CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

March 2020


  1. 1 March 31, 2020
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  2. 2 March 30, 2020
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 How to keep your cool with your kids when everyone is cooped up together - The Washington Post article by Kate Rope
  3. 3 March 29, 2020
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 The COVID-19 pandemic may be an opportunity to transform the way we live - article by David Suzuki
  4. 4 March 28, 2020
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  5. 5 March 27, 2020
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  6. 6 March 26, 2020
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 Siding with First Nation, N.S. judge overturns Alton Gas approval - CBC News atricle by Taryn Grant
    3. 6.3 Perfection is a luxury we do not have - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
  7. 7 March 25, 2020
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 CBC National News decides to reinstate Compass - Statement on CBC local supperhour newscasts
    3. 7.3 ATLANTIC SKIES: Can you find Leo in the night's sky? - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts
  8. 8 March 24, 2020
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 No gym, no problem: 5 ways to stay active without leaving your home - CBC News online article by Steve Bruce
  9. 9 March 23, 2020
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 Signs CBC is hearing our collective anger - The Eastern Graphic article  by Paul MacNeill, publisher of The Graphic publications
  10. 10 March 22, 2020
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 (Chief Librarian) BETH CLINTON: Variety of online library services for P.E.I. readers available at - The Guardian by Beth Clinton
  11. 11 March 21, 2020
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 ATLANTIC SKIES: All about the March equinox - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts
  12. 12 March 20, 2020
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Essential and Non-Essential Services: COVID-19 - P.E.I. Government website post
  13. 13 March 19, 2020
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  14. 14 March 18, 2020
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 Alternative Federal Budget Released - Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives article by Vi Bui
  15. 15 March 17, 2020
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 GUEST OPINION: Should new structure be called an arena, a coliseum or civic centre? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ian (Tex) MacDonald
    3. 15.3 Simmons and Cody Banks make up fabric of Charlottetown - The Guardian Guest Opinion  by Ian (Tex) MacDonald
  16. 16 March 16, 2020
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 RUSSELL WANGERSKY: The emperor’s new clothes - The Guardian article by Russell Wangersky
  17. 17 March 15, 2020
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 MPs pass new NAFTA legislation and NDP motion on pharmacare before closing Parliament - by The Council of Canadians
    3. 17.3 Judge Blocks Rule That Would Have Kicked 700,000 People Off SNAP - NPR article by Maria Godoy
    4. 17.4 CBC/Radio-Canada and TV distributors make 24-hour news channels widely available
    5. 17.5 UPDATED: P.E.I. releases details of plan to fix rural internet - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  18. 18 March 14, 2020
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 From Ask Umbra: Advice on Life During Climate Change" -
  19. 19 March 13, 2020
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  20. 20 March 12, 2020
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  21. 21 March 11, 2020
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 LETTER: Time for transparency - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 21.3 LETTER: Shared buses a good idea - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  22. 22 March 10, 2020
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 Why don’t we treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as coronavirus? - The Guardian (UK) article by Owen Jones
  23. 23 March 9, 2020
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 Getting serious on climate change
  24. 24 March 8, 2020
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  25. 25 March 7, 2020
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 Leave it on the Shelf Initiative
  26. 26 March 6, 2020
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 It’s a critical time to hear each other’s perspectives
  27. 27 March 5, 2020
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 27.2 If IRAC needs an investigator It hired the wrong guy - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
  28. 28 March 4, 2020
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 GUEST OPINION: P.E.I. wind farm not good for environment - The Guardian Guest Opinion by David Cheverie
  29. 29 March 3, 2020
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 GUEST OPINION: Corporations seem to hold the power in P.E.I. - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Wayne Carver
  30. 30 March 2, 2020
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 Sustainable communities initiative
  31. 31 March 1, 2020
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews

March 31, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

It's not too early this week to thing about local food shopping.   Heart Beet Organics will be at their Farmacy store Wednesday for pick-up of pre-orders and extra in the shop (produce and ferments), 3-6PM.

A local food note:  Just to be clear, even though the Charlottetown Farmers' Market building is closed, Jordan MacPhee of Maple Bloom Farm is organizing orders of items from some of the vendors for pick-up Saturday afternoon, April 4th. 

The messaging from the Market has been a mess, but it's clear it's a go; it worked very smoothly last week, and hats off to Jordan for perseverance.

Orders will be due by Midnight Wednesday for Pick-up Saturday at a location to be announced (since the Charlottetown Farmers' Market is to be getting some work done in the parking lot and such).

from Jordan:
"Unfortunately, there was a ton of miscommunication... which led people to believe it wasn’t happening anymore, whereas it (is) still ongoing organized by us farmers ourselves, and spearheaded by my farm....
for info and mailing list signup /
to order."
Met Opera free broadcast today, 7:30PM and available until tomorrow afternoon:
Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia,

"Starring Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, and Peter Mattei, conducted by Maurizio Benini. From March 24, 2007."
Imagine a place where hair salons are still open... (here is a recent CBC-PEI online story on "When Physical Distancing from your Barber begins to Show")

More beautiful music (thanks to Silver Donald Cameron, and others, for sharing):
Appalachian Spring, by Aaron Copeland, played by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra each at home and delightfully arranged in this video:  4 minutes:

(tear-warning if you're one of those people whom music affects so)

Note that, obviously, the PEI Legislature will not open Tuesday, April 7th, 2020.

Government info on COVID-19 can be found on the:
P.E.I.'s Government's Facebook page here, with the updates at 1:30 and 5PM

Silver Donald Cameron is offering his set of The Green Interviews free for the next 28 days, with the fine print here, from his mailing yesterday:

from journalist Silver Donald Cameron, Monday, March 30th, 2020:







On March 11, I was speaking to a couple of hundred people at the Annual Meeting at The Friends of Nature in Chester, Nova Scotia. Life was pretty much normal, though a new and nasty virus called Covid-19 was killing people in China, Italy and other distant countries.

Silver Donald speaking Two weeks later, the world looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before, though it has some similarities with my childhood during World War II (the whole world focussed on one deadly activity) and the Cold War (a scary time for everyone on earth).

Like so many others everywhere, Marjorie Simmins and I are staying home, and keeping our distance when we go out. Since both of us are writers and normally work at home, our lives have been less disrupted than most. And although we’ve taken some economic damage – speaking engagements cancelled, Marjorie’s book launches postponed, see below – we are, overall, very lucky. At least so far.

Which leads me to ask, What can the two of us – and the little team at The Green Interview – do for you? How can we help? 

Well, maybe we can help you make interesting and creative use of your enforced idleness. 


Normally you don’t have 40-60 minutes to watch or listen to an interview – not even if the person speaking is someone as compelling as Jane Goodall, Vandana Shiva, Paul Watson, Margaret Atwood, James Lovelock, David Suzuki (or his brilliant daughter, Sarika Cullis-Suzuki) or the other trail-blazing thinkers, scientists, artists and activists among our more than 100 in-depth interviews.

Well, now you do have time. And if you’re already a subscriber (at $9.95 a month, discounted for students) you can just go to and start watching or listening.

But – as of today – you can also do that if you are NOT a subscriber. Normally we offer a seven-day free trial, but the pandemic means that many people have lots of time and very little money. So we’ve extended the free trial to 28 days. Sign up now, and pay nothing for 28 days – and cancel, if you wish, on the 27th day. It costs you nothing, and you have four weeks of access.

And if you just want a five-minute sample, our YouTube page provides brief excerpts from all our Green Interviews.
from Silver Donald Cameron

Global Chorus essay for March 31

Thomas Pakenham

I am an optimist. Today I am planting an oak tree. It’s three years old and I grew it myself. Its mother tree was about 300 years old when I collected the acorn. This tree too could live to that remarkable age. Or it could die tomorrow if I fail to water it. What will our world be like if the tree lives to 2300 AD?

By then our two main problems – overpopulation and climate change – will be solved one way or the other. I feel quite hopeful that we shall see an end to runaway growth of the population. The Chinese population, a quarter of the world’s, is expected to fall substantially in the coming years – the long-term result of the drastic one-child policy Chairman Deng imposed on his people. But I am not so hopeful that the world’s governments will tackle the problem of climate change before it does irreversible damage to our planet. It will be many years before the western democracies, gulled by Big Oil, finally wake up to the reality that extreme weather is here for good. And extreme weather means more droughts, more floods, more hurricanes, rising sea levels. Meanwhile the consumer boom, based on an addiction to fossil fuels, will go on its merry way, and politicians will keep their heads firmly in the sand.

Fortunately my oak tree is naturally adapted to extreme weather. It will jog along, I think, until the world comes to its senses. Provided, of course, I remember to water it this afternoon.

     — Thomas Pakenham, author of Remarkable Trees of the World, Meetings with Remarkable Trees and The Scramble for Africa

Wikipedia article about Pakenham, a.k.a. The Earl of Longford

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

March 30, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

East Coast Art Party is still hosting free events most days, link here:

City Cinema has a virtual cinema!

Federal Government Business supports webinar, hosted by MP Sean Casey and Chamber of Commerce, 2PM, link to register here:
"an overview of these supports and resources for Canadian workers and business."

Metropolitan Opera free full broadcast, Monday, March 30
Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, 7:30PM, link below.
"Starring Isabel Leonard, Adrianne Pieczonka, and Karita Mattila, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From May 11, 2019." Written in 1953, it is a fictionalized version of the story of the Carmelite nuns who in 1794 were guillotined in Paris at the end of the Reign of Terror. Tough story but amazing singing.


An Interesting place, for kids of all ages, but especially if you are dealing with kids or grandkids: Public Broadcasting Service

A lot of the video may not be broadcast outside the States, but there is so much on this website to play around with.

And along with written information on programs and topics, for very measured, very professional news, the PBS News Hour does come through on the main site:


And it applies even if you don't have little kids in the house: 

How to keep your cool with your kids when everyone is cooped up together - The Washington Post article by Kate Rope

Published on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Halfway through Day 3 of our covid-19 lockdown, I yelled at my kids, “You’re both DRIVING ME NUTS!”

I’m two years into a mindfulness practice that has virtually eliminated yelling from my parental response repertoire, but just a few days of forced togetherness had me feeling like I was back to square one. The anxiety of this entire situation has eroded my emotional resilience reserve faster than I expected.

Of course, it’s done the same thing to my kids and, like it or not, they’re looking to me for a bit of calm in this storm. I realized that just like I create a daily schedule for my kids, I need a plan to settle myself and manage my stress each day. Just like I filled my pantry with food staples, I need to figure out how to stock up on patience and compassion. I reached out to several parenting experts, and here’s what they suggest.

Lower your bar (like, way low)

Before you do anything else, drop some expectations. The next few weeks (months?) are going to be hard. How hard depends upon your particular circumstances, but this won’t be a cakewalk for any of us. Systems will break down. Fights will break out. Let’s acknowledge that if all we lose is our tempers, that’s a win.

Set yourself up for not-failure

We’re not going to use words like success right now (see above). But if you want to minimize the fallout, go back to basics. I’m talking about Emotional Resiliency 101. Sleep. Nutrition. Exercise. Hydration.

“Sleep is a nonnegotiable,” says Carla Naumburg, author of “How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids.” The best thing you — and your kids — can do to maintain emotional equilibrium is to get enough sleep. And without commutes and school start times, many of us can actually do it.

Next up: Stay hydrated and eat regular, balanced meals, so the whole family doesn’t devolve into a hangry, sugar-crashing mess. “Dehydrated, overcaffeinated, low-blood-sugar parents are definitely more likely to lose their cool,” says Sarah Best, a psychotherapist who works with parents in New York City.

Finally, moving your body is proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Since my Day 3 meltdown, I’ve been doing a daily home workout, and it has made a tremendous difference. “Moving is the best way to fight cabin fever and reduce stress hormones,” says Laura Markham, founding editor of Aha! Parenting. This doesn’t have to be a workout, but it should be sustained and get your heart rate up. Long walks, family dance parties and online yoga are good options.

Schedule regular breaks for you

Few of us (kids included) are used to this much forced family time. Getting breaks from one another is essential. Experiment with these ideas and see which ones work for your family. Then work them into your daily schedule (shoot for hourly or three times a day).

· Breathing. “Intentional breathing slows down our nervous system, calming things down and sending a message to your body that things are okay in this moment,” says Naumburg. Try some of these breathing practices on your own or find guided ones on apps such as Insight Timer, Calm and Headspace.

· Meditation. Meditation is another proven stress reducer, and recent research suggests short sessions throughout the day can be as beneficial as one big one. You don’t have to do this alone; there are lots of good apps with guided meditations. I like Insight Timer and Ten Percent Happier.

· Get fresh air. “Fresh air will do wonders for helping you feel less restrained,” says Best. If you have a backyard, use it. If you live in an apartment, open the window and sit near it with a book or a cup of coffee. And get out for walks or jogs around the neighborhood.

· Anything you like. Listen to a favorite song or make yourself a quarantine relief playlist. Engage your senses by eating something that smells and tastes good, such as a mango. Rub your favorite lotion on your feet and hands. “Anything that tastes good, smells good, or is pleasing to your sense of touch is a great way to soothe,” says Best. You can also just get a nice cup of coffee or tea, close the door to your room and read or FaceTime friends for a bit. I’ve decided to have a jigsaw puzzle going for the foreseeable future.

· A body check. “Five minutes of stretching can make you feel like you are living in an entirely different body,” says Best. Naumburg likes to mentally scan her whole body to see where she feels tension and then release it. Put your legs up against the wall and just hang out.

If you have little kids who need constant supervision and you have a partner at home, tag team so you each can get these kinds of breaks. If not, let the Wild Kratts** be in charge while you recharge.

What happens when things go south?

Learn to notice when you’re about to lose it. “It seems really obvious, and you’d think we’d be able to notice it,” says Naumburg, “but the problem is that when we are in that anxious headspace, the noticing part of our brains goes offline, and our emotions are running the show. We’re in fight or flight mode.”

Naumburg encourages parents to get to know their “tells,” the thoughts, feelings or behaviors that indicate they’re about to explode. Naumburg starts responding to her daughters in clipped sentences. I start cussing under my breath.

When you realize you’re about to lose it (or you already have), pause. “If you were in real danger, you wouldn’t be pausing,” says Naumburg. “So, just by pausing for two seconds you’re sending your body the signal that things are okay.” What do you do next? “Literally anything else,” Naumburg says. “Your body is ready for action, so give it that action but do it in a way that’s not toxic for your family.” Try jumping jacks or running up and down the hall. Naumburg likes to break into an exaggerated opera song. Your kids will likely laugh at any of these, which brings you that much closer to reconciliation.

If you need to slow down and feel more in control, try putting your hands flat on the counter and focusing on how your feet feel on the floor. Take some deep breaths. Say a prayer or mantra you like. Lift your shoulders up and down, do some neck circles. Tell your kids you need a break and take one.

Minimize your triggers

We all have things that irritate us, making it more likely we’ll lose our cool. The biggest ones for me are clutter and noise. So, I’ve assigned everyone an area of the house to be in charge of during midday and end-of-day cleanups. And, well before the coronavirus, my kids learned that when I say that I need quiet, they should listen. If checking in with the news regularly is setting you on edge, decide to check in with one source of news you trust and only once a day. Figure out what depletes your reserves and minimize it.

When all else fails

“We are all feeling fear right now,” says Markham. “Most parents have already lost it. That’s what’s going to happen.” So, what do you do afterward?

“It is absolutely appropriate and a good move to apologize to your children,” says Naumburg. Just wait until you are truly calm. If you’re still upset and your kids don’t respond the way you want them to, things could just get worse. When you’re ready, “apologize for your behavior, not your feelings,” says Naumburg. “And if there needs to be a conversation about your child’s behavior you can work on that afterward.”

No matter what, be kind to yourself

“We all have to cut ourselves so much slack, because literally no one alive has had to deal with something like this before,” says Naumburg. “Let’s have some patience and forgiveness for ourselves and for our families.” You can do that just generally or really drive the message home with loving-kindness meditation.

Above all else, know that you are not alone. In apartments and houses across the country — and the world — there are parents confronting fear, entirely new situations, and penned-in kids. We may be living apart, but we are in this together.

Kate Rope is a mother and the author of “Strong as a Mother: How to Stay Happy, Healthy and (Most Importantly) Sane From Pregnancy to Parenthood.”

** By the way, "The Wild Kratts" is a Public Broadcasting Corporation production, and apparently American-Canadian.  The website also has lots of activities and games available.

Global Chorus essay for March 30
Sarah Harmer

Like all of Nature, we humans are both vulnerable and resilient. I believe the key to our success and our survival is found in moving away from our individual quests and toward actions that recognize our interdependence and our moral obligations to each other.

I am compelled to hope, and am fortified in my faith in humanity, by the tremendous acts of courage I’ve witnessed in the face of danger and persecution. I have seen fear faced and overcome. I have watched victimized women stand up to oppression and impunity in the fight for justice and peace in Central America. I have experienced the changes that can happen in my own hometown when citizens understand they have a voice, and use it determinedly and collectively to improve the lot of their community. For generations, acts of selfless courage and commitment to the greater whole have moved societies forward toward racial integration, voting rights for women and legal recognition of rights for our natural environment.

When we shift our focus away from individual and material success and begin to participate in the collective care of our communities, our lives become more meaningful and more potent. It is our sense of responsibility to one another and to the myriad plants and animals that are our kin that must fuel our efforts toward implementing solutions to pressing concerns like the global climate crisis.   

        — Sarah Harmer, musician, citizen

Sarah has recently returned to performing after a sabbatical, and just in time.
Here is a nice interview on "q" CBC Radio show from February 2020

And her website:


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

March 29, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Symphony Sundays with the PEI Smphony Orchestra on Eastlink TV, 2:30PM, Eastlink Channels 10 and 610.

"Orchestras throughout the nation and the world are finding ways to continue to bring music into our lives, and the PEI Symphony Orchestra is no exception!  While some orchestras are reaching audiences through live streaming, that is not an option for us.  We do, however, have in our broadcast archive three concerts that were taped over the last couple of years for delayed broadcast by Eastlink TV here on PEI.
Through special arrangements with Eastlink TV, we are please to bring these concerts to you as well as to classical music enthusiasts throughout Atlantic Canada through a series of special television rebroadcasts taking place over the next three consecutive weeks. 

Sunday, March 29th: (TODAY), our Canada 150 concert will be rebroadcast. It features the work we commissioned called Cantata for Canada 150. The broadcast also includes performances by the Hey Cuzzins Mi’kmaq Drum Circle, the Confederation Singers, the Confederation Centre Youth Chorus and includes the PEISO performing Tchaikovsky’s rousing 1812 Overture.

April 5: The next Symphony Sunday event is a rebroadcast of our concert that featured Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 with the second half of the program being comprised of nine musical selections by our special guest David Myles.

April 12: On Easter Sunday, it’s our “Space and the Rocket” broadcast which features Holst’s The Planets and Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s The Hockey Sweater (which is a musical version of the short story by Roch Carrier) with our own Patrick Ledwell serving as narrator.

Daily Metropolitan Opera Broadcast: Wagner’s Tannhäuser, 7:30PM, available until Monday afternoon. 

"Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Michelle DeYoung, Johan Botha, Peter Mattei, and Gunther Groissböck, conducted by James Levine. From October 31, 2015."
Another complicated plot but amazing singing and music.  A Guardian (U.K.) analysis here from 2010


A shout out, again, to Discover Charlottetown, whose commitment to produce a weekly Local Goods Guide (which extends to all in or out of Charlottetown), is an excellent resource for getting food, drinks, and goods; and may help keep some of these businesses going. A PDF link to the March 27th, 2020, guide is on this page:


Point of View by David Suzuki

The COVID-19 pandemic may be an opportunity to transform the way we live - article by David Suzuki

Published on Friday, March 27th, 2020, on CBC online

The challenge is learning to see our place in the world differently so we can make changes in our behaviour

David Suzuki, in Cavendish, PEI, taken in September 2014 when he was here for the P.E.I. stop of the Blue Dot tour.

I'm sure in today's COVID-19 lockdown, despite all of the technologies we have to occupy us, computers, television, cellphones, many of us are feeling profound isolation, loneliness and boredom.

But this big slowdown gives me time every day to play with my grandchildren who are isolated with me, to read and to think about what has mattered most in my life, what has given me the greatest joy and satisfaction, and where I hope the world might go after I'm gone.

The lessons of pandemics

I remember when the HIV-AIDS crisis first happened. It was terrifying because the disease was so deadly and we didn't know what was causing it or how it was transmitted.  

We did a film on it in the early years for The Nature of Things and traveled to Boston to interview a man dying of AIDS and his partner. I'm embarrassed to say that I was scared out of my mind doing that interview because we knew so little about it then.

In the timescale of scientific research, astonishingly rapid insights were gained into the cause and mode of transmission of this disease. But it did take years and AIDS was a devastating tragedy for the individuals and communities involved.

We learned that HIV was transmitted through blood and semen, so while still lethal and, at the time, without a treatment, it was preventable by changing behaviour – safe sex and clean needles. Unfortunately, this proved to be a difficult obstacle.

And that remains the most difficult challenge with environmental issues, learning to see our place in the world differently so we can make changes in our destructive behaviours.

Difficult as it is now, this pandemic will subside and we will learn some profound lessons from the experience. It may provide a chance to reset priorities and direction for ourselves and society.

It is a universal challenge for all human beings. As B.C,'s Indigenous people say, "We're all in the same canoe and we have to paddle together if we want to reach our goal." 

Finding hope in moments of crisis

My parents married in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Those were hard times but Mom and Dad would say that what got them through was hard work, family and community.

And they told me repeatedly, "You have to work hard for the necessities in life, but you don't run after money as if having a new car, a big house or fancy clothes makes you a better or more important person."

That has guided me all my life and I have drummed it into each of my children, that money is not the goal of our existence rather the goal is a life well lived.

If we could take a different path from our current one in which more, bigger and newer seem to drive our purchases, in the idea of consumption for the sake of the economy, and the impossible dream that endless growth is both possible and necessary for progress, we might move toward a very different future.

In this moment of crisis, we should be asking what an economy is for, whether there are limits, how much is enough and whether we are happier with all this stuff.

Can we relearn what humanity has known since our very beginnings, that we live in a complex web of relationships in which our very survival and well-being depend upon clean air, water and soil, sunlight (photosynthesis) and the diversity of species of plants and animals that we share this planet with?

Can we establish a far more modest agenda for ourselves filled with reverence for the rest of creation?

Or will we celebrate the passing of the pandemic with an orgy of consumption and a drive to get back to the way things were before the crisis?

For me, one of the most dramatic effects of humanity's COVID-19-induced slowdown has been nature's rapid response; clean air over China, fish in the canals of Venice and the sighting of a raptor in my Vancouver backyard.

In this disaster lies an opportunity to reflect and change direction in the hope that if we do, nature will be far more generous than we deserve.

So many of these Global Chorus essays have clear and newer meanings in light of recent events.

Global Chorus essay for March 29
Tony Juniper

Five decades of working to resolve the environmental degradation and social tensions prevalent in our modern world have revealed the fundamental nature of the crisis at hand.

Meeting human needs while maintaining the fabric of Nature requires that we look at changing really quite massive forces – namely our economic system and its related consumerist culture.

This can be done. We know this because it has been done before. The world we live in did not emerge by accident; it was shaped by deliberate decisions.

Diverse groups must now work together to shape deep change toward a more co-operative society delivered through a different kind of economics geared toward the improvement of human welfare while keeping Nature intact.

Academics, campaigners, writers, business leaders, politicians, economists, psychologists and others can collaborate in building a new philosophical context based on reconnecting with Nature and fostering harmonious relations between people.

Like previous historic shifts, this one is likely to occur through a combination of bottom-up and top-down forces. It can be assisted with technology and entrepreneurial thinking, and, like other historic changes, will happen more quickly if it is based on positive ideas that are attractive to many people.

Many of the “truths” and assumptions that shaped our world are subject to increasing doubt, but positive change will only happen if there is a philosophical platform to fill the emerging vacuum. Building that platform and getting support for it is the main job at hand.

        — Tony Juniper, campaigner, writer, sustainability adviser, former director of Friends of the Earth


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

March 28, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today,
Saturday, March 28th:

Today is the last Saturday in March and is the day to consider Earth Hour!  This is usually celebrated at 8:30 for one hour, local time.
More below.

Met Opera Simulcast, 7:30PM, available until Sunday afternoon,
Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Starring Annette Dasch, Johan Botha, Paul Appleby, and Michael Volle, conducted by James Levine. From December 13, 2014. 
Singing contest, redemption by grace, a lot of lovely tenor voices.

Local Quarantunes, Saturday night edition with Nick Doneff, 8PM.  Nick's Facebook page is here, and the Quarantunes one is here.


Local Food:
The media bobbled a bit in accuracy reporting the options for local food from vendors that sold at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market (CFM), but there's been a lot to report on.
What's accurate (I think) is the CFM is closed and doesn't want to be organizing anything -- they are too busy with the renovations that are hopefully going to be done to the facility at this time (so that's a positive). 

A few vendors have chosen to take orders and have a set delivery time and be around the parking area, and some may offer some additional produce for sale at that time (respecting social distancing guidelines), generally 9AM-1PM or maybe starting later in the morning. 

Heart Beet Organics will be open in their "Farmacy" downtown on Great George Street, next to Timothy's Coffee, 9AM-1PM, for pre-orders and extra product and products.

Jordan MacPhee with Maple Bloom Farm is organizing weekly pickup orders from a lot of the formerly inside CFM vendors, to be picked up from 4-7PM.  Orders next week will be due Wednesday or Thursday.


The City of Charlottetown/Discover Charlottetown is producing a weekly digital (but could be printed) local producers guide with updates with respect to COVID-19 stuff.  Good job to the city for this --  here is the webpage with the link to the document.

cover of the Friday, March 27th, 2020 Discover Charlottetown Local Producers Guide, with I think Tristan Gray of Receiver Coffee on this week's cover

Also, there Facebook page has updates and info:

I think this week's Guide mentioned The Farmacy hours as in the afternoon, but I am pretty sure for today they are 9AM-1PM.
Earth Hour presents some challenges this year, especially a day after the Chief Public Health Officer for P.E.I. saw the COVID shadow yesterday and predicted six more weeks of closures*.

The World Wildlife Fund has organized this annual now global event, with the simple idea of encouraging people that for one hour, to turn off electronics and lights and enjoy some time with other people and simple things.
OK, so that may not be easy or recommended this year, so they have adapted, and adapted beautifully, and have a whole website full of ideas and positive suggestions and images.
Yes, it can be enjoying board games by candlelight with the people in your household, if you can, but it can be digital, and still be connected to others in a trying time.  

press release from their website:

Earth Hour 2020 goes digital in solidarity with people and the planet

Posted by Earth Hour,

In the midst of the global COVID-19 health crisis, Earth Hour marks a moment of solidarity for the planet as global communities unite and organize events digitally.

  • Several countries prepare to organize Earth Hour virtually to ensure public safety and show solidarity for those affected by COVID-19

  • Celebrities, environmentalists and nation heads unite and pledge their support online for nature and people


Here are some resource pages, including ones with ideas for Earth Hour with kids:

That page links to many other wonderful pages.

Main page:

*and I am not being disrespectful of the seriousness of all this, just know a bit of humour can help
Global Chorus essay for March 28
Andrew Revkin

I long thought that the best strategy for sustaining a thriving environment was to envision, and then pursue, a future in which humans lived, worked, harvested, moved and played with a light footprint, leaving room for wild things and using a mix of traditions and technologies to limit impacts and regrets.

There’s nothing wrong with visualizing success. But that implies that we know today what success 100 years from now should look like. More recently, I’ve shifted to an approach I think has a better chance, in a world of rapid change and enduring uncertainty, of maintaining a human relationship with natural resources and non-human inhabitants of the Earth that is productive and protective, but also agile and creative.

Rather than envisioning and pursuing some future shaped by my biases and traditions, I’m tending to focus on nurturing a core set of human capacities that give each generation the best chance of leaving the next one a relatively undiminished suite of options, while not relying too heavily on a precautionary frame of mind.

So what are the traits to cultivate in a sustainable society capable of working assertively on the environmental and social challenges with which we are faced? As I’ve distilled them, they almost make a rhyme: bend, stretch, reach, teach, reveal, reflect, rejoice, repeat.

Bend, of course, is about flexibility and avoiding brittleness in both structures and policies.

Stretch is about testing boundaries, via both exploration and innovation – sustaining curiosity and the courage to fail and fear.

Reach is empathy and maintaining a collaborative, communicative culture that is best able to share and shape ideas that matter.

Teach is nurturing in children the capacity to sustain the human adventure and cherish the home planet.

Reveal means sustaining the capacity for observation and transparency.

Reflect is analysis and follow up. Initiatives are often launched, but outcomes rarely tracked.

Rejoice means relishing the gift of life and humanness, with all its merits and faults.

Repeat is the discipline to avoid resting on laurels, to retest systems, examine conventions, to go back to step one.

In a world focused on numbers – gigatons of gases, gigawatts of power, billions of dollars and people – any work to shift toward a focus on capacities can work wonders.

       — Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth blogger at The New York Times, senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University (NYC) 

More info (2020 update) at:
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

March 27, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Psychologist Dr. Christine Beck will be on CBC Radio, 96.1FM, this morning in the 7AM hour to discuss keeping your self mentally healthy during the COVID-19 crisis.

Radio hosts Matt Rainnie and Mitch Cormier continue to record conversations about how folks are doing, 8:40AM, (902) 626-6461

Fridays for Future gatherings (usually Fridays at 3:30PM at Province House), around the world can be digital: "Coronavirus Isn't Stopping Us!': Youth Activists Adapt to Global Pandemic With Digital #ClimateStrikeOnline

from March 13th, 2020
Fridays for Future strikers around the world shared their demands for bold climate action online Friday as many youth activists heeded public health experts' recommendations in the face of the coronavirus pandemic by eschewing public protests in favor of digital demonstrations.

The online displays followed the call earlier this week from school strike for climate pioneer Greta Thunberg to #ClimateStrikeOnline.

In a Friday tweet as Thunberg marked her 82nd week of school strikes, she reiterated the basis for her call.  "In a crisis we change our behaviour and adapt to the new circumstances for the greater good of society," she wrote.

Thunberg and other youth climate leaders amplified the call for the change in tactic amid the novel coronavirus with a video shared early Friday in which they stressed that "the climate crisis cannot be forgotten, nor ignored." <snip>

The final of the four, and I don't mean basketball:

Friday, March 27th:
Richard Wagner’s opera Götterdämmerung, available at 7:30PM onward from the link below.
"Starring Deborah Voigt, Wendy Bryn Harmer, Waltraud Meier, Jay Hunter Morris, Iain Paterson, Eric Owens, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From February 11, 2012."
It'll be available until Saturday afternoon.  The story that ends up right back where it started :-)

Quarantunes Concerts, 8PM tonight and tomorrow, Facebook link below, of course from the fruitful mind of Todd MacLean (the Global Chorus creator and editor)

from The Buzz online: Online viewers can visit the Quarantunes Facebook page at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays during this isolation period, for a greeting and an introduction (by Todd MacLean) to that particular night’s featured artist – and then viewers will be directed to that artist’s Facebook page for a Facebook Live performance. 

The goal of Quarantunes is to create an online space where Islanders and music fans abroad can unite together virtually to enjoy live performances by amazing local artists, at designated and reliable times each weekend, during this time of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Excerpted from the United States-based The Morning Brew e-newsletter, from Thursday, March 26th, 2020:

A snapshot of the business world on March 26, 2020:

Bauer, the hockey equipment manufacturer, is making medical shields for hospital workers. Its Quebec plant already has orders for more than 100,000 units across Canada.

SpaceX is making hand sanitizer to donate to hospitals and other businesses.

Target’s same-store sales in the essentials and food & bev categories are up over 50% in March. “There is no playbook for how to react in this environment,” CEO Brian Cornell said. 

Boeing stock rose over 24% yesterday. No one blinked.

Zero sports: Today was supposed to be Opening Day for the MLB and the beginning of the Sweet Sixteen for the NCAA Championship. Instead, Steph Curry is doing a coronavirus Q&A with Dr. Fauci at 1pm ET. 

Online book sales at Waterstones, the U.K.’s largest book chain, were up 400% week-over-week. 

This is the seven-day moving average of total flights tracked by Flightradar24. The dark blue is the year 2020.

Flightradar24 Flights March 2020


Meteorologist Cindy Day presents a daily weather forecast for Saltwire media. 
It can be found here, I think:

And here is an excerpt from an article about her, in recognition of March 23rd as World Meteorological Day.

<snip> After decades spent building her knowledge base and expertise, she remains excited by the unique possibilities in each weather event.

“I still jump out of bed excited about looking at the weather maps and seeing what has transitioned while I was sleeping. A system yesterday that was west of Lake Michigan is now tracking towards North Bay, Ontario. How much moisture did it pick up over the Great Lakes? Is the high off Labrador going to slow it down? What does that mean for our wind gusts?" she says.

No two weather systems are exactly alike, and for Day, that's part of the attraction.

It can be hard to remember how far the science and technology behind weather forecasting has come.

‘“When I started in radio, the longest-range forecast was three days. I remember it very well. The news director came to me and he said, ‘I’d like you to do a five-day forecast that would include the weekend’, and I thought that was really stepping outside the box,” says Day.

“Today, seven-day is common. And you go to some sites and they’ll give you a 14-day trend. I think technology has absolutely improved, and that helps us, at least initially. But a slight shift or a change could speed up a system, slow it down. So much can happen, it really just becomes a temperature trend beyond that. Seven days is about the limit of predicting the weather with any degree of accuracy.”

People plan their lives around the weather, calculating travel risks based on forecasts. Day takes the responsibility seriously - it's why she stays active on social media during weather events.

“I take it very personally because I do my own forecasting. I take the information and I produce a product. And, so, I feel responsible for that product. If there’s a lot of weather moving through, and especially when the weather can be dangerous weather. During lobster season, if it’s a powerful storm, or when there’s a transition from snow to rain and the road conditions are a concern, I really take it to heart.”

March 23 marks World Meteorological Day, and SaltWire Network is celebrating its own chief meteorologist with a focus on meteorological stories each day this week. Learn more about the weather, climate change and more this week with Cindy Day."

Global Chorus essay for March 27
Jill Heinerth

I am a cave diver. I swim through the veins of Mother Earth, exploring the shadowy recesses inside our planet. The foreboding doorways of underwater caves repel most people, but I am attracted to the constricted corridors, pressing my way through the blackness while relying on sophisticated technology for each sustaining breath. This is my workplace. Within the darkness of my office, survival depends on subsuming both curiosity and fear.

I work with biologists discovering new species, physicists tracking climate change and hydrogeologists examining our finite freshwater reserves. Following the course of water wherever it guides me, my exploration has allowed me to witness new life forms inside Antarctic icebergs, skeletal remains of ancient civilizations and geologic formations that tell the story of Earth’s past. Underwater caves are museums of natural history that teach us about evolution and survival. They are portals to the mythic underworld of indigenous cultures and windows to the aquifer from which we drink. As I swim through these caverns measureless to man, it is not my own survival that I dwell on, but the survival of our water planet.

Sometimes I fear we will not rise to meet the challenges of our current global environmental and social crises. Then I meet a young girl who wants to make the world a better place. My optimism expands.

There is plenty of water on our big blue planet, but we are running out of clean freshwater we can afford. We all need to know where our water comes from, how we pollute it and how we can protect it for the future generations. We have to protect it from corporate interests whose success relies on commodifying and selling it to the highest bidder. Clean water is not just our greatest treasure, it is a basic human right. Helping young minds understand and embrace their water planet is key to our survival. We are water.

   — Jill Heinerth, explorer, filmmaker/photographer, author of Into the Planet, founder of the We Are Water Project

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

March 26, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Today, 8:40AM or so, Radio Check-in
In other CBC news, Radio hosts Mitch Cormier and Matt Rainnie will be taping phone conversations with Islanders after the 8:30AM news. "How are you doing? We want to connect with as many people on PEI as we can to share stories, experience and advice. I’ll be joining (Mitch Cormier) in the studio after Island Morning at 8:40 to take your calls. The number is (902) 629-6461."  -- Matt Rainnie

Compass, CBC-TV's local supperhour show, 6PM, will be back on this evening, really (as their original promise of resuming yesterday was a bit ambitious), for 30 minutes of local news. 

More CBC-related content, this time podcasts of radio shows, from the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting newsletter:

"Whether you’re a fan of talk shows, breaking news, fiction, or comedy, chances are there’s a podcast out there to suit your taste. We often hear that we're in a golden age of podcasting, as evidenced by the rising number of celebrities launching their own shows. And because podcasts mostly involve low-cost production and are easy to disseminate, most shows are still producing their episodes on a regular basis despite the COVID-19 (restrictions). 
CBC podcasts are a great way to catch up on programs that are broadcast during the day, at your own pace."

Here a few favourites from the FRIENDS team:

Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild
Rosanna Deerchild is a writer, poet and veteran broadcaster who has spent her career shining the spotlight on Indigenous stories and culture. Her weekly show Unreserved brings us stories from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities from across Canada. In each episode, Deerchild brings to the fore the voices of storytellers, community leaders and every day individuals that help Canadians better understand the country’s historical and present-day relationship with Indigenous peoples. If you’re new to this show, a good place to start is this week’s episode, which was broadcast on Sunday. In it, Deerchild examines the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous content creators, from artists dealing with cancelled shows to an author finding new ways to get her newly published book out to readers.

Other People's Problems
It’s easy for a show with real people sharing their deeply personal problems to turn sensational and titillating, but that’s never the case with Other People’s Problems with Hillary McBride, a Vancouver-based therapist. Listening to McBride's firm but gentle hand guiding her clients as they unpack their traumatic and turbulent experiences, I often find a lesson or two I can apply to my life, or even revisit some of my own experiences with a different perspective. Through her clients' unique challenges, McBride illustrates that we are all capable and worthy of healing from our past experiences.

More with Anna Maria Tremonti

Do you miss the voice of Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC Radio? At a recent Q&A I attended, the former host of The Current explained that the reason her new podcast is called More is because she is able to give more of herself to the listener through the show. So while the main reason to tune in is her in-depth, hour-long interviews with the kind of Canadians who only need one name—Atwood, Suzuki, Klein—the bonus is that Tremonti's own opinions and thoughts on a particular subject are finally set free.
Tonight, Webinar: 

"How to Beat Coronavirus Capitalism", a teach-in with Naomi Klein, Astra Taylor, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, 6-7:30PM.
Please join an online teach-in with Naomi Klein, Astra Taylor, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, with a musical performance by Lia Rose.  Free.
  Register through Eventbrite to receive a link to the videoconference on the morning of the event. (today!)

The current crisis is laying bare the extreme injustices and inequalities of our economic and social system.  We are in a battle of visions for how we’re going to respond to this crisis. We will either be catapulted backward to an even more brutal winner-takes-all system — or this will be a wake-up call.  Ideas that were dismissed as too radical just a week ago are starting to seem like the only reasonable path to get out of this crisis and prevent future ones.
We need to use every tool that we have that allows us to hear each other’s voices, to read each other’s words, to see each other’s faces, even if it’s just on screens, to stay organized and stay connected. We have to create spaces where we’re able to deliberate and strategize about what it means to protect our neighbors, our rights, and our planet.
We have to have the confidence to say this is the moment when we change everything.

Further info:
Watch Naomi Klein’s latest video at The Intercept, “Coronavirus Capitalism — And How to Beat it”


And finally,
Today's Opera -- Ring Cycle, 3rd of 4

Wagner’s Siegfried, 7:30PM

Starring Deborah Voigt, Jay Hunter Morris, Gerhard Siegel, Bryn Terfel, and Eric Owens, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From November 5, 2011.
It'll be available until Friday afternoon.


Update on the Alton Gas, N.S., project:

Siding with First Nation, N.S. judge overturns Alton Gas approval - CBC News atricle by Taryn Grant

Province and Sipekne'katik First Nation ordered to resume consultations for 120 days

Published on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020, on CBC Online:

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ordered the province to resume consultations with Sipekne'katik First Nation over a controversial natural gas storage project on the banks of the Shubenacadie River.

Justice Frank Edwards released his decision Tuesday, writing that former Nova Scotia environment minister Margaret Miller was wrong when she concluded the province had adequately consulted with the First Nation about the project.

He ordered the parties to resume talks for 120 days, "or for such time as the parties mutually agree," but gave some leniency on a start date because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The parties could wait until the province's chief medical officer of health declares the crisis is over, or agree on an "alternative remote arrangement."

Sipekne'katik had challenged in court Miller's 2016 decision to grant industrial approval to Alton Gas, a subsidiary of Calgary-based energy company AltaGas, for a proposal to store up to 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas in underground caverns.

The Alton Gas project would create the caverns by using water from the Shubenacadie River to flush out nearby natural salt deposits.

Sipekne'katik had appealed the decision once before, and the judge found some procedural unfairness in the province's process. But Miller later upheld her decision, leading to the latest appeal.

February hearing

Lawyers for the province, the band and Alton Gas made their arguments for the judicial review hearing in Nova Scotia Supreme Court at a two-day hearing in February.

The focus of the review was the Crown's duty to consult with Indigenous peoples on matters that could affect their treaty and Aboriginal rights, as laid out in Canada's Constitution Act.

Ray Larkin, the lawyer representing Sipekne'katik First Nation, told the court there was no "depth" to the province's consultation with the band over the Alton Gas project.

Sean Foreman, the lawyer for the government, said the province upheld its duty to consult and any perceived failure was the result of an "uncooperative" approach from the band. He said the judicial review should be dismissed.

'Palpable and overriding error'

Edwards ruled in favour of Sipekne'katik, reversing Miller's 2019 decision to uphold her industrial approval.

At that time, Miller said consultation with the band had been sufficient.  "The Minister's decision was not supported by the evidence," Edwards wrote in his decision.  "While there had been extensive consultations regarding the potential environmental impacts of the Project, the core issue of Aboriginal title and treaty rights was never specifically engaged. The Minister therefore committed palpable and overriding error when she concluded that the level of consultation was appropriate.

"I also found that, but for her misapprehension of the evidence, the Minister would have concluded otherwise."

Aboriginal title claim

Edwards wrote that Sipekne'katik's treaty and Aboriginal title rights were "never specifically discussed" in earlier consultations.

Larkin argued at the hearing that Sipekne'katik has a legitimate Aboriginal title claim to the land and water that is proposed to be used for the Alton Gas project, which warrants "deep" consultation on the project.

In his decision, Edwards noted that deep consultation is not defined by case law and therefore varies by the circumstances. In this case, Edwards said, the strength of the asserted title claim would be an important factor.

"The Project is a significant industrial intrusion on an area the Band is claiming as its own. Massive amounts of salty brine will be pumped into the Shubenacadie River," he wrote.

While studies and research indicate "minimal" environmental impacts, Edwards said, the full effects will remain unclear until the project is operational.

Edwards said it will be "vital" for the parties to discuss the strength of the claim.

"The Band still does not know what the Province thinks of the strength of its title claim. To restart the consultation the Province must remedy that deficiency," he wrote.

Edwards said the province can no longer give a preliminary assessment of the title claim, but must give a tentative assessment, and give the band the opportunity to respond.

Outcomes of consultation

In a phone interview Tuesday, Larkin told CBC News band members do not agree on what they want to see happen with the Alton Gas project.

"Some members would like to see it stopped completely," he said. "Other members would like to see a proper compensation plan that would be adopted. And so those things will have to be worked out through consultation and then internally in the band."

Larkin said he had not spoken with his client since the decision was released. Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack did not respond to an interview request.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment said the province takes the duty to consult "very seriously" and was preparing to start a virtual consultation process immediately.

Although the duty to consult rests entirely with the province, Alton Gas has participated in past consultations and presented arguments at the judicial review.

In a written statement after Edwards released his decision, Alton Gas said it "remains committed to ongoing, open dialogue with the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia including Sipekne'katik about the Alton Project."

'Back to the drawing board'

Larkin said he thinks the decision will shape the way the province consults with First Nations on future industrial approvals.

"I think what this decision points to is the province needs to go back to the drawing board and have a stronger commitment to making consultation on Aboriginal treaty rights effective," Larkin said.

And Paul MacNeill's weekly offering:

Perfection is a luxury we do not have - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020, in The Graphic publications

It was the 24 hours that shook the Island. On the advice of Public Health Officer Heather Morrison, the King government announced March 18th that liquor and cannabis stores would close in 24 hours.

To say old hell broke loose is an overstatement. But the resulting surge in booze shopping shows how fragile even the best of public health intentions are.

The announcement was slightly muddled and rushed. It did not include important details, like only the 17 government operated liquor and four cannabis stores would close. Private retail outlets would still be open and breweries were still offering pick-up only service.

Many chose to ignore repeated public health warnings for social distancing to stand in long, tightly packed lines waiting for their turn to stock up. “I’m disappointed in Islanders’ response in the last three hours,” Morrison said the next day. “We have talked about social distancing, we have talked about the importance of staying at home unless it’s essential, and that appears to have been ignored in the last three hours.

“Perhaps we underestimated that alcohol is considered essential for some people,”she mused.

If it were an ordinary week, criticism might be expected. But last week was no ordinary week. In a matter of days government announced $25 million in support for Island business and employees, $500,000 for the Island’s most vulnerable, declared a provincial state of emergency, closed Island schools and licensed child care centres, and announced PEI’s first confirmed case of COVID-19.

None of these were on the docket a week before.

These are not ordinary times. Normal decision making processes, often frustratingly tedious, have been temporarily thrown out the door. Bureaucratic inertia is replaced with a how can we get it done now mentality.

The King government is showing significant leadership in navigating PEI’s response to the crisis in conjunction with the Public Health Officer. It seems like a lifetime ago that Dorian whipped across the province and cut a path of power outages that shut down the Island for four days. The premier’s response was criticized then, but the experience of working within the Emergency Measures Organization structure is now paying dividends.

King and his cabinet are not scared to make a decision, nor are they waiting for other provinces to show the lead. This assertiveness will help us down the road.

But it also means mistakes will be made, like missing the fine details of closing liquor stores. In the context of this unprecedented crisis, it’s not only OK to make mistakes, it’s vital. It means government is recognizing need and doing whatever is necessary to deliver an effective response as quickly as possible, knowing perfection is a luxury we do not have.

Many have praised the work of Dr. Morrison and her team. It is praise richly deserved. But her work is made more efficient by the active response pursued by Premier King, who has helped ease potential hurdles by including opposition parties in daily briefings for two of three cabinet level committees created to direct our provincial response. The exception being a committee charged with shutting down nonessential government services. It is a fair compromise struck with the opposition.

As a province we have much to be thankful for in the early days of COVID-19. We have a dynamic Public Health Officer and a government prepared to listen and act on health care advice, while responding to the human and economic needs of Islanders. And importantly too, our opposition parties recognize this is not the time to harp on the little details. There will be plenty of time for that down the road.

If we get the big details of COVID-19 right, our province will minimize the crushing impact felt in other areas of the world. COVID-19 cares not about political colour. This is a crisis that requires all Islanders to do their part for the greater good.

We will get through this together.

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


Update since MacNeill had to file his editorial: that the liquor store at Oak Tree Place in Charlottetown is now open 11AM-6PM, Monday through Saturday (with Seniors having time from 10AM-11AM), and reports from the first day yesterday seem to indicate people will stand in line with respect to social distancing guidelines (Guardian update)
Global Chorus essay for March 26
Ted Grand

If there is one thing I have learned in this path of yoga and meditation, and the Moksha/Modo Yoga community, it is that there is always going to be an amazing friction between creation, sustenance and destruction. This looping, weaving dynamic is always going on, and not only in the human world – it is reflected in the animal kingdom, in Nature and in the unfolding of the cosmos. We humans, however, seem not to know how to control and balance these impulses, and so we create massive imbalance between our basic needs and the hunger of the ego. The status quo right now is definitely leaning towards reckless consumption and ambition, yet it seems like Nature always introduces something to force us to see our imbalance. Climate change, global pandemics and rising depression rates are but a few of the symptoms.

So, do I see humanity finding a way past these crises? Yes, absolutely! We just need to chill out, take care of our nervous systems, cultivate gratitude and reverence for the myriad systems that give us life, and reinforce the idea that if we are oriented towards peace, we will ensure our long-term survival (or at least better our chances!). Yoga and meditation make us more peaceful, so we become prone to making decisions that benefit others, including all of Nature: we buy less crap, we generate empathy and compassion and we see our planet as a gift instead of a commodity.

When we witness other people and communities that reflect this impulse towards calm and attention, it gives us tacit approval to effect behaviour that reinforces this relative peace. Yoga and meditation are but a sliver of a greater solution, but they provide a framework where we can become aware of our hunger and insecurity and transform them. We can then relax a bit and give ourselves permission to slow down and revel in our gratitude for the complex systems and deep wisdom that Nature possesses – we see that we are not separate from that which gives us life. Deep gratitude begins to arise. The more people who participate in this deep recognition, the better the chances are for all species to survive on this planet.

In summary, there is hope, but it won’t come by just sitting on our butts. Unless we are sitting on meditation cushions …

        — Ted Grand, co-founder of Moksha Yoga in Canada  and Modo Yoga International
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

March 25, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some services are preparing orders of food for weekend pick-up or delivery (depending on location), or Friday, which are due today.

New but timely **Today, Wednesday morning BY 9AM**: 
Receiver Coffee Company, featuring Coffee Beans, Breads and Pastries, and "Seany's Suppers"
For Pickup Friday, March 27th

More details:

Note that the Charlottetown Farmers' Market service changed its deadline this week to **TONIGHT at midnight**.  Pickup will be Saturday, March 28th, from 4-7PM.
Details below

Other local food opportunities:

The Farmacy, Amy and Verena of Heart Beet Organics, is open TODAY from 3-6PM.

"Here's a handy link to our order form. We'll be open at the Farmacy + Fermentary Wednesday between 3-6, and on Saturdays between 9-1. Pre-orders recommended, walk-ins are welcome - we will limit the amount of people in the store and switch to a menu style ordering system to minimize handling of the goods. We are adding new things weekly and are humbled by the response so far!"
Heart Beet Organics Facebook page
link for more details
Today's Opera -- Ring Cycle, 2nd of 4
Wagner’s Die Walküre

Starring Deborah Voigt, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Stephanie Blythe, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by James Levine. From May 14, 2011.
It's be available until Thursday afternoon.

And a reminder of the Dame Anna Russell synopsis, here:
News, in case you haven't heard these yet: 

Province to reopen Oak Tree Liquor Store daily, 11AM-6PM, starting today, Wednesday, March 25th, with a special time from 10AM-11AM for seniors and those with compromised immune systems.  But only if people respect guidelines on social distancing and such.

Details here in middle of story of yesterday's Provincial Briefing: CBC Story from Tuesday, March 24th, 2020
They must have done some calculations of potential revenue, even though they are couching it in terms of aiding severely addicted people.

CBC National News decides to reinstate Compass - Statement on CBC local supperhour newscasts

Published Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Last week, CBC News made the difficult decision to temporarily scale back our local supperhour newscasts for operational reasons due to the surge in COVID-19 related live news stories across the country. To be clear, this was a temporary measure to ensure stability in our news service to Canadians. Since the announcement, CBC News teams across the country have been restoring local news segments.

Starting tomorrow (March 25), CBC will continue to restore our local TV news offer for local audiences with an expanded 30-minute local news segment on CBC News Network. Viewers in all our regions will see their trusted anchors back on air reporting the local news that pertains to their communities.

Over the course of this week and next, we will make every effort to have all of the dedicated local shows back up on the main network. We understand the frustration this has caused our viewers and thank them for their continued support and patience as we restore service.

Thanks to politicians like Premier Denny King, MP Wayne Easter, publisher Paul MacNeill and others for applying pressure to CBC to acknowledge the role local media plays.

Guardian and Journal-Pioneer to merge papers, Saltwire to layoff some staff for time being.

"On a temporary 12-week basis, The Guardian and The Journal Pioneer will be combined, with Journal Pioneer subscribers receiving The Guardian on a daily basis."
full article here:

But they are trying to keep going, and if you can support them, even in their slightly feeble state, please do.


Back to local food orders:

from Maple Bloom Farms and Jordan MacPhee, coordinating the orders:
Click below to shop our online market. Send in your first order by (WEDNESDAY) at midnight and you'll receive it on Saturday!
Hit (this link ) if you have any questions at all. We're happy to help!

- Your local farmers and vendors at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market Cooperative


  • • Every Saturday from 4-7pm, you can now get free delivery to your home or business in Charlottetown & Stratford, or quick & safe pick-up outside the Charlottetown Farmers' Market.
  • • Order by Thursday at midnight for Saturday 4-7pm pick-ups and delivery.


We currently have dozens of products lined up from over a dozen producers at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market — local veggies, eggs, greens, herbs, microgreens, bread, coffee, and hand-crafted soap, with many more vendors, products, and meals to be added soon.


We are following the advice of healthcare professionals recommending physical distancing in the face of COVID-19. We are taking every possible measure of sanitation and cleanliness to make sure this is a healthy and wise way to get your local produce as the weeks go on:

Here are the safety procedures we are following:

  • · The recommended distance of 2 metres will be kept at all times between staff and customers.
  • · All deliveries and pickups take place in the open air.

No-touch pick-ups will work like this: when you arrive at the market, call the phone number given to you (or honk if no phone), and we will come out to you to place your order in your trunk.

  • · Deliveries will be placed on your doorstep when you answer the door.
  • · Surfaces sanitized every hour.
  • · All orders will be packed using sanitary gloves, face masks, and hairnets.
  • · All orders will be packed in brown paper bags.
  • · No reusable materials will be offered.
  • · Online payments only, so there is no cash changing hands.
  • · Hands will be sanitized between every single pickup and delivery.

We look forward to coming together as a community to make a strong and resilient local food network.

Most importantly, stay safe, be healthy, and treat each other well.

Thank you for supporting your local & organic farmers.

Your local farmers & vendors at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market Cooperative.


ATLANTIC SKIES: Can you find Leo in the night's sky? - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts

Published on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Although some of the winter constellations - Orion; Auriga; Cancer; Canis Major and Minor; and Gemini - are still visible in the western part of the night sky, the spring constellations will now occupy the dominant overhead (or nearly so) position by late evening in the coming weeks.

Leo - the Lion is a large constellation straddling the southern meridian (an imaginary line drawn from the northern horizon up through the zenith and down to the southern horizon) around 10 p.m. It is not a difficult constellation to find and recognize, as it is one of the few constellations that actually resembles the creature it is named for - in this case, a majestic lion. The head and chest of Leo is easily spotted - a large, reverse question mark-shaped arrangement of stars (an asterism called "The Sickle", after the harvesting tool it resembles) facing to the west. The bottom "dot" star of the lion's head and chest is Regulus (meaning "the little king"), a whitish blue, double star (visible using binoculars), shining at magnitude +1.37, and at a distance of 77.5 light-years from Earth.

"Leo" is Latin for "lion" and, according to Greek mythology, represented the Nemean lion killed by the great Greek hero Heracles (Hercules to the Romans) as part of his 12 labours imposed on him by King Eurystheus of Mycenae as penance for killing Heracle's wife and children. The Nemean lion was said to have been a huge, ferocious beast whose hide was so tough that arrows bounced off it. Unable to stab it, Heracles strangled it to death. After slaying the beast, he skinned it using one of the lion's own claws and wore its hide, complete with the head, as proof of his success and prowess. That is why all artistic depictions of Heracles/Hercules show him wearing a lion skin and head.

Planet positions

Look for Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in the southeast as the pre-dawn sky begins to brighten. Jupiter (magnitude -1.9) will sit highest to the upper right, with Saturn (magnitude +0.7) to its lower left, and Mars (magnitude +0.9) between the two larger and brighter planets.

Mars is drawing closer to Saturn and will be in conjunction with it at the end of the month. Mercury hugs the horizon and is very difficult to see.

Venus (magnitude -4.2), our "evening star", sits high in the southwest about one hour before sunset. It reaches its greatest eastern elongation (angular distance from the sun as seen from Earth) on the evening of March 24.

Watch the waxing moon climb higher in the early evening sky on successive evenings, starting on the 25th (the one-day-old moon will be an extremely thin crescent close to the horizon) until, at nightfall on March 28, it sits just to the left of Venus.

Until next time, clear skies.


March 24
- New moon; moon at apogee
- Venus at greatest eastern elongation from the sun


(close enough, if it's clear tonight)

Global Chorus essay for March 25
Klaus Bosselmann

Sustainability means living within planetary boundaries. To survive, everything we plan and do has to be mindful of this imperative of natural law. Sustainability must therefore inform all our policies, laws and institutions. If liberty, equality and justice are the pillars of modern civilization, sustainability provides their foundation and roof – picture a Greek temple. Sustainability is missing in our current civilizational model. But for decision-makers to even ignore it now, i.e., amidst dangerous climate change, spells ecocide and is an insult to human intelligence.

Thankfully, history has shown that people will not tolerate ignorance for too long. More and more citizens live the truth now. They will prevail, first for themselves, then amongst their peers and communities and eventually across countries and the entire world.

This is my belief. It is the belief in the human spirit.

         — Professor Klaus Bosselmann, New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law, University of Auckland

University of Auckland faculty page

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

March 24, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


It's David Suzuki's 84t Birthday

From the folks at the David Suzuki Foundation: During these challenging times, we find ourselves facing many unknowns.

Yet even now, life continues. We make dinner, share stories and celebrate moments that bring us joy — big and small. We reflect on what truly matters: friends, family, health, nature.

Tuesday marks David’s 84th birthday. Like so many of us practising social distancing, David will be spending the day with family. He wanted to share this message with you:

Dear friends,
In these extraordinary times, I wish you all health, strength and solidarity.
With fear and uncertainty comes an opportunity to come together like never before — and to focus on what is so vitally important.
Let’s take care of each other — especially those who need it most.
On my birthday, I’ll be thinking of you — all our supporters who have helped us achieve so much over the years. I’ll also be thinking about what may be possible with all the additional compassion that we’re witnessing around the world.
We will get through this challenge together, and learn from each other. This collective wisdom can help us make our world, and communities, healthier.
When this crisis is over — and it will be — I hope the lessons we learn from it are not forgotten, as we turn to address the dual crises of climate change and species extinction. 

Thank you for your continued support,
(signed David Suzuki)

If you wished to make a donation to the DSF in honour of David's birthday, for their work fighting climate change and promoting species protection, the page is linked here.

Other Resources:
Lots of good thoughts at the David Suzuki Foundation website

Lots of hours of watching his documentaries The Nature of Things:

Four-plus hours of opera over four nights, a truly over-the-top but engrossing story, the spectacle expertly conducted by the wild-haired "Ringmaster" James Levine -- that's "The Ring Cycle" by Richard Wagner, presented by the Metropolitan Opera is this traditional production.  What else do you have to do right now?

Tuesday, March 24th:
Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold

Starring Wendy Bryn Harmer, Stephanie Blythe, Richard Croft, Gerhard Siegel, Dwayne Croft, Bryn Terfel, Eric Owens, and Hans-Peter König, conducted by James Levine. From October 9, 2010. 
It's be available until Wednesday afternoon.

And if you want some background on the story, the hilarious English-Canadian comedian and pianist Dame Anna Russell is recorded here (a vision in her cumulus pink chiffon dress) giving her 28-minute rollicking storytelling and musical synopsis of the saga:

CBC PEI did an article on staying active, which is copied here:

No gym, no problem: 5 ways to stay active without leaving your home - CBC News online article by Steve Bruce

Published on Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

With gyms shut down, and health officials telling Islanders to stay home, you may be thinking it's as good a time as any to stick to the couch.  But Shawn Francis, a personal trainer in Charlottetown, says exercise is more important now than ever. 

"Most people are unsettled with the uncertainty of what is taking place right now," said Francis. "I believe if you can keep your body moving, it will allow your mind to be healthier."

That's why Francis is part of a long list of Island trainers, fitness instructors, and wellness groups trying to make it easy for Islanders to stay active during this ongoing pandemic, moving their fitness classes from the gym to the computer screen, all at a cost of zero dollars. 

So, just what options do you have to keep fit from the comfort of your home?  Here are just a few of the many on offer from Islanders:

1. Go! Live at Home

The community group Go P.E.I. has lined up several instructors to lead daily online video classes, streamed live on the group's Facebook page, then available to view any time.  And there's something for just about everyone — from yoga and strength training to cardio and senior's fitness. 

"I know it's a problem for everybody working from home these days," said Valerie Vuillemot, executive director with Recreation PEI.

"It might be kind of a fun thing for parents to do with their kids.… It might even be an opportunity for somebody who is a little hesitant about going to a class and they want to try it out first. They can now do it at home."

The group has started posting its weekly schedule right on the Facebook page

2.  Yoga anyone? 

Whether you're a hardcore yogi, or think a little stretching and breathing might be just what the doctor ordered, several Island yoga instructors have stepped up to help.  

Erika Killam, who runs 3eYoga in Charlottetown, is among them. She's started streaming free sessions from her home.  And if you really want to feel like you're part of a class, you can plop your yoga mat in front of a webcam too.  

"I decided to offer interactive online Zoom classes instead of just posting videos because it's so important for us to have ways to connect with each other at this time," said Killam.

"As a yoga instructor, I find it imperative to know what's going on with the group of people you are teaching and this will give me a chance to at least see how they're doing before guiding them through a class."

Killam says the classes are accessible to all levels. You can find them on the 3eYoga and Charlottetown Yoga Space Facebook pages.

3. CrossFit at home

For those keen to really break a sweat, get ready for a daily dose of online CrossFit — routines that combine aerobics, weightlifting, interval training and other exercises. 

MIke Ives, co-owner of CrossFit 782, said while it sounds intense, he plans to make the live video sessions as accessible as possible.

"Anyone can do it. We will have instructions that everyone can follow," said Ives. "We are doing the sessions to keep our members active and healthy. But if others can benefit as well that is a big positive."

Ives said he plans to release the day's workout instructions in the morning, then to stream a live online class from the CrossFit 782 Facebook page at 5 p.m. each evening. 

He said some routines do require minimal equipment. 

4.  Fitness classes for all

P.E.I. trainers Sarah Bernard and Shawn Francis both say they've set out to lead online fitness classes that anyone can tackle, from anywhere. 

"Staying active and trying to stay positive during this chaos is hard enough," said Bernard. "I wanted to provide very laid-back and completely free online workouts that you could do anywhere and at any time with no equipment."

Bernard said she's streaming live classes, every evening at 7 p.m. on her Facebook page.

Francis said he's posting regular videos to his Instagram account @frantrainfitness, and to his Facebook page.  "Take advantage of this time to educate yourself, or your family and children, on the importance of moving your body," said Francis. "Have your household join in with you."

5. Get outside!

Of course, it's hard to beat a good old fashioned walk or run in the outdoors to clear your mind and get your heart pumping. And the good news?  Even those self-isolating are still clear to get a little fresh air, with some conditions.   

"Absolutely you can go outside for a walk, but not for a walk in the mall with a bunch of other people," said Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer.  "Stay away from other people, in environments where you could potentially put someone else at risk."

The bottom line is you can stay active. Just stay away from others in the process. 



This (like all these essays curated by Todd MacLean in his book) was written probably in 2013, so a few years ago now,  and his language and positive message ring clear today:

Global Chorus essay for March 24

Laurence Overmire

Yes. The world is on fire. We are in the midst of social, political and environmental upheaval. Will humanity survive or will we throw it all away? Everything is on the line. That makes this the most exciting time to be alive – ever!

Is there any hope? Of course there is. Take a look in the mirror. YOU are the hope for the future.

Now, more than ever before, the world needs YOU.

But you’re not alone. All of the good people of this Earth are now waking up. Every day more and more are coming to help us put out the fire.

Our children and our grandchildren and all our descendants in times to come are counting on us to do the right thing.

Now is the time when the whole world needs to come together.

It’s all about love. It is our love for one another, for Mother Earth, for our fellow creatures that compels us to act on their behalf.

We are One.

We are interconnected and interdependent upon one another for our well-being. This truth has been expressed over and over again by scientists, poets, artists, musicians, philosophers and every great spiritual teacher. It is what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the interrelated structure of reality.” It’s what the Golden Rule is all about.

This oneness means that every positive action we take, no matter how small, will have an impact. Every act of love sends out ripples of love into the Universe. That’s powerful stuff.

Each of us has different gifts and different ways to help. Each of us must do our part. There is always more and more that we can do. Find those who help and inspire you.

Join the Bucket Brigade! Get in line with all of your friends and neighbours. They come from all over the world, from all walks of life and from every religion. With love in our hearts, we will meet these challenges head on, and I think, I truly believe, we can save the world!

       — Laurence Overmire, poet, actor, genealogist, peace activist, environmentalist, human and animal rights advocate, author of The One Idea That Saves The World: A Call to Conscience and A Call to Action


essay from

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet

edited by Todd E. MacLean

copyright 2014

March 23, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Yesterday was World Water Day,
from the Council of Canadians:

This year's theme is Water and Climate Change, and as you can guess, plans for any sort of gatherings, including to screen what sounds like an excellent documentary called The Condor and the Eagle, by Sophie and Clement Guerra, are set aside for now.

More about World Water Day at the United Nation's Water site:

And let's celebrate and appreciate freshwater this whole week (if not every day of the year).
So it you're starting to pity yourself due to all the disruptions the social distancing is causing, it's a great week to think about the poor main characters of this week's free Metropolitan Opera simulcasts -- it's

Week 2: Wagner Week

Monday, March 23rd, 7:30PM:
Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde

Starring Nina Stemme, Ekaterina Gubanova, Stuart Skelton, Evgeny Nikitin, and René Pape, conducted by Simon Rattle. From October 8, 2016.

"A four hour meditation on love and death" about an Irish princess and Breton nobleman in post-Roman Empire Europe. You have access to it until 3PM Tuesday afternoon.

The Ring Cycle starts tomorrow, and we're not talkin' Tolkien.

More Free On-line Art Parties, 11AM and 6:30PM today, hosted by East Coast Art Party, details here:

Thank you to all who have sent kind words about the newsletter recently, and do feel free to send suggestions my way <>  I have been very uncoordinated in acknowledging email recently, but it is much appreciated


So there's lots of news, and while many miss our Compass, and Paul MacNeill writes well defending here, consider that a lot of the national coverage is at a pitch that maybe doesn't help us all the time.

Signs CBC is hearing our collective anger - The Eastern Graphic article  by Paul MacNeill, publisher of The Graphic publications

Printed on Saturday, March 21st, 2020

Nearing the end of Dr. Heather Morrison’s daily briefing Friday, CBC reporter Wayne Thibodeau asked PEI’s Public Health Officer how she is holding up to the pressures of guiding the Island through the COVID-19 pandemic.

She offered a typically thoughtful response that included praise for her colleagues, appreciation for the kindness and diligence of Islanders, while candidly acknowledging her struggle to deliver messages involving children because she is also a mother missing her kids.

It was a very human moment in a sea of statistics and dire warnings. On a typical night this would have been part of CBC’s supper hour show, Compass, one of the highest rated newscasts in the country. Maybe not the lead story, given the importance of containment efforts, but an important piece to offer context and insight.

It never made it to Compass. Two days earlier CBC leadership in Toronto pulled the plug on all super hour shows across the country, save one in northern Canada. Rather than 60 minutes, PEI was allotted five minutes to offer up the highlights of the day, squeezed in between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick segments and directed by the national host of a political show carrying on business as usual.

The format is jarring. More importantly the local content is wafer thin. And in PEI this makes a massive difference to the ability of our health and political leaders to inform all Islanders. Our population is aging, a demographic most susceptible to COVID-19. Most Islanders are not tied at the hip to smart phones or social media. Rural internet is at best spotty. They rely on Compass for their daily news because it is trusted and relevant to their lives. Prince Edward Island is the only province in the country without a competitive television alternative on the ground locally.

In this crisis Compass is not a luxury. It is an essential public service that when removed has a very real and negative impact on our public health efforts.

In an interview with me Saturday morning, CBC’s national editor Brodie Fenlon says the decision to cancel local programming was not made lightly. He says if technical and staffing issues were not immediately dealt with the whole CBC television network faced the potential of crashing.

“Technical staff were saying we are about to go down. We needed to decide what do we lose in the moment to preserve capacity to broadcast.”

Compass was deemed expendable.

Islanders aren’t buying CBC’s excuses. Premier Dennis King immediately hammered the decision in a public release. He followed it up in conversations with both Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The public intervention did not sit kindly with CBC President Catherine Tait, who complained the premier should have let her know before firing his broadside. King suggested she should have offered the same courtesy to Islanders and Compass staff.

Premier King did the right thing.

CBC is hearing our collective anger. Fenlon said Saturday Compass will return, but will not commit to when. “I have no idea. We’re trying to as fast as we can. Day by day. We did not walk away. We are trying to bring back Compass,” he said. “I know how critical it is for the Island.” An apology was delivered to staff for how headquarters handled the cancellation.

There are hopeful signs and speculation the show could return as early as next week.

As most know, I provide political commentary to both CBC radio and television. I know the diligence and dedication of its reporters. I’ve also watched as CBC has invested massive sums in national pet projects, like expanding its digital presence while cutting services to local television and radio, including the technical capacity to produce shows locally, a vital asset now centralized in Toronto and Vancouver.

When the dust settles CBC brass will have many questions to answer for. They’ll need to justify their fixation on digital expansion (not actually part of the corporation’s legislated mandate) to the detriment of local television in regions where CBC actually still matters to the lives of citizens. They’ll need to justify cancelling programming at the very moment rural Canadians needed them the most. And they will need to explain the institutional bias that has led to repeated strategic failures and a diminishing trust in the public broadcaster to do what is right for Canadians.

If Compass returns next week, let’s hope the damage done is not permanent. The reporters and crew know the importance of the moment. They appreciate the privileged place Compass holds in the lives of Islanders.

What we need now is for them to be immediately unshackled from bonehead decisions and misplaced priorities imposed from on high.

Global Chorus essay for March 23
Roshini Thinakaran

She lived on a farm on the outskirts of Hillah, an Iraqi city roughly 80 miles from Baghdad. Wrapped around her head was a red and white shemagh, a traditional headscarf worn by men throughout the Middle East. She did not speak a word of English and to this day I do not know her name, but the life in her eyes inspired me to document the lives of women in war zones.

We arrived in Baghdad on December 18, 2003. My official job was working alongside my boyfriend to build a media company. A company with the sole purpose of providing media support for the Department of Defense. Unofficially, I was on a journey of discovery.

The U.S.-led occupation had wiped out the only government Iraqis had known for decades. We
worked and lived outside of the Green Zone, the home of the Coalition Provision Authority. Iraq had not yet spiralled out of control and we travelled freely. I travelled with a camera in the hopes of capturing everyday life images.

On a trip to the city of Hillah is where I first saw the girl in the men’s headscarf. She was herding sheep and I wanted to capture that moment in her life. She looked directly at me and smiled. The life in her eyes was magnetic and her half smile peered through the metal fence separating us. It’s as if she was as curious about my life as I was about hers.

screenshot of photo by Roshini Thinakaran from page 91 of from Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, edited by Todd E. MacLean

I never went back to that place in Hillah, but I thought about her frequently. Did she go to school?

What were her dreams for the future? It is not easy to explain, but the strength and hope I saw in her reassured me of her survival, even during the darkest times of the Iraq War that followed the U.S.occupation of the country.

I left Iraq in 2005 and spent the next few years documenting the lives of women in countries torn apart by war, including Beirut, Liberia, Afghanistan and back to Iraq. The women I documented were from different backgrounds but they had two things in common: they had all gone through war and all of them had hope.

I’m not sure if hope is something we are born with or are taught. Sometimes I think it’s a choice.

      — Roshini Thinakaran, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, TED Global Fellow


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

March 22, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Who wouldn't want to have their own Baby Yoda painting?

Free Online Art Party No, 0322, 2-4PM, East Coast Art Party, Baby Yoda, Facebook event link

screenshot of  painting to be taught for free, "The Child" a.k.a. Baby Yoda, from the East Coast Art Party event today

Join us on our East Coast Art Party Facebook page this Sunday March 22nd at 2PMfor a replay of our how to paint Baby Yoda video! All Ages Welcome!
Grab the kids and your art supplies and join us for a virtual Art party!
Replays of the event will be available as well up to Midnight the same day as well!
Supplies that you will need: (at link)

Sunday, March 22nd:
Metropolitan Opera Daily recorded opera stream
Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
Starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Valery Gergiev. From February 24, 2007.

It should be available from 7:30PM until about 3PM tomorrow afternoon.
The shutdown of the libraries with no warning was pretty hard for some of us.  No Agency Library Stores, either.  Good to know there are no new overdue fees, no need to return anything yet, and there are online resources.

(Chief Librarian) BETH CLINTON: Variety of online library services for P.E.I. readers available at - The Guardian by Beth Clinton

Published on Thursday, March 19th, 2020

All P.E.I. public libraries are closed until further notice. Due dates will be adjusted, and no fines will accumulate during the closure.  

Please do not return borrowed library materials until the libraries re-open.  

Follow the P.E.I. Public Library Service Facebook page for additional information or go to the P.E.I. government page at for closure information of provincial services and reliable COVID-19 information. 

Online library services are available at Included in these services are downloadable e-books and audiobooks. These are available from home with a library card through Overdrive ( or you can download the Libby app to a tablet or phone. 

The Overdrive collection offers something for everyone – from cookbooks to memoirs to romance to John Grisham. There are also books for teens and books for children.

Speaking of children, the library has additional electronic resources for kids that are available from the comfort of your own home.  Tumblebooks is a resource that allows kids to read along or have a story read to them. It also has a collection of other resources, including e-books, graphic novels, puzzles and games and National Geographic videos.  

Stay safe and we’ll see you as soon as we can.

Beth Clinton is the regional librarian with the P.E.I. Provincial Library Service. Her column appears in The Guardian once a month. 



This is not new news, being from late February, and I haven't found any major updates, but in case you missed it, and thanks to those who pointed it out to me:

A made-in-Canada solution to the coronavirus outbreak?

The best hope for an antiviral drug may come from Michel Chrétien's Montreal lab
Maclean's article link from Monday, February 24th, 2020
CBC Radio's The Current link from Friday, February 28th, 2020


Global Chorus essay for March 22 
Ken Plummer

No Other Way
There’s no other way.
That’s what they say.

Economics must put money before people, And medicine must put profit before health. Education must put management before wisdom, And religion must put war before love. Technology must put machines before environments, And politicians must put power before care. We must follow the way things are done.

There’s no other way.
That’s what they say.

But what if economics valued feelings, And medicine always pursued dignity. If education aimed for the flourishing of humanity, And religion wanted better worlds for all. If technology looked out for justice, And politicians put people first. If we all just tried to be kind to each other?

There surely is a much better way Than the one they preach to us every day.

    — Ken Plummer, critical humanist, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Essex (UK), author of A Manifesto for Critical Humanism in Sociology


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

March 21, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

There are no regular Farmers' Markets today in Summerside or Charlottetown, and many vendors made arrangements to have you order from them (or a batched service, as in Charlottetown). 

If you missed the deadline to order this week, it should get more organized for the next time (Thursday midnight for next week).
A vendor or two might be outside the Charlottetown market maybe around noon which extra produce and such)
and both Riverview Country Market and KJL in North River (I think) are open with local produce, eggs and meats.
Today, Saturday, March 21st:
United Nations International Day of Forests
  -- Forest and Biodiversity

1 minute YouTube Video

United Nations page with much, much information

Go hug a tree (just watch out for the ice)

Figure Skating from 2018's Olympics in PyeongChang, 4PM, CBC TV.
Somebody figured out old sports are better than no sports.

Tonight's Metropolitan Opera: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, 7:30PM.

"Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, and Mariusz Kwiecien. Transmitted live on February 7, 2009." 
It's one of the ones with a magnificent "mad scene".  You have access to it until 3PM Sunday.

Here is an hour-long lecture given by Lester R. Brown, who wrote the Global Chorus essay for March 21.  The Lecture is the first Berkeley's Institute of the  Environment Annual Distinguished Lecture
YouTube of Lester R. Brown lecture 2007
"Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble"


Glenn K. Roberts on the March Equinox and current planets:

ATLANTIC SKIES: All about the March equinox - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts

Published on Thursday, March 19th, 2020

Like a furtive cat-burglar sneaking into our homes, spring arrives just after midnight on March 20.

The official commencement of spring, or the vernal equinox as it is sometimes referred to in the northern hemisphere, occurs at 12:50 a.m., ADT, March 20, 2020. Though the term "vernal equinox" is still commonly used to mark the start of the spring season in March in the northern hemisphere, it does generate some confusion when talking of the start of the autumn season in March in the southern hemisphere. To reduce the confusion, the respective equinoxes are nowadays usually referred to as the "March equinox" and the "September equinox". Thus the "March equinox" occurs in both hemispheres in March, though the north welcomes the spring season, whilst the south celebrates the arrival of the autumn season.

The term "vernal equinox" comes from the combination of the Latin vernalis, pertaining to spring, and the Latin aequinoctium - from aequus (equal) and nox (night). The equinox portion of the term refers to the point in time when the plane of Earth's equator (as extended out into space) crosses the plane of the sun's center point. In effect, it's when the center of the visible sun is directly over the Earth's equator (called the "subsolar point").

The subsolar point moves north of the equator during the northern hemisphere spring season, reaching its furthest point north on the summer solstice, before moving southward to again sit directly over the equator on the September equinox, and then moving south of the equator during the northern hemisphere autumn season.

Due to discrepancies between the Julian calendar (established by Julius Caesar in 46 BC), and the Gregorian calendar (established by Pope Gregory in 1582), the dates of the modern equinoxes can vary from year to year, depending on where you are on the globe, and which calendar you follow. The March equinox can occur from March 19 - 21. While here in Atlantic Canada, the March Equinox occurs at 12:50 a.m. ADT on March 20, it occurs at 11:50 p.m. EDT in the eastern USA.

Though the term "equinox" means "equal", the length of day and night on the dates of the equinoxes are not, in reality, exactly equal. A number of factors determine the actual length of day and night, chief among them 1) the angular size of the sun (i.e., how large it appears from any given location), 2) atmospheric refraction (how much the sunlight deviates from a straight line as it passes through the varying densities of the Earth's atmospheric layers), and 3) the rapid change in the duration of the length of day that occurs at different latitudes at the time of the equinoxes.

Historical importance

The vernal equinox (as it was then referred to) played a significant role in celebrations and festivities of ancient cultures around the world.

Ancient Iranians celebrated Nowruz on March 20 and 21. Until sometime between 200-639 AD, ancient Egyptians celebrated Sham el-Nessim ("renewal of life") on the vernal equinox (it is still celebrated in modern Egypt as a national holiday, but now on Easter Monday). Until the Christianization of Scandinavia, the pagan Norse held a festival on the vernal equinox each year in honour of female spirits and deities to ensure a bountiful harvest for the coming growing season.

The ancient Irish, Germanic and Saxon peoples all associated the vernal equinox with female deities, celebrating their and the Earth's fertility with festivals in March. To the ancient Greeks, the vernal equinox symbolized the annual return of the god, Dionysus, god of the grape harvest and fertility.

In the Americas, the native tribes constructed massive temples aligned with the sunrise points of both equinoxes.

Even today, the March equinox plays a role in establishing important celebration dates. In the Christian religion, Easter is calculated to occur on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox (though there is some discrepancies on the actual date between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Western Orthodox Church, which base their calculations by the Julian and the Gregorian calendars respectively).

The Jewish celebration of Passover usually occurs on the first full moon after the March equinox (though it can sometimes occur on the second full moon). In modern Japan, it is a national holiday.

The Assyrian, Hindu, and Iranian (Persian) calendars mark the March equinox as the start of the New Year. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people attend the festivities celebrating the March Equinox by visiting the pre-Hispanic site of Teotihuacan in Mexico, and climbing the Pyramid of the Sun (named as such by the ancient Aztecs, but built by the pre-Aztec Teotihuacanos) to welcome the rising sun on the morning of the March equinox. In many Arab countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the March Equinox.

In the skies

The planets this week remain pretty much as they were last week. Venus (magnitude -4.2) is visible high in the southwest sky as darkness falls, setting about two hours after sunset. Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all still pre-dawn objects in the southeastern sky. Mercury (magnitude +1.2) reaches its greatest elongation (angular separation from the sun as seen from Earth) on the March 18, but remains difficult to see above the southeastern horizon.

Mars (magnitude +1.0) is in conjunction with Jupiter (magnitude -1.9) in the pre-dawn southeastern sky on March 20, when it sits less than one degree below its larger neighbour. Saturn (magnitude +0.7), slowly moving higher in the pre-dawn sky, sits to the lower left of Jupiter.

All these planets fade in the light of the rising sun, and are lost from sight around 7 a.m. Look for the waning crescent moon just below Jupiter and Mars on the morning of March 18, to the lower left of Saturn on the 19th, and as an extremely faint and thin crescent to the right of Mercury on the 20th (use the crescent moon to help locate Mercury).

Until next week, clear skies.


March 20 - Jupiter and Mars conjunction

(OK, that passed, but they are still pretty close and amazing in a clear morning sky)
Global Chorus essay for March 21
Lester R. Brown

The challenge is, how do we get from here to there?

Oystein Dahle said, “Socialism collapsed because it did not allow the market to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the environmental truth.”

Our failure to incorporate the price of fossil fuels into the cost of climate change has led us to create an enormously costly situation for ourselves and certainly for the next generation. The trick is to get the market to tell the environmental truth. And the way to do it is to lower income taxes and offset that with a rising carbon tax. No change in the amount of tax we pay; but initiate this reduction and offsetting over the next dozen years, and in stages, so that everyone can adjust and plan accordingly.

We used to talk about saving the planet. The challenge now is to save civilization. Because if the number of failing states in the world keeps increasing, civilization itself will, at some point, begin to unravel. This is our challenge: saving civilization is not a spectator sport. It’s going to require the participation of every one of us. And we’re in a situation now where every day counts. We’re in a race between tipping points – natural tipping points and political tipping points. Each of us must get involved politically, work on important issues and help to restructure the economy. Whether it’s the energy economy, or the materials economy or the comprehensive re-use/recycle economy – the old economic model, the fossil-fuel-based/automobile-centric/throwaway economy simply cannot take us where we want to go. It will not continue much longer, because it is self-destructing. The challenge is to replace it with a renewable-energy-powered economy, one that has a much more diversified transport system, and one that reuses and recycles everything.

This is our challenge. If you like challenges, this is a great time to be around.

  — Lester R. Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, author of World on the Edge

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

March 20, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Spring! 
The Vernal or March Equinox was just around midnight our time.  More astronomy notes tomorrow (though a note when it clears again, the morning bright planet in the East is Jupiter and the evening one in the West is Venus).


Met Opera Live-streamed, 7:30PM
Friday, March 20th – Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment Conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez. Transmitted live on April 26, 2008.

You may not get to hear it immediately at have access to it until 3PM the next day.

Guy Dauncy, who wrote the March 20 Global Chorus essay, below, has a lot of slide-shows and talks on his website, and might make for some interesting futuristic speculation (of course, perhaps this kind of pandemic isn't in any of his models):


Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and many other publications, comments quite critically on the trump government in the United States' response to financial markets and "Coronavirus Capitalism".  (The is from Tuesday so may be not as up-to-date.)  The link goes to the article in Common Dreams and a link to the podcast, which is about 9 minutes long.

Article and link to The Intercept podcast
What's "Essential" and what's "Non-Essential" in terms of business and services on P.E.I.?  Could be a fun game to play when house-bound :-)  but also useful when figuring out getting basic supplies and needs.

Here is a list compiled by government, and mentioned by them, but I have to admit was no easy task finding.  The text from the page copied is with apologies if it doesn't copy or show well on screens:
from the P.E.I. government website page (link above), published on Thursday, March 19th, 2020: 

Essential and Non-Essential Services: COVID-19 - P.E.I. Government website post

Anyone who must access essential services is to practice safe social distancing and good hand hygiene. If you feel unwell stay at home. Only one person per household should be going out to get groceries or supplies from essential services.

Employers should:

  • lead and practice safe social distancing with staff

  • ensure anyone who is ill or self-isolating not report to work

Essential services

"Essential services" means services, regardless of who renders them, and regardless if rendered to the Government or to any other person, the interruption of which would endanger the life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the population.

Non-essential services

"Non-essential services" means services not providing food supplies, health, financial support or utilities and when not offered to the public will not impact life, health or personal safety.

The following is a guide for Islanders to better understand what is essential versus non-essential:

Essential Services

Food, including:

  • Supermarkets and grocery stores
  • Convenience stores and discount stores
  • Restaurants (take-out, drive-through and delivery service only)
  • Farmers markets (pick-up and delivery service only)
  • Food Banks

Supply chain, including:

  • Food Manufacturers
  • Food distribution and storage centres
  • Agriculture and aquaculture services
  • Feed mills
  • Industrial manufacturers

Health and wellness, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Healthcare operations
  • Pharmacies
  • Physical and Occupational therapy settings (select clients only)
  • Dental services (emergency only)

Key personal services, including:

  • Banks
  • Post offices
  • Courier services
  • Public transit (including taxi service, Pat & The Elephant)
  • Laundromats and commercial dry cleaners
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Pet stores
  • Repair Services (construction, electrical, plumbing, and heating)
  • Gas stations
  • Auto repair shops
  • Rental companies (vehicles and equipment)
  • Hotels and Motels (with the exception of B&Bs and Inns)
  • Community partners that provide residential services

Household needs, including:

  • Garbage collection
  • Hardware stores
  • Cleaning and restoration services (emergency only)
  • Fuel Distribution Services

Key public services, including:

  • Executive Municipal Governance
  • Fire and Police Protection
  • Provision of clean water
  • Maintenance of utilities (eg. electricity)
  • Transportation
  • Road maintenance/repair
  • Payroll departments
  • Community partners that provide residential services

Non-essential services

  • Restaurants and bars (not providing take out or delivery service)
  • Theaters
  • Gyms and recreation centers
  • Salons and spas
  • Tattoo and Piercing Studios
  • Personal Service Facilities
  • Museums
  • Casinos
  • Shopping malls (except that part of the shopping mall operating an essential service)
  • Bowling alleys
  • Sporting and concert venues
  • Retail stores


Global Chorus essay for March 20
Guy Dauncey

Hope is an extraordinary source of energy. It comes from the heart, and once running, it motivates us to dream new dreams. Let it slip away and everything feels – yes, hopeless.

We don’t know enough to give up hope. That would be an extraordinarily weak-minded indulgence. As long as we are alive, we can imagine new ways to tackle our problems, and put them into action.

We know how to farm organically with good yields, how to flourish on a vegetarian diet and how grow our own food. We can feed the world, even at ten billion people. We know how to reduce our energy use and generate energy from renewables; there’s a growing list of communities that operate on 100 per cent renewable energy. We know how to conserve water, how to build composting toilets that use no water, how to graze cattle so that carbon returns to the soil and how to save the world’s fish by establishing marine sanctuaries. We know how to limit our population growth, how to preserve the world’s forests and how to end war and violence. There are no major technical hurdles that block the path to a peaceful, green sustainable world where we live in harmony with Nature. The barriers are primarily political and economic, so it is here that we must create a global chorus of new dreams.

Our ancestors built a global economy based on “ME,” with private property, private wealth and private tax evasion. Around the world, communities are building new co-operative economies based on “WE,” with new ways of banking and new ways of doing business in socially responsible ways that are often more successful than their counterparts in the “ME” economy. We can upgrade our democracies to make them more proportional, removing corruption and corporate cronyism. We can upgrade the global economy, eliminating tax havens and turning foul trade into fair.

All these things are possible. We just need to believe, and commit our lives to being part of a green, sustainable future. We have the intelligence. We have the skills. We just need the hope – and the determination.

— Guy Dauncey, author, eco-futurist


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

March 19, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Obviously, the Special Committee on Climate Change is not meeting tonight in Morell.  More details to follow.

Tonight's Met Opera offering live-broadcast:
Thursday, March 19 – Verdi’s La Traviata, 7:30pm

Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, starring Diana Damra  u, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey. Transmitted live on December 15, 2018. 

You may not get to hear it immediately at have access to it until 3PM the next day.

Fun for any time:
Short videos for curious kids of all ages:

posted a while back but a good reminder, I hope

Saturday, March 21st:
Charlottetown's Farmers' Market will be closed inside, but a few vendors may be outside for pickup that morning, and a service has been set up for pickup later that day or delivery in Charlottetown or Stratford.

More details on the service:

Wednesday, having been out of reach for a few hours, in the evening I find a deadline for liquor store closings, and health officials surprised at people's reactions; and CBC Compass pulled from television broadcasting, and the Premier rightly fired up and immediately responsive.

From CBC:

"Effective Wednesday, CBC News Network will temporarily replace local supper hour shows and late night newscasts across the country, evolving into a core live breaking service that will integrate coverage from across the country. CBC North will continue to produce and broadcast Northbeat from Yellowknife and Igalaaq from Iqaluit in Inuktitut. 


And from
Premier Denny King:

he Premier issued the following statement today in response to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s decision to suspend their local television news programming: 

“I am incredibly disappointed in the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s (CBC) decision to suspend local news broadcasts across the country, including Prince Edward Island’s own CBC News: Compass program. 

I have been saying all along that these are unprecedented times, and the challenge we are facing with COVID-19, as a province and as country, is like nothing that we have ever seen before. The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly – hour by hour, and day by day – and we continue to see the emotional and economic impact it is having on Islanders and their families. With the health and safety of Islanders at the forefront, it is vital that we continue to share the latest information with Islanders in real time. 

It is my opinion that now is not the time for the CBC to suspend its local news programming, and I will be bringing this up on my scheduled call with Deputy Prime Minister Freeland later today. I will also be reaching out to the Prime Minister to express my concerns. 

Prince Edward Island is a largely rural province with varying internet connectivity to access local online news from CBC Prince Edward Island. Many Island seniors do not use the internet, have social media or pay attention to digital news platforms. They are our most vulnerable Islanders and need the most up-to-date information to properly protect themselves from COVID-19. 

CBC News: Compass is the only local daily television news program in our province, and it provides a vital public service that keeps Islanders informed. The reach of CBC News: Compass into the living rooms of Island households, community and long-term care homes and seniors’ residences is essential now, more than ever. Our Chief Public Health Officer and government are working together to share important information, recommendations and directions for Islanders as we navigate the current state of public health emergency in our province and CBC News: Compass is a critical partner in helping us do this.

As Premier of Prince Edward Island, I am formally requesting the Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, as minister of the crown responsible for the CBC, exercise his authority and reverse the decision to suspend local news broadcasts. We will be contacting the Minister to discuss our concerns and ask him to intervene. 

We acknowledge and share the CBC’s concern for the health and safety of their staff. CBC Prince Edward Island staff and journalists are our friends, neighbours and community partners. As a government, we are more than willing to work with local CBC station and national leadership to ensure continuity of the local CBC television news program in our province. 

If we are going to get through this pandemic situation, we need to do so together and by leveraging all of the resources we have. Now is not the time to scale back.”  


MP Wayne Easter also has written with his insistence this be overturned for P.E.I.

A lovely quote from the most remarkable Janet Gaudet, who deserves an Engaged, Caring Islander Award, if one existed.  With her permission, I share her note and quote:

I have a book of daily quotations and this is such a beautiful quotation I thought I’d pass it on to friends and family members.  Take good care of yourself, stay well, and be good to yourself.  I’m 84 and the last time I remember schools being closed was in 1950’s during polio epidemic.  This is a very tough time for parents with young children in school or day care. 


May you have warm words on cold days, a full moon on a dark night, and angels to guard your steps, protect you, and smooth out the road all the way to your door. 

Global Chorus essay for March 19
Helen Caldicott

We are at a critical point in the Earth’s evolution as the human species wreaks havoc upon Nature and upon itself. I sometimes wonder whether we are an evolutionary aberrant not meant to survive long because of our overdeveloped neocortex and underdeveloped sense of morality and responsibility.

In truth, to use a medical analogy, the Earth is in the intensive care unit, almost terminally ill, and we – you and me – are all physicians to a dying planet. Unless we can muster the same sort of dedication, knowledge and intuitive wisdom that we physicians demonstrate at three a.m. when trying to save our dying patients, it is clear that most earthly species will become extinct.

Education is the key, as Jefferson said: “An informed democracy will behave in a responsible fashion.”

The trouble is that most western people and others are addicted to television, which, instead of accepting responsibility for scientific and political education, has been captured by corporations with intent to sell their unnecessary items to a supplicant public, supported by trivia and unctuous programs.

The Earth is now threatened with three major crises:

* the ever-present threat of nuclear war, with thousands of U.S. and Russian hydrogen bombs on hair-trigger alert to be launched with a three-minute decision time, which would initiate nuclear winter, a ten-year-long ice age and the death of most earthly species;

* global warming which gets worse by the year: by 2100 temperatures will be 6°C hotter, conditions antithetical to human existence;

* over 400 nuclear power plants scattered throughout the world, each awaiting possible meltdowns like Fukushima, each accruing thousands of tons of radioactive waste which must be isolated from the ecosphere for one million years, a physical impossibility.

Most politicians are scientifically and medically ignorant. In our democracies it is our responsibility to educate them and insist they legislate for life and not for short-term or long-term death.

They are our representatives and we are their leaders. It is time we roused ourselves from our couches and computer-styled indolence, to thoroughly educate ourselves on these issues and put our souls and bodies on the line to use our wonderful democracies to save the earthly magic of possibly the only life in the universe.

   Dr. Helen Caldicott, pediatrician, founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a part of  International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which received the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize


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

March 18, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Another resource on-line is the National Film Board,
thanks to Shelagh for sharing:

For those staying in, our National Film Board offers all kinds of films, including kid's cartoons, online at:

Also, Open Culture also offers resources: Link to the films offered:

Classic feature-length epics, docs, works by artists. A bit of everything. Free.

And the Met Opera times mentioned yesterday were bungled by me -- the access starts "live" at 7:30PM our time, but demand is great you may have to stand in a virtual line and get it some time later, but you have access to it until 3PM the next day. Tonight is Verdi's Il Trovatore press release with list of dates and performance


If you wonder how governments and economies can respond to the COVID costs on top of dealing with the climate crisis, the Council of Canadians proposes their Alternate Federal Budget,
"The Alternative Federal Budget (AFB), now in its 25th year, is a unique Canadian collaboration rooted in social justice values—like human dignity and freedom, fairness, equality, solidarity, environmental sustainability and the public good—and a strong belief in the power of participatory democracy."

The AFB document, not quick reading, is found on this page:
And here are some highlights from the press release:

Alternative Federal Budget Released - Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives article by Vi Bui

Published on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020, this weblink

Facing highly volatile headwinds due to the combination of COVID-19, plummeting oil prices and the collapse of world financial markets, the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) lays out a roadmap and fiscal plan to safeguard public health, support essential public services and tackle inequality that puts so many at increased risk. 

A group of progressive organizations contribute each year to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Alternative Federal Budget. The Council of Canadians is proud to contribute the water chapter to this year’s Alternative Federal Budget. 


AFB 2020 PLAN 

  • Implement the UN-recognized human right to water and sanitation; provide safe, clean drinking water to First Nations communities; and develop a national drinking water standard. 

  • Adequately and publicly fund water and wastewater infrastructure in municipalities and First Nations without private-sector financing or public-private partnerships. 

  • Renew and expand the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. 

  • Fund robust environmental assessments and strong water science and research. 

  • Safeguard the Great Lakes, groundwater and other freshwater sources, and Canada’s oceans. 

Groundwater, lakes and rivers are threatened by major industrial projects, over-extraction, pollution and climate change, as federal legislation does not adequately protect Canada’s waterways. First Nations communities still fight for access to safe, clean drinking water, while Canadian municipalities struggle to afford upgrades to their aging water and wastewater infrastructure. The Canada Infrastructure Bank promotes the privatization of public infrastructure, including water systems, by tying public loans to the involvement of private, profit-seeking financiers. With Canada warming at twice the global rate, the climate crisis threatens surface and groundwater sources, natural ecosystems and water management. 

Our goals 

We see a strong role for the federal government as a protector of water as a public trust and shared commons. The right to water and sanitation, as recognized by the United Nations, must be upheld and implemented. No First Nation should go without safe, clean water, and across Canada national drinking water standards must be implemented and enforced. The safety and sustainability of freshwater in Canada must be safeguarded. 

How we get there 

The following measures will strengthen federal water policy and oversight, and enhance public and community water and wastewater infrastructure. 

Expand funding for public water infrastructure  

AFB 2020 renews and expands the recently closed Clean Water and Waste- water Fund and commits to funding outstanding applications for public or community-run water and wastewater infrastructure. The fund will be invested with $6.5 billion a year over six years and $2.5 billion a year after that. Public-private partnerships will not be eligible for federal funding.  

As discussed in the Infrastructure and cities chapter, the AFB transforms the Canada Infrastructure Bank into a fully public, fully accountable lender where currently it only funds projects in partnership with private financiers looking to make a profit. Small municipalities that often have a hard time accessing funds due to high per-capita costs will benefit from a dedicated fund of $100 million a year for water infrastructure. 

Strict, national water quality standards  

AFB 2020 tasks the government with developing and enforcing a national drinking water standard for all of Canada, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. It supports municipalities upgrading their aging water infrastructure to meet the new standard through the expanded Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.  

The AFB further commits $3.5 billion over the next two years ($2 billion a year afterward) for enforcing the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (passed in 2012) and $75 million a year for ongoing water operator training, public sector certification and conservation programs. The AFB also adds $80 million a year for three years to federal funding for water programs at Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada. 

More funding for environmental assessments  

AFB 2020 spends $50 million a year for three years to conduct assessments of the impact of all energy and mining projects, to be carried out in consultation with affected communities and with the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous nations. A further $30 million a year for two years is dedicated to an in-depth, independent study of the effects of tar sands development on the environment and health. 

Sustainable freshwater management  

AFB 2020 implements a comprehensive action plan to protect the Great Lakes Basin, at a cost to government of $500 million in year one and $950 million a year in each of the following four years. It commits to mapping all of Canada’s watersheds, establishing freshwater quality and quantity monitoring frameworks, increasing the number of monitoring stations, and training staff.  

AFB 2020 puts $3 million toward a groundwater protection plan and an additional $1 million toward a review of virtual water exports from Canada. A federal Minister of Water is tasked with co-ordinating this work in partnership with the more than 20 departments that set federal policies affecting water. 


Global Chorus essay for March 18
Odey Oyama

Protecting the environment does not seem to be a common goal that has been accepted globally. This position is evident in the fact that some of the major powers in the world have still not signed the Kyoto Protocol. Many people, institutions and agencies are still working under the impression that they have the right to continue destroying the environment. In order to cover up for their destructive practices, they offer to pay money or grants to people and communities in other parts of the world for the purpose of ameliorating the destructions caused by them.

It is difficult to believe that those who have contributed most to the pollution of the world’s environment over the last one hundred and fifty years can ever come together to agree to reverse the trend. The Kyoto Protocol has been the test case. If all the industrialized nations had agreed to jointly sign the Kyoto Protocol, there perhaps would have been some hope. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be much hope of any consensus.

In my view, therefore, humanity can only move beyond the present state of the environment if people develop the consciousness to reduce and control their large footprints rather than continue to depend on other people in other regions of the world to ameliorate the damage they themselves are causing in the environment through their selfish actions in industrialization and energy production.
      — Odey Oyama, architect, politician, environmental and human rights activist, executive director of Rainforest Resource and Development Centre, an NGO for environment and development  based in Cross River State, Nigeria
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

March 17, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

There is not much to say that others haven't, but it could be worse (it could be a gastrointestinal virus); though I can guess the family and work disruptions, and now closing of the public libraries with no warning, is much to deal with.

A lot has moved to the internet, obviously, in the last few days, and "paywalls" that have come down. 

Here is something from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City (which has suspended live performances), which is live-streaming a different opera each evening (and having it available for the next several hours):

Tuesday, March 17th:
Puccini’s La Bohème, live-stream starting at 8:30PM our time.  Go to website, and consider downloading their play app. 
Conducted by Nicola Luisotti, starring Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas. From April 5, 2008. 

Main Met Opera website:

andMet Opera's Press release on live-streaming opera broadcast

Let me know of other nice things that I can share with you, please.


Other things to think about:

The City of Charlottetown is considering building a new arena, perhaps where the government garage is on Riverside Drive, and perhaps then closing Simmonds and Cory Banks arenas.  It was good to see the piece, and the second in the series, from Ian "Tex" MacDonald, a former mayor of Charlottetown to offer some sideways perspective.  He plans three parts and the first two have been published, that I know of.

Opinion Piece 1: 

GUEST OPINION: Should new structure be called an arena, a coliseum or civic centre? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ian (Tex) MacDonald

Published on Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

The Greek city of Delphi on the steep southern slopes of Mount Parnassus was one of the most important sites in the ancient world, not because it was home to a powerful ruler but because of a famously accurate Oracle there whom few world leaders would dare to ignore.

We do not have the luxury of an oracle here in Charlottetown to direct our leaders where we should locate a new rink, or for that matter, should we build one at all? Oracles have been replaced by engineering firms, by the ever-cumbersome committee process and, naturally, by a multitude of resident experts.

We do, in fact, have a rink committee composed of a number of local enthusiasts whose assignment was to explore all aspects for a new rink, some people on this "board" have hardly set foot in the Eastlink Centre, let alone able to offer advice on the potential project. But fear not: the city has hired a firm, although not from here, but a professional firm whose mandate, for $100,000, will give some direction on finances, urban impact, location and assimilation with existing facilities.

Should the building that will host sporting events, cultural events — and could even be utilized for a naumachia — be called a coliseum, an arena, or a civic centre embossed with a major sponsor? We'll leave that issue in the hands of the experts, maybe even to city council. This building, which will be designated for "public action" could possibly be constructed on the site soon to be left vacant by the old government garage. The provincial government has moved its operation (public works department) from this site to the periphery of the city because there wasn’t enough room. Is there enough room on the site for a 5,000-seat edifice housing two sheets of ice and all the amenities associated with it? Maybe we do need an oracle.

According to the construction people, the cost of this building could be between $80 - $100 million. City council has floated a figure of between $50-60 million. Regardless of the numbers, this is going to be an expensive rink. What we don’t want are volunteers scraping ice between periods and rink employees pulling barrels of water to flood the surface. Gone are the days of the luddites ad here for our use are forensic audits which could be done on the rink in Summerside to assist the venture in Charlottetown.

There seems to be a fairly strong undercurrent in the city to build a new rink. What about the possibility of a renovation? There is room for expansion towards the Beach Street side. Purchase some properties and introduce a new concept in arena building called “innovation”. We don’t have to resurrect the Marshall Plan, but we do have to explore all options.
I am well aware that the Canada Winter Games will be here in three years. The provincial government, in conjunction with the federal government, will undoubtedly satisfy the funding formula for facilities, we will require an upgrade to existing venues across the Island with the bulk of the funds directed towards the construction of a new civic centre.

One would not have to consult an oracle on the issue of location. Metropolitan Charlottetown has a population of roughly 55,000 people, this represents approximately 41 per cent of P.E.I.’s population and unless you have been living on a houseboat there is unlimited access to the greater Charlottetown area via the most paved roads in Canada — and more roundabouts than Piccadilly circus.

The construction of this new rink will take a gargantuan effort not only by the various levels of government but primarily by city council. This will be the biggest project since the Confederation Bridge and a unified council is paramount to the successful completion of this building. Mayor Philip Brown must exercise his leadership and word to the wise for Philip: “When hunting big game, do not be distracted by rabbit tracks.”

This is the first of three articles from former Charlottetown mayor Ian (Tex) MacDonald on the topic of arenas.


Opinion Piece 2:

Simmons and Cody Banks make up fabric of Charlottetown - The Guardian Guest Opinion  by Ian (Tex) MacDonald

Published on Monday, March 9th, 2020

For more than 50 years, Simmons Arena has provided minor hockey services to the residents of Charlottetown.

Other sporting events have been showcased such as amateur boxing, Maritime championship wrestling, high school graduations and even the popular public skates, which enabled everyone to display their skills. The land around the complex was donated by the Simmons family for recreational purposes. It stretches from Queen Charlotte to Spring Park Road, where the Simmons homestead stands today.

The surrounding fields became part of an all-encompassing sports pavilion featuring soccer, rugby, football and a multitude of other games too numerous to mention. Simmons’ parking lot was the meeting place for travelling teams and it provided more than ample space for local as well as visitor parking. Simmons was indeed the hub of athletics for most of the year and it even provided a “pool break” in the summer months for the babysitters and sun worshippers.

Once again, the rumour mill is rife with the notion that Simmons arena has to be replaced and – heaven forbid – relocated. As I had previously stated this green space, coupled with the arena, has become practically an icon in Charlottetown when it comes to city recreational facilities.

The residents who live in the north end of the city for over 50 years have become accustomed to Simmons’ multi-faceted facility and I’m sure they do not need the anxiety of wondering what will replace Simmons and what impact will it have on the urban geography of the city.

Cody Banks Arena located in the Sherwood/Parkdale neighbourhood has served the residents in this part of the city in much the same way as Simmons has served the residents in the north end.

Cody Banks is an integral part of this community and like any established school or church, it is taken for granted. The building is over 50 years old and is destined for demolition. Both Simmons and Cody Banks are to be replaced by state-of-the-art hockey facilities, however, the outstanding question is, where will the new rinks be located?

In my assessment, both rinks should be replaced and rebuilt in the exact same sport where they currently stand. The rationale appears to be obvious, there would be no astronomical expenses for land. There would be no new intrusion into an established residential area and the regulations associated with town planning are already in place. The strategy to accommodate minor hockey would be to rebuild Simmons and direct the overflow to the MacLauchlan Arena at the Bell Aliant Centre, Cody Banks, Eastlink Centre and even Pownal. It certainly would be an inconvenience, but they built a hospital in Wuhan in eight days, so put a limit on construction.

Upon completion of Simmons, rebuild Cody Banks using the same strategy as Simmons and, ultimately, we would have two state-of-the-art facilities without a great deal of controversy and located in neighbourhoods that would certainly not be disruptive. There should be a freeze in developments on these two properties. 

Ian (Tex) MacDonald is a former mayor of Charlottetown. This is Part 2 of a three-part series on arenas. Part 1 ran Feb. 26.

I am glad someone is pointing out the value of neighbourhood rinks and other local, easier-to-access facilities.
Global Chorus essay for March 17
Jean Kilbourne

I’m looking at a photograph of my 24-year-old daughter, Claudia, that was taken in Thailand in November. She is playing with a baby tiger and she looks ecstatic. She went to Thailand on behalf of Daughters Rising, a non-profit organization that she and two other young women run. Its mission is to help girls in Thailand and Cambodia who are at risk of being trafficked. It’s hard to think of anything that fills me with greater horror and despair than girls being sexually exploited and trafficked. But this photograph gives me hope. Because here is my lovely young daughter, volunteering to do such important and risky work, willing to see the darkest side of human nature – and yet here she is with a baby tiger on her shoulders and a broad smile lighting up her face.

And there are so many young people like her. Young people who teach school in dangerous neighbourhoods, who pitch their tents at Occupy sites, who put their bodies between the bulldozers and the trees, who put down their drugs and stay clean and sober a day at a time, who create dazzling art, who fight for gay rights and women’s rights and social justice all around the world. I meet many of these young people as I travel around the country and the world giving lectures. And I hear from them in emails or Facebook messages they send after seeing one of my films or reading one of my books. They tell me what they are doing to bring about change. And they give me hope. Because they are doing this work with joy. Most of them are not succumbing to bitterness, hopelessness and despair.

These young people will find new solutions to old problems. They will create a new vocabulary (such as “the 99 per cent” and “LGBTQ”). In one of her most famous poems, Emily Dickinson described hope as “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.” I believe we can count on our young people to protect this precious feathered thing from extinction.

   — Jean Kilbourne, EdD, author, educator, feminist activist, creator of the film series Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women

Lots of interesting reading at her website:
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

March 16, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

If, for some reason, you wish to get e-mails of government press releases and alerts, you can sign up at this address:

Thanks to Kathleen Romans for sharing American sculptor Hoppy Quick's empowering insights:

from social media, Friday, March 13th, 2020

My advice for people as the world begins to shut down around us:

Look for those things at home you wanted to do but didn't have the time
Start your seeds
Think ahead to your garden or creating one
If you don't have a yard get pots or anything you can hold dirt...grow food
It will make you feel better
Fishing season is coming
Avoid people but don't avoid water or the woods
Nature is good medicine
Optimism is your friend
Always be optimistic
Money will be tight but it doesn't mean you can't do things
A good time of year to clean your house and property
If the world is forcing you into isolation
Embrace it
Quarantine doesn't have to be scary

There will always be that pessimist
You know the one
When you say its a beautiful day
They say "but its gonna rain later"
we are all dealing with the same pandemic
Let your positive outlook help get you through
And others
Don't get caught in panic
Just breathe
By no means does my optimism mean I don't care
I just believe in the magic of good intention
Support each other with positive vibes
I wish you all good health


Something completely different:

RUSSELL WANGERSKY: The emperor’s new clothes - The Guardian article by Russell Wangersky

Published on Thursday, March 12th, 2020

It’s tempting to look at the problems with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project as being unique to one province.

The project, being overseen by provincial Crown corporation Nalcor Energy, is massively overbudget and off schedule.

But to understand why someone outside the province should pay attention to the fiasco, it’s worth considering a few samples from the report of a public inquiry that examined how the province got into the mess in the first place.

“There is also no doubt that government of Newfoundland and Labrador politicians and officials must be faulted for failing to provide a reasonable level of oversight of Nalcor, for placing an unjustified amount of trust and blind faith in that corporation, and for the naivety that they demonstrated in accepting, without a comprehensive independent review, Nalcor’s …cost estimates, schedule and risks.”

And there’s this: “Nalcor officials knew that the government of Newfoundland and Labrador officials and politicians who worked on the project were considerably over their heads and unqualified to evaluate cost estimates, schedule and risk. Nalcor officials took full advantage of this serious and glaring weakness when they should have recognized that this imposed on them an even greater duty to ensure that the government of Newfoundland and Labrador was fully informed and understood the cost estimates, schedule and risk.”

Contrast that with this statement from then-premier Kathy Dunderdale on Dec. 5, 2012: “Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that this is not only a good project; it is a thoroughly researched, analyzed and studied project that enables the people of the province to enjoy a vast array of far-reaching benefits. Companies whose reputations would suffer in the global market if they perform substandard or biased work have all agreed with Nalcor: that the Muskrat Falls project is based on solid ground financially as well as in concept design and engineering, Mr. Speaker.”

Or this: “Successes do not just happen, Mr. Speaker. They are engineered in a series of well-planned steps — first, in recognizing the opportunity, and then acting deliberately to turn that opportunity to your advantage. You build your team. You gather information. You do your homework. You make connections. You run the numbers. You do everything you need to do to move forward with the advantages of knowledge and strength, and when you are confident the opportunity is worth seizing, you make your move.”

Fine words; the problem is, none of that really happened. More to the point, it’s overwhelming proof that talk is cheap, and that politicians’ talk is even cheaper. (Dunderdale later admitted that her only experience building anything was the construction of a house — which also went overbudget.)

What everyone should realize from this provincial disaster is that being elected as a politician does not guarantee a person any specific skill beyond politics.

It does, however, give them the tools and the platform to spread half-truths and self-aggrandizing blather.

Some will even quite willingly use their political powers to destroy the reputations of concerned citizens, as clearly happened in Newfoundland, where people with expertise were dismissed as naysayers and traitors.

Others will go as far as to recommend that citizens who raise questions be dismissed from their jobs.

Particularly galling in this case is that those who had asked questions based on reasoned, thorough research were publicly and callously dismissed by politicians who, it turns out, had done none of their own.

And that’s something that can, and does, happen in every single province in this country.

There’s a Muskrat Falls waiting for anyone who thinks they don’t have to pay attention to politics, and that everything will work out just fine.

Russell Wangersky’s column appears in SaltWire publications across Atlantic Canada. He can be reached at


Global Chorus essay for March 16
Michael Reynolds

Trains gather people and take them to specific destinations.
They have opened up continents and developed countries …
but they can only go where there is track.
If there is no track, the train does not go there.

The evolution of humanity on this planet has developed its own track.
Belief systems, religions, economies, political regimes, laws, codes, regulations …
all have become “tracks” to our future.
These tracks have opened up continents and developed countries …
but there is a problem …
a changing planet and a growing population have
created the need to go to places
that these tracks do not go.

There is a new frontier now …
evolution beyond the tracks.

This evolution will require that every decision made on this planet,
by any jurisdiction, anywhere,
be made with the sustenance of all the peoples and
all the animals and all the plants
in mind.

The economy, the corporations and other institutions will be placed in their rightful
positions behind the needs of the people and the planet. At this time, an
insignificant economy will emerge. This economy will be
a result of the sustenance of the people.
Human equity will be found to be far
more valuable than monetary equity.

Life will no longer float on an economy. Life will have its own wings.

    Michael Reynolds, architect turned biotect, inventor/founder of Earthship
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

March 15, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

(OK, there is not much scheduled for today)
Articles/what else is going on:

MPs pass new NAFTA legislation and NDP motion on pharmacare before closing Parliament - by The Council of Canadians

Published on Friday, March 13th, 2020
Amid growing concerns of the COVID-19 virus, MPs came together in the House of Commons today to pass implementing legislation today for the new NAFTA agreement, also known as the Canada-United States Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Also on the table was an NDP motion calling on the government to move forward with a national pharmacare program, which was passed unanimously.

MPs then agreed to shutter the House of Commons for five weeks to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is now in self-isolation with his family after his wife, Sophie Gregoire, tested positive for COVID-19, announced financial aid to help people impacted during the current economic slowdown.

“No one should have to worry about paying rent, buying groceries or finding childcare,” Trudeau said in a press conference today.

New NAFTA brings good and bad

Canada is the last country to pass implementation legislation for the new NAFTA agreement. Mexico ratified the deal in 2019 and the U.S. ratified it in early 2020.

Canada’s Senate also met today to approve the deal. Senate approval is the final legislative step before the deal is officially ratified.

While there are some improvements in CUSMA, including the removal of the energy proportionality clause that required Canada to supply the United States with a steady stream of energy exports, and the removal of investor-state dispute settlement provisions that allowed corporations to sue the Canadian government, new problems were added. Changes were made to Canada’s supply management system that will hurt Canadian farmers, and new corporate-friendly forums that can remove regulations designed to keep us safe and healthy were added to the agreement.

Council of Canadians supporters helped draw attention to the problems with both the original NAFTA agreement and CUSMA and called for more transparency and accountability when new trade deals are considered. The Trudeau government recently announced measures that aim to provide more public transparency and accountability. This should help shift the balance of trade agreements being in the interest of corporations to being in the interest of people and the planet.

Pharmacare for all closer to reality

The Council of Canadians has campaigned for a national pharmacare program that is based on the principles of the Canada Health Act. As drug prices skyrocket, more people now have to choose between getting the medications they need and paying for their rent or food.

A publicly funded, universal drug coverage program – also known as pharmacare – would provide all Canadians with access to the prescription medicines they need. People would be healthier and many would no longer have the economic burden of paying for medications out-of-pocket. We also showed how employers would benefit from pharmacare by not having to include expensive drug plans in employees’ benefit packages.

Canada is the only country in the world with a universal health care program that doesn’t cover medication.

Even though study after study has shown the health and economic benefits of a national pharmacare program, successive federal governments have stalled its implementation. The Trudeau government promised in the federal election to bring in pharmacare, but have not yet delivered. The NDP motion was meant to get broad party support and commitment to move forward with a national drug program.

Some provincial and territorial premiers have expressed hesitation about pharmacare, saying they would rather see increased funding to address things like hospital overcrowding and growing wait times. They say they want to be given the ability to opt out of a national program.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said his party plans to convince all premiers that a national program will be worthwhile for everyone. "The first step, I believe, to gain the confidence and to be able to undo some of that cynicism, is to end those cuts ... reinvest in health care, show the provinces that we're serious about health care, increase the investments in transfers to health care in general and then propose a national, universal program," he said.


(United States)

Judge Blocks Rule That Would Have Kicked 700,000 People Off SNAP - NPR article by Maria Godoy

Published in Saturday, March 14th, 2020, at NPR

A federal judge has issued an injunction blocking the Trump administration from adopting a rule change that would force nearly 700,000 Americans off food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The rule change was set to take effect April 1.

In a ruling issued Friday evening in Washington, D.C., U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell called the rule change capricious, arbitrary and likely unlawful.

The rule change would have required able-bodied adults without children to work at least 20 hours a week in order to qualify for SNAP benefits past three months. It would also have limited states' usual ability to waive those requirements depending on economic conditions. The preliminary injunction will preserve that flexibility.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it was adopting the rule change in December, but critics have called on the department to suspend implementation, especially in light of the economic crisis spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the department planned to move ahead with the rule.

<snip> rest of article at the link

CBC has said it will increase access to its news channels so people can stay up to date more easily:

CBC/Radio-Canada and TV distributors make 24-hour news channels widely available

Published on Saturday, March 14th, 2020

As Canadians face the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the constantly changing situation, CBC/Radio-Canada and the country's TV distributors want to ensure more Canadians have access to the latest trusted information.

We are collaborating to make the public broadcaster's 24-hour news channels, CBC News Network and ICI RDI, more widely available.

CBC News Network is now available to all subscribers on Bell TV, Shaw, Cogeco and on all TELUS Optik TV packages. On Monday, Rogers and Eastlink will be making News Network available to customers.

It is also accessible on CBC Gem,, CBC News app and


About the high speed internet access for rural areas -- this apparently is a start...but there are LOTS of questions.....

UPDATED: P.E.I. releases details of plan to fix rural internet - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Saturday, March 14th, 2020


Almost one year after announcing a deal intended to solve P.E.I.’s rural internet woes, the province has finally inked a deal with both Bell and Xplornet.

Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay announced the details of the deal in a briefing on Friday morning, with both interim Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant and Green Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker present. MacKay said the two agreements will see improved internet service for the vast majority of Island households, with about 97 per cent of households in the province reaching minimum internet download speeds of 50 megabits per second and upload speeds of 10 megabits per second.

The 50-megabit download and 10-megabit upload speeds are the minimum standard for broadband set by the Canadian Radio-television and Communications Commission.

<snip> and rest of the article at
Such a cool guy. Time to screen Occupy Love again.....

Global Chorus essay for March 15
Velcrow Ripper

Imagine a world where each and every one of us was committed to discovering who we are truly here to be, committed to unwrapping our gifts, to living from our deepest Being. Imagine a world where we support each other in that quest. Imagine a world where we are seen for our potential to Become – Buddha to be, Gandhi to be, Einstein to be. Imagine a world where we greet each other with compassion and an open heart – Dalai Lama to be, Amma to be, White Buffalo Calf Woman to be. Imagine a world where we thirst for justice and respect – Mandela to be, Joan of Arc to be, Aung San Suu Kyi to be. Imagine a world where we dare to be ecstatically different – Rumi to be, Mary Magdalene to be, Wonder Woman to be. Imagine a world where we stand up for the planet as part of who we are – ancient forest to be, rushing river to be, soaring eagle to be.

Imagine a world where each person reached just a little bit further, towards compassion, sustainability, harmony and creativity. Imagine a world that stretched even further, to the place where ecstasy lives. Imagine a world of celebration for life in all its joy and all its pain. A world where nothing stands in the way but fear itself. Where fear is just a passing fancy, replaced by unyielding hope, undying trust, indestructible vulnerability. A world where everyone and everything that happens to you is part of an extraordinary opportunity to learn and grow and evolve. Imagine a world that reflected back all the love in your heart, beaming right back at you, blinding you with its brilliance. Imagine a world where the extraordinary life you are here to live is here. Imagine if you could start living that life, right now. Your fierce love shining bright.

Another world is possible, this very moment, when we choose to live it. It begins with your very next breath.

     — Velcrow Ripper, speaker and award-winning filmmaker of Scared Sacred, Fierce Light and Occupy Love
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

March 14, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets open....but with a few precautions announced from Charlottetown Farmers' Market in light of the COVID prevention recommendations:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM
"The Market WILL BE OPEN (today), however, the dining area will be closed. Hot food vendors will be serving take-away only. We also ask that those arriving in PEI from out-of-country travel refrain from visiting the Market for two weeks after they arrive home....
We thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we come together with our Island community to take proactive measures with respect to COVID-19.
We look forward to serving you at the Market...and encourage you to continue buying local and supporting our vendors. Many of the products available at the Market are freezable or non-perishable - consider bringing extra bags and stocking up on local foods, beverages and other goods."

Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM.

Seedy Saturday Summerside, 1-3PM, Summerside Rotary Library. Bring seeds to swap or purchase seeds, with a seed-saving workshop planned. Any updates should be posted here:
Facebook event link

From Ask Umbra: Advice on Life During Climate Change" -

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

Dear Umbra:

Should I feel guilty about buying so much plastic-wrapped and single-use stuff for this quarantine nightmare?
— Stuck Here Using Throwaways Instead of ... Not

A. Dear SHUT-IN,

The rapid, worldwide spread of coronavirus is certainly making everyone a bit more neurotic than usual. There’s so much uncertainty and suspicion and airborne phlegm floating around -- it’s like the Red Scare: Allergy Season Edition, except there’s actually something concrete to be afraid of. It’s also kind of like climate anxiety, in that there’s ample opportunity for dwelling and fear and self-doubt, especially if you’re suddenly alone in your apartment for hours every day.

COVID-19, the disease caused by this coronavirus, is a real threat to the elderly, people with immune disorders, and those who are already ill. And despite the reassurances of both the president of the United States and the director of Pittsburgh’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade that everything is chill, the vast majority of public health professionals say it’s best to be vigilant to prevent its further spread. That means washing your hands, trying not to touch your face, and, yes, coughing into single-use tissues and then throwing them away.

And yet, as my colleague (and Umbra substitute!) L.V. Anderson wrote yesterday, the widespread perception that new, single-use products are somehow more hygienic compared to their reusable counterparts is not necessarily accurate. But due to coronavirus concerns, major chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have already paused the use of reusable and “for here” containers in their coffee shops in favor of single-use receptacles. So unwarranted or not, most of us probably WILL end up having to use more single-use products for the time being.

So now you, SHUT-IN, have presented a whole fresh new hell: Should we add to our public health fears a sense of guilt over the fact that plastic proliferation is its own environmental catastrophe?

I had a quick chat with Rolf Halden, professor of health engineering at Arizona State University, to put into context any self-flagellation you might be experiencing about buying a plastic-swaddled 24-pack of toilet paper. While he’s enthused that people are critically thinking about how much plastic they consume, whatever’s being bought in the name of COVID-19 prevention “is a drop in the bucket compared to all that we needlessly consume,” he said. “I think the answer is very clear: Don’t compromise health to save a little bit of plastic.”


"Those are dark clouds," said the boy. 
"Yes, but they will move on," said the horse, "the blue sky above never leaves."
by Charles Mackesy, posted by Sweet Things Bakery, Summerside, PEI.

Regarding Global Chorus contributor, Tara Fatridge, and an update on the Biofriendly Blog:

October 11, 2018, Baldwin Park, CA – Biofriendly Corporation announced today that it has converted and expanded its award winning Biofriendly Blog to a full e-magazine, named Biofriendly Planet. The change includes an expanded staff, guest writers, daily green content, and of course, continued weekly content from its award winning blogger and environmentalist, Tara McFatridge. With the news comes the announcement that McFatridge will not only continue to write for the new magazine, she will be its Editor-in-Chief.

And it is a pleasant website to toodle around:


Global Chorus essay for March 14

Tara McFatridge

We have seen time and time again that the human race as a whole is extremely resourceful. My grandparents lived during a time when recycling, conservation and growing your own food were just normal parts of life. Even when I was young, gasoline was being rationed due to the oil crisis. Back then you didn’t just hop in your car anytime you wanted to drive down to the local supermarket. Walking, biking and using public transportation were just what people did back in the day. They also hung up clothes to dry, had leftovers for dinner and made good use of everything they purchased. Nothing went to waste unnecessarily. You see the same sort of thing in many Third World countries. They know their resources are limited and they work together to survive within those limits. They do not waste what they have been given. Many people in First World countries have gotten so used to having certain amenities and resources at their disposal that they probably couldn’t even think about living without them, or wouldn’t want to think about it at least. If they pay for it, they have a right to use it or waste it as they see fit, right? That’s part of the problem. It isn’t a matter of not being able to do the things you need or want to do, it’s a matter of figuring out a more sustainable way to do them. We have to think sustainably, e.g., renewable resources versus finite resources, conservation versus waste etc.

Now I know some may argue that the Earth goes through this cyclic stage and so there is nothing we can do about its natural progression. While that may be true, there are steps we can take to contribute to the Earth’s longevity rather than its demise. How, and how quickly, we utilize Earth’s finite resources will determine the quality of life we will have both now and in years to come. There are a number of renewable resources that need to become mainstream energy sources. Future inventions and ideas should be about getting things done without either using up the remaining resources we have or tainting them with harmful chemicals and toxins. It’s our world. If we work together as a whole, then we can make the changes we want to see for the future: our own, our children’s and their children’s.
— Tara McFatridge, author of Biofriendly Blog


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

March 13, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Standing Committee on Poverty on P.E.I. meeting, 1-3PM, Coles Building. This meeting will be live-streamed. The committee will receive a briefing from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Dr.
Christine Saulnier). Please note: presenter will appear via video

Livestreaming should be available here. (look for the little yellow flag that says "Watch LIve" or the committee's page after the meeting)

Chris note: Christine Saulier is an amazing person who has done so much for people in Atlantic Canada. She helped a group get the midwifery movement (via BORN or Birth Options Research Network) going on the Island (and yes, Islanders are still waiting for the January 2020 access to midwifery promised by Health Minister James Aylward in the Fall Sitting of the Legislature, waiting for the coordinator to be hired, we are told); she was one of the "Thinkers" at the Pugwash Thinkers' Retreat on Climate Change in October 2017; she ran for Parliament as the NDP's candidate in the Halifax area last Fall, so she will have much to say.
Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Cenotaph in front of Province House (Grafton Street side). A weekly reminder about the critical importance of dealing with the Climate Crisis.
I will summarize the excellent presentations from last night's Charlottetown Public Meeting with the Special Committee on Climate Change for tomorrow's CA News., and though the effort was not video-recorded, there will be an transcript available soon and I think and I think an audio recording available. People can submit comments to the Committee anytime -- the best email to send those to is forthcoming :-)

The Current, CBC Radio's current affairs show, had a interview yesterday with Bill McKibben, of the Climate Change awareness group, about "COVID-19 Lessons About Climate Action:
You can listen to the interview at the link, or read the transcript there, but hear it is (thanks to Tony Reddin for the link and to Don Mazer for summarizing this at the Climate Change committee public meeting last night in Charlottetown for the Citizens' Alliance.

Matt Galloway: My next guest says that terrible as COVID-19. Is this virus could also teach us some valuable lessons about climate change and how the world might fight that global crisis. Bill McKibben is an environmentalist and Vermont founder of the climate advocacy group, and he just wrote a piece for The New Yorker called What Can the Corona Virus Teach US? Bill McKibben, good morning to you.
BILL MCKIBBEN: Good morning. Good to be with you.
MG: Great to have you. As you write. There is nothing good about the Corona virus But given that, what could it teach us?
BILL MCKIBBEN: Well, look, I mean, we're going to learn a lot of lessons, we're going through a we're going through a weird and difficult moment in human history right now. One of the lessons is science works. Pay attention to scientists. What they tell you isn't convenient always; you have to stay home from work. Your school might have to close. You have to change the way you're doing business. But, Matt, they're telling you that for a reason. Because they know what they're talking about in just the same way that when they say, look, you can't keep pouring carbon into the atmosphere. You can't build a new pipeline. Then one should take them seriously, too. Science works. I think the second lesson is we live on a very physical world. It's easy for us to forget that we spend our lives staring at screens. We live in kind of bubbles. You know, it's easy enough to never go outside if you can drive from your garage to the parking garage at your office. You can go a week at a time without really spending any time outdoors. But the world that we live in is deeply, deeply physical. Biology is real. There's no way, despite the best efforts of President Trump to spin a microbe or to persuade a virus to compromise any more than there is to, you know, out politic CO2 molecule. The world is a physical place and reality can bite and bite hard. There are some other lessons, I think, that we're beginning to learn from.
MG: Some of them and it seem to be around carbon emissions and what's happening. As economies slow down.
BILL MCKIBBEN: Well, yeah, I mean, no big surprise there if you shut off an economy, carbon emissions go down. But that's clearly not a long term solution to the problem. In fact, it may come back to bite us harder. I mean, there's already a fair amount of evidence that the Chinese government is planning to respond to their economic slowdown with their usual technique, which is a huge, huge stimulus for infrastructure spending. The last time that happened in 2008 and as the financial crisis was roiling the west, Chinese emissions went way up. So, I mean, there's no end. Meanwhile, you know, as the price of oil goes down, down, down, it's quite possible Americans may decide to continue their love affair with SUVs. So, you know, be careful what you wish for. On the other hand, what's been demonstrated, I think, is that we can be at least a little nimble in the ways that we react to things.
MG: What do you mean?
BILL MCKIBBEN: Well, I mean, think about the ways that companies around the world and people around the world have scrambled to learn how to work from home, how to telecommute. Those are things that over time may actually help us rearrange. There's no law that says it makes sense for everybody to get in a car every morning and drive to some centralized place, spend an hour doing it, you know, work all day and then drive an hour home. This may teach us some new and flexible and useful pattern.
MG: Does it tell you that there were an adaptable species, that that, again, in the face of something that nobody wants, we can be forced to change our ways?
BILL MCKIBBEN: Yeah, we're adaptable. You can overdo that analysis. The other side of this and it's hard, I think, and we're only sort of beginning to realise it as we go into self-quarantine and things is there's something very unnatural about what's happening. We're a social species. In times of crisis, our instinct is always to come together to help each other. Natural disaster after natural disaster proves that, yes, occasionally there's a few looters or something, but mostly it's people showing up to help each other. And in this case, we're being told just the opposite. You know, no laying on of hands, wash hands, don't go to other people's assistance. Stay away from them. That's for obvious and good epidemiological reason. But I think maybe one thing we should do well, we're well, we have these weeks of a natural quiet is reflect a little bit on the amount of kind of social distancing we're doing already in a world ruled by cell phones and things.
MG: You wrote that hell is no other people.
BILL MCKIBBEN: That's what it seems to me is going to be one of the Roma. One of the things we learn from here and when it's done and when it's over, then we may feel some real relief that our release from detention. And as we do, perhaps we'll start to re-evaluate whether or not the satisfaction that we want as human beings comes mostly from contact with other people, not from consumption of stuff. If that message sank in then, then there might be some real benefit for the larger, more enduring crisis that we face in the planet's atmosphere.
MG: If you go back to the issue of carbon emissions, there's less air traffic, there is less industrial output, as you mentioned, in China, people perhaps aren't commuting as much. There is this huge economic cost that's associated with that. What is the thing that we might practically learn? I mean, because to your point, once the economy restarts, China could start to build more subways, build more cities, and that's going to tip the balance the other way. How do we take what's happening right now and play it out in the long game?
BILL MCKIBBEN: I think that the place that we're most likely to see change is around, maybe, around these questions of social solidarity. I mean, the hope is that we'll learn for the first time in a while about how to do things as a society that are necessary when we're in danger. And we're deeply, deeply in danger from the climate crisis. So this is a moment to remind ourselves that that's what societies are for.
MG: That when you when you hear the deputy prime minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland say that this is a whole of country approach to this outbreak, you want that applied to two other issues as well, like the climate crisis.
BILL MCKIBBEN: Exactly right. And in the whole of world approach. One of the things that we really need to be reminded and we are being reminded is, you know, Donald Trump can build all the walls that he wants, but microbes don't care about them. You know, we can talk all we want about, you know, country by country approaches to climate change. And those are important. But look, CO2 travels everywhere. If, you know, if we said all the oil in Alberta on fire, that CO2 is going to travel all over the world. It is travelling all over the world as people burn it in gasoline, in gas tanks, in their cars. So we need to really be serious about what science says. It gives us limits. There are limits as to how much carbon we can have in the atmosphere. The scientists tell us 350 parts per million a limit we're already above. So maybe this will remind us to respect the physical nature of the world and the limits that it imposes.
MG: What's the role of government in this? Because that sounds great. But practically you wonder whether people will take those steps once this crisis abates, whether it's in summer or whether it's three years down the road. What's the role of government in taking what you're saying, what you've been writing about and actually making it happen?
BILL MCKIBBEN: Well, I think the deeper question is what is the role of people in telling governments what they're going to do? And, you know, I mean, we're right now in an election in the United States, for instance. It's clearly kind of in part a referendum on whether the to my mind, insane hyper individualism of the kind of billionaire class that Trump represents is what we want or do we want a society that has some idea that people are responsible for each other. And that's the kind- I mean, look, I think there's no question that the coronavirus, for instance, is going to hurt Trump in this election, not because of what it's doing to the economy, but because it reminds people that we actually rely on each other.
MG: But I just wonder whether you actually see the opportunity of people coming together. I mean, the president last night in his speech talked about this as being a foreign virus. We already see xenophobia and racism being applied and popping up as people talk about this. So is this really something that can bring people together?
BILL MCKIBBEN: That's the danger. That's the danger. And the opportunity is that people will come together precisely against that. We won't know for a little while, because for the moment, we our job is to deal with the very practical set of challenges that we face. But when we go through experiences as deep as this and as unusual as this, it can't help but leave a kind of residue in how we think about the world. And so we'll see on the other side, we'll see if people are more open to the idea that we should take everyone in a society, including, say, in Canada, indigenous people seriously and in how they think about the world. We'll see if we're able to think about other societies that take frail and poor and vulnerable populations more seriously, because we're being reminded precisely how vulnerable they are. Those are the possibilities that are on. So when you have an emergency, we'll see.
MG: Bill McKibben, it's great to speak with you. Thank you.
BILL MCKIBBEN: A real pleasure. Take care.
MG: Bill McKibben founded the Climate Campaign Group He's also the Schumann distinguished scholar at Middlebury College in Vermont and writes for The New Yorker.


Global Chorus essay for March 13
Sheila Watt-Cloutier

I am confident the world can come together as one if we could come to know just how connected we all are. The world needs to realize that our environment, our economies and our communities are not siloed or separate, but are all connected by our shared atmosphere and oceans – not to mention through our human spirit.

I truly feel it is important to change the dialogue about effectively addressing climate change and the environmental degradation of our planet solely in terms of the loss of economies to one of opportunities for a better world. Moving citizens into action requires us to move this issue from the head to the heart – where all change happens – and reassure civil society that change will not be economically punitive.

The melting ice is trying to show us is that the service the frozen Arctic provided to the rest of the planet is now on the brink of destruction. In other words, the loss of these “ecosystem services” – whether from the white ice reflecting the sun’s rays back into space, or our frozen land locking away methane gas, or our glaciers keeping water on the land, which as a whole serves as the “cooling system,” the world’s air conditioner if you will – already adds up to hundreds of billions of dollars. Therefore this connection works both ways: we can think not only about our economies in human or environmental terms but our environment in economic terms.

If people come to understand the Arctic as an important bridge rather than an inhospitable wasteland that has little to do with anyone else, it will help us to become more open to listening to the wisdom of what the melting ice is telling us.

Politics and economics tend to keep these issues in a “fearful” place where civil society feels it has no power over how the issues are being dealt with. However, I feel real power lies in individuals, families and communities as they become more aware that this issue is just as much about humanity as it is about industry. It is time to allow ourselves to see that our planet and its people are one, and to move beyond the rhetoric of politics and economics to one of the human dimension. Once we start to really “see” one another and better understand our interconnectedness, we will be able to feel more compassion. This compassion will translate into clarity, focus and action as to how else we could be addressing these common challenges of environmental degradation of our planet.

— Sheila Watt-Cloutier, environmental, cultural and human rights advocate

Entry from The Canadian Encyclopedia

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

March 12, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event tonight:
Climate Change Committee public consultation, 6:30-8:30PM, Murphy Centre, room 207, all welcome.
If you can make it to this, please come, as it is the only Charlottetown meeting scheduled and public engagement will help emphasize how important it is for the committee (and government) to act decisively.

This meeting will have some formality of a committee meeting "hearing", but don't let that put you off from coming and speaking at the mike. The meeting will feature a presentation on Climate Change and PEI from UPEI Climate Lab's Dr. Xander Wang.

**The trade-off to moving to a bigger space to accommodate more people participating in person (as opposed to the limited Gallery seating at the Coles Building) is that there will be NO live-streaming. The meeting will be audio-recorded to help with transcript preparation, but getting there in person is the only way to participate right now.**

So come for any part of the evening that you can.
Facebook event link
Transcripts from two of the previous Climate Change Committee meetings that are available are here:
Tignish: Feb 13
Rustico: Feb 20:

If they don't work, a link should be at the bottom of this page, along with any audio or video recordings of previous meetings:
Global Chorus essay for March 12
Dan Pallotta

Humanity can absolutely win, and the “non-profit,” sector, or “humanitarian sector” as I like to call it, will be a major player in that contest, but only if we liberate it from the puritan constraints of deprivation that have held it back for so long.

We have to stop preaching to the sector to act more like business and start giving it the big-league permissions we really give to business. We have to stop being so prudish in our refusal to allow the sector to lure great talent with great pay packages. We have to stop being squeamish about introducing financial incentive into changing the world. We have to allow the sector to fail upward, so it can innovate. We have to allow it to market on the scale we allow Budweiser.

If we do these things, the sector can achieve progress on a scale we never previously imagined. That will give hope to humanity in and of itself.

— Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, and Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World, and founder of Advertising for Humanity and the Charity Defense Council

More of his interesting perspectives at:
2013 TED talk "The Way We think About Charity is Dead Wrong" and 2016 TED Talk


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

March 11, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Market is open for lunch today, 10AM-2PM, Belvedere Avenue

Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 1:30PM. The committee will hear from Julia Hartley of the PEI Lung Association regarding sleep apnea.

"Shifting Gears: Create a Shared Vision for a Bike-Friendly Future", 6-9PM, PEI Brewing Company, hosted by Bike Friendly Charlottetown, all welcome.

"...We want to celebrate all of the current active transportation projects that are being planned, and collect ideas on how to fill the gaps in between.
We'll have workshopping stations with interactive maps, networking and visioning activities, and we'll be 'beaming in' an expert on road design who will share what works in other cities, for a presentation and Q&A. Don't miss out!
Your participation will make a difference - we've got momentum behind the idea of bike lanes right now - we just need to convert that enthusiasm into action.
Join us to learn what the experts from other bike-friendly cities advise us to do, and help us to figure out where the hell we should be putting these Charlottetown bike lanes anyway, so that we can maximize benefits for city residents and businesses!
See you there! Together we can break the vicious cycle!"

PEI Land and Water: Sources of All Life, 7-9PM, Wheatley River Community Centre.
"The keynote speaker will be Colin Jeffrey who has for the past seven years been involved in watershed restoration work on PEI, as a field technician with the Brackley-Covehead Bay and Wheatley River watershed groups and for the past five years as Director of the Trout River Environmental Committee. As Director of TREC, Colin has developed and completed a number of significant projects to restore the health of local rivers, improve aquatic habitat connectivity and involve local communities in understanding and caring for nature.
Colin’s topic will be 'Opportunities for Sustainable Agriculture to Protect Our Land and Waters'.
Organizers hope the event will be a provide a chance to explore land and water as sources of life, how they are threatened, why it matters, how we are working together as a community, and what more can be done to improve the health of our ecosystems."

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 12th:
Climate Change Special Committee Community Meeting, CHARLOTTETOWN, 6:30PM,**new location of Murphy Centre, Room 207, all welcome!! Come share your thoughts on how government should get cracking dealing with reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Opinion pieces:

LETTER: Time for transparency - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, March 5th, 2020

EDITOR: Last year Islanders voted for a change in government. After 12 years of Liberal governments of Ghiz and MacLachlan, we were ready for something different. As the one-year anniversary approaches, we can see some things are different and yet some remain very much the same.

Many appreciate the change in tone. We never really warmed to the autocratic aspect of MacLauchlan nor the nepotism aspect of Ghiz. Dennis King’s friendly approach seemed more like what we wanted: down-home, hanging around the local gathering spot, swapping stories while roads get paved and contracts get handed out.

What’s puzzling though is why, after promising transparency, King continues to emulate some of the worst practices from his Liberal predecessors. The e-gaming scandal was not a Tory scandal until nine months ago; now it falls squarely on the shoulders of the current government. All that King had to do was answer the same questions that they had asked when they were in opposition. Instead, they have doubled down on double-speak and obfuscation.

Why does the information commissioner continually have to challenge the government to disclose documents that should be part of public record? If documents between the Liberal premier and his chief of staff were deleted, that need not have been King’s responsibility — now it is. He has a choice to make: to continue supporting a select few who benefit from secret deals and contracts, or to be transparent. He cannot do both.

He could start with stating how much has been paid to lawyers to defend the e-gaming lawsuit and who is responsible for the deletion of government records. He can follow that with immediately disclosing the documents that have been requested and denied to date.

Joe Byrne,

Leader of the Island New Democrats



LETTER: Shared buses a good idea - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, March 9th, 2020, in The Guardian

I was pleased to hear Premier Dennis King announce that the province is considering using school buses as part of a rural public transportation plan.

I live in the country and work part-time, shop, etc. in Montague. I have often thought that riding the school bus that passes by my house morning and afternoon would be a perfect way to cut down on my car use. I would be more than happy to pay a fee for this; which would, in turn, help support the school bus system.

Perhaps late buses, which were the norm in the 1960s and ’70s enabling students to take part in after school extracurricular activities, could be reinstated. This would mean more students can take part, far fewer cars would make extra trips for pickups, and more working adults could take advantage of buses travelling when they are getting off work.
Melissa Mullen, Lewes



Global Chorus essay for March 11
Tim Smit

The writers of the 1950s saw in their imaginations the technological world that we now consider normal. Then it was called science fiction. However, hardly a single one foresaw the social changes that were on the horizon: progress in human rights, gay rights, gender equality, single households and the dawn of an aging population that would remain healthy into very mature years. For me, the future is brighter than it has ever been because we now know many of the problems that confront us – communications makes it impossible to hide them – and 99 per cent of people in the world would like to be able to do the “right thing.”

If we fry ourselves or create a world of such dysfunction that aspiration dies to be replaced by fetid survivalism, we deserve it. After all it us, we humans, that called ourselves Homo sapiens: the wise hominid. What hubris if we are wrong, but what a triumph if we can live up to it. I delight at living in an age that represents a new enlightenment, where the challenges we face are worthy of being met and the cost of failure is so great it will concentrate the mind. People still do beastly and stupid things, they always will; however what we have now, for the first time ever, is the mechanism that allows the good to get organized. This is, to me, the real spiritual power of the Internet, and why I feel hope burning in me like an unquenchable fire.

    — Sir Tim Smit, co-founder and chief executive for development of the Eden Project


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

March 10, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Tuesday, March 10th:
Public Accounts Committee, 10AM, Coles Building.
"The committee will meet to receive a briefing on petroleum product pricing by J. Scott MacKenzie, Chair and CEO, Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission." 

Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM.  Coles Building. "The committee will meet to receive a briefing from Premier’s Youth Council member Brooks Roche (and possibly other witnesses TBA) regarding the Premier’s Youth Council (formerly the Youth Futures Council) and the future of youth engagement on PEI."  

These should be live-streamed on the Legislative Assembly website

Presentation: A Step Forward for Climate Research on PEI, 1:30-3PM, Eastern Kings Community Centre, SOURIS.  Hosted by the Souris Area Branch of the P.E.I. Wildlife Federation.  Adam Fenech and folks from UPEI will provide details of the new Climate Centre and the climate research activities being conducted.
Facebook event link 

Talk: Growing Organic on PEI, 7-8PM, Confederation Centre Public Library, Charlottetown.
Participants in this session are invited to come with their questions about organic farming and also learn about the exciting progress of organics on PEI. Prepare for an interactive and engaging session.
Karen Murchison is a professional agrologist working with the PEI Certified Organic Producers Cooperative (PEI COPC) in Charlottetown.


Opinion piece from the other Guardian (the U.K. one), with thanks to Tony Reddin,with some suggestions that are equally suitable for islands on both sides of the pond.

Why don’t we treat the climate crisis with the same urgency as coronavirus? - The Guardian (UK) article by Owen Jones

Published on Thursday, March 5th, 2020

No Cobra meetings, no sombre speeches from No 10, yet the consequences of runaway global heating are catastrophic

It is a global emergency that has already killed on a mass scale and threatens to send millions more to early graves. As its effects spread, it could destabilise entire economies and overwhelm poorer countries lacking resources and infrastructure. But this is the climate crisis, not the coronavirus. Governments are not assembling emergency national plans and you’re not getting push notifications transmitted to your phone breathlessly alerting you to dramatic twists and developments from South Korea to Italy.

More than 3,000 people have succumbed to coronavirus yet, according to the World Health Organization, air pollution alone – just one aspect of our central planetary crisis – kills seven million people every year. There have been no Cobra meetings for the climate crisis, no sombre prime ministerial statements detailing the emergency action being taken to reassure the public. In time, we’ll overcome any coronavirus pandemic. With the climate crisis, we are already out of time, and are now left mitigating the inevitably disastrous consequences hurtling towards us.

While coronavirus is understandably treated as an imminent danger, the climate crisis is still presented as an abstraction whose consequences are decades away. Unlike an illness, it is harder to visualise how climate breakdown will affect us each as individuals. Perhaps when unprecedented wildfires engulfed parts of the Arctic last summer there could have been an urgent conversation about how the climate crisis was fuelling extreme weather, yet there wasn’t. In 2018, more than 60 million people suffered the consequences of extreme weather and climate change, including more than 1,600 who perished in Europe, Japan and the US because of heatwaves and wildfires. Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe were devastated by cyclone Idai, while hurricanes Florence and Michael inflicted $24bn (£18.7bn) worth of damage on the US economy, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

As the recent Yorkshire floods illustrate, extreme weather – with its terrible human and economic costs – is ever more a fact of British life. Antarctic ice is melting more than six times faster than it was four decades ago and Greenland’s ice sheet four times faster than previously thought. According to the UN, we have 10 years to prevent a 1.5C rise above pre-industrial temperature but, whatever happens, we will suffer.

Pandemics and the climate crisis may go hand in hand, too: research suggests that changing weather patterns may drive species to higher altitudes, potentially putting them in contact with diseases for which they have little immunity. “It’s strange when people see the climate crisis as being in the future, compared to coronavirus, which we’re facing now,” says Friends of the Earth’s co-executive director, Miriam Turner. “It might be something that feels far away when sitting in an office in central London, but the emergency footing of the climate crisis is being felt by hundreds of millions already.”

Imagine, then, that we felt the same sense of emergency about the climate crisis as we do about coronavirus. What action would we take? As the New Economic Foundation’s Alfie Stirling points out, a strict demarcation between the two crises in unwise. After all, coronavirus may trigger a global slowdown: the economic measures in response to this should be linked to solving the climate crisis. “What tends to happen in a recession is policy-makers panic about what the low-lying fruits are; it’s all supply chains and sticking plasters,” he tells me. During the 2008 crash, for example, there was an immediate cut in VAT and interest rates, but investment spending wasn’t hiked fast enough, and was then slashed in the name of austerity. According to NEF research, if the coalition government had funded additional zero-carbon infrastructure, it would not only have boosted the economy but could have reduced residential emissions by 30%. This time round, there’s little room to cut already low interest rates or boost quantitative easing; green fiscal policy must be the priority.

What would be mentioned in that solemn prime ministerial speech on the steps of No 10, broadcast live across TV networks? All homes and businesses would be insulated, creating jobs, cutting fuel poverty and reducing emissions. Electric car charging points would be installed across the country. Britain currently lacks the skills to transform the nation’s infrastructure, for example replacing fuel pumps, says Stirling: an emergency training programme to train the workforce would be announced.

A frequent flyer levy for regular, overwhelmingly affluent air passengers would be introduced. As Turner says, all government policies will now be seen through the prism of coronavirus. A similar climate lens should be applied, and permanently.

This would only be the start. Friends of the Earth calls for free bus travel for the under-30s, combined with urgent investment in the bus network. Renewable energy would be doubled, again producing new jobs, clean energy, and reducing deadly air pollution. The government would end all investments of taxpayers’ money in fossil fuel infrastructure and launch a new tree-planting programme to double the size of forests in Britain, one of Europe’s least densely forested nations.

There is a key difference between coronavirus and climate crisis, of course, and it is shame. “We didn’t know coronavirus was coming,” says Stirling. “We’ve known the climate crisis was on the cards for 30 or 40 years.” And yet – despite being inadequately prepared because of an underfunded, under-resourced NHS – the government can swiftly announce an emergency pandemic plan.

Coronavirus poses many challenges and threats, but few opportunities. A judicious response to global heating would provide affordable transport, well-insulated homes, skilled green jobs and clean air. Urgent action to prevent a pandemic is of course necessary and pressing. But the climate crisis represents a far graver and deadlier existential threat, and yet the same sense of urgency is absent. Coronavirus shows it can be done – but it needs determination and willpower, which, when it comes to the future of our planet, are desperately lacking.

Owen Jones is a Guardian columnist


Global Chorus essay for March 10

Terry Tamminen

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; 
Omitted, all the voyage of their life 
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat …
     — Julius Caesar, 4.3.218–222

We are on such a sea at this moment. We are on the brink and quite frankly the planet doesn’t care whether we destroy ourselves … it will keep spinning. The question is, do we have the collective will to materialize a better world when we continue to drive a living room on wheels and power our homes with flaming chunks of coal?

To materialize this better world I believe we must see all things as connected, unlike science, which takes things apart and studies them in isolation. That’s how we are taught in school: to see animals, ecosystems, water, air, food, oceans and even the Earth itself as oddities to be understood as separate things – at best a fractured mosaic – without
the perspective of standing back far enough to see how it all works together.

The Hopi people say that one finger cannot lift a pebble. The connected co-operation that we will need to thrive on Earth for generations to come will need many fingers acting in concert. This will be the successful path forward – finding some greater good to put before our individual need and doing something in service to that common value. If we are to move past our current crises we cannot, in the words of Shakespeare, allow ourselves to be in the shallows and in miseries because we didn’t have the courage and commitment to take advantage of this moment in time when we still have the opportunity to change the course of history.

        — Terry Tamminen, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency,  founder of Seventh Generation Advisors, strategic advisor for R20 Regions of Climate Action, author of Lives Per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Oil Addiction and Cracking the Carbon Code: The Key to Sustainable Profits in the New Economy

Terry is also an advisor for Project Drawdown

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

March 9, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Legislative Committee meetings this week:

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10th:
Public Accounts Committee, 10AM, Coles Building.
"The committee will meet to receive a briefing on petroleum product pricing by J. Scott MacKenzie, Chair and CEO, Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission."

Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM. "The committee will meet to receive a briefing from Premier’s Youth Council member Brooks Roche (and possibly other witnesses TBA) regarding the Premier’s Youth Council (formerly the Youth Futures Council) and the future of youth engagement on PEI."

Wednesday, March 11th:
Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 1:30PM. "The committee will meet to receive a briefing from Julia Hartley, Association Coordinator of the PEI Lung Association (and possibly other witnesses TBA) regarding sleep apnea and the association's Sleep Apnea Refurbishment Program. The committee may also have preliminary discussions regarding its next report to the Legislative Assembly; as such, portions of this meeting may be in camera."

These should be live-streamed on the Legislative Assembly website

Thursday, March 12th:
Special Committee on Climate Change, 6:30PM, CHARLOTTETOWN meeting. Location may change to accommodate more viewers and participants.

Thursday, March 19th:
Special Committee on Climate Change, 6:30PM, MORELL meeting, Morell Fire Hall. This meeting has been rescheduled to this date.

Tuesday, April 7th:
Spring Sitting of Legislative Assembly begins, 2PM.

from the Office of the Official Opposition

Getting serious on climate change

By Lynne Lund, MLA District 21 Summerside – Wilmot

Official Opposition Critic for Environment, Water, Climate Change, and Green Economic Development

Official Opposition website:

Published on Friday, March 6th, 2020

In the last few months, I have come to believe we should be applying a climate lens to more than just “environmental” issues. A lot of the work we need to do to fight climate change can, and must, be done in other areas. This has been discussed a great deal within the Official Opposition, and it has resulted in our decision to specifically bring an economic lens to the climate change portfolio.

We have seen climate action referenced frequently by the current government through mandate letters and during the recent State of the Province address. But we haven’t actually seen a climate lens applied to government departments. This is a missed opportunity to find solutions that not only benefit the environment, but also improve other aspects of Islanders’ lives.

For example, how would government make decisions if there was a Department of Economic Development and Climate Change on Prince Edward Island?

Bigger does not automatically mean better

We are perpetually focused on simply growing our economy bigger in the belief that bigger means better. But we cannot sustain unrestricted growth on a finite planet. When the GDP grows, not everyone benefits equally, and some may not benefit at all. I believe it would be smart to measure how our policies are improving the quality of people’s lives. We need to understand the experiences and challenges of Islanders in relation to our economy. Better involves so much more than simply producing more. It needs to include other measurements.

Many places around the world are finding ways to include wellbeing measurements when developing economic policies. They are measuring the quality of life their people are experiencing to determine whether or not their work is successful. It is not surprising to learn these places are doing better in the areas they identify as being a priority. In economics, we have found that what we choose to count, counts.

Social Enterprises

This shift in focus will reveal the value in taking a more active role in supporting other economic development opportunities like social enterprises. These community driven businesses do more than create jobs and improve the economy. They also improve their communities socially, environmentally, and culturally. In 2017, Nova Scotia introduced a Framework for Advancing Social Enterprise with a vision to improve both the economy and wellbeing of Nova Scotians. A similar approach can be developed to improve our communities here in PEI.

Circular Economies

Another way we can develop a sustainable future is in improving how we use and manage our resources. More and more jurisdictions are emphasizing the importance of fostering circular economies which strive to minimize material inputs and prevent unnecessary waste.

Studies out of Europe suggest 80% of the products in a landfill are there because of decisions made at the design level. In other words, many businesses are choosing to design products in such a way that often makes them too difficult or expensive to repair.

In a circular economy we look at all parts of the product development process. We determine how to use the least amount of resources in the most effective way. We also look at how to keep those products in use for as long as possible, which can take a number of forms. This means the maximum value of a product is realized. Finally, when products reach the end of their service life, we look at how to best recover and regenerate new products.

Creative opportunity for transitioning our economy

These green ways of looking at economic development are just a few examples of how we can reveal new and creative ways to improve both our economy and collective wellbeing. In my new role as Shadow Critic for Green Economic Development, these are just a couple of areas I will be exploring.

Unfortunately, on Prince Edward Island, we have pigeon-holed climate change with the environment, and aren’t truly considering its implications on other portfolios. Given this, I suggest the new Minister of the Environment, Water and Climate should get together with the Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture to take a creative look at how we can build on our economic strengths while meeting our commitments for climate leadership. It’s a smart step that can realize new, exciting, and innovative approaches for transitioning PEI to our new climate reality, and protect our economic wellbeing into the future.



Live Long and Prosper

Worried about handshaking and catching germs?  Some are suggesting greeting people with the Vulcan salute, from Star Trek's Spock's home planet. In the middle of this three minute segment, crotchety and clumsy-fingered Dr. "Bones" McCoy attempts it.  The brass fanfares at the beginning and end of the clip make it all worth it.
Vulcan salute Star Trek YouTube video clip  


Global Chorus essay for March 9
Keibo Oiwa

The age of crisis is a great opportunity for the downward shift from “excess” to “just enough.” This shift, characterized by three “S” words – slow, small and simple – is necessary because of the enormous mess we’re currently in, created by our own civilization with its race to get faster, bigger and more.

The motto of our new era is “less is more.” In our slow descent, we stop overdoing and find ourselves having more and more time to enjoy life. We’ll do less and be more. We will rediscover ourselves as human beings, not “human doings.” It is a homecoming to our own nature. And this is a good reason to be hopeful.

Avoiding excess and knowing where to stop is required for every sustainable culture. That is another reason to be hopeful, as we are all essentially cultural beings. Do we need a miracle for our survival? Maybe, but the most profound truth could be found not in some remote place but just around yourself.

An 18th-century Japanese philosopher, Miura Baien, said, “What is really amazing is not flowers on a dead tree, but flowers on a living tree.” Life is a miracle. And that is always the hope.

Finally, like that story of a hummingbird that keeps carrying a drop of water in her beak to the burning forest, there is something that drives one to act as if there were hope even in a desperate situation. So, there is hope.

      — Keibo Oiwa, cultural anthropologist, environmental activist, founder of the Sloth Club and leader of the Slow Movement in Japan


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

March 8, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today is International Women's Day, and there are many events going on, including:

Music PEI Presents: International Women's Day Celebration, 12:30PM-3PM, Haviland Club.

Doors open at 12:30 with refreshments, and program starting at 1PM. Performances and Words by:
Joce Reyome
Starchild Eliza Knockwood
Members of / des membres de Gadelle
Tiffany Liu
Emily Coughlin
Sara Roach-Lewis
Tamara Steele
Hosted by Tanya Davis and Catherine MacLellan

International Women's Day celebration - Like a Woman, 3-5PM, Trinity United Church, Charlottetown.

Celebrating women the world over and demanding equity, safety and human rights for all genders. Participate in singing, music and movement, and hear speakers reflecting on their diverse experiences as women. There will be children's activities and a button-making station. Refreshments provided and admission is FREE. All ages and genders welcome.  Facebook event link

24 Strong is hosting an International Women's day Celebration and forum, 6-8PM, StartUp Zone, Lower Queen Street, Charlottetown, with Ilona Daniels, Rachel Adams, Tamara Steele, and Julie Pellissier-Lush, among others.
Sold out so live-streaming and more details here:
Facebook event link


Global Chorus essay for March 8
Hawa Abdi

It is only with hope that we were able to survive through the 23 years of civil war in Somalia.

There were so many dark days, days when we had to bury 50 children in one day, or when I awoke at four a.m. to treat a mother who had nowhere else to turn to. Sometimes at these moments, I didn’t know whether I could go on. But I would go out and see the faces of mothers and children who are depending on my strength to carry on. These were women who were incredibly resilient, who had trekked miles with their children to escape violence. It is their strength that fills me still and inspires me with the courage needed to continue to help my community through the most difficult hours.

Hope requires that a community come together with respect and love for one another. It is difficult to survive by oneself. At the Hawa Abdi Village we were able to overcome the divisions that threw our country in disarray. For those who sought refuge at my village, I told them of only two rules: first, there will be no talk of clan division; second, no man is allowed to beat his wife. The strength of a community, bonded through respect for one another, can be powerful to overcome even the most persistent violations of humanity. From the heart of our hospital, we were able to deliver and bring up a generation of children with values of equality.

If we want to find a way past current global crises, we need to teach love, respect and equality amongst all.
I believe that the world is one. If one corner of the world feels pain, the pain will travel to other parts of the world as well. The same goes for happiness. Throughout the civil war, the patients I treated all felt the same hunger and thirst. We need to be attentive to our brothers and sisters from different corners of the globe.

I believe that education is key towards this achievement. With education, each global citizen can understand and critically analyze what is going on around us. At the Hawa Abdi Village, we continue to keep the doors open to education, healthcare, clean water and food security. Today we are already seeing a brighter future in Somalia, and we will continue to keep hope alive in all corners of the globe.

     — Hawa Abdi Diblawe, MD, LLB, 
founder of the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation 

Link to an article about her from Face2Face Africa, August 2018

The heroic Hawa Abdi, one of Somalia’s first female obstetricians who saved thousands during the civil war

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

March 7, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Seedy Saturday, Charlottetown, 1-3PM, Confederation Centre Public Library.

"Seeds of Community presents: Seedy Saturdays 2020! Join us at locations across PEI during the month of March to save and exchange seeds, and to learn how seed-saving can increase community resilience. The events are free of charge but donations are gratefully accepted.
Local farmer Carina Phillips will lead a workshop on seed-saving, followed by a community seed exchange. All are welcome to participate (even if you don't have any seeds to share). If you do have seeds to exchange, please provide the following information on seed packets: seed variety, where + when harvested, whether or not seeds are open-pollinated or heirloom.
This year's events will be centered on the concept of FOOD SOVEREIGNTY: a food system in which communities have control over the production, trade, and consumption of their food. It prioritizes farmers' and community members' rights to food and a livable income. It actively resists the oppressive corporate food regime which restricts access to food for vulnerable populations."

Other Seedy Saturdays 2020:

March 14th, 1-3PM, Summerside Rotary Library
March 21st, 1-3PM, Montague Rotary Library
March 28th, 3-5PM, Breadalbane Hall

Tonight (last night):
Opera "The Magic Flute", presented by UPEI Music students, 7:30PM, Steele Recital Hall.
This is a lot of fun, shows off wonderful UPEI student talent, and is an amazing deal for $15 adults/$10 students or kids.  It's a charming interpretation, sung mostly in English.  More information at this link.

The First Friday in March is Unplugged Day, encouraging people to unplug from electronic devices.  (Thanks to Tony Reddin for sending me the notice.)  But as that was yesterday (oops), you could consider unplugging for any amount of time this weekend. 

In a few more weeks:
Saturday, March 28th:
Earth Hour, more details to come.


Leave it on the Shelf Initiative

Plastic packaged produce is the concern of 1Million Mothers, and they are promoting a pledge called "Leave it on the Shelf".

which informs most of the grocery chains that it's pointless, simply.
If you choose to sign the pledge and join the mailing list, you will receive resources and suggestions on reducing plastic packaged in purchased produce.

Here are some (which will get easier to follow, as the seasons change):
And here are 3 ways to get your hands on cheap (and sometimes free!) fresh fruit and veg sans plastic.

1. Shop at your local farmers market 
You'll get the chance to meet the people who've grown your food, so you can ask them any questions you'd like to about it, plus, you know you're buying food without the miles attached. 

2. Grow your own!
If this seems unachievable to you because of lack of space, 
here are some handy ideas on how to get around that. Got the space, but haven't started yet? Here's a list of veggies that will be ready to eat within 30 days, plus info on how to grow them! Last but not least, don't feel like you have to make a trip out to a gardening store and spend extra money on seeds. You can grow food from some of your scraps - here's how. 

3. Produce Swaps
Got a thriving veggie patch that's producing tomatoes in abundance, but don't have much else? This is where 
produce swaps come in. Take your tomatoes with you to your local produce swap and trade them for the spinach leaves you need to complete your salad, or anything else your neighbouring veggie patch owners are producing. Usually communities get the word out about their produce swaps through Facebook and other social media platforms, so have a search to find out if there's one near you. 
Global Chorus essay for March 7
Ronald Colman

When we contemplate our world, seized by rampant materialism and reeling under multiple ecological, social and economic crises, it is tempting to despair. And yet the very bankruptcy of our present system is yielding a new openness and a profound and heartfelt yearning like never before for a genuinely new and sane way forward.

This yearning is no longer “pie-in-the-sky” wishful thinking. We have never had greater global capacity, understanding, material abundance and opportunities to create the change we need. Our scientific knowledge, communications, technology and productive potential are unsurpassed in human history.

In fact, the more life-threatening climate change, resource depletion and species extinction become, the greater the yawning inequities, the deeper the global economic crisis, the emptier the illusory promises of consumerism and the more ineffectual and corrupt existing political and economic structures are, the clearer and more obvious are the shape and premises of the new system that must emerge. It must clearly be based on:

* Fundamental human sanity: no need for “sustainable development” jargon; every human being simply wants the world to be safe and secure for their children.

* Humility: Recognizing the truth that we humans are part of Nature, and must therefore respect other species, live within the bounds of what Nature can provide, and tread lightly on the Earth.

* Joy: Celebrating community, our diverse cultures and our fundamental humanity.

* Contentment: Instead of an economy based on endless grasping, consuming, dissatisfaction and poverty mentality, simplify our lives to build an economy based on appreciation, contentment, equity and fair distribution.

* Good governance: The above are not abstract concepts. They can be translated into wise policy: from investing in sustainable infrastructure (like public transit, renewable energy and organic agriculture), to sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to elimination of poverty and tax havens, to ecological tax reform and high luxury taxes, to instituting systems of fair trade, co-operative ownership, and payments for ecosystem services, to full-cost accounting and holistic measurement mechanisms, and more.

We know what to do. But the window of opportunity to save humanity and other species has
never been smaller – we literally have not a second to waste. And the opportunity itself has never been
greater. Yes, we can do it! Now is the moment! There will be no other!

       — Ronald Colman, PhD, founding director of GPI Atlantic (Genuine Progress Index for Atlantic Canada)

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

March 6, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Cenotaph at Province House, all welcome.

International Women's Day Beans and Biscuits event, 5-7PM, Haviland Club, Charlottetown.  Join us to celebrate International Women's Day with homemade beans & biscuits and live music...Jillian Kilfoil, Executive Director from Women's Network PEI will give an update on women's issues in PEI, Jocelyn Reyome will provide musical entertainment, and Marian "Vanna" White will be holding a raffle...Suggested donation is $10."

Tonight and tomorrow night:
Opera "The Magic Flute", presented by UPEI Music students, 7:30PM, Steele Recital Hall, ticketed.
This opera performance will be predominantly sung in English.  More information at this link.

Saturday, March 7th:
Seedy Saturday -- Charlottetown, 1-3PM, Confederation Centre Public Library.  "Attend a workshop on seed-saving with local farmer Carina Phillips at 1 p.m. Followed by a community seed exchange at 2 p.m. If you have seeds to exchange, please provide the following information on seed packets: seed variety, where + when they were harvested, whether or not seeds are open-pollinated or heirloom." Facebook event link

from the David Suzuki Foundation:

It’s a critical time to hear each other’s perspectives

Discussions about the Wet’suwet’en blockades and actions have been heated. Many people are upset about the impacts of rail and port blockades while Indigenous people and allies are concerned about Indigenous rights and the history of colonial injustice.
And, of course, there’s real concern about the impacts of fossil fuel expansion during a climate emergency, loss of nature from resource extraction and unemployment in parts of the country historically dependant on this industry.
Similarly, many arguments have been raised about Teck cancelling its proposed Frontier oilsands mine, with disagreements over whether we should be celebrating that as a win for the climate or lamenting the loss of potential jobs.
While these issues are front and centre in our national dialogue, how we talk about them matters.

This is a key moment in Canadian history. It’s encouraging to see folks turning their attention to the important issues of climate action and Indigenous rights. But navigating these discussions can be difficult.
We developed a
fun, simple chatbot on Facebook Messenger to teach you how to stop arguing and start understanding one another.
Give it a try and help keep our national dialogue productive at this critical time.
Jodi Stark
Climate and clean energy public engagement specialist
David Suzuki Foundation

Global Chorus essay for March 6
Karl-Henrik Robèrt

It is a fantastic experience to understand worthy goals together – across disciplinary, professional and ideological boundaries – and to realize that we need each other in order to attain those goals. Conversely, it is sobering that so few of our leaders in business and policy know how to build full sustainability into their decision-making, and to shape their action programs, stakeholder alliances, economies and summit meetings accordingly. This results in attempts to deal with one issue at a time, often creating a new sustainability problem while “solving” another. And it leads into very costly dead ends and sub-optimizations.

We are now experiencing increasing costs, lost opportunities and bankruptcies in business organizations and even in cities and countries – bankruptcies that are attributed to inherently unsustainable decisions made in the past. What is needed today are decision-makers who are open to learning the crucial competence of strategic planning and the language that goes with it – a language which makes multi-sectoral collaboration possible at the scale required for success.

Luckily, it has been shown, in a twenty-yearlong action research program with over 200 mayors and top business CEOs, that it is possible to apply a robust framework, built around a robustly principled definition of global sustainability following these actions:

*Aligning their respective organizations within the context of a sustainable global civilization (very concrete, nothing fuzzy here) and simultaneously stabilizing their respective economies by being more relevant for more sustainability-driven markets, reducing costs and gaining in brand values.

*Bringing in actors in their value chains and other stakeholders into joint efforts. Very often mayors and CEOs need to sub-optimize their action plans because other actors in the system do. This is a hurdle that the framework currently helps businesses and cities to overcome.

*Making better and more systematic use of existing tools and concepts for sustainable development.

*Turning to policy-makers and legislators to propose stricter economic frameworks and other support tools to help make the transitions even faster.

The Natural Step’s mission is to disseminate the above framework to any forward-thinking governments, businesses or organizations to help bring themselves within the context of global sustainability, draw the strategic conclusions, and get going.

     — Karl-Henrik Robèrt, founder of The Natural Step,  professor at Blekinge Institute of Technology (Karlskrona, Sweden)


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

March 5, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Special Committee on Climate Change -- Summerside Public Meeting, 6:30PM, Loyalist Country Inn, 195 Heather Moyse Drive, Summerside, all welcome.
"The committee will meet to receive public input on how the province can best meet its Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction targets, as per the terms of Motion 37. A presentation on the context of climate change will be provided by the UPEI Climate Lab."  If you are in the area, consider attending, as the meeting will NOT be live-streamed.

PEI Fight for Affordable Housing Tenants' Action Meeting, 6:30PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown.  

postponed from last week.  " PEI Fight for Affordable Housing invites tenants, and supporters of increased tenant's rights to attend our community meeting to update and plan actions on public housing, short term rental regulations and tenant's rights and advocacy.
We want to review the past year and what progress has been achieved, what items have been ignored and how we as a community can demand increased action as we continue to struggle with housing pressures. Feel free to come with your ideas on demonstrations, campaigns or actions we can tackle together.
**This meeting is for TENANTS and SUPPORTERS OF TENANTS RIGHTS ONLY. We kindly ask that media, developers, landlords, commercial STR operators and politicians refrain from attending**


Presentation:  Dorian and the PEI National Park, 6:30PM, Confederation Centre Public Library.  "Join Bob Harding, Public Outreach Officer for Parks Canada on PEI, to learn about the impacts of Dorian in PEI National Park and what is being done in its aftermath to mitigate the impacts of climate change."

Some background and opinion from the publisher of The Graphics

If IRAC needs an investigator It hired the wrong guy - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, March 4th, 2020, in The Graphic publications

The hiring of an investigator to help IRAC get to the bottom of a farm purchase by an Irving related corporation last year only muddies what should be a clear and simple process.

Last week Justice Minister Bloyce Thompson announced that Gerard Mitchell has been retained to investigate the sale of the 2,200 Brendel Farms. Mitchell is a retired Supreme Court justice with an impeccable resume. But regardless of his CV, the appointment will only add to public suspicion over government and IRAC’s response to the sale.

As one of its last acts before dropping the writ to the last provincial election, the MacLauchlan government rejected the farm’s sale to an Irving corporation. The Lands Protection Act gives government the right to enforce corporate and individual land holdings of 3,000 and 1,000 acres. In response, the daughter of Mary Jean Irving used a share purchase agreement to subsequently acquire the potato operation without obtaining executive council approval, required under the act.

The King administration has been long on rhetoric and short on action with its promise to bring the defining piece of Island legislation up to modern standards by closing potential loopholes and ensuring greater public transparency over who owns what land and who the shareholders are in those corporations.

The share sale took place under the watch of then Deputy Minister of Justice Erin Mitchell. In December the King government appointed her a full-time IRAC commissioner.

It does not take a rocket scientist to see the potential her father’s appointment has to raise eyebrows. Law firms routinely reject representing clients if the firm already represents the opposing side to avoid the potential appearance of a conflict of interest.

It is debatable whether Justice Mitchell’s appointment represents a real conflict, but there is a strong argument that a potential appearance of conflict exists. How can you be seen as impartially investigating a sale involving a provincial department, run by your daughter, that was unaware a sale occurred until it was reported in Island media? And how can an arm’s-length government body be seen as impartial when it hires a legal investigator whose daughter is now a full time employee of the investigating body?

In October IRAC promised to complete its investigation by December. No new deadline is being offered, which raises a question about what the public oversight body has been doing since the sale was first made public last fall.

IRAC is not short of staff. Why is there even a need to hire Mitchell as lead investigator, and Charlottetown lawyer Gordon MacKay as his second, to work alongside IRAC’s full-time staff? The facts of the sale are generally accepted. It was proposed and rejected. Then a new Irving related corporation was formed to purchase the shares of the farm corporation without benefit of asking executive council for approval.

For the Lands Protection Act to be seen as substantive and not a paper tiger requires the intention and integrity of the act be upheld. Integrity includes investigations being seen by all sides as impartial. IRAC and the King government are unnecessarily allowing questions of integrity to be raised through the appointment of Justice Mitchell, regardless of how thorough his investigation is.

The ultimate conclusion could lead to the forced divestiture of property and or levying of stiff fines. It is serious business and a process rife with potential political and corporate repercussions, which make it confounding the King administration and IRAC would give the Irvings a free punch to potentially diminish the investigation’s credibility.

This is not a question of Justice Mitchell’s integrity. It is a question of how his investigation is seen by ordinary Islanders and the Irvings. Because of it, Minister Thompson should demand IRAC take immediate action to eliminate any appearance of potential conflict. The investigation must be above reproach, an impossible task if Justice Mitchell remains.

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



Global Chorus essay for March 5  

Andrew Blackwell

It’s too late to turn back the clock. Our environmental cataclysm is underway and there’s no point in pretending we can undo all its effects. Think of humanity as an asteroid hitting the Earth: like an asteroid, we’re transforming the landscape, changing the climate and causing mass extinction. And once an asteroid hits, there’s no way to make it un-hit.

Weirdly, I don’t think this is a pessimistic view. In fact, I believe passionately that the sooner we admit it, the better we’ll be able to fight for a healthy environment in the future. All too often, the idea of “saving the environment” means saving some idea of perfect, unspoiled Nature. But that’s little more than a daydream at this point. And I don’t think we should spend this moment of crisis daydreaming.

Instead, we have to embrace the fact that we find ourselves in a very imperfect, transformed world. This doesn’t mean throwing up our hands or paving over the rainforest – far from it. What it does mean is changing our picture of what “counts” as Nature, and it means fighting for all kinds of environments that don’t seem worthy of our love. From an already logged forest in Brazil, to a smog-choked city in China, to an industrial waterway on the other side of town, it means being less sentimental about our visions of wilderness … and more sentimental about environments we usually write off as polluted and ugly. In an era when human effects reach to every corner of the globe, caring about the environment may mean setting aside Nature-worship as we know it, while we strive to make already transformed environments healthier and more sustainable.

   — Andrew Blackwell, author of Visit Sunny Chernobyl


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

March 4, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The Farmers' Market lunch hours, 10AM-2PM.  Coffee service is from 6AM-2PM, Monday through Saturday.

Two Legislative Committee meetings today:
Special Committee on Poverty on PEI, 9:30PM, Coles Building, all welcome.  "Topic: briefing on poverty. The committee will receive a briefing from the Department of Finance (Nigel Burns, Director of Economic Statistics and Federal Fiscal Relations)." 

Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 1:30PM, Coles Building. All welcome.  "Topic: Medical Recruitment and Retention.  The committee will receive a briefing from Dr. Cyril Moyse, Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Prince Edward Island, regarding medical recruitment and retention in PEI." 

The Standing Committees will be broadcast on the Legislative Assembly website:


Next Wednesday, March 11th:

Presentation and Discussion "PEI Land and Water: Sources of All Life", with Guest Speaker Colin Jeffrey, 7PM, Wheatley River Hall, free, reservation suggested.

The Wheatley River Improvement Group (WRIG), Cooper Institute and Trout River Environmental Committee (TREC) are hosting a presentation and discussion on the theme of "PEI Land and Water: sourcesof all life" - it will take place on Wednesday, March 11th at 7:00 p.m.,at the Wheatley River Hall. Storm date - March 18, same time and place. Everyone is welcome - it's free of charge and there will be refreshments!
You can reserve a seat by calling WRIG at 902-963-3198, Cooper Institute at 902-894-4573, or by emailing There's also a facebook event:
.Travel and child/elder caresubsidies are available on request.
The keynote speaker will be Colin Jeffrey who has for the past seven years been involved in watershed restoration work on PEI, for the past five years as Director of the Trout River Environmental Committee. Colin has developed and completed a number of significant projects to restore the health of local rivers, improve aquatic habitat connectivity and involve local communities in understanding and caring for nature.
Colin’s topic will be “Opportunities for Sustainable Agriculture to Protect Our Land and Waters”.

Organizers hope the event will be a provide a chance to explore land and water as sources of life, how they are threatened,why it matters, how we are working together as a community, and what more can be done to improve the health of our ecosystems.

The symposium is the second in a three-part series that Cooper Institute is hosting in Island communities on the theme of protection of land and water. The first was held in Souris and was co-hosted by the Souris and Area Branch of the PEI Wildlife Federation. This is an annual event, held in memory of Father Andrew Macdonald, a founder of Cooper Institute and composer of many songs that celebrated the physical beauty, the history and the community life of Prince Edward Island."
The fantastic Macphail Woods Calendar of Events for Spring, Summer and Fall 2020 has come out. It is at:
The proposed wind farm in Eastern Kings County is a complex situation, and you can't help feeling that had consultation and environmental assessment been more rigourous, these challenges could have been addressed much, much sooner.

GUEST OPINION: P.E.I. wind farm not good for environment - The Guardian Guest Opinion by David Cheverie

Published on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

P.E.I. Energy coastal wind towers would destroy the fragile ecosystem in Eastern Kings County. 

With over 100 members, the Eastern Kings Community Association has sent dozens of letters and research documents to Premier King and government ministers pinpointing the detrimental impact of wind turbines in Eastern Kings. Though the most immediate and irreversible threat is the ecological impact other considerations are the negative impact on the local economy, the natural landscape, community wellness and landowner rights. 

A well-respected local environmental group refutes P.E.I. Energy’s claim that the proposed wind turbine farm in Eastern Kings is good for the environment. According to the Souris and area branch of P.E.I. Wildlife Federation, spokesperson Fred Cheverie said, "The lack of environmental and community consultation is staggering. We are exceptionally disappointed that our credible organization, was never asked to be involved in the consultation process of this proposed project.

“This is not a case of ‘not-in-our-backyard,’ it’s seven, 600-foot towers in the front yard. Any time a massive construction project destroys a sensitive ecological area it is no longer a green project. In this day and age, it is unfathomable that government plans destroy a fragile ecosystem, they are out of sync with the times.”

P.E.I. Energy Corporation wishes to install 60-storey turbines as close as possible to a small refuge site installed for migratory birds, called the Red Triangle. This site gets smaller through every year by coastal erosion pushing the migratory birds directly into the windmills.

According to the Souris and area branch of P.E.I. Wildlife Federation: “Without question, it is irresponsible to do this when it is well established that our bird population has dropped 40-60 per cent over the past 40 years. It is obvious that this division of the P.E.I. government has no respect for wildlife or ecology.” 

The wind turbine project will require vast areas of natural marshland to be filled in. Many benefits of natural marshland, from flood control, water conservation, water purification and of course, incredible wildlife habitat will be destroyed. Destruction of this type of natural feature is definitely not in keeping with modern conservation practice. In fact, it is the very opposite of conservation, and more disturbingly, is irreversible.

Premier Dennis King’s mandate letter upon election made it clear he was “putting people at the heart of every decision.” In spite of this promise, Steven Myers, minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy stated last October about the wind turbine project in Eastern Kings: 

"I don't want to leave it in the air that there’s a possibility that we're not going there. Our homework is done and the plan is set.” This statement came at a time when little public consultation had been done, the environmental impact assessment had not been completed and the municipality had not approved the project. 

It’s clear the government and P.E.I. Energy are not keeping the promise of transparent decision-making and broad public engagement, and seem determined to plow over any concerns, regardless of the consequences on the people and the environment. Like oil, wind energy is big money and disregards the environment and people. 

To read the full submission by the Souris and area branch of P.E.I. Wildlife Federation.

David Cheverie 
Eastern Kings Community Association

Global Chorus essay for March 4th
Helena Norberg-Hodge

I believe that what stands between us and a more peaceful and sustainable world are the ideas that underpin our economic system. That system – based on endlessly expanding economic growth and global trade – is concentrating wealth in big businesses and banks while impoverishing the majority; it is poisoning the air, soil and water; it is turning our children into insecure, brand-obsessed consumers; and it is leading to increased conflict both within and between nations.

We need a radically different economic architecture, one that goes beyond communism, socialism and corporate-led globalization. We need economic localization. Localization means increased employment, reduced waste and pollution, stronger, healthier communities and more accountable institutions. The good news is that a shift towards the local is already underway, led by thousands of farmers markets, local business alliances and community banks.

But while the localization movement has been growing exponentially from the grassroots, there is also an urgent need for changes in policy: we need to shift the subsidies, taxes and regulations that currently support global business so that we instead strengthen smaller local and national enterprises.

Localization is not an impossible dream. If the many millions of people working to create a better world – from protecting rainforests to feeding the homeless – also address the economic root causes of these problems, then the movement for economic change will grow rapidly, and a better future will be within reach.

     — Helena Norberg-Hodge, director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture, producer of the documentary film
The Economics of Happiness

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

March 3, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Nature PEI monthly meeting, 7:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, West and Kent Streets, Charlottetown. All welcome. There is a short business meeting and then a program: "Dr. Michael van den Heuvel will discuss the decline of eelgrass in Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence estuaries. Seagrasses are salt water adapted flowering plants that are threatened by human activities around the globe. In the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, eelgrass, the native seagrass is also impacted by human activities, particularly due to increases in nutrients from land-based activities. Dr. van den Heuvel will share the findings of a study conducted in local estuaries to determine the means to monitor changes to eelgrass health. Potential factors affecting eelgrass were examined, and it was determined that nitrogen loading was the dominant factor relating to eelgrass decline."

Aside: Dr. van den Heuvel's name is often mentioned as working on water quantity measurements when referring to high capacity wells on P.E.I., but I am not sure where his research on that is right now.
Opinion piece in yesterday's Guardian from the thoughtful sentinel, Wayne Carver:

GUEST OPINION: Corporations seem to hold the power in P.E.I. - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Wayne Carver

Published on Monday, March 2nd, 2020

A few short months ago Islanders were eagerly anticipating a provincial election that would bring about long overdue political change in this province.

Voters demanding change had expressed their disappointment with the Liberals and Conservatives. The referendum on proportional representation was met with great resistance by the provincial executive of the day. Rather than help the citizenry develop a more meaningful form of governance, our former premier went to great expense and outrageous lengths to ensure it did not happen. The deck was “stacked” from the outset.

In addition, conversations were taking place concerning the feasibility of having the attorney general report to the legislative assembly to avoid partisanship in the judicial process. As late as November 2019, the attorney general of Ontario suggested, among other things, the responsibility for appointing judges in Ontario should fall within the purview of his office to ensure the candidates “reflect his views”. Incredible! This does not sound like a democratic process; this sounds more like a dictatorship. Is that what we can expect in this province in the future?

Informed, responsible citizens will not allow that to happen.

Since the election, local politicians of all stripes seem to have lost their thunder, if not their conviction. Parties are now tilting at windmills trying to develop new policies to attract voters. Not a word is mentioned about the preservation of water or the Lands Protection Act by those in a position to make changes.

There is great dissatisfaction with our political and legal process. The Access to Information and Privacy Legislation is proving to be a much-maligned process as well; seemingly focused on protecting government officials, not transparency in public administration. Attempts to learn the truth about the e-gaming file and the destruction of information by a former premier are being stonewalled, even though the penalty for the destruction of documents is significant. It is abundantly clear that government’s primary concern is the corporations, that in the mind of Islanders, hold the real “power” in this province.

Politicians should be reminded that their electoral success was based on promises to residents that changes would be made. The votes have been tallied. You have your platform and authority — do what you said you would do. Electoral reform and proportional representation is still very much a goal of many citizens. Political and social stability in our province is diminishing. The separation of powers, the foundation of democracy, is being seriously challenged by our own government. Too many important matters are being addressed and implemented in secrecy. The average person is left to ponder the purpose of the political process, believing they are no longer part of it.

Our politicians were elected on the basis of election promises to provide better governance. Do what you promised. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Protect the interests of your constituents. Continue the fight for the LPA, the restrictions on deep-water wells and the political/legal reform that is so badly needed. Voters do not expect to see their elected officials slink away from their responsibility. Do what you were elected to do.

Islanders deserve more than political/corporate deadlock.

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


Global Chorus essay for March 3
Stephen Lewis

In 1988 I was fortunate enough to chair the first major international conference on climate change. We had between three and four hundred scientists and politicians gathered together over several days. The debate was of enormous intensity, and at the end of it a declaration was drafted, the opening words of which read as follows: “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.”

That’s why I’m going to speak to you from the heart and as honestly as I can.

In my view, the only answer to this crisis is the most dramatic reduction in the dependency on fossil fuel and the discharge of carbon; everything else is incidental. We’re in a tremendous race against time. This isn’t some abstraction. In order to avert the crisis that is looming, we have to create global citizens. We have to create citizens with acute environmental sensibilities, with a profound and honest understanding of the issues at stake. The truth of the matter is that we have unleashed forces which are not being curtailed, and everybody recognizes that what is required is political will to reverse the process.

It is absolutely unbearable that young people are going to have to live with the consequences we have created. I’ve often thought, in my own life, that I should have spent a lot more time working on environmental issues. I feel a kind of insensate guilt and shame that 20 years ago I was part of a conference that forecast what was coming, and I chose to do other things and find other priorities in life.

I have three grandsons, ages 9, 7 and 2, and I can’t stand the thought of what they’re going to inherit. I’m not sure it’s possible to turn around an apocalypse, but if it is, it will come through environmental education, and it will come through collective, skilful, principled and uncompromising leadership.

        — Stephen Lewis, distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada), former Canadian Ambassador to the UN

Stephen Lewis Foundation

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

March 2, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event today, Monday, March 2nd:
Coffee with Karla at Tim Horton's on Grafton St., 10AM-12noon, 385 Gfrafton St.,Charlottetown.  Have a chat with local MLA (D12: Charlottetown-Victoria Park). Facebook event link

Thursday, March 5th:
Special Committee on Climate Change Public Consultation Meeting, SUMMERSIDE, 6:30PM.
More details here


Provincial Government Notice: from:

Sustainable communities initiative

A new approach to energy generation will help Island communities take the lead on how they power their homes and businesses. Energy independence for PEI communities will require diverse, local solutions and there is no one size fits all solution. The sustainable communities initiative will tap great ideas from Island communities so that energy generation is designed to fit the need in that community and use the resources they have available.

What is the sustainable communities initiative?

The sustainable communities initiative encourages interested communities to explore opportunities for energy generation models that suits their unique needs. This could consist of micro-scale electricity generation, centralized heating and cooling, cogeneration, community energy efficiency, or energy from waste. 

For the purposes of this initiative, communities are defined as any group of like-minded PEI residents willing to collectively pursue, champion and even own a renewable energy project. Ownership of these systems may be through a municipality, a community within a larger municipality, a registered not-for-profit, or not-for-profit cooperative.

An example of a sustainable communities initiative in Samso Island in Denmark where they reduced their heating costs by 40 per cent. It has created local energy businesses without relying on imported oil. They have four district heating plants, burning straw or waste wood and using solar or wind power. Waste from their district heating plant even goes to fertilize crops to complete the sustainable cycle.

In Gottingen, Germany a co-generation power plant produces electricity and district heat from burning corn providing energy for the town. There are 9000 such plants in Germany. Sustainable communities exist and are successful. And we are working to make them a reality here. 

How do communities benefit?

Tailor-made to rural communities, government will assist communities in implementing these sustainable energy models. The goal is for communities get more involved in their own heat and energy systems; solar, wind or whatever would work for them. As a result, communities will directly benefit from this energy independence and economic development. Once communities express an interest in participating, government will assist with the development of detailed project proposal.

Based on feasibility and community support, select communities will meet with experts on sustainability, renewable energy, waste management, and research will share knowledge to support the development of the community's energy project. 

The provincial government will be a partner in funding, seek out additional funding partners, and assist with the organization and start-up of community-based energy generation that will see communities directly benefit from their own energy generation, own their own infrastructure, and secure environmental, financial and community sustainability over the long term.

In addition to community energy generation, government will offer custom, wrap-around supports to improve the energy efficiency of communities. If a community can reduce the amount of energy it uses to heat and power homes, businesses and community spaces, this will minimize the cost of energy generation infrastructure, saving more money for the community and its residents, while benefiting the environment. Energy efficiency supports are cost-shared with the Government of Canada under the Low Carbon Economy Fund.

Give your input

Government is requesting a brief expression of interest from community members.

Community information sessions will be scheduled in the coming weeks to provide more information on the initiative and the expression of interest.

For questions on the sustainable communities initiative, email (link sends e-mail)--------------------


Global Chorus essay for March 2

Frances Moore Lappé

I believe hope is a natural state of being for our species. It arises in us from our deepest centre – as an expression of life loving life, of life wanting to bring forth more life. If we feel disheartened, discouraged or hopeless, it is unnatural.

What’s needed for human beings to be in our natural state of hope is not proof of some future positive outcome; it is only that we see possibility for positive change and see our place in that change.

And that depends on developing new eyes, new ways of seeing. Our culture tells us that the premise of existence is lack: lack of goods – energy, food, water, you name it – and lack of goodness, for humans are innately selfish. From this premise of lack we distrust ourselves and see ourselves in eternal, fearful competition for survival. Not trusting ourselves, we believe we’re not capable of coming together in common problem-solving to end hunger or protect the environment or build peace. We turn our fate over to others and to a market that inexorably concentrates wealth – creating the very scarcity we so fear, no matter how much we produce!

Hope arises in us and for our planet when we break free of this premise, when we learn to “think like an ecosystem,” characterized by connection and continuous change. We see that, as we align with the laws of nature and with all we now know about human nature, there is more than enough for all to thrive. We see that we can align our societies with Nature so that, as we model ourselves on the ecosystem’s genius, every economic process feeds another in a continuous cycle.

With an “eco-mind,” we see life and our place in it as full of possibility. We realize that the only power we don’t have is whether to change the world.

     — Frances Moore Lappé, lecturer, activist, author of Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want

nice backgroundon Frances:


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

March 1, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

PEISO Concert, 2:30PM, Zion Presbyterian Church, Prince and Grafton Street.  Tickets at the door.

Friday, March 6th and Saturday, March 7th,  UPEI Music students presenting the opera The Magic Flute, in English, this coming weekend.  Link with information; tickets going fast.


Opinion piece and update, from Emma McIntosh of The National Observer, on Wet'suwet'en conflict out West (link only)

Darling 2 minute animated video on "The Wood Wide Web: How trees secretly talk to and share with each other", to go with all the people talking about Richard Power's book, The Overstory.
from BBC News: 


Global Chorus essay for March 1
Alexander Verbeek

Do you remember the story of Hans Brinker? He was the Dutch boy who stuck his finger in a leaking dike and stayed there overnight in the freezing cold until adults came to help the next morning. His courage saved many Dutchmen from drowning. I often pass the statute of this fictional character on my bicycle, since it is close to my house in The Hague.

In the decades to come, the world will need many Hans Brinkers. We need his commitment to save others from the forces of nature, and above all we need his innovative approach to adapt to the effects of global climate change. The concentration of greenhouse gases has increased, the atmosphere and oceans have warmed up and the amounts of snow and ice have diminished. Experts predict a rise in sea level in the range of 70 to 120 cm by 2100. This, combined with more extreme weather, will increasingly threaten coastal regions and cities all over the world. It would inundate agricultural land; destroy infrastructure; exacerbate urbanization, international migration and food scarcity; and threaten billions of dollars worth of global economic activity.

Whilst the science and the international negotiations on climate change can seem abstract to many, the impacts on health, poverty and international security are increasingly tangible. We are challenged by the growing power of hurricanes, by increasing water scarcity and by worsening food shortages. This challenge demands action at all levels – including businesses, charities, engineers, scientists and local, national and multilateral government organizations – with increasing coordination. However, adaption alone is not enough. The cause of climate change, the rising emissions of greenhouse gases, urgently asks for stringent mitigation measures.

And let’s not forget the individual actions one can take. That could be me on my bicycle, or it could be your personal involvement by installing solar panels on the roof of your house. My hope is for a worldwide generation of Hans Brinkers that work together to stand up to the challenges of climate change, first by being unafraid to point their fingers at causes of the problem, and second by being brave enough to tackle them.
— Alexander Verbeek, strategic policy adviser for global issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014