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  Recent Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. Newsletters (formatting in progress)

Citizens' Alliance News -- Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Hello, all,

"Our major effort ... should be to disseminate knowledge in a balanced and dispassionate manner, so that human society can make decisions which would help us in meeting this challenge for our benefit and for generations yet to come."

   --- Rajendra K. Pachauri, from the Global Chorus essay, below


Events today:

Standing Committee on Public Accounts meeting, 1:30PM, Coles Building and online.

Topic: Review of Auditor General's Report

The committee will meet to receive a briefing on the Auditor General’s Annual Report to the Legislative Assembly 2023, dated March 2, 2023. Auditor General Darren Noonan will be in attendance.

 The meeting will be livestreamed on the Assembly's website and Facebook page.


Webinar today:

Lunch Break Science: "Woman the Hunter", 3PM our time, online, hosted by the Leakey Foundation.

"Meet Dr. Cara Ocobock and learn how her research challenges traditional human evolution narratives and expands our understanding of women’s physical capabilities and endurance. 

Watch on Facebook, Leakey Foundation Live, LinkedIn, YouTube, or via our new learning hub to participate in the live Q&A session."



Graphic named one of Canada’s best community newspapers

Graphic staff

published on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

For the first time in its 60-year history, The Eastern Graphic has won Best All-Around Newspaper in Canada, beating out finalists from Manitoba and British Columbia.

News Media Canada, which represents 558 publications across the country, honoured The Graphic in its circulation class for editions that included coverage of Hurricane Fiona and mental health and addiction.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” says Publisher Paul MacNeill. “This honour is not for a single story, feature, advertisement or photo. Judges consider the whole paper and editions from different times of the year. It really is an honour for our editor Heather Moore, reporters Josh Lewis, Charlotte MacAulay, and Rachel Collier, advertising representatives and graphic designers. I am incredibly proud of the work they do every week of the year.”

As part of the Best Overall competition judges awarded The Graphic second place in best editorial page and third for best front page.

In individual award categories, Rachel Collier and Paul MacNeill won the prestigious Outstanding Reporter Initiative Award for their Through the Cracks series. Mr MacNeill captured second in the Best Feature category for ‘Who will apologize to Jason Sark?” and second place in Best Spot News Photo for a photo of Logan Fischer which launched the first edition of the series.

This marks the culmination of the single most successful year in the paper’s history. It was a finalist for the country’s top award, The Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service, won the CJF Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism presented by the Canadian Journalism Foundation and was a finalist for the Canadian Association of Journalists competition.

“Every week we put out a product that is the envy of most community newspapers in this country. This year we’ve been recognized for some very important reportage. It is a wonderful testament to the dedication we strive to bring to this community every single day,” Mr MacNeill said.



Against the Tide

Rural PEI looks for crisis leadership

by Paul MacNeill, publisher

published on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023, in The Graphic newspapers

The political hot potato of a safe injection site is once again in the hands of Charlottetown City Council, a group that has maligned, impeded and generally done everything possible to do absolutely nothing to fix the homeless and mental health and addiction crisis in the city.

Council will soon be asked to vote on a recommendation put forward from the city’s planning committee to allow the long overdue site to operate on Park Street for one year. In addition, the provincial government is asking for a one year extension to the temporary permit for the Park Street emergency shelter.

Planning board is recommending council approve the recommendation, but with conditions, which may have a negative impact on the site’s success.

A safe injection site, by definition, offers drug users a safe venue to use illegal drugs. The system works not only because experts are on-site to test drugs for fentanyl and monitor usage, but because a police presence is not the norm. This proposal - no doubt driven by public anger over the disastrous impact on the neighbourhood surrounding the Community Outreach Centre - includes a request for the province to fund six police officers specific to the Park Street location and surrounding area.

It may be good public relations but it likely will not be good public health. Police are not trusted by the vulnerable. And for good cause. During the provincial election the PC government resorted to letting a Charlottetown police officer, turned Tory candidate, announce the arbitrary decision that government would overrule the recommendation from the Public Health Office to situate the safe injection facility on Belmont Street.

The officer is a respected professional. This is a criticism of the politics not person. Politically it was a grotesque attempt to win votes, with the most vulnerable nothing more than pawns of the PC Party.

The optics were awful and make building trust, along with potential of constant police presence, all the more daunting.

Charlottetown is ground zero for the crisis. At some point city council needs to show actual leadership beyond predictable posturing and pandering for votes.

Council’s vote will be telling, but only part of the bigger story. The province is naive to focus virtually all attention and resources on Charlottetown, as if it is the only community impacted.

Every community is impacted, yet there is no provincial plan.

Summerside’s six bed men’s shelter only opened in May. Unlike every shelter in Charlottetown, it operates 24 hours, which is a positive. But it is already consistently at capacity. Eastern PEI is in even worse shape. There is no shelter.

We know provincial demand is far greater than supply. And it’s not just mental health and addiction driving homelessness. Many Islanders are under housed. They couch surf, staying for short stints with family and friends. They may live in a vehicle or tent. When it comes to wrap-around services, none are offered east or west.

The vulnerable will gather where effective services are offered. If we want an effective response in Charlottetown, it must include active investment in rural PEI. Housing, mental health and addiction, affordability all go hand in hand. Yet, the mandate letter for housing minister Rob Lantz makes it clear only the provincial capital is a priority.

This is not just bad policy; it is the definition of insanity.

You cannot solve a province-wide issue without province-wide supports.

Kings County has begged the King government to act for more than a year. Pleas to establish a local shelter are met by silence. Politicians want to run from the issue because it requires imagination, determination and clear focus, while supporting the vulnerable is not seen as a political winner. Instead, government shuffles bureaucrats who have lost credibility with the vulnerable into other jobs hoping no one notices.

Well, we do. Surely, if as a province we can offer unqualified protection to bureaucrats who have failed in their duty, we can offer the same protection to those who actually deserve it.

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


peicanada / Graphic publications subscription information:


Here's a pleasant way to spend some time:

National Audubon Society award-winning video clips for 2023:

Each is very short, you can reason....

Audubon's 2023 Top 15 Video Clips:


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 make 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 (d. 2020) former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


essay from:

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet

edited by Todd E. MacLean

copyright 2014


Yours truly,

Chris Ortenburger,  

Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.

End of CANews for 2023_09_20


Citizens' Alliance News -- Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

Hello, all,

"Earth is our home. We need to clean up the mess."

   --- Grant Lawrence, from the Global Chorus essay, below




Island Nature Trust AGM, 6PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House.  

Doors open at 5:30PM and seating is limited to 100 people.

Saturday, September 23rd:

Festival of Forests, 1-6PM, Machail Woods.

"Macphail Woods, in partnership with the Forested Landscape Priority Place (FLPP) is hosting this year's Festival of Forests.

The day will include educational walks & talks, bush craft demonstrations, a medicine wheel planting, kids activities, food & refreshments, and lots more fun!

There will also be featured displays that highlight ongoing Forested Landscape Priority Place projects, which will provide an opportunity to connect with PEI environmental groups."


Also, today:

Webinar: Moving Faster Without Breaking Things: Accelerating Just and Sustainable Renewables Development, 4:30PM, online

"Join Chief Conservation Officer Marshall Johnson ...for a panel hosted by World Wildlife Fund at The Nest Climate Campus. This session will bring together stakeholders for a debate on the rapid and responsible transition to renewable energy and how we can ..."move forward quickly and sustainably to meet our climate goals. 

Register here

This is just one of a whole day of World Wildlife Fund @ The Nest Climate Campus webinars starting this morning, continuing today and tomorrow.

 The "Register here" link above shows the entire slate, including "Why We All Should All Support Farming Seaweed" at 10:30AM.


Nature Canada's 2023 Photo Contest is down to five finalists, and the public is invited to help choose the Grand Prize winner.  Details here:


This is Stu Neatby's report from the first meeting of the Standing Committee on Health and Social Development:

'Everybody wants to solve this problem together': P.E.I. MLAs agree to host public meetings on homelessness

by Stu Neatby

published on Friday, September 8th, in The Guardian

The P.E.I. legislature's standing committee on health and social development has unanimously agreed to host a series of public meetings aimed at tackling homelessness across the province.

The motion was tabled during the Wednesday, Sept. 6 committee meeting by Liberal MLA and Opposition housing critic Gordon McNeilly.

McNeilly's motion called for the committee to seek public feedback on which programs, policies and supports for P.E.I.'s homeless population are working and which are not.

He also called for recommendations to support the Island's homeless population following the consultations.

"Everybody wants to solve this problem together," said McNeilly.

"It's disjointed at this time. It's disjointed with government, municipal and provincial, and we have to get on the same page."

More provincial involvement

In an interview following the meeting, McNeilly said he has been calling for community consultations on homelessness for the past three years.

He noted that he was pleased to see Charlottetown Police Services host a public meeting on homelessness in the capital city on Tuesday but wants more government involvement.

"It’s great to see police host that meeting, it’s a great start,” he said. “But it should have been the province putting on the meeting.”

Committee member and Green Party MLA Peter Bevan-Baker attended that meeting, which he called "fiery" and "productive."

"I think it's time for the public to have an opportunity to be involved in this incredibly important conversation," said Bevan-Baker, voicing his support for the motion during Wednesday's committee meeting.

McNeilly noted that the public plays an important role in addressing the situation, as it's about whether people will have a roof over their heads.

The next step will see the province work out the details of the public meetings, including where and when the consultations will happen.



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 at CBC Music


essay from:

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet

edited by Todd E. MacLean

copyright 2014


Yours truly,

Chris Ortenburger,  

Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.


Citizens' Alliance News -- Monday, September 18th, 2023

Hello, all,

"Sometimes when I feel very alone, doubting and lacking perspective, I go to a still dark place and look to the stars."

   --- Alastair McIntosh, from the Global Chorus essay, below


Some Events this week:  

From the (U.S.) National Audubon Society -- interesting free programming relating to Climate Week, with ramifications for us here in the Maritimes.

 Note the times are in Eastern Time, so add an hour for tuning in here:

Climate Week NYC: Together, We Can. We Will.

Climate Week NYC (September 17–24, 2023) starts today! This summit is a global platform for everyone working to protect the planet and its inhabitants that’s hosted annually by Climate Group in partnership with the United Nations General Assembly and the City of New York.

As a proud sponsor, we’re committed to fostering a healthier future for all with other global leaders and changemakers. Together, We Can. We Will drive action, ignite progress, champion change that is already happening, and break down barriers in our path.

Join Audubon virtually by registering for the free events below:

Communicating Climate Change: Are the words we use halting progress on major infrastructure deployment in the United States?

Join CEO Dr. Elizabeth Gray on Monday, September 18 at 2:40 p.m. ET for a virtual discussion around the role communications can play in creating new narratives for change and unblocking the misunderstandings that can exist in major projects which blend together public and private sectors with government agencies, local groups and experts. Register here

Moving Faster Without Breaking Things: Accelerating Just and Sustainable Renewables Development

Join Chief Conservation Officer Marshall Johnson on Tuesday, September 19 at 3:30 p.m. ET for a panel hosted by World Wildlife Fund at The Nest Climate Campus. This session will bring together stakeholders for a debate on the rapid and responsible transition to renewable energy and how we can how we can move forward quickly and sustainably to meet our climate goals. Register here

Discovering the Americas Flyways Initiative

Celebrate the recently launched Americas Flyways Initiative with Dr. Gray, Audubon Americas, and partners on Wednesday, September 20 at 6 p.m. ET. This initiative is an opportunity for synergy, integration, and harmonious coexistence that unites people and nature beyond borders, addressing biodiversity loss and climate change across the Americas. Register here


Here is the third and last part of the Mandate Letter for the Minister of Health and Wellness Mark McLane.  


At the end of this newsletter is the entire letter in full, with the whole list.

If you have time, you could reorganize it into several categories, for the topics lurch around a bit.  Also, as someone noted, there are a lot of actions, and some on physicians, but not too much on understanding why physicians are leaving and working to stem that tide. 




Atlantic Skies for Monday, September 18th to Sunday, September 24th, 2023

by Glenn K. Roberts

The Autumnal Equinox - when daylight and nighttime are (almost) equal

Wild is the music of autumn winds

among the faded woods.

                - William Woodsworth

Although it might not seem like autumn is just around the corner, given the recent warm and humid weather we have been having here in Atlantic Canada this past week or two, the official start to the autumn season - the autumnal equinox - will, nonetheless, occur on Saturday, Sept. 23 at  3:50 a.m. ADT (4:20 a.m. NDT). The amount of daylight has been slowly but steadily dwindling since June 21, the date of the summer solstice, the official start of the summer season, and the longest day of the year. Already the evenings are beginning to feel cooler, the birds are gathering together for their annual migration southward, and the deciduous trees are beginning to show traces of colour, which will only grow more widespread and intense in the coming weeks as autumn advances.

You might be asking yourself why the autumnal equinox is on Sept. 23 this year, and not on the usual date of Sept. 21 or 22. The date of the autumnal equinox, like those of the vernal equinox, and the summer and winter solstices, can vary from year to year, as its date is not determined by the Gregorian calendar (the calendar we currently use), but is actually an astronomical moment in time when the Sun crosses the celestial equator (the plane of the Earth's equator extended out into space), moving from north to south. While equinoxes and solstices occur at exactly the same moment in time across the globe, due to varying time zones, the actual date of the equinox or solstice may, from one year to the next, vary by a day or two, depending on the geographical location of the observer. Although on Sept. 23 this year, autumnal equinoxes can occur between Sept. 21 - 24; in 2024, it will occur on Sept. 22. On the date of the autumnal equinox, the Sun is directly overhead at local solar time (as seen from Earth's equator). 

The  word "equinox" comes from the Latin words aequs (meaning "equal") and nox (meaning "night"), in reference to a period of equal daylight and nighttime lengths. There are two equinoxes each year, the autumnal equinox (sometimes referred to as the September or fall equinox) and the spring equinox (also referred to as the vernal or March equinox) here in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, Sept. 23 marks the southern vernal equinox, or the beginning of their spring season. On the date of both the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the Earth's axis is neither tilted towards or away from the Sun (as it is during the summer and winter solstices respectively in the Northern Hemisphere), so the amount of sunlight striking both hemispheres of the Earth's surface is pretty much the same, i.e., every latitude across the planet receives approximately the same amount of daylight as it does darkness on those dates, as the Sun is directly over our planet's equator. 

In reality, however, day and night are actually only relatively equal in length for areas close to the equator; the respective lengths of day and night for other non-equatorial regions depends on their latitude. For example, on Sept. 23, 2023, at Charlottetown PEI (latitude 46.23824 degrees N), the Sun will rise at 7:00 a.m., and set at just after 7:08 p.m., giving a day length of 12 hrs, 8 mins, and 9 secs. On the day of both equinoxes, the Sun will rise due (or almost due) east and set due  (or almost due) west, depending, again, on your exact latitude; in Charlottetown, PEI, on Sept. 23, the Sun will rise at 89 degrees E, and set at 271 degrees W.

Except for tropical regions, most locations in the Northern Hemisphere begin to experience a slow but steady decrease in the length of daylight after the date of the summer solstice (the longest period of daylight of the year), with the day-to-day differences being greatest around the date of the autumnal equinox; the same is true for the spring equinox, except the daylight period steadily grows longer. After the autumnal equinox, the daylight period continues to shorten, but at an ever-decreasing rate, until on the date of the winter solstice (the shortest period of daylight of the year), it reaches zero. Regions closer to the poles experience larger day-to-day differences with respect to the length of daylight than those closer to the equator.

The moment when daylight and nighttime hours do actually equal one another is known as an "equilux". This occurs (again varying slightly from year- to-year, and depending on your latitude) a few days before the spring equinox, and after the autumnal equinox in both hemispheres. For Charlottetown. PE, equilux occurs on Sept. 25, 2023. If you would like to find out when an equilux will occur where you live (you will need to know your approximate latitude), go to

As I have explained in other articles, the astronomical definition of when seasons begin differs from that of a meteorological definition. While astronomical autumn commences with the autumnal equinox on Sept. 23, 2023, when the Sun actually crosses the celestial equator heading from north to south, meteorological autumn (which defines the start of the seasons as occurring on the first day of the month that includes  the equinox or solstice) occurred on Sept. 1. As the Earth does not move at a constant speed in its annual elliptical orbit around the Sun, the actual timings of equinoxes (and solstices) can change from year to year. As a consequence, the length of astronomical seasons within a given year, and from one year to the next, can also vary. On average, the autumnal season here in the North Hemisphere lasts about 89.8 days; in the Southern Hemisphere, approximately 92.8 days. 

Not all countries around the world use the astronomical definition of when the seasons change. Australia and New Zealand, for example, use the meteorological definition to mark their seasons, with their spring season starting on Sept.1. Some Southeast Asian cultures divide the year into 6 seasons. Finland and Sweden base the date of their seasons not on a calendar, but on temperature, with the seasons within these two countries starting and ending on different dates, depending on each region, and their respective climates; global climate change will, no doubt, dramatically alter how these countries determine the start of their seasons.

Historically, many cultures around the world celebrated the equinoxes and solstices with festivals of one kind or another, some of which continue to this day. The ancient Mayans of Mexico gathered each year on the dates of the spring and autumnal equinoxes at the Kukulcaan pyramid at Chichen Itza to observe the sunlight create the shadow of a huge snake slithering down the pyramid steps. The Japanese, who believe that the world of the living and the world of the dead are closest during the equinoxes, have celebrated the equinoxes for centuries with the festival of Ohigan, a time of personal reflection, and the remembering and honouring of their ancestors. The Chinese Moon Festival is celebrated at or around the date of the autumnal equinox at the time of the Harvest Moon (the Full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox), when they visit with friends and relatives, and light colorful lanterns, symbolic of their hopes for good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.

In Great Britain, where the autumnal equinox has long been associated with the fall harvest, public festivities celebrating the autumnal equinox typically take place on the Sunday closest to the Harvest Moon. It is thought that such festivities, which usually include music, dances, and public feasts and drinking, were probably the basis for the early American settlers' celebration of Thanksgiving in the New World, a tradition which continues to this day, though moved forward into October. To see how the autumnal equinox is observed around the world, go to

Mercury (mag. +2.5, in Leo - the Lion) has emerged from inferior solar conjunction, and will reach its highest point in the morning sky 16 degrees above the eastern horizon on Sept. 23 before fading from view as the Sun rises. Venus (mag. -4.5, in Cancer - the Crab), now at its brightness morning apparition, rises around 3:35 a.m., reaching an altitude of 29 degrees above the eastern horizon, before fading from view around 6:30 a.m. Saturn (mag. +0.5, in Aquarius - the Water Bearer) becomes accessible shortly before 8 p.m., 12 degrees above the southeast horizon as darkness falls, reaching a height of 31 degrees above the southern horizon by 11:40 p.m., and remaining visible until about 3:35 a.m., when it drops below 10 degrees above the southwest horizon. Jupiter (mag. -2.7, in Aries - the Ram) will be visible by about 10 p.m., 7 degrees above the eastern horizon, reaching its highest point of 58 degrees in the pre-dawn, southern sky around 4:15 a.m., and then becoming lost in the dawn twilight 47 degrees above the southwest horizon by 6:30 a.m. Mars, 2 degrees below the western horizon at dusk, is not observable this week.

Comet C/2023 P1 Nishimura reached perihelion (its closest passage of the Sun) on Sept. 17, and is, unfortunately, too close to the Sun to be observed in the western, post-sunset twilight. It will pull away from the Sun over the course of the coming weeks, and, although fading in brightness, may still be visible. For those of you who may not have had an opportunity to see it before its perihelion passage, there are some incredible images of the comet on the internet.

Until next week, clear skies.


Sept. 18 - Venus at greatest brightness in morning sky; mag, -4.5

          22 - First Quarter Moon

          23 - Autumnal Equinox; start of autumn season in Northern Hemisphere

               - Mercury at highest altitude in morning sky; 16 degrees above eastern horizon



The Global Chorus essay writer is Alastair McIntosh, a writer, creative ideas person, and inspiring speaker.  He spoke to the public at UPEI about a decade ago, and one thing that stuck with me was his description of how being elected causes politicians to start being layered in insulating bubbles, with people less likely to tell them the awkward truths, and the politician getting more and more distanced from their constituents.  I think this is and has been very true of many P.E.I. politicians, but I can see some who have worked very 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. The last time I was home on the Isle of Lewis I went by the five-thousand-year-old Callanish standing stones. Afterwards 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 find this pastor’s pulse a beat ahead of my own.

“The 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. The 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 flesh-and-blood kind of love. The 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 left Callanish that day sparked by the fire 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


Yours truly,

Chris Ortenburger,  

Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.


Full Mandate Letter to the Minister of Health and Wellness, from Premier Dennis King:

August 8th, 2023

Honourable Mark McLane

Minister of Health and Wellness
4th Floor Shaw North
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Dear Minister McLane,

I am pleased to have you serve as the Minister of Health and Wellness

On April 3, 2023, we were given a mandate by Islanders to continue to work towards building a brighter, bolder, and better future for our province.  We made a commitment to work with Islanders, and for Islanders – and that motto should be the basis of how you conduct yourself in your actions as Minister.  We must engage Islanders, have real conversations, and put the interest of Islanders at the heart of every decision we make as a government.

Over the last four years we have proven to Islanders that we can navigate many challenges.  We must continue to show courage, strength and above all else, leadership when it comes to the challenges we are faced with.   Change is sometimes difficult, but with your proven ability to stand up and meet challenges head-on, I’m confident that you will make the best decisions to move our province forward.  

Our government has always led with positivity and has served with humility and kindness.  I expect this to continue in our second mandate.   We have shifted the political landscape in PEI to be more collaborative in nature.  I have always said, it doesn’t matter where good ideas come from – if it’s a good idea, and it improves the lives of Islanders – we should consider it.   I want you to have regular communication with your legislative colleagues on all sides of the Legislature to provide opportunities for input and feedback.

As Minister, you and your leadership team will play a critical role in contributing to the commitments we have made to Islanders.  You are responsible for the conduct of the department you oversee and must be aware and adhere to the values of the public service in your interactions with the Islanders and the public service.  Most importantly, you have Cabinet Colleagues that serve alongside of you; whenever and wherever possible, you should work collaboratively with them to break down silos and reduce barriers to accessing services by working together across Departments.  

As Minister of Health and Wellness, you will:

While you accomplish your work, I ask that you assess the impacts of each policy decision by using evidence-based tools and frameworks to ensure we always consider the impacts on climate, gender, diversity, and vulnerable individuals before implementing a decision.  

As we progress through our mandate, we will work together to identify further refinement and priorities of focus.  We must be nimble as a government and be able to adapt to the realities of what Islanders are facing each and every day.   To do this, I ask that you have regular outreach with key stakeholders connected to your department and the work that your department does.  Along with the leadership in your department, I ask that you regularly communicate with stakeholders and community organizations.  

I look forward to working with you to improve the lives of all Islanders.


Hon. Dennis King
Premier of Prince Edward Island
CC.     Lisa Thibeau, Deputy Minister – Department of Health and Wellness

End of 2023_09_18 CANews

end of  CANews 2023_09_18


Citizens' Alliance News -- Sunday, September 17th, 2023

Hello, all,

"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?"

   --- Jan Zwicky, from the Global Chorus essay, below


Event not happening:

Downtown Charlottetown Farmers’ and Artisans' Market scheduled for Sunday September 17th has been *Cancelled* due to the incoming weather system. We apologize for any inconvenience.  Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you September 24th for the last market of the season."

Next week is the last regular Downtown Charlottetown Farmers's and Artisans' Market as October 1st is Farm Day in the City.

Event conditional:

P.E.I. Open Farm Day Tours

Some are virtual and some are cancelled. 

The Facebook page may be the most updated.


Here is the link to the CBC PEI online story about the Climate March and Rally on Friday:

Lots of good photos.


With her permission, from Friday's Climate Strike rally, the text of the poem Tanya Davis recited for the event.

Reduce, immediately

Tanya Davis 2023

I wasn’t going to come to this rally because I feel disenchanted

I wasn’t going to write a new poem ‘cause I’m not sure what poems accomplish

I hear promises like all of us and then watch gov’ts fail us

leaders falter, we chant and holler but nothing changes

except the climate

while we’re hanging around talking about it

other options exist

but we’re moderate, tolerant even of injustice

seemingly, I mean look what we put up with at our own species’ expense

we’re so polite we strike at lunchtime

lest we disrupt capitalism one iota in our lifetime

but the fact is, to save any of this, capitalism has to go

it’s either exponential growth… or us

put a cap on wealth or let the rich dig their bunkers

they can hunker down, but they’ll be happy when we hunt them out later

‘cause no catastrophe is worth surviving alone

we want to survive

and we also want new iphones

with endless storage, for our important data to go

but every innocuous cloud

has a real power draw here on the ground

all the minerals we mine, leaving undrinkable water and unthinkable violence behind

are tragic trade-offs for our shiny technological advances

be wary of green energy fueling corporate profits

it’s not more trips in electric cars that’s going to save our planet

truth is, the 3R’s have misled us

we’ve been distracted by doable individual actions

while big business sells us more stuff in recycled packaging

well, time’s up, for all the ways that we consume

space, energy, resources

the only R’s we need to remember are

reduce, immediately

resist capitalism’s machinery

revolt when necessary

so we can repair what’s broken

and remain here, hopefully



I thought about packing more in today, like tackling the last of the Health Minister's Mandate letter, but realized that I'll just leave it to the poetry today.  

Poetry is often overlooked, but its contribution to society is invaluable

Poetry is the act of observing and reporting back. We hold up mirrors to reflect the world we live in

by Tanya Davis, Opinion Piece

published on Sunday, June 25th, 2023, at CBC Online

This is an Opinion piece written by Tanya Davis, a writer and interdisciplinary artist living in rural Epekwitk and P.E.I.'s new poet laureate. 

Growing up in a small town before the internet, I took some of my earliest assumptions about work and adulthood from illustrated children's books. In the classic (and colonial and misogynistic) volume Fun With Words, Richard Scarry featured a lot of teachers, doctors, and firefighters. There were no poets.

By the time I was set to graduate high school, writing was clearly an interest and a strength of mine, but it wasn't encouraged as a profession, or even suggested. I headed to university to study English, so I could teach it in the days and write it on the weekends, a good citizen doing my part.

Society is a complex tangle of relationships that can't be summarized in an old picture book. Thankfully, we continue to broaden our collective views on what constitutes a worthwhile role to play, a valid profession to pursue. Even so, I'm not convinced that being an artist is widely considered a strong career choice these days, or that pursuing poetry would be suggested to a high school graduate with a passion for words.

I think poetry is overlooked because of its reputation which, in certain corners of the world and the job market, is as outdated as a Richard Scarry book. Poetry has a marketing problem, and that's lovely in a way, since poetry is about honesty, the antidote to marketing. But it doesn't help affirm its value in society. 

A greater role to play

The work of a poet goes beyond finding rhyme and penning verse. In my view, poetry is the act of observing and reporting back. We hold up mirrors to reflect the world we live in. Poetry can illuminate the lessons that need teaching, the ailments that need fixing, and the fires that need putting out.

My artistic journey has been meandering and eclectic and, through it all, poetry has been there, behind the scenes, reminding me of its merits while infusing all my work. I love many things about it — the countless ways that words can be arranged in service of cadence and rhythm, the joy of reaching for a thesaurus to find a fitting synonym, the endless selection of subjects to explore. What I love most though is how poetry offers an opportunity to communicate, that is, to connect. 

I believe this is a valuable contribution to society, whatever that society might look like. In fact, I think we have an even greater role to play. Our communities should look to us for our ideas, seek out our unique views and experience. Governments and leaders, educators and policymakers should seek our counsel. And we should be compensated  for our time and expertise because our skills are hard-earned and our perspectives are valuable. 

Poet laureate programs are one way we can employ poets to address matters relevant to local communities, as are initiatives like Poetry City, where municipal councils invite poets to speak in council chambers and other public spaces. Granting artists opportunities to present their work is a good first step. Inviting artists to the table to contribute to the work from the ground up is an even better one.

We may not be adequately represented in some of those formative picture books, but as participants in society, we are definitely here.


Note:  Children's author and illustrator Richard Scarry lived from 1919-1994, and his books actually have been updated in the last decades (and I'm pretty certain there now IS a poet in of the books)


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. Then 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


Hope you are ok, still have power, and are breathing deeply. 

 Yours truly,

Chris Ortenburger,  

Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.

End of 2023_09_17 CANews


Citizens' Alliance News -- Thursday, March 16th, 2023

Hello, all,

"Human equity will be found to be far

more valuable than monetary equity."

   --- Michael Reynolds, from the Global Chorus essay, below



A Celebration of Life for Kerri Wynne MacLeod livestream, 1:50PM (another notice said 2PM), broadcast from the Belvedere Funeral Home Chapel.


and the link will remain on the funeral home's website for a couple of weeks.


Leaders' Forum on Equity Issues, 3:30-4:35PM with doors opening at 3:00PM

Florence Simmons Performance Hall, Holland College Charlottetown.  Hosted by the PEI Coalition for Women in Government.

"In preparation for the 2023 PEI Provincial Elections, the party leaders have agreed to participate in a public forum to answer questions on equity issues. Audience members are invited to listen to party leaders answer questions that have been developed between a variety of community organizations.

This event is free and will be live streamed from our Facebook page."


Next Thursday, March 23rd:

Leaders' Forum on the Environment, 7-9PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown.  

The provincial party leaders, except Dennis King, who is sending Steven Myers, former Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action, will be presented with questions on environmental matters from a host of organizations on the Island.   There should be time at the end for questions from the floor.

The event will be live-streamed on ECOPEI's Facebook page (but at this point the organizing committee, which is doing this on a shoestring budget, could use some help with livestreaming if someone has an adequate phone/camera)


A current list of candidates running in the provincial election:


Letter to the Editor

 from a person who often thinks of the greater good

PEI Needs Green MLAs

published on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023, in The Guardian


The provincial election has been called, six months earlier than the legislated date, and in the midst of a health care crisis, a housing crisis, a land use crisis and a climate crisis. We should instead have the legislature opening to deal with these crises.

I have been actively involved with the NDP for many years and I have high regard for the NDP of PEI and its leadership and members, but for this election it is crucial to re-elect the excellent Green MLAs who have done so much good work in our provincial legislature. 

The Conservatives (and Liberals) will no doubt be putting an extra effort into trying to defeat those Green MLAs, so the old-line parties might recapture their 'entitlement' as the 'rulers' of PEI, taking turns as tweedle dum and tweedle dee. 

In the past, those governments had very little real questioning of, or meaningful alternatives to, their policies and actions in the legislature. But when Dr. Herb Dickieson was an MLA for the NDP from 1996 to 2000, and now with Green Party MLAs, led by Peter Bevan-Baker, the governing Conservatives have been forced to pay more attention to the needs of all the people of Prince Edward Island, not just the desires of their Party supporters.

Unfortunately government actions, in spite of record levels of provincial government revenue and spending, have made a mess of our health care system, have failed to provide proper housing for vulnerable Islanders, have failed to protect the land and shores of PEI from inappropriate development, and have responded poorly to the tropical storm that devastated our Island last fall.

I urge Islanders to join me in supporting and voting for the candidates from the Green Party of PEI. We need those Green MLAs to be able to continue providing effective plans and actions to address the crises that Islanders face.

Tony Reddin,




Global Chorus essay for March 16

Michael Reynolds

Trains gather people and take them to specific destinations.

They have opened up continents and developed countries …

but they can only go where there is track.

If there is no track, the train does not go there.

The evolution of humanity on this planet has developed its own track.

Belief systems, religions, economies, political regimes, laws, codes, regulations …

all have become “tracks” to our future.

These tracks have opened up continents and developed countries …

but there is a problem …

a changing planet and a growing population have

created the need to go to places

that these tracks do not go.

There is a new frontier now …

evolution beyond the tracks.

This evolution will require that every decision made on this planet,

by any jurisdiction, anywhere,

be made with the sustenance of all the peoples and

all the animals and all the plants

in mind.

The economy, the corporations and other institutions will be placed in their rightful

positions behind the needs of the people and the planet. At this time, an

insignificant economy will emerge. This economy will be

a result of the sustenance of the people.

Human equity will be found to be far

more valuable than monetary equity.

Life will no longer float on an economy. Life will have its own wings.

     — Michael Reynolds, architect turned biotect, inventor/founder of Earthship


essay from

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet

edited by Todd E. MacLean

copyright 2014


Yours truly,

Chris Ortenburger,  

Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.

End of 2023_09_16 CANews

These images go with the CA News for October 2018