CaNews Archive‎ > ‎

September 2020


  1. 1 September 30, 2020
    1. 1.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 1.2 P.E.I. government took in $16.6 million in PNP defaults as of March 2020 - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby
    3. 1.3 Butcher and Butcher, Fine Island Meat's page - Facebook post by Chris van Ouwerkerk
  2. 2 September 29, 2020
    1. 2.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  3. 3 September 28, 2020
    1. 3.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 3.2 Atlantic Skies for September 28th - October 4th, 2020: "Our Celestial Neighbourhood" by Glenn K. Roberts
  4. 4 September 27, 2020
    1. 4.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 4.2 Larger issues at play than Buddhist permit - The Eastern Graphic Editorial by Paul Mac Neill
    3. 4.3 Shocking reluctance to act on land reform - The Eastern Garphic Letter to the Editor
  5. 5 September 26, 2020
    1. 5.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 5.2 LETTER: Skyscrapers in Charlottetown? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  6. 6 September 25, 2020
    1. 6.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 6.2 LETTER OF THE DAY: Rethink waterfront buildings in Charlottetown - The Guardian Letter of the Day
    3. 6.3 Sherwood Crossing — Public Input Required - post by Doug MacArthur
  7. 7 September 24, 2020
    1. 7.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 7.2 LETTER: Time for a grown-up conversation - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  8. 8 September 23, 2020
    1. 8.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 8.2 LETTER: Sept. 25 is a Global Day of Climate Action - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marilyn MacKay
  9. 9 September 22, 2020
    1. 9.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  10. 10 September 21, 2020
    1. 10.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 10.2 Downloading the Environmental Guilt Trip - by David MacKay
  11. 11 September 20, 2020
    1. 11.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 11.2 LETTER: A double standard - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  12. 12 September 19, 2020
    1. 12.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 12.2 Fishkills: Action needed - The Guardian article by Don Mazer and Ann Wheatley
  13. 13 September 18, 2020
    1. 13.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  14. 14 September 17, 2020
    1. 14.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  15. 15 September 16, 2020
    1. 15.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 15.2 LETTER: Update on Gunns Bridge - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  16. 16 September 15, 2020
    1. 16.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 16.2 GUEST OPINION: Fish kills on P.E.I.: We've been here before - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Don Mazer and Ann Wheatley
  17. 17 September 14, 2020
    1. 17.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  18. 18 September 13, 2020
    1. 18.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 18.2 Former planning expert says Charlottetown will regret approving eight-storey apartment on waterfront - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart
    3. 18.3 GUEST OPINION: Concern for our city - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Doug MacArthur
  19. 19 September 12, 2020
    1. 19.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 19.2 GUEST OPINION: Basic Income: A challenge to all federal politicians - The Guardian Guest opinion by Marie Burge
  20. 20 September 11, 2020
    1. 20.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 20.2 HEATH MACDONALD: Reinvest in mental health and addictions - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Heath MacDonald
  21. 21 September 10, 2020
    1. 21.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 21.2 Opinion: What we’ve learned about COVID-19: We have to keep learning - The Globe and Mail article by André Picard
  22. 22 September 9, 2020
    1. 22.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 22.2 Protecting our seniors - Social Media post by Ole Hammarlund, MLA
  23. 23 September 8, 2020
    1. 23.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 23.2 Atlantic Skies for September 7th-13th, 2020 - Could Humans Live on Mars? - by Glenn K. Roberts
  24. 24 September 7, 2020
    1. 24.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 24.2 LETTER: A cautionary tale about preserving green space - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
    3. 24.3 LETTER: Nature paved over - The Guardian Letter to the Editor
  25. 25 September 6, 2020
    1. 25.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  26. 26 September 5, 2020
    1. 26.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 26.2 Old oil and gas wells find new life with renewable energy - David Suzuki Foundation post by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington
  27. 27 September 4, 2020
    1. 27.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
  28. 28 September 3, 2020
    1. 28.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 28.2 Don’t let COVID fiction become unwanted reality - The Eastern Graphic column by Paul MacNeill
  29. 29 September 2, 2020
    1. 29.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews
    2. 29.2 Charlottetown Belongs to Every Islander - The Island Heartbeat essay by Allan Rankin
    3. 29.3 The Haviland Street Project could be a big opportunity for the City -- by Ole Hammarlund
  30. 30 September 1, 2020
    1. 30.1 Chris Ortenburger's CANews

September 30, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

order Deadline:

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

Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 1PM, Topic: Mental health of Islanders during the COVID-19 pandemic

The committee will meet to hear a briefing on the state of Islanders' mental health during and as a result of the pandemic from the Canadian Mental Health Association (Tayte Willows, Treena Smith and Courtney Cudmore).  The committee will also meet with Dr. Heather Keizer (additional presenters to be determined) on the same topic.

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

Gordon McNeilly (Chair)  (L)
Trish Altass  (Green)
Hannah Bell   (Green)
Hon. Jamie Fox   (PC)
Heath MacDonald (L)
Hon. Bradley Trivers (PC)

Legislative Assembly home page:
Today is Orange Shirt Day -- more about it, here:

Orange Shirt Day: communities coming together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope because every child matters.
Tomorrow, Thursday, October 1st:
Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM, Coles Building but live-streamed and recorded audio/video.
The Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water is presenting to the committee about the regulations on water extraction, before the committee writes it report and recommendations to the Legislature for the Fall sitting.  The second draft of the regulations will likely take into account the committee's report. 

Also tomorrow, Thursday, October 1st, 3-6PM, Farm Centre Legacy Garden: with the following on sale:

-Garlic ($20 for 1 pound, $40 for 2 pounds, $50 for 3 pounds)
-Tomatoes: Roma and Mountain Merit ($1.50 per pound)
-Tomato Seconds ($1.00 per pound)
-Green Tomatoes ($1.00 per pound)
-Tomatillos ($2.50 per pound)
-Winter squash: butternut, acorn, kabocha... ($2.00 per pound)
-Fresh herbs: Parsley, sage, dill ($2.00 per bunch)
-Dried herbs: Basil, parsley, sage ($3.00 per 20g)

more on their Facebook page:


P.E.I. government took in $16.6 million in PNP defaults as of March 2020 - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

Published on Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Two years after discontinuing a controversial provincial nominee program, the province has continued to collect millions in defaulted deposits from applicants.  As of March 31, 2020, the province’s Island Investment Development Inc. (IIDI) collected $16.6 million in defaulted deposits for the 2019/20 fiscal year. The entrepreneurship stream of the PNP was discontinued in September of 2018, to be replaced with a work permit stream.

Between 2011 and 2018, immigrant investors were able to gain permanent residency in P.E.I. under the entrepreneurship stream after paying a deposit of between $100,000 and $200,000. Applicants to the program could regain their deposit after remaining on the P.E.I. for one year and successfully running a business.

The province has collected millions each year in defaulted deposits from the program. However, in the last year, the province has reduced the proportion of immigrants who are defaulting on their deposits.

During a presentation before the legislative standing committee on public accounts, Jamie Aiken, executive director of IIDI, which is responsible for P.E.I.’s Office of Immigration, said the province has refunded the deposits of 222 PNP immigrants. Ninety-four, or 29 per cent, of the PNP immigrants under this stream had their deposits defaulted to the province. "Although the program has ceased operations, we are seeing continued improvement in people continuing to fulfill their obligations," Aiken told public accounts on Tuesday.

In all, the province holds $120 million in restricted funds related to 676 PNP applicants under the cancelled entrepreneurship stream. These funds are held in guaranteed investment certificates. 

"These individuals are either with the federal government of Canada for processing or they're now in process of establishing their business here on P.E.I.," Aiken said of the 676 applicants.The entrepreneurship stream had accounted for the majority of PNP applicants on P.E.I. prior to 2018. Since that time, most PNP applicants have been nominated through the labour stream. This stream has not seen the same level of controversy the entrepreneurship stream did. 

The entrepreneurship stream was replaced in 2018 with a work permit stream, which granted permanent residency to immigrant entrepreneurs after they demonstrate they have remained on P.E.I. for over one year.   Aiken said 238 applications have been received for this stream since September 2018, but only 28 have arrived in P.E.I. and have started a business.

Another immigration stream, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, saw 648 immigrants successfully arrive in the province. This program matches prospective immigrants and graduated international students with employers who are unable to find trained workers locally.Aiken said an evaluation of this program found that 94 per cent of AIPP applicants have remained on P.E.I. after one year.

However, the province has no means of tracking overall immigrant retention.

Currently, the AIPP is slated to continue into 2021. Liberal MLA Gord McNeilly asked about the requirements of the program for applicants to remain with one employer for 12 months.  "I love the program, but it doesn't seem to fit for Prince Edward Island, being a seasonal economy," McNeilly said.  "Our EI system is based on hours. And this program is based on a relationship with a specific employer."

Jeff Young, a business integration manager with IIDI, said the Atlantic provinces have been advocating for the requirements to be more flexible for applicants.  "Unfortunately, right now the federal position has been they want 12 months year-round employment with one employer," Young said.

Green MLA Hannah Bell said she has observed a “significant churn” in terms of increased commercial rental rates in Charlottetown, which some have attributed to applicants from the discontinued PNP entrepreneurship stream.   "It makes it a hell of a lot harder when your commercial business rates are going up to $4,000 a month, which is where they're sitting right now in most commercial spaces in and around Queen Street,” Bell said   "I really am concerned about how you can change that trajectory."

Aiken said the introduction of the work permit stream would place more requirements on immigrant applicants to remain in P.E.I. and invest in the community. He said he hoped to see other business leaders reach out to immigrant entrepreneurs.   "We, as an office, but as well as the business community of P.E.I., we need to put our best foot forward in terms of welcoming them into the community," Aiken said. 


And related, a long but very informative post from Chris van
("the other Chris O")

Butcher and Butcher, Fine Island Meat's page - Facebook post by Chris van Ouwerkerk

Monday, August 31st, 2020, on social media

So it has come to my attention that we have had customers go into the front space where our butcher shop and then sandwich shop had been located, only to be told that we are “closed forever.” This statement could not be further from the truth. We are still open 7 days a week in the back space of the building at 25 St. Peters Road and will continue to be until the end of September when we pack up and move to Ellen's Creek Plaza across from the Arlington Orchards stand. My apologies in advance but this is going to be a long post.

With so many big things going on in the world right now, my little things seem pretty unimportant and irrelevant. However, those small things are having a sizable impact on my life. I am being forced out of the building that my business has occupied for just shy of 5 years. It is unfortunate and sad that during a pandemic and within a short period of time after the birth of my first child that I have to pack up a space that has occupied my heart and get out of a community that I have grown to love. Luckily I have built up a business that is capable of moving and I have found a space that I think will not only serve us well but serve us better. That being said I do feel like I need to talk about something that has been weighing on my mind and soul.

When I first moved into 25 St. Peters Road it was owned by a local couple. There were problems but they were quick to help and address most concerns. About a year and a half into my tenancy, the building was put up for sale and sold to a corporation set up under the much maligned Provincial Nominee Program. Over the course of the next year I saw my landlords maybe 3 times. Getting anything fixed or issues resolved was like pulling teeth and was all conducted through email. I had to explain what snow removal meant on more than one occasion as an example. That being said, it was not a bad tenancy and I just chocked it up to being a part of business. After a year the building went up for sale and I had the opportunity to expand into a vacant part of the building at the back. I came to an agreement with the landlords to occupy both the front and back spaces. There came a point where the building had a buyer (another PNP candidate) and things were about to change hands. The day before the sale went through the potential buyer came in and asked a few questions then informed me that the sale was off due to a zoning issue. I didn't think much of it and went about my plans to expand. I began to renovate the space and moved everything in.

Fast forward to a month after I moved into both spaces, a new larger butcher shop and a small sandwich shop, another set of new buyers, again PNP candidates, came and began looking at the building. It became clear after about a week that they intended to buy the building. Based on their visits to the back space it seemed like they were sizing it up for their own business. At this point I had come to agreements to lease both spaces, done the work and was ready to open. Sheer luck led me to run into the new buyers' real estate agent at a hardware store about a week before the sale was to go through. I asked him what they had been told about the occupancy of the two spaces. He informed me that they had been told that the space was vacant and I was just storing my belongings there. He also said it was his clients' intention to open their business in that space. I informed him of the true nature of things and all hell broke loose. The sale price changed, the new buyers still purchased the building and they scheduled a meeting with me.

The intention of the meeting was to come to an agreement on how they could proceed with their PNP business given that I occupied both spaces. They informed me that I would need to vacate the back space unless I allowed them to take my newly opened sandwich shop for their business. I negotiated and got a good deal, but was left slightly disheartened at the prospect of having to give up a major part of my newly expanded business. Again, I settled and decided that it was the best way to protect my overall business.

Fast forward a year, to June of 2020. The new landlords had fulfilled their PNP requirements and decided to close up shop. Part of our original agreement was that at that point I would get both spaces back and be made whole. Turns out they promised the front space to another PNP business and refused to give me the lease for the space that I had occupied for almost 5 years. Fine. I had built my business up and was happy with just holding onto my butcher shop. My lease was running out and I just wanted to sign a new one and avoid any confrontation. The new business even bought my commercial sink after I refused to rent it to them for the 6 months they planned on being open.

Turns out that the new business in the front space attracted the attention of the City of Charlottetown. The City had informed the previous landlords of a zoning issue with the building back when the first sale fell through. The building is only permitted at present to have 1 Commercial Unit and has been operating with 3. Once that was determined the landlord very quickly hired a lawyer and sent me a letter informing me that I would have to vacate the building, during a global pandemic when small businesses are struggling to survive. Not the PNP business at the front who have informed me that they will only be in operation for 6 month to fulfill their PNP requirements but the business that has been in operation in this community for 5 years. So that's that. I have to vacate the building and unfortunately the community of Parkdale.

So why am I writing this? In the past 3 years I have now had direct interactions with 3 Provincial Nominee Program candidates under the business stream. I also have an employee who is a Provincial Nominee Program candidate under the working stream. These two streams could not be more different in the type of people they attract. Under one stream you have wealthy, uncaring people buying their way into Permanent Residency and often times leaving once they do. Under the other you have hardworking, sweet, wonderful people working their butts off to build a place in our community. I am tired of the number of fake or temporary business taking up important commercial space and driving up their rental prices. I am tired of watching our communities be sold to the wealthiest bidder. I am tired of the hardworking, amazing PNP candidates under the work stream having their name tarnished by a stream that they don't have access to because of wealth inequality. This is the legacy of successive governments who have gotten greedy and absorbed with the high price of PNP deposits. Something really needs to change here.
A post script in that as he works to open at his new location at Ellen's Creek plaza tomorrow, he notes that no politicians or media contacted him since he wrote it  (Gord McNeely did in the Facebook comments since then).


Returning to public-voting on School Board Trustees came up in the Standing Committee meeting on Education, and unfortunately, Wayne Thibodeau of The Guardian but now at CBC chooses the angle of focussing on costs in this article in CBC (link only):

Better story angles could be how to increase voter engagement, some background into issues the former boards had before being dismissed, and general concerns in public education today.

A bit of Opera: Metropolitan Opera video-streaming of recorded performances:

Mozart’s Così fan tutte, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Susanna Phillips, Isabel Leonard, Danielle de Niese, Matthew Polenzani, Rodion Pogossov, and Maurizio Muraro, conducted by James Levine. From April 26, 2014.

Wednesday, September 30
Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, about 7:30PM tonight until Thursday about 6:30PM
Starring Lucy Crowe, Barbara Frittoli, Elīna Garanča, Kate Lindsey, Giuseppe Filianoti, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Harry Bicket. From December 1, 2012.

Global Chorus essay for September 30
James P. Bruce

At times, it is difficult not to despair about the future. Current economic and political practices which focus on the short term – a business quarter or a four-year term – ignore future impacts on humans, other species and the environment.

The implications for climate change are most evident. Digging up or pumping out the last drops or chunks of fossil fuels and burning them in gas-guzzling vehicles and inefficient power plants has already begun to leave a legacy. With more water vapour in the warming atmosphere, storms, foods and droughts are causing much suffering and economic damage. But we are seeing only the beginning of this terrible trend.

That is only one of the environmental problems that the present economic practices encourage. Another is the growing concentration of harmful chemicals in our air and water. Some 23,000 of the 80,000 to 100,000 distinct chemical compounds in North American commerce have been identified as chemicals of concern (Health and Environment Canada, 2006). But the endocrine disrupters, pharmaceuticals and many other potentially harmful substances are not removed at sewage treatment plants or in air pollution controls. Governments rarely regulate, and choose supporting short-term profits over their responsibilities to protect health and our common environmental heritage.

Is there any cause for hope? As climate change, chemical pollutant effects and species extinctions become more evident and severe in coming decades, the public will place increasing value on health and on protecting remaining ecosystems. Voters must elect different kinds of politicians, those with concerns for the “Public Trust,” and we all must expect more responsible actions by corporations. If we learn well from First Nations’ teachings, we will all care more about future generations, and the world our grandchildren and their grandchildren will inherit.

       —Dr. J.P. (Jim) Bruce, OC, FRSC, former assistant deputy minister of Environment Canada, senior officer of World Meteorological Organization, Geneva


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

September 29, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


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

Standing Committee meetings today:
Public Accounts Committee, 9:30AM, livestreamed on the Legislative Assembly website and Facebook page.

Topic: Financial management of the Provincial Nominee Program; Operations of IIDI

"The committee will meet to receive briefings on financial management of the Provincial Nominee Program, and the overall operations of Island Investment Development Inc., by the Office of Immigration/Island Investment Development Inc.

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

This is a very capable committee under the guidance of Michele Beaton (D5: Mermaid - Stratford).  It definitely points towards the strength of accountability that a minority government can have.
Michele Beaton, chair (Green)
Karla Bernard (Green)
Cory Deagle (PC)
Robert Henderson (L)
Sidney MacEwen (PC)
Gordon McNeilly (L)

Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM, livestreamed.

Topic: Restoring elected school boards

"The committee will meet to receive a briefing from Elections PEI representatives regarding the process of re-establishing elected school boards. (Note: The Bluefield Family of Schools District Advisory Council briefing re: schools reopening, originally slated for this meeting, will be rescheduled at a later date.)" 

This committee's members are:

Karla Bernard (Chair)  (Green)
Hon. James Aylward   (PC)
Robert Henderson    (L)
Hon. Ernie Hudson    (PC)
Lynne Lund     (Green)
Heath MacDonald   (L)
Tonight, apparently right before the U.S. Presidential debate #1, and like the U.S. debate, it's not directly about us, but may be of interest:

"Unlock Democracy" Campaign Update Zoom webinar, 8:30PM, with Dave Meslin.  "We're building momentum towards democratic reform all across Ontario. Find out where we're at, what's happening next, and how YOU can plug in!"   Intriguing, especially anything involving the engaging Dave Meslin.
More details:

Charlottetown Deputy Mayor Mike Duffy dutifully wrote an opinion piece in The Guardian defending parking tax revenue.  (While we are trying to become less reliant on automobiles, it's hard to do much of anything in Charlottetown, if you don't live nearby, without a car.)

Here's Mike Duffy's piece:

To which forward-thinking resident Phil Ferraro wrote in response:

Monday, Septmeber 28th, 2020

I would like to thank Councilor Mike Duffy for voicing his concerns over the City of Charlottetown’s loss of revenues and our need to replace lost income from parking meters due to the COVID-19 shutdown.  (Guardian September 26, 2020) The Councilor makes a compelling case for the need to generate new income. He offers three options: increase parking meter fees, raise taxes or cut services. Since he advises the citizens of Charlottetown citizens let their representatives know what they think of these options and since none of these options offer solutions for a sustainable social and economic recovery, I would like to pose a few more acceptable options.

Like many North American cities, Charlottetown could impose a substantial “Linkage Fee,” on commercial developments. (Linkage fees are paid by developers to help offset the costs incurred by the city to build roads or housing for people that will work in the newly constructed stores.)  These fees could easily offset the lost revenue from parking meters and, like in other jurisdictions, the funds could be used to build affordable public housing; which could also function as a long-term source of revenue generation.

I was recently in conversation with someone who was in Copenhagen. They told me that they traveled all over the city on e-bikes that they were able to rent at various depots around the city. Now that we have an illuminated rail-trail and soon to be constructed bike lane on the Hillsborough Bridge. E-bike rentals may be quite popular for many residents and tourists while also reducing much of the traffic congestion that we now have.

The federal government has announced plans for a green economic recovery. The city should take full advantage of any grants and make all public buildings as energy efficient as possible and have a publicly-owned solar utility. Solar energy currently has a 5-6 year payback after which the energy is virtually free for decades.

While downtown parking is generally considered a necessity for shoppers of all income levels, The expanded docks on the waterfront for pleasure craft are luxuries owned by people generally of higher income brackets. Raise the dockage fees.

We all know that COVID-19 will eventually pass. Once it does, we have a vastly underutilized event grounds. Resume hosting events that tourists and residents will pay to attend. In the meantime, the drive-in theaters have come up with a plan to remain open. Why not do the same?

Finally, I am often amazed at the number of cars parking for free behind the Shaw, Jones and Sullivan buildings, especially when a recent study revealed that the vast majority of the people that work there could easily ride a bike, walk or take public transportation. Put up a gate , like we have at the airport and charge for parking.

While these options may require a bit more planning and thoughtful negotiations with other organizations or levels of government they can also be viewed as revenue generating actions that will also help put Charlottetown on a path to a more sustainable and prosperous future; something that raising the parking meter fees will never accomplish.

Phil Ferraro, Resident of Charlottetown

Opera notes -- it's Mozart Week!

Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, today until about 6:30PM
From October 18, 2014.  This production places "....Mozart’s timeless social comedy in a manor house in 1930s Seville."

Mozart’s Così fan tutte, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Susanna Phillips, Isabel Leonard, Danielle de Niese, Matthew Polenzani, Rodion Pogossov, and Maurizio Muraro. From April 26, 2014.  Phillips and Leonard have just the most beautiful, bell-like, strong voices.

Global Chorus essay for September 29
Adria Vasil

We don’t need a foggy crystal ball to see the world screeching toward the brink of catastrophe – the early fruits of short-term thinking are popping up everywhere. They’re showing up in the persistent toxins in umbilical cords, in the growing rates of mysterious cancers and disease, in vanishing forests and species, in the droughts, foods, fires and storms stirring up with increasing fervour around the globe. The heavy truth is, there are hidden ramifications behind each of our daily actions, choices big and small, on water, wildlife, workers, climate – and the very people that use this stuff – us.

Today my job involves fagging those impacts. The only thing that keeps me from throwing in the towel in total paralysis is knowing this: every positive action sparks an even greater positive reaction. My mother told me when I was young that the globe is essentially a giant domino board – that we can actually transform the world by focusing on changing our little corners of it, setting into motion the forces for transformation from person to person to person.

Okay sure, as a collective, we’ve been putting the Earth’s five a.m. wake-up calls on snooze for a while now, but have no doubt, the Earth will keep smacking us upside the head until we all get with the program.

In my personal crystal ball, I see an emerging world where our throw-away, single-use culture of built-in obsolescence is a thing of the past, everything is recycled in a closed loop in perpetuity. We get our energy from sewage, rotting food and all sorts of surprising sources now going to waste. And green chemistry ensures everything we make, buy and use is as safe as water and mimics Nature’s patterns. I believe, ultimately, that we’ll realign with the ecosystem we depend on once we realize that the only way to save our own behinds from Nature’s wrath is to reconnect and get in tune with Nature’s brilliance. Thankfully, millions of souls – scientists, researchers, engineers, farmers, teachers, business folk, moms, dads, are already doing just that.

So, chin up, listen to mom and keep working on your little corner – it holds the key to transforming the entire globe.

       — Adria Vasil, environmental journalist, columnist, author of the bestselling Ecoholic book series

SO very much at her website:


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

September 28, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Order deadline for local food options this week:
OrganicVeggieDeliver, order by tonight for Friday delivery.  Info at:

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

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

D10 --  Democracy versus a horse race

The local "pundits" in media had fairly similar articles last weekend about how the retirement of provincial Liberal MLA stalwart Robert Mitchell from District 10: Charlottetown-Winslow would affect Island politics. It's likely an election will be called so the new MLA could sit in the Legislature in November, so nominations and nominations meetings are already getting planned. 

The gist of the articles (in my reading) was first accolades to Mitchell (deserved, as he did everything he was directed to do when a backbencher or a Minister); then they all pretty much said the same thing: Premier Denny and the Island Progressive Conservatives could get a majority government if they win that seat.  Woo-hoo!  Goodies for the District, fewer headaches of always having to collaborate with the Official Opposition! Or the Liberals could regain the seat and start their "comeback". (Additionally, some speculated on Mitchell's future and the safety of Sean Casey's federal MP seat, and so forth.)

OK, I know the Stanley Cup is almost over for 2020, but really.

I like the buzz of politics as much as anyone, but this should not be just a sports event -- columnists could be considering the shape and scope of the District, its needs, and the Island's needs at this point.  The residents could be encouraged to vote not just for the chance to go with the winning team and get more goodies, but to think about local and provincial issues.  And with some vision for the future.

And it's not about going back to the binary Red Team-Blue Team contest, stale old politics where the unlucky group just gripes about how better they did things when they were in power (with little results to back those claims, frankly) and wait for the tide to turn. That's very narrow vision that's been much too wasteful for the past decades.

The Official Opposition (and the Third Party at times) has been doing a pretty good job asking questions, bringing up issues and questioning the pat answers, and really trying hard to keep government accountable and inject new ideas into government.  It looks like a Minority Government is resulting in better governance for Islanders. 

A final side note that there is one true aspect to the sporting analogy: this byelection will be a horse race -- as the "first past the post" election system is what we have here now, and it often results in false majorities.  But people can be informed and vote well, earn more about voting system alternatives, and strive for a better future for the Island.

(In fact, the Islanders for Proportional Representation is holding an online event about PR in October -- more details to follow.)


The Night Sky This Week:

Atlantic Skies for September 28th - October 4th, 2020: "Our Celestial Neighbourhood" by Glenn K. Roberts

At this time of the year, in the autumn, the night skies are often so incredibly clear and transparent, you feel you could reach up and grab a handful of the stars above you. On those clear, moonless nights (or on a night when the Moon hasn't yet risen), when you're outside, away from city lights, and gazing skyward (particularly directly overhead), you will see what appears to be a misty, faintly-glowing, irregular band of light extending across the night sky from the north-east to the south-west. This is our Milky Way Galaxy (from the Latin via lactea, from the Greek meaning "milky circle"). The portion of the galaxy that we are seeing is, in fact, just one, small part of our galaxy, referred to as the Orion Arm. This is our "celestial neighbourhood" of the larger galactic metropolis we call the Milky Way, in which our solar system is located.. Think of it as a sort of celestial address for where we live - To Mr. & Ms. Earthling, c/o Earth, Sol System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy.

The Milky Way Galaxy actually has 5 arms (4 major- Perseus, Sagittarius, Centaurus, and Cygnus; and 1 minor - Orion); long, spiralling curves of stars, planets, asteroids, comets, etc., radiating, like the sections of a child's toy windmill, out from our galaxy's center (theorized to be a super massive black hole.) The galactic center of the Milky Way is located visually in the constellation of Sagittarius - the Centaur (a constellation representing a mythical half-human, half-horse creature, prominent in the summer, southern night sky. We cannot directly see the galactic centre due, in great part, to the intervening dust and gas clouds (the interstellar medium) between Earth and the center. Just like the arms of the toy windmill, the arms of the Milky Way Galaxy are curved,  due to our galaxy's rotational spin. It takes our solar system, traveling at 790,000 kph, approximately 220 million years to complete one full circuit around the galactic center. It bespeaks just how vast our galaxy is, estimated to be 100,000 - 200,000 light years (lys) in diameter (you do the math), and to contain 400+ billion stars. The small, rural, celestial town of our solar system is located approximately 27,000 lys from the center of downtown Milky Way (the galactic center). And you thought the 1 hour commute to your urban workplace was far! 

Our galaxy is one of several galaxies known as the Local Group, consisting of the Milky Way Galaxy, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, plus a scattering of dwarf galaxies. The smaller groups of galaxies are, themselves, grouped together in large associations. The Local Group is a part of the much larger association of galaxies known as the Virgo Supercluster, itself part of a huge association of superclusters referred to as the Laniakea Supercluster. Don't plan on visiting any of these neighbours, or asking them over for dinner....neither of you will survive the trip. What lies beyond the Laniakea Supercluster and other such gatherings of galaxies, is anyone's guess, though it is theorized that the superclusters form part of a vast, interconnected web of galaxies that constitute the very fabric of our universe. Needless to say, there is much, much more out there than meets the eye.

Mercury is still not readily observable this coming week, though if you have an unobstructed view of the western horizon, and a clear sky, you may spot this diminutive world sitting (at mag. -0.03) approximately 5 degrees (a half  hand's width at arm's length) above the south-west horizon just after sunset on Oct 1.  It will emerge into the evening sky later in October. Venus (mag. -4.09) rises in the east around 3:30 a.m., and reaches its highest altitude in the eastern, pre-dawn sky of 33 degrees, before fading into the approaching dawn around 6:50 a.m. By Oct. 4, Venus will rise around 3:45 a.m., and fade from view by about 7 a.m. Mars (mag. -2.45) becomes visible 7 degrees above the eastern horizon around 8:40 p.m. (8:10 p.m. by Oct. 4), reaching its highest point in the evening sky of 50 degrees by 2:20 a.m., before becoming lost from view 20 degrees (13 degrees by Oct. 4) above the western horizon as the dawn twilight breaks around 6:50 a.m. (7 a.m. by Oct. 4). Jupiter (mag. -2.4), an early evening object now, is visible by 7:15 p.m. (7:05 p.m. by Oct. 4), 20 degrees above the southern horizon. At its highest point in the mid-evening sky around 8:30 p.m., Jupiter remains observable until about 11:15 p.m. (10:50 p.m. by Oct. 4), when it drops below 8 degrees above the south-west horizon. Saturn (mag. +0.46) follows Jupiter up into the southern sky around 7:30 p.m. (7:25 p.m. by Oct. 4), reaching 22 degrees above the southern horizon by 8:30 p.m., and remaining visible until about 11:30 p.m. (11:05 p.m. by Oct. 4), when it drops below 10 degrees above the south-west horizon.

October has two Full Moons - the "Harvest Moon" on the 1st, and the "Hunter's Moon" on the 31st, just in time for Halloween.

Until next week, clear skies.


Sept. 28 - Moon at aphelion (farthest from Sun)

Oct.     1 - Full (Harvest) Moon

            3 - Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth)


Opera corner:

Puccini’s La Bohème, today until 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Ainhoa Arteta, Ramón Vargas, Ludovic Tézier, Quinn Kelsey, Oren Gradus, and Paul Plishka, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. From April 5, 2008.  Cry and cry some more.  I think this was the only live simulcast at the movie theatre in Charlottetown that I have gotten to see, and was enthralled. 

Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
From October 18, 2014. " Richard Eyre’s elegant production, which opened the Met’s 2014–15 season, sets the action of Mozart’s timeless social comedy in a manor house in 1930s Seville. Ildar Abdrazakov leads the cast as the resourceful Figaro set on outwitting his master, the philandering Count Almaviva, played by Peter Mattei. Marlis Petersen sings Susanna, the object of the Count’s affection and Figaro’s bride-to-be, Amanda Majeski is the Countess, and Isabel Leonard gives a standout performance as the pageboy Cherubino."  Standout and fearless acrobatics, too, as this is the one where she leaps out of a window and gets caught by helpers, as there was no room for the a landing pad.

Global Chorus essay for September 28 
Cam Mather

I have been involved in the environmental movement for 30 years and there has never been more evidence than is available today that we are on the cusp of a human-caused environmental calamity. However, what I have learned from living off the electricity grid for the last 15 years is that there are solutions and that you can enjoy a comfortable life while contributing a minimal amount of carbon to the atmosphere.

It all comes down to one simple solution – putting a price on a carbon. Since we know that carbon dioxide is the main driver of climate change, by putting a price on it we can encourage individuals to make smarter choices for how they heat and power their lives. Many of us are used to paying for each bag of trash we send to the landfill, and this is no different. Technologies do exist to live carbon free.

What’s missing is the incentive for people to do so. Once carbon is priced properly I believe the marketplace will provide even more ingenious solutions to help people save money while reducing their carbon footprint. All that’s missing today is the political fortitude to do the right thing. What can the average citizen do in the meantime? Live your life as if carbon was extremely expensive and vote Green to send the message to the governing party that the time has come to take tough action on the most important political issue.

The fate of humanity depends on it.

       — Cam Mather, author of Thriving During Challenging Times: The Energy, Food and Financial Independence Handbook, publisher of Aztext Press


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

September 27, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:
Downtown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street.  Lots of produce you can put away for the winter, but things to eat and crafts.  "We hope to see you this Sunday at the ”Open Air” Market....Over 60 local vendors. Featuring the Freshest of Produce."

PEI Green Party Dream-a-thon, anytime 4-6:30PM, on-line, all welcome.
" evening of diverse performances by many talented, storytelling, comedy... there will be something for everyone, and every performance will be a celebration of who we are and what makes PEI special!"  This is also a fundraising event, with donations accepted.
Facebook event link

Though responding to a Letter to the Editor (the latter one, below),
Barb McDowall sums it all up:

from Barb McDowall, Friday, September 25th, 2020, social media:

We live on an island with a finite amount of land and water. Municipal and provincial governments are sorely lacking in vision, their insistence on propping up the status quo (“the way we’ve always done it”) and breaking their covenant with the people who elected them. We all, as citizens, suffer from the deliberate exclusion in the decision-making processes that affect us, the land, the water and our living earth directly.

But we do see when we stand up (repeatedly) and make our concerns known, some politicians hear.  We are still striving for better electoral systems that make governments sort people's concerns and work together. 

Paul MacNeill's editorial (bold is mine):

Larger issues at play than Buddhist permit - The Eastern Graphic Editorial by Paul Mac Neill

Published on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, in The Graphic publications

Some will paint Three River’s decision to deny a building permit for a Buddhist residence as a defiant demand for increased provincial land control regulation.Some will see it as not so subtle institutional racism.

The reality is nothing nearly as nefarious.

Council is doing its job, building the foundation of a community still in its infancy. Any long term community view requires a rule book, an official municipal plan, which in the case of Three Rivers is still being formalized by an Ontario firm. Until complete, it’s understandable why brakes are temporarily applied to the Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute development.The three storey residence, to house 170 of an expected 1,400 nuns over the next decade, is but one portion of the total project encompassing hundreds of acres and multiple buildings.

It is the massive scale, with its subsequent impact on community and provision of municipal services, that council is attempting to balance, something that will only truly occur when the King government puts substance to rhetoric and stops dawdling on promised reform.

In the last number of years housing prices in eastern PEI have soared, while the number of available homes for sale decline.The combination means the dream of owning a home is becoming impossible for a growing number.The growth of the Buddhist community is a primary driver of the hot housing market, that includes seeing followers buy a whole Brudenell subdivision.

Don’t mistake this as criticism. It’s not. People have the right to sell property and receive fair market value in return. The issue is the large number of homes that sit empty for much of the year, purchased by followers or family members of nuns and monks. It is PEI’s version of the Vancouver condo crisis, also driven by empty homes creating an overheated market. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but it is one that the King government must address because it will only magnify in coming years.

The same holds true when it comes to quality agricultural acreage being taken out of production as the Buddhist community buys large swaths of land, part of a larger issue of land ownership control and limits. It’s in this vacuum change is occurring and friction is increasing.

The promised land bank. Still just a promise.

The promise to get to the bottom of the Irving share purchase of Brendel Farms, a blatant run around of the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act, languishes for more than a year at the Island Regulatory Appeals Commission.The only thing of substance IRAC has produced is a waste of taxpayer’s money and the appearance of a conflict of interest by retaining former Chief Justice Gerard Mitchell. His daughter was deputy minister responsible when the Brendel sale occurred and now is a full-time commissioner with IRAC. Regardless the quality of his resume, Justice Mitchell should not be involved.

IRAC was handed a file where the basic facts were not in dispute, yet it delivers a sloth-like investigation that belies the urgency demanded.

The King government doesn’t need to wait for IRAC to act. But the longer government goes without delivering on its foundational promise, the greater chance nothing of substance will be delivered.

The Brendel sale makes a mockery of provincial legislation. Without a forceful response, which could include mandating divestiture of land, it is open season for those wanting to circumvent land ownership limits. Clear provincial guidance is needed for transference of agricultural land from one generation to the next and legislation mandating enforceable limits, including arm’s-length control.

Immigration is vital to the viability of every Island community. The Buddhist community is a welcome and important addition to Three Rivers and eastern PEI region, but there is a continual undercurrent of mistrust. Fixing issues always begins with honest, respectful dialogue.

GEBIS and council need to sit down and talk. But the King government must also step out of IRAC’s shadow and deliver on its oft-repeated promise of land ownership control. It’s not about some idyllic Protestant-Catholic, white, postcard image of what the Island was 50 years ago. What’s needed is a road map individuals, corporations, communities and organizations can trust, so we don’t look back in 50 years and lament what we’ve lost.

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


And Chris McGarry's letter:

Shocking reluctance to act on land reform - The Eastern Garphic Letter to the Editor

Printed on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020, in The Graphic publications

On April 23, 2019, Islanders went to the polls, resulting in the province’s first minority government since 1890, with the Green Party making it to the opposition benches for the first time in history.

There has been a shocking reluctance to implement sound land reform policies and take ironclad steps to close the loopholes in the Lands Protection Act.

Instead, those concerned about the future of our province’s farmland – including affordability for young farmers – have been placated by the usual half – promises and lip service to an issue that lies at the heart of PEI’s primary industry, agriculture.

The failure on the part of the King government to ensure the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act is enforced continues to enable big agriculture and developers to buy more acres of farmland by putting the land under the names of individuals and corporations.

Lately, there has been a growing controversy in the Three Rivers Municipality regarding GEBIS (Greater Enlightenment Buddhist Institute) and GWBI (Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute), an organization of groups of Buddhist monks and nuns that have been growing in Kings County over the past decade (and owns thousands of acres through various affiliated entities) and GWBI – the Buddhist nuns' plan to construct a residence in Brudenell. Local residents, concerned about what potential impact this development would have on land prices, the local housing market, etc. held a meeting in Montague to voice their concerns. The Councillors heard those concerns and voted 7-3 to not approve the building permit, indicating that it needs to hear from the King government and engage the community and Buddhists in a dialogue as Three Rivers proceeds to develop its first long-term community plan.

Since time immemorial, PEI has been referred to as the ‘million – acre’ farm. For decades, small farming operations were the lifeblood of the Cradle of Confederation. Regrettably, too many of our elected representatives care not if they sell off the farm, so to speak.

Since before the time PEI became a province, Islanders have maintained a strong bond with the land and have always striven to protect it. As more people become vocal about the growing threats to land ownership, politicians will have to shed their reluctance to act on this pressing issue and do the right thing.

Chris McGarry, Belfast

Operatics -- Met Opera video-streaming -- Puccini week is wrapping up:

Puccini’s Turandot, today until 6:30PM
Starring Christine Goerke, Eleonora Buratto, Yusif Eyvazov, and James Morris, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From October 12, 2019.   Christine Goerke was the dynamic Valkyrie Brunhilde in the most recent viewing of Die Walkure.  Here, she wows "...audiences as Turandot, the icy princess at the heart of Puccini’s grand final masterpiece. About 2 1/2 hours.

Puccini’s La Bohème, tonight 7:30PM until Monday 6:30PM
Starring Angela Gheorghiu, Ainhoa Arteta, Ramón Vargas, Ludovic Tézier, Quinn Kelsey, Oren Gradus, and Paul Plishka, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. From April 5, 2008.  "... a touching performance starring Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas as the frail seamstress and her poetic lover."  Just over two hours.

Global Chorus essay for September 27
Brenna Davis

I have an unshakable hope that the Earth will be renewed. My hope lies in the mind and heart of humanity – in the heights of our innovation, and in the depths of our compassion.

Human beings have a passion for innovation. One of the biggest watershed moments in modern history was the invention of the combustion engine, which birthed the industrial revolution. From the development of metallurgy, to the mastery of physics, the creation of the engine required millennia of innovation. An engine is an exquisite example of our ability to innovate, despite the unintended consequences of climate change. Our generation is beginning to apply the same innovative spirit that created the engine to environmental innovation. We are finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint, eliminating toxins from manufacturing and expanding use of renewable energy. We are in an era of astounding environmental innovation across the globe.

Human beings are being called to environmental innovation because of compassion for future generations. We know that we are already experiencing climate change that impacts people worldwide. Even if we stop all emissions today, scientists found that the climate wouldn’t return to a state of stasis for at least a century. This scientific finding rings in an era of intergenerational environmental justice. It calls the entire world to unprecedented levels of compassion for human beings whom we will never meet. Compassion for people of the future may seem like a tall order, but compassion has an amazing quality – when we develop compassion for ourselves, we develop compassion for others. It stands to reason, then, that our most important work is to develop compassion for ourselves. When we do, our compassion will overflow into our relationship with the world, including protecting the Earth for those yet to be born.

When our hearts and minds merge, each human being has the innate ability to compassionately innovate for the good of all. This is how the Earth will be renewed for the well-being of future generations. As the Hopi elders generously and wisely stated, we are the ones we have been waiting for.
     —Brenna Davis, environmental scientist, sustainable business expert


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

September 26, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets in Charlottetown (8-1PM)
and Summerside (9AM-1PM -- INSIDE)

If you want to catch up on any Legislative Standing Committee meetings recordings (transcripts take a while to get finished, but video and/or audio are there), here is the Calendar of meetings from the Legislative Assembly website:

Though this newsletter has carried a lot about issues in Charlottetown recently, it is very good to see Citizens clearing expression their opinions about Charlottetown's leadership and vision (or lack of), as we all share in how our Capital City looks, and functions.  

LETTER: Skyscrapers in Charlottetown? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Friday, September 25th, 2020

A few months back I wrote an article about the sorry state of University Avenue and the lack of long-term vision at City Hall (Charlottetown lacks vision and leadership, June 6). I decried the complete disregard for any kind of strategy to improve the traffic flow and perhaps more importantly the visual appearance of the main gateway to our historic city.

I said my piece and was happy to get on with our COVID-19 lifestyle. That was until I saw the rise of a massive steel frame on the campus of UPEI directly adjacent to the avenue. OMG!

Is it just me or does this thing look drastically out of place with not only the campus but the entire city? Why would anybody in their right mind think that this fits with the character of the campus? It’s twice the height of any other building and can be seen piercing the skyline for miles in any direction.

Is this the future we want for our city: skyscrapers on campus and soon on the waterfront?

The university has some wonderful buildings that have served both SDU and UPEI for decades. Thousands of students have passed through these buildings on their path to higher education and self-development. I fear that we have done them a terrible disservice by dwarfing them with a structure that is so dramatically at odds with every other building on campus and the surrounding area.

It’s truly unfortunate that little consideration was given to the character, history, personality and image of UPEI.

Ron MacNeill,
UPEI Class of 1974,

And the University of Prince Edward Island appears to have missed an opportunity to obtain the corner lot of University and Belvedere and turn the now-former "Subway" lot into a green space or quiet, atractive part of the University; word in the local paper is that it's to be a pizza franchise.

Lots of Opera:
Saturday afternoon, with Ben Heppner, 1PM, 104.7FM

The classic, Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi
Chicago Lyric Orchestra and Chorus, with Quinn Kelsey - Rigoletto, Matthew Polenzani - Duke of Mantua and Rosa Feola - Gilda

Video streaming:
The Stuff of Divas

Puccini’s Tosca, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo, and Željko Lučić, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. From January 27, 2018.

Puccini’s Turandot, tonight about 7:30PM until Sunday 6:30PM
Starring Christine Goerke, Eleonora Buratto, Yusif Eyvazov, and James Morris, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From October 12, 2019.

Global Chorus essay for September 26
Seth Godin

We’re all going to die.

Of course we are. Everyone does.

Not only that, but it’s far too late, and the politics are too entrenched to imagine that we’ll be able to maintain the status quo as we know it. The ice caps are going to melt, temperatures are going to rise and our lives (and more importantly, the lives of our grandchildren) are going to be dramatically different.

So, does that mean we should give up? Does that mean we should heedlessly burn and destroy and consume, acting as if everything is just fine?

I hope not.

No, this isn’t a problem to be fixed the way pottery can be mended or a skinned knee can heal. This is the new normal. But even with that acknowledgement, we must work ceaselessly because we know that all of our efforts will make a difference: they will contribute to ameliorating the problem we caused in the first place.

And mostly, it’s a problem to be fixed because humans don’t give up. We don’t shrug our shoulders, avert our eyes and just watch our offspring live a life that’s not nearly what it could be. It’s our nature to fight, to improve and to innovate.

I guess I’m asking you to stop looking for the certain solution, stop hoping for the perfect hope, and instead embrace what we’ve got, which is the task at hand, which is the effort to make a difference.

Because it matters.

    — Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception

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

September 25, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Friday, September 25th:
Charlottetown Rally for Global Action Climate Strike Day, 12noon-2PM, Province House. 

"The PEI (Epekwitk) Fridays for Future Climate Action Group is hosting this rally (and probably a march) from noon to 2:00 pm starting in front of Province House on Grafton Street. We join with others, including Fridays for Future Canada,, Sierra Club, and Amnesty International Canada to call on our governments to take immediate action to reduce GHGs and to meet targets set out in the Paris Agreement."
More details:  Facebook event link

and more background:

If unable to attend, consider watching and contributing to social media coverage and utilizing hashtags such as: #ClimateEmergency #JustRecovery #FridaysForFuture #nogoingback

Standing Committee meetings

Special Committee on Retention of Government Records, 10AM, livestreamed and recorded

Topic: Briefing on current practices on record management in government

Location: 1st Floor, Hon. George Coles Building, 175 Richmond Street

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on current practices on record management in government, by Jill MacMicken-Wilson, Provincial Archivist; and Bethany MacLeod, Deputy Minister, of the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning.

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

Standing Committee on Natural Resources and  Environmental Sustainability, 1PM, livestreamed

Topic: Update on the livestock strategy

The committee will meet for an update on the livestock strategy from Minister Thompson.

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

  Legislative Assembly website Link to watch live

LETTER OF THE DAY: Rethink waterfront buildings in Charlottetown - The Guardian Letter of the Day

Published on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

I have been re-reading and thinking about Doug MacArthur’s article, (Concern for our city, Sept. 11), and share his concern for the future of Charlottetown. I support the establishment of a citizens' forum before any waterfront construction irrevocably changes our city.

I am an Islander who has lived abroad for many years and, since 2014, live on the Island. I feel extremely lucky to be here.

For 20 years I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the U.S., a city of 85,000 people. It was founded by Native Americans and Mexicans and almost everything is built in the adobe style. In the mid-1940s it was a sleepy town full of artists, attracted by the unique architecture and the light. The city fathers decided to preserve the unified adobe look and instituted strict height and building style codes which remain in effect to today.

Because of the presence of this inspired vision, Santa Fe is a tourist mecca attracting millions of people every year. Businesses flourish and the few businesses that do require larger buildings locate on the outskirts of the city. The building codes preserve the “look and feel” of the city. They focus on what was unique and saved it for future generations.

Charlottetown is also a unique city, not only in the beauty of its historic architecture and the simplicity of its small homes, but also because of its location on a magnificent harbour. If the two large buildings approved for the waterfront move ahead, we will lose the glory of our city. We will lose the charm that attracts tourism and the historic beauty that defines us. These two buildings will live long as a monument to bad judgment.

I am well aware of the shortage of housing. I am also aware that low-density housing alone is not going to answer this pressing need. However, we are an intelligent, imaginative, creative people and surely we can work together to create a better solution in housing than the out-of-scale, out-of-place, proposed buildings on Haviland and lower Prince Street.

I beg of you Mayor Brown and Council: take a new, courageous, and creative look at the uniqueness of Charlottetown, and how best to preserve it. Please pause, consult with your constituents, and together, let's create a plan that satisfies the need for housing and honours the beauty of our city.

Maida Rogerson, Charlottetown

Not about the City's waterfront, but about the public review and input process on another project, Sherwood Crossing by Towers Road in "the back" of the Charlottetown Mall.

From Doug MacArthur:

Sherwood Crossing — Public Input Required - post by Doug MacArthur

Published on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

The purpose of this post is to encourage City Council to ensure that there is adequate time and available information to enable and encourage public input into the proposed Sherwood Crossing project before any zoning change is approved by Council.

Last month, the City of Charlottetown invited the public to have input into possible rezoning changes which could enable a 14.78 acre parcel of undeveloped land at the corner of Tower's Road and Mt Edward Road to be the site of a +300-unit apartment/townhouse project, plus commercial health care facility. The project's developers are off-Island developers, Killam and RioCan, and local developer, APM. Our Stop Killam PEI campaign continues to be focused on Killam's 15 Haviland 99-unit outrageous City Hall approval process [no public input allowed] and the resultant calamity of a building. At this point, we have no position on Killam’s  Sherwood Crossing project, except for the need for adequate opportunity for public input. 

There is not yet enough available information for the public or City Council to make fully informed judgments on rezoning and subsequent project approval. A major unanswered question is the impact of this major project on traffic in the area and how to best mitigate potential problems. However, the City is near completion of a comprehensive traffic study which should be in final form within weeks and which can be helpful in determining traffic issues and needs of the greater area. To their credit, a number of city councillors have taken a position that only after the traffic study final report is prepared and reviewed will Council consider the zoning change request.

There are also other issues which have been raised by the public and need to be seriously addressed re Sherwood Crossing. These include loss of green space, water and other infrastructure issues, adjacent Confederation Trail concerns, affordable housing elements, active transportation provisions, etc. 

It is entirely reasonable that a period of approximately three months [from the August public input start date] be set aside for public input. This is a very large project with major long-term implications; all the relevant background info [eg City traffic study] is not yet available; we are in a time of Covid-19 when public input logistics are more difficult than normal; the public is demonstrating great interest in this project; the local construction sector is at or near full capacity and winter is almost upon us, so what's the rush. Additionally, the City will be in a much stronger bargaining position with the developer if the City has a well-researched position to negotiate the terms of the project as part of the rezoning approval, rather than granting the approval and then trying to finalize the development terms. Finally, major rezoning and approval of large projects is not a drive-through process-it can and should take time to reflect the importance of the decisions being made.

There are many other municipalities which have embraced meaningful and adequate public input in their development approval processes. We urge our City Council to ensure there is provision for sufficient public input in the Sherwood Crossing project. The development will be with our community for 100 years, so surely it's worth a few months of public input now to ensure the process and the result have maximum community support.

Opera Corner:

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, today until 6:30PM
Starring Patricia Racette, Maria Zifchak, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Patrick Summers. From on March 7, 2009. OK, this one is really sad. 2 1/2 hours

Puccini’s Tosca, tonight 7:30PM until tomorrow about 6:30PM
Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo, and Željko Lučić, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. From January 27, 2018.  Vibrant acting, but it all the Diva, her beloved political revolutionary, and the lecherous guy in power. But not in that order. Also 2 1/2 hours

a little dated as written around 2013, but the last paragraph still resonates

Global Chorus essay for September 25 
Stéphane Dion

Despite empirical evidence and science’s warnings regarding the ever-increasing deterioration of our natural environment, unsustainable economic activity, political wrangling, self-serving practices and just plain negligence keep trumping environmental imperatives.

Most political leaders care about this tragedy. But concretely, they are not accountable to the planet; they are accountable to their jurisdiction. That’s why, most of the time, local trumps global, and short term prevails over long term.

Now, assume that we change the rules of the game. Imagine a world where each decision maker, public or private, has to pay the real cost of pollution and where we all know that our partners and competitors have to pay for this cost as well. In such a world, political rulers would still think of their own jurisdiction’s welfare first but their decisions would be more mindful of the global commons.

Putting a price on pollution: this is what the overwhelming majority of economists, scientists and environmentalists – and a few foolhardy politicians – have been urging us to do for years. This applies notably to the climate change crisis.

The current UN climate negotiations are stalled; that is the inescapable conclusion of a cool, lucid mind. So let’s redirect these negotiations towards achieving a universal harmonized carbon price.

We need a world where pollution is no longer cost-free. We need to switch from self-destructive development to sustainable development. Action on this survival necessity and moral imperative is long overdue; it will require individual commitment, business support and political will.

       —The Honourable Stéphane Dion, PC, Member of Parliament for Saint-Laurent–Cartierville (Montréal), former Minister of the Environment

Wikipedia provides an update:
Stéphane Maurice Dion
PC (born 28 September 1955) is a Canadian diplomat, political scientist and retired politician who has been the Canadian Ambassador to Germany and special envoy to the European Union since 2017. Dion was Minister of Foreign Affairs under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from 2015 until he was shuffled out of Cabinet in 2017. He was also the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons from 2006 to 2008.

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

September 24, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Thursday, September 24th:
CANCELLED -- Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM, on the PEI Energy Strategy.
More details here.

Friday, September 25th
Charlottetown Rally for Global Action Climate Strike Day, 12noon-2PM, Province House.  The PEI (Epekwitk) Fridays for Future Climate Action Group is hosting this rally (and probably a march) from noon to 2:00 pm starting in front of Province House on Grafton Street. We join with others, including Fridays for Future Canada,, Sierra Club, and Amnesty International Canada to call on our governments to take immediate action to reduce GHGs and to meet targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
More details: 
Facebook event link

and more background:

An important commentary and analysis, which I hope both the Premier and various political "backroom" denizens read carefully:

LETTER: Time for a grown-up conversation - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Ppublished on Wednesday, September 24th, 2020

The lack of rain this summer has been a concern of Islanders tip to tip. It resulted in the flow of many Island rivers to fall below their assigned maintenance level. These values are necessary to protect the ecological integrity of the river systems. Under the EPA regulations, extractions from these rivers cease once that threshold is surpassed. On Sept. 18, P.E.I.’s Watershed Alliance issued a public statement pointing out recent extractions from the Dunk River to facilitate potato irrigation. This took place during the period from Aug. 19-26, at a time when the river was significantly below its assigned maintenance flow. The Dennis King government made special dispensations to allow this to take place without accepting counsel from the local watershed group.

On the same day, Premier King was in New Annan to mark the opening of Cavendish Farm’s potato research facility. Mr. Robert Irving flew in for the occasion and took the opportunity to ramp up his demand to end the moratorium on high-capacity wells. In the premier’s response was the statement “we have to have an adult and grown-up conversation about it.”

I think we need “an adult and grownup conversation” about his government’s reluctance to respect existing regulatory environmental protections and the language and intent of the still pending Water Act. Perhaps in this conversation Premier King could also justify his choice to sweeten the spreadsheet of a chosen few.

Boyd Allen, Pownal

Metropolitan Opera streaming of video recordings:

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Kristine Opolais, Roberto Alagna, Massimo Cavalletti, and Brindley Sherratt, conducted by Fabio Luisi;. From March 5, 2016. France in 1940's, Alagna and Opolais...pretty cool.  2 1/2 hours.

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, tonight 7:30Pm until Friday 6:30PM
From on March 7, 2009.  "Patricia Racette is Cio-Cio-San, the trusting and innocent young geisha of the title, who disastrously falls in love with American Navy lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton (Marcello Giordani), only to be abandoned by him. Maria Zifchak is her loyal servant Suzuki" (and is an incredibly gifted soprano in any of these supporting roles she plays and a sweet actress) "and Dwayne Croft is Sharpless, the sympathetic American consul who does all he can but is unable to avert tragedy." Sadder than sad.  2 1/2 hours

Global Chorus essay for September 24 
Céline Cousteau

Hope serves as a driving force for positive change. This hope inspires us to look to our future and take the necessary steps to ameliorate our lives.

When we talk about protecting our planet it is not just for the sake of the environment, it is for own livelihood as well – for the health of this planet is our own health (lest we feel we can survive on oil, cement, pollution and dwindling natural resources).

But much like a marathon, we should be ready to work, train and believe in our ability to reach our goals. It is in part hope that creates the conviction needed to endure the challenge.

By shifting our thinking, and believing in a global community with a common stake in the future of our species, we can and will make positive socio-environmental change happen. In fact, we have no other choice – our human potential to survive relies on a shift in consciousness and our unified action.

I have hope that we can make that shift happen and that we can act more like a tribe; a community with a common future. We need to believe in this, else we lower our arms in defeat, and that is not an option.

       — Céline Cousteau, multimedia documentarian, socio-environmental advocate, founder/director of CauseCentric Productions

Another site with fascinating content and calls to action -- "Amplifying the voice of great causes...inspiring action through storytelling."


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

September 23, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

CANCELLED -- The Special Committee on Poverty in PEI was to meet this morning, in camera (so out of the cameras and public microphones), to discuss their report, but are NOT meeting due to the weather.

This afternoon: 
Federal Speech from the Throne, coverage begins at 2:30PM, all expected to wrap up around 5PM, CBC Radio and CBC and CTV TV

This evening:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau public address, 7:30PM, also probably preempting local programming.  
Tomorrow, Thursday, September 24th:
Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM, on the PEI Energy Strategy.
More details here:

About Friday, September 25th (bold is mine):

LETTER: Sept. 25 is a Global Day of Climate Action - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marilyn MacKay

Published on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Fridays for Future, the climate movement inspired by Greta Thunberg, has called for a global day of climate action on Sept. 25. Many groups around the world are planning events – both in person and online aimed at drawing attention to the climate emergency. The P.E.I. Fridays for Future Climate Action Group is holding a rally that day from noon to 2 p.m. in front of Province House on Grafton Street. They join with others, including Fridays for Future Canada,, and Amnesty International Canada to call on our governments to take immediate action to reduce global warming and to meet targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

As countries around the world prepare to spend billions to help their economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, many climate groups are emphasizing the importance of investing in human well-being and a green, low-carbon economy for this year’s global climate action day. Themes such as “A Just Recovery for All” and “Build Back Better” reflect a growing call for systemic change in our social and economic institutions; recognizing that tackling climate change goes hand in hand with creating a more equitable world. Here in Canada the speech from the throne will be delivered on Sept. 23 outlining a pathway to recovery for this country. The P.E.I. Fridays for Future group plans to review the throne speech and take an opportunity at the Sept. 25 rally to speak on its compatibility with the principles of a green and just recovery.

Greta Thunberg recently offered a grim assessment of progress on the climate crisis since she began her Friday school strikes two years ago in Sweden. She and some of her fellow activists wrote in The Guardian International Edition: “The climate and ecological crisis has never once been treated as a crisis. The gap between what we need to do and what’s actually being done is widening by the minute.“ She has called on adults to help with this youth lead movement: “... to change everything we need everyone.” Sept. 25 is an opportunity to show support for the world’s youth who are trying to secure a sustainable future for everyone.

The P.E.I. Fridays for Future Climate Action Group works to effect immediate action on the climate emergency by advocating with the public and all levels of government for effective climate policies which are both scientifically based and equitable for all. They hold weekly climate rallies, 4-5 p.m., at Province House on Grafton Street in Charlottetown. All are welcome to join in.

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


Regarding today's Global Chorus essayist:

What is permaculture?

Popularly seen as a ‘cool’ form of organic gardening, permaculture could be better described as a design system for resilient living and land use based on universal ethics and ecological design principles. Although the primary focus of permaculture has been the redesign of gardening, farming, animal husbandry and forestry, the same ethics and principles apply to design of buildings, tools and technology. Applying permaculture ethics and principles in our gardens and homes inevitably leads us towards redesigning our ways of living so as to be more in tune with local surpluses and limits.

Permaculture is also a global movement of individuals, groups and networks working to create the world we want, by providing for our needs and organising our lives in harmony with nature. The movement is active in the most privileged and the most destitute communities and countries. Permaculture may be Australia’s most significant export for humanity facing a world of limits.

--from David Holmgren’s latest book RetroSuburbia

Met Opera streaming of recorded operas:

Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, today until 6:30PM
Starring Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani, and Lucio Gallo, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. From January 8, 2011.  Grand opera meets the Wild West and the results are very dramatic!

Wednesday, September 23
Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday 6:30PM
Starring Kristine Opolais, Roberto Alagna, Massimo Cavalletti, and Brindley Sherratt, conducted by Fabio Luisi;. From March 5, 2016. "Kristine Opolais is the young woman whose conflicting desires for love and luxury lead to her tragic end, and Roberto Alagna plays the man who falls for her in Puccini’s early hit. Richard Eyre’s elegant production, which sets the action in 1940s occupied France..."  Wow!

Global Chorus for September 23
David Holmgren

Organized international responses (between nation states) to the current global environmental and social crises are unlikely to be effective or in time, and are more likely to worsen the crises because they will all be designed to maintain growth of the corporation dominated global economy and protect the power of nation states.

Despite the pain and suffering from the ongoing, and likely permanent, contraction of many economies, the explosion of informal household and community economies have the potential to ameliorate the worst impacts of the crises by rebuilding lost local resilience.

I believe the diversity of integrated design strategies and techniques associated with concepts such as Permaculture will be most effective at building household and community economies as the global economy unravels. The diversity of these strategies and techniques promises that at least some will provide pathways for longer-term survival of humanity while the adverse impacts of some strategies will tend to be more local and limited allowing natural systems (especially at the global scale) to stabilize.

Because the future will be more local than global, the critical path is the ongoing development and refinement of effective local designs, while the Internet and other aspects of the failing global systems still have huge potential to allow the viral spread of the most effective and widely applicable designs.

Systems ecology and indigenous wisdom both suggest that in a world of limited resources, the ethics of “care of the Earth,” “care of people” and “fair share” will prove more advantageous to local survival than those based on greed and fear, that have been so powerful during a century of unprecedented abundance. To put it crudely, hungry dogs hunt co-operatively and share the results, but given an abundance of food, they fight each other for the spoils.

I have great hope that the diverse local cultures that emerge from the ruins of industrial modernity will be based on these ethics and informed by design principles found in nature. The uncertainty is how much more pain and despoiling are yet to unfold before fear and greed prove maladapted to a world of limits.

     —David Holmgren, co-originator (1978) of the Permaculture design system for sustainable living and land use, ecological builder, farmer, author, teacher, activist

And, as you can guess, there is a great deal at this website:

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

September 22, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Cancelled (or at least postponed) -- Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, which was to met this afternoon and discuss the reopening of schools.
There are several legislative Standing Committee meetings planned for later this week, including Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Thursday and Friday (Calendar here). 

To catch up (which I need to do) on previous presenters for that Committee, this page should show the transcripts for the meetings in 2020, and three focus on the Water Act regulations, if you wish to find them. AT THIS LINK

You could also search for video and audio recordings for meetings (I suggest start with year 2020 in their rather clunky search system) which you reach by going to 
their committee page (at the very bottom):

If you read the Global Chorus essay for today (below) written around 2013 during the Harper-era fight for Canada to acknowledge the effects of fossil-fuel production, consider reading it again keeping in mind similar situations today with other major traditional economic forces and environmental protection issues.

The Official Opposition Critic for the Environment and Climate Change writes:

Monday, September 21st, 2020

Statement by Lynne Lund, Official Opposition Critic for Environment, Water, and Climate Change on concerns regarding stewardship of our natural resources

Like many Islanders, I was concerned to learn government issued a permit to withdraw water from the Dunk River despite the river already being well below normal levels. We know this has been an extremely difficult summer for farmers. But much of these difficulties are a direct result of climate change. Drier summers are expected to be our new normal, and that’s why it’s critical we find solutions that protect all of our resources, land and water, so farming can survive, and thrive, as well. 

What we need is a sustainable vision for our Island that balances the very real needs of our industries with the very real threat of climate change.

This is not the first time government has issued permits with little thought given to the impacts. We have seen government issue permits for a developer to destroy sand dunes at St. Margaret’s Beach for a walkway when one already existed, and to remove part of an old piece of Acadian forest, of which there are not many examples left on PEI, to make way for more traffic lanes at the corner of St. Peter’s Road and the perimeter highway.

While the Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Energy has taken responsibility for the destruction of the sand dune, it should never have happened in the first place. I even appreciate he is ensuring Islanders that what happened with the sand dune will never happen again. Surprisingly, we hear no similar assurances from the Minister of Environment, Water, and Climate Change when it comes to matters related to the environment.

To quote Indigenous Canadian filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin “When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.”

I join my Islander friends and neighbours in calling on government to do a better job of stewarding the resources we have entrusted to its care. I am asking the Minister of Environment, Water, and Climate Change to explain her vision for balancing the need of protecting our natural resources with supporting the industries that Islanders rely on.

Lynne Lund, MLA
Summerside – Wilmot

Official Opposition Critic for Environment, Water, and Climate Change


Opera Corner:

Puccini’s La Rondine, today until 6:30PM
Conducted by Marco Armiliato; starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey. Transmitted live on January 10, 2009.  So pretty, so sad.

Tuesday, September 22
Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
From January 8, 2011.  "Puccini’s musical vision of the American West is vividly brought to life in Giancarlo Del Monaco’s atmospheric production. Deborah Voigt is Minnie, the girl of the title and owner of a bar in a Californian mining camp. Marcello Giordani sings Dick Johnson, the bandit-turned-lover hunted by the cynical sheriff Jack Rance (Lucio Gallo), who wants Minnie for himself. Complete with whiskey-drinking cowboys, gunplay, a poker game, and a snowstorm, La Fanciulla del West is Puccini at his most colorful."  That's such a fun description!

Global Chorus essay for September 22 
Ian Willms

The idea that we need to “save the planet” is entirely ridiculous. The Earth doesn’t need us for anything. From formation of its molten core to its multiple ice ages and numerous extinction-level asteroid impacts, our planet has evolved into a nearly perfect, self-correcting system. We’ll kill ourselves long before we destroy the Earth.

I have spent the last three years photographing the indigenous communities located in the region of the Canadian oil sands. A couple centuries ago, their ancestors roamed the Athabasca region of northern Alberta, following the caribou herds and living in harmony with their environment. Today, their First Nations bands have been confined to remote reserves where their sources of food and water are so polluted that they now must cope with rising rates of cancer, miscarriages and other serious ailments. As more and more of their hunting territory is stripmined and drowned beneath with man-made lakes of toxic waste, the prospect of reviving their traditional livelihood is quickly fading away. They are the canary in the coal mine.

For the 2012–13 fiscal year, the Canadian government budgeted $9-million in tax revenue to fund an ad campaign that attempted to convince Canadians and the world of the importance of oil sands developments. The ads trumpeted words like “energy security” and “economic progress” while insisting that environmental protection was a top priority. They also reminded us that the oil sands are worth $1.7-trillion to Canada’s GDP over the next 20 years while neglecting to mention that the oil sands industry alone emits more carbon per annum than the entire nation of Turkey. The public will buy the government’s line because they’re too afraid to face a new and unknown world.

The oil sands are the reason why my country pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol and why my government continues to sabotage the international climate change debate with destructive policies and a noncommittal stance on proposed climate accords. While Canada is not solely responsible for global climate change, our actions contribute to a greater whole. We will not choose to transition to a sustainable existence until that change becomes a necessity. By that time, it will be too late to avoid major loss of human life. Extreme weather patterns have already become the norm and there are climate change refugees all over the globe. A new and unknown world is coming and we must adapt in order to survive.

Beyond simply surviving, we must live. The coming centuries will present us with an opportunity to rebuild our world while considering the hard lessons of today. The greed and inequity that has flung us into this quagmire of systemic destruction must not be carried forward. Our brilliance as a species to create and invent needs only to be focused in the right direction for us to create something that is truly lasting and beautiful. Good luck, everyone.

       —Ian Willms, Boreal Collective

Ian is a former member of the Boreal Collective, a group of documentary photgraphers:

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

September 21, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

It's a relatively quiet beginning of the week, as perhaps people are focussing on other matters, but there are several Standing Committee meetings Tuesday through Friday, and Friday is also going to have a Climate Demonstration.
Details to follow

from David MacKay, social media September 13th, 2020 (edited slightly):

Downloading the Environmental Guilt Trip - by David MacKay

In order to get serious about improving our environment we need to understand the things that have prevented our society from making real environmental improvements, over the past 30 years. We have had time to mend our ways, the red lights of environmental degradation began flashing 30 years ago.

To understand the lack of environmental advancements it is useful to compare the other social challenges we have made progress on, during the past few decades. Take, for example, equity for people with disabilities. While realizing there are many challenges to overcome, one must admit that progress has been made. In contrast, progress in justice for the land and water, in relative terms, has been minuscule.

There are many reasons for this; the unwillingness of government leaders to create and enforce strong environmental laws and the willingness of corporate elites to prioritize money over the ecosystem. But there is another factor: the downloading of an environmental guilt trip through mainstream media’s implied shaming of individual’s lack of action to save the planet, as if individual action alone can save the planet. Downloading environmental guilt to citizens serves to confuse, frustrate and ultimately make individuals feel helpless and guilty in the face of ecological collapse.

Take the issue of plastic pollution. We are, by any measure, drowning in plastic. Why? Because the majority of plastics are cheaply made, difficult to recycle and there is little or no corporate cost or consequences for their throw-away packaging. Coke Cola produces 110 billions bottles per year yet the cunning communicators at Coke HQ have, by and large, made only promises about recycling programs, implied that it’s those careless trash tossers that are the problem, while ignoring their decision to generally leave glass bottles behind. In the end COKE Inc., by their actions, show that higher profits trump the environment.

Is it not time, in this era of ecological collapse, to recognize big business’s green washing techniques and the negative effects of well crafted media manipulation, through their downloading of the environmental guilt trip.


So suggestions for this, please, besides using your purchasing power, paying attention to social campaigns calling out polluters, sharing stories of people and companies who look at the big picture in their small decisions, etc.

Opera Corner:  Met Opera's video streaming

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

Week 28 (Puccini Week)
Puccini’s La Rondine, 7:30PM tonight until Tuesday at 6:30PM

"Puccini’s achingly beautiful score charmingly conveys the plight of Magda (the 'swallow' of the title) who unexpectedly finds true love with the handsome young Ruggero. But their idyllic and happy life comes to an premature end as she is haunted by the fear (of) her checkered past...(then) real-life couple and operatic stars Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna portray Puccini’s star-crossed lovers."  With very cool Art Deco sets.  From January 2009.

"Star-crossed lovers" is kind of the theme of Puccini Week

Global Chorus for September 21
Rajendra K. Pachauri

I am optimistic that humanity can find a way past the current global crisis that we face. The challenge of climate change of course is by far the most daunting of all the complex problems that afflict planet Earth, and indeed it would take an enormous amount of determination, enlightenment and possibly lifestyle and behavioural changes to effectively meet this challenge.

The strongest basis for my optimism lies in the fact that we have today a wealth of scientific knowledge by which we can project the impacts of climate change in the future, if human society were to do nothing about this problem. At the same time, we also have knowledge by which we know that mitigation actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases can be taken in hand with very modest, and sometimes even with negative costs. Our major effort therefore should be to disseminate knowledge in a balanced and dispassionate manner, so that human society can take decisions which would help us in meeting this challenge for our benefit and for generations yet to come.

Albert Einstein was right when he said that problems cannot be solved with the level of awareness that created them. We have to use scientific knowledge which has been produced in creating widespread awareness, for in that lies the strongest basis for addressing the problems we face.

In summary, therefore, I remain optimistic, and I think we have every reason to be hopeful, even though the path ahead is not going to be without barriers, resistance and difficulties.

     — Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (until 2015), director-general of TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi)  (until 2016)

Pachauri died earlier this year at 79 after heart surgery, and had been facing sexual harrassment charges that led to his resignation from the above organizations

from The Guardian (U,K.) article from February 2020:

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

September 20, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Downtown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street,
produce and crafts and ready-to-eat food.

Morning Dew Gardens U-Pick flowers sale, 10AM-12noon and 4-6PM, Jewell Road in Warren Grove.  By donation.

"Come pick flowers tomorrow! We’re spending the weekend preparing the farm for hurricane winds 💨which are likely to take out what’s left of the flower garden.

Rather than the usual $15 cost, bouquets will be by donation ($10 suggested, or pay what you can) to the PEI Humane Society. There are still lots of colourful sunflowers, cosmos, snapdragons, and other beautiful blooms that survived the frost! Help us find a home for the last of our flowers while supporting the wonderful folks and critters.....

Park along the road by the farm sign at 139 Jewell Road and help yourself! The usual physical distancing and hand sanitizer rules will be in effect, but instead of our regular setup we’re asking you to bring your own clippers/scissors and bouquet supplies. A bucket, jar, or rubber band would do the trick!..."

Virtual Open Farm Day Atlantic
A little different this year.
"Open Farm Day is the third Sunday of September annually. See a map and a list of participating at"

Facebook event details
YouTube Channel

Interesting point of view:

LETTER: A double standard - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, September 17th, 2020

I read with interest the transfer of 3.8 acres of land from the province to the municipality (Capital close to acquiring PE Home property, Aug. 28). Plans for the space range from a botanical garden (not native and not natural), or maybe even a meditation space.

Ironic that in developing land in Sherwood (most recently the intensive infill along Mount Edward Road) there is nary a thought to preserving green space. Once that entire 50-acre (plus or minus) area is developed it will likely be home to 2,000 people and maybe 3,000 plus cars, degrade the Confederation Trail, and add by leaps and bounds to the traffic already making any “meditative” state impossible, let alone the simple enjoyment of any green space.

What a double standard. Are we turning Charlottetown into a city segregated by the “haves” (aka downtown Charlottetown) and the “have-nots” (aka Sherwood). Since amalgamation I have seen an increasing erosion of the quality of life with commercial and industrial development (paving plants), apartments in people’s backyards, and major transportation corridors. Sadly, as we look towards more intensive development and new neighbours, there is not a thought to their meditation space, let alone any new green or natural space. Maybe we can hop in our cars and drive to the new space in “downtown Charlottetown” — or will we need a new road for that? Also, Mr. Brown didn’t mention what land the city was transferring to the province. Inquiring minds need to know. What are we really paying for 3.8 acres of meditation space?

Michael Deighan, Charlottetown

Met Opera video streaming:

Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, today until 6:30PM
Starring Pretty Yende, Matthew Polenzani, Davide Luciano, and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo; conducted by Domingo Hindoyan. From February 10, 2018.  Fun, silly, amazing vocals.

Bellini’s Norma, Sunday 7:30PM until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Joyce DiDonato, Joseph Calleja, and Matthew Rose, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. From October 7, 2017.  Not fun, nor silly, but amazing vocals.

Very much to peruse in the Global Chorus essayist's Simran Sethi's website, including about her book Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of the Foods We Love.

Global Chorus essay for September 20
Simran Sethi

To the ancient Greeks, she was hope. Elpis: a spirit bearing flowers, borne out of the actions of the first woman, Pandora.

Pandora was the all-gifted one. Crafted from earth and water, she was Zeus’ punishment to mankind, retribution for Prometheus’ theft of fire. The gifted beauty let ills spring forth into what had been a perfect world.

The chaos was her doing.

At least that is what we have been told. That curiosity overwhelmed Pandora. She opened a box she had been instructed to keep closed – and evil escaped. Small winged creatures of sickness, plague and bane, calamities that could not be undone. Pandora recovered in time to capture only one spirit: Elpis.

This mythology reverberates through the challenges we face today: poverty, environmental degradation, inequality. We opened the box. The crises have taken fight. All that remains is hope.

But if hope was mingling with the evils in that box, she might be one of them – another cause of suffering. Because hope is not action, it is expectation. Like the ancient Greeks, we question if hope is worth having. We consider keeping her locked away.

Let us revisit the myth of Pandora’s box. Because what she actually opened was a vessel – pithos – not a box. Smooth and rounded, some called this vessel the womb; others, life. Pandora was our stand-in: wife, mother, householder. And tucked into her earthy vessel were spirits that would only later come to be known as maleficent. Some say the vessel was not full of evils, but necessities – the elements required to sustain a household. And Elpis was seed, bits of grain set aside for planting, the hope for abundance. Hope made manifest through action.

This was Pandora’s doing.

Perhaps it was agency – not curiosity – that compelled Pandora to open the vessel. And hope, caught under the lip of the jar, was not imprisoned. Loath to leave us, she stayed. She endured. She is with us still.

Hope is the beginning and the end, the ripe seed that holds the promise of the next planting. We prepare the ground, we nourish and we water. And then, we hope.

      — Simran Sethi, journalist, educator

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

September 19, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Farmers' Markets in Charlottetown (8-1PM) and Summerside (9AM-1PM -- INSIDE)

Some local food:
from the City of Charlottetown, Thursday, September 17th, 2020:
The City’s Community Veggie Planters are still brimming with delicious produce that is ripe for the picking. See below for what is ready this week:
*Frank MacAulay Park: Lemon Balm, Lettuce, Patty Pan Squash, Spinach
*Orlebar Park: Basil, Kale, Lemon Balm, Rosemary
*Victoria Park: Dill, Lettuce, Patty Pan Squash
*Windsor Park: Basil, Cherry Tomatoes, Dill, Eggplant, Lettuce, Swiss Chard
More info:

There is a lot going on with water right now in the Province, its "regulation" and protection, who wants more and who is making decisions affecting this public trust.  And many questions swirling and only lightly touched on by media (who is trying, to their credit) -- Where's the Water Act right now, is there actually a moratorium on building holding ponds right now, what's that big research study studying, what's the new "Cavendish Farms Research" facility going to be doing, how water issues weave with land issues, both in holdings and in actual land use -- SO much to make sense of.  The Citizens' Alliance goal is to address parts of this as we can and keep the big picture in sight: that we only have so much water and land, that climate is changing, and while certain industries may contribute to Island coffers, our priorities may be totally out of whack if we aren't protecting land and water for future generations.On some government authorized extraction of water in the Dunk River:

The PEI Watershed Alliance, which represents most of the watershed groups on the Island, has unfortunately but somewhat understandably often been reluctant to wade into heavy criticism of government, as their member groups receive most funding from government resources.  Very, very good to see their leadership voicing concerns.

from September 18th, 2020,

PEI Watershed Alliance was disappointed to learn that in late August the province allowed the extraction of surface water from the Dunk River (Kinkora) despite water levels being critically low.

More information on river maintenance flows and current river flow can be found on the PEI government website:

Response to water withdrawal from the Dunk River, August 19 – 26th, 2020:
““The board of the PEI Watershed Alliance was disappointed to learn that the province granted approval for agricultural producers to extract surface water from the Dunk River during August 19 – 26th, 2020. At this time, the river’s water levels were well below the posted maintenance level (45.5 cm), a value that is meant to protect the ecological integrity and natural flow of the river. The King Government’s decision to allow pumping when river levels were below maintenance flow went against the conditions outlined in the Environmental Protection Act Watercourse and Wetland Protection regulations and Water Extraction Permitting Policy. On August 18th (4:00 pm) prior to water extraction, the Dunk river water level was recorded as 40.53 cm (~5 cm below maintenance flow) on the PEI Government Water Level information website and once water extraction commenced on August 20th the water level dropped approximately 5 cm to 35.98 cm (~ 10 cm under maintenance flow).
The board of the PEI Watershed Alliance realizes that drought like conditions have put strain on our agricultural producers, however, low stream flows negatively affect the quality and quantity of habitat for aquatic life and entire ecosystems. We are discouraged that this water extraction decision was made without consideration of the efforts of the local watershed group (Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association) in improving the ecological health of the Dunk River which is home to an endemic population of Atlantic salmon (COSEWIC listed as Special Concern). The Dunk is one of the last remaining rivers with native salmon populations in central PEI. Low flows within river systems are detrimental to salmon and trout due to increased predation risk and decreased food availability. We also recognize the significant effect that water withdrawal via multiple low or single high capacity wells can have on surface water quantity.
The board is upset by this shortsighted approach of the Premier as it counteracts the purpose and goals of the Water Act in ‘ensuring quality, quantity, allocation, conservation and protection of water is managed in the interests of a common good that benefits and accommodates all living things in the province and their supporting ecosystems.’ The PEI Watershed Alliance and our constituent watershed groups strive for environmental betterment and spend countless energy and resources to improve our Island’s ecosystems through watershed planning and management practices towards goals laid out in the PEI Watershed Strategy. We believe in the precautionary principle and work together with various stakeholders including governments, industry and other partners to find solutions for environmental issues. The Agri-Watershed Partnership is a recent example of this collaborative approach.
Environmental sustainability must be a priority. Unfortunately, we do not feel that this is the viewpoint of the King Government as demonstrated by the Dunk River surface water extraction approval. The ability of an industry to have undue influence on our government is unacceptable and the precedence of the premier in making this decision goes against his oft repeated saying that a 'co-operative approach is critical to the success of our government.' Other recent approvals such as Irrigation Holding Ponds and the Eastern Kings Wind Farm further highlight our concerns. We are requesting an immediate meeting with Premier King and Ministers Jameson and Thompson to discuss our concerns on these issues.
Mike Durant
Chair, PEI Watershed Alliance""


PEI Watershed Alliance Facebook page

Water Protection, and Fish Kills, the second of the two-part series by Don Mazer and Ann Wheatley of ECOPEI.

Note this was not posted online in the Opinions section of The Guardian as of yet, but I asked for a copy of their work, which they graciously sent to me.

Fishkills: Action needed - The Guardian article by Don Mazer and Ann Wheatley

second of two parts

Published on Monday, September 14th, 2020

It’s not a pretty picture – thousands of dead fish, in various stages of decomposition – but it’s a familiar one. There have been many fishkills over the years, including several in the Montrose River, the site of last week’s most recent die-off. In almost all of the 60+ cases between the late 60s and 2017, pesticides were found to have caused the deaths of those fish. In the small number of “unsolved” cases, pesticides could not be ruled out. Small fish, especially, decompose pretty quickly, making the cause of death difficult to discern.
It’s the ways in which we humans use our land and our water that has caused fish – and other living things, everything is connected in a watershed – to die. And we’ve shown a remarkable capacity to resist changing our behaviours.
After years and years of evidence, prosecutions, fines, media attention, and general wringing of hands, this is where we are, still. Whatever regulations we have put into place, inadequate. Whatever incentives we have offered, and whatever best practices we have promoted, not good enough.
The PEI Water Act, which one could argue still won’t be strong enough to prevent fish kills, anoxic events and other problems, but which offers some basic protections, has been in the works for 5+ years. That’s just too long. ECOPEI calls on the Premier and Minister Jameson to take whatever action is needed to put the Act into effect.
We need to examine our unhealthy dependence on industrial agriculture. When will we understand the inherent contradiction in the labelling of Prince Edward Island as Canada’s Food Island? What kind of food, and food for whom? At what cost to our land, water, flora and fauna and climate should we continue to, on such a massive scale, strip PEI soil of nutrients and organic matter, load it with harmful chemicals and watch it blow away or flow into streams and rivers? The benefits of industrial agriculture, while shared to some extent by local producers, accrue mostly to large corporations. The costs, including costs to the environment, are shared more widely, by all of us.
This has been a hot, dry summer. Most people in Prince Edward Island are connected in some way to farm families and are aware of the profound impacts of weather on their livelihoods and on their ability to keep producing the food that we eat. Global warming is making things worse.
The PEI Federation of Agriculture and the PEI Potato Board have called for the moratorium on high capacity wells to be lifted. They say farmers need more access to water for irrigation. ECOPEI acknowledges the severity of the dry conditions. We see this as yet another reason to focus on protection of water for the future; to maintain, not lift the moratorium, and to evaluate and bolster all of our water conservation efforts.
Industrial agriculture may be the predominant model, but Prince Edward Island has a strong tradition of family-scale farms, and of farmers who rely on sustainable, organic methods of production. To prevent fish kills in the future we must support those farmers as we wean ourselves from the use of pesticides. We need to provide more support for farmers involved in or wanting to transition to organic agriculture, more support for smaller-scale farmers to distribute their products – for example by requiring hospitals, schools, nursing homes and prisons to purchase locally produced food, and by developing the infrastructure necessary for a strong local procurement system.
We can also strengthen provincial rules and regulations when it comes to land use. This would include more stringent buffer zone and crop rotation regulations, with no exceptions, and a moratorium on holding ponds for irrigation. Targets for soil organic material should also be set, tying government support to meeting those targets.
Fish kills have become predictable, but they don’t have to be inevitable. Ensuring clean and adequate amounts of water and a healthy environment for future generations requires action now, and that’s what we all need to be asking of our government.


Saturday and Sunday morning, afternoon and evening at the Opera:

Saturday afternoon, with Ben Heppner, 1PM, 104.7FM
Today it is the entertaining Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti, with 
Bryn Terfel as Don Pasquale, Olga Peretyatko as Norina, and Ioan Hotea as Ernesto, with 
Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.  A recent recording, I think.

Video streaming:

Bellini’s I Puritani, tonight until 6:30PM
From January 6, 2007. "Soprano Anna Netrebko took New York by storm when she performed the role of the fragile Puritan maiden Elvira. Her daring take on the heroine’s famous mad scene earned her rapturous standing ovations from sold-out houses night after night. Overflowing with ravishing arias and ensembles, this bel canto gem also stars Eric Cutler as Elvira’s love Arturo, Franco Vassallo as her suitor Riccardo, and John Relyea as her uncle Giorgio."  Those Puritans.

Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, 7:30PM tonight until Sunday about 6:30PM
From February 10, 2018.  "Donizetti’s bubbly romantic comedy about a spunky landowner, a hapless peasant, and the dubious love potion that may or may not bring them together never fails to delight audiences. In this performance from the Met’s Live in HD series, South African soprano Pretty Yende stars as Adina, imbuing her character with lovable warmth while tossing off effortless coloratura passages from beginning to end. Tenor Matthew Polenzani is Nemorino, Adina’s love-struck admirer, who pours out his heart in the moving aria “Una furtiva lagrima.” The cast also includes baritone Davide Luciano as the swaggering Sergeant Belcore and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as the wily Dr. Dulcamara, and Domingo Hindoyan conducts Bartlett’s Sher’s charming and colorful production."

Global Chorus essay for September 19
Grant Lawrence

I believe there is hope.

Whenever I speak with skeptics about our global social and climate crisis, I often say this: even if you don’t believe that the climate is changing, even if you think global warming is part of some giant hoax left over from the hippie era, look at it this way: pretend the planet is your yard, your property. Do you dump your garbage out of your open kitchen window onto your lawn? Do you toss out your used appliances into your front yard? Is your backyard filled with your last twenty years of computer monitors? Unless you’re from Manshiet Nasser, the answer is probably no. You pride yourself on keeping your private property neat and tidy and free of trash and garbage. You probably recycle your newspapers and your bottles and you might even compost.

If we can abide by this simple logic in our attitudes toward the Earth by applying NIMBY thinking (“not in my backyard”) to our entire planet, no matter where you stand on climate change or what your stance may be, our planet will be a better place now and for future generations.

Let’s treat the rest of the planet just like our own private property. Earth is our home. We need to clean up the mess.

       —Grant Lawrence, radio host of CBC Music

Grant is also hosting the 2020 Canadian Music Class Challenge, modified for this year.

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

September 18, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Standing Committee meeting: Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges, 10AM,  Audio available *after* the meeting.

"The committee will meet to consider its work plan, including: Motion No. 71 (Motion respecting hybrid proceedings of the House); rules changes relating to the new parliamentary calendar and sitting hours; and other new business. 
The buildings in the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public. The audio of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting." 
Committee members: 
Hannah Bell (Chair) (GP)
Sonny Gallant (L)
Lynne Lund (GP)
Sidney MacEwen (PC)
Hon. Matthew MacKay (PC)
Hal Perry (L)

Legislative Assembly website
"Watch Live" link will be on front page

Legislative Assembly Facebook page
Page about the Motion:
Motion 71: Motion 71 - Motion respecting hybrid virtual proceedings of the House

PDF is here

Friday4Future Charlottetown, 4PM, near Province House
"Join us in solidarity with youth-led #FridaysForFuture school climate strikes happening across Canada and around the world on Fridays, as founded by Greta Thunberg in Aug 2018,
All are welcome! We gather to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future...."
Facebook event link
Tomorrow, Saturday, September 18th:
Tree Planting, Frank MacAulay Park, 9:30AM-12:30PMPREREGISTRATION required

"The City of Charlottetown invites the public to a celebratory tree planting in the J. Frank MacAulay Park on Saturday, September 19 to mark the completion of an environmental improvement project at the park."

Facebook event link

Opera notes:  Met Opera video performances streaming:

Rossini’s La Cenerentola, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Elīna Garanča, Lawrence Brownlee, Simone Alberghini, Alessandro Corbelli, and John Relyea; conducted by Maurizio Benini. From May 9, 2009.  Cinderella and fantastic singing!

Bellini’s I Puritani, tonight 7:30PM until Saturday late afternoon
Starring Anna Netrebko, Eric Cutler, Franco Vassallo, and John Relyea; conducted by Patrick Summers. From January 6, 2007.  A mad scene allows Netrebko to display all her amazing vocal talent.

The Global Chorus essay writer is Alastair McIntosh, a prolific and creative ideas person and writer.  And inspiring speaker.  He spoke to the public at UPEI a few years back, and one thing that stuck with me was his description of how being elected causes politicians to start being layered in a bubble, with people less likely to tell them the awkward truths and the politician getting more and more distanced from their constituents.  This in 2013 or so was definitely the case with the previous MLA for a District in particular, and I think I have watched some of those in the room that night, now elected to office and one in that same District, working hard to keep the "bubble" from forming.  

Alastair's website is full of interesting articles and podcasts.

Global Chorus essay for September 18
Alastair McIntosh

The great question of our times is: what does it mean to be a human being? Are we just egos, on legs of meat? Here today, gone tomorrow? Obsessed with competition, consumerism and war?

Or is there more to us than that? Are we still in the early days of the unfolding of humanity? Facing the come-what-may of the come-to-pass, but on a pilgrim sojourn?

Sometimes when I feel very alone, doubting and lacking perspective, I go to a still dark place and look to the stars. Te last time I was home on the Isle of Lewis I went by the fve-thousand-year-old Callanish standing stones. Aferwards I dropped in for a cup of tea with Calum, the minister of the village’s Free Church of Scotland.

His Calvinist theology is not quite mine, but we Quakers “seek that of God in all,” and it has been my experience to fnd this pastor’s pulse a beat ahead of my own.

“Te old people of the island,” he said, as I broke a piece of cake, “maintained that there is only one quality in the human heart that the Devil cannot counterfeit. We call it the miann. It is a Gaelic word. It means ardent desire. Te ardent desire for God.”

I do not know Calum well enough to speak for how he understood that desire. But for me, it is about a very fesh-and-blood kind of love. Te ground of all that we most truly are, the essence of good things, the fabric of community and the meaning that gives meaning to meaning.

I lef Callanish that day sparked by the fre of this miann. We can but ask for it inwardly. To raise our eyes. To see life’s starry connection. And who knows? To glimpse the opalescent shimmer of love’s hope.

     — Alastair McIntosh, author of Soil and Soul and Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition


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

September 17, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM
Water Act regulations -- specifically the water withdrawal (extraction) regulations.

The committee will meet to hear two presentations on the Water Act and water withdrawal regulations. Guests will be the PEI Federation of Agriculture Executive Director, Robert Godfrey, and Canadian Rivers Institute Director, Michael van den Heuvel.

The Hon. George Coles Building remains closed to the public for in-person attendance, but this meeting will be live-streamed on the Legislative Assembly’s website and Facebook page. Audio and video recordings of the meeting and a transcript of same will later be made publicly available as well.
Members are:

Cory Deagle (Chair) (PC)
Hon. Darlene Compton (PC)
Robert Henderson (L)
Stephen Howard (GP)
Lynne Lund (GP)
Hal Perry (L)

Committee's home page
Legislative Assembly website:
Webinar -- "Why Canada Needs Basic Guaranteed Livable Income," hosted by Paul Manley, Green Party MP, 8PM.  Registration link and more details:

Oh, so it wasn't the phone system upgrade...
From the Special Committee on Government Records Retention, yesterday -- a 49 second clip curtesy of Kevin Arsenault, showing MLA Sydney MacEwen who could have deleted certain e-mails:

Storms and Smoke: North and Central America (and part of South America), from NASA's image of the day, September 15th, 2020, by way of meteorologist Jay Scotland "What a sobering image," he writes.

Opera corner: Met Opera videostreaming

Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment, today until 6:30PM
Starring Natalie Dessay, Felicity Palmer, Juan Diego Flórez, and Alessandro Corbelli; conducted by Marco Armiliato. From April 26, 2008.

Rossini’s La Cenerentola, tonight 7:30PM until Friday 6:30PM
From May 9, 2009. "f ever a composer was born to set the enchanting fairy tale of Cinderella to sparkling music it was Rossini. His much put upon heroine Angelina (Elīna Garanča) has to cope not only with nasty stepsisters, but also an over-the-top, farcical father, Don Magnifico (Alessandro Corbelli). And in this version the Prince (Lawrence Brownlee) and his valet (Simone Alberghini) swap identities, which causes no end of delightful confusion. With Cesare Lievi’s delightful storybook production and Maurizio Benini’s expert conducting, it’s all as light and delicious as a marvelous musical soufflé."

Global Chorus essay for September 17
Jan Zwicky

This obsession with doing, with making things happen: it’s at the root of the problem. Many of us are incapable of sitting still; incapable of listening; incapable of looking and learning in silence. We can’t let the world just be itself – we always have to be fixing it, changing it, making it better, improving things. (The way I fuss over my garden!)

Have humans made progress? Let’s rephrase. Is global consumer culture an improvement on regional Paleolithic culture? Are the transnational corporations, to whom we’ve handed over control, improvements on the power structures of Paleolithic societies? As a woman who deeply appreciates the degree of personal freedom afforded me by contemporary North American culture – a degree of freedom unknown to nearly all other women who have lived and died on this planet – I find it hard to say no. But there is little doubt that, in planetary terms, no is the answer to these questions. There is also little doubt that the planet itself is going to answer them. When it does, many of us will be up against one of the other things that humans are not very good at: letting go.

There is, I believe, no hope that anything like contemporary North American society will exist on the other side of the crash. The car is already spinning out over the cliff. What is left to intelligent, moral beings in such a situation is witness. Down on our knees, then, in grief. Down on our knees in remorse if fear for our own comfort has made us refuse to listen, if we’ve allowed wealth to insulate us from the truth. Look, now, one last time.

Really look. Open your heart as wide as it will go. Ten open your hands.

     —Jan Zwicky, poet, essayist: Songs for Relinquishing the Earth, Wisdom & Metaphor and Auden as Philosopher: How Poets Think

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

September 16, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Standing Committee Meetings today:
Special Committee on Government Records Retention, 10AM. Livestreamed and recorded.

Topic: Briefing on IT processes regarding deletion of records

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on the technical process of email record deletion and IT matters relevant to Information and Privacy Commissioner Order No. FI-20-007, by John Brennan, Director of Business Infrastructure Services; and Scott Cudmore, Director of Enterprise Architecture, of Information Technology Shared Services.

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

Committee membership:
Michele Beaton (GP)
Hon. Peter Bevan-Baker (GP)
Cory Deagle (PC)
Sidney MacEwen (PC)
Gordon McNeilly (L)
Hal Perry (L)

 Special Committee webpage

More pharmacy:
Standing Committee on Health and Social Development, 1PM, livestreamed
Topic: Pharmacists scope of practice and pandemic related challenges 
The Committee will meet to receive a briefing from the Prince Edward Island College of Pharmacy's perspective on the scope of practice of pharmacists during the pandemic and challenges faced from their perspective, with Guest: Prince Edward Island College of Pharmacy Registrar, Michelle Wyand.

Gordon McNeilly (Chair) (L)
Trish Altass (GP)
Hannah Bell  (GP)
Hon. Jamie Fox   (PC)
Heath MacDonald   (L)
Hon. Bradley Trivers  (PC)

Committee website

Legislative Assembly website (with Watch Live link when committees are meeting)

Legislative Assembly Facebook page

EatLocalPEI  Online Farmers' Market, due by midnight

From a letter in The Guardian:

LETTER: Update on Gunns Bridge - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, September 15th, 2020, in The Guardian

I am a seasonal resident with a summer home on the Trout River Road that has a view of Gunns Bridge; now the "new" Gunns Bridge or as someone earlier this year in a letter to The Guardian called it, "The Bridge to Nowhere".

For many summers now I have been visiting Gunns Bridge every evening to observe the state of the river for a survey run by the P.E.I. government. In previous years, the typical characteristics I observed at this time of year were water colours like lime-ricky and milky, a strong odour from decaying sea lettuce and a resultant anoxic river. This year, I am happy to report that the Trout River shows none of these signs. Almost no discolouration, no build-up of dead sea lettuce, no smell, not only at Gunns Bridge, but even further up river.

The doubling of the bridge span in the new bridge has meant that dead sea lettuce has not been able to build up above the bridge but has been washed down river. The river just needed a chance to cleanse itself. I don't think the government could do anything more beneficial towards improving the environment than doubling the width of all the spans of all the bridge/causeway combinations across all the rivers of P.E.I. Indeed, why wait for a hurricane to make it necessary to do something? I would be happy to see the tax dollars I contribute spent in this way.

While I'm at it, kudos to Highfield Construction for a job really well done. 

Andrew Pletch, Millvale

CBC web article from May 202

Some fun and relatively short Metropolitan Opera video streaming:

Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, today until 6:30PM
 From April 9, 2011. "Rossini’s rarely heard comedy receives a brilliant performance in Bartlett Sher’s Met premiere production, with a trio of today’s greatest bel canto stars in the leading roles: Juan Diego Flórez is Count Ory, a handsome rogue who finds women—all women—irresistible. Diana Damrau sings the virtuous Countess Adèle, and Joyce DiDonato is Isolier, the count’s page, who is also in love with the countess. Jokes, misunderstandings, and gender-bending disguises—including knights dressed as nuns— abound in this hilarious tale of deception and seduction. Maurizio Benini conducts."

Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday about 6:30PM
From April 26, 2008. "Madcap physical comedy and impeccable coloratura come together for Natalie Dessay’s indelible portrayal of the feisty tomboy raised by a regiment of French soldiers. Juan Diego Flórez is the young Swiss villager who conquers her heart—and a slew of high Cs. Also featuring uproarious performances by Felicity Palmer and Alessandro Corbelli, as well as a cameo by Tony Award winner Marian Seldes, this laugh-out-loud production was a runaway hit that left audiences exhilarated." Both are about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Global Chorus essay for September 16
Fernand Pareau

From the time I first saw the mountain, there have been many changes. It is now much more dangerous. In recent years, there have been large rock slides, for example, particularly in the west face of the Dru [l’Aiguille du Dru of the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps]. And the glaciers are shrinking – those of Bossons and the Mer de Glace have lost up to seven metres in thickness per year. They used to descend into the valley. Now, there are two lakes at the bottom of the Mer de Glace! And this decline is everywhere. And faster and faster.

It is we who are responsible for the global warming. It is we who are pollutant.

With the ARSMB (Association pour le Respect du Site du Mont Blanc), we denounced this pollution, and have gained in the knowledge of its components. There is now a regional call to action that is unfolding here, notably with: the involvement of doctors who have reported an increase in certain diseases; changes toward more environmentally friendly heating methods within the municipalities of the Chamonix valley; car-sharing programs that are coming into effect; and an increased number and frequency of trains, in order to encourage commuters to drive less – as the train schedule of Zermatt, Switzerland, is being used as a model example, where there are trains every ten minutes and no cars.

All these measures can be extended and developed even further. But when the air is this polluted, we need even more drastic measures to be put into place. And the ultimate solution for the Chamonix valley will be its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Preservation of the area in this manner will prohibit the passage of all large transport trucks, will reduce this devastating pollution and environmental impact to the site, and will bring an incentive toward buying local and in-season fruits and vegetables.

If pollution is reduced, the air quality will improve, it will slow global warming and the melting of glaciers will stop. And if we save our mountains, we allow our children to live there! Life is in the beauty of Nature and the mountains, which must be preserved.

       —Fernand Pareau, 85-year-old doyen of guides to the peaks of Chamonix (France)

...and who was featured in Franny Armstrong's The Age of Stupid, but I can't find anything more updated that this about him:


In October 2017, Swiss, French and Italian officials signed a joint declaration to classify it (Mont Blanc Massif) as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, which would guarantee the preservation of the natural wonder. - from


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

September 15, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food ordering deadline, 12noon, Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2 GO (CFM2GO), for pickup Thursday.

Legislative Standing Committee meetings today:

Public Accounts Committee, 9:30AM, on-line. 
Topic:  Property Tax and Assessment; Corporate Taxation.  "The committee will meet to receive briefings on property tax and assessment, and corporate taxation, by Beth Gaudet, Provincial Tax Commissioner; and Nigel Burns, Director of Economics, Statistics and Federal Fiscal Relations, of the Department of Finance."  Watch live on the Legislative Assembly website or Legislative Assembly Facebook page or later on the Public Accounts Committee page  Public Accounts Committee is made up of:

Michele Beaton (Green Party) (Chair)
Karla Bernard (GP)
Cory Deagle  (PC)
Robert Henderson (L)
Sidney MacEwen (PC)
Gordon McNeilly (L

Standing Committee on Education and Economic Growth, 1:30PM,
"The committee will meet to consider its work plan."
Same viewing places as above, except the Committee's page to view later is here:

and the committee's members are:

Karla Bernard  (GP) (Chair)
Hon. James Aylward (PC)
Robert Henderson (L)
Hon. Ernie Hudson  (PC)
Lynne Lund (GP)
Heath MacDonald (L)

Opera Corner:

Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, today until 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and John Del Carlo.  From November 13, 2010.   It ends happily! 2 hours 20 minutes.

Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, tonight 7:30PM until Wednesday about 6:30PM
Starring Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, and Juan Diego Flórez; conducted by Maurizio Benini.  From April 9, 2011.  A romp, and also 2 hours and 20 minutes. :-)

Metropolitan Opera link
Thursday, September 17th:
Webinar: "Why Canada Needs a Basic Guaranteed Livable Income, 8-9:30PM, on-line (link to registration, below)
"What would be the greatest benefit of a Guaranteed Livable Income to you or someone in your life?  Green Party MP Paul Manly (Nanaimo-Ladysmith), in collaboration with Coalition Canada: Basic Income, is hosting a national town hall on Guaranteed Livable Basic Income with a panel of experts who will explain the basics, talk about the benefits, and break down some myths and misunderstandings. We’ll also hear from Canadians who will speak about guaranteed livable basic income from their personal experiences.  Live simultaneous French translation will be provided.
More details at:

You may remember yesterday I mentioned how the Leap Manifesto has done the work to describe how the economy can move both into a green economy and with social justice as a priority.  Today is:

Happy 5th Birthday, Leap Manifesto!

Organizer Arshia Lakhani writes,

So here’s my ask: for our birthday, will you follow us on:
and our NEW TikTok account**so you can join the celebration?

There’s going to be contests, funny videos, highlights and lowlights from our past five years. We will be taking you back to our proudest moments, and shouting out some of our loudest haters. You’re not going to want to miss this.

Arshia Lakhani,
Communications Manager, The Leap

** I could not get the TikTok link to work, sorry, but you can probably search for it.

Or take a few minutes to go to their website:

and read the FAQs, see what the principles are, etc. 

(once you get past the swirly forested main banner, lovely, but too much screen-motion for some)

Unfortunately, but good for the reminder:
Part one of two:

GUEST OPINION: Fish kills on P.E.I.: We've been here before - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Don Mazer and Ann Wheatley

Published on Saturday, September 12th, 2020

We have been here so many times before. Now, 2,000 dead trout on the Montrose River, the third fish kill in those waters in 10 years.

Fish kills have come to be a regular, even expected event – an unfortunate fact of Island life. There have been 62 documented fishkills since 1967, including 51 where pesticides are the suspected or identified cause. Multiple fish kills have occurred in 15 watersheds. There have been three or more fish kills in seven watersheds.

Many words have been written and spoken, proposals made, investigations launched: there are even a few successful prosecutions to help assure us that fish kills can be blamed on a few individual farmers, and not on the policies and practices that support industrial agriculture.

It may seem like everything has already been said about fish kills, and perhaps it has. But these points bear repeating: fish kills continue, and things need to change.

Here are some selections from letters by members of the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island over the past 13 years.

Don Mazer (2007), after fish kills on the Tryon and Dunk Rivers:

"The problems that we face go far beyond the restorations of fish habitat and populations; our environmental problems are more systemic and interrelated. We need to be guided by an ecocentric vision, grounded in the value of enhancing ecological health in all of our practices. We can no longer afford the ‘risk management’ models that push the land to its limits. Such a vision requires that we address what even the Guardian recognizes as the chemical dependency of our mainstream farming practices. It is imperative that we recognize that human practices that degrade and endanger the environment actually threaten our economy as well as our human health. There are no healthy humans on a sick planet. We need to regard the death of these fish as a reflection of how much the health of this Island and all of its inhabitants, human and nonhuman alike has been jeopardized … and to make the dramatic changes that would contribute to a truly healthy, sustainable and 'green Island."

Gary Schneider (2012):

"Another year, another fish kill and the start of the anoxic events in Island rivers. Even with the extremely dry weather we’ve been having in Prince Edward Island, we’re still not able to have a summer without dead sections in our streams and rivers . . . Dead zones in our rivers will continue until we actually take the necessary steps to solve the problems.

I would like to feel that the death of thousands of fish and other creatures in the Trout River, the impacts on the health of the Montrose River ecosystem, and the damage to our tourism and recreational fisheries sectors were not in vain. We need our government, and the agricultural community, to stand up, take responsibility and solve these problems. And we need Islanders to support new legislation, not oppose it. We cannot afford to have our reputation, and our very spirit, seriously damaged each summer."

Ann Wheatley (2013): Commenting on the report of the Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management, established to examine the 2011 and 2012 fish kills at Barclay Brook:

"The report fails to address the most important issue affecting the health of our watersheds and all of the plants and animals that depend on them. That is, the prevalence of industrial agriculture in this province. The monoculture of potatoes on such a large scale, with its heavy reliance on large doses of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, is causing great harm to the environment and we need to do something about that."

We don’t need another commission to know which way the wind is blowing. We need our provincial government to come up with a step-by-step plan to significantly reduce pesticide use throughout the province. It is the right thing to do and the only way to get us out of this harmful cycle of annual fish kills.

Don Mazer and Ann Wheatley are members of the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island. This is part one of a two-part series. Part two will offer more analysis of the causes of fish kills, their connection to agricultural and water issues, and offer needed directions for change.


This is an amazingly perceptive piece by Lennie.

Global Chorus for September 15
Lennie Gallant

I often close my concerts with a song titled “The Band’s Still Playing,” which employs the once supposedly unsinkable Titanic as metaphor for the good ship Planet Earth. I ask the audience to become part of the ship’s orchestra, and have them jubilantly singing the horn parts, while the lyric laments the “rearranging of the deck chairs” and the band’s “crying out for our souls.” It is meant to be a sardonic piece about the perilous state of the world and our rather complacent attitude; but I feel the point of the song is often missed … perhaps it’s too subtle.

We cannot be subtle anymore. Te “iceberg” in front of our ship is menacing and ready to rip our hull apart. It will take a tremendous amount of strength and will to turn the wheel and change our course before it’s too late. I believe it can be done, but it must happen now.

The old adage “it is always darkest before the dawn” may be a reality in the world today. I sense there are sparks of hope that are just waiting for the right breath of air to fan them into something far greater. I see it on YouTube in simple acts of kindness that go viral, and in humanitarian movements that kids initiate, first thought to be naïve, that end up having powerful results. I see it in people risking their livelihood and reputations to speak a truth about environmental issues, no matter how unpopular it may be. These things give me hope. We are desperate for inspiration, bravery, ingenuity and real leadership.

How do we fan these embers so they turn into a force passionate and strong enough to change our collective behaviour and present heading? I believe it will take a tremendous shift in our thinking that the media, artists, talk show hosts, bartenders, celebrities, writers, taxi drivers, activists, students, teachers … anyone with any kind of audience, must initiate and propagate. We cannot expect it to come from our political leaders, who far too often have actually become followers. We need a radical change in popular culture as to who and what we designate as being truly newsworthy. It’s time to seriously celebrate those who make courageous efforts in greentech and science and in re-establishing our connection with the natural world. If we can make this the lead story – inspiring, necessary and cool – then I think we just might be blowing our horns for the right reason. “Wake up! Grab the wheel … Iceberg ahead!”

       — Lennie Gallant, songwriter, father

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

September 14, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Ordering Organic vegetable delivery, Monday night:

City of Charlottetown Council meeting, 5PM, City Hall. 
The Towers Road projects are on the agenda.

For those who wish to attend in person, a screen will be set up in the second floor lobby of City Hall for the public to watch the live streaming of the meeting.

Live Stream:

More background and Mayor and City Council contact info in September 7th  Citizens' Alliance News:

In Conversation:  Dimitri and the PEI Greens, 6:30PM, On-line (Zoom)
Join Candidate for the leadership of the Federal Green Party of Canada Dimitri Lascaris
" discuss the climate crisis and our plan to move Canada to a more democratic, egalitarian and green society."
Sign on to Zoom:
Facebook event link

Met Opera offerings:
Massenet’s Werther, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Lisette Oropesa, Sophie Koch, Jonas Kaufmann, David Bižić, and Jonathan Summers, conducted by Alain Altinoglu. From March 15, 2014. Kaufman is the epitome of the yearning, suffering poet.

Week 27 (Bel-Canto Favorites)

Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, tonight 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and John Del Carlo; conducted by James Levine. From November 13, 2010.  This one is much too much fun, so energetic!

Saturday's The House, the week in Canadian politics on CBCRadio, had two interesting articles in the last half of the program Saturday -- an interview with three of the Green Party leadership contenders, and a bit of a discussion on recovery the economy with the environment and social justice in mind.  The infuriating aspect was hearing the that "nobody has a plan of how to do both simultaneously", when The Leap Manifesto and its braintrust have been working on this for several years. 

CBC The House episode link from Saturday, September 12th, 2020

The Leap Manifesto website

Global Chorus essay for September 14
Lillian Rose Stewart

I believe in miracles, I see them everyday where a modern highway meets an unchanged vista, frozen in time. Earth the way it is meant to be … the way it was in the beginning.

Snow falls gently, the windshield wipers tap a metronome to the clanking of tire chains ringing against the black macadam surface of the highway. It is a violent symphony accompanied by a chorus of strangers from nine sovereign nations, singing out the lyrics. The chatter resonates in languages I cannot speak, nor understand, but I am not disturbed. After twenty years of driving this bus I know that around the bend awaits a miracle. Amber lights flash dance upon the snow, airbrakes blast an awakening for my captive audience. We will make an unscheduled stop.

They gather in awe, these unlikely brethren, as the majestic Sierra Nevada loom in the distance, reflected upon the waters, mighty moraines cloaked in shimmering white sky fall. It is a masterpiece … but I see only the faces of strangers as they turn to share their joy.

In that fleeting moment as they stand shoulder to shoulder, these kings and ditchdiggers, the colours of their skin are merely hues in a human rainbow. There are no angry words or lines drawn on a map, just the beating of hearts speaking a common language. I smile … for in that brief and glorious moment there is … peace on Earth.

I hope … this moment becomes a memory … and the memory becomes … a knowing, a realization of an ancient wisdom … that all things are bound by the wonder and the beauty of our mother Earth. And I hope they take this knowing with them to their towering penthouses in Dubai, or to a shanty on the banks of an Egyptian river, or to a bustling backstreet market in Hong Kong. A knowing … that peace on Earth is an attainable thing … that the beauty and the wonder of a sustained mother Earth is an attainable thing, anywhere, everyday, for all things of this Earth … if only we choose it.

I hope … and hope is a new beginning.

      — Lillian Rose Stewart, retired ski bus driver, screenwriter


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

September 13, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Sunday Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street (closed to auto traffic for that time). 

Some opera:

Berlioz’s Les Troyens, today until 6:30PM
Starring Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Karen Cargill, Bryan Hymel, Eric Cutler, Dwayne Croft, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From January 5, 2013.  Adapted from the Aenead.

Sunday, September 13
Massenet’s Werther, 7:30PM until 6:30PM Monday
Starring Lisette Oropesa, Sophie Koch, Jonas Kaufmann, David Bižić, and Jonathan Summers, conducted by Alain Altinoglu. From March 15, 2014.  Gorgeous singing, sad story of a poet in love.

Background (printed a while ago, I think), from June:

Former planning expert says Charlottetown will regret approving eight-storey apartment on waterfront - The Guardian article by Dave Stewart

Published on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2020


One of the people who played a lead role in shaping the Charlottetown waterfront says the city is ruining decades of hard work.

Doug MacArthur is talking about council’s decision to approve a $30-million, eight-storey apartment building at 15 Haviland St., directly behind Renaissance Place (the former Sacred Heart Home).

“I do not like to see (all of the work) falling apart at this stage because so many things have been well done since the 1970s," MacArthur said in an interview last week, referring to the city’s waterfront.

MacArthur used to own his own planning firm, called Spatial Planning. He was also one of the federal government officials who worked on developing the waterfront over an industrial site to what it is today. To cite one example, with the help of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, the old Texaco tank farm was transformed into Confederation Landing Park.

MacArthur said he isn’t upset with Pan American Properties and owner Tim Banks, the developer leading the project, acknowledging that the property is as-of-right and was zoned in 2012 in such a way that allows a building of this size to be built on the waterfront.

“What he’s doing is maximizing profit. My problem is the city letting him do it because they have not done the proper due diligence."

MacArthur said his big concern is that the city’s design review board signed off on the project following a 17-minute meeting.

“I still think there is an opportunity to revisit this building. I think there are so many things wrong with the way the design committee went about it and I think there are so many inaccuracies in how this building complies with everything from heritage bylaws to all sorts of things."

MacArthur said people need to realize this eight-storey structure is going to tower over the neighbourhood buildings, which include Queen Charlotte Armouries, Renaissance Place and the Culinary Institute of Canada.

“This must not be allowed to proceed. The first thing the cruise ships will see is this building. New buildings on the waterfront should cannot overwhelm other neighbourhood buildings."

Coun. Greg Rivard, chairman of the planning and heritage committees, said the design review board did its due diligence.  “We have a board in place that has architects on it," Rivard said. “They get reports prior to the meetings, so it is not like they are seeing (proposals) for the first time at the meetings. They’ve had these reports in their hands for a week.

“There are cases, sometimes, where they will reach out to our heritage or planning staff with questions prior to the meeting. A lot of the questions they may have had may have been answered ahead of time."

MacArthur still warns letting eight-storey buildings rise on the waterfront sets a dangerous precedent.  “I think if this proceeds it will be the worst project the waterfront has seen," MacArthur said.


Excellent letter, encouraging all Islanders to remain involved and ask questions:  

GUEST OPINION: Concern for our city - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Doug MacArthur

Published on Saturday, September 12th, 2020

For those who have been fortunate enough to visit European cities, have you noticed how beautiful many of them are, how they attract countless tourists from all over the world, and how proud local residents are of their city. One reason is that hundreds of years ago European planners developed and refined a city planning approach based on "concern for the appearance of the city". To this day, this approach guides urban development and planning in much of Europe.

In the U.S., until the early 20th century, urban planning was largely hit and miss. More recently, the U.S. introduced the concept of "as of right" in its planning procedures. As of right means that a building project can proceed if it meets ALL of the zoning/development requirements on a particular site. Still, in the U.S., a city's mayor and council have final decision-making power.

Throughout much of the world, there is also a concept called participatory planning. The basis for this concept is that the extent to which planning involves public participation reflects the degree of democracy enjoyed in a city or country. Where government is authoritarian, so is planning.

Killam's $30-million, 15 Haviland St., 99-unit project was approved by the city in 17 minutes. As we have argued on our Stop Killam P.E.I. website and Facebook page, the project ignores provisions in the 2012 City Waterfront 30-Year Plan, ignores requirements in the City's 2014 Zoning Bylaws, and suffers from inadequate access/egress issues. Yet, it was approved in 17 minutes. Meanwhile, we also argue the proposed lower Prince Street/Founders Hall seven-storey building has many similar issues.

Right up until today, Mayor Philip Brown has said he is helpless to do anything to reconsider these two projects because the previous mayor and council introduced "as-of-right," and, for a similar reason, he says there can't be any public input into either project. First, as-of-right doesn't apply when a project doesn't meet bylaw requirements. Second, Mayor Brown says he intends to change the bylaw (after these projects proceed!), but he hasn't lifted a finger to change the bylaw since he was elected, and instead on Jan. 6, 2020, he signed a 15 Haviland Development Agreement with Killam that included a clause saying that desired Killam changes to the project particulars could be approved by the city's chief administration officer and would not need to go to council. Does that sound like someone who wants to restore authority and public input in city council?

Just one term in office by the current city administration is damaging our city irreparably, and the damage by these two projects will last 100 years. Meanwhile, how can we as residents and Islanders, have any confidence that this city administration will responsibly address decisions on upcoming projects such as Mount Edward Road/Towers Road and the $80 million or more sports complex?

All Islanders are justifiably proud of our capital city and birthplace of confederation. For 50 years we have been concerned with the appearance of our city and have tried to make wise development decisions, and almost always with opportunity for public input. Mayor Brown has made it clear time and again that he will do nothing to hear our voices or to act on our concerns. I believe it's time for us to stand up and be counted.

Doug MacArthur was actively involved in Charlottetown waterfront development in the 1970s-80s and subsequently played an onsite project management role in development projects in more than 60 countries.


Global Chorus essay for September
David Gershon

Again and again in history some people wake up. They have no ground in the crowd and they move to broader, deeper laws. They carry strange customs with them and demand room for bold and audacious action. The future speaks ruthlessly through them. They change the world.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

From runaway climate change that threatens the survival of humanity and the many life forms on Earth, to the many starving people and those just eking out an existence at the very edge of survival, to the desperation of our inner-city youth, to our patterns of thought that perpetuate a divided world, our planet is in need of a radical transformation that goes to the very root of our vision as human beings.

What could enable such a fundamental transformation is our innate longing as human beings to create a better world for ourselves and our children. This inherent desire for self-improvement is a key lever for human evolution because there are enormous possibilities to tap into it. But to access this potential requires transformative change leaders capable of calling forth our intrinsic aspiration. This is a learnable skill set and transformationally minded leaders are growing as more people attempt to lead lives driven by meaning and purpose. All the more so among the Millennials.

At the Federal Convention of 1787, after three and a half months of deliberation over a constitution for the new United States, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well, doctor, what have we got? A republic or monarchy?” “A republic,” replied the doctor, “if you can keep it.” The same could be said about our planet. Whether we get to keep it as a viable dwelling place for human habitation and evolution is up to us. To do this we must be able to change the game. Changing the game is not a spectator sport. It requires each of us to play a position on the team, and to play it with all of our heart and soul and mind. It requires nothing less than our very best and highest efforts.

Those of us alive on the planet at this moment in time have a special destiny in its evolution. We are the ones who must reinvent our world to sustain the fragile social experiment of human civilization. This is a momentous responsibility and opportunity. As we accept this responsibility and seize this opportunity, we align our individual purpose with humanity’s advancement. We become conscious actors in our planet’s great evolutionary adventure. I wish you and all of us Godspeed on this epic journey.

     —David Gershon, co-founder and CEO of Empowerment Institute


essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet

edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 12, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Farmers' Markets:
Charlottetown (8-1PM) and
Summerside (9-noon)

Opera today and tomorrow:
Saturday Afternoon at the Opera with Ben Heppner, 1PM, CBC Radio Music, 104.7FM
La Ville morte by Nadia Boulanger
Goteborg Opera Chorus and Orchestra
More details:

Video streaming
Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, until noon today
Starring Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and Nicolas Testé, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 16, 2016.

Soprano Joyce DiDonato is having a special live, ticketed concert, 2:30PM
"American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, one of opera’s most luminous stars, most recently starring in the title role of Handel’s Agrippina last season..."  And just about everything else -- so wonderful.
More details

Berlioz’s Les Troyens, 7:30PM tonight until Sunday about 6:30PM
Starring Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham and Bryan Hymel, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From January 5, 2013. " Berlioz’s epic masterpiece retells the magnificent saga of the aftermath of the Trojan War and the exploits of Aeneas..."  Susan Graham as Dido, Deborah Voight as!


LETTER: The best MLA we never had

published on Friday, September 11th, 2020, in The Guardian

Joe Byrne has stepped down from leadership of the Island New Democrats after contributing much to the Party, and to Islanders. As leader of the Island New Democrats, he applied his diverse experience, from working with the poor in the Dominican Republic to driving instruction for Islanders. With his trilingual acumen (English, French and Spanish), he welcomed immigrants to the Island, and Canada with the Newcomers Association, and has worked with many Island progressive organizations to make life better in our province.

Joe led the New Democrats as a principled consensus builder, always open to the views of others in the development of policy and messaging to advance the well-being of Islanders. Given his record of caring and commitment, Joe Byrne is the best MLA the Island never had.

I join with the thousands of Islanders who have come to know Joe in wishing him, his wife Rosa, and their adult children Daniel and Claire all the best in all their future endeavours.

Herb Dickieson, O’Leary

from another person who would make an excellent MLA, Marie Burge:

GUEST OPINION: Basic Income: A challenge to all federal politicians - The Guardian Guest opinion by Marie Burge

Published on Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Coalition Canada: BIG/revenu de base, is a national coalition made up of Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) action groups, representing nine provinces and one territory. Since its founding in November 2019, the Coalition has advocated for a national program of basic income which would be a fully funded, federal-provincial program. The Coalition proposes that P.E.I. would be an ideal launching place for BIG, which would mean implementing BIG with the advantage of a full-province experience. Having minority governments in both Ottawa and Charlottetown looked like an advantage.

For the past months, the Coalition has been contacting and engaging federal decision-makers of all parties in preparation for Lobby Week on the Hill (Oct. 20-22) advocating for a national BIG program. Then on Aug. 18, 2020 the first session of the 43rd Canadian Parliament was prorogued. This provided an immediate opportunity for the initiation of Basic Income Guarantee. The second session of this Parliament will begin on Sept. 23. This involves presenting a new plan of action in the form of the Speech from the Throne.

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Your Aug. 18, 2020 “Prorogation  speech” added a note of hope especially for vulnerable Canadians. You promised a new future for Canada. You were very clear that the government is determined to opt for new directions. You said that that these directions “will protect the lives of the most vulnerable people rather than serving the privileged one per cent.” Key phases from your speech are: “We have a choice to make. We can decide to move forward instead of returning to the status quo. We can choose to embrace bold new solutions to the challenges we face, and refuse to be held back by old ways of thinking.”

Vulnerable Canadians will be eager to hear how the “new ways” will be blueprinted in the Speech from the Throne. We anticipate a new plan for the redistribution of wealth. We expect to see directions which are based on the recognition of three grassroots movements which grew in strength in the first months of COVID-19. These three movements highlighted the following: that basic income is a right of all people so that all can have their basic needs met with dignity; that anti-racism is systemic, requiring deep systemic changes; and that global warming is The Definitive Emergency. The movements have expressed in multiple ways that their issues and goals logically and intentionally intersect. 

We expect from your government some well-grounded, determined, and dynamic new solutions which will address the inequalities and gaps that you revealed as you did your utmost to respond to the huge number of Canadians who are always left behind, and more so in a time of crisis. In particular, we expect to see and hear in the Speech from the Throne that the next session of Parliament will move forward to create a Federal-Provincial Basic Income Guarantee for Canada.

Dear Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP).

Your party’s unenviable position now is to provide the Liberal Party with the assurance of a needed majority vote on the Speech from the Throne (and to avoid an unwanted election). This scenario, although an important moment of power, is not without risk for your party. History shows that the collaboration involved in this relationship has not always favoured the NDP in the long run. We urge you to convince the Liberal government to protect the lives of the most vulnerable people rather than serving the privileged. The lives of the most vulnerable people will not be served as long as they do not have, as their right, the assurance of a Basic Income Guarantee to meet their human needs.

We unabashedly expect you and the New Democratic Party to use your bargaining power to force major changes. This is the time to concentrate on changing the system. Yes, we need Pharmacare, a remodeled EI, universal child care, affordable housing, and other support programs. But at the centre, it is essential to institute Basic Income Guarantee so that all people will be able to meet their daily needs with dignity. In particular, we expect the NDP to demand that the next session of Parliament will move forward with substantial steps toward creating a Federal-Provincial Basic Income Guarantee for all of Canada.

All Canada is watching!

Marie Burge is a staff member at the Cooper Institute in P.E.I., a member of the P.E.I. Working Group for a Livable Income, and a P.E.I. representative on Coalition Canada: Basic Income/revenu de base.


Global Chorus essay for September 12
Matthew Sleeth

On graphs that predict future trends, CO2 levels, population growth and species extinction head skyward on asymptotic lines. Glacier depth, ocean stocks and tropical forests run the opposite direction on black diamond slopes.

The cry goes out to do more, step it up, and engineer more efficiently. If only we could find a way to turn our garbage into 100-octane fuel, our problems would be solved.

Maybe instead of trying harder or going faster, we simply need to pause. Our lives have become one long, run-on sentence without a comma, semicolon or period. Musicians say that it is not the notes – but the silences between them – that make music. Without pauses, our lives just become noise.

Since the time of Moses, society has kept a weekly Stop Day. In my lifetime, we have lost that day of rest. Coming to rest one day in seven reminds us that we do not need more wonders in this world; we need more wonderment. Remembering the Sabbath turns us from human doings into human beings.

As Abraham Lincoln said: “As we keep or break the Sabbath day, we nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope by which man arises.”

Scientific studies now show that our unrelenting consumption is killing us and killing the planet. To reverse this dire trend, we do not need to do more; we need to do less.

Give it a rest: stop one day in seven.

     —Matthew Sleeth, MD, executive director of Blessed Earth, author of 24/6

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

September 11, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Fridays for Future, 4PM, Province House (Grafton Street side). "All are welcome! We gather to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future. Feel free to bring your own signs and invite others.
We urge everyone to contact your MLAs, MPs and city/town Councillors and ask what actions they are taking to address the climate emergency. Email is good for keeping a record of answers.
We want young people and future generations to have a planet on which they can thrive. Children are welcome in this movement; all events will be peaceful, civil gatherings. We are moved to express our love for humanity and our concern for the future."  from the event link


Massenet’s Cendrillon, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Kathleen Kim, Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote, Stephanie Blythe, and Laurent Naouri, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. From April 28, 2018.
Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, tonight 7:30PM until about noon Saturday
Starring Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecień, and Nicolas Testé, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 16, 2016.  This opera has the gorgeous tenor-baritone duet, “Au fond du temple saint.”

While bitterly true, this is a tiny bit rich coming from the finance minister for several years while provincial Liberal government with various Health Ministers *knew* about these mental health needs and families' and professionals' ideas on how to improve services. 

HEATH MACDONALD: Reinvest in mental health and addictions - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Heath MacDonald

Published on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2020

Over the past several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious gaps in many of the ways we respond to Islanders in crisis.

In particular, I am very concerned with mental health and addictions – and the very real prospect of a difficult situation being made much worse.

As we all know, there are thousands of Islanders and families who deal with the challenges of mental health every day. During the pandemic, I have heard heartbreaking stories of individuals and families who are finding it more difficult to cope, and even more problematically, to find help and treatment.

For instance, we know from a recent Statistics Canada report that one in five Islanders consulted with a mental health professional last year.

Add in the difficult toll of the pandemic, and it’s clear that government has to quickly adapt its services and programs to meet needs that are shifting very quickly.

For instance, I know of a family that is diligently helping out with an elderly parent at home. The main caregiver suffers from complicated mental health issues, and in spite of that individual’s absolute dedication to the task, the strain of providing daily care is showing. But with the pressures currently faced by those Islanders who work in mental health, it is difficult for that family to get the assistance they so often need.

There are many stories like that, and they are not confined to those with mental health challenges.

As the pandemic wore on, I began to hear more and more about the growing problem of opioid addictions. Unfortunately, in a stressful time, many people have found it more difficult to cope with addictions and gain access to the professional help they need. Furthermore, I have heard many cases of addictions relapse, which is very painful for both the addicts and their families.

In my opinion, we need to examine our current mental health and addictions programs in the light of COVID-19. We all know the systems that serve Islanders were at capacity limits pre-pandemic. Now, it’s quite apparent that our investments in mental health and addictions will require major new investments, and most particularly in training more people to help Islanders with growing challenges.

Recently, the federal government took the first major step in helping Islanders. The Safe Restart Agreement provides about $50 million to the Island for a variety of new initiatives, which include improvements to mental health and addictions.

I will be looking to the provincial government for its plans to reinvest in mental health and addictions – and furthermore, will advocate for a comprehensive new plan to increase the number of people trained to provide these much needed services to Islanders.

And frankly, there is no time for delay. For instance, this is what United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had to say recently: “Unless we act now to address the mental health needs associated with the pandemic, there will be enormous long-term consequences for families, communities and societies.”

To my mind, a concentrated, immediate and dedicated effort will help prevent those long-term consequences.

Heath MacDonald is the Liberal MLA for Cornwall-Meadowbank.

Heath MacDonald, MLA for District 16's page on the Legislative Assembly website

Smiles, from human interpretation of wildlife in photos:

The other Guardian published the "Comedy Wildlife Photography Award" winners,
and the organization helps wildlife through its efforts

One winner:

Surprise smiles, Lake Bogoria, Kenya
While walking on trail at the southern side of Lake Bogoria, the photographer spotted a group of dwarf mongooses
Photograph: Asaf Sereth/CWPAs 2020

from the above article

Global Chorus essay for September 11
Nikki Stern

Contemporary culture doesn’t always seem to value the idea of hope. No wonder, when conventional wisdom also confuses hope with expectation: if I hope for the best, the best will surely follow. Yet we soon learn the universe doesn’t automatically give back what we put out, or we discover a benevolent deity isn’t likely to rush to our aid. Disappointed, we might conclude that hope is a waste of time, has no meaning in modern times or, worst of all, is a nasty trickster making promises it has no intention of keeping.

We mustn’t let that happen.

The truth is that we humans are overdue for a retooled version of hope that rejects certainty but embraces possibility. We can’t know what the future will bring, but we can envision the best possible future and work for it. Hope freed from the constraints of guaranteed outcomes emboldens us, empowers us and gives us purpose. It sparks the imagination and strengthens our resolve. Flexible, nimble and never without a sense of humor, this hope celebrates discovery, applauds adaptability and thrives on creativity.

Feet on the ground and head in the clouds, hope rejoices in the journey, not the destination. It asks, why can’t we? It answers, we can.

There will be days when our better selves go into hiding. There will be nights when we yearn for reassurance. Yet hope is available to light the way, no matter where our paths begin or where they end.

     — Nikki Stern, writer, non-profit adviser, former executive director of Families of September 11, author of Hope in Small Doses

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

September 10, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Standing Committee meeting:  Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, 10AM -- *This meeting will be live-streamed*

Topic: Presentation on the Water Act by Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association Executive Director, Ian MacPherson.

The Hon. George Coles Building remains closed to the public for in-person attendance, but this meeting will be live-streamed on the Legislative Assembly’s website and Facebook page. Audio and video recordings of the meeting and a transcript of same will later be made publicly available as well.

Members of this committee include:
Cory Deagle (Chair) (PC)
Hon. Darlene Compton (PC)
Robert Henderson (L)
Stephen Howard (GP)
Lynne Lund (GP)
Hal Perry (L)
Committee page link

Legislative Assembly website
"Watch Live" link will be on front page

Legislative Assembly Facebook page
Fall Gardening and Season Extension Workshop, 7PM, Zoom. 

"Join this on line gardening workshop and get your gardening questions addressed by farmer Stephanie of Morning Dew Garden. Steph has worked with some of the best organic farmers in Atlantic Canada. Some of you may have attended her garden workshops at the Farm Centre Legacy Garden sponsored by the Food Exchange in 2018. Steph is the author of "Edible Gardening for Beginners" on the FX website
Steph will be sharing tips and techniques for growing vegetables through September and making the most of this abundant season. She will be taking questions."
Facebook event link for workshop link
Opera Corner:
Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani, and John Relyea. From November 22, 2008.  A beloved tenor (who passed away last fall) in a tough role.
Massenet’s Cendrillon, tonight 7:30PM until Friday 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Kim, Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote. From April 28, 2018. "Storybook" is truly the theme, as books and pages form the set.  DiDonato is her charming self as the CInderella character, Coote is a convincing prince in the trousers role, and Kim is dynamite as the sprite-like Fairy Godmother.  The dancers dressed as the carriage's prancing horses for their few minutes on stage are darling, too.

Global wildlife being decimated by human actions, WWF report warns

by Malavika Vyawahare
published on Wednesday, September 9th, 2020, on the Mongabay website

Article at LINK above

A Malagasy dwarf chameleon (Brookesia micra), the world’s smallest chameleon. It is found in the Nosy Hara archipelago in Madagascar. Image by Nick Riley/WWF-Madagascar. 
Image taken from the article, below.

Full Report here from the World Wildlife Fund:

This came my way via Ian Petrie, and it's both bracing and reassuring.

Opinion: What we’ve learned about COVID-19: We have to keep learning - The Globe and Mail article by André Picard

Published on Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

In the seven months that the novel coronavirus has stalked the world, we’ve learned a lot of science about how the virus spreads, how it kills and how we develop immunity (or not).

That knowledge has forced us to change our beliefs and approaches.

Masks went from irrelevancy to the forefront of public-health measures. We went from obsessing about surface contamination to fretting about ventilation. We shifted from fearing those who cough, to wondering who was asymptomatic and spreading disease silently.

One of the important lessons to draw from this is that we need to follow the evidence. Public-health officials changing their guidance is not flip-flopping – it’s adapting.

The other key takeaway is to beware of false dichotomies. The coronavirus is not spread only by droplets or aerosols, but likely by both. Similarly, we should be equally wary of symptomatic and asymptomatic spread, but also realize the coronavirus does not spread that easily.

The distance and the duration of exposure matters, as does the environment. We’re way safer outdoors than indoors, and when not speaking at all instead of speaking/singing/yelling moistly. We can now direct our wrath at overeager karaoke aficionados instead of runners.

Most important of all, we have to dispense with the fiction that recovery efforts will be either about the economy or about health. The surest way to get the economy back on track is to limit – or ideally, eliminate – the spread of COVID-19.

Canada is not the U.S. – where many states have embraced a destructive “reopen and illness be damned” attitude – but many provinces have loosened restrictions hastily. We didn’t need to open bars when we did; there is no logic to allowing gatherings of 250 people, and as important as it is to get kids back to school, class sizes of 30 students should have been a non-starter.

We’re seeing the consequences of that short-sighted impatience as cases creep up again. We are nervous about what will happen after Labour Day, with a lot of kids returning to school, many workers going back to offices and the cooling weather chasing us indoors.

The trepidation is justified, and we have to prepare ourselves psychologically for the possibility of more lockdowns.

What is not certain, though, is an inevitable second wave. Increasingly, it appears that the coronavirus pandemic will play out as one long wave, with the occasional ripple when we become complacent.

We should not assume there will be huge spikes in deaths in the fall. Nor should we see low mortality as the sole measure of success. One of the most unpleasant surprises that COVID-19 has delivered is that it appears to cause long-term damage, especially to the heart. We are seeing a small but significant number of those who get infected developing chronic illness. We call them “long-haulers.”

The most intriguing development to come, however, will be in our approach to testing.

Since the outset of the pandemic, the mot d’ordre has been to test, test and test some more. Canada has done more than six million tests. But the PCR test – the current standard, a molecular tool that tells us if someone has been infected – is slow, costly and has limitations.

As we learn to live with the coronavirus and as social interactions escalate, what we need to know is not so much who has been infected, but who is still infectious. For that, we need a rapid diagnostic test, one in which you swab your nose or spit in a tube and get results within minutes. If you’re negative, you can head off to work or school in confidence.

The knock against diagnostic tests is that they are not accurate, but that’s not a deal-breaker. If you’re positive, you stay home, and then get a follow-up test. But a lot of unnecessary tests and quarantines can be avoided.

Finally, we are learning a lot about immunity.

Not that long ago, we were certain that people who were infected with coronavirus would develop immunity. There was serious discussion about “immunity passports” so the recovered could return to work.

Now, it appears immunity may be fleeting, and re-infection possible. But again, these are not black-or-white issues.

Most people who get infected have at least some immunity, and it seems to last for some time, if not forever. That bodes well for vaccine development.

As vaccines are tested in controlled conditions and in the real world, you can bet our views on immunity will change again. And that’s okay. As the pandemic evolves, so too must our responses.


Global Chorus essay for September 10
Rhett Butler

Every year more creatures are added to endangered species lists, oceans rise with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and more wild places disappear. Humanity’s footprint on the planet is ever larger and deeper. But while it is easy to view these trends with great despair, we would be wrong to abandon hope. Indeed, there are nascent signs that things can change for the better.

In the past 30 years there have been important developments that have laid the groundwork for a new revolution, where services generated by healthy natural ecosystems are recognized and valued. These are services like erosion control, carbon storage, maintenance of the water cycle and the option value afforded by biodiversity.

Recognizing the value of Nature requires us to first understand it. That’s already happening – there have been major advances in quantifying Nature’s services. For example, we know that pest control services by native birds in Costa Rica are worth $10,000 a year to a small coffee farmer in Costa Rica, while mangroves and coral reefs generate more than $400-million annually for Belize from ecotourism, erosion control and fisheries.

While this is admittedly a very narrow way to view the value of Nature, it’s a first step to engaging decision makers and the public.

Engagement is critical if we hope to transform how humanity stewards the planet’s resources. The good news is that new tools – ubiquitous mobile phones, social media and free access to virtually limitless amounts of information – enable public participation like never before. We’re already seeing the power of targeted participation in the form of protests movements that are transforming commodity supply chains. Due to activist-led campaigns, today it is taboo for soy farmers in the Amazon to chop down rainforests for farms. It will soon be the same for palm oil producers in Malaysia and paper manufacturers in Indonesia.

Change will not come easily, but greater knowledge of Nature’s services, combined with participation by an increasingly informed and active populace, will move us toward a world where humans will live in greater balance with the planet’s other inhabitants.

     — Rhett A. Butler, author of Rainforests, founder of

Rhett Butler founded in 1999 with the mission of raising interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife. For the first ten years of the project, he operated Mongabay on his own, publishing thousands of stories and tens of thousands of photos.
Today Rhett Butler serves as editor-in-chief of the web site as well as CEO of, Mongabay’s non-profit arm, which is now responsible for all of Mongabay news content...
Beyond Mongabay, Rhett Butler runs, a site that highlights the spectacular cultural and biological richness of Madagascar and reports on environmental news for the Indian Ocean island nation.
Rhett Butler is also co-founder of Tropical Conservation Science, an open-access academic journal that aims to provide opportunities for scientists in developing countries to publish their research, and the Tropical Forest Network, a social network in the San Francisco Bay Area broadly interested in tropical forest conservation and ecology.


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

September 9, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Green and Just Recovery Twitterstorm (and other social media platforms), all day.
organized by Stand.Earth, the David Suzuki Foundation, and others
"Join the online Day of Action on Wednesday, September 9th, and help pressure politicians to implement a green and just recovery!
background: The federal government is about to give the Canadian economy a multi-billion-dollar kick-start in an effort to recover from the COVID-19 health crisis. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build back a more just, sustainable, and healthy Canada - a Canada that works for everyone, not just the few. But big polluters are pushing the federal government to funnel recovery spending into their pockets instead.
With the federal government about to lay out its recovery priorities in the September 23rd Throne Speech, we don’t have a moment to waste.
**Join the online Day of Action on Wednesday, September 9th, and help pressure politicians to implement a green and just recovery!**
Sample text for targeting key ministers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, and by phone will be posted soon for you to use.
Millions have already joined the call for a green and just recovery. On September 9th, let’s unite with one voice and make our message impossible to ignore.
HOW: Watch this space (link below) for sample text to use in your posts!"

Facebook event link
Standing Committee meetings:

Special Committee on Poverty on PEI is meeting this morning to discuss its report, but this is an in camera meeting only and won't be recorded for the public.

Trish Altass (Chair)
Hannah Bell
Sonny Gallant
Hon. Ernie Hudson
Gordon McNeilly
Hon. Bradley Trivers

Health and Social Development Committee Meeting, 1PM,
Topic: How pharmacists have been managing during the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming flu season
Guest: PEI Pharmacists Association, Erin MacKenzie
The committee will receive a briefing on how pharmacists have dealt with the pandemic thus
far and plans going fo
rward as we enter flu season.

The buildings in the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public. The live-stream will be available on the website and Facebook as well as in the archive section after the meeting as ended.
The Special Committee consists of:
Gordon McNeilly (Chair)
Trish Altass
Hannah Bell
Hon. Jamie Fox
Heath MacDonald
Hon. Bradley Trivers

More here:

Little brown birdies:

Bird ID Workshop: All about Sparrows, 3PM, on-line live and available afterwards. Hosted by the several New Brunswick Nature organizations
"Even a good birder will tell you that it can be difficult to identify sparrows. Well, we are here to help. Join the Nature Trust, Nature NB, and Ornithologist Dorothy Diamond on Wednesday, September 9th for a free, family-friendly webinar to learn about how to identify sparrows in New Brunswick.
During this 1-hour webinar, you will learn how to identify sparrows based on their field marks and calls, how to use e-bird to contribute to the conservation of birds, and more.
This webinar is a part of our digital Passport to Nature...."
* If you cannot attend this webinar live, a recording will be available.
Register at:

Opera Corner:
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Diana Damrau, Vittorio Grigolo, Elliot Madore, and Mikhail Petrenko, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 21, 2017.

Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, 7:30PM until Thursday at 6:30PM
Starring Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani, and John Relyea. From November 22, 2008.

from the Green Party MLA Ole Hammarlund, District 13: Charlottetown-Brighton, who is very thoughtfully presents a situation and resolutions:

Protecting our seniors - Social Media post by Ole Hammarlund, MLA

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020, on Social Media

Generally our province has been a 100% successful in protecting our seniors from Covid-19. First line of defense is our policy of tracing, testing and self-isolation, which has been so successful that we have not yet had a single case of community spread. Well over 10,000 people have crossed our borders from all over the world, including widely Covid-19 infected countries, and even though 51of those people were in fact tested positive, they all recovered or are recovering in self-isolation.

Our second line of defense has been in our nursing homes where visitors were first banned and now restricted. While some may well be suffering from too little contact with family, thankfully no one has contacted the Covid-19 virus that we know is particularly dangerous for seniors.

But not all seniors live in nursing homes. My district Charlottetown-Brighton has government built and operated seniors homes. 501 Queen Street for instance is an excellent example of a high quality senior’s home, which the provincial and federal governments constructed about 40 years ago. There are other projects as well and generally the occupants I have spoken to are happy to have their affordable apartments available, knowing that rents and facilities such as common rooms cannot be found on the open market without paying twice the rent. Indeed there are hundreds of seniors on the waiting lists for apartments in provincially operated homes.

But all is not well in these buildings. Complaints about repairs or services, if answered at all, is sometimes followed with suggestions that if the occupant is not happy, they can move elsewhere. This is of course an insulting suggestion, since no occupant would be able to find an alternate apartment at an equally affordable rent.

Lately I hear complaints about the cleaning process. Residents are happy about the increased cleaning, but really concerned that the cleaners do not wear masks or practice social distancing. Their complaints to the Minister are going un-answered. How is it possible that these groups of seniors are not afforded similar protection as seniors in nursing homes? Indeed they are offered no protection at all.

The complaints do not stop here. In fact there seem to be a consistent chorus of complaints that have been told me in confidence, since residents fear consequences (or inaction) if they complain themselves.

Many complaints are related to lack of maintenance or updating of mechanical systems. Ventilation systems for instance, may have met code 40 years ago, but these systems are now unable to cope, so that one resident’s need to smoke makes life impossible for other neighbor residents who don’t smoke. Others complain about the ban against having even small dogs. This despite the fact that for seniors having a dog can extend their life and make them happier as well.

Many buildings are in fact so large that different life styles can easily be accommodated by simply grouping the occupants in different wings or different floors, according to preferences regarding smoking, pets and noise, but there is no attempt to do that and occupants moving within the building or to other projects is forbidden or discouraged.

It seems obvious to me that the Minister and other staff responsible for the operation of senior’s homes are missing an important aspect of housing. It is not enough to supply affordable apartments. The goal should be to provide an environment that is supportive so that the seniors living there can live their lives in full comfort and maximum happiness. That of course includes high levels of maintenance, updating of mechanical systems such as heat and ventilation, a friendly method of receiving complaints and requests, accommodation of all types of lifestyles and pets and of course that staff wear masks when in contact with the senior occupants during our Covid-19 crisis.

Why would we offer anything less to our seniors!

Ole Hammarlund

Ole Hammarlund is the MLA for Charlottetown-Brighton. In his earlier years as an architect, he designed many seniors and nursing homes. At 78 he is now a senior himself and the oldest member of the legislature. He can be reached at

There is SO much forward thinking information here, at the website of the organization founded by the September 9 Global Chorus essayist:

Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE)

"CASSE is an organization that explores economic growth in earnest, including its downsides. We refuse to ignore the costs of economic growth, and our position sets the record straight. We recognize the conflict between economic growth and various goals for society, and we stand up for rational macroeconomic policies. Continuous economic growth on a finite planet is wishful thinking. We confront the truth that there are limits to growth, and we examine other possibilities for managing our economic affairs. "
Things have been adjusted for COVID-19's effects

Global Chorus essay for September 9
Herman Daly

(answering the question of is their hope for the Earth and why they think there may be)

I think the answer depends ultimately on who (or what) we think we are.

1. Are we the blind result of chance who happen to have evolved a bigger more complex brain than other animals, a brain whose merely epiphenomenal consciousness may amuse itself by projecting picture shows inside our cranium, but having no real purpose or independently causative impact on the world other than diferential reproduction?


2. Are we creatures evolved from the rest of Creation with the purpose of reflecting to some degree the image of God, and therefore capable of distinguishing good from evil, and true from false, and thereby acting responsibly as stewards and caretakers of the Earth?

If we think we are as described in 1 then in my opinion we are already cooked. Indeed, what reason would there be to care, and in what would we place our hope? Nevertheless, 1 is the worldview of “scientific materialism,” which is very influential in our modern secular society.

The second view affirms a basis for hope, and for our own adequacy to respond to that hope. Its truth is recognized in many of the world’s religions and does not contradict true science. As for the details of a viable and good future society I have argued that a steady-state economy is a necessary condition. But I doubt that it, or any solution, could be achieved unless “we” see ourselves as the people in 2 rather than 1.

      — Herman Daly, professor emeritus in the School of Public Policy at University of Maryland

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

September 8, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Local Food Ordering:
Deadline Noon today for ordering: from "Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO", for pickup Thursday:

Eat Local PEI orders due by midnight, Wednesday, September 9th:

Tuesday, September 8th:
City of Charlottetown Planning Committee meeting, 4PM"Sherwood Crossing" (North of Towers) Project, to be discussed and voted on at Public invited (or can watch on-line if unable to attend).  The meeting will be live streamed online at  
Link to yesterday's Citizens' Alliance News with all the Mayor's and Councillors' contact info.

More, below
Met Opera video streaming
"French Week" continues:

Massenet’s Manon, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczała, Paulo Szot, and David Pittsinger, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From April 7, 2012.

Tuesday, September 8
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, tonight at 7:30PM until Wednesday at 6:30PM
Starring Diana Damrau, Vittorio Grigolo, Elliot Madore, and Mikhail Petrenko, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 21, 2017.

Atlantic Skies for September 7th-13th, 2020 - Could Humans Live on Mars? - by Glenn K. Roberts

As NASA's Perserverance spacecraft speeds towards its February 2021 landing on Mars, many people are, once again, pondering the possibility of ordinary humans one day traveling to and living on the planet. In the 1910s, Edgar Rice Burroughs' masterfully written fictional books about Mars excited the public's imagination with tales of humans traveling to the Red Planet, and interacting with the native Martians. Hollywood's 2015 movie, The Martian, teased the possibility of human-survival (tenuous as it was) on Mars. Could humans really live, work and play on the surface of Mars, or will such an idea forever remain but a fantasy of literary fiction and cinematic CGI?

The problem of safely traveling to Mars aside, the first question that needs to be asked and answered is where would we live once we got to Mars? Due to the significant, constant solar radiation (not to mention periodic solar flares) that the surface of Mars is subject to due to its thin atmosphere (Earth's atmosphere protects all life on its surface from the greater portion of the Sun's harmful radiation), we would have to live in some sort of underground structure. Current estimates indicate at least 5 meters below the surface would provide the same protection level as our atmosphere. While the technology certainly exists to build such structures (NASA already has proto-type Mars One shelters under construction), they would still have to be transported to Mars and constructed, perhaps by robotic construction crews, prior to any human settlers arriving. Okay, so we have a place to live once there, what other things are required? Foremost would be a supply of air to breathe - a properly proportioned mixture of oxygen, nitrogen, and other trace gases to match that of Earth's atmosphere. We would have to transport an adequate supply for the number of settlers on hand, not a problem for a couple of astronauts carrying their own backpack supply, but certainly a more difficult task for a large number of settlers planning on emigrating there. It might be possible, over time, to grow enough oxygen-producing plants within specialized structures to generate the oxygen amount (to then be mixed with the other required gases) needed; something, with enough space and time, well within the realm of achievable, perhaps, once again, by robots pre-human arrival. The next two requirements would, by necessity, be a high priority - food and water. Since, at least initially, there would be no immediate means of obtaining water or growing crops, all water and food supplies would have to be transported to Mars, a significant and expensive logistics problem for those planning the trip, particularly if a large number. Terra-forming the Martian surface to generate a breathable atmosphere, a climate and soil conducive to growing crops, and establishing an adequate water supply (from underground ice deposits) would probably take at least a few hundred years.

Could humans survive on Mars?  Yes, at least a few could, for a short period of time, provided they took everything they needed (prefab shelters, and sufficient food and water) for the time they planned to be there. Long-term settlement, however, would require a massive investment of time, money, technology and effort; doable, yes, but would it be worth it? Perhaps. Afterall, the early explorers and settlers of our own planet faced many unknown challenges and life-threatening risks (though, perhaps, not to the same degree) when they set sail for distant lands, unsure of a safe arrival and what life would be like in the new world. In many ways, settling Mars would be a similar challenge, just on a much larger scale.

However, despite my own astronomy interests and science fiction-fueled dreams of traveling to distant planets, I think we humans would be far better off to invest all that time, money, technology and effort into mitigating the significantantly endangering environmental and social issues that are already confronting us. We live on a very unique (as far as we know), special and extremely beautiful island in the middle of a vast celestial ocean. It's time we woke up to that fact, and collectively worked to maintain and preserve that uniqueness, specialness and beauty, not only for ourselves, but also for the generations that follow. Yes, the urge to and fascination of traveling midst the stars to other planets is exciting, and perhaps one day, in the distant future, humans will travel out there and settle other planets (including Mars), but if we don't soon start to take care of the planet we live on, we're not likely to survive as a species to ever step foot on any of those distant worlds.

Mercury is too close to the Sun, and, thus, not observable at present. Jupiter (mag. -2.54) is visible above the southern horizon around 8 p.m. It reaches its highest point (21 degrees) in the southern evening sky around 9:20 p.m., remaining visible until about 12:40 a.m., when it sinks below 7 degrees above the southwest horizon. Saturn (mag. +0.35), as it has all summer, follows Jupiter into and across the early evening sky, becoming visible 18 degrees above the southeast horizon around 8:15 p.m. It remains visible until shortly before 10 p.m., when it disappears from view after dropping below 10 degrees above the southwest horizon shortly after 1 a.m. Mars (mag. -1.98 on the 7th, and -2.12 by the 13th) will continue to brighten this month and next, as it heads for its Oct. 13 opposition (when it will be at its brightest). The Red Planet is visible above the eastern horizon shortly after 10 p.m., reaching an altitude of 50 degrees above the southern horizon shortly before 4 a.m., and lingering in view until it's lost in the dawn twilight around 6:25 a.m. Venus (mag. -4.3) rises in the east around 2:50 a.m., and reaches a height of 38 degrees (its highest point of the year) above the horizon before fading with the approaching dawn by about 6:25 a.m. On the morning of Sept. 13, look for the crescent Moon directly above Venus in the pre-dawn sky.

Until next week, clear skies.


Sept.   7 - Venus at highest point in sky for 2020

         10 -  Last Quarter Moon

from The (Other) Guardian (U.K.) edition today:

Harken to the Ghost Hedgehog – White likenesses of hedgehogs are starting to appear on roadsides in Dorset to highlight that they are being killed by fast-moving vehicles. The hedgehogs, made of white-painted wood, are being put up by the Dorset Mammal Group after one small village, Pimperne, reported more than 20 squashed hedgehogs in just a year.

from the online story in today's Guardian (U.K.):
Ghost hedgehogs in Briantspuddle, Dorset, which reported more than 20 squashed hedgehogs on its roads in just one year. Photograph: Colin Varndell

It is hoped that the “ghost hedgehogs”, like the “ghost bikes” where cyclists have lost their lives, will encourage motorists to slow down and drive with more care. Hugh Warwick, ecologist and author of The Hedgehog Book, said: “Hedgehogs provide a point of connection to the natural world more effectively than any other animal. They share our gardens and green spaces – but for that to happen, we need to help them.”

Ghost Hedgehog story link

Here is an example excerpt from a note not-in-Charlottetown Tony Reddin wrote, which he would be fine if you wish to copy or adapt:

"Please do not allow more natural areas to be bulldozed and paved over and do not approve the Sherwood Crossing/North of Towers development. 

Please do adopt building regulations that protect green space and make Charlottetown a leader in appropriate development and protection of natural areas, which are so important for the health and well-being of residents and visitors..

I am not presently a Charlottetown resident but I spend a lot of time in Charlottetown and I care a lot about our capital city. As Alan Rankin has written: Charlottetown Belongs to Every Islander. "

Global Chorus essay for September 8
Trudie Styler

Do we want to be the generation that destroyed ourselves?

Rainforests once covered 14 per cent of the Earth’s land surface. Now they only cover 6 per cent. When they’ve been decimated to the tipping point, there will be no way back. We will face such extreme weather conditions that our planet will no longer support human life. What will it take for us to stop hiding from these terrible truths?

Well, there is a way out of this mess. But we have to face the truth, and we have to embrace change. We can’t leave it to the next governments, and the next generation. It’s time to take the responsibility – not by 2020, not by 2050, but now – to cut carbon emissions decisively and urgently. Deforestation accounts for around 20 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. Simply halting deforestation would be the single fastest and cheapest way to make a significant reduction. So why aren’t we doing it?

We’re now at a turning point in our short human history. We have a unique opportunity to shift our focus and to change our priorities. We don’t have to make a choice between the economy and the environment. A transition to a clean economic system, one that values vital natural systems, one that understands the cost of pollution and waste, will open up huge opportunities. The shift is inevitable. Countries can’t stop it. They can only slow it down. And as they do so, they will be left behind. The time when leaders could claim not to understand the implications of the evidence before us is long past.

You will be judged by your children, your grandchildren and all the generations to come. They will ask, “Did you do everything you possibly could to stop climate change?” We’re all mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters: as a planetary family, whatever our differences, we share one world, one fate and one chance.

     —Trudie Styler, actress, producer, creator of the Rainforest Foundation UK

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

September 7, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Labour Day, and even if there won't be the usual picnics and events, do consider all that labour unions and motivated citizens have done to improve the lives of working people.

And it has been a whole year since Dorian.  On this day in 2019, Bonshaw had the fun of hosting Prof. Terry Pratt performing his one-man show on Samuel Johnson (Guardian background article) just before the rain and wind really got going and there was still had power. 
(Though it was fabulous in a small group setting, the story and acting are so vivid and engaging the Dept. of Education should really film Yr. Obedient Servant for use in the schools.)

Events today:
One last cup of tea:
Meet David Merner, over Green Tea, with Anna Keenan, 8:30-9:30PM, on-line.

Each episode, 1 candidate for Leader of the Canadian Greens has been chatting with Anna Keenan in this 'Over Green Tea' series.

Candidate 9 of 9 (though the field has now narrowed to 8!) is David Merner - a lawyer with a career in public service in the BC Ministry of Attorney General and the federal Department of Justice & Privy Council Office. He has served on many volunteer boards, and is a former federal Liberal candidate.

Check out his campaign website here:

Join the conversation live on Monday September 7, at

PEISO (PEI Symphony Orchestra) Concert "Under the Stars" at the Brackley Drive-in , 8-10:30PM, with Tara MacLean and others.
Ticketed per carload.
Facebook event link

Metropolitan Opera video streaming:
Thomas Adès’s The Tempest,  until about 6:30PM
Starring Audrey Luna, Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies and Simon Keenlyside, conducted by Thomas Adès. From November 10, 2012. And the set design and acrobatics are amazing.

Week 26 (French Week)

Monday, September 7
Massenet’s Manon, Monday 7:30PM until Tuesday about 6:30PM
Starring Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczała. From April 7, 2012.  "A beautiful ingenue with a taste for finer things makes her way to Paris, where she becomes irresistible to the men around her -- including the Chevalier des Grieux, whose all consuming love for her leads to ruin."  It's gorgeous and so, so sad.

Charlottetown City Council and Planning Committee can make better decisions than they have been.

Tuesday, September 8th:
"Sherwood Crossing" (North of Towers) Project, to be discussed and voted on at  City of Charlottetown Planning Committee meeting, 4PM.  Public invited (or can watch on-line if unable to attend).

Background (and I apologize for any factual errors, as I am trying to get my head around this project which has a very short timeframe for people to comment on):
On the Mt. Edward Road side of "Towers Mall" or the Charlottetown Mall, is already a new vast mixed development where the ill-fated driving range used to be.  While seemingly prettily designed, the development has been criticized by me and others for apparent lack of incorporated community spaces, playgrounds, safer walking/biking access to the mall or the school, etc.  

The same "Wild West" mentality of development in Charlottetown appears to continue with this mayor and council.   On the other side of the road from Mt. Edward Road to the Mall is a proposed development alongside the Confederation Trail, the (North of Towers) "Sherwood Crossing project", by Killam/APM (yes, same pairing as the the Haviland Street high-rise that has been put on hold for a few month.

APM website with slideshow presentation:

and thoughtful comments:

LETTER: A cautionary tale about preserving green space - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

The proposed Sherwood Crossing development is but the latest in a series of high-density infill developments that are eroding Charlottetown’s natural capital and the services it provides, virtually completing the swath of concrete and asphalt stretching from North River Road to Mount Edward Road.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a diatribe against development. Well–planned, high-density infill can be a cornerstone of sustainable development. It protects outlying areas from sprawl, makes more efficient use of infrastructure, and can be instrumental in protecting natural areas: a win-win–win for the community, the local economy and the environment.

But in this era of enlightened sustainable community planning, we see a disturbing pattern of disregard for green space and its critical role in conserving biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and ultimately, the quality of life in our communities.

The proposed Sherwood Crossing is in an eminently walkable area serviced by transit with a natural area that is home to a surprising biodiversity, including red-tailed hawks. It could be a model for sustainable community design with a focus on renewable energy, active transportation and integrated natural areas. Instead we see the usual acres of parking rather than any credible green space.

We are a growing urban centre striving to meet the urgent needs of our community, but in meeting this challenge we should demand better for our residents and the environment. The chaotic “leave no stone unturned (or tree uprooted)” approach to planning must give way to a considered, balanced approach based on the principles of sustainability if we are to build a city for the future that is green, safe, healthy and vibrant. It can be done.

Connie Gaudet, Charlottetown

and more recently:

LETTER: Nature paved over - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Saturday, September 5th, 2020

I have many concerns regarding APM MacLean’s proposed North of Towers development. One of them is the loss of the remaining natural areas within city boundaries. Greenfield land plays a critical role not only in conserving biodiversity and providing climate change mitigation benefits, but also has a positive effect on the fundamental quality of life in our communities.

It is no secret that natural habitat destruction and fragmentation are leading causes of biodiversity loss. Many urban jurisdictions have been using the green infrastructure concept, which is an interconnected network of natural areas that provides wildlife habitat, flood protection, cleaner air and cleaner water.

Incidentally, does the public know that at least two new roads will bisect the Confederation Trail? While other cities upgrade the safety of their active transportation infrastructure, Charlottetown accepts proposals that degrade a marvelous multi-purpose trail within its municipal boundaries.

I support denser mixed-used housing projects, but not at the expense of natural areas being needlessly paved over in favour of market-priced housing and automobility. Sustainable design practices incorporate more effective and efficient land use, along with alternative energy and energy conservation techniques. We have a valuable but limited window of opportunity to design an urban environment that is optimized to deal with a warming world and committed to the betterment of the community.

Why is the city not pushing to adopt more stringent, energy- and space-efficient building regulations that truly take Charlottetown into the 21st century and beyond?

Barbara Dylla, Charlottetown

What can you do?  (adapted from some information sent by concerned citizens)
Consider attending the Planning Meeting: Tuesday, September 8th, 4PM, City Hall, during which "the Board will recommend approving or not the zoning change request (from Low Density Residential to Comprehensive Development Area) to City Council."

For those who wish to attend in person, a screen will be set up in the second floor lobby of City Hall for the public to watch the live streaming of the meeting.
For more information, please contact the Planning and Heritage Department at 902-629-4158 or Being there in person will show the councillors and planners that the citizens are paying attention (strength in numbers).
The meeting will be live streamed online at  

Certainly calling or writing to their Ward Councillor is very important, with cc to all the other councillors

For non-residents, it matters, and it's our Capital City, many of us go to Charlottetown for goods and services and should have a voice in the matter, too.  (See Allan Rankin's blog reprinted here recently for the same arguement).

Consider writing/calling to the Mayor Philip Brown
902-566-5548 (City Hall)
902-393-2601 (Cell)
902-892-8662 (Home)

and calling/cc'ing all the City of Charlottetown Councillors

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)

Deputy Mayor Jason Coady - Councillor 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)

The full Charlottetown City Council meets Monday, September 14th, and would vote on the recommendation (if that happens) for the zoning change request.  The public can attend that meeting in similar fashion, too.
The City Council has been approving most zoning changes in the recent past.

A Little Astronomy:
Venus is dazzlingly bright in the east in the pre-dawn sky.
Jupiter is very bright in the evening sky in the east. Saturn is a little east of it and not that bright.
Mars rises later, is up overhead by dawn and is surprising bright and red.
Moon is waning and rising later and later each night.

Global Chorus essay for September 7
Tony Wheeler

I’ve always been a firm believer in the virtues of travel. Of course you are, someone might cynically say, creating Lonely Planet has made you a rich man. Fair enough, travel and tourism may be the world’s biggest business, but there are many places in the world where it’s the only business. In those countries it’s all-important.

Yet travel is so much more than something that puts food on the table and sends the kids to school. It’s the way we citizens of the world learn about and communicate with each other, because when we travel we see the world and its peoples in reality, not filtered through some media viewfinder or interpreted by some government spokesperson.

That’s really come home to me in recent years when my travels have taken me to a list of places which tend to be on government travel advisories in the “don’t go there” category. I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan, not as some embedded journalist, but as an ordinary independent tourist. I’ve travelled around North Korea, Congo DRC, Haiti and Libya. I’ve been able to compare Saudi Arabia (the weirdest country I’ve ever been to, after North Korea) with Iran (a far from perfect country, but far friendlier and more democratic than Saudi Arabia). Most recently I travelled through Pakistan and observed the impact on that country from the world’s two major powers. One was sending in road builders to help keep the challenging Karakoram Highway open. The other was sending in drones to kill people. Guess which one was more popular?

   —Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet

his website, including his recent blogs on being in COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, Australia:

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

September 6, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Downtown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, lower Queen Street.

Tomato Fest, anytime 1-5PM, Heart Beet Organics Farm, 742 Darlington Road, Darlington.  Suggested at the door $15 or pay-what-you-can, children until 12 free.
Tomato sampling, both fresh and in recipes, instructions on seed saving,.  COVID-19 guidelines to be followed, so participants are asked to bring a mask, capacity is limited and people may want to come a little later in the afternoon. "Be smart. Be safe. Be kind. And let's eat tomatoes!" 
For more info: Email <> or call/text at: 902-964-3060


Meet Meryam Haddad - Over Green Tea, 8:30-9:30PM.  Anna Keenan interviews Green Party leadership contender Meryam Haddad.

"Candidate 8 of 9 is Meryam Haddad: immigration lawyer, LGBTQ+ and environmental activist, millennial!

Check out Meryam's campaign website here:

Join the conversation live on Sunday September 6, at

Facebook event link

Cultural events today and tomorrow:
Hamlet, Stratford Festival film of live performance, 1PM, CBC TV Channel 11.  You may want to check the listings to confirm.

Metropolitan Opera video streaming:

The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, until 6:30PM tonight
Starring Angel Blue, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Eric Owens, Alfred Walker, and Donovan Singletary, conducted by David Robertson. From February 1, 2020.

Sunday, September 6
Thomas Adès’s The Tempest, 7:30PM tonight until Monday about 6:30PM
Starring Audrey Luna, Isabel Leonard, Iestyn Davies, Alek Shrader, Alan Oke, William Burden, Toby Spence, and Simon Keenlyside, conducted by Thomas Adès. From November 10, 2012.
These both are amazing.

Monday, September 7th:
PEISO (PEI Symphony Orchestra) Concert "Under the Stars" at the Brackley Drive-in , 8-10:30PM, with Tara MacLean and others
Tickets are $40 per carload regardless of number of passengers
Facebook event link

So much good reading here at the Learning for a Sustainable Future website, here:

Founded by David Bell
Global Chorus essay for September 6 
David Bell

An old Russian proverb defines a “pessimist” as “an informed optimist.” The more one learns about the depth and extent of the challenges facing humankind over the remainder of this century, the easier it is to feel discouraged. The current path of global development appears to be taking us toward environmental and social disaster.

Some years ago, I conducted interviews with dozens of sustainability experts from all parts of the world to prepare a 12-hour radio series entitled “Sustainability: Canadian and Global Views.” The people I spoke with were highly “informed” about the challenges ahead, but every one of them believed that we are capable of bending the curve, of steering spaceship Earth toward a more sustainable future.

Is there still room for optimism? That’s hard to say. But there is a compelling case for hope. To begin with despair is a very poor motivator. And there is much to be done. So hope is the essential, necessary premise of positive action. It is a crucial diet for anyone who wants to make the world a better place to live for current and future generations. Yet, despite the enormous challenges that lie ahead, a diet of hope is not thin gruel. In essence, sustainability poses an “educational” challenge for humankind. We need to learn to live differently on this planet. This will require the emergence and widespread adoption of a culture of sustainability which embeds the values of caring for each other, caring for the Earth and caring about the future.

The good news is that the green shoots of such a culture are already very evident. Millions of individuals and organizations all over the world are passionately committed to addressing sustainability problems. The signs are everywhere, in the education sector, in civil society, in business, in government and in everyday living. New technologies of global communication can facilitate this culture shift toward sustainability.

In the spirit of hope, every one of us can do our part to make a difference for each other, for our planet and for our future. And we can have fun doing it!

     —David V.J. Bell, PhD, professor emeritus and former dean of environmental studies at York University (Toronto, Canada), board member of Learning for a Sustainable Future


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

September 5, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets in Charlottetown (8-1PM) and Summerside (9-noon)


Saturday afternoon radio with Ben Heppner, 1PM, 104.7FM
Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni
with Elīna Garanča andI Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orchestra

Met Opera video streaming:  Two day special
The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, until 6:30PM Sunday
Starring Angel Blue, Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, Eric Owens, Alfred Walker, and Donovan Singletary, conducted by David Robertson. From February 1, 2020.  Three hours.  A modern classic.

from the David Suzuki Foundation:
Friday, September 4th, 2020

Old oil and gas wells find new life with renewable energy - David Suzuki Foundation post by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington

As part of its COVID-19 response, Canada’s government is spending $1.7 billion to clean up “orphan” and inactive oil and gas wells in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Industry should be footing the bill, but the work is critical and will keep people employed and, in some cases, help them upgrade skills.

Orphan wells are those with no known legal or financial owner, often because a company has gone bankrupt. Finance Canada says Alberta has about 4,700, Saskatchewan 600 and B.C. 350, with another 91,000 inactive wells (no longer productive) in Alberta, 36,000 in Saskatchewan and 12,000 in B.C. Some have been “abandoned” — industry-speak for capped to prevent toxic leakage.

Subsidies that help workers are fine, but those that allow industry to continue business as usual while avoiding responsibility for repairing the damage it’s caused aren’t the way to recover from a pandemic or economic downturn. That’s why some forward-thinking people are taking it a step further.

In most cases, it’s best to restore sites to more natural states. But, with roads, grid connections and infrastructure already in place, some can be converted to renewable energy operations, from geothermal to solar.

Around Taber, Alberta, the RenuWell project plans to employ fossil fuel industry workers to convert two to four inactive wells to solar energy installations that can generate 2,900 MWh and more than $224,000 in electricity sales a year to the area. It’s an idea that could easily be scaled up. As project originator Keith Hirsche explained, transforming 10 per cent of inactive wells to solar installations in Alberta alone would provide enough renewable energy to meet the government’s 2030 goals without removing additional land from agriculture.

The project is supported by funding from the Municipal Community Generation Challenge, an initiative of provincial and municipal agencies. As part of the project, an organization of former oil workers called Iron & Earth is partnering with Medicine Hat College to develop a five-day “rapid upskilling program for fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to learn the basics of solar before working on transforming the well sites themselves.”

Seeing the need to diversify in the face of falling oil prices, increasing automation and climate disruption, oilsands workers started Iron & Earth in 2015. As executive director Lliam Hildebrand and board member Bruce Wilson wrote in an Edmonton Journal article, “It’s not a case of fossil-fuel industry workers versus the rest, or Alberta versus British Columbia. We are all in this together. The challenge now is how to move forward in a way that leaves no one behind.”

Geothermal energy also shows promise for transforming some wells. In April, the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, Petroleum Services Association of Canada and geothermal developers formed a partnership to promote geothermal development and create opportunities for displaced oil and gas drillers and service workers. Some deeper wells can be used for exploration and monitoring for geothermal potential.

Narwhal article details Fort Nelson First Nation’s efforts to turn 6,800 hectares of land in the Clarke Lake gas field in northeastern B.C. into a commercial-scale geothermal project. It would reduce reliance on fossil fuels (and thus greenhouse gas emissions) and could provide heat for homes, businesses and greenhouses.

Although data from existing wells in the nearly depleted gas field show high enough underground temperatures for good geothermal potential, drilling is required to determine if water flows are adequate. That can be expensive, but preliminary studies show it will likely pay off.

Other uses for depleted wells include hydrogen production, lithium recovery (used in batteries) and carbon capture and storage.

Ideally, most former oil and gas wells and related infrastructure would be returned as close to natural states as possible, restoring habitat for animals like caribou and reversing some of the devastation to traditional Indigenous territories and ways of life.

But in many cases, old well sites provide opportunities to scale up renewable energy without building new roads and infrastructure and encroaching on valuable agricultural land. Some solar installations are also compatible with nature restoration and agriculture.

We must find better ways to hold industry accountable for the many oil and gas wells yet to be orphaned. Innovation for a transition to cleaner energy is something everyone can get behind.

Written by David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington


Global Chorus essay for September 5
Mustafa Abu Sway

The relationship with the environment should be based on companionship. In the Islamic worldview, every component in the environment is a Sign pointing in the direction of God. When members of the environment go extinct, it simply means that we are treading on a path with less Signs, leading to a spiritual vacuum, and endangering our very existence.

Yet, there is hope!

The Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) prohibited polluting the water sources, and the path of people. He also encouraged his followers to continuously plant fruitful saplings under the most difficult situations, even under apocalyptic conditions, he said:

If one of you had a sapling [of a palm tree] in his hand, and the Hour [of the Day of Judgment] has arrived, and he could [still manage to] plant it, then he should plant it.

If you become aware of an issue, then you should act accordingly.
And we are conscientious of the environmental crises, and we are invited to act now.

My understanding of the Islamic worldview is that it is imperative to maintain the natural habitat of all species, and to care for the environment as a whole. We should act responsibly and consume food and other materials in moderation and in a sustainable way. Our survival as humanity is intertwined with the survival of other species. But also we should address economic policies that lead to inequality, which in turn affect the environment negatively.

It is not morally acceptable that our globe has two major groups: one that has plenty, and the other hardly subsists. In addition, one cannot neglect warfare and the resources wasted in this respect. Peace is vital for the environment. I have high hopes in our ability to rise to the environmental challenges, and for this, Muslims and non-Muslim alike need to co-operate and rub shoulders in action-based programs.  

Prof. Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work at Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds University, Palestine

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

September 4, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Standing Committee Meeting:
Health and Social Development Committee, 1PM,

Topic: Hurricane season planning

Location: First floor, J. Angus MacLean Building, 94 Great George Street

The committee will receive a briefing on post-tropical storm Dorian and planning for the upcoming hurricane season during the pandemic from the Minister of Justice and Public Safety.

The buildings in the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public. The audio of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting.

Friday4Future, 4PM, Province House, Grafton and Great George Streets side.
from their Facebook event link

We meet weekly, slight time change to 4-5pm, usually in front of Province House (on Grafton St.), to call for our political leaders to take drastic meaningful ACTION to address the climate emergency, and do their part to transform our economy from dependence on fossil fuels to using only clean renewable energy.
Haviland Club --  Book Launch, 7PM, Esther of Farringford, with author Lynne Thiele.


Sunday, September 6th:
Tomato Fest, Heart Beet Organics, 1PM, ticketed.
742 Darlington Road, off Rte, 2 in Darlington.  Ticketed.  Tomato salsas and soups and variety tasting, with physical distance guidelines followed.
Facebook event link

News of Robert Mitchell, MLA for Charlottetown-Sherwood area, resigning as MLA:

from Stu Neatby's article yesterday:

"Mitchell said he was proud of his work in these departments. He noted the early stages of work on the Water Act began under his tenure, as did the revamping of the Municipal Government Act. During his time as health minister, plans for the completion of the new mental health campus at the Hillsborough Hospital were announced. "

'Under the Elections Act, voters in Charlottetown-Winsloe can expect a by-election to be called within six months."  Or by March 2021.

Legislative Assembly link to Map of District 10 -- Charlottetown-Winsloe, which still has area a lot of Sherwood in it.

Map, originally from Brad Trivers' website, showing the current District -Charlottetown-Winsloe (in darker purple) and some outlines of the former Districts that make it up.

Though a devoted constituency man with devoted followers (CBC reporter Kerry Campbell told of "The Robert Mitchell Song" going through many choruses at a nomination meeting some years back), Mitchell is going to get more time to be the "Poppy" he so enjoys being. 

Global Chorus essay for September 4
Fatima Jibrell

I live in a small village called Durduri, on the coast of the Puntland State of Somalia, where life evades international conscience. My coastal village is the epicenter for illegal and extractive charcoal production from very scarce acacia trees; something which largely escapes media attention. Unemployment and scarce livelihood opportunities afflict our young men, leaving them vulnerable to the lure of piracy, charcoal burning and chewing Mira. At the same time, foreign nations are looting Somalia’s waters through illegal fishing and trawling, while foreign navies patrolling those same waters often deny Somali youth access to fishing as a local livelihood opportunity to which they are fundamentally entitled.

What is happening in my village and across Somalia demonstrates the fractured relationship between local and global. Humanity is united by a common cause – to preserve our planet and empower our people – and yet I see a world that shrugs of its responsibilities and works against its people. But I also see a world that is waking up.

Grassroots efforts have shown that environmental degradation can be reversed, and that livelihood opportunities can be created. Relentless commitment is however required from all parties, from local communities to national governments through to world bodies such as NATO and the UN. People from around the globe must think about the impact of their actions, and like-minded individuals must come together with a shared vision and commitment to do things differently.

We still have a long, long way to go, but I am not without hope.

     —Fatima Jibrell, women’s rights and environmental protection advocate, founder and senior advisor of Adeso African Development Solution, founder of Sun Fire Cooking (older website)

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

September 3, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Congratulations to Joe Byrne on his work talking the helm of the provincial NDP.  Joe resigned from that position yesterday.
Joe's unabashed socialist perspective is sorely needed in the P.E.I. Legislature, but it's grinding to steer a smaller party when its leader has to work other jobs, too.  AND when we are in a First-Past-the-Post voting system that inculcates the larger Parties and results in much resistance to real reform. 

Joe will undoubted continue to play a role in commenting on how we could be governing with our better nature and looking out for all people and the environment, too.

Special Legislative Committee on Climate Change,  1:30PM.
Topic: Briefing on promotion of electric transportation in Quebec

"Location: Committee Room, J. Angus MacLean Building, 94 Great George Street
The committee will meet to receive a briefing on efforts to promote electric transportation in Quebec, by representatives of Transition énergétique Québec.
Video recording will not be available for this meeting; an audio recording of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting. The buildings of the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public."

Notes on the Special Committee on Climate Change:
This committee has been  "created to explore the options available to reduce GHG emissions and to make fully costed recommendations on how the province can best meet its emission reduction targets." and to engage with the public.
Lynne Lund is chair, and with Steven Howard,  is the Green Party (Official Opposition) contingent
(Interim Third Party leader) Sonny Gallant and Deputy Speaker Hal Perry are the Liberals
and Natalie James (Honourable Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change) and Sidney MacEwen are the Government representatives.
Green Party Federal Leadership race and eligibility to vote deadline to register:
Today  (midnight, Pacific time) is the last day to purchase or renew a membership to be able to vote in the leadership contest which begins later this month.  Those 14 and older are eligible.
Operatunities, streamed recorded live operas from The Metropolitan Opera Company

John Adams’s Nixon in China, tonight until 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Kim, Janis Kelly, Robert Brubaker, Russell Braun, James Maddalena, and Richard Paul Fink, conducted by John Adams. From February 12, 2011.
Berg’s Lulu, 7:30PM tonight until Friday at 6:30PM
Starring Marlis Petersen, Susan Graham, Daniel Brenna, Paul Groves, Johan Reuter, and Franz Grundheber, conducted by Lothar Koenigs. From November 21, 2015

Paul MacNeill spins a possible scenario:

Don’t let COVID fiction become unwanted reality - The Eastern Graphic column by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020, in The Graphic newspapers

It started with 100 people gathering for a beach party on a cool, moonlit, early fall night. There was beer, guitars and revelry at a summer enjoyed. Social distancing and masks were definitely not mandatory. In fact, no one seemed to think twice about it. Martha was a designated driver. She enjoyed the night and when the time came drove her friends home and headed to her parent’s place in Stratford. She was keen to get an early start the next morning on a project assigned to her Grade 12 English class at Charlottetown Rural.

A couple days later Martha’s mother, Susan, was also enjoying fall’s crispness. The traditional beginning of respiratory disease season, a time when the number of cold and flu cases increase dramatically, was the furthest thing from her mind. The easing of restrictions at long-term care facilities meant she and her siblings could now visit their aging father on a more regular basis. Normalcy was returning; it was exciting, she thought, as she walked in the front door and headed for her father’s room.

A week went by before Martha noticed the first symptom, a fever, followed by a dry cough and exhaustion. Susan called 811, explained the symptoms and arranged a COVID test for her daughter. It would be 24 hours before Martha learned she was COVID positive.

A day before, the aged gentleman Susan’s father shares a dinner table with in the dining hall suddenly fell ill. His lungs struggled for air and his fever spiked. The care facility went into immediate COVID lockdown. The gentleman, who took pride in telling harness racing stories of bygone days, tested positive for COVID.

The first days and weeks of the school year were hectic. Teachers and administrators did the best they could to enforce social distancing. But in a school with a capacity of 950 and an actual student population of 1,076, it quickly became wishful thinking. Hallways, bathrooms and classrooms when the teacher had their back turned or left the room, offered ample opportunity to push back on regulations telling students what to do and when to do it.

Word of a Rural student testing positive for COVID spread like wildfire. In the ensuing days, seven more students, two teachers and a bus driver tested positive. The school opted to shift to online instruction for two weeks.

The affable 91-year-old seat mate of Susan’s father would become PEI’s first COVID hospitalization and death.

COVID is insidious. The virus travels unseen in a community, if given opportunity, and can move from a beach to classroom to long-term care facility in the blink of an eye. Family members pass it to relatives, friends to friends and strangers to strangers.

The outbreak presented here is fiction. Thankfully. But it is scenarios just like this that have fueled outbreaks around the world.

As we return thousands of children to Island schools, while simultaneously expanding public access to long-term care facilities, it is a realistic picture of what could happen if we make a mistake. With every step forward on PEI the risk of a COVID outbreak, and community spread, increases exponentially. We are a province with a greater direct social connection between youth and seniors. Opening schools and expanding access at LTC are connected.

Our provincial path forward is rightly reopening and government has done a good job doing it. But now is not the time to rest on our laurels. It’s the time to ask more questions, seek more data and implement as many early warning signs as possible, like those in a Quebec school last week where two teachers were found COVID positive and 20 teachers were quarantined on day two of the school year.

This is not failure, it is a success of safety protocols.

Now is not the time to listen to those who righteously say “We’re different. We have no virus on PEI.” BS. We do. It’s here, lurking. The more we open and the less we ignore public health guidance to social distance and wash our hands, the greater the opportunity COVID has to emerge.

To remain open requires ingenuity and personal commitment. Reopening schools sets aside the number one public health rule of the last six months. Social distancing in Island schools is functionally impossible and government needs to acknowledge it. The question then becomes how do we mitigate risk.

Dealing with class size in a substantive and imaginative way would be a big part of any solution. The Public Schools Branch and the Department of Education have shown no imagination on this front, virtually every school has multiple classes with 30 or more students.

PEI, with luck and skill, avoided two small clusters from leaping into community spread. One involved a long-term care facility, the other the QEH. Will we be as lucky when faced with something like the fictional scenario presented here? We all hope so. But if we’re not, we need targeted testing of ordinary Islanders with no symptoms, including in schools and LTC homes. Why? We need to determine the rate of virus in the community. (Boasts about the level of testing on PEI are artificially skewed by immigrant workers). It’s important data for future COVID outbreaks and it will help with community containment. Not to mention the halo effect of easing some of the anxiety of students, parents and teachers.

Any such effort requires testing capacity. Some on PEI are reluctant to implement community testing for this reason. Capacity is not an excuse to avoid doing what is right. So pick select schools, LTC and communities with higher risk factors and then build on that. We don’t need to do it all at once, but we do need a detailed plan.

Why do we continuously test for signs of the next earthquake or volcano eruption? So we aren’t surprised when one happens. Without community testing, we are opening ourselves up to a big, unwanted surprise.

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


screenshot from the website mentioned below

Not to be too bleak, but more to inspire Earth-caretaking, is sharing this website called The Footprint Network, which measures earthlings use of the Earth's resources and the day each year we overshoot and use more that the Earth can sustainably offer.  This year it was calculated on August 22.

And, there are solutions offered ("Move the Date"), here:

Global Chorus essay for September 3rd
Robert J. Birgeneau

The most significant social crisis facing our world today is the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. Three billion of the world’s seven billion people live on less than $2 per day, with the most acute poverty occurring in South East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In India, one of the world’s most-rapidly developing countries, 380 million of its 1.2 billion people still struggle on less than $1 a day.

The Arab Spring uprisings have illustrated that people will not be shut out of the world’s growing wealth. Even in Western countries, the increasing wealth gap has sparked recent violent demonstrations in the U.K. and other parts of Europe.

These are complex problems to which there is no simple solution. In 1959, British scientist and novelist, C.P. Snow, in his famous lecture “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution,” saw that the growing inequality separating the rich from the poor worldwide would lead to social turmoil. He believed that science and technology could solve the disparity and make the world prosperous and secure but that the different cultures of humanists and scientists would hinder scientific progress.

Although science and technology have made incredible strides in the last half-century, we have not solved the problem of abating global poverty through technological solutions. We need to understand why the gap between rich and poor is growing.

Education that values and unites the “two cultures” must be the answer. This education must be broadly accessible, not just reserved for the privileged few. Solving the world’s most challenging problems requires the attention of many academic disciplines coming together to seek solutions. Multidisciplinary, collaborative approaches across the physical and biological sciences, mathematics, engineering, social sciences, arts and humanities and the professions, hold the promise of enhancing our contributions to a better world.

     — Robert J. Birgeneau, chancellor of University of California, Berkeley  (retired -- now Professor Emeritus at MIT in Physics)
essay from
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

September 2, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Health and Social Development Committee meeting, 1PM,

Topic: Briefing from Chief Public Health Officer

The committee will receive a briefing from Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Public Health Officer in regards to COVID-19 related matters.

Please note: due to the installation of the new video equipment the Legislative Chamber, the meeting will be held at the J. Angus MacLean Building (94 Great George Street).

The buildings in the parliamentary precinct remain closed to the public. The audio of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting.

Local Food Opportunities:
Farm Centre Legacy Garden has fresh and dried herbs, and garden amendments and Google Form and contact information here.

Now, if they only had canning jars for sale.....

EatLocalPEI order deadline:
tonight at midnight
for Saturday pickup/some area delivery: 
Order information

The Farmacy grocery and cafe is open today until Saturday, 11AM-eveningtime, 152 Great George Street, Charlottetown.

Opera corner

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

John Adams’s Nixon in China, tonight 7:30PM until Thursday 6:30PM
Starring Kathleen Kim, Janis Kelly, Robert Brubaker, Russell Braun, James Maddalena, and Richard Paul Fink, conducted by *the composer* John Adams. From February 12, 2011. An odd choice for an opera, but it somehow works.  Canadian baritone Braun sympathetically portrays the Chinese premier.

Some urban perspectives...


The Island Hearbeat website

Charlottetown Belongs to Every Islander - The Island Heartbeat essay by Allan Rankin

Published on Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

Capital cities have a unique status and role.

They are the seat of government and justice, and in most instances the major administrative centre of a province, state, or nation.

They are also municipalities, and legal creatures of a higher governmental authority.

And while it is true that individuals and businesses residing within the boundaries of a capital city pay annual taxes and other charges, capital cities are handsomely supported by their respective provincial governments.

The City of Charlottetown for instance could never begin to offer municipal services at their current levels, or undertake its many capital projects, without major financial support from both the Province and the Federal Government.

In the City’s 2019-20 budget, the annual municipal grant and infrastructure funding represents nearly thirty percent (30%) of the total revenue.

Add to this the direct and indirect economic impact of provincial and federal institutions like the Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters and the University of Prince Edward Island, and it’s safe to say the City of Charlottetown certainly doesn’t pull its own weight financially.

Therefore, when any Islander regardless of where they live expresses an opinion about life in their capital city, or God forbid questions a decision made by City Council, they have a right to do so. As our capital city, Charlottetown is a favored community. It enjoys a special status and every Islander has an investment in its sound administration and future development.

It is important to point all of this out because the capital city establishment, especially the lawyers and developers, and municipal leaders, tend to view the city as their own private backyard, and everyone else should, well, just mind their own business.

Although I reside in Hunter River, and try to support all of our local services, I venture into “town” frequently to shop, see my doctor, go to a movie, or enjoy a shawarma at Cedar’s Eatery, in my opinion the best Lebanese restaurant in Canada.

I also try to keep up with the issues and challenges confronting our capital city, and certainly affordable housing, or the lack thereof, has been at the top of the priority list.

That is why I was shocked when City Council a few months ago, using a very unorthodox and limited review process, approved a $30 million 8-story luxury apartment complex for the Charlottetown waterfront, a 99-unit building to be erected on Haviland Street.

According to APM developer Tim Banks, these luxury apartments will include “everything from a gym to a dog wash” and rent for about 15% more than existing apartments in the city. Banks claims the housing market needs more than affordable units, which should be music to the ears of wealthier clients but not to working families and younger professionals who are already paying exorbitant rents for often substandard housing.

But what is especially galling about this development is the abbreviated and under-the-covers approval process, without any opportunity for public review or consultation. Evidently, the city bylaw for the waterfront zone does not require a public meeting.

But there is strong opposition to the apartment complex and the only avenue concerned residents have to voice their opinions is social media, unless some individual or group directly effected by the APM development launches a formal appeal to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC).

During my time as Vice Chair of the Commission, I was amazed at how pliant the City was when it came to reviewing and assessing proposed development projects, sometimes willing to go against the recommendations of its own planning board to satisfy a developer’s wishes.

Undoubtedly, Tim Banks and APM have that kind of influence over the City, and the prevailing view is that “any build is a good build”.

Mr. Banks in his Twitter ramblings likes to call me the “Captain of the Can’t Get Ahead Gang”, whatever that means. He has me figured as an ignoramus when it comes to the construction industry, and adverse to the very notion of progress.

I grew up on construction work sites and know a little about that industry.

My father was a successful general contractor for most of his working life, building schools, post offices, and other commercial buildings throughout the province, and his father was a bridge builder who also put in the first concrete waterfront in Summerside, not far from where Mr. Banks’ father ran his service station. Not to belabor the point but my late brother Richard was an award-winning construction project manager, and his younger son is Chair of the Engineering Department at UNB.

But I also know something about responsible public administration, and what fair-minded government looks like, and I strongly believe the APM project on Haviland Street because of its scale and location, and impact on neighboring properties, should undergo a thorough public review.

That’s the view from Hunter River.


Note that recently it was announced that the Haviland development is on hold until the Spring -- but only on hold.

This was probably in the papers but I think I missed it.  Ole was kind enough to send it to me.

The Haviland Street Project could be a big opportunity for the City -- by Ole Hammarlund

As an MLA in Charlottetown I have been bombarded with request to do something about the proposed apartment tower on Haviland Street.   The opponents claim that the proposed new tower will be too tall and completely block the views from the existing building behind it.  But I am also aware that Charlottetown is in a housing crisis and higher-density housing is part of the solution.
Too often discussions on new development are framed as either “yes” or “no”, where one side wins and the other side loses.   Instead we should look at smart design that improves quality of life and the public space for all.  Is that even possible on this small site?
Definitely!  For inspiration just look to the Harborside One, the first section of the waterfront developments that began over 40 years ago.  This project featured underground parking with a well-developed public plaza and park on top.  The waterfront itself is enhanced with a busy marina and the place is both attractive to live in and a delight for the public to walk through.
This is exactly what could happen at the Haviland site if the City, CADC, the Province and the Feds get behind it.  It could be an advantage that the entire site is currently owned by one owner and involving the developer should be no hindrance.   Just look what developer Mike Arnold made happen at the Confederation Center Mall decades ago!
What is needed here is a re-design that looks at both the existing building and the new buildings as a single comprehensive project.  With a proper re-design, the parking could be reduced to a single story, covering more of the site.   Instead of the current two story parking garage facades, a lower single story could be softened with terraces and planters.   The actual water front could be extended with a marina, which could serve those boaters not allowed to use the dock in Victoria Park.
Most importantly the new apartments should be re-designed as two shallower blocks perpendicular to the shore so that existing views are not blocked and ALL new apartments get water views instead of just the front half as proposed.
The developers claim that they can build their proposed development without any public hearing, and in fact recent City by-law changes allow development without a public hearing as long as zoning and building codes are met.
This is of course a big IF.  In fact the review by an independent architect points out that the proposed project does NOT meet the zoning requirements.  The review shows that a maximum of 79 units are allowed, while the developer’s plan show 99 units, 20 more than allowed.   Pouring over the plans myself I also note that over two thirds of the bedrooms have no windows, a code requirement for bedrooms.   Developers often get around this by labeling such rooms as offices, leaving it up to the tenant what he want to use it for.  In any case, there would be plenty of reasons why City council could turn down this proposal, if they so choose.
Recently the developer announced that they are withdrawing their application.   This will give time to think about making something really good happen here, and include all levels of government.   Nothing worthwhile happens without a lot of effort, so let us get started now.  I am not against dense development, but all development should be good for all, including the neighbors and the citizens of Charlottetown.

Ole Hammarlund is the MLA for Charlottetown-Brighton and an architect.  Please comment at

Global Chorus essay for September 2nd
Paul Polman

If we are to overcome the enormous social and environmental challenges which face us – and I believe we can – then we will have to work differently in future. We will have to work in big partnerships where governments, business and civil society organizations collaborate together.

As a member of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the post-2015 Development Agenda I became convinced that we could “put an end to extreme poverty” whilst at the same time safeguarding the planet for future generations. Central to the achievement of this goal was the idea of a “Partnership for Development” – grounded in a new spirit of solidarity and realized through a compact of commitments.

This is not a pipe dream. A number of such multi-stakeholder partnerships are already in place and delivering results at global scale. The GAVI Alliance is on track to immunize 243 million children against killer diseases in 73 of the world’s poorest countries. The Scaling Up Nutrition initiative has brought together multinational food companies, governments and NGOs in 43 countries to address malnutrition.

In the environmental area Unilever and the U.S. government have created the Tropical Forest Alliance. The goal of this partnership is to eliminate tropical deforestation from the supply chains of commodities like palm oil and soy. The Alliance now includes the governments of Indonesia, Norway, UK, the Netherlands and Liberia; dozens of NGOs as well as over 400 companies whose combined revenues exceed $3-trillion. Good progress is being made. If we succeed we will have overcome an issue which accounts for over 17 per cent of all greenhouse gases – more than the entire transportation sector.

In the years to come we will see many more such partnerships. Their energy will be fuelled by an irresistible demand for change from the young. Their call will be heeded by a new generation of business leaders who understand that the economic case for sustainable development is overwhelmingly strong.

I am convinced that we can forge a pathway that will deliver a better future for all – one where prosperity and environmental sustainability walk hand in hand.

     — Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever

Update: Polman is "Co-founder and Chair of IMAGINE, a benefit corporation and foundation accelerating business leadership to achieve the Global Goals."

One of his articles published on the LinkedIn site on charities, businesses and government stepping up to help stop the suffering caused by COVID-19.

essay from

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

September 1, 2020

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Virtual event: Islands and COVID-19 Recovery Plans:
Promoting Resilience and Sustainability, 11AM-12:30PM, free and all welcome

Click here to register
The Institute of Island Studies is delighted to kick off a season of online programming with a Virtual Hub event discussing Islands and COVID-19 Recovery Plans: Promoting Resilience and Sustainability.
This virtual panel and discussion will be an opportunity to share lessons on how islands are demonstrating resilience as they respond to COVID-19, and bring a collection of local voices together to discuss the challenges and opportunities that we are navigating here on Prince Edward Island.

Moderated by Dr. Laurie Brinklow, the discussion will be led by our key speakers (see below) who will then be joined by representatives from island communities around the world and here on PEI, before opening the floor up to questions from attendees.

• Dr. Jim Randall UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, UPEI
• Dr. Francesco Sindico Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG)

 Jane Ledwell (Prince Edward Island) Executive Director, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women
• Dr. Giulia Sajeva (Egadi Islands, Italy) Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship holder with SCELG
• Dr. Andrew Jennings (Shetland Islands, Scotland) Institute for Northern Studies, University of Highlands and Islands
• Dr. John Telesford (Grenada) School of Continuing Education, T. A. Marryshow Community College
Registration link
Deadline Noon today for ordering: from Charlottetown Farmers' Market 2GO, for pickup Thursday:
Legislative Committee meeting today:
Public Accounts committee, 9:30AM

Topic: 2020 Report of the Auditor General to the Legislative Assembly

"The committee will meet to continue its review the 2020 Report of the Auditor General to the Legislative Assembly. Auditor General Darren Noonan will be in attendance.

Video recording is not available in the Committee Room of the J. Angus MacLean Building; an audio recording of the meeting will be available on the Legislative Assembly's website and Facebook page following the meeting."  
More details


Get Acquainted Series - Green Leadership Candidates III, 5:30-8PM, Founders Hall and online, all welcome.

With Courtney Howard and Glen Murray

....get together and 'Get Acquainted' with Federal Green Party of Canada Leadership Candidates.  People are gathering at Founder' Hall for food and discussion (social distancing rules followed) and candidates will be brought in virtually.  All welcome to attend in person or by Zoom:

See for more details:
Facebook event link

Met Opera corner:  20th Century works!

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

Britten’s Peter Grimes, 7:30PM Tuesday, until about 6:30PM Wednesday
Starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Donald Runnicles. From March 15, 2008.

Global Chorus essay for September 1
Alexia Lane

How can we save the world? First we must ask ourselves if we willing to pay more for energy and water. Democratic governments recognize that their tenure would be short-lived if they insisted that oil and gas companies, for example, show minimal profits in order to reduce the cost of home utilities. Lack of profit from large companies, associated job losses, and rising unemployment would result in mobilization of voters to oust the government that restricted company profits.

However, if consumers accepted paying more for water, electricity and natural gas, governments would be free to impose restrictions not on company profits, but on company practices.

If consumers are prepared to pay more for water, electricity and natural gas, governments are in a position to mandate “cost-prohibitive” extraction technologies and to force the oil and gas industry, for example, to respond accordingly. Waterless methods to extract unconventional fossil fuels exist, but are rarely used due to the high cost associated with the technologies when compared with using essentially free fresh water. Costly technology ultimately translates into higher costs for us as consumers. If we are willing to pay more for our water and energy needs, the conservation effects would be twofold. Firstly, there would be greater impetus to conserve water and energy resources on a home-to-home basis. Secondly, industry would be forced to leave water resources intact, while continuing to surge forward in fossil fuel extraction.

If we are not prepared to pay more for water, electricity and natural gas, we will continue on the current path of destruction using primarily freshwater-intensive extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), because that is the less expensive solution, the one that keeps our water and natural gas bills at their current rates. The extent and intensity with which wells are being fracked across the globe is ever increasing despite known adverse environmental and public health effects. Moreover, fracking permanently removes water from the hydrologic cycle, a phenomenon that cannot be undone. All the water that will ever be on Earth is here today. How much are you willing to pay for that?

       — Alexia Lane, Water Lane Consulting, author of On Fracking

excellent book -- more about it here
more about the author here 

Note that it is my understanding that fracking is expressing forbidden on P.E.I. in the Water Act, (thanks to many Islanders who spoke out about the need to ban this) though the Act has actually not passed through all the legislative hoops as the regulations on groundwater extraction are being finalized.

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