August 2015

August 31, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Yesterday, in the Global Chorus essay, Peter Bevan-Baker mentioned the maturation of our society and the transition from merely increased consumption. Related to that is the idea of "Degrowth", and there is a workshop on that topic upcoming in September.

Degrowth Workshop

Tuesday, September 15th, 6-9PM, Murphy Community Centre. Free for interested individuals, RSVP by September 10th (call 902-368-7337)


"A global leader in community-based, co-operative development and social justice, Mr. Bob Thomson, will introduce the Degrowth Movement to Islanders. Mr. Thomson is the founder and Managing Director of TransFair Canada and serves on the Executive of the Peoples' Social Forum. In 2013, Bob received the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Integrity Award.<snip> Sponsored by the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC), Council of Canadians, CUPE PEI, CUPE Global Justice Committee, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and UPEI Faculty of Arts."

Ideas on CBC Radio explores this idea not too long ago: (I haven't had the chance to listen to this yet)

"The Degrowth Paradigm" (54 minutes, podcast)


"Degrowthers believe we need a more modest and sane alternative to the constant pressures of expansion that are destroying the ecological basis of our existence. Richard Swift explores the degrowth alternative, in theory and in practice."

Today's Global Chorus essay, while long, is very interesting and better in its entirety. Timely, as chanterelles and other fungi are making an appearance:

"We are fully engaged in 6x – the sixth greatest extinction of life on this planet known thus far. There are an estimated 8.3 million species on Earth. We are losing nearly 30,000 species per year and may lose ~3,000,000 over the next century. Unlike previous celestial cataclysms, however, this extinction is uniquely caused by an organism – Us.

"Loss of biodiversity directly threatens our environmental health. Fungi and algae first marched onto land around a billion years ago. Some 300 million years later, 'higher life forms' surged onto land, made possible by a holy union between the roots of plants and fungi.

"Then, ~250 million years ago and again ~65 million years ago, two great extinction level cataclysms impacted the biosphere. The Earth was shrouded in dust, sunlight was cut of, the majority of plants and animals died ...and fungi inherited the Earth. Those organisms pairing with fungi (whose mycelial networks do not need light) had better chances for survival.

"With the passing of each generation of life, fungi built lenses of soils by decomposing the deceased, creating the foundation of the food webs for descendants.

"The lessons of evolution have repeatedly shown that alliances with fungi can help us survive. Putting into practice ecologically rational myco-remedies can help make the course change needed to prevent 6x.

Myco Practices for Protecting our Biospheres:

1. Mushroom cultivation centers should be located in every community for recycling debris and reinvented as environmental healing arts centers. Link all of these centers (“I.A.M.S” – “Institutes of Applied Mycology”) through

2. Grow mushrooms and mycelium as fungal foods for people and livestock.

3. Use the leftover mycelium from growing mushrooms, to filter water of pathogens (such as E. coli, cholera and listeria), phosphates, fertilizers, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals and petroleum-based toxins.

4. Use mycelium and commensal bacteria for biofuels, enzymes, mycoattractants and medicines.

5. Integrate fungal platforms for Permaculture, no-till farming, forestry and aquaculture practices.

6. Grow mycelial mats that service bees by providing essential myconutrients, enhancing bees’ host defences of immunity to prevent colony collapse disorder (CCD).

We must muster the courage to chart a new course. The solutions are literally underneath our feet. Please find more information in what is below." -- Paul Stamets, author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

and several other approachable mushroom books

August 30, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A Community Theatre (ACT) performs Hamlet today and next Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 4PM, at Robert Cotton Park in Stratford. I saw it yesterday and it was incredible. Wonderful location, excellent acting, and *brilliant* adaptation and direction by Terry Pratt. More than worth the $20 admission ($18 student/senior) to support our fantastic, and local, theatre group.

Details on getting tickets:

The monthly ceilidh tonight in Bonshaw at 7PM at the Bonshaw Hall is in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. "Performers include special guests: Liam Payne, Josh Langille the Logan Richard trio, Celtic singer/harpist Lana Quinn with guitarist Byron Olsen, step-dancers Lexi and Natasha Kowalchuk, plus local musicians Herb MacDonald, Phil Pineau and Tony the Troubador."

Tony the Troubador is Bonshaw's own Tony Reddin, a caring and talented individual.


Related is the story of another troubador Tony, who has written a song called "Harperman", which as you can guess is critical of the Prime Minister. It is also catchy. Ottawa singer Tony Turner is a scientist (planning to retire soon) with the federal government. More of the story and link to the song:

Another caring individual and musician (and writer of many songs, including several very funny ones during the Stop Plan B protest), is today's Global Chorus contributor: Islander Peter Bevan-Baker, provincial District 17 MLA and first Green Party elected member of the P.E.I. Legislative Assembly:

"When I was young I didn’t think much about the meaning of my life; I was more concerned with learning and growing. I stopped growing physically some time ago, but the learning has continued; I am still growing intellectually and spiritually.

"Humanity was, until recently, an insignificant species on a vast and empty planet. For thousands of generations we stumbled around the Earth in small groups learning some useful survival tricks and evolving some valuable traits – like opposable thumbs and big brains. Our impact on the planet back then was minimal. Then we grew, and we grew, and we grew until we now fill almost every corner of the planet, and our sheer size and power threaten to overwhelm Earth’s support systems. It is time for humanity to replace our physical growth with intellectual and spiritual development.

"I believe we who are alive today are the most blessed generation ever. We are about to oversee that shift – replacing the central goal of getting bigger through economic expansion -- to getting better through spiritual awakening. It is time for us to collectively start thinking about the meaning of our existence here on this beautiful planet.

"I know we have the capabilities – never before has there been a species more suited to long-term success; we should effortlessly master living on the Earth. All we need is the will to embrace the wonderful possibilities of being human; recognizing that true fulfillment has to do with relationships, and contentment with spiritual maturity, and that neither has anything to do with material possessions. Our happiness is related to things that are utterly sustainable – friendship, art, spirituality. We can live on this planet in far less consumptive and destructive ways, and find meaning and contentment – indeed it is the only way to discover how to be so. There is a time for expansion and there is a time for maturation. We are done with the former and about to enter the latter. It will be a time of humanity reaching its true potential. It is time to grow up, and my unwavering belief says that we are ready." -- Peter Bevan-Baker

Peter's daughter Kate Bevan-Baker and her group Bumarang are visiting P.E.I. and will be performing tonight at Bites Cafe in Hampton at 7PM.

"Kate Bevan-Baker (Hey Rosetta!, The Dardanelles), Dave Gossage (Orealis, Land of Kush) and Sarah Page (Barr Brothers) comprise this world class Celtic trio from Montreal. On a rare East coast trip to bring their folksy, jazzy, bluesy, tunes and banter to the Island.

Tickets are $15 and are available at the door. Call 658-2741 to reserve."

August 29, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets across the Island will be stuffed with vendors, and their stands stuffed with fine local food. The same for roadside stands.


This afternoon is both the opening of Hamlet, and the closing of both Alice Through the Looking Glass and The 39 Steps in Summerside, The Jazz and Blues Festival (various locations in Charlottetown); various watershed events; and it's the magical time of "Art in the Open", an eight-hour art festival in public spaces in Charlottetown from 4PM to midnight.

More details here, with locations and descriptions of entries:

One installation that sounds intriguing is The Creativity Project, near Province House.

illustration from "The Creativity Project", from the Art in the Open website.

It is Saturday, which means no home mail delivery in Canada; the United States Postal Service (USPS) still provides Saturday delivery. The USPS also has an incredible service called Media Mail (it used to be called "Book Rate"), where one can send books or dvds or other media very economically, but not very fast. I mailed a relative a box of books weighing about 1.5kg, for $4.22. It got halfway across the continent to his home in less than a week. Completing the purchase were three domestic postcard stamps, for 35 cents each. No tax added at the end; just the face value of the postage. U.S. Congressmen occasionally bluster about the costs of the USPS, but it must be doing something right.

Canada Post, meanwhile, continues in some sort of trance out of step with what most Canadians want, as if it is being set up to fail. Perhaps this will change after the Fall election.

In the news recently:

Susan Dixon, a mother of two children, one of whom has cerebal palsy and used a wheelchair, created a nationwide petition called "Save Canada Post" and sends updates to those who signed the petition:

On August 15th, she wrote that Deepak Chopra, CEO of Canada Post (not the self-help guru, who is still on public television in the States, by the way) just got his contract renewed for $500,000 a year for the next five years to "run Canada Post."


Issues with safety of the "Community mailboxes":


and last week, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre took a jackhammer to the base of community mailbox positioned without consultation by a nature park:

This excerpt from today's Global Chorus essay describes a meeting between writer Belvie Rooks and a white crane, by San Fransisco Bay:

"I eased slowly onto the bench next to my new friend and closed my eyes. I had, of course, seen all of this many times before, but now, I was seeing it as if for the first time from my small companion’s perspective. From that perspective, of habitat destruction, the surrounding view was a heartbreaking one. "I slowly opened my eyes and my small friend was not only still there but her head was cocked slightlyto one side observing me intently. Our eyes locked

and it was as if she spoke directly to the very depths of my soul, 'Now that you know, will you remember to tell my story too?' " -- Belvie Rooks

More on Belvie:

August 28, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Word is out that Elizabeth May is visiting P.E.I. next Tuesday, September 1st, and will be at the Farm Centre Legacy Garden from 4:30 - 6:30PM (where all are invited to harvest some vegetables for the food bank), and at the Charlottetown Legion for a social from 8:30 on.

May is the first Party Leader to visit the Island during the election call. The election is Monday, October 19th.


The candidates for Member of Parliament thus far are (mistakes and misspellings my own):

Are you registered to vote? What Riding are you in?

It takes about three minutes to do the on-line form to check if you are registered, and you must be registered by Tuesday, October 13th, at 6PM, to be eligible to vote.

A timely reminder from blogger Sterling Lynch, posted on-line on August 19th, 2015, with my emphasis in bold:

Reminder: You Don’t Vote For The Prime Minister. Ever. - by blogger Sterling Lynch

On October 19, 2015, when you cast your ballot in Canada’s 42nd general election, you will not vote for the Prime Minister of Canada. You will not vote for a party leader or even for a particular party.

No, on October 19, you will vote only for the Member of Parliament [MP] for your riding.

Once the Members of Parliament for each riding have been determined at the ballot box, the Governor General will then invite a Member of Parliament — typically, the one who has the support of a majority of the Members of Parliament — to form a government.

This means:

  • A Member of Parliament does not become Prime Minister because she leads or belongs to the party that earned the largest percentage of the popular vote.

  • A Member of Parliament does not become the Prime Minister because she leads or belongs to the party which forms the largest block of MPs in the House of Commons.

  • A Member of Parliament becomes the Prime Minister, only if s/he earns the support of a sufficient number of the other MPs in the House of Commons, whether they belong to his or her party or not.

Why is this important to emphasize?

It seems likely, at this point, when the ballots and the dust settle on October 19, that the majority of MPs who win in their ridings won’t belong to any one party. Party flacks, pundits, and MPs will then try to tell a story that justifies why their party leader should rightfully be asked by the Governor General to be Prime Minister and form a government. All of that sound and fury will be irrelevant: any MP who earns the support of a sufficient number of other MPs (typically, a majority) is entitled to be Prime Minister.

Moreover, party allegiances are fundamentally and constitutionally irrelevant. It is perfectly right and just for any number of MPs to cooperate and give their support to any other MP, entitling that MP to be Prime Minister and to form a government, whether all the MPs belong to the same party or not. The voters elect MPs to make exactly this kind of decision on behalf of the people of his or her riding. Formal and informal coalitions in the House of Commons can and should determine who becomes Prime Minister and who forms a government. A political party is, essentially, just one such coalition.

Looking beyond the election, it’s important to remind ourselves that the Prime Minister is entitled to govern on behalf of the Governor General only because s/he has the support of other MPs in the House of Commons. Unfortunately, party staff, MPs, party leaders, and the media tend to obscure this fact and often speak as if the political power in our parliamentary system flows from the party leader to his or her MPs. This is a perverse inversion of how our parliamentary system is meant to work. The constitution, for example, does not even recognize the existence of political parties. They only received formal recognition in out electoral laws in 1970.

Not surprisingly, then, it was right around this time that unelected and partisan political operatives began to centralize and consolidate power in the Office of the Prime Minister and, eventually, reduced MPs to the status of customer sales representatives for his or her party. This consolidation of power, which began with the Liberals and was perfected by Stephen Harper, has broken our parliamentary democracy. Our democracy will be restored only when our Members of Parliament exercise their political independence and free themselves from the dominance of unelected party staff and insiders.

You can help jumpstart this process by learning more about the candidates in your riding and their policy positions. If you get the chance, ask him or her what s/he will do personally to restore the effectiveness of the House of Commons. If he or she simply parrots the party line or the talking points of the party leader, s/he is unlikely to act independently once s/he is elected. In other words, s/he is unlikely to work to restore our democracy, which we are on the edge of losing forever. If that’s the case, s/he does not deserves your vote or support.

Shin-ichiro Terayama writes about his experience with cancer and life in today's Global Chorus:

"I was a physicist and suffered from cancer in 1984. I transformed, and have been free of metastasized kidney cancer for more than 25 years. I tell the story of the recovery from cancer with cello-playing, confessing how I loved my cancer instead of fighting it. I changed to a vegetarian 'macrobiotic' diet, drinking selected good mineral water, and most importantly, I watched the sunrise every day in the morning. It was in front of the morning sun that I made an exciting discovery. I found I was becoming very positive, very relaxed, and healing energy was entering my heart chakra, first through my heart and then to all seven chakras. I began to practise cello again after a long absence. These things were done harmoniously by my intuition and not by instruction.

"I call myself a 'holistic management consultant' because I approach the healing of the person, company, community and system through holistic means … as a whole. My work is educating people with loving wisdom, using the tools of subtle energy and energy medicine.

"And so, in turn, for healing our Earth and ourselves, here is the prayer that I offer you today:

Now it is the very precious time for us human


to pray for the future of the Earth.

This is the prayer without wishes.

We should also pray for us with love.

This love is unconditional love

We also pray for us within to our inside.

It is also the time for us to transform by ourselves.

Pray for us with love.

Love, Shin"

— Shin-ichiro Terayama, author of My Cancer Disappeared: A Document of the Natural Healing of Cancer

Have a great day,

Chris O.,

Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.

P.S. Cardigan and Souris Farmers' Markets are open today.

August 27, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some news and notes:

Though many gardens are just now starting to produce a lot of produce, some Farmers' Markets across P.E.I. may be heading into their final weeks -- look for signs of when they are closing and/or when they will be open for Thanksgiving shopping. Consider shopping and preserving some foods you are only able to get fresh this time of year.

Today, the Summerside Farmers' Market is open from 9AM to 1PM.


Saturday, August 29th:

Besides the Jazz and Blues Festival going on, the last performances of The 39 Steps at Harbourfront Theatre, and the opening of Hamlet at Robert Cotton Park in Stratford,

there is this:

Celebrate Our River Day Featival, noon onward, Wheatley River Community Centre, donations accepted, duck race has entry fees.

Watershed groups are often as diverse as the river systems they support, and engage the public in unique ways. The Wheatley River Improvement Group has some special people.

More details here:

from one of the organizers:

I'm selling tickets for the duck race to take place from Rackham's Pond on August 29th, 2015 at 1 o'clock. Perhaps you'd like to adopt a duck (or a few) for the day? Plan to come at noon at the Pond and enjoy games and a free BBQ and then watch from the bridge as the racing ducks float towards the finish line.

$ 5 for 1 supporter duck

$12 for 3 supporter ducks

$10 for 1 duck plus a membership in WRIG

$20 for 4 ducks plus a membership in WRIG


If you are interested please let me know and I'll deliver the ticket(s) and collect the money.

Thanks from

Trudy MacDonald

Secretary, Wheatley River watershed board

902 621 0718


and I would bet that all will be collected at the end of the event and that there will be no feral rubber ducks heading out to sea!

Great maps of the area here and on the "Resources" pages of the website:

Sobering news that fracking has been implicated in a 4.4 magnitude earthquake in British Columbia, but:

In a statement, B.C. Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman said he "felt seismic events related to hydraulic fracturing are rare."

"The province has a leading role in North America in the detection and mitigation of induced seismicity associated with unconventional gas development and works closely with the Oil and Gas Commission and industry," the statement said.


Today's Global Chorus is short and invigorating, travel writer and explorer (and symphony tenor) John Vlahides:

"I’ve travelled the world, known princes and stars, yet the wisest words I’ve ever heard spoken came not from a statesman or celebrity, but from a humble mystic yogi in San Francisco, who told me, 'The best thing any of us can do is to sweeten the psychic atmosphere.' Our hope lies in the pursuit of spiritual values. We must expand our consciousness. Excelsior! To find the way forward, go within: meditate." -- John Vlahides

more about John:

August 26, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission stepped out of its twice monthly adjustment date and reduced gasoline and fuel oil prices this morning.

They also decided to extend the deadline for Islanders to comment on Maritime Electric Corporation's proposal to build a new generator to September 15th.


Any person wishing to comment on the filing can do so by writing to the Commission at the address below. In order to be considered, comments must be received by Tuesday, September 15, 2015. Persons wishing to pose questions to Maritime Electric on the filing may do so by sending their questions, in writing, to the Company on or before Friday, July 24, 2015. Questions posed to Maritime Electric must be answered by the Company, in writing, on or before Friday, August 14, 2015. Copies of both written questions and written answers must be copied to, or filed with, the Commission not later than Wednesday, August 26, 2015 in order to be considered.

*Note: The Commission has extended the deadline as noted above.

copied from above website

(The deadline to comment to IRAC on Maritime Electric Corporation's efficiency plans is still September 30th.)


On the generator proposal, Tony Reddin, on behalf of the Environmental Coalition of PEI, wrote in yesterday's Guardian:

Electricity storage options better choice than diesel generator - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Tony Reddin

Published on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

This Wednesday is a crucial deadline for comments to the Island Regulator and Appeals Commission (IRAC) on the application by Maritime Electric (MECL) to spend about $68 million on a 50-megawatt diesel generator.

On behalf of ECOPEI, I wish to state that this application must be rejected and much more consideration be given to alternatives, especially the use of publicly-owned, utility-scale battery storage units as an option for replacing fossil fuel combustion generators (and enhancing the use of wind and solar electricity generation).

Alternative and renewable energy programs have had a history of strong support by many Prince Edward Islanders - we in ECOPEI have played our part over the years with limited resources to promote clean sustainable energy options.

Recent major advancements in energy storage technology have led to large battery units that are now practical and affordable for use in back-up and management of electricity systems. For example, the Tesla Powerpack battery system is presently priced at about $250US/ kWh ($25000 for a 100 kilowatt-hour unit). According to MECL's own calculations (in documents on IRAC's website), that equates to a cost of $1,625 Cdn per kw, which is minimally higher per kw than the $1,360 Cdn per kw estimated cost for the proposed 50 MW generator.

Those calculations need more detailed work to include other factors, including decommissioning costs and the likelihood that the cost of battery units will decrease quickly.

We believe further study may show that battery units, which can not only replace generator needs but also serve other functions, are a much better option than the proposed 50 MW generator.

Utilities in other jurisdictions, notably Alberta and Vermont are now implementing battery storage projects.

Battery units have many advantages: quick installation; flexibility of purchase options; flexibility of size and location; no exhaust pollution when connected to renewables; decreased vulnerability to power outages; lower infrastructure costs such as transmission lines; as well as benefits for reducing demand and costs at peak and other times; and enhancing the use of wind and solar generation.

Wind power is P.E.I.'s best and cheapest energy resource, with many excellent potential sites still available. Solar power is quickly also becoming a competitive choice for P.E.I.

With energy storage, wind and solar can provide base load capacity and peak demand reductions.

Based on past reports to the P.E.I. Legislature concerning Energy Policy, we are optimistic that Paula Biggar, P.E.I.'s Minister of Energy, will take control of provincial electricity policy and electricity generation, by implementing the best options for making P.E.I. a leader in clean renewable energy.

P.E.I.'s energy future is too important to leave in the hands of MECL, which, although well managed, is a private corporation bound legally to prioritize shareholder profit, not public benefit.

For more information please contact me or go to the IRAC website

Tony Reddin is ECOPEI’s energy project co-ordinator.


Steven C. Rockefeller is a professor emeritus at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Here is an excerpt from today's Global Chorus, a story with a prescient raven conversing with a group of students:

“ 'Don’t lose faith in the creative potential of human intelligence and the basic goodness of the human heart when liberated from ignorance and fear,' said the bird. 'The advance of education, science and participatory democracy is the way forward. Adaptation to climate change will be difficult, but the building of clean energy economies that maximize reuse and recycling and dramatically reduce waste is underway. Innovative leaders are also finding the path to sustainability and the eradication of poverty by creating vibrant, resilient, local communities well integrated with their bioregions.' " --from Steven Rockefeller

Farmers' Markets open in Charlottetown and Stanley Bridge, today, too.

August 25, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Leadnow/FairVote is meeting tonight in Charlottetown, at 7PM, Haviland Club upstairs, 2 Haviland Street. All welcome. Lots of both provincial and federal electoral issues to discuss.


David Suzuki, who hardly needs an introduction, writes the Global Chorus for today, August 25th:

"When asked what the chances are that humanity will survive to the end of this century, Sir Martin Rees, Royal Astronomer in the UK replied, 'Fifty fifty!' James Lovelock, who named the web of life on Earth 'Gaia,' predicts billions of people will die in this century, reducing global population to 10 percent, while Australian eco-philosopher Clive Hamilton’s book Requiem for a Species is about our demise.

The eco-crisis of the 21st century is not going to be solved by 'ten easy ways' or even a hundred. Despite decades of warnings by top scientists that we are heading along a very destructive path, countries around the world continue the drive for endless economic growth that is undermining the life support systems of the planet.

All I have left is hope, hope that is based on the fact that we don’t know enough even to say it is too late to turn things around, but it is very, very late." -- David Suzuki

August 24, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A few of the many things going on this week, enriching and entertaining:

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 25th,

FairVote/LeadNow Meeting, 7PM, Haviland Club (upstairs), all welcome. Much federal election news to discuss, and the formation of a group to discuss proportional representation that is forming on the Island in September for the provincial democratic renewal endeavors.


It is the last week to see the funny and talented performers in the two plays at Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside:

The Affections of May last show is tomorrow, and The 39 Steps runs Wednesday until Saturday.

The annual PEI Jazz and Blues Festival is this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, in various venues, various times of day, various price ranges and with a wonderful range of artists from here and far away.


Margaret Atwood just doesn't write about hair (as in that link posted in yesterday's Citizens' Alliance News); here is a massive piece on the environment, titled "It's Not Climate Change --It's Everything Change", from a couple of weeks ago in the blog-publishing platform, Medium:

It's a long article, richly illustrated by Carl Burton.

It's worth bookmarking to read when you have some time.


Grimes, also known as Claire Boucher, is a twenty-something singer, producer and artist originally from Vancouver. Her website is here:

She writes for today's Global Chorus:

"I don’t know if we’ll be able to reverse the damage we’ve already done, but I do believe we can slow it significantly. I think there are two key hurdles that, if overcome, will have a domino effect with regards to solving our environmental problems. First is education, and particularly the education of women globally. Our growing population is a huge problem and women who are educated have less children and are better equipped to care for them.

"I also think a broader 'environmental education' initiative could yield a lot of positive change. When I was on tour in Asia, many countries had radio commercials encouraging people to unplug lights at night to reduce electricity use. Cities like Singapore and Jakarta would be very dark at night (despite being massive cities) due to people turning off all the lights in their closed businesses. I feel like this kind of government-funded public education is crucial and effective. There was very noticeable pollution in Asia, but there was also a more concerted effort to stop it than I have ever seen elsewhere, and a far more acute public understanding of the dangers of pollution.

"The other key issue is lobbying. I think the only way we can save our planet is if there is a complete ban of all lobbying or industry involvement in government decisions. Canada, for example, is completely run by the oil industry and no matter how many people show up and protest, pipelines are always approved, fracking is always approved. This is one of the largest issues facing the world today. Governments need to recognize this, and stop giving dangerous industries control over their policies." -- Grimes

August 23, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Here is some Sunday morning coffee-reading: First, on the United States' "Republican Clown Car" nomination race, from the August 12th, 2015, on-line Rolling Stone magazine, a crass but absurdly funny portrayal of U.S. politics, in the social media age:

an excerpt from

<<Pundits always complained that there wasn't enough talk about issues during these races, but in reality, issues were still everything. Behind the scenes, where donors gave millions for concrete favors, there was always still plenty of policy. And skilled political pitchmen like (New Jersey Governor Chris) Christie, who could deftly deliver on those back-room promises to crush labor and hand out transportation contracts or whatever while still acting like a man of the people, were highly valued commodities.

Not anymore. Trump has blown up even the backroom version of the issues-driven campaign. There are no secret donors that we know of. Trump himself appears to be the largest financial backer of the Trump campaign. A financial report disclosed that Trump lent his own campaign $1.8 million while raising just $100,000.>>

Read more:

Lots of interesting news general election news here:

By the way, there are eleven more months of this: The Republican Convention is July 18th-21st, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio.

(The Democratic Convention starts July 25th, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.)


On-line news moves fast in this country, too. Famed author Margaret Atwood wrote a column about the silliness of hair in this Canadian federal election for The Globe and Mail, which was approved and posted and then taken down, and ended up on the National Post site, here:

And a CBC article on the controversy:

The Sunday Downtown Farmers' Market is today from 11AM to 4PM, along Queen Street, in Charlottetown.

In a Global Chorus essay for today that fits nicely with yesterday's:

"Humanity will make the transition to a sustainable future. Nature bats last and, ultimately, will dictate that we fully embrace sustainability. While we have no choice regarding whether we make this transition, we do have a choice regarding how gracefully we do so." -Doug McKenzie-Mohr, environmental psychiatrist

August 22, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open in various locations across the Island this damp and muggy morning:

One cannot make up some of the Federal election campaigning spin and silliness: Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper gathered some Scouts Canada kids for an announcement yesterday by a lake in British Columbia, to announce $15 million for improving salmon habitat. A rough estimate is that the Conservative government has cut at least $200 million from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans over the last two years. At the photo-op, Mr. Harper is behind a sign with the words "Canada" and "Leadership" in big letters and the party logo and name in small letters, and next to him are three Scouts in uniform (trying to look at cool as possible) and his wife, Loreen. Both Harpers are wearing hugely-lettered "Canada" athlete jackets.

(right to left) Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Scouts and his wife Loreen at a photo op by Lake McIvor, B.C., August 21st, 2015 (photo from

As you can guess, Scouts Canada later said it is "against the organization's policy to have anyone in a Scouts uniform involved in political activities."

Last night's CBC Compass TV news, with Patrick Faller capably filling in as anchor, had a lot of coverage: news stories on the fuel truck spill on Riverside Drive (though I am still not sure what kind of fuel was in the vehicle, among other questions), the Gold Cup Parade, and some very pretty coverage of Steve Bruce's media flight with with the Snowbirds Canadian Forces Demonstration Squadron.

Frank Rotering is described as an independent economic and political thinker, and the author of The Economics of Needs and Limits and Contractionary Revolution is his website and it looks quite interesting. Here is an excerpt for the August 22nd Global Chorus, when he describes a necessary shift in economics:

<snip>"The unavoidable consequence of this replacement is that capitalism will be historically superseded, a momentous shift that will be fiercely resisted by those in power. This is why contractionism is a revolutionary movement – one that seeks to replace the current ruling class with a group dedicated to sustainable well-being. Such revolutionsare particularly necessary in the rich capitalist countries. Their economies are causing the most severe environmental degradation, and must therefore be curtailed with the greatest urgency."<snip> -- Frank Rotering

August 21, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today, the Cardigan Farmers' Market is open from 10AM to 4PM, and the Souris Farmers' Market from 9:30AM to 1:30PM.


Today is the last day for members of the public to submit nominations for the 2015 Taste Our Island Award:

From the ADAPT Council website:

The Taste Our Island Award is a prestigious and highly sought after award that recognizes the Island's most innovation chefs and restauranteurs who are supporting our local food system.

The Award gives special recognition to all restaurants that receive valid nominations.

However the finalists get invited to participate in the awards ceremony which take place at the Taste Out Island Roving Feast during the Fall Flavours Festival in September.

The judging criterion objectively evaluates how supportive the chef/restaurant is in promoting a local, sustainable food system. Each nominee is evaluated on the percentage of Island foods included on menus, how creatively the local foods initiative is profiled and how well the use of local foods is advertised and promoted to customers.

Anyone who knows a chef or restaurant that meets the above description, can submit a nomination online or by completing a nomination form found at various restaurants and around the Island during the summer.


You could likely stop into the office at the Farm Centre or call (902) 368-2005

Another look at agriculture, very well worth contemplating and investigating:

Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute, writes on agriculture, the big picture;

he has spent the last several decades working on permaculture ideas. He lives in Kansas:

"A friend and colleague of mine, the late Chuck Washburn, once said to me in a phone conversation: 'If we don’t get sustainability in agriculture first, it is not going to happen.'

I can’t accurately recount all of Chuck’s elaboration, but he did say at one point: 'Agriculture ultimately has a discipline standing behind it. The material sector, the industrial sector has no discipline to call on.'

"With industrial agriculture, featuring high fossil-fuel-based inputs, the role of the discipline is weak. When thinking about sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, the role of that discipline is strong. What is that discipline? It is the very broad discipline of ecology/evolutionary biology with the modern molecular synthesis.

"With annual grains (responsible for 70 per cent of the calories we consume and grown on 70 per cent of the agricultural acreage) the opportunity for those processes of the wild, such as we find on prairies, to exist are greatly reduced. But with perennial grains on the horizon, we can imagine those processes being brought to the farm, making the promises of sustainability in agriculture within reach and by extension into the other sectors of society which currently has no discipline to draw upon." -- Wes Jackson

An interesting article (the first part, anyway) in The Sun Magazine with Wes Jackson is here:

August 20, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Former U.S. President (1976-1980) Jimmy Carter is holding a news conference today to discuss his recent cancer diagnosis. Carter is 90 and has been very active, along with his wife Rosalyn, in the projects through The Carter Centre ("Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope." is the motto). I was thinking how he tried so very hard to do many good things during his presidency (encourage conservation and renewable energy, for one), but he was perhaps too smart and truthful (too much the outsider) to have been an effective American president. Over the years he has become one of those people who is the conscience of the Western world; I wish him health and many people helping to carry his load and to continue their work. Yesterday morning saw Henry Srebrnik's essay on him in yesterday's Guardian. One part that sticks with me is that Srebrnik writes Carter has worked, since leaving office, *not* to pad his own bank account or to promote a political dynasty, but mostly to raise money for The Carter Centre. Amazing work:

Jimmy Carter brought common era to close - The Guardian article by Henry Srebrnik

Published on Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

The news that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, now 90 years old, is ailing brings to mind an earlier era in American political life – one before we had the internet, twitter and 24/7 allnews cable TV.

Carter won the presidency in 1976 when money – the necessity to raise tens of millions of dollars – was not yet the be-all and end-all of running for office. His presidency brought down the curtain on a period when presidents were not yet largerthan-life figures, semi-emperors catered to, both in office and later, by their subjects.

Carter had more in common with predecessors like Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon Johnson, than like his successors. After those men retired, they lived quiet lives and didn’t try to become wealthy.

Like them, Carter didn’t take advantage of his office after he left the White House. He didn’t use his status like an ATM machine, becoming rich from giving speeches and setting up dodgy foundations in order to make millions of dollars.

He also didn’t try to create a political dynasty, the way the Bushes and Clintons have.

He was a modest man - though, as Winston Churchill said about his successor, Clement Attlee, he had much to be modest about -- and on the whole, his presidency has been judged a failure.

He was the first incumbent to lose an election since Herbert Hoover in 1932, who was defeated by Franklin Roosevelt at the height of the Great Depression.

Carter could be a scold - he certainly didn’t have Ronald Reagan’s sunny disposition. Maybe that’s part of the reason he lost to the Gipper. Carter’s famous “malaise speech” of July 15, 1979, during the second oil crisis of the 1970s, was all gloom and doom.

“The solution of our energy crisis can also help us to conquer the crisis of the spirit in our country,” the president said, asking Americans to join him in adapting to a new age of limits.

It didn’t go over well, but perhaps he will have turned out to be right.

We shouldn’t forget that Carter had one major foreign policy success – the Camp David agreement that resulted in the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel signed on March 26, 1979 between Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel.

Despite all the violence and mayhem in the Middle East since then, it has, somewhat amazingly, held up.

Carter won the Nobel Peace prize in 2002 for his commitment to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts and his work with human rights and democracy initiatives.

In the end, it was Iran that brought Carter down. The coming to power of a bizarre theocracy under Ayatollah Ruyollah Khomeini in February 1979, and the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran and abduction of the 52 American hostages that November, made him look weak and indecisive.

Carter’s failed attempt to rescue the hostages in April 1980 also went awry. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans.

During the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five.

The hostages were not released for another 270 days. All told, they were held for 444 days.

In hindsight, we can see that relations with Iran have been a problem no president since then – be it Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama – has managed to handle effectively.

And I don’t think Carter would have signed a deal that paves the way for a nucleararmed Iran some 15 years hence, if not sooner.

Henry Srebrnik is a professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island

Tanya Ha is an Australian environmentalist, mother, and communications specialist. This is an excerpt from her August 20th essay for Global Chorus:

<snip> "John F. Kennedy once said, 'Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.' I remember this in my work teaching greener living to householders. The people I work with don’t always understand 'carbon sequestration' or 'environmental flows,' but they do understand fresh air, family and love." -- Tanya Ha

August 19, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Wednesday signals that some Farmers' Markets are open today -- Charlottetown and Stanley Bridge. There are also many roadside stands open across the Island -- so many things are ripe!

There will continue to be demonstrations on local organic food at Old Home Week at 2:30 PM from now until Saturday.

Ecologist and author Don Gayton, who is described by Stuart McLean of the Vinyl Cafe as having "the eye of a scientist and the soul of a poet."

He writes for today's Global Chorus:

"Here in North America, we revel in unlimited and nearly free access to energy and automobiles. Right from the 1950s, it has been a rollicking fun trip. Without realizing it, we became addicted; people, business, governments, society. But the initial high has now worn of, and our petroleum drug of choice is getting expensive. A grim list of unpleasant side effects are kicking in. Who knew that cars and their fossil fuels could melt glaciers, ruin cities and change climates?

"Getting off drugs is profoundly difficult, but at least the individual user is surrounded by an unaddicted population. With petroleum, we are all junkies. Our governments and businesses pimp the addiction. We now fracture the Earth, scrape buried tar sands and weld enormous injectable pipelines to support our habit. We happily deal our drug to other countries. The refineries are tucked away, and the actual product is cleverly hidden. We don’t ever see or touch or feel the actual substance, only the side effects. A climate is sacrificed on the altar of a massively selfish consumption quest, one which delivers less satisfaction with each coming day. As nations we are drug-addicted teenagers, willing to throw our planet away for the sake of that momentary energy rush. We kill agriculture to build soulless suburbs and then perform high-speed commutes through carbon-enhanced air in 300-horse gas pigs on endless high-maintenance asphalt ribbons to clog cities with dead parkades and angry gridlock. "Who can stand and acknowledge this? "Who can stand at all?" --Ben Gayton

More on Don:

Most of us agree with this "diagnosis", and some are limiting their use of cars and making sure they have the most fuel-efficient vehicle they can afford; Plan B opponents and Citizens' Alliance members Karl and Hiltrud Hengst "walk the talk", or rather "ride the talk", as they bicycle around and outside Summerside as much as possible for errands. Karl has recently logged more than 800km of riding, versus distance he would have gone in a automobile, since the beginning of 2015. Fantastic Islanders!

August 18, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Dates and locations for the first round of public consultations related to creating a Water Act for Prince Edward Island were announced yesterday afternoon by the provincial government.

screenshot from the CBC on-line article. Quote about registering for public meetings is by Richard Davies, chair of the Environmental Advisory Council, which will be "leading" the meetings. Original story here:


Does "register" means if you call, you will have a place to sit in the room or a place to make a presentation (but we'll find out). Someone suggested that perhaps the meetings could be filmed for the website and also live-streamed. Anyone can submit comments at anytime in the ways listed on this page:

Related to water and recent travels:

On Route 695 around Boston, Massachusetts, on Thursday evening:

photo of a Maine-registered Poland Springs water truck, in Massachusetts, Thursday, August 13th, 2015 (photos taken by passenger in car :-)

The "Poland Spring" truck is covered by an ad on the back, with the title "Environmental Education". Here is a closeup:

Closeup of ad on back of water tanker.

The website listed above redirects to Nestle's North American water-selling pages:

In a Wikipedia article (not flagged for being biased) on Poland Spring Water (bold is mine):

<snip> Several towns in Maine have objected to the business practices of Poland Spring and its parent company Nestle. In some towns, such as Fryeburg, Maine, Poland Spring actually buys the water (110 million gallons of water from Fryeburg a year) from another company, the Fryeburg Water Co., and ships it to the Poland Spring bottling plant in Poland Spring. However, Fryeburg Water Co. also sells water to the town of Fryeburg. The town of Fryeburg began to question the amount of water the company was selling to Poland Spring. In 2004, the town's water stopped temporarily because of a pump failure, but Poland Spring's operations were able to continue.


Yes, this is the same Nestle where chairperson Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said earlier this year that water isn't a human right; but the Nestle websites have lots of nice pictures of him saying what he really means is that water isn't free.

Anyway, when water is categorized as simply a "resource" to be "managed", and people are just "stakeholders", sitting very small alongside wealthy multinational corporations, it may not be long before people watch their water being trucked away from where they live in ad-plastered tankers; and they are left with some promotional materials for their children about environmental stewardship. Smart people who love this Island are saying perhaps the entire water act discussion needs to step back and look at what we value about water: our desire for it to be healthy, and that is is an ecosystem in its own right -- not simply a commodity to be utilized.

Today's Global Chorus essay is by Sara Anderson, who works for ReSurge International:

ReSurge International (formerly Interplast) provides reconstructive surgical care for poor children and adults who lack access and builds surgical capacity in developing countries. We restore the dreams of those with deformities and injuries, and impact the world by renewing the health of thousands of children and adults each year so they can go to school, provide for their families and contribute to society.

<snip> "For the last five years, I have been advocating for

the forgotten global health crisis of burns. Nearly 11

million people worldwide are burned annually and

more women worldwide are severely burned each

year than are diagnosed with HIV and TB combined,

according to the World Health Organization’s estimate.

<snip> "This advocacy work relates to environmental

issues in that both are issues Westerns rarely see or

have to face the consequences of – yet. Even for me,

who travels to the developing world often, it is hard

to grasp a world with limited resources, with half

of the population still using open fires for cooking,

heating and lighting – when abundance surrounds

my daily life." -- Sara E. Anderson

August 17, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Global Chorus catch-up day:

From August 15th, from Maren Kleinert and Jan Enkelmann, authors of Happiness: How the World Keeps Smiling

"Why it is more likely to live a happy and fulfilled life after surviving a life-threatening accident than after winning the lottery? In either case you are facing circumstances you hadn’t and weren’t prepared for. However, those who almost lost their lives are much more likely to reassess what’s truly important to them and pour all their energy into it. The lucky winners who should be able to realize all their wildest dreams often lose sight of the essentials as life suddenly gets a lot more complicated.

Is there something to be learned from the way human beings are able to focus their energies when faced with a major crisis?

"As the world today is facing countless challenges – climate change, migration, poverty, shrinking natural resources, the banking system – fewer and fewer people seem bothered to even vote or take an active part in society. The issues appear too big and too complex to even contemplate how to come to grips with them. But in order to tackle the global issues we need people to take on these challenges on a level that’s relevant to them and take pride in playing their part. Like the accident survivor gains strength and focus from a profound personal experience, engaging ourselves in matters that we can actively help to improve might just give us the power to change the world." -- Maren and Jan Enkelmann

August 16th was by's Jamie Henn (co-founder and communications director):

"Four years ago, a group of college friends and I helped co-found the international climate campaign with author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. Our dream was to unite a new type of global campaign to solve the climate crisis – an 'open-source' movement that could involve people from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, no matter their class, gender or religious affiliation.

"We decided to name our effort after the number 350 because according to the latest science, 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (right now, the atmosphere contains over 392 ppm). The figure 350 was a clear line in the sand, a north star that we could only reach if we united as a global community.

"On October 24, 2009, our network came together for the first time in a massive, global day of climate action that connected over 5,200 events in 182 countries. CNN called it 'the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.' The events ranged from more than 10,000 schoolchildren marching in the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to one lone woman holding a 350 banner in Babylon, Iraq. Together, we’ve gone on to organize more than 15,000 demonstrations worldwide.

"Our movement to solve the climate crisis will never have the money of the fossil fuel industry that stands in our way, so we’ll have to find a different currency to work in. At, that currency has been our creativity, spirit and unwavering commitment to a sustainable future. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, a movement is beginning to be born." -- Jamie Henn

And today's is from Lamberto Zannier, who is the secretary general of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe:

"The world has changed dramatically in recent decades. At the same time that traditional threats persist – most prominently poverty and armed conflict – we have seen a re-emergence of dividing lines along ideologies and religions and the rise of new global challenges. Confronting the impact of climate change, managing limited natural resources, addressing population growth and reducing the impact of human activities on wildlife and biodiversity – to name just a few interlined challenges -- are all issues that require global solutions.

"Important ethical considerations come to mind. Though we have reached an unprecedented level of development, the benefits of progress are unevenly shared across nations and within states. Environmental and social concerns, coupled with the global financial crisis, have revived calls to make development sustainable and to address growing inequalities in the distribution of wealth and resources.

"Today, leadership is needed to look beyond short-term political agendas and address difficult global issues for which no silver bullet exists. As people claim their right to play a role in decisions that affect their future and that of their children, global leaders must meet their expectations by adopting participatory and inclusive processes that ensure their voices are heard.

"The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) offers a vehicle for finding common ground and a platform for dialogue not only among States but also with civil society, academia and youth. Although our 57 participating states have different perspectives and sometimes conflicting priorities, by engaging constructively in the OSCE, their leaders can demonstrate their readiness to work together to deliver what was promised to their citizens in the Helsinki Final Act in 1975 – peace, security and justice."The OSCE experience provides a hopeful example of the fruitfulness of political courage. In the midst of the Cold War, leaders of states with profound ideological differences date to sit together at the same table and engages in a dialogue to prevent a new war. The same spirit is needed today, leaving zero-sum games aside, in facing urgent challenges that threaten our security and possibly even our survival." -- Lamberto Zannier

Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, edited by Todd E. MacLean, is available at local bookstores and on-line. It might be great beach reading :-)

August 16, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today the Queen Street Downtown Farmers' Market is open from 11AM to 4PM:

Old Home Week (the provincial exhibition) has a lot going on, of course, and for the part few years there have been local food demonstrations. This year the P.E.I. Certified Organic Producers Co-operative is presenting daily cooking demonstrations, from 2:30 to 3:30PM -- and then there are samples! Thanks to Pauline Howard for sharing this list, of date, title of dish, and farm or company providing the main ingredients:

Previously were Triple Harts Farm' organic black currants and kale smoothies, and Pembroke Farm's slow roasted lamb and blue corn Tortilla quesadillas -

Sunday, August 16th -- Victorian Sponge Cake made with Haskap berry/Apple Jam and *Camerise Syrup - Beamish Organic Orchard & Deep Roots Distillery

(*Camerise is a French name for haskap, sounds prettier to many, and works for bilingual labeling. The Deep Roots new Camerise Liqueur is getting rave reviews.)

Monday, August 17th -- Chickpea Quinoa Salad - Atlantic Grown Organics

Tuesday, August 18th -- Potato Sausage and Egg Gratin - Barnyard Organics

Wednesday, August 19th -- Pumpkin Seed Kale Pesto with Tortilla Chips and PEI Cucumber Potato Salad - Alpha Mills Inc.

Thursday, August 20th -- Rosemary and Garlic Roasted New Potatoes and Down East New Potato Salad - Craig Potato

Friday, August 21st -- Chicken Breast with Black Currant Gastrique and Ground Lamb Sliders - The Shepherd's Farm

Saturday, August 22nd -- Roasted Garlic (on a cracker) and Creamy Garlic Pasta - Emmerdale Eden Farm

You would have to pay your entrance fee for the exhibition, which I think is adults $12/day, or $25 for an unlimited pass. More info:

And in the vendors' area or "The Marketplace", there are food vendors with a wide variety of snacks and meals -- many unique little Island businesses!

Alistair MacIntosh is speaking tonight as the keynote speaker at the Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, 7PM, MacKinnon Lecture Theatre (room 242), McDougall Hall, UPEI. You can park anywhere, pretty much, on a Sunday evening in summer.

The entire press release is printed below:

Public Lecture Launches National Quaker Gathering

A public lecture by noted Scottish scholar and activist, Alastair McIntosh, will open the

Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) at the University of Prince

Edward Island on Sunday, August 16,

at 7:00 p.m. The Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture, named

after a historic figure in Canadian Quaker history, will be held in Room 242, Alexander H.

MacKinnon Auditorium (McDougall Hall).

Alastair McIntosh is especially known for the way he has combined scholarship in theology, poetics, anthropology, and human ecology with the organization of citizen based campaigns to save valued landscapes and human communities from industrial degradation. A member of the Religious Society of Friends in Scotland, McIntosh has built an international career as a scholar and public speaker, teaching and lecturing at a variety of universities, and as a frontline activist on behalf of environmental integrity and healthy, resilient human communities. He writes: My approach ….. integrates the psychological and spiritual backdrop to being human. In evaluating what matters I therefore ask such questions as: Does what I do feed the hungry? Is it relevant to the poor or to the broken in nature? Does it contribute to understanding and meaningfulness? Does it give life?

More and more over recent years it's been the last of these questions that most binds my work together. Doing human ecology is like pulling on a tangled ball of string. You can't unravel one loop until you've understood the interconnections with all the rest. For me, these connections are about life itself, about love and consciousness, and how they can be better integrated with such practical concerns as ecology and economics. In 1991 Alastair engaged in a campaign to prevent the biggest roadstone quarry in the world from being located in Scotland’s scenic Outer Hebrides. He drew in crucial support from the Mi’Kmaq First Nations on Cape Breton Island and afterwards, until 2013, he served unpaid on the Sustainability Stakeholder Panel of Paris-based Lafarge, the company that ethically withdrew its quarry proposal. In 2005 Alastair travelled to Digby Neck, Nova Scotia, to help with a similarly successful campaign against a super-quarry proposed by Clayton Concrete of New Jersey.

His books include Soil and Soul and, jointly with colleagues in Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, Radical Human Ecology. He holds a visiting professorship at Glasgow University, a divinity fellowship at Edinburgh, and has twice previously lectured at the University of Prince Edward Island on land reform and liberation theology. In his lecture on August 16th, Alastair will share his unique experience that spans the Maritime provinces of Canada, Scotland and France. He has titled the lecture “Decolonising Land and Soul: a Quaker Testimony.” He will explore the imperatives of Quaker witness for today and will touch on spiritual experience and the Cross as the supreme symbol of nonviolence in our times.

Like Quakerism in Canada, McIntosh is broadly universal in his approach to understanding theology. He sees that deep rootedness in the land and attachment to place provide human communities with the best realization of their spiritual potential. An affinity with the traditional spirituality of First Nation peoples is evident in this understanding. McIntosh’s forthcoming book, Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service, will be available in in the fall of 2015. For additional information go to his website A podcast on McIntosh’s work can be found at

The Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture, a keynote of the weeklong Canadian Quaker gathering, is open to the public without charge. The evening starts at 7:00 p.m. The public is also invited to worship with Canadian Quakers in the traditional unprogrammed format at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 16, also in the Alexander H. MacKinnon Auditorium. Further information at or contact

August 13th's Global Chorus is by Shambhala teacher (or acharya ) and author Moh Hardin:

More here:

"We live in a time of tremendous doubt about the goodness of human nature, and with good reason. Acts of cruelty and random violence make big news weekly. We are bombarded by bad. From a bigger point of view, however, these are relatively random acts that exist in a sea of goodness – human society. With all its laws, human society could not exist and flourish on Earth if its nature had not been basically good from the beginning: caring, with the ability to communicate and co-operate with each other. When a baby is born, their very survival depends on human goodness. his goodness is more basic than good versus bad.

"We can reconnect with this basic goodness by reflecting on our own humanity, our human experience, right now. Slow down, soften and touch our aliveness. Appreciate that we can see, hear sounds, smell, taste and touch our world. Awaken to our humanity. It’s simple and profound. It doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, being human is our common experience. Slow down, soften and touch.

"Because human nature is basically good, I think that humanity has a very good chance to ind its way through our current crises. But it is not guaranteed. We can help create the conditions we need to survive on this planet now, in this 'every' moment, by awakening to our humanity.

"What would this look like? It would look like the Global Chorus. It would look like what so many people are already doing: investing creativity, energy, vision and money into innovation and international communication between people. It would look like networks of people aware of themselves and their interconnectivity with everything else, networks of connectivity working together. It would look like a society whose foremost principle is bringing forth the basic goodness of humanity." — Moh Hardin, author of A Little Book of Love: Heart Advice to Bring Happiness to Ourselves and Our World

August 15, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

It's Saturday, and most of the Farmers' Markets are open, including Cardigan, with this note from John Quimby:

"Cardigan Farmers' Market invites you to a special event this Saturday as 'Cloggeroo, the Island Folk Music Festival' puts not one, but two guest artists on our 'Main Stage'. Nick Doneff joins us at 11:00 AM for solo performance with Trio Bembe following at 11:45. Admission is free. We'll have local sausages on the grill, fresh produce, home made breakfast and brunch items at Abby's, local arts, books, crafts and preserves. Get there early for best selection. Lise will have your coffee ready when you get there.

"Cloggeroo at the Farmers' Market this Saturday in Carefree Cardigan!"


Sounds great! Here is the list of the markets open, from the Provincial Fresh Products map:

I am (just) back from the land of many black SUVs, white SUVs, and much coverage of Donald Trump's every Tweet. But there were Farmers' Markets, usually easy to find locations on-line or from official state roadsigns, and even a fresh produce stand at one rest stop in New York State. More later. :-)

August 14, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Cardigan and Souris Farmers' Markets are open Friday, and on Saturday, Cardigan is again open, and has special programming in relation to Cloggeroo (more details in Saturday's CANews).


The public is invited to this luncheon topic today at 12noon -- one is supposed to R.S.V.P. so they can have enough chairs (and presumably, lunch) by e-mailing

Friday Luncheon: Change and Evolution in Canada's Plant Hardiness Zones, 12noon to 2PM, Regis and Joan Duffy Research Campus, UPEI (map at end of CANews, Building No. 28)

from the press release:

Change and Evolution in Canada’s Plant Hardiness Zones and a Close Look at PEI, with guest speaker Dr. Dan McKenney (Canada Forest Service)

As PEI gardeners, we’re quite aware of the challenges of growing plants that may be borderline hardy in the region where we live. “Will it grow in my zone?” is the pertinent question about winter hardiness for perennial plants. Scientists have developed maps of plant hardiness zones for Canada based on seven climate variables (not only the average annual minimum temperature). Now they are beginning to assess how changes in climate affect what can be grown in different regions.

New plant hardiness data compiled by Natural Resources Canada over a 50-year period was released last year, by Dr. Dan McKenney and others, describing a northern shift in zones across Canada. They compared the data used for the original zones and maps from the 1931 to 1960 period with more recent observations used for the 1981 to 2010 indexing of plant hardiness. Most areas in Canada along the U.S. border are at least half a zone higher now.

Come hear Dan describe how plant hardiness zones have changed on PEI as the climate has changed and become warmer. Dan McKenney is a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service and team leader at Great Lakes Forestry Centre (GLFC).

Lunch will be provided. Space is limited. There is no cost to attend the presentation, but registration is required.

To register, please email

Alistair McIntosh is a fantastic speaker, and it is wonderful he will be speaking on the Island again this weekend.

Sunday, August 16th,

Lecture by Alistair McIntosh, 7PM, Room 242, MacKinnon Auditorium, McDougall Hall, UPEI (Building No. 12 on the map below)

From the notice:

A public lecture by noted Scottish scholar and activist, Alastair McIntosh, will open the Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) at the University of Prince Edward Island on Sunday August 16, at 7:00 p.m. The Sunderland P. Gardener Lecture, named after a historic figure in Canadian Quaker history, will be held in Room 242, Alexander H. MacKinnon Auditorium (McDougall Hall).

Alastair McIntosh is especially known for the way he has combined scholarship in theology, poetics, anthropology, and human ecology with the organization of citizen based campaigns to save valued landscapes and human communities from industrial degradation.

**Thanks to all who bring these things to my attention.**

August 13th's Global Chorus is by Lee Gerdes, author of Limitless You: The Infinite Possibilities of a Balanced Brain, founder and CEO of Brain State Technologies.

<snip> "Humanity needs help to release both the individual and the collective effects of trauma. Such a process is based on individuals recovering balance and harmony in brain patterns. Diets built more on plant-based foods, together with exercise, quiet times, communing with Nature, and most importantly, a means to directly balance seriously overactivated brains, will enable humanity to evolve beyond the chaos produced from trauma."<snip> -- Lee Gerdes

August 13, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Town of Stratford passed a cosmetic pesticide ban Wednesday night. Good for them! There should be lots of coverage in the media; and, of course, some pointed comparisons between Stratford and Charlottetown, and interest in what's going on in Summerside and Cornwall.

Here is a reminder that public comments on Maritime Electric's plan to construct a generator in Charlottetown are *not* due by Friday, August 14th as said in this older CBC article (bottom of the article):

but by Wednesday, August 26th:


Public comments regarding Maritime Electric's energy efficiency ideas (LED lightbulb incentives, incentives for homeowners to switch to *oil* instead of using their heatpumps at peak times) are due by September 30th:

I don't know if there is anything "new" on plans for additional electric cables to the mainland.

A bit off schedule on Global Chorus postings, but the August 12 one has a great start, from Nancy Knowlton, who is the Sant Chair in Marine Science at National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. (the halls of which we were in on Monday):

"Half-way between Tahiti and Hawaii lie the Southern Line Islands. Too remote to be a commercially viable destination, and too small or harsh to support self-sustaining human settlements on land, they teem below the surface of the waves with sharks, snappers and turtles swimming amongst a profusion of living coral. To go there, as I did recently, is to travel back in time, to a planet only lightly touched by people. Yes, the water is both warmer and more acidic, but these communities still thrive because they are protected from the day-to-day traumas of habitat demolition, rapacious harvesting and sickening pollution. The message is simple – it is not, yet, too late." -- Nancy Knowlton More on Nancy:

August 12, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open in Charlottetown and Stanley Bridge today.

Tonight, two events for people interested in doing more:

GreenPac Meet and Greet, 5-6:30PM, Farm Centre, 420 Universite Avenue.

More details:

"Please join us for drinks and to learn about GreenPAC, an exciting new non-partisan initiative to harness broad support for environmental action in Canada.

The evening will be an opportunity to hear about an innovative plan to build the leadership we need and create a stronger voice for the environment in the next Parliament."

Please RSVP here:


Volunteer Team Building for Lynne Lund, Green Party candidate for Malpeque, 7:30PM, Hunter River Community Centre.

"Come out and show support for the Lynne's campaign. We have put together a great team, and if you'd like to help out, come and join us. Whether you have a little time or a lot, there are things you can do."

More details:

Ron Kelly clearly tackles questions about a cosmetic pesticide by-law in yesterday's Guardian:

Protecting health - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ron Kelly

We should proceed to pass the strongest possible cosmetic pesticide bylaw

Published on Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Some questions and answers regarding P.E.I.’s cosmetic pesticide bylaws:

Does the current provincial legislation limit the ability of municipalities to implement strong and effective cosmetic pesticide bylaws?

Yes, because cosmetic pesticides can still be used in certain places (golf courses, transportation corridors, buildings and most public utilities).

Despite these limitations, should municipalities pass cosmetic pesticide bylaws?

Yes, because: (a) the P.E.I. government says it will not pass province-wide cosmetic pesticide legislation; (b) even if the province agrees to pass such legislation, it could still take a year or more from the time of agreement for that legislation to come into effect; (c) in many other provinces, cosmetic pesticide legislation exists at both provincial and municipal levels; and (d) experience elsewhere shows that when larger municipalities pass cosmetic pesticide bylaws, provincial governments soon follow suit.

Should the province pass province-wide cosmetic lawn pesticide legislation?

Yes, that would ensure all residents – not just those in certain municipalities – benefit from such protection.

Can homeowners purchase and apply their own lawn pesticides?

Yes and no. There are two categories of pesticides involved here as specified by the P.E.I. Pesticide Control Act – domestic pesticides and non-domestic (or commercial) pesticides. The province did not change the regulations related to domestic pesticides, which are not usually as strong or toxic as their commercial cousins. Homeowners can still purchase domestic pesticides and apply them as before. However, you need an applicators’ licence, training and equipment to apply the commercial lawn pesticides. Homeowners can not apply those pesticides and the proposed municipal bylaws significantly reduce the number of non-domestic pesticides lawn care companies can apply.

Will a municipality incur significant enforcement costs if it passes a cosmetic pesticide bylaw?

No, because: (a) municipalities currently enforce dozens of bylaws without incurring significant enforcement costs; and (b) provincial pesticide regulations remain in effect all across P.E.I., including in all municipalities (regardless of whether a municipality passes a cosmetic pesticide bylaw or not).

Homeowners and lawn care companies will still have to provide neighbours with advance notice that pesticides are going to be applied and that information will still have to list the name of the applicable pesticide. Signs will also have to be posted on the sprayed property. Any effort to falsify information (i.e listing an allowed pesticide but applying an illegal one) or a failure to provide notice or to put up signs will violate provincial laws and will be dealt with by the province (not the municipality). And if provincial regulations are followed and a pesticide is listed that violates the municipal bylaw, any citizen will be able to contact the municipality and file a complaint. With fines in the thousands of dollars for each violation – combined with the possible loss of its applicators’ license – what lawn care company is going to “step over the line” for the sake of one customer?

The questions before municipal councillors then must be: How do I best protect the health of my municipality and its citizens? Should we wait for the province to act or should we proceed immediately to pass the strongest possible cosmetic pesticide bylaw and press the province to do its duty? I think most voters know what the answers are.

Ron Kelly is a resident of Charlottetown and a member of Pesticide Free P.E.I.

From yesterday's (August 11th) Global Chorus, in its entirety, by Exequiel Ezcurra:

"My lifelong friend Enriqueta Velarde spends every spring studying seabirds in Isla Rasa, a small flat island in the Gulf of California. Single-handedly, alone in the remote island, she has done that for over thirty years. Through her research, she has restored the health of the island and saved two species, the Elegant Tern and the Heermann’s Gull, from almost certain extinction. She is a hero.

"Fifteen years ago, analyzing her painstakingly collected data set, we found that when the equatorial currents slow down, marine productivity collapses and the birds cannot ind enough sardines to feed their chicks, which die tragically in their own nests. The fact that the speed of ocean currents twelve thousand miles away could predict the fate of a million seabird chicks was for me an epiphany, a sudden revelation of the deep intricate nature of the biosphere.

The complex ecological processes that drive life in our planet were much more connected than I had ever realized before. I understood vividly that the Earth has processes that bind all life together, and in the small Isla Rasa we could fathom the pulse of the biosphere.

"Since then, my research changed, and so did my view of life. I became much more interested in understanding the enigmatic connections between the land and the sea, and devoted much more of my time and efforts to advancing conservation science; because, how can we allow Nature to be destroyed if we don’t even know the impact this destruction will have on the continuity of life on Earth?" — Exequiel Ezcurra, ecologist with the National Research System of Mexico and University of California, Riverside

August 10, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A reminder that there is a rally in front of Charlottetown City Hall at 4PM today for the public to show support for a cosmetic pesticide by-law, and remind the City Council to return to this issue. Corner of Queen and Kent Streets. More details:

It's a case of where numbers of people will count, even if you can just drop by for a few minutes. Hope it's a great turnout!

An excerpt from the August 9th's Global Chorus, by Dave Toycen, president and CEO of World Vision Canada:

<snip>"I have seen a child’s courage reconcile communities, heal deep wounds of conflict and even ignite passionate movements to better serve the most vulnerable among us. Hope is inextricably tied to these children. They don’t carry our baggage, they’re inquisitive, and they have the capacity to show remarkable gestures of mercy, of care and of affection. They will be the leaders of tomorrow." -- Dave Toycen


And from August 10th

<snip>"Green building is not just about market transformation. It’s about human transformation. And we’ll get there if we convince everyone to pack up their small tents of special interest and join us in the big tent of collaboration and common purpose. That’s how we’ll achieve the sustainable future that we owe our children and the generations to come." -- Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council

August 8, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open in these locations today.

We hope to find one in the part of Maryland we are in today.

Black currants available on P.E.I. at this time of year, a local fruit and one of the few berries that can be grown commercially and organically. One grower is Sara at Triple Harts Certified Organic Farm in Hunter River ( or (902) 964-3264). Currants freeze very nicely for use the rest of the year.

Continuing recommendations, last week I got to see The 39 Steps at Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside. It was very entertaining, due to the skill, physical grace, comedic timing and just plain charm of the four actors. Two play multiple roles with lightning changes of costume and character. Three of the cast were in The Ballad of Stompin' Tom last year and the fourth was the lead in Young At Heart Musical Theatre's Dr. Magnificent's Traveling Medicine Show. It's worth the price of admission to support this local theatre. More info:

The title was slightly familiar, being the name of the 1915 book by John Buccan we read to our kids; Buccan later became the Lord Tweedsmuir and Canada's Governor General from 1935 until his death in 1940. The main ideas of the book were skimmed off for a 1939 Alfred Hitchcock film, and this play is a further comedic adaption.

Temple Grandin is a veterinarian and instructor at Colorado State University, is well-known for relating her life as an autistic person, and for speaking about animal welfare. More info: She writes for the August 8th Global Chorus:

<snip> "We need people in the world who do real stuff to improve the world and not just talk and theorize about it. Many policy-makers have no practical experience with the things they make policy about. Their policies have become so abstract that when they are implemented by the people in the field, they may have unintended bad consequences. Policy makers need to get out of their offices and find out what really is happening."-- Temple Grandin

August 7, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Thanks to Cindy for commenting, and clarifying what the Blue Dot Movement is trying to do:

Citizens deserve basic rights - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, August 6th, 2015

With reference to the Letter to the Editor from Kate McInnis on July 29.

Ms. McInnis and some others were understandably frustrated with the Charlottetown City Council for seemingly talking out both sides of their mouths. When on the one hand they signed a declaration endorsing the right of all citizens to live in a healthy environment and then on the other, they failed to sign a cosmetic pesticide by law. It does seem contradictory.

When Blue Dot P.E.I. sent a congratulatory press release it was to provide encouragement to the city and to celebrate the fact that the citizens of Charlottetown had joined thousands of others across the nation, who are working together towards the primary goal, which is to see the right to a healthy environment enshrined for all Canadians through constitutional amendments.

Furthermore, this press release was published in The Guardian well after the date it was submitted, which was before Charlottetown Council struck down the pesticide ban.

The Blue Dot campaign starts at the grass roots and works up. Declarations in support of these basic rights at the municipal level are brought to bear at the provincial level, which in turn makes it possible for the constitutional amendment at the federal level.

These declarations support the notion that people deserve the right to live in a healthy environment. They recognize citizens’ expectations that these principles be upheld and reflected in government’s decision making, and helps strengthen citizens’ advocacy. They are not magic amulets or "cover alls" which are filled with absolutes but rather a step in a process that seeks to ensure a clean environment for generations to come.

Cindy Richards,



Cindy has been the organizing force behind Blue Dot P.E.I.

On Monday, August 10th, 4PM, residents of Charlottetown and all other Islanders are invited to join a rally regarding cosmetic pesticides, in front of Charlottetown City Hall, prior to the Council's monthly meeting.

More details here:

From a post by Roger Gordon, who has been tirelessly trying to inform Islanders about the effects of cosmetic pesticides:

I'm going to be there. Hope to see you as well. What Charlottetown council did in voting down the cosmetic pesticide bylaw was shocking. Residents and the environment are going to be placed at risk until these Councillors see that the public want to see a proper bylaw in place. Please let them see that this is the case by coming along next Monday to the peaceful public protest. Numbers really will count. Thank you.

A note that the:

The PEI Peoples' Social Forum, originally scheduled for the end of this month, has been postponed. The organizers regret the inconvenience, but will put out a call for interested people to come to an organizing meeting at a future date.

Paul Crutzen, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995, and (from Wikipedia):

"The 'Anthropocene' is a term widely used since its coining by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000 to denote the present time interval, in which many geologically significant conditions and processes are profoundly altered by human activities."

He writes this little benediction for today's Global Chorus:

"May the Anthropocene in future be guided by the collective wisdom of many generations of intelligent humans, through peace and global co-operation, stimulated by Nature’s beauty!

"Welcome to the Anthropocene!" — Dr. Paul J. Crutzen

Cardigan and Souris Farmers' Markets open today!

August 6, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

It's an odd coincidence that both the Canadian party leaders and the U.S. Republican Party presidential hopefuls are having debates tonight, Thursday, August 6th (though this is being sent early).

In the States some people are waiting in anticipation, and some are snickering, as there are actually two debates -- a prime-time one with the top ten candidates (based on polling, according to host Fox News), and one beforehand (dubbed "The Happy Hour Debate") for the candidates not polling as well.

Some information here:

That website is the work of an American named Nate Silver, who is numbers analyst -- things like baseball, among other things. He has analyzed and predicted very accurately the results in the last U.S. election. The following website is managed by him but has other contributors and is called "The Five Thirty Eight", referring to the number (538) of electors in the United States Electoral College.


Here is the delightfully informative website with a similar idea for its name, but devoted to Canadian politics and the upcoming election (only 74 days away!), called "The 308" (referring to the number of Members of Parliament):

Eric Grenier is behind this, and there is a round-up of articles, and analysis.

And the Leaders' debate tonight has info here:

Invite friends over and make a party of it! Is it the only debate all major leaders have agreed to be at so far? Ah, summertime!

Spiritual writer and environmentalist John Lunden writes this essay (printed in its entirety), for the August 6th Global Chorus:

"We are living in a time of unprecedented challenge and unprecedented opportunity. We are on the brink of self-destruction and at the same time witnessing the dawn of global civilization. For the first time in the history of human being we have the capacity to destroy our planetary home and also the ability to restore the planet and the human community to a more perfect whole.

"We are in the midst of an environmental crisis. But the environment is much more than the air we breathe and the water and the plants and the animals. Our environment is shaped by the way we think, act and speak. In fact, what we think, what we say, what is in our heart and how we act can cause greater damage to our environment than burning fossil fuels or extracting them from the land. "Fortunately, our thoughts, words and deeds can also heal and restore.

"All the world’s wisdom traditions share a common understanding that our Earth Mother was entrusted to the care of her original peoples. We have inherited the Earth from our indigenous ancestors. The question confronting our generation today is will we be good ancestors for our children and our children’s children?

"Is there hope? Yes. You and I are that hope. "If we are to be co-creators of a sustainable environment we must become cultivators of hope. Hope is as necessary to life as water. Hope is the ultimate nurturer. We would never plant another seed if we didn’t carry within us the hope of its blossoming. "We must learn again to live together in harmony with the Earth and with one another.

"We must listen to the cries of our Earth Mother and her pain, and cry aloud for our sisters and brothers to come together for the first time in history as a true global chorus.

"As individuals in isolation we can do little, but in raising our voices together we can restore balance and harmony to the human community and our planetary home.

"As a global chorus we can literally save the world." -- John Lunden

And Summerside's Farmers' Market is today from 9AM to 1PM.

August 5, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Charlottetown and Stanley Bridge Farmers' Markets are open today, and there are many markets offering Island produce this time of year.

Allan Rankin's column in last week's Graphics was a trip down Memory Lane about his work in radio, but really it's about small communities communicating. He is thinking geographical, and the role The Graphic papers play,, that radio used to play; many are looking at the term communities, too:

Hope most of you can see the article. Here is the beginning:

Back in my radio days

by Allan Rankin,

published on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015, in The Graphic newspapers.

The digital age has given us new and wondrous ways of communicating, but for me the radio is still a magical medium, and I believe the potential of broadcast radio to strengthen and build community here on the Island is still very much unrealized.<snip>


Farley Mowat wrote a poem for the August 5th Global Chorus, shared in its entirety:

"We are behaving like yeasts

in a brewer’s vat,

multiplying mindlessly

while greedily consuming

the substance of a finite world.

"If we continue

to imitate the yeasts

we will perish as they perish,

having exhausted our resources

and poisoned ourselves

in the lethal brew

of our own wastes.

"Unlike the yeasts

we have a choice:

what will it be?" — Farley Mowat,

Canadian author and conservationist

I am going on a bit of road trip starting early Wednesday with my family to the United States (which explains the early sending of this), and the Citizens' Alliance News will be sporadic and spontaneous for the next ten days or so near Washington, D.C. In the land of a two-year plus election campaign, and a whole lot of climate change denying, sending off the occasional CANews or Global Chorus snippet will be anecdotal, but likely as antidotal. ;-)

August 4, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Here is a long laundry list of categories of issues and each federal party's stand and promises right now:

It makes some of us want to spread it out, chop it up and sort it in a table format...and perhaps with 75 more days of this election, there is time to do that.

Catherine O'Brien and Don Mazer, on behalf of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, have written a letter to the editor regarding the upcoming Water Act consultations:

Group supports Water Act development: Timeline for development of legislation too short - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Catherine O'Brien and Don Mazer

Published on Monday, August 3rd, 2015

The Provincial government recently released its long awaited White Paper on the development of a Water Act. The report provides a broad outline of the key legislative goals, and offers a general description of a two-stage process of public consultation. Citizens are provided with a number of ways to make their views known with a series of public meetings to be scheduled, along with written, online and phone submissions.

The public consultations will be hosted by the Environmental Advisory Committee, and Jean-Paul Arsenault has been selected to be the moderator for these meetings.

The Water Act is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2016.

The Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water formed last year during the discussions about lifting the moratorium on high capacity wells.

We applaud the government’s commitment to a consultative process that aims to provide the opportunity for input from all Islanders. While there are few details about this process at this point, and the role of the Environmental Advisory Committee is not clear, Mr. Arsenault is an excellent choice to moderate these proceedings. He has a long history of involvement with these kinds of forums, and is knowledgeable about watershed and water extraction issues as a member of the Winter River Tracadie Bay Watershed Association board.

We do, however, have concerns about the ambitious time frame for developing this act. British Columbia has spent more than 5 years working on their water act, and there are still significant citizen concerns about their draft legislation.

We believe that the process of developing the act is of great importance, and have offered our suggestions to the previous minister of the environment, and in a letter to The Guardian.

The process, like the act itself, needs to reflect basic values including: equal opportunities for meaningful participation, respect for the knowledge of the community, inclusion of diverse perspectives, clear communication and transparency, and empowerment of individuals and communities.

Truly meaningful consultations must provide not only the opportunity for input from citizens, but for citizens to actually influence decision making, and to have a clear idea of how their submissions are being used.

Transparency is essential for a meaningful consultation process. The White Paper recognizes that currently “there is no transparent process for decisions affecting the management of our water resources.”

In the days ahead, we look forward to clarification about the process of how the act will be developed, with the hope that it reflects a model of such openness and transparency.

We encourage as many groups and individual Islanders as possible to get engaged in this important process. Our water is a common heritage and a public trust, and we are all important stakeholders in creating a sustainable water future. A Water Act for all the citizens of PEI needs to reflect our rich diversity of perspectives and experience.

Catherine O’Brien is the chairperson of the Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water. Don Mazer is a member of the Coalition.

Sandra Bessudo Lion is a Colombian marine biologist, was their environment minister at international climate change conferences, and is currently General Director of Colombia's Presidential Agency of International Cooperation. She writes for the August 4th Global Chorus:

"To speak about real sustainable development implies taking a step back so as to look ahead. As such, current environmental and social crises are a symptom of much deeper problems that afflict society. In the struggle between particular interests and needs, as well as the fight for economic and political power, leaders around the world have forgotten to think about future generations and in our legacy for them, as such forgetting the most basic common links that define our survival as a species, regardless of nationality.

<snip> "Ocean conservation can be seen as a good example of measures oriented towards true green growth. Oceans are an important source of livelihood for an important part of the world's population by means of, amongst others, sustainable fishing activities and ecotourism that provide for the well-being of coastal communities.Furthermore, oceans play a vital role in terms of climate regulation. This is a good scenario to see how proper environmental management contributes to sustainable development.

"The challenge relies on thinking not only in economic development in terms of GDP but to see it as a much broader concept that includes an improvement in people’s well-being and quality of life.

Stakeholders should incorporate environmental criteria into their decisions to ensure sustainable and adequate measures that will really provide for our survival as a species." -- Sandra Bessudo Lion

August 3, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

It's the August Civic Holiday, the rather inconsistent vacation day, and not really a time most of us want to think about an election; but Sunday at 10AM Ottawa time, Stephen Harper came out of Rideau Hall in Ottawa, made a statement about the election, and answered five questions; in one, insisting that the parties pay the costs of elections, which is of course not true at all. Right after, outside his official residence at Stornoway, Thomas Mulcair of the NDP made a confident statement and purposely did not invite questions from the press. (Liberal leader Justin Trudeau had a prior commitment and made a statement later in the day.) Elizabeth May gathered many B.C. Green candidates at 6:30AM local time to respond, making a touching pledge that she and her team would run this election in the memory and spirit of Flora MacDonald, the former Tory MP and Foreign Minister under Joe Clark, who died earlier this week.

In wrapping up the morning coverage, Peter Mansbridge of CBC National TV news held up two index cards, saying these were the two watchwords of Harper and Mulcair, respectively: "RISK" and "CHANGE". (Does he use flashcards like that during normal newscasts?)


Though that was not intended to be funny, this is:

from Mark Critch's humour piece here yesterday:

<snip> I'm pretty sure that most Canadians heard about the election this way:

News junkie friend: The writs were dropped today.

Average Canadian: Oh, too bad. Want me to help you find them?

News junkie friend: No, No. The writs! There's going to be an election.

Average Canadian: But I thought we were already in an election. That guy, "what's his face" who's running, knocked on my door.

News junkie friend: That was just the pre-campaign campaigning. Harper met the Governor General today.

Average Canadian: Oh. Well, I hope the general gets the ISIS guy. You want a hot dog?


Mark Critch is a comedian and a cast member of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. (9 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador) on CBC Television.

And more regarding the CBC, with former journalist Frank Koller commenting:

Blog: I’m Rex Murphy! No, I’m Rex Murphy! …. CBC’s Sham, July 27th, 2015,

by Frank Koller, published on Ju;ly 27th, 2015 here:

After I recently argued that CBC must stop calling Rex Murphy “just” a freelance opinionator, several people wrote to explain to me that there are actually two Rex Murphys at CBC.

They’re right, at least in the muddled minds of CBC managers. But it is a sham.

On CBC Television – Rex #1 is hired as “a freelancer,” encouraged to say whatever he wants. As a freelance commentator, he can also write opinionated columns for the National Post and make paid speeches.

On CBC Radio – Rex #2 is hired as “host” of Cross Country Checkup and contractually obligated to abide by CBC's Journalistic Practices and Standards. He can’t reveal his own opinions, he must avoid any suspicion of conflict of interest and he must stay out of public controversies. Nor can Rex #2 write opinionated columns for the National Post or make paid speeches.

Hands up who thinks this works in the real world?

Example 1:

The National, CBC TV, 2011 – Rex praises the oil sands: “this one project, more perhaps than any other in Canada, has kept us out of the worst of the recession.”

Cross Country Checkup, CBC Radio, 2012 – Rex (contractually obligated to be impartial) asks Canadians their opinions on “The Appropriate Role of the Oil Sands in Canada’s Future?”

National Post, 2015 – Rex says “I am a supporter of the Newfoundland and Alberta oil industry.”

To be blunt, why shouldn’t listeners to Cross Country Checkup suspect that Rex (the impartial radio host) might be skewing his phone conversations with Canadians to support what Rex (the freelancer on television) believes about the subject of that Sunday’s program?

Because Rex says so?

Example 2:

National Post, 2013 – Rex criticizes the “deplorable effort to frame the interactions between Canadians and Canada’s aboriginal peoples as a genocide — an accusation both illiterate and insulting.”

Cross Country Checkup, CBC Radio, 2015 – Rex asks Canadians and First Nations peoples about their opinions on the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s report on residential schools. (Which was called a genocide by the Chief Justice of Canada just a week earlier!)

To support this nuttiness, CBC management has convinced itself – and asks Canadians to believe! – that Rex is a psychological Superman.

In management’s view, Rex (1 and 2) is in such complete control of his perceptions and biases that he can switch from one personality to the other while walking from a radio studio on the 3rd floor of the Broadcast Centre in Toronto to a TV studio on the 5th or to his kitchen to write a column for the National Post. That is obviously impossible, although convenient wishful thinking for CBC executives stuck in a pickle of their own making.

Arguing that this schizophrenic role playing makes journalistic sense is an insult to Canadians, who overwhelmingly think (as CBC’s Ombudsman admits) that Rex is a CBC employee just like Peter Mansbridge. Many Canadians are understandably troubled that Rex – unlike all his other CBC on-air colleagues – is allowed to offer his opinions on important public issues.

It’s like someone turning up in a courtroom to act as a judge one day and then the next, as an attorney – both working on the same case! It corrupts the clarity of the proceedings.

Finally, a question to CBC managers: would you ever advise another public broadcaster to hire one person to play two mutually opposing on-air roles?

How does this improve programming? What journalistic problem does it solve? Is it easily understood by audiences? Is it ethical?

This is not about Rex’s politics. It would be equally worrisome if CBC hired Rick Salutin or Chris Hedges to do what Rex does.

It creates confusion and mistrust among Canadians who value the CBC.

It is certainly not the way to ensure support for the CBC in these perilous times nor to protect the quality of its journalism.

Environmentalist and pro-surfer Robert Caughlan writes for today's Global Chorus:

"There are huge waves on the horizon. We can’t stop them, so we must ride them. Riding big waves takes strength and courage and good judgment. But the most important thing a surfer needs is balance. That’s what I think we need. Balance in politics. Balance with the environment. Balance in life.


"The great waves, planet sizzling, overpopulation, species extinctions etc. are daunting. When I worked for President Carter on the Global 2000 Report, I learned that there are no big magic solutions to any of them. That’s why thinking globally and acting locally is so important. We need millions of local actions.<snip> " -- Robert Caughlan

August 2, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A reminder that the Forest Restoration is at Macphail Woods at 2PM.

More information here:

Federally, we will be voting this Fall, the election and related events shoe-horned in among consultations regarding The Water Act and Democratic Renewal. As the Citizens' Alliance, we'll do our best to point out materials and events of interest.

Two bits of news yesterday regarding the current Prime Minister and his plans:

The first is that it appears the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal has been derailed by another country. Many making the deal were pushing to end supply management in Canada as part of Canada's concessions, so for Islander farmers and eaters, there may be a sigh of relief.

Also, regarding the timing of the election call (thought to be today), the CBC Radio weekly political program The House featured an interview with a former head of Elections Canada, who pulled no punches.

A synopsis is here, and the page has a link to the file of the interview, I think:

posted on-line Saturday August 1st, 2015

Stephen Harper 'gaming the system' with early election call, says former Elections Canada head - CBC:The House

The former head of Elections Canada says Prime Minister Stephen Harper is "gaming the system" with an early election call and the result is parties with less money are politically disadvantaged.

"What it does is completely distort everything we've ever fought for, everything we've established as rules," Jean-Pierre Kingsley said in an interview on CBC Radio's The House.

"What should be happening right now is very simple — the prime minister should not call the election. He should wait for the 37 days to count towards the 19th of October, political parties should stop advertising right now, third parties should stop advertising. Then I'd say, hey, those people are respecting the spirit of the law."

A longer election campaign means a higher ceiling of allowable expenses, under the rules set by Elections Canada. In a typical 37-day election period, each party can spend a maximum of $25 million. For each additional day, the limit is increased by 1/37th, or an extra $675,000, meaning an 11-week campaign would allow parties to spend more than $50 million.

"What you've done is that you've distorted the role of money in politics," Kingsley said. "Canadians have said, $25 million is enough for you to run a campaign. Now we're going to be facing the possibility that it's going to be more than $50 million just to pump more ads our way."

Kingsley said it's no coincidence that only one party can afford to spend $50 million on a campaign. "If (the Conservatives) are doubling it to fifty, it's because they can get to fifty," he said. "Parties plan how much will be required to spend. The Conservatives are way ahead of the other two, so by doubling the amount, all of a sudden you've thrown a monkey wrench into all of that financial planning that's been going on."

"And that's what distorts the game for Canadians," Kingsley added. "That is what is happening to us. We're the electors here, and we're the ones who are going to be faced with the consequences of this thing."

Costly for taxpayers, Elections Canada

The financial consequences of an 11-week campaign for the public could be significant because of the campaign rebate, which sees taxpayers subsidize 50 per cent of what the parties spend on a national campaign. "That is what we, the people, the tax base, is going to feel here," Kingsley said.

The cost for Elections Canada will also be sizeable. Elections Canada estimates a 37-day campaign — the minimum required by law — would cost roughly $375 million to administer.

Kingsley said that price tag would not necessarily go up proportionately to a campaign time period that is nearly double the typical length. "Significant elements of [the estimated cost] are doubled, or more than doubled," he said. "We're talking about tens of millions of dollars the chief electoral officer will need extra."

Some of the extra costs associated with a longer election include paying the salaries for returning officers, deputy returning officers and employees preparing for the election, as well as rent for electoral offices in each of the country's 338 ridings.

'Level playing field gets it in the neck'

Under the Canada Elections Act, parties can only borrow from a financial institution, Kingsley said. "Financial institutions like to be paid back the monies that they lend you. They like to charge you interest. And they're not going to lend you more money if you've already exhausted your line of credit."

That means parties will be disadvantaged politically because they can't afford to keep up with bigger spenders, Kingsley added. "What about the disadvantage this imposes upon, for example, the Green Party?" he said. "Now they're facing foes who are going to be shooting twice as hard at them as they were before. It destroys the fairness that is at the base of our system.

"That level playing field gets it in the neck."

The is a televised Leaders' debate -- the only one I know of where the four major party leaders were invited and plan to attend -- is this Thursday, August 6th. More information here:

Global Chorus is by science writer Jay Ingram, a science communicator. He used to be the host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, and most recently wrote a book on aging and Alzheimer's disease called The End of Memory.

He writes:

"I worry about the future of the planet, but more about us. For the most part we are just too short-term in our thinking, too determined to stick to our values (even when they are in direct conflict with a livable future) and too tilted toward optimism to grapple effectively with the idea of environmental ruin.

"That optimism is the real stickler: humans tend to be optimistic, and many studies have claimed that optimistic people enjoy greater personal and physical well-being than do pessimists. It might even have survival value. So if you tell me you’re optimistic about the future, what are you really saying? Nothing more than “I’m human.” We need to be able to think differently – throw of the cognitive shackles – so here’s a radical suggestion.

"In an article in the online journal www., linguist Julie Sedivy points to research showing that because poetry uses language in unfamiliar ways, people keep thinking about the words long after they’ve finished reading. We need to keep thinking about the planet’s future, so I offer this poem “Whistledown,” by Dennis Lee, as a way of triggering that thinking.

Cold kaddish. In majuscule winter,

whistle down dixie to dusk;

coho with agave to dust.

Bison with orca commingled –

whistle down dixie. With

condor to audubon dust.

52 pickup, the species.

Beothuk, manatee, ash:

whistledown emu.

Vireo, mussel, verbena – cry

bygones,from heyday to dusk.

All whistling down dixie to dust."

— Jay Ingram, science writer

August 1, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The list for today's Farmers' Markets:

and a reminder about rising sea levels and climate change, from the community perspective, especially if you are out near Bloomfield. You might consider contacting the e-mail address first.


And a reminder the Gaelic festival is today at Macphail Homestead, 9:30AM to 5PM:

and the Forest Restoration talk and walk is Sunday at 2PM starting at the Nature Centre at Macphail Woods (pretty much the same parking area for Homestead and Nature Centre activities):

Atlantic Canada issues columnist Russell Wangersky wrote about the "Mother Canada" plan for a Cape Breton park earlier this week:

Monster in the making - The Guardian article by Russell Wangersky

Published on Monday, July 27th, 2015, in The Guardian

OK, so I’ve already been pretty clear about the fact that I’m no fan of the Mother Canada statue proposed for a national park in Cape Breton.

The statue, of a 30-metre high woman with her arms outstretched, is a hugely blown-up version of the statue Canada Bereft at Vimy Ridge. The statue at Vimy carries the nickname Mother Canada —that’s also the name given to the monster statue planned for Green Cove in Cape Breton, a project with a budget somewhere between $25 million and $60 million.

But while it’s interesting that the Never Forgotten National Memorial (NFNM) charity group wants to spend millions to build the well, hideously oversized and overwrought statue (and seems to be developing a taste for public money as well) there’s another part of the whole thing that leaves a sour taste for me.

When the Vimy Foundation complained about the new project’s use of the Vimy statue’s Mother Canada nickname, they were informed by the NFNM group’s lawyer that the NFNM had taken out a trademark on both the statue’s likeness and its nickname - so, essentially, the Vimy Foundation could take a hike. The trademark is an interesting one: it says that the group wants to provide services like the “Operation, preservation and maintenance of a memorial park commemorating Canadian war veterans” and provide “public education, awareness and information regarding Canadian war veterans.”

OK then. But then there’s the other part of the trademark.

Now, trademark registration doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to use your trademark on every type of goods and services you get the trademark for, but this trademark — you can see it here: — talks about a huge range of goods that the group wants the protection of a Mother Canada trademark for.

Here’s a start: “Clothing namely, casual clothing, T-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, jackets, polo shirts, golf shirts, dress shirts, neckties, tank tops, underwear, vests, sweaters, gloves, mittens, scarves, baby clothing, baby bibs; hats; baseball caps; toques; visors; baby caps; headgear, namely, sports headgear, sports helmets, bandanas, balaclavas, headbands; Accessories, namely, sunglasses, hair accessories, socks, belts, belt buckles, suspenders, tie clips, money clips, purses; knapsacks; overnight bags; school bags; backpacks; recyclable shopping bags and totes; beach bags; beach towels; ...”

After another 144 words of trademarked items, you get to Mother Canada-themed “Toys, namely, plush toys, stuffed animals, squeezable squeaking toys, bath toys, puzzles; flying discs; toy spinners; key chains; key holders; novelty buttons; coins; commemorative plates; licence plate holders; crests; figurines; frames for photographs and pictures; fridge magnets; ashtrays; vehicle windshield sunshades; flashlights; golf balls; pill cases; silicon and silkscreen bracelets.”

Now, maybe a Mother Canada squeezable squeaking toy gives you —like me — a short sharp attack of the giggles.

But still further on, things get a little disturbing, especially when you start to think about Mother Canada’s image and name related to these items: “Military clothing, military uniforms, belts, belt buckles, cuff-links; military action toy figures, model airplanes, toy model vehicles and related accessories, radio-controlled model vehicles, toy pistols; military patches for clothing, military medal ribbons, military badges, medals, medallions, lapel pins; military dog tags, drinking flasks, canteens, pocket knives, lighters.”

Even more alarming? “Military themed games, namely, action skill games, arcade games, board games, card games, computer games, party games, role-playing games, video games; military commemorative collector stamps (excluding postage stamps); military-themed coins; military flags.”

As I’ve said, just because it’s in the trademark, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to be made.

But when you consider that the monument is meant to recognize the horrible sacrifices made by veterans and their families, it’s hard to conceive what sort of military arcade game or computer game would need to fall under the project’s trademark protection umbrella. It’s just adding hideous to hideous.

Russell Wangersky is TC Media’s Atlantic regional columnist. He can be reached at

Greek-American scientist Elisabeth Sahtouris write about humanity and its evolution for today's Global Chorus:

"Humanity, like all other species on Earth before and with us, is evolving – and evolution, for humans as for all species, is neither predictably linear nor based solely on competitive Darwinism. Rather, evolution reveals a repeating maturation cycle in which species evolve from hostile competition to peaceful co-operation.

"Earth’s nearly four billion years of evolutionary experience reveals that this pattern predominates, giving us hope and inspiration, along with valuable guidance for getting ourselves through the unprecedented confluence of enormous crises in which we humans now find ourselves.

<snip> "Learning from these newly revealed patterns of problems and solutions in biological evolution, we too are finding out how to survive and even thrive into a better future despite – perhaps because of – our greatest challenges. That is indeed cause for celebration."— Elisabet Sahtouris, PhD, evolution biologist, futurist, author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution