September 2015

September 30, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight is the Malpeque Riding's Forum on the Environment, 7PM, Hunter River Community Centre (the same building at the library, and the building behind Harmony House, off Route 2 in Hunter River).

(A wrap-up of last night's Charlottetown Forum will be here tomorrow.)

Also, a Seed Saving Workshop, 7PM, Confederation Centre Public Library. Lots of fun and good information! Led by Josie Baker of the Cooper Institute.

More info:

Charlottetown's Farmers' Market is open from 9-2PM,

and there is a corn harvesting opportunity (before the rain). Meet at the Farm Centre at 9AM to car pool.


It is the last day to...

....see the play Harvest Moon Rising at the Arts Guild, 7PM. Contact the Guild's box office for tickets.

Very timely regarding farmers and stresses as we are hearing more about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and dairy production (P.E.I. dairy farmers are planning to protest today at noon outside Gail Shea's office in Summerside).


...and it's the last day to comment to IRAC on Maritime Electric Corporation's "2020 Proposed Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management (DSM) Plan".

This is the one that wants to encourage LED lights and turning off heat pumps on cold days. It appears like it's nibbling at the edges of really conserving energy and of promoting cleaner energy choices. A comment or two can be made at:

Today's Global Chorus needs to be read in its entirety. It is by James Bruce, who was a former assistant deputy minister of Environment Canada and a senior officer of World Meteorological Organization in Geneva.

"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, floods 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." -- Jim Bruce

September 29, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Environment forum, Charlottetown Riding, 7-9PM, Holland College Lecture Theatre (Kent Street entrance, then follow signs), with all the riding's candidates.

More information here:

If you can't make it, there will be live-steaming here:

Save Our Seas and Shores PEI, part of the group organizing the forum, has a very good announcement that you can forward to friend. It is in the middle of this CA News.


LeadNow meeting at the Haviland Club, 7PM. The federal election, proportional representation, etc. on the agenda -- a good group and good discussion!


Late September is beautiful on P.E.I., but it also brings about recollections of a strings of dates that in 2012 led to the start of the Plan B highway bulldozing. At this point three years ago, we had rallied, petitioned, plebiscited, and participated fully in the Environmental Impact Assessment process, all fighting this project, and were waiting for then Environment Minister Janice Sherry to (we hoped) reject the project.

Well, that didn't happen, and as time has gone on, government tries to put a good spin on it whenever they can, as they are planning to do while P.E.I. hosts the Transportation Association of Canada's 2015 Conference, "TAC: Getting You There Safely".

From the "technical tours" offered Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for the Conference:

screenshot of Technical Tour description, with photo over Fairyland and old TCH (left road) and Plan B (right) from the Conference page on the TAC website:

Other tours include one of Vector Aerospace and one of Urban and Rural Roundabouts on P.E.I.

Let's hope that parts of the Conference discuss issues such as the appropriateness of projects being proposed for the particular area, and in addition to climate change planning, considering transportation beyond the fossil fuels era.

The following section, about the environmental forums, could be forwarded (and other parts trimmed off) to share with your contacts. With thanks to Ian Forgeron for his work.Hi Everyone!

With the upcoming provincial election slated for October 19th, 2015, this is an extremely important time to ask our Federal Candidates in each of their respective ridings, to take an official stance on decisions pertaining to the environment.

Candidates' Forums on Environmental Issues are being held over the coming days in all four federal ridings: Charlottetown, Malpeque, Cardigan and Egmont. All the forums begin at 7:00 p.m. The forums are scheduled as follows:

· Charlottetown Riding, Tuesday, September 29, Holland College Lecture Theatre

· Malpeque Riding, Wednesday, September 30, Hunter River Community Centre

· Cardigan Riding, Thursday, October 1, Red's Corner Restaurant, Pooles Corner

· Egmont Riding, Thursday, October 8, Linkletter Community Centre.

This may be one of the few opportunities to hear your candidates speak during this important federal election. I hope you will be able to attend. Also, please spread the word!

Please, share this information in your private and professional networks, and come out to the Forum in your area - to support (the groups that organized it) in the community - for this very important opportunity to speak directly with Candidates on environmental issues in the lead up to the Federal election.

Warmest Regards,

Ian Forgeron,


Global Chorus today is by Adria Vasil, an environmental journalist and blogger, more about here: who writes this excerpt:

<snip> "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." <snip> -- Adria Vasil

The Cardigan candidates are on Island Morning CBC Radio today.

September 28, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Watch the Munk debate at Barnone Brewery, 4248 Route 225, Emerald, 7:30-10PM, hosted by Malpeque Green Party candidate Lynn Lund.

"Do you like your foreign policy with a side of beer? Then come out to Barnone to watch the Munk Debate on Canadian Foreign Policy. The debate will on the big screen, and we'll follow (via Twitter) any federal leaders who may happen to be excluded from the debate ;-)

This is a non-partisan event - people of every political stripe are welcome!"


This week has three of the four Ridings' Environmental Forums (all begin at 7PM):

Tuesday, September 29th, Charlottetown Riding, Holland College MacKinnon lecture theatre (Kent Street entrance)

Wednesday, September 30th, Malpeque Riding, Hunter River Community Centre.

Thursday, October 1st, Cardigan Riding, Pooles Corner (Red's Corner)

Egmont's is Thursday, October 8th.

So far, in Charlottetown, all the candidates have accepted the invitation. (The Conservative candidates in both Malpeque and in Cardigan have declined, so there will be an empty chair on the stage.)

There is a lot going on this week, but getting to your Riding's environmental forum is important (even if some Conservative candidates don't think so). First of all, it shows how important environmental issues are to us. (If the forums are thinly attended, it kind of proves the Conservatives who are skipping the debate right.) Second, it is good to hear the candidates' understanding of party policies and his or her commitment to environmental concerns. Third, we often don't get the chance to see candidates in our Ridings all together, and this is an opportunity for that.

WiFi in public schools and concerns about radiation exposure:

During the first week of public school, Education Minister Hal Perry announced again that the province was planning on having wifi (wireless local area networks) in the public high schools by the end of the school year, and in all schools soon after. The arguments are hard to refute -- kids have devices they are bringing to school, internet access opens many ways to communicate information and ideas, it's a way to keep rural schools as tech-savvy as any city school. It's an easy sell -- what parent wants his or her child to be at a school with outdated technology? A politician has to say something like "preparing our children for the workplaces of tomorrow" and most of us will sign up.

(Perry actually said: "We have to prepare our students for the knowledge-based economy that they're heading into."


While the Citizens' Alliance has no definite opinion on this, this newsletter can provide a place to share information and concerns.

Concerned Summerside resident Bridget McKinney-Palmer has compiled several articles and much background material -- do contact her at the e-mail below and she will forward the articles and complete website lists, and consider contacting your MLA and the education minister if you are concerned.

She writes an open letter to Islanders:

The PEI Government is spending 4.5 million to install WIFI in our Island Schools. There have been numerous studies that show exposure to EMF's (electro-magnetic fields) increase drastically when using wireless devices. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Electromagnetic Fields as possibly carcinogenic to Humans. I would suggest that this decision be postponed and more thought and research be given before proceeding with this project. Please visit the websites below and voice your concerns to your politicians and your local schools.

Bridget McKinney-Palmer

Summerside, PE


Switzerland, apparently, has internet in the schools but uses wired technology, basically citing the precautionary principle.

Also, on their public health website, they specifically warn about the dangers of WiFi:


“Only switch your WLAN (WiFi) on when you need it. With laptops, in particular, it is a good idea to switch the WLAN (WiFi) off as otherwise the device will repeatedly try to connect to a network, leading to unnecessary radiation…and caution should be exercised primarily when using devices held close to the body, such as laptops, PDAs and Internet telephones”.

Magda Havas, PhD, teaches at Trent University and has many links on her pages:

some other websites (obviously, this list has websites arguing for less exposure to EMF radiation for our kids, and may not be considered "mainstream"):


In the P.E.I. media articles about upgrading the Island's schools, "safety" is only mentioned in regards to screening out inappropriate websites and content, not about the electromagnetic fields being produced in the schools.

Again, for more links and information, contact Bridget at:

Cam Mather writes the essay for today's Global Chorus, and it's a leeetle bit politically biased; funny timing with the upcoming federal election, but these essays were gathered about three years ago for the book.

Cam and his wife Michelle farm, make instructional videos, and live off the grid in eastern Ontario, and have this website:

He writes:

"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 of 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 (sic). 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

September 27, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The "CETA Day of Action" showed off the acting chops of a group of Islanders in front of the Charlottetown Farmers' Market yesterday morning.

Josie Baker, Ron Kelly, Jordan MacPhee and Rob Thompson perform Doug Millington's short play "CETA Ball: What if football were played by CETA Rules?", with emcee Rosalind Waters of the Islanders Against CETA Coalition in background; Saturday, September 26th, 2015, Charlottetown Farmers' Market.


Regarding CETA, here is a message from Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians (who was just here for the forum on water Tuesday):

Like Maude Barlow, another woman of grace and steely determination to make the world a better place is J'Nan Brown, who was surprised with a little birthday party for her yesterday at her and her husband's Kirk's home in Clyde River. J'Nan has been involved in working for proportional representation on P.E.I. for many years, in women's rights, in promoting good land use policy and opposing inappropriate development (like aisles of McMansions in rural areas) and in working with the NDP; she ran for office several times in the past couple of decades, always bringing much needed light and clarity to issues affecting Islanders.

Happy Birthday, J'Nan! You are very, very special to so many of us!

Here is a little background on J'Nan written during the 2008 federal election:

The following excerpt is from a spitfire of an article by Heather Mallick (who writes a syndicated columnist a couple of times a week in the P.E.I. Guardian), published recently in the ahead-of-itself October 2015 Harper's Magazine, and aimed at American audiences:

(It's funny, but not really, to have our history explained so cuttingly well to Americans:)

The Nixon of the North - Harper's Magazine article by Heather Mallick

How Stephen Harper Ruined Canada

Published for the October 2015 Harper's Magazine

<snip> Canada once had what was semi-seriously known as a natural governing party, the Liberals, who were famously led in the Nixon era by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, an international-minded intellectual and devoted federalist. (Trudeau’s son Justin now leads the Liberal Party and is the political rival Harper hates most.) In the Canada most Americans grew up next to, the Liberals ran the show. They were reasonable people who believed in consensus and generosity, bilingualism and multiculturalism, free national health care, women’s rights, and an unofficial national slogan, “Peace, order, and good government.”

Harper, meanwhile, is a vengeful, damaged, grudge-holding punisher of the “urban elites” who vote Liberal, and has spent a lifetime plotting to transform Canada into a nastier version of Texas. He and his allies took what was once called the Progressive Conservative Party (filled with Red Tories, akin to the long-gone Rockefeller Republicans of America’s eastern seaboard), merged it with a nightmarish pressure group of government haters called the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party (they realized too late that the acronym would be CCRAP), and created the modern Conservative Party. <snip>


Another Sunday article, also on Conservative leader Harper, not so cuttingly witty, but food for thought:

Stephen Harper's Covert Evangelicalism - article by Andrew Nikiforuk

How an apocalyptic strain of Christianity guides his policies and campaigning

Published on September 14th, 2015

(the author is referring to an article he wrote three years ago and will elaborate on now)

<snip> That piece argued that Harper's own evangelical beliefs, which are closely aligned with extreme elements of the Republican Party, explained his disinterest in climate change and his government's pointed trashing of environmental science. It also explained his penchant for secrecy and his dislike of the media, environmentalists and other secular groups. <snip>

(There's much more.)

Brenna Davis, an environmental scientist and expert of sustainable business (more here at:, writes for today's Global Chorus:

<snip> "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." <snip> -- Brenna Davis

September 26, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A few of the many things going on today and in the next few days -- quite a list, actually:


from The Council of Canadians:

"Today is the Trans-Atlantic day of action in solidarity with actions happening in Europe and Canada.

In September 2014 Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed CETA. The Harper government says that CETA – along with the other 40 trade agreements the government has been negotiating – is central to Canada’s economic future. But the details of these agreements remain secret right up until they are signed."

Here is a short video of St. John's contribution, which they will be performing live today -- with what sounds like the "Halleluiah Corporation!" Chorus.

And in Charlottetown, at the Farmers' Market, at 10AM and 11:30AM, is a short skit entitled "CETA BALL: What if Football Was Played By CETA Rules?", starring Rob Thomson, Josie Baker, Ron Kelly and Jordan MacPhee, by the loading dock area.

Besides live performances, the Charlottetown Farmers' Market (along with Summerside) are open today with lots of food and crafts.

Murray Harbour Farmers' Market is open today, "showcasing the PEI Department of Forestry and so today we will be giving away red pine and cedar seedling to everyone who visits the Market. As well, the door <prize> for the Market this week will be a Oak Tree ready to be planted in your yard."


There are two craft sales with a difference today:

"Etsy Made in Canada" Pop Up Sale, Murphy's Community Centre, 10AM to 4PM, small, mostly internet businesses have the chance for face-to-face sales.

Ten Thousand Villages, not made in Canada but promoting fair trade in many parts of the world, Park Royal Church, 10AM to 4PM (I think), one of the first of several sales across the province between now and Christmas.


While Cardigan Farmers' market is closed (though it will be open a day closer to Thanksgiving), today is a Review and Planning Meeting with the Board, 2PM, Cardigan Market. "We are particularly interested in hearing from this year's crafter / vendors, customers and those who would like to join the market in 2016. This meeting will allow us to gather information about how the market worked or didn't work for you this year and will be an opportunity for vendors to present ideas about what they would like to do next year. We'd particularly like to invite anyone interested in joining the market in 2016 to be at this meeting. It a great opportunity to see the space available and start planning for a successful new season."

Organizational politics has to happen sometime, too:

Green Party of PEI AGM, today, 2:30PM - 7PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, *All welcome for any or all of the time*. Note that you do not have to be a member to attend this (you would need to be a member to vote for the executive and such).


2:30 - 3:15PM -- Reports and Election of Provincial Council

3:15 - 4:45PM -- Workshop on Water led by Catherine O'Brien

Catherine is the Chair of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, of which the Green Party of PEI is a Member. The purpose of this workshop is to inform Members and prepare the groundwork for our Presentation to the Environmental Advisory Council.

4:45 - 5:15PM -- Entertainment provided by Teresa Doyle

Teresa is the Green Party of Canada Candidate for Cardigan and she'll be giving us a preview her newest CD "I Remember Canada" which is slated for an official launch Sunday at Trailside Cafe.

5:30PM -- Pot-Luck Dinner with Guest Speaker Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Third Party and Green Party MLA for District 17 Kellys Cross-Cumberland.

"With coffee we'll hear from each of the Federal Green Candidates: Nils Ling (Egmont), Lynne Lund (Malpeque), Becka Viau (Charlottetown), and Teresa Doyle (Cardigan)."

Art Show: "You Can't See Me":

It's true, we can't see it now -- the Walkers closed their Water Street studio yesterday (I had thought it would be open until the end of the month, sorry).

But here is a bit of video with part of the exhibit:

I hope we will be able to see them again at some point, and those interested purchase some of this insightful environmental commentary stenciled on canvas.


You can see this -- final week:

Play: Harvest Moon Rising, Sunday (2PM), Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (7PM), Arts Guild. The family farm shown as if through a window in time; the story told in achingly beautiful song. Check the Arts Guild box office for tickets or

Mistakes from yesterday:

Another Conservative had declined the invitation to the Environment Forum in his Riding -- Julius Patkai in Cardigan.

Also, each forum starts at 7PM. Details on locations and participants for the Egmont forum (Oct. 8th) to follow.

Seth Godin is an American author and blogger, with over 15 books published, including The Icarus Deception (which is all about hope).

More info:

For today's Global Chorus he writes (regarding the desperate environmental state of our world):

<snip> "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

Thanks for getting through all this.

September 25, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

If at all possible, try to attend the Environmental Forum in your Riding (or any Riding) which are next week and the week after.

Charlottetown Riding, Tuesday, September 29th, Holland College MacMillan Auditorium, moderated by Carolyn Peach Brown

Malpeque Riding, Wednesday, September 30th, Hunter River Community Centre, moderated by Don Mazer

Cardigan Riding, Thursday, October 1st, Pooles Corner, moderated by Ian Petrie

Egmont Riding, Thursday, October 8th (just hearing details)

The forums were organized by a group of representatives from just about every Island environmental organization, following the pattern of the provincial party leaders' forum in the Spring. Questions were submitted by the groups, trimmed up and narrowed down to twelve; this should leave time for many questions from the audience.

All the Charlottetown and Cardigan candidates have confirmed, not sure about Egmont yet; and the only one who has refused is the Conservative candidate in Malpeque, Steven Stewart.

Stephane Dion (who will turn 60 on Monday) was federal Liberal leader and Leader of the Opposition from December 2006 to December 2008, always showing foresight about environmental issues. Here is his complete essay from today's Global Chorus:

"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 longercost-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

Hope you enjoy today,

September 24, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today is the tomato preserving workshop at the Salvation Army kitchen on Prince Street, 1:15 to 4PM. All are welcome to attend for the whole thing or to drop in.


Saturday, September 26th:

"CETA Ball" skit, 10AM and 11:30AM, Charlottetown Farmers' Market: Having trouble understanding the multi-continental agreement called CETA (Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement), the one with Europe? A lot of us are. A group with serious concerns (on Facebook at "Islanders Against CETA") has made a little explanatory skit, called "CETA Ball: What if they played football by CETA rules?" The skit will be performed outside the Farmers' Market this Saturday at 10AM and 11:30AM, and hopefully filmed to show another time, as part of cross-country events bringing awareness about the trade agreement.

Green Party of PEI Annual Meeting, 2:30PM onward, Farm Centre, Charlottetown. All welcome.

Rob Lantz resigned yesterday as PEI Progressive Conservative leader. It's unfortunate that he lost his district contest (District 13 Charlottetown-Brighton, which he lost to Liberal Jordan Brown by 22 votes) and that the Spring Sitting was awkward without the Leader of the Opposition in the House. But the Opposition did do a good job during sitting, and appeared cohesive.

Lantz and the Party provided a strong leadership race, with actual competition for party leader, and brought up many issues during that time, the election and during the first sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature. Best wishes to him and the caucus as they make this transition.

CBC Radio is having a story later this morning on the recently released pesticides sales figures from the past year (there was a suspension of the release of this date for several years). This page has the data choices:

Celine Cousteau is the granddaughter of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, a photojournalist and marine biologist. She writes today's Global Chorus essay.

More about her at:

"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." -- Celine Costeau

Good words.

September 23, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

There are few Canadians that require no introduction, and Maude Barlow is one of them. A woman of grace, intelligence, and compassion.

She led the panel presentation, and there were about 200 people in attendance; Eddie Rice, Charlottetown city councillor was there, and sitting quietly in the back were the Minister of Communities, Land and Environment Robert Mitchell, his deputy minister Steve MacLean, and assistant deputy minister Todd Dupuis. Mitchell (who was at the previous water forum about a year and a half ago) was invited to come up towards the end, and he addressed some questions from the audience. He also described the process in his words to the folks in attendance.

The speakers were Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians, who described the precarious state of global watersheds, the not-so-rosy picture in Canada, and the concerns on P.E.I.; Tracy Glynn, from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, who described how the Irving family operates/controls the forestry (and other) industries in her province; National Farmers Union representative and local farmer Steven MacKinnon discussed water issues and sustainable water use in agriculture; and Catherine O'Brien, chair of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I.Water, discussed the process, people being engaged, and concerns with timeless and process. Leo Broderick was the moderator. An excellent, organized, insightful evening. People are encouraged to participate in the water act discussions (commenting online, attending the public meetings, etc.), and stay tuned that the process of making the act and the Act itself will meet expectations, which are huge.

There were a few clips put on YouTube and I will try to find the links.


Grand Opening of the Raymond Loo Memorial Garden at Holland College, Charlottetown campus, 12:15-1PM,

"Pop by next Wednesday from 12:15-1:00 to help us open the garden in fine style. Chef Michael Smith will be there and so will our new Green Machine Bicycle/Smoothie Maker! Hope to see you there!

We are just outside the cafeteria of our Charlottetown campus off of Kent Street. In the event of rain, the event will take place inside the cafeteria."


Raymond was an innovative organic farmer, a tireless advocate for the land and the people making a living off of it, and a welcoming presence at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market. He died in September 2013 of cancer.

Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open today as it is Wednesdays until Thanksgiving, 9AM to 2PM.


Macphail Homestead Garden mixed vegetable harvest, meet at Charlottetown Farm Centre parking lot at 9AM, or at Macphail in Orwell at 10AM.


Preserving the Harvest, tomato chutney, 1:15-4PM, 158 Richmond Streets.

"The Food Exchange is hosting a preserving party Sept 24th at the Salvation Army kitchen in Charlottetown.

Experienced people will be preserving tomatoes using the water bath canning method.

This is a participatory event so bring a chopping board and your fav knife, veggie peeler, a hair net if you have one, canning tongs if you have them and we could use a 9 jar canning pot.

There is no charge and you can come and go as your schedule allows.

The preserves will be sold at farm day in the city on Oct 4th to help raise funds to support the work of the Food Exchange.

We plan to make tomato chutney - the same tomato chutney the Farm Centre Legacy Gardens sold at farm day last year - it was yummy."

Great introduction to make canning food approachable and doable for any kitchen.

One of the founders of Permaculture is Australian David Holmgren, and lots of information about him here: He writes for today's Global Chorus:

"<snip> 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. <snip> " -- David Holmgren

Hope your day is great -- Happy Fall!

September 22, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight is a water forum, 7PM, Rodd's Charlottetown hotel, presented by the Council of Canadians, with Maude Barlow, Tracy Glynn of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, and Catherine O'Brien of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water. Leo Broderick will be moderating. All welcome.

Mary Boyd, a national treasure like Maude Barlow, writes on behalf of health care in Saturday's Guardian:

Casting a Vote for Health Care - The Guardian Letter to the Editor by Mary Boyd

Strain providing for aging population without strategy for senior care

Published on Saturday, September 19th, 2015

National and provincial health coalitions are urging Canadians to cast our vote for health care, our most cherished social program. We need a federal government that fulfils its responsibility of providing both funding and national standards to ensure good health care for all Canadians.

Stephen Harper has a poor record in this regard. He let the Health Accord expire in 2014, leaving health care with no stable funding or national standards. We need a government willing to meet with the provinces and negotiate a New Health Accord with a recommitment to the Canada Health Act (CHA) and its requirements.

The Harper government’s refusal to renew the Heath Accord will reduce the federal share of funding by at least $36 billion to even $43 billion by 2025. Harper’s government also changed the funding formula to a per capita system causing a $16.5 billion federal reduction in transfer payments which began in 2014 and is spread over five years.

The smaller, poorer provinces are receiving less funding in spite of having large proportions of seniors and scattered rural populations. Prior to these changes, provision of healthcare was based on need which includes illness, demographics, or rural access, not population. In 2017, not far away, the rate of growth in funding will depend on each province’s GDP.

In addition, the Harper government’s tax cuts have reduced revenue by $41.5 billion per year, a sum close to the entire $44.7 billion annual health and social transfers to the provinces. Without better leadership we will have 14 fragmented health systems in the country and great disparities in care.

At present 9,000 Islanders have to go off Island yearly for treatment of serious illnesses such as heart, cancer, various surgeries and other medically necessary conditions at a cost of at least $46 million. Most people are reasonable and happy to receive that care. This is preferable to allowing private clinics which are outlawed under the Canada Health Act.

Frank Dobson, the former UK Health Minister, warns Canadians that private clinics are not working well in the UK. “They are a colossal and expensive failure... More things go wrong and 6,000 patients have to be transferred yearly back to the public system.” Private clinics take money out of our pockets and have higher death rates while delivering inferior services.

Yet Mr. Harper promotes that model under the code, “Alternative Health Delivery.” In the UK private clinics cost more and are being paid 11 per cent more than the public hospitals for the same services. As Mike McBane, former director of the Canadian Health Coalition wisely said, “If you use public money to pay for private services you will never have enough money for health care.” And Dobson warns, “They [private clinics] are not good medicine for people.” Private clinics undermine Medicare and make us vulnerable to challenges and fines under the trade agreements.

The trade agreements, in particular CETA and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) promoted by the Harper government will have many negative impacts at national, provincial and municipal levels. Canada is the only country in the world with a public healthcare system that does not include the cost of medication. But the Harper government is extending patents on drugs by two years in CETA and the TPP.

As well, our public system faces a strain of providing for our aging population without a National Strategy for Senior Care. It is the role of the federal government to provide leadership to ensure all seniors have access to home care, hospital care, long term care, hospice and palliative care as they need it.

Medicare has been good for Canadians. It is based on the great Canadian value that the poorest Canadian has the same right to the same medically necessary health care as the richest Canadian. It’s a value we need to keep. It defines us collectively as Canadians. We have been a thoughtful and caring society. We need a thoughtful and caring government.

Mary Boyd is chairperson, P.E.I. Health Coalition

Art Exhibit: Don't forget to go see the art studio of Lindsay Walker on Water Street just up from Sirenella. It's only open until the end of the month, and explores what we are going to our waterways and our forests. Consider making a purchase! 89 Water Street, 10-5 Weekdays and Saturday.

from Lindsay Walker's studio, 89 Water Street, Charlottetown

Global Chorus for today is by 30-year old Ian Willms, who: is a wandering documentary photographer whose work resides within the gulf between journalism and contemporary art. From:

He pulls no punches when he writes:

<snip> "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. hey 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." <snip> -- Ian Willms

September 21, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

With only (!) four more weeks until Election Day, today some political events are...brewing....

This afternoon:

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair visit, 1:45-2:45PM, Upstreet Brewery, 41 Allen Street, Charlottetown. All are welcome.

He is also set to be at Lobster on the Wharf down on Prince Street at 3:15PM.


Meet the Charlottetown MP Candidates, 7PM, The Wave at UPEI's Student Union Building. I suspect this may be a 19+ event, but I am not completely sure.

from poster for tonight's meet-and-greet at The Wave, which is in the Murphy Student Centre, a large glass front building near the CARI complex. Parking is usually less difficult in the evening at the University.

I suspect the organizers, Jesse Hitchcock and Sarah Bulman, will be flexible with the definition of Young Voters, to include those young in spirit. Kudos to them for all their initiatives with the provincial and now federal election, and with democratic renewal.

I hope they will consider this kind of event for the other ridings' candidates to meet students at The Wave, since UPEI's population of students is from all over the Island.


Maude Barlow to speak about water during P.E.I. forum - The Guardian online article

Published online on September 20, 2015

The Council of Canadians is holding a public forum on the future of P.E.I.'s water on Tuesday, Sept. 22 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel, Kent St., Charlottetown.

Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians and a former senior adviser on water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly, will be the keynote speaker.

The forum will address water as a human right, the global water crisis, the P.E.I. water act, corporate interests in P.E.I.'s ground water, the impact of high-capacity, deep-water wells on P.E.I.'s ground water, as well as climate change.

Joining Barlow on the panel will be Tracy Glynn with New Brunswick Media Co-op and forestry campaigner with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick; Steven MacKinnon, P.E.I. farmer and district director of the National Farmers Union; and Catherine O'Brien, chair of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water.

The Council of Canadians is opposed to lifting the moratorium on high-capacity, deep-water wells and has called on the P.E.I. government to remove the licence that currently allows up to 36 of such wells for agriculture.

The forum is free and open to the public.

Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians and a former senior adviser on water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly, will be the keynote speaker.

The forum will address water as a human right, the global water crisis, the P.E.I. water act, corporate interests in P.E.I.'s ground water, the impact of high-capacity, deep-water wells on P.E.I.'s ground water, as well as climate change.

Joining Barlow on the panel will be Tracy Glynn with New Brunswick Media Co-op and forestry campaigner with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick; Steven MacKinnon, P.E.I. farmer and district director of the National Farmers Union; and Catherine O'Brien, chair of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water.

The Council of Canadians is opposed to lifting the moratorium on high-capacity, deep-water wells and has called on the P.E.I. government to remove the licence that currently allows up to 36 of such wells for agriculture.

The forum is free and open to the public.

Rajendra K. Pachauri shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007, and was chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change until earlier this summer (when he resigned over some serious breach of conduct allegations).

"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." -- Rajendra Pachauri

September 20, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The blog postings by "NGR Russell", a farmer and visual artist living in rural Ontario, are quite often very thoughtful essays, working down to a excellent conclusion based on observations. The most recent one is a short comment about Conservative leader Harper's "Old Stock" comment, but it is the one from September 12th that is quite illuminating, and cited below. I am only copying and pasting the first paragraph so the length doesn't hamper sending this e-mail. Worth reading if you have about five - ten minutes today.

all his postings

The Harper Years: Are We Really More Conservative?- by ngr russell on his wordpress blog

Posted on Saturday, September 12th, 2015

One of Stephen Harper’s oft-repeated beliefs is that Canadians are, deep down, truly conservative; we have simply been directed down a socialist path by those darn “liberal elites”. After nine years of Conservative rule, some political pundits have gone so far to say that the country has actually become more conservative in our beliefs. The fact that we keep re-electing an arch-conservative government would seem to be a point in their favour, but is it really true? Has Canada, the home of socialized medicine, truly succumbed to the neoconservative doctrine? I don’t think so; we may be guilty of passively allowing the forces of self-interest to guide us in that direction, but when push comes to shove I honestly believe we still have the same core beliefs that guided us before our descent down the rabbit hole.


The rest is here:

The panel discussion on "Human Rights Post Bill C-51" yesterday was worth ducking inside on such a gloriously sunny afternoon. At least 30 people thought so, and the panelists included Eliza MacLaughlan, who described some pretty sobering situations caused by Canadian companies in other countries, David LeBlanc, computer science professor at UPEI, who gave some details on how surveillance and other technology can be used and some questions citizens should consider asking, and retired P.E.I. Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Mitchell, who was knowledgeable in his assessment of Bill C-51, and quite candid. Michelle MacCallum kept things together as moderator. Thanks to the LeadNow PEI team, especially David MacKay, for pulling this together. If any video is available at some point, I will let you know.

Reminders of today's events:

Sunday, September 20th:

Open Farm Day, various locations, more info here:

Autumn Walk at Macphail Woods, 2PM, all welcome.

Meet the Candidate, Lynne Lund, Green Party candidate for Malpeque, 5:30-7PM, Kitchen Witch Tea Room, 949 Long River Road, near Kensington.

Vinland Society Talk: "Viking Ages in Shetland", 7:30PM, Irish Cultural Centre (BIS Hall), with guest speaker Dr. Andrew Jennings.

Simran Sethi is an educator and journalist, "focused on food, sustainability and social change. <snip> Simran is the author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, detailing the loss of biodiversity in food and agriculture." -- from:

and retells a story for today's Global Chorus:

"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 ire. he gifted beauty let ills spring forth into what had beena 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 flight. 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

September 19, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Charlottetown and Summerside Farmers' Markets are open today. It is a great time of year to eat locally, and get a little more to preserve for the winter.


This afternoon:

Panel Discussion: The State of Canadian Human Rights, Post Bill C51, 2-3:30PM, UPEI, MacDougall Hall, Room 431. Presented by LeadNow PEI, with panelists Judge (Ret.) Gerard Mitchell, former Chief Justice PEI Supreme Court; Dr. David LeBlanc, Professor of Science, UPEI;and Eliza MacLaunchlin, Accompanier with Breaking the Silence, Guatemala. Moderated by Michelle MacCallum, PEI Women's Network.

Even though it looks like it's going to be a gorgeous afternoon outside, this is a great line-up and a timely discussion to take in for a little while inside.


Tomorrow, Sunday, September 20th:

Open Farm Day, various locations, more info here:

Autumn Walk at Macphail Woods, 2PM, all welcome.

Meet the Candidate, Lynne Lund, Green Party candidate for Malpeque, 5:30-7PM, Kitchen Witch Tea Room, 949 Long Rover Road, near Kensington.

"Come out to meet Lynne and chat over tea, coffee, and sweets."

(If you know of other meet-and-greets for candidates in your riding, let me know).

Vinland Society Talk: "Viking Ages in Shetland", 7:30PM, Irish Cultural Centre (BIS Hall), with guest speaker Dr. Andrew Jennings.

Monday, September 21st:

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair visits P.E.I., Charlottetown in the early afternoon is being mentioned. More details later.

More events here:

This is pulled off a Facebook posting, via Jane Dunphy (with thanks), and it makes fun of Conservative leader Stephen Harper's comment about existing and "Old Stock" Canadians agreeing with his government's refugee policies in Thursday night's Leaders (well, maybe the old stock leaders, haha) debate.

from Joey deVilla's Adventures of an Accordian Player in the 21st Century blog:

(a bit of language warning in the post)

screenshot from an altered screenshot -- from the above website.

Completely unrelated, Mr. deVilla also has a blog entry entitled "Forget Jazz Hands: Here's MATH Hands":

which those mathy folks out there will get. Think what graphs look like.

Grant Lawrence is a west-coast based broadcaster (for CBC Radio 3, which unfortunately is only web- and Sirius-satellite-based and doesn't have any live hosting anymore), who is married to former Haligonian singer Jill Barber.

"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. <snip>

"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

*a section of Cairo, Egypt, full of garbage that is also a huge recycling area:

September 18, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The crux of the matter in this current group of letters about cancer rates is not the headline The Guardian chose, but choice -- the "lifestyle" cancer risks can be modified by personal choices (smoking, diet, weight, activity); exposure to environmental pollutants is usually not a choice.

Roundup Poses Cancer Threat? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Ryan Barrett wrote a letter printed in The Guardian on Sept. 8, 2015 referring to the low cancer rate in P.E.I. Many of his facts are largely wrong and at best arguable. Fortunately, his statistics have already been corrected and clarified Ms. Lori Barker, executive director of Canadian Cancer Society in P.E.I. (The Guardian, Sept.12, 2015).

Mr. Barrett lists the causes of cancer as smoking, alcohol, sun exposure and a sedentary lifestyle and suggests we work on these before casting blame on unproven bogeymen. Do we assume he is referring to the expressed concerns about the spraying of agri-chemicals and their effect on the health of the P.E.I. population, our air, water and soil pollution?

I would suggest he look again at his list of causes - every one of them is a free choice made by each of us. Further, each of these issues has been well addressed by health agencies and governments over the past decades. But do we have a choice about the pollution of the air we breathe, the contamination of the water we drink and the degradation of the soil in which our local crops are being grown?

One fact is indisputable – the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization has recently declared the main active ingredient (glyphosate) of a much-used herbicide Roundup to be a carcinogen. Given this evidence, can we afford to believe that other agricultural chemicals are safe? Is it only a matter of time until all of these agri-chemicals are proven dangerous?

Those who deny the danger of chemical pesticides, ought to direct their powerful connections for the research and development of safer, non-toxic agricultural methods, resulting in healthy soil, nutritious produce, reduced health care costs and better profits for farmers.

Jean Dieckow, Richmond

It sounds like the "Harperman" sing-along was a lot of fun yesterday. Perhaps an encore event as we get closer to October 19th? It's also great to hear about social events like the debate-watching last night at the local microbrewery, Upstreet. Especially during a long campaign, it's fun to have creative ways to engage with others.

Alistair McIntosh has visited the Island a few times, and is thought-provoking; I have been fortunate enough to hear him speak once. He wrote this clear, deep essay for September 18th for Global Chorus.

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 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

September 17, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This week, Nils Ling has announced that he is running for the Green Party in the Riding of Egmont.


The eastern boundary of the riding of Egmont is a little fuzzy to some of us, and it looks like this:

screenshot of the eastern end of the Egmont riding


(very interesting website, by the way)

As far as I know, there are All Candidates' environmental forums planned in the other three ridings. If anyone would like to help put one on, let me know and I will put you in touch with the main organizers.

An interesting letter recapping some past events:

Past record under review? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, September 14th, 2015

As voters in the federal riding of Egmont decide where to place their trust in this crucial election, I must take issue with the past record of the Liberal candidate, when it comes to his dedication and loyalty.

I would remind voters of the convention that was held to replace Premier Catherine Callbeck where this candidate chose to campaign for Wayne Cheverie, a Charlottetown lawyer, forsaking any loyalty to his long time friend and colleague from West Prince, Keith Milligan, who emerged the winner in spite of Mr. Morrissey.

Two elections ago this candidate won the Egmont nomination for the Liberal party, but something spooked him, and late in the game he quit and Mr. Milligan, a loyal Liberal, stepped in to rescue his party, and he almost won in spite of many voters in the Tignish area crossing over to support Gail Shea.

The fallout from his past behavior is evidenced by previous commentary in your publication from disenchanted voters.

Then you add the fact that Justin Trudeau came to Summerside on Labour Day and gave a shout out to Robert Ghiz. Given Mr. Ghiz’s performance as our recent premier, I wonder if it would be prudent to choose the son of a former prime minister to head up our federal government.

I urge voters to take great care when casting their vote.

Elmer Williams, Summerside

Jan Zwicky is an Albertan poet, philosophy, essayist, and musician (a violinist). She teaches at the Eurepean Graduate School, among other institutions. Here is an excerpt from today's Global Chorus:

"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 con- temporary 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." -- Jan Zwicky

A reminder that there is a "Harperman" sing-a-long happens "by the mural" next to Timothy's Coffee Shop on Great George Street (old University Avenue) at noon today.

September 16, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open today from 9AM until 2PM.

Gleaning at Macphail Homestead garden is happening in Orwell at 10AM, with a vehicle leaving the Farm Centre parking lot at 9AM.

Corrections from the long list of events published yesterday: The time for the Water Forum is 7PM next Tuesday, September 22nd. Catherine O'Brien is one of the presenters, and Leo Broderick is moderating.

Fall is coming, and promises (or threats) made earlier in the year are coming true:

Matt and Mitch are on CBC-TV in their Island Morning radio studio for the first hour. On-line:

(scroll down to the "watch" choices and it should be on the left from 6-7AM)

Matt and Mitch are just as funny and professional with cameras and lights everywhere, but it seems a bit odd. It does, however, make you wonder if it is the next step in The Big Merge of Radio into TV.

(Funnily enough, it's not working on-line this morning for me.)

Home delivery of Canada Post mail in Charlottetown is being chewed away. It's rather sloppy process, it sounds like, with pedestal pads being placed during off hours, in seemingly random, and often unsafe, locations. The Mayor feels powerless and apparently doesn't want to hold public meetings as people are so upset he knows they will just yell and shout at him. Perhaps he should hold a meeting anyway, film the anger, and send that to federal politicians and Canada Post.

Some residents are speaking up more: a Facebook group has been formed "Opposing Mailbox Placement" (

by one of the most agile and artistic of the Plan B protestors (and that is saying a lot about a very agile and artistic group of people), Gail Rhyno.

from Dave Stewart's article in The Guardian last Thursday, September 10th, 2015:

"Anyone who still has concerns is asked to call Canada Post toll free at 1-844-454-3009. She <Canada Post representative> said they would look into it if there is a serious safety concern with the site."

Any complaints should be lobbed that way, too. And emails sent to politicians, as all the federal parties but the Conservatives have affirmed their support for Canada Post home delivery.

In the Charlottetown federal riding:

Conservative candidate Ron MacMillan <>

Green candidate Becka Viau <>

Liberal candidate Sean Casey <>

NDP candidate Joe Byrne <>

(sorry, couldn't find a plain e-mail address on-line )


from an Ontario supermailbox set-up this week:

standing water in front of a superbox (in use) in Ontario earlier this week, from website


Even if you don't live in a city and aren't losing mail service yet, it's pretty obvious which way Canada Post is heading. You could consider calling the number and letting your candidates for the federal election know.

Wayne Easter, Liberal candidate for Malpeque and has been vocal about any cuts to Canada Post in the past, is having an open house at his headquarters in Cornwall (next to the Esso station) from 4-6PM today. Good chance to mention a few issues.

Fernand Pareau, a elderly, highly respected mountain guide in France, writes for today's Global Chorus about the effect of pollution on the Alps:

"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

September 15, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Here is a list of some of what's going on the rest of this month that you may want to make time for (and I do apologize for any inaccuracies):

Today, Tuesday, September 15th

Degrowth Workshops, with expert Bob Thomson

12noon at UPEI Main Faculty Lounge (for about an hour-plus)


6PM Murphy Community Centre

Wednesday, September 16th

Presentation, "Because Human Rights are Universal -- in Support of Education for Afghan Women and Girls", 7:30PM, Argyle Shore Community Centre (7654 Rte 19). "The Argyle Shore Women's Institute has invited Susan Hartley to give a public presentation. Susan lives in Charlottetown and is with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WA). Crafts from Afghanistan will be for sale at the event and coffee and tea will be served."

Food gleaning and preserving opportunities this week:

Tuesday (if not raining; otherwise Thursday)

Gleaning at Farm Centre Legacy Garden, 9AM

Wednesday, September 16th

Food gleaning at Macphail Homestead garden, by ECO-PEI Nature Centre at Macphail Woods. Meeting at Farm Centre to carpool at 9AM, or at Macphail at 10AM.

Thursday, September 17th

Canning fruit, 1:15PM to 4PM, Salvation Army Kitchen, 158 Fitzroy Street

There is nothing like preserved food all lined up:

Wednesday, September 16th to Saturday, September 19th

Conference: "Building Community Resilience: Innovation, Culture, and Governance in Place", various times and presentations, including Catherine O'Brien Thursday afternoon talking about the Water Act and how the the Stop Plan B movement contributed to this sense of awareness, and Pauline Howard talking about forming the Food Exchange PEI on Saturday morning.

There are registration fees for the whole event or for one day.

Thursday, September 17th

"Harperman Sing-along", 12noon-1PM, parking lot near Timothy's Coffee, Great George Street. Part of the nation-wide sing-along. That song. All kinds of voices welcome.

Saturday, September 19th

Canvass for your candidate -- many federal candidates will be out and you can join their team and canvass in the Riding. Contact your candidate's office to see when and where you could help.

Specifically I have heard about:

Canvass for NDP Candidate in Charlottetown, Joe Byrne, 9AM, gather and have breakfast at Razzy's Roadhouse (161 St. Peter's Road, Sherwood), get instructions, be done in the early afternoon. Contact: JoeAnne Callaghan or Marc MacDonald

Panel Discussion on "The State of Canadian Human Rights Post C51", 2-3:30PM, UPEI, MacDougall Hall, room 431. "Leadnow PEI will present a panel discussion on the loss of human rights in Canada. <snip> The panelists: Judge (Ret.) Gerard Mitchell, former Chief Justice PEI Supreme Court, Dr. David LeBlanc, Professor of Science, UPEI and Eliza MacLaughlin, Accompanier with Breaking the Silence, Guatemala."

All are welcome. Michelle MacCallum will moderate the panel.

Sunday, September 20th

Walk, "Autumn in the Forest 2015", 2-4PM, Macphail Woods, Orwell.

It's good to be a bit ahead of schedule, too.

Talk, "Vinland Age in Shetland", 7:30PM, Irish Cultural Centre (BIS Hall), Charlottetown, freewill offerings accepted. Dr. Andrew Jennings from University of the Highland and Islands, Scotland, will be presenting.

Tuesday, September 22nd

Water Forum, featuring Council of Canadians' chair Maude Barlow, Catherine O'Brien moderating, 7:30PM, Rodd Charlottetown, donations accepted.

Tuesday, September 29th

Charlottetown Riding All Candidates' Environmental Forum, 7PM, Holland College, MacMillan Hall

Wednesday, September 30th

Malpeque Riding All Candidates' Environmental Forum, 7PM, Hunter River Community Centre

Copying this much of Global Chorus may cause some e-mails to bounce, but it is Lennie Gallant, after all:

"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. The '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 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!' " -- Island singer Lennie Gallant

September 14, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The opening performance of Harvest Moon Rising was yesterday afternoon, and it was an incredibly well-done and very thought-provoking production. And just beautiful to listen to. It plays at The Guild in Charlottetown Sundays-Wednesdays until the end of September.

The Journal-Pioneer does a good job describing it.


By Journal-Pioneer staff, published on-line on Friday, September 11th, 2015:

Harvest Moon Rising is being produced by the HMR Collective, a group of musical theatre artists who have come together specifically to mount this production. The collective is comprised of stage manager Sandy Zinck, pianist/arranger Andrew Zinck, and performers Marli Trecartin, John Ghitan, Maria Campbell, Jenn Cullen, Pamela Campbell, and Nancy Beck. Pamela also serves as the musical director, while Beck directs and designs the production.

Inspired by the 2nd National Farm Women’s Conference that took place in Charlottetown in 1985, “Harvest Moon Rising” had its world premiere at the King’s Playhouse in Georgetown during the summer of 1989. The success of that initial production led to another run in Georgetown the following summer. Beck was one of the original producers of the Playhouse production, as well as a member of the cast. Pamela also appeared in the 1989/1990 production.

In the current Guild production, Trecartin and Maria Campbell are Jenny MacGregor and Olive Redmond, two young women confronting the realities of pioneer life in 1850s Canada. The other performers portray farmers, some direct descendants of Jenny and Olive, who live in the same community over a century later. The two time periods overlap in this production, as the characters inhabit the same farmhouse and share the same passion for the land on which it rests.

Although the serious issues facing the show’s characters are explored with sensitivity and honesty in Sample’s script and Arden’s poignant music and astute lyrics, Harvest Moon Rising is at the same time a joyful work, full of humour and wry commentary.

Performances are scheduled for Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m., Sept. 13 to 30.

Tickets for Harvest Moon Rising are available at the Guild box office, by phone at 902-620-3333 or 1-866-774-0717, or online at

Producer and performer Nancy Beck said afterwards that she hoped that this play would become a period piece, the issues not around today; but it's just as relevant in 2015 as in 1989. I was given a ticket, with thanks; it's very much worth seeing and considering taking older children to experience our fantastic local theatre, hear some remarkable singing, and bring up a lot to discuss about living on the land.

Lori Barker, executive director of the PEI Cancer Society, tactfully acknowledged the recent letter in The Guardian (and posted here last week) about how P.E.I.'s cancer rates are actually low; she added some clarification (bold is mine):


<snip> " Thankfully, prevention is a powerful force. Approximately half of cancers can be prevented through not smoking, healthy eating, exercising regularly, maintain a healthy body weight, practicing sun safety and minimizing exposure to occupational and environmental carcinogens. (Please call us if you want to learn more about the steps you can take.)" <snip>

The Global Chorus essay for today is by Lillian Rose Stewart, who is a screenwriter and retired ski bus driver. She writes of stopping and showing her passengers an awe-inspiring sight:

<snip> "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

Hope it's beautiful in your backyard today,

September 13, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

As it is a bit of a gray Sunday, and you may have some time to pause and go through an article or so, here are some offerings:

Jane Goodall was in Winnipeg this week, commenting on the sale of National Geographic and other current events to The Winnipeg Free Press:

Jane Goodall Remains a Road Warrior for the Planet - The Winnipeg Free Press online article by Jen Zoratti

Published on-line on Thursday, September 10th, 2015


"I thought it was a joke," she tells me. "I truly thought it was a joke. This can’t be true. National Geographic, the National Geographic, being owned almost entirely by Fox News, which is filled with climate deniers and almost flat-world science."<snip>

But she regains her equanimity and offers hope and suggestions about ways we can all work right around us to make change.

Joe Biden is the current U.S. vice-president, an awkward job for a good-hearted person (unlike his predecessor Dick Cheney); and he has handled the role well, despite the occasional gaffes or "Joe-bombs". But this year has been tough -- he lost his 46-year old son Beau to a brain tumour this spring -- and at 72, when assuming he would be done with the executive branch phase of his career, he is feeling a groundswell urging him to run for president in 2016, as the race doesn't seem to be such an easy one for Hilary Clinton or a good fit between Democratic Party brass and socialist Bernie Sanders.

Biden was on the Tonight Show with new host Stephen Colbert Thursday. It sounds like it was a very moving interview. Here is a perceptive article from The New Yorker magazine with links to the TV clip:

And if you have time for baking today, Joe Biden has a favourite Oatmeal Cookie recipe, which I once saw labeled as his "Famous Middle Class Oatmeal Cookies"; the title a jest on his being in charge of an initiative on the Middle Class in the Obama Administration's first term:

Both Jane Goodall and Joe Biden seem to have that "innate longing as human beings to create a better world..." as David Gershon writes in today's Global Chorus entry -- a bit long, but worth it:

It starts with a preface:

"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 (late 19th century European poet)

"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 trans- formation 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 aspirations. 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 tea, and to play is 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, founder of Empowerment Institute

More on David Gershon and his work:

September 12, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today there is a rally and then panel discussion against Bill (now Law) C-51, sponsored by the PEI People’s Social Forum, Council of Canadians & LeadNow, 1PM at the Farmers' Market, walking to the front of UPEI , and then for the panel discussion featuring Bob Thomson, Degrowth activist, Lori MacKay, and Dan Doron. The panel will be moderated by Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians.


Farmers' Markets are open today in various locations. If you know of a Market that has closed for the season, please let me know.


Bob Thomson from the discussion today is also giving a couple of workshops for the public during his visit to the Island for the Building Community Resilience conference (more later).

Sunday, September 13, 2-4PM, Souris Strikers Ski Lodge, Souris Line Road

Tuesday, September 15, 12 noon, Charlottetown, Faculty Lounge, Main Building, UPEI

Tuesday, September 15, 6-9PM, Charlottetown, Murphy Community Centre, Charlottetown

More on the workshops:

More information on Degrowth:

A sharp-eyed person pointed out the small article in The Guardian from a few days ago, that media mogul Rupert Murdoch recently bought the National Geographic (NG) media organization (they had a partnership with the NG cable channel for some time).

Murdoch is a vocal climate-change skeptic. There have been assurances from NG staff that he won't influence their editorial decisions on what they cover or how they cover it, but apparently Mr. Murdoch has "stuck his oar in" the reporting of his other media before now.

One media story with more details is below from the U.S. based Public Broadcasting System, which has its own issues dealing with large donations from the Koch brothers and concerns about it causing media influence.

As always, humour can help diffuse the initial indignation. A few satirical National Geographic cover story titles cropped up on-line:

There Are Ice Cubes In My Drink, So How Can Global Warming Exist?

Water: There’s Plenty Of It, Everywhere

Animals: Do We Really Need So Many Of Them?

Deregulating The Environment

Fire Ants Don’t Need Trade Unions. What Can We Learn From Fire Ants?

and one fake cover mock-up:

Mock National Geographic cover with potential editorial philosophical shift, screenshot from the petition site (below)

If you want to do consider this petition, here is the link:

Subject: Tell National Geographic: Appoint a Public Editor --

Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic.

Push for a Public Editor to keep him from interfering with its climate coverage.

This petition will be delivered to the Board of Directors at National Geographic Partners:

Please act immediately to adopt policies that ensure editorial independence at all National Geographic properties, including appointment of a Public Editor to investigate complaints or editorial interference.

Matthew Sleeth is a former emergency room physician and a Christian environmental, who wrote a book about many topics, including the idea of really resting one day of the week, 24/6.

<snip> "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." <snip> -- Matthew Sleeth

September 11, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

During the highway Plan B opposition, art played many roles. It made us think, laugh, and cry; it made us money as so many talented, talented people donated their time and their works to be sold. It made the left-brained among us see the highway as more than a very flawed decision, one that logic and good sense presented to government would correct; but as part of a much larger picture.

The artwork wasn't always in the usual places like galleries. It was made everywhere: in the path of the highway, in Charlottetown, at odd corners all over the Island. Some works were of course signed and the artists given credit. Some preferred to remain anonymous.


This art show brought on all sorts of emotions. It's called "You can't see me", and consists of painting and mixed media along one whole wall of Lindsay and Jeanette's studio on 89 Water Street, near Moonsnail Soaps. Part of it spotlights who's profiting and at what expense, with whimsical themes, and part steps back and gives us hope. It reminds me of the lessons of Plan B -- grow, protect, think.

My left-brain can't do it justice -- go see for yourself at Walker Studios -- it's open until the end of September, 10AM to 5PM weekdays, 10AM to 4PM on Saturdays, closed Sundays. Walker Studios, Water Street, Charlottetown. In October, they are moving to the former Keir Gallery with some other artists, and only going by appointment only.

A huge thank-you to them. To all.

American author Nikki Stern writes a sad essay for the anniversary of the World Trade Centres in New York City:

"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 re-assurance. Yet hope is available to light the way, no matter where our paths begin or where they end."— Nikki Stern

(There are three different women with this name, all with diverse careers.

THIS Nikki is the author of Hope in Small Doses and Because I Say So, Moral Authority's Dangerous Appeal.)

September 10, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The meeting for organizing the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation was last night, and there was a lot of positive energy in that full room. Brenda Oslawsky of FairVote, Nouhad Mourad from People's Social Forum (and many other volunteer organizations) and Dr. Don Desserud from UPEI all made concise, very interesting presentations, and there was good discussion. A very well organized evening. More to come, I am sure.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper will be on P.E.I. for a little while today, visiting the P.E.I. Potato Solutions plant in New Annan this morning. Here's a nice article about the company from which you can read the entire article in the Journal-Pioneer:

You must be "registered" to be at that public event with the Conservative Leader and perhaps some local candidates, and he'll be at the airport for a photo-op at 2PM.

This letter to the editor a couple of days ago stuck out for having a point but not being very specific about whom the write is driving at.

P.E.I. Cancer Rate Not the Highest - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

I regularly see letters to the editor or opinions in the newspaper or on social media that claim that Prince Edward Island has the highest rate of cancer in Canada. This is not the case. Just because something is repeated over and over again does not make it true.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, Prince Edward Island has the lowest age-adjusted incidence rate of cancer east of Manitoba at 402.6 cases per 100,000 people. This is more than 20 cases lower than any of the other Atlantic Provinces. P.E.I.’s cancer rate is very comparable with Ontario (at 404.2/100,000).

Of course, this does not mean that cancer is not a major issue facing our province. As our population ages, we will undoubtedly diagnose more and more cancer cases. Like everyone, I have lost a number of friends and relatives to cancer, including an aunt in Ontario in the last year. However, in our grieving process, let us not make wild claims on what is giving Islanders cancer without acknowledging the facts.

Do you know what is giving people cancer? Cancer specialists say that smoking, alcohol, too much sun exposure, sedentary lifestyles, and poor nutrition are the major risk factors. Let’s work on those proven causes before spending our time casting blame on unproven bogeymen.

Ryan Barrett, Cornwall


The author -- totally entitled to his opinions -- is a communications person for a big marketing board

As the Conservative Leader is found of phrasing: "Let us be perfectly clear." ;-)

Here is a glowing article on Todd MacLean, the editor-in-chief of Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet:


And from today's essay in the anthology:

<snip> "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." <snip> --Rhett Ayers Butler, founder of environmental news

September 9, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open from 9AM to 2PM today. Several other local farmers' markets are waving and saying so long, fair well, like the Von Trapp children, but this one is open on Wednesdays until Thanksgiving.

Events tonight:

Open House: Joe Byrne, NDP candidate for the Charlottetown Riding, from 5-7PM, 227 Grafton (corner with Hillsborough Street, look for a thicket of orange signs).

Lecture: Historian Doug Sobey gives a lecture about Samuel Holland and Place Names, 7PM, Confederation Centre Public Library. All welcome.


First meeting and panel presentation of proportional representation coalition, 7PM, Murphy Community Centre. All welcome, but e-mail at or phone 902-894-4573 to register.

Sometimes people will say harsh things about Canadian author Margaret Atwood or her books. But she cares about the future of this planet, and our country, and is writing prolifically, critically, and elegantly about topics affecting us. This article seems long but she keeps it focused and organized well.

Can Canadian oil green-clean itself? - The Globe and Mail article by Margaret Atwood

Published on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Canadian oil has a problem; or rather, it has several problems. Those problems are: 1. The low price of oil; 2. The dirty image of oil-sands oil; 3. Inept political leadership; 4. The new forms of energy coming on stream.

Because Canadian oil has problems, Canada has problems too. We’ve been joined at the hip: If it’s in a mess, Canada’s in a mess. Or something of a mess. What should we do?

The first problem – the low price of oil – is beyond our control, but the extent of our investment in it is not. Unfortunately for us, the Harper government overinvested in oil. This once seemed like a plausible gamble, which must be why we didn’t flinch while Stephen Harper backed oil with sack-loads of subsidies: $34-billion a year according to the International Monetary Fund that covers the societal costs of the industry in Canada. Jobs and prosperity would both abound, we were assured. Anyone who breathed a negative word against the subsidy flow was viewed as unpatriotic and treated as next door to a terrorist.

The return never offset the investment, but who was doing the hard math? Now the price of oil is in the cellar and the Canadian dollar has been dragged down with it, meaning that most of our imports now cost us 30 per cent more. If we had spread our investment bets over more sectors, we’d have more to prop us up now.

The second problem is the “dirty oil” image. Oil-sands oil has attracted a Yuck aura, despite the efforts made to frame it as more “ethical” than other oil and the assurances that pipelines are safe, cleanup is effective, and so forth. What might a smart oil company do to improve the “dirty” image?

First, Big Oil should actually come through on its promises and environmental undertakings. It, rather than the Canadian government, should take the initiative, since Mr. Harper does not appear very interested in enforcing existing regulations.

Or the oil sector might follow the lead of BP and ConocoPhillips and invest in CoolPlanet, which makes carbon-negative gasoline. Imagine being able to tank up while knowing you’re actually reducing the CO2 in the air. That combo has broad consumer appeal.

Or oil might offset its carbon emissions with any one or more of the over a dozen carbon-capturing techs and plans now available. Restoring degraded tropical forests is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to capture carbon, and has the added benefit of creating wildlife habitat and helping local communities. There are several companies that offer forest restoration as a carbon-trading/offsetting plan. Big Oil could partner with them, turn itself green, and hardly miss the cash.

There are a number of other carbon-capture plans on offer. If enough of them roll out, the human race could actually start removing a net amount of C02 from the atmosphere instead of adding a net amount. And oil companies could be part of that solution.

As for the inevitable spills, a smart pipeline company would demonstrate that it has ample crises-management staff and mop-up gear in place. It could even help save monarch butterflies by using Protec-style’s superior made-in-Canada milkweed-based oil soaker. Imagine the video: a river of oil slick replaced by a river of monarchs! And a really smart company would avoid running pipelines through really stupid places.

The third problem is political leadership. If you were a leader promoting Canadian oil, maybe you should avoid annoying every other leader whose co-operation or territory is needed for your favoured projects – such as pipelines – to go ahead. Instead, Mr. Harper has threatened the U.S. President, treated First Nations with contempt, gone out of his way to antagonize the Premier of Ontario, and sullied Canada’s reputation abroad through foot-dragging over carbon-reduction treaties.

The oil patch must be wondering whether they backed the right champion. A leader able to admit to the CO2 problem, support practical tech, and avoid demonizing other points of view would be a wiser choice.

The fourth problem is rapidly approaching. Simply put, the world is transitioning from fossil fuels.

The transition is driven by our very human fear and desire. The fear, that we’ll kill our life support system: our planet. The desire, to find a substitute for fossil fuels that will produce enough cheap energy to keep us from plunging into economic woe and anarchy.

Efficient electric cars that run on solar-charged batteries are a reality, and the price is coming down; solar home-storage batteries, ditto. Non-toxic solar panels and batteries are being made. Cheap algae-growing energy-creating panels are being marketed by Grow Energy. If the price is right, consumers will choose these options because individuals are just as interested in energy self-sufficiency as nations are: Why be subject to oil cartels and price manipulation if you don’t have to be?

And why stay on the grid if you can get off? Huge installations – mega wind farms, solar farms, hydro dams – may soon be going the way of the cassette tape deck and the floppy disk. If every home or small community can generate its own cheap non-toxic energy, why run electricity through an expensive grid system?

Every new technology creates new jobs and the new energy technologies are no different. But how much of our tax money has gone into fostering this rapidly expanding sector? Almost none, because if your only god is oil you will try to stifle any competition. You will also try to stifle any data about climate science, as well as the kind of evidence-based, creative scientific data-gathering and technological thinking that is crucial for this new phase. And that is what Mr. Harper has been doing: stifling. It looks like panic.

We aren’t served well by a frantic one-trick pony. To manage both the oil we have and our transition into the rapidly approaching alternate energy era, both Canada and the oil patch need a different kind of leader: one who can understand the new world we are now entering and can help us navigate intelligently and prosperously within it.

Today's Global Chorus contributor, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland Herman Daly, links belief in a Creator as a key element to having hope in the future. He also talks about Steady State Economies and says:

<snip> "As for the details of a viable and good future society I have argued that a steady-state economy is a necessary condition." <snip> -- Herman Daly


There is a lot on-line about his theories of reducing growth, and it's timely in reminding us about workshops to be given next week with Bob Thomson on "Degrowth" -- more later, but here are dates for workshops on the concepts, sponsored by many different Island organizations.

Sunday, September 13th, 2-4PM at Souris Strikers Ski Lodge, Souris Line Road

Tuesday, September 15th, 12 noon Faculty Lounge, Main Building, UPEI

Tuesday, September 15th, 6-9PM at Murphy Community Centre, Charlottetown

September 8, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

It's back-to-school for some, and it's also harvest time.

There are two opportunities this week to help harvest in large gardens (today at the Legacy Garden at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown, and tomorrow at Macphail Homestead in Orwell). It generally works that you help harvest for a while, and then you keep one-third of what you harvested, the grower keeps a third, and a third goes to service agencies to help more Islanders have access to good local food.

Tuesday, September 8th, 9AM, Farm Centre Legacy Garden,

Wednesday, September 9th (and every Wednesday), Macphail Homestead at 10AM, or meet at Farm Centre at 9AM for carpooling to Orwell.

More details here:

There are also "preserving parties" this Thursday and the next two to help people learn and share how to preserve their food for over the winter.

Thursday, September 10th, 1:15-4PM, Salvation Army kitchen, 158 Fitzroy Street. For more information, and to register, go to the Facebook page.

Global Chorus is by actress and producer Trudie Styler, founder of the Rainforest Founcdation (UK). She is married to musician Sting, and they have four adult children.

<snip> "You will be judged by your children, your grand- children 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

September 7, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Happy Labour Day, if you able to enjoy it today; tomorrow we are back to regular fall programming, as they say.


First, a final reminder for the final performance of Hamlet by ACT at 4PM today at Robert Cotton Park in Stratford. Just the fencing would be worth the price of admission. (Apparently, the actors playing Hamlet and Laertes had a "fencing flash duo" on Victoria Row yesterday afternoon.)

Details on tickets here:

Wednesday, September 9th, 7PM-- choice of:

  • inaugural meeting of PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation, Murphy's Community Centre. Come and hear what it is about, from a short panel session, and open discussion. Open to the public, but pre-register by email at or phone 902-894-4573.

  • public library talk on Samuel Holland's legacy, by writer and historian Dr. Doug Sobey, Confederation Centre Public Library:

    • What’s in A Name? Samuel Holland’s place-names on Prince Edward Island: what they reveal about Samuel Holland and 1760s Britain. "In 1765 Captain Samuel Holland applied over 300 names to his large-scale map of Prince Edward Island. Doug Sobey will discuss the origin and purpose of Holland’s names, the persons whom he intended to honour, and what his choice of names reveals about Samuel Holland himself. He will also look at what Holland’s nomenclature tells us about the “persons of importance” in 1760s Britain, and consider the extent to which the names have survived. Holland's 9 foot by 13 foot map from the British National Archives in London is now on display in an exhibition in the Confederation Centre Gallery."


Thursday, September 10th:

Rally "Welcome Refugees! Rally and Candlelight Vigil", 6PM, Province House. More details here:

Many more events for this month listed on the Citizens' Alliance Clearinghouse Calendar:

Today's essay in the anthology Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet is by Tony Wheeler, the co-founder of the Lonely Planet travel guidebooks:

"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 send- ing in drones to kill people. Guess which one was more popular?"— Tony Wheeler

One initiative Tony and his partner Maureen do is "Planet Wheeler," which funds projects to help alleviate poverty. More here:

September 6, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Sunday Downtown Farmers' Market is from 11AM to 4PM, along Lower Queen Street. Food and many hand-crafted items are available.

Hamlet plays for its second-to-last time at the Robert Cotton Park, Stratford, at 4PM today.

Here is the opinion piece published in Friday's Guardian regarding concerns with the Water Act process:

Water Act Issues - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Coalition outlines problems in white paper process that must be addressed

by Catherine O'Brien

published on Friday, September 4th, 2015, in The Guardian

The Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Water Act consultations, and will be making presentations at the public meetings to be held across the province.

The white paper has provided a broad variety of ways for the public to participate and this is laudable. However, we feel that there are several serious issues in the process outlined that need to be addressed to meet the goals of meaningful public engagement and transparency that were emphasized in the recent Speech from the Throne:

The timeline

The one-year timeline indicated in the White Paper is not realistic for the complex issues involved in developing a Water Act. In other jurisdictions, similar legislation has taken several years to complete. British Columbia has taken five years, and not yet enacted their legislation.

The timing for the public consultations is also problematic. The electoral reform consultations will be happening along with the federal election campaign. The public will have very little time to prepare and engage in the Water Act consultations with so much else going on. The fall public consultations are problematic for farmers and fishers, as it is a busy time of year for them. We suggest more dates be scheduled in the late fall and in the new year.

Accessible, well-organized and complete information

The information available for the public on the Water Act website is not complete and is not organized in a clear and understandable format. For example, all the presentations to the Standing Committee concerning the moratorium on high capacity wells are not available. Data on the fish kills of recent years is not present. Data directly relevant to the key issues of how much water we have on P.E.I. and on the impacts of water extraction on ecosystems and aquatic life are not organized in a manner that facilitate public review and evaluation.

The White Paper indicates that the Standing Committee recommended, “ a thorough review of the scientific basis of our water policies be undertaken as part of the development of the Water Act.” Such a thorough review is not in evidence in the informational resources provided in the White Paper.

We request that all available information be made accessible and presented clearly to help citizens understand existing and potential legislation related to water issues.


One of the documents on the White Paper website suggests that P.E.I.’s water is, hopefully, “clear from the ground to the glass.” This current process of developing legislation should be clear (and transparent) from the White Paper to the Water Act.

We applaud the emphasis that you have placed on public engagement and transparency evident in the Speech from the Throne:

“A New Era of Engagement: The path to our goals begins with governing well, engaging Islanders in the decisions that shape their future, increasing openness and transparency.”

But there are several aspects of the process outlined in the White Paper that interfere with such transparency.

Although only public meetings are mentioned in the White Paper, we have been offered an invitation for a one-on-one meeting with members of the Environmental Advisory Committee. Presumably, other groups and individuals have been offered the same opportunity. These meetings will be private, with only edited transcripts provided to the public.

We are declining this invitation because we strongly believe that these consultations should be an open, public process for all citizens, groups and interests. We should all have the opportunity to hear and evaluate all the presentations. At the very least, the public should be allowed to be present as observers, much like the protocol for the presentations to the Standing Committee recently over the high capacity wells issue. A closed-door meeting implies that there is significant information that is not to be shared with the public. Limiting access to complete information slows this process down.

Finally, it is unclear how the Water Act will be developed and by whom. Will all members of the EAC be at all the consultations and private meetings?

Once the first round of consultations is complete, who will write the 1st draft of the Water Act? Will there be input from non-government sources? Who will develop the final Act?

In order to have a meaningful process of public consultation, we ask that you:

1) Commit to a lengthier process and more time for the public to gather and review information and include additional public meetings

2) Make all meetings open to the public (openness and transparency)

3) Provide thorough and more easily accessible information so Islanders can make informed decisions.

We are committed to the creation of a comprehensive Water Act for P.E.I. We look forward to every opportunity to engage in the process.

Catherine O’Brien, is chairwoman of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water

David Bell, PhD, is a former Dean of Environmental Studies at York University.

He writes for the September 6th Global Chorus essay:

<snip> "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." <snip> -- David Bell

And just for fun, I am sharing part of page A7 of The Guardian from yesterday, Saturday, September 5th, and a close-up. For some reason they printed a quarter-page ad about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's appearance at a barbecue (to be on Monday) two times, right next to each other, with slight variations. (The paper DID stop the "Hocus Focus -- Find at least six differences in details between panels" game a few weeks ago -- could this be a new variation?) I am not poking fun at the Liberals exclusively -- I would hoot about this kind of mistake (or odd advertising strategy) no matter which party or paper.

screenshot of double vision ads in Saturday's Guardian

closeup of ad differences with circles and arrow added

September 5, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Catherine O'Brien, chair, discussed the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water's concerns about the consultation process for a water act in a letter in The Guardian yesterday. CBC Friday night's Atlantic Tonight broadcast ran a story, too, at 6:30 into the show.

An article on the Belfast corn maze is at about 16 minutes.

The text of the letter from the Coalition will be in tomorrow's Citizens' Alliance News.

Stephen Lewis is coming to Summerside today for a rally at Credit Union Place at 1PM and to show support for all four Island NDP candidates -- Leah-Jane Hayward in Malpeque, Joe Byrne in Charlottetown, Billy Cann in Cardigan, and of course the "local" candidate Herb Dickieson in the Riding of Egmont.

Lewis gave the 2014 Symons Medal Lecture, and is a riveting speaker (from that lecture, regarding fossil fuels, his "LEAVE IT IN THE GROUND!" still reverberates in my head). All are welcome.

from the biographical notes for the Symons Lecture:

"Mr. Lewis' life has been one of exemplary service to Canadians whether in elected office or positions of leadership representing the nation or the United Nations. A member of the Order of Canada, Mr. Lewis is a Professor <snip> at McGill University and <snip> Ryerson University. He is the board chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which is dedicated to turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and he is co-founder and co-director of AIDS-Free World, an international advocacy organization."

and his November 2014 speech text, because it was great to hear, and fine to read again:

Farmers' Markets are open across P.E.I. this morning. Lots of local food and fun.

Hamlet, presented by A Community Theatre (ACT), 4PM, today, Sunday and Monday, Robert Cotton Park, just around the corner from the Hillsborough Bridge. It's an incredible production. Tickets on-line or available at the "door" if not sold out. ($20 or $18 student/senior.) More info here (it is current despite the "2012" in the link title):

Disregard the note about flashlights -- this weekend there will still be plenty of daylight when the show ends.


Documentary, "Defenders of the Dawn", 8PM, CBC-TV's Atlantic network.

from an e-mail from the Sierra Club Canada Foundation (SCCF):

Check out "Defenders of the Dawn: Green Rights in the Maritimes" - a one hour exploration of Canadians in the Maritimes fighting for their right to a clean and healthy environment.

This production for CBC is part of a larger Sierra Club Canada Foundation project and uses footage gathered by our team from Asia and South America. The SCCF team is hard at work with its partners to produce a documentary exploring the global situation.

Catch it on CBC-TV's Atlantic network on September 5th at 8pm.

After the broadcast, the show will be available over the web to anyone in Canada here:

This press release (below) was issued by the P.E.I. government yesterday. They may be loving it, but they are still do not appear to be getting it as far as having a healthy environment to produce healthy food for Islanders, and then for export. Bold is mine.


September 3, 2015


CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI -- Prince Edward Island’s primary industries of agriculture and fisheries are optimistic about the future of the province’s food sector, says Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Alan McIsaac.

“Since becoming minister of agriculture and fisheries, I’ve been able to meet with many of our Island fishers, farmers and industry representatives who have expressed optimism and confidence about government’s emphasis on growing our primary resources and Island food sector” said Minister McIsaac. “Fishing and farming industries have made significant contributions to our province and they continue to grow, develop and diversify.”

Prince Edward Island’s agriculture industry generates a half a billion dollars in cash receipts for the province and employs approximately 3,500 people. The Island’s fishing and aquaculture industries have an approximate value of $250 million to the provincial economy and employ more than 8,600 people. More than 10 per cent of Prince Edward Island’s GDP comes from processing and primary agriculture. Last year, food products accounted for more than 50 per cent of the Island’s record billion dollars worth of exports to international markets.

The Province of Prince Edward Island is working with industry partners to establish and brand Prince Edward Island as Canada’s Food Island. This will build on the successes the province has achieved to establish Prince Edward Island as home to internationally recognized premium food products and a destination for culinary excellence.

Earlier this summer, the provincial government announced the creation of the Food Island Partnership, a new industry-led organization that will engage primary industries, food producers, culinary experts and research institutions to expand food exports, create new products and cement Prince Edward Island’s reputation as a world class producer of food and a leading culinary destination.

The first event planned by the Food Island Partnership was Food Island Day, a one-day symposium that brought together growers, processors, exporters and industry partners to learn more about emerging food trends, best practices and networking with others in the industry. The event was attended by more than 150 participants.

“Prince Edward Island’s culture and economy are tied to the land and sea through our farming and fishing communities. Placing greater focus on these traditional sectors will maintain and create jobs for Islanders in communities across the province and help grow our provincial economy,” said Minister McIsaac. “The provincial government will continue to support our primary industries as we work together to create an environment for expansion, innovation, market development and increased profits for the Island food industry as a whole.”

No mention of protecting or enhancing our environment, soils, land, feeding Islanders healthy local food...etc., etc. It is as if the land and sea are just factories to push out exportable food; the farmers and fishers industrial workers.

And timely words of peace from Mustafa Abu Sway in today's Global Chorus essay:

"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

September 4, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Cardigan and Souris Farmers' Markets are open this morning.

Saturday, September 5th:

Documentary: "Defenders of the Dawn", CBC-TV, 8PM


"The original nations of northeastern North America make up the Wabanaki Confederacy. Their territory is 'the dawnlands,' and they are 'the people of the dawn.' Today the dawnlands are being assaulted by reckless industrialism, and the people of the dawn are joined by settlers from many other places in asserting the human right to a healthy natural world: clean air, clean water, clean earth."

This is part of the "The Green Interview" project from Nova Scotian writer and broadcaster Silver Donald Cameron.

In this weekly column in The Graphic newspapers Wednesday, Allan Rankin didn't surprise me too much: Strathgartney *would* be a wonderful place for a new Provincial Legislature :-) . And the MLAs could mountain bike or hike over trails new and old between sessions.

Let’s build a new provincial legislature - The Eastern Graphic article by Allan Rankin

Published on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015, in The Graphic papers

No society looking to the future should be content with old templates and structures, social or political, simply because they are embedded and familiar.

A meaningful break with the past becomes necessary sometimes, in order to change the status quo and bring about a truly meaningful shift in established ways of thinking. Institutions need to be refreshed and transformed, even rebuilt, in response to a renewed vision of who we are as a people.

The nation of Brazil realized that in 1956 when it began construction of a new futuristic capital city situated along the Brazilian Highlands, far away from the heavily-populated southeastern corridor of the country.

Brasilia is seen as a regionally neutral capital city.

The modern tragedy of Prince Edward Island is we have become really two Islands, the capital city of Charlottetown and its environs and the remainder of the province east and west.

The cultural distance between these two Islands is palpable and growing, fuelled by an entrenched business and professional elite in the capital that pulls the levers of political power and has little genuine interest in the affairs of rural Prince Edward Island.

Unlike the days when city wholesalers did business with rural storekeepers, and a symbiotic economic relationship existed between town and country, our capital of Charlottetown is obsessed these days with its own internal business.

Other regions of the province are discounted and never in focus.

The western capital of Summerside, possessing a proud and dynamic history, is seen as an unsophisticated sibling, while beautiful Montague sits at the eastern fringes of the Island’s planetary system.

Like the people of Brazil, Islanders deserve a regionally neutral capital city, one that all Islanders can identify with and call their own.

I am afraid Charlottetown is no longer that place.

I realize we can’t simply shake the Etch A Sketch of history. But I believe it is time to seriously consider relocating the Provincial Legislature, as the living symbol of our jurisdictional independence and sovereignty, to another part of the province, at least out of the bowels of Charlottetown.

This repositioning of the flag would reawaken our own Island identity, and free us from the national historical narrative that ensnares us.

It might also coincide with the adoption of a new electoral system, according greater fairness and equality to Island voters.

We are lowly tenants in Province House at present and legislative functions have been moved temporarily to the adjacent Coles Building until restoration work can be completed by Parks Canada.

That work is estimated to take five years, however I foresee it taking much longer.

The retreat of our elected representatives to the cramped quarters of the Coles Building is therefore a perfect opportunity to re-envision and construct a new and modern provincial legislature.

Province House could then become the national historical site and museum to Confederation that Parks Canada and the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce have always wanted it to be, without the distractions of a working legislative assembly.

Let the Fathers and Mothers tilt their hats to tourists outside the Birthplace of Confederation, and leave Charlottetown to paddle its own canoe without the legitimacy or prestige of being the seat of government.

If we had the imagination and courage to reset Prince Edward Island for the future, then either Summerside or Montague could be our Brasilia.

But I know that is just a pipe dream.

A less radical approach however, is to construct a new modern Provincial Legislature in rural Queens County, perhaps in the hills at Strathgartney overlooking the beautiful Bonshaw River. It could be established in conjunction with a long sought after Provincial Museum, with the two institutions reflecting both the past and future of the Island.

Places don’t necessarily evolve according to first plans or designs.

During the French Regime in the 18th Century, the administrative capital of Isle St. Jean was Port LaJoie across the harbour from present day Charlottetown. Samuel Holland, when he surveyed the Island following the British Conquest in 1783, laid out Georgetown and Prince Town, along with the capital Charlottetown, as county seats and centres of trade and commerce.

Green’s Shore, which later became Summerside, emerged as economic capital of western Prince Edward Island, leaving Prince Town Royalty stillborn and on the wrong side of history. In the summertime you can still walk the roads we surveyed and established to guide its development.

Change is in the Island’s red sandstone bloodstream.

Sometimes we need a transfusion to restore vital energy and make us stronger.

A radical thought for late summer on the Island.

Fatima Jibrell writes in today's Global Chorus essay about a world we don't see; one of many worlds we don't see:

"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 off 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 of Adeso African Development Solutions, and founder of Sun Fire Cooking

September 3, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

I am pretty sure the Summerside Farmers' Market is still open today, 9AM to 1PM, since it's still summer :-)

from their Facebook page:



Lecture on "Samuel Holland and the Acadians", by Earle Lockerby, 7:30PM, Rustico Bank,

from: <snip> Lockerby will discuss Holland’s survey, and what can be learned from his work regarding Acadians on the Island prior to the deportation of 1758 and in 1764. This will be the first of four lectures taking place at the Farmer’s Bank on Thursday evenings throughout September as part of the Acadian Harvest Festival. Samuel Holland’s survey of Saint John’s Island lasted from the fall of 1764 to the fall of 1765.

The work of his large and detailed map, which has returned to the Island after 250 years, is now on display as the centerpiece of an exhibition at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. The map reveals much about the locations of Acadian homes and villages and the extent of their cleared lands on the eve of the deportation of 1758.<snip>

There may be a small admission fee; more info on the Rustico Bank here:

Public meetings on P.E.I.'s Water Act won't begin for several weeks. The schedule is here:

but public comments are taken at any time ( and some are posted here:


And something to keep in mind, from a "Sum of Us" petition website:

"Nestlé is after another Canadian's town’s water -- this time in Elora, Ontario. Residents are rightly worried -- an Environmental Science Professor is calling it 'the stupidest, short-sighted, most criminal use of water' he’s ever seen."

More details at the above website.

Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, writes for today's Global Chorus essay about the "two cultures" of wealth inequality, and importance of education:

<snip> "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 Birgeneau

September 2, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Food is the theme for today, with a few variations:

Elizabeth May spent a busy time in P.E.I., with a rally at the Legacy Garden in the late afternoon, where she talked about the importance of local food (coverage at:

and with a social at the Charlottetown Legion; and dinner with Premier Wade MacLauchlan in between. I wish someone had video-recorded that, especially if the talk turned to Environmental Rights.

The provincial Progressive Conservative Caucus with leader Rob Lantz and several Tory MLAs are taking this last days of summer and visiting some Island food producers and food-related businesses. They have also said Island institutions which feed people need to procure local food.


The Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open today, as is Stanley Bridge Farmers' Market.


Vegetable gleaning at Macphail Homestead, Orwell, 9AM to 1PM:

from the superorganized and supercaring Pauline Howard:

The Food Exchange will be harvesting ("gleaning") beets, swiss chard, green and yellow beans and perhaps some cucumbers and zucchini this Wednesday at the MacPhail Homestead Garden.

People who help with the harvest will receive up to 1/3rd of what they harvest, the rest will be delivered to service agencies for people who can not afford fresh produce.

This is a great way to source fresh healthy produce, get some fresh air and exercise, learn about the food you eat and find out what's happening at the MacPhail Homestead.

Meet at the farm centre at 420 University Ave Charlottetown at 9 am to car pool to the field (to be at the farm for 10 am).

If you are coming from somewhere else please post so people can arrange car sharing if it is not suitable to meet at the farm centre.

Bring a sharp knife, a container to bring your share home, water and sun protection.

This is a child friendly harvest. Pets are not allowed in the garden.

Facebook no longer allows this invitation to be sent to all the members of the Food Exchange group so please SHARE this event with people who may be interested.

The Food Exchange is a grassroots group committed to increasing food security on PEI. Empowering individuals to increase food security for themselves and our communities through gleaning, growing food, and education.

For more information about the PEI Food Exchange see the website at

If you are a first time gleaner, please read the Gleaning Handbook at We ask that everyone be prepared to sign the release form that is included in the handbook.

Join our facebook group to keep current on our activities: Food Exchange PEI

Sometimes it is hard to see if a corporation's initiative is actually based on ethics or on spin or "greenwashing". But the website TriplePundit ("TriplePundit <snip> is one of the world’s most widely-read websites on ethical, sustainable, profitable business, with over 450,000 unique monthly readers.") gives this Unilever initiative the thumbs-up.

From the September 2nd Global Chorus essay, by Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever, a British-Dutch company that produces many food and personal care products (Breyers ice cream, Vaseline, Becel, Dove):

<snip> "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

September 1, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May is visiting P.E.I. later today and tonight.

There are two events open to everyone (if I have any details wrong, I apologize):

Rally and Vegetable Harvesting, 4:30-6:30PM, Legacy Garden, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown.

This is free and open to all ages. In addition the opportunity to harvest some vegetables for the P.E.I. Food Exchange (if you wish), there will be entertainment and refreshments.

Social at the Charlottetown Legion, 8:30PM - midnight, Clover Club of Legion on Pownal Street. $20 entrance fee, licenced (so for folks over 19), music by the Amanda Jackson Band, which includes Global Chorus editor-in-chief Todd MacLean.

Both events promise a fun time, lots of energy, and likely chances for individual chatting and listening.

Wednesday, there is a harvesting (or gleaning) opportunity at the beautiful garden at Macphail Homestead, in Orwell, from 9Am to 1PM. More details here and tomorrow:

On fuel and water, in today's Global Chorus essay:

"How can we save the world? First we must ask ourselves if we are 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 out 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, author of On Fracking