very observant person on this island noted that Warren Ellis could be
considered in the class of a chronic, serial law breaker regarding the federal
charge of discharging a deleterious substance into a waterway (as opposed to
the farmer charged yesterday for breaking provincial regulations related to
slope and watercourse distance). Mr. Ellis was ordered to pay over
$70,000 for the incident in 2011.
Published October 31st, 2014
— They agreed it was an unfortunate accident, but an example had to be made.
Summerside businessman, philanthropist and former West Prince farmer, Warren Ellis, 59, was sentenced in Summerside Thursday to pay $72,280 in fines. Ellis had previously plead guilty to charges under the federal Fisheries Act and provincial Crop Rotation Act relating to Prince County fish kills in 2011 and 2012. Judge Jeff Lantz handed down his sentence based on a joint recommendation from Crown prosecutor Paul Adams and Ellis’ defence attorney Jim Gormley.
The charges were two counts of allowing a deleterious substance into a body of water frequented by fish (they were combined into one single charge) and one count of planting potatoes in a field more than once in three years. Another charge against Warren Ellis Produce Inc. was dropped.
Speaking in relation to the fisheries charges, both lawyers agreed that, based on the facts, Ellis had applied pesticides on his land in accordance with regulations, but that subsequent, unusually heavy, downpours of rain had washed the chemicals into the brook, killing thousands of fish.
But Adams told the court that, regardless of the intent of the accused, fish kills are a serious issue on Prince Edward Island and examples need to be set. “The facts don’t suggest this was an act committed intentionally … but that’s not the point,” he said. He said the fines imposed by the court would “send a deterrent, but also have a tangible community benefit.”
To that affect, the total fine money will be broken up like so: $5,000 straight fine for the fisheries charge, $30,000 to Environment Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, $27,500 to the Atlantic Salmon Federation and $7,500 to the Scales Pond and Dunk River Restoration Committee. The remaining $2,280 fine is payable to the province as it’s in relation to the Crop Rotation Act charge.
Ellis was in the courtroom on Thursday though he didn’t speak. Gormley said his client was remorseful about what happened and hoped the fine money would help local fish habitat programs. He also spoke at length about Ellis’ philanthropic work in the Prince County community and supplied the court with various letters of thanks and commendations that his client has earned over the years.
He also noted that Ellis has sold his farming operation since these charges were laid and is no longer in the industry. He would like to move on, he said. “The issue of fish kills here on Prince Edward Island is bigger than one farm. And although Mr. Ellis is here accepting responsibility … fish kills on Prince Edward Island started long before his involvement and fish kills have continued after his departure from the farming industry,” said Gormley.
Continuing questions: I wonder to whom the land was sold?
events to choose from today and tomorrow:
Gary Schneider of the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry
Project is going to be providing us with input on the design of our native
landscaping. He'll be joining us Friday afternoon, (Oct 31st, 1:30pm).
November 2nd, 1-3PM, Coles in Summerside
Saturday, November 1st, Voluntary Resource Breakfast and Volunteer Recognition, including Pesticide Free PEI's Maureen Kerr, 8:30AM-10:30AM, Murphy's Community Centre, call Sylvie at the VRC for ticket availability (902) 368-7337
Saturday, 2PM, Fall Gardening Workshop, Farm Centre
The growing season may be
wrapping up, but there remains plenty to do in the garden. In this workshop,
we’ll learn how to best prepare for next spring through hands-on activities.
The 10th Blues Matinee
& jam of this season Saturday afternoon at the Factory 2:30-4:30 pm hosted
by Got Blues (Chris Roumbanis and friends, Reg Ballagh & Mike Robicheau)
along with special guest Bonnie Leclair on guitar & vocals.
Environment Department laid charges against Brookfield Farms yesterday that
appear to be related to the fishkill on August 9th of this year. They
cited violations in watercourse buffer and in slope.
Published on October 30th, 2014
Vegetable farm charged in connection with August fish kills in North River
Brookfield Gardens Inc. is a relatively big farm, producing close to 120 hectares of vegetables. Farmer Ed Dykerman says great attention has been placed on responsible and safe farming practices in growing a wide variety of vegetables including squash, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, beets and turnips. So being slapped with charges under the Environmental Protection Act this week stings, he says.The Department of Environment, Labour and Justice issued a release Wednesday stating Brookfield Gardens has been charged with three counts under the Environmental Protection Act's watercourse and wetland protection regulations. Charges arose, the department adds, from the investigation of a reported fish kill on the North River on Aug. 9. The charges are the result of the cultivation of an agricultural crop in the North Milton area.
Dykerman takes exception to the wording of the release, feeling it may create a false impression. “As far as we know we have not been charged with a fish kill but they (Department of Environment) are making it sound that way,’’ he says. “We just got the information so we are not ready to make a comment at this point. It’s a bit of a confusing act...but we may have made a mistake.’’
The charges are:
— Cultivation of an agricultural crop within 15 meters of a watercourse boundary or wetland boundary;
— Without a license or Buffer Zone Activity Permit alter or disturb the ground or soil within 15 meters of a watercourse boundary or wetland boundary;
— Cultivate one or more hectares of row crop on any parcel of land which has a slope which is greater than nine per cent unless there is a management plan for that area and the cultivation of the row crop is done, pursuant to, and in accordance with, that management plan.
Brookfield Gardens Inc. is to appear in provincial court in Charlottetown on Nov. 24 to answer the charge
from Monday, October 27th:
energy, and not-so-clean energy:
Justin Rockefeller Headlines Upcoming Fossil Fuel Divestment Webinar
Will divestment accelerate the global shift to clean energy? On October 29, we’ll welcome two distinguished guests to our Clean Energy Quarterly webinar to help us wrestle with that question: Justin Rockefeller, trustee with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and David Richardson, North America head of business development for Impax Asset Management.
Once again, your Clean Energy Canada hosts James Glave and Dan Woynillowicz will kick off the hour with a quick recap of the trends, milestones, and breakthroughs that are shaping the global and domestic clean energy landscape. Then we’ll hear from our guests, and take questions from the audience.
Last month, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a private foundation with an endowment of approximately USD$860 million, announced it has begun phasing out fossil-fuel-related positions from its investment portfolio, starting with coal and oil sands. Justin Rockefeller will join us to speak about what prompted the decision, some of the factors considered, and challenges involved.
David Richardson, managing director, U.S. business development and client service, Impax Asset Management.
Recently, Impax Asset Management sought the answer to a provocative question: What would happen if all fossil stocks were removed from a global benchmark investment index? David Richardson, will share his team’s surprising findings and outline his firm’s recommendations for those considering a divestment strategy.
Ottawa – What happens when you put a rancher, a fisherman, a journalist and Maude Barlow into a room? It might be the beginning of a joke, but it’s nothing but. It is a sampling of some of the speakers who will tour Atlantic Canada to discuss the disastrous consequences of the Energy East pipeline. They will tour Halifax, Cornwallis, Saint John, Fredericton and Edmundston from October 26 to November 6.
TransCanada’s Energy East export pipeline project would ship 1.1 million barrels of oil every day, including tar sands crude, from Alberta to ports in Cacouna, Quebec and Saint John, New Brunswick. It would be the largest tar sands pipeline in North America. Atlantic Canadians are concerned about how a spill would damage waterways including several major New Brunswick rivers and the Bay of Fundy. Boasting the highest tides in the world, the Bay of Fundy is both a playground for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and a source of livelihood for fishers and tourism outfits on both the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia sides of the Bay.
The Council of Canadians and local partners will visit communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to hear about local concerns and talk about why TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline is all risk and little reward for Atlantic Canada. “Atlantic Canada is at the precipice of a major decision: do they put their safety and environment, tourism and fishery industries in peril to help the Alberta tar sands expand? And the oil is not even for our own domestic use, but for export. Or are there other options?” said Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, “As they have shown with fracking in the past, Atlantic Canadians know when a few jobs aren’t worth the risk. They can and should give TransCanada the boot.”
Council of Canadians Chairperson Maude Barlow,
journalist and Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill speaker Cherri Foytlin, Energy
Director of Bold Nebraska Ben Gotschall, and others will speak about, the
overall project and the risks of a pipeline and tanker spill, and the
protection of our waterways and possible alternatives.
The tour has been to Halifax and Cornwallis, and is in Saint John,
"Celebrating" getting the project moving, from The Globe and Mail last week:
Ottawa, Quebec to clear path for Gulf of St. Lawrence oil production - The Globe and Mail article by Shawn McCarthy
Published Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The federal and Quebec governments say they are
ready to introduce legislation that will allow for oil-and-gas production in
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with the province capturing any revenues that flow
from the development.
rest of the story is here
and another perspective:
Drilling beneath Gulf of St. Lawrence could harm environment more than forecast, research says
The article delves into a study commissioned by Corridor Resources which minimized risk of a spill at "Old Harry". Oceanographer Dany Dumont, disagrees.
bit of information overload, but time-sensitive bits:
Bees and Bayer, old and new:
"If approved, this new pesticide will likely wreak further havoc on our bees -- which are already dying in record numbers. Last winter, almost 30 percent of Canada's bee colonies were devastated, and strikingly, we lost over half of our bee colonies in Ontario. Judging by Bayer's deadly track record, this new pesticide could speed up the complete decimation of the local bee population, which would have catastrophic effects on Canada's food supplies.
"The final decision lies with
Health Canada, and we have until November 1 to make our voice heard. If we want Health Canada to stand up to Bayer, it needs
to hear from us now."
The technical information sheet on Bayer's website for flupyradifurone is here.
The David Suzuki Foundation column on flu-pyra-di-furone with another way to comment to the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is here.
Two fantastic Rogers had letters in Monday Guardian, regarding
the call for a buffer zone for spraying to protect vulnerable residents of PEI,
to which there has been no response from Environment Minister Janice Sherry:
Published on October 27, 2014
Pesticide Free P.E.I. recently made a request of government to create a buffer zone around school playgrounds, hospitals, bus stops and senior homes where pesticides should not be sprayed.
Taking the government own “Precautionary Principle” policy into consideration, which states: “if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or the environment, and in the absence of scientific consensus, the action or policy should be treated as harmful and steps should be taken to limit or avoid that action or policy.” On this basis I don’t think that “Pesticide Free P.E.I. “ request is unreasonable.
The government’s response to these buffer zone requests is to state that Health Canada deems that these pesticides are safe. I’d like to point out that Health Canada’s approval of chemicals for safe use has been a little checkered in the past.
A few years back there was a Monsanto product called Bovine Hormone, (it helped boost the amount of milk cows produce) which was approved by Health Canada. Upon its approval, three Health Canada scientists went public and stated that, in their expert opinion, it was unsafe. Health Canada was forced to reverse their approval, but promptly fired all three scientists. After a wrongful dismissal court case, which they won and were compensated accordingly, they did not get their jobs back.
Just recently, after years of lobbying by health professionals, Health Canada has finally mandated a 25 per cent reduction of sugars in processed foods. Which still leaves sugar levels way higher than that advocated by health professionals. Other countries have mandated much lower levels. It would also give us future cost saving to our health care system.
Health Canada and other federal agencies have deemed safe substances like, lead arsenate, DDT, Fenitrothion etc. (it’s a long list). After harming many people these substances were eventually removed. Scientists at the time could not understand why they were approved in the first place. It all makes me wonder whose health is Health Canada is concerned with?
Roger Greaves, Stratford
--------------------------------Roger Gordon, retired biologist, former Dean of Science at UPEI, author and concerned grandfather:
Published on October 27, 2014I found it hard to believe when I saw and heard it. But, yes, on Compass the other night, Rob Gallant, owner-operator of Atlantic Graduate lawn spraying company stated that he was unaware of any of the chemicals that he uses being linked to cancer. I thought I’d take the opportunity to enlighten him.
The three most common pesticides used on P.E.I. lawns are mecocrop and mcpa (herbicides) and carbaryl (sevin), an insecticide. Mr. Gallant could begin his foray into the primary literature by taking a look at several studies and excellent reviews on these three chemicals (which I can provide). Then, if he were still not convinced, he could read one or two excellent meta-analyses, articles in which eminent scientists analyse innumerable research studies and subject them to robust statistics. Granted, the most articles deal with all categories of pesticides, but they include the ones that Mr. Gallant uses. The two forms of cancer that most frequently show up are Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Childhood Leukemia.
One of the pesticides that Mr. Gallant and others use, Carbaryl, is such a health risk that countries like the United Kingdom, Denmark, Australia, Germany, and Sweden have banned it. I suggest to Mr. Gallant that instead of trying to defend the indefensible, he would be better off moving with the times, taking note of public opinion and oh yes — reading the science.
As for our provincial government, the fact that they are allowing all this to happen is shocking. A modest request that was made to them to impose a no spray buffer zone around playgrounds and other public areas has still not been acted upon. The poet Thomas Gray once said: “Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.” I disagree.
Roger Gordon, Stratford
Your local MLA's e-mail can be found here:
Bernard's talk for the McRobie lecture at Macphail Homestead Saturday was
reported to be excellent. In case like many of us you didn't get to be
there, the Citizens' Alliance will likely get a copy of her talk on DVD and be
able to loan that out to people and groups, as we have the past two lectures
(Rob Paterson last year and Mark Lapping in 2012) for loan.
Blair Arsenault, an instructor in the college’s Energy Systems Engineering Technology program, will discuss the fundamental concepts in home design. He will delve into the integrated design process, proper solar orientation, and some universal design features.
This session is open to the public, and is an excellent opportunity for people preparing to build a home to incorporate energy efficient, green technologies into their plans.
This is the first of a series of lunch and learn sessions that the Green Machine will host this school year. Admission is free of charge, and the Green Machine is providing pizza for those who do not bring a lunch.
The session starts at noon, in Room 21C in the East Wing of the Charlottetown Centre on the Prince of Wales Campus. For more information about the Green Machine, visit hollandcollege.com/greenmachine or join them on Facebook at HCGreenMachine.http://www.hollandcollege.com/college_news/green-machine-hosts-lunch-and-learn/
is hope when you realize the contribution "younger" people are
making-- here are two examples:
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet was created and edited by Todd MacLean of Pinette.
The book is published by Rocky Mountain Books and features words by Jane Goodall, Nelson Mandela, David Suzuki, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Stephen Hawing, Maya Angelou, the Dali Lama and hundreds more.
Proceeds will go to the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the David Suzuki Foundation.
Following is a list of local launch and book
All events will feature live music, with free admission to the public, and all are invited to attend.
Published on October 25th, 2014, in The Guardian
It’s like the environmental elephant in the room.
The future of the world is a subject that’s on the mind of most, but it ranks right up there with religion and politics in terms of conversation killers. Todd MacLean was not alone in having this topic weigh heavy on his mind.
But one day after some serious thought in one of the best think tanks there is — the shower — this private music teacher and well-known Island musician from Pinette decided to shine the spotlight big and bright on this elephantine issue.
So he posed a series of questions to some of the best minds in the world, asking is there hope for humanity and the world given current global environmental and social crises?
The responses poured in from Antarctica to Greenland, from the famous — Jane Goodall, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Stephen Hawking — to the local — P.E.I. writers David Helwig and Jill MacCormack. All have been arranged together to form Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, published by Rocky Mountain Books.
“I wanted it to be a way that people could keep important issues on their minds on a daily basis and not feel bogged down with them, but to just keep thinking about important environmental and social issues. I thought that this could be a really great way to just keep the conversation going,” MacLean says of his P.E.I.-produced anthology of 365 perspectives on the environmental future, which has hit the top of Amazon.ca’s sales in environmental titles although its official release is still days away.
MacLean has come a long way since his inspirational in-the shower moment in the spring of 2010. “I thought wouldn’t it be great (if someone put together) a book where it was one piece per day — a page of words from a different person in the world, a whole broad range of people all talking about the big question. Where are we actually headed? What kind of hope do we have to get through the environmental and social crises that we face? Can we do it and how can we do that?” he remembers.
That someone turned out to be him as he responded to encouragement from family and friends for his unique Global Chorus concept. Canadian activist David Suzuki was the book’s first contributor.
With the well-known environmentalist onboard, the doors opened more easily for MacLean as people such as Justin Trudeau, Jane Goodall, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other celebrities and great thinkers joined the foray. “It was such a broad, deep question and I was worried at first about posing these questions to these people all over the world with varying professions and a lot of them being environmentalists and humanitarians. A lot of them had been working on this question their entire life, devoting all the work they can to this. They want to make the world a better place,” MacLean says.
“But what actually happened in a lot of cases, contributors just said, ‘Thank you so much for asking these questions because it has helped me crystalize my thinking. I’m actually thinking about my work now in a broader sense where I wasn’t before.’ There were even a few contributors that said it was a transformational process for them because they got to actually meditate on the real issue at hand.”
One of the youngest contributors was 14-year old GMO educator and activist Rachel Parent, founder of Kids Right to Know. “Rachel Parent is just an incredibly inspiring youth environmentalist from Toronto and she is driven with a passion that is rarely seen in anyone, let alone in someone her age,” MacLean says.
“I wanted to make sure that people from various walks of life were invited to the chorus because it’s not just the people in the driver’s seats around the globe who have insightful wisdoms to share on the subject of where we’re headed as a human species. It’s the everyday folks. It’s not only environmentalists or spiritual leaders or politicians, there are bus drivers in Global Chorus, there are farmers, chefs, yogis, doctors, musicians and activists.”
Global Chorus has representation from all seven continents, including the inspirational words of Moi Enomenga, leader of Huaorani people in the Ecuadorian Amazon, who had won a National Geographic award for his dedication to environmental issues.
To track him down, MacLean contacted an eco lodge in the Huaorani district and found a person there who was in regular contact with Enomenga who agreed to interview the tribal leader and translate his response for inclusion in Global Chorus.
“I think we’d just had a snowstorm (here on P.E.I.) and I got this piece from (Enomenga) speaking unbelievably powerful words about their problems they’re experiencing there and what we’re experiencing all over the world in a grand sense. It brought me to tears,” he says.
Global Chorus’s message is ominous in its warnings at times, but there is also a resounding chorus of reassurance, of community, of collaboration and hope contained within its pages. “My hope was that people would actually focus more on solutions — guidance and insight about where we can go with humanity and how we can bring it in the right direction,” MacLean says. “That is indeed what has taken place.”
The news came yesterday morning that the Municipal Affairs Minister Wes Sheridan announced he will introduce legislative amendments in the Fall sitting of the Legislature (which begins November 12th) to allow municipalities the right to enact their own cosmetic pesticide bans.
He cautioned that the province would have nothing to do with the enforcement of any regulations passed by municipalities.
This looks like a "victory" for those not wishing to be exposed to cosmetic pesticides, and the Minister uses the word "empower", very trendy; but...
...The Devil, as the always partisan but mostly harmless Ross Young used to say during the CBC Radio Island Morning political panel, is In the Details; and we don't know:
if municipalities will only be allowed to regulate certain *cosmetic* pesticides?
What about Alberton, where part of the town is being exposed to methyl bromide and chloropicrin for an agricultural purpose?
What about incorporated municipal areas that don't have the money to hire a by-laws enforcement officer?
What about the thousands of Islanders who don't live within a municipality's limits?
Many of us are all for local jurisdiction, as local communities know what the big issues are for them. But we are talking poisons applied to our land, getting in our air, getting in our water. It is a provincial responsibility to protect all Islanders, not just ones in larger municipalities or sources of revenue.
This may be some push to get Islanders to accept larger municipalities, but we will see.
Speaking of Ross Young, who left the political panel and now works (I
think) in the Minster's office Department of Education, the political panel was on CBC this morning with guest panelist Jordan Brown (for the Liberals), Margaret Anne Walsh (for the Tories) and Paul MacNeil (who criticises pretty much everything :-) ). About 19 minutes. http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/Audio/ID/2569236621/
Other government actions of note:
Someone has filed FOIPP requests to get Premier Ghiz's expenses released. He was told it would take hundreds of hours and cost several thousand dollars. He can now appeal that cost and somewhere that will put the file in the Privacy Commissioner's pile. So another election could come and go before this information he feels is valuable enough could released. Or it may be released, but under so many layers it really isn't transparent.
This Fall sitting of the Legislature will be "normal" and at Province House, but in January the building will be closed for up to five years.
What happened with the work that was done earlier this year? How did that mesh with the defects uncovered, and who paid for that?
Starting in spring, the Legislature will meet in the Coles Building, in the Pope Room used for committee meeting now. The gallery will be wrapped around, but smaller. H many fewer seats? How costly it would have been to have it moved to Founders' Hall?
---------Turning to local farmers and food:
Tonight is the McRobie talk by Sally Bernard at Macphail Homestead. more details here:
And Farmers' Markets are open today!
worthwhile letters to share:
Published on October 23rd, 2014
Furthermore, this extraction greatly affects the residents of the watershed, drying up private wells and streambeds, decreasing fish stocks, and not allowing local farmers to irrigate their crops. Some may think that the government would not allow unsustainable extraction to continue if it was such a problem. However, in the city’s permit from the province, (effective October 2010) it was stated that as no previous permit was in place, the current permit would be based on the average daily pumping rates that matched the usage the year prior, even though the usage that year was unsustainable.
The province had also released a new water extraction policy in 2013, which would have helped lower the extraction from Winter River except for a clause which allows existing permit holders to continue their current levels of extraction until it is “reasonably practical” to meet the new guidelines. With streams in Brackley drying up each summer, I believe it might just be “reasonably practical” for Charlottetown to change their water extraction policy.
Some things islanders can do to cut back on water use now include: signing up for the city’s water meter initiative, installing water saving devices, and purchasing and using rain barrels. As Islanders we need to come together and reduce water consumption. If we do not take responsibility and action right now, we may leave our future generations herding camels through a red sandy desert.
Jared Vriends, Pleasant Grove
on October 22nd, 2014
Refusing to acknowledge synthetic pesticides are causing the majority, if not all, the fish kills in our rivers, brooks, and ponds, the Ghiz government and the Irvings again chose to muddy the water by avoiding to address these pesticides altogether.
Instead, Robert Ghiz stated, “There was a reoccurrence happening, so obviously this was land that no matter what regulations we put in there seemed to be problems with it." Robert Irving said, “His companies and its potato growers are trying to farm sustainably.”
So their solution to stop fish kills is to take land out of agriculture use by buying it, beginning with Barclay Brook area. However, this is a band-aid solution that will not address the significant root cause.
They would do well to heed the following two documents. First is, “A Compiled History of PEI Fish Kills,” which indicates, “First reported fish kill was Aug. 4, 1962. Pesticides were recently invented by 1962. It didn't take long for pesticides to find Island waters.” Second is P.E.I. government’s, “1962 to 2011: Island Fish Kill Summary Report,” which identifies numerous pesticides as the only probable cause in most fish kill instances from 1962 to 2007. No further information on probable causes is officially released since July 22, 2007, which coincides with Robert Ghiz being sworn into power on June 12, 2007. Yet Environment Canada confirmed it found traces of a pesticide with the three rivers identified in 2011. And although yearly major fish kills occurred since 2011, where pesticides were suspected and/or found, P.E.I. government withholds an up-to-date public record.
This is not rocket science. Pesticides kill far more than intended targets. Buying all the agriculture land adjacent to our rivers, brooks, and ponds might alleviate the catastrophic fish kills. But the killing will continue. Vital living organisms required for a healthy sustainable environment will continue to weaken and die.
The real lethal threat is the deliberate cover-up and inaction to refrain from synthetic pesticide use. Not heavy rains. Not low land. Not the soil. Not the position we are doing what we can. It is imperative to stop muddying the water by truly committing to farming sustainably.
Maria Eisenhauer, Charlottetown
Step up to the Plate fundraising dinner, 5:30PM, Farm Centre, University Avenue, for the Food Exchange P.E.I.; call the VRC at (902) 368-7337 to check if tickets still available.
A Night for Nature, 6:30PM, P.E.I. Brewing Company, Kensington Road, for Island Nature Trust.
You could possibly both!
to concerns in West Prince:
Published on October 22, 2014
Tignish resident and long time shell fisher Malcolm Pitre discovered a white cloud of water at Montrose, quickly approaching his fishing grounds, Oct 20. Strong winds and cold temperatures allowed for the milky water to move quickly. “I am sick and tired of seeing this happen,” said Mr Pitre. “What is it going to take for the government to get serious about this?”
Although, Mr Pitre admits he loves fishing, even after 14 years, when he repeatedly sees the water changing, much like Oct 20, he gets upset. “My beef is with the government’s answer to the problem - reducing the nutrients. I tell them if that is the answer, then do it.”
Mr Pitre is no stranger to finding milky questionable water in the West Prince area. In September, Mr Pitre drove past the same area in Montrose and the colour of the water concerned him. “Wake up and take care of our environment. Stop for a second and look around and see the condition of our rivers and bays. Listen to someone who cares about what is going on in this province. My livelihood is at stake here...this is unacceptable.”
“It is the governments responsibility to protect the province, environment and people of the province. It is not my job, it is the government, so do it,” said Mr Pitre. “My oyster grounds are too close to be messing around with this over and over again. It can’t keep happening."
As soon as Mr Pitre discovered the water, after taking several photos, he called the department of environment to report the issue. Further investigation, Mr Pitre found a stream off of Marchbank Road where the water was reported as “looking clear”; however after walking to the other side of the road, the water was cloudy and white in colour with a strong odour of sulphur. I climbed down to see if there was anything under the bridge that would cause this, but I can’t see anything,” said Mr Pitre.
The department was called by The Graphic and this statement was released in regard to the issue in Montrose: “The Department of Environment, Labour and Justice is aware of ongoing issues with the Montrose River. The latest incident was reported to the Department late Monday afternoon and a staff member was on site early this morning. This particular event appears to be related to high tides being pushed up into the freshwater part of the upper river. When this happens the water can be discoloured, especially in the bottom of deeper pools where the salt water collects and becomes stagnant. It is not related to the nutrient issues in the estuary seen earlier in the season. This is not a common occurrence but it has been seen in areas in the past. Additional staff will be in the area over the next day or two to monitor the situation.”
(Bold is mine -- an extremely confident explanation by the department, especially when one has seen the photos (on-line with the article) and read the description of the area)
The Boards of Directors of the Homestead Farm and the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead Foundation are pleased to announce that a local leader in food production and farming will be presenting the 4th Annual George McRobie Lecture at the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead in Orwell, on Saturday, October 25th. The speaker will be Sally Bernard, farmer, change agent, mother, educator and innovator.
The evening begins at 6:00 p.m. with a reception and cash bar, followed by the lecture at 7:00. The title of Ms. Bernard’s talk will be, “The Family Farm: A model of Sustainability, Diversity, Innovation and Prosperity for the 21st Century”. The talk this year celebrates one of our local farm leaders while recognising 2014 as the International Year of the Family Farm.
This special lecture series is named in honour of Dr. George McRobie, Patron for The Homestead Farm, and the sustainable agriculture entity operating at the Homestead.
George McRobie has long been one of the world’s leading proponents of sustainable agriculture and appropriate small-scale technology. He was a close friend and colleague of the radical economist E.F. Schumacher, whose landmark book Small Is Beautiful made such an impact in the latter part of the 20th century.
In her talk at the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead, Sally Bernard will share her practical experience as co-owner of a 500 acre, 6th generation, organic farm. She will talk about how the business decisions she and her husband make impact directly on their own family and farm while contributing to their broader community through reduced environmental impact and an enhanced local economy.
The discussion will lead to a specific conclusion and question: “what are the broad social outcomes that can arise from a food production system focused on family and community?”
There will be a charge of $10.00 for admission to the lecture. Since space is limited at the Homestead – capacity about 50 people – you should register in advance by phoning (902) 651-2789, or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry for the giant size. Last day to comment.
Ppublished on October 20th, 2014, in The Guardian
A little slice of forested heaven on Prince Edward Island will soon be under the protection of the Island Nature Trust. On cloud nine on this particular day’s drive to the 80-acre hardwood forest site on Peter’s Road in Emyvale are two retrievers eager to check out what carrying sticks the new place has to offer. “I know. You guys know what happens next. You get to get out,” Island Nature Trust executive director Jackie Waddell says to her panting pair of chocolate labs who are itching to get into the great outdoors.
To date, Island Nature Trust has a protected land base of more than 3,500 acres, about 70 per cent of which has been donated to the trust. “Right now on P.E.I., 3.6 per cent of the entire Island base is protected under anything and that includes wildlife management areas that have almost no protection at all. It includes the National Park, it includes some of our provincial parks, it includes all the provincial owned and privately owned (protected properties), including the Nature Trust land,” Waddell says. “So little is protected now. . . . Our goal is only seven per cent of the Island’s entire land base, whereas all other provinces are 12 per cent for a goal. B.C. has reached it and exceeded it, which is great, but they have so much more public land to chose from.”
Land costs money, even donated land. So Island Nature Trust has come up with a new fall fundraiser, which is a fun night on the town, to generate funds to add to that protected land base. A Night for Nature boasts a full lineup of raffles, a silent auction, sumptuous snacks, entertainment and a cash bar all under one roof at the P.E.I. Brewing Company on Friday, Oct. 24, starting at 6:30 p.m. Money raised supports projects such as the piping plover program or the farmland birds projects, but it’s primarily used for land acquisition.
At present, Island Nature Trust has a number of land projects on the go: the purchase of a 28-acre property in Canavoy, which has one of the last remaining red oak stands on P.E.I.; a partial purchase/donation of two parcels of land, one of which is 35 acres on Big Courtin Island in Malpeque Bay. “It’s really important because we own about two thirds of that island now and this acquisition will give us about three-quarters of that island,” Waddell says. “The other one (with that acquisition) is Gunning’s Shore on the south shore of Malpeque Bay. It’s a beautiful spot with some sand dune and some marsh along a little creek right there. Malpeque Bay is an important area for waterfowl, shore birds, a whole variety of birds.”
Island Nature Trust staff have already compiled a bio-inventory for each of the properties, including the 80-acre hardwood forest site on Peter’s Road in Emyvale, that not only looks at the flora and fauna, but also any potential hazards or liabilities, such as an illegal dumping site. The Night for Nature event is geared to attract a fundraising audience of a different sort than the crowd that typically attends the more formal wildlife dinner event in the spring. “We already have some interest from younger people so that’s great,” Waddell says.
This stand-and-mingle affair will feature a bucket raffle for which people drop their raffle ticket into the bucket next to the item that they really want, giving them a better chance at winning that prize than if it was an overall raffle for all the items. There are more than 30 raffle items that range in value from $20 to $200. There are also 15 items up for grabs in the silent auction and there will be an in-house nature inspired scavenger hunt for some unique fun and prizes as well. Alan Buchanan is the emcee and entertainment will be provided by Katherine Dau-Schmidt — a well-known fiddle player and teacher — and two accompanists, Frank Lechowick on keyboard and Christian Norton on fiddle.
“The people who are generous enough to come to these Island Nature Trust events are helping to protect land,” Waddell says. “They are protecting natural areas like the one we just saw with all the beautiful hardwoods, off-shore islands, wetlands, shorelines, all kinds of different areas. They’re protecting clean water, clean air, there are so many benefits to these sites.”
What: "A Night for Nature" is an evening of fun and fundraising in support of Island Nature Trust’s work to protect natural areas and wildlife habitat on P.E.I.
When: Friday, Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m.
Where: P.E.I. Brewing Company, Charlottetown.
This night includes raffles, a silent auction, delicious snacks, a cash bar, Alan Buchanan as emcee and music by Katherine Dau-Schmidt - a well-known fiddle player and teacher; and two accompanists - Frank Lechowick on keyboard and Christian Norton on fiddle.
Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 at the door. For more information, call 902-892-7513.
events of note:
ALBERTON — The province of P.E.I. has, for a number of years, issued permits to Westech Agriculture for the use of Terr-O-Gas 67 on its fields, the Town of Alberton has learned.
Terr-O-Gas is a fumigant containing 67 per cent methyl bromide and 32.7 per cent chloropicrin. It is that 32.7 per cent chloropicrin that has caused a heightened level of concern within the town. In a letter penned Oct. 17 to Premier Robert Ghiz, Alberton Mayor Michael Murphy said the town received repeated assurances from provincial government officials that no permits had been issued, nor would be issued, for the use of chloropicrin while a review of the chemical was being carried out by Canada’s Pest Management Review Agency.
He noted that a monitoring study to determine the effects of
chloropicrin on groundwater was halted pending the PMRA review. In the
letter, Murphy seeks speedy passage of legislation which would enable
municipalities to limit, or ban, the use of certain chemicals within their
boundaries. “The health and safety of our citizens cannot take second
place to any other considerations,” the mayor said.
Published on October 20th, 2014, in The Guardian
Although most people cannot survive without money, it is obvious that money causes greed far beyond being the root of all evil.
No amount of dollars collected for research is going to stop diseases, until the underlying factors that cause the diseases are faced and fixed. Food, water and air are contaminated with chemicals.
There is no end to the manipulation of grains by huge corporations such as Monsanto. Chemical run-off from farms and factories pollute rivers and streams and contaminate fish. The oceans and seas are polluted with plastics and other garbage. There is extreme air pollution from smoke and exhausts that kills the very life that creates oxygen.
The desire to be rich has overshadowed the need to respect the Earth. Rich and powerful administrations have allowed corporations to govern our supposedly democratic country. Through election contributions to many political leaders, most corporations, in return, get whatever they want. For every job that is provided for the average worker in big corporations, a huge piece of the Earth is destroyed.
Studies show the epoxy resin on the inside of tin cans migrates to body tissue and changes the fat cell chemistry of humans. It is easier to blame fast food for poor health than to deal with the greater problem. Studies show there has been an increase in cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s and many other diseases since the 1960s due to chemical changes in human beings. There is massive contamination on one side and massive disease on the other and in between corporate greed. Scientists cannot cure greed.
I am certainly not a scientist but the solution seems so simple to me - stop contamination.
Flora Thompson, Charlottetown
can't help smiling after reading this article -- such good work. Hats off
to Phil Ferraro for being the easy-going, but ship-shape captain of the Farm
Centre, and to super people like Adam MacLean and Stephanie Dewar for their
positive faces, innovative ideas and hard work.
Farm Centre's Legacy Garden Has Been Bountiful in More Ways Than
One - The Guardian article by Mary MacKay
Published on October 16th, 2014
In just a few short months, a sparse section of field on the Experimental Farm in Charlottetown has been transformed into a lush garden wonderland. And, despite an exasperatingly late spring, the Prince Edward Island Farm Centre’s Legacy Garden pushed forth from the earth with a force that would rival Jack’s sky-scaling beanstalk. “If you look at it now it’s hard to believe it was just a hayfield just a year ago or even seven months ago,” says Farm Centre Association general manager Phil Ferraro. “It’s a little over eight acres, so with the land that the Farm Centre is on as well we are also managing a little over 10 acres. It’s actually the largest urban farm in all of Canada.”
This farming oasis in the city, which received support from the P.E.I. 2014 Fund, was designed as a revitalization of the Farm Centre, the mandate of which is to provide office space for agricultural organizations, create a better understanding and relationships between urban and rural people and foster an appreciation for food and agriculture. “Very quickly it’s become a wonderful gathering space for the community,” Ferraro says.
In addition to a seed expo and farm equipment trade show very early in the year, which attracted more than 1,500 people in total, there was a slew of workshops, including some to share preserving and pickling skills. Huge work parties in the early spring attracted scores of volunteers from schools, corporations, service organizations and associations, such as the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada, who helped pull some of the elements of the garden together. A team of four to six staff managed the garden with help from other volunteers throughout the season.
“There is at least a 25 to 30 per cent increase in demand for community garden space and there is already a waiting list for community garden spaces for 2015. I think that’s partly due to the fact that we offer so much more than just a little plot of land,” Ferraro says. “There’s a whole workshop series that people can participate in. We’ve had regular barbecues and opportunities and events for people to come join us. There’s a children’s garden out there now that the kids have now discovered and enjoy playing on the boat and running through the (hay bale) maze.”
Ferraro says what has been even more fulfilling is the one-acre production or charity garden, which to date has produced more than 10,000 pounds of food for local nonprofit organizations who serve people in need. “If you take the situation where someone is dependent upon a food bank they’re mostly receiving nonperishable foods; they may not go to the grocery store for that period of a couple of weeks that that food is meant to carry them over. If we have fresh vegetables here then it’s just that extra supplement to their regular diet,” says Capt. Jamie Locke, corps officer with the Salvation Army in Charlottetown.
Salvation Army volunteers cooked samples of not-so-standard vegetables, such as leeks or kale, in the morning for breakfast crowd and also provide simple instructions on how to incorporate them in their daily diet. “There’s definitely been a real openness on behalf of our clients and the sure sign of that is that the produce goes. If we were left with a table full at the end of the day that we put out for people to take from then we’d know that people were not really interested and it was not benefiting, but everything goes,” Locke adds. “The feedback that we’re getting is we’re just giving people options and access to healthy food.”
The Legacy Garden also includes a large events area to rent for weddings, reunions or festivals. There is also a cheery half-acre batch of sunflowers that were planted as fundraiser Queen Elizabeth Hospital partner project. “We wanted to have it be a productive farm that looked like a park. Because it was such a late spring we didn’t do nearly as much ornamental landscaping that we had planned, but we’re doing that now and that will certainly be a big push next spring,” Ferraro says.
The Farm Centre Association is now putting the call out for support to ensure that the Legacy Garden continues to thrive. “Ideally it would be great if we could get a corporation or foundation or service organization to either help with fundraising or sponsor a garden, to do the community garden, to do the production area, to do the ornamental landscaping to make this a fabulous place to come visit,” Ferraro says.
“We need four to six people working in the field all the time and plus the administrative duties to keep all that and the workshops going. And as we continue to grow we will become more self-supporting with our workshops and our events area. It’s a big effort but it’s proven to be a very worthwhile and rewarding effort as well.”
Friday, October 24th, starting at 5:30PM, at the Farm Centre, is "Step Up to the
Plate -- A Fundraising Dinner"
Indemnities and Allowances Commission's deadline is Wednesday, October 22nd,
for Islanders to comment on any wage increase for our MLAs.
From last week, a straightforward first-person account from someone who is making a positive difference, writing here on being silent: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-editor/2014-10-17/article-3906780/The-cost-of-silence/1
Published on October 17th, 2014
This past summer, I realized that being silent isn’t easy either. Yes, the farmer did call me to tell me he would be spraying and yes, he did follow regulations. But when I found out that regulations allow pesticide applicators to spray 25 feet from my door with winds blowing up to 20 kms per hour, silence was no longer an option for me.
So I started to speak out. As a result, I was offered several possible solutions, including: ‘just buy the property from the farmer’, and ‘why don’t you just move?’ These responses puzzle me. Why should a property owner bear the burden when they are being poisoned by a neighbour? Why is it even legal for a neighbour to spread poison on my land, and have it seep into my water? You deserve protection rather than endangerment, which is the case as it stands.
Fears of offending people and concerns about how I might be labeled have kept me from standing up for my rights for decades. I believe many Islanders are afraid to speak out for similar reasons. The good news is, with municipal elections coming up, you have the chance to speak up in a way that can effect change — and you don’t risk offending, or being labelled. Your vote is your own. Islanders have a chance to speak up for their rights to clean air, water and soil. Many municipal mayoral and councillor candidates have called for a ban of cosmetic pesticides. Vote for our environment because, as David Suzuki pointed out, “what we do to our environment, we do to ourselves.” The cost of remaining silent is too high.
Joan Diamond, Fairview....and a commentary on the real cost of being silenced (bold is mine). Rick gives a professional analysis of how important the Freedom of Information and Privacy Office is.
http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Columnists/2014-10-18/article-3907146/Want-to-hide-stuff%3F-Simple%2C-underfund-the-watchdog./1 by Rick MacLean
published on October 18th, 2014, in The Guardian
Maria MacDonald wants more money from the government. P.E.I.’s information and privacy commissioner should get it. Here’s why. It was the 1980s and the woman on the other end of the line was angry.
“There’s black muck oozing out of the ground on our property,” she said in a 'and what are you going to do about it' tone.
She was certain she knew the problem. Her land was downhill from a plant that treated utility poles with chemicals so they wouldn’t rot when stuck in the ground. The muck was pollution from the plant leaching through the ground, she declared.
“You need to do some investigative reporting.”
I looked at the reporter on staff who did environmental stories. She looked back. We sighed.
People who watch movies like All The President’s Men think they understand investigative reporting. It’s guys who look like Robert Redford, a main character in the 1976 movie about two reporters who helped uncover the illegal activities of U.S. president Richard Nixon.
Investigative reporting is sexy. Answers come quickly. If only.
The black muck story took months of reporting.
The company let one of its scientists talk to our reporter. He suggested she
was too poorly informed about science to understand anything he said, so she
should write about something else.
Near the end, she spent two straight weeks doing
nothing else. It was worth it.
How did we know?
An access to information request filed by an environmental group unearthed years of letters exchanged between the company and the environmental department in New Brunswick, where I was then working.
You’re making a mess, the government said each year in its annual scolding letter to the firm. Yep, we know and we must get around to doing something about that one of these days, came the response.
Our response when we got the correspondence?
That story is why MacDonald should get her money.
MacDonald’s office is supposed to review the way government handles access to information requests like the one so crucial to our work. But getting reviews done is tricky when the commissioner is a part-time employee. I’m not making that up. Part. Time.
“With the present resources and office makeup, I am hard-pressed to accomplish the many responsibilities under my mandate,” MacDonald said diplomatically in her annual report. “The greatest and constant challenge of the OIPC over the past 10 years is to improve the timeliness of these reviews.”
Can’t afford more money, the government said.
How convenient. Her report describes government departments paying lip service to their duty to let taxpayers know how their money is being spent. And when she says she needs more help to improve things, the government says go fish.
There are many ways to hide things. Underfunding those who hold you to account is one.
MacDonald should get more money. Maybe then people filing access to information requests can be sure the government is treating those requests properly.- Rick MacLean is an instructor in the journalism program at Holland College in Charlottetown
There is a lot going on today, and
some of it at the same time.
The three candidates for mayor will address issues around poverty, the environment and community engagement.
The debate, which is organized by the Social Justice and Outreach Committee of St. Paul’s, will focus on issues like poverty, affordable housing, food security, democratic participation, involvement of youth and the city’s environment.
The three city mayoral candidates in the Nov. 3 election are Philip Brown, Keith Kennedy and Clifford Lee.
The forum will have a structured format: six pre-set questions will be presented to the candidates (see below); each has a three-minute answer. At the conclusion of each of the three segments (poverty, environment, community engagement), there will be a 10-minute open-mike opportunity for audience members to pose questions.
Candidates for city councillor positions are also being invited to join the audience.
The forum will run from 2-4 p.m. in the parish
hall,which is at the corner of Prince and Richmond streets. The venue is
wheelchair accessible upon request.
1) What are the causes of poverty in our city: why, in a place blessed with so many advantages, do so many people have a hard time making ends meet?
2) What can we, as a municipality, do about poverty and near-poverty? Concerns have been raised about three particular areas -- affordable housing, food security, and livable income.
What concrete actions can you commit to at the city level, to make it easier for people to have the security of an adequate income, decent and affordable accommodation, and a healthy diet?
1) What gives a city collective good health in terms of the physical and social environment? What can the municipality do in the areas of environmental, preventive and lifestyle health to raise and protect health status for the public as a whole?
2) Since the laws and customs of a city have a strong impact on the basic resources of land, water and air, what methods can you, as leader of Charlottetown, use to protect those resources and mitigate the effects of forces such as the pressures of population growth and climate change?
1) Why do so few people get interested in what goes on at the municipal level? How can our leaders get us interested in city affairs and willing to take an active part in addressing issues and taking advantage of opportunities?
2) A significant number of citizens are socially isolated or marginalized in some way. What special strategies and actions can the city use to hear the voices of and engage the seemingly under-represented elements of our population -- such as the poor, persons with disabilities, elderly or lonely, immigrants and youth?
article, in Wednesday's Journal-Pioneer, is very troubling.
Thanks to Malcolm Pitre for bringing it to people's attention. (Bold is mine)
ALBERTON -- The Town of Alberton is raising concern with the P.E.I. Department of Environment after learning a farm in the town might have applied a fumigant containing chloropicrin in some of its fields.
“Westech Agriculture Ltd., located within the Alberton town limits, is currently using Terr-O-Gas 67, a product containing 67.0 % methyl bromide and 32.7% chloropicrin, as a fumigant on a number of its fields,” Mayor Michael Murphy wrote Wednesday in a letter to Environment Minister Janice Sherry and copied to this newspaper.
Councillor Natasha Dunn had brought concerns to
Council Tuesday night of ‘do not enter except for vehicular or bicycle
traffic,’ signage at the end of Westech fields. The signs advised of an
application of Terr-O-Gas 67 fumigant containing chloropicrin in the fields.
Perhaps Terr-O-Gas 67 is called that not just because it is terrible or terrifying, but because it is applied to the ground, or terrestrially. Just a guess. It IS a mixture of Alkyl bromide (Methyl bromide or bromomethane) and chloropicrin (halonitroalkane or trichloronitromethane). The words are ridiculously long and they keep skipping around the chemical prefixes and suffixes (Latin names for animals are so much more logical ;-) )
Hope you have a good Saturday. Some Farmers' Markets are still open and have lots of late summer and fall vegetables!
Some letters and some events:
This letter makes excellent points; perhaps the media will look into Ranald's last question (bold is mine).
Published on October 16th, 2014
Where did the line between governance and industry go? Now Robert Irving and Robert Ghiz share a press conference to jointly deal with buying environmentally sensitive land. Government pays half and Irving pays half.
I see this as a complete conflict of interest. If it was a right decision for the public good and the Liberal government sees fit to use tax payers dollars this way, then so be it. Irving should not be paying half.
What if this new precedent of letting industry buy in to environmental solutions in collusion with government runs against the goals of industry? This is a conflict of interest. This is a very bad precedent involving separation of government who should protect our rights and industry.
I also want to know exactly who got this buyout money and how much, so the taxpayers can watch for conflicts of interest or re-occurring concessions.
NFU member, Fernwood----------
There could be a citizen-initiated plebiscite.
Published on October 16th, 2014
Brent Chaisson, Miscouche
fun for a good cause
Doors open at 6PM, and the Leder Hosers start playing at 7pPM.
There will be a raffle, games, 50/50, plus beer and food for purchase. More info on the Young at Heart Facebook page or the PEIbrewing company website.
And Sunday, some serious thought for Charlottetown residents and more:
A Charlottetown mayoral candidates debate in social issues will be held Sunday, Oct. 19 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church parish hall.
The three candidates for mayor will address issues around poverty, the environment and community engagement.
The debate, which is organized by the Social Justice and Outreach Committee of St. Paul’s, will focus on issues like poverty, affordable housing, food security, democratic participation, involvement of youth and the city’s environment.
The three city mayoral candidates in the Nov. 3 election are Philip Brown, Keith Kennedy and Clifford Lee.
The forum will have a structured format: six pre-set questions will be presented to the candidates; each has a three-minute answer. At the conclusion of each of the three segments (poverty, environment, community engagement), there will be a 10-minute open-mike opportunity for audience members to pose questions.
Candidates for city councillor positions are also being invited to join the audience.
“Despite improved economic conditions in recent years, there are many who struggle,” says Mary Gard, one of the organizers. “We all have a responsibility to let the candidates know voter concerns, and to hear their views on how we can work together to improve our city and the lives of all its citizens.”
The forum will run from 2-4 p.m. in the parish hall,which is at the corner of Prince and Richmond streets. The venue is wheelchair accessible upon request.
For more information contact St. Paul’s parish office, phone number 892-1691, email, email@example.com.
Environmental Rights update:
Published on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Sometimes, when an argument has gone on long enough, both those involved in the debate and their audience forgets exactly what the main point was. When irrelevant accusations are used in replacement of a true rebuttal or counter-argument, it’s easy for the issue to get muddied, and when no one is moderating the debate, people tend to get sidetracked from what the real issue was. Feelings get involved, things get personal and objectivity is lost.
I recently attended David Suzuki’s lecture on the Blue Dot Movement. If you aren’t familiar with this project, I strongly encourage you to check it out. After watching it, I can’t help feeling that we’ve lost sight of things. When the question we are debating is ‘Do Islanders deserve the right to clean air, fresh water and safe food?’ no matter what side of the politics you identify with, I suspect the answer is an overwhelming ‘yes.’
Because even if you farm, or work for Cavendish Farms . . . even if you hire someone to spray your lawn for dandelions, I believe you still feel that you and your loved ones deserve the right to clean air, fresh water and safe food.
Recently, Minister Sherry was quick to point out that pesticide levels in wells at Cardigan and Evangeline schools were safe. But how much poison would you want your child drinking every day, year after year? How close do you think a pesticide sprayer can get to your child’s school and still be safe for your child to go out and play at recess? How many fish kills are acceptable? How many children will have to be diagnosed with asthma, ADD, and cancer for us to advocate for changes at the root causes of these problems? Municipal elections are coming up, and I urge you to get behind a candidate who supports your right to clean air, safe water and food. That will be a very meaningful step toward something most of us agree we deserve anyway.
Lynne Lund, Clinton
For nearly 25 years, Ecojustice has fought for legal precedents that protect the clean air, water and land that we all depend on. Along the way, we’ve become all too familiar with how Canada’s environmental laws are failing to protect our health and our communities.
For new every case we take on, we know there are a dozen other communities facing similar threats to their local environment and health. But when it comes to ensuring that every person in Canada can breathe clean air, drink fresh water and live in a healthy community, we shouldn’t have to pick our battles.
Groups like Ecojustice can’t be everywhere at all times, which is why we need a law that can.
The Charter is Canada’s highest law and it applies to all levels of government across the country. It gives each of us inalienable rights – ones that protect us from discrimination and guarantee our right to life, liberty and security of the person.
We believe the Charter should include environmental rights too.and this announcement yesterday regarding the town of Richmond, B.C., from Michiah Prull at the David Suzuki Foundation (he spoke at the Summerside Blue Dot Tour stop):
"Last night, the City of Richmond, B.C., unanimously passed a declaration recognizing the right of all people to live in a healthy environment.
Richmond and the Montreal borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie are the first municipal bodies in Canada to formally support the right to a healthy environment."
An article, sparked by the recently on-line publication (on
the Legislative Assembly website) of a 2012 report from the Freedom of
Information and Protection of Privacy Commissioner, was on the front page of
Tuesday's Guardian under the ridiculous headline: Information
Comes with Hefty Pricetag
Learn about our law system on PEI
in Tuesday's paper (wit the only headline that was on-line):
Published on October 14th, 2014
Prince Edward Island’s privacy commissioner
asked for more resources to help tackle years of backlogged files but was
denied by the legislative standing committee that recommends her yearly budget.
MacDonald requested her own position be made full-time and for an investigative officer position to be added to the office to help investigate and mediate existing files. Currently, MacDonald’s position is only part-time.
But the Standing Committee on Legislative Management, which recommends her office’s budget to government, denied this request, “due to fiscal challenges experienced by the legislative assembly and the province as a whole.”
MacDonald says in her report she accepted this decision and believes it was carefully considered, noting budgets from a few other legislative assembly offices were reduced in 2012. But she issued a call to government departments to be more diligent in their handling of freedom of information requests.
She noted examples of files where she had to complete work that should have been done by a government agency or department, such as indexing and organizing records. Other instances also arose where a public body refused to release information that was already publicly available. MacDonald also noted in this and in previous reports that government’s decisions to withhold information to the public are often not backed up with a detailed explanation of how non-disclosure is defensible by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act.
“It is very difficult to review the decision of a public body if it provides little explanation or evidence in support of its own position,” MacDonald states in the report. “Even though it is not a task the OIPC is obliged to do, the OIPC must often undertake line-by-line reviews of records at issue to ensure that the FOIPP Act is followed and the claims of the public bodies are reasonable,” she explained. “I urge public bodies to be specific when claiming an exception to disclosure and to provide a detailed explanation in support of the exception on which is being relied.”
In 2012, the privacy commissioner issued only one order. She commenced 12 new reviews of government decisions on access requests. These were added to the 31 existing files carried over from previous years.
Catching up on some events
A bit more from the past:
The field in between where Camp Vision was and Crawford's Brook at Hemlock Grove is still a waste area of rocks and fill. The Department of Transportation has had a contractor "tidy up" the other waste area by the CBC tower and in Bonshaw; we are thankful for small mercies.
Down at the Grove, the altered reality of clearcut, built-up hill and Plan B road (at top of picture). The young hemlock, one of a handful trumpeted by Minister Vessey as being saved when they adjusted the route, has fallen over dead since last year.
But if you look on the bright side in the other directions, there is still peace and beauty. The old pine field between that "waste" area and heading down into Hemlock Grove.
Stream by rocks, with a longtime encouraging sign nearby. The stream is there, silty but surviving.
Closeup of sign. With thanks to Pauline Howard and others for their messages that have endured.
Have a great Thanksgiving,
What a fun first-ever
annual general meeting, guest speaker and Plan Beyond Social! Despite the
technology glitches, all else was fine. Thanks to so many of you for
rearranging your Thanksgiving schedules to be there. It was lovely to see
"old" friends and meet new.
on-line and in print illustrated the following letter with a well-used photo of
P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture executive director John Jamieson (not
identified) fly-fishing in the West River; the idyllic image accompanies this
short but poignant letter from the chair of the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance.
Published Friday, October 10th, 2014
Now that some of the emotion of this year’s fish kill at North River has quieted, let’s reflect on a question that was first asked over 50 years ago and has been asked some 55 times since: Why are fish kills important to Islanders? This question has had to be asked, on average, once per year since Aug. 4, 1962.
Why should Islanders be concerned? Every time a fish kill story evolves, reporters responsibly raise this question, often while watershed managers are waist deep in dead fish and unable to articulate a measured response. We often hear quick answers like, “Tourism may suffer” and “Anglers may have less luck.” Although those answers are correct and important to many, the more important, heartbreaking answer is, Because this is our home.
Although not the focus of world attention, Prince Edward Island has a conspicuous record in North America for persistent fish kills.
Our environmental resume is also increasingly flawed with other newsworthy environmental issues, such as anoxic estuaries and contaminated drinking water. Meanwhile, in the background, cumulative problems like erosion and sedimentation degrade our watersheds.
Whatever P.E.I.’s image may be on the world stage, we know this: they don’t live here — but we do. Our island is the setting where P.E.I. families live out the story of their lives. Sadly, our home is also the setting for more than 50 fish kills, and our backyard is an endangered environment.
Mark Bishop is the chairman for the Prince Edward Island Watershed Alliance.
He added that he hoped the move by Lego would
prompt other organisations that work with Shell, such as London’s Science
Museum, where Shell sponsors a climate change exhibition, to think twice about
organic farmer residing in Freetown, will give the fourth annual George McRobie
talk at Macphail Homestead in Orwell on Saturday, October 25th.
Labchuck's letter of the day in yesterday's Guardian:
Cavendish Farms Greenwashes Serious Pesticide Problems - The Guardian Guest Opinion by Sharon Labchuk
Published on October 9th, 2014 in The Guardian
The province’s announcement that Cavendish Farms is donating $125,000 towards the purchase of agricultural fields involved in fish kills is simply corporate greenwashing of the serious and ongoing problem of widespread pesticide contamination by the P.E.I. potato industry.
Cavendish Farms and its processing plant are the driving force behind the P.E.I. potato industry. Cavendish Agri Services sells chemical pesticides and fertilizer to the potato industry.
Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms, said he is pleased to take measures to protect waterways and fish habitat by removing land from agricultural production that is prone to runoff caused by soil erosion. The province’s news release praises Cavendish Farm and notes the corporation is also helping re-stock streams with fish.
Corporations involved in destroying the environment typically try to win public approval with donations of cash for insignificant projects they claim will protect the environment. P.E.I. is one of the most intensively sprayed areas of Canada, according to Environment Canada. Our air is shown to be polluted with high concentrations of cancer-causing potato pesticides, our groundwater is virtually all polluted with chemical fertilizer and the province’s groundwater testing program shows children are drinking pesticide-contaminated water at school. Buying a few scraps of land alongside a river does nothing to address any of these problems.
Land planted in potatoes and farmed using industrial agriculture practices is easily eroded by wind and rainfall as soil organic matter is depleted and not replaced.
Organic matter helps soil absorb rain, preventing runoff, removing the need for deep well irrigation and increasing fertility. Organic agriculture protects soil organic matter, improves soil from year to year and benefits wildlife biodiversity.
If the Irvings cared about ending fish kills, they would either get out of P.E.I. or champion a move towards an organic province. Premier Ghiz should be ashamed to participate in and promote this frivolous greenwashing when the pesticide problem in P.E.I. is so much more and his government will not even admit to it.
Sharon Labchuk is Earth Action co-ordinator for P.E.I.
Right off the bat, I want to send support to Gary Linkletter of Summerside in what has to be a terrible time for any farmer. It is contemptible to tamper with the food any farmer is growing. Let's hope this is cleared up quickly.
There is enough going on Saturday -- you can fill your day:
Saturday, Planting at Macphail Woods Arboretum, 2-4PM, Macphail Woods, Orwell
The Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project will host a volunteer planting afternoon on Saturday, October 11 from 2-4pm. Volunteers will meet at the Macphail Woods nursery on the Sir Andrew Macphail Homestead in Orwell. Participants will plant a wide variety of native plants and begin quadrupling the size of the existing arboretum.
The expanded arboretum will become a key component of the educational activities at Macphail Woods. Plantings will improve wildlife habitat, increase biodiversity and provide future seed sources for both rare and common native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns.
The original arboretum is a well-used showcase for a variety of native plants, including trees such as red oak, hemlock, white ash, yellow birch and ironwood. The trees have grown so well that the area no longer provides good habitat for sun-loving plants. The new area will be able to host a variety of common plants, including such old favourites as sweetfern, blue flag iris, and winterberry holly. The area will also be home to mass plantings of some rare native species, including yellow coneflower and swamp milkweed.
Support for the arboretum expansion comes from Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program. Volunteers should dress according to weather conditions. Macphail Woods staff will be on-site to lead the work and there will be lots of shovels and other tools available.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 651-2575, or visit our Facebook page.
That night, our Citizens' Alliance AGM (7PM, Farm Centre) will feature guest speaker Todd MacLean, who has just edited the publication he created Global Chorus,
The Guardian's opinion on the announcement about buying out land where farming practices are killing fish:http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Editorials/2014-10-08/article-3897072/Good-news-for-fish-in-Barclay-Brook/1
Published on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Deal to buy back farmland prone to runoff positive news for watershed in Prince County
© Photo special to The Guardian Check our facebook page for the photo https://www.facebook.com/groups/220834614673617/
Robert Irving, left, president of Cavendish Farms, and Premier Robert Ghiz hold a photo showing the area around Barclay Brook which has been purchased by the province, through a contribution by Cavendish Farms.Fish swimming in the Barclay Brook area of the Trout River watershed can breathe a little easier now that a deal has been struck to buy back some environmentally unfriendly farmland next to it.
Monday, the provincial government announced a partnership with Cavendish Farms that will see 96 acres of agricultural land near the river taken out of production and handed over to Trout Unlimited’s Prince County chapter.
This land, says government, was particularly prone to soil erosion and surface runoff — conditions that can lead to silt and nitrates in the water and ultimately kill fish. Barclay Brook has seen more than its fair share of fish kills in past summers, recording three fish kills between 2011 and 2013. Thousands of fish, including salmon, trout and sticklebacks, were killed during heavy summer rains.
A committee was struck in 2012 to address the alarming numbers of dead fish, and buying back runoff-prone farmland was one of its recommendations. Two years later, the province is acting on that recommendation and purchasing 96 acres composed from six properties near the brook.
All of this is taking place as former potato farmer Warren Ellis awaits sentencing on a charge under the federal Fisheries Act for allowing chlorothalonil from his fields to seep into Barclay Brook in July 2012. The sentencing for that charge, along with another one under the provincial Crop Rotation Act, is set for Oct. 30. Mr. Ellis has since gotten out of the potato-growing business and had already sold or leased much of his land near Barclay Brook.
While it is unclear whether some of the property being handed over to Trout Unlimited was purchased directly from Mr. Ellis, it is almost certainly among the land that led to the charges against him.
While some may grumble that the farmer charged for those 2012 fish kills could be benefiting from the deal announced Monday, there is no question the biggest benefactor is the environment.
Others have wondered at Cavendish Farms’ involvement in this deal, noting that the potato processor has been putting pressure on the government lately to lift the provincial moratorium on deep-water wells. Sceptics say Cavendish Farms’ contribution to the buyback — half of $250,000 — is an attempt to gain favour for the wells.
Not so, Robert Irving told TC Media during the announcement Monday, calling the buyback the “right, responsible thing to do”. He and Premier Robert Ghiz took pains to point out that potato producers dread fish kills the same as anybody else, and that they are all the objects of finger-pointing when these incidents occur, whether they’ve made any environmental infractions or not.
It is true that the wrath of the public does not discriminate between the law-abiding and less careful farmers when faced with photos of thousands of dead fish.
That’s why it is especially heartening to see the industry as an active partner addressing the problem, instead of launching a marketing campaign assuring us its membership is largely environmentally friendly.
It is also encouraging to see government act on a recommendation put forth by a committee of concerned individuals. Too often government tells the public it is concerned about an issue, makes a splash striking a committee dedicated to investigating it, and then their recommendations come back only to collect dust.
This time it is hoped the recommendations will keep the silt from collecting.
Today is the last weekday
Charlottetown Farmers' Market opening until next Summer, but there is a great
deal of produce and things for Thanksgiving dinners today and surely Saturday.
Published on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014, in The Guardian:
Re: “Dr. Schwarcz delivers balanced, fair presentation” by John Jamieson, The Guardian, Sept.19. I strongly disagree and find Joan Diamond’s letter of Sept.17 more credible by far.
In fact, I am not surprised that Dr. Schwarcz is the only Canadian to receive the American Chemical Society’s Grady-Stash Award. I take strong exception to (PEI Federation of Agriculture executive director John) Jamieson’s statement that Dr. Schwarcz “delivers balanced, fair presentation on nutrition.”
His award only proves that he is too much in the chemical industry’s corner. I don’t buy Dr. Schwarcz’s alleged expertise on nutrition.
I am a Canadian observer of the struggle by progressive elements in U.S. society, especially academics, against the unlimited power of the U.S. chemical industry. Contrary to Schwarcz’s undeserved praise of Health Canada, there is no rigorous process for evaluating pesticides at Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). The PMRA merely rubber stamps the lab results obtained by the chemical industry.
Note that the PMRA has no labs of its own. Thus anyone in Canada praising our pesticide evaluation process is either poorly informed or is a friend of the chemical industry. Also bear in mind that pesticides remain highly toxic even when they are “properly” applied.
Dr. Schwarcz alleges that he himself and the U.S. chemical industry have a kind of monopoly on pursuing “true” science. This is utter nonsense.
K. Jean Cottam, PhD
and the rest of the week:
mentioned, there was an announcement about removing land from farming that
chronically contributes to fish kills.
Farms is contributing $100,000 to secure the acquisition of the land around the
Barclay Brook - The Guardian article
Published on October 06, 2014 (on-line) and today in print in The Guardian
Through a partnership with Cavendish Farms, the province is purchasing 96 acres of agricultural land in the Barclay Brook area in western P.E.I. to help protect nearby rivers and fish habitat.
The province is purchasing six properties in the area. The land will be taken out of agricultural production and will be managed by the local watershed group, Trout Unlimited Prince County Chapter.
Cavendish Farms is contributing $100,000 to secure the acquisition.
“Instances of fish kills are both unfortunate and unacceptable,” said Premier Robert Ghiz.
“Today’s announcement is a positive step in the right direction and the implementation of a key recommendation from the Action Committee on Sustainable Land Management.”
After fish kills in the Barclay area, the province established the Action Committee for Sustainable Land Management. Representatives from the department of Environment, department of Agriculture, P.E.I. Watershed Alliance, P.E.I. Potato Board, the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture, Trout Unlimited Prince County Chapter, and CropLife Canada took part in the committee.
“My family and our businesses take environmental stewardship very seriously,” Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms
A key recommendation was the establishment of a fund for the removal of land from agricultural production that is prone to soil erosion and surface runoff.
“My family and our businesses take environmental stewardship very seriously,” said Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms.
“In P.E.I., we partner with our growers and use best practices to protect our environment and preserve the unique nature of the Island. We are pleased to join the provincial government and the local watershed group to take further measures necessary to protect our waterways and fish habitat.”
is a link to the original report from the Action Committee on Sustainable Land
Pesticide Free PEI is having a meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, October 8th, 7PM, Sobey's at Allen Street community room.
Today at 1PM, and still under the impression the public is welcome.
"Our Food Systems -- Are You Hungry for Change? --
A classroom event is being held by The David Suzuki Foundation, the National Film Board of Canada, and Humber College on the intersection of food equity and environmental justice? A live feed will be set-up for UPEI students, staff, and faculty in KC Irving Chemistry Centre, Room 104 at 1:00 pm (until 2:30 pm) on Monday, October 6.
A panel discussion, led by Dr. David Suzuki, and streaming live from Humber to classrooms across the country, will examine the impact of modern farming practices on our health, land, and food security.
Suzuki will be joined by panelists J.B. MacKinnon, co-author of the Canadian best-seller "The 100-Mile Diet," and Utcha Sawyers, from Food Share Toronto to discuss what we can do as individuals and as a nation to ensure that every person has the basic ingredients for a life of health and dignity. The event also features poet Tanya Davis, whose compelling poem is the backdrop for the NFB film "Island Green," a look at conventional and organic farming on Prince Edward Island. The film is the catalyst for the panel discussion.
A screening of the 20-minute film "Island Green" will precede the live event at 12:30 pm and, if there is interest, will also follow the event at 2:30 pm.
For more information, contact Larry Hale (Biology Dept) at email@example.com
October 6th, 1-2:30PM, Irving
Chemistry Centre, UPEI, simulcast:
you are interested in another webinar today, this one not involving David Suzuki
himself but David Boyd, the lawyer who has been working on this issue of
lead editorial was in Thursday's Guardian. It has an admiring tone and
never really goes beyond the prepackaged message supplied by
government; neither actually promotes the cause of renewable energy.
(Bold is mine)
Published Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Energy minister takes great delight in helping Hermanville/Clear Springs
The province is fulfilling a commitment made to residents of the Hermanville/Clear Springs area. As a thank you to a majority of residents for supporting a major wind farm development, the province pledged to fund local development opportunities. Last week’s announcement was for $125,000 a year for five years. The commitment is a very tidy sum for the rural area in northeast Kings County.
The province first hoped to expand the East Point wind farm. But when residents raised concerns about a major addition of giant wind turbines during a public meeting several years ago, a miffed Finance, Energy and Municipal Affairs Minister Wes Sheridan quickly pulled the plug on that idea. He wasted little time in moving the development a short distance down the road, catching by surprise a number of Elmira area residents who didn’t want to see that cash component slip away.
It also irritated a number of cottage owners and at least one business in Hermanville and Clear Springs. Mr. Sheridan dismissed most of the opposition as summer residents with unfounded concerns about losing a water view. Permanent residents (Islanders) were behind the wind farm, he argued. In any event, Mr. Sheridan got his way and took delight in praising local residents and how they would benefit economically.
Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley announced last week the Northside Windmill Enhancement Fund, the first of its kind in the province, will benefit the area through investments that support community infrastructure projects, local businesses and provide economic growth.
It’s a good time to be living in Hermanville and Clear Springs with the welcome infusion of capital for the rural area, often neglected when it came to doling out projects, grants and funds in the past. It also serves as a signal to other areas of the province that similar money is there if the government moves forward on plans to expand wind generation capacity, which now accounts for over 30 per cent of P.E.I.’s electrical needs. There have been times in recent months when wind farms produced all P.E.I.’s energy requirements — albeit late on a summer night — plus even some extra for export.
Coincidentally, the economic announcement came close on the heels of an environmental award for Mr. Sheridan. His work on the Hermanville/Clear Springs wind development earned him a place among Canada’s Clean16 leaders in sustainability and clean capitalism. Premier Robert Ghiz said it was a well-deserved recognition for Minister Sheridan’s leadership in expanding wind energy capacity in Prince Edward Island. The project in Hermanville/Clear Springs positioned the province on the cutting edge of clean, renewable wind energy development worldwide, boasted the premier.
Mr. Sheridan was selected from a pool of more than 550 nominations across Canada who have advanced the cause of sustainability and clean energy in Canada. The $60-million, 10-windmill, 30-megawatt project was commissioned in January after coming in slightly under budget and with only a few delays. Combined with other wind farms, it will allow Prince Edward Island to produce up to 30 per cent of its total electricity needs from renewable, emission-free wind power.
The Hermanville/Clear Springs wind farm is being sold to Maritime Electric with the proviso all its generation will stay on P.E.I. But once in the energy grid, does it really matter where the electricity originated?
Under P.E.I.’s Renewable Energy Act, the province was committed to an ambitious pledge to generate 100 per cent of its energy needs from wind by 2015. This obviously won’t happen, making a new submarine power cable all the more essential to secure P.E.I.’s energy future.
are two mistakes which the paper quietly corrected on Friday on page A-2 --that
the wind project is not being sold to Maritime Electric -- the power is.
Second, the Renewable Energy Act does not say the province commits to
100% wind energy by 2015.
The second to last paragraph says it does not matter where the energy
came from. But it does.
From the PEI government website ("Newsroom"), which has a banner photo that aspires to show the Premier in a crush of fawning press (but not quite hitting the mark):
“This award is well-deserved recognition for Minister Sheridan’s strong leadership in expanding wind energy capacity in Prince Edward Island,” Premier Ghiz said. “He partnered closely with industry and community to make our newest project in Hermanville/Clearspring a reality – and as a result, our province is on the cutting edge of clean, renewable wind energy development worldwide.”
"Cutting edge" is apt, since a major concern was significant cutting into some mature wooded areas for the roads and the pads. It still rankles that there was a clear lack of democratic process: when the community first picked balked and showed some concerns, Minster Sheridan huffed and went down the road to a less organized unincorporated area.
I am not against wind energy (quite the opposite), and felt some pride in the level of wind promotion in the Binn's government. But there has to be a plan (besides: flash the promise of money to an area desperate for any government money, and bulldoze the project through), and it has to be done with no rush and with near unanimous support of residents. We really have to pick areas carefully, and the type of turbine, too. It appears, from this end of things, that very little of that happened in Hermanville.
The bigger issue is that so much has to do with a complete abandonment of
rural communities -- if you don't encourage small diversified farmers, you
aren't encouraging young families, which would boost school enrollment,
etc. Throwing $125,000 to groups who wrote very specific projects does
not promote a rural renaissance.
Clean 50 or 16, a contest organized by the Delta Management Group, of Toronto (Delta
Management Group is a twenty two year old boutique search firm with
the leading practice in “green collar” search in Canada, including clean tech,
corporate social responsibility and sustainability professionals.) , seemed to
honour truly landmark companies in its first year or two (like Bullfrog Power
-- a company with extensive alternative energy plans), but perhaps this was a
lackluster year for candidates.
“The 2015 Clean16 are truly the leaders of the
leaders in sustainability in Canada,” said Gavin Pitchford, chief talent
officer of Delta Management Group. “To be selected from amongst such a strong
group of peers is truly a testament to the contribution these individuals have
made to helping make living well in Canada more sustainable for all Canadians.”
is a bit thick. I wonder which communications person in which department of the PEI government wrote the nomination.
And there is fine print, fyi, from the Clean 16 website:
** Is there any cost to ACCEPT the award?
Again – short answer “No”. But..
The license fees vary by type of Honouree and use as follows:
1. Non-Commercial Use: (i.e. resume /
Linked in Profile)
It's been a year of "2014 celebrations" money being spent in all
sorts of ways. Some projects could be checked off as an embarrassing use
of money, like the Two John Hamiltons Grays/Greys (see below), and many are as
forgettable as...yesterday's news? But some are for things that couldn't
be done easily without some public monies, and will be for the good of the
whole island. Today from 10AM to 3PM is tree-planting at the
Bangor site with Macphail Woods Ecological Project. see http://macphailwoods.org/event/confederation-forest-planting-bangor/
Published on September 9th, 2014, in The Guardian
How ironic and absurd it is that John Hamilton Gray should have been the Islander chosen to be memorialized in bronze on Great George Street. We have already named a ferry after him, and a high school. Will it never end? It’s so obsequious, and even worse, so boring. I mean is there anyone out there who can tell me even one compelling thing about the man?
Well I can.
John Hamilton Gray, you see, was a great betrayer of the Island people. In the mid-1860s, when the Island was still spunky, and debt-free, almost all Islanders believed passionately, and with good reason, that the Confederation scheme was not in their best interests.
But not John Hamilton Gray. He was a British imperialist, and while his fellow Islanders — the common folk — were saying, “No thanks, we’re doing just fine,” Colonel Gray was conniving secretly with Sir John A. and the British government suggesting that if the Island continued to resist it should be forced into the scheme. That’s right, forced. Not my kind of guy. Not statue material.
If there had to be a statue of the good Colonel it should have been on the bench with Sir John A., perhaps holding hands. That, at least, would have told the story.
Bring on the pigeons is all I can say.
David Weale, Charlottetown
A fall fair with local food and crafts will be held outside of the Bonshaw Community Centre, 11AM to 3PM, today, 25 Green Road, Bonshaw. There is a lot going on at the event, including a historian's talk at 1PM at which time some historical informative panels will be unveiled.
Please note our Citizens' Alliance AGM is in one week, Saturday, October 11th, at 7PM, at the Farm Centre, followed by the "Plan Beyond" Social.
October 7th, 7:30PM, NaturePEI (PEI Natural History Society), Beaconsfield Carriage House
Good letters in yesterday's Guardian:
Published on October 2nd, 2014
It’s obvious that huge numbers of people get it while the case of the deniers is growing thinner and thinner. Is there any hope when our prime minister can’t be bothered to attend important international conferences dealing with the problem; and when Australia’s prime minister says “global warming is crap.”
What does it take to make governments listen? It can’t be fears of the economy tanking, as a clean energy economy would thrive, as so ably demonstrated by British Columbia with its carbon tax.
We must all keep the pressure up. An election is looming.
Peter Noakes, Charlottetown
I think I would use "really annoys me" instead of
Published on October 2nd, 2014
It behooves me to see such a contentious, complacent and lackadaisical approach by our environment minister in regards to the recent report of pesticides in our groundwater systems. It will never be all right to have any level of pesticides in our school system’s drinking water.
As citizens of this fair isle, the reports of pesticide levels must be made available every year and not when it suits the Ministry of Environment as reported in The Guardian last week. We need not be made to wait six years for when the levels look good before deciding to report it.
Also, the attitude that must be undertaken by our government officials is that it is never acceptable to find any pesticides in our school’s drinking water however diminished they say it is. I would never so willfully poison my children and I find it criminal that our Ministry of Environment would consider it OK that these chemicals are still present for growing bodies to drink. The pesticides used here are known to have cumulative effects, so it is a matter of “if” and not “when” our family members become ill. There is a reason why we have the highest levels of cancer in our country.
Finally, a lowered amount of pesticides in our groundwater systems must never excuse our Ministry of Environment from taking proactive measures to fully remove such toxic chemicals. It is their duty to ensure that we are all kept safe and that requires removal and preventative means to ensure our eventual health.
I would not be so quick to celebrate, as our esteemed minister seems to be doing.
Stacy Lock, Summerside
Tonight is the FairVote and
Leadnow meeting, 7PM, at the Haviland Club, 2 Haviland Street,
Charlottetown. All are welcome. There is great discussion AND easy
ways you can get involved.
Reflections on Scottish independence referendum, P.E.I. democracy - The Guardian Letter of the Day by David MacKay
Published on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
A recent trip to Scotland, with an ISCA (isca-aidc.ca) election observation mission, provided me with a rare and wonderful opportunity to observe the democratic process in action and to compare and reflect upon the state of P.E.I.’s democracy.
The Scots, it is true, have a bloody and turbulent political history, as does most of Europe. Yet it appears that the people of Scotland have agreed that the ballot and engaged democracy is better than the bullet, and that democracy benefits the many rather than the few. During their recent referendum on independence the Scots were truly engaged in the process, undertook respectful debate and believed in the fairness of the political process.
Scotland has proportional representation system and supported and welcomed independent observation of the electoral process itself. The fact that 84 per cent of the electorate turned out for the vote, is an astounding result that reflects well on both “yes” and “no” forces and the level of interest in political discourse.
One of the most exciting things about the recent Scottish Independence Referendum was the engagement by youth. The Scottish National Party, wisely I believe, reduced the voting age for the referendum to 16 years and together with other campaigners undertook widespread education within the school system.
For me the engagement and hopefulness in the Scottish electorate was refreshing in comparison to the P.E.I. system. I, like many of my fellow Islanders, have a skepticism and even cynicism regarding our present political process and its ability to truly reflect the needs and desire of people for real action on critical issues such as the environment and economy.
I believe this is the result of an archaic system of democracy (first past the post) which does not reflect the percentage of popular vote and politics centred on personalities and party allegiance. We need, instead, progressive and fair policies developed and supported in our communities, with leadership committed to implementing these policies. Part of our problem, I believe, is a political atmosphere where the tradition of party loyalty has taken priority over honest debate and consensus building within our communities.
This is best explained by the story about Johnnie Mac and goes something like this:
Johnnie Mac, in a recent election was torn between the family tradition of voting Conservative and supporting a life-long friend, Alan, who was running for the Liberals. In fact so strong was this call that he had not made up his mind until in the voting booth, when in a fit of “radical” politics, he marked his X for his friend Alan, the Liberal candidate.
The decision, however, did not end his angst and on his drive home he felt guilt overtake him for his betrayal of both his political party and family tradition.
This continued throughout supper time and he finally tells his wife he has made a terrible voting mistake that requires him to return to the polling station to change his vote. Although warned by his wife that his endeavour was futile, Johnny Mac returns to the polling station with his request to the returning officer. His fears are immediately eased when the returning officer says “don’t worry Johnny, we figured you made a mistake and we have already changed your vote”!
Although the reality of a dysfunctional democracy provides material for comic relief, the need for environmental justice, a fair economy and reform to our democratic processes is urgently needed. I do take hope that there are individuals, such as Jamie Larkin, a candidate for the City of Charlottetown’s ward 1, who are committed to working within the political system and dedicated to bringing the issues of environment, democracy and economic fairness forward in the City’s upcoming municipal election.
Candidates such as Mr. Larkin, who are truly committed to listening to and acting on the wisdom, that is available in our community of Charlottetown, represent the way forward to a revitalized democracy and level of engagement such as we observed in Scotland.
David MacKay of Charlottetown is a management consultant, specializing in food, energy and community development.---------
And happening this weekend:
Saturday, October 4th, 10AM to 3PM, forest planting in Bangor, hosted by Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project.
Put on your boots, grab a shovel and help create a new Confederation Forest in Bangor on Saturday, October 4. The Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, with support from the PEI 2014 Fund and the Island Nature Trust, will create a new four-hectare Acadian forest.
The planting area is part of a property donated to the Island Nature Trust by Jim and Barbara Munves, who have had a lifelong interest in protecting and improving our environment. It is located 8km south of Morell along the Bangor Road (Route #321) and there will be signage at the site to direct volunteers.
Islanders are invited to come out anytime between 10am and 3pm and help create a unique legacy of our commitment to healthy forests and communities.
Volunteers will be planting native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns such as red oak, white ash, witch hazel, wild rose, swamp milkweed and blue flag iris. Throughout the day, Macphail Woods staff will be teaching best planting practices, offering pruning tips and helping with identification. Be prepared to get your hands dirty. There will be light refreshments provided.
This is just one of the many activities that will make up the Bangor Confederation Forest project this year. We are planning several plantings with students on the site, and will be doing more plantings and maintenance in 2015 and 2016.
Support for this project and the future plantings is also being provided by Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding program. For more information and a map to the planting site, check out our website, www.macphailwoods.org, on Facebook, or call 651-2575.
(Then) Opposition Leader Olive Crane says she is disappointed government plans to go ahead with this realignment. “It’s a very sad day in Prince Edward Island with regards to democracy,” Crane said. She has been calling for the province to scrap the project. “They never did look at alternatives to this project...<snip>...the big issue of spending dollars we do not have will haunt Robert Ghiz and his government until the election of 2015.”
The present:Today, a button hosts a little ladybug, beautifully made by Linda A. and given with affection to a nervous speaker Monday night in Summerside. The button's original logo was dashed off and given freely by a very talented Bonshaw resident soon after the project was announced.
A fortunately minor accident yesterday, not on Plan B, but on the point where
one leaves Plan B (possibly at an increased speed) and the road closes in at
the intersection of Colville Road and West River Road south.