October 2015

October 31, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

In the next week or so there are three water act AND two democratic renewal meetings. Plan to attend some!

Here is a bit of a chart; errors and omissions are mine.

Upcoming Events related to Environment and Democracy

The rest of the meetings scheduled for the water act are here:


And for the democratic renewal are here:


More events:


and our home page:


And more background, from the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water's website:


Many presentations are there.

Because many of us wear a couple of different hats, we are involved in other fun projects. Both Farmers' Markets are open in Charlottetown and Summerside, and in Charlottetown, Young at Heart Musical Theatre for Seniors will have a table and be selling raffle tickets for a "Cash for Christmas" fundraiser.

Alexander Shoumatoff is a prolific traveller and writer, senior editor at Vanity Fair, former writer for The New Yorker magazine, and keeps the blog, "Dispatches from the Vanishing World":


Here is an excerpt of his essay for Global Chorus

<snip> "Our only hope – and there is always hope, even in the face of this, the greatest challenge we’ve ever faced to our continued collective viability – is to devise a completely new system of governance, a new way of doing business on and with the planet, based not on getting as much as you can for yourself but on the premise that every living thing has the right to be here and a role to play."

He continues: "The remaining animistic societies, with their deep understanding of the kinship of all life, have much to teach us: to widen our circle of caring to embrace the cosmos, and all our brothers and sisters, human and non. We are the Walrus. Every living thing is a 'person.' So does Buddhism. The planet needs more female nurturing energy to heal from and counteract all the run-amok male resource-gathering energy. If millions of us come together to forge this new empathetic civilization – there are thousands of ways to help the cause – maybe we can get out of this. It will be very interesting to see if we can make this adaptation, if the forces of good can prevail. They will have the instinct to survive on their side, and nothing is more powerful. Except the course of nature." — Alex Shoumatoff

October 30, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Next week (a preview):

Tuesday, November 3rd, has a Water Act Consultation in Montague (Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner)

Wednesday, November 4th, the final two Democratic Renewal community meetings in Charlottetown (2-5PM and 7-9PM)

Thursday , November 5th, has another Water Act consultation in Charlottetown (Farm Centre)

and Saturday, November 7th, our Citizens' Alliance AGM, Farm Centre, 5PM.

Democratic Renewal:

The authority for the Special Committee on democratic renewal is in Motion No. 33, which was passed towards the end of the Spring Sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature, on July 8th of this year.


(Bold is mine)


The creation of a Special Committee of the Legislative Assembly on Democratic Renewal

Hon. H. Wade MacLauchlan gives notice that tomorrow he will move, seconded by Hon. Steven Myers,

the following Motion:


there will be an Electoral Boundaries Commission established in 2016 as required by the

Electoral Boundaries Act;


it is time to review our current democratic and electoral processes;


the government of Prince Edward Island has released a White Paper on

Democratic Renewal;


engagement with the public and persons with expertise is of the utmost

importance when considering the topic of democratic renewal;


it is desirable to accurately define the questions to be considered by the public;


it is desirable to have considered advice and recommendations regarding changes to current democratic or electoral processes;


that a five person Special Committee of the Legislative Assembly, consisting of Jordan Brown Charlottetown -Brighton) (Chair), Dr. Peter Bevan-Baker (Leader of the Third Party), Hon. Paula Biggar (Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy), Kathleen Casey (Charlottetown-Lewis Point), and Sidney MacEwen (Morell-Mermaid), be created to guide public engagement and make recommendations in response to the White Paper on Democratic Renewal.

Signed by:

Hon. H. Wade MacLauchlan

Signed by:

Hon. Steven Myers

8 July 2015

4:28 p.m.

The change was made to have Janice Sherry from Summerside-Wilmot be on the committee instead of Kathleen Casey

Tonight, the PEI Symphony Orchestra's Masquerade -- there are no more tickets left for the "roving feast" portion, but just coming for the dancing music later (Perry William's Little Big Band and The Groove Company) in the evening at the Culinary Institute (4 Sydney Street, Charlottetown) is available. Tickets after 9PM at the door, $20. More details:


Anna Warwick Sears is the executive director of the International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control, in southern British Columbia, and she writes for today's Global Chorus:

"All our names are writ in water. From floods to droughts, from canal building to wetland draining, to the simple act of fetching with gourd or bucket, water has marked the rise and fall of people and civilizations. Is the water fresh or salty? Clean, or polluted with chemicals and disease? There is nothing more essential to life. Water forms the blood in our veins and – through plants – gives us food to eat and air to breathe. Water binds us together, as humans and with all other species, as shared inhabitants of our watery planet. This bond is the link to our future.

"In the developed world, we take water for granted. I can walk to the sink and fill my cup, hot or cold, on demand. The asphalt shingles on my roof keep out rain and snow. But the water gods of mythology were capricious. Climate change is reminding us that water has vast power – as tides low into city streets, and deep droughts dry up crops. Access to water has also been used as a weapon of control, by colonial powers and warlords. Water can be merciless as well as kind.

"Yet, in water also lies our hope. Water is so powerful, it can even transcend politics. And in a world that has never had so much knowledge and communication, it brings people to the table – politicians and diplomats, farmers, fishermen and school teachers. The wave of changes we must make – to our laws, cities and irrigation systems – to accommodate new weather patterns and a swell of population, are changes that relate to water and aquatic systems. We can’t ignore our collective dependence or influence on it. We fail or thrive based on our relationship to water." -- Anna Warwick Sears

October 29, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Fall Sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature begins in two weeks, on Thursday, November 12th. In the meantime, committees have been meeting regularly to explore issues and to prepare reports for the Fall Sitting.


Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Energy, Meeting #5, Renewable Energy, 1:30PM, Committee Room of J. Angus MacLean Building.

"The committee will receive a briefing from Hon. Paula Biggar and other representatives of the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy on provincial efforts toward renewable energy use. Other witnesses to be confirmed."

from: http://www.assembly.pe.ca/meetings/index.php?shownumber=382

The public is welcome to sit in the gallery section, but usual rules as they would with the Legislative Assembly regarding sitting and coming and going quietly. The committee room is in the J. Angus MacLean Building, which is right across Richmond Street (at the corner of Great George Street) from the Coles Building (where the Legislature now sits while Province House is closed for renovations). Looks like an interesting topic.

The Legislative Assembly website also has the transcripts from the first four "community consultations" (from October 14th and 21st) of the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal, here:



Some observations regarding the Democratic Renewal process:


Timetable doesn't allow time for discussion on democratic renewal options - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

I attended the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal’s Community Meeting in Souris on Oct. 21. There are eight of these meetings Island wide over a three-week period ending Nov. 4 in Charlottetown. Using the White Paper on Democratic Renewal as a guide, this may be the only opportunity Islanders have to participate directly in the process of electoral reform before facing a referendum on three voting options. As presented in the White Paper these options are: first past the post, a preferential ballot and proportional representation.

The committee seems to be genuinely interested in talking to Islanders about this critical issue before they’re scheduled to present a report to the Legislature next month. Unfortunately they are bound by a White Paper presumably constructed by the Premier’s Office which is weighted toward one of those referendum options. It also carries with it a timetable that simply doesn’t allow enough time to have meaningful, informed discussion about what our options actually are.

Government should make use of its assets to adequately promote and support this process. It also must provide ample time for Islanders to become familiar with what is being discussed. Public consultation is not simply something to be tolerated by government on the path to its chosen outcome.

Boyd Allen, Pownal

Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time, teaches mathematics at the University of Cambridge in England, and writes for today's essay in Global Chorus:

"As we stand at the brink of a second nuclear age and a period of unprecedented climate change, scientists have a special responsibility, once again, to inform the public and to advise leaders about the perils that humanity faces. As scientists, we understand the dangers of nuclear weapons and their devastating effects, and we are learning how human activities and technologies are affecting climate systems in ways that may forever change life on Earth. As citizens of the world, we have a duty to share that knowledge, and to alert the public to the unnecessary risks that we live with every day. We foresee great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change.

"We are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history. Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill. But our genetic code still carries the selfish and aggressive instincts that were of survival advantage in the past. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million. Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain lurking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space.

"There are so many questions still to answer."

-- Stephen Hawking

October 28, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

First, a correction:

Yesterday, I wrote 1851 was when P.E.I. got *representative* government and I should have written *responsible*. To quote a person who knows this: "Representative Government in 1773 (with the people represented in and by the Legislative Assembly);

"Responsible Government in 1851, when the Executive branch become responsible to the Legislative branch."


Tonight are the fifth and sixth of eight public "community meetings" on electoral reform. There should be displays and time for questions both to the committee and informally at both locations.

Abram Village, 2-4PM, Village Musical Acadien. This meeting will be bilingual.

Elmsdale, 7-9PM, Westisle Composite High School.

(Next Wednesday afternoon and evening are in Charlottetown, but if you can get to one of the ones today, you will likely find it interesting.)


from yesterday's Guardian:


Proportional representation will avoid abuse of power - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

I would like to express heartfelt appreciation to the people of Cardigan for welcoming me on the doorsteps of the riding and giving Green Party policies a fair hearing. I did not encounter a single rude comment or a mean dog.

I thoroughly enjoyed the process and would like to thank my fellow candidates for setting a tone of mutual respect and civil discourse.

Congratulations, Lawrence MacAulay, well deserved.

Islanders are breathing a sign of relief to see the end of Harper but how do we avoid abuse of power in future? The answer is proportional representation. This is our big chance and MacLauchlan and Trudeau could deliver true democracy. The process is well underway here on P.E.I. with a white paper released in July and hearings going on right now.

I fear the Liberals have already made up their minds and will reject proportional representation. The model proposed in the white paper is preferential ballot. This is a bad idea and will not result in more seats for small parties. To quote the white paper, ‘the system does not directly translate vote share into seat share, and hence may not succeed in making election outcomes results more proportional.’ Preferential ballot is a cumbersome form of the same old first past the post. I urge the government to honour its own process and respect the will of the people.

The hearings are on public record and Islanders are overwhelmingly backing proportional representation.

In the 85 countries of the OECD with MMP there are more women elected, stronger environmental policies and stable governments with long term goals. It’s time to join these forward thinking countries.

Teresa Doyle, Bellevue

Wonderful Blue Dot Movement news from Manitoba: The province signed on to the Blue Dot Movement, pledging legislation for enshrining the rights to a healthy environment:


from the Manitoba government website, which also announced funding for climate change work:


<snip> “By investing in this centre, it is clear that our government views the environment and the effects of climate change as some of our highest priorities. By becoming the first province to sign the Blue Dot Declaration, we are committing to introduce legislation to provide all Manitobans with a healthy environment, we are ensuring sustainable prosperity for future generations.”

Lisa Bendall keeps a sweet website, 50 Good Deeds -- Random Kindnesses and Other Ways to Make a Difference -- https://50gooddeeds.wordpress.com/ and writes for today's Global Chorus:

"People are often disheartened by the glut of bad news in the world. Every time you turn on the TV, they complain, miserable things are reported.

"My comeback: it wouldn’t be news unless it was extraordinary. What rarely makes headlines is the everyday goodness that happens so frequently we can almost forget how special it is: the snow shovelled for a neighbour, for example, or the donated groceries or the compliment that was made on an outfit or the seat that was offered or the door that was held.

"Acts of generosity are rampant, pervasive in our world. That’s because the human species evolved to be kind. It’s simple logistics: in a society of compassion, we are more likely to survive and reproduce, passing along these genes for niceness. In fact, there’s increasing and exciting scientific evidence for our biological drive to connect with and help others.

"Will we one day ruin ourselves and each other? See, that would go against our nature. Our genetics, I’d like to think, will save us well before the end.

"I remain optimistic." -- Lisa Bendall

October 27, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight starting at 6PM is a "Blue Drinks" gathering at Gahan House, on Sydney Street in Charlottetown. Lots of interesting conversation, to be sure.

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/893157487405189/


Cinema Politica film, The Road to Apartheid, 6PM, Room 242 of MacDougall Hall (business building) at UPEI. Admission by donation. Some film info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1532018367090450/


Ethan Hawke did speak at the water ceremony and news conference put on by local indigenous groups in Afton, Nova Scotia, on Monday; he spoke about why he is motivated to speak on this, and what he feels about what we are leaving for our children. More info here: http://saveourseasandshores.ca/2015/10/ethan-hawke-special-guest/


These segments of The Sunday Edition (CBC Radio 1, Sunday, October 25th) were very interesting. A bit of history on Pierre Elliot Trudeau, a lively interview with Elizabeth May, and more.



Not the Citizens' Alliance has a position on the polio vaccine, on Rotary Clubs, or non-local flower bulbs sold by a local company; but, very good people are volunteering their time to make a difference in various endeavors. The local Rotary Club is raising funds for their End Polio Now campaign, and has one of those incredibly good deals on a box of Vesey's fall-planting flower bulbs. Contact Ann Sherman at <sherman@pei.sympatico.ca> before the end of Wednesday for more details.

The history part of the White Paper on Democratic Renewal is a very good history lesson (or series of lessons) on the past important events in our political history, but it can be a tiny bit off-putting if you are trying to figure out what the White Paper is asking. The Community Meetings are halfway over and, having only tomorrow in Abrams' Village (2-4PM) and Elmsdale (7-9PM), and next Wednesday in Charlottetown (2-4PM, and 7-9PM).

Here are a couple of facts from: http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/democraticrenew.pdf

The democratic process on P.E.I. has constantly evolved. Size of ridings, how many representatives, how votes conducted, etc.

A few dates: First House of Assembly was elected in 1773, representative government granted in 1851; voting expanding to include Catholic male property owners (1830), women (1922) and First Nations (in 1963).

from: http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/democraticrenew.pdf

A quote:

"One of the chief obstacles to land reform in the 1830s and 1840s was the appointed Council, filled as it was with men of substance materially vested in maintaining the status quo." (page 5)

--which could apply to a lot of situations, really.

One person not interested in maintaining the status quo is author, journalist, documentarymaker ("The Green Interviews") Silver Donald Cameron. He writes the essay in today's Global Chorus:

"I’m breathing hard in the thin air. Gazing at Taktshang Goemba, 'The Tiger’s Nest.' A magnificent Buddhist monastery. Gold, white, burgundy. Hanging on a cliff-face in Bhutan. Across a deep gorge from me. I’m 72 years old. Yesterday: New Delhi, elevation 233 m. Today: 3120 m. I've climbed 700 m from the Paro Valley floor, far below. Grinning Bhutanese kids scamper past in flip-flops. I climb ten steps. Stop. Breathe. Buddhists think about breathing. Buddhists believe in the unity of the world. I believe it too. Breathing unites us. Air is 1 per cent argon. David Suzuki quotes the astronomer Harlow Shapley, who calculates that a single breath contains 30,000,000,000,000,000,000 argon atoms. Argon is inert. It isn’t absorbed; it doesn’t change. I breathe it out; you breathe it in. Breathing connects us to all life on Earth, through all of time. I breathe what the dinosaurs breathed, what my seventh-generation descendants will breathe. Each breath of mine includes 400,000 argon atoms that Gandhi breathed. In the Himalayas, half of my oxygen comes from plankton in the sea.

"And breath is only one bridge between organisms. Through our digestion, our skin, our voices, our thoughts, the cycle of birth and death, we continuously collaborate with the world around us. As Alan Watts wrote, 'We do not "come into" this world. We come out of it, as leaves from a tree.' Or a breath from a body.We are the world around us.This is the most important fact of all. Contemporary science knows it. All great wisdom traditions know it. Industrial society blinds us to it. We must strive to see, and to know who we really are. If we act with humility and reverence, the world may yet find us worth keeping." --Silver Donald Cameron

October 26, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Water Ceremony, near Antigonish, NS, with guest Ethan Hawke, 1:30PM,

Ethan Hawke, actor and director, is going to be at a water ceremony to honor the waters (and protest proposed drilling projects) in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. If you can't make it, there may be some coverage on the news this evening. Hawke owns property in the area.


CBC News Weekend Update:

Saturday morning on the Weekend Morning show, host Doug Barren played a short clip talking with Island singer (and recent candidate for the Cardigan Riding) Teresa Doyle, and he played her song "Lucky." So lovely. She gave us a copy of the song for the Citizens' Alliance membership -- it's here: http://www.citizensalliancepei.org/

Yesterday, the 4PM Maritime call-in show "Maritime Connections" discussed "How important is electoral reform to you?" and there were a lot of opinions expressed. Very interesting to listen to, if you have some time. They already have the podcast up: http://www.cbc.ca/maritimeconnection/

They focused on federal plans, actually not mentioning what P.E.I. is working on now.

Speaking of electoral reform:

Tuesday, October 27th:

Connect Meeting (LeadNow/FairVote) Monthly meeting, 7PM, Upstairs meeting room, Haviland Club, corner of Haviland and Water Streets, Charlottetown

"We will be debriefing from the federal election and discussing - 'What Now?' Also we will be talking about how we can move the talk forward on PR (proportional representation) for the Island." All welcome.

Deirdre Blomfield-Brown is an American woman who has become a Tibetan Buddhist nun, now known as Pema Chodron and a resident teacher at Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton.

"We have the capacity to wake up and live consciously, but, you may have noticed, we also have a strong inclination to stay asleep. It’s as if we are always at a crossroad, continuously choosing which way to go. Moment by moment we can choose to go toward further clarity and happiness or toward confusion and pain.

"Taking this leap involves making a commitment to ourselves and to the Earth itself – making a commitment to let go of old grudges; to not avoid people and situations and emotions that make us feel uneasy; to not cling to our fears, our closed-mindedness, our hardheartedness, our hesitation. Now is the time to develop trust in our basic goodness and the basic goodness of our sisters and brothers on this Earth, a time to develop confidence in our ability to drop our old ways of staying stuck and to choose wisely.

"Our personal attempts to live humanely in this world are never wasted. Choosing to cultivate love rather than anger just might be what it takes to save this planet from extinction." -- Pema Chödrön

October 25, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This afternoon:


Also, at 4PM today, "Maritime Connections", the CBC Radio Maritime call-in show, with Preston Mulligan, is about electoral reform and should we move toward proportional representation(!). If you cannot listen when it airs, it is usually podcast within a few days.

The PEI government's Water Act website has been adding the presentations and some audio from the public meetings, in case you want to listen to a presentation and look at the presentation at the same time (you would have to open two pages on your browser) or just go over any of them. Here are the presentations (and what audio there up so far) page link:


The next public consultation meeting is NEXT Tuesday, November 3rd, at Kaylee Hall in Pooles Corner. The Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water will be presenting, among others.

Just for fun, but in all seriousness:

The Trudeaumetre: https://www.trudeaumetre.ca/

something to bookmark and check every so often. A very well organized site!!

screenshot from "Trudeaumetre.com" https://www.trudeaumetre.ca/

Speaking of organization, today's Global Chorus is by retired engineer Matthew R. Foster, and he is the creator of the website http://stopstopstop.org/

which proposes to address our serious problems in a systematic fashion.

"The people and the planet have many dire problems. We must accept that there is only one key with which to effectively tackle these problems. We have given the scientists, corporations, politicians and the UN the opportunity to resolve the global social– ecological crisis; now it is the people’s turn to step directly into the process in a more effective way.

From the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 until now, we’ve seen little meaningful progress. We must ultimately react more quickly and resolutely.

We know the issues; we have unlimited knowledge accumulated in several million NGO databases; we have the means and know-how to communicate globally; we know the power of social media.

We are fragmented and all trying to be heard in our various political systems, which unfortunately are highly influenced by powerful international market forces and unreceptive to our concerns. It is indeed a bad situation in which the whole world shares, but it is not hopeless. Collectively we can propose and significantly influence meaningful changes if we can simply get organized into a cohesive, worldwide movement. Here's how we could begin:

*Develop a social media site dedicated solely to social–environmental issues.

*Incorporate multi-language capabilities to communicate with the world.

*Categorize all social–ecological issues into manageable groups (to a maximum of 26).

*Prioritize the issues in each category through debate and consensus and put them into a 20-to-25-year plan.

*Use the new site, and/or allied sites, to put the issues to the world’s people for approval in a logical format with a consistent approach (i.e., one issue in each category every two weeks enables the addressing of 26 separate issues per year).

*Forward the duly considered petition, with the names of the signatories, concurrently to the legislatures of all nations, as this is a crucial worldwide emergency that affects everything.

*Require every category unreservedly to have equal weight and equal opportunity to put its particular issues to the public for debate and consideration each year in its turn.

*Accept that time is our unforgiving enemy."

-- Matthew Foster

October 24, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Events today:

Today, Farmers' Markets are open in Charlottetown, Summerside and Murray Harbour!

Kids' local magazine and book:

Fox, The Island Storybook for Kids Launch, 10AM, from the publishers of RED magazine, at new Owls' Hollow play area, on Capital Drive, Charlottetown. https://www.facebook.com/events/876422055782799/

And Launch of Christmas Star Power, children's book by author David Weale, with artwork by Wilna Clark-Gerami, 2-4PM, Confederation Centre Children's Library, Charlottetown. "A suspenseful story of danger and rescue, against a backdrop of Christmas lore and family love." And printed on P.E.I., a rarity for children's books not to be printed overseas these days. https://www.facebook.com/events/466010280238197/

Tree planting and pruning near Macphail Woods, 2:30PM, Details here: http://macphailwoods.org/event/volunteer-afternoon-2015/

Sunday, October 25th:

Climate Change walk, in the afternoon, from St. Dunstan's to St. Pius X, Charlottetown (I think). Details tomorrow.

Bonshaw Ceilidh, 7-9PM, Bonshaw Hall, just off TCH. Proceeds to help the P.E.I. Fund for the Tozia Orphanage in Haiti.

Monday, October 26th:

Water Ceremony, near Antigonish, NS, with guest Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke, actor and director, is going to be at a water ceremony to honor the waters (and protest proposed drilling projects) in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, organized by the Paq'tnkek First Nation and the Mi'gmawei Mawiomi Assembly, 1PM, Afton, Nova Scotia

"In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we are all neighbours!"

Please RSVP to gretchenf@sierraclub.ca or (902) 444-7096 if you plan to attend so they can get an idea of numbers. They may also connect people trying to ride-share over from P.E.I..

CBC story: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/ethan-hawke-mi-kmaq-water-ceremony-1.3285275?cmp=abfb

Tuesday, October 27th:

Blue Drinks PEI, a gathering to discuss water issues, 6PM onward, Gahan House, Sydney Street, Charlottetown


Two weeks!

Saturday, November 7th:

Citizens' Alliance AGM, potluck and "Mockumentary", 5-7:30PM, Farm Centre, Charlottetown, all welcome.

Some post-election thoughts:

"This is a tough read for some of us", someone wrote about this article when it was posted on Facebook. It is.

From the Halifax Media Co-op, on the progressive bubble some of us are in:


Global Chorus for today is written by Dr. Heather Eaton, professor at St. Paul University (Ottawa, Canada), and co-founder of Canadian Forum on Religion and Ecology

<snip> "Our stories and visions about what is real, important and vital are too narrow, inadequate and incomplete. So is our response to the current crisis. The relationship between vision and action is crucial to understand. If we contemplate the resourcefulness of the Earth, and that we emerged from and are animated by these great processes, we are inspired and energized. Such awareness leads to a profound

spiritual and ethical awakening, and insightful political

actions."<snip>-- Heather Eaton

October 23, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Minimum Wage:

Today is the last day to submit comments regarding the minimum wage on P.E.I. A related article is here:


I am sure I am missing it, but I cannot at all find the e-mail address to which the Employment Standards Board welcomes comments (the Chair of the Board does not have an e-mail on the government directory). Here is the address for the person mentioned in the article, Ms. Faye Martin, director of Consumer, Labour and Financial Services: <fmmartin@gov.pe.ca>


Speaking of minimum wage, stories in the media this week related that the commissionaires fired by the new managers of the program have been reoffered jobs at a substantial cut to their hourly rate. It reminds me of the cuts/reinstatement/addition episodeof twenty-some teaching positions this summer. Most of us are all for government reducing expenses, but these two instances affect professional working people (commissionaires, teachers) who help care for some of the most vulnerable members of society in Island institutions (school-aged children, people coming in and out of hospitals). It's a rather ugly way to do business.

Saturday, October 24th:

Volunteer Planting and Pruning Afternoon, 2:30-4PM, Kings County.

"The Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project will host a volunteer planting and pruning afternoon on Saturday, October 24 from 2:30-4pm. Come out and help restore some of the Public Forest Land the Macphail Woods project is managing for the province.

Macphail Woods is going on the road again with this event, this time to the Selkirk Road property where the project is carrying out the Restore an Acre Initiative. The property is about 14 km east of Macphail Woods on the Selkirk Road between the Oceanview Road and the Gairloch Road. There is a map at macphailwoods.org and once you get close, watch for flagging tape and parked cars marking the entrance. Bring your favourite pruning gear and planting tools, if you have them. "

Gary Snyder is an 85 year old man of letters, lecturer and essayist, and has been described as the "Poet Laureate of Deep Ecology." Here is his short submission to Global Chorus:

"I am tired of seeing optimistic hopeful and largely predictable ideas being put forth by very nice people over and over again when no one is asking the hard question of what might work. We need a hands-on, gritty, on-the-ground, post-liberal, post-humanist, post-utopian push into that territory." -- Gary Synder

A lovely little interview with the poet from last year is here:


October 22, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

As far I know, there are no public consultations tonight, but here is an event that hasn't gotten too much notice:

Tonight, Thursday, October 22nd:

Refugee Relief Fundraiser Concert, 8PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown. Organized by the International Sustainable Community Association (ISCA), it will feature performances by Jon Redher, Dino Dunsford, Al Tuck, Open Source Jam Band, Amanda Rae Gallant, James Philips, Emerald Junction, Dean Dunsford, and Wally Young. Refreshments by Upstreet Brewery and Chef Tyler Gallant. Admission is by donation and all proceeds will be donated to the Trinity United Church who will be sponsoring a Syrian refugee family. Lloyd Dalziel, chair of ISCA, says that everyone’s heart is moved by the plight of millions of refugees both in Europe, the Middle East and also Haiti. “This event, says Dalziel, will provide opportunities for those seeking to personally support refugee relief in this time of unprecedented suffering caused by warfare and climate change disasters.” from: https://www.facebook.com/events/1506256959695619/

Last night marked the halfway point of the eight community meetings scheduled by the provincial Special Legislative Committee of Democratic Renewal. I was not able to attend either of yesterday's meetings, but look forward to any comments from anyone there.

Committee Chair and MLA from District 13 (Charlottetown-Brighton) Jordan Brown was on the CBC morning show yesterday describing the process. He said the committee is serving as a "conduit" for Islanders to send their comments on changing our electoral system. The Citizens' Alliance feels strongly that the process is moving too quickly this Fall for many Islanders to be ready to craft that question. We also feel the committee is missing any representation by the NDP on PEI, which garnered the same number of votes last spring as the Green Party, though it did not result in the winning of a District MLA seat (an example of flaws of the First Past the Post electoral system we currently have).

The next meetings (#5 and #6 of eight) will be next Wednesday, October 28th, in Abrams Village (2-4PM) and in Elmsdale (7-9PM).

Any comments from the public at any time can be made at:


fax: (902) 368-5175


mailing address:

Special Committee on Democratic Renewal

Legislative Assembly of PEI

PO Box 2000

Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8


White Paper of Democratic Renewal Notes:

The first part of the White Paper, released in July of this year, starts with a cover letter by Premier Wade MacLaughlan, who mentioned that the time is right for this, saying that we have excellent voter participation, it would great if P.E.I. were the first jurisdiction to change its electoral system, and we could enhance other aspects of our democracy.

Then there is quite an extensive history of democracy on P.E.I.

Here is a timeline of "the evolution of Prince Edward's Island's Democracy"--


which is an appendix in the White Paper.

More tomorrow.

Robert Sandford is the EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. More on him and his work: http://www.rwsandford.ca/

He writes for today's Global Chorus essay"

<snip> "Hopelessness emerges directly from helplessness. Much current hopelessness comes from the recognition that our political systems are not designed and structured in such a way that would easily allow them to be capable of addressing issues of this magnitude. The scales are all wrong. While political systems are designed to function within limited, often competing, jurisdictions over timeframes of four or five years, the problems we have created for ourselves span generations and encompass not just nations but the entire globe. Many don’t believe it is possible to rescue our political systems from the influence of vested economic and ideological interests and the self-referential focus of party politics in time to prevent collapse of important elements of the Earth system.

"So where do we go now? Firstly, it is important to realize that a storm is coming. This is not the time to throw up our hands in helpless despair. he sky is not falling and the world is not coming to an end. But the problems we face are real and substantial, so we need to act decisively. If we are to adapt, we cannot permit ourselves to be made to feel helpless. If there was ever a time in history that demanded personal courage, inspired citizenship and thoughtful and persistent leadership action, it is now." -- Robert Sandford

October 21, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

First, the estimate of actual voter turnout across the country was 68.49%, not the figure I quoted yesterday. It looked "off" then and it was! Elections Canada has official results here:


It does not include people who register that day at the poll.

But it does mean 31% or so of eligible Canadians *did not* vote. It would be interesting to explore those numbers more, sometime.


Sifting and sorting the new Members of Parliament by age, gender, etc. can provide some interesting patterns, at the Maclean's website here:



Double-meeting day for the

Special Legislative Committee on Democratic Renewal

2-4PM, Souris (Eastern Kings Sportsplex)

7-9PM Montague (Royal Canadian Legion)

Dawn Wilson from the Coalition for Women in Government will be presenting, as will Teresa Doyle, recent Green Party candidate in Cardigan, at the Montague meeting

In case you can pop into Montague in another place:

Seed-saving Workshop, 7-8PM, Montague Regional Library

"The first ever Seeds of Community workshop in Montague! -- Seed Saving for Gardeners

Josie Baker of Cooper Institute will share information and encouragement for gardeners about how to collect and save seed from your garden. Seed Saving is a great way to save money, connect with other gardeners in your community, and participate in a world-wide seed-sovereignty movement. Seed Libraries are a growing movement, and represent community-based sharing of seeds and serve to preserve genetic diversity in vegetable crops. All seed savers are also invited to be part of the Seeds of Community Seed Library. This workshop will provide information and techniques to get you started with saving seed from your garden.

For more information contact Cooper Institute at 894-4573 or josie@cooperinsitute.ca"

Last Open House for the Maritime Electric Corporation Undersea Cable project, 2-8PM, Royal Canadian Legion, Bordon-Carlton.

Some more information: http://www.maritimeelectric.com/about_us/projects/ab_projects_interconnection_upgrade.aspx

Have you read the White Paper on Democratic Renewal?

Tomorrow: The Democratic Renewal process proposed by the provincial government assumes one has read The White Paper on Democratic Renewal -- which *a lot* of us haven't.

The idea of planning a read-aloud of it could be in the works (if interest), and I will start plowing through and offering bits starting tomorrow here.

Annette Saliken, author of the Cocktail Party Guide to Global Warming and the Cocktail Party Guide to Green Energy, writes for today's Global Chorus:

"If society can make the paradigm shift from traditional money-first thinking to an endurance framework for decision-making, then I believe we can create the conditions necessary to survive on this planet. This does not mean we should stop seeking economic growth or sacrifice our creature comforts; rather, it means we need to refocus on a more balanced, sustainable decision-making process. I believe we can work together successfully in this way to ensure the endurance and well-being of humanity on this planet for this generation and those to come. " -- Annette Saliken

October 20, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Strategic voting may have worked a little too well; more of a reason to move to electoral reforms that make proportional representation doable.

To quote some numbers (various resources, not double-checked):

2011: Conservative majority with 39.6% of vote.

2015: Liberal majority with 39.5% of vote.

FairVote Canada noted that Voter Turnout dropped from 61.1% in 2011 to 57.94% this election. (That's very interesting, isn't that?)

Congratulations to candidates who put their lives on hold and campaigned hard in the past 11 weeks. For those of you who participated in the environmental forum in each riding, special thanks.

Outgoing Conservative leader Harper said in a speech of thanks to his Calgary Heritage Riding last night that he entered politics with the overarching goal to save the taxpayers' money. This is rather un-lofty -- why not hire an accountant or a Groupon expert if you just want to save money? Working towards world peace, improving the environment for future generations, helping countries and people more unfortunate than we are...

Open House for Maritime Electric's proposal to place undersea cables from Cape Tormentine to P.E.I.

Today: October 20th, 2-8PM, Best Western motel, Grafton Street, Charlottetown

Tomorrow: October 21st, 2-8PM, Royal Canadian Legion, Bordon-Carlton.

Some more information: http://www.maritimeelectric.com/about_us/projects/ab_projects_interconnection_upgrade.aspx

Water Act

Tonight in Souris, 7-9:30PM, Royal Canadian Legion, all welcome!


Democratic Renewal Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 21st,

2-4PM, Souris

7-9PM, Montague

Adam Ravetch is a filmaker focusing on the Arctic, and he writes in today's Global Chorus:

"I know there is much concern about the environment and our natural world. I, myself, have seen much change over the last two decades in the Arctic. But even as the planet shifts and changes, I can’t help to stop, if only for a moment, to admire what we have. <snip>

"Today, there are more cameras and cinematographers in the wild then ever before, and I for one am encouraged about the future, knowing that the world is watching!"— Adam Ravetch

October 19, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

It's election day, but all the lawn signs won't make a difference if people don't get out and vote. Just drive safely!

Lots of links:

The Elections Canada website should have answers to questions you may have today:


Young Voters of PEI copied a page on a social media site which lists what's acceptable identification, if you don't have a photo ID with your correct name and current address:

A more extensive discussion -- but appealing, easy to read graphics -- of what you need to vote, and basically how our government works is from a group called "Apathy is Boring", described as "a non-partisan charitable organization that uses art and technology to educate youth about democracy."


If you or your friends or family have to check out some more issues before voting, here is an interesting site called "Pollenize" that a neighbour mentioned:


He writes it is "relatively unbiased" and it is very informative.

Also, Maude Barlow from the Council of Canadians writes a letter for today here:


And Judy Rebick, founder of Rabble.ca, writes her opinions and about strategic voting here:


Holger Syme, a professor of English at University of Toronto, wrote a thorough and entertaining rebuttal to The Globe and Mail's endorsement of the Conservatives but not their current leader:



Most candidates' offices have the ability to get any one a ride to the polls. The rides are not supposed to influence voters, of course. Many candidates had ads in the local papers with this contact info, and the Greens in Malpeque also can find rides for anyone if you call: (902) 836-3213.


I am a little confused, and kind of wondering where are the adults around here, in regard to anyone figuring out constitutionally what happens with possible election results scenarios. As in shouldn't this have been worked on several weeks ago?

Tonight, here are a few places you could stop in:

Young Voters of PEI (ages 18-35, but I don't think they will be checking IDs and kicking older people out) are meeting at PEI Brewing Company, Kensington Road in Charlottetown. The Blue Jays game will be on TV upstairs, the election results downstairs. The group is having a contest and to enter you bring some proof that you voted (photo outside polling station you put on social media), with the prize a big gift basket.


It was actually kind of hard -- if you aren't on their supports' lists -- to find out where a lot of candidates or parties are having their post-election gatherings, but here are a few:

Dr. Herb Dickieson (Egmont -- NDP candidate) is having a party at Red Shores in Summerside, 8PM onward:


PEI Greens are having a central election results party at Bites Cafe, 19566 TCH in Hampton, starting after 8:30PM.


Other events this week:

Tuesday, October 20th:

Maritime Electric Open House for underseas cables project open house, 2-8PM, Best Western, Charlottetown.

Water Act public meeting #4, Souris, 7PM

Wednesday, October 21st:

Maritime Electric Open House for underseas cables project open house, 2-8PM, Royal Canadian Legion, Borden-Carleton.

Democratic Renewal public meetings #3 (Souris, 2-4PM) and #4 (Montague, 7-9PM).

Debra Prinzing works to have people consider locally grown flowers, the "Slow Flowers" movement. She writes the October 19th Global Chorus essay about how we are fed in other ways:

<snip> "I do believe that flowers parallel food. We don’t often eat petals and buds, but they feed us nonetheless. The spiritual sustenance of flowers has caused me to think more intentionally about how I consume them. I have been inspired to start the Slow Flowers movement, a conscious practice of sourcing flowers grown close to me rather than ones shipped to me from afar. When I choose local flowers, I am preserving farmland, ensuring economic development in rural areas and keeping farm jobs viable."<snip> -- Debra Prinzing

And my favourite Island publication editorial endorsement for this election, from Paul MacNeill's Graphic paper:

West Prince Graphic, Wednesday, October 14th, 2015, page A-13.

Yours truly,

Chris O.,

Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.

P.S. Nice quote for today: "The bond of our common humanity is stronger that the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices." -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Lecture in Oslo, Norway, December 10th, 2002.

October 18, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Monks Islander Corn Harvest, anytime between 10AM to 5PM, Heatherdale Road near Uigg. From PEI Food Exchange: "The Monks are inviting all Islanders to come and harvest their corn on Sunday. The location of the field is near 2795 Heatherdale Road. There will be a sign indicating the dirt road where the corn field is. People who help with the harvest keep 1/3rd of what they harvest the monks will keep 1/3rd and 1/3rd will be delivered to service agencies like food banks. This is not a PEI Food Exchange event, we are simply helping the monks to advertise the opportunity. Please share wide and far. There is lots of organically grown corn in the field. Your trip will be well worth it." Bring your own bins and bags. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/456484237871921/

PEI Symphony Orchestra's first concert of the season, 2:30PM, Zion Presbyterian Church, Prince Street near Grafton Street. The other concerts are next month, February, and April. Today's features soprano Suzie LeBlanc and Mahler's 4th Symphony. Tickets available at the door. Admission prices and more info: http://www.peisymphony.com/

I am sure each party is having something similar today to the

Green Supporters Appreciation Party, 3:30-5:30PM, Cornwall Curling Club, all welcome, bring snacks to share if you can, indoor shoes if you wish to curl.

Tomorrow, polls will be open from 8:30AM to 8:30PM. Don't forget your photo ID, your voter info card that may have been mailed to you (apparently not required but may speed up finding you on a list). The ideal thing is something that has your picture and your current address. If that's not on one document, than you have to bring a couple of things to add up. Details on the Elections Canada website. http://www.elections.ca/home.aspx

This is a helpful article from CBC's website I mentioned before: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/5-things-to-know-about-voter-identification-1.3264227

Another Plan B flashback: So much going on this past week with the consultations and elections stuff, but I meant to post the link to the YouTube video made by Perry William three years ago. It shows part of what happened Friday, October 12, 2012, when police closed off access to the private property near where campers had been stopping construction until then, and the rally ("Funeral for Democracy" was a name it got) the next day.


So many beautiful people captured in the film, including two no longer with us, Mitch MacKinnon (driving the black SUV trying to get up the road), and Jack MacAndrew (speaking at the rally about the illegal action).


Derrick Biso posted on Facebook this week, on October 15th, 2015, and I share with his permission:

"Facebook decided to share this traumatic experience with me today, to brighten me up and remind me how much Facebook cares...

However, this image - very powerful, as is the word that accompany, was taken 3 years ago. Just this year we had a provincial election, the people of Bonshaw had a true opportunity to express how they felt about the gov't of the day and what they had done. If you remember, the incumbent Liberal cabinet minister Valerie Docherty was voted out, quite strongly, and the Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker was welcomed to the Legislative Assembly to represent the people of District 17 on Prince Edward Island.

We have another opportunity, this coming Monday, to express how we feel about the gov't of the day and what kind of future we would like to co-create. Please do take the opportunity to vote. Know that anything is possible if we believe it is so and do something to make it so. <snip>

October 15, 2012:

I spent the greater part of the past weekend in Bonshaw. I left the Hemlock Grove Saturday still with a heavy heart from the Funeral of Democracy and needed to return to the grove for some restoration. I felt so much of the pain and suffering, I desired to spread some love, compassion and healing. I had the opportunity to share my spirituality and chanting yesterday, and was moved by a man named Dana. While I was chanting he lifted one of the fallen Hemlocks and hugged it until I finished chanting. As I drove home I felt compelled to write, it turned into a poem of sorts and I'd like to share it. At first I only shared it on the STOP PLAN B group, but now I want to share it with as many as possible.

I've called the poem, and titled the image, "God Bless the Tree Hugger"

Let the rain fall,

I have no tears of my own.

Let the rain clean my wounds so freshly cut.

Let it restore the spirits of those

who feel my pain,

who feel shame.

May you rest knowing it is not you that I blame.

If I could, I would embrace you.

I would shed tears of joy for the love you show me.

You too are my brothers and sisters.

Stand strong, hold hands with each other,

as I hold the roots of my brothers and sisters.

Hold me still, for I remain here,

my roots are yet unturned.

Let your voices join in unison,

may it have the strength of a hurricane.

Rise together against injustice,

may my death not be in vain.

Let me kindle the flame inside each of you.

May the fire consume you and spread,

setting the hearts of all ablaze.

Let my brothers and sisters be.

Their leaves fall like tears,

for they too mourn my death.

They FEEL my death.

Let me not be the start, but the end.

The end of injustice, of senseless destruction.

The end of poor stewardship,

the end of the endless consumption.

Embrace me brother,

embrace me sister,

For God blesses the tree hugger.

--Derrick Biso

David Kahane is a professor of political science at the University of Alberta, and director of Alberta Climate Dialogue, a tough job, I would guess, sometimes; more details here: https://www.ualberta.ca/~abcd/ABCD/About.html

"My work involves convening citizens to deliberate about climate change and climate policy. Whatever life and political perspectives people bring to the table, they hear each other, dig deeply into their own priorities and values, and grapple together with tough choices. They show the collective wisdom and care that humans can generate, person to person. <snip>

"Will these shifts create the conditions necessary for human survival and the survival of other species? My questions back: how would we know, and why does it matter? At worst, the relationships and structures and personal capacities that we build will increase our courage and resilience as the world slides toward catastrophe. At worst, we will tap into some real human dignity and joy in the

time we have left." --David Kahane

October 17, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Gleaning Vegetables opportunity, meet at 9AM from Farm Centre back parking lot, to carpool to the farm near Summerside, you get a portion of what you pick. More Details:


Farmers' markets open in Summerside and Charlottetown.

Tomorrow, Sunday, October 18th:

Corn picking opportunity, at the monks place out east, meet at the Farm Center at 10AM.

Green Party appreciation party at Cornwall Curling Club, 3:30-5:30PM. All ridings, all welcome, bring clean shoes if you plan to curl.

Many of the parties have had creative ways of reaching out to people -- musical mixers, tweet-and-greets, salsa dance parties, meet-and-greets at various bars, darts, etc. It's been a lot of fun listing them! The post-election parties Monday night will be listed tomorrow and Monday, especially if you can send ones you know about.

The Guardian got a lot of buzz for their talk and then endorsement of a political party and leader over the past couple of days. Other papers across the country endorsed other candidates, including The Globe and Mail, which endorsed Stephen Harper's party but not him as leader. This made a lot of people snort. One commenting wag tweeted, "I endorse The Globe but not The Mail."


Here's a article with some charts and tables about which federal party does or doesn't support certain issues or projects, from David Suzuki's people:


The Citizens' Alliance website has links to some of the four P.E.I. federal riding environmental forums videos and summarized notes, and also a calendar of events for after the Federal election (when the plethora of public consultation resumes).


Don Mazer's both comic and tragic presentation chronicling issues with the Winter River and relating it to our relationship to water as a whole, given to the Environmental Advisory Council at the public meeting for the water act on Tuesday, October 6th, is here at the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water's website: http://peiwater.com/2015/10/15/we-dont-want-another-winter-river-lessons-for-the-water-act-by-don-mazer/

Tami Simon founded Sounds True in 1985, with the goal to "disseminate spiritual wisdom." It's large multimedia publishing company now. http://www.soundstrue.com/store/about-us/our-vision Her essay for Global Chorus is best left whole:

"What matters most is our motivation. If we orient ourselves towards a motivation that is based on an awakened heart, then whatever the outcome of our efforts, we can rest in the assurance that we have done our very best as human beings and as a species.

"So what does it mean be motivated by an awakened heart? To me, it means aligning ourselves with the good of the whole, with the deep heart that feels our interconnection with all of life, the sensitive heart that breathes with and is in communion with the low of life itself. When we drop into this deep, pulsing heart, a heart that is not defended in any way but is acutely sensitive to the relational field and the needs of the moment, there is a natural desire to be of benefit and to serve the good of the whole. Can we continually return to this true heart and reconnect with our deepest motivation to serve all beings, again and again and again?

"If so, we become a living heart-ire of love andjustice in the world. his heart-ire is contagious; others will catch it when they hear our warm voice or touch our sensitive hands or see our kind face. We become an indestructible human torch of goodness. his is not an idea but something that needs to be deeply felt and embodied. If we can embody this motivation in our life and in our moment-to-moment actions, then we can join together and creatively solve whatever environmental or social problems we face.

"The fire of the human heart can never be extinguished It burns brightly in the face of any and every challenge. he open, tender, creative human heart is our best refuge and hope." -- Tami Simon

October 16, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Guardian announced yesterday it would be endorsing a Party and its Leader to lead the country after Monday. To the surprise of very few, it has endorsed The Liberal Party.

Jamie Fox (MLA for District 19 Borden-Kinkora) was named the Interim Leader of the P.E.I. Progressive Conservatives, the Official Opposition, last night. Congratulations and best wishes to him, and thanks to competitor Darlene Compton and to long-serving Interim Leader Steven Myers.

from The Guardian article on-line last night:

Next for the party is its provincial annual general meeting in Montague next Saturday, Oct. 24 where a new executive will be elected and it will be charged with moving the party towards a leadership convention. Peter McQuid (sic) is not expected to re-offer for his current role of party president.


Today and this weekend some candidates have more social events with supporters as the campaigns wind down.


The Young Voters of PEI are meeting at the PEI Brewing Company Monday night to watch election results downstairs *and* to have the Blue Jays playoffs game going in the upstairs room. A clever generation.

Poet Don McKay writes this essay for today's Global Chorus, and here is a short video of him reading two of his poems about geology in B.C., Strike/Slip. Fascinating. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XquE0jlUtU

And here is his essay:

"Let me point to a pair of benefits of the environmental crisis – paradoxical benefits, to be sure – but apparent just the same in the remarkable shifts we can observe in the general mindset regarding the environment. One is the new-found sense of its losability – the awareness that natural elements we took for granted (e.g., dependable sea levels, seasonal regularity, arable land) are subject to radical, perhaps catastrophic, change. Losability leads us to value what we’ve got when – to adapt Joni Mitchell – it’s not quite gone, much as we do when a friend or relative contracts a serious illness. It’s a sad irony that astonishment and attachment in- crease when that black frame settles around a species, a landscape or a place.

"The second, related shift in our thinking could be called a sense of membership. As the truths of ecology gather and gain acceptance (a long process, it has to be admitted, given that it’s a 19th-century idea) our idea of ourselves shifts from the notion of the Master Species at the summit of a hierarchical order to that of a member of a system that works as a vast web of interdependencies. Membership in the natural world has already brought us fresh insights into its intricacies, its amazing symbioses and networks of communication. Of course, membership includes the recognition that we have often damaged and destroyed parts of the ecological web, and put its very existence -- at least in its current life-enhancing form in jeopardy.

"As the official name for our epoch becomes accepted as the Anthropocene, we will implicitly acknowledge the role of anthropos – us – in altering the planet’s systems sufficiently that a geological record will be let. Simultaneously, we will position ourselves as inhabitants of deep time rather than a shallow, human-centred history. Membership and losability: these gits will mean that, to whatever extent we are able to mitigate the disaster, we will have earned back some capacity to grieve, rather than numbly suffering the ravages of environmental degradation. They mean that when we say 'we,' the collective pronoun will resonate beyond the bounds of the much celebrated human saga into remote reaches of our temporal and spatial dwelling. Perhaps, to draw upon one of the most eloquent human arts, we may be privileged to perish as characters in tragedy rather than farce." -- Don McKay

October 15, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Last night I attended the second Special Legislative Committee Community Meeting on Democratic Renewal in Summerside. The first meeting was 2-4PM in Alberton, and apparently was not too well-attending, and Summerside's had about 15 people. Summerside hosted a water act meeting the night before and there is only so much public engagement to go around this week. (The large-screen TVs in the hall of Credit Union Place had the Blue Jays game on, so those in the meeting got a peripheral idea of what was going on in the world of baseball.)

According to someone who was there, at the afternoon session, MLA (District 25: O'Leary-Inverness) Robbie Henderson spoke at length in support of the current First Past the Post voting system, and Marie Burge of the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation presented after that. The Summerside evening meeting had the always sure-spoken Brenda Oslawsky, vice-chair of the national board of FairVote Canada and Kensington-area resident, presenting on proportional representation (PR), touching on the "mixed member-open list" system. She tried to alleviate common concerns about PR that the MLAs had, such as tighter majorities and more "third" parties with a few seats having disproportionate power (she said it's more about collaborative, more effective governments), and political parties secretly "appointing" MLAs (parties would appoint people to have on the ballot -- which is what happens now! -- but voters would actually vote for them). I urged Brenda to book to speak again in Charlottetown to focus in on the Mixed Member Proportional system for the committee and attendees.

The other speaker was a Mr. John W.A. Curtis, who was very unhappy at the committee for even existing, having an argument about the validity of any MLA actions since former Premier Robert Ghiz tinkered with the Act a few years ago increasing the number of signatures for nomination to run for MLA from ten to twenty-five. It was an awkward part of the evening, for certain, for those of us with no idea about the whole backstory unrelated to the White Paper.

Then the meeting ended for more informal conversations. I am making some suggestions for how the organizers can make the remaining six meetings more informative and engaging. ;-)


The next Water Act public meeting is in Souris next Tuesday, October 20th, and the next community meetings on democratic renewal are Wednesday, October 21st in (wait for it!) Souris from 2-4PM and Montague from 7-9PM. Saying that, if you are in the area, the meetings are worth going to chat with members and staff about different systems and to hear presentations. The purpose of there meetings, one of the clerks said, is for the Special Legislative Committee to get an idea about what kind of questions people could be asked in a plebiscite; like the water act consultations, government wants to get this done, and like the water act, hopefully not at the expense of being perceived as rushed through.

The Special Legislative Committee consists of chair Liberal Jordan Brown (District 13: Charlottetown-Brighton), Liberal Paula Bigger (Minister of Transportation and also District 23: Tyne Valley-Linkletter), Liberal Janice Sherry (District 21: Summerside-Wilmot), Progressive Conservative Sidney MacEwen (District 7: Morell-Mermaid) and Green Party Peter Bevan-Baker (District 17: Kellys Cross -Cumberland). Two MLAs were in attendance (the latter for part of it): Matt MacKay (District 20: Kensington - Malpeque) and Sonny Gallant (District 24: Evangeline-Miscouche).

Note: The Open Houses on Environmental Impact Assessment for Maritime Electric Corporation's plan to install two sea cables are also next Tuesday and Wednesday, October 20th and 21st, from 2-8PM, in Charlottetown Tuesday and Borden Wednesday. Details to follow.



"Big Green Ceilidh" with Teresa Doyle (Cardigan -- Green Party), starting at 7:30PM, Kaylee Hall, Pooles Corner near Montague. "Join Teresa, Todd MacLean, fiddler Allison Giggey and Nils Ling, Katlin Doyle, Cody Tayler, Zak Chandler, Patrick Bunston, Ben Aitken, a surprise fiddler guest, and others for a rip roaring evening of great music!" Admission is $10.


Here is co-chair of the Environmental Coalition of P.E.I. Gary Schneider's presentation to the Water Act consultation from last Thursday, October 8th:


Perhaps at every presentation from now on, one could just say, "What he said."

Theresa Helen “Susie” Matthias, mouth painting artist, of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of Canada, writes for today's Global Chorus:

"I say 'yes': that we as humanity can survive the current, and future, environmental and social crises.

But our global social issues cannot even begin to be solved if we as a people do not better ourselves toward being able to treat all others as equals – regardless of race, religion, colour or creed. As a person with a disability, I have met people of all kinds who have assisted me at times, and I see a lot of them with kindness once given a chance.

With regards to the environmental crisis, as a human race, we once had to rely on each other and the environment in order to survive. But over a period of time, we have become more selfish and self-centred. We have become greedy and less caring about how we treat the environment, taking all of the Earth’s resources without replenishing them.

"Everything comes down to respect: if we accept others’ differences, and if we maintain the same respectful attitude toward our environment, then feel that we all have an opportunity to survive and thrive." --“Susie” Matthias

October 14, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This afternoon and tonight are the first two Democratic Renewal Special Committee public meetings, in Alberton and in Summerside. I have copied the poster made by Brenda Oslawsky of Fair Vote PEI, who is presenting tonight in Summerside. The PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation is presenting in Alberton at today's afternoon meeting from 2-4PM.

Next Wednesday, October 21st, the Democratic Renewal committee moves east (Souris and Montague) and the next week west, with November 4th being the two stops in Charlottetown. I hope the meetings, in addition to proving time for input, will outline the "White Paper on Democratic Renewal", as many of us have not had the chance to read it. It is here:


There are also many events tonight (PEI Business Women's Association mixer from 5-7PM, for instance). http://peibwa.org/event/october-peibwa-business-mixer-the-great-george/

which candidates may attend, and many specific candidate events (if you aren't planning to stay home and watch the Jays game).

From today's Global Chorus, Ross Jackson is the c0-founder of the Gaia Trust Foundation http://www.gaia.org/gaia/,

and author of Occupy World Street: A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform

He writes (very timely, too, for a month of trade deals and elections, and the bold is mine):

"I believe the greatest threat to our survival is the way we have organized our international economic/ political structures. For example, the rules of the World Trade Organization work fine for corporations – especially the largest multinationals – but are particularly perverse in the way they penalize any country or company that tries to take the leadership in developing more environmentally friendly technologies. This is because the WTO rules do not permit a country to impose tariffs on foreign products produced with a lower environmental standard. In fact, a country cannot even demand to know how an imported product was produced. This one rule is, in my opinion, the greatest single barrier to a sustainable future.

"The dismal record of the EU’s CO2 emissions quotas is a perfect example. The intention was fine, but there is no way to protect European companies that develop friendlier, but more costly technologies, because they will be undercut by foreign competitors. The result is that quota prices are too low to have any effect. If they were high enough to be effective, the EU’s corporations would scream and threaten to leave the EU (many have already done so). The difficulties of reform are further compounded by the fact that the people in charge of the WTO/IMF/World Bank are the very ones who benefit from the current system.

"In Occupy World Street, I outline what I call a 'breakaway strategy' that I believe has a chance of succeeding. It requires a few small countries to unite in forming an embryonic new organization giving the highest priority to sustainability and human rights – rather than economic growth – and then invite others to join. The strategy requires that civil society around the world subsequently unites in support of the breakaway states.

"I believe that this is our best chance for survival. All it really needs is a single visionary leader to step forward and follow Mahatma Gandhi’s advice: be the change you want to see in the world." -- Ross Jackson

October 13, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Better late than never, but here is the link to Teresa Doyle's beautiful song of Thanksgiving, for Thanksgiving, "Lucky":


That link and others have recently been added to the Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. website, here: http://www.citizensalliancepei.org/

Federal Voting: The Advanced Polls are closed, but anyone can vote *today* 9AM to 6PM at *any* Returning Office on P.E.I.

Thanks to Sarah Saunders for compiling the original list.

After 6PM today, the next and final chance to vote will be on Monday, October 19th, 7:30AM to 7:30PM.

An easy-to-understand article on the identification needed to vote is here:


Today, Tuesday, October 13th:,

Third Water Act Public Consultation meeting, 7-9:30PM, Summerside, Credit Union Place. Tentative presenters will be the Council of Canadians, Marion Murphy on behalf of the Catholic Women's League, and the Cooper Institute. A great line-up and I wish I would be able to attend. Do consider going if you are in the area!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14th:

First Democratic Renewal Special Committee Public Consultation, 2-4PM, Alberton. The PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation is one of the presenters.

Second Democratic Renewal Special Committee Public Consultation, 7-9PM, Summerside, Credit Union Place. FairVotePEI is one of the presenters.

Perhaps like the Water Act consultations, government may be using these meetings as a gauge of public interest, which is unfortunate as the citizenry is already awfully engaged in the federal election and in the Water Act consultations -- communications about the timing of which we were at least privy to for some time. Hopefully people can get to these, and will feel welcome to go to the open mic time and mention about the tight schedule, the lack of notice (the schedule was released just last week), and/or the lack of NDP representation on the special committee.

Federal Environmental Forums round-up:

Representatives from over 20 environmental groups on P.E.I. organized four environmental forums in the last two weeks, patterned after the spring provincial leaders' forum on the environment.

I was able to attend all four (missed the beginning of Egmont's, though) and offer the following unbiased information, and then some personal observations that are tinged with opinion.

Charlottetown Forum: (left to right) Liberal Sean Casey, Conservative Ron MacMillan, NDP Joe Byrne, and Green Becka Viau. Maureen Kerr tweeting and Fiep de Bie timekeeping (foreground, left to right). Holland College, September 29th, 2015.

Malpeque Forum: (left to right) NDP Leah-Jane Hayward, Green Lynne Lund, Liberal Wayne Easter. Hunter River Community Centre, September 30th, 2015.

(My Cardigan photos are very dark and the video (link above) does a much better job, and my Egmont ones need to get extracted by someone with more computer skill than I.)

Observations (slightly biased):

Fifteen of seventeen candidates participated (Conservatives in Malpeque and Egmont declined).

Overall, the candidates had a good grasp of their parties' policies and promises. With the notable exception of the two Conservatives who attended the forums, the three other party candidates continually praised their party's leader.

Ok, that's all I can lay out for today. Inaccuracies are mine.

Professor John Pomeroy is a Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change, and director of the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan. He writes for the October 13th Global Chorus:

<snip> "I have found humanity’s response to the degradation of climate, ecosystems and water to be discouraging – we almost always respond and correct our behaviour only after a disaster and rarely with foresight. And then we try to forget about it. I fear that we will only begin to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions after repeated catastrophes have limited our ability and will to emit. It is virtually certain that we will see more extreme climate, ecosystem and water problems before the effects of declining emissions on climate become apparent. But there will be no return to 'normal.' The responses to climate forcing will alter the Earth dramatically and irrevocably and require all the adaptation that humanity can tolerate.

"Though unrecognizable in many instances, this will still be our home. Our clever species and many others will survive – intrinsically refigured by the trauma of change. Through this we must ensure that decency, diplomacy, integrity and our natural creative, hopeful spirit survive as we contend with irreversible thermodynamics and ecohydrological change." -- John Pomeroy

October 12, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Again, thanks to all who ventured to the Plan B campsite Saturday help plant and tend to young trees, or just socialize (as I did). The landowner was touched by the number of people who helped out, especially considering how busy the weekend was, and found a pair of well-used work gloves were left behind (just let me know if you think it's yours).

Three years ago today the police were called in, with the yellow tree-cutter close behind (left picture below), but it's good to think of now and the future and the community that came together from it all. Here is a website story from the reporter's visit Saturday


and apparently an audio version will be played on CBC Radio somewhere between 7:40 and 8AM this morning.

Hemlock Grove, next to Crawfords Stream, Churchill, October 12, 2015

and a remaining (but not too healthy looking) large hemlock next to the arched culvert, October 10, 2015

Some events on the horizon this week:

Final Advance Poll, noon-8PM today, more Elections Canada info here:



Tweet up / Speak Up with Becka Viau (Charlottetown -- Green Party candidate), 8-10PM, on Twitter "@beckaviau", more details here:


Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 13th:

Third Water Act Public Consultation meeting, 7-9:30PM, Summerside, Credit Union Place.


Wednesday, October 14th:

First Democratic Renewal Public Consultation, 2-4PM, Alberton Community Centre

Second Democratic Renewal public consultation, 7-9PM, Summerside, Credit Union Place, Halls B&C. FairVote will be presenting at 7:45PM.


Despite the poor timing of having this process start right around the federal election and during the water act consultations, it's important to get to one of these -- and you could make the point of their unrealistic time frame -- and hear what's being proposed, and comment if you wish.

Please pass on candidates' events that you hear of, and more general events listed here:


Recently, related to the big picture of the water act:


Restoring watersheds to historic conditions = The Guardian Guest Opinion by Dale Small

Published on Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Congratulations and gratitude to Premier Wade MacLauchlan, his cabinet and staffers for their courage and vision in initiating a Water Act for Prince Edward Island. This initiative has gravitas comparable to, or surely greater than, the Confederation Bridge debate; a potential game changer for Islanders and a legacy document for the Premier and this government.

Islanders are engaged, from tip-to-tip. The issue stirs passion amongst virtually all sectors, interest groups and individuals. Preliminary indications from the Premier and Minister Mitchell are encouraging.

Openness, transparency, engagement, a willingness to explore and adjust timelines; all these are essential and have been promised. Most encouraging, has been the choices of leadership. Mr. Davies and Mr. Arsenault are men of substance, intelligence and most importantly - credibility. Kudos are again in order to the Government.

The focus to date has been on the issue of the day: the deep water well moratorium. Crucial and controversial as the issue is, it is but one aspect of the broad, complex and long-standing challenges to the health and security of our water.

Much has already been written and spoken on this topic. Comments have ranged from an unwavering belief in scientific data to an unwarranted scepticism of any private sector/government information. In my view, it may be problematic to acquire relevant science. The geology of P.E.I. is likely unique in North America, thus severely limiting the usefulness and credibility of out-of-province data.

With respect to scientific data for P.E.I. watersheds, UPEI has done excellent work including; extensive research, data collection and analysis. The problem, as I view it, is that contemporary data is essentially a “snap shot in time” lacking the historical comparisons essential to develop a visionary Water Act.

Islanders who have explored the watersheds of P.E.I. for many decades may in fact be a resource of incredible value to the Act committee. They have observed the changes over extended periods of time.

From my own observations, the impacts of human activity on our watersheds are far more devastating than most Islanders can possibly imagine: thousands of dried up springs, streams a mere trickle compared to former robust flows, fish spawning habitat destroyed, stream cover gone, silt filled estuaries unable to support marine life. Decades of degradation and yes, destruction.

Should the shared, underlying vision behind the Water Act be: “to restore P.E.I. watersheds to historic, pristine conditions? “ Is this goal achievable without causing economic devastation to our vital farming industry? Yes, of course it is. To do so we must apply common sense, abandon entrenched dogma, recognize the linkage with all other sectors and interests of our society, and finally, share a vision.

In respect to linkage, I would urge all Islanders, and especially our government officials, to recognize that the protection and restoration of our watersheds is essential to the continued viability of our multi-million dollar shellfish industry, tourism, public health, rural living and our future economic viability.

To address a Water Act without factoring in the broad implications would be a travesty and a missed opportunity. The time is now for our political leaders to step up, forget the spin, forget the excuses and deliver an Act Islanders can take pride in and leave a legacy for future generations.

Dale Small was a Federal Fisheries enforcement officer, Manager of the Ellerslie Biological Station and Chief of Aquaculture for P.E.I. He spent decades exploring P.E.I. watersheds.

Mary Evelyn Tucker, PhD, is a scholar of Asian studies and teaches about religion and ecology at Yale University, (more on her: https://environment.yale.edu/profile/tucker/ ), and here is an excerpt from her essay in Global Chorus today:

<snip> "In over two hundred thousand years of our presence on this blue-green planet we have never been asked to renew the face of the Earth. That is what we are being asked to do now. To renew our wetlands and restore our woodlands. To re-inhabit cities and countryside in a sustaining way. To participate in healthy cycles of carbon and nitrogen. To become a life-enhancing species on a life-giving planet. This is no small task." <snip> -- Mary Evelyn Tucker

Happy Thanksgiving Monday! Teresa Doyle, songwriter and candidate in Cardigan, sent a beautiful Thanksgiving song she wrote called "Lucky" to celebrate how fortunate we Canadians are, and to share to those on this list. I should be able to get it on the Citizens' Alliance website later this morning, but if you would like me to send the MP3 file before that, please send me a note. It's beautiful.

October 11, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The weather actually turned out lovely for the "Plantiversary", sunny and windy but not rainy. There were many hands (and shovels) and the 40-something trees were planted quickly, had bark-guard wrapped around them, and there was plenty of time to walk around, share stories and hugs.

Plan B public environmental monitor and Citizens' Alliance Board member Cindy Richards, with a red oak, Saturday, October 10th, 2015, at the Plan B site.

CBC reporter Jessica Doria-Brown, who was not on the Island during Plan B, got a crash course and a bit of a tour and filed this report on the Maritime evening news Saturday, at 6:50minutes into the broadcast:


The McRobie Lecture at Macphail Homestead was another inspired choice by their board. Av Singh, who is currently in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, is an agricultural extension person and teacher of new ways of looking at growing food. He talked about the intuitive and spiritual aspects of food production, and lyrically wove in comments about ecological scholar Vandana Shiva, about breastfeeding being the first secure food, tapping into the best of our left brain-right brain duality, and Bob Dylan lyrics. (I cannot do justice to his talk and the following discussion, really.) The lecture was recorded to be made into a dvd for purchase in the upcoming weeks. It was also great that Dr. George McRobie was there, too.

Robert Reich is American and quite firm in his support of capitalism; a former Secretary of Labor, and seemingly decent guy, he can relay all sorts of observations and encourage people to get involved. He is currently on a book tour (for his reasonably priced book, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few) and had these observations (1 and 4 - 8, which I bolded, are applicable to Canada, I think, especially with it being federal election time).

Oct. 9th, 2015, Robert Reich's Facebook posting:


Top 10 things I’ve learned so far on my book tour so far.

1. Independent bookstores are alive and thriving.

2. Bernie Sanders supporters are everywhere -- all over the heartland.

3. Lots of great people on this FB page have shown up for book signings, and it’s been terrific to meet you in person.

4. Many of you are hurting economically – working more than one job, burdened with student debt, taking care of loved ones, and just getting by. And most of the rest of you I’ve met don’t feel this is an economic recovery. I've been moved by your stories and your tears.

5. Most of you are getting shafted by big corporations, big banks, and powerful forces you only dimly understand. Small farmers are squeezed by factory farms and Big Ag. Small business people are being crushed by Walmart. Low-wage workers are on the losing end. But these various groups don’t know how much they have in common. And they're unaware of how much power they’d have if they joined together. But the moneyed interests would like you to remain divided by race, religion, ethnicity, and ideology.

6. The people I’ve met in America's heartland are kind, generous, and welcoming, and have great senses of humor.

7. Most hate politics as usual.

8. Almost everyone is paying way too much for utilities, food, housing, Internet service, and health care. But you don’t know how much the market is being manipulated by giant corporations and their lobbyists. It amounts to a huge pre-distribution upward from your paychecks to top executives and major shareholders of big corporations and big finance, but it’s all hidden from view.

9. A remarkable number of you have seen our movie “Inequality for All,” and many have viewed our videos.

10. Finally, I’m surprised and delighted at how many of you have shown up at my book signings and purchased “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few.” (If you haven't got a copy yet, please patronize your local bookstore, or order order at: IndieBound: http://bit.ly/1UW92No; Amazon: http://bit.ly/1F2A9PX; Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1ihgd0M.)


Timely thoughts for Thanksgiving, by Anita Stewart, who is a food and travel writer and founder of Food Day Canada (which is on August 1st of each year and promotes eating Canadian food).


"If humankind is to survive, let us rekindle the extraordinary spirit that built our respective nations. Let’s learn and honour the fact that farmers and plumbers and cooks are as important to society as lawyers and politicians and pundits. Let’s cook, eat and preserve the harvest together, sharing our knowledge generously. Let’s embrace one another’s happiness as our own.

"These dreams are indeed achievable. As Jesuit thinker Thomas Merton wrote, 'We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.' " -- Anita Stewart

October 10, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Hopefully the rain will clear and it'll be pleasant to plant and mulch some trees in the area which was razed by bulldozers three years ago this weekend. We can help restore.

"Plantiversary", 2-4PM, old Plan B / Camp Vision site, Peter's Road, off the TCH in Churchill, between New Haven and Strathgartney.

Bring a shovel and bucket to carry mulch, if you can, and we hope to have a bonfire. Hope you can come out, even for a little bit!

An advance note for you to save the date:

Saturday, November 7th,

Citizens' Alliance Annual General Meeting, 5PM, Farm Centre in Charlottetown. It'll be followed by a potluck and some sort of entertainment.


Also today: Farmers' Markets

Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)

Summerside (9AM -1PM)

and Cardigan (10AM-2PM)


Advance Polls are open from noon-8PM


a few of the many candidate events:

Meet and Greet and BBQ, Lynne Lund (Malpeque Green Party), 1-4PM, Hunter River Community Centre

Pumpkin Carving and family Social , Becka Viau (Charlottetow Green Party), 2:30-4PM, Legacy Garden at Farm Centre


5th Annual George McRobie Lecture , 7PM (6:30PM reception and cash bar), Macphail Homestead in Orwell, $10. Av Singh is a note small-scale farm expert and is highly regarded in the field. It promises to be an interesting talk. Call Doreen (902) 651-2789 or email: macphailhomestead@pei.aibn.com to reserve a seat

A thoughtful read:


The Danger of Feeling Safe - The Guardian Guest Opinion by David Weale

Published on Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Can the future of an entire nation be swayed by a political campaign based largely on fear-mongering?

The federal election to this point has been a sobering lesson for this writer as to how powerful the politics of fear can be. I confess I was somewhat naive. I did not believe that so many could be so frightened so easily. It puts a chill down my spine, and plants sadness in my heart, for I know where the collapse into fear leads.

In one way or another all politicians promise protection. That is entirely understandable since one of our deepest desires as humans is to feel safe; from danger, from destitution, from hunger, and any number of other threats. Honourable leadership is responsive to this natural longing for safety. What is dishonourable is when leaders cynically stir up fear as a means of clinging to power. When a leader crosses that line he becomes, not the protector, but the threat, and in this election that has happened, starkly and brazenly. In a word, there is great risk in the safety being proffered.

I had hoped Canadians would not fall for it, yet it seems many have, and are willing to trust the 'strong man', which is hugely ironic since that strong man is perhaps the most frightened of all. This is manifested clearly in his insatiable, psychic drive for control over the processes of governance, and in a rigid, fundamentalist clinging to ideology. What emerges is a profile of deep-seated uncertainty. It is presented as strength, but surely is a covering for massive, personal insecurity – a political niqab if you will.

There are many stalwart Canadians who are supporting this man because they believe he is on their team, and they pride themselves on being loyal to that team. What they need to recognize is that he is not a team player. He is not on their team, they are on his team, and only as long as they march to his drumbeat, and eschew any form of dissent.

The frightened autocrat's mantra is always: “You are in danger, and in order to escape that danger you must turn your power over to me.” It is history's darkest refrain, and if Canadians cannot see it for what it is we will be inviting a kind of leadership most of us have not experienced in our lifetime.

David Weale is a P.E.I. teacher, author, historian, story teller and one of the founding members of The Vision Initiative, a non-partisan group of Islanders committed to creative public discourse about the future of the province.

George Mu’Ammar is a food systems analyst with the UN World Food Programme, and a hobbyist beekeeper. He writes for today's Global Chorus:

<snip> "Today we realize that global social and environmental problems are relentlessly advancing uncontrollably because of financial and political drivers. Commodities are incorrectly priced, discounting the real cost of the social/environmental impact their production caused. Incorrect measures of human success, defined in previous eras were based upon religious fantasies or military ideals with no regard for the bigger picture drawn by human accomplishments. We must start today defining standards for equilibrated globalized pricing of our industrial production based on the real cost to the planet, and more importantly (but less urgently) redefining the meaning of 'success' by giving individuals the ethical background and support to define their moral compass and their goals in compatibility with those of their community and society, if necessary by calling upon the human need for religion and justice." -- George Mu'Ammar

October 9, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some Events:

Some Candidates Today, Friday, October 9th:

5-6PM, Egmont NDP's Herb Dikieson's Meet and Greet, Train Station in O'Leary

6-8PM, Malpeque Green Party's Lynne Lund, Meet and Play Darts, North Shore Community Centre

7-9PM, Malpeque Liberal's Wayne Easter, Campaign Rally, Cornwall Civic Centre

7-9PM, Cardigan Green Party's Teresa Doyle, Musical Mixer, Johnston's Shore Inn in Hermanville


Tomorrow, Saturday, October 10th:

Plantiversary, 2-4PM, Peter's Road, off Plan B in Churchill (between New Have and Strathgartney),

Come and help plant some native species near those lost in the path of the bulldozer, to commemorate the third anniversary of the start of construction. It'll be chilly but the rain should be over -- just normal Plan B weather! We'll have a bonfire, too.

5th Annual George McRobie Lecture, by Professor Av Singh, 7PM (reception at 6:30PM), Macphail Homestead, likely to be an excellent talk on local food and sustainable agriculture, call to reserve tickets, $10. https://www.facebook.com/events/732427396900809/

Last night had two environment-related events, the second water act public consultation, in Charlottetown, and the last Federal Candidates' forum on the environment, in Linkletter (at the very nice community centre).

Nick Arsenault, journalist with La Voix Acadienne, was the moderator, and he did a fine job; the 50 or so people there clapped and raised good questions, but it never felt like a pep rally. Herb Dickieson for the NDP, Nils Ling for the Greens, and Bobby Morrissey for the Liberals all had researched their answers and Bobby said he learned a lot preparing for it. I am working on distilling down the major differences between candidates for each Riding; there are likely to be few surprises.

The water act public consultation was apparently packed, with excellent presentations. The slide shows will be on the website soon, and the audio recording also, we are told.


the list includes some presenters' slides from the first public meeting, and some from "private" meetings.

Ready to vote?

Advance Polls begin today! If you need a break from Thanksgiving festivities, consider going to vote. And as the Young Voters of PEI are saying, "Who are you taking with you?"

Four days, for late risers only, apparently, noon to 8PM:

Friday, October 9th

Saturday, October 10th

Sunday, October 11th

Monday, October 12th

(kind of unusual that it falls on Thanksgiving but the days are set so many days prior to election day)

Advance poll location is found on your voter ID card, if you got one in the mail. If you haven't already, they want you to call 1(800) 463-6868 or go to http://www.elections.ca/home.aspx

to see if you are registered.

A short video on the advance polls, from Elections Canada: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3dNs70xkkY

Today's Global Chorus is by environmental lawyer David Boyd, who is behind the Blue Dot Tour (Environmental Rights) with David Suzuki. A lovely essay from a true and practical visionary:

"I’m an optimistic environmentalist. That’s not an oxymoron. Over the past fifty years we’ve witnessed an extraordinary transformation of human legal systems, values and behaviour. Hundreds of international environmental treaties. Thousands of new environmental laws. The emergence of a new human right – to live in a healthy environment – now endorsed by 90 per cent of the world’s nations. This right is protected in over 100 constitutions, indicating it is among our most deeply cherished values and aspirations.

"Some environmental laws are like hibernating polar bears, not yet active, but many are already fulfilling their goals. Safe drinking water has been extended to billions of people around the world. CFCs and other chemicals threatening to destroy the Earth’s protective ozone layer have been virtually eliminated. The most deadly persistent organic pollutants are globally banned. Endangered species including grey whales, bald eagles and sea otters recovered from the brink of extinction. Levels of some air pollutants are down 90 per cent.

"Humanity still faces monumental environmental challenges. But our track record of successes provides a powerful elixir of hope. We can reboot society to flourish on 100 per cent renewable energy from sun, wind and water. We can create a circular economy without waste and pollution. We can grow delicious and nutritious food locally. We can build bright, green cities where everyone lives within a five-minute walk of green spaces – parks, community gardens and orchards. Walking, cycling and public transit will be more convenient and economical than driving. Buildings will produce more energy than they consume. From Vancouver to Stockholm, these visions are becoming reality.

"Western cultures are recovering the indigenous wisdom that we depend on Nature for health, well-being and prosperity. We must treat this wonderful planet, our home, with the respect and reverence it richly deserves. Within the geologically infinitesimal span of one or two generations – ours and our children’s – we can ensure a cleaner, greener, healthier and happier future for all of Earth’s inhabitants." -- David Boyd.

October 8, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Malpeque Riding's candidates will be on Island Morning after 7:10 for their electoral roundtable.

Tonight has several events going on:

Second Water Act consultation meeting, 7-9:30PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue (probably need to park and go in the back doors). Presenters (30 minutes each) are:

Adam Fenech, UPEI Climate Change researcher

Sharon Labchuk, Earth Action

Gary Schneider, ECOPEI

PEI Fishermen's Association

and then the last 30 minutes for questions from anyone there.

The next one is next Tuesday in Summerside.

Egmont Candidates Forum on the Environment, 7PM, Linkletter Community Centre, 1670 Route 11 in Linkletter, off Route 2, west of Summerside.

Conservative Gail Shea has declined to participate, but I can actually say the Conservative not being at the Malpeque forum last week didn't dampen things -- it allowed for a deeper discussion of issues.

Billy Cann -- Cardigan NDP candidate -- Meet and Greet, 7-8:30PM, The Juice Box, Montague.

more events at:


It sounds like you can "sync" your calendar with this google calendar if you want to -- I think you click on the "google" button in the lower right of the calendar. Thanks to the person who passed that on.

I submitted this to the newspapers before I saw the actual schedule of four Wednesdays of meetings.


Consultations need extension - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

The Special Legislative Committee on Democratic Renewal is planning public consultation meetings from mid-October to early November, and will report to the P.E.I. Legislature during the Fall Sitting. According to their timeline, in that report they will recommend the question for a potential plebiscite in 2016 regarding our voting system.

While many people feel change is truly needed to the way we elect provincial politicians, this time frame is much too compressed. Many Islanders are involved in activities related to the federal election, and many are preparing to participate in the Water Act consultations this month and next.

Islanders want to be involved in electoral reform, but let’s do this right. These consultations need to extend over the winter, at the very least. They should be as extensive in geographic scope as those of the Carver Commission in 2013-2014.

Also, there is concern about the makeup of the committee. There are three Liberal, one Progressive Conservative, and one Green representative. Though not resulting in a seat in the last election, the NDP received as many votes from Islanders as the Green Party. There is precedence for appointing non-MLAs to special committees, and the leader of the provincial NDP or his designate should be on this committee.

Let’s see this being about true public consultation, and not merely public relations. Please lengthen the time frame and round out the committee to reflect the four major parties on P.E.I.

Chris Ortenburger, Citizens’ Alliance of P.E.I.

Electoral reform should not be a sprint with hurdles.

Today's Global Chorus is by Clare Delaney, sustainable living writer, and founder of EcoFriendlyLink


"We live on the most perfect planet. Our pale blue dot' to quote Carl Sagan. It is perfectly positioned in space to give us everything we need to sustain diverse life. Similar perfection is hard to find. Despite this, we extract, transport and burn fossil fuels at an unprecedented rate. We don't account the external costs (pollution and its associated health problems, disposal and waste) that go into producing energy, products and “growth” as we currently define it. Our centralized food production system doesn’t consider the environmental cost of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, animal welfare and habitat destruction.

"Collective suicide is not factored into annual profit reports.

"Large corporations are by no means the only problem. We know that we must reduce carbon emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. Yet the biggest emitters – China, USA, Russia, India, Japan – will not meet those requirements. Japan will actually increase emissions, as will Australia and Canada.

"Most countries are run by politicians who are frequently tied to and dependent on corporate capitalism. By necessity, politicians think short-term (the next election). A decision that is good for the planet but may cost them votes, is political suicide.

"And then there’s the general populace. You and me. We’re concerned with jobs and money. We also think short-term. Sure, save the planet, but don’t inconvenience me or make me pay more.

"Rampant capitalism, powerful corporations, politicians dependent on votes, and a predominantly uncaring population. It’s a deadly combination. Said Albert Einstein bluntly: 'We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.'

"Even with so many passionately showing us the error of our ways, do we have sufficient commitment to make the necessary radical changes to save our beautiful - and fragile – pale blue dot?

"Are we 'fiddling while Rome burns'? It’s time to recognize that dramatic change is, quite simply, essential for our survival.

"We have a small window of opportunity to mend our ways before it is too late.

"Join the global chorus for action. Because the alternative – the destruction of our perfect planet, our dot in infinity – is just too final to contemplate." -- Clare Delaney

October 7, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Today is the last Wednesday for the Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 9AM -2PM.

Corn gleaning, meet at the Farm Centre at 9AM, be back with your corn in the early afternoon.

Saturday, October 10th:

Cardigan Farmers' Market special opening, 10AM - 2PM, at the old train station, for local food for Thanksgiving.

Macphail Homestead's 5th annual McRobie Lecture, featuring Dr. Av Singh, reception 6:30, lecture at 7PM, $10/seat.

Dr. Singh is Faculty Chair (of) the Centre for Small Farms based in Wolfville, NS <snip> Av emphasizes farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange and works towards revitalizing rural communities through increasing social capital.


...and Circuses (just joking):

On the public consultation front:

Last night was the first water act consultation meeting, and I got to see the last two presentations, but apparently all were very good -- Mike van den Heuvel on the over-arching aspect of an Act, and what gets put in the regulations, Pesticide Free PEI on the problems in our water supply, the City of Charlottetown on municipal water needs, and Don Mazer on water not as a resource to be exploited and managed, but as an ecosystem with its own intrinsic value.

Thursday night at the Farm Centre, 7PM, is the next public meeting.

The Special Legislative Committee on Democratic Renewal released a list of public consultation dates on the next four Wednesdays (not today, thankfully). More tomorrow.



An excellent related letter in yesterday's Guardian:


Water Act and Democratic Renewal need more time for public discussion

Published on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015, in The Guardian

In May the MacLauchlan administration was granted access to the reins of power in P.E.I. under the banners of government transparency and public inclusion. It promptly absolved itself of any responsibility for mistakes made, or questionable methods employed by the previous government -the government from which it was created.

During the first summer of its mandate two “white papers” were placed on the table for public discussion: one to create a comprehensive Water Act and the other on Democratic Renewal.

The public discussion on both these initiatives are to run concurrently and are shackled to unrealistic timelines. The rationale for this has not been explained beyond the Premier’s desire to “ get ‘er done”.

Neither of these white papers are trivial. It’s not comparable to massaging the Chinese market for P.E.I. ice cream, or tidying up the Order of P.E.I. protocol. The outcomes of these processes will provide the bedrock of environmental public policy and democracy here on the Island. To not allow sufficient time to engage in informed dialogue profoundly devalues these outcomes.

The “get ‘er done” approach also compromises the public servants tasked with managing these files. They too are not given sufficient time or resources to gather, disseminate and process the volumes of information necessary to facilitate the creation of a truly comprehensive, inclusive result. This is further skewed by the possibility of their term contracts not being renewed or positions being deemed redundant.

If public inclusion and government transparency are indeed of value to the MacLauchlan government, then both the Water Act and the Democratic Renewal processes must be given much more time and resources. They are too important to fall victim to political expediency or compliance with the Premier’s personal wish list.

Boyd Allen, Pownal

Plenty of events this week related to candidates, some listed here:


Today's Global Chorus is by Paul Beckwith, who teaches climatology and meteorology at University of Ottawa, and is found here: http://www.thecanadiandaily.ca/paul-beckwith-rapid-climate-change-in-the-arctic-and-global-implications/ https://www.facebook.com/paul.beckwith.9

<snip> "There is hope. Knowledge of this climate threat is spreading widely to our society that has been brainwashed into inaction by fossil fuel corporations and their subservient governments who maintain the status quo. More and more people see trees dying in their backyards. Devastation to their houses, roads and cities from extreme weather events is awakening them to the grave dangers. Soon a threshold will be crossed and a tipping point reached in human behaviour. A wisdom reached on the reality of the risks that we face. And finally global concerted action. To slash emissions and embrace renewable energies. And change our ways. And retool our economies and reset our priorities. And not take our life on this planet for granted."--Paul Beckwith

October 6, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A compilation of upcoming events:

This morning:

Egmont Riding Candidates Roundtable, 7:10-8AM, CBC Radio Island Morning.

Gleaning of vegetables, at the Legacy Garden, 9AM, 420 University Avenue, behind the Farm Centre.

Tonight, Tuesday, October 6th:

First Public Water Act Public Consultation meeting, 7PM, at Murchison Centre, which is off St. Peter's Road, 17 Piux X Avenue, in Parkdale in Charlottetown.

Map here: http://www.murchisoncentre.com/contact-us

Each evening there will be four presentations from either groups or individuals, with or without slides or visuals, 20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions from the Environmental Advisory Council, and then a half hour "open-mic" for members of the public there to make comments or ask questions. All are welcome to attend and all meetings. Come listen, make a comment during the open-mic time, or consider booking a time to speak for a longer time. <wateract@gov.pe.ca> or (902) 368-5028 or 1(866) 368-5044.

Presenters tonight include Mike van den Heuvel (biologist from UPEI), Don Mazer (regarding his experience working with the Winter River, and other observations), Pesticide Free PEI chairs Roger Gordon and Maureen Kerr, and Charlottetown City Councillor Eddie Rice (I was a bit inaccurate yesterday), but I think this is right.

Malpeque All Candidates' Debate at Kensington Intermediate Senior High, Malpeque Candidates, 7:30PM, 19 Victoria St., Kensington. Wayne Easter (Liberal), Leah-Jane Hayward (NDP), Lynne Lund (Green Party), and Stephen Stewart (Conservative). Hosted by the Kensington Area Chamber of Commerce.

(This is why trying to have public consultations for the water act while a federal election is going on is not fair for engaged citizens.)

(If you know of other debates or forums in the other Ridings, please let me know. The Island mainstream media is not doing any sort of service to Islanders during this long election period in that they are not providing an area for consistent, free listings of events, and cherry-picking which events they attend and report on.)

Nature PEI Monthly Meeting, 7:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, guest speaker John Calder, author of Island at the Centre of the World; The Geologic Heritage of Prince Edward Island.


Wednesday, October 7th

Gleaning, Corn, Heatherdale, 9AM-noon, meet at Farm Centre parking lot at 9AM.


Becka Viau -- Charlottetown Green Party -- Upstreet Meet and Greet, 7-9PM, Upstreet Brewing Company, 41 Allen Street.


Thursday, October 8th

Billy Cann -- NDP Cardigan -- Meet and Greet, 7-8:30PM, at The Juice Box Cafe in Montague.


Egmont Candidates Environmental Forum, 7-9:15PM, Linkletter Community Centre, 1670 Route 11, Linkletter

Water Act Public Consultation Meeting #2, 7-9PM, Farm Centre, Charlottetown

Friday, October 9th

Teresa Doyle -- Green Party Cardigan - Musical Mixer, 7PM, Evergreen Cafe, Souris

Lynne Lund -- Green Party Malpeque, Meet and Greet and Darts, 7-9PM, North Shore Community Centre.

Saturday, October 10th

Plan B "Plantiversary", 2-4PM, Camp Vision site, Peter's Road, off TCH (Plan B) in Churchill. Come help plant some trees and shrubs near what was torn up for the highway. Please bring a shovel and maybe a bucket (for toting mulch). All abilities welcome.


Don Mazer wrote the second in a series of Position Papers on behalf of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water:

A New Conversation About Water - Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water Position Paper by Don Mazer

September 2015

We need a new conversation about water and about the human relationship with the natural world. And we need a new conversation about the meaningful role for all citizens in determining a sustainable water future.

The development of the Water Act provides us with an opportunity to have this conversation.

In current discussions, as in The White Paper (“A Water Act for Prince Edward Island”), water is often referred to as a “resource“ or “our most precious natural resource”. But this description reflects a problematic attitude toward water and the natural world.

- When water is seen as a resource, its value lies in how we humans can use and exploit it. We become “takers” and “consumers” of water, rather than stewards or guardians. We minimize the intrinsic value of water, and its role in supporting the healthy ecosystems required by all other species.

- “Our” water assumes ownership, and the right to do what we wish with water. But humans have no more claim to water than do the fish or the plants. We are part of a larger community of life that is interdependent with water. We have no special entitlement.

The White Paper reflects another troubling common assumption in our current perspective on the environment. Water is “managed” through a “risk assessment” approach. We come to regard certain levels of risk as acceptable (e.g. nitrate levels) and not as urgent issues requiring immediate solutions.

The risk assessment approach itself reflects a problematic relationship with the environment. The recurrent issues in our waters come from a willingness to accept just such risks: high nitrate levels, anoxic conditions, pesticide contamination, fishkills, dry stream beds. We continuously take unacceptable risks with “our most precious natural resource.”

The new conversation about water and the Water Act begins with a clear goal and purpose. In the White Paper, the goal is: “...to protect the quality and quantity of the island’s water and ensure that our water supply is healthy and sustainable now and into the future.”

We believe the goal of the Water Act should be “to protect and ensure the health of all aquatic ecosystems.” Only healthy ecosystems can provide the quantity and quality of water to support the needs of all human and nonhuman beings for all generations.

Making ecosystem health our priority requires that we adopt the precautionary principle in assessing risk: we have an obligation to protect the environment from harm whenever we can, even if scientific evidence is incomplete.

The Water Act should reflect key shared values. Water is a human and nonhuman right, part of the right to a healthy environment. Water is a common good and a public trust. No one owns water and we are all its guardians.

Ongoing citizen involvement in a transparent and informed process is essential in this new conversation, continuing well beyond the defined consultations into the development and implementation of the Water Act.

The Water Act is an opportunity to forge a different relationship with water and the natural world grounded in respect for what is truly precious to us. Our sustainable water future requires conservation, where we use only what we need rather than all that we want. We must be caretakers of water, and demand a Water Act that ensures the ongoing health of all aquatic ecosystems.

Don was fantastic as moderator of the Malpeque Forum on the Environment on September 30th, and we are trying to get previous environmental forums on a YouTube channel, but here is a snippet of a discussion Lynne Lund (Green Party, Malpeque) had with Liberal Wayne Easter at the Malpeque Forum last week on the feasibility of organic agriculture (sorry if you are unable to access it):


and on government in general:


For today's Global Chorus, a poem:

Enduring Prophecy

Geography abandons itself to history;

cities afloat on the fires of the infinite

falter in the elisions of our knowing.

Who will whistle the lovely notes of the bobolink,

the meadows lost? Who will warranty

the exactly certain doom of our gardens?

Beneath the wild leaves of metaphor

wind and grass and ocean shallows

seed futures which will come or not come.

Unease kindles beyond the half-life of certainties

We try to believe our grandchildren will forgive us

if we bless them and abandon thinking.

The inevitable rises like a great flood.

--David Helwig, former poet laureate of P.E.I.


October 5, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Tonight, all welcome:

Starting this week: Water Act Public Consultations

Gary Schneider, on behalf of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, wrote this first information paper, which was published in the papers not too long ago:

For decades, the issue of water has been a topic of concern for most Islanders. The long list of problems includes ongoing fishkills, excessive nitrates and multiple pesticides in drinking water, anoxic conditions in bays and estuaries, sections of the Winter River running dry, excessive sedimentation and inadequate buffer zones, the degradation of wildlife habitat and the use of cosmetic pesticides.

In the fall of 2013, there was great pressure on the provincial government to remove a moratorium on the construction of high-capacity wells for agriculture. While the Irvings, the Federation of Agriculture and others made a case for high capacity-wells for potato irrigation, conservation groups and other Island organizations said it would add yet another serious threat to our already fragile aquatic ecosystems.

The Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry held a series of meetings in 2014. The public response was overwhelmingly against lifting the existing moratorium. In April of 2014, the Committee recommended that the province develop a Water Act and to maintain the moratorium.

More than a full year later, the province released a White Paper and announced the scheduling for the consultations that would lead to the creation of a Water Act by the fall of 2016. It should be noted that in BC, the province that most recently created a Water Act, it took six years. You can visit http://www.gov.pe.ca/wateract/ to view the White Paper.

Clearly, the Water Act will not just deal with high-capacity wells. As the Standing Committee chair Paula Biggar stated, “Having an extensive water act is one of the first steps that needs to be done before you can answer that other question of, ‘Should we lift the moratorium’.”

Since 1962, there have been over 50 documented fish kills in the province – more than one per year. How do we stop them? How are we going to prevent more nitrates from getting into surface and drinking water? What will we do if it turns out that pesticide runoff from the Island’s industrial agriculture are harming lobsters in the Strait? What about salt-water intrusion in wells? And when Wade MacLauchlan was campaigning for the premiership, he pledged that the Water Act would deal with the issue of fracking, as well as pesticides.

The key water issues revolve around quality and quantity, but discussions leading to the development of the Act should be premised on water as a basic human right and an acknowledgement of the intrinsic values of aquatic ecosystems – including its role as critical wildlife habitat. Water is not just a “resource”, and should not be seen as a commodity. It is the basis of all life on the planet.

The Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water is committed to the creation of a comprehensive Water Act. We look forward to every opportunity to engage in a fair and open process and encourage all Islanders to participate. We have raised serious concerns regarding the short time period, the number of public meetings, and the fact that some of the proposed meetings will be held in private. The Coalition has refused an offer for a private meeting, since privacy runs counter to an open and transparent process. We will, of course, be presenting at public meetings and through the use of social and private media. While the Coalition is proposing more public meetings, here are the ones that are now scheduled (all at 7pm, locations to be determined):

Charlottetown: October 6 and 8

Summerside: October 13

Souris: October 20

Montague: November 3

Wellington: November 17

Kensington: November 24

Elmsdale: November 26

You can email comments to wateract@gov.pe.ca or mail them to A Water Act for PEI, Department of Communities, Land and Environment, Box 2000, Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7N8. Comments can also be phoned in (902-368-5028) or faxed (902-368-5830).

This is your opportunity to participate in a critical juncture in Island history. The resulting Water Act will guide policy for many years to come.

The Coalition is made up of representatives from the Citizens’ Alliance of PEI, the PEI Watershed Alliance, Pesticide-Free PEI, District 1, Region 1 of the National Farmers Union, Environmental Coalition of PEI, Don’t Frack PEI, Cooper Institute, Hunter-Clyde Watershed Group, Ellen’s Creek Watershed Group, Winter River – Tracadie Bay Watershed Association, the Council of Canadians, Sierra Club Canada (PEI Group), Save Our Seas and Shores PEI. Among the coalition members are a number of physical, natural, and social scientists. The aim of this community-based organization is to share resources, skills and time to offer an informed, unified public voice in a process in which this voice traditionally has had limited access.

We are producing a number of information sheets to help the public get involved in this process. Please visit http://peiwater.com/ for more information or contact Catherine O’Brien at cathjobrien@gmail.com if you would like to join the Coalition or help out as a volunteer.

Gary Schneider co-chairs the Environmental Coalition of Prince Edward Island, one of the member groups of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water. He also served on the provincial Round Table on Resource Land Use and Stewardship.

Here is a bit of line-up I think I have cobbled together about presenters for the two Charlottetown public meetings (7PM) this week. Inaccuracies are mine:

Tuesday, October 6th (Ch'town, Murchison Place):

Mike vanden Heuvel

Maureen Kerr and Roger Gordon(Pesticide Free PEI)

Don Mazer

Karalee McAskill (on behalf of Cornwall and Area Watershed Group?)

Thursday, October 8th (Ch'town, Farm Centre):

Gary Schneider (7:40PM)

(there will be three others that evening, each given 20 minutes to present with ten for questions)

While the Citizens' Alliance tried to be non-partisan, this partisan petition may be of interest to many. It is a petition asking for cooperation among the non-Conservative party leaders if the Conservatives are given a minority government in two weeks on Election Day:


Gary Hirshberg writes the essay for Global Chorus for today. He is co-founder and now chairman of Stonyfield Farm, spending most of his time working on the "Just Label It!" campaign to have food with GMOs labeled. (A note that unfortunately most of Stonyfield is now controlled by dairy/formula/bottled water multi-national Danone company.)

He writes:

"Self-interest. It’s our greatest threat and yet also our greatest hope.

"Self-interest has led us to ignore our 'externalities' – the direct consequences of our economic behaviours that we then leave of our balance sheets and income statements as if they don’t exist. The bad news is that most of these outcomes – toxification, depletion of biodiversity and natural resources, climate change, cancer rates – have worsened.

"And this may be history’s first generation to live shorter lives than their parents. But therein lies the good news. The very same self-interest that got us into most of these messes is probably the only hope to get ourselves and our planet back to good health. Climate events have displaced millions and cost billions. The President’s Cancer Panel reports that 41 per cent of us will be diagnosed with cancers from exposure to chemicals in our foods, air and water. Disappearing pollinators pose serious risks to farmers and food prices. These are not just statistics. We are all being touched. We feel fear, hardship and pain.

"And pain will makes us change. Because it is in our self-interest to do so. I have hope because I have seen that ecology is really long-term economics. hat healthy soil sequesters carbon and produces higher yields. And biodiversity controls pests better than chemicals. hat the cheapest form of healthcare is not getting sick. And food is better when Nature’s rules are followed.

"When it comes to expediting our evolution, pain is a good catalyst." -- Gary Hirshburg

October 4, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Various things going on:

Event Today:

Farm Day in the City, 11AM to 5PM, downtown around Queen and Richmond Streets.


Lots to do and many items for sale, including some of the preserves the Food Exchange PEI has been making, as a fundraiser for them.

Democratic Renewal update:

There was an excellent presentation by Dr. Don Desserud elaborating on three electoral systems yesterday (our current first past the post, preferential balloting, and proportional representation). It was not the first, and it won't be the last, time he or others will explain this, which is good news for those of us still trying to get our heads around it.

Another thing I learned yesterday is that the Special Legislative Committee working on the the subject of democratic renewal (which has to do the normal post-election stuff like adjusting electoral boundaries, in addition to consulting and forming a plebiscite question on electoral reform) is planning public consultations regarding the White Paper on Democratic Renewal from mid-October to early November. (That info was in a letter to the PEI Coalition on Proportional Representation from the special committee chair MLA Jordan Brown this week to the PR Coalition which the Coalition said is public.)

It's a bit of a busy time with the federal election and with the water act consultations at the same time asking for public engagement. (Understatement!) This time-frame is much too compressed for a serious look at such an important issue, and I think people could let their own MLA and Jordan Brown know this if they feel the same way. Why the rush?

Your MLA can be found here: http://www.assembly.pe.ca/current-members

Committee chair Jordan Brown is here: jbrown@assembly.pe.ca

There is very little on the Special Committee's work on the otherwise information-rich Legislative Assembly website, but there is a link to the White Paper released this summer:


Staying with provincial issues, here is this week's editorial by Graphic publisher Paul MacNeill, on what happened with the PC Party this year and his analysis why:


Bad timing, bad advice seal Lantz’s fate - The Graphic Editorial by Paul MacNeill

Published on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 in The Eastern and West Prince Graphic

They say timing is everything in politics. Rob Lantz didn’t have it.

The PC leader resigned last week, ending a short seven-month run as leader. It is the right decision for both Lantz and party. The former Charlottetown city councillor lost his moral authority to lead after losing his own attempt to win a seat in the legislature.

Lantz was done in by a unique set of circumstance. First and foremost Wade MacLauchlan’s entry into provincial politics and his government’s decision to ignore the fixed election date of October 5. In response to Liberal threats the Tories capitulated and moved their own leadership contest from May to February.

In hindsight it was the wrong decision. Would the Liberals have had the guts to call an early election knowing the Official Opposition was in the midst of a leadership race?

It’s a question with no answer but many would have perceived an early call as arrogant. Given the crankiness of the electorate, if the PCs had shown some backbone maybe Island voters would have seen the party as a credible alternative. They did not. Instead they placed their faith in Greens and NDP in record numbers.

Rob Lantz needed seasoning. He lacked both experience and an understanding of issues impacting rural communities. He looked uncomfortable at a mic and spoke in a wooden style. He used the leadership as on the job training. Tories narrowly supported him based on future potential.

When the Liberals outflanked the Tories, it was obvious Lantz was still in the middle of a very steep learning curve. He needed more time to grow but the compressed political environment did not afford that luxury.

If Lantz had won his own seat his leadership would not be in doubt regardless of the disappointing May 4 results that saw the party increase its number of seats from five to eight but decrease its share of the popular vote. Islanders were starved for change. They just didn’t see the Tories as the face of it.

The PC leader’s inexperience probably lost the provincial election with an unexplainable answer in the CBC debate to an innocuous Canada Post question. It should have been a softball since Canada Post is a federal issue. Somehow the leader made the answer about himself rather than the thousands of Islanders impacted daily by the vagaries of mail delivery.

It was over that night.

Rob Lantz held promise but was handicapped by advisors who assumed they would ride a wave of Liberal discontent to the fifth floor. That arrogance meant Lantz did not campaign in his own riding even when the party knew internally it would not win. Back in 2003 Robert Ghiz faced a similar reality and the Liberal Party threw all its resources at getting Ghiz elected in his own riding. It worked.

Tories should have followed suit, but arrogance, inexperience and assumptions got in the way. Rob Lantz was let down by his advisors.

Now the party is back to square one and unless it treads smartly the PCs could find themselves in for years of turmoil.

It starts with naming an interim leader. James Aylward, who ran second to Lantz, desperately wants it. It’s likely Darlene Compton does as well.

Neither should be.

The interim leader should be a member of caucus who will not seek the leadership. That rules out both Aylward and Compton.

Olive Crane used interim leadership as an unfair stepping-stone to the fulltime gig and years of internal squabbling ensued. The Tories cannot let history repeat.

The party needs a new face. Former interim leader Steven Myers deserves credit for leading during a tumultuous time. But too many Islanders tune out when he rises in the legislature. He should step back and let someone else lead while continuing to focus on vital topics such as education.

To top it off the party is broke, swimming in a $400,000 sea of debt from the election. Even if Lantz had support to continue on, the party’s fiscal reality would be his demise. It cannot afford to pay $75,000 a year to a leader to watch from the public gallery.

It is unfortunate that Rob Lantz will not have the opportunity to grow. We will never know what contribution he could have made.

Between bad timing, bad luck, bad decisions and bad advice, he never stood a chance.

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

Author and artist Norie Huddle (more about her interesting life here: http://www.butterflyblessings.net/Butterfly_Blessings/Norie_Huddle.html ) writes this for today's Global Chorus essay:

<snip> "Be connected, be authentic, breathe with awareness, be flexible and open, remember that we’re all students and all teachers, find the perfection in the moment, feel and express gratitude, follow your bliss, be kind, inform yourself, grow in your capacity for love and contribution, collaborate wholeheartedly and cheerfully, create beauty." <snip> -- Nori Huddle



October 3, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Hi, everyone,

Here's another event today:

Refugee Relief Fundraiser organizational meeting, 2PM, Timothy's World Coffee. This is organized by ISCA (International Sustainable Community Association), for an event planned on October 22th. http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/News/Local/2015-10-01/article-4295810/P.E.I.-group-plans-fundraiser-to-help-refugees/1

Candidate events:


Candidate Meet and Greet, Lynne Lund (Green Party, Malpeque), 1-3PM, Bites Cafe in Hampton, 19566 TCH.

Candidate Meet and Music, Teresa Doyle (Green Party, Cardigan), 7-9PM, Train Station, Wood Islands.

Still room, I think, if you wish to attend this (contact info below):

Saturday, October 3rd:

"Three Electoral Systems: An Overview", Presentation and Workshop, 2-4:30PM, Farm Centre, University Avenue, Charlottetown. All are welcome.

Dr. Don Desserud Presents, Three Electoral Systems: An Overview. (A one-hour presentation followed by questions, discussion and planning).

Feel free to invite other supporters of PR. Please pre-register if possible: call (902) 894-4573 or email cooperinstitute@eastlink.ca


From David Suzuki's weekly article:

Volkswagen scandal is a sorry sign of the times

Published on Thursday, October 1st, 2015, on-line.

by David Suzuki and Ian Hanington


Volkswagen was caught cheating on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions tests by installing "defeat devices," which allowed its diesel vehicles to pass nitrogen oxide emissions checks but spew up to 40 times allowable pollutants once they were completed. The scandal has resulted in plummeting share prices, CEO Martin Winterkorn's resignation and up to $18 billion in fines, as well as recalls, stop-sale orders, impending lawsuits and possible criminal charges.

Beyond the betrayal and legal and financial issues, the effect on global pollution is massive. Volkswagen is the world's largest automaker by sales, and as many as 11 million of its diesel vehicles are implicated. According to the Guardian, "The rigging of emissions tests may have added nearly a million tonnes of air pollution by VW cars annually — roughly the same as the UK's combined emissions for all power stations, vehicles, industry and agriculture."

Nitrogen oxide pollution creates particulate matter that causes respiratory problems and is linked to millions of premature deaths every year worldwide. It's also a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide and so contributes to global warming.

The Volkswagen debacle is bad enough in itself, but it also raises questions about automaker practices, pollution, emissions standards and testing and the implications of our rampant car culture. Volkswagen cheated on regulations designed to protect human health and the environment, and the consequences are increased rates of asthma, lung disease, cancer and death. But it's not just diesel cars and it's not just vehicles from one company. Cars kill and harm millions of people every year, with accidents, pollution, climate change and other environmental damage. And car-makers have in the past resisted safety improvements such as seatbelts and air bags.

Illegally rigging vehicles to pass emissions tests hurts everyone, but legal loopholes create similar problems. Just look at SUVs. I did a quick count of the many passing my office during the afternoon, and almost all contained a single driver — no passengers or even pets! Under emissions laws in Canada, the U.S., Japan and elsewhere, SUVs are classified as "light-duty trucks" and are subject to less strict emissions standards than cars. Yet, most people treat them the same as cars.

This creates incentives for manufacturers to produce more heavy vehicles or even to design cars as trucks, such as Chrysler's PT Cruiser. According to the Economist, "As vehicles above 3.8 tonnes were long exempted from the American regulation, manufacturers started producing enormous vehicles such as the Hummer to avoid any fuel-economy rules."

Even with fuel-efficiency improvements, vehicle emissions have more than doubled since 1970 and will increase as demand rises in countries like China, India and Brazil, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Studies show that because fuel efficiency makes it less expensive to drive, people drive more. Clearly, we need better solutions.

It's easy to say it starts with individuals. We can all find ways to reduce private automobile use. But individuals aren't entirely to blame for our fossil-fuelled lifestyles. Incentives, regulations, policies and infrastructure are needed to create the necessary shift away from reliance on wasteful, inefficient transportation and fuel options.

We've seen many positive developments in recent years. In my hometown, Vancouver, and many other cities, car-sharing programs and cycling and pedestrian infrastructure are expanding rapidly. Hybrid and electric vehicle technologies are making great inroads. Recognition of the need for efficient public transit is also spreading around the world. And fuel taxes and carbon pricing have been proven effective at reducing reliance on private automobiles.

Taxing fossil fuel consumption may be more efficient than emissions standards because, as the Economist points out, fuel taxes encourage people, especially those who drive a lot, to buy more efficient cars and to drive less. And, "A fuel tax does not rely on dubious testing nor does it create distortive loopholes." Revenue from taxes can be invested in cleaner transportation alternatives or, as with B.C.'s carbon tax, used to reduce income taxes or provide rebates to people with lower incomes.

It's outrageous that a car manufacturer like Volkswagen would stoop to devious practices to get around laws designed to benefit all people, but in our car-driven culture, it's not entirely surprising — just another signal that it's time to rethink the way we move ourselves around.

Ryan Vandecasteye, fimmaker and co-creator of The Pipedreams Project, http://www.thepipedreamsproject.org/ about empowering communities against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, writes for today's Global Chorus:

<snip> "Every day I’m inspired and given hope by storiesof groups of people all around the world standing up and demanding to be heard, telling us that business as usual is unacceptable, and taking affirmative action to affect real change.

"I found myself being a part of one of these kinds of stories of standing up for change, as two colleagues and I set out to kayak the length of the British Columbian coastline to connect and engage citizens with the risks posed by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline."<snip> -- Ryan Vandecasteyen

October 2, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some events coming up:


The 8th Annual Gene MacLellan concert in Bonshaw, 7PM, Bonshaw Hall, TCH at Green Road, proceeds for the Bonshaw Hall Co-operative. Performers include Scott Parsons, Paul Broadbent, Spencer Soloduka, Al Tuck, and Margie and Leona Carmichael, and more. Check if tickets are still available: 675-4134 or 675-3649.

Candidate events:


Candidate Meet and Greet, Lynne Lund (Green Party, Malpeque), 1-3PM, Bites Cafe in Hampton, 19566 TCH.

Candidate Meet and Music, Teresa Doyle (Green Party, Cardigan), 7-9PM, Train Station, Wood Islands.



Candidate Dancing Party, Joe Byrne (NDP, Charlottetown), 3-5PM, Rodd Charlottetown, 75 Kent St.


(I will print those that I hear about, so forward any you hear of, please.)

Saturday, October 3rd:

"Three Electoral Systems: An Overview", Presentation and Workshop, 2-4:30PM, Farm Centre, University Avenue, Charlottetown. All are welcome, but please pre-register (info below).

Dr. Don Desserud Presents, Three Electoral Systems: An Overview. (A one-hour presentation followed by questions, discussion and planning).

Feel free to invite other supporters of PR. Please pre-register: call (902) 894-4573 or email cooperinstitute@eastlink.ca


Sunday, October 4th:

Farm Day in the City, 11AM-5PM, Queen Street, from Grafton to Dorchester, and Victoria Row, free but items for sale.

<snip> join farmers, producers, artisans and crafters from across Prince Edward Island for the largest outdoor market of the year....local music, a petting zoo, face painting, balloon twisting, etc.


Last night's Cardigan Riding Forum on the Environment, which included all five candidates, was interesting and succinct, with many thanks to moderator Ian Petrie. Another full room, and interesting questions. Some thoughts and synopses upcoming.

The last one will be next Thursday, October 8th, for Egmont, at the Linkletter Community Centre.

And Next Saturday, October 10th:

Plan B "Plantiversary", 2-4PM, Camp Vision site, Peter's Road at TCH, Churchill, all welcome.

Come help us restore a little bit of Acadian Forest on the private land near what was bulldozed to make way for Plan B, as a thank-you to the wonderful person who let her land become Camp Vision for a whole year. October 12 marks the third year since Hemlock Grove was razed for the misguided highway project. Rain or shine, wear clothes for tree-planting and mulching (including gloves, sturdy footwear), bring a water bottle, and a shovel you like. If weather permits, we will have a bonfire afterwards, so bring some munchies to share.

More events:


Jennifer J. Jones, PhD, author and scientist, writes for today's Global Chorus. Here is an excerpt:

"When I think about our future as a species, I always look back at our history for perspective. The stone age must have seemed like all there was for a while, and then the bronze age too. And at times, the fossil fuel age we are in feels so entrenched that it is something we cannot change, but of course, it will pass, as all other ages have. Our future will shine with the realization of the promises of solar and wind generated energy; that future is blossoming even now. Alternatives to coal, oil and gas are all around us above ground and will sustain our needs with clean renewable energy. Our future is as bright as the sun." <snip> --Jennifer J. Brown

October 1, 2015

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Island Morning Radio has the Charlottetown Riding candidates in the studio this hour.


Tonight is the Cardigan Riding's Forum on the Environment, 7PM, Red's Corner and Poole's Corner. All five candidates (NDP Billy Cann, Green Teresa Doyle, Liberal Lawrence MacAulay, Conservative Julius Patkai, Christian Heritage Party Christene Steeves) have confirmed they are coming (Mr. Patkai just yesterday). The format will be about the same (see below) and the moderator will be former CBC journalist Ian Petrie. It should be a very good forum, and all are welcome.

These environmental forums are based on one held in the 2011 federal election in the Charlottetown Riding. A group starting with the Environmental Coalition of PEI (ECOPEI), The Natural History Society, watershed groups and others had the idea and organized one. For the provincial election this spring, the group had happily grown to about twenty groups including Blue Dot PEI (The Right to a Healthy Environment), Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I., Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water, Don't Frack PEI, Pesticide Free PEI and Save Our Seas and Shores PEI in addition to groups from the first round in 2011. (The April 2015 forum was for the provincial party leaders, was very well attended.)

Groups submitted questions, and twelve questions were finally settled. Dates were chosen, candidates invited, and the questions were sent at least a week before the forum.

The last Riding, Egmont, will be a week from tonight in Summerside. I am boxing up notes to highlight the points and differences of each forum I can get to, but it's taking a little time. :-)

Rob Sisson, president of a group of conservatives and American Republicans called ConservAmerica "who care about environmental protection", writes for today's Global Chorus, and here is an excerpt:

<snip>"My political party is the keystone – currently the missing piece in building the national will to tackle these problems. I’m confident that the Republican Party will soon rediscover its great conservation legacy. The demographic landscape in America will force the party to adapt."<snip> -- Rob Sisson

Let's end with this:

Today is former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's 91st birthday. If you feel inclined to sent him good wishes, they can be addressed to <info@cartercenter.org> There is a Facebook page, too. https://www.facebook.com/Honoring-Jimmy-Carter-860317120712234/timeline/