CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

October 2019


  1. 1 October 31, 2019
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 Could a small Danish island help diffuse Canadian anger? - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
  2. 2 October 30, 2019
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 2.2 We pump too much water out of the ground—and that’s killing our rivers - National Georgraphic magazine online article by Alejandra Borunda
  3. 3 October 29, 2019
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 A landslide win for climate politics. Now beware its nemeses - The National Observer article by Chris Hatch
  4. 4 October 28, 2019
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 What Denmark’s zero-carbon Samso Island can teach P.E.I. about going green - The Guardian article by Michael Robar
  5. 5 October 27, 2019
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 Proportional representation is a political game-changer for Canada — could it happen? - The Guardian article by Andrea Gunn, Saltwire Network
  6. 6 October 26, 2019
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  7. 7 October 25, 2019
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 P.E.I. needs 'bold' action to meet emissions target, committee hears - CBC News online article by Kerry Campbell
  8. 8 October 24, 2019
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 Opinion: After a sad joke of a federal election, it’s time to make every vote count - The Globe and Mail article by Elizabeth Renzetti
    3. 8.3 Jody Wilson-Raybould going back to Ottawa as Independent MP in minority Parliament - CBC News online article by Chad Pawson
  9. 9 October 23, 2019
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 9.2 David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis Debrief Their Rescue Mission |- The Tyee aricle by Michael Harris
    3. 9.3 What a Liberal minority government means for Canada’s environment - The Narwhal article by Emma Gilchrist
  10. 10 October 22, 2019
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  11. 11 October 21, 2019
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 Caterpillar contemplation -The Telegram essay by Russell Wangersky
  12. 12 October 20, 2019
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  13. 13 October 19, 2019
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 13.2 Charlottetown council does about-face on beehive limits - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart
  14. 14 October 18, 2019
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  15. 15 October 17, 2019
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 Does environmental activist Greta Thunberg need to learn a lesson about Alberta? Or is it the other way around? - iPolitics Opinion Piece by Graham Thompson
  16. 16 October 16, 2019
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  17. 17 October 15, 2019
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 17.2 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer - The Indian Express article by the Express Web Desk
  18. 18 October 14, 2019
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  19. 19 October 13, 2019
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 Retrofitting busy highways to let wildlife travel safely, too - The Washington Post article by Jennifer Oldham
  20. 20 October 12, 2019
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 Why Didn't Greta Thunberg Win the Noble Peace Prize? - The Washington Post article by Karla Adam
  21. 21 October 11, 2019
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 Minister not considering extension to comment period on Northern Pulp report - CBC News online article by Matthew Gorman
  22. 22 October 10, 2019
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 Only rebellion will prevent an ecological apocalypse - The Guardian (UK) column by George Monbiot
  23. 23 October 9, 2019
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 Local protest left the right impression - The Guardian main editorial
  24. 24 October 8, 2019
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 24.2 ENGAGING YOUTH IN THE ERA OF CLIMATE CHANGE - From Phil Ferraro and Virginia McGowan
  25. 25 October 7, 2019
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 25.2 More about the Official Federal Debates, from Global News:
  26. 26 October 6, 2019
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  27. 27 October 5, 2019
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 27.2 Let’s stop diminishing women in our political debates… - Peter Rukavina blog post
    3. 27.3 Are we risking more with rural internet Hail Mary? - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill
  28. 28 October 4, 2019
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  29. 29 October 3, 2019
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  30. 30 October 2, 2019
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 30.2 'We can't eat money, or drink oil': Indigenous teen Autumn Peltier tells United Nations - National Observer article by The Canadian Press
    3. 30.3 ATLANTIC SKIES: Planets and comets occupy October's skies - The Telegram column by Glenn K. Roberts
  31. 31 October 1, 2019
    1. 31.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 31.2 Sting operation: Charlottetown police, council move to prevent beehives ending up in residential areas - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart

October 31, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Special Legislative Committee on Climate Change, 10AM, Coles Building. Attend in person, or Watch Live, here
Topic: Carbon Pricing

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on carbon pricing by Dale Beugin, Executive Director of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission. Please note: Mr. Beugin will appear via Skype.
More about Ecofiscal Commission, below

Special Legislative Committee on Poverty in PEI meeting, 2-4PM, Coles Building. Attend in person, or Watch Live, here.
The committee will receive a briefing from the Poverty Reduction Council (Deborah Bradley, Assistant Deputy Minister of Social Development and Housing and Co-chair of the Poverty Reduction Council; and Andrea MacDonald, Co-Chair of the Poverty Reduction Council and Executive Director of United Way PEI).

Tomorrow, Friday, November 1st:
Symons Lecture, 12:30PM.

The Symons Medal is one of Canada’s most prestigious honours and recognizes an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to Canadian life. Awarded each fall, the Symons Medal Ceremony creates a national platform for a prominent Canadian to discuss the State of Canadian Confederation in the context of their life’s work and contribution.

Senator Murray Sinclair served the justice system in Manitoba for over 25 years. He was the second Indigenous Judge to be appointed in Canada and the first Indigenous Judge in Manitoba. (He also)...served as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba and as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

The tickets have been given away (I completely missed that), but it will be lived-streamed on the Centre's YouTube channel.
Background: Canada's Ecofiscal Commission

"Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission was formed by a group of experienced, policy-minded economists from across the country, seeking to broaden the discussion of ecofiscal policy reform beyond the academic sphere and into the realm of practical policy application. The Ecofiscal Commission and its Commissioners are fully independent and aim to inform the public and policy-makers across the political spectrum, at all levels of government.

We are supported by an Advisory Board with broad and diverse perspectives representing industry, the environment and the spectrum of political thought in Canada. Together, we aim to bring people together around the table to have the critical discussion about ecofiscal reform that Canada’s future requires."

Much more at the website:
by going to the choices along the top bar
Federal Election commentary, with P.E.I. in mind

Could a small Danish island help diffuse Canadian anger? - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, October 30th, 2019, in The Graphic publications

The Danish island of Samso, population 3,724, was never mentioned as television hosts and analysts tried to digest what Canada’s new minority government will mean. Why would it? How could a remote, cold, 114 square kilometre island in the Kattegat Sea possibly be relevant to a Canadian election.

Bear with me.

What is abundantly clear after the October 21st vote is that Canadians are split. Western alienation is very real. Conservatives swept all but one seat – captured by the NDP - in Alberta and Saskatchewan with massive majorities in large part because these provinces feel hard done by - with justification - from the rest of Canada.

They are angry. And it’s not just politicians like Premier Jason Kenny, who is expert at using wedge issues to fuel anger. Nope. It’s ordinary folks who look at the rest of us and say ‘Something’s wrong with this picture.’ While the national economy has purred along, the oil and gas industry has struggled and our federal government has done little to improve the situation and provincial governments create obstacles.

The future may not be oil. But the transition is. We cannot snap our fingers and magically change reality. Even if we decide today to swap every oil and gas job for renewable energy jobs it will not happen overnight. Or years. Or perhaps even decades. It must be incremental.

Change comes with a cost in real dollars, societal impacts and governance. It takes vision and an ability to hear and respond to those with opposing views. It takes leadership. We are missing that. The left yells at the right with holier-than-thou disdain. The right yells at the left with how can you be so dumb arrogance. The mushy middle is left frustrated with a political class that plays to the base, regardless of political leaning.

PEI’s economy is dynamically linked to oil and gas, hundreds of Islanders work there, but live here. Island companies supply the industry. As a nation we cannot simply toss Alberta and Saskatchewan’s economy in the dumpster. It’s neither good economics nor public policy.

It is, however, possible to support the oil and gas industry while adopting smart policy to bridge our economy to a green future, a future we can’t afford to get to without oil and gas revenues.

Smart public policy is helping Canadian oil and gas get to market while leading the world in transit to a greener future.

Anyone who says differently is dreaming.

And this brings us back to Samso. Earlier this fall a PC, Green and Liberal MLA (sounds like bad joke, but it’s not), visited Samso, a Danish island, and Germany on a five day fact-finding mission.

Minister of Transportation and Energy Steven Myers, Green MLA Lynn Lund and Liberal Rob Henderson wanted to see how Samso went from dependence on imported oil and coal-fired electricity to being carbon neutral in a decade. And how in the second decade of this transformation, which began in 1997, it produces more energy from wind and biomass than it needs, while building community buy-in and support.

Can the Samso model be transferred to PEI? Can our province become an incubator of ideas and solutions for communities across Canada?


PEI does not have oil, gas or coal. We are a world leader in wind energy, and have a long established waste to energy system providing heat for 125 downtown Charlottetown buildings while also generating 1200 kW of electricity. Because we are an Island we see the impact of climate change every day.

Unfortunately our system is overly bureaucratic and top driven. The PEI Energy Corporation was created to generate revenue for the provincial government not build community capacity. The Climate Change Secretariat is not a grassroots champion of change. Just last week it said to meet our carbon reduction targets will require a massive shift to electric vehicles because transportation is a major driver of pollution.

True. But it’s a narrow view of how to get to where we need to go.

There is real interest in the King government for a Samso approach. Reducing or eliminating dependence on fossil fuels would create massive benefit and opportunity. For instance, building straw based biofuel capacity could change our agricultural dependence on potatoes and soybeans, both hard on the soil, by creating a ready market to sell to.

To date the plan has not passed the discussion stage and there are many challenges to overcome. Maritime Electric would be impacted by creation of community owned and operated wind, solar or biofuel developments. The investment model needs to be flipped from an arm of government financing the construction and ownership of energy developments to supporting community projects where individuals share ownership and profit. We must fight bureaucratic inertia.

The lesson of Samso is that government does not need to take the lead but rather support local decision-making. Samso literally started with a single employee who knocked on doors and convinced his neighbours of the need and opportunity. We’ve tried the one-size-fits-all approach to some success. But it is a model with limited upside for Island communities.

The second lesson of Samso is it can be done, but it is not a quick fix.

Some will see any support for oil and gas as a cop-out. The opposite is true if both sides show pragmatic leadership. Samso is succeeding because of the commitment, time and respect individuals have shown.

There is an opportunity in this new era of a federal minority to put climate change front and centre. Done properly it need not be an us or them proposition. It can be respectful and effective without destroying our economy. It can be an exercise in expedited, incremental transformation and community building that the whole country can benefit from.

It can put PEI at the top of the curve.

And if we do that, we just might be rewarded with some much needed nation building as well.

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


"The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."
--- Eden Phillpots (1862-1960), British writer

October 30, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

If it is Wednesday, it must be the hard-working
Public Accounts Committee, 9AM, Coles Building.
Topic: 2015 recommendations on out-of-province health services

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on implementation of the Auditor General’s 2015 recommendations on Out-of-Province Health Services (PDF) from Denise Lewis Fleming, CEO of Health PEI.
Watch Live link from the Legislative Assembly website

Final Water Act public consultation/workshop on the latest regulations, 6-8PM, Charlottetown Rural High School.

The "workshop" format will allow participants to learn more about specific areas of the regulations on water extraction, which is what this set of regulations is about, and to give opinions on the regulations.
If you can attend, please do, as it shows the department there is interest in the issue.
Of course there is interest in this issue, and has been for the years since it came out in 2013 that the Irvings had hired a lobby group to meet with all MLAs to persuade them to lift the moratorium on high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation. The Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water formed at this point, and pushed for a continuation of the moratorium and the creation of a comprehensive, conservation-minded and human rights-oriented Water Act.

(The Water Act has many good aspects, but it doesn't really shine as legislation protecting, promoting, supporting water and ecosystems; it is more of a patchwork quilt stringing together the various water-related legislation, rather than a complex, rich tapestry.)

Islanders have been interested and gone to countless meetings on water protection, the formation of a water act, banning fracking, banning bottled water exportation, etc. So interest in protecting water and government's attempts to do that is there, but it is understandable that attending supper-hour meetings tucked in between a federal election and Halloween is challenging.

Public comments will be gathered until Friday, November 8th, 2019, and (identifying information removed) shared on the website.

Water Act info government page:

Extra Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change website, "On the Level", a campaign to dispel "myths" about the amount of groundwater we have:

Article from National Geographic:
consider spending four minutes reading this (vivid photos at the link):

We pump too much water out of the ground—and that’s killing our rivers - National Georgraphic magazine online article by Alejandra Borunda

By 2050, thousands of rivers and streams worldwide could pass a critical ecological threshold, new research shows

Published on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019, in National Geographic magazine online

There’s more fresh water hidden below Earth’s surface in underground aquifers than any other source besides the ice sheets. That groundwater plays a critical role for rivers worldwide, from the San Pedro to the Ganges, keeping them running even when droughts bring their waters low.

But in recent decades humans have pumped trillions of gallons out of those underground reservoirs. The result, says research published Wednesday in Nature, is a “slow desiccation” of thousands of river ecosystems worldwide. Already, somewhere between 15 and 21 percent of watersheds that experience groundwater extraction have slipped past a critical ecological threshold, the authors say—and by 2050, that number could skyrocket to somewhere between 40 and 79 percent.

That means hundreds of rivers and streams around the world would become so water-stressed that their flora and fauna would hit a danger point, says Inge de Graaf, the lead author of the study and a hydrologist at the University of Freiburg.

“We can really consider this ecological effect like a ticking time bomb,” she says. “If we pump the groundwater now, we don’t see the impacts until like 10 years further or even longer. So what we do right now will impact our environment for many years to come.”

Groundwater holds up modern life

The last undammed river in the U.S. Southwest, the San Pedro of southwestern Arizona, used to gush and roil. Birds chirped and splashed on its banks when they stopped by on their migrations. Rare fish swam in its pools.

But in the 1940s, wells started to pop up in the nearby area, sucking clean, cool water out of the region’s underground aquifers.

It turned out that a good portion of the water that flowed through the river came not from rain and upstream snowmelt, but from those underground sources. The more water that got pumped out of the aquifers, the less flowed into the river—and the wetlands, cottonwood stands, fauna, and rushing waters of the San Pedro all suffered.

Groundwater is the hidden scaffold propping up much of modern life. Globally, about 40 percent of the food we grow is watered with liquid extracted from below Earth’s surface.

But many of the aquifers from which this water is extracted took hundreds, or even tens of thousands of years to fill: The water inside may have percolated through cracks in the earth when giant ice sheets last covered New York City 20 thousand years ago.

Much of that water is being removed much faster than it can be replenished. That has enormous potential consequences for people who want to drink water grow and crops in areas that don’t get enough rain. But far before those impacts emerge, the effects will—and in fact already have—hit rivers, streams, and the habitats around them.

“Think of an aquifer like a bathtub full of water and sand,” explains Eloise Kendy, a freshwater scientist at the Nature Conservancy. Then, imagine running your finger lightly through the top of the sand, creating a little trail. That little trail fills up with water that percolates through the sand into the “stream.”

“If you pump out just a little bit of water out of the bathtub, that stream is going to dry out, even though there’s plenty of water still left in the bathtub,” she says. "But as far as healthy rivers go, you’ve destroyed it. But because rivers don’t scream and shout, we don’t necessarily know that they’re in trouble.”

Water is life, until it’s gone

In the new research, the team took a global look at where groundwater is already being extracted at such a rate that it has caused water levels to drop so much in rivers and streams that they cross a critical environmental threshold: when water levels drop to less than 90 percent of the average flow during the dry season, the time when groundwater matters the most to river flow. Passing that threshold for more than three months of the year, for at least two years in a row, endangers the flora and fauna of freshwater systems, says Brian Richter, a water expert and scientist at Sustainable Waters.

“There can be just a very small depletion of water at those sensitive times, but ecologically it’s meaningful,” he says.

Freshwater species, like ones that depend on healthy rivers and streams, are some of the most endangered in the world.

In the new analysis, de Graaf and her colleagues found that 15 to 21 percent of watersheds that pump groundwater are already past this threshold (about half of all watersheds worldwide are pumped). As climate change exacerbates droughts in many parts of the world, the stresses on groundwater—and by extension, on rivers and streams—is likely to get much, much worse, they say.

Their predictions might be conservative. As a baseline, they used the global water demand in 2010 and spun their climate model forward to see how stresses on groundwater systems might develop. But as populations swell and the demand for food rises, those stresses could increase for reasons other than climate change, speeding along the extraction from underground water sources.

But the effects of overpumping groundwater take years, if not decades, to become visible. Changes in rain have immediate, obvious effects on river flow, explains Gretchen Miller, a hydrologist and engineer at Texas A&M University: When it pours, rivers often rage. But groundwater is hidden: changes take much longer to come to light, and don’t always manifest in the place where the pumping occurs. That makes aquifer management issues extra challenging, and only a small fraction of watersheds have plans in place to address the looming problems.

In the meantime, rivers and streams are the “canary in the coal mine,” says Richter. “They’re the signal that says we’re using water in an unsustainable fashion, we need to take a hard look at what we’re doing.”

Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water website page with initial comments about this set of regulations:
"Happiness, knowledge,
not in another place,
But this place --
Not for another hour,
But for this hour."
--- Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

October 29, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Land and Water, today

Standing Committee meetings:
Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM
, Coles Building.
Topic: Land transactions under the Lands Protection Act
"The committee will meet to receive a briefing on the provisions of the Lands Protection Act (PDF) governing land transactions from J. Scott MacKenzie, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission."

Education and Economic Growth Committee, 2PM, Coles Building
Topic: Regulations under the Post-secondary Institutions Sexual Violence Policies Act
The committee will meet to receive a briefing on regulations under the Post-secondary Institutions Sexual Violence Policies Act

Previously scheduled briefings on the School Food Program and the process of re-establishing elected school boards/school governance will be rescheduled to a later date.

You can attend in the Gallery or watch on-line, here:

6-8PM, Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner, only meeting east of Charlottetown (tomorrow's is Charlottetown)

The Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change want to hear the public''s thoughts on the water extraction-related regulations related to the Water Act. These are in draft form and can be changed before being acclaimed.
This is a bit breezy and blue in language, but unapologetic and full of foresight on our future.
Opinion Piece:

A landslide win for climate politics. Now beware its nemeses - The National Observer article by Chris Hatch

Published in The National Observer on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Climate was on no one’s ballot yesterday but won in a landslide.

Seventy per cent of Canadians voted for parties pledging to up Canada’s fight for a safe future. The Conservatives, campaigning as pimps for Canada’s Petroleum Producers, were held to 34 per cent of the popular vote. In the world of realpolitik, the final result was probably the best available outcome – the Liberals will govern by keeping the support of parties that want even more ambition. The climate action caucus within the Liberal party is significantly stronger, now including the formidable founder of Equiterre, Steven Guilbeault.

We now have something like the current situation in British Columbia where a climate-forward NDP is being pushed by the BC Greens. It is definitely not yet a politics proportionate to the crisis but that was always going to be the job of civil society — the politicians will fall in line as we amp up the pressure from the public square.

Even more important, Canadians broke the long-standing curse that climate concern may be broadly held but is shallowly felt.

In that sense, it was a sea change in national electoral politics. Climate was salient like never before and was, for the first time, a vote determining issue for large segments of the population. Fossil fuel extraction and climate plans were everywhere on the campaign trail and dominant in the leaders’ debates. The student climate strikes, the extinction rebels and the tens of thousands of regular Canadians who joined them, drove climate to the top of the agenda and kept it there.

It now seems probable that no party can hope to govern Canada if it does not promise voters a serious climate agenda.
But the country is now badly balkanized and the campaign was bitter, nasty and brutal. Big Oil emerged from its shadowy role bankrolling merchants of doubt and unleashed its dogs of war against our children.

The fossils assembled their coalition under the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, occupied the Conservative Party of Canada and unleashed a barrage of psyops and ground warfare against climate action in Canada.

The carbon barons found an eager field commander in Andrew Scheer who led a campaign of unabashed extraction populism. A campaign bursting with outright lies about climate policy and propaganda crafted to inflame the fears of Canadians worried about their jobs, their ability to make ends meet and fundamental economic security for their families.

The fossils took to the field with a promising front piece: a rosy-cheeked, soccer Dad of a leader, well-suited to mollify Canadians that might otherwise have been repulsed by the take-no-prisoners tactics of the Petroleum Producers.

We can count ourselves lucky that Andrew Scheer devolved into an inauthentic persona, leading a lacklustre campaign whose pocketbook promises clashed increasingly jarringly with his rabid attacks on fellow leaders and on the great majority of Canadians who really, really would like to keep our little rock inhabitable.

We can allow ourselves a moment of relief that Canada has, at long last, an actual set of climate policy mechanisms in place that have been battle-tested and prevailed. We can now focus politically on turning those policy knobs up to the levels required. We are not going back to years of unbridled extraction populism and climate pollution.

But we cannot allow ourselves to rest for long. And we cannot allow ourselves the indulgence of avoiding the hard analysis necessary to keep driving forward. As in so many things, success can contain the ingredients of its own demise.

The twin nemeses

We have got to be self-reflective at an important moment like this, and we should beware the twin nemeses of victory — factionalism and triumphalism.

Let’s start with the obvious: the broad public agreement on climate is fractured between four political parties. The zealous partisans for each are so-often blinded by tribal allegiance that they cannot see what seems obvious to the rest of us: that each of them, once burdened with the responsibilities of power, would crushingly disappoint its true believers (Need I point to the massive, carbon-spewing LNG plans and fracking industry in B.C. whose lead cheerleader is the province’s New Democrat government?).

Some of you may not even remember the last time we saw this movie in the national theatre. After many years of dithering, Canada had a climate plan actually worthy of the name. Real dollars for Reconciliation were finally in play as well. And then?

Progressives jockeying for power pulled the plug on a Liberal minority parliament. Canada spent an entire decade with Stephen Harper at the helm.

We can’t allow the parties’ activists and operators to go on placing politics above planet.

The dangers of triumphalism are equally stark.

For starters, the oil barons are not likely to take this well. ‘Thousands upon thousands’ are in apoplectic rage. Many more of our fellow Canadians are desperately worried about their livelihoods, their mortgages, their families. Our goal cannot be a pitched battle with the dead-enders like Kenney and Ford.

We have got to make every effort to ensure that as many as possible of our colleagues and family members do not see their only option to be the cauldron of nihilism that the Petroleum Producers will — if the recent past is any guide — be fuelling even hotter.

Surely we do not want to end up in an endless battle with extraction populism — each election a pendulum swinging like a wrecking ball through climate action (Hello, Australia). Our next big structural objective for politics should be to strive for a relative bipartisan consensus on efficient, speedy carbon reductions much like the United Kingdom.

The U.K. — that origin point for coal-powered, black lung industrialization — has reduced carbon emissions by more than 40 per centin the past few years, despite oil and gas operations in the North Sea and the consequent regional politics. Most has come under Conservative governments. One of Theresa May’s last acts, even in the midst of utter Brexit bedlam, was to commit the U.K. to zero carbon by 2050. Her predecessor as Conservative leader campaigned under the slogan “Vote Blue, Go Green.”

There are still vehement public climate deniers in the UK, of course. But they are marginalized from mainstream society. Some are recognized as eccentric and relatively harmless kooks, the more dangerous ones are ostracized for being threats to the country’s children.

A path with heart

(Yes, I know I cribbed that phrase…. I don’t think Kornfield would object)

One key lesson from the U.K. is that we need to raise the chorus demanding deeper, faster action and simultaneously convince sensible, normal people that the policies needed are completely reasonable.

We don’t have to win over every raging Rex Murphy. We probably can’t. And we don’t need to. What we can do is convince your libertarian brother-in-law that his identity is not at risk. We can address your aunt’s anxieties about the price of the gas and her ability to get to work.

This may require some humility on the part of climate activists. Understand that when we lead into the conversation with your brother-in-law by calling for the abolishment of “capitalism,” he quite understandably hears “we are going to abolish the right to private property and entrepreneurship.” We might have more success highlighting the grave injuries giant fossil corporations are causing to the sacred rights to life and property.

In a similar way, we can help your aunt picture life in countries around the word where people are getting to work just fine and carbon-spewing cars are exiting the picture. She is much less likely to be moved by lectures on the finer points of carbon pricing. I have a dear friend (a brilliant public opinion analyst) who frequently exhorts climate activists to ‘stop talking about the pot — talk about the chicken.’

Hard work ahead

The work ahead is hard. By mid-century we have to finish the job of eliminating carbon emissions. That may sound like a long way off. But it is now just 30 years away and we have wasted a lot of time increasing the size of the challenge. Coal must go yesterday. Oil and gas have to be replaced by electricity generated from clean energies. There are thousands of our fellow Canadians now employed in those fossil industries.

Hard as it is, we must be honest with people: there is no “both, and” for climate safety — the atmosphere does not care how much clean energy we build, it cares only that we eliminate fossil fuel emissions.

Alberta has options — those vast carbon reserves could make the province a global hydrogen powerhouse. But that’s an infinitely easier transition for technocrats to initiate from a legislature than it is for oil workers to hurdle — retraining in midlife for a job that, maybe will exist, maybe in a different town, all with bills raining down every month.

So as we drive the ball forward, let’s make every effort to do so with open hearts, empathy for those that have different worldviews to the typical climate activist, and insisting on real, tangible support for our neighbours who are being asked to make painful, life-transforming sacrifices.


"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder."
--- E.B. White (1899-1985)

October 28, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


"Bike Friendly" Launch, 7-9PM, Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street, Charlottetown.
"Come on out and see what Bike Friendly Charlottetown is all about!If you are a cyclist or a would-be cyclist, or just want to see more people biking in Charlottetown, then this is the spot for you.
Find out about our plan to get more people cycling, the high-stakes results of our online survey (for all you pie chart lovers out there), and how you can help us make Josh (Underhay)'s vision for an interconnected cycling network in Charlottetown a reality."
Facebook event link

Tomorrow and Wednesday:
Water Act regulations public meetings ("workshops") (meetings 3 and 4 of the four scheduled)
Tuesday, October 29th,
Pooles Corner, Kaylee Hall
Wednesday, October 30th,
, Charlottetown Rural High School
more tomorrow about the regulations and why people should be paying attention, attend one of these remaining meetings, and submit some comments.
Article: The keynote speaker from Samso at the Sustainable Future Conference Saturday:

What Denmark’s zero-carbon Samso Island can teach P.E.I. about going green - The Guardian article by Michael Robar

Published in The Guardian, Monday, October 28th, 2019:


In 1998, Søren Hermansen had his hands full. The small Danish island of Samso, where he was born, was chosen as a testing ground for green energy.

The first goal? Make the island completely self-sufficient in renewable energy within 10 years.

The little island exceeded their targets by fostering a sense of community through open discussions and shared ownership along with a focus on local.

This is what Hermansen told a large crowd of around 170 people on Saturday, during his keynote address at the Sustainable Future Conference in Charlottetown.

“It’s all about community. Engaging community and community power or community ownership. The feeling of ownership, real ownership is crucial for success," he said.

The free conference was one of the UN’s LCOYs (Local Conference of Youth), which are meant to bring young people together to focus on climate action.

The only one of its kind in Canada, it was organized by the P.E.I. chapter of Engineers Without Borders and featured talks in the morning followed by workshops in the afternoon.

Samso is a small island in the middle of Denmark known for its potatoes. Its green journey started with investment, but where many projects rely on government funding—which can be diverted or taken away as new parties come into power—Samso relied on community.

Hermansen was able to rally interest to raise $40 million CAD between municipal governments and residents to start things off, he said. “If you create a common sense of ownership, the road is open for development," said Hermansen.

As smaller projects were completed, people started to trust and became more willing to change, but it was slow. Part of the trust that was built, was recognizing the many smaller communities within the larger whole and finding the best ways to listen to those communities.

This way, they felt like they contributed and not just been dictated to, he said. “When we unite people like this, it becomes a collective movement and we create a feeling of ‘we,’ instead of ‘us’ and ‘them'," said Hermansen.

The other part was understanding how people are motivated. “It’s not the threat of the arctic or the polar bears and the other things. I mean, how many people wake up in the morning and think ‘how can I save a polar bear today?’ Probably not very many, but people do wake up and wonder how they might help their community."

For Hermansen, it’s important to bring practical, applicable solutions to people and show them the personal benefit, as well as keeping things in perspective. “We cannot keep on talking about the global perspective and all the things that are political or strategic, without boiling it down to something that makes sense here, where we can actively see ourselves in it and see what kind of action it takes to make change," he said.

Apologies for the typing error, which garbled yesterday's quote, and thanks to citizen proofreaders :-) It should have been:

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."
---Joseph Chilton Pearce (1926-2016),

October 27, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Bonshaw Ceilidh, 2-4PM, corner of TCH and Green Road, admission by donation, proceeds going to the Mackillop Centre for Social Justice.

"The Centre works on developing a poverty reduction strategy for PEI which addresses the root causes of poverty, based on province-wide consultations with low-income and other citizens. The strategy is based on a democratic process, respect for cultural diversity and aims to build a green and sustainable economy." Mary Boyd is the director. from:

"Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: It is Time to Listen", 28th Annual Daniel O'Hanley Memorial Lecture, by Qajaq Robinson, 2-4:30PM, Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Hall, 151 Stratford Road, Stratford PEI.
"This year's presenter is Qajaq Robinson, an Innuit lawyer, former Crown prosecutor in Nunavut, and commissioner on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Entertainment and refreshments will follow the lecture. All are welcome"
Facebook event link
Even though the deadline was listed as Friday, October 25th, I am hopeful that the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly will allow anything written before the start of the week Monday morning to be accepted. (That's how social and environmental activist Tony Reddin usually defines a Friday deadline, so I am sticking to that interpretation.)

There are all sorts of areas Islanders can comment on: Do you want to see evening sessions remain? MLAs to have three sittings instead of two per year? What about having an afternoon short break when interviews could be done, so MLAs and Cabinet Ministers don't miss proceedings while trying to elaborate on announcements to the media? What about (non-media persons) taking photos inside the Gallery during proceedings?

Send to <>


Public Input

The Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges is seeking your input on the Rules of the Legislative Assembly, in particular on potential changes to:
Rule 3: Parliamentary Calendar
Rule 4: Times and Days of Sitting (particularly the sitting hours), and
the budget process.

Send to <> before Monday morning.
There are interactive graphics that show the seat numbers for each province in Atlantic Canada and Parliament as a whole on the website link.

Proportional representation is a political game-changer for Canada — could it happen? - The Guardian article by Andrea Gunn, Saltwire Network

Published on Saturday, October 26th, 2019

Here's what the election results might have looked like if 2015 really had been the last election under "first past the post"

Fourteen Liberals, nine Conservatives, five New Democrats, and four Greens — that’s what Atlantic Canada’s political landscape would have looked like Tuesday under a proportional representation system.

Instead, Monday’s federal election saw the region end up with 26 Liberals, four Conservatives, one New Democrat, and one Green.

Across Canada, proportional representation would have resulted in 116 Liberals, 117 Conservatives, 57 NDP, 22 Greens, and 26 Bloc Québécois, rather than 156, 122, 24, 3, and 32, respectively.

With the support of just one-third of Canadian voters, the Liberals now form a minority government.

This is the reality of a first-past-the-post system, one which many people argue Canada has outgrown.expa

Wilfred Day is an electoral reform analyst with Fair Vote Canada, a group that advocates for electoral reform. Under the first-past-the-post system, he says, millions of ballots are nullified. “A party can get 39 per cent of the votes and 60 per cent of the seats and 100 per cent of the power,” he said.

That’s happened twice in recent years. The first was in 2011 under Stephen Harper. “In response to that, a whole lot of people said ... ‘Wait a minute. How is that democratic? We should have a system where every vote counts.’”

That would end up being a cornerstone of the Liberals’ campaign four years ago — that the 2015 election would be the last under what leader Justin Trudeau described as a dated and unfair system.

This played in very well with the 2015 campaign narrative of ousting Harper and “strategic voting." Many Canadians opted to vote for the party with the best chance of defeating the Conservative in their riding.

That election night, history repeated itself when Canadians gave Trudeau’s Liberals 39 per cent of the vote — some of that support undoubtedly based on his promise of electoral reform. In turn, first-past-the-post gave the Liberals a majority government.

Just over a year later, the Grits backed away from the reform promise, citing a lack of support from Canadians. It’s a decision that continues to raise the ire of critics.

When they were still floating the idea of electoral reform, the Liberals favoured a ranked-ballot system.

The NDP and Green parties were — and continue to be — in favour of mixed-member proportional representation, as do many other proponents of electoral reform.

Many argue the benefit of first-past-the-post is fewer minority governments, which can often be slower and less effective in enacting change.

It’s also argued that in a multi-party system, fringe parties would get too many seats under proportional representation.

However, Day points out most countries with proportional representation have a threshold — somewhere between two and five per cent — that a party has to reach in order to be part of the government.

For those who like proportional representation, the proof is in the numbers. In Monday’s election, 16 per cent of Canadians voted for the NDP, yet they received only seven per cent of the House of Commons’ 338 seats.

The Green Party received 6.5 per cent of the vote. However, instead of getting 22 seats, the party ended up with only three.

This, of course, rubs Green Party deputy leader and Halifax candidate Jo-Ann Roberts the wrong way.

“I think it is time to say, ‘OK, can we adjust this so it better reflects the maturing of a country?’” Roberts says.

For many years, Roberts notes, Canada was a multi-party democracy in name only, with power lobbed between the Liberals and the Conservatives. That’s slowly changing, she points out, as other parties begin to garner more of the popular vote.

“We're not in a system that is equipped to handle it,” she says.

Time for a change?

Of course, Day notes, it’s no surprise the two major parties stand to gain most from the status quo.

But with the Liberals in a minority situation and widespread support for electoral reform from the NDP and Greens, Day wonders if the time for change has come.

Moreover, the Coalition Avenir Quebec moved to hold a referendum on proportional representation in that province’s legislature last month.

If Quebec votes in favour of electoral reform — and the Bloc supports the provincial decision — that could equate to another 32 MPs in favour of proportional representation federally. (As a side note, referendums on proportional representation have been defeated in B.C., Ontario and, most recently, P.E.I.).

But even with support from the Bloc, NDP and Greens, there would need to be a significant defection from party lines among Liberal and/or Conservative MPs, or a change in position from the Liberals.

That might not be entirely out of the question. In 2014, half of the Liberal caucus voted in favour of an NDP motion on proportional representation.

Wayne Long is Liberal MP-elect for the New Brunswick riding of Saint John-Rothesay. He regrets not being more outspoken when his party backed off its promise of electoral reform. He has no doubt there are other Liberals who would like to revisit the conversation.

Long believes electoral reform is the key to increasing voter turnout — especially among young, progressive voters — as well as fighting the rise of populism and extremism.
“I can’t tell you the amount of youth I’ve talked to who say, ‘We're not going to vote because it doesn’t count, because it swings back between the Liberals and the Conservatives.’ And that concerns me greatly,” Long said.

As for whether or not a mixed-member proportional representation system would benefit Atlantic Canada specifically, experts say it depends.

Cape Breton University political science professor Tom Urbaniak says for Atlantic Canada to be well-served by a change in the electoral system, it would need to retain the current 32 geographical seats. Many mixed-member models half the number of geographical seats by doubling the size of the ridings, and make up the other seats with proportionally allocated MPs.
“Local representation and access to our local MP are very important to many Atlantic Canadians because of our distinctive and disparate communities,” he says.

Urbaniak adds that proportionally allocated seats from party lists would have to be structured in such a way as to ensure a number of those seats is set aside specifically for Atlantic Canada.

“This would ensure that our part of the country doesn’t lose its already precarious clout in Parliament,” he said.

St. Thomas University sociology professor Matthew Hayes said one benefit of electoral reform for Atlantic Canadians is party policy that is more reflective of the entire county.
“The Conservative party in its current form — in part because of our electoral system — is not electable. Their vision of the country only appeals to people in Alberta and Saskatchewan and has very little appeal in Eastern Canada, apart from rural areas,” he says.

“(Under proportional representation), they'd have to work with other parties in minority parliaments and that would require probably compromising on things like climate change and pipelines.”

For St. Francis Xavier University political science professor Jim Bickerton, the benefits of proportional representation for the East Coast are obvious.

“There are many Atlantic Canadians who are deprived of their preferred political representation by our system,” he says. “Even when the Liberals swept the region in 2015, that still left 40 per cent of Atlantic Canadians who voted for candidates from other parties that were left out in the cold,” he said.

“People in this region are more diverse than can be represented by one party, and on those grounds alone, I believe there are many Atlantic Canadians that aren’t well-served by the current system.”


Apologies for repeated misspellings of Samso Island in yesterday's Citizens' Alliance News. It was not being creative, just sloppy. -- CO
"To live a creative life, we must lost our fear of being wrong."
---Joseph Chilton Pearce (1926-2016), human and child development author

October 26, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Cardigan's Farmers' Market is undeniable and reliably closed for the season

Also Today:
Sustainability Future Conference, 9:30-4:30PM, UPEI Student Centre (McMillan Hall), UPEI.
All welcome for speakers in the morning
or the whole day (the afternoon session is more youth focused, though).

Morning: Keynote presentation by Søren Hermansen, how he helped make Samso Island 100% Renewable, 9:30AM, UPEI Student Union.
"The Engineers Without Borders UPEI chapter is hosting a Sustainable Future Conference, which is the first Canadian Official United Nations Local Conference of Youth (LCOY)... The objective of this conference is to encourage action towards achieving a sustainable future by empowering university students and youth with knowledge from leading sustainability experts and an activity focused on tackling real-world sustainability problems through policy. The outcomes of this conference will be presented at the Global Conference Of Youth from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Chile.

The conference is divided into two free sessions:

- The morning session is open to all public and is where our keynote speaker Søren Hermansen will speak about how he helped make Samson Island 100% Renewable by creating community movement that made the Samso Island one of the greatest sustainable community examples of the world.

- After lunch, the afternoon session which is for youth that want to take action and create solutions to the sustainability problems we are facing, through a Climate Policy Hackathon event. Participants will be divided in groups of six and will work in solutions for real climate change related problems.

The four areas of sustainability that will be covered at the conference by our keynote speakers are:

Environmental (Technology & Policy) - Søren Hermansen
Social (Advocacy & Activism) - Laura Berry
Economic (Financial & Investments) - Justin Kakeu
Global Community (Social Justice) - Geneva Calder

Here is some background on Soren and Samos Island:
Tomorrow, Sunday, October 27th:
"It is Time to Listen" by Qajaq Robinson, Annual Daniel O'Hanley Memorial Lecture, 2-4PM, Our Lady of Assumption Church Hall, 151 Stratford Road, Stratford

"The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP) is presenting the 28th annual Daniel O’Hanley Memorial Lecture, titled Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: It is Time to Listen... This year's presenter is Qajaq Robinson, an Innuit lawyer, former Crown prosecutor in Nunavut, and commissioner on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Entertainment and refreshments will follow the lecture. All are welcome!"
Facebook event link
"We don’t have time for political posturing or ego-fuelled divisions....The election’s over; now let’s get to work!"
--- David Suzuki from article Friday, October 25th, 2019

October 25, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


The Legislative Special Committee on Poverty has a two part meeting today:
, presentation by Dr. Evelyn Forget, University of Manitoba
(Recess for lunch)
2PM, The committee will receive a briefing
from Mr. Michael Mendelson
, representative from
Maytree (a social justice organization started by Judy and Alan Broadbent in 1982) More about it here.

"The special committee was created as a result of the unanimous passage of Motion 36 (below) on July 11, 2019:
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Committee report back to the Legislative Assembly within twelve months with fully costed recommendations regarding the creation of a Basic Income Guarantee pilot for Prince Edward Island."

Special Committee on Poverty page

Fridays for Future, Climate Crisis awareness weekly event, Cenotaph at Province House (Grafton Street side), 3:30PM
Some members of the group are talking with newly re-elected Liberal MP Sean Casey at 4:30PM at his office at Queen and Fitzoy. I expect all will be welcome to gather at his office then.

Annual George McRobie Talk, Macphail Homestead, Orwell, 6-9PM (talk at 7PM).
PEI's only certified organic beef farmers, Mike & Evelyn Lafortune will be sharing their practical experience as beef producers, marketers and organic producers. (Dexter Cattle are a heritage dual purpose breed originating in Ireland.) Starting at 6pm, cash bar and food available.
Facebook event details

P.E.I. needs 'bold' action to meet emissions target, committee hears - CBC News online article by Kerry Campbell

Reducing emissions will require ‘transformative change’ in transportation sector

Published on Thursday, October 24th, 2019

The director of P.E.I.'s climate change secretariat told members of a special legislative committee Thursday that even if the province realizes all the reductions laid out in its current climate-change action plan, it will fall well short of the current target.

P.E.I. was one-quarter of the way toward its 2030 emissions reduction target as of 2017, the most recent date for which emissions figures are currently available.

"If we don't make major, transformative changes in the transport sector we're not going to meet that target," said Todd Dupuis, executive director of P.E.I.'s climate change secretariat. "We have to be bold."

Dupuis was speaking before the special committee on climate change, struck during the last sitting of the legislature and charged with coming up with costed recommendations to allow the province to meet a new, more ambitious target to reduce emissions.

The all-party committee will seek input from the public over the winter as it looks to come up with a plan to deliver to the legislature. It would then be up to the government of Dennis King to decide whether to adopt those recommendations.

Dupuis said if the province realizes all reductions in its current climate action plan, which runs until 2023, that would reduce emissions by 180 kilotonnes. To meet the target set by the legislature over the summer, the province would have to reduce emissions by another 320 kilotonnes.

To illustrate the scope of the task at hand, Dupuis offered the following examples, any one of which he said would produce the required reduction:
  • Converting 70,000 passenger vehicles to electricity by 2030 (there were 82,000 passenger vehicles in total on P.E.I. in 2018).
  • Planting 24 million trees next year (provincial nurseries will produce 900,000).
  • Heating 36,000 of P.E.I.'s 60,000 homes without producing emissions.
"It's not impossible. I don't want to scare anybody, just give you an idea of what we face," Dupuis told committee members.

P.E.I. emitted 1.8 megatonnes — or 1,800 kilotonnes — of greenhouse gases in 2017.

In the spring sitting of the legislature, the Green Party introduced and passed a bill to lower P.E.I.'s 2030 emissions target from 1.4 megatonnes to 1.2 megatonnes. The party said that would bring P.E.I.'s target in line with global efforts to limit warming since pre-industrial times to less than 1.5 C.

Transportation is responsible for nearly half of P.E.I.'s emissions, and Dupuis said those emissions have been increasing as motorists choose SUVs over smaller passenger vehicles at a ratio he said has now reached two-to-one. "We've got to think out of the box a bit," he said when asked what the province could do to reduce emissions from transportation. "There will be EVs on the road by 2030 but we've got to think about rural transit, we've got to think about working from home."

Dupuis said the province is almost ready with a draft of its sustainable transportation action plan, which he said will include 27 action items in areas including rural transit and active transportation.

Environment Minister Brad Trivers, meanwhile, said his department is considering allocating funds from the province's carbon tax to provide incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles.

On Thursday the province announced it would begin measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations through The Climate Registry, a non-profit group that helps provincial and state-level governments monitor emissions.

In ministerial mandate letters sent out earlier this month, King told his cabinet ministers to consider "the climate impact while delivering on your priorities."

To that end, Dupuis pointed out in his presentation how government departments will each now have climate change co-ordinators, and how documents outlining government decision-making processes will be altered to ensure "there is a climate change lens attached to most or all decisions when it comes to government."

George McRobie tribute - The Guardian (UK) article by Verna Schumacher
Published in The Guardian (U.K.), on Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

George McRobie, who has died aged 90, was the last surviving founding member of Practical Action, an international organisation harnessing technology to help developing countries. He was a close associate of the economist EF Schumacher (my late husband, known as Fritz, who was the author of the influential text Small Is Beautiful) and for many years they worked together, initially at the National Coal Board and then, in 1965, in setting up the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG), now known as Practical Action.

When Fritz died suddenly in 1977, George stepped in to become chairman of the organisation, and worked tirelessly to maintain the momentum they had generated. His contribution to both the green movement and the appropriate technology movement as a whole was immense. In 1981 George completed Small Is Possible, the last of Fritz’s trilogy of books, which laid out how the ideas and theories on sustainability in the first two books, Small Is Beautiful and A Guide for the Perplexed, could be applied to everyday life.

Son of a Scottish father and Russian mother, George was born in Moscow, where his father was working on an engineering project. Back in the UK, during the second world war he worked in coal mines as a Bevin boy, then attended the London School of Economics, where he took a degree in economics. In 1955 he married Sybil and, 10 years later, with their two sons, John and Peter, they went to India on a Ford Foundation small industries project, then helped Fritz set up ITDG. They settled in Ealing, west London, where Sybil started an organic allotment and they joined the Soil Association.

George was involved with many other Schumacher-inspired organisations as well as being an associate fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and a founding member of the Other Economic Summit and New Economics Foundation. He was also an honorary vice president of the Soil Association and a leading proponent of organic farming.

During the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the publication of Small Is Beautiful, George was asked about the relevance of Intermediate Technology. This was his reply: “The gap between the rich and the poor in developing countries is increasing. This is a disaster for the poor, a disaster for the developing countries and in the long run, a disaster for us all.

“We are persisting in big-scale technology, eliminating people from the process of production. We need greater localisation to prevent people being ground into the earth by big technology. We need to ask of technology and economic activity: is it good for people? Is it good for the environment? Is it good for the resource base?”
---George McRobie (1926-2016)

George remained a great supporter of Practical Action throughout his life and his clarity of purpose helped the organisation to grow and develop into its present position, where it now helps approximately one million people a year worldwide.

More on the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

which is hosting a lecture series which sounds fascinating on Sunday called "Actionable Responses to Climate Change", the 39th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures. with Sallie Calhoun and Greg Watson, and if it is going to livestreamed, I will let you know.

October 24, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Thursday, October 24th:
UPEI Environmental Campaign Farmers' Market Day, 10AM-2PM
, Student Union

Special Committee on Climate Change, 1:30PM, Coles Building Topic: Overview and progress update - Climate Change Action Plan
The committee will meet to receive an overview and progress update on the 2018 Climate Change Action Plan and initiatives supported through the Government of Canada's Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, by Todd Dupuis, Executive Director, and Erin Taylor, Manager, of the Climate Change Secretariat.
Special Committee on Climate Change page on the Legislative Assembly website
Watch Live link should be on this page

Second of Four public consultations on the final regulations regarding The Water Act,
Mill River, Public Consultation, 6-8PM, Hernwood School.
If you are anywhere near the area, do consider attending, despite the busy week, the harvest season, etc.
There are only two meetings next week, Pooles Corner Tuesday,October 29th, and Charlottetown, Wednesday, October 30th.
Written comments will be accepted until November 8th, I think.
Water Act government page
Some Electoral Reform musings:
Making the rounds social media rounds is a posting that highlights that in Monday's federal election, the Green Party got three seats, and the Bloc got 30-plus, with the Bloc receiving just a tiniest fraction of more actual votes. Presumably, a proportional representation system, an 2015 campaign promise stymied and finally completely shunned by the Justin Trudeau government, would have resulted in a better distribution of seats to votes.

The Conservatives had the most -- (though also slim amount! -- votes, but still got fewer seats than the Liberals.

Some people smiled at this, and other people worry that in some ways proportional representation (PR) would be awful if it resulted in the more seats for parties they don't like. As I understand it, if we had a proportional system, you would vote for whom you wanted, not who would keep someone you may not want getting enough votes. And more people may end up voting for third parties (instead of a bigger party out of fear of the other big party), which would presumably lift the number of seats they have, making their voices stronger. The idea is by knowing that seat count will be a better reflection of popular vote, politicians would evolve in their thinking just that little bit to finally, finally get that they have to work together. Dennis King brought up this higher order of cooperation, though the P.E.I. Legislature results are more of a coincidence and of course not based on any proportional voting method.

Opinion: After a sad joke of a federal election, it’s time to make every vote count - The Globe and Mail article by Elizabeth Renzetti

Published in The Globe and Mail on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

The election could have been worse, I suppose. A giant asteroid could have flattened the Earth, though at certain points an obliterating asteroid would have seemed like a mercy. On the bright side, Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada searched through the rubbish in the far-right corner of the electoral cupboard and found it bare, which was very comforting. Even better: The Rhino Party finding and fielding a candidate also named Maxime Bernier. Well played, Rhinos. We’ve missed you.

The rest of this federal campaign felt like a much sadder joke, which was not comforting at all. At a time when concerted international action is required on many issues, climate change paramount among them, our election felt like a food fight at a toddler’s birthday party. So much screaming; so many insults. We’re all ready for a nap – just when the real work of cleaning up has to begin.

Does anyone feel today that the country is pulling together toward that goal? As I write this, the ugly word “Wexit” is trending on social media, in reference to Western Canada’s feeling of alienation from the diminished but still ruling Liberal elite in Ottawa. (That anyone could think Brexit is worthy of emulation suggests a lack of attention to the news in the past three years.)

We should not discount that frustration. Where is the representation for Conservative voters from the West? The Conservatives, with more than 34 per cent of the vote, have 121 seats. The Liberals, with 33 per cent of the vote, have 157. The NDP went down four per cent in the popular vote – and lost 20 seats.

I’m not Isaac Newton, but that seems like kooky math. Perhaps it would not have been this way if this had been the last federal election waged under our clunky first-past-the-post system. As I recall, someone promised that the 2015 election would mark the end of that regime, that a bright new future of electoral reform would be opened up, and voters would feel that their ballots had weight and were not just counted. Who was that again? Oh, that’s right – the prime minister, who won on a platform calling for electoral reform in 2015 and then abandoned that promise.

Is there any chance that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals will revisit their once-popular policy/now infamous betrayal? That direction seems profoundly unlikely, because from a purely cynical, short-term perspective it would gain them nothing. So what if electoral reform, an issue that’s popular with young voters and might go some way to restoring trust in our democracy, took such a kicking in this election?

The Liberals have buried electoral reform in a lead-lined coffin, under a pyre of stones, behind a barbed-wire fence. (Although you can still read about the government’s online consultation on the subject, which drew a remarkable 383,000 submissions between Dec. 2016 and Jan. 2017, and which showed that almost one-third of respondents were dissatisfied with our country’s democracy.)

The person who could give electoral reform the attention it deserves is NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. After all, it was one of the main planks of his platform when he won the leadership of his party in 2017. It is also an issue dear to the NDP membership, who have voted to make it a prerequisite for support of a Liberal minority government. Will Mr. Singh choose to hold the government’s feet to the fire on this issue, or will he give it up in favour of some other important goal, such as pharmacare or a wealth tax?

We can only hope that someone, at some point, is brave and stalwart enough to champion the cause, before large portions of the country give in to anger or despair over their voices not being heard. When he was asked at a townhall in Yellowknife why he’d abandoned his promise to overhaul the electoral system, Mr. Trudeau said he was worried that certain methods of reform would be too “divisive.” He said it was his responsibility to “keep this country together and united and focused on the things that unite us rather than divide us.”

That horse, unfortunately, has already bolted the stable, eyes rolling. It’s the government’s job now to call it back.


And Independents sometimes get in the door (to be fair, she was in the door a while):

Jody Wilson-Raybould going back to Ottawa as Independent MP in minority Parliament - CBC News online article by Chad Pawson


Former Liberal cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is returning to Ottawa as an Independent MP for Vancouver Granville, saying her victory sends a strong message to Ottawa about doing politics a new way.

Wilson-Raybould will be the only Independent in the House of Commons after she was ousted from the Liberal Party over the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Then attorney general, she said she was bullied by then-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his office to spare the Quebec engineering firm from prosecution.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, then to write for the public and have no self
--- Cyril Connolly (1903-1974)

October 23, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Wednesday, October 23rd:
"Making the Grass Greener", UPEI Student Union Environmental Campaign, various events today and tomorrow.

Today, Kickoff, 11AM-1PM, Student Union
Nature Walk, 3-4PM (may be moved due to rain)

Cinema Politica films on environmental issues:
Water Warriors and Upstream: The Stewards of the Land, 6-8PM, Room 242 MacDougall Hall, UPEI campus.

The UPEI Environmental Society presents two short documentaries about resistance to exploitation of land, water and communities by the oil and gas industry.
continuing Thursday, October 24th:
Farmers' Market Day, 10AM-2PM
DIY Bath bombs and lip balm, 3PM
, Student Union
Facebook event link
Legislative Assembly Standing Committee meetings today:
Public Accounts, 9AM, Coles Building
Topic: 2015 recommendations on management of contaminated sites. Briefings on:
implementation of the Auditor General’s 2015 recommendations on Management of Contaminated Sites from Brad Colwill, Deputy Minister, Environment, Water and Climate Change and
implementation of the Auditor General’s 2015 recommendations on Access PEI from Darren Chaisson, Deputy Minister, and Mark Arsenault, Director of Access PEI, of the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy.

Health and Social Development, 2PM, Topic: The Disability Support Program, Coles Building.

The calendar on the refreshed website is quite fun:
Legislative Assembly Standing Committees' Calendar for October 2019
Thanks to Ian Petrie for flagging and sending these easy-on-the-eyes print versions of these two articles on the election and the environment.
The links are to the original articles and have photos and illustrations.

David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis Debrief Their Rescue Mission |- The Tyee aricle by Michael Harris

Published in The Tyee on Monday, October 21st, 2019

The postmortem of national elections usually comes after voting day.

But the first reading of the entrails of Election 2019 is already in — at least on the mother of all issues, climate change. It was performed by a pair of public policy soul whisperers, David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis.

Their conclusion?

The politicians and the media continue to bellyflop on the climate change crisis. Though their rhetoric acknowledges the need to lower the planet’s fossil fuel-induced fever, politicians and the media still have their eyes tightly shut against reality.

Exactly this whistling past the graveyard may have turned the Green Wave into the Green Ripple. People and their leaders are simply not seized of the urgency of mankind’s predicament, and the fuse is burning down to the bundle of dynamite.

Here is how David Suzuki put it to me:

“It’s clear the media still act as if climate is an issue subservient to the economy. When the Green Agenda was released, the first question was how she [Elizabeth May] will pay for it? It’s a crisis for Christ’s sake, like Japan attacking Pearl Harbour! You have to win regardless of cost, but I am sure the savings will be huge, the opportunities immense. But the fossil fuel industry will have to be shut down.”

That’s the kind of statement that has them swallowing their Timbits whole in Calgary and hating David Suzuki. The Cassandra business is a tough gig, as the scientist doesn’t need to be told. If you want to see how many enemies you can make, try to change something — let alone society’s entire energy base.

For decades, the geneticist and TV star has been trying to persuade governments that it’s past time to wean the world away from fossil fuels. With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the UN now giving humanity just a dozen years to get it right, Suzuki’s mission has taken on a new urgency.

So Suzuki decided to mount up like Don Quixote and take one last tilt at what a lot of people still see as a windmill — the world’s lacklustre response to global warming. Never mind that Suzuki is 83 and well into what he calls the “death zone” in his public speeches. There is a planet to save, and what better time to get your message out than in the middle of a federal election?

Suzuki’s brainchild was called the Climate First Tour, an election-based sojourn aiming to convince people that they had to get their politicians to wake up. No issue even remotely compares in importance to climate change. But Suzuki needed a sidekick on his odyssey of persuasion, and he knew exactly who to ask; the venerable Stephen Lewis.

Suzuki simply loves Lewis, a champion of fighting AIDS in Africa and all-round prodigy of humanitarianism. But he also knew that Lewis was 81 and in poor health. Suzuki being Suzuki, he asked anyway. Lewis being Lewis, he agreed.

Though Lewis is mostly known for his political, diplomatic and humanitarian career, he is no slouch on the climate file. Back in 1988, prime minister Brian Mulroney asked him to chair what was up to then the largest gathering in Canada of climatologists, economists, and activists looking into environmental issues.

Mulroney opened the conference, and was followed by then prime minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland. Then the star of the show wowed them all, James Hansen.

The director of NASA’s Goddard Institute had just testified to Congress that year that there was a “99 per cent certainty” that burning fossil fuels was causing global warming. He brought the same message to Canada.

Hansen must have been persuasive. The press release at the end of the three-day conference stated that humans were conducting an uncontrolled experiment on the planet that represented a threat to human survival second only to all-out nuclear war. It also called for a 20-per-cent reduction in greenhouse gases within 15 years in 2003.

“Why didn’t we act on it?” Suzuki asked me before supplying the answer.

“Didn’t make political sense for Mulroney to take a shit-kicking for the billions that had to be spent immediately, only to have someone else proclaim the savings 15 years later when Mulroney was no longer in office. And of course, the fossil fuel industry had known and proclaimed burning fossil fuels was causing global warming in the 1960s, but chose to hire folks from the tobacco campaign to say no, evidence wasn’t in, it was a natural cycle, scientists lie, etc.”

Stephen Lewis drops into Trafalgar School in Montreal as part of the Climate First Tour he made with David Suzuki. Photo via the Climate First Tour Twitter.

And so two of Canada’s iconic octogenarians hit the road with their message, visiting five Canadian cities — Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Their mission was to scare the pants off anything that had pants on the subject of climate change.

They talked of the coming age of droughts, floods, soaring temperatures and wildfires, all premised on global warming.

They warned of massive immigration problems as more and more coastal areas become uninhabitable because of rising sea-levels.

They spoke of Jakarta in Indonesia, a city of 30 million people, which is literally sinking.

And they tried to reinforce their five-alarm warning that we’re all running out of time, saying that if the best our politicians can do is argue about carbon taxes and pipelines, we will all end up like the citizens of Pompeii after Mount Vesuvius blew. Buried metres under the ashes of our ignorance.

Suzuki and Lewis put it this way in a joint quote:

“The best scientists in the world are telling us we have just a few years to dramatically cut emissions to avoid the most frightening aspects of climate change. Our message to Canadians and political parties is clear: We must work together to put the climate first in this critical election.”

In between trying the scare the pants off Canadians, Suzuki and Lewis lightened up for This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

After all the bad coffee, airport ennui, and media neglect any world-beating octogenarian could endure, the political stage looked depressingly familiar:

Justin Trudeau talking about his carbon tax as if he had never bought a pipeline; Andrew Scheer in contention to win the most seats, even though to him climate change means a trip to Florida; and the only two candidates with policies that reflect the urgency of the IPCC numbers, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green party Leader Elizabeth May, given no chance to win by the pollsters.

The two warhorses exchanged letters after the dust of their tour settled. Suzuki holed up at his cabin in B.C. with his two daughters and their families. He went fishing but there were no salmon. So they dropped their prawn traps into the water hoping for a shrimp feast. As for the tour and its effect on the election, Suzuki was disappointed and said so in a letter to Lewis:

“Greta [Thunberg] and the huge marches in Montreal, Vancouver and around the world should have been a turning point for governments everywhere. Yet the media act as if it’s all stale news. Hell, I don’t think that any of the media even bothered to cover our events to report what we had said. I am stunned at the vicious attacks on Greta.”

While his friend retreated to his cabin after their tour, Stephen Lewis “boycotted” his computer so that he and his wife Michele could take one of their grandsons to the Stratford Festival over the long weekend. Like Suzuki, Lewis had a faint sense of letdown, acknowledging that “the media paid little attention to the events themselves.”

But he was thrilled by the chance to work with Suzuki and proud of the light they had shone on climate change.

“We did our best, and I have no doubt that we contributed to the accelerating public awareness. It’s no small miracle that climate change continues to be at the top of voter priorities. We will actually elect a number of genuine climate champions on Monday: the Canadian earth will shake, (all right, at least it will shiver).”

Suzuki had hoped that the Climate First Tour would be the end of his exertions on behalf of the planet. In reality, he and Lewis are already talking about their next collaboration — taking over Ottawa.

“The other approach I would like to see is continued strikes (another big one is planned for November) and work towards an actual takeover of the Parliamentary buildings by youth. They could then conduct Parliament based on priorities for future generations and make decisions and pass laws to mandate reductions, etc. Of course, it would all be for show,” Suzuki said, “but I think it would be stunning if they forced their way in and acted as if they had the power.”

What else would you expect from a force of nature posing as an octogenarian cruising the shady boulevards of the Death Zone?


What a Liberal minority government means for Canada’s environment - The Narwhal article by Emma Gilchrist

Published on Monday, October 21st, 2019

Well, well, well, the dust has settled (kind of) and Canada has a Liberal minority government.

Wait, what exactly is a minority government?

Here’s how it works: there are 338 seats in Canada’s House of Commons. To govern unilaterally, a party needs to win 170 seats. That’s what we Canucks call a majority government.

If no party wins more than 170 seats, you have what we call a minority government. That means the party that forms government will need the support of other parties to pass any legislation. It also means they can face a non-confidence vote at any moment, so they better keep themselves in the good graces of some allies.

Who those allies will be is the big, unanswered question at this hour.

What we know is this: the Liberals need 13 extra seats to stay in power. As of Tuesday morning, the Conservatives won 121 seats, the NDP won 24 seats, the Bloc Quebecois won 32 seats and the Greens won three seats.

The Liberals could work with either the NDP or the Bloc Quebecois (or some combination thereof) and remain in power.

Both the NDP and the Bloc have strong environmental platforms — arguably stronger than the Liberals — so if anything the Liberals can be expected to take a stronger stance on environmental issues.

There’s much we don’t know, but here are a few things we can reasonably expect to happen on the environment file.

1) The carbon tax will stay in place

An escalating price on carbon has been the cornerstone of the Liberals climate plan and they’ll have plenty of support to keep the carbon tax in place. The NDP also promised a carbon tax, but vowed to take it a step further by removing exemptions for heavy polluters.

Meanwhile, the Bloc Quebecois proposed that Ottawa impose a carbon tax in provinces where greenhouse gas emissions per capita are higher than average and that the proceeds be paid to provinces where emissions are lower, creating a form of green equalization. Trudeau will almost certainly be concerned about Albertan alienation, so he’ll avoid getting involved in that plan.

2) About those fossil fuel subsidies …

Back in 2015, the Liberals promised to phase out fossil fuel subsidies over the “medium term,” but Environmental Defence estimates the federal government is still handing out $3.3 billion a year to the fossil fuel industry. The NDP and the Bloc Quebecois campaigned on a promise to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, a policy that enjoys tremendous public support. Could they use their newfound power to push for this phase out to start sooner rather than later?

3) The Trans Mountain pipeline debate is unlikely to be re-opened in Parliament, unless …

While many of the opposition parties might want to re-open this debate, it’s hard to see an opening for them to do so given the pipeline is already approved. Even if the NDP, Greens and Bloc Quebecois wanted to force a confidence vote on it, the Conservatives would side with the Liberals on this one.

However, the Liberals still need to find $10 to $15 billion to build the pipeline.

“The public financing of the project does seem to present a bit of a pickle,” said Kai Nagata of Dogwood, a B.C. democracy group. “It doesn’t seem likely the NDP/Bloc/Greens could vote for a budget with pipeline construction funds, but the Conservative party probably couldn’t stomach voting for everything else.”

Nagata added: “Even the Conservatives should be philosophically uncomfortable with borrowing money, in a deficit, to spend on corporate welfare.”

4) Buh-buy single-use plastics

The Liberals promised to start phasing out single-use plastics starting around 2021. The NDP, meanwhile, wants to intensify that approach by straight-up banning single-use plastics by 2022. Any which way, single-use plastics such as bags and straws are likely going the way of the dodo.

5) Full steam ahead on conservation

The Trudeau government has made significant progress toward meeting its Aichi Biodiversity targets: it pledged to protect at least 17 per cent of terrestrial area and inland waters, and 10 per cent of its oceans, by 2020. A flurry of big new protected areas has moved that along.

The Liberals have also committed to conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s land, freshwater and ocean by 2025 and to working toward conserving 30 per cent by 2030. They also plan to advocate for countries around the world to set a 30 per cent conservation goal.

Additionally, the Liberals have identified the opportunity to reduce emissions by 30 megatonnes by 2030 using natural climate solutions that support efforts to better manage, conserve and restore forests, grasslands, agricultural lands, wetlands and coastal areas — as well ad by planting two billion trees.

The NDP and Greens have also committed to the goal of conserving 30 per cent of land, freshwater and oceans by 2030.

So, watch for more Indigenous protected areas, national parks and marine protected areas.

6) Expect more electric vehicles

The Liberals have set a target of 30 per cent of all light-duty vehicles on the road being electric by 2030. The Bloc Quebecois also support measures to require manufacturers to sell more electric vehicles. And the NDP support maintaining the $5,000 federal incentive for electric vehicle purchases while eliminating federal sales tax on them. One way or another, electric vehicle incentives are here to stay.

7) A lot of Albertans are going to be outraged

With Conservatives winning a higher percentage of the popular vote than the Liberals nationwide, and winning every seat in Alberta and Saskatchewan except for one, Westerners are rightly going to be upset about ending up with so little say in Ottawa. How that will manifest is yet to be seen, but I’d wager a bet it ain’t gonna be pretty.

8) Will electoral reform have its moment in the sun?

The NDP and Greens have long supported a move to proportional representation — an electoral system that would ensure the allocation of seats is more in line with the popular vote than our current first-past-the-post system. With the Conservatives being the latest losers under the first-past-the-post system, one has to wonder if there might be a cross-party push for a referendum on modernizing our electoral system.

Much more will become clear over the coming weeks and months, but for now what we know is that the Liberals will have to work with some combination of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois — and that means that if anything, they’ll have a stronger mandate to take bold action on the climate crisis.

"Friendship makes prosperity brighter, while it lightens adversity by sharing its griefs and anxieties."

October 22, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Like Groundhog's Day, here we are again, knowing that proportional representation could show more clearly what the electorate wanted, and help build cooperation between parties.

It appears that once again, voting against who you were afraid of winning may be interpreted as a strong "mandate". So, especially with impending climate change, we will have to hold our politicians' feet to the fire.

As one electoral reform expert and former Western Canadian wrote this morning to Islanders for Proportional Representation:
<snip> please note that we have a Wrong Winner - the Liberals received 1 percentage fewer votes than the PCs at this point but were rewarded with 35 more seats!

There has been much talk about how to address the lack of representation in the Liberal government - proportional representation. Alberta and Saskatchewan routinely have less than 50% voter turnout. People don't vote because they see no point. If their vote would count, then we would see the true political diversity in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

But, sending congratulations, and gratitude, to all those who ran, and all their supporters, and all who participated.
The first water act regulations public meeting is tonight, 6-8PM, in Summerside, Three Oaks High School.

Thursday, it's Mill River at Hernwood School, also 6-8PM.

Why is it important to attend?

The Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water was formed from two dozen groups that felt that serious, serious discussion, and careful research, was needed before the moratorium on new high capacity wells for agriculture was tinkered with. These regulations are one of the final bits of legislative related rules, and there is the place for public input,
And frankly, they do need input, a lot of information from the department is the same thing for years now -- that there is plenty of water, and climate change may help the amount of water, etc.

The Coalition (under time constraints and with a lot of work going into the federal environmental forums) has been doggedly reviewing and commenting on concerns, discussing more regular public engagement (something like a Water Governance Board), bringing up topics not really addressed, like organic matter, nitrates, etc.

Concerns are listed in this posting, here:

Other Events:

Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Members Bills and Privileges, 2-4PM, Coles Building.
"The committee will receive a briefing from the Department of Finance. Presenters include: Gordon MacFadyen (Assistant Secretary to Treasury Board), Patricia Cameron-MacDonald (Senior Budget Analyst), and Jordan McNally (Senior Budget Analyst).
Note: This meeting was originally scheduled for October 18th.

Remember, comments on the timetable and calendar of the legislative year will be accepted by the Clerk's Office until Friday, October 25th (I will check to see if that will be extended to include the weekend).
Wednesday, October 23rd:
Cinema Politica films on environmental issues:
Water Warriors and Upstream: The Stewards of the Land, 6-8PM
, Room 242 MacDougall Hall, UPEI campus.

The UPEI Environmental Society presents two short documentaries about resistance to exploitation of land, water and communities by the oil and gas industry. WATER WARRIORS and UPSTREAM, THE STEWARDS OF THE LAND on Wednesday, October 23rd at 6:00 pm, MacDougall Hall Room 242 at UPEI.

Everyone welcome - free admission (donations always welcome!)
WATER WARRIORS is the story of a community’s successful fight to protect their water from the oil and natural gas industry.

In 2013, Texas-based SWN Resources arrived in New Brunswick, Canada to explore for natural gas. The region is known for its forestry, farming and fishing industries, which are both commercial and small-scale subsistence operations that rural communities depend on. In response, a multicultural group of unlikely warriors–including members of the Mi’kmaq Elsipogtog First Nation, French-speaking Acadians and white, English-speaking families–set up a series of road blockades, preventing exploration. After months of resistance, their efforts not only halted drilling; they elected a new government and won an indefinite moratorium on fracking in the province.

UPSTREAM, THE STEWARDS OF THE LAND: Along the proposed pipeline route that is planned to connect the fracked gas wells in North Eastern British Columbia with the Pacific coast, like at Standing Rock, Indigenous Peoples are reaffirming their title. During 3 months in 2016, Paola Rosà and Antonio Senter followed the 1000-km-route of the opposed gas pipelines from the construction site of the third dam on the Peace River to Lelu Island offshore of Prince Rupert, along the Skeena River and into the Morice Valley.

In search of voices of resistance, they talked with Indigenous and white settlers activists working as allies, with activists and lawyers, with elders and youngsters, with hunters and fishermen.
Facebook event link
"A multitude of small delight constitute happiness."
--Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

October 21, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Vote today, if you haven't already:

8:30AM-8:30PM today, Monday, October 21st, 2019

Your polling station -- from your voter info card that came in the mail or:
Elections Canada website of P.E.I. locations search page

Encouragement from David Suzuki, Buffy Saint-Marie, Stephen Lewis and others:
or to put it another way, vote thinking about the real future of your children or all the other children on this planet.
Election Results Watch Parties (partial list -- would be pleased to hear of others) --

Young Voters of PEI hosting, 7PM start time, PEI Brewing Company, Kensington Road, Charlottetown.

Upstreet Brewery is hosting its own gathering, starting at 7PM, 41 Allen Street.

Green Party Party, 8:30PM, Haviland Club, corner of Haviland and Water Streets, Charlottetown.
A person I know when to town Sunday for the Symphony, on the detoured TransCanada Highway, and came back on the "Cornwall Bypass" which had just been opened.

Quick Paraphrased Review:
2.5 out of 5
Very clearly designed like a much bigger highway as found in NS, but isn't, so it doesn't work and is narrow and also slightly confusing.

And comes with a pretty costly price tag.
Just something different:

Caterpillar contemplation -The Telegram essay by Russell Wangersky

Published on Friday, October 11th, 2019, on Saltwire online:

I can’t say I’ve ever seen a real, live example of the spotted tussock moth, Lophocampa maculata.

From its pictures, it looks kind of like an aerial photograph of Sir Elton John taking the stage for a concert — long flowing sandy-brown cape and train, feathery white collar and headdress — if Elton John was about four and a half centimetres across.

Oh, and a moth.

But the caterpillar that becomes that moth? I know that one well. We used to call it a woolly bear, and honestly, if there was ever a thing that couldn’t care less about camouflage, this was the creature.

It’s ridiculously fuzzy, black on both ends and bright yellow in the middle, with a row of black spots running down the middle of its back. A handful of stray, longer white hairs poke out at both ends, making their presence known the way that, pretty regularly, straggly white hairs poke through an older man’s eyebrows.

More than anything, though, the caterpillar just looks like it doesn’t belong.

Being so obvious, and so painfully slow, meant that it was a favourite for catching and putting into an old mayonnaise jar with a handful of leaves, in the usually vain hope that it would cocoon up and reappear as a moth. Months later, leaves shrivelled, cocoon forgotten, the jar would join the legion of things-someone-else-later-has-to-throw-out.

But back to the now.

Last weekend, working outdoors, I went to the shed to get a shovel. There was light rain misting down, the smell of early fall rot rich and full and rising up from the ground in waves. The fireweed had gone to tufting seed, and the dogberries to scarlet orange. The grass had reached the point where it’s tired of growing for the year, and the mower’s resting until spring.

And there, just below the doorknob, was a woolly bear. It wasn’t going anywhere, wasn’t doing anything, wasn’t even making that head-back-and-forth questing movement that caterpillars sometimes do. It was looking like fuzzy neon against the white-painted shed door.

Take the lid off the big propane cylinder to check if you need a fill-up, and a terror of earwigs will explode out in all directions, travelling with their soft brown curling, jittering, disgusting gait. But the caterpillar? It doesn’t give a damn.

Jar up a big loose rock while you’re trying to make sure you’ve gotten every single one of this year’s potatoes? A repulsion of sowbeetles/woodlice/carpenters/builderboats (all the same thing, actually, those grey-backed paddle-legged gill-breathing modern trilobites) will shiver off in all directions looking for some dark wet.

Not the caterpillar.

I came back an hour later, swapped shovel for saw so I could start breaking down old spruce fenceposts for firewood.

Caterpillar was still there, not a care in the world. No closer to the doorknob, no further away.

It’s funny how, as you grow older and older, you can lose that supreme confidence that you once had in yourself. As the illness roulette starts to pick off or mark up those around you, as the field of options narrows, as parents and older friends pass away, it’s harder and harder to keep your face forward into the wind.

Turned down for an opportunity, you used to say “another one will come along,” not “why even bother?”

Put the saw away, sweat prickling along my arms and neck, latched the door for the night and saw that the caterpillar was gone. Completely.

Was I worried about what had happened?


It had just gone somewhere else to continue being exactly 100 per cent itself.


Fifty-plus years in, and I’m aspiring to be a caterpillar.

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

"To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly."
--- Henri Bergson (1859-1941), philosopher

October 20, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Sunday, October 20th:
Celebrating the Lyndsay Property, with the Macphail Woods crew, 1:30-4:30PM
, Macphail Woods Ecological Centre, free.
Celebrate the acquisition of the next-door Lindsay property, a hundred acres of woods along the Orwell River.
1:30PM -- Traditional music will be performed by Kevin and Colin Jeffrey, refreshments, introduction of local dignitaries and Macphail descendants.
2PM -- Gary Schneider will talk on the history of the property and planned forest restoration and educational activities. Then a walk to the property, ribbon-cutting, and short tour of the woodlands.
All welcome, free, but donations accepted.
Facebook event link
There are a lot of articles speculating on the election outcome, and many ho-hum pieces from media people about how ho-hum the election is. And comments on the lack of a big issue.
#climatefirst seems like a big enough issue.
Voting is 8:30AM-8:30PM tomorrow.
A big synopsis of the environmental forums, which all took place in each Riding on Thursday, October 4th, never put together, but you can guess most of it:
Dedicated volunteers organized them, rented halls and sound equipment, found engaging people not involved in anyone's campaign to emcee, spent a great deal of time gathering and working together the questions submitted by the environmental groups, and invited and re-invited the candidates.

The forums were really well attended by the public, and some fun with "wild cards" resulted in good debate, and having people submit written questions helped get as many questions answered as possible.

As you can guess, the candidates pretty much quoted their party's platforms, some with much more knowledge as others, so that gave the clues as to their plans.

Conservative candidates didn't show up to some of the events.

There was definitely an elevation in the awareness of the critical juncture we are at regarding the environment.
"The trick of the devil
Is to make you think you're living in hell."
--- Brad Barr, singer/songwriter with the Barr Brothers

with thanks to Michael Page for passing that on, noting it seems particularly relevant to our times.

October 19, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets open:
Charlottetown 9AM-2PM
Summerside 9AM-1PM,
and I think Cardigan 10AM-2PM

Ten Thousand Villages Sale (Fair Trade goods), 10AM-4PM. Park Royal United Church, 1 Christie Drive (Take Parkview Drive off Belvedere Ave). Charlottetown.
Ten Thousand Villages is hosting a sale of beautiful, fairly-traded gifts benefiting artisans from developing countries.

Saturday, October 19th:
Cardigan -- Liberal candidate Lawrence MacAulay Meet and Greet, 10AM-12noon, Pooles Corner campaign office.
Refreshments will be served! Campaign office is located at 'The Real George's Deck and Recovery' at Poole's Corner.

Confederation Trail Clean Up, 10AM-1PM, hosted by the Parks Canada Campus Club at UPEI.
"Anybody in the community is welcome to join in!

If you, or your community group/business would like to participate, send us a message and we can share more details with you!
Note: This event is BYOG (bring your own gloves) but we will do our best to provide garbage bags!

*Date switch from October 20 due to PEI Marathon*"
Facebook event link

Autumn Colours in the Bonshaw Hills, a Nature Walk, 1:30-3:30PM, hosted by Nature PEI.
"Park at (the lot down from the former) Baptist Church, right across the TransCanada Highway from Bonshaw Provincial Park.
The hike will be an easy 2 km along the Ji'ka'we'katik Trail and river, with a chance to observe flora and fauna, and perhaps a few mushrooms. Participants have the option to explore the Equestrian Park afterwards.
Pets are permitted on leash.
Group leaders: Rosemary Curley and Barbara Dylla"
Facebook event details

Tomorrow, another chance to get out in nature:
Sunday, October 20th:
Celebrating the Lyndsay Property, with the Macphail Woods crew, 1:30-4:30PM, Macphail Woods Ecological Centre, free.
"The Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation in Orwell has acquired the neighbouring Lindsay property, a 100-acre woodland along the Orwell River. To celebrate this important acquisition, there will be a talk about the new property and a guided walk on Sunday, October 20th at the Macphail Woods Nature Centre.

At 1:30pm, there will be an introduction of local dignitaries as well as attending descendants of Sir Andrew Macphail. Traditional music will be performed by Kevin and Colin Jeffrey. Refreshments will be provided and donations will be gratefully accepted.

Then at 2pm, Gary Schneider of Macphail Woods will give a talk on the history of the property and planned forest restoration and educational activities. After the talk, there will be a walk to the Lindsay property for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a short tour of the woodlands.

The Lindsay property has been owned by the Macphail family since 1913. Three and a half years ago the family was approached to find out if they would be interested in donating this land to the Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation. The Foundation received approval from Environment Canada to become an eligible recipient, which allowed the property to be received as an ecological gift. The Foundation is responsible for ensuring that the biodiversity and environmental heritage features of this ecological gift are maintained. It is also in the process of receiving designation under the provincial Natural Areas Protection Act.

It is an ecologically sensitive property, including the Orwell River which becomes a marshy area as it flows into Orwell Bay. Old growth hemlocks are found along the river banks and most of the rest of the property is forested, although much of it was cleared for farming at one time. With the acquisition of this property, over 250 acres of land and several kilometers of the Orwell River have now been protected in perpetuity. This property will be used to demonstrate ecologically sound forest management and restoration practices.

The Macphail Homestead is the birthplace of Sir Andrew Macphail (1864-1938) who was a towering literary presence in Canada during the first few decades of the twentieth century. He was also a medical doctor and a champion of the rural Island way of life. The 1850’s farmhouse has a museum acknowledging the contribution of Sir Andrew Macphail to our heritage. A café offers lunches during the summer months as well as special events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Lectures and symposiums are also held on a regular basis throughout the season.

Admission to the Lindsay property talk and walk is free and everyone is welcome."
Facebook event link
New Podcast from The Leap with Avi Lewis and Maya Menedez, this episode of "Change Everything" was sparked by:
" us it feels critical, as the campaign draws to a close, to have a conversation about where this normalization of racist politics came from, and how it played out in the most important election in living memory -- with only years left on the climate clock and everything on the line for so many communities across this land."

29 minutes long
City of Charlottetown woke up and smelled the honey on this one:

Charlottetown council does about-face on beehive limits - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart

Published on Friday, October 18th, 2019

Charlottetown city council has ended its sting operation with the bee population.

Council voted 9-1 at its October public meeting against creating an amendment that would see the definition of livestock in the city’s nuisance bylaw include bees, thereby limiting the number of beehives in residential areas.

It was the second and final reading for the bylaw amendment that would have, if passed, prohibited anyone living in an R1 residential area from having beehives on their property.

The intent of the bylaw was to prevent residents from having stacks of hives piled on top of one another and not little things like bee hotels that many gardeners have.

Monday's decision was an about-face for council, which had voted 8-0 last month in favour of the amendment on first reading.

Coun. Mike Duffy, one of the councillors who reversed his vote, said a number of factors played into the sudden change of heart.

Duffy said the city received a lot of emails from people who were critical of the effort to limit the bee population. He added that since first reading some members of council had discussed the fact the city had given the Urban Beehive Project, located behind the P.E.I. Farm Centre on University Avenue, some funding a couple of years ago and following that up with a decision to limit the bee population would be contradictory.

Duffy added that he watched a documentary on television last week in which a researcher said the bee population was down by 40 per cent in North America.

“It was a conversion of a lot of information, opinion, colliding theories and schools of thought,’’ Duffy said. “No one has really defended the idea of limiting the bee production in the city.

Council had no choice (but to reverse its vote). All the information was leading to ‘no, we don’t want to go down this path’.’’

Coun. Terry MacLeod, chairman of the environmental and sustainability committee, agreed, saying councillors did some homework between the first and second readings.

Coun. Bob Doiron, chairman of the protective and emergency services committee that brought the resolution to council in the first place, said the whole idea behind the bylaw was to prevent residents from putting stacks and stacks of beehives in their backyards or next to, for example, a day care.

“There were some concerns brought forward by a number of residents that were worried that beehives were going to be put in backyards (near) children . . . that were allergic to bee (stings),’’ said Doiron, the lone councillor to vote in favour of the amendment on second reading.

Doiron’s committee brought the issue forward based on a recommendation from Charlottetown Police Services Chief Paul Smith, whose department handles the nuisance bylaw and had fielded a number of inquiries about where people were allowed to have hives in the city.

Doiron noted there were a number of exemptions in the bylaw and that the only point was to limit them in residential neighbourhoods.

“We thought it was a good and reasonable (move) and, all of a sudden, it went to council (Tuesday) night and it was a complete turnaround.’’

"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty nevers grows old."
--- Franz Kafka (1883-1924)

October 18, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Province House, Grafton Street side.
"We meet weekly, usually in front of Province House (on Grafton St.), to stand in solidarity with international movement, founded by Greta Thunberg to force governments and corporations to do what is necessary to ensure that young people and future generations will have a habitable planet."

Today and tomorrow:
Ten Thousand Villages Sale (Fair Trade goods), today: 11AM-8PM, Saturday: 10AM-4PM. Park Royal United Church, 1 Christie Drive (Take Parkview Drive off Belvedere Ave). Charlottetown.
Ten Thousand Villages is hosting a sale of beautiful, fairly-traded gifts benefiting artisans from developing countries.

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 19th:
Cardigan -- Liberal candidate Lawrence McAulay Meet and Greet, 10AM-12noon, Pooles Corner campaign office.
Refreshments will be served! Campaign office is located at 'The Real George's Deck and Recovery' at Poole's Corner.

Confederation Trail Clean Up, 10AM-1PM, hosted by the Parks Canada Campus Club at UPEI.
"Anybody in the community is welcome to join in!
If you, or your community group/business would like to participate, send us a message and we can share more details with you!
Note: This event is BYOG (bring your own gloves) but we will do our best to provide garbage bags!
*Date switch from October 20 due to PEI Marathon*"
Facebook event link

Autumn Colours in the Bonshaw Hills, a Nature Walk, 1:30-3:30PM, hosted by Nature PEI.
"Park at (the lot down from the former) Baptist Church, right across the TransCanada Highway from Bonshaw Provincial Park.
The hike will be an easy 2 km along the Ji'ka'we'katik Trail and river, with a chance to observe flora and fauna, and perhaps a few mushrooms. Participants have the option to explore the Equestrian Park afterwards.
Pets are permitted on leash.
Group leaders: Rosemary Curley and Barbara Dylla"
Facebook event details

Mark your calendars:
Water Act regulations public meetings start NEXT week (western PEI -- two meetings), and end the last week in October (Pooles Corner and Charlottetown).

There are only four scheduled --

Tuesday, October 22 -- Summerside – Three Oaks High, Summerside *Translation Services available

Thursday, October 24th – St. Anthony/Mill River -- Hernwood Junior High, Mill River

Tuesday, October 29th – Pooles Corner --Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner

Wednesday, October 30th – Charlottetown -- Charlottetown Rural High

All are 6-8PM (have supper early or bring snacks) and will have a workshop/discussion component.

Why is this worth your time? This draft set of regulations is about water usage for high capacity wells, among other particulars. This is why the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water formed, to help guide responsible, ecological stewardship of this basic human right of water, knowing all the various demands.

The election will be over and let's hope people will make time to see what is in the draft regulations and what can still be improved.

More background in the next couple of days.
Perry Williams, videographer and more, and put together drone footage of the Cornwall Bypass. It's great material, and the road looks so new!

But really, look at what we've done to the farm and woodland.

With Premier King's focus on environmental impact, bloated highway projects like this should be a thing of the past.
From Elections PEI social media posting:
DYK? Elections PEI has PDF copies of the CEO reports on Provincial Elections and By-Elections dating back to 1966. If you were ever doing research here's where to find them

Interesting...but the alphabet soup!
"What makes night within us may leave stars."
--- Victor Hugo

October 17, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

TEDx Charlottetown -- an independently organized TED Talk Event, 6-8PM. This is at the StartUp Zone on Queen Street but apparently tickets are sold out, so it is being live-streamed, information here:
Facebook event link

Malpeque - Green Town Hall for Undecided Voters, 6:30-8:30PM, Harmony House, Hunter River. Anna Keenan will give a short address, with time for questions and socializing. All welcome.
Facebook event link

Egmont - Forum for Candidates, hosted by Young Voters of PEI, 7-9PM, Samuel's Coffee Shop, 4 Queen Street, Summerside.
Candidates are:
Logan McLellan, Conservative
Alex Clark, Green Party
Bobby Morrissey, Liberal
Sharon Dunn, NDP
CBC story on Egmont

Next Week
Monday, October 21st: Federal Election Day
Voting poll location information is on your white and taupe postcard from Elections Canada, or you can probably find it at their website, here.

Friday, October 25th:
Last Day to submit comments about the Legislative Assembly's calendar and sitting schedule, and budget timing.
Details at this CBC article or here on the Legislative Assembly's very spiffy updated website:
It's probably the other way around

Does environmental activist Greta Thunberg need to learn a lesson about Alberta? Or is it the other way around? - iPolitics Opinion Piece by Graham Thompson

Published on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019, at

She’s like a porcupine walking into a room filled with balloons.

Welcome to Alberta, Greta Thunberg.

The moment the teenage environmental activist mentioned on social media last weekend she was coming to the province as part of her North American tour, heads began exploding in Alberta.

Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree that had been set on fire.

According to various Twitter trolls, the 16-year-old Swede who has become an international symbol of young people’s angst over climate change, is “ignorant,” a “puppet” and should be “arrested for election interference.”

A group pushing for Alberta independence, calling itself Wexit (as in Western Canada and Brexit — get it?), put out a social media post calling Thunberg a “European environmental agitator” and saying “we wish to inform Ms. Thunberg of Canadian law regarding Defamatory Libel.”

This is one of the bizarre tactics of disgruntled Alberans — suggesting that anyone who criticizes Alberta’s energy industry is somehow guilty of slander.

Even the Alberta government couldn’t contain the snark.

“We trust that Ms. Thunberg will recognize Alberta’s leading human rights and environmental standards, especially in comparison to oil-producing dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela – which she will presumably visit next – as well as major growing emitters like China,” said an official statement from Premier Jason Kenney’s office.

This is another favourite tactic of disgruntled Albertans, even when the disgruntled is the government itself: suggest Alberta be given an environmental pass because it’s not a human-rights violating dictatorship.

Alberta’s United Conservative government might be new but its tactics are old. These are the same arguments the province’s Conservative governments used for years. Without success.

A decade ago, the government of then-premier Ed Stelmach got into a public relations war with environmental groups that had launched a campaign against the oilsands after the death of 1,600 ducks in a tailings pond.

The government lost. The movement against the oilsands grew, in part because the environmentalists were better organized and in part because the Alberta government fell back on tropes that Alberta’s oil was “ethical” and would always be in high demand.

The new Kenney government has simply amped up the public relations war, this time spending $30 million on a “war room” to counter the “lies and myths” told about Alberta’s energy industry.

The war room has officially been named the “Canadian Energy Centre” as if it’s a nationally backed organization even though it’s a creature created for and funded by the Alberta government.

Thunberg’s rhetoric on the need to phase out fossil fuels — wherever they are produced — presents a problem for the government. She is no doubt seen as a threat but how do you go to war against 16-year-old girl?

In the case of Thunberg the government has decided that discretion is the better part of valour.

It will simply hunker down with the shades drawn until the fuss is over.

Environment Minister Jason Nixon told reporters the government is making no effort to ask her for a chat and he pointed out Thunberg hasn’t asked for a meeting, either.

But even if she did make the request, it seems the government’s daytimer is full.

“I am busy at a couple of events that have been scheduled for a very long time,” said Nixon. “I’m not aware of any government member that will be attending the rally.”

Thunberg’s appearance Friday isn’t just awkward for the government, it’s a tricky issue for Alberta’s NDP Opposition, too.

Party leader Rachel Notley, who was premier until losing to Kenney in last April’s provincial election, says she’d like to meet with Thunberg. But Notley, who was Alberta’s most environmentally conscious premier ever, shouldn’t expect any pats on the back from Thunberg if they do meet. Notley was, and still is, a strong proponent of Alberta’s energy industry and of building more pipelines to get more oil to market.

Thunberg won’t be impressed. She is the voice of young people terrified at the prospect of runaway climate change created by greenhouse gas emissions.

And that’s a problem for Alberta politicians. None of them can expect anything but a lecture from Thunberg who a few weeks ago told world leaders at the United Nations, “You are failing us.”

Nixon said he hopes Thunberg will educate herself about Alberta.

But perhaps she is not the one who needs an education.


with thanks to Ian Petrie for pointing out the piece
"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else."
---Booker T. Washington

October 16, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

This morning:
Cardigan Riding Roundtable, CBC Radio 96.1FM,after the 7:30AM news and weather.

Malpeque Riding Debate, 7-9PM, Kensington Murray Christian Centre.
Government Mandate letters from Premier Dennis King have finally been posted:

Sounds like understanding and protecting the environment are a major focus.
You can "like" candidates' pages on Facebook, share that, and remind your family and friends about going to vote next Monday.
Lots of voter information at Elections Canada's website, to remind them:
"We can't take any credit for our talents. It is how we use them that counts."
--- Madeleine L'Engle

October 15, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown: The Social Shift (film) Screening and Social Enterprise 101, 5-7PM, Start-Up Zone, Lower Queen Street. The evening begins with a "...screening of The Social Shift; following the film we’ll spend the remainder of the time learning about the resources available to start, grow or connect to a social enterprise in your region, share inspiration, and meet like-minded community leaders!"
More about the documentary, here:

Wednesday, October 16th:
Webinar/Call: "Moving the Political Yardstick" (on Basic Income Guarantee), 1-2PM, register here
Speakers: Kathleen Wynne, Legislative Assembly of Ontario; Hon. Hugh Segal, Aird Berlis; and (our very own Prince Edward Island District 11: Charlottetown-Belvedere MLA and Official Opposition House Leader) Hannah Bell.

Thursday, October 17th:
Film: A Silent Transformation, 6PM, UPEI, McDougall Hall (Business Building) Room 242, free. Running time 70 minutes. Presented by the Charlottetown Farmers' Market Cooperative as part of International Coop Week October 13-19, 2019.

A Silent Transformation is a documentary film about a movement towards a post-Capitalist future. With the current system leaving the most vulnerable members of society behind, with the powerful forces conceiving of everything as a commodity from which to extract value, the co-operative movement pursues a different vision. A vision that radically challenges commonly-held notions about work, ownership, entrepreneurship, democracy and collective agency. A vision that is becoming a lived reality in communities across Canada. A vision that is engaging ordinary Canadians to take charge of their economic future. While progressive movements, from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter, have been pressing for political change, the co-operative movement has been revolutionizing the economy through A Silent Transformation."
Watch the trailer here.

Meet-and-Greet for Undecided Voters, with Malpeque Green Party candidate Anna Keenan, 6:30-8:30PM, Harmony House, Hunter River. "All are welcome.... As the election season draws to a close, Anna wants to reach out to as many people as possible. She will start with a short opening address, with questions and socializing to follow."

If you know of any other candidates in Ridings having events for undecided voters, please let me know.
Nobel Prize in Economics...perhaps some vision in economics: from:

2019 Nobel Prize in Economics awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer - The Indian Express article by the Express Web Desk

Published on Monday, October 14th, 2019, in The Indian Express

As a direct result of one of their studies, more than five million Indian children have benefitted from effective programmes of remedial tutoring in schools. With the prize, French development aid economist Esther Duflo has become the second woman to win the prize.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Monday awarded Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer the prestigious Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

“The research conducted by the 2019 Economic Sciences Laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty. In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research,” said the statement released by the Academy.

The trio’s experimental research methods have benefited more than five million Indian children, who are part of remedial tutoring programmes in schools, the Academy said.

In February 2015, Banerjee and wife Duflo spoke to The Indian Express about their experiments with social sector schemes in India, why NREGA does a “poor” job of identifying the needy and how RTE has contributed to worsening learning levels in schools. They are the sixth couple to win the prize. Banerjee and Duflo work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology while Kremer is at Harvard University.

After today’s announcement, Duflo has become the second woman to win the prize after Elinor Ostrom of the US in 2009. She is also the youngest-ever to win the prize. The Nobel win carries a 9 million-kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal, and a diploma.

“Showing that it is possible for a woman to succeed and be recognized for success I hope is going to inspire many, many other women to continue working and many other men to give them the respect they deserve,” Duflo said announcing her prize.

Last year, the prize went to William Nordhaus and Paul Romer of the US for constructing “green growth” models that show how innovation and climate policies can be integrated with economic growth.

Unlike other prizes, the Nobel prize for Economics, officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, wasn’t created by the prize founder. It was created by Riksbanken, the Swedish central bank, in 1968, and the first winner was selected a year later. So far, 81 Nobel laureates in economic sciences have been awarded.

The Economics Prize wraps up the 2019 Nobel season. Last week, six Nobel prizes were given — medicine, physics and chemistry plus two literature awards, and the coveted Peace Prize.

Austrian author Peter Handke is the winner of Nobel in literature this year and the postponed award for 2018 went to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk. Two Nobel Prizes in literature were announced as the 2018 award was delayed by one year following sex-abuse allegations that had rocked the Swedish Academy.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts to end his country’s two-decade border conflict with Eritrea. All but the winner of the Peace Prize receive their awards on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896 — in Stockholm. The winner of the Peace Prize receives the award in Oslo, Norway.

"Have no friends not equal to yourself."
--- Confucius

October 14, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Thanksgiving, all,

I am thankful caring family and friends, for fantastic farmers, fall flowers and trees and for the smallness and big hearts that P.E.I. is:

Somebody's beautiful Thanksgiving centrepiece (from Isobel's Flower Farm), with the writer Stella Shepard and Green Party leader Elizabeth May in the background, Charlottetown Farmers' Market, Saturday, October 12th, 2019.
Advance Polls today, 9AM-9PM, indicated on your Elections Canada card, or go here to find it:

Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 15th, is the last day to vote by special ballot, which you can do at any Elections Canada office (just remember your Riding, and the name of the person you wish to vote for, and some I.D. and such).
David Suzuki has a 45 second message about the importance of voting.
Tony Reddin passes on this compilation of gorgeous (and some quite moving) images of nature and humanity to a song of Thanks and goodwishes by folk singer David Roth (not rock star David Lee Roth!).
"Do not consider yourself deprived because your dreams were not fulfulled; the truly deprived have never dreamed."
---Marie van Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916)

October 13, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Autumn in the Forest, 2-3:30PM, Macphail Woods, Orwell Corner.
"A walk along the trails of Macphail Woods, looking at both plants and animals. This is a great outing for people of all ages.
CBC Radio's Malpeque Riding Debate:
The audio-recording of Friday, October 11th, 2019's Roundtable with the four candidates in the Riding of Malpeque is here (Conservative Stephen Stewart, Green Anna Keenan, Liberal Wayne Easter and NDP Craig Nash):

There are two others scheduled for this coming week, and any other recordings hopefully linked here soon.
Island videographer (among many, many other talents) Perry Williams brought up his excellent (once of several) made during the Plan B highway protest time in 2012. This one captures the juxtaposition of the police shutdown of the protest site on Friday, October 12 with the surge of people Islanders gathering Saturday morning to rally together for citizens' rights and good governance. (3 minutes)

STOP PLAN B Protests on The Gentle Island
Elements that were argued for and that could have been incorporated into the Plan B highway, to make the structure not just for the transportation ease of cars and trucks, but for safety and ease of the wildlife trying to survive in the area and people wishing to move around in other ways (cycling, walking), include highway passageways or corridors for wildlife (or all designs and could be economical in cost), and separate but parallel active living paths. These could have been built into the Cornwall By-Pass** and certainly should be considered with any sized project going forward.

An article from The Washington Post:

Retrofitting busy highways to let wildlife travel safely, too - The Washington Post article by Jennifer Oldham

Published on Friday, October 11th, 2019

COLLEGIATE PEAKS SCENIC BYWAY, Colo. — U.S. Highway 285 was once a death zone for the dwindling herds of elk and mule deer on Colorado’s Western Slope. But today it offers a lifeline, helping them travel from their summer range high in the mountains to winter foraging grounds along the Arkansas River.

For the past year, a tunnel dipping under three lanes of speeding traffic has beckoned. And as frost descended recently on subalpine meadows and glittering-gold aspen, a huge bull elk, measuring at least nine feet from antlers to hoofs, entered the structure ever so cautiously. Infrared cameras on both ends captured his meandering.

“Yes!” exulted Mark Lawler, an environmental specialist with the state transportation department, sitting under the 25-foot-wide tunnel arch and watching images pop up on his laptop. The ground there was marked by coyote, deer and even squirrel tracks, more proof of success. But Lawler was focusing on the elk’s safe passage. He “won’t be hit by someone on the highway.”

The $3.5 million project is one of several planned for Colorado’s ever more crowded roads, on which some 4,000 bears, bighorn sheep, coyotes and myriad other animals died last year. The cost of the carnage exceeded $80 million, according to state officials.

Across the country, as development continues to encroach on natural areas, wildlife-vehicle collisions are taking a massive toll. More than 1.9 million animal-collision insurance claims were filed in fiscal 2019, a State Farm report found, with some researchers estimating the annual price tag of the resulting human fatalities, wildlife mortality, injuries, vehicle damage and other costs at almost $10 billion.

Yet advances in satellite tracking technology are helping biologists to better understand how many animals rely on corridors — strips of land that link habitats — and how wildlife crossings over and under roads are essential to reconnect these shrinking settings. Federal and state officials, conservationists and landowners are now partnering across borders on remedies.

“Our ecosystems are in crisis due to habitat loss, deforestation and, of course, climate change,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who in May introduced a Wildlife Corridors Conservation bill with bipartisan support. The measure would provide federal land managers the authority to establish corridors, set aside $78.5 million in funding, in part for regional projects, and order the creation of a federal wildlife connectivity database.

“The science is clear that corridors help protect our most vulnerable species,” Udall said in an interview.

Research and video feeds show that specially designed crossings have protected scores of pronghorn antelope in Wyoming, panthers in Florida, mule deer in Nevada, moose along “Slaughter Row” in Utah and grizzly and black bears in Montana from oncoming cars and trucks. Mortality dropped by as much as 90 percent, studies show.

Beyond maintaining populations, such projects ensure that ailing ecosystems retain biodiversity, scientists note. The strategy works for flora, too. A new study based on a decades-long experiment that restored longleaf pine savanna in South Carolina found that fewer plants went extinct in connected habitats.

“We need to create, or support, maintaining wildlife movement and connectivity at landscape scale because it has long-term genetic consequences,” said Rob Ament, road ecology program manager at the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, who is consulting on a project in Asia that will benefit rhinos, tigers and elephants. “We built our interstate system in the 1950s and 1960s before we knew this, and now we must retrofit it to connect landscapes across major highways.”

Under a 2018 secretarial order, the Interior Department is funding work in 11 Western states to identify wildlife corridors and what threatens them, and to create plans and partnerships to preserve such areas. Casey Stemler, a senior adviser in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recalls asking those states to list the key risks to the corridors, “and they all said highways.” A Senate transportation bill includes $250 million for a five-year wildlife-crossing pilot program.

New Mexico and Colorado officials are collaborating with tribes, the National Wildlife Federation, sportsmen’s organizations and landowners pushing for special management areas to protect corridors across three national forests — Rio Grande in Colorado and Carson and Santa Fe in New Mexico. Collectively, they represent one of the least fragmented wildlife landscapes in the continental United States, with elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorns, lynx, black bears and cougars traveling among them.

“When you have two areas that promote wildlife movement from forest to forest, region to region, and state to state, it sets a strong precedent,” said Jeremy Romero, the federation’s regional connectivity coordinator. “We are hoping this can be a West-wide model.”

States are independently prioritizing wildlife corridors and crossings, too. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) in March signed legislation directing her transportation and game and fish agencies to work with tribes in using GPS data from wildlife fitted with electronic collars to identify roads that hinder migration. A plan listing the top proposed corridor projects is to be submitted to the legislature by January.

And under an executive order from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) in August, his natural resources department is studying migration patterns in advance of developing new policies. “We want to ensure conservation of big-game winter range so we can grow our outdoor recreation economy and protect the diversity of our wildlife,” Polis said in a recent interview.

Meanwhile, engineers in Southern California are designing the world’s largest animal crossing. The $87 million overpass, which will span a 10-lane Los Angeles freeway, is a bid to save the region’s mountain lions by reconnecting habitats in the Santa Monica Mountains with those to the north. Other creatures also are expected to traverse it.

Roadway ecologists emphasize crossings’ cost-effectiveness. Every vehicle-elk collision avoided meant $17,483 per kilometer per year in car repairs and medical expenses averted, a 2009 Montana study found. With moose, the figure jumped to $30,760.

“A lot of these structures, we’ve done the math on them and they can effectively pay for themselves in a decade,” said Hall Sawyer, a research biologist at West Inc., an environmental consulting firm in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Key to crossings’ success are fences that direct wildlife toward the site and structure, metal guards that keep animals off roads at intersections, and earthen ramps that allow them to exit.

A couple of hours west of Colorado Springs, the project along Highway 285 has two miles of eight-foot fencing on either side of the asphalt to funnel animals into a trio of box culverts constructed in the late 1960s. Its location near the small town of Buena Vista is not happenstance: Lawler compared law enforcement crash data on injuries from wildlife-vehicle collisions and carcass removal information collected by maintenance crews, then talked with wildlife managers in the area and coordinated with private landowners.

The effort paid off: The bodies of elk and mule deer no longer litter the road. Instead, Lawler watches remotely as they amble with little danger through the tunnel.

The state transportation department plans to hire a firm next spring to track data from the structure’s cameras and better quantify the crossing’s effectiveness.
“It would be great if someday wildlife treatments are seen as stand-alone projects,” said Lawler, glancing up at the pinyon- and juniper-covered hillside where animals case the underpass for safety. “I can see that day coming.”

Also, Peter Rukavina's ideas about the travel zone:

excerpt from July 13th, 2019, on his blogsite:

One of the less-recognized shames of the Plan B highway project is that there was no provision whatsoever made for cyclists when the new highway was constructed, despite that being the ideal–and perhaps only, in our lifetimes–opportunity to do so. Wouldn’t it have been amazing to have a separated cycleway running parallel to the route?
**Please Note that Josh Underhay was a positive and energetic supporter of active transport, and strongly behind the lane that was incorporated along the triple roundabouts in the Cornwall to Upton Road segment of the highway.
"When I discover who I am, I'll be free."
--- Ralph Ellison

October 12, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets -- all busy for Thanksgiving shopping:
Charlottetown -- 9AM-2PM
Summerside -- 9AM-1PM
BOOtiful Murray Harbour -- 9AM-12noon -- with Pumpkin carving contest event details here
Cardigan -- 10AM-2PM

Federal Election Advance Polls Open, 9AM-9PM
, look on your dark taupe-accented Elections Canada card that may have come in the mail, to find out the location for the Advance Polls, which run today, Sunday and Monday. You can also vote anytime until Tuesday at the Elections returning office, with the closing time Tuesday of 6PM (at least on my dark taupe-accented card.
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Federal Green Party, will be on the Island Saturday morning:
With Cardigan candidate Glen Beaton, 9-10AM, Pownal Rink. With an announcement.

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 10:20-11AM, with Charlottetown Candidate Darcie Lanthier.
And at noon...! Bonshaw, PEI resident Tony Reddin asks a question on CBC Radio's Quirks&Quarks about how each political party plans to tackle the climate crisis with what actions in the next decade. And while no one actually answers the question properly, there is a good description of each Party's place in fighting climate change.

Tony writes:

They sent the link already:
There are 4 Qs total with good long answers and rebuttals. I like the format!

The link page includes excerpts of the answers; the full recording gives their complete answers with much more detailed plans for some of how they intend to transform electricity, heat, & transport (as I was wanting to hear). But I don't think anyone referred to specific plans for the next decade.

Sunday, October 13th:
Autumn in the Forest, 2-3:30PM
, Macphail Woods, Orwell Corner.
"A walk along the trails of Macphail Woods, looking at both plants and animals. This is a great outing for people of all ages."
Wednesday, October 16th (and deadline for questions Monday, October 14th):
Malpeque Candidates' Debate, 7-9PM,
Murray Christian Centre, 15 School Street, Kensington.

What questions do you have for the Candidates in the Malpeque Candidates Debate being held on Oct 16? Send in writing by 12NOON October 14 to <>
OK, I felt a twinge of disappointment when the Nobel Peace Prize winner was announced yesterday (but of course congratulations to Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian prime minister who "helped end standoff with Eritrea").

Washington Post article, bold is mine:

Why Didn't Greta Thunberg Win the Noble Peace Prize? - The Washington Post article by Karla Adam

LONDON — Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was the odds-on favorite to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

The award would have capped an already extraordinary year, in which Thunberg evolved from a student sitting outside the Swedish parliament, all by herself, to become the leader of a global youth movement, inspiring millions of schoolchildren around the world to join her in calling for greater action on climate change.

“How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she told world leaders in a blistering speech at the United Nations last month.

But instead of bestowing the prize on the 16-year-old Swede, the Norwegian Nobel Committee gave it to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was praised for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation.”

Why was Thunberg passed over? How could so many forecasters have been so wrong?

The peace prize selection process is highly secretive — all the committee would reveal was that there were 301 nominations this year. The names of some contenders are made public by their nominators. Thunberg, for instance, was nominated by three Norwegian lawmakers. But the full list will not be released for 50 years.

It can also be hard to anticipate the winner because the selection reflects the idiosyncrasies of five individuals picked by the Norwegian parliament.

That doesn’t stop people from guessing — or betting — on the winner. On Thursday night, Thunberg was the favorite with bookmakers William Hill (2/5) and Coral (4/7).

But she had several factors working against her, according to analysts who have followed the award.

Henrik Urdal, head of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, omitted Thunberg from the Nobel Peace Prize shortlist he publishes.

He explained his decision to The Washington Post, saying there “isn’t scientific consensus that there is a linear relationship between climate change — or resource scarcity, more broadly — and armed conflict.”

Janne Haaland Matlary, a politics professor at the University of Oslo, agreed that Thunberg was a “wild card” nominee. The link between climate change and conflict is still “quite tenuous at this point,” she said. “Everyone sees flooding can cause conflict, migration and so on, but this is in no way well established as a security policy issue yet.”

The prize has gone to environmental champions before. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former vice president Al Gore won “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” In 2004, it was given to Wangari Maathai “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” In 1970, it went to Norman Borlaug, sometimes called the “father of the green revolution.”

But Urdal said such picks would be less likely now, as the prize committee has sought to hew more closely to the original wishes of Alfred Nobel.

In his 1895 will outlining the prize, Nobel wrote that the recipient should be someone who has advanced the “abolition or reduction of standing armies” — which some have interpreted as requiring a direct connection to peace and conflict.

“If you make it too broad, it becomes a bit meaningless,” Urdal said.

Robert Falkner, a climate expert at the London School of Economics, questioned the narrowing of the prize.

“If you want to return to a narrow definition of conflict — as in military conflict or inter-state confrontation, which is in a sense the early 20th century perspective on conflict and war — that’s very antiquated and a rather narrow notion of conflict,” Falkner said.

He added that it’s difficult to prove a direct causal relationship between climate change and conflict, in part because the same crisis can trigger different responses in different countries.

But he said: “Where there are already sources of ecological stress that can spill over into conflict, those will be intensified, multiplied and accelerated. That’s why the Pentagon, [Britain’s Defense Ministry] and NATO are studying this.” The Pentagon has called climate change a “threat multiplier.”

It’s also possible that the timing was not quite right for Thunberg. The committee draws up a short­list “ ” soon after the nomination deadline at the end of January. But some of the more impressive moments of Thunberg’s activism — the global climate strikes, her transatlantic voyage on a sailboat, her U.N. speech — came later in the year.

The award undoubtedly would have been a huge public relations boost for the teenage activist, who is now in Denver as part of a tour of North America. But Thunberg has said she does not protest to “get awards and prizes.”

She tweeted Friday to her 2.8 million followers that she would be doing what she does every Friday: demonstrating against climate change.

Of course, at her age, she may have plenty more chances to win the Nobel.

October 12th is a bittersweet day, as is reminds many of us the roots of the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. -- from the experiences fighting the Plan B highway in 2012. Just a few notes:

Plan B was a local nickname for a terribly flawed highway plan that was presented as an alternative to terribly flawed highway project plans.
It was all about using as much federal money (which would be "borrowed 50cent dollars") as possible on a big of a project as possible. (This, we realized, is unfortunately nothing new.)

Plan B was presented as as "done deal" without prior public consultation, and would result in scores of acres of woods and fields bulldozed (including regenerated Acadian forest and a rare for PEI Old Growth hemlock grove), and people (mostly seniors) being pushed from their homes. The Environmental Impact Assessment process was a charade, a farce, truly, and the whole project generated a lot of public outcry and resulted in an amazing sense of community. But the leader of the Liberal government, Robert Ghiz (who we now know was battling crumbling facades of e-gaming and PNP, behind those wooded paneled rooms on the Fifth Floor), dug in his fashionable heels and refused to listen to alternatives. And late on a rainy Friday afternoon of October 12th, he sent the national police force in to haul out a handful of dedicated, damp protestors, to chuck the little tents and homey belongings into a soggy heap, and barricade people out but let in the treefellers and bulldozers. The RCMP did allow the Sacred Fire, lit by Keptin John Joe Sark, to be scoped up and moved to nearby private property, where environmental monitors lived for the next year watching the road being built and the environmental mitigations fail.

"...Cause when it's gone, it's gone."
---from the "Plan B Realty" spoof ad
(one minute long)

Photographer John Morris' wordless 9minute before and after walk around the Hemlock Grove (consider making time to watch this sometime this weekend):
Elizabeth May's visit to the Camp Vision (the camp on private property adjacent to the Hemlock Grove construction zone), in early November 2012, on a rainy Friday afternoon, with Peter Bevan-Baker, before the provincial Green Party convention where he became leader.
Friday, November 2nd, 2012, Peter Bevan-Baker and Elizabeth May, Camp Vision by Plan B highway construction, Churchill, P.E.I. (photo by Chris O.)

October 11, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Malpeque Candidates Radio Debate, sometime between 7:35-8AM, CBC Radio's Island Morning, 96.1FM. Wayne Easter (Liberal), Anna Keenan (Green), Craig Nash (NDP) and Stephen Stewart (Conservative) are the candidates.

Fridays for Future, 3:30PM, Cenotaph/Province House Grafton Street side.

12th Annual Gene MacLellan Tribute Concert, 7PM, Bonshaw Hall, TCH at Green Road.
Host- Scott Parsons, Bonnie LeClair, Paul Broadbent Nick Doneff, Katie McGarry and Dan Currie
"We will be playing Gene MacLellan songs and a few of our own." Tickets - $15 at the door, with all proceeds to maintain the Bonshaw Hall.

Saturday, October 11th:
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, is planning to be at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market in the morning.

Tony Reddin is famous!
Quirks and Quarks All-Party Science and Environmental Policy Debate during its show, 12noon, 96.1FM. Also, Monday at 11PM, Wednesday at 3PM. "They recorded my Q for the show: 'What are the steps that you want Canada to take, in the next decade, to transform our economy to 'Net-Zero Carbon Emissions' by 2050?' "

Tony adds: "They may include my comment that I'd like to see the answers give some practical plans for transforming electricity, heat, & transport."

The show's producers said they liked the question due to its simplicity.
"Strategic Voting"...
This organization wants people for all four Ridings on P.E.I. to vote for the incumbent, presumably to prevent a Conservative majority government.

Very mixed feelings about this kind of projection-based and pretty much fear-inducing prescriptive pronouncements.
Keep in mind Climate First and real electoral reform.

Friday, October 11-Monday, October 14th:
Advance Polls-- Begin today and running through Monday, very nice and holiday-like of them. Advance Poll locations are different than the Monday, October 21st voting day (usually) and your location is found on the Voter Information Card that came in the mail.

Voting by Special Ballot at Elections Canada office. Anytime between now and Tuesday, October 15th.

After that, you will have to wait until Election Day!
from the Legislative Assembly website:
Coming soon to a mobile device near you! We'll be launching a new website for the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, October 16. Stay tuned to our home page!

Remember, deadline is Friday, October 25th:
Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges Committee would like to hear your input on potential changes to the Rules of the Legislative Assembly. Deadline for written submissions is October 25, 2019.
Governments are still not acknowledging that citizens have rights and deserve meaningful input in the environmental impact review process for projects, especially ones like Northern Pulp in Pictou, Nova Scotia:

Minister not considering extension to comment period on Northern Pulp report - CBC News online article by Matthew Gorman

Published on Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Environmental group says volume of documents warrants more time

Nova Scotia Environment Minister Gordon Wilson is not considering a request to extend the public comment period on the Northern Pulp focus report or the amount of time his department staff has to review people's submissions.

Lawyers for Ecojustice, on behalf of the group Friends of the Northumberland Strait, wrote to Wilson on Thursday requesting 30 additional days for the public comment period and 30 more days for department staff to review submissions.

"It is clear that this project is highly controversial and has generated a very high level of public interest and concern, within the Pictou area and across Nova Scotia," lawyers write in the letter, which was released publicly.

Northern Pulp is seeking approval to build a new effluent treatment facility at its Pictou County mill site, a proposal that includes using a pipeline to move treated effluent to the Northumberland Strait.

The lawyers for the environmental groups say the volume of documents involved — in the range of 2,500 pages — and technical nature of much of the material is cause to give the public more time.

Wilson said the 30-day comment period for a Class 1 environmental assessment is the standard used in the province.

But NDP Leader Gary Burrill said that's precisely the problem."This is a major, major project with many, many sides," he said. "We said from the beginning that a Class 1 assessment will not work to establish the kind of public confidence that you need to get out of an environmental assessment and that's plainly the case now."

Tory Leader Tim Houston agreed, and said it's reasonable for the minister to consider the group's request. "There's no room for error on this file," he said. "Thirty days is a short time for a document of this significance and this volume."

With no changes to the timeline, the public has until 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 8 to submit comments and Wilson must deliver his decision by Dec. 17.

But Wilson noted the public comment period for the mill's previous submission, which his predecessor deemed to be insufficient and thus ordered the focus report, was for 30 days and received about 4,000 submissions.

"We want to hear from Nova Scotians," Wilson told reporters at Province House. "Thirty days has always been adequate in the past; it's worked very well and I certainly feel that it should meet the requirements this time also."

"Don't wait for people to be friendly, show them how."

October 10, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

"Leaf Relief" -- CBC Radio's tree give-away, 6:30-8:30AM, at Charlottetown Farmers' Market parking lot. Small trees and free coffee and muffins and prizes.

Coffee with Karla, District 12 MLA Karla Bernard, 10AM-12noon, Kettle Black coffee Lower Queen Street.

Engaging Youth in the Era of Climate Change Program Info session, 5-6:30PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.
"We will review the program, the eligibility criteria, and the application process. We are looking for youth participants, volunteer mentors (1 to 2 hours per month), and job coaches (paid). The program is for 20 Island youth with barriers to employment who meet the eligibility criteria.<snip>
The youth will participate in group-based employability skills training for a maximum of 20 weeks and work experience with a job coach for a minimum of six weeks."

Second Zero Waste Night Market, 6-9PM, Riverview County Market. Free but lots of vendors and products for sale/information booths.
edited: "It is all about bringing the community together to encourage a conscious plastic free lifestyle. This event will have many awesome local businesses." Facebook event link

Malpeque Candidates' Forum, hosted by Young Voters of PEI, 7-9PM, Barnone Brewery, 4248 Route 225, Rose Valley. "Young Islanders are invited to mix and mingle with their Malpeque candidates and participate in a panel where candidates will answer questions from their constituents on the issues that matter most to young voters in Malpeque." Facebook event link

French Language Federal Party Leaders' Debate, 9PM our time.
More general info about it at this CBC article
English translation YouTube link

Friday, October 11th:
12th Annual Gene MacLellan Tribute Concert, 7PM
, Bonshaw Hall, TCH at Green Road.
Host- Scott Parsons, Bonnie LeClair, Paul Broadbent Nick Doneff, Katie McGarry and Dan Currie
"We will be playing Gene MacLellan songs and a few of our own." Tickets - $15 at the door, with all proceeds to maintain the Bonshaw Hall.
Water Act regulations

Hey, don't forget the last set of regulations about the provincial Water Act!

Public meetings have been scheduled now to discuss these draft regulations, which are the nitty-gritty establishing the rules for anything beyond domestic water wells.

from the media release (edited slightly):

Islanders can drop in to any of the following meetings between 6 - 8PM: 

Tuesday, October 22nd – Three Oaks High, Summerside *Translation Services available
Thursday, October 24th – Hernwood Junior High, Mill River
Tuesday, October 29th – Kaylee Hall, Montague**
Wednesday, October 30th – Charlottetown Rural High, Charlottetown

**Ironically, I don't think you can drink the tap water at Kaylee Hall, which is located well outside Montague.

"The meetings will happen in a collaborative workshop format. Participants will be led through a series of exercises encouraging open feedback and input on the proposed regulations."

There is a new and apparently government-produced website on water, with an assuring "There's Plenty of Water!" tone that's a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, where:

"To help prepare for the meetings, visit On the Level (link is external) for an overview of PEI’s water resources, including how government is monitoring, managing and protecting watersheds."

And at this website, they will be accepting comments from Tuesday, October 22nd to Friday, November 8th.
"On the Level" government website on water:

The DRAFT regulations and some so-so background publications (again, some assuring us there's plenty of water!) are here:
Maclean's magazine has a daily feature during the campaign called "The Election Image of the Day", which they describe more about the story of what's going on with the Party leader(s) in the photo.
from U.K. columnist George Monbiot, from a few months ago, but very, very relevant....

Only rebellion will prevent an ecological apocalypse - The Guardian (UK) column by George Monbiot

Published on Monday, April 15th, 2019

No one is coming to save us. Mass civil disobedience is essential to force a political response

Had we put as much effort into preventing environmental catastrophe as we’ve spent on making excuses for inaction, we would have solved it by now. Everywhere I look, I see people engaged in furious attempts to fend off the moral challenge it presents.

The commonest current excuse is this: “I bet those protesters have phones/go on holiday/wear leather shoes.” In other words, we won’t listen to anyone who is not living naked in a barrel, subsisting only on murky water. Of course, if you are living naked in a barrel we will dismiss you too, because you’re a hippie weirdo. Every messenger, and every message they bear, is disqualified on the grounds of either impurity or purity.

As the environmental crisis accelerates, and as protest movements like YouthStrike4Climate and Extinction Rebellion make it harder not to see what we face, people discover more inventive means of shutting their eyes and shedding responsibility. Underlying these excuses is a deep-rooted belief that if we really are in trouble, someone somewhere will come to our rescue: “they” won’t let it happen. But there is no they, just us.

The political class, as anyone who has followed its progress over the past three years can surely now see, is chaotic, unwilling and, in isolation, strategically incapable of addressing even short-term crises, let alone a vast existential predicament. Yet a widespread and wilful naivety prevails: the belief that voting is the only political action required to change a system. Unless it is accompanied by the concentrated power of protest – articulating precise demands and creating space in which new political factions can grow – voting, while essential, remains a blunt and feeble instrument.

The media, with a few exceptions, is actively hostile. Even when broadcasters cover these issues, they carefully avoid any mention of power, talking about environmental collapse as if it is driven by mysterious, passive forces, and proposing microscopic fixes for vast structural problems. The BBC’s Blue Planet Live series exemplified this tendency.

Those who govern the nation and shape public discourse cannot be trusted with the preservation of life on Earth. There is no benign authority preserving us from harm. No one is coming to save us. None of us can justifiably avoid the call to come together to save ourselves.

I see despair as another variety of disavowal. By throwing up our hands about the calamities that could one day afflict us, we disguise and distance them, converting concrete choices into indecipherable dread. We might relieve ourselves of moral agency by claiming that it’s already too late to act, but in doing so we condemn others to destitution or death. Catastrophe afflicts people now and, unlike those in the rich world who can still afford to wallow in despair, they are forced to respond in practical ways. In Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, devastated by Cyclone Idai, in Syria, Libya and Yemen, where climate chaos has contributed to civil war, in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, where crop failure, drought and the collapse of fisheries have driven people from their homes, despair is not an option. Our inaction has forced them into action, as they respond to terrifying circumstances caused primarily by the rich world’s consumption. The Christians are right: despair is a sin.

As the author Jeremy Lent points out in a recent essay, it is almost certainly too late to save some of the world’s great living wonders, such as coral reefs and monarch butterflies. It might also be too late to prevent many of the world’s most vulnerable people from losing their homes. But, he argues, with every increment of global heating, with every rise in material resource consumption, we will have to accept still greater losses, many of which can still be prevented through radical transformation.

Every nonlinear transformation in history has taken people by surprise. As Alexei Yurchak explains in his book about the collapse of the Soviet Union – Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More – systems look immutable until they suddenly disintegrate. As soon as they do, the disintegration retrospectively looks inevitable. Our system – characterised by perpetual economic growth on a planet that is

This is less daunting than we might imagine. As Erica Chenoweth’s historical research reveals, for a peaceful mass movement to succeed, a maximum of 3.5% of the population needs to mobilise. Humans are ultra-social mammals, constantly if subliminally aware of shifting social currents. Once we perceive that the status quo has changed, we flip suddenly from support for one state of being to support for another. When a committed and vocal 3.5% unites behind the demand for a new system, the social avalanche that follows becomes irresistible. Giving up before we have reached this threshold is worse than despair: it is defeatism.

Today, Extinction Rebellion takes to streets around the world in defence of our life-support systems. Through daring, disruptive, nonviolent action, it forces our environmental predicament on to the political agenda. Who are these people? Another “they”, who might rescue us from our follies? The success of this mobilisation depends on us. It will reach the critical threshold only if enough of us cast aside denial and despair, and join this exuberant, proliferating movement. The time for excuses is over. The struggle to overthrow our life-denying system has begun.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

"Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry."
---Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)

October 9, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Legislative Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 9AM, Coles Building. People are welcome in the Gallery or to watch at home here.
with the usual topic notice: The committee will meet to review The Report of the Auditor General to the Legislative Assembly dated March 8, 2019; when that review is complete, the committee will review the Report of the Auditor General - Petroleum Product Pricing: Prince Edward Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission dated December 21, 2018. Auditor General B. Jane MacAdam will be in attendance.

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, LAST WEDNESDAY, 9AM-2PM, Belvedere Avenue.

Standing Committee on Health and Social Development meeting today RESCHEDULED for Wednesday, OCTOBER 23th

Malpeque Riding Events:
Bluefield High School MALPEQUE All-Candidates' Debate, 4-5PM, Bluefield High School, Route 9, Hampshire. All welcome.
Wayne Easter (Liberal), Anna Keenan (Green), Craig Nash (NDP), and Stephen Stewart (Conservative) are all scheduled to attend.

Candidate Meet-and-Greet -- Bedeque Area, 7:15-9:45PM, Bedeque United Church.
What the mainstream, climate-crisis acknowledging Guardian editorial board writes today:

Local protest left the right impression - The Guardian main editorial

Published on Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

We can only imagine the chaos if Monday morning commuters trying to cross the Hillsborough Bridge connecting Charlottetown and Stratford were blocked by climate crisis protesters.

The same can’t be said for other cities around the world, including Halifax, where the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge was blocked for about three-and-ahalf hours.

The goal by the group of protesters — Extinction Rebellion — was a call to political leaders to take action on the climate emergency we are all facing. Instead, the demonstrations left people angry, especially motorists trying to get to work on time.

While we certainly support this group’s right to protest the climate record of various countries, including our own, this is a counter-productive way to get their message across and gain support from the public.

Our local chapter of Extinction Rebellion has had mixed results with the public so far. In March, they held peaceful demonstrations in Charlottetown by slowing traffic on Great George Street by crossing the road over and over again. The demonstrations moved to the Charlottetown Mall later in the day. No one was really bothered by these demonstrations.

A month later, the group’s local founder Daphnée Azoulay was arrested for causing a disturbance at a city council meeting. The disturbance she allegedly caused was stepping inside the council chambers gate with a “Declare a Climate Emergency” banner, and refused to go to the public gallery.

This group got the media coverage it wanted, but at the time, it also left many of us with a bad impression of their tactics rather than a better understanding of the climate emergency that we’re in.

A Guardian reader has also pointed out that the Halifax protest likely had a negative impact on the environment by forcing people to drive longer routes to get into Halifax over the A. Murray MacKay Bridge or via Bedford and idle longer in a traffic jams.

Inconsistencies can be easy to find sometimes, as with the global climate strike on Sept. 27 where at least one gas-guzzling pickup truck had a ‘Climate Emergency: Act Now’ sign displayed on the tailgate. On a larger front, let’s not forget that our federal government, and we, as taxpayers, actually own a pipeline. How’s that for a consistent position on the climate crisis?

The P.E.I. group (edited: Extinction Rebellion PEI or XR-PEI) did hold a demonstration on the Hillsborough Bridge on Monday, but they held signs in the shoulder area. It was the right decision not to block traffic, and we’re left with a better impression of the group’s local chapter as a result.

We’re clearly at a point in our history when people are more receptive to climate issues than ever before. Groups don’t need to pull stunts that disrupt people’s lives to get them to listen. People are already listening.

XR-PEI invites all to Fridays for Future, this Friday at 3:30PM at the Grafton Street side of Province House.

Please keep in mind: Vote #climatefirst
From our Legislative Assembly website:

Friday, October 25th, 2019:
Deadline for written submissions... On potential changes to the Rules of the Legislative Assembly " the potential calendar, sitting hours and budget process.")
to be sent to the Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges Committee.

e-mail to:

or write (or drop off):
Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges
Office of the Clerk
197 Richmond Street
P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7N8

I suspect it could be suggested that the committee's gangling name be changed, too.

"There is only one dream worth live while are alive, and die only when you are dead."
--- Arundhati Roy (b. 1961)

October 8, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Cardigan Riding Federal Election Forum, 7-8:30PM
, Stratford Town Hall. All candidates for the Cardigan Riding will be in attendance.

The forum will also be live-streamed on the Town of Stratford's Facebook page.

and in the west tonight:
Tuesday, October 8th:
Egmont Candidates' Debate on Health Issues, 7PM
, Westisle Composite High. Sponsored by the PEI Health Coalition. "The public is invited to come and share their support and appreciation of our public healthcare system. Where would we be without it and how can we improve it?"
Not Federal Election:
Architecture Week free talks:

Designing for Social Impact, 7PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, 2 Kent Street.

Thursday, October 10th:
The Next Green: Innovation in Stable Design, 7PM, Florence Simmonds Performance Hall, 140 Weymouth Street.
Confusion about similar-sounding groups --

Yesterday, I posted a link for a daily noontime event this week organized by Extinction Rebellion Affinity Group which involves purposeful slowing of traffic, and it turns out that is a different group than the Extinction Rebellion PEI group that organizes the Fridays for Future 3:30PM Cenotaph gatherings, and a banner unfurling away from traffic on the Hillsborough Bridge, yesterday.
More on Extinction Rebellion PEI (XR-PEI) here, with the Fridays for Future this Friday, 3:30PM, in front of Province House.
Apologies for all that.
Applause to Joe Byrne and Lynne Thiele of the NDP, Anna Keenan and Darcie Lathier of the Green Party, and Wayne Easter and Sean Casey of the Liberal Party for participating in the Forum on Social Issues last night hosted by the PEI Federation of Labour.

Not sure why the Conservative Party could not send any candidates.
From Phil Ferraro and Virginia McGowan:
A new, exciting, and innovative program is about to start to help and empower Island youth to build their resilience and find or create jobs in the 'green'/sustainable economy or social enterprise that will help them in the impending climate crisis:

ENGAGING YOUTH IN THE ERA OF CLIMATE CHANGE - From Phil Ferraro and Virginia McGowan

INFO SESSION: Thursday, October 10th, 5-6:30PM, Farm Centre

Come to our information session at the PEI Farm Centre, 420 University Ave., Charlottetown (next to Sobey's). Free parking and refreshments will be served. We will review the program, the eligibility criteria, and the application process.
We are looking for youth participants, volunteer mentors (1 to 2 hours per month), and job coaches (paid).
The program is for 20 Island youth with barriers to employment who meet the eligibility criteria.
For youth in the program, a minimum wage will be paid for 30 hours per week plus benefits. As needed, living expenses, dependent care, disability-related supports, and transportation issues can be addressed. A full-time youth work/case manager will support the youth participants who will also be matched with a mentor.
The youth will participate in group-based employability skills training for a maximum of 20 weeks and work experience with a job coach for a minimum of six weeks.

"Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement."
--- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972)

October 7, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Forum on Social Issues, 7-9PM, Murphy Community Centre, put together with the support of a huge number of interested groups, and hosted by the PEI Federation of Labour. All welcome. Candidates from all Ridings have been invited.

Televised Federal Leaders' Debate in English, 8-10PM, on most media outlets and here at CPAC's site on-line.

and in person:

Watch Party with Young Voters of PEI, 8-10PM, PEI Brewing Company, Kensington Avenue, Charlottetown. All welcome.

Tuesday, October 8th:
Egmont Candidates' Debate on Health Issues, 7PM
, Westisle Composite High. Sponsored by the PEI Health Coalition. "The public is invited to come and share their support and appreciation of our public healthcare system. Where would we be without it and how can we improve it?"

And all this week:
Gentle Disruption Against Violent Destruction, 12noon-1PM
, Monday, October 7th to Friday, October 11th. By Province House at Grafton Street and Great George Street, Charlottetown.

from the Extinction Rebellion - PEI event page:
This action is a gentle variation on 'swarming' which is a standard XR International tactic, which has worked well. In this version, we will walk slowly into the road when the traffic lights are green, with XR banners, then take our time returning to the sidewalk when the lights turn red, trying to make sure that the drivers know what the banners are about. You may be shouted at by drivers and there may be police presence. Just smile and remain calm. :-) Please note, this is a disruptive but non-arrestable action. In the unlikely event that the police threaten arrest, you will have time to withdraw. The more the cops get used to us doing this, the less chance there is of us getting arrested. Please help us wake up the public!!

The gentle disruption of slowing traffic is the least that is needed to draw attention to the violent destruction that unchecked fossil fuel burning is causing to our planet. Governments are allowing the violence to continue, so we the people must act now to stop climate catastrophe.
We will meet daily, from Monday to Friday, in front of Province House (on Grafton St.) to disrupt the Monday to Friday-business as usual.
It is important to acknowledge that the land on which we will be doing the action is the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq First Nation.

Love and solidarity,
XR PEI - Affinity Group

Facebook event details
There are similar events planned in other cities this week.

More about the Official Federal Debates, from Global News:

edited from:

Each of the two official leaders’ debates in the 2019 election campaign will cover five major topics and include five questions submitted by Canadian citizens, the media partnership responsible for producing the debates announced on Monday.

The two-hour English-language debate — scheduled for the evening of Oct. 7, 2019, two weeks before Canadians head to the polls — will be divided into five themed blocks: affordability and economic insecurity; environment and energy; Indigenous issues; national and global leadership; and polarization, human rights and immigration.

The two-hour French-language debate on Oct. 10, meanwhile, will cover economy and finances; environment and energy; foreign policy and immigration; identity, ethics and governance; and services to citizens. ....

Ten of those questions from Canadians will make it into the two debates, which will have similar — but not identical — formats.

All five blocks of the English debate will include one question from a Canadian, one question from a journalist moderator and one leader-to-leader question, capped off by a leader-to-leader debate.

In the French debate, each of the five segments will include one question from a Canadian, an open debate between three of the six federal party leaders invited to participate, an open debate between the remaining three leaders and, finally, “questions in quick succession from a journalist.”

In both debates, an open debate between all six leaders will follow the five segments, each of which will last about 22 minutes.

The English-language debate will run from 7-9 p.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. The French-language debate has been scheduled for 8-10 p.m. ET on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.

Both debates will take place before a live audience at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., across the river from Parliament Hill
"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
--- Conan O'Brien

October 6, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farm Day in the City, 11AM-5PM, all of lower Queen Street and Victoria Row. Bring bags, a wagon, or other creative ways of hauling your purchases, as there will be amazing produce and lovely crafts.

Federal Candidates' Forum on Social Issues, 7-9PM
, Murphy Community Centre, Charlottetown.
The PEI Federation of Labour is holding a Federal Candidate's Forum on October 7th, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the Murphy's Centre, Charlottetown. Representatives from concerned Island groups will be there with questions for the candidates. They include: United Way PEI, Trade Justice Group, Early Childhood Development Association, Cooper Institute, Migrant Workers Rights, Women's Network, PE Group for Affordable Housing, PEI Health Coalition, and the Native Council of PEI. The public and all candidates from each of the Conservative, Green, Liberal and New Democratic parties are expected to attend.

Questions will be asked concerning social issues such as Pharmacare, Employment, Pensions, Anti Racism, Environment, Child Care, Affordable Housing, Pensions, Retirement Security, Trade, Migrant Workers and Fair Taxes.

For Further information: 902-368-3068.

The PEI Federation of Labour is an umbrella group for unionized labour on Prince Edward Island.
Facebook event link

The Charlottetown Film Festival is coming up and tickets are going fast,
October 25-onward, City Cinema, various times.
More details:
Includes SOLASTALGIA, by Millefiore Clarkes, "a lyrical, dramatic film that explores the anguish that climate change and a global state of uncertainty can impart upon the human psyche."

<apologies -- a formatting error has messed us the article part here, so I will save it for tomorrow and send this as is.
-- Chris O. >
Election Day is in two weeks and Advance Polls open in less than one, and there are places to vote before them.
from a current candidate, with very good information:

Canadians: if you need to check your voter registration, or update you address, you do it *right now*, here:

Also think about your relatives who may have moved house/changed address in the last 4 years - older and younger folks in particular! Help the people you know to get registered!

People need to vote in the place that is considered their primary residence. University students are unique as a 'population in transition' - they can choose whether they vote in their 'home' riding or their 'school' riding'. Choose wisely and

"The truth of the matter is this: There's so much nobility lurking inside your souls, our job as parents, educators and teachers, is to nurture it, to bring it out, and to let it shine."
-- from the Wonder writings by R.J. Palacio

October 5, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM
Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM
Cardigan Market is OPEN today!

Please note I apparently closed the Cardigan Market two weeks early -- it's open today (10AM-2PM, I think) and Saturday, October 12th.

And presumably there are a lot of candidates' events in the Ridings, including:
Egmont Conservative Candidate Logan McLellan Meet and Greet, 1-3PM, West Prince Tired Iron Antique Club,
Facebook event link

Sunday, October 6th:
Farm Day in the City, 11AM-5PM, Queen Street and Victoria Row down to Water Street. Huge Festival and lots of fun and good food and crafts.
from the PEI Certified Organic Producers Cooperative newsletter of October 4th, 2019:
Fall Farmers' Markets
The Pop-Up Market at the PEI Farm Centre, the Downtown Charlottetown Farmers' Market, and the Cardigan Farmers' Market are all closed for the year. Business will go on as usual at the Summerside Farmers' Market. The Charlottetown Farmers' Market will also continue to be open every Saturday, but will be closed on Wednesdays after Thanksgiving. If you haven't been there to grab lunch or do some mid-week groceries, next week is your last chance.
from Peter Rukavina's website blog from Friday, October 4th, 2019:

Let’s stop diminishing women in our political debates- Peter Rukavina blog post

Conservative Party candidate Robert Campbell, in The Guardian/UPEISU debate on Tuesday:
                I’ve been talking to students. You talk to these young ladies right
                over here that I talked to last week. And the young lady is, I think
                is, from Egypt. And she told me what was going on.

                So do I believe this little girl, or do I just say no, it’s BS.

T              This girl told me it happens, it happens.

Christian Heritage Party candidate Christene Squires, at an all candidates meeting in Montague on Wednesday:

                Squires claimed human-caused climate change was based on
                “biased science” and criticized Swedish teen climate activist
                 Greta Thunberg.

                “This girl, that little thing that came over from Sweden. ‘Oh how
                dare you.’ All this emotion! Cut out the emotion and get to the
                real facts,” Squires said.

When women are referred to as “little girls” or “little things” they are infantilized, and their contributions to political life diminished and dismissed.

Let’s stop doing this.
Good points:

Are we risking more with rural internet Hail Mary? - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019, in The Graphic newspapers

The dream of fast, reliable, secure rural internet is often promised and sporadically delivered. For too many, the reality is service that is frustratingly slow and woefully inadequate. It is an impediment to economic development, community sustainability and quality of life.

As a province we’ve poured tens of millions into ‘solutions’ that have proven to be nothing more than corporate and government spin.

And the latest effort to bring rural PEI into the modern world has the hallmarks of it happening once again.

In the run up to the spring provincial election the federal and provincial governments announced the latest salvo – a $70 million investment that once again promises to bring high speed internet to all corners of PEI. The feds will invest $33.1 million and the province an almost insignificant $3.5 million. The remaining $35 million for the fibre and fixed wireless solution will be delivered by Bell Canada and Xplornet. It’s unknown how much of the $35 million is actually a cash investment and how much is in kind investment – a paper transaction.

Experts quietly say it’s unlikely to actually deliver a definitive Island-wide solution. But it did put an immediate stop to a promise by the MacLauchlan government to include small Island owned internet providers in finding a rural solution. At the press conference a five-year $10 million fund was hurriedly announced, minus all details. It was a knee-jerk political reaction to offset local criticism of government’s rural internet Hail Mary with its key player Bell - a company held in almost universal disdain by Island customers.

Seven months on and the provincial government is still vague on the program and its requirements.

What is clear is that both of government’s selected providers will utilize technology produced by Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant that has used hundreds of millions of dollars and cut-rate products to win influence with consumers, academics and governments.

Some may say ‘well, what’s the big deal?’

The ‘deal’ is Huawei’s international perception as an arm of the Chinese government. It has been accused by governments and corporations of stealing technology. Many experts, including leading Canadian experts, believe its technology can be used as a spying tool by China. The United States, Australia and Japan have banned Huawei’s equipment. The European Union is considering action that would amount to banning the corporation from participating in 5G wireless projects. The company denies all allegations.

Canada is also considering action, although none will be taken until sometime after the federal election. Our national relationship with China is already on tenterhooks, a result of Canada’s compliance with an American request to arrest Huawei’s chief financial officer in Vancouver on fraud allegations.

Predictably, Canadian telecommunication companies argue banning Huawei products in Canada will only delay rollout of 5G and rural internet and lead to higher costs for consumers. (We already have among the highest internet rates in the world). But what will the cost be to consumers and taxpayers if somewhere down the road our system is found to be insecure because of Huawei equipment? Corporations from banks to power grids have stripped Huawei technology based on such a fear - and they are industries not known for wasting money on unnecessary expenditures.

Has the provincial government done a risk analysis of installing equipment provincially that is banned in the United States and potentially banned in Europe, our biggest trading partners? What are the potential impacts on how we do business? If a report exists it should be publicly released. If it doesn’t, it should produced.

The King government will claim the decision of provider, and by extension the equipment installed, rests with the federal government.


As a province we have the right to say no to Huawei until such time as no potential harm is proven. That should be the only litmus test that matters.

What we risk is losing federal funding. Given the fluidity of international events, it’s a risk that demands examination. Would any federal government penalize a province for standing up to a company repeatedly accused of nefarious business practices?

Just because Huawei equipment is 30 per cent cheaper, which means greater profit for telco shareholders, is hardly justification to walk blindly into a situation no member of the King government can guarantee a resolution to.

Indeed, an equal issue to security is the negative impact decisions like this have on small rural providers and public competition, which has been shown time and again as an impediment to fair consumer pricing.

In a rush to create yet another rural internet photo op, both levels of government are rushing forward with no real clue as to whether they will succeed or cause harm to the provincial economy. It’s a risk that demands greater insight than either the King or Trudeau government has yet demanded.

"Diversity is reality. Inclusivity is a decision."
--- former Senator Hugh Segal, at the Special Committee on Poverty, Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

October 4, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Friday, October 4th: Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges, 10AM, Coles Building.
Topic: The committee will receive a briefing from Joseph Jeffrey, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island.

Fridays for Future will be gathering at 3:30PM at the Centaph area of Province House (Grafton/Great George Streets side). All welcome.

Meet and Greet with Glen Beaton, Cardigan Green Party candidate, 7-9PM, Kings Playhouse, Cardigan.
Facebook event link
The four environment forums were a success, apparently (I was a Malpeque's), and notes from each will be sent around, soon! CBC apparently has coverage from Brian Higgins on the Malpeque one, too.
"I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward." ---Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)

October 3, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today's Standing Committees:
Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM
,Coles Building and on line, here, ("Watch Live" button). TOPIC: "The committee will meet to receive a briefing on Maritime Electric’s solutions to meet customer load growth and other matters", by three company executives/managers.

Special Committee on Poverty, 2PM, Coles Building or here. Topic: The committee will receive a briefing from Mr. Hugh Segal." (former Senator and proponent of the Basic Income Guarantee)

Tomorrow's Standing Committee,
Friday, October 4th: Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges, 10AM, Coles Building.Topic: The committee will receive a briefing from Joseph Jeffrey, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island.
The big events tonight are the
FOUR Environmental Forums -- one in each Riding.
These are organized by an amazing group from over 20 environmental organizations across the Island.
Charlottetown's will be live-streamed on the ECOPEI Facebook page, but the others may not be able to get it together to do that. (Sorry -- it people are able to go to any of the other three and can help with this, contact me as soon as you can and I can direct you to the organizers.) If you can get to one in person, please bring a little bit for the donation jar -- the hall rentals and such are costs the organizers pay and none of these groups has a lot of extra funds!

All the candidates have accepted invitations except the Conservative candidates in Charlottetown and Cardigan, but perhaps they should watch the live-stream of Charlottetown to get a handle on the issues.

Environment Forum- Charlottetown Riding, 7PM, Duffy Amphitheatre, UPEI. Moderated by Jim Randall, and hosted by the Institute of Island Studies.

Environment Forum -- Egmont Riding, 7PM, Linkletter Community Centre.

Environment Forum- Malpeque Riding, 7PM, Hunter River Community Centre. Megan Harris of Island Nature Trust is the moderator.

Environment Forum- Cardigan Riding, 7PM, Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner. I think Rob MacLean is the moderator.

Fridays for Future will be gathering at 3:30PM at the Centaph area of Province House (Grafton/Great George Streets side). All welcome.
"That is the way leaves fall around a tree in autumn, a tree unaware of the rain running down its sides, of the sun or the frost, and of life gradually retreating inward. The tree does not die. It waits."
---Herman Hesse (1877-1962)

October 2, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Public Accounts Standing Committee Meeting, 9AM-12noon,
The committee will meet to review The Report of the Auditor General to the Legislative Assembly dated March 8, 2019; when that review is complete, the committee will review the Report of the Auditor General: Petroleum Product Pricing: Prince Edward Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission dated December 21, 2018.

Public Forum on Basic Income Guarantee with former Senator Hugh Segal, 7PM, Murphy's Community Centre
You are invited to a community forum on Basic Income Guarantee with guest speaker, the Honourable Hugh Segal (retired Canadian Senator) hosted by the Working Group for a Livable Income. The forum will be held at the Murphy’s Community Centre, on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 7:00 pm. All PEI residents, including politicians, are welcome.

Hugh Segal, a high profile champion of basic income will share his views on the advantages and challenges of establishing a Basic Income Guarantee in Prince Edward Island.

Hugh Segal is widely known as an expert public policy analyst. He promoted basic income while he was in the Senate. Then in the years following his early retirement he has constantly lobbied for basic income as a program to relieve people from poverty. The policy and program of basic income recognizes everyone’s right to have their basic needs met with dignity. Basic Income Guarantee creates a sense of well-being in the whole community.

The forum is sponsored by the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income.

(Energy) Efficiency PEI Open House to mark Energy Efficiency Day, 6:30-8:30PM, Efficiency PEI office, corner of Belvedere and Atlantic Avenue.
Another young person telling it like it is:

'We can't eat money, or drink oil': Indigenous teen Autumn Peltier tells United Nations - National Observer article by The Canadian Press

Published in The National Observer on Sunday, September 29th, 2019

Indigenous water activist Autumn Peltier addressed hundreds of international guests at UN headquarters in Manhattan Saturday.

The 15-year-old activist from Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario urged the global community to respect the sacredness and importance of clean water.

"I've said it once, and I'll say it again, we can't eat money, or drink oil."

Peltier spoke at the Global Landscapes Forum, a platform on sustainable land use founded by UN Environment and the World Bank that's dedicated to achieving development and climate goals.

She used the speech to draw attention to the lack of clean water in numerous Indigenous communities, which she says sparked her activism.

"All across these lands, we know somewhere were someone can't drink the water. Why so many, and why have they gone without for so long?"

She said she's been taught traditional knowledge from an early age about the sacredness of water, and that more should learn these lessons.

"Maybe we need to have more elders and youth together sitting at the decision table when people make decisions about our lands and waters."

Peltier called for an end to plastic use as one step in restoring a more sustainable world.

Her speech comes a day after huge crowds took to the streets in Canada as part of a global climate strike.

The speech was her second at the UN headquarters, having urged the General Assembly to "warrior up" and take a stand for our planet last year.

Peltier, who is nominated for the 2019 International Children's Peace Prize by the David Suzuki Foundation, has spread her message at hundreds of events around the world.

In 2015, Peltier attended the Children's Climate Conference in Sweden, and a year later, confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his "broken promises" at a meeting of the Assembly of First Nations.


ATLANTIC SKIES: Planets and comets occupy October's skies - The Telegram column by Glenn K. Roberts

Published on Tuesday, October 1st, 2019, in Saltwire's publications

A look at the cosmic sights for Sept. 30-Oct. 6
Jupiter and Saturn are visible in the southwest as the sky darkens.

Jupiter (mag. -2.0), still in the constellation of Ophiuchus - the Serpent Bearer, sits about 20 degrees (two hands width at arm's length) above the southwest horizon about one hour after sunset, affording only a brief viewing window before it sets around 10 p.m. Look for the thin, crescent moon to the upper left of Jupiter on the evening of Oct. 3.

Saturn (mag. +0.5), in the constellation of Sagittarius - the Archer (between the asterisms of the "teapot" and the "teaspoon") sits about 30 degrees high in the southern sky as darkness falls. It follows Jupiter below the horizon around 11:30 p.m. The brief viewing window for Saturn might, weather permitting, afford a quick view of the planet's magnificent ring system,

favourably tilted 25 degrees to outline of sight. A decent scope (4 in. plus) will show the famous Cassini Division between the outer A and B rings. The first quarter moon sits three degrees left of Saturn on the evening of Oct. 5.

Mercury (mag. -0.2) and Venus (mag. -3.8) will both require optical aid to be seen, as they sit very low above the southwest horizon just after sunset. A haze-free sky, and an unobstructed view of the horizon will certainly increase your chances of locating our solar system's two innermost planets. Viewing these planets will get easier in the coming weeks and months.

Comet Africano is still visible in the night sky, slowly drifting through the Pisces - the Fish constellation into that of Aquarius - the Water Bearer (both well placed in the southern sky, about half way to the zenith, by around 11 p.m.) during the first week of October.

Having peaked at mag.+ 9.0 on Sept. 27, 2019 at its closest approach (perigee) to Earth, Africano is expected to maintain its current magnitude until later in October. A dark-sky site, away from city lights, and a good pair of binoculars (10x50) or a decent scope (4 in. plus) will up your chances of spotting this celestial visitor.

Speaking of celestial visitors, C/2019 Q4 Borisov has been confirmed as a comet. Recent observations indicate Borisov to be cometary in nature, due to its fuzzy appearance, indicating a central ice body producing a surrounding cloud of dust and ice particles as it travels sunward. However, its hyperbolic trajectory and its speed (about 150,000 kph) indicate that it is interstellar (from outside our solar system) in origin. Most comets that enter our inner solar system and swing around the sun on an elliptical orbit are believed to come from the Oort Cloud, a vast shell of icy objects thought to surround our solar system.

The Oort Cloud is theorized to extend outward from about 2,000 - 5,000 AUs to approximately 50,000 AUs (roughly 7.5 trillion kilometres) from the sun. One AU (Astronomical Unit) is the average distance from the Earth to the sun, approximately 149 million kms.

Comet Borisov, currently at around mag. +18, is only visible in large professional telescopes at present. It is projected to make its closest approach to the sun (though not around it, as other comets do) on Dec. 8, 2019, and is not expected to come any closer to the sun than a path beyond the orbit of Mars, approximately 300,000 kms.

It may be visible in moderate-size telescopes after that until April of 2020, and in professional telescopes until the end of next year. More about tis interesting comet, and only the second interstellar visitor to our solar system, in future columns.

Until next time, clear skies.

Glenn K. Roberts lives in Stratford, P.E.I., and has been an avid amateur astronomer since he was a small child. He welcomes comments from readers, and anyone who would like to do so is encouraged to email him at

"If you can't change your fate, change your attitude." ---Amy Tan (b. 1952), though paraphrased elsewhere

October 1, 2019

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

This afternoon:
Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM, Coles Building.
The committee will meet to receive a briefing on psycho-educational assessments for school children by Terri MacAdam, Director of Student Services, Public Schools Branch.

Candidates' Debates
Tonight: The Guardian Debate, in partnership with UPEI, 7PM, WA Murphy Student Centre, UPEI. Also online at The Guardian's website and the UPEI Student Union Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 2nd:
Charlottetown Candidates Forum, 6PM, Provinces Room, Rodd Charlottetown Hotel.

Thursday, October 3rd:
Environment Forum- Charlottetown Riding, 7PM, Duffy Amphitheatre, UPEI

Environment Forum -- Egmont Riding, 7PM, Linkletter Community Centre

Environment Forum- Malpeque Riding, 7PM, Hunter River Community Centre

Environment Forum- Cardigan Riding, 7PM, Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner
Frankly, this is really short-sighted on the City of Charlottetown's part. There is no argument about not knowing what the "science" of the risk of urban beekeeping. There is plenty of research, recommendations, etc. for people and bees to live in urban areas. And you can hardly call Charlottetown urban.
If anyone knows where things are with this bylaw, please let me know.

Sting operation: Charlottetown police, council move to prevent beehives ending up in residential areas - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart

Published on Saturday, September 14th, 2019


Charlottetown city council may cause quite a buzz with a potential bylaw amendment. First reading was given this past week to an amendment that would see the definition of livestock in the city’s nuisance bylaw include bees.

Essentially, it boils down to the fact that no one living in an R1 residential area will be allowed to have beehives. The city did the same thing with chickens and other poultry a few years back. The nuisance bylaw falls under the city’s protective and emergency services committee and, ultimately, Charlottetown Police Services.

“This is just to kind of prohibit people from sticking beehives in the backyard in residential areas,’’ said Charlottetown police Chief Paul Smith. There would be a number of properties exempt from this bylaw amendment, such as the Urban Beehive Project that was launched last year behind the P.E.I. Farm Centre on University Avenue. “I know at one point and time in Ontario . . . you couldn’t put them within 30 metres of the property line (so) that would negate anybody putting them anywhere.’’

One of the reasons the city is doing this is to protect residents. “It’s just so we’re not having situations of you putting a hive in your backyard and your next door neighbour is allergic to bees. It (comes down) to where you put them. Until (we) get a better handle on what the science of it all is, we don’t want hives popping up in residential neighbourhoods.’’

While the City of Charlottetown is moving to prohibit beehives in residential areas, pending second and final reading next month, the following properties would be exempt: 

Any undeveloped existing parcel of land in a residential zone that is not less than 100 metres in width and 2.45 acres in size
Atlantic Veterinary College
Federal government’s Experimental Farm
Red Shores
Old Home Week exhibition
Areas identified as resting places for horse and carriage tours
Property of the P.E.I. Humane Society
Premises of an accredited veterinary facility under the supervision of a veterinarian licensed pursuant to the Veterinary Professions Act
Any area lawfully used for a travelling show, petting zoo, other like shows, parades, festivals or events
Any area lawfully used as a zoo
Coun. Bob Doiron, who chairs the protective and emergency services committee, agrees that it comes down to the safety factor. “It was brought up by our police chief. There were concerns to him,’’ Doiron said. “It was just determined by our committee that we didn’t want to have beekeepers within the city.’’

Smith adds that until more is known about the science of bees and their flight path it is better to err on the side of caution. He said police haven’t received any complaints about residents who have beehives, but they have fielded lots of inquiries from people asking if they can have hives on their properties.

“Until we get a handle on the science a little bitter let’s put something in to say here’s where you can have them,’’ the chief said

Smith said he’s not aware of any residential home owners who currently keep hives. Anyone who does would be asked to move them.

Nothing to be afraid of

Bruce Smith, a beekeeper in Morell, said he can appreciate what the city is doing but also stresses that bees are nothing to be afraid of. He adds that people need to keep in mind how vital bees are to the environment. They pollinate fruit, produce honey and are major contributors to P.E.I.'s apple and blueberry production.

“It seems a shame when bees are so valuable that they would be trying to limit them,’’ Smith said. “It seems to go against what’s happening in other cities where they’re encouraging people to have beehives on the tops of buildings.’’

Smith does what he can to help educate Island school children about bees, giving talks to classes at the Urban Beehive Project.

“I’ll bet we’ve had a dozen classes out there. We’ve put together a theatrical skit where the kids can pretend they are various types of bees . . . when they play the roles they understand what is going on . . . and how important bees are as pollinators. The big thing is to reduce the fear of bees.’’

Smith said a bee knows it will die if it stings a person and will only do so as a last resort, “so don’t swat at them."

Silva Stojak with Nine Yards Studio in Charlottetown, which designed the hexagon bee houses at the Urban Beehive Project, said it makes perfect sense to prevent beehives from being located near daycares and residents who are deathly allergic to stings but she wonders how far the bylaw would go.

“We produce these little bee hotels, houses for solitary bees that you can put in your garden,’’ Stojak said. “Would they actually prevent that? Then you are definitely not helping the bee population.’’

The bylaw amendment will require a second and final reading, likely to happen at the October monthly meeting.

Mayor Philip Brown
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-393-2601 (Cell)
902-892-8662 (Home)

Councillor Alanna Jankov - Ward 1
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-393-3999 (Cell)
902-620-3474 (Office)

Councillor Terry MacLeod - Ward 2
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-394-7821 (Cell)

Councillor Mike Duffy - Ward 3
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-628-9501 (Cell)

Councillor Mitchell G. Tweel - Ward 4
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-393-5538 (Cell)

Councillor Kevin Ramsay - Ward 5
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-892-1902 (Home)
902-940-5291 (Cell)

Councillor Bob Doiron - Ward 6
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-566-2764 (Home)
902-394-2895 (Cell)

Councillor Greg Rivard - Ward 7
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-388-7031 (Cell)

Councillor Jason E. Coady - Ward 8
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-218-5734 (Cell)

Councillor Julie McCabe - Ward 9
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-393-9739 (Cell)

Councillor Terry Bernard - Ward 10
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-368-1634 (Home)
902-628-5393 (Cell)
Today is former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's 95th birthday. If you feel inclined to sent him good wishes, they can be addressed to <> There is a Facebook page, too.
(Please note that this event has already happened and that the article is presented here as a reminder of just how important these demonstration are in educating the public... and publically elected officials....DS)

Beekeeper to give demonstration in Charlottetown Sept. 15 as part of P.E.I. Open Farm Day

People can get up close and personal with thousands of bees on Sunday as part of P.E.I. Open Farm Day in Charlottetown.

Bruce Smith, a beekeeper in Morell, will be giving a demonstration at the Urban Beehive Project behind the P.E.I. Farm Centre on University Avenue at 1 p.m.

“We’ll be talking about the importance of bees and the various stages of life,’’ Smith said. “People can get to within an inch of working bees and not get stung.’’

The Urban Beehive Project features two 14-foot-high hexagon houses. Each of them houses about 60,000 bees. The houses have plexiglass that people can peak through to see the bees at work. There is also a large seating area designed like honeycombs.

The bees can also easily be seen flying in and out of the structures and, if it’s quiet enough, they can be heard buzzing inside.

Smith conducts demonstrations for school children at the Urban Beehive Project, teaching them how important they are to the environment and that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

“You can walk up to the front of those hives and if you’re not being aggressive (such as swatting at them) they just keep flying in and out. They’re not at all concerned about you.’’

Besides insecticides, veroa mites and small hive beetles, a bee’s biggest concern is the wasp. Soldier bees will sit in a row at the entrance to a hive to defend it against wasp invaders.

The Urban Beehive Project was designed by Nine Yards Studio in Charlottetown and built by carpenter Brodie Chappell. The studio received national recognition from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada for the project. It also received a medal under the community initiative category at the 2018 National Urban Design Awards.

“The innovative Urban Beehive Project shows how urban design can help address, educate and inspire people to protect and conserve the environment,’’ the Urban Design Awards jury said. “It is a model for the role of architecture in starting a dialogue on a locally important environmental issue. In addition to the design and building of playful and engaging forms, the project exhibits the expanded role of the designer (in a non-profit capacity) as steward and educator.’’
"I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
--- Anne Shirley, character in Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery