September 2017

September 30, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Yesterday was the final day to purchase purchase Progressive Conservative of P.E.I. memberships, to be eligible to vote in the October leadership race.

Brad Trivers is in Montague today from 8-9AM at the Tim Horton's.

There is the final leadership debate between Trivers and James Aylward on Wednesday, 7PM, at the Rodd's in Brudenell.


Monday, October 2nd, 7PM, The Guild, Admission by donation:

Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World, a film and short discussion by Silver Donald Cameron.

This should be a lovely film to watch, and the last stop on Silver Donald's Maritime tour. He is being interviewed on Island Morning Monday morning in the 8AM hour, I think. More information:


Dr. James P. Bruce is former assistant deputy minister of Environment Canada and senior officer of World Meteorological Organization in Geneva. He writes the essay for the September 30th Global Chorus.

At times, it is difficult not to despair about the future. Current economic and political practices which focus on the short term – a business quarter or a four-year term – ignore future impacts on humans, other species and the environment.

The implications for climate change are most evident. Digging up or pumping out the last drops or chunks of fossil fuels and burning them in gas-guzzling vehicles and inefficient power plants has already begun to leave a legacy. With more water vapour in the warming atmosphere, storms, floods and droughts are causing much suffering and economic damage. But we are seeing only the beginning of this terrible trend.

That is only one of the environmental problems that the present economic practices encourage. Another is the growing concentration of harmful chemicals in our air and water. Some 23,000 of the 80,000 to 100,000 distinct chemical compounds in North American commerce have been identified as chemicals of concern (Health and Environment Canada, 2006). But the endocrine disrupters, pharmaceuticals and many other potentially harmful substances are not removed at sewage treatment plants or in air pollution controls. Governments rarely regulate, and choose supporting short-term profits over their responsibilities to protect health and our common environmental heritage.

Is there any cause for hope? As climate change, chemical pollutant effects and species extinctions become more evident and severe in coming decades, the public will place increasing value on health and on protecting remaining ecosystems. Voters must elect different kinds of politicians, those with concerns for the “Public Trust,” and we all must expect more responsible actions by corporations. If we learn well from First Nations’ teachings, we will all care more about future generations, and the world our grandchildren and their grandchildren will inherit.

Jim Bruce

September 29, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Standing Committee meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries is this morning, 10AM.

It is in camera, meaning private, so there won't be any video or any public minutes, I believe. I hope the media does ask what was talked about.

Two thoughtful pieces, from different generations:

David Suzuki, from his blog, today:

Environmentalism is a way of being, not a discipline - by David Suzuki

I’m often introduced as an environmentalist. I prefer to be called a father, grandfather, scientist or author, as these terms provide insight into my motivation. Environmentalism isn’t a discipline or specialty like law, medicine, plumbing, music or art. It’s a way of seeing our place in the world and recognizing that our survival, health and happiness are inextricably dependent on nature. To confront today’s environmental crises, everyone — garage mechanics, construction workers, dentists, politicians and judges — has to see the world through an environmental lens.

I recently attended an event with a panel of outstanding athletes and artists who had become activists on various environmental issues. The moderator asked what role awe had played in their commitment. Their answers revealed how inspiring it is to experience that sense of awe in the face of nature’s beauty.

I couldn’t help thinking that two more words should have been added to the discussion: humility and gratitude. As the panel grappled with the issue of ecological degradation, the idea emerged that all we need is to be more aware so we can use science and technology to solve the crises.

We’re clever animals — so smart that we think we’re in command. We forget that our inventions have created many crises. Atomic bombs represented an incredible scientific and technological achievement, releasing the power within atoms. But when the U.S. dropped them on Japan in 1945, scientists didn’t know about radioactive fallout, electromagnetic pulses or the potential for nuclear winter. Those were discovered after we used the weapons.

Swiss chemist Paul Mueller won a Nobel Prize in 1948 for his discovery that DDT was a potent insecticide. Many years after the compound was put into widespread use, biologists discovered a previously unknown phenomenon: biomagnification up the food chain.

When people started using chlorofluorocarbons, no one knew they would persist in the environment and float into the upper atmosphere where the sun’s ultraviolet rays would cleave away chlorine-free radicals. As a geneticist, I only learned about the protective ozone layer when other scientists reported that chlorine from CFCs was breaking it down.

Our knowledge of the biological, chemical and physical components of the biosphere and their interconnections and interactions is too limited to enable us to anticipate the consequences of our inventions and intrusions. Nevertheless, we look to our creativity to lead us to a better world with nanotechnology, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, geoengineering and space travel.

What we need is humility. Clever as we are, nature is far more creative. Over 3.8 billion years, every species has had to evolve ways to find food, water and energy, and to dispose of wastes, find mates, reproduce, avoid predators and fend off parasites and infections. Nature offers myriad solutions that we have yet to discover. If we had the humility to learn from nature, using an approach called “biomimicry,” we would find far more and better solutions.

The Canadian Cancer Society recently reported that half our population will develop cancer. This isn’t normal, but it shouldn’t surprise us. After all, we have synthesized hundreds of thousands of new molecules that have never existed on Earth. Most have never been tested for their biological effects and tens of thousands are now used in products and enter our waste stream.

When we dump this vast assortment of new molecules into air, water and soil, we can’t anticipate how they might interact within living organisms or what their long-term consequences might be. Throwing more money into cancer treatment and research will not alone stem the disease. To arrest the cancer crisis (and it is a crisis), we must stop using the biosphere as a garbage can or sewer for these new molecules.

Along with humility, we should be grateful for nature’s generosity, something I’ve learned from Indigenous peoples. They acknowledge the source of their well-being, clean air, clean water, clean food and clean energy — all things that are created, cleansed or replenished by the web of life around us. In the urbanized industrial world we inhabit, we tend to think the economy is the source of all that matters to us, and so we have little regard for what we’re doing to the natural systems that sustain us. It’s time to see with new eyes.

By David Suzuki. David Suzuki’s latest book is Just Cool It!: The Climate Crisis and What We Can Do (Greystone Books), co-written with Ian Hanington.


Adria Vasil in an environmental journalist, columnist, author of the bestselling Ecoholic book series

We don’t need a foggy crystal ball to see the world screeching toward the brink of catastrophe – the early fruits of short-term thinking are popping up everywhere. They’re showing up in the persistent toxins in umbilical cords, in the growing rates of mysterious cancers and disease, in vanishing forests and species, in the droughts, floods, fires and storms stirring up with increasing fervour around the globe. The heavy truth is, there are hidden ramifications behind each of our daily actions, choices big and small, on water, wildlife, workers, climate – and the very people that use this stuff – us. Today my job involves flagging those impacts. The only thing that keeps me from throwing in the towel in total paralysis is knowing this: every positive action sparks an even greater positive reaction. My mother told me when I was young that the globe is essentially a giant domino board – that we can actually transform the world by focusing on changing our little corners of it, setting into motion the forces for transformation from person to person to person.

Okay sure, as a collective, we’ve been putting the Earth’s five a.m. wake-up calls on snooze for a while now, but have no doubt, the Earth will keep smacking us upside the head until we all get with the program.

In my personal crystal ball, I see an emerging world where our throw-away, single-use culture of built-in obsolescence is a thing of the past, everything is recycled in a closed loop in perpetuity. We get our energy from sewage, rotting food and all sorts of surprising sources now going to waste. And green chemistry ensures everything we make, buy and use is as safe as water and mimics Nature’s patterns. I believe, ultimately, that we’ll realign with the ecosystem we depend on once we realize that the only way to save our own behinds from Nature’s wrath is to reconnect and get in tune with Nature’s brilliance. Thankfully, millions of souls – scientists, researchers, engineers, farmers, teachers, business folk, moms, dads, are already doing just that.

So, chin up, listen to mom and keep working on your little corner – it holds the key to transforming the entire globe.

— Adria Vasil

September 28, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

An event Sunday that Island activist Mary Boyd has asked me to share:

Sunday, October 1st:

Development and Peace's 50th Anniversary Concert, 7PM, Our Lady of Assumption Parish Hall, 151 Stratford Road, Stratford. Various performers. Admission by donation.

Monday, October 2nd:

Film: "Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World", 7PM, The Guild, admission by donation. Silver Donald Cameron has been steadfastly working on this project for while -- it will be great to see the results of this work.


The Province sent out two announcements of note yesterday, one giddy with the news that the population on the Island surpassed 150,000 people, and the other that the draft Climate Change Adaption Strategy was completed. Press release

There are three public meetings on three consecutive days and then comments are due the very next day, which seems a little compressed.

Public meetings:

Charlottetown: Tuesday, October 17th, 5PM, UPEI Andrews Hall Room 142

Summerside: Wednesday, October 18th, 7PM, S'side Community Church

Montague: Thursday, October 19th, 7PM, Riverhouse Inn.

Comments due Friday, October 1st.

The draft report and a draft summary are in links (in a blue-shaded box) halfway down the page here:


Author (and biologist) Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, among others) was on CBC Radio's The Current Wednesday to talk about her books, and about climate change, and why it is so hard for people to really acknowledge it and act accordingly. Definitely worthy of the 23 minutes, when you have a chance to listen.

One thing that stuck with me: we all need the courage, the will, and the humanity to act on climate change.


I'll try to keep in mind about climate change and the courage, will and the humanity to encourage others to act effectively as I attend the "Climate Change and the Human Prospect -- Empowering our Climate Future for Rural Communities" conference in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, today until Sunday. More details on the event here.

(The internet may be a bit spotty, so Citizens' Alliance News might be spotty, too, for the next couple of days.)


Cam Mather, author of Thriving During Challenging Times: The Energy, Food and Financial Independence Handbook, writes the Global Chorus essay for today.

I have been involved in the environmental movement for 30 years and there has never been more evidence than is available today that we are on the cusp of a human-caused environmental calamity. However, what I have learned from living off the electricity grid for the last 15 years is that there are solutions and that you can enjoy a comfortable life while contributing a minimal amount of carbon to the atmosphere.

It all comes down to one simple solution – putting a price on a carbon. Since we know that carbon dioxide is the main driver of climate change, by putting a price on it we can encourage individuals to make smarter choices for how they heat and power their lives. Many of us are used to paying for each bag of trash we send to the landfill, and this is no different.

Technologies do exist to live carbon free. What’s missing is the incentive for people to do so. Once carbon is priced properly I believe the marketplace will provide even more ingenious solutions to help people save money while reducing their carbon footprint.

All that’s missing today is the political fortitude to do the right thing. What can the average citizen do in the meantime? Live your life as if carbon was extremely expensive and vote Green to send the message to the governing party that the time has come to take tough action on the most important political issue.

The fate of humanity depends on it.

— Cam Mather

September 27, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Public Accounts Standing Committee meeting, 10AM, Coles Building. All welcome.

"The committee will continue its review of the Report of the Auditor General to the Legislative Assembly, dated March 10, 2017.

Auditor General B. Jane MacAdam will be in attendance."

You can attend in person or watch on-line:



Lecture: Transformational Leadership in the Public Sector: How to lead change in mental health and addictions, education, and other public service programs, 7PM, with Todd Leader, psychologist and transformational leaders. UPEI, McDougall (Business Building), room 242. Free.


This letter to the editor was published in The Journal-Pioneer recently and reprinted originally on the Facebook group VisionPEI, yesterday:

Letter to the editor of the Journal-Pioneer from John Clow.

John is the son of a commercial fisherman. He is a sport fisherman, lifelong witness to watershed destruction and a passionate advocate for the environment.-- note from VisionPEI

Editor: Whenever the local media reports on a fish kill there always seems to be a part of the story that is missing, especially in follow up stories. That missing part of the story is one of the 5 W’s of journalism, what.

What is causing trout and other fish in our rivers and streams to die off year after year? The answer to that, in my opinion, is two fold (1) the continuing poor stewardship of the land that is still being practiced by some farmers (2) pesticides. According to the provincial government's own web site, there has been 58 documented fish kills on PEI since 1962. On their web site every fish kill has three columns: date of fish kill. name of river involved, and the name of the pesticide that is believed to be the probable cause of the fish kill.

Since the July 2002 fish kill in North River, the one chemical that has been listed as the probable cause in every fish kill is chlorothalonil, a pesticide that is found on just about every potato field on PEI. Due to restrictions on letters to the editor, I’m not even going to try and list all the information available on chlorothalonil but here are some of the highlights according to Wikipedia

(1) chlorothalonil is found to be an important factor in the decline of the honey bee population by making them more vulnerable to the gut parasite Nosema cerance,

(2) chlorothalonil is highly toxic to fish and other aquatic invertebrate.

Does anyone want to make a small wager on what’s going to cause the next fish kill? What is it going to take before this provincial government gets off its collective asses and starts looking out for our rivers and streams, instead of allowing “Big Potato” to poison them time and time again? If things keep going the way they are. I can see myself driving to NB in the not too distance future to fish for trout.

John E. Clow,



At the leadership candidates' forum last night, Brad Trivers did bring up improving the practice of agriculture by flexibility with things like buffer zones, and government helping farmers to improve practices. Nothing too transformational, though.


Brenna Davis is an environmental scientist, the sustainability director of the Seattle, Washington Virginia Mason Medical Center. She wrote the Global Chorus essay that is set for today's date. Here is four minutes of a talk she gave last year to Climate Solutions, from YouTube.

I have an unshakable hope that the Earth will be renewed. My hope lies in the mind and heart of humanity – in the heights of our innovation, and in the depths of our compassion.

Human beings have a passion for innovation. One of the biggest watershed moments in modern history was the invention of the combustion engine, which birthed the industrial revolution. From the development of metallurgy, to the mastery of physics, the creation of the engine required millennia of innovation. An engine is an exquisite example of our ability to innovate, despite the unintended consequences of climate change. Our generation is beginning to apply the same innovative spirit that created the engine to environmental innovation. We are finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint, eliminating toxins from manufacturing and expanding use of renewable energy. We are in an era of astounding environmental innovation across the globe.

Human beings are being called to environmental innovation because of compassion for future generations. We know that we are already experiencing climate change that impacts people worldwide. Even if we stop all emissions today, scientists found that the climate wouldn’t return to a state of stasis for at least a century. This scientific finding rings in an era of intergenerational environmental justice. It calls the entire world to unprecedented levels of compassion for human beings whom we will never meet. Compassion for people of the future may seem like a tall order, but compassion has an amazing quality – when we develop compassion for ourselves, we develop compassion for others. It stands to reason, then, that our most important work is to develop compassion for ourselves. When we do, our compassion will overflow into our relationship with the world, including protecting the Earth for those yet to be born. When our hearts and minds merge, each human being has the innate ability to compassionately innovate for the good of all. This is how the Earth will be renewed for the well-being of future generations. As the Hopi elders generously and wisely stated, we are the ones we have been waiting for.

— Brenna Davis

September 26, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


PC Leadership Forum, 7PM, Murphy Community Centre. All welcome.

Tonight is the Charlottetown venue for the third of four Progressive Conservative leadership candidates' forums, with James Aylward and Brad Trivers.

This morning, Brad Trivers will be at the Stratford Tim Horton's on 1 Jubilee Road, from 8-9AM.

Wednesday, September 27th:

Transformational Leadership in the Public Sector lecture, with Todd Leader, 7PM, UPEI, Business Building (McDougall Hall), auditorium room 242. Free.

Friday, September 29th:

Deadline to purchase Provincial PC Party membership.


This has nothing to do with democratic renewal and a bit of a stretch for environmental issues, but in the wake of all the devastation that has happened to Puerto Rico, here is a tiny bit of good news -- a report on how the iconic radio telescope at Aericibo has fared, written by National Geographic writer Nadia Drake. There is some damage, the local people and staff are OK, and the facility has served as a shelter during other hurricanes.

(The writer is the daughter of amazing Frank Drake, who decades ago proposed the formula to estimate the number of intelligent civilizations in the universe. )

Of the equation, astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan (in the mid- to late-twentieth century) speculated that "all of the terms, except for the lifetime of a civilization, are relatively high and the determining factor in whether there are large or small numbers of civilizations in the universe is the civilization lifetime, or in other words, the ability of technological civilizations to avoid self-destruction. In Sagan's case, the Drake equation was a strong motivating factor for his interest in environmental issues and his efforts to warn against the dangers of nuclear warfare."-- Drake Equation entry from Wikipedia

Here we go again.

And let's help the people in Puerto Rico, too.


Seth Godin is the author of The Icarus Deception, and writes today's Global Chorus essay.

We’re all going to die.

Of course we are. Everyone does.

Not only that, but it’s far too late, and the politics are too entrenched to imagine that we’ll be able to maintain the status quo as we know it. The ice caps are going to melt, temperatures are going to rise and our lives (and more importantly, the lives of our grandchildren) are going to be dramatically different.

So, does that mean we should give up? Does that mean we should heedlessly burn and destroy and consume, acting as if everything is just fine?

I hope not.

No, this isn’t a problem to be fixed the way pottery can be mended or a skinned knee can heal. This is the new normal. But even with that acknowledgement, we must work ceaselessly because we know that all of our efforts will make a difference: they will contribute to ameliorating the problem we caused in the first place.

And mostly, it’s a problem to be fixed because humans don’t give up. We don’t shrug our shoulders, avert our eyes and just watch our offspring live a life that’s not nearly what it could be. It’s our nature to fight, to improve and to innovate.

I guess I’m asking you to stop looking for the certain solution, stop hoping for the perfect hope, and instead embrace what we’ve got, which is the task at hand, which is the effort to make a difference. Because it matters.

Seth Godin

September 25, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A week from today:

Monday, October 2nd, 7PM, The Guild, admission by donation:

is the Charlottetown screening of Silver Donald Cameron's film, Green Rights:

Clean air, clean water, and healthy food. These are basic necessities of life. They’re things that all of us should have access to—and in fact, they’re things that citizens of 180 nations around the world are legally entitled to. But Canada is not on that list.

Environmentalist and author, Silver Donald Cameron was surprised to learn that Canadians don’t have these environmental rights. It’s what led him to create his documentary, Green Rights, which will be shared across the Maritimes in a screening tour this fall, sponsored by Atlantic Credit Unions.

That excerpt is from the Credit Unions' link (below), which includes a video of an interview with Silver Donald:

from the poster for the film, Green Rights, coming to P.E.I. next week.

Blue Dot PEI and Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I. are the local hosts of the visit.


Stéphane Dion, currently Canadian Ambassador to Germany, was former leader of the Liberal Party, and before that the Minister of the Environment under Paul Martin, wrote this essay used on September 25th entry of the anthology Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet.

Despite empirical evidence and science’s warnings regarding the ever-increasing deterioration of our natural environment, unsustainable economic activity, political wrangling, self-serving practices and just plain negligence keep trumping environmental imperatives.

Most political leaders care about this tragedy. But concretely, they are not accountable to the planet; they are accountable to their jurisdiction. That’s why, most of the time, local trumps global, and short term prevails over long term.

Now, assume that we change the rules of the game. Imagine a world where each decision maker, public or private, has to pay the real cost of pollution and where we all know that our partners and competitors have to pay for this cost as well. In such a world, political rulers would still think of their own jurisdiction’s welfare first but their decisions would be more mindful of the global commons.

Putting a price on pollution: this is what the overwhelming majority of economists, scientists and environmentalists – and a few foolhardy politicians – have been urging us to do for years. This applies notably to the climate change crisis.

The current UN climate negotiations are stalled; that is the inescapable conclusion of a cool, lucid mind. So let’s redirect these negotiations towards achieving a universal harmonized carbon price.

We need a world where pollution is no longer cost-free. We need to switch from self-destructive development to sustainable development. Action on this survival necessity and moral imperative is long overdue; it will require individual commitment, business support and political will.

-- Stéphane Dion

September 24, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Events today:

Downtown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, lower Queen Street. This is the last one of the season.

2017 Organic Harvest Picnic, 4-7PM, Farm Centre, tickets limited and required. More information here.

Bonshaw Ceilidh,7-9PM, Bonshaw Hall, TCH at Green Road. A variety of entertainment, homemade lunch, and proceeds this month going to the McKillop Centre for Social Justice.

Facebook event details.

Tuesday, September 26th:

PC Leadership Forum, 7PM, Murphy Centre, all welcome. Brad Trivers and James Aylward will answer questions at this third of four public forums.

Wednesday, September 27th:

Lecture: Transformational Leadership in the Public Sector: How to lead change in mental health and addictions, education, and other public service programs, 7PM, with Todd Leader, psychologist and transformational leaders. UPEI, Business Building room 242.

I am copying this from Sarah Stewart-Clark's post in the "HowManyWade" group, which I do not think she would mind my sharing:

So we've all been searching for answers on how to create a better mental healthcare and addictions system on PEI. Todd Leader has the solution. And he put it into action along the South Shore of NS- and it works. And he wrote a really easy to read book describing how to do it. I've read the book from cover to cover and believe its the answer we've been looking for.

Even more exciting? Todd is coming to PEI to share his experience in a free public presentation on September 27th hosted by UPEI. If you are a community leader, if you are an educator or healthcare professional or a public servant, or a politician or a member of our community that has been searching for a better system then please make sure you're at the public presentation. I promise you will not be disappointed.

I'd also urge everyone interested in creating a better mental healthcare system to read Todd Leader's book. “It’s Not About Us; The Secret to Transforming the Mental Health and Addiction System in Canada”.

This book describes the kind of mental health and addiction system we all want. It describes a system that is designed specifically around the needs of the public, and of each person, instead of around the needs of the system itself. It even includes recommendations for advocates like us, about how to advocate for this kind of system.

The book (paperback or e-book) can be purchased at any of the following places:

• Chapters/Indigo (online or order through your local store)…/it…/9780993817335-item.html

• Amazon…

• Itunes (for e-book for apple/mac)

• Smashwords

• A PERSONALLY SIGNED copy can be ordered directly from the author at his own website

This book is the guide for the kind of services we want. Let’s learn about it and start asking for it. This book gave me hope.

--Sarah Stewart-Clark


The P.E.I. Government has quietly produced a group of Facebook pages with catchy titles like "PEI Family", PEI Seniors", etc., with lots of gorgeous photos and announcements of government announcements.

As one observant member of my household said:

"The lighter end of government propaganda."

an example:


The September 24th Global Chorus essay is written by Céline Cousteau, a multimedia documentarian, an environmental advocate, and founder/director of CauseCentric Productions. She is a granddaughter of oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau. Her website is:

Hope serves as a driving force for positive change. This hope inspires us to look to our future and take the necessary steps to ameliorate our lives.

When we talk about protecting our planet it is not just for the sake of the environment, it is for own livelihood as well – for the health of this planet is our own health (lest we feel we can survive on oil, cement, pollution and dwindling natural resources).

But much like a marathon, we should be ready to work, train and believe in our ability to reach our goals. It is in part hope that creates the conviction needed to endure the challenge.

By shifting our thinking, and believing in a global community with a common stake in the future of our species, we can and will make positive socio-environmental change happen. In fact, we have no other choice – our human potential to survive relies on a shift in consciousness and our unified action.

I have hope that we can make that shift happen and that we can act more like a tribe; a community with a common future. We need to believe in this, else we lower our arms in defeat, and that is not an option.

— Céline Cousteau

September 23, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' Markets are open today, as a huge variety of produce is ready for harvest.

There are several "Fall Flavours" events going on this weekend, too.


While the actual voting for the Progressive Conservative leadership won't be until next month, memberships must be bought by Friday, September 29th, so the candidates are out this weekend especially communicating with potential new voters.

James Aylward from 10AM-2PM is in Summerside at the Loyalist Inn.

Brad Trivers from:

  • 8-9AM is at the Charlottetown downtown Starbucks for a meet-and-greet.

  • 10AM-1PM has a membership drive in Georgetown (contact Jamie at (902) 218-1701 for specifics), and

  • 12noon-4PM, a membership drive at his campaign office east of Hunter River on Rte 2 (#19137) (obviously not in both places at one, but campaign members), and from

  • 6-9PM at the Eagle's Nest in North Rustico, 7208 Rustico Road.


This is an informative and devastating report from Stephen Lewis about his recent travels to Nunavit, and the situation regarding tuberculosis.

From the website "AIDS-Free World"

Press Statement by Stephen Lewis, co-director, on TB in Nunavit,

published on Saturday, September 9th, 2017

an excerpt:

It was a riveting, memorable experience, not just because it was our first visit to the High Arctic, not just because of the astonishing beauty of the unfolding landscape, not just because the entire Inuit community was uniformly generous and welcoming, but because we were exposed to issues for which we were entirely unprepared.


David Holmgren is "co-originator of the Permaculture design system for sustainable living and land use", and an ecological builder, farmer, and author. His website is here.


Organized international responses (between nation states) to the current global environmental and social crises are unlikely to be effective or in time, and are more likely to worsen the crises because they will all be designed to maintain growth of the corporation dominated global economy and protect the power of nation states.

Despite the pain and suffering from the ongoing, and likely permanent, contraction of many economies, the explosion of informal household and community economies have the potential to ameliorate the worst impacts of the crises by rebuilding lost local resilience.

I believe the diversity of integrated design strategies and techniques associated with concepts such as Permaculture will be most effective at building household and community economies as the global economy unravels. The diversity of these strategies and techniques promises that at least some will provide pathways for longer-term survival of humanity while the adverse impacts of some strategies will tend to be more local and limited allowing natural systems (especially at the global scale) to stabilize. Because the future will be more local than global, the critical path is the ongoing development and refinement of effective local designs, while the Internet and other aspects of the failing global systems still have huge potential to allow the viral spread of the most effective and widely applicable designs.

Systems ecology and indigenous wisdom both suggest that in a world of limited resources, the ethics of “care of the Earth,” “care of people” and “fair share” will prove more advantageous to local survival than those based on greed and fear, that have been so powerful during a century of unprecedented abundance. To put it crudely, hungry dogs hunt co-operatively and share the results, but given an abundance of food, they fight each other for the spoils.

I have great hope that the diverse local cultures that emerge from the ruins of industrial modernity will be based on these ethics and informed by design principles found in nature. The uncertainty is how much more pain and despoiling are yet to unfold before fear and greed prove maladapted to a world of limits.

— David Holmgren

September 22, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Many things going on this weekend:

Tonight, Friday, September 22nd:

Roving Feast, a celebration of local food and Island chefs, 7PM, Rodd Charlottetown. Tickets needed. More information on the website, here.

Highlighting Fall Flavours is the Taste Our Island – Roving Feast. Taste, rove, mingle and dine with eight culinary chefs who have been nominated for the prestigious Taste Our Island Award based on the outstanding quality of their cuisine and use of local products. We will have eight of the best chefs on PEI all gathered in one room at the Charlottetown Hotel .

Saturday, September 23rd:

Tree planting at Upton Farmlands Confederation Forest with Macphail Woods friends, 10AM-1PM. All welcome.

Backyard Farming Fair, 1-4PM, Clarence Farm Services feed store in Hunter River, with several local small farmers to talk about various backyard endeavors you can undertake. Free, with items to purchase available.

Facebook event details.

Sunday, September 24th:

Organic Harvest Picnic, 4-7PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, tickets needed.

Facebook event details


Citizens' Alliance Board member Carol Carragher wears other hats, including working to save the Blockhouse Lighthouse near Rocky Point, on the Cumberland peninsula.

She is interviewed on Island Morning on CBC Radio this morning.


Provincial Progressive Conservative Leadership candidates:

Brad Trivers is at the Boxcar Lounge in Emerald, 6-9PM.

James Aylward and Trivers will be debating on Tuesday, September 26th, 7PM, Holland College in Charlottetown.

The deadline to purchase Party memberships in Friday, September 29th.


Ian Willms is part of the Boreal Collective and wrote this essay a few years ago for the September 22nd Global Chorus. Here is his page from the Boreal Collective website, which includes many fantastic photographs. From the description of the Boreal Collective:

Founded in Toronto in 2010, Boreal Collective's photographers are united by a desire to document humanity and its intricate realities in our rapidly evolving world. From photojournalism to contemporary photography, each member’s individual practice is as diverse as their cultural and social backgrounds. It is the interplay between them that allows Boreal to carry out far-reaching projects that inspire greater creative and social consciousness. from:

The idea that we need to “save the planet” is entirely ridiculous. The Earth doesn’t need us for anything. From formation of its molten core to its multiple ice ages and numerous extinction-level asteroid impacts, our planet has evolved into a nearly perfect, self-correcting system. We’ll kill ourselves long before we destroy the Earth.

I have spent the last three years photographing the indigenous communities located in the region of the Canadian oil sands. A couple centuries ago, their ancestors roamed the Athabasca region of northern Alberta, following the caribou herds and living in harmony with their environment. Today, their First Nations bands have been confined to remote reserves where their sources of food and water are so polluted that they now must cope with rising rates of cancer, miscarriages and other serious ailments. As more and more of their hunting territory is stripmined and drowned beneath with man-made lakes of toxic waste, the prospect of reviving their traditional livelihood is quickly fading away. They are the canary in the coal mine.

For the 2012–13 fiscal year, the Canadian government budgeted $9-million in tax revenue to fund an ad campaign that attempted to convince Canadians and the world of the importance of oil sands developments. The ads trumpeted words like “energy security” and “economic progress” while insisting that environmental protection was a top priority. They also reminded us that the oil sands are worth $1.7-trillion to Canada’s GDP over the next 20 years while neglecting to mention that the oil sands industry alone emits more carbon per annum than the entire nation of Turkey. The public will buy the government’s line because they’re too afraid to face a new and unknown world.

The oil sands are the reason why my country pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol and why my government continues to sabotage the international climate change debate with destructive policies and a noncommittal stance on proposed climate accords. While Canada is not solely responsible for global climate change, our actions contribute to a greater whole. We will not choose to transition to a sustainable existence until that change becomes a necessity. By that time, it will be too late to avoid major loss of human life. Extreme weather patterns have already become the norm and there are climate change refugees all over the globe. A new and unknown world is coming and we must adapt in order to survive.

Beyond simply surviving, we must live. The coming centuries will present us with an opportunity to rebuild our world while considering the hard lessons of today. The greed and inequity that has flung us into this quagmire of systemic destruction must not be carried forward. Our brilliance

as a species to create and invent needs only to be focused in the right direction for us to create something that is truly lasting and beautiful. Good luck, everyone.

— Ian Willms

September 21, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This morning:

Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment meeting, 10AM, Coles Building.

The committee will receive a briefing on the policies and procedures on property taxes in the province from Hon. Allen Roach, Minister of Finance; and Beth Gaudet, Provincial Tax Commissioner.

You can watch it on the Legislative Committee's website:


Farmers' Market Pop-Up at the Farm Centre, 4-8PM. 420 University Avenue. Quite a variety of produce and Island products.

"Research on Tap" on Climate Change, 6:30PM, at UPEI's The Wave in the Student Union Centre. The UPEI website just lists a "public presentation by Dr. Adam Fenech", though CBC Radio announced details that it is on climate change.

Brad Trivers Facebook Live, 7-8PM, on the Progressive Conservative leadership candidate's Facebook page.

Island Nature Trust Annual General Meeting, 7-9:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, 2 Kent Street. Free. More details.

Join us for our Annual General Meeting. The evening will include a recap of the last year’s activities, presentation of the Hon. J. Angus MacLean Natural Areas Award, election of new board members, and a presentation by Dr. Pierre-Yves Daoust titled “Right Whales: An Unusual Mortality Event”.


Yesterday the province announced in a brief press release that it would not appeal the arbitration decision made on the price for expropriating the land of the Hughes-Jones Centre. Ellen Jones responds and it is very much worth reading:

(The copy and paste may have messed up the formatting, so the link is here.)

Failure is feedback, there should be no trophies for ignoring the rules - The Hughes-Jones Centre blog by Ellen Jones

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017, on-line at link above.

(The blog post starts with a photo labeled "The Savage", showing a racehorse on the left biting the horse on the right mid-race.)

According to Facebook this is a picture of “The Savage”. The story posted with the picture is as follows:

The horse on the left was in the lead, the horse on the right was closing the gap and starting to pass. Instead of the horse on the left putting forth more effort into gaining and keeping the lead, he reaches over and bites the horse on the right. Meanwhile the horse on the right has his ears laid back and his eye on the prize. Moral of the story:

Never entertain foolishness. Have a purpose in life, Stay focused and never let others bring you down. Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit. There is an old saying: a champion is someone who is willing to be uncomfortable & Rock bottom has built more champions than privilege. It’s about hard work and drive. Determination to keep pushing forward when others would love to see you fail. Winning isn’t the score on the board, it’s seeing something through to the end and congratulating your opponent. If you win through bad sportsmanship there is no real victory.

The horse on the right won the race.

Well, after almost a year and a half of dealing with our provincial government (the horse on the left) did this little anecdote ever hit home.

Throughout this Cornwall Bypass project I’ve learned that our system is set up to bet on the horse on the left. There is even a movement in coaching sport which supports and fosters this attitude. You know, the one in which everyone who plays gets a ribbon?

I believe this movement of “trophies for everyone” regardless of how they played or whether they won or lost the race – to be a damaging and destructive practice.

When we take away the feelings of winning or losing we remove the valuable learning opportunities which accompany these very normal highs and lows. The research actually proves this, kids need more opportunities to live and experience failure in safe settings.

We teach this a lot at HJC. We want our students to become resilient and find the lessons in their mistakes. At HJC, failure is not a bad word it’s simply feedback, informing students that they have to change something the next time around.

With this in mind I’m going to channel your thoughts back toward our current PEI Liberal Government.

Recently, although they won’t say it this way, they failed — significantly.

I’m not telling you this because I want to rub it in their faces, rather I see a learning opportunity for them and the rest of us which needs to be spoken aloud instead of swept under the rug.

The Minister of Transportation Infrastructure and Energy along with many other cabinet ministers and bureaucrats (the premier too) — lost in the arbitration regarding land prices in the Cornwall area. The judge threw out their contracted appraisal and basically said the job performed was not one of relevance to the issue before her.

That’s a big deal folks!

The government hired a 3rd party independent appraiser and gave him a mandate which meant we, as an expropriated party, were never going to be treated fairly. There was never any negotiation or discussion just a position government took and refused to look beyond. The more we tried to reason with them the more thet began to act like the horse on the left… This means had we not taken the initiative to seek out our own 3rd party independent appraisal with a mandate regarding expropriation — we never would have known how short sighted and unfair the situation actually was.

(need to go to link to see the excerpt) Excerpt from Madam Justice Jaqueline Matheson’s decision August 16th, 2017

We aren’t talking about this failure or loss though, not really anyway. We aren’t talking about how to avoid these pitfalls again and as far as government acknowledging their failure goes, most people think I’m crazy to even suggest it. But why is that so crazy?

That appraiser, last we heard, is still doing appraisals regarding the negotiation of land for the Cornwall bypass project.

It’s frightening to think of how many people were short changed on their land because government has become accustomed to getting the trophy at the end of the game — even though they haven’t played by the rules.

Kind of doesn’t seem right does it?

We want our children to admit when they are wrong — learn and build new skills. Yet, we never hear any real admission of failed initiatives in government, do we? There is no transparancy just spin, which means we give permission by default, allowing the same things to happen again and again. How can we hold our kids to one standard only to lower those standards for the people who run our province?

Leading by example is hard for governments — especially ones who are led by academics who believe they are the smartest person in the room. Criticism can be really difficult for those people to absorb.

“… more than 35 years of scientific investigation suggests that an overemphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings.”

~Carol S. Dweck; Scientific American: January 1, 2015

Pretty accurate description of our provincial government leaders and their attitude, don’t you agree?

If the government themselves either because of ego, conditioning or lack of knowledge are unable to admit or acknowledge their failures, they will never be able to grow and this means things in this province will never change.

And man alive friends do we ever need some change in this province!

This isn’t a one sided issue though and here’s where it gets tough. It’s on all of us to hold the government accountable for their short comings and failures.

Going through this process I can’t tell you how many people told us we were crazy to stand up because the government would never listen. We were told repeatedly we would never make an impact and we were “wasting our time”. Those people weren’t in government, they were my friends, my family, some were my neighbours all of whom were angry about what was happening to us but shared the same belief the government did; the big guy was going to win no matter what we did or what was right.

Our response was to act like the horse on the right. We doubled down in our effort and our finish line focus.

We’ve reached the finish line now and the results are clear, the bad behaviour of government did not net them the results they were after. Rumour has it that many in government are none too happy they didn’t receive their trophy either…

So what’s next?

I believe it’s our job to not let the government forget their failures, we need to begin to require change.

If the PEI government doesn’t start treating people fairly and with the respect every human being is entitled to — they are going to lose (in the legal system as well as the court of public opinion) consistently and often, at the taxpayer’s expense.

There is no reward (nor should there be) for cheating people out of fair compensation for their forcibly taken hard earned home.

At best this could be a learning opportunity, at it’s worst it could be permission for the government to continue it’s poor practice.

There are more land owners who have not yet been dealt with by government for this road and there is an amazing opportunity to demonstrate through future actions that this government is capable of growth.

At HJC we tell our students all the time; growth is hard but that’s okay — because people can do hard things.

The PEI Government failed us, and that doesn’t mean they can’t be committed to doing better next time.

As Maya Angelou said:

When you know better. Do better.

There’s no mistaking that after our arbitration, we all know better.

It’s time to apply that that knowledge and begin to require government to do better for the people of this province.


Rajendra K. Pachauri was the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from 2003 until 2015. He wrote this essay a few years ago for the anthology Global Chorus.

I am optimistic that humanity can find a way past the current global crisis that we face. The challenge of climate change of course is by far the most daunting of all the complex problems that afflict planet Earth, and indeed it would take an enormous amount of determination, enlightenment and possibly lifestyle and behavioural changes to effectively meet this challenge.

The strongest basis for my optimism lies in the fact that we have today a wealth of scientific knowledge by which we can project the impacts of climate change in the future, if human society were to do nothing about this problem. At the same time, we also have knowledge by which we know that mitigation actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases can be taken in hand with very modest, and sometimes even with negative costs. Our major effort therefore should be to disseminate knowledge in a balanced and dispassionate manner, so that human society can take decisions which would help us in meeting this challenge for our benefit and for generations yet to come.

Albert Einstein was right when he said that problems cannot be solved with the level of awareness that created them. We have to use scientific knowledge which has been produced in creating widespread awareness, for in that lies the strongest basis for addressing the problems we face.

In summary, therefore, I remain optimistic, and I think we have every reason to be hopeful, even though the path ahead is not going to be without barriers, resistance and difficulties.

— Rajendra K. Pachauri

September 20, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Charlottetown Farmers' Market is open today from 9AM-2PM.


From a recent Island Farmer publication from the Paul MacNeill group of newspapers had a column by editor Andy Walker about improved participation in the 4Rs fertilizer reduction program and various groups working together on small steps to improve conventional Island agriculture.


In the same issue, Ian Petrie shows some vision for the Island's agricultural future:

A glimpse of the future - Island Farmer article by Ian Petrie

Published Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

I didn’t quite believe it at first. I was told that some PEI farmers and a recently established Slemon Park company called New Leaf Essentials, have a market selling plant protein to a business that makes dog food for vegan pet owners.

I’m resisting saying that the dogs are vegan because they’re only eating what’s put in front of them. No, it’s people who take animal welfare very seriously, want to own a dog, and know that it’s slaughter house waste that is used to boost protein levels in regular dog food. They’re determined to get this protein from plants instead, so a new and important market for PEI grown field peas.

Let’s think about this for a second. There are more and more people, usually well-heeled, who want to do much more than eat when they buy food for themselves, and now their pets. They want to express their values, and unless we’re heading into a Mad Max future (not impossible) this will be one more consideration for producers in the food chain. I think PEI farmers are well positioned to take advantage of it.

There are some obvious ones: the increasing demand for organic produce and meat, buying local. PEI’s beef industry has carved out an important niche, high quality beef from small family farms, not the giant feedlots where most North American beef comes from. It’s a quality that’s been well received as well in export markets in Asia and elsewhere. Grass-fed beef is another opportunity that’s developing.

There are other values at work. A growing group of consumers is very concerned about animal welfare. Some egg producers and dairy farmers here have rebuilt or added elements to their operations to give more comfort to chickens and cows, ways to allow livestock to lead more natural lives.

The hog industry has some catching up to do, especially with the use of crates for farrowing sows. Ranald MacFarlane has set a pretty high standard for finishing pigs with his fenced in playground. I’m convinced the muscle built up by free range pigs and fowl gives them much more flavour and texture, and a little less guilt for eating them.

So yes I’m one of those people. I think humane raising of livestock will continue to grow in importance. Some national columnists like Tom Walkom with the Toronto Star are writing about animal welfare issues regularly, and videos of inhumane treatment of livestock aren’t being quickly dismissed.

There are other trends that some struggle to understand, like the increasing demand for halal meat. It is a reflection of the increasing numbers of Asian Muslims who have immigrated to Canada. It’s a religious requirement from the Koran, and some slaughter operations on PEI, both big and small, are catering to this market.

It’s essentially a Muslim giving a short blessing, thanking God, and acknowledging that an animal is giving up its life to nourish people.There’s also a requirement that the animal is judged healthy before slaughter, and killed quickly with a knife. I like the idea of a brief sign of respect for these animals, something all good livestock producers understand. It doesn’t fit with the efficiency of the assembly line, or the consciously sterile display of meat on Styrofoam trays removing any hint that a creature was killed for our supper. Maybe it’s not a bad thing to remember.

There seems little doubt that marijuana will be part of PEI agriculture in the future. The Jewell family from York is the first to recognize this opportunity, and won’t be the last. The study of the health benefits of what are called cannabinods, the more than one hundred compounds in marijuana that don’t make you high, will pick up once it’s legal a year from now.

Pulse crops, like fava beans, lentils, and peas will beome increasingly important too. These are legumes which “fix” nitrogen from the air, and can be very beneficial in crop rotations. This brings us back to New Leaf Essentials. As with all new buyers trying to get established, the challenge will be to find the pricing sweet spot, something that allows the processor to compete in export markets, and ensures farmers make money too.

I’m convinced this will happen. Chris Chivilo, an Island native and the principal behind New Leaf, has years of experience with pulse crops in western Canada, and wants to replicate it here. This is someone who knows what he’s doing. And catering to vegan dog owners, while unusual, is a good start.


Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock of SuperSize Me fame, is interviewed last Friday on his new documentary of industrial chicken production. A very entertaining and informative 23 minutes.


Indian American journalist and educator Simran Sethi ("focused on food, sustainability and social change") writes the September 20th Global Chorus essay. Her most recent book is Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love. This is a different way of looking at this myth than what most of us know.

To the ancient Greeks, she was hope. Elpis: a spirit bearing flowers, borne out of the actions of the first woman, Pandora.

Pandora was the all-gifted one. Crafted from earth and water, she was Zeus’ punishment to mankind, retribution for Prometheus’ theft of fire. The gifted beauty let ills spring forth into what had been a perfect world.

The chaos was her doing.

At least that is what we have been told. That curiosity overwhelmed Pandora. She opened a box she had been instructed to keep closed – and evil escaped. Small winged creatures of sickness, plague and bane, calamities that could not be undone. Pandora recovered in time to capture only one spirit: Elpis.

This mythology reverberates through the challenges we face today: poverty, environmental degradation, inequality. We opened the box. The crises have taken flight. All that remains is hope.

But if hope was mingling with the evils in that box, she might be one of them – another cause of suffering. Because hope is not action, it is expectation. Like the ancient Greeks, we question if hope is worth having. We consider keeping her locked away.

Let us revisit the myth of Pandora’s box. Because what she actually opened was a vessel – pithos – not a box. Smooth and rounded, some called this vessel the womb; others, life. Pandora was our stand-in: wife, mother, householder. And tucked into her earthy vessel were spirits that would only later come to be known as maleficent. Some say the vessel was not full of evils, but necessities – the elements required to sustain a household. And Elpis was seed, bits of grain set aside for planting, the hope for abundance. Hope made manifest through action.

This was Pandora’s doing.

Perhaps it was agency – not curiosity – that compelled Pandora to open the vessel. And hope, caught under the lip of the jar, was not imprisoned. Loath to leave us, she stayed. She endured. She is with us still.

Hope is the beginning and the end, the ripe seed that holds the promise of the next planting. We prepare the ground, we nourish and we water. And then, we hope.

— Simran Sethi,

September 19, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

A reminder that tonight is the second PC leadership candidates' forum, in Bloomfield, 7PM, between Brad Trivers and James Aylward, at the Bloomfield Legion.

The PC Party will likely broadcast it on Facebook Live, here:

Thursday, September 21st:

Island Nature Trust AGM, 7PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House.

Facebook event details

Saturday, September 23rd:

Upton Farmlands Confederation Forest volunteer tree planting and maintenance day, 10AM-1PM, off Maypoint Road. Everyone welcome to "dig in." Some info about the property (and a really small and older map) here:


Our Citizens' Alliance website archives the CA News and has other information on issues, and background information:

The Facebook Group repeats the daily CA News and timely articles are posted:

Twitter is used less often but for timely or important news; often more so when the P.E.I. Legislature is in session:


Grant Lawrence

is a CBC broadcaster and musician, and wrote today's essay for Global Chorus.

I believe there is hope.

Whenever I speak with skeptics about our global social and climate crisis, I often say this: even if you don’t believe that the climate is changing, even if you think global warming is part of some giant hoax left over from the hippie era, look at it this way: pretend the planet is your yard, your property. Do you dump your garbage out of your open kitchen window onto your lawn? Do you toss out your used appliances into your front yard? Is your backyard filled with your last twenty years of computer monitors? Unless you’re from Manshiet Nasser, the answer is probably no. You pride yourself on keeping your private property neat and tidy and free of trash and garbage. You probably recycle your newspapers and your bottles and you might even compost.

If we can abide by this simple logic in our attitudes toward the Earth by applying NIMBY thinking (“not in my backyard”) to our entire planet, no matter where you stand on climate change or what your stance may be, our planet will be a better place now and for future generations.

Let’s treat the rest of the planet just like our own private property. Earth is our home. We need to clean up the mess.

— Grant Lawrence

September 18, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some events coming up soon and in the future:


Monday, September 18th:

Talk: What is Media Bias and How to Address it -- with Ian Petrie, 7PM, UPSE building at corner of Enman Crescent and University Avenue.

Trade Justice PEI invites activists from all of its member organizations and interested individuals to this discussion with Ian Petrie - ex-CBC journalist - about what constitutes media bias and how we can best address it. People involved in issues beyond Trade Justice are welcome. The evening will begin with a brief strategy session for the upcoming consultation in PEI on NAFTA renegotiation, followed by discussion with, and presentation by, Ian.

As you have no doubt noticed reporting on trade issues on PEI, particularly on radio and TV, appears to be blinkered by the narrative of the elites that trade agreements are just about tariff reduction and boosting exports....regardless of whether the benefits are distributed fairly to Islanders, regardless of environmental impacts and regardless of the ways in which modern-day trade agreements handicap our ability to respond to the important issues of our time such as economic and environmental sustainability and climate change.from:Facebook event details

Tuesday, September 19th:

Second PC Leadership Candidates' Forum, 7PM, Bloomfield Legion.

James Aylward events webpage

Brad Trivers' website

Thursday, September 21st,

Committee Communities, Land and Environment, 10AM,

"The committee will receive a briefing on the policies and procedures on property taxes in the province from Hon. Allen Roach, Minister of Finance; and Beth Gaudet, Provincial Tax Commissioner." More details:

Keep in mind:

Sunday, October 1st:

Farm Day in the City, details to follow

Monday, October 2nd:

Film: Green Rights Film Tour -- PEI Stop, 7PM, The Guild. Admission by donation.

"Air, water, food – these are the sources of life. Without them, we die. And in most nations – more than 180 nations, in fact – citizens are legally entitled to these essential elements of life. But not in Canada or the United States. This film tells great human stories from around the world – tales of passion and courage and love, stories of parents and grandparents battling on behalf of generations not yet born."

-- Silver Donald Cameron

This is Silver Donald Cameron's great work about enshrining these human rights, and this is his only PEI stop on his tour.

"See the film....and be inspired!"

All welcome.

Admission by donation. Citizens' Alliance and Blue Dot PEI are providing volunteer help for the PEI stop. Facebook event details

Tuesday, October 10th, for a talk by Maude Barlow (president emeritus of the Council of Canadians) in Charlottetown, along with others speakers, about NAFTA and water rights.

Tuesday, October 24th:

"Step up to the Plate" Fundraising dinner for the PEI Food Exchange, 5-8PM, PEI Farm Centre. Ticketed.

and it will be great to see everyone on:

Saturday, November 18th:

"Stop Plan B" Five Year Reunion, and Citizens' Alliance AGM, 7PM, PEI Farm Centre.

Facebook event details


Alastair McIntosh is a fascinating person, and he has come to P.E.I. and is wonderful to listen to. He is the author of Soil and Soul, and Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition. There is a lot of interesting reading on his jam-packed website:

And most delightedly, there is a link to a very recent TEDx Talk about "Spiritual Activism: Donald Trump and the Second Sight" - -an eclectic 20 minutes.

And he writes the September 18th Global Chorus essay.

The great question of our times is: what does it mean to be a human being? Are we just egos, on legs of meat? Here today, gone tomorrow? Obsessed with competition, consumerism and war?

Or is there more to us than that? Are we still in the early days of the unfolding of humanity? Facing the come-what-may of the come-to-pass, but on a pilgrim sojourn? Sometimes when I feel very alone, doubting and lacking perspective, I go to a still dark place and look to the stars. The last time I was home on the Isle of Lewis I went by the five-thousand-year-old Callanish standing stones. Afterwards I dropped in for a cup of tea with Calum, the minister of the village’s Free Church of Scotland.

His Calvinist theology is not quite mine, but we Quakers “seek that of God in all,” and it has been my experience to find this pastor’s pulse a beat ahead of my own.

“The old people of the island,” he said, as I broke a piece of cake, “maintained that there is only one quality in the human heart that the Devil cannot counterfeit. We call it the miann. It is a Gaelic word. It means ardent desire. The ardent desire for God.”

I do not know Calum well enough to speak for how he understood that desire. But for me, it is about a very flesh-and-blood kind of love. The ground of all that we most truly are, the essence of good things, the fabric of community and the meaning that gives meaning to meaning.

I left Callanish that day sparked by the fire of this miann. We can but ask for it inwardly. To raise our eyes. To see life’s starry connection. And who knows? To glimpse the opalescent shimmer of love’s hope.

— Alastair McIntosh

September 17, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Today is Open Farm Day, multiple locations.

Link to Open Farm Day


Friday saw the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries host Minister of Environment Robert Mitchell and the Director of Fish and Wildlife Kate MacQuarrie to answer about fishkills on PEI. The meeting was held and filmed in the legislative chamber, as the camera set-up is there. The video archive of the meeting is here.

Minister Mitchell repeated what he, like his predecessors, have repeatedly said -- Farmers want to be Good Stewards of the land. If "good stewards" were carefully defined, would they do what needed to be done to be good stewards of the land? If we acknowledge that the current little programs with catchy names like 4Rs and ALUS are just not enough, AND government offered leadership and money to farmers to totally change (letting go -- see the essay below) what they grow and how, and how they structure their fields, would they do it?

It's Open Farm Day -- people can ask those kinds of questions, today, too.


Seeing the plumes of red dust rise and drift (along the current TCH, and certainly all around the homes in the area) from the beginning of construction on the Cornwall bypass near the newest roundabout, I wonder why we don't set out to protect an equal or greater number of acres of woodlands and farmland in exchange for what is irrecoverably destroyed, as we do for wetlands.


Jan Zwicky is a Canadian poet and essayist. Here is a link to her introduction in Hard Choices: Climate Change in Canada,edited by Harold Coward and Andrew J. Weaver. She wrote the September 17th essay for the Global Chorus anthology.

This obsession with doing, with making things happen: it’s at the root of the problem. Many of us are incapable of sitting still; incapable of listening; incapable of looking and learning in silence. We can’t let the world just be itself – we always have to be fixing it, changing it, making it better, improving things. (The way I fuss over my garden!)

Have humans made progress? Let’s rephrase. Is global consumer culture an improvement on regional Paleolithic culture? Are the transnational corporations, to whom we’ve handed over control, improvements on the power structures of Paleolithic societies? As a woman who deeply appreciates the degree of personal freedom afforded me by contemporary North American culture – a degree of freedom unknown to nearly all other women who have lived and died on this planet – I find it hard to say no. But there is little doubt that, in planetary terms, no is the answer to these questions.

There is also little doubt that the planet itself is going to answer them. When it does, many of us will be up against one of the other things that humans are not very good at: letting go. There is, I believe, no hope that anything like contemporary North American society will exist on the other side of the crash. The car is already spinning out over the cliff. What is left to intelligent, moral beings in such a situation is witness. Down on our knees, then, in grief. Down on our knees in remorse if fear for our own comfort has made us refuse to listen, if we’ve allowed wealth to insulate us from the truth. Look, now, one last time.

Really look. Open your heart as wide as it will go. Then open your hands.

Jan Zwickyx

September 16, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Lots of garden produce and more at Farmers' Markets:

Bloomfield (8:30AM-noon)

O'Leary(9AM-noon), O'Leary Legion Hall

Summerside (9AM-1PM)

Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM)

New Glasgow, The Mill Restaurant parking lot (8AM-1PM)

Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)

Cardigan (10AM-2PM)

Murray Harbour (9AM-noon)


Tomorrow, Sunday, September 17th:

Open Farm Day, details here:

More details:


PC leadership candidates Brad Trivers and James Aylward are in various places in the last weekends before membership closes for their leadership race.

Brad Trivers has organized a mail-in ballot membership drive in Tignish (10AM-4PM, Tignish Legion)

James Aylward will be at the Linkletter Community Centre for a Corn Boil tomorrow evening.

The next debate is Tuesday, September 19th, in Bloomfield at the Legion (7PM).


From American journalist Dan Rather, on the Cassini spacecraft finale:

from Thursday, September 14th, 2017:

Tonight, look into the night sky and wonder at the ingenuity of humankind. For all that troubles us here on Earth, our species is not without its redeeming qualities.

There in the darkness, more than 740 million miles away, the Cassini spacecraft will soon make its curtain call - plunging into Saturn's forbidding atmosphere. Think of it less as a suicide mission than as a worthy blaze of final glory for an intrepid explorer.

Part of the reason it is necessary is so that we don't inadvertently pollute one of Saturn's moons with our own earthly microbes - which may have hitchhiked their way across the cosmos. Wish we treated our own planet with the same care.

We are indebted to the scientific minds who made this journey of discovery possible. And we are thankful for the elected officials who found this multi-billion dollar mission worthy of our national investment.

But we can all take pride and inspiration in knowing that sometimes we can think of worlds beyond our own.

Sometimes the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

CBC story on Cassini's mission


Fernand Pareau is now an 87-year-old "doyen of guides to the peaks of Chamonix" (in France), and was featured in the 2009 movie The Age of Stupid. He wrote this essay for Global Chorus.

From the time I first saw the mountain, there have been many changes. It is now much more dangerous. In recent years, there have been large rock slides, for example, particularly in the west face of the Dru [l’Aiguille du Dru of the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps]. And the glaciers are shrinking – those of Bossons and the Mer de Glace have lost up to seven metres in thickness per year. They used to descend into the valley. Now, there are two lakes at the bottom of the Mer de Glace! And this decline is everywhere. And faster and faster.

It is we who are responsible for the global warming. It is we who are pollutant.

With the ARSMB (Association pour le Respect du Site du Mont Blanc), we denounced this pollution, and have gained in the knowledge of its components. There is now a regional call to action that is unfolding here, notably with: the involvement of doctors who have reported an increase in certain diseases; changes toward more environmentally friendly heating methods within the municipalities of the Chamonix valley; car-sharing programs that are coming into effect; and an increased number and frequency of trains, in order to encourage commuters to drive less – as the train schedule of Zermatt, Switzerland, is being used as a model example, where there are trains every ten minutes and no cars.

All these measures can be extended and developed even further. But when the air is this polluted, we need even more drastic measures to be put into place. And the ultimate solution for the Chamonix valley will be its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Preservation of the area in this manner will prohibit the passage of all large transport trucks, will reduce this devastating pollution and environmental impact to the site, and will bring an incentive toward buying local and in-season fruits and vegetables.

If pollution is reduced, the air quality will improve, it will slow global warming and the melting of glaciers will stop. And if we save our mountains, we allow our children to live there! Life is in the beauty of Nature and the mountains, which must be preserved.11

— Fernand Pareau

September 15, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Standing Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries, 10AM-noon, Coles Building. "The committee will receive a briefing on fish kills from Hon. Robert Mitchell, Minister of Communities, Land and Environment; and Kate MacQuarrie, Director of Forests, Fish and Wildlife." All welcome.

Monday, September 18th:

Talk: What is Media Bias and How to Address It -- with Ian Petrie, 7-8:45PM, UPSE Building, 4 Enman Crescent. Free, sponsored by Trade Justice PEI

Trade Justice PEI invites activists from all of its member organizations and interested individuals to this discussion with Ian Petrie - ex-CBC journalist - about what constitutes media bias and how we can best address it. People involved in issues beyond Trade Justice are welcome. The evening will begin with a brief strategy session for the upcoming consultation in PEI on NAFTA renegotiation, followed by discussion with, and presentation by, Ian.

As you have no doubt noticed reporting on trade issues on PEI, particularly on radio and TV, appears to be blinkered by the narrative of the elites that trade agreements are just about tariff reduction and boosting exports....regardless of whether the benefits are distributed fairly to Islanders, regardless of environmental impacts and regardless of the ways in which modern-day trade agreements handicap our ability to respond to the important issues of our time such as economic and environmental sustainability and climate change..

from:Facebook event details


Business Insider posted an article which was a list of "the 10 Most Serious Problems in the World, According to Millennials"

[Millennials (sometimes called the even more ungainly title Generation Y) are the cohort of people following "Generation X" and grouped as having been born in the early 1980s to somewhere between mid 1990s to early 2000s.] They are often accused of "ruining" everything that the Baby Boomer generation held dear. They don't ruin everything; they have to help fix just about everything.

10) Lack of economic opportunity and employment

9) Safety/security/wellbeing

8) Lack of education

7) Food and water security

6) Government accountability and transparency / corruption

5) Religious conflicts

4) Poverty

3) Inequality (income, discrimination)

2) Large scale conflict /wars

1) Climate change /destruction of nature


I am assuming it's *Friday*, September 15th, from the government's page (the address to send e-mails to is <>):


Lennie Gallant is an Island songwriter, singer and father. He wrote the essay for the September 15th entry in the anthology Global Chorus. Here is a video of The Band's Still Playing, from New Year's Eve, 2009, outside in Halifax.

I often close my concerts with a song titled “The Band’s Still Playing,” which employs the once supposedly unsinkable Titanic as metaphor for the good ship Planet Earth. I ask the audience to become part of the ship’s orchestra, and have them jubilantly singing the horn parts, while the lyric laments the “rearranging of the deck chairs” and the band’s “crying out for our souls.” It is meant to be a sardonic piece about the perilous state of the world and our rather complacent attitude; but I feel the point of the song is often missed … perhaps it’s too subtle.

We cannot be subtle anymore. The “iceberg” in front of our ship is menacing and ready to rip our hull apart. It will take a tremendous amount of strength and will to turn the wheel and change our course before it’s too late. I believe it can be done, but it must happen now.

The old adage “it is always darkest before the dawn” may be a reality in the world today. I sense there are sparks of hope that are just waiting for the right breath of air to fan them into something far greater. I see it on YouTube in simple acts of kindness that go viral, and in humanitarian movements that kids initiate, first thought to be naïve, that end up having powerful results. I see it in people risking their livelihood and reputations to speak a truth about environmental issues, no matter how unpopular it may be. These things give me hope. We are desperate for inspiration, bravery, ingenuity and real leadership.

How do we fan these embers so they turn into a force passionate and strong enough to change our collective behaviour and present heading? I believe it will take a tremendous shift in our thinking that the media, artists, talk show hosts, bartenders, celebrities, writers, taxi drivers, activists, students, teachers … anyone with any kind of audience, must initiate and propagate. We cannot expect it to come from our political leaders, who far too often have actually become followers. We need a radical change in popular culture as to who and what we designate as being truly newsworthy. It’s time to seriously celebrate those who make courageous efforts in greentech and science and in re-establishing our connection with the natural world. If we can make this the lead story – inspiring, necessary and cool – then I think we just might be blowing our horns for the right reason. “Wake up! Grab the wheel … Iceberg ahead!”

— Lennie Gallant

September 14, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Legislative Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Energy, 1:30PM, Coles Building. The Committee is going to meet to discuss its work plan for the Fall. This should be live-streamed at the Legislative Assembly website, here.

Farm Centre Farmers' Market/Pop-Up Farmers' Market, 4-8PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. And there may not be any construction on University this week. There will be tomatoes, peppers and other late summer produce, and lots of other local items.

Green Drinks (Summerside), 7-9PM, Doolys in Summerside.

Join Steve Howard (shadow energy critic for the Greens), Lynne Lund (deputy leader of the PEI Greens), other shadow cabinet members, green council members, greens from the area, and the one and only Peter Bevan-Baker as we welcome Greens and those interested in having a Green conversation out for a evening of political conversations. There are exciting things happening within the Green ranks so come on out and join the movement!...or at least the conversation. See you there.

from the Facebook event details


Red Soil Organics Open House, 1-5PM, Brookfield (Rte. 226 off Rte. 2, I think). Free but please let them know you are coming: <>

Matt Dykerman, his family and all the team at Red Soil Organics are hosting an open house at their new processing and storage facility in Brookfield. There will be tours of the facility, the equipment and machinery. Suppliers will be on hand, to answer questions about their work and Red Soil Organics staff will be serving up some delicious authentic Nepali and Bhutanese food to snack on! From 4-5 pm there will be a demonstration of the carrot processing line, so that it can be seen in operation.

This is an open invitation, so please feel free to invite friends and colleagues as well. It is requested that you RSVP by sending an email to


John W. A. Curtis is an extreme critic of the provincial government, on many matters, but with that qualifier, he still makes good points:

LETTER: Province stalling on mental health - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

P.E.I. is having problems dealing with suicides. The problem is the Liberals are intolerant of people with mental illnesses. The Liberals had over a decade to replace the Hillsborough Hospital but haven't. The Liberals in 1993 repealed Legislation requiring a P.E.I. Supreme Court justice to act as chairperson for Mental Health Review Board hearings. The Liberals didn't have a coroner review one of the suicides in the Hillsborough Hospital.

The province robbed Peter to pay Paul for mental health nurses in schools. Health P.E.I. hasn't shown the need for the size of its bureaucracy, which could pay for the mental health nurses. The province hasn't explained police taking a person into custody under the Mental Health Act and not advising a person of the right to a lawyer.

The Newfoundland Supreme Court of Appeals ruling on the right to political dissent demonstrated the need to protect people from police and the mental health profession. The Liberals and the Canadian Mental Health Association aren't the ones to be trusted to develop a plan to prevent suicides on P.E.I. - just look at the system that is in place now.

John W. A. Curtis, Summerside


Lillian Rose Stewart is a retired ski bus driver, and was screenwriter on a project highlighting the Tahoe ski area and the human condition, which I am not sure ever got completely finished. She wrote the essay which is on the September 14th entry for the anthology Global Chorus.

I believe in miracles, I see them everyday where a modern highway meets an unchanged vista, frozen in time. Earth the way it is meant to be … the way it was in the beginning.

Snow falls gently, the windshield wipers tap a metronome to the clanking of tire chains ringing against the black macadam surface of the highway. It is a violent symphony accompanied by a chorus of strangers from nine sovereign nations, singing out the lyrics. The chatter resonates in languages I cannot speak, nor understand, but I am not disturbed. After twenty years of driving this bus I know that around the bend awaits a miracle. Amber lights flash dance upon the snow, airbrakes blast an awakening for my captive audience. We will make an unscheduled stop.

They gather in awe, these unlikely brethren, as the majestic Sierra Nevada loom in the distance, reflected upon the waters, mighty moraines cloaked in shimmering white sky fall. It is a masterpiece … but I see only the faces of strangers as they turn to share their joy.

In that fleeting moment as they stand shoulder to shoulder, these kings and ditchdiggers, the colours of their skin are merely hues in a human rainbow. There are no angry words or lines drawn on a map, just the beating of hearts speaking a common language. I smile … for in that brief and glorious moment there is … peace on Earth.

I hope … this moment becomes a memory … and the memory becomes … a knowing, a realization of an ancient wisdom … that all things are bound by the wonder and the beauty of our mother Earth. And I hope they take this knowing with them to their towering penthouses in Dubai, or to a shanty on the banks of an Egyptian river, or to a bustling backstreet market in Hong Kong. A knowing … that peace on Earth is an attainable thing … that the beauty and the wonder of a sustained mother Earth is an attainable thing, anywhere, everyday, for all things of this Earth … if only we choose it.

I hope … and hope is a new beginning.

— Lillian Rose Stewart

September 13, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Farmers' Market open in Charlottetown (9AM-2PM) and Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM)

Standing Committee on Education and Economic Development, 1:30PM, Coles Building.

excerpts from the agenda, which may change without notice:

*request from MLA Darlene Compton regarding proposed federal tax changes

*deferred from winter/spring: To invite briefing by Belfast Community Action Committee and/or other similar groups, on solutions to the closure of schools and to invite briefing by La Commision scolaire dea la lange francaise on the challenges and successes of management and operation of small schools.

More details here.


The PEI Progressive Conservatives have made a short survey to gather Islanders' priorities to focus on in the next couple of years. The link is below. Consider reminding them how important electoral reform is -- it's kind of getting lost in the muddle and we are rapidly approaching one year since the Liberal government's clumsy "democratic renewal" plebiscite exercise.

Let me know if this link does not work properly for you.


Friday, September 15th:

Deadline for feedback on the provincial Minimum Wage Review. I just got a press release from government a couple of days ago, and was struck by the repeated similar little factoids that P.E.I. has the highest minimum wage in the region and it's increased 38% (little factoids without the details which would let the reader put the numbers in perspective). I get the feeling that somebodies are trying to tell me the wage is just fine and maybe even a little rich.


Wayne Carver writes about the whole marijuana legalization was planned to make certain folks wealthy. Slow inhale and exhale while reading this:

published on Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 in The Guardian

WAYNE CARVER: The well-connected ready to cash in - The Guardian Opinion piece by Wayne Carver

Many involved in marijuana production are former civil servants; federal provincial politicians

In anticipation of the impending approval of the marijuana legislation at the federal level, the province is now soliciting suggestions on how best to implement the roll out procedure for the sale and distribution of marijuana in this province.

How magnanimous is that gesture? The infrastructure is all in place, monies have been loaned, properties have been acquired and several government sponsored marijuana-growing operations are now in production.

In fact, many of those involved in the production of marijuana are former high-ranking civil servants, former members of legislative assemblies and even former members of parliament. It has been reported that the former chief financial officer to the Liberal Party of Canada during the last election, when Trudeau promised to legalize marijuana and regulate it, was indeed a co-founder of Tweed, a marijuana manufacturer in Ontario.

It seems that everything is ready to go. The market has been identified and shares are being traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX)WEED. Licensed Producers AB Laboratories Inc., part of Invictus MD, JWC Ltd. and P.E.I.'s Canada's Island Garden are ready to sell distinct batch cannabis through Tweed Main St. of Smith Falls Ont., to 50,000 registered patients according to recent reports. All that remains is to convince the public that we need this, that it is a good thing and beneficial to society. To do this government is now soliciting the views of the general public on how we should distribute the product. How hypocritical. Just how hollow are we?

Most people realize and accept that there is a need for medicinal marijuana. To have our elected officials shove it down our throats because they might have the opportunity to enhance their own financial position is another matter. If there are only 50,000 registered patients nationally, then the tax windfall anticipated by many provinces will hardly be noticeable. To have greater tax revenues we need greater sales.

Who will become the new consumers? Most citizens do not expect to send their Member of Parliament to Ottawa to have them initiate legislation that would allow their children access to mind altering drugs at any age. One questions whether or not there might be a conflict of interest here, as well as a sense of insider trading?

This is a prime example of top down governance. In the rush to get the legislation passed it seems we have overlooked the logistics of distribution as well as the costs associated with addiction, enforcement, rehabilitation and most importantly who will be in a position the authorize the use of cannabis and in what circumstances. The Canadian Medical Association has shown a reluctance to get involved in this matter from the beginning and has stated marijuana should not be used by anyone under the age of 25 years.

And all this is being done to keep the sale of marijuana out of the hands of organized crime? We need a rethink - don't you think?

- Wayne Carver of Long Creek is a supporter of electoral reform and comments frequently on other social issues


David Gershon writes this stirring September 13th Global Chorus essay. He is co-founder with Gail Straub of the Empowerment Institute.

Again and again in history some people wake up. They have no ground in the crowd and they move to broader, deeper laws. They carry strange customs with them and demand room for bold and audacious action. The future speaks ruthlessly through them. They change the world.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

From runaway climate change that threatens the survival of humanity and the many life forms on Earth, to the many starving people and those just eking out an existence at the very edge of survival, to the desperation of our inner-city youth, to our patterns of thought that perpetuate a divided world, our planet is in need of a radical transformation that goes to the very root of our vision as human beings.

What could enable such a fundamental transformation is our innate longing as human beings to create a better world for ourselves and our children. This inherent desire for self-improvement is a key lever for human evolution because there are enormous possibilities to tap into it. But to access this potential requires transformative change leaders capable of calling forth our intrinsic aspiration. This is a learnable skill set and transformationally minded leaders are growing as more people attempt to lead lives driven by meaning and purpose. All the more so among the Millennials.

At the Federal Convention of 1787, after three and a half months of deliberation over a constitution for the new United States, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well, doctor, what have we got? A republic or monarchy?” “A republic,” replied the doctor, “if you can keep it.” The same could be said about our planet. Whether we get to keep it as a viable dwelling place for human habitation and evolution is up to us. To do this we must be able to change the game. Changing the game is not a spectator sport. It requires each of us to play a position on the team, and to play it with all of our heart and soul and mind. It requires nothing less than our very best and highest efforts. Those of us alive on the planet at this moment in time have a special destiny in its evolution. We are the ones who must reinvent our world to sustain the fragile social experiment of human civilization. This is a momentous responsibility and opportunity. As we accept this responsibility and seize this opportunity, we align our individual purpose with humanity’s advancement. We become conscious actors in our planet’s great evolutionary adventure. I wish you and all of us Godspeed on this epic journey.

— David Gershon

September 12, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


The first Progressive Conservative leadership debate, 7-8:30PM, Credit Union Place in Summerside. James Aylward and Brad Trivers will meet in the first of four debates before the October 20th leadership convention. All welcome to attend in person.

It will also be live-streamed on the PC Party Facebook page, here:

PC MLA Steven Myers has been posting and commenting on e-mails (a top ten list) that show very clearly how involved the P.E.I. government was in the e-gaming scheme around 2011-12. It's pretty sickening how blatantly some members of the Robert Ghiz and Wes Sheridan group lied about the involvement later when questioned in the Legislature. And yet the current government (which has most of the same members as the last), just shrugs or goes tsk tsk, old times, we do business differently. Myers' Facebook page.

It would be very good if the PCs dug into PNP as they are e-gaming.

Legislative Committee meetings are gathering again this week and into the month. Here are the meetings for the week, now in the Coles Building (where the Legislature meets):

from the Legislative Assembly website:

Upcoming Meetings

Topic: The committee will meet to discuss its work plan.

Topic: The committee will meet to consider its work plan.

Topic: The committee will receive a briefing on fish kills from Hon. Robert Mitchell, Minister of Communities, Land and Environment; and Kate MacQuarrie, Director of Forests, Fish and Wildlife.


F. Ben Rodgers usually often comments on issues few others do:

LETTER: Company store faces competition? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Published on September 11, 2017

Yesterday while driving west from Summerside, I pulled into the entrance to Slemon Park to photograph the new silo storage facility taking shape.

It is apparently to store peas, beans, seeds, mustard and other locally grown crops.

I don’t have many details on this new venture, but apparently the owner is originally from Charlottetown and has a successful and similar business out west. The idea as I understand it, is to buy up crops from local farmers including organic. The final product will likely be animal feeds, but don’t hold me to that. Whatever the purpose it has to be a good thing for the Island.

For far too long we have been at the mercy of the McCain/Irving corps. They control prices, products, quantities and quality. They hold control over the farmers and those who depend on them for employment. These unfortunate people are afraid to complain or buck the system. Indeed these same corporations have far too much say in our provincial governments.

Our present situation reminds me too much of the old mining town systems. A system where the owners of the mines also own the town, the homes, the people and the company store. Hopefully with more avenues open to farmers and more employment opportunities available we can break the cycle of McCain/Irving owning the company store.

F. Ben Rodgers, Abram-Village


Matthew Sleeth is a former physician, executive director of Blessed Earth, and author of 24/6 , writes the September 12th Global Chorus essay.

On graphs that predict future trends, CO2 levels, population growth and species extinction head skyward on asymptotic lines. Glacier depth, ocean stocks and tropical forests run the opposite direction on black diamond slopes.

The cry goes out to do more, step it up, and engineer more efficiently. If only we could find a way to turn our garbage into 100-octane fuel, our problems would be solved.

Maybe instead of trying harder or going faster, we simply need to pause. Our lives have become one long, run-on sentence without a comma, semicolon or period. Musicians say that it is not the notes – but the silences between them – that make music. Without pauses, our lives just become noise.

Since the time of Moses, society has kept a weekly Stop Day. In my lifetime, we have lost that day of rest. Coming to rest one day in seven reminds us that we do not need more wonders in this world; we need more wonderment. Remembering the Sabbath turns us from human doings into human beings.

As Abraham Lincoln said: “As we keep or break the Sabbath day, we nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope by which man arises.”

Scientific studies now show that our unrelenting consumption is killing us and killing the planet. To reverse this dire trend, we do not need to do more; we need to do less.

Give it a rest: stop one day in seven.

— Matthew Sleeth

September 11, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News


Tuesday, September 12th:

Progressive Conservatives Leadership Candidates' Debate #1, 7-8:30PM, Credit Union Place, Summerside.

Other debates:

  • September 19 at the Bloomfield Legion

  • September 26 at Holland College in Charlottetown

  • October 4 at the Rodd Brudenell Resort


The Prince County Hospital received quite the boost from their volunteer base this weekend. Brad Trivers describes on social media:

Huge crowd at the important annual Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots fundraiser for the PCH last night. Several large donations of $150,000 from well-known and anonymous philanthropists alike! Great entertainment including Catherine MacLellan (with Chris Gauthier and Remi Arsenault) and Patrick Ledwell in his GRCB debut.

The Office of the Official Opposition won the Jeep Wrangler!!!! Opposition Leader Jamie Fox donated it back on behalf of the office and staff - adding an additional $45,000 to the fundraising total.

The Premier was up to announce the province of PEI also "donated" $200,000 - much needed and appreciated - but sort of scratching my head on this one. Couldn't they just increase the budget for the PCH? Didn't they just present a "small surplus budget" of $600,000 in the legislature? Where did this $200,000 come from? Just curious.


from a government press release September 1st:

New board members Dr. George Saunders and John Horrelt will fill positions previously held by Kenneth Ezeard, whose term has come to an end, and by Warren Ellis, who is stepping down to focus on his businesses. Engage PEI promoted and encouraged Islanders to apply for the vacant positions, then candidates were screened and interviewed before the board forwarded a recommendation to the minister of Health and Wellness for final approval

It sure appears they are a little sensitive to criticism they received that previous appointments were of people who didn't seem overly qualified for the job. I still wonder how HealthPEI can be considered to be "arm's length" from government -- a justification of the expense of creating it -- if the Minister has the final approval of Board members. Maybe it's time, with no CEO, to fold it back into the department.


Saturday, September 16th:

10th Annual Gene MacLellan Tribute Concert, 7PM, Bonshaw Hall.

For the past decade, the Bonshaw Hall has done much to help keep alive the memory of the great Island singer-songwriter Gene MacLellan – to honour both the man and the music. This autumn, for the 10th consecutive year, the “small hall with the fine acoustics” will play host to the annual Gene MacLellan Tribute Concert. Show time is Saturday, September 16th, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Gene MacLellan has long been heralded as one of Canada’s foremost songwriters, his many hits including “Snowbird” and “Put Your Hand in the Hand.” Gene has a large following on the Island, both because of the ongoing love of his music and the enduring memory of his many acts of personal kindness while he lived here.

Also for the 10th straight year, well-known Island singer-songwriter Scott Parsons will host the show. Like many others, Scott’s life was touched by Gene. “When I was a teenager, all of 14 years old,” says Scott, “Gene MacLellan took the time to help me acquire my first decent guitar. I do this Concert every year out of respect for my friend. I think many people attend for the same reason.”

Scott will be joined on stage by a group of fine Island musicians, several of whom have performed in all 10 of these concerts. The line-up includes Paul Broadbent, Bonnie LeClair, David Altass, Jerry Edge, Brian J. Dunn, Roy Johnstone, and Emerald Junction. Sound engineer is Jonny King.

For this very well-attended event, folks are encouraged to book tickets in advance by calling Harry at 675-4134 or Rhonda at 675-3649.

Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the evening of the performance.

The cost of tickets is $15.00 for adults and $10.00 for children. Proceeds will go to the maintenance of the Bonshaw Hall, for which this event is a major fundraiser. (For more information contact Harry at 902-675-4134 or Scott at 902-388-7517.)


Nikki Stern is a writer, non-profit adviser, former executive director of Families of September 11, and the author of Hope in Small Doses.

Contemporary culture doesn’t always seem to value the idea of hope. No wonder, when conventional wisdom also confuses hope with expectation: if I hope for the best, the best will surely follow. Yet we soon learn the universe doesn’t automatically give back what we put out, or we discover a benevolent deity isn’t likely to rush to our aid. Disappointed, we might conclude that hope is a waste of time, has no meaning in modern times or, worst of all, is a nasty trickster making promises it has no intention of keeping.

We mustn’t let that happen.

The truth is that we humans are overdue for a retooled version of hope that rejects certainty but embraces possibility. We can’t know what the future will bring, but we can envision the best possible future and work for it. Hope freed from the constraints of guaranteed outcomes emboldens us, empowers us and gives us purpose. It sparks the imagination and strengthens our resolve. Flexible, nimble and never without a sense of humor, this hope celebrates discovery, applauds adaptability and thrives on creativity.

Feet on the ground and head in the clouds, hope rejoices in the journey, not the destination. It asks, why can’t we? It answers, we can.

There will be days when our better selves go into hiding. There will be nights when we yearn for reassurance. Yet hope is available to light the way, no matter where our paths begin or where they end.

Nikki Stern

September 10, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Some pieces to read when not checking on the status of Hurricane Irma:

From Catherine O'Brien, who is chair of the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Water and on the Citizens' Alliance Board, and when she's not working on environmental and democratic rights issues, is an actor, director and playwright:

"I am thrilled to tell you about a special project I have coming up, in partnership with Young at Heart Theatre. We are doing a workshop and public reading of a new Canadian musical, written by John Arnold (PEI) and Mike Paterson (NS). The presentation will take place at The Guild in Charlottetown on October 7 at 2pm."

The project is called Floor 27, the full synopsis is here, and it needs some crowd-source funding to cover the costs of the workshop/public reading.


Rhett Butler is a uniquely named journalist with a passion for rainforests, who has authored books and operates the website. Lots of interesting articles on the website. He writes the September 10th Global Chorus essay.

Every year more creatures are added to endangered species lists, oceans rise with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and more wild places disappear. Humanity’s footprint on the planet is ever larger and deeper. But while it is easy to view these trends with great despair, we would be wrong to abandon hope. Indeed, there are nascent signs that things can change for the better.

In the past 30 years there have been important developments that have laid the groundwork for a new revolution, where services generated by healthy natural ecosystems are recognized and valued. These are services like erosion control, carbon storage, maintenance of the water cycle and the option value afforded by biodiversity.

Recognizing the value of Nature requires us to first understand it. That’s already happening – there have been major advances in quantifying Nature’s services. For example, we know that pest control services by native birds in Costa Rica are worth $10,000 a year to a small coffee farmer in Costa Rica, while mangroves and coral reefs generate more than $400-million annually for Belize from ecotourism, erosion control and fisheries.

While this is admittedly a very narrow way to view the value of Nature, it’s a first step to engaging decision makers and the public.

Engagement is critical if we hope to transform how humanity stewards the planet’s resources. The good news is that new tools – ubiquitous mobile phones, social media and free access to virtually limitless amounts of information – enable public participation like never before. We’re already seeing the power of targeted participation in the form of protests movements that are transforming commodity supply chains. Due to activist-led campaigns, today it is taboo for soy farmers in the Amazon to chop down rainforests for farms. It will soon be the same for palm oil producers in Malaysia and paper manufacturers in Indonesia.

Change will not come easily, but greater knowledge of Nature’s services, combined with participation by an increasingly informed and active populace, will move us toward a world where humans will live in greater balance with the planet’s other inhabitants.

— Rhett A. Butler

September 9, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

The Farmers' Markets are open today across the Island:

Bloomfield (8:30AM-noon)

O'Leary(9AM-noon), O'Leary Legion Hall

Summerside (9AM-1PM)

Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM)

New Glasgow, The Mill Restaurant parking lot (8AM-1PM)

Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)

Cardigan (10AM-2PM)

Murray Harbour (9AM-noon)


Many fundraising events are going on this weekend, several with ties to people who volunteer extensively for other causes. Here are a few:

Tomorrow, Sunday, September 10th:

SuperWalk -- Parkinson's Disease Fundraiser, 1PM registration, 2PM walk, Queen Charlotte Armories, Water Street.

Facebook event details

(Also at O'Leary's Centennial Park today at 1PM)

From notes from Island musician and organizer Ron Kelly, of the duo Emerald Junction (editing is mine):

Wonderful story (in Thursday's Guardian) about Paul Bernard and his involvement with Sunday's Parkinson's SuperWalk. Grew up with Paul in Summerside, played tennis with him a bit, played in rival bands for a little while, saw him grow into a world-class guitarist.

"Emerald Junction" provided music at last year's event and found it to be a very upbeat and positive gathering. We'll be performing again at this year's Superwalk. As a guitarist, I wouldn't qualify to carry Paul's guitar strap but we'll do our best to contribute what we can.

If you're interested in participating in the Parkinson's SuperWalk and/or sponsoring a walker, registration begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Queen Charlotte Armouries on Water Street in Charlottetown, with the walk commencing at 2:00 p.m. It should conclude somewhere between 2:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.


There is also the Kidney Foundation Walk at 1PM at Victoria Park in Charlottetown or Credit Union Place in Summerside.

Facebook event details

Sunday night,

Music for Hope, Fundraiser for the Lennon Recovery House Association, 7:30-10PM, Tracedie Cross Community Centre. A huge line-up of artists signed on to perform.

Facebook event details


Today's Global Chorus essay is by Herman Daly, professor emeritus in the School of Public Policy at University of Maryland, answering the question of hope for the future.

I think the answer depends ultimately on who (or what) we think we are.

1. Are we the blind result of chance who happen to have evolved a bigger more complex brain than other animals, a brain whose merely epiphenomenal consciousness may amuse itself by projecting picture shows inside our cranium, but having no real purpose or independently causative impact on the world other than differential reproduction?


2. Are we creatures evolved from the rest of Creation with the purpose of reflecting to some degree the image of God, and therefore capable of distinguishing good from evil, and true from false, and thereby acting responsibly as stewards and caretakers of the Earth?

If we think we are as described in 1 then in my opinion we are already cooked. Indeed, what reason would there be to care, and in what would we place our hope? Nevertheless, 1 is the worldview of “scientific materialism,” which is very influential in our modern secular society.

The second view affirms a basis for hope, and for our own adequacy to respond to that hope. Its truth is recognized in many of the world’s religions and does not contradict true science. As for the details of a viable and good future society I have argued that a steady-state economy is a necessary condition. But I doubt that it, or any solution, could be achieved unless “we” see ourselves as the people in 2 rather than 1.

— Herman Daly

September 8, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

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

Here is a cute little quiz about how much you know about "organic" labeling:

The first question is your name (if you want to be entered into a draw for prizes) but you can put "Anonymous" in if you don't wish to be entered in the draw.


Bill McKibben, founder of the climate change awareness organization, tweeted yesterday (with a picture of #5):

1) Irma at 190 mph

2) Harvey at 54" of rain

3) West ablaze

4) Record California heat

5) Donald Trump talking at an oil refinery


Here is an op-ed from last week about mental health services for our vulnerable Islanders:

SUSAN HARTLEY: Six young mothers die - The Guardian Opinion piece by Susan Hartley

Essential Island workers dying at their workplace, doing unpaid job of caring for children

Published on Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Since January of this year, six young Island women have died in their workplace.

To my knowledge, there has been no investigation by any government agency leading to an identification of the circumstances that led to their deaths, an implementation of - or increase in - safety measures to make the job safer or support for the family members left without a mother, wife, sister, or daughter.

The Island women who died on the job were doing the unpaid and essential work of caring for children; their workplace was the home. They suffered with postnatal (postpartum) depression, which eventually led to their deaths.

When a worker is injured or dies while engaged in paid work for an insured company, the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has the task of uncovering the reasons behind these incidents, recommending changes, and supporting the family and colleagues of the victim. On its website, WCB asserts: “Only after root causes are identified can effective steps be taken to prevent a recurrence.”

The women who died, like all people in unpaid, caregiving work, did not have the benefit of a Board concerned for their safety. No agency or organization is tasked with the job of answering the important questions: What are the root causes leading to this tragedy? What preventative measures can we put in place so the risk of recurrence is greatly reduced? What support do the families of the victims need?

Women who are at high risk for physical complications in pregnancy are routinely identified by obstetric specialists and family physicians. However, women who are at high risk for emotional or mental health distress are not. Research studies vary widely, with most suggesting that 40-70 per cent of new mothers will experience low mood and 10-15 per cent will suffer from diagnosable postnatal depression; although the number is believed to be closer to 30 per cent. In Canada this means that close to 60,000 women will experience postpartum depression this year. A recent study found that more than 50 per cent of these women will go undiagnosed and without treatment, and that 5 per cent of deaths during pregnancy or the first year after pregnancy were due to suicide: (

Shame, stigma, and lack of awareness are thought to be some of the main barriers to seeking help for depression as a young mother.

I don’t think Islanders believe that these mothers’ lives were of any less value, or their deaths less tragic, because their work is unpaid. However, the lack of preventative, proactive, and specialized mental health services during and after pregnancy, and the lack of response and outcry to these deaths, suggests decision-makers feel otherwise.

Susan Hartley, PhD is a clinical psychologist, and Health and Wellness Critic, Green Party of P.E.I.



Trudie Styler, who wrote the September 8th Global Chorus essay, is an actress, producer, and creator of the Rainforest Foundation (UK).

Do we want to be the generation that destroyed ourselves?

Rainforests once covered 14 per cent of the Earth’s land surface. Now they only cover 6 per cent. When they’ve been decimated to the tipping point, there will be no way back. We will face such extreme weather conditions that our planet will no longer support human life. What will it take for us to stop hiding from these terrible truths? Well, there is a way out of this mess. But we have to face the truth, and we have to embrace change. We can’t leave it to the next governments, and the next generation. It’s time to take the responsibility – not by 2020, not by 2050, but now – to cut carbon emissions decisively and urgently. Deforestation accounts for around 20 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. Simply halting deforestation would be the single fastest and cheapest way to make a significant reduction. So why aren’t we doing it?

We’re now at a turning point in our short human history. We have a unique opportunity to shift our focus and to change our priorities. We don’t have to make a choice between the economy and the environment. A transition to a clean economic system, one that values vital natural systems, one that understands the cost of pollution and waste, will open up huge opportunities. The shift is inevitable. Countries can’t stop it. They can only slow it down. And as they do so, they will be left behind. The time when leaders could claim not to understand the implications of the evidence before us is long past.

You will be judged by your children, your grandchildren and all the generations to come. They will ask, “Did you do everything you possibly could to stop climate change?” We’re all mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters: as a planetary family, whatever our differences, we share one world, one fate and one chance.

— Trudie Styler

September 7, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

This afternoon:

Farm Centre Farmers' Market, 4-8PM, Farm Centre. Lots of produce and other goods.


Free Solar Info Session, 6:30-8PM, PEI Lobster House at the Shipyard, Summerside.

Solar Island Electric and Renewable Lifestyles are giving a presentation on solar power.

Facebook event details.

Facebook live with Brad Trivers, PC leadership candidate, 8PM, here. Ask tough questions! What about his stance on electoral reform? What about his Party and PNP?


We are starting to wrap up the Benefit Account time for Cindy Richards, Citizens' Alliance Board member and Food Exchange helper, who lost her son recently and travelled out west to his funeral.

People can donate:

  • cash or cheques (made out to "Citizens' Alliance")

    • drop-off at the Voluntary Resource Centre, weekdays, or mail to VRC, 81 Prince Street, Charlottetown, C1A 4R3

    • there is also a book for messages of condolence at the VRC

  • e-transfer to <>

    • (if you on-line bank)

  • people can go to any Provincial Credit Union on the Island and make a donation to her fund ("Cindy Richards Benefit Account")

  • If you can't donate at this time, perhaps you could share this with others.

Thank you.


Long, but an truly plausible point of view --

(I am not sure who the author is.)

Small Towns, their Social Infrastructure and Amalgamation - Facebook post by We Are Rural Strong

Posted September 5th, 2017

Bear with me on this, I know it sounds a little dry…but I’ve been thinking a lot about small communities and their importance and how centralization erodes the very nature of what a small community is all about.

Small communities are about social interactions on a liveable scale, between people, families, friends and acquaintances. These interactions take place on the ball fields, in the parks, churches, playgrounds, theatres, post offices, schools, galleries, libraries, wharves, community centres, restaurants and corner stores. They are the places where people pass, nod or generally “shoot the sh#t”-complain about recent events, where their kids play together. I call these places the social infrastructure of a town. These are more than just buildings or places, they facilitate the day-to-day interactions between people in their communities. These places tie the people together, tie the community together and generally give a shape to the cultural life of the town.

Smaller communities have far fewer examples of social infrastructure-amplifying the importance of each one in the life of their community. That is why we fought so hard to save Georgetown Elementary School-people realized the importance of the school as social infrastructure and the negative affect removing this infrastructure would have on the life of their town-specifically their children’s lives. These important places serve as a vital link and create the special and intimate feeling that makes small communities so important. They are like dominoes, knock one over and maybe the rest will fall too.

Amalgamation looked at from some vantage points makes sense, everyone agrees there is too much government on the Island. But let me float this hypothetical case to give you an idea of how I think it will work. Imagine that sometime in the future the Three Rivers Sportsplex in Georgetown needs some major building or equipment repairs. The Three Rivers Municipal Council (or whatever they will be called) is asked to fork over $100,000 for capital repairs. Hmmm, that’s an old building, maybe instead of repairing that we should look at building a new arena or adding an additional ice-pad to an existing arena. Perhaps we should build it where the largest number of people can easily access it-Montague. The voting block of Montague, Brudenell and Lower Montague agree-motion passed. Guess what, Georgetown just lost their rink. Georgetown just lost one important piece of social infrastructure and the dominoes start falling…library, municipal building etc etc.

Now I hear you thinking- but what would Georgetown do on its own given this same circumstance? I have no doubt that the people of Georgetown would band together and do their level best to raise that money to fix the problem and given Georgetown’s gritty history I think they would succeed. Because they realize the importance of that building as a corner-stone of the social infrastructure of their community. The same way they rebuilt the King’s Playhouse when it burned to the ground. Social infrastructure has an important place in the hearts of the residents of small communities-but you have to be willing to fight for it.

There has been a lot of talk about “fear-mongering” and in the study Stronger Together: Building a Sustainable Future For the Three Rivers Region the authors often erroneously use the word “fear”, as in “there is a fear of among residents about how this will change their communities”. Let’s be clear, this is not fear- it is concern. A deep concern for the future of what a small community is, how it functions and how centralization will impact it. Because lets face it, that’s how amalgamation will work. Social infrastructure will be centralized to the largest community-guess I’ll see you at the Superstore.


Tony Wheeler is the creator of Lonely Planet. He writes the September 7th Global Chorus.

I’ve always been a firm believer in the virtues of travel. Of course you are, someone might cynically say, creating Lonely Planet has made you a rich man. Fair enough, travel and tourism may be the world’s biggest business, but there are many places in the world where it’s the only business. In those countries it’s all-important.

Yet travel is so much more than something that puts food on the table and sends the kids to school. It’s the way we citizens of the world learn about and communicate with each other, because when we travel we see the world and its peoples in reality, not filtered through some media viewfinder or interpreted by some government spokesperson.

That’s really come home to me in recent years when my travels have taken me to a list of places which tend to be on government travel advisories in the “don’t go there” category. I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan, not as some embedded journalist, but as an ordinary independent tourist. I’ve travelled around North Korea, Congo DRC, Haiti and Libya. I’ve been able to compare Saudi Arabia (the weirdest country I’ve ever been to, after North Korea) with Iran (a far from perfect country, but far friendlier and more democratic than Saudi Arabia). Most recently I travelled through Pakistan and observed the impact on that country from the world’s two major powers. One was sending in road builders to help keep the challenging Karakoram Highway open. The other was sending in drones to kill people. Guess which one was more popular?

— Tony Wheeler

September 6, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Back in time for the plentiful markets:

Wednesday Farmers' Markets:

Charlottetown Farmers' Market -- 9AM to 2PM

Stanley Bridge Farmers' Market -- 9AM to 1PM


Progressive Conservative leadership candidate James Aylward has reformatted his website, now at the url:

It has the events were he'll be listed; today he'll be in Montague (Tim Hortons from 9-10AM and around the city from 10AM-4PM).

Candidate Brad Trivers' website is here: and is planning a Facebook Live event

Thursday, September 7th, 8PM: Facebook event details

And both will meet in a debate next Tuesday, September 12th at Credit Union Place in Summerside.


There was a CBC article on the recently toppled rock statute on the hillside carved into for the Plan B Highway in Bonshaw. The department of transportation has announced it won't rebuild it, for liability reasons. While any attempts at public art are usually appreciated, this was a bit of a clunker from its inception. Apparently these are sometimes built by (bored but skilled) excavator operators waiting for dump trucks to return to fill; Inukshuks are of course relevant to Inuit culture. Through various coats of paint, the misspelled (and completely obscure to most of us) scrawled "R.I.P. Harmabe" on it was a low point. As the department still digs into the hillside with the communications tower for fill, perhaps it's best just to leave the area alone at this time.


The September 6th Global Chorus essay is by David Bell, who passed away in January of this year. He was professor emeritus and former dean of environmental studies at York University, and former chair of the organization Learning for a Sustainable Future,which promotes the knowledge, skills and values necessary for a sustainable future. Much more and very much worth poking around at their website.

An old Russian proverb defines a “pessimist” as “an informed optimist.” The more one learns about the depth and extent of the challenges facing humankind over the remainder of this century, the easier it is to feel discouraged. The current path of global development appears to be taking us toward environmental and social disaster.

Some years ago, I conducted interviews with dozens of sustainability experts from all parts of the world to prepare a 12-hour radio series entitled “Sustainability: Canadian and Global Views.” The people I spoke with were highly “informed” about the challenges ahead, but every one of them believed that we are capable of bending the curve, of steering spaceship Earth toward a more sustainable future.

Is there still room for optimism? That’s hard to say. But there is a compelling case for hope. To begin with despair is a very poor motivator. And there is much to be done. So hope is the essential, necessary premise of positive action. It is a crucial diet for anyone who wants to make the world a better place to live for current and future generations. Yet, despite the enormous challenges that lie ahead, a diet of hope is not thin gruel. In essence, sustainability poses an “educational” challenge for humankind. We need to learn to live differently on this planet. This will require the emergence and widespread adoption of a culture of sustainability which embeds the values of caring for each other, caring for the Earth and caring about the future.

The good news is that the green shoots of such a culture are already very evident. Millions of individuals and organizations all over the world are passionately committed to addressing sustainability problems. The signs are everywhere, in the education sector, in civil society, in business, in government and in everyday living. New technologies of global communication can facilitate this culture shift toward sustainability.

In the spirit of hope, every one of us can do our part to make a difference for each other, for our planet and for our future. And we can have fun doing it!

David Bell

September 2, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Farmers' markets are open across the province today:

Bloomfield (8:30AM-noon)

O'Leary(9AM-noon), O'Leary Legion Hall

Summerside (9AM-1PM)

Stanley Bridge (9AM-1PM)

New Glasgow, The Mill Restaurant parking lot (8AM-1PM)

Charlottetown (9AM-2PM)

Cardigan (10AM-2PM)

Murray Harbour (9AM-noon)


A troubling but not unexpected large-scale occurrence of pesticide drift and apparent lack of due diligence in approving the pesticide Dicamba. (This article is from The Washington Post and there may be a paywall, sorry.) This has tremendous implications in industrial agriculture in the United States, and of course health concerns.

Washington Post article link

This miracle weed killer was supposed to save farms. Instead, it’s devastating them - Washington Post article by Caitlin Dewey

Published on Tuesday, August 29th, 2017


The new dicamba formulations were supposed to attack those resistant weeds without floating to other fields.

But during a July 29 call with EPA officials, a dozen state weed scientists expressed unanimous concern that dicamba is more volatile than manufacturers have indicated, according to several scientists on the call. Field tests by researchers at the Universities of Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas have since found that the new dicamba herbicides can volatilize and float to other fields as long as 72 hours after application.

Regulators did not have access to much of this data. Although Monsanto and BASF submitted hundreds of studies to the EPA, only a handful of reports considered volatility in a real-world field setting, as opposed to a greenhouse or a lab, according to regulatory filings. Under EPA rules, manufacturers are responsible for funding and conducting the safety tests the agency uses to evaluate products. <snip>

Thanks to Pesticide Free PEI for bringing this story to people's attention.


Paul Polman is the CEO of Unilever, and wrote the September 2nd Global Chorus.

If we are to overcome the enormous social and environmental challenges which face us – and I believe we can – then we will have to work differently in future. We will have to work in big partnerships where governments, business and civil society organizations collaborate together.

As a member of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the post-2015 Development Agenda I became convinced that we could “put an end to extreme poverty” whilst at the same time safeguarding the planet for future generations. Central to the achievement of this goal was the idea of a “Partnership for Development” – grounded in a new spirit of solidarity and realized through a compact of commitments.

This is not a pipe dream. A number of such multi-stakeholder partnerships are already in place and delivering results at global scale. The GAVI Alliance is on track to immunize 243 million children against killer diseases in 73 of the world’s poorest countries. The Scaling Up Nutrition initiative has brought together multinational food companies, governments and NGOs in 43 countries to address malnutrition.

In the environmental area Unilever and the U.S. government have created the Tropical Forest Alliance. The goal of this partnership is to eliminate tropical deforestation from the supply chains of commodities like palm oil and soy. The Alliance now includes the governments of Indonesia, Norway, UK, the Netherlands and Liberia; dozens of NGOs as well as over 400 companies whose combined revenues exceed $3-trillion. Good progress is being made. If we succeed we will have overcome an issue which accounts for over 17 per cent of all greenhouse gases – more than the entire transportation sector.

In the years to come we will see many more such partnerships. Their energy will be fuelled by an irresistible demand for change from the young. Their call will be heeded by a new generation of business leaders who understand that the economic case for sustainable development is overwhelmingly strong.

I am convinced that we can forge a pathway that will deliver a better future for all – one where prosperity and environmental sustainability walk hand in hand.

Paul Polman


I'll be taking a couple of days off to attend an extended family event. Have a great Labour Day weekend, all!

September 1, 2017

Chris Ortenburger's CA News

Happy September!

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

With all the markets that are open tomorrow, you can plan to get some tomatoes to freeze or make simple salsa, or just enjoy real tomatoes.

Monday, September 4th:

Federation of Labour's 17th Annual Labour Day Picnic and Barbecue, 11AM to 1PM, Joe Ghiz Memorial Park.

Facebook event details

3rd Annual Tomato Fest, 1-5PM, Heartbeet Organics Farm, 742 Darlington Road, Darlington. "Taste more that 30 Heirloom Tomato Varieties and vote for your fave! Soups, Salsas and more tomatoey good plus refreshments! Pay what you can -- Suggested donation - $15. Please RSVP via email or Facebook."

Facebook event details


Kevin J. Arsenault blogs on many things, including food matters, and he recently wrote a long piece trying to figure out exactly why Chef Michael Smith, after years of encouraging P.E.I. to become The Organic Island, embraced genetically modified organism technology with the simplistic rationale that "we need it to feed the world."

The entire essay link:

The summary:

from "Chef Michael Smith's Baffling Endorsement of GMOS"

posted on Friday, August 25th, 2017 (link above)

<snip> To endorse GMOs is to promote a corporate system of monocultural agriculture at a time when the world desperately needs to return to a simple, natural and organic way to grow healthy food that we – as small local communities, not transnational corporations – own and control. Chef Smith is bang-on in decrying processed foods and encouraging us to eat more fruits and vegetables, etc., but it remains baffling how he fails to see how his support for GMOs totally undermines and negates those laudable food policy goals. We don’t need GMOs as another tool in our toolkit; we need a new toolkit!


Alexia Lane wrote the ground-breaking (horrible pun intended) book, On Fracking. Finding better choices to replace the energy from natural gas is an option, too.

How can we save the world? First we must ask ourselves if we willing to pay more for energy and water. Democratic governments recognize that their tenure would be short-lived if they insisted that oil and gas companies, for example, show minimal profits in order to reduce the cost of home utilities. Lack of profit from large companies, associated job losses, and rising unemployment would result in mobilization of voters to oust the government that restricted company profits.

However, if consumers accepted paying more for water, electricity and natural gas, governments would be free to impose restrictions not on company profits, but on company practices.

If consumers are prepared to pay more for water, electricity and natural gas, governments are in a position to mandate “cost-prohibitive” extraction technologies and to force the oil and gas industry, for example, to respond accordingly. Waterless methods to extract unconventional fossil fuels exist, but are rarely used due to the high cost associated with the technologies when compared with using essentially free fresh water. Costly technology ultimately translates into higher costs for us as consumers. If we are willing to pay more for our water and energy needs, the conservation effects would be twofold. Firstly, there would be greater impetus to conserve water and energy resources on a home-to-home basis. Secondly, industry would be forced to leave water resources intact, while continuing to surge forward in fossil fuel extraction.

If we are not prepared to pay more for water, electricity and natural gas, we will continue on the current path of destruction using primarily freshwater-intensive extraction methods such as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), because that is the less expensive solution, the one that keeps our water and natural gas bills at their current rates. The extent and intensity with which wells are being fracked across the globe is ever increasing despite known adverse environmental and public health effects. Moreover, fracking permanently removes water from the hydrologic cycle, a phenomenon that cannot be undone.

All the water that will ever be on Earth is here today. How much are you willing to pay for that?

— Alexia Lane