October 2018

October 28, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Bonshaw Ceilidh, 2-4PM, Bonshaw Hall, TransCanada Highway and Green Road. Admission by donation and proceeds to the McKillop Centre for Social Justice. Facebook event link

Daniel O'Hanley Lecture, 2-4PM, Stratford, Our Lady of Assumption Parish Hall. Free but donations accepted. Hon. David MacDonald presenting If You Love This World: Climate Justice and Indigenous Wisdom.


This week the P.E.I. government announced its carbon pricing agreement with the federal government. Here is the newspaper Guardian article on the carbon pricing agreement signed by the PEI Government

A press release by the abundant communications resources of our provincial government was oozing with positivity and repeats with certainly the not-so-certain line that:

"Our government stands with Islanders in fighting climate change while protecting their pocketbooks."

Government Press Release on Carbon Pricing Agreement

An ad (presumably produced by the same abundant government communications people) with the P.E.I. government logo in yesterday's Guardian ballyhooed the agreement and the same talking points and took a swipe at other parties ("ALL OTHER PLANS... an average household would have incurred a cost of over $1000....") like we are comparing laundry detergent. Some were quick to point out that our government should not be buying ads with our money to tell us how much better they are doing than other parties would do.

While the P.E.I. government's agreement is something and highlights that most Islanders are understandably worried about carbon pricing costs, it's really not that mighty of a fight, and its marketing it is a distraction from the big picture of the seriousness of truly fighting climate change (as we get an additional absurd downpouring of rain in a cold, wet October).

It would be good to re-evaluate the suggestions brought to the Energy Strategy and Climate Change Strategy consultations, what's actually in the final reports, and actually being on acted on by government.

Some other commentaries:

From the perspective of Rob MacLean in his letter to The Guardian


LETTER: Not prisoners of climate fate - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Here’s something sexy, fun and healthy you can do for climate change. It will also make you extremely appealing to the gender of your choice. OK, I exaggerate, but there’s nothing painful about what I’m about to suggest and it tackles the number one source of carbon pollution on P.E.I. - transportation. According to our government website, nearly 50 percent of P.E.I.’s carbon emissions come from driving.

Here’s the idea: buy a plug-in hybrid car. A plug-in runs on electricity until its battery is used up and then switches to gasoline. Most of our driving is done commuting to work. With a plug-in hybrid, commuting might not use any gas at all. Zero emissions. But the gas engine is there when you want to run to Moncton.

A used 2017 Chevy Volt goes 80 kilometers and then makes the switch to gas. I see 2017 Volts available on Kijiji for a bit over $20,000 with low mileage. There are others.

I have never spent more than $7,000 for a vehicle. I am not wealthy, but I find this very tempting. I live in the country and drive a lot. I would probably save $2,000/year on gas. If I could swing the financing, I would also have a nicer car which would likely run for several years longer than the older cars I usually buy.

I realize that lots of people don’t have the money. Many people on P.E.I. could afford this. We are not prisoners of our climate fate.

Rob MacLean,



Peter Bevan-Baker sticking to his climate change fighting guns



Some fun from the satire of The Beaverton headlines:

Analysts not sure rebate cheques and keeping humanity alive will convince Canadians to support carbon tax


When you come into this world, you are given a full basket, and it is your obligation to pass a full basket on to the next generation.

--Shannon McPhail, community leader, Prince Rupert, BC, regarding the planet

October 27, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Farmers' Markets open in Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)

Summerside (9AM-1PM)

Murray Harbour Farmers' Market, (9AM-12noon)

Last day for the Murray Harbour Farmers' Market for 2018, ending with judging of carved pumpkins (pumpkins need to be there by 9AM), prizes, and a goodbye BBQ. Facebook event link

Also, the last day to Drop off:

"Coats for Kids, 9AM-5PM, Start-up Zone, corner of Queen and Water Street, Charlottetown.


Another meaning for CFA, the Canadian Freshwater Alliance, sends notice that while Bill 69 (to pass environmental protection gutted during the Harper years) has almost passed the Senate, there seems to be a push by the oil and gas industry to weaken it.

The CFA has worked on a letter they will send to your Senators, and it is very easy to add to or edit to this pre-written letter in the text box on the right, in this link:

Canadian Freshwater Alliance campaign

In 2016, the federal government announced a sweeping review of Canada's broken environmental laws. After two years of expert reviews, input by scientists and urging from Canadians—including you—Bill C-69 made it through the House of Commons and is now before the Senate.

Until Bill C-69 is passed, unregulated projects can go ahead on millions of “unscheduled navigable waters” without so much as advance notice to the public. While not perfect, Bill C-69 improves how the federal government will review pipelines, mines, dams and other projects that impact the environment....

The oil and gas industry wants to kill fixes to environmental laws and continue to operate with minimal oversight.

If Senators are swayed and do not pass Bill C-69 we'll be left with toothless laws. <snip> From the Canadian Freshwater Alliance notice

See campaign link above to send a letter.

from a National Observer article on the Senate, this bill, and the lobbying going on:

National Observer article from Wednesday, October 26th, 2018

<snip> While the oil industry is mounting a campaign to derail the bill, Canada's mining industry actually supports it and says it will provide more assurances and certainty for new investments. <snip> -----------------------------------------

Last month, former CBC journalist Ian Petrie gave the annual McRobie Lecture at Macphail Homestead. The McRobie Lecture is named for George McRobie, a passionate defender of land and small-scale agriculture, who died in 2016, and discusses an aspect of sustainable agriculture. McRobie loved P.E.I. after first visiting it to speak to the Legislature, at the invitation of Premier Alex Campbell in 1975.

Here is (double-sadness) the late Harry Baglole's tribute to McRobie, published in Fall of 2016. http://projects.upei.ca/iis/a-tribute-to-george-mcrobie/

I missed Ian's talk this year, but he was kind enough to give me his notes, which I polished up a tiny bit in formatting, and have added at the end of this newsletter, for your reading today or during the sodden rainy day ahead of us.

(I will also check if the Lecture was recorded for playback at another time.)

2018 McRobie Lecture - by Ian Petrie

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Macphail Homestead, Orwell, Prince Edward Island

I wanted first to say what an honour it is to speak at the McRobie lecture... and to be told that Harry Baglole had suggested me as a speaker… Harry worked his magic on me like many in this room… casually inviting me to lunches to meet with other people.. And start things moving… I’m hoping he died with some optimism for our little island… and to know that he had a part in making that happen….

I did learn as a journalist... and there’s been some good research on this… that people’s beliefs are in many ways more important than new information or even new facts… we come to our beliefs through our upbringing.. our schooling… the church… our work and life experiences and we’re very reluctant to give these beliefs up…

Looking at this audience and the history and nature of these lectures over the years I don’t think what I’m going to tell you is too revolutionary... but maybe it will give you a few more reasons to fight the good fight….

I remember growing up... when we would say grace I always thought God can’t be that interested in chickens and squash… so shouldn’t we be thanking the farmers who produced the food???

So I’ve always had a soft spot... some of my colleagues at CBC would say a blind spot for farmers…. and you’ll probably sense that this evening….

Now many of us of a certain generation know Small is Beautiful but does anyone remember the second part of the title of the famous Schumacher book??? It’s -- and this is important—A Study of Economics as if People Mattered

Let’s think about that for a second…its sounds simple but i think it’s quite profound… and I’ll try to convince you that when it comes to agriculture we need to really say… that all people matter….

In Small is Beautiful and other books by Dr. McRobie… EF Schumacher talks about what he calls Buddhist economics… the idea of doing no harm… of the need for fairness amongst people… and respect for the natural world….

Schumacher writes:

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

I want to use those as the touchstones I’ll keep coming back to.

Another book along the same line and one I would recommend is this one called The Great Transformation, written by an Hungarian economist in the 1940’s after the 2nd World War, Karl Polanyi, makes in my mind a very good case that there’s nothing natural or inevitable with the market economy we’re living in now… it’s as much a human construct as free trade deals and the designated hitter in baseball… now I want to be clear that he’s not a Marxist.. Not trying to argue that state control is better… but he fits in more with the ideas of Schumacher... and perhaps Thomas Pikkity’s more current writings about the basic inequality that’s built into our current economic system… all are saying that there’s nothing natural or inevitable about what is called the market system... and that we have to continually question whether the system is working the way it should…

What I want to try to convince you is that niggling worry at the back of all of our heads that something’s not quite right in the way our economy works is probably right... and I’m going to argue... especially for primary producers….

Now I want to be clear that I don’t want anybody feeling sorry for farmers… they’re grownups who’ve made a choice in their work... and have the potential year to year to make a bundle…

But I do feel from what I hear and read that many in the general public... not in this room mind you… mis-read what’s going on in agriculture… as the number of farmers shrinks… and existing farms get bigger… as many family farms create a corporate structure… many think this is being driven by greed… I’m not saying there aren’t greedy farmers who act badly… what I’m saying is that from what I’ve learned over the years this is really being driven more by a fight for survival… in a marketplace that’s become quite hostile for farmers…

So let’s look at that marketplace for farmers…. the economics that farmers see just beyond the farm gate has changed very dramatically in our lifetime… and I’d say more…. that this change has generally been good for everyone but primary producers…. consumers have never paid such a small percentage of their incomes for food… about 9 to 11%… second only to even cheaper food in the united Utates… and while farmers used to get about 30% of the food dollar.. Now gets less than 10%…

Now I’m not saying that every farmer is losing money every year. An ag economist once told me that in any year a third through good luck / good management will make money... and a third will lose money… it’s that middle third you have to watch… i call then the solid citizens... the farmers who don’t complain... don’t brag…

But certainly we’ve all heard stories about farm families that have pretty solid histories running into trouble... their equity slowly being lost... banks asking them to go somewhere else…and we can look at some figures… a decade ago PEI farmers had about 600 million dollars of debt…. in 2017 that had gone up to 822 million…. across Canada farm debt has climbed steadily since 1993 to over $92 billion… and that does not include car loans and home mortgages… now economists say as long as assets like farmland are increasing farmers can cope with this debt.. but another worrying statistic came out 2 weeks ago about the debt to equity ratio of farmers…. Farm Credit (Corporation) reported that the debt to equity ratio -- which is an important indicator of a farm’s ability to survive tough times -- had gone down (which is good) everywhere in Canada but the Atlantic region and BC where it had gone up… in other words farms in our area are in more financial risk than elsewhere….

So why is this…?

Many of the market safeguards that were developed to help farmers properly deal with unstable markets and risk have disappeared…. many of the most important ones for the Maritimes were brought in because of food shortages in the second World War…. feed freight assistance that sought to make the economics of livestock production more equal across the country… there was a transportation subsidy to allow Atlantic area manufacturers and producers get their goods to the big consumer markets in central Canada… both of these disappeared in Paul Martin’s 1995 budget where he was determined to balance the books come hell or high water… and transportation costs has become an Achilles' heel especially for PEI farmers…

And the United States used to play a very important role in income stability for farmers... since the depression in the 1920’s the U.S. government had become a clearing house for grains and other crops... Buying up surpluses or paying farmers not to plant when prices were going down... releasing those surpluses when prices were rising… and one of the purposes of this policy was to protect farmland… the Dustbowl had created vivid memories of what can happen when soil conservation isn’t central to farm policy… but this has ended too in our lifetime…

In the 1970’s it was Earl Butz, President Nixon’s agriculture secretary, who saw these depression era programs as socialism... and ended them... telling farmers to get big or get out... plant fencepost to fencepost… the government would subsidize production… and find new overseas markets…. what followed and continues to this day is huge production of corn and soybean underpinning cheap food policies and the fast food industry… all of this continues to matter to Canada… grain and livestock prices here continue to be established at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Now what’s important for us here is that at the same time this was happening Canada took a completely different route… this was the era of Eugene Whelan and the establishment of supply management for those commodities like dairy, poultry and eggs where production levels could be controlled… we now know that the Trudeau government of the day knew Canada could not keep up financially in subsidizing farmers like the United States and Europe… and that’s why Whelan was able to convince the Liberal cabinet.. Which was very sceptical about controlling production… to win the day….

And if we come back to Schumacher’s test... good for people... good for the environment... good for the resource base… despite what Maxim Bernier and the business writers for The Globe and Mail and The National Post say i think supply management does all three…

And let’s think about this… if you were to google “dirty dairying” what comes up??? On Wikipedia it says, “Dirty dairying In New Zealand” -- "dirty dairying" refers to damage to the ecological health of New Zealand's freshwater environment by the intensification of dairy farming, and also to the high profile campaign begun in 2002 by the Fish and Game Council to highlight and combat this.

What’s going on in New Zealand?? It had a supply management system but dropped it to become an export powerhouse for dairy products… the country the Maxim Berniers of the world wants Canada to emulate... but when you want to become the low cost producer in the world, farmers have to intensify… milk more cows on the same land base in order to reduce costs… and you can see what happens…

Let’s look at something closer to home to link how the marketplace deals with farmers and in turn how that effects the natural world…

...we will have read about a provincial study looking at the slow deterioration of soils... principally the loss of organic matter… For eighteen years provincial and federal soil scientists have been measuring organic matter levels (a good indicator of soil health) at 600 sites around the province, a third of them each year. It’s certainly not every field, but the overall trend is decreasing organic matter levels since the survey began in 1998. Potato and grain production are causing the biggest decreases from about 3 and half percent in 1998 (just marginal) to less than 2% now. Soybean production did better but also reduced organic matter levels to just under 3%. Corn, especially when all the crop residue is left behind, held or increased organic matter. Corn is also frequently grown on dairy farms with good sources of manure, and the need for forages, hay and straw. The corn fields in the survey were at more than 5 and a half percent in 1998, climbing to over 6% now. On fields growing forages there was an increase in organic matter from 3 to almost 4%.

Now I want to say that I believe this is getting better... that there’s a lot of attention being given to rotation crops at Harrington agriculture Canada’s research station… and... There’s some irony here... the fight against wireworm using brown mustard and buckwheat has farmers plowing in cover crops rather than harvesting… and some potato growers have spoken publicly about how potato harvests have improved because of this.. And one final note... and this really made me smile… there is a twitter hash tag that island farmers have started using “feeding the soil” with farmers showing off what they’re doing to add organic matter to the soil….

Again if we look at the marketplace especially for process potato growers(the French fry business), we see very marginal if not negative returns… and farmers have started using the rotation years to generate some income growing soybean and corn… and again another small wrinkle.. The courts and crop rotation regulations have ruled that corn and soybean are not regulated row crops… but instead are treated like forages and grains which can be grown continuously...

I wanted to say something about one more change in the marketplace for farmers… and again bring us back to Schumacher’s “economics as if people mattered” statement… that’s the consolidation in the food processing… and retailing businesses…

Now this is a little than the big getting bigger… which it definitely is... but part of it relates to changes in the United States.

It started in the late 1970’s after Robert Bork, a failed U.S. Supreme Court nominee (in 1987), wrote a book called The Antitrust Paradox. He argued that legally enforcing competition allowed inefficient companies and producers to survive. He wrote that anti-trust regulations should focus solely on “the welfare of consumers.” In other words, if consumers are getting good value because a very few dominant companies exercise their economic power, that’s just as it should be. It tells us why no one is blinking an eye about the recent mergers and acquisitions in the food industry, and no one will.

And we all know the market power of Walmart. Loblaws Sobeys… Metro in Quebec… Costco... etc... I’m not questioning whether consumers should get fair value… and I would argue they are... it’s that the market power of these companies allows them to find their profits by squeezing suppliers including farmers instead….

And here’s where the people part of this matters… as I talked to farmers over the last twenty years they all talked about the relationship they used to have with their buyers… these people were friends.. Christmas cards would be exchanged…. but then slowly over time this changed… to the point now that packers will call a computer in Toronto... be told what the price is whether they want to sell…

(a note about Pat Ryan)

The thing about relationships... and this gets us back to Schumacher... is that people who care for each other’s welfare will treat each other fairly… maybe one year the buyer says I need a favour... can you drop the price to keep my boss happy.. The next year the farmers says I need a few more cents…. but when the relationship is linked purely by a number... purely by this is the price take it or leave it… and these big wholesalers and retailers can do this… then the partner in the relationship with less power loses…. and right now that’s always the farmer… right now food retailing is like the Game of Thrones.. And farmers are the disposable armies that go about slaughtering each other…

So how do we go about changing some of this… now when I was a reporter I used to be wary of people who said they knew what was going on and how to make it better.. So I don’t want anyone to think I’ve got a list of easy answers... I don’t…

Again if we take the Schumacher’s list... good for people... good for the environment…good for the resource base…

If... and it’s a big if... you accept some of what I’ve said about how hostile and difficult the marketplace has become for farmers… then maybe you’ll consider some of these ideas….

We’ve spent a good part of the last 20 years on PEI devising and arguing about ways to regulate farming practices… fish kills in the mid 1990’s (and I know they happened before then).. Rising cancer rates… created very real worries about pesticide use… a very real anxiety that commercial farming was killing us and the land… we debated crop rotations... buffer zones… how to manage sloping land… cattle out of streams etc. etc.… in essence the general public (and PEI has gone through the same urbanization as other areas) demanded their politicians do something to push farmers into doing the right things…. I’m going to suggest we need to look at this differently… and I can promise you amongst my back-to-the-land pals these ideas are not popular so I’m ready for some pushback… but I think we have to do things that would properly reward farmers for good farming practices… and rather than pushing/pull other farmers into improving how they farm…

Now government officials and many farmers won’t like this... but I think we need to bite the bullet and go back to what I thought was an inspired idea coming of the Roundtable on Resource Iand Use and Stewardship... Elmer MacDonald’s important effort in the 1990’s…. and that’s using organic matter levels as a way of measuring farming practices... Without that we see some farmers struggling to do the right things... and watching their neighbours using short cuts... depleting soils… making more money.. And with no immediate penalties… I want farmers who are doing the right things... the vast majority in my opinion to benefit from that… given that marketplace couldn't care less about these things…

And these are very small steps given that so much of what is produced on PEI is exported into markets none of us have much control over…. what I’d like to see from a marketing point of view are plan b’s… markets that pay fairly so farmers have more choices and may even be able to occasionally say no to their current buyer……

The first is something that’s already being worked on...

Canada is the only G8 country that has no national school meal program…

On PEI we have a patchwork quilt. Some meal programs are “for profit”, some are “non-profit”. They’re offered by service groups, local home and school associations, almost always volunteers...

Across Canada it’s reported that 15% of kids come to school hungry... on PEI that closer to 20%… and all of us can appreciate the unfairness to a kid who’s fidgeting behaving badly because he or she is hungry... not much learning going on.. A headache for teachers…

A program to offer both breakfast and lunch to all students on PEI wouldn’t be cheap… somewhere around 15 million a year... around 8 if it was just up to grade 6… but if the money created markets at fair prices that local farmers could count on then there could be conditions.. Maybe 10 to 15% would have to be organic and that would grow over time… farmers would have to show good soil management through organic matter tests... and then of course this could be expanded to all the other publicly funded food programs at hospitals… jails… seniors homes and so on… this would be a way of pulling farmers towards good markets.. But with environmental conditions attached… farmers win... school kids and seniors win... and the public wins…

There is a group I’m part of that’s working on the idea of a hub that would gather, freeze, and store local food to support all of this… Rick Doucet in New Brunswick who unfortunately just lost his seat earlier this week… was a strong proponent…

There’s political cover for this as well. A national group says a billion dollars a year is needed from the federal government to do this…. In the mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau to Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay it says this: “We will direct our resources to those initiatives that are having the greatest, positive impact on the lives of Canadians, and that will allow us to meet our commitments to them.” And MacAulay is asked to “Develop a food policy that promotes healthy living and safe food by putting more healthy, high-quality food, produced by Canadian ranchers and farmers, on the tables of families across the country.”

Now i do want to commend the big retailers for their efforts to promote local food… the big banners hanging in the stores are turning our local farmers into real people again… and this is important… the decision by Sobeys to sell beef from the Atlantic beef plant is a huge step forward…

What about asking the major food retailers to have 3 or 4 rows in stores devoted to local products AND at fair market prices…. would islanders be willing to pay a little more if they knew the money would get back to farmers…. I think many islanders who could afford it mind you would be prepared to do this….

And I think crop insurance could be used in another constructive way….

We’ve heard about the 4R program… and the work done by agrologist like Steve Watts... essentially showing farmers that by applying the right amount of fertilizer at the right time… farmers can cut back on fertilizer costs… and as important, protect groundwater and waterways from excess nitrate contamination… I’ve always considered this to be one of the most serious environmental challenges we face… anyway every summer there are good demonstration projects... a dozen farm or so that are participating… but how to get more buy in… the benefits are important…. commercial farmers here and elsewhere in the world must make sure that nitrates are used by plants… and not threatening water supplies or creating dead zones in waterways… when I ask farmers what it would take for wider adoption i get a version of: fertilizer is cheap insurance… I have to get a full crop in tonnage and size in order to pay the bills….

Given that the benefits of less fertilizer use are shared with the public... could crop insurance take on some of that additional risk of less fertilizer use for a 5 year trial period...… in other words… if farmers use the 4R program then the full income from normal crop production... not just costs… is protected… if the results continue as the research is indicating there should be very little risk to taxpayers… but if it can convince enough farmers that more careful use of fertilizer works… then we all certainly benefit…

The same might be done to convince farmers not to fall plow… again there is definite risk in waiting until the spring…. can that risk be shared with the public because the benefits accrue to all of us….

I want to talk about a very important and growing segment of our agriculture community... and that’s the really important young people getting into small scale farming… often vegetable and specialty livestock production… these are the farmers we all know and love…. my nephew Byron and his partner Carina are doing this.. I did it myself for 4 years in the 1970’s… and have several friends in the business… my concern so much of what they’re doing is driven by values... some would say idealism… and lifestyle…. we know they’re taking very good care of the land… producing excellent food… but from what I remember… and certainly what I hear talking to people doing this, the economics are very marginal… there just isn’t enough production to build up some savings when prices are good… is there some way we can give them a little more income stability… I’m going to make one suggestion... And it’s not based on making something brand new... but looking at the fishing industry…

Now many complain that lobster fishermen who can make a bundle are also eligible for employment insurance… but let’s look a little deeper… unlike the Maine lobster fishery which continues all year... lobster fishermen in the Maritimes have season tied to the biology of lobsters... to give them a chance to molt and reproduce…. perhaps the commercial oyster fishery is a better example… oyster harvesters must use tongs from small boats… which again protects the resource… there are seasons.. So it’s not year around... and they are eligible for EI payments based on the income they generate during the season... and there are targets they must meet… could we do something similar with our small farmers who produce and sell for 6 or 7 months a year…. they would have to hit certain income thresholds… protect the landbase… in order to qualify… would this be a way to give them a little bit more income stability…

I really think it’s something we need to work on because I want these farmers to succeed... they certainly hit all of the Schumacher benchmarks we talked about earlier…

As consumers we hear the constant drumbeat that cost, choice and convenience are all that matters… and we’re all guilty of giving into that… as well the modern consumer doesn’t like to be told what to do….

I think our actions as consumers… our demand for public policies…. must reflect that in this province there’s a strong link between the financial health of our primary producers…. and their ability to properly care and protect the land base... the air... and the water… I’m not saying that farmers in the end don’t have to take responsibility for the decisions and actions they take on a day to day basis….

I would welcome living in a province where 50...60...80... a 100% where small… medium sized organic farms… that farm families and communities had a sense of economic security… and every reason to treat the resource base with care and respect… we obviously don’t have that now… but I think it has as much to do with the rest of us.. As consumers… as citizens… as it does with farmers… the market for organic food in Canada has grown to 2.6%... now the growth has been striking and that represents billions of dollars… …. but until that 2.6% gets a lot bigger we can’t expect organic farm numbers to increase in the way many of us want them too…

We need to be resolutely… fanatically local… and recognize the opportunity we have here to be close to where our food comes from and the people who produce it… if we don’t live up to and promote the Schumacher standards…. is it good for people? All people… Is it good for the environment? Is it good for the resource base? In our day-to-day lives as consumers and citizens… why should anyone else…

Thank you.

Ian Petrie, September 2018

October 26, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews



(Candidate) Paul Haddad for Ward 1 Meet and Greet , 6:30-8:30PM, Downtown Deli, 58 Grafton Street. Facebook event link

Scary Things:

Glenaladale -- Spirits of the Past Walk, 6:30-8:30PM, Glenaladale House, Tracadie Cross. "...an evening tour of Glenaladale House where you will have a chance to meet some of the spirits of those who once resided here in this historical home. Admission:

$10 for adults, $5 for children under 12, $20 Family rate.

* We kindly ask that you do not wear masks if you plan on attending."

UPEI Music Department Haunted House, Steele Recital Hall, 7-11PM. Admission $8, discount for UPEI and Holland College students, bring items for the food bank to receive $1 off. Parental discretion for young children. Also Saturday, same time. Admission supports music scholarships.

Not sure about scary, but likely to be lots of fun:

Green Hallowe'en in Summerside, 7-10PM, Silver Fox Curling Club, Facebook event link here

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 27th:

Creating a Community Foraging Wall, 9AM-12noon, Orlebar Park, Charlottetown.

The Edible Trees Project will explore how to create a diverse edible foraging wall that incorporates fruit trees and shrubs, vines, herbs and other edible perennials into a low maintenance, edible landscape. Species planted will include: apple, sour cherry, witch hazel, raspberry, grapes, arctic kiwi, garlic and more.

The public will also have an opportunity to learn about emerald ash borer which is a forest pest that attacks and kills ash trees and has recently been found in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This is a rain or shine event and participants are asked to come dressed for planting activities (gloves not provided). Tools and materials will be provided. Facebook event link

Tuesday, October 30th:

PEI's Famous Five 25th Anniversary Conference, 9AM-3:30PM, UPEI. Currently taking names for a waitlist for space; see link for details. Adapted from the event description: In 1993, Premier Catherine Callbeck, Leader of the Opposition Pat Mella, Speaker of the House Nancy Guptill, Lieutenant Governor Marion Reid, and Deputy Speaker Elizabeth "Libbe" Hubley were elected and/or appointed to five of the most powerful positions in government." The forum will mark this milestone and its significance in the political history of PEI and Canada - and to discuss the role of women in government and leadership. Hosted by the PEI Interministerial Women's Secretariat, the University of Prince Edward Island, and the PEI Coalition for Women in Government.

Facebook event link


Gary Walker covers a lot of concerns in this letter -- the headline zeros in on just one of them.


OPINION: More stores trump CT scanner - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Gary Walker

$4 million for more retail space. But, to provide critical piece of medical equipment, we have to sell apple pies?

Ppublished on Thursday, October 25th, 2018

I think it was the apple pies that finally turned my stomach.

As an Island citizen, I request that our Liberal government resign. I believe that it is time for a ‘taxpayers' revolt.’ Sign me up.

Premier MacLauchlan – Nov. 21, 2017... "We have held ourselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct in our decision-making.... And we have been open and transparent in our effort to serve the best interests of our province and its people".

Did I read that, right?

No mention of the on-going PNP scams, forfeited deposits, numbered companies, non-recoverable loans, lawyers’ bills, monies given/ lent to First Nations, off-shore gambling, Sherwood Motel Canadians. Open and transparent – true, for all the items we were allowed to see.

The incredibly over-worked Karen Rose, information and privacy commissioner, constantly faces obstruction trying to get access to government financial reports – public property – while the Liberal government delays, defers, misplaces? Is this ‘transparency’? I believe Ms. Rose should have a judge on her staff - with the ability to serve warrants and subpoenas.

The Island’s economy is “on a tear,” Premier MacLauchlan - annual ‘State of the Province Address’ (Feb. 5th, 2018). "…one of the best things …to ensure continued growth and success is to simply highlight the positives by “telling our stories.” "Telling our stories." How about "telling the facts"?

Consider Clifford Lee's appointment to the government's 'Housing Action Plan'. A four-year position without a public competition. Yes, as a professional librarian (a retired Member of ALA) - I checked; thoroughly. It wasn’t easy.

Who, in government, suggested this appointment method, whose names were drawn up, by whom, and why was Mr. Lee selected?

Oh yes, the apple pies. Consider these articles from the Guardian (with my admitted heavy editing):

Oct 10th, 2018 - “The province approved a $4 million loan to 102253 P.E.I. Inc. - directors - Tim Banks and Jamie Hill - for redevelopment of the Sears property in Charlottetown into a shopping retail centre, with six to eight potential tenants.” Great! More stores. Only $4 million tax dollars.

And, the very next day - October 11, 2018: “Members of the Stratford and Area Lions Club, are selling apple pies and bags of fresh apples. Funds raised from this fall sale will help purchase a new CT scanner for the QEH’s Diagnostic Imaging Department. CT scanning is critical for patient outcomes in major trauma, for stroke victims, and for most cancer cases, and costs approximately $1.5 million.”

So, $4 million for more retail space. But, to provide a critical piece of medical equipment – we have to sell apple pies?

Here's a thought - lend the QE hospital $1.5 million dollars today, and order the new CT scanner - today. Then, use the remaining $2.5 million to help build some affordable housing.

I pay my taxes – as I should. My question is - where is the money being spent? Education will surely get a boost when I see frozen kids at the door, with chocolate bars, cheese, magazine subscriptions… This is how government values education. I charge you with misuse of taxpayers’ dollars.

The Opposition is making the classic mistake of dancing to the government’s tune. Stand up, give us a real plan for the province. Forget the carbon tax. What, China is going to stop burning coal? We are way past the tipping point beyond which we can keep this environment. Let’s have an annual State of the Environment address’ by the premier. That should be interesting.

Perhaps this commentary should be directed to Her Honour Antoinette Perry, our lieutenant-governor; only she has the power to slow, or stop this gravy train.

I am a citizen. Sue me for speaking out for my rights. Many Islanders would love to get Wade and all the rest of the boys on the stand, under oath.

I speak only for myself; I belong to no political party. That being said – “Welcome back, Dr. Herb Dickieson. You have seen illness, despair, poverty and hope – real life.”

What is my biggest fear for the Island? That we are running out of water. And we are.

- Gary Walker is a life-long educator and community advocate. He is probably, on his mother’s side, related to half of you.


Another Gary Walker letter is from April of 2018, about the 7 1/2 % paycut former Premier Catherine Callbeck inflicted on the workers of P.E.I. almost a quarter of century ago to cut the deficit (which he cites as about $700K then (I have heard other figures), and over two billion now).https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/opinion-bullied-by-government-202516/

OPINION: Bullied by government - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Gary Walker

The 1994 P.E.I. public sector wage rollback will not go away after 24 years

Published on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Dear Premier Wade MacLauchlan: I know all agree that bullying must be stopped. In our internet/cyber age, as in the past, the consequences of bullying have long-term negative effects; often for a life-time.

I was a small, timid boy; I remember the odd slaps, minor violence and verbal abuse - usually from teenagers - that I endured. I was upset at the time, but never felt in great danger. I knew it would pass. As it did.

But, “that was then, and this is now.” In preparing our income tax returns this year– a life-long affair, as we all know - I recalled the severe bullying – there is no other word for it – that your party inflicted on myself and countless others.

I refer to the public sector wage rollback of 1994. My wages, only, supported my wife, two young children and myself at the time your party bullied us. No trips to Florida, no skiing, no new cars for our family. I was a well-respected, competent teacher. I had taught, and dealt with more than one instance of abuse, with students and parents.

This year I calculated how much salary and pension dollars the rollback had cost me and my family. Unfortunately, I had to retire early for health reasons; nevertheless - I have, unwillingly, given over $30,000 to the province – with no end in sight.

To lower the debt? What a joke. In 1994 our provincial debt stood at $822,615,698. In 2017 (last figures available) the provincial debt stood at $2,171,896,000. So, it didn't really help, did it?

Public servants were singled out for this bullying. We felt protected – we had legal documents, contracts - which we had signed. Your party, Mr. Premier, bullied us severely - a 7.5 per cent wage and pension reduction - which apparently will follow us to the grave. Some 12,000 public sector employees and their families saw broken contracts by the Liberal government. Forever. I’m sure you can appreciate the irony - teaching students about bullying - while being bullied ourselves.

People have said to me, as well as to other public servants who endured the rollback to get over it. Right. We are criticized and vilified for still being upset. The public at large has long forgotten. I know one fact - if you are upset by this commentary it tells me only one thing - you donated nothing – you were not bullied. Try it - give 7.5 per cent of your salary this year to a worthy cause.

Why comment on this now? Why not now? Islanders are fed up with your government's waste of public tax dollars and stonewalling questions. Look at that provincial public debt. Where did all those millions go? The time has come to come to terms with your party’s broken promises.

We are still here. No more bullying. An end to this stealing. I know many will disagree with this opinion - show it – if you dare. We know all the names - the songwriter, the Charlottetown lawyer, the real estate owner, the pub owner . . . the others who applauded and continue, to get away scot-free.

We the bullied, are asking for an equitable end to this continued bullying. Personally, I would like a small cash settlement, and an end to my 7.5 per cent pension deduction. Too late? No. Treaties signed hundreds of years ago are still in force with our First Nation Peoples. Signed contracts are supposed to be binding. I deserved, and still deserve, the terms of the contract that I signed with the Liberal government in 1994.

Thank you, Mr. Premier, for your attention to this situation, which, has, and will not go away. Over 12,000 of us, and our families, await your reply.

- Gary Walker, Charlottetown, B.A.(UPEI), BEd (Dalhousie), MLIS (Western) is a retired school-teacher, vice-principal and professional teacher-librarian.

October 25, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Many, many events listed for the next coming weeks, if you want to mark your calendars.

Events tonight:

Meet and Greet with Conservative MP Blake Richards, 5:30-6:30PM, Olde Dublin Pub, Sydney Street, Charlottetown. (Very nice of the MP from Banff-Airdrie to visit.) Hosted by the PEI Progressive Conservative Party, and all welcome.

Cornwall Meet Your Candidate Night for 2018 Municipal Election, 7:30-9:30PM, Cornwall Civic Centre, free and refreshments provided. Mayoral and councilor candidates will be around for informal discussions and also making short prepared remarks to the attendees.

Facebook event link

The Fight for Affordable Housing: Reclaiming our Communities, 6:30-9:30PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. "Please join us in attending a community meeting surrounding the topic of housing on Prince Edward Island. We want to join together voices to determine the best way to advocate for affordable housing to preserve our communities.

There are many gaps and pressures that are keeping our community members from long term housing so we want to gain insight from all of you on this issue! Please join us and tell us your experiences so we can move forward together."

Facebook event link

Tomorrow, Friday, October 26th:

Green Hallowe'en in Summerside, 7-10PM, Silver Fox Entertainment Complex, tickets.

A grown-ups Hallowe'en party with costumes, music (Irish Rock, Modern and Folk), prizes. Proceeds to Districts 21, 22 and 23. Tickets Online at https://www.greenparty.pe.ca/green_halloween

or phone (902) 439-5957

Facebook event link

Alberton: Ten Thousand Villages Sale, Friday 10AM-8PM and Saturday, 10AM-3PM, Gordon Memorial United Church Hall, 396 Church St. "Ten Thousand Villages is hosting a sale of beautiful, fairly-traded gifts benefiting artisans from developing countries. The gifts you buy from Ten Thousand Villages will give the blessings of steady work, fair wages, and a better life for struggling families around the world. Your support makes a difference!"

November 2nd and 3rd will have Ten Thousand Villages in Summerside and Cornwall

Ten Thousand Villages Website

Sunday, October 28th:

27th Annual Daniel O'Hanley Memorial Lecture: Hon. David MacDonald presenting If You Love This World: Climate Justice and Indigenous Wisdom, 2PM, Our Lady of Assumption Parish Hall, Stratford. All welcome. Entertainment and refreshments will follow the lecture.

"The Honourable David MacDonald is a well-know Islander, a United Church of Canada minister since 1961. He has climate change credentials that go back to the late 1980s. As MP, he chaired the first permanent House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment. Atmospheric issues such as acid rain, ozone depletion and most of all, climate change were the central focus of its five-year mandate. In 1998, he was appointed by the United Church of Canada as a Special Advisor to address widespread Canadian and church concerns arising from the tragic and troubling history of Indian Residential Schools. His work centred primarily on facilitating negotiations with Indigenous leaders, survivors, the federal government, and church organizations. He actively participated in negotiations towards a Comprehensive Settlement Agreement, including a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that began in 2008 and concluded its mandate in 2015."

Saturday, November 3rd:The People's Forum on Just Trade and Development, 1:30-4:30PM, Farm Centre. Free but please register for space and refreshments planning. Co-hosted by Trade Justice PEI and the UPEI Mawi'omi Centre. from the notice:

Pam Palmater is awesome by all accounts - not to be missed. She will be our Keynote speaker and will start the afternoon. She will speak on "The Impact of International Trade Agreements on Aboriginal Peoples". Gavin Fridell is also a great animator. His topic will be "Free Trade and Beyond" and he will guide our thoughts for the group discussions and help us imagine a world with just trade practices. It will be FUN, Inspiring and empowering!

Facebook event link

Monday, November 5th:

Together 2018 Charlottetown: Atlantic Council for International Coorperation, 12:45-4PM, UPEI, Memorial Hall Room 308. Free but registration requested. Hear from local panelists as they discuss their work on Sustainable Development Goal #5 Gender Equality. Plus networking and watch the live-stream report on Canada’s progress on the SDGs and hear from Shiza Shahid, Malala Fund Co-founder. To register, email selvi@acic-caci.org by Friday, November 2nd.

Live panel discussion on the Sustainable Development Goal #5 (Gender Equality) with

    • Jillian Kilfoil, Executive Director, Women’s Network PEI who will be speaking to what gender equality means on PEI and what efforts the Women's Network is involved in to further gender equality.

    • Susan Hartley formerly with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Rotary Peace Fellow, will share about the concept of gender equality in international settings and the role of women in Canada.

    • Jane Ledwell, Executive Director, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Saturday, November 10th:

Annual Voluntary Resource Centre Fundraising Breakfast, 8:30-10:30AM. This breakfast raises funds for the Centre's activities, and spotlights and honors several amazing Island volunteers. Silent auction items, too. A good time to be around some wonderful Islanders. (It is too bad this is after the municipal elections, as there was Great Cake Bidding a few years ago between some candidates; perhaps the new mayor and council will come and show their support.)

Facebook event details


Article: From CBC Online, about the Charlottetown mayoral candidates' debate last night:

Guardian coverage online (they go to press too soon to have covered it in the print edition(!) ) The Guardian says there will be more coverage next week Thursday and Friday about the elections.


It was reported to me that citizens did go to MP Lawrence MacAulay's office yesterday to deliver the Climate Change report -- kudos to them.

It's now time to see some leadership on this, some long range vision, from all levels of government and society,rising above the distractions.

From The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-isnt-the-media-covering-climate-change-all-day-every-day/2018/10/16/91fef576-d09d-11e8-8c22-fa2ef74bd6d6_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9d21d8dc356d

Original Washington Post column link

Why isn’t the media covering climate change all day, every day? - The Washington Post article The Nation columnist Katrina vanden Heuvel

Published on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018, in The Washington Post, originally excerpted in The Nation

At a time when the president shouting “fake news” is old news and daily scandals are the new normal, it is both difficult and important for the media to strike a balance between the serious and the sensational. I understand how tough that tension is. Every day at the Nation, we try to cover what is important, but that’s not always easy — especially when much of the media privileges stories with the biggest shock factor.

Over one seven-day period this summer, when children were being separated from their families at the border, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News dedicated only 1 hour and 8 minutes to the crisis — combined. During that same span, the three networks spent 34 hours and 28 minutes covering Omarosa Manigault Newman and her tell-all book.

The same thing is happening right now. Last week, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a watershed report on climate change, warning that a bigger crisis could come sooner than we thought.

Last week, The Post and the New York Times ran front-page articles with the news as well as analyses and reactions about the report over the days that followed. But if you flipped on your television, you likely didn’t hear much, if anything, about it. You might have heard about President Trump’s latest rally or Kanye West’s visit to the White House, but this earth-shattering story was buried. As Politico’s Dan Diamond tweeted Sunday, “The landmark report has essentially disappeared from the news.”

In a recent column for The Post, Margaret Sullivan said the media must cover climate change as if it’s “the only story that matters.” The Pentagon has stated that climate change is a threat to national security. The World Bank has warned about the devastating impact of rising temperatures on economies. Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, has said that “climate change is actually the biggest thing that’s going on every single day.”

So why isn’t the media covering this story all day, every day? There are several reasons, including the collapse of local daily newspapers and excessive conglomeratization. But the biggest reason right now is distraction. As Sullivan put it, “There is just so much happening at every moment, so many trees to distract from the burning forest behind them.”

Climate change has been described as a “catastrophe in slow motion.” But the Trump administration could be called a catastrophe at full speed. The distractions are relentless.

The corporate media seems to prefer distractions and even capitalizes on them. At least, that’s what veteran journalist Ted Koppel suggested in a recent conversation with CNN’s Brian Stelter. “CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump,” Koppel said.

Stelter rebutted later in a tweet that the cable news business is “more complex than he makes it seem.”

Is it? In corporate media, ratings are prized above all else. So, the president gets his reality show because scandal plays better — and pays better — than substance. Then-CBS chief executive Les Moonves admitted as much in 2016 when he said that Trump’s political ascent was “damn good for CBS” and bragged that “the money’s rolling in.”

But what is “damn good“ for the American people? After all, the airwaves belong to them. They need to be informed. They aren’t spectators; they are citizens.

Networks including Fox News are dialing back their coverage of Trump’s rallies (which are huge spectacles). But when they were still airing those rallies live and in full, Vox founder Ezra Klein asks, “What are we crowding out when we let him decide what we cover, every time he does a rally?”

After last week, the answer became much easier: climate change.

Even with less coverage of the rallies, early morning tweets and late-night bombshells could permanently crowd climate change out of the news cycle. Unless the media makes a change. Unless it makes a decision to pursue the serious along with the sensational, the important along with the shocking.

It is a difficult balance. It will require fresh thinking. But it can be done.

Chris Hayes, Nation editor at large and MSNBC host, is trying to do it, and I know he would like to do even more. Last Monday, Hayes covered the U.N.’s report on climate change. He interviewed climate activist Tom Steyer, asking him, “How do you connect the scope of the challenge [of climate change] to the marginal and incremental things that can be done in the now?”

That’s an important question. CNN would be wise to ask questions like it during the network’s prime-time Florida gubernatorial debate this month. And with Hurricane Michael wreaking havoc in that state, every outlet has an opportunity to explore the connections between climate change and massive, destructive storms right now.

The media has a responsibility to inform, and it has the power to decide what is and is not in the national conversation. Climate change demands to be a constant and significant part of that conversation, and the media has a vital role in making that happen. Anything less would be media malpractice. --

(more related stories at the link)


So why isn’t the media covering (Climate Change) all day, every day? There are several reasons...But the biggest reason right now is distraction. As (Margaret) Sullivan put it, “There is just so much happening at every moment, so many trees to distract from the burning forest behind them.” -- from the story above.

So let's not let ourselves be so distracted.

October 24, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Wednesday, October 24th:

"On October 24th, deliver the IPCC's catastrophic climate report on 1.5°C to your MP and call on them to pledge that, before the next election, they will propose, champion and support legislation to update Canada’s climate policies and bring them in line with the urgency called for in the IPCC report. You can visit any time during regular office hours, by yourself or with a group of friends. For more information on how you can prepare for the action, visit: http://bit.ly/DeliverIPCCMP "

Here are organized ones from the 350.org website:

Wayne Easter, Malpeque MP, 9AM, Hunter River office

Details from 350.org

Sean Casey, Charlottetown MP, 9AM, 75 Fitzroy Street office

Details from 350.org

Bobby Morrissey, Egmont MP, 9AM, Summerside office (263 Heather Moyse Drive)

Details from 350.org

(Still no info about any organized visit to Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay's office that I could find.)

If you cannot go at this time -- consider calling or e-mailing today -- their staff does take notice of these things.

Contact info:

Sean Casey

Wayne Easter

Bobby Morrissey

Lawrence MacAulay



Indigo Fundraiser for the Women's Network, 5-9PM, Indigo Bookstore at University Avenue, Charlottetown. "In support of our annual Celebrate Island Women fundraiser, Women's Network PEI invites you to come by Indigo and hear a bit more about our awesome upcoming fundraising event at Florence Simmons Hall, grab some good reads, and support our organization.

15% of sales this evening from 5pm - 9pm go towards Women's Network PEI and helps support the work we do. We have dedicated ourselves to improving the staus of women in our community for over 30 years by creating opportunities for women to build on their knowledge, skills, and abilities while celebrating their achievements and potential."

Facebook event link

Meet Alanna in Ward 1 Social, 5-6:30PM, Hopyard, Kent Street. Charlottetown Ward 1 candidate Alanna Jankov, refreshments, entertainment.

Facebook event link

Charlottetown Mayoral Debate, 7-9PM, UPEI Student Union main room (MacMillan Hall).

Also on Eastlink TV stations but not sure about any free broadcast.

Eastlink asks you be at UPEI by 6:45PM. Parking is likely to be tight (but should be free at this time).


Friday, October 27th:

Glenaladale -- Spirits of the Past Walking Tour, 6:30-8:30PM, Glenaladale Heritage Property.

Facebook event link


from Three Takeaways from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, courtesy of Common Dreams Report:

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/10/20/three-key-takeaways-ipcc-report-15-degrees-warmingThe quick summary is this: It’s clear that the IPCC’s 1.5-degree report clarifies and adds urgency to our call for a managed decline of fossil fuel production. Winding down the largest source of carbon emissions—the oil, gas, and coal extracted by the fossil fuel industry—will be essential to achieving deep cuts in carbon emissions within the next decade, as the report warns is necessary. In this post, I’ll unpack three key takeaways:

1. We need to aim to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, not just “well below 2 degrees.”

2. There is no room for new fossil fuels in a 1.5-degree world, even with a larger range of estimated carbon budgets.

3. There is no time to lose in rapidly reducing emissions. ---------------------------------------

Yesterday, I received a lot of press releases from the hive of media people working for the Premier ("Response to the federal government's decision regarding its climate change plan" and "Provincial student assessments results now available online", etc.) but nothing about this, which the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) is keeping tabs on:

P.E.I. Government is giving AquaBounty a $2million loan for its GMO fish plant, for the expansion and repurposing that skirted around a proper environmental assessment. Farm raised salmon, GMO or not (and since unlabeled, who knows if it is or isn't) is not a good environment choice of protein for feeding people.

FYI: Press Release from CBAN


"Bee Current" has produced a cute little 5-minute animated video of the choices in the British Columbia electoral reform referendum:


available for anyone to watch (Facebook account or not)

October 23, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events Today:

Charlottetown: FIN Kids Festival Tour, 9AM-1:30PM, Cineplex Theatres, Charlottetown. "... the best films for youth, covering a wide variety of topics from multiculturalism, technology, environmentalism, and inclusivity.

Formerly known as ViewFinders, #FINKids has changed its name to reflect its status as an integral part of the FIN family of events and activities, which also includes the Atlantic International Film Festival in September.

Our mission is the same: to present curated movies and shorts exploring vast emotional journeys that engage, entertain and invigorate Atlantic Canadians. As always, we aim to provide our youth audience with a diverse program of films from the Atlantic provinces, Canada as a whole, and an international setting."

Facebook event link

I am assuming some kids get field trips organized to go see this, but it appears open to the public.


Green Drinks Charlottetown, 7-9PM, Upstreet Craft Brewing, 41 Allen Street. "...an informal gathering where all those Green and Green-curious are invited to connect and get to know one another, and talk about the issues important to you. This time, we'll be gathering at Upstreet Craft Brewing - the first business on PEI to obtain B-Corp Certification. Certified B Corporations are part of a global movement of leaders that find innovative new ways to use business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems."


Wednesday, October 24th:

"On October 24th, deliver the IPCC's catastrophic climate report on 1.5°C to your MP and call on them to pledge that, before the next election, they will propose, champion and support legislation to update Canada’s climate policies and bring them in line with the urgency called for in the IPCC report. You can visit any time during regular office hours, by yourself or with a group of friends. For more information on how you can prepare for the action, visit: http://bit.ly/DeliverIPCCMP "

Here are organized times:

Wayne Easter, Malpeque MP, 9AM, Hunter River office

Details from 350.org

Sean Casey, Charlottetown MP, 9AM, 75 Fitzroy Street office

Details from 350.org

Bobby Morrissey, Egmont MP, 9AM, Summerside office (263 Heather Moyse Drive)

Details from 350.org

(There is no event planned for Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay's office that I could find.)


Thursday, October 25th

Meeting: The Fight for Affordable Housing: Reclaiming our Communities, 6:30-9:30PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. "... a community meeting surrounding the topic of housing on Prince Edward Island. We want to join together voices to determine the best way to advocate for affordable housing to preserve our communities.

There are many gaps and pressures that are keeping our community members from long term housing so we want to gain insight from all of you on this issue! Please join us and tell us your experiences so we can move forward together."

Facebook event link


A fraction of generally smaller municipalities didn't get enough nomination forms from people for the role of councilors as there are seats submitted by the deadline last week, and it has been extended for a week, reports this CBC online story. (If there are still vacancies, Communities, Land and Environment Richard Brown has the authority to appoint anyone or other measures, which should be enough incentive to get some people to put their name forward.)

Someone wondered how provincial and federal elections can be followed so avidly, but apparently there are not enough people interested on the local level.

The gaps are likely due to a couple of reasons -- local governance is often shrugged off by many residents, since things seem to run pretty well without their interest, and they are busy with their lives and families; interest could hardly be what it is for that shiny sparkly level of provincial and federal elections. Also, the responsibilities this year were a bit fiddly for many -- figure out where the forms were, find five eligible residents (not including yourself) to sign your nomination papers, deliver it by some deadline during the day Friday to some office, etc. Also, the election is a couple of weeks away; the tradition has been the community decides on the night of their meeting who will offer and if more people than seats, an election is held.

And finally, what are people signing up for? A four-year commitment to make sure their community meets the demands of the Municipal Government Act on its timetable, or be subject to being "dismissed" by the Minister, or (perhaps worse), having him come find you in what you do the hours your not volunteering as a municipal councilor and make promises that one wonders how he can keep. :-)


This article by 350.org's founder, Bill McKibben, about the very dark side of being an outspoken activist when rebuttals are easy and anonymous on-line.


Let’s Agree Not to Kill One Another - The New York Times article by Bill McKibben

I was used to social media abuse. Then someone suggested shooting me.

By Bill McKibben, published on Saturday, October 20th, 2018, in The New York Times

Mr. McKibben is a founder of the environmental activism group 350.org.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — In a world where the president goes on Twitter to call a woman “horseface” it seems pointless to call for “civility.” So let me suggest that we start with a lower bar, maybe one we could still hope to achieve: Let’s stop threatening to kill one another.

One morning last week I had to write to a young colleague in the environmental movement. He works in South America, he’d been getting death threats over social media and he was rightly alarmed. I could counsel him a little because I myself have been getting them, sporadically, for a long time. But I couldn’t counsel him much, because what is there to say beyond “Be careful, know that it’s a tribute to your effectiveness and don’t hesitate to take some time off”?

I was his age when I first started getting such threats, in the 1990s, and they’ve escalated over the years as campaigns I’ve helped organize against pipelines or for fossil fuel divestment have gained traction. I remember one police officer telling me that “the ones who write you aren’t the ones who shoot you,” which I found comforting for about 15 seconds till I thought through its implications.

My practice has been just to delete threats from my email — I find that if I don’t, I keep looking at them, and I imagine (I hope) the main goal of their authors is to distract me. If you’re going to be a lightning rod, some sparks are probably the price.

An hour after I’d written to that young man, though, something happened that moved me to think about this more thoroughly. It began last week when The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed article of mine describing a trial in Minnesota where some protesters — acting peacefully, threatening no one and informing the company they were protesting against — engaged the emergency shut-off valves on two pipelines and forced the company to temporarily shut off the flow of oil from Canada’s tar sands into the United States.

The case against the protesters had been dismissed on the grounds that they’d done no damage; I was trying in my essay to explain why nonviolent civil disobedience helped in the fight for a workable climate.

Not everyone agreed. Indeed, a few hours after my essay appeared, a website called Watts Up With That? published an attack on my article. This enterprise — which bills itself as the most widely read website about the climate, and claims about three million to four million visitors a month — is devoted to proving we have nothing to fear from climate change. The author of the blog post, David Middleton, called me a misfit and made reference to my “sunken chest.” Sure, whatever. Sadly, this just seems to be how politics unfolds in the age of Trump.

But then the commenters went at it. One said: “Anybody got Bill McKibben’s home address? Let’s see how he really feels about ‘civil disobedience’ if it shows up at his front door.”

” Another added, “Give him a smack for me.” One or two tried to calm people down. But there was also this comment, from someone named “gnomish:” “There is a protocol worth observing: S.S.S. It stands for shoot, shovel and S.T.F.U. Hope that saves you some trouble.”

This “protocol” was left over from the right-wing fight against endangered species laws. If, say, a protected woodpecker was on your land, the “Three S’s” doctrine held that you should kill it, bury it and keep your mouth shut about it. It was, in this case, a public call for someone to murder me, and not long afterward another commenter, “Carbon Bigfoot,” supplied my home address.

All of which stopped me cold.

I thought I was inured to social media abuse. But this was something new: a calm public discussion about how to find me and what to do to me. No one deleted the comment by “gnomish.” The conversation just kept spiraling along.

I know that this is much worse for women; I shudder to think what Christine Blasey Ford’s email has been like lately. I know enough American history to understand that for people of color the deed has followed the threat with chilling regularity. I know that it’s worse in other places — 207 environmentalists or defenders were killed last year around the world. I have no idea if these people actually wish to murder me, though it’s disconcerting to imagine who among those millions of visitors to the site will read the comments and decide to drive to my house.

But aside from my own fear — and I’m now installing surveillance cameras, because it turns out that public death threats slash through some of the psychic insulation privilege provides — what really bothered me was the matter-of-factness of it all. What does it say about a society when people just routinely call for the killing of those they disagree with? You’ll note that “gnomish” abbreviated his profane phrase, because curse words are banned on this website. But its moderators apparently just read right past the death threat.

Threatening to kill or rape someone shouldn’t be banal. It should shock everyone who comes across such a threat. And that should go without saying, except that increasingly it doesn’t, not in a world where the president has said that he longed for the days when disruptive protesters were carried away from the scene “on a stretcher.” It’s perversely heartening to see that the apparent murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi seems to have temporarily interrupted business as usual. Such shock and outrage is crucial, because in a world where dissenters are dismembered, there’s no hope for change. The prospect that you’ll be killed for what you say makes discussion essentially impossible. A society in which critics fear death is a society with fewer critics, and hence with fewer chances for change.

I count nonviolence as perhaps the greatest invention of the 20th century, above all because it opens up the possibility for conversion, not domination. That was the point of my op-ed essay, the one that garnered me the death threat. But we should practice nonviolence in ways small as well as large, prosaic as well as dramatic.

In the case of Watts Up With That, I’d made the effort at de-escalation myself. A few years ago, I was scheduled to give an organizing talk in the small California town where the website’s proprietor, Anthony Watts, lived. So I contacted him and invited him out for a beer. I knew I wouldn’t change his mind on climate change, and he knew I would continue to think his work involved wrecking the planet. But it always seems like a human idea to reach out.

And it was fine. We had a couple of beers, he wrote up an account of our conversation for his website, and even most of the commenters saluted us for sitting down and talking. (It was odd enough that it even got covered in The Times). But given the political world in which we live, a world in which tribes divide up and then beat their chests, it wasn’t long before things were back to new ugly normal.

I don’t want this website shut down; I don’t want the people who write on it prosecuted. I definitely don’t want them murdered. I just want — as the very beginning of some kind of return to the gentler old normalcy — for people to stop making death threats. That seems to me the least we can ask of one another.

Bill McKibben, a founder of 350.org, teaches environmental studies at Middlebury College and is the author of the forthcoming book “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?”


"We all place ourselves in danger to one degree or another when we stand up,

But we place our children and grandchildren in even greater danger when we don't."

(original source unknown)

October 22, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews



Summerside Mayoral Debate, 6-9PM, Harbourfront Theatre. Candidates (including those for Council) meet and greet with the public and debate starting at 6:45PM.

Facebook event link


Health PEI Annual General Meeting, 6:30-9PM, Rodd Charlottetown and to be live-streamed.

Wednesday, October 24th:


Step Up to the Plate Fundraising Dinner for the PEI Food Exchange.

With the Mayoral candidates' debate and other events going on that evening, the organizers send word that they will not hold the dinner on this date.

Charlottetown Mayoral Debate, 6:30-9PM, MacMillan Hall, UPEI (location to be confirmed -- it should be in a big space) Will also be on Facebook and Eastlink.

Facebook event link


A leak in the current effluent pipe system at the Pictou, Nova Scotia paper mill has been determined after its annual inspection.

CBC online story


Paul MacNeill comments on the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative outlook.

PEI Canada website link

Tory leadership stalls after big fish flop - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018, in The Graphic publications

If Island Tories thought the sudden resignation of James Aylward would open floodgates to a bounty of top tier leadership hopefuls, they were wrong. Almost a month later and no one has officially jumped aboard the decade long leadership merry-go-round that has stymied the party from building credibility with the electorate. Reports indicate several are kicking the tires, but when, or if, they jump in is unknown.

When Aylward quit less than a year after becoming leader, party operatives had hoped to attract a major Island name to immediately reset the SS Tory. And for a few days the PC caucus thought they had a big fish on the line.

A potential candidate was feted and in a closed-door meeting all members of caucus promised their support. It explains why the eight member opposition were so quick to proclaim that none would seek the leadership.

However, the hoped for leader, never as serious a potential candidate as the party believed, backed down, throwing out the window the PC timeline for a leadership contest to crown a PEI version of Doug Ford or Donald Trump by December 1.

It has left the party scrambling to find a candidate or two that can salvage some credibility for the leadership process.

Since being turfed in 2007 many Tories believe all they have to do is wait long enough and eventually the keys to the provincial government will be theirs. But the Green Party under Peter Bevan-Baker, combined with repeated PC missteps, now has even the most optimistic Tory worried. Liberals under Wade MacLauchlan are on the ropes. Canadian voters are turning against long-serving governments. Yet the PCs are unable to grab a foothold, standing an anemic third place with 20 per cent support after 11 long years in opposition while Greens lead the most recent provincial polls.

It has created an air of desperation for both old-line parties.

Bevan-Baker’s popularity is difficult to pinpoint. He offers a brand of politics the Island has not seen in many years: Direct, but civil debate, likeable, and politically savvy without appearing hyper partisan. Perhaps most importantly, he is neither a Conservative or Liberal. He is building the Greens into his own likeness. Despite the newness, or perhaps because of it, Islanders are interested. The Greens of today are closer to Red Tories under Angus MacLean of 40 years ago than the current PC Party is.

It makes the task of finding a new Tory leader all the more difficult. The knee-jerk decision of caucus to immediately throw its collective support and strength behind a potential candidate only reinforces all the mistakes of the past decade. Perception of ability to win is seen as more important than debating what the party actually believes in and setting a long-term course. While the public sees sincerity in Bevan-Baker, they see opportunism and manipulation in the Tories.

To begin the difficult task of getting off the mat, the party needs to recognize that forming a future government is not a right, but an earned privilege. It needs to stand for something rather than trying to hit an electoral grand slam with the election of every new leader. This formula has failed time and again.

It is questionable whether the party has the time to inspire a true debate about the future; a debate that could actually attract party faithful back, and potentially voters parking support with the Greens.

More difficult to determine is if the party is even interested in doing the heavy lifting needed of rebuilding. Any attempt by the backroom to source a leader to fit perceived voter preference is likely to appear phoney.

And that could mean the once proud party still has not learned the most basic of lessons from a decade in the wilderness.

Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at paul@peicanada.com


Also, last week Paul MacNeill shared the link to this 1974 National Film Board 20-minute film called Eastern Graphic, about the work of his father, Jim MacNeill. The sideburns.

From: https://www.nfb.ca/film/eastern_graphic/

Eastern Graphic: This short film takes a look at Prince Edward Island through the eyes of Jim McNeil, editor and publisher of the Eastern Graphic, the Island's only weekly. Filmed during the 1974 provincial election, the film places particular emphasis on grass-roots politicking and the newspaper's role in reporting on it.

October 21, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Today is the last open day for apple-picking at MacPhee's orchard in Woodville Mills, 10AM-until they run out or 6PM. Good eating and winter storage varieties available.

Facebook page

Other U-pick orchards are winding down for the season, too, but roadside fruitstands will have stock for a while.

PEI Symphony Orchestra, 2:30PM, Zion Presbyterian Church, corner of Prince and Grafton Streets. Tickets at the door. First concert of the year.

Symphony details.


A sardonic but true description from the Canadian web newspaper National Observer, from this week:

Turns out we can all relax about last week’s scary report by the world’s climate scientists - Donald Trump’s got it covered. Apparently he didn’t just inherit a mountain of cash but also a “natural instinct for science.”

National Observer has been following the implications of that report for our country. The editors have been beating the drums calling for political leaders to read the damn thing and tell us what they plan to do.

You can follow this story through the reader-supported series Race Against Climate Change.

The House of Commons did finally hold a debate on climate breakdown. Short version: the Conservatives showed no interest at all, the Liberals aren’t promising anything new, the NDP says they should, and Elizabeth May got to give a killer speech.

From the North

The incomparable Sheila Watt-Cloutier wrote a powerful argument for humanizing the climate debate. "While Inuit and the world’s other Indigenous peoples are among the most seriously affected by climate change, we do not accept the role of victims"

The paper gives some free articles, has regular subscriptions and usually has subscription sales a few times a year.

National Observer website


One of my Island heroes, Joan Diamond:


LETTER: Big enough to effect change - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

The old adage “if you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem” is ringing more and more true these days. Amid a firestorm of discussions about ways to change the trajectory of global warming, I have come across many who say things like: “P.E.I. is so small, we won’t make any notable impact” and “I am only one person, it’s on governments and corporations to make this right.” While I agree that it is most certainly up to governments and corporations to change, it’s citizens who dictate changes by advocating for them every chance we get.

We can do it in many ways, including voting for people who are taking actions to fight climate change, contacting your local municipal, provincial and federal representatives to urge them to take immediate action, and getting involved in groups and movements that are making change happen.

There are also a multitude of small things that we could change, but sadly, many are content either to not think about it at all, or to believe it is up to someone else to take charge. News flash – it is up to us. Stop using drive-thrus, put a no flyer notice on your mailbox, lower your energy consumption by using transit, walk or cycle when you can, support renewable energy initiatives and for God’s sake, put on a sweater, rather than turning up your thermostat.

It is this attitude of not being big enough to make a difference that fuels the entire problem.

Joan Diamond, New Dominion


Keep in mind to join people, Wednesday, October 24th, 9AM, bringing the IPCC Climate Change reports to MPs' offices on the island. More info (including Wayne Easter's office dot in the wrong location, but that will get fixed, and there is no mention of Lawrence MacAulay):



(and if you are one of those people who confuse affect and effect -- or one of those who thinks it's as simple as the former is always a verb and the latter is always a noun -- this "Grammarly" web article explains why "to effect change" is correct (toward the middle of the article)


October 20, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

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

Murray Harbour Farmers' Market, (9AM-12noon), honouring veterans today with special displays. "Saturday, the Murray Harbour Farmers Market recognizes the service of those who answered the call and served Canada in time of unrest and in times of peace. We are thrilled to have a display featuring our local heros who served Canada and a variety of pieces o& memorabilia. If you have a picture or items you would like to include in the display, it’s not too late. Just make sure you drop it off at the market before 9AM. Our regular vendors will be on hand and the treat of the day is war cake and bannock. So see you at the Market and take some time to honour a veteran!"

Facebook event link


Victoria-By-the-Sea Christmas Stroll, various shops hosting special events, 10AM-7PM (various), including craft fairs at the The Grand Victorian and the Orient Hotel. Shops open and many with major sales.

Sunday -- 11AM-7PM (various), featuring horse & buggy rides, carols in the street, and various other events.

Facebook event link.


Up With People Day PEI, 6-9PM, Central Queens United Church, Hunter River. From Up With People (UWP) alumnus Brad Trivers (now MLA for Rustico-Emerald): "Come learn about 'Up With People' at this simple community-style potluck followed by music and stories. Open to the public - ALL WELCOME. For those who traveled, this will be a time to reconnect with alumni you already know, connect with new alumni, rejuvenate your UWP spirit and connect with UWP Canada which is officially back! Also a great time for potential UWP students to chat with alumni. After supper will be an 'open mic' - so bring your instruments and/or stories! Bring a photo from your year along with your memories to share with friends old and new. We’re also going to be collecting non-perishable food items to support the local food bank. Please bring some items if you’re able.

In 1991 I traveled with a musical group called "Up With People". Up With People uses music and personal interaction to unite people and communities. International casts of students travel and put on musical shows worldwide. The goal of Up With People is to help build a more hopeful, trusting and peaceful world. Thousands of people have traveled with Up With People over the years. It is no surprise that several Up With People alumni live on Prince Edward Island! In the coming years I hope many more Islanders travel with Up With People." from:

Facebook event link

Sunday, October 21st:

Annual Development and Peace – Caritas Canada Fall Action Workshop, 2PM, MacKenzie Room, St. Pius X Church, Parkdale. Guest Speakers: Rebecca Rathbone and refugee panel. Theme: "Share the Journey, the Plight of Refugees." There will be a sharing table.


Tony Lloyd explains things:


LETTER: Natural gases post threat - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Friday, October 19th, 2018

In early October, LNG Canada, an energy consortium, announced a 40-billion-dollar pipeline, terminals, storage and ship system to transport gas from British Columbia to Asia. LNG means liquefied natural gas. Natural gas is any gas which comes from the earth; the four lowest molecular weight commercial natural gases are methane, ethane, propane and butane - all carbon plus hydrogen molecules.

The 670-kilometre pipeline will cost $6 billion. The liquefaction and storage plant will cost $18 billion with completion date 2025. Some 14 million tonnes of LNG will be shipped per year with options to double capacity.

Burning natural gas with oxygen produces carbon dioxide (CO2), water and heat. For example, methane; one carbon atom (atomic weight 12) and 4 hydrogen atoms (total atomic weight 4), so three-quarters of methane's weight is carbon. The molecular weight of CO2 is 44. The 14 million tonnes of methane becomes 38.5 million tonnes of CO2 – per year.

If six degrees Celsius of climate change takes place then 95 percent of species on earth will die; a human induced extinction. You don't fix solar radiation depositing heat in the earth by exhausting CO2 into the atmosphere.

In 2000 AD, the Gulf of St. Lawrence didn't freeze over. How? Answer: Canada's albedo was changed by massive systematic deforestation. Moving the Boreal forest northward to warm Canada up is at the basis of unusual fire, flood and storm phenomena experienced today. Climate change begins with changing the earth's albedo; a human induced experimental disaster.

Tony Lloyd, Mount Stewart

October 19, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

This morning:

Standing Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries, 10AM, Coles Building. Public welcome in the Gallery or you can watch on the Legislative Assembly website

or their Facebook page.

"The committee will meet to receive a briefing from representatives of the PEI Fishermen’s Association on concerns related to the new waste water treatment facility at the Pictou County, NS Northern Pulp mill."

Committee meeting page linkTonight:

Leo Cheverie is hosting CBC Mainstreet's playlist right after the 5:30 News...96.1FM. A lovely choice.

Reception to celebrate the life of David Helwig, 6-9PM, 55 Hollow Pine Road, Brudenell. A first gathering to celebrate the life of the recently deceased writer, essayist and former poet-laureate of Prince Edward Island. All welcome. Related Guardian article

Public Lecture: Living Well With Differences: Reflections from a Northern Irish Peace Activist, 7-8:30PM, Our Lady of Assumption Parish Hall, 151 Stratford Road, Stratford. Sponsored by the Council of Canadians PEI Chapter. Free, but donations accepted.

"Guest lecturer Paul Hutchinson is a mediator, therapist, artist and retreat leader who has worked on the International, National, Corporate, Institution and Individual Levels helping people to reconcile differences

Two future dates to note:

Next Sunday, October 27th:

27th Annual Daniel O'Hanley Memorial Lecture: Hon. David MacDonald presenting If You Love This World: Climate Justice and Indigenous Wisdom, 2PM, Our Lady of Assumption Parish Hall, Stratford. All welcome. Entertainment and refreshments will follow the lecture.

"The Honourable David MacDonald is a well-know Islander, a United Church of Canada minister since 1961. He has climate change credentials that go back to the late 1980s. As MP, he chaired the first permanent House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment. Atmospheric issues such as acid rain, ozone depletion and most of all, climate change were the central focus of its five-year mandate. In 1998, he was appointed by the United Church of Canada as a Special Advisor to address widespread Canadian and church concerns arising from the tragic and troubling history of Indian Residential Schools. His work centred primarily on facilitating negotiations with Indigenous leaders, survivors, the federal government, and church organizations. He actively participated in negotiations towards a Comprehensive Settlement Agreement, including a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that began in 2008 and concluded its mandate in 2015."

Saturday, November 3rd:

People's Forum on Just Trade and Development, 1:30-4:30PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. "Hosted by members of Trade Justice PEI and the Mawi'omi Centre of UPEI, the guest speakers will be Pam Palmater and Gavin Fridell.

Pam Palmater is Associate Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University. She is a member of the Eel River First Nation, New Brunswick, and one of the organizers of Idle No More. Pam specializes in laws that have an impact on First Nations, and has a 25-year history of activism on social, political and legal issues. Pam’s topic will be 'The Impact of International Trade Agreements on Indigenous Peoples.'

Gavin Fridell is an author and Associate Professor of International Development Studies at St Mary’s University and a Canada Research Chair. His specialty is examining the political economy of fair trade, free trade, global trade governance and how trade issues play out among social movements and states. Gavin’s topic will be 'Alternative Trade; Lessons for the Future.' "

Facebook event link


Congratulations to Glenaladale Heritage Trust!

It is one of eight organizations selected for the National Trust for Canada's Governors' Awards:

"Glenaladale Heritage Trust for its impressive accomplishments to date in securing an exciting future for the historic Glenaladale Estate in PEI."

Also, the "Chase the Cow" fundraiser continues; see their Facebook page for details about this fundraiser and the whole project. Congrats to Aggi-Rose Reddin and Mary Boyd and many others for their dedication to this project.


Veteran social activist and commentator Maureen Larkin sizes up "Afta' NAFTA", the USMCA, and it comes up lacking.


OPINION: A blow to rural Canada - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

We now have USMCA - the new trade deal with the U.S. - and rural P.E.I. is facing yet another assault on its dairy farmers and all Islanders are facing another increase in the cost of drugs. How did this happen?

As recently as last November, the big banks, as well as civil society, produced reports indicating that the economic impact of not having NAFTA would not be insurmountable. A trade expert told CBC Charlottetown that the impact on P.E.I. would be “fairly modest.” Seven out of P.E.I.’s top 10 exports to the U.S. would remain tariff-free under WTO rules. Those included fresh and frozen lobster, mussels, oysters and aircraft parts. At the same time, the Bank of Montreal said the termination of NAFTA would be "a manageable risk that policymakers, businesses and markets would adjust to in relatively short order."

Somehow, between the government and the mainstream media, the impression was left that without NAFTA, the ‘sky would fall in.’ All serious discussion of how Canada might move forward without NAFTA was blocked and P.E.I. is paying the price.

Canada’s supply-management system has been eroded by our Liberal Government with each agreement it has signed. First, the EU agreement (CETA) and then the CP-TPP. Government’s own calculations indicated that P.E.I. dairy farmers would lose about $32.3 million as a result of the CP-TPP alone.

Now USMCA gives up another 3.49 per cent of market share to the U.S. The Dairy Farmers of Canada say that market-share losses from recent trade deals is around 18 per cent. It is irksome that our federal government is suggesting that supply-management is still intact. Because it isn’t. P.E.I. farmers are right to be angry. Their quotas are losing value and their ability to make ends meet is severely challenged.

Similarly, Canada conceded to the demands of Big Pharma for a second time. CETA increased drug costs to Islanders by approximately $3.6 million annually. Now the USMCA agreement will increase them further. Canada agreed to the extension of the minimum "data protection" period for biologic drugs. This will delay the entry into the marketplace of cheaper generic versions. This cost increase will come out of Islanders’ pockets whether it is borne by Health P.E.I. or by individuals at the pharmacy counter, and will make it more difficult to develop a pharmacare program in Canada.

Just like other trade agreements, USMCA is essentially a book of rules which give corporations rights and little to anyone else. Take, for example, the regulatory co-operation regime which gives corporations an opportunity to nip proposed public interest regulation in the bud if it interferes with trade - before Canadian citizens even know about it.

Aside from some gains for Mexican workers, this agreement has the same weak and unenforceable Labour standards as the CP-TPP, no gender chapter, no environment chapter and no mention of climate change. The “progressive” spin has completely disappeared from the government’s talking points.

The one triumph for civil society and social movements on both sides of the border is the withdrawal of the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement process. Ironically, we have Trump’s administration to thank for this, specifically Lighthizer, Trump’s trade representative. So, little thanks to Justin Trudeau here.

As the dust settles we have to ask: “When will we stop engaging in trade agreements in which the interests of multinationals consistently obstruct important social policies which benefit us all?” We need a new model for doing trade which is rule-based and designed to address human and planetary needs.

- Maureen Larkin is a member of Trade Justice P.E.I.


When will we stop engaging in trade agreements in which the interests of multinationals consistently obstruct important social policies which benefit us all? We need a new model for doing trade which is rule-based and designed to address human and planetary needs.

--Maureen Larkin, in the opinion piece, above

October 18, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Forage PEI (Two-day symposium) starts today, with interesting sessions in Charlottetown, and tomorrow a road trip to Chef Michael Smith's Fireworks in Bay Fortune (not sure if a side trip to the Aqua-Bounty GMO fish producing facilities is available) and ending back in Charlottetown at Hopyard. Forage PEI's website says "Forage Prince Edward Island is an annual two-day industry symposium that celebrates food culture on PEI. It’s all about sharing stories, real food experiences, education and networking. Ultimately it’s an industry movement that will strengthen the Island’s food culture and brand."

But still, there doesn't seem to be any part that is public and free or very low in price, which is too bad, considering the very talented food people on the Island, and being brought in, and the public interest in good, local food.

More info about the conference, in case you want to drool over the "menu"


Charlottetown Council Elections: Q&A Candidates City Council, Ward 1, 7-9PM, St. Paul's Anglican Church Hall, Prince Street.

"The Resident Association of WARD 1, CDRA, is hosting a Q&A with all Municipal City Council Candidates in Ward 1. The public is invited to come and meet candidates and participate in this Q&A.

Facebook event link

Next week:

Wednesday, October 24th:

Step Up to the Plate, fifth annual fundraising dinner for the PEI Food Exchange, ~5-8:30PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.

Under the direction of Chef Emily Wells of the Mill in New Glasgow this vegetarian dinner (with vegan/gluten free option) highlights local seasonal produce prepared in an exciting, healthy, and delicious way. “Appie” hour is from 5-6PM (no ticket required, drop ins are welcome) and the dinner is from 6-8:30


On Climate Change:

Now that Elizabeth May and others have reminded Parliament of their duty to Canadians, their own children, and the Earth, what next?

Some easy things we can do:

The Green Party of Canada has written a letter/petition that anyone can sign:


350.org is encouraging folks to visit their MPs on Wednesday, October 24th, and hand-deliver a copy of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC's) report. Check this newsletter, and this website, for updates on particular times and locations.



Another topic, more local, and important, and closes early tomorrow, Friday, October 19th.

Regarding the Pictou Pulp Mill: The petition (direct to Parliament) on demanding a full environmental assessment of the proposed pipeline for dealing with the effluent.



The PEI NDP has a new website with fresh and updated look. Great news!


"For the Many...Not the Few."

--from the NDP PEI website

October 17, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Later this week:

Friday, October 19th:

Standing Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries, 10AM, Coles Building, "The committee will meet to receive a briefing from representatives of the PEI Fishermen’s Association on concerns related to the new waste water treatment facility at the Pictou County, NS Northern Pulp mill."

Well, new wastewater treatment facility being proposed at the Pictou County pulp mill....


Elizabeth May spoke for ten minutes about Climate Change Monday night in Parliament at the "emergency debate" granted for the topic. While I am not sure what MPs did at the end of debate -- how a heart of stone could not be moved by May's words -- here is a link to the video of her speech, and the text at the end of this newsletter.




The Leap Manifesto has said for a couple of years now, what the United Nation's report last week emphasized, that we need to deal with climate change now and with humanity's needs in mind.

A practical application of this is in emphasizing what Canada Post could do for people and the planet. From Bianca Mugyenyi of The Leap, with links to an op-ed by Avi Lewis and a petition about the postal workers' proposal:

Last Tuesday, postal workers and their allies took over a Toronto post office to bring to life their vision of Canada Post as a centre of community care, and a leader in the transition to a green economy.

During a week when the world’s leading climate scientists made it clear that nothing short of total economic and political transformation can prevent the worst effects of climate change from unfolding within our lifetimes, this action gave us reason to hope.

Yes, the facts about the scale and speed of the climate crisis are terrifying. But we also see this moment as a huge opportunity to catalyze a leap to a clean economy that works for everyone.

Right now, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is in the middle of a high-stakes negotiation with Canada Post, with strike action authorized. In its contract negotiations, CUPW has been advancing key planks of the Delivering Community Power proposal — a vision of Canada Post as the engine of a green, justice-based energy transition in Canada.

If CUPW embeds Delivering Community Power in its next contract, our post offices could be powered by renewable energy and boast services like postal banking and electric charging stations in just a few short years.

Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finally reached the realization that gave rise to the Leap Manifesto three years ago — that small steps are no longer enough. It’s time to leap to a more caring and livable economy.

Thank you to our postal workers for leading the way!

With hope and momentum,

Bianca Mugyenyi, The Leap


Op-ed from The Star on the Postal Workers' proposal

"Delivering Community Power" petition


Elizabeth May's text from her speech, Monday, October 15th, 2018: - HANSARD House of Commons

Elizabeth May

2018-10-15 20:08 [p.22414]

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand here today and I acknowledge we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin peoples. To them I say meegwetch.

I am very honoured to be part of an emergency debate tonight on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. I appreciate the Speaker accepting the arguments I made, which were also made by the hon. member for Beaches-East York and the NDP caucus.

I want to begin by quoting some words. "Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment, whose ultimate consequences are second only to global nuclear war." Those words were the opening sentence of the consensus scientific report from the Toronto conference in June 1988, when this country was in the lead on climate change, working with the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. The warnings from science were clear then and they remain crystal clear now.

That was in 1988. I have had a ringside seat for the decades during which we could have arrested climate change before our glaciers were melting, before we were losing the Arctic, before our forests were on fire, before we saw draught and climate refugees, and before we had tornadoes in Ottawa. We had a chance in the 1990s and we blew it. We had a chance in the first decade of this century, but every time there has been a warning from scientists, the alarm bell has rung and society has hit the snooze button.

I am increasingly drawn to the conclusion that our biggest problem is the short-term mindset that preoccupies political parties not just in Canada but around the world. Where is the bravery? Where is the courage? There are all those people surrounding every politician saying, "You cannot win an election by telling the public the truth. You cannot tell people they are going to have to stop using an internal combustion engine and leave fossil fuels in the ground. Do you want to tell them that? That is not going to be politically popular."

If we are grown-ups in this place, then we should face the science clear-eyed with a serious intent that acknowledges we cannot afford to hit the snooze button on this one report because this time the scientists are telling us that 1.5° is far more dangerous than we thought it was. It reminds me of what Al Gore once said, that if we let the climate crisis continue apace, it will feel like a nature walk through the Book of Revelation.

We have allowed greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere to increase to such an extent that we have already changed the chemistry of the atmosphere; we cannot change it back. We are leaving that hospitable period within which human civilization took root. We got up and started walking on two legs, and then became the dominant force on the planet in a geological lifespan. In the blink of an eye, humanity became the dominant force on this planet. We are entering the Anthropocene, where what we do has a bigger effect than anything else on life on earth. In the Anthropocene, now we are being told that we as homo sapiens, the clever species, the smart ones, have at most 10 to 12 years to ensure that we stop greenhouse gas emissions rapidly, ramp up sequestration to protect every forest, and replant as many forests as possible. We will have to do some things besides that too if we want to ensure we hold the global average temperature increase to no more than 1.5°C above what it was before the industrial revolution.

Parts of this report could have been much worse. We know this from those in the IPCC negotiations. Bear in mind that this is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yes, it is composed of scientists, but they were appointed by government and this is a negotiated document. Pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia led to removing parts of the report that would have warned us further. If we miss the 1.5° mark, it is bad, and that is in the report, but if we hit 2°, it is much more dangerous. They took out the part about runaway global warning. We do not know when we will hit a tipping point of irreversible self-acceleration where the ultimate consequences are not about bracing for bad weather, but about bracing for millions of species going extinct. Even if humanity can hang on now, can we imagine hanging on to human civilization in a world with a 4°, 5°, 6°, or 7° rise in temperature? The answer is no.

We have one chance, one chance only, within which all the nations on earth agree that we meant what we said in Paris, that we must hold the global average temperature increase to no more than 1.5°. This IPCC special report contains good news because it says we can do it. It says there are no physical, geological or geochemical conditions of planetary existence, technical or economic, that will prevent us from achieving the goal of protecting our children's future, not future generations in the hypothetical, the children who are here now. I am talking about the grandchildren I tuck into bed at night, those children, not hypothetical children. All of us know those children. They are our children. We have one chance to ensure that in their natural lifespan they enjoy a hospitable biosphere that has sustained humanity since we first got up and walked on two legs.

The issue tonight is not to debate Canada's current carbon plan, Canada's current climate plan. This is not a status quo debate. We should not be scoring political points because one party did this and another party did that. We should be here as humanity, human beings, elected people for our constituencies who know full well that if we do not change what we are doing as a species, we will face an unthinkable world. The good news is we still have a chance to save ourselves.

I increasingly am drawn to thinking about the five days in May 1940 when Winston Churchill was surrounded by people, the Lord Halifaxes and the Chamberlains, who said, "Face the facts. We cannot not defend this island. The Nazis are invading. Our entire army is stranded at Dunkirk. There are 300,000 men, and we cannot get them off because there is no way." They sat and surrendered. This is the moment when real political leadership steps up. This is when we need our Prime Minister to go to the negotiations in Poland, or to dispatch the Minister of Environment to the negotiations in Poland, and say, "We are stepping up. We are going to rescue everybody. We are going to be the heroes in our own story. We are going to adopt what the IPCC says we must do: 45% reductions by 2030." Churchill of course, surrounded by naysayers, thought up a miracle, one that is clearly undoable. He asked, "How many civilian boats are there in Dover? We could get those civilians to cross the English channel and rescue over 300,000 men." Really? It was hardly plausible.

In this time and age we need to face the facts just as squarely. We need to tell Canadians that we have hope, to not despair or think it is too late. They should not turn away from the IPCC reports. They should not be afraid because we cannot breathe in British Columbia in the summer because of forest fires. They should not give up. We will rally and marshal every small town, every big city, every Canadian group, rotary clubs, church groups, and we will tell those naysayers who think that climate change is about a cash grab that they are in the way of our future and that they must get out of the way.

We also sadly must say to our own Minister of Environment that it is not true that we cannot change our target for five years. The Paris Agreement says clearly that any country can replace its own target anytime. The IPCC report has said to us as a country that our target is approximately 50% too little. We need to do twice as much. I know that is hard, but to save the lives of our children, what would we not do? Why will we not rally around the call that we go to COP24 and say we are not going to wait five years? It is an unthinkable thing what the minister has said to us. She said we are going to wait until 2023. "Read between the lines," is what she just said. We must go to the next climate negotiation as leaders in the world with the target assigned us of totals we must have. Then we must stand up and challenge the others by asking where is their target, where is their goal, because we are not prepared to tell our children we are a failed species. We are not going to do that because we are responsible human beings. We are Canadian parliamentarians and together we can achieve the pathway that has been put before us by world science.

Time is not on our side. History may not be on our side, but by God, we better be on our side. We better grab this chance and make it real.

October 16, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Tuesday, October 16th:

Health and Wellness Committee, 1:30-3:30PM, Coles Building.

"Briefing by Lisa Cooper, Chief and President of the Native Council of PEI regarding health issues and policy recommendations for off-reserve Indigenous community members."

First of the Preserving Series Food Exchange Workshops, 6-8PM, Farm Centre, with Chef Sarah Forrestor Wendt. Hosted by the PEI Food Exchange. Free but pre-register to reserve a spot email <foodexchangepei@gmail.com>

"Spaces are limited to 12 people per workshop, there are a few spaces left.

Learn to safely preserve tomatoes and ideas how to use them to make meals. A couple of recipes will be demonstrated (salsa, stewed tomatoes). The information can be applied to most veggies.

This is a hands on workshop - bring your favourite knife and an apron if you like. You will get a jar of preserved tomatoes to take home.

Chef Sarah is the owner of My Plum, My Duck where she serves up a wide array of preserves. Sarah's super power is being able to prepare healthy tasty food on a limited budget.She can make a masterpiece meal out of slim beginnings." Facebook event link

Island Studies Lecture: “Island way of life” Lost When the Ferry

Becomes a Bridge?, 7PM, UPEI, SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge, free


Communities, Land and Environment Minister Richard Brown went to Souris West on the weekend to the workplace of the volunteer mayor (former Community Council Chair), whom he dismissed a couple of weeks ago with a lot of muddly promises about looking into the Municipal Government Act and maybe the Federation of Municipalities helping out with some of the troublesome requirements now. He also said that his letter to Pat O'Connor didn't get mailed.

CBC online story:



Last evening in the House of Commons, there was an "emergency debate" on climate change and the recent United Nations report, after Elizabeth May, Guy Caron and Nathaniel Erskine-Smith all requested it, and many citizens phone and wrote the Speaker urging him to schedule it.

I only saw a part of it, and here is a general story about it from CBC

350.org wrote earlier in the evening that there were four things to look for (and the first two are also a good review of things):

    • A recognition that we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The IPCC made it clear, we need to stop expanding fossil fuel projects and get off fossil fuels entirely by the middle of the 21st century. That means we shouldn’t build massive new fossil fuel projects like the TransMountain pipeline, offshore oil rigs in the Atlantic, the Teck Frontier tar sands mine, or the gargantuan new fracked gas facility planned for Northern BC.

    • A commitment to build a 100% renewable energy economy that works for everyone -- and upholds Indigenous rights. We can rise to the challenge the IPCC report lays out for us, but to do that, politicians need to get serious about building a 100% renewable energy economy that works for everyone. That means ignoring what the big oil billionaires want and finding ways to ensure that every single worker, family and community is able to make the shift from fossil fuels to a 100% renewable economy that works for people,planet and takes leadership from Indigenous peoples.

    • Who leaves their talking points at the door. We’ve all heard Justin Trudeau and his ministers echo their line that the environment and the economy go together, but the IPCC report makes it crystal clear that their plan isn’t enough. Catherine McKenna herself admitted it last week when she told the Canadian Press that “we all know we need to do more” when it comes to climate change. This emergency debate is a chance for our government to be bold and be honest, that means leaving their talking points at the door.

    • Who shows up. It’s sad to say, but we want to know who is going to skip this emergency debate. Will the Liberal Government's Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna show up? Will Justin Trudeau end the climate silence he’s been practicing since the IPCC report came out? Will any of the Conservatives who are attacking climate action day in and day out make an appearance? We’ll be keeping track of who shows up and who doesn’t.

Any more summaries with those points in mind will be shared.

Here is a recent article from The National Post on how Canada is doing.


Canada's goals well below what's needed to stop catastrophic climate change: UN - The National Post article by Mia Rabson

Published on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

OTTAWA — Canada would have to cut its emissions almost in half over the next 12 years to meet the stiffer targets dozens of international climate change experts say is required to prevent catastrophic results from global warming.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there will be irreversible changes and the entire loss of some ecosystems if the world doesn’t take immediate and intensive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions far more than is occurring now.

That means trying to limit the increase in the average global ground temperature to 1.5 degrees C, rather than 2 C as specified in the Paris climate change accord. At 2 C, everything from melting sea ice to droughts, famines and floods will be significantly worse than at 1.5 C, the report says.

If people don’t act now, the report says, we will hit 1.5 C somewhere between 2030 and 2052. To prevent that, the world has to cut the amount of emissions released each year by 2030 so that they are no more than 55 per cent of what they were in 2010. For Canada, that means emissions would need to fall to a maximum of 385 million tonnes a year.

In 2016 they were almost twice that, and the Canadian government’s current aim is to only cut to about 512 million tonnes a year. Even that more modest goal is out of reach for now despite plans such as the controversial national carbon price, making buildings more energy efficient and eliminating coal as a source of electricity by 2030.

“It’s clear that the consequences of acting slowly are devastating for the planet and our way of life,” said Merran Smith, executive director of the group Clean Energy Canada.

She said Canadians do not need to change what they do to cut emissions, but rather need to change how they do it. That means, she said, electrifying everything.

The report comes as Canada is embroiled in a new round of political arguments about the best way to proceed, with the federal Liberals’ planned national price on carbon being challenged by a growing number of provincial governments.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna believes the report is another wake-up call that underscores why her government is pricing carbon and introducing regulations for the country’s biggest emitters. However, she says Canada will not increase its targets to cut emissions until the plan laid out in 2016 is fulfilled.

“My focus is making sure we actually do what we said we were going to do and then we can be more ambitious,” McKenna said.

Her government has also approved new fossil fuel projects, including last week’s $40-billion liquefied natural gas plant in British Columbia, which will increase emissions from the energy sector. She said LNG is part of the solution because it emits less than burning coal for electricity, and if LNG is going to be used she would rather it be Canadian LNG.

Dale Marshall, national program manager at Environmental Defence, said the ongoing political fight over carbon pricing and criticism of Liberal energy policies is scaring the government into being more timid about its climate plan, while the report shows being timid is not going to cut it.

“Parties and governments that actually understand the science and believe in action need to be more courageous than they’re being,” he said.

NDP environment critic Alexandre Boulerice said it’s time for the Liberals to hit the reset button on their climate plan and come up with something stronger. “I want the plan to succeed but the plan is not ambitious enough and right now we’re seeing that it’s going nowhere.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who is on a trip to India touting new infrastructure to ship more oil and gas overseas, said he will leave the findings of the IPCC report to the scientists. But Scheer said his party remains adamantly opposed to a carbon tax, which he does not think will actually reduce emissions, and instead revert back to the regulatory approach taken by the former Conservative government.

“When it comes to public policy as to how to address environmental challenges, the Conservative Party is on the right track,” he said.

The only regulations introduced by the former government involved coal-fired power plants. Scheer says the Conservatives will release a full climate plan in advance of the general election next year.

— With files from Mike Blanchfield


Because it's a rainy, blustery day, here is what former Guardian photographer Brian McInnis has been photographing in the past couple of weeks, here on his website:


October 15, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events tonight:

Meet Jamie Larkin, Candidate for Charlottetown Mayor, 6:30-9:30PM, Jenny and Wayne's Chinese Restaurant, 71 St. Peter's Road.

Facebook event link

Progressive Conservative Party Pints and Politics, 7-9PM, Upstreet Craft Brewing, Allen Street, Charlottetown.

Facebook event link



Tuesday, October 16th:

Health and Wellness Committee, 1:30-3:30PM, Coles Building.

"Briefing by Lisa Cooper, Chief and President of the Native Council of PEI regarding health issues and policy recommendations for off-reserve Indigenous community members."

Island Studies Lecture: “Island way of life” Lost When the Ferry

Becomes a Bridge?, 7PM, UPEI, SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge, free.

The Island Lecture Series kicks off its 2018–2019 season with a discussion on how the addition of a fixed link affects “the Island way of life.” The event features the research of Master of Arts in Island Studies graduate Janice Pettit.....Politicians began talking about building a fixed link between Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick in the late 1980s, and while this was not the first time the topic was broached, the premier of the day suggested a plebiscite to determine Islanders’ interest. Both those opposed and those in favour of the link rallied at public meetings prior to the vote to ensure their messages were heard. The “no” side raised a number of issues, but their main concern centered on the perceived loss of the “Island way of life.” During the 1989 plebiscite, Islanders voted almost 60 per cent in favour of a fixed crossing, and in 1997, the Confederation Bridge opened to the public.

Given all that was said and written regarding concerns about the loss of “islandness”, it is somewhat surprising that, until now, research had not been conducted to determine if the bridge has, in fact, had this impact. Have Prince Edward Islanders lost their “island way of life”? This presentation, drawn from Pettit’s exploratory thesis research, provides some insight into whether Prince Edward Island residents still consider themselves islanders and if their island identity has been affected by the fixed connection to the mainland. Janice Pettit graduated from the MAIS program in May of 2018 and is a Senior Policy Advisor with the Government of Prince Edward Island." from: UPEI Communications page


An article from last month that highlights one Legislative Standing Committee's work and issues therein: https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/opinion-obstructing-committees-work-244086/

OPINION: Obstructing committee’s work - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Douglas Campbell

Published on Monday, September 24th, 2018

MLA Allen Roach unfairly implies that request to GEBIS to appear is racist and anti-immigrant

There are serious problems within the P.E.I. Legislative Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment; which is attempting to examine land holdings on Prince Edward Island. One of those problem lies with committee member Allen Roach, Liberal MLA for District 3, Montague – Kilmuir.

In November 2017, the committee passed a motion to invite Cavendish Farms, Vanco Farms and GEBIS (Buddhist monks) to appear before the committee to discuss their land holdings. Letters were to be sent to each entity.

In January 2018, when Roach became a member of this committee, he unsuccessfully tried to have GEBIS excluded from the motion. Roach seems to have made it his personal mandate to convince everyone that GEBIS is within the land holding limits of The Lands Protection Act, as well as to keep the group from having to appear before the committee to openly answer questions about their land holdings. He seemed entirely focused on GEBIS. As of today, none of the named entities have appeared before the committee.

Allen Roach has been condescending and demeaning to groups who are providing sound information and asking for full transparency of land holdings. He has also been less than respectful to the other committee members. Some observers have used the word bullying. To view Roach in the March meeting and the recent September 6th meeting, which members of the Potato Board appeared, Islanders can go to the Legislative Assembly website. (LINK BELOW)

Perhaps most harmful and insulting to all Islanders is his implication that the request to GEBIS is racist and anti-immigrant. He doesn’t even mention the other two corporations. How sad that Roach is resorting to trying to shame Islanders who legitimately wish to know, and have the democratic right to know, if the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act is being broken by any company. And if so, why isn’t the current government standing behind the law and preventing such violations. If there is one thing we don’t need is Roach trying to deflect from the land issue by implying the want of honest answers is racist and anti-immigrant.

If GEBIS and other companies are following the Lands Protection Act there should be no reason not to appear before the committee and tell their story; putting to rest all “those anecdotal things” Roach is talking about. Islanders have had a long hard struggle to protect their primary resource, the land. All that is asked of anyone wishing to make P.E.I. home and/or a place to do business is to respect the land ownership laws, which are constitutionally sound. This is extremely important in an age of the worldwide land grab.

Islanders have good reason to question Roach’s behaviour and motives on the committee. If he is not there with the intent to examine the issues openly, but rather to obstruct, which does appear to be the case, he needs to step down or be removed by the Premier immediately. Roach has already made it known he will not be running in the next election. However, he is still a representative of the people – so, he needs to act like one.

- Douglas Campbell is a dairy farmer in Southwest Lot 16, and District Director of the National Farmers Union

The Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment's Transcripts page, with a list and links to their previous meeting transcripts, audio and video recordings, here:


The general page for the Standing Committee (which has no meetings scheduled at this point in time) is here:



“Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the welder, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.”

― Suzy Kassem (b. 1975) , writer, her website

October 14, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

George's Island Market, 12noon-4PM, Bedeque. Facebook page.

Autumn in the Forest, 2-3:30PM, Macphail Woods Ecological Centre. Free. Meet at the plant nursery. edited from Facebook event link: "Woodlands are wonderful places at any time of the year, but a forest in autumn is always special. There are still lots of birds around, the witch hazel is blooming, and many plants are showing their fall colours...(S)taff of the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project will be leading an Autumn Woodland Walk through the trails on the Macphail Homestead in Orwell...an excellent opportunity to learn about the natural history of Prince Edward Island and develop an appreciation for woodland communities... Visitors will be able to see the progress on the expansion of our native plant arboretum."

Coming up this week:

Tuesday, October 16th:

Common Good Employer Roundtable info session, 3-4:30PM, Voluntary Resource Centre, 81 Prince Street, Charlottetown. Free, but registration requested. "Cooper Institute is hosting an Employer Roundtable information session about the Common Good Retirement Initiative. This will be a two-way virtual meeting with colleagues in Toronto to provide an opportunity to learn about and discuss the Common Good plan, which aims to create a national, portable retirement income plan for employees in Canada’s non-profit and charitable sector. (See link for registration info)

Approximately half of the people employed by non-profit organizations in Canada are not covered by a workplace pension plan. Common Good proposes to offer a convenient way to help those workers save for retirement and give non-profit organizations a tool to help their employees build long-term financial security.

This roundtable will be relevant to leaders of non-profit and charitable organizations that are interested in enhancing retirement security for their employees. This includes organizations of all sizes, and those that currently offer retirement benefits to employees, as well as those currently offering no retirement benefits." Facebook event link


Friday, October 19th, is the deadline for those interested in offering for a seat on their municipal council.

Elections PEI's website gives information about the four cities/towns of Charlottetown, Summerside, Stratford and Cornwall.

Municipal Affairs, a branch of Communities, Land and Environment, has the details for every other place.

There is information from Elections PEI here:


and from their pages these links to Municipal Affairs here:


and here:


from the last one:

"Candidates must complete and file the Municipal Nomination Form with the MEO or RO at the Election Office during the hours identified in the Notice of Nomination for the municipality. All nominations must be filed by 2:00 pm on Friday, October 19th, 2018."

(The link has a form which requires a minimum of five signatures from eligible voters in the municipality. This is a little different from an incorporated council holding their meeting and people being nominated "from the floor".)

All areas have to comply with this for these November 5th municipal elections. What happens if you haven't done the steps so far? Here in one small community's experience:

Time to dismiss, but not discuss - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Pat O'Connor

Published on Thursday, October 11th, 2018 in The Guardian

Minister sends letter advising council dismissed for rural municipality for contravention of MGA

"Hello, Minister Brown. Souris West Community Council calling. We are very concerned over the newly proclaimed Municipal Government Act and how it affects our rural community . . .”

Click. Actually, that statement was an illustration only, designed to simulate the non-communicative attitude of Minister Brown towards our rural residents. A real letter was sent to Minister Brown on Feb. 14, 2018 addressing concerns of Souris West Community Council and some of its neighboring incorporated councils over the effects of said MGA on our communities. To date we are still waiting for a reply to our letter.

However, on Sept. 28, 2018, our council did receive a letter from Minister Brown advising that the council for the rural municipality of Souris West has been dismissed due to clear contravention of the MGA. In short, for not preparing for the Nov. 5 election according to the schedule in the act.

To the residents of Souris West, please understand, we in no way intended to deprive you of your democratic right to choose your next volunteer council. We tried to communicate with the minister via his department, that the traditional way of publicly calling for nominations and an advertised public meeting to verify and vote, was a fair and affordable way to choose a council to administer the affairs of a small rural community with no assets or services. That process would have cost less than $500 for advertising and paper.

Our efforts, of course, were futile and leading to the above-mentioned dismissal resulting in the appointment of a one-man trustee from Charlottetown at a cost of more than $70 hr. plus 0.40 per km for mileage. This expense, plus the running of a day long election, is estimated to cost in the range of $6,000 - $7,000. The Souris West Council emergency fund and operating account will be drained and the balance will be paid for by other Island taxpayers.

I believe, in my opinion, the Government of P.E.I. is moving in the right direction in general with the MGA but they failed to consider the dramatic affect it would have on the rural regions i.e. unincorporated communities and those run by volunteer members of the community, of which ours, and many of our neighbors, are examples. We’ve seen this failure multiple times playing out in the media and government leadership has remained silent.

Our council felt we could never qualify under the MGA as a municipality and to attempt any aspect of it, including the costly election procedure, would be a waste of our time and resources, frankly deceiving ourselves and our residents into thinking we could. Instead, we wanted to conserve our time and resources and dedicate them to be part of a process to inclusively explore every aspect of how the MGA could work for our entire region, however that may look in the end.

We were struggling to begin this process. We were asking the minister for help. We had faith that we would be heard but we were not and the process has been stalled since Feb 14, 2018.

Mr. Premier, this Minister failed to communicate with one of his jurisdictions when he had ample time to do so. We didn’t deserve to be ignored. We didn’t deserve to be dismissed. We do deserve a response to our letter. We do deserve an apology from the minister. We do deserve to be reinstated.

On another note, the staff at municipal affairs did a stellar job listening and communicating with us throughout the seven-month wait, but were, understandably, powerless to address our concerns.

We do thank them for their efforts.

- Pat O’Connor, dismissed chairperson of Souris West Community Council


The following are my opinions only, not the Citizens' Alliance Board, or any resident of my community.

Are the new requirements of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) going to make elections better? Perhaps. Is the implementation of the legislation rushed and herding communities into amalgamation and knee-jerk decisions out of fear? You bet. Is this Necessary? Probably not.

I wince at all Mr. O'Connor and Souris West are going through, trying to retain what they have -- a fiscally tidy little community in which what needs to get done gets done and residents feel some sort of citizen-obligation to help the community at the Council level. It appears not any more.

I mildly disagree with him in his observation that the government is moving in the right direction with the MGA -- at least for a good part of the Island. The standards-raising in the MGA, which is intended for large and small cities and towns, just doesn't fit small incorporated and unincorporated areas, and making them figure out how to function like small (but widespread) towns is just messing everything up.

During all the confusion and public meetings about the proposed MGA, then-Communities, Land and Environment Minister Robert Mitchell told us to "talk to your neighbours, have those conversations" as if speed-dating was a fine way to get communities to link up to jump through new hoops. Marry in Haste, Repent in Leisure. My thoughts were if there was a push to have regional administration of services, then they should have proposed areas like the old tourism regions or county-based ones, not make this like some version of an Escape Room, with rather expensive consultants' reports as a guide.

My incorporated community, recently recategorized as a Rural Municipality, had a meeting last month (after a compressed time-frame of summer meetings to discuss the consultant's report) to vote on continuing to pursue amalgamation talks with the larger area, or not. (The other communities were doing the same at the same time.) In the discussion before the vote, some very long-range thinkers said that the community (like many others) has always been fiscally prudent, and now the province -- often profligate with our taxpayer money -- is piling on the requirements that the communities have to do and setting the standards of how the work has to be done (which will set the price). Others called for more time to step back and consider all our options, but the schedule for meeting MGA requirements is marching along, we were reminded.

It is hard for an average person like me to know where the legislation came from. Who wrote it, which kinds of organizations provided input? The debate in the Legislature in the Fall 2017 Sitting was just shy of the umm, f-a-r-c-e that played out for the Water Act a year later, with questions sometimes over the place and an obvious lack of a coherent description of how the unincorporated areas were to have a voice, and the big push to get it passed so all could go home for Christmas. I understand and agree that some sort of restructuring could be undertaken on the Island. Why do MLAs feel this is such "good legislation" with the serious flaws it has towards parts of rural P.E.I., and why is government unwilling to change even the littlest bits (as Brad Trivers, MLA District 18: Rustico-Emerald, proposed in the Spring sitting)?

Municipal Affairs staff, oft-overlooked technocrats in a Division tacked on to various Departments whenever Cabinet shuffles were done, could have been put to much better efforts of community supports; there is a need for more rural voice and understanding there, rather than an assumption that rural governance has been just a bunch of bumpkins. The bottom line is if government had some vision about what makes rural P.E.I. so livable, it could have written this legislation to support improved structures for small communities to retain their current status. The legislation is not carved in stone and could still get changed.

In my little community, at that public meeting, the consultant's report showed that if we stick it alone and meet the requirements of the MGA, property taxes would go up over three times what they are now. That's a lot for the older folks, the young families, the people living well but not necessarily making a lot of money. Unknowns of a new government changing stuff or government ignoring us and letting us be or what disbanding us officially as a community would look like, were really too much to consider rationally...dollars and cents propelled a reluctant but ovine vote, two-thirds scratching the box to continue amalgamation talks.


"We don't need bigger cars or fancier clothes. We need self-respect, identity, community, love, variety, beauty, challenge and a purpose in living that is greater than material accumulation."

---Donella Meadows (1941-2001), environmentalist and writer

October 13, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM.

Murray Harbour, 9AM-12noon.

Summerside Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM.

The Mount Orchard adjusted its apple-picking protocols:

Saturday and Sunday, October 13th and 14th:

Apple U-Pick at The Mount, 9AM-3PM, Mt. Edward Road.

"Payment will be made at The Mount when you come. You no longer need tickets in advance - come one, come all! 4 pound bags are $6, and 10 pound bags are $15. Or bring your own bag - $1.50 per pound."

Facebook event link

Fall Colours Outing--Valleyfield Woodlot, 10AM-12noon, hosted by NaturePEI (The Natural History Society of P.E.I.). "...enjoy blazing colour and other signs of plants and animals getting ready for winter. Bring your camera! The walk is short (1-2 km) but there will be lots to see, including mushrooms! Meet at the corner the Valleyfield Road (Rte 326) and the Dalmaney Road (Rte 354) at 10:00 am, then adjourn to Robbins Trail parking Lot where we will start the walk. Leaders: Kathleen and Dave MacNearney."

Rain date is the same time, Sunday, Oct. 14

Charlottetown Film Festival, 12noon, "Seeing is Believing -- PEI's Emerging Filmmakers", Event details link.


Hurrah for supporting fine local dining, and for Phil Ferraro, Elmer MacDonald and Nancy Ferraro for all their work organizing this: https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/business/the-dunes-cafe-wins-grand-prize-at-taste-our-island-awards-celebrating-pei-restaurants-247951/

The Dunes Café wins grand prize at Taste Our Island awards celebrating P.E.I. restaurants - The Guardian article

Published October 6, 2018

The Dunes Cafe is the 2018 winner of the Taste Our Island award, presented recently at the Roving Feast at the Charlottetown Hotel. This prestigious culinary award was created by the P.E.I. Adapt Council and is presented in recognition of a restaurant’s outstanding cuisine and its use and promotion of local Island agricultural products.

This year marked the 12th anniversary of the Taste Our Island award. P.E.I. Adapt Council chair Elmer MacDonald and CEO Phil Ferraro presented the prize to chef Norman Day, as well as awards to the seven runners-up.

The remaining finalists included Eden’s Gate and chef Bobbi Jo MacLean; Blue Mussel Café and chef Jamie Power; PoleHouse Café at the Cardigan Farmer’s Market and chef Leif Hammarlund; Terre Rouge Craft Kitchen and chef Lucy Marrow; My Plum, My Duck and chef Sarah Forrester-Wendt; Papa Joes and chef Irwin MacKinnon; and P.E.I. Preserve Company chef Christopher Skiffington.

Taste Our Island sees the winner receive a full-page article in the 2019 P.E.I. Visitors Guide, valued at more than $9,000. The runners up are also all featured across the bottom of the guide page.

The winner and each of the runners up also receive an individual work of art created by Victoria’s Glass Studio commemorating their win.

“Norman Day has done a fantastic job of supporting local agriculture and promoting Prince Edward Island,” said Ferraro. “Now, with his wife and two sons, he is back on Prince Edward Island bringing the delight of Island products to people from around the world.”

Receiving the People’s Choice award for favorite dish at the Roving Feist was Power of the Blue Mussel Café for his smoked Belle River rock crab cakes.

This year’s eight finalists were chosen from a field of more than 30 nominees. Past winners include chef Dianne Linder of The Maplethorpe Café; The Merchantman Pub and chef Shirleen Peardon; Victoria Village Inn and Restaurant’s chef Stephen Hunter; The Pearl Café owner Maxine Delaney; the Jabour family of Papa Joe’s Restaurant; the Inn at Bay Fortune’s owner David Wilmer; Terre Rouge Bistro Marché chef/owner John Pritchard; chef Peter Angus of Shaw’s Hotel; the Mill at New Glasgow and chef/owner Emily Wells; and The Table Culinary Studio and chef Michael Bradley and owner Derrick Hoare.


A bit more on the new NAFTA, from the Graphic's point of view:

Collateral Damage from Trump's Angry New Normal - The Eastern Graphic editorial by Paul MacNeill

Published Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 http://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/article_b9f554c0-cbdf-11e8-82f3-9f066e8c430b.html

Ag Minister Lawrence MacAulay goes face-to-face with angry dairy farmers - Island Press online article by Kathy Ehman

Published on Friday, October 5th, 2018, online: http://www.peicanada.com/eastern_graphic/article_65134766-c8d6-11e8-a8a2-c37eaf626757.html

news story on the Lawrence MacAulay "roads announcement" where dairy farmers and supporters made their point


about supply management -- the first is the type of article based on the report Ms. Boswall refers to in her opinion piece, below it. https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/columnists/opinion-usmca-and-cash-cows-249512/

OPINION: USMCA and cash cows - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Sylvain Charlebois

If government wants to support dairy, think beyond compensating for losses that don’t exist

by Sylvain Charlebois, Professor in Food Distribution and Policy, Faculties of Management and Agriculture, Dalhousie University

Published Friday, October 12th, 2018


OPINION: After all, milk is milk, right - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Linda Boswall

Without supply management, milk would not be cheaper for the Canadian consumer

Published on Thursday, October 11th, 2018


Tough going for locally butchered meat in Cape Breton:

Cape Breton loses its only licensed red meat abattoir - CBC News online article


Point Aconi, N.S., slaughterhouse owner says he's losing business to unlicensed 'backyard butchers'

CBC News online, Monday, September 24th, 2018

The owner of Cape Breton's only government-licensed abattoir for red meat says he is forfeiting his licence out of frustration, meaning his customers who want to sell commercially will have to leave the island to get their animals slaughtered.

Donnie MacNeil said his problem is twofold: he claims inspectors from mainland Nova Scotia won't come to his Lambscapes Farm in Point Aconi in a timely manner and there has been little done to prevent non-licensed facilities from selling ungraded, uninspected meat to consumers. "It's created a very unleveled playing field over the years and it's gotten considerably worse," MacNeil told ​CBC Radio's Mainstreet Cape Breton in an interview Friday.

MacNeil's father opened the operation more than 30 years ago to serve livestock producers in Cape Breton. Without a licensed facility, which cuts and grades meat, farmers will not be able to take their lamb, pork or beef to commercial sales outlets like farmer's markets or supermarkets.

Even non-commercial customers may lose out, MacNeil said, because many of them still want Canada Grade meat even when they buy directly from producers. The provincial Environment Department said Cape Breton still has a licensed poultry abattoir operating in Margaree Harbour.

MacNeil said it takes too long for inspectors to get to his facility. He said the distance has always been an issue, but that there's always been a "good level" of co-operation between his company and the provincial inspection program.

But he said the program has gradually gotten worse since the province's Environment Department took over the work from the Agriculture Department.

He said last year, out of 12 processing days, he had five cancellations where "they left me high and dry with no inspector and that means I can't operate."

"In some cases, I had to hold animals on site for weeks at a time or expect a client to come back and retrieve their animals until I could get an inspector," he said.

Bruce Nunn, a spokesperson for the Environment Department, disputed MacNeil's claim of five missed appointments, saying in an email that inspections were rescheduled just twice in 2017. In both cases, Nunn said an inspection was provided within two days of the cancellation.

MacNeil said his customers would grow tired of waiting in between inspections and "turn to the backyard butchers who have no restrictions, so that doesn't serve anybody's purpose — especially the public who is not going to know what they're getting for a product when that happens."

While the regulations allow for farm-gate sales — where a farmer may butcher animals raised on site for direct sale to the final customer — some people are skirting the rules, he said. "A lot of these guys, they're going to other farms, they're slaughtering in the field and dragging the carcass back to their facility, which may take an hour or two, and then the product is being resold." These backyard butchers could be "doing things on the barn floor or literally in the backyard," he said. "Some of them have running water, some don't."

MacNeil said he has made verbal complaints to the departments of environment and agriculture over the past 10 years to little effect. With business taking a hit, MacNeil said it would be difficult to come up with the money needed for upgrades to the facility to keep its commercial licence. He estimates that would cost between $20,000 and $30,000.

Nunn said inspectors respond to every complaint "and take action to curtail illegal meat processing practices." As for MacNeil's facility, the department said Lambscapes needs upgrades to meet the requirements for licensed abattoirs but the facility has not complied. The department said it has withheld inspections of Lambscapes for this reason.

The department said it has been consulting with abattoir owners over the past few months on the best ways to support them. It also said 15 inspectors provide meat inspection services across the province, including in Cape Breton. The department said it is hiring and training more inspectors.


And after all those articles, you may not want to read this, but FYI:

Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth - The Guardian UK article by Damian Carrington

Biggest analysis to date reveals huge footprint of livestock - it provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of farmland

Published in The Guardian (U.K.), on Thursday, May 31st, 2018. Link to article


October 12, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Friday, October 12th:

Documentary: Sea of Life, 1PM, Duffy Amphitheatre, UPEI. Rounding out UPEI Environmental Week with the screening, in which "filmmaker Julia Barnes takes audiences on a provocative journey, through the most stunning and threatened ecosystems on the planet and the rallying movement to save them, leaving audiences around the world inspired to fight for our oceans - and our future."

Facebook event link

Meet Joe Byrne, NDP Leader, 7-8PM, St. Luke's Parish Hall. O'Leary Corner. All welcome, refreshments and good conversation.

Facebook event link

Next Friday and Saturday:

Friday, October 19th:

Public Lecture by Global Peace Activist Paul Hutchinson, "Living Well with Difference: Reflections from a Northern Ireland Peace Activist", 7-8:30PM, Our Lady of Assumption Church, Stratford. Hutchinson was former Director of the Corrymeela Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Northern Ireland. Sponsored by the Council of Canadians, PEI Chapter. Free and all welcome.

Saturday, October 20th:

Workshop: "Peace and Reconciliation: What on Earth?", 10AM-3:30PM, Our Lady of Assumption Church, Stratford. Reconciling Differences workshop, fee $75; contact Betty at (902) 672-2650 or email <jbwilcox2010@hotmail.com> as soon as possible.


Events from a few years back:

Friday, October 12th, with a leap year or so, means it's been six years since the Friday, October 12th, 2012, about 4PM, when:

"Chris, we've got cops on site."

A terse message on my home answering machine, from the unflappable Gail Rhyno, camper, artist and protester dynamo.

I actually only listened to that searing message much later that night. About 4PM, I was heading to town for a kid's event (which I never got to), saw some police cars and a different look to the wonderful roadside protesters. I called RCMP Staff Sergeant Micheal Murphy, who made it clear they had been ordered in to remove protestors at the camp on the proposed highway site; this violated the gentlepersons' agreement we had to continue the camp at least through the weekend (while we worked on any legal case we could muster and could properly attend to the closing of the Sacred Fire Keptin John Joe Sark had lit a few days earlier).

Keptin John Joe Sark blesses the Sacred Fire, Plan B Camp, October 8th, 2012.

Murphy was unable to say who had ordered them in, and he "allowed" me to cross the police barricade down to the construction site and see what was going on.

Then-Environment Minister Janice Sherry approved the Plan B project with some conditions, from October 2nd, 2012, screenshot of The Guardian's website.


Just following orders, October 12, 2012

Some caring souls scooped up burning logs from the sacred fire and renewed the fire at the base camp up from the highway site, on the angelic person's private property we had generously been given access to that Fall.

Treecutting machines came in -- the saw screams still echo -- Crawford's Stream was crossed (but environmentally soundly, and they had a permit, assured one of the Environmental Department people, who at least came on-site to check).

People flowed to the roadside protest area, and many others returned on the usual back paths in, and soon a whole crowd was back, but the police had finished their work and were pretty much gone. (They were very human about the afternoon's events.)

Former orderly village gear was piled in a sodden heap, to be carried up and sorted and reassembled at now the only Camp, to be the vantage for watching the construction and making sure the Environmental Impact Plan and then-Environment Janice Sherry's Conditions were adhered to.


It became obvious it was then-Premier Robert Ghiz who ordered the overwhelming RCMP force to the Plan B protest site, blocking public roads, evicting the few peaceful campers and dismantling the beautiful little camp in the Hemlock Grove, on a rainy late Friday afternoon.

Ghiz -- who we didn't know that Fall was up to his eyebrows in the secret e-gaming scheme crumbling around him, with calls for PNP investigations, and with whatever else ridiculous and iniquitous was going on in that little world, little wonder he and his coterie (many of whom are still in the MacLauchlan government) -- swatted away at the old and young, the formerly mild and meek, with his government's usual power and arrogance; for it was an easy score, knocking over a few tents, hauling away wiry women and graybeards, and raising the GDP with all that federal construction money.

But as we fairly drenched folks warmed up by the renewed fire that night, and caring people (as always) came with food and drink, we knew this was not the end, but the beginning of the next chapter, one in which we would have to work together for the long haul on electoral reform, good governance and a real commitment to environmental rights. And in time the positive energy from the Stop Plan B fight formed into the Citizens' Alliance.


The day before was this "commercial" appeared:

Plan B Realty Video (one minute)


And Leon Berrouard shared this:

Heading for the Hemlocks

by Leon Berrouard

October 2012

It's raining & I'm heading for the trees

The old growth area

Of huge pines twisted

And shaped by the snows and winds

Of Canada's east coast: forms -

As in my brother's bonsai forest.

In Prince Edward Island there are

Two century old hemlocks

Rooted with the pines

And envious yellow birch.

Holding hands under the earth,

Holding the soil below

Sheltering the birds above.

Spruce & tamarack & maples

Wait & Listen -- you'll hear the birds call:

Clean air we love, trout water,

Salamander land.

Hemlock habitat like that

For two hundred years?

No, more than that!

Trees that grow, die,

And renew - reminding us

Of this holding of hands for a while

Of this intertwining of real roots.

My brother protects a tiny forest

Day after day, sometimes with a mist spray

He studies the shape of sorrow & storms

He's a Bonzai artist who watches forms

And I am heading for the hemlocks

At 130km per hours & I know no Mounties

Will be stopping me for speeding

And I slow a little when blinking away tears.

I'm heading for the the tall hemlocks, pines,

And yellow birch, the spruce, the maples

In this fall foliage of gold & quivering red.

I'm heading to where the trees will soon be dead.

I'm driving for half an hour to see,

To protest the cutting of the Island's oldest trees

these trees that will give no more seeds

Because politicians want a road that no one needs.

--Leon Berrouard

October 2012

in PEI

October 11, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

LAST Farm Centre Farmers' Market, 4-7PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.

Green Drinks Summerside, 7-9PM, Evermoore Brewing Company. "Green Drinks is a monthly informal gathering hosted by local members of the Green Party of Prince Edward Island. Always a good time, this is a great place to get to know Green Party leaders and supporters in a casual setting, and connect with others who are passionate about Prince Edward Island's future."

Facebook event link

"Meetup for francophones" focus groups, 7-9PM, Carrefour de l'Isle-Saint-Jean, (near QEH).

Monday, October 15th: Deblois, Centre acadien de Prince-Ouest.

Monday, October 22nd, Rollo Bay, Pavillon de l'Est.

"Ever learned French or wanted to learn French but just never get the chance to use it? Would you like to be more involved in PEI's French activities? We'd like to hear from you! We'll be doing focus groups across the Island in the coming weeks to speak to people who would like to integrate more use of the French language in their lives. The meetings will be held mostly in English. If you can't make it to the meeting in your area, please feel free to join us at one of the other meetings."

from: Facebook event link


Friday, October 12th:

Documentary: Sea of Life, 1PM, Duffy Amphitheatre, UPEI.

"Hosted by the UPEI Environmental Society and the UPEI Student Union as part of Environmental Week at UPEI. About Sea of Life: With access to renowned environmental experts and breathtaking underwater cinematography, award-winning filmmaker Julia Barnes takes audiences on a provocative journey, through the most stunning and threatened ecosystems on the planet and the rallying movement to save them, leaving audiences around the world inspired to fight for our oceans - and our future.

Believing that people will change the world once they know what’s happening, Julia picks up a camera and sets out on a mission to expose the reality of the world’s oceans in this full length feature documentary. Through compelling footage she sheds light on crucial environmental issues, revealing not only how the oceans are in jeopardy but how each of us has the power to turn things around."

Facebook event link

Meet Joe Byrne, NDP Leader, 7-8PM, St. Luke's Parish Hall. O'Leary Corner. "Joe Byrne, leader of Island New Democrats will be in West Prince to meet supporters who want to make a difference. We welcome your input. Open to all. Refreshments served."

Facebook event link


Saturday, October 13th:

Lennon House Live Auction, 7-9:30PM, Summerside Silver Fox Entertainment Complex. The very giving of his time Moe Monaghan will auction a variety of goods and services as a fundraiser for Lennon House Recovery Centre. Page with poster to share: https://lennonhouse.ca/check-out-our-new-poster-for-our-october-13th-live-auction/

Mark the date, and get tickets soon:

Wednesday, October 24th:

Step Up to the Plate, fundraising dinner for the P.E.I. Food Exchange, 5PM onward, P.E.I. Farm Centre. "The fifth anniversary Step Up to the Plate fundraising dinner...(u)nder the direction of Chef Emily Wells of the Mill in New Glasgow this vegetarian dinner (with vegan/gluten-free option) highlights local seasonal produce prepared in an exciting, healthy, and delicious way.

“Appie” hour is from 5:00 – 6:00 pm (no ticket required, drop ins are welcome) and the dinner is from 6:00 – 8:30 pm.

Tickets are $25. To purchase one send an e transfer to foodexchangepei@gmail.com (password SUP2018), get a ticket at the Voluntary Resource Centre at 81 Prince Street or call Cindy at 902-330-1413."


The Salty publication covers the Island food production scene. Here is a recent article, by Katie McInnis, with photos (on the link) by her brother, former Guardian photographer Brian McInnis

Honey, I bought the Apiary - Salty Island magazine article by Katie McInnis

New owners of Honeydew Apiaries busy settling into PEI life

by Katie McInnis, in this month's Salty Island magazine

Link: http://saltyisland.com/honey-i-bought-an-apiary/

In Canoe Cove, overlooking the sparkling waters of Northumberland Strait, sits Honeydew Apiaries. While it has been there for a number of years, the honeybee business was recently purchased by Jennifer and Mickael Jauneau. Jennifer hails from Vancouver, BC while Mickael calls the Loire Valley in France his birthplace.

Their journey to PEI didn’t follow a straight path. Jennifer, an HR professional, needed a change so she decided to travel. Mickael, a mechanic, was also travelling and the two met in Australia while working on a pepper farm. In 2013 they travelled to France to be married. Instead of a traditional honeymoon, the couple decided on a working holiday in New Zealand. Employed on an asparagus farm that had beekeeping as the primary business, Mickael was asked to assist with the bees. Reluctantly, he decided to try it for a week but it didn’t interest him. Jennifer persuaded him to give it another week and that was long enough to infect him with the “beekeeping disease,” as he calls it.

For five years Mickael travelled between France and New Zealand learning a great deal about beekeeping. Because the seasons are reversed, he was able acquire ten years’ of experience in five. By that time the couple had a son, Thomas, now two, they had tired of the travel and were ready to settle down.

So began their internet search for a place small enough for two people to operate and yet close to a city with amenities. Honeydew Apiaries turned out to be that place. In March of this year, Mickael and his father-in-law travelled to PEI. It was ideal. For Mickael, the countryside reminded him of his home and Jennifer loved being back in Canada. With 2-year-old Thomas in tow, Jennifer moved from New Zealand to PEI without ever having seen the place. Fortunately it was June and the Island charmed her.

Currently the Jauneaus have 200 hives but are aiming for 300 in the future. Each hive contains about 70,000 bees. Their primary sales are honey, both liquid and creamed, that they sell at a stand at the end of their driveway and also at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market. Some of their hives are in blueberry fields and that enables them to make blueberry honey. The remainder are in areas with wildflowers so the honey’s taste depends on what nectar the bees collect.

One of the many things they love about PEI is that honey can be sold on the honour system. There has been the occasional theft, but the stand is a favourite for regular customers. Tourists often discover their place by accident as they drive past and frequently inquire about how to order honey when they get back home. The Jauneaus are beginning the process of getting registered to be able to sell off Island.

In addition to honey, they also sell 100 percent beeswax candles, soap, skin cream, and lip balm. The skin cream is made from propolis (a resin the bees collect from tree buds and use to repair their hives), beeswax, and olive oil. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties and is said to be very effective on dry skin and eczema.

Beekeeping appeals to the couple because it is a quiet and primarily outdoor activity. They must be organized and creative since plans are made in the current year for the next season. Mickael’s mechanical abilities are put to use making some of the equipment himself. Jennifer makes the beeswax products in a small trailer in their backyard. Their long term plans include redesigning and likely renaming their business, raising some chickens, and growing their own produce including a few walnut trees which are a favourite of Mickael’s.

The couple are happy here and are expecting a sibling for Thomas in the winter. As Mickael said “it is mostly for the lifestyle, not the money.” Given that Honeydew Apiaries offers them this lifestyle, it would seem that the Jauneaus have found their place to grow their business and their family.


Bees are a bit stressed, to say the least, especially on the Island with the intense crop-growing methods and the new push for their use increasing pollination of berry crops. Philip Chandler's book (quoted below) is one of several books to discuss beekeeping in the context of the whole environment; another is Ross Conrad's excellent Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture.

"And we should always remember that, in matters of evolution, nature will select for the ability to adapt and survive, not for maximum convenience to mankind."

-- Philip Chandler, author of The Barefoot Beekeeper

October 10, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

There is no Wednesday Farmers' Market in Charlottetown today, but tomorrow from 4-7PM is the last Farm Centre Farmers' Market.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report earlier this week on the closing window to limit climate change.

The report page with links to each chapter and summaries is here:


A Guardian (U.K.) article is here (link after the headline):

We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN - The Guardian UK


And here is a link to a nine minute interview and transcript from the PBS Newshour, the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States) 2018 (October 8), “World needs to make near-revolutionary change to avoid imminent climate disaster. Is there hope?”


Thanks to Bradley Walters at Mount Allison University for those two article links.


And here are some invigorating and yet comforting words from Avi Lewis of The Leap:


Three takeaways from the IPCC’s new report - The Leap post by Avi Lewis

Posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

The new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is out, and it is a dramatic development [1]. The threat advisory from the world’s scientific climate community just went from orange to flashing red.

But here’s the key takeaway: limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is still possible, and will require a rapid transformation of our economy. The great news is that this need for fundamental change is now recognized by the world’s leading climate scientists, who advise the United Nations. And as we’ve been arguing for years, the wider opportunities and benefits of that unprecedented transition are vast: a global green new deal, millions of new jobs, deep change anchored in justice.

The call to action in this report is why we started The Leap. Transforming our economy and society on the scale this crisis requires is the most powerful opportunity we’ve ever had to build a more caring, liveable planet.

So don’t look away. While the understandable reaction is to avoid, avoid, avoid (hey, we have this feeling too!) we find relief in engaging with the facts. Here are 3 takeaways from The Leap on this unprecedented UN report.

1. Don’t doubt what your senses are telling you.

Yes, the climate crisis is unfolding even faster and more furiously than expected. At current emissions rates, we could hit 1.5°C of global warming as soon as 2030 — and we’re on track for far more. If that happens, the worst impacts of climate change — previously predicted to take place closer to the end of the century — will likely begin within our lifetime. Food and water shortages across the globe. The death of all coral reefs. Hundreds of millions of people impacted by deadly heat or rising waters. And a predicted economic cost counted in tens of trillions of dollars. Trillions. Overall, the more than 6,000 scientific papers behind this report are telling us that 1.5°C is more dangerous than previously predicted, and it’s all happening sooner than we thought. We have less than a decade to turn our global emissions trends around.

2. Beware of doom merchants.

After this report, get ready to start hearing two new angles from pundits and deniers. First, that we’re doomed anyways, so … let’s not do anything at all. We got a first glimpse of this tactic in August, from the Trump administration. In a draft environmental impact statement, it argued that warming of 4°C is indeed on its way — so the fact that the administration was axing fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks didn’t really matter [2].

The second take we can expect to hear more of is the idea of the “moonshot.” That things are so dire that it’s time to start radical climate experiments, or “geo-engineering” to counteract global warming. These sci-fi schemes include terrifying ideas like dimming the sun by releasing sulfur into the upper atmosphere.

The good news is: this report doesn’t back such doomsday approaches. It warns against the substantial risks of untested geoengineering strategies. And it is up front about the fact that while the situation is dire — responses based on hopelessness are not what we need.

3. We can still turn this around. And it’s going to take a leap.

With this report, the UN has suddenly reached the very realization that gave rise to The Leap Manifesto in 2015: the only thing that can save us now is the total transformation of our political and economic system. And it’s possible: we could reduce global emissions by one third in just a few years, simply by imposing “a limit on the per-capita carbon footprint of the top 10% of global emitters” [3]. That may not seem politically possible right now. Our job is to make it politically irresistible.

This is the most hopeful note: more and more people are coming to the conclusion that this escalating crisis, ever-harder to deny, can galvanize change on the scale that is really needed. Nothing less will do. The idea of a “Green New Deal” is gaining momentum around the world.

This is white-knuckle terrifying stuff, but don’t turn away: the report makes clear that the worst effects of global warming can still be prevented, and the urgency of transformative change should excite and empower all of us who are fighting for justice anyway.

This is a time to use our fear as fuel, and ratchet up our determination. Let’s take a good, hard, clear-eyed look at the f***d-up future we are headed for, and decide — collectively — to leap to a safer, better place.

The un-asterisked letter with the reference footnotes are at this link from The Leap, as above.


from the interview on the PBS Newshour with Gavin Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

"But there's a lot of movement going on elsewhere in the world, in Europe, in China, in Japan. There's a lot of new things moving along there. So I'm not totally in despair. But the key thing to remember from this report is that it's clear that the best time to have reduced emissions was 25 years ago.

But the second best time to reduce emissions is right now."

--Gavin Schmidt

October 9, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews



Coffee with Kim, 9-10AM, Tuesdays and Fridays. Charlottetown mayoral candidate Kim Devine is hosting twice-weekly coffee drop-ins at her campaign headquarters in the Subway building at University and Belvedere Avenues.

Facebook event link

The Guardian features the four candidates in today's paper (Philip Brown, Kim Devine, Jamie Larkin and Cecil Villard). I will pass on any events if people send me notices.



About Commentator Michael Harris:

Michael Harris is a writer, journalist and documentary filmmaker. He was awarded a Doctor of Laws for his “unceasing pursuit of justice for the less fortunate among us.” His nine books include Justice Denied, Unholy Orders, Rare ambition, Lament for an Ocean and Con Game. His work has sparked four commissions of inquiry and three of his books have been made into movies. His book on the Harper majority government, Party of One, was a number one best-seller.

Michael Harris on the Pictou pulp mill:

article and biography from:


The fight to keep a pulp mill from poisoning the Northumberland Strait - iPolitics online article by Michael Harris

Published on Monday, October 8th, 2018 on iPolitics.ca

‘Whatever lives in that water can’t speak for itself. We have to be that voice.’


Justin Trudeau likes to say he’s a torchbearer for the environment.

The prime minister also claims he’s a champion of Indigenous peoples.

And he is every bit of that — on paper.

But he risks becoming the Pontius Pilate of the Environment and another double-talking Indian agent if he doesn’t change his tune on Boat Harbour.

Admittedly, it is not a comfortable spotlight for any politician.

There is no monster project to announce in this tiny slice of rural, seaside Nova Scotia. There is no LNG Canada deal bringing a $40 billion investment into the country — the sort of thing that lights up a press conference and a campaigning politician’s eyes.

There are just two desperate, defiant communities here in need of help: the fisherman of Northumberland Strait and the members of Pictou Landing First Nation. They have come together over a mutual threat. Both have solid reasons to fear that power politics and pollution may be about to overwhelm them.

It comes down to this: After years of receiving industrial scale effluent from the local kraft pulp mill, Boat Harbour is scheduled to be closed by the provincial government. That means the company, Northern Pulp, must come up with a new treatment plan for its effluent.

Though no formal plan has been filed by the company, the proposal for now is to build a 10 km, $19 million pipe and dump the treated sludge from the mill directly into the Northumberland Strait.

Northern Pulp has committed to a new $70 million oxygen delignification system to improve the quality of the effluent it wants to discharge into the Strait. Fishermen and First Nations peoples are adamant that the idea is a bad one, and with good reason.

Parts of this once stunning estuary in Pictou County have already become a national disgrace. According to people who live here, the affected areas are in the same league as the poisoned tailing ponds of the Alberta tar sands and the Sydney tar ponds on Cape Breton. What was once a tidal bay supporting a variety of marine life is now a toxic lake. One resident described Boat Harbour as being “the colour of Pepsi.”

“Boat Harbour is as dead as a door nail. Black, dead water. I wouldn’t stick my finger — or anything else in it,” Merigomish resident, and longtime lobster fishermen, Percy Hayne told iPolitics.

On first seeing it, Green Party leader Elizabeth May described it as “a sulphurous, festering pond, steaming and clotted with sludge around the edges.”

The prime minister recently came to Nova Scotia to announce the twinning of a highway and snap the usual selfies. When asked if he was sidestepping the mess at Boat Harbour, Trudeau brushed off reporters. “That is me respecting areas of provincial jurisdiction,” he quipped.

There are those who beg to differ.

Hayne, citing lessons learned from decades on the stern of a boat, was categorical that Trudeau has it wrong.

“I’ve been around the fishery for 40 years. Of course it’s federal jurisdiction, no doubt in my mind. How that idea popped out of the friggin’ basket is beyond me. Go out and do something wrong in the fishery and who charges you? The federal government charges you, that’s who. Trudeau should be ashamed. This is not a pipe that becomes a problem when it ruptures, like the ones they worry about out West. This is a pipe designed to pollute prime fishing grounds.”

Brian Hebert is the lawyer for the Pictou Landing First Nation.

For 17 fruitless years he has tried to negotiate a solution to the Boat Harbour debacle with various governments. Five different provincial governments and political parties of every stripe have promised to close or clean it up.

No one has delivered.

Despite Trudeau’s renunciation of federal jurisdiction, Hebert points out that there are clear legal grounds for Ottawa to step in.

“If you look at the test for a federal assessment, there’s certainly potential for harm to Pictou Landing First Nation, under their treaty rights. That triggers the federal jurisdiction,” he said.

“But there is also the public outcry given what’s at stake. The very fact that it is interprovincial and a significant number of people are opposed to this, that would clearly be enough for the feds to accept some jurisdiction.”

So why would the prime minister take a pass on getting involved in preventing Boat Harbour 2.0?

Hebert has a theory.

“I would have to say that if the decision is that they’re not going to get involved, that they will rely on Nova Scotia, that is purely political. It is a Liberal federal government staying out of the way of a Liberal provincial government.”

Trudeau is not the only member of the government whose response has been underwhelming.

Just a few weeks ago, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna paid a visit to Nova Scotia. She was invited by Chief Andrea Paul of the Pictou Landing First Nation to visit Boat Harbour to see and smell for herself what the band has been living with for 50 years.

McKenna, who was in Nova Scotia for the G7 environment and energy ministers’ meetings, went missing in action on the issue. She thanked the chief for her invitation, and explained why she wouldn’t be coming: “Unfortunately, as a result of scheduling constraints, I am unable to accept your invitation.”

There was no mention in the minister’s letter about setting another date.

Despite being too busy to visit Boat Harbour, McKenna did find time during her trip to tour national parks for photo-ops. The snaps were lovely, but the minister’s priorities didn’t impress citizens who were expecting something better from her than pretty pictures.

Joan Baxter, the author of The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest, an award-winning book about Boat Harbour, said McKenna’s decision was “very disappointing,” and “a slap in the face” to Pictou Landing First Nation.

Chief Paul agreed.

“Minister McKenna, they say that Mi’Kmaq people are too nice. It’s time we stopped being so damned nice,” she told iPolitics. “You need to listen to the people. We’ve been here and we’ve suffered long enough. We need to bring some calm back into our world.”

It is a world that needs a lot of calming. The first time Clean the Mill activist Dave Gunning saw Boat Harbour, he cried.

Like lobster fisherman Percy Hayne, Gunning was appalled by the defilement of air, land and water. Over the years, it has had five different owners, the latest being the super-wealthy Widjaja family of Indonesia.

The mill was originally intended to operate for 20 years. Thirty years beyond its expected lifespan, it is still producing kraft pulp, clouds of smoke and toxic effluent. The plant is so old that Gunning said connecting it to a new treatment system is like putting “a solid gold muffler on a jalopy.”

“For years they ran with no filtration on their stacks, nothing on their boilers,” he said. “And for decades, there were no regulations on dumping the sludge into the ocean.”

As the treatment site for Northern Pulp’s mill on Abercrombie Point, the once pristine waters of Boat Harbour have undergone a terrible transformation.

“The treatment facility is dead water. Where the treated effluent goes, 300 acres, you won’t find a frog there. Where the treated effluent flows is now dead,” Gunning said.

In her book, Baxter conjured up what the place was like before the mill was built in 1967, and how quickly things changed.

“This was originally a tidal estuary — a source of food for the Pictou Landing First Nation, a place to fish for eel and keep their boats, a place for recreation. The tidal estuary became a basin after being dammed. The effluent water was lethal to fish, few creatures survive there…It is dark froth where it goes over the dam, and hard green scum after it settles.”

Members of Pictou Landing First Nation observed that fish and seals began dying en masse just days after the waste from the mill began to flow all those years ago.

The source of this industrial-scale pollution is effluent from Northern Pulp, which produces and exports approximately 280,000 tonnes of bulk raw material for toilet paper, tissues and other paper products every year. It is then manufactured into finished products in other countries.

Northern Pulp is an important employer in Pictou County. It employs 339 people at the mill itself, but that is just part of the economic benefit. According to the company’s polished public relations campaign, Northern Pulp has created the equivalent of 2,040 full-time equivalent jobs, with those workers as a group drawing wages of over $101 million.

The mill operates virtually year-round and makes a heavy demand on precious natural resources. It uses up to 90 million litres of fresh water a day, which critics say is more than the municipal water use of Halifax. That water then comes out of the treatment process as toxic effluent.

For that vast amount of fresh water, Northern Pulp pays the princely sum of $100,000 a year to the provincial government. The mill also uses chlorine compounds to produce the whiter than white products that the market demands.

The effluent in Boat Harbour contains dioxins, furans and a witch’s brew of heavy metals, including mercury, zinc and chromium.

After being treated, the effluent goes from Boat Harbour to Boat Harbour Basin. There, it mixes with other fresh water rivers and streams that flow in there. It is retained for up to 30 days before being discharged into the saltwater at the Pictou Landing shoreline.

Under Northern Pulp’s public proposal, and based on the company’s new activated sludge treatment system, effluent would not be retained in Boat Harbour Basin at all. That means no additional cooling, settling, dilution or mixing with other fresh water sources.

Instead, all the treated effluent would be dumped directly into the Strait via the pipe. KSH Engineering has interpreted what that will mean.

Based on a conservative flow from the plant of 70 million litres of effluent every 24 hours, the pipe would deposit 945 kg of solids in the Northumberland Strait each and every day. Under the company’s old treatment system, those solids never reached the saltwater, both because of the lengthy retention in Boat Harbour Basin and the fact that the Basin is dammed.

The bottom line of Northern Pulp’s plan and the essence of the widespread opposition to it? Boat Harbour isn’t being closed. It is being moved.

If history is any guide, the mill might just get its way. As late as 2014, Northern Pulp was allowed to emit nearly 11 times more particulate matter from its recovery boiler than pulp mills in the United States. And then, with a spectacular spill on the territory of the Pictou Landing First Nation that same year, the environmental nightmare of Boat Harbour seemed to be ending.

It took an epical disaster, which saw 47 million litres of untreated effluent spilled on the land from a ruptured pipe. Coincidentally, a lot of Canadian pulp mills during the 1960s and 1970s were built on or near First Nations lands. Some people here have called that practise “environmental racism.”

Blocked by Pictou Landing First Nation from repairing the ruptured pipe, Nova Scotia Environment Minister Randy Delorey finally made the decision to close Boat Harbour for good. There was even a shutter date: 2020. The government also undertook to “remediate” the poisoned harbour and basin.

If it can be done at all, this Herculean task won’t be cheap. The low estimate is over $200 million, and according to sources familiar with the extent of the degradation, it could take as much as $700 million.

Northern Pulp, which is heavily subsidized by taxpayers, is not responsible for a penny of those remediation costs. That’s because Nova Scotia entered into an unprecedented indemnity agreement with the mill that left the people of Nova Scotia literally holding the garbage bag for the company.

Incredibly, the province took responsibility for the mill’s effluent and its treatment. In other words, the regulator owns the waste of the operation it regulates, making it the de facto business partner of the mill.

As such, the provincial government has supplied a never-ending subsidy to Northern Pulp of hundreds of millions of dollars. It also set aside a fund of $217 million to remediate Boat Harbour once a new treatment system is in place. These disastrous decisions continue to bedevil residents here.

“I haven’t figured it out,” Baxter said. “I can’t place myself in the minds of politicians from the 60s and 70s. Was it complete naïveté and possibly the influence corporations have over governments? If defies reason.”

According to several stakeholders who spoke to iPolitics, Northern Pulp did not consult with fishermen and First Nations members about their new treatment proposal, but rather the company informed them of what it had decided to do.

Allan MacCarthy, a representative of the Northumberland Fishermen’s Association (NFA) described the process his organization took part in during 2017.

“We were in consultation over last winter, but it wasn’t consultation, it was dictation. No other options were talked about. It was made clear to us. No pipe, no mill.”

Ron Heighton, the president of the NFA, echoed the sentiment that the talks weren’t really talks at all, just the company’s hard line on what would happen next — or else.

“We didn’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling. I highly doubt they are telling us the whole truth. They weren’t willing to look at anything else. (It was) very frustrating. They did come up with a few silly suggestions — taking it out to sea in tankers or trucking it away. It would take a truck leaving the plant every eleven minutes to do that.”

What did Baxter think of the “no pipe, no mill” mantra from Northern Pulp?

“It’s a threat. It’s a bully statement, my way or the highway. That’s the way the mill has operated since it opened,” she said. “It has bullied everybody. I was bullied. They bullied Coles bookstore into cancelling my book signing. The excuse was threats to the bookstore’s staff. Threats? If there were really serious threats, go to the police. Don’t cancel my book signing.”

An excerpt from a letter put out by Northern Pulp, expressly referring to Baxter’s book signing, bears out the author’s comments. “…This book is a non-factual rhetoric filled account of the mill and its history, and quite frankly, something that is offensive to anyone who has an association with the mill.”

In the wake of Baxter’s cancelled event, John Hamm, chairman of Northern Pulp’s board, said he believed in freedom of the speech. But he added the press had to be “evidence-based.”

Neither Hamm, Northern Pulp, nor current Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil showed much interest in supplying “evidence” as it relates to the mill. None of them agreed to Baxter’s request for a tour of the plant or interviews for her book. In Hamm’s case, the author even sent him a registered letter. It went unanswered.

The heart of the concern by the fishing community is that their abundant fishery could suffer irreparable harm from what spews from the pipe and an antiquated mill operating well beyond its projected lifespan.

“It’s a major concern of ours,” Heighton said. “Effluent and fish don’t get along. There will be mortality. We have a very lucrative lobster fishery right now. Chemicals coming out into one of the most productive places for lobster spawning could be a disaster.”

Hayne puts it more bluntly:

“The stuff they’re sending out into the ocean is heated to 37 degrees, so the temperature of the water will rise. The colour of the water will not let sunlight in and that will interfere with spawning and juveniles,” he said.

“They want to put this pipe near one of the main herring spawning grounds. The rising tide will take the effluents right onto the herring grounds. The falling tide will take the spawn down into the shit pile.”

Melanie Griffin is a marine biologist and the scientific advisor to the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association. Having grown up in Pictou, she remembers as a child driving with her parents across the causeway near Abercrombie Point and seeing the mill for the first time.

“I asked my mother, ‘Is that the place where they make clouds?’”

Proponents of the pipe argue that the effluent has been discharged into the Northumberland Strait for 50 years with no harm done. Griffin counters that no one really knows what damage the mill has already done to the environment, or the scale of what might happen if the pipe goes through.

“With my job background as a marine biologist, what it comes down to is sustainability between a healthy fishery and a healthy ocean,” she said. “In terms of keeping the ocean healthy, this is a giant step backwards.

“If that pipe goes in, fishermen will have to worry for years. It is so ironic. In P.E.I., you can hardly get a plastic straw at a restaurant — and especially on beaches. We don’t want plastic in the ocean. So if we are concerned about a person with a straw, why not worry about 90 million litres of heated effluent going into fishing grounds?”

Griffin said that she has already been told by a physical oceanographer at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who is an expert on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, that the pipe “will definitely cause direct damage to the area.” The only question is how far the effluent will flow.

In other words, the only question is how big the dead zone will be?

Northern Pulp claims that its new process, with multiple diffusers at sea, will be better than the system that turned Boat Harbour into a toxic wasteland.

Griffin isn’t so sure.

“My thoughts are that the two practices are completely different. No time to settle, just directly pumped into the Northumberland Strait, into world-class fishing grounds,” she said.

“Although the mill has been there since 1967, there were no protocols back then on such dumping, no control sites years before we ever started releasing anything. We simply don’t know that it hasn’t caused problems.”

Up until the early 1990s, there were no federal regulations on pumping pulp mill effluents into the ocean. The current regulations, which permit such dumping within limits, have been widely criticized as inadequate and are now under review.

For those who trust in the federal regulations, Gunning has a simple message: Don’t.

“The LC50 test is the test that Northern Pulp would have to pass. They do not test saltwater fish (as part of that), and 50 per cent of the freshwater fish tested can die within the test period, and it is still considered a test pass,” he said.

The members of the Pictou Landing First Nation have many of the same concerns about the pipe as Northumberland Strait fishermen. They are backed in their opposition by all 32 Maritime First Nations bands.

For Indigenous peoples, it is simply time to stop using the ocean as a garbage can.

“Some people just look out there and see an empty body of water. They think there’s nothing there. They’re idiots,” Hayne said. “They haven’t got a clue about what they are interfering with.”

Chief Paul’s band knows how alive the Northumberland waters really are. Pictou Landing First Nation is a small band, 450 members on reserve, another 150 off reserve. Fishing is a vitally important industry here.

“In fishing season, we have probably about 100 people directly employed. We have our captains and deckhands and others, and security for our traps. We have fishermen who fish for themselves, and also community licenses. If the Pipe goes in and harms species, it will have a huge impact on our community. It could impact our treaty,” she said.

It isn’t all about commerce, however.

Chief Paul says there are broader dangers at play here involving the entire Gulf ecosystem, a contention supported by a new study from Washington University. The research found that large scale climate change is already dangerously lowering oxygen levels in the Gulf. That in turn threatens marine life in this profoundly important body of water into which the Great Lakes drain.

The record of the Trudeau government on the marine environment, including in the Gulf, is sub-par to mediocre, augmented by windy words.

Belated protection for the endangered North Atlantic right whales and southern resident killer whales; an estimated 15-fold increase in tar sands bitumen tankers in Pacific waters; a flotilla of LNG tankers in northern British Columbia coastal waters; permission for exploratory oil wells, and sonic exploration in Atlantic waters. Nation-wide, the federal government has done nothing for 11 out of 14 endangered or threatened species of marine mammals.

No wonder the Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development called out the Trudeau government for its slackness in protecting marine mammals. According to WWF-Canada, at-risk populations have actually declined by an average of 28 per cent since the Species at Risk Act was introduced in 2002.

Something is terribly wrong.

“Everybody should be concerned,” Chief Paul said.

“Step up, be a voice. When I talked to the chiefs, I said, ‘Whatever lives in that water can’t speak for itself. We have to be that voice.’ The pipe is not just a financial worry.”

Like Northumberland Strait fishermen, Chief Paul has no faith in either Northern Pulp or the provincial government to do the right thing. Both are telling her band that the new treatment process that will feed the pipe is an improvement over what exists now. Paul isn’t buying the sales pitch.

“The mill says that the new treatment process will be much better than the old one. We (have) never seen the new system. We know what we know, and what we know is Boat Harbour.”

History is the fountainhead of Chief Paul’s enduring skepticism.

Baxter writes that back in 1967, the band was “tricked” into agreeing to the mill by both the provincial and federal governments. The absence of trust between the band, governments and the mill goes back to those days. Chief Paul said she will never forget the deception.

“They tricked my predecessors into accepting the mill. They took them to a facility in New Brunswick and showed them its clean water. They said that’s what we would get. It wasn’t even a pulp and paper operation. It was a sewage treatment plant that wasn’t even operating. That was like a punch in the gut.”

The band received $65,000 back in 1967 for approving a mill they were assured would do no harm. More than 26 years later, the federal government made an out-of-court settlement, outside the terms of the Indian Act, to pay the band $35 million for the damage the project had done to Pictou Landing First Nation.

Another reason Chief Paul and other opponents of the pipe don’t trust what they are being told is that Northern Pulp and the Nova Scotia government continue to be joined at the hip. As one resident told me, “When the government says something, we hear the mill talking.”

Little wonder.

Hamm, the chair of Northern Pulp’s board, was the premier of Nova Scotia when the provincial government extended the company’s 30-year lease.

Bernard Miller, the lawyer who for years acted as Northern Pulp’s advisor on environmental compliance, was handpicked by current Premier McNeil to work for his government.

Miller is currently working as a senior advisor on the executive council of Nova Scotia. The McNeil government says he is excluded from all discussions about the mill. Of course, the government really had little choice, after the province’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner, Merlin Nunn, said Miller was in a conflict of interest arising from his close association with the mill.

All of that adds up to a crisis of trust.

Opponents of the new treatment process for the mill are aware of the hopeless conflict of interest that arises out of the provincial government’s special relationship with Northern Pulp. No environmental assessment done by the province will ever be seen as impartial.

“To me, you cannot be both a proponent, covering costs of a project, and a detached regulator,” Baxter said.

And that is exactly why fishermen and First Nation peoples here believe that Ottawa — and Ottawa alone — is capable of doing a proper environmental assessment of the pipe.

They reason that if the government of Stephen Harper could hand over $28.1 million to Northern Pulp in 2011, as a “green” subsidy, surely Trudeau should accept Ottawa’s responsibility with the prospect of open-ocean pollution in the offing.

The pipe’s opponents in Pictou make one thing crystal clear: No one is asking that the mill be shut down. They just want to ensure it treats its effluent in a manner that doesn’t poison the environment and threaten an industry that can go on forever if it is managed and protected. That means honestly assessing the environmental threat and using the latest technology to mitigate ocean pollution.

Griffin said, as a marine biologist, she is “100 per cent” certain that a proper, full-scale environmental assessment by Ottawa needs to be done before the pipe goes in.

“Big changes are happening in the Gulf due to global warming. Shifting ecosystems, whales following food into new areas, thousands of squid washed up on the shores of P.E.I. That’s never happened before,” she said

“We need a science-based federal assessment. This is not a provincial issue. Ottawa says it wants to better protect the ocean. That goal should apply now to this situation.”

Trudeau is still popular in these parts, just no longer the rage. Some people, like Gunning, have personal reasons for hoping that the prime minister will ride to the rescue.

“If I could talk to Trudeau face to face, I’d remind him that a mutual friend introduced me to him at a steakhouse in Ottawa the night before his big fight with Patrick Brazeau. I knew then, and I know now, that he’s got it in him, he’s got the jam in him,” Gunning said.

“I’m being kind. What I mean to say is, that’s what I felt when I shook his hand the night before he fought Brazeau. He surprised the whole country by coming through. We’re waiting for the next big surprise from him down in Pictou County, where we badly need a good surprise.”

Baxter sees Boat Harbour and the mill as a way for the prime minister to burnish some of his faded lustre on two key files, the environment and Indigenous affairs.

“It is a perfect place for Justin to show that he is committed to both of those things, even though he hasn’t come through on other promises…This is a moment when the feds should step in and say, ‘We have jurisdiction in this, and we are going to step in and protect the fishery.’”

Chief Paul remains cautiously hopeful that when the prime minister gets the full story, he may change his mind on the jurisdiction issue.

“With the environment, I haven’t been extremely happy with Trudeau. But he has a lot of projects coming his way, so we don’t try to read too much into it,” she said.

“Everyone is waiting to see what he will do once Northern Pulp files its plan.”

Beneath her admirable attempt to be fair to the government, and to respect the heavy workloads that the prime minister and his ministers undoubtedly have, Chief Paul’s emotions are close to the surface.

“I met with Minister Carolyn Bennett a few weeks ago. I asked her if Trudeau is fully aware of the complex situation that is happening here. She is our rights and reconciliation minister, she has to step up, that’s her job. I didn’t want to sound angry, but how can you not be angry? I am angry.”

She’s not the only angry person in Pictou County.

Mary Gorman, a tireless defender of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a woman who has been voted a green champion for her 30 years of environmental advocacy, is unhappy that residents have to go begging for a federal environmental assessment of the pipe.

“I find it appalling that we even had to go to this effort. We shouldn’t be fighting for an assessment. That’s what these politicians are elected to do. That’s what these departments were created for,” she said.

“Five provinces feed off the Gulf. PEI and New Brunswick lobsters spawn in the Northumberland Strait. They migrate. DFO doesn’t have a clue where lobsters are outside the commercial fishing seasons. So how can they let the pipe go directly into their spawning grounds?”

The potential losses are unimaginable. Nova Scotia is Canada’s number one exporter of seafood. In 2017, exports totalled $2 billion, including $947 million in lobster sales. By comparison, exports of chemical wood pulp accounted for $241 million.

There is also another worry about the mill and Boat Harbour that few people talk about.

What happens if the mill isn’t able to build its new treatment system before the deadline in 2020? With 2018 drawing to a close, Northern Pulp still hasn’t filed its project plan.

If the new system isn’t in place by the deadline, what does the Nova Scotia government do? Enforce the Boat Harbour Act and close the operation down? Or grant an extension to the company that would allow Northern Pulp to continue using Boat Harbour to treat its effluent?

Hebert, the lawyer for Pictou Landing First Nation, thinks there is a distinct possibility that Northern Pulp will not be able to do all the things it needs to do before the 2020 deadline. The company has not produced a fisheries impact assessment, nor filed an environmental assessment which must be part of its project application.

“At this stage, what I’m concerned about most is the timing,” he said.

And so the residents here remain in a state of suspended animation, waiting for the company.

With the prime minister denying jurisdiction in the matter, fishermen here are facing the distinct possibility of a Kinder Morgan at sea scenario in the waters of the Northumberland Strait. If Nova Scotia approves Northern Pulp’s new treatment system and Ottawa remains a bystander, fishermen will be the last line of defence against the pipe.

“We don’t have a plan. We have an attitude,” MacCarthy said of his fellow fisherman. “There will be no pipe in the Strait.”

He said they had the biggest rally in Nova Scotia history over the pipe, which saw 3,500 people and 200 boats come out on a very poor day.

According to Gunning, an armada of fishermen is prepared to sail and to stand up for the ocean and their livelihood, if that’s what it comes to.

“There are 95 fishermen ready to go to jail over this, and thousands more behind them. If they want to put that pipe in the Strait, they’re going to have to send down the Navy.”




‘Whatever lives in that water can’t speak for itself. We have to be that voice.’ -- from the Pictou mill protest article

October 8, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some events today:

"Family and Friends" Apple-picking at The Mount, 9AM and later. Facebook event details here as some sort of pre-registration required.

"Movie: Forrest Gump , (1994), 1:30PM, City Cinema, admission $10 (plus tax), hosted by the Charlottetown Film Society and L'Ipeen. Facebook event link.


From last week:


Local developer plans to purchase Sears property, turn it into retail centre - CBC online article by Shane Ross

Tim Banks says he has agreement to purchase vacant building and land

CBC On-Line Thursday, October 4th, 2018

A local developer is planning to purchase the Sears property in Charlottetown and convert it into a "power centre" featuring retail stores.

"We've got a contractual agreement with the trustee to purchase the building," said Tim Banks, CEO of APM Group.

Also included are about six hectares of land, Banks said. "So there's some other developable land with it," he said. "Essentially we're buying the property and we're going to de-mall it, essentially what that means is that area out there is more in tune to a power centre as opposed to an indoor mall."

Banks said he expects to take possession of the property in the next week or so, and stores could start to open in the spring. He said stores will include national tenants that have yet to move to P.E.I., as well as stores in the province that he expects to relocate there. By subdividing the 109,000-square-foot Sears building and developing the accompanying land, Banks said there could be room for at least 10 stores.

The development will be called the Royalty Power Mall, he said. "I think Islanders will be excited when they see the final product."

APM Group received a loan from the province of $4 million for the purchase. Banks declined to say how much the property is being purchased for, but it was listed, at one point, at $7 million.

APM Group originally built the building and sold it to Sears about 10 years ago. Sears officially closed its doors in January.


"Power Centre" is a new term for some of us:

from: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/power-center.asp

A power center is a large (250,000 to 750,000 square ft.) outdoor shopping mall that usually includes three or more "big box" stores. This type of property might include smaller retailers and restaurants that are either free-standing or located in strip plazas and surrounded by a shared parking lot. Power centers are built for the convenience of motorists. Unlike traditional big box stores, power centers often have distinctive architectural features.

Another name in the business lexigon is just "retail centre".


"Without reverence we [people] will gradually descend into ecocide. In the degree that the imperatives of the market - the temple of the Mall - govern our lives, we are in escalating danger of destroying the commonwealth of all sentient beings - bugs and bees and buntings - on which we depend for a luxurious life on planet earth."

-- Sam Keen (b. 1931), American philosopher

October 7, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Happy Thanksgiving Sunday!


Pumpkin Festival at Arlington Orchard, 12noon-4PM, Arlington Orchards near Tyne Valley. Also open for apple picking. Website

Facebook Event Link

Yesterday's pumpkin weigh-off at Vesey's Seeds looked pretty busy and the winning pumpkin was 802kg and grown by Eddy Shaw. Photos CBC Story

Monday, October 8th and Friday, October 12th:

Apple U-Pick at the Mount, 9AM and other times, Mount Edward Road in Charlottetown. Tickets (free preregistration) required. When you get there, you buy a bag to fill (five or ten pounds, $10 or $20; they are still working on details). Fundraiser for the growing facility. Facebook event link.

P.E.I. Apple Growers Association has information about its members, links to their contact info, varieties information and recipes. (Not all growers or U-picks are members of the Association.)

website: http://islandapples.com/

Facebook page


On Friday, Cardigan MP Laurence MacAulay and provincial Transportation Minister Paula Biggar went to Pooles Corner to make an announcement on roads, but Island dairy farmers and supporters had a message, too, that they feel the federal government has sold them out on the recently announced NAFTA trade agreement replacement on dairy import capitulations.

from: Guardian story on the protest


Bloyce Thompson, another dairy farmer, said the 165 dairy farms on the Island have been hit bad again.

“It’s almost too much to bear,’’ Thompson said. “It’s affecting our incomes and our livelihoods, and we’re here to protect the family farm. Our markets are being taken away by the American product. It’s (a) cheaper, less superior product that’s coming and it’s going to affect our bottom line.’’

Despite repeated calls from the protesters on Friday to vote against the deal, MacAulay said he won’t be voting no.

“I can understand, truly, how they feel being a dairy farmer myself, but I can tell you $2 billion a day (of trade crosses) the border. We cannot have that stop. (They) had to pay a price and that’s unfortunate. I am fully aware it's not easy.’’ <snip>

[I am not sure who "had to pay a price" -- the federal government to get the trade deal, or the farmers (though the tense is wrong and they haven't paid the price...yet).]

Dairy groups are urging consumers to look for the Canadian Milk symbols before buying commercial dairy products. More info:

Dairy Farmers of Canada webpage on "USMCA" and Dairy

Dairy Farmers of Canada Facebook


(left) "old" and (right) current 100% Canadian dairy content product logos

(Personal note: I appreciate there are many facets in dairy production, consumption, government-recommended amounts in the diet, etc. But if people consume cheese and milk and such, local or specially-made is usually a better choice for local economies and communities. Buying Canadian-only dairy products will probably come to price points, and that will make it hard for some families.)


MacAulay and Biggar did make the roads announcement, in an all-good-news and self-congratulatory fashion, basically for paving upgrades to a big handful of secondary roads scattered around the province.

While improving the roads we have (and adding shoulder material and such for cycling and other uses) is welcome, the idea we needed to wrangle a good deal out of the feds to pay for half of regular upkeep and small improvements to existing roads should make Islanders think twice.

One of the major points of the Plan B highway protest six (!) years ago this month was that the project was too big for the natural area and small communities it was ripping through, and we weren't maintaining the roads we already had adequately. (Deja vu with the Cornwall Bypass now.) So there may not be cause for celebrations here, though most will be thankful for the new asphalt, even if the taxpayer is paying in federal taxes for the upkeep of the roads.

CBC story on roads announcement/dairy protest

P.E.I. Government media release on roads announcement


Life is a journey that must be travelled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.

--Oliver Goldsmith, 18th century Irish writer

October 6, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Saturday Markets will be brisk as it is a big food shopping day before Thanksgiving meals. Bring money and patience.

Cardigan, 10AM-2PM **Last day for this market**

Murray Harbour, 9AM-noon

Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM

George's Island Market, Bedeque, 9AM-1PM

Summerside, 9AM-1PM

Here is a link to a CBC article last week about Summerside Farmers' Market 10th Anniversary

Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off, 10AM-2PM, Vesey's Seeds, York on Rte. 25. Weigh-Off is at Noon, free for the public and lots of family activities. It is the 25th anniversary of the competition and the usual fee to enter the weigh-off has been weighed. (Pumpkins need to be received between 8-10:30AM.)

Facebook event link

Future events:

Conflict Resolution Public Lecture and Workshop, with Northern Ireland Peace activist Paul Hutchinson

Friday, October 19th:

Public Lecture, "Living Well with Difference: Reflections from a Northern Ireland Peace Activist", 7-8:30PM, Our Lady of Assumption Church, 145 Stratford Road, Stratford. Donations accepted at the door. All welcome.

Saturday, October 20th:

Workshop: "Peace and Reconciliation: What on Earth?", 10AM-4PM, Our Lady of Assumption Church, Stratford. Hutchinson was former Director of the Corrymeela Peace ad Reconciliation Centre in Northern Ireland. He was invited to speak and facilitate here in addition to his annual visit to Nova Scotia. Sponsored by the Council of Canadians, PEI Chapter. Workshop cost $75 and if interested, contact Betty at (902) 672-2650 or email <jbwilcox2010@hotmail.com> as soon as possible.


Saturdays often mean a call to support local food,and this week it's joined by a call to support local journalism (and, of course, support journalism period).

Island entrepreneur Alesia Napier wrote on social media yesterday:

"Find a paper you like. Support them. Buy their copies. Better yet, get a subscription. We all appreciate a free press, and it's a small and relatively easy way to support democracy on a daily or monthly basis.

Thanks to all the journalists I know. I appreciate your work and energy."

and showed Paul MacNeill's social media posting of a blank, totally blank, front page of the Eastern Graphic (The West Prince Graphic was also purposely blank).

October 1-7th is National Newspaper Week

Newspapers Matter #NowMoreThanEver

(And of course a free press does not mean the cost is necessarily free.)

Here is a good article with global and Canadian references from The Washington Post, from March 21st, 2018

A Once Unimaginable Scenario: No More Newspapers

by Douglas McLennan and Jack Miles


For generations, many newspapers have called themselves The Mirror, The Daily Mirror, The Hometown Mirror, or the like. The title of Canada’s Public Policy Forum report is “The Shattered Mirror.” Imagine your home without a mirror or any mirror surrogate, like a cellphone camera. Imagine that you could never see your own reflection. Now imagine that your country has lost its national mirror, and you can never see an honest reflection of what it looks like. Worse, substitute that lost mirror for a fun-house mirror of pervasive and overwhelming attempts to dissemble, lie and spread fake news. <snip>


I can make fun of The Guardian and its infamous bad polls or incomplete reporting, but we are pretty lucky, and especially this weekend, I am thankful for newspapers.


"I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, then be crowded on a velvet cushion."

--Henry David Thoreau

October 5, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Progressive Conservative Party of PEI Happy Hour with guest MP Shannon Stubbs from Alberta, 4-5:30PM, Upstreet Brewing Company.

Facebook event link

The Nathan Condon Memorial Concert for Suicide Prevention, 7-10PM, Trinity United Church, Spring Street in Summerside. "Nathan Condon was a son, father, band member, carpenter and a very talented musician who had everything to live for. Tragically, he died from suicide in August of 2017 at the age of 32 years ...100% of the proceeds will go to Suicide Prevention through Lennon House in North Rustico, PEI. Lennon Recovery House Association adopts a holistic approach to recovery to provide individuals with the opportunity to recover and heal from substance abuse and subsequent mental health issues. If you would like to make a donation but cannot attend the concert, you can do so on the Lennon House web site at lennonhouse.ca" More details at the Facebook event link

Todd MacLean's Solo CD Long John June Launch, 7:30PM, Pourhouse (above The Old Triangle, Great George Street). Doors open for dining at 6:30PM. Tickets $20 which includes a copy of the CD. Music, stories, etc. from the editor of Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet and an all-around caring and giving individual.

Future event:

Wednesday, October 24th:

Step Up to the Plate fundraising dinner for PEI Food Exchange, 5-8:30PM. Farm Centre. Lovely dinner and easy ways to give money to help this group that finds ways to share food with so many, and share skills, too.

Facebook event link



Congratulations to the several Prince Edward Island Senior Islanders of the Year award winners -- especially Kaye Larkin, who works constantly in ways big and small to help the environment, and Ann Sherman, whose big heart matches her brain in social justice and legal issues.

The Order of PEI Awards were given out earlier this week to Mark Arendz, Irene Jewell and Heather Cutcliffe, and these Islanders sound like amazing citizens. (It appears the awards are recovering from the besmirchment of Robert Ghiz handing it out to fit his whims.)


It appears the e-gaming trial is set to resume Tuesday, October 9th, and the situation and new developments are neatly explained in this recent article by Guardian political reporter Stu Neatby. (It should be noted that former Guardian political reporter Teresa Wight's diligently wrote about the apparent greed and money-making schemes of the Robert Ghiz time, too.) Neatby is sizing up PEI issues pretty well and the use of the term "saga" is kind of humorous.


Local Documents Raise Questions about Role PEI Law Firm Played in E-Gaming Saga - The Guardian article by Stu Neatby

McInnes Cooper claims to have acted solely as representative of Confederacy, but was paid entirely by government funds

Published on Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Days before a $50 million lawsuit is set to be heard in court, newly released documents have raised further questions about the role played by local law firm McInnes Cooper in the e-gaming saga.

The public court documents, which include excerpts of email communications between McInnes Cooper lawyers and several public officials involved in the e-gaming initiative, were obtained by the plaintiff in the lawsuit, Capital Markets Technologies, Inc. The correspondence shows that McInnes Cooper was identified as the project manager for the e-gaming initiative in government briefing notes and that the law firm lowered its budget for services it billed the province despite acknowledging it would incur cost overruns.

McInnes Cooper has maintained it only offered representation to the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I., not to the province.

Between 2009 and 2012, the province and the MCPEI attempted to establish the Island as a regulatory centre for internet gaming sites. The e-gaming initiative was abandoned in 2012 after the province spent at least $1.5 million on the initiative. Most of the funds were disbursed to McInnes Cooper.

The court documents show that McInnes Cooper originally submitted a budget to the Island Investment Development Inc. for $1,195,000 in expenses related to the e-gaming initiative but later dropped the budget down to $950,000.

It is unclear whether McInnes Cooper was able to obtain the $245,000 discrepancy between the two budgets through other funding means.

“The change from $1,195,000 to $950,000 did not reflect any change in the scope of anticipated costs of the project but rather was changed to allow the confederacy to meet the funding thresholds of Innovation P.E.I. It was understood that the actual cost of the project would likely exceed $950,000,” wrote McInnes Cooper board chairman Kevin Kiley in a Sept 25, 2012, memo to McInnes Cooper lawyer Mike O’Brien.

An IIDI loan of over $1 million would have required approval by cabinet, which would have been made public through an order-in-council.

In her 2016 report on the e-gaming saga, P.E.I. auditor general Jane MacAdam was critical of the $950,000 loan to McInnes Cooper, stating it was “essentially a grant,” as there was little expectation of repayment.

MacAdam also noted $600,000 of costs had been incurred by McInnes Cooper prior to the loan application and that costs were incurred despite “high risks, no tangible assets and only intellectual property as security.”

Gary Scales, a regional lead partner with McInnes Cooper, is named as one of the defendants in the e-gaming lawsuit. In a statement of defence filed on behalf of Scales, it is claimed that neither he nor McInnes Cooper provided project management or legal services to the province, and that the government had retained a separate firm as its external counsel.

CMT has named a total of 14 defendants in the lawsuit, including former Premier Robert Ghiz, former minister of finance Wes Sheridan and current deputy minister of finance Neil Stewart, as well as Scales.

CMT alleges that government officials committed “misfeasance of public office,” and that malicious harm was done to the company, which was in talks with the province to establish a financial services platform. A previous $25 million lawsuit filed by CMT was dismissed in 2016.

The first hearing in the lawsuit is set to be heard on Oct. 9 in Charlottetown.


And what about the PNP saga? Wayne Carver suggests an audit.

LETTER: Islanders deserve forensic audit - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Friday, September 28th, 2018


Minister Palmer’s proclamation that Islanders were never satisfied with the PNP is an understatement. It is obvious that the minister has been in the portfolio for a short time, consequently he is not really aware of how closely Islanders have been following this debacle and how fed up they are with the abuses of public process.

The merit of the PNP has been called into question several times. Complaints have been made to law enforcement officials but to no avail. The inability to investigate the matter has been a public embarrassment and the dismissal of competent civil servants to protect the party has painted high ranking elected officials as cruel ruthless zealots interested in their own well-being.

Citizens are awaiting with bated breath, the outcome of the CBSA criminal charges and hopeful that the outcome will shed more light on the highly secretive and badly abused program. The outcome could be such that the auditor general will be called upon to conduct another audit of the program, in fact, the knowledge that CBSA is investigating nearly 1,000 fraudulent immigration cases should be enough to warrant a full-out investigation.

This time around it would not be uncharitable to call for a full forensic audit by the national police force, Islanders deserve nothing less.

Wayne Carver, Long Creek


“In 1990, I had a great teacher named Bill Hogg at Eliot River Elementary School,” in Cornwall, PEI. “We had a slogan that went ‘there is no away,’ meaning you can throw stuff in the garbage but it doesn’t really go away.”

-- Todd MacLean, musician, writer, and environmentalist (excerpt from an Atlantic Books Today interview, with a small spelling correction of Mr. Hogg's name)

October 4, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Infrastructure and Energy Standing Committee meeting, 1:30PM, Coles Building. "The Committee will receive a briefing on the topic of vehicles passing school buses."

You can usually watch these live at the Legislative Assembly website:

Farm Centre Farmers' Market, 4-7PM, P.E.I. Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Produce, local products, and often a gardening workshop.

Tomorrow, Friday, October 4th:

"Significant Roads Announcement", 1PM, Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner. Cardigan MP Laurence MacAulay will make an announcement with Provincial Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Paula Biggar, according to the ad in today's Guardian.


Provincial municipal elections are on Monday, November 5th.

The P.E.I. Legislature will open for the Fall on Tuesday, November 13th at 2PM. It may be Charles MacKay's last session as Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.


Two articles:

Lack of oxygen in Gulf of St. Lawrence needs emergency action, says activist - CBC News online article by Norma Jean MacPhee

Recent study says oxygen levels in the gulf are on the decline

CBC News On-line posted Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018


An environmental activist in Merigomish, N.S., believes House of Commons Speaker Geoff Regan made a bad call when he turned down a request Tuesday morning to hold an emergency discussion on the environmental state of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The request was made by Green Leader Elizabeth May in response to a scientific study released in September that said the oxygen levels in the gulf are rapidly decreasing.

"Fish are like the rest of us, they cannot live without oxygen," said Mary Gorman, founder of the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition. "And if our Gulf of St. Lawrence waters are deoxygenating, this is an emergency matter."

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, isn't lightweight commentary.

It was funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Spain's Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the European Research Council, and co-authored by researchers from universities such as the University of Washington, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the University of Rhode Island, University of California and Dalhousie University. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Princeton University's national oceanic and atmospheric laboratory were also involved.

The study cites temperature shifts in the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current as a reason for the deoxygenation as warmer water cannot hold as much oxygen.

May told the House of Commons on Tuesday there could be dire consequences if the issue isn't addressed. "The emergency is that the death of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is a disaster economically, ecologically and socially," May was quoted as saying in Hansard. "The terminus of the moment to save it could be as soon as four years from now which requires real action on an emergency basis."

Regan responded that May's request did not fit the necessary criteria for Standing Order 52, which would cause an emergency debate to supercede the already planned proceedings of the House.

He is quoted in Hansard as saying: "I do not find that this, while there is no question it seems to be very important in interest, I do not find that it meets the exigencies of the strict wording of the Standing Order."

Gorman, who has been advocating for the Gulf of St. Lawrence for 30 years, said that response is not responsible. "If the multibillion-dollar fisheries that feed the coastal economies of half the provinces of this nation, if that doesn't constitute an emergency for the federal government, can they tell me what does?"

Gorman said it's not just climate change causing the deoxygenation, but industrial plants that "simply treat our ocean like they're a great, vast toilet."

She said she'd like to see the federal government create immediate policies to curtail further degradation. "In an ideal world, the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence should be declared a marine-protected region with sustainable fisheries only allowed. And they have to stop with all the reckless pollution."


Jane Ledwell,executive director of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, wrote this opinion piece after the #MeToo movement's first year milestone was passed.


#MeToo: What Next? - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Jane Ledwell

Published on Monday October 1st, 2018

Victims of sexual misconduct have lived with the consequences for too long, while perpetrators have often faced none

“I believe you.” “I am so sorry this happened to you.”

Many of us on social media left these responses on post after post last year as a staggering, heartbreaking wave of friends and family told us: #MeToo.

Last year, almost every woman and non-binary person I knew, and numerous men, used two simple syllables to tell the world they had experienced sexual misconduct.

The stories behind those syllables were varied, but they all pointed to one conclusion: victims of sexual misconduct have lived with the consequences of violence for too long, while the perpetrators have too often faced none.

Make no mistake: sexual misconduct is a show of power that discriminates against a person as a result of their gender, age, race, ability, or other traits. Sexual misconduct creates harm, with physical and mental effects, and also with material effects of limiting options and careers and reducing or removing victims’ voices and visibility in the public sphere.

Sexual misconduct can affect anyone of any gender, but it is a tool of social control, so the groups most affected are those who do not have, but seek, their equal place in the world. Whether individual women have experienced direct or indirect attacks, it affects #UsToo. And moreso women who are also part of other disadvantaged groups.

So, what can we do when we see perpetrators of sexual harm flourish while their victims disappear – into themselves, into the effects of trauma, into lesser careers, or away to other provinces? What can we do when we see that women’s safety is so easily sacrificed for the success of men who harmed them? Perpetrators who left them creeping uncomfortable, unsafe, and self-loathing in their own skins?

It is galling to see people in high-profile, well-paid roles be rehired after settled cases of sexual harassment – their violation of others’ human rights. It is appalling when elected officials with histories of sexual misconduct continue to harass after being elected but are not held accountable through codes of conduct. It is terrifying when teachers are subject to little investigation or censure after complaints of misconduct in public schools.

When well-intentioned promotion committees or government leaders or principals are more comfortable waiting for more or better evidence than believing and supporting those harmed, it tells victims they are worth less.

And it is not enough to wait for violations to be addressed as criminal matters: there are countless barriers to victims achieving justice for sexual misconduct through criminal trial.

Since #MeToo, we’ve seen examples of guilty verdicts or career consequences for a few perpetrators: these have often only come after numerous victims and much time. And significant consequences are still so rare as to be met with shock – and sometimes outrage about the consequences’ effects on perpetrators’ reputations and relationships.

What can we do? It is government’s responsibility, on behalf of us all, to ensure that public and publicly funded institutions have robust policies to prevent and address sexual misconduct. We must be prepared to begin by believing reports of sexual misconduct, and follow up with appropriate third-party investigation that puts the survivor in the centre and doesn’t revictimize. We can ensure that community mental health systems and not-for-profit victim-serving agencies are well-resourced to help survivors heal when they are ready for help, without waiting lists, whether the trauma occurred last week or last century. We can amplify the voices of victims and survivors. We can promote their careers and restore their visibility in the world.

Society must move towards restorative justice that begins to truly restore what was stolen from survivors: their dignity and the privacy of their intimate lives, their human rights, their lost or abandoned careers and opportunities. We can expect perpetrators to take responsibility, to make apologies and to make amends, and to make reparations to the people they harmed. We can hold unrepentant perpetrators accountable.

We can hold ourselves, our organizations, and our systems, large and small, responsible to support people who experience sexual misconduct – and not to reward perpetrators.

Jane Ledwell is the executive director of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women and is a writer and editor based in Charlottetown. The Guardian reached out to Ledwell to write this guest opinion to mark the first anniversary for the #MeToo movement. To read more submissions on #MeToo, go to Theguardian.pe.ca.

October 3, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Today is the last Wednesday Charlottetown Farmers' Market for the Fall, 9AM-2PM.

Mark Carr-Rollitt is looking into alternatives to "single-use-plastics" for serving food and drinks at public events. Many of the vendors at the Farmers' Market are working on this and balancing cost and accessibility. Nancy Russell reports in CBC's "Waves of Change" series:



Art Show Opening with special guest reading: Well Read Art Show Opening, 7-9PM, The Guild Art Gallery, Queen and Richmond Street. Described as a "PG-13 multi-media art show by Jenni Zelin, about books." Jenni is an Island physician, mother, local food proponent, and artist. Dave Ackinson will be reading and telling stories.

from: Facebook event link

"How can an artist represent and honour beloved literature through art? This is the question that motivated Island artist Jenni Zelin’s latest solo show. Paying tribute to literature ranging from children's picture books and young adult novels to classic and contemporary literature, nonfiction and stage text, Zelin’s show also reflects her work in multiple media, including pieces in acrylic, ink, felt, clay, ceramics, found materials, and comic strip art. One of the pieces serves as a miniature and functioning lending library offering books to the public to borrow, trade, or read during gallery hours.

(revised by Chris :) Opening night will be author and former CBC reporter Dave Ackinson reading and telling stories. The opening also kicks off a two-week silent auction of many of Zelin’s art pieces from the show, with the proceeds being donated to the Confederation Centre Public Library."


Thursday, October 4:

Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Energy Meeting, 1:30PM, Coles Building. "The Committee will receive a briefing on the topic of vehicles passing school buses (relating to Bill No. 101 – An Act to Amend the Highway Traffic Act) from: -Superintendent Mac Richards, Criminal Operations Officer, RCMP L Division Other presenters to be confirmed."


The Council of Canadians have taken a closer look at the reworked North American Free Trade Agreement, which the United States wants called USMCA but could be known as NAFTA 2.0 (or repeating some CBC's As It Happens listeners for suggestions of "Afta' Nafta", USCAM, and MUSCRAT-- "Mexico, US, Canada Ratified Agreement on Trade")


NAFTA 2.0: better but still deeply flawed - The Council of Canadians website article by Maude Barlow, Honourary Chairperson

Published on their website on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

Canadian and American negotiators came to agreement on a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or NAFTA 2.0.

First, the good news. Thanks to Council of Canadians supporters fighting for trade that is truly fair, together over the last year we pushed relentlessly for and won two significant changes in this new deal:

  • Chapter 11 between Canada and the U.S. is gone. The investor-state dispute settlement provisions that were in NAFTA 1.0 have allowed U.S. corporations to sue Canada for billions over policies and laws that infringed on corporate profits even if they were done in the public interest.

  • Energy proportionality is also gone, which required Canada to send a set percentage of its energy resources to the U.S. even in times of shortages.

In addition to the elimination of these two harmful provisions, Canada was able to retain the cultural exemption clause from NAFTA 1.0. And there are promising signs of improved labour standards too, including increased wages and collective bargaining freedoms for Mexican workers, which the Council of Canadians also strongly advocated for in partnership with labour allies in the U.S. and Mexico.

These are major victories for all of us who sounded the alarm on how these dangerous provisions affect our ability to protect the public interest and the environment.

Together with tens of thousands of supporters and our tireless network of chapter activists across the country, we were able to run and sustain several effective strategies, including:

  • A national public education and engagement campaign that reached more than 1 million people that included our hard-hitting TV ad that ran on CBC’s The National, a series of informational videos breaking down key problem areas, and our NAFTA Toolkit that helped ordinary people take the NAFTA fight directly to their own MPs.

  • Mobilizing more than 35,000 people to make individual submissions to the federal government’s public consultations on what they want to see in any new NAFTA deal, including the elimination of both Chapter 11 and energy proportionality.

  • Presenting to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade to bring our collective concerns directly to Parliamentarians.

  • Producing hard-hitting research and timely reports on why energy proportionality should be out of NAFTA, and what was needed to make NAFTA a good deal for people and the planet.

  • Organizing numerous public forums and rallies in communities across Canada to help people better understand what’s at stake and how to get involved.

Unfortunately, the news isn’t all good.

Our farmers will pay a heavy price as NAFTA 2.0 opens Canada’s market to more U.S. dairy products, including products that contain bovine growth hormone (BGH), a genetically modified hormone that is injected in cows to make them produce more milk. BGH has been banned in Canada due to its link to serious health concerns.

There will be increased deregulation and harmonization of rules to accelerate approvals for massive pipelines to be built.

Patents on pharmaceuticals, like biologic drugs, have also been extended, which will mean it will take longer for generic drugs to get to the market. This will keep drug prices higher – and often unaffordable – for longer and could have an impact on Canada’s attempt to implement a national pharmacare plan.

You can read even more analysis on the NAFTA 2.0 from the Council’s Trade Campaigner, Sujata Dey, in her blog post from last night.

So while there is much to celebrate today, I do so with cautious reflection about what is still to come.

What is also clear is that NAFTA 2.0 – which negotiators refer to as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – is still based on a flawed trade model that protects corporate interests over people and the environment.

This new NAFTA deal doesn’t address climate change and it could still leave our water vulnerable to corporate interests that want to buy and sell it. It also does not, as promised, include provisions on gender equality or Indigenous rights.

In many ways, I fear NAFTA 2.0 is cut from the same cloth as the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

And that’s why you and I must remain vigilant and continue to speak out for a new trade model that puts people and the environment first.

If there’s one clear positive takeaway with NAFTA 2.0, it’s that we have shown it’s possible for the people of this country to change things that were once thought unchangeable in trade agreements – and that gives us all tremendous hope.

You can trust that we will continue to monitor how this new deal unfolds over the coming days and weeks. Our fight is far from over.


Sad news to hear of the passing of Anna Miriam (Pratt) Fraser, who was 95. I had only met her late in what must have been a full and loving life, in 2012, when she was most concerned about the Plan B Highway proposal and was speaking out, encouraging people to sign the petition, etc. She came to one of the rallies and addressed a couple of politicians, a tiny but fierce lion in the cold April wind pointing out the waste of land and resources to then Premier Robert Ghiz and Transportation Minister Robert Vessey, who at least acknowledged her politely, even if they didn't listen to her wisdom. Many of us did, and I appreciated our correspondence.

Obituary and visitation and memorial service details for Anna Fraser


"Anyone in an influential position especially should exert every effort to maintain the peaceful beauty and rare ecology of our province."

-- The late Anna Miriam Fraser, in 2012, in a letter imploring Philip Brown, assistant to then-MP Gail Shea, to see the big picture and encourage the cancellation of the Plan B highway project

October 2, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews



Water Law: A Look at the new PEI Water Act, 6-8PM, Farm Centre main floor, hosted by East Coast Environmental Law and the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, free and refreshments will be served. Facebook event link.


This afternoon:

Legislative Committee on Health and Wellness Meeting, 1:30PM, Coles Building. The Committee will meet to discuss its workplan. Visitors welcome. More details here.

Also, tonight:

Nature PEI monthly meeting, 7:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House. Brendon Kelly will be speaking on the decline in bird numbers, with beautiful photography. Guardian article


If you can get to one thing tonight, the Water Act workshop would be very useful.

  • It will remind us what's actually in, and not in, this Water Act (that was passed in the provincial legislature in the fast and furious last day of the Fall 2017 sitting).

  • Second, it will help us figure out how the regulations are written and what kind of public consultation would be useful.

  • It shows continued interest in this issue, that Islanders are watching, and that they have noticed a lack of any consistent, coherent dialogue on the Act and the regulations by the current Environment Minister.


The ocean is regarded as some sort of bargain basement....People don't realize that water in its liquid state is very rare in the universe. Away from Earth it is usually a gas. This moisture is a blessed treasure, and it is our basic duty, if we don't want to commit suicide, to protect it.

-- Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau

October 1, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 2nd:

Water Law: A Look at the New PEI Water Act, 6-8PM, Farm Centre room 106-107. All welcome to hear a discussion of what is in the Act, what could be in the regulations, and what citizens should pay attention to and be involved in. With Lisa Mitchell and Ryan Cutcliffe from East Coast Environmental Law, who have been working with the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water on the Water Act issue for quite a while, and members of the Water Coalition presenting.


Regarding the NAFTA deal -- renamed the USMC which may stand for the United States Marine Corps but apparently also for the United States Mexico Canada agreement)

--Canada may well have sold the cow for a handful of magic beans.

I am borrowing some articles that Ian Petrie sent out early this morning, with thanks. The first and last in their entirety, and the middle ones just links for your information:

from The Globe and Mail:


Canada, U.S. reach tentative NAFTA deal; Trump approves pact - The Globe and Mail web article by Robert Fife, Ottawa Bureau Chief

Published on Sunday, September 30th, 2018 (web article is updated continuously)

Canada and the U.S. have reached a tentative deal to overhaul the North American free-trade agreement after intensive weekend talks, trading access to Canada’s protected dairy market for the preservation of a key dispute-resolution system and exemption from threatened auto tariffs.

President Donald Trump signed off on the agreement late Sunday night, said four sources with knowledge of the closed-door negotiations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened a late Sunday cabinet meeting at his office in Ottawa. The Mexican Economy Ministry, meanwhile, said it presented text of the preliminary deal to the Mexican Senate.

NAFTA will be renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – or USMC, with the United States posting the text of the agreement online. Mr. Trump had previously indicated he wanted to do away with the phrase “NAFTA."

In a statement late Sunday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed that Canada and the United States had settled upon a “new, modernized trade agreement for the 21st Century: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”

Canada preserved the Chapter 19 dispute settlement provision, satisfying Mr. Trudeau’s long-standing red line in the negotiations. The deal will also keep in place protections for Canadian cultural industries.

Mr. Trump, for his part, gained the right for American farmers to sell more products into Canada’s tightly-controlled supply managed dairy system, his major trade complaint with Canada over the last year and a half.

Three sources said a side agreement would see the Trump administration guarantee it will not impose tariffs on most auto imports from Canada.

The deal would also allow Canadian consumers to purchase five times more foreign merchandise online without paying import duty than they are currently allowed, the two sources said.

While the agreement did contain some Canadian concessions, it mostly limited the damage to Canada from Mr. Trump’s protectionist trade policies. But Canada failed to conclude a deal to get steel and aluminium tariffs lifted. Mr. Trump imposed the levies in June, insisting they were the consequence of Canada not signing onto a NAFTA deal, but two U.S. officials speaking at a background briefing said there was no agreement to lift them despite Canada agreeing to the deal. Those officials said there have been negotiations over the tariffs, but they have not reached a conclusion.

Canada also agreed to increase protections for pharmaceutical patents to 10 years, a significant victory for the U.S. in an area it has long pushed Canada on, the U.S. officials said. Canada has long resisted increasing protections for pharma in order to keep drug prices low and help its own generic drug industry.

The U.S. dropped a major demand to gut Chapter 20, a different dispute resolution provision, and it will instead remain exactly as it is now, the U.S. officials said. Chapter 11, however, will be phased out between the U.S. and Canada, the officials said. The provision had allowed corporations to sue governments at special tribunals for interfering in their business. The chapter will, however, remain in place in a scaled-back form in Mexico.

The U.S. has been pressing Canada to make a deal since late August, when the Trump administration reached a preliminary NAFTA pact with Mexico.

Mr. Trump wants to send text of the deal to Congress Monday, starting a 60-day countdown to a final signing. He has repeatedly threatened to decimate Canada’s auto industry with 25-per-cent tariffs if an agreement is not reached.

Canadian and American negotiators spent all weekend in talks, conducted via videolink, in a bid to reach the deadline, said two government and industry sources.

Ms. Freeland and Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton hunkered down with Mr. Trudeau’s top aides, Katie Telford and Gerald Butts, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Ottawa to work through the deal.

Mr. MacNaughton said the negotiating team was pleased with the result. “If a few months ago you had told me we would get a deal like this, I would have taken it in a nanosecond."

Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff, who sits on the government’s NAFTA advisory panel, said the tentative deal "will be a relief for industry but also for our members who are worried if the industry is not protected.” Mr. Yussuff noted Mr. Trudeau will hold a news conference Monday to lay out the details of the deal.

Canada will give U.S. farmers access to the Canadian dairy market greater than the 3.2 per cent granted to 10 other countries under the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Ottawa will also change a rule that had largely excluded U.S.-made ultrafiltered milk, a cheese-making ingredient, from Canada.

The deal will preserve Canada’s supply management system, which uses a combination of quotas and tariffs to guarantee returns for Canadian farmers.

But giving a larger percentage of the market to the U.S. without tariffs is certain to rankle the dairy lobby, which wields significant political influence, particularly in Quebec, which holds a provincial election Monday.

“As the national association of dairy farmers in Canada, we have not been consulted by the government” about the potential concession, said Lucie Boileau, a spokeswoman for the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

For its part, Canada will keep Chapter 19, which allows it to challenge punitive American tariffs on imports at binational panels rather than in the U.S. court system.

The system has proven useful in the past for protecting softwood-lumber exports from duties.

Canada also bowed to U.S. demands to raise its de minimis threshold – the amount of online merchandise consumers can buy across international borders without paying import duty – from $20 to $100, said the sources.

The move, which was opposed by the Canadian retail industry, was agreed to by Canada in exchange for still being able to collect sales tax on the purchases, a source said.

The framework deal also includes a side agreement to have Mr. Trump exempt Canadian autos from future levies. In exchange, Canada agreed to an auto quota system similar to one Mexico accepted in August, said two industry sources.

Under the terms of the deal, all Canadian-made autos and auto parts under a specific quota – which is higher than current export levels – are exempted from any possible Section 232 national-security tariffs.

In addition, any Canadian-made autos that exceed the quota but that meet stringent new auto-content rules would also be exempted. Therefore, Washington could only impose tariffs on autos that exceed the cap and fail to meet the new rules.

One U.S. industry source briefed on the talks said Canada and the U.S. had discussed quotas or export restrictions on steel and aluminium, which designed to exempt current Canadian exports while discouraging steel and aluminium from other countries being routed through Canada into the U.S. market.

Jesus Seade Kuri, the chief negotiator representing Mexico’s president elect, Andres Manuel López Obrador, said he was delighted and relieved with that it was a trilateral deal. ""The fact that Canada is in will be very popular across the board."

He predicted that the deal would be broadly popular with Mexicans, although the tougher rules of origins on cars would draw criticism - but in the long term they will prove positive, he said, since "you have a whole region that is becoming more protectionist ... and now we are inside the curtain. That's beneficial for Canada and Mexico."

He said that in hindsight, it was possible that Mexico could have got through the negotiations without giving up as much as it did. “Probably Mexico could have been tougher and resisted concessions -- in the car industry, for example -- it probably was a little too much but at same time that’s difficult to say, because Trump was so hell bent on getting out of NAFTA.”

With files from Stephanie Nolen in Mexico City

Bloomberg's Josh Wingrove and company explain the highlights of the deal:

Cars, Cows and a Crisis Averted -- Highlights of a New NAFTA Deal



iPolitics Kelsey Johnson explains what part of the cow has been sold:

New Trade Deal Opens up Canada's Dairy Market, Kills Class 7



The New York Times published this interview with American farmer, essayist, and respecter of the land Wendel Berry, and Ian Petrie sent it out perhaps as the antidote for concern about the new trade deal. (More about Ian's McRobie lecture from last week, with the similar ideas in a P.E.I. format, another day.)


Wendell Berry’s Right Kind of Farming - The New York Times Opinion piece by Gracy Olmstead

Agricultural choices must be made by these inescapable standards: the ecological health of the farm and the economic health of the farmer.

Published on Monday, October 1st, 2018

How we farm matters. For the past two centuries, America’s farms have expanded and homogenized, and farming equipment and chemicals have replaced personnel. Farmers have grown older and more isolated and are retiring without successors.

Our embrace of industrialization and “factory farming” has not resulted in greater economic security for most American farmers. The nation has suffered a historic slump in prices for corn, soybeans, milk, wheat and other commodities. It has lost half its dairy farmers in the past 18 years. And The Wall Street Journal warned in early 2017 that “the next few years could bring the biggest wave of farm closures since the 1980s.”

The farmer, essayist and poet Wendell Berry has long argued that today’s agricultural practices are detrimental to ecology, community and the local economies that farms once served. A native Kentuckian, Mr. Berry has written over 40 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and has received a Guggenheim fellowship, the National Humanities Medal and the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.

Mr. Berry argues that healthy forms of agriculture require intentional cultivation on the part of both consumers and farmers. Americans presume there will always be enough — money, clean soil, healthy water — to fulfill our desires. But our ravenous economic disposition goes against the very nature of our world and its finite resources. Advocates for sustainable agriculture argue that we ought to recognize the limits of our world and, as Mr. Berry writes, “live in it on its terms, not ours.”

This year’s proposed Farm Bill awards millions of dollars to wealthy agribusiness and factory farms in the form of commodity subsidies and crop insurance, while cutting funds for important conservation and stewardship programs and offering little to beginning farmers and ranchers or local farmers markets and local food promotion.

Mr. Berry, as an ally of Wes Jackson of the Land Institute and others, has long argued for a 50-year Farm Bill that would rejuvenate our nation’s ecosystems while fostering long-term food security in the United States.

Gracy Olmstead: The Farm Bill usually promotes short-term economic gains over long-term ecological health (something the 50-year Farm Bill seeks to fix). How do we get Washington politicians to support more sustainable forms of agriculture?

Wendell Berry: The problem here is not so much that of the shortness of the term of planning or of shortsightedness as it is of ecological and agricultural ignorance and a sort of moral blindness. The problems we ought to be dealing with are not problems because they are going to cause us trouble in the future. They are problems because they are obviously and clearly causing trouble right now. We ought to be doing our best to solve them right now.

If politicians and journalists want to know about the problems of agriculture, they are not likely to go out into “rural America” to observe the condition of the fields and the waterways or to talk to the farmers and the ex-farmers, the ex-merchants of the small towns, or to talk to the mayors and county judges of rural counties. Instead, they are very likely to talk to academic and bureaucratic experts, who are tightly bound within the industrial structure of agriculture, agri-science and agribusiness.

Alan Guebert was right when he said in one of his columns that this farm bill will be much like the last one insofar as it will not address the real problems of agriculture. Those problems, as you know, are soil erosion, soil degradation, the pollution of waterways by sediment and toxic chemicals, various ecological damages, the elimination of small farms, the destruction of the cultures of husbandry and the ruin of country towns and communities. And maybe we should add specifically the curse of overproduction, which at present, as often before, is the major and the cruelest problem.

Those problems could be summed up as the triumph of industrialism and industrial values over the lives of living creatures, and over the life of the living world. The preferences and choices of industrialism do not imply a limit of any kind. They rest instead upon the premises of limitless economic growth and limitless consumption, which of course implies limitless waste, and finally exhaustion.

Nothing can take form except within limits. No cure is possible, either in policy or practice, except within understood limits, which is to say within a correct diagnosis. This requires patience. A good solution has to begin with a description of the problem that is full, clear, and reliable.

Olmstead: The Farm Bill addresses many issues, including “rural development” — and rural communities desperately need help these days. Could the government help combat these issues, in your community and elsewhere?

Berry: A farm bill sincerely intending to help rural communities might begin by proposing a program of production controls and price supports for every product of farming and forestry. At present, for example, the dairy “industry” is increasing milk production by millions of gallons every year, thus reducing prices and driving small dairies out of business. This of course serves the interests of large dairies.

A bill intending to help rural communities, furthermore, might forbid the large chain stores to underprice their goods in order to destroy locally owned small stores. I don’t see why the government should not enforce honest prices for the same reason that it enforces honest weights and measures. I am sure that a lot of conservatives would object loudly to such “regulation.” But for small farms and small businesses, the “free market” is not a “level playing field.”

Olmstead: Many conservatives and libertarians see the Farm Bill’s handouts to large agribusinesses as the opposite of a free market. If small farmers are given a level playing field, they argue, more will succeed — and industrial agribusiness will no longer have a government-provided financial cushion.

Berry: I distrust entirely the terms “free market” and “level playing field.” Those phrases are intoned as if they were the names of gods, but what do they mean? How exactly do the conservatives and the libertarians think small farmers would be served by the free market and the level playing field?

The problem that has impoverished and destroyed farmers nearly always is that of low prices resulting from surplus production. That is also, obviously, a land-destroying problem. The only solution to that problem that can sustain the small farmers is the combination of production control and price supports as exemplified by the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association as it was reorganized in my region under the New Deal in 1941. I dislike recommending my own writing, but that organization and its work are explained pretty fully in “The Art of Loading Brush.” The conservative politicians and their friends in the Farm Bureau hated that program because it protected the small farmers, and they finally killed it. In its absence, our troubles have multiplied.

Recently, for example, 100 family dairy farms have been put out of business in this region, two of them in my county, because Walmart is building its own milk-bottling plant in Indiana. And so 100 self-employed, self-supporting, self-respecting farm families are being severely damaged or destroyed in order to increase the wealth of a family already far too rich. I am unsure what the farmers themselves have concluded, but I can conclude only what I already knew: They have no friends among the conservatives and libertarians. And if the Democrats and the liberals were to capture the government, those small farmers would find no friends among them, as they now are.

Both of the political sides, so far as I am concerned, have to accept responsibility for the emergence of Donald Trump, the autonomous man, the self-made man, economically “free” and sexually liberated, responsible only to himself, starting from scratch and inventing his own way of doing things. To get outside the trajectory that produced Trump, we will have to go back to tradition. I am unsure when we began to think of, for instance, the 15th Psalm and Jesus’s law of neighborly love as optional. They are not optional, as I think the Amish example proves, and as proved by present failure.

Olmstead: Our trade war with China has highlighted American farmers’ reliance on the global market. Do you believe this reliance is a necessary risk in today’s globalized economy? How can these farmers safeguard their own self-sufficiency and well-being?

Berry: I have been arguing for a long time, and I still argue, that an economy worthy of the name should begin with proper care of its sources in the natural world and in the local cultures of land use. Beyond that it should be based upon the principle of a reasonable self-sufficiency, from the household to the local community and on through the categories of political organization.

Such an economy, within the variables of weather and human capability, would be formed within certain prescribed limits. To the extent that it would be limited and formed or formal, we might assume that it would be stable. Because such an economy has never been tried, we should not think of it with too much confidence. But there is certainly nothing limited or stable in our present casting about the “globe” for supplies and demands. This, like our present society, is disorderly if not chaotic.

The so-called global economy, because it is predicated on the exhaustion of natural sources and of the land-use economies, is far from a sure thing. An interesting question, then, is whether we might intentionally reform our economies upon the principle of self-sufficiency or be forced to do so by the failure of the global economy. Farmers by themselves can’t protect themselves in a “free market” economy whether it is national or global. At present they have only the very limited self-protection of supporting their own lives so far as possible from their own land — that is, by producing their own food and fuel, and by harvesting energy from their own sunlight.

Olmstead: An Iowa farmer recently told me that industrial agriculture is inevitable — the natural fruit of technological progress and globalization. The farmer reminded me of others I have talked to who, when asked about farming practices that are industrialized and isolating, reply by saying “We must feed the world.”

Berry: If you can persuade farmers that their hardships are “inevitable,” then you have got them very securely trapped and they can be safely forgotten by their political representatives and exploited by agribusiness corporations. Inevitability and objectivity, like pessimism and optimism, are the names of programs offering freedom from choice and responsibility. If “technological progress” is the same as technological determinism, then there are no remedies.

It can pretty well be demonstrated, however, that technological progress is the result of choices that have been made all the way from the inventors and manufacturers of technologies to the people who buy and use and pay for them. The important questions all have to do with the standards by which these choices are made. If the standards were different, different choices would be made.

And in fact we have plenty of evidence that choices can be made that evidently were not made by your Iowa farmer. That the alternative choices often have to be made against powerful social pressures does not mean that they cannot be made or that they are not valid choices. The finally inescapable standards by which agricultural choices must be made are the ecological health of the farm and the economic health of the farmer.

The problem of feeding the world should be addressed, first of all, by calculating the waste — from farmland and topsoil to thrown-away food — in the world’s “food systems.” Perhaps somebody has done this. If so, that is the place to start. The people, fairly numerous and highly credentialed, who argue that only industrial agriculture as we now have it can feed the world are arguing in fact that we can feed the world only by an agriculture that destroys both farmland and farmers. There is a point, obviously, beyond which this kind of agriculture will not be able to feed much of anybody.

Olmstead: As farmers grow older, we seem unable to attract or keep young people on the land. For some, this is because of the cost of procuring land and starting a farm. But I have also talked to farmers who were told they were “too smart” to farm by high school counselors and mentors. These admonitions align with a larger cultural prejudice against manual labor and blue-collar work. Considering the challenge to farming’s future which this represents, how can we foster and renew a passion for farming?

Berry: That smart people are “too smart” to farm is one of the set of clichés by which industrial agriculture has maintained itself. Another is that farming is “drudgery” or “mind-numbing work.” Another is that ex-farmers have been “liberated” from their hard, narrow, and depressing lives.

These clichés are sustained by the “larger cultural prejudice against manual labor,” which you mention. But there also are active prejudices against farmers, country people, the country, small-town people and small towns. This at least begins the description of a large cultural problem. Because of such prejudices, and also because of economic adversity, farmers encourage their children to leave farming. Their departing children, so few of them as they now are, amount to an invaluable cultural and economic resource, to which our present economy attaches no value at all.

What can we do about this? First, those of us who care must keep trying to bring about improvements, which we can do, and are doing, locally — where, in any event, the improvements will have to be made. Second, we have got to be patient. That this is a cultural problem means that it can’t be simply or quickly solved. What you speak of as a “passion for farming” can grow only from an understanding of the intelligence and the learning involved in the right kind of farming, and we should add an understanding of the better cultures of husbandry and of the traditional agrarian values. These things we must try to keep alive, not because of their “potential value” but because they are now and forever right.

Gracy Olmstead is an Idaho native living and writing outside Washington.