September 2018

September 30, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events Today:

Farm Day in the City, 11AM-5PM, Richmond and Queen Streets area. Huge festival. Lots of excellent local food. Discover Charlottetown website event page

George's Island Market, 12noon-4PM, Bedeque. Facebook page

Cool Moon Festival Confederation Main Stage Dance performance: "Shangri-La -- World Class Dance Drama", 2PM, tickets from the box office. Also featuring Lennie Gallant, and emcees Ava and Lily Rashed, Karine Ste-Marie, and Grant Guo. It is the "most amazing dance drama infusing western modern dance with Tibetan traditional dancing." Proceeds from last night's production and today's will support the Marine Animal Response Society (MARS) . This festival also features an art exhibit "Objects of the Mind: Chinese Brush and Ink Paintings" by Dianyu Zhao at the Conded Centre Gallery until November 11th.

Cool Moon Festival website

and if you are downtown and want yet another kind of entertainment:

"Shoulda Been Choral" program by the Luminos Ensemble, 2:30PM, St. Paul's Church, Church Street (by the Murphy's Pharmacies Community Centre and the Cole Building), tickets $25 (adults) at the door. "What do Mozart’s Overture from The Marriage of Figaro, Elgar’s Nimrod Variations, Vince Guaraldi’s Linus & Lucy, and Barber’s heart-rending Adagio for Strings have in common? None of them was composed for choir - but they SHOULD have been! Join Luminos Ensemble as we rectify these and other tragic compositional mistakes, performing the music of Bach, Schubert, Stevie Wonder, ABBA, and Tchaikovsky as it was meant to be performed: by a choir." Facebook event link

Bonshaw Monthly Ceilidh, 7-9PM, TCH and Green Road in Bonshaw. Great entertainment and Fun for all! ​Special performers include: guest-MC Tim Hamming, The Retrofrets (lively ukulele group), dancer Eithne Brydon, plus local musicians Herb MacDonald, Phil Pineau and maybe Tony the Troubador. 50/50 draw, delicious lunch, and open mic time. All ages welcome. Accessible for small wheelchairs. Admission is by donation, with proceeds to the Fund for Tracy Croken. For more information phone (902) 675-4093. I would certainly hope it would be more than a "maybe" for Tony the Troubador, but Troubadors travel and he may not make it there in time.


Some Sunday reading:


Canadian environmental law group Ecojustice is providing legal assistance to the group fighting the pulp mill waste project in Pictou, Nova Scotia


Mike Redmond (farmer, former sports coach at UPEI and former leader of the Island NDP), his partner Aleida Tweten and their young son James are in a one year placement with Veterinarians Without Borders and some other groups, in Ghana.

They are sharing their experience in this one year journey by blogging here:


British writer George Monbiot, The Guardian (the U.K. one) weekly columnist and political and environmental activist, writes in his most recent column:

While Economic Growth Continues, We'll Never Kick Our Fossil Fuel Habit

published on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018, in The Guardian

Here is an intriguing interview with him for the Series, Five Books, where he discusses books that have shaped his worldview. George Monbiot -- An Essential Reading List


"Clean growth is as much of an oxymoron as clean coal. But making this obvious statement in public life is treated as political suicide."

-- Commentator George Monbiot, from the recent column above

September 29, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets open today:

Cardigan, 10AM-2PM

Murray Harbour, 9AM-noon

Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM

George's Island Market, Bedeque, 9AM-1PM

Summerside, 9AM-1PM

Some events:

Used Book Sales:

Cornwall *and* the Confederation Centre Public Library have their Fall Used Book Sales this weekend.

Cornwall -- today, 9:30AM-2:30PM, Cornwall Town Hall.

Confederation Centre Public Library Book Sale: Today: 10AM-5PM (Also: Sunday, September 30th, 1-3PM)


Tree-Planting "TD Tree Days", 9AM-12noon, Miltonvale Wellfield Site, Route 2 civic number 16948), in Miltonvale Park. Hosted by the City of Charlottetown and the TD Bank. Help plant, displays, treats

AVC Open House, 10AM-2PM, Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI.

Bennett Bird Classic, all day, joint effort of Island Nature Trust and the Natural History Society of P.E.I. All-in-good-fun competitive bird counting with fundraising in mind; your bird-watching friends may be on a team and posting on social media, so consider donating. More info from the INT website.

Etsy Made-in-Canada Market, 10AM- 5PM, Murphy's Pharmacies Community Centre, Admission $5 with proceeds to PEI Humane Society. Over 50 small P.E.I. vendors, music, food for sale.

PC Queens County Family Social and Corn Boil, 2-4PM, Robert Cotton Park. PC MLAs and candidates will be there for conversation, all welcome.

ChatLocal Green Tea in Tyne Valley, 3-5PM, at the Tyne Valley Tea and Company, 6980-A Rte. 12. "Hosted by the Green Party of PEI's critic for Workforce and Advanced Learning, Trish Altass, and the Deputy Leader of the PEI Green Party, Lynne Lund, it promises to be an afternoon of lively discussion. We want to hear about the issues that affect your life and discuss ideas for solutions." Facebook event link

This is also the last day what sounds like a charming tea room is open until next June. Tyne Valley Tea and Company link.

Keep in mind: Tuesday, October 2nd:

Water Law: A Look at the New PEI Water Act, 6-8PM, Farm Centre. "The purpose of this workshop is to inform islanders of the Water Act regulations before the public consultation period for the regulations takes place. We will share information about the Water Act and some experiences of previous public consultation processes." The session will include an overview of The Water Act by ECELAW's senior lawyer, Lisa Mitchell, and other presenters.

This is a free information session and discussion.

Facebook event

And in the longer range planning:

ACORN (Atlantic Canada Organic Regional Network) 2018 Convention is on P.E.I. November 26-28th, at the Delta in Charlottetown. The theme is "Building Bridges, Creating new Relationships in Agriculture".

(In these circles) the very famous farmer and local food promoter Joel Salatin from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia is the keynote speaker. Not sure of a public, non-ticketed event, but the banquet tickets which is listing him as featured speaker is on Tuesday, November 27th and are $50. There are volunteer opportunities to be able to attend sessions (does not apply to ticketed events, though).

ACORN Convention information website

Facebook Event link


Two articles about voting systems, near and really near.

Andrew Coyne comments on the New Brunswick election and how it's time to move forward on voting systems (apologies for the poor formatting):

Andrew Coyne: New Brunswick provides more ammunition for blowing up first past the post - The National Post article by Andrew Coyne

First past the post works tolerably well when only two parties are in contention, but once the two-party mould is cracked, it generates unstable outcomes

Published on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018, in The National Post

Say what you will about first past the post, its defenders argue, but at least it delivers stable majority governments.

And once this was true. Whatever its other defects — the exaggerated or false majorities it confers; its tendency to disproportionately reward parties that can bunch their support geographically, at the expense of those whose support is more broad-based; the massive swings in policy that can result, election to election, often in response to tiny shifts in the popular vote; the bizarre inequities and Hobson’s choices this forces upon voters, constantly told they must not split the vote or waste their vote even in those few “battleground” ridings where the outcome is in doubt — it was at least possible to say that the beneficiaries of its funhouse distortions could govern without serious concern for the opinion of the legislature for up to five years. If that is your thing.

But even that is no longer the case. Nine of the last 20 federal elections have resulted in minority governments. Recent provincial elections have produced minority governments in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and — the latest — New Brunswick.

First past the post works tolerably well when only two parties are in contention — not only does it necessarily produce majority governments, but many of its other anomalies recede — and indeed tends to favour the emergence of two-party systems, a phenomenon known as Duverger’s Law.

But once the two-party mould is cracked, it generates ever stranger and more unstable outcomes. We haven’t had two-party politics in Canada since 1917, with the arrival of first the Progressives, then the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (later the NDP). Currently there are no fewer than seven parties in the Commons.

As traditional partisan loyalties become unmoored, the same may be happening at the provincial level, with the NDP breaking through in recent elections in Atlantic Canada and the emergence of the Green Party as an electoral force in several provinces (it is now represented in the legislatures of New Brunswick, P.E.I., Ontario, and B.C.).

The result in some cases — B.C. in 2017, New Brunswick this week, perhaps Quebec the next — has been to produce exactly the sort of post-election mayhem that is supposed to be the exclusive preserve of proportional representation: hung parliaments, extended inter- and intra-party negotiations before a government can be formed, with small fringe parties holding the balance of power.

New Brunswick’s predicament is particularly entertaining. The governing Liberals beat the opposition Conservatives by six percentage points in the popular vote, 38 to 32, yet somehow emerged with one fewer seat, 21 to 22.

As in B.C. a year ago, it would seem difficult for either party to form a government. If the Liberals’ attempt to soldier on with the support of the three Greens elected Monday appears doomed, neither do the Tories’ chances look good: though the three members of the populist People’s Alliance (another recent addition to the electoral landscape) would be enough to give them a majority of one, that would disappear the moment a Speaker was appointed, unless one could be lured out of the opposition.

Of course, this is no more unrepresentative a result than the 1987 New Brunswick election, which handed all of the seats to one party, the Liberals. Or the majority the NDP won in B.C. in 1996, despite winning neither a majority nor even a plurality of the popular vote. Or the almost perfect split of the vote that delivered the NDP into power in Alberta, of all places. But that’s the point: it was bad enough when first past the post only stuck us with wildly unrepresentative majorities. Now it is increasingly giving rise to wildly unstable minorities.

But wait a minute: this is hardly an advertisement for proportional representation, is it? New Brunswick-style mélées, after all, are still comparatively rare in our system. Whereas, isn’t this the norm under proportional representation? Wouldn’t PR mean the end of majority governments altogether?

No: It would mean the start. Under PR, to win a majority of the seats, you actually have to win a majority of the vote (or something close to it). It’s true that this seldom produces a majority government of one party: it’s rare for one party to win more than 50 per cent of the vote in either system.

But whereas in our system the consequence, when no party wins a majority of the seats, is usually a minority government — in which a single party, outnumbered as it is in the House, nevertheless tries to nerve its way through by sheer brinksmanship — under PR the more normal result is coalition government: with a majority of the seats, but divided among two or more parties.

Minority governments, as we know them, are indeed unstable: the average duration of a minority government at the federal level in Canada is a little more than a year. But we should not mistake this for the very different experience of coalition governments typical of PR. It isn’t just that coalition governments actually do tend to have the support of a majority of the legislature. It’s that the incentives built into the two systems are completely different.

As mentioned, in our system it only takes a swing of a few points in the popular vote to lead to dramatic changes in the party standings. There’s every incentive, then, for whichever party happens to be up in the polls at any given moment to trigger a snap election.

Whereas under PR there’s no such “leverage”: small changes in the popular vote only lead to small changes in seats. So there’s less incentive to go to the polls. The average European PR country has held about 20 elections since 1945. Canada has had 22.

Moral: The case for electoral reform isn’t just about what happens on election day. It’s what happens every day in between.


The indefatigable Marie Burge clears her throat and reminds us that whenever the next provincial election is called, the referendum on proportional representation will be voted on, too. Thanks, Mighty Marie.

OPINION: Referendum still in works - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Marie Burge

Since passage June 12, amazing silence about referendum to be held with next provincial election


published on Friday, September 28th, 2018, in The Guardian

There was great hoopla in the spring sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature about the Electoral System Referendum Act (ESRA). It was passed on June 12, 2018. Since then, there has been an amazing silence about the referendum to be held with the next provincial election.

It is fair to say that the majority of Islanders do not realize that there will be a referendum with the next provincial election, whenever that will be. Of course, this was not the hot topic over a lovely P.E.I. summer. Now, however, it is time to hear about what the current government described as one of the more serious decisions Islanders are asked to make: will we choose Mixed Member Proportional Representation or stay with First-Past-the-Post?

Some people may be confused by the dates outlined in the Act. Although the legislation was passed on June 12, 2018, the Act originally stipulated that a referendum commissioner would be appointed to oversee the vote and that this position was to be filled by June 1, 2018. Three months later, there has been no appointment.

Then on September 6, 2018 the legislative management committee announced that the job would be posted and potential candidates need to apply for the position. The deadline for applications is Friday, Sept. 28.

Another sign of faulty planning is that the Act indicated that groups which wished to register as “referendum advertisers” would have until July 1, 2018 to do so. Presumably those registrations were to be received and approved by the aforementioned commissioner. So now is there a new date for groups to register?

On the matter of “referendum advertisers” as described in the ESRA: what an unfortunate turn of phrase. This wording is not a P.E.I. original. It is copied from similar legislation in other jurisdictions. In fact, the concept is at the root of how election campaigns are run in most countries. Here is the problem. Advertising is a multi-billion-dollar business attached to the trappings of our consumer society. Anyone who listens to the CBC’s Under the Influence, with Terry O’Reilly, knows the tricks required to convince people to buy one product over another. Many times, these are psychologically geared to have us buying what we don’t want or need. Important issues for advertisers are branding, convincing slogans, and endless gimmicks carefully designed to rope-in unsuspecting buyers. It works.

Unfortunately, this concept of advertising has long-since been adopted by political parties and electoral campaigns. And here too, it works. However, we need to ask ourselves, what do the trappings of advertising have to do with the ideals of democracy. There can be no democracy if people do not know the issues facing them.

A rock star political leader is no substitute for a sincere person committed to people’s rights. A glitzy platform, often based on unfounded promises, is no substitute for clear people-centered and eco-centered policies. Fast-talking campaigners are no substitute for honest dialogue which leads voters to a deeper understanding of what will make life better for most residents. The role of honest candidates and campaigners is to be policy educators and citizen promoters, not hoodwinking persuaders and self-promoters.

In a true democracy, citizens are not buyers of politicians’ lines, slick mottoes or catchy slogans. Enlightened citizens vote according to what they know, not according to what they are told. Citizens have the right to know and the right to decide for themselves.

- Marie Burge is a member of the Cooper Institute


PR is the only type of approach to elections that is not based on what parties want, or what politicians want. It’s based on what works for individual voters and individual Canadians.

-- Guy Giorno, former Conservative Party of Canada national campaign director

September 28, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

Cornwall Library Book Sale, Friday: 12noon-5PM, Saturday: 9:30AM-2:30PM, Cornwall Town Hall. Proceeds to the Friends of the Cornwall Library, to support library programs and events

Hilda Ramsay Fundraising dinner and speaker: "Half Way to Half Way: More Women in Politics", 6-9PM, Charlottetown Hotel.

Edited from the event details:

"Hilda Ramsay was the first Island woman to run as a provincial candidate and we hope our dinner inspires others to continue her legacy. Proceeds create the Hilda Ramsay Fund, which supports New Democratic Party women running as candidates in provincial elections by supplementing their fundraising efforts.

The NDP Women's Committee is delighted that our speaker will be CBC political panelist Kathleen Monk, the founding Executive Director & catalyst for the Broadbent Institute. Before entering politics, Kathleen worked in newsrooms in Toronto, Ottawa and Washington, D.C. She holds an MSc in Politics/Communication and remains an active volunteer with Equal Voice (focusing on how to field and promote more women candidates to every level of political office). Currently, only 27% of elected officials are women in the House of Commons – put another way: we’re only half-way to half-way. In an era of post-truth politics, Kathleen Monk argues why recruiting & retaining equity seeking candidates is crucial to our democracy."

Tickets: (902) 330-2248 or at the NDP office at 81 Prince St., Ch'town

Facebook event details

Also tonight:

Ian Petrie Talk: Markets Matter to the Environment, 6-8:30PM, Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead, Orwell.

"Ian Petrie (retired CBC Journalist) will speak on the consolidation that has occurred within the food retailing and processing sectors making it difficult for farmers to get a fair return. The consolidation has increased the challenges farmers face to be proper stewards of the land, putting the natural resources we all depend on at risk. He will offer suggestions about what consumers and citizens can do to give farmers markets they can count on, and fairer prices. He believes we all have a role to play in maintaining our rural communities, including giving the new generation of small-scale farmers a chance at some income security. He will discuss the recent debates about trade deals and why it's important to fight for supply management."

Facebook event link

Tomorrow, Saturday, September 28th:

Stratford is full of various free events for fun and food:

Stratford Community Expo, 8AM-11AM, Stratford Town Hall. Pancake breakfast, children's activities, newcomer welcome time at 10AM, Culture Days "On Beat" (chance to hear, and to make, various percussion instruments), along with exhibits by organizations, clubs and businesses to promote events and services in the community.

Progressive Conservative Party of PEI Queens County Family Social, 2-4PM, Robert Cotton Park, Stratford.

"Come join members of the PC team for some family friendly fun, food, and fellowship at the Queens County Family Social and Corn Boil."

Facebook event link

Sunday, September 30th:

Farm Day in the City, 11AM-5PM, Victoria Row and Queen Street, Charlottetown.

"Farmers, producers, restaurants, crafters, and artisan come together in celebrating the Island's Buy Local culture and the intertwining of its urban and the rural communities. Historic downtown Charlottetown is transformed into an expansive open air market featuring music, children's entertainment, agricultural displays, a beer garden, a petting zoo and some good ol’ fashioned friendly competition."

Facebook event link


Our provincial legislative committees have been seemingly inactive this Fall, with the Communities, Land and Environment committee meeting publicly once. There is one scheduled meeting of the Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Energy meeting Thursday of next week, but the Public Accounts Committee, which is often the only committee chaired by a member of the Official Opposition, has finally scheduled a meeting for November. With all the work the committees have done and promise they can do, this inactivity is dispiriting.

In Nova Scotia, regarding their Public Accounts Committee:

"The Liberal members on the powerful public accounts committee used their majority Wednesday to change the longstanding practice of allowing all three parties in the House to pick topics and decide who will be called before the committee. From now on the committee will only deal with topics that stem directly from reports filed by Nova Scotia's auditor general and only back as far as the report Auditor General Michael Pickup tabled on May 29." from: CBC Story

The MLA who brought forth the motion Clare-Digby District's Gordon Wilson, said the change was all his idea and that he sees it as "a tremendous step forward for the public accounts committee to create more transparency, more accessibility."

Columnist Jim Vebert writes:

Liberals exploit ‘tyranny of its majority’ - The Guardian column by Jim Vibert

Published on Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Nova Scotia’s Liberal government used the “tyranny of its majority” Wednesday to neuter the one committee of the legislature that actually sheds an occasional light into the dark corners of the government.

That’s how Opposition House Leader Chris d’Entremont (PC-Argyle-Barrington) characterized the government’s action, which he called “an unprecedented shameful, sneaky manoeuvre to shield government” from scrutiny.

The Liberal majority on the legislature’s Public Accounts Committee pushed through a motion that, in effect, renders the committee impotent. The motion limits the committee to examination of matters already covered in the auditor general’s reports.

The irony that the Liberals chose Right-to-Know Week to remove the teeth from a vital and long-standing check on government secrecy in Nova Scotia, would be lost on this government.

The government consistently exercises its authority to ensure that it alone decides what Nova Scotians are permitted to know about how it operates.

Last week, Premier Stephen McNeil shrugged off criticism from the Freedom of Information Commissioner who found the government had breached the province’s Freedom of Information law, again.

But Nova Scotia’s Freedom of Information Act — a relic of 1994 — is also toothless, so there are no real consequences for breaking the law.

The Liberal’s motion changes the way the committee works and may therefore be contrary to the rules of the legislature. House Speaker Kevin Murphy was asked to rule on that and took it under advisement. Only the full legislature can alter the mandate of committees.

It the Liberal motion stands, it will bludgeon the life out of the one functioning committee of the legislature that ill-serves the government’s partisan ends. The Public Accounts Committee regularly exposed well-hidden government weaknesses, mistakes and misadventures.

The Liberals seem to limit their concept of parliamentary democracy to “majority rules.” Any discussion of the topic that goes deeper than that is lost on them.

The fact is, majority does not “rule.” Laws rule, and in parliamentary democracies, traditions have grown up to check the powers of the majority party.

Nova Scotia’s Liberal government — which seems to forget that six in 10 Nova Scotians voted to defeat it a year ago — tramples those traditions with all the grace of an uncoordinated, over-grown adolescent.

Previously and traditionally, opposition members on the Public Accounts Committee could propose matters for the committee’s agenda and have done so to positive effect in Nova Scotia for decades. The Liberal motion will put an end to that.

The partisan motive behind the Liberals’ move is obvious. By limiting what the committee can examine, the Liberals are, in effect, ensuring the committee doesn’t dredge up any politically embarrassing news, beyond what the Auditor General has already uncovered.

The auditor general’s reports are meticulously detailed and complete. Once issued, there usually isn’t much more to say. The government takes its medicine and moves on.

Liberal MLAs on the Public Accounts Committee were quick to point out that in other Canadian jurisdictions, public accounts committees focus exclusively on matters raised in the reports of their auditors general.

In those other jurisdictions there are also other meaningful checks on the government — like a Freedom of Information law that has some teeth.

Those Nova Scotians who remember the long government of John Buchanan (1978-90) may not recall how it ended. Premier Buchanan was called to the Senate by fellow Conservative, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, not long after a former Nova Scotia deputy minister laid bare before the legislature’s Public Accounts Committee a litany of what was then called patronage – government’s habit of favouring its friends.

Michael Zareski was the deputy and his allegation had not been the subject of report by the auditor general of the day. He was at the committee because opposition MLAs — Liberals at the time — called him there, and the Tory majority on the committee allowed it to happen.

Almost 40 years later, a Liberal government with a slim majority in the legislature used that majority to manipulate and mangle one of the last checks on its power, and it did so purely to protect itself politically.

The Liberal government in Nova Scotia seems determined to build insurmountable obstacles to finding the truth. Nova Scotians have to ask themselves, why that is?


The P.E.I. Public Accounts Committee's report to the P.E.I. Legislature, in June 2018, is here.


Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence.

--James William Fulbright, (1905-1995) U.S. Senator

September 27, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events Today:

Thursday, September 27th:

Fair Trade Bake Sale at the Robertson Library, 11AM-1PM, concluding UPEI Fair Trade Campus Week.

Farm Centre Farmers' Market, 4-7PM, P.E.I. Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue.


Friday, September 28th:

UPEI "Recognition of Founders' Ceremony 2018", and Reception, 1:30PM, Schurman Market Square, MacDougall Hall (i.e., Business Building main space), UPEI. This ceremony and reception is honouring three people who have made huge contributions to UPEI (UPEI or the Vet College) -- biologists Daryl Guignion and Ian MacQuarrie, and veterinary pathologist Pierre-Yves Daoust. Pierre-Yves is receiving the smile-inducing "Honourable Eugene F. Whelan Green Hat Award". Their work at UPEI through the years, and their continued presence their fields, have had many positive effects on the Island, and abroad, too. All welcome.

Saturday, September 29th:

Tree-Planting "TD Tree Days", 9AM-12noon, Miltonvale Wellfield Site, Route 2 civic number 16948), in Miltonvale Park. Hosted by the City of Charlottetown and the TD Bank. "During the event, 150 native trees and shrubs will be planted. A watershed demo and interactive booth will show participants how watersheds function and what impacts them. Attendees can also learn about the emerald ash borer and their potential impact on the ash trees in the City. Volunteers will receive a tree keychain and be provided light refreshments." Free, registration encouraged.…/1079-miltonvale-well-field-site.

AVC Open House, 10AM-2PM, Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI. If you want to see the vet school behind the waiting room doors, and many displays and activities, and don't mind crowds, this is for you and any young people.


Kind of an update on the Pictou pulp mill waste treatment issue:

New Glasgow councillor believes feds should review Northern Pulp plans - The New Glasgow News article by Adam MacInnis

Published on Wednedsay, September 26th, 2018

Frank Proudfoot wants a federal assessment of Northern Pulp’s plans to build a new effluent treatment facility to replace the Boat Harbour treatment facility the company currently leases from the province – but it appears he’s the only New Glasgow councillor who feels that way.

Proudfoot brought up the issue during a Monday night committee of the whole meeting in the town. It was a motion that was later defeated by his fellow council members after some debate.

“My feeling is that the 30-day time limit for public input (which is part of the Class 1 assessment) is way too short, especially when they as a department are not going to be actively seeking out opinions or holding public forums but will leave that to the company to do,” Proudfoot said.

He questioned whether the Province of Nova Scotia could make an unbiased decision on the matter.

“Unfortunately, the Nova Scotia government has a blatant conflict of interest in this pipeline issue. They’re liable for any loss of profits the company suffers if they don’t ok the pipeline after the closure of Boat Harbour,” Proudfoot said. “This reason alone shows we can’t trust the Nova Scotia government to make an unbiased decision. Here in Pictou County we have witnessed first-hand the negligence of the Department of Environment and the Nova Scotia government as they have chosen economics and the all mighty dollar over the health and wellbeing of its citizens with Boat Harbour and Westray Mine just to name two prime examples.”

Arguments aside on whether or not the pipe should go into the Northumberland Strait, he said there is nothing to be lost by additional review.

”There’s no downside to that request, other than an extra few months which should be no problem to anyone concerned and would take away any doubt or concern about the fairness of this project.”

The only people negatively impacted he said would be Northern Pulp.

“This stuff is so toxic they can’t do a closed loop system because it will rot the pipes, yet they’re willing to put it into the oceans where we’re swimming and where our fish are,” he said.

Several of the councillors took exception to his use of the word toxic.

“That’s where I have the issue,” Councillor John Guthro said. “I find both sides are not honest in this, because on the one side it’s a toxic issue. To hear from Northern Pulp you could add honey and milk to (the effluent) and drink it like it’s tea.”

Councillor Troy MacCulloch said he believes the fact that Northern Pulp is taking so much time preparing their plans before submitting shows that they’re doing due diligence.

“They’re still doing their homework.”


Liscomb Wildlife Sanctuary (Nova Scotia) Open Pit Gold Mine proposal:

The "feds" are reviewing this project, which I hadn't paid very close attention to this summer, and I don't think a decision has been made yet. The current Nova Scotia government and its bureaucracy seems pretty liberal in considering and permitting intensive logging and mining development in what seems like meager undeveloped land. It's not like P.E.I.'s government and bureaucracy is much better; there are just fewer exploitable resources to sell for extraction, and the amount of farmland and sparse woods ripped up permanently for new highways does not seem to register as a loss.

Truro Daily News article from late July 2018 (comment period to federal government ended August 20th).


We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. -- Aldo Leopold

September 26, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Today, Wednesday, September 26th:

Campus Fair Trade Week at UPEI continues, Free Coffee Sampling with Full Steam Coffee, 11:30AM-1PM, UPEI, Chaplainacy Centre (a bit more on Full Steam at the end).

Island Nature Trust Annual General Meeting, 7PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Kent Street, Charlottetown. AGM meeting plus guest presentation by Dr. Megan Jones on "Wildlife Health in Prince Edward Island: Past, Present and Future". All welcome.

Public Meeting to Determine Hughes Jones Centre Land Purchase, 7PM, APM Centre Upstairs meeting room, Cornwall. "The public meeting which will determine HJC’s ability to move in its new form to Meadowbank <snip> We would appreciate your support and would love the opportunity to share our new plans with you!" from: Facebook event details

Ellen Jones' blog about getting to this piece of land and these meetings, from September 4th, before the first meeting at the Meadowbank Council.


I want to get out the fanfare trumpet for this -- the very hardworking folks at East Coast Environmental Law (ECELAW) have been working diligently to get this organized.

Next Tuesday, October 2nd:

Water Law: A Look at the New PEI Water Act, 6-8PM, Farm Centre. "The purpose of this workshop is to inform islanders of the Water Act regulations before the public consultation period for the regulations takes place. We will share information about the Water Act and some experiences of previous public consultation processes." The session will include an overview of The Water Act by ECELAW's senior lawyer, Lisa Mitchell, and other presenters.

This is a free information session and discussion.

Facebook event


Monday's election in New Brunswick has a couple of men elbowing each other and saying, "No, *I* can form government!" and claiming support from other political parties, the media trepidatious about the prospect of a non-majority government, and some folks understanding that the results did not reflect the popular vote.

Here is an article by Wilf Day, who serves on Fair Vote Canada's Council; long but a peek into New Brunswick politics specifically and a discussion of PR and elections past and present, and perhaps a good read on a rainy day.

published on his blog on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018:

In New Brunswick the party with more votes got fewer seats -- again. - Wilf Day's Blog posting

New Brunswick voters lost in this year’s election, as the party with more votes got fewer seats, as in 2006.

With only 31.9% of the votes, the New Brunswick PCs have won 22 seats, while the Liberals with 37.8% of the votes have won only 21 seats. Since the potential Conservative ally, the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick, has three seats while the Greens also have three seats, the Conservatives claim they will form the next government.

Fair Province-wide result: 19 Liberals, 16 PCs, 6 Greens, 6 People’s Alliance

But a fair and proportional voting system would have let every vote count. With 49 MLAs in New Brunswick, those Liberal voters deserved to elect 19 MLAs against only 16 PCs. Voters for the Greens and People’s Alliance deserved six MLAs each, while the 5% who voted NDP deserved two MLAs.

Instead of a coalition representing only 44% of voters, the new government would have been accountable to the majority of voters.

Worse, New Brunswick appears more divided into linguistic groups than it really is.

New Brunswick’s Commission on Legislative Democracy proposed four regions

The New Brunswick Commission on Legislative Democracy proposed a proportional voting system in 2004 with four regions, so that voters in each region would be fairly represented in both government and opposition. Their Mixed Member Proportional model was similar to the model PEI voters chose in their plebiscite in November 2016.

In the 12 ridings of Northern New Brunswick, heavily francophone, the Liberals won all but one seat. However, those voters cast 24% of their votes for the PCs, 8.9% for the Greens and 8.5% for the NDP. They could have elected regional MLAs like PCs Danny Soucy and Jeannot Volpe, Green Charles Thériault who won 32% of the local vote and New Democrat Jean Maurice Landry who won 30%.

Conversely, in the 12 ridings of the South West, heavily English-speaking, Liberal voters elected only one MLA. They deserved two more, like incumbents John Ames and Rick Doucet. Green voters also deserved an MLA like Deputy Leader Marilyn Merritt-Gray, while People’s Alliance voters deserved two like Jim Bedford and Craig Dykeman.

In the South East someone like Acadian lawyer Joyce Richardson would have been a regional NDP MLA. In Central New Brunswick Liberal Bill Fraser could have returned as a Regional MLA, while someone like Hanwell councillor Susan Jonah would have become a second Green MLA for the region.

I’m not talking about a closed-list system. The open-regional-list Mixed Member Proportional system means every MLA has faced the voters. That’s the system PEI voters chose last November, with a workable ballot as you can see here. That's also the way the BC NDP wants the Mixed Member system to work: voters would cast two ballots: one for a local MLA and one for a regional representative. It’s also the model on which the federal Electoral Reform Committee found consensus: a local and personalized proportional representation model.

You have two votes

You have two votes: one for your local MLA, and one for a regional MLA from your local region. You cast your second vote for a party’s regional candidate you prefer, which counts as a vote for that party. This is the same practical model used in Scotland, with one vital improvement: Canadian voters would like to vote for a specific regional candidate and hold them accountable.

The best of both worlds

Would proportional representation hurt small communities? Just the opposite: voters are guaranteed two things which equal better local representation:

1. A local MLA who will champion their area.

2. An MLA whose views best reflect their values, someone they helped elect in their local district or local region.

No longer does one person claim to speak for everyone in the district. No longer does one party claim unbridled power with only 40% support. Local districts are bigger than today, but in return you have competing MLAs: a local MLA, and about five regional MLAs from your local region.

Parties will work together

Parties will, unless one party had outright majority support, have to work together - to earn our trust where others have broken it, and to show that a new kind of governance is possible. Research clearly shows that proportionately-elected governments and cooperative decision-making produce better policy outcomes and sustainable progress on major issues over the long term.

Some fear-mongers claim proportional representation favours extremists. However, as a former conservative MLA in British Columbia, Nick Loenen, said three days ago “The best guarantee against abuse of government power is to share that power among the many, rather than the few."

Regional nominations

Typically, party members will nominate local candidates first, then hold a regional nomination process. Often the regional candidates will include the local candidates, plus a few regional-only candidates who will add diversity and balance to the regional slate. In order to ensure democratic nominations, it would be useful to deny taxpayer subsidy to any party not nominating democratically. The meeting would decide what rank order each would have on the regional ballot. But then voters in the region would have the final choice.


In 2006 New Brunswick saw a sad irony: Bernard's Lord's PCs had planned a referendum on the Commission on Legislative Democracy's recommended PR system, which Lord supported. When a resignation forced an early election, he won the most votes but the Liberals won the most seats, and shelved the Commission on Legislative Democracy's recommendation.

Note: my regional simulation, due to the breakdown between the four regions, happens to cost the People’s Alliance a seat, to the benefit of the PCs. This is because the PA cast their appeal mainly to the South West and Central regions, and got only 3% in the North and 4% in the South East, too few to elect anyone, so those 6,806 votes were ineffective. Result: 19 Liberals, 17 PCs, 6 Greens, 5 People’s Alliance.

Technical note: the New Brunswick Commission on Legislative Democracy proposed four regions which mostly had 14 MLAs each, nine local and five regional. At that time New Brunswick had 55 MLAs. Today that has shrunk to 49, so most regions have 12 MLAs. I am still using five regional MLAs for each region, leaving seven or eight local MLAs. That means 40.8% of the MLAs are regional, which matches the 40% BC is looking at. A region with only four regional MLAs, only one-third, would not be enough to correct the disproportional results in New Brunswick’s disparate regions.


Back to Fair Trade and how coffee can make a difference locally (regionally), too:

from the Full Steam Coffee Company's website:

"Fair trade is an important part of the Full Steam Coffee Company vision to bring back the proud trading tradition of Guysborough harbour. With each bag of coffee sold, people are not only supporting Fairtrade certified coffee producers from around the world, they’re supporting workers in a region of Canada hard hit by the decline of traditional industries. Choosing Full Steam Coffee makes a difference in the lives of hard working people at home and abroad.

Learn more about the difference you can make in the world by purchasing fair trade products at the Fairtrade Canada website:

And about Fair Trade Campus Week in Canada

September 25, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Events today:

UPEI Fair Trade Campus Week, today from 11AM-12:30PM, School of Sustainable Design Engineering, UPEI. A collaboration between Engineers Without Borders UPEI Chapter, WUSC UPEI Local Committee, and Chartwells UPEI! Campuses across the country are celebrating the Fair Trade movement and Fair Trade certified products with a week-long event.

TUESDAY | 11:00AM - 12:30PM

Information booth at the School of Sustainable Design Engineering

WEDNESDAY | 11:30AM - 1:00PM

Free Coffee Sampling with Full Steam Coffee at the Chaplaincy Center

THURSDAY | 11:00AM - 1:00PM

Fair Trade Bake Sale (TBA)

Facebook event details

Gardening Workshop -- Season Extenders, 6PM, Farm Centre Legacy Garden, 420 University Avenue. There will be other frosty nights in the next weeks for this info to be very handy. Postponed from last week

Free workshop on:

Growing cold hardy greens in the fall

Affordable techniques for extending the season

Using protective barriers to prevent frost damage

Demo of a cold frame you can recreate at home.

Your gardening questions

An Evening with David Helwig, 7:30-9:30PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Kent Street. "Bookmark and PEI’s Poet Laureate PEI, Deirdre Kessler, along with 20 Island poets and writers will present an evening to celebrate David Helwig and his remarkable literary accomplishments. This event is free and the public are encouraged to attend and meet a Prince Edward Island literary giant." from: Facebook event details


New Brunswick provincial election results are not easy to find on the official Elections NB website, but are here.


NASA's Earth Observatory produced this 2 minute video called "A Season of Smoke", describing and showing the smoke from fires in western North America. I am told we had a day or two of smoke here in mid-August which was noticeable.

You can subscribe to get notices from the Earth Observatory, here:

And the website's home page is here:


"Being at NASA and having the access to both computing capability and satellite observation capability is kind of the ideal research situation to try to understand global climate change."

-- former NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who warned the U.S. Senate about climate change in the 1980s

Here is an article from June 2018 in The other Guardian about his efforts to warn about climate change and today's current (ahem) climate.

September 24, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some events coming up that might be of interest:


September VegPEI Monthly Potluck, "Veg It Up Style", 6:30-9PM, Haviland Club, Charlottetown. The monthly Vegan Potluck, this month's with prizes for best dish and best dessert, as voted on by attendees. Specific guidelines for the meal apply, please see:

Facebook Event Details

Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 25th:

Farm Centre Gardening Workshop, 6PM (rescheduled from last Tuesday), on extending the season (good timing!)

Facebook event details

Wednesday, September 26th:

Island Nature Trust Annual General Meeting, 7PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House, Kent Street. Roundup of the year's activities, presentation of the J. Angus MacLean Award, election of new board members, and featured talk by Dr. Megan Jones on "Wildlife Health in Prince Edward Island: Past, Present and Future". All welcome.

More on INT here:

Friday, September 28th:

Hilda Ramsay Fundraising Dinner, "Halfway to Halfway", with guest speaker journalist Katherine Monk, 6-9PM, Charlottetown Hotel. Tickets with tax receipt; tickets available by calling (902) 330-2248 or stopping in the NDP Office at 81 Prince St., Charlottetown. The proceeds from this biennial fundraising dinner and silent and live auction "creates the Hilda Ramsay Fund, which supports New Democratic Party women running as candidates in provincial elections by supplementing their fundraising efforts." from Facebook event details

Talk: Markets Matter to the Environment, by Ian Petrie, 6-8:30PM, Macphail Homestead. "Ian Petrie ( retired CBC Journalist) will speak on the consolidation that has occurred within the food retailing and processing sectors making it difficult for farmers to get a fair return. The consolidation has increased the challenges farmers face to be proper stewards of the land, putting the natural resources we all depend on at risk. He will offer suggestions about what consumers and citizens can do to give farmers markets they can count on, and fairer prices. He believes we all have a role to play in maintaining our rural communities, including giving the new generation of small-scale farmers a chance at some income security. He will discuss the recent debates about trade deals and why it's important to fight for supply management."

Facebook event details


Here is a recent article at CBC on-line about plastic waste in the oceans and a couple diving as a pasttime to clean up part of Halifax Harbour.

The article announced what the Environment Ministers of the "G7" countries discussed and pledged to do about single-use plastics ("SUP") in their countries in the coming months and years. Canadian federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna pledged to eliminate SUP at government buildings

"As part of Ottawa's move toward zero plastic waste, McKenna said federal government operations will be reusing and recycling at least 75 per cent of all of its plastic garbage by 2030...The effort means Ottawa will aim to eliminate plastic straws, cups, cutlery, packaging and bottles from its operations. It also includes using government purchasing power to lead change, said McKenna." from this related CBC story

CBC also has launched a series called "Waves of Change" which is described as:

"Waves of Change is a project from CBC in the Atlantic Provinces all about reducing the amount of single-use plastics that we discard.

We're looking for your ideas on how to use less, reuse what we have, and how to recycle better: all in a bid to reduce the amount of plastic waste that threatens our oceans."

public discussion Facebook group, here

CBC Story on single-use plastics


"Climate leaders don’t buy pipelines."-- various voices in Canada

The NDP is using that quote for their petition, found here, with this description:

The NDP strongly opposes the purchase and expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

    • It disregards the right of Indigenous peoples to say no to any project affecting their lands, territories or other resources.

    • It increases greenhouse gas emissions, making it impossible to meet Canada’s global climate targets.

    • It means inevitable bitumen oil spills that put Canada’s environment, coastlines, waterways, and wildlife at risk.

    • It threatens thousands of good quality jobs in Canada’s marine and tourism industry.

Instead of spending billions of public dollars on fossil fuel infrastructure and subsidies, Canada should invest in clean, renewable energy sources that create good quality, long lasting jobs for today's workers and the next generation.<snip> from:

September 23, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Last Lower Queen Street Sunday Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM.

George's Island Market, 12noon -4PM, Bedeque.

70 Mile Yard Sale continues

Details from Wood Islands website

Kidney Walk Summerside, 1PM registration, Credit Union Place

donate or cheer on walkers or both

Facebook page details

Annual PEI Certified Organic Producers Cooperative (COPC) Fundraising Feast, 4-7PM, Farm Centre Legacy Garden. Tickets may still be available.

from the event details:

"This year’s fundraising event will be a gourmet picnic, as always featuring the variety and outstanding quality of organic food grown locally by our members across the Island, and prepared by brothers Alex and Sam Bevan Baker of Fatta A Mano, a travelling wood fired oven & pizzeria." The menu sounds delicious. Cash bar and kombucha, various fundraising ventures and activities, Nick Doneff will provide musical entertainment, and the main purpose is to celebrate P.E.I. organic farmers and good food.

Facebook event details


Well, yes, it is a double roundabout in what used to be farmland.

Published on Thursday, September 20th, 2018, in The Guardian

LETTER: New subdivision for Cornwall site? - The Guardian Letter to the Editor

Some still chuckle at the site of the Cornwall overpass and the roundabouts on either side of it. Many cannot imagine why the government would build something so magnificent in the middle of a big field. Such waste.

Others are beginning to think there must be something big in the near future, maybe a new subdivision. The government owns most of the land now, plus there must be some under-utilized when you take into consideration the property purchased by the previous governments for the Charlottetown perimeter highway. We have at least $366 million in infrastructure money on the way, some of which should arrive just in time for the next fiscal year.

Doubtless all the land developers and building contractors would welcome the work, as well as job security for the trades. Just how much land the government owns or has options on is not known, but it is a lot. I would not be surprised if the subdivision plans are already approved. We can expect to see more roads, more sewer and water mains going in the ground in the Cornwall area and more of our default contractors raking in big money.

I wonder though, who will pay for the $48.8 million overpass. Would this not be an opportunity for our provincial government to add the construction cost of the bypass to the asking price of the land in order that the taxpayer can be compensated and perhaps put some money towards our now inflated provincial debt.

Wayne Carver, Long Creek


Speaking of land destroyed for the Cornwall by-pass,

Remember Ellen Jones and the Hughes-Jones Centre for People and Animals, which was flattened for the bypass and over which she took the province to court to negotiate better terms? She is looking to start up something similar in the area, and has found land in Meadowbank, the community council is welcoming, but the Province has control over usage of the land in the area.

Wednesday, September 26th,

Public Meeting to Determine Hughes Jones Centre Land Purchase, 7PM, APM Upstairs meeting room.

Facebook event details


Further events coming up:

PEI Social Forums

The Institute for Bioregional Studies is pleased to announce the scheduling of a series of Social Forums to encourage public conversations, share experiences, develop new strategies, and hopefully move forward with more comprehensive responses to the problems we are facing in our communities and bioregion.

Our intent is to engage a diversity of people from urban and rural communities

to discuss critical issues and how we might influence public policy. Anyone who seeks to foster healthy and sustainable communities and is willing to engage in respectful dialogue is welcome to attend.

All forums begin with a potluck dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Location will be determined based on the number of participants. To register your intent to attend, please call, 902-367-0390.

Tuesday October 2, 2018

Affordable Housing

According the PEI Provincial Housing Action Plan, housing is not just about buildings; safe and appropriate housing is a basic support that contributes to personal well-being, economic strength, and strong communities.

Government has committed to:

• Create 1,000 new affordable units over the next four years, including 275 units this year;

• Support the development of capacity along the housing continuum to enable housing providers to create affordable housing;

• Create a collaborative leadership structure to support the plan’s implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, including processes to determine current and future housing needs and solutions.

The vision is to provide timely access to safe, accessible, appropriate, and affordable housing that meets a diversity of needs and maximizes the resident’s ability to be healthy, productive, and successful.

We will review the goals of the plan and discuss additional idea that can have an impact on the accessibility and affordability of housing on PEI.


Wednesday October 17, 2018

Eco-villages, Co-Housing and Farm Conservation Communities

Eco-villages strive to create, ‘Net Zero,’ housing where the residents live in buildings constructed with environmentally sound materials, produce energy from renewable resources, grow their own food and reduce or eliminate the burning of fossil fuels.

Co-housing, can be urban or rural based. Residents maintain their private space but reduce their cost of housing and enhance the sense of community by sharing community spaces that may include, laundry, office, workshops, storage or social gathering areas, etc.

Farm Conservation Communities are an increasingly popular way of revitalizing rural areas by creating small housing developments or villages connected to a common farm.

This forum will present several examples of each of these housing types and discuss how they might be developed on PEI.

Monday October 22, 2018

Import Replacement

A recently concluded study by the Centre for Local Prosperity (CLP) revealed that four out of

every ten dollars spent in Atlantic Canada leaves the region, resulting in a trade deficit of over

$11 billion. While this trade imbalance is potentially harmful to local communities, it also

signifies an opportunity for import replacement. The CLP study estimates that a 10% shift in the

four Atlantic provinces towards local goods and services would create more than 43,000 new

jobs, $2.6 billion in wages, and $219 million in tax revenue.

We will discuss how to implement an Import Replacement Strategy on PEI as a model for transforming from a global, ‘Trickle Down,’ economy to a sustainable, prosperous and resilient “Local Economy.”

Wednesday November 21, 2018

From “Climate Crisis” to “A Prosperous and Sustainable Future”

A recent CNN report stated, “This summer's sizzling temperatures, savage droughts, raging wildfires, floods and acute water shortages .......are surely evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that the climate crisis is upon us now. This is the new normal -- until it gets worse.

We, must finally grasp the urgency at hand and undertake dramatic, meaningful measures -- initiatives beyond the modest goals of 2015 Paris climate accord -- to stave off nothing less than the destruction of civilization as we know it.”


Bill McKibben, founder of 360.Org, says it’s too late to halt global warming, but we still have a chance to curb it in ways that ultimately avoid “civilizational destruction.”

While our federal and provincial politicians debate on what, if any action should be taken, greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. Unless immediate and effective actions are implemented, the Climate Crisis may eventually wipe out modern life as we know it.

Numerous suggestions have been presented on how to react to this crisis. However, In order to think long term, we must act now. For the sake of the planet, and future generations. Let’s get started.

Tuesday December 11

Muddling Toward Utopia

Imagine for a moment how society might have evolved if rather than entertaining ourselves with horror movies, television violence and murder mystery novels we had dared to focus our imaginations on utopian ideals.

Utopian thinking is fundamentally a political act that can have huge ramifications if it is widely embraced. By coming together to envision how the future should be we don’t have to be limited to the current political, social and environmental trends that are so upsetting.

The most famous utopian writing is Plato’s Republic, written in 380 BC. It addresses concerns of justice on the individual and state level, and has proven to be one of the world's most influential works of philosophy and political theory.

Possibly the most well-read utopian story is Ursula Le Guin’s, fantasy, Earthsea Trilogy. A strong theme of the stories is the connection between power and responsibility where "good" wizardry tries to be in harmony with the world and "bad" wizardry, can lead to catastrophe.

In 1897, John Galbraith published his utopian vision of Canada, In the New Capital. More recently British Columbia’s “Practical Utopian,” Guy Dauncey, wrote an inspiring eco-topian novel, Journey to the Future: A Better World Is Possible.

By introducing more utopian thinking into our social lives we can liberate inexhaustible visions of the world as it could and should be. Let’s begin the journey.

September 22, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Farmers' Markets open today:

Cardigan, 10AM-2PM

Murray Harbour, 9AM-noon

Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM

George's Island Market, Bedeque, 9AM-1PM

Summerside, 9AM-1PM

Some events today:

Saturday, September 22nd:

70 Mile Yard Sale, various locations in Kings County

website and info

booklet with map (sometimes pdf links don't work and you may need to copy and paste):

70 Mile Yard Sale Book Sale at Montague Rotary Library, 10AM-1PM

Drive carefully, please.



September Stargazing, 7-10PM, Macphail Woods Ecological Centre, Orwell, free but donations accepted.

Spend the last evening of summer learning a bit about some stars and planets, presumably, as several are quite prominent in the evening sky,then go for a walk in the lovely dark with guides.

Facebook event details


About energy and economies in our nearby province:

published on Friday, September 21st, 2018, as a letter to the editor in (N.B.) The Telegraph Journal

Shale gas won’t change N.B.’s fiscal woes - The Telegraph Journal Letter to the Editor

by Jim Emberger, on behalf of the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

The recent Atlantica Centre for Energy commentary about making N.B. a “have” province, by comparing it to Saskatchewan, uses only one financial figure. It predicts that shale gas could provide $900 million annually to our economy.

This is a hopeful speculation.

Perhaps examining some actual figures would be more instructive.

In Saskatchewan, the last budget ran a $303-million deficit. By contrast, N.B. just balanced its budget. The Saskatchewan deficit was smaller than predicted, because it first drew down a $300 million contingency fund, and raised its sales tax from five per cent to six per cent.

The province shut down the Crown-owned Saskatchewan Transportation Co., plans to eliminate 1,250 government jobs and will decrease wages. It slashed funding to libraries, community-based organizations and to funeral services for people on social assistance, though later it had to restore these cuts.

These austerity moves were in response to the previous year’s $1.3 billion dollar deficit, due in large part to low resource prices.

I would remind Atlantica that shale gas prices have been so low for so long that virtually every surviving shale gas company in the world is in deep debt, and investor confidence is finally wearing thin.

Saskatchewan finance minister Donna Harpauer noted that non-renewable resource revenue is now just 10 per cent of the province’s total revenue, compared to 32 per cent in 2008-09. She said one of the keys to their financial future is to “shift from our reliance on volatile resource revenue.”

This has added emphasis since, according to their auditor general, the province will face a $4 billion cost for cleaning up 24,000 inactive oil and gas wells. The fund for doing so currently has $11 million.

So, which part of the Saskatchewan model will make New Brunswick a “have” province?


Some background:

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance has as its mission:

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance represents the interests of New Brunswickers opposed to shale gas exploration and development, while promoting a future in clean energy alternatives.

The Atlantica Centre for Energy

has as its mission:

"The Atlantica Centre for Energy is dedicated to increasing energy literacy for community leaders and stakeholders. The Centre has expanded to include leading energy professionals, national and international organizations in Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Ontario, Alberta and PEI.

The Centre serves as a bridge between organizations operating in the energy sector and the community to help realize opportunities associated with energy resources in Atlantic Canada and the American Northeast. It provides a meeting ground for government, the education and research sectors, and the community at large to foster partnerships and engage in energy-related issues."

and its "About Us" page has a biography of Colleen Mitchell, president (no other people listed) and further down the page are partners' logos, including Irving, Stantec, Emera, Corridor Resources, a university, and logos for the state of Maine and the three Maritime Provinces, the one of the government of Prince Edward Island links to the PEI Energy Corporation

which has as its main statement the very laudable:

PEI Energy Strategy:

Pursuing a self-sustaining energy system based on achievements in energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy development.

September 21, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some events today:

It's World Peace Day, September 21st. United Nations webpage on World Peace Day.

"Let's Talk about Cycling" Park(ing) Day, 10AM-3PM, Kent Street by City Hall, Charlottetown. "The public is invited to meet with City staff to provide feedback and also learn more about the goal of improving and expanding on existing infrastructure. The City wants to continue the conversation on cycling in the Capital by talking to people about their experience with cycling and bicycle safety. Avid and recreational cyclists, would-be cyclists and motorists are welcome to share their thoughts and stories about cycling in Charlottetown. The goal is to raise awareness of the benefits of cycling and gain a better understanding of people’s attitudes and experiences with cycling. The insight gained through these conversations will be used in the municipality’s efforts to improve and expand existing infrastructure, and encourage positive and safe cycling experiences for everyone.

Park(ing) Day is an annual, global, open-source event that is intended to spark creativity and inspire reimagining how we use public spaces through the take-over and activation of metered city parking spaces for the day. The City will be taking over a parking space on Kent Street (the corner of Kent Street and Queen Street) beside City Hall and the public is invited to check it out. The Velo Vixens will be onsite to assist with cycling commute route planning and information on cycling and sharing the road safely. There will also be games, prizes, and an opportunity to make a smoothie or iced coffee with the Green Machine bicycle blender.

Anyone interested in providing feedback who cannot attend one of the pop-up events is encouraged to email Sustainability Officer Ramona Doyle at

PC District 9 (Charlottetown-Hillsborough) Fun Friday, 4-6PM, Hillsborough Park Community Centre, 199 Patterson Drive. With candidate Sarah Stewart-Clark and the Progressive Conservative District executive. "Free Island corn and ice cream, bouncy castle, face painting and more fun for the whole family." Rain or shine, free.

11th Annual Gene MacLellan Tribute Concert, 7PM, Bonshaw Hall, featurings Margie Carmichael, Michael Mooney and Lauie Brinklow, Paul Broadbent, Bonnie LeClair, and Keith Baglole , with host Scott Parsons. Admission is $15 and proceeds going to the Hall. Tickets: phone (902) 675-2855 or (902) 675-3649.


For those of us who don't have a firm grasp on the provincial district boundaries which are new for the next election (and most of us don't have a firm grasp on when the next election is going to be), maps are found here.

and you can put in a civic address and see the current (old) and new maps in overlays. Map Look-up page link

The information is there, but it's not so easily informative.

If the link does not work, look for the electoral Map Locator on the sidebar of the front page of the Elections PEI website.

Provincial Map locator of old and new boundaries, with the ability to move and zoom in our out.

Screenshot of Provincial Map District locator sample of P.E.I.

Or go to MLA Brad Trivers' excellent website and use the map he put up in February of this year:

Screenshot of MLA Brad Trivers' map on his website with zoom-in segment of my area.


NAFTA and Canadian interests:

While it seems the national news provides much coverage of the North American Free Trade Agreement talks, one question many of us have is how can the federal politicians working on this talk about that they know Canadian priorities, if they seem to be fairly weakly protecting the dairy management system, and rather fiercely protecting the Investor State Dispute Mechanism, which by most accounts actually hurts countries like Canada.

Rosalind Waters has been diligently following the recent mega-trade deal talks (like the TPP or Trans Pacific Partnership, mentioned below) and wrote an update earlier week, which I am sharing with you:

"...the Liberals and Conservatives voted in favour of the CP-TPP at 2nd reading this week. The NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party voted against it. This is an agreement which is very similar to the original TPP which included the U.S. In Global Affairs’ own consultations on the TPP, 99 per cent of more than 18,000 people who wrote told the government that they opposed the agreement.

It is also interesting that while Chrystia Freeland wrings her hands about the US pressure on Canada in NAFTA talks to weaken supply management, she and her cohorts, rushed to vote for the CP-TPP which also erodes supply management (giving some access to countries like New Zealand and Australia access to our dairy market).

Here's a couple of interesting articles. The first is the National Farmers' Union Press Release about the pressure Canada is under in NAFTA negotiations to weaken our wheat grading system. The second is a CBC article about how after the first year of CETA's provisional application Canada's trade balance with the EU has worsened. Imports from the EU have increased by quite a bit more than our exports to the EU increased (or in some periods actually decreased.). This is what many critics of CETA predicted!


“Canada’s grain grading system is the key to our international competitiveness, particularly for wheat,” said Terry Boehm, Chair of the NFU Trade Committee. “Our grain growing region is far from ocean ports, so a high-volume, low-price approach is a non-starter. Instead, our marketing strategy is to sell high value grain to customers who are willing to pay prices that cover expensive transportation costs."


Thanks to Rosalind and crew for keeping on top of these issues and communicating with the rest of us.

September 20, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Farm Centre Farmers' Market, 4-7PM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue. Many vendors and nice time of day to stop in.

Book Launch and Signing: Project Heaven on Earth, 6:30PM, Kettle Black Cafe, 45 Queen Street. Author and visionary Martin Rutte will be on hand to discuss the project and book, and there will be prizes and refreshments.

Guardian article on the project

excerpt from the article:

The book is a distillation of all the people that he’s spoken to over the years and demonstrates 63 projects going on around the world.

"I think given these hells on earth going on right now we need something positive; something to motivate people – not me telling you what heaven on earth is because I don’t think that would ever work, but me evoking it from you (would)," Rutte said.

His book centres around three questions — First, recall a time when you experienced heaven on earth. What was happening? Second, imagine you have a magic wand and with it you can create heaven on earth. What is heaven on earth for you? And finally, what simple, easy, concrete step will you take in the next 24 hours to make heaven on earth real?"


Friday, September 21st:

11th Annual Gene MacLellan Concert, 7PM, Bonshaw Hall. Scott Parsons heads an extremely talented group of performers in this tribute to Gene MacLellan, with proceeds going to the Bonshaw Hall Co-operative. The concert features local artists Margie Carmichael, Michael Mooney and Laurie Brinklow, Paul Broadbent, Bonnie LeClair, and Keith Baglole and is hosted by Scott Parsons. Admission is $15. For tickets phone Sheldon at 902-675-2855 or call 902-675-3649.


The provincial Progressive Conservative sitting MLAs yesterday all said they aren't going to run for the leadership. CBC article

Someone joked that there are some people right now boosting the outgoing Charlottetown Mayor onto a fat white charger, handing him the reins, and shouting "Gidy-Up".

Commentaries from two seasoned journalists:

Paul MacNeill, publisher of the Graphic newspapers, wrote this editorial in his papers, published yesterday:

Tories reach for the life rafts - The Eastern Graphic Editorial

by Paul MacNeill, published on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018, in The Graphic publications

It was assumed James Aylward would get one shot to prove himself with the Island electorate. In the end, the dysfunction that is the PC Party of PEI didn’t even offer him that.

Less than a year after becoming leader, the Stratford MLA quit Monday, the victim of devastating poll numbers and a party and caucus that stubbornly refuse to acknowledge PEI’s new political reality.

Aylward’s fate was sealed at a meeting last Friday during a so-called ‘informal’ gathering of party organizers. It included former Binns cabinet minister Mike Currie, former Binns communications director turned consultant Dennis King, MLA Steven Myers, party President Charles Blue, VP Suzi DeBlois, Charlottetown lawyer Murray Murphy, election readiness chairman Andy Walker, longtime party supporter Moe Rodgerson, and the leader.

No ultimatum was delivered. But the elephant that hung in the room was the most recent CRA poll showing Tory support at an abysmal 20 per cent and Aylward winning a microscopic 16 per cent as the preferred choice for premier. The poll matches internal Tory poll results.

‘Marketing’ ideas were presented to better position the party in an era where Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker is stealing traditional support from both Liberals and Tories. One participant suggested changing the party name to distance itself from Ontario Premier Doug Ford and former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Some pointed the finger of blame at Bevan-Baker.

None seem willing to look inward and identify why the party is on the verge of irrelevance.

The Green surge has not occurred in a vacuum. It has happened because of Liberal and Tory refusal - or ignorance - to recognize the frustration of ordinary Islanders with politics as usual.

It is incontrovertible that Aylward’s leadership failed to ignite public enthusiasm. He promised a Tory win in the District 11 by-election last November. Instead the Tory standard bearer finished a distant third. Over-promising and under delivering is never a recipe for political longevity.

Aylward is also guilty of relying too much on the advice of a Tory backroom more interested in self preservation than party rejuvenation. Since Pat Binns resigned as leader a decade ago the party has lurched from one leadership crisis to another. Yet the same people are at the table. Aylward never delivered a coherent vision for the future. And he never cleaned house.

Rarely did the public see the earnest MLA who has represented Stratford since 2011. Too often Aylward seemed a caricature of what the party thinks a leader should look and sound like. It didn’t work.

And now Tories enter an unprecedented leadership crisis on the eve of a provincial election. Seven Tory candidates, including five sitting MLAs, are already nominated. There is no guarantee those who are not already MLAs will want to run for someone else. Potential candidates will now sit on the sidelines. Waiting.

Attracting a leader of substance at this late hour is almost an impossible task. The party says the leadership contest will be a quick affair, virtually guaranteeing a sitting MLA the crown, likely Brad Trivers or Darlene Compton because Sidney MacEwen has indicated no desire for leadership. So you trade one MLA for another already rejected by the party. Talk about a tough up sell.

Boring and lack of vision begets more of the same. This is the state of the PC Party today.

So after 10 years in the political wilderness the PC Party of PEI finds itself in worse position than when this long dysfunctional road began. The PCs are without a leader, with little ability to raise funds, little ability to attract quality candidates and an inability to prepare for a provincial election until the leadership question is resolved. Forget any notion of a substantive overhaul of policy.

This may end up being a far deeper wound than if Aylward hung around and took a thumping in the next election.

Tory leaders have a short life span, the political operation is too often disorganized and now there is a growing public perception of irrelevance. This will be a leadership contest aimed at surviving to fight another day. It will not be the much needed battle for the heart, soul and future of the Tory party.

While Tories reach for the life rafts, Greens are smiling. This political gift will further distract from needed public scrutiny of third party policy.

And the sad thing is it is not clear if the PC Party has yet hit rock bottom or if the resignation will simply trigger another wave of dysfunction.

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


Andy Walker, not the Andy Walker mentioned in the Paul MacNeill editorial, above, but the Andy Walker who edits the biweekly Island Farmer magazine from Paul MacNeill's Island Press Limited and is a freelance journalist, will be writing P.E.I.content for Andrew Macdonald's Maritime publication, The Macdonald Notebook, (subheading: Compelling Journalism Since 1989 -- Your Maritime Weekend News Read) which has free articles and also a nominal subscription level.

The (free) article link below mentions about A Chat with Clifford Lee, and the addition of Andy Walker (at least I think there are two Andy Walkers on P.E.I.) to Macdonald's his writing staff...

September 19, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some events coming up that might be of interest:

My Darling Clementine, film, 5PM, City Cinema, $10. 1950 classic with Henry Ford, Victure Mature and Linda Darnell.

''John Ford's greatest Western (...) My Darling Clementine must be one of the sweetest and most good-hearted of all Westerns. The giveaway is the title, which is not about Wyatt or Doc or the gunfight, but about Clementine, certainly the most important thing to happen to Marshal Earp during the story.''

Multiple Organics Fall Flavours event , 7-11PM, Green Island Getaways at Granville, ticketed (about $85 and available through the link). "During this brand new culinary event at The PEI Fall Flavours Festival, browse our pop-up market, talk to the organic farmers about their delicious meats and vegetables then choose the ingredients Island chef Scott Carr will use to create a tantalizing food experience you'll never forget!"

Facebook event details

Saturday, September 22nd:

Stargazing at Macphail Woods, 7-10PM, free.

Facebook event details

Tuesday, September 25th:

Season Extending workshop hosted by the PEI Food Exchange was rescheduled to this date from last night due to the rain.


from a bit over a week ago:

OPINION: P.E.I. has ambiguous, contradictory and confusing fixed election date legislation - The Journal Pioneer article by Herb Dickieson

Published on Friday, September 7th, 2018

A fixed election date is one of the most democratic ways to have a fair and free election. It provides stability and predictability of a fixed term, and a clear mandate to govern. With a fixed election date, a government has a defined timeline to deliver on its election platform, with less temptation for a snap election when polling looks favourable, or unjustified delay when it does not.

Prince Edward Island has ambiguous, contradictory and confusing fixed election date legislation. According to Elections P.E.I., the Fixed Election Dates legislation states, "A general election shall be held on the first Monday in October in the fourth calendar year following ordinary polling day in the most recent general election." So that would fall on Oct. 7, 2019, two weeks prior to the federal government's "fixed election date." An Island made election date must be synchronized not to conflict with timing of the national vote.

Elections P.E.I. further quotes the Legislative Assembly Act, Section 7 with, "Subject to being sooner dissolved by Lieutenant Governor, every Legislative Assembly shall continue for five years from the day of the return of the Writs for a general election, and no longer." This would make the most distal date for an Island election in the present term, May 20, 2020, five years post "return of the Writs" from the May 4, 2015 election, or more likely May 18, 2020, to conform with the Monday election tradition.

Having a fixed election date is the most appropriate method of attracting the best qualified women and men to allow their names to stand for political office for any political party. Offering for an elected public position is a major decision for individuals and their families. Potential candidates operate businesses, engage in professional careers, perform jobs with employee commitments, and have families with associated responsibilities that must be factored in during the decision-making process to run for office. Only a minority of our resident peers are able to suddenly drop all that they are doing at the sudden call of an election on the whim of an incumbent premier seeking electoral advantage.

The uncertainty of an election date also has an impact on planning and staffing for Elections P.E.I., and hundreds of volunteers who participate in the election process. Implications go even further, affecting Island business activity and community organizational planning.

A genuine fixed election date allows potential candidates from all walks of life, for all political parties, to appropriately plan and prepare, taking account of her/his business, employment and family obligations, and present themselves to the electorate for the people's democratic choice. Island municipal governments and most community boards operate in this orderly fashion.

Timing of the writ drop should serve the interest of the people, not the sitting premier and his party. This is best accomplished by a legislated true fixed election date, rather than having an incumbent government "fixing the election date."

- Dr. Herb Dickieson, former MLA, Island New Democrats

September 18, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Tuesday, September 18th:

Season Extension Garden Skills Workshop, 6PM, Farm Centre,

"Extending the Harvest: Cold Hardy Crops and Frost Protection", including a demo of a cold frame you can recreate at home. All welcome.

Thursday, September 20th,

Book Launch and Signing: Project Heaven on Earth, 6:30PM, Kettle Black Cafe, 45 Queen Street. With author Martin Rutte. Drawing for prizes, refreshments, great conversation. More about the project:


Also coming up:

Institute of Island Studies has four events scheduled for Fall:

Friday, September 28th

Tuesday, October 16th

Tuesday, November 20th

Tuesday, December 11th

For the Friday, September 28th:

Discussion: "Living Close to Home: Local Choices for a Sustainable Future", 7:30-9:30PM, UPEI, MacDougall Hall Room 329.

Dr. Peter Denton is the author of Live Close to Home (2016); Technology and Sustainability (2014); Gift Ecology: Reimagining a Sustainable World (2012),

This event is co-sponsored by UPEI Environmental Studies Program and the Kirk of St. James. It is a free, public event. All are welcome.


By now, you probably have heard the news that James Aylward is resigning as Leader of the Progressive Conservatives of P.E.I., as he felt he had not resonated with Islanders enough to successfully lead the Party into the next election and form government. Which is a shame for the Party and for the Island, as James is a honourable, kind, and hard-working and did everything he was asked to and more. Kudos to him.

CBC online story

Other Party Leaders reactions story

Presumably, the Party will start working on the next leadership campaign very soon.

One issue James discussed was engaging the public via legislative reform. He brought forth a discussion paper early in 2018 which...the link to the document on the PC Party's website

isn't working right now....but here are some highlights from a Guardian article about it:

The discussion paper outlines initiatives that would update house procedures, introduce legislative reforms, and strengthen accountability measures such as:

    • A defined legislative calendar to improve review of budgets and legislation and improve efficient operation of the house

    • A code of conduct for MLAs and legislative assembly staff

    • More equity in party membership on legislative committees and secret ballot elections for committee chairs

    • Accepting electronic petitions from the public

    • Greater use of open data practices to share public information with the public

James was interviewed on the Atlantic Canadian public affairs podcast, Springtide, earlier this year about this topic. The podcast link (22 minutes) is here:

Springtide is an organization that says "We build educational programs (workshops and events) and resources (podcasts, videos, and articles) to support people who want to make public life more meaningful through their own participation in it.

By developing these resources and programs, we’re creating a community of people who want to learn better politics, and can support one another."

Which sounds like something James wants to continue to do.

September 17, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Some events this week:

Last day, Art Exhibit "Queer Resistence Artist Showcase," 9AM-9PM, The Guild Studio, Queen Street. Facebook event details


Tuesday, September 18th:

District 9 Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park Liberal Association Nomination meeting, 6PM (Registration), Meeting at 7PM, Hillsborough Park Community Centre, 199 Patterson Dr.

Tuesday, September 18th:

Season Extension Garden Skills Workshop, 6PM, Farm Centre, All welcome.

"Extending the Harvest: Cold Hardy Crops and Frost Protection" with organic farmer Stephanie Dewar. No charge, everyone welcome. "Topics include: Growing cold hardy greens in the fall, Affordable techniques for extending the season, Using protective barriers to prevent frost damage, Demo of a cold frame you can recreate at home. With time for questions." Note that the last garden skill workshop for this season is Oct 30th and will be planting garlic.

Thursday, September 20th:

Green Party Volunteer Strategy Session, Districts 21, 22 and 23, 6PM, Sherbrooke Community Centre. "If you are interested in helping out on any or all of the campaigns in Districts 21, 22 and 23, join us to make a plan and have fun!" Events Calendar page

Friday, September 21st:

District 9 Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park Progressive Conservative Family Fun Day, 4-6PM, Hillsborough Park Community Centre, 199 Patterson Drove. "Your District 9 PC Executive (Todd Gallant, Crystal Ogden, Sean Wheeler, Garth Sanderson and Joanne Callaghan) and Candidate, Sarah Stewart-Clark, invite you to a community fun day for you and your family to enjoy after another week of work and school. <snip> Free Island corn and ice cream, bouncy castle, face painting and more fun for the whole family.

We would love for you to join us to celebrate an evening together as a community. Everyone is welcome. Event is occuring rain or shine!"

Facebook event details


A bit of a recap (cap and trade pun intended) on carbon pricing (or carbon tax), to encourage less carbon burning to combat climate change:

In summer, CBC PEI reporter Kerry Campbell tweeted:

"#PEI is not giving a discount on renewables versus polluting forms of energy. It has for the past 5 years been giving a discount on oil. Now it's dropping tax rates on electricity, but still not down to the level of oil."

and his related article is below and here.

What happened to 'made-in-P.E.I.' plan for carbon pricing? - CBC On-line analysis by Kerry Campbell

Analysis by Kerry Campbell, published on Friday, July 13th, 2018 on CBC on-line

P.E.I. seems to have had a difficult time deciding how to proceed with Ottawa's directive that all provinces put a price on carbon emissions. In December 2016, Premier Wade MacLauchlan said the province's plan for carbon pricing would be "made-in-P.E.I. and made-for-P.E.I."

At that time, P.E.I. had just become signatory of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. "The framework includes a national commitment on pricing carbon pollution. Prince Edward Island will do its part in this," the premier said at the time, providing details on how some carbon revenues would be given back in tax returns and others used to support low-income households. MacLauchlan said carbon pricing would be introduced on P.E.I. in January 2018, but that didn't happen.

No tax equates with 'fighting for Islanders,' says minister

Fast forward to this week. P.E.I.'s Environment Minister Richard Brown said he will submit a climate plan to Ottawa by Sept. 1 which includes neither a carbon tax nor a plan for a cap-and-trade system — the two options the federal government has given the provinces for pricing carbon pollution.

Brown characterized this act of defiance as "fighting for Islanders." But that may mean P.E.I. won't get it's "made-in-P.E.I." approach.

The federal government has said it will introduce carbon pricing across Canada in January 2019, and if provinces don't come up with a plan that fits the requirements, the rules will be according to Ottawa's "backstop" plan for a carbon tax.

This also means the province will miss out on the ability to decide how to use revenues, as the federal government has said if it's forced to implement the backstop, it will return the proceeds directly to residents, rather than provide them to the provincial government in question.

Ottawa's 'choice' to impose a tax: Brown

"If [Ottawa] want[s] to impose a tax at this point in time, they can impose their tax," said Brown. "That's their choice." He said he doesn't understand how charging Islanders a price on carbon, then returning the revenues directly to them will help the environment. "All you're doing is creating a big administrative item here. If everybody is going to get all their tax dollars back … how is that going to affect carbon pricing?"

But UPEI economist Jim Sentance said a carbon tax would do two things: raise the relative cost of carbon-based fuels like gas and heating oil so less polluting options become more attractive, and then redistribute those carbon tax revenues through perks like household rebates or income tax cuts.

That way, he said, "you give people not only the incentive but the money to move away from carbon. It also leaves the decision on how to do that in the hands of the people who know what works best for them — not in government plans that might not suit them."

Predicted to cost average household $788 in 2022

According to figures tabled in Parliament this spring, Ottawa's carbon tax would cost the average Island household $788 per year when the price of carbon maxes out at $50 per tonne in 2022. That would mean in 2019, with a carbon price of $20 per tonne, the average cost to Island households would be $315.

But the person behind the calculations, Jennifer Winter of the University of Calgary, said P.E.I's costs would likely be higher because the figures don't account for the carbon cost of electricity the province imports from New Brunswick.

Reducing HST not pricing carbon, says expert

Both Brown and MacLauchlan have argued P.E.I.'s climate action plan does include a form of carbon pricing — a reduction of the HST charged on a portion of electricity consumption from 15 per cent to five per cent. That would bring the tax on electricity in line with the lower tax rate charged on home heating oil since P.E.I. adopted the HST in 2013. However, parts of Islanders' electricity bills will still be taxed at the full 15 per cent rate. "We consider that a price signal," said MacLauchlan. "I'm very happy to make that case to the federal government … that we are in fact taking measures to reduce our carbon footprint and that price is part of it."

But Sara Hastings-Simon of the Pembina Institute, a clean-energy think tank, said that's not putting a price on carbon because it's not based on the amount of carbon each heat source produces. She said even if electricity and oil were taxed at the exact same rate, "you wouldn't have an effective mechanism that's really driving people to reduce emissions like a price on carbon would."

Documents obtained by CBC through freedom of information show P.E.I.'s climate change secretariat advised government in 2015 that the policy of taxing home heating oil at a lower rate than other energy sources "created incentives for fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions" at the expense of "other less carbon intensive heating sources (e.g. electricity, wood)."


And a "line in the sand" from the Green Party of P.E.I.: published on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018, in The Guardian:

OPINION: A price on carbon - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Peter Bevan-Baker

Commitment from Green Party "to price carbon pollution in socially and economically responsible way"

The recent debate around carbon pricing has created challenges I never anticipated three years ago when I was first elected. Back then, I was the lone Green MLA, I had a tiny but enthusiastic group of advisors, and party membership was small.

On the issue of climate change, I could stand up and defend my conviction that carbon pricing is the most effective and efficient means to reduce emissions. Economists agree, and it has been implemented successfully in dozens of jurisdictions.

When done properly, it not only reduces emissions without placing any additional burden on low and middle-income families, but it can actually improve the economy by easing the transition to new green tech opportunities.

But the political landscape has changed. I now lead a caucus (albeit we are a caucus of two), the party has a wide and diverse membership, and polls show the Greens in a three-way race to form the next government. With so much at stake, I recognize I need to be “strategic” as well as idealistic.

So, when both the Liberals and the Conservatives announced that they would oppose a price on carbon, I had to consider what was best for my party, as well as what was in my heart.

The strategists for both the Liberals and Conservatives know that aligning your party with a new tax or fee is dangerous, if not political suicide. I now have a caucus colleague, employees and candidates who have all put their trust in me. Some have suggested it’s time for me to be more “strategic” and start acting like the leader of a “real party.”

But if I am going to be more strategic, I will also have to be less forthright with Islanders. The Liberals know that a carbon policy imposed by Ottawa will never meet the needs of Islanders as effectively as one that has been designed by Islanders to protect our vulnerable citizens and our primary industries.

When the PCs say they can protect the climate without costing taxpayers, they conveniently forget that taxpayers will pay for any new incentives to reduce emissions and their doomed legal action to prevent carbon pricing -- a double hit to Islanders wallets.

It may not be strategic but I prefer to be honest with voters. Good governing improves people’s lives: it makes things better, and it is willing to face difficult challenges head on. Good governing sometimes requires courage. That’s why you’ll see a clear and unambiguous commitment from me and the Green Party to price carbon pollution in a socially and economically responsible way.

I believe Islanders want leaders who have the vision to address the imminent threat of climate change and are responsible enough to initiate an honest conversation on how to reduce emissions. In fact, I’m willing to bet my political future on it.

Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA, (is) leader of the Green Party of P.E.I.

September 16, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Keeping food and farming local:

Downtown Charlottetown Farmers' Market, 11AM-4PM, Sidewalks along lower Queen Street.

George's Island Market, 12noon-4PM, Bedeque at former Fabric Outlet building

Open Farm Day, various locations, including The New Argyle Farmery and Steep Hill Stable Enrichment Centre in my area, the Farm Centre Legacy Garden, Alexander Fresh Vegetables and Hope River Farm in Hope River Area, Schurman Family Farm greenhouse, and many more.

Open Farm Day Host Farms

TomatoFest,1-4PM, HeartBeet Organics Farm, 742 Darlington Road, North Wiltshire. Admission by donation. Chef Morgan Palmer will produce an array of fantastic dishes, there will be plenty of tomatoes to sample, etc., in this "annual celebration of the brilliant and beautiful heirloom tomato."


Later this week:

Thursday, September 20th,

Book Launch and Signing: Project Heaven on Earth, 6:30PM, Kettle Black Cafe, 45 Queen Street.

from the event information:

"Meet author Martin Rutte and the people and projects from PEI who are making Prince Edward Island Canada’s First Heaven on Earth Province.

You’ll experience the 3 simple questions that get you in touch with what Heaven on Earth is for you, and what simple action you can take to make this real ... easily!

Make your Heaven on Earth story real now just as these global & PEI Heaven Makers did: to bottom for Islanders)

There will be a free drawing for prizes. You’ll also enjoy pastries and Heaven on Earth coffee from The Kettle Black, as well as Heaven on Earth tea from Lady Baker’s Tea."


Cindy Richards (yes, the same incredible Cindy Richards who was the lead public environmental monitor of the Plan B highway project), in organizing information for the P.E.I. Food Exchange, has made a multi-layers and yet simple map of Island Food, with various subject headings. It's a treasure-trove weaving of categories and location, quite searchable, and can be updated as necessary.

Cindy's Island Food Map

Sally Cole's Guardian story from Saturday, September 8th, 2018, on the Wednesdays Charlottetown Farmers' Markets and listing of still-open markets.


The same day The Guardian published the article about the Farmers' Markets, Jim Day did a feature story on Maureen Larkin, the fiercely fighting Maureen Larkin, and about her dealing with Parkinson's Disease. Maureen is a huge force in the social justice world and on this island.

published on Saturday, September 8th, 2018, in The Guardian

Fiercely independent: Charlottetown woman battles Parkinson’s with plenty of fight - The Guardian article by Jim Day

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Parkinson’s disease has delivered plenty of hefty blows to Larkin since she was diagnosed in 2002 with this progressive disorder of the central nervous system. The disease ended her 20-year run as a facilitator and researcher with the Cooper Institute, an organization that promotes democracy.

Just a couple years following the diagnosis, Larkin’s condition had progressed to a level where she could no longer drive. That left her to lean on others to get around, which made her feel like she was imposing on friends and family.

She is difficult to understand. Her speech is slurred, sometimes coming out as no more than an incomprehensible jumble. Her balance is poor. Hunched, she staggers along the sidewalk, looking like she could hit the pavement at any moment.

She does – time and again.

Larkin tumbles to the ground, on average, three times a day, picking up scrapes and bruises along the way.

She remains undeterred.

Parkinson’s disease can beat down her body, but not her will.

She is, in her own words, “very stubborn’’ and “fiercely independent”.

Larkin’s greatest dread is one day, due to the progression of Parkinson’s disease, having to move into a nursing home. “I’d like to stay here as long as I can,’’ she says of her Charlottetown apartment.

She has made a great effort over her 16 years (and counting) of living with Parkinson’s disease to stay as independent as long as possible. She takes eight pills every morning, another five at noon and five more in the evening. The pills help control the tremors, they temper stiffness and help with her balance.

While medication is critical, Larkin soon realized exercise is just as important, or even more so, to marching forward. She tries to walk an hour every day. She goes to two exercise classes a week. She participates weekly in music therapy.

Dan Steele, president of the P.E.I. chapter of Parkinson Canada, says Larkin is an inspiration to people living with Parkinson’s disease. “Where many who are diagnosed with PD (Parkinson’s disease) fall into the trap of withdrawing from the world, Maureen has done the opposite,’’ he says. “Despite significant mobility and voice issues, she continues to be one of our most active volunteers in the P.E.I. chapter of Parkinson Canada. Her example as an advocate for her own health through physical fitness, her positive attitude, sense of humour and determination are things we can all learn from.’’

Larkin is not just looking out for herself. She wants to help others who are living with Parkinson’s. She served as president of the P.E.I. Chapter of Parkinson Canada for five years.

She is a determined fundraiser.

And she has relished in helping to make the Charlottetown support group a more inviting place for persons with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers and family members, watching the numbers grow considerably in the past 10 years. On average, 15 people make their way to the monthly meetings but as many as 50 show up when a special speaker is invited. “It’s easy to get depressed and to hide away and feel sorry for yourself,’’ says Larkin. “That’s why I like to stay involved in things and do what I can to help out.’’

Though the SuperWalk fundraiser was last weekend, donations to the P.E.I. Parkinson's Society can be made by calling Ashleigh at (902) 892-9271, seeing the P.E.I. Parkinson's Society Facebook page, or going to this Parkinson's Society SuperWalk webpage

September 15, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews

Saturdays in September brings the expanse of Farmers' Markets, and late summer produce:

Bloomfield, 8:30AM-12noon*

Stanley Bridge, 9AM-1PM*

Summerside, 9AM-1PM

North Bedeque Route 1A at the old Fabric Outlet building)

Charlottetown, 9AM-2PM

Cardigan, 10AM-2PM

Murray Harbour, 9AM-12noon*

(*not sure if these are still operating)

There appears to be lots of yoga and lots of library events going on today also:

Yoga on the Wharf in Victoria by the Sea, 8:30AM, today and these next couple of Saturdays, with Laura Lee Howard

Facebook event details

Farm Yoga, 10:30AM, Island Hills Farm, Hampshire, with Neally Currie. Event details. (It is likely the same Ms. Currie who was most recently the Project Coordinator for the "West River Growth Study", the impetus for the apparently successful amalgamation process to go ahead in some of the communities around the West River and about which there is more to say another day.)

Summerside Library Events today

Confederation Centre Public Library Events

Green "Chat Local" Stratford, 2-4PM, Now N' Zen Coffee House, Glen Stewart Drive. Candidates and other Party members gather to chat with residents.

PC Party Prince County Family Social, 2-4PM, Northam Community Centre, 678 Northam Road, Tyne Valley. "Co-hosted by District 23 & PC Candidate Hilton MacLennan join the PEI PC Association for a Corn Boil & Mussels." (The map on the Facebook event listing zooms in to the location of the fountain between the Shaw, Jones and Sullivan government buildings in Charlottetown.)

Shellfish Festival continues, various locations

Shellfish Festival website


Projections on the Plaza, 10:15PM, Victoria Row area,

Free screening of Queen of the Crows (directed by Harmony Wagner) and

Mabel's Saga (animated and directed by JoDee Samuelson)

Facebook event details


TomatoFest,1-4PM, HeartBeet Organics Farm, 742 Darlington Road, North Wiltshire. Admission by donation.

"Featuring Chef Morgan Palmer, TomatoFest is back for its 4th annual celebration of the brilliant and beautiful heirloom tomato. (There will be the) opportunity to sample +40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes freshly harvested from the farm and vote for the 'best tasting tomato'! From the tangy tartness of a 'Black Prince', to the delectable sweetness of a 'Brandywine',...You'll also enjoy a variety of dishes featuring tomatoes -- from fresh and smoked salsa, to cold and roasted tomato soups, and the simple but oh, so perfect, perfect caprese salad. You'll go home having discovered a new favourite tomato variety of your own, along with recipes and inspiration for how to turn your tomato harvest into delicious, healthy dishes.

Tours of our organic farm and kid-friendly events are part of the day as well."

And tomorrow is also Open Farm Day


from this week's Graphic newspapers:

Canada needs to lead in the protection of freshwater- The Eastern Graphic article by Dan Krauss

by Dan Kraus, Nature Conservatory of Canada

It’s a luxury to not think about water. Most Canadians watch it flow from the faucet and go down the drain without considering its source or destination. When we do think about water, it’s only about where the nearest tap is.

Many people in the world don’t have taps. Over 1.2 billion people experience critical water shortages. They think about water every day.

Rapid climate change is going to change the way Canadians think about water. And we are going to think about it a lot more.

While scientists can’t predict every future impact of climate change, there are many impacts that we are already experiencing. Most of those involve water.

It’s not my grandma’s weather anymore. Climate change has altered how, where, and when we receive rain and snow. There is more variation in rainfall amounts. We are also seeing more extreme rain events, with a month’s worth of rain falling in just a few hours.

Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a disaster to make us rethink our relationship with water - and water has some very effective ways of communicating with people. Floods, droughts and polluted water that makes people sick sends a strong message.

For over 200 years in Canada, we have tried to move water off the landscape as quickly as possible by straightening streams and filling floodplains. But, draining the landscape has caused profound changes to the ancient interactions between water and land. In the past, rain and snow melt would slowly infiltrate into aquifers or streams, or meander through roots, stems and leaves to return to the atmosphere. Now we push water along hard, straight lines where the benefits of interacting with soil and plants are lost.

Instead of water being cleaned, water is contaminated with too many nutrients and sediments.

We need to slow the flow. Retaining and restoring wetlands and floodplains are a critical part of our adaption to rapid climate change. These habitats provide a two-for-one return on investment when it comes to climate change: it increases landscape resilience to extreme weather by holding flood waters and filtering pollution, and the conserved spaces help to capture and store carbon pollution from the atmosphere. These places also provide habitat for wildlife and opportunities for Canadians to connect with nature.

We are a nation rich in freshwater. Canada has approximately 25 per cent of the world’s wetlands by area, and more lakes than the rest of the world combined. But our freshwater endowment is at risk, especially in southern Canada where most Canadians live. Loss of wetland and floodplain habitats, and runoff from our cities and farms is impacting our lakes, rivers and streams. And this impacts us all.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is helping protect wetlands, floodplains and other places that are important for nature and for people. We work with willing private land-owners who donate or sell their properties or place them under a long-term conservation agreement. This conservation work is supported by Canadians, businesses, foundations, various provincial governments and the Natural Areas Conservation Program of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Canada has an opportunity to lead the world in showing how nature conservation supports clean water, climate change adaptation and our well-being.

If we think about water a little more today, maybe future generations will need to think about it a little less.

Dan Kraus,

Nature Conservancy of Canada

September 14, 2018

Chris Ortenburger's CANews


Lecture, “Food for Thought: How we all kill whales", 7PM, UPEI, McDougall Hall ("buisness building"), room 242, MacKinnon Auditorium. Dr. Michael Moore, Director at the Marine Mammal Center at Woods Hole will be giving the keynote address tonight for a conference tomorrow. Free and all welcome.

More info:


Tomorrow, Saturday, September 16th:

Chat Local Stratford, 2-4PM, Now N'Zen Coffee House, Glen Stewart Drive, Stratford. "Green Party nominees Susan Hartley (District 2) and Josh Weale (District 6) are hosting...It's a great chance for anyone interested in PEI politics to meet with local Green party supporters in an informal setting."

Sunday, September 16th:

Open Farm Day, various locations. More info:

Tuesday, September 18th:

Season Extension Garden Skills Workshop, 6PM, Farm Centre,

"Extending the Harvest: Cold Hardy Crops and Frost Protection" presented by organic farmer Stephanie Dewar. No charge, everyone welcome.

"Topics include: Growing cold hardy greens in the fall, Affordable techniques for extending the season, Using protective barriers to prevent frost damage, Demo of a cold frame you can recreate at home. With time for questions.

Head's up - The last garden skill workshop for this season is Oct 30th and we will be planting garlic. "

All welcome.


Even with so much going on last night, folks packed into the Steele Recital Hall at UPEI to hear journalist and historian Gwynne Dyer speak on the latest rise in Populism in places like the U.S., Europe, and a bit in Canada. And for all those standing around the room, sitting in overflow seating on the stage, basically everywhere but the rafters, Dyer didn't disappoint. He understands the trends and puts events into perspective, with clarity and wit, analyzing how Donald Trump was elected in 2016 because of the economy, specifically the loss of manufacturing jobs not so much to immigrants and corporations moving operations, but to automation (and Dyer backed it with numbers).

He discussed a solution, (as smart countries have to do something) in the form of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), and a bit about to pay for it, etc. There are many people and groups on P.E.I. which have been discussing this for several years now, so it's good to see someone like Dyer talking and writing about it. One comment he made about it not affecting people's desire also to have paid employment, calling UBI "a floor, and not a ceiling" for people as far as income. He didn't even go into the capacity for volunteerism and creativity that citizens can give to their communities if they are provided with ways to make their basic needs.

He touched on why Ontario Premier Doug Ford may have cut that province's UBI pilot project -- maybe the numbers were too good that it was having positive effects; and he mentioned Richard Nixon introduced legislation for a UBI twice during his time as president of the United States, only to have Democrats reject the bills for not offering enough basic income, so it never got off the ground.

Dyer also talked about the effects of Climate Change, which he has written on profusely in previous books.

Gwynne Dyer has a new book Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy and Work which is available at the Bookmark, the organizers said last night.


"For most of history, war has been a more or less functional institution, providing benefits for those societies that were good at it, although the cost in money, in lives, and in suffering was always significant. Only in the past century have large numbers of people begun to question the basic assumption of civilized societies that war is inevitable and often useful."

-- Gwynne Dyer