CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

July 2021


  1. 1 July 31, 2021
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 Is smaller better when it comes to nuclear? - by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington
  2. 2 July 30, 2021
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Federation of Law Societies of Canada supports reconciliation efforts of law societies, law schools - Canadian Lawyer article by Bernise Carolino
    3. 2.3 Back on Earth - by Dan Rather, Elliot Kirschner, and Steady Team
  3. 3 July 29, 2021
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  4. 4 July 28, 2021
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 OPINION: The Water Act process: From exemplary public consultation to industry-led policy - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Don Mazer and Boyd Allen
  5. 5 July 27, 2021
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  6. 6 July 26, 2021
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 Atlantic Skies for Monday, July 26th to Sunday, August 1st, 2021 "The Moon's ''Wobble" and 'King Tides'" - by Glenn K. Roberts 
  7. 7 July 25, 2021
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  8. 8 July 24, 2021
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 With Quebec rejecting a $14B LNG project, is the industry at a dead end in Canada? - The National Observer article by John Woodside
    3. 8.3 Here Comes the End of LNG - The National Observer article by Mark Fawcett
    4. 8.4 Greenland will keep it in the ground - The Beacon from Grist article by Emily Pontecorvo
    5. 8.5 The climate is changing rapidly, but the oil industry isn’t - by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington
  9. 9 July 23, 2021
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 Conflict or No Conflict?-City Councillor Greg Rivard
  10. 10 July 22, 2021
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 Now’s your chance to weigh in on Canada’s just transition -  The National Observer article by Natasha Bulowski
  11. 11 July 21, 2021
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 The total health and climate consequences of the American food system cost three times as much as the food itself -The Washington Post article by Laura Reiley
  12. 12 July 20, 2021
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 She Struggled To Reclaim Her Indigenous Name. She Hopes Others Have It Easier - NPR Online article by Emma Bowman
    3. 12.3 Glyphosate Is a ‘Probable Human Carcinogen.’ Why Is It Still Being Used? - The Conversation article by Marion Werner, Annie Shattuck and Ryan Galt
  13. 13 July 19, 2021
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  14. 14 July 18, 2021
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 Two Rods and a ‘Sixth Sense’: In Drought, Water Witches are Swamped - The New York Times article by Livia Albeck-Ripka
    3. 14.3 Why wetlands matter in the fight against the climate crisis - The National Observer article by Emma McIntoch
  15. 15 July 17, 2021
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 P.E.I. committee recommends fixes to Lands Protection ActT - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby, Politics reporter
  16. 16 July 16, 2021
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 Massive 50-GW wind, solar, hydrogen power plant with unique ownership model announced in Australia - Renewable Energy World article by Jennifer Runyon
  17. 17 July 15, 2021
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 E.U. has slate of new climate proposals - The Beacon at article by Zoya Teirstein
    3. 17.3 Trillions of dollars spent on Covid recovery in ways that harm environment - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent
  18. 18 July 14, 2021
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 Trains far greener but much more costly than planes, analysis finds - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Damian Carrington, Environmental Writer
    3. 18.3 Instead of leading the national climate conversation, the Green Party is fighting for its life - The National Observer Opinion piece by Max Fawcett
    4. 18.4 The Green Party has lost the plot. Instead of identity politics, the party should focus on our global ecological crises - The Toronto Star Opinion piece by Trevor Hancock
  19. 19 July 13, 2021
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  20. 20 July 12, 2021
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 NDP PEI creates petition to Call on Premier Dennis King to Reinstate Mask Wearing:
    3. 20.3 Atlantic Skies for July 12th to July 18th, 2021 "A Vegan Anniversary" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  21. 21 July 11, 2021
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 Frontline workers, families and businesses deserve better than sudden lifting of mandatory masking requirements - Green Party of PEI post by Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA
    3. 21.3 Meet the Appalachian Apple Hunter Who Rescued 1,000 ‘Lost’ Varieties - Atlas Obscura article by Eric J. Wallace
  22. 22 July 10, 2021
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 Reparation, land and justice for Indigenous Peoples is long overdue - by David Suzuki with contributions from Boreal Project Manager Rachel Plotkin
    3. 22.3 EDITORIAL: Thanks for the magical hockey playoff run, Montreal - The Guardian Main Editorial
  23. 23 July 3, 2021
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  24. 24 July 3, 2021
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  25. 25 July 3, 2021
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  26. 26 July 3, 2021
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  27. 27 July 3, 2021
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  28. 28 July 3, 2021
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  29. 29 July 3, 2021
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 U.K. accelerating its deadline for quitting coal - The Beacon by Grist article by Alexandria Herr
  30. 30 July 2, 2021
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 How Bill C-12 aims to guide Canada to net-zero  -  The National Observer article by John Woodside
    3. 30.3 Net zero: despite the greenwash, it’s vital for tackling climate change - The Conversation online article by Richard Black, Steve Smith and Thomas Hale
    4. 30.4 Opinion: What Atlantic Canada’s troubled COVID-19 travel bubble can teach us about the crisis to come - The Globe and Mail article by Joan Baxter
  31. 31 July 1, 2021
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 31.2 Order of Prince Edward Island winners named - CBC Online article by Kevin Yarr

July 31, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food

Farmers' Markets:

Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)

Summerside (9AM-1PM)


Arlington Orchards Farm Booths- Ellen's Creek, Mischouche,

Cornwall (9:30AM-6PM)
Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)
KJL Markets (North River and Riverside)

Riverview Country Market
plus other shops and stands.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Number 28:  We call upon law schools in Canada to require all law students to take a course in Aboriginal people and the law, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

Here is a site from Acadia University called "TRC Talk":

What is hopes to be a centre for discussing these 94 Calls to Action and foster a dialogue accessible to all Canadians about our shared and individual responsibilities in moving this process forward. We recognize the vitality of open and honest dialogue in reconciliation and hope that the resources presented here can serve as a starting place for those important conversations. Our target audience is all of Canadian society: Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, educators, activists, industry leaders, journalists, researchers, civil society and policy-makers.

How did this project come to exist? is a collaborative project undertaken by students of Dr. Cynthia Alexander at Acadia University, inspired by and based on the work of artist, director and activist John Houston.

and its response about TRC Call to Action Number 28:

This recommendation focuses on the importance of including Aboriginal law within the Canadian legal system. By recommending that it become mandatory for all law students to study Aboriginal people and their law. The recommendation provides specifications for the curriculum and starting points for what courses in this subject could look like.

If there is going to be a change in the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada, it will come from younger generations. There is a vast area of knowledge about law and history in our country that is being neglected, if the legal system is to change, become fair for all peoples, then future lawyers should have all the knowledge they can. In short it is not only will it aid in reconciliation but it would also benefit Canada’s justice system. Canada is a diverse country, lawyers practicing in Canada should have a diverse background in their studies of law to reflect that. Furthermore, it would allow aboriginal law and culture to be taken seriously.

The point of this recommendation is to allow for reconciliation between the justice system and Aboriginal peoples. Considering that at the moment the majority of those imprisoned or in court are Aboriginal people things would be less unequal and stupid if those within the legal system had a working knowledge of Aboriginal rights, law, treaties, relations and history.

There are a number of ways this recommendation could be implemented. It starts as simple as adding Aboriginal law classes into the curriculum – as mandatory courses. Universities could employ professors with knowledge of the laws within that area, have a seminar with different guest who can share the different views of aboriginal law depending on which region they are from, and different learning and skill based workshops in undergraduate studies and in graduate studies.

Further Reading:
This article written by a professor at UVic discusses what has been done in regards to recommendations 27 and 28 as well as what else can and should be done.
Though this article was released a few years before the release of the recommendations, it addresses what UBC has done in making the study of Aboriginal rights and treaties mandatory for their law students. Maybe the article and this case will demonstrate to other law schools and universities in Canada how easy it is to make these studies apart of the curriculum.
This blog post, discusses one professor’s syllabus for a course Indigenous Legal Traditions at Lakehead University.

Compiled by Arryn Benson

from The David Suzuki Foundation

Is smaller better when it comes to nuclear? - by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington

Published on Friday, July 30th, 2021, at:

Nuclear power hasn’t been in the news much since the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in Japan. Thanks to a push by industry and governments, you might soon hear more about how nuclear reactors are now safer and better.

Specifically, the conversation has shifted to “small modular nuclear reactors” or SMNRs, which generate less than 300 megawatts of electricity, compared to up to 1,600 MWe for large reactors.

Some of the 100 or so designs being considered include integral pressurized water reactors, molten salt reactors, high-temperature gas reactors, liquid metal cooled reactors and solid state or heat pipe reactors. To date, the industry is stuck at the prototype stage for all models and none is truly modular in the sense of being manufactured several at a time — an impediment considering the speed at which global heating is worsening.

The benefits touted by industry have convinced many countries, including Canada, to gamble huge sums on nuclear, despite the poor odds. The Small Modular Reactor Action Plan hypes it as the possible “future of Canada’s nuclear industry, with the potential to provide non-emitting energy for a wide range of applications, from grid-scale electricity generation to use in heavy industry and remote communities.”

Canada would reap economic benefits from an expanded nuclear industry. We have the largest deposits of high-grade uranium and a long history of nuclear power development and export. But uranium mining creates problems: impacts on Indigenous communities, workers exposed to radiation, radioactive contamination of lakes, habitat destruction and more.

The World Nuclear Association says small reactors’ modular construction means they can be built faster and for less money than conventional nuclear, and several modules can be combined to create larger facilities. They’re seen as a cleaner replacement for diesel or gas power in remote oil and gas operations and isolated communities.

The association says they’re “designed for a high level of passive or inherent safety in the event of malfunction” and that “many are designed to be emplaced below ground level, giving a high resistance to terrorist threats.” They can also produce steam for industrial applications and district heating systems, and used to make value-added products such as hydrogen fuel and desalinated drinking water.

But, given the seriousness of the climate emergency and the various options for transforming our energy systems to combat it, is nuclear — regardless of size or shape — the way to go? We must rapidly reduce emissions now, and we have readily available technologies to do so.

New nuclear doesn’t make practical or economic sense for now. Building reactors will remain expensive and time-consuming. Studies estimate electricity from small nuclear can cost from four to 10 times that of wind and solar, whose costs continue to drop. SMNRs will require substantial government subsidies.

Even when nuclear has to compete against renewables prepackaged with storage, the latter wins out.

One recent study of 123 countries over 25 years published in Nature Energy found that renewables are much better at reducing greenhouse gas emissions than nuclear — whose benefits in this area are negligible — and that combining nuclear and renewables creates a systemic tension that makes it harder to develop renewables to their potential.

Like all nuclear reactors, SMNRs produce radioactive waste and contribute to increased nuclear weapons proliferation risk — and Canada still has no effective strategy for waste.

Nuclear power also requires enormous amounts of water.

Corporate interests often favour large, easily monopolized utilities, arguing that only major fossil fuel, nuclear or hydro power facilities can provide large-scale “baseload” power. But many experts argue the “baseload myth” is baseless — that a flexible system using renewables combined with investments in energy efficiency and a smart grid that helps smooth out demand peaks is far more efficient and cost-effective, especially as energy storage technologies improve.

Even for remote populations, energy systems that empower communities, households, businesses and organizations to generate and store their own energy with solar panels or wind installations and batteries, for example, and technologies like heat-exchange systems for buildings, would be better than nuclear.

Renewables cost less than nuclear, come with fewer health, environmental and weapons-proliferation risks and have been successfully deployed worldwide. Given rapid advances in energy, grid and storage technologies, along with the absolute urgency of the climate crisis, pursuing nuclear at the expense of renewables is costly, dangerous and unnecessary.


Here is a link to The Guardian article about current Environment, Energy and Climate Action Steven Myers and small nuclear, from March 2021:

A Greater Bonshaw Neighbourhood Notice, and calls for volunteers around Friday, September 10 to Sunday, September 12:

Farmgate Theatre presents The Road to Belong: A Rural Theatrical Adventure.

Farmgate Theatre is a new theatre company on PEI started by Cameron MacDuffee and Karen Graves.

Their vision is to have live theatre and concert events outdoors at Finally Farm, their 100 acre property on the Appin Road.

The Road To Belong is their first show on the property as a new company. It has been collectively created by 16 professional PEI artists including performers Julain Molnar, Julie Pelssier-Lush, Greg Gale, Alicia Toner, Jan Rudd and Cameron MacDuffee, musicians Karen Graves, Jeffrey Bazett-Jones and Adam Hill, writers Bren Simmers, David Weale and Kendi Tarichia and dancer Reequal Smith. The production is directed by Charlotte Gowdy and stage managed by Megan MacDonald. 

The show looks at the idea of belonging, with self, with others and with nature. It explores the theme through theatre, music, dance and poetry and has the audience travelling around the farm as the story unfolds in the fields and meadows, gardens and forests. This will be a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.

There will be four performances of The Road to Belong, September 11 at 1pm and 4pm and September 12 at 1pm and 4 pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at

In addition to the four performances of The Road to Belong we are having a special concert event with acclaimed folk musician Dave Gunning Friday Sept. 10th at 8:00 pm. This will be our first public concert in our brand new Camphitheatre, an intimate circular live music venue centred around an outdoor fire. We are pleased to launch our weekend of performances with this high profile artist. 

Tickets for Dave Gunning are $30.00 and can also be purchased through

Call for Volunteers

Farmgate Theatre is looking for about 10 volunteers to help with The Road To Belong. These people will help with parking, taking tickets, travelling with the audience during the show and helping to make various aspects of the show happen. In addition to the performances, we would need some volunteers to come to a rehearsal in the previous week for orientation.

We are also looking for some help with preparations in the lead-up to the show. This would involve site prep, hanging banners and possibly helping to construct some costume and set pieces .

We are also looking for volunteers to help with the Dave Gunning concert on September 10.

This would be to help with parking and helping the audience get back and forth from the venue to their cars. This is especially important during the exiting for it will be in the dark and patrons will need to be guided back to the parking area.

For the concert we are looking for 4 volunteers and they would be able to watch the concert.

For more information contact Cameron MacDuffee at 902-218-5496 or by email at You can also visit our website at


Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, 2PM, CBC Radio Music, 104.7FM

Ben Heppner's Guest in this Best Opera Ever Series is Soprano Jane Archibald and her pick is Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio, featuring.....Jane Archibald!    And Norman.  With Ensemble Aedes and Le Cercle de l’harmonie, Jérémie Rhorer, conducting.

It's also known as Il Seraglio, and is "singspiel" in three acts.

July 30, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays 4 Future, 3:30PM, near Province House.  Facebook event information

The Island Fringe Festival continues until Sunday, August 1st; with events ticketed and space limited, check for more information here: 

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report Calls to Action

Number 27:
We call upon the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

The Federal Government states on its website that it has no role in this.
from Canadian Lawyer publication, January 2021:

Federation of Law Societies of Canada supports reconciliation efforts of law societies, law schools - Canadian Lawyer article by Bernise Carolino

Published on Friday, January 15th, 2021

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has approved a statement of commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action in its final report and has adopted guiding principles to keep Indigenous perspectives in mind.

The formal statement of commitment, unanimously approved by the Federation Council on Dec. 7, sets down the Federation’s dedication to advancing the TRC’s broad goals and to supporting the work of Canada’s 14 law societies, as their national coordinating body, and of law schools to improve the knowledge and competency of existing and aspiring legal professionals.

The Federation’s council approved the guiding principles, as well as all nine recommendations, found in the June 2020 report of the Federation’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action Advisory Committee. The Federation has committed to ensuring that all aspects of its efforts are informed by these guiding principles. The Federation will also show its commitment through acting as the national information hub that shares the resources on TRC-related initiatives developed by law societies and law schools, through pinpointing collaboration opportunities with national Indigenous organizations and through working together with law schools and the legal academy. It will also encourage law societies to adopt a broad approach to reconciliation when making regulatory initiatives. The formal statement, developed in consultation with the Federation’s Advisory Committee and with Indigenous legal experts, contains an acknowledgement of the continuing effects of Canada’s history of colonization and residential schools on Indigenous peoples, including the traumas and inequities that impact the experience of Indigenous peoples with the justice system. The Federation recognized that, before common law and civil law were implanted in the country’s legal system, First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples implemented their own legal systems, orders and traditions, which continue to exist.

The statement of commitment also includes an acknowledgment of the Algonquin peoples and other First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples with whom the Federation shares lands. The Federation recognized the enduring relationship between Indigenous peoples and their lands. The Federation’s offices in Ottawa are found on the historic and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnabeg people, the Federation acknowledged.

The formal statement also discusses the role of legal regulators, law schools and lawyers in advancing reconciliation and an inclusive justice system. TRC’s Call to Action 27 urged the Federation to ensure lawyers receive the appropriate cultural competency training and skills-based training that will promote conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism.

Law societies have responded to Call to Action 27 through creating continuing professional development programs. Law schools have responded to Call to Action 28 by developing academic initiatives seeking to ensure that future lawyers have the knowledge, awareness and skills to competently serve Indigenous clients.

The Federation is currently exploring how it can show its commitment via its national initiatives and via its relationships with law societies, law schools and national Indigenous organizations.


Sharing this by Dan Rather, who captures much of my nostalgia and lofty ideas about the benefits of space science, and my grimaces at the three rich bozos joyriding into space "to get a better perspective about life on Earth":

Back on Earth - by Dan Rather, Elliot Kirschner, and Steady Team

Published on Sunday, July 25th, 2021, on his initiative, "Steady"

This past week, amid all the other news, we saw another billionaire escape the pull of Earth’s gravity. The images of Jeff Bezos floating in his rocket ship with the curvature of Earth outside the window is a moment I wish to explore for its many significances. What does it mean for our moment in history?

What does it mean for the future? What does it mean for all that is happening back on Earth?

Let me start by admitting that I have a weakness for space. 

It dates back to some of my earliest memories at my old Grandma Page’s house where I would look up in wonder at the Texas summer night sky and see a treasure chest of twinkling possibilities. She encouraged this pursuit in her young grandson, to take in the immensity of the cosmos. But there was never the expectation that anyone would travel into the great beyond — at least certainly not in my lifetime. That was left for the musings of fiction writers like Jules Verne.

Our expectations would be recast with a rapidity and audacity that still, after all this time, seems unimaginable. Just 20 years later I was a young man looking up at a new twinkling light, as the Soviet-launched Sputnik passed overhead. And then five years after that, chance landed me, a young reporter in Houston, at Rice Stadium on a muggy September day in 1962 to cover President John F. Kennedy’s call to go to the moon. I followed the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions with avid interest. I cheered the triumphs and mourned the tragedies. While anchor of the CBS Evening News, I had to report on two Space Shuttle disasters — Challenger and Columbia.

I believe in the allure of crossing horizons. I recognize the urge to do so is ingrained deeply in the instincts that drive us. Cultures around the world and across millennia have wondered what lies over the horizon, the mountain, the ocean. We have used our courage and ingenuity to build crafts and master navigation. We have set out to go where no one has gone before. 

Sailing vessels of Otaheite (now Tahiti), 1773

I recognize that space travel is for many the ultimate dream. For a long time I held a faint and almost certainly misguided hope of becoming the first journalist in space. If I had billions of dollars at my disposal perhaps I would have been tempted to plot my own path to the stars. I do not begrudge those yearnings in others. And I also understand that there is a place for privately-funded exploration and innovation. Bezos, Richard Branson, who beat Bezos into space, and Elon Musk, whose SpaceX has accomplished by far the most of the three billionaire-led ventures, all are pitching their products as adding to the capacity for humans to explore space. I have no doubt that it is the destiny of our species to leave the confines of our home planet. And the energy and industry created by spaceflight does lead to other innovations useful on Earth, as well as gainful employment for scientists, engineers, and many others. 
Yet having listed all those caveats, I must confess that the recent forays into space left me feeling more ambivalent than awe-struck. And I know I am not alone, if the response to some of my tweets are any indication. 
For one, let’s consider the wealth that is making these explorations possible. We are at a time when income inequality is at levels that are not only inconceivable but destructive. And we’re not talking about simply the divide between the rich and the poor, but the wealth accumulated by the ultra-ultra-ultra (can I keep going?) rich. These are people whose personal resources rival that of independent nations. It is a wealth that is growing at a phenomenal pace. And it is wealth that is not being taxed nearly enough, when one considers all the loopholes for those who reside in this economic stratosphere.

Now you may ask, isn't it good that private funds are paying for advances that were once funded by taxpayers. But as many noted in the comments section to my tweet, and what I hoped to convey, is that taxpayers ARE paying for a lot of this in the taxes this nation is NOT getting from these people. And we are also paying for it in all the investment we have already made as a nation in science and technology and space exploration, upon which these recent efforts are based. But it goes deeper than that. 
There also is the timing of these ventures and the fraught symbolism it raises. We may dream of going into space, or even at one point colonizing Mars, but we can’t afford to leave Earth behind. After his jaunt into space, Bezos had no choice but to return to our planet, the only place we currently know of in the universe that will sustain life. 
And what of our fragile home? It is hurting in so many different ways, all in need of urgent attention and resolve. There is political turmoil, and the spread of lies, and racism, xenophobia, and the other tears to our social fabric. There is hunger and disease, so much disease at the present. And then there is the climate crisis, which exacerbates all the rest of the stresses pulling at the natural world and our human societies. We are seeing wildfires, floods, heatwaves and rising seas at scales that make the deadly threat we face all too apparent and immediate. We have billions of people living on the planet, not to mention all the other species with whom we share our home. None of us are heading into space. Our fate is intertwined here on Earth.

Panorama of the sky over Alberta, Canada
For sure we need to explore and cross new horizons, but the most urgent of those are at home, especially at such a dangerous inflection point in history. These horizons are in how we build a more just society and in how we lessen human suffering. They are in how we create clean power, grow food, and build resilience. We need to empower science to tackle Earth’s challenges. We need moonshots to save our coral reefs and our forests, to probe the world of microbes and mass migrations, to save all that is precious and precarious. 

Now there will always be tradeoffs in how we allocate resources, as nations and as individuals. And space exploration is a worthy goal. But what I think rubbed many the wrong way was the tone as much as the substance of these billionaire flyboys. There was a sense shared by many that these men act like they are operating in a world distinct from the one the rest of us have no choice but to share, that these flauntings of wealth, alongside all the other flauntings of wealth and privilege we see from the super-rich, exacerbate a notion of division as opposed to unity. 
There is a certain irony that this comes in the form of space travel, because when you look back at our Earth from outer space, you can’t help but be moved by the reality that we are all living together on what the astronomer Carl Sagan so famously termed the “pale blue dot.” Sagan of course believed in exploring the heavens, but he also summoned forth with eloquent insight the stakes for us here at home.

Here is a video of his famous passage with a partial excerpt below.

NOTE: clicking photo will not work -- LINK is here:

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.” 

-- Carl Sagan


How prophetic Sagan’s words read now, as we face challenges he couldn’t have anticipated. The pandemic and the effects of climate change only reinforce the truth that threats to our existence can come in many forms. Some people may try to build walls of wealth and privilege. They may be protected for a while, even if it is at the expense of so many. But ultimately all of our descendants will have to live on the planet we have created. 



What gives me hope is that the destructive powers humans exhibit are more than matched by the creativity, insightfulness, and sheer will that are also products of the human mind. And to be fair, spaceflight is an example of our ingenuity. Right now we may face many challenges that seem insurmountable, but we do not know what innovations will come with new knowledge and perseverance. 
We need to value the explorations of learning that come with our walks through life. Space exploration is certainly part of this equation. But we cannot lose perspective. We cannot lose sight of our duty to our fellow human beings and the balance we must achieve to preserve our precious Earth. If we head into space without cherishing and protecting our home, we are not explorers as much as deserters. 



Post Script:
I shared another tweet about the Bezos space foray this week. 



Please excuse the snark about how Bezos’s business success has been at the expense of many local bookstores, but I wanted to create a lens through which to consider the launches into space. There are so many things to love about bookstores, but the central idea is that these are places in which we can seek new knowledge. In books we can feel the pull of empathy, open our minds to new thoughts, reflect on what binds us together and drives us apart. Just as bookstores have shelves dedicated to different types of books, we need to all cherish the vast array of human pursuits. 

Space shuttle Atlantis, May 14, 2010The Milky Way and Jupiter seen over a lavender field in Guadalajara, Spain

July 29, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 28, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Summertime Wednesday Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM, Belvedere Avenue.
Produce and crafts, coffee, prepared food -- great lunchtime offerings for takeout.

Trade Justice PEI recommended Webinar -- "Don’t let corporate courts block climate action", 3-4PM our time.
More information about Corporate Courts, more formally known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), and what people can do.

Registration link:

Webinar -- Living Communities and Inclusion in Atlantic Canada, 7-8:30PM, from the "Dialogues at the Thinkers' Lodge", in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, tickets ($10 fee suggested but not required) Registration details here

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Number 25. We call upon the federal government to establish a written policy that reaffirms the independence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate crimes in which the government has its own interest as a potential or real party in civil litigation.

Government of Canada's response on their TRC Responses page:

The Government of Canada reaffirmed the independence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the exercise of police powers in criminal investigations in the mandate letter to the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on May 7, 2018. Any directions provided by the Minister, pursuant to section 5 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act may not include directions which interfere with the RCMP's criminal investigations. In addition, ministers may not attempt to influence in any way the conduct of specific criminal investigations.

Further, the courts have long confirmed that, when carrying out traditional policing duties, such as keeping the peace and investigating crime, police officers are not Crown agents or government functionaries (R. v. Campbell, [1991] 1 SCR 565). The existing legal framework, as set out by the Parliament in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and supported by case law, is compatible with that principle.

The Government of Canada recognizes the concern raised about the RCMP disclosing documents collected during a criminal investigation when the federal Crown is also involved in civil litigation unrelated to the activities of the RCMP and the documents may be relevant to the conduct of the litigation.

However, in matters related to civil litigation against the Crown, the RCMP is part of the Crown and is treated as a federal government institution. When required by law, the Crown must list all documents that are in its custody, power, possession or control and relevant to the litigation. In that regard, a protocol entitled Principals to Implement Legal Advice on the Listing and Inspection of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Documents in Civil Litigation sets out the internal procedures to be followed when the RCMP possesses documents from criminal investigation files that may be relevant to civil litigation involving the federal Crown as a party.

The protocol enables the Attorney General of Canada to meet his obligations to list relevant documents, while ensuring that documents that may be privileged or that were obtained pursuant to a confidentiality agreement or a search warrant are adequately protected and appropriately dealt with.


from yesterday's Guardian, and previous in The Graphic publications, an excellent wrap-up and foreboding for the future:

OPINION: The Water Act process: From exemplary public consultation to industry-led policy - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Don Mazer and Boyd Allen

Published on Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

It took seven years,
but now Prince Edward Island finally proclaimed a Water Act. There are certainly reasons to celebrate this. The act contains guiding values that recognize water as a common good and a public trust. There is acknowledgment of the precautionary principle and the need to preserve water for future generations. Yet, how much the act will help to remedy the poor track record of the government and its departments in protecting PEI’s waters remains to be seen.

The impetus for the development of the Water Act began at legislative standing committee meetings in 2014. The potato processing industry was pressuring government to lift the moratorium on high-capacity wells for agriculture, and many citizens and groups opposed this.

It is important to appreciate that the development of the Water Act reflected an exemplary process of public consultation, because it stands in such sharp contrast to the current approach of Environment Minister Steven Myers and the Dennis King government. This Water Act consultation period was a time when there was meaningful collaboration between government and citizens, when all Islanders had a chance to express their ideas, and when there were many opportunities for public input. Government was receptive to requests for transparent processes, and was flexible in meeting the needs of the public. Citizens and groups responded with enthusiasm and interest and a strong commitment to this process. The result was a series of excellent, thoughtful and well researched presentations by groups and individuals at public meetings across P.E.I. Government seemed to actually welcome and value public input into the development of policy. The Environmental Advisory Council report was an accurate reflection of these presentations, and included the strong opposition from a large majority of presenters to ending the moratorium on high-capacity wells for agriculture.

After being reviewed and debated clause by clause, the Water Act was passed by the provincial legislature in December 2017. It was the ground-breaking product of participatory democracy and a step toward consensus-based governance.

But since that time, we have had a change in government and four Environment ministers, each reflecting the biases current in their caucus and the Premier’s Office. The Water Act process has been transformed through each of these changes and has fallen on and off the priority list.

The robust process of public consultation on the act was replaced by a consultant driven “dot democracy” method for the regulations, with limited opportunities for people to directly express their ideas. The current minister is unresponsive to requests for meetings.

Trust has eroded in government’s ability to protect our water, to listen to and collaborate with citizens and to resist corporate influence. Anoxic conditions, high nitrate levels and fish kills continue to seriously impact P.E.I.’s waterways. Kilometres of Winter River stream beds continue to go dry each summer. The government even violated its own regulations to permit a group of potato producers to extract water from the Dunk River in 2020 though the flow levels were below legal limits. In lieu of transparency, government made this possible through closed-door meetings and subsequent ministerial orders.

We have moved from a textbook template of public engagement and consensus based governance to a government led by industry, doing whatever if feels appropriate to achieve its short term goals. Virtually all lines of communication have been ignored. Portals for public engagement have been effectively blocked. The multiparty standing committee that Premier Dennis King celebrated as a model of collaboration and transparency, is now presented by his minister as a target of derision, their recommendations easily disregarded. Minister Myers' unfettered boosterism of the potato processing industry appears to be government policy and has not been discouraged by his leader or his party.

Don Mazer and Boyd Allen are on the board of the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I., a member organization of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water. This is the first in a two-part series on the Water Act. Part 2 will appear Aug. 3.


July 27, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 26, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown's Farmers' Market 2 Go, order by Tuesday noon for pick-up Thursday


Ebb & Flow: Tides of Settlement on PEIwith special guest singer-songwriter Scott Parsons, 8-10PM, Haviland Club, Charlottetown.  Admission and tickets required.

More information

Wednesday, July 28th:
Trade Justice PEI recommended Webinar -- "Don’t let corporate courts block climate action", 3-4PM our time.

With:  Jean Blaylock, trade campaigner, Global Justice Now; Niels Jongerius, economic justice programme, Transnational Institute;Stuart Trew, director, Trade and Investment Research Project, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Background: Corporate courts are an obstacle to a clean energy transition and to achieving climate justice.   Corporate courts can be written into trade rules and are more formally known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

Registration link:

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Number 23. We call upon all levels of government to:

  1. Increase the number of Aboriginal professionals working in the health-care field.

  2. Ensure the retention of Aboriginal health-care providers in Aboriginal communities.

  3. Provide cultural competency training for all healthcare professionals.

The Government of Canada responds:

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) participates in the Indigenous Health Human Resources Task Force under the Federal Provincial Territorial Committee on Health Workforce. The task force develops strategies for increasing the recruitment and retention of Indigenous health care professionals and supporting cultural competence training for all health care professionals. As a result of close collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial representatives, an environmental scan was conducted to take stock of current and notable past initiatives across Canada to increase the recruitment and retention of Indigenous health professionals and provide cultural safety training to health professionals working with Indigenous communities, patients and families within health care systems.

ISC included cultural competency training for new registered nurses and nurse practitioners employed by its First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. ISC also financially supports and works with the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association and other Indigenous health organizations to explore ways to recruit and retain more Indigenous health professionals and to develop cultural competency training for all health professionals.


There is a lot of information here:
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba

Atlantic Skies for Monday, July 26th to Sunday, August 1st, 2021 "The Moon's ''Wobble" and 'King Tides'" - by Glenn K. Roberts 

In last week's column, I wrote about 'lunar nodal precession' - the shifting of the Moon's orbit along the ecliptic over an 18.6 year 'nodal period'. Subsequent to the appearance of my article, the North American Space Agency (NASA) released a report linking the changing 'lunar nodal precession' to future increases in the number, and potential severity, of global coastal flooding in the coming decades.

The NASA report states that this lunar 'wobble' (similar to the wobble of a spinning disk or coin as it begins to slow down, just before it falls flat) in the Moon's orbit, combined with projected sea-level rise resulting from climate change, will increase both the number and severity of high-tide events around the globe, beginning in the mid-2030s. The New Moon and the Full Moon naturally result in high tides around the globe, as the Moon's and Sun's gravities raise the ocean waters of the Earth as it spins beneath them. Add to this normal and natural phenomenon, a rise in sea-level as a result of climate change (already having an effect on coastal areas), and the result is higher high-tides and lower low-tides. It is the higher high-tides, sometimes referred to as 'king tides', that pose the greatest risk for coastal communities and populations. Many coastal areas at or below sea-level will be significantly impacted by this increased rise in water. What may have been categorized as a "once-in-a-lifetime" or "once-in-a-hundred-years" event, could occur more frequently and more intensely, as sea-levels continue to rise in the coming decades. When combined with the damaging impacts of on-shore wave surges and elevated rainfall from tropical storms, the additional higher high-tides will dramatically increase the loss of coastal lands, infrastructure, and, unfortunately, in many areas, the loss of life.

Oddly enough, these higher high-tides will initially, during the first half of the next 18.6 yr 'nodal period' (beginning in the mid-2030s), actually suppress the levels to which the high tides will be elevated. It is only during the latter half of the next 18.6 yr 'nodal period' (the late-2030s into the 2040s), as sea-levels continue to rise from on-going climate change, that the impacts will be amplified, and the ensuing results dramatic. NASA projects that 'king tides' could become a daily event for months at a time in some areas around the globe during this period of time. According to the NASA report, Earth is currently in a period of higher tides (the latter half of the current 'lunar nodal precession' period), but, because, current sea-levels have not yet risen that much, we are not yet seeing the full impact that will be experienced from the mid-2030s onward, although some coastal areas around the globe, particularly those lying below sea-level, are already being inundated more frequently, and to a greater extent, by flood waters. 

As 'lunar nodal precession' is a natural cycle, there is, unfortunately, nothing we, as humans, can do to stop its impacts on our planet's oceans, and its subsequent impacts on coastal areas and communities. We can, however, as global citizens, reduce our role in elevating the impacts of climate change on our planet's glaciers. By altering our consumption patterns and levels, we can hold or reduce the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere in the coming decades, which will, in turn, reduce the amount of glacial melt water that is entering the world's oceans, and elevating their levels. Although we cannot totally halt the impacts that will come from future 'king tides', we can help mitigate those impacts, and give global coastal communities time to adapt to and plan for the rising water levels. To learn more about this phenomenon, Google "Impact of Moon's 'wobble' on coastal flooding".

Mercury is presently too close to the Sun to be observed. Venus (mag. -3.9, in Leo - the Lion), though difficult to see, becomes visible around 9:15 p.m. ADT (9:45 p.m. NDT), 9 degrees above the western horizon just before darkness falls, sinking towards the horizon and setting about an hour later. Venus sits to the upper left of Leo's brightest star, Regulus. Even more difficult to see will be the planet Mars. On the evening of July 28, Mars (mag. +1.8, in Leo) is in conjunction with Regulus, Leo's brightest star, sitting just to the upper right of the star that evening. First find Venus, then look to the lower right for Regulus (use a star chart to locate the constellation), then, using binoculars, slightly to the star's upper right for Mars. Saturn (mag. +0.2, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) becomes visible 10 degrees above the south-east horizon by about 10:25 p.m. ADT (10:55 p.m. NDT), reaching 25 degrees above the southern horizon by 1:50 a.m. ADT (2:20 a.m. NDT) before becoming lost in the approaching dawn twilight, 11 degrees above the south-west horizon by about 5:10 a.m. ADT (5:40 a.m. NDT). Saturn reaches opposition on Aug. 2. Jupiter (mag. -2.8, in Aquarius - the Water-bearer) is visible about 10:50 p.m. ADT (11:20 p.m. NDT), 8 degrees above the south-east horizon, reaching an altitude of 31 degrees above the southern horizon around 3:10 a.m. ADT (3:40 a.m. NDT), before becoming lost in the dawn twilight, 23 degrees above the south-west horizon by about 5:25 a.m. ADT (5:55 a.m.  NDT).

Watch for the South Delta Aquarid meteor shower peak during the overnight period of July 28-29, with the peak  (25+/hr) around 3:30 a.m. ADT (4 a.m. NDT). The Perseid meteor shower will start to ramp up in the coming weeks, heading for their peak Aug. 11-13.

Until next week, clear skies.


July 28 - Mars - Regulus conjunction; low in west at dusk

            - South Delta Aquarid meteor shower peak; overnight

       31 - Last Quarter Moon


Metropolitan Opera last free video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, today until 6:30PM

"David Alden’s elegant 2012 production moves Verdi’s thrilling drama to a timeless setting inspired by film noir. Marcelo Álvarez is Gustavo III, the Swedish king in love with Amelia (Sondra Radvanovsky), the wife of his best friend and counselor, Count Anckarström (Dmitri Hvorostovsky). When Anckarström joins a conspiracy to murder the king, tragedy ensues. Stephanie Blythe is the fortuneteller Madame Ulrica Arvidsson and Kathleen Kim sings the page Oscar. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi is on the podium."

July 25, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 24, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food

Farmers' Markets:

Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)

Summerside (9AM-1PM)


Arlington Orchards Farm Booths- Ellen's Creek, Mischouche,

Cornwall (9:30AM-6PM)
Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)
KJL Markets (North River and Riverside)

Riverview Country Market
plus other shops and stands.

Next Week:
Monday - Friday, July 26th-30th:
Show -- "The Voices of Resilience", noon, Confederation Centre Amphitheatre, free but reservations needed. 

**NOTE:  Monday and Wednesday are already totally booked, so if you want to see this (Tuesday, Thursday or Friday), book soon**

**It is also weather-dependent**

‘The Voices of Resilience,’ written and performed by Mi'kmaq Heritage Actors in association with L'nuey PEI.

The FREE 45-minute show will teach the history of the Mi'kmaq people of PEI by sharing stories, songs, and traditional dance.

“See the beautiful sights, listen for powerful drums, learn a few traditional words in Mi'kmaq, and join us for a fun event that will make your heart happy.” invites Julie Pellissier-Lush, one of the show’s creators.

Reserve your tickets now:

These also tend to sell out quickly, so early reservations recommended.

Friday, August 13th, at 8PM
Saturday, August 14th at 2:30PM

"Wonder Women! A programme of piano music by female composers of the 18th and 19th centuries", with Sarah Hagen, St. Paul's Anglican Church, Church Street, Charlottetown.  Admission by donation.
Facebook event link for more info

Notice: Deadline -- Friday, September 10th, 2021:

"Island New Democrats will soon be electing our next leader. We need a true progressive voice for all Prince Edward Islanders. Is that person you?

We invite New Democrats to register at to be eligible for the leadership convention."

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Link to Government page with final report and related materials

Number 21. We call upon the federal government to provide sustainable funding for existing and new Aboriginal healing centres to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harms caused by residential schools, and to ensure that the funding of healing centres in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories is a priority.

The Government of Canada's response:

Through a combination of new Budget 2016 and Budget 2017 investments, over $350 million has been provided to support:

  • mental wellness promotion

  • services for former Indian Residential School students and their families

  • substance use and suicide prevention

  • crisis response services, treatment and aftercare in First Nations and Inuit communities

The Government of Canada also continues to work closely with the Government of the Northwest Territories to explore opportunities to support healing in a way that complements existing services and is sensitive to the Indigenous cultures in the territory.

Together with contributions from the Government of Nunavut and Inuit partners, as part of Budget 2019, the Government of Canada announced its commitment to support the construction and ongoing operation of a treatment facility in Nunavut.

Subsequently, on August 19, 2019, Indigenous Services Canada announced, in partnership with the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, that a new Nunavut Recovery Centre will be developed. The Nunavut Recovery Centre will provide a range of treatment and healing interventions that will address both addictions and trauma, and will be founded on Inuit cultural practices and values.


Good News, Good News, and David Suzuki News

With Quebec rejecting a $14B LNG project, is the industry at a dead end in Canada? - The National Observer article by John Woodside

Published on Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Quebec’s environment minister recently cited environmental concerns as the reason to axe a proposed multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, but a glut of natural gas around the world is pushing some to ask if the industry is a dead end for Canada.

GNL Québec was hoping to move 11 million tonnes of fracked natural gas annually from northern British Columbia and Alberta to a liquefaction plant and terminal at the Port of Saguenay, aiming to export to European and Asian markets. On Wednesday, the proposal was rejected.

“It wasn't at the best advantage for serving the Asian market, which is the only market that seemed to have significant growth potential,” said Lorne Stockman, a senior research analyst with Oil Change International. “It was well-positioned to ship gas into Europe, (but) Europe's gas demand is plateauing and declining.”  <snip>


And, related:  Opinion Piece --

Here Comes the End of LNG - The National Observer article by Mark Fawcett

Published on Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Greenland will keep it in the ground - The Beacon from Grist article by Emily Pontecorvo

Published on Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

No one has ever drilled for oil in Greenland, and Greenland’s recently elected government wants to keep it that way. Despite estimates that there may be billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas under the enormous Arctic island, the government of Greenland announced last week that it has decided to stop looking for it.

Greenland is a semi-autonomous Danish territory, and the fossil fuels buried under the island were once seen as the key to unshackle those golden handcuffs — Denmark subsidizes Greenland’s economy with $540 million per year. While oil exploration has thus far been unsuccessful on the island due in part to its frigid climate, Greenland’s oil and mineral resources are expected to become more accessible as the world warms and the island’s ice melts.

But Greenland’s government, run by the leftist Inuit Ataqatiiq party since April, is no longer interested in pursuing an extraction-based economy. “The future does not lie in oil,” the Greenland government said in a statement. “The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect we have much more to gain.”

While the Greenland government will no longer look for oil on its own or grant new licenses to do so, two small companies that hold licenses to explore in and around the semi-autonomous territory can continue looking until those licenses expire.



The climate is changing rapidly, but the oil industry isn’t - by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington

Published and sent via email on Friday, July 23rd, 2021

It’s easy to think we’re beyond denial over the climate crisis, now that even oil industry executives are talking about taking it seriously. But, as with many politicians, what industry leaders say publicly often belies what they’re doing behind the scenes.

An investigation by Greenpeace project Unearthed has drawn the curtain back on this duplicity. Investigators posing as recruitment consultants contacted two senior Exxon lobbyists who revealed the company’s ongoing campaign against efforts to address the climate emergency.

During a May Zoom call, Keith McCoy, a government affairs director in Exxon’s Washington, D.C., office, admitted the company’s public support for carbon pricing was little more than a talking point.

“Nobody is going to propose a tax on all Americans and the cynical side of me says, yeah, we kind of know that but it gives us a talking point that we can say, well what is ExxonMobil for? Well, we’re for a carbon tax,” he said.

Dan Easley, who left Exxon in January after working as chief White House lobbyist during the previous U.S. administration, talked about the company’s wins under Trump, including a corporate tax rate cut, which was “probably worth billions to Exxon.”

Under our current system, money is more valued than life. We share a planet, fuelled by the sun, that provides everything we need to live and live well. But we invented a system based on profit and endless growth, one that encourages rapid exploitation of nature, avaricious accumulation and rampant consumerism.

Early 20th century industrialists figured that if everyone drove around in inefficient gas-guzzling behemoths sold as “freedom,” it would be a win-win, providing endless profits for the auto and oil industries. And we were off! No worries that fossil fuels — concentrated stores of solar energy that took millions of years to form — are finite and should be used wisely. Who cares that burning them extravagantly creates pollution and drives climate disruption, putting our health and all life in peril?

There’s money to be made, the bulk of it concentrated in the offshore accounts of a few.

This summer, “heat domes” spread across western North America, coinciding with record low tides to wipe out billions of hardy intertidal plants and animals such as clams and mussels. June heat records broke worldwide, from northern Europe to India, Pakistan and Libya.

Devastating European floods shocked even the climate scientists who have been predicting them. Parts of Tokyo were drenched by the heaviest rainfall since measurements began.

Last year, another global heat record was broken. If June’s record-breaking temperatures are any indication, this year will be among the top 10 hottest, with even hotter years looming.

What the hell are we doing?

Why are we letting industry get away with disrupting the climate past the point of survivability? Why are we letting governments subsidize and promote oil, gas and coal with tax and royalty breaks, pipeline purchases and nonsensical “war rooms” and inquiries? Why do we put up with major media outlets and industry continuing to spread dangerous climate misinformation when the science couldn’t be clearer? Why do we listen to deniers at all?

The only necessary conversations about the climate crisis now are about solutions. Because industry and governments have been yammering about a gradual transition for decades while doing as little as possible to transition at all, we’ve missed the opportunity for “gradual.”

Rapid change doesn’t mean total disruption or upheaval, if we do it right. In fact, many measures necessary to resolve the climate and biodiversity crises — shifting to renewable energy, electrifying almost everything, increasing energy efficiency, protecting carbon sinks like forests, wetlands and grasslands — would also increase equality and fairness, reduce pollution, improve public health, create good jobs and even prevent pandemics.

It’s all interconnected. That means what we do as individuals matters. But, as much as personal measures like conserving energy and switching from cars to active or public transport are important, what’s really needed is public pressure. Get involved with others in your community, join climate strikes and actions, write to or call your political representatives and talk to people you know to help build momentum.

People who derive their wealth and privilege from continued, wasteful exploitation of fossil fuels are not going to change overnight. Now we have to.


Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, 2PM, Radio: CBC Music 104.7FM

"Best Operas Ever" Series with guest Jamie Barton
Richard Wagner's Das Rheingold

Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, recorded live in 1991, conducted by Daniel Barenboim
With John Tomlinson at Wotan, Graham Clark as Loge, Linda Finnie as Fricka, Eva Johansson as Freia, and Günter von Kannen as Alberich.

A wonderfully long afternoon with that opera!

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment, today until 6:30PM
Starring Natalie Dessay, Felicity Palmer, Juan Diego Flórez,
and Alessandro Corbelli, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Laurent Pelly. From April 26, 2008. 

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

The penultimate one!

July 23, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays for Future Charlottetown, 3:30PM, Province House area.  Thinking globally and acting locally.  More details

Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action -- Number 18-24 focus on health

Number 20:

In order to address the jurisdictional disputes concerning Aboriginal people who do not reside on reserves, we call upon the federal government to recognize, respect, and address the distinct health needs of the Métis, Inuit, and off-reserve Aboriginal peoples.

The federal government respond here, focusing on communication and resources designated for Inuit and Metis organizations, but not much discussed about off-reserve peoples. 

Opinion piece

from the Future of Charlottetown group

Conflict or No Conflict?-City Councillor Greg Rivard

Published on social media on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Future of Charlottetown [and likely the Guardian and CBC PEI] in recent days has been receiving complaints and concerns that Greg Rivard, City Councillor, is now also the official real estate sales agent for Killam/APM's Sherwood Crossing $60-million project. See photo of one of Sherwood Crossing's Greg Rivard, Sales Agent signs now on the project site.

In late August, 2020, Councillor Rivard, as Chair of Planning brought forward to a public meeting a proposed 300-unit, Killam/APM residential project to be built between Mt Edward Road and Charlottetown Mall. The project proceeded through the City Council approval process, plus the City decided to purchase two houses for access on Mt Edward Road, and pay for an adjoining street extension to be built, at a taxpayer cost of over one million dollars.

Councillor Rivard in late October was replaced [as a regular rotational matter] by Mike Duffy as Chair of Planning, but Rivard continued to play an active role in the City's deliberations and votes related to Sherwood Crossing. For example, in a December 14 City Council meeting as approvals were being finalized, a few Councillors, but not Mike Duffy, proposed that the City hold a further public meeting before final decisions were made. Councillor Rivard's response at that meeting was "Councillor Duffy is right. You can’t go back to a public meeting with regards to Sherwood Crossing." Sherwood Crossing was approved and in early 2021 an IRAC appeal was launched relating to this very contentious project/process.

In January, 2021, Greg Rivard joined Remax real estate while remaining a City Councillor, and both those roles have continued to today. At no time has Greg Rivard declared a conflict of interest, nor has he updated his Council Member Disclosure Statement to acknowledge that he obtains income/employment from Remax and/or related Sherwood Crossing real estate sales.

Future of Charlottetown contacted Greg Rivard before posting this article. He advised us of the following by email:"I was contacted apprx 3 weeks ago by representatives of Killam/APM asking if I would be interested in listing the properties through myself and Remax. I contacted my own solicitor as well as the City solicitor and asked them to review prior to accepting the offer. I was cleared with no conflict concerns."

Two additional points which Future of Charlottetown wishes to make. First, Greg Rivard was Chair of Planning when another Killam/APM project, namely the 99-unit, 15 Haviland, "urban design disaster" apartment building on our city's waterfront, was approved in 17 minutes. And we all know of the ongoing public backlash to that approval. Second, there seem to be recurring issues as to the advice the City is receiving from its paid outside legal, human resource and other "experts". In this case, Mr Rivard says "I was cleared with no conflict concerns." The question is, do our readers/citizens believe that this Sherwood Crossing sales agent matter is as clearly in his favour as Mr Rivard contends?


Yesterday, the Government of Canada's page for public comments on the Just Transition was mentioned, here:

Website for info:

e-mail address for feedback (for you to copy and paste)

and LeadNow, a citizen-driven group focusing on environment, democratic reform, and social justice, writes:

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

Wildfires are raging across the country, cities are choked by smoke and entire communities have been displaced.1,2,3 The climate crisis is at our doorstep.

Add your name to the open letter calling for an immediate halt on all fossil fuel expansion and massive investments in a clean, green, economy that leaves no one behind.

For every 500 signatures, we'll send a tweet to Prime Minister Trudeau to show him the growing demand for a Just Transition for all.

Here's the open letter:

To Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Wilkinson, and Minister O'Regan,

As you read this letter, wildfires are ravaging the country, smoke is choking cities and entire communities are being displaced. The climate crisis is happening right now. We're out of time for 'aggressive thoughts', and research. The solutions have been clear for decades now.

We’re calling on you to take action to:

  1. Immediately halt all fossil fuel expansion;

  2.  Massively invest in a clean, green economy that includes training for oil and gas workers, and;

  3. Give frontline and Indigenous communities actual decision-making power over the transition.

Canada cannot claim to be a climate leader while fossil fuel expansion continues. We are the only G7 country whose emissions have gone up every year since we signed the Paris agreement. It's unacceptable, and we're facing the consequences now.

We urge you to finally take bold action at the scale the climate emergency requires. Future generations, and our planet depend on it.

Thousands of people across Canada

Consider signing the letter, here:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, today until 6:30PM
Starring Erin Morley, Hibla Gerzmava, Kate Lindsey, Christine Rice, Vittorio Grigolo, and Thomas Hampson, conducted by Yves Abel. Production by Bartlett Sher. From January 31, 2015. 
This has the gorgeous "Barcarolle" in the third act, a duet with soprano and mezzo-soprano voices -- too gorgeous.

Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM

Starring Natalie Dessay, Felicity Palmer, Juan Diego Flórez,

and Alessandro Corbelli, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Laurent Pelly.

From April 26, 2008.

Such an animated performance, rivaling the Olympics for athleticism and lyricism!

July 22, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Market, 5-7PM, Bogside Brewery in Montague (may want to check social media to make sure this is still happening)

Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action:

Number 19. We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal peoples, to establish measurable goals to identify and close the gaps in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, and to publish annual progress reports and assess long-term trends. Such efforts would focus on indicators such as: infant mortality, maternal health, suicide, mental health, addictions, life expectancy, birth rates, infant and child health issues, chronic diseases, illness and injury incidence, and the availability of appropriate health services.

The Federal Government's response is here, and it is what one would expect, telling of money spent as of a couple of years ago, and good intentions, but no real concrete timeline or major plans to address well-being.

article, and opportunity to tell the federal government what you are thinking

Now’s your chance to weigh in on Canada’s just transitionThe National Observer article by Natasha Bulowski

Published on Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

The federal government is asking Canadians to provide feedback on potential elements of its proposed just transition legislation.

In an announcement Tuesday afternoon at Donovans Industrial Park in Newfoundland and Labrador, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan launched a process that will consult provinces and territories; First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities; labour and non-governmental organizations; small business owners and industry on how to best make the transition to a “low-carbon future for workers and their families.”

“We'll be sitting down with workers to hear exactly what they need from us,” O’Regan said at the announcement.

Starting in August and running through September, virtual consultations with workers, communities, provinces and territories, Indigenous people, and businesses will take place by invitation. Canadians not involved in those talks can email feedback to Natural Resources Canada and learn more at the government's just transition website. 

(see below article for website and email address)

Federal Green Party leader Annamie Paul said it remains to be seen whether this is a serious commitment.

“If the government is serious about a just transition, if they're serious about getting this work done that has been delayed for so long, then they should make sure that they don't call an election in August or September, that they should get back to work in September after the summer recess and make sure that the consultations happen and that the bill is introduced,” she said.

NDP critic for environment and climate change Laurel Collins said it's disappointing the Liberal government is only now talking about a Just Transition Act after promising one in 2019.

“It looks like they're ramping up for an election, so it puts into question their sincerity and actually following through on the engagement promises, never mind actually implementing a Just Transition Act,” said Collins.

Engaging with workers is vital, she said, but the government should have started these consultations immediately instead of waiting two years.

At the announcement, O’Regan said part of the logic for not beginning work immediately was because of the instability of the oil and gas industry, and the pandemic. He said now that the industry is more stable, Ottawa can start the conversation.

Collins added that the outcome of this announcement should be not just an engagement process, but also the funding to create good jobs by investing in things like transportation infrastructure, green retrofits, and affordable housing. These investments will be necessary to facilitate an equitable transition, she said.

The government’s commitment to consult with workers is a positive move towards a just transition, said Luisa Da Silva, executive director of Iron and Earth, an oilpatch worker-led organization trying to ensure a prosperous transition towards global carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Ultimately, workers are the ones that are on the ground, they're the ones that know the industry best, and they're the ones that know what needs to happen,” said Da Silva.

But for these consultations to result in strong legislation, Da Silva said the process needs to be as inclusive as possible because many fossil fuel workers live in remote communities and may not be able to easily send in their feedback virtually.

“(The government) can't rely only on virtual resources, they also have to make the effort to reach out to the more remote communities and anybody who is limited by virtual communication to ensure that their voices are also heard,” she said. “Especially since those are the communities that will benefit the most and be most affected by the just transition legislation.”

She hopes the government will listen closely to the needs of workers and see that what they need is paid upskilling programs to prepare them for the transition.

A recent poll from Iron and Earth and Abacus Data found that 90 per cent of fossil fuel workers surveyed believe they could transition to at least one type of net-zero technology with 12 months or less of training, but 61 per cent of workers worried about having to invest money for retraining.

Rapidly upskilling the whole fossil fuel industry workforce would cost upwards of $5.5 billion, according to Iron and Earth, and Da Silva said it will be necessary to ensure no fossil fuel or Indigenous workers are left behind.

The 2021 budget earmarked $2 billion to create new work opportunities over the next five years, including $250 million to help workers transition.

A discussion paper released Tuesday says the just transition legislation could establish a permanent external advisory body to advise the government on transition strategies, and is asking Canadians to weigh in on who should be on the advisory body, what its mandate should be, and other considerations.

When asked who would likely be part of the advisory body, O’Regan said that has yet to be determined, “but certainly those who are most directly affected take priority, and for me, the priority in this portfolio has always been workers and their families.”

Da Silva said it is important the advisory body has the authority to ensure workers’ needs are centred and shape the legislation.

“The risk is that an advisory board gives advice and that advice is not followed, making this an empty tick-box exercise,” she said. “We'll be watching to see if the advisory board has the power not only to consult with workers, but also to translate their needs into actions that will actually help workers pivot to the net-zero economy.”

Website for info:

e-mail address for feedback (for you to copy and paste)

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, today until 6:30PM
Starring Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and Nicolas Testé, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Penny Woolcock. From January 16, 2016.

Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Friday
Starring Erin Morley, Hibla Gerzmava, Kate Lindsey, Christine Rice, Vittorio Grigolo, and Thomas Hampson, conducted by Yves Abel. Production by Bartlett Sher. From January 31, 2015. 

July 21, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Summertime Wednesday Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM,
Belvedere Avenue.
Produce and crafts and lots of prepared food -- great lunchtime offerings for takeout.

Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 1:30PM, online.
Topic: Briefing on the Adoption Act and adoption disclosure

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on the Adoption Act and adoption disclosure from Mary MacDonald and Charlotte MacAulay.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Number 18. We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to acknowledge that the current state of Aboriginal health in Canada is a direct result of previous Canadian government policies, including residential schools, and to recognize and implement the health-care rights of Aboriginal people as identified in international law, constitutional law, and under the Treaties.

The Government of Canada (which hasn't really updated this page with more current budget numbers), writes:

The Government of Canada recognizes that the current state of Indigenous health is a direct result of the shameful historical legacy of colonialist policies and interventions against the well-being of Indigenous peoples and communities, including Indian residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and other harmful practices. The intergenerational impacts of Indian residential schools are well documented in international and national evidence cited in Government of Canada publications and specifically recognized in partnership agreements with Indigenous governments and representatives.

The Government of Canada has committed significant new investments in Budgets 2016, 2017 and 2018 to increase the capacity of Indigenous communities to address both risk factors and impacts of health inequities resulting from the intergenerational effects of colonization. These investments include:

  • $69 million over 3 years for mental wellness teams and crisis stabilization

  • $828.2 million over 5 years for communicable diseases, primary care transformation, mental wellness, children's oral health and home and community care

  • $200 million over 5 years with $40 million ongoing to address the needs of high risk communities in the area of addictions

  • $27.5 million over 5 years for eliminating tuberculosis in Inuit Nunangat

  • $86 million for Non-Insured Health Benefits to expand access to mental health professionals, including access to traditional healers

  • making accessible to all First Nations and Inuit women who must leave their home community during their pregnancy, an escort such as a family member

These investments will result in meaningful change in Indigenous communities in terms of levels of access to services, number of community-based workers, partnerships with provincial and territorial health systems, and better linkages with the Indigenous social determinants of health. For example, the number of multidisciplinary and culturally grounded mental wellness teams will quadruple. This model is based on the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework endorsed by First Nations chiefs in assembly in 2015. The National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy developed by and for Inuit will be implemented. The Know Your Status First Nations community-designed and driven initiative will be replicated across all First Nations communities in Saskatchewan, an initiative that has demonstrated capacity of First Nations to exceed the 90-90-90 HIV elimination target of the World Health Organization.

In addition to these significant investments in Indigenous designed and implemented health and wellness initiatives, the Government of Canada is actively supporting Indigenous peoples to take control over health services in recognition of their rights to self-governance and self-determination. Building on the success of the British Columbia First Nations Health Authority who took over federal British Columbia operations in First Nations health in 2013, it has committed to Mental Wellness Transformation partnership with the British Columbia First Nations Health Council and the provincial government. An initial investment of $10 million over 3 years has been committed by the Government of Canada to support the aspirations of British Columbia First Nations leaders and representatives to support community-driven, nation-based plans in the area of mental health and wellness.

Budget 2018 announced $235 million to advance targeted health systems transformation initiatives launched by First Nations in several provinces. The Government of Canada has signed partnership agreements with Northern Manitoba First Nations (MKO), Northern Ontario First Nations (Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Treaty 3) and is expecting to shortly sign protocol agreements with non-self-governing First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. A Memorandum of Understanding with the Onion Lake Cree Nation was signed to establish the first treaty-relationship based funding agreement related to health, reflecting the importance of Treaty 6 and the Medicine Chest clause.

The Government of Canada will continue to pursue collaboration, both bilateral and tripartite, with First Nations across the country. In 2016, funding was provided to National Indigenous Organizations to develop distinctions-based plans for health transformation, presented to federal, provincial and territorial Health Ministers by Indigenous leaders in October 2017.

As well, the permanent bilateral mechanism process is instrumental in advancing priorities identified in these health transformation plans and joint health and wellness work plans with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the 4 Land Claim Organizations as well as the Métis National Council and its governing members. A Memorandum of Understanding to develop a 10-year Métis Health Accord with the Métis National Council has been signed as an outcome of this process.

In addition to investing in capacity building and actively supporting the devolution of health services, the Government of Canada recognizes that to make improvements to health outcomes for Indigenous individuals, families and communities, cultural safety and humility must be embedded in the health system and in health service delivery. Again, building on the accomplishments realized by the British Columbia First Nations Health Authority in making the health system in British Columbia more culturally safe for First Nations, the federal departments of Indigenous Services and Health, as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada, signed a Declaration of Commitment to Advance Cultural Safety and Humility in Health and Wellness Services in British Columbia on April 3, 2019.


Article from The Washington Post on food systems now and what could be (noting that the article is of course from a U.S. perspective)

The total health and climate consequences of the American food system cost three times as much as the food itself -The Washington Post article by Laura Reiley

A new report provides a roadmap to creating a post-pandemic food system with greater fairness, fewer adverse climate impacts and better health outcomes

Published on Friday, July 16th, 2021

The true cost of food is even higher than you think, a new report out Thursday says.

The United States spends $1.1 trillion a year on food. But when the impacts of the food system on different parts of our society — including rising health care costs, climate change and biodiversity loss — are factored in, the bill is around three times that, according to a report by the Rockefeller Foundation, a private charity that funds medical and agricultural research.

Using government statistics, scientific literature and insights from experts across the food system, the researchers quantified things like the share of direct medical costs attributable to diet and food, as well as the productivity loss associated with those health problems. They also looked

at how crop cultivation and ranching, and other aspects of U.S. food production impacted the environment. Focusing on the production, processing, distribution, retail and consumption stages of the food system (not including food service), they evaluated what it would cost to restore people’s health, wealth or environment back to an undamaged state, as well as the cost of preventing a recurrence of the problems.

“Realizing a better food system requires facing hard facts. We must accurately calculate the full cost we pay for food today to successfully shape economic and regulatory incentives tomorrow,” asserts the introduction to the report, written by the foundation’s food research group.

Health impacts are the biggest hidden cost of the food system, with more than $1 trillion per year in health-related costs paid by Americans, with an estimated $604 billion of that attributable to diseases — such as hypertension, cancer and diabetes — linked to diet.

In calculating the financial burden of environmental problems, the researchers evaluated direct environmental impacts of farming  and ranching on greenhouse gas emissions, water depletion and soil erosion. They also looked at reduced biodiversity, which lowers ecosystems’ productivity and makes food supplies more vulnerable to pests and disease. They determined the unaccounted costs of the food system on the environment and biodiversity add up to almost $900 billion per year.

The report examines 14 metrics — health, environment, biodiversity, livelihoods and more — to quantify what it calls the true cost of food, reflecting additional, externalized costs, incurred within the food system not covered by the price of food. These externalized costs are being incurred by the public sector, businesses and producers, consumers and future generations, the report argues. Across many of the areas, communities of color bear a disproportionate burden.

The report found that rates of diagnosed diabetes are 1.7 times higher in Latinx Americans and 1.5 times higher in Black Americans than in White Americans. And it found air pollution exposure is 41 percent higher for Black Americans than White Americans.

This report is a wake-up call. The U.S. food system as it stands is adversely affecting our environment, our health and our society,” said Rajiv Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “To fix a problem, we need to first understand its extent. The data in this report reveals not only the negative impacts of the American food system but also what steps we can take to make it more equitable, resilient and nourishing.”

Advocacy groups hailed the Rockefeller report. Paula Daniels, co-founder of the Center for Good Food Purchasing said the report pulls back the veil on the hidden costs of food.

“If an organic apple is 99 cents and a sugary beverage is also 99 cents, there are layers of subsidies in that sugary beverage. We need to examine not only what we’re paying, but what that price reflects, the subsidized cost and the external costs — diabetes, obesity; you can quantify the health impacts,” she said.

Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, who was an adviser on the new report, said that the pandemic, coupled with Black Lives Matters and the reawakening around racial justice, has been a “Sept. 11 moment around food.”

“We’re at a tipping point. People widely recognize that the food system is broken,” Mozaffarian said, adding that most current public policies around food and agriculture are based on the 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health. Yet, 52 years later much of it doesn’t make sense.

“The priority in the 1950s was to get calories into the world, because the world population had quadrupled. At the same time, the best nutrition information we had was about vitamins. Vitamin deficiencies have largely disappeared; we were successful. But we didn’t anticipate the explosion of obesity,” he said.

According to the report, if U.S. rates of diet-related diseases were reduced to similar rates in countries like Canada, health care costs could be reduced by $250 billion per year.

This would require the food industry to focus on creating healthier foods and adhering to more rigorous regulations for the marketing of unhealthy foods, said Roy Steiner, senior vice president for the food initiative at the Rockefeller Foundation, which funds an array of initiatives and nonprofits.

“We created the food system with a particular objective — low-cost and abundant calories — and we didn’t understand what that impact was going to be,” said Steiner, one of the authors of the report.

Separately, the report also suggests that if the United States could reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5°C of preindustrial levels, then some $100 billion could be saved in additional environmental costs.

Melissa Ho, a senior vice president at the World Wildlife Fund and also an adviser on the report, said that while people are increasingly aware of the connection between diet and health, they have trouble understanding the connection between the food system and environmental damage. She would like to see more performance-based metrics and tools to assess things like how much carbon a farmer or rancher is returning to the soil.

“We must shift our farming practices and systems to be more regenerative and resilient. We can do this if we realign and shift our public policies and programs to support producers and drive this transition from the ground up,” she said. Based on the way the system is set up right now, she added, it’s not easy or lucrative for farmers to transition to less harmful agriculture practices, such as not tilling or using cover crops that help build soil and prevent erosion.

“Covid exposed so much that was broken,” she said, “but building back better means supporting producers and connecting the dots to health, environment and business viability for farmers.”


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

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

Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
Starring Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and Nicolas Testé, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Penny Woolcock. From January 16, 2016.  The Pearl Fishers is one of the few operas with a tenor-baritone duet and it's breathtaking.   This is a beautiful set and costumed production, too, with three fantastic stars.

July 20, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Covid-19 Health Update, 11:30AM (or so), CBC Online, Government website, and various Facebook Live locations; with Dr. Heather Morrison.

Deadline for Charlottetown's Farmers' Market 2 Go, order by Today noon for pick-up Thursday

Pride PEI Festival Events Calendar:   hover over a day to get the list of events

Tonight, still may have some tickets for the event or take-out portion available:

Political Fundraiser: Sounds of Summer, Districts 21 and 23 Green Party Regional Association, 6:30PM.  Menu from Z&G's Specialty Fusion Cuisine, with MLAs Lynne Lund, Trish Altass, and Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.
More details and contact information:
Deadline today:  Comments from public on changes to Glyphosate (RoundUp) Regulations from the federal Government:
Contact by e-mail:

or other contact at this page

See background information and Tony Reddin's submission, below.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Number 17. We call upon all levels of government to enable residential school Survivors and their families to reclaim names changed by the residential school system by waiving administrative costs for a period of five years for the name-change process and the revision of official identity documents, such as birth certificates, passports, driver's licenses, health cards, status cards, and social insurance numbers.

Sometimes it's useful to look at an issue from an outside perspective, from National Public Radio in the States in this case.

She Struggled To Reclaim Her Indigenous Name. She Hopes Others Have It Easier - NPR Online article by Emma Bowman

Published on Monday, July 5th, 2021

For as long as she can remember, Danita Bilozaze knew that the name on her birth certificate, "Danita Loth," didn't reflect her Indigenous identity.

From the stories her mother recounted to her, she knew that Catholic missionaries had changed her family's name. Her great-grandfather, a man known as Lor Bilozaze, was written into priests' logs as "Loth Bilozaze." Government record books in Canada ultimately dropped the "Bilozaze," and Loth became their surname.

She never felt a connection with that name. But "Bilozaze," which means "the makers" in her native Denesuline language, she said, is integral to the preservation of her identity and culture as a member of the Cold Lake First Nations.

"It means everything to me because it lines up with who I am," she said. "I am an educator, I am a teacher, I am a baker, I'm an artist. I'm always, always, forever making things. So when you have something that was taken away from your family, like your birthright or your name and you have a chance to make that right for future generations, it means everything to take back what is rightfully mine."

Last year, the 49-year-old began an emotional and frustrating nine-month-long journey to officially change her name.  A new policy that promotes name reclamation promises that those following in Bilozaze's footsteps won't have to face the same hurdles.

A step toward reconciliation

Earlier this month, federal officials in Canada announced a new policy process that allows Indigenous citizens to restore their names on government-issued identification, including passports, for free until May 2026.

It's unclear how many Canadians, 5% of whom are Indigenous, will pursue name reclamation under the new policy.  Frank Deer, a research chair and associate professor in Indigenous education at the University of Manitoba, says that most First Nations tribal members have lost their original Indigenous names to history as a result of forced assimilation and poor government record-keeping.

Among native people who can't reclaim their names because of inadequate records, Deer says there's a growing interest in acquiring new Indigenous names that carry a meaningful connection to their communities.   "Many are actually not reclaiming a lost name," he says. "They're simply claiming a name."

A history of "cultural genocide"

The new policy implements a six-year-old recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It's known as Call to Action No. 17: An appeal to all levels of government to allow residential school survivors and their families to reclaim names changed by the residential schools.

The policy was unveiled against the backdrop of last month's harrowing discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children in a mass grave at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

"It was a very harsh reminder that as a country, we have to come to grips with the fact that the residential school system was something that could have and did occur in a country that prides itself on our diversity and our relationship with Indigenous peoples," Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino told NPR.

Between 1830 and 1998, Canadian governments and churches separated more than 150,000 native children from their parents and confined them to mandatory boarding schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission said the effort amounted to "cultural genocide." There — at Indian residential schools like Blue Quills in Alberta, which Bilozaze's grandmother attended — students were given Christian names, had their hair cut and their clothes replaced with uniforms, suffered physical and sexual abuse, and punished for speaking their own languages.

The commission estimated that over 4,000 children died while at the schools. The shocking discoveries have continued. A week after leaders of Indigenous groups said that at least 600 bodies, mostly those of children, had been found in unmarked graves outside another shuttered residential school near Grayson, Saskatchewan, 182 more human remains were found near a another former church-run school in Cranbrook, B.C.

In March 2020, Bilozaze was as immersed as ever in that history of cultural erasure. She had just completed her master's degree in education after studying the revitalization of Indigenous languages and the reclamation of native identities. Yet when she was awarded her degree, her diploma did not reflect her roots. She wanted it changed to her Indigenous name.

She met few who understood what reconciliation should look like

Bilozaze thought the commission's call to establish a name reclamation policy would make the process easier.  Yet, at every step she described in getting her name changed, she found ignorance around reconciliation.  "Instead of just going and doing this work, I now have to educate people along the way," she said.

Her first step began last September with a visit to get her fingerprints taken at the federal police station near her home in the Comox Valley region of British Columbia. A clerk asked her to explain why the fees should be waived for her application.

So Bilozaze pulled up documents on her phone and began teaching the clerk a history lesson.  "Then I went and I sat in my car and cried," Bilozaze said.

She would go through nine months of delays, anguish and repeating her story. Altogether, application fees can run upward of hundreds of dollars. Eventually, through petitions, she managed to get most of the charges reimbursed.

By winter, her pursuit stalled. Her certificate of name change — the document she needed in order to make revisions on official IDs — was held up at the Land Title and Survey Authority. When the document did arrive in her mailbox three months later, it appeared singed and wrinkled — rendering it void.  "At that point, I've got nothing to prove who I am," she said.

So she went through the process again. She proceeded to get her land title as well as her three university degrees changed to her Indigenous name.

Then came the passport. Instead of enjoying their spring break this year, the teacher and her daughter drove the three hours from their home in the Comox Valley to a passport office in Victoria to get their names changed.

That's where she met Samantha MacPhail, a supervisor at Service Canada's Citizen Services Branch. For the first time in the entire process, Bilozaze says she started to see things turn around. An apologetic MacPhail gave Bilozaze's application her full attention, Bilozaze said.

Following daily updates from MacPhail, Bilozaze finally got her official passport on May 26.

A harrowing journey offers a crash course on cultural sensitivity

MacPhail worked to ensure her colleagues could learn from Bilozaze's experience. Bilozaze's fight to legally change her name has provided a teaching opportunity for some 1,000 employees within Service Canada as a part of workplace training programs on reconciliation.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Bilozaze is the first person in the country to have her fees waived to get her passport changed to reflect her Indigenous name. Her 15-year-old daughter, Dani, is the second.

In an email last month, MacPhail thanked Bilozaze for letting her share her story, including on a call with leaders at the national level.

"Your story has continued to move others, both to tears and to action," MacPhail wrote. "Because of your action and your bravery, Indigenous Canadians across the country will no longer walk into our offices and be met with a non-answer."

Bilozaze said that other people in her community want to legally reclaim their names. "But of course, there's fear," she said on June 21, Canada's Indigenous Peoples Day. "No one wants to have to push that hard."

She's a reluctant poster child in the protracted pursuit of Indigenous reconciliation. As Bilozaze said she told Service Canada when asked to share her experience: "If it's going to help people like me, definitely use my story — only if it's going to help those that are coming behind me to do the same thing."


And I may be being cross-border picky, but the Government of Canada responds on this Call to Action in part saying,

"...Thus far, several provinces and the Northwest Territories are waiving fees for name changes on birth records for Indigenous peoples asking for such a change. For identity documents issued under federal jurisdiction, Service Canada does not charge fees for name changes on Social Security Numbers." (emphasis mine)

but doesn't Canada use the term Social Insurance Numbers?

Health Canada public comment period on Glyphosate ending today

Proposed Maximum Residue Limit PMRL2021-10, Glyphosate

Pest Management Regulatory Agency
6 May 2021
ISSN: 1925-0843 (PDF version)
Catalogue number: H113-24/2021-10E-PDF (
PDF version)

Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act, Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is proposing to establish maximum residue limits (MRLs) for glyphosate on various commodities to permit the import and sale of foods containing such residues as well as to update the food commodity descriptors to remove historical terminology of currently established MRLs on processed cereal food commodities.
<snip -- more at the link, above>
An excerpt from The Conversation, by way of The Tyee, on this:

Glyphosate Is a ‘Probable Human Carcinogen.’ Why Is It Still Being Used? - The Conversation article by Marion Werner, Annie Shattuck and Ryan Galt

Roundup and its generic equivalents are ubiquitous on farms and in home gardens. It’s time for change.

Published on Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

Marion Werner is an associate professor of geography at the University at Buffalo. Annie Shattuck is an assistant professor of geography at Indiana University. Ryan Galt is a professor of geography at University of California, Davis. This article is republished from the Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

Read the original article:


....Science can take a long time to reach conclusive results. Given how widely glyphosate is used now, we expect that if it is definitively found to harm human health, its effects will be widespread, difficult to isolate and extremely challenging to regulate.

And finding a cheap silver bullet to safely replace it could be hard. Many substitutes on the market today are more acutely toxic. Nonetheless, there’s a need for better options, because weeds are developing resistance to glyphosate.

In our view, growing concerns about glyphosate’s effectiveness and possible health impacts should accelerate research into alternative solutions to chemical weed control. Without more public support for these efforts, farmers will turn to more toxic herbicides. Glyphosate looks cheap now, but its true costs could turn out to be much higher.


by Tony Reddin, Bonshaw, PEI
July 19th, 2021

shared with permission, and permission granted for others to use any part of his writing for their information or in their comments to Health Canada

To whom it may concern,
Below and attached are my comments and objections regarding proposed measures for PMRL2021-10.

I strongly oppose any relaxing of Maximum Residue Limits for glyphosate. 


Comments re Proposed Maximum Residue Limit PMRL2021-10, Glyphosate

Even though and because levels of Glyphosate in food are increasing, sometimes exceeding regulatory limits, Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for Glyphosate must not be allowed to increase.

Higher herbicide doses harm the environment, contaminate our food, risk our health, and threaten Organic Agriculture.

These are my objections:

1. Glyphosate is already ubiquitous in agricultural regions.

Higher MRLs will increase contamination on and beyond farms, and we will have even more glyphosate in our food.

Glyphosate is in the soil, air and waterways, drifting in dust and falling in the rain in North America.

2. Glyphosate is a potent chemical – a herbicide, an antibiotic and a chelator – affecting human and environmental health.

As an antibiotic in animals (including humans, other mammals and insects) glyphosate kills bacteria and depletes beneficial gut microbes. Glyphosate caused “anal staining” according to industry-supplied rodent test data held by the PMRA, but they did not find this hallmark of dysbiosis to be “adverse.” Trends of related health effects mirror increasing glyphosate in food.

·  Dysbiosis may escalate to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD is increasing at 6% per year in young children in Canada). Increasing chronic inflammation with dysbiosis is reflected in similar rates of increasing colorectal cancer in our younger adults.

·  Glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Cancer lawsuits are now costing Bayer billions of US dollars, following three successful prosecutions regarding non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Awards were augmented because Monsanto acted with malice, oppression, or fraud in suppressing and contesting the science, influencing regulators.

·  In bees, GBHs perturb the balance of microbes in the gut, possibly exacerbating pollinator decline. Pollinators are essential for legume production.

·  As an antibiotic in the soil, GBHs cause shifts in the soil microbiome, with increased mycotoxins, including Fusarium spp (e.g., infecting wheat). This contamination can make crops unsalable. Mycotoxins pose many risks to human and animal health, affecting the immune system, nervous system, liver and child development, and causing cancers.

·  As a chelator, glyphosate binds with and may mobilize metals in soil. Toxic metals such as cadmium (which is naturally high in many Prairie soils and Canadian potash fertilizer) is hyper-accumulated in grains and can exceed international MRLs (cadmium is not listed among Canada’s maximum levels for chemical contaminants in food). Cadmium, a known carcinogen, accumulates in bone and can disable essential enzymes, causing widespread disruption of the functioning of the body’s systems, damaging kidneys, impairing child development, promoting chronic disease and causing cancers.

3. Increased use of GBHs will further impact Canadian Organic Agriculture.

Organic commodities are already challenged by glyphosate contamination from drift, dust, possible contamination during shipping / handling and other consequences of ubiquitous environmental contamination from non-organic agriculture [2014, COTA Glyphosate Residue report].

This threat to Canadian Organic Agriculture is being averted in ways that do not protect food safety.

“Organic” now means that farmers follow prescribed on-farm practices, but recognises that organic food cannot mean “pesticide-free” because of contamination from off-farm sources. The scale of GBH use and associated off-target contamination results in organic commodities losing markets, particularly in the EU and Asia where the MRLs for organic foods are much lower or zero-tolerance.
--Tony Reddin, Bonshaw, PEI

To express your views: <>  ending today

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming -- Last week!!:

Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Susanne Mentzer, Dwayne Croft, and Bryn Terfel. Production by Jonathan Miller. From November 11, 1998.  3hours

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

July 19, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 18, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Today --
Sunday Downtown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street.  Fresh produce, prepared food, entertainment. 
More info:

Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

Number 15. We call upon the federal government to appoint, in consultation with Aboriginal groups, an Aboriginal Languages Commissioner. The commissioner should help promote Aboriginal languages and report on the adequacy of federal funding of Aboriginal-languages initiatives.

This moved along this week with the appointment of the Commissioner and Commission members:
News release:

The First Commissioner and Directors of Indigenous Languages are Appointed

released on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021, by Heritage Canada

OTTAWA, June 14, 2021
Language is at the heart of cultural identity; it shapes who we are and our perspectives. When we speak our languages, we share stories, pass on knowledge and create bonds for generations. Through the Indigenous Languages Act, the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages (OCIL) will support Indigenous peoples in ensuring that languages grow and prosper so they can be shared and spoken for years to come.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced the first appointees to the new Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages:

  • Ronald E. Ignace, Commissioner

  • Robert Watt, Director

  • Georgina Liberty, Director

  •  Joan Greyeyes, Director

The Commissioner and Directors were chosen following an open, transparent, and merit-based selection process. The Government of Canada ensured that the selection committee included First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation representatives who assessed and identified highly qualified individuals for the Minister’s consideration for appointment.
The Commissioner and Directors were selected for their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous communities, cultures and languages, including an understanding of language vitality and endangerment, and for their ability to represent the interests of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. They have unique strengths that will serve the interests, current needs and future direction of the OCIL. Collectively, their knowledge, expertise and leadership will facilitate better outcomes for Indigenous languages.
Engagement sessions on the Indigenous Languages Act and recent consultations with a variety of Indigenous governments, other Indigenous governing bodies and multiple Indigenous organizations helped confirm the role and responsibilities of the Commissioner and Directors and inform the selection process. The OCIL will operate independently from the Government of Canada and support Indigenous peoples in their self-determining efforts to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages; promote public awareness of Indigenous languages; undertake research on the provision of funding and on the use of Indigenous languages in Canada; and provide culturally appropriate dispute resolution services and review complaints.


CTV News article (LINK only)

thanks to Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. vice-chair Boyd Allen for sharing this...reminds us to preserve the water which seems so plentiful around us. ...

Two Rods and a ‘Sixth Sense’: In Drought, Water Witches are Swamped - The New York Times article by Livia Albeck-Ripka

Amid California’s drought, desperate landowners and managers are turning to those who practice an ancient, disputed method for locating water.

Published on Saturday, July 17, 2021

CALISTOGA, Calif. — In a vineyard flanked by scorched hills and charcoal trees, Rob Thompson gripped two stainless steel rods, began rotating in a circle and counted under his breath.

Then he said he had found it — water, hundreds of feet beneath the parched ground.

“This is really good,” said Mr. Thompson, 53, scratching an ‘X’ into the ashen soil with his shoe. “This is a deep one: 750 feet, 55 to 60 gallons a minute.” He added, “This one I can feel.”

Mr. Thompson is a water witch.

He claims that he can locate streams of water in the fractures in the earth’s bedrock, using two L-shaped rods that together resemble an old-fashioned television antenna. Amid California’s extreme drought, just a two-hour drive north of the nation’s technology capital of Silicon Valley, the water-seeking services of a man relying on two three-foot rods and a hunch are in demand.

“This is my busiest I think I’ve ever been in my life,” said Mr. Thompson, a third-generation water hunter with silvering hair and the lumbering gait of a bear. He had been a co-owner of one of Northern California’s largest well-drilling companies, but since gave that up and now searches for water full time. His busy schedule is a sign of the desperation of ranchers, vineyard owners and land managers as California reels from a crippling drought that has depleted aquifers, shrunken crops and forced some farmers to sell off their water rights.

The mystical technique of locating new groundwater sources is thought to have first come into vogue in Europe in the Middle Ages. The method is known as dowsing or divining, or even doodlebugging, and those who practice it are called water dowsers or water witches — a phrase that may have originated from the practice being deemed witchcraft in the 17th century.

The National Ground Water Association, a group of experts, including hydrogeologists, that promotes responsible water use, describes water witching as “totally without scientific merit.” Some California farmers who pay for the service, however, say it often provides a cheaper alternative to traditional methods, such as hiring a geologist or prospector.

The American Society of Dowsers says it has about 2,000 members, several of whom are working water witches. Other dowsers claim they can locate treasures, lost objects, alien life forms and stress in the body. Some dowsers dangle a Buddha pendant above a printed map or a laptop screen to find what they are looking for. Mr. Thompson — who also dowses oil, gas and minerals — says when he steps over groundwater, the energy surrounding him changes, causing an involuntary muscular twitch within him that makes his rods cross.

He and some others who water dowse are blue-collar workers deeply familiar with farming, yet whose beliefs in the “sixth sense” or “subconscious happening” of witching are decidedly more New Age than agricultural. Many say the knowledge of their craft has been passed down to them by their elders, and they revere the ancientness of the practice, even if it sometimes earns them a sideward glance.

“People think you’re crazy,” said Larry Bird, 77, a Sacramento-based dowser who learned the method from his grandfather, a melon seller from Pawnee, Okla. He described the sensation of being close to water as being akin to a magnetic field. “It leaves me hot,” he said. “Just like if you short a battery.”

Sharry Hope, a longtime dowser based in Oroville, Calif., says standing over water leaves her with a “chilling sensation.” Ms. Hope claims she learned one of the techniques she uses to find water on maps from a former military officer: She swings a pendulum until it stops and points toward a “water vein,” Ms. Hope said. “I just mark it with a Sharpie.”

Though scientists and groundwater experts make clear that the dowsers’ methods are unscientific and amount to a kind of hocus-pocus, dozens of vineyards in the wealthy winemaking regions of California have hired them to find water on their lands.

One company that manages vineyards in Napa Valley has hired dowsers across nearly all of the more than 70 vineyards it manages. “I haven’t ever used a geologist to find water,” said Johnnie White, the operations manager of the company, Piña Vineyard Management.

The owner of another company said Mr. Thompson had successfully located wells on several properties. “Seeing is believing, right?” said Doug Hill, who runs Hill Family Estate, which manages several vineyards and a winery in Napa Valley.

Fifty of California’s 58 counties are under emergency drought declarations. Water holders have been ordered to stop drawing their allotments from rivers. On farms and vineyards, a surge in well drilling and increased reliance on those wells has helped to deplete groundwater, leaving some with no choice but to truck in the precious resource. A wait list for a driller can be several months to a year, and the hole costs tens of thousands of dollars.

Hydrogeologists use a combination of satellite imagery, geology, drilling data, geophysical instruments and other hydrologic tools to assess water sources, said Timothy Parker, a Sacramento-based groundwater management consultant, and hydrogeologist. “Compared to dowsing, which is a person with a stick,” he added.

It was possible, Mr. Parker and other experts said, that witches got lucky, because it is not hard to find water in many parts of California. Dowsers like Mr. Thompson with years of experience in the industry would also have developed a familiarity with the landscape, they added.

“There are economic issues, personal beliefs and desperation factors going into the decision to try dowsing,” Ben Frech, a spokesman for the National Ground Water Association, said in an email. While the group understood that despair could lead to “exploring all options,” ultimately, he said, the method was a waste of time and money.

On Monday in Napa Valley, Mr. Thompson leaned out of the passenger side of a four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle to scope out his assignment: locating fresh water on a 155-acre vineyard with two dry wells, and others that were underperforming.

Responding to critics of water dowsing, he said, “I just laugh at them. They don’t know the facts.” He added, “I’m rarely wrong.”

Choking dust billowed from beneath the wheels. Mr. Thompson, shades down, divining rods in hand, maintained a cool demeanor. He planned to charge at least $1,400 for his visit. A geologist had quoted the same site at a minimum of $6,500.

He stepped out of the A.T.V. and placed the rods perpendicular to the earth to “ground out” — a process he says helps dispel his energy. Then he leaned back, his head cocked in concentration, and held the rods out in front of him, turning slowly until they crossed.

“Yeah, it’s right down here,” he said.

Up the charred hill between two rows of vines razed by last year’s wildfires but recently replanted, Mr. Thompson’s rods crossed again. He said he was sure that he had found a source that was “a keeper.”

His wife pushed a stake marked with a red ribbon and the words “WELL 9” into the crumbling earth. With a clank, clank, clank, Mr. Thompson secured it with a hammer.

He carried a hand-held GPS device so he could provide a topographic map with his water sites to his clients. But his other methods and tools were all low-tech: bronze and stainless steel rods, a bullet-shaped pendulum on a piece of tattered string.

“Those Silicon people,” he added, “still hire me.”


And thanks to Ian Petrie for finding this, though I think there is an opinion piece by Cherry Tsoi at the same publication that day that's worth reading...

Why wetlands matter in the fight against the climate crisis - The National Observer article by Emma McIntoch

Published on Friday, July 16th, 2021

For a long time now, wetlands have been sorely misunderstood.

Wrongly dismissed by colonial Canada as a breeding ground for mosquitoes — in fact, their water is constantly moving and unsuitable for the insects to lay eggs — and maligned for their mucky lack of farming potential, swamps, bogs and marshes are actually vital tools in the fight against the climate crisis.

“Our relationship with wetlands historically has been one of, ‘These are nasty places with mosquitoes,’” said Eric Balke, a conservation programs specialist with the non-profit Ducks Unlimited Canada who researches and restores wetlands in southwestern B.C.

“It's an ecosystem that I think is really easy for us to take for granted.”

The reality is, wetlands are a pivotal carbon sink — in Canada, they store roughly 147 billion tonnes of it, roughly 900 times more than the amount emitted by industrial sources annually, the Geological Survey of Canada has estimated.

But wetlands, which have long been on the decline due to human development, are also at risk from the climate crisis. Scientists are now racing to learn as much as they can about how to recreate those that have already been lost and protect what is left.

Wetlands act as sponges, filtering water and absorbing rainfall that could otherwise become a flood. They’re hubs of biodiversity, providing sanctuary for a plethora of species, like migratory birds.

“If you're a nature enthusiast, I mean, they are where the things are happening,” said Ralph Toninger, the associate director of restoration and resource management at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), whose role involves rebuilding and rehabilitating wetlands.

They also bolster coastlines against waves, flooding and erosion from higher sea levels, fuelled by the climate crisis. Balke is working on a project aimed at protecting those qualities — the cities of Surrey and Delta and the Semiahmoo First Nation have teamed up to create a “living dike” by gradually raising the elevation of a salt marsh on Boundary Bay in B.C. Their hope is that plant life will adapt over time, so it can keep protecting the shore.

Of all the types of wetlands, peatlands — soggy, spongy areas where organic matter builds up over time, mainly found in Canada in the boreal forest — tend to hold the most carbon. They can be several metres deep. But droughts, wildfires, the thawing of permafrost and rising sea levels, all driven by the climate crisis, can put them at risk.

Swamps, bogs, marshes and peatlands have long been misunderstood or overlooked. But in reality, they’re vital carbon sinks and play key roles in protecting us from the fallout of extreme events caused by climate change.

Humans can protect them by limiting the amount the atmosphere warms, and failing that, avoid draining and developing the peatlands we have left, said Maria Strack, a professor at the University of Waterloo’s department of geography and environmental management and a Canada Research Chair in ecosystems and climate.

“If we can try to avoid those and keep peatlands wet, then that will help in the face of ongoing climate change, as well as help to just protect that carbon stock that's helping us in the fight against climate change already,” she said.

In heavily developed southern Ontario, where Toninger works, three-quarters of the wetlands that once covered the landscape are gone. Settlers cleared many of them 200 years ago to make room for agriculture.

Now, Toninger and the TRCA are working to restore the natural flow of water through wetlands as much as they can to bolster defences against extreme flooding events, which are expected to happen more as the climate shifts. That work can make more economic sense than traditional infrastructure upgrades, he added.

“There's so much gratification in wetland restoration because it happens so fast,” Toninger said. “A wetland in Year 1 is already contributing, it's already storing water, it’s already fixing carbon like crazy.”


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s La Rondine, today until 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Nicolas Joël. From January 10, 2009.

Puccini’s Turandot, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Nina Stemme, Anita Hartig, Marco Berti, and Alexander Tsymbalyuk, conducted by Paolo Carignani. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From January 30, 2016. 

July 17, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food

Farmers' Markets:

Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)

Summerside (9AM-1PM)


Arlington Orchards Farm Booths- Ellen's Creek, Mischouche,

Cornwall (9:30AM-6PM)

Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)

KJL Markets (North River and Riverside)

Riverview Country Market

plus other shops and stands.

Sunday, July 18th:
Summerside Pride Cake and Coffee Social, 1-3PM, Evermoore Brewing Compan, free. (Non-partisan event)
"Summerside area MLAs Lynne Lund, Steve Howard and Trish Altass are excited to be hosting a Summerside Pride event in partnership with Pride PEI. Stop by Evermoore Brewing Co for free rainbow cake and coffee, and show your Pride! Everyone is welcome."
Facebook event listing

Monday, July 19th:
Webinar (second in the series):
Protecting PEI Land and Water - It's Urgent!, 7PM

"This is the second webinar in a series, hosted by the Coalitions for the Protection of PEI Lands and Water, designed to address the many critical issues that Prince Edward Island is facing with regard to protection of land and water.
Corporate control of land, decline in soil health, loss of forest cover, pollution of Island waterways and nitrates and other chemicals in groundwater. The issues affecting land and water are serious and needing attention, yet the Prince Edward Island government seems not to be treating them with any sense of urgency.
Everyone is invited to join in the discussion following presentations by Dr. Irené Novaczek and Mi’kmaq Elder, Judy Clark."


The Charlottetown Food Council is currently accepting applications for new members.
More details on the Council and the role, here:

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Number 14. We call upon the federal government to enact an Aboriginal Languages Act that incorporates the following principles:

  1. Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.

  2. Aboriginal language rights are reinforced by the Treaties.

  3. The federal government has a responsibility to provide sufficient funds for Aboriginal-language revitalization and preservation.

  4. The preservation, revitalization, and strengthening of Aboriginal languages and cultures are best managed by Aboriginal people and communities.

  5. Funding for Aboriginal language initiatives must reflect the diversity of Aboriginal languages.

There has been some action on this.  The Federal government writes on this page:

"On June 21, 2019, Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous Languages, received Royal assent. The bill has been developed to support the meaningful implementation of Calls to Action 13, 14 and 15 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, elements of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN declaration) and the commitment to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

The legislation:

  • establishes measures for the provision of long-term, sustainable funding of Indigenous languages

  • contributes to the objectives of the UN declaration

  • supports the reclamation, revitalization, strengthening and maintenance of Indigenous languages in Canada

  • supports and promotes the use of Indigenous languages in Canada

  • commits to working with provinces, territories, Indigenous representative organizations and Indigenous governments to create effective support for Indigenous languages in Canada through a variety of mechanisms

  • establishes an Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages

The bill is intended to be a framework that is not exhaustive and allows for flexibility. An important area of flexibility is contained in provisions related to entering into agreements and arrangements. For example, sections 8, 9 and 10 allow for co-operative agreements and arrangements to be entered into to take into account unique circumstances and needs of Indigenous groups, communities and peoples.

Budget 2019 provides $333.7 million over 5 years, starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020, for the preservation, promotion and revitalization of Indigenous languages, with $115.7 million per year ongoing to support the implementation of the proposed Indigenous Languages Act."


Guardian article on the Land Matters report:

P.E.I. committee recommends fixes to Lands Protection ActT - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby, Politics reporter

Report calls for long-awaited land-use plan, yearly IRAC audits

Published on Friday, July 16th, 2021

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — An advisory committee established to revamp the province’s Lands Protection Act (LPA) has recommended the province heed 50 years of advice and establish a provincewide land-use plan.

The final report of the Land Matters advisory committee, released on July 15, includes 13 recommendations intended to inform an upgrade of the province’s storied LPA, a unique piece of legislation intended to protect P.E.I. farmland.

The report notes that there have been many land-use related reports commissioned by the provincial government over a 50-year period, including the 1973 Royal Commission on Land Ownership and Land Use, the 1990 Royal Commission on Land, the 2009 Thompson Report and the often-cited 2013 Carver Report.

“Many of the key actions required – such as a provincewide land use plan – are well understood and have been repeatedly recommended since 1973,” wrote the land matters committee.

“After many years of study, now is the time for action.”

The Dennis King-led Progressive Conservatives have been promising for two years to implement an upgrade to land legislation in P.E.I., which they have sometimes dubbed 'Lands Protection 2.0.'

The act limits individuals to ownership of 1,000 acres and corporations to ownership of 3,000 acres. Some farming and conservation groups have said decisions related to land purchases, which often require approval of cabinet, lack transparency. Other farming organizations, most notably the P.E.I. Potato Board and Cavendish Farms, have argued that the land size limits, first set in 1982, should be increased to maintain financial viability.

While several of the committee’s recommendations deal with these hot-button issues, most relate to something P.E.I. has failed to do for decades: plan and zone land for residential, industrial, agricultural and conservation purposes.

The report recommends a provincewide land use framework be developed by registered planners. The recommendation is widely supported among farming organizations, the report notes.

Municipalities on P.E.I. have some form of land-use planning. However, for the 90 per cent of P.E.I. land under the jurisdiction of the province, the report says planning "is carried out on an ad-hoc, case-by-case basis with no plan and limited policies by which to guide development.”

“As a result, development decisions are often made in isolation from long-term economic, environmental, or social considerations,” the report said.

Recent changes in P.E.I. have highlighted the importance of land use planning, the committee said.

“Development pressures related to P.E.I.’s impressive population and economic growth mean that land use planning is all the more important,” the report said.

“Finally, climate change is now a pressing reality, and requires provincewide land use planning to reduce (greenhouse gas) emissions, and to mitigate and adapt to its impacts.”

Land-use planning will take time, resources and political commitment. The report recommended that, in the interim, regulations provincial regulations be established governing subdivision planning in areas without an official plan.

The committee also recommended reintegrating the municipal affairs division, currently housed within the Department of Fisheries and Communities, into the Department of Agriculture and Land to reduce government silos.

The report also recommended the land size limits of 1,000 acres for individuals and 3,000 acres for corporations be maintained but reviewed every five years.  The report recommends the LPA be amended to better define “control” of corporations. The committee also recommended strengthening the definition of “principal residence” of individuals deemed to be living on P.E.I.

The report recommended the role of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission in land investigations be strengthened, with random land audits becoming a yearly fixture.

Finally, the committee recommended the name of the Lands Protection Act be altered to the Land Ownership Act so that it “accurately reflects its stated purpose.”

The land matters committee recommendation were met with approval from the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities.

"The reluctance to address outdated provincial land use has contributed to sprawling development across the province which drives up the cost of providing public services," the federation said in a media statement.

"It consumes agricultural land, threatens our groundwater, spoils the picturesque landscape we all enjoy, and destroys wildlife habitat and natural areas."

Changes to both the province’s Planning Act and the Lands Protection Act are expected to be introduced in the fall session of the P.E.I. legislature.


Saturday Afternoon Radio at the Opera, 2PM, FM104.7 CBC Music.  Ben Heppner's "Best Opera Ever" Series continues with conductor Jonathan Darlington discussing the 1973 Dresden Staatskapelle recording of Weber's Der Freischütz, with Peter Schreier, tenor; Gundula Janowitz, soprano; and Theo Adam, bass-baritone; conducted by Carlos Kleiber.
It premiered in 1821, and is "... a dark tale of a young forester who finds himself, unknowingly, in league with the Devil as he attempts to win a shooting contest so as to earn his girlfriend’s hand in marriage. The opera was instantly popular." 

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, today until 6:30PM
Starring Barbara Daniels, Plácido Domingo, and Sherrill Milnes, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Production by Giancarlo Del Monaco. From April 8, 1992.

Puccini’s La Rondine, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Nicolas Joël. From January 10, 2009.
"Puccini’s achingly beautiful score charmingly conveys the plight of Magda (the 'swallow' of the title) who unexpectedly finds true love with the handsome young Ruggero. But their idyllic and happy life comes to an premature end as she is haunted by the fear that her checkered past will ruin his future. Real-life couple" (um, then) "and operatic stars Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna portray Puccini’s star-crossed lovers. Ezio Frigerio’s elegant and sophisticated art deco sets add a dazzling touch..."

July 16, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

This morning:
Friday, July 16th:
Tree Drive and Info Session, Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group,  8AM-2PM, Kent. G. Ellis Park, Hunter River, free but donations accepted.  Talk wildlife!

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Province House area.   More details

Haviland Club Fundraiser "Chase the Ace" draw tonight, 6:30PM, tickets available at HomeHardware and other places (see poster) or online at:  

Monday, July 19th:
Performance: Ebb & Flow: Tides of Settlement on PEI,  8PM, Haviland Club. Five shows only.  $15-$25 tickets at the door (limited) or at

"Told and untold stories about the Island and its people: music, comedy and animation!

It's a live stage show where performers present music, text, archives, photographs and video to tell their own stories.

Featuring Julie Pellessier-Lush, Victor Cal Y Mayor, Tim Hamming, Nadia Haddad, Amanda Mark, and Laurie Murphy. Sound & Lights are by Dylan Smith.

Special Musical Guest on July 19 is Shane Pendergast!"

Land Matters Advisory Committee released its report yesterday, with the following notice (I haven't looked at the materials yet, and the first link below can link to the documents if the PDF links don't work here):

Government announcement website:

Now is the Time: Final Report of the Land Matters Advisory Committee, July 2021.

This report presents the Committee’s findings and recommendations on land-related legislation and policy.”

Findings from the Land Matters Project Survey - Final Report

This report presents the results of a survey on land policy administered between July 8, 2020 and September 15, 2020.

Land Matters Advisory Committee - Interim Report, February 2021

This report presents the activities and preliminary findings of the Committee as of February 2021

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Number 13. We call upon the federal government to acknowledge that Aboriginal rights include Aboriginal language rights.

Status -- completed:  Federal government acknowledge that Aboriginal rights include Aboriginal language rights.
from the Government of Canada website:

On December 6, 2016, the Prime Minister promised to enact an Indigenous Languages act, co-developed with Indigenous peoples that will preserve, promote and revitalize Indigenous languages.

On June 15, 2017, Canadian Heritage, the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis Nation of Canada launched the co-development of Indigenous languages legislation and agreed on a collaborative engagement process and the creation of a joint co-development working group comprised of all 4 parties.

On June 21, 2019, Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous Languages, received Royal assent.

The bill has been developed to support the meaningful implementation of Calls to Action 13, 14 and 15 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, elements of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the commitment to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

This legislation aims to reclaim, revitalize, strengthen and maintain Indigenous languages in Canada and aligns with the commitment to renew the relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Under Bill C-91, Canada recognizes that Section 35 of the Constitution Act includes language rights. This is a monumental step in the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples.


from the land down under:

Massive 50-GW wind, solar, hydrogen power plant with unique ownership model announced in Australia - Renewable Energy World article by Jennifer Runyon

Published on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

An international consortium made up of InterContinental Energy, CWP Global and Mirning Green Energy Limited, announced today an integrated green fuels mega project in the South-East of Western Australia.

When fully operational, the Western Green Energy Hub (WGEH) could produce up to 50 gigawatts of hybrid wind and solar power over 15,000-square-kilometres in South-East Western Australia, across the Shires of Dundas and the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The region provides an optimal diurnal profile for renewable energy, with consistently high levels of wind and solar energy over a 24-hour period said the consortium in a press release.

The project will be built in phases to produce up to 3.5 million tons of zero-carbon green hydrogen or 20 million tons of green ammonia each year, which will be provided domestically and exported internationally as the green fuels market continues to expand post- 2030.

The group adds that the project will deliver socio-economic benefits to the local community, as well as provide a huge boost to the Western Australia State Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Strategy and the Commonwealth Government of Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy. Green fuels produced at the site could help meet future demand from multiple sectors, including in co- firing in power generation, the shipping sector, heavy industry such as steel, chemicals and mining, as well as the aviation sector.

Some predictions say that the green hydrogen sector could become a US$2.5 trillion market by 2050.

Ownership and Equity

In addition, WGEH will define a new model for natural resource and energy companies to partner with First Nations Land Owners. This is because Mirning Green Energy Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mirning Traditional Lands Aboriginal Corporation, will have a meaningful carried equity stake in the project, together with a permanent seat on the WGEH Consortium Board. WGEH will be developed with complete respect for the Mirning community and its heritage in the area, with specific corporate governance requirements in this regard built into the WGEH Corporate Charter.

Brendan Hammond, Chairman of the Board of WGEH said: “The Western Green Energy Hub is historic on two fronts. First, the scale at which we will be able to deliver green fuels to markets and customers around the world, helping to move us all towards a net-zero future. Second, and possibly more importantly, the way in which we are working with the Mirning People, the original owners of the land, to create a truly long-term and sustainable multi-generational partnership that  delivers enormous socio-economic benefits for the community. It is an honour and a privilege to be involved in this groundbreaking project.”

Trevor Naley, the inaugural Mirning Board Member of WGEH and the Chairman of the Mirning Traditional Lands Aboriginal Corporation said: “As First Nations Land Owners, the Mirning People are excited to hold such an integral and defining stake in this historical partnership with WGEH. This partnership through robust governance and a seat at the table for Mirning People will provide opportunities never before available to Indigenous Corporations. This representation alongside sustainable financial and substantial social benefits will provide security for future generations.

These commitments will encourage our young indigenous people to dream big, knowing that these ambitions can be realised. Pride in oneself, in culture and community will end the welfare cycle which has plagued many indigenous families. It is desired that through living and working on our native title land with WGEH, our people will live and work with enduring culture, strong leadership, innovative vision and values with heart.

There are many to thank for this journey and as we look toward the future, we the Mirning People wish our partners at WGEH great success with the project.”

About the Mirning People

In 2017 the Federal Court handed down a determination of exclusive possession native title to the WA Mirning People. This exclusive possession native title covers an area of approximately 2.2 million hectares in South-Eastern Western Australia.

The land is managed through a Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC), Mirning Traditional Lands Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, today until 6:30PM
Starring Hui He, Elizabeth DeShong, Bruce Sledge, and Paulo Szot, conducted by Pier Giorgio Morandi. Production by Anthony Minghella. From November 9, 2019. 

Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Saturday

Starring Barbara Daniels, Plácido Domingo, and Sherrill Milnes, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Production by Giancarlo Del Monaco. From April 8, 1992.

Classic Puccini, opera expert, not necessarily a western gold rush expert, but he had good source material and made the singing and music so beautiful. "One of Puccini's most colorful scores."

July 15, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Thursday, July 15th:
Meet the New Official Opposition Critic, Trish Altass for Economic Growth and Development, Tourism, and Culture, 7PM, online.
Trish Altass is MLA for District 23: Tyne Valley - Sherbrooke, Opposition Whip and is on the Education and Economic Growth Standing Committee.


Friday, July 16th:
Tree Drive and Info Session, Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group,  8AM-2PM, Kent. G. Ellis Park, Hunter River, free but donations accepted.

"We will be hanging out at the Kent G. Ellis Park Heritage Park in Hunter River this Friday to talk about wildlife and give away some items by donation (Trees and Swallow Boxes)! Bonus: if you buy a membership you can get one of these swanky Hunter-Clyde hats ;-)  "

Drop by and say hello!

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Number 12. We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to develop culturally appropriate early childhood education programs for Aboriginal families.

Rated as Incomplete by outside sources, the Government of Canada writes "what's happening?" about it, from their website:

"In September 2018, a new distinctions-based Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care framework co-developed with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council was announced. This transformative framework reflects the unique cultures and needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families across Canada. It is a guide for all actors in the early learning and child care sphere to work towards achieving the shared vision that Indigenous children have the opportunity to experience high-quality, culturally strong early learning and child care. The framework complements the Multilateral Framework on Early Learning and Child Care released in June 2017 by federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for early learning and child care.

In support of the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework, the Government of Canada has committed $1.7 billion over 10 years, starting in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, to strengthen early learning and child care programs and services for Indigenous children and families. This is part of the commitment of $7.5 billion over 11 years the government made in Budgets 2016 and 2017 for more high-quality affordable child care.

In addition, Budget 2016 invested $129.4 million over 2 years, starting in fiscal year 2016 to 2017, to build capacity in existing Indigenous early learning and child care programs. With these investments, repairs and renovations were undertaken in 549 First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative centers, in 167 Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve facilities and in 77 Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities facilities.

Work in collaboration with First Nations partners was undertaken to jointly develop policy that will strengthen First Nations control of First Nations education and ensure that children on reserve receive a quality education. The importance of culturally-appropriate early learning and kindergarten programming emerged as key themes through engagement with First Nations partners, culminating in a co-developed policy proposal that was endorsed by the Assembly of First Nations' Chiefs in Assembly on December 5, 2017. This co-developed proposal would significantly increase available funding for full-time, two-year kindergarten for children ages 4 and 5 at on-reserve schools. Culturally appropriate early learning and kindergarten programming will be further supported by Budget 2016's investment of an additional $2.6 billion for elementary and secondary education on reserve, to improve education outcomes for First Nations.

On April 1, 2019, Indigenous Services Canada implemented a new approach to First Nations elementary and secondary education, which was co-developed with First Nations education leaders and experts from across the country. On top of new formula-based regional models for First Nations education, this new approach will provide additional funding to on-reserve schools for language and culture programming and full-time kindergarten for children aged 4 and 5."


1) Going Forward....

E.U. has slate of new climate proposals - The Beacon at article by Zoya Teirstein

Published on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

On Wednesday, the European Union’s executive body
announced a dozen new climate proposals that could help the E.U. achieve its goal of going carbon neutral by the middle of the century. The proposals are known as “Fit for 55,” which alludes to slashing emissions 55 percent by 2030 — the first obstacle on the difficult path to net-zero by 2050. The proposals will need to be negotiated and ultimately approved by the E.U.’s 27 member states and the European Parliament. 

The legislation would effectively ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. It would phase out coal as an electricity source and put a tax on high-emissions jet and shipping fuel. And it also includes something called a carbon border adjustment tax, which would slap tariffs on imported goods to account for the emissions associated with their production. The tax would target steel, cement, iron, and fertilizers, among other imports. 

“Fit for 55” faces a series of tests before it becomes law. Coal-rich nations like Poland and Hungary are likely to oppose the coal phase-out aspect of the plan. France, home to two major automakers, has already objected to the short timeline for the ban on gas-powered car sales. The carbon border adjustment tax may spark conflicts with non-E.U. nations. But E.U. officials are asking Europeans to rise to the occasion. 

“We’re going to ask a lot of our citizens,” E.U. climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said. “We’re also going to ask a lot of our industries, but we do it for good cause. We do it to give humanity a fighting chance.”


2) we haven't done the best job so far....

Trillions of dollars spent on Covid recovery in ways that harm environment - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent

Only 10% of $17tn global bailout directed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and restoring nature, report finds

Published on Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Trillions of dollars poured into rescuing economies around the world from the Covid-19 crisis have been spent in ways that worsen the climate crisis and harm nature because governments have failed to fulfil promises of a “green recovery” from the pandemic.

Only about a tenth of the $17tn in bailouts provided by governments since the start of the pandemic was spent on activities that reduced greenhouse gas emissions or restored the natural world, according to
analysis from Vivid Economics, published on Thursday.

Of the total spending, most went on emergency measures, such as wage payments, to keep economies afloat. But about $4.8tn of the spending, including outlays on road construction, bailouts for airlines, and boosts to food production, had a clear environmental impact – and Vivid Economics found that most of that impact was negative.

About $3tn was spent in ways that would increase greenhouse emissions and harm the natural world, outweighing the $1.8tn spent globally on green projects, such as renewable energy and low-carbon transport.

Jeffrey Beyer, an economist at Vivid Economics and lead author of the report, said the “green recovery” that many governments promised last year had not materialised.

He said: “Definitely governments could have done better. They’re spending public money on things that harm the public. It’s just shocking and impossible to justify. In some instances it would also have been cheaper to make better decisions.”

Renewable energy, for instance, is cheaper than fossil fuels for power generation in most parts of the world, while the cost of electric vehicles has also dropped rapidly.

Few governments had taken account of the impacts of nature, and in some cases they loosened environmental regulations, such as legal restrictions on logging and the need for environmental impact assessments for developments, citing Covid-19 as the reason, with little justification.

Beyer added: “We did not see a sufficient shift to green spending. It’s hard to be optimistic when you look at the evidence about how much climate change and nature have really not been considered in public spending decisions.”

Economic stimulus spending had a negative environmental impact in 20 of the 30 countries that Vivid surveyed. The EU as a whole, Denmark, France, Spain and Germany, all made a strong show by turning more of their stimulus spending to environmentally beneficial ends. But some leading economies did not act so well; China and India spent far more on projects that would harm the climate and nature, such as coal-fired power plants. Russia came bottom of the league in terms of the harm caused by its stimulus.

The picture in the UK was “mixed”, said Beyer. The British government brought forward a 10-point plan, including investments in offshore wind energy and low-carbon innovations. However, ministers scrapped the green homes grant, a programme to help insulate housing, after only six months and following a litany of failures.

The US stimulus has also been altered, with political wrangling over Joe Biden’s planned $2tn package having reduced the amounts to be spent on “green” job creation in areas such as renewable energy. Beyer said the full impacts of the US spending plans were not yet clear.

Brian O’Callaghan, lead researcher on the Oxford University Economic Recovery project, said analysis by the Oxford Global Recovery Observatory had found more than 560 examples of environmentally positive spending. He said there was still uncertainty over what would happen to stimulus spending, especially in view of the new variants of Covid-19.

“Despite lacklustre green investment to date, there remain strong opportunities for governments to jump on to green industry transitions to bring economic recovery alongside environmental progress,” he said.

Vaccine programmes would help countries further shift their spending to a long-term focus, which would help with green investment, O’Callaghan said. “Policymakers must consider how green incentives can be integrated to traditionally neutral spending – for instance, requiring new hospitals to have the highest standards of energy efficiency, requiring new schools to be 100% powered by renewables, or mandating that all government-funded construction follows green procurement standards.”

Edward Barbier, professor of economics at Colorado State University and author of a landmark report on the 2008-09 financial crisis, which found about 16% of the stimulus then was “green”, agreed. He said: “It is understandable that some of this additional stimulus [for Covid-19] is less green than anticipated. But for it to be environmentally harmful and damaging to nature is inexcusable and ultimately will make many worse off for failing to head off the looming climate crisis and other global environmental risks.”

He urged the G20, whose ministers and leaders will discuss the recovery from Covid alongside the climate crisis in meetings ahead of the Cop26 climate talks in November, to step up their efforts.

“At some point, we need to transition from stimulating the existing ‘brown’ economy and implement long-term investment and pricing reforms to create the infrastructure, innovation and incentives for the green economy we want and urgently need.

“The major economies of the G20 must take the lead on such a global strategy. As this report shows, they are failing so far to do so. It is imperative that the G20 take up this challenge immediately and begin formulating a post-Covid green recovery strategy as a collective priority.”


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s Tosca today until 6:30PM
Starring Shirley Verrett, Luciano Pavarotti, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Conlon. From December 19, 1978.

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Friday
From November 9, 2019
2hours and 22 minutes. "Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese theater, (Anthony) Minghella’s staging retells this heartbreaking tale with brilliant stagecraft, bold colors, and bunraku puppetry. In this Live in HD performance from the fall of 2019, Chinese soprano Hui He stars as Cio-Cio-San, the young geisha who puts her trust in a visiting American naval officer, only to later be abandoned by him. In a feat of operatic heroics, tenor Bruce Sledge appears as the callous Pinkterton, stepping into the role on short notice to replace an ailing colleague..."

July 14, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Thinkers' Lodge Series: Empowering the Rights of Nature Revolution in Atlantic Canada, 7-8:30PM, online.

A system of laws that do not represent all members of a society and the natural world equally, serves neither. This dialogue on litigation and a bill of rights for nature will help Atlantic Canadians demand and benefit from a more holistic jurisprudence.
More information
There is a cost (minimum $10), but if cost is a hindrance, you can contact them at
Standing Committee wants Public Consultation  -- deadline August 31st, 2021

Consultation on changes to the Lands Protection Act (Bill No. 35)

The Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability is charged with matters concerning agriculture, fisheries, land, water, forests, wildlife, energy, natural resources, environment, climate change, and other such matters relating to natural resources and environmental sustainability.

The Committee is seeking input from farmers, landowners and any interested parties on potential impacts resulting from the proclamation of Bill No. 35, An Act to Amend the Lands Protection Act, P.E.I.

We want to hear your views on this topic! Send your comments to the Committee by August 31, 2021, to:

  • email:

  • fax: 902-368-5175

  • hand delivery: Office of the Clerk, 197 Richmond Street (Church Street entrance)

  • fill in this feedback form (please type "LPA" in the subject)

  • postal mail: Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, Office of the Clerk, 197 Richmond Street, P.O. Box 2000, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

(note that the link to the Bill may not work properly and you will have to go to the Bills page and search for it)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action

Number 11.
We call upon the federal government to provide adequate funding to end the backlog of First Nations students seeking a post-secondary education.I

In addition to describing various amounts of money in a couple of years' budgets, the explanation by the federal government includes this:

"The Government of Canada has completed a comprehensive and collaborative review with Indigenous partners of all current federal programs that support Indigenous students who wish to pursue post-secondary education. The purpose of the review is to ensure that these programs provide Indigenous students with the resources and support they need to attend and complete post-secondary studies."
and there is a lot of info here:

... but not sure if the review is available for public/media review.

from The Guardian (U.K.):

Trains far greener but much more costly than planes, analysis finds - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Damian Carrington, Environmental Writer

Passengers face ‘near impossible’ choice between low prices and climate-friendly travel, says Which?

Published on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

Train fares on popular UK routes are 50% more expensive than plane fares despite rail journeys causing 80% lower carbon dioxide emissions, according to analysis by the consumer group Which?.

It said passengers face a “near impossible” choice between low ticket prices and climate-friendly travel. More people are taking holidays in the UK due to coronavirus and airlines have launched dozens of new domestic routes.


The article goes on to mention that the U.K. government may work on taxing private jets more and some other little measures, and give some options on finding cheaper train fares, but it really seems like there should be much more effort into lower emissions and travel.

Wincing at the troubles the federal Green Party is having and trying to make some sense of it... here are two good opinion pieces:

1) Background and opinion

Instead of leading the national climate conversation, the Green Party is fighting for its life - The National Observer Opinion piece by Max Fawcett

Published on Friday, July 9th, 2021

By all rights, this should be the Green Party of Canada’s moment to shine. After winning three seats in the last federal election, including its first one outside of Vancouver Island, the party had the opportunity to pick a new leader who would take it further towards the political mainstream. And what better timing for that push than in the midst of an increasingly obvious climate crisis, one that is pushing the issue to the top of our shared list of priorities as Canadians.

Well, so much for that. Instead of rising to greater relevance, Canada’s Green Party is in danger of running itself into the ground. And new leader Annamie Paul, who was elected by the party’s membership to replace Elizabeth May, seems to be leading the charge there. A series of internal disputes that were set in motion by the conflict in Israel-Palestine and Paul’s refusal to repudiate senior adviser Noah Zatzman after he described Green MPs critical of Israel as “anti-Semitic” apparently pushed one of them to cross the floor. Jenica Atwin, who became the first Green MP outside of British Columbia in the last election, explained her decision by pointing to the “distractions” in her former party.

Those distractions have only intensified since she left. The Green Party’s federal council and board of directors continue to push for a non-confidence motion in their leader, one that will apparently be held on July 20. If 75 per cent of council members vote in favour, the non-confidence motion will be put to Green Party members at an Aug. 21 general meeting — right on the doorstep of a federal election, if not in the midst of it.

It gets worse, if that’s even possible. According to the Toronto Star, during a recent virtual staff meeting that covered the decision to eliminate nearly half of the party’s staff, Paul was actually muted by interim executive director Dana Taylor. “The attempt to silence the leader was met with shock and surprise from a number of staff members on the call,” the Star reported, citing a source who attended the meeting. “Paul was asked to speak again only after two attendees refused to ask questions until the leader was able to finish her remarks.”

This is surely not what former leader Elizabeth May had in mind when she stepped down in 2019 after 13 years on the job. But it shouldn’t be completely surprising, given May’s presence and personality had long defined the party for most people. In the absence of that sort of iconic leadership, the Greens have to pitch themselves to Canadians based on what they actually believe.

That’s not as easy as it might seem. Beyond their interest in protecting the environment, there doesn’t seem to be very much uniting the Green Party members living on Vancouver Island with those in downtown Toronto or the Maritimes. They aren’t, after all, a traditionally left-wing party, one that can outflank the NDP on issues like labour rights, tax policy and immigration. Instead, they’re solar-powered centrists, as Paul has made clear with her embrace of markets and carbon pricing, and May made clear with her willingness to work with Conservative governments in the past.

That position might have been tenable when May first entered federal politics. But now, with the Liberal government taking increasingly decisive action on climate change, it’s not clear why voters who prioritize the environment on their ballots would want to risk splitting that vote and allowing a Conservative candidate to win.

This is a familiar headache for federal Green Party supporters, who consistently watch their party build strength in the runup to elections and bleed it all out before they’re over. “In one election campaign after the other, upwards of 10 per cent of voters suggested to pollsters that they supported the Greens,” socialist writer and former Green Party member Paris Marx noted in a CBC opinion piece. “But when voting day came around, the support invariably melted away as many Green-leaning voters cast ballots strategically for candidates with a greater chance of winning.”

That’s a reflection of our first-past-the-post electoral system, which disadvantages parties with modest national appeal and rewards those with a more regional focus. In 2019, the Green Party received nearly 1.2 million votes Canada-wide, or approximately 200,000 fewer than the Bloc Québécois. And yet, while the BQ walked away with 32 seats and a meaningful presence in a minority Parliament, the Greens had just three.

But if those are the rules of the game, you have to play them a little better than Annamie Paul has so far. Shortly after winning the party’s leadership in 2020, she decided the best path for her to win a seat in parliament would be to contest the byelection in Toronto Centre for Bill Morneau’s seat. But his former riding of Toronto Centre is a long-standing Liberal stronghold, and Liberal candidate Marci Ien easily held off the Green leader. That left her without a seat and the Green Party without its leader in the one place she needed to be — Parliament.

Now, instead of fighting for a bigger piece of the national conversation, the Green Party is once again fighting for its political life. That may be particularly difficult in an environment where it no longer has the market cornered on climate policy in Canada. If the Greens get wiped out in the next election and the Liberals form the kind of majority government the polls are signaling, they can at least take comfort in the fact that their defining issue will have won it for someone else.

2) Past/Future Opinion

The Green Party has lost the plot. Instead of identity politics, the party should focus on our global ecological crises - The Toronto Star Opinion piece by Trevor Hancock

Published on Sunday, July 11th, 2021

As a co-founder and first leader of the Green Party of Canada, it has been distressing to see the party tearing itself apart over the Palestine-Israel conflict amidst allegations of sexism, racism, anti-Semitism and even anti-Zionism. (What Zionism has to do with Green politics in Canada I cannot imagine, even though I am Jewish by birth.) As I said in a recent interview with the Toronto Star, it seems to me the party, or some segments of it, have lost the plot.

Because we are faced with an accelerating and interlocking set of global ecological crises, of which climate change is but one, and to which Canada is a disproportionately large contributor. Just how bad are things, you ask? Well, in an important but under-reported speech on “The State of the Planet” in December 2020, UN Secretary-General António Guterres had this to say: “the state of the planet is broken. Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal.”

Evidence of that war is everywhere. There is growing concern amongst leading climate and Earth system scientists that we may be approaching climate tipping points, which could trigger a rapidly accelerating cascade of changes with dire consequences — not only for humans, but for entire ecosystems.

In addition to the climate crisis, we have created a biodiversity crisis, with dramatic declines in vertebrate populations (68 per cent, globally, since 1970) and accelerating species extinctions, as well as widespread pollution (conservatively estimated to kill nine million people globally every year) and growing depletion of forests, fisheries, soils and other key resources.

As to Canada’s disproportionate impact, consider that we have one of the largest ecological footprints (EF) in the world; if the rest of the world lived as we do, we would need nearly four additional planets to meet our demands. In fact, it’s probably worse than that, because while the EF does include carbon emissions (about 60 per cent of the consumption footprint globally and 64 per cent in Canada) it does not include species extinctions and some forms of pollution, which are not measurable in terms of bioproductive land use.

The Green Party was established precisely to address this situation, and it is — or should be — the focus of the party and the thing that most clearly sets it apart from the others. Instead, it is showing itself to be much like the other parties, focused on and riven by disputes over gender, race and other forms of identity politics.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying these issues, and the widespread social injustice that results, are unimportant — far from it. As a public health physician, I am only too aware of the health inequalities that result from the unequal distribution of power, wealth and resources, both globally and locally.

The global and Canadian changes noted above will increase inequality, pushing many disadvantaged people in Canada and around the world over the edge, unless the transition — in fact the societal transformation — is managed with social justice as a central principle. But the Green Party, uniquely among the parties, must recognize that social justice is about much more than racial or gender equity, and includes both intergenerational and interspecies justice.

Only the Green Party has been willing to face up to the scale and profundity of this eco-social crisis and propose sensible and just ways forward. The Green Party must focus all its efforts on an agenda to make Canada a ‘One Planet’ country. By that I mean that Canada needs to rapidly reduce its ecological footprint by almost 80 per cent, so that we take only our fair share of the Earth’s biocapacity and resources, remembering the needs of other species. That requires a massive social and economic shift, a just transformation of society rooted in a profound shift in values.

Secretary-General Guterres also threw down a challenge: “Let’s be clear: human activities are at the root of our descent towards chaos. But that means human action can help solve it.” As he concluded, “Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere.” And that includes Canada, and especially Canada’s Green Party.

Dr. Trevor Hancock is a public health physician and was the first leader of the Green Party of Canada in the 1980s, running in the 1984 election that established the Greens as a party in Canada.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming -- until Sunday, July 25th:

Puccini’s La Bohème, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renata Scotto, Maralin Niska, Luciano Pavarotti, Ingvar Wixell, and Paul Plishka. Production by Fabrizio Melano. From March 15, 1977.

Puccini’s Tosca, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Thursday
From December 19, 1978. "A stellar cast brings Puccini’s spellbinding opera to life, seizing every opportunity to thrill the audience. Luciano Pavarotti is Cavaradossi, the painter and political revolutionary in love with the beautiful and famous singer Tosca (the riveting Shirley Verrett). Rome’s diabolical chief of police, Baron Scarpia (Cornell MacNeil), wants Tosca for himself—but he underestimates the fury of a woman in love...Tosca packs more dramatic punches than most other operas—and this classic telecast captures them all."  And in just over 2 hours.

July 13, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Deadline to order from Charlottetown Farmers' Market is NOON today for Thursday afternoon pickup.  (Orders for Saturday afternoon pickup begin this evening.)
A welcome to the new manager Lena Treichrib
Purity's new Oat and Barley milks are now available, and more in the newsletter, here.

Standing Committee Meeting today:

Tuesday, July 13th:
Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1PM, online.

Topic: Briefing from the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning

The committee will receive a briefing from the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning on the following topics:

  • Overview of the Response to Intervention System, any gaps identified during the pandemic, assessments and plans for post-pandemic learning

  • Update on the pre-Kindergarten program

  • Diversity hiring within the school system

Watch here:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link


Wednesday, July 14th:
The next in the Series of Dialogues at the Thinkers' Lodge, from Pugwash, Nova Scotia:

Topic: Empowering the Rights of Nature Revolution in Atlantic Canada, 7-8:30PM, online.

A system of laws that do not represent all members of a society and the natural world equally, serves neither. This dialogue on litigation and a bill of rights for nature will help Atlantic Canadians demand and benefit from a more holistic jurisprudence.

Albert Marshall, Tina Northrup, Sarah MacDonald and Pier-Olivier Boudreault will join Centre for Local Prosperity Host Gregory Heming for a one hour discussion followed by a 30 minute Q&A session with the public.

Albert Marshall is an amazing speaker, and Tina Northrup is from East Coast Environmental Law organization (ECELAW).
More information

There is a cost (minimum $10), but if cost is a hindrance, you can contact them at

Volunteer Opportunity:

Join the River Clyde Pageant as a volunteer, in one of the many roles that help the show and audience experience happen smoothly. We are seeking volunteers to assist with lantern carrying and flag waving in the show, as well as behind-the-scenes and front-of-house helpers for box office, parking, ushering and assisting with the post-show meal.

There are several roles available and no prior experience is needed. Sign up at the link below, or get in touch with our volunteer coordinator Virginia Harris for more details:

Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

Number 10. 

We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:

  1. Providing sufficient funding to close identified educational achievement gaps within one generation.

  2. Improving education attainment levels and success rates.

  3. Developing culturally appropriate curricula.

  4. Protecting the right to Aboriginal languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses.

  5. Enabling parental and community responsibility, control, and accountability, similar to what parents enjoy in public school systems.

  6. Enabling parents to fully participate in the education of their children.

  7. Respecting and honouring Treaty relationships.

and the Federal Government response:

"Based on the policy proposal for transforming the Government of Canada's support for First Nations elementary and secondary education that was co-developed with First Nations, Indigenous Services Canada has established a new policy framework for First Nations elementary and secondary education."

OK, but not sure the timeline and path from Policy Framework to Legislation....

Some more background info on the TRC document in this CBC article:

With the announcement from MP Jody Wilson-Raybould’s that she would be leaving politics, in her parting letter to constituents, she criticized a lot of things, and said the working environment was awful. 

In a communication from FairVote Canada, Wilson-Raybould is quoted further to day it's the:

 utter failure of the first-past-the-post as one of the fundamental reasons for the crisis:

"The privileges we give political parties. The out-of-date norms of our first-past-the-post electoral system. The lack of inclusiveness. The power of the prime minister and the centralization of power in the hands of those who are unelected..."

NDP MP for Nunavut, Mumlilaaq Qaqqaq, reacted to Raybould's decision— asking all Canadians to reflect.

Just weeks ago, Qaqqaq announced she won't be seeking re-election either. Her powerful 
farewell speech laid bare the brutal flaws of our institutions, condemning those with power for "the refusal and unwillingness for change."

Their words reinforced the urgent and heartfelt
appeal of former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal to keep up the fight for proportional representation. Winner-take-all politics is holding us back from tackling the biggest challenges of our times:

"First-past-the-post has really become a burden on democracies that want to be inspired, who want to make substantive cases based on facts and evidence and science...

If Canada wants to step forward in a way that allows public policy progress on critical issues—and we still have a lot of areas in this country where the gap between what needs to happen and what's happening is very, very large—first-past-the-post will not get us there."

"Canadians need to lead our leaders" - Raybould

Transformational change needs citizen leadership.

That's why it was a
groundbreaking win for all Canadians on June 22, 2021, when the Liberals, NDP and Bloc voted YES at a committee of Parliament to a motion by NDP Democratic Reform Critic Daniel Blaikie to study a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

Liberal MP Ryan Turnbull spoke passionately in favour of the motion:

“The point that I want to make here—and why this has so much potential that I feel really strongly about—is that I think it starts to get at the root causes of the issue in a unique way."

Are the politicians serious about letting citizens lead?

Will this commitment be ditched without a second thought when a snap election is called in a blatant attempt to grab all the power?

It’s a question that Canadians should be asking every party leader.

One thing we can promise you:

Working together, we will do everything in our power to make sure Canadians know about this three-party commitment to action on electoral reform—and to hold them to it.

<snip> from the letter from FairVote, which included this graphic:

One beautiful gift due to the pandemic has been these nightly free video performances from the Metropolitan Opera video archives, but:

"With the return of live opera on the horizon, the Met’s Nightly Opera Streams will come to an end on July 25, after reaching more than 20 million people around the globe. Help us bring the series to a celebratory close by voting for the performances you’d most like to see in the final week of screening."

You can "vote" by 6PM tonight for up to seven from a dazzling list, found on the Met Opera home page, here:
for screening next week.

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, today until 6:30PM
Starring Karita Mattila, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft. From February 16, 2008. 

Puccini’s La Bohème, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday 6:30PM
Starring Renata Scotto, Maralin Niska, Luciano Pavarotti, Ingvar Wixell, and Paul Plishk. Production by Fabrizio Melano. From March 15, 1977.
Such a classic production with Renata Scotto and Luciano Pavarotti as the young lovers.

July 12, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food Ordering this Week:

Charlottetown's Farmers' Market 2 Go, order by Tuesday noon for pick-up Thursday

Two Standing Committee Meetings this week:

Tuesday, July 13th: Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1PM, online.

Topic: Briefing from the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning

The committee will receive a briefing from the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning on the following topics:

  • Overview of the Response to Intervention System, any gaps identified during the pandemic, assessments and plans for post-pandemic learning

  • Update on the pre-Kindergarten program

  • Diversity hiring within the school system

Friday, July 16th:
Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 10AM.

Topic: Briefing on Indigenous reconciliation and anti-racism from Executive Council

The committee will receive a briefing from Executive Council on Indigenous reconciliation and anti-racism

  • Christopher Gillis, Deputy Minister of Priorities and Intergovernmental Affairs

  • Dr. Helen Kristmanson, Director, Indigenous Relations Secretariat

Also this week:

Thursday, July 15th:
Meet the New Official Opposition Critic, Trish Altass for Economic Growth and Development, Tourism, and Culture, 7PM, online.
Trish Altass is MLA for District 23: Tyne Valley - Sherbrooke.  She is Opposition Whip and is on the Education and Economic Growth Standing Committee.

Please register for this Zoom online meeting:


Call for participants in UPEI graduate research project on art & climate change adaptation.  

Ilse van Dijk, a research intern at UPEI, is looking for artists and policymakers to interview.
Ilse will be conducting her research remotely from Groningen in The Netherlands, where she is a student in the research master Spatial Sciences with the specialization Islands & Sustainability.

"In my research, I’m looking for a way to integrate art and artistic processes into climate change adaptation policies and policy-making. The underlying idea is that artistic work can stimulate creative thinking and innovation, and also potentially be a connector between policy and the community. I am hoping to speak with artists and policy-makers working with climate change and adaptation, as well as any others with insight into the topics of climate change art, climate change adaptation or artistic policies."

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in an interview, or if you have thoughts or literature to share with Ilse, please contact her at for more information or visit her project blog.


NDP PEI creates petition to Call on Premier Dennis King to Reinstate Mask Wearing:

from Sunday, July 11th, 2021

"Workers across PEI were shocked on July 9 when Premier King, with less than an hour’s notice, removed the indoor mask mandate on the Island.

As Islanders have not yet sufficiently met a proper second dose efficacy, the mask mandate protected our front-line workers, many of whom are low-waged and not yet vaccinated due to their younger age, from COVID-19 while at work.

The undersigned Prince Edward Island residents call on Premier King to immediately reinstate the mask mandate so we can protect workers from dangerous and contagious COVID varants through this Summer.

Please sign to send the Premier a message"

Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

Number 9.
We call upon the federal government to prepare and publish annual reports comparing funding for the education of First Nations children on and off reserves, as well as educational and income attainments of Aboriginal peoples in Canada compared with non-Aboriginal people.

While the Federal Government says:
Indigenous Services Canada is continuing to produce reports on education funding. The most recent public report is from the 2016 to 2017 school year: Kindergarten to grade 12 operating expenditures 2016 to 2017 overview

This is regarded by watchdog reporting as
No Steps Taken

Atlantic Skies for July 12th to July 18th, 2021 "A Vegan Anniversary" - by Glenn K. Roberts

No, we're not celebrating veganism. Instead, we're recognizing a stellar anniversary of sorts - the 171 anniversary of the first star to be photographed. The star Vega, in the constellation of Lyra - the Harp or Lyre, shines almost directly overhead on summer nights by about 10 p.m. ADT (10:30 p.m. NDT). As it only dips below the horizon for about 7 hours as it swings across the night sky, Vega is visible, weather permitting, any night of the year. Along with Deneb (in Cygnus - the Swan) and Altair (in Aquila - the Eagle), it forms the recognizable asterism of the Summer Triangle.

On the night of July 16 - 17, 1850, Vega became the first star, other than our Sun, to be photographed. It was also, in 1872, the first star, other than our Sun, to be spectrographically imaged, and to have its light broken down to reveal its various elements. At mag. +0.03, and located approximately 25 light years (240 trillion kms.) from Earth, Vega is thought to be about 450 million years old, and, as such, is a relative newcomer to the stellar household. It is the fifth brightest star in the whole sky, and the third brightest in the Northern Hemisphere after Sirius (Canis Major) and Arcturus (Bootes).

Vega also holds another special honour - it was once our North Star. As the Earth spins on its axis, it wobbles slightly, such that the North Pole (extended out into space) transcribes a circle on the sky (referred to as "precession") of approximately 26,000 years duration. Thus, over time, different stars along the arc of the circle become the North Star as viewed from Earth. Vega was the North Star about 14,000 years ago, and will, in approximately another 12,000 years, once again become the North Star. Though most people have difficulty finding our current North Star (Polaris in Ursa Minor - the Little Bear), future generations will have no difficulty identifying the North Star.

Rising  shortly after 4 a.m. ADT (4:30 NDT), Mercury (mag. -0.3, in Orion - the Giant) reaches its highest altitude (12 degrees) in the eastern sky on the morning of July 12, but will only appear about 7 degrees above the horizon at dawn, and may, therefore, be difficult to spot. Venus (mag. -3.9, in Leo - the Lion) becomes visible around 9:25 p.m. ADT (9:55 p.m. NDT) 9 degrees above the western horizon as the sky darkens, before sinking towards the horizon and setting about 10:35 p.m. ADT (11:05 NDT). Venus sits a mere 0.5 degree above Mars in the evening sky on July 13. Mars (mag. +1.8, in Leo) will be extremely difficult to see, as it is only 2 degrees above the horizon at dusk. Once you have located Venus, a good set of binoculars and an unobstructed  view of the western horizon may allow you to spot dim Mars in the post-sunset twilight before it sets. Saturn (mag. +0.3, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) becomes visible around 11:20 p.m. ADT (11:50 p.m. NDT) 10 degrees above the southeast horizon. It reaches a height of 25 degrees in the southern sky by about 2:50 a.m. ADT (3:20 a.m. NDT), before being lost in the morning twilight by about 4:50 a.m. ADT (5:20 a.m. NDT). Jupiter (mag. -2.7, in Aquarius - the Waterbearer) is visible 7 degrees above the southeast horizon by about 11:45 p.m. ADT (12:15 a.m. NDT), reaching an altitude of 31 degrees above the southern horizon by about 4:05 a.m. ADT (4:35 a.m. NDT), before it too is lost in the dawn twilight.

Until next week, clear skies.


July 12 - Venus 0.5 degree above Mars; western evening sky

       17 - First Quarter Moon

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, today until 6:30PM

Starring Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Erin Morley, Matthew Polenzani, Marcus Brück, and Günther Groissböck, conducted by Sebastian Weigle. Production by Robert Carsen. From May 13, 2017.

July 12th - July18th -- Giacomo Puccini Week (always a great opera week theme!)

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM

From February 16, 2008.    Two hours 26 minutes

"... Karita Mattila takes on the irresistible role of Manon Lescaut, the headstrong young woman torn between a life of luxury and the call of her true love: the Chevalier des Grieux, played by Marcello Giordani. The young Puccini lavished some of his most sensual music on this early hit.."

July 11, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today --
Sunday Downtown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street.  Looks like much nicer weather than last week.
more info:


One week from tomorrow:
Monday, July 19th:

Webinar (second in the series):
Protecting PEI Land and Water - It's Urgent!, 7PM
You'll need to register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

About the webinar:

This is the second webinar in a series, hosted by the Coalitions for the Protection of PEI Lands and Water, designed to address the many critical issues that Prince Edward Island is facing with regard to protection of land and water.

Corporate control of land, decline in soil health, loss of forest cover, pollution of Island waterways and nitrates and other chemicals in groundwater. The issues affecting land and water are serious and needing attention, yet the Prince Edward Island government seems not to be treating them with any sense of urgency.

Everyone is invited to join in the discussion following presentations by Dr. Irené Novaczek and Mi’kmaq Elder, Judy Clark.

About the Webinar Speakers:

Judy Clark will speak about Protecting and Preserving Mother Earth: an Indigenous Perspective. Judy is a Mi’kmaq woman from Epekwitk and a member of Abegweit Mi’kmaw Nation. As a respected Mi’kmaq Elder, she is often called upon for her spiritual support and to share her teachings with her community members. A long-time supporter of UPEI, Judy has served as Knowledge Keeper for the Faculty of Education since 2001, and is a frequent guest lecturer in many classes; providing insights and context on a range of Indigenous issues. Judy is a member of the UPEI President’s Indigenous Advisory Circle and the Indigenous Education Advisory Circle. Judy is now Elder in Residence at UPEI, working out of the Mawi’omi Centre in Student Affairs.

Irené Novaczek will speak about the
Impact of Industrial Farming on Nitrate Levels in Streams and Drinking Water. Irené has lived and worked on islands for most of her life, in Canada, Europe, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific. A marine scientist, she has researched and worked extensively in coastal resources management, often focusing on seaweed, and community development on small islands. Irené has played a key role in the life of the UPEI Institute of Island Studies, and is the author and co-author of numerous books and research papers.

For more information please contact Joan Diamond at

Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action

Number 8. We call upon the federal government to eliminate the discrepancy in federal education funding for First Nations children being educated on reserves and those First Nations children being educated off reserves.

The Federal Government has said they have made significant investments, and describe them here.

But it's definitely an "Incomplete".

Note to officials:  Friday afternoon announcements by Government are never a good idea, whether it's bad news-economic reports or leaps in public health restrictions. There's just not the amount of media reporting to make sure the information is relayed accurately through as many channels as possible (The Guardian was more accurate on the lobster supper-lemon meringue pie story than the masking story, and CBC doesn't have real local weekend coverage.) 

Leader of the Opposition Peter Bevan-Baker comments here:

Frontline workers, families and businesses deserve better than sudden lifting of mandatory masking requirements - Green Party of PEI post by Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA

New Haven-Rocky Point
Leader of the Official Opposition

Published on Saturday, July 10th, 2021, online at:

The announcement from Premier King that masks would no longer be mandatory in public spaces as of noon that same day came as a shock to many Islanders. Even before the briefing was over our office began hearing from Islanders who were confused and worried. Many of these concerns came from frontline workers and parents of young children, both of whom are largely not fully vaccinated yet and who are most affected by this announcement.

The news that masks are no longer mandatory was made without clearly stating important exceptions – for example, healthcare providers, businesses who can choose to continue with their own mandate.

Clear is kind, and this sudden change by Premier King has been unclear and unkind.

Businesses had little more than an hour’s notice to properly implement the new rules, determine their new mask policies, and communicate with staff and customers. Businesses have the right to enforce policies, including wearing masks, for employee safety and protection, but many workers found out about the change from customers and clients who came into their workplaces without a mask. The level of engagement with and notice to affected businesses is unacceptable.

As we’ve seen throughout this pandemic, frontline workers are yet again being asked to take on more responsibility and stress without any added benefits or supports. Some Island workers have told us that they’ve been questioned or harassed at their place of work for simply wearing a mask to keep themselves and others safe. This is another setback for workers, who have also struggled with Government’s failure to provide legislated paid sick days and liveable increases to the minimum wage.

We are also hearing from young families, particularly families with children under 12 who are unable to get vaccinated, who are facing a lot of anxiety and stress now. Only 30% of Islanders are fully vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The other Maritime provinces are keeping masks mandatory until 75% of their populations are fully vaccinated. Now, many families with young children are left feeling unsure and unsafe, and have seen their summer plans compromised.

Many Islanders are worried about new variants of concern that continue to spread around the world, even in places with higher vaccination rates than our province.

This sudden announcement has created concern and confusion. Continuing mandated masking would have maintained protection for everyone, and prevented the turmoil. As it stands now, the uneven and unclear rules leave Islanders unsure as to where and when to wear masks.

So why the rush? For a province that has done so well, and practiced a cautious approach, why has the Premier decided that we can now put away our masks and let down our guard? Who benefits from this hasty decision?


Just because it's about apples....

Meet the Appalachian Apple Hunter Who Rescued 1,000 ‘Lost’ Varieties - Atlas Obscura article by Eric J. Wallace

Tom Brown’s retirement hobby is a godsend for chefs, conservationists, and cider.

Published online on Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

Note that the original article has many lovely illustrations and photos note reproduced here.

As Tom Brown leads a pair of young, aspiring homesteaders through his home apple orchard in Clemmons, North Carolina, he gestures at clusters of maturing trees. A retired chemical engineer, the 79 year old lists varieties and pauses to tell occasional stories. Unfamiliar names such as Black Winesap, Candy Stripe, Royal Lemon, Rabun Bald, Yellow Bellflower, and Night Dropper pair with tales that seem plucked from pomological lore.

Take the Junaluska apple. Legend has it the variety was standardized by Cherokee Indians in the Smoky Mountains more than two centuries ago and named after its greatest patron, an early-19th-century chief. Old-time orchardists say the apple was once a Southern favorite, but disappeared around 1900. Brown started hunting for it in 2001 after discovering references in an Antebellum-era orchard catalog from Franklin, North Carolina.


Detective work helped him locate the rural orchard, which closed in 1859. Next, he enlisted a local hobby-orchardist and mailman as a guide. The two spent days knocking door-to-door asking about old apple trees. Eventually, an elderly woman led them to the remains of a mountain orchard that’d long since been swallowed by forest. Brown returned during fruiting season and used historic records to identify a single, gnarled Junaluska tree. He clipped scionwood for his new conservation orchard and set about reintroducing the apple to the world.

Brown has dozens of apple-hunting tales like these from the nearly 25 years he’s spent searching for Appalachia’s lost heirloom apples. To date, he has reclaimed about 1,200 varieties, and his two-acre orchard, Heritage Apples, contains 700 of the rarest. Most haven’t been sold commercially for a century or more; some were cloned from the last known trees of their kind.

“These apples belong to the [foodways] of my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations,” says Brown, who was raised in western North Carolina.

Thousands of varieties probably still exist, but saving them is a race against time. The people who hold clues about their locations are typically in their 80s or 90s. Each year trees are lost to storms, development, beetles, and blights. Brown has devoted his later years to beating the clock.

Ironically, Brown didn’t know what a heritage apple was until he stumbled on them at a historic farmer’s market in 1998.

“There was a little stand with a bunch of strange-looking apples laid out in baskets,” says Brown.

Colors ranged from bright green to yellow-streaked, sunset pink, and purplish black. Some were plum-sized, others as big as softballs. They had names like Bitter Buckingham, White Winter Jon, Arkansas Black, and Billy Sparks Sweetening. Tasting trays brought a smorgasbord of flavors and textures.

Brown tasted Jonathans that had rosé wine-colored flesh. Rusty Coats were soft like pears and sweet like honey. The mammoth Twenty Ounce was crisp with a tart, peachy finish. Semi-firm Etter’s Gold brought peony bouquets and grape flavors. Grimes Golden were sweet with a hint of nutmeg and white pepper.

Brown’s enthusiasm led to a conversation with the vendor, late orchardist Maurice Marshall. The varieties of apples he was selling were standardized in the 1700s and 1800s, and had vanished from commercial circulation by 1950. Marshall had obtained most of the scionwood for them from elderly mountain homesteaders. But two or three varieties came from clippings taken during apple-hunting expeditions at the ruins of old orchards. What’s more, hundreds of lost apples could likely be reclaimed at similar sites throughout Appalachia.

“That part stayed with me,” says Brown. “I kept thinking: ‘How neat would it be to find an apple nobody’s tasted in 50 or 100 years?’”

Then it struck him: Had so many interesting, great-tasting fruits really just disappeared? It seemed impossible. Brown threw himself into researching the history of Appalachia’s heritage apples. What he learned was awe-inspiring and devastating.

Commercial orchards in the U.S. grew about 14,000 unique apple varieties in 1905, and most of them could be found in Appalachia, says William Kerrigan, author of Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard and a professor of American history at Muskingum University.

The diversity was rooted in early colonial precautions.

“Water wasn’t always safe to drink, and episodes of sickness from contaminated water gave that substance a questionable reputation,” says Kerrigan. Fermented beverages were the go-to alternative. Importing wine was expensive, and native pests killed Old World grapes. Apple orchards were easier to maintain and more utilitarian than growing fields of barley for beer, so cider became the colonists’ choice beverage. By the mid-1700s, virtually every East Coast farm and homestead had an apple orchard.

The settlement of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountain region spurred an innovation boom.

High-but-not-too-high elevations, hot, humid summers, and rich, deep soil nurtured by consistently rainy winters produced ideal growing conditions, writes Kerrigan in Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard.

By the early 1800s, the Shenandoah Valley had become the top U.S. growing region. Commercial orchards were proliferating throughout eastern Appalachia. Experimentation was relentless.

Growers did things like cross tannin-rich indigenous crabapples with Old World cider staples, writes Kerrigan. The efforts produced new varieties such as the Taliaferro, which Thomas Jefferson championed as the world’s greatest cider apple.

But apple varieties were cultivated for more than cider.

For Appalachian farmers and homesteaders, “a diverse orchard was fundamental to survival and good-eating alike,” says Brown. Residents were expert gardeners and developed varieties that matured at different intervals, tasted unique, and catered to specific culinary functions.

“The goal was to be able to pick fresh apples from June to November, and have a diverse supply of fruit throughout the year,” says Brown. Thick-skinned, late-ripening varieties provided wintertime pomaceous treats. Others were tweaked for applications such as frying, baking, dehydrating, making vinegar, and finishing livestock.

Apples were the garden’s crown jewels, says Appalachian Food Summit co-founder and renowned chef, Travis Milton. People took pride in having something unique to brag about to their neighbors.

“How neat would it be to find an apple nobody’s tasted in 50 or 100 years?”

But Appalachian traditions around heritage apples were eroded and ultimately destroyed by urban migration, factory farming, and corporatized food systems. Conglomerates negotiated national contracts and switched to apples that matured fast and were suited to long-distance shipping. By 1950, most smaller orchards had been forced out of business—Milton’s grandfather, for instance, sold the family’s Wise County, Virginia, orchard to a coal company to save his cattle farm. Gardens began to disappear.

By the late 1990s, U.S. commercial orchards grew fewer than 100 apple varieties—and just 11 of them accounted for 90 percent of grocery-store sales. Experts estimated 11,000 heirloom varieties had gone extinct.

“It upset me to learn about that,” says Brown. Two-hundred-fifty years of culinary culture had been squandered. “These were foods that people had once cared about deeply, that’d been central to their lives. It felt wrong to just let them die.”

But if Marshall was right, some of Appalachia’s heritage apples could still be recovered. And Brown was looking for a retirement hobby. His experience as a scientist would bring calculated organization to searches. The project would let him explore and learn more about the history of rural Appalachian communities. 

Brown realized he’d stumbled onto “what could only be described as a ‘calling.’”

Becoming the world’s most accomplished heirloom apple-hunter brought a steep learning curve.

Marshall introduced Brown to a network of aging, small-scale heritage orchardists (none kept more than 20 varieties) who taught him the basics of identifying, cloning, grafting, and maintaining trees. He discussed lost apple varieties and made lists of names including characteristics, former growing locations, and rumors of where trees still existed.

Connecting with regional historical societies yielded old orchard maps, fruit-grower association newsletters, and names of former owners and workers. Pomological historians helped Brown track down vintage orchard catalogs with drawings and descriptions for thousands of lost varieties.

His early search-and-rescue attempts centered around former hotbeds of production, such as North Carolina’s Brushy Mountains. The two-county region was home to more than 100 commercial orchards in 1900. Brown advertised in area newspapers seeking information about old apple trees.

“The response was exciting, but also kind of [a reality-check],” says Brown. He fielded dozens of calls, but few brought concrete information. Most callers were in their 80s and 90s, says Brown, and told childhood stories where “old man such-and-such had a tree with 20 different types of apples grafted onto it.”

“Up to then I hadn’t grasped how much detective work [this] was going to require,” says Brown.

Years of ad-hoc efforts helped him develop central strategies for hunts. First he gathers clues about trees’ possible whereabouts. For instance, discovering the address of someone’s great-grandparents who once kept a large orchard can pinpoint a rural community where special trees may still exist. Brown then draws a radius around the property and canvasses nearby homes. He stops at local businesses to make inquiries.

“When I explain what I’m doing, most people are really receptive,” says Brown.

For instance, a conversation with an 80 year old at a country store in northeast Georgia led Brown to amateur orchardist Johnny Crawford. Crawford put Brown in touch with elders in the Speed family, who ultimately helped him locate a treasure-trove of heirlooms in a rural area, including the Royal Lemon, Neverfail, Candy Stripe, and Black Winesap.

When Brown finds a tree, he takes clippings and returns during fruiting season to identify them. He compares leaves and apples to catalog entries, and uses photos to correspond with experts for further verification.

Brown drives about 30,000-plus miles a year and devotes around three days a week to apple-hunting. His partnerships with municipalities and non-profits such as the Southern Foodways Alliance help establish reclaimed varieties at additional orchards and ensure their survival.

“Saving an apple from the brink of extinction is a miraculous feeling,” says Brown. “It’s incredibly rewarding—and incredibly addictive!”

Today Brown’s orchard is filled with clones of trees recovered in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He divides time between apple-hunting, tending trees, donating scionwood to nonprofit heritage orchards, and selling about 1,000 saplings annually.

Brown’s work has been commended by conservationists and culinary professionals alike. Chefs like Travis Milton are stoked to have hundreds of new flavors to experiment with. Craft cidermakers say reintroduced heirlooms are inspiring a cider renaissance.

“Tom has helped redefine what’s possible,” says Foggy Ridge Cider owner, Diane Flynt, who won a James Beard Foundation award in 2018. She says heirlooms such as Hewes Virginia Crab and Arkansas Black are for Appalachia what noble grape varieties like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon are for Bordeaux.

Brown is thrilled the apples are being put to good use. But he’s quick to note that many still need saving. And they’re getting harder to find.

“It takes me probably 20-30 times more work and a lot more driving to locate one new tree,” says Brown.

But that doesn’t deter him. Brown has come to think of restoring Appalachia’s heritage apples as his “true life’s work.” While he hopes to recover another 100 varieties or more in his lifetime, experiencing just one more find would be reward enough.

Gastro Obscura covers the world’s most wondrous food and drink.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Arabella, today until 6:30PM
Starring Kiri Te Kanawa, Marie McLaughlin, Helga Dernesch, Natalie Dessay, David Kuebler, Wolfgang Brendel, and Donald McIntyre, conducted by Christian Thielemann. Production by Otto Schenk. From November 3, 1994.
So beautiful.

Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Erin Morley, Matthew Polenzani, Marcus Brück, and Günther Groissböck, conducted by Sebastian Weigle. Production by Robert Carsen. From May 13, 2017.
A more recent production than the lovely one earlier this week, with a stellar cast and sincere acting, including that of Matthew Polenzani as the short role of the Italian Singer.

July 10, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some blustery, soggy shopping:

Local Food

Farmers' Markets:
Summerside, 9AM-1PM
Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM


Arlington Orchards Farm Booths at Ellen's Creek on North River Road, Mischouche (Cooks Corner)
Cornwall Monday to Saturday 9:30AM-6PM, Sunday 12noon-5PM.

Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)

KJL Markets (North River and Riverside)

Riverview Country Market

Plus there are many local stores carrying product and crafted goods.

Note that the weather may prevent some vendors from getting there.

RoseAnne Archibald was elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations this week.  Among the targets for her first months is the Calls to Action list from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Print: "Who is RoseAnne Archibald" article from CTV:

Video: full CPAC interview with her, including the Island's own political journalist Teresa Wright (representing Canadian Press) asking a couple of questions at 26 minutes in.

screenshot of National Chief Archibald from CPAC scrum on Friday, July 9th, 2021


screenshot of Teresa Wright during Zoom media scrum with the new AFN National Chief
Teresa Wright has recently announced that she is leaving Canadian Press in Ottawa and returning to P.E.I. to teach in the Journalism Program at Holland College.

Looking at the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). 

Summary document:

Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada  (2015):

Number 7:  We call upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

This one is rated as "Incomplete", and the Government of Canada's website response about "What's happening?" on this one is a list of some spending in the 2016 and 2017 federal budgets; not much about a "joint strategy".
The full Government response is here (you will have to click the "What's happening?" option).

(and I apologize as some of the links have not been routed corrected recently)

from the David Suzuki Foundation newsletter:

Reparation, land and justice for Indigenous Peoples is long overdue - by David Suzuki with contributions from Boreal Project Manager Rachel Plotkin

Published as a Science Matters newsletter on Friday, July 9th, 2021

Canada as a nation was founded by “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” as late Canadian economist Harold Innis wrote in his 1930 book, The Fur Trade in Canada — using a biblical phrase to describe the country’s long-standing reliance on resource exploitation.

When the Hudson’s Bay Company started buying and exporting fur pelts, it created such a demand in Europe that the most commonly trapped creature, the beaver, was almost wiped out. Once settlers got settled, resource extraction expanded to logging and later oil and gas extraction.

Both have shown the same lack of appreciation for moderation as the fur trade. For example, less than three per cent of original old-growth forests that once graced British Columbia still stand, and the fossil fuel industry’s greenhouse gas emissions make an outsized contribution to climate change.

Indigenous Peoples were integral to the fur trade, but settlers eventually saw their presence on the land, and their sense of responsibility to it, as impediments to their ability to exploit and profit from its “resources.” And so colonial-settler governments moved Indigenous Peoples to reservations, while the newcomers reaped the benefits of their “property” — a concept unfamiliar to people who believe in shared responsibility to and reciprocity with land rather than “ownership.”

According to the 2021 Yellowhead Institute report “Cash Back,” “Hard work is not what made Canadians richer than First Nations. … The difference was that their labour was paid off in free land stolen from Indigenous peoples. First Nations were left stranded on a vast archipelago of reserves and settlements, denied access to their wealth in territory.”

But Canada is changing. Growing recognition of the devastating harms our colonial past and still-existing systemic racism and oppression have perpetrated on Indigenous people has been met with increasing calls to redefine how we see our country, to give land back and to advance systems of economic reparation.

One recent initiative on southern Vancouver Island aims to start decolonizing by creating a forum for businesses and homeowners to make voluntary payments, equal to one per cent of private property taxes a month, to the First Nations whose traditional territories they’re in. The Reciprocity initiative is about creating a way to connect people, return wealth and make territorial recognition tangible. It aims to change the culture of private property and the way people think about home, in Canada and beyond.

The idea of redirecting taxes is not new. In a short video on the future of land governance in Canada, Plenty Canada senior adviser Tim Johnson says that, as Canada’s Parliament buildings stad on unceded Algonquin lands, “I’d rather see the government just say, ‘Yes, we do not legally possess this land; let's work out a lease arrangement for it.’ There should be an annual payment that allows First Nations to develop their societies, develop their governments and develop the institutions they need to also help manage those lands.”
Another possible change concerns royalties — fees companies pay to provinces in exchange for rights to extract trees, minerals and oil and gas. The system badly needs transforming. B.C. just called for a royalty review for petroleum and gas extraction. Throughout Canada, royalty fees should be increased to reflect externalities — costs not accounted for, such as negative impacts to nature and climate — and should go to First Nations and provincial governments, not to the province alone.

Canada was built on resource extraction, and its foundations are shaky on many fronts, including dispossession of Indigenous Peoples and wilful blindness to natural limits — the surpassing of which has led to the climate and biodiversity crises.
As “Cash Back” says, “It is important that we do not talk about a single ‘economy’ in this country. Because the ‘Canadian economy’ is not the same thing as the many other types of economies that organize Indigenous lives. … Restoring Indigenous economies requires focusing on the perspectives of those most impacted by colonization and the attacks on Indigenous livelihoods. It means reclaiming the language for ‘sharing’ in dozens of Indigenous tongues. It means recognizing that Indigenous inherent rights do not stop at the boundaries of the reserve.”
sun has set on limitless extraction. Let’s work together to ensure the future is built on economies that sustain and repair, rather than degrade, life.


Not related to the Environment, or Democratic Rights, but just a good main editorial in Friday's Guardian reflecting on the Montreal Canadiens and the whole picture.

EDITORIAL: Thanks for the magical hockey playoff run, Montreal - The Guardian Main Editorial

Published on Friday, July 9th, 2021

How about those Canadiens?

Their incredible playoff run captured this country’s imagination, including many people who had vowed to never cheer for Montreal in hockey.

But the narrative was so compelling — a determined, resilient underdog scrubbing teams they were never expected to beat and advancing all the way to Stanley Cup finals.

Many puck pundits feel, because hockey is full-contact and its playoff schedule is so gruelling, that the Stanley Cup is one of the hardest sports trophies to win.

Les Habitants came oh so close. And that could not have come at a better time.

You all gave us something to cheer about.

After 16 difficult months of life distanced and disrupted by COVID-19, Canadians needed a unifying and distracting force as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.

That force may just have been the Montreal Canadiens.

The deeper the Habs went in the playoffs, the more people gathered in front of screens to watch, the more hilarious memes filled social media feeds, the more non-hockey fans talked excitedly about our game, and the more we were temporarily not thinking about lockdowns and that virus.

Of course, in the middle of Montreal’s playoff run came the discovery of hundreds of unmarked Indigenous children’s graves at a residential school in B.C.

Non-Indigenous Canadians started grappling with the actions of their ancestors, feeling the pull towards reconciliation. That will take a lot of education, understanding and time, especially since thousands more gravesites are expected to be discovered.

The skill and poise of Canadiens goaltender Carey Price just might have helped inch the healing process along.

Price encouraged people to learn more about residential schools.

Descended from Ulkatcho First Nation in B.C., his grandmother was a residential school survivor.

His hockey brilliance was the train Montreal rode to the Cup finals and he became a hero to many.

His game was stellar, but so was the respectful way he quietly addressed the first disturbing discovery at a former residential school.

The thing about our heroes is that we tend to listen to them. When asked about the unmarked graves, Price encouraged people to learn more about residential schools.

En route to a game in Winnipeg, Price stopped to meet with residential school survivor Gerry Shingoose.

“You could see the kindness and caring,” Shingoose told reporters.

Price’s actions had more people rooting for Montreal and his quest for a first Stanley Cup.

And the compassion he exemplifies can serve as an example to us all.

So, thank you, No. 31. And thank you to all the Montreal Canadiens — Weber, Gallagher, Anderson, Toffoli and the others.

You all gave us something to cheer about and something to work toward.

As they sing from the rafters in Montreal when the Canadiens win, “Olé, Olé, Olé.”

A team from Canada did not win the Cup, but we are all better for this playoff run.



Opera today:
Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, Radio Broadcast, 2PM, 104.7FM CBC Music.
Today, Ben Heppner's Guest on his "Best Opera Ever" Series is Canadian baritone Gerald Finley and his pick is the 1978 recording of Verdi's Otello wit
Otello: Placido Domingo, tenor; Iago: Sherrill Milnes, baritone; and Desdemona: Renata Scotto, soprano, recorded with the (London-based) National Philharmonic Orchestra.  Sounds like it should be pretty amazing.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Salome, today until 6:30PM
Starring Karita Mattila, Ildikó Komlósi, Kim Begley, Joseph Kaiser, and Juha Uusitalo, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Jürgen Flimm. From October 11, 2008. 
OK, so this is not a romantic comedy.

Strauss’s Arabella, from 7:30PM tonight until Sunday at 6:30PM
Starring Kiri Te Kanawa, Marie McLaughlin, Helga Dernesch, Natalie Dessay, David Kuebler, Wolfgang Brendel, and Donald McIntyre, conducted by Christian Thielemann. Production by Otto Schenk. From November 3, 1994.

"This romantic comedy was the final collaboration of Richard Strauss and his great librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal. While certain elements of operatic farce are present (including class issues and gender disguise), there is a sober atmosphere about the work, and the issues of transformation—emotional, spiritual, psychological—that Strauss portrayed so powerfully in extreme terms in his earlier operas become, in Arabella, universal. Arabella herself—honest, pure, well-meaning—is one of opera’s most appealing and believable characters. The setting of 'Old Vienna' is quite different from that in the same authors’ Der Rosenkavalier: The nostalgia of the earlier opera is mythical and self-consciously anachronistic; here, it is frank and without irony."

July 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

July 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Birthday to Darcie Lanthier, environmental defender, entrepreneur, dedicated citizen activist, amazing family person, and most recently founder of the "My Old Apartment" project and registry.


Local Food

Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM
Summerside, 9AM-1PM
Riverview Country Market
North River KJL Market
Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)

Arlington Orchards Farm Booths at Ellen's Creek on North River Road, Mischouche (Cooks Corner)
Cornwall Monday to Saturday 9:30AM-6PM, Sunday 12noon-5PM.
Plus there are many local stores carrying items from Island farmers and crafters.

Plus, local strawberries, between rain showers.

The U.K. news (below) is good but more is needed, sooner, according to voices like these:

from British Columbia organic farmer Chris Bodnar, written on social media on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021:

I want to provide some information about what is happening in BC at the moment. We live in a temperate rainforest ecosystem. Yesterday Abbotsford experienced its hottest recorded temperature ever recorded, over 40 degrees C. Up the Fraser Canyon in Lytton temperatures reached 47.9 C. Our entire region is blanketed with smog as a temperature inversion keeps dangerous levels of ozone near the ground.

So far I have seen photos of burned berries, roasted tomato plants and stressed livestock. Below is a photo of the sun-burned tips of our carrots. These carrot tops will now start a process of rotting and stunting the growth of the roots. Yesterday I felt sick from working in the heat. The City of Surrey reports 38 sudden-death calls in the last 48 hours (compared with 10 normally). Flood advisories are impacting some parts of the province as the snow pack melts rapidly, increasing river levels.

When I started farming 15 years ago we generally had a week of hot weather (around 30 degrees) at the end of July. Even those temperatures were considered high compared to historic records. In 2016 we hit 30 degrees in April and sporadically throughout the rest of the summer. In recent years we have become accustomed to periods of intense smoke from wildfires. Last year, we experienced weeks of some of the worst air quality in the world as smoke from from wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington came north. Now with intense drought up the entire West Coast, the prospects for the fire season are frightening.

My point is this: This is an emergency. We have a federal government that acknowledges climate change but does nothing about it. We have a federal opposition and a majority of provincial governments that don't even acknowledge that climate change is real. In BC we have a government that has no substantive plan to address climate change.

If what I outline above isn't enough to cause people to reconsider what is happening and our response, then what will? At this point, probably nothing. I'm writing this because I, along with many colleagues, are frightened by what we are witnessing. This has to be viewed as more than simply an inconvenience or a novelty."


Some news from the U.K.:

U.K. accelerating its deadline for quitting coal - The Beacon by Grist article by Alexandria Herr

Published on Friday, July 2nd, 2021

The United Kingdom is planning to end all coal-fired electricity generation by October 2024, moving up the country’s previous target by a full year. The new timeline is designed to “send a clear signal around the world that the U.K. is leading the way in consigning coal power to the history books,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the country’s energy and climate change minister, in a statement on Wednesday. The announcement comes months before the United Nations’ annual climate change summit, COP26, which will be hosted in November in Glasgow. 

Ending coal-fired electricity does not mean ending coal extraction. The U.K. will still be mining coal for export and using it in industrial processes like steel production, and a heavily protested brand-new coal mine is still under consideration in Northern England. 

Despite these caveats, any move to reduce coal consumption is good for the climate. Coal-fired electricity is extremely carbon-intensive, accounting for 30 percent of energy-related CO2 emissions globally. It’s also a major source of fine particulate matter, a deadly air pollutant; fine particulate pollution from fossil fuels killed 8.7 million people globally in 2018.

Sam Fankhauser, a professor of climate change economics and policy at the University of Oxford, told Forbes that the target “merely formalizes a development that has all but been secured already through a combination of market forces, renewable subsidies, and climate and environmental policies.” Nonetheless, Fankhauser called the accelerated timeline “a welcome milestone of big symbolic value.”


Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on Radio
Best Opera Ever Series, hosted by Ben Heppner, 2PM, CBC Music, 104.7FM

Musician Rhiannon Giddens discusses her pick,
Mozart's Marriage of Figaro,
Count Almaviva: Alfred Poell, baritone; Countess: Lisa della Casa, soprano; Suzanna: Hilde Gueden, soprano; Figaro: Cesare Siepi, bass
From the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded in 1955

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

John Adams’s Nixon in China, today until 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Kim, Janis Kelly, Robert Brubaker, Russell Braun, James Maddalena, and Richard Paul Fink, conducted by John Adams. Production by Peter Sellars. From February 12, 2011.

Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Teresa Stratas, Astrid Varnay, Richard Cassilly, and Cornell MacNeil. From November 27, 1979.

July 2, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

A very good Joan Baxter piece towards the end of the newsletter today.

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

The Survey for the next Agricultural Policy Framework is still open, but will be closing very soon, and just takes a few minutes to go through.  Most of the questions seem to be about their taking your demographic information, but there is still opportunity to let them know your priorities and ideas agriculture.
Page with info and link to survey:

On Bill C-12:

How Bill C-12 aims to guide Canada to net-zero  The National Observer article by John Woodside

Published on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

With Bill C-12 officially passed and set to become law, experts say Ottawa’s historic climate accountability and transparency act will help guide a transition to a cleaner future, with plenty of room for improvement.

The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, adopted by the Senate on Tuesday, essentially sets targets for every five years from 2030 to 2050 a decade in advance to guide the country’s transition to net-zero. The 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target will be Canada’s updated Paris commitment, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in April would be 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels.

The targets are set by the government, but informed by an advisory body, and the act requires that the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development report on the government's progress at least once every five years.

Bill C-12 was introduced in November, but virtually all the work to amend it was crammed into May and June, where the process was criticized for being rushed by both the Green Party and the Conservative Party of Canada. Still, several important amendments were included that will see more frequent progress reports, an independent advisory body that would include Indigenous knowledge in its recommendations, a 2026 emissions “objective,” and a plan due within six months for how that 2026 emission objective and 2030 target will be met.

The more frequent reporting is a major improvement, said Ecojustice climate program director Alan Andrews.

Breaking the 2030 and 2050 emission targets down into five year chunks “is really significant, because that ensures you have more near-term certainty and accountability” and pushes the government “to actually take action on a meaningful time horizon that lines up with the time cycle of politics and business,” said Andrews. “That five-year time horizon is much more meaningful than the long-term targets they're there to support.”
<snip>  rest of article at the link
opinion piece, in light of bill C-12 being passed this week...

Net zero: despite the greenwash, it’s vital for tackling climate change - The Conversation online article by Richard Black, Steve Smith and Thomas Hale

It might seem odd to find supporters of climate action debating the merits of a concept that science shows to be essential for halting climate change, and which is accordingly embedded at the heart of the defining global agreement.

Yet that is where we find ourselves with the concept of “net zero” – the point at which any remaining emissions of greenhouse gases are balanced with absorption, halting further warming of the climate. The necessity of reaching net zero emissions globally is abundantly proven in science, and governments pledged in the 2015 Paris Agreement to achieve “a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks” in mid-century, in pursuit of holding global warming to 1.5℃.

This language was included in the Paris Agreement only because of a determined push by activists and vulnerable countries. And it’s hard to think of a more successful recent example of activists’ ideas changing the terms of debate. In two years, the number of nations, sub-national governments and corporates setting net zero targets has mushroomed, with coverage leaping from 16% of global GDP in June 2019 to two-thirds now. It is no exaggeration to say that net zero is now the defining lens through which many governments, businesses, NGOs and other types of entity view decarbonisation.

However, activists are not universally celebrating. Many have reacted by pointing out the flaws in some net zero targets, with particular fire turned on oil and gas companies that plan to pay for offsets in place of dealing with the emissions caused by burning their product.

In some cases, concerns about the implementation of net zero targets turn into criticism of the concept itself. Recently three climate change academics including former IPCC chair Bob Watson described net zero as a “fantasy” and a “trap”, while Greta Thunberg said that “these distant targets” are about “making it seem like we’re acting without having to change”.

Net zero commitments: a mixed picture

To be credible, an entity proclaiming a net zero target should have certain measures of robustness in place: at the very least, a high-level commitment, a published plan, immediate emission-cutting measures and an annual reporting mechanism. It must ensure that all its attributable emissions are covered, and that any “netting” uses high-quality, verified and permanent removals.

In March 2021 we were among researchers publishing the first analysis of the robustness of net zero commitments made across 4,000+ national and sub-national governments and companies, accounting for 80% of global emissions. We found the picture is mixed: while most entities with a net zero target do have some robustness measures in place such as interim targets (60%) and a reporting mechanism (62%), others do not. The picture on offsets (paying for carbon credits from actions elsewhere) is particularly concerning, with only 23% of entities either ruling them out or putting restrictions on their use.

Does this mean that the concept of net zero as a defining frame for decarbonisation is itself a fantasy? We would argue that it absolutely does not.

The rapidly growing suite of net zero pledges comes with a coherent theory of change. Firstly, if an entity is serious, it will follow its pledge by putting robust measures in place, beginning with immediate actions to cut emissions: not doing so will quickly open up the entity in question to accusations that it is not serious.

Secondly, pledging a target means that the entity can be held to account by voters, shareholders or customers. Thirdly, to demonstrate credibility it may have to apply for accreditation from an impartial mechanism such as the science-based targets initiative, which can validate whether its plan is realistic.

Fourthly, such accreditation mechanisms evolve over time to follow the science. For example, the UN-backed Race to Zero recently published upgraded criteria (in which we were involved); further annual strengthenings await.

Each of these four steps makes the commitment more concrete – and if it is not serious, exposes that clearly.

Signs that net zero targets lead to stronger action

There are early indications that this is more than a theory. The UK, EU and US all recently set 2050 net zero targets and then upgraded their 2030 targets to make them commensurate.

In Germany, the constitutional court has just ordered the government to increase its near-term action to ensure that the costs of meeting net zero do not fall disproportionately on future generations. A survey of the new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that nations are due to submit before the next UN climate summit, COP26, shows that 32 of the 101 countries with net zero targets have enhanced their NDC, compared with 11 of 90 countries without a net zero target.

Climate advocates are right to highlight the loose nature of some pledges, particularly from fossil fuel corporates. Such scrutiny is necessary to protect the science from greenwash. As Thunberg subsequently tweeted, “the problem is of course not the net zero targets themselves, but that they’re being used as excuses to postpone real action”.

This is a real danger. If we allow disingenuous uses of net zero to discredit the concept as a whole, we risk giving up the hard-won gains secured by activists and vulnerable countries in Paris in 2015.

Rather than tarring all net zero pledges with the same critical brush, we would advocate differentiating serious targets from those set for greenwashing. Not all entities will embark on their journey to net zero with a fully fledged plan, but they should quickly clarify how they will reach their target: those that do so deserve plaudits if their plans are robust and viable, while those with unviable or absent plans deserve criticism.

Despite the imperfections, widespread strengthening of net zero targets, specifically to generate steep emission cuts in the next decade, offers the most viable route to implementing the Paris Agreement and so preventing the most dangerous impacts of climate change. We should get net zero right – not get rid.

And a final word summing up the stories and connecting all the dots is from the talented and thoughtful Joan Baxter, with thanks to Ian Petrie for flagging this.

Opinion: What Atlantic Canada’s troubled COVID-19 travel bubble can teach us about the crisis to come - The Globe and Mail article by Joan Baxter

Published on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

With the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly headed toward its conclusion here in Canada, an unseemly kerfuffle broke out last week on the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – one that was not at all typical of how Atlantic Canada had handled the crisis before this point.

People in the region have prided themselves on how well they’ve dealt with the pandemic, staying the blazes home and keeping COVID-19 rates and fatalities relatively low.

Their reward was the “Atlantic bubble,” created almost exactly a year ago to allow people from Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to move freely between provinces without having to quarantine for two weeks. The approach made sense for a region that shares enough in the way of history and spirit that the idea of a “Maritime Union” is sometimes mooted for three of those provinces.

When the third wave hit, the Atlantic provinces each reinstituted restrictions on interprovincial travellers; in Nova Scotia, even intraprovincial travel was verboten for a few weeks. Once again, people (not all, but most) complied, because pausing the bubble was the right thing to do. Medical science told us so. And besides, the Atlantic bubble was supposed to open up again on June 23.

But then, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs announced people from across Canada with just one vaccination could enter his province without quarantining. Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin responded by declaring anyone entering from New Brunswick would have to continue to isolate upon arrival, just like people from outside the bubble. After the pandemic’s extended period of regional unity, this felt like a betrayal to the communities along the border that share much more than a geographic borderline could divide.

And so, last week, a hodgepodge of protesters – some of them conspiracy-minded and stridently against vaccines – parked two pickups back to back across the Trans-Canada Highway to block the border. Egged on by a sitting member of the provincial legislature, the protesters declared they wouldn’t allow anyone to cross the border, apparently oblivious to the irony of their actions.

The blockade only ended when, after more than 24 hours, the RCMP gave up on trying “to engage the protesters in meaningful dialogue,” arresting three people and reopening the highway. The politician, Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, was removed from the provincial Progressive Conservative caucus. Mr. Rankin eventually amended his decision, after he and the province’s chief public-health official felt enough time had passed, that they had received more information from New Brunswick’s public-health officials and that vaccination rates were continuing at a strong enough clip to allow New Brunswickers to enter Nova Scotia without quarantining, as of June 30.

It hasn’t been easy for anyone anywhere to keep up with all the complicated restrictions and changing goal posts around COVID-19. The disease is new, and public-health agencies have struggled to keep up with the evolving understanding of how to protect human health against COVID-19 and new variants of the virus that causes it.

But for the first time I can recall, political leaders (not all, but a good number) seemed to be making policy decisions based on the best available science. In this case, Mr. Rankin made an unpopular decision, but one driven by risk tolerance and evidence.

That is no small thing – and it’s only one of the important things we need to take away from the pandemic.

COVID-19 has shown us how vulnerable we are to new diseases, which are predicted to multiply if we continue to ignore the links between them, the destruction of the natural world and climate change. The threats posed by COVID-19 pale next to the almost inconceivable threats posed by a global temperature rise of 2.7 to 3.1 C above preindustrial levels that are projected for this century. And unlike the science on COVID-19, the science on climate change is not new. We’ve known about it for decades. We’ve just not treated it as the emergency it is.

The Atlantic bubble was seen as symbolizing the region’s “spirit of pandemic unity,” and it served us well. But what is needed next is not a regional or even a national bubble. Rather, we need a worldwide one to address inequities in access to vaccines and health care, and to take on the massive challenges of climate change, which will cause disproportionate suffering for those who are least responsible for it.

COVID-19 is just the warm-up. And as much as a protective bubble has its appeal, Atlantic Canada has proved that’s not how the world works. The real crisis facing our species now is the climate, and to tackle that our bubble has to encompass the whole planet.

Joan Baxter is an award-winning journalist and author in Nova Scotia.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

 Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, today until 6:30PM
Starring Rachelle Durkin, Richard Croft, Kim Josephson, and Alfred Walker, conducted by Dante Anzolini. Production by Phelim McDermott. From November 19, 2011.

John Adams’s Nixon in China, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Kim, Janis Kelly, Robert Brubaker, Russell Braun, James Maddalena, and Richard Paul Fink, conducted by John Adams. Production by Peter Sellars. From February 12, 2011. "President Nixon’s controversial 1972 visit with Chairman Mao in Beijing might seem an unlikely candidate for an operatic retelling, but in the inspired hands of composer John Adams, the meeting of politics and music not only works, it feels essential. The Met’s landmark staging brought together a host of modern luminaries, including director Peter Sellars and choreographer Mark Morris, who vividly capture the tense mood of the historical moment. A must-see for those who like their opera thought provoking, sensational, and true to life."

July 1, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Various Canada Day and Commemorative Events are planned in some areas -- check to see what your community is planning.

From the Green Party of PEI:

In case you missed the "conversation with Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker yesterday about his new role as Official Opposition Critic for Agriculture & Land, as well as his ongoing portfolios of Indigenous, Francophone and Intergovernmental Affairs.

In case you were unable to join us yesterday, or weren't able to stay for the whole hour, you will find the recording here:


By the way, here is the link to a page where you can find the text of Peter's motion this spring on Sustainable Agriculture, as well as a the video of Peter introducing and speaking to this motion in the Legislature:


 You can also reach Peter Bevan-Baker directly at

If you enjoyed last night's conversation with Peter, you will likely enjoy the conversations we're having with the other MLAs about their new portfolios as well.

  • Next Tuesday, July 6th, we'll speak with Karla Bernard, who has taken the reins on Social Development and Housing in addition to her ongoing role as Critic for the Status of Women (register here).

  • Next Thursday, July 8th, we're talking to Michele Beaton who is bravely taking up the massive and important Health & Wellness portfolio (register here).

  • Finally, join us July 18th for a conversation with Trish Altass about her new role as Critic for Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture (register here).

See recordings of past Meet the new Critics sessions on YouTube here.


Order of Prince Edward Island winners named - CBC Online article by Kevin Yarr

Published on  on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021
CBC News Story
Three Islanders were announced Wednesday as the 2021 inductees to the Order of Prince Edward Island.

They are Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison, entrepreneur and seniors' advocate Noreen Corrigan-Murphy, and community volunteer Maitland MacIssac.

Morrison has been chief public health officer for P.E.I. since 2007, and has become one of P.E.I.'s most familiar faces during the COVID-19 pandemic. She brought an impressive resume to the job. As P.E.I.'s first female Rhodes Scholar she earned two degrees at Oxford University before training as a doctor at Dalhousie.

"Heather's devotion as a medical professional is obvious but most recognizable is her leadership to keep Islanders safe. Her slogan 'be patient and kind' offers a reminder of the importance and value of caring while working together," said the release announcing her appointment to the order.

Noreen Corrigan-Murphy raised nine children, including two foster children, before becoming an entrepreneur at the age of 49.

She converted a house on Ellis Road in Charlottetown to Corrigan Lodge, a resident care home. The business expanded twice through the 1990s, eventually becoming Corrigan Home.

With a $100,000 donation, she created the Noreen and George Corrigan Scholarship Fund, for single mothers or individuals who have a learning disability to enrol in post-secondary education.

"She is a person that does not like spending a lot of money but thinks nothing of giving plenty of it away," said her Order of P.E.I. announcement.

Maitland MacIssac has taken a leading role in many service organizations and spearheading humanitarian projects. Those include being a founding board member of The Adventure Group, creating the P.E.I. Passport to Employment, and serving as chair of the International Children's Memorial Place.

A compassionate teacher, counselor, mentor and friend….to teachers, students, youth with challenges, parents, grandparents, grieving families, seniors, and the community as a whole.  Maitland MacIsaac has richly and selflessly contributed to Islanders and beyond over his lifetime," the news release said.

Lieut-Gov. Antoinette Perry will present insignia of the order to the new inductees this fall during a ceremony at Government House in Charlottetown.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, today until 6:30PM
Starring Teresa Stratas, Håkan Hagegård, Gino Quilico, Graham Clark, Marilyn Horne, and Renée Fleming, conducted by James Levine. Production by Sir Colin Graham. From January 10, 1992.
Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Friday
Starring Rachelle Durkin, Richard Croft, Kim Josephson, and Alfred Walker, conducted by Dante Anzolini. Production by Phelim McDermott. From November 19, 2011.

"The second installment of Philip Glass’s Portrait Trilogy of operas based on the lives of important historical figures—which began with Einstein on the Beach and concluded with AkhnatenSatyagraha is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and his ideology of achieving change through peaceful protest and civil disobedience. With a libretto assembled using text from the Bhagavad Gita, sung in the original Sanskrit, the opera has no concrete plot, instead layering various historical vignettes, political statements, philosophical musings, and parables to form a meditative work that is as much manifesto as music or theater. "