Monday, December 29, 2008

Silly Location For A Museum... and expensive too...

Things get pretty silly when it comes to old buildings... yes, Canada Lands sent out 25 packages across the Country but my guess is they couldn't get a "nickel" for the old building so now someone's going to try and do the old "download" to us taxpayers... why can't we do a study on where the “best place is to locate a new museum” as opposed to sticking it into an old building because it's there... my guess is that a new museum might be best located on the old experimental lands across from the Pathology Lab on the corner of Belvedere and Mount Edward Rd... it would be a nice complement to incorporate with the Friends of the Farm's plan for a public park and gardens... it would be a great place to expand the museum’s "outdoor" exhibits as most of our Island culture is tied to the outdoors... it would complement the Farmers Market for parking etc... and it would be a great location for tourists to find and park... but more importantly it would be very close to our researchers and educators. We could actually bus in students to visit the site and have a place to park the buses... there are just tons of great reasons why we should try and determine what’s best for all the stakeholders…. I've been in the construction business most of my life and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to build a fresh "greenfield building" for a museum than try and squeeze one into someone else's problem... the Province did the right thing in abandoning building one in Murray River so let's do the right thing here... start thinking big here on PEI and do something “bold and fresh” to preserve our great heritage and pick the best location... besides Catherine can always do the "two-step" with her feet planted on the ground...
Dominion Building as a museum? The old capital landmark is front-runner in search for provincial museum building
The Guardian Editorial
Dec. 22, 08
The grand old lady of Charlottetown may have a lot of years left in her yet with suitors aplenty knocking on the door. The latest group to court the former Dominion Building, a landmark in the capital city for over 50 years, is a firm assessing the site for a provincial museum. Lundholm Associates, a firm which specializes in planning and designing museums, is assessing the feasibility of converting the building into a museum site. It's important to stress that the future use for the former Dominion Building has yet to be determined. But when government said recently it was looking to locate a provincial museum in a central location, the first site on many minds was the six-storey structure on lower Queen Street. A Canada Lands Company spokesman said that many members of both the public and provincial government have commented the facility is "an absolutely perfect site" for a provincial museum. The huge building would certainly have other uses, yet to be determined. The building was once the main post office for the city and housed most federal agencies and offices for many years. The structure was declared redundant and replaced by the new Jean Canfield Building. It needs a major facelift and modernization before it can be re-occupied. It's a huge structure of 53,645 square metres on a .72-hectare site, or 176,000 square feet on 1.5 acres. And it will take a lot of money to bring it up to modern specifications. Who will be able to come up with the kind of cash needed to bring the building well into the 21st century? When city heritage activist Catherine Hennessey held a 75th birthday party earlier this fall, she made a point of having the party on the top floor of the old federal building with a sweeping panoramic view of the city as the sun set. It was a special sight staged for the benefit of some key movers and shakers in the city and province, to hammer home just how special a location and building exists in the heart of the downtown, and how essential it is for the city to keep the building in use. Hennessey and her supporters would like nothing better than to have the building converted into a museum. The province is stressing that proper planning is needed for a new museum facility to ensure it meets the expectations and needs of the people of P.E.I. But there can be little doubt that the building is among the front-runners as the location for the provincial museum. Earlier this year, Canada Lands Company sent out 25 packages across the country to those companies and individuals expressing a desire to purchase and develop the building. So there is considerable interest in the building and care must be taken to ensure it's used properly in the future. An open house held last January identified office, retail, institutional, hotel, residential and cultural uses such as a modern public library, archival and museum services. Other options include a hotel and condominiums but that would not necessarily complement the heritage district. The CLC is hoping to have people back in the building in 2010 which doesn't leave a lot of time to plan and to ensure the building continues to be an integral part of a vibrant downtown Charlottetown.

Green light go...

It's nice to see that the City is getting back on track and working on issues that the taxpayers see as much needed improvements. Someone told me that if you travelled from Montague to the bridge you would have to stop at over 20 traffic lights but once you got off PEI you could drive all the way to Toronto without coming across another one. Hopefully this study might see a few less lights as opposed to looking to install more...
Capital takes stock of gaps in traffic lights
The Guardian
The chair of public works in Charlottetown has begun the process of making traffic flow through the city much easier. Coun. Terry Bernard said a city resolution calls for the city to issue a request for proposals, the purpose being to hire an engineering firm that will look at every single traffic light in the city. “We’re getting an engineering consultant to look at all our signalized intersections. We want to go through the data of all that we have,’’ Bernard said. The public works chair said the goal is fourfold — synchronize all traffic lights, see that traffic lights have the ability to flash red and amber during the early morning hours, update the technology so that vehicles aren’t sitting at a red light when there’s no traffic coming in the other direction and to give the fire department the ability to activate the green light when they are heading to emergencies. Bernard said the only intersection in Charlottetown that is tied into the fire department is at Kent and Queen streets. When a fire call comes in and the trucks are deployed they are guaranteed to get the green light at that intersection. “They would have the ability to flip a switch and have the lights changed so when they reach that intersection it’s green and the other sides are red.’’ As for the traffic lights themselves, Bernard said they vary. Some use the new technology while others need to be updated. “This is why we want an inventory of what is actually at each intersection. Let’s go through every intersection; tell us what’s there and then we know what we need to do and what we want to do.’’ One of the more glaring problems, Bernard cited as an example, is at the intersection of University Avenue and Allen Street and the Sobeys lights on Allen Street. “Why is it that the Sobeys light and the University and Allen (lights) don’t work (together)? Well, University Avenue doesn’t have the timer, apparently.’’ The city is expecting federal money will help do the work when the consultant’s report comes back. That should happen in a few weeks.

From Jim Brown's blog.... its kinda funny..

Why not a senate seat for Stephen Harper?
The Splintered Soapbox
The Journal Pioneer
You really have to feel for Stephen Harper. He's doing his best to free the great Dominion of Canada from the oppressive shackles of socialism and all he gets for his efforts is a raspberry from the Opposition benches and from the great unwashed in their teeming millions. Resistance every step of the way to a common sense platform that would transform this country into a northern tiger, with fangs and claws and a snarl that would be heard round' the world. But fate has conspired against him. It's obvious now that Stephen Harper doesn't really belong in the House of Commons. Harper's progressive approach just doesn't connect with the majority of Canadians, even if his Conservatives command the most support of the four sitting parties. It's time to recognize the obvious. Harper is a man whose vision arrived too soon to be embraced. He is a man ahead of his time. Tragic, in a way. I personally think he would accomplish much more if he could be ushered into the Red Chamber. What a shame he couldn't add his name to a list of 18 others he elevated to the Senate recently. Quite frankly, I have nothing but admiration for many senators whose work often goes unappreciated. I've seen countless Senate documents over the years on everything from national security and emergency preparedness, to agriculture, to mental health and I've been impressed with what they've accomplished away from the glaring media spotlight, even if I suspect many MPs and cabinet ministers toss the documents into the recycling bin, unread. And they don't yell and scream or threaten to sue each other over imagined slights. I believe, contrary to the consensus opinion, that many are earning their $130,000 stipends. So Harper could fit in nicely with his Red Chamber colleagues and I'm sure many millions of Canadians would wish him well in this exciting new chapter of his life. Really, three years is way too long for a Conservative government to run Canada, anyway. After such a long span in power, entropy inevitably sets in. They are so much better in Opposition, something the Liberals really haven't done very well, largely because they've been out of practice for so long. It wouldn't be all work and no play for Harper in his new digs. I believe our PM would have a swell time in the Senate, swapping stock tips with other Tory senators, maybe playing a round or two on the links with K. Rove in Arizona, or going hunting, full body armour recommended, with D. Cheney. Harper could start to use that massive rolodex of names he built up over the years. I'm certain Condi Rice and Rummy might have more free time for a game of liar's poker, now that there's been a change in the White House and they are between jobs. And who knows what war stories he could swap with Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin about the strange machinations of the media elites. Yes, Harper could find his place in the sun. Granted, he would have to take a pay cut and maybe give up a few perks, but at least he won't have to face the electorate every two and half years. It's just a bad time to be a Conservative prime minister or Republican president these days, especially with so many people blaming so many of the world's ills on you. Talk about your colossal bad luck. It seems every single time there's a monstrous deficit, it's not some left-wing, granola-crunching free-spender who carries the can. It's Brian Mulroney, or Bush Jr. or now, Harper. Oh, those shifty Dems and Grits. But I digress. Once Harper moves on to his richly-deserved reward, perhaps the natural order of things might be restored with a new Liberal government installed and Conservative Party members returned to Opposition benches with beaming smiles on their faces. And who wouldn't want that?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

These are our real Newsmakers.... and unsung heroes

Just before leaving the office for my Christmas holidays I received the following email from one of our long time employees David Higgins who works out of our Halifax office. He had just attended the funeral of a young Canadian soldier that grew up in David's community and was a very close friend of David's son. That night when I got home I happened to catch the CBC news clip of the funeral on TV and it's quite a stark reminder that we are so fortunate to live here in this Country. It's also a very sobering feeling to be reminded of these young Canadian soldiers representing us in trying to bring Peace to this crazy world, they are our real unsung heroes and today I read two more of our Canadian Soldiers were lost in Kandahar.... peace be with them and their families.

From: David Higgins []
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 2:17 PM
To: APM staff
Subject: Have a Happy and safe Holiday

This morning I attended the funeral of brave young man from my hometown, who grew up wanting to be a soldier so he could serve his country. While serving his third mission in Afghanistan, Corporal Thomas Hamilton and two of his friends were killed by an IED on December 13, 2008. Thomas was scheduled to fly home on December 25 to spend the holidays with his family, and was eagerly anticipating seeing his daughter with her new glasses for the first time, he was 26 years old.

Although Thomas knew the dangers in his job and the role he had chosen to help those in need, his death strikes a harsh reality to all of us sitting in the church this morning as his friends and family said goodbye to a son, a father, a brother, an uncle, a comrade and a best friend. Life is a precious gift which we must cherish.

My wish for all of you is to have a safe and happy holiday and take the time to be with the people you care about and whether at your job or at home please be careful .

Have a safe and happy 2009.


David Higgins

Safety Supervisor
APM Construction

Canadian troops bid farewell to 2 more fallen comrades at Kandahar ceremony
The Canadian Press
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The bodies of two Canadian soldiers killed by a roadside bomb explosion in southern Afghanistan are on their way home. Hundreds of soldiers stood row by row at a twilight ramp ceremony Sunday at Kandahar Airfield to say a final farewell to their fallen comrades. Warrant Officer Gaetan Roberge and Sgt. Gregory John Kruse were killed during a security patrol in the Panjway district, in the western part of Kandahar province. The blast, which happened at around 12:15 p.m. local time, also killed an Afghan police officer and a local interpreter, and wounded four other Canadian soldiers and another Afghan interpreter. Roberge was part of the Canadian team mentoring Afghanistan’s fledgling national police force. He and the Afghan police were on a foot patrol about 25 kilometres west of Kandahar city when they came across a suspected bomb.Roberge’s team called the military’s quick reaction force, which Kruse was part of, to deal with the bomb. Military officials say there was a deadly explosion sometime after the team arrived at the scene. The injured soldiers were airlifted to Kandahar Airfield and were reported in good condition. For more on the story..

Friday, December 26, 2008

Stick A Fork In Me... I'm Done.. and I'm Lovin' It

I never thought I'd ever say this but I'm very happy being "Home Alone".... as I've previously said I love Christmas and I also like to live large, so leading up to the big day is a lot of work especially as your staff and family seem to get bigger and bigger… Couple this with Monday's storm and the pressure was on to get things done as "Santa" has a pretty big list and he also has a lot of dinner guests... so on Tuesday night I wrapped up my shopping and then met the Princess at the Seatreat for fish and chips before heading home to get working on the first of two Christmas dinners... so around 9:00 pm Tuesday night I started the stuffing for a 33 lb turkey and finally got it in the oven around 11:30 pm at 450 degrees for an hour and a half at which time I reduce the heat to 200 degrees and let it cook all night…. I got to bed around 2:00 pm and up Wednesday morning at 7:00 am to take the stuffing out as I then put the temperature back to 350 for an hour to insure the bird is fully cooked… I then headed to the office until noon where I had a bunch of staff things to do but it was back home to the house to get ready to receive 30 guests from my wife's side of the family…. I peeled 35 lbs of potatoes, 15 lbs carrots, 6 turnips and had them all cooking by 3:00 pm, I cut up the turkey, sliced up a large ham, made the gravy, reheated the dressing and dinner was served at 4:30 pm Christmas eve... the Princess had set the three tables in advance and she entertained the guests while I was doing the cooking... it must have been reasonably good as I noticed one person on their third plate before I got to finish one of my own... a couple of the ladies helped clean up as I got the deserts ready and amazingly we had a great time and everyone was gone by 8:00 pm… then we headed out around our neighbourhood to meet a few friends... we got home around 10:00 pm and I had to start all over again for my family who were coming Christmas day…. so out came the 25 lb bird and back to making the stuffing and another night up until 1:00 pm…. by the time I laid down in bed I thanked God that my boys were old enough that I didn't have to get the socks and presents out like other years... so I was up again Christmas day at 7:00 to finish off the bird and put the socks and presents out… I woke the rest of the family up to open the gifts... then I made a big breakfast for everyone before heading to the in-laws to open the family gifts... then it was back home to peel 20 lbs of "Yukon gold’s" from Donnie Allan, 8 lbs of carrots, 2 large turnips and all the other fixens before 19 members of my family arrived at 3:00 pm for their Christmas dinner... gee I almost forgot but between the two turkeys I had roasted a large prime rib as I was stupid enough to start this tradition about 10 years before for my family... things wound up around 10 pm Christmas night as we had to exchange all the family gifts and again we all had a wonderful time …. I finally got to bed around 10 pm but I was up and at it today with the big breakfast this morning, then trimmed the leftover turkey and beef as we do up the family "hot dinners" tonight... a little while ago a few visitors left, the Princess went to see someone at the hospital, and my two boys went out to visit friends and I'm "Home Alone" ….and I'm Lovin' it... and I really can't wait until next year..

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Rumour Circuit...and a party broke out...

We've all heard the old adage about PEI and the rumour mill... they say if you haven't heard a good one by noon you should probably start one... and never has it been more prevalent that this year’s Christmas Party circuit... I think the first official party started on Thursday night November 27th at the Downtown Charlottetown Inc's Meet and Greet and the favourite topic was PNP's and I'm pretty sure I was in for 30 units among a host of others. But as soon as the House was over and it came closer to Christmas the focus seemed to change to retail store closings. First it was Sears and someone spoke to someone who heard it from so-in-so, then it was Future Shop was going under and their gift certificates would be worthless, just as that one was settling down I was approached by a lady at the Confederation Centre and she heard it was definitely "Old Navy" closing and the employees were being let go on Christmas eve. I was getting a little tired of the store closing stories as they were getting a little boring so when Harper announced the Senate appointments I jumped at the opportunity to throw my name in the hat, but it didn't have any legs. So Saturday when I arrived at my usual table at the "Market" sure enough our very own Mike Duffy had surpassed Pat Binns right into a Senate seat and the announcement "was eminent"... today I was at the Superstore when I overheard I was getting a new "Falcon 7X" business jet for Christmas and I was quite excited as the weekly trip to Halifax would certainly cut down the tire wear... It is Christmas and for some reason people at these parties just seem to want to address these rumours with me as they think I'm "in the know".... so I guess the best way I can address these rumours are to look at the facts... so on the PNP front I went to and I was in fact the name that was searched the most… so I strolled through the 25 or so Companies I'm involved in and I couldn't find any Wing’s, Wang’s or Wong’s... so I moved on to the Sears closing rumour and I thought maybe the first thing I should do was visit the store and witness firsthand the lack of activity but to my surprise the store was jammed with people and the local manager said they were having a "great year" which was pretty much what senior management had been telling our people... pretty much the same story for Future Shop and Old Navy and in fact the Guardian is carrying a story on "Island retailer’s sales being stronger this year"..... surely the "eminent news" about Mike Duffy had to be true, so I went to PEI's most factual source The Guardian and not a "peep" in print..... now I did mention to the staff the other day that with all the out of province bridge traffic heading to Crowbush that I needed something faster than my Porsche to get to Halifax.... so I thought I better look up the skinny on that "Falcon 7X" just in case my staff put in an order for me.... although the $9,700.00 an hour operating cost might be a tad expensive and the $36,000,000.00 capital cost might be a little too steep, surely the 15 minutes in the air to Halifax would certainly save me some time and at that price the Princess would “get to pick the interior colours”... look I don't really know any more than the next guy on what's truth or rumour but come Christmas morning I'm heading to the airport.... I love the Island at Christmas...

A Water View... but not a clue..

I saw our Mayor on TV the other night talking about being into the second half of his "mandate" which confused me a bit as I didn't really think the City had such a thing... or it’s a secret to a lot of us... Over the weekend I was talking to a few Chamber members and they were a bit wound up. They heard Council was thinking of convening a new meeting to discuss reviewing the already approved plan for part of the Waterfront where the Newfoundland developer was trying to build a condo building. Apparently Council think they should de-zone the area because a few neighbourhood crazies think we should save the "water view".... maybe they should take a spin along Riverside Drive or out along Victoria Park as it wouldn't take a rock scientist to figure out that we already have a great deal of "water view" preserved in our plan. We also have a great boardwalk along the waterfront and all the new development plans that I've seen have always respected and proposed expanding that. In my opinion there are far more important thing to do to help our City prosper than spend any more time listening to "the don't get ahead gang" on Water Street. Today it took me and thousands of others over half an hour to get from Eustane Street to the Charlottetown Mall and some of the solutions to fix this could be done very easily particularly in the area of the University. In the Downtown core there has been some new investment and there seems to be great strides in trying to move forward. But if the Downtown is to continue to expand then Council should figure out a way to light a fire under the empty Tweel Property portfolio and get them to do something with their empty buildings through a tax penalty or something... as they appear to be making no attempt to rent or improve these run down properties... I'm not sure if this is true but I even hear the Tweel’s are holding up the new hotel development…. there are a ton of great ideas to improve our City and build a stronger tax base if the City ever bothered to ask any business stakeholders but they just seem to want to respond to the squeaky wheels...

It Certainly Can't Hurt... a little advice..

I must applaud Mr. Flaherty for having the foresight to bring forward such a strong group of business leaders some of whom may not necessarily share the same political stripe as the Government and I think it is important to at least hear them out and leave politics behind. Clearly the economy is probably the biggest threat facing Canadians and most of these folks have proven that they can steer themselves through many crises and their advice could certainly be useful at this point. I think for the most part these people will be very positive and I'm hoping they tell Government to stay focused, positive and trust our Canadian people and businesses to work hard and build on our natural resources as we are a great Country. Being positive will be half the battle... the rest will be up to ourselves...
Flaherty appoints economic advisory council
Former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor named as chair
Thursday, December 18, 2008
CBC News
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Thursday he will meet with "eminent" Canadians — most of whom are prominent business leaders — to seek advice on the federal budget and the economy.
Flaherty's economic council
James A. Pattison, CEO, Jim Pattison Group.
Paul Desmarais Jr., co-CEO, Power Corporation of Canada.
Geoff Beattie, deputy chairman, Thomson Reuters.
James D. Irving, president of J.D. Irving Ltd.
George Gosbee, CEO, Tristone Capital Inc.
Isabelle Hudon, president, Marketel.
Mike Lazaridis, founder and co-CEO, Research In Motion
Jack Mintz, former CEO, C.D. Howe Institute.
Ajit Someshwar, CEO, CSI Consulting Inc.
Annette Verschuren, division president, Home Depot Canada.
Carole Taylor, former B.C. finance minister.
Speaking at a Saskatoon news conference, he said members of the 11-member advisory panel have agreed to provide their insight for a dollar a year.
"This is a council that I wanted to appoint as part of the pre-budget consultations and then on an ongoing basis because of the continuing deterioration in the world economy, the U.S. economy affecting our economy, and the deterioration in commodity prices as well," Flaherty told reporters.
He will seek out their advice on taxation, credit availability and what sort of stimulus is needed for the economy, he said.
Flaherty will first meet with the council on Tuesday, and will continue to do so over the course of the year.
The panel includes former C.D. Howe Institute CEO Jack Mintz, Research In Motion founder Mike Lazaridis and former B.C. Liberal finance minister Carole Taylor, who was named chair of the council.
When asked what sort of advice he was looking to get from the group that he can't get from other MPs, Flaherty replied: "I wanted a group with some more permanence so there would be more continuity to the discussions — so I choose a group of eminent Canadians, all of whom who agreed to serve."
He said he did not look at political ties before asking them to join his council.

A Great Start... keep it up..

Our youth are our future and the more we work with them when they are younger the better chance they have to straighten themselves out before their additions become too severe. I'm convinced that kids from adolescence through to their mid twenties sometimes just head down the wrong path because they don't have someone to give them any guidance or advice and having an environment to discuss their additions with their peers is an important first step. My Dad was a bad alcoholic when I was growing up but fortunately he joined AA's shortly after my 14th birthday and although he died a few years later it had given me the opportunity to see how great family life was without alcoholism. Even growing up surrounded by this addition didn't stop me from starting along the same footsteps and by my late teens I was pretty much addicted but it wasn't until a few years later and a lot of stupid "episodes and displays" that the disease fully reared its head. At one point in my early twenties I was drinking to excess nearly every night and it was after a "3 day tear" (where I was having blackouts) that I had gotten so sick I couldn’t even drink so I had a chance to sober up. Fortunately during this sober period a friend with a little more sense than I gave me a bit of a "tuning up" and I denied I was having drinking problems. To prove his point he made a bet with me that I couldn't go without a drink for a full week which I scoffed at. Into the third day of the bet I recognized that he may be right as I was having some serious withdrawals and also memories of what my Dad went through when he was trying to stop. So I called a family friend who had worked with my Dad and he took me down to AA's in Summerside. Although I stayed with their program for a little while the physical environment and the age of the volunteer councillors weren't really suited to someone as young as myself and for those reasons I started to shy away from the place as it had an older stigma attached to it that made me feel a bit embarrassed. I had "lived" the hardships of alcohol in my childhood and I guess it was enough to force me to continue on living an alcohol free life for over 30 years now without so much as a "sip". The first 5 years were really tough and I think if I would have had a younger peer group to bounce around some of my problems during this period it would have been a lot easier and that is why I think a day program is an important step to helping out some of our youth with these addictions. At this point the addicts have to face the problems themselves and talk and treatment will go a lot farther than bricks and mortar so Kudos to Mr. Currie and his team for getting this program off the ground.... keep up the great work.
Province backs away from residential youth addiction treatment
Friday, December 19, 2008
CBC News
There will soon be a day treatment program for addicted youth in Charlottetown, but the P.E.I. government has no current plans for a residential treatment program.
During a CBC Forum on youth addiction last November, the government committed to building a youth addictions facility within two years. There has been talk about one for years; currently youth requiring residential treatment have to go to New Brunswick.
Health Minister Doug Currie told CBC News Thursday any residential treatment program is a ways off, but the day program is an important first step in the addictions strategy.
"Build a day program, build relationships, but also to most importantly build a preventive education and early intervention strategy around this program as we reach out into the school system," said Currie.
The program is voluntary. Youth will choose whether to check in at the start of the day, and they will have to go home at night. Clinicians and counsellors will be available at the centre.
Whether treatment should be voluntary or forced has also been an issue for the government, and it is maintaining its position of voluntary treatment only.
Opposition leader Olive Crane is applauding government for doing something about youth addictions, but said it needs to follow through with the next step.
"Everybody realizes we need to have a year-round residential in-house program for youth on Prince Edward Island," said Crane.
The province plans to begin hiring for the new day program in January.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Party, Party, Party... 6 more sleeps....

I love Christmas and I think it's because my Mom and Dad seemed to have put a lot into it... we didn't have a lot of money and we didn't get a lot of gifts but there always seemed to be that one special large gift that somehow always found its way under the tree... leading up to Christmas my Mom always seemed to have a little more spirit and although she worked every day with my Dad at the Service (gas) Station she always found that extra time through the holidays to be around home once we were off from school... we would always head "West" to chop down our tree and back then we had a couple of strings of lights and a lot of icicles. If one bulbs blew out it could take you 15 minutes to fix the string as you would have to carefully unplug each one until you discovered the burnt one... and this job always fell to me. I can't remember if our station closed earlier in the evenings then or if we were just allowed to stay up longer but I can remember Dad being home a lot more and spending time teasing us on what Santa would bring...there even seemed to be less drinking. Family and friends dropped by and they always had baked goods as chips, chocolates and bars were only around on Christmas Day. My sister Gail spent the entire week before Christmas looking around the house for her gifts and if she happened across one you could be sure she would sneak a peek... something she still does today. Everyday I'd be watching for the postman as there would be a card with either a $5 or $10 U.S bill from my rich "Great Uncle Jim" from Boston. He always sent his nieces and nephews a card with money in it and a big basket of fruit and candies to my Mom and Dad (and I suspect some money). On Christmas day we'd be up before dawn tearing away at our socks and then it would be off to Church before heading "West" to my grandparents for a few days to see all our cousins.... My uncle Cody and Earle would be around telling family stories that made everyone laugh... and card games like crib, 45's and Auction would rule the house with Uncle Irving bidding "60 for 120".... they were great times and my Mom milked them right through to January 6th "Little Christmas" as her family was Irish... Nowadays we hear a lot of people talk about Christmas being just a little too commercialized but I think that is only what you make of it.... and I try and make a lot of it... around the first cold day in late November I will throw my annual Christmas hat on and start showing up at the local business parties and I'm sure a lot of local folks think what's the Nutcracker doing with the hat on... but again it's what you make of it and for me it's a time to say hello, see some old friends and find some ways to thank the many people who help keep us going... it's really busy around the office making sure that everyone of our employees, suppliers and customers are being looked after for Christmas and I can get a little stressed out with some of the demands I put on myself. Yesterday afternoon I had to attended the Chamber function in Summerside, then back to Charlottetown to Rodd's annual due, and then over to Papa Joe's before heading to the "Canada Rocks Christmas" and That's Where It Happened... I seemed to catch the Christmas spirit....there always seems to be a time just a few days before the big event that the stress turns into that feeling I had when I was growing up and I'm pretty sure that happened last night, with my Princess and our boys, watching a great production of Islanders singing and dancing up a Christmas storm. Today the office elves starting wrapping the gifts and over the next few days if you see me (I’ve got a few extra party pounds) running around with an “extra little step” you’ll know I’m out scouring the Town for those special gifts so don’t forget to say hello ho ho ho!!! and if I don't see you I wish you all a Merry Merry Christmas...

"Tis the Season... of a poor economy...

It's unfortunate that this is the case but this economy is going to take a lot of tolls and I'm afraid wind energy is an unproven investment return that there will be little private investment for. Although wind energy seems like the right thing to do it will be a tough sell to the private investors who have been hit with heavy losses on much more secure investments. In today’s economy Cash Is King and anyone left with a few dollars to invest have many, many more opportunities to get a far better return on their money than they do in wind energy. A few years ago the pension funds, European Investors, and private equity funds started throwing a few bucks at this sector as it was a bit "sexy" to be green, plus with oil at $140 a barrel there was a chance that a break even might be possible... most of these guys have taken a pounding in the markets and are retreating from this kind of investment.... with oil at $37 a barrel I'm afraid hoping to revitalize this sector initiative in the near future is a long way off...
Billion-dollar wind energy plan for P.E.I. on hold
Friday, December 19, 2008
CBC News
The P.E.I. government has postponed its call for private wind power development proposals because of the downturn in the economy.
In October, the province announced a $1-billion development plan to more than triple the wind power generated in the province, to 500 megawatts, by the year 2013.
It planned to issue a call for proposals for private developers to build wind farms to generate that energy.
"Our opinion is the prospectors that could be out there might not be quite as aggressive at the moment," Energy Minister George Webster told CBC News on Friday.
"They need some time, as well, to assess the market and where the market is going with regards to wind development. So I think this bit of a delay is the right thing."
Webster said a call for proposals will not go out until at least until next April. The global economic situation will be reassessed then.
In the meantime, Webster said the government will draw up guidelines to help ensure that any new development will have community support.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Would you say "Blackballing"....

When I originally saw this story I couldn't believe this guy wasn't "taken out" by his own team members and shown the door. The Board of Governors of the NHL have always had a pretty strong record of keeping the game clean from this kind of stuff and I'm pretty sure they probably addressed this with the Dallas Stars owners.... Did I say "Blackballing" .... my guess is Mr. Avery might get work in Russia as he's all done here... and good riddance to him....
Dallas Stars say that forward Sean Avery will not return to the team
By The Canadian Press
FRISCO, Texas — Sean Avery has played his last game for the Dallas Stars. The NHL team made the announcement on Sunday morning, noting that they would continue support the player during this “critical time.” Avery received a six-game suspension for making an inappropriate remark and served the final game of that ban on Saturday. As part of the suspension, Avery agreed to undergo an anger management evaluation. The Stars say they will not try and challenge the US$15.5-million, four-year contract that Avery signed over the summer and will explore options for his future consistent with his counselling. “The message here is: no distractions,” said co-GM Brett Hull. “Sean can focus on resolving his personal issues and the Stars will have closure on this episode. The team needs to put its energies into winning.”

What's wrong with being "Rich"....

It must be some evil word on PEI... "Rich".. wouldn't it just be awful that some of our Island business people might get rich... I guess most of them that had the guts to start a business were just doing it out of the goodness of their heart..... anyway I generally agree with the story, and I think if you look at one of my previous posts I believe I said the business recipients’ received somewhere between $32,000 to $42,000 per $200,000 unit. If they only got as little as $10,000 to $15,000 per unit as this story indicates then they should ask PEI Business Development to investigate their agent. I'm sure there can be a lot things improved in how the program was managed by both administrations but overall I agree with the members of the P.E.I. Business Directory that the program was a much needed and worthy program for Island businesses... as I understand it this program didn't cost taxpayers any money and it certainly brought a lot of new investment to our Province...
Firms didn’t get rich: group
The Guardian
Small business owners on P.E.I., who received investments through the Provincial Nominee Program, are upset their financial benefits from the program are being erroneously reported, says the president of the P.E.I. Business Directory. Peter Trainor, who heads up this business association, said many of his 850 members have received money from the PNP, but not nearly as much as has been reported by government and media. Some received as little as $10,000, he said. The Provincial Nominee Program is a federal-provincial program in which potential immigrants invest in a local business in return for a Canadian visa. The immigrant purchases $200,000 worth of shares in a local company. Of that total, $100,000 is taken by the province and put in trust to be paid back after a period of time — usually five years. Another $50,000 goes toward lawyers and broker fees. The remaining $50,000 goes into a local business. But Trainor says some business owners who legitimately received money through this program actually received only $10,000 or $15,000 after all legal and accounting fees were paid. “It’s only a fraction of the investment that actually gets to the business community,’’ he said, adding many small business owners are dismayed at the perception a lot of money was injected into small businesses via the program. A large part of that impression is being created by the province, Trainor said. Innovation Minister Richard Brown, whose department oversees the PNP, has been publicly defending the program against public concerns both in the legislature and at public accounts committee meetings. “Monies from foreign investors (were put) into private companies in this Island to the tune of $200 million,’’ Brown said during legislature question period on Dec. 3. “Since the program started in 2001, millions of dollars have been invested in 1,423 companies — 1,423 small businesses out there have accessed this program,’’ Brown said during the last public accounts meeting. Trainor says it was the lawyers and accountants that brokered the investments between the immigrants and the businesses that benefited most from the PNP. “Why does it cost $50,000 for a lawyer to do this work? We’re not talking about a major transaction here, it’s basically setting up a simple trust fund. I can go down and get that done at the bank for free.’’ He believes government should have policed these administration fees more thoroughly, especially considering additional legal and accounting fees were deducted from the businesses’ shares. That’s why some businesses got only $10,000. “Why would the lawyers or the accountants get more money than the businesses?’’ Trainor asked. “It sounds shady.’’ However, local businesses owners are wary of coming forward with these concerns. Many fear they will be viewed as having done something wrong by their mere involvement in the PNP.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stephen.. How about me? your Token Liberal....

Gee... the phone lines will be busy in the Valley as Keith and Joe try and get to Stephen with a case for why Keith shouldn't make it to the Upper Chamber... "he took the bullet in Egmont" .... "he voted for Gail"... "he didn't really work that hard"... and I'm sure they'll come up with a few others... but Hey Stephen... I'm your token "red" man (I'll even wear a skirt)... I'm almost Blue Blood.... I'm your Denny Crane.... I'm your "foo fighter".... Stephen…I'm your Huckleberry... Just send the cheque and I'll not even show up... You've got my number… Look Stephen I gotta go now... Jefferies is on the tube tonight talking about Ghiz's new cabinet and if he doesn't mention my golfing buddy’s name then I'll have to carry him out of the Delta as he'll be pretty down in the lip.... Stevie I’m on my cell at 1 800 $$$ $$$$ ..... and "Senator Banks" looks good on the credit card...
Harper moves to fill Senate: news reports

By The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — News reports say Prime Minister Stephen Harper plans to fill every one of the 18 empty Senate seats by the end of the year. The reports say Harper plans a wave of appointments in the coming weeks to tilt the balance more in favour of the Conservatives in the Liberal-dominated upper chamber. The move could also be a change of direction for Harper who has campaigned to either reform the Senate or to abolish the body altogether. The move is sure to spark protests from opposition parties arguing that Harper, who prorogued the House rather than be defeated by a united opposition, has no right to make such patronage appointments during this time. However, Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean placed no restrictions on Harper’s ability to govern when she granted his request last week to prorogue Parliament. That leaves him free to stack the Senate with his own nominees. The prime minister names senators and they serve until age 75. The Liberals have the majority (58) compared with the Conservatives (20). Other seats are held by Independents and senators of other party affiliations.

Top Marks for this Initiative.... now the Cities..

It seems everyone (and I can be guilty of this) wants to take a shot at Government for always doing silly things but this move is not one of them. We must applaud the Premier and Mr. Sheridan for taking the initiative to make these important changes to help Islanders better understand the job their Government is doing prior to an election. The role of an auditor is a very important function in any public organization and I think I can speak for all taxpayers in acknowledging the improvements brought forward by both our Provincial and Federal auditors have greatly improved some of the ways Government does business . Now if we can only get the Premier to give our Provincial Auditor authority to watch over our large municipalities like Charlottetown and Summerside then the quicker we'll see improvements to those Communities... the first review should be the Mayor's office...
Province must open books to auditor, public before election
The Guardian
The province’s books will now have to be audited and presented publicly three months before every election, thanks to a bill passed during the recent fall sitting of the legislature. The changes will force government and all its Crown corporations to have their financial statements complete and ready for the scrutiny of the province’s auditor general by Aug. 31 of any fixed election year. Once the audit is complete, the results will then be made public. This will allow Islanders to have a true picture of the province’s finances as they make their decisions about which candidates to vote for, says Provincial Treasurer Wes Sheridan. “What we feel very strongly — the premier and myself both — is that when people go to the voting booth to decide whether they want to keep the government in place, they should have audited numbers from the year before’s performance,” Sheridan said in a recent interview with The Guardian. These changes to the Financial Administration Act come as a result of major differences that have been reported from one year end to the next in past governments. This was most recently seen in figures put forward just before the Liberals took over from the former Binns government in 2007. Before the election, the Progressive Conservatives presented a budget they said left the Island with a surplus of $2.1 million. But when the Liberals took over government a few months later, they said they found some major discrepancies in the figures and announced the province was actually $42 million in deficit. This wouldn’t have happened if the newly minted law had been in place then, Sheridan said. “We felt that people were misled.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Here's a good "Island" name.. "Metaxas"....

I get a kick out of this kind of reporting… If the reporter would have done the math it would appear that someone mysteriously pocketed $104,500 as it is unaccounted for out of the $200,000 investment…. Had the reporter done their job they would have explained to the public that the immigrant investor doesn't really invest $200,000 as $100,000 of that amount is really a paper loan and the investor really only comes up with $100,000 to qualify for the program, which is a pretty cheap entry into our Country. Most recipients (like the Gentlemen below) received between $32,000 to $42,000 per $200,000 investor unit and that really depended on what the agent, accountant and lawyer’s fees were and if I had to guess it would appear that the agents did quite well.... I heard two "reporter recipients" of the PNP's on the news tonight talking about the Province raking in $400,000,000 through the program when in fact the real "cash infusion" from the investors would be more like $200,000,000 but they seem to want to sensationalize the situation... now here's the funny side of the reporting... I'm an eighth generation Islander whose family is recorded in the 1880 Meacham's Atlas of PEI and even though our family immigrated here (without a PNP) around 1766 I'm still having a hard time being identified as a PEI businessman.... But when Mr. Metaxas whose family name doesn't appear on a 2000 PEI voters list wants to "dump" on a program that put a lot of much needed investment into our Island businesses (including his) then the reporter wants to call him a P.E.I. businessman... if he wants "to be more comfortable if the investors had more of a role" then I'm sure there is no one stopping him from giving his new investors a "role"... tonight on CBC Compass a couple of the political panel who received PNP's are going to be talking about the PNP program and I'll be watching to see if their poor arms are better from the "twisting" they took in accepting their PNP's.... the devil made them do it!!!
PNP deal seemed too easy: businessman
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
CBC News
A P.E.I. businessman who received investment money from a potential immigrant through the Provincial Nominee Program says the process seemed too easy.
Peter Metaxas owns SEC Heat Exchangers in Vernon River, a company that buys and sells heat exchangers around the world.
Metaxas said he was advised in late summer to get some of the immigrant investor money available under the federal-provincial program, which ended on Sept. 2.
He received one payment, $42,000, from an immigrant who wants to move to Canada. In total, the immigrant put up $200,000 for the right to come here, pending health and security checks.
Other recipients included an agent, who got $45,000, a lawyer, about $6,000, and the government, $2,500. Some of the money was a deposit, returned if the immigrant stayed on P.E.I. for a year and learned English.
Metaxas said he never met the agent or the investor, and he was surprised at how easy the process was.
"It's not like someone just said, 'Knock, knock. Here's some money.' But I didn't probably spend more than 45 minutes total — maybe an hour and a half if you included my travelling time to the lawyer — to get [about] $40,000," he said.
Will follow plan
Metaxas said he will spend the money according to a business plan drawn up by his accountant. He doesn't know if anyone from the program will ever check to make sure that happens.
Metaxas believes the program could be a good economic stimulus for P.E.I., but he would be more comfortable if the investors had more of a role.
The immigrant partner section of the Provincial Nominee Program underwent a drastic change in September, requiring up to $1 million from potential immigrants.
In the three months leading up to that change, the province processed 1,800 applicants. In previous years, the program typically attracted a few hundred immigrants.
P.E.I.'s auditor general has announced an investigation of the PNP, one that could go back to its inception in 2001.

Now here's a little dirt.....

Gee I would have thought that the CEO of Waste Watch would have been just a little interested in how the waste watch plant was initially set up and that he would have read Justice Campbell's public report. It's not as if the report is hearsay or gossip, it happens to be facts about how the current operator deals with problems and in this case they might have buried them... Islanders are very proud of their record on how we are dealing with our waste and I'm sure the CEO of Waste Watch is getting paid "big bucks" (compared to the adverage Islander) to oversee that our "system is environmentally safe"... He should take a few minutes out of his busy day and read the judgement as it might ring some alarm bells as to how his operator runs the compost plant.... the neighbours have been making complaints for years and it appears they had a good reason too…
Court decision dishes the dirt on composting in P.E.I.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
CBC News
A recent Supreme Court of P.E.I. decision raises some serious questions about compost produced on the Island.
'Greed, impatience and arrogance led ADI to terminate WCI.'— Justice Gordon Campbell
A court case between ADI International Inc., builders of the compost plant in Brookfield, and WCI Waste Conversion Inc., designers of the plant, ended Nov. 27 in a $4.3 million decision against ADI.
At the centre of the dispute was the quality of the compost and whose fault it was that it was taking so long to produce it. Justice Gordon Campbell lay the blame squarely on ADI. That was bad news for ADI in the lawsuit, but the judge also had harsh words regarding continuing problems at the plant years after it was built.
ADI had won the contract from Island Waste Management Corporation to build and operate the plant and subcontracted the design and operation of it to WCI. WCI's contract was terminated by ADI in December 2002 for alleged poor performance.
But Campbell noted that an expert hired by ADI testified that last year, piles of compost produced by the plant contained whole potatoes and visible paper and wood waste.
Campbell lay the blame for this squarely on ADI.
"ADI painted a picture of WCI's incompetence to design and operate the facility. WCI was not the incompetent party," he wrote in his decision. "Greed, impatience and arrogance led ADI to terminate WCI."
Campbell said six years after the start of the province's composting program, the system is still a failure, and P.E.I.'s compost is "not acceptable for any use."
Island Waste Management Corporation has just renewed ADI's contract for three more years. CEO Gerry Moore told CBC this week that he hadn't read the decision, but he maintains the plant does produce quality compost.
ADI has already filed an appeal of the decision.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why not "openhealth".... and have a look at my mole..

When I had heard that there was a web site set up to find something new about Homburg, a public company, I thought good luck with that. Everything imaginable is disclosed when you take your company public and you would have to be pretty native to think you could learn something new about the company and its directors from a search on a PEI Government web site. But when I took a look at the site I was surprised to see my own name was getting a ton of hits and I soon realized that people were searching for PNP connections.... it must have been very disappointing not to find any evidence of such in my case. If you can believe the web site's claim on the number of hits it certainly supports the concept that Islanders tend to be a nosey bunch.... but what about our personal privacy....I don't think the Government was too worried about the info people were finding out about the PNP's as most of the trails led to Companies who probably got their units while the previous Government was in office, most of which appeared to have Tory connections. The Companies that got units this year will be filing their reports out next year and they probably will be looking for ways to be less transparent now that they know they are being watched.... I would suggest that the reason the Province made the site a little tougher to access is their concern that they may be in violation of someone’s privacy particularly as it relates to the Director's home address, which was my complaint.... Corporations Canada have a similar search engine and because of our privacy laws they do not release any information related to the Directors other than their name.... It's kind of funny that someone can hack into a person’s personal information and when that's about someone’s business dealings the public doesn't seem to have an issue.... but if this hacker had set up "openhealth" and we could all look into the Government computers to search anyone's personal health affairs then I could only imagine the uproar...
Internet search engine shut down by province
The Guardian
An Internet search engine that made it easier to search for local companies that may have accessed Provincial Nominee Program funds has essentially been shut down by changes made to the province’s corporate registry. The official P.E.I. registry, located on the provincial government website, allows people to search local companies by business name or number. Peter Rukavina, a local blogger and owner of a web design company, developed a web tool he called OpenCorporations that indexed pages on the government’s site with a search ‘robot.’
Over the week that OpenCorporations has been live there have been over 150,000 searches from 2,100 unique visitors, the vast majority of them from Prince Edward Island. Some of the most frequent users of belonged to:- Government of P.E.I. network - 3,927 searches- Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission network - 2,016 searches- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency network - 1,057 searches. On average each visitor visited 46 pages, and spent 10 minutes on the site. Source: Websites like Google and Yahoo use the same type of tool. Rukavina’s site allowed users to perform searches on shareholders’ names as opposed to only business names. It also displayed all additional corporations each company shareholder may hold interests in. After only a little over a week, the website was booming. Rukavina originally started OpenCorporations to satisfy a personal question about a company expanding in his area but many have been using it to search for companies that might have received immigrant investment funds through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). This program has been the subject of much controversy over the last several months. Under the PNP, immigrants got a Canadian visa by investing money in a local company, but questions have been raised about which companies received these investments and about government MLAs’ and a deputy minister’s involvement in them. Within the first 17 hours of going live, Rukavina’s website received 1,368 distinct keyword searches, and ‘Ghiz’ was the most popular. Not anymore. The province has changed the way searches are done on the corporate registry site to keep search robots like Rukavina’s OpenCorporations from indexing its files. “The changes were made to take us back to the status quo,’’ said Katharine Tummon, director of corporations for the office of the provincial attorney general. “When we were apprised of (Rukavina’s site) we immediately were looking to ensure that our corporate registry maintains its integrity.’’ She said the data was set up to be searched by company name only and was never intended to be used the way Rukavina’s website does. She admits there’s nothing in the current legislation to say that it shouldn’t be used this way. This is because the Companies Act hasn’t been updated since this kind of technology became available, Tummon said. “Other jurisdictions have modern provisions that are quite different from ours that place limits on the information.” Rukavina says he believes the public has a right to know the links between company shareholders and the various business interests they may possess, which is essentially what OpenCorporations provided. “I’ve always been able to go to the government website and if I know a company name, find out who its shareholders and directors are,” Rukavina said. “But I’ve never been able to find out what other corporations they control. And I think that connection information is important for people to know about because it goes toward their motivations.’’ He added that he, as well as many of his blog readers, are expressing their disappointment publicly about government’s decision to limit the accessibility of its corporate information.

A Good Compromise...

When someone shows up with 187 names on a petition in a little Town it is a big number and it good to see people are looking for solutions. Well the property owner found a loophole based on compassionate grounds which allows the trailer owner to stay for 6 months.... I still think it shouldn't have come to this as people should have been looking for a solution on both sides earlier. We are going through tough economic times and we all have to work together with a "common sense" approach to planning which sometimes may means amending the rules....
Souris council hears application for special permit to allow trailer
The Guardian
SOURIS — The trailer controversy rolls on here as Souris Trailer Park owners continue the fight to keep an illegally placed unit on their property within the town. Park owners Anne McPhee and Billy MacMaster arrived at Monday’s regular town council meeting armed with a group of backers, a 187-signature petition and an application for a special permit to allow the trailer to remain, contrary to the town’s bylaws and despite an appeal to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission that was recently denied. At issue is the trailer owned by Henry Jarvis that was moved onto a vacant spot in the park without a permit and in contravention of the town’s bylaws. Since 2002, the bylaws make it illegal to bring any more trailers into town. As they are phased out, they must be replaced by mini-homes. Mayor Joanne Reid said Henry Jarvis’ former partner, Courtney, and their two children live in a trailer next to his. Her mother lives in another trailer in the park and Henry’s own mother, Bernadine Jarvis, also lives in trailer there. “I asked them, ‘is there no one of the other three trailer owners already there in the park connected with him, who will take him in?’, and no one was willing, yet it is the town that is receiving the blame for Mr. Jarvis’ situation,” she said. In her proposal to council, McPhee said the owners of the Souris Trailer Park and Jarvis are making application for a special permit, based on compassionate grounds and with agreed-upon conditions attached, to allow Jarvis to keep his trailer in the trailer park and to hook him up to town water. “In terms of setting a precedent by issuing a special permit to move a trailer into the trailer park, we will agree, in writing, that this is a one time only circumstance and that we will not be coming back to the town for another special permit for the next homeless guy that comes our way,” she said. “Henry’s case is unique and unusual and we are appealing to the town on compassionate grounds once and only once.” McPhee contends that by issuing this one and only special permit, the town has an opportunity to turn the tide of public opinion in its favour. Reid said McPhee argued her case well and found a loophole in the bylaws of which the town was not aware. “As a result council will be using its discretionary power to extend the removal order for six months, allowing Jarvis to remain in the park during the cold winter, and giving him time to find another location for his trailer. Water and sewage hookups will be granted.” Council members feel they have been placed in a difficult position. Denis Thibodeau said bylaws approved by residents are there for a purpose, and are to be protected, however a compromise at this point was necessary. The town will review its bylaws in conjunction with the preparation of a special town plan sometime before March, and residents will have opportunity to address issues of concern at that time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rae Is per my prediction...

It is now OFFICIAL you heard it here first...Bob Rae is OUT..... I was bang on with my predictions that once Dominic LeBlanc bowed out of the race there would be a lot of pressure on Rae to also bow out for the good of the Party.... and he did....and he and Dion deserve a lot of credit from fellow Liberals....
Rae abandons leadership bid; Ignatieff next Liberal chief
The Canadian Press OTTAWA — Michael Ignatief will be the next leader of the federal Liberal party. The Canadian Press has learned rival candidate Bob Rae told confidantes during a teleconference call today that he is withdrawing from the race. It now rests with the party executive to find a way to install Ignatieff that meets with the approval of the majority of Liberal party members. The Toronto-area MP will become the third Liberal leader in five years — possibly as soon as Wednesday’s caucus meeting. Ignatieff has been cool to the idea of replacing the Conservative minority government with a Liberal-NDP coalition. Current party leader Stephane Dion announced Monday he will step aside as soon as a replacement is chosen.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea...

Poor but wise Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) got rich quick when he struck oil... I was looking at current futures and it appears we could break the $40 a barrel maybe as early as tomorrow and I suspect we've see some more downward movement in oil company shares... Petro-Canada was a low as $20 a share within the last week from a yearly high of $61.85 .... a couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune of attending an economic address on the current economy by former President Bill Clinton and one thing he seemed sure of was oil going back to $100 a barrel.... although I don't really like to give out stock advice I can tell you I'm going to buy some of that "Canadian" tea....
Gas prices still heading south
The Guardian
Gas prices continue to plummet on Prince Edward Island. Early today, the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission announced the following petroleum pricing decisions, effective 12:01 a.m.:- Gasoline prices will decrease by 2.5 cents per litre (cpl); - Furnace and stove oil prices will decrease by 5.0 cpl; - Diesel prices will decrease by 5.0 cpl. There will be no changes to propane pricing at this time. Including taxes, pump prices for regular unleaded gasoline at self-serve outlets will now range from 73.1 cpl to 75.2 cpl. Demand related implications of the ongoing global financial crisis, coupled with mild weather as of late, have impacted wholesale petroleum product prices resulting in today's announced pricing adjustments, says IRAC. The commission's next scheduled price adjustment will be on Dec. 15.

This should do it... Ignatieff New Liberal Leader...

You heard it here first... if LeBlanc pulls out and moves to Ignatieff then you can put your money on Dion being gone by the end of the week... most people thought LeBlanc would be the King Maker and this will prove them right... this will put a lot of pressure on Rae to pull out of the race as he doesn't have a chance as his NDP record in Ontario continues to follow him... I'd put my money on Ignatieff being the Liberal leader by Christmas.... probably not the gift Harper was looking for....
LeBlanc to drop out of Liberal leadership race, support Ignatieff
Sunday, December 7, 2008
CBC News
New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc is expected to announce Monday that he will drop out of the Liberal leadership race to replace Stéphane Dion, leaving only two contenders, CBC News has learned.
LeBlanc is expected to throw his support behind front-runner Michael Ignatieff, the CBC's Susan Bonner reported, citing sources.
LeBlanc, Ignatieff and Bob Rae are in a race to replace Dion, who announced he would be stepping down as leader after the party's poor showing in the Oct. 14 election.
In one of the worst results in terms of popular vote for the party in more than 100 years, the Liberals took 77 seats. Going into the election, the party had held 95.
The leadership convention is scheduled be held in Vancouver from April 30 to May 3. But Ignatieff and Rae have been saying recently that the Liberal party needs to find a new, permanent leader before Parliament resumes on Jan. 26.

Gong Show....bong, bong...Dion Gone (by Thursday)..

Let's face it Dion must go after that amateur show the other night on TV... I'm embarrassed to think that I might have supported this guy.... he tried to blame his performance on his staff which is a total cop out... bottom line is that they report to him and he has to take the responsibility.... in the 39 years that I have been involved in the Liberal party I have seen us do a lot of embarrassing things but I can honestly say that his performance on TV the other night wins the prize.... Bong !!!! Bong!!! Bong!!! Dion you're gone.... and it better be by Thursday.....
Dion must go, former Liberal deputy PM says
Saturday, December 6, 2008
CBC News
Stéphane Dion is facing calls from a senior party stalwart to immediately give up his post, the latest example of waning support for the Liberal leader within his own party.
Former Liberal deputy prime minister John Manley said the Liberal caucus and party executive should move to choose a new leader before Christmas who can get the caucus ready for the resumption of Parliament in January.
"As a Liberal, I believe the first step for my party is to replace Stéphane Dion as leader with someone whose first job is to rebuild the Liberal party, rather than leading a coalition with the NDP," Manley said in an opinion piece in Saturday's Globe and Mail.
His comments come two days after Prime Minister Stephen Harper persuaded the Governor General to suspend Parliament and ward off, at least for the moment, the demise of his minority Conservative government.
That move came after the Liberals and NDP agreed to form a coalition headed by Dion and aimed at ousting Harper's government, which the opposition accuses of failing to propose an adequate plan to deal with the economic crisis.
Manley said the idea that the public would welcome Dion as prime minister after having rejected him during the Oct. 14 federal election "was delusional at best."
"Mr. Dion had seemed to accept responsibility for the defeat (although somewhat reluctantly), and should have left his post immediately" after the vote, wrote Manley, who is now counsel at McCarthy Tétrault LLP.
"Furthermore, in agreeing to the terms of the coalition with the NDP and the Bloc, Mr. Dion bound his successor to a controversial arrangement without even consulting any of the candidates to succeed him in the process, leaving them no option but to endorse it or break with him as party leader."
An EKOS poll conducted Thursday night found 60 per cent of Canadians surveyed think Dion should resign as Liberal leader in light of what has happened on Parliament Hill this week.
By comparison, 37 per cent of respondents said they think Harper should step down.
In total, a random sample of 1,502 Canadians aged 18 and over responded to the telephone survey. A sample of this size provides a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.With files from the Canadian Press

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Business not rumour....

I have to give Premier Ghiz credit for controlling his members and not letting them fire back at the Opposition about some of the rumoured innuendo out there in relationship to the Opposition's involvement in PNP's, conflicts, etc... I'm sure there are members of both parties that may not be as "lily white" as they make out to be .... let's face it, there are a pile of rumours out there and that's just what they are "rumours"…. it seems it is pretty easy when you're in the House to "throw something out there anyway" to try and give the rumours creditability as there is no legal recourse for your comments.... and the Premier Ghiz didn’t let his members get into mudslinging..... he took the High Road and dealt with business not rumour...
P.E.I. legislature ends short fall session
The Guardian
The fall session of the P.E.I. legislature came to a close late this afternoon, after a short 13 days in session.Despite the short session, 28 bills were passed. Premier Robert Ghiz says the session's highlights included major reforms in health care, the promise to expand high speed internet to all of province, and reforms to the Police Act."I think it says we have a very efficient and good government," Ghiz said moments ago."I sat in opposition and really it depends on how long the opposition asks questions for, and if they want to hold up the business of government."

Great, Great, Great, News....

When the Liberals took over I thought they were crazy keeping the meat plant open but obviously I was wrong as it appears they are starting to make some progress and that is simply great news... it's been a tough file for Minister LeClair, the shareholders, employees, and a lot of staff from BDI.... Kutos have to go out to all involved, sticking with the business plan and working hard to keep this important industry afloat and I'm sure all Islanders are pleased with the progress...
Atlantic Beef Products climbs briefly out of red
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
CBC News
The Maritimes' only federally inspected beef processing plant had its first break-even month since opening in 2003, but the company's new president says steady profits are a ways off.
John Thompson arrived from Moncton this week to take over the Atlantic Beef Products plant in Albany, at the foot of Confederation Bridge, and was informed the plant broke even in October. Changes made over the past year have improved the bottom line, but people shouldn't get too excited about October's results, Thompson told CBC News Tuesday.
"We've tightened things up on the production side, and I'm looking at things right now like overhead, of course, [and] … at the market and how we're going to diversify the market," he said.
"I think that we need to be a little cautious here in regards to saying that, you know, we've had one great month. You need more than one great month to make a company work."
Thompson thinks it will be another 18 months to two years before the plant is regularly turning a profit. The plant has lost more than $10 million since it opened and at this time last year was losing $100,000 a month.

Below Par... an industry in decline...

Unfortunately it appears the economy is going to play catch up to what is a very expensive sport and I would suggest that our local courses are going to feel some of this pressure. The ability of the Province to raise any interest for the sale of our Provincial Courses is now probably up in the air and it will be a tough decision whether to sell or continue to lose millions of dollars operating the courses through Golf Links. An option may be leasing them out and getting a percentage of the income but at least this may stop the bleeding...
Golf industry in trouble as economy worsens
Housing market’s collapse hampers development of new courses
By David Sweet contributor
Wed., Dec. 3, 2008
Behold the golf course. Graced with rolling fairways, pristine greens, ancient oaks and other natural fanfare, it presents a striking picture.
But as beautiful as a golf course may be, its looks belie the trouble besetting the industry that created it. Golf is in decline by many measures. Rounds are down, as is the sale of equipment. TV ratings are also suffering.
According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of new courses expected to open in the United States in 2008 is the smallest in 20 years. More courses are scheduled to close this year (nearly 100) than the 80 expected to open, though the closures have fallen since almost 150 were shut down two years ago. The golf construction boom of the 1990s – when about 2,500 new courses (mostly daily fee ones) were added to the 13,000 or so already extant in the U.S. – is not only over; it’s stuck in reverse.
The problems of the broad economy are bedeviling golf course construction. The housing market’s collapse has hampered development, since a number of golf projects these days are tied into on-site housing. Getting financing to build a new course is tougher than it has been in decades. Projects that were started this year have seen the bulldozers turned off until better times appear.
Though municipal courses are taking the brunt of the downturn (except perhaps Torrey Pines, which enjoyed $8 million in renovations before the Open), private courses are not immune to the pain. Take the case of Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood, Ill. After 107 years as a well-respected course, the 6,300-yard Donald Ross original was reported to have been put up for sale this fall with a price tag of $4.95 million. It is said only a few dozen members are left.
All in all, the golf course business was once as breathtaking as the ocean holes at Pebble Beach. These days, unfortunately, it’s looking more like Rodney Dangerfield’s wardrobe in “Caddyshack.”

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Guess No One Found Him A Job....

Latest News Flash: Mitch is calling on City Council to order "metal detectors" for all the school doors and "Tazer guns" for all the teachers...
Please, please, please... find something else for this guy to do as I suspect he's driving the school board crazy and as I said in a previous post
we need to find something to keep him busy.... I'd almost do a deal with the Devil if someone could talk some sense into Mitch... I might even switch over to the Leafs... OK, maybe I wouldn't go that far but I could warm up to Stephen Harper and give him a kiss.... quick Mitch call the cops I just seen a kid walking through my backyard heading to the school....
Councillor seeks meeting about police presence at city high schools
The Guardian
Coun. Mitchell Tweel is hoping to set up a meeting with the provincial government on establishing a full-time police presence at the city's two major high schools. Tweel said if he gets his way there would be a full-time officer stationed at Colonel Gray and Charlottetown Rural. His efforts spawn from concerns he's getting from his own residents in Ward 4 who live around Colonel Gray High School. A number of residents who live in a seniors building across the street from the school went so far as to sign a petition asking Tweel to act on the problem. The petition states students are congregating in the building's driveway during school hours, students won't move out of the way of traffic and drivers are forced out on to Spring Park Road without clear visibility of oncoming traffic. It also indicates that cars picking up students either park in the driveway or block the driveway without concern of the tenants, that the 30 km/h speed limit on Spring Park Road is not being enforced by police and is becoming a big concern for safety and that some tenants and visitors feel threatened by students and aren't comfortable in leaving or arriving back at the apartment building. Tweel said he's already met with the principal of Colonel Gray and the Eastern School District and is working on scheduling a meeting with Education Minister Gerard Greenan, who is also the attorney general, area MLA Doug Currie, along with principals at the Rural and Gray and the Eastern School District. The goal will be to see if there is any way the province can help pay to put a police officer in the two city high schools, or one who would be responsible for both. "The idea is that the officer would work inside the school, in his or her own office, work with the principal and faculty and get to know the students,' Tweel said. "We're at a critical time when it comes to safety and security issues.' Tweel said it's not unusual to have a full-time police presence in schools. It's done throughout the United States and full-time officers are also stationed at high schools in Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick.

How about "Big Fluffy Flop".....

I get a charge out of these Tourism guys.... "Ferguson said the province plans to milk the upcoming television coverage for all it is worth" .... when in fact it's probably the other way around as its Island taxpayers that are getting milked here... why is our government still in the Golf business... didn't the Premier say Sell, Sell, Sell... Valarie, how about some of those free green fees for Christmas....
Reality golf show filmed on P.E.I. should be on before first teeoff in 2009
The Guardian
A reality show viewed by millions of American golfers will air in time to help draw visitors to play on P.E.I. in 2009, says an Island tourism official. Robert Ferguson, acting director of marketing with Tourism P.E.I., said he now knows when the U.S.-based Golf Channel plans to air its popular Big Break series that was filmed on the Mill River Golf Course earlier this year. He can’t reveal the date now, but he assures that the program will run at an advantageous time to promote P.E.I. as a golf destination next season. “It will be a very good time in terms of generating exposure for the province,’’ he said. “It will impact visitation in 2009.’’ The provincial government has driven $800,000 into a two-year partnership agreement with The Golf Channel, a television network that reaches approximately 80 million homes in the U.S. and Canada and 30 million internationally. That agreement saw the specialty channel’s most popular original program, Big Break, filmed here this past summer. Ferguson said the province plans to milk the upcoming television coverage for all it is worth. “The return in terms of exposure and the numbers, it’s incredible,’’ he said. “It’s extremely big.’’ The golf industry could use a shot in the arm after seeing play drop by about 10 per cent this year, a decrease largely attributed to heavy rainfall, including a steady deluge that saw August become the wettest month on record in P.E.I. Barry MacLeod, chief operating officer for Golf P.E.I., told The Guardian earlier this year that the province has been holding its own for volume of golf. He said the number of rounds have remained steady over the past three years at around 362,000 on the 18-member courses that belong to the marketing group Golf P.E.I. In Big Break, golfers vie for a shot to play on a professional golf tour. Prince Edward Island is the first Canadian destination to be the host site for the reality series.

Maybe A "Welcome Centre"....

Gee... it must have been some show at the.. "Welcome To Charlottetown Meeting"... the poor guy probably doesn't know what hit him... Freddie waxing elegant about our Port being a possible "military" need... can't you just imagine a few of those Councillors with a U-boat protecting all the brownstones... I couldn't make the meeting but it appears the usual suspects were in full force against anything... maybe someone might have given the developer some constructive criticism and suggested maybe one building and some tweaking or changes in the design but it seems they just wanted to run him out of Town.... the sad thing is that I was out to dinner last night at the Merchantman Pub and a number of the naysayers were celebrating their victory... it kind of makes me want to develop something BIG down there like a Welcome Training Centre ...
Developer presents details of waterfront condominium plan
The Guardian
A developer told Charlottetown residents to get with the times during a public meeting Wednesday. “Things do change, things do not stay the way they are,” said Paul Madden of Newfoundland, owner of Patrick Street Holdings, which created Spa at the Monastery and Suites in St. John’s, Nfld. He wants to build a four-storey, 85,000-square-foot, double building development at the foot of Prince Street in the now vacant lot between Founders Hall and the Charlottetown waterfront. Architect Bill Chandler presented the details, saying the building would sit on 30- to 40-foot-deep concrete pilings embedded in the bedrock below the reclaimed land that makes up that part of the waterfront. The site is already pre-approved for development. Any developer can proceed without a public meeting to construct a three-storey, 36,000- square-foot, three-floor condominium development there. Because Madden’s proposal exceeds those pre-approved specifications, Charlottetown City Council must grant approval. It held a public meeting Wednesday to gather citizen opinion. Fred Hyndman was the first of the public to speak, saying he opposes the development because Charlottetown is the only official deep-water port on the Northumberland Strait. Hyndman said the land needs to keep its designation as industrial because it might be needed in the future for natural gas exploration, a roll-on roll-off shipping development or a military need. “That is the only site in the province, the only place in the Northumberland Strait that qualifies as a deep-water site,” he said. Condominiums can be built on Dorchester Street but a container ship cannot dock on Dorchester Street, said Hyndman. Randy Campbell said the land should remain public. He said any potential tenants would likely settle in other parts of Charlottetown so denying the project would not turn them away. “Please don’t sell our waterfront,” Campbell said to the council arrayed in a line of tables at the front of the room. John MacIntyre said he lives on Hillsborough Street and he doesn’t see much public use of the land at this moment. “To me, there is a lot that commends this project,” said MacIntyre. Malcolm Lodge is opposed to the project, saying it will overwhelm Founders Hall, which carries millions of dollars of taxpayer investment. Lodge had alternative suggestions for the site, like a potential home for a provincial museum, or a recreation park with climbing walls and diving training, delis and pubs. Lodge said there is plenty of vacant or derelict property inland. “These should be in-filled before considering such development on the waterfront,” he said. Alan Holman said the design looked like a warehouse for people. “What is the imperative to develop this land now, and if there is a good reason, get something better than warehouses,” said Holman. Madden spoke at the end of the meeting, saying the city is not deciding between his plan versus a public park or an industrial pipe-yard, which he later called a pipe-dream. “There is already a plan in place for development on this site,” said Madden. “Size is the topic here.” He said he has been through the issues and problems of developing the waterfront during his time as a city councillor in Newfoundland, and as a developer there. “The times they are a-changing,” he said. “Time will pass you by. “You should be glad there are people willing to come here and spend this kind of money. There has to be some development just like there has to be some parks.” He said that Charlottetown needs more residents in the downtown if it wants to revitalize the area.

Put Down The Phones....please

The bottom line is that a number of polling agencies have over 69% of Canadians agreeing that hand-held cell phones should be banned so why not give it a try... I near got clipped the other day by a young driver who went through a stop sign while talking on her phone and I've noticed myself doing foolish things like that in the past as well... I do a lot of business travelling in Nova Scotia where they have enforced this rule so I now carry a "Bluetooth" device in my briefcase and I can honestly say that it's a lot safer driving with two hands on the wheel as opposed to one... Mr. Premier, you didn't listen to the Sunday Shopping Committee's recommendation so why not do the same here and overrule this Committee's report and enforce this reasonable change in the law.... Ronnie has the legislation ready so put down the phones....
Dialing and driving to remain legal on P.E.I.
Friday, November 28, 2008
CBC News
A legislative committee on Prince Edward Island has decided not to recommend the province ban hand-held cellphones while driving.
The committee held public hearings over the past several months to consider such a ban.
A report tabled in the P.E.I. legislature Friday by committee chair Janice Sherry said there wasn't enough information to recommend an outright ban. The report said the province should study the issue further over the next year, and look at what other jurisdictions are doing.
It also recommended that the province educate Islanders about the dangers of using a cellphone while driving.

Smart Move Minister Sheridan...

I expect that without this announcement our construction industry was looking at very weak forecasts over the next couple of years as housing starts, retail development and small service industry projects were being scaled back to about half the normal amount. This announcement should help restore some confidence in the banking and development industry and boost some moral for many of our small sub contractors who will benefit from this work. There will be a crowd of people who will be whining that we're putting ourselves too far in debt but on the other hand it could be very good timing to pick up some Federal initiatives to help fund these projects. I always believe that a "new" dollar spent here in our community turns itself over a minimum of 5 times and finds its way around our community which could be really important during this economic downturn. Many of these projects are long overdue and most of them are for education and health care all of which all Islanders benefit… so why not do them now when the Government will be getting good market prices for construction as opposed to waiting for the economy to come back and then we have to pay through the nose for the projects… Kudos to Minister Sheridan and Premier Ghiz for ramping up these projects..
P.E.I. plans half billion in capital spending
Friday, November 28, 2008
CBC News
The P.E.I. capital budget announced Friday lays out $510 million in spending over the next five years with the goal of stimulating the economy.
Health care projects
Queen Elizabeth Hospital redevelopment: $53.4 million
Prince County Hospital dialysis services: $1.2 million
Replace Prince Edward Home: $22 million
Summerset Manor in Summerside: $14 million
Colville Manor in Souris: $9 million
O'Leary Hospital/Beechwood Clinic: $3.7 million
The government will increase its capital investment levels in the first three years of the plan to stimulate the economy, before returning to normal spending levels in the last two years.
"This capital budget spending is strategic, and will result in a stronger economy down the road," said Provincial Treasurer Wes Sheridan.
"Continuing to invest in our Island community is the best way to weather any challenges we may face as a result of downturns in the global economy."
The plan includes $116.8 million for health-care infrastructure, $254.5 million for highways and $41.8 million for schools.
Education projects
Completion of schools in Montague in Summerside
French language school in the Rustico region
Expansion of the École François Buote
Expansion of trades training programs
School buses: $10.7 million
The government expects the five-year spending plan to create 5,043 jobs, generate $39.3 million in new provincial tax revenues and add $278 million to the provincial gross domestic product.
The highways funding will enable government to rebuild more than 700 kilometres of roads and repair 35 bridges. It includes $1 million in road improvements on First Nations reserves. The budget also contains funds to partner with the federal government on a renewed Atlantic Gateway project.
Industry infrastructure is a target for spending as well. The BioCommons Research Park is allocated $15 million and another $19 million is set aside for improvements to information technology systems.