Citizens' Alliance News -- Thursday, September 21st, 2023
"Our major effort ... should be to disseminate knowledge in a balanced and dispassionate manner, so that human society can make decisions which would help us in meeting this challenge for our benefit and for generations yet to come."
--- Rajendra K. Pachauri, from the Global Chorus essay, below
Standing Committee on Public Accounts meeting, 1:30PM, Coles Building and online.
Topic: Review of Auditor General's Report
The committee will meet to receive a briefing on the Auditor General’s Annual Report to the Legislative Assembly 2023, dated March 2, 2023. Auditor General Darren Noonan will be in attendance.
The meeting will be livestreamed on the Assembly's website and Facebook page.
Lunch Break Science: "Woman the Hunter", 3PM our time, online, hosted by the Leakey Foundation.
"Meet Dr. Cara Ocobock and learn how her research challenges traditional human evolution narratives and expands our understanding of women’s physical capabilities and endurance.
Watch on Facebook, Leakey Foundation Live, LinkedIn, YouTube, or via our new learning hub to participate in the live Q&A session."
Graphic named one of Canada’s best community newspapers
published on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023
For the first time in its 60-year history, The Eastern Graphic has won Best All-Around Newspaper in Canada, beating out finalists from Manitoba and British Columbia.
News Media Canada, which represents 558 publications across the country, honoured The Graphic in its circulation class for editions that included coverage of Hurricane Fiona and mental health and addiction.
“I am absolutely thrilled,” says Publisher Paul MacNeill. “This honour is not for a single story, feature, advertisement or photo. Judges consider the whole paper and editions from different times of the year. It really is an honour for our editor Heather Moore, reporters Josh Lewis, Charlotte MacAulay, and Rachel Collier, advertising representatives and graphic designers. I am incredibly proud of the work they do every week of the year.”
As part of the Best Overall competition judges awarded The Graphic second place in best editorial page and third for best front page.
In individual award categories, Rachel Collier and Paul MacNeill won the prestigious Outstanding Reporter Initiative Award for their Through the Cracks series. Mr MacNeill captured second in the Best Feature category for ‘Who will apologize to Jason Sark?” and second place in Best Spot News Photo for a photo of Logan Fischer which launched the first edition of the series.
This marks the culmination of the single most successful year in the paper’s history. It was a finalist for the country’s top award, The Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service, won the CJF Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism presented by the Canadian Journalism Foundation and was a finalist for the Canadian Association of Journalists competition.
“Every week we put out a product that is the envy of most community newspapers in this country. This year we’ve been recognized for some very important reportage. It is a wonderful testament to the dedication we strive to bring to this community every single day,” Mr MacNeill said.
Against the Tide
Rural PEI looks for crisis leadership
by Paul MacNeill, publisher
published on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023, in The Graphic newspapers
The political hot potato of a safe injection site is once again in the hands of Charlottetown City Council, a group that has maligned, impeded and generally done everything possible to do absolutely nothing to fix the homeless and mental health and addiction crisis in the city.
Council will soon be asked to vote on a recommendation put forward from the city’s planning committee to allow the long overdue site to operate on Park Street for one year. In addition, the provincial government is asking for a one year extension to the temporary permit for the Park Street emergency shelter.
Planning board is recommending council approve the recommendation, but with conditions, which may have a negative impact on the site’s success.
A safe injection site, by definition, offers drug users a safe venue to use illegal drugs. The system works not only because experts are on-site to test drugs for fentanyl and monitor usage, but because a police presence is not the norm. This proposal - no doubt driven by public anger over the disastrous impact on the neighbourhood surrounding the Community Outreach Centre - includes a request for the province to fund six police officers specific to the Park Street location and surrounding area.
It may be good public relations but it likely will not be good public health. Police are not trusted by the vulnerable. And for good cause. During the provincial election the PC government resorted to letting a Charlottetown police officer, turned Tory candidate, announce the arbitrary decision that government would overrule the recommendation from the Public Health Office to situate the safe injection facility on Belmont Street.
The officer is a respected professional. This is a criticism of the politics not person. Politically it was a grotesque attempt to win votes, with the most vulnerable nothing more than pawns of the PC Party.
The optics were awful and make building trust, along with potential of constant police presence, all the more daunting.
Charlottetown is ground zero for the crisis. At some point city council needs to show actual leadership beyond predictable posturing and pandering for votes.
Council’s vote will be telling, but only part of the bigger story. The province is naive to focus virtually all attention and resources on Charlottetown, as if it is the only community impacted.
Every community is impacted, yet there is no provincial plan.
Summerside’s six bed men’s shelter only opened in May. Unlike every shelter in Charlottetown, it operates 24 hours, which is a positive. But it is already consistently at capacity. Eastern PEI is in even worse shape. There is no shelter.
We know provincial demand is far greater than supply. And it’s not just mental health and addiction driving homelessness. Many Islanders are under housed. They couch surf, staying for short stints with family and friends. They may live in a vehicle or tent. When it comes to wrap-around services, none are offered east or west.
The vulnerable will gather where effective services are offered. If we want an effective response in Charlottetown, it must include active investment in rural PEI. Housing, mental health and addiction, affordability all go hand in hand. Yet, the mandate letter for housing minister Rob Lantz makes it clear only the provincial capital is a priority.
This is not just bad policy; it is the definition of insanity.
You cannot solve a province-wide issue without province-wide supports.
Kings County has begged the King government to act for more than a year. Pleas to establish a local shelter are met by silence. Politicians want to run from the issue because it requires imagination, determination and clear focus, while supporting the vulnerable is not seen as a political winner. Instead, government shuffles bureaucrats who have lost credibility with the vulnerable into other jobs hoping no one notices.
Well, we do. Surely, if as a province we can offer unqualified protection to bureaucrats who have failed in their duty, we can offer the same protection to those who actually deserve it.
Paul MacNeill is Publisher of Island Press Limited. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
peicanada / Graphic publications subscription information:
Here's a pleasant way to spend some time:
National Audubon Society award-winning video clips for 2023:
Each is very short, you can reason....
Audubon's 2023 Top 15 Video Clips:
Global Chorus for September 21 I am optimistic that humanity can find a way past the current global crisis that we face. The challenge of climate change of course is by far the most daunting of all the complex problems that afflict planet Earth, and indeed it would take an enormous amount of determination, enlightenment and possibly lifestyle and behavioural changes to effectively meet this challenge. The strongest basis for my optimism lies in the fact that we have today a wealth of scientific knowledge by which we can project the impacts of climate change in the future, if human society were to do nothing about this problem. At the same time, we also have knowledge by which we know that mitigation actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases can be taken in hand with very modest, and sometimes even with negative costs. Our major effort therefore should be to disseminate knowledge in a balanced and dispassionate manner, so that human society can make decisions which would help us in meeting this challenge for our benefit and for generations yet to come. Albert Einstein was right when he said that problems cannot be solved with the level of awareness that created them. We have to use scientific knowledge which has been produced in creating widespread awareness, for in that lies the strongest basis for addressing the problems we face. In summary, therefore, I remain optimistic, and I think we have every reason to be hopeful, even though the path ahead is not going to be without barriers, resistance and difficulties. — Rajendra K. Pachauri (d. 2020) former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.
End of CANews for 2023_09_20
Citizens' Alliance News -- Tuesday, September 19th, 2023
"Earth is our home. We need to clean up the mess."
--- Grant Lawrence, from the Global Chorus essay, below
Island Nature Trust AGM, 6PM, Beaconsfield Carriage House.
Doors open at 5:30PM and seating is limited to 100 people.
Saturday, September 23rd:
Festival of Forests, 1-6PM, Machail Woods.
"Macphail Woods, in partnership with the Forested Landscape Priority Place (FLPP) is hosting this year's Festival of Forests.
The day will include educational walks & talks, bush craft demonstrations, a medicine wheel planting, kids activities, food & refreshments, and lots more fun!
There will also be featured displays that highlight ongoing Forested Landscape Priority Place projects, which will provide an opportunity to connect with PEI environmental groups."
Webinar: Moving Faster Without Breaking Things: Accelerating Just and Sustainable Renewables Development, 4:30PM, online
"Join Chief Conservation Officer Marshall Johnson ...for a panel hosted by World Wildlife Fund at The Nest Climate Campus. This session will bring together stakeholders for a debate on the rapid and responsible transition to renewable energy and how we can ..."move forward quickly and sustainably to meet our climate goals.
This is just one of a whole day of World Wildlife Fund @ The Nest Climate Campus webinars starting this morning, continuing today and tomorrow.
The "Register here" link above shows the entire slate, including "Why We All Should All Support Farming Seaweed" at 10:30AM.
Nature Canada's 2023 Photo Contest is down to five finalists, and the public is invited to help choose the Grand Prize winner. Details here:
This is Stu Neatby's report from the first meeting of the Standing Committee on Health and Social Development:
'Everybody wants to solve this problem together': P.E.I. MLAs agree to host public meetings on homelessness
by Stu Neatby
published on Friday, September 8th, in The Guardian
The P.E.I. legislature's standing committee on health and social development has unanimously agreed to host a series of public meetings aimed at tackling homelessness across the province.
The motion was tabled during the Wednesday, Sept. 6 committee meeting by Liberal MLA and Opposition housing critic Gordon McNeilly.
McNeilly's motion called for the committee to seek public feedback on which programs, policies and supports for P.E.I.'s homeless population are working and which are not.
He also called for recommendations to support the Island's homeless population following the consultations.
"Everybody wants to solve this problem together," said McNeilly.
"It's disjointed at this time. It's disjointed with government, municipal and provincial, and we have to get on the same page."
More provincial involvement
In an interview following the meeting, McNeilly said he has been calling for community consultations on homelessness for the past three years.
He noted that he was pleased to see Charlottetown Police Services host a public meeting on homelessness in the capital city on Tuesday but wants more government involvement.
"It’s great to see police host that meeting, it’s a great start,” he said. “But it should have been the province putting on the meeting.”
Committee member and Green Party MLA Peter Bevan-Baker attended that meeting, which he called "fiery" and "productive."
"I think it's time for the public to have an opportunity to be involved in this incredibly important conversation," said Bevan-Baker, voicing his support for the motion during Wednesday's committee meeting.
McNeilly noted that the public plays an important role in addressing the situation, as it's about whether people will have a roof over their heads.
The next step will see the province work out the details of the public meetings, including where and when the consultations will happen.
Global Chorus essay for September 19 Whenever I speak with skeptics about our global social and climate crisis, I often say this: even if you don’t believe that the climate is changing, even if you think global warming is part of some giant hoax left over from the hippie era, look at it this way: pretend the planet is your yard, your property. Do you dump your garbage out of your open kitchen window onto your lawn? Do you toss out your used appliances into your front yard? Is your backyard filled with your last twenty years of computer monitors? Unless you’re from Manshiet Nasser, the answer is probably no. You pride yourself on keeping your private property neat and tidy and free of trash and garbage. You probably recycle your newspapers and your bottles and you might even compost. If we can abide by this simple logic in our attitudes toward the Earth by applying NIMBY thinking (“not in my backyard”) to our entire planet, no matter where you stand on climate change or what your stance may be, our planet will be a better place now and for future generations. Let’s treat the rest of the planet just like our own private property. Earth is our home. We need to clean up the mess. —Grant Lawrence, radio host at CBC Music
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
Citizens' Alliance of P.E.I.