May 2017

May 31, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

District 18 (Rustico-Emerald) MLA Brad Trivers has announced his intention to join the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative leadership race. The convention is on October 20th. Trivers has a website and is one of the few MLAs to communicate with Islanders that way. He joins Al Mulholland in the leadership contest.

Peter Bevan-Baker (D17: KellysCross-Cumberland) is (I think) the only other MLA who also communicates this way, and recently wrote about his experiences as his fifth legislative session came to a close.


The Nova Scotia government has a second Liberal majority, a smaller one. The popular vote is close. Proportional Representation would have a difference on how governments are formed and represent the citizens just a bit better.

A vote to accept the Electoral Reform Committee's report is supposed to take place today in the House of Commons. You can find the contact information for Island MPs here.


Global Chorus is by Carolyn Herriot, author of A Year on the Garden Path: A 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide, and The Zero Mile Diet. Here is a TED Talk on the topic.

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Have you forgotten who you are? T

hat you are a multidimensional spiritual being in-

habiting a highly evolved human body?

The unborn babies, the sick children and the de-

mented elderly are

calling you to remember.

Have you forgotten why you are here?

That you are here to learn Love.

To learn how to Respect and live in Harmony with

other sentient


Mother Earth, the polluted air and dying oceans are

calling you to


Have you forgotten what to do?

Simply go back to the garden

Reconnect to Nature.

Learn to Love yourself.

Nurture your miraculous body.

Put LOVE into action.

Shift from “Me” to “We.”

Participate in the transformation of Human


And together sow seeds of Hope to create a world of

Peace & Plenty

for future generations.

We are stardust, we are golden, we are

billion year old carbon,

And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the


— Joni Mitchell

Bless Us All!

Carolyn Herriot

May 30, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

In British Columbia, it appears that the Green Party under Andrew Weaver will support the NDP under John Horgan and support the NDP minority government for the next few years. More details in the coming days (once the NDP Caucus votes on the agreement today).

Nova Scotians hold their provincial election today.

Tomorrow the Federal government will vote on accepting the report of the ERRE Electoral Reform committee. You can still contact your or any Island MP to discuss your wishes about the Liberal Party campaign promises.

Contact information for each Riding's MP on P.E.I:

Charlottetown -- Sean Casey 902-566-7770

Malpeque -- Wayne Easter 1-800-442-4050

Cardigan -- Lawrence MacAulay 902-838-4139

Egmont -- Robert "Bobby" Morrissey 1-800-224-0018


Though it appears perhaps that Islanders in the western part of P.E.I. don't support proportional representation as well as in other parts, it's also likely that Mr. Morrissey benefited from "strategic voting" -- with those who may have supported other candidates like the Green Party's Nils Ling or the Herb Dickieson for the NDP voting Liberal to prevent popular Conservative Cabinet minister Gail Shea from being re-elected and a Conservative government under Stephen Harper.


A opinion piece and a letter from Monday's Guardian:

MARK GREENAN: Who do our MPs work for? - The Guardian Opinion piece by Mark Greenan

Vote in Commons this Wednesday to accept report of special committee on electoral reform

Published on Monday, May 29th, 2017

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, May 31, there will be a vote that I, and proportional representation advocates across Canada, will be closely watching.

The vote is to accept the report of the Commons special committee on electoral reform, which called for a national referendum on a proportional representation system that would allow the Trudeau government to fulfill their 2015 election promise that it would be the last federal election using the first-past-the-post system.

However, the report was not what Trudeau wanted to hear, so in a February cabinet shuffle the Minister for Democratic Institutions was replaced, and the new minister made it clear that Trudeau had made a unilateral decision to break his promise.

Undoubtedly, the promise of making every vote count won votes for federal Liberals in 2015 from Canadians like me who believe that every vote should elect someone and that majority governments should not be elected with less than 40 per cent support.

Wednesday offers Liberal MPs an opportunity to fulfill the promises they make as candidates in 2015 to make every vote count and reform how we vote for the next federal election. It is expected that all federal opposition parties will support the motion, so if 20 federal Liberals choose to honour their promises, then electoral reform will be back on the table.

MPs are meant to be the voice of their communities in Ottawa. Here on PEI, our four MPs know better than any of their colleagues exactly what their constituents think about the issue of electoral reform thanks to last fall’s plebiscite.

In my home riding of Egmont, a narrow majority of voters in November’s plebiscite (52 per cent to 48 per cent) supported the current electoral system, so local MP Bobby Morrissey can be excused for aligning with the Prime Minister’s office and opposing the motion.

However, next door in Wayne Easter’s district of Malpeque, and further east, in Lawrence MacAulay’s district of Cardigan, 56 per cent of voters in November chose Proportional Representation - only 44 per cent opted to stick with the current winner-take-all system. Meanwhile, In Sean Casey’s district of Charlottetown, a whopping 64 per cent of voters chose Proportional Representation, nearly twice as many as supported the current system.

If these three P.E.I. MPs truly represent our views in Ottawa - rather than those of Liberal backroom power brokers - they will vote in support of the motion and put Proportional Representation back on the federal agenda. Islanders, and all Canadians, that desire a better democracy will be watching closely.

- Mark Greenan of Summerside has been an activist and advocate for proportional representation for over 15 years. Last fall, he was the campaign manager for the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation


And by F. Ben Rodgers:

LETTER: Island MPs can vote reform - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Monday, May 29th, 2017

On Wednesday May 31, we expect a free vote in the House of Commons on a motion to adopt the report of the all-party committee on electoral reform (ERRE).

Lawrence MacAulay, Wayne Easter and Robert Morrissey answered yes to support the number of candidates elected to government should roughly reflect the proportional votes cast by constituents.

The other one Island MP’s (Casey) remained mute on the question. However, it will be very interesting to see if these three now stand by their word to the voters in their districts.

Sixty-three per cent of Canadians voted for parties who made this promise, 88 per cent of the experts who testified to electoral reform committee and 87 per cent of the public who participated, recommended proportional representation.

If the other parties vote yes and it is expected they will - we will only need yes votes from 20 Liberal MPs, and there are more than 40 that clearly campaigned on a vote for election reform.

Will they actually have a free vote or will the Prime Minister demand they vote with his broken promise that the last election would be the last First Passed the Post??? It remains to be seen if we really have democracy in this country?

Trudeau may win this vote on May 31, but times they are a changing and he will not be able hold back the irresistible tide for change for very long.

F. Ben Rodgers, Abram-Village


Global Chorus is by Melanie Fitzpatrick, climate scientist and educator, and with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Tell me a story. Because story is how we make sense of our world. The journey we are on as a planetary community is surely a heroic epic, one that involves all of us as protagonists.

Our current narrative, though, is the distressing tale of the demise of our ecological home. Of the terrible destruction wrought on island communities by super typhoons, where thousands lose their lives and millions become homeless. Of the failure of international climate negotiations to agree on reducing our heat-trapping emissions, the very emissions that make the weather more extreme around the world.

However, the outcome of this story is still being written. The invitation for you and me is to become its authors. Our path ahead, as in every hero’s journey, will be replete with challenges and obstacles. And along the way we will experience loss, we will

grieve and we will learn to accept that the world we used to know has changed irrevocably – the climate my parents grew up with is no longer here.

So, tell me a story. Discover what the planet needs from us in this time of emergency.

Physics reveals that all things are interconnected, from the galactic level to the sub-atomic. And psychology shows connection is the essential ingredient for a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. We know connection to the Earth inspires wonder and awe. It is this connection that drives many of us to do the work we do. In the words of Rachel Carson, “Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” As more and more people feel a deep sense of connection to this planet, solutions to the ecological crisis will become limitless.

So connect. And let’s write a different story.

— Melanie Fitzpatrick, PhD

May 29, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


May Community Vegan Potluck, 6:30-8PM, Trinity United Church, corner of Richmond and Prince Streets, Charlottetown, $2 with dish or $7 without.

"You don't need to be a vegan or vegetarian to come, just bring an open mind and an empty belly!"

But there are some specific guidelines for dishes you bring, so check out the details.

Facebook event details.


The P.E.I. Public Rchool review is over, the Trustees' decisions to close small schools overturned by government and presented to look like a positive, well-thought-out strategy.

Perhaps. Janet Payne, a mother in Kinkora and a major part of why the opposition to rural school closures was so united, wrote this lengthy but very clear piece on social media Sunday, May 28th, 2017, well worth the time reading (edited slightly to spell out acronyms):

Cuts to education may appear to be fiscally responsible decisions. Would you agree to these cuts once you find out rural schools with INCREASING enrollments are many of the ones being cut?

“There seems to be some confusion because these are very preliminary numbers to start the staffing process,” (Education Minister Doug) Currie said. “Schools still have an opportunity to go back to the PSB (Public School Branch) to negotiate and discuss any additional staffing needs.”

This past week my fifteen year old casually asked me: “Are you finally going to get around to painting and renovating our bedrooms now that the school fight is over? You promised.” But before I had a chance to respond, feeling that internal twinge of guilt over all of the home and family things that I had paid little attention to while fighting for our schools all fall and winter, (her son) quickly replied by saying: “You know that these cuts that have been announced are a lot worse than the school review, don’t you? This is a way bigger deal. If they closed our school that would have been horrible. But now they are keeping us open but they are cutting things by so much that I won’t have any electives at all. It’s the worst for the grade nines like me because these cuts are happening over three years. What are you going to do about that?”

My first response was to pour a glass of wine. My second move was to determine exactly what our numbers are and what the cuts will mean. KRHS, like many schools, is actually UP this year. But instead of gaining FTE’s, we are being CUT by over 25% over the next three years. Many schools like KISH are in the very same boat, with enrollments increasing and yet cuts that will take away over 22% of their staff over the next three years. Logical?

When I requested information from our administration, I learned that they are fearful of being cut by 3.5 FTE’s (Full Time Equivalent's) over 3 years. It was explained to me that one full time teacher is expected to teach 3 courses/semester, which would mean that by year three KRHS (Kinkora Regional High School) will be down by over ten courses/semester. This would make it impossible to offer the necessary courses at our rural school no matter how creative the scheduling becomes. While we have always been able to boast that we offer all of the key courses available at other high schools, cutting us this significantly is one underhanded way of forcing our children into the newly renovated TOSH – government’s plan all along. While the 15 million dollar reno budget has now been rumoured to be up over 24 million, I am not surprised that gov’t is looking for every reason possible to send our kids to town…Now it looks like they may have their sights on KISH (Kensington Intermediate Senior High) students as well!

At a recent Principals’ Council meeting, it was announced that nine schools on PEI have been determined to be “overstaffed”. A HR expert here from Montreal has determined, based on a mathematical formula, these nine schools will need to have their staff reduced significantly over the next three years. What would she know about the needs of rural communities and these individual schools, especially when this is the very first year that teacher allotments have been announced BEFORE any discussions with principals about the needs of their schools communities? The first in a series of three reductions has been announced for this coming fall. This will allow 50 FTE’s to be redirected to other schools across PEI. So- rather than allocating more teachers to the new ESL and French Immersion programs announced for Ch’town, the PSB has simply decided to relocate these positions from other schools, most of which are in the rural areas.

While I could certainly see logic in any argument that would require schools with DECREASING enrollments to redirect teaching positions to other schools, how does this make any logical sense when our schools (KRHS and KISH and Somerset and Georgetown to name a few) have INCREASED numbers for this coming fall!!! Amazing that our government would publicly state their commitment to rural schools and then move forward with a plan that would sabotage our programming in spite of our increased numbers. When you are a small school, taking away several positions can mean the inability to continue to offer the very basic requirements for graduation, especially at a high school level. Did our HR expert from Montreal take this into consideration? She certainly did not bother to ask our principal, unlike the process that has always taken place in years gone by…

Currie and (Director of Public Schools Branch Parker) Grimmer have both stated publicly that these are just preliminary numbers and that there has been a misunderstanding about redirecting FTE’s from rural to urban areas. Is it a misunderstanding that our principals are now in the position of having to fight to keep the BARE BONES staff that they have had in the past? Is it a misunderstanding that they have said they are committed to student mental health and have CUT the counselling position at KRHS? Is it a misunderstanding that in light of the loss of trust that this recent school review fiasco has left in the minds of many Island parents, the PSB continues to take steps that leave not only our parents but our principals and staff in a defensive stance once again?

Former Superintendent Cynthia Fleet was known to have told parents within our working group, when questioned about small school closures in the past: “We will not close your schools. YOU will decide to close your own schools when your enrollments are down and you can no longer offer the program you need.” Is this the ultimate goal that Wade, Parker, Doug and the PSB have for our rural schools? It certainly appears to be so.

-Janet N. Payne, May 28th, 2017


In a book of excellent essays, this one is especially good.

Global Chorus is by Joel Bakan, professor of law at UBC, author of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power and of Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Your Children

Humanity is in crisis. Over the course of modern history we have failed, miserably, to create just and sustainable societies. Moreover, much of what we have created – petroleum-fuelled engines, synthetic chemicals, nuclear weapons, to take just a few examples – now threatens our very existence. Climate change, social inequalities and dysfunctions, deteriorating ecosystems, war – these kinds of problems have to be solved. And the only way we can solve them is through coordinated, collective action, at all levels of society: local, national and international. But here’s the rub – our very ability to act collectively, in the public interest, has been profoundly weakened and diminished by growing corporate power and influence over governments and public institutions.

Finding a way past current global crises, and creating conditions necessary for good, just and sustainable societies, requires, at a minimum, restoring the authority, integrity and legitimacy of public democratic institutions. We need to actively resist the creeping logic of private ordering and collapsing public spheres; to understand, for example, that corporate social responsibility and sustainability programs cannot replace mandatory public regulations; that privatized public services cannot replace public delivery; that consumer preferences in markets cannot replace citizen participation in democratic institutions.

At the moment, our governments and public institutions, unduly influenced by the needs and perspectives of big business, are justifiably mistrusted as protectors and promoters of public interests. That needs to change. We need to reoccupy government and the public sphere, push back the current occupation by big business, and then begin work to solve the world’s problems, collectively. That is, after all, what democracy has always envisioned and required of us.

— Joel Bakan

May 28, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Federal Progressive Conservatives selected Andrew Scheer as their new leader yesterday in a ranked ballot voting structure. Here is the federal website, which appears to have some montages of people holding their heads in their hands and looming images of Justin Trudeau.


The federal NDP is moving along with a leadership campaign to replace Thomas Mulcair, with the convention in the Fall. The website is informative and upbeat.

Federal NDP leadership website


The federal Green Party website has news and information, and the federal Liberal Party website is here, and one of the banners is "27 Promises Kept".

Great, though it depends on the promise. When campaigning in the fall 2015 federal election, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promised countless times that the election would be the last one held under the First Past the Post system. (Of course, the NDP and Green Party already endorse electoral reform by means of a proportional system.) Many Canadians voted strategically in the 2015 elections to elect the candidate most likely to beat the incumbent Conservative candidate, which often meant voting for a Liberal candidate over a third party candidate. (Fear is a powerful motivator, and a false majority under Trudeau was felt to be much better that one under Stephen Harper.)

The Electoral Reform (ERRE) Committee was struck, soon had the membership adjusted to reflect the popular vote, and went across the country, including a stop in Charlottetown, to hear what residents had to say about electoral reform. (Which was largely that most people were in favour of a proportional system.) Perhaps both Conservative and Liberal parties realize that a proportional system would result in fewer episodes of absolute power; and that's just too alluring to give up, even to look like more evolved human beings. The committee's report was a bit creaky, suggesting a referendum before anything changed; and even the minister for democratic renewal made fun of the ways suggested to assess proportionality.

Folks on P.E.I. know how things start out looking "democratic" but the powers-that-be can manage and interpret things, and in the end, put off any real change. Prime Minister Trudeau in early February of this year said the process was too hasty and there was no consensus and he had to focus on growing the middle class. So "no electoral reform for you", basically.


This coming week, on Wednesday, it sounds like a motion in the House of Commons to support the ERRE report will be debated. It sounds like Opposition Parties will support this, but not sure about Government members. FairVote Canada asks voters to contact their MPs to encourage them to support this, and to visit an MP if possible. Malpeque MP Wayne Easter was visited yesterday by Leo Cheverie and myself and someone who will be a new voter in the 2019 election. To Wayne's credit, he made time for a chat and listened to our frank concerns. But he feels that it's too late to do be able to adopt the recommendations to change things for 2019, and has some of the usual almost outlandish fears about proportional representation -- voting based on lists of secretly picked individuals and unstable governments forming and falling willynilly. These inaccuracies were explained, and the reasonable idea was discussed of following what New Zealand has done most recently and using a proportional system for an election or two and then voting to keep it or revert.

We are fortunate that most of the Island MPs are *very* accessible and at least hear what you are saying. The MPs could be reminded of the vote Wednesday and why they should consider sending a message to support true electoral reform, as they promised in the last election campaign.

Contact local phone and e-mail for the Island MPs:

Charlottetown -- Sean Casey 902-566-7770

Malpeque -- Wayne Easter 1-800-442-4050

Cardigan -- Lawrence MacAulay 902-838-4139

Egmont -- Robert "Bobby" Morrissey 1-800-224-0018


And more background on this:


Global Chorus is by Edward O. Wilson, preeminent entomologist at Harvard University

Humanity is in a strange period at the present time (2013), which I hope will prove to be only a brief interval. We’ve awakened to the critical state of Earth’s environment in general, but by for the larger part of public and scientific attention is focused on the physical part, for example, on climate change, pollution and resource shortage, as opposed to biodiversity – Earth’s variety of ecosystems, species and genes. In a phrase we are destroying much of the rest of life, a unique and precious part of our natural heritage. Forever.

How much biodiversity is there, and how fast is it disappearing? A lot, and tragically fast, although exact measures are hard to come by. In 2009, when a careful count was made of the species of plants, animals, fungi and microbes known to science, the number worldwide was found to be about 1.9 million. But the true number, including small invertebrates and (especially) microorganisms, could be somewhere between five and 100 million. In short, we live on a little-known planet.

The human agents of destruction – in descending order of impact: habitat destruction, spread of invasive species, pollution and overharvesting – have lifted the rate of species extinction by 100–1,000 times the basal rate before humanity began its expansion from Africa over the remainder of the world. Sadly, because of underfunding of the science and the overall inadequacy of conservation efforts, we are destroying many million-year-old species before we even know they existed.

In speaking for the rest of life, conservation biologists are not asking for anything close to the amount of funds and effort being devoted to the nonliving environment. We are in agreement that an expansion, say a doubling, of funding for research on biodiversity and widening of protected areas around the world would yield an immense improvement in the quality of the environment, for ourselves and for future generations.

— Edward O. Wilson

May 27, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Farmers' Markets are open in Summerside and Charlottetown.

Herb Day, 10AM-4PM, Farm Centre. Many activities, workshops, seedling (and herbs!) for sale, etc.

Workshop: Planning and Planting Hedgerows and Windbreaks, 10AM, Macphail Woods Nature Centre, Orwell. Free, but donations are accepted. Dress for the weather, as there is an "outside component". Edited from the media release:

Hedgerows are an important part of today’s Island landscape. They protect us from the wind, help slow soil erosion, and create privacy for our homes. They also provide food, homes and protection for everything from flickers to flying squirrels. Participants will learn about assessing site conditions and planning the planting. There will also be a discussion on identifying native plants, when they bloom, what types of wildlife will make use of them, and their fall colours. Proper planting and maintenance techniques will be discussed, including timing of the planting, watering, mulching and pruning.


From ACRES U.S.A. on-line reprinted on Friday, but originally from 18 years ago -- and still reads pretty well today. If you can't read it now, consider saving it to read how Joel Salatin compares the four pillars of industrialization to the four pillars of nature. The first part of article is printed below and the whole article is found at this link:

Industrial Agriculture Versus Biological Agriculture: An Ethical Debate - Eco Farming Daily

Industrial agriculture and biological agriculture differ on one very fundamental point: ethics.

by Joel Salatin

Sometimes it behooves us all to step back and look at the foundations of our own paradigm in order to give us a greater conviction in its defense. The philosophical underpinnings of our views are often easier to defend than specific details.

For example, I have debated agri-industrial darling Dennis Avery, author of Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic, three times in public forums, and he is no dummy. A retired USDA big-wheel economist, a Ph.D. and spokesman for everything genetically engineered, irradiated or confinement reared, he is articulate and likable.

Statistics, data and details flow off his tongue fast enough to paralyze the most intrepid debater. Certainly, some of it seems twisted, illogical, or even contrived, but his appearances on the evening news with Peter Jennings, numerous national talk shows and constant speeches before prestigious scientific and agribusiness conventions attest that he is no pushover. He plays argumentation hardball.

But I have found a soft underbelly — philosophy. I look forward now to our next exchange. More importantly, honing this line of thought has actually made some diehard anti-biological folks turn their heads. All of us need ammunition in this war of ideas, this clash of paradigms between a system of food production that stimulates earthworms and one that destroys earthworms. To be able to articulate our position well should be the goal of all who espouse the eco-friendly approach.

I am borrowing the industrial approach heavily from agriculture economist John Ikerd of the University of Missouri. He says the four pillars of industrial paradigms are:

  • Specialization

  • Simplification

  • Routinization

  • Mechanization

In contrast, nature’s pillars are:

  • Diversified

  • Complex

  • Flexible

  • Biological

Let’s take these one by one and deal with the ramifications in our world. <snip>


Rest of the article at this link:


Erin Schrode is a citizen-activist and co-founder of Turning Green, "a global student-led movement devoted to cultivating a healthy, just and thriving planet through education and advocacy around environmentally sustainable and socially responsible choices." One program of Turning Green is called The Conscious Kitchen, helping with the shift to "fresh, local, organic, seasonal non-GMO food" in schools. She wrote the May 27th Global Chorus essay.

I am an eternal optimist – and I have hope for humanity and the planet. My whole-hearted belief in the goodness of people propels me to use my words and deeds to activate the spark that lies within every individual, to catalyze the inner change-maker around necessary action in all walks of life.

Education is the crux of change. I view information as a liberating force, rather than a paralyzing one. The more one knows, the more global and comprehensive a frame of reference one possesses, and the more diverse experiences one can draw upon, the more capable that individual becomes to innovate, develop ideas and realize solutions to pressing global challenges. A person can never be “aware enough” or “active enough” – there is no plateau at which one arrives where the journey of learning or doing ends. Inaction is the largest issue plaguing

society today, so we must collectively vow to change that state of mind and lead a collaborative, purpose driven, positive movement.

The opportunities for discovery and impact are limitless – and the need for action by individuals, corporations, government, all actors on both local and global scales is critical. When a person makes the conscious choice to not stand apathetically in the face of injustice or wrongdoing, he or she changes the future of our world.

Through cross-sector communication, global leadership and the sharing of tools and resources, humanity can transform the revolutionary into routine and bring about a paradigm shift that prioritizes peace, health, justice and sustainability for this generation and beyond.

I passionately believe this to be true.

— Erin Schrode

May 26, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Herb Day, 10AM-4PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.

"Admission to this family friendly event is free. Goodwill donations for the workshops are gratefully accepted.

What's happening - plant and seed sale, hourly workshops, marketplace, garden tool repair, yoga in the garden, garden tour, kids activities and more."

Facebook event details


There is a petition supporting the Hughes Jones Centre efforts to rebuild their equine facility in the Cornwall community ( you could consider supporting. petition link


Excellent letter on the recent news about a small amount of additional funding for mental health and where it was earmarked for, by psychologist and Green Party Health and Wellness Critic Susan Hartley:

$400,000 will not cover the needs or fill the gaps in mental health care - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, in The Graphic newspapers

The #HowManyWade Campaign coupled with the recent coverage in the local media and by the University of King’s College Journalism school is bringing the reality of mental health needs to the forefront of our conversations and concerns. Vulnerable Islanders have found the courage to publicly speak up and talk about their fears, anxieties and distress. All Islanders deserve this issue to be part of a bigger conversation than what is currently happening in government.

I work in the mental health system in PEI. I choose to work outside of the government funded programs for many reasons and recognize the privilege I have in being able to speak out without concern of repercussions. My independence also allows me to be an advocate for individuals in the system who are not receiving appropriate, ethical, or timely care. In this role I have had the opportunity to interact with many professionals and bureaucrats within the publicly funded system. At times I have been impressed by the willingness of bureaucrats, physicians, and front-line workers to go out of their way to make my clients’ situations just a bit better.

Too often, however, there has been an unwillingness to collaborate or even engage in discussion regarding a mutual client’s needs. Most concerning is when well intentioned, compassionate, and dedicated mental health workers are asked to offer intervention that is beyond their scope of expertise because there just isn’t anyone else; or when clients are seen on an urgent basis and there isn’t a program for comprehensive or follow-up care to offer them. To be honest, this doesn’t feel like a System.

I have commented previously that Islanders are being offered Band-aid solutions rather than coordinated, sustainable options. And it seems to me the rhetoric of the past week is about how to share the only Band-aid left in the box. $400,000 will not cover the needs or fill the gaps. Some within the system are advocating for expanded acute care services while others defend the decision to spend the money on preventive measures within the school system. It is a shame this has become an either/or scrap over limited funds when we clearly have needs in both places, and more importantly, distracts us from the bigger conversation about the overarching need for an integrated system joining all the parts in a coordinated, seamless manner.

It is not apparent to me that the Department of Health and Wellness has applied best practices in its management of the resources allocated to Mental Health. Islanders need a plan that is regularly evaluated and reviewed, and adapted as unintended consequences are identified and as needs change. Without a plan, how is it determined where best to spend the next $400,000? By whoever wins the scrap? Not good enough.

Our decision makers must become focused on the realities at hand. Islanders are anxious and concerned and we need leaders who know how to resolve their differences, apply best practice management and design approaches, and provide well thought out direction.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Susan Hartley,

Clinical Psychologist, and Critic for

Health and Wellness, Green Party of PEI


Piers Guy, wind farm developer and wrote the May 26th Global Chorus essay. Here is a short YouTube interview with him.

A recent discussion with an eminent climate scientist gave me hope. He said that extreme climate change scenarios predicted a few years ago are now less likely in the short to medium term. Phew! The problem is still enormous but maybe our climate system is more resilient than first feared. So let’s take this undeserved reprieve and have a new culture to reflect a new era; where the majority of our (reduced) consumption is sustainable with any environmental impacts either avoided or properly mitigated. This is the approach I try and work with in my own industry of wind farming. Generating electricity from the wind is sustainable, but there are impacts, real and perceived, and addressing them provides wonderful opportunities for all kinds of creativity: like the creation and enhancement of large-scale wildlife habitats around the wind farm that otherwise would not have happened and community and educational initiatives which build upon what the local community really values long-term.

Applying a sustainable approach to business does mean less financial profit and a consumer base that begins to pay the real cost for goods. It is not likely without multilateral regulation. But to get to this point, we need to start as individuals who make good choices and understand that happiness and well-being are not inextricably linked to material wealth. We must recognize that our population is excessive, and know that biodiversity is essential for our survival and our happiness.

We could socialize, shop, travel, have babies and even do Christmas differently! This is activism in our own homes. By communicating, demonstrating, lobbying and voting we can change things. I have hope that there is a majority of people out there who would be quite prepared to rid themselves of a lot of their consumerist paraphernalia in exchange for a more balanced, happy and healthier life and planet.

— Piers Guy, wind farm developer

May 25, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Lecture: “Travelling the Literary Landscape of Iceland, " 7:30PM, BIS Hall on North River Road. An introduction to Icelandic literature and geography, in the context of the development of literary tourism, sponsored by the Vinland Society of Prince Edward Island.

"Learning and Sharing in Guyana", about volunteering with CUSO, 7-9PM, Murphy's Community Centre, free.

CUSO International places skilled Canadians with partner groups in over 20 countries around the world. Hear about work with Volunteer Youth Corps in Guyana, South America. Learn how you can volunteer globally or act locally.

Facebook event details


From a CBC story over a week ago:

Don't build new, fix 'dilapidated' roads, says Green leader - CBC News online article by Kevin Yarr

Published on CBC on-line on May 11, 2017

Minister defends building new as economic investment

The P.E.I. government should focus on fixing up the roads we have, rather than trying to build new ones, says Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker.

Bevan-Baker tied his concern to an accident earlier this week. A fisherman on the way to the wharf hit a deep depression in the road and was taken to hospital.

He questioned the wisdom of spending $32 million in provincial money to build a bypass around Cornwall.

"Travel the roads of P.E.I. and you can see what a dilapidated state they're in," said Bevan-Baker.

"This is not the only old, failing culvert on Prince Edward Island. My question was how many more of these are waiting to happen?"

Investment 'for safety and for the economy'

Transportation Minister Paula Biggar argued the Cornwall bypass is an important economic investment.

She said 500 trucks a day exit Charlottetown through Cornwall.

"Those are high traffic export areas for fishing and farming," said Biggar.

"We are investing those dollars in infrastructure for safety and for the economy to keep traffic moving."

Biggar also noted half the money for the project is coming from the federal government.


And a bit of history from Allan Rankin, originally from his blog, Heartbeat -- Prince Edward Island from the Inside Out:

Bridges, Roundabouts, and Driveway Entrances: The Strange Business of Engineering - The Island Heartbeat online article

Published on May 24th, 2017 on-line

Like medical doctors, we seldom question the decisions of engineers, those highly-skilled people who design and construct so much of our physical world.

Building things is part of my heritage.

My father and his father before him, as well as my brother, spent their working lives constructing buildings, large and small, and I am only content when there is a project to complete.

As a result, I have more than a healthy respect and admiration for architects, engineers, builders, and tradesmen.

But I remain puzzled, and even mystified at times, by some engineering decisions that just don’t make any sense.

When I was a senior official with government, my colleague the deputy minister of transportation and public works would often become exasperated with my questions, and by what he regarded as a suspicious, almost conspiracy prone mind.

Responsible for the issuing of building and development permits, I sometimes found unreasonable the “safe sight distance” regulations determining where a driveway entrance could be located. Local MLAs were always trying to bend those regulations, to accommodate constituents, and I was often sympathetic. However, any flexibility vanished when government lawyers explained to us that liability for an unsafe driveway entrance rested firstly with the public employees making the decision.

But it still concerns me that “safe sight distance” guidelines had their origin in new highway construction, as opposed to development along existing highways, and in existing communities.

I have also been amazed by government’s interest of late in building traffic roundabouts seemingly at every intersection throughout the Island, and the engineering rationale behind this proliferation.

Are these roundabouts necessary to improve highway safety, or are they simply the engineering and road construction flavour of the day, and an opportunity to spend public money.

The reconfiguration of the Trans Canada highway coming out of Charlottetown towards Cornwall is now a bizarre series of roundabouts, slowing traffic, and certainly frustrating truckers who work their gears through a kilometer of craziness.

That highway reconfiguration initially had one less roundabout, and traffic was supposed to come off the arterial just below the COWS factory, but that plan was changed when a group of Brighton area ladies protested to former Premier Robert Ghiz, claiming the first route endangered their favorite dog walking area.

As the result of that design change, government spent about a half million dollars building an additional roundabout. You might say it was a rough (spelled ruff) decision for Island taxpayers, and proof that local politics can run circles around financial responsibility any day.

But the engineering project that has me scratching my head, more than any other, is the Confederation Bridge.

It is the longest bridge in the world built over ice-covered water, and quite a marvellous structure, though it embodied off-the-shelf technology at the time. But have you ever wondered why the bridge is so darn high, why even the approach sections on either side tower 131 feet above the water? The navigation spans in the centre must be high enough of course to allow for the passage of ocean going vessels, but why is the rest of the bridge at its current height?

Driving on the bridge last month to a medical appointment in Moncton, I imagined the entire structure sitting down closer to the water, and how different and more scenic the crossing would be.

I also pondered the immense cost of building Confederation Bridge. It would seem to make logical sense that if less concrete and steel, and other materials, were required to build the bridge, and labour costs were also reduced, it would be a less costly piece of infrastructure to finance and operate.

I put that question to an experienced civil engineer recently, who postulated that the height of the bridge above the water was determined by the height of the navigation section, at 197 feet, and that the rest of the bridge was given its height so that traffic could gradually ramp up to the highest point in the navigation section.

That engineer explained that salt water spray onto the deck of the bridge was also a consideration during design, and that it factored into the height of the entire structure.

But I remain skeptical.

The bridge was a massive project, creating hundreds of jobs and contributing significantly to the economy of Prince Edward Island over a four-year period. Was its design driven in part by the need to create this economic activity. In other words, was the Confederation Bridge intentionally over designed, and overbuilt?

Island Senator Percy Downe has questioned the policies of the federal government with respect to major transportation infrastructure in Canada, and why it is that Islanders pay such high tolls to get on and off their Island, while elsewhere, particularly in Quebec, Canadians pay nothing to use bridges.

Senator Downe has raised an important issue of fundamental equity and fairness.

But perhaps we need to go back to the beginning, and re-examine the design decisions for the Confederation Bridge, which led to its final cost, and ultimately to the tolls paid by Islanders.

We may discover that engineering is not the problem, but rather the underlying motives of those who directed the engineers.

Questions, questions, and more questions.


There is the story that the only reason the TCH in Bonshaw/Churchill went there was because a former MLA Transportation Minister (Alan Stewart, I think) lived in Strathgartney....


Jim Barton is a director of Smith Mill Creek Institute near the beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, and is a board member of Citizens for Global Solutions

and writes the May 25th Global Chorus.

Every good chorus has a director – but how do we create a global, democratic chorus?

All too often, people speak of “global citizenship,” but fail to talk of citizenship structures for:

1. Common welfare

2. Common biosphere stewardship

3. Common security

4. Common decision-making

Many peace and ecology advocates look at the UN and see only its failings. They don’t realize that earlier peace advocates, like Jane Addams, worked long and hard to create global democratic structures to enhance the lives of all people on Earth.

Many people think the UN and global co-operation have achieved nothing. They are wrong. We have created treaties that have eliminated atmospheric nuclear testing, and have just about done away with any nuclear tests since 1996. The nations of the world agreed in 1968 to negotiate seriously for nuclear disarmament. We need a renewed global chorus of voices to call for disarmament and a conversion to a global peace economy.

One crucial element of a global peace economy is the elimination of the extreme poverty affecting the poorest one billion people – one seventh – of the planet.

Through the UN Millennium Development goals process of 2000–2015, we have continued to substantially reduce illiteracy, deaths of children under 5 and deaths from hunger and malnutrition. Smallpox has been eliminated, and polio has been reduced by 99 per cent since 1988, with entire continents polio-free.

In 2015 we need to renew and extend these objectives into the Sustainable Development Goals. We need to complete the previous goals and add new ones to deal with the looming ecological and resource crisis, as well as include goals on nuclear weapons and reducing arms and conflict.

But we should go beyond this, and talk of stronger global law, openly arrived at, and a global parliament, directly elected.

Let’s take a pause from singing so that we can get on the same page with a common song. And when we get there, let’s sing as loudly as we can – a song by, of and for all of us on our planet.

— Jim Barton

May 24, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Reminder of some events taking place today:

Wednesday, May 24th,

Information Session on Stratford Roundabout proposed for construction (Mason Road, Georgetown Road and TCH), 7PM, Stratford Town Hall.

Seniors College Art Show Opening, 7PM, The Guild, Facebook event details

Lecture: “Tourism, Place and Identity: Tourism in Iceland and Prince Edward Island”, 7PM, UPEI McDougall Hall Room 242, sponsored by the Institute for Island Studies, all welcome.


Some government announcements recently:

On the holiday weekend Sunday, the start of Public Works Week in Canada, press releases and tweets were sent reminding Islanders of the millions in cost-shared infrastructure (that would be the roundabout in North River and prep work for the Cornwall bypass) and such.

Yesterday, the P.E.I. government announced it is to create a suicide prevention plan (CBC story here),

but some are wondering how this connects with the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy announced previously, and what happened to a previously announced strategy from a couple of years ago. The PCs have persistently called for coherent and quick improvements to all these services, and the Greens and NDP have made numerous suggestions.

Over the weekend, many people shared an item via social media about the importation of honey bees to P.E.I. for blueberry (primarily) pollination, from regions in Canada that have a pest called the small hive beetle. So far as I know, it's not on P.E.I.yet, and there are protocols to inspect the temporary imported hives; these can never be full-proof. Also, it sounds possible that Island beekeepers could have met the pollination demands of the blueberry growers this year. Anyway, perhaps seeing things flipping about on social media, the Agriculture Minister J. Alan McIsaac sent out a statement reassuring the public about the whole issue.

Letter recently from Island beekeeper Stan Sandler:

Needs of local beekeepers and their bees are completely off minister’s radar - The Eastern Graphic Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Since the PEI Department of Agriculture opened the border to Ontario beehives they have brought in one bad exotic pest we didn’t have before, the tracheal mite. They have tried to “mitigate” that introduction with a queen subsidy program supposedly to encourage tracheal mite resistant hives, but that program only covers less than half of the cost of those queens and it is now capped at a certain number of queens so in a big operation only a proportion (and maybe a small one, they do not tell us what we will be capped at) will be eligible.

The Department recognizes we now have to treat hives on PEI with formic acid to keep tracheal mites under control (in fact they require Ontario hives entering be treated with formic so they will bring less tracheal mites in) but they do not give any money to local beekeepers to treat for a pest which they knowingly allowed in by opening the border to hives they knew would carry tracheal mites. Basically they are catering to the blueberry industry, an industry they have heavily subsidized, at the expense of beekeepeers.

Now they are set to knowingly bring in another exotic pest, the small hive beetle, and even before it has come in they have a “small hive beetle mitigation program”. But this year their previous argument supporting importation of hives (a supposed lack of beehives on PEI for the needs of the blueberry industry) does not hold true. Due to the low price of blueberries growers are cutting back on the hives they rent and it appears that here, as in Nova Scotia, not all the local beehives will be rented.

So why allow high risk hives in?

This year’s importation protocol allows hives in from the Niagara region, which is a part of Ontario which has small hive beetle. Although the inspection requirements are a little more stringent than those for the rest of Ontario, they are not 100 per cent. For 10 per cent someone will pull brood frames to look at them. For 30 per cent more they will do a “top bar inspection” (just a peek under the cover). This is a high risk importation (which is why they already have the mitigation program set up) and it is totally unnecessary.

They know hives from that part of Ontario are high risk and do not allow them to come into PEI on a permanent basis. They are banned from that. Yet they are allowed in to pollinate. The department brought an expert from Ontario two years ago to “educate” us on small hive beetle and his data showed May and June, which is when the hives come in, are the main months when the small hive beetle larvae leave the infected beehives to go and pupate in the ground. So it doesn’t matter if the infected hives leave Prince Edward, they will leave their deadly legacy behind.

Nova Scotia is not going to bring in any hives from Ontario this year. Newfoundland has a very strict closed border. Last year 675 people signed a petition asking the Minister of Agriculture to keep small hive beetle out of PEI. Apparently the needs of local beekeepers and their bees are completely off his radar.

Stan Sandler, Murray River

A petition:

(closed now) started by Stan over a year ago on this issue.

(disclosure -- I have one beehive that I purchased from Stan a couple of years ago.)


Speaking of petitions and community organization, Global Chorus today is by Ricken Patel, the executive director of Avaaz, an organization which "empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change" through petitions and other actions. Ricken's biography (including his motivations for this work) is found here.

Even more than hope, we have good sense, and I believe that a clear-eyed look at our past and present tells us not only that we have a very strong probability of surviving, but that many signs point to a tremendous awakening and acceleration of our wisdom as we meet the real challenges we face.

Look at our recent past – in just the last generation, we have massively reduced global poverty and deaths in war, massively expanded the number of people living under democratic governance, rapidly increased public health and life expectancy, profoundly elevated the status of women in our societies and governance, and achieved historic progress in a host of other ways.

We do face profound challenges that threaten our survival. Humanity’s interdependence, vulnerability and power is escalating, and with it our capacity to destroy ourselves. Nuclear weapons were our first “doomsday power,” and we’re quickly acquiring more.

But as our power to destroy ourselves is escalating, so is our wisdom to manage this power. Disciplines like psychology, management and leadership are quite new, but are accelerating in their capacity to help us understand and manage ourselves. The empowerment of women to greater political and social leadership is profoundly impacting the emotional intelligence and wisdom of our societies. And while we may not be able to change human nature with all our flaws and fears, we know that with attention to children and families, education, and the culture of our institutions, workplaces, democracies and art, we can get better and better at bringing out the best in each other collectively. It’s not a utopia, it’s the difference between Somalia and Sweden, Congo and Costa Rica.

So I believe that not only can we make it, we can come together to make it big. And far more than just a basis for hope, we have every reason to dream.

— Ricken Patel

May 23, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Wednesday, May 24th,

Information Session on Stratford Roundabout proposed for construction (Mason Road, Georgetown Road and TCH), 7PM, Stratford Town Hall.

Seniors College Art Show Opening, 7PM, The Guild, Facebook event details

The show runs for a couple of weeks.


Two Icelandic Tourism talks are being held Wednesday and Thursday:

“Tourism, Place and Identity: Tourism in Iceland and Prince Edward Island”, 7PM, UPEI McDougall Hall Room 242, sponsored by the Institute for Island Studies.

Thursday, May 25th:

“Travelling the Literary Landscape of Iceland", 7:30PM, BIS Hall.

(details below)


As if most of us needed any more reasons to call on Government not to approve this project, here is a opinion piece by some local residents. My understanding (errors are my own) of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is that the EIA Officer (Dale Thompson) and the Environmental Lands manager (Greg Wilson) go over the submissions, refer any questions to the applicants for clarification, and make their recommendation on whether the project should go ahead or not to the Community, Lands and Environment Minister, Robert Mitchell <> .

Minister Mitchell decides and as the recommendation of the EIA folks is "advice", does not have to share their recommendation publicly.

Dale Thompson was the Environment Department person tasked with being the "Dedicated Environment Employee" for the Plan B highway project, and both he and Greg were always above board about their work.

GUEST OPINION: Plans pose negative risks - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Dawn and Strehen Carter

DAWN & STEPHEN CARTER: It makes no sense for ACOA, Finance P.E.I. to help when company owned by billionaires

Published on Saturday, May 20th, 2017


Like many residents, we strongly oppose AquaBounty’s proposed plans to build a highly controversial GMO salmon farm in Rollo Bay/Bear River.

The site, just a few hundred meters from our home, has four high capacity wells, a stream for effluent discharge into Rollo Bay, acreage for expansion, and seclusion from the worlds’ eye.

With all due respect to Ms. Braden’s support for AquaBounty, it’s obvious she didn’t do in-depth research into this project as a whole. Local opposition researched thousands of pages of scientific, legal, government and financial documents.

We’re proud when our area has growth and innovation but AquaBounty’s plans pose serious negative risks to our local water, our environment, our fisheries and the public’s finances. On paper, their plans went from a small conventional Atlantic salmon hatchery to a large-scale, GMO salmon egg to grow-out facility, literally in one day.

AquaBounty applied for an Environmental Impact Assessment on April 12/17; on the same day an amended statement (EIS) was released. The document outlines they consulted these new plans with two provincial and three federal government departments in one single day. This is one example of the countless irregularities in the 89 pg. EIS.

AquaBounty’s recirculating water system (RAS) looks good on paper but the quantity of water required to fill the tanks in the massive buildings will total five million liters. They were granted a Groundwater Extraction Permit to pump 9 million L/day with peak pumping of 13 million L in 24 hr. periods in the event the RAS “goes down for any length of time.” There is no equipment known to man that operates 100 per cent perfectly, all the time.

The EIS doesn’t address the impact the effluent will have as it flows down the Rollo Bay stream, into the Lower Rollo Bay estuary, the clam beds, fishing grounds and beyond. Clear water does not mean good water.

AquaBounty claims their fish are all female and sterile. However, in 2013, AquaBounty supplied DFO a 95 per cent sterility rate. Other scientific documents point out that no containment measures are 100 per cent effective and there have been questions raised to their claim of rendering of all females. These fish are engineered to grow twice as fast, so one can imagine the consequences if they establish themselves in the natural environment. We feel it’s a not a matter of “if.” it’s a matter of when.

AquaBounty has had constant legal challenges. They’ve also had numerous violations of environmental law for their operations in Panama. One would be hopeful they would follow environmental rules here on P.E.I., but in early May, an official from the Dept. of Environment advised them to stop unapproved site-work at the Rollo Bay site until the environmental process is complete.

AquaBounty’s board admits they are a financial risk in their public 2016 year-end financial statement. “We may never achieve or maintain profitability.” They have a deficit of $99.3 million, an unpaid $3 million loan from ACOA since 2009 but yet in 2016 ACOA gave them another $337,000 to help buy the Rollo Bay site, with 0 per cent interest and the timing of repayment is “uncertain.” Finance P.E.I. also gave AquaBounty a loan for over $700,000 in 2016 to help purchase the Rollo Bay site.

Originally, it was thought their funding for this project would be supplied by their billionaire-owned parent company, Intrexon. However, AquaBounty states on their application this project will cost $13 million with funds requested from ACOA and Finance P.E.I. Ms. Braden stated in her letter AquaBounty’s operations will support our economy, but it appears our economy will be supporting them.

It makes no sense for ACOA and Finance P.E.I. to help AquaBounty when it is owned by billionaire executives and the board admits they may never be profitable. There are people in crisis in our province who need immediate help; funds given to and requested by AquaBounty should instead go directly to helping P.E.I. citizens.

We’ve said many times that the U.S. board of CEO’s and executives could build this facility in their own backyard and pay for it themselves. AquaBounty has always been under worldwide scrutiny; we hope our government is mindful of that when they are deciding to approve or deny AquaBounty’s proposal.

Dawn and Stephen Carter, Bear River, P.E.I. live a few hundred meters from where AquaBounty proposes to build North America’s first and only GMO salmon operation. They have a keen interest in protection of their local water, the fisheries and the environment.


Today's Global Chorus essay will have many of us agreeing, as we see small-scale solar more available on P.E.I. It's by Hazel Henderson, author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy and founder of Ethical Markets Media. The 84 year old is called "a futurist and economic iconoclast."

Humanity is already finding many ways past our current global environmental and social crises. 2012 was the inflection point when we began reintegrating our knowledge and transitioning from the fossil fuel Industrial Era to the knowledge-richer, more equitable, cleaner green economies of the Solar Age. From digging into our Earth for energy, we began looking up and seeing the infinite abundant flow of free photons showering our planet. Just one hour of this flow could meet all our energy needs for a year!

We began in earnest to harness these photons, just as green plants do with photosynthesis – providing all humans with our food and fibre today. We do not need much more research – only to accelerate our investments in energy efficiency, renewable solar, wind, ocean, hydro and geothermal sources – while ending our wasteful subsidies, 95 per cent of which go to fossil fuels and nuclear power. With this level playing field, even the 5 per cent of subsidies to solar and efficient use of renewable energy will be cheaper than polluting dangerous fossil and nuclear power. This crossover has already made solar and wind power cheaper than nuclear.

When the social and environmental costs are finally counted and included in prices, renewables will out compete all earlier energy. If the current $1-trillion in annual private investments continue ($4.1-trillion by 2013), by 2020 humanity will have exited the fossil fuel Industrial Era and entered the sustainable Solar Age and the promise of an equitable, abundant future for all life forms on our planet.

— Hazel Henderson

Details on Icelandic Talks: Two Talks About Icelandic Tourism

This week, Icelandic tourism scholar Gudrun Gunnarsdottir will be giving two illustrated public talks about tourism in Iceland. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of tourists visiting Iceland, so that the tourism density there now rivals that of Prince Edward Island.

The first of these lectures will be on Wednesday, the 24th, as part of a public symposium – entitled “Tourism, Place and Identity: Tourism in Iceland and Prince Edward Island” -- and sponsored by Island Studies/UPEI, with support from the Rural Policy Learning Commons and Meetings & Conventions PEI. The location is the Alex H. MacKinnon Lecture Theatre, Room 242, Don and Marion McDougall Hall, UPEI. Start time is 7:00 p.m.

The second is on the following evening, Thursday, the 25th, and is sponsored by the Vinland Society of Prince Edward Island. This time, the topic will be literary tourism, and the title, “Travelling the Literary Landscape of Iceland.” This talk will provide an introduction to Icelandic literature and geography, in the context of the development of literary tourism. The lecture location is the BIS Hall on North River Road. Start time is 7:30.

Gudrun Gunnarsdottir is Director of the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre in Akureyri, northern Iceland. She is also an authority on Icelandic literature and culture.

May 22, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Dandelion Festival, 10AM-3PM, Stratford Town Hall,

Workshops, among other activities:

10:00AM with Cooking with Dandelions (Margaret Prouse)

11:15AM Vegetable Fermentation & Kombucha (Amy Smith & Verena Varga)

12:30PM Pesticide-Free Lawn & Garden Care (Jamey Smith)

1:45PM Herbs for Wellness (Cassandra Goodwin)

Facebook event details

Saturday, May 27th:

Herb Day, 10AM-4PM, Farm Centre, free, but plants and items for sale.

"What's happening - plant and seed sale, hourly workshops, marketplace, garden tool repair, yoga in the garden, garden tour, kids activities and more.

Herbs are a great way to get started growing some of your own food and to add nutrients and deliciousness to every meal. Cilantro (coriander) is the Herb of the Year for 2017 so expect to see it making a appearance during the day. New this year - garden tool repair and yoga in the garden. Bring your garden tools for sharpening."

Facebook event details


Usually, the essay from the Global Chorus:365 Voices on the Future of the Planet edited by Todd E. MacLean anthology is printed at the end of this daily newsletter, but today, it encourages action, and I have then printed some things you can do. (Note that No. 6 and a carbon tax needs to be thought out well for P.E.I. -- a discussion another day.)


Global Chorus is written by Jeff Gailus, a father, educator, environmental advocate, author of The Grizzly Manifesto and Little Black Lies.

(note that this essay was written about three years ago, when Stephen Harper was Prime Minister and Barack Obama U.S. President)

Looking out across the political landscape these days, it is easy, even logical, to conclude there is little hope we will take the necessary actions to overcome what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently called “the greatest challenge of our generation.” For 17 years one Canadian government after another has failed to meet our international commitments to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, and we are on track to fail again. Recent polls indicate that today, the majority of Canadians want the federal government to protect the planet from the ravages of runaway climate change, and yet the politicians who represent us still refuse to adequately regulate greenhouse gas emissions. They know we hope they will do otherwise, but they’re betting, as they always have, that we will forgive them for their sins.

So far, they’ve been right: we are mired in hope.

It’s easy to see that hope is not the answer. “Hope,” derived from the Germanic word for “wish,” is an illusion, a false prophet. Hope is what we cling to as our ship sinks into the cold dark waters of fear.

We did not hope an end to slavery. We did not hope an end to the Second World War. We did not hope an end to discrimination based on the colour of our skin. All of these challenges were overcome by government intervention made strong by the concerted efforts of individuals just like you.

We will not hope climate change away. When we quit hope, we free ourselves from the bondage of our fears and allow ourselves to act, to protect the people and places we love.

I implore you: abandon all hope and commit to action. Only then will we be able to build the clean-energy economy that will provide our children and grandchildren with the prosperous and stable futures they deserve.

— Jeff Gailus


Here are actions you can take right now, from:

Top 10 ways you can stop climate change - David Suzuki Foundation website article

by David Suzuki's staff

Ever wonder how your tiny carbon footprint really impacts the big picture of climate change? Though you might feel like your lifestyle is insignificant compared to things like oil extraction or vehicle emissions, the choices we make in our day-to-day life — how we get around, what we eat, how we live — play a major role in slowing climate change.

Here's a list of 10 ways you can join in the fight to reduce our carbon footprint. Whether you save it on your desktop, share it with friends, or stick this on your fridge (link to printable PDF), this quick reference guide breaks down what you can do today to protect the planet for future generations.

1. Get involved

Take a few minutes to contact your political representatives and the media to tell them you want immediate action on climate change. Remind them that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also build healthier communities, spur economic innovation and create new jobs. And next time you're at the polls, vote for politicians who support effective climate policies.

Send a message to the Federal Government

2. Be energy efficient

You already switch off lights — what's next? Change light bulbs to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when not in use. Wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water. Dryers are energy hogs, so hang dry when you can. Install a programmable thermostat. Look for the Energy Star® label when buying new appliances. And a home energy audit is cheaper than you think — book one today to find even more ways to save energy.

3. Choose renewable power

Ask your utility to switch your account to clean, renewable power, such as from wind farms. If it doesn't offer this option yet, ask it to.

4. Eat wisely

Buy organic and locally grown foods. Avoid processed items. Grow some of your own food. And eat low on the food chain — at least one meat-free meal a day — since 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production. Food writer Michael Pollan sums it up best: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

5. Trim your waste

Garbage buried in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Keep stuff out of landfills by composting kitchen scraps and garden trimmings, and recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass. Let store managers and manufacturers know you want products with minimal or recyclable packaging.

6. Let polluters pay

Carbon taxes make polluting activities more expensive and green solutions more affordable, allowing energy-efficient businesses and households to save money. They are one of the most effective ways to reduce Canada's climate impact. If your province doesn't have a carbon tax, ask your premier and MLA to implement one.

7. Fly less

Air travel leaves behind a huge carbon footprint. Before you book your next airline ticket, consider greener options such as buses or trains, or try vacationing closer to home. You can also stay in touch with people by videoconferencing, which saves time as well as travel and accommodation costs.

8. Get informed

Follow the latest news about climate change. Sign up for the David Suzuki Foundation newsletter.

9. Green your commute

Transportation causes about 25 per cent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, so walk, cycle or take transit whenever you can. You'll save money and get into better shape! If you can't go car-free, try carpooling or car sharing, and use the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle possible.

10. Support and Donate

Many organizations, including the David Suzuki Foundation, are working hard on solutions to climate change and rely on financial support from citizens like you. Consider making a donation today by calling 1-800-453-1533 or by visiting the donate page at the David Suzuki Foundation website.

May 21, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

On local food, from Charlottetown resident Ole Hammarlund:

OLE HAMMARLUND: Boycott jailed eggs - The Guardian Opinion piece by Ole Hammarlund

Expanding use of free run eggs, and eggs from small producers is a very big issue

printed on Friday, May 19th, 2017

Recently a local soup kitchen was offered 40 dozen eggs. Not just any dozen eggs, but eggs from organically fed free run hens raised by Organic Farmyards in Freetown. However as detailed in Tuesdays Guardian, local health authorities forbid the use of such eggs in kitchens serving the public.

Personally I only buy eggs from free run hens. I love the taste and the bright orange color colour of the yolk but the main reason is that I do not believe in jailing hens for life, as is the fate of most hens supplying eggs to the supermarkets.

Hens to my mind should live a good life and that involves being able to walk around, scratch the ground and other wholesome chicken activities, instead of being caged in a tiny cage forever.

Then there is the feed. The very best eggs come from hens allowed to roam eating seeds, insects and supplementary food supplied by the owner, hopefully just grain or flaxseed. I am always worried about livestock being fed antibiotics, which is the norm for most large-scale producers. Their chickens and hens living condition are so crowded that only antibiotics can keep them alive. The antibiotics invariably end up in your own food, and before you know it, you are hosting antibiotic resistant bacteria.

So free run eggs are popular. So popular that people flock to the Farmers Market on Saturdays, sometimes even before the official opening time, to secure a dozen free run eggs. Alas I am a late sleeper, so the eggs are often all gone when I get there. Desperate, I have to go to the supermarket and one of them does carry free run eggs, although more expensive than market eggs.

But I noticed that the free run eggs in the super market are not from P.E.I., but from Ontario. Egg producers are controlled by a marketing board and there are seven Island ‘factory’ producers. I spoke to Michael Cummisky, manager of P.E.I. Egg Producers. It turns out that one of the producers does operate a free run facility, but the eggs are sent to Nova Scotia for grading and selling. Michael was telling me that the licensed producers follow strict protocols, keeping records of feed and animal care. The eggs are graded in a federally inspected facility, where they are also washed in bleach and candled for internal spots. Eggs are kept cool at all times and arrive fresh to the supermarket.

Michael stated that the licensed producers hens and eggs receive a lot more care than the hens and eggs of the small, under-200 hens producers selling eggs at the farmers markets. This may well be true, but one wonders if the extra care is simply needed to counteract the crowded conditions of thousands of birds, jailed or not. Compare this to the hens in Freetown where owner Sandy Bernard explains that the hens run completely free during the day, feasting on grass, insects and fallen seeds supplemented with organic seeds. Sounds healthier to me, and I know that it is this diet and lifestyle that produce the bright orange yolk that I love.

Meanwhile the local health authorities are doing all they can to favour jailed and factory eggs. They forbid any public food establishment from using free run eggs and a few years ago they stopped Paul Offer from serving them to his guests in his Doctors Inn in Tyne Valley, even though his eggs are some of the best eggs to be had on P.E.I. The authorities claim it is a public health issue, but clearly they are just doing their best to keep small independent producers from making their natural association with local restaurants (and soup kitchens).

Expanding the use of free run eggs and eggs from small producers may seem like a small issue, but in reality it is a very big issue. People come to P.E.I. for the close connection we have to the land here, including the food, so serving them the same pale and tasteless fare as is available in the big cities does not promote tourism to P.E.I.

Let’s promote the local, small-scale egg producers by buying free run eggs from them. If you get there too late, buy only free run and un-jailed eggs at the supermarket. Eventually the Island factory egg producers will get the point, and produce better eggs themselves, but only if you boycott jailed eggs.

Vote with your money and make a chicken happy.

- Ole Hammarlund, a Charlottetown architect, has been working on projects to reduce carbon emissions since he came to P.E.I. in 1974 to design and build the Ark.


From the good ideas an Island Grade 5 teacher is trying, helping her students create websites which illustrate their graphically organized information on topics; this one was produced by the daughter of proud father Brad Trivers:

from the website "Save The Bees"

How We Can Help

Everyone says that you should plant flowers because they help bees. But have they done any research? The answer to that is NO! Some flowers are actually bad for bees. Also, planting flowers is not the only thing we can do. Here are some things you can do to the save the bees.

1. Planting flowers

Remember that some flowers are bad for bees and can do the opposite of what you want them to do. Here is a list of flowers that are extra good for bees.

Flowers that bees are attracted to:

Bee balm, Black-eyed Susan, Stonecrop, Goldenrod, Butterfly Bush, Purple coneflower, Joe-pye weed, Lavender

2. Letting them bee (be)

It is so important that we let bees be and always stay calm when bees are around. We should never exterminate bees; they are harmless when we are harmless to them.



Sarah Backhouse is the founder and host of Future360TV and wrote the May 21st Global Chorus essay.

How do we get humans to care about and take action on climate change? As an environmental journalist and media entrepreneur, I am haunted by this question. The science is in, we know the facts, and yet we’re swimming against the tide to engage the public.

To be fair, storytelling around this issue is challenging. Climate change is abstract – it’s a difficult concept for people to grasp. The scope of the problem is overwhelming – we’ve suffered profound ecological damage and species loss, much of it irreversible. Climate change is inaccurately perceived as long-term – it has to compete with more immediate concerns like jobs and mortgages.

To get humans to engage, we need to humanize climate change. We need to share powerful stories about the thousands of lives it’s affecting everyday. Sobering stories about families in Los Angeles whose children suffer from asthma. Tragic stories about victims of weather events like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy in the U.S. and savage wildfires in Australia and about ecological refugees in Bangladesh and Africa. Inspiring stories about the innovators who are working tirelessly to develop clean-energy solutions, design better products and create new business models that encourage sharing and responsible use of resources.

One of our most compelling video stories is about a sustainably built school in San Francisco, as seen through the eyes of a remarkable teenager. Fourteen-year-old Sonia effortlessly cartwheels through sustainability concepts and possesses a passion for life that touches everyone who watches.

This story became more than one about a green school. It viscerally embodies the imagination and hope of a future generation – one that appears ready to tackle the threat that has paralyzed their parents. Sonia proves that we can change the world, one story at a time.

— Sarah Backhouse

May 20, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open today in Charlottetown and Summerside.

Monday, May 22nd:

Dandelion Festival, 10AM-3PM, Stratford Town Hall gym, various events and displays, free but charges for most foods and other aspects.

Facebook Event Details

Saturday, May 27th: ,

Herb Day, 10AM-4PM, Farm Centre, displays, free with various seedlings for sale.

Facebook Event Details

The Thursday night (4-8PM) Farm Centre Market will open in June 15th, and one of the farmers there will be Ft. Augustus' Kevin Arsenault, who wrote this letter in yesterday's Journal-Pioneer (yes, the paper misspelled "Canadian" in the theadline and link):

LETTER: Candian consumers losing faith in government over genetically modified food battle - The Journal Pioneer Letter to the Editor

Published on Thursday, May 18th, 2017

An overwhelming majority of Canadians believe that Genetically-Modified (GM) food should be labelled. But agri-food corporations don't want consumers to know their food is genetically-engineered.

Why? Because they know that most people would buy non-GMO food given the choice, and not simply because they suspect non-GMO food is healthier, but also because they are aware that most GM crops are altered to tolerate pesticides, and that growing GM crops invariably leads to increased pesticide use over time (especially the use of Monsanto-owned “glyphosphate,” which the UN has ruled is “probably” carcinogenic). Consumers also realize GM technology and seeds are owned and controlled by a handful of transnational corporations, such as Monsanto, and they would much rather support a less industrialized and chemical-intensive method of food production.

Despite very valid reasons for wanting a choice, Liberal and Conservative governments have consistently denied consumers that freedom, always siding with corporations by defeating Private Member Bills to label GM foods. For example, in 2008, the Conservative government under Stephen Harper defeated such a Bill (C-517) at second reading.

With growing demands for GM food labeling during the last federal election, Canadians expected a different outcome with the Trudeau government. In early 2016, a Health Canada-commissioned survey found that 78 per cent of Canadians want mandatory labeling of GM Food. Bolstered by these results, NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault introduced Bill C-291 in June, 2016, to amend the Food and Drugs Act to require labeling of GM Food.

On Dec. 15, 2016, during a Radio-Canada interview, Trudeau was asked if he supported labeling GM food. He responded by saying: “This is about protecting consumers. I am hearing consumers say loud and clear that they want to know more about what they are putting in their bodies. This is a good thing.”

Bill C-291 passed second reading in Parliament on May 10, 2017, then came back to the House for final reading and a vote during the evening session on Wed., May 17, 2017. The Majority Liberal government defeated the Bill with 216 "nays" to just 67 "yeahs."

Sean Casey was the only P.E.I. Liberal MP to vote in favour of the Bill. Lawrence MacAulay, Robert Morrissey and Wayne Easter (who, as NFU President was once the loudest voice in the country calling for GM labeling) voted against the Bill, obviously believing it's more important for transnational corporations to be able to hide the truth about what they are selling, than for us to know the truth about what we are buying and eating.

Let's read what Trudeau said about GM labeling one more time: “This is about protecting consumers. I am hearing consumers say loud and clear that they want to know more about what they are putting in their bodies. This is a good thing.”

Now let's read what Trudeau said about politicians making promises they have no intention of keeping: “Promising something that seems popular at the time that you know you’re never going to deliver – that’s the kind of cynical politics that I don’t want any part of [June 18, 2015, Ottawa Citizen]. And Liberal politicians wonder why we're losing faith in them and our system of democracy they treat with such disdain!

Kevin J. Arsenault obtained his Ph.D from McGill University and lives in Ft. Augustus.

Kudos to Sean Casey for voting for that Bill.


Olivier Oullier an "emorational" behavioural and brain scientist and musician, and writes the May 20th essay for Global Chorus. Here is a bit about him and his blog.

We humans entertain the belief that we are rational and intelligent creatures. However, our creative and innovative power endangers our own species on a social, economic and environmental level. Not the best display of intelligence and rationality. Although (sometimes) unintentional, the negative consequences of our behaviours on our peers and the planet are more and more visible each day. The measures taken by public authorities – i.e., bombarding us with alarming facts and figures together with endless lectures on what to do – are simply not working.

Humans and their behaviours are beautifully complex. So are their perceptions and attitudes toward their physical and social environments. This complexity cannot be captured by the ungrounded rational economic models policy-makers rely upon that consider short-term focus, biases and affective fluctuations as (economic) “anomalies.” Big mistake. They are just human nature.

People in charge need to face this reality and use the recent findings in psychology, behavioural economics and neuroscience to inform and improve their social change strategies. The unprecedented insights provided by these fields allow us to better study, learn and understand why real people engage (or not) in certain behaviours, make counter-intuitive decisions and put their lives and environments at risk, in spite of being well aware of the stakes.

Behaviourally evidence-informed policy-making is the only way to better engage citizens in taking care of themselves, their peers and the planet. In order to be successful, such an approach requires a profound systemic change. Designers, together with behavioural and brain scientists, must help policy-makers embrace our emorational nature and therefore ground their strategies. Making it as easy and effortless as possible for people to change their behaviours to improve their health and well-being and stop destroying our ecosystem must be a priority.

Good news: this is possible. But we need to quickly take a vital step by putting the best innovation ever at the core of policy-making: humans themselves.

— Olivier Oullier

May 19, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some updates:

Yesterday, The Guardian focused on the mental health services on P.E.I., as did the Graphic newspapers, publishing a lengthy in-depth article by the King's College journalism team. Here it is from The Walrus magazine:


How trying the arbitration process for her land for the Cornwall Bypass project has been on her and the Hughes-Jones family, in Ellen Hughes' recent blog:


From writer, entertainer and former executive civil servant Allan Rankin, a clear piece on the difference between regional (economic) development and rural community development, from his blog and also his column in the Graphic newspapers. Bold is mine.

The Mill River Project: Regional Development Is Not Rural Community Development - The Island Heartbeat web article by Allan Rankin

Published on Wednesday, May 17th 2017

Regional development is an upper Canadian idea.

It had its origins in the decades following the last world war, as Ottawa attempted to stimulate economic development and job creation in the so-called ‘depressed’ parts of the country like Atlantic Canada. We are all familiar with the acronyms – ERDA, FRED, ACOA.

There are now six regional development agencies across the country.

But the regionalism template hardly fits a small, densely-populated, and decentralized province like Prince Edward Island. To speak of the different ‘regions’ of the Island, aside from acknowledging their feeling of estrangement from the government in Charlottetown, is a misnomer and serves no strategic planning benefit.

The Island consists of two quaisi urban communities pretending to be cities, a bunch of rural towns and villages, seasonal residential development along the shoreline, and some open countryside.

We have no regional hinterlands.

In April, the MacLauchlan government appointed a new Minister of Rural and Regional Development. The timing was precipitous, and to some a disingenuous attempt to appease a rural uprising around proposed rural school closures. The new minister is respected Alberton-Roseville MLA Pat Murphy, but the operating mandate of the department has not been elaborated upon, and the recent provincial budget has accorded it no dedicated financial resources. Once more, the responsibility for bodies like the Area Industrial Commissions has been retained by Murphy’s colleague the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.

This must leave Minister Murphy wondering what his job is.

Rural Islanders should look closely at the terminology used, because “regional development” and “rural community development” are not at all the same things. While making strategic economic investments in one part of the province or another may have merit, that is far different than rural economic, social, and cultural development at the community level, with local citizens identifying opportunities and planning their own futures.

There is no sign that the MacLauchlan government is interested in rural community development.

The recently-announced Mill River Development project is a good case in point. Here we have a successful Islander, home from away, tagged with the re-development of a strategic piece of tourism infrastructure in the western part of the province. The seven-million-dollar deal relinquishes public ownership of the property, provides development capital, and a guarantee against operating losses, in return for a small investment by Don MacDougall, the new owner and developer.

The agreement between the Province and Mr. MacDougall is one sided, in favor of the developer, and a wider RFP might have led to a more advantageous financial arrangement for Island taxpayers. Most Islanders wish the new owner success, and I hope the west Prince region benefits in the long term.

But an important distinction must be made. The Mill River re-development is not rural community development, as evidenced by the fact that Minister Murphy was not a part of its rollout, nor to my knowledge was he involved in the discussions leading up to the eventual agreement between government and the developer. More importantly, I am not aware of any direct community consultation or discussion process that took place.

Mill River is old fashioned large-scale, strategic economic development, planned by government together with a selected private developer, and with no involvement of the community.

Had a rural community development approach been taken, the impact of such a huge financial investment by government upon other businesses in the area might have been considered.

Within the west Prince area, there are several other community and privately operated inns and small hotels, and for those businesses the playing field is now anything but fair or even. What provincial government help can they expect? Are there programs to assist their future capital improvements or development? A community development approach to the Mill River project would have taken their needs, realities, and aspirations into consideration.

Let’s look at language again.

The mandate of minister Murphy’s department speaks about “sustained growth,” “employment investment” and of a “population strategy”. But there is no focus on community, and no indication that government is interested in embarking on a truly dynamic, community development process with rural Islanders.

Premier MacLauchlan’s government seems to fearful of allowing communities too much latitude and self-determination. This is unfortunate, and government shouldn’t define the community landscape either, or limit the discussion. For rural community development is also about schools, and medical clinics, land use, clean air and water resources, and access to a whole range of provincial programs and services.

Community development can be cumbersome and not always coincide with the strategic economic and social development priorities of government. But I believe it’s the only way to engage people where they live, achieve bottom up development, and move the province forward.

I am hoping that premier MacLauchlan’s government adopts such a genuine approach to rural development, and that partnering with our rural communities becomes more than funding strategic projects like the Mill River re-development.

The Island is not an easily managed assemblage of regions, but a small community of even smaller communities, and only by preserving and fostering that decentralized rural character will our economic future be assured.


Global Chorus is by James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency (about what would happen to most countries with t he end of oil). Wikipedia writes, "Kunstler, a long-time critic of suburban design, advises people should begin learning to grow food." He blogs here.

The master task at hand for the human race is managing the contraction of an industrial economy that has reached its limits.

The human race has no experience with this, and for the moment we are in thrall to wishful thinking in the hope that some techno rescue remedy will allow us to keep that system going – shale oil, hydrogen, electric cars, thorium reactors, methane clathrates, etc. We’re wasting our time wishing for these things. We need to downscale and relocalize all the activities of daily life: agriculture, commerce, capital finance, governance, education, healthcare.

It is important to remember that reality has mandates of its own and will compel us to behave differently whether we get with the program, or not – it just depends on how disorderly we want the transition to be.

I attempted to depict such a successful transition in a series of two (soon to be three) recent novels set in the post-petroleum American future: World Made by Hand and The Witch of Hebron, if anyone is interested in an imagined outcome that is not in the Mad Max mould. It’s not utopia but it shows people managing to remain civilized under conditions of relative hardship. Farming has come back to the centre of their economy, they work shoulder to shoulder with their neighbours on things that matter, and they make music together. It’s a start. It’s also still recognizably American culture.

James Howard Kunstler

May 18, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Event today -- all welcome:

Thursday, May 18th, 2-5PM:

"Growing Food & Education: Getting more local food in our schools", Food Security Network Panel Discussion and AGM, 2-5PM, Farm Centre, free

Facebook event details


Two letters reflecting how citizens have to be vigilant to make up for practices that benefit certain corporations and a small handful of people over the environment.

Calling out Aqua Bounty's apologists:

LETTER: Unanswered issues concern residents - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Re: Laura Braden: Sustainable way to raise fish, The Guardian May 13, 2017.

Recent news reports including Laura Braden’s article published on May 13 totally miss the point of the local opposition to the AquaBounty plant expansion in Rollo Bay. As property owners in Rollo Bay, we share the local opposition and frustration with the lack of clarity and transparency in the process being followed by governments and the company for this project.

We are puzzled by the government’s (provincial and federal) endorsement and financial assistance to AquaBounty to go forward with a GMO salmon growing facility in Rollo Bay without carrying out a new Environmental Impact Assessment. The company plans have changed dramatically in the last year and the original assessment was very specific and limited to salmon egg production and not a full-blown salmon hatchery. There is a significant difference in the environmental footprint for the much larger scale plant particularly as it relates to water usage and water/waste dispersal.

There are numerous and substantive unanswered questions, particularly with respect the impact on local water quality- answers not yet forthcoming from either level of government or the US owned company. We have asked for a more robust local consultation with officials from each level of government and senior company executives to provide the assurances and commitments local residents need to grant the “social license “ to have this revised and significant player in our community proceed with its project.

Irene Peters MacDonald and Colin MacDonald, Rollo Bay


And from the magnificent Edith Ling:

Unacceptable answer from public servant - The Guardian Opinion piece by Edith Ling

Public needs vigilance to ensure holding ponds won’t circumvent moratorium on high capacity wells

Published on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

The general public needs to be very concerned about the construction of holding ponds used to hold water for agricultural irrigation purposes. It appears to me that these holding ponds are a way around the 2002 moratorium placed on the drilling of high capacity wells in this province.

At a meeting with Department of Environment officials on March 29, 2017 to review the draft Water Act, the question was asked about how these ponds were going to be filled. The answer given on that day was that there would be one well (low capacity) allowed per pond. That seemed to be a reasonable answer.

The same question was asked of the Dept. of Environment official at the public meeting to consider the draft Water Act in Charlottetown on April 10, 2017. The information given at that meeting was there would be one well allowed per property identification number (PID) per pond.

This is a substantial difference. Many farmers have a number of parcels of land, each with a different identification number and we know water can be piped for great distances. It is easy to see that the plan is to use several wells to fill these holding ponds.

In a telephone call to the same Department of Environment official, Jim Young, a day or so later, he was asked why the change had been made. He replied that there were no changes made. When he was questioned as to why he had not mentioned the property identification number involvement at the March 29, 2017 meeting, his response was "You did not ask."

This is a totally unacceptable answer from a public servant. It would appear that not all the information was shared at the March 29 meeting or indeed a change has been made.

It is difficult to understand what the difference would be between one high capacity well filling a pond or several low capacity wells doing the same job.

Either way, hundreds of thousands of gallons of precious water are being extracted.

Even more interesting is the fact that the highest pumping capacity for a low capacity well is 50 igpm (imperial gallons per minute) while the lowest pumping capacity for a high capacity well is just over 50 igpm. Both wells will require permits.

I realize that the matter of these holding ponds will be dealt with in the Regulations under the Water Act. Regulations can be changed by the stroke of a pen at any meeting of the cabinet.

The general public needs to be vigilant about this matter and ensure that these holding ponds are not an innovative way to circumvent the moratorium on high capacity wells for agricultural irrigation. We need to make sure that our water supply is protected and preserved for this and future generations.

- Edith Ling of North Winsloe is a beef farmer and Women's District Director of the National Farmers Union.


Global Chorus is by Patty Webster, the founder of Amazon Promise, an organization, a "U.S. based, non-profit organization founded to provide desperately needed medical and dental care to remote populations living in the Upper Amazon Basin of Northeastern Peru." Amazon Promise website

It is difficult to be optimistic about the human capacity to survive when, as a whole, we appear so hell-bent on creating the perfect conditions for our demise. Observing the natural world in the Amazon jungle, I have seen thousands of species coexist perfectly with the environment that supports them. Why can’t we do that? Is it that other “simple” species actually “think” long-term and we “big-brained” humans only in the short? We are destroying what keeps us and other species alive – the plants that provide the oxygen we breathe, the rivers, oceans and forests that supply the food and medicine that sustains us.

People complain that technology is moving too fast. I disagree. Unless a major global event alters our trajectory, we are never returning to a time when things were “better.” In fact, if we are to outrun an approaching crisis, technology is part of the answer and must be propelled to hyperspeed. We need to put extreme effort into technological innovations that have the potential for global impact. Incredible breakthroughs, such as turning plastics and algae into oil, have been developed by people just like you and I, people who saw a negative situation and wanted to change it. Twenty years ago, I was inspired to bring desperately needed medical care to the neglected people of the Peruvian Amazon. My advice is to discover what motivates YOU and get involved in improving our situation. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the immensity of the issues and adopt a complacent, “getwhat-you-can-while-you-can” attitude, but people who take on one problem at a time are overcoming paralysis and having great success all over the world. Their small triumph connects with other small triumphs and together, they become a force. Everyone is part of the solution. Governments are not the change agents. We are.

— Patty Webster

May 17, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Wednesday, May 17th:

Information Session on Construction at Province House, 1-2:30PM, Confederation Centre Studio 1, free.


Thursday, May 18th, 2-5PM:

"Growing Food & Education: Getting more local food in our schools", Food Security Network Panel Discussion and AGM, 2-5PM, Farm Centre, free

Facebook event details


A good note to send to your MPs


Sean Casey:

Wayne Easter:

Lawrence MacAulay:

Robert "Bobby" Morrissey:

LYNNE THIELE: Island MPs can leave a lasting legacy - The Guardian Opinion piece by Lynne Thiele

Published on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Liberal governments in both cases denied voters Proportional Representation in next elections

With the following five suggestions, I invite our four Members of Parliament to lead with principles, create a legacy, and bring a better life to Islanders and Canadians.

1) Proportional Representation was promised 1,600 times by Justin Trudeau before the last election. It was, he vowed with hand over heart, the last election that would use First Past the Post. In P.E.I., a majority of Islanders voted for a Proportional Representation system with MMP and DMP. Liberal governments in both cases have denied the voters Proportional Representation in the next elections. I call on all four MPs to rise up and based on principle, to ask the PM to concede to Canadians a right to have their vote count. Don't delay or disrespect our democracy as did the provincial Liberals.

2) Create a furor until, in partnership with the federal and provincial government, a pilot project for Basic Income Guarantee is created for P.E.I.

3) Use your voices at the federal level to support educational and business opportunities by bringing high speed internet to every part of the Island. The provincial government promises for this are a disgrace.

4) Demand the federal government provide a pilot project for Pharmacare here on P.E.I. Such a plan could have saved Islanders $270 million over the past 10 years. Saying we can't afford it, is like saying we can't afford a sink stopper because the water bill is too high.

5) Islanders have a deep respect for veterans and those who serve in our Armed Forces. Complaints of torture to new recruits that were alleged against the commanding officers and soldiers under their command, must be investigated, and if proven to be true, then all the torturers must be held individually responsible and punished. Commands from superior officers do not exonerate soldiers from laws against torture and heinous crime. Our honourable members should not take their titles lightly. To do the job with honour, takes courage. It means speaking against a leader who has lied and misused his power. When you read about the soldiers who were tortured by their leaders, you are called to judge yourselves.

Do you abide by leaders who misuse their power? I ask you to be a voice for us that will be heard across the nation. We are the birthplace of Canadian Confederation and you represent us.

- Lynne Thiele of Stratford is a writer, editor and retired educator.(And I would add demanding the reestablishment of Door-to-Door mail delivery...that was a big promise....)


Global Chorus today is a poem by Robert Ferrari, an Alberta physician and poet


Change is too constant for history,

Which comes, considers and makes a stand,

In clearings, and elsewhere along the road of

Values, questions, necessity and growth;

Constant the change comes, sometimes quietly, as though,

Holding its breath, it is planning a lesson;

Or sometimes unquietly resting, like an animal

Being tracked, made to camouflage,

Hunted by progress,

Tired and terrified, chased by dreams,

By aspirations, man’s fears of being lost,

Beneath the world, beneath leaves,

Hidden forever in the secrets of weather.

Whether time, water, wind or fire invades

With violence upon history,

Or, with even less drama, flatters inhabitants

With long memories, beyond the recollections

Of a millennium, a folk-song, or even this morning,

Whether these strikes breach the walls,

Patina the years, favour the return to leaves

Or not, there is a pressure to place the past

Into smaller spaces, disappearing venues,

Closing circuits and cramped opportunities.

This is the change too constant for history,

The insistent rewriting that wanders into

Our lives and underlines in the dictionary

The word renewal.

There’s a murmur in the world theatre:

The curtain is drawing,

And the third act has yet to be written.

In act one, the sun prays for renewal;

In act two, renewal prays for sunlight,

For some truth unvarnished by myths of collapse,

That life is not a last look or sometime space,

But an immersion in change, fibre deep, forest deep,

And willing.

Renewal is yours, your task and work and hope.

Understand it as a name, and call it.

Everything yields.

Yesterday’s poems are dead,

And the poets have gone off to fish.

The temples of Art and Hope are constantly rebuilt,

Less so by masters and more by neighbours

Seeking shelter from the rains, finding

That the clouds in their lives speak only grey ideas,

Or rebuilt by those asking for directions to the theatre,

Hearing that the third act has not yet been written,

And feeling that their tongue has the courage to speak the lines,

And recite the monologue of renewal.

— Robert Ferrari

May 16, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Tuesday, May 16th, 7PM:

Island Studies Lecture: The economic success of Mauritus — a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, with Ouma Cuniah, 7PM, UPEI Main Building, free.

More details at the Institute of Island Studies website

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 17th:

Information Session on Construction at Province House, 1-2:30PM, Confederation Centre Studio 1, free.


Yesterday, public comments closed on the expansion of the Aqua Bounty production plant in Rollo Bay.

Kindly, Gary Schneider of ECO-PEI sent me his comments, and I have copied them, fyi. ECO-PEI and Gary clearly make the case why this "amendment" should not be approved, and point out flaws in the current EIA system.

Comments on the AquaBounty EIS

Gary Schneider, CoChair

Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island

May 15, 2017

It is ironic that at a time when the government of Canada has promised to rebuild the trust of Canadians in the federal environmental assessment process, both the federal and provincial governments have dropped the ball when it comes to AquaBounty’s genetically modified (GM) fish.

When AquaBounty applied for a permit for four high capacity wells in 2016, it was clearly to raise GM salmon eggs that would be shipped to Panama where the fish would actually be grown. There is a great deal of controversy over the idea of GM fish, especially given the federal government and industry resistance to any kind of labelling that would allow consumers to make an educated choice as to what they are eating.

AquaBounty went through a hurried provincial environmental assessment process that drew concerns about the lack of opportunities for the public to participate and the fact that approvals were being given for high capacity wells smack in the middle of an extensive process to develop a new water act. Nevertheless, AquaBounty received their permit in June of 2016.

But then came what looks like a classic case of project splitting. This term is used to describe a situation when only part of a project is assessed, and then the project later becomes much bigger. Industry has used this tactic for years. A good example would be a mining company opening a mine, having it assessed, and then opening a smelter (which clearly was going to have to be built all along), and having that assessed. A proper assessment would have looked at the cumulative effects of both the mine and the smelter, and the project splitting prevents that because permission has already been given for the mine and it is up and running.

In the AquaBounty case, the wells were already up and running, when they announce less than a year later that they would be actually raising the GMO fish in Fortune. In the 2016 assessment that prospect was supposedly not on the table and was therefore not assessed with the high-capacity wells.

With the new “amended” project proposal, the province responded to this lack of a proper assessment by holding one public meeting in Fortune and then giving the public 10 days to comment. After much concern was expressed, the province announced another 10 days for comments. Even 20 days is insufficient for a project this controversial – a 30-day period would be the minimum that should be given for the public to be fully involved. The raising of GM fish to maturity on PEI gives rise to a whole new set of risks and concerns that need to be properly aired and thoroughly examined. The process to date gives the public little confidence in being able to influence the outcome, since it appears as though the province really does not want to hear from the public about their concerns.

In their Amended Environmental Impact Statement submitted April 12, 2017, AquaBounty stated that “It has been determined, in consultation with PEIDCLE (PEI Department of Communities, Land and Environment) and AquaBounty that a Level II Public Consultation will be required for the proposed project which includes a public information session. The purpose of the public consultation is to inform the residents in the local area and general public about the proposed project and any potential environmental issues. Upon submission of the EIS document, AquaBounty will post a notice in the Guardian and Eastern Graphic to advise the public of the proposed project and to announce the date, time and location of the public information session.”

There are three glaring problems with this paragraph. First, the province and the company decided on the public participation process, without asking the public, which goes against the principles of meaningful public participation. The second is that the purpose of their consultation is to inform the residents. That is absolutely not a consultation. Consultation is a two-way, interactive street, not just informing the public. And the third is that relying solely on two newspaper ads that most people will not see, and without asking the public about when it might be convenient for them to hold such a meeting, shows that the province is not committed to meaningful public participation.

The other issue about not having a comprehensive environmental assessment with adequate public participation is the issue of trust. In response to questions raised in 2016 about their initial Environmental Impact Statement, the company released a table of Questions and Answers.

QUESTION 22: “Please confirm that no GMO salmon, including eggs, will be present at the Rollo Bay facility at any time. Please provide details on the safeguards that will be in place to ensure that no GMO salmon, including eggs, are inadvertently transferred to the new facility.

ANSWER: The proposed facility at Rollo Bay West will have no GMO salmon. The Rollo Bay West facility will be used for non-transgenic salmon egg production purposes. Populations of non-transgenic fish are maintained in Fortune using pedigree, inventory controls, and genotype testing.

QUESTION 23: “Please provide details on the Federal enforcement and inspection procedures, including the responsible agency that will be implemented to ensure that no GMO salmon are present at the new facility.

ANSWER: The facility will not have GMO Salmon present on the site - egg rearing facility only.

Yet less than a year later, the company is on a totally different track, planning to raise the fish on-site. They also say they won’t do any processing on site, but can we really be certain of that, given the history of changed directions?

Community members and other respected organizations such as the Atlantic Salmon Federation have made thoughtful presentations on the dangers of GM fish to our fragile native stocks of Atlantic salmon. We really do need a comprehensive environmental assessment that follows the well-established principles of meaningful public participation before we can make any decision on AquaBounty’s request, and also whether this project is deserving of any provincial or federal financial support.


Global Chorus today is by Satish Kumar, who is editor-in-chief of Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine, and the founder of Schumacher College in the United Kingdom

I am an optimist: I believe that the human spirit is resilient. Faced with the demise of biodiversity, rise of population, prospects of climate change, world hunger and many other similar global crises, humanity is bound to rise to the occasion and bring about changes towards a more sustainable future.

Once upon a time, colonialism and imperialism were powerful forces, but in the first half of the 20th century that came to an end. Similarly, former Soviet satellite states and Eastern European countries were liberated from the Soviet empire and the Berlin Wall came down through non-violent means. After 27 years in jail, Nelson Mandela became the president of South Africa and the apartheid system was dissolved. More recently, after 16 years of house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi has been elected as

a member of the Myanmar Parliament and there are good signs of freedom in that country. These examples give me hope that another world is possible where sustainability, conservation, an end of hunger and world peace will prevail.

A few years ago the idea of generating power through windmills and solar collectors was considered utopian, but now governments around the world are subsidizing renewable energy. Businesses are investing money in it and scientists and technocrats are busy innovating new ways of harvesting natural energy.

It is my conviction that we can create a world where humanity can be at ease with itself and stride toward an elegant and simple lifestyle which is benevolent to Nature and fulfilling to humanity.

— Satish Kumar

May 15, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Events this week:

Tuesday, May 16th, 7PM:

Island Studies Lecture: The economic success of Mauritus — a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, with Ouma Cuniah, 7PM, UPEI Main Building, free.

More details at the Institute of Island Studies website


Thursday, May 18th, 2-5PM:

Food Security Network Panel Discussion and AGM, 2-5PM, Farm Centre

from the event notice:

With presenters:

Bev Campbell, Chef at Queen Elizabeth Elementary School

Sarah Bennetto O'Brien, PEI Handpie Company

Kyle Panton - Chef and Farmer

Kent MacDonald - Gordon Food Services

All have a passion for getting healthy, local food on the plates of students.

Panel presentations will be followed by a general discussion and a very short annual meeting.

Many Islanders are embracing "buy local" campaigns by going to farmers' markets and participating in CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture). At the same time there is interest in getting more locally-produced food on the menu in provincial institutions such as schools and healthcare facilities. Many communities and producers are responding with creative school food programs and initiatives to increase awareness of growing food as well as to improve local food access for children and their families. Given this growing interest in local procurement from producers, government and consumers, we invite the community to discuss the opportunities and challenges of providing local food products in Island schools.

Please join us for what is bound to be a lively discussion. Everyone welcome!

Facebook event details


Today at 5PM is the deadline to make public comment about the GMO-fish rearing plant in Rollo Bay. In this op-ed in Saturday's Guardian

the operation is defended as being "sustainable" and other terms used in the author's previous writings and in industry publications.

The P.E.I. government Environmental Assessment page is here:

Main concerns that could be briefly written as an e-mail to EIA officer Dale Thompson here: <>

include the issue of grandfathering this in to the exiting application, of continuing with it while The Water Act is under development, of not taking into account the concerns of local residents, of not holding a public meeting any nearer to a majority of Islanders than in the local area, and no real discussion of the implications of P.E.I. becoming a GM fish producing province. Input from Islanders is important, at least for questions being on the record.


The Global Chorus essay today is by Peter Sale, professor emeritus at University of Windsor, former assistant director of the Institute for Water, Environment and Health at United Nations University, author of Our Dying Planet. His current blog is here

with excellent essays.

In 2013 the world is a lot less rich than it was when I landed in Honolulu in August 1964, ready to begin my life as a coral reef ecologist. Since then, our activities in the coastal oceans have reduced, simplified and homogenized the biotic richness that used to be. Our CO2 emissions are altering the climate and the oceans in fundamental ways. And coral reefs are in global decline. The Great Barrier Reef and most of the Caribbean have lost over 50 per cent of their living coral cover in just the last 30 years. By 2050, on current trends, we will not have anything resembling the reefs I first saw in the sixties. This fact alone should be a wake-up call, but it’s not just reefs. We are reshaping our world, creating a new environment outside our collective experience across all of history, civilization and tribal memory. It’s a world bringing great hardships for us and extinction for much of Nature.

Evolved to jump out of the way of sabre-tooth cats, but to ignore advancing glaciers, we are slow to respond to the damage we are causing. Cocooned in our civilization, many of us fail to see what we are doing; deluded by our technology, others assume we can invent our way out of this mess. Still others understand the problem and the possible solutions, but we fail to act because the pain is not yet great enough. We need that approaching predator to shock us into action. It might come as a series of extreme weather events, or as a global pandemic, an abrupt rise in sea level as the West Antarctic shelf fails, or continental-scale famine following widespread drought. It might appear as a global economic collapse. If it comes soon, and if it is not too vicious, we can still get to a good future. If it does not, I fear we will simply watch and wonder as our civilization collapses. I hope that cat is coming soon.

— Peter F. Sale

May 14, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Happy Mother's Day "to all mothers and mother figures", quoting from the Bonshaw Hall community reader board sign. Well put.

Here is a repeat posting of a gorgeous short video, narrated by Julia Robertas a beautiful but-fed-up with-humans Mother Nature:


Tomorrow is the last day to comment on the GMO -fish breeding plant:


The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is the oldest women's peace organization in the world. Its disarmament program is called "Reaching Critical Will"and is described on its website as:

Reaching Critical Will works for disarmament and arms control of many different weapon systems, the reduction of global military spending and militarism, and the investigation of gendered aspects of the impact of weapons and of disarmament processes.

Marches around the world are taking place on Saturday, June 17th in support of negotiations taking place in New York City at the United Nations.

The group and this event is described more fully in this blog and website by peace scholar Joanna Macy:

Along with much about her and her projects.


Joanna Macy writes the May 14th Global Chorus:

Prayer to Future Beings

You live inside us, beings of the future.

In the spiral ribbons of our cells, you are here.

In our rage for the burning forests, the poisoned

fields, the oil-drowned seals,

you are here.

You beat in our hearts through late-night meetings.

You accompany us to clear-cuts and toxic dumps

and the halls of the lawmakers.

It is you who drive our dogged labours to save what

is left.

O you who will walk this Earth when we are gone,

stir us awake.

Behold through our eyes

the beauty of this world.

Let us feel your breath in our lungs,

your cry in our throat.

Let us see you in the poor, the homeless, the sick.

Haunt us with your hunger, hound us with your


that we may honour the life that links us.

You have as yet no faces we can see,

no names we can say.

But we need only hold you in our mind,

and you teach us patience.

You attune us to measures of time

where healing can happen,

where soil and souls can mend.

You reveal courage within us we had not suspected,

love we had not owned.

O you who come after, help us remember:

we are your ancestors. Fill us with gladness for the work that must be done.

— Joanna Macy

root teacher of the Work That Reconnects

May 13, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open in Summerside and Charlottetown today.

Here is a page on finding Community Supported Agriculture farmers in your area and with the kinds of local foods available, continually updated:

The P.E.I. Legislative Assembly closed yesterday about noon, with enough time for making lengthy welcomes (actually, thank-yous and such), going through a Question Period, passing the Electoral Boundaries bill, and having Lieutenant Governor Frank Lewis pop in and give Royal Assent to the bills passed during the session (this did not include The Water Act, since it was never submitted this session). (Comments on the Session another day.)

During Question Period, Kathleen Casey asked the Agriculture Minister what his department was doing to so "our farmers have the opportunity to sell their products locally", referring to a news item earlier this week where an Island organic farmer wished to donate eggs to a Food Bank and was turned away. While first mentioning some funds for creating an egg inspection station for smaller producers, Minister Alan McIsaac flipped the question and explained the rationale of eggs sold to the general public are subject to regulations to be inspected (weighed for grading or sizing), and "candeled" or checked with a strong light to see if there are cracks or developing embryos). So no real thoughts about the main issue of food safety in the context of local food.


Today is officially the PEI Women's Institute Roadside Cleanup day, but bags won't be collected until Monday or sometime next week in your area, so if you or anyone wish to collect any trash, you can do that this weekend. Any clear bag is OK to use, or the ones printed for the Cleanup. The real problems of why people litter and how to get businesses to reducing packaging are two main issues the Roadside Cleanup doesn't address, but discussions worth having.

Today at Macphail Woods near Orwell:

Birds and Breakfast, right now, Macphail Woods, free (breakfast will be over but you could still bird)

Pruning Trees and Shrubs, 2PM, Meet at the Nature Centre, free

There are a lot of productions going on this weekend, and a public one benefitting Young At Heart Musical Theatre for Seniors is special:

Tea and Tunes, 2PM, St. Paul's Hall, 101 Prince Street, Charlottetown.

Come see our 2017 show, Sing-Song, Ping-Pong starring Pamela Campbell and Nancy Beck, and enjoy a catered tea. You can whet your whistle with tea from Lady Baker's Tea and enjoy sweets and sandwiches catered by The Yellow House. Looking for a unique Mother's Day gift? Bring her to this event. Tea and Tunes, 2pm on Saturday May 13th at St. Paul's Hall, 101 Prince Street.

Tickets are $25 and can be obtained by calling 902-370-2907. Visit our Facebook page or

Little Mermaid, 2PM and 7:30PM, Colonel Gray High School's musical, at the Confederation Centre. Box Office I am biased (kid in the chorus) but it is really impressive.


Linda Lear, PhD, is an environmental biographer/historian, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature and Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature. She writes the May 13th Global Chorus essay.

Over the course of the last fifty years, many of us, but not enough of us, have understood the extent of the damage that human hubris has inflicted upon the natural world. Some of us tried to ignore the indisputable fact that global pollution was caused by human actions and activities, and not by some invisible malevolent hand. Others simply denied reality.

In 1962 the nature writer Rachel Carson (1907– 1964) awakened us to the horrific consequences of human activity on the Earth’s systems in her iconic and still revolutionary book Silent Spring. Carson began her tale of the potential death of Nature with a fable based on the real and terrifying disasters suffered by many American communities where chemical pesticides had been used and misused. “No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it themselves.” Rachel Carson never knew how prescient her words would be.

Her hope was that the potential silencing of spring would spur us to recognize the terrible consequences of putting anything into the natural world before we understood the impact it might have on human and nonhuman nature: on all life. She trusted, perhaps naively, that the next generation would carry forth an inextinguishable “sense of wonder” that would ensure that life would continue and that humans could and would live co-operatively with Nature. Sadly, we have not heeded Carson’s warning well enough, and human destruction of the planet has continued with terrifying speed. But is it really too late to turn around?

Carson’s hope, and mine too, is based on a belief in our continuing sense of moral responsibility to the future of human and nonhuman life. It is imperative that we be very clear about what we stand for and what we oppose. The continuation of the life support systems of the living Earth – clean water, fresh air, fertile soil and the biodiversity of the species – is our responsibility to the future. We can do it. We simply must do it. And we must do it NOW.

— Linda Lear

May 12, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM-1PM, and may close today. If you are watching and there is a lot of up-and-down and a near square dance on the floor between clerks and Speaker and House Leaders, then you could guess that soon the Lieutenant Governor will be getting a ride over to wish them all a good summer and hope for peace and good governance. The session may extend beyond the 1PM to finish up.


Yesterday in Question Period, Opposition MLA (D7: Morell-Mermaid) Sidney MacEwen asked about the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal, which hasn't addressed fully a lot of topics in the mandate, but managed to craft a complicated plebiscite question. Good for him for reminding Islanders and apparently government what the mandate was. Also, Finance Minister Roach continues to deny all knowledge of the e-gaming scheme, despite some inconsistent timelines.

Later, some legislation made it through third reading, specifically a private member's bill by Opposition Leader Jamie Fox on motorcyclists removing their helmets if stopped, and the Regulated Professions Act, which finally, finally moves professions such as midwifery a bit forward on the Island. Hats off to Deputy Speaker Kathleen Casey for steadfastly supporting this over the years.


Link to view today, view archives, and for pages of Bills and Question Period transcripts:


The Council of Canadians issued a press release about their and Earth Action's call for hearings before any GM salmon plant in Rollo Bay would go forward.

The government Environmental Impact Assessment website is here.


Patrick Curry is a writer and environmentalist. Here is his May 12th Global Chorus essay.

When I look at the world dominated by human beings, I see (in the words of Max Weber) one of unpunished injustice, undeserved suffering and hopeless stupidity. So far as I can tell, the future consists of humanity sliding further into the abyss and continuing to take much of the natural world with it. Anthropocentrism – the assumption that human beings are the centre of the world and its highest (if not only) source of value – will continue to dominate actions and discussions. The model for how to live will continue to be dominated by corporatism and big business on the one hand and increasingly fundamentalist monotheism on the other. Both are inherently anti-ecological and, insofar as human beings are natural beings, anti-humanity. Both will also continue to undermine the kind of education we most urgently need: not teaching our young to be consumers or believers, but citizens. The attack on civil society will continue but mesmerized by the twin gods (under Mammon) of Convenience and Entertainment, few will notice, and fewer care.

For the same reasons, we will continue to destroy, pollute and desecrate the natural world past the point of our own ability to flourish and possibly even survive. The mass extinction of species for which we are responsible will continue to accelerate as will global climate change, driven by our addiction to industrial-scale energy and “development.” Will humanity survive? I think so, although in what numbers and with what ways of life I cannot say. But we seem to be well on our way into a new Dark Age where culture, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, only survives in isolated pockets. The only thing that prevents despair is that I don’t know beyond any doubt that this is the future. By the same token, though, no one else knows for sure that it isn’t. In any case, it is only after fully acknowledging how dire is the situation and the outlook, without indulging in any comforting nostrums or pious evasions, that we are entitled to whatever hope remains. And even if none, we can still resist; you don’t need hope for that. What you need is courage.

Patrick Curry

May 11, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today, the P.E. I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM. After Question Period and Statements by Ministers, the Opposition sets the agenda for the afternoon. You can watch the Legislature and check on which motions or bills are being discussed at this Legislative Assembly home page:


This morning, CBC Radio is going to feature a story on LED streetlights and concerns about the health and well-being affects of these energy efficient but really, really bright forms of lighting. Web story from CBC website here.


Monday, May 15th (5PM) is the last day (at this point) to comment on the proposal to add a genetically modified salmon raising production plant to the egg-production proposal approved last year. The environmental impact assessment material is found here. Any comment you have can be sent.

Here is a recent article in the same family of papers as the Eastern Graphic on the federal government and evaluating GM animals produced for human consumption. From Any Walker in Island Farmer, from May 3rd, 2017.


Rob Dietz is the co-author of Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources and the author of the May 11th Global Chorus essay.

In the early 21st century, humanity sits in a precarious position. Reams of evidence support a conclusion that’s hard to comprehend: people are consuming resources at a rate beyond the Earth’s regenerative capacity. Like Icarus, humanity is flying too high, ignoring the warning signs and courting disaster. The main question, then, is how to straighten out and fly right – what’s the most practical path for achieving the good life on our one and only planet?

The dominant philosophy of nations since the birth of industrialism and capitalism has been more. More people, more production, more consumption, more technology, more income. Professors, politicians and pundits commonly tout increasing devotion to more as the way to solve our environmental and social problems, but it’s a deeply flawed approach. There’s no logic in resorting to the very philosophy that has pushed us into planetary overshoot. Instead we need to reconfigure our economic

systems to embrace the philosophy of enough – we need to recognize the limits we face and structure the economy so that it meets people’s needs within environmental limits.

To build an economy focused on better rather than bigger requires surprisingly straightforward policy changes. For example, we can limit the flow of materials and energy to sustainable levels, stabilize population by means that are compassionate and non-coercive, achieve a fair distribution of wealth and income, reform monetary and financial systems for stability, change the way we measure progress, secure meaningful jobs and full employment, and reconfigure the way businesses create value. We’ll continue to fly, but we won’t blindly fly into the sun, soaring beyond planetary means. Hope for achieving an economy that works for people and the planet resides in the simple concept of enough.

— Rob Dietz

May 10, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM today.

Home page:

On Monday, CBC Mainstreet's political columnist Richard Raiswell spoke about the provincial Liberal government's plan to reduce the number of written questions that an Opposition MLA may submit to government. It doesn't say much about the current government's plans for democratic renewal. Or perhaps it does. The column is five minutes long and recorded here:

The Electoral Boundaries Commission released its report yesterday for boundaries for the next provincial election.


Ernesto C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich is a prominent Mexican conservationist, and professor of sustainability at Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico)

Today is a beautiful day and it is wonderful to be alive. Such awareness comes from being human and confers a sense of duty for maintaining life and making peace with Nature.

In such a day, and in times ahead, there will also be despair and sadness. This is part reality and part perception. Even in those moments we can find many good reasons to stand strong. “Hope?”

YES, hope based on real possibility to change the world. The future is what we make it. We can help to heal Nature so it continues to nurture us. We are increasingly interdependent and opting for the good. Technology and simple things like protected areas will make all the difference.

What can I do as an individual and influence others to do what is good for Nature and therefore for humans? Every day … every moment …: Inspire: What can I do? Expire: What can we do?

This Decalogue shared with students 20 years ago remains pertinent and practical to living and securing a space for Nature and ALL life in the Anthropocene.

These are just some ideas. I challenge you for even better ones but please … be part of the solution:


1. Seek, envision, apply and enjoy a lifestyle that is light on the planet. Repel materialism.

2. If you exercise your privilege to have descendants these should be at most two and brought up as champions for the planet.

3. Learn, recognize, promote and be willing to pay the real value for Nature’s goods and services.

4. Work as a volunteer in your community.

5. Use your purchasing power to demand a better world.

6. Participate actively in restoring and healing Nature.

7. Demand from our leaders or be a leader caring for the planet and be true and congruent.

8. Photograph, paint, write, meditate, touch, observe and in general know, respect and love Nature.

9. Respectfully explain to whoever neglects the environmental crisis, becoming a joyful ambassador for Earth.

10. Live and persevere on the previous nine points (or your own list) and spread the word. Get others to join in!


— Ernesto C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich

May 9, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM and 7-9PM today at the Coles Building, next to Province House, which is sad-looking and fenced off as the structural repairs are really getting started. Visitors are welcome in the Coles Building Gallery; bring a photo identification and enter through the ground floor doors to get a pass from the security desk folks.

You can also watch the Legislature here:

The budgetary estimates for the last few departments need to be gone over, the Water Act (if it is tabled, changes were adopted and made), etc. could be on the agenda in the coming ways.


Public Comment on the GM-salmon expansion plants in Rollo Bay closes Monday, May 15th (link in the following letter to the editor, published Saturday).

From Saturday's Guardian:

LETTER: Delay decision until act passes - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Saturday, May 6th, 2017

Editor: At the Pooles Corner public meeting on the Water Act Draft, Islanders petitioned the minister to ban fracking in the act, and to keep things as transparent and straightforward as possible.

Meanwhile, back at the department, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) office was getting ready to post documents related to an amendment to the application to upsize the (non-GMO) egg-raising fish hatchery approved last June to include growing genetically modified salmon to market size.

Groups working for two years in good faith regarding a Water Act have an idea of what the spirit of the Act would look like. This shoehorned-in addition to the Aqua Bounty application is a miserable excuse for meaningful notice and consultation. This is grandfathering at its very best, and worst.

Comments on the EIA application may be made until Monday, May 15th at their website.

Even with the deadline extended, it’s still a definite lack of time for people to look through the application and comment on concerns about adverse effects and the precautionary principle – all fine sections of the proposed Water Act that will have no impact here. There should be a public meeting in another part of the island, since this is such a significant project.

We call on Community, Lands and Environment Minister Robert Mitchell to use your ministerial authority (like you did with the bottled water plant proposal) and reject or at least postpone this application until after the Water Act is passed and regulations in place.

All Islanders are encouraged to comment on this *huge* shift in fish farming agriculture on this Island.


Model and environmental advocate Kate Dillon writes the May 9th Global Chorus essay:

When I was eighteen years old my parents and I travelled to Alaska. I remember sitting on the banks of the small creek trickling past our cabin in the forested foothills of Denali, feeling awestruck by the wildness of my surroundings – the trees, bears and moose, the soil, shrubs and mountain peaks. It was an extraordinarily beautiful and formative moment in my life, and I understood then that neither I nor my species – however unique and intelligent – were as central to life on Earth as social conceptions instruct.

I had always observed that humankind was at best the Earth’s steward and at worst its master. I believe the environmental and social crisis we now face is a result of this core belief, and decision-makers and thought-leaders must contribute to a new worldview, one of respect for the global ecosystem we inhabit. We can and we must learn to live our lives as a part of the natural world rather than outside or above it.

I have hope because we have come so far. When I was a high school student in the late 1980s, talk of global warming, recycling and eating local was fringe at best, reserved for hippie holdouts and eccentric vegetarian restaurants. Today these ideas are mainstream, and environmental consciousness is actually chic. We have proven our ability to change our most insidious historical practices, and while we cannot reverse all the damage done, there is ample time to be better human beings.

— Kate Dillon

May 8, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


High Speed Internet -- Community Conversation, 7-9PM, Stanley Bridge Hall. Technically for District 18 (Rustico-Emerald), but all welcome to participate. Hosted by D18 MLA Brad Trivers.

Facebook event details


The hard-working, caring Mary Boyd (who also serves at chair of the P.E.I. Green Economy Network) got a surprise award:

P.E.I.'s Mary Boyd wins national award from Canadian Federation of Nurses Union - The Guardian online article by Millicent McKay

Published on Sunday, May 7th, 2017


Mary Boyd never saw it coming.

She was there to give a presentation to members of the P.E.I. Nurses Union, when she was given the surprise of her life.

“Each year, we give out the Bread and Roses Award to a non-union member,” said Linda Silas, the president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

The award recognizes contributions in policy and decision-making, enhancing public awareness, participating in positive media coverage and other public events. “The award itself is roses and wheat stocks engraved on a plaque and means we work hard for what we do and we deserve the roses, too,” Silas explained.

Boyd, sitting at her table at the PEINU annual meeting, put her hand to her mouth as Silas announced that she was the 2017 recipient of the award.

After accepting her award to a standing ovation, Boyd said winning was a shock. “I was just asked to come and speak to the group about the Health Coalition. And I felt very honoured to come and share, but now it’s been taken to a whole other level,” she said.

“It’s so very thoughtful of the nurses to do that. I know that it’s an award that they give for a contribution, but I never deemed my contribution worthy of it.”

Boyd, a Blooming Point resident, has worked in social justice movements most of her life. She was the first woman to work as the director of social action with the Diocese in Charlottetown and is the longest serving member of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace executive.

In 1994, she founded the MacKillop Centre for Social Justice in Charlottetown. The centre works on developing a poverty reduction strategy for P.E.I. by addressing the root causes of poverty.

For more than 16 years, Boyd has chaired the P.E.I. Health Coalition while also being part of the national group. “I started very early getting involved with health-care issues because there was a time in Canada when doctors started opting out of Medicare. And that’s when the coalitions began because the health-care system is the last real social program we have.”

She says it’s terrific to see first-hand how far Canada has come.“But that’s why we need to be watchdogs to ensure that we don’t move backwards.”

Boyd, who never worked as a nurse, has two sisters and an aunt in the field, as well as an uncle who is a doctor.

“I feel quite honoured humbled by this award. It’s very cool.”

Mona O’Shea, the president of the PEINU, nominated Boyd for the Bread and Roses award. "I know Mary on a professional level but also a personal level after getting to know her through working together. “When I read over the citations of previous winners, I was, like, Mary Boyd is right there with them. She is such a passionate person that can advocate for everyone.”


Today's Global Chorus is written by Göran Broman, professor at Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden).

Transformation of society toward sustainability both demands, and brings great opportunity for, innovation. Since there is no attractive alternative to sustainability, organizations that learn to innovate toward sustainability will have great opportunities for economic success while serving a higher purpose. By systematically reducing their contribution to the problem and by early-on becoming part of the solution, they support the transition in a direct way and become more attractive and successful in the increasingly sustainability-driven market. Doing this, they become good examples that also encourage others, both in business and governance, to be proactive and strategic about sustainability.

In this way, we get an accelerating countermovement that will hopefully overcome the current unsustainable development before we reach a tipping point of self-reinforcing degradation. To support this transition, we need new research and education. It is not enough for scientists to acquire more and more evidence of unsustainability-related impacts. Nor does it suffice to make more and better predictions of impacts should civilization fail to put a halt to unsustainable development. Nor does it suffice with psychological or sociological theories aiming at explaining why more is not done to stop unsustainable development. Finally, it is not enough to attempt to develop various solutions, in isolation, to individual sustainability problems. There is now a strong need for making much more and much better use of the great results from the above types of research.

Therefore, the next big challenge is systems science for cross-disciplinary and cross-sector leadership and innovation for sustainability. We need this to develop coordinated solutions so that they support each other and together result in societal change at a scale and pace appropriate for sustainability to become a feasible option for the future. To develop and promote this type of science, we have formed an international alliance for strategic sustainable development (, aiming at providing ways of putting any specialist discipline in the context of, and to the service of, strategic sustainable development. We invite all who want to contribute to join this alliance.

— Göran Broman

May 7, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

In case it is too wet to do much outside today, here are some links and articles on provincial politics:

The CBC Island Morning Political Panel from Friday, May 5th (19 minutes):


Richard Rasiwell's link for the audio of his Monday, May 1st, political column on Mainstreet, on Tory leadership (4 minutes):


District 17: Cumberland-Kelly's Cross MLA Peter Bevan-Baker's blog on his private member's bill to lower the P.E.I. provincial election age:

The age of enlightenment? - Peter Bevan-Baker blog

Published on Friday, May 5th, 2017

Not that I needed to be reminded of this fact, but last week once again demonstrated that politics is an unpredictable animal. The simple – at least on the surface – idea of reducing the voting age from 18 to 16 created a debate that has clearly stirred up a lot more controversy than I ever imagined when we decided to introduce the private member’s bill following the plebiscite last year when 16 and 17 year-olds were allowed to vote for the first time in Canada.

Initially it was my intention to introduce the bill, and to sit back and facilitate a reasoned discussion about the pros and cons of the notion. It may shock a lot of people to read that I have mixed feelings on the proposal myself. On balance, I think it will be good for democracy to include Islanders who are 16 and 17 in elections. My own experiences, a review of literature, and the global trend towards lowering the voting age in other jurisdictions tips the balance for me towards including them. But unlike many other issues about which I have very resolute opinions – the urgency of climate change, the value of preventative health care, the importance of diversity in agriculture, for example – this is an issue on which I am much more equivocal. It is, after all largely a philosophical debate, and therefore one which does not lend itself to evidence-based deliberation or definitive conclusions.

The first disappointment to me in discussing the issue appeared when we opened debate in the legislature. Rather than finding myself as a mediator, inviting discussion and differing opinions formed through introspection and critical thinking, I immediately found myself on the defensive, fending off some pretty odd challenges and ideas. Over two separate sessions, we “debated” the bill for over an hour. Debate is defined as: “serious discussion of a subject in which many people take part” offering opposing arguments. Opposing arguments were hard to find, but many concerns were raised about, amongst other things, under-age drinking, conscription, and juvenile criminal offences. To be fair, some MLAs did support their lack of enthusiasm for the bill with somewhat relevant (if mildly offensive and disparaging) thoughts – how tidy one daughter’s bedroom is, whether teenagers are capable of critical thinking and reasoned choices – but for the most part it was farcical, with straw men arguments continuously appearing, despite repeated assertions that the legislative implications of this bill do not go beyond the scope of how old voters in a provincial election should be. Period.

I am disappointed the bill did not pass, but I am far more disappointed in the level of debate that accompanied my proposal. Parliament (derived from the French, “the speaking place”) should exist as the pinnacle of reasoned discourse, where the best minds debate complex ideas and come to coherent, rational conclusions. Instead we have a place where all too often the strength of argument in favour or against an idea – whether that be electoral reform or child advocacy or perimeter highways – has nothing to do with whether it gets adopted in the House. Partisanship and prejudice overrule reason and persuasive argument, and frequently profound decisions are made based on flimsy rationale and closed-mindedness.

The stark irony here, of course, is that some of the arguments made against allowing Island youth to participate in democracy – that they aren’t capable of independent critical thinking, or that they will vote the way their parents voted, based on Party alignment – can be applied to the manner in which this debate unfolded in the House.

As I said in an interview following failure of the bill “It comes down to a difference in attitude. Either you trust and have faith in young Islanders and you encourage them to express their opinions and you respect what they say, or you don’t. You can choose to distrust them, suppress their voices and question their ability to make sound choices.”

I prefer to have confidence in our Island youth.


And Graphic published Paul MacNeill's editorial from

Hypocritical MLAs snub youth yet again - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017, in The Graphic newspapers

I want you.

I need you.

But there ain’t no way I’m ever going to love you.

So don’t be sad. Don’t be sad. Cause two out of three ain’t bad.

The iconic 1970s Meatloaf ballad could find a new home as an anthem to political indifference and hypocrisy toward Island youth by PEI’s Liberal and PC parties. They say they want to engage you in the political process. They say it’s important to hear your voice. But when a real opportunity comes along to show it, Liberals and Tories scramble to protect their diminishing political tents.

Sure Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker backed Liberals and Tories into a political corner with his motion to lower the voting age to 16. But like flies to honey, the old guard just couldn’t help themselves. Rather than think, the natural reflex is to oppose change. All Liberal and three of seven PC MLAs voted to defeat the Green motion. The opposition was predictable and protectionist. Education Minister Doug Currie is even quoted as suggesting offering the vote to a 16-year old could somehow rob teens of part of their youth.

This is what passes for supposedly intelligent debate in the Prince Edward Island Legislature, the concocting of silly reasons to avoid adoption of progressive ideas. Rather than sputtering silliness on which there is no factual basis, Currie should be more concerned with massive gaps in the education system than to rob children of lifelong opportunity.

There is only one reason MLAs voted no and it begins and ends with protecting two old-line political parties.

The Liberal Party of PEI allowed 16-year olds to vote in its last leadership race. Sixteen-year olds voted in the electoral reform plebiscite, a decision supported by both the PC and Liberal establishment.

Tories will try and avoid accountability by hiding behind Jamie Fox’s decision to allow a free vote. It’s not leadership. It’s avoidance. If the Tories believe in opening our democracy to new ideas, endorsing a change in voting age is a no brainer. The record shows Liberals and Tories want youth involved when they can control them or the outcome, like ignoring results of the electoral plebiscite.

Rather than embrace the opportunity of youth, our MLAs impose an intelligence standard on 16-year olds not imposed on any other voter. We do not ask voters to take a test on issues or policy. We trust them. It’s democracy. Some come far better prepared than others. Islanders can walk into a voting booth, mark an X and do so without having a clue what the party or candidate stand for. Liberals and PCs benefit from this and they know it. That’s why their MLAs voted to reject 16-year old voting. It has nothing to do with intelligence. It has nothing to do with becoming an adult too quickly. It has to do with getting as many guaranteed votes in the box.

If Liberals and Tories really care about an educated electorate it is time to rail against the generational practice of blindly voting along party lines. Let’s call it what it is: dumb. Yet no one suggests these folks should have their vote taken away because of policy ignorance.

Once again Island politicians have shown themselves to be hypocrites when it comes to making our system more welcoming to the next generation. Once again they put themselves and their political party first. And once again youth are left on the outside looking in and wondering why they should even give a damn.

Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at


The May 7th Global Chorus is by Joseph Tainter, who is a professor at Utah State University, and author of The Collapse of Complex Societies.

The collapse of our civilization is too gruesome to contemplate. Millions of people would die. Diseases once conquered would return. The wealthy alone would have access to education. Most of us would be farmers, often hungry, tilling someone else’s land and living short lives (about 40 years) in poor health. Most people would die in infancy or childhood. No one wants such a future. Clearly we must find a path to sustainability.

Societies sustain themselves by combining ingenuity and resources to solve problems. Societies grow complex as they solve complex problems. Complexity requires resources, especially energy. Here is our dilemma: we achieve sustainability by using resources to solve problems, yet the rate at which we use resources is precisely our current challenge. Will we have the resources to solve sustainability problems? Can we solve problems using less energy?

Humans did not evolve to think broadly in time or space. We think of little beyond the circumstances of our lives. This is the scale at which we solve problems. Yet the challenges of sustainability are great in size and long in duration.

Are humans intellectually able to solve the problems of sustainability? Can we develop ways of thinking that evolution did not equip us for? Our first challenge is to understand how our limitations and inclinations undermine our chance to become sustainable. A sustainable future requires that we change fundamentally in how we think and act. That step is the most difficult challenge of all.

— Joseph Tainter

May 6, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open in Summerside and Charlottetown today. In just a few shorts weeks, there will be several open across the Province and other days of the week, too. But there is a lot of available already..


On Bluefin Tuna and a decision that came out this week

From an Islander: When tuna are no longer fishable, the list of fishers who caught the biggest tuna and the premiers and provincial fisheries ministers who handed them a prize for doing so will be best-remembered among those who hastened the demise of the Bluefin Tuna.

Cabinet Rejects Science Panel - Blacklock's Reporter article by Tom Korski

Published on Thursday, May 4th, 2017, in Blacklock's Reporter -- Minding Ottawa's Business

Cabinet has rejected a scientific panel recommendation that it protect iconic Atlantic Bluefin tuna as an endangered species. Canada has supported increased commercial fishing of tuna in the past two years despite a historic decline in population.

“Marine fish species are not being given the protection they deserve,” said Alan Sinclair, a retired federal fisheries biologist and member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The Committee in 2011 urged that Bluefin tuna be listed as endangered under the Species At Risk Act.

“This decision is not really a surprise,” said Sinclair. “The only surprise is it took them six years.”

Environment Canada in a regulatory notice yesterday said a Bluefin listing would “result in significant and immediate socio-economic impacts” on the multi-million dollar commercial and sport fishery. Tuna are caught for processing as restaurant-ready sushi and sashimi. “They are an iconic fish that are highly prized for their flesh,” the Committee wrote in its Assessment And Status Report.

Populations of Bluefin in the western Atlantic declined 75 percent in the period between 1970 and 2011, to fewer than 66,000 fish. “Historical and present-day overfishing remains the largest single threat,” said the 2011 Assessment.

Cabinet’s notice said eliminating the commercial and sport fishery in Canada would “not be expected to have a significant positive impact” since other countries would increase their own fishing – as Canada did three years ago.

The Department of Fisheries at a 2014 conference of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna endorsed a 14 percent increase in the total tuna catch, to 2,000 tonnes a year; set Canada’s quota at 452.5 tonnes over two years; and sought an additional allowable catch of 108.9 tonnes from the Government of Mexico.

“Here was an opportunity for Canada to take the high road and invest in restoring a species,” said the Committee’s Sinclair. “These arguments are usually put in the context of a cost-benefit analysis, but they only see the cost of the landed value of the catch.”

“The social value of a species is never really considered,” said Sinclair; “It is not a very open and transparent process by any means.”

Atlantic Bluefin tuna are considered “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Atlantic Tuna. “The stock remains overfished and overfishing would continue under the current total allowable catch,” the Union wrote in 2014.

Researchers noted the largest Atlantic Bluefin landed in Canada weighed 679 kilograms, the equivalent of 1,497 pounds – about the size of a dairy cow. The fish was caught near Aulds Cove, N.S. in 1979.

Note that Prince Edward Island lists no species as "Endangered."


Event: Monday, May 8th:

High Speed Internet -- Community Conversation, hosted by MLA Brad Trivers (D18- Rustico-Emerald), 7-9PM, Stanley Bridge Hall. Aimed at that District but anyone interested is welcome.

"Discuss high speed internet issues and recent initiatives in District 18 Rustico-Emerald to bring better high speed internet to the area. Some internet service providers on PEI will be present to provide information and answer questions.

Facebook event details"


Working on preventing nuclear war, now more than ever: Dr. Kennette Benedict was the executive director of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and now serves as senior adviser, and she lectures at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. She writes the May 6th Global Chorus essay.

With the unleashing of nuclear energy, we have developed a source of energy for economic growth, but we also have created nuclear bombs: a technology that can destroy the Earth and nearly every living thing on it.

Incredibly, and for nearly 70 years, we have survived this existential threat. How have we done it? What are the conditions that have prevented us from blowing ourselves up? Are there lessons to be learned that could be applied to other problems?

After World War II and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, scientists foresaw the dangers of a nuclear arms race culminating in a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. To prevent such a terrible war, these scientists established regular dialogues with their counterparts in other countries – even those hostile to them, and even at the risk of being called traitors. This same group of scientists, along with medical doctors, informed the public about the harmful effects of radiation from nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, and supported citizen protests demanding an end to testing. And as advisers and government officials,

scientists also influenced and supported leaders who called for an end to the nuclear madness.

Out of these actions by independent scientists, informed citizens and courageous political leaders came the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and most recently the New Start Treaty. These treaties and their implementing agencies are the institutions of co-operation that have prevented nuclear war so far. And since 1992, working side by side, Russian and U.S. engineers, military officers and government experts have begun to end the nuclear arms race by reducing their combined nuclear arsenals from nearly 80,000 in 1987 to less than 20,000 in 2012.

While the threats to humanity from nuclear weapons are not over, we are beginning to create the conditions for our survival, including telling the truth about the dangers of nuclear technologies; building networks for communication, especially with our adversaries; and co-operating with other countries to dismantle nuclear weapons and relegate them to the dustbin of history.

— Dr. Kennette Benedict

May 5, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature had a long day yesterday, with the Official Opposition evaluating the MacLauchlan government on its second anniversary. They brought up all the promises not kept and the twisting of particular pledges. The evening session was extended by consensus to discuss the government's bill (No. 65)which among other things would bring in a children's lawyer; the opposition parties working hard to mention a children's lawyer would be useful for a provincial Child's Advocate, which is still the core need here.

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 10AM to 1PM today. Watch here on-line.


A lyrical look at a dismaying situation:

DAVID WEALE: Safe haven under threat - The Guardian Opinion piece by David Weale

Road to healthy future for Island should not leave behind legacy of creative and caring initiative destroyed

This story is about horses, children and a passionate young woman who loves both, and who brings them together in a safe place for learning, for enjoyment, and in many instances, for healing. It’s also about a government that, as it stands right now, is possibly going to bring an end to it all.

The woman is Ellen Jones from the Cornwall Road whose property (the Hughes-Jones Centre) is, unfortunately, directly in the path of the proposed Cornwall by-pass. I visited her recently and listened raptly as she spoke with great conviction about the calming and centering effect horses can have on both adults and children, and about how the 40 or so individuals (mostly youngsters) who come to her place every week seem to leave their troubles at the gate when they enter the barn and begin interacting with the animals.

Just before I left, a young girl of 10 or 11 arrived. Ellen asked how her day at school had been. She shrugged and said, with little feeling, “Oh all right.” Then she pulled on her barn boots and headed for the horses, and as I pulled out the lane I saw her leading a very old mare around the yard in what was obviously a caring relationship, and I thought to myself, what a wonderful sight I was witnessing, and felt happy for the girl, and others like her. And for the old horse as well.

For many youngsters, discovering a safe place among supportive and non-judgemental companions is not an easy thing to find in this world, but it happens at the Hughes-Jones Centre every day, where the motto is: “Working to improve our community, one kid, one horse - one life at a time.”

The Centre was a dream finally realized for Ellen when, after working with horses in Wales, Australia and China, she was able, with the help of her family, to return to her home community in 2008 and begin the work she is doing. When she speaks of it her eyes shine with purpose and enthusiasm, but now there is apprehension there as well, for the amount she is being offered for her land and buildings is not enough to start over in a new location. And that’s all she wants; to be able to keep on doing what she is doing.

I don’t know the details of what amount is needed, or what is being offered. The only point I wish to make is that in a province where there are so many anxious and troubled children, and where services to help are so woefully inadequate, to force Ellen Jones out of business would be a very great mistake. This is an exceptional case and needs to be treated with great compassion.

She didn’t say it, but I will. In this province, at this time, we need what she is doing more than we need improved transportation, and if there is not enough money for both of those, there is no question in this writer’s mind what the priority needs to be.

The road to a healthy future for the Island should not leave behind the legacy of a creative and caring initiative destroyed.

- David Weale is a Charlottetown author, historian, educator, publisher and a member of Vision P.E.I.


The Global Chorus essay for May 5th is by John Seed, founder of the Rainforest Information Centre

Of all the species that have ever existed, less than one in a hundred survives today. The rest are extinct. Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.

As environment changes, any species unable to adapt, change and evolve is extinguished. All evolution takes place in this fashion. In this way, a fish starved of oxygen, an ancestor of yours and mine, commenced to colonize the land. The threat of extinction is the potter’s hand that moulds all the forms of life.

The human species is one of millions threatened by imminent extinction. While it is true that the “human nature” revealed by 12,000 years of written history does not offer much hope that we can change our warlike, greedy, ignorant ways, the vastly longer fossil history assures us that we can change. We are those fish, and the myriad other death-defying feats of flexibility which a study of evolution reveals to us. A certain confidence (in spite of our recent “humanity”) is warranted. From this point of view, the threat of extinction appears as the invitation to change, to evolve. After a brief respite from the potter’s hand, here we are back on the wheel again. The change that is required is a change in consciousness. Indeed, nothing but a revolution in consciousness can possibly save us.

Surely consciousness emerged and evolved according to the same laws as everything else. Moulded by environmental pressures, the mind of our ancestors must time and again have been forced to transcend itself.

The conditions for evolving a new consciousness must include fully facing up to our impending extinction (the ultimate environmental pressure).

We must now stop shying away from the truth and hiding in intoxication or busyness from the despair of the human, whose four billion year race is run, whose organic life is a mere hair’s breadth from finished. Join in community to publicly embrace this despair and allow it to squeeze and pressure new consciousness into existence.

— John Seed

May 4, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

May the Fourth be with you and all that. It's been exactly two years since the P.E.I. Provincial election in which Islanders elected the MacLauchlan majority Liberal government, a stronger Opposition of eight Progressive Conservatives and one Green Party members, Peter Bevan-Baker.

Yesterday the Opposition questioned the tendering process for the Cornwall bypass roundabout phases (last year's and this year's) and about the timing of the head of the Order of P.E.I. Advisory Council still being in that position officially overlapping with being hired as Executive Director of the P.E.I. Liberal Party. The MLAs also went through the their own budget areas (quickly).

The provincial Legislature sits this afternoon and evening from 2-5PM and 7-9PM. You can watch here.


The Division of Environment has extended the comment period until the end of business on Monday, May 15th, for the expansion of the Aqua Bounty plant into GM-salmon rearing. The website to find the details is here:


Today's Global Chorus is by "community ecologist", designer and writer David Tracey.

The last paragraph is rings louder in the three years since it was written.

We have hope because hope is a strategy too.

We know the alternatives don’t work. Extreme responses are no solution for troubled times, although some expect answers from fundamentalist religion or fascist politics. Apathy and cynicism do less harm but still not much good – certainly not what we need to turn the planet away from meltdown.

We also know big change is coming. Many fear it, but why not consider it an opportunity? We can do better than a world where one billion people have

no clean drinking water and three million children die each year from malnourishment. Lessons we take from this failed experiment can only help with the next.

But can we make it that far?

Hope says we can. And so does logic, if you think of what we can do as a species. We’re good in an emergency. It brings out the best in us. It’s when we discover how powerful, and how good, we really are.

Heroes are forged out of fire. A crisis is an opportunity for any of us to become something larger than ourselves. Look at the footage of people in yet another climate catastrophe. Volunteers filling sandbags are not gloomy. They’re working. Together. In confronting the latest disaster, they’re gaining a chance to discover what it means to be human, a social animal, bound to care about each other and our shared home. It’s too bad it has to come to a crisis so big the living Earth itself is at risk.

It’s also too bad there are still some who believe profit is worth risking the future of everyone. That’s their burden. Right now, for the rest of us, we have a new world to create, and so many opportunities to thrive

— David Tracey

May 3, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The P.E.I. Legislature sits from 2-5PM today. Yesterday, the legislators paid tribute to Leone Bagnall, had a spirited Question Period, discussed a bill to switch some powers of the provincial legislature to the Speaker. The evening session was mostly spent discussing the impact of poor mental health services availability affecting mental health, along with the suicide rates. The Opposition motion number 33 was unanimously passed. Legislative Assembly website


Apparently, Parliament will vote on federal Conservative Member of Parliament Brad Trost's Private Member's Bill C-308 today. This Bill calls for the privatization of the CBC. The federal Conservative Party sent e-mails to members asking them to support this, with a link that goes to a prewritten letter of support to specific address (presumably to be shared with Conservative MPs). Someone suggested that people use the link to alter the message and send it!

original: If you agree that the CBC should be privatized, I ask that you send a message to Conservative MPs (CLICK HERE).

If the link doesn't go to your e-mail server with the textmessage you can change, send your message anyway to:


Richard Raiswell's Monday Politcal Commentary -- on CBC Radio -- had some good thoughts for the provincial Tories:

Lessons for the Tories

Monday column, May 1st, 2017

The Liberals have been struggling in the polls lately.

Some of this is down to effective work by the two opposition parties.

But in large part, the Liberals are suffering from a series of self-inflicted wounds. For all of his talk about working together, transparency and accountability, MacLauchlan’s fallen back into old-style PEI politics: we know best, and that’s what we’re doing—treating those who question his decisions or who ask to see the paper trail with contempt.

Job 1, it seems, is to protect the interests of the party—and to keep anything that might be politically uncomfortable out of the public demesne.

But the premier’s inability to turn the party’s fortunes around in the polls suggests that this self-serving style of governance just doesn’t wash any more. The political climate in this province is changing—what may have worked in 1977 simply isn’t acceptable to many Islanders any more.

So, as the Tories finally begin the process of selecting their next leader, there are some important lessons here, they need to take to heart.

Island Tories have been without real, stable leadership for 5 years—since a group of party insiders thought it was a good idea to torpedo then-leader Olive Crane. Boiled down, this was a dispute over control of the party: should the leader merely be a pawn of the party elite—or should she be answerable to the party members who voted her into the job? In the end, insiders succeeded in making Crane’s position untenable and she resigned at the end of 2012.

Regardless of Crane’s performance, this could be an ominous precedent. It suggests that there’s a section of the party that would rather see Tories MLAs on the opposition benches than deal with a leader they can’t manipulate.

That’s worrying.

If Island Tories are going to be anything more than a mouthpiece for an unaccountable bunch of people behind the scenes who see control of the party as their birthright,[1][1] their new leader will have to put their own stamp on the party from the start—make it clear that they’re answerable to the voters, and only the voters.

Because what we have seen over the last couple of election campaigns—at least—is that voters have changed. Whether the issue’s highway realignment, electoral reform, the future of the island’s groundwater or proposed school closures, what we’ve seen is passionate, engaged Islanders—Islanders with technical skills and real world experience—come together to critique government policy, to expose its shortcomings, and to suggest other ways forward.

Just think about the quality and sophistication of some of the presentations made to the Public Schools Branch when some communities found their schools up for possible closure.

These people can’t be fobbed off with platitudes and a condescending pat on the head—claims from the premier that he’s listening. A load of waffle and a stage-managed show of patronising benevolence don’t cut it anymore. It’s transparent, self-serving and—frankly—insulting to Islanders.

Certainly, when provincial Tories go to elect their next leader, they need to select someone who’ll contrast favourably with MacLauchlan—someone dynamic who understands the complexity of issues and who can respond to questions directly and succinctly. Someone who has a vision for the province more sophisticated than growing and selling more stuff, and coming up with new marketing slogans every few months.

The new leader has a choice to make: are they going to bring the party into the future, offering principled, accountable leadership to an increasingly engaged and informed population—or are they going to resort to the ways of the past, governing for the party, working to secure a hold on power for its insiders?

The Tories may win the 2019 election, but if they put party before people, they’ll suffer exactly the same fate as MacLauchlan. And we’ll be painting the province Green or Orange in 2023.

For Mainstreet, I’m Richard Raiswell.

1.This a reference to Jason Lee’s speech in 2012 seconding the motion at the Tory convention to have a review of the party’s leadership. He talked about how he was born into the party—and how his family is forever linked to it.


Pamela Meyer is the author of The Agility Shift: Creating Agile and Effective Leaders, Teams and Organizations and president of Meyer Creativity Associates Inc. (Not to be confused with the Pamela Meyers who is a "certified fraud expert"!)

Anyone who has taken a workshop in improvisational theater has learned the most important lesson necessary for a hopeful future. Improvisers, those courageous and playful souls who create entire evenings of theatre based on a single suggestion from the audience, have learned that in order to create something out of nothing, on the spot, they must say, “yes” to whatever they are given, no matter how outlandish or mundane. This “yes” is not the anemic variety of passive acceptance or disengagement, but an enthusiastic wholehearted embrace of the possibilities that will be uncovered and the adventures that will be had if we accept what we are given and build on it. Improvisers have full confidence that they have all of the resources they need to create a positive future, because they do not say “yes” in the spirit of resignation or compliance, but with an attitude of inquiry and collaboration. Improvisers are not just saying “yes,” they are saying “yes, and …” Before they have even set foot on stage they have made an agreement with their fellow players to accept whatever they are

given and then add to it as they co-create a more interesting present and future rich with possibilities.

I do believe there is hope for creating this future on a global scale because I have seen it done hundreds of times in classrooms, community groups and corporations by people from diverse backgrounds and beliefs, who came together with the shared intention to accept what they were given and build on it. “Yes, and …” is a powerful facilitator of progress, even in the midst of significant differences. Improvisers have learned that they deny another player or the audience’s idea, or the current reality at their peril along with destroying the trust needed for the players to continue to co-create.

The conditions, then, that are necessary to move through our current reality are to approach it with the same attitude of gift-giving as do improvisers in the theater. When we intentionally practise the principle of saying “yes, and …” we also create the conditions for inclusion, where there is room for all voices and perspectives to be heard and for all to build on the gifts that we bring to the party.

— Pamela Meyer, PhD

May 2, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

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

Watch live

There was such a push to keep moving through department budget figures or "estimates" last week; one wonders if they wrap things up sooner than later.


Regarding reaction to Peter Bevan-Baker's private member's bill on lowering the provincial voting age:

ADAM THOMAS: MLAs’ answers were embarrassing - The Guardian Opinion piece by Adam Thomas

Published on Monday, May 1st, 2017

Peter Bevan-Baker recently introduced a bill to lower the voting age to 16 years old and it was voted down, which is no surprise, but the rationale given for why many MLAs voted it down are embarrassingly hilarious (which sums up most of P.E.I. politics for the most part).

Let’s go through a few of the reasons:

Jamie Fox stated, “What happens if, we’ll say, a young offender, 13 years of age, gets convicted of a serious violent crime. At age 16 he decides to run for public office and gets elected with a criminal record that’s sealed.” Yes, no doubt a child who at the age of 13 commits a “very serious violent crime” will three years later say “I think I want to be an MLA,” run a successful campaign (you know, with all the experience, resources and connections a 16-year-old child has) and then we will have a criminal in public office. That would be absolutely terrible because we all know the only people we have in office now are the most ethical and law-abiding of citizens.

Richard Brown justified his vote with, “Would there be a Charter issue for 16-year-olds to say look, I can vote, that sets a benchmark, so I should be allowed to drink? I’m being discriminated against because of my age.” Mr. Brown, I really hate to break this news to you, but the current age required to vote is 18 and the legal age for consuming alcohol is 19, so if this case hasn’t been made yet, I don’t think an ambitious legal savvy teenager will be the one to do it.

Paul Biggar: “Do you feel 16-year-olds should be able to enlist in the military then, if they are responsible for everything else?” This one is my favorite because she takes two things that are not at all related and just pretends that they are. The argument doesn’t even make any logical sense, but very little of what Ms. Biggar does is logical. Look at her most recent purchase of land for 650 per cent above assessment for the Cornwall bypass. Well done, as per usual.

Doug Currie also had a compelling argument: “I am the parent of a 16-year-old and sometimes have a time getting her to clean her room.” Well, there you have it — Doug Currie’s daughter is messy, so no 16-year-olds should vote. Case closed.

These are small examples of reasons why I am actually embarrassed to say where I’m from and where I live, because the above is the norm on P.E.I. How can someone stand up and say these things without thinking to themselves how ridiculous they are? It’s terrifying that these are the people in charge of all the money we pay for taxes.

Adam Thomas, Tarantum


A recent story on the amendment to the Aqua Bounty plant to grow GM salmon in P.E.I. to market size.

Genetically modified salmon plant in P.E.I. does not need new federal assessment - CBC News online article by Kevin Yarr

Ottawa will participate in provincial review if required says Environment and Climate Change Canada

Posted Monday, May 1st, 2017

A plant in eastern P.E.I. that plans to produce genetically modified salmon will not require a new federal assessment, says Environment and Climate Change Canada. According to a statement sent to CBC News, the project does not involve any activity that would require a federal environmental assessment. The new facility is being proposed by AquaBounty, which currently operates a salmon egg facility in Fortune, P.E.I. In the past the eggs have been shipped to Panama for grow out. The new proposal would see a commercial grow out plant in Rollo Bay West.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation believes the new proposal is something completely different from the egg production facility, and should have a new assessment. "I was surprised to hear [no assessment was required] because the original risk assessment that was completed was very specific and limited," said director of communications Neville Crabbe. "One of the considerations in that first risk assessment, and one of the reasons it was allowed to go ahead, was that the fish would be moved so far away."

Crabbe said an accidental release of salmon in Panama would not be as big an issue, because there would be no chance of the fish intermingling with native fish in Atlantic Canada. He went on to say the procedure for making the fish sterile is not 100 per cent effective, and a catastrophic release of live fish into the environment could include a few fertile fish.

AquaBounty's provincial environmental impact statement says the plant would have bio-security in place in a land-based, fully contained facility to prevent release, and that on average 99.8 per cent of the fish produced are sterile, and that not all of the 0.2 per cent are viable. AquaBounty received federal approval for commercial egg production at its Bay Fortune site in 2013. Approval to sell the fish as food in Canada and the United States followed. AquaBounty's GMO fish grow much more quickly than unmodified fish, giving the company a competitive advantage.

The new provincial environmental impact statement is currently being reviewed. The federal department says it will review the provincial assessment and participate as needed. The statement from Environment and Climate Change Canada goes on to say only sterile fish can be grown, that they must be in a contained, secure, land-based facility, and the fish must be killed before they leave the plant.

The official comment period is until Friday, May 5th (!) The EIA page is here:


Global Chorus today is by Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, who is executive chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Programme and was chairman of the Organizing Subcommittee for the 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Science has spoken unequivocally. Unless substantial and sustained changes to our development and environmental models are made, our common legacy to future generations on Earth may well be the ultimate destruction of our planet.

Whether in the field of climate change, renewable energy, water management, food security or conservation, reneging on our commitments has become a tolerated habit and postponing our actions the new norm.

Surely, solutions to the various challenges that we face as a global polity are complex, transversal and difficult to enact. However, we no longer enjoy the luxury of time.

Brazilian legal theorist Roberto Mangabeira Unger once described the fundamental problem inherent to “social change” in the manner of a conundrum, namely that the goals achievable over a lifetime do not appear worth fighting for, while the goals actually deemed worth fighting for are not achievable over a lifetime. How does one, he asked, find the will and indeed the means to alter the status quo, when the “future” is not part of our cost-accounting mechanisms?

Part of the answer to Unger’s riddle, I strongly

believe, lies in informed, persistent and innovative public policy. Part of the answer to humanity’s future rests on our ability to design holistic approaches – both tangible and intangible – to tackle the most pressing realities of our global commons. Part of the answer to the issue of trans-generational reforms ultimately remains in the power of our collective institutions and the unsuspected value that can be unlocked from smart governance.

The Qatar National Food Security Programme is my country’s humble contribution in light of this predicament. It is a growth plan that seeks to balance the relationship between economic and population growth, reduce overall risk to the country and foster a diversified economy.

Designed for a country subject to severe resource constraints and unprecedented demographic pressures, the plan’s solutions are based on the principles of security, system sustainability and private sector development.

May this kind of policy innovation find 364 additional echoes around the globe and play its rightful part in making our world truly sustainable at last.

— Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiya

May 1, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A Monday mix:

A blog from A Mighty Girl from a few weeks ago: "Guardians of the Planet: 12 Women Environmentalists You Should Know"


Paul MacNeill's editorial from last week:

Budget more about politics than finances - The Eastern Graphic article by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017, in The Graphic newspapers

By the slimmest of margins the Wade MacLauchlan government has now delivered on its often made political promise of a balanced budget. Whether it can actually fulfill the promise – we won’t know for more than a year – will depend on luck and fiscal management.

What we do know is government is not prepared in any significant way to change the size and shape of how it operates. This means that 70 per cent of the $1.8 billion budget is locked in through salaries to bureaucrats, teachers, nurses and doctors. We know that the provincial debt will continue to increase this year, despite the promise of a $600,000 surplus. Servicing our $2.2 billion debt is the third largest line item in the provincial budget and will cost Islanders $198 million this year alone. Only health care and education cost more. It is money that would be better spent on teachers, nurses and other frontline services.

There is always pressure on government to get bigger. The opposition spent last week hammering the MacLauchlan government over the sale of the Mill River Resort. It focused attention on the golf course, not the resort as a whole, to laughingly suggest the course made money. Golf is not a core government service. But it has been too often used as a political tool resulting in unnecessary hiring, promotion of frivolous pet events and a general distraction for the Department of Tourism. The sale is one small step away from that history.

But government should go farther. The Auditor General's report showed just how big and unwieldy government is by detailing the failure of the Office of Public Trustee to recognize that an Islander whose finances were held in trust had actually died 12 years before, yet every year the client was charged an annual fee by the office. This is not only incompetence it is a sign of bureaucratic bloat.

Governing is about priorities. The money to provide necessary services must be found somewhere. We can not continue to run up a chit with future generations. Take James Alyward’s continued push for the MacLauchlan government to fund a provincial child advocate. Inexplicably, the Liberal government refuses to acknowledge the need, recommended in the aftermath of the murder of Nash Campbell by his mother. It was a tragedy driven by a systematic failure of the bureaucracy to act with focus and cohesion.

When people hear the term child advocate there is an immediate belief that the position will intervene in specific cases. It actually depends how the office is structured. Many advocate positions in the country merely act as drivers of policy. Some, like Manitoba, are more interventionist. An effective office requires both the ability to recommend needed change and the authority to take a child in danger and lead them to safety.

This requires resources, potentially up to a million dollars to staff an office with just four or five people, that must be found somewhere. PEI is the only province without an office of child advocate. Our refusal to do what is right is mystifying, given the documented number of times the bureaucracy has failed Island children. The public simply can not trust the bureaucratic solutions offered thus far by the premier.

How can a child advocate not be a priority when government squanders massive amounts of precious financial resources supporting areas of the bureaucracy that should have been eliminated long ago.

The luck required to meet budget projections hinges on a continued low Canadian dollar to fuel our exports, good weather to grow our crops and attract tourists and price integrity for lobster fishermen. Early signs are promising. There is little wiggle room, however, and the budget did virtually nothing to ease the tax burden on Islanders. We have among the highest tax regime in North America, largely a result of the need to raise money to sustain the size of government.

There is nothing historic about budget 2017. The mere fact that government is projecting a surplus for the first time in a decade is not cause for celebration. It is a political milestone, if achieved, not a fiscal milestone. More than 40 per cent of our revenue comes in the form of federal transfers of one type or another. The budget follows the same predictable path as virtually every provincial budget for the past several decades.

In short, it is a visionless document that once again defers important decisions to tomorrow.

Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at


Terrence J. Collins is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry, director of the Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University

My generation is sleepwalking while sustainability crises are casting cruel shadows over the living world.

To my students I say, don’t let oppressive jeopardies forged from our inadequacies crush you. Turn instead to wisdom, vision, courage, justice, ingenuity and self-discipline. These mighty weapons can overcome our indifference, incompetence and greed. Kill our unsustainable legacy at its roots. Our money-first-in-all-things dictum must perish or your world will. Jettison the crippling precept that only humans should count when money and jobs are at stake. In our better moments, we have produced some sustainable technologies for you – sustainable energy is already a significant reality in a few wise countries. Eliminate endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are undermining the nature of life itself, perhaps irreversibly.

Each country is a ship sailing the great ocean of time where sustainability is a direction, not an endpoint. Globalization is grouping countries into an ever-tighter flotilla. Find charismatic admirals who can inspire the whole fleet to cherish the living world. Appoint creative navigators who care not what peers think, but pursue first the welfare of future generations. Choose sober helmsmen to follow over the long haul the compass settings toward sustainability. Commission officers you can trust not to be seduced by money, tribute or political favors. Build for everyone on board full justice and equitable opportunity.

There is no place for pessimism. Human beings are endowed with the ability to hold the welfare of life and the future good as precious beyond compare. So let’s reset civilization’s compass accordingly.

-----Terry Collins