June 2018

June 29, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival continues tonight with David Myles and Rachel Beck at St. Paul's Church, and Nathan Wiley later in the evening at another venue. Details: http://www.jazzandblues.ca/

Saturday, June 30th:

Yard Sale with proceeds for CLIA (Community Legal Information Association), 8AM-5PM, 6 Nottingham Avenue, off Ash Drive off Mt. Edward Drive). Held by super-volunteer Pat Robinson.

Earthship Open House, 12-5PM, St. Ann's. "The Earthship is located at the end of Hope Valley Drive – which is not on Google Maps. The entrance is off St. Patricks Road, near St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church, 104 St. Patricks Rd." Jayden Charlton is opening his two-year labour of love to the public for a look at what a low energy/recycled materials house looks like. Good article about the house, here: http://www.journalpioneer.com/news/local/earthship-home-built-using-600-tires-completed-in-hope-river-222320/


Tomorrow's and Sunday's newsletter will include samples of some Canada Day activities happening this holiday weekend.


Some voices on health care issues from late this winter to now, round-up reading for a rainy morning: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/letter-chipping-away-at-public-health-210607

LETTER: Chipping away at public health - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on May 16th, 2018

I commend Mona O’Shea, president of PEINU, and Karen Jackson, president of UPSE, for bringing to the attention of Islanders, the issue of privatizing health care on P.E.I. (Guardian May 14.) Every Islander should be writing, calling, using whatever means possible, to let their MLA know that private health care is not the way our public health care system should be going.

Background story: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/privatizing-home-care-on-pei-concern-for-union-186632/

The government has given $450,00 to Medavie, without any public discussion or public tender, to have EMTs perform a job that is being done by qualified nurses. Canadians refer to our universal health care as the most important aspect of being Canadian. The MacLauchlan government should not be chipping away at such an important service.

Leah-Jane Hayward, President, NDP P.E.I.


An earlier op-ed: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/opinion-raising-ethical-questions-188079/

OPINION: Raising ethical questions - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Mary Boyd and Mona O'Shea

Privatization of home care through paramedics not the answer for the Island

We question the recent move by the P.E.I. government to pay public money to a private company, Medavie/Island EMS. This is a private company that employs paramedics. The government recently announced three new initiatives which will see Health P.E.I. partnering with Island EMS. Approximately $450,000 of the $750,000 in new federal homecare money will go outside the public system.

This is anything but innovative. We ask, why is our own provincial government not investing this $750,000 back into our publicly-funded healthcare system through existing homecare services, and we question how the federal government could approve this program?

The move to allow privately employed paramedics a larger role in homecare service delivery raises ethical questions about the quality and continuity of services. It has the potential for fragmentation of care and duplication of services, not to mention what it is actually going to cost the tax payer?

One of the new initiatives announced is “Rapid Bridging-Hospital and Emergency Department Patients.” Will the patient be charged for the ambulance transfer back to home? Who is paying for this transport? We do not agree with Minister Robert Mitchell’s view that this move will enhance the current homecare system. The minister of health could have enhanced what is already working well, rather than bringing in a third party through privatization.

Using paramedics to provide homecare services between ambulance calls does not work because it places paramedics in a conflict situation. If paramedics are engaged in a task, they are not to be informed about other calls until they are finished. For safety reasons paramedics helping in a home cannot be told about an accident out on the highway or other emergency no matter how grave, until the task at hand is finished, as each task requires their full attention.

While we are very grateful for the work paramedics perform and are trained and skilled to do within their scope, public homecare services are no place for private sector employees working for a profit based company.

What we need and what we asked for is a New Health Accord with a 5.2 percent escalator in transfers to the provinces. Instead, we are now facing cutbacks of $4-5 million in federal health transfers in year one, which will escalate to $156 million in 10n years’ time. We still require more beds in public long-term care facilities, increased resources within our publicly funded homecare programs, and a national pharmacare program, to mention a few health care necessities. Failing to provide these improvements waters down the quality of health services being delivered to Islanders and all Canadians.

is unacceptable that our own provincial government is turning to privatization to resolve funding challenges. Privatization endangers our public system of healthcare, violates the Canada Health Act, introduces inferior services and increases the overall cost of health care delivery. Roy Romanow, former Saskatchewan premier and author of the Romanow Report, reminded us that Medicare belongs to the people. It should not, therefore, be a profit maker for private companies. Privatization is not the answer.

Mary Boyd and Mona O’Shea, are members of the P.E.I. Health Coalition


Recent Emergency Room closures were announced for the Kings County Memorial Hospital, with a public meeting hosted by local MLA Steven Myers taking place July 5th for community discussion. Regional columnist Russell Wangersky reacts to the recent announcement of hospital closures in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/russell-wangersky-sometimes-keeping-health-care-healthy-is-going-to-hurt-222399/

Russell Wangersky: Sometimes keeping health care healthy is going to hurt - The Guardian article by Russell Wangersky

Published on Thursday, June 28th, 2018

Mess with health care — especially if you’re closing hospitals — and you’re bound to get a reaction. That’s exactly what Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil got on Monday when he announced that two Cape Breton hospitals were closing, and that two other hospitals would be enlarged to take over care for the closed units.

The changes included closing Northside General Hospital in North Sydney, a hospital that opening in 1954, and New Waterford Consolidated Hospital, which opened in 1964. The plan is to replace the hospitals with collaborative health centres, but both areas will lose their emergency rooms. In some ways, that’s not surprising: the two hospital already suffered from doctor and other staffing shortages that led to the two emergency rooms being among the top three most-frequently closed emergency rooms in that province.

It would be easy to ride the public outrage wave, and simply say that the closures were unfair and demand that the government ought to overturn them.

But the truth is that, across all four Atlantic provinces, health care is the single most expensive item in any provincial budget. In fact, health care is far and away the most expensive service that provincial governments have to fund. And the costs are rising every single year.

If we don’t give our provincial governments the leeway to make changes — something that seems especially the casein the Cape Breton, where the hospitals being closed are relatively small operations in dated builds, and in areas like rural Newfoundland as well — we’re not going to be able to afford care.

Emergency rooms are among the most expensive services to provide —- they are fully staffed with specialized staff 24 hours a day, and that staffing is required even if there aren’t patients to care for, and even if, in the case of areas with shortages of family doctors, highly trained emergency medicine specialists are dealing with a long lineup of minor ailments, from colds and flus to ear infections in children. Emergency rooms certainly have to be close enough to help patients who need urgent care, but they also have to have enough patients to make their substantial expense worthwhile.

We have to be more strategic about how we spend health-care dollars: some health-care systems, for example, are setting up systems to ensure their diagnostic imaging services are used to the fullest, ensuring that patients are contacted in the days leading up to their appointments, and if appointments are cancelled, filling those spots with people from a readily available wait list instead of simpler letting equipment and trained staff sit idle.

It’s worth thinking as well that, when hospitals like Northside and New Waterford were opened, the entire medical-care system was different: patients who needed emergency care were simply taken as quickly as possible to medical care. Ambulances weren’t crewed with primary-care paramedics, let alone advanced-care paramedics, whose job it is, often, to stabilize patients before they even begin their trip to an emergency room.

All sorts of things have changed in medical care, from the size of equipment to the specialization of treatment to the scheduling of procedures that are better done at larger, more centralized hospitals.

If every single change or closure is going to be a battle to the death, it’s easy to understand why provincial governments would be leery of doing anything. The problem is that, for health care, the status quo can’t continue. Not unless, of course, we all agree to pay a substantially larger amount of taxes to pay for it.

And I don’t see anyone putting up their hands to volunteer for that.

Russell Wangersky’s column appears in 39 SaltWire newspapers and websites in Atlantic Canada. He can be reached at russell.wangersky@thetelegram.com — Twitter: @wangersky.

June 28, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This afternoon:

Charlottetown Rally: "Families Belong Together", 4:30-5:30PM, Coles Building. Gathering to show "...collective opposition to unjust immigration laws and practices here and across the border." More details:

Facebook event details

June 28-June 30:

P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival begins today and ends Saturday, various times and locations. The lineup is here: http://www.jazzandblues.ca/


Sunday, July 1st:

Canada Day celebrations are taking place in many communities across P.E.I. and some will be highlighted in the next days -- what's going on in your area?


Thursday, July 5th:

Public Meeting: Concerning Emergency Room Closures at the Kings County Memorial Hospital, 7PM, Cavendish Wellness Centre, Montague. Steven Myers, MLA for Georgetown-St. Peter's, is hosting the meeting and has extended an invitation to Health Minister Robert Mitchell to attend.


ElectionsPEI is mentioning its Open Source data on P.E.I. political party financing,

Elections PEI Open Data Intro page

and has the reports filed from the four major parties on P.E.I. going back several years (link below).

There are now both PDF reports and (a choice in smaller text), alternate formats that can be compared, which looks very useful, as the parties have chosen different ways to report donations (last name, donation amount, etc.) that were harder to analyze and compare, certainly as a fixed document.

Elections PEI -- Elections Contributions page


From The Leap organization "Building a world based on caring for the earth and one another":

"...you’re probably as tired as we are of the myth that we can’t protect the environment and workers’ jobs at the same time. You believe that it’s possible for Canada to transition off of fossil fuels in a way that leaves no worker behind. So do we.

Did you know that there are so many aging and leaking oil and gas wells in Alberta that every worker in the province could be employed for decades to clean them up? But the industry isn’t setting aside money to do it — and the Alberta government isn’t enforcing the laws that would require them to.

Use your voice to put pressure on the Alberta and federal government to protect people, not the oil industry’s profits." <snip>

More info:



"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."

-- John Muir

June 27, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Charlottetown Farmers' Market open, 9AM-2PM. Lots of salad greens and other vegetables, plus prepared food, and crafts. A nice stop for fresh local produce, or a lunch option and not crowded.

Green Party Summerside Area Picnic for Volunteers, 5:30-8PM, Heather Moyse Heritage Park.

"Please RSVP at https://www.greenparty.pe.ca/summerside_potluck_bbq

We'll be hosting a potluck barbecue with our volunteers (and those who may be interested in getting involved!) ...to determine our next steps and get organized...Please bring a dish to share. A barbecue (and a cook!) will be on site for anyone wishing to bring something to barbecue."

Public School Consultation, review of high school capacities in Charlottetown families, 7-8:30PM, Charlottetown Rural High School. Parents, students and community members are encouraged to attend. There are indications that these schools will be well over capacities in the coming years, and the Public School Branch is looking for suggestions. This is a completely different format from the previous consultations, truly, but poor timing as many families are welcoming the last days of school and start of summer this week.

CBC news story.

Public Schools Branch page on consulation


On stronger federal protection of water:

Emma Lui is the Council of Canadians' water campaigner, and she writes, sharing the news that:

"...Bill C-69 – the Trudeau government’s proposed changes to Canada’s water, environment and energy laws – passed at Third Reading last week.

This despite massive opposition from tens of thousands of people like you who joined with the Council of Canadians to denounce this Bill for further cementing market-based, corporate-friendly policies that exploit water and the environment.

But our fight doesn’t end here. The Bill now moves to the Senate for voting this fall, and we plan to keep the pressure on right through the summer.

Support for the Bill was divided. Only half of the MPs supported it. All opposition parties voted against it – and the NDP and Green Party have called the Bill "appalling."

The Trudeau government has pushed the 400-page Bill through the House of Commons at an alarming rate, stopping debate at every opportunity.

It is urgent you and I not let this watered-down legislation pass into law. That’s why the Council of Canadians is now calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to develop a national action plan on water that includes:

1) the creation of a federal Minister of Water position,

2) bold legislation implementing the human right to water, and

3) free, prior and informed consent as required by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Link with full letter and petition to sign


On stronger provincial protection of water:

Right now P.E.I. Water Act, which passed in the last minutes of the Fall 2017 Provincial Legislature sitting, bans fracking and export of bottled water, but a lot of other details are to be spelled out in the regulations. There is (as reported earlier in this publication) some lack of clarity on when regulations are going to be ready and how public input will be structured, as current Environment Minister Richard Brown has different ideas than former Environment Minister Robert Mitchell.

Brad Trivers' Private Member's Bill No. 115 to improve the definitions in the Act, was defeated in this Spring sitting of the Legislature, which was a shame, and indication of many things about the current government. There was discussion about the regulations and timing and public input then, but it was rather confusing as to what and when this is going to happen. We'll keep you posted with anything we hear.


"Rest is not idleness. and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." -- John Lubbock (1834-1913)

June 26, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


This morning: Former Guardian Political Reporter Teresa Wright is giving the "Ottawa Report" interview on CBC Radio Island Morning after the 7:30AM news and weather.

Garden Plan, Prep and Planning, 6-8PM, Farm Centre Legacy Garden,

Facebook event details


Bethany Doyle is active and engaged in many aspects of Island life. It is heartwarming to see her kindness and commitment recognized, and completely expected that she would immediately say this represents all the people who give so much caring for others.

Guardian story from Monday, June 25th, 2018, on Bethany Doyle's award (Ferne Stevenson Caregiver Award, presented by the Alzheimer Society of P.E.I.)


From Friday's Guardian, on revelations that the provincial government is not pursing the Basic Income Guarantee.


OPINION: Province stalls on B.I.G - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Edith Perry

Published on Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Poor wanted to believe government was at last actually going to do something worthwhile

(EDITOR’S NOTE: P.E.I.'s efforts to work out a partnership with the federal government to create a universal basic income pilot project have stalled. Last December, the P.E.I. legislature voted unanimously to partner with the federal government to create a basic income pilot project on P.E.I. but this spring, Ottawa declined to offer financial support, only to provide data to support P.E.I. in developing a pilot. The province says federal funding would be needed for an Island-wide project to be feasible.)

The P.E.I. government has just announced that it will not proceed with a basic income guarantee (B.I.G.)

The dismissal of being poor being a serious issue has me flabbergasted. Not so much by the decision itself, but by the absolute lack of feeling for what this is doing to Islanders who began to believe there was a glimmer of hope, that at last the P.E.I. and federal governments were going to step up with a bold initiative. They were at last sincere in truly addressing poverty.

Many Islanders put aside our cynicism when once again the P.E.I. government announced it was going to “reduce poverty”. We did note that there was that word “reduce.” Surely a red flag.

After all, previous P.E.I. governments had put poverty on their “to do” list resulting in many meetings with community groups and with people themselves trying to make ends meet as the old saying goes.

Oh, how government officials like to hear the stories from the poor. Oh, how the media too wanted to interview “real poor people.” And, oh, how hopeful those poor people were and wanted, yes, wanted to believe the government was at last actually going to do something worthwhile.

Once again, the current government told Islanders that it was going to address the poverty issue. It wanted to, yet again, consult with Islanders. What could they do to help us feed and house ourselves and at the very least help us keep our chins above the poverty line?

Once again many of us offered up a basic income guarantee as a real effort to do the right thing.

Once again, the government has sallied forth with a series of, yes, more public consultations, fast-tracked to have a plan in place by this fall. Yes. They would slay the dragon with -- what?

Tinkering some more with the same old mean-spirited social assistance program, a charity model that other countries have abandoned for some form of B.I.G. Abandoned because social assistance/welfare doesn’t work.

“Verily, the poor shall always be with us”, says the P.E.I. and federal governments, “and we like it this way.”

- Edith Perry of Millview is a social justice activist and supporter of a basic income guarantee.


This is a link to an awfully nice essay about how awfully nice Canadians are (actually, about how good it was, from the point of view of the very intelligent dual-citizen and The New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik, that Justin Trudeau stood up to Donald Trump on trade issues recently):

Gopnik's New Yorker essay on Trudeau and Trump


TrudeauMeter has kept track of the 227 campaign promises made by Justin Trudeau during the 2015 election campaign, and lists whether they are "Not started", "In Progress", "Broken" or Achieved", with explanations. It doesn't weight the gravity of each promise, but it does keep a list.



A useful list of fact-checking resources, though primarily based in the U.S.:


In case the graphic doesn't come through, the fact-checking resources listed that are timely and unbiased are Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, American Press Institute, and Washington Post Fact Checker.

June 25, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Governor General Julie Payette visit, be at Goverment House by 11AM. More details from P.E.I. government website

VegPEI Monthly potluck, 6:30PM, Haviland Club.

Facebook event details

Also, tonight is the first of three public meetings on the public school capacity in the Charlottetown families of schools, hosted by the Public Schools Branch (PSB), meant for families and community members.

Monday, June 25th:

Elementary School Discussion, 7-8:30PM, at Colonel Gray High School

Wednesday, June 27th:

High School Discussion, 7-8:30PM, Charlottetown Rural High School

Thursday, June 28th:

Intermediate School Discussion, 7-8:30PM, Charlottetown Rural High School

from their press release:

The PSB is studying potential capacity issues impacting the following schools: Charlottetown Rural High School, Colonel Gray High School, Queen Charlotte Intermediate School, Birchwood intermediate School, Spring Park Elementary School, and West Kent Elementary School.

Parents and community members are invited to attend one or more of the following consultation sessions to discuss possible solutions.

Those who are not able to attend a consultation session will have the opportunity to submit their views and ideas via an online survey. The survey will be active from June 25 – July 20, 2018. Once recommendations are developed, the Board will seek additional feedback from all stakeholders.

More info at the Public Schools Branch website


Tuesday, June 26th:

Garden Plan, Prep and Planning -- Workshop#1, 6-8PM, Legacy Garden Plot#18, Farm Centre Legacy Garden.

Join us for a free hands-on demonstration and help us plant a garden plot at the Legacy Garden step-by-step using simple organic methods. We’ll get you started with the basics, including:

Choosing your garden site and planning your layout

Essential gardening tools and how to use them

How to prepare healthy soil

What to grow on PEI and proper planting techniques

Companion planting and planning for a balanced harvest

And more!

This is a first in a series of 7 workshops that will be presented by Stephanie Dewar through the 2018 growing season.

Facebook event details

Thursday, June 28th:

Families Belong Together Charlottetown Rally, 6:30-8PM, "In light of the recent news regarding separation of families at the US border, we (some concerned citizens) want to show our collective opposition to unjust immigration laws and practices here and across the border. Let's gather together at 4:30pm outside the Cole Building for a short rally."

Facebook event details


An article link from the online investigative Canadian publication National Observer (which is having a subscription sale until Canada Day) on Lunenburg, Nova Scotia:

How Small Town Nova Scotia is Taking a Stand Against Deep Water Drilling - National Observer article by Joel Ballard



An interesting program in Nova Scotia sponsored by the Sierra Club Canada, with lots of citizen-posted data, trying to track roadkill as a way to learn patterns and pose prevention solutions.

Watch for Wildlife (W4W) NS is a wildlife vehicle collision prevention program that encourages and enables Nova Scotians and visitors to the province to drive with an awareness of wildlife on roads, and do what they can to prevent collisions with wildlife. Watch for Wildlife is a voice for wildlife vehicle conflict prevention in Nova Scotia, and we will work to raise awareness of the impacts of vehicle collisions on wildlife, people, the economy and insurance costs.

The objective of the program is straightforward: to reduce injury and mortality of wildlife and people on our roads, and to encourage the implementation of wildlife-friendly road design and vehicle-collision mitigation measures.

Tracking wildlife vehicle collision data can help reveal patterns of wildlife movement and crossing locations which may then be able to be used by responsible authorities and/or researchers to identify mitigation needs and issues that may not be known.

Watch for Wildlife (www.watchforwildlife.ca) is a wildlife vehicle collision prevention program of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation that encourages Nova Scotians to drive with awareness of wildlife on roads, and do what they can to prevent collisions with wildlife.



Lots on the website and related pages to read about.

June 24, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


DiverseCity Charlottetown, 2-10PM, rain or shine, Queen Street by Grafton and Richmond, and environs. Free but food and crafts for sale.

Bonshaw Ceilidh, 7-9PM (summer ceilidhs are in the evening), various performers and lunch, Bonshaw Hall at Green Road and TCH, admission by donation and proceeds to PEI Chapter Crohn's and Colitis.

Facebook event details

Monday, June 25th:

Governor General Julie Payette visit, "be at Government House (Fanningbank off Terry Fox Drive) by 11AM".


I don't think there are any easy answers when it comes to reducing carbon emissions; but when considering carbon pricing and taxing, if careful and clear considerations are planned (and elucidated up front) to protect most residents, as folks like Elizabeth May have described, then it seems less like a political wedge issue and more like a way to make progress on climate change while acknowledging there is will to make better choices but not available income in most people's pocketbooks.


David Suzuki's recent "Climate Matters" column on carbon pricing:


Carbon pricing is an important tool to tackle climate change - By David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor Ian Hanington

Published on Thursday, June 14th, 2018

One of the world’s best-known climate scientists is discouraged that almost 40 years of study and warnings haven’t convinced humanity to adequately address the climate crisis. But James Hansen understands why we’ve stalled.

“As long as fossil fuels seem to be the cheapest energy to the public, they’ll keep using them,” Hansen recently told Bob McDonald of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks. “We’re up against an industry that would prefer to just continue to do things the way that they have been because they’re making a lot of money.” His solution: Ensure the price of fossil fuels factors in the costs to society.

Hansen is a former NASA scientist and now director of Columbia University Earth Institute’s climate science, awareness and solutions program. He’s been researching climate science since the early 1980s and in 1988 testified to a U.S. Senate committee that global warming was occurring because of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels.

How do we ensure the price of fossil fuels includes the costs of pollution, environmental degradation and climate disruption? The simplest way, as Hansen and most scientists, economists and energy experts know, is to put a price on carbon emissions. University of Alberta economist Andrew Leach says, “A carbon price leverages the power of the market to enable emissions reductions at the lowest possible cost.”

Pricing carbon, through a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, has proven to be effective. Sweden implemented a carbon tax in 1991. Even though the price has risen steadily — from about C$37 per tonne of CO2 in 1991 to $170 in 2018 — the country’s carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 26 per cent, without negatively affecting the economy, even as the population grew. In other Scandinavian countries, carbon pricing is seen as a sensible solution that rarely generates debate or news coverage. It works, as at least 46 countries with carbon pricing policies are learning.

A carbon tax is the simplest method to price carbon, although some opponents cringe at the word “tax.” It’s a fee, often rising annually, levied on fossil fuel production, distribution and use based on the amount of carbon pollution emitted. By making fossil fuel use more expensive — reflecting more accurately its societal costs — governments can encourage conservation, efficiency and cleaner alternatives. Many jurisdictions offer rebates or reductions on other taxes so they can target carbon emissions without creating a burden for most citizens.

Under a cap-and-trade system, a government caps the amount of greenhouse gas emissions an industry can emit or that can be emitted overall in the economy. Governments auction allowances, generating revenue to invest in the clean economy. Companies that exceed their limits can buy allowances from companies that remain below the cap, or bid for them in the auction. The cap is reduced every year, and total emissions fall.

With either system, the more someone pollutes, the more they pay. Although ideas vary regarding the best way to price carbon, amounts to be charged and what to do with money collected, we can’t afford to do nothing. The costs of climate change are mounting — from floods, droughts, wildfires, health-care costs and degradation of natural services, among others — and will worsen if we don’t act.

Most people in Canada know climate change is an urgent, human-caused problem that must be addressed. Recent polling shows almost 80 per cent agree with the idea of carbon pricing, and more than 80 per cent already live in jurisdictions with some form of it.

Under the federal government’s plan, provinces can implement their own systems, as long as they meet overall emissions-reduction goals. It will only implement carbon pricing for provinces and territories that don’t develop their own systems.

There’s no shortage of solutions for global warming. Carbon pricing is one of many. With carbon pricing in place, Canada can seize the opportunity to compete in the emerging clean economy, encouraging job creation, renewable energy development, conservation and efficiency while shifting away from fossil fuels.

Hansen believes a price on carbon might save civilization, giving new meaning to the expression, “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” As more people understand the urgency of confronting climate change and the effectiveness of carbon pricing, they’ll find many reasons to get behind it.


From columnist Gary Mason, in The Globe and Mail on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018


The carbon-tax debate is filled with dishonesty - The Globe and Mail Op-Ed piece by Gary Mason

Last week, scientists made a startling announcement: The Antarctic lost three trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017. The rate at which it’s melting caught many off guard, and it appears to be accelerating.

These same scientists fear that current projections for how much sea levels will rise over the coming decades owing to global warming may be too low. And the economic consequences of that miscalculation would be far-reaching and serious.

While the researchers were disclosing these disturbing new findings, the federal Conservatives were in the throes of a childish political stunt connected to this issue. They carried out a 12-hour filibuster to draw attention to the fact the federal government won’t release any analysis of how much its national carbon tax will cost Canadians. This, despite the fact there have been plenty of studies done that have provided an answer to that very question. Studies everyone has access to.

There is not a debate in the country right now filled with more dishonesty and misinformation than the one around carbon taxes. Everywhere you turn, politicians of a conservative bent are denouncing the climate-change measure as a pointless, economy-wrecking raid on people’s pocket books. United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney has made attacks on Alberta’s carbon tax the centerpiece of his pre-election strategy. Doug Ford just won power in Ontario after making his promise to dismantle the province’s cap-and-trade system a major component of his platform. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, also a conservative, has vowed to fight the federal carbon tax in court.

Now, Andrew Scheer and the federal Conservatives see this as the big issue upon which they will fight and win the 2019 election.

Under the federal Liberals’ plan, a carbon tax of $20 a tonne will be introduced nationally next January. It increases to $50 a tonne by 2022. Quebec and Ontario have instituted cap-and-trade systems as an alternative. A carbon tax does increase things such as the price of gasoline, electricity and heating costs. Those costs vary by province; it’s cheaper to warm your home in British Columbia than in Nova Scotia.

The increased cost of gasoline at the pump would be a direct cost of a carbon tax. There would be indirect costs, too; companies would pass increased prices on to consumers for the additional dollars they fork out to cover the tax.

The federal Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources estimated the cost of a $50-a-tonne carbon tax based on 2013 energy consumption levels. Their findings ranged from $603 per household in B.C. to $707 in Ontario to $1,120 in Nova Scotia. But those evaluations don’t take into account measures provincial governments can introduce to mitigate the costs, such as direct rebates or the reduction of taxes in other areas. They can pay for those breaks with the revenue raised from the carbon tax.

In other words, it’s up to the provinces to decide how much economic pain the tax inflicts on consumers.

When B.C. introduced its carbon tax in 2008, it was offset by tax cuts elsewhere. Consequently, its effect on people’s wallets was insignificant. More recently, governments in B.C. have used some of the carbon-tax revenue to fund general spending. Studies have also shown carbon taxes have a negligible negative impact on the wider economy.

That is what the leaders of conservative-minded parties and governments don’t want to tell people. They’d prefer to make the carbon tax as evil as possible because it’s good politics for them. It’s easy to demonize, even though there is broad consensus that putting a price on carbon is the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The federal Liberal plan isn’t perfect. Some say the $50-a-tonne ceiling is too low to impact behaviour; others believe it will, and that it is the only instrument available that gives the country a fighting chance to meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.

The federal Conservatives won’t reveal what their plan is to meet Canada’s international climate commitments. All they say is they’re working on it. How convenient.

They attack the federal government’s scheme but won’t make any plan of their own available for the public to scrutinize. The fact is the Conservatives know that there is no such thing as a sound climate policy that doesn’t somehow impact the source of most emissions – you and me.

Do you believe this country has an obligation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in a meaningful way or not? That’s the question that the 2019 general election may be fought on. And increasingly, we are seeing which side of the issue the federal Conservatives fall on.


"A very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic."

-- scientist E.O. Wilson

June 23, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open in Charlottetown (9AM-2PM), Summerside (9AM-1PM) and Cardigan (10AM-2PM). Rhubarb, greens, transplants, food and crafts.

Giant Yard Sale for Haviland Club Restoration Fund, 9AM-onward, Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street, Charlottetown.

Sunday, June 24th:

DiverseCity Charlottetown, 2PM-10PM, Rain or Shine, Queen Street, downtown. "DiverseCity is PEI’s biggest, free, Family-friendly celebration of multiculturalism. We are inviting you to a spectacular day of music, dance, demos, ethnocultural displays and delicious international food. Discover the cultures that make the fabric of our Island." Food and crafts for sale.

Note that DiverseCity in Montague is Sunday, July 15th and Alberton is Sunday, July 22nd.

Facebook event details


I think the same BP Scotia Shelf group getting investment and such high hopes from the Nova Scotia government mentioned in yesterday's Citizens' Alliance News has had a spill of "synthetic-based drilling mud" (mud and lubricant, called SDM) yesterday.

Story from the Halifax Examiner


And a note that the P.E.I. government has opened its Open Data place on its website. This page explains it a bit and has a link:



Catching up on two good letters in last week's paper: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/letter-mmp-ensures-representation-218890/

LETTER: MMP ensures representation - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Saturday, June 16th, 2018

Last week we were treated to the awful spectacle of Doug Ford, a scandal-plagued former drug dealer with Trumpian tendencies, being elected Premier of Ontario with the total power of a majority government. Can’t see how that could go wrong – at least Ontario will get lots of global headlines.

But did he really win, or just win? He got 76 out of 124 seats, but he only got 41 per cent of the vote. Progressive parties got the other 59 per cent.

If Ontario had Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting, Ford would have exactly as many seats as his vote entitles him – he would have 51 seats to the opposition’s combined 73. He’d still be the premier, but he wouldn’t be unchecked. He couldn’t get away with dismantling the province’s social services, for example.

MMP gives minority voices representation, and acts as a check on unfettered power. For example, under MMP, when the current government is eventually voted out, it won’t be the usual slaughter, they’ll still keep some seats based on their vote share and their voters will still have a voice.

In the next provincial election, Islanders have an opportunity to vote for MMP. Again. The government has tried to set the rules to ensure MMP will lose, but they can’t just ignore a result they don’t like this time. If you’re sick of this nonsense, get out and vote for MMP in spite of the MacLauchlan government’s shenanigans.

Stephen DeGrace, Charlottetown


This is truthful also very clever: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/opinion/letter-to-the-editor/letter-transparency-shows-forth-218887/

LETTER: Transparency shows forth - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Saturday, June 16th, 2018

Don't be too hard on poor Richard Brown. His boss wants transparency – he’s been preaching transparency since he took office.

So, in the interests of transparency, Richard felt obliged to show us exactly how he feels towards the people he represents – the voters of Prince Edward Island.

And because it’s the first act of transparency from this government, it caught us by surprise. Now apparently, the boss feels the same way as Richard – that’s why no reprimand is forthcoming.

As for the other Brown . . . ditto.

Shawn Landon, Murray Harbour


"Transparency is all about letting in and embracing new ideas, new technology and new approaches. No individual, entity or agency, no matter how smart, how old, or how experienced, can afford to stop learning."

-- Gina McCarthy, former head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency

June 22, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tomorrow: Saturday, June 23rd:

Giant Yard Sale for Haviland Club Restoration Fund, 9AM-onward, Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street, Charlottetown.

Facebook event details

Monday, June 25th:

Governor General Julie Payette visit, "be at Government House no later than 11AM" for public greeting. She will also visit the School of Sustainable Design Engineering at UPEI.

VegPEI Monthly Potluck, 6:30PM, Haviland Club. Some guidelines, if planning to attend, be sure to read the Facebook event page


Some odds and ends to end the week:

All MLAs should aim to be able to write a summary of their time in the Spring Sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature and see a couple of areas where they really, really made a positive improvement, as District 11 Charlottetown-Parkdale Hannah Bell has done:

Link to Hannah Bell's blog


It appears that federal Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts passed third reading in The House of Commons this week, and has been introduced in the Senate. The Council of Canadians and others were calling for the legislation to be strengthened, but I don't think that happened while in the House.

More info on the status of the Bill and its text:

LegisInfo page on Bill C-69

Open Parliament page on Bill C-69


Here is the 48 page annual report of the Island Waste Management Corporation:

IWMC Report 2017

which I have only skimmed. The list of Board members (page 1) includes a current deputy minister and a former deputy minister, and accountants, among others, and I am sure managing the corporation for the Board and staff is a lot of work. While there is much P.E.I. can be proud of in our waste management, we still could be doing a much better job. One area would be to the situation where many businesses appear to be encouraging customers to sort compost and waste, but have it all picked up as waste, citing lack of controls of it being sorted properly.


On non-renewable energy:

N.S. Hopes to Boost Offshore Oil Exploration with $12 million for research - CTV News online

from: CTV News on-line, June 20th, 2018

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia has committed millions of dollars to encourage offshore exploration, hoping to bring billions more in oil riches -- even as ecologists say the cash would be better used to counter carbon emissions.

Energy Minister Geoff MacLellan announced $11.8 million Wednesday for research in waters off the province.

"There is value for us, there is tremendous work being done in the offshore, and ... we're going to be world leaders in the oceans," MacLellan said during a news conference at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.

<snip> see link for rest of story

a print article on this story is in today's Guardian


On renewable energy: A recent article on global offshore wind energy, and a link to a nine minute video showing construction of "floating turbines" off Scotland.

Global Wind Energy Insight article

YouTube on turbine installation off Scotland


"Just as fossil fuels from conventional sources are finite and are becoming depleted, those from difficult sources will also run out. If we put all our energy and resources into continued fossil fuel extraction, we will have lost an opportunity to have invested in renewable energy."

-- David Suzuki, in 2012

June 21, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Urban Beehive Project "Plan Bee" Opening, 5-7PM, Farm Centre Legacy Garden Bee Space, 420 University Avenue. "Music Bees Food Beer"

Facebook Group page for Farm Centre Legacy Community Garden

Thursday June 21st:

"Climate Change Impacts and How we Can Adapt", 7PM, North Shore Community Centre, 2120 Covehead Road, Rte #25, presented by the Friends of Covehead Brackley Bay Watershed and the Rural Municipality of North Shore. Provincial Senior Climate Change Policy Adaptation Advisor Peter Mishimura and provincial Surface Water Biologist Cindy Crane will speak on climate change effects, adaptation strategies, and key issues affecting water.

"Everything is Connected: Environment, Economy, Foreign Policy, Sustainability, Human Rights and Leadership in the 21st Century", Keynote address by Sheila Watt-Clouthier, Atlantic Council for International Cooperation (ACIC) Symposium, 7PM, UPEI, Engineering Building (SSDE). Watt-Cloutier is the author of the memoir, The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet.

More information on the keynote address

The address will be live-streamed on the ACIC Facebook page


by Jorge Gamboa, Artists without Borders

from earlier this month:


Russell Wangersky: Ocean trash — our legacy to the world - The Guardian article by Russell Wangersky

Published in The Guardian on Friday, June 1st, 2018

If you know just where to look on a shingle-stone beach in Adam’s Cove on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, if your timing is right and the tide and the waves co-operate, the small stones will part and reveal a huge engine block, buried deep in the beach.

Sometimes, it’s easy to find. Other times it disappears, a great rusty block of metal with still-shiny brass fittings. You can see the flat ends of the pistons, easily the diameter of a tennis ball, and you know that only a fraction of the great motor is exposed. The feeling is like seeing an iceberg and knowing that something like nine-tenths of the ice extends far, far deeper under the water than you are ever likely to see.

It at least stays in one place, that huge engine, anchored into the drifts of rounded stone — and unlike any of the other man-made detritus on the beach, it’s hard to call it trash, because it could be an ocean misadventure. I wish the same could be said for other remains of our wasteful culture.

When the pavement ends on Union Street in Canso, N.S., you feel like you’ve come to one of the corners of the Earth. You’ve been on NS Route 16 for ages, first with the ocean on your left tight in to the highway, and then cutting inland near Half Island Cove past Hazel Hill and the now-torn-down but once-impressive stone buildings of the 1884 cable station. When the pavement ends on Union Street, you’re up against the sea once again, and if you park and climb down to the water, you can smell the ocean, look out at the handful of islands, and then visualize a circle five feet across and find 50 pieces of trash in the landwash, from water-bottle-sized to twist caps to plastic that’s been shredded by the sea to the occasional sole of a shoe.

It’s not necessarily from Canso.

It’s not necessarily from anywhere nearby.

But it’s all necessarily from people.

Now, I don’t put much stock in “days” — there are so many days set up to commemorate or identify or recognize causes or conditions or things. Tomorrow, for example, is International Sex Workers’ Day — next Saturday is both World Oceans Day and World Brain Tumour Day. As necessary as the recognition might be to those who are directly involved, they pass in a blur.

But I wonder if we might change the name of World Oceans Day to “Ocean Dump Day” this year, just to make a point.

Year after year, there are bird counts, where people spend a day scouting for species in their area, collating all that information, and making observations about annual changes in populations.

I wonder what it would be like if, on Ocean Dump Day, we all just took a small patch of beach and collected, inventoried and photographed the trash we found, whether it might be a sobering message for us all.

Not a beach cleanup, per se; those are fine and valuable, but the only people who see the length and breadth of waste are those who do the actual cleanup — for everyone else, it’s even more out of sight and out of mind than it was before the cleanup.

All I know is that I can make my way to the most distant and unapproachable parts of the Atlantic provinces and find tons of trash. And each piece, each and every piece, was thrown into the ocean by someone. Given the time it takes for trash to fully break down, it will be there for years after everyone who reads these words is dead and buried.

There’s a message in a plastic bottle for you.

Russell Wangersky’s column appears in 39 SaltWire newspapers and websites in Atlantic Canada. He can be reached at russell.wangersky@thetelegram.com — Twitter: @wangersky.


For some kind of antidote, an informative "quiz" on your household plastic uses and alternatives (when you click the box admitting you use something) from the Canadian Wildlife Federation in part of the features of Rivers to Oceans week (which was last week, apparently):


With lots of other informative articles, too.

Al Roach's Plastic Bag Reduction Act passed in this sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature and goes into effect in one year, on July 1st, 2019. More details in this CBC article.

June 20, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Wednesday opening of the Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM-2PM.


Second public consultation meeting on proposed West River amalgamation, 6PM -- open house, 7PM- presentation followed by questions. A proposal written by Stantec/MRSB to evaluate costs of the five currently separate incorporated communities (Afton, Bonshaw, Meadonbank, New Haven/Riverdale, West River) meeting the Municipal Governance Act requirements on their own or as one entity. The consultants will summarize the input in a report to be issued later this summer.

Facebook event details

Lecture: The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables: The Enchanting Island that Inspired L.M. Montgomery, 6:30-8PM, Confederation Centre Public Library, with the author, Catherine Reid.


The province is not pursuing having the federal government use P.E.I. as a pilot program for a Basic Income Guarantee. This is explained in a CBC article yesterday:

Efforts to bring basic income pilot to P.E.I. 'a failure,' group says - CBC News online article by Kerry Campbell

Lack of progress feels like 'bad faith' with the people of P.E.I., according to Cooper Institute

Published on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018, at CBC Prince Edward Island on-line

At a conference last month in Hamilton, Ont. proponents from across North America got together to talk about efforts to implement a basic income guarantee in jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S.

Marie Burge of P.E.I.'s Cooper Institute provided an update in terms of her province's progress toward a basic income pilot project. "One of the points that I made — it's a failure for P.E.I.," Burge said. "The government so easily backed down. I think they were sincere in the beginning, and I still think they're sincere. But they backed down as soon as the feds said, 'we're not providing support for this.'"

Motion had unanimous support

It's been more than a year since all three parties in the legislature provided unanimous support for a motion urging the province to partner with the federal government to develop a basic income pilot project for P.E.I. The response from the federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos was less than the province had hoped for. He offered to provide data which could be used to develop a pilot project, but did not offer to provide funding.

Even without an offer of financial support, however, Burge said the province should have jumped at the opportunity to use data from the federal government to develop parameters for a pilot project. "That's the first thing they would have to do, even if [Ottawa] said we were coming on with funds," said Burge. "To me, it was a great big gift that was being offered. As far as I know it has never been accepted."

Details removed from letter

In fact, the specific details of Ottawa's offer to help with data were removed from a copy of a letter tabled earlier this year in the P.E.I. Legislature. CBC obtained a copy of the original letter through access-to-information. In that letter, Duclos told P.E.I.'s Minister of Family and Human Services Tina Mundy:

"Should you choose to proceed with a pilot to assess the effects of a potential universal basic income, the Government of Canada has data holdings that could be helpful to you. We would therefore be pleased to work with you to facilitate access to federal level administrative, survey and tax data that could be useful in refining the design and evaluation of your pilot."

However that information was removed from the letter Mundy tabled in the legislature in January. A spokesperson for the P.E.I. government said the information was removed at the request of the federal government, but said the province committed an error by not clearly indicating the information had been removed.

PC MLA Darlene Compton had asked Mundy to table the letter. She said she wonders whether the province was trying to hide details of the federal government's offer from the public. "I have to question just how sincere the government's commitment is to create a basic income pilot project on P.E.I.," she said.

No follow-up to 2017 meetings

In the summer of 2017 the PEI Working Group for a Livable Income partnered with politicians from all four political parties to offer a series of four community meetings to talk about a basic income guarantee.

But Burge said there's been no follow-up from any of the parties from those meetings, despite talk of using the information gathered there to develop a more detailed pitch to the federal government on a pilot project. "The government of P.E.I. is not showing a commitment right now," said Burge. "This apparently was just dropped.... It looks almost like bad faith with the people of P.E.I., because that was a promise."

A spokesperson for the province confirmed via email that government currently has "no plans for a basic income pilot project. We are currently in the process of developing a poverty reduction plan, which will be completed in October and we recently announced enhancements to our social assistance program."

In the spring 2018 sitting of the legislature, Mundy told the House the province was monitoring basic income pilot projects in Ontario and Quebec, while working to develop its poverty reduction strategy. "We're continuing, but we did say all along that we would need involvement with the federal government or partnership with the federal government," she said. "Our focus is on our strategy and building on the investments that we're making."

--Kerry Campbell, CBC News


Motion No. 83, Universal Basic Income, was passed on December 6th, 2016, in the P.E.I. Legislature, and calls for the province to pursue a partnership with the federal government, and to give an update on the progress to each session of the Legislature on its progress.

Here is a link to the Motion


A blast from the past, is a blog from 2014 by Stephen Pate, journalist and disability activist, who couldn't believe a CBC Political Panel discussion, where then-panelist (and Robert Ghiz' District executive director) Jordan Brown proposed that people could learn to live on a food budget of $100 a month, as one of the lawyers in his office did.

Stephen Pate's Blog from 2014


"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." -- Archbishop Don Helder Camara

June 19, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Tuesday, June 19th:

Year-Round Gardening presentation, 7-9PM, with gardener and author Niki Jabbour, Carrefour de L’Isle-Saint lecture theatre, free but space may be limited.

Tuesday, June 19th:

Chat Local in Cornwall, with Green Party District 16 (Cornwall-Meadowbank) nomination contestant Ellen Jones, 7-9PM, Sam's Restaurant in Cornwall.


Ellen Jones wrote this blog posting last week: https://www.greenparty.pe.ca/raiders_of_the_lost_pei_ark

Raiders of the Lost PEI Ark... - Green Party of PEI website article by Ellen Jones

Published on Wednesday, June 13th, 2018, on:

Last evening I had the privilege of attending Steven Mannell’s book launch for “Living Lightly on the Earth” Building an Ark for Prince Edward Island, 1974-76 and although I should have left inspired, instead I left frustrated and thinking of how much short term planning without a vision can influence decision making.

The Ark was visionary, a project about redefining what a dwelling could be by incorporating sustainable design and experimenting with green ideas. I’m not going to delve deeply into the waters that were the political and environmental climate of 1970s, suffice to say there was a real push at the time to “live lightly on the land”. In 1974, PEI was leading an environmental movement, where today we have fallen behind.

I’ve known about the PEI Ark project for years. As the daughter of an architect who works with other architects - interesting architecture tends to be a common topic of conversation around the dinner table. As I step into the shoes of shadow critic to the Communities, Land and Environment portfolio for the Green Party of PEI, I must say hearing the story recounted of the Ark project last night had me questioning what exactly we learned through its loss and how we have changed in the decades that followed.

In 1974 The Ark did what I imagine this department should be doing today: it promoted and facilitated a project which built community, it considered proper sustainable use of our land, all while protecting and preserving the environment. How would this department be different today if it were guided with this as its mandate? This is a question I’ve asked myself as I watched the building designed by my father and built by my family and I be torn apart for a government road last week. It took one machine three hours to tear down The Hughes-Jones Centre and pack it into blue bins destined for a landfill. Two projects forty years apart which understood community to be more than a location, but rather the relationships of a place, torn down due to a lack of understanding of what constitutes value for our Island community.

Destruction is easy.

Construction? Planning, maintenance, upkeep, improvement, responsible development? That's the hardened and at times thankless grind of a long term relationship. It’s time for PEI to enter into a long term relationship with our communities, land and environment, planning for the future instead of the next election cycle.

We look fondly back on the Ark project, lauding it as an example of innovation and forward thinking for PEI and for architecture. However, as we celebrate their achievements we must also acknowledge the ultimate failure of government to support the project long term, past an election cycle. Government at the time failed to see past the short term success of the Ark and look toward what could be. Ultimately, the Ark was neglected and then lost to governmental shortsightedness when it was torn down against the will of the community in 1999.

The Ark proved more than a concept. It showed that PEI could be a place where ideas which incorporate the community, land and environment come to thrive. It could be a place where the vision of youth is supported in their effort to build a future of hope and prosperity for the generations who follow.

The real question now PEI, is who do we want to be?

A society where we treat buildings, people, the land and environment as disposable?

Or an Island looking and planning for a lasting relationship with all of the above?

R. Ellen Jones is the Green Party Shadow Cabinet Critic for Communities, Land and Environment


More on the land, and sea, and our shared Strait of Northumberland, from musician Dave Gunning,who has been speaking out on the Northern Pulp paper mill effluent treatment plans for some time now:

Published in The Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, June 14th, 2018:


OPINION: New mill plan would yield less-diluted effluent than in Boat Harbour - The Chronicle Herald Letter to the Editor

Dear elected officials, mill folks, forestry folks and others who may be under the illusion that it’s OK to pipe up to 87 million litres a day of warm, treated effluent from the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County directly into the Northumberland Strait once Boat Harbour is closed for remediation in 2020, or who claim that the effluent has been going into the Strait for 50 years anyway, so this will not be different.

Here are some things to consider:

The “Boat Harbour treatment facility” and the “Boat Harbour Basin” are two entirely separate things. This absolutely has to be understood.

The 300-acre Boat Harbour basin is not part of the Boat Harbour treatment facility. Northern Pulp’s new proposed treatment facility would only replace the Boat Harbour treatment facility, not the Boat Harbour Basin.

Currently, the treated effluent that discharges from the Boat Harbour treatment facility enters the Boat Harbour Basin where it is retained for an additional 20 to 30 days prior to entering the salt water at the Pictou Landing shoreline.

Along with other benefits of this long retention time, the treated effluent mixes with other freshwater sources from rivers and streams that flow into the Boat Harbour Basin, so it becomes even more diluted. The quality of what is exiting the Boat Harbour Basin now in the old system is better than the projected numbers of the new proposed system, and we know that it’s bad now.

Northern Pulp says the treated effluent would be of a better quality than it is now. This is misleading (although we shouldn’t be surprised by that).

1. The treated effluent isn’t actually being dumped directly out into the Strait right now. It is being discharged into the Boat Harbour Basin.

2. Without that 300-acre basin, with its 20- to 30-day retention, dilution time/buffer, the new facility would actually be worse than the old one. It might very well be, as Jack Kyte, former mill manager and PR person, acknowledged in an interview on CBC RadioOne in April 2015.

3. According to KSH Engineering, at an average daily flow rate of 70 million litres of effluent and 935 kilograms of solids will be released into the Northumberland Strait every day from the new activated sludge treatment (AST) system. Currently, most of the solids in the treated effluent do not make their way to the Strait because of the long retention time and the dam at the end of the Boat Harbour Basin.

In the proposed pipe scenario, the treated effluent would discharge directly into the Strait with no 300-acre Boat Harbour Basin and no 20- to 30-day retention for additional cooling, settling, dilution and mixing with the other freshwater sources. Any solids, heavy metals and chemicals, along with any other waste from the mill, would be dumped directly out into the Strait.

Process interruptions caused by “black liquor” spills and storm-drain run-off from heavy rains would cause poorly or even untreated effluent to be released from the pipe for periods of time. When the little bugs in the AST system are flushed out by heavy rains, or poisoned by a black liquor spill, it can take days or weeks to build them back up in the system.

When the effluent pipe broke in 2014, Northern Pulp had to rent porta potties. So why were Northern Pulp employees unable to use the toilets at the mill? Is it because all waste from the mill is exiting from the same place, whether it’s raw sewage from the X number of employees or 70 million litres of bleach kraft pulp mill effluent every day?

This is an old mill, and regular process interruptions do occur. There is no instantaneous testing of effluent quality, and Northern Pulp’s new AST system would not have enough retention time or volume to protect the Strait from raw effluent surges. The current system retains the effluent for days, whereas the new system would only retain the effluent for hours. To sum it up, they are proposing to replace the Boat Harbour Basin with the Northumberland Strait. Clean up Boat Harbour —yes! But do not move your mess to the Northumberland Strait!

Oh, and if you’re a “trust the federal regulations” type of person, then read and learn about the LC-50 test. It is the federal test that Northern Pulp would have to pass. They do not test saltwater fish, and 50 per cent of the freshwater fish tested can die within the test period, and it is still considered a test pass. So you need to understand that regulations would not be sufficient to protect the fishery, which constitutes Atlantic Canada’s largest export.

Note: All of the information contained within this piece has been fact-checked by industry professionals and taken from mill- and government-sponsored studies and sources. These are the very same studies and sources used for the cherry-picked information that is being presented to the community and to the government regularly by Northern Pulp in media ads and in mail-out brochures. Think of this as some cherries that Northern Pulp left behind. And there are many more.

I can’t even believe that the government is pushing ahead with this. Sure, I know that mistakes were made in the past with regard to this mill, but this one would be the biggest yet.

--Musician Dave Gunning lives in Pictou County

June 18, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some events this week:

Tuesday, June 19th:

Year-Round Gardening presentation, 7-9PM, with gardener and author Niki Jabbour, Carrefour de L’Isle-Saint lecture theatre, free but space may be limited.

Tuesday, June 19th:

Chat Local in Cornwall, with Green Party nomination contestant Ellen Jones, 7-9PM, Sam's Restaurant in Cornwall. "#ChatLocal is an invitation to chat about issues and ideas with other engaged citizens in a casual setting... Hosted by the Green Party's Central Representative Joan Diamond, District 16 (Cornwall-Meadowbank) Green nomination contestant Ellen Jones, and Judy Herlihy, a Cornwall citizen seeking election to Cornwall Town Council this fall. Be there for an evening of unfailingly interesting conversations!"

Thursday, June 21st:

ACIC Keynote Address: Sheila Watt-Clothier, 7PM, UPEI, Engineering Building, Room 128. Watt-Clotheir is an environmentalist and human rights advocate, and the author of the memoir, The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet, published in 2015. ACIC (Atlantic Council for International Cooperation)'s symposium runs Thursday to Saturday and registration is closed, but this presentation is free and open to the public. More details: on Conference

On Sheila Watt-Clothier

Thursday, June 21st:

Presentation on "Climate Change Impacts and How We Can Adapt", 7PM, North Shore Community Centre, 2120 Covehead Road, Rte #25. Presented by the Friends of Covehead Brackley Bay Watershed and the Rural Municipality of North Shore.

Peter Nishimura (Climate Change Adaptation Policy Advisor) will offer an illustrated presentation on climate changes such as sea level rise, warming temperatures, altered precipitation patterns and their local effects on land, water, coastal erosion etc. and how we could deal with them in the long term.

Cindy Crane (provincial Surface Water Biologist) will focus on sediment and nutrients as the key issues affecting water quality and the aquatic environment. She will then address factors in making sustainable choices for the protection or improvement of our changing environment.

Question period and open discussion to follow.


Some articles on the recent changes at Health PEI

The Board has been replaced with one Trustee


Province appoints Health PEI trustee - CBCNews online article

James Revell is a former board member

Published on Friday, June 15th, 2018

Health PEI has appointed a temporary trustee after the agency's board resigned in May. James Revell will serve in the position, the province announced Friday. On May 23, the entire Health PEI board resigned, citing concerns with the new Health Services Act. At that point, all board meetings were postponed until a trustee was appointed.

Revell is a former member of the board and retired from his position in March before the mass resignation in May. When asked he didn't seemed bothered by the controversy. "I think that going forward not a whole lot will change from the way that it operated in the last eight years," he said. "I've had those discussions with the minister and also with a couple of other people … we have a very good health authority, thought there were tremendous people on the board through that whole eight year period and I think it's really important that we go forward and things change."

Revell said his priorities going forward are simple. "This is a 24/7-365 operation with a tremendous number of employees that Islanders count on every day, every day, and so to the extent that I can ensure that that happens — those are my priorities."

'Expertise' to benefit system: Mitchell

Revell is a member of the P.E.I. Law Society and Canadian Bar Association, and a former Health PEI board member. In a statement, Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell said he was "delighted" Revell agreed to take on the position. "His expertise, along with his experience, will be of great benefit to the health-care system," Mitchell said.

Seeking new board members

The trustee position is expected to be temporary until a new board can be established. Meanwhile, the province is seeking applicants with the skill, knowledge and experience necessary to serve on the Health PEI board of directors, Mitchell said. "Board members create linkages to the community and oversee the day-to-day operation of our health-care system," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said his department is getting a lot of calls about the positions, and that he hopes to have the new board in place in 60 to 90 days.


And Paul MacNeill, published of the Graphic newspapers, wrote this a couple of weeks ago after the Board resigned:


Mitchell moves to neuter Health PEI - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018, in The Graphic publications

Can you hear it? That unique sound of a politician trying to suck and blow at the same time. It’s Health Minister Robert Mitchell talking out of both sides of his mouth.

The minister took direct aim at the former Chair of the Health PEI Board of Directors, Alex MacBeath, and 10 of his volunteer colleagues after their unprecedented decision to quit over what amounts to government meddling. The decision brought into full light the rupture between what is supposed to be an arm’s-length management of the system and a provincial government with a long record of imposing its will.

Control over hiring of a CEO of Health PEI appears at the heart of the dispute. The board found a candidate it wanted. The provincial government said no. Mitchell has now tabled legislation giving his department authority to hire a CEO.

In doing so government will neuter the supposed independence of Health PEI, established almost a decade ago to stop exactly the kind of political interference Mitchell is now guilty of.

To be fair, Health PEI and its board of directors has never quite lived up to its billing. Most notably Health PEI has consistently failed to engage Islanders in a discussion about how best to move the system, which accounts for almost 40 per cent of government’s $1.9 billion budget, forward. Decisions are made behind closed doors that have a direct impact on the type and quality of service provided. There have been numerous occasions where the board has been tone deaf to the need of providing quality service in rural areas.

Mitchell raised, without evidence, the bogeyman that the board wants to close beds and eliminate positions. This despite the reality that PEI has among the longest hospital stays in the country. On average Islanders spend three days longer than anticipated in an acute care bed, which drives costs up and adds to surgery wait times.

So rather than deal with issues impacting the cost and delivery of a quality health care system, the minister has firmly come down on the side of the status quo. In a statement rich in hypocrisy, Mitchell even blamed Health PEI for going over its annual budget by $20 and $24 million, which amounts to a rounding error in a $700 million total spend and is oblivious to the Liberals spotty record of hitting their own budget targets. Health over-runs would be largely attributable to government approved contracts with health care workers.

The reality of the Health PEI and Department of Health and Wellness model is neither has shown any particular interest in finding true efficiencies that allow us to scrimp where appropriate while focussing on frontline services.

PEI spends five times that of other Atlantic provinces on administration of health care. We are three times the national average. But rather than partner with other provinces to deliver services more efficiently we pour tens of millions of dollars into cash sinkholes like electronic health records and ‘made in PEI’ solutions that fail to deliver a province wide solution, let alone communicate effectively with systems in other provinces where Islanders routinely receive treatment for which we pay tens of millions of dollars every year.

Robert Mitchell says the Health PEI board wants to eliminate jobs, but offers no solution on how money can be better spent. He is playing politics with the health care system to ensure no hot button issues arise prior to the impending election.

What PEI needs is an honest discussion about what services our citizens demand and how best to deliver them. Maybe there is merit in transferring patients from the QEH post surgery for recovery in a community hospital? Maybe there is merit in convincing our Maritime neighbours to invest in a single electronic health record system? Maybe there is merit in sharing the cost of delivering the administrative side of the system in a way that could save precious dollars for front line services.

These are discussions Robert Mitchell doesn’t want to have. Instead his idea is to simply appoint a new board while centralizing more authority into his department and office.

That effectively kills the Health PEI model because any future CEO cannot be accountable to two masters. And it’s almost guaranteed that when push comes to shove they will side with the person who hired them.

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

June 17, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Concert: Songs Without Words, Atlantic String Machine ensemble, 2:30PM, St. Paul's Church, Church Street, Charlottetown, tickets at the door. This concert was moved from an earlier date. More about the excellent five-member Atlantic String Machine here.


A little bit of provincial voting systems politics:

Community organizers (and really, about two of the kindest, giving people on a Island that boasts many) Leo Cheverie and Marcia Carroll were interviewed for a national press story (originally published Wednesday, June 13th in the Toronto Star) on the occasional of the proportional representation referendum bill passing in the P.E.I. Legislature last week, along with Don Desserud, political scientist, and Gary Morgan who wants to maintain the current system; and MLAs Jordan Brown, Peter Bevan-Baker, and James Aylward.


It's a short read and good synopsis of what's going on, looking into P.E.I. from away.

It was also reprinted in The Guardian later in the week.


Here is the link to the 17 minute Island Morning Political Panel from Thursday, June 14th, 2018

featuring Paul MacNeill, Mary Lynn Kane, Dennis King and Roy Johnstone. One panelist toned down the partisan intensity for the most part -- maybe CBC realized the panel was turning away listeners -- but there is still room for improvement, as noticed by a wise person afterward: "defaulting to fallacious strategies rarely yields clarity, or truth."

The NDP needs to be included in these discussions, despite CBC's concern about space in their broadcast studio.

Now that the Green Party has significant portion of popular support, some people are asking (as in this Guardian op-ed on Saturday, June 16th) if the Party, forming government, would still support Proportional Representation. The Green Party of PEI's Core Values page here says: "Enthusiastic participation in the democratic process requires an electoral system in which every vote counts and results in a Legislature that reflects the diversity of political viewpoints of all citizens."


Regarding the referendum, PC Leader James Aylward reminds us that the selection, not just the approval, of the Referendum Commissioner needs to be more publicly discussed:

Aylward: Referendum Commissioner selection process needs to be public and transparent - Progressive Conservative of PEI website post

Published on Thursday, June 14, 2018

Opposition Leader James Aylward believes the process for selecting the Referendum Commissioner needs to be more public and transparent. "During the long debate over the government’s referendum bill it became clear one of the big issues was a question of trust about how fair the process would be. To try and address that I’m calling for the Legislative Management Committee to conduct the next step in the process in a more publicly transparent way, " said Aylward.

According to the referendum bill a Referendum Commissioner will be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Legislature upon recommendation from the all-party Legislative Management Committee. Aylward is calling for the position of Referendum Commissioner position to be publicly advertised through Engage PEI and for any Legislative Management Committee meetings to select the Referendum Commissioner to be open to the public. Aylward has also written the members of the Legislative Management Committee to recommend this course of action.

Legislative Management Committee meetings are typically held in camera behind closed doors. Aylward noted that the House of Commons Board of Internal Economy, which is the federal counterpart of PEI's Legislative Management Committee, has held all their meetings open to the public and webcasted since last June. Additionally, several provinces such as Newfoundland and British Columbia hold similar committee meetings publicly and broadcast the proceedings.

"The debate over the Referendum was a public process for all to see. The referendum itself will be a public process. The process for selecting the Referendum Commissioner should also be done openly and transparently for Islanders to have confidence that there’s a fair process in place. That’s why we’re making this call and we hope that the other committee members from the Liberals and Greens agree and support it too," said Aylward.


Happy Father's Day to those that fit the bill!

June 16, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open today in:

Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM; note that the summer Wednesdays begin this week on the 20th.

Summerside, 9AM-1PM

and opening today:

Cardigan Farmers' Market, 10AM-2PM, Old Train Station. Saturdays only until July, then Fridays, also. "Hot coffee and snacks for sale at the Polehouse, Breadworks rustic breads, Island cheeses, preserves and many other artisanal treats await."


Other events previously mentioned for today:

Cleaning at Lennon House, 12-5PM, North Rustico. Facebook event details

"Let Them Eat Cake!", 7-10PM, Haviland Club. Annual fund raiser for Rock Barra Artist Retreat. Facebook event details

Green Party Nominations in Summerside Area, 3-5PM, Wilmot Community Centre. D19 - Borden-Kinkora, D21 - Summerside-Wilmot, D22 - Summerside-South Drive, D23 - Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke

Facebook event details

The Habitat for Humanity "Jail and Bail" fundraiser continues until June 21st; the list of the good sports that are participating in being "jailed" for donations pledged by friends is here and include singer Irish Mythen, Gord McNeilly, and "Queen of the Fries" Caron Prins:

Habitat for Humanity PEI's 2018 "Jail and Bail" Fundraiser List


Two letters on worrisome conditions in our natural world, from Islanders who have observed conditions for some time and care deeply about this Island:

Garth Staples talks about water conservation, published on Friday, June 15th, 2018, in The Guardian.


LETTER: Practical solutions - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Learning is important. Schools and universities play a significant role in the process. For too many years, society has been convinced that is the only way to learn, to get a better job, to solve problems and to contribute to our communities. I believe people also learn by doing. Today, when a problem develops, too many people run to their computers and adopt solutions which may not work and in fact cost our communities dearly. Water has become a problem for farmers. No deep-water wells, no irrigation, no practical solutions. On P.E.I. millions of liters of rain fall on every acre of land annually. Much goes to rivers, thus to the ocean to cause problems there.

Charlottetown and other municipalities contribute to the problem. The volume of water running from the roofs of large buildings, houses, driveways, streets, and massive parking lots is enormous. Where does it go? It goes to the ocean via systems which have cost millions.

Some possible answers to this waste are simple, practical and less expensive than the taxes required to pay for some grandiose suggestions to date. Farmers could build ponds using water diverted from houses, barns, warehouses, factories, and machine sheds and used for washing potatoes, watering cattle and irrigation on a timely basis.

Cities and towns can devise a plan to divert water collected in the same way to high end users, car washes, parks, sports fields and community gardens. Malls with huge paved lots have opportunities to collect and become self-sustaining.

Garth E. Staples, Charlottetown


Tony Lloyd about something is completely wrong about the loss of some insects, published on Thursday, June 14th, 2018:


LETTER: Living world disappearing - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

A society of insect scientists and citizens in Krefeld, Germany and the Netherlands has trapped and collected flying insects from 1989 to 2016 in nature reserves. The society traps flying insects from March to October using Malaise traps which are always positioned in the same location and orientation.

The Malaise trap targets insects flying within one metre of the ground. The traps funnel the insects into bottles of alcohol. Once the bottles are collected, an estimate of the total insect weight called the insect biomass is made.

The insect society reports a 76 percent reduction in Germany’s flying insect biomass over 27 years. Many citizens reason that the die-off of insects is caused by herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, pesticides; further, the loss of insect's ecological services is an externalized cost of a false economy.

When you think back over the past you realize that insect strikes on the windshield of your car are fewer today. Thirty years ago, when people gassed up, they were always cleaning their windshield. Today, there are often no windshield bug strikes.

A researcher in Uruguay, where grasslands have been converted to industrial agriculture during the past 15 years, reports a loss of wildlife diversity plus a decline in insects, small birds and small mammals. Sixty percent of birds rely on insects as a food source. German researchers report a 15 percent decline in bird abundance in just over a decade. The living world is disappearing, dying, before our eyes, in our time.

Tony Lloyd, Mount Stewart

June 15, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Helping some good causes tomorrow:

Saturday, June 16th:

Cleaning at Lennon House, 12-5PM, North Rustico. Help tidy the place up or whatever else needs doing, as they get closer to opening the facility to help those suffering from additions. Any time welcome. Facebook event details

Let Them Eat Cake, 7-10PM, Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street, at corner of Water Street, Charlottetown. "An evening of art, music and delicious cakes, 'Let Them Eat Cake' is an annual fund raiser for Rock Barra Artist Retreat. Every year we invite some of the finest bakers on the island to whip up delicious cakes...including gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free options. Some are sinfully decadent and others like raw key lime, are filled with only wholesome healthy ingredients. And you get to try them all!" Facebook event details

Also tomorrow:

Green Party Nominations in Summerside, 3-5PM, Wilmot Community Centre. "Please join us as we nominate Green Party candidates in four districts: (D19 - Borden-Kinkora, D21 - Summerside-Wilmot, D22 - Summerside-South Drive,D23 - Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke)"

Facebook event details



United States Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Sonny Perdue will be on Island Morning after 8AM, and touring around part of the Island with Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay. Perdue is visiting Lawrence's farm, a lobster boat, and a potato farm.

Ag minister and secretary's tour details

Perdue is quite the supporter of industrial agriculture and the cheap food policy. And apparently not a supporter of the dairy supply management Canada has.

Medium's article on Sonny Perdue from last year

The U.K. Guardian's article from this week on dairy supply management in Canada, and the United States


A little more on transportation, from Harry Smith, who lives out my way, from yesterday's (P.E.I.) Guardian:


LETTER: Solutions at hand for transportation - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Included in the new P.E.I. climate change plan is a discussion of the need to transition the transportation sector away from fossil fuels. Unfortunately, this discussion is not followed by any significant actions.

Incentives are routinely used to move behaviour in socially desired directions. Fossil fuels, for example, receive a worldwide subsidy of over $4 trillion a year. Until recently the consensus was that those incentives were vital to the growth and maintenance of our societies. Now, however, we understand that this energy source is poisoning us and our environment, and exacerbating worldwide disruptions.

This can be addressed by redirecting only a small amount of the lavish annual fossil fuel windfalls.

For ground transportation, we already have the solutions at hand. The only thing keeping us on our path to destruction is perceived price. Redirecting fossil fuel subsidy dollars can create a new set of incentives for nonpolluting private automobiles, school buses, city buses, commercial transportation, etc. One incentive should be a temporary tax rebate program for renewable-fueled vehicles. P.E.I. had such a program – simple and inexpensive. Re-funding that program would greatly increase the number of alternative fuel automobiles on the Island.

Like the U.S. rebates, the program should have limited life, terminating when a defined number of alternative fuel automobiles are in use on the Island. Other incentives can be tailored to other subsectors.

It will take dedication and a host of actions at every level of society to ameliorate this crisis. This is one.

Harry Smith, Bonshaw

June 14, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


CBC Radio Political Panel, after the 7:30AM news, weather and sports.

Fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity: Jail n' Bail (throughout the day), and BBQ, 11AM-3PM, Belvedere Golf Club. Keep tabs on social media for folks who have been "jailed" needing help via donations to Habitat. Kiwanis Club of Charlottetown is hosting the BBQ.

Facebook event details

Tonight, Summerside:

Poverty Reduction Public Community Conversation, 6:30-8:30PM, Community Connections, 701 Water Street, Summerside.

More information at Government website.

Green Drinks, 8-10PM, Doolys in Summerside, chat time with local Green Party members and party representatives. All welcome. Facebook event details.

Tonight, New Haven:

West River Amalgamation Proposal information meeting, 6-9PM, Kingston Legion on Route 9 at TCH. Concerned about meeting requirements under the Municipal Governance Act, five incorporated communities outside Cornwall (so, no unincorporated areas which would have to be approached to annex into the plan) surrounding the West River have obtained a consultant to report on the economic (and new provincial regulatory) reasons to amalgamate as a larger community. Some information -- and presumably public input -- to be share and to be taken up tonight. As a resident of Bonshaw, I know our council has said it will wait until a final report of recommendations from the consultants, Stantec (Fall at the earliest) has been issued and discussed, and will then have a community vote on joining or not.


A small news item with HUGE impact on the Atlantic Region, as far as protection of the Gulf goes -- The Old Harry drilling project in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been suspended.

from Tuesday, June 12th, 2018: https://globalnews.ca/news/4268627/halifax-firm-suspends-old-harry-oil-exploration-in-gulf-of-st-lawrence/

Halifax-based Corridor Resources Inc. (TSX:CDH) says it has suspended exploratory work on the Old Harry project in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the foreseeable future.

In a news release issued Monday, the company says it has completed a geotechnical analysis and has determined that it wouldn’t be “prudent” to continue with additional capital spending, and as a result is suspending all further technical work and expenditures.

The Old Harry site is located about 80 kilometres off the southwest tip of Newfoundland in an area that straddles the Newfoundland and Labrador-Quebec border, and has been previously thought to hold significant oil and gas reserves.

But Corridor says its analysis has determined more complexity than previously suggested.

The company says it now believes the prospect could be more “gas prone than oil prone” and the overall quantities could be less than originally estimated.

Corridor says it has determined that a three-dimensional seismic survey should be conducted before an exploration well is drilled, and adds that it has been unable to attract a joint venture partner. --end--


Paul MacNeill's editorial on the recent CRA poll and his take on what it means for the political parties on P.E.I., in The Graphic publications, from yesterday:


Can Liberals find focus in poll slump? - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, June 13th, 2018, in The Graphic publications:

If provincial Liberals thought they could push through referendum legislation followed shortly thereafter by a snap fall election the quarterly CRA poll, which shows Liberal support in free fall and Premier Wade MacLauchlan’s personal support at historic lows, will kibosh the idea.

The cloud hanging over Team Liberal is dark, but opponents should not assume it is a guarantee the three term Liberal reign is over. Government is not required to hold a vote until the fall of 2019, so time is on its side. And while Liberal support dropped to 34 per cent, satisfaction with government remains above 50 per cent.

History shows that governments dip in polling conducted when the house is in session. It makes sense. This session has been particularly difficult for the Grits, staggered by a continuous string of self-inflicted wounds.

The spring session is abnormally long because Liberals believed they could ram through highly partisan referendum legislation. Both the Tories and Greens rightly pushed back, forcing government to back peddle.

Then there was the spectacle of two former cabinet ministers, Alan McIsaac and Allen Roach, tag teaming against a group of Montague Consolidated School students who researched and promoted making the red fox our provincial animal, an idea that even won the backing of a legislative committee.

And of course there was Richard Brown’s stubby middle finger jabbing the air in response to a cry of ‘Honour the Vote’. Pick your adjective: arrogant, disrespectful, childish, unprofessional. They all apply. Brown has yet to stand in the provincial legislature and offer a sincere apology that include the words ‘I’m sorry.’ His actions and lack of apology were all but condoned by the premier.

Waiting in the wings is the Green Party, which lacks the money and ground game of the Liberals. But it is catching up, especially on the latter. It is the only party that can boast public enthusiasm. The Greens will have no problem recruiting quality candidates, lured by leader Peter Bevan-Baker’s growing coattails. Their significant disadvantage in spending could be offset if Islanders’ frustration with old school politics translates into default votes at the ballot box.

While Conservatives jumped 11 per cent, its 28 per cent standing only equals where it stood last November with an interim leader. The jury is still out as to whether James Aylward is capable of convincing Islanders he is a leader with core beliefs or simply a pliable mishmash depending on which way the political winds blow.

The CRA poll does offer Liberals an opportunity to fine-tune a communication strategy that focuses more on ordinary Islanders and those in need than simply boasting about GDP growth and an economy on a ‘tear’.

Our economy is performing well. Lobster catches are on record pace, although the price to fishermen is lower than to be expected given expanding markets. Home construction is gangbusters. A major bond rating agency offered a glowing analysis of the state of the Island economy. But it is important to remember not everyone is feeling the love. We still have by far the lowest wages in the country. The unemployment rate is still stubbornly high despite a significant dip to 9.3 per cent in May. Government introduced major changes to social assistance payments that will offer recipients increased dignity and opportunity by allowing them to earn more and keep more. It’s good public policy.

In fact there is a lot of good news. But the MacLauchlan government must make its messaging less about analytics or the minutiae of the economy and more about people. Whether government is able to change what has been effectively been a failure to communicate, combined with too often unnecessary partisanship, may decide its electoral fortunes. Liberals have a window to convince Islanders they can change their spots and stem a growing tide of inevitability that the Island’s political environment is undergoing a sea change.

If they can’t, frustrated Islanders will ensure some form of the inevitable occurs come election day.

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

June 13, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


In Vernon River:

Progressive Conservative District 2 (Georgetown-Pownal) Nomination Meeting, 7:30-9:30PM,

Vernon River Hall. Presumably, Steven Myers is reoffering for the PCs in the redrawn District.

(If you are unsure of the boundaries of District 2 in the next election (since its boundaries are some of the more changed than others in this new reckoning which will be in effect for the next provincial election), all the maps are here:

Elections PEI District Maps for next provincial election)

In Lennox Island:

Movie Screenings: Mohawk Girls by Tracey Deer (2005), and Boxed In by Shane Belcourt (2009), 6PM, John J. Sark Memorial School, Lennox Island, free. Sponsored by the APTN and NFB, in collaboration with the Aboriginal Women's Association of PEI and the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI

"... director Tracey Deer takes us inside the lives of three teenagers as they tackle the same issues of identity, culture and family she faced a decade earlier... Deeply emotional yet unsentimental, Mohawk Girls reveals the hope, despair, heartache and promise of growing up Indigenous at the beginning of the 21st century.

In this short 4-minute film (Boxed in), a young woman of mixed ancestry struggles with an Equal Opportunity Form that requires her to respond to the dilemma: Ethnicity - Choose One."

The screenings are followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Tracy Deer. from Facebook event details

In Cornwall:

Public Information Session: Renewable Groundwater Notes, 6-7PM, Cornwall Town Hall, free and refreshments provided. Community member Ron Bourdon will present his extensive web-based research on Prince Edward Island's Groundwater availability.

Facebook event details

In O'Leary:

Poverty Reduction Public Community Conversations, 6:30-8:30PM, Community Centre (Fire Hall, 18 Community Street)

(The final one is tomorrow in Summerside)

More information at Government website.


Next week:

Thursday June 21st:

Presentation on Climate Change Impacts and How we Can Adapt, 7PM, North Shore Community Centre, 2120 Covehead Road, Rte #25. Presented by the Friends of Covehead Brackley Bay Watershed and the

Rural Municipality of North Shore.

Peter Nishimura (Climate Change Adaptation Policy Advisor) will offer an illustrated presentation on climate changes such as sea level rise, warming temperatures, altered precipitation patterns and their local effects on land, water, coastal erosion etc. and how we could deal with them in the long term.

Cindy Crane (Surface Water Biologist) will focus on sediment and nutrients as the key issues affecting water quality and the aquatic environment. She will then address factors in making sustainable choices for the protection or improvement of our changing environment. Question period and open discussion to follow.


As you have already heard, there won't be any sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature this afternoon since it closed last night. The Electoral System Referendum Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (and a few others) were the last bills passed yesterday, and the usual closing ceremonies happened with the gracious Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry presiding. As she walked out, Transportation Minister Paula Biggar shouted her usual "Call the Hour" as a jest, and after Speaker Buck Watts returned and gave heartfelt thanks to many at the end, the always-ready Robert Henderson festooned the government side of the Chamber with ripped up paper, joined in by Justice Minister Jordan Brown, Richard Brown, Pat Murphy, J. Alan McIsaac, and Chris Palmer. Fortunately for those workers there late to clean up, it appears that all the other MLAs did not participate in this ritual. Pleasant handshakes and some hugs ended the evening on the video archives, which you can watch here:



Kerry Campbell has a nice synopsis of the sitting here and quoted in red:

CBC News story on Legislature closing

After 39 days of debate, the spring 2018 sitting of the P.E.I. legislature came to a close Tuesday night after government passed a controversial bill paving the way for a referendum on electoral reform.

Debate on the bill ranged over nine sitting days, with government passing 17 amendments to its own bill, and opposition parties introducing even more.

That drawn-out debate made the sitting the longest the provincial legislature has had since 1999, when Pat Binns was premier. That spring the house also sat 39 days.

Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker had raised concerns the bill might not withstand a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. His concerns were based on what he called "draconian" limits on free speech in the form of advertising spending limits and wording which might have restricted what the media were able to publish in the lead-up to the referendum.

In the final bill those spending limits were doubled from $500 to $1,000 and restrictions on the media were loosened, but both the Greens and PCs still voted against the amended bill.

Government also passed legislation to pave the way for legalized marijuana, along with a bill to bring the province's four largest municipalities and post-secondary institutions under its freedom of information regime.

The MacLauchlan government also reversed course — for a second time — on election finance reform, passing legislation to cap annual donations to political parties at $3,000 for individuals while banning corporate and union donations. The province previously had no limits on donations. Money raised by political parties which came in before the end of the sitting was to be exempted from the new limits.

A number of private members bills passed, including one from Liberal backbench MLA Allen Roach which could make P.E.I. the first province to ban single-use plastic shopping.

The Opposition PCs were able to pass their own bills, one which will provide paid leave for victims of sexual violence, another which will allow members of the public to sit on the board of the Crown lending agency Island Investment Development Inc.

Independent MLA Bush Dumville also passed a private members bill to have the red fox declared as the animal emblem of P.E.I., though it led to one of the more remarkable debates of the sitting, as Liberal MLA Alan McIsaac argued at length the distinction should be given to the Holstein cow.

The fox vs. cow debate became contentious because the original proposal to go with the red fox was made by a group of schoolkids. McIsaac admitted that in arguing at length for the Holstein he took "a little bit of a shot" at his former caucus colleague Dumville, who left the Liberal party before the sitting began.

With speculation around a possible election in the fall, there is the possibility the current legislative assembly might not meet again. The last provincial election was held May 4, 2015.

The province's fixed election date in legislation is set for the fall of 2019, but with a federal election also scheduled for that time, P.E.I.'s legislated date would switch to April 2020. Under repeated questioning during the sitting, the premier would not commit to holding an election on the legislated date.

However, thanks to one of the measures in the Electoral System Referendum Act, Islanders will get a heads-up that an election is coming whenever cabinet enacts the start of the period for the referendum. That will mean an election is to be held sometime within the next eight months. -- Kerry Campbell, CBC News online

The print edition of The Guardian is now wrapped up sooner (since it's published off-Island, now, I think), so no coverage of the 9:10PM closing of the Legislature in the paper copy today; this doesn't help make print journalism more relevant. You can find the "update" on-line:

On-line Guardian coverage


"People's participation is the essence of good governance."

--Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

June 12, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature resumes sitting today, from 2-5PM and 7-9PM. You can watch via the internet, from the link at the Legislative Assembly website, on Eastlink, or attend in person in the Gallery.

Tonight and this week:

Poverty Reduction Public Community Conversations, all 6:30-8:30PM:

Tuesday, June 12th: Charlottetown, Murphy’s Community Centre, Room 207

Wednesday, June 13th: O'Leary, Community Centre (Fire Hall, 18 Community Street)

Thursday, June 14th: Summerside, Community Connections, 701 Water Street.

More information at Government website.

Thursday, June 14th:

Fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity: Jail n' Bail (through the day), and BBQ, 11AM-3PM, Belvedere Golf Club, 1 Greens View Dr. in Charlottetown, all welcome. People you may know have agreed to be "jailed" and have their sad selves photographed and shared on social media, for their friends to take pity and pledge money to the cause to get them out. Since these events often happen on regular weekdays, there have been times that only a few of the jailed people's friends actually realized what was going on.

Kiwanis Club of Charlottetown is hosting a BBQ from 11AM-3PM for additional revenue for Habitat.

Facebook event details


In the Legislature today, there should be a Question Period and various statements, but the major piece of business will be the inexorable march through the Electoral System Referendum Act, Bill No. 38, and all its amazing technicolour amendments (just kidding, they're rather drab). The evening session may be Opposition time; it's assumed once the government majority allows discussion against but then passes its amendments and the entire Bill, the Legislature will send word to the Lieutenant Governor, complete all the end-of-session paperwork and traditions, and close until Fall.


On the federal side of things, Bill C-69, An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (that is its real title!) continues through Second Reading in the House of Commons as of yesterday.

Open Parliament website on this Bill

More information from "LegisInfo"

(LegisInfo is a legislation research site, a "collaborative effort of the Senate, the House of Commons and the Library of Parliament."

Gretchen Fitzgerald at the Sierra Club of Canada wrote some critical thoughts about the proposed Bill earlier this year.


David Suzuki Foundation invites you to join "Charged Up!", the community network for all those interested in renewable energy:

"Charged Up is about people power — people coming together in their communities to invest in a low-carbon economy.

We’re inspired by the people who are leading on renewables and making a difference in towns, cities and rural areas.

Do you want to learn how to get involved in the renewable energy movement? Want to join a local solar co-op or even start your own? Interested in connecting with leaders in your community on everything from wind energy to electric vehicles? Maybe you’re already a community leader and are looking for help to overcome technical or policy obstacles.

No matter what your experience with renewable energy, we’re here to connect the dots so you can help get Canada charged up with renewables."

Link to sign-up:


"How you imagine the world determines how you live in it."

--David Suzuki

June 11, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Event today:

Book Launch: Living Lightly on the Earth: Building an Ark for PEI, 7:30-9:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, 2 Kent Street. All welcome.

Ole Hammarlund writes: "Please join us for a free public lecture by author Steven Mannell as he recounts stories from the design and construction of the Ark for Prince Edward Island, a bio-shelter that '[wove] together the sun, wind, biology and architecture for the benefit of humanity,' integrating ecological design features to provide a self-reliant life for a family. The lecture will be followed by a book signing and reception."


Wednesday, June 13th:

Movie Screenings: Mohawk Girls by Tracey Deer (2005), and Boxed In by Shane Belcourt (2009), 6PM, John J. Sark Memorial School, Lennox Island, free. Sponsored by the APTN and NFB, in collaboration with the Aboriginal Women's Association of PEI and the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI

"With insight, humour and compassion, Mohawk Girls director Tracey Deer takes us inside the lives of three teenagers as they tackle the same issues of identity, culture and family she faced a decade earlier. Like her, they are outspoken, honest and wise beyond their years. Deeply emotional yet unsentimental, Mohawk Girls reveals the hope, despair, heartache and promise of growing up Indigenous at the beginning of the 21st century.

In this short 4-minute film (Boxed in), a young woman of mixed ancestry struggles with an Equal Opportunity Form that requires her to respond to the dilemma: Ethnicity - Choose One. The screenings are followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Tracy Deer. from Facebook event details

Wednesday, June 13th:

Public Information Session: Renewable Groundwater Notes, 6-7PM, Cornwall Town Hall, free and refreshments provided. Community member Ron Bourdon will present his extensive web-based research on Prince Edward Island's Groundwater availability. "...(A) Cornwall community member with a background in educational counselling and agriculture, he has focused his research on PEI's groundwater and will be delivering the information he has deduced in a way the community can understand with this 1 hour public event titled 'Renewable Water Notes'. Ron has some perhaps very telling information about our groundwater's future that you may never know otherwise. He has put together around 160 pages of notes on the subject and he hopes to share it with you." from

Facebook event details

I haven't heard anything more about this talk besides the events listing, but it sounds interesting.


Ole Hammarlund submitted this Opinion Piece on a new, but old, way of revitalizing at rural communities.


OPINION: Rural revival - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Ole Hammarlund

published on Monday, May 29th, 2018 in The Guardian

illustration submitted with the opinion piece

Can we design villages that preserve farmland and offer some of the social and business support systems found in cities?

The past governments’ approach to rural revival has been very piecemeal and ineffective: small industrial malls or parks, the occasional seniors home, help to a community center or, lately, a roundabout.

Meanwhile the rural areas are being depopulated due to farms getting bigger, people choosing to shop in malls, government closing local schools or killing a small village with a highway widening.

Clearly a different and more comprehensive solution is required, a solution that centers on providing a living environment that compares favorably to living in a city. Rural living actually appeals to a lot of people judging from the many bungalows now bordering our rural highways and using valuable farmland.

What if we could design a community that preserved farmland and offered the best of rural living along with some of the social and business support systems found in cities?

One possible solution is found among the many co-housing communities in Denmark and now getting popular in North America. They come in many varieties such as rural and urban, but common to all of them are shared facilities: in addition to self contained living units that usually include bedrooms and kitchens, there are extensive common facilities that include a common kitchen and dining room, workshops of all kinds and recreational facilities for children and adults. Ownership models vary but usually residents own their home and the facility is governed like a co-op.

For rural P.E.I., a major concern is to leave most of the land available for agriculture, so we want the buildings to be close together, like in Victoria-by-the-Sea or even closer like downtown Charlottetown. The agriculture on the open fields surrounding the community will of course have to be pesticide free so that residents can live a healthy life. Common facilities should allow for residents to have a local business, such as a furniture shop or ceramic studio and the kitchen would be licensed so residents could process locally produced crops such as berries, into jams or pies for sale. There would be a fiber-optic connection for fast internet, allowing other residents to work from home and energy could be supplied by a jointly owned windmill and/or solar collectors, maybe with a wood fired joint heating system back-up. The common rooms could serve as a local daycare, home school or special care facility offering additional local employment opportunities and a jointly owned van could ferry people to town when needed.

One or more of the residents could be farmers tilling the land surrounding the “village.” The farming aspect could also be delegated to Amish or other farmers who are already committed to non-chemical farming. The land would be protected against further development and high taxes. Local production of staples like vegetables, eggs, milk and meat would find a ready market right in the community.

Depending on the size of the community, which could range from 50 to 500 people, there could even be a resident nurse practitioner or other health service available to the surrounding community. The mix of people could include seniors and singles as well as people benefiting from support of a close community. Location could be an old expanded farmstead or one of the numerous communities that have been dying a quiet death during the recent decades. The point is that we need more than just economic opportunities and more housing. We need it all to work together for a sustainable.

This is what we need in rural area communities. Not more bureaucracy and forced amalgamation.

Ole Hammarlund is an architect who has designed many housing co-ops and seniors homes on P.E.I. He can be reached at olehammarlund@gmail.com.


If you have 15 minutes, or just time to read the transcript, this is the author Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything, The Shock Doctrine), in a TED Talk from last September. Below is the description of her talk.


TED Talk: Naomi Klein -- "How Shocking Events Can Spark Positive Change"

Things are pretty shocking out there right now -- record-breaking storms, deadly terror attacks, thousands of migrants disappearing beneath the waves and openly supremacist movements rising. Are we responding with the urgency that these overlapping crises demand from us? Journalist and activist Naomi Klein studies how governments use large-scale shocks to push societies backward. She shares a few propositions from "The Leap" -- a manifesto she wrote alongside indigenous elders, climate change activists, union leaders and others from different backgrounds -- which envisions a world after we've already made the transition to a clean economy and a much fairer society. "The shocking events that fill us with dread today can transform us, and they can transform the world for the better," Klein says. "But first we need to picture the world that we're fighting for. And we have to dream it up together."

Here is Peter Bevan-Baker's touching tribute to Bonshaw resident and Island champion Harry Baglole, from Peter's "Member's Statement" in the P.E.I. Legislature last week, four minutes long.


And I truly don't mean to trivialize Harry's death with a quote by a fictional (though esteemed) wizard, but it came to my mind with smiley tears during the lovely cerebration of his life last week, which he of course had a had in planning.

"After all, to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure."

-- Albus Dumbledore (J. K. Rowling character), Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, 1997

June 10, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Note that there was not a Citizens' Alliance News yesterday, as I was in transit.

Events Today,

Sunday, June 10th:

Hands-on farming workshop at Hope River Farm, 12noon - 4PM (carpool to meet at Farm Centre in Charlottetown, or meet at the farm at 1PM). "Help out a hard working small farmer, learn about sustainable farming, meet some of the farm animals, learn about raised beds and we will install an irrigation system. It is always a delight to be on Nancy's farm. Organized by the Food Exchange - empowering people to improve food security for themselves and their community through gleaning, growing food and education....Dress for the weather. Bring a shovel if you have one".

**This may be postponed due to rain -- check on their Facebook page or the event listing.**

Talk: Acadian Forests and their Inhabitants at Risk, with Bob Bancroft, 2-3:30PM, Macphail Woods Ecological Centre, Orwell. Free but donations accepted. "We are thrilled that Bob is coming over again from Nova Scotia. The well-known CBC Radio Noon guest and advocate for nature will explore how forests across the region are being clearcut and the dependent species are being threatened. Bob will offer insights into how we can protect and enhance our forests and what individuals – whether woodlot owners or concerned citizens – can do to stem the tide of destruction."

Presentation and Discussion: "Another Type of Gold: Analyzing Canadian Mining in the DR", 2-4PM, Our Lady of Assumption Church, Stratford. "The Latin American Mission Program (LAMP) invites all to a presentation and dialogue on Canadian Gold Mining in the Dominican Republic. Canadian and Western companies have a long, violent history of extracting natural resources from the Caribbean and Central America without regard for the families living in these communities, nor the environment surrounding them. The latest chapter of this tragedy comes from Vancouver-based GoldQuest, who is exploring land to mine in the San Juan province.

Join us for a presentation from Ryan MacRae, a missionary currently in the Dominican Republic, as well as up-to-date information from Eddie Cormier and Maureen Larkin on Canadian Mining operations in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala.

Rather than monetizing natural resources, let's explore ways to treat the environment - and those living within it - like gold.

This presentation will be part of LAMP's Annual General Meeting."

Choral performance: Luminous Ensemble --Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem, 2:30-4PM, St. Paul's Anglican Church, Church Street, Charlottetown. Costs, tickets at the door. "This extraordinary work is one of the most important in the choral repertoire. Join us to experience a composition so exceptional that it cemented its creator as one of the "3 B's" of Western music history -- along with Bach and Beethoven. Presented here in Brahms' own version for piano and chamber choir, this is an opportunity to experience a choral tour de force in a most intimate setting." With soprano Shannon Scales, baritone Parker Clement, and pianists Stephanie Cole and Jacqueline Sorensen Young.


Deja vu

My flight path leaving Charlottetown last week to visit family went over the Cornwall bypass, and the extensive excavated lines, so short of a distance from existing roads, with so much destruction of farmland and woods, reminded me keenly of seeing the Plan B highway path five years ago from above. (From that flight came this three-minute YouTube video "Flight Over Plan B -- November 2012")

Larry Jones, the architect of the Hughes Jones Centre, wrote in a blog this week about his thoughts regarding the current Cornwall Bypass project, and the Centre, his and his daughter Ellen Jones' work:


The Death & Birth of an Idea - Medium.com article by Larry Jones

Published on Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

It’s been an interesting process watching an Idea be demolished, placed in dumpsters and hauled away. Emotionally sickening at several levels and oddly instructive about current political affairs.

The Idea was one developed by my daughter to help people, of all ages, genders and ethnicities deal with the traumas and dramas of modern relationships. The Idea incorporated animals (horses, dogs, cattle) and interaction with people. In many ways it is a very simple idea that has been utilized for thousands of years but never quite been scientifically studied. Many people recognize the benefits with dogs & cats as they are part of many households. Farmers know there is a peace that comes in working with animals that is not found in our large human communities. My daughter learned how to tap into that peacefulness and she taught others. It not only has curative power but is also preventative.

The Idea also incorporated the concept espoused by Bill Strickland that Environment builds Behaviour. The farm and buildings that housed the Idea were designed to support the program and it worked.

Politics; however, don’t operate at a contemplative level, nor do politicians understand the benefits of preventing illness, they would sooner treat the symptoms. Also, traditional Canadian politics are about adversarial confrontation. About besting your opponent so you and your party get elected in the next vote. Trumpian politics are even worse because helping people has become a sign of weakness and bullying is now de-rigour for leaders and governments.

So, it is on PEI, where building a highway becomes a financial bonanza because federal funding covers half the cost, the local taxpayer the other half and the benefits accrue to a construction company. Even though the provincial government is in debt so deep there is no salvation, politicians spend more money to build a highway. Criticizing is dismissed as silliness and political power is exercised. At some point in this tragedy, common sense and imagination were lost and highway engineers went to work and designed a roadway without regard for the environment, the people or the long-term implications, only cost was a factor.

Don’t get me wrong, roads are important infrastructure in modern society. But more important is protecting our environment, our communities and our land. None of this can be retrieved once lost therefore we must proceed with care and thoughtfulness before making decisions affecting future generations. The road could have been designed differently, the route could have been adjusted to avoid active agricultural farmlands, the route could also have been adjusted to avoid dividing the community. It may have been more expensive but this kind of road lasts over 100 years and impacts forever. Politicians and engineers chose not to do this for financial reasons only, consideration of community, environment or agriculture were not relevant.

In the way of all this road building was the Idea. A farm property designed and built for helping people. The Idea didn’t make financial sense but it helped people, especially girls and women. It was a place of safety, of peace and where help was always available. We were told the Idea didn’t have any value because it didn’t make money. No one would listen to the concept that value is not only about money. Values that are truly important are the one’s that don’t relate to money — values like caring, like honesty, like truth. These are real and lasting values and these were the values incorporated into the Idea.

The buildings fell this morning to the bulldozers. It is bittersweet because the buildings were designed and built to be a place of comfort, now they are gone and a roadway is taking their place (cue Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi). The silver lining to this tragedy is that my daughter is living proof of the lesson of values and not the economic kind. She has not lost the Idea but is growing it into a new and perhaps more important concept to help those of us that have forgotten about real morals. The moral values of helping our neighbours, of caring for our people and for thinking about the long-term effects of our actions, not just as defined by the next election cycle.

This gives me hope that a younger generation will rise up to counter the vitriol and self-serving hegemony being expressed by some media and politicians. It gives me hope that the Idea was not bulldozed because it is much stronger than a physical building. People who matter know this and will embrace it, others who can’t see true value are fearful of it.

As an architect this has been an astounding journey and I am learning more about human character and the importance of sustainable values than I ever learned in school or university. -- Larry Jone

June 8, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today, Friday, June 8th:

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-1PM.

Legislative Assembly video link

(apologies if the links do nor work)


Saturday, June 9th:

PC District 8 and 9 BBQ, 3-5PM, Malcolm Darrach Community Centre, 1 Avonlea Drive. Darren Creamer (D8) and Sarah Stewart-Clark (D9) are offering.

Facebook event details

NDP Potluck, 5-8PM, Bonshw Community Centre, 25 Green Road, all welcome, Joe Byrne and others with great food, conversation and music. Facebook event details


Here are some things that happened in the last day or two while the Electoral System Referendum Act, Bill No. 38, was debated:

Early Thursday morning, a pipeline exploded in near Moundsville, West Virginia, a TransCanada Columbia gas transmission pipeline. Bill McKibbon of 350.org , tweeted:

"The pipeline that exploded in WVA today? When Transcanada put it in service Jan. 1, it said 'This is truly a best-in-class pipeline and we look forward to many years of safe, reliable, and efficient operation on behalf of our customers.' ”

It was actually called the "LeachXPress" and carried shale gas from the Marcellus shale beds to the southeast U.S. More on the pipeline's opening from this West Virginia newspaper in January of this year:


The Senate passed the cannabis legislation. It appears a few new Independent Senators were appointed quite recently and showed up to vote; actions like this make the NDP's call to abolish the Senate seems worth listening to.

Story on the vote and new Senatores:


Even though Gerard Gallant and the Vegas Golden Knights didn't win the Stanley Cup last night, they had a fantastic inaugural year, and now the Mayor of Dauphin, Manitoba gets to come to Summerside as Mayor Bill Martin's guest. The Washington Capitols have been waiting 41 years for this, and it was nice to see the whole District of Columbia area be so excited about their hockey team.

Ontarians elected Doug Ford to a majority of seats in the Ontario legislature with 40% of the vote. Perhaps this is a walking billboard for Proportional Representation (PR). It appears politicians, parties and some voters would rather have all the pie every ten years or so, as opposed to a goodly share all the time. It may be unlikely that the Doug Ford government will rule as if they don't have 60% of voter support., and be more collaborative.

The Guelph region elected their first Green Party Member of Provincial Parliament, Mike Schreiner. Like Elizabeth May in Parliament, David Coon in New Brunswick and Peter Bevan-Baker, it'll be a long hard road but he'll be a voice of reason.


Yesterday, in the Annals of the Stewards of Democracy,

James Aylward, Leader of the Opposition, proposed a motion (No. 76) which would send the Electoral System Referendum Act Bill No. 38, back to the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal, to be worked on to bring back to the full Legislature. The Motion was seconded by Peter Bevan-Baker. Though Aylward later added that he would like to see consensus government given a fuller assessment at these Special Committee hearings and added to the Referendum Question, the point was that both Opposition Parties and the Independent Member Bush Dumville all agreed that the Bill is too messed up to piece together and put into action. Souris-Elmira PC MLA Colin LaVie spoke to it, pleading from his heart for the government to be reasonable and get this bill off the floor. It's unfortunate that the MLA still feels that Mixed Member Proportional Representation is too confusing to be used. There was also some indication that while PR may be used in a lot of places, that was true of Consensus and First Past the Post. This is not completely accurate if you are looking at states/provinces/countries in most "modern" democracies.

For the governing party, both Chris Palmer, always ready to jump right in, and Pat Murphy, spoke briefly, and I honestly can't recall a single thing either said.

The Motion was defeated, and as the rest of the afternoon was for Motions Other Than Government, Al Roach's Plastic Bag Reduction Act was finally passed, with the immediate unanimously Motion (No. 77) moved by Georgetown-St. Peter's MLA Steven Myers to have the Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environement work on additional measures to cut plastic use and increase recycling.

Bevan-Baker reminded the House that while we should feel good about this, there is much to do to improve the environment.

The last few minutes of the afternoon was a bit more from Peter Bevan-Baker on the Third Party's "Seeking Improved Governance" Motion 73, and then the House adjourned for supper. The Evening session (which I didn't see much of but heard reports) was more tedious.

"Going Through the Motions" as Kevin J. Arsenault sad/humorously labled it from yesterday is found on his link, here is an excerpt below:



We're all familiar with the saying, “The writing's on the wall”. Well, that particular saying aptly captures the current government's dogged intention to feign as much patience needed to drag the entire legislative assembly through a month of so-called "debate" on the referendum Bill - plodding relentlessly, clause by clause - listening intently to every comment and/or amendment brought forth by the opposition MLAs like they really care; then, when they're all done going through those unfeeling, robotic motions, whipping the caucus vote and dismissing each and every one of those really good and important ideas and Motions like they never existed. Poof!

In the end, they'll have successfully reached their goal: a referen-dumb Bill full of most of the same internal inconsistencies and flaws they started out with, and it'll only take a month of our short Island summer to accomplish.

The “writing's on the wall” with this Bill for sure, although it's writing that will have to methodically endure amendment, after amendment, after amendment...dozens of them. But not to worry: it will be accomplished. The Liberal government has set itself to the task of literally, “going through the Motions," as it goes through the motions. And what happened today in the House established the precedent - the "genesis template" you might say - for what we can expect to see each and every additional day of this sitting until the Emperor finally gets his new cloths...uh....I mean Bill.- Kevin J. Arsenault, June 7th, 2018


June 7, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM.



Bluefin, the movie by John Hopkins, is being screened in Halifax.

Sunday, June 10th:

Bob Bancroft at Macphail Woods, 2-3:30PM, Orwell. The noted naturalist will talk about the Acadian Forest and the pressures faced. Always an engaging speaker. Free but donations accepted.


Yesterday, serious concerns about the air quality were raised in the Legislature by Progressive Conservative leader James Aylward, with a usual stonewall and defend strategy employed by the Transportation and Infrastructure Minister to try to move the conversation on.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in a committee of the Whole House working on Bill No. 38, Electoral System Referendum Act. The Justice Minister brought copies of all the new amendments, and said they would pass them out as needed. It looks incredibly rushed and half-baked, despite the neat stacks of brown envelops and post-in notes.

My main points are:

The Liberals wrote a bill that was seriously flawed. They are trying to amend basically the whole thing due to public reaction (good work to all those talking about this), the unstitched mess is being pushed forward with haste and a total lack of interest by many MLAs, with notable exceptions Brad Trivers, Sidney MacEwen and Matt MacKay, Hannah Bell and Peter Bevan-Baker, who are working for our children, really, and the future of the Island. Richard Brown, Jordan Brown and the Premier, the troika of Stewards of Democracy, pledged yesterday to take an oath in a ceremony that they will Honour THIS Vote.

I am impressed by the calmness and persevereness of those asking questions, in the face of the Spring Session Farce, and am appreciative.

Now it may take as long to read as the Legislature talked aout Bill No. 38 yesterday ;-) but Kevin Arsenault spells out exactly what happened.

This is from Kevin Arsenault later yesterday:


WHY CAN'T LIBERAL LAWYERS UNDERSTAND LAW? - Facebook post by Kevin J. Arsenault

(The Liberal Art of "Crash & Burn" lawmaking in PEI)

[Legislative Assembly, Wednesday, June 6, 2018]

NOTE: Both the string of "clips" and my commentary are a little longer than usual today; but if you want to see how dysfunctional and flawed the current process is to enact a referendum Bill, take the time to read and watch.


Today's episode of the PEI Legislative Assembly was brought to you by the letter "eeeeeee" and the word "binding".

How Ironic that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice (Jordan Brown) and the Premier who is dubbed as a constitutional law expert (Wade MacLauchlan) had to be schooled by a dentist on the statutory meaning and significant legal consequences of one key word those two so-called "legal experts" have woven throughout the fabric of their flawed Referen-dumb Bill.

The law regarding parliamentary sovereignty states that a current government cannot pass legislation that “binds” a future government. That seems so straightforward and simple that it's truly mind-boggling that the Premier and Minister of Justice/Attorney General wasted half the afternoon refusing to accept this legal fact. They fought Peter Bevan-Baker tooth and nail (obviously forgetting that Peter is a dentist) with Peter steadfastly refusing to relent on his key point (I wouldn't have either); namely, that the government should abandon the pretense that the referendum is legally “binding” on a future government, and remove the words "bind" and “binding” from the draft legislation.

Despite not having a legal leg to stand on, Jordan and Wade pontificated with their now familiar and patronizing slow, passively-aggressive drawlin speaking style, and elaborate (but legally-senseless) arguments that, in the end, amounted to equating the word "binding" with a spittled handshake or a "we promise" oath (with hand-over-heart) from politicians, which they claimed was the essence of democracy in PEI and something Islanders fully understand. Right.

Peter's insistence that the words used in statutes should be interpreted based on the word's "meaning" was massively important, but trivialized and construed by Jordan as some kind of inappropriate hang-up with "technicalities," which he expressed as shock that Peter Bevan-Baker couldn't see that politicians honouring their promises is equivalent to a statutory legal requirement here on lil ole PEI. "Bind" and "binding" would remain in the Bill (he declared with authority at one point)...because to remove them (even though they don't have the legal force of their own "meaning") would be to, as Brown put it, "water down" the Act. What an utterly ridiculous line of reasoning!

Hannah jumped in with some good reminders of what the Premier once said about a referendum not being able to "bind" a future government - which the premier seemed to acknowledge as something he did in fact say (how could he not, since she quoted him) but then muttered something about "clarity" and proceeded to fully defend the fallacious line of reasoning that was just presented by Jordan....which was so pathetic and weak, but also laughable, given the sorry track record of broken "promises" and dishonoured "words" the Premier is still dragging behind him from the last election.

The Premier argued that those elected are “bound” by their "word" and the promises they make to the electorate, suggesting that it would be fundamentally anti-democratic (and pretty despicable) to rely on “parliamentary sovereignty” to frustrate or ignore the will of the electorate [cue in Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror"}, which certainly made me gasp in disbelief, given the memory of the all-party debate on education just prior to the last election when Wade was presented with a “clear” question, in a "fair process," and provided a “clear” answer:

Moderator: “Do you support an elected English School Board?”

Wade: “Yes!”

Then Jordan Brown tried to make the case that new governments are bound to follow the “law of the land” as it exists when they come into power – until such time as they decide to change it, of course – so the law would be the outcome of the referendum. Sounds reasonable, right? Well it's not.

Peter matter-of-factly explained to these two law experts that the referendum result is not a “law".... it's just a referendum outcome, and the Bill before the house specifically states that the next government (following the election and referendum) will need to introduce legislation to create a LAW to put a new electoral system into effect (if that's the outcome of the referendum). That legislation will have to be drafted, debated, possibly amended in committee, and could, in fact, ultimately be defeated; and NONE of that would be contrary to the Bill, which proves Peter and Hannah's main point of today's debate: the legislation is not “binding”.

Indeed, the referendum Bill doesn't say that the legislation introduced by the next government MUST be passed. It can't. The architects of the Bill knew full-well that no statute of an existing government can “bind” a future government. Yet, despite being 100% correct on this point, Peter and Hannah were made to appear like trouble-makers by Jordan and Wade for insisting on statutory language that is accurate, clear and, more importantly, not designed to convey an idea that is false, e.g., that the use of the word “binding” actually means that the legislation is legally “binding”.

But alas! No amount of common sense could steer either the Premier or Jordan from abandoning their deceptive language. The manner in which Jordan wrapped up “debate” by saying that he and his fellow MLAs were prepared to “bind” themselves while Peter was free to do whatever he wished, was just more deception....attempting to make the Greens out to be somehow “against” "honouring the vote," when it was the Liberals who collectively gave the finger to the call to “honour the vote” in the House last time around (which Richard Brown later solemnized with an explicit, public act) and routinely ignored numerous promises they made “pre-election” once they were elected in 2015.

And to boot, Jordan introduced a raft of new amendments today - now totalling 27. It's what you might call the “jigsaw puzzle” method of creating legislation...dump a box of puzzle pieces in the middle of the table and start trying to piece them together - then half-way through the process, realize that someone inadvertently mixed puzzle pieces together from several different puzzles. What a mess. What a gong show! And how utterly senseless. If the Premier would just honour the fixed election date and send the Bill to the committee for emergency surgery, all would eventually be well. -- Kevin J. Arsenault


Pauline Howard is providing *excellent* observations , too, and posting them on the Citizens' Alliance Facebook page, with huge admiration and thanks.

If the inserted link doesn't work for the Citizens' Alliance Facebook group, here it is again:


June 6, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Thanks for your patience -- and all your comments -- about how MailChimp packages e-mails. So far I haven't figured out how to get them to be more "responsive" and fit on mobile devices, but will play around some more as time allows. I am also not sure why the text is coming out too small on some computers and too large for others, and why the logo can look weird.

But there is a lot going on in P.E.I. this week to share.


Today, Wednesday, June 6th:

The P.E.I. Legislature sits in the afternoon, from 2-5PM. You can watch in the Gallery, on Eastlink able, or on-line at the Legislative website -- not a real link below.



Mussels, Malt and Music in Cardigan, 6-8PM, Clamdiggers Restaurant, pay for your refreshment. #ChatLocal with Green MLAs Peter Bevan-Baker and Hannah Bell, plus Susan Hartley and other Shadow Cabinet critics.


As I am unable to be around to watch the Legislature this week, I am thankful for the sharp eyes and more-than-capable summary and commentary powers of Kevin J. Arsenault and others.

This is from Arsenault, this morning, but the link to the clips is only on Facebook on his page or the Citizens' Alliance group (thank you to those who posted it).


WADE'S MISGUIDED REFEREN-DUMB STRATEGY - Facebook post by Kevin J. Arsenault

[Legislative Assembly, Tuesday, June 5, 2018]

If there was ever a reason to scrap the political electoral system PEI has always known – First Past the Post (FPTP) – one has to look no further than what happened in the legislative assembly today with debate on Wade's referen-dumb bill.

While bending over backwards to appear “cooperative” and “reasonable,” spending hours listening to - and seemingly taking to heart suggestions from opposition MLAs on ways to improve the Bill - in the end, it's the same ole, same ole with legal, (but mathematically and morally illegitimate) majority governments: those recommendations contained in amendments are being voted down one after another in “whipped” votes.

At the same time, government MLAs will say they are taking the “best” of those opposition recommendations and amendments and are incorporating them into their own “new and improved” amendments. In fact, the promoter of the Bill, Hon. Jordan Brown, provided opposition MLAs with a whole “package” of new amendments to the Bill less than an hour before the House opened today. We can be sure those amendments will render the current amendments on the floor from opposition members - including a fundamental amendment proposed by the leader of the third party, Peter Bevan-Baker (which was on the floor when the house opened today) essentially an exercise in futility and frustration for the legislative process as they are gutted and discarded.

In the end, I'm sure Wade MacLauchlan and Jordan Brown will argue that debate on this bill was a truly collaborate and democratic process, when it was nothing of the kind. Those particular provisions within the Bill which are so anti-democratic and offensive - clearly designed to confuse issues and restrict the freedom of Islanders - are the very provisions opposition members want gone; but they're unfortunately the parts of the Bill government is bent on keeping in tact and even worsening. That became clear as a bell today. Brown repeatedly stated that he is not fundamentally opposed to the third Party's amendment being discussed today, but proceeded to vote it down with his whipped government colleagues anyway.

It's important that Islanders realize what exactly the government voted against today to understand how draconian and restrictive government's efforts really are to manipulate the entire process in which Islanders can consider, debate and ultimately decide the type of electoral system we will have in the future.

When all is said and done, the government will be able to say “this part came from Peter Bevan-Baker” or “this part came from “James Aylward” and they will be correct of course; but like Peter's excellent analogy of the house repairs – they'll conveniently not mention that the proposed roof has been left out of the picture and Islander's expectations of having a fully-democratic process are about to get all wet.

Today was a watershed moment for me in this debate: by voting down Peter's amendment – again, an amendment that was supported by the PC Party – the government has shown it's hand and immutable resolve to push forward with the oppressive and anti-democratic elements of the current Bill: the rest of the changes they will make will be largely cosmetic.

These two separate, but related, video clips from Peter speaking to his amendment today clarify in straight-forward terms the difference between how the government is presenting Peter's amendment in a totally misleading way, and the actual facts concerning the core issues and problems which Peter's amendment would address. The government wants to restrict debate for up to 8 months, creating an intimidating framework within which individuals could be fined for expressing their views and promoting them, especially if they pay for ads or work with others in organized ways; or newspapers could be fined for writing or promoting editorial views, etc.

The great deception by the government today was saying over and over that by having the period within the Act be the same as the election period – the time from the day the writ is dropped to election day – that would constitute a time-frame that was “too short” for debate on such an important issue, when the truth of the matter is that Peter's amendment would ensure a much longer, freer, less encumbered, and fuller debate by ensuring that the excessive “restrictions” outlined in the Act apply to the shortest time possible – namely, the period from the writ being dropped to the election.

What a shameful government we have which speaks incessantly about guaranteeing Islanders a “clear question” and a “fair process” with a “clear outcome” when the only thing "clear" is that they are "clearly" doing everything possible to muddy and confuse the entire process and intimidate Islanders with threats of serious fines, restrictive and complicated rules and processes concerning who can say or do what when, where and how.......all of which will have a massively “chilling” effect on what should be the free exercise of our most fundamental democratic freedoms and charter rights. Again...shame!

Why are they doing it? The only intelligent response is that they are hell-bent on doing everything they possibly can to make sure their beloved option of “first-past-the-post,” wins the day. -- Kevin J. Arsenault, Facebook posting, June 6th, 2018

CBC Story:


Can the public see the Amendments first mentioned late last week on CBC Radio (when Jordan Brown called Premier MacLauchlan and all "Stewards of Democracy"? No, I can't find them on the Legislative Assembly website so they must be "advanced" copies that the Opposition Parties are working from and discussion was about yesterday. Stewards of Democracy, indeed.

June 5, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM today. You can watch it here (crossing fingers that the link works):



Nature PEI monthly meeting, presentation on "Battle of the Crabs" about the invasive species green crabs, 7:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, free and all welcome.


Presumably, the Electoral Systems Referendum Act, Bill No. 38, is going to be the focus of the Legislature today; the florid and tattered document with its trailing government-moved amendments and the shadow of constitutional incompetence is, twenty months after the plebiscite, the best offering (along with dropping one evening session) of "democratic renewal".

Kevin J. Arsenault's "Wade's World" comic for today.

note the "Simpsons' Mr. Burns' hands"


Another visual:

A Tale of Two Referendums

Graphic shared by FairVote PEI

**Note that this is the based on the original Bill, not with any amendments.**


The Political panel on CBC Radio yesterday was lively -- though those with delicate constitutions may have preferred to eat breakfast without the commotion. Toward the end, panelist Dennis King mentioned about the Green Party having as many internet trolls as any other party, and he later clarified it on social media:

Dennis King, June 4th, 2018 on Facebook, reprinted with permission:

"Perhaps the word troll was not the most appropriate. In truth I’m not even sure I know what that term means. I am growing more afraid everyday that term is used to refer to those who may disagree with us...and that makes me sad. So forgive me please for using that term incorrectly on the radio this morning.

The point - which I evidently failed to make - was that each party has their loyal supporters who are quick to weigh in on political issues. The social media world allows those of us politically-aligned to more easily gravitate to one other and provides an instant platform for us to share our opinions. I hope we never fully lose our objectivity and our willingness to hear dissenting viewpoints.

As Peter Bevan-Baker himself knows, because I’ve told him many times, I admire what he has brought to the Legislature and to the public discourse. It’s refreshing and long overdue.

Though our system of government has allowed party colours to divide us far too often, there is much more that unities as Islanders!

That is my view and I’m sticking to it!"


Dennis supports a particular party (the Progressive Conservative) but is nearly unfailingly fair in his critique of that party and others.

Here is a petition to go to the House of Commons for Canadians opposed to the Kinder-Morgan pipeline buyout proposed by the Federal Liberal government.


The rally against the pipeline and demonstration at Charlottetown MP Sean Casey's office was well-attended and sent a message to him via his Charlottetown staff.

On CBC news it was reported that Sean Casey (in Ottawa) said he really has not heard much about the pipeline when he has been on doorsteps.

If he has not been on your doorstep recently, you can write or call him and tell him what you think:


(902) 566-7770

(Sean does seem to express his opinions even if they are not in lockstep with the Prime Minister's views, so he might appreciate hearing Islanders' views on this.)


The Celebration of Harry Baglole's life last night was a touching, tear and laughter filled time of music and story. A crowded place told the story of his many ideas and projects about "Islandness", and how many people he touched. I think Peter Bevan-Baker will pay tribute to him today or tomorrow in a Member's Statement after Greetings in the provincial Legislature, which will likely make many of us smile through our tears.


Thanks for bearing with a shift in e-mail technology for the time being. You may need to adjust your junk filters or add the <citizensalliancepei@gmail.com> address to your address book, if you are getting very dark banners about these messages being spam. :-)

June 4, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Thanks for your patience while I test on-the-road newsletter sending options.

Here is a cartoon from Wayne Wright in The Journal-Pioneer today:

cartoon of "NO or NO"


And I will test a link, of the Legislative Assembly website, of the documents "tabled by leave" last week:


and the specific document tabled to the Assembly,

of one of many Amendments to Bill No. 38, the Electoral Systems Referendum Act:

This Amendment, tabled on Tuesday May 29th, 2018, is from Minister Heath MacDonald and raises the limit an individual can spend to $1000 from $500 and the Advertisers to $125,000 each side.

It's kind of writing amendments on the fly -- not too confidence- building. Debate will probably resume tomorrow, Tuesday.

June 4, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Monday CBC Radio Political Panel, after the 7:30AM news and sports, 96.1FM. Roy Johnstone will join the others be around the table for a special Monday convening of the this partisan and dynamic discussion.

Before that (at 7:15?), it sounds like former MLA Cletus Dunn and another proponent of First Past the Post will be on CBC Radio. Someone will have to fill us in on a memory of Dunn and an electoral boundaries map.

No Kinder Morgan Pipeline, 4PM, Sean Casey's Office, 75 Fitzroy Street.

from the event noticed (edited)

"We acknowledge that this event will be taking place on unceeded Mi'kmaq territory.

The deal isn’t done yet – the sale of the Kinder Morgan pipeline won’t be finalized for at least a month. Let’s come together. Let’s be loud and tell the Trudeau government that we say NO to buying out Kinder Morgan!!

We will meet in front of Sean Casey’s office (75 Fitzroy street) and visit the staff (Sean’s in Ottawa) to present them with a blank cheque for Kinder Morgan on behalf of Islanders. Following this, we will converge at a TBD location for speakers, music, discussion, and education around the Kinder Morgan pipeline and what this will mean for Canada. <snip>

It's not too late, there's still time! Bring your signs, pots, pans, and voices to make some noise and keep the conversation going."

More details here.


A Celebration of Harry Baglole's life, 7PM, Spring Park United Church, (see Tribute, below)


This week:

Tuesday, June 5th:

Battle of the Crabs (Nature PEI presentation), 7:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Kent Street, free. "Learn more about the highly invasive green crab" and the effects it is having on our Island ecosystems, with PhD student Paula Tummo n Flynn. Facebook event details.

Wednesday, June 6th:

Mussels, Malt and Music in Cardigan, 6-8PM, Clamdiggers Restaurant, buy-your-food event. "#ChatLocal is an invitation to chat about issues and ideas with other engaged citizens in a casual setting. Sit down with Green MLAs Peter Bevan-Baker and Hannah Bell, Health & Wellness Critic Susan Hartley and Workforce & Advanced Learning Critic Trish Altass. Enjoy some tunes by local musician Andrea MacDonald.

Mussels optional!"


Belated felicitations for milestones yesterday on the third anniversary of the Wade MacLauchlan government's inaugural Speech from the Throne.

(Bold is mine )from the webpage of the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal:

In the speech from the throne delivered June 3, 2015, government included a commitment to "initiate and support a thorough and comprehensive examination of ways in which to strengthen our electoral system, our representation, and the role and functioning of the Legislative Assembly." As part of this process, government issued a White Paper on Democratic Renewal.

A five person Special Committee of the Legislative Assembly was created to guide public engagement and make recommendations in response to the White Paper on Democratic Renewal. This Special Committee consists of Jordan Brown (Charlottetown-Brighton) (Chair), Dr. Peter Bevan-Baker (Leader of the Third Party), Honourable Paula Biggar (Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy), Janice Sherry (Summerside-Wilmot), and Sidney MacEwen (Morell-Mermaid).

Since it began work studying electoral systems and consulting with Islanders on potential reforms, the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal has presented two reports to the Legislative Assembly.

The two reports are on the webpage link (above)


from David Weale, originally published on his Facebook page on Friday, June 1st, 2018, and in today's Guardian.

So Long Old Friend

by David Weale

My friend of almost seventy years, Harry Baglole, died this week, and it is difficult for me to get used to the idea that there will be no more visits to his ramshackle little house tucked in against the little hill in Bonshaw. No more boiled dinners with mustard pickles. No more talks about the Island. No more awkward hugs at the door upon leaving.

There are many things I could say about Harry, especially about the many ways he contributed to the enrichment of Island society. It’s a very long list, and I’m sure many of you will have read the fine tribute in today’s Guardian the made reference to all the wonderful causes he championed over the years.

In a word, Harry was a champion of the Island, and I can honestly say I know of no one more resolutely and indefatigably committed to the well-being of his beloved Island than he.

Yes, there are many things I could say about Harry, but the one thing I want to say is that he was absolutely relentless: relentless in his promotion and defense of those things he believed would create a strong and free society on this Island.

There were two things in particular about the Island that Harry cared about deeply.

The first was self-determination. He believed passionately that Islanders should never compromise themselves by making decisions or choosing options that eroded our ability to choose our own future and celebrate our own uniqueness. This conviction was at the heart of his actions as a founding member of the pro-Island advocacy group known as the Brothers and Sisters of Cornelius Howatt. And yet, those who knew Harry were very aware that he was not at all parochial or narrow in his insularity. His vision of the Island was universal in its reach.

For him the Island was a microcosm of the world.

The second great passion that motivated Harry was his love of the land. Son of a farmer, he possessed an instinctive aversion to those profane aspects of modernity that viewed the land merely as a resource to be exploited, rather than as the living fundament of a healthy rural culture.

In 1973 – forty-five years ago -- we wrote together:

“…it is important for the Government of Prince Edward Island to enact tight, decisive and drastic legislation which will successfully curtail the present trend toward foreign ownership and corporate or large scale commercial farming, and which will, simultaneously, be designed to encourage the preservation of the Island’s family farm tradition.” (Cornelius Howatt Superstar).

We didn’t know then what a long and difficult struggle that would be, but he never faltered. He was relentless about those things he cared about deeply, and I love and respect him for that.

And so, I say, “So long worthy comrade. It was a good fight we fought, and an interesting path we travelled together. And now that you have finished the course, I miss you.”


Cornelius Howatt: Superstar!, by Harry Baglole and David Weale.

June 3, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Sustainable Development Fair, 1-5PM, Jack Blanchard Centre (next to Holy Redeemer Church), Pond Street, Charlottetown. Hosted by St. Paul's Anglican Church.

from their website and a media release:

This no-charge afternoon will include informative displays and activities provided by multiple organizations which are devoted to sustainable development — doing things which accord with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the City of Charlottetown’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan, concerning environment, climate, poverty, education, decent work, clean energy, equality, innovative technology, healthy communities, social justice.

“If you care for our planet,” says Rev. John Clarke of St. Paul’s, “and want to learn more about doing your part to help end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, this event is for you.” He says, “it’s a great event for families, young and old. There will be give-aways, demonstrations of technology, theme-related children’s activities, refreshments, and other fun, family friendly activities.”

More details: https://sites.google.com/site/stpaulschurchsite/sustainable-development-fair

The "Global Goals" (Sustainable Development Goals) are visually represented here:


PEI Pops! Concert: From Broadway to Hollywood, 3-5PM, St. Paul's Anglican Church, Church Street, Charlottetown. Hosted by the PEI Pops and the Starthgartney Chamber Orchestra. "Music from Oklahoma, West Side Story, Chicago, Salute to the Big Bands, Star Wars, Jaws, Star Trek, Magnificent Seven, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Casablanca, Singin' in the Rain. Leo Marchildon, conductor. Free will offering."

Later on this month:

Thursday, June 21st:

Youth Day, in association with ACIC (Atlantic Council of International Co-operation) Symposium

"ACIC is organizing their annual symposium at the end of this month, including a Youth Day on June 21. ACIC’s 2018 symposium will tackle these questions through a focus on climate change, indigenous issues, structural inequalities associated with access to wealth and natural resources, and the necessity of exploring collaborative responses as one of ACIC’s main focus is on sustainable development. The Youth Day will focus on reconciliation with the indigenous peoples and promote different internships/programs that are available in Atlantic Canada. There are the information and registration links for both events if you would like more information."

Symposium: http://www.acicsymposium.org/

Youth Day: https://form.jotform.com/81344145806960

That evening will have the Keynote Address, by Sheila Watt-Cloutier; more information from UPEI:



A reminder of visitation and memorial for Harry Baglole:


Visiting hours, 2-4PM and 6-8PM, Belvedere Funeral Home.


Monday, June 4th:

A celebration of life filled with stories and music, 7PM, Spring Park United Church, Charlottetown, with a reception to follow.


Thursday afternoon in the P.E.I. Legislature, Opposition Environment Critic Brad Trivers brought back his Private Member's Bill to improve the Water Act Bill No. 115 An Act to Amend the Water Act with the appropriate names for the terms intergenerational equity, precautionary principle, etc., and adding more about conservation and greywater. It was defeated in the House. Some government members (including a Minister) appeared not to care what was in the bill - -they shouted "Nay" at every opportunity. Environment Minister Richard Brown dismissed it out of hand. That's too bad, as Trivers did his homework, researching and cobbling definitions that suit P.E.I. from scientific and other sources and checking with many people who offered help, including the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, the Green Party PEI, and and some individuals.

The time spent on it did lead to some slightly uninformed discussion around the room regarding organic soil matter (which Peter Bevan-Baker tried to correct), and on greywater from industrial or commercial purposes. At one point Minister R. Brown said he would arrange a meeting with Robert Irving so they could talk - he was misrepresenting his fellow MLAs Matt MacKay and Jamie Fox and they caught him on it and it led to some desk-pounding from MacKay.) (See below)

Status of the Regulations and public consultations: This also came up with the discussion. Former Minister Robert Mitchell believes the regulations should be brought all over the Island by the Environment Minister for public input. But he knows each minister has his or her own ideas. The term that something happens "...at the Minister's Discretion" was a term that many in the Water Coalition strenuously objected to; for it works OK if you have an enlightened and bold Minister, but not so well if you don't. Current Environment Minister Richard Brown (this was the same afternoon he admitted to making a rude gesture to the person who shouted "Honour the Vote!" in 2016) said the wonderful, knowledgeable people in the water division where finishing up regulations and then they would go to the Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment and then be ready to implement. This is about the third completely different thing we have heard from Minister R. Brown about the regulations. By the end of the afternoon, it sounded like Brown was saying maybe the Standing Committee would like to host public meetings in a few places on the proposed regulations.

Kevin J. Arsenault compiled the video clips from the part of the Legislature and wrote his own very accurate account of the Act to Amend the Water Act episode, here (let me know if you cannot access it):



(perhaps read this with environmental and not simply political colours :-)

"No water, no life. No blue, no green."

--Scientist Sylvia Earle, (b. 1935), founder of Mission Blue, which works to establish Marine Protected Areas

June 2, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


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

Workshop and Walk: Plants of PEI with Kate MacQuarrie, 10AM-12noon, Macphail Woods, Orwell. Dress for rain and bugs, but worth it. Free but donations accepted.

Spring Social With Peter (Bevan-Baker), 7-9PM, Canoe Cove School, conversation, music, snacks. Free, all welcome.



Yesterday the P.E.I. Legislature sat in the morning, the Opposition questioned about PNP and about apparent favoritism in road repair work, some housekeeping bills were worked on, and there was a continued big discussion on the government's Motion to replace evening sitting times by putting those hours in the daytime. It's one step that could promote more diversity in the Legislature -- but it's only one of 16 or so other recommendations from a report that's now a few years old from the PEI Coalition for Women in Government (which Darlene Compton read for the record -- and edited version might have been better to have read at this point). There seemed to be some consensus to do something now like drop one evening sitting (maybe Thursday night), leaving the Opposition Evening on Tuesdays; and renewing the Committee's focus (which didn't meet very often this winter due to the Cabinet shuffle and other government members' inaccessibility) to evaluate and act on more of these suggestions.

The Legislature did not return to the electoral referendum bill. Justice Minister Jordan Brown indicated on Island Morning radio Friday morning with Peter Bevan-Baker that government might be ready to introduce the amendments which talk about a eight month period of referendum restrictions...hard to follow the latest details...but J. Brown said the Liberal Government had been nothing but "Stewards of Democracy".

More on the Stewards of Democracy...

The photo shoot from November 2016 were a person called out "Honour the Vote" and was responded to with raised fist and rude gesture by Richard Brown, laughs by him and Jordan Brown and stifled smiles by another was captured by Island videographer John Morris, who was filming the photo shoot for his "vlog."

Yesterday, he made a video explaining the day. Morris films many things -- some poignant Plan B highway documentary pieces, some fun tourist destination pieces, etc.

His website: http://lensmakeapicture.com/

John Morris' video log on his "Honour the Vote" Liberal 2016 Christmas card photo shoot (about three minutes)



An MQO Research poll showing 50% of voters support proportional representation.



CBC Compass from Friday, June 1st, with their Political Panel of journalism instructor Rick MacLean and publisher Paul MacNeill, on at about 32 minutes into the show.

CBC Compass from June 1st, 2018

Rick MacLean says, regarding the Liberals and this bill, "They seem to take turns chewing on one foot or the other," and when a government has been in power for a while -- and our First Past the Post voting system makes this easier to happen --and they are being labeled as arrogant, "There is nothing more arrogant that a Cabinet minister giving the finger to a constituent, with another laughing...."

As far as the Electoral System Referendum Act, Steven Myers put it well earlier when he said that there really are three choices government can make:

1. have the discussion on the Bill stalemate (and plan the opposition for no Act, and no referendum)

2. push it through as they have a majority

3. send it to the appropriate Standing Committee where is can be worked on, have public consultation, and actually be something that might work.


I stumbled across this and thought it might resonate with some people. There are a lot of MLAs who keep saying that a person only supports PR because they are members of a particular Party or another, forgetting that PR will actually help all Islanders and all Parties.

Jo MacKinnon works in the Office of Third Party and has been invited on the Floor of the Legislature to be the "stranger" expert witness to help with some Legislation, which I figured out after reading this quote and wanting to share it.

from February 23rd, 2018, Facebook, reprinted with permission:

"Here's a great documentary produced by Jacob MacDonald, one of the Legislative Assembly's pages. It looks at a number of things including third parties and proportional representation. People say to me "Of course you believe in Proportional Representation because you're a member of the Green party." But the truth is that I'm a member of the Green party because I believe in proportional representation. I figured out that first-past-the-post doesn't work in a multiparty system after the 1993 federal election. But it was only when the PEI Premier refused to act on the results of his own plebiscite, that I realized I needed to get politically active if I was going to see any change--and the Green Party aligned most closely with my personal values. Like any good English major, I also appreciate the wonderful irony of joining a political party because I thought that partisan politics was destroying democracy." -- Jo MacKinnon

June 1, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This morning:

Peter Bevan-Baker and Jordan Brown on CBC Radio (96.1FM), after the 7:30AM news, weather and sports, to "discuss electoral reform legislation and the decision last night to pull the bill for changes."

The P.E.I. Legislature sits today from 10AM-1PM. You can attend in person in the Gallery or watch on-line here.

Saturday, June 2nd:

Plants of PEI with Kate MacQuarrie, 10AM-12noon, Macphail Woods, Orwell. edited from media release: Biologist Kate MacQuarrie will share her love of plants at Macphail Woods. Starting at the arboretum, then a walk along trails, pointing out common and uncommon species of flowering and non-flowering plants (wildflowers, ferns, club mosses, shrubs). Dress appropriately. Free but donations accepted. More info: 651-2575 or <macphailwoods.org>

Spring Social With Peter (Bevan-Baker), 7-9PM, Canoe Cove School. "This is a free event for the whole family. This will be an evening of celebration with music, good times and silent auction. Beverages and light snacks provided. Bring a friend along!"


Monday, June 4th:

Visit Sean Casey's Office regarding KinderMorgan pipeline purchase, 4PM, 75 Fitzroy Street. Rally at the Charlottetown MP's office to discuss the pipeline the Canadian government has just bought, and share your feelings. Organized by Leadnow (More information)

Tuesday, June 5th:

World Environment Day, theme of "Beat Plastic Pollution." Related is that Chile has become the first country in the Americas to ban plastic bags. This news was shared with MLA Al Roach, who has a Private Member's Bill (No. 114, Plastic Bag Reduction Act) that I think is still in Committee of the Whole House (but it was in the confusion of the last minutes of Tuesday night's session), and he tabled the following story in the Legislature Wednesday.

Chile Bans Bags EcoWatch story

Beat Plastic Pollution story

Saturday, June 9th:

NDP PEI Potluck/Music Socialwith Joe Byrne, 5-8PM, Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road. "Summer is almost here! Come out and say hello and let's get together and share some food, music and laughs ..Everyone is invited - so bring a friend, your favorite dish, and an instrument. NDP Leader Joe Byrne will play a song... or two."

More info: info@ndppei.ca or 902-892-1930

Facebook event details


More from Joe:

LETTER: Restrictive manipulation on Bill 38 - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018


Bill 38 — the “Electoral System Referendum Act” — looks good on the surface, doesn’t it? It’s a referendum with rules for fairness, so that Islanders can do serious thinking about how we choose our government, right?

But consider the big picture: why do we pass a law to construct a bunch of rules to specify just who can advocate for what they believe to be a good political system? What this really is — it’s an infringement on basic freedom of expression of opinion.

Our elitist governing party feels the need to stack the vote towards the status quo. It is an error to think that people who don’t vote do not care; reasonable and rational people may simply not choose either yes or no.

We should also include young people. We recognized anyone over 16 as capable to vote in the plebiscite (which was not honored), and that same group should have the right to vote in the referendum. There is no need to discount the stake of youth in the future electoral system.

Why are advocates crassly called “advertisers” rather than people who want to share information and analysis? If the government was truly interested in discussion, dialogue and debate, it would not impose such restrictions. Rather it would encourage Islanders to engage and allow us to present the best case for or against reform.

And if the province is to provide funding then it should be adequate. The approximate 50 cents per person seems woefully inadequate to engage our population in a full debate on electoral reform.

This is a piece of legislation that is more about restrictive manipulation than about democracy. I, and all the Islanders who believe in fairness, call for consultation and significant amendment of Bill 38.

Joe Byrne, P.E.I. NDP Leader, Charlottetown


More tomorrow about Brad Trivers' attempt to Amend the Water Act in the Legislature Thursday afternoon.


As reported in the news, the Electoral System Referendum Act was taken off the floor of the Legislature Thursday evening, as Justice Minister Jordan Brown and Committee of the Whole House chair Kathleen Casey tried to work the Bill through even thought they didn't have amendments which Brown said hadn't been prepared yet, reasoning that they already had the "stranger" (expert person, usually from the department the Bill is under) there. Peter Bevan-Baker had an amendment on the floor at the time, and Steven Myers pointed out that being in Committee for this Bill was a waste of time with Government so unprepared. So they moved on to some other Legislation. No sense going on without getting these amendments out there. Very amateurish for a Government that has has a lot of time to get things clear and level.

And from Paul MacNeill, a story tying together an unprofessional expression by MLA Richard Brown and the whole referendum preparation:


printed in The Graphic on-line on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Richard Brown flips ‘Honour the Vote’ the bird - PEI Canada online article by Paul MacNeill, Publisher

The Liberal caucus were dressed in their finest, assembled on a crisp fall day in front of the provincial Legislature for their 2016 Christmas card photoshoot.

It was not, however, the pretty picture government hoped it would be.

As the caucus stood in neat rows an unknown bystander shouts ‘Honour the vote’, a reference to the Liberal government’s decision to ignore results of the 2016 electoral reform plebiscite. Instantly, Richard Brown raises his arm and flashes his middle finger. Behind him Jordan Brown smiles and slaps his colleague on the shoulder. Robert Mitchell appears to stifle a laugh.

No other Liberal MLA reacts, including Premier Wade MacLauchlan who was standing front and centre with Speaker Buck Watts to his right. Watts and MacLauchlan stood to Richard Brown’s left.

Video of the incident exists. I’ve seen it.

Wednesday evening I contacted both Richard Brown and Jordan Brown, as well as the Premier’s office.

“That would be something I do not recall,” Jordan Brown, who was not in cabinet at the time, said in a facebook response. “Bit of a strange question - why do you ask?”

The answer is simple. It’s newsworthy.

And in the environment PEI currently finds itself, where the provincial government is putting obstacles in front of those who support electoral reform and suggest government can impose regulations on how media will cover the upcoming referendum, it is even more relevant if a government MLA flipped the middle finger at an Islander who simply said ‘Honour the vote.’

The Liberal government has brought forward Bill 38, the Electoral System Referendum Act, which limits groups and individuals from spending more than $500 on advertising unless they are registered with the province. Those that do register, on either side of the debate, will be entitled to a share of $75,000 earmarked for each side.

Justice Minister Jordan Brown is quoted as saying the bill is ‘tailored to ensure that freedom of expression is not limited more than is reasonably necessary in order to give effect to the stated purposes of the proposed legislation.’

As part of its attempt to be fair to both sides, the minister said a newspaper could potentially be in violation of the act if it published a special section on the referendum.

The PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation finds the proposed legislation so restricting that it has disbanded. The group consisted of a wide range of members including, among others, the Status of Women, PEI Council of People With Disabilities, Green Party, NDP and ordinary Islanders.

Wednesday in the provincial legislature Richard Brown strongly defended the legislation. "There are limits on everything. We do not allow people, in freedom of speech, to promote hatred, racism,” he said. “have allowed some limits."

Neither Richard Brown nor the Premier’s office responded to a request for comment.


(Brown admitted Thursday during Question Period that it was he, and said he regretted it. I happened to be in the area that day and saw him not honouring the voter....)

From this newsletter, November 13th, 2016: An aside: Richard Brown, District 12 (Charlottetown-Victoria Park), who defended First-Past-the-Post most robustly, saw his district go overwhelming for PR options....