Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Never Ending Story... after a few scotch...

Just when you didn't think things could get any stranger with this story out comes Mulroney with the old "tear the membership up" trick and obviously after a good scotch... I really think it was wise of Harper to show him the highway especially when he tried to explain that he received the "cash" in an American hotel but didn't pay tax on it until a few years later because ????.... obviously there will be no rush from Harper to renew the membership card anytime soon.... ...
Mulroney's status as Conservative party member questioned
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The Canadian Press
Simmering tensions between Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government and predecessor Brian Mulroney are boiling over, with party sources saying Mulroney is no longer a Conservative and the ex-leader insisting he will be a party member as long as he draws breath.
Senior Conservatives contacted select reporters Tuesday to tell them Mulroney had effectively torn up his party membership card.
"I can confirm he is no longer a member," one Conservative source said.
The source said Mulroney called a senior party official two months ago to ask that his name be pulled off all party lists and materials and that communications with him cease.
"It was a call made at a senior level," the source said. "As is the case with anyone, we complied and did so."
Mulroney briskly fired off an unequivocal statement through his public relations team.
"I remain a member of the Conservative party and I will remain so until the day I die," Mulroney said.
Harper's cabinet told to avoid Mulroney
The bizarre dispute over Mulroney's party membership is a sign of just how bilious the relationship between the Harper government and Mulroney has become.
Mulroney is at the centre of a public inquiry investigating business transactions between him and beleaguered arms lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber. Initially, the former prime minister said he would eagerly appear at any public inquiry into those dealings, and Harper obliged him. Mulroney's lawyers have since tried to limit that inquiry's scope.
Harper's announcement of the inquiry in 2007 put a swift end to a rapprochement between the two men that saw each of them publicly praise the other after Mulroney played a key role in the re-assembling of the Conservative party in 2003.
Harper ordered members of his cabinet, caucus and government — many of whom had been Mulroney's life-long friends — not to have any contact with the former prime minister.
Harper used to praise Mulroney
The Conservative source said Mulroney's reported desire to be expunged from the party roster was out of dissatisfaction with the inquiry process.
A Mulroney confidante, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the party's claims preposterous.
"He's part of the history of this party. You can't rewrite history. If they're worried about branding, then shut the inquiry down. They're the ones who called the inquiry."
Mulroney is the only party leader in the last century to win back-to-back majority governments as a Tory, in 1984 and 1988. He was a key behind-the-scenes figure in the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties. That work helped forge a relationship between the current and the former prime ministers. Harper once referred to him as a mentor, and in April 2006 delivered a glowing tribute to him.
"I am delighted to be here with you this evening to pay tribute to a man who is increasingly recognized for all his achievement as prime minister," Harper said, later mentioning Mulroney in the same breath as Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan for his efforts to end communism.
Conservative MPs used to regularly bring up Mulroney and his economic policies in the House, directly connecting their party to the former PM.
Cash payments questioned
The good relations came to grinding halt in August 2007, when Schreiber alleged in court documents that Harper was supposed to play a role in his effort to avoid extradition. Harper had hosted Mulroney at the prime minister's retreat in Harrington Lake, Que., in 2006 and Schreiber claims he had asked Mulroney to raise personal issues with the newly elected prime minister during that meeting.
At the crux of the current inquiry is Schreiber's allegation that Mulroney agreed to lobby on behalf of a German arms company while still in office in 1993.
Schreiber accuses Mulroney of not living up to a business arrangement that saw Mulroney receive at least $225,000 in cash payments. Mulroney admits to receiving cash and putting it into safety deposit boxes — a move he said he regretted — and he said he did live up to his end of the bargain by communicating with officials in China and Russia.
Mulroney denies he received money from Schreiber while still in office.

Big Day Today... dealing with a dog kennel...

Now here's a chance for someone who has absolutely nothing to do... they can tap into IRAC's website and listen to some foolishness about a dog kennel permit... a sure sign of why we need to do something with this agency... maybe it's time to let the dogs out...
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Docket: LA08022
Description: Claus Brodersen v Community of New Haven/Riverdale
9:30 a.m.
Pursuant to section 28 of the Planning Act, the Appellant Claus Brodersen has appealed a September 21, 2008 decision of the Community of New Haven Riverdale to permit a dog kennel to remain on the property of Colin and Deirdre McKinnon, parcel number 600510, located at 2450 West River Road in New Haven. The Commission intends to broadcast the audio portion of this hearing on the internet via the Commission’s website at www.irac.pe.ca
Before Commissioners: Rodgerson, Broderick and McCarville

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gouged at the Pumps? you want to believe it...

$155 million. $155 million and counting. That is how much gas price regulation has cost you, your friends, your neighbours and your guests here in Atlantic Canada as of February 1, 2009, Even if you were a clever consumer and bought your gas Thursday when it was going to be more expensive Friday, or waited until Friday when Thursday was too high, the harsh reality is, you paid more than you should have on either day.
When you hear spin doctors like IRAC or the Gas Dealers Association talk to you about price stability or predictability, keeping rural retailers in business, or maintaining industry infrastructure; just remember that the only thing they know for sure is that you, the consumer, are paying more for gas than you would without regulation. Some commentators are honest with you about that, others will obfuscate, but the bottom line is, you are paying for gas price regulation.
Now, with the launch of the AIMS Guzzling Gas Regulation Gauge, you can see just how much more you are paying. As those dollars keep racking up on the guzzling gauges, the question only you can answer is – is it worth it?
Industry experts have estimated that gas price regulation normally costs consumers from 1.0 to 1.5 cents a litre. Even using (where available) government’s own estimate of the per litre cost of gas regulation we see that the cost of regulation is 0.51 cents a litre in Nova Scotia, approximately 1.31 cents a litre in Newfoundland and Labrador, 0.31 cents a litre in New Brunswick, and 1.54 cent a litre in PEI.
And that is only the added cost per litre BEFORE sales taxes. So for every $1.00 more we pay for gas, the government gets a bonus of 13 to 15.5 cents. The global market takes care of big oil, the regulations supposedly protect retailers and wholesalers, and the bump in price rewards government, everybody wins, except us of course.
So how much more are we paying? Using Statistics Canada's estimates for the volume of gas sold in each province, as of February 1st, 2009 Atlantic Canadians have paid over $155 million more for gasoline because of price regulation. For New Brunswickers, it's $9.4 million extra since July 1, 2006 when regulation came into effect. In Nova Scotia, where regulation started that same day, consumers have paid $17.8 million more. In Newfoundland and Labrador the tally is more than $65.2 million since October of 2001. And our long suffering friends in PEI, who have lived with gas price regulation for 18 years, since February 1st of 1991, it's an extra $63.0 million.
Every litre of gas that is purchased increases that total - and the AIMS Money Guzzling Gas Regulation Gauge is tracking every penny
http://www.aims.ca/gasregulation.asp?cmPageID=481. So, while gas price regulation remains in effect, everyone can now keep an eye on just how much price regulation costs you and me and everyone who buys a drop of gasoline in the Atlantic Provinces. Come back later today, tomorrow or next week and see how much more you have spent then you could have. We feel your pain.
To read a more detailed explanation of gasoline price regulation and the calculations follow this link
http://www.aims.ca/library/WhatsMissing.pdf to "What’s Missing from Your Wallet", an AIMS Backgrounder on the issue. The above article is from Atlantic Institute of Market Studies with some minor amendments...

Maybe Journalism "101" would be better...

This should be quite a joke... from the "get-go" the reporter Teresa Wright and the Guardian still haven't figured out that the $200,000 unit the immigrant invests is not really $200,000 as there is an approved “sleight of hand loan” between the “intermediaries” and the immigrant and in fact the investor only has to come up with a $100,000 per unit... dah… it’s just lawyer’s paper money… and none of the real money is Government or taxpayer’s funds... the next big lesson the media could learn is "nobody put a gun to the investor's head"... in other words these immigrants had enough savvy to garner up $100,000 in the first place then they should have done their investor's due diligence and read the fine print (the buyer beware part) and figured out what level of return, tests, etc... they had to do before they got their deposits back... this crap about the language barrier is a sad excuse as many Islanders including myself do business all over the world in many languages and the onus is on ourselves to figure out what we're signing before we enter into any contracts and that is exactly what these "few" immigrants that now have a problem should have done before they forked over their money... call it a “head tax” or whatever you want but let’s face it these immigrants are getting a pretty cheap entry into our great Country and I don’t see too many of them “giving up their new visas”….. there will be no "Smokin Gun" in the Auditor General's Report and the fraud part of the story will frizzle out to nothing.... what will really come out of the PNP story is just how fortunate PEI was to have these immigrants and their investments in our Community... and Minister Brown should get a medal for aggressively pushing the program forward before the rules were changed as this money was the economic salvation of our PEI economy last year... I guarantee you that there are many thousands more Islanders who have lost much more of their own money (than these immigrants did) in our stock market but you don’t see them “protesting” down at the Premier’s office, at the bank’s or whining to the Guardian… I’d give the Guardian an “F” in Journalism 101 for continuing with this non story…
The Guardian set to launch PNP 101 series

The Guardian
If you have questions about the Provincial Nominee Program and the storm of controversy it has created, look no further. In anticipation of next week’s release of the auditor general’s report on his investigation into the PNP, The Guardian has compiled a series called PNP 101 to help bring Islanders up to speed on this program. Guardian reporter Teresa Wright has been closely following and researching the details about this federal-provincial immigration program. She has written a five-part series exploring the PNP in depth. The purpose of the series is to help Islanders understand where the PNP came from, how it evolved and how it came to be such a hot topic among politicians, media and the public. “I’ve been following the PNP for several months and have written many stories on it, but I still get a sense that Islanders really don’t know much about this program,” Wright said. “What I hope this series will do is put all the headlines we’ve seen over the last six months into context and help people understand the scope of the PNP. This way, they might have a better idea of what they’ll be hoping to see in the auditor general’s report.” The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) offered expedited Canadian visas to immigrants who invested $200,000 on P.E.I., some of which went into an Island company. It was established to encourage more immigration to the province. But serious questions began to arise about how this program was run when it was uncovered several MLAs and the former deputy minister in charge of the PNP accessed immigrant money for their personal businesses. Questions have also been raised about hefty bonuses paid to employees who processed applications, about which Island business owners benefited from the funds raised, and why so many applications were put through in the last five months before the program ended. A total of 1,877 PNP applications were processed in between April and Sept. 2, 2008. This is more than double the total amount processed in all of 2007. Immigrants who have come to P.E.I. through the PNP have also complained of problems in accessing their $25,000 good faith and $20,000 language deposits, charged in addition to their PNP investment. The auditor general launched his investigation into the PNP after some of these controversial details began to hit headlines last October. The RCMP have been also been looking into this program. An allegation of fraud was filed with the RCMP’s commercial crime unit several months ago by a business owner and his involvement in the program. That investigation is still ongoing. “The complaint that came in months ago is actively being pursued,” Sgt. Denis Morin told The Guardian. “Several more interviews have to be conducted. We expect to have them completed within a month at which time a decision will be made as to whether a criminal investigation will be launched.” The auditor general’s report is expected to be tabled in the legislature on the opening day of the spring sitting on April 2. The Guardian’s PNP?101 series will begin on Saturday, March 28.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Surely there must be more choice...

The Island New Democrats have a serious problem since Dr. Dickieson stepped down... last election they had to hire a leader in Dean Constable and shortly after that election he stepped down more than likely because the funding had dried up... it appears this time around they don't even have a race for the leadership and Mr. Rodd has already ran a few times with not much of a showing.... couple the NDP leadership problems with the Tories having to sort out what they are going to "do" with Olive and my guess is that Premier Ghiz is going to have a pretty easy ride during the next election....
Rodd throws hat in N.D.P. leadership race
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
CBC News
James Rodd, interim leader of the Island New Democrats, announced Wednesday that he will run for the position full time.
Rodd has been the interim leader in P.E.I. for 16 months. He originally had said he would not be seeking the leadership full time, but said he has had a change of heart. So far, Rodd is the only person to declare for the leadership.
"There is a time commitment. There is a responsibility that has to be put on the forefront," said Rodd.
"I felt at one point that I couldn't do it myself. But when you have people who come out of the woodwork, and seem to exude a certain trust and confidence in you, that has given me new life. And I believe that based on the last 16 months that I can continue to do what I have been doing, and also present to Islanders a difference, that we can make a difference.
The Island New Democrats are holding their leadership convention on April 4.
The party has only ever held one seat in P.E.I.'s legislature. Dr. Herb Dickieson, party leader at the time, represented Westpoint-Bloomfield from 1996 to 2000.

Vacation's Over...and I'm back to the grind...

Although I arrived home Sunday from a vacation with my youngest son I had developed a major toothache along the way and when I couldn't find a clinic opened on Sunday afternoon I ended up at QEH Emergency and besides getting to see a doctor fairly quickly I also had the good fortune of getting a review of the new changes happening at the QEH and it's quite exciting and get to see this facility being upgraded... anyway the bottom line was I had an infection in a 20 year old "crown" and I had to get some pain killers and some antibiotics... Monday and Tuesday were hellish but I showed up at the office this morning thinking I was OK only to end up in the dentist's chair around noon and then back home to bed... it seems I'm coming around tonight so I am going to take a stab at reviewing the last few weeks of the Guardian as I haven't seen any newspapers..... I couldn't help be reminded of Mark Twain's quote... If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. -- so give me a little time and I'll knock out a few posts....

A Complement To Council....

It's nice to see someone handing out a complement especially to Council and in particular Cornwall as they always seem to be putting some good common sense ahead of their egos... and I concur with the writer of the following Letter to the Editor...
Province should look to Cornwall
Like many others, perhaps, I can be quick to complain but slow to compliment.Cornwall council deserves to be acknowledged for its recent efforts working towards keeping our town's financial house in order. There are always places money can be put, projects which could use increasing financial resources. To take revenue, regardless of source, and pay off a debt requires some sacrifice and determination by putting off until tomorrow that which can be spent today. This is one resident who appreciates this example of sound fiscal management. Maybe the province could take note and take steps to act accordingly.
Brian Young,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Here We Go... a look at the future...

Ontario, British Columbia and now New Brunswick and if we think we're insulated here on PEI then I think we're all in for a big surprise. We're very lucky PEI had the PNP program around last year which helped put a lot of money in our economy… but it's my guess that the Government revenue numbers for the first few months of this years are down considerably while the number of funding requests are growing each day…. Mr. Sheridan is going to have a major job on his hands trying to develop a budget... I know I wouldn't want it and I'm pretty damn sure he won't be able to dig out the old 7 1/2% wage cut that was the death of Catherine Callbeck's Government.... we’re sure to see a budget with a deficit number and although my guess is we won't see job cuts this year… something’s got to give so guess is it will be in service fees but don't be surprised to hear job cuts could be coming in the future... and that should get the letters to the editor flowing...
New Brunswick government cutting 700 jobs and increasing debt in budget
The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government is axing jobs and programs, but deepening the debt, with a budget it claims will guide the province through the economic storm. The $7.8-billion package for 2009-10, released Tuesday, adds close to a billion dollars to the province’s net debt, reaching $8.3 billion by 2010. That’s more than $11,000 for every man, woman and child in the province. “The province will face significant deficits and increases in net debt as it confronts the challenges of one of the most significant global economic and financial crises in decades,” Finance Minister Victor Boudreau told the legislature. “We are not alone.” He said Ontario and British Columbia have already projected deficits in the year ahead. But Boudreau said he is confident his province can return to balanced budgets by 2012. When extra pension payments of $300 million per year are included, Boudreau is projecting deficits of about $740 million over each of the next two years, and $510 million in 2011-12. The minister said the province could have a $27-million surplus in 2012-13, but he isn’t counting the pension payment. “While this expense affects the province’s bottom line results, pension plans are designed for the long term and we expect volatility in the short term,” he said. “The government is not prepared to let this extraordinary downturn in the market affect decisions that it makes on the levels of taxation and services . . . and as a result, we have excluded it for purposes of our four-year plan.” The government is reducing taxes, but cutting jobs and programs. Boudreau confirms 700 jobs will be cut from the civil service in the year ahead, and says additional jobs will be eliminated as more programs are reduced. Civil service wages are also being frozen for two years. The minister said over the past few days the province and the New Brunswick Union and New Brunswick Nurses Union have signed four collective agreements that include the wage freeze. The government is increasing fees for a variety of services, generating an extra $18 million. The government is spending $2.3 billion on health care, but is reintroducing ambulance fees that were eliminated by the previous Conservative government. The ambulance fee is $130.60 — the same as the fee charged by neighbouring Nova Scotia. Personal and corporate income taxes will be cut by $144 million in 2009-10, and the number of tax brackets will be reduced from four to two by 2012.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bang On Again... a great report card..

Let's remember back during the last election when Corporate Research Associates came out and predicted a large Liberal Majority Government and some folks thought they were crazy... well I'm sure the same old gang of naysayers will be out there questioning the results again... poor old Olive and her crowd have absolutely "no traction" chasing down issues like the NOFG (hog plant), PNP's and the small school closings.... in fact I'm prepared to bet that every time Olive hangs out in the hallways with the PNP protest crowd her numbers are going to go down, every time Mike shows up with the small school protesters his numbers go down and every time Jimmy speaks his numbers go down... and if you don't believe me then you better get a poll as I'm pretty sure the 5th floor has one and my guess is their numbers are even bigger than CRA... Robert Ghiz is out there making decisions some of which we may not all like but at least he's got the courage to make them... he's dealing with doctor issues, hospital issues, school issues, farming issues, fishing issues, etc... and on top of that he's got the economy to deal with and he's being assaulted from all sides. NOT A VERY NICE JOB TO HAVE but he gets up everyday wading through all these issues and all the while being very proud of his job of representing Islanders and I think in the long term Islanders are going to appreciate it. He's young and he's got a young team and yes they are going to screw up a few times... but if you look at the numbers and you think about all the "no win situations" his Government are confronted with every day it's obvious he's not screwing up as bad as some folks think... I liked how he handled the French School “culture centre” issue and how he came out and met the PNP protesters “head-on” but most of all I respect how he took the high road when he was insulted by Mike Duffy… keep it up Mr. Premier.
P.E.I. Liberals weather economic storm, support jumps nine per cent
The Guardian
Support for the Liberal Party jumped nine percentage points suggesting the governing Liberals appear to be weathering the economic recession, rural school closures, and warnings of a tough provincial budget well. Corporate Research Associates says support for the Liberal Party is now at 64 per cent, up from 55 per cent in November. The Progressive Conservative Party’s support dropped three per cent, falling from 31 per cent in November to 28 per cent in the latest poll. Support for both the Island New Democrats and Green Party were well back in the single digits. Satisfaction levels in Premier Robert Ghiz’s government remains virtually unchanged with 63 per cent saying they’re satisfied with the overall performance of the provincial Liberal government. The poll of 300 Islanders was conducted Feb. 12 to 18. It is considered accurate within plus or minus 5.6 per cent 95 times out of 100.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Holy Hiatus"... call Stephen quick....

This is shocking news... what's my buddy from Keppoch going to do now... he used to run home early everyday to get new ideas for the house reno... and then sashay around the living room dreaming of "periwinkle" and sugar plums... look on a more serious note there is probably going to be a lot more carnage and probably closer to home with some of our local programming... what's sexy in Government these days is "infrastructure"... not the "arts" and when it comes down to dishing out the money they have to find it somewhere and I suspect the current Government are not going to be too worried about "Steven & Chris" and our public broadcaster... and it’s likely those people looking for work won’t care that much anyway… maybe “Stephen” might be able to help…
CBC-TV cancels 'Fashion File,' puts 'Steven & Chris' on hiatus
The Canadian Press
CBC-TV is cancelling its long-running series “Fashion File” and putting its daytime lifestyles program “Steven & Chris” on hold due to financial issues. The public broadcaster announced today that “Fashion File” will wrap up production for good on March 31, while “Steven & Chris” will go on hiatus after production ends on April 15. Kirstine Layfield, CBC-TV’s executive director of network programming, says the decisions are a result of “a significant drop in advertising revenues” and have nothing to do with the hosts. She adds that CBC hopes to continue to work with Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman, who helm the daytime talk show. CBC also intends to retain the “Fashion File” brand, which it co-owns with Fashion Magazine, for use on other platforms. “Fashion File,” an internationally syndicated series hosted by Adrian Mainella, has been on the air for two decades. “Steven & Chris” launched just over a year ago. Both programs will be broadcast in repeats when they’re finished production, and will form part of a new afternoon schedule, says CBC. The programming changes came a day after Heritage Minister James Moore announced the beleaguered public broadcaster will not be getting any help from Ottawa to cope with its economic woes. He said CBC already receives substantial public funding each year and should not expect more.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Law Courts are not the location for a new home...

The following is an email to Mayor Lee that I sent out this afternoon offering to try and find an appropriate site to develop some manufactured home sites for these tenants and other potential new home buyers... in most cases we all have to work together to move forward and maybe before the City tries running down to the Courts to have this decision overturned (which they can't win) maybe they should try and work something out with all the parties.... and if we can help we'd gladly try and find a new location for these home (trailer) owners....

From: Tim Banks
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 2:30 PM
To: Clifford Lee (mayor@city.charlottetown.pe.ca)
Subject: Development Undertaking and Opportunity

Mayor Lee,

It’s unfortunate that the situation around the Idle Wheels Trailer Park has developed into a pressure situation for the tenants in having to relocate and that there currently no real inventory of suitable manufactured housing sites (MHC’s) for them to find within the City. We believe that the next round of bylaw changes should take a more open approach to this style of housing and if this were the case you would have APM’s undertaking to find and develop such a site. We believe there is a great opportunity to identify potential areas for this type of development within our City as these parks can be a very positive and economic contribution to any Community. At Killam Properties we own and operate a large assortment of parks containing 8,762 occupied home sites in a number of Provinces but none in PEI. We are continually trying to grow this side of our business but we can’t seem to find a development site opportunity for MHC’s in Charlottetown due in part to the current bylaw restrictions. For comparison we own 8,942 apartment units 481 of which are in the City of Charlottetown and there is no reason why we wouldn’t consider a similar proportional amount of MHC’s if they were available or developable. Most new park developments are quite attractive, affordable and have strong market demands, especially with seniors. I would be more than happy to prepare a presentation to Council on the benefits of developing such in our Community if you are interested? In the meantime if any member of Council or your staff believe there may be an immediate opportunity to identify or develop a potential site for a park to assist in getting some of the Idle Wheels residents relocated within the City please have them contact either Brian Gillis or myself directly as we would like to help.

I can’t help but comment on the recent IRAC decision on the Idle Wheels Trailer Park as I thought the City, led by Councillor MacDonald, went in the wrong direction in trying to fight the Developer’s fundamental “rights” to vacate his tenants. The City had already had its hands slapped on the MacArthur Appliances property over a developer’s “right to build” and all that was achieved there was the property now sits idle due to the delays. The City should have spent their time trying to find suitable home sites for the tenants of the park to relocate somewhere else in our City as opposed to trying to stop development. This could have been a great win, win for everyone if it had been managed a little better as we could have ended up with the benefits of new condo providing new taxes and also the retention of the existing tenants. Some tenants may have a case for not being able to afford a move but on the other hand maybe a creative “fund” developed from the new condo tax base could have been considered to assist those being relocated within the City? I don’t have all the answers but I do know the City was battling “fundamental rights” here and as a developer this is a little scary and tends to drive away potential developers and in this economic climate I don’t think this should be the message. I want to help develop our City and if there is anything I can do to help including building more manufactured home site Communities then please feel free to take me up on my undertaking.

Compassion not an option in trailer park dispute: IRAC
Friday, March 6, 2009
CBC News
Residents of a Charlottetown mobile home park lost their appeal Thursday to prevent rezoning that would clear the way for condominiums, and now must move.
'There should have been strong consideration and sensitivity and compassion.'— Coun. Mitchell Tweel
The proposal was originally turned down by city council but approved on appeal by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission. The appeal to IRAC to change that ruling ended in failure Thursday.
Residents have been told they will be given at least a year to move.
The IRAC ruling said it "sympathizes" with the residents, but compassion cannot play a role in IRAC's decision-making process.
"The idea that IRAC has said they don't have the capacity to look at mitigating circumstances, I don't think they contemplated that the mitigating circumstances would be as extensive as they are in these particular circumstances," said Coun. David MacDonald.
The residents complained to IRAC that rezoning would mean uprooting an entire community. There are 19 trailers in the park, though some are empty.
No errors or new information
In its 12-page decision, IRAC said the only way the commissioners can change an original decision is if errors were made, or new information was provided, and that didn't happen.
Coun. Mitchell Tweel has been lobbying for the trailer park residents.
"The concerns of the residents fell on deaf ears," said Tweel.
"I think there should have been strong consideration and sensitivity and compassion. There was absolutely no compassion whatsoever."
MacDonald said it's too soon to say if the city will appeal to the courts.
The developers have to give residents at least six months notice to pack up their trailers and move them off the land.

Come Clean Folks... and let him talk..

Why wouldn't the Minister or for that matter the Company that was asked to "take over" the Concert by the Government allow this gentlemen to talk and tell his side of the story... we all deserve a right to know what happened to the $400,000.00 of taxpayers' money and it appears Mr. Christian is quite prepared to do so... why doesn't the Public Accounts Committee invite him forward... as it stands it sort of leaves a cloud over Government and just maybe a full explanation would help explain things...
Alanis concert promoter ready to talk, but can't
Friday, March 6, 2009
CBC News
The promoter behind the failed Alanis Morissette concert says he would like to tell his side of the story, but a non-disclosure agreement prevents him.
Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty told a standing committee this week that taxpayers gave David Christian $500,000 to put on the show, but he walked away from the event a week before Morissette was scheduled to take the stage. Docherty said Christian's management team of Myrtle Jenkins-Smith and Mark Carr-Rollitt took over the company.
The concert was a bust, with only 3,100 tickets sold last September, and taxpayers picked up the bill.
Christian told CBC News Thursday he wants to tell his side of the story, but he can't even say with whom he signed the non-disclosure agreement.
"If I violate my agreement, I'm probably going to be sued. I'm a family man. I can't really afford to take that chance," he said.
"I certainly don't feel I have anything to hide. I'm not able to address it. I'll just have to roll with it."
While Christian could not say with whom he signed the agreement, Docherty told CBC News Friday it is with Conference and Events Management, the company now owned by Carr-Rollitt and Jenkins-Smith.
Christian said he's willing to talk publicly about the event if the other parties agree. He added he's also willing to go before the standing committee if he receives an official invitation.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Catherine and Rent A Crowd...

Just call a public planning meeting in the Downtown and somewhere you'll find Catherine and her band of merry "nimby’s" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NIMBY who I more commonly refer to as part of "the don't get ahead gang"... now I really believe they know more than most of us and certainly more than anyone who wants to do something... they surely must as the same gang seem to show up at every meeting... and they always seem to know more than anyone else on how we should or shouldn't develop our City... you can always count on them to have an answer for what's the very best for our City... God love them for always looking after us... and here they go again saving us all from "hiding out" in all the tunnels... surely Catherine you can come up with something more creative than this... I have always respected Catherine for her dedication and commitment to our "heritage"... she is a great person and has a big heart for our City... on another note I was speaking to an older gentlemen this morning and he commented that they used to "shoe" horses in St. Peters but nowadays there is no reason to keep a "forge" operating and I'm afraid things change and maybe we all just have to get accustom to change…
Grafton underground tunnel closer to reality
Thursday, March 5, 2009
CBC News
Charlottetown is one step closer to having an underground pedway running under Grafton Street.
A public meeting on the project was held Wednesday night, phase one in the approval process for the Grafton Street Pedestrian Concourse.
The $2-million tunnel would be built under Grafton Street, linking the Confederation Court Mall and Confederation Centre. Developer Homburg Investments also plans to use elevators and escalators to make the underground link fully accessible.
Cliff Campbell of Homburg said the tunnel would help sell Charlottetown as a conference destination.
Heritage activist Catherine Hennessey was one of the residents offering comments on the project. She said sending people underground would take away from the character of the city.
"I really do believe it's time we looked at our city in a different way and enriched the ambiance of downtown and stopped hiding in tunnels," said Hennessey.
Next, the planning board will make a decision on the project. If the recommendation is to proceed, it will go to city council for final approval.
Construction could be completed by early next year.

Now I Didn't Say That...

I think Valerie had an opportunity to say "I'm sorry... I made a mistake" and a lot of people could have accepted that and moved on... but unfortunatly here's what she said... "I'm sorry"... and then went on with a bunch of excuses and then declared... "we've learned a lot of lessons" but did she really? At some point during the questioning yesterday she was asked a question and she responded with the following... "And at that time, arrangements were made between Conference and Events Management and Summerset (owned by Christian). What happened? I have no idea,” Docherty said... and that ladies and gentlemen might be what sums it all up... and I didn't say that...
Tourism minister grilled on losses from show
The Guardian
Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty took centre stage at public accounts Wednesday to answer to her department’s $400,000 losses on the failed Alanis Morissette concert last September — but it was Opposition member Mike Currie who tried to steal this show. Currie had pages filled with questions for Docherty and the session became something of an interrogation of the minister by Currie. His questions strongly implied the losses to her department were far greater than $400,000 and that the Tourism Department itself took over as promoter after the initial promoter, David Christian, backed out just days before the concert. Docherty denied this, maintaining the only money forwarded to the concert was a $100,000 grant and a $400,000 loan, $100,000 of which was paid back. She further stated her department never acted as promoter, but that when Christian backed out, her staff approached Conference and Events Management — which had already been working on organizing the concert — to take over as promoter. Christian walked away because five days before the concert he came and asked for more money, Docherty said. “We said no. And at that time, arrangements were made between Conference and Events Management and Summerset (owned by Christian). What happened? I have no idea,” Docherty said. “It was a legal agreement between those two companies.” Currie jumped on this contradiction of her previous statement that it was the department who asked Conference and Events Management to take over. He pushed Docherty to discuss this company more, but she was highly reluctant to engage in this line of questioning or even to name the owner of the company, Myrtle Jenkins-Smith. Currie said he thinks Docherty was uncomfortable with these questions because he believes Christian is being used as a scapegoat for the losses. “Their department spearheaded this concert and went ahead with it no matter what the cost,” Currie said afterwards. He pushed to have Christian’s business plan for the concert made public to prove his point. And although Docherty said previously she would release it, she told the committee Wednesday her department’s lawyers have since advised her not to do so. “It’s confidential information and it’s not something that we’re allowed to present to you.” Currie said her staff doesn’t want this document made public because it would prove the expenses and losses of this concert were greater than are being reported. “I think they’re trying to soften the numbers and they’re embarrassed by the situation,” Currie said. Docherty admitted the concert was a commercial loss, but said she feels no shame in putting provincial money into the concert. Risks are necessary in order to succeed in the concert business, she said. “We took a chance. We took a risk. I’m sorry that it didn’t come to what it was supposed to, but at the end of the day we learned our lessons.” Alanis Morissette attracted approximately 3,100 concertgoers to Alexandra last September — less than a third of the expected crowd. Many of those in attendance received complimentary tickets.

Tell Me It's Not So.... has a certain ring to it...

Even I'm at a loss as to what to say... but speaking of music promotion I've got a new "ring tone" for the bureaucrat that is probably responsible for putting Valerie in the Hot Seat..."Tell Me It's Not So" Ringtone to your Cell
Tell me it's not so, tell me a lie,
Say you won't go, say you won't say goodbye.
Tell me forever and that times they don't change.
Say you're not leaving and that you'll always feel the same.
One smile for the last time, one smile for today,
One smile that the darkness has taken away.
But your smile's just a memory that won't go away
And I'll always remember your smile today.
And I'll always remember your smile for today.
Funding welcomed but not required: Cavendish concert promoter

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
CBC News
A Michigan-based concert promoter was awarded a $200,000 grant from the province, but the company says it didn't need taxpayers' money.
Meridian Entertainment Group is organizing the inaugural Cavendish Beach Music Festival, a mid-July, three-day event that will feature Tim McGraw and Reba McEntire.
Meridian's Kevin Meyer said the business plan for this $2-million festival is so solid the company would have gone ahead anyway.
"We took the approach that Meridian Entertainment Group was entering this project with or without the grant," said Meyer.
"If we knew that before, we certainly might have been able to help out, shall we say, two of the proposals," said Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty. "But I really can't speak to it because I wasn't aware of the fact this is what they offered to do."
The P.E.I. tourism department accepted bids for the show in January. Summerside was one of the applicants. Sources say if the city had won the bid, John Fogerty, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Fleetwood Mac would have taken the stage in July.
The Cavendish Beach event, July 10-12, is being dubbed the only outdoor country music festival on Canada's east coast. Twenty acts will take the stage at a new outdoor concert site, in a field behind Avonlea Village. Organizers hope to attract up to 15,000 to 20,000 people.
Tickets go on sale March 14. Prices will range from $59 for a single day to $159 for a weekend pass.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Concour... why not proceed...

I see a fellow blogger www.john.morriscode.ca is using the old fashion way of getting his message out with a letter to the Editor in today's Guardian about the new proposed pedway in Downtown. My connection to John is that occasionally he'll shot me off a note pointing out a correction or some technical advice on my blog which is much appreciated. Every now and then I'll check out John's blog myself and it's quite obvious that he's much more technically sophisticated than I am and he should be as he's been building web sites for the last ten years for lots of small and large companies... and if you're thinking of rebuilding your site or developing a new one then you should check him out. Anyway back to John's letter... he's in favour of the new proposed underground pedway to the Confederation Centre and I'm 100% on board with him... what's wrong with giving people choices... build it and those who don't want to use it don't have to and for those who do then they have an option... and what would be wrong with the construction jobs that would be created in building this pedway... surely one wouldn't consider it obtrusive as it's being built underground… and think about the people with disabilities that will have a lot more options during the winter months... so why not build it... but there always seems to be some crowd around trying to stop things and I'm thinking most of these people fall into the horse and buggy crowd and now I know why John wrote the letter to the editor... this crowd is probably against the internet...
Pedway plan should go ahead
Editor: Currently the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day outside. In fact, I think I am going to take a shot at going to the beach . . . er wait. Maybe not. It's freezing raining, it's miserable and to go anywhere in this city we must walk through the freezing rain. Not exactly a motivating reason to go anywhere. A connector in the downtown core would make more sense then anything, especially on rainy, miserable days. A perfect example is the connectors in Halifax. You can walk to a lot of places without going outside. In Charlottetown, we are stuck with walking outside no matter what. The proposed plan to allow people to walk through a pedway from the mall to the Confederation Centre of the Arts is a great idea and I don't understand why anyone would have any opposition to this. At a recent Downtown Residents Association meeting, a member spoke out asking why they weren't notified of this development. The city is only supposed to notify people within 'x' amount of feet or metres, and according to Coun. Kim Devine, they did. I see no reason why this should not be approved, other than people not wanting change within our city.
John Morris,

Welcome to the real world... not really..

I appreciate that our teachers have a very important responsibility and irrespective of what some people think it's been my experience they are dedicated and hard working. However I find it hard to have any real sympathy for those teachers calling in and worrying about their pensions that our Government guarantees. Furthermore when I look at the percentage of losses on their fund compared to the current marketplace they should be calling in and thanking whoever is managing it. Most people's pensions and savings are down 30 to 40 percent and there are very few of those people that have the good fortune to have the Government on the hook for any losses. My advice which comes pretty cheap and not worth much is to stop the calls and the media interviews and the less the teachers remind the bulk of Islanders that we're back stopping their losses the less Islanders are going to resent our teachers...
P.E.I. teachers fear for pensions
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
CBC News
Phyllis Horne, president of the P.E.I. Teachers' Federation, is reassuring retired teachers their pensions are guaranteed by government. (CBC)
The head of the teachers' federation says she is receiving calls from retirees worried about their pensions after it was announced the fund covering teachers, government workers and politicians has taken a hit.
"I've had to reassure them the government does guarantee our pension plan," said Phyllis Horne, president of the PEI Teachers' Federation.
Since the start of the economic crisis the fund, called the Master Trust, has lost upward of $275 million.
"If it goes on long term, it could have budget implications," Horne adds,
Provincial Treasurer Wes Sheridan said while the amount sounds like a lot, it is less than other investments are losing.
"Obviously this is a global problem and nothing to do with [the province]," said Sheridan. He added that the loss will affect the province's bottom line in the short term. However, according to Sheridan, while the fund has lost money, the amount is less than the national average.
The Master Trust covers the pensions for all government workers, teachers and MLAs.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Great News... it should be very big...

This is HUGE and should be a great boost to our Tourism industry particularly in these economic times and on the face of it doesn't seem like a big expense for the Government to invest $200,000.00 into these international names. The location should be great for both Charlottetown and Summerside to pick up some of the spill over crowd and help with some "room nights" for the City's hotels.... I like the idea of the three day concert and the Country theme should be a big sell to the family market and probably far better than heavy rock.... Ticket sales should be brisk and hopefully there will be lots of additional Maritime talent as well...
Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire coming to P.E.I. in July
The Guardian
Country music legends Tim McGraw and Reba McEntire are coming to Prince Edward Island this summer to headline the Island's big concert.
A formal announcement is expected today for a three-day country music festival to take place in Cavendish, with McGraw expected to perform on Saturday, July 11.
The Guardian has learned that the country-music festival will take place on the field behind Avonlea Village in Cavendish and is being put together by a local group which includes Al Stewart, Jeff Squires and Scott Linkletter.
Contrary to speculation, Kevin Murphy of the Tourism Advisory Council was not part of the bid process to bring McGraw to the Island.
The provincial government is contributing $200,000 to the festival, part of a new concert policy announced recently. That is considered to be on the low end of what governments in Halifax and Moncton give to their shows.
The Halifax Regional Municipality, for example, is contributing $150,000 alone in in-kind services, such as security and transit, for the KISS concert on the Halifax Commons July 18.
Today's announcement might include more names associated with the lineup for the McGraw country festival.
In terms of concert size, McGraw may not be as big a name as Aerosmith was. Aerosmith played the Charlottetown Driving Park Entertainment Centre in 2006 to more than 30,000 people. The legendary rock band has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide.
However, McGraw is about as big as it gets in terms of country.
He has charted 30 career number-one singles and sold 40 million albums and singles worldwide. His awards to date include three Grammys, 11 Academy of Country Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association awards, nine American Music Awards and three People’s Choice Awards.
Now, one of the big questions on everyone’s mind is whether McGraw’s wife, Faith Hill, will be making an appearance in Cavendish. The two have toured together in the past but she is not expected to be a part of the P.E.I. show.
McEntire, 53, boasts 33 No. 1 hits, 12 Academy of Country Music Awards, seven Country Music Association awards and is the most nominated female artist in CMA history.
In 2007, McGraw and Hill made history as they ended their two-year ‘Soul2Soul Tour’ with a staggering total box office gross of $142 million and established it as the best-selling multi-year tour in North America in country music history with some two million fans attending 117 shows in 92 cities and two countries.
McGraw is currently supporting his latest CD, Let It Go, which was released in 2007. It debuted at number one on both the pop and country album chart and has now reached platinum selling status for sales of one million. Hill joins McGraw on two tracks, I Need You and Shotgun Rider.
His last album, Reflected: Greatest Hits Volume 2, debuted at number one on the Billboard Country Albums chart and has gone on to sell two million copies.
McGraw stepped into the rock music ring early last year, appearing on the Def Leppard single and video Nine Lives.
McGraw is also an established actor.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Shouldn't we have a "watch dog"....

It's hard to believe that in this day and age that PEI Municipalities like Charlottetown and Summerside don't have anyone to report to... that's right the Auditor General has absolutely no authority to investigate any unusual wrong doings by these Corporations ... neither does the Province.... not that I'm saying there is anything that currently stands out but Councils can do whatever they want and there is no independent agency to investigate any wrong doing and this has got to change... the Federal Government has the Auditor General of Canada as a watch dog... every Province in Canada has a Provincial Auditor General as a watch dog... and the Municipalities have no one... they can spend and direct taxpayers' money any way they want and it's time they had a watch dog... this has been a huge pet peeve of mine as I continue to watch some of our PEI municipalities overspend with no real strategy.... we all need to push our Government to make changes to allow the Auditor General to review how our Municipalities run their operations so we can get some level of control over wasteful costs and allow some constructive feedback to our elected officials... I've attached a response from Minister Bertram to an earlier email I sent her on my concerns and hopefully some changes will be coming forward...

----Original Message-----
From: Carolyn Bertram [mailto:CIBERTRAM@gov.pe.ca]
Sent: April-14-08 3:03 PM
To: Tim Banks
Subject: RE: City of Charlottetown
April 14, 2008

Dear Tim,

My apologies for not responding earlier to your e-mail message of March 19th, 2008. I appreciate and value the main theme of your message in which you urge greater oversight with regard to municipal issues. I assure you my Cabinet colleagues and I support measures intended to serve the greater interest of our Island population. I am sure you will agree this is reflected in the Speech from the Throne where it was announced that a Commissioner on Land and Local Governance will be appointed to conduct a comprehensive review of municipal and land use development issues.

Our government believes, as you do, that it is time to integrate change in the province’s approach to municipal governance. With this in mind, it is my intention to advance your timely comments to the Commissioner. I am confident that together with the legislative reform to which government has committed the municipal oversight which you envision will be achieved.

In closing, I want to extend my sincere thanks to you for bringing your concerns to my attention.


My original email to Minsiter Bertram

>>> "Tim Banks"
3/19/2008 9:53 AM >>>


Wouldn't it be reasonable to think that the Charlottetown Act along with
others should be updated to see that they are looking after the
taxpayers interests? The Province has the Auditor General to
investigate situations to improve how our elected officials
represent the taxpayers and shouldn't a similar instrument be legislated
into the municipal acts to insure taxpayers' interests are being looked
after? The tighter the controls on municipal budgets and operating
processes the fewer dollars they will be looking for from the Province.

Is such a review going to take place and how can I help?


How Do You Spell Jonathan... "WINNER"...

He's done it again... and that's pretty impressive and I expect he'll be a lot more confident as he heads to Washington this year. But there is also a lot of pressure on the kids and if you want to get an appreciation of that pressure there is a movie that was done back in 2003 called “Spellbound” that actually starred a bunch of the real participants. It's not a movie I would have ran out to see but I was stuck on a flight from Mexico with nothing else to watch so I was presently surprised once I did… in fact I thought it was so good that I came home and talked the Princess into renting it and watching it again... I've attached a review of the movie from my most trust movie review site Rotten Tomatoes http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1122382-spellbound/ and they gave it a very high rating so if you want to get a preview of what Jonathan's up against you should rent this movie. All the best to Jonathan and let's all hope that he makes it into the finals and we get to see him in "live" action as the finals are always televised. Here’s my post from last year… http://timbanks.ca/2008/05/great-work-jonathanlucky-number-27.html
Could you spell that, please?
There are two words in the English language that Jonathan Schut may remember for sometime to come – discrimination and divulge – the last two words he spelled correctly to secure him his third straight Canwest Canspell National Spelling Bee 2009 hosted by The Guardian Saturday at UPEI.
There were 21 contestants at the beginning of the “bee” and by the start of the final round only Jonathan and Matthew MacDonald were left standing. Matthew did not spell his word correctly so Jonathan had to correctly spell discrimination as his word in the final round and to win the title he spelled divulge.
Jonathan is a grade eight student at Grace Christian School in Charlottetown and Matthew is in grade five at Somerset Elementary in Bedeque.
Jonathan is now off to the Canwest Canspell National Spelling Bee in Gatineau/Ottawa April 14-18. He and the other Canadian winners will compete internationally at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May.
Beside the trips and a neat trophy Jonathan takes home $5,000 to go toward his future education.