CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

May 2019


  1. 1 May 24, 2019
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      1. 1.1.1 RUSSELL WANGERSKY: Spring creeps on the heels of winter kill - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky
    2. 1.2 May 23, 2019
      1. 1.2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    3. 1.3 May 22, 2019
      1. 1.3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    4. 1.4 May 21, 2019
      1. 1.4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.4.2 Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism. Have we got the stomach for it? - The Guardian (UK) Op ED by Phil McDuff
    5. 1.5 May 20, 2019
      1. 1.5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.5.2 My Own Private Underhay - blog post by Peter Rukavina
    6. 1.6 May 19, 2019
      1. 1.6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    7. 1.7 May 18, 2019
      1. 1.7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.7.2 P.E.I.'s John Jamieson named CEO of Canadian Centre for Food Integrity - CBC online article
      3. 1.7.3 Third Jury Rules Roundup Caused Cancer, Orders Bayer to Pay $2 Billion - Ecowatch article by Olivia Rosane
    8. 1.8 May 17, 2019
      1. 1.8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    9. 1.9 May 16, 2019
      1. 1.9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    10. 1.10 May 15, 2019
      1. 1.10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.10.2 Documentary tackles effect of deafening seismic blasts on whales and other sea life in Nova Scotia’s offshore - The Nova Scotia Advocate article by Robert Devet
      3. 1.10.3 We are all related and there are no boundaries - Full transcription of remarks at the press conference by Eliza Knockwood
    11. 1.11 May 14, 2019
      1. 1.11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.11.2 Profiting from misery - Saltwire column by Russell Wangersky
      3. 1.11.3 War with Iran? - The Guardian column by Gwynne Dyer
    12. 1.12 "You have just one life to live.  It is yours. Own it, claim it, live it. Do the best you can with it."   --- Hillary Clinton
    13. 1.13 May 13, 2019
      1. 1.13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.13.2 Leave piping plover, heron nesting habitat undisturbed - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Rosemary Curley
    14. 1.14 May 12, 2019
      1. 1.14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    15. 1.15 May 11, 2019
      1. 1.15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    16. 1.16 May 10, 2019
      1. 1.16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    17. 1.17 May 9, 2019
      1. 1.17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.17.2 EXCLUSIVE: P.E.I. premier-designate not abandoning idea of Greens, Liberals in his cabinet, but wants to study it - The Guardian article by Wayne Thibodeau
      3. 1.17.3 A new premier and a big to do list - The Eastern Graphic article by publisher Paul MacNeill
    18. 1.18 May 8, 2019
      1. 1.18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    19. 1.19 May 7, 2019
      1. 1.19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.19.2 Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth's natural life - The Guardian (UK) article by Jonathan Watts
    20. 1.20 May 6, 2019
      1. 1.20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.20.2 The U.K. Has Officially Declared a Climate 'Emergency' - Time Magazine on-line article by Amy Gunia
      3. 1.20.3 Spain’s socialists win election with Green New Deal platform - Climate Home News article by Natalie Sauer
    21. 1.21 May 5, 2019
      1. 1.21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 1.21.2 "You can't leave it all to the markets." - article by Naomi Klein
  2. 2 Stop fiddling while the planet burns - article by David Suzuki
    1. 2.1 Will someone please tell me what the hell is going on? Last October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report indicating that global emissions are still rising despite more than three decades of warnings. Now we’re on a path to a 3 to 5 C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels by 2100. The IPCC concludes that anything above a 1.5 C rise will take us beyond our ability to “manage” the consequences, but that it’s still possible to keep global average temperature increase at or below that.
    2. 2.2 May 4, 2019
      1. 2.2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 2.2.2 Northport not happy with proposed sewage discharge into local river from Alberton lagoon - The West Prince Graphic article by Melissa Heard
    3. 2.3 May 3, 2019
      1. 2.3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 2.3.2 QUESTIONING THE REFERENDUM - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
      3. 2.3.3 WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    4. 2.4 May 2, 2019
      1. 2.4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 2.4.2 FIRST PRIORITY: VERIFY OUR FINANCIAL STATUS - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
      3. 2.4.3 ATLANTIC SKIES: A sprinkle of bright meteors with Eta Aquariid showers in May - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts
    5. 2.5 May 1, 2019
      1. 2.5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
      2. 2.5.2 Cooperation must cut both ways - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeil

May 24, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Fridays For Future, 3:30PM,
Province House (Grafton Street side).
from the Facebook event notice:
This movement began in August 2018, "...after 15-year-old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament every schoolday for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. She posted what she was doing on Instagram and Twitter and it soon went viral. The hashtags the #fridaysforfuture and #ClimateStrike spread and many students and adults began to protest outside of their parliaments & city halls all over the world.


All are welcome! The aim of this event is to be a civil, peaceful gathering to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future. Bring signs and invite everyone you know to come. NOW is the time to demand rapid change.

The whole aim of the XR is to provide our beloved children with a planet on which they can thrive. Children are welcome, wanted, and needed in this movement.

We want people to be assured that, moving forward, all XRPEI events will be peaceful, civil gatherings. We are moved to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future. We acknowledge there has been conflict and tension at past events and we want to put that behind us.

XRPEI would like to inform everyone that we have a new coordinator, David Woodbury. At the same time, the nature of XR is to be non-hierarchical and we look to the public to join us with their talents.

Student Climate Strike today -- Tyne Valley sisters Kory and Skye MacLean are organizing a Student Climate Strike today in Charlottetown, to coincide with similar actions worldwide. It's safe to assume that this will merge with other actions today.

Green Party District 9: Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park Nomination Meeting, 7PM,
Hillsborough Park Community Centre, 199 Patterson Drive.
With the clarification of election rules, candidates who ran in the April 23rd election are ineligible to run in this by-election, so John Andrew is the only candidate running:

Here is his biography, from the Green Party of PEI page:

Dr. John Andrew is a fourth-generation resident of East Royalty who has led a distinguished career as a medical physicist in both PEI and Nova Scotia. During his career he published over 40 research papers, was on the executive of national medical organizations for 14 years, rose to the rank of Full Professor at Dalhousie University and was made a Fellow of the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists.

John Andrew has also been significantly engaged in watershed issues in his community, having helped found the Wright’s Creek Watershed Environmental Committee to restore the Wright’s Creek watercourse, and serves as Director of the Hillsborough River Association and the Hillsborough Area Watershed Co-op.

The by-election has to be by July 19th, 2019.

A three minute video on Mary Anning, 19th century British fossil hunter, but very sadly marginalized her whole life. The video is made with animation done with sand and pebbles from the shores where she lived -- it's just wondrous.
video and screenshot from The Kids Should See This video curated list:

RUSSELL WANGERSKY: Spring creeps on the heels of winter kill - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky

Published on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019
The last ice storm of the year, just a few weeks ago, really did a number on the big poplars in the yard.

Coming up the narrow squiggle of the two-lane highway along the coast, I saw the damage in the birches first: branches canted down to the ground, gashes in the bark where branches had been torn away completely. The gashes weeping wet with birch sap; I can’t see them without imagining that they must hurt.

But I head up the narrow driveway to find it blocked halfway up, a branch as big around as my thigh shorn off one of the really big trees. Four more equally large branches on the roof of the shed, stacked up as if they were torn away like toppling dominos, the highest falling onto the one below, adding enough weight to break the one below off next, and on down the tree, which now has a gap in its canopy of branches all along one side.

Drag the fallen into a pile: small branches for the fire pit, and eventually, the large wood to be cut for the stove. It’s not so much cleaning up as postponing work; this is the spring equivalent of squaring up chairs around the dining room table before the dinner guests arrive.

In winter, snow curls up around the back door and freezes into a mound of ice. The wooden door, vertical boards with a structural backwards “Z” of bracing on the back, opens outwards, so the mound of ice adds forces the door isn’t designed to deal with. All three screws have popped out of the bottom hinge because of that, leaving the door swinging open and closed on one hinge. Three long deck screws will solve that problem; I use the coated ones that won’t rust.

Flush the antifreeze out of the drain traps and the toilet. In winter, the heat’s only on when we’re there, and the quiet strength of ice will break all sorts of things you’d never imagine.

Get the broom and dustpan and collect the sow beetles that rolled onto their backs and died crossing the long deserts of downstairs wooden floors. Sow beetles; carpenters; builder-boats. They have many names, those grey articulated bugs that look like trilobites, but they die quickly when they set out on long journeys that dry them out. They apparently wear their wet lungs on their hind legs, too. Sweep carefully: they are already so desiccated that they break apart at the touch of the broom bristles.

Open all the interior doors, closed in winter to let you heat the place one chamber at a time as the stove comes to life. Everything in the pump room, the only room that’s heated all winter, has survived.

The stove gasket on the woodstove will have to be replaced and reglued. There’s paint on the rehung outside door to be touched up. One side of the house, the back, needs touching up as well. Looking closer, the top right corner of the eastern side also needs scraping and painting.

Out in the vegetable garden, the soil is rich and wet and turns easily. Every year, there are fewer rocks to throw into the rockpile, but every year, there are rocks. Check the apple trees for buds. Size up what kind of trailer you’ll need to haul away the siding and the old roofing from the shed roof we replaced last year. After hauling down the big poplar branches and seeing that the new roof is fine, I stand on the front corner and look through the gap in the trees towards the water.

The grasses are all yellow-brown, but green is coming.

Spring opens its arms.

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

"It is the province of knowledge to speak and is the privilege of wisdom to listen."
---Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935), American jurist

May 23, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Just so you can start planning Saturday, in addition to the Farmers' Markets....
Events Saturday, May 25th:
Herb Day, 10AM-2PM
Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.
The 6th annual Herb Day takes place May 25th at the Farm Centre from 10 am - 2 pm. Jen & Derek's Organic Farm and Heart Beet Organics will have starter plants for sale. Janell from The New Argyle Farmery will have medicinal and unusual herb plants. Lucy will be selling perrenials.

Workshops schedule:
10-11AM How Community Supported Agriculture Improves our Food System – Jordan MacPhee (Maple Bloom Farm)
11AM-12noon From Seed to Tea: Incorporating Herbs into your Daily Routine – Janell MacDonald (The New Argyle Farmery)
12-1PM Legacy Garden Tour - including the Beehives
12-1PM Food as Medicine: How to Make Fire Cider & Elderberry Syrup – Adel El-Mowafi (Point Prim Permaculture)
1-2PM Permascaping/Edible Landscaping – Phil Ferraro (Farm Centre)
1-2PM *Create a Fairy Garden* – City of Charlottetown
*Children Activity, Space limited

· Nine Yards - the folks who designed the wacky beehive huts will be on site to explain the concept and design - as part of the Garden Tour.
· Bring your garden tools for a "tune up" - Daniel from the Charlottetown Tool Library will be on site to oil and sharpen tools.
· There is a small marketplace and information booths to browse through with product and topics related to gardening and local food. Get some tips of preserving food, including herbs.
· Bring your seeds along to the seed swap.
· Come and learn about the City of Charlottetown's Food Charter and have your input into how the charter will manifest into practical actions.
· My Plum My Duck will have a simple lunch available to purchase.
· Musician David Woodside will be sharing his talent from 10:30 - 1:30.

This is a family friendly event, no admission. Donations for the workshops are gratefully accepted.

More information at event link
Macphail Woods Workshop: Hedgerows and Windbreaks, 10-11:30AM,
Macphail Woods Ecological Centre, Orwell.
"This workshop will look at on creating diverse, beautiful and functional hedgerows and windbreaks using a variety of native plants. Participants will learn about which plants are best, spacing, planting and maintenance."

Arts & Crafts Destash / Restash Sale, 10AM-2PM,
Murphy's Community Centre.
"This event is for everyone from the casual crafter to the professional artist! Art and craft supplies in all kinds of media will be available - fabric, jewelry, art, paper, scrapbooking, stencils, painting, yarn and more! Come find something new to try and be entered to win door prizes!
Donations of supplies will also be gladly accepted - they will be sold at the sale or distributed to local charities and community organizations after the event.
For donations or questions, please email "

Library Program: "The Well-Worn Trail -- Canadian Wildife Prsentation", 10:30-11:30AM, Confed Centre Public Library, Free.

All Day: (Atlantic Cannabis Conference and Expo), 9AM-6PM
Delta Prince Edward, 18 Queen Street, Charlottetown. "...will learn about the legal adult-use recreational cannabis and medical cannabis industries, ...trends and developments in the industry...Must be 19+ to attend. ID required at door."
For more information, visit
Small Acts of Conservation Challenge sponsored by the Nature Conservatory of Canada

from their colourful page:
Join Canadians from coast to coast to help nature with our Small Acts of Conservation challenge. Together, our collective small-scale efforts can provide a positive benefit for wildlife and their habitats across the country.

There are six different areas of challenge (e.g., Bats, Watersheds, Pollinators) with information and easy and not-so-easy-but-rewarding ways you can help.
"I would rather dance as a ballerina, though faultily, than as a flawless clown."
---Margaret Atwood

May 22, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Lady Baker's Tea Open House, 10AM-2PM, inside the Kirk of St. James church, Charlottetown. Entrance on Pownal Street. Celebrating their first anniversary, samples and tastings.

Charlottetown Green Party of Canada (Federal) meeting, 4:30-6PM,
Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. "This is the regular monthly Charlottetown District Association Meeting. The agenda will include regular business, a Green Party of Canada update and some campaign planning.
Memberships will be available but are not required."
Facebook event details

Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association AGM, 7-9PM
Coran Ban Hall. Guest Speaker is Aggie-Rose Reddin from the Glenaladale Estate Trust. (The watershed is planning forestry projects at Glenaladale.) All welcome.

Pre-registration deadline today, please, for
Sunday, May 26th:
LAMP forum -- Climate Change: Climate Justice "From Words to Action", 1:30-4PM
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Hall, 151 Stratford Road, Stratford. Free. Pre-registration is preferred in order to facilitate planning. Please pre-register today if possible by calling Marie at 902-894-4573 or by e-mail
"The goal of the forum is to inspire more people to make deeper and wider commitments to organized action to stop climate change at its roots. The guest speaker is Ann Wheatley, environmentalist and member of Cooper Institute. Her topic is 'The Current Economic System: Generating and Denying Global Warming'."
Wonderful News from Silver Donald Cameron, journalist and champion of environmental rights:

"I'm thrilled to tell you that a Chair has been established at Cape Breton University to honour the late great Farley Mowat -- and that I've been appointed the first Chairholder. 

Not only that, but the appointment will be celebrated at an event where an honorary doctorate will be conferred on my old friend
Graeme Gibson.

We'll round out the celebration by doing the first Green Interview ever done live, on stage, with an audience -- with Graeme's lifelong partner, the astonishing Margaret Atwood.

Furthermore, you can join us no matter where you are, because
we'll be broadcasting it live on CBC Radio in Sydney, NS -- and livestreaming it on the web. 

This is your invitation, and we'll have more details soon -- but mark it in your calendar now! 

June 7, 4:00 to 6:00 PM

A note that Margaret Atwood will be on P.E.I. on Friday, October 4th, 2019, for a "conversation" about her new book, The Testaments. The event is hosted by Bookmark and tickets are $25 ($40 with the book) and ticket information is here:
Ok, Ok. Here is official Referendum Results.


Official Referendum Results

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - This announcement is to comply with section 6(1)(e) of the Electoral System Referendum Act. That subsection requires the Referendum Commissioner to announce the final result of the referendum after the completion of the count under the Election Act.
That count has now been completed and the official results of the referendum are as follows:
The total number of validly cast ballots in the Referendum was 81,888.
The number of validly cast “No” votes was 42,372 which is 51.74% of the total.
The number of validly cast “Yes” votes was 39,516 which is 48.26% of the total.
The “No” side got the majority of validly cast ballots in 13 of the 27 districts.
The “Yes” side got the majority of the validly cast ballots in 14 of the 27 districts.

The forgoing results mean:
That neither the “No” nor the “Yes” sides received enough votes to bind the Government according to s. 4(1) of the Electoral System Referendum Act.
That there were not enough votes in favour of adopting a mixed member proportional system to bind the Government to take any steps under s. 4(2) of the Electoral System Referendum Act.

Gerard Mitchell
Referendum Commissioner


And here is a link to the article from last week about the Referendum results miscounting in District 20 (which we know many people noticed that something wasn't right with the results listed).

Thanks to Gerard Mitchell for attentively doing the job spelled out for the Referendum Commissioner in the Electoral System Referendum Act passed last June in the P.E.I. Legislature.
Most of the champions of that onerous and oppressive bit of legislation lost their seats in the April 2019 provincial election. Electoral reform is not dead, though many people are understandably fatigued by how the issue was handled by the MacLauchlan government, which squandered such promise of Democratic Renew. I suspect reflection and a bit of time will remind us that improving our democracy is a living issue.

"All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness is a simple, frugal heart."
---Nikos Kazantzakis (188301957), Greek writer

May 21, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event tonight:
Creating the Young Greens Caucus (Formation planning meeting), 6-8PM
, Summerside, Inspire Learning Centre, 57 Central Street, Summerside.
Facebook event link
Opinion piece:

Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism. Have we got the stomach for it? - The Guardian (UK) Op ED by Phil McDuff

Published on Saturday, May 18th, 2019, in The Guardian (U.K.)

Policy tweaks won’t do it, we need to throw the kitchen sink at this with a total rethink of our relationship to ownership, work and capital

Climate change activism is increasingly the domain of the young, such as 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the unlikely face of the school strike for climate movement, which has seen many thousands of children walk out of school to demand that their parents’ generation takes responsibility for leaving them a planet to live on. In comparison, the existing political establishment looks more and more like an impediment to change. The consequences of global warming have moved from the merely theoretical and predicted to observable reality over the past few years, but this has not been matched by an uptick in urgency. The need to keep the wheels of capitalism well-oiled takes precedence even against a backdrop of fires, floods and hurricanes.

Today’s children, as they become more politically aware, will be much more radical than their parents, simply because there will be no other choice for them. This emergent radicalism is already taking people by surprise. The Green New Deal (GND), a term presently most associated with 29-year-old US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has provoked a wildly unhinged backlash from the “pro free market” wing, who argue that it’s a Trojan horse, nothing more than an attempt to piggyback Marxism onto the back of climate legislation.

The criticism feels ridiculous. Partly because the GND is far from truly radical and already represents a compromise solution, but mainly because the radical economics isn’t a hidden clause, but a headline feature. Climate change is the result of our current economic and industrial system. GND-style proposals marry sweeping environmental policy changes with broader socialist reforms because the level of disruption required to keep us at a temperature anywhere below “absolutely catastrophic” is fundamentally, on a deep structural level, incompatible with the status quo.

Right now we can, with a massive investment of effort by 2030, just about keep the warming level below 1.5C. This is “bad, but manageable” territory. Failing to put that effort in sees the world crossing more severe temperature barriers that would lead to outcomes like ecosystem collapse, ocean acidification, mass desertification, and coastal cities being flooded into inhabitability.

We will simply have to throw the kitchen sink at this. Policy tweaks such as a carbon tax won’t do it. We need to fundamentally re-evaluate our relationship to ownership, work and capital. The impact of a dramatic reconfiguration of the industrial economy require similarly large changes to the welfare state. Basic incomes, large-scale public works programmes, everything has to be on the table to ensure that the oncoming system shocks do not leave vast swathes of the global population starving and destitute. Perhaps even more fundamentally, we cannot continue to treat the welfare system as a tool for disciplining the supposedly idle underclasses. Our system must be reformed with a more humane view of worklessness, poverty and migration than we have now.

Unfortunately for our children, the people they have to convince of all this are the people who have done very well out of this system, and are powerfully incentivised to deny that it is all that bad. Already, Joke Schauvliege, a Belgian environment minister, has been forced to resign after falsely claiming that she had been told by Belgian state security services that “ghosts” behind the scenes were behind demonstrations in Belgium.

This conspiracism of the elite, these claims that genuine mass movement can’t possibly really exist and must be in some way being guided by agents provocateurs, is just one of the ways in which those currently running things have resorted to a kind of political gaslighting in an attempt to maintain their grip on power.

Gaslighting is a term I don’t use lightly, because it describes a genuine form of emotional abuse, where an abuser will deny reality in an attempt to get their victim to literally doubt their own sanity, and this should not be diluted by overuse. Yet I struggle to think of another word that adequately sums up the way in which “sensible” adults are doubling down on their tactic of manufacturing a political reality which bears no relationship to the world we see around us. It’s the Marxism of Groucho rather than Karl: “Who are you going to believe? The serious political professionals or your own lying eyes?”

US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s meeting with schoolchildren petitioning her to take action over the issue went viral because of the way she condescended to them for, basically, asking her to leave them a planet behind to live on. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” she said, “I know what I’m doing.” The obvious response is, of course, that messing something up for 30 years is quite long enough, thanks. Long tenure without results is not the same thing as expertise.

This is a tough and bitter pill to swallow for the political professionals whose feet are firmly under the table. It is increasingly obvious that all their tactics have done almost nothing except run down the clock, but still they insist that it’s the young who just don’t get it and that things aren’t that simple. They’re the living embodiment of the famous New Yorker cartoon, with a suited man sat in a post-apocalyptic landscape telling his young audience “Yes, the planet got destroyed. But for a beautiful moment in time we created a lot of value for shareholders.”

This is reality v the vested interests of the powerful. Any meaningful policy has to upset the established power base and the political donor class. Any policy that doesn’t upset these people will be useless. To pretend that we can compromise our way through this while we wait for a magical, technological bullet that will keep temperatures down without costing us anything is beyond wilful ignorance now. It is a question of basic morality.

Many of today’s climate strikers won’t even be 30 by the time the 1.5C deadline comes around in 2030. They are asking us to consider a simple question: is their future worth more than preserving our reputations? What will our response to them be?

Phil McDuff writes on economics and social policy

This goes for politicians and other people in power who feel P.E.I. (or Canada) is too small to make a difference....

from Coastal Climate Collective, by way of Cape Breton Environmental Association.

...and then do more.
"So many things are possible just so long as you don't know they're impossible."
--- Norton Juster (b. 1929), American author (The Phantom Tollbooth)

May 20, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

More events -- peeking into June:
Saturday, June 1st:
Symposium: Celebrating and Protecting the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 12:30-4:30PM
Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown.

Presented by Save Our Seas and Shores PEI (SOSS PEI), to commemorate World Oceans Week, June 1-8.

"Sylvain Archambault, marine biologist, co-founder of the St. Lawrence Coalition and highly-respected expert on oil and gas issues in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, will be the Keynote Speaker. Mr. Archambault will be returning to Prince Edward Island, having spoken across the province at a series of talks in 2013 and at an annual meeting of the PEI Fishermen’s Association in 2014. During World Oceans Week in 2018, Sylvain was honoured as an Ecojustice Hero for his help with submitting detailed evidence in a lawsuit to protect the Gulf from risky offshore drilling in the Old Harry oil and gas prospect.
The symposium will include a panel on the diverse and fragile Gulf ecosystem and a panel exploring the benefits and constraints of a potential Marine Protected Area surrounding Prince Edward Island.
Speakers confirmed to date include: Troy Jerome, a Mi’gmaq person from the Gaspé, Quebec, with a wealth of experience serving Mi'gmaq governments and working on environmental issues; Mary Gorman from Nova Scotia, screenwriter, founder of Save Our Seas and Shores and long-standing defender of the Gulf and the Northumberland Strait; Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Program Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation; Rosemary Curley, biologist, author and President of Nature PEI; and Irené Novaczek, marine ecologist, activist and author."

Tuesday, June 4th:
Social Justice Symposium in Souris: Protection of PEI Lands and Water as Sources of All Life, 6:30-9PM
Souris and Area Ski & Wildlife Lodge, 1358 Souris Line Road, Souris.

Co-hosted by Cooper Institute and the Souris & Area Branch of the P.E.I. Wildlife Federation.
The program will include presentations by biologists Daryl Guignon and Rosemary Curley, both of whom have spent many years exploring Prince Edward Island’s watersheds, fields and forests. There will also be time for active involvement of participants in discussions about land and water as sources of life, how land and water are threatened, why it matters, how we are working together as a community, and what more can be done to improve the health of our ecosystems.
The Social Justice Symposium is an annual event, held in memory of Father Andrew Macdonald, a founder of Cooper Institute and composer of many songs that celebrated the physical beauty of Prince Edward Island. The symposium is one of three that Cooper Institute will hold in different Island communities this year.
All welcome, free. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is advised, to make sure there is room for everyone -- contact Fred or Keila (902) 687-4115, Cooper Institute (902) 894-4573 or email or by Monday, May 27th. Travel and child/elder care subsidies are available on request.
That little burst of positive energy and "Underhay".... thank you, Peter Rukavina.

My Own Private Underhay - blog post by Peter Rukavina
on Saturday, May 11th, 2019

When the community gathered to remember Josh and Oliver Underhay two weeks ago, Josh’s wife Karri, and his brother and sister, Mitch and Sara, asked people to share how they met Josh:

Both Shea and the Underhay siblings urged members of the community to share with them memories of Josh and Oliver.

“Everyone here has that story of the first time they met Josh. We don’t. We don’t have that. Josh was as real as gravity,” Mitch said.

I met Josh only once, on November 8, 2018. He was one of the “Old Greens” at a meeting of the Young Greens. He was already the candidate for District 9, and was there to talk to those-under-30 assembled about how they could help with the Green campaign and, more generally, what being a member of the Green Party meant.

Being old, and not-yet-even-Green myself–I was only there to support my son being there–I was loathe to do anything more than quietly sit in the back corner, biting my tongue against the urge to comport myself as a wise elder.

But Josh introduced himself to me, and we had a chat about water and electricity and open data. We made tentative plans to get together to talk in more detail.

Then, save for spotting him playing the trumpet at a Green event in Summerside the week he died, I never laid eyes on him again.

The day after Josh and Oliver died I was at Green Party headquarters on Water Street when a group returned from the Haviland Club where friends had gathered to support each other.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen sadness etched as deeply on faces, and that sadness, and the waves of sadness and remembrance, joy for two lives lived and unfathomable grief for their ending, became a proxy for me to come to understand more about Josh and Oliver. I didn’t know them but, through the eyes of others, I came to know their radiant reflections.

I have thought of Josh and Oliver many times a day in the weeks since, and I’ve been working to try to find a way to channel those feelings away from two dimensional sadness into three dimensional promise. Karri pointed the way in her words at the gathering:

Since the accident, Shea said many have asked her what they can do to help her and her three-year-old son Linden.

“Here’s my answer: Please don’t let their deaths be only a senseless tragedy,” Shea said.

“Let them be a call to action and a catalyst for a change that you make in your life. For Prince Edward Island, for the world. Plant a tree, donate blood, put solar on your roof, buy an electric car.

“Build a bike path, Charlottetown.”

Shea also urged supporters to “love wildly and with abandon” in memory of her son Oliver.

Last week, on Saturday, I was heading to the Farmer’s Market by myself. It was slightly overcast, but not raining. Spring was in the air. So I pulled my bicycle out of the basement, pumped up the tires, and rode up University Avenue to the market, rather than taking the car.

Last Monday I stopped at MacQueen’s Bike Shop after my morning school run to talk to them about the possibilities of human-powered transport for getting myself, son, and service dog from downtown to Stars for Life this summer.

On Wednesday I joined the Green Party of Canada and resolved to help get Greens elected federally this fall.

On Friday I offered to join a provincial Green committee that’s setting out to make policy about making policy.

I’ve finally broken the habit of letting the water run while I’m brushing my teeth.

What I have started to do, in my daily life, is that when I’m faced with small forks in my road–take the car or take the bike? watch TV or join a committee? have a nap or call my mother? order pizza or learn to make pizza?–I will take the fork that, while it might be a little harder, require a little more effort, might take me out of the realm of things I’m comfortable doing, is the fork that’s best for my family, my community, and the planet.

In all such decisions, standing at those forks, there’s a little burst of energy needed to launch out of the orbit of habit and comfort.

I’ve come to call that little burst of energy an Underhay.

And that, for me, has been the way forward.


from Coastal Climate Collective

Day 138
Visit a Wetland
Wetlands are incredibly diverse, productive, sensitive and beautiful landscapes. Grab a pair of rubber boots and binoculars, get out to explore some wetlands. Listen and look closely for unique plants and animals living in these beautiful habitats. For more information visit…/we…/docs/Wetlands_in_Nova_Scotia.pdf. Level up: Bring home 3 pieces of trash you find during your adventure for proper disposal.

And since we are on P.E.I., here is the Prince Edward Island wetlands page from the government website, which some of the writing values the "productive" nature of wetlands, but still understands their intrinsic value, and offers locations and maps:
"This is the art of courage: to see things as they are and still believe that the victory lies not with those who avoid the bad, but those who taste, in living awareness, every drop of good."
--- Victoria Lincoln (1904-1981), American author

May 19, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Please note that events listed might be of interest to some of you, and not necessarily an endorsement of the activity :-) And the list is certainly not complete. I do appreciate hearing about events I may be missing.
Events Today:
Cube of Truth: Charlottetown, 11AM-12noon
, in front of Anne of Green Gables Store. Can watch or participate. "The Cube of Truth is a peaceful static demonstration akin to an art performance. This demonstration operates in a structured manner that triggers curiosity and interest from the public; we attempt to lead bystanders to a vegan conclusion through a combination of local standard-practice animal exploitation footage and conversations with a value-based sales approach."
Facebook event link

Atlantic String Machine: Season Finale with Guest Nathan Wiley, 2:30PM,
St. Paul's Anglican Church, Charlottetown. Tickets $25 at the door
Facebook event details

Meet the District 9 Green Party Nominees, 3-5PM, Carrefour d'Isle St. Jean, 5 Acadian Drive.
John Andrews and Susan Hartley will be at this social, with the election for the candidate next Friday, May 24th.

Bonshaw Meet-Your-Neighbour Potluck, 5-6:30PM, Bonshaw Community Centre.

Lennon House Fundraiser: Music to Feed the Soul, 7-10PM,
tickets at door $20. Long list of giving musicians including Logan Richards and Kelley Mooney.
Facebook event link

Tuesday, May 21st:
Great War Lecture Series 2019 (last lecture), "Unsettled Times: Prince Edward Island in the Echo of the Great War", with Professor Edward McDonald, 7PM
Summerside Presbyterian Church hall, 130 Bictoria Road, Summerside.

Tuesday, May 21st: Pre-registration deadline
Sunday, May 26th:
LAMP forum -- Climate Change: Climate Justice "From Words to Action", 1:30-4PM
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Hall, 151 Stratford Road, Stratford. Free. Pre-registration is preferred in order to facilitate planning. Please pre-register before May 21 by calling Marie at 902-894-4573 or by e-mail
The goal of the forum is to inspire more people to make deeper and wider commitments to organized action to stop climate change at its roots. The guest speaker is Ann Wheatley, environmentalist and member of Cooper Institute. Her topic is "The Current Economic System: Generating and Denying Global Warming".

Wednesday, May 22nd:
Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association AGM, 7-9PM
Coran Ban Hall. Guest Speaker is Aggie-Rose Reddin from the Glenaladale Estate Trust. (The watershed is planning forestry projects at Glenaladale.) All welcome. Facebook event link

Friday, May 24th:
Fridays for the Future (Weekly Climate Crisis peaceful demonstration), 3:30-4:30PM
Province House/Cenotaph area.

Friday, May 24th:
District 9:Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park Green Party Nomination meeting, 7-9PM
Hillsborough Park Community Centre, all welcome.

Saturday, May 25th:
Herb Day at the Farm Centre, 10AM-2PM
Plants, seeds, workshops, displays; free admission, but items for sale. Facebook event link
The Halifax-based Coastal Climate Collective is publishing daily suggestions for changes to daily lives regarding plastics and the environment.

From their About Us section of their Facebook page:

We're Wendy, Shannon and Melanie: Three pretty regular east coast Canadian moms who think ALL change, no matter how small, matters when it comes to the climate because there's real power in community.

Day 137 -- Coastal Climate Collective
Microwave Popcorn

Did you know that the vast majority of microwave popcorn bags are lined with Teflon, which is linked to endocrine disruption, kidney and liver toxicity, and is believed to be carcinogenic. Plus, it is more persistent in the food chain than DDT - and we use it to pop popcorn? Yuck! Lucky for us, this is such an easy, affordable and waste-free switch. You can pop kernels in either a glass bowl or brown paper bag in the microwave (google it!), or really easily on the stovetop. Kids love making popcorn this way, especially with a glass-lidded pot so they can see the chaos! Season it up however you like - our favorite is a bit of coconut oil and nutritional yeast (which I tell my girls is healthy cheeto dust!). You can purchase both the kernels and nutritional yeast from most bulk stores package free as well!

Also, the artificial butter flavour is problematic. Apparently, long-term exposure, as in workers in manufacturing plants, causes permanent lung damage. The reasonable diet-guru Dr. Andrew Weil gives a good discussion here:

And, straightening out facts from rumour, discusses it here.
"Seek to mingle gentleness in all your rebukes; bear with the infirmities of others; make allowance for constitutional frailties; never say harsh things, if kind things will do as well."
--- John Ross Macduff (1818-1895), Scottish clergyman and essayist

May 18, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets open:
Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM

Expanded Bus Service Pilot Project Info Session, 9:30-11AM
, Malcolm Darrach Community Centre, 1 Avonlea Drive, Charlottetown.
"...The City of Charlottetown is looking to implement a six month pilot offering T3 Transit service to unserviced areas of Charlottetown, including East Royalty and Parkdale. Interested members of the public are invited to attend to find out more about the proposed routes and drop off and pick up location....If you require transportation to the info sessions, the City will cover costs associated with taking a taxi. The individual is responsible for booking the taxi and a City staff person will be at the Community Centre to cover the costs."

Pruning Trees and Shrubs Workshop, 10AM-12noon, Macphail Woods. Dress for the outdoor portion of the workshop.

Hyde Park (Cornwall Area Watershed Group) Fishing derby and Gratitude Ceremony, 10AM-3PM,
Hyde Park, Cornwall. Many events going on, including an 11AM Gratitude Ceremony with a drum circle led by Julia Pellissier-Lush.
**Some events may be altered due to the weather -- best to check the events page link.

Belfast Area is also hosting a Fishing Derby, 9AM-12noon, Facebook event link
Tomorrow, Sunday, May 19th:
Meet-and-Greet District 9 Green Party potential nominees, 3-5PM
, Carrefour d'Isle St. Jean, all welcome.
The Green Party of PEI has announced that two people are seeking the nomination in the byelection to be held later this spring in District 9: Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park. Physicist John Andrews and psychologist Susan Hartley are in the running. Voting will be Friday, May 24th.

Next Saturday, May 25th:
Herb Day, 10AM to 2PM
, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown.
"Plant sale, workshops, Legacy Garden tour and more! *Note: the plant sale features highest quality transplants from organic farmers - Heart Beet Organics, Jen & Derek's Organic Farm and Alexander Fresh Vegetables. Definitely worth dropping in."

Sunday's and Monday's Citizens' Alliance News will have expanded listing of upcoming events.
Local media reported that John Jamieson, former provincial deputy minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, was named President and Executive Director and CEO (local media has reported all three names) of the renamed Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, which used to be called the Farm and Food Care Canada (which was made up of branches in three provinces).

from the CBC on-line article:

P.E.I.'s John Jamieson named CEO of Canadian Centre for Food Integrity - CBC online article

Published on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

P.E.I.'s run of having people leading national food organizations is continuing with the appointment of the former deputy minister of agriculture to run the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity. John Jamieson was the deputy minister of agriculture for Wade MacLauchlan's government, and also a former executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture.

"I was quite excited because I had known about the organization through both my time with the federation and in government and certainly an opportunity I was interested in," said Jamieson. "I think that combination of being connected to industry as well as being connected to government allowed me to have some connections that may have put me over the top."

He said the move was not connected to the change in government, and Premier Dennis King had offered him an opportunity to continue working for the province.

The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity deals with all aspects of the food industry in Canada, from field to table. The centre researches consumer attitudes on food and supports the industry with that information. It is membership based, and there are farming, government, industry and retail members.

Jamieson is the third Islander now at the top of a national food or agriculture organization. <former Federation of Agriculture president> Mary Robinson is chair of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and <former deputy minister of several departments under Robert Ghiz> Brian Douglas is head of the Farm Products Marketing Council.

While most people wish Mr. Jamieson well in his new job in Guelph, it's good to clarify -- especially for an organization that claims to offer information to consumers about food production --

from their website:
"We simply want to make sure that consumers — in an environment where they are bombarded with contradictions — have the balanced information they need about food to make informed choices that are right for them and their families.

We’re a not-for-profit charitable organization whose members and partners represent the diversity of today’s food system — from farmers, ranchers, foodies and food companies to universities, non-governmental organizations, restaurants, retailers and food processors.

The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity is an independent affiliate of The Centre for Food Integrity based in the United States."

Members include:

screenshot of Members and Partners page of Canadian Centre for Food Integrity page
And in other news:

Third Jury Rules Roundup Caused Cancer, Orders Bayer to Pay $2 Billion - Ecowatch article by Olivia Rosane

Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A third jury ruled that Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller caused cancer Monday, awarding a California couple more than $2 billion in damages. Not only is it the largest award in a Roundup trial to date, it is also the largest U.S. jury award this year and the eighth-largest product-defect award ever, Bloomberg reported.

"We really wanted to tell Monsanto, 'Cut it out, do better,' and we wanted to get their attention," juror Doug Olsen told Bloomberg of the award.

Alva and Alberta Pilliod used Roundup on their property for more than three decades before they were both diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Reuters reported. The jury ruled that Roundup had been defectively designed and that Monsanto failed to warn customers of the cancer risk and acted negligently. In total, they awarded the couple $2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensation. The $2 billion is likely to be reduced due to Supreme Court rulings that limit the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages at 9:1. However, the Pilliod's lawyer R. Brent Wisner urged the jury to award a large amount in order to send a message to the company, The New York Times reported.

"Monsanto has never had any interest in finding out whether Roundup is safe," Wisner said in a post-verdict statement reported by The Guardian. "Instead of investing in sound science, they invested millions in attacking science that threatened their business agenda."

The judge in the Pilliod's trial allowed lawyers to present additional evidence not admitted in the first two Roundup trials, showing how Monsanto attempted to influence research into the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

"We were finally allowed to show a jury the mountain of evidence showing Monsanto's manipulation of science, the media and regulatory agencies to forward their own agenda despite Roundup's severe harm to the animal kingdom and humankind," one of the couple's attorneys, Michael Miller, said in a statement reported by The Guardian.

In a statement following the trial, Alberta Pilliod urged Bayer, who acquired Monsanto last year, to add a health warning to the product, saying she would not have used it if she had known of the risks.

"We've been fighting cancer for more than nine years now and we can't do any of the things we wanted to do. We really resent Monsanto for that," Pilliod said.

The verdict spelled further trouble for Bayer. Its shares have fallen 40 percent since it purchased Monsanto, The New York Times reported. After Monday's verdict, its stock fell to its lowest point in nearly seven years, according to Bloomberg.

This is the third Roundup trial since Bayer acquired Monsanto. In August 2018, a California jury said Roundup use caused the cancer of a Bay Area groundskeeper. Then, in March, the jury in the first federal Roundup case also ruled in favor of the plaintiff. The company faces more than 13,400 similar lawsuits in the U.S.; the next will take place in a Missouri state court in August, Reuters reported.

In a statement following the verdict, Bayer pointed to an announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reaffirming its previous finding that glyphosate does not cause cancer in humans.

"The contrast between today's verdict and (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's) conclusion that there are 'no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate' could not be more stark," Bayer said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Most of the trials are based on a contrasting 2015 finding from the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, which ruled glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans."

The product has lost a great deal of credibility. Bloomberg reported that following the verdict, an anonymous juror told the company's lawyer what they could do to assure jurors of Roundup's safety.

"I wanted you to get up and drink it," the juror said.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."
--- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish dramatist

May 17, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

International Bike-to-Work Day, all day. There are several overlapping initiatives this month on biking to school or work, with the point being to encourage people to try this in a way big or small.
Facebook event link

Pride Flag-raising, 12:15PM, Charlottetown City Hall.
"To commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia....Mayor Philip Brown will be in attendance to help raise the flag. Everyone is welcome, bring your allies and community members to recognize this important day!"

Opening, Red Island Cider, 12noon-8PM, 101 Longworth (on the road near Bar1911/Pizza Delight and in the small mall near Hot Shots). Robert van Waarden and a few others are behind this apple cider initiative, Robert being the acclaimed photographer of climate change issues. His photography/essays website

Fridays for the Future, 3:30PM,
Cenotaph at Grafton and Province House. Extinction Rebellion invites all for its weekly non-violent demonstration to note the importance of Climate Change and urge governments to get over their current inaction.
Good news: A note I received from Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Sierra Club of Canada yesterday, Thursday, May 16th, 2019:

Dear Chris,

I wanted to share some good news we received this week.

On May 14th, the very same day Ethan Hawke added his voice to a call to ban seismic blasting to protect endangered whales and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we had two lovely surprises.

First, the very first North Atlantic right whales of the season were sighted later that day in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. To have this happen the same day as the launch of the short film, The Vanishing Call of the Right Whale, warmed our hearts and lifted our spirits.

Second, the offshore petroleum board that had offered up Sable Island National Park and ocean around it in a Call for Bids for oil drilling announced there were no takers from the oil industry.

The noise you created through the letters you wrote and the awareness you raised let oil companies know that there would be massive resistance to oil and gas drilling under and around Sable Island, and potentially oil exploration on the island itself.

For now, Sable is safe.

For every letter you wrote and friend you shared our message with, thank you.

And with your help, we will work to make sure places like Sable, and whales - such as those who just made it back to the Gulf - remain protected through lasting change.

Yours truly,
Gretchen Fitzgerald

P.S.: If you have not done so, please watch The Vanishing Call of the Right Whale, featuring Ethan Hawke and take action now!
This was shared by the Council of Canadians yesterday, a smile (but still serious) about the lack of action on Climate Change:

The famous Boromir "One does not simply..." meme, with the original line and photo of Sean Bean from The Lord of the Rings film.
"Patience, and shuffle the cards."
--- Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), Spanish writer

May 16, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group Presentation and AGM, 7PM
, Hunter River Community Center (19816 Route 2). The evening will feature: a presentation on Climate Change by Janice Harper, Senior Provincial Planner, the achievements of the Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group in the past year and plans for this year (which includes the construction of a natural fishway at Campbell's Pond in New Glasgow, PEI). A brief Annual General Meeting will follow. All welcome. Memberships available. Refreshments will be served.

The Larks, Swallows, Wrens, Warblers. Sparrows, Grossbeaks, Blackbirds, and Finches, with Brendan Kelly, 7-9PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Kent and West Streets, Charlottetown. "The final edition of our four part Birding Course to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of NaturePEI. This will be followed up with a field trip June 1."

Sunday, May 19th:
Provincial Electoral District 9 (Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park) Green Party Candidates' Meet and Greet, 3-5PM
, Carrefour de'Isle Saint-Jean.
All residents and interested persons are welcome to attend. Coffee and light refreshments will be provided.
Facebook event link
Note: the District 9 Green Party nomination meeting will take place on Friday, May 24th, 7PM, at the Hillsborough Park Community Centre. All provincial party members are eligible to vote at the nomination meeting. The byelection will take place sometime before the middle of July.
Notes from the Green New Deal session last night, presented by the PEI Chapter of the Council of Canadians. Errors or misinterpretations are my own.

Leo Cheverie provided some background, as some technical delays in the web presentation were sorted out:

The Green New Deal (GND) is really The Leap Manifesto, and other similar ideas written out in the past couple of decades in Europe and other places.
The current "Biofeedback badness / Monocultural madness" is all related and causes repeated crises, and it's at a real tipping point now. The Green New Deal is a blueprint to fix things in a big Leap, as Incremental changes just won't work.

On the negative side, we have our work cut out for us as the government and media are really just ignoring the problem, but on the positive side, we now have better technology to address Climate Change and social inequity and Indigenous peoples rights in one swoop.

Nouhad Mourad, chair of the PEI Chapter of the Council of Canadians, reminded us that we really need to cut carbon emissions in *half in the eleven years.* And not leave people behind --especially Indigenous peoples.
This needs to be transformative change.

Matt McCarville, at the presentation as a participant, and a renewable energy expert, mentioned that the investment in renewables will (of course) produce electricity; and therefore, make money.

Darcie Lathier noted that the new ecomony will not be a hardship...combating the handwringing that we will be going backwards tech-wise and will soon be traveling only by horse and buggy and living in the dark. The mentality has to be open to what the Green New Deal will look like.

Dylan Penner was the presenter from Ontario:

Dylan echoed Leo in saying while the buzz about the GND (especially in the States) seems new now, some work has been going on for years in Europe -- the United Kingdom in 2007 was starting this; there is the citizen-driven The Pact-Le Pacte in Quebec, and of course the Leap Manifesto. So we can support whatever versions are rising up and select what seems like a good fit. He noted that a Carbon tax is described as being categorically unfair and disruptive, and this stops all reasonable discourse -- it's quite a distraction and we need to fight that!

We have a lot of Corporate-worship of the mindset of many people and the media, but we need to focus on the Arts, Culture, and fight racism and fight for inclusion at every step, along with access and equality for all.

Naomi Klein wrote that: We need to change everything.
and it's Unrealistic for business as usual to proceed.
So far, 45,000 signed the pledge (see HERE --
and there are over a hundred town halls planned.

And the actual PLAN? Where we are, is that it is in a "crowdsourcing policy" phase, but there is a coalition working on it, with input from the town halls the CoC and others organize, and any input people submit..

The GND plans will be give to the federal political parties....and there is lots of organization as it is an election year.

Stay tuned.
"For myself I am an optimist -- it does not seem to be much use being anything else."
--- Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

May 15, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Show Support for Striking Workers, 1-2PM
. The NDP of PEI invites all to show Solidarity with Workers on the picket line at the under-construction Hampton Inn off the roundabout between Maypoint Road and Holiday Inn on Capital Drive.
Participants are encouraged to wear orange, too.

This evening:
Green New Deal introduction, "Our Climate Crisis and the Green New Deal", 6-7:30PM
, UPEI, Health Sciences Building, Room 105. Hosted by the PEI Chapter of the Council of Canadians (CoC). What could the transformation look like in Canada? Dylan Penner, the CoC Climate & Social Justice Campaigner, will be featured in this Skype presentation. This is a non-partisan event and all are welcome. The organizers note that there is limited seating and you are encouraged to arrive early!
This passed on by Citizens' Alliance Board member Cindy Richards:

Documentary tackles effect of deafening seismic blasts on whales and other sea life in Nova Scotia’s offshore - The Nova Scotia Advocate article by Robert Devet

Published on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – We have heard a lot about endangered right whales getting caught in fishing nets and dying around our shores, but that wasn’t the full story, says Mary Gorman of the Save our Seas and Shores coalition.

“Fishermen will tell you that whales and tuna used to be able to navigate in between nets when the fishermen were out. The whales would come right in, they were so smart. They could snatch those herring before those nets did.”

“Everyone thinks it’s ship strikes and fishing gear, and they are an issue, but they’re much less an issue if whales have their senses, if they haven’t been blasted into madness, basically.”

Gorman was one of the panellists at this morning’s press conference on the effect of airguns used for seismic testing on sea life in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Scotian Shelf.

The press conference was was called to launch of the vanishing call of the right whale, a powerful short documentary on the effect of seismic testing on whales who spend time in the Gulf. The documentary, by Eliza Knockwood, is narrated by actor and director Ethan Hawke, who summers on the shores of the Gulf.

Even 4000 kilometers away they are the loudest part of background noise

Seismic testing, the firing of arrays of air guns below sea level raise ocean background noise levels 1000-fold over areas the size of New Brunswick, said Linda Weilgart, an international expert on the devastating effects of seismic testing on ocean wildlife.

“Even 4000 kilometers away they are the loudest part of background noise,” Weilgart said.

I interviewed Weilgart in 2013, while working for the Halifax Media Co-op. That’s a long time ago, but sadly little has changed.

There are only about 411 North Atlantic right whales left on this planet. Thankfully seven new calves were born last winter after the population suffered devastating losses in the summer of 2017, said Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Sierra Club.

“Unfortunately these surviving mothers and calves are traveling north into waters the Canadian government has not adequately protected,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald, and others at the press conference, believe regulatory schemes place far too much control in the hands of pro-industry petroleum boards regarding where when and if offshore exploration and drilling will occur.

In the last year the Canadian government has even proposed to give more powers to these offshore boards under Bill C-69, in spite of opposition from coastal communities and the fishing communities, Fitzgerald said.

“Such is the degree of lack of confidence in these offshore boards that the Offshore Alliance of which we are part has called for a a complete moratorium while there is a public review of how we regulate offshore oil and gas in this country,” said Fitzgerald.

Also at the press conference were John Davis, representing the Clean Ocean Action Committee, Susannah Randolph of the Florida chapter of the Sierra Club, and Eliza Knockwood, who made the documentary.

We are all related and there are no boundaries - Full transcription of remarks at the press conference by Eliza Knockwood

I want to begin by acknowledging my mother, who held me in her womb, my first home, surrounded by water, where I could hear the soothing sound of her heartbeat.That is our original place of existence before the water pushed us forward into this world to walk this earth that we call mother, mother earth

The Earth that will provide everything that we need to survive. She has done a very amazing job raising each and every one of us, and she continues to sustain us.

I want to acknowledge that sea, the ocean, the clean running rivers that hold lives, the right whales, the beings, our salmon, all our swimmers, my relatives. They are my relatives.

I am a L’nu woman. This is my birthplace, Turtle Island is where I come from. And as an L’nu woman, I have been raised to understand my inherent responsibility, as a caretaker, as a protector of my mother earth, our earth, of our water, of the next generations unborn, my future grandchildren, my future great grandchildren.

Making the vanishing call of the right whale film was a hard endeavour. There were many tears shed in our time and getting this message forward.

To see the calf with her mother. Understanding the impacts of the seismic blasting and everything that has been shared with all of you today on this beautiful morning, from the panelists here.

I really hope that we can take this information and do something. Not just table it, not just shelf it, but to do something, to act on it because now you understand that we all are equally responsible for the health and the well-being of our planet, of our water, of our air, our atmosphere.

We are all related and there are no boundaries. That’s an illusion. It’s false.There is no border that divides me from my relatives in the United States. There is no border that divides me in the Gulf of st. Lawrence. We are all people of the Gulf and what happens to the Gulf happens to each and every one of us.

And so today I pray, and I ask our Creator our Great Spirit to open our hearts and our minds and our ears, and our ability to see the truth that is happening all around us, and that today when we return to our homes that we honour the water that flows from our taps, understand its origins and its importance, and understand that we are all equally entitled to be in a healthy state of mind and being, including our relatives the right whale.

I want to thank each and every one of you here and everyone that shares this earth that is advocating to protect what is sacred. So may we all unite in our efforts to protect the Gulf of st. Lawrence, and your own personal waters throughout the world.

And please share and sign the petition and continue to advocate for what is right. Wela’lin all of you. Thank you.

The link to the article:
also shows the Documentary, some nice photos of Eliza and of Ethan Hawke, Mary Gorman, and Gretchen Fitzgerald, and provides a link to the Petition.
From the Wonder Quote-A Day calendar: 

"Try to understand men; if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. 
Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love." 
  --- John Steinbeck

May 14, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event tonight:
Creating the Young Green Caucus, 6-8PM
, Confederation Centre of the Arts Library (Children's area).
Provide input into the Young Greens Caucus regarding the purpose, membership, and structure. The event is open to all of those 35 and under.

Two columns in today's paper stuck with me. The first is Saltwire's Russell Wangersky railing against those who predictably profit from others' misfortune.

Profiting from misery - Saltwire column by Russell Wangersky

Published on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019, in The Guardian

Sometimes, things collide.

For me, it’s often a set of news stories that overlap and magnify each other in the process — in this case, it was three vastly different stories, all of which involve setting a price on misery.

The first dealt with pigs.

China is being hit hard by the arrival of the African swine fever, as are Vietnam and South Africa. In China, millions of hogs have died.

But U.S. giant Tyson Foods CEO Noel White says the disaster means his company is “uniquely positioned” to turn plague into profit: “This is an unusual, perhaps unprecedented time for the protein industry,” White told investors. “In my 39 years in the business, I’ve never seen an event that has the potential to change global protein production and consumption patterns as African swine fever does.” (African swine fever also has the potential to decimate North American production, should the infection spread here.)

Poor farmers may be bankrupted, much-needed food sources may disappear, but hey, everything’s an opportunity for profit, right? No matter how black the cloud, there’s always a silver lining to be profitably mined.
Then, still with the captains of industry, came the discouraging first quarter report for Dignity PLC, Britain’s only publicly listed funeral provider: “Operating performance in the first quarter was below the board’s expectations as a result of the significantly lower than expected number of deaths.”
What a shame — not enough people in Britain died to successfully keep the company’s profits up. There was a 12 per cent decrease in deaths in the first quarter — falling from 181,000 to 159,000.

Not to worry, though; government forecasts deaths to rebound as the year goes on.

“Achievement of full year expectations will rely heavily on the number of deaths in the remainder of the year compared to 2018,” the company says. “Historical data over the last 20 years indicates that the final volume is likely to be within three per cent of the previous year.”

And the future remains bright, at least for profits: “Longer term expectations, based on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) forecasts, remain unchanged. The ONS expects long-term increases in the number of deaths, reaching approximately 700,000 per year by 2040.”

Thank goodness. Because hitting the mark this year is at risk: “Clearly, this would require a significant increase in the number of deaths.”

Finally, as we keep monetary track of the misery index, there’s the ongoing legal action over the crash of two Boeing Max 8 aircraft.

As the company and competing lawyers talk litigation, settlements and damages for the victims, along with future stock and other financial impacts on the aircraft manufacturer, one of the issues being looked at is the amount of time that passengers would have known that they likely were going to die. Apparently, the longer they spent in terror, the larger the settlement is likely to be — and given that both planes pitched up and down violently for a period of time, the passengers were likely to have known plenty.

Everything becomes a metric. You can put a price tag on fear, a price tag on famine and a price tag on death.

I covered business news for a number of years — I understand that converting lives to dollars and cents is often more about basic business pragmatism than it is about a complete lack of empathy.

But I’d have a hard time telling investors that the good news is we fully expect an upturn in the number of deaths as the year goes on.

I turned over a vegetable garden this weekend. I also found an old, rusted horseshoe about six inches underground. I didn’t really do much else. But both those things were more humane than profit from pain.

The second the reassuring (somewhat) opinion of international affairs watcher Gwynne Dyer on concerns about the United States and Iran. (It helps to consciously listen to less news and just check in with Dyer every so often.)

War with Iran? - The Guardian column by Gwynne Dyer

Published on-line Monday, May 13th and in The Guardian Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

Donald Trump is well known for his desire to cut American military commitments overseas. Indeed, it is one of his most attractive characteristics. But his attention span is short, he plays a lot of golf, and he does not have the knack of choosing good advisers.

His main domestic advisers on the Middle East are Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser John Bolton, all hawks on Iran. His closest allies in the region itself are Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, both of whom can wrap him around their little fingers. And they both want the United States to attack Iran for them.

Donald Trump doesn’t want a war with Iran. He has an extra-strength version of the usual Washington obsession with Iran, as irrational and ineradicable as the parallel obsession with Cuba — the United States will forgive and forget anything except humiliation — but he imagines Iran can be bullied and bluffed into submission. His ‘advisers’ are not that naive.

This is not to say that Pence, Pompeo or even Bolton prefers war to any other outcome of the current confrontation. They would rather see the sanctions they have imposed on Iran, which are strangling the economy and causing great hardship, lead to a popular uprising and regime change. Fat chance.

It’s the ever-popular moral mistake. WE would never yield to such blackmail, because our cause is just and our will is strong. THEY will crumble before the same threats because they are weak and they must secretly know they are in the wrong.

But if the Iranians perversely refuse to overthrow their government, then PP&B would accept war as the next-best outcome. Bolton might actually welcome it, and may already be involved in manipulating the intelligence to justify such a war in the same way he did in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. (He called a rather peculiar early-morning meeting at CIA headquarters last week.)

Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, some players in Iran now appear to be pushing back against the American pressure. They are probably hard-liners associated with the not-so-loyal opposition to President Hassan Rouhani’s ‘moderate’ government (moderate in the sense that he doesn’t want nukes and does want trade with the West), and they may just have given the American warhawks something to work with.

If push came to shove, Iran’s one available counter-weight to overwhelming US military strength would be to threaten the tanker traffic that carries 20 percent of the world’s crude oil and LNG out of the Gulf. The ‘choke point’ is the Strait of Hormuz, between Iran’s south coast and the United Arab Emirates, where the navigation channels narrow to three nautical miles wide in each direction.

On Sunday, there was a ‘sabotage attack’ on four merchant ships at anchor off the UAE port of Fujairah, just outside the Strait of Hormuz, where tankers often wait to be refuelled. Two at least were Saudi tankers.

So far, everybody is being very coy about what kind of sabotage was involved, but the instant suspicion was that some Iranian group is reminding everybody that Iran can close down the Strait if it is attacked. Or at least that it could do enough damage to drive insurance rates on cargoes transiting the Strait into the stratosphere.

But it might not be an Iranian group at all. It could be an American or Israeli or Saudi intelligence operation seeking to create a pretext for a US attack on Iran (like the ‘Gulf of Tonkin incident’ created a pretext for the US to start bombing North Vietnam in 1964). You have to keep an open mind on these things, unless you believe that intelligence agencies never lie.

At any rate, an actual war against Iran now seems much closer than it did last week. The long-planned transfer of another American aircraft carrier into the Gulf is now being re-framed as an emergency response to a new (but unspecified) Iranian threat. B-52 bombers that could easily reach Iran from their current bases are being ostentatiously flown into the Gulf. Mike Pompeo makes an unscheduled four-hour visit to Iraq.

If the United States does attack, nobody will help Iran, even though every other signatory to the no-nukes treaty that Trump trashed knows (and says) that Iran has complied with its terms. And the US would only bomb Iran, not invade it on the ground, so the only people who got hurt in the initial round would be Iranians.

But then it would spread: mines in the Strait of Hormuz, missile attacks on Israel by Hezbollah, maybe an uprising by the Shia minority in Saudi Arabia. Lots of death and destruction, and no possibility of a happy outcome.

I really don’t think this is what Donald Trump wants. Maybe somebody should tell him.

Gwynne Dyer’s most recent book, that he spoke about in P.E.I. a few months ago, is Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy (and Work).

"You have just one life to live.  It is yours. Own it, claim it, live it. Do the best you can with it."   --- Hillary Clinton

May 13, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

An Event this week:
Wednesday, May 15th:
"Our Climate Crisis and the Green New Deal", 6-7:30PM
, UPEI, Health Sciences Building, Room 105. Building number 3 on this Campus map link Hosted by the PEI Chapter of the Council of Canadians.All welcome to this non-partisan event. "The Green New Deal is a plan to create millions of jobs while taking on climate change, building stronger communities, and tackling injustices towards Indigenous communities, job losses, rising racism and economic inequality. What could this kind of transformation look like in Canada? Join us while we Skype in with Dylan Penner, the Council of Canadians Climate & Social Justice Campaigner, to discuss the specifics of what a Green New Deal is, why it's important and why we must act quickly...."
Facebook event link

Leave piping plover, heron nesting habitat undisturbed - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Rosemary Curley

Ppublished on Saturday, May 11th, 2019

In response to Scott MacNeill, who demanded restoration of public access to Boughton Island and removal of a gate at the end of a road, there are additional points to consider.

First, Mr. MacNeill has erred in stating that there are no piping plovers on Boughton Island beaches. In 2017, a pair fledged three chicks. In 2018, they nested unsuccessfully, and this year piping plovers are already present. This is truly an endangered species with numbers continuing to decline. In 2002, there were 274 pairs in Atlantic Canada but only 181 pairs in 2018 – a 34- per-cent decline over 16 years. Even worse, declines approach 50 per cent in P.E.I. So, every undisturbed piping plover habitat is important.

In 1988, a cottage subdivision on Boughton Island was approved by the P.E.I. government, leading to challenges by three private litigants and the Natural History Society of Prince Edward Island (also known as Nature P.E.I.), which defended the nesting colony of great blue herons. We have only a few islands that provide undisturbed nesting habitat for herons. Approval for the subdivision was reaffirmed with the caveat that the heronry be fenced to curb public access.

It is ironic that people are referring to Boughton Island as a public beach when it has been acquired for purposes of conservation. The province owns Boughton Island because the Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased the property for over $2 million and conveyed it to the province. The province is required to conserve the Island and it is protected by covenant under the Natural Areas Protection Act. Protection of piping plovers and herons are stated goals.

Vehicle use in the protected area is prohibited, and it is a concern that people on ATVs access the island and drive through wetlands and dunes. This spring you can see where snowmobile and ATV use has damaged the dunes during the winter, restricting marram grass growth.

Many roads on P.E.I. end at a beach where there is no public parking. This one ends in a low dune and people park on dunes, though a sign notes it is illegal. Until recently it was not possible to walk to Boughton Island, but now it is. Walking is the recommended mode of access to the Island and people can still park on the road and do that. We suggest the best time of year to visit is after the bird nesting season.

The province is right to resolve a question of access, but its first responsibility is to maintain the island as a publicly-owned protected area rather than promoting it as a public beach. We ask – how will the province of P.E.I. respect the donors and covenant to ensure protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat on Boughton Island?

Local people have always used the island. This is different from promoting it as a public beach/tourist attraction when really it is a publicly-owned conservation area purchased with significant funding of a private conservation organization.

Rosemary Curley is president of Nature P.E.I.

For those who don't know where Boughton Island is, it is east of Woodville Mills and Launching, in Kings County.
Bloggers, empty-nester hikers and photographers Jim and Lynn McKenzie from Ontario wrote about Boughton Island in their blog "Just a Bit Further" in 2017:
which has a nice screenshot of Boughton Island. copied here:

from Justabitfurther
"It's not enough to be friendly, you have to be a friend."
from the collection of quotes in the Wonder-Page-A-Day calendar

May 12, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event today:
Women Artists of PEI Mother's Day Panel Discussion, 2-4PM
, Confederaton Centre Art Gallery. Free.
It is moderated by D'Arcy Wilson, Assistant Professor, Visual Arts, Memorial University and will include four panelists: Mari Basiletti, Sandy Kowalik, Jane Ledwell, and Rilla Marshall.
Earth Day (Monday, April 22nd) passed in a blur this year -- it was also Easter Monday, the short provincial election campaign was coming to a close, and we were mourning the loss of Josh and Oliver Underhay -- so perhaps it's a good day to think about environmental acts for the good of Mother Earth today. Here is a visually beautiful page with several categories to explore. Just one small act today would be incredibly positive.
From Earth's website:

And here is a link to a previously-shared Julia Roberts' narrated fierce Mother Nature video :-)

Seemingly, good advice from a mom, but from Tyler Duncan on This is My Music yesterday:
"Show up on time. Know your music. Be kind to everyone."
--- Tyler Duncan, baritone

May 11, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Various Clean-ups today, including
The Great Trail (Confederation Trail), 10AM-1PM.

Event details here

Farmers' Markets open:
Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
George's in Bedeque -- 10AM-2PM

Note from Birding on PEI that today is World Migratory Bird Day

A Nature Canada event link going on in Ottawa, but some good information about the day.
Quote: "Today, I witnessed young people rally in support of LGBTQ rights, and then gather to fight against climate change. This is a kind, committed, and courageous generation. If you're worried about young people, don't be. Worry instead about the consequences of ignoring their voices."
--- Janis Irwin, Alberta NDP MLA, May 3rd, 2019

If you want to hear some wonderful voices in a group of talented and caring young people, consider going to tonight's final performance of We Will Rock You, the high school musical by the Colonel Gray students, at the Confed Centre. Box Office link

May 10, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events tonight:

Friday, May 10th:
Young Greens BBQ, 5-7PM, 512 Pleasant Grove Road.
"A free BBQ for all those 30 y/o and younger. It is open to both Green supporters and those who are Green-curious! There will be no agenda or anything structured, just an opportunity to meet and mingle with other like-minded young people." Various food options available.

Island Nature Trust 40th Anniversary celebration and fundraising event, 6-10PM, PEI Brewing Company. Stories, music, buffet meal, fundraising options. Tickets $85 ($15 tax receipt).
Facebook event link

Saturday, May 11:
Birds and Breakfast at the Macphail Homestead and Woods, 7AM free "Early Bird Breakfast" at the Homestead (Donations accepted for the breakfast), 8AM walk begins, led by birders Dwaine Oakley and Fiep De Bie. More at Facebook event page.

Also, Saturday is:
Women's Institute Roadside Cleanup day, which is not the only day people can collect roadside trash, but a focal point. Events include:
Great Trail Cleanup, 10AM-1PM, along the Confederation Trail. Details at Facebook event link

Wednesday, May 15th, the first chance for Islanders to hear what a Green New Deal could look like:
"Our Climate Crisis and the Green New Deal", 6-7:30PM, UPEI, Health Sciences Building, Room 105. The building is located behind the Student Centre and next to the Sports Centre (see campus map). **Everyone is welcome**

**This event, as well as the Green New Deal, are both non-partisan!
The Green New Deal is a plan to create millions of jobs while taking on climate change, building stronger communities, and tackling injustices towards Indigenous communities, job losses, rising racism and economic inequality. What could this kind of transformation look like in Canada?
Join us while we Skype in with Dylan Penner, the Council of Canadians Climate & Social Justice Campaigner, to discuss the specifics of what a Green New Deal is, why it's important and why we must act quickly. In this moment of uncertainty, it feels like there has never been a better time for this vision." from: Facebook event link

For more about The Green New Deal, and to sign the pledge about it, here:
Just in case you didn't get this memorized yet:

Premier and Executive Council:
Honourable Dennis King, Premier and President of the Executive Council, Minister responsible for Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister responsible for Indigenous Relations, Minister responsible for Acadian and Francophone Affairs
Honourable Darlene Compton, Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance, Minister responsible for Status of Women
Honourable James Aylward, Minister of Health & Wellness
Honourable Steven Myers, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy
Honourable Jamie Fox, Minister of Fisheries and Communities
Honourable Matthew MacKay, Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture
Honourable Brad Trivers, Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change
Honourable Ernie Hudson, Minister of Social Development and Housing
Honourable Bloyce Thompson, Minister of Agriculture and Land, Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General

Additionally, Premier King has tasked MLA Sidney MacEwen with a special commission to work with the 21 members of the Partnership for Growth and other community organizations to realize the vision for sustainable economic growth in Prince Edward Island. In this capacity, MLA MacEwen will work with his Cabinet colleagues and all members of the Legislative Assembly. The Honourable James Aylward will also serve as Minister responsible for Greater Charlottetown and the Honourable Matthew MacKay will serve as the Minister responsible for Greater Summerside.

from the government press release.
"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in world's estimation."
---Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), American social reformer and women's rights advocate

May 9, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Swearing-in Ceremony of Premier-designate Dennis King and cabinet, Georgetown Playhouse. 11AM, live on Government website, and CBC Facebook, and other sites.

Mr. King has decided on an all-Progressive Conservative Cabinet, reported in this morning's Guardian

EXCLUSIVE: P.E.I. premier-designate not abandoning idea of Greens, Liberals in his cabinet, but wants to study it - The Guardian article by Wayne Thibodeau

Published this morning

Premier-designate Dennis King will unveil his first cabinet today, and it will be an all Tory lineup, The Guardian has learned.

King has toyed with the idea of welcoming Green or even Liberal MLAs into his cabinet, in an effort to prop up his minority government.

However, sources close to the incoming premier said he wants to study the idea first. That means it will be an all Tory lineup announced today during a ceremony at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown, which is near King’s hometown of Georgetown-Royalty.

King is expected to strike a legislative standing committee to explore if a multi-party cabinet can work in Prince Edward Island.

“We just all have some questions and concerns about how it could and should work,” the source said, adding that King personally wants to have a multi-party cabinet and has challenged his top officials to find a way to make it work.

Prince Edward Island voters handed King’s Progressive Conservative party a minority government on April 23.

The Progressive Conservative Party won 12 seats. The party was just two seats shy of the 14 needed for a majority government. The Green party, now the Official Opposition, won eight seats, leaving the once mighty Liberal party relegated to third-party status with six seats.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan lost his own seat in the election and later resigned. The Liberal party was expected to elect an interim leader last night.

King’s cabinet will be slimmer than the previous Liberal administration with only eight cabinet posts.

The MacLauchlan Liberals had 10 MLAs in cabinet plus the premier.

As with every new government, King and his inner circle have had to balance geography and gender.

But King’s task was made that much tougher because the majority of his party’s wins were in eastern P.E.I. The Tories failed to win a single seat in Charlottetown or Summerside.

The Guardian has learned that King will appoint a cabinet minister who will be responsible for the greater Charlottetown area and a second cabinet minister who will be responsible for the greater Summerside area.

King’s team only elected one woman, so Darlene Compton, the MLA for District 4 Belfast-Murray River is a shoe-in for a senior cabinet post. The same is true for King’s only MLA elected west of Kensington, Ernie Hudson, MLA for District 26 Alberton-Bloomfield.

King will also have to find a home for the stalwarts in the party — most eastern-based — who held the party together while in Opposition, as well as Bloyce Thompson in District 8 Stanhope-Marshfield, the giant killer who defeated MacLaughlan in his own district.

Today may be the first big test of Prince Edward Island’s 33rd premier, but it won’t be his last.

King will still have to name a government house leader, which will be a critical position given his party’s minority party status. This individual will have to be a true diplomat who will have to negotiate with the other two parties to ensure his party stays in power.

King will also have to set the date for a byelection in District 9 Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park. The election in that district was cancelled following the tragic death of the Green party’s candidate. Josh Underhay and his six-year-old son, Oliver, drowned just days before the April 23 election. A byelection must be held no later than July 19.

That byelection could give King’s government a foothold into Charlottetown and move his party one step closer to a majority government.

Sarah Stewart-Clark was nominated to be the Progressive Conservative candidate in the district.
Watch it live

Dennis King will be sworn-in as Prince Edward Island’s 33rd premier today at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown. The ceremony will get underway at 11 a.m.

The Guardian will livestream the ceremony on its website.

Congrats to Robert "Poppy" Mitchell for being named Interim Leader of the PEI Liberal Party.

A new premier and a big to do list - The Eastern Graphic article by publisher Paul MacNeill

Published in The Graphic publications Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

As one premier leaves and another arrives to the fifth floor suite of offices in the Shaw Building, change to both the focus and management of government are inevitable.

Dennis King’s promise of a collaborative, respectful administration has many Islanders expressing a level of renewed optimism, a reflection not only of his rhetoric but his upbringing. Many believe he understands the issues they face.

The outgoing premier wears the Order of PEI and Order of Canada on his lapel following a distinguished career in academia and administration. The incoming premier is unabashedly a son of the Unofficial Order of Georgetown Royalty.

MacLauchlan did not enter public life for money or pension. He does not need either. But at a time when public trust in the administration of government was roiled by scandal, he stepped up, for which he deserves credit.

And although he was never quite able to put daylight between himself and controversies created in the Ghiz years, the operation of the PEI government did become more focused and transparent under his tenure.

MacLauchlan’s management style has often been described, in spaces such as this, as micro-managing. A fairer description would be micro targeting. It’s become an Island myth that the former premier had his hand in every file. There are not enough hours in the day for that, even if he had the desire.

But MacLauchlan’s deep knowledge of economics and the levers of government allowed him to create a vision for how he believes government should operate. Like any champion of an idea, he wanted to see it succeed. This selective deep dive is different from micro managing every file.

In due course, history will treat the last five years with kindness. Someday we may look back wistfully at the predictable low-key focus on growing the economy and diversity that occurred during MacLauchlan’s tenure.

Dennis King’s challenge is to put his own stamp on the healthy foundation he inherits. He brings to the office a powerful sense of self, good instincts and a grounding in what makes ordinary Islanders tick. His humble upbringing in Georgetown Royalty defines him. Money was not abundant (no member of the King brood was ever rewarded with seconds for slowly cleaning their plate), but the clan was rich in love of community, family and determination. King has not been shy in sharing how his upbringing has framed both his nature and political focus.

The new premier’s greatest strength may be his understanding of the everyday struggle ordinary Islanders face and his ability to communicate effectively to them. His management style will differ from MacLauchlan’s, and he’s built a strong support team within his office.

Since the April 23rd election both King and Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker have enjoyed a public honeymoon. When the swearing in of the new government occurs in Georgetown Thursday, the reality of making the new minority government work really begins.

How these two men work together will largely dictate the success of the administration and how long it lasts. King has already identified 30 potential areas of cooperation, based upon similarities in party platforms for the PCs, Greens and Liberals. It’s a good starting point.

It’s likely the new premier will move to bring some level of tax reform to make an immediate impact with Islanders, likely in the way of reduction in the provincial business tax and increase in the personal tax exemption.

There are challenges. Farm gate receipts are down tens of millions of dollars based on the fact that 8,000 acres of potatoes were left in the ground last fall. The influx of immigrants to the province has slowed because of needed change to the provincial nominee program. The new government must find innovative ways to ensure the voice of both Summerside and Charlottetown is heard in an administration with no representation there. Because of the small size of the Tory caucus, it must also reimagine the structure of government departments and agencies while delivering on other campaign promises and accommodating some level of substantive input from both the Greens and Liberals.

The to do list is very long.

When King is sworn in it will be with a justifiable level of satisfaction. He took over the party when few saw a winnable future. He focused on the positive and in the process changed perceptions of the PC brand. But now the heavy lifting really starts for the son of Georgetown Royalty as he becomes PEI’s 35th premier and the first ever challenged with navigating a minority government.

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


"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else." ---Charles Dickens (1812-1870), British writer

May 8, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today, Wednesday, May 8th:
International Bike to School Day.

Friday, May 17 is International Bike to Work Day, and a lot of communities in Canada hold Bike to Work or School Day on Monday, May 27th, 2019. Share pictures on social media, organizers encourage.

Cornwall and Area Watershed Group AGM, 6-8PM
, Cornwall Town Hall (next to APM Centre).
At 6PM, there will be a screening of Mille Clarke's beautiful 30-minute documentary Island Green, about the potential of an organic, small diversified farmed P.E.I. After that, Robert Harding will outline what "Bioblitz" is, and at 7PM, there will be a business meeting, reports and Watershed Group executive and board elections.

Thursday, May 9th:
Swearing-in Ceremony of Premier-designate Dennis King and cabinet, Georgetown Playhouse
. Let's hope there are "open and transparent" details about cabinet make-up, collaboration with the Official Opposition Green Party, etc.

Saturday, May 11th:
Birds and Breakfast at the Macphail Homestead, 7AM free "Early Bird Breakfast" at Macphail Homestead (Donations accepted for the breakfast)
, 8AM walk begins, led by long-time birders Dwaine Oakley and Fiep De Bie. For more information call 651-2575, or visit their Facebook page. (edited from media release)
Pilot Project expanding Charlottetown Public Bus Service -- consultation meetings:

from the press release:
The City of Charlottetown is looking to implement a six month pilot offering T3 Transit service to unserviced areas of Charlottetown, including East Royalty and Parkdale.

Prior to the pilot start date, the City will host two public information sessions where interested members of the public can attend to find out more about the proposed routes and drop off and pick up locations. The public sessions will be held on the following dates:

• Friday, May 17 at 12:30 p.m. at the Malcolm Darrach Community Centre (1 Avonlea Drive)
• Saturday, May 18 at 9:30 a.m. at the Malcolm Darrach Community Centre (1 Avonlea Drive)

Both sessions are expected to run about 1.5 hours and no pre-registration is required.

Following the public meeting, an announcement will be made to confirm the routes and timing for the transit pilot, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 27. The pilot would run Mondays through Fridays with limited pick-up and drop-off options to start and will continue for six months, at which time it will be reviewed to determine if there is sufficient usage to implement as a regular route.

For more information, visit:
The Green New Deal, the concept to move rapidly to renewables while respecting indigenous rights and improving social conditions for those who need it, is supported by many organizations, including The Leap Manifesto group, LeadNow, etc. They are encouraging individuals to take the pledge that they will take action to support a Green New Deal -- whether it going to be encouraging politicians, helping inform community members about what it is, and so forth. This link (below) will have you sign the pledge and auto-send a note to your MP telling him or her that you have signed this and urging them to take action.


Join the movement

The climate crisis is here. Arctic permafrost is melting, forests, towns, and Indigenous territories are burning. States of emergency – declared for once-in-a-century floods – are becoming commonplace, and millions around the world already face dislocation and starvation.

But that’s not the only thing keeping us up at night. Many of us are struggling to find an affordable place to live, or a decent job to support our families. Hate crimes and racism are on the rise. And promise to Indigenous peoples have yet to be implemented.

We need an ambitious plan to deal with multiple crises at the same time.

A bold and far reaching plan to cut emissions in half in 11 years in line with Indigenous knowledge and climate science, create more than a million good jobs you can support a family with, and build inclusive communities in the process.

We need a Green New Deal — for everyone. And we need everyone to be a part of building it.

Will you join the movement for a Green New Deal?

And a description of how it will work:

1. Unite a diverse movement

It’s going to take everyone to pull this off. We’re inviting people from all walks of life and all movements — Indigenous communities, migrant justice activists, the labour movement, environmentalists, and everyday people — to come together. ....sign the pledge (link above) and join our movement. 

2. Develop a shared vision

Then we’ll gather in community centres, union halls, and living rooms across the country to develop a shared vision for what a Green New Deal could look like in Canada. Click here to sign up to host or attend a Green New Deal town hall in your community.

3. Push political leaders to act

Next, we’ll bring our shared vision for a Green New Deal to political leaders, and challenge them to adopt these visionary policies in their platforms.


This is something positive and focused that you can add your voice to. We'll keep you posted on what we find out will happen next with it.
"A pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events."
---Robert A Heinlein (1907-1988), American science fiction writer

May 7, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events tonight:

Nature PEI monthly meeting, 7:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, free. With guest speaker Norman Dewar of Ellen's Creek watershed group, on "...the strange things, both natural and unnatural, they have found in and about Charlottetown’s ponds and streams."

Seniors' College Artwork Exhibit Reception, 7-9PM, The Guild, free. Showcase of the artwork of Seniors College students.
Art show runs until Sunday, May 12th.
There is news that the second Green Party of Canada Member of Parliament, Paul Manley, was elected last night for the B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

Elections Canada results

Maclean's article from this morning

Dismaying news from the United Nations, via this Guardian (U.K.) article by Jonathan Watts, from yesterday:


Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth's natural life - The Guardian (UK) article by Jonathan Watts

--Scientists reveal 1 million species at risk of extinction in damning UN report--

But as the article goes on, it explores what we can do.
An excerpt:

Andy Purvis, a professor at the Natural History Museum in London and one of the main authors of the report, said he was encouraged nations had agreed on the need for bitter medicine.

“This is the most thorough, most detailed and most extensive planetary health check. The take-home message is that we should have gone to the doctor sooner. We are in a bad way. The society we would like our children and grandchildren to live in is in real jeopardy. I cannot overstate it,” he said. “If we leave it to later generations to clear up the mess, I don’t think they will forgive us.”

The next 18 months will be crucial. For the first time, the issue of biodiversity loss is on the G8 agenda. The UK has commissioned Partha Dasgupta, a professor at Cambridge University, to write a study on the economic case for nature, which is expected to serve a similar function as the Stern review on the economics of climate change. Next year, China will host a landmark UN conference to draw up new global goals for biodiversity.

Cristiana Pașca Palmer, the head of the UN’s chief biodiversity organisation, said she was both concerned and hopeful. “The report today paints quite a worrying picture. The danger is that we put the planet in a position where it is hard to recover,” she said. “But there are a lot of positive things happening. Until now, we haven’t had the political will to act. But public pressure is high. People are worried and want action.” <snip>

...which may in part explain the voters' will to shift who we are electing and what they stand for....
"That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great."
--- Willa Cather (1873-1947), American writer

May 6, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Event tomorrow:
Tuesday, May 7th:
NaturePEI regular meeting and presentation, 7:30PM
, Beaconfield's Carriage House, free.

"...Norman Dewar, Ellen’s Creek Watershed Group Coordinator, will talk about the strange things, both natural and unnatural, they have found in and about Charlottetown’s ponds and streams. Norman will share the discoveries the Group has made in five years of working in these unique ecosystems that we still know very little about. Norman will also discuss the Group’s approach to stream rehabilitation and how we can all do our part in restoring and maintaining our urban watersheds so that future generations can enjoy the beauty, fauna and flora of these natural areas.

Norman has been active in the watershed community since 2007 and lives in midtown Charlottetown. He is a self-professed nature nerd who denies any claims he speaks brook trout...."
A correction that the Island Nature Trust Celebration is this Friday, May 10th (date was wrong in yesterday's CA News)
Facebook event link
In Europe, last week the United Kingdom and Spain both moved toward recognizing and fighting climate change.
The UK parliament declared a Climate Emergency,

from Time magazine:

The U.K. Has Officially Declared a Climate 'Emergency' - Time Magazine on-line article by Amy Gunia

Published in Time Magazine on-line on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

The U.K. parliament declared an environment and climate emergency on Wednesday.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader who put the motion forward, called the move “a huge step forward,” according to the BBC. “This can set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe.”

The motion asks the U.K. government to achieve net-zero emissions before 2050. It also calls for government officials to come up with proposals on how to fix the U.K.’s natural environment and deliver a “zero waste economy” within the next 6 months, according to the BBC.

The state of emergency was one of the key demands of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion, which led extensive climate protests in London in April. The protests – which were joined by celebrities like Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson and teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg – paralyzed parts of London.

Extinction Rebellion reacted to the news on Twitter, saying “this has seen them start to #TellTheTruth.

Several U.K. cities, including London and Manchester, and Scotland and Wales have already declared climate emergencies. Although there is no single agreed definition for a climate emergency, the BBC reports that areas are working on different plans to promote carbon neutrality.

A 2018 report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that greenhouse gas emissions would have to be lowered to net zero by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5ºC. The report urged governments to act quickly to avert disaster.

“We pledge to work as closely as possible with countries that are serious about ending the climate catastrophe and make clear to U.S. President Donald Trump that he cannot ignore international agreements and action on the climate crisis,” Corbyn said, according to the BBC.

Here is a link to a related interview with columnist George Monbiot -- relatively short and entertaining, from the website, Democracy Now!:
Last week Spain has voted in a Party promoting The Green New Deal:

Spain’s socialists win election with Green New Deal platform - Climate Home News article by Natalie Sauer

Vote share up in mining regions after deal to transition away from coal, manifesto calls for ‘consideration of planetary limits as conditions for economic progress’

Published on Monday, April 29th, 2019

Spaniards threw their weight behind a Green New Deal programme on Sunday, after re-electing the pro-climate Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE).

The PSOE, which campaigned on a sweeping platform of ecological transition, clinched 29% of the vote and 123 seats in the 350-seat congress.

It will need to form a coalition with populist left-wing party Unidos Podemos (UP), which has also called for a decarbonization of the economy. Even then, it will also require the help of regional parties, or the centre-right Ciudadanos, in order to govern.

Commenting on the results, political analyst Pepe Fernández-Albertos described PSOE’s gain of 6.1% as “something quite exceptional for a party in government”. At 75.8%, attendance was also 9% higher than the previous election in 2016.
Notably, the PSOE gained votes in coal mining
regions where it has struck a major deal to shut the industry down. In October, the government agreed with unions and the industry that €220m will be injected into mining regions over the next decade, boosting retirement schemes and retraining.

Local media described the results as a “triumph” with Socialist vote share nearing 50% in many mining towns.

The pledge to spearhead “a just and sustainable economy” was the first of seven pledges in the PSOE’s manifesto.

The manifesto called for a “Green New Deal”, which it describes as “a new social contract, a new pact between capital, work and the planet”. That means a “maximum efficiency in the use of natural resources” and the development of “technologies that are less polluting and with less impact on biodiversity, especially renewables and the creation of ‘green jobs’ in every sector”.

A Green New Deal has also been proposed and popularised in the US by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In January prime minister Pedro Sanchez told world economic leaders that they should not fear the policy, which proposes huge a stimulus package for sustainable infrastructure and industry.
PSOE proposed to overhaul the Spanish constitution to include the “consideration of planetary limits as conditions for economic progress,” along with the precautionary principles and the principle of no-return – in legal jargon, a guarantee not to amend environmental law if this lowers standards.

Prior to the election, the PSOE had proposed one of the world’s most aggressive climate laws. The legislation committed the government to slash greenhouse emissions to 90% of 1990 levels by 2050, ban fracking and end subsidies for fossil fuels.

Since forming a government with a razor-thin majority in June, the PSOE has buoyed a previously embattled renewables sector by scrapping an emblematic levy on solar energy and committing to install 6,000-7,000MW of renewable power every year until 2030.

The conservative People’s Party, which shredded the country’s renewable energy industry during eight years in power, suffered a huge defeat. Its seat count fell from 137 to 66.


Meanwhile, the idea of a Climate Emergency and responding was something the P.E.I. political leaders who attended (Joe Byrne, Peter Bevan-Baker, and Dennis King) all said at the Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 Land Use Forum at Murchinson Centre, that they would take seriously -- but they begged off until once an election was over.

The election is over and this discussion needs to happen now.
"Love, having no geography, knows no boundaries: weight and sink it deep, no matter, it will rise and find the surface."
--- Truman Capote (1924-1984), American writer

May 5, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

An event coming up later this week:

Friday, May 10th:
Island Nature Trust 40th Anniversary celebration and fundraising event, 6-10PM
, PEI Brewing Company.
(adapted from event press release)
Hosted by the CBC's, Matt Rainnie, the evening will feature all past executive directors, including (now) Senator Diane Griffin, sharing stories. Music, buffet meal, fundraising options including opportunities to sign up for workshops and nature-oriented experiences taking place throughout the year. Tickets $85 ($15 tax receipt), workshops to experience nature in a new way, via nature photography, fossil-hunting, West River canoeing.
Facebook event link
Climate Change:

Link only:
Obsessed Media to Task for Failed Climate Coverage

"You can't leave it all to the markets." article by Naomi Klein

Published on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 at the Common Dreams website:

from David Suzuki, also Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Stop fiddling while the planet burns - article by David Suzuki

Will someone please tell me what the hell is going on? Last October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report indicating that global emissions are still rising despite more than three decades of warnings. Now we’re on a path to a 3 to 5 C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels by 2100. The IPCC concludes that anything above a 1.5 C rise will take us beyond our ability to “manage” the consequences, but that it’s still possible to keep global average temperature increase at or below that.

The report’s urgency, coupled with the possibility of remaining within a manageable temperature, should be the driving force behind all we do from here on. Yet some federal and provincial political leaders continue to downplay or deny the reality and severity of climate disruption, loudly opposing proven measures to address it. Canada is warming even faster than most of the world! Even those who agree it’s a crisis are doing little about it. They are not leaders.

Swedish teen Greta Thunberg says political inaction is destroying her future. She refuses to listen to politicians’ words and instead judges them by their actions. When I was her age, we would say, “Big talk, no action.” Thunberg has listened to what scientists are telling us and is taking their predictions seriously. Every child on Earth has the right to say that no government is acting in their best interests. But kids can’t vote, so ignoring them has no apparent political consequences, at least until they are old enough to vote or their voting-age parents rise up and demand action on their behalf.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna have young children who will surely be greatly affected by climate change, but they’ve done little to raise the IPCC’s alarm or educate the public about the severity of climate disruption. It’s all because of politics. They don’t want to jeopardize their chances in the next election so they avoid antagonizing some segments of society.

As the
SNC-Lavalin scandal unfolds, we see politicians held hostage by corporate threats of job losses or head offices moving to other countries. As economist and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs recalls, ozone-depleting CFCs were not eliminated by raising taxes on them or encouraging the public to stop buying CFC-containing spray cans or refrigerators. They were legislated out.

We’re in a battle for a liveable future and must make a declaration of war against catastrophic climate change. It’s too late to remove the carbon we’ve already put into the atmosphere, so we’ll have to live with the results for decades. But it makes no sense to continue to add to what is already at a devastating level higher than it’s been for millions of years.

I used to say it’s as if we’re in a car heading toward a brick wall at 100 kilometres per hour, and everyone is arguing about where they want to sit rather than looking ahead, putting on the brakes and turning the wheel. I don’t say that anymore because we’re more like a Road Runner cartoon. Road Runner approaches the edge of a cliff, then stops suddenly or turns to avoid it. But Wile E. Coyote keeps charging straight ahead and goes over the edge. Wile E. has that moment of realization when he’s suspended in air, looks down and sees he’s gone too far, then plunges to the canyon bottom.

Many of my colleagues argue it’s too late, that we’re like the coyote, already over the edge, about to fall. Is that an argument for doing nothing? I don’t think so, because we still don’t really know whether we’re the coyote or the roadrunner. And even if we fall, we might be able to avoid being crushed by the falling rock or anvil. Let’s stop all the name-calling and denial, listen to the experts, seize the challenge and make the commitment to meet the IPCC target.

The economic, social and environmental consequences of whatever governments do or don’t do now will be enormous, but we have to do all we can to keep from hitting bottom. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”


So we'll point out distractions, and continue to do what we can and push our leaders.
"Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something will make sense, regardless of how it turns out."
---Vaclac Havel (1936-2011), former Czechoslovakian president

May 4, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy May the Fourth -- such a day for Star Wars greetings -- and a day that four years ago held the election where the first Green MLA was elected in P.E.I. along with the Wade MacLauchlan Liberal government.

Farmers' Markets are open in:
Summerside, 9AM-1PM
Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM
Bedeque, 10AM-2PM

Saturday, May 4th:

Green Ideas @Your Library, 2-4PM, Confederation Centre Public Library. Free." environmental expo with local organizations and experts to help us with environmentally friendly tips, tricks, ideas and information."

Landscaping with Native Plants, 2-3:30PM, Macphail Woods, Orwell.
Facebook event link
Here is a listing of CSAs -- Community Supported Agriculture programs -- across the Island. It's a good time of year to make good on your intentions to eat more local food and support local farmers. And this page shows what an amazing range of CSAs there are. Thanks to dear Pauline Howard for researching and updating this list.
Reasonable waste management, coordination of government level communications, etc. all come to mind in this issue...and protection of water, for sure....


Northport not happy with proposed sewage discharge into local river from Alberton lagoon - The West Prince Graphic article by Melissa Heard

Published on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

A proposed discharge of sewage lagoon effluent into the Dock River from Town of Alberton has the mayor of Northport disappointed neither she nor her council were informed about the plan.

“For one thing, I don’t like the idea that it’s happening at all, but the fact that we weren’t even consulted about it happening, I don’t think that was fair at all,” said Wendy McNeill. “Northport, the community, residents, will be the ones who will be the most affected by this, along with the fishers.”

Residents of Northport were only just recently made aware that Alberton had applied for a permit from the Department of Communities, Land and Environment to upgrade their wastewater treatment plant. The plan being proposed would see treated wastewater being discharged in a controlled and supervised manner so the upgrades can take place.

District 26: Alberton-Bloomfield map showing Alberton and Northport near the numbers 2, 3 and 4.

The town’s lagoon system is located in behind Sacred Heart Catholic Parish Church. The Municipality of Northport is just down river of the wastewater treatment plant.

Ms McNeill was off Island last week when she became aware of the situation after receiving an email from a concerned resident about the proposed discharge.

It was the first time she had heard anything about it herself. The mayor said she was shocked and surprised by the fact her community wasn’t made aware of the situation sooner. “I’m the mayor, our councillors were not made aware of it, nobody was contacted about it,” said Ms McNeill.

Once back on PEI, Ms McNeill began making phone calls to find out more details in order to bring herself up to speed on the situation.

Ms McNeill learned there was a meeting on April 17 held in Alberton for the shellfish industry about the proposed project. At the meeting there were officials from Department of Fisheries and Oceans, provincial government staff and the town’s engineer along with officials from Environment Canada available via Skype.

From her understanding, Ms McNeill said those who live on Lupin Lane, a neighbourhood of Northport situated along the Dock River, became aware of the planned discharge from a fisherman who attended the meeting on April 17.

Ms McNeill said she has spoken with Alberton mayor David Gordon.

“I have expressed the fact we’re not supporting this at all and we’re disappointed that we weren’t consulted,” she said.

Ms McNeill said Northport residents are concerned the effluent will affect their waterways.

“Their grandchildren swim in that water in the summertime,” she said. “But mostly nobody likes the idea of having sewage dumped in their backyard and that’s sort of how we feel.”

Mayor Gordon said these upgrades to the town’s wastewater treatment plant include installing an ultraviolet light and a new monitoring system.

Mr Gordon said the discharge would be liquid only, nothing solid, and be a controlled release over 14 days. The release will be monitored by the town’s engineer, Environment Canada and provincial government staff from the Department of Communities, Land and Environment.

Mayor Gordon said he understands the concerns Northport has over the discharge.

“We’re not doing this to have everybody crossed at the Town of Alberton,” he said. “We’re doing this to upgrade our lagoon for a better situation down the road.”

In an email to the Graphic, Morley Foy, approvals and compliance engineer with the drinking water and wastewater section of Department of Communities, Land and Environment, said the application from Alberton requesting permission to upgrade their wastewater treatment plant is currently being considered.

The upgrade design and plan was prepared and submitted by a private engineering consulting firm and submitted to the department on behalf of the Town of Alberton, said Mr Foy.

“These upgrades to the town’s wastewater treatment system are important and necessary,” said Mr Foy. “It will ensure minimal impact to Dock River leading into Cascumpec Bay from treated wastewater in the future.”

Additionally, the email went on to say that the Department of Communities, Land and Environment has an established process to protect the Island’s recreational waters and quality of shellfish products when dealing with wastewater discharges from wastewater systems.

In considering the application, the Department has carefully reviewed the consultant’s engineering report for Alberton, consulted with other regulatory agencies including the Shellfish Water Classification Program, Atlantic Environment and Climate Change Canada concerning potential risks related to shellfishing. If the discharge goes ahead, Environment Canada has recommended closing that impacted area of the river for a period of time to mitigate those risks.

“The Department continues to work to assess and improve the proposed plan by consulting with experts like Environment Canada staff as well as people who may be impacted,” said the email.

Ms McNeill said a residents’ information meeting about the project was arranged by the Northport community council for April 30.

The Town of Alberton is hosting an information session for local residents and at the request of local residents, government staff will be there to hear from residents and answer questions. That public meeting is currently being arranged by the town for next week.

Ms McNeill said moving forward she hopes there’s better communication and assurance that if this discharge is necessary ‘that our community is being protected and not dumped on, especially with sewage waste’.

"The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."
--- Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

May 3, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Fridays for Future Solidarity Demonstration, 3:30-4:30PM
, Province House, invitation to all by Extinction Rebellion PEI.
"#FridaysForFuture is a movement that began in August 2018, after 15-year-old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament every schoolday for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. She posted what she was doing on Instagram and Twitter and it soon went viral.
The hashtags #FridaysForFuture and #ClimateStrike spread and many students and adults began to protest outside of their parliaments & city halls all over the world. In Canada, youth are striking every month. Some Canadian youths have agreed to unite on Friday May 3 for a big national school strike in Canada.
Join us in front of Province House (Charlottetown) to show solidarity with youth-led #FridaysforFuture school climate strikes happening across Canada and around the world on May 3rd. All are welcome! Bring signs and invite everyone you know to come. NOW is the time to demand rapid change."

The East Coast Music Awards are the main thing going on in P.E.I. today and this weekend, but here are a few other things going on:

Saturday, May 4th:

Green Ideas @Your Library, 2-4PM, Confederation Centre Public Library. Free. " environmental expo with local organizations and experts to help us with environmentally friendly tips, tricks, ideas and information.
Topics and attendees include:
· plastic reduction, Island Waste Management,
· rain gardens from Ellen's Creek Watershed Group, Greening spaces program (there will be trees!),
· Charlottetown, Sierra Club, Macphail Woods and the PEI Office of Energy Efficiency (with their electric car)City of
There will be also be:
· Wild Child activities for children,
· seeds available and
· make your own tote bag out of an old t-shirt.
Drop in and check out with some ideas to help our Island be more sustainable in the future.

Landscaping with Native Plants, 2-3:30PM, Macphail Woods, Orwell. "Want to spend less time cutting grass and more time enjoying the beautiful plants around your home? This workshop introduces a variety of hardy native plants to attract wildlife and beautify your yard." Facebook event link
Reaction to the results of the Referendum on Electoral Systems -- two letters within a couple of days by Bill Frederiksen:

QUESTIONING THE REFERENDUM - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Regarding the referendum, it states that the result of the vote will be binding if either the No or the Yes side wins a majority of the valid votes Island-wide plus a majority of votes in 60 per cent of the 27 individual districts. It does not state what happens if neither side achieves these results. In this case the NO side wins the percentage vote 51-49 and the Yes side wins the district vote 15-12. Who is the winner? Although the percentage system is disliked by the No side (FPTP) they will certainly claim it this time even though defeated in the district vote – a strong part of FPTP (first-past-the-post). Maybe the district vote doesn't count this time?

Bill Frederiksen, Charlottetown


WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Printed on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

Comments made to The Canadian Press Tuesday night after the election by Gerard Mitchell, referendum commissioner regarding the referendum result are as follows " If it's close enough then I guess government, or whoever is governing, will have to make a decision.” It also stated that the premier-designate Tory Leader Dennis King said he would "leave it up to the legislature." This is probably due to the very close referendum result. Following the vote there was no clear winner as neither side was able to secure 17 districts (Yes side won 15-12). And given the MMP (mixed member proportional) referendum win in 2016 one wonders what will happen now?

Bill Frederiksen, Charlottetown
from The Guardian, Wednesday, May 1st, 2019:

It helps to remind people that the No side did NOT meet the threshold set by the Referendum Legislation, either.
Quote: "Whatever you do, the only secret is to believe in and satisfy yourself. Don't do it for anyone else." ---Keith Haring (1958-1990), American artist

May 2, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The Rails, Shorebirds, Gulls, etc. with Dan McAskill, 7-9PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House.

"Part of Nature PEI’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, this is the third of our four evening and one field trip course. Our course is being co-hosted by Nature PEI and the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation. It starts at 7:00 pm at Beaconsfield’s Carriage House. The course is free but donations or memberships will be gladly accepted." My guess is that good footwear would be helpful.
Letter by Wayne Carver
(with apologies for editing the formatting to make it more readable to some)


Published on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Well, it is over! If our elected officials did not see this coming, their lack of perception and judgement may explain why it happened. Congratulations to the Dennis King and Peter Bevan-Baker teams on running great election campaigns.

Although the previous government did everything in its power to oppose the notion of mixed member proportional representation, the outcome essentially achieves the same end. Ironically, had the criteria been first-past-the-post, it would have been an indisputable victory for proponents of MMP. As it now stands, they are anxiously awaiting the next opportunity. To paraphrase former U.S. president Lyndon Johnson, when signing the U.S. Voting Act in 1965, ‘the vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice.’

Let us stay on course and continue to work with our elected officials to ensure full accountability. To say that the past number of years have been tumultuous politically, socially and financially would be an understatement. When the Liberals took office in 2007 the provincial debt was $1.3 billion. Today it sits around $2.4 billion ... we think?! In reality, we have no idea what our financial position might be.

I would expect the first priority of our new administration would be to verify our financial status. Considering we have been spending like drunken gamblers, let us hope there is enough money to keep the lights on.

The federal debt has increased from $628.91 billion in 2015 to $671.25 billion today and it is projected to rise to $765 billion in five years – not to mention the heavy debt load the natural disasters occurring now in Ontario and across the nation will create for taxpayers at all levels. The damage in the Ottawa area alone will be extremely costly as it will elsewhere.

Now is the time to count the dollars and cents promised and compare it with the costs yet to come. Our sunny ways might just be a figment of our imagination. A larger number of people are going to be devastated by this week’s climate related issues.

Are we at the provincial level going to be able to follow through on the promises made by our predecessors? Let’s get this right.

Wayne Carver,
Vision PEI
Long Creek

In case the skies are clear in the next few nights:

ATLANTIC SKIES: A sprinkle of bright meteors with Eta Aquariid showers in May - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts

Published on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019,

With the warmer spring weather finally upon us, it’s a good time to get out under the night sky to observe its many wonders.

May’s first weekend brings with it a famous, though not prolific, meteor shower. The Eta Aquariids (radiant in Aquarius – the Water Bearer constellation) peak in the predawn hours of Sunday, May 5. The Aquariids are usually active from about April 19 to May 28. They don’t have a sharp peak of only a few hours as do most meteor showers, they rather tend to have a broad maximum period of about a week centred on May 5.

Weather permitting, you can actually watch for the Aquariids a few nights/mornings before and after the May 5.

The Eta Aquariids (named for the bright star Eta in the Aquarius constellation) are one of only two meteor showers associated with the famous Halley’s Comet, the other being the Orionids in October. Every year, in early May, Earth passes through the debris stream left by Halley’s passage around the sun, with the shower being more intense (numerous) some years, as Earth passes through denser sections of the stream. Expect about 20 to 30 bright meteors per hour during the peak, predawn hours when the radiant is highest in the eastern sky. The moon will be new on May 4, so there will be no issue with moonlight interference; best views will come under a dark sky, away from city lights.

May 4 - New moon
May 4 - Eta Aquariid meteor shower peaks, predawn
May 12 - First quarter moon
May 13 - Moon at perigee (closest to Earth)

Mars, though small, continues to shine brightly at mag. +1.7 above the southwest horizon shortly after sunset. Jupiter rises in the eastern sky around 11 p.m. in early May but doesn’t get very high in the southeastern sky before dawn begins to brighten that part of the sky. Saturn joins Jupiter in the southeastern sky around midnight but, like its bigger sibling, it doesn’t clear the murky, lower atmosphere enough before dawn to give a very good view.

Venus and Mercury are very close to this this month and afford only brief opportunities for viewing. Mercury will be visible very low above the eastern horizon, shortly before sunrise until around May 7. After that date, it will be lost from sight in the glow of the rising sun, as it heads toward its superior conjunction (passing behind the sun as seen from Earth) rendezvous with the sun on May 21. Likewise, Venus (mag. –3.8) is slowly drawing closer to the sun in its orbital journey and is visible only for a brief period above the eastern horizon before being lost in the rising sun’s glow.

The latter half of May holds an interesting phenomenon.

Until next time, clear skies.

Glenn K. Roberts lives in Stratford, P.E.I., and has been an avid amateur astronomer since he was a small child. His column, Atlantic Skies, appears every two weeks. He welcomes comments from readers, and anyone who would like to do so is encouraged to email him at
On overcoming adversity --

"The rays of happiness, like those of light, are colorless when unbroken."
---Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), American poet

May 1, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


International Workers' Day / May Day event, theme: "United Against Racism: No Worker Left Behind", 12:15-12:45PM, Cenotaph, Great George and Grafton Street. "International Workers Day is an important day for all us to reflect on equality, and more specifically the inequality between workers that exists in Canada. As part of the Migrant Rights Network, The PEI Action Team for Migrant Workers Rights (a volunteer group through Cooper Institute) is organizing a short rally on May 1st, International Workers Day, with the theme of 'United Against Racism: No Worker Left Behind' ."

Seniors' College Group Art Show, today to March 12th, 9AM-5PM (or when The Guild is open), Gallery at The Guild, corner Queen and Richmond Streets. The work of forty Seniors' College artists will be displayed.
(Reception next Tuesday, May 7th)

Walk for Thoughts, 6-7PM, meeting at trail by Charlottetown Mall. A walk with the discussion theme of self-care."We will meet at the back of the uptown Charlottetown Mall, on the confederation trail where it intersects with Towers Road."
Facebook event link

Green Drinks, 7-9PM, bar 1911, Longworth Avenue. "Please join us for our monthly Charlottetown Green Drinks - an informal gathering where all those Green and Green-curious are invited to connect and get to know one another, and talk about the issues important to you."
Paul MacNeill's Editorial in today's Graphic publications:

Cooperation must cut both ways - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeil

Published on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

As Dennis King inches closer to being sworn in as our next premier, decisions made today may decide his effectiveness in leading PEI’s first ever minority government.

The April 23 election was the equivalent of a boxing split decision. Tories dominated in eastern and central PEI. Greens dominated in and around Summerside and split Charlottetown with the Liberals.

In an election where the desire for change was front and centre, Islanders opted not to trust any one party with the keys to the kingdom. For the first time in Island history, we’ve elected a government without representation in either of our main urban centres. The Tory caucus of 12 is rural with only a single female member.

Even before the premier designate turns his attention to the difficult task of forming a cabinet, he must find the right people to fill senior roles in his office and throughout government. I’m not talking traditional patronage, but rather putting the right people, in the right place, to drive forward the PC agenda, whatever that turns out to be.

These advisors and senior deputies must share King’s vision while turning his weaknesses into strengths. If the new government wants to be perceived as turning the page on the past, candidates should be free of political baggage – either scandal or perception of putting their interests first (think Tory PNP recipients)

In a likely PEI first, King mused about appointing members of the opposition to cabinet. This could solve the gender and geographic issue the PCs face. But almost in the same breath, he said he does not believe a formal agreement is needed. It has the feel of Tory backroom operatives whispering in his ear ‘We can do it ourselves.’

But they can’t.

To govern for any period of time, Tories need the help of either Greens or Liberals. That support will come with a price tag: likely in the form of a formal promise to pass legislation, implement policy or make specific appointments. It is unlikely any Green or Liberal will join cabinet without an agreement in place, because without one, only the PCs benefit.

Traditionally Island cabinets consist of 10-11 ministers plus the premier. It would be laughable if all Tories land in cabinet. If the opposition does not receive a formal commitment from the incoming government, the premier designate has only one option: Shrink its size.

This may actually afford King an opportunity to begin a process long overlooked by Tory and Liberal governments: How do we provide essential services in communities across the Island in an era of an increasingly aging population?

No Island government has ever asked what are our true priorities as a province? We’ve simply layered one new level of bureaucracy on top of the old for decades.

The new premier has an opportunity to frame his cabinet around true priorities and future initiatives rather than succumbing to pure politics like his idea to name a standalone minister of fisheries. It is a vital industry to the Island’s economy, but it is also an industry controlled by the federal government. Our influence nationally will neither increase nor decrease simply because we have a dedicated minister.

If King follows through on his promise to create a stand-alone Ministry of Fisheries it will be a sign the government’s priorities are less about leading and more about photo ops.

Election night’s split decision offers Dennis King his greatest opportunity to succeed. It provides cover from the worst excesses of the PC Party, and some of its members who believe their turn at the public trough should finally come after 12 long years in the wilderness.

In many cases the premier designate has leaned on close friends for counsel or to carry the party banner. It’s created a sometimes troubling locker room feel to the PC team. King needs to place a greater premium on loyalty to the cause and ability to tell truth to power. If he opts for fawning yes men, the new premier will never reach his leadership potential.

Political pitfalls are often avoided simply by hearing an opposing view before a decision is made. It takes true leadership to hear that a plan is awry and ditch it before it becomes an issue.

We’ll likely know within days what trajectory King’s administration will take.

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


Consider purchasing a subscription to any of the PEI Canada publications (Island Press -- The Graphics, Island Farmer) and/or The Guardian.
MPs Elizabeth May and Sean Casey speaking about the loss of Josh and Oliver Underhay, in the House of Commons on Monday, April 29th, 2019:

Article and video of Elizabeth May's remarks:

Sean Casey (text, with the French portion translated to English):

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the tragic passing of Josh Underhay and his six-year-old son Oliver, on Good Friday, in a canoeing accident.

Josh had an enthusiastic, almost effervescent personality.

He represented Prince Edward Island a few years ago here in Ottawa at the Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy. He was passionate and keenly interested in everything. He invited me to speak to his French immersion class, and it was easy to see that his energy was infectious. He spoke several languages and was an incredible trumpet player.

He came by my office to lobby for a cycling lane on the Hillsborough Bridge and was conspicuously present when it was announced just a few days later. In his final days, Josh campaigned as a candidate in the P.E.I. election for the only reason one should: to make his community better.

Josh and Oliver have left a gaping hole in the hearts of so many. Our hearts go out to Karri Shea and young Linden.

Video on his Twitter account, which was recorded right after May's Statement and included them hugging at the end.
"Never apologize for showing feeling, my friend. Remember that when you do so, you apologize for truth."
---Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)