CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

May 2021


  1. 1 May 31, 2021
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 Atlantic Skies for May 31st to June 6th, 2021 "The Star That Lit a World's Fair" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  2. 2 May 30, 2021
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Big Setbacks Propel Oil Giants Toward a ‘Tipping Point’ - The New York Times article by Somini Sengupta
    3. 2.3 Dwarf pansy blooms on tiny Scilly island after 16-year absence -The (U.K.) Guardian article by Patrick Barkham
  3. 3 May 29, 2021
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 Future of Charlottetown - Facebook post by Doug MacArthur
  4. 4 May 28, 2021
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 In 2021, there’s no justifying cutting down ancient forests.
    3. 4.3 Seniors overwhelm RCMP barrier past Fairy Creek - The Victoria News article by Zoe Ducklow
  5. 5 May 27, 2021
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 Tzeporah Berman on her Fairy Creek arrest and old-growth - The National Observer article by Cloe Logan
    3. 5.3 Lunchtime read: Folly of Cumbrian coal dream -The (UK) Guardian article by Rebecca Willis
  6. 6 May 26, 2021
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 The Provincial Official Opposition Green Party has shuffled its Critic roles among its Caucus members, full media release here:
    3. 6.3 Flawed environmental assessment of offshore drilling faces scrutiny in Federal Court - post
  7. 7 May 25, 2021
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  8. 8 May 24, 2021
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 Atlantic Skies for May 24th - May 30th, 2021 "Supermoon and Close Conjunction Highlight the Night Sky" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  9. 9 May 23, 2021
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 Does fracked methane deserve “natural” label? - article by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington
    3. 9.3 Global banking institutions might finally be favoring green projects over traditional ventures involving fossil fuels. - The Grist article by Adam Mahoney
  10. 10 May 22, 2021
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 Op-Ed: A visionary approach is needed for Charlottetown waterfront - The Guardian Op-Ed by Kirsten Connor
    3. 10.3 LETTER: No great forests left - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  11. 11 May 21, 2021
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 LYNNE LUND: Environmental bill of rights — What is it and what does it mean for Islanders? - The Guardian Op Ed by Lynne Lund
  12. 12 May 20, 2021
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Sales of peat compost to gardeners to be banned from 2024 - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Damian Caarington, Environment Editor
  13. 13 May 19, 2021
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 13.2 Avi Lewis to Run for Federal NDP in West Vancouver Riding - The Globe and Mail article by Ian Bailey and Erika Ibrahim
    3. 13.3 Why Legislate Environmental Rights on Prince Edward Island: Part Two - ECELAW blog post by Mike Kofahl, Staff Lawyer and Tina Northrup, Staff Lawyer 
  14. 14 May 18, 2021
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  15. 15 May 17, 2021
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 Wales to launch pilot universal basic income scheme - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Stephen Morris
    3. 15.3 Atlantic Skies for Monday, May 17th to Sunday, May 24th, 2021 "Sunspots and Solar Cycles"  - by Glenn K. Roberts
  16. 16 May 16, 2021
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 Sustainable farm practices needed for all P.E.I. farms - The Eastern Graphic article by Douglas Campbell
  17. 17 May 15, 2021
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 Biden Trumps Arctic Drilling Proposal - The Grist article by Adam Mahoney
  18. 18 May 14, 2021
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  19. 19 May 13, 2021
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 Epekwitk Assembly say they weren't adequately consulted on P.E.I. environmental rights bill - The Guardian and online article by Stu Neatby
  20. 20 May 12, 2021
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 The Cicadas Are Coming. It’s Not an Invasion. It’s a Miracle. - The New York Times online article by Margaret Renkl
  21. 21 May 11, 2021
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 Hummingbirds put a temporary halt on Trans Mountain - The National Observer article by Cloe Logan
  22. 22 May 10, 2021
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 Atlantic Skies for May 10th - May 16th, 2021 "The Inner Planets Return" -  by Glenn K. Roberts
  23. 23 May 9, 2021
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  24. 24 May 8, 2021
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 24.2 Some Fish Kill Facts - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  25. 25 May 7, 2021
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 Reusable takeout containers are a popular pandemic trend - What on Earth? CBC newsletter article by Emily Chung
  26. 26 May 6, 2021
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 LETTER: Remember there is no Planet B - The Guardian Lettter to the Editor
  27. 27 May 5, 2021
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  28. 28 May 4, 2021
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  29. 29 May 3, 2021
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 Beekeepers get the short end on two counts - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor
    3. 29.3 Atlantic Skies for Monday, May 3rd to Sunday, May 9th, 2021 "Why Every Full Moon Isn't a Supermoon" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  30. 30 May 2, 2021
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 Charlottetown garden share program launches pilot program - CBC online post by Sara Fraser
    3. 30.3 We have to get this right - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie
  31. 31 May 1, 2021
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews

May 31, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.
       – Wendell Berry

Local Food Option:

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

Atlantic Skies for May 31st to June 6th, 2021 "The Star That Lit a World's Fair" - by Glenn K. Roberts

Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation of Bootes - the Herdsman, which can be found halfway up the southern sky between 9 - 10 p.m. this coming week. At 36.7 light years away, Arcturus has an apparent magnitude of -0.05, and is listed as the fourth brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere - also known as the Northern Sky, that portion of the sky north of the celestial equator. Arcturus is categorized as a red giant star - a star of low to intermediate mass in the late phase of its stellar evolution - with a mass similar to that of our own Sun, but approximately 25x larger, and 170x more luminous.

Along with the stars Spica (in Virgo - the Virgin) and Denebola (in Leo - the Lion), Arcturus forms the asterism of the Spring Triangle; adding the star Cor Caroli (in Canes Venatici - the Hunting Dogs) to this group forms the Great Diamond asterism.

Exactly who the herdsman Bootes is meant to represent is unclear. The name Bootes comes from the ancient Greek for "herdsman", and may represent a herdsman, along with his dogs (Canes Venatici - the Hunting dogs) protecting his herds or flocks from a bear (Ursa Major - the Great Bear). This may relate to another mythical version concerning the seduction of the mortal maiden Callisto by the Greek god, Zeus. From this union, Callisto is said to have borne a boy, named Arcas. Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus, upon finding out about Zeus' infidelity with Callisto, changed the unfortunate maiden into a bear. Years later, Arcas, now a grown youth, was out hunting one day with his dogs, and, spying the bear (unbeknownst to him, his mother), drew his bow  to shoot it. Fortunately for the bear (Callisto), Zeus intervened, and, to protect them both from Hera's wrath, placed them in the heavens, Callisto as Ursa Major - the Great Bear, and Arcas, in one mythical version as Ursa Minor - the Little Bear, and in another, as Arcturus - the Guardian of the Bear,

Although important to many ancient cultures around the world, Arcturus achieved modern fame when its light was used to turn on the lights of the 1933 world's fair in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The starlight from Arcturus (believed to have begun its celestial journey to Earth at the time of the previous world's fair - the World's Columbian Exposition - in 1893*) was focused on an array of photoelectric cells at a number of astronomical observatories around the country, converted to electricity, and then transmitted to Chicago, where it activated the lights used to illuminate the 1933 fair, the theme of which, incidentally, was technological innovation. (* As Arcturus is actually located 36.7 lights years away, the starlight that activated the 1933 world's fair lights actually left there in 1896).

Mercury, heading towards inferior conjunction, is too close to the Sun to be observable. Venus (mag. -3.9, in Taurus - the Bull) is visible around 9:20 p.m., 8 degrees above the northwest horizon, setting about an hour later at 10:15 p.m. Mars (mag. +1.7, in Gemini - the Twins) is visible shortly after 10 p.m., approximately 17 degrees above the western horizon, before disappearing below the horizon by about 12:05 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.6, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) rises around 12:55 a.m., reaching 25 degrees above the southern horizon before fading from view around 4:40 a.m.. Jupiter (mag. -2.5, in Aquarius - the Waterbearer) rises around 1:40 a.m., reaching an altitude of 27 degrees in the pre-dawn, southeast sky before fading as dawn breaks by about 5 a.m.. Look for Jupiter 5 degrees north of the waning, gibbous Moon on June 1.

Until next week, clear skies. 


June 1 - Jupiter 5 degrees north of waning, gibbous Moon

         2 -  Last Quarter Moon   


Rachel Aiello at CTV News online compiles a good newsletter of what is coming up in FEDERAL politics, so I have copied it whole
Sent Sunday, May 30th, 2021:

Here's how the week in Canadian politics is shaping up

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordering the flags at all federal buildings and on the Peace Tower to be lowered until further notie to commemorate the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were found in B.C. and "all Indigenous children who never made it home," expect the horrific and devastating discovery on the grounds of a former residential school to be a focus.

And, with more Canadians becoming eligible for second COVID-19 shots each week, the conversation around what comes next will continue.

The week ahead

After facing calls to do so, Trudeau announced Sunday afternoon that the federal government will be flying flags at half-mast to commemorate the deaths of hundreds of Indigenous children.

The conversation will likely turn this week, to what more his government could, or should be doing in response. In an interview on CTV's Question Period that aired Sunday morning, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said that work needs to get done across Canada to notify families, hold ceremonies, and fully answer outstanding questions such as: How many more mass graves might there be?

"This is still unfinished work from the TRC," he said, referencing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report's comprehensive examination and calls for actions, many of which remain unfulfilled.

Expect as well for questions to continue over the calls to pivot away from hotel quarantines and fast-track vaccine passports made by the federal government's expert panel advising them on testing and tracing.

This week, Canada is set to receive 2.4 million Pfizer-BioNTech doses and 405,000 Moderna doses. All told that means 2.8 million shots will arrive, but that hasn't stopped Procurement Minister Anita Anand from rounding up by 195,000, touting a delivery of "nearly 3 million doses."

Legislatively speaking, MPs will be kicking off their week with a debate at third reading of Bill C-6, which seeks to amend the Criminal Code, to crack down on the practice of conversion therapy in Canada.

After being killed with prorogation and brought back through committee, the brief bill proposes to prohibit unwanted religious counselling seeking to change a person's sexual orientation to heterosexual; gender identity to cisgender; or reduce non-heterosexual behaviour, nationwide.

The 10-page bill proposes five new Criminal Code offences, but leaves the door open to allowing adults who willingly want to pursue what has also been called reparative therapy, to seek that assistance. But that remains possible only under limited circumstances. Certain Conservative MPs have spent some of their House time over recent weeks tabling petitions from constituents voicing concerns about the bill.

I’m sure it's just a coincidence that this bill is coming back up for debate the day before Pride month begins.

On Wednesday MPs will dive into Bill C-22, which as a reminder seeks to amend the Criminal Code to repeal mandatory minimum penalties for certain drug and gun-related crimes.

Tuesday and Thursday will be opposition days, and the Conservatives have put four new motions on notice to choose from. They include three related to investigating the origin of COVID-19 and whether it originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. The other option calls on the federal government to table within 10 days benchmarks and criteria for reopening the land border with the United States, the hotel quarantine program, and quarantine upon entry into Canada.

In the Senate, Bill S-4 could soon pass into the House of Commons. This bill essentially seeks to enshrine Trudeau's model for an independent Senate. It would amend the Parliament of Canada Act to provide senators in caucus leadership roles with salary top-ups and provide other powers to key representatives from the various groups within the Senate as it's no longer split down party lines.

Also on Friday MPs voted to fast-track Bill C-5, which would create a national day for truth and reconciliation. With the ongoing calls for a national day of mourning to accompany the half-masting, it's possible this piece of legislation could be given new prominence.

Also, and yes I am counting: As of Monday there are a maximum of 18 days left in the House of Commons sitting calendar. In the Senate there are only 11 fixed sitting days, though another eight possible days if needed to move bills through.

Not to be missed

  • I recently took a deep dive into the ongoing blood donation ban prohibiting gay men and some other folks in the LGBTQ2S community from donating blood. After promising for years to end it, the federal government now says it's out of their hands. What's going on? And what might the opposition parties have up their sleeve to keep this issue in the headlines this month?
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau says Canada supports the move by U.S. President Joe Biden to order American intelligence agencies to further investigate the origins of COVID-19.
  • And, in an interview on CTV's Question Period airing Sunday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said there is no evidence to show that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) caused vaccine hesitancy despite advice that's been called confusing and conflicting.
On notice

Monday, the House of Commons Canadian Heritage Committee will continue with the clause-by-clause review of Bill C-10, the changes to the Broadcasting Act. Interested in a big-picture conversation about this bill and the Liberals' overall platform aims? That's here on the latest episode of Trend Line.

On Tuesday the House of Commons Finance Committee will be conducting a clause-by-clause review to suggest any amendments to Bill C-30, the 2021 budget implementation legislation. MPs will be joined by an incredibly long laundry list of departmental officials, a clear indication of how extensive and intertwined the legislative changes are within this bill.

And on Thursday the Special Committee on the Economic Relationship between Canada and the United States will be holding a closed-door meeting to draft its report on the state of the relationship.

Also notable on Monday: The Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying will meet at 7:30 p.m. EDT to "review the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to medical assistance in dying and their application, including but not limited to issues relating to mature minors, advance requests, mental illness, the state of palliative care in Canada and the protection of Canadians with disabilities."


These are going to end one of these weeks, as the Met is planning to open in September.  But until then....
Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

This week:

Nightly Opera Streams, May 31–June 6

Aria Code: The Operas Behind the Podcast

This week of free streams showcases some of the operatic masterpieces explored in Aria Code, our insightful and entertaining podcast created in collaboration with WQXR. Enjoy popular Live in HD performances featuring some of the Met’s biggest stars, and then listen to the related episodes of Aria Code  (link below) , featuring insights from the artists.

Finishing up the week of seldom produced operas Monday (until 6:30PM):

Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, today until 6:30PM

Starring Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Susanne Resmark, Juan Diego Flórez, Stéphane Degout, and Michele Pertusi, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Bartlett Sher. From April 9, 2011.

Two words: French romp. 

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

Starring Christine Goerke, Eleonora Buratto, Yusif Eyvazov, and James Morris, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From October 12, 2019.  

2 hours 22 minutes and has 2 Aria Code podcasts about it.

And the related Aria Code podcast links and more are here:

May 30, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The NDP PEI Fundraising Online Auction deadline is tomorrow, May 31st.  Some fun, beautiful, and useful items:

Yay, Soleil!

Smiles and Congratulations to Soleil Hutchinson, of Soleil's Farm in South Melville Road in DeSable (Bonshaw), for winning the P.E.I. Women's Institute Biennual Woman in Agriculture Award, for outstanding achievement and contributions.

Soleil was nominated for her innovation in the getting local organic produce to Islanders, her co-operative ideas in working with other producers, and her generosit
y with her time and talents with various community groups.

This was awarded at the online 2021 PEIWI Convention held yesterday, Saturday, May 29th, 2021, and so Soleil had not even been officially notified yet!
Her portrait will be taken and framed on the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture wall. 

About Soleil and her farm:

Long read:

Big Setbacks Propel Oil Giants Toward a ‘Tipping Point’ - The New York Times article by Somini Sengupta

A surprising mix of environmentalists, pension fund managers and big money investors have scored startling victories against oil and coal, opening new battle fronts in the climate fight.

Published on Saturday, May 29th, 2021

A nun, an environmental lawyer, pension fund executives, and the world’s largest asset manager. These were among the unusual collection of rebels who claimed a series of startling victories this week against some of the world’s biggest and most influential fossil fuel companies.

From Houston to The Hague, they fought their battles in shareholder meetings and courtrooms, opening surprising fronts in an accelerating effort to force the world’s coal, oil and gas companies to address their central role in the climate crisis. And even as they came with strikingly disparate points of view — corporate shareholders, children’s rights advocates, environmentalists, thousands of Dutch citizens — they delivered a common underlying message: The time to start retreating from the fossil fuel business is no longer in the future, but now.

“These companies are facing pressure from regulators, investors, and now the courts to up their game,” said Will Nichols, head of environmental research at Maplecroft, a risk analysis firm. “That’s a big chunk of society, and it’s not a great look to be pushing back against all of that.”
Climate Fwd: A new administration, an ongoing climate emergency — and a ton of news. Our newsletter will help you stay on top of it.

The most dramatic turning point came in the Netherlands, where a court instructed Royal Dutch Shell, the largest private oil trader in the world and by far the largest company in the Netherlands itself, that it must sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions from all its global operations this decade. It was the first time a court ordered a private company to, in effect, change its business practice on climate grounds.

The symbolism was inescapable: The Netherlands, famously built on land reclaimed from the sea, faces the immediate threat from a warming climate caused by the burning of Shell’s own products — oil and gas.

In another example this week, at the annual shareholder meeting of Exxon Mobil, the biggest American oil company, the message was framed sharply in terms of profits: A tiny new hedge fund led an investor rebellion to diversify away from oil and gas — or risk hurting investors and the bottom line.

Chevron’s shareholders voted to tell the company to reduce not only its own emissions, but also, remarkably, the emissions produced by customers who burn its oil and gasoline. And in Australia, a judge warned the government that a proposed coal mine expansion, a project challenged by eight teenagers and an 86-year-old nun, would need to ensure that it wouldn’t harm the health of the country’s children.

The timing was significant. This week scientists also concluded that, in the next five years, the average global temperature will at least temporarily spike beyond a dangerous threshold, climbing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer than in pre-industrial times. Avoiding that threshold is the main objective of the Paris Accord, the landmark global climate agreement among the nations of the world to fight climate change.

Of course, none of these actions represents an immediate threat to the fossil fuel industry. For a century and a half, the global economy has been fueled by oil and coal, and that won’t change immediately.

Nevertheless, rulings like the one in the Netherlands could be a harbinger for similar legal attacks against other fossil fuel companies and their investors, experts said. Kate Raworth, an economist at Oxford University, called Shell’s loss in court “a social tipping point for a fossil-fuel-free future.”

Shell said it found the ruling, by a district court in The Hague, “disappointing” and intended to appeal. That process could take years to reach the country’s supreme court, delaying action but also drawing continued public attention.

If the ruling of the lower court stands, though, analysts said, Shell would most certainly have to reorient its business to reduce oil in its portfolio and halt its growth in liquefied natural gas, in which Shell is an industry leader. That is a matter of concern for the investors who have their money in the oil and gas reserves of companies like Shell, said Patrick Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School. “A decision telling a company, ‘You’ve got to get out of the oil business.’ For cautious individuals within the financial community, that’s got to cause them serious concerns.”

Dangerously for Shell, the national judiciary of the Netherlands in the past has shown itself to be among the most out-front on climate litigation. In 2019, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ordered the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions because of a lawsuit filed by Urgenda, an environmental group. It was the first case in the world to force a national government to address climate change in order to uphold its human rights commitments.

That case, too, began in a district court in The Hague, before making its way up the judicial ladder. The lawsuit against Shell marked an escalation in that strategy.

Having sued the government and won, environmental advocates decided to take on one the country’s most influential companies. The case was brought in 2019 by Milieudefensie, the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth, as well as Greenpeace and 17,000 residents of the Netherlands. The complainants argued that the company has a legal duty to protect Dutch citizens from looming climate risks. The district court agreed.

“The consequences of this case for the fossil fuel industry will be systemic and immediate,” Tessa Khan, the lawyer who had sued the government on behalf of Urgenda, said on Twitter. She predicted that it would spur other cases and “escalate the perception of risk among investors.”
Shell had already begun to see the writing on the wall. It said earlier this year that global oil demand had likely
reached a peak in 2019 and would slowly wane in the coming years.

And at least compared to some of its American peers, Shell had set relatively more ambitious climate targets. It had already promised to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations, which means that it could still continue to expand oil and production, but with lower emissions for every barrel it produced.
The district court on Wednesday instructed the company to cut its absolute emissions by 45 percent by 2030, relative to its 2019 levels. The ruling applies to Shell’s global operations. But, that said, even if it is upheld on appeal, enforcing it, say, in Nigeria, where Shell is the biggest oil producer, could prove to be “impractical,” said Biraj Borkhataria, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, an investment bank.

“However,” he said separately, in a note to clients on Thursday, “it is another example of society asking more from oil companies.”

The Shell ruling is particularly notable because private companies have been targets of climate litigation in the United States and elsewhere, but courts have rarely ruled against them.

The Dutch case opens a potentially new front, emboldening climate advocates to pursue more cases in a wider variety of countries, particularly where national laws enshrine the right to a clean environment. Several European and Latin American courts, including in the Netherlands, have interpreted their national laws in this way.

A farmer in Peru is suing a German energy giant over the effects of global warming on a glacier in his country. About 20 American cities, counties and states have sued the fossil fuel industry since 2017, seeking damages for the local costs of climate change.
Governments are also on the hook.

Germany’s highest court recently told the government to tighten its climate targets because they did not go far enough to ensure that future generations would be protected.

In the Australian case, eight teenagers, joined by Brigid Arthur, the nun, went to court to stop the government from expanding an enormous coal mine called Whitehaven. The court on Thursday stopped short of issuing an injunction against the mine, as the plaintiffs had sought.

But in ordering the government to take “reasonable care to avoid personal injury to the children,” it recognized climate change as an “intergenerational crime,” said Michael Burger, executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University and a lawyer who represents several U.S. cities and states suing fossil fuel companies.

“The actions we take today with respect to climate change can consign our children, our children’s children, and other future generations to a world that is fundamentally livable or a world that is not,” he said. “Courts recognize that.”

The most closely watched case in the United States, filed on behalf of young people against the United States government, seeks to establish a constitutional right to a sound environment. After recent setbacks in the federal courts, a federal judge has ordered the parties to enter settlement discussions.
The actions against Chevron and Exxon are notable because they reveal the extent to which shareholders are quickly awakening to the risk to their investments if energy companies don’t dramatically start changing their business models.

A significant chunk of shareholders demonstrated that they were increasingly distrustful that the companies could deliver the financial performance they expected without diversifying away from oil and gas.

Exxon this week lost a battle against a small new hedge fund, Engine No. 1, which rallied big investors like Blackrock and the New York state pension fund to force the company to change course. The hedge fund won at least two seats on Exxon’s 12-member board.

Tensie Whelan, director of the New York University Stern Center for Sustainable Business, called it “a pivotal moment for board accountability.” Activist shareholders have traditionally taken on company executives over financial issues, not social issues like climate change, she said. “Shareholders are deeply concerned about the financial risks posed by climate change and increasingly willing to hold the board to account,” Ms. Whelan said.


And like the tiny hedge fund, this tiny pansy has blossomed again (full story in link)

Dwarf pansy blooms on tiny Scilly island after 16-year absence -The (U.K.) Guardian article by Patrick Barkham

Rare flower reappears on Tean after disappearing in the absence of human inhabitants

Published on Saturday, May 29th, 2021

The tiny island of
Tean was once home to a single resident, a modest chapel, diminutive grazed fields and a dwarf pansy smaller than the tip of a pencil.

All these things vanished from the 0.16 sq km Scilly island in the years after it was abandoned by humans seeking larger things.

But now the dwarf pansy (Viola kitaibeliana), which is found nowhere in Britain apart from on the Isles of Scilly archipelago, has returned to flower again after an absence of 16 summers.

The pansy was discovered by rangers for the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, who have taken a boat to Tean every autumn and spring for the past seven years to cut back bracken and gorse in parts of the island where it was once found.

The pansy, an annual which spreads its seeds after flowering each year, requires short, well-grazed or regularly disturbed turf in which to prosper.

Tean was grazed by livestock until the second world war, but the abandonment of grazing alongside the disappearance of rabbits from the island made life more difficult for the dwarf pansy.

Seeds from its last confirmed flowering in 2004 lay dormant in Tean’s sandy soil for years until conditions created by the rangers were suitable for it to germinate again. <SNIP>

(more at link)

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

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

Rossini’s Le Comte Ory
Starring Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Susanne Resmark, Juan Diego Flórez, Stéphane Degout, and Michele Pertusi, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Bartlett Sher. From April 9, 2011.

A 2 hour 23 minute romp!

May 29, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The twentieth century was about getting around. The twenty-first century will be about staying in a place worth staying in.  
     --- James Kunstler, author


Local Food Opportunities

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

Riverview Country Market
North River KJL Market 
Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)


Saturday, May 29th:
Drive-through Shred-a-thon Event (drop-off papers to be shredded securely), 9-11AM, CENTURY 21 Colonial Realty parking lot (111 St Peters Road, Charlottetown).  Free but donations accepted for Make-a-Wish PEI

An Opinion Piece from the folks behind the watchdog Future of Charlottetown, about the Angus Drive area. 

(If you search for past Guardian stories on the Mel's store, owner Don MacIsaac, and the concerns of residents in the area, you see how far back this goes.)

Future of Charlottetown - Facebook post by Doug MacArthur

Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

With the possible exception of some of the stunts Donald Trump and his gang pulled while he was President, it would be difficult to imagine how, in a responsible democracy, a group of people could be trampled on to the extent residents of Angus Drive area have been in recent years. It never ends, and it's all to provide increased profits to one already financially successful business which knows how to tap into government largesse while neighbouring residents pay the piper.

Mel's started off as a small fruit and vegetable stand in an entirely residential East Royalty neighbourhood. It became a convenience store, and then it grew into an inconvenience store for the neighbourhood as a gas bar, then gas islands, fast food outlets, drive thru, etc were added, creating a major commercial operation in an otherwise entirely residential area. Then, as further testament to the owner's political acumen, Mel's landed a provincial liquor sales outlet, a unique and hard to justify result in a small residential community within almost a stone's throw of three city provincially-operated outlets. And not only is a liquor sales licence almost an opportunity to print money, Mel's has the further advantage of minimum wage labour compared to the higher wages paid by provincially-operated outlets. For the nearby residents who bought their homes many years ago, they have had to stand by helplessly as Mel's grew well beyond a reasonable size and beyond a tolerable nuisance in an otherwise totally residential neighbourhood.

But Mel's wanted more. And suddenly, a PEI Government [yes, they're the ones who provided Mel's liquor sales licence] proposal came forward to build a roundabout where Angus Drive meets St Peter's Road and also to create a new roadway in the residential area on Angus Drive directly into Mel's. Together, the roundabout and Angus Drive new road would make it easier for Mel's to attract outgoing St Peter's Road traffic, thus making Mel's even more profitable. Although it wasn't addressed by the Province or Mel's, these new roads would substantially reduce the value of Angus Drive homes near Mel's, plus cause inconvenience, etc to the overall Angus Drive neighbourhood. The Province did not see fit to hold information meetings with residents, and instead went full-steam ahead planning their Mel's roundabout and Mel's Angus Drive roadways. Meanwhile, Mel's sought changes in zoning from City Hall to support its proposed incursions into the residential neighbourhood.

In response to these Province/Mel's actions, Angus Drive residents once again mobilized and a few weeks ago were successful in having City Council vote 8-1 against approving the required rezoning. That should have put an end to the roundabout and the new Angus Drive road. However, the back room discussions between the Province and City Hall led to a second City Council vote which was 5-4 to reject the rezoning. That definitely should have been the end of the matter, but Mel's and some at City Hall next wanted Reconsideration of Council's decision to reject, and Planning Board on Tuesday night voted for Reconsideration.

It now goes to Council to consider again. Bottom line: Mel's, some at City Council, Province are not accepting "No" as an answer, so the behind the scenes stuff continues. In the meantime, Angus Drive area residents continue to be put through the wringer, and will need to mobilize again if they hope to have any chance of finally putting a stop to this totally unfair Mel's roundabout, Mel's Angus Drive roadways and rezoning. They need all the help they can get and our larger community needs to stand with them.


Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, 2PM, CBC Music 104.7FM:
Verdi’s Otello
Performance from October 17, 2015
Yannick Nézet-Séguin; Sonya Yoncheva (Desdemona), Aleksandrs Antonenko (Otello), Dimitri Pittas (Cassio), Željko Lučić (Iago), Günther Groissböck (Lodovico)
Pretty amazing cast.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

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

Strauss’s Capriccio, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Sarah Connolly, Joseph Kaiser, Russell Braun, Morten Frank Larsen, and Peter Rose, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Production by John Cox. From April 23, 2011.

May 28, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays4Future, 3:30PM, Province House Grafton Street side, all welcome.
Hosted by PEI/Epekwitk Fridays 4 Future Climate Action Group
"We meet weekly, (usually in front of Province House on Grafton St.), to call for our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy."

Monday, May 31st:
Burgers, Batter & Banter fundraiser for Stratford Green Party District Associations, 7PM, Phinley's Diner.  Dine-in or take-out.  Ticketed with tax receipt.

Dine-in for music and games, and conversation with District 5 MLA Michele Beaton and Provincial Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.  Choice of meat burger, fish and chips or veggie burger main course. 
More information:

Action you can take now:

From Ecojustice:

A world-class law for urgent, powerful climate action

We are so close to securing a landmark climate law that will ensure a healthier, safer future for everyone in Canada.

In November 2020, the federal government tabled the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12). After a long delay, it is finally heading to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development for review and amendments.

The current version of the bill represents an important step forward in the fight against climate change. But it needs to be strengthened to ensure it will be up to the task of holding politicians to account for delivering Canada’s climate commitments.

Now all political parties must work together in committee to make crucial amendments that ensure Bill C-12:

  • Requires detailed plans that show what specific climate measures governments will take to achieve Canada’s carbon targets.

  • Imposes real accountability on the federal government for reducing Canada’s emissions.

  • Protects the independence of the federal government's advisory body so that it is focused on what the science says is necessary, not what is politically feasible.  

Canadians are ready for bolder, more ambitious climate action. A strong climate law with real accountability is how we get there.  

To avert climate catastrophe we must pass the strongest possible version of this law. 

Tell your local MP and members of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development: Work together to strengthen and pass Bill C-12. 

LINK to on-line petition

News from Vancouver Island and the logging protest at Fairy Creek:

image credited to Matt Dell and with David Suzuki posting, below
from the David Suzuki Foundation, Wednesday, May 26th, 2021:

In 2021, there’s no justifying cutting down ancient forests.

Instead of logging some of the last remaining old growth forests, let's transform the forest industry so it sustains ecosystems.

Instead of arresting land defenders, let’s use government power to urgently implement the 2020 Old Growth Strategic Review Panel recommendations.

Instead of setting up unsustainable business relationships, let’s work with local Indigenous peoples so they can exercise their rights without having to sell-off irreplaceable living giants within their territories.

As the arrests continue, we call on Premier Horgan to break his silence on the old growth logging dispute and present a solution that involves dialogue, not handcuffs and chainsaws.


Also, the same day, there was this article (LINK only):

Seniors overwhelm RCMP barrier past Fairy Creek - The Victoria News article by Zoe Ducklow

About 100 elderly hikers swarmed the RCMP exclusion zone, no arrests were made

Published on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Shostakovich’s The Nose, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Andrey Popov, Alexander Lewis, and Paulo Szot, conducted by Pavel Smelkov. Production by William Kentridge. From October 26, 2013. About two hours.

Giordano’s Fedora, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM
Starring Mirella Freni, Ainhoa Arteta, Plácido Domingo, Dwayne Croft, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, conducted by Roberto Abbado. Production by Beppe De Tomasi. From April 26, 1997.  Short (under two hours) and very dramatic, with two beloved starts in Freni and Domingo.

May 27, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Let Nature be your teacher.
--- William Wordsworth (1770-1850), spent much of his life in Cumbria

Dr. Heather Morrison's Covid update and Premier Dennis King's announcement on potential business/tourist opening plans for the summer, presumably about 11:30AM.  Streamed on Government YouTube channel, various Facebook Live, and Ocean 100 Radio (partially)

Letters to the Ministers event, Malpeque Federal Green Party District Association, 7-8:30PM, over Zoom.  All invited.
"..calling for greater climate action by writing a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Wilkinson."
Registration link

Saturday, May 29th:
Drive-through Shred-a-thon Event (drop-off papers to be shredded securely), 9-11AM, CENTURY 21 Colonial Realty parking lot (111 St Peters Road, Charlottetown).  Free but donations accepted for Make-a-Wish PEI

Old Growth Forest:

Fairy Creek is on Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island, about a 4 hour drive from Victoria.  Tzeporah Berman, among other words, wrote an essay for Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet

Tzeporah Berman on her Fairy Creek arrest and old-growth - The National Observer article by Cloe Logan

Published on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Tension continues to rise at the Fairy Creek old-growth blockade, where Tzeporah Berman was arrested last week for defying an exclusion zone being enforced by the RCMP.

Berman, international programs director, is no stranger to the forest front lines. In the 1990s, she was one of the organizers of the War in the Woods protest in Clayoquot Sound, which saw 12,000 people travel to support those protecting the temperate rainforest. She was arrested there, too, along with almost 1,000 others.

Now more than 50 people have been arrested at the Fairy Creek site, including xʷ is xʷ čaa, also known as Kati George-Jim, niece of Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones. The forests around Port Renfrew, which are in the traditional territory of the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations, have had numerous blockades set up since August 2020.

Canada’s National Observer caught up with Berman for a chat about the comparisons between Clayoquot Sound and Fairy Creek, where protesters are blocking Teal-Jones’s access to log old-growth trees.

First, what made you want to join the blockade at Fairy Creek?

I really think that these moments in history are rare, and that civil disobedience is a last resort. I have held out hope that the B.C. government would make good on its promise to implement all the scientific panel recommendations where experts called for immediate deferral of all logging in at-risk, old-growth areas.

And why now?

For the last many months, I didn't think that this was going to be necessary, but it feels like an absolutely critical moment for me to help slow down and hopefully stop this logging from going into the most critical old-growth areas. And also elevate the issue so that more people within government see the urgency of acting on this issue.

My other concern was the pandemic. I have kids, I have elderly parents, elderly in-laws, and so I was waiting until I had my first shot, and I felt more comfortable and the COVID levels were lower.

Can you describe the current scene at Fairy Creek? What did you see?

It was astounding to me. I think the thing that I had forgotten after so many years since the Clayoquot blockade is the diversity and the range of people that you meet. One of the key organizers for the blockade is a woman who was an Olympic gold medal swimmer, one of the first East Indian women to ever receive a gold medal. I was sitting in a circle around the fire and the woman to my right is a horticulturist, the woman to my left is a local Cowichan farmer. There was another person who for most of his life has been a sawmill operator. It’s just all people from all walks of life, many who are doing something like this for the first time.

It's both amazing, empowering and heartbreaking at the same time.

You were one of the organizers of the Clayoquot blockade in the 1990s. How does that remind you of what’s happening today?

It’s very similar in the sense that it was one of those tipping-point moments where so many people were frustrated with the lack of government action and leadership. So frustrated that they’re willing to put their bodies on the line. It reminds me of Clayoquot in the sense that it’s this complete model of humanity, this cross-section of people who have just had enough. There’s a lot of other obvious and interesting parallels — it was an NDP government then that had promised to “protect the Clayoquot Sound.”

It was an NDP government and a logging industry who were trying to cut deals with Indigenous nations; who were not supporting a vision of greater protection. At no time did the NDP government come to the Nuu-Chah-Nulth to say, 'Would you like to protect more of the old-growth?' They’re putting Indigenous nations in an untenable position.

How about differences?

Back then, good organizing was about how many people you could get around your kitchen table, how many faxes you could send before your fax machine blew out. Today, we're connected to thousands, if not tens of thousands, in seconds. That’s good and bad. It's obviously good because you can get your message out, and that's really important. It's bad because there's so much noise in the system. There's so much information that people have trouble sifting through and seeing what's really happening. But I think overall, the fact that we can get images out and information out on the same day and have direct communication with people and not have to go through media outlets for that is good.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


LINK Only: The (U.K.) Guardian's "Long Read" , in Cumbria, northwestern England, near the Lake District:

Lunchtime read: Folly of Cumbrian coal dream -The (UK) Guardian article by Rebecca Willis

Supporters of a new coalmine have argued that it will reduce global warming and create green jobs. How could such absurd claims have gained any credibility, asks Rebecca Willis.

And if you want to mosey around the Cumbria's tourist information, perhaps dreaming of walking tours that don't include new coal mines, here's a start:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Very different opera stories....

Rossini’s La Donna del Lago, today until 6:30PM
Starring Joyce DiDonato, Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, John Osborn, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Michele Mariotti. Production by Paul Curran. From March 14, 2015.

Shostakovich’s The Nose, tonight 7:30PM until Friday about 6:30PM
From October 26, 2013
"...this visually dazzling Met premiere production of Shostakovich’s satirical opera, adapted from the classic short story by Nikolai Gogol. Baritone Paulo Szot leads the cast as Kovalyov, the hapless bureaucrat whose nose has mysteriously gone missing. Alexander Lewis and Andrey Popov co-star, and Pavel Smelkov conducts."

(Great coincidence on the conductor's name!)

May 26, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Webinar -- "Growing climate justice: The recipe for a just and sustainable future",  1PM our time, free.  Hosted by Grist.

Registration Link
or watch on Facebook Live:

Reminder for tomorrow:
Thursday, May 27th:
Letters to the Ministers event, Malpeque Federal Green Party District Association, 7-8:30PM,
over Zoom.  All invited.

"Join us in calling for greater climate action by writing a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Wilkinson. Register here!

NDP PEI Silent Auction Fundraiser has been extended until the end of May, more details here:

The Provincial Official Opposition Green Party has shuffled its Critic roles among its Caucus members, full media release here:

Thanks to The Guardian's Stu Neatby for simplifying it with near-telegram efficiency (and provincial political keener points if you can translate the abbreviations):

PBB takes on Ag & Land
Altass: From Health ->Ec Growth, Tourism Bernard: (From) Education -> SD&Housing
Beaton: Ag, Finance ->Health
Bell: SD&Housing ->Finance, Env't&Climate
Hammarlund: Tourism&Culture ->Transpo, Infra
Howard: TIE->Education
Lund: Env't, CC->Justice, Fisheries

(thanks to Susan Hartley for adding one that was skipped)

And from the press release, Standing Committee assignments are changing, too, with these being the two Green Party members on each Committee going forward:

Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth: Trish Altass, Steve Howard

Standing Committee on Health and Social Development: Michele Beaton, Karla Bernard

Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability: Hannah Bell, Ole Hammarlund

Standing Committee on Public Accounts: Hannah Bell, Lynne Lund

Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges: Karla Bernard, Lynne Lund

Standing Committee on Legislative Assembly Management: Peter Bevan-Baker, Michele Beaton


While it's good to have "cross-training" of MLAs and various roles, it's hard (as an interested citizen) knowing there will likely be a period of inefficiency while the person learns a lot about the details and history of the portfolio and who is doing what on the Island to promote better governance.  But I wish them all well and hope Islanders will connect with them about issues important to them that the MLAs are now more specifically concerned with.

MLAs' contact info page:

What ECELAW (East Coast Environmental Law) reminds us Ecojustice is working on:
excerpted from the Ecojustice news release yesterday:

Flawed environmental assessment of offshore drilling faces scrutiny in Federal Court - post

Environmental groups head to court to fight blanket exemption for exploratory drilling


The Atlantic waters off the east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador are one of the most important marine environments in the world and home to a large amount of ocean life from the endangered cod to humpback whales, corals, and sponges.

These waters have sustained local communities for years and are an important part of local Indigenous traditions. Their livelihoods depend on clean, healthy ocean conditions.

Recent experience shows that spills in the region are commonplace and hard to recover from. For example, in November 2018, the White Rose field offshore production facility spilled 250,000 litres into the ocean; no oil was ever recovered. In another instance in June 2018, BP’s exploratory drilling operations off Nova Scotia spilled 136,000 litres of dense drilling mud, which sunk rapidly and smothered the seabed.


ST JOHN’S, N.L./TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF THE BEOTHUK AND MI’KMAQ – Ecojustice will be in court today to challenge the federal government’s failure to properly assess the impact of exploratory drilling for oil and gas on ecosystems off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, and its attempt to exempt all future exploratory drilling from assessment.

Lawyers from Ecojustice are acting on behalf of Sierra Club Canada Foundation, World Wildlife Fund Canada and Ecology Action Centre, who say the Regional Assessment for offshore exploratory drilling in the area was conducted unfairly. The groups say the government decided to give exploratory drilling projects a pass from environmental assessment before the Regional Assessment even began. As a result, the assessment skipped key parts of its mandate to identify effects of oil and gas exploration on the ecology of the area. These activities, they say, would also inhibit the ability to meet vital provincial and national greenhouse gas reduction targets.

A new report from the International Energy Agency has emphasized that net-zero scenarios need to focus on immediate action, including no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects going forward. The report calls for an immediate phase out of fossil fuels.

Despite the urgency of the dual biodiversity and climate crises, the federal government has used the flawed Regional Assessment to create a dangerous exemption regulation and plans to use it to waive individual assessments for a slew of exploratory drilling projects.

The groups say the government cannot rely on this single flawed assessment to exempt all future drilling in the region from much-needed scrutiny under the Impact Assessment Act (IAA). This misguided exemption sets a dangerous precedent for what kind of industrial activities will or will not be properly assessed in the future.

<snip>  quotes in the article

Apparently, that International Energy Report mentioned above is a HUGE deal, as it finally says that Net Zero by 2050 must be reached and no new fossil fuel projects started.  Full report and more here:

This is reiterated by Jim Emberger from the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance in his newsletter yesterday:

The big energy and climate news of this week is a blockbuster.  The International Energy agency (IEA) this week issued its climate and energy report.  Among other things it noted the substantial increase in renewable energy and forecast that it must be increased many-fold, and quickly, along with other equally drastic measures, to meet the climate targets set in the Paris agreement.  It doesn't minimize the difficulties involved, but maintains the tasks are achievable, and outlines a pathway.

Others have said many of the same things, but this organization isn't an environmental NGO. It influences the energy policies of many governments and industry, which in the past have always lauded the IEA's reports.  Remember "The Golden Age of Shale"?

That the IEA is issuing this current report signals a sea change in the basic thinking of many of the world's political and energy economists, and will shake up boardrooms and governments around the world.  One of its jaw-dropping prescriptions is that there can be no new fossil fuel source developed (or planned for) after this year!   Below is a review of the report, which contains links to the report itself.

No new oil, gas or coal development if world is to reach net zero by 2050, says world energy body

<end of quote from Jim's newsletter>
more info:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Borodin’s Prince Igor,  today until 6:30PM
Starring Oksana Dyka, Anita Rachvelishvili, Sergey Semishkur, Ildar Abdrazakov, Mikhail Petrenko, and Štefan Kocán, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Dmitri Tcherniakov. From March 1, 2014.

Rossini’s La Donna del Lago, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
Starring Joyce DiDonato, Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, John Osborn, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Michele Mariotti. Production by Paul Curran. From March 14, 2015.

May 25, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Online tomorrow,
Wednesday, May 26th: 

Webinar -- "Growing climate justice: The recipe for a just and sustainable future",  1PM our time, free.  Hosted by Grist.

from the event notice:
Join us on May 26th for a live conversation with the principal of Black Futures Lab and co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, Alicia Garza; food justice activist and co-executive director of Soul Fire Farm, Leah Penniman; and Grist CEO, Brady Piñero Walkinshaw....Climate justice and racial justice are inextricably linked....(we'll) talk food sovereignty, climate justice, and equitable solutions.

If you are unable to attend, a recording of the conversation will be made available on Grist's events page and YouTube channel."

Registration Link
or watch on Facebook Live:

Thursday, May 27th:
Dr. Morrison's weekly update, and Premier Dennis King
 on tourist goals/opening up for the summer plans.  More details to follow.
However, updates and announcements of course to pop up unannounced, so best to follow some social media (it seems CBC's Louise Martin tweets whenever she hears of press conferences)

CTV Federal Politics news, from their newsletter yesterday (sorry for formatting errors):


Here's how the week in Canadian politics is shaping up                  


Parliament is back in session as the final push to the end of the spring sitting is on. You thought silly season had already started? Buckle up for four more weeks of it. 


The week ahead


On Tuesday—yes MPs are taking the long weekend—the first item of business will be the budget implementation bill, C-30. It's still at second reading and of all the bills it's safe to say this one will be a must-pass before the end of June so time is ticking.

Then, MPs will vote on the Bloc Quebecois' opposition day motion calling for there not to be an election during the pandemic. It will be curious to watch how the votes fall on this one as all parties have indicated it’s not something they want to see, we'll see whether their votes back that up. 

And, Bill C-15 will have one final day of debate on Tuesday before it's expected to come to a vote and be off to the Senate, where it's already being pre-studied.

If you're wondering where things stand on this piece of legislation I'd recommend giving this explainer a read. 

In terms of other events, on Tuesday, Information Commissioner of Canada Caroline Maynard will be tabling a special report on her office's investigation into "systemic issues affecting the processing of access to information requests by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada."

And, Auditor General Karen Hogan will be releasing two audit reports related to COVID-19 on Wednesday. One looks at the government's securing of personal protective equipment and medical devices, while the other examines how the Liberals handled offering pandemic support to Indigenous communities.

Wednesday has been designated a "committee of the whole" day where the entire House will contemplate the main estimates for the Finance Department, and it remains to be seen what'll come up for debate on Thursday and Friday.

And, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deviated slightly last week from his twice-weekly press conferences amid the heat over Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin's departure, expect to see him out at some point over the next few days. 

(sorry about formatting, please scroll down to continue)

















Not to be missed

  • The House of Commons Health Committee, in part prompted by questions from curious and on-the-ball opposition health critics, continues to be a source of news. On Friday we got new insight on when half of this country is expected to be fully vaccinated, and when the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada first learned of an "issue" surrounding the former military general leading the vaccine rollout. 

  • While Moderna has millions of promised COVID-19 vaccine doses outstanding and no future shipments confirmed, the federal government says it is confident that the company will meet its end of quarter commitments. For more on where things stand with these shots, that's here.

  • And, keeping it short and sweet with the newsletter on this long weekend Sunday so I'd suggest if you're looking for a longer read, Evan Solomon had an extensive and exclusive conversation with retiring Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella where she speaks about the dangers of populism, the role of the courts in 2021 and more. 


On notice


As for what's on the agenda at committee, on Tuesday the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities Committee will be hearing from Seniors Minister Deb Schulte and Department of Employment and Social Development officials on the impact COVID-19 has had on seniors.

Also Tuesday, the House of Commons Finance Committee will be hearing from a range of witnesses on Bill C-10.

On Wednesday, the Environment and Sustainable Development Committee will meet to conduct the clause-by-clause review of Bill C-12, an Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

Thursday, the Status of Women Committee will be meeting in-camera to discuss the draft reports of two studies: one on women’s unpaid work, and the other on its exploration of sexual misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces.

Then on Friday the Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee will be hearing from Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion about the government's spending plans related to his office, though it’s probable that questions will arise about his latest reports into Trudeau and former finance minister Bill Morneau’s dealings with WE Charity.

And, while not on the schedule yet, expect more meetings of the House of Commons Heritage Committee on Bill C-10, as the Bloc Quebecois has offered to help fast-track it through the Commons before the end of the sitting. It remains to be seen whether that’ll happen and what the Senate will then do with the proposed Broadcasting Act changes.

Speaking of the Senate, the National Finance Committee and other committees will keep up the pre-study on various sections of Bill C-30 throughout the week.

And, the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee will meet Wednesday to study Bill S-203, an Act to restrict young persons’ online access to sexually explicit material.


More about Bill C-10 here:


Thanks and a virtual box of chocolates to Ray Brow for reminding me.

Prince Charles: small-scale family farms must be at heart of sustainable future

The Prince of Wales has called for small family farmers in the UK and across the world to come together in a cooperative movement using sustainable farming methods, and for their plight to be at the centre of environmental action.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Massenet’s Thaïs, today untio 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Michael Schade, and Thomas Hampson, conducted by Jesús López-Cobos. Production by John Cox. From December 20, 2008.

Borodin’s Prince Igor, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
 From March 1, 2014. 3 hours 20 minutes
" production of Borodin’s Russian epic—the opera’s first Met staging in nearly a century—stars Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role of the tormented prince who leads his army against the Polovtsians...stellar all-Russian-language (production and includes) the Met’s vast musical forces in this colorful score, which includes the celebrated Polovtsian Dances." 
So gorgeous, sooo visually rich.

May 24, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Wright's Creek Tree Planting, 10AM

"You are welcome to join the Wright's Creek Watershed team.

...Acadian trees and shrubs are ready to be planted.

Come on down and DIG IN!  Location directions below.

All you need is a shovel, a pair of work gloves and a big smile."

Website for more info and directions

Discover Charlottetown has some free activities outside happening today -- music, yoga and fitness --
More info:

Thursday, May 27th:
Letters to the Ministers event, Malpeque Federal Green Party District Association, 7-8:30PM, over Zoom.  All invited.

"Join us in calling for greater climate action by writing a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Wilkinson. Register here!"

Beauty and the Bee
UNESCO and Guerlain empower women and support biodiversity through Women for Bees programme under aegis of Angelina Jolie - UNESCO article

Published on March 8th, 2021, online:

UNESCO and Guerlain have launched a state-of-the-art female beekeeping entrepreneurship programme, “Women for Bees.” Implemented in UNESCO designated biosphere reserves around the world with the support of the French training centre, the Observatoire Français d’Apidologie (OFA), the programme will have actor, film maker and humanitarian activist Angelina Jolie for a Godmother, helping promote its twin objectives of women’s empowerment and biodiversity conservation.

by Dan Winters for National Geographic, from Instagram

Starting on 21 June 2021, ten women from five biosphere reserves will be welcomed to a 30-day accelerated training course at OFA’s Domaine de la Sainte-Baume (Provence, France) every year. Over five years, 50 participants will learn the theoretical and practical bases of beekeeping, including the running of a professional apiary. At the end of the training, participants will have acquired all the protocols allowing them to sustain the life of their bee colonies and to become fully professional beekeeper-entrepreneurs, and members of an international network of female beekeepers.

Focusing on the protection of bees, their welfare and repopulation, as well as education on bees, the programme aims to enable women’s social emancipation through an expertise-driven sustainable professional activity. It also aims to contribute to the repopulation of bees, and to raising awareness of their importance as pollinators bearing in mind that animals play a major part in the pollination of 90% of the planet’s wild flowers.

Angelina Jolie, who as Godmother of the programme will meet with the female beekeepers and track their progress, said: “When women gain skills and knowledge their instinct is to help raise others. I’m excited to meet the women taking part in this programme from all over the world. I look forward to getting to know them and learning about their culture and environment and the role bees play in that. I hope the training will strengthen their independence, their livelihoods and their communities.”

Guerlain Chief Executive Officer Véronique Courtois said: “I’m personally very proud of the “Women for Bees” Guerlain x UNESCO programme which manages to combine two core pillars of our Maison’s strong commitment, In the Name of Beauty: Bees conservation on one side and women empowerment on the other side, a pledge for one of the nature’s most precious wonder & a concrete positive social impact for women of the world. I believe each of us and each organization has a role to play to serve society and to fulfil a goal of a more beautiful and responsible world which is bigger than us.”

The five-year programme is part of a partnership between UNESCO and the LVMH group to support UNESCO’s scientific Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves that has been conducting pioneering research into the interaction between human activity and the environment to advance sustainable development.

The biosphere reserves involved during the programme’s first two years include Central Balkan (Bulgaria), Tonle Sap (Cambodia), Xishuangbanna (China), Kafa (Ethiopia), Iles et Mer d'Iroise (France), Sila (Italy), Katunskiy (Russia), Volcans (Rwanda), and Kozjansko & Obsotelje (Slovenia).

By 2025, 2,500 hives will have been built within 25 UNESCO biosphere reserves. The 50 women to graduate by that year, will have been trained and supported in establishing their own beekeeping operations while participating in a vital, socially beneficial project. Indeed beekeeping can generate income for disadvantaged rural populations and improve food security in areas where agricultural production is minimal. 

Angelina Jolie, long associated with Guerlain, will support the programme as a committed advocate of women’s rights, environmental conservation and humanitarian values.

*LVMH is Guerlain's holding company


Richard Avedon's iconic 1981 photo of beekeeper Ronald Fischer, upon which the Jolie photo is modeled, is here:

Atlantic Skies for May 24th - May 30th, 2021 "Supermoon and Close Conjunction Highlight the Night Sky" - by Glenn K. Roberts

Two celestial events highlight the night sky this coming week - the Full Flower Supermoon on May 26, and the Mercury - Venus conjunction on the 28th.

The Full Moon is at perigee (closest approach to Earth) on the morning of May 26. You can watch for the near-full Moon when it rises around 8 p.m. on the evening of May 25, until it sets around 5:30 a.m. on the morning of May 26; actual perigee will, unfortunately, not occur until around 8:13 a.m. AST, after the Moon has set.

According to astrology, there are three supermoons in 2021 - the first having occurred on Apr. 26, the second this month, and the third due on June 24. However, astronomers consider only the Full Moon that comes closest to Earth in a given year (357,318 kms on May 26) as the true "supermoon" of the year. The May 26  Full Supermoon will be about 14% larger than normal (a difference barely noticeable to the human eye), and up to 30% brighter than a normal Full Moon. May's Full Moon is sometimes referred to as the "Flower Moon", as it comes at the time when many of spring's flowers are in bloom in the Northern Hemisphere.

And, yes, the media is hyped that it will be what is referred to as a "Blood Moon", due to the fact that this month's supermoon occurs during a total lunar eclipse. Unfortunately for those of us in eastern North America, we will not see anything of that lunar eclipse, and, thus, miss out entirely on the Full Moon appearing a reddish "blood" colour. Western North America and the Pacfic region will witness the event, either partially or in totality. However, don't despair; if you wish to watch the total lunar eclipse (and the "Blood Flower Supermoon"), you can go online to The Virtual Telescope Project (, which will live feed the eclipse in its entirety beginning at 8 a.m. AST on the 26th.

The second celestial event to occur this coming week, and one we can witness (weather permitting), is the close conjunction of Mercury and Venus in the post-sunset sky on the evening of May 28. A conjunction occurs when two celestial objects have either the same right ascension or the same ecliptic longitude, meaning, basically, that they are fairly close to one another in the sky. With an unobstructed view of the west-northwestern horizon (try viewing from a hilltop, building top, or elevated location), look for Venus (mag. -3.9, in Taurus - the Bull) approximately 8 degrees above the horizon about 30 mins after sunset; by 45 mins after sunset, Venus will have dropped closer (to about 5 degrees) to the horizon, and be more difficult to see. You will most likely need binoculars to pick Venus out of the post-sunset glow, and definitely need them to spot Mercury. In the same binocular field of view, you will spot tiny (and dimmer) Mercury (mag. +0.5, in Taurus) just to the lower left of Venus. The angular separation of the two planets, referred to as their "appulse",  will be approximately 0.4 degrees, making them appear as a single point of light to the unaided human eye (thus the need for binoculars). This will be the closest conjunction of these two planets until Nov. 5, 2033. If you have a DSLR camera with a telephoto lens, this would make an interesting astrophoto. Mars (mag. +1.7, in Gemini - the Twins) sits about 27 degrees to the upper left of Venus and Mercury on the evening of the 28th., setting around 12:20 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.6, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) and Jupiter (mag. -2.4, in Aquarius - the Waterbearer) are both visible in the pre-dawn, east-southeast  sky - Saturn rises around 1:30 a.m., reaching 23 degrees above the horizon before fading from sight by about 4:45 a.m.; Jupiter rises around 2:10 a.m., and reaches 24 degrees above the horizon, before disappearing from view about 5:10 a.m.

Until next week, clear skies.


May 26 - Full Flower Supermoon; Moon at perigee (closest to Earth); 8:13 a.m.

        28 - Mercury and Venus conjunction; post-sunset, WNW

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, today until 6:30PM
Starring Galina Gorchakova, Elisabeth Söderström, Plácido Domingo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Nikolai Putilin, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Production by Elijah Moshinsky. From April 15, 1999. 
Placido Domingo and Dmitri Hvorostovsky in what could be a pretty good "don't start gambling" campaign. 

Nightly Opera Streams, May 24–30

Theme: Rare Gems

Discover a treasure trove of lesser-performed operatic gems in this week of free streams. Explore the articles and resources below to expand your knowledge and enhance your experience as you enjoy the screenings. (link here)

Massenet’s Thaïs, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM

Starring Renée Fleming, Michael Schade, and Thomas Hampson, conducted by Jesús López-Cobos. Production by John Cox. From December 20, 2008.   Renee Fleming sings beautifully and has gorgeous costumes, and this opera has the often played violin "Meditations". 

May 23, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Due to the rain and wind yesterday, the
Tree Planting at Wright's Creek is now taking place Monday, May 24th.

from the David Suzuki Foundation: 

Does fracked methane deserve “natural” label? - article by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington

Published on Friday May 21st, 2021

On his first day in office, U.S. President Joe Biden announced plans to
impose limits on methane emissions from oil and gas the previous administration cancelled.

That’s good news. The UN Environment Programme and Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s “Global Methane Assessment” said, “Reducing human-caused methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective strategies to rapidly reduce the rate of warming and contribute significantly to global efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5° C.”

Methane is a powerful but relatively short-lived greenhouse gas. Unlike carbon dioxide, which can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, methane breaks down within a decade or so, but it’s 84 times more potent in trapping heat over a 20-year period.

Scientists estimate methane has caused about 30 per cent of heating to date, with emissions rising at record rates. Cutting methane emissions is a cost-effective way to quickly reduce greenhouse gases and pollution. The UN report found they could be cut by 45 per cent by 2030 using readily available methods.

According to a Guardian article, “Achieving the cuts would avoid nearly 0.3C of global heating by 2045 and keep the world on track for the Paris climate agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C.” The report also concluded that, because methane causes ground-level ozone, or smog, “a 45 per cent reduction would prevent 260,000 premature deaths, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labour from extreme heat, and 25 million tonnes of crop losses annually.”

The report estimated 42 per cent of human-caused methane emissions are from agriculture, mainly from livestock flatulence and manure, and rice cultivation. Intentional and unintentional leaks and venting from fossil fuel operations make up about 36 per cent and waste sites cause 18 per cent. Some methane comes from natural sources such as decay in wetlands and melting permafrost. (Various studies, including by the David Suzuki Foundation, found industry and governments consistently underreport oil and gas methane emissions.)

Fossil fuel industry emissions are largely from leaks and venting in development of “natural” gas (which is mostly methane, much of it fracked).

In labelling it “natural gas,” industry has convinced people it’s benign, or a “bridge fuel” as the world transitions from dirtier sources like coal to renewable energy. That’s led governments to tout it as an economy booster and to go into full fracking mode.

For example, B.C.’s 2021 budget confirmed the province will continue to subsidize and rely on the liquefied natural gas industry (mostly fracked methane), one of the province’s main sources of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

If methane were truly a bridge fuel, when will we have crossed the bridge? The David Suzuki Foundation and Pembina Institute released a study in 2011 showing that, even then, the transition fuel argument wasn’t valid.

Among the simplest ways to rapidly reduce methane emissions are to stop venting and leaks at gas operations (in part by replacing outdated technology), reduce organic waste sent to landfills and improve sewage treatment. Captured methane can be used rather than wasted. A recent Environmental Defense Fund study found half of all methane emissions cuts could be achieved at no net cost — about 80 per cent of those from oil and gas.

Reducing methane from animal agriculture is more of a challenge. People eating less meat, especially cattle, would bring emissions down substantially, but that will take time. Small measures such as changes to feed and better herd management could reduce methane from agriculture by about 25 per cent by 2030, the report estimated.

While changes to diet and agricultural practices can have a range of beneficial effects for climate, the environment and human health, the most efficient, cost-effective way to quickly cut methane emissions and reduce their contribution to global heating is to address fossil fuel industry emissions.

We need federal and provincial regulations to ensure methane emissions drop at least 75 per cent by 2030, including requiring fossil fuel companies to cut them at the source by preventing leaking and venting. And, as with coal and oil, we should be winding down natural gas production and shifting to renewable energy.

“Natural” gas may come from nature, but releasing it into the atmosphere is upsetting the natural balance that makes the planet habitable. There’s nothing natural about that.

from The Beacon, a newsletter from

Friday, May 21st, 2021

Global banking institutions might finally be favoring green projects over traditional ventures involving fossil fuels. - The Grist article by Adam Mahoney

A Bloomberg News analysis of almost 140 financial institutions worldwide shows that banks have committed more money to renewable energy and other climate-friendly projects so far in 2021 than to fossil fuel-backed ones. From the start of this year to May 14, $203 billion in bonds and loans were issued to green ventures, compared with $189 billion to projects utilizing dirty energy. 

“We may well be at a powerful tipping point,” Tim Buckley, a clean-energy investor formerly of Citigroup, told Bloomberg News. “Finance will only lead when the numbers make sense.”

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, today until 6:30PM
Starring Joan Sutherland, Alfredo Kraus, Pablo Elvira, and Paul Plishka, conducted by Richard Bonynge. Production by Margherita Wallmann. From November 13, 1982. 
I think this is one of the oldest broadcasts they have. 

Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM

Starring Galina Gorchakova, Elisabeth Söderström, Plácido Domingo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Nikolai Putilin, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Production by Elijah Moshinsky. From April 15, 1999. 

Some liberties e taken with the Pushkin short story to make it a longer and create a baritone part (played by the remarkable, late Dmitri Hvorostovsky) in addition to Placido as Domingo as the complicated main character, Herman.

May 22, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Opportunities

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

Riverview Country Market
North River KJL Market 
Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)
Despite the showers, these events should be happening, but you may want to check before heading out:

Canoes, kayaks, etc.:
Saturday, May 22nd:
Darryl's Memorial Paddle, 8AM onward, starting at Grant's Bridge, Morell.

"Join in a paddle down the beautiful Morell River to celebrate the life of Daryl Guignion.

The paddle will start at Grant's Bridge on the Peakes Road and end at Indian Bridge."

Facebook event details

Also today:
Tree-planting with the Wright's Creek Watershed, 10AM onward.
"So many beautiful Acadian trees and shrubs just waiting to sink their roots into the earth. It's all about protecting the Creek from erosion, planting the beginnings of an old growth forest, and creating more habitat for birds and other wildlife."
More info and to sign up: 
(2021 Tree planting page)

NOTE: Event cancelled -- the Fundraiser "Hens for Haiti", originally scheduled for Monday in Victoria Park, is NOT going ahead


The NDP PEI Silent Auction Fundraiser has been extended until the end of the month, more details here:

Long-range Charlottetown vision: 

Op-Ed: A visionary approach is needed for Charlottetown waterfront - The Guardian Op-Ed by Kirsten Connor

Published on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

Were the mayor and council of the City of Charlottetown to adopt Summerside's visionary approach regarding their recently published plans to buy city waterfront for public use, they would not only garner great respect, but leave a meaningful legacy of their service to the citizens.

The Charlottetown waterfront in question is the much-debated land behind the old Sacred Heart Home. It was stated in the Guardian, Nov. 2, 2020 by a spokesperson for the developer, that negotiations with adjacent neighbours for permission to pass over their land to accommodate access for construction of the proposed building were to commence. Since these neighbours, the Culinary Institute of Canada and the Queen Charlotte Armory, are both public entities (taxpayer-supported), it should make it pretty near impossible to obtain such a permit, considering the general public's clear and articulated objection to this project. How a building permit can be issued without having in place the proper land access to do the actual construction is, of course, interesting. Considering the practical obstacles of the construction process, and the overwhelming public view that this building is not compatible with the historic image of Charlottetown, an urgent dialog about a City of Charlottetown purchase would seem appropriate.

It may even be that the Killam Property Company, with its considerable presence in the Charlottetown rental market, would feel, in social consciousness, that in concert with large numbers of tenants, green space and natural surrounds needs to be provided. They may consider that by engaging in facilitating such a shift in ownership, they would enhance the company image for many generations to come.

This would be a city investment in both social and economic (tourism) development. The courage and fortitude of a previous city council saved the area by Water and Prince Street. There is no reason why this council, with its combined talents and determination, could not have equal success, if they were to pursue public ownership of this important parcel of waterfront land for the benefit of general populations far into the future.

Kirsten Connor is former chair of the Charlottetown Heritage Review Board


Long-range Forestry vision needed:

LETTER: No great forests left - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

Minister Steven Myers says he wants to do something about reforesting the Island. He is worried about the devastating deforestation that has been pervasive on P.E.I. My question to the minister is what attitude will you have in reforesting the Island? Are you looking to plant trees so that they can be cut down for lumber later on? Plant species of trees the forest industry wants? Or are you going to genuinely reforest the Island with the thought of bringing back a healthy forest that won't be cut down for short-term profits?

Sustainability is not good enough anymore. In my opinion, sustainability is saying that we do what we have to do to keep the status quo as long as we dont make things worse. At this point, we need to adopt a regreening attitude, or regeneration plan, to bring back the diversity and richness of nature all around us. Planting one family of trees is not good for nature; we need to plant a variety of trees that are native to this area and hopefully bring back some wildlife. All you have to do is go on Google maps and have a look, a bird's eye view of P.E.I. There are no great forests left.

I worked in Haiti for three years and saw firsthand what a deforested nation looks like, and how people struggle to live in such an environment. Food gets very expensive, storms destroy houses and roads, and people become poorer. We need to work together, all of us, to save this planet and trees are a huge part of that plan.

Anne Gallant, Millvale, P.E.I.


Saturday Afternoon at the Metropolitan Opera Radio (live recording)
Bellini’s I Puritani
Performance from February 18, 2017
Maurizio Benini; Diana Damrau (Elvira Walton), Javier Camarena (Lord Arturo Talbot), Alexey Markov (Riccardo Forth), Luca Pisaroni (Giorgio Walton)   That poor sad Puritan maiden and her fortunately temporary descent into madness (but remember, it all ends happily).

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Nabucco, today until about 2PM
Starring Liudmyla Monastyrska, Jamie Barton, Russell Thomas, Plácido Domingo, and Dmitry Belosselskiy. Production by Elijah Moshinsky. From January 7, 2017.

Special Three Divas LIVE event (Ticketed) this afternoon, 2PM (I think),  with Isobel Leonard, Nadine Sierra and Ailyn Perez.
More details here

Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Saturday 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Joan Sutherland, Alfredo Kraus, Pablo Elvira, and Paul Plishka, conducted by Richard Bonynge. Production by Margherita Wallmann. From November 13, 1982.  A classic, with another poor sad maiden's descent into madness.  But this one ends really badly, after some amazing singing by the legendary Sutherland.

May 21, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays4Future, 3:30PM, in front of Province House.
"Hosted by PEI/Epekwitk Fridays 4 Future Climate Action Group
We meet weekly, (usually in front of Province House on Grafton St.), to call for our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy...."
Deadline for comments to City of Charlottetown for its pre-bylaw on Short Term Rental consultations is today.  The P.E.I. Fight for Affordable Housing group writes:

"If you live in Charlottetown, we can't stress enough the importance of emailing your City Councillor, the Mayor, and the Planning Department. Plus, CC the Chief Administrative Officer ( and Records Management Clerk ( in support of STR regulatory Scenario 2.

They are accepting public feedback until this FRIDAY, MAY 21 so you have a few more days to submit.

There is a template letter on our website you can use as a guide. We also have a petition we will present to the City on this matter which you can sign on our website.

The website has lots of information (including direct wording and a breakdown of what each choice indicates) and a link to a pdf with many municipal and provincial officials' contact information.
the mayor is and most of the councilors are their first initial and last (e.g., mtweel@...) but check the list:
May 21 is Endangered Species Day (always the third Friday of May), to highlight and promote protection of threatened species.

Saltwire media's Sheldon MacLeod has a 13 minute podcast on today (and tomorrow, which is Biodiversity Day):
"May 21 is Endangered Species Day and May 22 is International Day for Biodiversity. Both of these give people a day to focus communications and actions on these subjects. And that's something we discuss with Karen McKendry, Wilderness Outreach Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre."

(I had some technical issues and couldn't get the podcast to play properly before sending this, so I can't comment any further on it)

The American National Wildlife Federation has come some good resources, and does the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

and the also American-based Endangered Species Coalition has lots of info, too:

Nature Canada has wonderful articles highlighting various species:

And World Wildlife Fund -- Canada:

LYNNE LUND: Environmental bill of rights — What is it and what does it mean for Islanders? - The Guardian Op Ed by Lynne Lund

Published on Thursday, May 20th, 2021

Recently in the provincial legislature, Bill 108 - Environmental Bill of Rights passed unanimously in its second reading. The support it received from all parties really speaks to how the conversation around sustainability has shifted. I’m grateful that discussions on getting serious about protecting our environment — now and into the future — is something all political parties are in agreement about. I thank all the MLAs in the house for voting to support this important piece of legislation. Getting environmental rights secured for P.E.I. is now one step closer to reality. So what exactly does an environmental bill of rights mean for Islanders? Let’s talk.

What are environmental rights and don’t I have them now? 

Environmental rights lay the foundation for a healthy and biologically diverse environment for generations to come. It means looking to the future when we make decisions that could potentially impact the environment in a considerable way. With an environmental bill of rights, Islanders can engage more directly in making decisions about how we protect and use our environment. This is not a new idea in Canada. In fact, four other provinces and territories already have these rights. Some have had these rights since the 1970s. Up until now ensuring a healthy environment has been more of an ideal on P.E.I. than a right.

What does participating in environmental decision-making look like?

This bill will create a role for an independent environmental commissioner who is responsible for overseeing these rights. They will also help Islanders understand what is — and what is not — covered under this new law. The bill will also create an online registry for certain types of projects to inform and give Islanders the chance to flag potential problems

What projects belong on the registry?

The environmental bill of rights will largely only deal with projects that are happening on public land, or protected land. Those projects will be listed on the registry for 30 days to make sure Islanders can review them and have an opportunity to voice any concerns they may have. The bill would not give people the right to weigh in on the majority of decisions made by Islanders on how they manage their own private land. Occasionally, environmentally sensitive projects on private land may require permits under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). In those cases, there are already existing processes in place to handle those projects. With the new bill, should any of those projects trigger an Environmental Impact Assessment, Islanders could expect the details to be on the registry. An example of that happening could be developing within the buffer of a wetland or watercourse, or anything considered an “undertaking” under the EPA.

If I’m unhappy with a project on the registry, can I stop it?

It depends. If a project on the registry is of concern, five people can reach out to the commissioner and ask for it to be reviewed anytime during that 30-day period. If the commissioner, upon review, finds that a project is not infringing on environmental rights, nothing happens. If the commissioner has concerns, they will write to the minister with advice on how to adjust the project to make it compliant. If government refuses to adjust the project to bring it into compliance, the commissioner could look to have the courts make a ruling. There are four other jurisdictions in Canada where this is currently a possibility.

Oversight instead of hindsight

All too often, when a poor environmental decision is made, the public, and oftentimes ministers themselves, find out about it after the damage has been done. Unfortunately, our current system only allows for hindsight when what we need is oversight. With an environmental bill of rights, the public has the opportunity to flag these issues in advance, and government can intervene to make sure that damage does not happen. And, in the rarest of occasions where government digs its heels in, moves ahead on projects that are contrary to our environmental rights, and refuses to change course to bring the project into compliance, the public will have the ability to truly hold them accountable under this new law.

Introducing an environmental bill of rights to P.E.I. will ensure that our beautiful Island is protected for generations to come. It makes Islanders partners by giving them the opportunity to better understand and take part in decisions impacting our environment. We only get one Island, and this legislation will play a critical role in ensuring the sustainable management of our province into the future.

Lynne Lund is MLA for Summerside-Wilmot and Official Opposition critic for environment, water and climate change.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Bellini’s La Sonnambula, today until 6:30PM
Starring Natalie Dessay, Juan Diego Flórez, and Michele Pertusi, conducted by Evelino Pidò. Production by Mary Zimmerman. From March 21, 2009.  A sleepwalking woman gets to sing out-of-this-world arias, but it all ends happily, in 2 hours 22 minutes.

Verdi’s Nabucco, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday 6:30PM

Starring Liudmyla Monastyrska, Jamie Barton, Russell Thomas, Plácido Domingo, and Dmitry Belosselskiy. Production by Elijah Moshinsky. From January 7, 2017.  This has the haunting "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves" in Act II.

May 20, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Webinar: Protecting old growth forests and endangered ecosystems with Ken Wu, 3PM, online.  Hosted by Greenpeace Canada and Endangered Ecosystems Alliance
Watch webinar on Facebook Live at this link

Webinar Interview author and activist Seth Klein on "How the climate emergency is like a war", 8PM, with National Observer publisher Linda Solomon Wood

Register here

Monday, May 24th:
Fundraiser "Hens for Haiti", 2PM, Victoria Park Pavillion. 

Hosted by Haiti development organization, ISCA, with musicians Paul Broadbent, the Montgomery's, Frederick, Dean Dunsford, and Shawn MacGillvery. Some more details:
Facebook Music in the Park series page
The NDP PEI Silent Auction Fundraiser is until Friday, May 21st, more details here:

Canadian Government to ban pesticide Chlorpyrifos

from Gretchen Fitzgerald at Sierra Club Canada, Wednesday, May 19th, 2021:

"This week, the federal government announced it will ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos (pronounced: ‘klaw-pai-ri-fos’) - also known as Lorsban, Warhawk, and Demand.

The timing could not have been better. The sun has come out across most of this country these past few weeks, people are busily preparing gardens and farmers are planting seeds. In our back garden and in farms and gardens everywhere, fruit trees are blossoming with flowers that we hope, with help from our pollinator friends, will bear apples and plums this fall for my family to enjoy.

To know that pollinators needed to make these trees bear fruit are now a bit safer, that my daughter's developing brain is safe from the impacts of these toxins, and that fish, frogs, and other aquatic life around the country will not be killed off by chlorpyrifos is a BIG ray of sunshine !

As you know, the rules that allow chemicals to be permitted for "safe" use in Canada are deeply and dangerously flawed. Chlorpyrifos should never have been permitted for use in the first place. And its true, even the ban announced this week will take two years to fully ensure all uses of this toxin are stopped in Canada. 

but it's not stated what alternate pesticides will be used in the meantime.

Though there have been assurances of the quantity and sustainability of the peat facilities here, across the pond in the U.K.:

Sales of peat compost to gardeners to be banned from 2024 - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Damian Caarington, Environment Editor

Funding for restoration of peatlands and tripling of tree planting in England also announced

Published on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

Sales of peat compost to gardeners will be banned from 2024, the government has said. Ministers will also give £50m to support the restoration of 35,000 hectares of peatland by 2025, about 1% of the UK’s total.

The UK’s peatlands store three times as much carbon as its forests. But the vast majority are in a degraded state, and are emitting CO2, which drives the climate crisis.

The environment secretary, George Eustice, announced £500m to fund a tripling of tree planting in England to reach 7,000 hectares a year by 2024 and said a new 2030 target for wildlife populations would be set. A species reintroduction taskforce was also unveiled, to take forward work on recovering species lost to England, such as wildcats and beavers.

Restoring peatlands and increasing woodlands are vital to tackling global heating and boosting biodiversity. In terms of wildlife and wild spaces preserved from human activity, the UK is ranked 228th in the world, out of 240 countries and territories, according to the RSPB.

“Peatlands are our biggest terrestrial carbon store and home to some of our rarest species,” Eustice is expected to say at a speech in Delamere Forest on Tuesday. “But only 13% of our peatlands are in a near-natural state [and] due to damage and degradation, our peatlands are emitting 10m tonnes of CO2 per year in England.”

In April, gardening experts, conservationists and scientists called on the UK government to ban the sales of peat compost by the end of 2021, after its goal of a voluntary phasing out by 2020 – set in 2011 – proved an “abject failure”. Eustice is also expected to set out plans to consult on phasing out the use of peat in horticulture.

Prof Dave Goulson, from the University of Sussex, said: “The [peat compost] ban must be meaningful and include the horticulture industry, and the importation of peat in potted plants. Anything less looks like greenwashing. Globally, peatlands store half a trillion tonnes of carbon, twice as much as the world’s forests. Unearthing this precious store of carbon is a needless ecological disaster.”

The government had already pledged to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares a year across the UK by 2025, in line with the recommendation from its advisers, the Climate Change Committee.

In 2019-2020, 13,700 hectares of new woodland was created in the UK, with 2,300 hectares in England and 11,000 hectares in Scotland. Just a third of the Scottish forests were native species that best support wildlife, with the rest conifer plantations. In England, 90% were native species.

“It is our ambition that all woodlands in England will improve the environment, acknowledging that our woods and trees are vital habitats,” Eustice is expected to say. But the government has not said whether there will be a target for the proportion of native species in new woodlands.

Forestry is a devolved matter and the Scottish government aims to plant 18,000 hectares in 2024-25. But with relatively small areas of planting expected in Wales and Northern Ireland, it remains unclear how the 30,000 hectares a year target for 2025 will be met.

Tony Juniper, the chair of Natural England, said: “Restoring our peatlands, planting trees where they are most needed, and reintroducing species is a key part of aiding nature’s recovery. The measures being announced today bring a range of valuable dividends, for example improved public health and wellbeing, catching carbon from the air, helping us adapt to the changing climate, and providing healthy habitats for wildlife to thrive.”

The Green party MP, Caroline Lucas, said: “The first rule of tree planting to tackle the climate and nature crises should be to stop cutting down existing woodland. There’s been no evaluation of how much woodland might be lost to the £27bn roadbuilding programme and we are already seeing precious woodland being destroyed by vanity projects like HS2.”

In April, the Woodland Trust warned that the UK’s native woodlands were reaching crisis point, and that a drive to plant more trees would count for little if existing woods were lost.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, today until 6:30PM
Starring Ekaterina Semenchuk, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Oleg Balashov, Evgeny Nikitin, René Pape, Mikhail Petrenko, and Vladimir Ognovenko, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Production by Stephen Wadsworth. From October 23, 2010.

Bellini’s La Sonnambula, tonight 7:30PM until Friday about 6:30PM
"Just as a young woman is about to marry her sweetheart, she is discovered—by the entire village, to say nothing of her fiancé—asleep in the bedroom of a stranger. It takes the young man two acts to figure out that sleepwalking is to blame, and everything ends happily. Natalie Dessay as Amina and Juan Diego Flórez as Elvino deliver bel canto magic and vocal fireworks in Mary Zimmerman’s 2009 production. The Tony award-winning director transfers Bellini’s bucolic tale to a rehearsal room in contemporary New York, where an opera company rehearses La Sonnambula—and where the singers are truly in love with each other."

May 19, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Webinar Tomorrow,
Thursday, May 20th:

Protecting old growth forests and endangered ecosystems with Ken Wu, 3PM, online.  Hosted by Greenpeace Canada and Endangered Ecosystems Alliance

excerpts from the media release:

Old growth forests in British Columbia keep falling, escalating a global extinction and climate crisis.

Why is this still happening in 2021?

What are the green and just solutions?

And what does the plight of these old forests tell us about Canada’s chances at protecting other endangered ecosystems?

Join us ...for a conversation with renowned conservationist and movement leader Ken Wu to learn more about what’s happening on the ground and how you can play a role in defending nature wherever you are. 

Greenpeace Canada has recently launched a petition calling on B.C. Premier John Horgan to keep his promise to protect remaining old growth forests, fund Indigenous leadership and support communities in transition."
Watch webinar on Facebook Live at this link

Thursday, May 20th:
Webinar Interview author and activist Seth Klein on "How the climate emergency is like a war", 8PM, with National Observer publisher Linda Solomon Wood

"Klein’s new book, A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency, argues for a wartime response to deal with the climate crisis. He draws on Canada’s wartime histories to demonstrate how, in the past, we’ve organized as a nation to implement a cross-class response to global threats."
Register here

Canoes, kayaks, etc.:
Saturday, May 22nd:
Darryl's Memorial Paddle, 8AM onward, starting at Grant's Bridge, Morell.

"Join in a paddle down the beautiful Morell River to celebrate the life of Daryl Guignion.

The paddle will start at Grant's Bridge on the Peakes Road and end at Indian Bridge."

Facebook event detail

Also Saturday:
Tree-planting with the Wright's Creek Watershed, 10AM.
"So many beautiful Acadian trees and shrubs just waiting to sink their roots into the earth. It's all about protecting the Creek from erosion, planting the beginnings of an old growth forest, and creating more habitat for birds and other wildlife."
More info and to sign up:  (2021 Tree planting page)

all in the family

Avi Lewis to Run for Federal NDP in West Vancouver Riding - The Globe and Mail article by Ian Bailey and Erika Ibrahim

Published on Monday, May 17th, 2021

Avi Lewis, the grandson of a former leader of the federal NDP and son of a former leader of the Ontario NDP, has announced he will run for the New Democrats in the federal riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.

The activist, documentary filmmaker and former TV host was courted to seek office for years by Jack Layton, the late federal NDP leader, but Mr. Lewis turned him down repeatedly. However, Mr. Lewis, 54, said Monday it was time to take his commitment to progressive causes into elected politics.

And he said there was no better place to do that that the riding where he will run given he has had a home there, in the community of Halfmoon Bay, for 15 years. He lives with his wife, the bestselling author Naomi Klein, and their son who was born in the riding, northwest of Vancouver. After two recent years living in New Jersey, Mr. Lewis and his family returned to the riding.

....Mr. Lewis said he will be looking for progressive voters in the riding anxious for action on issues such as housing and climate change, and “deeply dismayed” by federal Liberal shortcomings on both files.

Mr. Lewis is the son of Stephen Lewis, the leader of the Ontario NDP from 1970 until 1978. His grandfather was David Lewis, a leader of the federal NDP from 1971 to 1975.

Mr. Lewis said his 83-year-old father is “hanging in” as he copes with abdominal cancer. “He is still entirely himself, just a tired and pained version of that self. He’s an extraordinary figure.”

He said people want to talk about legacy and entitlement, but he doesn’t feel entitled to anything. “I have always voted NDP, but I have never run for the NDP before. I don’t have anything that was handed down to me except an understanding of the struggle for social justice.”...

Asked whether Ms. Klein would lend her profile to his campaign, Mr. Lewis said she has been enlisted as the master of ceremonies for his campaign launch. “I sincerely hope that’s an indication. We’re taking it one request at a time,” he quipped.


keeping in mind the Environmental Bill of Rights Legislation is on pause in P.E.I. waiting for more consultation and then hopefully third reading in the Fall Sitting of the Legislature, here is the East Coast Environmental Law blog on Environmental Rights, part 2

Why Legislate Environmental Rights on Prince Edward Island: Part Two - ECELAW blog post by Mike Kofahl, Staff Lawyer and Tina Northrup, Staff Lawyer 

Published on Wednesday, May 12th, 2021, here:

This blog post is the second installment of a two-part series inspired by the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights that was introduced to Prince Edward Island’s Legislative Assembly on April 8, 2021. You can read the first installment here.

One of the purposes of Prince Edward Island’s proposed Environmental Bill of Rights (“Bill 108”), as it was tabled on April 8, 2021, is to confirm the Government of Prince Edward Island’s duty to protect the environment as a “public trust”. Specifically, section 47 of Bill 108 states:

The Government, within its jurisdiction,

(a) is the trustee of the province’s environment; and

(b) shall preserve the province’s environment in accordance with the public trust for future generations.

So, what is a public trust, and what does it mean for the Government of Prince Edward Island to be its trustee?

Generally speaking, a trust is a legal relationship between two people or parties, where an asset or resource is held by a trustee on behalf of a beneficiary who benefits from the use of the asset or resource. The trustee has a duty (in law, it is called a “fiduciary duty”) to look after and manage the asset or resource in the beneficiary’s best interest so that the beneficiary can continue to benefit from the asset or resource. The trustee cannot use, sell, or manage the asset or resource for their own benefit or for the benefit of someone who is not the beneficiary. There can be more than one beneficiary in a trust, and in such cases the trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in all of their best interests. 

A public trust takes the concept of the trust relationship between a trustee and beneficiary and applies that concept to the relationship between the government and the public. If it were enacted as passed, Bill 108 would create a public trust in which the Government of Prince Edward Island would be understood to hold, manage, and have a duty to preserve the environment within its jurisdiction for the benefit of the public, and, specifically, for future generations of the public. In other words, the Government of Prince Edward Island would need to make sure that it was acting in the best interests of the public when managing the environment within its jurisdiction.

What Rights Would I Have if the Environment Were Held in Trust by the Government?

In our view, interpretations of the public trust that Bill 108 recognizes would likely be shaped by the public trust doctrine, which states that “certain natural and cultural resources are preserved for public use, and that the government owns and must protect and maintain these resources for the public’s use."1 If the Government of Prince Edward Island were to act in a way that failed to preserve the environment within its jurisdiction in the public’s best interest, then the trust relationship could allow members of the public to seek a remedy in court. 

The roots of the public trust doctrine can be traced back to Roman times. Historically, the doctrine has recognized that certain environmental resources or features—like air, water, and the sea—are common to humankind and must be preserved for everyone’s use. The focus of the early doctrine was on coastal and ocean waters because they were important for navigation and fishing. The public trust doctrine was later incorporated into the British common law (which draws heavily on Roman precedents), where it was used in a broad sense to recognize a common right to use and access coastal waters. 

Canadian courts have not yet applied the public trust doctrine as a common law doctrine and incorporated it into Canada’s common law (the law that emerges through generations of judicial decision-making), but the doctrine has been adopted and developed in the United States, where it is used to protect fishing, navigation, and commerce rights. In an important decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1892 called Illinois Central R R v Illinois, the Court ruled that the Government of Illinois could not legislate (create laws) in a way that would alienate public rights in navigable waters (i.e., give those rights away) in order to serve private interests.2 The Court ultimately determined that Lake Michigan—which was the body of water at issue in the case—was held in trust for the public in a way that made it necessary for persons to be able to navigate its waters, conduct commerce, and fish without interference from private parties.3

American courts have continued to develop the public trust doctrine. Although it is applied differently in each state, the doctrine has generally been limited to creating procedural rights rather than substantive rights (see the first blog post in this two-part series for a discussion of the difference). The procedural rights that the doctrine has been used to create are meant to ensure that government decisions about public resources are transparent and open, with the public being informed about those decisions and having opportunities to evaluate and provide input.4 The objective is to ensure that the government manages and protects public resources in the public’s best interest. 

With all of this in mind, some of the rights stemming from the public trust doctrine that Bill 108 could provide if it were enacted as passed could include procedural rights such as:

  • the right to be informed by the provincial government about potential decisions being made about the environment within the government’s jurisdiction;

  • the right to provide comments on and input into those decisions; and,

  • the right to take the government to court to remedy breaches of such rights.

It is also possible for the public trust doctrine to be applied in ways that impose clear environmental protection obligations on governments and, in doing so, enhance substantive public rights to healthy and ecologically balanced environments. For example, in the American case National Audubon Society v Superior Court of Alpine County, the Supreme Court of California determined that the public trust doctrine created a “duty of the state to protect the people’s common heritage of streams, lakes, marshlands, and tidelands, surrendering that right of protection only in rare cases when the abandonment of that right is consistent with the purposes of the trust”.5 The Court articulated the state’s duty like so:

“The state has an affirmative duty to take the public trust into account in the planning and allocation of water resources, and to protect public trust uses whenever feasible”.6

When the public trust doctrine is applied in ways that impose clear environmental protection obligations on governments, those obligations can enhance substantive public rights to healthy and ecologically balanced environments.

Why Is the Public Trust Such an Important Part of the Proposed Environmental Bill of Rights?

As we noted above, Canadian courts have not yet applied the public trust doctrine as a common law doctrine and incorporated it into Canada’s common law. 

We are not aware of any existing statutes or regulations on Prince Edward Island which state clearly that the provincial environment is held in trust for the public. The Water Act includes some noteworthy language that aligns with the public trust doctrine: for example, subsections 2(f) and 2(g) in the Purpose and Goals section state that two of the province’s goals are

“that present and future generations shall have sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for domestic purposes”; [and]

“that access to and use of water be sustainable and not harm water quality, water security or the ecosystems that support water quality and water security”.

This language is progressive and very promising, but in and of itself it does not create substantive rights to water or establish clear legal responsibilities to protect the province’s water resources for future generations. Incorporating the public trust doctrine into Prince Edward Island’s law through the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights could help to bridge that gap.

The Supreme Court of Canada opened the door to the common law public trust doctrine in its 2004 decision British Columbia v Canadian Forest Products Ltd, in which Justice Binnie reflected that the concept of public rights to the environment being held in trust by Crown has deep roots in the common law—dating to Roman law and flowing from both British common law and French civil law—with such rights having been applied to running water, rivers, air, the sea, and shorelines.7 However, as Canadian courts have grappled with the idea that government holds the environment and its resources in trust for the public, they have come to some dissatisfying results. 

Recently, in a case called La Rose v Canada, Canada’s Federal Court heard arguments by a group of Canadian youths who argued that the Government of Canada has public trust obligations and responsibilities when it comes to the management of certain environmental resources. Specifically, the youths wanted the Government of Canada to take action to address climate change.8 In the Court’s decision, Justice Manson stated that the “public trust doctrine is a concept that Canadian Courts have consistently failed to recognize”, and he went so far as to state that the doctrine “does not exist in Canadian law”.9

Part of the reason that Canadian courts have declined to recognize the public trust doctrine under the common law is because they fear that doing so would expand the common law significantly, and our legal tradition says that when courts expand the common law, they must only expand it incrementally. Put another way, our courts do not like to dramatically change or alter the way that the common law works, so changes to the common law typically happen slowly, over long periods of time. This means that the best and most efficient way to incorporate the public trust doctrine into Canadian law sooner rather than later is for elected governments to legislate it.


There continue to be attempts by ordinary citizens, communities, and environmental groups to have courts recognize the public trust doctrine as part of Canada’s common law. Recently, applicants applied to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court for judicial review of the Government of Nova Scotia’s decision to remove Owls Head Provincial Park from the protection of the province’s Parks and Protected Areas plan and the corresponding decision to sell the land to a private landowner for development into a golf course. Both decisions were made without notice to the public. The applicants argued, in part, that the provincial government owed the public procedural rights of notice and comment, based on the public trust doctrine. That case has been heard and a decision is pending. 

If the proposed Environmental Bill of Rights for Prince Edward Island were enacted as it was tabled, the Bill would create a statutory basis for the application of the public trust doctrine on the Island. Given the state of the common law in Canada—where the public trust doctrine has not yet been implemented and given legal life—environmental rights legislation that positions the provincial government as the trustee of the environment  and imposes a legal responsibility to preserve that environment as a public trust is a step in the right direction.

Notably, Prince Edward Island would not be the first Canadian province to take this step: the Yukon Environment Act also characterizes the local environment as a public trust and positions the territorial government as its trustee. This is a significant strength in the Yukon environmental law regime, and, in our view, it would be great to see Prince Edward Island follow suit. 


1 Cornell University, Legal Information Institute, “Public Trust Doctrine” (2020) online: <>.

2  Illinois Central Railroad Co v Illinois 146 US 387 (1892) “[T]he title to the lands under the navigable waters of Lake Michigan . . . is a title held in trust for the people of the State that they may enjoy the navigation of the waters, carry on commerce over them, and have liberty of fishing therein freed from the obstruction or interference of private parties. . . . The control of the State for the purposes of the trust can never be lost” at pages 452–453.

3 Ibid at page 452.

4 Kootenai Environmental Alliance v Panhandle Yacht Club Inc., 671 P.2d 1085 (Idaho, 1983), at page 149. 

5 National Audubon Society v Superior Court of Alpine County, 189 Cal. Rptr. 346, 658 P.2d.

6 Ibid

7 British Columbia v Canadian Forest Products Ltd 2004 SCC 38 at paragraphs 74-75. 

8 La Rose v Canada, 2020 FC 1008. Note: this was not a full hearing, but rather was a decision of the Federal Court on a motion to strike, meaning it was an intermediate step. The motion to strike succeeded (the judge decided to “throw out” the case) on the basis that there was no cause of action. 

9 Ibid at paragraph 93


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s Idomeneo, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Elza van den Heever, Nadine Sierra, Alice Coote, Matthew Polenzani, and Alan Opie. Production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From March 25, 2017.  3 hours 20 minutes

Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunovtonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM

Starring Ekaterina Semenchuk, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Oleg Balashov, Evgeny Nikitin, René Pape, Mikhail Petrenko, and Vladimir Ognovenko, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Production by Stephen Wadsworth. From October 23, 2010.  3 hours 20 minutes.     Rene Pape, a bass who's been the stalwart in so many supporting roles (Banquo in MacBeth, Sarastro in The Magic Flute) gets to play the lead of a conflicted tsar in turn of the 17th century Russia.

May 18, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Dr. Heather Morrison may give a COVID-19 update around 11:30AM.  Facebook (Government of P.E.I. or CBC News) are places to tune in on-line, along with Ocean 100 Radio.


Charlottetown Farmers' Market Thursday pick-up orders due today at noon:

Discontent is the first necessity of progress.
      ---Thomas Edison

Clapping for those who participated in last night's forum in Charlottetown:
From comments by others, it appears the discussion at the City of Charlottetown's Short Term Rentals (STR) meeting last night was lively, but public expression was discouraged and (I think) Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy threatened to end the meeting if people clapped in support of speakers frustrated with unregulated STRs skewing Charlottetown's rental availability and housing issues.  And people clapped, and he ended the meeting but it was well after 9PM anyway.  I haven't seen a news story on the meeting yet, but most hope the City was looking at the public's participation and will gravely consider their concerns.

From last month, in case you missed it, on often shared columnist Russell Wangersky's plans and thoughts about the media and how informed citizens take part:

Going down the road - The Guardian column by Russell Wangersky

Published on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Well, the cat is out of the bag.

Well and truly out of the bag.

After years at the very edge of the East Coast of this country, my wife Leslie and I are moving west — so far west, in fact, that we’ll be closer to the Pacific Ocean than to the Atlantic.

We’ll be moving to Saskatoon, where I’ll be taking over as editor-in-chief of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and the Regina Leader-Post. They’re two city dailies that are already doing inventive, interesting and creative work — work that, hopefully, I can encourage and expand.

It will be a big change from years in St. John’s in a variety of editorial roles, and for the last seven years, as a columnist writing for readers across the Atlantic region. I’ll be writing columns and editorials here for the next few weeks, and after that, will learn a new place and be introduced to a new and different outlook.

Why now, after so many years in the Atlantic news business? Well, in part because the opportunity came up, but also because of the state of the news business itself in the last four years. More and more, I find myself frustrated by the willingness of what seems like a growing part of the public to simply dismiss the hard work and professionalism of experienced reporters and editors, turning instead to sources that feed off the desire of people to have their own personal views confirmed.

Why seek out accurate information, when you can simply have a stamp of approval on your already-existing point of view? You don’t have to take the time or energy to ponder your outlook if you only follow the sources that tell you you’re already right.

I think we’re at a critical turning point over whether we’re an informed democracy, or an ignorant one.

I want to be a voice at the front of that debate again — and not just in the world of opinion writing (which I’ll still be doing, as well).

I want to be part of changing and improving what careful, thoughtful local news can bring to communities fractured by the new trend of simply dismissing anything you don’t agree with, out of hand, as “fake,” whether you have any sort of facts to prove your contention or not.

That attitude exacts a clear price, one that we’re paying now. Not just to the south of us, where the Capitol Building was stormed in Washington, but by the scores of people who, because they don’t want to believe that there’s such a thing as a life-changing pandemic, find the most tenuous and unverifiable sources to dismiss COVID-19 deaths and demonize vaccines as dangerous. And, as a result, put us all in far greater danger.

But it’s not only hardliners. It’s remarkable how many people have essentially turned to social media gossip as their news source. A reporter who puts their real name and reputation at the top of every story has far more skin in the accuracy game than any number of icons using made-up handles like “Barb234636” or “Hand of Truth.”

I want to fight the whisperworld of anonymous innuendo. And I don’t think I can do that just from a pundit’s chair. So, big, life-changing disruption to move to a job that will be more work than anything I think I’ve done.

Will it be hard, frustrating and sometimes unpleasant work?

Yes and yes and yes.

But I’d hate to look back one day and say I deliberately chose not to try.

A last thought? Pay for local news.

Pay for experienced professionals to examine, question, write and put their names on news. Or else it really will go away.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Bellini’s I Puritani, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Eric Cutler, Franco Vassallo, and John Relyea, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Sandro Sequi. From January 6, 2007. 

Mozart’s Idomeneo, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Elza van den Heever, Nadine Sierra, Alice Coote, Matthew Polenzani, and Alan Opie. Production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. From March 25, 2017.  3 hours 20 minutes.  "Mozart’s early masterpiece... Tenor Matthew Polenzani brings both steely resolve and compassionate warmth to the title king of Crete, who is faced with an impossible decision..... timeless production blends the grandeur of ancient myth with the elegance of Enlightenment ideals.

May 17, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Option:

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

City of Charlottetown's Public Meeting on Short Term Rental Housing, 7PM, at the Confed Centre (if you have tickets, already) or online:

Rally beforehand, outside Confed Centre, 6PM, physically-distanced:
Facebook event details

Interesting illustrated video:

How Wind Turbines Work (5minutes)

news from abroad:

Wales to launch pilot universal basic income scheme - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Stephen Morris

Campaigners hail ‘huge moment’ as first minister commits to trials of payments to cover living costs

Published on Friday, May 14th, 2021

A pilot universal basic income (UBI) scheme is to be launched in Wales, the first minister, Mark Drakeford, has revealed.  The new minister for social justice, Jane Hutt, a close ally of Drakeford’s, will be asked to work on the pilot.

Under a UBI system, every citizen, regardless of their means, receives regular sums of money for life to cover the basic cost of living. Its proponents argue that it can alleviate poverty and give people time to retrain and adapt to changing workplaces, be more creative and become more active and engaged.

In the build-up to this month’s elections in England, Wales and Scotland, the UBI Lab Network, a worldwide group of activists, researchers and citizens, asked candidates to sign a pledge promising to put pressure on governments and councils to launch trials. Twenty-five candidates who went on to win seats in the 60-strong Senedd signed up, as did 29 in the Scottish parliament.

Earlier this week a Welsh government spokesperson sounded a cautious note, saying: “In principle, the idea of a universal basic income has its benefits. To introduce this in Wales would require an active commitment from the UK government as the welfare system is not devolved.”

In an interview on Friday with Greatest Hits Radio, Drakeford went further. When asked if he would press ahead with a pilot, he replied: “Yes.”

Drakeford said: “A basic income pilot is one of the specific responsibilities of our new social justice minister. It will have to be carefully designed, it will draw on the experience of attempted pilots in Scotland, but I have a very longstanding interest in basic income. I hope we will be able to mount an experiment here that will test whether the claims that are made for a basic income approach are actually deliver.

“We’ll do it on a cross-party basis. There are 25 members of the Senedd in different parties who have expressed an interest in it. I want to do it on that broad basis and design the best possible pilot.”

Jonathan Rhys Williams, of UBI Lab Wales, said: “This is a huge moment for the basic income movement in the UK and around the world. To see the first minister firmly commit to a trial is incredibly satisfying.

“This is a big step towards creating our generation’s NHS, and we look forward to learning more from Jane Hutt and her team. We hope the trial will include a number of different cohorts of people, such as employed people, unemployed people and children, and that it focuses on areas most in need of a basic income.”

Beth Winter, the Labour MP for Cynon Valley in south Wales, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for UBI in Wales. My local authority, Rhondda Cynon Taf, is one of a number of councils who have expressed a desire to host a UBI pilot. This huge level of interest in UBI in Wales only serves to illustrate how people feel let down by the existing welfare system. It’s time for big changes and big ideas, and a well-designed pilot is the crucial next step towards a fairer future.”

The future generations commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, said: “Signalling basic income as a priority for the new government is an incredibly significant commitment by the first minister to tackling Wales’ poverty and health inequalities. It’s a huge moment.

“The current system isn’t working. Wales’ commitment to exploring a basic income once again proves it’s often the small countries that can be world-leading and make the biggest changes.”


Atlantic Skies for Monday, May 17th to Sunday, May 24th, 2021 "Sunspots and Solar Cycles"  - by Glenn K. Roberts


Did you know the Sun has freckles? Well, sort of. Sunspots are areas (many of which are larger than our planet) of intense magnetic activity which appear as dark splotches on the face of the Sun when viewed through a telescope. ** Important alert - never attempt to look directly at the Sun through either binoculars or a telescope - it could result in immediate, long-term damage to your eyes, including permanent blindness!  Only specialized telescopes using calibrated solar filters are used by trained solar scientists to observe the Sun.

Sunspots indicate an area of intense solar activity resulting from changes in the Sun's level of internal activity. Every 11 years, the Sun transitions through a cycle of low solar activity (a "minimum" ) to one of intense solar activity (a "maximum"), and back to a minimum. This is referred to as a "solar cycle". We are currently (2021) in year two of Solar Cycle 25, heading towards solar maximum in July 2025 (the last solar minimum having occurred in December 2019).

The primary way that scientists determine when a solar cycle has reached maximum or minimum is by tracking and recording the number of sunspots that appear on the face of the Sun during the 11 year solar cycle.  The Sun is made up of plasma, a charged gas that generates electric current within the Sun, creating a magnetic field around the Sun (much like Earth's magnetic field).  Sunspots represent a disruption of the Sun's magnetic field. While scientists are not sure exactly what inner solar dynamics generate fluctuations in this magnetic field, they do know that, as the Sun rotates, the plasma at the equator moves faster than that at the Sun's poles. As the Sun's internal activity ramps up, and as more and more sunspots appear, this plasma rotation differential stretches and twists the magnetic field, with the result that kinks poke through the Sun's surface, appearing as dark splotches (which, incidentally, are cooler than the plasma beneath them) that we see as sunspots. These sunspots are often the origin of massive explosions on the Sun - solar flares or coronal mass ejections (CMEs) - that spew huge quantities of energy and solar material out into space. If the flare or CME happens to be directed towards earth, the resulting high energy particles can negatively impact astronauts in space, satellites, and ground-based power and communication systems. They can also generate colourful auroras in the northern (Aurora Borealis) and southern (Aurora Australis) regions on Earth.

Sunspots usually appear in pairs, abutting one another, with one side positive and the other negative. After forming, they usually disappear after a period of time (though some may last weeks or months), leaving behind remnants of the magnetic field, which travel to the Sun's poles (north and south). Once the poles are, in essence, saturated by these magnetic remnants, the elevated polarity causes the  Sun's poles to flip - north becomes south, and south becomes north. The Sun's internal activity then begins to diminish, heading towards a minimum. New sunspots, with opposite polarities to the pre-flip sunspots, then begin to appear (e.g., positive is where negative was on the old sunspots).

Solar scientists look for consistent strings of these new sunspots to determine when one solar cycle has ended and another has begun. The number of sunspots in a solar cycle can vary considerably from one cycle to the next; the solar cycle that ended in December 2019 had  a low of only 114 sunspots (the average is 179). Though there are records of ancient Chinese astronomers recording sunspots a thousand years ago, it wasn't until 1755 (well after the invention of the telescope in the early 17th century) that the formal observation and recording of sunspots and solar cycles began - thus, based on the 11 year cycle, we are now, as of December 2019, into the 25th solar cycle. You can learn more about solar cycles and sunspots, and their impact on space weather and the Earth by going online. It is a fascinating topic.

Mercury and Venus make brief appearances in the evening sky this week. Mercury (mag. +0.3, in Taurus - the Bull) is visible around 9:20 p.m., 10 degrees (hand's width at arm's length) above the west-northwest horizon, setting by about 10:40 p.m. On the evening of May 17, Mercury will reach its greatest elongation (angular separation) east of the Sun; it will also be at its highest elevation in the evening sky for 2021. Venus, though brighter than Mercury, may be more difficult to spot in the post-sunset glow. With an unobstructed view of the west-northwest horizon with clear skies, Venus (mag. -3.9, in Taurus) should just be visible low (about 5 degrees) above the horizon before it sets around 9:30 p.m. Mars (mag. +1.7, in Gemini - the Twins) remains an evening object this week, visible around 25 degrees above the western horizon by about 9:15 p.m., before setting by 12:30 a.m. Saturn and Jupiter continue their dance above the pre-dawn, east-southeast horizon. Saturn (mag. +0.6, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) appears first, rising around 1:55 a.m., and reaching 22 degrees above the horizon, before fading from view by about 4:55 a.m. Jupiter (mag. -2.4, in Aquarius - the Water-bearer) rises around 2:40 a.m., also reaching 22 degrees above the east-southeast horizon, before it, too, succumbs to the approaching dawn and fades from view around 5:15 a.m.  Incidentally, both Saturn and Jupiter reach opposition this year, Saturn in July - August, and Jupiter in July - November.

Until next week, clear skies.


May 17 - Mercury at greatest eastern elongation from Sun; early evening

        19 - First Quarter Moon


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, tonday until 6:30PM

Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani, and Mariusz Kwiecień, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Sir Davi

Bellini’s I Puritani, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday 6:30PM

Starring Anna Netrebko, Eric Cutler, Franco Vassallo, and John Relyea, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Sandro Sequi. From January 6, 2007.

May 16, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

This afternoon:
Spring Education Forum, hosted by The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP), 2PM, Theme: The Land is Alive

With Inspirational Presenters: Jill MacCormack  and Julie Pellissier-Lush
This forum will be a mixture of Zoom at a central point and smaller regional in-person groups. The in-person groups will be in West Prince, Charlottetown, and Kings County.
To register:

More about the event from its press release:

The theme is a quote, often-repeated, of a farmer in the spring when she would be out preparing the land for a new crop. She was always clear that she was not talking only about organic matter but about the life of the land itself.

In PEI and elsewhere we often hear the Indigenous people refer the land as “our mother”, a living person.

LAMP members, the majority of whom worked in Latin America, have a concern about land and water. They know European colonization of the Global South, as of other parts of the world, aimed at separating the people from their Indigenous relationship with the land. This is especially true in the Dominican Republic, where the Spaniards wiped out the whole Indigenous population in less than 30 years.

The LAMP forum aims to deepen participants’ connection with the land and to learn from each other that how we think and feel about the land has consequences for the future of land and water

Two inspirational presenters, Jill MacCormack and Julie Pellissier-Lush will set the tone and spirit of the forum.

Julie Pellissier-Lush is a Mi’kmaq elder, actor, best-selling author, and PEI poet laureate. Julie is coordinator for the Mawi’omi Indigenous Student Centre on the UPEI campus. She is known to many organizations across the Island for her inspiring participation in a wide range of community events. She raises the spirit of the people and the spirit of the land.

Jill MacCormack a nature lover, writer, and homeschooling mother of three is heart-bound to PEI. Contemplative listening on forest walks, when vegetable gardening and while meditating help keep Jill’s deep connection to Earth alive and well. She shares her spiritual gleanings on her blog Prattle and Ponder where she welcomes her readers to consider their own connections to the living Earth. Jill is gratefully published in RED magazine among other publications and is an honoured contributor to Todd MacLean’s book, Global Chorus.

Opinion, and a very well thought-out one:

Sustainable farm practices needed for all P.E.I. farms - The Eastern Graphic article by Douglas Campbell

Printed on Wednesday, May 5th, 2021, in The Graphic publications, and Thursday, May 6th, 2021 in The Guardian

I compliment the good journalism that graced the front page of the Guardian on April 21 with the headline State of the soil. It was fact-based, and drew from a number of sources of information and experiences. Its one weakness may have been allowing the NFU to be criticized without asking for a direct quote from our farm organization. However, it would appear the NFU may have been the catalyst for the story since we have long drawn attention to the state of the health of Island soil.

I appreciate what farmers like Vernon Campbell are doing to provide us with food through what he outlined as sustainable practices. Unfortunately Mr. Campbell did not point out that perhaps he is in the minority with his mixed dairy, beef and potato farming operation that enables him to better care for his land. Many Island farmers have embraced monoculture cropping as promoted by governments and industry. Tillage does damage soil but so does planting the same crop over and over. Since everything is interconnected we need more operations like Mr. Campbell's. I was very glad to see Mr. Campbell state that organic matter helps improve water-holding capacity and that the drought conditions seen in 2020 have driven home the importance of rehabilitating soil health in the province. This is taking account of the damage done and is offering a ray of hope that change is in the works.

As for the comments by Dave Burton that the Island knows more about its soil problem than other provinces is not helpful to inspiring change. The lack of actions on the part of others doesn’t change or justify our problem. As for saying the NFU is right to flag the problem but it is not very productive to say the sky is falling and for saying that we have to point out what is working and try to help producers slowly change their practices holds truth because of the human resistance to change. But Mr. Burton, you must know that the NFU has been flagging the problem for a long time and yet there is little change. This is urgent. We can’t continue to slowly change because, if you are watching what is happening in the world, the sky is beginning to fall. Now more than ever we need farmers to be able to feed the world with sustainable practices that protect the soil and water that feeds all life.

To other organizations, like the Potato Marketing Board who are saying criticism “unfairly demonizes farmers”, I ask the question: Is it farmers who are being demonized or is it unsustainable farming practices that serve only the few?

There is a big difference and it must be acknowledged and separated. When it stops being personal, a bigger picture can be seen. As for the angry reaction to the NFU I say, remember shooting the messenger changes nothing.

DOUGLAS CAMPBELL GUEST OPINION Douglas Campbell lives on his family farm in Southwest Lot 16 and is district director of the National Farmers Union.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, until 2PM today.
Starring Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee, Christopher Maltman, Maurizo Muraro, and Paata Burchuladze, conducted by Michele Mariotti. Production by Bartlett Sher. From November 22, 2014.

Met Opera National Council Auditions Grand  Finals, 3PM, live-streamed.  Details here.

Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Elīna Garanča, Matthew Polenzani, and Mariusz Kwiecień, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Sir David McVicar. From April 16, 2016

May 15, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food today:

Local Food Opportunities

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

Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)
Riverview Country Market
North River KJL Market

Farm Centre Legacy Garden Volunteer Day, 10AM onward, meet at Garden behind PEI Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown

Tomorrow, Sunday, May 16th:
Spring Education Forum, hosted by The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP), 2PM, Theme: The Land is Alive
Inspirational Presenters: Jill McCormack  and Julie Pellissier-Lush

This forum will be a mixture of Zoom at a central point and smaller regional in-person groups. The in-person groups will be in West Prince, Charlottetown, and Kings County.
To register:

Corrections (thanks to those who pointed this out):

The David Suzuki Foundation "No Mow" link is incorrect and should be:

Recent Letter to the Editor, though City of Charlottetown Council has approved the next stage of the project at a meeting Monday of this week, for this property which I think is the current Polyclinic parking lot and area.  The author of this letter made better, more informative signs about the project  and the tiny window for public comments (see photo of sign at link).

LETTER: An opportunity not yet missed - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Friday, May 7th, 2021

It would have been encouraging to see an architect’s design for a building at 199 Grafton St. that was created specifically for this space (without seven variances) that would embrace the 500 Lots guidelines prepared by the Planning Partnership and adopted by the City of Charlottetown. The current proposal resembles a stock product, stuffed into a space too small for its size. An architecturally designed building would respect the height and setback allowances for the area, design principles such as stepping up gradually from adjacent buildings, and potentially incorporate a rejuvenated (sidewalks, lighting, greenspace, trees) Clarke Street in its design rather than creating a 70 x 278 foot “wall” only two feet from the property line, etc.. Ideally, any building put on this site within view of Queen’s Square, the centre of the 500 Lots and home to many buildings with grandeur (heritage and newer), would be a building that was creatively designed, exhibited landmark qualities that exemplified what inspired architecture and design can accomplish, and be an outstanding addition to the 500 Lots for the decades that it will be standing there. A project that the owners of the property and the city would both be proud of creating. Sadly, the building as proposed fails miserably to meet that challenge. That the city closed comments only 15 hours (9 p.m. Tuesday to noon Wednesday) after the public consultation meeting on such a significant change to this area and posted minimalist paper notices understandably missed by many local residents suggests a disinterested at best, intentional exclusion at worst, attitude to true public engagement in planning issues.

Andrea Battison, Charlottetown

Some Arctic News:

Biden Trumps Arctic Drilling Proposal - The Grist article by Adam Mahoney

Published by The Beacon, a Climate Justice Solutions newsletter from Grist on Friday, May 15th, 2021

The U.S. Department of Interior, headed by Deb Haaland, recently said it’s dropping a Trump-era proposal that would have made Arctic exploratory offshore drilling easier for fossil fuel companies and lowered safety and environmental protections for Alaska’s “sensitive ecosystem and Alaska Native subsistence activities.” 

Former President Donald Trump’s proposal was meant to weaken rules once put in place to prevent oil spills like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It would have eliminated a requirement that companies submit detailed operations plans before filing exploration plans, and it also would have changed rules around the usage of containment equipment — meant to mitigate oil loss during spills — during drilling operations.

Since the Trump-era proposal was never finalized, Obama-era regulations from 2016 will remain in place. Earlier this year, the Biden administration imposed a temporary ban on all new leases for onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling on federal land and water. Meanwhile, U.S. Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey is reintroducing legislation for a permanent ban on oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.  <snip>

Metropolitan Opera Saturday Afternoon at the Opera
2PM, 104.7FM,

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde
Performance from October 8, 2016
Simon Rattle; Nina Stemme (Isolde), Ekaterina Gubanova (Brangäne), Stuart Skelton (Tristan), Evgeny Nikitin (Kurwenal), René Pape (King Marke)

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

The Audition, today until 6:30PM
This feature-length documentary takes you behind the scenes of the Met’s National Council Auditions, in which, each year, thousands of hopefuls compete for a cash prize, the chance to sing on the Met stage—and the opportunity to launch a major operatic career. Directed by Susan Froemke.

Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday 2PM

Starring Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee, Christopher Maltman, Maurizo Muraro, and Paata Burchuladze, conducted by Michele Mariotti. Production by Bartlett Sher. From November 22, 2014.  A different set allows for so much movement and action in this production, and the cast is amazing. 

The 2021 National Council Auditions will be broadcast live Sunday afternoon from the Met, details here.

May 14, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature closed before 6PM last night, but in case you are not sure what to do on a lovely May day from 10AM-2PM, more materials and video clips can be found here:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Stu Neatby's good summary article:

Spring session of P.E.I. Legislature closes with passage of $2.3 billion budget

by Stu Neatby
published online late Thursday, May 14th, 2021, in The Guardian

Premier Dennis King survived the longest legislative sitting of his two-year-old government on Thursday.

The spring sitting of the legislature, a siting that began in February, came to a close late Thursday afternoon as MLAs voted to pass a $2.3-billion operating budget.

Overall, the marathon sitting lasted for 35 days. This was the longest sitting since the spring session of 2018, which ran for 38 days. The budget included a number of spending increases in social program focused on childcare, clean energy and healthcare. The deficit leaves the P.E.I. government in a deficit situation, to the tune of $112 million. 

The Province's 2021 budget will see funding for the expansion of P.E.I.’s childcare system to provide no-fee half-day pre-school for four-year-olds starting this fall. In addition, the budget promised the implementation of so-called medical homes and medical neighbourhoods, collaborative health centres King said would help ease pressure points in P.E.I.’s healthcare system.

The budget passed with a vote of 18 for and 7 against. Five members of the Opposition Green caucus - Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, Karla Bernard, Ole Hammarlund, Trish Altass and Hannah Bell - voted against the bill along with two Liberal members, Gord McNeilly and Robert Henderson.In an interview after the session ended, Green Opposition Peter Bevan-Baker said he voted against the budget because he said he did not believe it offered a plan or vision for a post-COVID-19 recovery.

"I don't know what government's plan is. And if I don't know what their plan is, I don't know how they're going to spend their money. And I just didn't feel I could vote in favour of that," Bevan-Baker said.

Bevan-Baker also said the estimates process was often frustrating for members of the Green caucus, with some Ministers often unable to obtain answers from government on details related to specific programs. He said Health Minister Ernie Hudson often did not respond to questions, offering to table answers later on.

Interim Liberal Leader Sonny Gallant voted in favour of the budget. 

"I don't agree with everything that's in the budget," he said.  "But we wanted to get this budget passed because there's groups that are waiting for their funding to start up their programming." 

Gallant said he could not speak for McNeilly or Henderson, who opted to vote against the budget.

Overall, the Progressive Conservative government passed 14 bills, although many were housekeeping in nature.

Addtionally, four bills were also passed aimed at providing parliamentary reform. These originated from the Legislative Management Committee, which had representation from all parties. 

One of these bills will see the introduction of the office of a provincial ombudsperson, an independent body that can investigate complaints of wrongdoing by government in its provision of services to citizens. With its passage, P.E.I. has become the last Province to establish an ombudsperson.

The PC's committing to establishing an ombudsperson in their 2019 election platform. Another commitment, the establishment of the Third Option program for sexual assault survivors, was also put in place during the sitting.

Other changes to the Province’s whistleblower protection legislation and Conflict of Interest Act were also passed.

The Green Opposition introduced three bills that were passed. One bill altered the Province’s Health Servicers Act to provide some checks and balances of the powers of the Health Minister in relation to the board of Health P.E.I. Another bill, introduced by Hannah Bell, committed the Province to eliminate poverty by 2035 and eliminate “chronic homelessness” by 2025.

A third Green bill, passed on Wednesday, lengthened the time period during which individuals can lodge a complaint against police in P.E.I.

Another Green bill, introduced by Green MLA Lynne Lund, sought to establish Environmental Rights in P.E.I. law. The bill passed second reading, but was delayed from halted from being introduced for third reading after the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, whose membership includes the Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nations, raised concerns around the consultation process.

Another bill introduced by Green MLA Karla Bernard that sought to lower the voting age to 16 was blocked after failing to secure the support of government or the Liberals.

Bevan-Baker had introduced a similar bill that was also blocked in 2017. He acknowledged that this loss "stung a bit."

"It seemed like there was a strong consensus that this was not a bad idea and it didn't look good on Government and the Third Party," Bevan-Baker said.  "We're sad it didn't pass. But I think there were no substantive arguments against what Karla brought forward."

The Liberals introduced one bill that passed, which committed the provincial government to providing broadband internet service to all Islanders by 2025.

Another Liberal bill, which sought to create an independent seniors advocate, was debated but did not come to a vote. Gallant said this would likely be reintroduced in the fall sitting.

Overall, debate in recent weeks was frequently consumed by debate over healthcare controversies, including the looming departure of surgeons from the Prince County Hospital. 

Both Gallant and Bevan-Baker said that, despite the strong performance of P.E.I. in keeping the COVID-19 pandemic at bay, healthcare issues have frequently been a point of weakness for the King government.

Premier Dennis King left the legislature immediately after the sitting finished. He did not take questions from media, promising to do so on Friday.


CBC News Story

Beluga whales sighted in at least 2 P.E.I. locations

published on Thursday, May 14th, 2021, at CBC PEI online

A marine mammal biologist is asking Prince Edward Islanders not to try to approach beluga whales after two were spotted in Colville Bay near Souris, and another turned up in the Hillsborough River at Mount Stewart. 

Tonya Wimmer, a marine mammal biologist with the Marine Animal Response Society in Nova Scotia, said the animals aren't usually seen in P.E.I. waters.  "It's a pretty rare event for a beluga whale to be in this sort of part of the waters in Eastern Canada," she said. "So that's quite, quite interesting to hear that that's where they are at the moment."

Debbie Murray, who moved to the Souris area from Vancouver about a month ago, captured two belugas on video recently.

"We've been here for a month and had no idea that any wildlife of that kind would be around here. So it was quite the little treat for us."

After an interview with Murray and Wimmers aired on Island Morning Thursday, CBC P.E.I. received emails and photos about another beluga whale in the Hillsborough River near Mount Stewart.  

CBC video producer Danny Arsenault was able to capture still photos and video of the beluga later in the day.

Endangered species

Wimmer said belugas are an endangered species and people shouldn't be interacting with them. By law, humans are supposed to keep their distance.

"We remind people that these are endangered species. They're not to be approached. There are regulations and rules in place about how close you can get to them," she said.  "It's very lovely for people to be able to watch from a distance, but to make sure they keep their distance is the main thing."

That includes refraining from trying to approach them in small boats or on paddleboards, hoping for selfies.

Belugas 'go wandering'

Even though sightings like this are rare for P.E.I., it isn't uncommon for members of the sub-Arctic cetacean species to move around.

"This is the interesting thing with these belugas, who sort of go wandering. We're not entirely sure why this happens," Wimmer said.  "Sometimes [it's] just the single animal, sometimes with a few together. And it seems, you know, quite normal …    "We've had this happen off Newfoundland. We have it, you know, in other parts of the Maritimes, even in the northeast U.S., so seemingly quite normal."

'Cute to watch'

Murray said the whales in her front yard "seem to be having fun" in the bay.

"I assume it's playing like they jump out of the water sometime, not huge jumps, but like enough to see their whole body and then, like, just swimming around in circles back and forth, blowing out their blow holes, that sort of thing," she said.  "I'm assuming they're hunting because there's lots of little little fish around here. But, yeah, it's just it's really cute to watch."

She said she is happy they've made it their temporary home and hopes they aren't stuck.


from the David Suzuki Foundation

No Mow May Gains Momentum

by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Strategist Jode Roberts

published on Friday, May 7th, 2021
online here

As May brings sunnier weather to Canada, many will mark the season by firing up their lawn mowers. Before you dutifully join the grass-cutting hordes, I encourage you to take heed of the No Mow May movement, which encourages a month-long pause in this well-intentioned yardwork for the sake of insects like bees and butterflies.

Although social pressure might drive you to keep your turfgrass tidy, researchers have found that regular mowing, especially early in spring, has unintended ecological consequences. Mowing less is a simple way to help insects and boost local ecology.

That’s important. Insects pollinate plants, provide food for other life and help naturally recycle waste. But many insects, especially native bees and butterflies, are in trouble because of pesticides, light pollution, habitat destruction, climate disruption and more.

Insects benefit from flowering plants that bloom in lawnscapes left to grow. Nectar sources can be scarce in early spring, so a flower-filled lawn can provide a much-needed May buffet. The U.K.-based charity Plantlife, which started the No Mow May movement, estimates past participants’ lawns can have five times more bees and three times more bee species than regularly mowed turf in the same neighbourhood.

An added bonus of a less-is-more approach to lawn care is that more mowing can be associated with increased pests and allergy-causing plants like ragweed. So instead of splitting your precious free time between mowing and trips to the pharmacy to deal with seasonal allergies, perhaps this spring you can relax and enjoy a cold beer (or a nice glass of rosé or iced tea) while enjoying the buzzing and flittering critters in your yard.

Though turfgrass has a long history in Canada, most grass species in lawns here are from far-off places like northern Europe, where the climate is cooler and wetter. This includes Kentucky bluegrass, which is neither blue nor hails from the “bluegrass state.” It explains why most of our lawns look like they’re on life support throughout much of the summer, as thirsty grass is plied with vast amounts of municipal drinking water — nearly one-third of all residential water use each year.

While mowing less can be beneficial for bugs and save time, it’s even better if you can carve out a bit more turf specifically for insects. It doesn’t take much space to contribute. The influential U.S. National Academy of the Sciences suggests that converting as little as 10 per cent of residential lawns and public green space to minimally disturbed natural vegetation could significantly aid insect conservation and simultaneously lower the cost of lawn maintenance by more than one-third.

If you’re considering alternatives to traditional turfgrass, get in touch with native plant nurseries and garden centres that specialize in locally sourced wildflowers and grasses. Choose native species that have adapted to the local climate and soil, and co-evolved with local wildlife and insects. They tend to be more drought-tolerant and require less maintenance once established.

One of the most fruitful (and fantastic) species you can choose is wild strawberry, which produces lovely white flowers in May, little berries in June and low-lying, hardy ground cover the rest of the year. (Be sure to find species local to your region.)

If you’re keen to join this growing movement, let your neighbours know what you’re up to. In Canada, we have a collective cultural association with uncut and seemingly unkempt lawns being a sign of negligence. There’s no better way to signal the intent behind your lawn’s transformation from ecological desert to ecological dessert than a clever garden sign. Many groups offer signs, including the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project. Or make your own. Anything involving bees tends to be great fodder for clever, pun-filled signs.

Lawns haven’t historically been the target of ambitious conservation campaigns. But they’re one of the landscapes of greatest opportunity, especially during pandemic times when we’re all spending more time at home and gardening has hit unprecedented levels of interest.

Lawns are North America’s largest irrigated crop. There are over six million yards in Canada, making up about half the space in our towns and cities. Imagine the potential of transforming a corner of each of those into flower-filled bee and butterfly landing strips.

Strawberry fields forever? Kick back and enjoy the buzz.


An amazing person

P.E.I.'s Ernest Mutch remembered as a true revolutionary

contributed to The Guardian

published on Friday, May 14th, 2021, in The Guardian

The Island Peace Committee is remembering with sadness long-time P.E.I. peace and social justice activist Ernest Mutch of Hazelbrook, who died on May 6, 2021. For many years, Mutch was a teacher at the P.E.I. Vocational School.

In 1991 Mutch joined the Maritime group Breaking the Silence, an initiative of the Tatamagouche Centre, travelling to Guatemala. Mutch and the other delegates were visiting Guatemala to learn first hand from human rights groups about the many abuses being suffered by the Indigenous majority, and other marginalized groups. The crimes were later declared a genocide by the 1999 UN initiated Historical Clarification Commission.

Islander Marian White who helped organize the trip remembers how Mutch was affected by the experience.

“We were challenged to go back to Canada to tell the story and get the word out and Ernest took the challenge seriously says White. Ernest couldn’t really go there, come home and do nothing. He felt a strong responsibility to fellow human beings. He was determined to do something," she said.  "And so began what is now legendary about Ernest Mutch.”

Also on that historic trip to Guatemala in 1991 was Campbell Webster of Charlottetown. He remembers upon returning that Mutch decided he was going to return to Guatemala and he and Campbell Webster did so in the fall of 1992, driving a Ford F-150 loaded with tools that Ernest would use to set up a vocational school for children in Xela, Guatemala. The school still operates to this day and has graduated hundreds of students.

Webster and Ernest set out on that 6600-km truck ride sleeping each night in the back of the truck on top of the tools, and Mutch learned Spanish on the way, and, "...of the ‘revolutionaries’ I have known, Ernest is probably the funniest and among the most fearless," said Webster. That trip also gained national and international media attention.

Ernest would return the following year with another truck load of tools and thereafter returned to Guatemala many times. On two occasions, his wife Marion went with him.

Here on P.E.I., as very active members of the Island Peace Committee, Ernest and Marion Mutch would attend weekly peace vigils, attend rallies protesting war, and work for peace. Their slogan which was often seen on their placard at public peace events is "Give peace a chance."

Friend Marie Burge says, “Long live Ernest Mutch! Many people are in mourning over the death of Ernest. He is a true revolutionary, who understands the roots of economic and political oppression and becomes part of the solution. He is known for his brilliant social analysis and his willingness to do his part in reversing the inequality in the world. He doesn’t look for success. He simply does what he can and believes that together we can build a new and just world. He is the most generous person in the way he shares the goods of the earth with those so often left behind. And all with a quiet and winning sense of humour.”

The Island peace Committee extends sympathy to Mutch’s family. Beloved best friend and wife of 67 years Marion Moore Mutch and loving father of Ernest Jr., Lorraine Mutch, Robert Daniel, Kristin Mutch (Lenny Hollingsworth) and Tonya Mutch (Geoff Nicol). Cherished grandfather of Dylan and Lara Hollingsworth.

To honour Ernest’s life and work, memorial donations may be made to Cooper Institute ( to promote social justice in Guatemala.

Later this year the Island Peace Committee will hold a celebration of Mutch’s life in Tracadie.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Christine Schäfer, Susan Graham, Eric Cutler, Thomas Allen, and Kristinn Sigmundsson, conducted by Edo de Waart. Production by Nathaniel Merrill. From January 9, 2010.

The Audition, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Saturday
This (2007) feature-length documentary takes you behind the scenes of the Met’s National Council Auditions, in which, each year, thousands of hopefuls compete for a cash prize, the chance to sing on the Met stage—and the opportunity to launch a major operatic career. Directed by Susan Froemke.   Under 2 hours.

May 13, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Dr. Heather Morrison to give a COVID-19 update today, probably around 11:30AM.

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

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Virtual Talk: Building a Rain Garden at Home, 7PM, with Norman Dewar of Ellen's Creek Watershed Group.  Hosted by the City of Charlottetown's Resilient Homes Parks and People Program.

Norman Dewar with Ellen's Creek Watershed Group will discuss building a raingarden for Spring Park Elementary school and how you can build one at home here in Charlottetown.
More details and registration link

A Volunteering event Saturday, May 15th:
Farm Centre Legacy Garden Volunteer Day, 10AM onward, meet at Garden behind PEI Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown

wonderful Island artists and engaged citizens

Until Monday, May 24th:
Art Exhibit: "The Many Faces of Fire" Group Show, The Guild Gallery, 12noon-5PM (closed Sunday), organized by the PEI Crafts Council @ The Guild

"Come feel the heat, these artists express their passion through fire in glass, clay and wood. You may be familiar with Trudy Gilbertson's carved bone, now she gives carved wood with a fired finish. Glass artists Dean Smith and Cathy Krolikowski are further exploring glass work through stained & fused glass while Robert McMillan is experimenting with reconstructed shapes and unexpected layers of colours. Jamie Germaine will be exhibiting her newest pieces that are smoke fired and always intriguing."

Pause for deeper consultation (and some politics)

Epekwitk Assembly say they weren't adequately consulted on P.E.I. environmental rights bill - The Guardian and online article by Stu Neatby

Published on Thursday, May 13th, 2021

Both the Lennox Island First Nation and the Abegweit First Nation are raising concerns about the consultation process for a bill that will see a code of environmental rights established in P.E.I.

A statement sent to The Guardian on Wednesday by L’nuey on behalf of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, said there was “no meaningful engagement or collaboration” with the Mi’kmaq organizations prior to debate of the environmental bill of rights in the legislature last week. The bill, a private member’s bill introduced by Green MLA Lynne Lund, passed second reading last week.

The Epekwitk Assembly of Councils is the joint overseeing forum that governs both the Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations.

The environmental bill of rights spells out the right to “a healthy and ecologically balanced environment” in law in P.E.I. It would also create an independent environmental commissioner. This commissioner could allow any five individuals to challenge legislation, policies or regulations they believe has had a negative impact on their right to a healthy and sustainable environment.

The bill was also intended to address environmental racism and specifically notes that such racism has been experienced particularly by “Indigenous people and people of colour.”

The bill passed second reading in the legislature on May 6, with no dissenting votes. Debate on bills usually occurs during second reading.

The environmental bill of rights was originally intended to be presented to the legislature for third reading on Tuesday. This did not happen.

“L’nuey confirmed that the assembly was pleased the bill did not proceed to third reading,” the statement from L’nuey said.

“L’nuey referenced the critical importance of the proposed legislation and the need for Mi’kmaq consultation and engagement, which has not occurred to date.” 

In an email statement, L’nuey said all bills that could impact Mi’kmaq treaty rights are subject to consultation.

“These would include, but not be limited to, legislation that could have an impact on land and/or resources, including water,” the email said.

L’nuey said the assembly plans to complete its examination of the bill to ensure “the rights and interests of the Mi’kmaq are not impacted by the draft legislation.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Lund said she had sent correspondence to L’nuey in January and also in March and April. But she also said she was told earlier this week that L’nuey and the assembly did not feel they had been able to fully analyze the bill.

"The Mi'kmaq have been the protectors of Abegweit since time immemorial and I have no doubt that they have lots to offer to this conversation," Lund said.

Lund said she would be prepared to wait for L’nuey and the assembly to complete their analysis before presenting the environmental bill of rights for third reading and royal assent.

"Knowing that they would like to weigh in on this bill, I would be happier to pause and take the time to hear what they have to say than to move it to third reading," she said.

Lund said she was not aware of what the specific concerns were of the assembly with respect to the bill.

During question period, however, Environment Minister Steven Myers appeared to offer a hint of what some of the specific concerns may have been. Myers was asked by Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker about forest conservation and appeared to indicate that members of the Liberal caucus had been communicating misleading details about the environmental bill of rights.

“I’ve spoke to a number of people, I’ve received emails. It seemed that there was some sort of a combination between the environmental bill of rights and the discussion that we’ve been having about forestry here,” Myers said.

“One particular member of this legislature might have been telling people things that weren’t true. It wasn’t from your caucus, so not you guys,” Myers said, pointing to the Green side of the house.


The letter from L'nuey is embedded in the Guardian article.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, today until 6:30PM
Starring Jane Eaglen, Katarina Dalayman, Ben Heppner, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen, and René Pape. Production by Dieter Dorn. From December 18, 1999.

Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM  Friday
Starring Renée Fleming, Christine Schäfer, Susan Graham, Eric Cutler, Thomas Allen, and Kristinn Sigmundsson, conducted by Edo de Waart. Production by Nathaniel Merrill. From January 9, 2010.  About 3 hours

May 12, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

I think sometimes we need to take a step back and just remember that we have no greater right to be here than any other animal.
     --- David Attenborough

David Attenborough turned 95 a few days ago, and the BBC made a "card" of about 95 seconds of footage of the British natural historian and broadcaster from the past decades, here:

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

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Dr. Heather Morrison will give a COVID-19 Update tomorrow, Thursday, which will coincide with the day that all Islanders 16 and up can book appointments to get COVID vaccinations.

This Sunday, May 16th:

Spring Education Forum, hosted by The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP), 2PM
The theme of the forum: The Land is Alive

Inspirational Presenters:
Jill McCormack  and Julie Pellissier-Lush
This forum will be a mixture of Zoom at a central point and smaller regional in-person groups. The in-person groups will be in West Prince, Charlottetown, and Kings County.
To register:


The Haviland Club is hosting a "Chase the Ace" fundraising draw every Friday evening at 6:30PM.
Tickets can be purchased online from Wizard Ticket at:
(which opens to an interesting selection of Ace-chasing fundraisers from across the Island!)

opinion on how cool life on Earth is :-) with thanks to Ian Petrie for passing it on

The Cicadas Are Coming. It’s Not an Invasion. It’s a Miracle. - The New York Times online article by Margaret Renkl

Published on Tuesday, May 10th, 2021

NASHVILLE — Deep beneath the spring-warmed soil, a great thrumming force is beginning to stir. Trillions strong, these insects have been living in the dark since George W. Bush’s first term as president. Now they are ready for the light. They are climbing out of the darkness, out of their own skins and into the trees. They are here to sing a love song. Their only purpose among the green leaves is love.

Well, it’s not singing so much as vibrating. And not love so much as sex. Their only purpose among us is to mate.

There are more than 3,000 species of cicadas worldwide, and they can be divided into roughly two groups. Annual cicadas surface every summer, much later in the year than the cicadas emerging now. The song of annual cicadas is an undulation, a pulsating chant that rises in waves as one cicada begins and others join in, and join in, and join in before falling off gradually, one after another. The song of annual cicadas is the sound of summer itself.

Periodic cicadas emerge in cycles — every 13 years or every 17 — and they are generally smaller than their annual cousins. Grouped according to their emergence in a particular area, each brood of periodic cicadas is identified by a Roman numeral. Brood X includes three species with synchronized life spans. It is one of the largest and most widespread of the cicada broods.

For the past 17 years, these insects have lived as nymphs deep beneath the soil, drinking sap from tree roots. For the past week, they have been emerging in much of the eastern South — Georgia, East Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia — and they will arrive soon in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Look for them when the soil eight inches deep reaches a temperature of 64 degrees. (If you’re in Brood X’s range, you can be part of a citizen-science project that tracks their emergence.)

After a year of weather calamities and pandemic shutdowns, people are already muttering about the apocalypse, but this, mercifully, is a natural occurrence, not a biblical plague. Cicadas are not locusts. They don’t even belong to the same order of insects as locusts. Cicadas don’t strip fields of every grain of rice or wheat, as swarming locusts do. Cicadas don’t sting, and they don’t bite. The strawlike appendage they have instead of a mouth works only for inserting into tree bark. Cicadas don’t even hurt the trees. (Not the mature trees, at any rate; saplings should be protected with cheesecloth before the cicadas emerge.)

The life cycle of the cicada is unique among insects. A nymph tunnels up from deep in the soil, climbs onto a tree trunk or a plant stem — or anything else it can reach that offers a bit of vertical clearance — and then commences to shed its exoskeleton as dramatically and beautifully as any butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. The new adult appears white, almost translucent, but its armor hardens and darkens as the hours pass. Its eyes turn red. Its intricate wings unfurl.

And then it takes to the treetops, where the males begin to sing and the females have their choice of suitors. After they mate, the female deposits her eggs into slits she makes in the bark of tender shoots. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground and burrow into the soil, beginning their lives in the dark. The adults live four to six weeks before they, too, fall to the ground, returning to the earth for a new purpose.

Owing to their mind-numbing numbers — up to 1.5 million per acre — periodic cicadas are louder than summer cicadas, less like a chorus and more like a fire hose blasted directly into your ear canal. At the height of the emergence, the sound appears to come from everywhere and nowhere at once, vibrating in the bones of your ears and in the fillings of your teeth. The sound can feel like a form of madness.

The relentless buzzing, the red eyes — perhaps they explain why so many of the headlines about this phenomenon default to negative metaphors. It’s an “invasion,” according to ABC News, an “infestation,” according to CBS.

It’s no such thing.

The most destructive species the earth has ever known likely emerged some 315,000 years ago, and we have not stopped roaming and eating and pillaging for one minute since. Cicadas, by contrast, benefit the ecosystems into which they emerge, a boon to hungry birds and reptiles and a huge range of mammals. Fish eat them when they fall into streams and lakes. After cicadas die, they decompose and feed the very trees that hosted their brief days in the sun.

Nashville is not in Brood X’s range, but I have lived through two emergences of Brood XIX, a periodic cicada on the 13-year schedule, and I’m jealous of all of you whose skies will soon be blurred by wings and whose trees will be filled with song. At a time when wildlife is being threatened by human activity from every side, your baby birds and possums and lizards and snakes and turtles will grow strong, fed on the cicadas’ bounty. Your hawks and owls and foxes will live this year because their prey has become bountiful, too. And you will be surrounded by reminders that the darkest tunnels always bend, in time, toward the light. That resurrection is always, always at hand.

Margaret Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South. She is the author of the books “Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss” and the forthcoming “Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South.”


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, today until 6:30PM
Starring Carol Vaness, Karita Mattila, Dawn Upshaw, Jerry Hadley, Samuel Ramey, Ferrucio Furlanetto, and Kurt Moll. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1990.  About 3 hours.

Wagner’s Tristan und Isoldetonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
From December 18, 1999.  This is a different production than these wonderful free HD broadcasts have shown, so that's a treat, and with Canadian tenor Ben Heppner!!  under four hours.
"Ben Heppner and Jane Eaglen are Tristan and Isolde, overwhelmed by their all-consuming love for each other which defies society and the law. René Pape is a devastating King Marke, the man robbed of his wife by his best friend."

May 11, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Dr. Heather Morrison may give a COVID-19 update at 11:30AM.  Facebook (Government of P.E.I. or CBC News) are places to tune in on-line, along with Ocean 100 Radio.


Charlottetown Farmers' Market Thursday pick-up orders due today at noon:
The P.E.I. Legislature resumes sitting, 1-5PM today, tomorrow and Thursday, and 10AM-2PM Friday.

Viewing options here:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

From the P.E.I. Farm Centre Legacy Garden:

Introducing the Legacy Garden Online Store!

We are moving all of our sales to our website and have created an online store! This will help us streamline order processing! You can find all our products and the store will be updated all throughout the season! You can find the new store here:

with fertilizer and other garden amendments, and plants and some crafts.

News from today's (U.K.) Guardian:

Sad goodbye to Thames whale – The baby minke whale that was found stuck at Richmond lock in London had to be put down by vets on Monday evening. The whale was freed on Sunday, only to escape the rescue raft and get stuck again in vines at Teddington weir. It was the furthest up the Thames a whale had ever gone, according to British Divers Marine Life Rescue. “The last 45 minutes we were with the whale its condition was deteriorating, its breathing wasn’t right and it wouldn’t have survived much longer,” said Julia Cable from the BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue Service). “The vets said it was clearly suffering and that it was the right decision.”

Full article:

Little birds with big impact:

Hummingbirds put a temporary halt on Trans Mountain - The National Observer article by Cloe Logan

Published on Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

One of B.C.’s smallest birds is responsible for a four-month stop-work order on one of the federal government’s largest projects, the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Anna’s hummingbirds are protected by Canada’s Migratory Bird Act, which says any work that could negatively affect the population has to be halted until nesting season is over. The order, issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada, was put forward after conservation officers saw the company felling a tree with an active hummingbird nest in it earlier this month.

The pipeline, originally built in the 1950s, was taken over by Texas’ Kinder Morgan in 2015, which then made plans to triple the exports of the existing operation, upping production to up to 890,000 barrels each day flowing from Alberta to the coast of B.C. The federal government purchased the pipeline in 2018 for $4.5 billion. The Trans Mountain expansion (TMX) is projected to cost $12.6 billion.

Trans Mountain says the order will not delay the projected completion date of December 2022 and would not answer whether the stop-work order would increase project costs. However Protect the Planet Stop TMX, a group advocating against the project, says an earlier affidavit by a company executive suggests it will.

“Trans Mountain said in an affidavit (pages 18 to 20) that tree clearing in the area had to be completed prior to August 1 to allow access to the streams. If that didn’t happen (which now it can’t) Trans Mountain will miss its 2021 window for watercourse crossing, its 2022 window for hydrotesting and its 2022 in-service date,” said the group.  “Pipeline work at this location must now wait until next year, 2022. The delay comes at a cost of at least $100 million per month of delay past the in-service date, according to Trans Mountain.”

The stop-work order does not apply to the full 1,500 kilometres of pipeline, but rather to about 1,000 metres along the Brunette River in Burnaby.

Eugene Kung, staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, agreed the order will result in significant losses for the company.  “This is another costly example of Trans Mountain’s disregard for the rules that has happened far too often throughout construction. It was only because of the incredible work of local residents that they were caught red-handed,” said Kung.

“With every delay, the total cost to taxpayers balloons and the project falls further outside the public interest. We have not seen a cost update in more than a year, but it’s easy to estimate the cost being closer to $20 billion today.”

A group called the Community Nest Finding Network (CNFN), which alerted the feds with concerns about TMX violating the Migratory Bird Act, found eight active nests on site but says there are many more along the pipeline route.

“Starting in about mid-February, spring migrations start — nesting can start that early. And it goes until the mid or the end of August ... in the last 30 years, we've lost 70 per cent of our birds,” said Donna Clark, co-founder of CNFN and former director of Wild Bird Trust of BC.

“These beautiful mama Anna hummingbirds, these little birds that have stopped the pipeline, they are what we call in English the canaries in the coal mine.”

Sara Ross, also founder of the CNFN, said the group has been reporting its nest findings directly to TMX as well as the government. However, Ross says the line gets blurred when the owner of the pipeline is also the regulator.

"It's like if we were the bank robber and the police," she said.  "So that's why groups like ours are imperative. It's the reason why we're doing this work, because no one else is."

Both the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby are opposed to the pipeline, as are hundreds of First Nations.

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, executive board member of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, was at an April 26 press conference announcing the stop-work order. She said the government needs to invest in renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. She pointed to the hummingbird as a fitting mascot for the order.

“It is very symbolic that a tiny hummingbird has stopped local construction of this pipeline. At the same time, it is not entirely surprising, either,” she said.

“Many stories honour the qualities of Hummingbird, and one that stands out, in particular, is Hummingbird’s tenacious loyalty to the forest. Even as the forest burned and all the other animals fled, Hummingbird carried drops of water — in their tiny beak — from the river to the forest fire. In response to the other animals, Hummingbird said: 'I’m doing what I can.'”


A map by the Wilderness Committee organization of the Burnaby pipeline area:

And it was nesting belted kingfishers, spotted by eagle-eyed environmental observers Larry (James) Cosgrave and others, which halted part of the Plan B highway project in July 2013.  A female Belted Kingfisher is on the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. logo, above, from a beautiful image by Island potter Ron Arvidson.

plate by Ron Arvidson

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s La Bohèmetoday until 6:30PM
Starring Teresa Stratas, Renata Scotto, José Carreras, Richard Stilwell, and James Morris. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From January 16, 1982.  The magical first cast of this new production.

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, 7:30PM tonight until about 6:30PM Wednesday
Starring Carol Vaness, Karita Mattila, Dawn Upshaw, Jerry Hadley, Samuel Ramey, Ferrucio Furlanetto, and Kurt Moll. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From April 5, 1990.

May 10, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

A post-Mother's Day entreaty:

May we raise children

who love the unloved

things - the dandelion, the

worms & spiderlings.

Children who sense

the rose needs the thorn

& run into rainswept days

the same way they

turn towards sun...

And when they're grown &

someone has to speak for those

who have no voice

may they draw upon that

wilder bond, those days of

tending tender things

and be the ones.

~ Nicolette Sowder,
founder, WilderChild


Local Food opportunities:
Organic Vegetable Delivery, order by tonight for delivery Friday, May 14th.
More details here:

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

Local Coffee:
Brett's Caledonia House Coffee, takeout window only,  7AM-2PM, Weekdays, Charlottetown Farmers' Market, Belvedere Avenue.

Remember the CBC article on the women that are organizing the Charlottetown Garden-Share project?

**Gardeners are needed**

"Your job as a Gardener is to provide the knowledge, skills, and labour needed to care for a garden. If you have a green thumb, a strong work ethic, and an interest in growing food, you are an ideal candidate for this role.

As a Gardener, your responsibilities will include:

·         Completing the day-to-day tasks associated with maintaining a productive home garden (preparing the soil, seeding, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, etc…)

·         Providing your own Personal Protective Equipment (gloves, boots, rainwear, etc…)

·         Providing your own transportation to the place where you will be gardening

As a Gardener, you will NOT:

·         Be asked to contribute financially to the success of the garden

·         Be asked to source any tools, materials, inputs, and implements

·         Receive payment for your work"

Rhea and Erin are trying to get this organized a as soon as possible, so if interested, More info:

or contact: or call (902) 892-3006

Atlantic Skies for May 10th - May 16th, 2021 "The Inner Planets Return" by Glenn K. Roberts

After being absent from the night and pre-dawn skies for the past several weeks, Mercury and Venus, our solar system's two innermost planets,  finally return (albeit a brief appearance) to the western, evening sky this week.

Mercury (mag..- 0.39, in Taurus - the Bull) appears around 8:30 p.m., low above the west-northwest horizon as the Sun sets and dusk gives way to darkness, reaching an altitude of around 11 degrees above the horizon before setting by about 10:20 p.m.. It will steadily climb higher in the post-sunset western sky during the following week, reaching its highest point in the evening sky as it achieves its greatest eastern elongation from the Sun on May 17 - its best appearance of the year for northern viewers. On May 12, Mercury reaches dichotomy, its half-lit phase (as seen through a telescope from Earth). 

With a clear sky and an unobstructed view of the west-northwest horizon, you might glimpse bright Venus (mag. -3.9, in Taurus - the Bull) sitting low above the horizon (look for a bright "star-like" point of light in the post-sunset twilight), to the right and below Mercury, before it drops below the western horizon by about 9:20 p.m.. Mars (mag. +1.6, in Gemini - the Twins) should be visible around the same time as Mercury and Venus (between 8:30 - 9 p.m.) about 29 degrees above the western horizon before it sets shortly after midnight. 

If you're having difficulty finding these three planets in the post-sunset, western sky, use the waxing crescent Moon as a guide. On the evening of May 12, a very slim crescent Moon will sit low above the west-northwest horizon just after sunset (you'll need a clear sky and an unobstructed view of the horizon); the bright point of light immediately to its right will be Venus. The next evening, a slightly larger crescent Moon will be a bit higher in the evening sky, with Mercury to the lower right. The waxing Moon is about equidistance between Mercury and Mars on the evening of May 14, and to the lower right of the Red Planet on the evening of the 15th.

Jupiter and Saturn are late risers this coming week. Saturn (mag. +0.8, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) tumbles out of its celestial bed around 2:30 a.m., visible 20 degrees above the southeast horizon, and then fading with the approaching dawn by about 5 a.m. Sleepy Jupiter (mag. -2.3, in Aquarius - the Water Bearer) makes a bright but brief appearance in the pre-dawn, southeast sky, rising around 3:10 a.m., reaching an altitude of 20 degrees above the horizon before it, too, fades with the glow of the approaching dawn by about 5:20 a.m.

Keep a sky-eye on Comet C/2020 T2 (Palomar) over the next few weeks. Currently at mag. 10.5, in the constellation of Canes Venatici - the Hunting Dogs (beneath the tail of Ursa Major - the Great Bear), Comet T2 is visible all night for viewers in the northern hemisphere. Under a clear sky away from city lights, It will become visible by about 9:50 p.m. (ADT), 60 degrees above the eastern horizon, reaching its highest elevation in the night sky shortly after midnight, 75 degrees above the southern horizon, before fading from view around 4:30 a.m., 38 degrees above the western horizon. Although not currently expected to achieve naked-eye visibility, Comet T2 should brighten to be visible in binoculars in the coming weeks.

Until next week, clear skies. 


May 11 - New Moon; Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)

         12 - Mercury at dichotomy (half-lit phase)


Whale stranding appears to end OK in London, England, this morning:

Whale rescue – A small whale – believed to be a minke – has been freed after becoming trapped in a lock in south-west London. A crowd gathered at Richmond lock and weir to watch rescuers try to help the whale after it became snared on the lock’s boat rollers. It was finally freed and moved to a safe location for vet checks.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

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

Nightly Opera Streams, May 10–16

National Council Auditions Alumni Week

"Leading up to the 2021 National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert on May 16, this week of free streams pays tribute to some of the extraordinary Met artists who have participated in the competition over the past 60 years—and also includes an exclusive screening of Susan Froemke’s documentary The Audition, which goes behind the scenes of the program."

Puccini’s La Bohème, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Teresa Stratas, Renata Scotto, José Carreras, Richard Stilwell, and James Morris. Production by Franco Zeffirelli. From January 16, 1982.   This is an amazing version with an all-star cast.

May 9, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Mother's Day to all who mother and care about people and this earth,  And to those for whom Mother's Day is not a Hallmark card or Dairy Queen cake commercial, a special hug.

Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.

   ---- Barbara Kingsolver, writer

Conservation International's short films on the power of nature are very ....well, powerful, and the one with the voice of Julia Roberts as Mother Nature particularly so:

The rest of the series (especially nice to sit around and watch on a rainy Sunday):

And more about Conservation International's work, and their little logo which would be the envy of the P.E.I. Progressive Conservatives for its colours and prettiness:

Just in case you haven't heard any news on the Chinese rocket junk falling back to Earth: from The Guardian (U.K.), this morning:

The remnants of China’s largest rocket have plummeted back to Earth, plunging into the Indian ocean near the Maldives, according to Chinese state media, ending days of speculation over where the debris would hit.

Most of the debris burned up in the atmosphere, it reported, citing the Chinese Manned Space Engineering office.Parts of the 30-metre core of the Long March 5B rocket re-entered the atmosphere at 10.24am Beijing time (2.24am GMT) and landed at a location with the coordinates of longitude 72.47 degrees east and latitude 2.65 degrees north, state media cited the office as saying.

On the problem of space junk:

Instead of treating space entrepreneurs as rock stars, people should hold them to account instead, Jah said. That involves engaging the public in understanding that while outer space may be infinite, "near-Earth space is a finite resource" equally deserving of conservation along with our forests and oceans.

"Then people can go and start exerting pressure on, you know, elected officials in that sort of stuff."

Jah notes that the focus now has to be on preventing the problem from getting much worse, given the challenges of scaling any of the technologies proposed for removing the space junk already out there.


That excerpt is from an interview with Dr. Moriba Jah from the University of Texas, recently with Matt Galloway on CBC's The Current, about the problem of space satellites/rocket debris.
Full interview article, photos and link to audio recording here (I may have posted this before but it's worth a second listen):

And on regular junk, if you have time and the weather lets up to pick some trash, you can place clear bags and the yellow WI-branded bags alongside paved road as collection starts tomorrow. 

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Two very different mothering styles....
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, today until 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Maria Zifchak, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Anthony Minghella. From March 7, 2009.

Handel’s Agrippina, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Brenda Rae, Joyce DiDonato, Kate Lindsey, Iestyn Davies, Duncan Rock, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Sir David McVicar. From February 29, 2020.  About how Claudius's whife Agrippina works to get her son Nero on the Throne.  Set in modern dress; DiDonato is a tour de force.

May 8, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Opportunities

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

Heartbeet Organics at The Farmacy (9AM-1PM)
Riverview Country Market
North River KJL Market

The annual Roadside Cleanup designated "Day" is today,
but the trucks from Transportation will make the bag pickups starting Monday, driving by most paved roads once.  The yellow Women's Institute bags can only be picked up roadside by these crews -- Waste Watch has to reject them if they are in carts.  Clear bags are fine to use for roadside cleanup, too.
Litter (especially take-out containers and alcohol bottles/cans) is a really big problem, and while the Roadside Cleanup doesn't address the problem, it's obviously helps things look better, so thanks to all who pick some trash this weekend.

Wright's Creek Watershed Enhancement group tree planning, today and tomorrow,
more details at their online signup link,  or Facebook group page

Todd MacLean's Rainforest Lounge Finale, 6:30PM, with special guest Amanda Jackson, on Facebook Live.
In addition to music, and fundraising for good causes, *Todd* is going be the one interviewed tonight.
Next Sunday, May 16th:

The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP) invites you to their annual Spring Education Forum on Sunday, May 16, 2021, 2:00 pm

 The theme of the forum: The Land is Alive

 Inspirational Presenters: Jill McCormack  and Julie Pellissier-Lush

 This forum will be a mixture of Zoom at a central point and smaller regional in-person groups. The in-person groups will be in West Prince, Charlottetown, and  Kings County.

 To register:

The P.E.I. Legislature decided unanimously Friday to continue sitting next week, starting on Tuesday, May 11th, at 1PM, as their new Parliamentary schedule could have had a Planning Week.  The budget review completed the Department of Health and Wellness  (I think), and it looks like they want to start wrapping up business.

More at:

Recent Letter to the Editor:

Some Fish Kill Facts - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, May 3rd, 2020

In a full-page ad in The Guardian on April, 21, 2021, Bryan Maynard states that “the media and fear mongers have continued to verbalize and print false information.

“It seems they do not need to provide evidence for their opinions.” Well, Mr. Bryan Maynard, I’ll fill you in on one fact that is well known and can be easily fact checked via government websites. Since 1962 to present day, there have been 63 reported fish kills on P.E.I. In 49 of the 63 fish kills, authorities were able to identity the cause, and in 14 cases they were inconclusive or N/A. Of the 49 cases where they were able to identity the cause, the cause was listed as pesticides such as chlorothalonil, endosulfan, diazion, azimphos metyl, mancozeb, diquat, etc.

After checking the facts, I have drawn the conclusion that in 100 per cent of the fish kills where the cause is known, the cause has been pesticides applied to farmers’ fields. Until farmers stop killing the fish in our streams with their chemicals, I will continue with my negativity and criticism of those farmers.

John E. Clow, Summerside, P.E.I.

Saturday is always a big opera day, most of it free:

Metropolitan Opera radio performance, Saturday afternoon at the Opera:
2PM, CBC Music, 104.7FM:

Anna Netrebko Puccini Gala
Performance from December 31, 2019
A whole afternoon of Anna Netrebko singing just every overwhelmingly sad Puccini hit.  Not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon. 
Details here:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Berg’s Wozzeck, until noon today
Starring Elza van den Heever, Tamara Mumford, Christopher Ventris, Gerhard Siegel, Andrew Staples, Peter Mattei, and Christian Van Horn, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by William Kentridge. From January 11, 2020.

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, from 7:30PM tonight until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Maria Zifchak, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Patrick Summers. Production by Anthony Minghella. From March 7, 2009.

Met Stars Live, 2:30PM here, ticketed live-stream event (then available to ticket-holders for two weeks)

"A quartet of opera’s most powerful and dramatic singers comes together for a program of soaring selections by Wagner and Strauss. Transmitted live from the grand Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany, this unbeatable summit of leading Wagnerian voices features sopranos Christine Goerke and Elza van den Heever, tenor Andreas Schager, and baritone Michael Volle, with pianist Craig Terry."

Ticket details

May 7, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Despite that the Parliamentary Calendar does not show any key for next week (it would be a Planning Week if they are following a three weeks Sitting and one week planning), there is still a lot of budget and bills to go through Third Reading and such for it to end today.  But you never know.  Some have called the 3 weeks on- 1 week Planning as "inane", which is too bad, as I think the week every month to review legislation, talk to constituents, attend meetings, and give reporters and reviewers  ;-)  a bit of a break was not a bad thing.
Fridays4Future, 3:30PM, Province House at Grafton Street (as far as I know)
Borrowed Kitchen Sugar Shack baked goods, 384 Pownal Road, open 10AM-5PM today, Including Owl Cookies fundraiser for Macphail Woods
Facebook business page

EBR for PEI!

Prince Edward Island is closer to having its citizens have Environmental Rights.

The Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) passed Second Reading in the Legislature about 5PM yesterday, and it was due to collaboration between Bill-promoter Lynne Lund and Environment Minister Steven Myers.   The Third Party supports the idea, too.

The Bill still comes back for Third Reading for a vote and can be called out on issues (and may not pass) then.  The Third Party Liberals were not impressed with the number of Amendments (some to strengthen the Bill, others to clarify, some surely felt like a watering down to me) which apparently had been brought up and already given the nod by the Opposition. Papers were flying, ironically for a Bill from a Party which tries to save trees, but procedures on paper must be followed. And the timing was rushed as the Opposition wanted to get the next steps moving along (which would be going to the Legislative Management Committee, LMC, I think, for getting the Environmental Commissioner's role sketched out). 

Still, there are both Substantive and Procedural Rights in this Bill, and proper dues to Summerside-Wilmot MLA Lynne Lund for pushing it along, and to people like Cindy Richards and Don Mazer (of various organizations but I will claim them here for all their work in the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.) who have promoted Environmental Rights for almost a decade now, helping organize workshops with East Coast Environmental Law (ECELAW) and working with Blue Dot PEI and David Suzuki's tour and efforts, among other endeavors.

And thanks to people for writing MLAs to support this, which actually may needto be done again before Third Reading, especially as politics could gum things up.

But for now, smile and enjoy the birdsong today.

Two interesting articles:

Reusable takeout containers are a popular pandemic trend - What on Earth? CBC newsletter article by Emily Chung

Published on Thursday, May 6th, 2021

 We’ve previously talked about the waste that takeout generates and some of the potential solutions. Since the pandemic started, a lack of indoor dining has made takeout the only restaurant option in many places, and as a result, both the problems — and the solutions — have multiplied. 

At least five new startups across Canada are hoping to eliminate waste by allowing you to order your meal in reusable, returnable containers.
A Friendlier Company (in Guelph, Ont.), Suppli (Toronto), Ekko (Waterloo, Ont.) and Reusables (Vancouver) are already serving restaurants and customers, while Re-Vita (Edmonton) is getting ready to launch.

Why now? The pandemic might not be an obvious time to launch new services for the struggling restaurant industry. But many people have started ordering more takeout and feel guilty about the waste, said Anastasia Kiku, co-founder of Reusables (whose wares are shown in the photo above). “We just wanted to solve this problem,” she said. 

Also, in October, the federal government announced it would
ban “hard-to-recycle” single-use plastic food takeout containers, such as black plastic and polystyrene. Kiku and the others say reusables are the best solution.

Jacqui Hutchings, co-founder and chief operating officer of A Friendlier Company, said the pandemic has also forced people to get used to change. “Now is the time to implement a new system,” she said. “Just offer it as an option and see what happens.”

What kind of container: In most cases, the food comes in stainless steel containers. Crystal Kruis, who co-founded Ekko with her daughter Chloe, said metal is more durable and is what customers said they wanted.

The exception is A Friendlier Company, which uses polypropylene plastic containers. The company says the containers are light, stackable and their low cost reduces fees (it’s the only service that’s free for customers).

How it works: Suppli, Reusables and A Friendlier Company give customers the option to order through popular food delivery apps, although you generally have to sign up through their own website or app first, and leave a note about the use of reusable containers in the delivery instructions.

Suppli and Ekko have per-order fees ranging from 50 cents to $2, while Reusables charges a $5 monthly fee. A Friendlier Company doesn’t charge customers for the service, although diners do have to pay a refundable deposit of 50 cents to $1 per container.   

Restaurants pay the companies a fee that includes the container rental, cleaning and restocking. Generally, the fee is designed to be comparable to what the restaurants are already paying for disposable containers.
The companies track their containers using QR codes or electronic ID tags to make sure they’re returned to a participating restaurant or drop-off point within one to two weeks. Otherwise, customers get charged.

How it’s going: So far, each company has between four and 30 participating restaurants.

Crystal Kruis at Ekko said in the first two days after her company launched in April, the company replaced 231 takeout containers with reusables — roughly enough to stack up to the height of a four-storey building. 

She said some customers told her they had been avoiding takeout because of the waste. Having a reusable option allowed them to resume supporting local restaurants.

Hutchings at A Friendlier Company, which launched in October, said some participating restaurants have switched completely to reusables and stopped offering customers disposable options at all.


In America’s cities, inequality is engrained in the trees - The Grist article by Adam Mahoney, Environmental Justice Fellow

A new study finds that low-income blocks have less tree cover and hotter average temperatures than high-income ones.

Published in Grist on Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

The amount of greenery on your street depends on the amount of green in your pockets, according to a new study. 

You’d have hard luck trying to convince someone that trees are somehow biased. Their sprawling roots, awning-like leaves, and huggable trunks offer protection and solace to everybody and everything, big and small. For humans, they help clean our air and water, and offer cover in the summer from blistering heat. 

But a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE shows that their distribution often depends on race and class, a result of exclusionary zoning laws, racial segregation, and the country’s stark wealth inequality.

In the two-year-long study, a team of researchers from the Nature Conservancy found that 92 percent of low-income blocks in the U.S. have less tree cover and hotter average temperatures than high-income blocks. The inequality is most rampant in the Northeast, with some low-income blocks in urban areas having 30 percent less tree cover and average temperatures 4 degrees Celsius higher than high-income blocks. Five of the ten worst discrepancies are found in Connecticut, home to the most economically unequal metropolitan area in the country and known to be one of the most residentially segregated states in America.

When it comes to tree cover, the biggest disparity in the country is found in the metro area of Bridgeport, Connecticut — the metropolitan area with the greatest income inequality. Rob McDonald, lead scientist at the Nature Conservancy, said that’s no coincidence. The poorest blocks in the area have 54 percent less tree cover and are 5 Celsius hotter on average. “For the most part, income inequality will always correlate with other major health, environmental, and social inequities,” McDonald told Grist.

In Connecticut, roughly 90 percent of housing tracts are zoned for single-family homes, which combined with policies that barred people of color in the state from owning certain homes and even living in certain public housing projects, has kept many areas segregated by class and race. “Bridgeport is a perfect example of the issue we were trying to highlight,” McDonald said. “It is a product of exclusionary zoning which has reinforced a pattern of inequality forcing poor people into dense areas.”

Across the country, low-income neighborhoods had 62 million fewer trees than comparable high-income neighborhoods. On average, tree cover was 15 percent less for low-income blocks compared to high-income ones, which resulted in those low-income blocks having an average temperature that was hotter by 1.5 Celsius. The study, which examined the amount of tree cover in the 100 largest urban areas in the country, home to more than 5,700 communities and 167 million people, is the first-ever national survey of tree cover and temperature inequality — and it showed exactly what the authors expected. 

“We knew this inequality existed but we wanted to see the whole picture because we know heatwave events are getting more frequent and more intense,” said McDonald. “So understanding which neighborhoods are more vulnerable is the first part of harm reduction planning.”

The research, McDonald says, was meant to explain how past economic and social policies continue to permeate even unexpected aspects of American life. Historically racist policies have made homeownership and economic mobility less attainable for Black and Latino people forcing them into heavily polluted and more densely populated neighborhoods — and made them much more unlikely to have generational wealth. Gaps in ownership also correlate to tree cover inequality, McDonald said, because people owning private land have the power and ability to plant more trees on their property. Other cities with large tree cover gaps include Baltimore, home to a huge homeownership gap and relentless heatwaves, and Boston, which has served as a flashpoint for residential desegregation for decades. 

Beyond reversing the economic impacts of discriminatory housing policies, a more equal distribution of trees could help revitalize neighborhoods. The research suggests that a $17.6 billion investment in tree planting and natural regeneration could correct these disparities and benefit 42 million people by protecting them from heatwaves — shown to cause the most harm to poor people of color — and lowering air pollution levels while improving both physical and mental health

“There are many problems facing the US, so I’m not going to pretend like tree cover is the most important problem,” McDonald said. “But it relates to all these conversations about climate adaptation, climate change risks, and also health outcome and income inequalities that we’ve seen play a big role during the pandemic.” 

“As the US is starting to talk more seriously from a policy perspective about climate change, we have to think about adaptation and also think about how inequality amplified climate risk, starting with the nature in our backyards,” he added. 


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

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

Berg’s Wozzeck, 7:30PM tonight until Saturday noon (special ticketed concert at noon)
Starring Elza van den Heever, Tamara Mumford, Christopher Ventris, Gerhard Siegel, Andrew Staples, Peter Mattei, and Christian Van Horn, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Production by William Kentridge. From January 11, 2020.

May 6, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

It sounds like the Environmental Bill of Rights was discussed ("and progress made") and it may be called back up today?  There is still time to write your MLA to support it.  Members' contact info here:
Deadlines for Comments on Community of West River Proposed Electoral Boundaries/names:

Today for responding to Electoral Boundaries Commission

Thursday, May 13th for responding to Council
More information at:

And keep in mind in your comments that several residents think the area (the entire Rural Municipality -- Rocky Point to Bonshaw to Meadowbank, Riverdale, New Haven, etc. ) might be better served with a complete name change (which was rather lackadaisically picked), to
Rural Municipality of Eliot River.
(" 'West' only makes sense if you are east of it," one person explained, citing an older name for the River around which the communities formed.)


Now until Friday, May 21st:
NDP-PEI Online Auction Fundraiser, items and information here:

Action to consider: 

FariVote Canada is urging the responsible Federal Parliamentary Committee to consider forming Citizens' Assemblies to discuss proportional representation and other electoral reforms.

Here is FairVote's website:

and here is
the link to the campaign urging MPs to support Citizens' Assemblies

Recent Postings from Charlottetown commentators:

New Charlottetown Project and the Value of Natural Assets:

And the Future of Charlottetown Facebook page has regular updates and thoughtful essays:

And a bit of a bite from F. Ben Rodgers:

LETTER: Remember there is no Planet B - The Guardian Lettter to the Editor

Published on Friday, April 16th, 2021

The whole world is in a mess, trees being felled at an unprecedented rate, certainly here on P.E.I. Water is vital and yet under threat from so many directions. The soil is being destroyed by money-grasping farming corporations. People like David Suzuki, nationally, and competent local environmentalist like Gary Schneider are crying out for change. They are only two of many thousands of concerned citizens. We are losing so many of nature’s natural resources/species every day. Insects, bees, butterflies, bird, fish, just to name a few. Governments are doing little to stop this dangerous slide into extinction of life on this planet. On Prince Edward Island our provincial government is more concerned with online gambling and grandfathering in holding ponds. We get one excuse after another, “Oh! they have a permit!” “Can’t interfere, it’s private property.” I do not understand these people we have elected; they promise but then turn their backs on the people they are supposed to be representing. Why? Is it money, bribery or greed or just plain stupidity? Because it is definitely not in the smartest interest of this province. 

F. Ben Rodgers, Abram-Village

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Thomas’s Hamlet, today until 6:30PM
Starring Marlis Petersen, Jennifer Larmore, Simon Keenlyside, and James Morris, conducted by Louis Langrée. Production by Patrice Caurier & Moshe Leiser. From March 27, 2010.

Bellini’s Norma, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM Friday
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Joyce DiDonato, Joseph Calleja, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Production by Sir David McVicar. From October 7, 2017.  3 hours.

May 5, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Just before the Legislature starts....

Alert Ready System Test, 12:55PM today, various communication channels

from PEI Public Safety's social media posting Tuesday:

It's that 'loud noise' time again!

....Wednesday, May 5 at 12:55 pm a test of the Alert Ready system will be conducted on TV, radio and compatible wireless devices.

This will be a test. No action required on your part (except trying to remember that it's happening so you don't jump out of your skin when it sounds).

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

Watch here options and documents:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Tonight, Reminder of:
Government Website Interruption, 7-10PM, all online services.

In the Legislature today, after the Ordinary Day's Proceedings (Welcomes, Question Period, Statements and such) the Official Opposition will have its time and it is likely to call up the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) legislation, Bill No. 108, found here:;e=LegislativeAssemblyBillView;id=b3e26a6c-433c-4524-ab5a-d9e77a348486

It's the legislation that, in essence, strengthens that people have a right to a healthy environment, and ensures some way to help make that happen.

A longish blog from East Coast Environmental Law (reprinted here before, and I am listed as co-author), is here:

And here is an infographic on the Legislation.

Infographic on the EBR, produced by The Official Opposition support team

(I have a better slightly larger copy as a PNG if you wish to have your own for sharing on social media and such; contact me)

What can you do today or tomorrow?
You can ask (email or call) your MLA to support this. 

"Please support the Environmental Bill of Rights in the Legislature."

MLAs' contact information can be found here:

The "Other" (U.K.) Guardian celebrates its 200th birthday today, with an special page where you can look at archival papers and other features, here:

It's older than our P.E.I. Guardian, and:
"It is exactly 200 years since a four-page weekly first appeared in Manchester. More than 54,000 editions – and several million articles – later, we’re proud to say we’re older than Germany, fish and chips, the FA Cup, the New York Times, the bicycle and the state of Texas. So for the next few days and weeks, we will be resurfacing the Guardian journalism that changed the world, celebrating the impact that we’ve had, and thanking our millions of readers and supporters without whom none of this would have been possible."

Monday, May 3rd, was "Press Freedom Day", and it's a good time to remember how important good reporting is, and support it anyway you can.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Handel’s Rodelinda, today until 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Andreas Scholl, Joseph Kaiser, and Shenyang, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Stephen Wadsworth. From December 3, 2011.

Thomas’s Hamlet, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 7:30PM
Starring Marlis Petersen, Jennifer Larmore, Simon Keenlyside, and James Morris, conducted by Louis Langrée. Production by Patrice Caurier & Moshe Leiser. From March 27, 2010.   Simon Keenlyside is astounding whenever he is on stage, so this can be no different.  2 hours 50 minutes.

May 4, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food:
Charlottetown Farmers' Market Thursday pick-up orders due today at noon:
The P.E.I. Legislature resumes sitting, 1-5PM today, tomorrow and Thursday, and 10AM-2PM Friday.

Viewing options here:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link


This afternoon:
 What Canada can learn from Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan, with Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna with host Linda Solomon Wood , 2:30PM. 
Registration link

Nature PEI Meeting (room is full, but viewable on Facebook Live), 7:30PM.
The Invention of Polar Bears and the Spoiling of the Great Arctic Party – Dr. David Cairns will be Nature PEI’s guest speaker with his presentation on polar bears which evolved an eye-blink ago in geologic time. His presentation recounts what happened when they arrived in an unsuspecting and unprepared Arctic world. Meeting starts at 7:30 pm at Beaconsfield, the Carriage House, corner of West and Kent Street, Charlottetown.
This meeting is currently at capacity with pre-registrations but it will be broadcast via Facebook Live starting at 7:30 pm. It will be available here:

Note that: All meetings start at 7:30 pm, on the first Tuesday of the month.

Government website note for tomorrow:

Scheduled Website Interruption

There will be a temporary interruption for maintenance at

Impacted Service(s): All online services
Expected Duration: 3 Hours
Date: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 between 7-10pm

The Official Opposition Green Party has put its May newsletter online, here:
and it includes many updates on areas the Opposition has been holding Government to account, or working on their own ideas -- and the links may work or just visit the main link, above.

Subject headings in the May Green News -- Legislative Updates and Events:

New Walking/cycling trails in Britain, if you want to start planning or dreaming of gorgeous, preserved country and coastal views, from today's (U.K.) Guardian:

Ride or walk – A Cornish cycling route that takes in some of the UK’s most spectacular coastal scenery as well as atmospheric old industrial works and bronze age monuments is due to open in the autumn. The West Kernow Way covers 150 miles beginning and ending in Penzance. Cycling UK has plotted the route along bridleways, byways and quiet country roads, taking in Land’s End, the most westerly place in mainland England, the Lizard Point, the most southerly spot of mainland Britain, and St Michael’s Mount.

There is also an article on discussion about making more walking trails in London on historical waterways -- a city that may be working to preserve and enhance its views and history for residents and visitors.

Network of green walks proposed along routes of London’s forgotten rivers

Charity urges mayor to back plans for signage and maps to guide walkers around lost waterways
Article Link

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Elektra, today until about 6:30PM
Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Production by Patrice Chéreau. From April 30, 2016..  Short (under two hours), intense, psychological drama, and Stemme makes you care about this character of myth as a real person.

Handel’s Rodelinda, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Andreas Scholl, Joseph Kaiser, and Shenyang, conducted by Harry Bicket. Production by Stephen Wadsworth. From December 3, 2011.  Over three hours.  "Rodelinda is faced with an impossible dilemma: With her husband Bertarido believed dead, she either has to marry the despised Grimoaldo (the elegant Joseph Kaiser), who has usurped her husband’s throne, or see him murder her son. But Bertarido (leading countertenor Andreas Scholl) is alive and eventually reclaims both throne and wife—and makes peace with his enemies."

And  because it is today, May the Fourth Be with You....

somebody's very patient cat,

photo uncredited

May 3, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Pessimism is an indulgence, despair an insult to the imagination. There are wonderfully positive things out there.
      - Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis

Many MLAs will be have a constituency day today.
Contact information here:
Later this week:
American-focused, but if of interest:

Thursday, May 6th:
Interview with Senator and former Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, Washington Post's webinar series, 10:30AM. online.

"Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) ran for president as a champion for working families and the middle class and pushes corporations and politicians alike on progressive issues. Warren joins Washington Post Live to discuss her memoir, Persist, as well as her top legislative priorities following President Biden’s joint session speech. (Hosted by )"Power Up” author Jacqueline Alemany."
More information and streaming link:

As we head into spring, pollination, blueberries, etc., and proper dues to MLA Michele Beaton from Mermaid-Stratford for her pressing on this issue, too.  She spoke in the Legislature last week about this, and here is a link to her blog post from about a year ago:

Beekeepers get the short end on two counts - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021, in The Graphic publications

The government seems resigned to infecting PEI bee hives with small hive beetle (SHB). It is a serious pest. If you pull your boxes of honey off the hives and leave them without bees to guard them for a few days the beetle larvae can slime them and spoil the honey and even the equipment. If you have weaker hives or mating nucs you are trying to raise queens in, the beetles can kill them. Nova Scotia closed its border to the import of hives in 2017 in order to keep them out and it has closed to PEI as well because the policies of our government are obviously extremely high-risk.

Every year the beetle keeps expanding its range in Ontario and the Ontario government has given up on containing them and ended all movement controls on hives in the province.  And the PEI government keeps reducing the import restrictions on hives moving from Ontario to PEI for blueberry pollination. They want the hives, whatever the consequences, and there are just not enough low-risk hives available.

In 2017 the Minister of Agriculture assured us the department had a robust inspection protocol. Then, just before a load of bees, which had been inspected for SHB (using that ‘robust’ protocol) and passed, SHB were accidentally found by a tech transfer working in that yard. That year New Brunswick was infected with SHB, Nova Scotia closed their border to importations, and PEI did not get imports. After that for the next two years PEI excluded imports from the areas of Ontario where SHB were known to exist. But the question of infected ‘operations’ was raised. One large bee operation (based in the infected Niagara area) bought a smaller bee operation in Grey County and after declaring they would disinfect their vehicles and not transfer any bees or equipment between the smaller operation and their main operation the PEI Provincial Veterinarian allowed those hives to come to PEI. We were lucky that year, but by the next year, 2019, Grey County was no longer SHB-free (likely because that operation spread SHB there).

Last year, the import protocol from the two years before was dropped and there were no ‘restricted’ geographical areas, but most of the hives came from eastern Ontario which was not known to have SHB (and a few from the Newmarket area). But now SHB have been found both sides of Kingston in the east, and also north of Toronto near Newmarket. So we do not have geographic area protection anymore. We do not have much inspection anymore. There will be 10 per cent inspection of the hives by Ontario inspectors. That is it. There will be more inspection in PEI, but the amount is left unspecified in the most recent protocol. It is a far cry from the 100 per cent inspection asked of the candidates in the environmental debate before the last election and it is the first protocol where the number of hives to be inspected here is not stated. Will it be an additional 10 per cent, 1 per cent, 2 per cent?

The PEI Beekeepers Association executive met with the Minister of Agriculture and asked for the most basic of biosecurity measures. They asked that if any apiary of a beekeeping operation had a find of SHB that beekeeping operation should be excluded from exporting hives. Beekeepers move bees and bee equipment between apiaries and trucks get loaded with dead hives. SHB is a little beetle that likes to hide in cracks in the equipment or on the truck. Allowing hives in from an operation that has the pest is allowing the pest in.

But here is what is in the 2021 Protocol Regarding The Importation of Honey Bees into Prince Edward Island ...

3) If any stage of SHB has been detected in at least one APIARY operated by any beekeeping operation in EACH OF the last three consecutive years (i.e. 2019, 2020, and 2021), then NO colonies from that OPERATION will be permitted to enter PEI. (end quote)

So PEI can import hives from any place in Ontario, even areas that have had SHB for many years and from any operation that for one year in the past three did not find SHB. But how much inspection was done that year? The protocol does not specify. So, let us say a big beekeeping operation in the Niagara area did not have any apiaries that showed SHB last year because due to COVID there was little inspection, they can export as long as a few hives in one yard were inspected. There are no numbers quantified. Is that science? Is that protection? Would the Minister of Agriculture want protection like that for his dairy herd? Would he be satisfied if the disease brought in would probably not be able to be eradicated (because no one has eradicated SHB once it has come in, and in Italy they have spent millions burning hives just to contain it: but with containment strategies based on science). Would he be satisfied if we had an eradication protocol that could ask him to burn any cows that became infected but did not say anything about compensation? I doubt it, and the regulations for cows (federal) do specify compensation for destruction. The eradication policy for SHB is very specific on how to burn beehives but says nothing about compensation. Apparently beekeepers will have to bear the cost of destroying their hives in order to subsidize the import of hives for blueberry companies.

I remind the premier of his words during the environmental debate on this issue ‘based on science’. This protocol is NOT based on science. It is based on capitulation to the blueberry companies and their need to acquire hives from Ontario where the locations to access those hives keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Stan Sandler, Iris

Atlantic Skies for Monday, May 3rd to Sunday, May 9th, 2021 "Why Every Full Moon Isn't a Supermoon" - by Glenn K. Roberts

After viewing the Full Pink Supermoon of April 27 (12:31 a.m.), one of my readers emailed me with the following question: "Why isn't every Full Moon a "supermoon"?

The Moon's orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle, but, rather, slightly elliptical or oval in shape. As a consequence, the Moon's distance from the Earth can vary considerably (as much as 1,000 kms in just 6 hours) as it orbits the Earth; the average being approximately 384,400 kms. The lunar cycle is 29.53 days long; as a result, the Moon's phases vary when compared to calendar months (i.e., a particular lunar phase does not repeat itself on the same day each month). Also, the lunar perigee (its closest approach to Earth) and apogee (farthest distance from Earth) follows a 27-day cycle. Add to this the fact that the Moon's orbital plane around the Earth is not the same as the Earth's equatorial plane, but is tilted, varying between 18.28 and 28.58 degrees), with the result that, at some point in its orbit around the Earth, the Moon is either above or below Earth's equatorial plane. The Moon's orbital path is also influenced by the gravitational pull of the Sun, Earth and other planets.

Given that a supermoon is broadly defined (by astrologers, but not astronomers) as a New or Full Moon that occurs at or near (within 90% of) perigee, when you add the 29.53 lunar cycle, the 27 day perigee-apogee cycle, the Moon's tilted orbit around the Earth, and the gravitational influence of the Sun, Earth, and other planets, it is not difficult to appreciate that a number of things have to synchronize just perfectly for there to be a supermoon. This helps explain why every Full Moon is not a supermoon, and why there are usually only 3 or 4 supermoons in any given year. According to the Farmer's Almanac, there are only two supermoons in 2021 - April 27 and May 26 - although other sources list the June 24, 2021 Full Moon as a supermoon as well. However, according to astronomers, who have a stricter definition of a "supermoon" - the Full Moon that makes it closest approach (perigee) to Earth in any given year - there is only one real supermoon this year, the one occurring on May 26, 2021, when the Full Moon will be only 357,462 kms from the Earth (the April 27 supermoon was 357,615 kms from Earth), thus the closest perigee for 2021. Incidentally, there will be an even closer supermoon on Nov. 25, 2034, when the Moon, at perigee, will be only 356,445 kms from Earth, the closest supermoon of the 21st century..

Although supermoons can be up to 14% larger than a normal Full Moon, it is almost impossible to discern the size differential with the naked human
eye. Supermoons are, however, usually much brighter than a normal Full Moon, up to 30% brighter. The May 26, 2021 Full Supermoon will be the brightest (approximately 30% above normal) and the largest (approximately 14% larger) of the year.

With a clear view of the west-northwest horizon, you may catch a quick glimpse of Mercury (mag. -1.4, in Aries - the Ram) low above the horizon around 8:45 p.m. on May 3. You will have to be quick though, as our solar system's smallest planet will drop below the horizon soon after. Venus is below Mercury, and too close to the Sun (and the horizon) to be readily visible. Mars (mag. +1.6, in Gemini - the Twins) is visible about 22 degrees above the western horizon as the sky begins to darken, before dropping below the horizon shortly before midnight. Saturn (mag. +0.7, in Capricornus - the Sea Goat) rises above the pre-dawn, southeast horizon around 2:50 a.m. this coming week, before disappearing from view as dawn approaches. Saturn will appear just to the upper left (north) of the Last Quarter Moon on May 3 in the pre-dawn sky. Jupiter (mag. -2.3, in Aquarius - the Water Bearer) rises in the southeast about 3:30 a.m., reaching a height of about 19 degrees above the pre-dawn horizon, before fading with the approaching dawn by about 5:35 a.m. It will sit to the upper left (north) of the Moon in the pre-dawn sky on the morning of May 4.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks during the pre-dawn hours of May 5. One of two meteor showers associated with the famous Comet Halley (the other being the Orionids in October), the Eta Aquarids appear between Apr. 19 - May 28, with a broad peak occurring during the week centered on May 5.  The shower's radiant (apparent point of origin in the sky) lies near Eta Aquarii, the brightest star in the constellation of Aquarius - the Water Bearer, which clears the eastern horizon between 1 -2 a.m. Eta is one of four stars representing the "water jar" asterism in the constellation. The Eta Aquarids are known for their speed (about 237,000 kms/hr), and, as a consequence, often leave glowing "trains" (incandescent bits of debris visible in the wake of a meteor) lasting several seconds (makes for some great photo ops). Expect to see about 10-15 bright meteors per hour under a dark sky away from city lights. You might actually see some of the Eta Aquarids even before the constellation clears the eastern horizon; these are often referred to as "earthgrazers" - long, fast meteor trains that appear to skim the Earth's upper atmosphere starting at or near the horizon. You should also make a point, weather and determination permitting, to watch in the pre-dawn hours of May. 4 and 6; there is likely be as many meteors those mornings as on May. 5. The waning, crescent Moon show not interfere too much, though it may wash out some of the fainter meteors. 

Until next week, clear skies.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s La Rondine, today until 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Nicolas Joël. From January 10, 2009.  A happier time for Gheorghiu and Alagna, in this beautiful, bittersweet, bird-like (La Rondine means the Swallow) opera.

Nightly Opera Streams, May 3–9

Theme: Happy Mother’s Day

"Celebrate Mother’s Day with a week of free streams showcasing some of the best—and worst—operatic moms"

Strauss’s Elektra, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Production by Patrice Chéreau. From April 30, 2016.  Under 2 hours.  Based on the Greek myth and classic play, and set in modern times.  I think Electra's mother is considered one of the worst, though she's a bit pitiable in this opera.

May 2, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown garden share program launches pilot program - CBC online post by Sara Fraser

Published on CBC online on Saturday, May 1st, 2021

Erin Bateman and Rhea Szarics joke their idea to match up gardeners with homeowners in Charlottetown and Stratford is like Tinder for gardening.  "We've been joking about it quite a bit," said Szarics with a laugh.

The green-thumbed friends met this past winter when they were both forest educators for the Sierra Club's Wild Child Program, and came up with the idea of matching homeowners with gardeners without land but want to grow their own food.

Szarics is an avid gardener who moved into an apartment in Charlottetown this winter. She said she found herself approaching the growing season with no space to garden, and with community garden plots in short supply.   She found a friend with a backyard who agreed to let her use the space to garden.

"She's a busy professional, loves cooking, but definitely does not have the time to grow fresh ingredients herself. So it was an ideal arrangement."

How it works

"I just thought to myself, I can't be the only person in Charlottetown with this problem," Szarics said.  She and Bateman came up with a plan to share the solution with others in the capital-city area. It's called the Charlottetown garden-sharing initiative, and it's free. 

Here's how it works: those who wish to garden, or those with land, can visit the initiative's website,, where they can download a form to sign up. The deadline is May 10. 

The women will match up a homeowner and a gardener based on criteria participants indicate are important to them such as location, amount of space needed and what they might like to grow. 

The idea is the gardener provides the knowledge and the labour, and the homeowner provides the land and the tools, and pays for inputs like seeds, compost or tomato cages. If a gardener is inexperienced, they may be matched with a homeowner who wants to mentor them, or they could garden with a third, more experienced gardener. 

There will be a two-week trial period where the two can get to know one another and make sure the arrangement suits them both. There is an opportunity to be re-matched if needed. 

Participants must then draft a written agreement that outlines things such as garden size, a crop plan, a list of tools that will be needed, an estimated budget and how they'll divvy up the garden's bounty. 

After that, the organizers will hold a virtual meeting with both parties to review the agreement and make sure they're on the same page. This is what Bateman and Szarics jokingly call "gardening marriage counselling." Everyone signs the agreement, then the gardening can begin.  

Szarics said she and Bateman will check in on participants every so often, to see how things are going. 

"Part of the beauty of this initiative is that we give homeowners and gardeners a lot of freedom in deciding what they want out of their partnership, so people can kind of choose the route that they want to go." 

Will you let strangers dig in your yard?

So far, six people have signed up for the initiative. Organizers are looking to keep the project fairly small in this pilot summer. 

Szarics said right now they have more homeowners than gardeners looking for garden space, which surprised them.

"Erin and I both thought that we would have the opposite issue — that it might be a little challenging to convince the residents of Charlottetown to let a stranger come in and dig up their yard," she said. 

There are only a few rules. The biggest is that participants must not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. The program also encourages participants to use organic growing methods as much as possible. Participants must follow provincial COVID-19 guidelines such as wearing a mask when in contact with others and wearing garden gloves. The program is providing a free kit for participants to sanitize any shared surfaces such as tools. 

Other than that, the pairs can decide how they want to handle who does what. Some homeowners may choose to pitch in on garden labour, while others may not.

"We don't really want to tell people what to do," Szarics said. 

Anyone can learn to garden'

Szarics worked at Legacy Garden in Charlottetown for a couple of summers and said she enjoyed the community aspect of public gardening. 

"Having the opportunity to garden with other people was one of the most fulfilling parts of that job. And working with people also offers lots of opportunities for sharing knowledge about gardening, which I always get really excited about. But there is also something fulfilling about creating a space for someone that they'll enjoy being in," she said. 

"I think there is an element of satisfaction both in gardening 'with' people and gardening 'for' people."

A couple of city organizations are partnering on the garden-sharing initiative. The Desbrisay Community Garden will be a central location for any programming and give our participants a chance to connect with a group of gardening enthusiasts. And participants will get a half-price membership to the Charlottetown Tool Library, which loans out everything from rototillers to shovels.

Bateman and Szarics have also reached out to the two Charlottetown-area high schools, which have gardens that may go unused in the summers. They may pair up a gardener with a school.   

Szarics said the goal of the garden-sharing initiative is not just to enhance food security or create meaningful connections among neighbours — it's to create more "beautiful, productive urban green spaces" in Charlottetown and Stratford. 

"There's a number of really fantastic positives that come with having more home garden spaces," she said. 

Worried you don't have what it takes? The women said they're there to offer support and direct participants to resources in the community. 

"Almost anyone can learn to garden," she said. "Doing it on a small scale is a really great way to acquire the skills that you need to scale up."

A similar garden-sharing program was piloted in Charlottetown in 2017 by the P.E.I. Food Exchange. It was designed as a self-serve website, but fell apart because participants needed more support.

"The time is ripe, and perhaps it wasn't when we floated the boat out a few years ago," says Pauline Howard from the food exchange. "I do believe, knowing Rhea and Erin, that this will happen."  


Bonshaw and Area notes:

I forgot to mention the special meeting last week (Thursday, April 29th) regarding Electoral Ward Boundaries for the Amalgamated Municipality of West River.   Unfortunately, Charlottetown is not alone in having gaps in communication of meetings and such with residents (on issues certainly affecting residents), as it wasn't too widely advertised.  And it appeared no effort was made to live-stream or record it, which isn't really acceptable in this day and age. 

from the Rural Municipality of West River's website, where the maps are:




The Electoral Boundaries Commission is proposing the ward boundaries shown on the maps below for each of the six wards. The Commission is also proposing both English and Mi’kmaq names for each of the wards. The proposed names are as follows (Tap Blue Letters to Access Maps):

Rural Municipality of West River Wards Boundaries

Ward #1
                   MAQTEWE’K JUPU’JIJ 


Ward #3

                  PITA’Q JIPU’JIJ

                   MAQTEWE’K KWESAWEI

Ward #6 – THE HILL

Each ward is to be within 10% of the average of all the wards or 410 electors (i.e. between 369 and 451 electors).  A full report from the Commission will be made to the Council at its May meeting.

There are three ways in which to provide comments. 

By email at
By Hand Delivered Mail marked CONFIDENTIAL to the Municipal Office at 1552 Rte. #19, New Dominion
By Phone:  902-566-5584

Questions should be directed to either the email address or the phone number above.

Your comments are welcomed by the Commission up to THURSDAY, MAY 6th  OR directly to the Council up to THURSDAY, MAY 13th .
The Electoral Boundaries Commission.

   Funded by the Department of Fisheries and Communities through the Transitional Funding Agreement between the Government of Prince Edward Island and the Rural Municipality of West River.

Please note the Council for the Rural Municipality of West River will hold a special meeting on Monday, May 3, 2021, at 5:30 pm at Afton Community Center.

Perspective on the water situation:

We have to get this right - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie

Published in Island Farmer on Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

(things have changed since this was written as we have the Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister recently declaring he has all the information he needs to apparently ban certain wells for holding ponds but lift the moratorium on high capacity wells for others)

The Water Act should be named for the late Daryl Guignon. The well-respected UPEI biologist was the firmest voice saying no in December of 2013, when it was announced that the moratorium on high-capacity irrigation wells would end.

Not on his watch. By June of 2014, former Liberal Environment Minister Janice Sherry announced a new Water Act would be created. What followed were hundreds of hours of public consultations, thoughtful presentations by dozens of individuals and public interest groups. The Act itself was passed in 2017, and will finally come into force with regulations on June 16th. The moratorium continues, but with a backdrop of continuing drought from climate change during the critical growing season endangering the survival of many farms, there will be new research to determine if the moratorium can safely end.

The Water Act is a singular achievement Islanders should be proud of, not just regulations to protect groundwater resources, but values to guide future decision making. However there’s one skunk at the celebration--irrigation holding ponds.

It’s a challenge to write or talk about holding ponds. Many continue to think or hope that the Water Act will make holding ponds illegal. It does not. It does have regulations about the wells that feed water to holding ponds, and those will come into effect in mid-June. If new ponds are built then multiple low capacity wells that mimic a high capacity well will not be allowed as long as the moratorium is in place.

What’s the controversy? The former Liberal government had written “requirements” for supplying these ponds: one low capacity well (capable of filling an Olympic sized swimming pool in just over a week). Some pond owners followed this rule but many didn’t. The government became convinced that each of these additional low capacity wells on their own were legal, and therefore they’ve been grandfathered in to the new regulations. A legislative committee had recommended a two year compliance period. New Environment Minister Steven Myers has increased that to five years.

I’ve written several times that it was the dozen or so farmers who risked not following these “requirements” and they should have to wait like everyone else for the research to show whether the additional wells can be used safely. It’s also unfortunate to start this fresh era of regulating water use by making an exception everyone is noticing.

The number of holding ponds has increased over the last five years as the impact of climate change, wet springs and falls, dry summers, became firmly established, and farmers saw little hope of the moratorium ending. Used properly these ponds can capture water when it’s flush in the spring, but still no farmer would build a pond if there was any possibility of a high-capacity well in the near future.

However I know for some Islanders these ponds are big, ugly things that represent the physical manifestation of all their concerns: the scale of water needed for irrigation, that selfish farmers will never follow the rules, and government won’t make them.

According to a survey done a year ago there are 30 of these ponds, using a mix of established highcapacity wells, and 67 low capacity wells, to fill them. Two well capitalized operations, Vanco and Indian River Farms, own the majority, with another dozen farms the rest.

I think the trust issue is as important as water use right now. The truth is we really don’t have solid information about water use in these ponds. It’s the impact on local stream flow that’s measured, not the actual amount of water being pumped. The insistence on proper record keeping in the Water Act, the new research that will start this summer, all will build a better understanding of how irrigation is impacting watersheds and should build trust that it can be properly regulated.

Trust and credibility will also be an issue for Island politicians and interest groups. The easiest thing for Premier Dennis King would be to leave this for the next government. He didn’t. In the Environment department, the minister has gone from a series of Steve Yzermans, a cerebral play maker, to Bobby Clarke, willing to whack an opponent on the ankle with his stick to win a game.

Maybe that’s what Steven Myers had to do. Irrigation opponents reminded everyone about Cavendish Farm’s role in all of this, but then ignored that certified organic farmers are also calling for well regulated access to water for farmers. Not surprisingly, the Potato Board was supportive of the new research and the grandfathering of additional wells for pond owners. It also welcomes required new studies on soil health, and one I’ll be watching, what impact is there when plowing is done in the spring leaving fields covered through the winter.

Despite the impact of climate change I don’t think the late Daryl Guignon would have moved off his well-earned conviction that the moratorium is the right thing to do. I remember him talking about the importance of “old” water, our savings account of water deep underground that keeps the salt water all around us at bay. Whatever happens let’s make sure we’re all a part of honouring that. He deserves it, and our gratitude for making us try to do this right.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

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

Puccini’s La Rondine, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Production by Nicolas Joël. From January 10, 2009.  So charming, and so sad.

May 1, 2021

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food:
Farmers' Markets are open in
Charlottetown (9AM-2PM) and
Summerside (9AM-1PM)

Farmacy on Great George Street, from 9AM-1PM offering produce and ferments,
and other stores like
Riverview County Market and the KJL shops are open today.


Also today:

PEI Craft Council Bloom Spring Sale, 9AM-4PM, Delta Hotel, Water Street, Charlottetown, free admissions but donations accepted.
  "The PEI Craft Council is proudly presenting its first ever Spring Market! Just in time for Mother's Day, this market will showcase 56 local vendors, spread across 4 ballrooms at the Delta to ensure social distancing.

Come down and support your local makers at this event!

There is no admittance fee for this event, but donations will be taken at the door. Stay tuned to see who we'll be donating to this year!"

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, May 5th:
BreatheEasy Presents: Lessons from London with
Gary Fuller Webinar, 1-2:30PM, online, free

The BreatheEasy Project is excited to present "Lessons from London" with Dr Gary Fuller. A webinar focused on the history of air pollution in London, England, how they are tackling it and what we can learn from them for Ottawa and the rest of Canada.

Dr Gary Fuller is an air pollution scientist at Imperial College London. He led the development of the London Air Quality Network to become Europe’s most advanced regional measurement network. His research interests focus on the urban air pollution sources; how these are changing and how they affect our health. He is a regular contributor to the Guardian newspaper. His air pollution book, “The Invisible Killer” is published by Melville House in Europe and North America.

This is a free and virtual event. A link to the Zoom meeting will be provided 24 hours before the event to those who register.

Registration link

Thursday, May 6th:
Webinar: Community Science, 6:30-7:30PM, online, free, hosted by the Nature Trust of New Brunswick

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: All levels, kid-friendly

The Nature Trust completes various species surveys on nature preserves – many of which are achieved thanks to our hard-working and dedicated volunteers.

Join the Nature Trust stewardship team on Thursday, May 6th, for a free, family-friendly webinar to learn about the different community science skills you can gain as a volunteer and how you can get involved in the new Ambassador Program this summer.

Space is limited, so please register by clicking the registration link below.

This webinar is a part of our digital Passport to Nature, a series of educational webinars and videos created with you in mind, whether you are new to the outdoors or an avid outdoor explorer..

*If you cannot attend this webinar live, please register to receive a recorded copy following the webinar.


Sunday, May 16th:
The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP)'s Annual Spring Education Forum, 2PM

The theme of the forum: The Land is Alive

Inspirational Presenters: Jill McCormack and Julie Pellissier-Lush

This forum will be a mixture of Zoom at a central point and smaller regional in-person groups. The in-person groups will be in West Prince, Charlottetown, and Kings County.
To register:

All are welcome!
For more information, Contact: Marie Burge 902-569-3504

Interesting short video:

Documenting Changes to the Earth, via timelapse and Google Earth (about 3 minutes):

Science Matters with David Suzuki

Leading thinkers call for fossil fuel halt

from the David Suzuki Foundation
sent on Friday, April 30th, 2021

website link


In 1970, to make the world safer from humanity’s worst self-destructive impulses, most nations joined the
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (Only India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and South Sudan are not signatories.)

Now the world faces a threat as great as or greater than nuclear weapons: global warming. That’s led to calls for a “Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.” Recently, 101 Nobel laureates — in peace, literature, medicine, physics, chemistry and economic sciences, including the Dalai Lama — signed a letter to world leaders endorsing the proposal.

“Climate change is threatening hundreds of millions of lives, livelihoods across every continent and is putting thousands of species at risk,” they write.

The letter points out that burning coal, oil and gas is responsible for 80 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution and that “pollution, environmental and health costs associated with extracting, refining, transporting and burning fossil fuels … are often paid by Indigenous peoples and marginalized communities.”

It also notes that the Paris Agreement doesn’t mention oil, gas or coal and that the industry — funded by major banks — continues to expand. By 2030, 120 per cent more of these fuels will be produced than is consistent with meeting the agreement’s aspirational goal of keeping global average temperature from rising more than 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.

As the laureates write, “The solution is clear: fossil fuels must be kept in the ground.”

The letter calls for ending coal, oil and gas development expansion; phasing out existing production in a “fair and equitable” manner; and investing in a transitional plan “to ensure 100% access to renewable energy globally, support dependent economies to diversify away from fossil fuels, and enable people and communities across the globe to flourish through a global just transition.”

This isn’t the first time leading thinkers have joined to urge humanity to resolve environmental problems. In 1992 and again in 2017, top scientists issued “warnings to humanity.” The first, signed by 1,700 scientists, including most science Nobel laureates, warned, “Our massive tampering with the world's interdependent web of life — coupled with the environmental damage inflicted by deforestation, species loss, and climate change — could trigger widespread adverse effects, including unpredictable collapses of critical biological systems whose interactions and dynamics we only imperfectly understand.”

It called for action in areas including “ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth.”

Twenty-five years later, more than 15,000 scientists issued a second warning, noting that “with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.” That warning pointed to the increasing threat of climate disruption from fossil fuel burning, deforestation and agricultural production and to the growing mass extinction crisis.

When will we heed these voices of reason? When will we stop listening to those who have been telling us for decades that “we can’t stop using fossil fuels overnight” as they ramp up production and make no attempts to stop at all? Why do politicians continue to talk about their climate commitments while buying and supporting fossil fuel pipelines and other infrastructure, and expanding production of fracked gas and oilsands bitumen?

We talk about the urgency of the climate and biodiversity crises but act as if we have all the time in the world to address them.

The COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into a crisis with immediate impacts on everyone, but it also taught us important lessons and gives us an opportunity to change. It’s shown that we can resolve crises and develop solutions rapidly if we come together and spare no expense. It’s shown that prioritizing the human-created economy over human and planetary health has dire consequences and only prolongs the crisis.

The world has paused to deal with a critical health emergency — also rooted in environmental degradation. It’s a chance to reset, to start governing our lives in ways that won’t lead to possibly deadlier pandemics, or to a planet heated beyond its ability to support healthy life or to continued mass extinction.

We must devote everything to resolving these interrelated crises. We’ve been warned.

Written by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington


Metropolitan Opera Radio "Saturday Afternoon at the Opera" performance, 2PM, 104.7FM, recorded live

Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux
Performance from April 16, 2016
Maurizio Benini; Sondra Radvanovsky (Elisabetta), Elīna Garanča (Sara), Matthew Polenzani (Roberto), Mariusz Kwiecien (Duke of Nottingham)
Marvelous cast, sad (possibly embellished) tale of later life of Elizabeth I and relationships that were not meant to be.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s La Traviata , today until 6:30PM
Starring Ileana Cotrubas, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil, conducted by James Levine. Production by Colin Graham. From March 28, 1981. 

Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, and Ambrogio Maestri, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Sir David McVicar. From January 12, 2019.  A "killer" cast in this drama of love and political ambition.