July 2016

July 31, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The very caring and hard-working Leo Cheverie's comments on Facebook from Saturday, verbalizing what many of us are thinking:

Why is at that after every heavy rain, Rather than enjoy such happenings as I did, I now think about the health of fish and waterways on PEI and hope that we will not hear about fishkills in following days but also know anoxia and many other issues arise with industrial model of agriculture and monoculture - I want to give a shout out to Megan Stewart and Ker Wells and everyone who created the amazing Pageant in New Glasgow and especially the voices for a better future for the River Clyde and our Planet -


The first documented fishkill on PEI was reported in 1962. That is 54 years our government has had to put effective regulations in place! How can this still be happening?


And from Saturday's Guardian:

Enough is Enough

by Dale Small

published on Saturday, July 30th, 2016, in The Guardian

(not available on-line yet, so apologies for it being a screen-shot image and I will reprint the text when possible for those who can't see the image.)

July 30, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

It's a big market day with Farmers' Markets open in:

Summerside -- 9AM - 1PM

Charlottetown -- 9AM - 2PM

Stratford -- 9AM - 1PM

Morell -- 9AM - 1PM

Cardigan -- 10AM - 2PM

Murray Harbour -- 9AM - noon

It's the last couple of days to comment on what the provincial Climate Change Mitigation Strategy should have in it, before it is written. I think the deadline is Sunday. The first draft is supposed to come out in mid-August (while they -- consultants Dunsky Energy Consulting -- work on the final Provincial Energy Strategy). This one deals with reducing all sources of greenhouse gases, so it fits with the Energy Strategy.

They would like Islanders to address these questions (below) but of course can hear about anything:

1. Should the Climate Change Mitigation Strategy include quantifiable targets for greenhouse gas reductions? If so, should they follow one of the related targets and goals found on slide 8, or consist of something different?

2. Should PEI consider implementing some kind of carbon pricing model? If so, what model should be considered and how should proceeds be used?

3. What actions or initiatives would reduce the most greenhouse gas emissions?

4. What else is important for us to know about PEI in relation to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions?

A link to provide some comments is at the bottom of this page:


You can check a box to get e-mail updates when the draft report comes out, meetings are scheduled, etc.

CBC News recently carried a one-sided story interviewing a pest control company owner about lawn owners in Stratford dealing with chinch bugs under a cosmetic pesticide bylaw. Whether or not this is how CBC functions to beget other related stories, they have a story about dealing with the bugs, here.


Roger Gordon, a Stratford resident, former dean and professor at UPEI, and author), wrote this letter to the mayor and Councillors of Startford.

July 28th, 2016

Dear Mayor Dunphy and Councillors of Stratford:

I saw the news coverage last night on Compass that gave the impression that Stratford homeowners are having to endure a plague of chinch bugs on their lawns because of our town bylaw on cosmetic pesticides and allegedly dilatory processing of requests by town staff.

In the first place, it should be pointed out that the person who was featured in this sensational, panic-driven broadcast was someone who has the most to gain by the town giving a nod and a wink to its regulations, making the approval of permits pro forma, or even wondering whether it was a good idea to ever have a bylaw in the first place. That is the strategy employed by the pesticide lobby and its operators and I encourage you to pay no heed to it.

Second, are chinch bugs really a serious problem? No. Not if the homeowner does as I do, take preventative measures. A healthy lawn can sustain a population of chinch bugs without enduring significant damage. I have chinch bugs on my lawn, which happens to be one of the lushest in the neighborhood. But then, I take the time to look after my lawn. I fertilize it with a low nitrogen fertilizer (never with a high nitrogen one) in the Spring, apply lime in the fall, never mow my lawn below 1 to 1 and a half inches height, water only at dusk and only if necessary, even then no more than once per week,, don't collect the grass clippings,and aerate it once every couple of years. Lawns, especially sick lawns, do not look after themselves and I am afraid that the people who have this so-called chinch bug problem may not have recognized that reality. The lawn that I saw having been sprayed with Sevin recently belongs to someone who has been a habitual lawn sprayer in the past and as such has a most unhealthy looking lawn. This message, prevention not heavy-artillery warfare, needs to be conveyed to residents.

The third point I wish to make is that Appendix B of our town bylaw details the infestation levels that must be exceeded before approval can be granted for spraying. For chinch bugs, it is 200 per 0.1m sq (flotation detection) or 20 (quadrant technique). After speaking with Acting Town Manager Jeremy Crosby, I am pleased to learn that the town inspector is using due diligence and not making subjective assessments influenced by the fear-mongering that Mr. Gallant is promulgating.

I wish you well in holding firm to the principle of sustainability that guides our town, an important element of which is protecting residents against unnecessary spraying of carcinogenic chemicals. Let us keep in mind that the chemical which Mr. Gallant wants to spread around our town is one that is so toxic that 6 countries (incl 4 European ones) have banned it altogether.


July 29, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Cardigan's Farmers' Market is open today from 10AM to 2PM.



"If we lose our identity, we have lost everything."

This message was printed on paper on the table where people were encouraged to write their concerns about the particular issue of "Identity", at the Community Meeting on Amalgamation in Hampton last night, hosted by District 17 MLA Peter Bevan-Baker.

Here are some of my observations and thoughts. There was no obvious media present, though it was mentioned in the media over a week ago. There was an introduction by Peter, and a presentation on background and terms by his legislative assistant, Patrick (which may be available soon to share), and what government may have in mind. This is the nut of all this -- we still don't know what the MacLauchlan government has in mind. On one hand, Minister Robert Mitchell urges us to talk to our neighbours; on the other, we hear many rumours about upcoming legislation and our about our small communities -- and potential taxpayers towards larger ones which are perhaps indebted -- being hustled and bustled to commit to joining other communities.

Community meetings are difficult because people want to be heard, and those organizing them don't want the meetings to become a shout-fest. But people still have a lot of concerns, whether they stayed or were given the chance to voice them; and many vacillate between being angry about their apparent powerless or being resigned that government is going to do what it wants. There are a lot of rural people on this Island and all should be encouraged to speak up, no matter who or how meetings are organized. Perhaps we should all consider the real nut of feeling powerless in this amalgamation morass is our electoral system which produces these "strong" majority governments that can implement pretty much anything. That's what we should be focusing on this summer and fall.

Are people in other Districts, especially those with the Government MLAs, just as confused and conflicted about this? Maybe it is each and every MLA that needs to hear from his or her constituents about these concerns.


A letter from a Quebecer to the people in Saskatchewan (excerpted):


Letter from concerned Quebecer to victims of the Husky oil spill - The National Observer online article by Gerard Montpetit

Printed on-line on Thursday, July 28th, 2016

<snip>In this case, cities [North Battleford and Prince Albert] have issued a "drinking water advisory." In other words, 'don't let this tainted water touch your body; don't drink it, don't cook your food in it and don't shower with it.'

The citizens of North Battleford and Prince Albert could be forced to live in this unacceptable straightjacket for months. A temporary 30-kilometre water pipeline might partially solve the problem for the moment, but would freeze during the winter if the emergency lasts more than four months. And where exactly will local wildlife get its drinking water?


In Quebec, we have sympathy for the plight of the people of Prince Albert and North Battleford. On Jan. 15, 2015, a tank containing diesel fuel contaminated the water purification plant of the south shore city of Longueuil, leaving 300,000 people without access to water for three days.

Accidents like these should be a lesson for the citizens of Canada: no pipeline is truly safe.

During meetings with the BAPE (Quebec's environmental hearings board), TransCanada admitted that if Energy East were to leak, it could stop the flow of oil in 13 minutes as long as its sensors worked properly and the people at its control centre responded according to protocol. That means that even if every thing goes right, at least 1.56 million litres of heavy oil would escape. Yet in real life, history has proven that 13 minutes between the detection of a leak and its complete containment is overly optimistic.

In the case of Saskatchewan, Husky Energy needed 14 hours, and in 2010, at the disastrous spill in the Kalamazoo River of Michigan, Enbridge took 17 hours to respond.


So when politicians like Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall demand that Manitobans, Ontarians, Quebecers and New Brunswickers sign off on Energy East, understand that he is demanding we be permanently at risk from a giant spill. The same goes for British Columbians and First Nations opposed to Enbridge Northern Gateway and the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipelines heading to the West Coast. There are simply no risk-free oil technologies. <snip>

July 28, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Bites Cafe, 1956Community Meeting on Amalgamation, 7-9PM, Bites Cafe, 19566 TCH in Hampton, hosted by Kelly's Cross-Cumberland MLA Peter Bevan-Baker. The focus is on unincorporated areas, but all are welcome.

CBC PEI published a story on-line yesterday about the threat of cinch bugs on residential properties in Stratford. The person interviewed for the story is a pest control company owner who vigorously fought the cosmetic pesticide ban recently passed by the City of Charlottetown. (Other people have discussed how the bug gets an advantage (in unhealthy lawns) and how other communities deal with cosmetic pesticide bans and promoting healthy lawns.)



Yesterday, amending Bill C-51 was mentioned as one of the major promises of the federal Liberal Party in the election last year. The other was the ridiculously frantic conversion of urban homes from door-to-door mail delivery to community boxes by Canada Post.

Here is a letter to consider signing on to, for an idea, supported by many organizations, including the Leap Manifesto people and others, for revitalizing Canada Post. The deadline in Sunday, July 31st.


Here are the contents of the letter, which one could modify in the textbox in the link above:

Attn: Review Task force

CC’d: Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Judy M. Foote

The Liberal government was elected with a mandate to reverse Conservative cuts to Canada Post. We need a leadership change now to ensure that Canada Post can align its operations with the public interest. I agree with the government’s request for Harper-appointed CEO Deepak Chopra to step down, and the thousands of Canadians who have signed petitions demanding his resignation.

Canada Post has been profitable for 19 out of the past 21 years, and last year netted almost $100 million in profits. With profits like these, it doesn’t break the bank to restore home delivery to households that should never have lost it. Canada Post should restore home delivery, and add new services that will make it viable for years to come.

Canada Post is the country’s largest retail and logistics network, and I want to see it put to use to address our country’s economic and climate challenges. Our postal service could include a made-in Canada electric delivery fleet, postal banking that finances green energy, services for seniors, coast-to-coast charging stations for electric cars, and much more...

I encourage the task force to adopt the Delivering Community Power proposal to expand Canada Post with services like affordable banking, local food delivery, and community digital access. You can learn more at: http://www.deliveringcommunitypower.ca/

I want a Canada Post for everyone. Minister Foote’s mandate letter from the Prime Minister states: “We will direct our resources to those initiatives that are having the greatest, positive impact on the lives of Canadians, and that will allow us to meet our commitments to them.” Canada Post belongs to all of us, and can help us address our country’s economic and climate challenges.

Please add my input to the government review of Canada Post. I look forward to seeing my feedback reflected in your recommendations.

Yours Truly,


July 27, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today, midweek in a bountiful growing season, the Farmers' Markets open today are:

Stanley Bridge, 9AM-1PM

Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM

Summerside, 4-7PM


The rain Sunday was welcome, but it really looked heavy north of Bonshaw, and it must have been, toward all those branches of the West River. The fishkill was discovered Monday night, and here is a CBC online story here.

The Island Information Service wing of government issued at short media release at 10AM Tuesday announcing that some "deceased fish" were discovered (I do give that prolific service credit for sending out a notice on it, something not often done in Robert Ghiz' government). Someone pointed out that there was no comment all day from anyone official in the Liberal government, such as Communities, Land and Environment Minister Robert Mitchell; Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker sent out a release saying he is "disappointed" and these more accurately termed "riverkills" are unacceptable.

These are not exactly the "pristine" land and waters that the province boasts about so on its main website.

from the cover image of the redesigned P.E.I. official website www.princeedwardisland.ca


There are two very important campaign promises in the federal election last fall to many of us, that the federal Liberal government could have acted on much sooner and with the spirit and intent of the campaign promise. One is restoring door-to-door delivery of mail by Canada Post. (More on that another time.) The other is the public safety Bill (now Law) C-51.

Here is an article from iPolitics.ca by Michael Harris, no admirer of the Harper government which introduced this legislation; he is doing the job of the press by holding governments accountable to what they promised:

An excerpt from:


A critical part of the Liberals’ promise to amend C-51 was a pledge to hold public meetings to get citizen and expert input on what needed to be changed. Though the government announced the meetings, none have been held — and C-51 remains in force. While it’s true that (Public Safety Minster Ralph) Goodale has a full plate in front of him — from prison reform to a broad-ranging national security review — critics of C-51 find the government’s inaction disquieting and unacceptable.

And here is the e-petition mentioned in the article to voice your concern (it's a little bit of process that does involve verifying you signed it by responding to an e-mail, but it seems very well done):


You can always remind your MPs (usually "firstname.lastname@parl.gc.ca" ) of the inaction on these major campaign promises. Or when you see them this summer.

Sean Casey is holding a Strawberry Social for constituents tonight from 5-7PM at Rochford Square Park.

July 26, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A bit of a reminder about amalgamation of communities of P.E.I.

There is a community meeting on Thursday at Bites Cafe, TCH in Hampton (west of DeSable), 7PM, hosted by MLA Peter Bevan-Baker.

Facebook event details.

Here is an article from last month, that was easily overlooked with other things going on (bold is mine). I cannot find the actual Bill on the Legislative Assembly website but will keep looking:


Legislation would allow P.E.I. to force communities to amalgamate - CBC News online article by Kerry Campbell

Meant to 'streamline' process, says minister, but Opposition says powers would go too far

Published on-line at CBC PEI News

The decision for communities to amalgamate may no longer be left to municipal authorities under proposed legislative changes. The move would give the Minister of Land, Communities and Environment the ability to initiate amalgamation in municipalities where local councils might be unwilling.

Minister Robert Mitchell said a bill tabled — but not passed — during the spring sitting of the legislature was meant to "streamline" the amalgamation process currently underway involving seven communities in eastern P.E.I. "That does involve various pieces of incorporation, annexation and amalgamation so it was going to streamline that process so they can sit at the one table and talk about that," Mitchell said. "Because currently right now there's three different processes for that."

But the legislation would also give Mitchell the ability to move forward with amalgamation, even if one or more of the communities involved decided against it. The Opposition sees the legislation as a possible step toward forced amalgamations. "My criticism of them up until this legislation was put on the table was, 'Look [government] should be leading the process, facilitating it,'" said Opposition MLA Brad Trivers. "Now we're seeing, they're not stepping up to facilitate and lead the process, but now they want to control it … and it looks like the new legislation is really putting them in a position where they can really dictate what happens."

Province needs fewer, larger municipalities: report

A government report released in 2010 on land use and local governance recommended the province move from the current number of more than 70 municipalities to fewer, larger municipalities to make them more sustainable.

So far the province has tried to facilitate the process to allow local councils to willingly join together, but there have been few takers.

The legislative amendment would allow the minister to initiate the creation of a new municipality or a change in the boundaries of existing municipalities. Currently, those processes can only be initiated by local residents or the councils that represent them.

Changes likely to be passed in fall

A government spokesperson said the proposed changes will likely be passed during the fall sitting of the legislature, either through the current bill which remains on the order paper, or with the introduction of a new Municipalities Act. Today the minister did not definitely rule out using the new powers if and when they're established, but emphasized that his approach so far with amalgamation has been to collaborate with communities.

"We're going out on a very organic approach, we're having communities talk to communities, neighbours talk to neighbours," Mitchell said. "It's been going very well. We've had some success in that area, especially with the seven communities. We feel when that comes to fruition, that will be a model for Prince Edward Island."

One of the Montague councillors appointed to a joint committee to negotiate the possible amalgamation of the seven communities said the legislation would give the provincial government too much power. "I definitely don't think they should be allowed to do it without all the communities consent and working together," said councillor Wayne Spin. "I don't think the government should have the right to step in and do anything without the residents of all outlying communities having a final say."

P.S. For people following U.S. politics, here is a warm and funny opinion piece by J.J.Guttenplan of The Nation about Bernie Sanders' speech last night, and his role in this election. (Definition of a "mensch" from Merriam-Webster: A person of integrity and honour, from Yiddish origins)


July 25, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Here are some events and deadlines for later this week:

Thursday, July 28th:

Community Meeting on Amalgamation, with Peter Bevan-Baker, 7PM, Bites Cafe on TCH in Hampton. Technically, this is focused on the issue of the unincorporated areas in District 17, but it is open to all.

Friday, July 29th, and Sunday, July 31st:

Elections PEI Public Education and Registration for the Fall Plebiscite booth, Friday, 11AM-1PM, Confederation Court Mall.

Sunday, July 31st:

Same, at Downtown Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, Lower Queen Street


Sunday, July 31st:

Deadline for comments for the development of the Provincial Climate Change Mitigation Strategy. You can flip through the Discussion Document (second link, below) to see if there are any comments you would make before they produce the first draft.

Keep in mind the Mitigation Strategy is the part of Climate Change reaction about P.E.I. reducing its contribution to climate change (in the form of greenhouse gas emissions). (The Adaptation part of the physical effects on land and environment, is being done by UPEI and I think the provincial Departments of Communities, Land and Environment, and Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy.)

From Tony Reddin, who communicates on energy issues for ECO-PEI:

(The) Website to provide access to documents important to the (Climate Change Mitigation) Strategy, and to receive input and feedback is at https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/climate-change-mitigation-strategy-public-consultation - forward the link to anyone you like...

The schedule for further public input after July 31, as the first draft is released mid-Aug, etc, is as shown on slide 7 of https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/publications/climate_change_mitigation_strategy_discussion_document.pdf

Please note that https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/publications/prince_edward_island_and_climate_change.pdf (as linked on the sidebar) is the old 2008 Climate Change (CC) Strategy but has excellent overviews of the issues involved.

from Slide 7 of the Discussion Document (link above)

-------------------- Something more to pay attention to this Fall!

July 24, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today the downtown Charlottetown Market is open from 11AM to 4PM, Queen Street by the Confederation Centre.


A few notices:

An open house, 2-4PM, in the Bonshaw area, 300 Green Road. A neighbour is selling his house, and the home has some sustainable energy features. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajcoivml1Rs


Eating local, another way to access:

Many farmers are coordinating weekly share boxes, and Alexander (Sandy) MacKay is packing individual boxes, to be distributed by Pauline Howard at her Charlottetown home. She writes:

I am going to be the Charlottetown distributor for organic farmer Alexander (Sandy) MacKay. Sandy is certified organic, a leading member in the organic community and well known for growing beautiful produce.

Here's how it will work -

I will send a list of produce available each week to people interested. People order exactly what they want by Tuesday and pick it up at my place on Thursday. (delivery can be arranged for an extra fee) <snip>

Produce available this week includes, potatoes, snowpeas, carrots, salad mid and beets. Contact Pauline at <pauline_howard@hotmail.com> for details.


Sandy MacKay wrote an excellent submission regarding his thoughts on the Water Act to the Environmental Advisory Council late last year. It is a quick read and worth it, if you have time. The Text is here: http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/cle_mackay2.pdf

(If that link won't work, go to the page of submissions and click on his name (at the very end of the page) "Alexander MacKay" for the text, or the audio link.)


A bit of information on the pipeline spill out west:

A map of the North Saskatchewan River area affected by the 200,000 litre Husky energy pipeline spill. From CBC News online: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/pipeline-spill-shoreline-1.3692211


and an excerpt from:


<snip> Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who is known for his ardent support of pipelines, said while an oil spill was not something anyone wanted to see, his support for the infrastructure continues.

“The facts remain that if we’re not moving by a pipeline, it’s going to move … (by rail). We know that rail is actually more susceptible to spills and spills are often more intense,” Wall said while at a premiers meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Interesting logic, lesser of two evils and such.


"It's not an investment if it's destroying the environment."-- Vandana Shiva, Indian scholar, environmentalist, and anti-globalization activist

July 23, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today the Farmers' Markets are open:

Summerside -- 9AM - 1PM

Charlottetown -- 9AM - 2PM

Stratford -- 9AM - 1PM

Morell -- 9AM - 1PM

Cardigan -- 10AM - 2PM

Murray Harbour -- 9AM - noon


And many things going on at the Markets today:

Summerside Farmers' Market:

Elections PEI will have a display at the Summerside Farmers' Market from 9AM-1PM with information about the November 2016 Plebiscite on voting systems.

If you are on Facebook, Elections PEI has a page:


and you can choose to "Like" the page and click "All notifications" to receive any posts they make in your newsfeed. Their website is: http://www.electionspei.ca/


Charlottetown Farmers' Market:

Fair Trade Fair, 9AM-2PM, many beautiful items, with proceeds to CUSO International.

I am told the Charlottetown Farmers' Market has set up some parking guideline structures so it's not such a mess in the main open area. And apparently it results in more spaces available.


Stratford Farmers' Market:

BBQ Demonstration, 11AM-1PM, with Chef Kate Dawson from the Restaurant Local 343. The Market is off Bunbury Road in Robert Cotton Park. Facebook event details.

PEI Pride week begins today and a full list of events is here:


During the reign of the federal Conservative government under Stephen Harper, small farms at prison facilities were closed. The current government is consulting Canadians to see if the farms should be reestablished. Deadline in August 2nd. Here is a link to the survey:


July 22, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Not many of us have the answers for battling climate change, but I am sure many knowledgeable and engaged Islanders will contribute to the provincial Climate Change Mitigation Strategy discussion. (a little bit more below)


Our nations' premiers and our provincial politicians could consider this poem, especially when politicians (both near and far) immediately recoil from any talk of carbon-pricing, and some making blustery talk that obscures the big picture of what kind of planet we are leaving for our children. This is by American poet and performer Drew Dillinger:

"it’s 3:23 in the morning

and I’m awake

because my great great grandchildren

won’t let me sleep

my great great grandchildren

ask me in dreams

what did you do while the planet was plundered?

what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

surely you did something

when the seasons started failing?

as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest

when democracy was stolen?

what did you do




-Drew Dellinger


He is the founder of the organization "Planetize the Movement", and here is his website with more of his written and recorded works: http://drewdellinger.org/

I don't know if this piece is part of a bigger work, but it stands alone for all of us on this planet. Thanks to the people who shared it, and please share it.

The Province announced last week it is starting to work on a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy, with the press release here

and the website for public consultation, while the Strategy is being worked on, here.


More to come on this, I am sure.

July 21, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some interesting opinion pieces in this week's West Prince Graphic: Letter to the Editor

Islanders should become engaged in electoral reform process - The West Prince Graphic Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, July 20th, 2016


The Wade MacLauchlan government has sidestepped tradition and made use of the summer to further its political agenda.

Its expedited approval of Aqua Bounty’s expansion to Rollo Bay, its choice of appointments for the health board and liquor control board, and the Cornwall by-pass announcement illustrate this get-er-done doctrine. All this is easy to do at this time of year, unhampered by a sitting legislature, with a distracted opposition and a disinterested press corps.

Contrary to election promises of public engagement and transparency, public input was not genuinely sought after or was dismissed out of hand (i.e. Health Minister Robert Henderson: “I’m not going to make decisions based on petitions.”) There was no opportunity granted for meaningful discussion on these important issues that affect all Islanders. The current system features further concentration of power, edited information being shared with a select group, and decisions based on undisclosed criteria.

The only opportunity we have for de-centralising this system and rebuilding public trust is through fundamentally changing how governments are elected.

I strongly urge Islanders to take the time to engage in the electoral reform process. The November plebiscite may be the only opportunity we have to create truly democratic governments.

Boyd Allen, Pownal

And a dream job opening for our Premier, and he doesn't mean Senator. Maybe timing doesn't matter:

Timing can be everything in Life AND POLITICS - The Graphic newspapers Thinking About It column by Allan Rankin

Thinking About It column, published on Wednesday, July 20th, 2016


There is no question that our current Premier, Wade MacLauchlan, is an outstanding individual, highly educated and articulate, and possessing a unique blend of Island folksiness, shrewd business acumen, and good old common sense.

I am still waiting for the transformative Wade MacLauchlan to show up, and for his political leadership to move the markers, to make a difference here in the kingdom of Lilliput.

But his Liberal Government is only in the first half of its mandate, and there is still time for the premier to demonstrate something other than prudent administration and sound fiscal management, the hallmarks of governments that leave behind little meaningful social or economic change.

MacLauchlan came to the provincial Liberals like a gift from God. Bankrupt of ideas and staggered by ethical failures and a string of poor decisions by the government of Robert Ghiz, the Liberal Party desperately needed to turn a new page.

The timing was perfect for the popular and respected former president of our Island university to offer his public service and jump into the political ring, and the incumbent Liberal caucus raced to his side like Titanic passengers to a lifeboat. In spite of the best efforts of the opposing parties and their leaders, there was really very little doubt that H. Wade MacLauchlan would become Prince Edward Island’s 32nd Premier.

For both MacLauchlan and the provincial Liberal party it was perfect timing.

But life always holds the unexpected, and these days I am wondering if Mr. MacLauchlan isn’t second guessing his decision to enter provincial politics, not because of any waters he has been navigating in the Premier’s Office, but rather because of another more recent job opening up along in Ottawa.

A few months ago, Supreme Court Chief Justice the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin (no relation to our Premier) announced that Justice Thomas A. Cromwell would be resigning from the Court effective September 1.

Appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Justice Cromwell was eligible to sit on the Supreme Court until 2017, and therefore his resignation came as a surprise to many in the legal community. It also presents an early, if sudden, opportunity for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put his own stamp on the highest court in the land.

The Supreme Court Act requires that three of the nine judges must come from Quebec, and, of the remaining six, convention is that three judges represent Ontario, two represent western Canada, and two represent Atlantic Canada.

Justice Cromwell’s resignation means that the Atlantic Canada seat is now open.

So who is eligible to fill Justice Cromwell’s shoes and what are the qualifications?

It might come as a surprise to many, but any barrister of at least ten years standing at the bar of a province is eligible to be named a Justice of the Supreme Court, and, of course, because the current vacancy is for Atlantic Canada, the candidate must come from either New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland.

I believe that our premier has the perfect resume for the job.

A graduate of UPEI, he earned a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Laws from Yale University. He went on to teach law at Dalhousie University and later was dean of the law school at the University of New Brunswick.

Professor MacLauchlan was a constitutional expert, and over his career has shown a desire to defended the rights of minorities.

Interestingly enough, I have been told that one of Professor MacLauchlan’s former students at UNB is now the advisor in Prime Minister Trudeau’s office responsible for vetting appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada.

If you factor in the close political connections our premier has with the present prime minister, as well as past associations with two former Liberal prime ministers, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, it is hard to see how Wade MacLauchlan’s name could not be at the top of a list of candidates for this latest Supreme Court vacancy. That is, if he wished it to be.

The stars usually need to be properly aligned in politics for momentous things to occur, and it is much the same in our professional and personal lives.

Sometimes that alignment is orchestrated and at other times fate is the great master of events.

When Wade MacLauchlan took the reins of the Liberal party two years ago, it was a little of both I believe, and the timing was superb.

Unfortunately for the Premier, perhaps the job of his life, for which he is uniquely qualified, is now an impossible dream.

The timing is just bad all around.

July 20, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets open today, the midweek bump of markets:

Stanley Bridge Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM

Summerside Farmers' Market, 4-7PM

Elections PEI will have an information booth with their team to talk about the plebiscite and to register people later this week here:

Friday, July 22nd, 12noon-3PM, County Fair Mall, Summerside

Saturday, July 23th, Summerside Farmers' Market

Sunday, July 24th, 12noon-4PM, O'Leary Car Show, Centennial Park

District 17 (Kelly's Cross-Cumberland) and Leader of the Third Party Peter Bevan-Baker is hosting a Community Meeting on Amalgamation (the font made me read first it as "Armageddon", which may be an accurate Freudian slip).

Thursday, July 28th, 7-9PM, Bites Cafe, Hampton. All welcome.

from the event description: "MLA Peter Bevan-Baker is hosting a public meeting on amalgamation and municipal reform, with a focus on giving a voice to people in unincorporated areas. The meeting is open to all. With this meeting, we are hoping to bring people together and start a dialogue in the community. It will also help Peter determine how best to approach the issue in the Legislature this fall. Come out and help shape the future of our communities!"

Facebook event details

About our big neighbour to the South:

While enduring coverage of the Republican National Convention from Cleveland, Ohio, this week, here is an antidote in a wonderfully long compilation of short essays about building on the progressive strides made by the Bernie Sanders campaign in the United States.

We Still Need a Future to Believe In - The Nation article

A forum on how to build the political revolution with Naomi Klein, Alicia Garza, Michael Moore, Frances Fox Piven, Robert Reich, Kshama Sawant, Josh Fox, and more.

published on Tuesday, July 18th, 2016, on-line in the publication The Nation


July 19, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Last December, the New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer Eilish Cleary was fired, and few details about the justification for the dismissal were released.

CBC News in New Brunswick had a story yesterday about a national award Dr. Cleary just received, and an update on the story. Here are some excerpts:

Dr. Eilish Cleary says firing devastated her and her family - CBC News online article


Published on Monday, July 18th, 2016, on-line

<snip> Cleary was studying the potential public health impact of the controversial herbicide glyphosate when she was put on leave in November 2015.

Months after her firing, she's being recognized for "her outstanding contribution to public health and preventive medicine" by the Public Health Physicians of Canada.

<snip> Cleary said there's not a good enough understanding of chemicals, such as glyphosate, in public health. "Glyphosate is one of the pesticides that is used extensively and I think the more we know about it the better," said Cleary.

She added that all the studies she worked on during her time with the province were collaborative within the department.

Cleary acknowledged that the work she did during her time as chief medical officer of health sometimes made her unpopular. "When a person who is looking long term and the health of the people in the long term ... it may be perceived as going against the grain," said Cleary.


From the several-part series on the Irving family business in New Brunswick, from the National Observer:

Whole series so far:


This particular article:

Playing Hardball JD Irving Way - The National Observer article by Bruce Livesey



At the time of her dismissal Cleary was working on a study on the health impacts of glyphosates, one of the most popular herbicides used in the forestry industry – including by J.D. Irving, which controls the largest forestry company in New Brunswick. Commonly known as Round Up, glyphosates are sprayed on forests to kill hardwood trees, making it easier to grow softwood trees, which many forest companies covet.

Yet glyphosates have been labeled by the research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO) as a probable carcinogen and have been linked to the decline in New Brunswick’s deer population. Some wondered if her study would provide ammunition for critics of the herbicide. After all, in 2012, Cleary had penned a report on the “social and community health risks” of shale gas development in the province – a study embraced by opponents of fracking.

The Irvings, on the other hand, support shale gas development. Moreover, when her shale gas report was completed, the then-Tory government initially considered burying it.


This past February, (MLA and NB Green Party Leader) David Coon stood up in the New Brunswick legislature and asked a question of the minister of natural resources. Coon is pretty much the only politician in the province willing to challenge the Irvings and their clout.


The rest of the article is on the link, above.

And here is an update about the company that has profited from glyphosate:


Monsanto and DuPont Announce New Weed Killer for GMO Crops - EcoWatch article by Lorraine Chow

Published on Firday, July 8th , 2016, on-line at EcoWatch

One of the biggest concerns about the cultivation of genetically modified crops is the rise of superweeds caused by the overuse of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's best-selling Roundup and other pesticides.

So, in an effort to beat back these herbicide-defying weeds, Monsanto and DuPont have agreed to sell an even stronger weed killer to go with their genetically modified seeds.


According to Dr. Nathan Donley, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, Monsanto's own analysis has indicated that dicamba use on cotton and soy will rise from less than 1 million pounds to more than 25 million pounds used per year. This will only create superweeds that are resistant both to glyphosate and dicamba, Donley told EcoWatch.

"The indiscriminate use of glyphosate created these resistant superweeds in the first place and now these companies want farmers to indiscriminately use dicamba. You don't have to be a genius to know how this will end," Donley said. "We've been told for so long that genetically engineered crops were going to reduce pesticide use, but it's a complete farce. Now two pesticides are being used where one used to suffice. Five years from now it will be three and so on and so forth."

Donley said that dicamba-resistant weeds have already been found in Kansas and Nebraska, adding, "The problem has already been identified and this is not the solution." <snip>

And a final food-for-thought, or thought-for-food, from a woman who has seen who Roundup-Ready crops have affected her home country of India:

"Organic farming is a 100-percent solution to the health problem, the poverty problem, the biodiveristy problem, and the water problem." -- Vandana Shiva


OK, that's a lot of opinion for today. Hope the imbedded links work, or they will work at the original article links.

July 18, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

It is back to Josh Underhay's petition on improving bike access in Charlottetown and surrounding areas. CBC News asked chief provincial engineer Stephen Yeo about adding bike lanes in a story last week.

Full Story:


Excerpt (bold is mine):

The provincial government has no immediate plans to add dedicated bike lanes to either the Hillsborough Bridge in Stratford, P.E.I., or the North River causeway in Cornwall, P.E.I.

Chief Engineer Stephen Yeo said a recent study did show that the Hillsborough Bridge can support an additional lane for pedestrians and cyclists.

"At a cost of three to five million dollars, it's not a project the government is looking at for the near future," said Yeo.


Yeo said the two new roundabouts that will be part of the Cornwall bypass will likely include room for cycling and pedestrian pathways.

Of course, the obvious criticism is that there was $25million (at least) for Mr. Yeo to implement the Plan B Highway and there is a proposed $65million Cornwall Bypass planned, but there is no money for cycling infrastructure. Not sure how this is showing leadership in climate change planning, much less healthy lifestyle and public safety priorities.

An interesting video describing cycling in The States (but very applicable to Canada) compared to Denmark:

screenshot from the Facebook video on the page of "ATTN: media"


It is about one and a half minutes long.


Josh Underhay's petition on Change.org


July 17, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Don Mills, who is listed as both chairman of *and* Chief Executive Officer of the polling company Corporate Research Associates, spoke at a Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce Luncheon last week. It was reported that his main point was that the economics showed the current model of service delivery wasn't working and therefore that rural schools and hospitals needed to close. It sounds like Mayor Clifford figuratively sang a duet with him about how people just want to live in urban areas.

Here are Mills' "Seven Solutions to Fix a Stagnant Economy":

Seven solutions to fix a stagnant economy (bolding is mine)

- Retain youth

- Education

- Build entrepreneurial environment

- Increase the population

- Rebalance the workforce

- Create urban central economic zones

- Develop regulatory environment to allow natural resource development


There have been several indignant but perfectly reasonable letters in response. One woman wrote that it was when local schools were closed, that's when rural P.E.I. got its most fatal hit. David Weale wrote a letter published on Thursday, July 14th, which hasn't been digitalized like most letters and opinion pieces are (at least that I could find). David sent the text to be shared here:

Mr. Don Mills, where are your manners? - by David Weale

Mr. Don Mills, where are your manners? What towering, bloody effrontery, to mince into town with your one-dimensional, economic model of how a human society should operate and inform Islanders its time to shut down rural PEI. Who is this patronizing interloper speaking for anyway? And what does he know of what Islanders desire for themselves and their children?

All I can say, Mr. Mills, is take your simplistic opinions, slide them back in your corporate briefcase, and hit the road. In our ongoing attempt to build a society where town and country complement one another you are not helpful, except insofar as you strengthen the determination of those of us wishing to build a culture here that is based on what we want, and not on what suits the corporate, macro-economic agenda. And please don’t think this is personal. I would say the same to any person, whether visitor or native, who is prepared to write the epitaph for a rural culture that is already showing sign of renewal and hopefulness. Rural PEI can become again healthy and prosperous if we work together toward creating a new vision, and not succumb to the kind of fatalism you came peddling.

And Mayor Lee, shame on you for backing him up; for saying, in effect, that the children of farmers and fishers all wish to move to the city, and that too much money is spent on rural development when everyone actually wants to be an urbanite.

Some morning, when you have nothing better to do, position yourself on the North River Causeway, or on the Hillsborough Bridge, and watch all the rural people flooding into your City to work, and shop, and buy cars, and dine, and attend your festivals, and visit your doctors and lawyers, and go to college and university and on and on. You receive so much from rural PEI, what a pity you seem to want it all.

Charlottetown is a wonderful little city where I am happy to live, and you have provided sound leadership for many years for which I am grateful, but it doesn’t do much for the morale of the broader Island community when you speak so pessimistically about the countryside. And the next time you cross paths with Mr. Mills would you tell him that if he ever ventures to Souris, or Montague, or O’leary or Tignish he should probably wear sun glasses and a wig. -- David Weale

And the same day, The Guardian printed this letter by Tony Lloyd about the uncertainties of our aquifier; and our fundamental need to protect it:


P.E.I. aquifer man-rated system - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, July 14, 2016

Definition (cobbled from various sources): Aquifer -- a body of saturated rock through which water can easily move; it's porous and permeable.

The North China Plain aquifer, a fossil aquifer, stretches 1,000 kilometres from north of Beijing south towards Shanghai. By irrigation this one aquifer produces half of China's wheat and a third of its corn. As the North China Plain aquifer is drying up, China will have to start desalination on a massive scale.

Desalination by reverse osmosis is power intensive. The costs of building and operating nuclear reactors to generate power is immense and far from carbon neutral. Desalination produces water, which has to be mineralized with trace minerals to make it palatable for human consumption and useful for agriculture. Desalination's waste brine is caustic and must be loaded onto ships and dumped in the deep ocean.

Technically, the P.E.I. aquifer should be classed as a man-rated system; a system which all Islander's lives depend upon; indeed, all marine and terrestrial life. In the network of P.E.I.'s multi-layered aquifer system perhaps a third of the confined aquifers are fossil aquifers while the remaining two thirds communicate with the ocean via submarine groundwater discharge. Perhaps it's just the opposite? Either way, once drilling breaches the confined aquifers, it's the ocean and the land, which bear the negative ecological consequences - and our neighbors, the fishers. Drilling into confined aquifers and destroying the aquifer's geochemical potential is self-serving, not ethical, corrupt and not environmentally equitable; that is, in the scales of justice to the earth, of right and wrong, it is wrong.

Tony Lloyd,

Mount Stewart


Notes: fossil aquifers contain "trapped" ancient water -- so it's not likely to be replenished. Here is a good National Geographic article on fossil water from a few years ago:


and it sadly provides another bit of evidence that Climate Change is behind a lot of global unrest.

July 16, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets open today:

Summerside -- 9AM - 1PM

Charlottetown -- 9AM - 2PM

Stratford -- 9AM - 1PM

Morell -- 9AM - 1PM

Cardigan -- 10AM - 2PM

Murray Harbour -- 9AM - noon

And in Brookfield, a vegetable market is opening today (but I have misplaced the details).

This afternoon:

Weeding and Harvesting at the Farm Centre Legacy Garden, 4PM. "Jordan (MacPhee) will be there to show you how to identify the different weeds (and not accidentally pull out your vegetables) as well as how to properly harvest a variety of different vegetables. These are skills that you will be able to apply to your current and future gardens!"

More details from their e-mail notice


The news (link to CBC Story) reported a day or two ago that former P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz was named to the national board of Ducks Unlimited (DU). Now I know DU does a lot of conservation work, and they want someone who can talk to government people for various reasons; but the first few thoughts about Mr. Ghiz's environmental record during his time as Premier included, of course, building the Plan B highway, and being in charge of the government during several fishkills, which prompted this poster which made social media rounds in 2013:

from 2013, a little social media, still not sure of the source.

July 15, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today, 5PM:

Last day to comment on the Provincial Energy Strategy Draft, which will be finalized by Dunsky Consulting and the final Strategy sent to the Province by the end of July ( some additional information below).

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 16th:

Cooking with Herbs, with master gardener Gail Kern, 11AM, Stratford Farmers' Market, Robert Cotton Park, off Bunbury Road.

Facebook event details

Macphail Woods programs Saturday, July 16th:

Planting Trees and Shrubs, 10AM, Macphail Woods Forestry Project, Orwell, free.

"A slide show and demonstration of proper pruning methods and a discussion of recommended books and tools. Participants will practice pruning on a variety of plants in the nursery, arboretum and woodlands. Please bring along your favourite pruning tools, if you have any. Begins at the Nature Centre at 10am"

Forest Restoration Workshop, 1PM, Macphail Woods Forestry Project, Orwell, free.

"A walk and talk in a wide variety of forest habitats at Macphail Woods. Anyone interested in forest restoration or nature in general is encouraged to attend. The focus will be on bringing back the native Acadian forest, looking at enhancement methods used on the property over the past 25 years and trying to find solutions to problems faced by woodlot owners. Meet at the Nature Centre at 1pm."

The Macphail Woods calendar has a different date for this workshop (Friday), Gary Schneider on the radio indicated the workshops are both on Saturday.



Better late than never:

Here are a few notes from the Provincial Energy Strategy public meeting (on June 29th), which covered the on the second draft.

The consultants' representative, Julie-Ann Vincent, went over changes to the Recommended Action Items from the original draft, section by section. This full second draft document and the revised Recommended Action Items can be found on this page:


The action items are a quick read and the changes are in a different colour to see what's been improved. Better understanding of solar, more encouragement of conservation and of energy storage, etc.

The consultants most certainly listened to feedback from Islanders on the first draft. They are taking additional public comment into consideration and will produce the final document for the province by the end of this month.

(Then they are set to work on the provincial Climate Change Mitigation Strategy, which will look at all the energy-causes of green house gas emissions.)

Comments are found on this page:


Some comments from the meeting on June 29th:

Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Third Party, mentioned that there needs to be integration of this strategy in all sectors of government, and all government decisions made in light of climate change. The just-announced Cornwall bypass project was just announced.

Harry Smith, of Desable, extremely knowable about solar energy and transportation issues, reminded the room that, as many of the attendees would not be around in 2050, we should make sure we focus on goals which we will see achieved in the next decade or two.

There were comments about doing this strategy before the Climate Change one.

And then there were many concerns about this not ending up on the shelf -- something we will have to make sure Energy Minister Paula Biggar knows. It's the implementation that will be key.

Islanders have until 5PM today to make any comments about any of it.


or e-mail: <PEIEnergyStrategy@gov.pe.ca>

July 14, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The first Island MP/ECO-PEI federal climate change public consultation was held last night. The Hunter River Community Centre was pretty full, considering it was the second night in a row for a federal public consultation, there was the environmental book launch at Upstreet Brewery, and it was a beautiful evening.

Here are some notes, and all mistakes in accuracy are my own.

About nine people made presentations who had signed up beforehand, and about a dozen people spoke afterward. Like at the provincial energy strategy public consultation, the brainpower in the room was amazing. If the voices of people in that room were as loud as the voices of the special corporate interests apparently are, a fair, smart climate change action plan would be pretty much ready to go. Wayne Easter, in summing up, urged people to "keep the heat on" (kind of funny considering we are talking about global warming) and continue to voice this issue to him and others. The Prime Minister and Premiers are having a First Ministers meeting in October 2016 and will discuss all this. (This is also the deadline that is propelling the timeline for the *provincial* climate change mitigation strategy, which is just starting.)

Provincial Minister of Community, Lands and Environment Robert Mitchell was in the back of the room for a while "doing a good job of hiding for a man of his size" joked moderator Isaac MacDonald. Brad Trivers, MLA for District 18: Rustico-Emerald, was there and commented about the role people can have communicating with provincial elected representatives.

Some snippets from various people:

Megan Harris on behalf of Island Nature Trust said we need to work with nature in all our planning and mitigation efforts. She among others said basically *all* government levels need to have *all* decisions pass a "climate test" -- so no more megaprojects on a place like P.E.I.

Tony Reddin on behalf of Sierra Club urged for strong leadership, and priorities of people before military spending, etc.

Kelly Lockhart said we need to consider "cost versus the price" of something, such as imported food.

I mentioned the importance of locally produced energy and locally produced (and preserved for off-season) food.

Andrew Lush reminded us of the carbon storage that forests provide (so keep them standing) and straightforward ways to price carbon (or really calling it "the cost of continuing to use carbon" utilizing the Green Party's fee and dividend structure.

Anna Keenan has a huge store of knowledge on many of the issues, especially public transportation.

Robert van Waarden, who has photographed and interviewed communities along the proposed Energy East pipeline, reminded the room that we need "justice-based decisions".

There were many more fine comments.

There was an urgency to "stop talking about getting started" and get moving, though there was caution about throwing money willy-nilly at any project. (See the article link yesterday in this newsletter on the challenges of consensus on fighting climate change.)

Not investing any more resources in fossil fuel extraction or transport was roundly agreed upon. Overall, there was no support for the Energy East pipeline from the residents there.

(Meanwhile, on the radio business news this morning, there is an announcement of a memorandum of understanding being about pipeline construction. Public meetings are to be held in many communities along the route. The first one is on August 8th, in Saint John, New Brunswick.)

And as far as I know, Wayne Easter is not hosting a public consultation on anything tonight. Sean Casey and ECO-PEI's climate change consultation is next month, Wednesday, August 10th. However, if you live in Egmont Riding, or Cardigan Riding, you have no local meeting to attend, as both MPs' offices have apparently decided not find time for this.

You could consider writing your MP (Bobby Morrissey or Lawrence MacAulay) (addresses below) and reminding them that two Island MPs have made time for discussing this important issue with their constituents. Perhaps their constituents deserve an evening discussing what Easter called "the biggest issue of his political career".

Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay: <lawrence.macaulay@parl.gc.ca> 1(902) 838-4139

Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey: <robert.morrissey@parl.gc.ca> I(800) 224-0018

July 13, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets today:

Stanley Bridge Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM

Summerside Farmers' Market, 4-7PM.

Tonight are a couple of interesting events:

Book Launch: Time and A Place, 7PM, Upstreet Brewery, Allen Street, Charlottetown. including Irene Novaczek, etc. "Editors and contributors include Edward MacDonald, Joshua MacFadyen, Irene Novaczek, John R. Gillis, Graeme Wynne, David Keenlyside and Helen Kristmanson, Douglas Sobey, Rosemary Curley, Jean-Paul Arsenault, Boyde Beck, Alan MacEachern, Kathleen Stuart, Claire Campbell, and Colin MacIntyre. Books will be for sale at the launch, and everyone is welcome (children, too!)."

Climate Change public consultation with ECO-PEI and MP Wayne Easter, 7PM (meet and greet from 6:30PM), Hunter River Community Centre, off Rte. 2, all welcome.

I'll be one of the people making a brief presentation, on behalf of the Citizens' Alliance; there will be several short presentations and time for comments from anyone there. The information from MP Wayne Easter's office said:

Individuals and organizations with practical, specific ideas and information to contribute to the national strategy are invited to make presentations of up to five minutes.

And admittedly, I don't have any original "practical, specific ideas and information to contribute", but hope to emphasize some of the incredible work out there including some of the ideas in The Leap Manifesto (website here), Iron and Earth (supporting workers' transition to clean energy job "Workers' Climate Plan" -- website here), and the Peoples' Climate Plan http://peoplesclimate.ca/

Certainly, tailoring anything to P.E.I.'s particular needs is mandatory -- for instance, yesterday the news announced that Trius Tours, providing public transportation in Charlottetown, Cornwall and Stratford, was granted federal money based on ridership (always a struggle in smaller areas with limited runs), a change from being based on population. This resulted in a huge decrease and affected plans to continue and increase service.


Here is a fantastic article about everyone finally agreeing to fight climate change, but the "Inconvenient truth" of the areas where there is not consensus on what ways to go about it.


July 12, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Events soon:


Electoral Reform public consultation with Sean Casey and Wayne Easter, 7PM, Holland College, CAST Building, Kent Street, Room 319. There will be a panel including PEI's Anna Keenan and Jeff Collins, and parliamentary secretary Mark Holland.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 13th:

Climate Change Consultation, hosted by ECO-PEI and Malpeque MP Wayne Easter, 7PM (doors open at 6:30PM), Hunter River Community Centre. All welcome.

Friday, July 15th:

Provincial Energy Strategy public consultation deadline comments, 5PM


Saturday, July 16th:

Macphail Woods Workshops:

Pruning Trees and Shrubs, 10AM

Forest Reforestations, 1PM

all welcome and free

more details at: www.macphailwoods.org


A good letter to the editor about the plethora of publications from the Fraser Institute and AIMS organization last week, but as it's not digitally available yet, here are screenshots:

From Harry Smith, published (I think) Friday, July 9th, 2016 in The Guardian:

July 11, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A few reminders for events today and this week:


Charlottetown City Council meeting, 4:30PM, City Hall. Included on the agenda is the third reading of cosmetic pesticide bylaw. It sounds like it should be a formality and it should pass, but the vote was apparently 5-4 for the second reading, so supportive residents and others are encouraged to attend.

Facebook event details

Tuesday, July 12th:

Town Hall on Electoral Reform, 7-9PM, CAST Building at Holland College, Kent Street. Hosted by MPs Sean Casey and Wayne Easter.

Facebook event details.

Wednesday, July 13th:

Climate Change public consultation, 7-9PM, Hunter River Community Centre. Co-hosted by MP Wayne Easter and ECO-PEI.

Facebook event details

A recent political cartoon in the Journal-Pioneer, by Wayne Wright:

And if you need a refresher on the "political sidestep" of "Not necessarily....but ...if necessary" allusion:


This cartoon refers to publishing government employees' salaries, but perhaps could be applied to a lot of areas requiring transparency.

Do you think you could represent P.E.I. as a senator? I suspect many of you would make excellent senators. There is a self-application process, detailed in this CTV article:


and the government website on how to apply:


July 10, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, Queen Street. Food, produce, crafts, music.

Coro Dolce choir concert, 7:30PM, Bonshaw Hall, corner of TCH and Green Road, admission by donation with proceeds to the Hall.

Most of us understand the significance and power of petitions, and here is a very detailed one, related to comments the writer (Island teacher, trumpet player, dad, and former Bonshaw resident Josh Underhay) made at the provincial energy strategy consultation last week, about increased cycling infrastructure in the Charlottetown, Cornwall and Stratford area:

Here is the link to the petition:


And the petition itself:

To the Municipality of Charlottetown, the Municipality of Stratford, the Municipality of Cornwall, and the PEI Department of Transportation:

I write you today to advocate for increased and improved cycling infrastructure in the capital region of PEI, including Charlottetown, Stratford, and Cornwall. There are many benefits to increasing our cycling infrastructure, and though there are associated costs, these are offset by both financial and intangible benefits to Islanders.

It should be pointed out that tremendous work has been done already. The trail in Stratford has done much to connect its trails with the stretch of the Confederation Trail to Murray Harbour. Charlottetown also boasts a spine of the Confederation trail running North/South, a number of smaller trails, as well has painted bike lanes. The Planning Department of the City of Charlottetown has worked to develop a Master Plan, the Eastern Gateway Waterfront Development Plan, and clearly has intended increased cycling infrastructure in the future. The Town of Stratford’s official plan includes a vision for a Waterfront Plaza, interconnected with existing and future trails to other parts of the town. The Town of Cornwall also recognizes the importance of cycling in its official plan. The three municipalities have worked together to develop the Regional Active Transportation Plan in 2012. Credit is due for the vision and hard work that has been done by many on these projects.

Still, there is much room to grow. Although these plans exist, only the bravest cyclists venture between the three towns across the Hillsborough Bridge or the North River Causeway. Children and vulnerable persons may feel daunted at the prospect of braving the streets with only a (sporadic) painted line as protection. The existing infrastructure remains frustratingly disconnected in places, and other areas leave much room for improvement.

It should also be noted that these paths would incur a short-term cost to municipal budgets. It’s understandable to ask why this cost is justified. In terms of our provincial economy, think of Islanders’ hard-earned money that flows out of the province in the form of cars and gasoline. In 2014, the average Island household spent almost $12 000 on transportation (source). Approximately 23 000 cars cross the North River Causeway every day. (Rudimentary math makes that over $200 million per year sent away to Esso, Irving, Ford, Toyota, etc.) If only a fraction of those cars were taken off the road for only half the year, those peoples’ salaries would instead be spent on other local products and services, resulting in more tax revenue and direct economic benefit here on PEI.

In addition, the status quo incurs health care costs for a couple of reasons. PEI has one of the highest obesity rates in Canada. A car-based lifestyle is associated with a higher rate of obesity. Getting people out of their cars and onto their bikes would not only save our healthcare system money, but would improve people's health and well-being; intangible but priceless. At least one study suggests that those who cycle live longer than those who don’t. (source) Another concern, is the danger of cyclists and motorists sharing the same roadway. There are tangible health care and productivity costs due to accidents (source). Even on PEI, every few years there is a death. One could argue that we have a moral responsibility to reduce these risks in order to save lives.

Finally, we have to ask about the climate impact of so much vehicular transportation. Cars have a huge impact. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, one car produces almost 10 000 lbs of CO2 per year (source). If we are serious about our commitment as a province of Canada to the Paris Agreement of 2015, then we must do more to curb our carbon emissions. Prince Edward Island is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels as the decades roll on. The switch to cycling is an obvious solution to a persistent problem, the car-based transportation network that we as North Americans take for granted.

I’d also like to be specific about what I’m advocating for. Painted lines may provide a safety reminder to drivers, and perhaps even a legal protection for cyclists (similar to crosswalks for pedestrians), but statistically, they are not as safe as cycling paths separated from the roadway by a curb or other barrier. More timid riders, parents with young children, and older people would feel more confident venturing on a bike ride if they knew they weren’t on the street in traffic. This is especially important on high-speed stretches, such as the North River Causeway and the Hillsborough Bridge. Separate cycling paths would do much more to increase ridership in a safe way.

I call on the Town of Cornwall to create a separate cycling path to connect the core of Cornwall and the populated area of North River with a separated cycling path to the base of the North River Causeway. I implore you to increase the necessary section of the municipal budget to make this possible in the short term, within the next 1-2 years. A future phase of this infrastructure could extend along other arteries of the Town, such as around the Ferry/York Point Roads, up the Warren Grove Road (possibly to connect to the Confederation Trail directly at Milton), up the Kingston Road, and past Elliot River School to the town limits as far as Clyde River.

I call on the Town of Stratford to bring the Confederation trail right to the base of the Hillsborough Bridge, and to continue connecting populated and commercial areas with existing trail infrastructure, eliminating gaps and designing safe crossings and separate cycling paths when possible. Once the main part of the Town is interconnected and connected to the trail, future trails could extend down past Tea Hill or around Keppoch, and up the Bunbury/Fort Augustus roads as far as town limits.

I call on the Prince Edward Island Department of Transportation to install barriers on one side of the North River Causeway, creating a two-way cycling path, while narrowing the existing four lanes and the emergency shoulder on the other side, connecting a new path in Cornwall with a new path in Charlottetown. I ask the Department to do the same on the Hillsborough Bridge, connecting the Joe Ghiz Memorial Park trailhead in Charlottetown to the Confederation Trail in Stratford.

I call on the City of Charlottetown to design a cycling path that connects the North River Causeway via Maypoint to the Confederation trail, either around Ellen’s Creek and the Hermitage Creek trails across UPEI, or directly along Capital Drive to connect near Canadian Tire. I ask the City to re-designate the walking trail along Murchison Drive, Acadian Drive, and Robertson Road to a shared walking/cycling path, and to connect this trail seamlessly across Park Street to Joe Ghiz Park on the south end, and design a connection through East Royalty and up Route 25 to connect with the Confederation Trail at York on the north end, or as far as city limits on St Peter’s Road. I ask the City to link the spine of the Confederation Trail in town to neighbourhoods such as West Royalty, Sherwood, Brighton, Spring Park, and the downtown 500-lot area; using safe cycling paths that are separated from vehicular traffic. This may require narrowing two-way streets to one-way and installing barriers, or other traffic flow changes.

I call on all parties to swiftly implement the changes recommended in the 2012 Regional Active Transportation Plan by adjusting budgets and making cycling a priority.

I wish to acknowledge and thank all parties for the work they are currently doing. It takes vision and courage to steer the ship of government while managing the taxpayer’s dollar.

I wish merely to express how I want my dollar spent.

Thank you,

Josh Underhay,

Charlottetown, PEI

If the embedded links don't work in the article, they should work at petition website through the link at the top.

Here is the local astronomy guide, because the skies will clear up in a few days:


Planets brighten July’s evening sky - The Guardian column by Glenn K. Roberts

Published on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are all easily visible just as darkness falls this month. Venus and Mercury a challenge.

Jupiter dominates the early evening sky this month, shining brightly (mag. -1.9) high in the western sky until it sets in the late evening. Jupiter is the fourth-brightest object in the sky after the sun, moon and Venus.

Though not as bright as it was when it was at opposition on May 22, Mars (mag. -1.4) is still a beacon in the early evening sky until after midnight. The red planet forms a noticeable triangle with Saturn and the bright star Antares ("Rival of Mars") in the constellation of Scorpius - the scorpion in the southern sky as darkness falls. It will fade by 40 percent to mag. -0.8 this month, as it pulls away from Earth in its orbit around the sun.

Golden-coloured Saturn (mag. 0.1), having just made its closest approach to Earth for 2016 in early June, is still easily visible in the southern part of the sky in near proximity to Mars. The best viewing of Saturn and its magnificent ring system (for which you'll need a decent scope to view) in the early part of the month will come around 11 p.m., when it is at its highest point in the night sky. By the end of July it will sit at its highest point in the night sky around 9 p.m. Saturn is the farthest planet in our solar system visible to the naked eye.

Though very bright (mag. -3.9), Venus poses a bit more of a challenge to find, especially during the early part of July, as it sits very low above the western horizon in the evening twilight. It is not until the middle of the month, once it has risen higher into the evening twilight, that your chances of catching sight of it above the western horizon after sunset improve.

The fifth bright, naked-eye planet to be seen in the sky during July is Mercury. Our solar system's innermost planet passes behind the sun (superior conjunction) on July 6, transitioning from the morning to the evening sky. Not visible again until around mid-month, it is in conjunction with Venus low above the western horizon just after the sun sets on July 16. Binoculars will be needed to spot Mercury (mag. -0.6) to the upper left of Venus. It should get a bit easier to find during the latter part of the month, as it climbs higher into the evening twilight on successive evenings.

July's best meteor shower is the Southern Delta Aquarids (radiant in the constellation Aquarius - the water-bearer). A broad shower (July 12-Aug. 23), the SD Aquarids will peak on the morning of July 30, though there could also be a good shower on the morning of July 29 and, again, on July 31 as well. Aquarius is at its highest around 3 a.m. in the southern part of the sky. Away from city lights under a dark sky, expect to see approximately 10-20 meteors per hour. The waning crescent moon will pose little interference.

July's full moon on the 19th was often referred to as the "Thunder Moon" for the frequent thunderstorms that occur during July. It was sometimes also referred to as the "Hay Moon", as July is usually the month that farmers harvest their first crop of hay.

Until next month, clear skies.

Glenn K. Roberts lives in Stratford, P.E.I., and has been an avid amateur astronomer since he was a small child. His column appears in The Guardian on the first Wednesday of each month. He welcomes comments from readers, and anyone who would like to do so is encouraged to email him at glennkroberts@gmail.com.


Events (ADT):

July 6 - Mercury at superior conjunction (passes behind the sun)

July 11- First quarter moon; 9:52 p.m.

July 13 - Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth); 2:24 a.m.

July 19 - Full ("Thunder" or "Hay") moon; 7:57 p.m.

July 26 - Last quarter moon; 8 p.m.

July 27 - Moon at perigee (closest to Earth); 8:37 a.m.

July 30 - South Delta Aquarid meteor shower peaks; pre-dawn hours

July 9, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets open today:

Summerside -- 9AM - 1PM

Charlottetown -- 9AM - 2PM

Stratford -- 9AM - 1PM

Morell -- 9AM - 1PM

Cardigan -- 10AM - 2PM

Murray Harbour -- 9AM - noon

Sunday, July 10th:

Downtown Charlottetown Market, 11AM-4PM, lower Queen Street


Sunday, July 10th:

Choir Coro Dolce, 7:30PM, Bonshaw Hall. This group is directed by Carl Mathis, and it is an amazing experience to listen to. Admission by donation, with all proceeds going to the Hall co-operative. This year's performances include:

Next week:

Tuesday, July 12th:

Town Hall on Electoral Reform, 7-9PM, CAST Building at Holland College, Kent Street. Hosted by MPs Sean Casey and Wayne Easter.

Facebook event details.

Wednesday, July 13th:

Climate Change public consultation, 7-9PM, Hunter River Community Centre. Co-hosted by MP Wayne Easter and ECO-PEI.

Climate Change (with Malpeque MP) consultation event poster, with my inadvertently cutting Wayne Easter's name off the top. Registering (I think) is if you want to be put on the list for speakers (five minutes or less).

And here is Harry Baglole's tribute to George McRobie, who passed away earlier this week:

A tribute to George McRobie - The Guardian Opinion article by Harry Baglole

Published on July 06, 2016, in The Guardian


Dr. George McRobie died in Charlottetown on Friday, July 2nd. The trajectory of his remarkable life took him from his birthplace of Moscow (1925), through his childhood in northern Scotland, his highly successful career in London and throughout the world, and finally here to Prince Edward Island, his half-time home since 2009. He was a man of great personal warmth and charm, much beloved by his many friends on the Island.

McRobie achieved fame through his close association with the British economist E.F. Schumacher and what could be called the “Small Is Beautiful” movement. They first met while Schumacher was Economic Advisor to the National Coal Board. For Schumacher, international attention came with the publication of Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered, in 1973. This seminal work has been named by the Times Literary Supplement as one of the 100 most influential books published since World War II.

As well as being a fine theorist, Schumacher was also a remarkable man of action, and in McRobie he found a willing and capable colleague. Together they were founders of the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) in 1966, a UK-based NGO specializing in creating small-scale technology for developing countries. In 2005, the ITDG changed its name to Practical Action, and today it claims “every year we help over one million people out of poverty.”

Schumacher and McRobie both served stints as President of the Soil Association, the main British organization promoting the use of organic agriculture. For rather obvious reasons, the book Small Is Beautiful found a ready audience in Prince Edward Island. In 1975, McRobie first visited the Island, where he spoke to the Legislative Assembly at the invitation of Premier Alex Campbell.

With Schumacher’s death in 1977, the mantle of leadership fell on the shoulders of McRobie. In 1981 he published his book Small Is Possible – a “factual account about who is doing what, where, to put into practice the ideas expressed in E.F. Schumacher’s SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL.” McRobie’s purview encompassed the whole world; and in the chapter on Canada, he lauded the Island’s Institute of Man and Resources as one of “the two most striking and imaginative programmes” he had encountered in our country.

In later years, McRobie’s ties to the Island were strengthened when he was invited back on several occasions, at the invitation of the Institute of Island Studies, as an advisor on worker co-operatives and sustainable agriculture. In 1989, he was awarded an Honorary Degree by UPEI.

Dr. McRobie also has a close association with the Sir Andrew Macphail Foundation. This began in 1990 when he was tasked by the Institute of Island Studies to write a report outlining a vision for the Homestead in the demonstration and promotion of sustainable farming and forestry. Since 2011, the Homestead has hosted an annual George McRobie Lecture on the subject of sustainable agriculture – and George attended all five of these. The guest speaker at the inaugural McRobie Lecture was Patrick Holden, founder and head of The Sustainable Food Trust, and a friend of McRobie’s during the years they worked together at the Soil Association.

On a more personal note, George’s residency on the Island in recent years is entirely due to the sustainable devotion of his wife Susanne Manovill, friends since he visited here in the 1980s. In 2009 George was a widower, and Susanne invited him to return for a visit. Since then, Susanne and George have been inseparable.

- Harry Baglole of Bonshaw is a former Director of UPEI's Institute of Island Studies.

July 8, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Here are some more information on the Provincial Energy Strategy process.

Next Friday, July 15th, is the last day comments will be accepted.

Check here for feedback form:


Teresa Wright wrote a good summary for The Guardian last week.


High level of public input on P.E.I. energy strategy - The Guardian article by Teresa Wright

Published on Thursday, June 30th, 2016 (on-line, in print on July 2nd, I think)

The final phase of public consultations on the upcoming P.E.I. energy strategy is underway, and it appears Islanders are interested and engaged in trying to shape this future energy plan for the province.

A public meeting in Charlottetown this week drew more than 60 people of all ages and backgrounds. Virtually every attendee had not only read the 134-page draft report, but had detailed and often technical questions and suggestions to offer Julie-Ann Vincent from the Montreal-based consulting firm Dunsky Energy Consulting, hired by the province to craft the energy strategy. Vincent says her firm has never seen the level of engagement displayed by Islanders over the last several months.

She displayed graphs at the meeting showing huge spikes that represented the level of feedback from of Islanders. “The perspective here and the passion and the interest, we wouldn’t see those numbers in Ontario, and when you look at it on a per capita or population basis, it’s phenomenal,” Vincent said.

The strategy itself is currently in its second draft, after a significant amount of public feedback on the initial draft prompted a number of additions and clarifications. It is a 10-year plan that aims to help the province conserve and become more energy efficient through policy and planning, while also looking at some specific measures to move away from the Island’s heavy reliance on fossil fuel and better integrate renewable energy into the province’s future energy consumption.

Some proposed measures include:

- Establishing a new energy efficiency utility with a mandate to pursue efficiency for all fuels

- Achieving two per cent electricity savings from electric load and non-electric, non-renewable fuels every year by 2020

- Bringing in energy efficiency programs to help Islanders reduce energy use including a low income residential program for Islanders who cannot afford rebate programs

- Develop two new wind farms - a 30 megawatt farm in 2019 and 40 megawatt farm in 2025

- Install additional 40 wood heating systems at provincial and other public facilities

- Purchase electric vehicles for government operations and consider bringing in electric school buses

Vincent says these and the numerous other recommendations that will make up the final strategy will be carefully analyzed in order to ensure they are achievable. “We want this strategy to succeed, we don’t want it to be a document on a shelf, so we are only putting forward recommendations that we want to make sure we can do.”

She pointed to criticism the firm has received at not adopting a target of P.E.I. moving to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050, as recommended by a provincial standing committee. “We haven’t actually done the full analysis on that, which is why we won’t put that as an absolute target,” Vincent explained.

But several of those who attended the public meeting this week said they felt the strategy, in its current form, is too broad. “It’s a nice document, but there’s not much by way of specifics,” said Bruce McCallum. “I think we’re all supposed to feel good, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I don’t see anything earth shaking here that’s going to leap us into the 21st Century.”

Islanders have until July 15 to provide input on the strategy. A copy of the draft strategy is on the P.E.I. Energy Corporation website at peiec.ca.

And published in this morning's The Guardian, Tony Reddin, on behalf of the Environmental Coalition of PEI, writes an open letter to the Premier and government. He was kind enough to share an advance copy with me:

Open Letter to Premier MacLauchlan - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

As stated in Teresa Wright's report last week, the PEI Energy Strategy is accepting comments from the public until July 15th at www.peiec.ca Energy policy is a crucial issue for our province, our country and our world. With that in mind, ECOPEI has sent this letter to Premier MacLauchlan:

We are glad to see that the PEI Provincial Energy Strategy (presently in the public input stage), emphasizes "reducing energy use and incorporating cleaner and locally produced energy sources".

Impending climate change means that our economy has to change drastically and quickly to avoid catastrophe, and moving to that new economy will need your active leadership. For present and future generations we have to take action to prevent climate crises and build an economy that is based on 100% clean and renewable energy. We are concerned with the focus of PEI’s economic policy being on industrial agriculture and its export market.

For the PEI Energy Strategy to work, it must be taken to heart and put into action by not only the many Islanders who have spoken enthusiastically about clean energy, but also the silent majority who haven’t the time or inclination in their busy lives to get directly involved in discussions.

Islanders need to trust that you, your Cabinet Ministers, and all provincial government officials are serious about demonstrating and putting into action the intentions of the PEI Energy Strategy.

Premier MacLauchlan, will you and your Cabinet Ministers lead PEI's Clean Energy Transition away from the potential economic chaos of our dependence on fossil fuels by publicly calling for and supporting Clean Energy Initiatives at every opportunity in government decisions and announcements?

We recommend the following additional actions:

1. State publicly that our PEI government does not and will not support, nor invest in, nor take any part in oil and gas development anywhere, including especially fracking, importing fracked gas, and the 'Energy East' tarsands pipeline,

2. As Premier, use your position to push your provincial and federal counterparts for agreement on designating the precious Gulf of St. Lawrence as permanently protected from oil and gas development,

3. Electricity policy must be taken out of its control by Maritime Electric, which as a for-profit corporation is mandated to focus on profits, not conservation. For example, as Premier you should intervene in the discussion of the Millvale transmission lines, to have proper consideration given to an alternative plan based on intensive local energy conservation.

4. Biomass can only be included as a clean energy choice in projects that are primarily aimed at rebuilding healthy forests and have a sustainable supply, both of which will need to be verified.

5. Community involvement must be promoted extensively, including:

* sufficient resources and person power to properly get the Energy Strategy message out to the public through advertising, information sharing and social media,

* support for communities to cooperatively develop their own clean energy supply, creating employment and local pride which will attract newcomers to all areas of PEI and entice young people to stay in those communities.

We look forward to your public commitments and leadership for Clean Energy solutions on PEI.

Thank you for a prompt reply,

Tony Reddin,

ECO-P.E.I. Energy Project Coordinator

July 7, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Elections PEI has lots of material gathered regarding the Fall 2016 plebiscite (October 29th to November 7th) on electoral reform and created a completely new website, "Your Choice PEI/Is it Time for Change?" with quite the energetic tone. I can't find a link from the Elections PEI website to the "Your Choice" one, though, yet.

Home page: http://www.yourchoicepei.ca/#!home/mainPage

There are two members, both university-aged students, who will be working as the "public education team" to do outreach at various public events this summer.

Screenshot from "YourChoicePEI" Elections PEI page

And there are some outreach events this week:

Today, Thursday, July 7th:

Confederation Court Mall, 11AM to 1PM

Friday, July 8th:

Main Street Mall, Souris, 12noon-3PM

Saturday, July 9th:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM


More events for next week:


If you are on Facebook, there is a page:


and if you click the "Like" box, and then drop-down the choices box, you can select "Notifications>>All On" and will get notice of events and such on your newsfeed.

Yesterday's Graphic publications has two excellent opinion pieces related to the government we have chosen with the political system we have:

Publisher Paul MacNeill points out very loudly and clearly the expectations of the MacLauchlan leadership and the disappointing actions thus far:


Premier won’t budge on real issues impacting attitude - The Eastern Graphic "Against the Tide" column by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016, in The Graphics publications

Islanders, we are told, need an attitude adjustment. And on the basic point, politicians, various reports and ordinary Islanders are right.

Too often we exhibit a sense of entitlement. We wait for others, most notably, government to ‘solve’ our problems. We expect government to take the lead rather than finding solutions ourselves. We underestimate both our abilities and our successes.

Our ‘attitude issue’ is not because we are lazy or lack skills. It is because for the past 50 years federal and provincial governments have baited us with programs like employment insurance and social assistance that too often are misused for political reasons. Both Tory and Liberal governments use these programs to extend control over citizens. We’ve never really tried to get rid of seasonal work because it is not in the best interest of governments that provide EI weeks or job funding.

Setting the politics aside for a minute, there are emerging efforts to change the narrative. On the private sector side both Chef Michael Smith and Darrin Mitchell of Trout River Industries are front and centre. One brags about the bounty of natural resources that make PEI a global culinary destination, the other about our ability to nimbly compete in the global marketplace.

They are unabashed supporters of Prince Edward Island.

So too is the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce, which has launched Island Advance, an initiative aimed at promoting an entrepreneurial spirit, something too often ignored by citizens and lost in a bureaucratic education system. As part of the project the chamber has created high quality short videos promoting Island-wide success stories. They reinforce the notion we can achieve success.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan has made changing Island perceptions a key policy. It’s long overdue. The initiative entails boosterism speeches promoting Island successes and urging the bureaucracy to ignore media reports that focus on specific events or actions – in other words the role of media. The former, at least, is an important message to hear from an Island leader.

But like all other premiers before him, it is a hollow message. Despite modest improvements in specific areas such as government transparency, the premier follows the same script as all before him: Protect a bureaucracy that is too large and unwieldy and reward Liberal Party loyalty above action and qualifications.

When the premier rejects the recommendation of a Coroner’s Inquiry to create an independent office of Child Advocate, and the response of government is to create a bureaucratic hub, made up of the same bureaucracy that failed Nash Campbell, that is attitude. But the wrong kind.

When the premier hands perk-laden patronage appointments to the PEI Liquor Commission, with the primary skill being ties to the Liberal Party rather than qualifications, that is attitude. But the wrong kind.

When the premier ignores common sense and appoints a friend of the Liberal Party and former Island farmer, once fined $72,000 for infractions resulting from a massive fish kill, to the board of Health PEI, that is attitude. But the wrong kind.

When the Minister of Health Robert Henderson, whose cabinet career is marked with flip comments, gum chewing and undone ties, acts as a dismissive parrot for his political masters, that is attitude. But the wrong kind.

When the premier, despite the expectations of Islanders, offers only a shuffling of chairs in the bureaucracy rather than a wholesale reimagination, that is attitude. But the wrong kind.

When the government slips preferred ballot into the electoral reform process, knowing full well it benefits the Liberal Party above all others, that is attitude. But the wrong kind.

Prince Edward Island does need an attitude adjustment. We are world leaders. We can compete globally. Our natural resources are among the best in the world. We need to celebrate our successes. And we need to change how government interacts with the most vulnerable in society because that is a significant contributor to our malaise.

But we also need the provincial government to offer more than hollow words. We need real action and that starts with showing Islanders the Liberal Party is not more important than the rest of us.

Wade MacLauchlan has taken many positive actions during his still short tenure as premier. But as of yet has failed to control the single greatest contributor toward an improved Island attitude: placing Island taxpayers ahead of the interests of the Liberal Party of PEI.

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

and from commentator Walter Wilkins:


PEI’s Schultzian scandal - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, July 6th

Readers of The Eastern Graphic, anyone remember Sergeant Schultz of Hogan’s Heroes fame? “I see nothing, absolutely nothing!” Hey, it was fiction; funny at the time, right? However, maybe “seeing nothing” isn’t so funny in real life.

Despite pre and post election promises to allow the public to see the PEI e-Gaming scandal, it’s still in its dark place, alive and well. Nationally, The Globe and Mail has covered the issue. Just Google Doolittle and Taber: Small Island, Big Bet.

But here it seems unless some nut asks a question, our mainstream media largely ignores it. And Premier MacLauchlan? He seems to be pulling a Sergeant Schultz, saying nothing other than he can’t talk about it because, well ... it is being studied. Isn’t that like saying because there’s ongoing research about cancer we can’t talk about it?

Anyway, tick-tick-tick, cricket-cricket-cricket. The more time that can be manufactured between the scandal and any real effort to render it transparent, the more important information is lost; memories of handshakes and meetings wilfully fade. And what about those who work hard to delay and invest heavily in obfuscation? Well, in the absence of transparency they reap the rewards of their investment: reassignments, new jobs, patronage and pensions.

But, that’s nothing. The ultimate trick is where the political alchemists successfully transform a scandal into an urban-myth. Once that’s accomplished, any Islander asking questions about the e-Gaming scandal is branded a tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theorist. Magic.

Which raises the more important question: Why should Islanders as a whole care about the e-Gaming scandal? After all, a few corrupt or incompetent public servants? No surprise there. While most of our politicians are hard working and trustworthy, there will always be a few who put their own interests above the people they are paid to represent.

What is a surprise is not so much “them” - it’s us. When those who are paid to guard our rights say to us they, “see nothing, absolutely nothing” we just seem to nod. Could it be that what allowed the e-Gaming scandal to happen in the first place is the same thing that feeds it and keeps it alive in a dark place now?

Let’s ask ourselves: If we had transparent governance and the e-Gaming meetings were transparent while they were occurring, would the meetings even have occurred? Sadly, we’ll never know because, well, it’s Islanders who “see nothing, absolutely nothing!” And it’s not entirely our fault, or is it?

Walter Wilkins,


July 6, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Wednesday is a busy Market day:

Stanley Bridge Farmers' Market, 9AM-1PM

Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM

Summerside Farmers' Market, 4-7PM.


Also today:

Earth Action is suggesting a straightforward way to send a message to Health Minister Robbie Henderson about the recent HealthPEI board appointments of Mr. Blaine MacPherson and Mr. Warren Ellis.

From Earth Action (written yesterday):


July 5th, 2016

After delivering a petition with over 1,400 names to PEI Minister of Health Robert Henderson to kick two of his new appointees off the board of Health PEI, he dismissed it, saying ”people will sign anything”, and his decisions will not be influenced by petitions and public opinion.

Today and tomorrow is Phone-In Day to the minister to let him know Islanders really do want Warren Ellis, PEI’s most notorious convicted pesticide violator, and Blaine MacPherson, ex-vice-president of Cavendish Farms, removed from the board of Health PEI.

The minister needs to hear from you directly. Please take a minute to call him. You can call after hours.

Call: 902-368-5250 and leave a message if you reach voicemail.

Here’s what you could say:

"Hi, My name is __________ , and I’m calling to leave a message about the minister’s recent appointment of Warren Ellis and Blaine MacPherson to the board of Health PEI. Warren Ellis is a convicted pesticide violator and both men are closely tied to the pesticide and industrial agriculture industries. I don’t have confidence in Health PEI policy decisions with these men on the board. Please remove them. Thank you."

Your message will carry more weight if you leave your name, but if you feel you cannot, call anyway.

To be even more effective, share this post on your page and send it directly to friends via Facebook message.

Read the petition here.


Here is a link to a long story, but an insightful read, including the part about marketing. Thanks to Joyce Kelly for sharing it.


The Last Roundup: How the world's best-selling pesticide is heading for a fall

by Warren Bell, M.D., published on-line on Monday, July 4th, 2016

Here are two excerpts:

Roundup, the herbicide whose active ingredient is glyphosate – currently the most widely sold pesticide in the world – has just been put on life support.

The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, after months of struggling to decide whether it will keep it, or throw it out from the entire land mass of Europe, has finally decided to give it a year and a half of last-ditch existence, before a potentially final removal from the food we eat. The current brouhaha has hinged on whether the regulators would go with independent scientific evidence of hazards, or go with political and economic expediency which says there cannot be any such hazards, because Monsanto says so.


This association between pesticides and GMOs is part of a strategic plan by the GMO industry, developed early in its roll-out of genetically engineered food crops, to use the first wave of genetically-engineered plants to directly serve the bottom line of their manufacturers.

Other needs, industry decided – like enhanced nutritional value, or salt or drought resistance – could be addressed later. <snip>

The author also reminds us of the links in industry and public institutions, including former Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas, now a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, appointed as director of UNICEF and now on the Nestle board of directors.


More on food! Or, trust in food, and ways of selling the message of trust in food.

Next week:

Wednesday, July 13th:

Presentation: "Public trust in the Canadian food system, and how these insights may apply to your own communication efforts", sponsored by the Food Island Partnership, 9-10:30AM, PEI Potato Board Office, 90 Hillstrom Ave. (West Royalty Industrial Park), Charlottetown.

RSVP: greg@foodislandpei.ca

Hear about the key findings from an important new piece of consumer research on Canadians’ attitudes and perceptions about food and farming, their key concerns, who they believe and trust, and where they get the information to base their points of view on. These 2016 findings are from 2,500 Canadians who shared their perspectives on the credibility of farmers/producers, agriculture associations, advocacy groups, scientists/academics, governments, food processors, retailers, and restaurant

This research was commissioned by the new Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, which uniquely has members spanning the full food value chain and seeks to help earn more trust by Canadians in our food system. It has been launched by Farm & Food Care Canada, as an affiliate of the very successful US Center for Food Integrity (founded in 2007).

Presenter: David Smith, The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity / Farm & Food Care Canada, formerly management positions with Sobeys, Whole Foods Market (US), and McDonald’s.

More about the Food Island Partnership here and on their homepage:


Sadly, word has come of the death this weekend of George McRobie, a pioneer of small, sustainable agriculture/economic systems, a kind man, and for whom the annual lecture in October at Macphail Homestead are named. I'll reprint Harry Baglole's touching tribute to him (which is in today's Guardian). Mr. McRobie really saw how people can have trust in the food they eat, and how that reflects how they choose to live.

July 5, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A week from today is the first of two back-to-back Liberal MPs town halls.

Tuesday, July 12th:

Town Hall on Electoral Reform with Sean Casey and Wayne Easter, 7-9PM, Holland College, CAST building (off Kent Street), all welcome. Panelists include: Mark Holland (parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions), Jeff Collins (sessional professor, University of Prince Edward Island) and (the quite wonderful) Anna Keenan (community organizer). Sounds like a knowledgeable panel.

Facebook event details.

Islanders are "ahead of the curve" on electoral reform, as we look toward the voting system plebiscite in November of this year, so this panel and discussion should be very interesting.


In case you want to spend some summer days poking around about electoral reform, here are some websites focusing on the provincial aspects:

The Special Legislative Committee on Democratic Renewal has resources on their website:


ElectionsPEI will be putting more materials about the plebiscite on their website in the next couple of weeks (will link then).

Here is a 13 minute video on electoral reform, explaining proportional representation, from the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation:


Here is the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation's website:


And more from the PR Action Team:



Wednesday, July 13th:

Town Hall on Climate Change with Wayne Easter, 7PM, Hunter River Community Centre, off Rte. 2, all welcome.


This letter to the editor, printed in yesterday's Guardian, is from F. Ben Rodgers, who often points out what's going on it a wry way. Funnily enough, The Guardian chose to illustrate the on-line letter with a picture of Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey.


Petition against P.E.I. Health Board appointments fails to move minister - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, July 4th, 2016

After reading the article in the Wednesday, June 29 edition of The Guardian, it has become clear to me why I could never be a Liberal politician. When Robert Henderson received the petition with more than 1,400 signatures and was questioned on the appointments of Ellis and MacPherson, this is what he answered.

"I'm not going to make decisions as minister of health based on petitions.” However, the appointments (patronage) were made long before he received the petition. He also claims he understands Islanders’ concerns, but points out how very seriously he considers who are appointed to the health board.

Really minister. You see folks, this is why I could never be a Liberal politician/minister. I couldn't possible keep a straight face and look people in the eye and say what Mr. Henderson just said. Is this how the MacLauchlan government is doing business differently?

Remember Ghiz and Plan B? Well now we have a Plan C. Definitely time for electoral reform on P.E.I.

F. Ben Rodgers,


July 4, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

It was a lovely Canada Day holiday weekend, and as today is The Fourth of July in the States (the day celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence), here are some article and notices about things in the U.S. that may be of interest:

From several weeks ago: the Masachuesetts Supreme Court voted in favour of four teens (and others) who sued the state, to tell the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to get moving on climate change regulations. "The court found that the DEP was not complying with its legal obligation to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions and ordered the agency to 'promulgate regulations that address multiple sources or categories of sources of greenhouse gas emissions, impose a limit on emissions that may be released...and set limits that decline on an annual basis'."

There has been a similar youth-led lawsuits in Washington State and against the U.S. federal government.



If you are also eligible to vote in the United States, and you feel the U.S. should not sign on to the Trans Pacific Partnership, you can sign this petition urging the U.S. National Democratic Party Platform to include a "reject the TPP" clause. The deadline is Wednesday, I think. It's interesting to look at the concerns about the TPP that people in other countries have. More info here:

Democracy for America petition re: Democratic Platform and the TPP


This article looks takes a long, hard look at the support for presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. It is from April 2016, in STIR, a weekly on-line journal "committed to exploring the gray areas of controversy."


It is *very* long and many of the quotes include profanity; it is an interesting analysis of the popularity of Donald Trump and historical roots of social distrust in America. The comments after the story are extensive and not too civil.

July 3, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Downtown Farmers' Market it open today along lower Queen Street in Charlottetown from 11AM to 4PM.

Next Sunday, July 10th: Choir Coro Dolce, 7:30PM, Bonshaw Hall, right off the highway in Bonshaw, at 7:30PM. Admission by donation, with all proceeds going to the Hall co-operative. The Bonshaw Hall is where Coro Dolce practices each week.


July 1st was the day that parking fees for the public were lifted at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The Opposition, most notably Health Critic James Aylward (District 6: Stratford-Kinlock), had been pushing for this for quite a while, and so had Liberal Bush Dumville (District 15: West Royalty-Springvale) (as much as any Government backbencher would dare bring up a concern criticizing its Government in the past several years). But despite the pleas, Government had dug in its heels, then-Health Minister Doug Currie defending the policy and the bit of money it brought in. When one compares the millions of dollars proposed this week to spend on certain new roads, with the premier saying we have "capacity built into the budget" for this year's part of the proposed projects, this parking money is really small potatoes -- but would make things easier for so many people.

It was a rapid announcement made towards the beginning of this Spring Sitting, and it seemed from the reaction that even Mr. Dumville had not been told ahead of time. It also sounds like booth attendants (instead of being let go as earlier indicated) will be helping in the parking and building area. Health PEI has had ads in recent papers happily announcing the termination of fees, but also mentioning that this might make parking more of a challenge do to increased crowding conditions. Hmm.

Congratulations to James Aylward, and to Bush Dumville, for their tenacity in urging government to find a solution for this.


One time, a couple of years ago, a QEH toll booth attendant handed me my change, and looking at the "Stop Plan B" bumper sticker, said, "Now, why did you mess up a pretty little car with an ugly bumper sticker like that?" to which I thought for a second and said, "Because we were trying to get them not to mess us a pretty little part of P.E.I. with a ugly road like that." This spring, the same guy asks me the same question! I told him the bumper sticker glue was pretty tough, and it's still an ugly, expensive road. ;-)

This isn't my car, but you still see some bumper stickers out there:

Taken in July 2013, car on Richmond Street in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

July 2, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Saturday is a big Farmers' Market day, with markets open in:

Summerside -- 9AM - 1PM

Charlottetown -- 9AM - 2PM

Stratford -- 9AM - 1PM

Morell -- 9AM - 1PM

Cardigan -- 10AM - 2PM

Murray Harbour -- 9AM - noon

And tomorrow the Downtown Charlottetown Market opens on Queen Street from 11AM - 4PM


This information is in the "2016 Fresh Products Directory", from PEI Flavours. The government included the map in the July Buzz newspaper. It's a little different from last year, splitting the island so the eastern half is on the other side.

One side of map

Other side of "Fresh Products Directory 2016"


I looked at my map twice and it's already tearing at the creases, so it won't be too durable; but it's good to see some food producers listed and their locations. (I am not sure of the fees to be in the directory.)

It's able to be downloaded on this page:


scrolling down a bit for the link to the PDF. It's not the most intuitive of websites, but there are beautiful photographs.

An update on the recent Health PEI Board appointments, from the article in The Guardian on Tuesday, June 28th:

Sharon Labchuk in today's Guardian after a meeting with Health Minister Robbie Henderson, where he dismissed the petition with 1,400 names calling for recent appointments to be rescinded:

“There will be more from not only us, but from other people in the province who are dismayed that the minister would either make a serious error in judgment or deliberately try to stack his board.”


Hope you all had a great Canada Day. Bonshaw had a small social in the afternoon, with games and cake and ice cream; our MLA (Peter Bevan-Baker) started what we hope will be a new tradition of playing "O Canada" on the trumpet while we sang ("with enthusiasm and great intonation" he remarked afterward). The Island band Paper Lions filmed a sweet video of our national anthem with the proposed lyric change the video is embedded in this CBC on-line article (it may take a little while to load, but be patient, and watch for the little child to go find her dad):

CBC on-line article on "O Canada" lyrics

July 1, 2016

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

There are lots of topics that could be discussed on Canada Day, but this essay July 1st essay from politician Olivia Chow in the 2014 Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, edited by Todd E. MacLean, says so much.

Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. --Jack Layton (1950-2011)

Those words from Jack Layton’s last message to Canadians inspired people across the country. Itwas a message of hope – and, more important, it was a call to action. Hope itself – blind hope, is not enough. We can’t just hope that somebody else will take care of our problems. Hope is not a strategy. We must work to make hope a reality. That is the major reason I was drawn to a career in politics – to help bring people together and work for change.

We know that we must change direction – in Canada and in our world – because right now, we are on a collision course with disaster. The signs are clear – from the unprecedented flooding that devastated Calgary in 2013, to the horrendous typhoon that ravaged the Philippines. But we can change course. We can take action. We can give the next generation reason to hope.

There are so many things we could achieve – a national public transit strategy would be a good start. That’s something I have been promoting for years, because public transit is a cornerstone of both social equality and sustainability. Civic leaders and municipalities and business groups are all singing the same tune now; only the federal Conservative government remains deaf on this issue.

Ultimately, the government will change course – or people will get together and work and vote to change the government. It will happen.Will something as basic as public transit in Canada change the world? Nothing will, in isolation. But changing course will – and bringing people together with a common mission. People will join the chorus if they see reason to hope. When enough voices join the chorus, no government can turn a deaf ear.

You can’t do it solo.

By joining your voice with others, the voice becomes strong. The music soars. Eventually, everyone will hear. The lone voice may be lost. The global chorus will be heard. -- Olivia Chow, former NDP Member of Parliament and former Toronto City Councillor