CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

March 2021


  1. 1 March 31, 2021
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 A Mighty Win for Wind: From The Beacon, from by Shannon Osaka
  2. 2 March 30, 2021
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 LETTER: Don Mills’ urban bias is baseless - The Guardian by Gerry Gallant, Guest Opinion
  3. 3 March 29, 2021
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 JIM VIBERT: Climate change denial new ‘stinking albatross’ for federal Conservatives - Saltwire article by Michael Robar
    3. 3.3 Atlantic Skies for March 29th - April 4th, 2021 "The Sun, Moon and the Tides" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  4. 4 March 28, 2021
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 LETTER: Government, media are silent on proportional representation - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marie Burge
  5. 5 March 27, 2021
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 Healthy food systems for a healthy planet - david article by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington
    3. 5.3 LETTER: Organic farming a potential boon for P.E.I. - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Chris McGarry
  6. 6 March 26, 2021
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 GUEST OPINION: We don't want more empty promises on climate - The Guardian Guest opinion by Marilyn McKay
  7. 7 March 25, 2021
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 LETTER TO THE EDITOR: P.E.I. government minister pushing limits of power - The Guardian article by Doug Campbell
    3. 7.3 Marswatch: high hopes for first powered controlled flight on another planet - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Stuart Clark
    4. 7.4 Mars mission’s next major milestone will be deployment of Ingenuity, a small helicopter
  8. 8 March 24, 2021
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 LETTER: What happened to P.E.I. government collaboration? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  9. 9 March 23, 2021
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 P.E.I. woman planning rental registry to help tenants - The Guardian article by Ryan Ross
  10. 10 March 22, 2021
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 Letter:  World Water Day is March 22nd - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 10.3 Published in the print Guardian on Saturday, March 20th, 2021 (not online yet)
    4. 10.4 Atlantic Skies for March 22nd -- March 28th, 2021 "A Swarm of Celestial Bees" -  by Glenn K. Roberts
  11. 11 March 21, 2021
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 STEPHEN HOWARD: Modernizing electricity and energy poverty in P.E.I. - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Stephen Howard, MLA for District 22: Summerside-South Drive
  12. 12 March 20, 2021
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  13. 13 March 19, 2021
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  14. 14 March 18, 2021
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  15. 15 March 17, 2021
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  16. 16 March 16, 2021
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 Canada is drowning in plastic waste — and recycling won't save us - National Observer article by Marc Fawcett-Atkinson
  17. 17 March 15, 2021
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 Atlantic Skies for March 15th - March 21st, 2021- by Glenn K. Roberts
    3. 17.3 The backroom battle between industry, Ottawa and environmentalists over plastics regulation - The National Observer article by Marc Fawcett-Atkinson
  18. 18 March 14, 2021
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 Easy way out for wildlife conservation isn’t what it appears - post by David Suzuki with contributions from Boreal Project Manager Rachel Plotkin
  19. 19 March 13, 2021
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 Lego is aiming to go oil free - The Beacon by Grist article by Adam Mahoney
    3. 19.3 David Schindler, the Scientific Giant Who Defended Fresh Water - The Tyee article by Andrew Nikiforuk
  20. 20 March 12, 2021
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  21. 21 March 11, 2021
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 Greens and Liberals Both Wrong on Public Service - The Eastern Graphic Against the Tide opinion column by Paul MacNeill, publisher
    3. 21.3 P.E.I. premier wants to dial down the political rhetoric of mental health - The Guardian article by Daniel Brown
  22. 22 March 10, 2021
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 Wanted: Land to let P.E.I.'s organic farm sector get 7 times bigger - CBC Online post by Kevin Yarr 
  23. 23 March 9, 2021
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 GUEST OPINION: Seemingly different programs for different farms - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Rita Jackson
    3. 23.3 City of Charlottetown moving ahead on new rink project - The Guardian online article by Dave Stewart
  24. 24 March 8, 2021
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 24.2 Atlantic Skies for March 8th - March 15th, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts
  25. 25 March 7, 2021
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 P.E.I.'s Frontier Power Systems helps northern communities get off diesel fuel - The Guardian article by Terrence McEachern, Business Reporter
  26. 26 March 6, 2021
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 Brendel report out of Bloyce Thompson's hands - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
    3. 26.3 Green, PC MLAs question new minister on changes to P.E.I.'s Water Act - CBC News online post by Kerry Campbell
    4. 26.4 Why targeting the NDP is bad for the Greens and the climate - The National Observer Opinion piece by Amara Possian
    5. 26.5 | Opinion | March 5th 2021
  27. 27 March 5, 2021
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  28. 28 March 4, 2021
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 Seven Women Who Made the World Better for Birds and People - post by Emily Silber
  29. 29 March 3, 2021
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 LETTER: Throne speech soft on climate -The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  30. 30 March 2, 2021
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 UK urged to create green apprenticeships to help Covid recovery - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Fiona Harvey
    3. 30.3 Atlantic Skies for March 1st - March 7th, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts
  31. 31 March 1, 2021
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 31.2 GUEST OPINION: Marking 50 years of wetland conservation and loss - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Dan Kraus

March 31, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Wednesday, March 31st:
Deadline for public feedback on changes to National Park Skmaqn - Port la Joye -Fort Amherst.  Background, plans, video, contact info here:

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.  It's all Government's agenda today, after the regular order of the day.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Yesterday, the Legislature opened with some comments about the Ice Walk across to Lennox Island, held Monday and on the road for safety reasons: from a media release before the event in The Buzz:
The Ice Walk will consist of a walk (originally scheduled to be) across the frozen path between Port Hill and Lennox Island by those who wish to unite in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq people, and acknowledge the actions of their ancestors or the entities they represent, who were responsible for many of the horrors faced by the first people of this land (Residential schools, Day schools, The 60’s Scoop).....
The walk will be followed by traditional teachings and cultural ceremonies, including a Forgiveness Ceremony. The purpose is to not only bring awareness and understanding to the history and realities of the Mi’kmaq on PEI, but also to many other Indigenous communities across the country where ice roads are still active, and lives continue to be lost as a result.

Video Archive (listed by date, for yesterday, March 30th, 2021):

The Matters of Privilege and Recognition of Guests time took long enough (showing their privilege to do so, ironically) possibly affecting the time able to be spent on reviewing the budget, before the Floor had to be handed over to the next order of business, that Deputy Speaker Hal Perry was incredibly testy with MLA Stephen Howard, who was genuinely confused about which section was being called up for discussion (with Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Minister Matt MacKay). And there is really no one who can rebuke the Chair for uncalled for unkindness  (except I suppose I am here).    MacKay, by the way, goes out of his way to be willing to work with other MLAs on their concerns.

Congrats to Stephen Howard and his partner Amber, who had a baby daughter born last week.

Howard is also working on his Opposition Bill No. 103 (search here) to modernize renewable electricity generation legislation for the Island, which is likely coming up again this week.  More details from the Green Party of PEI if you wish for more information and perhaps to contact your MLA about supporting the legislation, here:

from the United States:

A Mighty Win for Wind: From The Beacon, from by Shannon Osaka

Published on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

The Biden administration announced plans on Monday to set aside a swath of ocean off the East Coast of the United State for the development of offshore wind and to more than double the country’s existing offshore wind power capacity by 2030.

According to a fact sheet released by the White House, the administration plans to cordon off a shallow stretch of the Atlantic Ocean known as the New York Bight, off the coast of Long Island and New Jersey, as a “priority Wind Energy Area.” If all goes according to plan, the area should be leased to wind developers by late 2021 or early 2022. 

The White House is also aiming to add 30 gigawatts of offshore wind to the U.S. electricity grid by 2030, generating enough energy to power around 10 million homes and providing around 44,000 jobs. At the moment, the country only has one operational offshore wind farm, which is off the coast of Rhode Island and produces around 28 gigawatts of electricity. (In contrast, the U.S. currently generates around 111 gigawatts of electricity from turbines located on land.)

“This offshore wind goal is proof of our commitment to using American ingenuity and might to invest in our nation, advance our own energy security, and combat the climate crisis,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.


An icy swan dances for this lake:
from the BBC News Service:
A Russian ballerina from the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre has performed scenes from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake on the frozen Gulf of Finland. Local people have started a petition calling on President Putin to halt the construction of a port in Batareinaya Bay, a popular beach about 100 km west of St Petersburg, Russia's second largest city. Ilmira Bagrautinova danced in -15C and posted her videos online. She hopes her performance will save real swans which nest in the bay.

YouTube News Video

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Capriccio, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Sarah Connolly, Joseph Kaiser, Russell Braun, Morten Frank Larsen, and Peter Rose, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Production by John Cox. From April 23, 2011.  Oh, that wonderful Renee Fleming!

Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani, and Mariusz Kwiecień, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Sir David McVicar. From April 16, 2016.  Queen Elizabeth I deals with her duties and her heart, and Polenzani cares for her but also the beautiful Elina Garanca as a noblewoman.  Two hours 40 minutes.

"Forget injuries; never forget

March 30, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
     ---Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


Charlottetown Farmers' Market adds Saturday pickup option. 

*place your order between Tuesday at 5pm and Thursday at 5pm at:
*pick up your order from the Market between 2PM and 4PM on Saturday
a few conditions:
Only 30 orders accepted (shop closes when this number is reached), with a minimum value of $50.  And you have to be able to go in the building to get your stuff.

Orders before Tuesday at NOON for Thursday pickup retain the same protocol.
Dr. Heather Morrison will give a COVID-19 update, probably at 11:30AM, on the Government website, Facebook page, and covered by CBC Facebook, and some parts by Q93 Radio.
The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.
After the routine order, there will be government business until 4PM and then Private Members' Business until 5PM. 

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Op-Ed, from the doing-OK,-thanks-hinterlands...

LETTER: Don Mills’ urban bias is baseless - The Guardian by Gerry Gallant, Guest Opinion

Published in print on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

Thanks to Don Mills for his opinion piece in The Guardian (Positive news on population growth, March 5) endorsing the value of census data and its use as a public policy and business tool. As a 40+ year management consultant, I value such data and encourage Islanders to participate in this year’s important census exercise.

That said, Mr. Mills uses census and other data to sell his ongoing assertion (in this and a previous June 4, 2019 column) recommending P.E.I. pursue an economic hub strategy focusing on urban communities. His basic premise is founded on a centrist view that the younger, dynamic demographic of the working population should live within a reasonable commute to urban communities (Charlottetown, Stratford and Summerside) to gain employment, perhaps helping stem the outmigration of youth. This economic development strategy for P.E.I. is flawed for many reasons. The P.E.I. economy’s three largest and successful industries — agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, and tourism — are in rural communities. Do we move these industries with commuting distance to urban centres? Mr. Mills' 2019 column also suggested the need to grow critical infrastructure such as post-secondary institutions, major health-care facilities, retail and professional services in the urban hubs as critical mass to attract new business. This policy ignores the economic development successes achieved by rural communities and potential new opportunities that contributes to growing P.E.I.’s economy, including its urban centers.

Case in point, Souris and Eastern Kings’ economy is robust, as noted in Alan E. MacPhee’s rebuttal to Mr. Mill’s June 2019 column. Rural Eastern P.E.I. has the largest potato dehydration facility in the world, largest wind turbines in the world, a half dozen highly automated potato packing plants, the most highly automated dairy farm in the world, the largest Etsy seller in the world, the best tuna fishery in the world, the largest parabolic sand dune system in the world, the best beach in Canada, one of the best restaurants in Canada by Canada's most famous chef, a thriving 350-fleet lobster industry, and other successful farms, retail and service businesses.

The Souris Harbour Authority Inc. repurposed a former seafood plant, now hosting a world-leading aquaculture and research company, 12-million-pound cold storage warehouses and an organic french fry processor. Those recent developments at the Souris Food Park now employ upwards to 60 people.

Rural P.E.I. contributes more income and property taxes to the province than it receives in government services. Rural districts, towns and villages represent 54 per cent of P.E.I.’s population. The decline in rural populations is not as high as often perceived. Urban population has grown 14.5 per cent between 2001 and 2016 census years while P.E.I.’s rural populations declined 3.6 per cent over those 15 years.

While Mr. Mills recommends commuting to urban centers to work, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated working remotely at home is the new normal. Employers weren’t prepared for their workforce to work from home but, thanks to technology and innovation, it’s working out well for many employers/employees. That is why the Daniel J. MacDonald Veterans Affairs building in downtown Charlottetown is relatively empty. All around the world, more and more employers are embracing flexible schedules for their remote teams leading to new remote work trends and more remote work options. Finally, may I suggest highways allow commuting both ways?

Gerry Gallant of Souris West is enterprise management consultant and co-chair for the P.E.I. Rural Communities Council.


Fun(gi) Science from The (U.K.) Guardian:

Why is it hard to get our head around fungi? (part one) – podcast

Our colleagues from The age of extinction, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield, are back with two new episodes. We often talk as if we know what species exist in the world – but we don’t. Could misclassifying the notoriously cryptic fungi have broader implications for what we know about the environment, and how we care for it?

 25 minutes:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Bellini’s Norma, today until 6:30PM
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Joyce DiDonato, Joseph Calleja, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Production by Sir David McVicar. From October 7, 2017.  This opera is one of the best "examples" of the bel canto genre.

Tuesday, March 30
Strauss’s Capriccio, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Wednesday
Andrew Davis conducts Renée Fleming is Countess Madeleine, the beautiful, enigmatic woman at the center of Strauss’s sophisticated “Conversation Piece for Music.” She is being courted by two men: Joseph Kaiser sings the composer, Flamand, and Russell Braun is Olivier, the poet...(the) elegant production places the action in the 1920s.
From April 23, 2011. 2 hours 28minutes

March 29, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.

     – Calvin, from the cartoon Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson

Local Food:
Organic Vegetable Delivery, order by tonight for delivery Friday, April 2nd.
More details here:

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

PEI Certified Organic Producers Cooperative  (COPC) AGM, 7-9PM,
in-person at the Farm Centre, and via Zoom, with meeting ID: 861 8036 4396
Besides a regular AGM meeting, there will be an appearance by Agriculture Minister Bloyce Thompson and Special Projects Working Group Updates on:

Organic Land Network – Morgan Palmer

Organic Grains & Oilseeds Markets – Sebastian Manago

Local Food Hub – Karen Murchison

and  PEI COPC Water Use Strategy – Member Ratification

Note that the Zoom meeting details may not be complete, so refer to the Citizens' Alliance Facebook page or the COPC page for adjustments. 


End of the day:
Deadline to comment on the proposed Stratford Waterfront Development
(where the sewage lagoons were).  More information and input form:

The Legislative Assembly sits Tuesday and Wednesday this week, then not again until next Tuesday.  Catch up on any parts by visiting:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

The Leap organization (of the climate justice group that wrote The Leap Manifesto) has announced it is disbanding in the next few months.
They had great ideas, but I think they needed a consensus Canadians just weren't ready for, but their ideas can be promoted and adopted without The Leap being the driving force.

Message from Kate McKenna at The Leap
The Leap website

A reminder that when there is a federal election, there will be four people on P.E.I. running for the Conservative Party of Canada, representing the party.

JIM VIBERT: Climate change denial new ‘stinking albatross’ for federal Conservatives - Saltwire article by Michael Robar

Published online on Sunday, March 21st, 2021, on the Saltwire network of publications.

Canada’s Conservatives – the label they prefer over the stodgier Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) – metaphorically murdered another sea bird over the weekend and hung its stinking carcass around the neck of their leader of six months, Erin O’Toole.

Meanwhile, hunkered in separate bunkers – for safety’s sake – but collectively watching the CPC’s national policy convention, the federal Liberal braintrust, giddy in their good fortune, moved the spring/summer federal election out of the ‘likely’ and into the ‘very likely’ column, provided vaccines keep rolling in.

Among some lesser objectives, O’Toole and the Conservative leadership went into their convention determined to address, if not put to rest, the party’s clinging credibility problems on climate change.

Instead, the Conservatives exited the convention with no credibility on climate change whatsoever.

If you had better ways to spend the first weekend of spring than watching federal Conservatives convene virtually, you might have missed the news that transformed their policy convention into a political train wreck.

The Conservative Party’s reliably unreliable membership voted down a resolution that said climate change is real. Yes they did. You can look it up. 

The rejected resolution also said Conservatives are willing to act, presumably to mitigate and adapt to climate change, that polluters bear responsibility for the greenhouse gases they belch and that Conservatives support innovation and green technology.

But by a vote of 54 per cent to 46 per cent, Canada’s Conservatives rejected that statement of accepted climate change orthodoxy, if not motherhood, and by so doing they reaffixed to the party the very label O’Toole was determined to erase – climate change deniers.

The act of political self-immolation came on the heels of O’Toole’s address to the convention, when he told delegates that the Conservatives "cannot ignore the reality of climate change" and that the debate over climate change "is over."

“I will not allow 338 candidates to defend against the lie from the Liberals that we are a party of climate change deniers,” O’Toole pledged.

But alas, more than half of the Conservative delegates could ignore the reality of climate change and voted to do so, ensuring that the debate over climate change is very far from over, no matter what their leader may think, want or hope.

And so, those 338 Conservative candidates – that’s one for every federal riding – are saddled, not with a Liberal lie that the Conservatives are a bunch of climate change deniers, but with evidence to that effect supplied by the CPC itself. 

You likely recall that after the 2019 federal election, Peter MacKay, former Conservative cabinet minister and long-serving PC and CPC MP from Central Nova, said that socially conservative views about issues like abortion and same-sex marriage haunted former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer throughout the campaign.

MacKay, who subsequently ran for and lost the party leadership to O’Toole, famously said those issues “hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like a stinking albatross.”

Well, a new reeking carcass now hangs around O’Toole’s neck, as well as around the necks of the other 337 Conservatives who will run for Parliament, likely later this spring or summer. This one is the “stinking albatross” of climate change denial, and the Conservatives themselves supplied both the rope and the deceased bird.

COVID is the crisis of the moment, and recovery from the pandemic will monopolize public policy here and worldwide, probably for several years to come.

But climate change is still the defining challenge of our times, and a Canadian political party that’s unable to adopt a clear and simple statement recognizing its existence is, or should be, unelectable nationally.

The Conservatives will protest that their policy documents already include a statement about climate change or that a decision from the convention is not binding on the leader or the elected members.

And O’Toole will eventually deliver a climate change policy absent a carbon tax, and the Conservatives will claim it’s a good one.

But the damage is done. Every time climate change comes up during the next election campaign, Conservative candidates will – and should – have to deal with their party’s rejection of a simple statement that climate change is real.

In election campaigns, simple messages work best.

This weekend, the CPC handed the Liberals and every other party a simple message to use as a political cudgel against them: Canada’s Conservatives refused to admit that climate change is real.

Journalist and writer Jim Vibert has worked as a communications adviser to five Nova Scotia governments.


Here is a link to a recent Journal-Pioneer story on the PEI Conservative Party meeting last week:

Atlantic Skies for March 29th - April 4th, 2021 "The Sun, Moon and the Tides" - by Glenn K. Roberts

In addition to all things celestial, my granddaughter, Scarlet, is enamored of the ocean, especially waves - she loves being on the beach on a stormy day, when the waves come crashing ashore. While chatting about the tides the other day, my inquisitive little sprite asked, "How does the Moon cause the tides to rise and fall, Poppy?"

While most people probably know that the Moon does, indeed, influence the tides' rise and fall each day, I'm probably correct in stating that very few understand exactly how and why it happens. It all has to do with tidal forces between two celestial objects, in this case Earth and the Moon. When two celestial objects are in close proximity to one another, there is a mutual gravitational attraction relative to their respective masses and the distance between them. This attraction is referred to as tidal force.

The Moon exerts different gravitational tidal forces at different locations on the Earth. The side of the Earth facing the Moon experiences a stronger tidal force than does the center of the planet, while the side of the Earth facing away from the Moon experiences less tidal force than does the center of the planet (this explains why the side of Earth facing away from the Moon also experiences a high tide at the same time the side facing the Moon experiences a high tide). These contending tidal forces attempt to stretch the Earth along a line connecting the center of the Earth and the Moon. However, because the Earth is fairly rigid, it cannot deform very much in response to the tidal forces of the Moon, but can only flex a small amount, resulting in the Earth becoming slightly non-spherical and somewhat flattened at the poles. The Earth's equatorial diameter is 12,756 kms and 12,720 kms from pole-to-pole, while its equatorial circumference is 40,075 kms, and 40,008 kms pole-to-pole.

The Earth's oceans, however, are not rigid, and can, and do, respond to the tidal forces of the Moon much more readily. As the Earth rotates, any point on the Earth's surface directly below, including the Earth's oceans, is subject to the Moon's gravitational pull. As a consequence, the ocean water at that point goes from shallow to deep, and back again, as the Moon orbits the Earth, resulting in the twice-daily low and high tides experienced at most, but not all, locations. As well, on any given beach, the actual timing and height of the tides depends on the shape of the coastline and the particular beach, the slope of the seabed running up to the beach, and the prevailing winds and coastal currents.

The Sun also exerts tidal forces on the Earth's oceans, although only about 50% as great as the lunar forces. When the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned (as at Full and New phases), the Sun and Moon's tidal forces reinforce one another, resulting in lower and higher tides than normal. The high tides at this time are sometimes referred to as "spring tides", with no reference to the season, but ,rather, that the water level "springs up" to a greater height than normal. This is even more pronounced with supermoons, when the Full or New Moon is at its closest approach to Earth (perigee).  During the Moon's First Quarter and Last Quarter phases, when the Moon and the Sun are at right angles to one another (relative to the Earth, as viewed from above the poles), the tidal forces of the Sun and Moon partially cancel each other out, resulting in smaller tidal shifts, referred to as "neap tides".

Neither Mercury or Venus are observable this coming week. Mars (mag. +1.3, in Taurus - the Bull) becomes visible around 8:20 p.m., 49 degrees above the western horizon, before dropping down and setting about 1:30 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.8, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) and Jupiter (mag. -2.1, in Capricornus) are both visible just above the pre-dawn southeast horizon between 5:10- 5:30 a.m., although you will need a clear and unobstructed view of the horizon to see either planet, as they won't rise very high above the horizon (Saturn - 9 degrees, and Jupiter - 10 degrees) before they are both washed out as dawn breaks around 6:30 a.m.

If you're looking for a really challenging night sky object to find, have a look for V1405 Cas (in Cassiopeia - the Queen), a recently discovered nova (a star that brightens suddenly and quite dramatically). It is currently (as of Mar. 21) around mag. +7.6, bright enough to be seen in binoculars. Either Google it, or go to for more information and charts. Novae can dramatically brighten and then, just as dramatically, dim and disappear in a matter of days, so be quick. Cassiopeia is visible above the northwest horizon by about 8 p.m. this coming week; look for the constellation's distinctive, stretched-out "W" shape.

Until next week, clear skies.


Mar. 30 - Moon at perigee (closest to Earth)

Apr.    4 - Last Quarter Moon


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anja Kampe, Mihoko Fujimura, Sergey Skorokhodov, David Portillo, Evgeny Nikitin, and Franz-Josef Selig, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Production by François Girard. From March 10, 2020.

Week 55 of Nightly free Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts
Theme: Love Triangles**

Bellini’s Norma, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Joyce DiDonato, Joseph Calleja, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Production by Sir David McVicar. From October 7, 2017.

(**This could be a whole year of operas)

March 28, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
    – Albert Einstein

(Missed) Event:
Earth Hour, a time to "unplug" and enjoy an hour without artificial light, was last night, and the date slipped by me (again), so here's a suggestion to pick a time to celebrate your own Earth Hour this week.
Something missing is a renewed discussion of electoral reform, specifically voting systems and Proportional Representation (though kudos to the Green Party Official Opposition for proposing to lower the voting age on P.E.I.).   The topic does not appear to be mentioned in the Premier's Mandate Letters to Ministers (which have not been updated since November 2019) nor in the most recent Speech from the Throne (though I may have missed it).

 Note that this letter was written before the Speech from the Throne on February 25th.

LETTER: Government, media are silent on proportional representation - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marie Burge

Published in print on Thursday, February 18th, 2021

It must be a mystery to all Islanders why proportional representation (PR) has practically disappeared from the communications of all four political parties.

Just two short years ago PR was a real possibility and a well-founded hope for many P.E.I. residents in most sections of the province. It was top of mind for the majority of the voting population across 23 of the 27 electoral districts. Do politicians feel that the people of P.E.I. are tired of democratic reform or that they are not interested?

It is hard to believe that the Island population would so easily give up after such a long history of fighting for democracy and for needed changes to the electoral system. If our ancestors had listened to twisted and false advertising, we still would not have the secret vote, women’s vote, or Indigenous vote. In no other stage of P.E.I.’s democratic reforms would Islanders have given up. So why would we give up now when we are so close to reaching our goal of proportional representation?

The organization Islanders for Proportional Representation (IPR) notes that with the exception of a sentence or two in an op-ed or a letter to the editor, PR is “dead in the water” for the media. Who or what is influencing the media’s silence on this crucial issue?

Islanders for Proportional Representation has expected that at least the P.E.I. government would keep democratic renewal and electoral reform as a high priority. In reviewing the mandates of the various cabinet ministers we are struck by the shocking reality that no department is responsible for democratic renewal. It appears, therefore, that having no other ministerial home, this responsibility, by default, falls back on the premier.

We remind the current government, including the official opposition and the third party, that they are dishonouring almost 50 per cent of Island voters by not keeping proportional representation in the limelight. It is the hope of Islanders for Proportional Representation that it will show up in the speech from the throne on Feb. 25.

In particular, it is important to remember that many more Islanders voted “yes” for PR than the number who voted for the Progressive Conservatives, the party brought to power in the 2019 election. Where are their voices heard?

Marie Burge,
Islanders for Proportional Representation


In Case You Missed It:

Saturday, April 24th:
Viewing Party, Re-broadcast of Forum from Fall 2020 "PR Vision 2020 and Beyond", with Willie Sullivan of Scotland, 2-3:30PM
, hosted by Islanders for Proportional Representation.

Islanders for Proportional Representation is hosting a viewing party on April 24 at 2:00 pm for the recording of our event from the fall, "PR Vision 2000 and Beyond", featuring Willie Sullivan from the UK Electoral Reform Society, explaining the evolution of Scotland's voting system from an antiquated FPTP system to a modern electoral system based on proportional representation. This was carried out in a system similar to the Westminster System on which our Parliamentary form of Government has been based. Many other Parliamentary forms of government like New Zealand had adopted proportional representation voting systems. Islanders for Proportional Representation have remained active since our last Provincial Election.  This viewing party will be held on the week of the second anniversary of the Provincial Election held on April 23, 2019 when the majority of (Districts) on PEI voted in favour of PR and many others offered substantial support.   The Webinar begins at 2:00 pm on Saturday, April 24th.

This is the link to our Facebook page where further information is posted:

There is further information to be found here and a link to the online event: 

And before that:
Webinar on PR Basics:
Saturday, April 10th, 8PM,
online, hosted by FairVote Canada
excerpts from Anita Nickerson's their e-mail:
Are you new to electoral reform and want to get up to speed on the basics of the campaign for proportional representation?

What is proportional representation? Why do we need it?

How do the two most popular systems recommended in Canada actually work?


Special guest: Dennis Pilon is an Associate Professor at York University and Canadian electoral reform expert....

Learn how winner-take-all voting is failing us, what proportional representation is and the research behind it. Find out how PR will empower voters, encourage cooperation, and build a more inclusive Parliament!

Dennis Pilon will explain the basics of the two systems most often proposed in Canada: Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) and Single Transferable Vote (PR-STV).

Following the presentation, we will have Q+A where you can ask questions via the question box.

Only proportional systems can deliver on our most important values: effective votes, fair representation, collaborative politics, voter choice, diversity, regional balance, and more accountable government.

Please share this webinar....


Let me know if the link doesn't work right, please.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Solveig Kringelborn, Hei-Kyung Hong, Paul Groves, Bryn Terfel, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Sergei Koptchak. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From October 14, 2000.

Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
From March 10, 2020.
Now a whole year ago...
"In March 2020, the Met made the difficult choice to cancel the remainder of the 2019–20 season in an effort to keep audiences, performers, and staff members safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision also meant ending the Live in HD season early, only days before a scheduled transmission of François Girard’s stirring new production of Der Fliegende Holländer. Fortunately, as part of regular preparations for an HD broadcast, a prior performance of the opera was recorded as a camera rehearsal. In this high-definition “scratch taping,” celebrated conductor Valery Gergiev is on the podium for Wagner’s breakout operatic masterpiece, an eerie ghost story about the otherworldly Flying Dutchman. Having already sung a number of the composer’s works at the Met, bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin delivers a commanding performance in the title role, opposite soprano Anja Kampe in her debut season as Senta. The thrilling cast also stars tenor Sergey Skorokhodov as Erik, bass Franz-Josef Selig as Daland, mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura as Mary, and tenor David Portillo as the Steersman."  With gorgeous, oil-painting inspired sets, and amazing short for Wagner, at just 2 hours 20 minutes.

March 27, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Farmers' Markets planned to be open in Summerside (9AM-1PM) and Charlottetown (9AM-2PM), but take it easy on the roads and understand some vendors may not be able to get there.

Summerside Farmers' Market suggests you visit their page on Facebook before heading out:

And here is Charlottetown Farmers' Market page:

Crafters at the Seaport Spring Craft Sale, 9AM-5PM, Seaport, 1 Weymouth Street.  $2 admission.  No updated word about this event featuring local crafts, but you can check the status here:
Facebook event link

Nobody's being too judgey here, and most of this is no surprise, but a good summary of a complicated issue -- just offering food for thought (!).

Healthy food systems for a healthy planet - david article by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington

Published on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

We all have to eat. But the ways in which we grow, harvest, process, transport, prepare and consume food are profoundly affecting everything on the planet, from climate to biodiversity to water.

A comprehensive new study finds food systems are responsible for about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The study in Nature Food, by researchers from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, includes a database that examines every stage of the global food chain from 1990 to 2015 by sector, greenhouse gas and country.

Most of the emissions, 71 per cent, come from agriculture and associated land use and land use change, including about 39 per cent from early stages — agriculture, aquaculture, fishing and fertilizer use — and one-third from agricultural land use and change, mainly due to carbon loss from deforestation and soil degradation, including peatland destruction.

The rest are from the supply chain: “retail, transport, consumption, fuel production, waste management, industrial processes and packaging.” In industrialized countries, these downstream sectors make up a larger average share.

Agriculture also takes up half the world’s habitable land. Livestock accounts for 77 per cent of that (including land for growing feed) while producing only 18 per cent of the world’s calories and 37 per cent of total protein. That continues to increase with human population growth: global food production increased 40 per cent between 1990 and 2015. So shifting to more plant-based diets can save habitat and natural spaces while reducing emissions.

a ratty-looking ratatouille I made once

Although the study shows the percentage of total emissions from food systems declined, that’s only because emissions from other sources — mostly burning oil, gas and coal for energy — increased.

The research has a silver lining. Sonja Vermeulen, program director at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, told Carbon Brief that it shows we can feed the world’s eight billion people if we address the problems.

“It is theoretically possible, even with population growth, for everyone in the world to eat a healthy and culturally appropriate diet without transgressing planetary boundaries for carbon, biodiversity, nitrogen, phosphorus and water,” she said. “But that will take a lot of effort both technically and politically.” (Vermeulen wasn’t involved in the study.)

She noted resolving the climate crisis means addressing emissions not just from agriculture (which includes shifting to more plant-based diets) but also from energy and transport.

Although a major share of transport and energy emissions are carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and gas, food systems are more complex. CO2 makes up only half of food-related emissions. Methane makes up 35 per cent — mainly from farming, livestock and rice production and waste treatment. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, but it remains in the atmosphere for a shorter time, so reducing these emissions can have rapid effects.

Interestingly, packaging creates more emissions than “food miles” — 5.4 compared to 4.8 per cent.

The study also found the top six economies are responsible for 51 per cent of global food system emissions: China (13.5 per cent), Indonesia (8.8 per cent), the United States (8.2 per cent), Brazil (7.4 per cent), the European Union (6.7 per cent) and India (6.3 per cent).

The research also “highlights how global food systems are becoming more energy intensive, reflecting trends in the retail, packaging, transport and processing sectors, whose emissions are growing rapidly in some developing countries,” according to the FAO. Potent fluorinated greenhouse gases, used in refrigeration and other industrial applications, are rapidly increasing in industrialized countries.

This database helps identify the problems and their sources — a major step toward solving them. A wide range of other research points to solutions.

Farming in less disruptive ways is key. That can be accomplished through restorative agriculture to produce food in ways that don’t deplete soils and destroy carbon sinks, and shifting away from diets that rely heavily on animals like cattle and sheep, which require a lot of land and water and produce high methane emissions. (Plant-centred diets are also healthier.)

Reducing emissions related to packaging, transport, storage and processing is also important, as is cutting food waste.

We have many opportunities to resolve the climate crisis. Food systems are a big part of the puzzle. We need to start making changes now!


Timely or not, the local reincarnation of Burger Love begins next week,  celebrating Island meat and potatoes (with a play on pronunciation).   Some places are serving creative interpretations of this, by the way.

CBC article on the new "culinary showcase":

A letter from January worth reading, though I quibble with the term "natural resources" as this traditionally seems to mean exploitable minerals or fossil fuel deposits; and P.E.I. has plenty of natural resources that matter, if we value and protect them.

LETTER: Organic farming a potential boon for P.E.I. - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Chris McGarry

Published in print on Thursday January 14th, 2021

P.E.I. is the only province in Canada without an abundance of natural resources. Therefore, our rich soil is one of our most profitable sources of capital. While fishing and tourism are a major part of the Island’s economy, without a doubt, agriculture is our primary industry.

In recent years, there has been a growing discord regarding the model of large-scale corporate farming used in the province, a practice that is wreaking havoc on our soil and – combined with the increasing demand for more acres of productive land – is putting the prospect of getting into farming further out of reach for future generations.

P.E.I. is known internationally as Canada’s "food island" yet, according to a 2018 study by Statistics Canada, 23 per cent of Island children live in food insecure households. With so much food production, why is this happening?

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred many negative spinoffs, the most ominous to date being rising food and energy prices, which in turn has prompted many younger couples to want to return to the land and grow their food or start small organic farms. In a basic lesson of supply and demand, increased corporate demand means even higher land prices, thus putting even more obstacles in the path of people who in the future may not have any other choice but to grow their own food in order to feed their families.

As Islanders, we must ask ourselves if the current model of industrial agriculture is in the best interests of our soil, or even sustainable for such a small landmass over the long term. P.E.I. is already unique in many ways. Becoming the first fully organic jurisdiction in Canada (or the world for that matter) would make our position on the map that such stronger.

Imagine, if you will, tourists visiting Abegweit not only to marvel at our world-famous beaches and stunning vistas, but to see and buy produce from the hundreds of small organic farms dotting the pastoral countryside.

A great initiative would be to set up plants in each county that bottle, pickle and freeze Island-grown organic products which then are shipped around the globe. Furthermore, with increased organic farming, the use of and demand for pesticides will decrease considerably.

Chris McGarry is an author, editor and freelance writer living in Belfast who has written extensively on agricultural issues and has been involved in blueberry growing.


Double Don Giovanni Day!
Mozart’s outrageous comedy tells the tale of an incorrigible young playboy who blazes a path to his own destruction in a single day." And it ends with a bang!

Metropolitan Opera Saturday Radio Matinee, 2PM, 104.7FM.
Mozart’s Don Giovanni
Performance from March 10, 2012
Andrew Davis; Marina Rebeka (Donna Anna), Ellie Dehn (Donna Elvira), Isabel Leonard (Zerlina), Matthew Polenzani (Don Ottavio), Gerald Finley (Don Giovanni), Bryn Terfel (Leporello), Shenyang (Masetto), James Morris (Commendatore)
Great cast! and such explanatory discussion at the beginning and between Acts.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s Idomeneo, today until 6:30PM
Starring Hildegard Behrens, Ileana Cotrubas, Frederica von Stade, Luciano Pavarotti, and John Alexander, conducted by James Levine. Production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From November 6, 1982.

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Solveig Kringelborn, Hei-Kyung Hong, Paul Groves, Bryn Terfel, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Sergei Koptchak. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From October 14, 2000.

And if staying inside and watching figure skating is the goal today, it's a good one, as has coverage of the World Figure Skating Championships, with the Men's starting about 7AM and the Ice Dance at 1PM, (online), (the others finishing already) and wrap-ups beginning on TV at 3PM in the afternoon.
CBC Sports online:
CBC article on results so far

I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively, instead of skeptically and dictatorially.

     ― E.B. White (1899-1985)

...who also gave us Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, not to forget The Elements of Style and a bunch of essays

March 26, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Political Panel on CBC radio, 96.1FM, probably after the 7:30AM news.

Fridays 4 Future, 3:30PM, by Province House, all welcome.

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-2PM today.  Budget and perhaps other Government business today.  Note that next week the House will sit Tuesday and Wednesday but not the rest of the week for Easter holidays.
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link
Small notes: 
I did not listen to the Legislature much the past two days yesterday but for small bits, but some of it has made me Sigh, Sigh and Sigh a little bit...
...of course the province should cover Strangles testing, no matter who owns the horses. 
...personal social media accounts allow politicians to show us some of their personal life, and air their opinions, of course and fine, but the opinions should be read with a small grain of Island sea salt.
....the lowering the Voting Age legislation debate on the floor seems to be replaying the same questions, in the same tones of shock and near apoplexia.  Again.  There is a Groundhog's Day-feel to the debate. I am sure there can be consensus on this issue, if we look at the bigger picture of engaging our younger citizens.  Scotland has lowered its voting age -- are there commentaries from youth and others about how that's gone there? Aye?

Marilyn MacKay, a true climate trooper on P.E.I., reminds us of what happened last week, and of the continuing push for clear climate change-fighting action (especially as the Legislature sifts through the proposed budget).

GUEST OPINION: We don't want more empty promises on climate - The Guardian Guest opinion by Marilyn McKay

Published on Friday, March 19th, 2021

The international, youth led, climate group Fridays for Future has set March 19 as a global climate strike day. The theme of the strike is “#NoMoreEmptyPromises” – stemming from the belief that world governments are making ambitious pledges to reach net zero emissions by 2050 without the action to back them up. They suggest: “Empty promises like these can be a very dangerous phenomenon because they give the impression that sufficient action is being taken, but in fact, that is not the case as these targets are full of loopholes, creative accounting and unscientific assumptions.”

This skepticism is understandable. The International Energy Agency recently announced that global carbon emissions were set to be higher for 2020 than pre-pandemic levels – dashing hopes that these levels might have peaked in 2019. As well, the green recovery effort has thus far not lead to stellar results. A March 2021 report by Oxford University’s Economic Recovery Project and the UN Environment Project examining recovery spending by leading economies found only 18 per cent of spending to be “green”. The report concludes that: “Despite positive steps towards a sustainable COVID-19 recovery from a few leading nations, the world has so far fallen short of matching aspirations to build back better.”

Here in Canada, our government has failed to reach every climate target it has set thus far and continues to invest heavily in the fossil fuel industry in spite of wide spread calls from economists and environmentalists alike to stop. While it has made significant investments in a green recovery via funding for renewable energy, green transport and building retrofits; a recent report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development indicates that pandemic spending resulted in a massive increase in federal aid to fossil fuel producers. While three-quarters of that aid was for cleaning up abandoned oil wells – therefore reducing methane emissions; Vanessa Corkal, the report’s author, suggests that "... any kind of financial support to companies that produce fossil fuels could ultimately help those companies invest to produce more oil and gas.“ Thus the good news may be bad news in disguise.


On the P.E.I. front, the 2021-22 provincial budget released last week includes the good news of a $60 million investment in green research and technology and the bad news of a meagre $250,000 for an Island wide public transit system (to develop a plan and a few pilot routes). After massive spending on road projects and paving it is disappointing to see so little ambition applied to public transit. Our provincial government has set ambitious climate targets – to reach net zero energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2040. To avoid falling into the category of “empty promises” these targets will require a bold climate action plan – which we are anxiously awaiting.

In the meantime, Fridays for Future, P.E.I. will hold its regular climate rally on March 19 at 3:30 p.m. on Grafton Street (at Province House) in support of the global climate strike. All are welcome to join in.

Marilyn McKay is a member of the P.E.I. Fridays for Future Climate Action Group.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Elektra, today until 6:30PM
Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Production by Patrice Chéreau. From April 30, 2016.  Modernish production, of a very unhappy family reunion.

Mozart’s Idomeneo, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Saturday
Starring Hildegard Behrens, Ileana Cotrubas, Frederica von Stade, and Luciano Pavarotti. From November 6, 1982.  About 3 hours.  Still more post-Trojan War epilogues. Pavarotti is the King of Crete, shipwrecked returning home from the War, Frederica von Stade in the "tunic-role" of his son Idamante and Elettra (yes, poor Elektra in yet another version of another chapter in her terrible life) is understandably miserable.

March 25, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.
      ---- Rachel Carson (1901-1964)


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM this afternoon.

To watch live and to access background related materials, Records, links and video clips, go to:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Webinar today:
"Seed Activism: Global Perspectives", 4-5:30PM ADT, hosted by the National Farmers Union's "NFUniversity"

"In Canada and around the world, there has been a corporate push in the past two decades to strengthen laws and regulations governing seeds and plant varieties. These developments have proven highly controversial and have prompted a resurgence of activism around seeds. In this NFUniversity session, Dr. Karine Peschard will draw on the experiences of Brazil, India, New Zealand and Norway to provide a global perspective on these developments. How have different groups – peasants and family farmers, large farmers, Indigenous peoples and civil society organizations – come together to oppose these legislative changes? What are the parallels with recent developments in Canada (namely, Bill C-18 and the Seeds Act Regulations), and what can be learned from these countries’ experiences? This session will highlight common trends among countries with different agricultural landscapes, and present successful examples of mobilizations against seed enclosures."
Registration Link:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: P.E.I. government minister pushing limits of power - The Guardian article by Doug Campbell

Published online on Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

District 1 of the National Farmers Union commends the action of MLA Cory Deagle in the P.E.I. Legislative Assembly. Deagle, the Conservative chair of the Legislative Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability had the fortitude to question his own government’s Environment Minister, Stephen Myers, on his blatant disregard for the recommendations of the all-party committee regarding the Water Act, which will come into play on June 16. 

In disregarding the recommendations of the committee, Myers showed contempt, not only of the committee but of the many P.E.I. volunteer community groups that put hours of work into preparing educated briefs for presentation to the committee. All of these groups have vested interest in ensuring the Island's resources of land and water are protected in an environmental manner conducive to the welfare of all Islanders. 

Yet, Mr. Myers informed Deagle that he and his unnamed experts are in the driver’s seat when it comes to the Water Act. The NFU finds that a highly questionable statement. There is no hiding whose interests were made the priority or whose interests overrode all the positive work brought to the committee, and acted on by the committee. 

Recent days are showing Islanders that many of our government ministers are out of touch with the issues facing average Islanders. Water was removed from the title of Mr. Myer’s department, which is now known as Environment, Energy and Climate Action. Does anyone other than the NFU find this ironic? Perhaps the actions of Mr. Deagle will influence other MLAs into taking a stand to represent and act for the democratic rights of all Islanders, and not let the environmental dinosaurs, unsustainable thinkers, and self-serving corporations win the day.

Douglas Campbell, Southwest Lot 16 
District Director of the National Farmers Union

Shared on social media, this poor copy of Wayne Wright's recent editorial cartoon (sorry not to have original source, but please share with me if you find it)

Wayne Wright editorial cartoon

Different planets....

What's news with the planet Mars rover?  from the U.K. Guardian today:

Marswatch: high hopes for first powered controlled flight on another planet - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Stuart Clark

Mars mission’s next major milestone will be deployment of Ingenuity, a small helicopter

Published online on Thursday, March 25th, 2021

Welcome to the first in a new series of occasional Marswatch columns. With the change of administration in America, the moon landings scheduled for 2024 are likely to be moved back to their original target of 2028. So we thought we’d change our focus to Mars.

The big news at Mars is the landing of Nasa’s rover Perseverance. It touched down on 18 February and has been successfully exploring the 28-mile-wide (45km) Jezero crater ever since.

The next major mission milestone will be the deployment of Ingenuity, a small helicopter that is stowed beneath the rover. Perseverance is heading towards the deployment zone, a flat stretch of land largely clear of boulders that measures 10 by 10 metres across.

Once there, it will place Ingenuity to the ground and drive away. In preparation, on 21 March, the rover dropped the guitar-shaped debris shield that had been protecting the helicopter. Once on the ground, Ingenuity will begin its series of test flights. If it succeeds, it will be humankind’s first powered, controlled flight on another planet. The attempts will begin no earlier than 8 April.


If you're a figure skating watching enthusiast, the World Figure Skating Championships are going on in Sweden right now, with summaries packaged on CBC Sports on CBCTV Saturday at 3PM and Sunday 1PM, and live coverage mornings (about 7AM) and afternoons (about 2PM) today through Saturday streaming online.  Broadcast schedule here:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

More on aftermath from the Trojan War, dealing with the Orestes and his tragic and dysfunctional family...

Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, today until 6:30PM
Starring Susan Graham, Plácido Domingo, Paul Groves, and Gordon Hawkins, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Stephen Wadsworth. From February 26, 2011. 

Strauss’s Elektra, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Friday
Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Production by Patrice Chéreau. From April 30, 2016. 

March 24, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Due in a week, Wednesday, March 31st:
Deadline for public feedback on changes to National Park Skmaqn - Port la Joye -Fort Amherst.  Background, plans, video, contact info here:
The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

From the Ecology Action Centre:

Take action: Tell (the federal) government to keep their promises and invest in a green and just recovery for all.

Right now, decision makers in Ottawa are deciding how to allocate billions of our tax dollars, with a new federal budget just around the corner. In this moment, Canada has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild a society that prioritizes collective wellbeing over profit for the few, and recognizes that our own health relies on the health of the ecosystems that sustain us.

More here:

Small notes from yesterday's Legislative Assembly

Why....The Legislative Assembly people explained this week so well, I am copying from their Facebook page:

"The legislature is back in session today at 1:00pm, and the budget will likely be part of the day's business. During the winter-spring sittings, debate on the operating budget for the province is a major component of the work in the House.

When members review and debate the budget, the process is called “Committee of the Whole House on Supply”. The Speaker leaves the chamber and all members collectively study the budget, with the Deputy Speaker serving as chair. Ministers and their support staff sit with the chair as the budget for their portfolio is read and debated in sections. Members can ask as many questions as they wish in order to have a clear picture of how Government is spending public funds.

Sigh...During an exchange in Question Period yesterday, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action (or just the "Minister of Action" as a fellow Tory Caucus MLA referred to him as), countered questions about determining water flow, asked directly by Opposition MLA Lynne Lund, with unnecessary provoking remarks.  (Countering that he never had a briefing book, that her statements were untrue, etc.) Honed from years of Opposition, perhaps, but still detracting from just answering questions.  But Minister Myers did clarify that holding ponds will have to meet Water Act regulations within five years (an awfully long time for compliance). Question Period record page from Legislative Assembly website

High...glimmers that there can be serious discussions on the future of agriculture in this province, first when Sidney MacEwen (MLA for Morell-Donagh, and Government House Leader) and the Agriculture Minister and staff discussed rating the effectiveness of environmental programs for improving soil health and such (during Department budget analysis); and the other with the Opposition Motion No. 7, about Sustainable Agriculture with heartfelt, compassionate but realistic comments from Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker and Michelle Beaton MLA Mermaid-Stratford (and Opposition House Leader).   The debate on the Motion will be continued at another date, and I hope there will continue to be vision on this.

Excellent letter:

LETTER: What happened to P.E.I. government collaboration? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published in print on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

What happened to collaboration?

The Dennis King government is reaching the halfway point in its mandate. One primary promise it made at the outset was a commitment to collaboration in its style of governance. It could be argued that this has been fulfilled. Unfortunately, in the critical files involving land and water, this collaboration seems to have taken a different form than what Islanders envisioned. There doesn’t appear to be any meaningful interest in collaborating with the elected representatives from the other parties or, indeed, some members of their own caucus. Recommendations made by standing committees bear little impact, it seems, if certain industries fear loss of entitlement. King has highlighted the equal representation in these standing committees to illustrate his collaborative government model. To overlook their recommendations puts the premier’s commitment to this model into question.

The short list of collaborators outside of government becomes noticeably shorter as land use and water regulations impact the potato processing industry. This list appears to be limited to the Island version of Sen. Mike Duffy’s infamous “boys in short pants”. In this instance they are tasked to relay standing orders from select corporate partners’ desks and boardroom tables into the ears of the premier.

Furthermore, recent statements released and levers pulled by this government reinforce the outdated and dangerous fallacy that environmental degradation is the cost of doing business. Clearly, diluting the purpose of the Water Act in tandem with further dabbling with the pitifully underenforced Land Protection Act do not signal any intent to facilitate positive change. A senior cabinet minister using polarizing jargon to pit farmers against environmentalists does not lead to consensus-based outcomes.

It is time for the Dennis King government to relearn how to communicate with Islanders and show enough courage to stop allowing lobbyists and industry surrogates to dictate its agenda. Why not govern as promised and actually do things differently? We will soon reach the point that we are unable to mitigate the damage.

Boyd Allen, Pownal


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Berlioz’s  La Damnation de Faust, today until 6:30PM
Starring Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani, and John Relyea. Production by Robert Lepage. From November 22, 2008.

Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Thursday
Starring Susan Graham, Plácido Domingo, Paul Groves, and Gordon Hawkins, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Stephen Wadsworth. From February 26, 2011. Under two hours.  More fallout from the Trojan War. 

March 23, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.

— Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet


Local Food Ordering -- Charlottetown Farmers' Market2GO, order until noon today for pickup/delivery Thursday.
There will probably be a weekly
"Dr. Morrison Update" at 11:30AM, on the Prince Edward Island Government's website, Facebook and YouTube spaces, and also CBC Facebook, and Q93FM Radio.  If we hear it's a different time, we'll post that on the Citizens' Alliance Facebook page.


A correction that the "Planning Your Garden for Seed Saving" Talk today at the Library is being given by community organizer and Seed Saver Extraordinaire Josie Baker (not community organizer and Chef Extraordinaire Morgan Palmer).  My confusion -- sorry.
I am also confused that for a webinar event, the registration closes at 4PM the day before -- seems a mite inflexible in this virtual age, though the Provincial Library Service is trying hard to stay connected with the public.


Today begins a three-week sitting session of the P.E.I. Legislature, with the House sitting from 1-5PM today, tomorrow and Thursday, and Friday from 10AM-2PM.

It looks like the week will consist of digging into the Operating Budget, along with debate on Government Bills and Motions, and Opposition Bills and Motions.

"Watch Live" links and many House Records are here:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

and watching live and past video clips and information bites, are here:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Opinions on the House, from people who would make a great contribution in one of those seats (but until we improve our voting system, we won't easily elect some of these strong voices).  Today, here is one:

Lynne Thiele has run in a couple of elections on P.E.I., including the District 10 byelection last Fall.  Her knowledge on issues is both deep and wide.

Around the time of the Speech from the Throne, I asked was she thought, and what she would like MLAs to work on this session.  Here is what she responded, in her sharp and direct words:

 1  Address the growing health problems of addiction and mental health issue. A commitment to build a mental health centre is again in future planning but if the (planning) staff we have now has failed so miserably, how will a new building help? 

2. The big promise to protect the land and water must be met. It might take some money for legal fees. Hiring an expert to study the water situation is only a waste of money. 

3. Federal funds for Covid expenses in education or health must be spent immediately. It is not meant to be used to build a school in West Kent or for bricks and mortar.

4. Public funds must be used to provide public housing. The private sector is making enough money right now and affordable housing is a subjective term. Also it is not long term.

5. The idea that the King government will listen to ideas from Standing committees or any other committee of volunteers is laughable and sad. I am wasting my time again.

Lynne Thiele

former NDPPEI candidate in 2 elections


P.E.I. woman planning rental registry to help tenants - The Guardian article by Ryan Ross

Published in print on Monday, March 22nd, 2021


With no registry in place keeping track of Island rents, a P.E.I. woman is taking matters into her own hands to start one.

Darcie Lanthier said a searchable database is in the works to help tenants in P.E.I. figure out what they should be paying for rent.

“It shouldn’t be secret,” she said.

Darcie Lanthier, a few years ago at a public meeting; Citizens' Alliance board member Cindy Richards is in lower left of photo.  --- by CO

In P.E.I., the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) puts a limit on how much landlords are able to increase rent, which they can only do once a year.  Rent is attached to the unit and not the tenant, but landlords can apply to increase it beyond the allowable limit. 

Lanthier said the planned rental database, which she hopes will be up and running within the next few weeks, will be based on addresses, which is public information.

People who submit information will be asked if they consent to giving their contact information.   Former tenants can also submit signed leases for rental units.  Once the database is up, Lanthier said she hoped a non-governmental organization will take it over.

Lanthier said housing has been allowed to become a commodity in P.E.I. instead of a basic human right.  “Landlords are just operating with impunity because it’s very difficult to find out what the previous tenant paid,” she said.

More than a year ago, the legislature passed a motion calling for the creation of an online searchable registry, but so far, the government hasn’t created one. 

Social Development and Housing Minister Brad Trivers recently said he has been discussing the creation of a registry with IRAC staff.

He also said funds have been committed for a study on the creation of a registry but didn’t provide a timeline for its completion.

Aside from the registry, Lanthier has already been working to help tenants determine if their landlord has been following the allowable rent increases.

In February, she started printing cards people can fill out with the amount they were paying in rent at their former apartment and send to the unit’s current tenants.   The goal is to let tenants know if what they’re paying falls within IRAC’s allowable increase.

Lanthier said when she posted a picture of one of the cards on the My Old Apartment Twitter account, it gained more than 10,000 followers in the first week.   “It’s just mind-blowing,” she said.

Lanthier said the first card that went out showed a tenant they were being charged $300 a month more than the allowable rent and had paid $5,400 more than they should have.

“That’s a life-changing amount for a parent with a young family,” she said.

For more information on the tenant cards and the rental registry Lanthier is starting visit


Note:  To my ears, Darcie's last name is pronounced "LAWN-chay"

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

More on this week's operas, here.

Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, today until 6:30PM
Starring Danielle de Niese, Heidi Grant Murphy, and Stephanie Blythe. Production by Mark Morris. From January 24, 2009. Under 2 hours

Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday at 6:30PM
Starring Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani, and John Relyea. Production by Robert Lepage. From November 22, 2008. Two and a half hours.


The Met gives a candid notice of the passing of James Levine, former (dismissed) Music Director, who died last week at 77.

March 22, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

One individual cannot possibly make a difference, alone. It is individual efforts, collectively, that makes a noticeable difference—all the difference in the world!

Dr. Jane Goodall

Happy World Water Day 2021!  Remember the theme is "Valuing Water," and we really do.

Letter:  World Water Day is March 22nd - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published in the print Guardian on Saturday, March 20th, 2021 (not online yet)

Monday, March 22nd is World Water Day, a time in any year, but especially this year, to step back and think about the importance of water in our daily lives, in ecosystems, and in the world community.  The theme this year is "Valuing Water", and to quote the United Nations:

"The value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment.... If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource."

People worked for years on commenting on the value of water for the Water Act for Prince Edward Island, and think daily about conservation and preservation in their actions, by supporting their local Watershed groups, and by becoming more informed about where water comes from and the threats to it. 

Islanders understand the value of water, local and global, and the need to safeguard it.  Take time to connect with Water this week.  For more on World Water Day, see

Chris Ortenburger, On behalf of the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.


World Water Day UN Online Event, 9AM our time,  online.
"The World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the global water crisis, and a core focus of the observance is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030."
Registration Link here


Webinar: "Valuing Water", free online Forum from the University of Saskatchewan on World Water Day, 2PM our time.

"Join us for Let's Talk About Water Global Forum — a free online conversation moderated by Jay Famiglietti (of the Global Institute for Water Security) in celebration of #WorldWaterDay."

Event registration link

Starting today:
Seed Kits available from the Public Libraries. 
Details (from, and with thanks to, the Cooper Institute)

To access seeds from the Seed Library of PEI, we've been working with the incredible staff of the library, and there will be seed kits available for pick up across the island! There should be some for gardeners who are able to start their tomatoes  etc inside, as well as some that contain only varieties that can be direct seeded in the spring.

Either way, they should be available for pick up at your local library as of March 22nd! If not, you can likely ask your local librarian to bring one in for you, through the library network, while supplies last.

Tuesday, March 23rd:
Webinar workshop:  Virtual workshop on "Planning Your Garden for Seed Saving."  1PM,
with Morgan Palmer.
To register, email by 4pm **Monday, March 22nd**

GUEST OPINION: Water is a public trust and a common good - The Guardian Guest Opinionby Ann Wheatley and Don Mazer
Published in print on Friday, March 12th, 2021

Members of the Coalition for Protection of P.E.I. Water were certainly glad to learn that the Water Act will be proclaimed in June. This is long overdue. It will have been seven years since the process began and three-and-a-half years since the act was passed in the legislature. Six ministers of the Environment have presided over the slow progress of this act.

And while there are many good features of the Water Act, and there have been times when a truly consultative, collaborative and respectful relationship between government and people deeply concerned about water seemed possible, the content of Minister Myers’ announcement on Feb. 19 makes two things perfectly clear:

  1. Government cannot be trusted to protect P.E.I. water.

  2. The voice of industry is far more important to government than the voice of the people.

The membership of the Coalition to Protect P.E.I. Water includes Island organizations concerned with environmental and social justice, watershed groups, farmers and individual Islanders. We have spent thousands of hours over many years advocating for the Water Act and participating in its development. We have met with each minister of the environment. We contributed many of the 52 excellent presentations to the Water Act consultations. The coalition has been thanked in the legislature for its meaningful contribution to the act. We did not profit from our work; we have had no private stake or interest. Joining together with a collective purpose, we worked to protect a public trust, and a common good, the health of water and ecosystems on behalf of all Islanders.

The announcement about the proclamation of the act clearly reflects how much government has responded to the powerful voices of industry, and how little they have heard or cared about the voices of many concerned Islanders.

While the Water Act will keep the moratorium on high capacity (HC) wells, it will allow for the construction of five new wells that are approved for "scientific study". You have continued to leave the door wide open for the development of holding ponds for agricultural irrigation. The wells for these ponds require no permit for water extraction. Premier King told us he thought holding ponds were worse than HC wells: previous Minister Brad Trivers recognized holding ponds as an attempt to get around the moratorium on HC wells: a proposal for a moratorium on holding ponds was passed by the legislature and then Minister Natalie Jameson and current Minister Steven Myers voted to support that moratorium. But then the moratorium was not implemented, stalled for "legal reasons".

The long delay in creating regulations and proclaiming the Water Act was a golden opportunity for some to dig holding ponds, and this happened and continues to happen across the province. There will be no need for those wells to be compliant with the Water Act regulations within five years (the current standing committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability recommended compliance within two years), because those regulations have changed.

The grandfathering of holding ponds is an outrageous violation of the spirit of the Water Act, an act that so many Islanders have worked so hard to create. It challenges the very ideas that water is a common good and a public trust. It is a clear indication that government is more responsive to the power of industry than to the voices of its citizens.

Ann Wheatley and Don Mazer, on behalf of the Coalition for Protection of P.E.I. Water.


Atlantic Skies for March 22nd -- March 28th, 2021 "A Swarm of Celestial Bees" by Glenn K. Roberts

Leo - the Lion, and Gemini - the Twins, are two prominent constellations found in the south - southwest sky between 9 - 10 p.m. on spring evenings. You'll find Leo about halfway up the southern sky, with the distinctive reversed "?" shape of the lion's head facing towards the southwest (right).  Halfway between Leo and Gemini (to the right of Leo) is Cancer - the Crab. It is here, in this not-so-prominent constellation of faint stars, that we find one of the most beautiful open star clusters in the night sky - Praesepe, the "Beehive Cluster" (or M44 in the Messier Catalogue listing). Visible to the naked eye (on a clear night and away from city lights) as a faint, nebulous patch of light, Praesepe (mag. +3.7) is a beautiful sight in binoculars. It is composed of 1,000 or more blue-white stars with a sprinkling of reddish-orange stars among them. It is located approximately 577 light years from Earth, and is estimated to be about 600 million years old (our Sun is approximately 4.5 billion years old).

Exactly how Praesepe came to be associated with bees is unclear. The ancient Greeks referred to it as "Phatne" (from pateomai, meaning "to eat"). The Greek poet, Aratus (c. 315 - 240 BC) wrote of it as "Achlus" ("little mist"), while the Greek astronomer, Hipparchus (c. 190-120 BC), referred to it as "Nephelion" ("little cloud"). The ancient Romans called it "Praesepe", Latin for "crib" or "manger" (as in a stable). The great Roman astronomer and mathematician, Ptolemy (c. 100 - 170 AD), referred to it as "the nebulous mass in the breast of Cancer". Both the Greeks and Romans associated the cluster's two most prominent stars - Gamma and Delta Cancri - with two donkeys said to have carried two of the Olympian gods - Dionysus and Silenus - into battle against the Titans. It seems that the braying of the donkeys so frightened the Titans, that they fled the battlefield, giving victory to the Olympians. The gods rewarded the two donkeys by placing them in the night sky in Praesepe, where they could eat hay eternally from the "manger".

Some scholars assert that the Latin "praesepe", in addition to meaning "crib' or "manger', can also mean "hive", thus providing a possible link between the star cluster and bees. Others point to "Samson's riddle" found in the Old Testament Book of Judges. Samson, an ancient Israeli judge and renowned strongman, made a wager with a number of Philistines guests at his wedding feast, wherein they had to answer the following riddle - "Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet." (Judges  14:14). The answer to the riddle was based - unbeknownst to the Philistines - on a personal experience that Samson had. It seems that, one day, while out walking, Samson killed a lion, and, upon returning a day or so later to the scene of the battle, found that bees had constructed a hive inside the lion's carcass, from which he extracted some honey. Thus, the answer to Samson's riddle was - "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" (Judges 14:18). Over the course of time, it is possible that Samson's lion came to be associated with the constellation of Leo - the Lion, which represented the Nemean lion killed by the great Greek hero, Hercules, as part of his Twelve Labors, and that, perhaps, this association led to the "Beehive Cluster" being placed close by the constellation of Leo. There doesn't appear to be any association of Praesepe with Cancer - the Crab. Grab your binoculars and head outdoors some clear night (between 9-10 p.m.) in the coming weeks, and look for the Beehive Cluster; you won't be disappointed,  it really does look like "a swarm of celestial bees".

Mercury is not visible this coming week, as, being very close to the Sun right now, it won't clear the southeast horizon until shortly before sunrise, and, as such, is lost in the dawn's glow. Venus is likewise unobservable, as it is heading towards superior solar conjunction (it will pass behind the Sun as seen from Earth) on Mar. 26., whereupon it will transition from the morning sky to the evening sky, becoming visible again in April. Mars (mag. +1.2, in Taurus - the Bull) continues as an early evening object this week. It becomes visible 52 degrees above the southwest horizon by about 8:10 p.m., before dropping towards the horizon and setting around 1:35 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.7, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) and Jupiter (mag. -2.0, in Capricornus) are both briefly visible low above the southeast horizon in the pre-dawn sky, before being washed out by the brightening dawn.

The Full Moon on the 28th is often referred to as the "Worm Moon", as March is often when earthworms can be seen crawling on the ground's surface in most areas throughout North America.

Until next week, clear skies.


 Mar. 26 - Venus at superior solar conjunction

          28 - Full "Worm" Moon


PEI Symphony Orchestra held a small public concert on Sunday, with special guest Tracy Cantin, soprano, and the concert was live-streamed on their Facebook page, where you can still view it.  A donation to the PEISO would be appreciated anytime, as would buying citrus fruit from their annual sale (currently at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market for the next couple of Saturdays).

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Handel’s Agrippina, today until 6:30PM
Starring Brenda Rae, Joyce DiDonato, Kate Lindsey, Iestyn Davies, Duncan Rock, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Sir David McVicar. From February 29, 2020.

Nightly Opera Streams, March 22–28:

Myths and Legends

"From ancient Greece to steamy Seville to a ghoulish ship on the high seas, this week of free Nightly Opera Streams draws from the annals of myth and legend. Explore the articles and resources below to expand your knowledge and enhance your experience as you enjoy the screenings..."

Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Tuesday

Starring Danielle de Niese, Heidi Grant Murphy, and Stephanie Blythe. Production by Mark Morris.  From January 24, 2009

March 21, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"An optimist is the human personification of spring." 
        --quote attributed to Susan J. Bissonette


Monday, March 22nd:
Webinar: "Valuing Water", free online Forum on World Water Day, 2PM our time.

"Join us for Let's Talk About Water Global Forum — a free online conversation moderated by Jay Famiglietti in celebration of #WorldWaterDay."

Dr. Jay Famiglietti is a hydrologist, a professor and the Executive Director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan and host of the Let's Talk About Water podcast....

Let's Talk About Water (LTAW) is an environmental initiative started by film researcher Linda Lilienfeld that uses the power of film to draw attention to water issues around the globe. With the support of the University of Saskatchewan (USask), the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS), and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI), LTAW has evolved to include a podcast, film competition, youth engagement program, and numerous events, film festivals and workshops around the world. 

Event Registration link

"Let's Talk about Water" website link

(with a website title like that, I had to poke around and make sure it wasn't a website for a corporate interest, which it does not appear to be ;-)  )
There is a lot to explore on that website!


The P.E.I. Legislature will have a constituency day Monday and start planning for a week of resumed Sitting Days Tuesday through Friday.  No evening sittings, rather Tuesday-Thursday 1PM-5PM, and Friday 10AM-2PM.

Records and Videos can be accessed here:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

A excerpt from social justice activist Mary Boyd's recent Letter to the Editor:

Solidarity Sunday is today

"For the second year in a row, Development and Peace-Caritas Canada is facing its annual Solidarity Sunday celebration and collection taken up in churches of the diocese while dealing with constraints under COVID-19. This annual collection...supports the organization’s many social justice and relief projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.... people can donate on line at or by calling 1-888-234-8533. .... It is more important than ever that communities fight against climate change and are able to grow their own food, find adequate shelter, and organize their communities for the common good of all. The work of Development and Peace-Caritas supports the people in their daily struggle for dignity in the building of their future.

So many excellent letters to the editor in the last week or two to be shared in the next week or two

STEPHEN HOWARD: Modernizing electricity and energy poverty in P.E.I. - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Stephen Howard, MLA for District 22: Summerside-South Drive

Published in print edition Thursday, March 18th, 2021

Prince Edward Island has some of the highest rates of energy poverty in all of Canada.

Energy poverty refers to the reality that some people are unable to fully access or afford basic modern energy services such as heating, cooling, and keeping the lights on. This means they often find themselves living in cold, drafty homes, or sacrificing essentials such as medicines and food to keep their lights on and the heat going. This in turn leads to other issues like more sickness, poorer mental health due to higher stress levels, and an inability to fully participate in community life.

We can help Islanders by improving existing laws around how energy is generated, bought, and sold on Prince Edward Island. We can reduce the cost of renewable energy on P.E.I.

The cost of wind power has dropped significantly in recent years. However, the utility still has to pay a minimum price for this power, and this minimum price is now well above the cost of wind power. This drop in cost means that the P.E.I. Energy Corporation (PEIEC), the main seller of renewable electricity in the province, is making many millions in profit.

By eliminating the minimum purchase price, government would force the PEIEC to pass along these millions of dollars to Islanders through rate reductions. By keeping the minimum purchase price, government is choosing to make millions on the backs of Islanders by intentionally keeping electricity rates high.

I have legislation on the floor of the House right now that will remove this minimum purchase price, giving Islanders access to the true low cost of wind power here on P.E.I.

Also within my legislation are minor changes that could lay the groundwork for the adoption of home storage, including vehicle-to-grid technology, in the province.

Home and EV storage would permit people to store power they generate from renewables or the electrical grid for later use – for example, during a power outage – thereby minimizing disruptions to them.

Vehicle-to-grid technology uses the batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) while they are plugged in to help stabilize the electricity grid. This can create a new revenue stream for EV and home storage owners while at the same time improving the electricity grid. This can happen at no cost to the other ratepayers and can even lower costs for everyone.

In short, Islanders can be paid by the utility for helping supply electricity to the grid and we can give Islanders access to lower cost renewable energy.

I ask you to contact your MLA and let them know that you want fairer rates. Let them know you want access to the real low-cost power that PEIEC and other wind farms produce.

I also invite you to contact me directly with your thoughts. You can call me at 902-620-3977 or email

Stephen Howard is the MLA Summerside-South Drive and Official Opposition critic for transportation, infrastructure and energy.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Production by Robert Carsen. From February 24, 2007. Beautiful, dreamy version of Pushkin's prose story, with amazing leads.

Handel’s Agrippina, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Brenda Rae, Joyce DiDonato, Kate Lindsey, Iestyn Davies, Duncan Rock, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Sir David McVicar. From February 29, 2020.  Modern dress super-cool version of the scheming Roman empress.

March 20, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

March 19, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Fridays4Future, 3:30PM, Province House.
March 19th is a global day of climate action. Join our rally, 3:30-4:30 pm on Grafton Street (in front of Province House).

Webinar: "Act on Your Promises", voices from the Youth-led Climate Strike, 6-9PM, free.
Facebook event details and registration for the webinar link


No Legislature sitting today (but hope they are paying attention to the #NoMoreEmptyPromises message from Climate Strikers and others), but it will ramp up again next Tuesday.  Here are the links to the records and social media documentation:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Seed Saving
edited from a notice from the Seeds of Community people at the Cooper's Institute:

Hello Seeds of Community Folks! 

It's been a long year! I'm sure there are many new gardeners,and possibly new seed savers! 

I wanted to share that despite the COVID19 restrictions we have been working with the Public Library Service to make seed library activities happen, and to make seeds accessible to you!

Starting Monday, March 22nd:
Seed Kits available from the Public Libraries. 


To access seeds from the Seed Library of PEI, we've been working with the incredible staff of the library, and there will be seed kits available for pick up across the island! There should be some for gardeners who are able to start their tomatoes  etc inside, as well as some that contain only varieties that can be direct seeded in the spring.

Either way, they should be available for pick up at your local library as of March 22nd!  If not, you can likely ask your local librarian to bring one in for you, through the library network, while supplies last.

Tuesday, March 23rd:
Webinar workshop: 
Virtual workshop on "Planning Your Garden for Seed Saving."  1PM, with Morgan Palmer.
To register, email by 4pm Monday, March 22nd

Thursday, March 25th:
Online Workshop:  "Seed Activism: Global Perspectives", 4-5:30PM,
hosted by the National Farmers Union.
"If you want to take things to the next level..."
Registration link:

A week ago, the Provincial Operating Budget was released by the governing PC party's Finance Minister Darlene Compton.  Here is part of the press release on it:

Today, Premier Dennis King and Finance Minister Darlene Compton delivered government’s 2020-21 operating budget that outlines  $2.5 billion in spending for programs to assist Islanders, businesses, and industry recover from COVID-19, while optimistically turning an eye to the future.

This budget shows government’s plan to provide support to people most in need while also investing in the recovery of the province’s economy, job market and some of the hard-hit sectors and industries.  With revenues forecasted at $2.4 billion and planned spending of $2.5 billion, the province is expecting a deficit of approximately $112 million.

Prince Edward Island is in a good position to rebound from the impacts of COVID-19 at a much faster pace than many other provinces, as the Island continues to experience growth in certain sectors of the economy, supported by an increase in our population that once again led the country in 2020.

Highlights of the budget include:

Investments in a healthier Island

  • $4.4 million to revitalize primary care;

  • $3 million for the development of the PEI Centre for Mental Well-Being; and

  • $1.5 million for a free shingles vaccine for Islanders aged 65 and older, which will be the most comprehensive program in the country.

Commitment to children and families

  • $2.9 million to implement a universal half-day Pre-Kindergarten Program;

  • $625,000 to reduce childcare rates to $25 per day starting in January 2022; and

  • $4 million for 80 new front-line positions in our schools, including teachers, autism consultants, educational assistants, and bus drivers.

Investing in clean technology and our environment

  • $5.6 million to support and expand the heat pump rebate program through efficiencyPEI;

  • $500,000 to establish an electric vehicle rebate program; and

  • $250,000 for a rural transit system pilot program beginning fall 2021.

Creating a robust and inclusive economy

  • $4.6 million to fund additional tax reductions, including increasing the basic personal amount to $11,250 and the low-income reduction threshold to $20,000;

  • reduce the small business tax rate to 1 per cent and position Prince Edward Island at the lowest rate in Atlantic Canada;

  • establish a $1 million micro-loan program to assist Indigenous women, youth, BIPOC, and 2SLBGTQIA+ entrepreneurs to start new businesses

the complete media release (and link to full document) is here:

Phil Ferraro, of the Institute for Bioregional Studies and who manages the Farm Centre, posted the Budget highlights on social media, and a person commented asking if he was running for office.  He responded (and I use with his permission, and slightly edited it for formatting):

Okay. First of all, I believe the province is planning to receive substantial funding from the federal government for infrastructure spending. This is aimed to regenerate the economy and bring it back to "normal."

However, "normal," was pretty bad before the pandemic. The pandemic took a heavy toll on some businesses and some sectors of the business community have done quite well.
So, I would like to see more targeted business tax breaks go to struggling businesses that restructure jnto worker-owned cooperatives, locally owned, “green” businesses and businesses that pay a living wage ( $20/hr. + ) to employees.

I would also invest a significant amount of money to create publicly owned corporations for the Internet, Insurance and Renewable Energy so that profits from these 21st century necessities go to the public good rather than private shareholders. Instead of a Carbon Tax, which in my view, lacks proper guidance and therefore will wind up abandoning the climate crisis to the will of the marketplace; with the hope that people will intuitively know how to do the right thing, I would invest in programs that have measurably beneficial outcomes for our economic security and environmental sustainability.

For example, we could use the profits from our newly formed publically-owned enterprises to implement job-creating programs retrofitting homes and commercial buildings for energy efficiency, subsidizing low-income tenant’s rent until public housing is constructed, developing and maintaining an eco-friendly, mass transit system, expanding health care coverage to include, nutritional counseling, midwifery, dental care, and certified natural health practitioners.

I would also establish a system of rewards for farmers who regenerate our agricultural lands to sequester carbon while also diversifying and improving production yields.

However, since I already said, I have no intention of running for a political office, I will just plant a garden and grow some trees and hope the economic and ecological crisis’ do not turn out as bad as I am anticipating.

  ----Phil Ferraro, March 17th, 2021
It helps to put these thoughts down and share with others, to tell those making these decisions about better choices they can make.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Philip Glass’s Akhnaten, today until 6:30PM
Starring Dísella Lárusdóttir, J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein, and Zachary James, conducted by Karen Kamensek. Production by Phelim McDermott. From November 23, 2019.

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Saturday
Starring Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, Peter Mattei, John Del Carlo, and John Relyea, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Bartlett Sher. From March 24, 2007.  A total romp, lots of fun.

March 18, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

March 17, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

March 16, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Orders due by noon for Charlottetown Farmers' Market to Go, details here:
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Morrison will likely give her
weekly P.E.I. Covid-19 update at 11:30AM, more info at:
the P.E.I. Government page,
Facebook page or
CBC Facebook page.
CFCY Radio 93.1FM (main announcements part)
Interesting coincidence with the announcement of a merger of Rogers with Shaw, with promises to improve Western Canadian internet, etc.,

Today is an
Virtual Action Day for Affordable Internet, Webinar at 2-4PM, online.
"Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for internet and mobile service. It’s only getting worse. The federal government and the CRTC can take steps to lower your bills. Instead, they are protecting Big Telecom’s massive profits. It's time to speak out!"
Webinar at 2PM our time, more details on who is speaking, who the organizations supporting this, etc., here:

I found out about this webinar from my current internet provider, which is a "third party provider" and one of the hosts of the organizing groups, but I don't know very much more about the event today.

Congrats to the volunteers behind the years-long work to revitalize Glenaladale House Trust, for receiving some pretty good funding.
CBC Story

The second in the investigative series on Plastics in Canada, from Canada's National Observer:
 (though it won't "save us", that doesn't mean it's not worth the recycling efforts we make)

Canada is drowning in plastic waste — and recycling won't save us - National Observer article by Marc Fawcett-Atkinson

Canadians throw away about 3.3 million tonnes of plastic each year. Only nine percent is recycled.

Part of a Canada's National Observer investigation

Published online on Tuesday, March 9th 2021

For the first 50 years after plastic was invented, the idea of only using the long-lasting material once was blasphemous, an affront to values of frugality honed over years of war and economic strife.

Then, in the late 1950s, the plastics industry launched a massive marketing campaign — and single-use plastic was born.

“The happy day has arrived when nobody any longer considers plastic packages too good to throw away,” Lloyd Stouffer said at the 1963 U.S. National Plastic Conference. Stouffer was a U.S. plastics marketing guru and the man who, in 1956, first pitched the idea that a virtually indestructible material — plastic — should be sold as disposable.

Since then, about 8.3 billion tonnes have been produced; most has been thrown out. Landfills are stuffed. Oceans and the animals in them are choked. Plastic particles are even showing up in human placentas, with unknown health impacts.

Plastic is everywhere: Manhattan, the Marianas Trench, even Mars.

Faced with this ecological crisis, dozens of Canadian municipalities and provinces have joined a growing global movement against plastic pollution. They have introduced bans and crafted new waste management legislation to try to control the problem.

Recently, the federal government jumped in, announcing plans for a national waste strategy that would list plastics as toxic under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and a ban on some single-use plastics. Most importantly, the plan calls for a new “circular economy” that would rely on massively scaling up existing recycling facilities and still-nascent recycling technologies to keep disposable plastic ubiquitous in our daily lives.

But can recycling really save us?

“Any material in the world can be recycled — if you separate it, prepare it and pay enough money to put it through the (recycling) process. The question is, is there a market for it? That’s what drives recycling,” says Samantha MacBride, an expert in solid waste management and a professor of urban environmental studies at the Marxe School of Public Affairs at Baruch College of CUNY in New York City.

“It’s a great industry — it provides jobs, it makes use of what’s around — but it doesn’t have anything directly to do with improving the environment.”

Canadians dispose of about 3.3 million tonnes of plastic each year, according to a 2019 study commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), almost half of which is packaging. Well over three-quarters currently goes to landfills, a small proportion is incinerated and about one per cent ends up directly in the environment.

Only nine per cent — or 305,000 tonnes — is recycled, the 2019 study found.

That’s no surprise. Low oil prices make it difficult for plastic recyclers, who must invest in expensive sorting and processing facilities, to compete against already established petrochemical manufacturers, whose facilities are well integrated with the oil and gas industry. It’s cheaper to make plastic from so-called “virgin oil” and put the waste in landfills than it is to recycle old plastics into new products.

Oil and natural gas producers are betting heavily on continued growth in virgin plastic production, with the industry expected to soon account for between 45 and 95 per cent of global growth in demand for oil and natural gas, according to a September report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative.

How tech barriers stand in the way of recycling

Beyond economics, recycled plastic production is hindered by available technology. Mechanical recycling, a method where plastics are sorted and shredded before being melted down into pellets to make new products, is by far the most common form of recycling in Canada. For the process to be effective, however, the stream of plastics entering the recycling facility needs to be clean and well sorted — a requirement that is difficult to meet.

The variety of plastics on the market adds to the challenge: There are over a dozen types, each with different melting points and manufacturing requirements. Many are also incorporated into different parts of the same consumer product, which makes sorting difficult or impossible.

Dyes and other (sometimes poisonous) additives, like plasticizers and fire retardants, further complicate the process and diminish the recycled product’s final quality. With the exception of easy-to-sort, single-use bottles like those used for water or pop, few mechanically recycled plastics can be reused to hold food, according to a December 2020 report by Greenpeace Canada.

There is some promise in a suite of new recycling technologies, collectively called “advanced" or "chemical" recycling, which break plastics down into their molecular components so they can be remade into like-new products. Proponents are optimistic the new methods will be cleaner and more efficient, but observers have doubts. They also face substantial market challenges in Canada, pushing some to advance business ventures in Europe, where regulations forcing plastic manufacturers to use recycled plastic in their products make investments in the technology financially viable. Similar regulations are included in the federal government's planned plastic regulations, first announced in October.

These technical and market limitations mean Canada’s existing recycling industry focuses almost exclusively on four easy-to-recycle plastics:

  • polyethylene terephthalate (PET), common in carpets, cups and water bottles

  • high-density polyethylene (HDPE), common in milk jugs, outdoor furniture and pipes

  • low-density polyethylene (LDPE), common in bread and trash bags

  • polypropylene (PP), common in straws, auto parts and juice bottles

Other plastic products — from Spandex to vinyl siding — are mostly landfilled.

And when it comes to market share, producers of recycled plastics remain small players. Sales of recycled plastics in Canada were worth about $350 million in 2016 — 30 times less than sales of plastic made from virgin oil, the 2019 ECCC study noted.

Shifting responsibility

Regardless, the claim that recycling is the panacea for plastic pollution has been promoted for decades by the plastics industry and its allies, says Max Liboiron, professor of geography at Memorial University and director of the CLEAR laboratory on plastic pollution.

"Recycling was formalized and launched in 1970 on Earth Day … by the Container Corporation of America, which had sponsored a design competition for the now-universal recycling symbol," explains Liboiron. Industry’s hope was that recycling would assuage growing concerns among Americans (and Canadians) about the environmental and aesthetic impact of pollution, including from disposable plastic.

Global plastic production skyrocketed after 1950, increasing more than tenfold to reach about 35 million tonnes by 1970. Very little of it was recycled, and plastic soon infiltrated every facet of society, from grocery stores to hospitals.

For instance, blue surgical masks — hallmarks of the COVID-19 pandemic — were aggressively sold to hospitals in the 1960s to replace reusable cotton masks. The shift to this "total disposable system" was sold as a way to reduce hospital labour and infrastructure costs, despite evidence well-made cotton masks might work better, a 2020 article in The Lancet notes.

Stouffer, the marketing guru, was delighted: “You are filling trash cans, the rubbish dumps, the incinerators with literally billions of plastic bottles, plastic jugs, plastic tubs, skin and blister packs, plastic bags and films and sheet packages — and now, even plastic cans,” he boasted to industry leaders in 1963.

But disposability soon fell under attack. Farmers, environmentalists and others infuriated by roadside litter began to point fingers at the plastic industry. Recycling was the manufacturers’ retort — a front that allowed them to shift responsibility for plastic waste onto consumers instead of cutting back on production and profits, explains Liboiron.

“That’s what American environmentalism out of the 1970s was — the individualization of environmental problems to let industry off the hook,” they say. “Recycling is an industry project. Green consumerism is an industry project. It’s not a coincidence that the inculturation of environmentalism happened that way. It’s very American.”

Canadians quickly followed the trend. That storyline remains evident even now. The majority of plastic waste in Canada comes from businesses, institutions and industry, yet most provincial or regional waste management regimes focus on collecting plastic waste from homes.

And activism against all pollution, including plastic, evolved quite differently in other parts of the world, Liboiron points out. For example, Maori land guardians in New Zealand have linked plastic pollution to land and food sovereignty issues and are working to move people towards relying on local, unpackaged food sources, they say.

Hanging onto the recycling myth

Still, in Ottawa today, the idea that recycling is salvation remains prominent, both in the federal government’s plastics plan and on the lips of industry lobbyists.

“Industry agrees that we have a plastic waste matter that needs to be addressed,” says Elena Mantagaris, vice-president for the plastics division of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), the country’s leading plastics industry lobbying group. “But we believe that it’s not the use of plastics that’s the issue — it’s the end-of-life management.”

The organization has pushed the Trudeau government to refrain from listing plastics as "toxic" under CEPA, a key part of the federal plan to reduce plastic waste announced last October. Instead, the CIAC wants the federal government to co-ordinate a national plastic waste management regime. Other industry groups and companies have also been advocating for a similar approach.

Waste management currently falls under provincial jurisdiction and recycling programs are managed by municipalities, creating a patchwork of rules around what can — and can't — be recycled in the country.

That's confusing for Canadians putting their trash in the sorting bin and makes it tricky for industry to develop easy-to-recycle products, including packaging. Some municipal sorting facilities can accept most plastic types; others can't. The lack of a co-ordinated waste stream reduces the amount of well-sorted, high-quality raw plastic available to recycling companies. As a result, lower-quality and badly sorted plastics usually end up in landfills or might be sent overseas via the U.S.

“Instead of having (thousands) of different recycling programs, get one,” says Mantagaris. She points to the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) as the solution. EPR programs force plastic producers to fund and operate recycling systems for their products.

Theoretically, transferring fiscal responsibility for recycling to producers incentivizes them to become more efficient, create products that are easier to recycle and invest in innovative recycling technology.

“One system, and industry will pay for it, industry will manage it,” Mantagaris says.

Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick are planning to implement EPR programs. However, environmentalists point out that B.C., which has the country’s most advanced EPR, still has a poor recycling record. In 2019, only about 46 per cent of plastic packaging was recovered, the program’s most recent annual report stated.

The December report by Greenpeace pointed out half of B.C.’s waste ends up in landfills, incinerators or the environment. And researchers at Memorial University found the B.C. program has had almost no impact on the volume of waste found on the province’s shoreline.

That is particularly concerning because ocean plastic pollution is among the factors driving the government's decision to regulate plastic. In 2018, the Trudeau government committed to the international Oceans Plastic Charter, an informal agreement to drastically reduce plastic pollution while increasing the amount of recycled plastic on the market. And while the proposed plan aims to meet these international targets, actually achieving them without cutting back on how much plastic Canadians use will be a struggle, environmentalists say.

To meet the charter’s goals, mechanical recycling facilities, which currently handle about seven per cent of the country’s plastic waste, would need to roughly triple capacity by 2030. Canada’s chemical recycling rate would need to skyrocket from one per cent to 36 per cent. And even then, recycling could only take care of 62 per cent of the country’s plastic waste. The remainder would end up in incinerators, landfills or the environment, the 2019 ECCC-commissioned report projects.

Reduction over recycling

Focusing on building better recycling systems misses the point, says MacBride, the professor at CUNY.

“The direction we should be heading is drastically reducing the amount of plastic coursing through our economies,” she says.

That doesn’t mean getting rid of plastic entirely — it is necessary for some products like medical devices, she says. Rather, MacBride would like to see a systemic change to our throwaway culture.

That's particularly important because ridding the world of the plastic we've already created is almost impossible, Liboiron points out.

"Plastic can’t be contained," they say. “It’s one of the most durable things in the world. It’ll last epochs” — which means reducing how much we produce is key to keeping it out of the environment.

When consulted as an expert during the federal policy’s initial drafting phase, they recommended ending subsidies for the oil and petrochemical industry to slow plastic production. According to the December Greenpeace report, those subsidies have topped $334 million to virgin oil plastic producers alone since 2017. Canada's oil and gas industries, for their part, receive about $4.8 billion annually in public subsidies noted a December 2020 analysis by the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Still, cutting back production is only half the solution, they say. Canadian policy-makers need to take a holistic look at how Canadians eat, move and otherwise inhabit the world — then develop locally tailored systems that make it possible to live well without disposable plastic.

"There are people alive (who) have memories of before there was disposable packaging,” they note. “They ate things. They were OK.”


It's All in the Eyebrows...

Even though yesterday was "The Ides of March", it's not too late to enjoy this Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster spoof of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a silly, "Dragnet"/ Private Eye TV show-inspired skit, "Rinse the Blood off my Toga".  both the longer 25 minute version and eight minute one.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Kathleen Kim, Ekaterina Gubanova, Kate Lindsey, Joseph Calleja, and Alan Held, conducted by James Levine. Production by Bartlett Sher. From December 19, 2009.

Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jonas Kaufmann, and Željko Lučić, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Giancarlo Del Monaco. From October 27, 2018.  Beautiful, genuine storytelling by this talented cast. 

March 15, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food Ordering:

Organic Veggie Delivery week, order by Monday PM today for delivery Friday, March 19th.  The next order will be in two weeks.

Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2Go, order by TUESDAY NOON, for Thursday pick-up/delivery,

Atlantic Skies for March 15th - March 21st, 2021- by Glenn K. Roberts

Spring and the Vernal Equinox

Another year has passed, and spring is once again upon us. The past year has been particularly hard for many...far too many...people, with great hardships and deep sorrows. The wonderful thing about the arrival of spring is that it brings with it a time of new beginnings, new hopes, and new possibilities. Let's hope that this spring is such a time for us all.

The Vernal Equinox - the official start to spring - occurs on Saturday, March 20 at 6:37 a.m. It is the start of the spring season in the northern hemisphere, and, consequently, the autumn season in the southern hemisphere. It occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator (an imaginary line in the sky above Earth's equator), heading north in the sky. It is one of only two times each year (the other being the Autumnal Equinox in September) when the Sun rises due east and sets due west. The term "equinox" comes from the Latin "aequus" (equal) and "nox" (night), referencing the fact that day and night are almost equal in length upon the dates of the equinoxes. Despite most claims that there are 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of nighttime on the equinoxes, the length of day and night on the equinoxes actually varies, based on our definitions of sunrise and sunset, and an atmospheric phenomenon.

Sunrise is astronomically defined as the exact moment, under ideal meteorological conditions, and taking refraction (the bending of the Sun's light due to atmospheric pressure and temperature) into consideration, the upper edge of the rising Sun’s disk touches the eastern horizon. Likewise, sunset is defined  (subject to the same factors) as the exact moment the setting Sun's upper edge makes contact with the western horizon.  As a consequence, the time it takes the Sun to fully drop below the western horizon (again under ideal meteorological conditions and factoring in refraction), which can be several minutes, makes the day slightly longer than the night on the equinoxes. Refraction causes the rising Sun’s upper edge to be visible several minutes before it actually reaches the eastern horizon, and enables us to continue to see the setting Sun for several minutes after it has, in reality, dropped below the western horizon. This phenomenon results in every day, including the days of the equinoxes, being at least 6 minutes longer (it varies by latitude) than it would have been without refraction. Sunrise and sunset time calculations assume the standard atmospheric pressure of 101.325 kPa and a temperature of 15°C.

submitted illustration

On the date of the equinoxes, the Earth's axis (around which the planet rotates daily) is perpendicular to the Sun, with the tilt of both hemispheres being zero relative to the Sun (see illustration). After the Vernal Equinox, and as the Earth continues its journey around the Sun, the northern hemisphere achieves its maximum orientation towards the Sun on the Summer Solstice in June, bringing us our summer season. Eventually, Earth's orbit brings it around to the position where, on the Autumnal Equinox in Septemberonce, both hemispheres are once again aligned perpendicular (zero tilt) relative to the Sun. It should be noted that Earth's axis is always tilted 23.5 degrees.from perpendicular relative to the Earth's orbital plane (see illustration).

Mercury is too low in the southeast pre-dawn sky to be readily observed, and Venus is too close to the Sun to be seen. However, with an unobstructed view of the southeast horizon, and a clear, pre-dawn sky, you may catch a glimpse of both Saturn and Jupiter just above (less than a hand's width at arm's length) the horizon between 6:30 - 6:45 a.m., before the brightening dawn washes them out. Saturn (mag. +0.7, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) will be the higher of the two, with bright Jupiter (mag. -2.0, also in Capricornus) to the lower left. Mars (mag. +1.1, in Taurus - the Bull) appears about 55 degrees above the southwest horizon shortly after 8 p.m., before dropping towards the horizon and setting around 1:50 a.m.

Note: Astronomers have just discovered that much of the Zodiacal Light, the interplanetary dust in the inner solar system, long thought to have originated from ancient comets and asteroids, appears to have actually come from the planet Mars. For more information go to:

 Until next week, clear skies.


Mar. 18 - Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)

        21 - First Quarter Moon


Wow, wow, about the Zodiacal Light and Mars !

The National Observer has done a special four-part report on Plastics in Canada:

Canada's Plastics Problem

A Canada's National Observer investigation into the battle between government, industry and environmentalists to bring our country's rising plastic pollution under control.

First article:The backroom battle between industry, Ottawa and environmentalists over plastics regulation

The backroom battle between industry, Ottawa and environmentalists over plastics regulation - The National Observer article by Marc Fawcett-Atkinson

Published on Monday, March 8th, 2021
“The ban started with (the) students,” Helps says. “But then we spent a good couple years working with our business community … it was everyone working together.”
Almost as soon as the ban took effect in 2018, the city was hit with a jurisdictional lawsuit by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association, a lobby group that later merged into the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada's plastics division. The lawsuit fizzled when the provincial government changed B.C. law to allow municipalities to control waste and local environmental issues. But the case was indicative of a decades-long effort by the plastics industry on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border to stop regulations that might cut into their bottom lines.
Most recently, the plastic war has played out behind the scenes in Ottawa. Industry lobbyists are trying to dissuade the federal government from listing plastic as “toxic” under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).
Left: A Coke bottle on a beach in Skye, Scotland. Right: Crew from the Beluga II survey a beach called Shell Inlet on the Isle of Lewis in the outer Hebrides. Photos by Will Rose / Greenpeace
To a layperson, the word toxic is associated with something poisonous and harmful to human health. However, under CEPA, it has a broader definition: A substance can be designated legally “toxic” if it harms either the environment and biodiversity, health or both.
A newsletter for people who care about the climate
From a regulatory perspective, the designation is an agile tool allowing Ottawa to ban some plastics or plastic products and control others. Without it, the federal government would struggle to enforce its proposed plastics management plan, first announced in October 2020.
Under the proposed rules, six hard-to-recycle, single-use plastic items will be banned, and the federal government and the provinces will be required to develop a national waste management plan. All plastic sold in Canada will also need to be made from at least 50 per cent recycled material by 2030.
The proposal has triggered intense lobbying from Canada’s $28-billion plastics industry, which objects to any efforts to curtail production. Industry representatives have met dozens of times with federal officials in the past six months, according to official lobbying records.
Even the U.S. plastics lobby — the countries are each other’s largest plastic trading partners — has jumped into the fray. In September, a coalition of giants in the American petrochemical, cosmetic, food and transportation sectors sent a letter to Mary Ng, minister of small business, export promotion and international trade. The letter, signed by 63 trade associations, decried the Canadian government’s plan and warned it could threaten about $15.4 billion in U.S. exports to Canada.
This kind of pressure happens all the time, says Stuart Trew, senior researcher for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, but nonetheless could have a bearing on the regulations' future.
The backlash intensifies
The strong backlash from the plastics industry on both sides of the border is "a good sign," explained Max Liboiron, professor of geography at Memorial University and an expert in plastic pollution.
It indicates Canada's planned regulations could pose a significant threat to the industry.
The plethora of tactics deployed by Canada’s plastics industry in recent years — lawsuits, PR campaigns, lobbying — are nothing new, said Liboiron. Petrochemical, tobacco, alcohol and dozens of other powerful industries have for decades pulled from this playbook to fight federal, regional and municipal regulations. Now, the pressure has reached a fever pitch.
There’s a lot at stake: Globally, oil and natural gas producers are banking on plastics to keep them afloat as the planet moves away from fossil fuels. The plastics industry is expected to account for between 45 per cent and 95 per cent of global growth in demand for oil and natural gas, a September analysis by the Carbon Tracker Initiative found.

Fishing equipment-related garbage found on a beach at Sarstangen on the west coast of Svalbard, Norway, and placed in front of the glacier Borebreen. Staged image by Christian Åslund / Greenpeace
That growth will prove devastating as plastics cost society about $445 billion annually due to greenhouse gas emissions, health impacts, collection costs and ocean pollution, the report noted.
Since the late 1950s, when plastic use became widespread, the industry has enjoyed uninhibited growth. Except for two minor production slowdowns during the 1973 OPEC crisis and the 2008 financial crash, the global production of new plastic has increased exponentially. That trend continues today.
Meanwhile, plastic waste clogs oceans and kills millions of marine animals — well-documented impacts that alone justify the new rules, the government says.
Scientists are also increasingly concerned that microplastics — tiny plastic particles found everywhere on Earth generated through quotidian plastic use — harm animal and possibly human health and the environment. Plastic production, which relies on fossil fuels, also exacerbates the growing climate crisis.
Left: For World Cleanup Day, Greenpeace, community allies and volunteers co-ordinate a cleanup activity and plastic polluter brand audit. Photo by Anthony Poulin / Greenpeace | Right: Plastic waste on a beach. Photo by The 5 Gyres Institute
The indisputable harm to animals is the foundation of the Trudeau government's decision to put plastic on CEPA’s list of toxic substances, says Joe Castrilli, a lawyer with the Canadian Environmental Law Association.
"From a scientific and legal perspective, I think the feds are moving in the right direction.”
Age-old recycling mantra resurfaces
For the plastics industry, however, the new regulations pose a major threat: They open the door to further restrictions on plastic production by the federal government.
That kind of oversight has been largely non-existent since the industry took off almost 70 years ago. Earlier bids in Canada and the U.S. to impose greater regulations to reduce litter and other plastic pollution met with vigorous opposition. By the 1970s, the industry solidified its rebuttal against attempts to curtail plastic production, arguing any problems associated with plastic waste can be solved by recycling.
That mantra still thrives.

Plastic pollution collects along and in the Anacostia River in Maryland. Photo by Tim Aubry / Greenpeace
“We believe that it’s not the use of plastics that’s the issue, it’s the end-of-life management,” says Elena Mantagaris, vice-president for the plastics division of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC). The organization represents over 100 plastic manufacturers and is the main industry representative in Ottawa.
Federal lobbying records show that paid representatives from the organization met with federal officials, including several senior officials at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), at least 50 times in the past six months. (Unpaid lobbying is not recorded in the federal registry, making it difficult to know its extent.) The records only offer an overview of the dozens of issues the CIAC has lobbied the government on, making it difficult to know if all these meetings were about the planned plastics regulations.
Several plastic and petrochemical companies, some of them CIAC members, are also listed as having separately lobbied federal officials on this issue several times in the same period. They include Imperial Oil, Dow Chemical Canada Inc. and NOVA Chemicals. None replied to requests for comment.
As the go-to spokesperson, Mantagaris says, first and foremost, the plastics industry is determined to keep plastics off CEPA’s toxic schedule. Labelling plastics as toxic is misguided and will cause unfair "reputational damage" to the sector, she says.
Conservative environment critic Dan Albas went even further, saying in a statement the "ideological" regulations are "irresponsible and will hurt Canadians."
And while Mantagaris acknowledges too much plastic ends up in landfills and the environment, she argues the plastics industry is not to blame. The problems arise from poorly designed and underfunded municipal waste management systems, she adds.
Left: Plastic bottles and other rubbish floating in Leith Docks, Scotland. Photo by Will Rose / Greenpeace | Right: Greenpeace activists stage a protest alongside a barge carrying tons of plastic waste through Manila Bay, Philippines. Photo by Arnaud Vittet / Greenpeace
The plastics industry believes the federal government should take a “leadership role” in helping provinces develop extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies. This would make producers pay for and manage plastic recycling programs and set recycled content standards for plastics sold in Canada. Both requests are already part of the government’s proposed plan.
Environmental groups argue those measures alone are unlikely to successfully manage the plastic crisis.
For instance, since 2014, B.C. has had Canada’s most advanced EPR system and plastic recycling facilities. Yet in 2019, less than half of the plastic packaging used in the province was recycled. Researchers at Memorial University have also noted the program's implementation did little to reduce the amount of plastic waste washing up on the province's beaches.
Where plastics and food security meet
The plastics industry is not alone in its lobbying efforts. Canada’s food and restaurant industries are also concerned about applying the CEPA toxic label to plastics, which are key to their industry’s food safety and delivery systems. In a December submission to ECCC, Restaurants Canada, an organization representing over 30,000 Canadian restaurants and food service companies, argued that CEPA “is not the right policy tool” to deal with plastic’s environmental impacts.
The organization fears the toxic label will scare customers away from plastic containers and could be used by "the anti-plastics movement" to mobilize against plastic containers. That could be devastating, the document notes, as the pandemic has exposed a "critical need for single-use items."
Packaging, including food packaging, accounts for about 33 per cent of Canada’s plastic waste, according to a 2019 study commissioned by ECCC. Restaurants Canada says it would prefer a "whole-of-society approach" to help food service providers reduce plastic use without compromising food safety, quality and price, said Mark von Schellwitz, the organization's vice-president for Western Canada.

Plastic packaging on store shelves at a retailer in Virginia. Photo by Tim Aubry / Greenpeace
Similar concerns are being raised by the Baking Association of Canada, an organization representing Canada’s more than $8-billion baking industry. It has asked that regulations related to food packaging undergo separate consultations, according to CEO Paul Hetherington.
And in January 2021, a coalition of conservationists, government, and some of the world's largest food and beverage producers like Nestlé and Unilever announced they were creating a Canada Plastics Pact. The unenforceable agreement marks a pledge by the companies to improve their packaging's recyclability.
Environmental groups have undertaken intense lobbying efforts of their own. Greenpeace Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice lobbyists have met dozens of times with senior federal officials about plastics and other issues.
They are focused on reducing overall plastic use and production and support initiatives that would reduce Canadians’ need for plastic. These efforts range from helping remote communities source more food locally, reducing their need for heavily packaged food, to improving public transit so Canadians need fewer cars, which contain plastic components. It’s a diametrically opposite approach from the industry push to improve recycling systems without reducing overall plastic use.
Plastics and petrochemicals
At least one province has also weighed in on the debate over the federal government’s plan.
In March 2020, Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon wrote to his federal counterpart, Jonathan Wilkinson, warning that the Liberals’ plan would send a “chilling message” to international investors in the province’s petrochemical industry.
Alberta is banking on plastics manufacturing and recycling to revive its economy after the pandemic ends. It aims to attract roughly $30 billion worth of investments in the sector by 2030, says Mark Plamondon, executive director of Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association, an Edmonton-area economic development organization.
“The largest concern from an investment attraction standpoint is putting plastics on Schedule 1 (because) this implies that Canada views plastic as toxic,” he said.
“With large-scale foreign investors, when they see that … it makes them very concerned, or at minimum uncertain, about what the future holds with respect to the regulatory environment.”
Wilkinson, the federal environment minister, declined a request for an interview while regulations are being drafted. Canada’s proposed plastic regulations are currently in development following an initial round of public consultations that ended in December. And while a date hasn’t been announced for the publication of a draft regulation, the government has promised to ban some single-use plastics as early as this year.
Left: Plastic litter is sorted during a beach cleanup and brand audit on Juniper Beach in Long Beach, Calif. Photo by David McNew / Greenpeace | Right: Plastic bottles found on the beach in Eigg, Scotland. Photo by Will Rose / Greenpeace
Concern for the petrochemical industry shouldn't drive the government's regulations, says Laurel Collins, federal NDP environment critic.
"When it comes to big industries, especially the companies that are producing plastic, we need to take a strong stand and make sure there is accountability (for their pollution)," she said.
Adequate support is needed, however, to help countless small businesses that depend on single-use plastics to weather the pandemic and help Canadians reduce their overall plastic consumption, Collins added.
We are open to a conversation. But the fundamental issue around pollution remains, and we need to address it.
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson
So far, the Trudeau government seems to be sticking with its plans but has indicated it might be open to a change in wording. In October 2020, Wilkinson said if the industries’ main complaint was about the public relations impact of the word “toxic” — and not the plan to regulate plastics — it could possibly be changed.
“What I have said … very clearly is that we are open to a conversation,” he said in an interview at the time. “But the fundamental issue around pollution remains, and we need to address it.”
When asked to clarify, Moira Kelly, Wilkinson's press secretary, said only that the government "will continue to work collaboratively with municipalities, provinces and territories, and other stakeholders to keep plastic in our economy and out of the environment."
Lost in litigation
From a legal standpoint, listing plastic under Schedule 1 of CEPA without calling it toxic would set a dangerous precedent that could undermine Canada’s environmental legislation, said Castrilli, the environmental lawyer. Because toxic has been a key word in the criminal case law supporting this regulatory power, using a different "nomenclature" could confuse the courts and generate unnecessary litigation, he added.
Lawsuits can delay new regulations for years — Toronto, for instance, considered a ban in 2012, but stopped short after being threatened with legal action by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association and Ontario Convenience Stores Association. Large industries sometimes take to the courts to slow or stop regulations that might impact their bottom lines, Castrilli says. The tactic is used extensively by the U.S. plastics industry, says Jennie Romer, legal associate with the Surfrider Foundation and a leading U.S. anti-plastics lawyer.
Ashley Wallis, a veteran plastics campaigner currently with Oceana Canada, says she anticipates the ban on the six single-use items will go through. But she worries the government might back away from elements of the plan that will actually change how much plastic we use and how plastic waste is managed.
"If Canada wants to be seen as an environmental leader, it does need to follow through on what it said it’s going to do. But as always, the devil is in the detail,” Wallis says. “If the only thing they regulate is the ban on six single-use items, that is not nearly what’s needed to address the plastic pollution crisis.”

Paisley Woodward contributed to research for this story.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s Tosca, today until 6:30PM

Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo, Željko Lučić, and Patrick Carfizzi, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 27, 2018.   Two hours twenty minutes just roars by in one famous melody and dramatic scene after another.

Tonight starts "Viewers' Choice Week", with additional information here:

And this also marks that Met Opera has been streaming a recorded opera *every day* for over 52 weeks.  A wonderful gift of the arts and a reminder to support any arts you possibly can.

Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM

Starring Anna Netrebko, Kathleen Kim, Ekaterina Gubanova, Kate Lindsey, Joseph Calleja, and Alan Held. Production by Bartlett Sher. From December 19, 2009.   A superb cast, with the opera showcasing four fantastic sopranos, each with an amazing colour and range, and Calleja is grand, too.

March 14, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

“The environment is so fundamental to our continued existence that it must transcend politics and become a central value of all members of society.”
     --- David Suzuki

It's pretty impressive to change clocks to Daylight Savings Time and have "Pi Day" today. 
Pi Day celebrates that the first digits of that famous irrational number correspond to the date (3.14)
and Canadian Family has some fun suggestions for the little people or at least light-hearted ones in your life:

Time change, depending on your feelings about it, or any other governmental matter, for that matter, can be addressed to MLAs this week as they take a break from sitting.

Members' lists and written and video records from this and previous sessions:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

and snippets on the P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Keep up with The Future of Charlottetown Facebook group as they continue to point out what's going on in the City (and what's not), and have thoughtful vision.  The Haviland giant apartment building project, the Simmons Sport Centre plans, and the traffic plans for the Sherwood area, etc. (more on that in future CA News):

More David Suzuki notes:

You are invited to read more about, and sign a letter to the Prime Minister and Party Leaders, here:

Budget 2021 must help create a sustainable, resilient, equitable future

We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine our communities, economy and our own lives to create a sustainable, resilient, equitable future.

As they ready for Budget 2021, decision-makers in Ottawa are figuring out how to allocate billions of our tax dollars — up to $100 billion over three years!

To shape the Canada we want and need, the federal government must make critical investment decisions that:

  • End fossil fuel subsidies and shift spending to a green and just recovery

  • Deliver strong climate legislation, ambitious climate targets and policies that enable climate justice

  • Protect 25 per cent of land and ocean by 2025 and support Indigenous-led conservation

  • Expand and leverage nature-based climate solutions

Send a message to your elected officials today to demand a green and just recovery from COVID-19.

The David Suzuki Foundation has joined environmental groups throughout Canada in One Earth One Voice, a campaign to urge the federal government to solve two crises at once by prioritizing a green and just recovery.

David Suzuki's birthday is coming up on March 24th, and the David Suzuki Foundation is encouraging people to donate if you feel so inclined, to particular projects, here (along with much about the organization bearing his name):
Another good read from the David Suzuki Foundation, published on Monday, March 9th, 2021, about when "simple" solutions to wildlife management have complex results:

Link to article (with lovely photographs):

Easy way out for wildlife conservation isn’t what it appears - post by David Suzuki with contributions from Boreal Project Manager Rachel Plotkin

H.L. Mencken once wrote that “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”

This is often the case with society’s responses to human-caused wildlife decline.

Take salmon populations along B.C.’s coast. According to assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, only two of 29 wild Chinook salmon populations aren’t at risk of extinction. (Data is lacking to determine the status of three. All the rest are at risk.)

A number of factors cause salmon populations to decline, including overfishing, climate change and stream, river and estuary degradation. Because it’s a challenge to reduce catch quotas, restore streams and change development and resource-extraction practices, authorities often take an easier way to recover dwindling salmon numbers: hatcheries. Now, 23 federally controlled hatcheries release hundreds of millions of juvenile salmon into the wild every year in attempts to maintain fisheries and offset their decline.

Yet salmon hatcheries only appear to be a simple solution. Salmon released from hatchery stocks add strands of complexity to the threats facing wild salmon, and are believed to contribute to wild salmon declines.

“The latest science shows that large hatcheries cause wild salmon more harm than good,” David Suzuki Foundation senior research and policy analyst Jeffery Young said. “Hatchery salmon weaken wild salmon genetics, compete with wild populations for limited resources and drive fisheries that continue to harm wild fish.”

Human activity is also putting caribou at risk throughout Canada. Their decline is driven by habitat loss and degradation, especially from linear corridors such as seismic lines, logging roads and recreational trails. Predators use these corridors to increase their caribou-hunting success rates.

In September 2020, Jasper National Park declared that one of three caribou populations living within its boundaries had winked out, while the other two were “dangerously small.” Declines in Jasper have been driven by poor wildlife management, like elk introduction, and compounded by habitat loss and degradation in adjacent ranges.

Although the park has stabilized the elk populations, evidence from Jasper’s recently extirpated Maligne caribou herd, as well as other available scientific research, indicates more should be done, including limiting human access. Backcountry ski and snowmobile supply routes into Jasper’s Tonquin Valley pack trails and bring noise and people into high-quality caribou habitat. Recreational activity can stress caribou, displace them from the best habitat and make it easier for wolves to gain access and kill them.

In November 2020, Parks Canada announced it was contemplating its first captive caribou breeding program in Jasper. “We expect a captive herd for breeding purposes could start producing animals for release as early as 2024,” Jasper’s conservation manager said.

In February 2021, Jasper lifted access restrictions mid-season in the highly imperilled Tonquin herd’s range, despite the conservation community’s calls to keep them in place to give the caribou a greater chance of survival. It appears the park’s staff — unwilling to invest in current conservation measures to decrease risks and apply a precautionary approach to the remaining herds — is banking on captive breeding as the panacea to its declining caribou problem.

But as with hatcheries, captive breeding programs are not as simple as they appear. Captive breeding is a risky undertaking that involves semi-domesticating wildlife. The risk is compounded if it entails population augmentation — taking caribou from places where they’re surviving and putting them into an environment where survival has failed in the past.

Further, as the icing on the oversimplified-solution cake, captive breeding is often accompanied by predator control — killing animals that prey on caribou. This practice throws a wrench into the elegant symbiotic dance between predator and prey that has existed for thousands of years.

Steve Jobs once said, “If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution.”

Here the primary problem is our failure to set limits to the impacts of human activities in spaces wildlife depend on to survive. Our current solutions indicate that we haven’t had the courage to address our problems head-on, nor the sense of responsibility required to roll up our sleeves and clean up our messes.

As long as we capitulate and default to easy solutions to complex problems, we’ll likely continue to drive wildlife decline and disappearance.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, today until 6:30PM
Starring Maria Guleghina, Wendy White, Stephanie Blythe, Luciano Pavarotti, and Juan Pons. Production by Nicolas Joël. From October 15, 1996.

Puccini’s Tosca, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo, Željko Lučić, and Patrick Carfizzi, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 27, 2018.

Though, um, neither of these ends happily, they have amazing singers and are quite entertaining.

March 13, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

“For me, science is like eating and drinking. I’d feel pretty empty on a day when I didn’t do any.”
     -- Canadian biologist David Schindler (1940-2021)

and his science improved the understanding, protection and love of our water ecosystems and more (tribute article, below)


Some places to get local food:

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

Riverview County Market, Riverside Drive, local food, local meats next door at KJL (and other location in North River)

Heart Beet Organics Farmacy and Fermentary, (9AM-1PM), and other items (open until 6PM). 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

The provincial operating budget was announced yesterday, and after the next week's break from sittings, will be discussed department by department in the Legislature in the coming days.

Government media release is here:

And CBC's roundup of reaction is here:

and additional materials and video are here:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

so important?  For many reasons, like actual funding and direction, but the Operating Budget is also a confidence vote, so the Government will need a majority to pass it to stay in power, which it technically has (counting the Speaker's vote) if only  PC MLAs  vote for it.  But that won't be for several days while it's scruntinized.

Sigh... the automatic oppositional labeling of "smoke and mirrors", which sets an apparently-politically-desired adversarial tone.  There are thoughtful and useful items promised, even if overall vision is wanting.

...this goes back to Thursday, when Premier Denny said he was as excited and happy "as a shingle fly" that Spring was on its way and the pandemic's end is on the horizon.  Watching the exuberant, bumbling Pollenia at my windows, I had to but smile.

from The Beacon, by Grist 

Lego is aiming to go oil free - The Beacon by Grist article by Adam Mahoney

Published (electronic newsletter) on Friday, March 12, 2021

Lego is ramping up its plans to go green. The maker of toy building blocks that have entertained children for generations, relies on fossil fuels to sustain its production of some 100,000 tons of plastic bricks every year, but it’s taking a step in the right direction by planning to stop using plastic bags in its boxes before its self-imposed 2025 deadline.

Lego’s CEO Niels B. Christiansen told Bloomberg that the shift away from plastic bags was “going well,” and that Lego is well on its way to hitting its larger sustainability goals. Those goals include achieving carbon-neutral manufacturing by next year and reducing all carbon emissions by 37 percent by 2032. The family-owned company has set aside $400 million and created a 100-person team to reach those goals and have an environmentally-friendly, oil-free product on store shelves by 2030.

The pandemic rejuvenated the company with record-high sales, despite a global shift towards online entertainment. To keep these sales up, the company has to keep its customers happy, and what they want is greener Legos.

“The feedback we get from our customers is very clear,” Christiansen told Bloomberg. “The younger kids are, the more direct they are with their views on the green transition and sustainability.”


Loss of a Canadian colossus

This was sent by Brad Walters at Mount Alison, who writes:
"...The below article is a wonderful tribute and fascinating bit of history about environmental science in Canada."

David Schindler, the Scientific Giant Who Defended Fresh Water - The Tyee article by Andrew Nikiforuk

Among the world’s greatest ecologists, his boreal research has touched all of our lives.

Published on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Link only

David Schindler was among ‘the most important and effective ecologists and environmental scientists in history, not just in Canada. I’d like to think Canadians will understand and recognize that,’ says his colleague Bill Donahue.
Photo by Ellen Brodylo/Mike Morrow, from the article above

Metropolitan Opera Saturday Afternoon at the Met, 2OM , CBC Radio 104.7FM
Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
Ailyn Pérez (Countess), Nadine Sierra (Susanna), Isabel Leonard (Cherubino), Katarina Leoson (Marcellina), Mariusz Kwiecien (Count), Ildar Abdrazakov (Figaro), Maurizio Muraro (Dr. Bartolo), conducted by Harry Bicket;.  Performance from January 10, 2018

Metropolitan Opera daily video performance streaming:

Giordano’s Fedora, today until at 6:30PM
Starring Mirella Freni, Ainhoa Arteta, Plácido Domingo, Dwayne Croft, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, conducted by Roberto Abbado. Production by Beppe De Tomasi. From April 26, 1997.

Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
From October 15, 1996.  "Luciano Pavarotti is at his most ardent as the romantic poet Andrea Chénier who is overwhelmed by his impossible love for the beautiful Maddalena (Maria Guleghina). She is a pampered aristocrat and he is but a poor member of the French Revolution. But even though their entire world is being torn apart in by unprecedented violence, their love will not be denied—even if it costs both of them their lives."  Oh, wow.  Two hours.

March 12, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-2PM today.
Government business is on the agenda, and apparently the provincial operating budget will be tabled.

Watch here:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

As part of the new schedule, the Legislature will not sit next week, but resume Tuesday,March 23rd.


Friday4Future, 2PM, outside the Legilature (Coles Building), all welcome. 
Facebook event details

UPEI Climate Webinar Series 2021
Dr. Adam Fenech discusses the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation at UPEI's campus in St. Peter's Bay, PEI, 3-4PM,
Event signup here


Entertainment tonight:

Julie Pellissier-Lush, Provincial Poet Laureate, UPEI Mawi'Omi Centre director, and more, will be the "Spin Time DJ" on Mainstreet, after the 5:30PM news, 96.1FM 

Todd MacLean's Rainforest Lounge has special guest musician Joce Reyome, 7PM, Instagram Live


Bob Bancroft, biologist, spells it out for Nova Scotia, but it matters everywhere:


What’s environmentally wrong with clearcutting?

by Bob Bancroft
published online on Wednesday, March 10th, 2021


Classified as “Acadian,” most naturally-growing forests of Atlantic Canada contain a broad mix of trees with leaves (hardwoods) and with needles (softwoods). Each tree species has preferences regarding soil, moisture, and available light. Young sugar maple, yellow birch, hemlock, red spruce, and others can grow on the forest floor in the moisture and shade found under taller trees. Eventually an old tree falls, and a young tree takes a growth spurt in its place. Trees that grow in forest shade may live as long as 450 years and eventually become the dominant species. The wood of these species has more economic value for humans.

Fire was historically rare as a large-scale environmental disturbance in most forests of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. “Fire histories” can often be traced to early logging practices and land-clearing by settlers.

Trees obtain nutrients from soils that have been accumulating organic material since the last ice age about 11,000 years ago. With repeated wood harvests and acid rain, these soils are becoming severely depleted.

Needles and leaves on living trees act like solar collectors, producing energy for the tree. Favourable site conditions and room for roots in the ground give each tree a chance to thrive. On hot, sunny days a healthy forest offers shade and keeps water cool in the forest floor. One tree can have the cooling effect of 10 home air conditioners operating 20 hours per day.

Forestry in eastern Canada became a force in the 1700s. Land clearing for settlements and farms, shipbuilding, and lumber exporting began making significant changes. Enormous white pines were marked and reserved as masts for English sailing ships. In the 1800s, sawmills used vast amounts of original Acadian forest hardwoods and softwoods. Some 300 years and repeated harvests later, those same sites are being swept clean for pulp, lumber and/or biomass. For centuries wood “biomass” was burned in homes for heating and cooking. Lately the term biomass has been expanded to include wood processing by-products, such a sawmill wastes, and the cutting and burning of forests to produce electricity.

The industry-preferred, cheap harvest method is clearcutting. A clearcut can be defined as a site where most of trees have been removed in one operation, leaving a large, open area that no longer has the forests’ protection from high temperatures and drying winds. The Department of Lands and Forestry defines it as “a harvest, after which less than 60% of the area is sufficiently occupied with trees taller than 1.3 metres.”

The spread of clearcutting over eastern landscapes holds many dire environmental consequences for soils, wildlife populations, waterways, climate, and humans. Leaving thin ribbons of trees along waterways and occasional, see-through clumps of trees on the landscape does not maintain an ecologically healthy environment. These “left-overs” do not shade the ground sufficiently and often blow down.

Clearcuts compromise nature’s healthy forests in the following ways:

1) Clearcuts encourage short-lived and “open ground” suited seedlings of species like poplar, wire birch, fir, and white spruce to take over. Sure, something grows back — but not the same forest. Nature attempts to heal with grow-fast, die-fast species.

2) The resulting forest is even-aged, has fewer tree species and more vulnerability to insect and disease damage.

3) According to the forest industry, forests that grow in on clearcuts often require herbicides to kill hardwoods that impede softwood survival. This idiocy has been taxpayer-subsidized for decades. The pulp industry wants softwood forests, but their needles make soils acidic. On the other hand, hardwood leaves improve soil fertility and provide wildlife food.

4) Climate change brings dry, windy droughts that kill shallow-rooted softwoods.

5) Clearcuts make soil nutrients vulnerable to erosion from wind and rain. Nutrients important for tree growth (like phosphates and calcium) are taken away with the harvested wood, washed out of the soil or blown away on the wind. Nutrients available for new tree growth are squandered away from the site.

6) During droughts, forest soils can regulate stream flows by gradually releasing water into brooks and rivers. Clearcut brooks flush like toilets after heavy rainfalls, drying up in summer with widened, eroded channels. That difference can mean life or death for salmon and trout, frogs, and other aquatic life. Humans also need cool, clean water.

7) Erosion from clearcuts washes silt into brooks and rivers, filling spaces between rocks where aquatic life takes refuge. It smothers trout and salmon eggs that are laid in autumn and overwinter in gravel bottoms. The legislated 20- 30-metre-wide buffer zones to protect waterways and adjacent lands are grossly inadequate. Silt keeps flowing into brooks, filling in ponds and onward to the sea.

8) The hot, dry conditions on clearcuts kill small soil inhabitants that can break down and recycle forest nutrients from dead wood. Those conditions and 40-year cutting rotations that create moonscapes prevent long-lived Acadian tree species from returning. Once those seed sources have disappeared, these trees cannot return.

9) Trees growing in over soil-depleted clearcuts produce meagre amounts of food that white-tailed deer or moose will use. Sprouts on red maple stumps do not hold the nutrition value of a twig that grows from seed.

10) Many habitats essential for the survival of a wide variety of wild animals, plants, and lichens that are found in Acadian forests are missing in “forests” that grow in on clearcuts. Barred owls, for example, nest in big trees with a large hole. They rarely find such a large tree now. Residents displaced by clearcutting also hardly ever find a nearby “vacant” forest. They become homeless refugees.

11) “Biomass” once referred to leftovers from forest operations. Now it’s a sought- after commodity. Clearcuts are being “cleaned up” for it, leaving even less dead woody material in soils to grow more trees. Pulp companies normally cut softwood forests and mixed wood (hardwood and softwood) forests to make their products. Now hardwood forests are being flattened for biomass burning, often with taxpayer subsidies. Producing electricity by burning wood is less than 30% efficient.

12) Management of our Crown (public) lands once had some oversight by government foresters. Now the government is turning public land forest management over to the forest industry. The foxes are guarding the henhouse?

There are alternate ways to harvest that allow nature to grow healthy new Acadian forests. Trees are removed using “partial harvest” methods that mimic natural gaps in the forest canopy, creating a more suitable environment for long-lived species of hardwoods and softwoods. Such harvests can maintain most forest communities of wild plants and animals. To be healthy, nature needs ecologically sound forest management on at least 60% of the forested land base. These should be designed to offer wildlife corridors, forested connections between protected lands.

Many insist that clearcutting the forest every few decades is no problem; that it will magically re-appear. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, plans are underway to increase harvests over larger land bases and channel more of nature’s energy into fewer tree species, ignoring the degrading, ecological consequences this will have for wildlife and nature as a whole.

Acadian forests represent a diverse portfolio of stable ecological investments. They have, to use a banking term, “accrued interest and capital.” The current practice of clearcutting mixed Acadian forests does not sustain them. It degrades them. We’ve allowed too many withdrawals from the soil account.

Human greed for forests is exceeding nature’s abilities. Our forests need to be rehabilitated before the land deteriorates to scrub or heath. Once a forested country, Scotland now has only 16% of its land base in trees, with much of that percentage in plantation.

For the health of the land, forestry planning needs to become more in tune with nature’s ways, instead of overpowering it. It’s time for woodland owners, First Nations, scientists, naturalists, river associations, fish and game groups, boaters, watershed associations, and people who just love the woods to stand together for more ecologically-healthy, working forests.

Research in Germany over several centuries has proven forest plantations to be a long-term fallacy. Yet the NS government and the forest industries in NS and NB persist in using public land and the public purse in this “fight nature” endeavor.

Crown land fibre “mining” suppresses wood prices for private land owners.

Public land management should be subject to public interests, rather than producing quick profits for private industries.

We elect the politicians. They could stop this plundering.

Bob Bancroft is a wildlife biologist and the current president of Nature Nova Scotia.



From The Guardian (U.K.), about Cumbria, in Northwest England, near the Lake District National Park.

Top story: ‘Better late than never’

A controversial coalmine planned for Cumbria appears to have been put on hold with the local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, taking responsibility for the scheme away from the local authority and putting it to a public inquiry. Ministers have previously been criticised for not blocking the coalmine, particularly given that the UK is hosting Cop26, the UN climate summit, in November. A few weeks ago one of the country’s most eminent environmental scientists, Sir Robert Watson, said it was “absolutely ridiculous” the government was refusing to act.  Story at the link:


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, today until 6:30PM
Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Marcello Giordani, Robert Brubaker, and Mark Delavan, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Piero Faggioni. From March 16, 2013.

Giordano’s Fedora, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM
Starring Mirella Freni, Ainhoa Arteta, Plácido Domingo, Dwayne Croft, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, conducted by Roberto Abbado. Production by Beppe De Tomasi. From April 26, 1997.  Short at 1 hour 50 minutes, and rarely performed, but Domingo and Freni are amazing singers.

March 11, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today, with the time after Question Period and such but before 4PM the Government's priorities, and from 4-5PM, Private Members' business.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

If you want to take a break from Legislature-watching (or can multi-task and have good internet) you can join this group and "attend":

Go!Live at Home iMotion Series Fitness Class with Stephanie Knickle, 4PM today, free.
More info about joining the Facebook group, class schedule and class at:

There are about four online different fitness classes each week.
Also, a webinar that may be of interest:

Webinar:  "Ag-gag" Laws and the Public's Right to Know, 4PM, online, free
Part of the Centre for Free Expression (CFE) Virtual Forum Series
from the event link:

Alberta and Ontario “Ag-Gag“ laws seek to prevent whistleblowers, undercover journalists, and animal advocates from reporting on animal treatment, public health threats, unsafe working conditions, and environmental offences at farms and slaughterhouses. Join a panel of experts who discuss what this may mean for press freedom and democratic rights in Canada.

Zoom link to event

This is a free event and no registration is required.
Facebook event details and link (if above does not work):

Deadline today (survey may still be open tomorrow):
Elected School Board Model Consultations
info and survey link:

Friday, March 12th:

Friday4Future Charlottetown, 2PM, Coles Building,
reminding the Legislators as they leave the building....
UPEI Climate Webinar Series 2021
Dr. Adam Fenech discusses the Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation at UPEI's campus in St. Peter's Bay, PEI, 3-4PM,

adapted from the event notice:
....The Climate Centre will be a new 45,000 square-foot research facility being built in the community of St. Peters Bay....(it) will house state-of-the-art research centres, including the internationally recognized UPEI Climate Research Lab, the UPEI School of Climate Change and Adaptation, as well as a professional development program (ClimateSense). The facility and the lands surrounding it will serve as a living laboratory that allows for unlimited access to nearby wetlands, forests, and coastal habitats. The UPEI Climate Centre will be a world leader in understanding and adapting to the climate change impacts on economies and ecologies. The focus will be on applying leading technologies such as drones, big data analytics, and virtual reality to the climate change challenge.

Limited Space, so registering early is recommended:

Sunday, March 28th:
Winter Pruning Workshop, 2PM,

Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.,
RSVP to Dr. Derek Plotkowski
(902) 393-1080 or

hosted by the PEI Tree Fruit Growers Association

Some Legislative notes from this week so far:
A bit in the Legislature quoted, an opinion by Paul MacNeill, and an article written by Daniel Brown at The Guardian

Tuesday afternoon, March 9th, 2021, in Question Period, District 25 O'Leary-Inverness MLA Robbie Henderson (Liberal) asked and re-asked if Premier King had plans to give away Islanders' vaccine, as was hypothetically conjectured in a national interview Premier Denny did over the weekend.  Finally, Premier Denny had enough, and slowly rising like a volcano, he blew....

Premier King:
And I would say to this member across, this: that COVID has changed a lot of things in PEI. It has been hard on all of us; it has disrupted all of us. But heaven forbid it ever changes who we are as Islanders, how much we care about others, and what a leading role we play in this federation of Canada, and I’ll never do it and that’s my (Indistinct)

Government members joined the roar, then the Speaker called on the next person on his list with a question, Hal Perry, the MLA for D27-Tignish-Palmer Road (Liberal), who said, without missing a beat:

Mr. Perry:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Member from O’Leary-Inverness for kicking the beehive before taking me in....Question to the minister of health: Recently,....

Against the Tide opinion column (Motion 14 link added, and bold is mine)

Greens and Liberals Both Wrong on Public Service - The Eastern Graphic Against the Tide opinion column by Paul MacNeill, publisher

Published online and in print on Wednesday, March 10th, 2021, in The Graphic publications

Even by Island standards, it was a week of eyebrow raising oddity. The legislature heard analogies pertaining to The Simpsons and two frogs churning their way to safety in a vat of milk. The Third Party was rightfully hammered for waffling on temporarily shutting the house during a three day public health Red Alert, with Steven Myers putting the sharpest skewer in Liberal self-importance. He correctly pointed out 27 people, from 27 different areas of the province, arriving to the legislature with COVID variants on the prowl is not leadership. 

And then there was the dust-up between Greens and Liberals seemingly over the heart and soul of the public service. It started with a vague motion from the Official Opposition that alludes to a ‘toxic’ culture across departments resulting in vulnerable Islanders failing to receive needed programming and support. Greens positioned the motion as an uncomfortable, but necessary, conversation. 

Here’s the problem with vague motions - they are really easy to criticize. And boy, did Liberal Hal Perry unload, painting the public service as a shining light full of dedicated and diligent employees whose reputations are unfairly besmirched by the opposition.

Reality lies somewhere between Opposition vagueness and Third Party moral indignation. 

Our public service, across much of government, deserves praise for its response to the pandemic. It was nimble in delivering programs and services that were effective and timely. Mistakes were made, but when it happened it was acknowledged and government moved on to the next plan. It was possible because politicians and senior bureaucrats were terrified, overpowering the institutional fear of failure and being called out for it.

It is a short-lived example of how government should operate. Unfortunately it didn’t last, silos that stall needed change are back. Silos that promote pet projects are back. Silos, think the education system, that protect an employee who should be finding employment outside the public service, are back.

This does not mean all of the public service is bad, lazy or an impediment to moving forward. Not even close, the system is full of individuals driven by a desire to serve and deliver quality service to the public. This is where the Green motion really falls down because government does need to change, but by omitting hard facts, the Opposition is throwing all into the same pool. That’s wrong.

So the result is not a difficult conversation, as Greens hope. It’s a conversation driven by reaction to the Opposition’s generalizations. Hal Perry’s over-the-top defense has as much to do with building a wedge for potential Green voters as with responding directly to the motion.

Perry and the Liberals know exactly how inflexible the bureaucracy can be. Health and education are notorious for opposing change while empowering silos and pet project decision making, regardless of merit. Senior members of the former Liberal government acknowledge bureaucratic inertia impeded its agenda. 

The reality is it doesn’t take many to slow the wheels of government, nothing more than strategically placed mid and high-level managers who control what files are prioritized. 

Hal Perry cannot look at housing, poverty, addiction and mental health services and say our public service is doing all it can. It is not. There are cracks in programs and services as big as a house. Responsibility is often off-loaded to non-government organizations, reducing oversight and accountability.    

Ultimately responsibility for programs and so-called ‘toxic’ environments rest with deputy ministers, cabinet and the premier. Governments of all stripes are hesitant to get rid of bad employees. It’s like education shuffling a bad administrator from school to school hoping their reputation won’t follow. It always does and the system never improves because of lethargic oversight.

What the pandemic offered is what is now missing - urgency to deliver for Islanders. The perfect example: Health Minister Ernie Hudson’s promise of a safe injection site, but he won’t say when it will be launched. We’ve needed one for years. The minister’s words are nothing but bureaucratic drivel to dodge accountability while Islanders in need fall through the cracks. And that is what happens when sweeping generalizations meet feigned indignation. Greens and Liberals both tried to score points on the back of the public service. Both failed.

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

Guardian article  

P.E.I. premier wants to dial down the political rhetoric of mental health - The Guardian article by Daniel Brown

Published online late Wednesday (and probably in print on Thursday, March 11th, 2021)


P.E.I. Premier Dennis King regrets the times he has used mental health announcements as a part of his politics.  He was questioned on the topic by Liberal MLA Gordon McNeilly in the provincial legislature on March 10. One example referenced was King's 2019 election pledge to have a mental health campus constructed in Charlottetown to replace Hillsborough Hospital – a project which still hasn't started.

"I probably, on the stage, got a little ahead of myself in terms of what I was suggesting," King said during question period.

King noted he has learned much more about mental health and addiction issues than he knew when his leadership started, and his government deserves to be critiqued on how it has been handling the topic provincially.  He went on to reflect that he finds the topic is becoming over-politicized on P.E.I. – something he feels guilty of contributing to and would like to see handled more co-operatively.  

"I think one of the best things that we can do to improve the mental health and addictions services and the individuals involved," he said, "would be to dial down the political rhetoric on this, to not try to score political points."

"Let's take this one off the board in terms of politics. Let's work together and try and fix it." 

Following through

McNeilly agreed with King's remarks but wanted to see progress on some of the undelivered promises because he finds it clear – especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – that mental health is a concern for many Islanders, he said.

"(It's) even clearer that government's response has been inadequate."

McNeilly also referenced the delays in rolling out mobile mental health crisis teams, which were announced as far back as 2018 under the previous government and were reported to commence in early 2021.

As well, King had mentioned in his state of the province address last month that P.E.I. will introduce a 24/7 phone line for Islanders in need of mental health and addictions services, and a centre for mental well-being is intended to be operational later this year.

McNeilly noted it was unclear whether the phone line announcement was simply recycled news from a previous announcement, which he finds is too often the case, and whether the centre would include a new, physical space or if it was "just a working group”.

"We need it clear from the beginning, so we can figure out a plan," McNeilly said. "I don't want vague anymore."

King clarified the idea behind the centre is to create a single outlet from which partner individuals and groups could share resources and provide for Islanders in need. If physical space is required to deliver the service, then that would be arranged, he said.   "It's not so much the bricks and mortar of this but the overall delivery."

He also hopes the centre would act as a more tangible means for Islanders with concerns on the topic to express them to government.

"I don't think we need to have individuals have rallies to get the attention of government," he said. "I think we need to do a better job of government to make sure they know they can come to address these issues."


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, and Ambrogio Maestri, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 12, 2019

Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, tonight 7:30PM until Friday about 6:30PM
Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Marcello Giordani, Robert Brubaker, and Mark Delavan, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Piero Faggioni. From March 16, 2013.

Both of these Met Opera productions clock in at exactly 2 hours and 22 minutes, both have tragic deaths (what else??) and both are really too complicated to describe faithfully.  But the singing!

And totally unrelated to anything, but such zippy writing, and perhaps a diagnostic option here one day soon, from the U.K. Guardian daily newsletter (article and 50second video at the link):

Snapshot in passing – People in England will be able to check at home if they have bowel cancer by swallowing a tiny capsule containing miniature cameras, avoiding the need for a hospital procedure that will not be described here. Pictures transmitted from inside the body to a belt recorder are checked by doctors for signs of disease. The capsule is about the size of a cod liver oil tablet – after the job is done it leaves the body in predictable fashion. It is part of an NHS effort to have more diagnosis and treatment of illness done at home.

March 10, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today. After the usual "Order of the Day", there will be Private Member's Business until 4PM, and then Government Business for the last hour.  (This flips for Tuesday and Thursday, resulting in a bit more time today for Opposition Parties to set choose the Motions and Bills they will to discuss.

To watch live or check out documents:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Deadline tomorrow:
Elected School Board Model Consultations

The online survey will be available today and Thursday night, March 11, 2021, and likely most of Friday, too. (this was checked)
The survey itself:

Movie in April:
Fridays for Future-- Charlottetown notes:
"Thanks to Doug Carmody, our group will be presenting the documentary film, "I Am Greta" at City Cinema on
April 20 - 22," about the Swedish teen fighting for climate action. This coincides with Earth Week.  Seating limits are in place so if you wish to go, it's suggested you book tickets sooner than later.

A few small Legislature notes from Tuesday, March 9th:

...Speech from the Throne progress:
Responses to the The Speech from the Throne were completed yesterday, the Motion basically approving it was voted on (with a few MLAs voting against it from the Opposition Parties), and now the Legislature can turn its attention to the Bills and Motions (including the Operating Budget) it wants to address this Spring.

to the MLA, who like a kind of like the deja vu of Groundhog's Day, rose and said the same message in pretty much the same way every year, that he wanted to note that yesterday was   "... International 'Woman's' Day, and thanks to all you Ladies out there...."  It is of course said with the best of intentions.

...was Premier Denny King speaking nearly last (the actual last speaker being the mover of the motion, which was Charlottetown-Winsloe's Zack Bell), and nearly briefly, on the Speech from the Throne, tapping into the spirit of cooperation and acknowledging the Speech does not have all the answers, but reaching out in open-armed way he does so very well.
Open Note to MLAs: if the Member in front of you is making a statement or asking or answering a question, remember you are probably on camera, too.

Land and Water notes:

News story:

Wanted: Land to let P.E.I.'s organic farm sector get 7 times bigger - CBC Online post by Kevin Yarr 

‘It’s about building relationships between farmland owners and farmers’

Published Online on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

The P.E.I. Certified Organic Producers Cooperative is looking for land to meet an aggressive target to increase organic food production in the province.

The co-op aims to increase the current 4,800 hectares in production to 32,000 by 2030. To accomplish that near-sevenfold gain, it's not only going to need more farmers; it's going to need more arable land that growers can lease.

"If we are going to expand our sector on P.E.I. — and we do have some lofty growth goals — then we are going to have to find more land for our producers, [both] existing producers and new entrants," said research co-ordinator Karen Murchison.

The challenges for the group's growth goals were discussed at a summit in December. Farmers talked about putting together an inventory of existing land, as well as determining how much interest there is from new farmers, and what plans existing farmers have to expand.

A crucial step will be finding the land for all of that to happen.

Long-term commitment

Creating an organic farm has particular challenges.

You can't go in on Year 1 and call your operation organic. It takes time to certify that the land has been managed under organic growing principles. Because of that, organic farmers require long-term leases from landowners.

"It's about building relationships between farmland owners and farmers," said Murchison.

Step one of the co-op's plan is asking interested landowners to fill out a short survey. It asks just seven questions, including the size of the parcel of land and its location, as well as the owners' goals for the land.

If the landowner decides to lease out the land for organic farming, the co-op would mediate communication between the landowner and a farmer, keeping the owner up to date with how the land is being farmed and what the results are.

"If we can explain to them what's happening and why these things are taking place, it can certainly build trust between the landowner and the farmer," said Murchison.

The P.E.I. Certified Organic Producers Cooperative has made the survey available on its website. It will take about three minutes for an interested landowner to complete.

Opinion Piece:

Disappointed by minister’s remarks - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Catherine O'Brien and Leo Broderick

Holding ponds built before June 16 will be exempt from regulations

Published in print on Monday, March 9th, 2021

The Coalition for Protection of P.E.I. Water has long advocated for a Water Act for Prince Edward Island, and welcomed the announcement by the minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action last month that the act will finally come into effect in June.

The same cannot be said of the minister’s announcements concerning holding ponds and high-capacity wells. In response, the coalition sent an open letter to the minister, Steven Myers, on March 2, signed by 16 organizations, including five watershed groups, who belong to the coalition.

In the letter, we expressed our grave concern and huge disappointment regarding Myers' recent announcement that all irrigation holding ponds and any others that may be built before June 16 of this year will be grandfathered, exempt from regulations associated with P.E.I.’s Water Act.

We are also concerned that the P.E.I. government will now pay for and allow for high-capacity well research, which requires the construction of five new high-capacity wells for agricultural irrigation, despite the moratorium contained in the Water Act.

We believe these decisions are not in the public’s interest nor for the common good, and certainly do not protect our groundwater from exploitation and contamination. They represent a violation of the spirit of the Water Act that many Islanders have worked so hard to develop. Here is why:

• Cavendish Farms, the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture and the P.E.I. Potato board have been actively lobbying over the past few years to have the moratorium on high-capacity wells lifted.

• Islanders have said “no” to high-capacity (HC) wells for agricultural irrigation. They have said “no” because of the need to protect our groundwater, our only source of drinking water and because P.E.I. groundwater is under serious threat from industrial potato production and its contaminants – nitrates and pesticides.

• The development of irrigation holding ponds during the past four years reflects an attempt to circumvent the moratorium on high-capacity wells that has been allowed by government.

• There has never been an environmental assessment of irrigation holding ponds or of their social impact on communities.

• The high-capacity well research proposed by UPEI is a revision of a proposal for study initiated and funded by Cavendish Farms dating back four years with an explicit goal to increase potato productivity. And while the Cavendish Farm name is no longer on the proposal, and the P.E.I. government is funding the work, we are concerned about the undue influence of industry on the research – that is the Federation of Agriculture, P.E.I. Potato Board and Cavendish Farms. We are concerned that the results will be contaminated by industry involvement, and not help to protect P.E.I. water.

Therefore, we ask the minister responsible to:

1. Respect the intent and spirit of the Water Act.

2. Ban the construction of irrigation holding ponds immediately.

3. Do not allow the grandfathering of irrigation holding ponds. Require all holding ponds to be compliant with the original draft regulations within two years as the standing committee on natural resources and environmental sustainability recommends.

4. Do not allow the exemption to the moratorium on HC wells that would permit the construction of the five new HC wells required by the UPEI research.

5. Introduce a plan that will begin the transition from an industrial model of farming with its high reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides to a more sustainable one, and one that recognizes the climate crisis facing Islanders and the planet.

Catherine O’Brien, chair, and Leo Broderick represent the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, today until 6:30PM.
Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Marcelo Álvarez, and George Gagnidze; Patricia Racette, Marcelo Álvarez, George Gagnidze, and Lucas Meachem, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by Sir David McVicar. From April 25, 2015.

Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, and Ambrogio Maestri, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 12, 2019.  Super singing!

“The challenge is clear: we have to conserve and improve the soil we have, and we need to turn dirt into soil wherever people need to grow food. That's true in America's breadbasket, it's true in the tropics, and it's true in the dry, hardscrabble, weathered soils that cover much of sub- Saharan Africa.”

     ― Howard G. Buffett (b. 1954), American businessman and philanthropist

March 9, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Ordering deadline:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2Go, order by TUESDAY NOON, for Thursday pick-up/delivery,

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today (and the same time on Wednesday and Thursday, and Friday 10AM-2PM).
There is still business of Responses to the Speech from the Throne, and bills and motions.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

from last month, and not in the news too much, but an interesting issue nonetheless.

GUEST OPINION: Seemingly different programs for different farms - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Rita Jackson

Published in print on Thursday, February 25th, 2021

On Feb. 9, the P.E.I. Minister of Agriculture and Land Bloyce Thompson announced the government had created a million-dollar fund to assist Island farmers in “sectors that incurred extraordinary costs due to post-tropical storm Dorian."

Minister Thompson said, “The program will assist producers not covered by our business risk management programming.” (crop insurance). The minister’s news release states, “The Post-Tropical Storm Dorian Response Program will be available for farmers who can demonstrate extraordinary Dorian-linked expenses in three impacted sectors – corn, crambe and tree fruit.” The release says, “Agriculture and Land will immediately begin work with the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture to develop a program and deliver this compensation.”

A CBC article by Kerry Campbell expanded on the story informing us, that an application by the Federation of Agriculture under the federal AgriRecovery program for $12 million had been turned down. The AgriRecovery program, established to compensate farmers for extraordinary costs incurred from natural disaster, is set up on the basis of a 60/40 split between the two levels of government. Had the program application for 12 million been successful, the Island’s share would have been $4.8 million, but under the announced program $1 million is being offered.

What is even more noteworthy, is that Dorian happened in the fall of 2019. It is now the winter of 2021, and the impacted farmers will have to demonstrate extraordinary Dorian-linked expenses, even though some have said it will take years to recover.

Mere days into the first shutdown from the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert Irving of Cavendish Farms put out a short statement saying that perhaps his contract farmers should seek out new markets. In a blink of the eye, the government in a release said 4.7 million of taxpayers’ dollars was being made available to Cavendish Farms to process the potatoes and put them in cold storage. Yet, those potatoes were in a safe climate controlled storage, not lying out in rain soaked fields. Winter was not barking at farmers' heels; it is doubtful anyone at that point really knew the market impact from COVID-19. There was instant action on the part of our government. Did those process farmers have to prove extraordinary expenses due to the pandemic? No, because it was to be a direct payment to Cavendish Farms. 

Were markets really lost? Island taxpayers have a right to know since we are picking up the tab. It appears our provincial government has little interest in transparency or answering to Island taxpayers. It also appears there are very different rules for different sectors of Island agriculture. Now, why is that, Minister Thompson?

Rita Jackson, North Milton

Good for the people behind the "Save Simmons" push. 
Supporters of having a neighbourhood rink in Sherwood at the location of Cody Banks on Maple Avenue should take notice of what the "Save Simmons" group had to do keep a rink in the same area
Bold in article is mine

City of Charlottetown moving ahead on new rink project - The Guardian online article by Dave Stewart

Published online late on Monday, March 8th, 2021


Charlottetown council is moving ahead with plans to replace one of its oldest rinks.  At the regular monthly meeting of council on Monday night, Coun. Terry Bernard said the city is proceeding with plan B to replace Simmons Sport Centre next to Queen Charlotte Intermediate School.

The chairman of council’s standing committee on parks and recreation said staff is currently working on a request for proposals to issue by the end of the week.

Plan B means this was not council’s first choice. The city wanted to replace Simmons with a third ice pad at the Bell Aliant Centre but that idea was shot down last month by the centre’s board of directors when the project was deemed too expensive.

Replacing Simmons is expected to be included in the city’s 2021-22 capital budget. That list of projects was supposed to have been formally voted on and passed by council on Monday night. However, the budget has now been deferred until Wednesday over what appear to be a clerical issue. 

At the meeting on Monday, Bernard praised the efforts by a community group that has been fighting for a new surface. The group even has drawings on its website of what a new facility would look like. To be clear, those drawings are in no way connected to the city, Bernard said.

While replacing Simmons will cost the city a few million in this coming year’s capital budget, the corporation won’t have to foot the entire bill. The project is supposed to qualify under the federal government’s climate change funding formula, which should help pay for a third of the cost.

Right now, the city plans on replacing the one ice surface at Simmons with a new ice surface.  However, Coun. Greg Rivard asked Bernard if that federal funding could help the city build a twin-pad.  The parks and recreation chairman responded that the federal funding will only help replace the existing ice surface. If the city wants to twin in, it would incur the entire cost of the second surface.

Bernard added that a public meeting will be held once a general concept of the new facility is drawn up. At that point, it will proceed to the final design phase.  The pool currently located next to Simmons will also be replaced as part of the project. 

The new arena will be constructed first before the existing facility is demolished.  The city hopes to include a walking track and community space inside the new arena.

Coun. Bob Doiron said he would like to see the same plan used to eventually replace Cody Banks Arena in the neighboourhood of Sherwood. That arena is supposed to have another five to seven years of life left in it.

The idea right now is that a major events centre would eventually be built somewhere in the city that would include two ice surfaces, one of which would act as a replacement for Cody Banks.   Such a plan would see Eastlink Centre revert into a community rink and give the city an additional ice surface.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, Pablo Elvira, and Renato Capecchi. Production by Gian Carlo Menotti. From March 29, 1980.   Classic with Domingo,  and Scotto in the title role!  Just over 2 hours.

Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Marcelo Álvarez, and George Gagnidze; Patricia Racette, Marcelo Álvarez, George Gagnidze, and Lucas Meachem, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Production by Sir David McVicar. From April 25, 2015.  These two short stories are set a generation apart in the same Silician village, both tragedies, and with amazing arias and performances.  Just under 3 hours.

March 8, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Today is International Women's Day (IWD).  One P.E.I. event:
"Choosing to Challenge", PEI Business Women's Association's International Women's Day Online Celebration Event, 11AM-12noon, free.

Register and more information:

Local Food Ordering this week:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2Go, order by TUESDAY NOON, for Thursday pick-up/delivery,


The P.E.I. Legislature does not sit today, but highlights and documents can be found at the following locations:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Premier King's statement on the Passing of Gwen MacLean, widow of J. Angus MacLean, a warm, sharing, social changer, among many things:

“I was saddened to learn of Gwen MacLean’s passing this morning. Born in Saskatchewan, Gwen was a Canadian veteran, dedicated advocate for leading a healthy and active lifestyle, and beloved wife of the late Hon. J. Angus MacLean, former Premier of Prince Edward Island and federal cabinet minister under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. 

After attending the University of Saskatchewan to train as a dietitian, she then joined the Air Force and was posted around Canada and to England where she took pride in her role of keeping Canadian troops healthy and fed until they got back home.   

After serving her country, Gwen had an accomplished career as the Dean of Women at the Olds Alberta Agricultural College and as the head dietitian at Bell Telephone in Montreal.  

After their marriage in 1952, Gwen and Angus raised four children on their family farm in Lewes.  While their life in politics often took them away from home, the couple remained deeply rooted in their love for rural PEI and were fierce protectors of the land and natural beauty of our province. 

My thoughts and sympathies are with Jeannie, Mary Esther, Allan, Rob and their families during this difficult time.”  
    -- Premier Dennis King, Sunday, March 8th, 2021

Atlantic Skies for March 8th - March 15th, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts

Does the Moon Really Influence Human Behaviour?

The Moon, especially the Full Moon, is a fascinating celestial object for many people, perhaps because it is the object that we can see the easiest and the most often, in some form or another, in the sky. Except for a few moments at sunrise and again at sunset, we can't really gaze directly at the Sun, as its blinding light is just too intense, to say nothing of the damage it would do to our eyesight from its harmful UV radiation. With the Moon, however, we don't have that problem, as the moonlight we see is only sunlight reflected off the Moon's surface, and radiating towards Earth. So why is it that people attribute a lunar influence to human behaviours and emotions?

I'm sure most of you have heard the phrase that the Full Moon "brings out all the crazies"; a belief that the Moon somehow affects people's brains to the point that they are no longer in control of themselves, and are, thereby, subject to all sorts of harmful, illogical, crazy, or even dangerous behaviours and/or emotions. As a result, we get the word "lunatic" from the Latin, referencing "Luna" - the Roman goddess of the Moon. Unless you are prone to turning into a werewolf (known as 'lycanthropy') when the Full Moon rolls around each month (as seen in the movies, and as has been said of my Great Uncle George), one could readily dismiss such beliefs as superstition or folklore.  But where did this belief actually come from? It is thought to have originated in ancient Roman times, when such famous scholars and theologians as Plato and Pliny the Elder postulated that the human brain was the "moistest" organ in the human body, and, as such, subject to the same gravitational influences as were the Earth's tides. This led other scientists to formulate the theory that, since the human body is approximately 45-75% water (it varies depending on your age), it was possible that the Moon influences the human state of mind, emotions, and behaviours.

We now know, despite a number of bogus studies attempting to link the Moon's phases with human mental states,  behaviours, and feelings, that there really is no solid proof of any lunar gravitational influence on the human mind or heart (though, I'm sure, some poets will disagree with me!). Modern astrophysicists have proven that the gravitational pull of the Moon on humans is non-existent. There have, however, been a small number of legitimate studies that indicate that some people's sleep patterns are noticeably disrupted by the Moon, particularly around the time of the Full Moon (which is up all night).  Exactly, how and why this is has not yet been firmly established, although sleep scientists surmise that the extra illumination afforded by the Full Moon encourages some people to stay up later, and, thus, get less sleep. A recent on-line article about the February 27 "Snow Moon" attributed the increased illumination of the Full Moon on the snow as being the culprit in disrupting certain people's internal circadian rhythm (the regulation of sleep-wakefulness periods). Suffice it to say, that while the Moon's light may cause some people to have trouble falling asleep from time to time, there is no definitive proof that the phases of the Moon influence our emotions or behaviours...unless, of course, you're Great Uncle George.

With a clear sky and an unobstructed view of the southeast horizon you just might (use your binoculars) spot Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn in a line, low to the horizon about an hour before sunrise on the mornings of Mar. 8 - 10. Saturn (mag. +0.7, in Capricornus - the Seagoat) will rise first, followed by bright Jupiter (mag. -2.0, also in Capricornus), and lastly by dim Mercury (mag. +0.03, in Capricornus as well). The three planets will extend in a row upward along the ecliptic ( to the right from the horizon).  Use the waning, crescent Moon, if you can see it, as a guide to spotting the planets; it will be to the right of the planets on the 8th, dropping down below them by the 10th. You'll have to be quick if you want to spot these planets, as the rising Sun will soon wash away any view of them. Mars (mag. +1.0, in Taurus - the Bull) is visible as the dusk sky darkens, approximately 58 degrees above the southwest horizon around 6:50 p.m.,  dropping below the horizon shortly before 1 a.m. The planet Venus is still too close to the Sun to be observable.

If you haven't yet seen it, look for the Zodiacal Light (see last week's article) above the western horizon just after sunset on the evenings leading up to and just after the New Moon on the 13th. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour, as we "Spring Ahead" into Atlantic Daylight Savings Time (ADST) on Sunday Mar. 14, at 12 a.m..

Until next week, clear skies.


 Mar. 8 -10 - Waning, crescent Moon near Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn; SE, 1 hr before sunrise

             13 - New Moon; Mercury at perihelion (closest to the Sun)

             14 - Atlantic Daylight Savings Time begins


Atlantic Daylight Savings Time....
must be converted to in one week, Glenn K. Roberts reminds us.  Remember there was discussion in the Fall about stopping the time disruptions?  You could consider writing your MLA today, since they are doing constituency office work today, and this is the last full week before not sitting next week.

Consider dropping them a line if you have thoughts on this.
MLA List 

MPs and Senators, too:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, today until 6:30PM
Starring Leontyne Price, Giuseppe Giacomini, Leo Nucci, and Bonaldo Giaiotti. Production by John Dexter. From March 24, 1984.
from The Met's notes:
This week's theme: Verismo Passions

Hot-blooded passions and fiery face-offs abound in this week’s lineup of Italian operatic dramas.

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo, Pablo Elvira, and Renato Capecchi, conducted by James Levine. Production by Gian Carlo Menotti. From March 29, 1980.

“Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from the land, but instill in them even more respect for it, because educated people are in a position to understand what is being lost. The future of the planet concerns all of us, and all of us should do what we can to protect it. As I told the foresters, and the women, you don't need a diploma to plant a tree.”

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and author of Unbowed

March 7, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event tomorrow:
"Choosing to Challenge", PEI Business Women's Association's International Women's Day Online Celebration Event, 11AM-12noon, free.

Join us Monday, March 8th from 11:00 am - 12:00 Noon for a unique online event in celebration of International Women’s Day 2021.

Choosing to Challenge will feature guests Senator Diane Griffin and Sweta Daboo, two prominent PEI figures who have pursued careers in groundbreaking public service, each one in a different stage of her professional journey.   These women, representing two different generations of change-makers, will discuss the similarities and disparities of their professional paths and share insights on how they believe women have succeeded or continue to struggle to obtain equality in public service.

Register and more information:
note that you enter information and click the "next" button lower right to continue until you get to "Confirm" -- it's not all on just one page.
Some music going on today, obviously taking social distancing precautions in place:
Sunday’s five group, Roy Johnstone and others, traditional music, 2-5PM, Old Triangle, Great George and Fitzroy, Charlottetown.  "Drop in for a tune and a brew."
Phil Ferraro of the Institute for Bioregional Studies and other organizations posts intriguing ideas, thoughts and opportunities.  Here is one:
"Local Water Solutions for Global Challenges", webinar, " This free online programme will give you a comprehensive overview of global water challenges and the means to identify local solution".  Starts Monday, March 22, and 3-8 hours of study each of the five weeks is suggested.
More information:

If you want to catch up with Legislative happenings from last week:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Keeping in mind local concerns and general concerns regarding turbines, and this renewable energy company has been on the Island from its start years ago.....

From The Guardian print edition Friday, March 5th, 2021, but was on the digital site earlier in February:

Replacing diesel fuel with wind energy

P.E.I.'s Frontier Power Systems helps northern communities get off diesel fuel - The Guardian article by Terrence McEachern, Business Reporter

Note: the digital version has a short video clip, more photos, and additional information:

GEORGETOWN – The profit margins are as tight today as they were nearly two decades ago, when Carl Brothers launched Frontier Power Systems.

But the goals of the Georgetown, P.E.I.-based wind turbine manufacturing, installation and project management company go beyond the bottom line and involve creating well-paying local jobs and advancing wind energy technology to provide isolated communities in North America with a sustainable form of energy and further displace their reliance on diesel fuel.

This also gives remote communities the ability to produce, manage and own their own sustainable energy system, explained Brothers,

the company’s founder and president.

“I’ll tell you, for a guy that should be retired, this is a pretty exciting way to spend your days,” he said. “It’s almost a religion for me.”


Brothers grew up in Cardigan and studied mechanical engineering at the University of New Brunswick. He worked at the Wind Energy Institute of Canada in North Cape, P.E.I., and then started Frontier Power Systems in 2002.

The company has built wind farms on P.E.I. in North Cape (10.6-megawatt capacity), Summerside (12 megawatts), East Point (30 megawatts) and then Hermanville (30 megawatts) in 2014. These wind farms are owned by the P.E.I. Energy Corp., except for Summerside, which is owned by the municipality.

“Wind energy has really been my life. And trying to get economic activity and economic development in P.E.I. has also been a big objective of mine. It’s starting to come together,” said Brothers.

In total, there are eight wind farms on P.E.I. that have a production capacity of 204 megawatts, or 25 per cent of the Island’s electricity supply. Frontier has also installed wind turbines in New Glasgow and Truro, N.S.

A 30-megawatt expansion at East Point (the Eastern Kings Wind Farm expansion) was approved by the P.E.I. government with several conditions, but in November, the Rural Municipality of Eastern Kings council voted against the project.

That decision is currently under appeal with the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.

After the Hermanville project, the company was looking for something to do. So, Brothers decided to invest in better wind technology for remote communities that rely on diesel fuel for power.


In 2016, Frontier received a $1.8 million (conditionally repayable) contribution from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and a $100,000 grant from the P.E.I. government to develop its Next-Gen Arctic Power System. Frontier also contributed about 25 per cent of its own money towards the Next-Gen system.

Since then, the company has been part of nine winddiesel energy projects in Alaska that are either completed or underway, involving improved turbine, battery energy and thermal storage systems, load regulators, remote diagnostics systems (from P.E.I. if necessary), and a micro grid control system that allows a community to manage its wind and diesel energy usage.

The company is still working in Alaska, but it also has its sights set on bringing the Next-Gen technology to Canada this year and upgrading its earlier Ramea project.

Ramea is a small island community off the coast of Newfoundland. In 2004, Frontier set up a wind-diesel project involving six 65 kilowatt turbines that generate around 500,000 kilowatts of electricity per year, or 15 per cent of the community’s power needs. Now, the company is proposing Ramea 2, that aims to displace 50 per cent of diesel energy per year, or around 500,000 litres of fuel, with the Next-Gen technology.


Brothers said a key to the Ramea 2 project and further displacing remote communities’ reliance on diesel fuel is a 100-kilowatt redesigned medium-sized wind turbine system with an advanced drive train that sits on a 50-metre high, tilt-up tower with a 25-metre (in diameter) rotor. This is an improvement over the company’s 25-metre high, free-standing towers with 17metre rotors.

The advanced turbine with the larger rotor is expected to generate 16 per cent more wind energy than the earlier model, while the tilt-up tower is more practical for remote communities, since it can be more easily erected with smaller equipment, such as a backhoe and a gin pole.

Putting up free-standing towers requires larger equipment, such as cranes, which can be difficult to transport and maintain in remote northern communities.

The new tower and turbine are still in the prototype stage, but once they’re ready and the cost-effective upgrades are in place, Ramea will be able to turn off its diesel source for extended periods of time, which saves the community money and reduces its environmental impact.

The Ramea 2 project is expected to cost around $7 million with government funding as well as some upfront money from Frontier.


Frontier has a staff of six engineers and seven technicians at its 10,000 square-foot facility in Georgetown, where the company manufactures and assembles the various components of the wind energy system, including making the large Fiberglas propeller blades.

Brothers adds that the logistics side of shipping the wind turbines and other components to Alaska once off-Island can be interesting, since it involves a lot of planning, a long train ride to Seattle, and then a barge trip up north.

“If you miss the barge by an hour, you miss it by a year,” he said with a laugh.

With the new technology comes new opportunities. Besides Ramea 2, Brothers said Frontier has another wind energy project planned for Alaska and one in Nunavut in the next couple of years. And as the business grows, so does the need to hire more staff. But growth will also require someone to focus more on the business side of the operations.

“I’m the guy that hangs off a turbine. I know this technology right to the core. But in terms of managing a company that’s growing rapidly, where you have to get the financing and marketing, I’ll probably bring someone else in,” he said.

“There’s not too many people in this business, and nobody’s been doing it longer than me . ... What we’ve done in Alaska has been pretty impressive, and I hope we can that to do that in Canada as well.”


Again, more info and visuals at the online version:

Note#2: one of my kids (not pictured in the article) works for Frontier.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Dvořák’s Rusalka, until 6:30PM this evening
Starring Renée Fleming, Emily Magee, Dolora Zajick, Piotr Beczała, and John Relyea, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by Otto Schenk. From February 8, 2014.  And here is an interview with Canadian conductor Nezet-Seguin talking about why he loves this dark story.

Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, about 7:30PM until 6:30PM on Monday
Starring Leontyne Price, Giuseppe Giacomini, Leo Nucci, and Bonaldo Giaiotti. From March 24, 1984. A tour de "forza"!

Two social media comments stick out:

"A year ago this was our last normal week and nobody knew it." -- Santiago Mayer

"(Covid social restrictions)...provide their own mental health challenges.  But can we stop pretending our former world of long working hours, stressful commutes, hectic crowds, shopping centres, infinite choice, mass consumerism, air pollution and 24/7 everything was a mental health utopia?"

-- Matt Haig

March 6, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Some places to get local food:

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

Heart Beet Organics Farmacy and Fermentary, store with local fresh vegetables (9AM-1PM), and other items (open until 6PM). 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

Riverview County Market, Riverside Drive, local food, local meats next door at KJL (and other location in North River).

Saturday, March 6th:
On-line Maritime Green Summit, 9AM-11:30AM, hosted by the Green Parties in the Maritimes and Canada, free.

More details:

Yesterday in the Provincial Legislature:

...was the Brendel report, about IRAC and agricultural and land, subpoenaed by the Health and Social Development Standing Committee?  Because it is in its list of "matters", and having it screened by the Privacy Commissioner moved it into this Committee's domain.

"The Standing Committee on Health and Social Development is charged with matters concerning health, social programs, sport, seniors, justice and public safety, emergency measures, Indigenous affairs, Francophone and Acadian affairs, Status of Women, persons with disabilities, housing, charities, the Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission, and other such matters relating to health and social development."

Stu Neatby tweeted that the "Box o' Brendel" wasn't as hefty as he thought it would be.

Brendel report out of Bloyce Thompson's hands - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Saturday, March 6th, 2021, online, in The Guardian

photo attributed as "Contributed"

Charlottetown --  Justice and Public Safety Minister Bloyce Thompson drops off a weighty report on Friday, completed by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission into the Brendel sale, a 2019 land transaction involving 2,200 acres of land. The documents have been subpoenaed from the minister by the standing committee on health and social development.

The motion also calls for the documents to be produced at an in-camera meeting, in physical form only. This means the standing committee will not release the report publicly. The motion stated that this would balance the need to respect privacy concerns of the parties involved with the duty of the committee to hold government to account.

While committee members cannot release details contained in the Brendel report, they can make recommendations based on these details.

But will those Committee's recommendations be listened to?

Sigh... Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers' Al Haug-like stand on being in command (which is not the same as leadership), regarding water access/protection and existing holding ponds, from Question Period yesterday.
CBC online article by Kerry Campbell summarizes:  

Green, PC MLAs question new minister on changes to P.E.I.'s Water Act - CBC News online post by Kerry Campbell

Grandfathering of existing holding ponds will put some watersheds at risk, says Opposition environment critic

Published on Friday, March 5th, 2021

The P.E.I. Green Party is raising concerns about a move by government to allow existing holding ponds — and the agricultural wells that feed into them — to continue operating indefinitely after the province's new Water Act is proclaimed in June.

"In a lot of the province that's not going to be a big deal, but in areas like the Dunk and Wilmot River, we're already hearing concern from farmers about waterways going dry," Opposition environment critic Lynne Lund told reporters Friday, after raising the issue in the legislature during question period.

Holding ponds have been a controversial work-around for the agricultural industry in light of a long-standing moratorium on new high-capacity irrigation wells.  By setting up multiple smaller wells to pump water into a holding pond, farmers have been able to store large amounts of water for irrigation without requiring wells that pump 345 cubic metres or more of water per day — the official definition of a high-capacity well under the Water Act.

But under the new law, passed in 2017 but still not in effect, multiple wells are considered to be the same as a high-capacity well if they draw an equivalent amount of water.

Originally, regulations on water extraction gave farmers five years to bring the holding ponds into compliance by limiting the pumps that feed them to below the level of a single high-capacity well.

But when government announced two weeks ago the Water Act would finally be proclaimed June 16, it said those holding ponds would be "grandfathered in," a change in the regulations that allows new licences to be issued to keep those wells — and any more that are built before the law comes into effect — operating at their current capacities indefinitely.

'No one broke the law'

During debate, Lund said the province's previous environment minister Natalie Jameson, shuffled to education in February, "said that she supported a moratorium on constructing these ponds, while at the same time, was working to grandfather them in."

"I think grandfathering them in is really important," responded the new Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action Steven Myers.  "No one broke the law and no one recommended anybody broke the law because the holding ponds were legal.... The holding ponds have always been legal."

Myers said the previous Liberal government encouraged the construction of holding ponds, posting information on government's website on how to construct them.

"The people who built them have a considerable amount of money put into them."

Myers told the house that, while the wells have been grandfathered in, they will still require new permits in five years.

"A permit means there has to be an adequate amount of water, that we monitor it, we monitor how much water is being used," Myers said, adding that the province now has and will continue to have the power to shut wells down in times of water scarcity.

But Lund said with the change in the proposed regulations, "we will see hindsight if we have a problem, but we will not see proactive oversight to prevent those problems from occurring in the first place."

Myers says 'willing to work with' committee

The revised regulations are required to be presented to the province's standing committee on natural resources 90 days before they can be adopted by government.

But Lund, a committee member, and PC MLA Cory Deagle, the chair of the committee, both questioned government's willingness to consider the committee's recommendations.

Lund noted the outgoing minister blamed the committee for delays in implementing the Water Act, saying government had been waiting for the committee's recommendations based on the previous regulations.

Those recommendations were delivered in November, but government is moving ahead without implementing them, except for a recommendation to actually implement the Water Act.

"I'm more than willing to work with you to get advice, but I don't want to make any mistake where the decisions are going to be made," Myers said in response to those concerns.

....was Third Party MLA District 14:Charlottetown-West Royalty Gord McNeilly's comments on his Response to the Speech from the Throne.   He's not finished even, but it was intriguing -- his experiences and hopes and concerns melded into what he saw as a unfocused direction Government was taking, and he was speaking from the heart, clearly emphasizing issues of whole health, with excellent ideas for focusing on vision and really being all about people. 

The text will be published in Hansard in the next few days; here is the way to get to the video, where he is  in the last hour or so in yesterday's (March 5th) archived video.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

This may not be popular with anyone, except some people who are truly, utterly, solely worried about climate action, and willing to "vote strategically", since our voting system lacks reform:

Why targeting the NDP is bad for the Greens and the climate - The National Observer Opinion piece by Amara Possian

Opinion | March 5th 2021

And from, about the opinion piece and a survey you can fill out regarding this issue:

Saturday Lots o' Opera

Met Opera (recorded) "Live from the Met" Radio Opera Broadcast, 2PM, 104.7FM
Bizet’s Carmen
Performance from November 1, 2014
Pablo Heras-Casado; Anita Hartig (Micaëla), Anita Rachvelishvili (Carmen), Aleksandrs Antonenko (Don José), Ildar Abdrazakov (Escamillo).  To me,

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Britten’s Peter Grimes, today until 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles.  Production by John Doyle. From March 15, 2008.

Dvořák’s Rusalka, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
From February 8, 2014. "Otto Schenk’s storybook production perfectly captures the fairy-tale world of Dvořák’s supremely romantic opera. Star soprano Renée Fleming, in one of her most acclaimed portrayals, takes on the title role of the water nymph who longs to be human, opposite Piotr Beczała as the Prince, the object of her affection. John Relyea is the Water Gnome, Dolora Zajick sings the witch Ježibaba, and Emily Magee is the Foreign Princess. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts."
It, um, doesn't end happily, but it's probably all the more beautiful for that.  It's famous for its "Song to the Moon" in Act I, Fleming's signature piece.

March 5, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you."
        --John Maxwell, American author


P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-2PM today.

Fridays4Future, 2PM, outside the Coles Building, Richmond Street, Charlottetown.
Hosted by PEI/Epekwitk Fridays 4 Future Climate Action Group

We meet weekly, (usually in front of Province House on Grafton St. but while the PEI Legislature is sitting we're at the Coles Building), to call for our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy. For more information:

And you can find your MLA and their contact information here:

You can watch the proceedings and find more information at these links:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Saturday, March 6th:
On-line Maritime Green Summit, 9AM-11:30AM, hosted by the Green Parties in the Maritimes and Canada, free.

This summit will bring together Green Party leaders from the three Maritime provinces (Peter Bevan-Baker, David Coon and Thomas Trappenberg) to discuss the provincial and federal issues ...moderated by former GPC interim leader Jo-Ann Roberts.  (There will be)...break-out discussions on specific areas of interest. Finally, Green Party of Canada leader Annamie Paul and Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin will join the conversation to discuss how regional issues of importance in the Maritimes can be reflected in the National party platform.

This event is initiated and hosted by the Green Party of Nova Scotia in collaboration with the Green parties of New Brunswick, PEI and Canada. It is inspired by the recognition that the Maritime provinces share many common issues and priorities that require a collaborative approach and interprovincial dialogue.

Registration information:

a small note from yesterday's sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature, as Response to the Speech from the Throne continued during Government Business time:

"The Dean of the Legislature", District 25: O'Leary-Inverness MLA Robbie Henderson, so dubbed by Liberal Party Interim Leader Sonny Gallant, who noted the18 minutes from 'I will conclude my remarks...'   until when Henderson finished.  Both men were elected in 2007.

And when Mr. Henderson said, after Responding to the Speech over a couple of days, that he would not be supporting the Speech as it stands right now, Premier Denny shouted "A long story with a bad ending!"

The new pattern of generally what is discussed when in the Legislature, from:

Order of Business

Following the Ordinary Daily Routine:

On Tuesday:

  • Government Business until 4:00 p.m.

  • Private Members Business from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

On Wednesday: 

  • Private Members Business until 4:00 p.m.

  • Government Business from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

On Thursday:

  • Government Business until 4:00 p.m.

  • Private Members Business from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

On Friday:

  • Government business until 2:00 p.m.

From Tony Reddin, climate action guru on P.E.I., with thanks:

this from Greta Thunberg:

"We support every effort by world leaders to #FaceTheClimateEmergency

To help them along we’ve created a list of first step actions that would give us a fighting chance to avoid a climate disaster.

You can help by signing and sharing the open letter here: 

"Science and democracy are strongly interlinked - as they are both built on freedom of speech, independence, facts and transparency.

If you don’t respect democracy then you probably won’t respect science. And if you don’t respect science then you probably won’t respect democracy." -- G.T.

from The Guardian (U.K.):

Lunchtime read: A forest for the city

One of the most famous stone courtyards in Europe will be dramatically transformed this summer when Somerset House in London is taken over by a forest of 400 trees. The stage designer Es Devlin will channel ideas of enchanted woodland for the 2021 edition of London Design Biennale. The installation, Forest for Change, will be the biennale’s centrepiece and part of a programme highlighting the role of design in addressing global challenges and crises.

An artist’s impression of the Forest for Change installation at Somerset House. Photograph: Kevin Meredith/Somerset House

The forest will have trees from 23 types typically found across the UK and northern Europe. There will also be a clearing where visitors can learn about the United Nations global goals for sustainable development, a plan to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and tackle the climate crisis.
Story link:


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, today utnil 6:30PM

Starring Golda Schultz, Kathryn Lewek, Charles Castronovo, Markus Werba, and René Pape. Production by Julie Taymor. From October 14, 2017.  Wonderful production with spectacular giant puppets adding to the imagery and beautiful lighting and costumes.

Britten’s Peter Grimes, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday, 6:30PM

Starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles.  Production by John Doyle. From March 15, 2008. Until three hours.

March 4, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tonight, Thursday, March 4th:
Webinar: Carbon Bombs, Canada and the Climate, with National Observer's Linda Solomon Wood and author (and founder) Bill McKibben, 8PM,
online, free. 
More details and registration at this link

Good reading and lots of news and events:

Institute of Island Studies @UPEI Newsletter, Island Studies News
March 2021 (link only)


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

From yesterday's time in the Legislature yesterday, a few haphazard observations....

...did the Bill 100, Election Age Act (about lowering the Voter Age to 16) go directly to committee, as directed by The Speaker Colin LaVie yesterday?  The Speaker clarified the rule that if a bill deals with business of the Legislative Assembly, it goes to the Standing Committee on (I think) Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges (or maybe the Standing Committee on Legislative Assembly Management --will check), since the Bill would alter how MLAs are elected.

...about how the discussion regarding the language in Motion 14: Calling on Government to ensure that all Islanders Accessing Services are Treated with Dignity and Respect, zeroed in on particular words like "toxic culture", and the nature of debate in the Legislature brings up concerns but doesn't allow for easy discourse and resolution, rather with amendments to amendments and such.  It was good to have the issue brought up, but it wasn't going to be resolved that day, and debate was adjourned.

...saying you were wrong and moving forward....two ways, with Minister of Social Development and Housing Brad Trivers quick to the mark apologizing at the beginning of the session for "inappropriate remarks" Wednesday (unspecified but presumably about "precarious work" and other comments about youth on Tuesday).  It did not head off the "dressing down" in Question Period (which I did not have to witness, being called away to deal with drifting snow).   Trivers also pledged to get a rental registry going, showing he is listening and moving on good ideas.
Guardian article link

...and Speaker Colin LaVie always knows how to point out his own missteps with humour and folksy charm, as he apologized to the House and to Education Minister Natalie Jameson in particular for not recognizing a Minister she called to second something was New Transportation Minister James Aylward and not the Former Transportation Minister, who was not in the House that day.

This is a few years old, but worth a read and a tip of the journal pencil....

Seven Women Who Made the World Better for Birds and People - post by Emily Silber

We’re giving a major hat tip to these die-hard conservationists, because every month should be Women's History Month.

Published on-line on Thursday, March 31th, 2016, at Audubon's website

When we hear the word “naturalist,” we often think of Charles Darwin and his theories, John Muir, the “Father of National Parks,” and of course, John James Audubon. But let’s not forget the women who rallied to preserve the natural realm. From creating the first avian field guide, to ending the feather trade, to dying in pursuit of birds, these seven femmes prove that the history of incredible women transcends any single month.

Genevieve Estelle Jones


Ohio native Genevieve Estelle Jones was a self-taught scientific illustrator christened the “other Audubon.” After seeing some of Audubon’s paintings at an exhibition, Jones decided to draw the nests and eggs of the 130 bird species nesting in Ohio at the time. But before she could finish, she died from typhoid fever at age 32. Her family spent the next seven years completing the hand-colored plates, of which 90 copies were made. Only 26 still exist.

Harriet Lawrence Hemenway and Minna Hall

1858-1960 and 1864-1944

This two-woman dream team was responsible for taking down the 19th-century plume trade and establishing the National Audubon Society. Appalled by the number of birds being killed in the name of fashion, Hemenway, an impassioned amateur naturalist, and her cousin Hall, persuaded their socialite friends to boycott the trade and protect the wildlife behind it. Ultimately, they recruited 900 women to join the fight, and gave rise to an establishment that, a century later, has grown to 1 million members and supporters strong.

Florence Merriam Bailey


American nature writer and ornithologist Florence Merriam Bailey was a jane of all trades. Not only did she work with the National Audubon Society during its early years, she is also credited for writing the first known bird guide, Birds Through an Opera Glass, published in 1889. A true pioneer in the field, Merriam protested the mistreatment, killing, and trade of feathered animals. Her legacy still remains in the form of a subspecies of the California Mountain Chickadee, Parus gambeli baileyae, that was named in her honor.

Rachel Carson


Rachel Carson is most famous for her book Silent Spring, in which she bared the sins of the pesticide industry. In her later writings, the author and activist continued to examine the relationship between people and nature, questioning whether human beings are truly the dominant authority. Needless to say, she was an outspoken advocate for the environment and one of the greatest social revolutionaries of her time.

Frances Hamerstrom


This female ornithologist dedicated the majority of her life to just one kind of bird: The Greater Prairie-chicken. Frances Hamerstrom headed a research team that ultimately saved the eccentric species from extinction in Wisconsin. She helped identify the ideal habitat for prairie-chickens, and was also one of the first to put colored leg bands on wild birds—a technique that has helped reveal important information on bird behavior through the decades.

Phoebe Snetsinger


When faced with the grim diagnosis of melanoma, 50-year-old Phoebe Snetsinger turned her life upside down: She went from being a housewife to racing around the globe as a competitive birder. Despite being beaten and raped in Papua New Guinea, Snetsinger never gave up on her passion. In 1995, she broke a world record by being the first person to spot more than 8,000 species of birds. A short time later she died in a bus crash while birding in Madagascar. But she will always be celebrated for living life with absolute fearlessness.

These women are just a few of the heros who forged the path for the modern-day bird-conservation movement. Today’s ornithologists, birders, and activists certainly match their passion and dedication. In fact, in 2011, of the 47 million birdwatchers in the United States, more than half were women. Between women spearheading sustainable projects around the world, Audubon’s standout conservationists, and badass chicks who love to bird . . . our avians are in very good hands.   


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Wagner’s Die Walküre, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Hildegard Behrens, Jessye Norman, Christa Ludwig, Gary Lakes, James Morris, and Kurt Moll. Production by Otto Schenk. From April 8, 1989.

Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, 7:30PM tonight until 6:30PM Friday
Starring Golda Schultz, Kathryn Lewek, Charles Castronovo, Markus Werba, and René Pape, conducted by James Levine. Production by Julie Taymor. From October 14, 2017.  Really visually beautiful production.  3 hours.

March 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

A quote probably familiar to Island naturalist Daryl Guignion:

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."
   --- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)



The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 1-5PM today.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Local Food:
Orders for Eat Local PEI due today.
More details at:

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 4th:
Webinar: Carbon Bombs, Canada and the Climate, with National Observer's Linda Solomon Wood and author (and founder) Bill McKibben, 8PM, online, free.  Details to register at this link

One of you (thank you) has recommended these recordings, from former Governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney, via podcasts from CBC Radio show Ideas.

He writes to listen to the ..."three part BBC Reith Lectures where Dr. Mark Carney articulately delivers his perspective on the distinction between economic value, human values and climate change. They can be found on CBC’s Ideas' website:

Furthermore, quoting my friend, since "it’s quite possible Dr. Carney may offer for political office, I think it’s all the more important to understand his informed and persuasive positions on the critical issues now facing us. His forthcoming book, Values: Building a Better World for All will be released March 16, 2021."
for the three lectures and their other recordings.

The Guardian (P.E.I.) has a self-explanatory and sometimes completely irrelevant Monday editorial feature,
"Cheers and Jeers", and some parts of yesterday afternoon's sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature made me think of a "Whys, Sighs and Highs" of (my personal, peripheral and probably equally immaterial) notes from the P.E.I. Legislature....

....was the Legislature meeting in person at all, bringing over 20 MLAs and staff into a building for most of a day when the Province was in a modified "red zone". (CBC article link) The justifications regarding "essential work" could be argued, perhaps with less political grandstanding, and some business was done; the last half hour was spent discuss a Government Motion (No. 19: Clem Campbell's  'Smile Reminder") recognizing kindness and thoughtfulness of a very darling little child and his pin initiative.  It was sweet but perhaps not "essential".

...about the questioning of the definition, and presence on the Island, of "precarious employment" by the new Minister of Social Development and Housing Brad Trivers (in discussions of an Opposition Motion 18: "In appreciation of Island Youth and their Contributions to Keeping Our Community Safe" recognizing the stresses and sacrifices of Island youth during the pandemic).  He is a smart and lickety-split go-getter; he needs to talk and listen to way more people, and really hear about life from different perspectives, abilities, backgrounds and advantages. (And he can use his organizing talents and ideas to help his department run cohesively.)

High... the flickering spirit of collaboration and all-pulling-in-the-same-direction about the MLAs responsibilities and abilities to lead through this pandemic and prepare our Island for the future.  Let's encourage them to nurture that flame.

Climate Change perspective:

LETTER: Throne speech soft on climate -The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published in print and on-line on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

Peter Bevan-Baker’s response to the recent speech from the throne was spot on – especially in relation to climate issues.

It’s great to see specific plans and $60 million committed to promote research and development and to support businesses in the clean technology sector. But the lack of specifics on how we are going to more immediately tackle climate change was disappointing.

At the end of the throne speech under the heading of “A Cleaner Environment” is a list of one-line items which members of the legislature will be asked to “consider policy, program and budgetary proposals related to.” It’s not that all items on the list aren’t important — it is the lack of specifics that is alarming.

For instance, the first item is “Encouraging a greater use of electric vehicles”. Given that over a year ago the Climate Change Secretariat sounded the alarm about the need for bold action to reduce our emissions in the transportation sector and given that the Sustainable Transportation Action Plan of November, 2019 identified several actions to reduce transportation emissions, I expected more specific program announcements in this throne speech.

An EV and home charger incentive program was one of those actions. If we are serious about encouraging electric vehicle use we will need such a program as well as electric vehicle mandate legislation. “Implementing an Island wide transit system” was another line item in the throne speech. While it’s great to see this need acknowledged, improving urban and rural transit was part of the Sustainable Transportation Action Plan and here we are over a year later with no implementation plan identified. Given that half our province’s carbon emissions come from transportation, we need to get more bums in buses and more electric vehicles on our roads very soon in order to meet our climate targets. 

The premier has made some bold commitments on climate but the lack of urgency and specificity reflected in the Throne Speech makes me wonder if we will get there.

As Greta Thunberg has said, “Our house is on fire”. We need to act now.

Marilyn McKay, Charlottetown


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming - -no matter how much time you have this week:

Verdi’s Falstaff, today until 6:30PM
Starring Mirella Freni, Barbara Bonney, Marilyn Horne, Susan Graham, Paul Plishka, Frank Lopardo, and Bruno Pola. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From October 10, 1992.  Just over 2 hours

Wagner’s Die Walküre, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Thursday
Starring Hildegard Behrens, Jessye Norman, Christa Ludwig, Gary Lakes, James Morris, and Kurt Moll. Production by Otto Schenk. From April 8, 1989. Just under 4 hours.

March 2, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Dr. Heather Morrison's weekly update, 11:30AM, radio at Q93, online at PEI Government YouTube channel or Facebook page.

Food ordering deadline, noon, Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO, for pickup Thursday between 3-6PM at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market.  The Stratford location is closed this week.

The P.E.I. Legislature was supposed to sit in person from 1-5PM at the Coles Building, and I am not sure what's planned for today.

The Legislative Assembly website or Twitter account will probably have the news. 

Here is a nice summary of what the MLAs were working on last week, from that Twitter account:

"After the Speech from the Throne is presented to the House, every member has a chance to respond to the Speech from the Throne if they wish, rising when they are recognized by the Speaker and presenting their views on Government’s plan for the session.
....This response is called the “Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne” and it's the first piece of business every sitting day. When members finish debating the Speech from the Throne the Address is formally presented to the Lieutenant Governor as the response of the House."

P.E.I. Legislature Twitter account:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

If you have power and enough internet to watch some video, GoPEI! encourages you to get active with free exercise programming each day online through Facebook:

Their notice:
Stay safe. Stay active.

We are here for you this week, #PEI. Find ways to feel good by moving your body — from the comfort of your own home! We've got a great lineup of classes to help keep you active.

Join the #goLiveathome group today:

Ideas from across the pond, from today's U.K. Guardian:

UK urged to create green apprenticeships to help Covid recovery - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Fiona Harvey

Danger of young people’s futures being blighted by climate and Covid crises, say campaigners

Published on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

Green apprenticeships would prepare young people for jobs in renewable energy and the restoration of the UK’s natural landscape, and stop young people having their careers blighted for life by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, a report says.

The report found that 250,000 green apprenticeships and a network of skills centres at further education colleges could be created with about £10.6bn of government money. Local authorities could create more than 44,000 apprenticeships in London with the right investment, along with about 20,000 in the West Midlands and 14,000 in Greater Manchester.

Other regions also have high potential, as the report found scope for nearly 12,000 apprenticeships in West Yorkshire and 6,400 in the Sheffield area.

About 500,000 young people aged 16 to 24 are out of work, and that number could double when the furlough scheme is withdrawn, according to the report, commissioned by Friends of the Earth from Transition Economics. The authors say the consequences of this past year’s setbacks for young people thrown into unemployment could last for years. If wages remain lower for young people through their working lives, from the “scarring” effect of early unemployment, the cumulative loss to their earnings could reach £39bn over the next 20 years.

<SNIP> -- rest of story here:

Atlantic Skies for March 1st - March 7th, 2021 - by Glenn K. Roberts

The Search for "life" on Mars

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover successfully landed on the Red Planet on Thursday, Feb.18, a technical and logistical feat of which NASA can rightfully be very proud. Edgar Rice Burroughs' famous 'Barsoom' stories about a race of beings living on the Red Planet aside, Perseverance, or "Percy" as it is now affectionately nicknamed, will not be searching for any archeological traces of alien civilizations. In addition to the other scientific and technology-testing tasks it has, the rover's primary task is an extremely interesting one, one that has the potential to profoundly alter our view of the universe, and our place, as humans, in it  - the active search for biosignatures of past or present "life" on Mars.

Enough evidence now exists to confirm that Mars, when it first formed 4.5 billion years ago, had an atmosphere much like Earth's early atmosphere, and that it also had vast amounts of water on its surface, in the form of lakes, oceans, and flowing rivers, for at least about the first billion years. Early Mars had a magnetosphere (a magnetic field surrounding the planet generated by the dynamo effect of its spinning, hot, molten core) that maintained its atmosphere by protecting it from the extreme radiation of the Sun's solar wind (as does Earth's magnetosphere). However, as the planet's core cooled, its magnetosphere diminished in strength to the point where it wasn't strong enough to prevent the solar wind from stripping away the upper levels of the Martian atmosphere. As the planet's upper atmosphere thinned, more and stronger solar radiation struck the lower portions of the atmosphere, until it, too, eventually dissipated into space. With no atmosphere to protect and maintain it, the surface water on Mars evaporated into space, leaving behind the physical evidence of its former presence carved into the Martian landscape in the form of vast river deltas, alluvial fans, basins, and other geophysical formations. It is on one of the river deltas in Jezero Crater that Perseverance landed.

On Earth, biologists credit the presence of water on our planet with the creation and establishment of the earliest and most basic microbial life forms - bacteria, from which all life on Earth ultimately evolved. It is quite possible that ancient Mars was able to hold onto its water for a sufficiently long enough period for similar microbial life forms to have developed in its water bodies. Using a vast array of instrumentation, in particular the Scanning Habitable Environments with Ramen and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals, or 'SHERLOC' (l love the acronym), Percy will image and analyze the Martian surface mineralogy, chemical composition, and organic compounds in a search for biosignatures of any ancient microbial life that may have once been present, or any microbial life forms which might be present today. It is hoped that Percy might find some stromatolites - wavy, rocky mounds similar to those formed long ago on Earth by microbial life along ancient shorelines and in other environments where metabolic energy and water were present. Just as traces of ancient microbial life forms have been found in ocean bed sediments on Earth, it is hoped that traces of ancient microbial life forms, if they formed in the Martian water bodies, might also be discovered. Should the initial tests conducted by Percy indicate the presence of either past or existing microbial life forms, samples will be collected by the rover, and cached in collection tubes for retrieval by a future Mars mission which will return the samples to Earth for more detailed and specialized testing. Such a discovery, even if only proof of extinct life forms, will, without a doubt, revolutionize our knowledge and perceptions on how, when and where life first appeared in our solar system.  Although, on its own, such a discovery does not prove the existence of higher life forms on Mars or elsewhere in our solar system or the Milky Way Galaxy, it does open, at the very least, the possibility; and perhaps, for the time being, that is enough.

With a clear, unobstructed view to the southeast on the morning of Mar. 4, just before sunrise, you might catch a glimpse of Mercury (mag. +0.2, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) about 1/2 degree (a close conjunction) to the left of Jupiter (mag. -1.9), as the two planets hover just about the horizon. Saturn (mag. +0.7, in Capricornus) will be to the right of and slightly above Jupiter and Mercury. Mars (mag. +0.9, in Taurus - the Bull) is an early evening object, visible about 59 degrees above the southwest horizon (2.5 degrees below the Pleiades star cluster) by about 6:40 p.m., remaining observable until just before it sets in the southwest around 1 a.m. Both Venus and Jupiter are too close to the Sun to be observable this coming week.

The first two weeks of March (and April) are the best times to look for the Zodiacal Light. At this time of the year, the ecliptic (the apparent line of movement of the Sun, Moon and planets across the sky) is tilted almost vertically relative to the western horizon. The Zodiacal Light is sunlight reflected off a myriad of minute dust particles along the inner plane of our solar system, left there by countless comets zipping in around the Sun. Look for a diffuse, whitish, pyramid-shaped glow of light extending upward from the horizon about one and half-hours after sunset, when the sky has fully darkened. Viewing from a dark site, away from city lights, will increase your chances of finding the Zodiacal Light, and will greatly enhance its overall appearance. If you have trouble spotting it, try using your averted vision by looking just to the side (your eyes detect faint light better off to the side, rather than directly on). Take your DSLR camera along for a timed photo.

Until next week, clear skies.


 March 4 - Mercury and Jupiter in close conjunction; ESE, pre-dawn

           5 - Last Quarter Moon


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Good old classics with marvelous (ageless, timeless) divas:

Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, today until 6:30PM
Starring Beverly Sills, Alfredo Kraus, Håkan Hagegård, and Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by Nicola Rescigno. Production by John Dexter. From January 11, 1979.

Verdi’s Falstaff, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday 6:30PM
Starring Mirella Freni, Barbara Bonney, Marilyn Horne, Susan Graham, Paul Plishka, Frank Lopardo, and Bruno Pola. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From October 10, 1992

Shared by my dear sister-in-law in the States, and very timely:

"Kindness is more than deeds.  It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch,  It is anything that lifts another person."

     --- C. Neil Strait

March 1, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Latest Government Update on COVID 19 measures are here, published online Sunday evening:

Local Food Ordering:

Organic Veggie Delivery week, order by Monday PM today for delivery Friday, March 5th.

Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2Go, order by TUESDAY NOON, for Thursday pick-up/delivery,
(due to probable increased demand, they might close orders early, so keep that in mind)

EatLocalPEI --
Order by Wednesday night
for pickup/delivery Saturday/Sunday

MLAs will not be sitting in the Legislature today, which gives everyone a chance to prepare for the next two weeks, with sittings originally scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1PM-5PM, and Fridays from 10AM-2PM.  Doing the math, it's the same number of sitting hours per week as the previous way (16).
However, of course, they may do something different tomorrow and Wednesday due to COVID gathering restrictions.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Thursday, March 4th:
Webinar: Carbon Bombs, Canada and the Climate, with National Observer's Linda Solomon Wood and Author Bill McKibben, 8PM, online, free.
from the event notice:
Bill McKibben is a decades-long veteran of climate advocacy, whose grassroots activism has enormously impacted environmental politics.
Almost 10 years ago, McKibben dubbed Canada’s tar sands projects “carbon bombs” which devastate the environment. The federal Liberals and Alberta Conservatives have both doubled down detonating those bombs, sinking fortunes into the development of new oil pipelines even as President Joe Biden has signalled a disinterest in building new fossil fuel infrastructure. As Texas freezes over with lethal, extreme winter weather, McKibben's messages resonate stronger than ever.
Is it too late for Canada to get on the right path?
Join McKibben as he works through these dilemmas with host Linda Solomon Wood in a public Conversations event
Details and registration link
Thursday, March 11th:
Deadline -- Public Input on Make up of Elected School Board

this notice from Colonel Gray High School's weekly report in The Guardian:
The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning is seeking input into elected board-related matters. Help direct the future of education and share thoughts by doing a short online survey:

Those interested can also email their thoughts using or send a written submission by mail to:

Elected Public School Branch Board of Directors Public Consultations, Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, PO Box 2000, Charlottetown, P.E.I, C1A 7N8, attention: Legislative and Planning Co-ordinator. The deadline for submissions is March 11.

from today's The (U.K.) Guardian:

Electric cars truly greener – Fossil fuel cars waste hundreds of times more resources than battery electric cars, according to a study that adds to evidence the switch will bring large environmental benefits. After recycling, only about 30kg of raw material is lost over the life of a lithium ion battery, compared with 17,000 litres of oil used in a petrol or diesel vehicle, according to analysis by Transport & Environment (T&E). Its calculation shows petrol and diesel cars use at least 300 times more resources. T&E calculations suggest a battery electric car will use 58% less energy than a petrol car over its lifetime and emit 64% less carbon dioxide.
article link:

from last month: Online link:

GUEST OPINION: Marking 50 years of wetland conservation and loss - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Dan Kraus

Published in print on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

Fifty years ago, nations gathered to create the world’s first global agreement to conserve a habitat. This had long been undervalued, and as a result was rapidly disappearing. Fifty years ago, there was a global call to action to save our wetlands.

On Feb. 2, 1971, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance was adopted in Ramsar, Iran. Often referred to as the Ramsar Convention, its purpose was to stop the worldwide loss of wetlands. Today, 171 countries, including Canada, are parties to the convention.

The Ramsar Convention has helped many wetlands. Over 2,400 wetlands around the world have been designated as Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance. Canada has 37 Ramsar sites, including some the Nature Conservancy of Canada have helped protect in Atlantic Canada. They are Tabusintac Estuary and Shepody Bay (N.B.), Musquodoboit Harbour (N.S.), Malpeque Bay (P.E.I.) and Grand Codroy Estuary (N.L.). World Wetlands Day marks the signing of the Ramsar Convention and is a day to highlight the importance of wetland conservation

Despite a global agreement and a special day of recognition, we have not been kind to wetlands over the last half century. Over the past 50-years, over one-third world’s remaining wetlands have been lost. They continue to disappear at a rate faster than forests, and the loss is accelerating.

In every country, including our own, we are now facing an increasingly critical decision: which wetlands will we choose to save, and which wetlands will we choose to lose?

Canada has 37 sites designated as Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance, including Malpeque Bay in P.E.I.
Contributed - SaltWire Network

reprinted from online article -- better resolution and other graphics at the online article

Our choices will matter for both nature and people.

Wetlands come in many forms across Canada. Our vast northern peatlands are some of the most extensive and intact wetlands left on Earth. But in southern Canada, we’ve done our part to contribute to global wetland losses by draining forested swamps, prairie sloughs and coastal salt marshes. In many parts of southern Canada, only a fraction of our original wetlands remain.

What all our different wetlands share is their ecological importance. Coastal fens along the Great Lakes coast and saline wetlands of the prairies, along with over 90 other wetland communities, are of global conservation concern. Wetlands provide spawning habitat for many sportfish. They produced millions of waterfowl each year and are essential for keeping Canada’s “duck factory” open. Many of Canada’s terrestrial and freshwater species at risk regularly occur, or rely, on wetlands, including eastern mountain avens, yellow rail and Blanding’s turtle. 

Canadians need wetlands now, more than ever. Our northern peatlands are global giants when it comes to storing carbon. Wetlands around our cities and farms are one of our best natural defenses to buffer communities from extreme weather events and our rapidly changing climate. They are the Swiss Army Knife of ecosystems. The wetlands around us store carbon, hold flood water, recharge creeks during drought, stop storm surges and provide fire breaks. We can’t afford to lose them. The best use of wetlands is to have them remain as wetlands.

Celebrating World Wetland Day every Feb. 2 may not seem ideal. Many are frozen and quiet. Blanketed with snow that covers trees and turtles. But they are waiting for spring when their most important work will begin. As ice cracks and snow melts, they will fill with the spring runoff. Like giant sponges on the land, they will turn unwanted floodwaters into much-needed summer flows to our rivers and streams.

The next 10 years mark our decision decade for nature. We need forward thinking wetland policies and plans that consider how this critical element of our infrastructure can be strengthened. Donations to support wetland conservation by Nature Conservancy of Canada can be matched through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

We can choose to be the new generation that values, conserves and creates wetlands, or continue to pass on an ecological deficit to our children. Fifty years ago, there was a commitment made to future generations to stop the loss of wetlands. We need to fulfill that promise.

Dan Kraus is senior conservation biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

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

Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Tuesday
From January 11, 1979. "This John Dexter production, designed by Desmond Heeley, was a parting gift to the great American soprano Beverly Sills, who bid farewell to the Met as Norina, the smart young widow at the center of Donizetti’s comedy. The sensational Alfredo Kraus sings her beloved Ernesto. Håkan Hagegård, in his Met debut role and season, is Dr. Malatesta, the man who helps the young couple trick the crusty old bachelor of the title (Gabriel Bacquier at his comical best) into a fake marriage. This being a Donizetti comedy, it all turns out perfectly well at the end—and getting there is pure operatic fun."  Yes, it's all yellow chiffon and slender cigarette holder elegance with Beverly Sills, a great way to start a week honouring female opera stars.

"Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What's important is the action.  You don't have to wait to be confident.  Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow."

   ---Carrie Fisher (1956-2016), actor