Sunday, November 29, 2009

Business Expense...

I think Jim Bagnall should be looking at giving a medal to whatever Company took FoodTrust off PEI taxpayer's hands as it was losing tons of money most of which was under Mr. Bagnall's watch when he was the Agriculture Minister... now to turn around and tarnish the Company's image around while it tries to revitalize itself is really in poor taste... I'm sure when the idea for FoodTrust was first conceived by Government there were good intentions to make it a viable business enterprise but as with most Government business ventures they seem to take on spirit of their own and for the most part always end up bleeding red ink. Now that Mid-Isle Farms a proven operator with many shareholders have taken over the reins there is probably a better chance of success but not if their name is continually bashed around with foolish innuendo... it might make great grand standing for Mr. Bagnall but every time the Company’s name comes in question it creates a sense of carefulness with bankers and customers alike and when the Company has the potential to become an Island product leader then let’s leave the silly politics at home.... no one in the industry really believes that George Webster did anything wrong here so why create a smokescreen at the expense of the business... I'm hoping FoodTrust could turn into another Amalgamated Dairies Limited story...
Conservative MLA demands answers on minister's role in FoodTrust sale
The Guardian
Mid-Isle Farms paid the Prince Edward Island government $890,000 for the money-losing FoodTrust but not before the province scratched nearly $1.2 million in losses from its books. The sale was announced in December of last year but it’s only now that the purchase price is being made public.Opposition Agriculture Critic Jim Bagnall spent much of question period in the P.E.I. legislature Tuesday demanding to know more about Agriculture Minister George Webster’s role in the sale of the Charlottetown-based FoodTrust to Mid-Isle. Webster and his brother, Bertram, are founders of Mid-Isle, which is based in Albany. George Webster’s interests in the company are now being held in a blind trust because he is a cabinet minister. “Minister, you wrote off all the liabilities and turned around and sold the company to you and your brother. Do you not feel that was a conflict of interest?” Bagnall asked.“They said it was a fair bidding process. How can it be a fair bidding process when the minister, who’s the president of the company, the minister had all the inside information about what was taking place, the minister wrote off $1.2 million for FoodTrust, and turns around and has the best offer. How can that be a fair process?”Premier Robert Ghiz defended Webster, saying the sale was tendered and the best tender won. He said Webster left the cabinet table whenever the issue of FoodTrust came up for discussion. “Obviously, the member from Montague-Kilmuir is making stuff up again,” said Ghiz. “It’s very unfortunate that we have the member from Montague-Kilmuir, who was in cabinet, who knows how decisions are made, that would want to slander someone.” But Bagnall fired back: “I’m sure the best tender won when they wrote off $1.2 million and allowed the minister and his brother to buy the company when he was a minister.” But Ghiz said Webster was not the minister of Agriculture when the sale took place. The Prince Edward Island government established the not-for-profit FoodTrust in 2001 to help provide better returns to producers.In 2007, FoodTrust sales exceeded $3.8 million. But the province contended it was a money-losing venture, losing anywhere from $500,000 to $700,000 annually. The decision to privatize the company was made jointly by the government and the company’s board of directors. Bagnall also questions what role the Provincial Nominee Program may have played in the sale of FoodTrust. FoodTrust did receive units from the PNP but the timing is being disputed. The provincial Liberals say they received the money under the Conservative administration, but the Conservatives contend they received four units in August — a month after many others were turned down for funding under the Immigrant Investment Fund. “I wonder whether (Webster) excused himself when they got PNP units,” said Bagnall. “There were 600 people turned down in July. Yet, when you go to buy this company in August, you get four units. How can you justify that to all the other businesses across P.E.I.?” Ghiz said Webster wouldn’t have any role in the Provincial Nominee Program. “That’s not a cabinet decision,” added Ghiz. The sale of the FoodTrust was also an issue in the spring setting of the P.E.I. legislature. During the spring session, Bagnall accused Webster of being in a conflict of interest over the sale of FoodTrust. “Minister, do you think it’s good business practice to write off all the loans, all the liabilities for a company that you, as president of the company, are buying? Do you think that’s legit?” Bagnall said last spring.

Belly Up...

They say the way to a man's heart is through his belly and I'm pretty sure this might be the case with our tourists as well so this new strategy is probably a very good direction for our tourism industry but it's got to be delivered with quality, service and most important “value”... and with all due respect to our existing operators I believe some of our tradition old favourites like the local lobster dinners have to be revisited and "freshen up" with more ambience as most of them date back to the seventies... dinning at whatever level requires ambience and somehow Government has to also develop a tax incentive or related program for operators to help them remodel and refurbish their dining areas... promoting the Big Four: potatoes, lobsters, oysters and mussels is a great idea but I've often thought that we might be further ahead to leave mussels and oyster off the menu in July as they both seem to be "weak on meat" and aren't always at their best like in the spring and the fall... looking back on last year I still question why our Government spent so much on the "Big Break" and I don't understand why our Minister doesn't come clean and let us know what "return on investment" taxpayers got on this promotion... I suspect until we get a new Minister we'll never know the real cost of the Government run golf courses but I do like our new Culinary theme and my belly is certainly looking forward to it...
Island tourism tries new flavour
Friday, November 27, 2009
CBC News
P.E.I.'s tourism season has ended, but industry officials are busy planning for next year with a food-focused tourism strategy unveiled Friday in Charlottetown.
It will "build on five key tourism priorities, including the growth of the meetings and conventions sector, golf exposure, culinary partnerships, cultural redevelopment and the next phase in the Integrated Tourism Solution [database]," said Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty.
The theme for 2010 is Year of the Culinary and the focus will be on encouraging people to visit the island to enjoy food that's grown and processed locally, officials said.
The so-called Big Four will be highlighted: potatoes, lobsters, oysters and mussels.
Tourism PEI and the Tourism Advisory Council also hope to form partnerships with restaurants, farmers, farmers' markets and accommodations, and produce a visitors' guide to showcase some of those businesses.
Culinary alliance
The culinary alliance will help the development of innovative and sustainable food industry partnerships, culinary experiences and promotional programs, officials said.
It's also expected to increase export sales and help to extend the tourism season into the late fall.
The plan also calls for the expansion of the annual Fall Flavours Festival to try to improve the elusive "shoulder" season.
Kevin Murphy, chair of the Tourism Advisory Council, expects the timing of the launch of the strategy will also help.
"This is only the second time ever that we have been able to bring the annual tourism plan to industry in the fall of the year," he said.
"This joint effort of Tourism PEI and TAC to shift the planning cycle means that industry knows the strategic direction of Tourism PEI coming into the new year and can adapt their own products and marketing to leverage the plan where appropriate."
Golf will continue to be an important tourism market next year, which officials hope to grow through partnerships with the Golf Channel and events such as the International Couples Golf Festival.
The industry also hopes to attract more convention business with the new convention centre, which will double available meeting space, officials said.
The 2010 tourism season will also be the foundation year for the planning and development of a "cultural explosion" initiative, scheduled for 2011.
The Integrated Tourism Solution, which saw the creation of a customer database, rollout of the central reservation system and the first phase of a simplified registration process for operators this year, will continue to be developed.
The 2010 marketing campaign will be launched at the TIAPEI conference in March, officials said.

More Red Tape... is not the solution..

Unfortunately most of the people who show up at IRAC to stop development have frivolous complaints in the first place and now it appears Government want to spend more tax dollars to pay for a "public intervener" to help these interveners find more ways to slow down the process... seems like more "red" tape to me and it's quite obvious that members of the Legislative Committee has never appeared before IRAC themselves otherwise they would be looking for some real solutions to cut "red tape".... back a few years ago when the Ghiz promised new jobs for Islanders I thought they were referring to real productive ones but it doesn't appear to be the case...
Islanders need advocates for IRAC: committee
Thursday, November 26, 2009
CBC News
A P.E.I. legislature committee is suggesting people need legal help when appearing before the Island's regulatory agency in opposition to large corporations.
The committee on community affairs and economic development was looking at how the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission oversees energy costs and rent increases. Several recommendations came out of the discussions. Committee chair Robbie Henderson, MLA for O'Leary-Inverness, said one recommendation is the hiring of someone to provide advice to Islanders dealing with IRAC.
"In a number of cases when issues had come to IRAC by general citizens, they were up against large corporate lawyers on the other side," said Henderson.
"They may have difficulty in advocating for themselves, so we felt by providing some funding for a public intervener to represent people or to at least advise people when they take on larger corporations, it would just make the playing field a little more level."
Another recommendation is to have unscheduled fuel price-adjustments eliminated. Currently IRAC reviews petroleum product prices, such as heating oil and gasoline, twice a month, but is free to make a price adjustment at any time.
The committee can only recommend changes, and any actual changes would have to go through the legislature first.

Next time maybe....

Nice girl from Summerside marries great guy from Summerside and raises large family in Charlottetown but that won't get you elected in Charlottetown... but bigger upsets have happened and we just have to look back to November of 1988 when taxi driver (property supervisor) George Proud defeated three term incumbent Tom McMillan by 259 votes but in that situation Tom had become a cabinet Minister and according to most had lost touch with the locals (in other words didn't give out enough jobs)... he also had David Weale a known Tory insider running against him who ended up garnering 569 votes which probably made the difference... Shea may be right that Ignatieff won't "sell" here but the problem for Donna in this election is that Shawn has and continues to work very hard for "all his constituents" so as good a candidate as Donna is my money is still 2 to 1 on Murphy for any of you who care to look me up... she may have good timing though as my guess is that this will be Shawn's last term so she may very well position herself for the next time around...
Profit ready for fight in Charlottetown federal riding Veteran Tory member wins nomination
The Guardian
The election of Donna Profit, an educator from Charlottetown, as the Conservative Party’s representative in the capital city puts Stephen Harper’s Prince Edward Island team in place for the next federal election.
Profit defeated retired RCMP officer Robert Campbell during a nominating convention Friday night in Charlottetown.
More than 250 people attended the convention. The vote results were not made public.
The former dean of the Atlantic Veterinary College, Tim Ogilvie, will represent Malpeque.
In Cardigan, Stratford lawyer Kerri Carpenter will carry the party’s colours.
Fisheries Minister Gail Shea is now the only elected federal Conservative in Prince Edward Island as the MP for Egmont.
During Friday night’s convention, Shea said winning the riding of Charlottetown will be difficult, but not impossible.
“I just want to remind you that Egmont was a Liberal-held riding for almost 30 years,” Shea told supporters, adding that the Conservatives are now only 10 seats away from a majority government in Ottawa.
“Although we had no incumbent to face, we had a very credible candidate and we worked from a vote deficit of more than 5,000 votes from the previous election.
“At the end of the day, and at the end of the recount, we won by only 57 votes. But it only takes one.”
The vote deficit is similar in Charlottetown.
In the October 2008 election, Liberal Shawn Murphy won the riding with slightly more than 50 per cent of the vote against four other candidates. He received 3,189 more votes than his nearest rival, Conservative Tom DeBlois.
Profit said she’s excited to get the nod by her party faithful, and now she’s ready to get down to business and win the riding for the Conservatives.
This is Profit’s first run for public office.
“People are looking and they want to know what I have to say,” said Profit, a mother of seven.
“I want the people of Charlottetown to know that I can be a good representative for them and that the Conservative government is going to listen to us, and listen to me as part of that team.”
Profit is well known in the community as a swim coach and she has spent 25 years working behind the scenes in both federal and provincial politics. In addition, she is past president of the PC Association in District 14.
Shea also had a parting shot at Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who is in Prince Edward Island today to attend the P.E.I. Liberal Party fall dinner.
“In case any of you people would like to attend, Michael Ignatieff is in town (Saturday),” she said.
“I can tell you on his last trip to P.E.I. he was in my riding of Egmont to beat the bushes for a Liberal candidate. After he left the only rumoured candidate pulled out so hopefully he maintains that record of success.”

Roundabout "Test Drive"....

Here's another reason why the City should step away from "test driving" a new roundabout at the "action corner"... this local business is now facing some serious survival issues particularly with the impending franchise loss and now is not the time to throw another obstacle at them that could potentially damage business by obstructing customers to their sales lot.... they probably won't have much of a chance at winning a law suit against their franchisor GM who is trying to reorganize but they may “up the go away settlement" enough to help them get their local operation back on its feet selling some other brand or more used product... let's all remember that this local business Island Chevrolet-Cadillac (in one form or another) has been operating at this intersection since the late 60's and over these years has employed a lot of people, paid considerable payroll and property taxes, and given a lot back to our Community... now that they are in a fight for their business survival the City should reconsider Island Chevrolet's concerns about the impact of the roundabout during this critical time and put the project on hold... maybe the City should step back and "test drive" a few vehicles from the dealership as opposed to test driving an overpriced intersection...
Island Chevrolet-Cadillac in Charlottetown to sue GM
The Guardian
A group of Canadian General Motors dealerships, including Island Chevrolet-Cadillac in Charlottetown, is suing the auto giant for millions in damages for alleged contract breaches and is seeking a court injunction to stop GM from terminating their franchises.
The 12 dealerships named in the suit are among the 240 to 250 stores GM Canada plans to close within the next year.
GM plans to eliminate more than one-third of its Canadian dealerships by October 2010 in an attempt to cut costs and streamline its business. The P.E.I. dealer is scheduled to close in 2010.
Eleven long-time southern Ontario dealers and one from Prince Edward Island filed a statement of claim in Ontario court on Thursday alleging that GM ended their franchise agreements in a "highhanded, oppressive and patently unfair' manner. They allege GM breached a contract that the company promised to renew as long as the dealerships met certain performance expectations.
The dealers say they want a permanent injunction to prohibit GM from ending their agreements and a declaration entitling them to remain open for at least another five years.
The claim says that unless the court rules in favour of an injunction and renewal of the agreements, the dealers "shall be destroyed.'
The claim is also seeking unspecified compensatory damages for loss of profit, goodwill, reputation, market share and business opportunities because of the alleged breaches, plus $1.5 million in punitive damages for each dealer.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Lots" of News... but very little issues..

Surely this Earth Action news issue is big enough to debate in our Legislature as it ranks right up there with the never ending PNP stories... maybe when Mike Currie is done with the "Kings County Torch" crusade he can ask Miss Labchuk to join him for a short run through Cardigan with a couple of geese as I understand the ones Gordon used were from Quebec... and then there's our media darling Councillor Tweel who's looking for a new "smoking bylaw" so the City can "police" what gas you're passing out your chimney ... really when you think about all these major issues facing our politicians it's clearly refreshing to know that if they called a meeting to discuss the "lot" of them they'd hardly have enough supporters for a good card game.... we had an accountant in Town yesterday from Toronto whom our staff gave some restaurant recommendations too and she ended up choosing “Lot 30” and today "raved" about the food experience... so Gordon please keep up the great work and watch out for any nude ladies running through the kitchen all by themselves....
Chef criticized for foie gras on menu
Friday, November 20, 2009
CBC News
A Charlottetown restaurant owner says he would consider permanently taking foie gras off his menu if there were a large group of people who wanted it removed.
'I don't really have a problem with it.'— Chef Gordon Bailey
Earth Action co-founder Sharon Labchuk, who is also leader of the provincial Green Party, sent out a news release this week calling attention to the foie gras at Lot 30, and asking chef and owner Gordon Bailey to stop serving it.
Foie gras is made from the livers of ducks and geese whose organs have been enlarged by force-feeding.
"It's one of the cruelest practices humans can do to animals in terms of how we raise animals for food production. Many governments around the world have recognized that," said Labchuk.
"It's been banned in California, that law is coming into effect in 2012."
Labchuk is encouraging people to contact Bailey to ask him to take it off the menu.
Bailey acknowledges he does have foie gras on the menu from time to time. He has toured the facility in Quebec where he buys duck liver. He said the animals are force fed through a nozzle, but he doesn't feel it's done in a cruel way. "Personally, if it's done in clean conditions with the proper people who have the knowledge of how to do it, then I don't really have a problem with it," said Bailey.
"I would consider totally taking it off the menu if it seemed there was the larger sense of wanting to see it removed."
Bailey noted a ban on foie gras on Chicago menus was lifted last year.
He said no customer has ever raised the issue before, but he said he has heard from people who come to the restaurant specifically for the foie gras.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

They Come... They Go... some's only business

I got a response to last night’s blog about my mention of building a new hotel in Charlottetown and the person asked "why do you think Charlottetown needs another hotel?"... and I guess my answer is more talking about business enterprise and how it works... in 1951 Woolworths built a brand new 4 level building on Queen Street in Downtown Charlottetown which was then state of the art in retailing and I'm sure a few locals felt the pinch but it was the new best thing in department store retailing and Islanders flocked the store... in the sixties it was a new Kmart that became the new rage... in the seventies Towers were the new player in Town followed by Zellers in the eighties and the Walmart in the nineties and the latest a brand new Sears... they all come and go based on a business plans and the good ones like Sears survive through continued fresh investment and focus on what the consumer is looking for... it's pretty much been the same story in other sectors such as automotive, grocery, wholesalers, etc... and I suspect the same hold true in the hotel business and all you have to do is look around at our neighbouring cities like Moncton, Saint John, Halifax, etc... and you'll see new branded hotels like the Hampton Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points Sheraton, Country Suites, and Radisson Hotels to name a few popping up all over the place with loyalty programs that tourists “we need” can't use here... all these new enterprises brings jobs and investments to the Island and gives potential visitors more choices and it also forces existing operators to reinvest in freshening up their facilities and programs all of which is good for the end users and our tourist industry... I think it's a great opportunity and I've lined up some investors who think so as well so to answer the question I think it's just business enterprise looking for opportunity that answers the question does Charlottetown need another hotel...

Roundabout "Fever"...

I go away for a week all the while hoping not to catch the H1N1 virus while traveling and I arrive home only to find out that there's another virus on the go and some of our politicians have caught this new "roundabout" bug... as promised in last night’s late blog post I got up early today and took a picture from my 8th floor hotel room looking over the "roundabout" into the near empty convention centre in Levis, Quebec.... now don't get me wrong as I'm not fully against roundabouts when they make "Practical" sense something which Minister MacKinley appears to have a strong political suit in... but it's my guess that when he gets the actually construction cost numbers to build an efficient one on Riverside Drive that he may very well abandon any such notion.... as for my stance against the one at Mount Edward Road I'm still believe that any safety issues there can be fixed with some lane widening at about a fifth of the cost of a roundabout... they spent a year talking about a proposed one at the Peter Pan and when the costs came in at about $6,000,000 they moved to a more practical improvement at $2,000,000 which appears to be working fine... in this economy our elected officials should always consider the economics before they make their final decisions and I'm hoping that's what they'll do here otherwise I'll be chasing down Ronnie too.... quite a waste of money in Levis but at least they don't have to buy a Christmas tree....
2 more roundabouts considered for Charlottetown
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
CBC News
Charlottetown's Riverside Drive could include two roundabouts as part of a major upgrade, says Transportation Minister Ron MacKinley.
Charlottetown currently has no roundabouts, though there is one planned.
MacKinley said some of the plans for Riverside Drive, a section of the Charlottetown bypass that runs from the Hillsborough Bridge to St. Peter's Road, are already set. It will be widened to four lanes with a berm down the middle.
"This is a very busy section of highway," MacKinley told CBC News Monday.
"There's 24,000 cars going by here a day and sometimes there's more in the summer."
Getting on Riverside Drive can be difficult, particularly at Exhibition Drive and by the energy-from-waste plant. Typically P.E.I. has used traffic lights at locations such as this, but MacKinley said putting two traffic lights so close together doesn't make sense.
"Islanders don't like signals. They're complaining to me about the bypass having too many signals, so we are exploring the idea of roundabouts," he said.
"[I] saw a lot of them when I was in California, saw them when I was in Ireland before, and we are looking at that possibility to see how it's going to work."
MacKinley said roundabouts are safer than intersections because the cars aren't going as fast if there is a collision.
The work on Riverside Drive is expected to begin this spring, with or without the roundabouts. The cost of the $6-million-plus project is being shared by the federal and provincial governments.

Roundabout Way To Get A Permit...

Well I can't help but get this photo off to Charlottetown City Hall as soon as possible... I've been on the road for over a week now looking at some hotel concepts in the US and Canada for the Charlottetown marketplace... tonight I arrived at the new Four Points Sheraton Convention Centre in Levis, Quebec (pop. 130,000) where a ton of somebody’s money was poured into this project... even though the Centre is on the outskirts of the City in a vacant field they spared no expense with a very urban contemporary look complete with an underground parking garage at $12 a car or ample outside parking that was free... there were hardly any guests and my rate was $110 for the night which is shockingly low for the level of investment so I suspect that it’s not a private enterprise project but I'll know more in the morning when I get the full tour... what struck me so funny was the significant street investment leading into the property and once you finally find the entrance you come across a "Roundabout" that would make Clifford and his crew drool with envoy... maybe I'll take a couple of pictures of the "Roundabout" and ask the City to build me one when I pull the trigger on the Charlottetown project... and just maybe help me secure a "permit" without the usual fanfare... hey, it wouldn't surprise me if in the morning I bumped into Mayor Basil and his team having a look around at this place as they'd love to have it "hooked" up to Credit Union Place... if you want to look the property over here's the link

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I think it's Wayne's...

I don't know for sure but it could be Wayne Easter's... I think he had one he was going to register when he went to Ottawa but he probably threw it away last week... check the fingerprinting before Ottawa does away with that too.... could be a mistake there Wayne...
Shotgun found outside Charlottetown motel
Friday, November 6, 2009
CBC News
Charlottetown police are investigating after an anonymous tipster called about a sawed-off shotgun found in a box.
The box was dumped in a ditch outside the Holiday Island Motor Inn on University Avenue.
Police are checking the gun for fingerprints and said so far they have no reason to believe the gun was used in any crime.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wade and "friends"....

There isn't enough I could say about how deserving an "Order of Canada" was for Island native and UPEI President Wade MacLauchlan who exemplifies the purpose of this honour... this would have been one of "Harry’s" proudest moments and I'm sure is being savoured by Marjorie, Duncan and all his "friends"... and speaking of friends there is no let up with Wade's commitment to this great Island and he's off to prove that again this weekend in Calgary as he fosters another event...

A Calgary – UPEI Connection

A group from Calgary gathered in the Selkirk Restaurant at the Delta Prince Edward recently. Led by Charlottetown native and Calgary-based real estate lawyer Bill LeClair, the group aren’t your usual bunch of business men and women blowing through town, or tourists visiting Canada’s green province. The group with Mr. LeClair is all students, all from Calgary, Alberta, and all attending the University of Prince Edward Island.

So often we share stories of Islanders, and Island families, ‘heading West’, to the country’s most active economy to find employment, either for months on end or even indefinitely. But we don’t hear much of those who come here, from away, to pursue their futures and leave family and friends back home.

A Charlottetown native, Colonel Gray High School and St. Dunstan’s University graduate, Mr. LeClair has made the trip to visit these students a regular occurrence. He along with Jim Palmer, Lou MacEachern, George Rogers and other successful Islanders are among the leading figures of a movement in Calgary, "The Friends of UPEI", to share the Prince Edward Island opportunity with those academic achievers who desire a place of study in the small classroom and small province setting – far from the office towers of Canada’s economic powerhouse Calgary. In fact Lou MacEachern has set up a "Friends" Business Scholarship at UPEI...

This group has succeeded through the dedication of their members and their belief in the quality of education and life provided by the University of Prince Edward Island’s ‘great small school’, and the continued support of Island native, Calgary businessman, and UPEI Chancellor Bill Andrews and his wife Denise, and President Wade MacLauchlan. This year Premier Robert Ghiz will be in Calgary as the dinner’s guest speaker, and Island entertainers Grass Mountain Hobos will perform.

The Friends of UPEI are a group of Island natives residing in Calgary who have been raising money to send Calgary students and support Island students pursuing post-secondary education at the University of Prince Edward Island. Through their twelve year history the group have raised over $900,000. Last year over $28,000 was provided for students attending the University of Prince Edward Island through scholarships and bursaries.

In addition to their generous contributions to students, the Friends of UPEI have also been strong advocates of their home province, promoting the Island and it’s way of life through their events, and assisting those Islander’s who have ‘gone west’ get established in the Calgary area. The 12th Annual Dinner & Silent Auction will be held this Saturday, November 7, 2009 at the Glencoe Club in Southwest Calgary. For ticket information please contact Bill LeClair at (403) 245-3500.

UPEI president honoured with Order of Canada
Friday, November 6, 2009
CBC News
Wade MacLauchlan, president of the University of Prince Edward Island, was presented with Canada's highest honour Thursday.
MacLauchlan joined 34 other Order of Canada recipients at Rideau Hall to be invested by Gov. Gen. Michaƫlle Jean. He was cited for his ability to bring innovative projects to UPEI, including a new National Research Council institute.
Also presented with the order Thursday was professional golfer Mike Weir. Former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna and Peter Mansbridge, chief correspondent for CBC News and anchor of The National, were both made officers of the order.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Riley" Waters... good luck there..

Good luck there guys with trying to get the "Park" back open but you’re up against some pretty "riley" waters when you relying on our Department of Environment to come to your aid... back when I was a kid I remember my grandfather passing through Tyne Valley and he looked in at the pond which appeared to be very muddy and he said "the water is pretty riley today" and until then I hadn't heard it called that before... over the years I've seen a lot of "riley" water but mostly in the fall and it seems that no matter how far Environment push back the buffers there is just as much red soil getting into our streams... I wonder if the people at environment ever considered that allowing the majority of these motocross enthusiasts to have a contained place like Mudrooters operating it might help keep these vehicles off our beaches and out of our streams where we don't seem to be able to control them or the environmental damage they do... sort of like when I got my license and drag raced all around Town but as soon as they opened the Oyster Bed Drag Park my friends and I curbed our enthusiasm there as opposed to the public streets where we could have hurt someone... and I think that's the case here and it time for Minister Brown to start leading and getting his department on side working with these enthusiasts as opposed to "riley" them up.... over the years Oyster Bed Raceway has continued to bring significant visitors to PEI and I’m pretty sure this will be the case here so let’s get to work and solve the problems not invent them...
Environment rules close motocross park

Monday, June 1, 2009
CBC News
A P.E.I. motocross park has voluntarily shut down while it works out problems with the provincial Environment Department.
The owners of Mudrooters in Desable told CBC News that the operation will stay closed unless they can resolve some issues raised by the department. They have already had to cancel one event, planned for the past weekend.
"We're getting a huge response from the riders, parents and family," said co-owner Gary Dunning.
"They're amazed that it's closed."
Mudrooters has stayed open through controversy before, when neighbours complained about the noise.
Loss of tourism revenue
Dunning and his partners met with local MLA Valerie Docherty and environment officials last week. He won't be specific about what issues the department has with the motocross site, but said another meeting is planned for this week.
Michelle Arsenault, whose teenage daughter races at Mudrooters, said if the motocross park closes, it would mean a loss of tourism revenue for the province.
"We probably would have spent over $1,000 this weekend to stay on P.E.I. for our family to have this little mini-vacation," said Arsenault, whose family lives in the western part of the Island.
"We would, normally, probably do that three or four times during the summer if Mudrooters is open."
Arsenault said instead, her family will likely head off-Island for motocross events.
The Environment Department will only say it has been talking to the operators of Mudrooters in an effort to "guide" the facility into compliance with provincial guidelines for silt control, run-off and buffer zones.

So what's wrong with investing....

Now here's some real big news for Jim Bagnall and Ms. Crane... Kevin Murphy a proven business operator receives 19 immigrant investor units and he ploughs the money back into his businesses, hiring new people, renovating his properties, and increasing their taxable value... and all the while boosting PEI's tourism product with projects like the Stanhope Beach Lodge that was literally falling into the ground... he received this money from some immigrant investors who willing invested their money (not the governments) in return for citizenship and none of them are complaining about Mr. Murphy... so where's the crime here Olive... now I'm sure the "don't get ahead gang" or "the sit on the couch crowd" will have all kinds of jealous reasons for trying to knock Kevin down for "doing something" but it's time to suck it up as it's not your money... thousands of Islanders have lost more money investing in Nortel Networks than will ever be lost through the PNP program but I haven't heard the opposition grand standing on this one or a thousand like them.... it's time to move on to new business in the legislature....
Kevin Murphy lays out his corporate PNP involvement
Wed, 11/04/2009
Eastern Graphic
By Paul MacNeill
Prominent Charlottetown businessman Kevin Murphy says to understand the true benefit he received from the controversial Provincial Nominee Program first requires an understanding of how his business is structured. Provincial corporate records show that businesses many might associate with the Murphy name received 19 units under the immigrant investor program. That, however, is misleading, he says. Some of those businesses he owns, such as East Side Marios. Some businesses he owns a portion of, such as Gahan Pub. And some, such as Sims Corner Steakhouse, he simply manages for others under the umbrella of the Murphy Group of Restaurants. “The reality is we have a large company with a lot of companies for a lot of reasons. Some of them are for shareholders. Some of them are for tax reasons,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “There are probably eight different situations about how we do things.” And that is part of the reason Mr Murphy believes his name is often associated with rumours about excessively benefiting from the PNP program.“It’s nutty. It’s untrue and it can’t be substantiated. It’s not there. The facts are the facts.” The companies in question are as follows: 100369 PEI Inc., two units. It is owned by Murphy Investments and operates East Side Marios. Murphy Investments is Mr Murphy’s personal company. 100415 PEI Inc., four units. Mr Murphy owns a 75 per cent share in the company that operates the Gahan House Brewery. The units were received under the former Conservative government.Gahan Pub Inc., two units. Mr Murphy owns 75 per cent.P. & W. Food Services, four units. Mr Murphy owns 60 per cent of the company that operates Pat and Willy’s, Fishbones, Jake’s and Off Broadway. Mr Murphy also owns a percentage of K & M Home Heating that received a single unit under the former Conservative government. Businesses that he manages include K & D Entertainment, which operates a pool hall. It received a single investment unit under the previous Conservative government and is owned by Chris Wright, a Murphy Group vice-president and Jeff Groom. Castello’s Inc, a Charlottetown restaurant, received a single PNP unit. Records indicate the president and primary shareholder is Murphy group employee Charlene Morrison. The Murphy Group also manages Sims Corner Steakhouse and ISE’s Sports Bar, each of which received two PNP investment units. Each unit represents a $200,000 investment into an Island business by a potential immigrant. In return, the immigrant is fast-tracked for a Canadian visa. After all fees are taken off the top an average of $50,000 is actually invested in the business. The local company names the potential immigrant to its board of directors for a five-year period. Collectively the 19 units represent an investment approaching $1 million. Mr Murphy says based on his ownership percentages his actual benefit equates to less than six units.The PNP applications were made at separate times over a number of years and all monies were invested directly into the specific business. The businessman said he was very careful to follow all the rules and regulations, including supplying business ownership percentages, an issue that the Auditor General raised in his most recent report. Prior to January 2008 rules governing the PNP program placed a limit of four investors per company, including wholly owned subsidiaries and affiliated companies. In his report earlier this year, the Auditor General pointed out the Ghiz government changed that rule without fully informing the public. Island Investment Development Inc., the crown corporation overseeing the program, did not update the policy manual located on its website. “In January 2008, this policy was no longer enforced and the eligibility section of the website was updated with a statement that, where there are common shareholders between multiple businesses seeking access to the Program, IIDI reserves the right to limit access to further units if one purpose of the company structure is to access further units. This decision would be at the sole discretion of IIDI. However, the original detailed policy on restrictions on cumulative investment remained on the website,” the Auditor General wrote. Mr Murphy says it is important to remember the benefit the PNP program brought to the Island. “I thought the program, with its faults and there is some, has been a huge advantage to the tourism industry for a lot of property owners.” He points to his own businesses as an example. “We’re in business just like anybody else. We have a lot of businesses that we run and we employ a lot of people. We are in different industries - manufacturing, hotels and restaurants, “ he said. “You just go around my businesses and see what was done to them in the last year or so.”

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"How now brown cow" as the old expression goes

Back in grade one we lived just around the corner from Maple Leaf Dairies on Greenwood Drive in the "west end" of Summerside... at that time I don't think I was a big fan of white milk as I was always suspect that Mom were passing off some of that "awful powdered milk" which was quite common in those days when money was pretty tight... but I can also remember Mom getting "chocolate" milk in the old quart bottles delivered to our house on Fridays.... and as we lived next to the dairy it arrived very early, so on cold days to keep it from freezing and popping the cardboard covers off we would get up really early.... but it was well worth it as it sure didn't take long to empty the chocolate bottles... I told one of my uncles back then that I thought I liked chocolate milk even more than pop and he suggested that I should "buy a brown cow" from the dairy... so every time we drove by that dairy I kept looking for the cows... I was pretty keen on getting one and had all kinds of ideas how I was going to look after one... so I was pretty disappointed a year or so later when I finally asked one of my country cousins what he thought I'd have to pay for a "brown cow" and I think they still laughing about that up in Lot 16... so I was driving home from Saint John today with my Princess of 28 years and I started thinking about this chocolate milk story... so I asked her how many times she ever see me pour a glass of white milk and drink it... and she couldn't remember me doing it once other than pouring it into some cereal but on the other hand she easily sees me drink at least 3 glasses of chocolate milk a week... so I'm all for lower chocolate milk prices in the schools... and I'm still looking to get one of those "brown cows"....
Schools look for equal treatment for chocolate milk
Monday, November 2, 2009
CBC News
Some P.E.I. parents and educators are calling for a more affordable price for chocolate milk in Island schools.
White milk has been subsidized since the 1980s through the work of the P.E.I. School Milk Foundation, but chocolate milk isn't.
In the cafeteria at Summerside Intermediate School, it costs $2 for a 500-millilitre bottle of chocolate milk, as opposed to $0.75 for white milk. Principal Doug Doyle would like to see it made more affordable.
"I would love to see the chocolate milk subsidized," Doyle told CBC News Friday.
"From what we understand, the nutritional value is the same in chocolate and white milk. So if we want them to drink milk, they're drinking the chocolate milk but they're paying more for it."
Charmaine Campbell, a registered dietitian with the Healthy Eating Alliance, said the attitudes of health professionals towards chocolate milk have changed. It used to be seen as a sugary treat, but it does have the same nutritional value as white milk, with a few extra teaspoons of sugar.
"We have heard some complaints from parents about the pricing of chocolate milk," said Campbell. "The Healthy Eating Alliance would be supportive of having chocolate milk subsidized."
The P.E.I. School Milk Foundation, funded by the Department of Education and the Dairy Farmers of P.E.I., has a budget of a little more than $100,000. Almost half of that goes into subsidizing the cost of white milk.
Program co-ordinator Barbie Bevan said there is no room in the current budget to subsidize chocolate milk.
"We are not opposed to having chocolate milk subsidized in any way shape or form. It's just we know that at the present time, as a board, we are not able to go forward with that," said Bevan.
Bevan said the school milk foundation has not approached the P.E.I. government for more funding towards subsidizing chocolate milk.
The idea of subsidizing milk in schools is not without precedent. Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick subsidize both white and chocolate milk in their schools.

Monday, November 2, 2009

There's More To This Story....

I had the opportunity to watch the televised version of this story and the thing that seemed to jump out to me was how Cabinetmaster expected the Government to continue to support the company after it had significantly defaulted on their 2008 receivership proposal... let's remember that both levels of Government gave them significant support back in 2006 and 2007 during their expansions and when the company had significant financial problems in 2008 the Government didn't just bail out on them but continued to support them by agreeing to restructure their debt through a revised business plan which was prepared by the company we now understand that the company has gone significantly "off-side" from that 2008 restructuring plan to the point that the company couldn't meet its financial obligations... furthermore the company is now asking Government to take an addition $1,500,000 write-off on the building at taxpayers’ expense so a private individual can buy it below market value, amongst other demands... and for them to imply that the Government and the Company's creditors are not supporting them seems like sour grapes to me.... it's been my experience that Government does try and work to keep people employed but my guess is that the lack of support might have more to do with the "management" as opposed to the talented men and women that work on the floor who unfortunately may be the real victims here along with a host of other small creditors... it's interesting that while this company appears to be failing due to what they call a recession another local cabinet manufacturer Chandler Brothers are expanding into new premises in the West Royalty Industrial Park and hiring lots of new staff... obviously a contradiction in management capabilities...
Cabinetmaster closing doors
Monday, November 2, 2009
CBC News
A Charlottetown woodworking company that once employed more than 100 people is closing.
Cabinetmaster Architectural Woodwork Ltd. did most of its business in the United States — much of it with the Marriott International hotel chain.
Gordie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of Cabinetmaster, said even though his company enjoyed growth between 2002 and 2006, the recession and high Canadian dollar has put the company out of business.
"When we first started exporting to the States, when we brought $1 home we'd get $1.61," he said.
"At some point in the last couple of years, it went down as low as 95 cents, so 68 cents difference makes a huge impact on your ability to be able to produce effectively and be profitable."
Kirkpatrick said the company tried to negotiate with creditors but those discussions fell through.
Cabinetmaster was founded in 1980 as a division of Prebilt Structures Ltd., specializing in kitchen cabinets. Kirkpatrick acquired the company in February 2002 and moved it to the former Coca-Cola bottling plant building on Kensington Road the following year, according to the company website.
Kirkpatrick said after several expansions, he employed approximately 105 people in 2006.
The 29-year-old company will close Tuesday. It currently employs about 50 people.