislature back then that the act was about data collection to improve patient safety in the province’s health system. No mention was made of its now-convenient application in conducting a furtive review of a provincial tragedy.

Under the provisions of the 2015 law, the government doesn’t have to release anything that comes out of the review, although Premier Stephen McNeil has promised that the recommendations will be made public. If the government has its way, Nova Scotians may never know the full story of the tragedy at Northwood.

Way back in 2013, when they were trolling for your vote, McNeil and his Liberals promised to be the most open and transparent government Nova Scotians have ever seen.

Seven years later, the evidence is in and overwhelming.  Not only did they break that promise, they took Nova Scotia backwards, delivering a government that tells Nova Scotians only what it wants them to know, when it wants them to know it.

This week, the province’s new Information and Privacy Commissioner, Tricia Ralph, released her office’s annual report, which shows that as time goes by the government is becoming ever more parsimonious with the information it will release.

Among other duties, the commissioner’s office deals with appeals under the province’s antiquated 25-year-old Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) Act — a law McNeil’s Liberals also promised to modernize and strengthen until they arrived in government and discovered it was actually pretty handy when inconvenient information needed burial.

Applicants can appeal to the commissioner when the government denies access to information, but even when the commissioner sides with the applicant, the government can still withhold the information.

The commissioner has no power to compel compliance with the law. For that, the applicant must take the province to court, with all the hassle and cost that entails.

While it’s rare for an applicant to appeal to the courts, it is telling that in every case the court sided with the applicant and found that the information requested had to be released under the provisions of the FOIPOP law.   

Ralph reports that her office is now trying to process a three-year backlog in those appeals, and she notes that there has been a steady, if not precipitous, increase in appeals since 2013, which as noted above just happens to be the same year the Liberal government arrived in office.

The Liberals seem content to suffer the occasional slap-down in court in exchange for the anti-democratic luxury of withholding information whenever they want, secure in the knowledge that in the overwhelming majority of cases that will be the end of it.

The McNeil government does plenty of stuff right and we hear all about it. Operating an open and transparent government is one thing they do not do. As a result, Nova Scotians have very little idea what else the government is getting wrong.

Jim Vibert, a journalist and writer for longer than he cares to admit, consulted or worked for five Nova Scotia governments. He now keeps a close and critical eye on those in power.


Global Chorus essay for July 18
Ann Henderson-Sellers

Should we hope? Yes! We’re a resourceful species living on an amazingly hospitable planet. Have we screwed up? Yes, but like all recovering addicts, we recognize that our fossil energy “hits” and hedonistic consumerism cannot deliver our preferred future. Should we worry? Yes, because we are cleverly exploiting a finitely hospitable planet.

Over the last forty years I have written hundreds of papers and loads of books on climate and our future. I thought I had nothing more to learn about people’s capability to stop global warming. I was wrong. Glimmers of hope are emerging.

Please complete “what next?”:

The Earth’s climate is changing,
And we know we’re primarily responsible,
As this truth is deeply uncomfortable –
We (choose one):

1. allow, even encourage, our mass media to distract us with pseudo debate;
2. blame scientists for failing to clearly explain;
3. change behaviour and set to clean the mess up.

We’ve wasted time on 1 and 2, so the challenge today is to mobilize action that turns our global feeling of responsibility into empowerment for change.

My solution is sharing a smile en route to Earth’s better future. If, you are worried about change, a chuckle helps you live diferently. For a hopeful grin try:

writing a climate change limerick, e.g., (updated link here:

shooting a “low carb” movie short, e.g.,


Start now, have fun and help others change. Add a chorus line: “The best solutions share a smile!”

       — Ann Henderson-Sellers, DSc,

emeritus professor at Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 17, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

CBC Political Panel, after the 7:30AM news, 96.1FM et. al. 
Wrap-up of the recent provincial legislative session with journalists Kathy Large, Stu Neatby and Paul MacNeill.

Fridays4Future, *4-5PM*, Grafton and Great George Streets.
Weekly gathering as a reminder to our elected officials and others that Climate Change needs to be addressed immediately. Note different time this week.
"Province House (on Grafton St.), to call for our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy."  from:
Facebook event link

Thanks to Wayne Carver for reminding us about this:

LETTER: An important event - The Guardian Op-Ed by Wayne Carver

Published on Thursday, July 16th, 2020 in

Make no mistake about it, Motion 86 put forward by the Green Party was a very important event. Most importantly, it showed that the stranglehold on committees of the legislative assembly by majority governments can be overcome. Thanks to politicians who are able and willing to think outside the box and stick their collective jaw out there for the greater public good. Well done!

Now just imagine if we had proportional representation or independent members of the assembly. In all likelihood, we would not see as much party-driven partisan government again, ever. The chokehold of the old, two-party system would become dependent upon the collaboration of third parties and/or independents.

The news on July 8 out of Ottawa illustrates just how badly this country needs electoral reform. Citizens were aware the federal government was running a deficit but to see it grow to $343 billion in such a short period of time under this administration is shocking, mind-boggling and irresponsible. Unfortunately our federal government failed miserably and that assessment includes the Conservative and NDP who disappeared into the sunset when their presence was most needed. Shameful.

Time for citizens to start looking for representatives whose primary interest will be the welfare and security of their constituents. Whether they run for one of the established political parties or as an independent is irrelevant, as long as they work for the common good.

Thank you Greens for showing it is possible.
Wayne Carver, Long Creek

Wayne Carver is referring to Motion 86, an Official Opposition motion that attempts to address many government records issues, including the disappearance of emails regarding the "e-gaming"  scheme from around 2011-2012.

Motion 86 page

Motion 86 - Creation of a special committee of the legislative assembly on government records retention

The information below is about Motion 86, Creation of a special committee of the legislative assembly on government records retention, discussed during the 1st Session of the 66th General Assembly of the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly.

Date passed: June 30, 2020

Referred to Committee: Yes

Committee Name: Special Committee on Government Records Retention

Additional Information: The special committee referred to was created by Motion 86 and, according to the motion, has a mandate to make recommendations to the Legislative Assembly on the topic of Government Records Retention within six months. Note: An amendment to the motion was introduced during debate but the amendment was defeated on a standing vote. The motion passed as introduced.

Motion text:
WHEREAS a June 9, 2020, order of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (Order No FI-20-007) raised serious questions about the possibility of government records being improperly deleted;
AND WHEREAS  access to government records is fundamental toopen and transparent government;
AND WHEREAS government has committed to an external review of this issue;
AND WHEREAS an external review will not provide the openness and transparency that the public expectsand deserves;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that a Special Committee of the Legislative Assembly on Government Records Retention be created: with a six person membership, consisting of two members from government members, two members from the Official Opposition and two members from the Third Party;
AND THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the committee study the missing records referred in the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s order and the current practices related to electronic records and security;
AND THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this committee report back to the Legislative Assembly with recommendations within six months.

The time limit will ensure the Special Committee works efficiently to investigate this issue and get recommendations back to the Legislative Assembly, perhaps for the Fall Sitting.
This Motion was debated, yes indeed, with all sorts of opinions from all sorts of politicians: those who were MLAs during this time (mostly Third Party, MLAs such as Robbie Henderson, Robert Mitchell, Sonny Gallant, and Hal Perry who was both Conservative and Liberal in the past decade), the Tories who pursued this and called for better inquiry while the Official Opposition in recent years, and the Green Party members.  Lots of discussion -- in fact, to my mind, a real reason to set speaking limits on Motions, as the pontifications could be more promptly proclaimed -- and lots of ways this could be addressed, but not without a little drama, the MLAs finally pulled all in the same direction of getting this issue dealt with.

We'll look forward to hearing more about the creation of the Special  Committee on Government Records Retention and how it is going to meet its commitments.

Global Chorus essay for July 17
Sy Safransky

I wonder whether we’ll soon have just two seasons: Hot and Very Hot. Or Hot, Very Hot and You’ve Got To Be Kidding. Still, didn’t I vow to stop gnashing my teeth about global warming? If I knew this was my last day on Earth, would I spend time condemning my brothers and sisters for the mistakes we’ve made, or deriding myself for being just another greedy American who uses a disproportionate share of the world’s resources? Maybe there was once a golden age in which humans lived in energy-efficient harmony, women doing half the hunting and men half the gathering, the sex always sacred, no carbon footprint because we flew only in our dreams. But I have no idea how to get back to the garden.

So let’s show a little compassion for our not-so-evolved species. The Industrial Revolution didn’t begin until the 18th century; is it any surprise it’s taking us a while to clean up the mess? How long does it take any of us to learn from our bad decisions and failed relationships and lousy habits we can’t seem to break? Yes, the planet is getting hotter. But even if we were crowded together on a slow boat to hell, wouldn’t we want to extend some mercy to our fellow passengers?

During the height of the Cold War, I asked the spiritual teacher Ram Dass whether the world was facing a nuclear Armageddon or, as some were prophesying, a “new age” of peace and love and deeper awareness. Ram Dass said, “I used to think I should have an opinion on this, but as I examined it, I saw that if it’s going to be Armageddon and we’re going to die, the best thing to do to prepare for it is to quiet my mind, open my heart and deal with the suffering in front of me. And if it’s going to be the new age, the best thing to do is to quiet my mind, open my heart and deal with the suffering in front of me.” Is the moral calculus any different today?

     — Sy Safransky, editor and publisher of The Sun

The extra-ordinary Sun Magazine can be found here:

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 16, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Tonight and next few nights:  Comet NEOWISE should be visible, as it was Monday night, if it is clear at dark.  Find a northwest horizon after 10PM (it was 10:30PM Monday when it was dark enough in Bonshaw to see it), look for the Big Dipper and go to the right a bit and down (toward the ground) and it should look like a smudgy star with a tail extending (in a one o'clock direction).  Binoculars definitely show more detail and may make finding it easier.  There are many photos and a few good maps online.

Facing Northwest: the Big Dipper, and Comet NEOWISE's position from July 13th-19th
Illustration by Eddie Irizarry using Stellarium.

Metropolitan Opera for Thursday, July 16th
Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, 7:30PM Thursday until Friday about 6:30PM
Starring Elza van den Heever and Peter Mattei conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin; from January 11, 2020. A very new production, under two hours.  A tough story about about a mentally ill soldier, based on a true story from 19th century Europe.  In German with subtitles.

Next week: 
Tuesday, July 21st:
Joe Byrne, NDP-PEI Leader, on Facebook Live, 7PM. Questions can be submitted ahead of time at  
More info:

I was asleep at the switch, literally, and missed that the Legislature closed Tuesday night, so sorry about that oversight in yesterday's Citizens' Alliance News.  Stu Neatby of The Guardian covers some of the highlights of the Legislative session, with some comments and bold text from me, here:

P.E.I. legislature closes after 28-day sitting - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Wednesday, July 15th, 2020


P.E.I.’s spring legislative sitting, originally planned as an emergency sitting, has ended after 28 days, having strayed from its original intent to deal only with COVID-19 related matters.

In all, 15 bills were passed during the 28-day sitting, including appropriations bills related to the 2020-21 operating budget. This budget projects a $173-million deficit this year, due largely to COVID-19 related to spending and reduced revenue. The budget included significant increases in spending on programs for low-income Islanders, but also included income tax cuts and cuts for small businesses.

Three confidence motions were passed on Tuesday night with no dissenting votes from either the Opposition Liberals or Greens.

"The fact that all of the spending bills were unanimous should give Islanders comfort that all the members of this legislature are doing the best they can to look out for their best interests," King said.

Speaking to the media after the close of the legislature, Premier Dennis King said that all members realized the importance of the spending items contained in the budget.   King said that staff of the Department of Finance effectively had to redo the 2020-21 budget entirely from scratch after the pandemic began in March.

"After the initial impacts of COVID, when we knew we needed to make necessary investments, we knew that this wasn't the time for austerity," King said of the deficit budget.  "This is the biggest deficit for one year in the history of P.E.I. But the times called for that."

The session was initially planned as an emergency sitting and was expected to last only a few days. In the end, the 28-day sitting focused on several non-emergency matters, including reviewing the sitting hours of MLAs and several non-binding motions introduced by the Opposition Greens.

Six such motions, five from the Greens and one from the Liberals, passed over the course of the sitting.  (More later on the Motions -- Chris)

Aside from bills involving financial matters, the government passed the two pieces of legislation focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. One altered labour legislation, allowing workers to take unpaid sick leave if they were required to self-isolate due to COVID-19.

Another altered the province’s Public Health Act, granting public health officials more power to make decisions relating to travel restrictions to and from P.E.I.

All three parties also unanimously approved the appointment of three new Independent Officers of government – the Auditor General, the Child and Youth Advocate and the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

A key piece of the government’s legislative agenda was halted by the opposition parties. A bill amending the province’s Emergency Measures Act would have granted executive council expanded powers during a state of emergency, including the ability to change existing laws. Such changes would normally have had to be introduced in the legislative assembly.

The bill was eventually referred to an all-party standing committee, which recommended against the adoption Emergency Measures Act changes. The committee’s report said the legislature could be recalled for emergency matters.

Speaking to media, King said he would abide by the committee’s recommendations.  "If there is a second wave, if we're forced to declare a state of emergency and we are presented again with these situations, we will call an emergency sitting," King said.

The Opposition Greens introduced three bills that were passed. One will see more legal protections for victims of non-consensual distribution of intimate images. Another allowed the province’s auditor general expanded powers to audit corporations that receive government funds. A third bill altered the Employment Standards Act to grant more whistleblower protections for workers.

The Liberal Opposition introduced one bill that was passed, which changed the name of the St. Thomas D’Aquin Society to the Société acadienne et francophone de l’Île-du-Prince Édouard.

A motion introduced by MLA Heath MacDonald, calling on government to provide and economic and fiscal update in September of 2020 also passed.

Liberal interim leader Sonny Gallant said his caucus also held the PC government to account.  "Our goal was to talk to the government, and focus on the economy in this crisis, and of course the healthcare of all Islanders. And we feel we did that during this session," Gallant said on Tuesday.

When asked why there were no votes from the Liberal caucus against the operating budget, despite frequent criticism from the party during Question Period, Gallant said the King government “did their best” with the budget.  "We listened to the budget. We asked questions. And we felt that it's passed now and we'll see how government works going forward," he said.

One matter originally considered to be of key importance at the beginning of the session remains unresolved. A standing committee was tasked with coming up with recommendations related to setting up "virtual sittings" of the legislative assembly.

In the end, the committee determined that these recommendations relating to a legislative sitting would not be complete before November of 2020.


Paul MacNeill weighs in on the Auditor General appointment:

Process to hire new AG flawed - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, July 15th, 2020, in The Graphic publications

On May 26, PEI MLAs unanimously agreed to name Darren Noonan the Island’s next auditor general. In moving the appointment, Finance Minister Darlene Compton said “I’m confident that he will ensure our government continues to be financially transparent and accountable in our management of taxpayers’ dollars.”

Today there are MLAs who want a do-over.

What no MLA knew that day is the recommendation, forwarded by an independent committee appointed by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, omitted a significant detail. Noonan, while unquestionably talented and accomplished, lacked the paper qualifications established by the Chartered Public Accountants of PEI, a self-governing body, to conduct or sign off on public audits - the meat and potato work of the Auditor General.

This lack of current credentials is understandable given Noonan’s career trajectory. For 16 years he was a respected public accountant, rising to partner in a prominent Charlottetown firm. Over the last 13 years, he built a single car dealership into multiple dealerships, which were sold last year. While he continued to be a member in good standing of CPA PEI, he did not practice public accounting during his tenure in the automobile industry.

CPA PEI represents 700 current and retired public accountants. It was formed five years ago when various accounting designations merged and oversees the onerous process when an accountant applies to renew their public accounting license. Regulations require completion of “1,250 chargeable hours of practice as a public accountant within the immediately preceding five years.”

Last week, more than a month after starting his new job, Noonan applied for the necessary credentials, even releasing a press release through the Clerk’s office, stating his application was granted.

But just as MLAs were denied full context (Noonan is only the third AG in Canada appointed without credentials established by a provincial governing body), his release glossed over the license renewal process.

We don’t know if CPA PEI waived the 1,250 hour requirement, which would gut its credibility as a self-governing body. If the requirement remains, how will the AG complete the necessary work, how will it impact his new role, who will pay for it and how long it will take to complete, because the auditor’s office is routinely understaffed and overworked. Regardless, the requirement speaks to the significant learning curve for any public accountant wanting to return to practice.

Legislative Clerk Joey Jeffrey says it’s the responsibility of CPA PEI to explain its actions. CPA PEI isn’t talking. Neither is AG Noonan. Silence does not build trust.

While Darren Noonan is the face of the issue, this is not about him. It’s about process, conflicting authority and public trust. Noonan has achieved much in his career, but in the past 13 years while the audit industry experienced significant structural and legislative change, he was growing a private business, for which he deserves praise. Some will argue his entrepreneurial background is of significant benefit. Maybe. But that misses the point.

This is about a flawed process, starting with a hiring committee comprised of two HR experts and an accountant with significant auditor general experience. A request to release names of the committee members was refused. What’s lacking is a front line perspective of the political nuances unique to the vital role the auditor plays in holding government accountable. Why not a former premier, cabinet minister or deputy minister instead of a second HR hired gun? This is not a middle management position.

The hiring recommendation was brought forward by the legislature’s Audit Committee, which includes Compton, Official Opposition leader Peter Bevan-Baker and the Clerk. MLAs were offered application scoring sheets and Noonan’s resume. There was no mention whether a legal opinion pertaining to the conflict between the Audit Act, used to select an AG but silent on credentials, and regulations giving CPA PEI the right to dictate public accountant standards, was asked for, or received. If no legal opinion was received, it should have been, and released to MLAs.

Instead no red flags were raised and when details became public, MLAs of all political persuasion were angered and embarrassed, resulting in a deterioration of trust between the Clerk, who overseas the operation of the legislative assembly, and its members.

PEI’s Auditor General is our last line of defence. The AG is charged with shining light in the dark corners of government and delivering unbiased examinations into how and why government does what it does. We must trust the AG will diligently and effectively ask questions and investigate on our behalf. Since the new government was sworn in, all members of the house have spent a large amount of time promoting trust, transparency, and doing government business differently. It’s unfortunate this process fails to follow that lead and unnecessarily taints the Office of Auditor General by planting the seed of doubt in a vital public institution.

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


Global Chorus essay for July 16
Wallace J. Nichols

Fifteen years ago the hawksbill turtle in my hands would’ve been hog-tied, slaughtered and carved into trinkets. Today, it swam free.

On Baja’s Pacific coast, an adult male turtle swam into a fisherman’s net. In the past, for the fisherman anyway, such a thing would’ve been considered a stroke of good luck. Endless black market demand for turtle meat, eggs, skin and shell can provide a nice payday to anyone willing to endure the low-level risk of being caught.

Hawksbill turtles, once common, are now the rarest of the rare due to decades of hunting for their beautiful shells, which get carved into jewelry and other adornments. But these days, GrupoTortuguero. org, a Mexican grassroots conservation movement, is challenging the old ways and shaking things up. A network of thousands of fishermen, women and children count themselves among its ranks.

Noe de la Toba, the fisherman who caught this turtle, contacted Aaron Esliman, Grupo Tortuguero’s director. Esliman dispatched messages to network members throughout the region, who responded immediately. The turtle was swiftly moved to the nearby office of Vigilantes de Bahia Magdalena. A team led by Julio Solis, a former turtle hunter himself, took care of the turtle, checking for injuries. The turtle was measured, weighted, ID-tagged and quickly returned to the ocean. Images and details were shared immediately on Facebook and Twitter, on websites and over beers.

The fishermen involved weren’t paid. They just did it. It wasn’t anyone’s “job,” but everyone’s responsibility. They weren’t motivated by fear or money, but dignity and camaraderie. People like them are rescuing animals every day. Millions of sea turtles are saved each year and the populations in Baja’s ocean are rising – one turtle rescue at a time.

Twenty years ago, experts wrote of Baja’s turtle hopes. The population was too small and pressures on them too great, the thinking went. Yet, the survival of this one turtle tells a very different story. If the survival of endangered species is just a battle of the budgets, we will all lose. But if it’s a matter of will, commitment and love, I’ll put my bet on the turtles to win.

     —Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, research associate of California Academy of Sciences, author of Blue Minds


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 15, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food ordering options today:

Heart Beet Organics (vegetables, eggs, fermented products), order before noon today for pickup at their Great George Street storefront, today, Wednesday 3-6PM
   Also, items will be available at the store during those hours today.


Just before midnight, is the deadline to web-order for the Eat Local PEI service.

Eat Local PEI group (many farmers-market-type vendors), for Saturday late afternoon pickup, near Founders Food Court,

Met Opera for Wednesday, July 15th
Puccini’s Turandot, 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
Starring Maria Guleghina, Marina Poplavskaya, Marcello Giordani, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Andria Nelsons. From November 7, 2009.
This is the one with the famous tenor aria "Nessum dorma" in the final act.

Stratford Festival At Home changes its wonderful free recorded broadcasts each week, rotating another for a three week block.  Tomorrow The Adventures of Pericles will depart, and The Taming of the Shrew will commence, joining Antony and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet.  Each is about two hours long.  More details:

The P.E.I. Legislature passed the Operating Budget (and I think one other component of finances) yesterday, and were working on another smaller component, so this may indicate they are starting to wrap things up for this Emergency-and-Spring-Sitting. Every day they sit brings a fresh Question Period for Government to answer to.  The Question Period written records can be found late afternoon the day they happen and then archived on the Assembly's House Records page, though they are not furthered organized by Question Topic as they are when the Hansard is completed for the day.  The Official Opposition were continuing to ask questions to get details and get follow-up on specific areas -- Lynn Lund, Michelle Beaton, Steven Howard and others deserve mention. 

It does not appear that the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change has issued a Directive ordering a halt to all construction of Holding Ponds for agricultural irrigation yet.

Not related to much on the Island but perhaps interesting, nonetheless, from The Washington Post:

Red Wolves name for Washington could help save the species, scientist says - The Washington Post article by Scott Allen

Published onTuesday, July 14th, 2020

Ron Sutherland isn’t much of a football fan, but he has an interest in what Washington’s NFL team chooses as a replacement for its soon-to-be-retired name. The franchise’s decision could affect the future of an endangered species he has spent a decade of his career studying.

A chief scientist at the nonprofit Wildlands Network in Durham, N.C., Sutherland is among those in favor of Red Wolves, which has been endorsed by a segment of the team’s fan base. The red wolf is on the brink of going extinct in the wild for a second time, and Sutherland suggested the exposure that would come with an NFL team naming itself after the animal could only help its chance of survival.

“It would mean a lot of the country would suddenly hear something about the story of this animal, and that’s what the red wolf needs,” Sutherland said in a phone interview. “You’ve got this incredibly dire conservation going on right now, and people don’t even know about it. I think it would bring recognition to the red wolf.”

Red Wolves, Red Tails gain traction among Washington's NFL fans

If you hadn’t heard of the red wolf before it emerged as a potential replacement name for Washington’s NFL team, or perhaps wondered whether it was even a real animal, you’re not alone. There are a lot of people who wish it weren’t.

At the behest of state officials and landowners who opposed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s red wolf reintroduction program in eastern North Carolina, Congress commissioned a nearly $400,000 study in 2018 to determine whether red wolves were a distinct species or a genetic hybrid of the coyote, a plentiful member of the canine family not eligible for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. The evidence of the study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, released in April 2019, supported the classification of the contemporary red wolf as a distinct species, tracing the animal back to ancestors that lived more than 10,000 years ago.

Red wolves were once found from Texas to Florida, throughout the southeast and up to New York, so it’s likely they once roamed the D.C. area. They were wiped out along the Atlantic Coast around 1900 but survived along the Gulf Coast and were designated an endangered species in 1967. In the late 1970s, as the animals increasingly bred with coyotes, Fish and Wildlife officials captured the last remaining purebred red wolves in Texas and Louisiana and placed them in zoos in an attempt to revive the species.

“This is one of the critically endangered mammal species on the entire planet,” said Sutherland, who has been a vocal advocate for red wolf conservation since 2010. “The amazing thing is that a lot of Americans have no idea that this species is even in our backyard.”

In 1987, the Fish and Wildlife Service launched the world’s first effort to restore a native top carnivore back to the wild. The agency released three pairs of adult red wolves in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on eastern North Carolina’s Albemarle Peninsula, located inland from the Outer Banks. The red wolf population in the area peaked at more than 150 in 2006 but has since been in decline. Hunters and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s management of the restoration project are both to blame, Sutherland said. While there are now roughly 240 red wolves in captivity, the Fish and Wildlife Service stopped releasing new wolves into the wild in 2015.

These days, the red wolf population on the Albemarle Peninsula is believed to be about 20. A Flickr account maintained by Wildlands Network features 100,000 publicly accessible photographs of red wolves and other wildlife taken by cameras on the site, including deer, coyotes, quail, raccoons and one of the largest black bear concentrations in the United States.

A red wolf. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post) A red wolf. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

For the red wolves to stave off extinction in the wild, Sutherland said it’s imperative that the Fish and Wildlife Service resume releasing the wolves from captivity. He also endorses incentive programs that would reward locals for having red wolves on their property. In the meantime, he and his colleagues continue to engage in outreach with hunters and farmers who live near the refuge, reassuring them that the red wolf, which grows to be between 50 and 80 pounds, is “not the European ‘Big Bad Wolf’ that’s inside our heads.”

“The red wolf has not hurt anybody in 30 years down there in North Carolina, which is a pretty remarkable legacy,” Sutherland said. “They’re shy animals; they don’t really like people.”

Red wolves have several characteristics befitting a football team.

“The wolves are efficient top carnivores, and they can run down a deer and kill it,” Sutherland said. “They can take out things like raccoons and possums and beavers. Compared to a coyote, wolves have longer legs, and they’re bigger and more muscular and stronger. Their territories can be about 50 square miles, so they can cover a lot of ground. They’re fast, stealthy, disappear into the forest pretty easily when they want to. Superlative senses. They’re definitely athletic, and they’re beautiful animals. They’re pretty amazing.”
Sutherland acknowledged that Washington adopting the red wolf as its mascot might perpetuate some of the
myths and misconceptions about the species that he has worked hard to dispel over the years, with several fan-designed logo and uniform mock-ups for the name featuring slash marks and fangs. Still, he sees a lot more potential good resulting from the red wolf entering the national consciousness.

“One would hope the current Redskins fans would show some love toward the red wolf and doing more to help save the species, because you wouldn’t want your mascot to go extinct in the wild again,” Sutherland said. “I don’t really see any negatives. I think it makes sense to have an animal mascot, and I think having a red wolf would be a great choice.”

A red wolf in the wild is a rare sight. (Courtesy of Ron Sutherland/Wildlands Network) A red wolf in the wild is a rare sight. (Courtesy of Ron Sutherland/Wildlands Network)


short but very deep

Global Chorus essay for July 15
Bill Logan

We need spirit, worship, wonder, mystery. These are not meaningless words. Spirit is the truth we find in action. To worship is to value deeply. Wonder is the loving confession of our ignorance. Mystery, as Gabriel Marcel wrote, is not what is beyond us, but what encompasses us. When we are not above the world, but entirely and inextricably in it, we will be less liable to spoil it with our leavings. When I asked the composter Clark Gregory once, if there were not simply a few things that had to be thrown away, he answered, “There’s no such place as away.”

It seems somehow paradoxical that we should come back to the spirit by plunging deep into the world of matter, but that’s the way it is. We have no shortage of thoughts or of feelings. What most of us lack is a first-hand life, where our hands engage the world, discover its difficulties and craft a way through. Feeling may motivate and thought may order, but the work of our hands is the source of revelation. Hope comes to me when I see a person digging in the dirt, taking a walk, planing a board. The wider our experience, the more human we become, and the better able we will be to judge a sane way ahead.

       ---Bill Logan, founder of
Urban Arborists

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 14, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature begins sitting for this week today,
2-5PM and 7-9PM.  

You can watch at the Assembly website:
(a "Watch Live" link opens on the front page)

and Facebook live stream at

and on Eastlink TV (afternoon session).

Question Period transcripts and other materials at the Assembly website:

Presumably, they will start to wrap things up this week, many committees having submitted reports and the budget steadily being paged through.
Some Local Farmers' Food options this week:

Eat Local PEI has the deadline of 11:59PM Wednesday for pick-up or delivery late afternoon Saturday.  More details at:

Heart Beet Organics will be at their storefront, Great George Street, from 3-6PM Wednesday.  Pre-orders can be made until noon tomorrow for pickup at the store.

Met Opera for Tuesday, July 14
Verdi's La Traviata, Tuesday 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM,
from 1981 (!), with Ileana Cotrubas and Placido Domingo.  A timeless classic opera and really intriguing to see this production from nearly 40 years ago.
Short, relatively speaking, at just about two hours.

More at:

Truly, The Conversation we need to be having right now:

How to build a better Canada after COVID-19: Launch a fossil-free future - The Conversation website post by Kyla Tienhaara, Amy Janzwood and Angela Carter

This story is part of a series that proposes solutions to the many issues exposed during the coronavirus pandemic and what government and citizens can do to make Canada a better place.

Published on Monday, July 13th, 2020

Demand for fossil fuels collapsed during the COVID-19 pandemic as lockdown measures were introduced. In the second quarter of 2020, experts predict that global oil demand will be down 20 per cent from this time last year. Although demand is likely to recover somewhat in the next two years, some major oil company executives believe that it may never return to pre-2020 levels.

At the same time, the world remains “on fire” due to climate change, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. The year began with fires ravaging Australia, and in June, temperatures in the Arctic hit a record-breaking 38C.

The world is now at a critical juncture — a moment of uncertainty where decisions can cause dramatic shifts in the direction a society takes. The choices we make now will define Canada’s — and humanity’s — future.

As governments look for ways to help the Canadian economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, they must be guided by one incontestable principle: We cannot afford to invest in and expand the fossil fuel industry any further.

Why we need structural change

Daily global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 17 per cent in early April, when lockdowns were at their peak, compared to 2019. In the U.K., the decline hit 31 per cent, while in Canada it reached 20 per cent.

But emissions are now rebounding — much quicker than expected — as cars and trucks take to the roads again.

Emissions in 2020 are expected to be down by four per cent to (at most) seven per cent from 2019. But this falls short of the emissions cuts needed to achieve the Paris Agreement targets — 7.6 per cent a year, every year.

The lockdown has demonstrated that behavioural change alone is insufficient to decarbonize the economy; we also need structural change that gets at the root of emissions. This means addressing the contribution of the oil sector, particularly the oil sands.

READ the rest of the article, with illustrations, and find links to others in the Series, here: 

Conversation Canada has a Facebook group here:

Global Chorus essay for July 14
Tzeporah Berman

“What I wanted to ask you is … Do you really think we have a chance?” She looks about eighteen. Clearly moved by the speech I have just given on the impacts of climate change, tears brim in her shining eyes as she gathers her courage to ask a question that is so … raw. Without allowing my head to take over, I answer from the heart, “I do. But only if we can get out of our way. Only if we allow ourselves to listen to our instincts, to be guided by our values and not short-term politics or economic interests. Only if we all engage. Daily.”

“I will,” she whispers, her relief palpable. “Thank you.”

On the way home that night I ask myself if I truly believe my own answer or whether I was simply finding an answer that I knew would put out the flames of fear in that young girl’s eyes. I am relieved to find when I dig deep that I not only truly believe that we are capable of systemic change to ensure a safer, cleaner and more just world but that I feel it already happening almost like a humming beneath my feet.

There is no question that we are currently living in a dangerously unsustainable world as a result of dumping 30 billion tons of pollution into the atmosphere annually from the use of oil and coal. We are truly living the global tipping point moment. However, a cleaner and safer world powered by renewable energy – the sun and the wind – is no longer a pipe dream of some west coast hippies: for the past two years, new investment in renewable energy electricity generation has exceeded that in oil, coal and nuclear combined.

Sometimes it seems impossible. Too big. But at these times, we need to remember that technology, communications and transport entirely changed in our grandparents’ lifetimes and will again in ours. And in that young girl’s lifetime, we will re-envision the world toward a post-carbon industrial society. How quick and how difficult the transition will be will depend on how much we engage, and our willingness to act with our heads and our hearts.

    —Tzeporah Berman, mom, author of This Crazy Time, co-director of Greenpeace International’s Climate and Energy Unit
Tzeporah was one of the organizers of the Clayoquot Sound logging protestsin 1992-1993.

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 13, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Options:
Ordering deadline for Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO online for pick-up Thursday, July 16th (2-6PM), is tonight at midnight.

Aaron's Local Organic Veggie Delivery Service (biweekly)
Deadline Today for Delivery Friday, July 17th

Green Party Federal Leadership Race Candidates info:\

Know your candidates - Glen Murray, 8:30PM, Facebook event
(sorry, I missed the first week of this)

from the event link:

Each week, 1 candidate for Leader of the Canadian Greens will be chatting with Anna Keenan in this 'Over Green Tea' series.
Week 2 of 10 is with Glen Murray, former Mayor of Winnipeg, and former Ontario MPP and Cabinet Minister.
Check out Glen's campaign website here and sign up to get updates:
Join the conversation live here on Monday July 13:
Monday nights, 8:30pm Atlantic, July 6 to September 7.
(Except July 20th, which we've switched to Sunday July 19 instead!)

Facebook event link

Opera HD recorded live broadcasts:
Until 6:30PM tonight:
Viewers’ Choice: Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde ,  7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM, from 1999 with Ben Heppner. 

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Monday from 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Kristine Opolais, Roberto Alagna, Massimo Cavalletti, and Brindley Sherratt, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From March 5, 2016.   Set in 1940s occupied France. 

The (other) Guardian "Lunchtime read": (I haven't read this yet, but I am sure it will be thought-provoking)

Lunchtime read: Naomi Klein:

‘We must not return to pre-Covid status quo’ - The Guardian (UK) interview with Katharin Viner

Published on Monday, July 13th, 2020

Naomi Klein: ‘The virus has forced us to think about interdependencies and relationships.’
Photograph: Adrienne Grunwald/
The Guardian

Climate, equality and fairness must be at the heart of the post-pandemic recovery, activist and author Naomi Klein tells the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner. Klein says there are so many ways people can think about responding to the crisis that do not accept the idea that we have to return to the pre-Covid status quo or, she says, worse, “with more surveillance, more screens and less human contact”. She argues the virus has forced people to think about “interdependencies and and relationships” – from the food we eat to the things we touch – and has led to people thinking about issues such as racism, inequality and climate.
Article link:

ATLANTIC SKIES for July 13-19, 2020 - How Did the Moon Form? - by Glenn K. Roberts

There are a number of theories as to how our Moon formed, or where it may have come from. The primary one, and the one backed by most lunar scientists, is called the "giant impact hypothesis". It's premise is that the Moon formed as a result of a collision, approximately 4.5 billion years ago, between the newly-formed Earth and a Mars-sized object (given the name "Theia"), with the Moon forming when some of the debris coalesced around the core of Theia. A variation of this theory has the Moon forming from a number of massive objects that struck the young planet, sending up large quantities of material that eventually formed the Moon. Another variation, put forward in 2012, theorizes that the Moon formed when two massive objects 5x the size of Mars crashed into one another, with the Earth created from the majority of the collision material, and the Moon from the remaining debris disk that orbited the new planet.

The second theory, referred to as the "co-formation theory", holds that the Moon formed much as (and at the same time as) did the Earth. It postulates that, as the dust and gas in the giant molecular cloud that would eventually form our solar system, coalesced into the Sun and the various planets, some of that material also formed the Moon. This theory provided a plausible explanation as to why the Earth and Moon are very similar in material-makeup.

The final theory, called the "capture theory", posits that the Moon is a celestial object, formed elsewhere in the solar system, that was captured by Earth's gravity. One flaw in this theory, however, is that such objects are usually oddly-shaped (e.g., some of the moons of Saturn), not spherical like our Moon. A variation of the capture theory states that Earth's gravity, at some point billions of years ago, stole the Moon from Venus (which has no moon).

Here are a few interesting facts about our Moon:

- its other name is "Luna", after the Greek goddess of the Moon;

- it is the second-brightest celestial object after the Sun;

- it is our only natural satellite, and the fifth largest satellite in the solar system;

- it is in synchronous rotation around the Earth, meaning it always shows the same side (face) to Earth;

- its average orbital distance from Earth is 384,402 kms;

- its apparent size in the sky is the same as the Sun, thereby totally blocking the Sun during a total solar eclipse;

- its gravitational influence on the Earth gives us our high and low tides; and

- the first manned-landing on the Moon was Apollo 11 in July 1969.

Mercury remains too close to the Sun to be seen at present. Jupiter (mag. -2.7) will be at opposition (directly opposite the Sun as seen from Earth) on July14. It will also be at perigee (closest approach to Earth), and will be at its biggest and brightest for the year. Binoculars will show the four Jovian moons - Io, Callisto, Europa and Ganymede orbiting the planet. Jupiter will become visible above the SE horizon shortly before 10 p.m., remaining visible in the night sky (highest in the SE at midnight) until around 4:40 a.m., when it will be lost to the approaching dawn. Saturn (mag. +0.17) is visible about 10 degrees above the SE horizon around 10:30 p.m., reaching 23 degrees above the S horizon around 1:50 a.m., before succumbing to the dawn twilight in the SW shortly before 5:00 a.m. Mars (mag. -0.64) is visible about 41 degrees above the SE horizon shortly after midnight, before fading from view shortly after 5:00 a.m. Our "morning star" Venus (mag. -4.48) shines brilliantly above the E horizon around 3:00 a.m., reaching 20 degrees above the horizon before fading from sight as dawn breaks shortly after 5:00 a.m.

Try and catch a glimpse of Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE in the constellation of Lynx - the Lynx in the NW evening sky around the 15th. Look to the lower right of the front feet of Ursa Major - the Great Bear, just as the sky begins to darken between 9 - 10 p.m. By the 23rd, it will be visible, at the same time of night, closer to the bowl of the Big Dipper asterism in Ursa Major. Discovered in March 2020, it has now developed two tails (1 gas, 1 dust). The comet passed perihelion on July 3, and will make its closest approach to Earth (perigee) on July 23. Though now fading (currently estimated at mag. +0.1), it may be visible to the  naked-eye under a clear, dark sky throughout the remainder of the month, with binoculars and small scopes enhancing the view; a timed photo shot should capture the comet nicely. Google the comet on-line for the latest updates and finder charts.

Until next week, clear skies.


July 14 - Jupiter at opposition/perigee


Global Chorus essay for July 13
Chris Hedges

Clive Hamilton in Requiem for a Species describes a dark relief that comes from accepting that “catastrophic climate change is virtually certain.” This obliteration of “false hopes,” as he describes it, requires an intellectual and an emotional knowledge. The first is attainable. The second, because it means those we love, including our children, are doomed to insecurity, misery and suffering within a few decades, if not a few years, is much harder to acquire. To emotionally accept impending disaster, to attain the gut-level understanding that the power elite is incapable of responding rationally to the destruction of the ecosystem, is as difficult to face as our own mortality. It means a future bereft of options. It obliterates the dreams we have for our children. It forces us to accept that no matter what we do we cannot protect our sons and daughters. The most daunting existential struggle of our time is to ingest this awful truth – intellectually and emotionally – and yet continue to resist.

The human species, led by white Europeans and Euro-Americans, has been on a 500-year worldwide rampage of plundering, looting, enslaving, killing, subjugating, conquering, exploiting, polluting and destroying the Earth – as well as indigenous communities that got in their way. But the game is up. Te technical and scientific forces that created a life of luxury (as well as unrivalled military and economic power) for these elites are the forces that doom us. The mania for ceaseless economic expansion and exploitation has become a curse, a death sentence. But even as it collapses, as we endure the hottest year on record, there is no way to shut down the self-destructive engine of global capitalism.

Complex civilizations throughout history have had a bad habit of destroying themselves. The difference is that when we go down this time, the whole planet will go with us. There will, with this final collapse, be no new lands left to exploit, no new civilizations to conquer, no new peoples to subjugate. The 500-year struggle between the human species and the Earth will conclude by teaching us a painful lesson about unrestrained greed and hubris.

     — Chris Hedges, co-author with Joe Sacco of Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

diverse career of journalist, clergyman and activist:
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 12, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Some Local Food options:
Sunday Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street (which is closed to traffic for that time).

busy but informative poster for today's Downtown Market
Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO, pickup Thursday, July 16th

Ordering for pickup is still available, but the timing reworked, with orders taken from now until Monday about midnight for pickup Thursday afternoon.  Details here:

Eat Local PEI continues on their order-by-midnight-Wednesday for late Saturday afternoon pick-up.

Heartbeet Organics will continue to be open Wednesdays 3-6PM and Saturdays 9AM-1PM for produce, ferments and other local goodies.  Pre-ordering available.

Metropolitan Opera for Sunday, July 12 -- Ben Heppner!!
Viewers’ Choice: Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde ,  7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
From December 18, 1999.  "
Ben Heppner and Jane Eaglen are Tristan and Isolde, overwhelmed by their all-consuming love for each other which defies society and the law. René Pape is a devastating King Marke..."  Uh-oh.

Some Good News, here in Canada:

NL court hands down landmark victory for protection of Gulf of St. Lawrence - Sierra Club of Canada website post

Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020, on The Sierra Club Canada Foundation website

Court confirms that NL Offshore Petroleum Board was wrong to extend Corridor Resources’s exploration licence

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, July 7 2020 – Ecojustice lawyers and their environmentalist clients are celebrating a landmark victory in the wake of a court decision rendered July 3, which protects the Gulf of St. Lawrence and other sensitive ocean ecosystems. 

A Newfoundland and Labrador court quashed a licence for oil exploration in the Gulf, agreeing with the environmentalists that the offshore petroleum board was wrong to extend it beyond its legal term limit. 

Lawyers with Ecojustice and the uOttawa-Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic represented SNAP Québec, Attention FragÎles, Nature Québec, the David Suzuki Foundation, and Sierra Club Canada Foundation in a lawsuit that challenged the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board’s (C-NLOPB) decision to extend the Headwater Exploration (formerly Corridor Resources) Old Harry licence well past the maximum nine-year lifespan permitted under federal and provincial laws. 

The court’s ruling confirms that the C-NLOPB lacked the authority to extend the licence in the first place and means that no company can permanently obtain a right to explore at its leisure. As a result of the ruling, oil companies will need to pass an environmental assessment under the Impact Assessment Act and appropriately consult with Indigenous Peoples within the specified time. 

Representatives from the groups issued the following statements in response to the recent court decision: 

Ian Miron, Ecojustice lawyer, said:

“We welcome the court’s decision to uphold the law and enforce the time limit for this oil exploration licence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

“Not only does the decision protect the Gulf and the communities that depend on it from a risky drilling project, it sets an important precedent for offshore oil and gas regulators around the country. As recently as May 2019, federal regulators proposed similar artificial extensions for expiring licences in the Beaufort Sea. The court’s decision sends a clear message: such artificial extensions are illegal.” 

Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director for Sierra Club Canada Foundation, said:

"We continue to call for a full moratorium on oil and gas activity in the Gulf, and immediate action to protect and restore this shared and precious ecosystem. Right whales make their way here every summer and a major oil spill and seismic blasting would be devastating to them and other marine life, as well as coastal communities that rely on a healthy ecosystem."

Sylvain Archambault, biologist at SNAP Québec and spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition, said:

“SNAP Québec is pleased with the court decision and would like to salute Ecojustice’s truly professional and relentless work in this file. This environmental victory follows over a decade of mobilization by the St. Lawrence Coalition, countless groups and citizens around the Gulf as well as First Nations. The Gulf of St. Lawrence is now free of oil and gas projects but only a Gulf-wide moratorium can ensure permanent protection to the Gulf’s precious and fragile ecosystem.” 

Diego Creimer, Interim Co-Director General,Quebec and Atlantic Canada for the David Suzuki Foundation, said: 

“The Gulf of St-Lawrence is a rich ecosystem that provides habitat for hundreds of species and millions of Canadians. Oil exploration activities would put this fragile ecosystem at risk and threaten fisheries and tourism which are essential to the economy of the Atlantic region, in addition to threatening First Nations’ traditional territory. The federal government and the five provinces surrounding the gulf should work together with First Nations to protect this emblematic Canadian ecosystem.”  

Danielle Giroux, spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Coalition and president of Attention FragÎles, said:

“The Magdalen Islands community, as well as all those surrounding the Gulf of St. Lawrence, are very pleased with the court’s decision. An oil and gas industry in the Gulf would be totally incompatible with the sustainable economic activities based on fishing and tourism. This victory shows us the importance of constant vigilance and citizen mobilization to ensure the protection of the Gulf. We salute the hard work of all the groups and citizens involved in this fight along with Ecojustice who has defended this file with professionalism, dedication and conviction“.


And a thank-you note of sorts, from Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Sierra Club Canada:

to newsletter subscribers, e-mailed Wednesday, July 8th, 2020; bold is mine to highlight an additional issue not yet resolved:

Sometimes a weight has pressed on you so long you forget what it felt like before it got there.

Yesterday, we announced a landmark legal decision in our favour.

The battle to stop the licence to drill in the Gulf of St. Lawrence feels that way - after all, the Old Harry licence in the middle of the Gulf was issued way back in 2008 - that's twelve years ago! I’ve moved twice, gotten married, and had a child who is now five years old - but STILL the threat continued.

Well, the pressure has finally lifted - a huge relief for whales and other creatures who make the Gulf their home.

As you know, we have already lost a precious right whale calf this summer - one of two calves lost this year. 

Seismic blasting, noise pollution, and spills from oil drilling would have pushed this critically endangered population over the brink to extinction. And for now, we've stopped these threats in the Gulf (As a reminder, we are currently in the early stages of another legal challenge to protect the offshore, and I will be keeping you up-to-date on this developing case.)

I am so grateful for our wise and determined counsel from EcoJustice and our stalwart allies in this battle to protect the Gulf : SNAP-Quebec, Attention FragÎles, Nature Quebec, and Fondation David Suzuki. For the Innu, Mi’kmaq, and Maliseet leaders and elders who fought with us for the Gulf - and have long called for a moratorium there.

I thank the fearless leadership of Save Our Seas and Shores advocate Mary Gorman, and the members of SOSS-PEI, who never wavered and continued to push for the protection of the Gulf, even as the years ticked by.

And I thank you who have written in, spoken out, donated to our legal challenge, and shared the message that we need to do better for endangered whales and for our precious Gulf.

Although I was fortunate to escape the direct impacts of COVID on my family, everything feels different and changed these days. A veil of anxiety often fogs my mind - I’m sure it’s the same for many of you.

But today, this light gets through. A weight has been lifted. 

Gretchen Fitzgerald

National Programs Director

strong words from a strong spirit

Global Chorus essay for July 12
Les Stroud

If we live with Armageddon as our compass bearing then Armageddon is what we will find. If we envision a world with flourishing ecosystems and cultural diversity, then we shall have these. I have travelled to the remote corners of the Earth and found plastic in the water, but I have flown over jungles and found undiscovered species of wildlife. So I have hope.

What will it take to reach the tipping point back into a healthy planet, before it’s too late? One person. It starts with one person making a change and seeking to live in harmony with the planet. The energy of one person is enough to change the entire world. But it would be too little too late. Now each individual person must work with others until the combined energy overrides the destruction and downward spiraling path the health of the planet has taken. Each environmental organization must combine efforts. United, we can alter and ultimately reverse, the looming destruction of our planet. Divided we fall.

The revolution that will come from today’s children, will be an environmental one. The change must come NOW so that they don’t have to revolt.

“Think globally, act locally” is still the answer. I no longer keep a garbage receptacle. There is a place for everything I discard, from soiled wrappers to busted bikes. Garbage should be illegal. We have the technology. Close of your garbage container for one month and see how it all becomes possible. Create the universe our own species needs to flourish in; one with the health of all the other species in tact. One with cultural diversity. Volunteering won’t cut it. Laws need to be made. What someone does in Siberia will affect someone else in Chile. What someone does in Malaysia affects someone in Wyoming. God is not going to sweep down from the sky and clean up the oceans, bring back the whales and freshen the air. We continue to create our own universe. What are you creating?

      — Les Stroud, survival expert, musician, creator/producer/host of Survivorman
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 11, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown Farmers' Market Open-Air Market, open 9AM-12noon, outside, along the parking lot.  No early birds, customers to park at UPEI lot and walk over, only a certain number allowed in at any point, please keep moving, etc.
All guidelines here:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market Ordering for PICKUP, (CFM2GO), Thursday, July 16th, begins later today, until Monday midnight:

Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-noon, outside the Holman Building

Vendors are outside, with directional markers for customers.   Lots of local produce, meats and crafts.

Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce, fermented products, cheese, chocolates, etc.
Opera on radio and online:
Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, CBC Music Radio), 1PM, 104.7FM,

July 11, 2020
Idomeneo by W.A. Mozart, Teodor Currentzis, conductor; Russell Thomas - Idomeneo; Paula Murrihy - Idamante
MusicAeterna with Perm Opera Chorus and Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
.  I think this is a recent recording, from last year.

Metropolitan Opera Livestream
Saturday, July 11

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, from 7:30PM tonight until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Hui He, Elizabeth DeShong, Bruce Sledge, and Paulo Szot, conducted by Pier Giorgio Morandi. From November 9, 2019.

I am probably a little biased, but this is an excellent letter 

GUEST OPINION: Which new normal? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Doug Millington

Published on Friday, July 10th, 2020

The post-Covid journey to a "new normal" is being pulled in opposite directions in a tug-of-war between those who crave a return to a former status quo and those who favour mining our recent experience for new ideas and strategies. This contest is being played out in a chaotic “red-light/green-light” re-opening scenario featuring a haphazard succession of strategies defending against the siege of a new germ. We need to try to see beyond the fog of our current struggle and imagine how we want things to be when the germ is under control.

In many jurisdictions (notably the U.S.), in spite of dramatically increased infection rates, there are major projects plowing ahead on an "emergency" basis amid blunders like U.S. President Donald Trump’s order for federal agencies to bypass environmental laws to fast-track infrastructure projects.

Here on P.E.I., at the height of our shutdown, we have seen projects of varying sizes fast-tracked with little or no public oversight, some of which will leave a significant environmental and/or social footprint. These projects range from multi-million dollar waterfront condo complexes to the recently announced “de-designation” of the Royalty Oaks protected area. 

On. the other hand, creative thinkers aiming in the opposite direction have succeeded in redesigning many aspects of society, including the de-facto implementation of limited versions of a basic income guarantee (BIG) policy, so often dismissed as no more than a utopian fantasy. But moving forward, such innovations are at risk.

Big Oil will seek to renew and ensure the tyranny of the automobile. Big Data (and Big Security) will grasp at the virtual threads now linking classrooms with students, patients with doctors, and above all, consumers with retailers. Big Finance, registering healthy profits in spite of (thanks to?) massive layoffs, will kick back and light a Cohiba in celebration of the trillions in debt which will inevitably come due with interest. It will be quite the game of whack-a-mole to counter these hydra-headed, status-quo interests.

The Principles For A Just Transition, as outlined by presents the "big picture", global strategy for moving forward creatively. Locally, on P.E.I., we need to close loopholes in environmental laws (e.g. holding ponds substituting for high-capacity wells) and rules for heritage/designated properties (Royalty Oaks “de-designation”). We need to insist on greater transparency in approval and tendering of capital projects.

We need to document such Covid-era benefits as: cleaner air, increased use of renewable energy, less traffic (and fewer traffic deaths), increased emphasis on local food production and success in totally redesigning major social and economic networks and procedures. Finally, we need to bolster these Covid-era gains with supporting laws and policies, because there is no vaccine for the profit motive pulling on the other end of the rope.

Doug Millington is a member of the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. who lives in Charlottetown.


from Cindy Day, SaltWire's meteorologist: 

CINDY DAY: Don’t miss this once in a lifetime event to see Comet NEOWISE - The Guardian on-line article by Cindy Day

Published today on at the on-line Guardian

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you are most likely familiar with the word “NEOWISE.” If not, let me introduce you:

NEOWISE is the name of a comet that was discovered in March 2020. This comet is visiting from the most distant parts of our solar system and for the next couple of weeks, could put on quite a show. The comet made its once-in-a-lifetime close approach to the Sun on July 3 and will cross outside Earth's orbit on its way back to the outer parts of the solar system by mid-August.

On July 22, the comet will reach its closest point to Earth — a distance of 103 million kilometres — but because comets can be unpredictable, a little like the weather, experts are not sure that it will still be visible to the naked eye.

For the last few days, NEOWISE has been visible an hour before sunrise, very low in the northeastern sky. As of Sunday, the comet will be visible in the evening as well. About an hour after sunset, it will appear near the northwestern horizon. As the month goes on, it will rise higher in the sky, moving toward the Big Dipper. Right now, the comet is visible to the naked eye, but a good pair of binoculars would offer a better view. In very dark skies, you should be able to spot a nucleus and get a pretty good look at the fuzzy comet and its long, streaky tail.

Its name, in fact, is an acronym. The comet was discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer or NEOWISE. 

From its infrared signature, experts have discovered that the icy visitor is about five kilometres in diameter. It has a nucleus that is covered with sooty, dark particles left over from its formation near the birth of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.

After this encounter, astronomers expect Comet NEOWISE to bid farewell for quite some time. Its long, looping orbit around our star will bring it back to Earth's vicinity more than 6,000 years from now.

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network

Global Chorus essay for July 11
Hannah Quimby

Scribbled on a piece of paper, stored in a box of old sentimental items, is a letter from my high school friend. It starts with, “Belief is the foundation. Since the beginning of time, people have given meaning to life through belief.” I love this simple statement written from one 17-year-old to another. I love it because 16 years later the message is still relevant and fundamental to how I want to work in the world. Maintaining a solid belief that, collectively and individually, we can create positive change in our communities and can slowly restore our environment helps keep us going despite what we may witness to the contrary.

There are certainly times when I have doubt that our efforts will make a difference and when it’s impossible not to worry about the future of humanity and our environmental and social crises. Doubt arises when I have shifted my focus to the solemn realities that surround us which can seem impossible to overcome. As I write this, the UN has stated that in four days the world’s population will reach seven billion people. Experts are questioning how our planet will withstand the waste and impact of this number of people. We do not know for certain what the Earth and its inhabitants will be able to handle. What we do know is that the current rates of human growth and resource consumption are trending towards collapse.

Fortunately, current movements like Occupy Wall Street show a common belief that working together will create change. When our family created a grant-making foundation, we chose to work from this place of hope. We took the stance that our efforts would have a positive impact. With each grant, we believe in the work being done by committed non-profit leaders. We see positive community change, the creation of green space for young people to fall in love with the outdoors, and continued protection of our natural environment. Belief that we can collaboratively and strategically work towards a better future is what we can hold on to and the actions and outcomes from that belief give meaning to our lives.

    — Hannah Quimby, director of Quimby Family Foundation

"The foundation was formed in 2004 by Roxanne Quimby – an entrepreneur, environmentalist, and philanthropist with the vision to advance wilderness values and to increase access to the arts throughout Maine. In 2005, we began accepting proposals and awarding grants to Maine-based nonprofits focused on the arts and the environment. In 2014, a decade after the foundation was created, we added Healthy Living as an additional funding priority, and in early 2016 we entered a planning period with the goal of refining our mission and grant making strategy. The foundation is now focused exclusively on growing human wholeness." --- from th Quimby Family Foundation website

Roxanne Quimby and Burt Shavitz started Burt's Bees.

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 10, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Possibly a Political Panel, CBC Radio, 96.1FM, after the 7:30AM news.  It should be archived later at:

Heartbeet Organics orders today, Friday, for pickup at the Great George Street store on Saturday, 9AM-1PM

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-1PM.  Watch here, if your internet is adequate enough:
or on Eastlink TV.

Fridays4Future Gathering, all welcome, 12:30PM, Coles Building (to remind MLAs of the Climate Crisis still there, as they leave the Legislature for the weekend), Richmond Street side, following social distancing guidelines.

from Tony Reddin:
Again this week, because the PEI Legislature is expected to be in session from 10am to 1pm on Friday, we will gather at 12:30 in front of the Coles Building on Richmond St., to meet the MLAs as they exit, and tell them
to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and to do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy.
Facebook event link
Last Friday we had good success, including a discussion with MLA Steve Howard about trying to slow down funding for the Highways Dept. We also were able to pepper the Premier and Env Minister with many questions and comments, but Hwys Minister Myers got away.
continue to call out 'We need a Just Recovery
More on Just Recovery, here:

Nearly a double-feature of operatic drama in HD broadcasts on demand over the next two nights:

Met Opera -- until 6:30PM tonight:
Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini
Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek and Marcello Giordani, from March 2013. " one of the all-time great tales of tragic passion, adapted from an episode in Dante’s Inferno."

Met Opera from 7:30PM Friday, July 10th until 6:30PM Saturday, July 11th:
Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
"Starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, Mariusz Kwiecień, and Alexei Tanovitski, conducted by Valery Gergiev. From October 5, 2013...Netrebko stars as Tatiana, the young woman whose impulsive declaration of love is coolly rejected by Mariusz Kwiecien’s Onegin—with unexpected consequences years later."  Just under three hours.

Ann Wheatley's letter to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change, Honourable Natalie Jameson (shared with permission):

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

Dear Minister Jameson,

On behalf of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, I want to thank you for speaking and voting in favour of the motion to place a moratorium on holding ponds, which passed in the Legislature on Tuesday evening.

This was not, as some would say, an issue of supporting or not supporting Island farmers. It was an issue of protecting water as a common good, in order that it is available for future generations including future generations of food producers.

As you know we share your impatience and want to see the Water Act proclaimed as soon as possible. We hope you will do what is within your power to speed up the process. And in the meantime use your ministerial authority to place a moratorium on holding ponds and other, underground water distribution systems for the purpose of agricultural irrigation.

Again, thank-you so much for making such a clear statement in favour of protection of water and for taking the views and values of the people of Prince Edward Island into careful consideration. It is in the public interest to regulate water extraction, and to do so on the basis of the precautionary principle. Which is a principle enshrined on the yet-to-be-proclaimed PEI Water Act.


Ann Wheatley, for the Coalition for Protection of PEI Water

You could send a copy to your MLA to help explain why this issue is so important to many Islanders


The North Atlantic right whale is the face of an extinction crisis, report says - The Washington Post article by Darryl Fears

An international group of scientists said more than a quarter of plants and animals worldwide are threatened

Published on Thursday, July 9th, 2020, in

A baby right whale swims with its mother in Cape Cod Bay off Massachusetts last year. (Amy James/Center for Coastal Studies/NOAA/AP)

The North Atlantic right whale is “one step from extinction,” an international group of governments and scientists declared Thursday, slightly more than a month after President Trump lifted restrictions on commercial fishing in a key area of the whale’s habitat.

Only about 250 adults remain, the assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said, including 100 breeding females. Collisions with ships, entanglements in fishing nets and underwater noise pollution are killing the animals, which rely on echolocation for basic activities such as feeding, communicating and finding mates.

Atlantic right whales are just one species among many groups of plants and animals that are dying off, the assessment says. More than 1 in 4 species around the world are threatened with extinction. Lemurs in Madagascar have plummeted from hunting. European hamsters have declined because of development. And “the world’s most expensive fungus,” the caterpillar fungus on the Tibetan Plateau, has been nearly wiped out by overharvesting for use in traditional Chinese medicine.

“At the heart of this crisis is a dire need for alternative, sustainable livelihoods to replace the current reliance on deforestation and unsustainable use of wildlife,” Grethel Aguilar, IUCN’s acting director general, said in a statement. “These findings really bring home the urgent need for an ambitious post-2020 biodiversity framework that drives effective conservation action.”

The updated assessment from a report in 2018 found that 27 percent of plants and animals evaluated around the globe are threatened. It follows a 2019 United Nations report by seven leading scientists from universities across the world who found that 1 million species of plants and animals face extinction because of human activity.

Nearly 150 authors from 50 nations worked for three years to compile the report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services — a panel with 132 member nations, including the United States. The authors urged the world’s governments to address the decline of biodiversity along with human-caused climate change.

The deaths of 30 Atlantic right whales were confirmed as human-caused between 2012 and 2016, according to the IUCN report, and all but four were caused by entanglement in fishing gear. They contributed to a 15 percent decline in the population of the animals, which swim from Newfoundland, Canada, down to Florida in search of food and breeding grounds. The IUCN listed the animals as critically endangered, a step up from their endangered status in the United States.

“This status change is a call to arms: unless we act decisively to turn the tide, the next time the right whale’s Red List status changes it will be to ‘extinct,’ ” Jane Davenport, a senior attorney for Defenders of Wildlife, said in a statement.

On June 5, Trump signed a proclamation that opened the Atlantic Ocean’s only fully protected marine sanctuary to commercial fishing, as he dismissed arguments that crab traps, fishing nets and lines dangling hooks can harm fish and whales.

The order allowed fishing to resume at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of New England. The Obama administration closed off nearly 5,000 square miles of ocean in September 2016 to save whales and allow marine life to recover from overfishing.

At a roundtable led by Trump in Maine, former Maine governor Paul LePage (R) said fishing’s “not hurting” the whales, adding that “in the last two decades, there’s not been an entanglement or a death in Maine waters.”

Trump listened as LePage suggested that he should go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and tell them “to get reasonable about their regulations” against fishing that could kill mammals. “They are the problem.”

The president turned to David Bernhardt, his interior secretary who attended the meeting, and said, “You work that, David.” Bernhardt replied, “I’ll talk to them.”“As long as we can protect the whale, I’m going to do it, all right?” Trump said.

Within weeks, a petition circulated by conservation groups called on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to strengthen marine protections in the area.

Trump administration officials were already working to approve permits that would allow companies to search for oil and gas deposits using potentially harmful seismic blasts in the Atlantic Ocean, despite its decision to delay an unprecedented plan to sell federal leases on nearly the entire U.S. outer continental shelf.

Seven geology companies are hoping for permits from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a division of the Interior Department, to map the ocean floor from New Jersey to Florida using seismic sound waves that, some scientists say, harm fish and marine mammals, including the North Atlantic right whale. Conservationists are fighting the permits in federal court in South Carolina.

The update to the “Red List of Threatened Species” shows that 32,441 species out of a total of 120,372 face extinction“We have to take bold and rapid action to reduce the huge damage we’re doing to the planet if we’re going to save whales, frogs, lemurs and ultimately ourselves,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

That includes stamping out the wildlife trade and other activities that have also been tied to the origins of the global coronavirus pandemic, Curry said in a statement.
“We really can do all of these things, but we need world leaders to stand up and do them.”


There is really nothing good to say about the Maine governor.

Global Chorus essay for July 10 
Frederick Kirschenmann

Back in 2005 James Hansen warned us that “we have at most ten years to make drastic cuts in emissions that might head of climate convulsions.” One thing the climatologists seem to have misjudged is the speed at which climate change is taking place. Polar ice caps are melting faster than most predicted. Severe weather events seem to be dominating the planet sooner than they imagined.

Consequently it is easy to become discouraged about our future on the planet. However, we do know what we need to do and while we humans have a verifiable track record demonstrating our ability to remain in denial, there is also a record demonstrating our ability to take significant action in brief time periods.

While it is increasingly difficult to remain optimistic about our fate it is important to remember that hopefulness is different from optimism. Optimism assumes that things will turn out alright, which, ironically often leads to inaction. Hopefulness is about doing the right thing even when we are uncertain about the outcome. And when we act together in hope, often an unanticipated convergence of events take place which bring about unimaginable change. Joining together as a global community and doing the right thing even though we cannot be sure of the outcome is our only hope, and our children and grandchildren are depending on us to do it!

    —Frederick Kirschenmann, author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 9, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


"Meet Your MP for a Just Recovery", MP Sean Casey Meeting with Leadnow and Charlottetown constituents, 11AM, on-line.  Part of a national campaign by Leadnow:
"We're holding online meetings with MPs across the country to urge them to support a Just Recovery that puts people and the planet ahead of corporate profits." 
To register:

not sure about the meetings planned with the three other Island MPs
P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM today.  Opposition afternoon (after Question Period and such) and perhaps continuation of the budget estimates in the evening.
Watch live at:

Recap and comment:
Tuesday night Motion 80 (non-binding) was passed calling for an interim moratorium on holding ponds. Many people contacted their MLAs and the Environment Minister, and that seemed to have been noticed.  Most Liberal MLAs voted against it, and continue to decry it even yesterday in the Legislature, saying that the "Science" is not there to say the pumping regimes are detrimental. 
This is actually such a misunderstanding of the Precautionary Principle, which many of the same MLAs when in government (and as Ministers) seemed to comprehend then.  

Any moratorium would have to come from the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change, Natalie Jameson, who voted for the motion.

Moving on to Land:

from the Provincial media release yesterday: 

Islanders invited to share opinion on land use - PEI Government release

Published on Wednesday, July 8th, 2020, at the above link:

The provincial government wants to hear from Islanders on how land use, ownership and planning can be improved in the province.

Starting immediately, Islanders can visit Land Maters Project(link is external) to provide input about land issues in PEI. This engagement is part of the Province’s review of the Lands Protection Act and Planning Act and input will be used to provide recommendations on changes to regulations and legislation.

“Land protection and management has been a priority for Prince Edward Island since before Confederation,” said Bloyce Thompson, Minister of Agriculture and Land. “The upcoming review will help government identify Islanders’ concerns about our land and design ways to protect and preserve our land for future generations.” 

Land ownership is currently governed by the Lands Protection Act and regulated by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC). The Land Matters Project is being initiated as a response to public request, findings of past land reports, and current mandates to review the Lands Protection Act and Planning Act.

“In the next few weeks, we will also establish a Land Matters Advisory Committee of Islanders who will carry out conversations with the public,” said Minister Thompson. “We are looking for individuals with expertise in all aspects of land ownership, use, and planning. We want to hear from interested parties and we want to address land policy and legislation in a way that meets the needs of every Islander. Everything is up for discussion and we want to hear from you.”

Details of how to apply to the Land Matters Advisory Committee will be available soon on the Land Matters website. The site will also be updated with other information as progress unfolds.


The "Land Matters" website referred to is a shiny affair, a bit much for anyone struggling with inadequate rural internet to view properly, and seemingly not an in-house production.  (Why is that? ) This is similar to the last stages of the Water Act consultation, when a totally new external website popped up, and felt a bit like propaganda.

Global Chorus essay for July 9

Thomas Berry

The Great Work before us, the task of moving modern industrial civilization from its present devastating influence on the Earth to a more benign mode of presence, is not a role that we have chosen. We were chosen by some power beyond ourselves for this historical task. The nobility of our lives, however, depends upon the manner in which we come to understand and fulfill our assigned role.

We must believe that those powers that assign our role must in that same act bestow upon us the ability to fulfill this role. We must believe that we are cared for and guided by these same powers that bring us into being.

Our own special role, which we will hand on to our children, is that of managing the arduous transition from the terminal Cenozoic to the emerging Ecozoic Era, the period when humans will be present to the planet as participating members of the comprehensive Earth community. This is our Great Work.

     —Thomas Berry (1914-2009), author, historian of religions, geologian

More about Thomas Berry and his writings, and the Foundation that continues, here:

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 8, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food ordering options today:

Heart Beet Organics (vegetables, eggs, fermented products), order before noon today for pickup at their Great George Street storefront, today, Wednesday 3-6PM LINK

Also, items will be available at the store during those hours today.


Just before midnight, is the deadline to web-order for the Eat Local PEI service.

Eat Local PEI group (many farmers-market-type vendors), for Saturday late afternoon pickup, near Founders Food Court, .LINK
PEI Legislature sits from 2-5PM today

Watch Live:
the Assembly website at

Facebook live stream at
and on Eastlink TV.

Met Opera for Wednesday, July 8th
Mozart’s Così fan tutte, 7:30PM until 6:30PM Thursday
"...a cast of youthful stars in Mozart’s sophisticated comedy about testing the ties of love. Susanna Phillips and Isabel Leonard are the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella, who are led to believe their fiancés have gone off to war, but they come back in disguise...." With Matthew Polenzani and Rodion Pogossov..."Danielle de Niese sings the scheming maid Despina and Maurizio Muraro is Don Alfonso, the philosopher and mastermind pulling the strings."

Holding pond interim moratorium motion passes

In the P.E.I. Legislature last night, when the Opposition sets the orders called, Motion 80 once again resumed debate.  This Official Opposition motion called for a hold on the construction of water holding ponds, as it appeared there motivation to build them before the Water Act regulations were finished and put into effect (which would provide much more scrutiny of the water being drawn, etc.)  
Motion 80 text download link

from the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land's social media posting last night, which also protects water ;-) and understands when the spirit and intent of any law are being dodged....
"Tonight, Margaret Mead would have been proud to see what happened when a small group of islanders stood up and spoke out about creating an interim moratorium on holding ponds. You signed the petition, our opposition critic Lynne Lund introduced a motion and tonight it PaSSED! Congratulations to each and every person who signed the petition and wrote the Minister and their MLAs. THIS is democracy in action...." 

Editor Todd E. MacLean turned to some talented both widely known and not-yet-famous local writers for submissions to the Global Chorus project. The gentle and awe-inspiring Jill MacCormack was one of hidden gems. Her introspections can be found on here:

(her submission to the province about de-designating Royalty Oaks is deep and insightful, too)
Global Chorus essay for July 8
Jill MacCormack

It goes without saying that we are living in a time of tremendous social confusion and environmental discord. This awareness can cause despair or be viewed as grounds from which new ways of understanding and responding can emerge.

Why consider new ways of responding? Because right now as you read this you are a living, breathing creature of a wondrous and beautifully interconnected web of life. A web which holds us all in its balance and is capable of amazing resilience and regeneration if given the protection it requires to do so.

How can we facilitate this protection? By choosing to live more gently in the world. Trough speaking out against practices which are harmful to LIFE in all its complexity, and collectively moving towards a way of living which is more mindful of the daily choices we make, we can better safeguard and share the world’s limited resources.

Why be hopeful? In making conscious choices such as actively simplifying our lifestyles, resisting the seductive lure of consumerism and the monoculture it generates, and honouring our connection to the natural world, we are choosing to create a better plausible outcome than what is predicted if we continue on our current trajectory. How we, who have the power of choice, choose to live our lives matters deeply to the rest of the world.

Willingness to acknowledge the gravity of our current situation and choosing to act for the better in the face of that knowledge, creates the positive change our world so desperately needs. We cannot afford to be cautiously optimistic. HOPE is needed for us to change our ways of interacting with each other and the world.

     —Jill MacCormack, mother of three, writer, blogger

Most recent blog entry
(on the bobolink)

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 7, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature resumes sitting today, 2-5PM and 7-9PM.  

You can watch at the Assembly website:
(a "Watch Live" link opens on the front page)

and Facebook live stream at
and on Eastlink TV.

Question Period transcripts and other materials at the Assembly website:
The holding ponds for agricultural purposes, more on the Emergency Powers legislation are probably being discussed this week.  Presumably, they will not sit tomorrow, Canada Day.  Question Period is usually the first hour of the proceedings for the day.
Local Farmers' Food this week:

Eat Local PEI has the deadline of 11:59PM Wednesday for pick-up or delivery late afternoon Saturday.  More details at:

Heart Beet Organics will be at their storefront, Great George Street, from 3-6PM Wednesday.  Pre-orders can be made until noon tomorrow for pickup at the store.

Met Opera for 
Tuesday, July 7
Verdi’s Il Trovatore 
Tuesday 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM.
Starring Éva Marton, Dolora Zajick, and Luciano Pavarotti. From October 15, 1988. (!)
"Luciano Pavarotti brings his spectacular voice and artistry to one of the most famous of all tenor roles—Manrico, the ardent troubadour, trapped in an impossible situation by forces beyond his control."

And keep in mind that Puccini's  La boheme is still able to be view today until 6:30PM.

More at:

Review of some of last week in the P.E.I. Legislature, from the Green Party of P.E.I. newsletter (quoted in Green), with thanks:

"Last week, Green Environment, Water and Climate Change Critic Lynne Lund tabled a petition initiated by the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land calling for a moratorium on holding ponds. Many thanks to the 2305 people who signed this petition asking the government to impose a moratorium to prevent the further construction of such holding ponds, which have been recognized by the government itself as a possible way to circumvent the measures that will come into effect with the proclamation of the Water Act (when the government finally gets around to it...) to protect this precious, shared resource.

On Friday, the Special Committee on Climate Change, chaired by Green MLA Lynne Lund, tabled an interim report to the Legislature.
The committee still has work to do to complete its mandate of presenting government with costed recommendations for achieving PEI's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, but has made 14 recommendations that the government can begin to implement immediately.

It was almost exactly one year ago that Lynne Lund's first private member's bill passed, causing PEI to adopt new, higher 2030 emissions reduction targets and to become the first province in Canada to adopt targets in line with what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says is necessary in order to hold global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In the media:  P.E.I. needs more 'bang for your buck' in emissions reductions, MLAs say

On June 25, Peter Bevan-Baker put a motion forward calling for a fully public review by a committee of the Legislature on missing government records related to the e-gaming saga - and of government record retention practices in general.

This motion passed on June 30 in a split 14-12 vote, with all PC government members voting Nay and all Opposition Green and Liberal members voting Yea. Guardian reporter Stu Neatby described this as a "bizarre twist", seeing as the PC Party had called vocally for such an investigation while in Opposition. "

 I only think Stu from The Guardian thinks it's a "bizarre twist" because he hasn't seen the last couple of decades of shenanigans of the two Party system here on P.E.I.  


Considering A Pause

You can still consider writing your MLA and the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change and the Premier, to urge for a interim moratorium on holding pond construction, as soon as you can.
MLA contact information is here:
and carbon copy the Environment, Water and Climate change Minister, The Honourable Natalie Jameson:

and the Premier, Honourable Dennis King:

News from the States:

Energy companies abandon long-delayed Atlantic Coast Pipeline - The Washington Post article by Erin Cox and Gregory S. Scheider

Published on Sunday, July 5th, 2020

The two energy companies behind the controversial 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Sunday abandoned their six-year bid to build it, saying the project has become too costly and the regulatory environment too uncertain to justify further investment.

The natural-gas pipeline would have tunneled under the Appalachian Trail on its way from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina, building an energy infrastructure proponents said would attract economic development to the region. The abrupt abandonment sparked jubilation among environmental and community groups who had fought the pipeline all along its path, which included some of the most scenic and rugged terrain in Virginia. Property rights advocates in the Appalachians joined with an ashram in central Virginia and black Baptists from a rural county to make opposing the pipeline a high-profile political and social justice issue.

“The courageous leadership of impacted community members who refused to bow in the face of overwhelming odds is an inspiration to all Americans,” former vice president Al Gore and the Rev. William Barber, a civil rights leader, said Sunday in a joint statement. They had visited Virginia together to shed light on the pipeline’s impact on rural African American communities.

Virginia-based Dominion Energy and North Carolina-based Duke Energy spent $3.4 billion on the project, fighting regulatory battles that went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled favorably for the companies last month.

But company officials said in a statement that other recent federal court rulings linked to the Keystone XL pipeline have heightened the litigation risk, extended the project’s timeline and further ballooned the cost of the project, which had risen from an estimated $5 billion in 2014 to $8 billion today. When announced, the energy companies had hoped to have the pipeline operational by 2018.

Full article:

Global Chorus essay for July 7
Richard Zimmerman

Ecological nightmares are a dime a dozen these days, but one you probably haven’t even heard of is the decimation of tropical rainforests in order to clear land for oil palm plantations.

Palm oil is a hidden ingredient in everything from cookies, candy and junk food to shampoo, soap and skin cream. Ironically, it’s also used for biodiesel, a so-called “green” fuel. Ninety per cent of the global supply of palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia. The UNEP estimates that the forests of Borneo and Sumatra are being cleared at a rate of six football fields per minute every minute of every day – releasing so much carbon into the atmosphere that Indonesia now ranks third behind only China and the U.S. in carbon emissions. Palm oil is synonymous with global warming and climate change. Orangutans are gentle, intelligent creatures who share 97 per cent of our DNA. They live in only two places on Earth– the forests of Borneo and Sumatra– and they are critically endangered.

Orangutan babies are precious little bundles of orange fuf with big brown eyes and even bigger smiles, grasping their mother’s shaggy red hair high in the treetops. Deforestation has led to the slaughter of thousands of orangutans as palm oil companies expand into their forest home. When the forests are cleared, adults are shot on sight. They are beaten, burned, mutilated, tortured and often eaten. Babies are torn of their dying mothers so they can be sold to animal smugglers. Since this holocaust began, more than a thousand orphaned and displaced orangutans have been rescued and brought to rehabilitation centers in Borneo and Sumatra.

An attempt is now being made to reverse this horrific trend. Since 2012 more than 100 rehabilitated orangutans have been released back into a safe, secure forest in the Heart of Borneo. It takes around 300 individuals to maintain a stable gene pool, so with hundreds more scheduled to be released in years to come, for the first time in history a new wild orangutan population is being created.

Despite having spent years in cages, the orangutans are not wasting any time. Nine months after the first orangutans were released, the monitoring team was greeted by a wonderful surprise: babies.

If you want to reduce global warming and save the planet, then save the orangutans and their forests.

      — Richard Zimmerman, {:(|} founding director of Orangutan Outreach

Orangutan Outreach website:
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 6, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Ordering deadline for Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO online or pick-up Thursday, is tonight at midnight.
Website Link

(There are no deliveries from Aaron and the service but it resumes next week.)
Metropolitan Opera recorded broadcast:
Monday, July 6
Puccini’s La Bohème, from 7:30PM Monday until 6:30PM Tuesday
Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Susanna Phillips, Michael Fabiano, Lucas Meachem, et. al. From February  2018.  A "gateway" opera for many, it's relatively short (2 hours and 20 minutes), it's funny, sad, exasperating ("You know, a basic income guarantee would have made things so much easier."), filled with gorgeous melodies and heartbreak; this production from 2018 features incredibly talented young opera stars, probably closer to the age of the characters Puccini envisioned.
Definitely an opera to watch if you can.

illustrations and graphics at the link:

How to build a better Canada after COVID-19: Transform CERB into a basic annual income program - The Guardian article by Gregory C. Mason, University of Manitoba

Published on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, as part of The Conversation, in The Guardian

This story is part of a series that proposes solutions to the many issues exposed during the coronavirus pandemic and what government and citizens can do to make Canada a better place.

COVID-19 has prompted the federal government to support individuals through the Canada Economic Emergency Benefit (CERB). Simultaneously, advocacy for a basic annual income has exploded, with some suggesting the CERB could evolve into a basic income.

Basic income has become the Swiss Army knife of social policy. Beyond offering sufficient income to manage the daily expenses of living, advocates believe it will improve health and psychological outcomes, enhance distributive justice, mitigate the employment effects of automation, spur gender equality, create true freedom, improve the esthetics of existence and transform the relationship between people and work.

My observations are based in part on the lessons from Canada’s two basic income experiments: the Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment (Mincome), which was conducted from 1974 to 1979, and the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP), a short-lived experiment by the former Ontario government of Kathleen Wynne that ended in 2018. I have been working with Mincome data since 1981 and also served as a technical adviser to OBIP.

Use of a negative income tax

As with Mincome and OBIP, most proposals for a basic annual income rest on a negative income tax. While an income tax requires people to pay money to the government, a negative income tax uses an individual’s most recent tax return to verify eligibility for the basic income and to calculate the monthly payment which is distributed to recipients by direct deposit. OBIP required applicants to file a tax return and have a bank account, so these are not unusual requirements for participants in a basic income program.

A negative income tax would offer a guaranteed payment for those whose income is below a certain level. For every dollar earned above this guaranteed amount, the basic income payment falls by a percentage until earnings reach a level sufficient to eliminate any payments.

In Canada we already have a basic income for families with children in the form of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). If we use the OBIP model, a single parent with no income and two children under 18 could expect to receive around $27,000 from the basic income plus CCB (as well as a GST credit). A basic income would not need to provide for children, but it may create different support levels for couples and those with disabilities.

Must be a federal program

Using the CCB as a guide, a first principle is that any basic income in Canada must be a federal program administered through the income tax system. The amount paid to each Canadian would be the same anywhere in Canada. To compensate for regional variations in costs, provinces could elect to create supplementary payments administered by the federal government, as they currently do with the CCB.

If provincial social assistance programs treat the basic income as earnings, social assistance payments would fall to a low level, effectively offsetting much of the cost of a basic income. Many provinces offer extras as part of their social assistance programs, such as supplementary health and rental assistance. A basic income would not eliminate these, but may affect the level of support depending on how individual provinces fine-tune their economic safety nets.

This all seems simple, but there are practical and political challenges.

First, many Canadians do not file income tax returns. Indigenous people who are registered under the Indian Act and earn income from First Nations-owned enterprises do not pay tax on that income. Social assistance recipients also do need not file. A basic income would therefore require government to expand its existing proactive effort to encourage low-income people to file tax returns.

Further, because income tax filings are annual, applicants whose income status changed during the year would need a way to qualify for a basic income between tax returns. The same online eligibility affidavit used by CERB is a solution for this problem.

Impact on the incentive to work?

We also don’t know how a basic income would affect a person’s incentive to find work, which is shocking considering the many millions of dollars consumed by studies since the mid-1970s to settle this very question. The problem is participants in all the studies knew the payments would end in a couple of years and did not disconnect from employment.

This uncertainty over how people will change their willingness to work when the basic income becomes permanent argues for starting with quite low payments — certainly lower than the CERB — and adjusting slowly as we “learn by doing.”

There’s another issue to consider. COVID-19 has stopped the income of many who own homes, cars and financial assets. Do we pay the same basic income to someone with hundreds of thousands of dollars of net worth — common for many who have lost their jobs due to COVID — as we pay to a homeless person living under an overpass in a cardboard box?

I think not. Owning assets such as a house or car after reaching a threshold value should disqualify someone from the basic annual income.

Mincome was the only negative income tax experiment to adjust payments based on both income and net worth. In the ‘70s, social assistance programs commonly required applicants to liquidate their assets before applying for support. Nowadays, applicants may have a modest degree of wealth and still qualify for social assistance payments.

Most Canadians would agree that anyone with a certain level of net worth should draw this down before qualifying for the basic income. As an example, using the support levels for a single person used by OBIP, a possible threshold is $100,000 in net worth (equity in a home, cars, savings), above which someone would become ineligible for the basic income.

No need to liquidate assets

One need not sell the home in times of adversity because reverse annuity mortgages offer a method for accessing home equity to support the household.

The principle is clear — a basic income is the last line in the economic safety net.

Finally, aside from Canada Revenue Agency’s role in eligibility determination and payments administration, its scope of operations will increase through the need to track changes to net worth and to verify claims of a changed income between tax filings. Audits of recipients will also become more frequent to maintain the integrity of the program and to secure the political support of the majority of Canadians who are not receiving the basic income.

Compared to chasing scofflaws and the uber-rich, audits of poor people seems extreme, but recent concerns about the possible fraud in the CERB illustrates the need.

A basic income is possible for Canada. By creating a federal program as the backbone, with provinces offering top-ups and other poverty supports, developing the needed administrative processes and implementing the program over five years, we can get it done.

ATLANTIC SKIES for July 6-12, 2020 - by Glenn K. Roberts

Lyra and the Double Double
While last week's column was not, in essence, about the Summer Triangle, but, rather, about the two summer constellations Cygnus - the Swan, and Aquila - the Eagle, a number of my readers wrote me, and asked why I hadn't written about Vega in Lyra (the third component star of the triangle). So, to placate them, and to satisfy anyone else's curiosity, this week's column will focus on Vega and the constellation of Lyra - the Lyre
As mentioned last week, Lyra is most often associated with Orpheus, the mythical Greek musician/poet, whose talent with the lyre (an ancient stringed instrument similar to a small harp) was said to have charmed people, animals and inanimate objects alike, and to have even pleased the gods. Orpheus accompanied Jason and the Argonauts on their quest for the "Golden Fleece", where, it is said, his music saved the crew from the man-eating Sirens they encountered on the voyage. But, perhaps the most famous tale about Orpheus concerns his trip into Hades, the underworld, to rescue his wife, Eurydice, who had died from a snake bite. Orpheus played his lyre for Hades, god of the underworld, who was so charmed by the music that he relented and allowed Eurydice to return to the world of the living, provided that Orpheus not look back at her before she stepped clear of the entrance to Hades. Unfortunately, Eurydice tripped just before the entrance edge and cried out, causing Orpheus to look back at her, thereby breaking the sole condition of her release, and losing her back into Hades, this time for eternity. Upon his untimely and rather messy death (he was torn apart by a group of angry female followers of the god Dionysus), the gods, in honour of his great musical talent, placed the lyre of Orpheus in the heavens.

Interestingly, in ancient Egypt and India, the constellation of Lyra was depicted as a falling eagle or vulture carrying a lyre. At that time, the primary star (which we now call Vega) was known as "Wega" (from the Arabic for "swooping" or "falling"). In Wales, Lyra was known both as "King Arthur's Harp" and "King David's Harp". To the ancient aborigines of Australia, it was "Malleefowl" (after a chicken-sized, ground-dwelling bird). The constellation's main star, Vega, a variable star (mag. -0.02 to +0.07) at 25 lys distance, is the  star, and fifth brightest overall,  in the northern hemisphere. It was the first star (other than our sol) to be photographed (1850), and to have its light spectrum recorded.(1872). Vega was the pole star (i.e., the North Star) in 12,000 BCE (before common era; i.e., before Year 1), and will, again, be the pole star around 14,000 CE (common era). The Lyrid meteor shower occurs in April of each year.
No need to drive all the way to Tim's for a double double, you can just look up in the night sky. Epsilon Lyrae, located to the upper left of Vega (both stars are visible in a single binocular field), is a double star (seen in binos), with each component star itself a double (seen in small scopes), making Epsilon a double double. Do you want a doughnut to go with your order?
Having passed inferior solar conjunction on June 30, Mercury is still too close to the Sun to be visible. Jupiter is the first planet visible in the eastern sky around 10:50 p.m. (closer to 10 p.m. by the 12th). Heading for opposition on the 14th, Jupiter (mag. -2.7) reaches its highest point in the southern sky shortly after 2 a.m., before being lost to the dawn twilight around 5 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.2) rises in the east around 11 p.m. (about 20 mins earlier by the 12th), reaching 23 degrees above the southern horizon shortly after 2 a.m., then fading from view shortly after 4:30 a.m. Mars (mag. -0.5) rises around 12:30 a.m., achieving a height of 38 degrees above the south-east horizon before being lost to the dawn twilight around 5 a.m. Venus (mag. -4.5) rises in the east about 3:20 a.m. (3 a.m. by 12th), reaching 16 degrees above the eastern horizon before disappearing shortly after 5 a.m. Venus reaches its greatest brightness (mag. -4.7 )for the year on July 8.
Until next week, clear skies.
July   8 - Venus at greatest brightness for 2020
       12 -  Last Quarter Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)


Global Chorus essay for July 6
Paul Ekins

Humanity is indeed at a crossroads. There are many choices to be made, but two fundamental changes are required to how humankind currently goes about its business: first, we need to realize deep, deep down that our species, like all others, is part of and profoundly dependent on the biosphere, and that lasting damage to this biosphere is the most anti-social, and stupidest, outcome that we can bring about; and second, we need to realize deep, deep down that our societies are now profoundly interdependent, so that damage to one can very easily become damage to many, and co-operative international relations are essential if we are to thrive and, in the long term, are perhaps even a condition for survival.

These are indeed huge changes from the routine environmental destruction and often warring competition between countries that have disfigured the human experience since the dawn of what we call civilization. But they are certainly not inconceivable. In fact, many people already work with great commitment on different aspects of these issues, and much progress has been made on many fronts. But not enough. And not fast enough. Te issues of climate change and biodiversity destruction, in particular, cry out for a new Earth ethic to become established, together with the global co-operation to build the institutions and policies to implement it.

My particular specialist field is the economics of energy, the environment and climate change. I can say categorically that, even at this late stage in the drama, we have the technologies and economic resources, and institutional capabilities, to contain climate change and move systematically towards an environmentally and socially sustainable economy. But the window of opportunity is closing fast. Can we do it? Yes, we can. Will we do it? In the absence of a reliable crystal ball, my only answer is: we must try.

     —Dr. Paul Ekins, professor of resources and environmental policy, director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources at University College London (UK)

Recent Biography of Paul Ekins from the Univeristy College London (UCL)

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 5, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some Local Food options:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market had an apparently successful first day as an Open-Air Market, as Summerside Farmers' Market has done.
Ordering for pickup is still available, but the timing reworked, with orders taken from now until Monday about midnight for pickup Thursday afternoon.  Details here:

Eat Local PEI continues on their order-by-midnight-Wednesday for late Saturday afternoon pick-up.


Metropolitan Opera for Sunday, July 5
Rossini’s La Donna del Lago, 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Joyce DiDonato, Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, John Osborn, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Michele Mariotti. From March 14, 2015.  "An all-star cast assembled for the Met’s first-ever performances of Rossini’s romantic retelling of Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem The Lady of the Lake." 


From Boyd Allen, who is active in both the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water and the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land (and who serves as the vice-chair of the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.), a letter to Premier Dennis King, shared with permission, and with encouragement for people to share or make use of elements in it. 


Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Dear Premier King:
I am writing you to express my concern about your response to the ongoing proliferation of irrigational holding ponds. I would hope that you’ve been adequately briefed about how these ponds have been used as a means for elements of the potato processing industry to circumvent the moratorium on high capacity wells until the water act regulations are enacted. Until this act is enacted these ponds exist in a regulatory vacuum (which means there) is no need for any form of environmental impact assessment to take place before they are constructed or to monitor their impact once completed. There is no delineation of responsibility if they do have any future impacts on neighbouring ecosystems. At present, the owners of these ponds don’t even have to inform government of their existence. The lack of compliance with the Water Act ( passed by the P.E.I. legislature in December of 2018) is obvious.
The following is a statement made by you during the election campaign in 2019: “...water is the issue that islanders all want to talk about...This might be a case that since we don’t know the impacts of what we are allowing them to do now with the holding ponds, the effects might actually be worse than the effect of the high capacity wells...A government led by me will recognize that and we will make sure the processes are in place, that the regulations are there to make sure our water is protected.”
This presents your clear commitment to the Water Act’s underlying principles. To allow further delay on its enactment and not supporting a temporary moratorium on these holding ponds show you reneging on this commitment. Your support of this moratorium is a matter of public trust and whether you continue to deserve it.

Regards ,
Boyd Allen


Some contact information:

Honourable Premier Dennis King:

Honourable Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change Natalie Jameson

Other MLAs' addresses can be found here:



The MLAs will likely revisit this issue this week in the Legislature, as the Official Opposition is calling on Government to establish an Interim Moratorium on Holding Ponds. 

Motion 80 page  Urging government to establish a moratorium on agricultural holding ponds

Motion 80 edited down:


  • the construction of holding ponds connected to multiple low-capacity wells can result in the withdrawal of as much or more water as a single high-capacity well;

  • there are currently no regulations under the province's Environmental Protection Act prohibiting or limiting the construction of holding ponds;

  • proposed regulations under the Water Act that would prohibit the construction of holding ponds that achieve the same total withdrawal capacity as high-capacity wells have not yet been implemented;

  • there are currently approximately 20 agricultural holding ponds in the province;  (note: there are more than this)

  • all agricultural holding ponds constructed prior to the Water Act coming into effect will not be required to comply with the new legislation for five years;

(the Motion asks:)
that the Legislative Assembly urge government to use its authority under the Environmental Protection Act to immediately establish a moratorium on the construction of new agricultural holding ponds until the Water Withdrawal Regulations under the Water Act have been implemented.

People are encouraged to contact their local MLA, the Premier and the Environment Minister, to comment on this topic, perhaps before Tuesday if possible. 


An article (LINK only) from the National Observer about Electric Vehicles and incentives for their sales, related to a comment about Global Chorus essayist Marc Garneau and his Ministerial Mandate Letter, below:

Shifting to electric vehicles requires economic incentives, just ask Norway

by David McKie
published on Monday, June 29th, 2020 in The National Observer


Norway's EV incentives as an infographic:

It's not like Norway is free of complications on Climate Change action -- here is an article from a few months ago about their plans to allow drilling in the Arctic:

Appeals court upholds Norway licenses for Arctic drilling

January 23, 2020

AP News link

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — An appeals court ruled Thursday that the Norwegian government can hand out oil drilling licenses in the Arctic, dealing a second blow to environmental groups that had sued against further drilling in the Barents Sea.

The court upheld a ruling that acquitted the government of charges from Nature and Youth and Greenpeace Nordic that drilling for oil and gas in Arctic waters would violate the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and the Norwegian constitution. 


Global Chorus essay for July 5
Marc Garneau

When you first look at Earth from space, it is achingly beautiful. It is mesmerizing. You can’t take your eyes of it. A warm and inviting sphere of light and colour, surrounded by the utter darkness of space; our shared home, our only home.

As time goes by and your eye zeroes in on detail, you realize that it is not perfection; that it is damaged and that it is we who have damaged it: deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, polluted estuaries emptying into the sea and great swaths of yellow-brown air, all visible to the naked eye.

Seven billion of us share this planet and it is straining under our relentless onslaught. It’s not that we are destroying Earth on purpose. In many cases, we’re just struggling to survive. But we are all paying a price.

Earth’s oceans of air and water belong to all of us. I can understand this stark reality from the vantage point of space. I wish everyone could see what I see.

Down below, the perspective is different. We see the polluted stream, the belching smokestack, the clear-cut forest. But we lack that sense of scale. It’s all about scale and perspective.

And yet some do understand the magnitude of what is happening. Their minds can grasp that even though the change may be slow, it is relentless, and in some cases, irreversible. And they are wise enough to think beyond the needs of their own lifetime. For that reason alone, there is hope.

     —Marc Garneau, first Canadian astronaut in space, Member of Parliament for Westmount–Ville-Marie (Montréal), current Minister of Transport

(An aside: Ministerial Mandate letter is linked to the above page, and while he is tasked with some environmentally progressive work like advancing to zero-emission vehicle sales targets:

  • Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to advance toward our zero-emission vehicles targets of 10 per cent of light-duty vehicles sales per year by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040; and

 (There doesn't appear to be much that's very bold or innovative in his Mandate to address Climate Change.)


essay from

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet

edited by Todd E. MacLean

copyright 2014

July 4, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown Farmers' Market Open-Air Market, open 9AM-12noon, outside, along the parking lot.  No early birds, customers to park at UPEI lot and walk over, only a certain number allowed in at any point, etc.

All guidelines here:

"Typically, the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market has been a place to gather and meet with friends. Due to the new environment, we all need to be aware of and adhere to changes in how we shop at the Market.
That being said, we don't want you to forget the many wonderful reasons for visiting the Market, including the health benefits of purchasing fresh, locally-grown foods and supporting our many local vendors....

"Be patient and be kind to one another as we support each other through this new way of shopping."

Charlottetown Farmers' Market Ordering for PICKUP, (CFM2GO), Thursday, July 9th, begins later today, until Monday midnight:

Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-noon, outside the Holman Building

Vendors are outside, with directional markers for customers.   Lots of local produce, meats and crafts.


Heart Beet Organics "The Farmacy", 9AM-1PM, 152A Great George Street, Charlottetown. Local produce, fermented products, cheese, chocolates, and more.

Local organic producers, their products, and their contact info listed in this week's:
PEI Certified Organic Producers Co-op Newsletter for July 3rd, 2020


DIVERSECity Performances, Part 2, on-line, 7-9PM,

"PART 2: ALL NEW PERFORMANCES from Atlantic Canada's largest multicultural festival is available online!
This online extravaganza is an exciting way to experience the diverse cultures of Atlantic Canada from your living room. Order your favourite dish from our vendors and have it delivered while you sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Diversecity Festival!
Tune in at or check it out on Eastlink Community TV."

Facebook event details

Opera times:
Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, CBC Music Radio), 1PM, 104.7FM,
Opera productions from Europe
Hector Berlioz, Benvenuto Cellini, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, conductor, Michael Spyres, Sophia Burgos, Maurizio Muraro..  The Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.  Recorded in 2019.  " The story tells of the 16th century Florentine sculptor and goldsmith, Benvenuto Cellini’s love for Teresa, daughter of the Papal Treasurer Balducci."

Metropolitan Opera Livestream
Saturday, July 4

Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, 7:30PM Saturday until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Beverly Sills, Alfredo Kraus, Håkan Hagegård, and Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by Nicola Rescigno. From January 11, 1979.
Beverly Sills, a.k.a "Bubbles" as the delightful young widow who teaches a silly old man a thing or two.  "This being a Donizetti comedy, it all turns out perfectly well at the end—and getting there is pure operatic fun."


A thoughtful and well-researched letter by Lou Richard on Trade:

GUEST OPINION: Sustainable choices

by Lou Richard, Guest opinion
published on Friday, July 3rd, 2020, in The Guardian

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis is providing us with the opportunity to critically examine the sustainability of our choices. It has made visible many glaring cracks in our global supply systems, such as the apparent difficulty in accessing personal protective equipment to protect vulnerable front-line health workers. The pandemic is demonstrating how quickly our lives can be upended and seemingly out of our control. I think it is giving us a taste of what is in store with the crisis which will be wrought from climate change and our failure to rein in our over- consumptive lifestyles. We have bought in to the myth that bigger is better and allowed large corporations to hold the levers of influence and power within democratic governments both nationally and provincially.

Corporate control has been greatly enhanced through the free trade agenda which has made free and unrestricted access to markets and corporate rights its overriding goal. This amounts essentially to a “profit over people” free trade agenda. Our governments since the signing of NAFTA in the 1980s have gradually given away their powers to legislate in the public interest. With each new free trade agreement further inroads by the corporate sector are realized. One area in which this has become apparent within the agricultural sector is our unique Canadian Supply Management system.

Supply management has been operating successfully in Canada since the 1960s. It is essentially a balanced approach to supply and demand within a few perishable food sectors including dairy, chicken and eggs. Supply management ensures sufficient domestic supply of these products to meet demand. It provides a fair income for farmers and controls the amount of unfairly priced foreign imports sold in the Canadian market. It gives real market power to small-scale farmers in the face of the ever-increasing power of large, international agribusiness corporations. And it has not needed government bailouts and subsidies so common in the large dairy exporting countries such as the EU, New Zealand and the U.S.

Despite this success, supply management is continually under pressure from the free trade agenda. Canadian governments have repeatedly indicated their support for supply management but behind the closed doors of the trade negotiating table there is a persistent whittling down of control. Recent trade agreements such as CETA, TPP and the CUSMA all have contributed to the erosion of our dairy market by allowing increased imports of dairy products. It has left P.E.I.’s largest dairy processor, ADL, with a new level of uncertainty. While for the everyday consumer this may mean the saving of a few cents on a pound of cheese, the actual impact is far greater and deeper for dairy farmers, for local processors, for rural life, for sustainable agriculture and hence for all of us.


On P.E.I., the dairy industry consists of 265 dairy farms with herds on average of 50 cows. This is in contrast to much larger operations in the U.S., which at its largest, has herds in the neighbourhood of 30,000 cows. (It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out which herd the cow would prefer.) Dairy farms contribute to the rural economy and help sustain rural life. Dairy farmers also use less pesticides and help restore organic matter and nutrients to the soil. They are essential to a sustainable agricultural system.

As we recover from COVID-19, we have the opportunity to reexamine the choices we make to strengthen our self-reliance and food sovereignty. We can choose to transition away from industrial models to more sustainable and organic models of agriculture. We can choose to support Island producers. We can choose to support supply management, improve it and build on it for the farmers of today and tomorrow.

Lou Richard represents Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network on the P.E.I. Trade Justice coalition.


Global Chorus essay for July 4
Wade Davis

On Christmas Eve, 1968, Apollo emerged from the dark side of the moon to see rising over its surface not a sunrise but the Earth itself ascendant, a small and fragile planet, floating in the velvet void of space. This image more than any amount of scientific data showed us that our planet is a finite place, a single interactive sphere of life, a living organism composed of air, water, wind and soil. This revelation, only made possible by the brilliance of science, sparked a paradigm shift that people will be speaking about for the rest of history.

Almost immediately we began to think in new ways. Just imagine. Thirty years ago simply getting people to stop throwing garbage out of a car window was a great environmental victory. No one spoke of the biosphere or biodiversity; now these terms are part of the vocabulary of schoolchildren.

Like a great wave of hope, this energy of illumination, made possible by the space program, spread everywhere. So many positive things have happened in the intervening years. In little more than a generation, women have gone from the kitchen to the boardroom, gay people from the closet to the altar, African Americans from the back door and the woodshed to the White House.

What’s not to love about a country and a world capable of such scientific genius, such cultural capacity for change and renewal?

Creativity is a consequence of action, not its motivation. Do what needs to be done and then ask whether it was possible or permissible. Pessimism is an indulgence, orthodoxy the enemy of invention, despair an insult to the imagination.
Wade Davis, author, professor of anthropology,  LEEF Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk, University of British Columbia


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 3, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The PEI Legislature sits from 10AM-1PM.

Fridays 4 Future -- *different time and place* -- 12:30PM, Coles Building

-- from Tony Reddin
(apologies for formatting issues)

Hello again from PEI Fridays for Future Climate Action Group (if you're on facebook but not a member please consider joining)

This week, because the PEI Legislature is in session from 10am to 1pm on Friday, we will gather at 12:30 in front of the Coles Building on Richmond St., to meet the MLAs as they exit, and to say 'We need a Just Recovery' :
Some suggested wordings for signs are below.

Government is spending millions of dollars on COVID recovery packages and they need to hear from us:

● Put our health first, with no exceptions.

● Strengthen the social security net and ensure relief flows directly to people.

● Prioritize workers and communities.

● Tackle the climate crisis and build resilience against future crises.

● Build equity across communities, generations and borders.

● Uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

We continue to call on our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and to do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy.

We urge everyone to contact your MLAs, MPs and city/town Councillors and ask what actions they are taking for a Just Recovery and to address the climate emergency. Email is good for keeping a record of answers.

We'd like to get a big turnout this Friday so please bring others along, post, share and spread the word! 

Even if you can't attend, you can join the virtual campaign at  
Tag your MP, PM, MLA, Premier, Mayor and Councillor in online posts to: - #BuildBackBetter #JustRecovery #EarthComesFirst  

(e.g. We can't go back to business-as-usual after the #COVID19 pandemic. That's why we're building a movement for a #JustRecoveryforAll that puts people first. Let’s demand a #JustRecovery so we can #BuildBackBetter  )

#ClimateStrike #Charlottetown #Canada #TellTheTruth #ActNow #BeyondPolitics


Met Opera livestream:
Friday, July 3rd

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, 7:30PM Friday until about 6:30PM on Saturday
Starring Marina Rebeka, Barbara Frittoli, Mojca Erdmann, Ramón Vargas, Mariusz Kwiecien, Luca Pisaroni, and Štefan Kocán, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From October 29, 2011.

Considering A Pause
One of the discussions this week in the Legislature has been on the holding ponds being built and filled with water pumped from groundwater wells. It seems the push to get some made while the Water Act regulations are still in their slow course of creation, consultation and confirmation.
Lynn Lund (MLA Summerside-Wilmot) has a motion that was partially discussed about an interim moratorium, a pause, on the construction of these, until the last parts of the Water Act are finalized.
You can consider writing your MLA and the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change, to urge for a interim moratorium on holding pond construction, before Tuesday, when this might come up again.
MLA contact information is here:
and carbon copy the Environment Minister, The Honourable Natalie Jameson:

News from the Council of Canadians,
Thursday, July 2nd, 2020, on social media:

BIG NEWS! This afternoon, Nestlé Canada Inc. announced it will leave the Canadian bottled water market and sell its bottled water brand, Nestlé Pure Life, to Ice River Springs. This is a significant win for communities across Canada, and everyone who has been fighting the bottled water giant.

Thank you to all our chapters, members, donors and supporters across the country. Your collective activism makes people-powered progress like this possible.

Stay tuned...

Perhaps Nestle has just figured out that they have reached peak earnings with water and to sell the division before others figure out it's a limited industry and costs are only going to continue to rise.

The Institute of Island Studies Newsletter has a new look and has lots of news.  the July 2020 edition is HERE
 a small snippet:
"Dr. Jim Randall has begun a year of sabbatical (as of July 1), during which he will continue to serve in his role as UNESCO Chair. This sabbatical will be followed by a well-deserved retirement.....
With Jim on sabbatical, Dr. Laurie Brinklow has been appointed Interim Coordinator of the MAIS Program and Chair of the Executive of the Institute of Island Studies."  

Congrats to both Jim and Laurie for all their work carrying on the ideas of Harry Baglole to observe, document and connect within this special Island, and with other Islands.

A lunchtime read, perhaps, as The (u.K.) Guardian call their feature piece, and so is the thoughtful essay from Phil Ferraro:

Creating a New Economic Norm - Social Media post by Phil Ferraro

Posted on social media on Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, when buskers entertained folks on the waterfront, there was a performer named, “Nearly Normal Norman.” Norman had the gift to convey the message that the social and economic reality that we refer to as normal was in reality anything but normal and certainly not anything that we want to perpetuate.

While many of us dealt with a variety of hardships this spring, Our local and federal governments have done a remarkable job in softening the blow with programs and aid packages; often unintentionally acting as a catalyst for economic reform.

At the same time, Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with Canadian financial institutions to bring COVID-19 relief and support to Canadian businesses through the government’s new Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP). The EDC’s intentions are commendable. However, it appears determined to revive the economy to a Pre-COVID state with policies that will increase the government’s debt and exasperate income inequality.

Fortunately, a new wave of progressive economists are envisioning a “New Normal” Among their proposals they are suggesting that a guaranteed livable income, like CERB, and higher wages for underpaid essential workers become permanent. There are also serious discussions underway to adopt a four day work week as is the case in Germany, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, so people have more time for child care, elder care and personal care. Google, Amazon and Deloitte also implemented 4 day work weeks and the results for them have quite obviously proven to be pretty good.

Conservative minded folks have traditionally argued that government-funded, social programs are too expensive to maintain and that they provide a disincentive for people to work. They can rightfully point out that the Island’s provincial budget is projected to top a $173 million deficit. They question how we will ever be able to recoup our deficit and still maintain some level of socially responsible programs.

Further confounding our economic troubles, automation is reducing the need for

people in many jobs. According to Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them. By 2025 technological advances are predicted to lead to an annual loss of 5-10 million jobs. Without a significant change in the way we operate our economy, we will be facing a future of stagnant income and worsening inequality.

In order to address this predicament, the Prince Edward Island government formed the Provincial Council for Recovery and Growth . The Council’s mandate is to engage Islanders and organizations in creating a plan to harness growth and build opportunity. In a recent Guardian Opinion column, Dr. Adam Fenech, a member of the Council, stated “funding and innovation in governance are needed for a range of technologies, ownership and benefit models.” Dr. Fenech, proposes a national program for home energy retrofits. This is a vital step to address how we will deal with climate change. However, I can almost hear people saying, “Yeah, but how will we pay for it?”

An over simplified suggestion is to tax the rich. It is often cited that in the 1950s tax on excessive income was between 60 - 90 %. However, what few people realize is that virtually no one paid that amount. The tax was there to provide incentives for people to invest in businesses to grow the economy. Income made from those investments was not taxed. A re-balancing of income disparities is long overdue. However, a wealth tax is more likely to result in a rush for off-shore tax shelters. (Remember the Panama Papers).

As we create the “New Post-COVID normal,” we need a new vision. One that fosters equity while helping to transition our society to a sustainable future. This will require a change to the prevailing economic system, not just new programs and new taxes.

Years ago, our society determined that education and health care are necessities of a functioning society. Today, insurance, Internet, energy, shelter and food must also be recognized as necessities of 21st-century life. As we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we can seize the opportunity to transition these services into publicly owned, cooperative enterprises with a primary objective to maximize public benefit. Capitalism has demonstrated the benefits of competition in a free market. However, an economy managed solely by private enterprises with a primary goal to maximize the financial return to shareholders, does not place public good above private interests. I am not suggesting a revolution to take over private corporations nor do I think we should engage in costly by-outs of the existing institutions. However, we can and should welcome government initiated, socially responsible enterprises that increase competition and spur innovation in these sectors. Those people who think the government cannot operate as efficiently as private companies and wish to keep their investments or do business with private corporations would be welcome to do so. However, government-owned, socially responsible enterprises that use profits for social benefits will provide an option that people may also choose to support.

For example, at least one of the dominant insurance companies on the Island has in excess of one billion dollars in the bank. In 1944, Canadian icon and Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas, created Saskatchewan Government Insurance. The rationale was put forth that Saskatchewan residents were being taken advantage of by companies that set rates too high. Launching a publicly owned insurance company was justified by the government on both philosophical and economic grounds. With a publicly owned insurance agency, we could use the profits to reduce the provincial debt, create a contingency fund for inevitable climate change damage claims and provide a rebate to investors who make no claims.

Not surprisingly, if you do a Google search for, “Government Owned Internet,” what pops up is a series of conservative media stories of so-called inadequacies of the public Internet.

However, there are numerous examples of municipal/government-owned broadband that offer substantial advantages to consumers and to the economy. Such networks not only provide high-speed Internet access more cheaply or even free they also create competition, boost economic development, help keep prices down and make broadband affordable in rural and low-income communities. Worker productivity has also been shown to increase by providing workers at home with remote access to information. An Island-wide, publicly owned broadband network will also make the Island more attractive to businesses, especially high-tech and research companies, which are dependent on communication. Communication also enables small and home-based businesses to participate in local, regional and international commerce.

In 2000, the United States Federal Communications Commission endorsed municipal broadband as a "best practice" for bringing broadband to underserved communities. The Free Press, the Media Access Project, and the ACLU have all come out in favor of municipal broadband.

Harvard Law School professor Susan P. Crawford, argued in a New York Times opinion piece that lowering the barriers to the creation of "open municipal-level fiber networks" would help ensure the sort of Internet access that proponents of net neutrality rules argue for, even in the absence of those rules.

In many ways, the Internet has become the library of the 21st century. Our library system could be running an Island-wide high-speed Internet. Island taxpayers have already paid several million dollars to Aliant to provide adequate Internet service; unfortunately, no one seems to be able to account for where the money was spent.

In Australia, the government of New South Wales has published a guide to help

local communities develop publicly owned, renewable energy systems. In the document's introduction, Rob Stokes, Minister for the Environment, NSW wrote, “Community-owned renewable energy is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to participate in developing clean energy. Not only is community-owned renewable energy a great way for us to improve our environment, but it is also an opportunity for regional communities to come together and benefit economically. A more diverse energy mix developed through local community enthusiasm will benefit us all. The NSW Government is proud to support community-owned renewable energy.”

Publicly owned energy systems would be able to transfer the guaranteed 9%+ profit that goes to Fortis and use that money to create a decentralized, resilient, green energy system.

Nearly 90% of our Island food bill, approximately $380 million, is spent at just two grocery chains. If a publicly owned option existed and captured just 10% of our present expenditures, $38 million dollars would circulate in our local economy, profits from which could help alleviate food insecurity, pay for a school lunch program and support the transition to a sustainable agriculture future. These local food hubs could specialize in local products, zero waste and consultancy that teaches customer service to other small businesses.

Recognizing the impact that the lack of affordable housing can have on the health of the local economies is not a unique problem to Atlantic Canada. Many regions have implemented programs that engage employers in providing financial support for workforce housing.

According to Robert Hickey, senior research associate with the USA Center for Housing Policy, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Santa Monica, and San Francisco - cities with some of the least affordable housing, require developers of new commercial, industrial, or retail properties to pay a “linkage fee” to help meet the need for workforce housing created by the addition of new jobs. These fees are usually charged on a per-square-foot basis and deposited into a housing trust fund, which is usually operated by nonprofit housing developers to support the construction or rehabilitation of high-quality, low-cost housing over the long term.

Mr. Hickey says, ‘In each of these cities, linkage fees have generated millions of dollars in much-needed revenue to create affordable homes. By establishing a direct connection between new jobs and the need for new homes, these fees help to make it possible for families to live in the communities where they work, which also helps reduce traffic congestion from long commutes.’

When government revenues are used to build affordable housing those spaces should be attractive and designed with state of the art technologies. In previous generations, governments simply built square apartment buildings designed to occupy the most people for the least cost.

Given the social, economic and environmental issues affecting housing today it is more cost-efficient to construct eco-friendly buildings that utilize solar technologies, green or recycled materials and architectural designs to achieve attractive dwellings with improved social connections.

These are not pie-in-the-sky utopian visions. Additional successful examples can be found with simple Internet searches. Hopefully, when the Council for Recovery and Growth meets to engage Islanders, these and other public options will be up for discussion. After all, Dr. Fenech is correct that funding and innovation in governance are needed for a range of technologies, ownership and benefit models.

Phil Ferraro, M.A Social Ecology, Founding Director of the Institute for Bioregional Studies and Advisor to the Centre for Local Prosperity lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island


Global Chorus essay for July 3
Buffy Sainte-Marie

Yes we can find a way for this planet, in spite of obstacles, the primary of which is greed.

If we fix it sooner than later it’ll be better and easier. It requires a critical mass of people who can see the big picture as well as their own local individual details. Internet networking is one huge tool. Regarding the environment, homelessness, health care vs. wealth care, minority or other inequity issues, we need to act now, both locally and nationally, while we have these tools – through brainwork, strategy and collaboration. However, if the “upper 1 per cent” again take away our networking tools as they have traditionally done (blacklisting, gagging outspoken torchbearers, owning/controlling media companies etc.) then it will be more difficult.

If we don’t do it through an effective peaceful activism, and if the economy truly crashes, I would expect the reaction of hungry, desperate masses would probably be as it has been in the past – a more violent activism, countered with the backlash of the few against the many via police tactics, and the blame put upon the poor.

The rich stuck a straw into the heart of the economy and slurped all the money to the top. The “upper 1 per cent” used to allow more to “trickle down.” Now it looks like they want a feudal system wherein they own it all openly. Knowing this is useful. Our new “aristocrats” are not princes but Wall Street thieves and gamblers, as greedy as the robber barons of the 1930s who set up the Indian reservation system in order to steal oil land away from Indian control.

What we have going for us is mass awareness, communication, networking and youth and elder experience, with lots of people willing and able to contribute time, talent and treasure to finding and applying solutions. I believe we’ve already begun.

     — Buffy Sainte-Marie, singer/songwriter, visual artist, educator,  indigenous-rights activist

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 2, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The Provincial ban on plastic bags has been in effect for one year this week.

P.E.I. Legislature sits today, 2-5PM and 7-9PM.  The afternoon session, after Question Period and the usual orders, is left for the Opposition Parties to determine what is to be discussed.

A "Watch Live" link opens on the front page of the Assembly website at

and Facebook live stream at
and on Eastlink TV.

If the MLAs are going through the Provincial Operating Budget for 2020-2021, you can follow along with the link to the document at this page from Government:

Culture on-line:

Stratford Festival at Home rotates their line-up Thursdays, with Hamlet leaving tonight and Antony and Cleopatra joining.   The Adventures of Pericles and King John are on demand.

Metropolitan Opera
I forgot to mention yesterday, but still available until 6:30PM tonight:
Dmitri Shostakovich, The Nose: Paulo Szot stars as Kovalyov in Shostakovich’s absurdist opera. Pavel Smelkov conducts an impressive ensemble cast that also features tenor Alexander Lewis as the Nose and tenor Andrey Popov as the Police Inspector. T
More details here.

Thursday, July 2nd
Bizet’s Carmen, 
7:30PM Thursday until Friday about 6:30PM
Starring Anita Hartig, Anita Rachvelishvili, Aleksandrs Antonenko, and Ildar Abdrazakov, conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado. From November 1, 2014.

Paul MacNeill's commentary:

Einstein would not be amused with Matt MacKay - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, July 1st, 2020, in The Graphic newspapers

"Insanity,” Einstein said, “is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” The famed physicist wasn’t talking about PEI’s continued failure to deliver effective rural internet, but he could have been.

For 20 years governments of both Liberal and Conservative persuasion have promised the world to rural residents and delivered a spinning circle of frustration. Internet speeds in large swaths of the province remain an inadequate joke, despite throwing tens of millions of dollars at big telcos to fix it.

And like Einstein’s definition, with each failure we keep going back to the same corporations whose elevated promises enrich corporate pockets, but never match the hype.

We were at it again last week when Minister of Economic Growth and Tourism Matt MacKay announced a two year delay - there’s a big surprise - in what was supposed to be a three year $37 million federal-provincial investment guaranteed to solve all our problems. Announced in March 2019 by the former Liberal government, the agreement promised to connect 30,000 residents to high-speed internet.

Well, it turns out the sole-sourced contract with Bell and Xplornet, who promised to invest an equal amount to government, was far from a done deal. It was not until earlier this year that the King government signed on the dotted line, a decision history is unlikely to look fondly upon.

We also learned a $2 million a year, five-year fund, thrown in after outrage from the Island’s small but vibrant internet provider community, has been virtually ignored by the very Island companies intended to benefit. MacKay’s department failed to make the fund relevant to the needs of Island corporations.

And the reason is a chronic departmental bias toward Island internet providers while playing cosy with corporations that show little interest in the well-being of Islanders. Xplornet is no longer the New Brunswick founded service provider that grew exponentially over the last decade. It’s now owned by an American hedge fund. Bell consistently delivers one of the worst customer service experiences in the country. It’s a company that promises to solve rural internet issues but can’t figure out how to have its customer service representatives deal with both an internet and cellphone issue in the same call.

In May, MacKay’s department issued an RFP to manage internet services to provincial parks. The document was delivered May 19, with a deadline for questions of May 22, deadline for addenda May 26 and completed proposals by May 29. The province offered no latitude on the installation deadline of this June.

You can see why Island internet providers don’t trust MacKay’s department.

How can the PEI government let Bell and Xplornet off the hook for two years, effectively penalizing Islanders to unnecessary delay, but can’t extend a deadline (the RFP was dropped with no warning) allowing local service providers an opportunity to even submit a bid.

This type of approach is all too common within the bureaucracy charged with improving internet capacity. They would prefer to waste more money on ‘solutions’ that are invariably delayed and under-whelming. It was reported last week that Xplornet has yet to start installation work for the rural high-speed project.

It’s not been the best spring session for the Official Opposition, but Green leader Peter Bevan-Baker is bang on questioning why the King government is following the same failed strategy of multiple Liberal governments. By the time Bell gets around to delivering passable high speed internet, it will look like dial up compared to most other regions of the country and world.

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, is doing more to improve rural internet than Bell and Xplornet combined. Currently there are 538 broadband internet satellites circling the globe. Eventually there will be 30,000. Musk has applied to supply 5G internet starting within a year and rural Canada is a priority market.

This is a game changer. Peter Bevan-Baker is right. Rip up the agreement with Bell and Xplornet. It’s time to eliminate bureaucratic bias and tunnel vision and support local internet providers through partnerships built on honesty and trust before it’s too late.

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

Most of us totally agree with supporting local internet providers....whether to trust Elon Musk, and his "vision" which looks like it includes blotting the night sky with satellites for internet service and at what cost to the another story

from the Council of Canadians, keeping an eye on what we must promote and protect -- long but informative!

No federal funding for exploration drilling off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador - Council of Canadians

Open Letter

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

To: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Cc: Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister
Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance
Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Natural Resources
Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Minister
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Re: No federal funding for exploration drilling off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador

Dear Prime Minister,

We would like to commend you and your government on your leadership during this time of unprecedented crisis and for the swift actions you have taken to support Canadians during the COVID-19 outbreak. We share a deep concern about the health and economic costs that the virus is inflicting in Canada and around the world and we express our solidarity with all Canadians at this difficult time, particularly those who are most vulnerable and most in need of assistance. Your government's economic response plan is an important first step in helping to address the pressing needs of Canadians.

We are concerned, however, by reports that the government is considering major financial incentives to boost offshore exploration in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Subsidizing oil and gas exploration in Newfoundland and Labrador would make it virtually impossible for the province, or Canada, to meet its climate commitments.
  • There is a lack of public trust in the offshore oil and gas industry due to an absence of safety oversight and the fact that the regulatory playing field is significantly tilted in favour of industry.
  • Public investments into a volatile industry during a time of low oil prices would be highly speculative and extremely risky.
  • Canada is already falling short on its commitment to eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador desperately needs investment to ensure the wellbeing of its most vulnerable people and the resiliency of its economy in a zero-carbon future.
  • There is very strong public opposition across the country to providing even more subsidies to the oil and gas sector as demonstrated by letters, petitions, and other public outcry on the topic, including this open letter to the President of Memorial University.
  • Indigenous peoples in Newfoundland and Labrador have not been dutifully consulted nor have they given their free, prior, and informed consent to the expansion of the offshore oil and gas industry on their unceded lands and waters. These two principles are a central part of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which your government has committed.

Subsidies to oil and gas exploration are incompatible with climate commitments

Subsidizing oil and gas exploration in Newfoundland and Labrador at this time would make it virtually impossible for the province, or Canada, to meet its climate commitments. The province's stated plan to double oil and gas production by 2030 to 237 million barrels each year could create an alarming 6.1MT of annual upstream carbon emissions.1 The province's stated emissions target for 2030 is 6.9MT - a significant reduction from the 2017 real emissions of 10.5MT. Annual oil and gas production would occupy up to 88 per cent of that emissions target and require almost complete decarbonization of the rest of the economy in order to meet it. In other words, oil and gas expansion is incompatible with stated provincial emissions reduction target.

A lack of public trust and oversight due to regulatory capture

Additionally, the oil and gas industry in the Atlantic is surrounded by significant regulatory uncertainty and lack of public faith. There have been four large spills of oil and drilling muds and one life-endangering accident in the last two years, including a spill of 250,000 L of crude oil. Additionally, recommendations to create a separate safety oversight board for the offshore oil and gas industry have not been implemented. This recommendation resulted from the inquiry following the Cougar helicopter crash in 2009, and has been supported by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The regional environmental impact assessment regarding exploratory drilling in Newfoundland and Labrador has been heavily criticised as a rushed and inadequate process and is now the subject of a judicial review. The problems with this regional assessment have been further compounded with the recent release of a ministerial regulation based on that assessment.

In Nova Scotia, communities are calling for a moratorium and public inquiry into the offshore oil and gas industry because the regulatory playing field favours the oil and gas industry over communities and other existing industries. Twelve municipal governments have called for an independent public inquiry, and more than 68 500 Canadians have supported that call.

A volatile industry with boom and bust cycles is not compatible with a resilient future

In addition to this regulatory instability, the offshore oil and gas industry is surrounded with economic instability. It is not the responsibility of the federal government to finance the oil and gas industry, particularly now when the economic case for higher cost offshore Atlantic oil is weak due to historically low oil prices, which may remain depressed for the foreseeable future.

The volatility Newfoundland and Labrador is experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, while grander in scope, is not entirely new to the province.

Oil and gas royalties have fluctuated significantly in the last decade, reaching more than $2.5B in 2011 and dipping to nearly $500M since 2015. When the average annual price of a barrel of oil drops by $1, the province loses approximately $30 million in revenue. The boom and bust cycle of the industry cannot be sustained, and does not create the conditions for a resilient, fair, low-carbon future.

Canada falling short on international commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies

Canada already has substantial work to do in terms of meeting its G7 and G20 commitments to eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. A report released last week shows that Canada is the second largest provider of public finance to oil and gas in the G20. The federal government has already allocated $75 million to Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore oil and gas industry to help reduce methane emissions. The response to COVID-19 requires unprecedented support for workers in industries such as the oil and gas sector, but this support should neither introduce nor entrench subsidies that hinder our urgently needed transition away from fossil fuels. The response must build a recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that is rooted in justice, equity, and resilience.

Invest in a resilient economy by supporting clean industries, fisheries and tourism

Leading economists around the world have been publicly calling for climate-friendly stimulus policies. Investment in a resilient economy that provides good opportunities for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador is badly needed, and that resilience cannot come through subsidies to this industry. Instead of financing oil and gas exploration, we believe investments should be made in creating stable, long-term jobs in the low-carbon economy of the future.

There are real opportunities to invest in renewable industries that can provide good jobs for people across the province. For example, the province has some of the highest wind energy potential in North America and yet support for this industry pales in comparison to that of the oil and gas sector. Investments in energy efficiency would also address ballooning electricity rates and put people to work across the province. In addition to these emerging industries, the ocean's renewable resources already provide tens of thousands of jobs in Atlantic Canada and billions of dollars in economic activity through fisheries and tourism. These industries are a mainstay of most Atlantic communities and are put at direct risk by continued offshore oil and gas development.

It is important to acknowledge that we do not include megahydro project as part of the clean energy transition we are calling for. The Lower Churchill Hydro Project (phase 1 – Muskrat Falls) has been described by Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall as a "boondoggle," and has had serious negative impacts on the local predominantly Indigenous community and to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador. We do not consider phase 2 of this project (Gull Island), or any other megahydro project, as part of a transition to a resilient and sustainable future.

This is a critical time for Canada and the world. How governments choose to respond to the COVID-19 crisis will either amplify or help mitigate global threats such as the climate emergency and growing inequality and will determine whether the worst impacts can be avoided. Canada is committed to a target of carbon neutrality by 2050, alongside ambitious short-term targets. You now have a crucial opportunity to champion solutions that will not only help rebuild lives and businesses; they will help accelerate Canada's urgently needed transition to a resilient, prosperous, low-carbon country. Financial stimulus is critically needed, but it must be invested wisely and fairly. Short-term solutions that serve to prop up a declining industry will only increase emissions and further degrade nature and social stability at a time when the world is rapidly trying to decarbonize. The pathway to carbon neutrality does not include subsidies or bailouts for the offshore oil industry.


Coalition for a Green New Deal NL
Social Justice Co-operative NL
Nick Mercer, Decarbonize NL
John Jacobs, St. John's Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Simon Hofman, Memorial University Climate Action Coalition
Denise Cole, Labrador Land Protectors
Roberta Benefiel, Grand Riverkeeper Labrador, Inc.
Marion Moore, Campaign to Protect Offshore Nova Scotia
John Davis, Clean Ocean Action Committee, Nova Scotia
Robin Tress, Council of Canadians
Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Jordy Thomson, Ecology Action Centre
Julia Levin, Environmental Defence Canada
Catherine Abreu, Climate Action Network Canada
André-Yanne Parent, The Climate Reality Project Canada
Caroline Brouillette, Equiterre
Keith Stewart, Greenpeace Canada
Adam Scott, Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health
Amelia Meister, SumOfUs
Tzeporah Berman, Stand.Earth
Bronwen Tucker, Oil Change International
Lyn Adamson, ClimateFast
Janis Alton, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

1 Sierra Club Canada Foundation comments on the draft report for the regional assessment of the offshore oil and gas exploratory drilling east of Newfoundland and Labrador, February 21 2020.


Global Chorus essay for July 2
Sandra Postel

In a world divided by race, tribe, gender, religion and so much more, it is easy to forget that water connects us all. The molecules of H2O that comprise 60 per cent of each of us have circulated across space and time throughout the ages. They move through the air, the trees, the birds and bees, and through you and me – and may have quenched a dinosaur’s thirst so very long ago.

So, yes, there is hope. It is that we will come to know that the soft rain and flowing water are undeserved but precious gifts of life – gifts to be shared among all living things. And that this knowing will unite us in humbly taking our place in the planet’s great cycles with respect for all that is, has ever been, and ever will be.

If we let it, this knowing changes everything. As I reach to buy a cotton shirt, I think of the plants and insects whose existence might have been sustained by the seven hundred gallons of water consumed to make that shirt, and I retract my arm, go home filled with gratitude, and enjoy the evening birdsong with new depths of pleasure.

     — Sandra Postel,  director of the Global Water Policy Project,  Freshwater Fellow with the National Geographic Society

essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

July 1, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Canada Day!

a cake from a previous Bonshaw Canada Day celebration

Music this morning:
World Premiere on CBC: Prayer, from Symphony Nova Scotia (details below)
7:45AM on CBC Radio One, as well as online at
CBC Music
Featuring musicians from across Canada, including Rachel Desoer and Max Kasper
My Local Food
Faux Pas:

There is no Heartbeet Organic ordering or pickup today, as they and their storefront (The Farmacy) are close for the holiday.

AND, just when some of us get the hang of on-line ordering Wednesday for Saturday pickup, ;-) the Charlottetown Farmers' Market is opening for real this Saturday morning, July 4th, with outdoor vendors, but there is no on-line pickup this Saturday (as they will move to another pick-up schedule): 

edited from their notice:
the Charlottetown Farmers' Market Co-operative is back for the summer with an open-air market.

Launching July 4th, the Market will be set-up in the parking area of the CFM at 100 Belvedere.
*Market-goers will be asked to park at the adjacent UPEI parking lot.
*Operating hours are 9am to 12pm. 
*Due to new health protocols, we will not be admitting any patrons before 9am (i.e. no early birds please!). 

The new market space will feature +30 vendors set up around the perimeter of the parking lot.  Physical distancing measures have been put in place and staff will be on-site to direct you. Hand sanitizer stations will also be on-site. 

and this from their website:


Presumably, Maple Bloom Farm is continuing to coordinate 
Eat Local PEI, with orders due by midnight tonight for pickup (or limited area delivery) on late Saturday afternoon.

There is a lot of P.E.I. and national music today, and here is some

Canada Day music, from Symphony Nova Scotia and others
from their website

July 1, 2020 marks Canada's 153rd birthday, and we'd like to wish you a safe and happy celebration! There are still plenty of festivities to enjoy while we all practice social distancing, and here are two we're excited about!

World Premiere on CBC: Prayer
7:45 am on CBC Radio One, as well as online at
CBC Music
Featuring musicians from across Canada, including Rachel Desoer and Max Kasper

Join renowned Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and 36 musicians from 28 Canadian orchestras for the world premiere of JUNO Award-winning composer Vivian Fung's Prayer.
This exciting premiere features two Symphony Nova Scotia musicians: our own Principal Cello Rachel Desoer and Principal Bass Max Kasper!
You can listen on CBC Music's Tempo with host Julie Nesrallah, and on CBC Radio One at 7:45 am local time with host Stephen Quinn as part of the Canada Day radio special Extraordinary Times: Canada Day 2020. You can also watch at

Halifax-Dartmouth Virtual Canada Day Celebration
7:00 pm on Facebook and YouTube
Halifax's 2020 Canada Day celebration is going online! Watch special guests from throughout Halifax – including our friends Jah'Mila, Ben Caplan, Reeny Smith, Joel Plaskett, and many more in this live virtual Canada Day concert!
You can tune in to watch the concert on HRM's YouTube page or HRM's Civic Events Facebook page. You can also watch on TV, courtesy of Eastlink. To learn more, visit Discover Halifax's website.

 More details of their online encores:

Global Chorus essay for July 1 
Olivia Chow

"Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.  So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."

Those words from Jack Layton’s last message to Canadians inspired people across the country. It was a message of hope – and, more important, it was a call to action. Hope itself – blind hope, is not enough. We can’t just hope that somebody else will take care of our problems. Hope is not a strategy. We must work to make hope a reality. That is the major reason I was drawn to a career in politics – to help bring people together and work for change.

We know that we must change direction – in Canada and in our world – because right now, we are on a collision course with disaster. The signs are clear – from the unprecedented flooding that devastated Calgary in 2013, to the horrendous typhoon that ravaged the Philippines. But we can change course. We can take action. We can give the next generation reason to hope.

There are so many things we could achieve – a national public transit strategy would be a good start. That’s something I have been promoting for years, because public transit is a cornerstone of both social equality and sustainability. Civic leaders and municipalities and business groups are all singing the same tune now; only the federal Conservative government remains deaf on this issue.

Ultimately, the government will change course – or people will get together and work and vote to change the government. It will happen.

Will something as basic as public transit in Canada change the world? Nothing will, in isolation. But changing course will – and bringing people together with a common mission. People will join the chorus if they see reason to hope.

When enough voices join the chorus, no government can turn a deaf ear. You can’t do it solo. By joining your voice with others, the voice becomes strong. The music soars. Eventually, everyone will hear. The lone voice may be lost. The global chorus will be heard.

— Olivia Chow, (former) Member of Parliament for Trinity-Spadina (Toronto, Canada)


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014