CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

November 2020


  1. 1 November 30, 2020
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 Atlantic Skies for November 30th - December 6th, 2020 "The International Space Station" - by Glenn K. Roberts
    3. 1.3 Environment to benefit from ‘biggest farming shake-up in 50 years’ - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Damian Carrington
  2. 2 November 29, 2020
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 Observations on Charlottetown from the North Shore of P.E.I. - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Gary Walker
  3. 3 November 28, 2020
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  4. 4 November 27, 2020
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  5. 5 November 26, 2020
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  6. 6 November 25, 2020
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  7. 7 November 24, 2020
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 LETTER: Land protection - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  8. 8 November 23, 2020
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 Atlantic Skies for November 23rd - November 29th, 2020 "Challenges to the Lord of the Rings" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  9. 9 November 22, 2020
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 'I could make a little difference in the world but it seems like a lot of work. Is it worth trying?' - The Guardian (UK) column  by Eleanor Gordon-Smith
  10. 10 November 21, 2020
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 COP26: Frustrated by delay, young activists stage virtual Mock COP - BBC News article by Olivia Le Poidevin
  11. 11 November 20, 2020
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 Researcher backs up P.E.I. student's opinion on teen voting - CBC News online post by Kevin Yarr
  12. 12 November 17, 2020
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Online hybrid sittings in store for P.E.I. legislature - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  13. 13 November 16, 2020
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 13.2 JIM VIBERT: 40 years ago today, Nova Scotia politics changed for good - The Guardian column by Jim Vibert
    3. 13.3 Atlantic Skies for November 16th -22nd, 2020 " The Famous Leonids Arrive" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  14. 14 November 15, 2020
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 14.2 GUEST OPINION: Public transport: The great societal equalizer - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Barbara Dylla
  15. 15 November 14, 2020
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 17,000 rural homes to see improved internet by spring 2021 - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
  16. 16 November 13, 2020
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 Carter Roberts talks with Dr. Julia Miranda Londoño, director of Colombia's national parks - World Wildlife magazine article
  17. 17 November 12, 2020
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  18. 18 November 11, 2020
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 'Major Victory': Federal Court Rejects FDA Approval of 'Frankenfish' - Common Dreams article by Andrea Germanos
  19. 19 November 10, 2020
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  20. 20 November 9, 2020
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 Revealed: Covid recovery plans threaten global climate hopes - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Fiona Harvey, Environmental Correspondent
    3. 20.3 Atlantic Skies for November 9th - 16th, 2020 "The Circle of the North Star" - by Glenn K. Roberts
  21. 21 November 8, 2020
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 GUEST OPINION: Encouraged but on guard over Lands Protection Act - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Phil Callaghan
    3. 21.3 PUBLIC HEALTH  What’s Going on in Denmark? - Morning Brew newletter written by Neal Freyman, Eliza Carter, and Toby Howell
  22. 22 November 7, 2020
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 National Farmers Union urges divested Brendel land be used to establish P.E.I. land bank - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
    3. 22.3 Health P.E.I. to cover drug cost for cancer patient who had been paying the bill - The Guardian column by Jim Day
  23. 23 November 6, 2020
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 Reducing light pollution has numerous benefits for the environment - CBC's "What on Earth?" article by Nicole Mortillaro
  24. 24 November 5, 2020
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 24.2 Government’s Net Zero plan: A+ for goals, C- for action -  By Ole Hammarlund, MLA District 13: Charlottetown-Brighton
  25. 25 November 4, 2020
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 LETTER: Representation missing on P.E.I. land matters advisory committee - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  26. 26 November 3, 2020
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 *get into the Metropolitan Opera's "A Two-Week Tour of Opera History, From Handel to Wagner"
    3. 26.3 Study reveals living wage in Charlottetown is $19.30 an hour - The Guardian article
    4. 26.4 Atlantic Skies for November 2nd-November 8th, 2020 "What Happens to Our Sun When It Dies?"- by Glenn K. Roberts
  27. 27 November 2, 2020
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  28. 28 November 1, 2020
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 PAUL SCHNEIDEREIT: High time we stopped time-change circus - The Guardian article by Paul Schneidereit

November 30, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"If we put humanity first, there is hope."
     — Lynn Hasselberger, author, November 30 Global Chorus contributor (full essay below)


Local Food:
Eat Local PEI is offering a members-only CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for the winter
There is a 10% discount for new members deadline today.  The CSA begins on December 11, and the weekly public Eat Local PEI menu will be downsized. 

More details at

There is a lovely description of CSAs and their effect on that page, too.
There are a few other Winter CSAs on P.E.I., including Crystal Green Farms and Schurman's Family Farm, and I can get the details put together another day.
Here is the P.E.I. Food Exchange's page on CSAs:

Charlottetown Farmers Market 2 Go, order deadline Tuesday, December 1st at noon for pickup Thursday, December 3rd, 3-6PM.

Local Politics:
The P.E.I. Legislature does not sit today, but you can look up your MLA or read or watch materials, here:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Atlantic Skies for November 30th - December 6th, 2020 "The International Space Station" - by Glenn K. Roberts

My space-obsessed granddaughter, Scarlet, was quite intrigued when, a week ago, I showed her the video replay of the Nov. 15, 2020 launch of the SpaceX rocket (on its first fully operational crewed mission) from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, taking four astronauts (3 American, 1 Japanese) to the International Space Station (ISS); the first launch to the ISS from American soil since the end of NASA's Space Shuttle program in 2011. The launch brought the on-board complement of astronauts to 7. Of course, the curiosity bell rang, and she just had to know everything about the station, so off we went to comb through my astronomy books and surf the Internet for any information we could find about the station.

The ISS was initially based on the 1980s United States' Space Station Freedom concept (during its post-WWII Cold War with Russia), created to counter the Russian Salyut and Mir space station programs. When the Cold War ended in the early 1990s, the space station concept was revived, this time as a joint, international endeavour by the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and Europe. The concept called for the physical joining of NASA's (US) 'Space Station Freedom' module, Russia's 'Mir-2' station, and European Space Agency's 'Columbus' space lab. The actual first step occurred in November 1998 with the launch into Low Earth orbit (altitude of 2,000 kms or less) of the first module component atop a Russian Proton rocket. Subsequent launches lifted additional components into orbit, where they were joined to one another, with the last module being added in 2016. The station's first crew (named Expedition 1, consisting of 1 American and 2 Russian astronauts) docked on Nov. 1, 2000. The station has a comfortable capacity for 6 astronauts (as of the Nov. 15 launch, there are now 7 on-board), though in 2009, it had as many as 16 astronauts on board at one time.

The ISS is 728m (meters) in length, 108.5m in width, and approximately 20m in height, and consists of 32 components, which, on Earth, would weigh a little over 420,000 kilograms. It orbits the Earth every 92.68 minutes, completing approximately 16 (15.54) orbits per day (thus, the on-board astronauts see 16 sunrises and sunsets each day), at an average speed of 27,600 kms/hr. Although it technically loses approximately 2 kms of altitude per month due to gravity (called "orbital decay"), thrusters aboard the station, fired at regular intervals, keep it orbiting at the required altitude (between 370-460 kms.). Regular resupply missions to the ISS carry needed water, air and food supplies, scientific equipment, and, when required, new crew members. While on the ISS, the crew members experience weightlessness, which over extended periods of time, can result in biological changes to the astronauts' bodies; that is why the majority of astronauts only spend 4-5 months or less on the station, before returning to Earth. The longest continuous habitation of the ISS record by a female astronaut is held by NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who spent 328 consecutive days aboard the station before returning to Earth on Feb.6, 2020. The longest record by a male astronaut is that of NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, with 340 consecutive days on the ISS during 2015-2016. 

Though I have, no doubt, already posted this information in another weekly article, if you would like to watch the ISS pass over your location, go to, and follow the instructions to receive an email listing the date, time, direction, altitude, and duration of the ISS as it flies over your location.

Mercury remains too close to the Sun to be seen. Venus (mag. -3.97) puts in a brief appearance in the pre-dawn, eastern sky, rising shortly after 5 a.m., reaching a height of 17 degrees above the southeast horizon, and then fading from view around 7:15 a.m.  Mars (mag. -1.14) becomes visible 27 degrees above the eastern horizon about 4:50 p.m., reaching its highest altitude of 50 degrees above the eastern horizon by 8:35 p.m., remaining visible until approximately 2:20 a.m. when it drops below 7 degrees above the western horizon. Jupiter (mag. -2.04) is visible in the southern sky around 4:50 p.m., 19 degrees above the horizon, before setting around 7:50 p.m. Saturn (mag. +0.64) is visible a short while after Jupiter, 19 degrees above the southwest horizon, before it too sets shortly after 8 p.m.

Looks like we'll have one more comet to look at in 2020. Comet S3 Erasmus (currently at mag. +9) was discovered on Sept. 14, and will reach perihelion on Dec. 13. More about this comet in next week's column.

Until then, clear skies.


land use news from "across the pond"...

Environment to benefit from ‘biggest farming shake-up in 50 years’ - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Damian Carrington

£1.6bn subsidies for owning land in England to end, with funds going to improve nature

Published on Monday, November 30th, 2020

Wildlife, nature and the climate will benefit from the biggest shake-up in farming policy in England for 50 years, according to government plans.

The £1.6bn subsidy farmers receive every year for simply owning land will be phased out by 2028, with the funds used instead to pay them to restore wild habitats, create new woodlands, boost soils and cut pesticide use.


Farmers will also get grants to improve productivity and animal welfare, including new robotic equipment. The goal of the plan is that farmers will – within seven years – be producing healthy and profitable food in a sustainable way and without subsidies.

The environment secretary, George Eustice, acknowledged the damage done to the environment by industrial farming since the 1960s and said the new plans would deliver for nature and help fight the climate crisis. Farming occupies 70% of England, is the biggest driver of biodiversity loss and produces significant greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution.

The radical changes in agricultural policy are possible due to the UK leaving the EU, whose common agricultural policy is widely regarded as a disaster for nature and even critics of Brexit see the changes as positive.

Farming and environment groups largely welcomed the plans but said more detail was urgently required. Brexit is looming at the end of December and uncertainties remain over food tariffs and trade deals. Many groups are also concerned about the potential import of food produced to lower animal welfare and environmental standards.

(Rest of story at the link, above)

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Kiri Te Kanawa, Plácido Domingo, Vladimir Chernov, and Robert Lloyd. From January 26, 1995.

This week begins "Stars in Signature Roles" and the mesmerizing Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who died in 2017, was known for his dramatic portrayal of Onegin.

Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, 7:30PM Monday until 6:30PM Tuesday
Starring Renée Fleming, Ramón Vargas, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Valery Gergiev. From February 24, 2007.

it's a simple answer, but we do need to keep working on the global chorus part :-)

Global Chorus essay for November 30
Lynn Hasselberger

The environmental and social crises are complex and at times our circumstances can feel impossible to turn around. There’s discourse about how to resolve our problems and even heated controversy over what crises are real. Pile on our political, economic and religious differences, sprinkled with language barriers, and you’ve got chaos.

How do we get past this? It will take Herculean strength, but the answer is simple. We need to toss aside our differences and concede that we’re all human. Each and every one of us needs clean water, clean air, safe food and shelter; and these basic needs are human rights regardless of race, social status or religious belief. That has to be our foundation for moving forward.

Now we have to take that a step further – while the world is comprised of different countries, one country’s actions impacts all others in some way. We need to be accountable to one another because we’re all connected and, ultimately, share the same air and water. Nothing should stop the global community from collaborating and agreeing upon incentives for corporations and entire countries that develop technologies and practices that protect our environment (i.e., clean energy, sustainable farming, educational tools for developing countries, water retention and purification). There should also be globally enforceable consequences for corporations and countries that harm the environment in any way. Why can’t we integrate this into our international human rights law?

It has to start with individuals. You and me. Thanks to the Internet, we have an instant global community. We can initiate these conversations and influence others one by one to join this redefined humanitarian movement. Our survival and that of all species left on this Earth depends on it.

If we put humanity first, there is hope.
     — Lynn Hasselberger, concerned mom, environmental advocate, founder of, contributor to the Green Divas Radio Show, Be You Media, elephant journal

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

November 29, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Founders' Food Hall and Market Pop-Up Market , 12noon-5PM.
Facebook event link with list of vendors

News for today:

Displaced left intersection in Charlottetown to go live Nov. 29

headline is also link to Guardian article from November 28th, 2020.

The key word is "live", so watch out for others in that area.

All 11 turning permutations are digitally conjured up here:

In case you want to catch up with Legislative Assembly business today or tomorrow:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

The Stop Killam PEI group formed to increase public awareness of the plans for the monstrous apartment building set to be shoehorned in behind The Renaissance home on Haviland/Water Street, next to the Culinary Institute, and interfering with the Boardwalk and public views, to be sure, in the area.  It pried back the lid on worrying decision-making processes going on at Charlottetown City Hall, and on a total lack of vision for any sort of cohesive, stewardship, conservationist plan for the Capital City. 

Further troubling is the process for the "Sherwood Crossing" development, north of Towers Road (the private road going into Charlottetown Mall from Mount Edward Road, never a fun road to be on in a car, and much, much worse not in a car). Doug MacArthur and Barbara Dylla have been documenting and reporting on issues with the Haviland project and now the Sherwood scheme, as seeking and listening to public opinion seems to be taking a backseat to development.  And no one is saying there isn't a need for more housing in Charlottetown and across the Island; voices of reason and planning tend to be brushed aside by status and shine.

Definitely worth the read:


Observations on Charlottetown from the North Shore of P.E.I. - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Gary Walker

Published on Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

I have “talked the talk” long enough, now I’ve “walked the walk”. We have moved from the “Cradle of Confederation”, or “Cradle of Confusion” to a North Shore community.

I will save comments regarding the exploits of the Department of Transportation for another time. Apparently, I will have lots of time, even after watching the 11 mind-numbing videos they posted on Youtube to explain a “simple intersection”.

Ah, Charlottetown. I will not take a round-about way here. After 36 years I no longer pay taxes to the city, but I do have some observations. First: The role of city council is not to help developers carve up the city, but to represent the citizens who have elected them. Look at poor Towers Road, behind the Charlottetown Mall. The “city limits” do end at The Confederation Trail. Beyond that – all traffic is on Mall property. Developers are hard at work on this mini-street. Underway, one 80-unit apartment building, and another apartment complex as well (originally approved as a community-care facility). All completely legal, and I am not suggesting otherwise. However, we are talking about a very large addition of traffic to this dead-end street. And, now – on the other side (NORTH) of the street, APM has asked for a 300-unit property development. I presume that most residents will have cars – to use on Towers Road, of course. Actually, this development has passed first reading at city council. Unbelievable.

Public works department identified (Towers Road) as an ideal candidate for a pathway for pedestrians and bikers. “As there are number of large projects in this location, the department is recommending holding off on this work”. Why? In most cities it is the developers’ responsibility to provide safe pedestrian passage – not the city’s. And what is the proposed timeframe? Years? 

I agree that city council has (had) to clean up the messes made by previous councils, including the biggie – the large subdivision across from Mel’s Liquor/Convenience store onto the extremely busy St. Peter’s Road with only one exit, Bambrick Drive. This is to be rectified, at some point, with – how should I put it – a large circle. As I recall, a previous owner of Mel’s wanted another exit – behind Mel’s, through an area zoned residential. This was successfully fought by the residents and ultimately dropped. As it should have been. Most importantly, though, this set a precedent for future R1 planning.

Now another developer is trying the same tactic — an exit through a quiet residential area on Trainor Street — to allow traffic flow for highway access. No, no and no. The residents of that neighbourhood bought their properties in an R1 Zone and they deserve the “rights and privileges attached thereto” that go with that designation. City council’s first role is not to facilitate development, but to protect its own citizens’ legal rights.

Do city council members walk along streets that will forever be changed by developers and speak to residents, whom they pledged to represent at election time, or simply look at developers’ slick designs, beautifully drawn by professionals? Not another building in sight, project gleaming in the sunlight — no bus stops, no traffic, no homeless people sitting on a bench; no cigarette butts on the ground – always heaven on earth. And, for once COVID-19 helps — small council meetings or video meetings or closed meetings at inconvenient times; a developer’s dream.

City councillors have to be familiar with sites which they are asked to approve: Trainor Street, Towers Road, Bambrick Drive, and all future developments. Do come to today’s streets, and try to get into the traffic flow at “rush hours”. City councillors are voting on proposals they know nothing about. Would they live on these streets?

The city needs development, but not at the price of its character, or the good of its citizens. P.E.I. has often been compared to Ireland; at the rate we are going it will soon look like East Berlin.

Charlottetown city council has not only a legal mandate to plan the city, but also a moral one to its citizens, as elected officials. Otherwise, the city could be run by a couple of lawyers and a CEO. What about the residents – the taxpayers?

The city owes the developers nothing. The citizens, everything. See the wise Aesop’s fables: “The Frogs and the Ox” and “The Goose and the Golden Egg”. Easy to find on the Internet. And in Charlottetown. 

Gary Walker is a life-long educator who now lives on the North Shore.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Wagner’s Die Walküre, today until 6:30PM
Starring Christine Goerke, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jamie Barton, Stuart Skelton, Greer Grimsley, and Günther Groissböck, conducted by Philippe Jordan. From March 30, 2019.  Just under four hours, but well-worth it.

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Kiri Te Kanawa, Plácido Domingo, Vladimir Chernov, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by James Levine. From January 26, 1995.  2 hours 20 minutes.  This is the decade where Domingo was the tenor and the young fellow Gabriele, whereas the version from a few years ago, he is the baritone and the father, Simon.

a little bit of a rant, but he gets back to the idea of hope for the future

Global Chorus essay for November 29
Richard Zurawski

There was a time when I was younger that I could say with confidence that the emergence of rational thought was set to usher in a new era of prosperity and a golden age of reason. It was time when scientists were generally respected, and some were even revered. But in the past two decades, the rise of religions, consumerism, self-interest and media complicity have eroded and marginalized science and its twin pillars of knowledge and rational thought. Everywhere, the attack on science and scientists is returning us to the dark ages, where scientists and science are vilified and persecuted. Is this hyperbole?

In our schools, fundamentalists insist on including “creationism,” masked in its new-age nomenclature of “intelligent design,” as a viable alternative to the science of evolution. Parents are eschewing inoculations that have saved countless lives over the years and are placing their entire faith in practices such as homeopathy, which is leading to an inevitable resurgence in childhood diseases. Vested interests such as the tobacco lobby have succeeded, with their vast financial reserves, in flooding the media with pseudo and distorted science, creating a method of doubt in science and scientific enquiry that is creeping throughout our society. Our universities are under financial assault as they are forced to become pawns of industry. And the massive, incalculable assault on the environment though the twin devils of population explosion and consumerism is just beginning to unfold.

In light of these almost overwhelming challenges, it is hard to be anything but a pessimist. Yet it seems that when the light is the dimmest, when the road ahead is darkest and almost totally obscured, humanity rises to reveal its best. Somehow the best, the brightest and the greatest come to the fore and give us a renewal and strength to mitigate the worst. It has happened time and time again, and it is my profound hope and wish that out of the potential disaster, reason and sanity will triumph.

       — Richard Zurawski, BSc, MA, PhD author, lecturer, radio talk show host, meteorologist, documentary filmmaker , former councilor for the Halifax Regional Municipality

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

November 28, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

from the David Suzuki Foundation -- deadline for comments is Monday, December 9th, 2020:

Last month, Canada got one step closer to banning certain single-use plastics. The federal environment and climate change minister revealed the list of six plastic items he’s proposing to ban next year. That’s a start, but it must be bolstered by a comprehensive zero-waste strategy.

The government is proposing recycled-content requirements for plastic products not subject to the ban, but the focus ought to be on reducing disposable plastics in the first place. Remember the three Rs? “Recycle” comes last, as a reminder to prioritize “reduce” and “reuse”!

The government is inviting comments on its plan until December 9. Our friends at Greenpeace Canada are making it easy to send in comments.

Plastic pollution is everywhere in the environment, causing harm to wildlife and showing up in our bodies too. Environment and Climate Change Canada estimates that Canada generates three million tonnes of plastic waste every year, only nine per cent of which is recycled. And almost all our plastic waste started out as a fossil fuel, creating greenhouse gas emissions throughout its life cycle, from extraction and transport to refining and manufacturing to managing waste and impacts.

We need Canada’s plastic waste strategy to drive innovation in reuse, return and refill systems so we can kick the disposable plastic habit!


Greenpeace letter link

Congratulations to Gary Schneider, for being awarded the 2020 Canadian Museum of Nature Adult Award: from the citation at

Gary Schneider
Stratford, Prince Edward Island
Project: Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project
Described as Prince Edward Island's equivalent of Smokey the Bear, Gary is one of one of P.E.I.'s most respected and committed environmentalists, a champion of biodiversity and a passionate advocate for trees, wildlife habitat, owls and watersheds. An agricultural province, P.E.I. has lost 95% of its old-growth forest. For 29 years, Gary's mission has been to restore the island's endangered Acadian and old-growth forest habitats. He co-founded the education and advocacy organization the Environmental Coalition of P.E.I. (ECO-PEI), a key priority of which has been the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, dedicated to the restoration and propagation of the province's native flora. Through his advocacy, consultations and management skills, Gary has made forest restoration a provincial priority, with the P.E.I. government renewing in 2017 the 10-year public-land agreement with ECO-PEI. Over 900 hectares of public-forest land will be restored under the new agreement and Gary has worked tirelessly to get the first block of provincial land, ever, certified under the Forest Stewardship Council—a certification system to demonstrate sustainable forest management and restoration of native woodlands. Along with running educational tours and workshops, Gary developed a forestry-ecology field course for the University of Prince Edward Island, which is now also available at Acadia University in Nova Scotia.

Gary Schneider, in Fall 2012, leading one of countless volunteer hikes, looking at the big picture and reminding us to be as good of protectors of the woodlands as we could be, in the "Plan B highway" treecut area, Churchill, P.E.I.  (Child of the photographer captured on the left).  Photo by CO.

Viele Valkyries!!  And Past and Present.

Saturday Afternoon at the Opera / Ben Heppner's Best Opera Ever Series, 1PM, CBC Music, 104.7FM
Alex Ross presents Die Walküre by Richard Wagner, with Joseph Keilberth, conductor; Martha Mödl - Brünnhilde; Astrid Varnay - Sieglinde; Hans Hotter - Wotan; and Ramón Vinay - Siegmund
Orchester und Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele
I think this may be from 1955.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, today until 6:30PM
Starring Natalie Dessay, Joseph Calleja, Ludovic Tézier, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Patrick Summers. From March 19, 2011.

Wagner’s Die Walküre, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Christine Goerke, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jamie Barton, Stuart Skelton, Greer Grimsley, and Günther Groissböck, conducted by Philippe Jordan. From March 30, 2019.

Global Chorus essay for November 28
Christina Pirello

Can humanity save itself from itself ?

For me, the salvation of our planet and modern society begins, and ends, with our food. We can clearly see that our modern food choices have destroyed any delusions that food has no impact on our health and the welfare of our planet. Entire societies are plagued by preventable diseases that are driven by our lifestyles. Our planet groans under the weight of our healthcare costs, our trash, the by-products of the way we produce food … and the actual weight of humanity itself.

If we look at our collective health and that of our planet, we must despair. But a groundswell of conscious people are seeing the light, making changes and demanding better quality food to feed our families, our children, our future.

Reclaiming our food begins with reclaiming the meal. When we gather around the hearth, the table, we cultivate the skills we need to create a compassionate community … from communication and sharing to social justice; the tools we need to preserve our very humanity are in the kitchen and are carried to the table.

The ecology of what we eat has an impact on our personal health and the health of our fragile planet. Choosing whole, unprocessed, seasonal foods sustainably produced can change the world. That may sound simplistic, but it’s simple truth … and can feed the world, creating a different humanity than what we see. Imagine a world of healthy, compassionate humans working together to reverse the damage done by multinational corporations and special interests.

Imagine life lived on a planet that is vibrant and healthy. Simply stated, we worry about the environment around us, but consider this. Our internal environment, the state of our internal health reflects the world we have created. If we were to eat foods fit for human consumption and “clean up” our internal environment, we would not tolerate the chaos and pollution around us … and the world would change … because we changed it.

As it always has, the future begins in the kitchen, with humans cooking real food and gathering around the table creating real communities.

      —  Christina Pirello, Emmy Award-winning host of the U.S. national public television series Christina Cooks, bestselling author, health activist

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

November 27, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

November 26, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

November 25, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

November 24, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits today, from 2-5PM and 7-9PM.

You can watch live:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Land Protection:

 from the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land:

It is our understanding that land issues will be discussed this week in the legislature. No doubt many critically important issues will be debated. If you are concerned about the land and the issues related to it, we ask that you contact your MLA and request that they stand behind those who will be speaking out for the land in the Legislature next week.

From our perspective if you are not concerned, you should be. Here is why:

The spirit and intent of the LPA is being abused and it seems like the present and many past governments have looked the other way in order to allow large corporations to abuse it. There were and still are many valid reasons for the LPA being written, including:
-abuse of land using unsustainable farming methods which results in low soil organic matter, tainted wells, ongoing fish/river kills, anoxic waterways, dried up rivers and streams, diminishing/disappearing wildlife, erosion, etc...

- land being sold without being properly advertised;

- when large corporations with deep pockets buy the land, it boosts the prices up so high that young farming families can't afford to purchase

-each time the act is abused, it is sending a message to those corporations that they do indeed have power over government and in turn, they have power over our future.

Please take a few minutes today to contact your MLA with your reasons for supporting our precious land. Feel free to use the above info.

It is so important for MLA's who are concerned for the land to stand up and support those who are asking the right questions next week. Please share this request with others you know who care about what happens to land in this Province. Many thanks."

Election Age of Voting Lowering:
A panel of high school students were supposed to be on Compass Monday, but I think it may have gotten moved due to interviews with Premier Denny King and other news, so that may be on tonight, Compass, 6PM, CBC TV.  If anyone knows details, let me know.

Members of the Legislative Assembly contact information (scroll to find your MLA):

from yesterday's Guardian

LETTER: Land protection - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, November 23rd, 2020

In 2016 I co-produced a video documentary called Islanders and the Land. When I interviewed people for the video I was struck by the deep sense expressed of how precious land is and how it should stay in the hands of communities not corporations. I was also impressed by how people of the Island  have come together historically at various times to protect the land.

It appears that this is yet another time to protect the land and communities of the Island. This resistance of Islanders is a beacon of hope for other parts of Canada to resist the corporatization of land along with exposing the compliance of government. Thank you People of the Island.
Don Kossick Saskatoon, Sask.

And the film, 30minutes:

YouTube description:
Islanders and the Land – a video documentary of how the people of Prince Edward Island have struggled to keep land in the hands of communities. It explores the history of resistance on the Island of over two centuries as communities have fought for the land to be liberated from the encroachment of Lords of the Land. It follows the words of Reg Phelan, author of the book Islanders and the Land, who said “The Islanders' struggle for land in the 19th century is crucial to an understanding of the appreciation and ties to the land today. This history which has stayed alive against heavy odds informs our present attitudes and perceptions of development”. This documentary looks at how land grabbing and concentration and corporate control over inputs and outputs of the farm economy pose a massive threat to farm communities in Canada. It shows how we can learn from the people of Prince Edward Island in building a national resistance and alternatives to the industrial agricultural model. We thank very much the people of the Island and the National Farmers Union for their warm hospitality and interest in supporting this video documentary. Produced by Don Kossick and Denise Kouri, Making the Links Productions, 2016

Buying Local -- a shopping list for shopping lists

Island Actor Kassindra Bulger put together this posting yesterday (for those who were upset about loss of shopping options with interprovincial travel restrictions):
"...buying local is a great way to support Island business owners, Restauranteurs, Artisans, you name it! Here is a small list for Charlottetown....

Food/treats/drinks for holiday get-togethers:

The Charlottetown Farmer's Market

Riverview Country Market

Receiver Coffee Company

Deep Roots Distillery

Upstreet Craft Brewery

KGJ Bakeshop

Mellow Dough

Stir It Up

Mike's Queen Street Meat Market

KJL Meat Market

Fresh Start Fauxmage

Winsloe Farm Market and Gateway Farms


Gift ideas:


Elva Rose Jewelry

Green Eye Designs

Colour Blind Clothing

Garnish Jewellery

Hive and Hollow

Happy Potter

Lightning Bolt Comics

Comic Hunter

Geno Games

Luna Eclectic Emporium

Pine + Navy

Glitter Ghost Clothing and Accessories

Mi'kmaq Printing and Design

Surewood Skateboards

Little Indie

PEI Crafts Council (There is an extensive list of local products to buy on their website by dozens of vendors)

Kuriosities Jewelry

My Little Stash

Raffiné Custom Clothiers

Luther Lather Shaving Creamery

Owls Hollow

All A Board PEI

Town City

Courtside Sneakers

Tuck N Roll Vintage Clothing

Back Alley Music

Chameleons Hanger

Nortons Jewellers

McQueen's Bike Shop

South Shore Soaps and Shampoo Bars

Chuckie's Sports Excellence

The Handcrafted House

Reach Foundation


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s Il Trovatore, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From April 30, 2011. Old family secrets, love triangle, etc.  Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who died of brain cancer three years ago, was beloved by fellow singers and musicians, known for his gorgeous deep voice, mane of silver hair and "electrifying stage presence".  He's the Count di Luna in this production.

Nico Muhly’s Marnie, 7:30PM tonight until 6:30PM Wednesday
Starring Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies, and Christopher Maltman, conducted by Roberto Spano. From November 10, 2018.  Isabel Leonard is a con artist with multiple identities, and you know there must be some awful secrets from her childhood that messed her up, which get revealed and there is peace.  With its "vivid color and ...ravishing, 60s-inspired costumes", it's rich for the eyes as the singing is to the ears.

Global Chorus essay for November 24
Mathis Wackernagel

Humanity’s resource hunger and ecosystem exploitation exceed what planet Earth can sustain. Now the greatest challenge is how to live within our ecological means. But it is also our greatest opportunity.

Fortunately, we have the tools at our disposal to measure both our demand on and the availability of Nature. Now the question is, do we have the courage to calibrate our policies to align with the facts? Or will we do as many have done in the past – address the dilemma of limited resources with brutality, while leaving large segments of humanity in the dust?

Learning to live within the means of one Earth will require the best in human spirit and planning. The promise is a far more stable and peaceful global community.

We can succeed and I want to, because if we don’t, everyone will lose.
     —Mathis Wackernagel, PhD, president of the Global Footprint Network

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

November 23, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Charlottetown Farmers' Market to Go, Tuesday noon for Thursday delivery/pickup:

Eat Local PEI -- Online Farmers' Market order by Wednesday midnight for Saturday pickup/delivery:

Organic Veggie Delivery this week, order by tonight for Thursday delivery
Organic Veggie Delivery :: Veggies this Week

Community Conversations about Food Series, 1-hour virtual sessions online, hosted by the City of Charlottetown, 7PM
The Charlottetown Food Council is hosting a series of community conversations throughout November and December to engage with residents and seek feedback on the City of Charlottetown’s first Food Asset Map.
The most recent project undertaken by the Food Council was the development of a Charlottetown Food Asset Map, which identifies the existing strengths and resources in the community. The development of this asset map will help the Food Council and other organizations gain a better understanding of the City's existing food system and identify opportunities to improve it through future partnerships, policies, and projects.
As part of the final stages of the Food Asset Map, the Charlottetown Food Council is hosting a number of virtual Community Conversations, which will provide the public an opportunity to engage with the new asset map and expand on it by identifying what they recognize as food assets in their area. The four-part conversation series, hosted completely online, will feature a variety of panelists discussing the following themes:
§ Produce, Distribute and Receive: To bring together community members and primary industry members of the food supply chain to share perspectives and information on the local food system.
§ Learn and Celebrate: To uplift voices of BIPOC community members, with regards to our local food system, to create an understanding of how culture, policy, and projects may adversely affect some members of the community, as well as to understand the historical and cultural significance of the land that food is produced on.
§ Grow, Build, Support: To build on assets in the food system, creating more connections and action at neighbourhood levels to benefit the community as a whole.
§ Buy and Celebrate: To build on and celebrate assets in the food system to encourage more citizens to buy and support local.

The community conversations will be 60-minute virtual workshops hosted online. All members of the public are invited and encouraged to virtually attend one of these community conversations on food. Pre-registration is required and available online at the link provided below.
The schedule for the Community Conversations (virtual) is as follows:
§ Monday, November 23 at 7 p.m. – Theme: Produce, Distribute and Receive
§ Wednesday, November 25 at 2 p.m. – Theme: Learn and Celebrate
§ Tuesday, December 1 at 7 p.m. – Theme: Grow, Build and Support
§ Thursday, December 3 at 2 p.m. – Theme: Buy and Celebrate

Facebook event link

The P.E.I. Legislature does not sit on Mondays, so Members can focus on their constituency work, and you can catch up on videos or some House records at:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

And consider commenting on both the Lands Protection Act discussion and the Electoral Age discussion, both probably coming up this week, to your MLA. 

Atlantic Skies for November 23rd - November 29th, 2020 "Challenges to the Lord of the Rings" - by Glenn K. Roberts

No, this is not a sequel to Peter Jackson's epic blockbuster movie "The Lord of the Rings". 

As many of you know (or should know if you had stayed awake in science class the day the solar system was discussed), the planet Saturn is circled by a series of concentric rings of material (called an annular ring), composed primarily of countless silica dust and water ice particles (the origin of which is not fully understood), ranging in size from a few micrometers to meters. Saturn was discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610, the first person to observe the planet, using one of the first telescopes ever invented. Viewed from a point well above either the planet's north or south pole, the picture would resemble a multi-ringed dart board. The ring system consists of a number of rings, each of which is labelled with a letter of the alphabet; the three largest A - C are considered the major rings, with rings D - G, along with another six smaller and fainter rings, considered minor rings. The rings vary in composition, width, depth and apparent colour (actually a factor of their composition rather than any actual colouring). There are a number of near-empty sections between some of the rings, where particle numbers drop off significantly; the most well known of which is the Cassini Division (named for the Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini, who discovered it in 1675) located between the A and B rings. While the planet's ring system is huge - the largest ring spans approximately 274,000 kms in diameter - the rings are, on average, relatively thin, only about 200 kms in thickness . Although Saturn's ring system is constantly losing material, it is estimated that it will last another 300,000 years (so you should still have time to see it). It is hypothesized that Saturn's inner most ring (D), which appears to be the youngest of the rings, at least composition-wise, may have once been a small moon (named Veritas, after a Roman goddess said to have hid in a well) that ventured too close to the planet, and was torn asunder by its tidal forces.

As magnificent as its ring system is, however, Saturn is not the only planet in our solar system with a ring system. Jupiter's ring system, discovered in 1979 via the Voyager 1 spacecraft's flyby, and confirmed by the Galileo spacecraft flyby in 1995, is a faint, 4-ring system composed primarily of dust. The ring system around Uranus (13 rings currently known, with more suspected) was discovered in 1977, and is believed to be composed of debris left over when small moonlets orbiting the planet collided with one another. The ring system itself is only a few kilometers wide, opaque, and very faint. Discovered in 1989 by the Voyager 2 flyby, Neptune's 6-ring system is, like that of Uranus, faint and tenuous. The rings are very dark, though, the result, it is believed, due to organic compounds within the rings.

Interestingly enough, other celestial bodies within our solar system's outer regions have been found to have ring systems: Haumea, an egg-shaped minor-planet in the Kuiper Belt 2 billion kms beyond Pluto, has a 70 km wide ring of debris around it; and Chariko (named for the wife of Chiron, and a daughter of Apollo), a small celestial body orbiting between Saturn and Uranus was discovered to have 2 rings around it (named Oiapoquue and Chui after two South American rivers).There has not, to date however, been any sign of the "One ring to bind them all".

Mercury is currently too close to the Sun to be seen. Venus (mag. -3.98) is, as it has been for the past several weeks, visible in the pre-dawn sky around 4:50 a.m., reaching an altitude of approximately 20 degrees above the southeast horizon before fading with the break of dawn shortly after 7 a.m. Mars (mag. -1.37) is visible in the evening sky as dusk fades, 23 degrees above the eastern horizon, reaching a maximum altitude of 48 degrees above the southern horizon by 9 p.m., and remaining visible until about 2:40 a.m., when it drops below 8 degrees above the western horizon. Jupiter (mag. -2.07) makes an appearance 20 degrees above the southern horizon around 5 p.m., then heads towards the horizon before setting shortly after 8 p.m. Saturn (mag. +0.63) is also visible 20 degrees above the southern horizon by 5:15 p.m., before it too drops towards the horizon, and sets around 8:30 p.m.

Until next week, clear skies.

Nov. 26 - Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)
        28 - Moon at aphelion (farthest from Sun)
        30 - Full (Beaver) Moon; 6:30 a.m. AST


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Berg’s Wozzeck, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Elza van den Heever, Tamara Mumford, Christopher Ventris, Gerhard Siegel, Andrew Staples, Peter Mattei, and Christian Van Horn, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From January 11, 2020.

And with a tip of the opera glasses to American Thanksgiving, perhaps, the Met Opera has collected recordings for this week (Week 37) with the theme: Family Drama

Verdi’s Il Trovatore, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
From 2011, this production "... highlights the raw emotions that drive Verdi’s turbulent tale of love and revenge. Leonora (Sondra Radvanovsky) and the outlawed Manrico (Marcelo Álvarez) are passionately in love. But Manrico’s political enemy, Count di Luna (Dmitri Hvorostovsky), wants Leonore for himself. Meanwhile, Manrico’s mother, the gypsy Azucena (Dolora Zajick), has been keeping a horrible family secret. It’s a combustible combination that eventually leads to a tragic outcome."
Runs 2 hours 30 minutes

Global Chorus essay for November 23 Anna Gustafson

Is there hope for planet Earth? Yes, and hope provides the energy that fuels action. In our current global situation, each of us contributing locally in our own way can reverberate across the world. From my region, the west coast of Canada, I can offer up a prime example of what gives me hope. Dr. Tom Reimchen, a biologist at the University of Victoria, asked a simple question: “Why are trees closest to streams bigger?” Using his curiosity and determination he discovered a surprising answer to this question. In essence, he and his team found that the wild Pacific salmon, along with its predators, scavengers and insects, are a nitrogen delivery system from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. Their work, Salmon/Forest Project, demonstrates why protecting individual species also helps to protect entire ecosystems.

Tom both gave me hope and inspired me as a visual artist. With his permission, I combined his current scientific research with archival images to create my ongoing project Ghost Salmon, which has been seen by many people.

Ghost Salmon, Reimchen's Data — At the Crossroads, by Anna Gustafson

Though it began locally, this research continues to grow in scope. Pacific salmon inhabit and enrich the North Pacific Rim, from Japan, Korea, China, Russia, Alaska, BC, Washington, Oregon and California. There is also the possibility that nitrogen is delivered in a similar way in other ecosystems throughout our planet. For example, hilsa are a fish of the Indian subcontinent that also live in saltwater, returning 1,200 miles inland to spawn and enrich life on land.

Some of our unique human behaviours such as curiosity, passion, determination and ambition have brought us to this critical and dangerous point in history; but with the crucial addition of inspired leadership, knowledge and co-operation, they can bring us to a place of hope which then energizes action. Ghost Salmon and Salmon/Forest Project are examples of how answering a local question furthers global understanding, which is necessary for a more sustainable world.

It is my sincere hope that you are finding your own ways to contribute locally for planet Earth in the desperate times that we face.

     — Anna Gustafson, visual artist, Salt Spring Island, BC

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

November 22, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Call for Volunteers for Winter River Trail Work, 9AM, Suffolk

"We are going to be building a short 80 foot section of boardwalk on the North Loop of the Winter River Trail and to do this we need to carry in the materials. If you are willing and available, we could use your help beginning at 9 am this coming Sunday (22 November). I realize this is short notice but we want to get it in before the ground freezes.

We will meet at the main trailhead located at 145 East Suffolk Rd Ext, Suffolk at 9 am where we will provide further information. Please dress for the weather!

Thank you!"

Last Day for Wreath Drop-Off, 1-3PM, Confederation Centre of the Arts, sponsored by the Friends of the Confederation Centre.
"The Friends" Festive Wreath contest and exhibition. All are welcome to participate- kids, adults, groups, businesses. Traditional, "green living/recycled items", or "Off the Wall!". Entry $5. Prizes! ... On display until Dec 19.


Though Government will be going through the Capital Budget in the coming days, there will be other Legislative business, including two areas that the Citizens' Alliance encourages people to make their interests known.
(Perhaps one today and one tomorrow :-)

One is the Election Age Act, to lower the voting age to 16.

The other is a discussion of the Lands Protection Act. It appears that land ownership and control, the Lands Protection Act and the situation in regard to land in Eastern PEI will be discussed at length in the Legislature next week.

"The National Farmers Union is urging members of the Lands Coalition, the Water Coalition and Citizens' Alliance to contact their MLA and request the MLA to stand behind those who will be speaking out for the land in the Legislature next week.  It is so important for  MLA's who are concerned  for the land to stand up and support those who are asking the right questions next week.  Please share this request with others you know who care about what happens to land in this Province.  Many thanks."

Members of the Legislative Assembly contact information (scroll to find your MLA):

Completed Past records from the first full week of the session are found here:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

And lots of clips and interesting links here -- the P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

from Australia Lifestyle column in The (U.K.) Guardian, worth the read, and it dovetails with the Global Chorus essay for today. 

'I could make a little difference in the world but it seems like a lot of work. Is it worth trying?' - The Guardian (UK) column  by Eleanor Gordon-Smith

The point of this sort of effort isn’t success, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith. It’s to engage with something bigger than ourselves

Published on Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

I’ve found a perfect way to make a little difference in the world but I’m not sure I can be bothered. We got letters telling us our apartment building would be part of a new recycling program. It sounded really cool but then it never happened. After a lot of emails, I found out our building’s strata would have to vote on it. I’m a renter, I don’t know my neighbours very well and I’ve never been to a strata meeting in my life.

I feel like maybe if I started door knocking or something I could maybe make a difference. But it seems like a lot of work and I don’t know the first thing about it. It might take up a lot of time and energy and be fruitless or worse, cause drama with my neighbours or estate agent. I care about the cause but the politics stuff seems daunting. I’ve always been pretty happy not being involved. How do I decide if it’s worth trying?

Eleanor says: I think about a variation on this question all the time: would our lives go better if we did the right thing more often than not? Do good people have a better time than the rest of us?

I understand the space you’re in very well. You get all fired up about a cause or an injustice and feel optimistic and galvanised for the first time in a while. And then you discover that this effort, like all others, will involve meetings that could have been emails and joining forces with people you don’t fully understand or like.

The effort depletes and if you’re sensitive to comparison, you start to see yourself in an unfavourable light next to all the people who’ve been recycling all their lives – you become convinced that they’re also seeing you in that light. Quite quickly it seems as though putting any thought at all into these sorts of problems makes your life go worse. The selfish urge is to return to the version of your life that felt better, the one where you thought less.

The other problem that’s genuinely troubling is that it’s very easy to get suckered into spending your finite world-changing energy on these kinds of individual, small-scale things, that are a vanishingly small contribution to the world’s problems. It’s no good you and I turning off the taps while we brush our teeth if we don’t also do something about the 100 corporations responsible for 71% of global emissions.

But it’s worth trying. It’s all worth trying. The point with these sorts of efforts isn’t to measure them by what success they’re likely to have. The point is to practise a way of engaging with the world that takes us out of ourselves and into something bigger. It’s to have a moment of connection to each other, and to a priority that isn’t solely ours, in a world set up to keep us isolated and disconnected.

There will be moments when you feel discouraged and out of your depth and foolish. That’s all part of it; the point is simply to be doing rather than not doing. That doesn’t mean doing well 100% of the time, nor doing it without fear or trepidation. It’s just a matter of doing something.

You might find that shifting your focus to the process itself – rather than its results, or how well you’re doing – helps restore some of your absorption and thrill. Think of it like yoga or woodwork, where the process can be a destination. You can watch yourself become someone who does something rather than nothing; you can notice how that feels, how it changes over time, without adjudicating it.

Any time I feel a sense of resignation or defeatism I ask myself, “Who benefits from me feeling this way?” If the answer is “people and forces that I really disagree with”, you’ll be surprised how effectively it can change your mood. Don’t let yourself be unwittingly enlisted as a foot soldier for systems you disagree with.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s Turandot, until 6:30PM Sunday evening
Starring Christine Goerke, Eleonora Buratto, Yusif Eyvazov, and James Morris, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From October 12, 2019.

Berg’s Wozzeck, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Elza van den Heever, Tamara Mumford, Christopher Ventris, Gerhard Siegel, Andrew Staples, Peter Mattei, and Christian Van Horn, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From January 11, 2020.

Global Chorus essay for November 22
Lou Leonard

From Hollywood to Bollywood, there are so many ways to escape; to the past – with kings and thrones – or the future – where we fight or fall in love with our computers. But is there really a more exciting time to live than right now?

As a human family we have never been wealthier, healthier or safer. We have tools our grandmothers could never have imagined. We are a planet of superheroes, strong and ready.

We face threats, yes, but we see them: our scientists, heroes by any measure, already have discovered the invisible climate pollution seeping into our life support systems. We know that our current path puts at risk our coastal cities, our food production and half the species on planet Earth.

And already we have begun the amazing process of changing our entire way of living, beginning what David Korten calls The Great Turning. We are moving away from deadly coal, gas and oil toward clean power generated on our own roofs. We already have invented all of the technologies needed for this transformation.

But we are running out of time. Decisions we make – about energy, forests and agriculture – over the next decade will shape the world’s future, forever.

So why haven’t more people made this great turning part of their life’s work? Two words: Fear and Doubt. Fear says don’t even look at this exciting yet scary moment; don’t accept that this is the most important time in human history. And a creeping, sinister Doubt whispers that we really can’t make a difference.

And this makes me hopeful for our future, because the villains Fear and Doubt are within our power to vanquish. We can find the quiet courage to stay with the truth for just a moment without turning away and then surprisingly discover energy to act. We can realize that the turn toward this safer, more beautiful future already has begun. And we can see the growing chorus standing alongside us.

So don’t be silent, talk to your friends, hold your leaders accountable. Start small, but then stretch yourself to do more. You’re not alone, but you are oh so important.

     — Lou Leonard, (now) senior vice-president for climate and energy, World Wildlife Fund


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

November 21, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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


Youth-led Virtual Global Climate Change Summit, filling in for the postponed COP26.

Summit website (all welcome to view):

COP26: Frustrated by delay, young activists stage virtual Mock COP - BBC News article by Olivia Le Poidevin

Published in BBC Minute on Thursday, November 19th, 2020 (bold is mine)

With the international climate talks that were due to be held in Glasgow this year delayed until November 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, young people have decided to create their own.

Unlike the UN summit, COP26, the youth-led Mock COP is not based anywhere physical.  Workshops and talks are being hosted virtually across multiple time zones, reducing carbon emissions by 1,500 times that of previous COP events, according to organisers.

From Thursday (November 19th) until 1 December, more than 350 young environmental activists from 150 countries will hold discussions and hear from a range of climate experts to produce a final statement of demands.

The aim? For countries to consider adopting them into law.

'We are the leaders of today'

Co-organiser Dom Jaramillo, 21, from Ecuador, says the event was born of frustration at the postponement of climate talks.  Dozens of world leaders will attend the summit between 1 and 12 November next year - in the most important round of talks since the global Paris Agreement to tackle climate change in 2015.

"We decided we had to do something because we are in a climate emergency," she told BBC News.  "We want to raise ambitions and show world leaders how a COP should be run. We are not the leaders of the future. We are the leaders of today," Dom added.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who is president of COP26, will speak on the first day of Mock COP.  He says the event will further show "the appetite that exists across the world for governments and organisations to take ambitious climate action".

Low-carbon talks

Josh Tregale, 18, from the UK, decided to defer his place at university to get more involved with environmental work.  He says he wants to set an example for how COP could be run in a low-carbon way.

At a normal COP summit, delegates fly in from around the world. They can emit more than 50,000 tonnes of CO2 - whereas ours will emit around 39 tonnes of CO2," he said.  "If each year those carbon savings were made by government meetings that could have a huge impact."


Mock COP organisers say they want to address complaints about a lack of diversity in the climate movement and fears that countries most affected by climate change are not being heard.

They have given countries from the Global South more young delegates and speaking time than richer countries.  Dom says the Global South - which refers broadly to areas in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania which would previously have been described as developing countries - needs greater representation in climate talks.

"We feel voiceless because we are the most affected," she said.  Growing up on a banana farm in Ecuador, she says she has seen the impact of climate change firsthand.

"We didn't have enough water, our soil was deteriorating. We are really worried about what is happening. I'm worried about my future," she said.  Research suggests that Africa is more vulnerable than any other region to the world's changing weather patterns. Hundreds of millions of people depend on rainfall to grow their food.

In Zambia, where young activist David Watson Mwabila lives, temperatures are predicted to rise by 5C or more. David is concerned that these c

Climate change is going to make it difficult for us to grow food. As a result, it would directly contribute to malnutrition and stunted growth in children," he said.  "Keeping global temperature rise below 1.5C is very unlikely because the current political climate is too hostile. We need to work together as a global village taking decisive steps to combating climate change."

How it will work?

For Josh, this is an important moment to raise ambitions for COP26 next year.  "We can show world leaders that young people can do more than just protest, we can come up with ideas and put things in place as well," he said.

The delegates will work with scientists and environmental law charity ClientEarth to produce a final statement of demands that could be developed into a legal treaty for countries to consider adopting into law.

It is thought one of the demands will call for young people to be included in each country's delegation at COP26.


And their website again:

Operatics today:

Saturday Afternoon At the Opera with Ben Heppner, 1PM CBC 104.7FM
"Best Opera Ever" Series continues with:

Bizet's Carmen, presented by J’Nai Bridges,
Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna State Opera Choir and Philharmonic Orchestra, with  Leontyne Price as Carmen, Franco Corelli as Don Jose, Mirella Freni as Micaela, and 
Robert Merrill as Escamillo. Total classic of a total classic.

More about Ben's guest, mezzo soprano J'Nai Bridges:

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

On-Line Video recording streaming:
Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, today until 6:30PM

Starring Isabel Leonard, Adrianne Pieczonka, and Karita Mattila, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From May 11, 2019.  A devastating beautiful production not often in rotation in these little gifts of daily free video recordings.  About 3 hours.

Puccini’s Turandot, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Christine Goerke, Eleonora Buratto, Yusif Eyvazov, and James Morris, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From October 12, 2019.  Though this one has been shown a bit, it is a gorgeous spectacle and all the singing is fantastic. About 2 hours 20 minutes.

Global Chorus essay for November 21
Brad Rabiey

I grew up on a third-generation family farm. We always had and still keep an amazing garden. Despite our high latitude in Canada, every summer we enjoy cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, peas, beans, pumpkins, carrots and more. We build the garden soil with planting rotations and my Dad would never even think about spraying the weeds that pop up on it. Yet prior to the farm’s transition to me, my parents used fertilizer and pesticides to produce crops like wheat on the bulk of our farmland; grains that ultimately become food for other people. That inconsistency started to bother me many years ago. So, when it came time for the farm to be transitioned to my generation, I dug my heels in to ensure the farm would be certified organic before I took it over; because I only want to grow food I’d actually eat myself or proudly serve to my own family.

That is my story and I tell it everywhere I can, including on this page, because it makes people consider how they can live consistently. It encourages people to examine how their decisions impact the broader world; whether it is where their clothing is made or how they travel to work each day. My story is not a fear-mongering tale, because when we say the sky is falling and it does not do so, in a way that impacts the audience directly; the next day, or even the next year, we become trapped in another parable about a boy crying wolf.

So what should we do to gain trust of the majority and steer society away from the proverbial cliff on issues that are not often instantaneously perceived? We need to teach compassion and empathy. We need to get people to realize that what they do has a ripple effect around the world and generationally, whether through the fabric of society or the warming waters in our oceans. In other words, that we are all eating from the same garden.

     — Brad Rabiey, co-founder of @TheCarbonFarmer, restoring his family’s farm in Canada (and others around the world) with more trees

There is also Trees in Trust, with more Island input:

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

November 20, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-1PM today.

Watch live and sort through records:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

Watch live and scroll through notable postings:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Fridays4Futures, 3:30PM, by Province House.
"We want young people and future generations to have a planet on which they can thrive. Children are welcome in this movement; all events will be peaceful, civil gatherings. We are moved to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future."
And if you can't come -- contact your MLA and MP about ramping up the fight against Climate Change.

Presumably there will be Political Panels on radio and television and columns in the papers today and this weekend, but here is a noteworthy note, in the first of "Letters from Lynne", commentary from NDP provincial and federal candidate Lynne Thiele, who resides in Stratford.

November 18th, 2020
Stratford, Prince Edward Island

The NDP supports voting at age 16. As I told a group of students during the federal election, if you don't know enough to vote then it is the fault of the education system.
Students in high school voting will have a voice in the high cost of secondary education, housing, and discrimination or systemic racism.
My chances of success were much higher in 1969 when I graduated from high school. Our generation has created a two tiered system that makes independence difficult. I also explained what Basic Guaranteed Income could do for their future.
I have great respect for these students. They show more promise than I did at their age. 

--Lynne Thiele

Researcher backs up P.E.I. student's opinion on teen voting - CBC News online post by Kevin Yarr

'One of the easiest ways to strengthen democracy is increase involvement'

Published online on Thursday, November 19th, 2020

A Bluefield High School student is getting behind a Green Party bill in the P.E.I. Legislature to lower the provincial voting age to 16.

MLA Karla Bernard introduced the private member's bill, and 17-year-old Oliver Batchilder is trying to raise support for it.

"All it can do, truly, is strengthen democracy. One of the easiest ways to strengthen democracy is increase involvement," Batchilder told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.  "The easiest way to increase involvement is to simply expand who is eligible to be part of the electorate."

This is not the first time lowering the voting age has been discussed in the legislature.

In 2017, Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker introduced a similar bill, but it did not gain the necessary support, with most of the Progressive Conservative and Liberal MLAs voting against it.

"I've never really been able to understand why some of the bigger parties on the Island haven't been able to commit to lowering the voting age," Batchilder said.  "It doesn't really make too much sense to me."

The arguments

Batchilder said he hears two main arguments against lowering the voting age — youth are apathetic and youth are immature — and he doesn't believe either one of them holds water.

Regarding immaturity, Batchilder said that problem will take care of itself. Teenagers who don't take the vote seriously will mostly just not bother voting, he said, and so they won't disrupt elections.

As for apathy, he argues youth are probably more engaged in their communities than older people.

"They're part of sports teams, they volunteer, they're part of clubs like cadets and 4-H," he said.

Ilona Dougherty, managing director of the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo, said the research backs up Batchilder's opinions on both voter engagement and youth taking voting seriously.

"The brain research is very clear that by 15 years old young people have the full intellectual capacity of adults," said Dougherty.

Developing a habit

The voting age has already been lowered in Scotland and Austria, she said, and the results are positive.

"The research is really compelling that 16-year-olds, when they vote, really take it seriously," she said.

Sixteen-year-olds are well placed to understand the importance of voting, she said, because that's the age they're learning about it in schools. For that same reason, she said, it's a good time to get people started on voting, and hopefully forming a lifelong habit of political engagement.

One unspoken reason parties may be against lowering the voting age, said Batchilder, is they are concerned about changing the status quo, because younger people tend to lean left.

But Dougherty said when you take a broader view you find that young people can tend toward the right or left, depending on time and place.

If the PCs and Liberals want to win over youth, Batchilder said, giving them the vote would be a great way of letting them know they are interested in hearing what youth have to say.


The Bill has been submitted for First Reading, and I will try to find out when the Second Reading is going to be (when they go through it more thoroughly).

It is Bill No. 122, Election Age Act, and you can go to this page:

and search for Bills from 2020 and find Bill 122 (I can't seem to get PDF links to send properly) to read the text.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Verdi’s La Traviata, today until 6:30PM
Starring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, and Quinn Kelsey, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From December 15, 2018.

Friday, November 20
Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday about 6:30PM
Starring Isabel Leonard, Adrianne Pieczonka, and Karita Mattila, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From May 11, 2019.  "Amidst the chaos of the French Revolution, an order of nuns commit the ultimate act of martyrdom, giving opera one of its most devastating and unforgettable final scenes."  

More on this week's opera picks at:

Global Chorus essay for November 20
Jennifer Baichwal

I am frequently surprised and humbled by the optimism of those who live closest to the ground in the struggle for social and environmental justice, and by the relative resilience of Nature. When these two forces come together, I am filled with hope.

I just finished a film called Watermark about human interaction with, and impact upon, water around the world. We were in ten different countries and witnessed a myriad of human relationships with that primal natural force, crucial to life. One of the most affected places we visited was the Colorado River Delta. It used to be two million acres of lush wetland habitat, and is now a desert. Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, the Imperial Valley, with its agriculture that many of us depend upon – these barren places have been terraformed by, and exist because of, water from the Colorado. So much is taken in the U.S. – 14 dams worth – that the mighty river limps across the border into Mexico and dies. Most of the time, since the 1960s, no river water reaches the ocean.

But in 1977, some (not much) agricultural wastewater from Arizona was accidentally released back into the Delta, creating a desert lake now called La Ciénega de Santa Clara. Almost overnight, the landscape transformed. Plants and birds and fish returned, and this small amount of inadvertent runoff made the area a flourishing estuary habitat again. It has been tended by Juan Butron, his family and the community of Ejido Johnson for the past 35 years, and in 1993 was designated a biosphere reserve. The area has provided an indispensable living model for water activists like the Sonoran Institute in their ongoing daily work with local residents to restore the delta.

Optimism + resilience = hope.

     ---- Jennifer Baichwal, documentary filmmaker

Good recent interview:

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

November 17, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. legislature begins the week sitting from 2-5 and 7-9PM.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

The Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private BIlls and Privileges is meeting at 5:15PM, in camera, to work on its report to the Legislature -- a hard working bunch.  
Committee home page: 

Online hybrid sittings in store for P.E.I. legislature - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Tuesday, November 17th, 2020


In 2021, P.E.I. legislators may end up conducting parliamentary business from their living rooms.   On Tuesday, members of the legislative assembly are expected to consider adopting a series of recommendations that would allow virtual hybrid sittings of the legislature in the event of a local outbreak of COVID-19.

Hannah Bell, chairwoman of the standing committee on rules, regulations, private bills and privileges, tabled the recommendations on Friday. The committee was tasked during the spring sitting with examining the best model for possible virtual sittings.

The recommendations called for changing the Rules of the Legislative Assembly to allow members to participate in sittings either in person or via live video stream. If adopted, the changes would take effect Jan. 1, 2021, but could be put in place earlier if needed.

“We need this in place now because obviously we're seeing (a) COVID surge,” Bell told the Guardian in an interview.  “While we're OK here, we can't pretend that we don't have to plan for if we're not.”

Across Canada, COVID-19 cases have been increasing at a rate more intense than the first wave of the pandemic. P.E.I. has not yet seen as significant a surge in new cases.  

The committee’s recommendations called for a minimum quorum of 10 legislators to be physically present in the legislative assembly, with additional members participating virtually via the Zoom video platform. 

Members will not be permitted to turn off their video cameras while taking part in sittings. Eating or taking phone calls while on-screen would be prohibited, as would be unmuting one’s microphone to heckle other members.

Votes would take place with members displaying a blank white card for a “yea” vote, or by displaying a card bearing a black “x” for a “nay” vote. Members will also be able to request a verbal roll call.

Bell said these features are recommended to ensure transparency of proceedings, which will continue to be livestreamed.

"This has to be broadcast to the public,” Bell said.  "So, it is to ensure that it's as participatory and as visible as possible."

The committee also recommended the Zoom platform for sittings, with security protections enabled. The platform allows participants to log onto video conferences after they have been sent a web link. 

The recommendations noted that the use of this technology could involve “some level of risk,” but said provincial IT staff has attempted to reduce these risks.

Early in the pandemic, as the use of the Zoom conferences skyrocketed, questions were raised about the security and questionable encryption of the platform. Users have complained of what is known as “Zoom bombing” of video sessions by unwanted participants due to frequency of sharing conference access links through email or social media. 

Zoom Video Communications Inc. has said it has improved its security features. 

Bell said some of these security concerns were moot in this case because the videos are intended to be public. But she said security settings will only allow designated members to join the sittings.

“Once you are logged in, then it's locked so that no other participants can join. And you have to go through a security process if you leave it to go back in again," Bell said.

So far, the House of Commons in Ottawa and the legislatures of B.C. and Manitoba have begun holding hybrid sessions. Newfoundland and Labrador has put in place changes to allow hybrid sittings but has not yet made use of them, Bell said.

Stu Neatby is the political reporter for The Guardian. 


Snippets from The (U.K.) Guardian, from this morning's online editions:

‘Looks amazing’ – The first fully crewed SpaceX Dragon capsule has just
docked with the international space station. The Crew Dragon dubbed Resilience arrived after a 27-hour automated flight from Nasa’s Kennedy space centre in Florida carrying Commander Mike Hopkins and his crew – Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi.

Flea killer poisons rivers – The highly toxic insecticides fipronil and imidacloprid, used on cats and dogs to kill fleas, are poisoning rivers across England, a study has revealed. The discovery is “extremely concerning” for water insects, and the fish and birds that depend on them, say University of Sussex scientists. Both substances have been banned on farms for some years, but there are 66 licensed veterinary products containing fipronil and 21 containing imidacloprid in the UK, many of which are sold without prescriptions. There are about 10m dogs and 11m cats in the UK and many pets are treated every month whether it is needed or not. Both are nerve agents that
get washed into sewers and then waterways where they break down into even more toxic substances. “There isn’t a regulatory process for this particular risk and clearly there needs to be,” said Prof Dave Goulson, a member of the study.

I am not sure what's available here in Canada, and want to figure out if it's the trash of these products (flea collars, tubes, etc.) or what's washed off the pets that is getting into waterways.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming - Conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin week!

Verdi’s Don Carlo, today until 6:30PM
Starring Marina Poplavskaya, Roberto Alagna, Simon Keenlyside, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From December 11, 2010.

Gounod’s Faust, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Marina Poplavskaya, Jonas Kaufmann, and René Pape, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From December 10, 2011.

Both of these operas have Russian Marina Poplavskaya in the lead role (with fantastic supportive casts), and she have a wonderful, strong, dreamy voice in sad, dreamy, strong characters.  Even more sadly, she has had vocal "difficulties" and hasn't sung professionally since 2014, so enjoy these captured performances.

breezy and straight-talking Carmen Mills, west-coast writer (more at:

Global Chorus essay for November 17
Carmen Mills

I have had it with people shit-talking my species.

Listen up: humans are no more greedy or evil than any other critter. Just like dogs or whales or paramecia or tomato plants, we just want to be happy. We are motivated by whatever will keep us warm, well-fed and laid. Particularly laid, because above all, we want to perpetuate our precious DNA. To this end, like all animals, we will tend to feed and breed until our population reaches carrying capacity. At which point, we execute a dramatic mass die-of, and the cycle begins again.

We’re not more worthy of survival than any other beast, but neither are we execrable slime who “deserve” to be wiped from the planet. In spite of our careless behaviour, we mean well, and even when we act just as crudely as our fellow carbon-based life forms, heaping insults on poor Homo sapiens will not help to address the perilous global situation.

We hairless primates are unique among animals in this: we have the capacity to act for the greater good, even if such actions might be painful or inconvenient. We have somehow managed to develop these huge frontal lobes, and in the face of the next great wave of extinction, we might just be able to use them to override self-destructive animal behaviour. We are starting to reject the ancient biological imperative to care only about our own blood and tribe. That’s a new thing. We are shutting down nuclear plants, feeding hungry strangers and deciding to take a pass on procreation. You won’t see dogs or amoebas doing that.

We are very clever critters. I figure, if we were smart enough to get ourselves into this mess, then we might be smart enough to get us out of it. What are the odds? Who knows? The odds of a fish crawling out of the ocean were pretty slim too. But there is no time to be wasted in working out the numbers – we either do something, or we do nothing. The Doing Something camp is where the most fun people seem to be hanging out. So I say, let’s shake of the ashes of species self-loathing and get our collective ass in gear. It is time to stand by our species.

     — Carmen Mills, graphic designer/event manager for Emerald City Communications, bikeshevik, community organizer, writer, co-facilitator of Young Urban Zen in Vancouver (Canada), freelance mischief-maker

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

November 16, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown Farmers' Market to Go, Tuesday noon for Thursday delivery/pickup:

Eat Local PEI -- Online Farmers' Market order by Wednesday midnight for Saturday pickup/delivery:

The P.E.I. Legislature does not sit on Mondays, to do constituency work, and you can catch up on videos or some House records at:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Hansard or record of House Debates are not done yet and should be early this week.

Question Period transcripts from Thursday and Friday are here:

Yay, Alexa!

JIM VIBERT: 40 years ago today, Nova Scotia politics changed for good - The Guardian column by Jim Vibert

Column published on-line at The Guardian's website on Sunday, November 15th, 2020
Politics in Nova Scotia changed, for the better and for good, 40 years ago today.

On Nov. 16, 1980, at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia New Democrats elected Alexa McDonough their leader, making her the first woman to lead a major political party anywhere in Canada.

Hopes were high, as they always are when a party chooses a new leader, but no one could have predicted the remarkable political career that launched that day. It would span more than 27 years, including 14 leading the provincial NDP and another seven leading the federal party.

It was a career that blazed a trail followed by dozens of women into the Nova Scotia legislature and that inspired countless others to pursue public office.

“When I was elected leader of the Nova Scotia NDP in 1980, my goal was to build a better province where equity was a given and choosing a woman leader would no longer be shocking news,” Alexa said in a statement released today on her behalf by the provincial NDP, to mark the anniversary.

She’d run federally before, but now Alexa – the first name was, and remains, all that Nova Scotians of a certain age need – was in politics all the way, and the early years were hard years.

The party she inherited was, at the risk of understatement, in some disarray.

In 1978 the NDP had elected four MLAs, the most ever, all from industrial Cape Breton. But two years later, longtime leader Jeremy Akerman quit abruptly, causing his colourful seatmate, Paul MacEwan, to erupt publicly about “Trotskyite” elements lurking in the party.

Considerable internal convulsions followed, eventually resulting in MacEwan’s ouster from the party.

Halifax Chebucto win

Then, in the 1981 provincial election, the party’s two remaining Cape Breton MLAs, Buddy MacEachern and Len Arsenault – the two men Alexa had defeated to win the leadership – lost their seats.

But, in that same election, the party finally won a seat on the mainland, Alexa’s seat, Halifax Chebecto.

She took her seat as the only New Democrat and the only woman in the house. Just two women had been elected to the legislature before her, Conservative Gladys Porter in the ‘60s and Liberal Melinda MacLean in the ’70s.

So in the early 1980s, the legislature was still a male bastion and, for the most part, Alexa found it an inhospitable environment for a woman.

Years later, after she retired from politics, she recalled that time in the house:

“It certainly fuelled my passion for recruiting other women into political life. I’ve spent a good chunk of the past 30 years doing that … There was no women’s washroom in the chamber (in 1981), which suggested they never thought women should be there.”

Alexa worked tirelessly to repair her fractured party, and slowly but surely earned public attention and approval by addressing issues the other parties generally eschewed – social justice issues like poverty, domestic violence and racism.

Federal leader

In 1995, Alexa sought and won the leadership of the federal NDP. She left the provincial party in far better shape than she found it, as subsequent events would prove.

In her first election leading the federal NDP, the party regained all-important party status in Parliament, adding a dozen seats, including an historic breakthrough in the Maritimes.

Alexa won her Halifax seat by whopping 11,000 votes and her long political coattails helped another five New Democrats win seats in Nova Scotia and two more in New Brunswick.

Winning six of Nova Scotia’s 11 seats in Parliament was an unprecedented accomplishment for the NDP, and a harbinger of things to come.

In the provincial election a year later, the NDP, then led by Robert Chisholm, came within a seat of forming the government, tying the incumbent Liberals with 19 seats each, but the Liberals retained the government.

It would be another decade before the NDP broke through to form a government in Nova Scotia. When it did, in 2009, many members of that new government traced their inspiration to enter public life to Alexa.

In her statement, she expresses pride in the work the NDP has done for women in leadership roles – two women have led the provincial party since she did – and pride that four of the five New Democrats in the Nova Scotia legislature are women.

“A diversity of voices at the table builds strength and ensures we continue to move forward, building a province where people can expect something better from their government,” she said.

Measured by electoral wins, Alexa wasn’t the most successful Nova Scotia politician of her generation, but she was almost certainly the most popular.

She kicked the door wide open for women to enter the political life of the province, and today there are more women in the legislature than ever. It’s a better place for that.

But, as Alexa would no doubt tell you, with women holding 16 of the 51 seats in the house, there’s still more work to do.

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

really good, carefully explained description of why comets and meteors...

Atlantic Skies for November 16th -22nd, 2020 " The Famous Leonids Arrive" - by Glenn K. Roberts

One of the most famous and historically prolific meteors showers - the Leonids - peak on the overnight period of Nov. 16 -17, 2020, with the best viewing (weather permitting) during the midnight to pre-dawn hours of the 17th. The Leonids' radiant - the apparent point of origin in the night sky - lies in the constellation of Leo - the Lion, a prominent late autumn/early winter night sky constellation. If you wish to find out when this constellation will be above your horizon, go to On the left-hand side of the page (under the sky chart), click on "Charlottetown" or "location", which will activate a box into which you can insert your own location (just remember to hit "Save"). The page will then display the night sky (and Leo's location) on the sky chart as seen from your location, providing information as to when Leo and the Leonid radiant will be above your horizon (toggle the time bar along the bottom of the chart).

The Leonids are debris from Comet 59P/Tempel-Tuttle, a comet that takes approximately 33 years to orbit from deep space, in around the Sun, and back to deep space. The comet was named for astronomers Wilhem Tempel and Horace Tuttle, who independently discovered the comet in 1865 and 1866 respectively. The comet's last perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) was in 1998, with its next scheduled for 2031. The Leonids have been known since 902 AD, when Chinese astronomers noted that the "stars fell as rain", and determined that the shower's  radiant lay in the Leo constellation. The Leonids have provided some amazing meteor "storms" (when the number of falling meteors exceed 1000/hr). In 1630, a Leonid meteor storm of 1000+/hr fell just two days after the funeral of the great German astronomer Johannes Kepler (a fitting tribute), while, in 1799, the Prussian scientist Alexander von Humboldt recorded 1000s of bright Leonid meteors in the space of 4 hours, including countless fireballs with long smoke trails, while traveling in what is now Venezuela. In 1833, as the Leonids fell over North America, numbers ranged from 100,000/hr on the east coast to over 240,000/hr on the west coast. In 1866, when Comet Tempel-Tuttle was confirmed, it was the Leonid shower/storm (100s/hr over America, and 1000s/hr over Europe) that ultimately led to the Leonids being associated with this comet. Thousands of Leonids fell in just 15 minutes in 1966, and again in 2001 and 2002 (the last Leonid storm).

Think of a comet as a "dirty snowball" composed of countless dust and small, rocky particles mixed with primordial ices, the remnants of when our solar system was first formed billions of years ago. The vast majority of comets are located within the Oort Cloud, a vast ring of icy bodies located millions of kilometers from the Sun, at the farthest edge of the solar system. Periodically, these comets get nudged from their domain by perturbations caused by our solar system's other planets (most notably Jupiter) or some other distant celestial body, whereupon the Sun's gravity draws them into the inner solar system, and, ultimately, around itself. As they swing in around the Sun, they often get caught in a perpetual loop orbit, which causes them to periodically re-orbit the Sun (in Tempel-Tuttle's case, approx. every 33 years). As comets circle the Sun, approaching perihelio, the  surface ices sublimate (go directly from solid to gas), releasing the dust/rock particles, which are then pushed by the Sun's radiation out behind the approaching comet, eventually forming a conveyor belt-like stream of material that follows the comet around the Sun. Each passage uncovers a fresh lair of debris; some passages leave large amounts of debris, while others only a relatively small debris stream. This creates a series of dense and less-dense sections in the debris stream orbiting the Sun, which explains why the number of meteors seen in any given year often vary significantly; large numbers signify interception of a dense part of the debris stream, while low numbers a less-dense section. For example, the famous Leonid meteor storm of 1866 occurred when Earth passed through a dense debris section left by Tempel-Tuttle's 1733 passage. As the Earth intercepts the conveyor belt of comet debris moving around the Sun, it slams into the debris particles, which, as they pass through the Earth's atmosphere, heat up and disintegrate, appearing as meteors. The size of the particle passing through the atmosphere determines the brightness and longevity of the meteor. The speed at which the Leonid debris particles hit the Earth's atmosphere is an astonishing 260,000 km/hr, with the smaller particles sketching a fleeting bright streak in the night sky, and the larger particles creating brighter, longer-lasting "fireballs" (some measured at -1.5 magnitude), some of which leave smoke trails or trains behind as they burn up in the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, astronomers do not anticipate that Earth will pass through a dense section of the Comet Tempel-Tuttle debris stream this year, and are only predicting an average zenith rate (when the radiant is at its highest point in the night sky, normally after midnight), of 15-20 bright meteors visible away from urban lights. The waxing, crescent Moon (one day after New) will be absent from the night sky on the overnight period of Nov. 16-17. The predicted number of meteors/hr is a "best guess" estimate; low numbers have, upon occasion, turned into significantly high numbers, so you couldt be pleasantly surprised at what this year's Leonid shower may offer.

Mercury (mag. -0.7) , now moving closer to the Sun, is a barely discernible pre-dawn object this coming week. Rising around 5:40 a.m., it reaches 11 degrees (a little over a hand's width at arm's length) above the southeast horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 6:55 a.m. Venus (mag. -3.9) is visible in the eastern, pre-dawn sky, rising about 4:30 a.m., and reaching 22 degrees above the southeast horizon before it, too, fades with the break of dawn. Mars (mag. -1.6) becomes visible in the evening sky as dusk deepens around 5 p.m., 20 degrees above the eastern horizon, reaches 48 degrees altitude above the southern horizon around 9:25 p.m., and remains observable until about 3 a.m., before sinking below 8 degrees above the western horizon. Jupiter (mag. -2.1) appears 20 degrees above the eastern horizon about 5 p.m., then sinks towards the western horizon, setting around 8:30 p.m. Saturn (mag. +0.6) appears a short time after Jupiter, 21 degrees above the southern horizon by 5:20 p.m., before heading towards the horizon and setting shortly before 9 p.m. Look for the waxing, crescent Moon to the left (east) of Jupiter and Saturn on the evening of Nov.19.

Until next week, clear skies.


Nov. 16 - Moon at perihelion (closest to Sun)

         17 - Leonid meteor shower peak (pre-dawn)

         22 - First Quarter Moon


from The (U.K.)  Guardian, Monday, November 16th, 2020:
Taxi for Nasa –
Elon Musk was obliged to watch from isolation as his SpaceX rocket blasted off with four astronauts to the International Space Station on the first full-fledged taxi flight for Nasa by a private company. Musk, the entrepreneur behind the company, said he “most likely” had a moderate case of Covid-19 and could not be in Florida to watch the Falcon rocket take off on Sunday night. Its Dragon capsule is due to reach the space station after 27-and-a-half hours and remain there until spring.

NASA has been relying on the no-frills but fairly reliable Russian Soyuz rockets to get crew to and from the International Space Station for over a decade, since the Space Shuttles were shuttered, and had put the replacements out to private corporations.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel, today until 6:30PM
A huge talented cast, the opera conducted by the composer, about a dinner party gone horribly wrong.   From November 18, 2017.

Verdi’s Don Carlo, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Marina Poplavskaya, Roberto Alagna, Simon Keenlyside, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From December 11, 2010.  Gorgeous singing (or course!) about the king who marries the princess promised to his son, and how it messes everything up.

more on space!

Global Chorus essay for November 16
Nancy Ellen Abrams

If you’ve ever wondered why humans work pretty well as individuals but humanity seems so reliably dysfunctional, you may not have considered this possibility: that the universe we assume we’re living in is not the one we’re actually in. For centuries people have extrapolated from the way things work in the solar system to how they must work in the universe. But on very large scales, cosmologists have discovered, the rules change. Most of the universe is two mysterious, invisible things: “dark matter” and “dark energy,” which don’t behave like anything we’ve experienced on Earth.

Why does this matter? “The universe” is not just the big stuff – it includes all size scales, including Earth, its oceans, animals, bacteria, atoms and elementary particles. The universe integrates it all, so how the universe operates is relevant to our world. Cosmological concepts may help us re-envision humanly large scale and long-term problems like climate change.

We were taught that Earth is an average planet of an average star in possibly endless space, but Earth is actually an extraordinary planet in a wildly dynamic universe. Our idiosyncratic solar system travels up and down like a carousel horse, orbiting the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. The galaxy rotates like a pinwheel inside a vast halo of whizzing dark matter, while all the distant galaxies are being carried away ever faster by dark energy. The “Double Dark” theory offers revolutionary ideas that as metaphors can help us reframe politics, economics and even what is sacred.

Even more marvellously, we now have the first origin story ever told that’s supported by scientific evidence, and it’s equally true for everyone on Earth. Throughout history a shared origin story was what united a culture. If our poets, artists and scholars, as well as scientists, help present this new origin story in ways everyone, including children, can appreciate, we could have not only smarter thinking but a bond that connects humanity worldwide. Our descendants could live comfortably on this jewel of a planet for millions more generations. For more information, see

     — Nancy Ellen Abrams, philosopher of science, lawyer specializing in scientific controversies, co-author with Joel R. Primack of The View from the Center of the Universe and The New Universe and the Human Future

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

November 15, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating the festival of lights. 

Some craft fairs are taking place, with precautions in place. 
PEI Craft Council Christmas Craft Fair, 11AM-4PM, Delta Hotel, Charlottetown.

If you missed the various high school music department hosted craft fairs, annual fundraising events that were cancelled this year, and want to donate, consider figuring out what they may be doing instead.  Purchasing a poinsettia from Van Kampen's Greenhouse ear-marked for Colonel Gray High School's Music Department is one such option.  Here is the page link:


GUEST OPINION: Public transport: The great societal equalizer - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Barbara Dylla

Published on Monday, November 9th, 2020

Public transportation is the most sustainable and equitable form of transportation that exists. Richard A. White, president and CEO of American Public Transportation Association, observed that public transportation is the original “shared-economy” form of transportation.

The advantages of riding a bus are many. It provides independence to people of all ages and mobility to people living with a disability, it is inexpensive (or free in many cities nowadays), it is healthy because the user walks or cycles to/from the bus stop and less stressful than driving.

A lack of public transportation can have a disproportionate impact on working and low-income individuals and immigrants. According to an article in The Atlantic, “Access to just about everything associated with upward mobility and economic progress — jobs, quality food and goods (at reasonable prices), health care, and schooling — relies on the ability to get around in an efficient way, and for an affordable price.”

Education and jobs are often cited as the key to overcoming income inequality, while the means to achieving either of these goods remains overlooked.

The automobile’s pervasive presence has been normalized so much that we now find ourselves living and working in places that do more to serve the needs of cars than of people. A well planned public transportation system serves as an effective way to combat automobile dependency. Over-reliance on cars takes a toll on humanity: their emissions increase the likelihood that a healthy person will develop serious diseases, including heart disease or lung cancer, later in life, causing a similar number of premature deaths as traffic collisions. Public transit tends to produce less pollution per passenger-kilometre compared to personal motor vehicles. It is a climate change mitigation opportunity that has been shown to decrease air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Using public transportation is far more affordable than owning and operating a vehicle. A car costs between $8,600 and $13,000 a year, including insurance, gas, maintenance, tires, and depreciation. A T3 Transit monthly pass currently costs $58.50, or $702 a year. Who wouldn’t want to save at least $8,000 a year, or put that money towards better housing, healthy food choices, or education?

A publicly owned, managed, and operated transit system is usually cheaper, more likely to provide good service, and is more accountable to riders than privately run transit. It is the great societal equalizer, granting everyone universal access to transportation. It’s a known fact that mass transportation makes cities more just, environmentally sustainable and economically vibrant. 

On P.E.I., a public transit system would have to include the unique needs of rural and small-town residents. They, just as much as urban residents, have a right to mobility and a “right to the city” (slogan coined by Henri Lefebvre).

It is time for P.E.I.’s political leaders to make a commitment to create car-free streets and spaces in our cities and towns, to de-prioritize the automobile in their transportation funding allocations, to charge drivers the full cost of their bad habit, and to use the revenue to fund not only a public transit system, but also infrastructure improvements for walking and cycling.

Barbara Dylla of Charlottetown has submitted this article through the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the 10 Days for Transit initiative



Some Space News from the business-focused "Morning Brew", from Saturday, November 14th, 2020:


Drogon, Rhaegal, Viserion, and Resilience

A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, nicknamed “Resilience” by its crew, is scheduled to fire off into the friendly skies tomorrow night (SUNDAY. The mission marks the beginning of a new era in space travel where as soon as next year anyone—not just trained astronauts and Targareyans—could ride a Dragon.

Didn’t SpaceX launch a manned mission six months ago? 

Yes, it did...but that was just the Dragon’s beta test. Sunday’s lift-off is the U.S.’ first Federal Aviation Administration-approved, manned space mission since the Space Shuttle was sent to the island of misfit rockets in 2011. It’s also the first ever from a private company. 

Big picture: SpaceX is sending a lot of metal into the sky these days. A version of the Dragon has been hauling cargo to the International Space Station for a decade, and nearly 900 Starlink internet satellites are currently floating in Earth’s orbit. 

How to watch: After being delayed by a day due to winds, the launch will be livestreamed with a scheduled blast-off of 7:27pm ET Sunday night.

+ While we’re here...SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who may or may not have Covid-19, questioned coronavirus testing accuracy on Twitter.

--------------------------------------------- has new articles every few days on the Climate Crisis:

A nice way to look at things...

If today gets difficult remember:
the smell of coffee
the way sunlight bounces off a window
the sound of your favorite person's laugh
the feeling when a song you love comes on
the color of the sky at dusk
that we are here to take care of each other.
 ---  Nanea Hoffman, from Coffee and Sweatpants

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

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

Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel, 7:30PM tonight until 6:30PM Monday
Starring Audrey Luna, Amanda Echalaz, Sally Matthews, Sophie Bevan,  Alice Coote, Christine Rice, Iestyn Davies, Joseph Kaiser, Frédéric Antoun, David Portillo, David Adam Moore, Rod Gilfry, Kevin Burdette, Christian Van Horn, and John Tomlinson, conducted by Thomas Adès. From November 18, 2017.

"A remarkable musical talent, Thomas Adès (b. 1971) is active and acclaimed not just as a composer, but as a conductor and pianist as well. He wrote his first opera before he was 25 years old, and The Exterminating Angel is his third and most recent work in the form, premiering at the Salzburg Festival in 2016. Based on Luis Buñuel’s surrealist film about an invisible force that prevents the attendees of a dinner party from leaving, it is a powerful exploration of isolation and confinement that feels particularly relevant today. Adès creates a unique and captivating sound world, incorporating a number of unusual instruments into the orchestra—including the eerie, otherworldy-sounding ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument invented in 1928 and rarely heard since—and asking for increasingly acrobatic vocal feats from the singers to match the escalating confusion and desperation of their characters as their captivity stretches endlessly on."

Discussion of the History of Opera choices

which ends with The Exterminating Angel

And tomorrow starts a week celebrating Canadian conductor and Met Opera's main conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, with seven operas he's conducted in the past few years.  :-)

a bit of hopeless hopefulness....

Global Chorus essay for November 15
Robert Bringhurst

Humans have lived on the Earth for more than 100,000 years. For 99.9 per cent of that time, we as a species did only modest damage to the self-repairing fabric of our planet. We may even have contributed to its beauty nearly as much as we took away. Then we acquired industrial power, with no concomitant increase in wisdom. Then we robbed the bank of fossil fuel and began to burn the house down, dancing to the flames.

Individuals, when they’ve committed atrocious mistakes, often reflect and change their ways. Societies can change their behaviour too, though less deliberately and consciously than persons. Societies are essentially creatures of habit, feeble-minded and short-sighted. They have appetites and customs, assumptions and beliefs, but they don’t see visions or cultivate ideas. Species are more unconscious still. They change through genetic rather than cultural adaptation, turning into different species as they go.

Can we reverse the damage we’ve done to the global envelope? Very unlikely. Maybe the Earth itself can do so, over a space of a few million years. Will we as a species still be here? Hugely improbable. Will we adapt to the changes facing the Earth in the meantime? Might we, in other words, leave evolutionary descendants? Some species probably will; we are unlikely to be among them. Bacteria, archaea and protozoa, which mutate much faster than we can, will have the advantage. From that foundation, new species as complex as whales, herons and elephants may arise. If we are lucky, then, distant cousins of ours may walk, fly and swim here again, in a world that might be as sweet as the one we destroyed.

        — Robert Bringhurst, poet, philosopher, linguist, translator, typographer, author of, among many others, A Story as Sharp as a Knife, The Tree of Meaning: Thirteen Talks, Everywhere Being Is Dancing, The Elements of Typographic Style, The Surface of Meaning: Books and Book Design in Canada

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

November 14, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Please make sure to read the Global Chorus essay for today at the end -- very profound.

Farmers' Markets open in Summerside (9AM-1PM) and Charlottetown (9AM-2PM).  Plan for indoor physical distancing with a little extra time for waiting to get in, and in marching through and shopping briskly (not easy for some of us).

Shred-A-Thon, 9AM-12noon, Peake and McInnis Insurance store parking lot (Belvedere Avenue, across from the SuperStore,  Free but donations to Food Bank appreciated.

PEI Craft Council Christmas Craft Fair, 9AM-5PM today, Sunday: 11AM-4PM, Delta Hotel, Water Street, Charlottetown.

Wild Bird Food Sale, Philips Feed Store, Exhibition Drive, Charlottetown, until Saturday, Nov. 21st. Hours Saturday: 8AM-12noon, Weekdays: 8AM-5PM
"All Wild Bird Food, Feeders and Accessories will be on sale.
A portion of our Year-Round sales go to support the work and projects of the Island Nature Trust. Due to Covid 19, we will not have staff of Island Nature Trust in the store this year."

Today's paper, from yesterday's Legislative Assembly announcements (bold text is mine):

17,000 rural homes to see improved internet by spring 2021 - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Saturday, November 14th, 2020

Faster internet may be coming to rural P.E.I. sooner than expected.
But how fast the internet speeds will be remains unclear.

Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay says Xplornet, one of the partners of P.E.I.’s $74-million agreement aimed at bringing broadband internet to rural P.E.I., has accelerated its timeline for upgrading the internet in 17,000 rural households.

MacKay told members of the legislative assembly on Friday that the rural internet service provider plans to construct eight new towers that will improve internet service to these homes by the spring of 2021. The completion of the Xplornet high-speed upgrades had previously not been promised before 2023.

MacKay said the company had initially planned to connect the 17,000 homes to fiber first, while connecting 3,000 homes to wireless. But the company has since opted to first connect these 17,000 homes via wireless before upgrading to fiber by 2023.  “There’s good things happening and there’s more to come,” MacKay told the legislature.

In March, MacKay’s department signed two agreements worth a combined $74 million with Bell and Xplornet to provide broadband internet to almost 30,000 homes across P.E.I. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commissions defines broadband speed as 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 10 megabits per second (Mbps) upload. 

The Bell agreement focused on upgrades to more dense residential areas.
To date, the province says 4,000 homes have been upgraded, with another 5,422 planned for July of 2021.

By contrast, no homes in the more rural areas covered by Xplornet have yet seen improved internet speeds.

“They're still working on the final plan," MacKay told The Guardian. "Very minimal, if any, money has changed hands to Xplornet, yet."

MacKay said he believed the 17,000 households in the Xplornet zones would see their internet speeds reach 25 Mbps download speeds and 10 Mbps upload by spring. This is below the CRTC broadband standard.

However, a representative of the province said the speeds would be "up to 50 Mbps download speeds and up to 3 Mbps upload speed." The representative did not specify whether there was a guaranteed minimum standard of internet speed from Xplornet.

Earlier in November, Maigan Newson, a project manager with MacKay’s Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, told a standing committee that the broadband speeds in regions supplied by Xplornet are slated to reach 100 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload by November of 2023.

Maps and timeline completion dates for the Bell upgrades can be found on the province’s website. The Guardian has requested similar details on the Xplornet upgrades.

As an interim measure before the Xplornet and Bell upgrades come online, MacKay said the province has made funding from the P.E.I. Broadband Fund, an initiative funded by the federal government, available to seven local internet service providers.  “They’re working on the ground today to provide internet service to approximately 2,100 more Island residents,” MacKay told the legislature.

During question period on Friday, Green Opposition Leader Peter Bevan pointed out that the Progressive Conservatives would not meet a 2019 election promise to deliver CRTC-standard high-speed internet to all communities by 2021.

In an interview, Bevan-Baker said an upgrade of internet speeds to 25 Mbps would be a “huge improvement”. But he said he had not seen any details about the Xplornet plans. 

“Xplornet are famous, or perhaps more appropriately infamous, for ‘up to’,” Bevan-Baker said.  “You buy a package, the speeds are ‘up to’ whatever they are. And typically, Xplornet has throttled back on those numbers. Very rarely do you get anywhere near the top figure that they claim.”

Bevan-Baker also said the 25/10 speeds from Xplornet will fall short of the CRTC standards.

“That's what he should be demanding from Xplornet,” Bevan-Baker said.  “Great that they're doing it quicker than they originally said they would. But we don't pay them off by allowing them to give us substandard internet."

Bevan-Baker also said he was unclear whether these new details meant the province has renegotiated the terms of its agreement with Xplornet.

"Have they renegotiated the entire contract? If so, that's a big deal," Bevan-Baker said.


Good for Stu Neatby for describing the situation concisely, 
Good for Minister MacKay to be honest about the complexity of the situation he inherited and to continue to plow ahead.
Good for Opposition Leader Bevan-Baker to keep pressing and keeping the factors clear.

But numbers given by the Minister without context aren't clear (17,000 homes out of how many that need true broadband service?).  We need to see Xplornet's plan and more clarity on where the funding is coming from (federal or provincial). 

AND price is a part of this, too.  Affordable highspeed internet is a key -- it may be available but if it's not affordable, it's not really attainable.
If you want to review the Legislature this week:

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Opera tunes today:
Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, 1PM.  Heppner's Opera Series with a guest and great discussion of a recording.
Today, it's Flight by Jonathan Dove, with the composer as the guest. Recorded by the London Symphony Ochestra

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Britten’s Peter Grimes, today until 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Donald Runnicles. From March 15, 2008.  Small village turns against an unlucky person.  Premiered in 1945. 

Philip Glass’s Akhnaten, tonight 7:30PM until tomorrow about 6:30PM
Starring Dísella Lárusdóttir, J'Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein, and Zachary James, conducted by Karen Kamensek. From November 23, 2019
(Completed in 1984), it is a "... speculative portrayal of the mysterious, revolutionary Egyptian pharaoh of the same name, whose attempted conversion of his subjects to the monotheistic worship of the sun led to his downfall, it uses the mesmerizing effect of minimalism to create a ritualistic atmosphere that manages to feel authentic to the ancient Egyptian setting despite, of course, bearing no resemblance to music from that time or culture."

Explanation of The History of Opera part 2 Choices and more

breathe and read this, as it truly resonates....

Global Chorus essay for November 14
Swami Ambikananda Saraswati

Whenever I think of our present or future, Thomas Merton’s warning that we “live in a time when the technological ending of the world will be legal,” echoes through my mind. This is our crisis: we have created the means and the institutions to end billions of years of life. We were not here at the beginning of life on this planet, but we threaten to be the cause of its end.

Hope for our future cannot therefore be found in our awesome technology or any of our grand institutions.

Our only hope now lies in the transformation of human consciousness.

This new consciousness refuses the call to be exploiters and competitors. It calls us instead to walk humbly with each other offering sustenance and dignity.

To invite it we must do the work that makes changes in ourselves possible, including standing together peacefully against interests that seek to divide and destroy. In this togetherness we must continually remind each other that we ourselves are the art of life: we are the canvas, the painter and the brush. The future is not independent of us, it is not made by blind forces that we can barely name – it is being created by each of us. If there is to be a painting of the future, it is one we are colouring now.

While finding hope in scientists like Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Paul Nurse, who reminds us that all life is more closely related to us than we ever thought, to inspire my own transformation I turn to the very first teaching of Yoga as a practice, which was given in the Katha Upanishad by the God of Death, Yama:

The Self is the ultimate reality …
Who sees this Self,
Sees it resting in the hearts of all.

     — Swami Ambikananda Saraswati, founder of the Traditional Yoga Association and The Mukti Project

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

November 13, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-1PM today.

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

and let's hope the MLAs see this before their day ends...
Fridays4Future Charlottetown, 3:30PM, 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.
Facebook event details
Album Launch: Sirens -- "Boundless", 8PM, On-line, free.

from the talented women's vocal ensemble: "Our long anticipated debut album, Boundless, will be released on Friday, November 13th at 8pm ADT. This special event will include the world premiere of Katerina Gimon’s commissioned work “In Her Image,” with text by poet Lauren Peat.

The virtual début of this piece will be presented through the work of Island filmmaker Millefiore Clarkes. Mille and her team recently spent a day with us in and around historic St. Mary’s Church, Indian River. She has created a beautiful visual story to accompany the composition and we are thrilled to share it with you!

Be sure to join us on YouTube from the comfort of your home. A link will follow in the coming days. A special thank to FACTOR, whose support has funded the creation of the album."
YouTube link will be posted here at the Facebook event page, HERE.

In case you weren't sure if it were going on or not:

56th Annual PEI Crafts Council Christmas Craft Fair at the DeltaDelta Prince Edward & PEI Convention Centre, $5 entry fee for any or all days

Friday Fair 11 am - 7 pm

Saturday Fair 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday Fair 11 am - 4 pm

"Admission is $5.00 and allows you access for all three days. We are a non-profit and these funds do go to assisting craftspeople and artisans through the year.

Where we’ve secured three large rooms for a little less hustle and bustle and a little more social distance!

Extended hours and space will allow for us to have this in person event, where you can shop from over 40 juried vendors. "

Saturday, November 14th, 2020:

Shread-A-Thon 2020 (free drop-off document shredding service), 9AM-12noon, Peake and McInnis Insurance Ltd.
85 Belvedere Avenue Charlottetown, hosted by the Insurance Company.

"Shred your documents at our annual Shred-A-Thon. GreenIsle Secure Document Destruction will be on site to destroy all your old documents. Free of charge but donations to the Food Bank are appreciated."

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Berg’s Lulu, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Marlis Petersen, Susan Graham, Daniel Brenna, Paul Groves, Johan Reuter, and Franz Grundheber, conducted by Lothar Koenigs. From November 21, 2015.  Difficult, sad story.  Premiered in 1937.

Britten’s Peter Grimes, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Donald Runnicles. From March 15, 2008.  A most unlucky fellow, put to opera. Premiered in 1945.
Background on why the operas were selected.

This is a nice interview in World Wildlife Magazine, from 2018, with Julia Miranda Londono (see Global Chorus essay, below) and Carter Roberts of the World Wildlife Fund (some bolding of text is mine)

Carter Roberts talks with Dr. Julia Miranda Londoño, director of Colombia's national parks - World Wildlife magazine article

Issue: Summer 2018

WWF president and CEO Carter Roberts sat down with Dr. Julia Miranda Londoño, director of Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia (the Colombian National Park System), to learn more about the intersection of law and conservation, Colombia’s protected areas, and turning guerrillas into stewards of the land.

CARTER ROBERTS (CM): Julia, welcome. It’s so great to see you again. When was the last time we were together?

JULIA MIRANDA (JM): Hi, Carter. It must have been last year, when the WWF Board was in Cartagena. You were very kind and invited me to dinner and to spend some time with you all.

CR: Well, we figured you knew all the best places to go birding! [laughs]

JM: Yes, I can always help you with that. You know Colombia is home to more bird species than any country in the world.

CR: I think I’d heard that somewhere! So tell me—you’ve been director of Colombia’s national park system since 2004. What stands out as your biggest accomplishment during that time?

JM: I feel like that should be an easy question to answer, but it’s not—it’s like picking a favorite child. But I guess I would say I’m most proud of the protected areas that have been created on my watch. [Miranda also oversees the Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (SINAP), Colombia’s National System of Protected Areas.] Colombia has 320 distinct ecosystems, and I believe each should be protected representationally. The trick, of course, comes in maintaining these areas once they’ve been set aside. As you know, that takes money and strong commitment from all levels of government. So, it’s an ongoing process, but we’ve done a good job so far and it will continue to be a priority.

CR: You’ve done an outstanding job with marine protected areas, in particular.

JM: Yes. We hit 13.31% [total marine coastal territory under protection] just recently, with the expansion of the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary. Out of this expansion came the creation of the Yuruparí-Malpelo National Integrated Management District as a strategic area for sustainable fishing and resource management. It’s huge—over 10,400 square miles.

CR: So you’ve blown right past Aichi target 11 [the Convention on Biological Diversity goal stating that 10% of marine coastal areas should be protected globally].

JM: Yes! We were at 8.59% before this.

CR: After more than 50 years of civil war, the Colombian government and the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] rebels signed a peace agreement at the end of 2016. Talk about the role conservation played in reaching this milestone.

JM: I’m not sure anyone anticipated this, but it ended up being quite significant. If you take a step back and think about it, though, it makes perfect sense. For 50 years so much land was under guerrilla control. No one had an accurate, holistic picture of the condition the land was in. And in many instances, it was worse than imagined—the impact of the war on Colombia’s biodiversity was enormous. There was deforestation, illegal mining, illegal activities in protected areas such as raising cattle and planting coca—all kinds of assaults on the land. But now we must look ahead and work together.

CR: Is the plan that FARC members will be hired to actually protect some of the land in parks and other protected areas they once occupied?

JM: Yes. Exactly. We want to turn the families who have been occupying these lands into stewards. They are connected to these places; they know them better than anyone. The idea is to help them make that transition. We do that by recovering degraded parcels of land and training them to carry out permitted activities within the park, such as ecotourism. The most important thing is there must be a legal way for them to make a living. That’s why the protected areas system is incorporated into the national development strategy, as part of implementing the peace agreements. Of course, the trick is to pick the right people to work with. You have to make sure you hire people who will respect nature and are committed to this new way of life.

CR: This sounds a lot like some of the community-based natural resource management we do in Namibia and Nepal and other places.

JM: Well, we aspire to the levels of community success you have reached there. But yes—without the support of those who live closest to the land, long-term conservation simply isn’t possible. It just so happens that in this case, the people who are closest to the land are those who were until recently armed against the government. I think it is not uncommon that war often takes an enormous toll on a country’s natural resources. And when conflicts end, restoring those natural resources is really important but often gets overlooked..

CR: Right. Many national conflicts are caused by contention over access to natural resources. And the longer they persist the more damage is done. Did you visit any of the rebel-held areas during the course of the peace talks?

JM: I did.

CR: Were you scared?

JM: Not really. Maybe I should’ve been? But my uniform protected me—the guerrillas see it and respect it. So I was not too concerned.

CR: Before you came to lead the park system in Colombia, you practiced law. In fact, you were among the first to complete a specialization in environmental law at Externado University of Colombia.

JM: Yes, that’s right. When I got my law degree and began practicing civil law, administrative law—it wasn’t all that thrilling to me. It didn’t give me any happiness. I had an idea for how law could help protect nature, but the field of environmental law didn’t exist in Colombia yet. I guess someone had to be first!

CR: The first three presidents of WWF were lawyers. Why do you think law is important to preserve nature?

JM: Because boundaries are important. I like to be optimistic and think, if people know what the right thing is to do, then they will do it. But people can get very prickly when they feel like someone else is telling them what to do with resources—like land or water—that they have always had and always done with as they liked. So it can be complicated sometimes. But law and conservation are also very similar, because they are alive—constantly changing to meet the times.

CR: Last question. When were you happiest in nature?

JM: Wow, what a great question. I guess it was when I was young, riding horses with my brothers, through fields outside Bogotá. It was such a feeling of freedom. As a child, there’s nothing better.

CR: Agreed. What a lovely memory. Thank you, Julia.

JM: It has been my pleasure.


Global Chorus essay for November 13
Julia Miranda Londoño

Colombia is a singular region of planet Earth because of the predominance of contrasts. On the one hand, it holds a huge amount of biodiversity and natural resources, but on the other hand, basic needs for thousands of people are still not covered. As a matter of fact, there is poverty, represented as hunger, and lack of education, health and good housing. States are making big efforts to develop their countries and enhance life quality of their citizens, facing at the same time in some cases political and institutional instability, which makes governability of their territories something difficult to achieve.

Nonetheless, in the middle of this critical reality, states, economic sectors, environmental NGOs but mainly, organized local communities, have been working hard in order to accomplish the conservation of ecosystems which provide invaluable environmental services. This job has been serious, consistent and persistent, and it has had as its ultimate goal the effective conservation of protected areas – as well as sustainable production with environmentally friendly technologies – in those areas where water resources, forests and fauna along with traditional knowledge are of main importance. Furthermore, partnerships between the public sector, communities and the private sector have been fundamental in order to attract the attention of all society sectors that value natural richness and that are claiming for more environmental sensitivity, which results in clearer laws and stronger public institutions that could enforce policies and rules.

I believe that this model could work if it is strictly implemented. If the so-wanted economic growth is achieved, mixed with well-being for humans, based on the respect and value of natural resources of countries, and if enough areas of well managed ecosystems are left that could keep providing their goods and services, a better and more balanced planet will be possible. A planet with a real future!

  — Julia Miranda Londoño, General Director of Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia (Colombian National Parks Authority), UIC–WCPA Regional Vice-chair for South America

Her biography from the Colombian National Parks Authority website

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

November 12, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The P.E.I. Legislature begins its Fall Session today, and sits from 2-5 and 7-9PM today.

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

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Some comments to consider:
Please, consider ignoring our political commentators with their giant bowls of popcorn and spectator-sport-commenting on the majority/ slim majority/ collaboration disintegration, etc. 
Consider remembering how much the Official Opposition Greens have managed to push government to do (Climate Change standards, probing into Robert Ghiz' government deleted emails, poverty eradication ideas, Legislative Assembly calendar reform, etc.).  Would the current PC government think they were part of such an effective Opposition anytime from 2007-2019?   Hmm.
Consider giving the opportunity to listen to the NDP's opinions on how our legislature is or is not serving Islanders, and what they suggest.

Webinar Conversation: The Future of the Green Party, with host Linda Solomon Wood and Green Party of Canada Leader Annamie Paul, 8PM, details to register here:

Coming up:
Saturday, November 28th:
NDP PEI Convention online, 12noon-3PM.  All welcome with members having voting privileges.
"2020 is coming to a close and we invite Islanders to attend our 2020 Annual General Meeting. As COVID-19 requires unique solutions for party activities, we will be holding a virtual AGM on Saturday November 28 from Noon until 3pm. To attend, all attendees are required to register by clicking on the link below.
Registration deadline is (Tuesday,) November 24."  More info:

New Electric School Buses: 
One thing I haven't seen mentioned in any news about these acquisitions (and I am not criticising the Province finally working on overhauling the fleet) is the health benefits to the children and bus drivers from the reduced pollution, sitting in those leaky metal boxes as they are for hours each week.  It was mentioned in other arguments in years past, but seemed an oversight in this week's announcement.

CBC Article

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, today until 6:30PM
Starring Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani, and Lucio Gallo, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. From January 8, 2011.  Such a classic!

Berg’s Lulu, tonight 7:30PM until Friday about 6:30PM
Starring Marlis Petersen, Susan Graham, Daniel Brenna, Paul Groves, Johan Reuter, and Franz Grundheber, conducted by Lothar Koenigs. From November 21, 2015.

Summary of why the Met chose these pieces:

Stories are great, and we need stories from our leaders and each other that give us vision and hope and push us to be better humans, not just ones that are mildly interesting folksy ones, just pretty images with no substance or plan.  A more diverse diet, but still mainly local, perhaps.

Global Chorus essay for November 12
Joel Makower

Hope for the planet is everywhere, in thousands of ideas, projects, campaigns and organizations. There is no shortage of ideas, passion or commitment. There is no shortage of enabling technologies, inspiring examples or solution sets. We know the questions. We have the answers.

What we lack is a vision – a compelling vision of “what happens if we get things right.” It’s funny to think about. We have no shortage of visions of what failure looks like: of environmental destruction and the loss of community and security, of food shortages and “resource wars.” We’ve heard plenty about rising oceans and spreading disease vectors, and the loss of topsoil that will make it difficult, if not impossible, to feed nine billion empty bellies.

But we don’t have a vision of success – a story being told by leaders in business, politics and popular culture about the happy path: the opportunities to harness sustainability to create healthy individuals, communities and economies. To ensure abundant energy, water and food. And the well-being that comes from a world in balance.

What is that compelling story? Who should be telling it? How can it become the irresistible vision of what’s possible?

We need a new story and lots of new storytellers.

      — Joel Makower, chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group, author of Strategies for the Green Economy

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

November 11, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Remembrance Day ceremonies will be mostly on-line, by invitation-only, or drive-through events today.  Some listing here:
CBC article

Tomorrow, Thursday, November 12th:
P.E.I. Legislature's Fall Sitting begins, at 2PM.  There will be evening sessions Tuesday and Thursday, but this will chance with the new calendar in 2021. 

Parliamentary 2021 Calendar
pdf, but accessible from the main page of the Legislative Assembly website if the link won't work

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

Some good clips and links to videos on previous Committee work here:
P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

News from the States, lost in the election noise, and something I hope our Official and Third Parties ask about in the P.E.I. Legislature, regarding the AquaBounty plants on P.E.I. -- how much provincial money has been invested in this, why were the public never fully consulted on the issues, and what are the plans now.  And we can all be conscientious consumers when it comes to our seafood choices.

'Major Victory': Federal Court Rejects FDA Approval of 'Frankenfish' - Common Dreams article by Andrea Germanos

Published on Friday, November 6th, 2020, at Common Dreams

Food safety campaigners on Thursday welcomed a federal court's finding that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) violated U.S. law in its approval of genetically engineered salmon.

"This decision underscores what scientists have been telling FDA for years — that creating genetically engineered salmon poses an unacceptable risk if the fish escape and interact with our wild salmon and that FDA must understand that risk to prevent harm," said Steve Mashuda, managing attorney at Earthjustice, one of the organizations representing plaintiffs in the case.
"Our efforts should be focused on saving the wild salmon populations we already have," said Mashuda, "not manufacturing new species that pose yet another threat to their survival."

The lawsuit stems from Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety's 2016 legal challenge to the FDA's approval of the so-called "frankenfish" engineered by aquaculture firm AquaBounty.

Federal Judge Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District for the Northern District of California found that the FDA violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA), writing, in part:

T]he FDA did not adequately explain in its environmental assessment why the potential impacts of the production and growth of engineered salmon will be insignificant. The central problem is that the document failed to conduct the very inquiry it stated was necessary. In the section describing the "approach to assessment," the environmental assessment stated that an analysis of environmental risk would need to consider two probabilities: the probability of "exposure," or a bad event, and the probability of harm that could occur given exposure. The document thoroughly analyzed the probability of exposure, concluding that it was low. But it failed to assess and explain the potential consequences of that low probability being realized.
The NEPA evaluation addressed the potential impacts of engineered salmon on wild salmon; the ESA analysis was also concerned with wild salmon, albeit more specifically the endangered Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon. Because the FDA did not sufficiently examine whether the engineered salmon would significantly impact wild salmon under NEPA, it follows that the agency cannot defend its conclusion that the engineered salmon would have no effect at all on Gulf of Maine salmon. Indeed, the fact that the FDA apparently reached a conclusive determination that the AquaBounty salmon would have "no effect" on the Gulf of Maine Salmon in 2010, while the environmental assessment was still under active consideration and five years before the NEPA process was completed, suggests that the agency may have failed to grasp the practical relationship between the two statutes' requirements in this case. _____________

Chhabria sent the assessment back to the FDA, ordering the agency to "reconsider its 'no effect' determination under the ESA together with its revised NEPA evaluation."

Mike Conroy, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, one of the plaintiffs in case, framed the ruling as a clear win for fish and those whose livelihoods depend upon them given the possible ecological consequences of the genetically engineered salmon.

"It's a terrible idea to design genetically engineered 'frankenfish' which, when they escape into the wild (as they inevitably will), could destroy our irreplaceable salmon runs," said Conroy. "Once engineered genes are introduced into the wild salmon gene pool," he added, "it cannot be undone."

Conroy further hailed the ruling as "a major victory for wild salmon, salmon fishing families and dependent communities, and salmon conservation efforts everywhere."

According to Center for Food Safety legal director George Kimbrell, who was counsel in the case, Thursday's decision marks "a vital victory for endangered salmon and our oceans."

"Genetically engineered animals create novel risks and regulators must rigorously analyze them using sound science, not stick their head in the sand as officials did here," he said.

"The absolute last thing our planet needs right now," added Kimbrell, "is another human-created crisis like escaped genetically engineered fish running amok."

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.


Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Strauss’s Salome, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Karita Mattila, Ildikó Komlósi, Kim Begley, Joseph Kaiser, and Juha Uusitalo, conducted by Patrick Summers. From October 11, 2008. Premiered in 1905.

Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday 6:30PM
Starring Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani, and Lucio Gallo, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. From January 8, 2011.  A firecracker of an opera, about a very strong woman running a bar but basically humanizing the community of a California gold rush town.  And done by the master Italian opera composer!  2 hours 22 minutes.  World Premiere in 1910.

At first, the 7Virtues perfumes sounds a bit superfluous (to a non-perfumy person), then once you realize where the ingredients come from and what difference it is making, it doesn't sound so...and a Global Chorus nod to those who serve, on Remembrance Day....

Global Chorus essay for November 11
Barb Stegemann

In 2006, my best friend, Trevor Greene, was wounded while serving as a captain of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. While taking part in a village shura (peaceful meeting) on water and healthcare distribution, he was struck in the head by a 16-year old boy. He had a long recovery, and while I was visiting him in the hospital, Trevor inspired me to write and self-publish The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen, a motivational book for women that I had long dreamed of writing. I promised Trevor that I would carry on his mission: I would find a way to support Afghanistan.

When I read an article about a man named Abdullah Arsala, the owner of Gulestan Essential Oils distillery in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, it made me realize that perfume could be the way. Arsala was trying to stop local farmers from growing opium poppies, and was instead encouraging them to produce orange blossom and rose – which are perfect for fragrances.  So after some investigation, I was able to get in contact with Abdullah Arsala and promptly purchased $2,000 worth of orange blossom oil on my credit card.

To date, I have invested $120,000 in Afghanistan by purchasing essential oils through the company I have founded, The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc. Our slogan is “Make Perfume, Not War.” Make anything instead of war.

We source essential oils for our fragrances from our supplier, who provides seasonal employment for his tribe and community. Every time we purchase legal essential oils from Afghanistan, we are doing our part to provide alternatives to the illegal poppy crop (which also causes instability in our own communities). We have grown, and through the matchmaking of our partners we found our supplier in Haiti, who needs buyers for his products in order to rebuild his community. The Vetiver oil of Haiti is considered the best in the world!

I am not a brave soldier, nor am I a world leader, but I set out to empower women to harness the huge buying power they possess to address issues of war and poverty. Our goal is to encourage other businesses to do trade with business people in Afghanistan, Haiti, the Middle East and other nations experiencing strife, as a part of the solution to building peace.

      —Barb Stegemann, founder of The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc., author of The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen

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

November 10, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

The question is not whether the world has hope. The question is, how do I give this world hope? Or more simply, how can I help?
--- Colin Beavan, in today's Global Chorus essay

Legislative Standing Committee Meeting: Public Accounts, 9:30AM, on-line.

Topic: Training workshop on the public accounts of the province

"The committee will meet to undertake a training workshop on Reading the Public Accounts, led by Carol Bellringer, President and CEO; and Lesley Burns, Director of Oversight, of the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation; and Shawn Murphy, former MP and Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts."

Kudos to committee chair Michele Beaton for getting a training workshop like this together for her committee, and for making it available for anyone to participate online. 

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly website

P.E.I. Legislative Assembly Facebook page link

Webinar info session:  "Thinking Outside the Boss:  How the Glitter Bean Cafe became a unionized worker co-op", 7PM, on-line. Hosted by the Halifax Workers' Action Centre. 
"Fighting back against unpaid wages and unfair treatment, the baristas at the Smiling Goat Cafe formed a unionized, worker-led co-op called the Glitter Bean Cafe.

Join the Halifax-WAC on November 10th to hear the story and learn the benefits of worker cooperatives."

More information and Zoom meeting link:
Facebook event link

Jazz Performance:  Jerry Grenelli Quartet, 8PM, on-line. Hosted by the Halifax Jazz Festival.
"We are delighted to participate in the Canadian Online Jazz Festival - a unique collaboration between festivals from across the country from November 8th-15th. As part of this virtual event, The TD Halifax Jazz Festival is pleased to present the Jerry Granelli Quartet on Tuesday, November 10th at 8pm AST.

Recorded at Sonic Temple Studio in downtown Halifax, the concert, which features a new quartet, where master drummer, Jerry Granelli, pays tribute to collaborators and mentors of his past, including compositions from Max Roach, Ornette Coleman and Mose Allison.
Facebook event link

(and if some particular music is started to play in your head at the mention of Jerry Grenelli, it may because (source: Wkipedia) he is: Jerry Granelli (born December 30, 1940) is an American-born Canadian jazz drummer. He is best known for playing drums on the soundtrack A Charlie Brown Christmas with the Vince Guaraldi Trio.) (with apologizes for sharing Christmas music before Remembrance Day)

For your consideration -- request to sign letter:

U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden has said he would cancel the Keystone XL pipeline project, and one of the first things Canadian Foreign Affairs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne mentioned was taking issue with that very soon, about being "the most reliable supplier" of fossil-fuels for energy.

CBC article on-line:

Bill McKibben, of, fighting the Climate Crisis, summarizes these developments and writes:

"That’s why the 350 Canada team put together an open letter urging President-Elect Biden to ignore the voices in support of Big Oil and, instead, listen to the people, in Canada and the US, who want bold climate action and massive investments in good, green jobs.
Click here to add your name to the letter. "

Letter link:

You can personalize the text of the letter, too, or just sign it, to add your voice.

Metropolitan Opera video performance streaming:

Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta / Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczała in Iolanta, and Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko in Bluebeard’s Castle, conducted by Valery Gergiev. From February 14, 2015.

No history of Opera would be complete without including:
Strauss’s Salome, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday at 6:30PM
Starring Karita Mattila, Ildikó Komlósi, Kim Begley, Joseph Kaiser, and Juha Uusitalo, conducted by Patrick Summers. From October 11, 2008.

Based on the Oscar Wilde play, Ricard Strauss' version " one opera that is as shocking today as it was at its premiere in 1905."  1 hour 45 minutes

keeping your focus amidst all the distractions....

Global Chorus essay for November 10
Colin Beavan

The Buddha always refused to speak about unanswerable questions like whether there is life after death. He said trying to answer such questions is like a man who has been shot with a poison arrow who, instead of removing the arrow, insists on finding out who shot the arrow, who made it and how long it is. The most profound question in life, the Buddha believed, is not What happens when I die? but, just in this moment, How shall I live? What is my function?

Asking if there is hope for humanity is a little like asking one of Buddha’s unanswerable questions. If you are walking down the sidewalk and a car runs over a child, what do you do? Do you stop and ask, is there hope for this child? The question itself distracts you from doing what is important. You must run and help the child.

Now, at this moment in history, our world is like the child. You must help it! Me too. We all must. Don’t get distracted!

This sounds like a terrible responsibility but it is actually a wonderful opportunity. The world has so many problems that it needs all our special skills and talents. It needs scientists and economists and singers and musicians and children and Christians and Hindus and people of every type. What makes this such a wonderful moment is that, with so much trouble, each of us can make a difference.

So don’t waste time asking if there is hope for this world. Rather, what can you do right now – as the amazingly special and uniquely talented person you are – to pull out the poison arrow, to save the child on the sidewalk, to help this suffering world? The question is not whether the world has hope. The question is, how do I give this world hope? Or more simply, how can I help?

      — Colin Beavan, speaker, consultant, activist, human, author/star of the book No Impact Man and film director of the No Impact Project

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

November 9, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Local Food Ordering deadlines:

Order deadline for local food options this week:
Organic Veggie Delivery, order by tonight for Thursday delivery.  (Next order week will be November 23rd)
Info at:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market to Go, Tuesday noon for Thursday delivery/pickup:

Eat Local PEI -- Online Farmers' Market order by Wednesday midnight for Saturday pickup/delivery:

Today is the Deadline for public commenting on allowing ATVs on provincial roads to legally permit ATV drivers to get between off-road trails.

More info:

and the email address for submissions is here:

As you can imagine, there is a lot of strong public opinion on this, but I do not think the Department has seen fit to share what people have actually submitted. 

Here is an Islander's opinion, and I am not using their name since I didn't ask (but thanks to Tony Reddin pointing it out); but it was posted on social media in a comments section of someone encouraging discussion:

"I think that implies that because they have a trail they will stay out of the wetlands and watercourses, not always something that happens.

I think the goal is a ATV trail system from island tip to tip. The summer version of the snow mobile trail system. Is this something you value and want for PEI is really what it all boils down to.

I personally am not adverse to the idea and provided the process is right, I would be ok with it. So far the process seems terrible, or at the very least the information they are providing is terrible.

We have no idea if they talked to landowners along those roads, which I hope they did, but guessing they didnt. There is no indication how the ATV 'trail' on public roads will be managed. Is there a steward like with the snow trails that cleans up the garbage and works with land owners? Who knows.

The maps have no legends so you have to guess at symbology, and there is no big picture map to show how these individual roads tie into the larger ATV network.

The other issue is safety. ATVs tend to travel pretty fast on these roads in my experience and many of these roads have 90 degree turns. From a safety perspective they should avoid those roads, but I see some 90's in the maps.

In summary I am not against the idea of it, but I am opposed until they start communicating and answering questions on how this is going to actually work rather than just toss up a list of roads and expect feedback after providing nothing. I got more from the CBC article than the government information."

Here is the CBC article link:

It does count if you make your opinion -- how ever long or short - known to them.

The Legislature resumes sitting Thursday, November 13th at 2PM.  Right now the only committee meeting scheduled this week is Public Accounts, tomorrow morning.  If you wish to catch up with any committees, the main page is here:

Not great news, but the Biden presidency decisions may push things in the better direction sooner.  From The (U.K.) Guardian:

Revealed: Covid recovery plans threaten global climate hopes - The (U.K.) Guardian article by Fiona Harvey, Environmental Correspondent

Exclusive: analysis finds countries pouring money into fossil fuels to fight recession

Published on Monday, November 9th, 2020

illustration from the article
Caption: With the world on the brink of climate disaster, the coronavirus pandemic offers an opportunity for governments to spend their way to a green recovery. Composite: Guardian Design

The prospect of a global green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is hanging in the balance, as countries pour money into the fossil fuel economy to stave off a
devastating recession, an analysis for the Guardian reveals.

Meanwhile, promises of a low-carbon boost are failing to materialise. Only a handful of major countries are pumping rescue funds into low-carbon efforts such as renewable power, electric vehicles and energy efficiency.

A new Guardian ranking finds the EU is a frontrunner, devoting 30% of its €750bn (£677bn) Next Generation Recovery Fund to green ends. France and Germany have earmarked about €30bn and €50bn respectively of their own additional stimulus for environmental spending.

On the other end of the scale, China is faring the worst of the major economies, with only 0.3% of its package – about £1.1bn – slated for green projects. In the US, before the election, only about $26bn (£19.8bn), or just over 1%, of the announced spending was green.
<SNIP>  rest of article and charts at the LINK:

breathe, go look at the stars, push for leaders to make smart decisions about healing the Earth....

Atlantic Skies for November 9th - 16th, 2020 "The Circle of the North Star" - by Glenn K. Roberts

Currently, Polaris, the star at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper asterism in Ursa Minor - the Little Bear), is designated the North Star, due to the fact that it is the star currently closest to the North Celestial Pole (NCP). The NCP is the imaginary point in the sky where Earth's northern axis of rotation, extended outward into space, intersects the celestial sphere (an imaginary sphere surrounding our planet at any given radius, onto the inner surface of which all celestial objects in the sky are projected). For us here in the northern hemisphere, it appears as if all the stars in the night sky rotate around the North Star (of course, it is the Earth's rotation that actually contributes to this effect).. Polaris lies within 1 degree of the NCP, and, thus, is referred to as the North Star. It will actually be closest (less than 1/2 degree)  to the NCP on Mar. 24, 2100.

Many people think that, being our North Star, Polaris is the brightest star in the northern night sky; that honour, however, goes to Sirius in Canis Major - the Big Dog. At 6th magnitude, Polaris is the 50th brightest star in the northern night sky. It can be located by joining the two end stars (Dubhe and Merak, sometimes referred to as "the pointer stars") of the bowl of the Big Dipper asterism in Ursa Major - the Big Bear, and extending the line outward about 5x the distance between the two stars to the first moderately bright star. As both Ursa Major and Ursa Minor are what is referred to as "circumpolar" constellations (they rotate around the NCP) and, because they don't drop below the horizon as they rotate around the NCP, and are visible in the northern night sky on any clear night, the direction of north can always be found by dropping a line from Polaris to the horizon. Throughout history, Polaris was recognized in many cultures. To the Norse, it represented the end of the spike around which the sky turned. To the Mongols, it was the peg that held the world together. In medieval times, it was referred to as the "lodestar" or "ship-star" due to its importance as a navigation aid to sailors. The newly formed Canadian territory of Nunavut has Polaris on its coat of arms and flag, as does the US state of Alaska.

Polaris has not always been the North Star. Due to a celestial phenomenon called "axial precession" (the gradual shift in the orientation of the Earth's axis of  rotation relative to the background stars of the celestial sphere over a 25,772 period), the NCP traces a circle in the sky, meaning that, over the roughly 26,000 year time period, the NCP point in the sky changes relative to the background stars. As a consequence, any star close to the NCP at any given point in time is designated the North Star.  For example, the star Thuban, in the constellation of Draco - the Dragon was the North Star, almost exactly pinpointing the NCP in 2787 BC, when the Egyptian pyramids were being built. In 4,000 CE (Current Era), Errai, a star in the constellation of Cepheus- the King will be the North Star, as will Alderamin (also in Cepheus) in 7,500 CE. Vega in the constellation of Lyra - the Lyre/Harp will be the North Star in about 12,000 years. As the precession circle is completed in approximately another 26,000 years, Polaris will once again be our North Star.

Mercury (mag. -0.59), visible as a pre-dawn sky object this week, rises around 5:20 a.m., reaching a height of 12 degrees in the southeast sky before fading with the breaking dawn about 6:45 a.m. It reaches greatest western elongation from the Sun on the 10th, and is at aphelion (farthest from  the Sun) on the 15th. Venus (mag. -4.0) is visible for a brief period in the pre-dawn sky, rising around 4:10 a.m., and reaching a height of 24 degrees above the southeast horizon before fading with the breaking dawn. Mars (mag. -1.84) is visible in the eastern evening sky shortly after 5 p.m., 16 degrees above the horizon. It achieves its greatest height in the southern sky (48 degrees) shortly before 10 p.m., and remains observable until about 3:30 a.m., when it then sinks below 7 degrees above the  western horizon. Jupiter (mag. -2.14) and Saturn (mag. +0.61), so bright and prominent in the evening sky all summer and fall, now put ina  brief appearances in the evening sky, both visible in the southern sky after 5 p.m. Jupiter sets in the southwest shortly before 9 p.m., followed by Saturn around 9:20 p.m.

The Northern Taurid meteors, debris from Comet 2/P Encke, peak on the night/pre-dawn of Nov. 11-12. While few in number (about 6/hr), the Taurids are known for their slow, bright fireballs. The slender, crescent Moon shouldn't present a problem. The famous Leonid meteor shower peaks on Nov. 16 -17.

Until next week, clear skies.


Nov. 10 - Mercury at greatest western elongation

         11 - Northern Taurids meteor shower peaks overnight

         14 - Moon at perigee (closest to Earth)

         15 - New Moon; Mercury at aphelion


Some opera to start the week:
Met Opera video recordings

Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Annette Dasch, Johan Botha, Paul Appleby, and Michael Volle. From December 13, 2014.   Four and a half luxurious hours of Wagner!

Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta / Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczała in Iolanta, and Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko in Bluebeard’s Castle, conducted by Valery Gergiev. From February 14, 2015.   Two short and very different stories. "Valery Gergiev conducts Mariusz Trelinski’s thrilling new production of these rarely heard one-act operas. Anna Netrebko stars as the blind princess of the title in Tchaikovsky’s lyrical work, opposite Piotr Beczała as Vaudémont, the man who wins her love—and wakes her desire to be able to see. Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko are Judith and Bluebeard in Bartók’s gripping psychological thriller about a woman discovering her new husband’s murderous past." 3 hours total.

Global Chorus essay for November 9
Marilyn Waring

The future requires more than hope.

It requires commitment and resilient defiance in the face of all the patriarchy wishes to hurl at us and destroy for personal wealth and political, religious and military gain.

They want us immobilized with fear and they want us to give up.

So the first act of creative feminist politics is to refuse to comply with their agenda, to defy their corrupt and destructive ideologies and to act to change our world with ideas and creative alternative practices that have at their heart the dignity of all peoples, and the care, nurturing and return to health of our beautiful ecosystem.

       —Marilyn Waring, feminist, author of Counting for Nothing/If Women Counted, professor of public policy at AUT University (Auckland, New Zealand)

Her website:

Here is her 1 hour 30 minute documentary, from the National Film Board website:

Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics,
from 1995


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

November 8, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Perhaps it's a nice day to have events like going for a walk, planting garlic, or taking a nap.  My radar may be a bit off, so if you know of events happening on-line or in-person, feel free to pass them on to me.

more on the "Brendel Farms sale and report"

GUEST OPINION: Encouraged but on guard over Lands Protection Act - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Phil Callaghan

Published on Thursday, November 5th, 2020

The Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Lands appreciates the recent report the Agricultural minister, Bloyce Thompson, finally received of IRAC’s investigation into the Brendel land sale. Thompson said the investigation revealed there are “reasonable and probable grounds” that the sale of 2,200 acres contravened the land limits set out in the Lands Protection Act (LPA). The minister went on to say “the involved parties have received correspondence from government asking them to divest land and become compliant with the LPA within 120 days.”

However, we are disappointed that the report has not been made public. According to a Guardian news article on Oct. 28, “an email statement from IRAC stated that the responsibility for releasing the report fell to the agricultural minister.” IRAC went on to state, “The report was prepared at the request of the minister and has been delivered to him. The minister determines if and when he releases it.” In keeping with the government’s commitment to transparency, our coalition strongly recommends that the report be released to the public immediately.

The release of the report could serve to educate Islanders on the extent to which corporate interests will go to circumvent the intent of the land limits as defined in the Lands Protection Act. These limits of 1,000 acres for individuals and 3,000 acres for corporations of arable land were reinforced after much study and consultation in the 2013 Carver Commission report. Preliminary input to the next planned consultation on land protection suggests that Islanders are strongly supportive of maintaining these limits in accordance with the act.

Further, we would like responses to the following questions which the government and IRAC should answer:

1) Why is the minister reluctant to let Islanders know the details of this investigation?

2) How did this sale take place without the approval of the executive council?

3) If there is “no loophole “ in the act as the minister states, how did this sale take place, as the report specifically states there has been a contravention of the act?

4) From how much land were the parties involved in this sale asked to be divested?

In closing, we appreciate the minister’s actions in pursuing an investigation of this unauthorized land transfer. We trust the land in question will be fully divested by the offending parties or if not that the minister will insure that serious consequences ensue. We also look forward to the early release of the investigation report.

Phil Callaghan, who lives in Charlottetown, has written this article for the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Lands.

from Morning Brew, Saturday, November 7th, 2020:

PUBLIC HEALTH  What’s Going on in Denmark? - Morning Brew newletter written by Neal Freyman, Eliza Carter, and Toby Howell

Glad you asked—quite a lot. 

The northern region of the country went into lockdown yesterday as the government tried to stamp out a mutated version of the coronavirus that’s linked to minks. 

In addition to implementing the extra restrictions, the government this week said it would cull all of the minks in the country—a number between 15 million and 17 million, per officials. 

Big picture: Denmark, which has over 1,100 mink farms, is the world’s largest exporter of mink fur. The government will try to prop up mink farmers, but most expect the industry to be completely devastated (a development animal rights activists are cheering).

Is this necessary? Denmark’s foreign minister said the decision was not taken lightly and that he’d “rather go a step too far than take a step too little to combat Covid-19.” 

The WHO appeared to take a less aggressive tack, reiterating that mutations happen all the time in viruses and that there’s no evidence yet that this variant (which infected 12 people so far) is more dangerous to humans.


Morning Brew's online newsletter claims:

"The daily email newsletter covering the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley. Informative, witty, and everything you need to start your day."

Well, maybe everything, except:
Opera Notes -- Metropolitan Opera daily free performance streaming:

Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Roberto Alagna, Nathan Gunn, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by Plácido Domingo. From December 15, 2007.  So sad and so beautiful.  Just under 3 hours.

Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, 7:30PM tonight until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Annette Dasch, Johan Botha, Paul Appleby, and Michael Volle. From December 13, 2014.   What better idea for an opera than a singing contest to determine the hand of a lady?  4 hours 49 minutes :-)

Global Chorus essay for November 8 David Anderson

Research in recent years has provided marginal improvement in our knowledge of climate change, but no change to the policy imperative. The need to move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions remains as the overarching challenge for humankind.

It is discouraging that in the 21 years since the 1992 Rio Conference, no successful international framework has been established to guide the globe to a more sustainable future. It is equally discouraging that so few serious national efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions have been undertaken.

Is there hope for humankind? Perhaps, but the experience of the 21 years since Rio have shaken previous optimism in this regard.

The annual gatherings of the international community to discuss climate change since Rio, the Conferences of the Parties, is unhappy proof of this. The record is dismal. Nations seem incapable of putting short-term national considerations aside and determining a collective approach to a collective problem.

The hope for humankind may paradoxically lie in the increasing number and severity of the problems that climate change is generating. As past experience makes clear, a threat in the future may be discounted as hypothetical, but turning a blind eye is more difficult when that threat materializes as a challenge to be confronted, perhaps as an extreme weather event, or, in Northwestern North America, as a weather-induced kill of tens of thousands of square kilometres of pine forests.

Optimism for the future of humanity may be justified. But for that optimism to be rooted in realism, Nature must set the stage. That, unfortunately, is taking time. And time is not on our side.

     —The Honourable David Anderson, PC, OC, Canadian Minister of Environment, 1999–2004

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

November 7, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown, INSIDE, 9AM-2PM, new protocols in place
Summerside, INSIDE, 9AM-1PM

Live Music
Evening concert: "The Sound Does Not Return" with Atlantic String Machine, 7:30PM, St. Paul's Anglican Church in Charlottetown.  A few tickets remain and are available at: or by phone at 902-394-2579.

Douglas Campbell and Edith Ling are Island Heroes

National Farmers Union urges divested Brendel land be used to establish P.E.I. land bank - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Friday, November 6th, 2020

Leaders of the National Farmers Union are urging MLAs to immediately establish a provincially-owned land bank, starting with land divested from large landowners due to a recent investigation into the Brendel land sale.

P.E.I.’s Agriculture Minister Bloyce Thompson said last week he has asked one corporation and two individuals to divest an unidentified amount of land after an IRAC investigation found a land transfer involving 2,200 acres of farmland near Summerside had contravened the Lands Protection Act.

The governing Progressive Conservatives pledged to establish a land bank in their election platform prior to the 2019 election.

During a presentation before the standing committee on natural resources and sustainability on Thursday, NFU women’s district director Edith Ling told P.E.I. members of the legislative assembly that small farmers are facing dual pressures of declining soil health and tightening margins.

“The National Farmers Union feels a strong current land banking program would help farmers access land at reasonable costs, thus enabling them to farm it in a more sustainable manner,” Ling told the committee. 

The group recommended the proposed land bank be administered by the Department of Agriculture and Land and that this department be strengthened.

The NFU recommendations also included several measures focused on increasing transparency around land sales in P.E.I. These included altering the Business Corporate Registry to allow searches for directors and shareholders of Island corporations by name and allowing land sale recommendations made to cabinet by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission to be made public. Currently, these decisions are not public and cannot be accessed via Freedom of Information requests.

The group also recommended MLAs be required to take a course on the Lands Protection Act, the legislation that limits ownership of farmland by non-residents and corporations. 

“Island politicians, over the past three decades, have been and continue to be woefully ignorant of the Lands Protection Act, which is entrenched in the Canadian Constitution,” NFU district 1 director Douglas Campbell told the committee.  

Campbell said Premier Dennis King, prior to the 2019 election, had promised to establish a course on the act for all MLAs within six months of being elected. This has not occurred, Campbell said.

The group’s recommendations also included a call for a comprehensive strategy around a “sustainable farming model” in P.E.I.

The NFU has often criticized the “industrialized farming model,” employed in P.E.I., which involves large-scale monoculture production, usually linked with potato production. Members of the group pointed to declining concentrations of soil organic matter across the Island, often associated with intensive farming.

Campbell also said the biggest proponent for a lifting of a moratorium on high capacity wells for agricultural is the Irving-owned Cavendish Farms. 

He said a discussion about high capacity wells cannot be separated from the question of whether large-scale industrial farming is the model that should continue to be used in P.E.I.

“We can't just open up the taps and allow irrigation to happen without (looking at) the whole sustainability around the land issue when it comes to the organic matter," Campbell said in an interview after appearing before the committee.

Earlier in the morning, the same committee had heard from Qing Lin a hydrogeologist with the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change. Lin presented evidence that high capacity wells would have little effect on the overall groundwater levels on P.E.I. 

“The Island has abundant groundwater to support social and economic needs, and high capacity wells are an environmentally friendly and economical efficient way to extract water,” Lin told the committee.


Not sure what's in the water the Department of Environment water division drinks, but their claims on water quantity are certainly cheerily confident and consistent.

Updated News:

Health P.E.I. to cover drug cost for cancer patient who had been paying the bill - The Guardian column by Jim Day

Published on Saturday, November 7th, 2020

Health P.E.I. has reversed its decision to deny covering the cost of a cancer drug that has been having a positive effect on an Island woman.  Lucy Morkunas, 59, of Shamrock has been taking an immunotherapy drug called nivolumab to treat collecting duct carcinoma – an aggressive form of renal carcinoma that presents at an advanced stage and has a poor prognosis.

Morkunas started taking the treatment after chemotherapy proved ineffective. She was surprised to learn, first, that the drug would not be covered by her health insurance and, second, that the province would not foot the bill, despite the fact the drug is on the provincial formulary.

She paid for the drug, which costs $7,000 per dose, out of her own pocket. The drug has been working well, making her feel stronger and less tired. So, she decided to continue digging into her own finances to continue receiving the immunotherapy that may not only extend her life, but possibly save it. 

Morkunas has been pushing Health P.E.I. to cover the cost. She took her story to The Guardian last week and has had Green party MLA Trish Altass pressure Health P.E.I. to come to her assistance.

Morkunas learned Friday the province has had a change of heart.

She says her situation was reassessed after her oncologist brought forth new information, and Health P.E.I. has decided to pay for her monthly treatments until the cancer goes into remission or the drug stops working.

The province has also agreed to reimburse Morkunas for the $24,500-worth of nivolumab that she has already received through intravenous treatment. 

“I am excited, and I’m relieved and I’m overwhelmed,’’ she told The Guardian Friday.  Morkunas took her last dose of the drug on Tuesday. Her next dose is scheduled for Dec. 1, which, she notes, was going to be the last dose she planned to take if she was not able to get funding.

She is calling on the government to adopt a more compassionate approach when considering who receives drug coverage.  If an Islander is going to have a request for drug coverage rejected, it has to be a thoughtful decision, she says.

“It would be nice if these decisions were more transparent,’’ says Morkunas.  “I really don’t want anybody else to go through this (her difficult ordeal pushing for coverage). It is super stressful.’’

Jim Day is the health reporter for The Guardian


from Grist
November 5th, 2020

Boaty McBoatface, the noblest climate research vessel to ever grace this earth, is finally setting sail for its maiden voyage.

Officially called the RRS Sir David Attenborough (after the popular BBC naturalist), the United Kingdom’s newest polar research vessel departed from Liverpool on Tuesday for two months of intensive training. Early next year it will sail to the Arctic for ice trials to confirm its seaworthiness, and then the ship will head to Antarctica in November 2021 to conduct climate change research.

The ship’s claim to fame stems from a 2016 online poll encouraging the public to pick a name for the climate research vessel. The poll unexpectedly went viral as the name “RRS Boaty McBoatface” became a frontrunner. In the end, the British Antarctic Survey, the government agency that operates the ship, chose David Attenborough, even though that name did not rank highly in the polls. Either way, the research vessel will always be Boaty McBoatface in our hearts.

Constructing the RRS Sir David Attenborough cost $260 million and took four years. It will be replacing two older British Antarctic Survey research vessels.

       — Angely Mercado, staff writer

Saturday (and Sunday) Opera Offerings
Saturday afternoon, with Ben Heppner, 1PM, 104.7FM
Best Opera Ever Series, in conversation with Étienne Dupuis,
Turandot by Giacomo Puccini,
Conducted by Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, with Birgit Nilsson as Turandot, Renata Scotto as Liu, and Franco Corelli as Calaf
with the Coro Del Teatro Dell'Opera Di Roma
more details at:
Video streaming: Metropolitan Opera:

Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, until noon today
Starring Leontyne Price, Giuseppe Giacomini, Leo Nucci, and Bonaldo Giaiotti. From March 24, 1984.

Special Live Met Stars Performance:
More information here

Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, tonight 7:30PM until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Roberto Alagna, Nathan Gunn, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by Plácido Domingo. From December 15, 2007.  Wonderful acting with two of operas biggest stars, gorgeous singing, and beautiful costumes from Netrbko's gowns to Alagna's blue boots.

Global Chorus essay for November 7
Julia Butterfly Hill

Everywhere we look today, our world and our planet are in deep and profound crisis. Our human family, with such wealth of opportunity and resources, seems determined to make the worst possible choices for our collective well-being. Even the most “conscious” among us are making choices every day that cause harm to the planet and all its beings and life support systems.

When I look at the problems we face, I recognize that every single issue is merely a symptom. ALL issues are symptoms of the Disease of Disconnect. When we are disconnected from our intricate interdependency with the Earth, we make choices that destroy it without realizing how we destroy ourselves and future generations in the process. When we are disconnected from people and animals, we make choices that cause harm and suffering without even realizing it or thinking about it.

I was born a highly sensitive person. I feel pain and suffering of others, of everything, on a very, very deep level. To be “awake” in the world today is to be open to pain and grief. To see what is possible for our species – without adding one more piece of technology – just with what we already have available to us, and the reality of the gap between what is possible and how we behave, breaks my heart, overwhelms me and makes me process a lot of grief and then rage.

I tell people all the time, “I am probably the world’s biggest cynic. I just don’t happen to let that stop me.” The reality is that INACTION is as much a part of shaping and co-creating our world as the actions of others! We don’t have a crystal ball to tell us if we have what it takes to turn our Titanic away from the iceberg. And although much of what I see in the world today makes me feel like most of us are running around rearranging the deck chairs and arguing about the best spot for the view, what I do know is that the only thing I can control in this wild uncertainty of life is how I choose to show up for it. So, I do my best to not let my cynicism stop me from showing up each day with a heart committed to learning, growing, caring and serving with all that I can.

“Hope” and “hopelessness” or “cynicism” are each made up. We make them up. They are not true or fact. They are thoughts and feelings and we are 100 per cent responsible for them. No matter if you are someone who has hope or does not have hope, what I know makes a difference right here, right now is how boldly, courageously and fiercely we are committed to bringing the consciousness of love to our own choices and to the world around us. If we somehow make it around the iceberg, it will be because enough people answered the call to put love into action. If we do not make it around the iceberg, at least our lives would have been used to bring more loving awareness into the world. And for me that is something worth living for.

       —Julia Butterfly Hill, artist, activist, author

Julia Lorraine Hill (known as Julia "Butterfly" Hill, born February 18, 1974) is an American environmental activist and tax redirection advocate. She is best known for having lived in a 180-foot (55 m)-tall, roughly 1500-year-old California redwood tree for 738 days between December 10, 1997 and December 18, 1999.
-- from Wikipedia

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

November 6, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


It's a full day for the Special Committee on Government Record Retention, with meetings at both 10AM and 1:30PM.

10AM -- Topic: Records retention matters identified in Auditor General's 2016 special assignment

The committee will meet with Melissa James (10:00 a.m.) and Chris LeClair (11:00 a.m.) to discuss records retention matters identified in the Auditor General’s 2016 report Special Assignment: Government Involvement with the E-gaming Initiative and Financial Services Platform.

1:30PM -- Topic: Records retention matters identified in Information and Privacy Commissioner Order No. FI-20-007

The committee will meet with Erin McGrath-Gaudet, Deputy Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, to review the Department’s handling of records management as discussed in Information and Privacy Commissioner Order No. FI-20-007.

The Hon. George Coles Building remains closed to the public. The meeting will be live-streamed on the
Legislative Assembly’s website
and Facebook page.

Visit the committee's page


Good for Leader of the NDP Jagmeet Singh, to write the Prime Minister calling for a CItizens' Asssembly on Electoral Reform.  Prime Minister Trudeau campaigned on electoral reform, then backed away completely.  And the issues remain.

FairVote press release and full letter from Singh:


Reducing light pollution has numerous benefits for the environment - CBC's "What on Earth?" article by Nicole Mortillaro

from: CBC's "What on Earth?" for Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Typically, when people think about pollution, it's a question of air quality. But there’s another kind that poses a threat to humans and animals: light pollution.

Multiple studies have shown that the abundant nighttime light found on streets and in buildings can
adversely affect animals — altering migration patterns — as well as insects. There’s also been increasing evidence that it can disrupt the circadian rhythm of humans, an important biological process that regulates our sleep cycle.

For these reasons, many people have advocated finding ways to reduce light pollution. But it's not always clear which sources are creating the most light. 

A recent study
published in the journal Lighting Research & Technology examined streetlights in Tucson, Ariz., over a period of 10 days. The city dimmed the lights at 1:30 a.m. every day during that period. Using satellites to monitor the light that seeped upward into space, the study found that light pollution dropped by just 13 per cent, suggesting that there are other sources of light that are causing pollution. (They suspect it could be things like billboards, car dealerships and parking lots.)

The importance of the study is to illustrate that cities can conduct similar research to determine ways to reduce light pollution from sources other than streetlights, said Christopher Kyba, a scientist with the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany, and lead author of the paper. Kyba acknowledges more research is needed to determine exactly where that excess light pollution comes from, something that he hopes to examine in another study.

Finding out more about this could help cities design strategies to address the issue. But there’s another benefit to reducing light pollution: less light means less energy production.

“All the light that we have is paid for by someone, and basically at the end of the day, it’s us,” said Kyba.

“We need the energy to produce all that light," he said, which could mean building environmentally unfriendly structures like a nuclear power plant or a hydro dam. "Or you have to burn coal or something and we all know that's bad for all kinds of reasons.”

Kyba said, “anything we can do to reduce energy consumption is basically alleviating this other problem associated with energy production.”

Robert Dick, former chair of the light pollution abatement committee at the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, said light pollution should concern everyone. 

“[People] should care about light pollution the same way they should care about reducing environmental pollution and designing cities to be sustainable,” he said. 

“Light pollution is one of those extra stressors you put on the environment." 

Nicole Mortillaro

(Full disclosure: Nicole Mortillaro is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the former head of the Toronto chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association.


Opera corner:  Met Opera video performance streaming

Rossini’s Semiramide, today until 6:30PM
Starring Angela Meade, Elizabeth DeShong, Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Ryan Speedo Green, conducted by Maurizio Benini. From March 10, 2018.  Gorgeous sets, costumes and, of course, singing.

Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, tonight 7:30PM until 6:30PM tomorrow
Starring Leontyne Price, Giuseppe Giacomini, Leo Nucci, and Bonaldo Giaiotti. From March 24, 1984.  Here's a quote about it from an NPR article:  It's " opera that can leave even diehard Verdi lovers shaking their heads. Its story can be as confounding as the music is compelling, with a plot in which a single, unfortunate happenstance drives characters to lifetimes of incomprehensible behavior."   But it's Leontyne Priceand Leo Nucci! and obviously a classic on the History of Opera playlist.

Wonderful Islander and successful journalist and author Zack Metcalfe writes this essay:

Global Chorus essay for November 6 
Zack Metcalfe

I have to believe we will succeed in saving ourselves. As a young man in a struggling world, I have everything to lose by succumbing to apathy or despair. I have yet to find my place in life, to fall in love, to become a father or to change my own corner of the world for the better. As my grandfather likes to say: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”

I believe the solutions to our problems are subtle. It isn’t necessarily about driving electric cars and shutting down coal plants. These are only signs of the cure, not the cure itself.

First, we need to put a greater emphasis on scientific literacy in the public. People need a healthy understanding of how the world works, through science. This makes them resistant to the pseudo-science, anti-science, junk science (take your pick) that plagues the world today, making people question whether or not climate change even exists! When we see through the clouds of nonsense to the real, frightening and approaching truth, it will be a resounding call to arms.

Second, we need to expand our borders of empathy, not only to one another but to the natural world and the animals we share it with. We need to acknowledge their right to land, their right to water, their right to exist and their right to prosper.

With these broad changes in place, we will stop robbing the oceans of fish faster than they can repopulate. We will fall short of deforestation, for fear of ruining the land for ourselves and our animal cousins. Profit margins from multinationals will mean nothing when compared to the free services offered by the natural world, and to the affection we rightfully have for it. There are a thousand solutions to every problem you could pose, environmental and social. We need the knowledge to see those solutions, make sound decisions on a global scale and have a moral compass to guide our steps.

Can we do it? Yes.
Do I have hope? I have no other choice.

     —Zack Metcalfe, author, journalist

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

November 5, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Deadline today:
ClimateSense Internship Program Application with the Clyde River Pageant

"a full-time (and fully funded) year-long internship position as part of UPEI's ClimateSense Internship Program.... an individual who is passionate about the environment, community-engaged art, and finding creative ways to promote collective action on climate change...."

job posting for more details:

Legislative Committee Meetings today:

Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM, on-line and recorded for later.

Topic: Ground and Surface Water Resources

Location: Legislative Chamber of the Hon. George Coles Building

The committee will receive a briefing on ground and surface water resources from Hydrogeologist, Qing Lin and Manager of Drinking Water and Wastewater Management, George Somers.

The committee will also be meeting with the National Farmers Union on the topic of the Water Act and water withdrawal regulations (presenters to be determined)

So, the provincial environment water men will get to describe and defend their assertions there is plenty of water.
Minister of Transporation, Infrastructure and Energy Steven Myers was to present, but he has new twin babies, so congrats to him and his partner; and we'll let him steep in being a new parent, which often resolves one's priorities to be a kind person who works for the future of his and all Island children.

Special Committee on Climate Change Meeting, 1PM,
Topic: Progress update on Climate Change Action Plan

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on the Sustainable Transportation Action Plan and Sustainable Communities Initiative from Hon. Steven Myers, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy; Dean Lund, Policy Analyst and Sustainable Communities Project Lead; and Ronnie McPhee, Policy and Outreach Coordinator.

The committee will receive a briefing providing a progress update on work done under the PEI Climate Change Action Plan, from representatives of the Climate Change Secretariat. 
Watch committee meetings live:
Legislative Assembly website:

Legislative Assembly Facebook page:

Government’s Net Zero plan: A+ for goals, C- for action By Ole Hammarlund, MLA District 13: Charlottetown-Brighton

Official Opposition Net Zero Critic
reprinted with permission

It is really gratifying to see the Government of PEI has finally accepted the concepts and goals the Official Opposition has tirelessly fought for since starting our first session in the spring of 2019.
Like a teacher pleased with a good student’s progress, I am happy to see the government has finally understood what we have proposed for three sittings of the legislature.
In fact, the government is proposing a goal of reaching Net Zero energy in just 10 years and reaching Carbon Neutrality by 2040, 10 years ahead of Canada’s national goal.
For this, as a teacher, I would definitely award an A+ grade. Bravo! Three stars!
Now, of course, I am not a teacher, I am an MLA. I am worried about whether or not government will follow up on these lofty promises with real action.
Short on action
Here I see a plan that is short on action. Unlike a student in school, where good ideas are often enough, we fully expect a government to put all their forces to work to do what they promise.
I can speak with some experience in the area of Net Zero buildings. These are buildings that combine features such as lots of insulation and triple glazed windows with on-site energy collection like solar collectors, so that the total energy use over the year is zero.
In the spring of 2019 I tabled a motion that all new government buildings be Net Zero. I had hoped this motion would pass easily, as the requirement not only would help PEI meet the goals already set for 2030, but also virtually pay for itself. Adding collectors and extra insulation does of course cost more, but the resulting savings will pay off the extra cost in 10 to 20 years and it is a better investment than putting money in the bank.
Nevertheless, government fought tooth and nail against the motion, and it was only passed in the fall of 2019 after the requirement was reduced to ONE building. It’s great the next school government builds will be Net Zero, but it will only be finished in 2024. What about all the other new buildings being funded by government? Not to mention all the private ones and the upgrades needed for all the existing buildings.

Why delay?
In my area of expertise, buildings, there are lots of areas we can improve immediately. Why not proclaim ALL new government funded builds be Net Zero? Why not fix mistakes such as the nine story residence going up at UPEI? Such buildings are the easiest to make Net Zero. Pause the construction for a month or two and upgrade it to Net Zero, or the building will have to be renovated at great expense in just a few years.
This is why I give only a C- for action.
So, dear student: Great work on concept. Lots of work needed on action. If you start immediately, you could get a much better grade at the end of the term.


Government Spending on Roads, with extra Tutorials:
If you want a preview of the "Displaced Left-turning Lanes" spaghetti bowl soon to be finished in the Charlottetown Bypass-Route 2 East - St. Peter's Road intersection (where some Royalty Oaks were cut to widen the pavement), there are computer-generatedic videos of the way each lane goes, for "the first of its kind in Canada"!  About 11 one-minute videos.  Helpful, but you may need Gravol.

Opera Corner -- Met Opera steaming from their library of recordings

Mozart’s Idomeneo, today until 6:30PM
Starring Elza van den Heever, Nadine Sierra, Alice Coote, Matthew Polenzani, and Alan Opie. From March 25, 2017.  Mozart and Ancient Crete!

Thursday, November 5
Rossini’s Semiramide, tonight 7:30PM until Friday about 6:30PM
Starring Angela Meade, Elizabeth DeShong, Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Ryan Speedo Green, conducted by Maurizio Benini. From March 10, 2018.  Rossini and Ancient Babylon!

The website was a little slow this morning, so you can find the playing link to both here:

Global Chorus essay for November 5
Ricardo Rozzi and Francisca Massardo

At the southern end of the Americas, a group of artists, philosophers, scientists, members of the Yahgan indigenous community, teachers, students, naval officers and government authorities created the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, and developed a methodological approach – Field Environmental Philosophy (FEP) – to integrate ecological sciences and ethics.

One of FEP’s applications is “Ecotourism with a Hand-Lens,” which has invited researchers, decision-makers and the general public to appreciate the aesthetic, economic, ecological and ethical values of the Miniature Forests of Cape Horn, a metaphoric expression to highlight the biodiversity hotspot of lichens, mosses and other bryophytes found in southwestern South America.

For global society, “Ecotourism with a HandLens” not only amplifies the view of mosses and other small organisms, but it also offers a lens that broadens our mental, perceptual and affective images about Nature and our relationships with Nature. Science teaches us that mosses, humans and all living beings share the common vital pulse of cellular respiration, growth and reproduction. If the southern “biocultural ethical hand-lens” could help global society to listen to the breathing of the mosses, to the calls of the birds, to the waves of the oceans, and to the many human languages that perceive the mosses, the birds, the oceans and other beings understood and respected as co-inhabitants – as sisters and brothers, rather than as mere natural resources; if global society could recover the capacity to listen to the multiple human and non-human voices of the community of co-inhabitants with whom we share our daily lives, at local or distant habitats, then hope would be present with us in a global chorus. Individual self-absorption will be understood as an idiocy that needs to be corrected.

A biocultural ethic will promote an integral life and a harmonic co-inhabitation that requires listening, respecting and understanding the beauty, the truth and the value of each of the human and the other-than-human voices of the life chorus.

    ------Ricardo Rozzi, PhD, philosopher, ecologist, professor, director of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program in the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity at University of Magallanes (Chile) and University of North Texas (USA)

      —Francisca Massardo, PhD, plant physiologist, conservation biologist, professor, director of the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity at University of Magallanes, director of Omora Ethnobotanical Park (Chile)

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

November 4, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Legislative Committees are meeting this week, some in wrapping up their findings for reports to the Legislature, which opens in a week from tomorrow.

The Special Committee on Poverty in PEI is meeting at 10AM in camera to work on its report, so no broadcasting.

Standing Committee on Health and Social Development meeting, 1:30PM.

Topic: Home care during the COVID-19 pandemic

The committee will meet to hear about best practices for home care and how the pandemic has affected home care and any gaps that have been identified as a result.
Guests: Dr. Martha Carmichael, Mary Sullivan, Mary Jane Callaghan
The Hon. George Coles Building remains closed to the public. The meeting will be live-streamed on the Legislative Assembly’s website and Facebook page.



EatLocalPEI orders due tonight by midnight:

The Farm Centre Legacy Garden has elderberries and some tea and herbs available.  The "google docs" ordering form is here with details and pick-up information.

LETTER: Representation missing on P.E.I. land matters advisory committee - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, November 2nd, 2020, in

Tell me why, decision-makers of P.E.I., your land matters advisory committee is missing some representation. Why you didn’t make sure that one of the hundreds of people like me who are visibly from away are on it? Or one of the people I’m fortunate not to yet be. The people younger than me who weren’t sitting on the sidewalks of Charlottetown, asking for money, when I first arrived. The people older than me, who find it difficult to get on and off T3; who ask if there’s any other way to get to the harbour and, then, start walking painfully. Tell me again that the representation you've got is the right way to transform the Planning Act into the minimum wage worker’s ability to live in a neighbourhood where they can get what they need and from where they can reach their place of work without increasing GHGs. Explain to me why someone who doesn’t spend their days working with wild, nonhuman beings should get to filter what the not-for-profit groups that try to protect nature know to be everyday needs. I believe you when you tell me that it’s not going to be like the last 40 years of banking too much land speculatively. I just need you to remind everyone that land use planning is supposed to have nothing to do with anyone who owns this Island and everything to do with making sure that whoever owns it doesn’t get in the way of what it’s meant to do for everybody.

Pooja Kumar, Charlottetown

Government press release on Land Matters Advisory Committee is here:

Met Opera, continuing the History of Opera

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

Mozart’s Idomeneo, tonight 7:30PM until tomorrow about 6:30PM
Starring Elza van den Heever, Nadine Sierra, Alice Coote, Matthew Polenzani, and Alan Opie. From March 25, 2017.

Global Chorus essay for November 4
Sally Armstrong

The Earth is shifting. Women’s issues are in a hot light that is illuminating changes to the economy, conflict, culture and religion. The evidence is all over the place – from zones of conflict to the United Nations, from banking institutions to political offices and even the water cooler.

The news is this: women are the way forward. From Kabul and Cairo to Cape Town and New York, women are issuing a clarion call for change. And this time the power brokers are listening. Economist Jeffrey Sachs, of Millennium Development Goals fame, claims the status of women is directly related to the economy: where one is flourishing, so is the other; where one’s in the ditch, so is the other.

The coming changes are based on the notion that financially, the world can no longer afford to keep half of its population oppressed.

Supporters are jumping onto this bandwagon like born-again believers in the power of women.

The thugs in the lives of these women who got away with denying the girls an education, refusing to let the women go to work; the rapists and warlords who saw them as pawns or worse, something to barter, are on notice now. The last frontier for women is having control over their own bodies. They’re are on the doorstep of change, a change that will alter the world’s economies, health status and level of conflict. The state of the world’s women will never be the same.  

     ---- Sally Armstrong, journalist and human rights activist

Sally has inspired so many to get involved and act, including the Island's Susan Hartley, who has worked with Sally in the organization Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
and is a Rotary Peace Scholar.  Susan has worked on promoting better, smarter health and especially mental health care for Islanders and is presently also acting president of the Green Party of PEI.

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

November 3, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Congratulations to newly elected MLA for District 10 Zack Bell. Congrats to all the candidates for working hard in different conditions and bringing up a lot of issues.
Mr. Bell listens to people very well, and now as MLA needs to keep learning about issues facing his District and the Province, so government can make decisions to keep that long-term vision for P.E.I. in mind.  Groups like the Citizens' Alliance, and citizens like you, can help them do their job better.


Deadline for Thursday's Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO is noon today.

Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM.  Online live and recordings available later. (irony -- if your internet is good enough to carry the live stream easily)
Topic: Update on the state of rural internet

The committee will hear a joint presentation by the Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture and the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy on rural internet access.

  • Erin McGrath-Gaudet, Deputy Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture

  • Maigan Newson, Project Manager of Corporate Projects - Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture

  • Paul Godfrey, Director of Infrastructure - Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy

A few notes:
While I appreciate the hours and research that Kevin J. Arsenault has spent on digging into the e-gaming files and other reeking government sordid soirees, I haven't kept up on all his other commentaries on other issues of the day, nor imply endorsement of them. It's a difficult time when transparency on issues is not coming from government or the understaffed press, and a lot of investigation is left to driven citizens.
"Please do not actually hold your breath for too long, you will turn purple."
-- Warren Murray, of The (other) U.K. Guardian, on waiting for the outcome of today's election in the United States.

Here is their timetable of expected events tonight and beyond, easily convertible to Atlantic Time.

But if you need some completely different stress-relievers:
*go for a walk in the brisk air
*watch about saving seeds at the Ryton Heritage Gardens in England in a segment of the CBC TV show" Escape to the Country", sometime between 1-2PM

*get into the Metropolitan Opera's "A Two-Week Tour of Opera History, From Handel to Wagner"

"Over the course of two weeks, the Met’s Nightly Opera Streams take viewers on a tour through opera history, moving chronologically from the early 18th century to the present day. Explore the articles and resources below to orient yourself for the journey and dive deeper into the details of the history and the music. A full schedule for the week is available

Handel’s Rodelinda, tonight until 6:30PM

Starring Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Andreas Scholl, Iestyn Davies, Joseph Kaiser, and Shenyang, conducted by Harry Bicket. From December 3, 2011.

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

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

from the excellent Christine Saulnier at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

from the Guardian article

Study reveals living wage in Charlottetown is $19.30 an hour - The Guardian article

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

In order to earn a living wage, a person working a full-time, full-year job in Charlottetown would need to be paid $19.30 an hour, according to a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ office based in Nova Scotia.

With the addition of Charlottetown, living wage rates have been calculated for all Atlantic provinces, which further helps to understand the differences between the provinces and communities of varying sizes and rurality in the region, and how to support low-waged workers.

“The living wage is calculated at a level to ensure that workers do not struggle to pay for all their household necessities including rent, heat, food, as well as essentials for families with children such as child care,” said report author Christine Saulnier, who is CCPA’s director of the office located in Nova Scotia and the lead for the calculations in the Atlantic region.

Saulnier said more needs to be done to help address the three highest cost items in the living wage budget, which include shelter, food and childcare.

Paying a living wage is a voluntary commitment that employers can make to directly increase the wages of their employees. However, she added, living wage calculations show that the more generous government income supports and public services are, the less reliant people have to be on their private wages and less pressure on employers. 

“There are many gaps in public services and the thresholds for tax credits, income transfers and subsidy programs are too low, phase-out quickly, have too many strings and stigma attached,” said Saulnier.

Mary Boyd, of the MacKillop Centre for Social Justice and the P.E.I. Coalition for a Poverty Eradication Strategy, co-sponsors the report.

“The living wage calculation shows why it is so important to address low wages, including the minimum wage, and also the urgent need to lower costs, including by investing in universal public services by for example expanding child care and public health care,” she said.

The Living Wage for Charlottetown report (and more full article and press release) can be found here:

Atlantic Skies for November 2nd-November 8th, 2020 "What Happens to Our Sun When It Dies?"- by Glenn K. Roberts

Our Sun is a star, one of countless billions in the known universe. Although we currently enjoy its warmth and light each and every day, it will, like all the other stars in the universe, eventually run out of fuel, and undergo a transformation, a natural, evolutionary process of all stellar bodies.

Our Sun is a very moderate-sized stellar body; in terms of its mass, size, surface temperature and chemical composition, it's about halfway between the larger and the smaller-sized stars out. It is composed of approximately 74% hydrogen, 25 % helium, and about 1% other elements. Within its core, billions of tons of hydrogen are converted to helium every second through a process of thermonuclear fusion (sometimes referred to as "hydrogen-core fusion"), the by-product of which, thankfully for us Earthlings, is heat and light. It is what is known as a "main-sequence" star (relative to its mass, spectral type, luminosity and absolute magnitude). Since the lifetime of main-sequence stars with mass equal to that of our Sun is estimated at about 12 billion years, and given that hydrogen-core fusion has been occurring in our Sun for the past 4.56 billion years, our Sun is expected to last approximately another 7.4 billion years. (give or take a few 100 million years). Near the end of this time, as most of the hydrogen is converted to helium, the Sun's core will begin to contract slightly under the weight of its outer layers (less hydrogen atoms will make it difficult to maintain core pressure). This compression will raise the core's temperature, with the result that the Sun's core pressure will actually increase. Our Sun will then increase in luminosity (it has actually increased in luminosity by about 40% since it was first formed) and size (the outer layers will expand outward). The Sun's surface temperature will likewise increase. As our Sun continues to age, the increase in its energy outflow will ignite the hydrogen in the material surrounding its core (called "shell hydrogen-fusion"), thereby extending its life by a few million years. In what is referred to as its "post-main-sequence" phase, as a result of a complicated process of core cooling, compression, core heating, etc., the Sun's increasing internal pressure will dramatically expand its outer layers, many times their original radius. As this expansion occurs, these layers will cool, and the Sun's surface temperature will drop. Once it drops below 3500 degrees Kelvin (K), the gases in the outer layers will glow with a reddish colour, and our Sun will enter the next stage of its evolution, that of a red giant. As our Sun evolves through its main-sequence lifetime, and as its surface temperature increases, temperatures on Earth will also increase. About 3 1/2 billion years from now, the surface temperature of Earth will exceed the temperature of boiling water, the oceans will evaporate, and all lifeforms will disappear. When our Sun becomes a red giant in about 7.4 billion years, it's luminosity will be 2000x what it is today, and its outer atmosphere will extend out as far as Mercury and Venus, and, ultimately, our planet.

In the red giant phase, the thin hydrogen-fusing shell surrounds a small, compact core of near-pure helium. As the hydrogen-fusing shell adds mass to the helium core, the core contracts and increases in temperature. When that temperature reaches 100 million K, core helium-fusion commences. In a star with a mass like that of our Sun, helium-fusion lasts about 12 billion years. After about 100 million years, the helium-fusion will have converted all the helium to carbon and oxygen, core-helium fusion ceases, and shell-helium fusion starts. Like shell hydrogen-fusion, shell helium-fusion causes the star's outer layers to once again expand (its second red giant stage), but this time with greater luminosity. It will actually experience a series of luminosity bursts, each of which will eject a shell of stellar material into space. It then enters its final phase, the character of which is dependent on the star's mass. In the final phase of its life, our Sun, a relatively low-mass star, will slowly expel its outer layers, which will form a glowing cloud of gases (erroneously referred to as a "planetary nebula") around its remaining burned-out core, itself referred to as a "white dwarf "star. The size of the white dwarf will be roughly that of our planet Earth, but its luminosity will decrease (to about 1/10 its current luminosity), as will its surface temperature (dropping towards absolute zero). After a further 5 billion years as a white dwarf, our Sun will radiate less than 1 ten-thousandth of its current brilliance, and ,eventually, as its inner core cools and all its energy radiates away, fade into obscurity; the core remaining, but invisible.

It is extremely unlikely that the human race will still inhabit Earth in 8 billion years to witness the transformation of our Sun into a red giant star, and its final curtain call as a white dwarf.  Perhaps, though, if any of humanity's progeny survive on planets in nearby solar systems, and if they have a record of, and remember our Sun as the procreator and life-giver to humanity's first home, they might bear witness to our Sun's final demise. It would, like at any funeral, be appropriate to have someone present to say a few kind words, and shed a tear or two in remembrance.

If the pre-dawn sky is clear enough this week, and you're an early riser, you might catch a glimpse of tiny, but bright, Mercury (mag. -0.6) about 15-16 degrees above the southeast horizon just before sunrise (around 7 a.m.). Venus is becoming more difficult to see in the pre-dawn sky, as its orbit takes it closer to the Sun. Rising shortly before 4 a.m., Venus (mag. -4.01) reaches 25 degrees above the southeast horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks about 6:40 a.m. Still brilliant, Mars (mag. -2.08) shines 12 degrees above the eastern horizon by 5:15 p.m., reaching an altitude of 48 degrees above the southern horizon by 10:25 p.m., and remaining visible until around 4 a.m., when it sinks below 7 degrees above the western horizon. Jupiter and Saturn, brilliant all summer and early autumn, are both now receding into the evening twilight. Visible around 5:15 p.m., 21 degrees above the southern horizon, Jupiter (mag. - 2.18) then drops towards the western horizon, setting around 9:15 p.m. Saturn (mag. +0.59) makes a brief appearance 22 degrees above the southern horizon by 5:25 p.m., before setting in the west around 9:45 p.m.

Until next week, clear skies.


Nov. 8 - Last Quarter Moon

Global Chorus essay for November 3

Gregor Barnum

Who would we (humanity) be if contradiction was seen as art and the beauty of our ontological quest? There is beauty in so many differing cognitions, feelings, actions. Of course, if Love is Love, wherever would Love not be?

Gregor Barnum (1952–2012), first director of corporate consciousness at Seventh Generation Inc


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

November 2, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events Today:
District 10:Charlottetown-Winsloe provincial byelection
, voting 9AM-7PM, Community Church at 162 Sherwood Road. 

Reform City Planning Rally, 4PM, Charlottetown Outside City Hall.

"Join us outside Monday, November 2nd, 4-4:30pm (RAIN OR SHINE) at Charlottetown City Hall (Queen St. entrance) as a show of solidarity in our community to voice our concern about the City Hall development planning and approval processes. We will be fully respecting COVID-19 regulations at this rally.
Although we will be gathering outside City Hall Monday at 4 p.m., there will also be a meeting happening inside of the City's newly constituted Planning Committee. An important item on their agenda will be to reconsider the earlier approval of the Southview Estates 60-unit apartment building on Trainor Street. We are there to support Trainor Street area residents, but also to demonstrate our concerns about the 15 Haviland approval, the rushing through of Sherwood Crossing, and the questionable City's processes involving other developments in our community.

Let's keep Charlottetown, P.E.I. beautiful. Together."
Facebook event details
You may also want to check the status of the rally on Facebook if the forecast winds and rain cause a change in plans.

Order deadline for local food options this week:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market to Go, Tuesday noon for Thursday delivery/pickup:

Eat Local PEI -- Online Farmers' Market order by Wednesday midnight for Saturday pickup/delivery:

30 minutes of Robert Reich with Piya Chattopadhyay on CBC Radio's The Sunday Magazine (formerly The Sunday Edition) may be a deep breath for many of us.  From yesterday, November 1st, 2020.

"The battle between democracy and oligarchy in the 2020 U.S. election: Chattopadhyay speaks with former United States Labour Secretary Robert Reich about how inequality is shaping the upcoming presidential election and the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis. After 40 years of stagnant wages and a widening gap between the rich and the poor, Reich says the U.S. is facing a battle between democracy and oligarchy."  Also, he reminds us about being an active citizen of any democracy, and how it means going beyond just voting.

Emails Deleted during the E-Gaming Shenanigans
Kevin J. Arsenault has written very clearly that the Special Committee on Government Record Retention was lied to by its previous witness.  Arsenault has been a citizen investigator in all this, filing Freedom of Information requests and writing detailed assessments of events and actions that are certainly far from transparent.
Perhaps Kevin should appear before the Committee. 
And have an indepth interview with Stu Neatby of The Guardian.

Arsenault's blog "Ethical and Social Commentary on PEI" is here:

The YouTube interviews of Candidates for the District 10 Byelection, done by the Citizens' Alliance last week, are here:

The PC, Green and NDP candidates made the 30 minutes for our interview and questions, and there are some interesting responses that highlight differences.

Opera Corner: Met Opera performance videos available for free:

Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Rachelle Durkin, Richard Croft, Kim Josephson, and Alfred Walker, conducted by Dante Anzolini. From November 19, 2011.

Handel’s Rodelinda, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday 6:30PM
Starring Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Andreas Scholl, Iestyn Davies, Joseph Kaiser, and Shenyang, conducted by Harry Bicket. From December 3, 2011.

His words seem to take on even more significance with events south of the border. 

Global Chorus essay for November 2
James D’Silva

On my Yoga journey I have found myself constantly drawn to the teachings of compassion, charity and service to others, embodied in Mahatma Gandhi – my greatest hero.

Time after time I look to Bapuji, who inspired people to non-violent resistance. This slight man was above all a humanitarian who understood that with freedom comes responsibility – something we seem to have forgotten today.

In our search for individual identity we find ourselves choosing uncompromising acquisition, equating wealth with happiness.

The time has now come to ask ourselves whether this is the right choice. In the very first teaching on Yoga it is said,

There are two paths….
One leads outward and the other inward.
You can walk the way outward that leads to pleasure
Or the way inward that leads to grace …
Both of these paths lie before each person eternally.
It is the way of things.

     Katha Upanishad

Responsible change begins with each of us. Every individual needs to fInd time for introspection before we can make choices that will change us and everything around us. Unless we are ready to look to ourselves for change, we cannot expect change in others. Spending time in meditation, developing an asana practice and being of service allows us to see the universe as a whole and to develop our significant part in it. These practices do not take a lot of time out of our daily lives – and they bring only joy.

It is time to make change happen – change that like Gandhiji’s will echo through humanity and time. Like him we have to start living the change. Each of us, in our own small way, walking our own path, will make the difference.

May yours be an inspirational journey. May you find the joy of meditation – the world is yours to change.


     — James D’Silva, yoga instructor, DVD fitness instructor, Garuda Pilates Studio and Clinic

About James and his practice


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

November 1, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Tomorrow, Monday, November 2nd:

Reform City Planning Rally, 4PM, Charlottetown City Hall.
"Join us outside Monday, November 2nd, 4-4:30pm (RAIN OR SHINE) at Charlottetown City Hall (Queen St. entrance) as a show of solidarity in our community to voice our concern about the City Hall development planning and approval processes. We will be fully respecting COVID-19 regulations at this rally. 

Although we will be gathering outside City Hall Monday at 4 p.m., there will also be a meeting happening inside of the City's newly constituted Planning Committee. An important item on their agenda will be to reconsider the earlier approval of the Southview Estates 60-unit apartment building on Trainor Street. We are there to support Trainor Street area residents, but also to demonstrate our concerns about the 15 Haviland approval, the rushing through of Sherwood Crossing, and the questionable City's processes involving other developments in our community.

Let's keep Charlottetown, P.E.I. beautiful. Together."
Facebook event details
Stop Killam PEI website posting

Share the Citizens' Alliance interviews with the District 10 candidates who made time to record with us (Green Party's Chris van Ouwerkerk, NDP's Lynne Thiele, and PC's Zack Bell) -- the page has both the full 20minute interviews with each and some shorter selections with candidates' responses to a single question.

D10 Candidates Playlist on YouTube:

and an example, all three candidates answering one question on public consultation on large projects:
"What steps would you take to ensure that the public is meaningfully consulted every step of the process about privately funded projects and deals that will effect their lives?"

Huge thanks to freelance videographer Isaac Williams for filming and editing the videos.

The District 10 Byelection Voting Day is tomorrow, Monday, November 2nd.

It's surprising this isn't taken more seriously.  Anyone who has farm animals, pets or small children -- creatures who are trying to tell us something by not playing along with our messing with diurnal rhythms -- never gets to relish in the extra hour of sleep.

PAUL SCHNEIDEREIT: High time we stopped time-change circus - The Guardian article by Paul Schneidereit

Published on Thursday, October 29th, 2020, in Saltwire Publications

The big day is almost upon us.

Nope, not talking about the U.S. presidential election nor, on the same scary events theme, Halloween.

In between, and appropriately enough in dead of night, we’ll observe the annual tradition of shifting clocks back by an hour.

Some greet the twice-a-year change with open arms, others with dread. A lot of us see it as an unnecessary bother. Complaints about “springing forward” or “falling back” sprinkle many conversations each March and October.

In spring, we gain daylight after work, but at a cost — losing an hour’s sleep in the morning. In fall, we get that hour back, but commutes home — for those still commuting during the pandemic, anyway — are often in darkness.

Evidence for the supposed rationale for shifting the clocks, that it saves energy, is questioned by many scientists. Meanwhile, experts say forcing people to quickly adjust to a different schedule — in the case of DST, one considered misaligned with natural body rhythms — can have negative health effects, including raising risk of stroke, heart attacks and other ailments.

How’d we get into this time-shifting convention?

The advent of daylight savings time is often tied to the First World War. But some trace the concept back to the late 1700s, when Benjamin Franklin, posted in Paris, apparently ironically noted Parisians could save candles if they just got up earlier and didn’t stay up so late.

In 1895, George Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist, wrote a paper proposing two-hour time shifts every spring and fall — so he could catch more bugs for his collection.

In 1905, William Willett, an avid English golfer who didn’t appreciate dusk cutting short his link time, pushed a similar idea, except using one hour.

The First World War changed the calculus. Germany and Austria-Hungary, to conserve coal, brought in the first state daylight savings time plans in spring 1916. Britain and its allies, including Canada, followed suit.

The system has been rolled back a few times, but became firmly established in the West during the oil price shocks of the 1970s. 

Interestingly, daylight savings time seems a Western convention. According to Wikipedia, Africa and Asia largely don’t use it.

Nobody likes the need to shift back and forth. Why don’t we just drop the whole business and stick with one approach?

That could happen sooner than you think.

Governments are increasingly looking at staying with either standard time or daylight savings time (or, as they say in Europe, winter and summer time).  In March 2019, the European Parliament passed legislation calling on all member states to choose one way or the other by 2021 — March for countries going to permanent summer hours and October for those opting for permanent winter hours.

A number of U.S. states have already passed or are looking at legislation to do the same thing.  In Canada, Saskatchewan has been on standard time year-round for 60 years. Yukon moved to full-time daylight savings time this year. In Ontario, the government is supporting a private member’s bill to switch to full-time daylight savings time, although the change would be contingent on Quebec and New York also joining.

Haven’t heard of anything similar in Nova Scotia, at least not yet.

Which would you rather all year, standard or daylight savings time? I might opt for the former. Who wants it to be pitch black outside when it’s almost 9 a.m. on a winter’s morning?

Opportunity for a recent graduate:

Deadline: Thursday, November 5th, 2020
ClimateSense Internship:

"The ClimateSense Professional Internship Program is designed to build climate change adaptation capacity in recent post-secondary graduates as well as host organizations within the public and private sectors. Interns will complete an internship placement with a provincial government department, non-governmental organization, business, industry association, or other external organization. Interns will work with mentors within the host organization to complete a sector-specific adaptation project, and will also take part in the ClimateSense Training and Professional Development Program.

This internship involves placement with CreativePEI and their partner the River Clyde"

UPEI internship posting information

Operatics on-demand and on TV

John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, today until 6:30PM
Starring Teresa Stratas, Håkan Hagegård, Gino Quilico, Graham Clark, Marilyn Horne, and Renée Fleming. From January 10, 1992.  Three hours on the dot.  Figaro and Marie Antoinette.  Here is a better summary of the complex "Grand Opera Buffa" plot:

Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, tonight 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Rachelle Durkin, Richard Croft, Kim Josephson, and Alfred Walker, conducted by Dante Anzolini. From November 19, 2011. An opera about Ghandi, of course.

Rosemary Barton Live, 12noon, CBC TV
Rosemary Barton of CBC News hosts a new half-hour politics show

Shakespeare'sThe Merry Wives of Windsor, 2-4PM, CBC TV. 
Stratford Festival's recording

Global Chorus essay for November 1
Angela Sun

I am not a scientist or writer, nor am I anything special. I am just a sum of my experiences and I have been very lucky to be able to have had some extraordinary ones. One of the biggest life lessons I have learned was in creating my documentary Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s been an eight-year journey now to tell, through the lens of an independent voice, the tale of plastic pollution in our oceans and how it has and will continue to affect our lives. I tend to get asked why I keep continuing on this journey through all the hardships and strife of pre/post production, to maxing out credit cards/ financial worries, to sleepless nights organizing outreach and screenings and responding to emails, etc. I’ve seen many of my friends and colleagues and even interviewees in the film get married and start families while this project has been all-encompassing of my personal life, at times leaving me feeling utterly alone and lost.

But my overall hope comes from those special moments during post-screening panel discussions, Q&As and conferences where kids ask questions and demand answers in such an inquisitive and curious way, and with such an innocent twinkle in their eyes, that they give me great encouragement for a brighter future. Because it is our duty to protect that future of theirs. I have encountered so many passionate, excited, invigorated audiences who have restored my faith in humanity because they demand transparency and change. Ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things coming together for a common shared purpose to discuss, learn, innovate and implement ideas and solutions.

It will take legislation in a global context, producer responsibility (companies that create plastics), nurturing the scientific community toward ecofriendly innovations, and consumer responsibility for us to progress. On the smallest scale, could you imagine if each one of us refused disposable plastics and reused and consumed less?

It would be glorious.

     — Angela Sun, documentary filmmaker, television journalist, sportscaster, member of the Ocean Defender Advisory Board


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