I find it ironic that the minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Robert ‘it's a done deal' Vessey, would designate a mid-level manager (and a fine one at that) in his department to explain to the media and to the public of Prince Edward Island the cost involved to date of some $3.6 million to acquire land to expedite the building of 'Plan B' plus the unknown costs surrounding required expropriation of property of private landowners.
No doubt the minister has better things to do than explain the costs to the public himself. Further, he, presumably, decided not to involve senior staff in explaining such unimportant matters. I suppose he had things to do, people to see, places to go, etc., etc.
Brendon McGinn, Charlottetown
Would anyone be able to attend Question Period today? It is the one day this week that wasn't already picked by others.
Media: Lloyd Kerry's letter in yesterday's Guardian related the $15,000 that Buffaloland Provincial Park costs to run to the exorbitant costs of Plan B. The Guardian website is down at this moment, so I will send that link later.
Some media from the past few days:
This rather self-serving letter about how Plan B is not bad for the environment, written by a UPEI biology major:
And then this letter from Janet MacLeod who is anything but self-serving, about Plan B:
And, for something completely different, here is some satire from UPEI's newspaper,The Cadre:
Stop Plan B Info Centre -- 1 -3PM, Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road. The original woodcut of the Plan B PEI Flag by Gary Loo will be on display.
Legislature: We could still use someone or two someones to sit through Question Period on Wednesday (definitely), or perhaps Thursday and Friday. Come be a Plan B Legislative Watcher! Let me know if you have questions. You can watch it live, or archived, here:
Also, if you have a question which the Opposition may choose to use for their Island Voices segment of Question Period, please submit it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sustainable Development call for public input:
This is a glossy 28 page document produced by the Department of the Environment that wants to help Islanders to be part of the process for insuring a healthy, sustainable future. When you consider that they are seeking public opinion, after how they treated public opinion during the Environmental Impact Assessment, I have to raise my eyebrows and shrug. But, perhaps it is a good time to write some simple truths to the the government about the environment, and government's treatment of it.
As someone wrote: Please forward this on. Note (the first few pages) with Premier Ghiz's and Minister Sherry's messages. How could they write such things, given Plan B?!! A rich source of quotes for future use.
Additional info with link to: PEI Planning for Sustainable Development -- Foundation Report
To quote someone promoting this from Government:
This joint effort of the Environment Advisory Council and the Land Use Policy Task Force aims to implement one of the recommendations of the Report of the Commission on Land and Local Governance: that the provincial government develop a new Conservation Strategy that builds on the 1994 version. As noted in the press release, comments are now being accepted.
Cost of expropriated land for Plan B -- CBC Website
Yesterday, some of us went over some parts of Plan B where it seems likely that runoff will occur. There are four major areas: in Fairyland, at the Hemlock Grove, at "Crawford's Brook" (west of Peter's Road, the maple/birch ravine) and along the West River in Bonshaw.
More photos are on the website: https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/
and the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/220834614673617/
If you are interested in being a public monitor, and checking sites, especially during and after rains, let me know.
Media: Though not about Plan B, this essay about Dr. Suzuki's message says a lot:
Saturday also saw two other letters, but they are not available electronically yet.
The Info Centre will be open this week from 1 - 3 on Tuesday at the Bonshaw Community Centre. Come by to see the maps and get an idea for what's going on before heading out to the sites.
Yesterday's weather was just right for a workshop on winter camping! The notes from the session will be available on-line soon, and another session is likely to be offered in another month or two. Stop by the camp off Peter's Road to see how it can be done.
And this week brings another week of our Provincial Legislature, where they either avoid Plan B questions altogether, or remarkably, still defend it for safety reasons. The Opposition members, to their credit, do bring it up, but haven't really followed up on the false justification of safety.
If you would like to volunteer an hour or so to watch the Legislature's Question Period, please let me know. The folks down on the floor of the Legislature *do* note when there are people there concerned about Plan B.
Yesterday we had a lesson in proper water sample collection technique for documenting construction site run-off into the tributaries of the West River. This is something volunteers, citizen monitors, are planning to do as part of Watching Plan B, as sediment in the waterways is a huge concern. Interested people are always welcome -- let me know.
Media: CBC published a story on the money the province paid for certain properties along the Plan B path. It's not a completely list (though hats off to CBC for getting that put together), and it looks like it's a lot of money....
Info Centre open: with a more detailed map of the area Today and Tuesday Bonshaw Community Centre 1 - 3PM Winter Camping Workshop Sunday, November 24 11AM -- early afternoon starts at Bonshaw Community Centre, ends at Base Camp -- a must for anyone thinking of staying there for a bit of time, or just interested in the suject and supporting keeping an eye on the Plan B sites.
topics: In class portion: Survival = fire, food, water, shelter
1. Building a fire 2. Shelters 3. Staying warm 4. Importance of eating 5. Pests 6. Bush hazards 7. Staying sane 8. Navigation
Consider bringing a donation for winter camp needs: Tarps, bungee cords, bags of leaves or other good banking ideas, outhouse lime, a cheap, minimal way of getting internet connection, wood, candles - the long ones and pillar candles give the best heat, Coleman lantern and stove propane tanks, drippable coffee - then we can make our own, very large garbage bags, etc.
Recently while I was observing some of the failing mitigations put in place on the Plan B worksite to protect waterways from silt, I was asked why we, the public, should have to monitor the worksite.
answer is, while government leads people to believe that, a)
Environmental Impact Assessments are done to protect the environment,
and b) there are folks whose job it is to monitor the site daily to make
sure mitigations are in place and working, neither of these statements
Impact Assessments are not done to protect the environment. They are
done to reduce damage to the environment during a project. The proof of
that is the number of times an assessment stops a project like Plan B
from moving ahead. That number is as close to zero as it can get.
As for the folks whose job it is to monitor the site, on Friday, Nov. 9 they missed a very definite breach — until we showed up.
rain that day was not a 125-year event, but a normal P.E.I. rainfall
and their monitoring missed what we Islanders knew to watch for. If
needed mitigations are not always put in place and don‘t always work
when they are, why would anyone assume needed monitoring is being done
have been hearing from visitors who claim experience and knowledge of
construction sites on P.E.I. is that they’ve rarely, if ever, seen such
mitigations being put in place. On the surface a positive statement,
but, when asked why, they say, “Because usually no one is watching.”
believe that our presence is influencing the manner in which this
government is attempting to reduce damage caused by the Plan B project.
We also believe the moment we leave, it will be business as usual.
for the love of P.E.I., we will continue to monitor, document, report
and question the project. We invite everyone to come to the camp for
information and to learn how to help hold government and this project
Janet McLeod, Public monitor at Camp Vision (located off Peters Road in Churchill)
I am wondering where all the wood is going that is being cut on the Plan B. Project site in Bonshaw?
hope that the wood is not is going to the contractor/contractors that
are working on the site. There are many poor people in this province
that can use this wood. I
suggest that the wood be given to people on social assistance and those
people living below the poverty line that use wood for heat and cooking
purposes. There are hundreds of cords of wood suitable for firewood that
has been clear-cut in the Plan B project area.
larger trees that have been cut, should be milled and given to the
Habitat for Humanity, and to people who have problem to come up with
enough resources to build their first home. Since the wood is being cut
on Crown land, then the poor people should have a chance to get some for
heating and cooking purposes.
Dr. John Joe Sark LLD, Keptin, Mi'kmaq Grand Council, District of Epekwitk (P.E.I.)
This morning, CBC Radio is having a phone in on HST. If you wish to call and make a connection between the lack of consultation for both the HST and Plan B government decisions, please do. 629-6461, between 7 - 8AM.
I know it was really hard for many of us to get a hold of David Suzuki, and while I wish he and film crew would have been here six months ago, it was still very helpful to have him call Premier Ghiz on the carpet about Plan B. If you wish to show appreciation for David Suzuki's speaking out about Plan B and taking Premier Ghiz to task, consider a donation to his foundation:
https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/donate.aspx?eid=57832 or by calling: 1-800-453-1533 http://www.davidsuzuki.org/
Please join a few of your Plan B friends to lean over the Gallery Rail and watch Question Period of the Legislative Aseembly (today at 2PM and Friday at 10AM), or next week.
Second Opinion by Paul MacNeill, publisher of The Eastern Graphic
As far as political documents go the Speech from the Throne was a non-event, largely a regurgitation of already announced ideas and initiatives. That should come as no surprise. It’s barely a year from the provincial election and seven months from the last Speech from the Throne, traditionally a legislative reset button unless you’re the Ghiz administration.
While there are a couple of notable nuggets, both good and bad, the speech is largely noteworthy for what it doesn’t say.
If you are looking for vision this speech doesn’t deliver.
There is no reference at all to the environment. It’s as if Ghiz Liberals believe PEI is immune from climate change. This massive oversight comes while concerns grow that the lobster fishery, a pillar of the Island economy, has already been negatively impacted.
There was no mention of water and efforts to protect this precious resource. Government couldn’t even manage a generic motherhood environmental statement of support like: “We love the environment and will do everything to protect her.”
Of course we know they couldn’t say such a thing after its handling of the Plan B highway construction debacle.
Little wonder the premier suffered the ignominy of being booed by those attending the Symons Lector last week at Confederation Centre featuring Dr David Suzuki who mocked the government and Plan B.
Instead of vision the Liberals offered unseemly lectures, including criticizing the federal government - a rarity in Throne Speeches – over cuts to EI. The irony, of course, is the premier couldn’t bring himself to attend a rally protesting the cuts the week before in Summerside. Then there is the condescending proclamation that now is the time for the private sector to grow the economy.
The ‘vision’ we were treated to came in the form of a promise from the Department of Education to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars – and precious staff time - on the creation of two more standardized tests that will only serve to further numb our children’s education and thwart the imagination of Island teachers.
Leading education experts in the world dismiss the ever-growing addiction to standardized tests. Yet it is a strategy embraced without question by Ghiz bureaucrats and a minister just happy to be in cabinet.
Education by press release has not, and will not, improve the ability of children to compete in a shrinking world. It’s like completely eliminating the new technology budget then wanting credit for reestablishing it a year later with increased funding over four years that amounts to a measly $2.50 per year per child.
If there is a grade lower than failing the Department of Education deserves it.
One potentially positive announcement is government’s decision to examine Collaborative Emergency Centres, which are proving effective in maintaining a minimum level of 24-hour emergency care in rural Nova Scotia communities. The program also enhances access to physicians and reduces bottlenecks – and costs - in large centre emergency rooms.
Health PEI rebuffed an earlier attempt by Nova Scotia to explain the concept. Even after being recommended by Canadian Premiers – in a report co-authored by Premier Ghiz – Health PEI dithered, preferring its Charlottetown centric model of health care.
The only reason CECs are now on the agenda is because Health Minister Doug Currie is demanding it, for which he deserves credit.
Whether the Throne Speech reference is real or not remains to be seen. The Nova Scotia model can be tweaked to our needs to ensure a maximum suite of service is offered in rural facilities. It can save money and improve service. But any movement to a CEC model must include a significant expansion in provincial ambulance service, which growing anecdotal evidence suggests is under-funded, under-manned and under-performing, especially in rural areas.
But then that would require a vision for rural PEI ... another subject glaringly omitted from the Speech from the Throne.
Just a reminder that the Info Centre at the Bonshaw Community Centre is open today from 1 - 3PM, at 25 Green Road. Come by and check out some maps before heading to Peter's Road to see what is up at Camp.
several months ago, I found myself attending meetings to learn about
Plan B. A couple months ago I found myself standing at Province House
with a sign 'Stop Plan B'. Several weeks ago, I found myself camping in
the Hemlock ravine on the Plan B site. And last weekend, I found myself
learning about the mitigations put in place to ensure that the small
waterways crossing the Plan B site that feed larger waterways are not
clogged with silt.
The fact that I am finding myself doing all sorts of new and interesting things aside, I am now spending my mornings reading all I can about silt and sediment. Before last weekend, I had thought 'aren't all waterways on P.E.I. red after it rains?'
It turns out that silt and sediment is a big deal and that 'a little murky water' is more than just something to notice. Silt and sediment in the waterways occurs naturally. It's when this occurs unnaturally that there is a problem. No, wait, it's when it occurs unnaturally and no one cares, that there is a problem. Basically all the parts of the ecosystem within a waterway are affected. Google it, there are lots of great articles that are easy to read and easy to understand.
Hearing the lead engineer on the Plan B project refer to the failing of mitigations put in place to protect waterways from silt/sediment as 'a small event' is very disheartening. It means not only his value of the waterways is very low, but also that he suspects the public will not care. And he knows that not only does the public have to be educated about issues like silt, they would have to go out of their way to find out if silt is actually a problem on the Plan B site.
So now apparently I will have to find myself locating all the small waterways on the Plan B site and learning how to sample water.
Ian Petrie is a former CBC broadcaster, and he addresses Dr. Suzuki's talk in this latest blog (which is always very interesting):
And the Guardian missed the mark by ending their story (in Saturday's paper) about the lecture a bit early, and not getting the full extent of what Suzuki said regarding Plan B:
It might be worth noting in letters to them.
Letters from Saturday's paper:
and a brief mention in another letter:
Watching Question Period at the Legislative Assembly:
If you have time Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 2-3PM, or Friday from 10-11AM this week, please let me know. It is amazing for juvenile our elected officials behave, but perhaps a sobering reminder that we haven't forgotten Plan B.
They have altered the stream at the hemlocks -- yes, it looks pretty ugly. And yet another design for connecting Plan B through a south spur of Peter's Road to what will be the old TCH has been issued. Presumably this goes through less wetland.
It is the fourth-to-last link on this page.
There is a link to the justification letter/addendum to the EIA on the same page. Stantec is still justifying the project will have improved benefits for safety.
Info centre will be open Tuesday, 1-3PM at the Bonshaw Community Centre -- come in and see maps before heading to the camp.
wonder where all the logs being harvested for the Plan B project are
going. Wouldn't it be nice if something good could come of this waste of
beautiful wildlife habitat? Too bad somebody in this caring government
couldn't have come up with a plan to distribute this wood to families
that will have to make the tough decision whether to put wood on the
fire or food on the table.
could have hired back a few of the hundreds of people they laid off to
cut, split and block the wood, then turn it over to the Salvation Army
for distribution. I guess we should just be satisfied if it is sold for
market value and the money returned to the provincial treasury.
W.M. (William) Smith, Bonshaw
Ghiz government most certainly shot itself in the foot over Plan B, a
gift that will keep on giving to opposition parties for years to come.
They now seem to be taking aim at the other foot regarding their
decision to exempt taxing heating oil on the one hand, but fully taxing
firewood and wood-burning appliances on the other hand.
governments have always exempted firewood and wood burning appliances. I
recall having a series of exchanges with then-finance minister Gilbert
Clements in the 1990s about the contradiction between having a policy
that supported biomass heating, but proposing to tax wood-burning
appliances. Gilbert, a Liberal, to his credit, saw the error of his ways
and removed PST on wood-burning appliances.
here we go again. Exempting heating oil is nonsensical. It is,
effectively, an unfair subsidy of oil, a scarce, non-renewable source of
energy that contributes mightily to climate change with many ancillary
environmental impacts. (How many oil spills occur on P.E.I. annually?)
is P.E.I.'s principal domestic, renewable source of energy, along with
wind power. Burning wood creates hundreds of jobs for rural Islanders
and saves the roughly 60 per cent of homeowners that use wood for a
portion of their heating needs countless millions of dollars each year.
Those people include many of our poorest citizens.
am not aware that the oil industry generates any jobs on P.E.I., apart
from the delivery truck guys. Burning wood also facilitates the proper
management of Island woodlots when people follow their management plans.
Providing a clear disincentive to burn wood in its various forms by
applying the HST goes against the policies of all recent P.E.I.
governments and, frankly, makes no sense. At a minimum, it will aid and
abet the underground economy that governments so despise.
you add the votes of P.E.I. woodlot owners (at least 24,000) to those
of the homeowners that burn wood, you get a number that will easily
elect a majority government. The other Liberal foot is looking rather
exposed at the moment.
Bruce McCallum, Hunter River
Dr. David Suzuki, at the Symons lecture yesterday at the Confederation Centre of the Arts yesterday, came and charmed everyone in the audience at the Confed Centre, except perhaps Premier Ghiz, who was told our whole way of measuring what's important (current economic indicators) was absolutely wrong.
He also said: "Now, I have been bombarded, since the announcement came that I was coming to PEI, by all kinds of people begging me to say something about a thing called Plan B. (applause)
I don't know anything about Plan B! I am sorry, I am not going to be here very long. Where is Mr. Ghiz? Over to you Mr. Ghiz: This is your problem, not mine! (laughter, applause) [Ghiz was sitting in the audience at that point.]
I will say, **We have to stop forcing nature -- we have to stop shoehorning nature -- into *our* agendas, for God's sake!**
Don't tell me that so we can drive a little more "safely", we are going to devastate forest -- I mean that doesn't make sense to me!
We have got to adapt and change our behaviour. But nature is the source of our well-being, and our lives, and every bit of it now is precious! We have got to stop the destruction, whether it is created forest that we got or Old Growth Forest, We have got to learn to live within much stricter confines."
The news piece on Compass is here and it is about 10minutes into the broadcast http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2305722396/
Today is the hemlock and other native tree planting in South Milton -- near Winsloe/Miltonvale Park/Sleepy Hollow area -- 2PM, dress for being outdoors and helping plant trees! This is sponsored by MacPhail Woods Ecological Forestry Project and the Island Nature Trust.
From the press release: "The cutting of large, old hemlocks and other Acadian forest trees to accommodate Plan B has brought increased awareness and concern for the future of this majestic tree. This planting isn’t meant to mitigate or offset the cutting in any way – that would take over two hundred years. Instead, the planting builds on recent increased interest in the species, in our native forests, and associated wildlife such as owls and salamanders.
And last, from last week's concert, a poem by Leon Berrouard:
Heading for the Hemlocks
A quieter weekend than last, but still a lot to mention:
With rain falling, there is the potential for run-off of all the exposed dirt into the streams around the Plan B site. There are folks from Camp Vision planning to check things early this morning, and anyone else is welcome to check things, too.
Reports can be sent to email@example.com or by calling 675-7490 You could cc to me, or let me know what's going on and I can send in the complaint. (675-2239)
Also, please note that Camp Vision could use 1 litre water bottles for water sample collection for sediment. Any donation of the bottles (they could use the water, first) would be appreciated.
Media: Richard Baker's excellent letter raises unanswered questions:
Events: Hemlock seedlings planting, Saturday afternoon, off Sleepy Hollow Road:
Rally: The Rally for Responsible Government was Monday afternoon, and was an excellent event. Well over 200 people were there, a great turnout considering it *was* a nice, warm holiday Monday and many other choices beckoned.
The speakers were varied and had wonderful concise speeches generally focused on an alphabet soup issue (HST, Plan B, PNP, PR -Proportional Representation), and all-in-all the overarching themes were that people were sorely disappointed in how the elected majority government was behaving, and how Islanders need to stand UP and speak UP, or nothing is going to change.; in fact, that Plan B is just the Beginning.
It was also different and fun as no elected representatives spoke, but several were there in the crowd, paying attention; except folks who were in Cornwall trying to have some of the glow from Justin Trudeau reflect on them, too. People of all ages used chalk to write messages on the sidewalks, and many wrote messages for responsible government on paper leaves that will be sent to the Legislature.
Media coverage will undoubted focus on the one attendee who wrote on a pillar of Province House, which the crowd was later asked to refrain from, and was kindly taken care of by a concierge as the rally was cleaning up. There are excellent messages on the walkways for our legislators to see as they walk in and out today for the Speech From the Throne.
Legislature opening: Today's session is short and very formal -- the Speech from the Throne read by the Lt. Governor, Frank Lewis, lasts about an hour and then they all have tea at the Murphy Centre. Wednesday the schedule returns to its regular format of starting at 2PM and after welcoming comments from Members, there is Question Period (QP) for the better part of the hour.
We thought it might be a nice idea if a couple of people opposed to Plan B attend on most days for Question Period. Nothing demonstrative (you are asked to be silent and not bring any phones or recording devices up there), but just watch Question Period and remind our MLAs we have not forgotten Plan B.
The times people are needed are the weekdays when the day's session begins and they have QP, though it's interesting to stay for the rest of the afternoon, too, just not as theatrical.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays 2PM Fridays 10AM
There are a few people able to go to this week's (but the more the merrier), but if you would like to sign on for a particular day for next week, let me know.
You have to show up and find the line, which usually starts forming before 2PM, and heads up the steps to the third floor gallery. Usually you have to check in with the desk on the first floor -- you can sign in and put PLAN B! next to your name and District (we could make sure the Tories know whose in the crowd Watching Plan B that day) -- and drop off cameras, and then head for the stairs (they are very helpful, usually). Once you walk in the Gallery (a little after 2PM, after the MLAs are all settled and have their prayers and song), you can go left and sit facing the government side on the floor below, or the right to see the Opposition and Government Backbenchers. There is only so much space, so sometimes you have to wait for people to leave before you get admission.
The PEI Legislative Assembly website is great, and has live streaming of the sessions and archived ones, too, if you cannot make it to the House:
The "Watch Live" button is in the middle left of the screen (or the other choice is "Listen Live" if you have slow internet.
You can also watch QP later in the day when they have it archived on-line.
I am not sure if the Opposition is continuing their Island Voices questions, but will check that out.
Info centre open today: 1 - 3PM, Bonshaw Community Centre -- it's a lovely day, drop by and see the big map before heading out to Peter's Road.
A Funny Bit from Saturday night's concert, worth repeating, from emcee Doug Millington:
Here are the Top Ten Reasons why people say they LIKE Plan B:
10: I wasn't paying attention when 'driver-ed' covered "steering".
9: It makes it faster to move my harvester from grove to grove.
8: Best darn stretch o' pavement my staff ever dreamed up.
7: I'm not that fussy about scenery. Oh yeah, and that
global warming thing...don't make me laugh!
6: When CN pulled out in '89, my dad got $200 million for new
highways. I just know I can beat that!
5: It brings back fond memories of kicking protester a**.
4: I'm so excited about how much faster I'll be getting to that red light in Cornwall.
3: I just love to cruise on shale from my own pit.
2: Got a 351 hemi under the hood. Can't wait to see what this baby will do on a decent straightaway.
1: At last... PEI is just like Toronto!
Oct. 12, the RCMP closed the Peters Road off the Trans-Canada Highway
from 4-6 p.m. The RCMP were put in a difficult situation of following
orders that did not make sense. The road was closed in an attempt to
keep protesters from witnessing the destruction of area referred to as
the hemlock grove.
The reason the
RCMP had to give was for "safety" reasons. The road was not unsafe and
at 6 p.m. was opened as there were no longer "safety" concerns. It was
an embarrassment to see officers following orders that put them in a
situation of, well, of not telling the truth or being able to give the
real reasons for the temporary road closure. Who is giving the orders
our RCMP are forced to follow?
than a dozen citizens have been charged with trespassing and will be in
court in December. Again the RCMP are being used to stifle legitimate,
lawful, protest which is a right of all citizens on our Island. Peter
Bevan-Baker, for example, will be in court facing charges of trespassing
and "failing to leave when asked to do so". Peter followed the orders
of the force charged with serving and protecting us. When Peter was
asked to leave the construction area on Oct. 9, he left almost
immediately and peaceably, offering no resistance. Yet he was still
charged with failure to leave. Like the road closure for "safety"
reasons, whose orders are the RCMP following?
take note of how our rights to peacefully protest actions by our
government are threatened. Come to the court house on Water Street to
witness the charges laid against Islanders who have the integrity to
stand up to criticize the actions of this government.
I have voted in all provincial and federal elections since being of
voting age. I have voted Conservative, New Democrat, Green, and, yes,
most often Liberal.
Richard Baker, Argyle Shore
November 12, 2012
The big reminder is the Rally for Responsible Government today from 2 -4 PM at Province House. It looks like it is going to be lovely day, so please come down for as much time as you can spare from your holiday to be counted among Islanders wanting *much* better government decisions than what we have seen.
Saturday was a very fine day, and started with the Voluntary Resource Centre's Breakfast honouring some individual volunteers on the island. I was humbled to be included in an amazing group of very hard-working, dedicated people from different walks of life, and thank The Environmental Coalition of PEI for their nomination. It was good for Plan B to be talked about as a bad government decision (and not just at an outside rally) and with a few government members in attendance. And ironic that the emcee was Andrew Sprague, who at least isn't paid by the Department of Transportation to be against Plan B anymore, (and I am sure was volunteering his time). Such is life on the island!
A Very Fine Concert:
Wow, what a wonderful time Saturday night at the Murphy's Community Centre for "A Fine Concert for Change." There was superb entertainment, from the two darling McNeely sisters to the Count and the Cuban Cocktail (and everything in between), with an awards ceremony for certain government individuals (who sadly did not show up!), poetry, top-ten lists, and songs of lament and of hope.
The suggestion was made to have an annual concert around this time of year -- an excellent idea!
The Murphy Centre was great and we appreciated all the help from the staff (and hope they let us back next year).
Our sound guy (Chris Knox) was superb.
Thanks to the many wonderful people who planned the silent auction, got the place decorated, organized people to sit at the welcome table, sat at the welcome table, set-up and helped clean up, performed, or contributed items for the sale, bid and bought items, and of course to everyone who came out and enjoyed the evening.
Besides raising money to help with legal and other expenses, the concert was a way to thank all of you who did anything and everything to help stop Plan B, and will keep speaking out, and watch for the next "Plan B" that comes along.
It's been four weeks since the hemlocks and the rest of the forest were chopped down in the grove off Peter's Road.
A full holiday weekend of events, and if you want to participate in some Plan B - related ones:
Saturday: Voluntary Resource Council fundraising breakfast, 8:30AM, Murphy Centre. ECO-PEI nominated me for the Plan B work.
Say Hello at the Liberal Fundraising Dinner with other Plan B friends, Delta Hotel, about 5:30PM. Jean Cretien will be the headliner at the dinner.
"A Fine Concert for Change" that night, 7PM, Murphy Centre, fundraising for legal and other expenses, admission by donation. A fantastic line-up of talent.
Sunday: (Have a good Remembrance Day -- they fought for our freedom, and it is our job to maintain and nurture that freedom.) It is also a good day to hike near the Plan B areas, since the workers aren't there, and visit Camp Vision. The weather looks good!
Monday: Rally for Responsible Government, 2-4PM, Province House. Despite Justin Trudeau being in Cornwall around then, it's important that many people attend to send a message to government, before the Legislature opens this week. Plan B, PNP, HST, dialysis, school promises, reproductive rights, rural "development", etc.
These updates, archived, if you want to pass them along, or need a reason to feel sleepy...
Events page of Stop Plan B website: https://sites.google.com/site/stopplanbtchbonshawpei/events
Media: Jo-Dee Samuelson writes about the Hemlocks:
The film that was shown at Cinema Politica Tuesday night was fabulous. A big thanks to them and ECO-PEI for hosting that and for donating the proceeds to Plan B.
Neither Robert Ghiz nor Olive Crane can demonstrate leadership. Both have been silent on the Liberals increasing the number of signatures from 10 to 25 for a candidate to run in a provincial election on PEI. Both leaders only support the two party system and won’t admit the last provincial election was unconstitutional.
Like all Islanders, I’ve heard the repeated rallying cry of “It’s all about safety” from any and all proponents of the Atlantic Gateway Highway Proposal in Bonshaw - New Haven ... Plan B. This statement is usually followed by the rationalization “the statistics tell us that this (the TCH in Churchill) needs to be fixed.” So the proponents are covering all the persuasive angles: the emotional angle “If it saves just a single life, it will have been worth it” (Minister Docherty) and the scientific/rational angle “Numbers don’t lie” (Stephen Yeo). So from the government’s promoted point of view, it’s about safety and the statistics support their decision to carry on with Plan B.
Now anyone who has had even a passing acquaintance with statistical analysis realizes immediately that some sort of relationship, in this case location and accidents, does not in any way support causality, ie. One parameter (location) causing the other parameter (accident frequency). As the RCMP accident data points out, there are many factors to be considered in this type of statistical analysis, and if my memory of my graduate school days serves me correctly, it’s referred to as Multiple Correlation Analysis which yields a Multiple Correlation Coefficient for each parameter in the matrix indicating the strength of the parameter relationships as well as the weight that each parameter has on the expected outcome, in this case accident frequency. The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) has made the “leap of faith” or more accurately “the plunge of rationalization” by stating that the accidents are caused by a single parameter, the roadway itself, and disregards all other influencing parameters in the Correlational Matrix, for example, driver error, road conditions at the time, weather conditions, vehicle speed, and vehicle condition (winter tires or not) etc ....
If our government is really concerned with making all of the Island’s existing roadways safer (and not just building new roads, which seems to be the case), and they are keen on statistical analysis of accident data to guide them on their quest, I believe they should by all means do so. Here are a few hypothetical (and very plausible) outcomes of such an analysis that could be easily addressed.
If the statistical analysis yields a statistical significance between the frequency of collisions at intersections where the only signage is a stop or yield sign as compared with those intersections which have flashing red or yellow lights, then install more traffic lights at intersections. I know there would be an expense involved with this but remember, we’re talking about $12 million. Safer intersections across the Island. Done!
If the analysis shows a statistically significant positive correlation between vehicles involved in wintertime collisions and the use of summer (All Season) tires and compared to the use of seasonal (Winter) tires on those vehicles, then legislate compulsory use of winter tires on all vehicles during the winter months. Safer driving for everyone during the long, dark winter months. Done!
If the analysis shows a statistically significant relationship between fatalities in a traffic accident where the victim was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident (the victim was ejected from the vehicle), instigate an aggressive and widespread public awareness educational campaign to encourage the use of seatbelts and legislate higher fines for non-compliance. Fewer fatal automobile accidents. Done!
These are only three simple and affordable approaches to improving the safety of all Island roadways, not just a six kilometre stretch between New Haven and Bonshaw. This type of an approach to improving safety addresses much larger questions than a few curves in the TCH and as a side effect benefit to government, I strongly doubt it would result in any “Save Our Stop Signs” or “Hey! What About My All Season Tires?” protest rallies on the steps of Province House.
So let’s call a spade a spade. It’s not all about safety. It’s not all about statistics. It’s all about a make-work project for a couple of Island construction companies that need the work and the $8 million Atlantic Gateway carrot that’s being held out in front of this inexperienced and poorly-advised government.
And that’s the view from across the river in St. Catherines.
Perry Williams, St. Catherines, PEI
Media: Here is the Compass article -- a brief one -- on the plans for continuing Camp Vision off Peter's Road, about 6 minutes into the broadcast:
and the website article:
Events: Before the Concert Saturday night, people are planning to show up at the Liberal Party fundraising dinner, 5PM (since the dinner starts at 6PM), at the Delta:
Another reason to come to the Concert (A Fine Concert for Change, this Saturday, 7PM, at the Murphy Centre) -- free movie coupons! The Folks from That's Entertainment and The PEI Jazz and Blues Festival have offered one free That's Entertainment rental per person -- thanks to the business and the organizer for that.
Dr. David Suzuki and Plan B: As many of you know, David Suzuki (DS from now on) is giving the annual Symons Lecture next Friday, November 16th. The lecture is sold out, but will be simulcast at conferationcentre.com
Since the first of the year, we have tried several avenues to contact DS to alert him about Plan B. Obviously, as the preeminent Canadian environmentalist, having him say anything about Plan B would bring a lot of attention to it, and could have swayed our government. But, as they say, our appeals were fruitless. No one got any response except maybe automatic messages saying they'd get back to us in two weeks. So we did a little blitz-request a week or two ago.
Many of those bounced, but someone got a hold of person, and her e-mail address was passed to me. Turns out she's DS's exec assistant, and *extremely* protective of him, accused us (OK, me) of trying to "use" him (which is debatable). Anyway, she and I corresponded, and to make a long story short(er):
*he is no longer associated with the David Suzuki Foundation anymore, nor this assistant (go figure)
*he is aware of Plan B, so at least if he gets questions at the Symons Lecture he won't be clueless
*he has no time to visit with us or the site during his PEI visit. (Not sure who has set his agenda so tightly or where else he is going -- anyone know if he is giving another talk to another group???)
*if he has any comments to pass on, he'll do that before the visit via this assistant
Well, OK, so that's the update there. Thanks to you all for writing him -- I know he is a fantastic person, and I wish he had "appointed deputies" who were easily reachable to stand up and speak out about problems like Plan B as he is less able to get involved in these issues.
I'll trim the events a bit:
Today: Today the Plan B Info Centre is open 1-3PM, Bonshaw Community Centre. Stop in and see some maps, and have a cup of tea, before or after you go visit Camp Vision and see the teepee almost completed!
Movie "Taking Stock" tonight, Lecture Theatre C, at AVC (go to public doors on second floor, turn left). Admission by donation. All proceeds go to the Stop Plan B people.
Next Monday: Rally for Responsible Government -- Monday, November 12, 2-4PM, Province House -- please tell people to come. It is meant for ALL islanders to send a message before the Legislature resumes.
Help: For Saturday's "A Fine Concert for Change", we could use people at the door, AND to help with decorating and setting up (afternoon or beforehand). Please contact Cathy Grant if you can help: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
News /What You Can Do: Elizabeth May was at the Plan B site Friday, and said she would speak to her colleagues, the four Island MPs, about what she saw. If you would like to address this with them, too, they are:
Gail Shea, Egmont (Fisheries Minister, Revenue Minister, Minister responsible for PEI) <email@example.com>
Sean Casey, Charlottetown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wayne Easter, Malpeque <email@example.com>
Lawrence MacAuley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In previous communications, MPs have distanced themselves from Plan B, saying the actual project chosen was a provincial matter. Even Wayne Easter said last month (though I did not see the article myself) that he was for Plan B, which just boggles my mind, considering how people went out of their way to communicate with him about their concerns. All the MPs have to do is drive along the TCH and see the destruction, the waste of money on a new road so close to the old, talk to some Islanders, and ask themselves, "Who is benefiting here?"
Despite that, have a good day!Interview with Janet McLeod about winter base camp
Wow, a lot of events going on this week related to Plan B --
Events: Monday night (tonight) may mean a municipal election near you -- consider going and voting to make sure your council stays on top of things in your area!
Tuesday afternoon the Plan B Info Centre will be open - come in for a cup of tea and see the big picture in maps, and see what you can safely visit. 1 -3 PM, Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road
Tuesday night is a showing of the film "Taking Root", admission by donation, with all proceeds going to the Plan B costs. 7PM Lecture Theatre C, Vet College Thanks to ECOPEI and Cinema Politica for their generosity and planning.
Saturday morning (November 10th) is the Voluntary Resource Centre Fundraising Breakfast, highlighting Island volunteers, including your very own Stop Plan B list keeper.
Tickets are $30 with half of that a tax receipt. Call the VRC for details (368-7337). It starts at 8:30AM at the Murphy Centre.
Saturday night is "A Fine Concert for Change", also at the Murphy Centre. This will be a night of music, comic pieces, and storytelling to honour the efforts and creativity of those opposed to Plan B. And help us pay the bills. Musicians include Malcolm Stanley, Roy Johnstone, Margie Carmichael and Teresa Doyle, among others, and the bands The Groove Company, and The Count and the Cuban Cocktail. Catherine O'Brien and Doug Millington will be the emcees, worth the admission (by donation) alone.
"Stop Plan B CDs" will also be available, and there will be a 50:50 draw, a silent auction, and a cash bar after 9PM.
Monday, November 12th (to take advantage of the holiday the day after Remembrance Day) is a Rally for Responsible Government,
2 - 4 PM, at Province House. While the Speech From the Throne is the *next* day, and the first day of business is Wednesday, this rally will highlight the ordinary citizens' wish, desire and demand for government that listens to us. Plan B is surely the Poster Child of this. Islanders from all walks of life are invited. Let's show our elected officials that we expect better.
Media: Elizabeth May of the Federal Green Party visits the Plan B site Friday afternoon.
Maritime CBC Broadcast Friday night, about 5 minutes into the broadcast:
And the Guardian aspect:
Letters to the editor: An excellent letter in Saturday's paper -- gosh, this one really sums things up and says a few "unmentionable" things, too -- so let's start those discussions:
must admit it's refreshing to see people passionate about an issue that
doesn't involve personal gain. People often protest for higher wages or
better benefits for themselves, but Plan B protesters are much more
altruistic. Along with the active protesters, there are a large number
of passive protesters displaying ‘Stop Plan B’ bumper stickers and
Elizabeth May visits protest camp with Peter Bevan-Baker
Lots going on this weekend and in the next week:
Events: This morning: Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May will speak on CBC Radio Island Morning about 7:15AM.
This afternoon: Elizabeth May visits the Plan B Campsite
Elizabeth May will visit the Plan B Base Camp(Camp Vision) tonight about 5:30PM. Everyone is welcome to drop by. There is some carpooling -- people leaving from Charlottetown (Voluntary Resource Centre, Prince Street) at 5PM, and folks are encouraged to meet at the Strathgartney Lookout at 5:20 to carpool from there (just to keep the traffic down a bit at the driveway of the camp). Elizabeth has been following Plan B for a while, and will probably speak to the press from the camp.
Tonight:Elizabeth May will speak as part of the first night of the Green Party Leadership Convention (starts at 7PM). You can guess Plan B and its implications will be mentioned. The public is welcome (admission at the door), and the line-up includes Erskine Smith, Todd MacLean, and music by the Groove Company.http://greenparty.pe.ca
Saturday, November 3rd
The PEI Green Leadership Convention continues (9AM to 2PM), with panel discussions on water and land use issues; Plan B is at the heart of a lot of this. Megan Harris (West River Watershed Coordinator) and Dr. George McRobie (author on sustainable land use) will speak, Peter Bevan-Baker (incoming GP of PEI Leader) will outline his vision for the future, *and* there will be lunch. The public is welcome (admission at the door).
Plan B Info Centre is open from 1-3PM, at the Bonshaw Community Centre, 25 Green Road. Stop in the downstairs room to see maps, have a cup of tea, and get directions to Camp Vision or other areas to see what is going on with Plan B.
Tuesday, November 6th "Taking Root" Film about a woman who planted trees and made a difference in her community, 7PM, AVC Lecture C, proceeds for Plan B
Saturday, November 10th A Fine Concert for Change, 7 - 11PM, Murphy's Community Centre -- mark your calendars!
Monday, November 12, 2012 Rally for Responsible Government -- new!
On Monday, November 12th from 2-4pm at Province House, Islanders from all walks of life are invited to come together to raise their concerns about PEI government policies. There will be speakers, music, education, etc. Everyone welcome. In case of bad weather, the Rally will be held in Murphy's Community Centre. For more information, phone 675-2541 or 675-4093.
** this is on the holiday Monday so more people can make it, and it is the day before the PEI Legislature's Speech From the Throne (which is Tuesday).
Website: The Stop Plan B website continues to be added to every day -- take a look:
Media: From yesterday's Guardian: Excellent reading for policymakers
Published on November 1, 2012 Irene Novaczek's guest opinion of Oct. 26 (‘Plan B: a price too high') and Gary Loo's letter to the editor (‘Being good stewards of this Island') on the following day would be excellent reading for the policymakers of our provincial government. But these pithy and thoughtful letters need to be read more than once and, as I often like to say, be meditated on. This is especially so of Irene Novaczek's thoughts.
In fact, I would suggest that all deputy ministers, ministers and even our premier, meditate collectively on what she is saying. Certainly the behaviour, decisions and attitudes of government indicate that they just don't get it. What Prince Edward Island is really about is not in their hearts and souls, and I seriously wonder about what is in their minds.
Plan B is now a done deal. All the efforts and even sacrifice of so many good people to change government's mind has changed nothing. But to those people I say, thank you for fighting the good fight for a noble cause. The collective awareness and thoughtfulness of nearly every Islander has been elevated. Our appreciation of this place has been enhanced. I certainly hope in November of 2015, Islanders show that they have not forgotten.
Tony Spenceley, Charlottetown and Dan Aiken of Warren Grove obliquely references Plan B as part of the Ghiz's government lack of courage.
by Dan Aiken
It's become more and more clear in recent years that Islanders are concerned about the direction of our province.
Producers from a range of industries are concerned about higher costs, lower paycheques, and the erosion of a lifestyle that has persevered for generations. Students emerge from university and college in search of opportunities that are too few and far between. We've seen the spread of dangerous drugs and addictions while community centres close and the paint peels away.
Some of the challenges we face were thrust upon us by a changing global economy, though some of these issues are distinctly our own and the responsibility is ours to acknowledge and address these challenges.
Prince Edward Island is a truly unique and incredible place to call home. Yet, if we are not vigilant in our vision for the future this great province's economy could be in jeopardy. Generations of our people have been forced to leave to find new opportunities. Our government is plagued by enormous debt, which threatens the sustainability of vital services. Our most prosperous industries face unprecedented challenges in a global marketplace.
Islanders must work together to develop the best strategies to address changes in the world. We must be creative in marketing ourselves to potential tourists, businesses and buyers. And we must be innovative to find effective solutions to growth barriers. Most importantly, however, we must make every effort to create new opportunities at home, to offer parents the availability of employment and students the availability of quality education.
We take our politics very seriously in P.E.I.. Every Islander who gets involved in our democratic process truly cares about this place and works hard to make this a better province and a better community. We're fortunate to have two government-ready political parties that debate each other on substance and on ideas.
Premier Ghiz is unquestionably a nice person. And his determination to serve P.E.I. is clear. While we know he is determined to take our province toward something new, many are questioning the vision Ghiz has for our home. The Plan B controversy is surprising to many of us because of the Ghiz government's inability to articulate its position and its rigid unwillingness to freely and openly discuss the project with the Islanders who will be burdened by its costs.
The mere thought of the soon-to-be Green Party leader being charged for attempting to be heard on this project is an appalling disgrace. It is a democratic indecency of the Ghiz government that a political leader would be hauled before the courts because Mr. Ghiz refuses to be hauled before the voters.
I don't agree with the protesters' positioning on this issue and I certainly don't agree with how some in their group treated Bush Dumville - who is an honourable public servant - but I firmly believe in the principles of our democratic system. If the government's position is defensible, then defend it. If there is an economic gain that outweighs the enormous costs, demonstrate it. True leaders are never afraid of the democratic process.
Robert Ghiz is afraid of democracy when it comes to Plan B, public accounts oversight and HST. In contrast, the PC Party has demonstrated its openness of the democratic process in recent weeks with its ability to have serious discussions, which are refreshing in contrast to a closed and cold Ghiz government.
Olive Crane's acceptance of a leadership review vote within the PC Party shows that the democratic system is strong and durable. Islanders have a right to frank, fair and free conversations about the leadership of our parties and our province. With big challenges ahead of us, it demonstrates strength of character and principle that Island Tories are open to adult conversations. That's leadership that Premier Ghiz should emulate.
Novaczek's guest opinion of Oct. 26 (‘Plan B: a price too high') and
Gary Loo's letter to the editor (‘Being good stewards of this Island')
on the following day would be excellent reading for the policymakers of
our provincial government.
An excellent blog entry by Gail Rhyno -- pass it along:
David Suzuki's office's response: We got a reply from David Suzuki's office (with thanks to Judith Arnold for her determination in tracking down a living human being). Short answer: He's too tightly scheduled on this visit to stop by the site (I'll ask just where exactly he is going), but he will look at our letters and material and have his assistant Deanne write something back if he has anything to add, when he next is in the office.
We were reminded to do all the things we are doing -- contact our elected officials, write the media, bring it to the attention of local governance, etc.
She said that they have all the info they need and have asked that we stop writing. She explained how overwhelmed he is with all sorts of requests, which must be true because I know a lot of people have contacted the him over the last months and no one, as far as I know, got any sort of answer. I will post his guide called "Driven to Action" in the files. Thanks to all who wrote him.
Events: Friday, November 2nd and Saturday, November 3rd The Green Party of PEI convention is this Friday and Saturday at the Arts Guild, and all events are open to the public.
Friday night (doors open at 6:30PM) includes a speech by Elizabeth May, MP and Federal Leader of the Green Party, Erskine Smith and Todd MacLean.
Saturday (doors open at 8:30AM) includes panel discussions on Land and Water issues, including Megan Harris (West River Watershed Coordinator) and
Dr. George McRobie (author of An Island Future: Towards Sustainability and Self-Reliance).
I suspect Plan B may come up once or twice both days.
Tuesday, November 6th "Taking Root" film with proceeds towards Plan B (admission by donation) 7PM, Lecture Room C at AVC Saturday, November 10th "A Fine Concert for Change" 7 - 11PM Murphy's Community Centre music and more (admission by donation)
Country rambles: Come visit the base Camp Vision anytime, and the Info Centre this Saturday, November 3rd, from 1 -3PM (downstairs of Bonshaw Community Centre)