Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Goose" you say... Happy New Years

Thank God our Government spends about a billion dollars a year to prop up CBC and the 90 or so staff that work at CBC Charlottetown, otherwise this devastating tragedy of euthanizing the goose wouldn't have made it to the airways... I'm just hoping that Jim Bagnall can get a special opening of the Legislature ASAP and have a Government Committee investigate this matter further...

Maybe a half hour "road kill" tag on to Compass would be in order, so send those letters to our Senator Duffy and I'm sure he'll get right on it... at the very least the poor thing could have been cooked up for New Years...

Euthanizing of Canada goose upsets family

CBC News
December 29, 2010

A P.E.I. family is upset after a Canada goose it tried to nurse back to health was euthanized by the Atlantic Veterinary College.

In early November, Amanda Ellis-Stewart of Kingston in central P.E.I. found an injured Canada goose. After consulting with provincial Fish and Wildlife, she tried to nurse the bird back to health.

The family cared for the goose for several weeks. Ellis-Stewart and her children became attached to the bird, which they named Goosifer.

Early last week, Stewart asked Fish and Wildlife to take the goose to the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown for further care. She told officials she wanted to stay on top of the animal's condition.

Amanda Ellis-Stewart says she wanted to stay on top of the goose's condition. (CBC)
"I said, 'I don't want him put down, he can have sanctuary here for the winter until you decide what to do with him or where he can go,'" said Ellis-Stewart of her discussion with the AVC.

A few days later, on Christmas Eve, the goose was euthanized. Ellis-Stewart is upset with that decision.

"It was hard to explain to the kids when I didn't really understand myself why they had to do it," she said.

Gerald MacDougall, manager of fish and wildlife for the province, said the AVC determined the goose's wing was fractured.

"It had healed, but it healed wrong," said MacDougall. "Rather than put the bird through a lot of unnecessary suffering and fix what was already broken, it was decided to euthanize the animal."

MacDougall said they appreciated the family's kindness and the department is sorry there was a misunderstanding. No one at AVC would comment.

Into the Water and Over the Cliff...

About eight or ten years ago it was an extremely cold New Years Eve and while a bunch of us were out having dinner someone mentioned how cold it was going to be for the Polar Bear swimmers and of course I opened my big mouth and asked who was going to join me as I said I was going... they all said they'd watch if I went so I laughed and said, see you there, and I didn't think much more of it... Early the next morning I called one of my friends to see about something and his son answered the phone and said "Mom and Dad aren't in as they've gone down to the Polar Bear swim to see you dive in" and here I had thought they had forgotten all about it...

Well I wasn't going to have them ever think that I wasn't a man of my word so I panicked racing around looking for my trunks and then the Princess and I headed to the Waterfront... of course I had no idea where the event even took place and it was only by chance that we seen this large crowd gathering as we were coming down Rochford Street. I could see from a distance that people were peeling off their duds so I just bailed from the car, peeled off my duds, and headed on the dead run to the water and dove in at exactly the same time as the others did... it seemed warmer in the water so I stayed in a little longer than most but the toughest part was when I got out I realized in the haste that I had left my cloths back in the car and I had to run back in the extreme cold air, with cuts on my feet, as I went in without anything covering my feet...

I must admit I did have fun and what impressed me the most was that all my close friends were there "expecting me" as they had never questioned me on my foolish claim from the night before that I was going to do it... I'd like to believe they knew how determined a guy I am, but I suspect they really knew how crazy I am... so my big problem now is I’ve told all my friends that I’m going to do Pike’s Peak (see feature video to right of screen) and although I’ve bought the car I don’t know what they’ll think when I’m taking it over one of the cliffs, other than confirming I'm really crazy...

The fun thing about the Polar Bear swim is there are "no rules" as you set your own... you only have to show up and you don't have to fill out any foolish forms or take any silly political blood tests, etc... but please don't be as foolish as me and at least heed some of Jason's advice in the article below.

Polar bear plunge plans shaping up

Published on December 29th, 2010
Jim Day, The Guardian
Topics : Charlottetown Yacht Club , Pownal Street

For veteran shivering swimmers, this New Year’s Day plunge into chilling cold waters off the shoreline in the capital city should be a breeze.

Jason Lee, co-ordinator of the 21st Charlottetown Polar Bear Swim, says conditions should be relatively benign for the event Saturday with the usual 10:30 a.m. start at the foot of Pownal Street near the Charlottetown Yacht Club.

“Based on what we know, I’d say it’s going to be a good New Year’s Day,’’ he said. First, it is extremely unlikely any ice will form on the water by Saturday, sparing swimmers the threat of nasty cuts.

Next, the forecast calls for cloudy conditions with a low of only minus 2 and a high of plus 1 - relatively balmy for the seasoned winter season swimmer. Also, the start time is just one hour past the high tide. “So there should be good water as long as we don’t have a tidal surge,’’ Lee said half jokingly.

A longtime co-ordinator of — and participant in — the polar bear swim, Lee expects to see this year’s event match or surpass the 60 to 70 participants who took the plunge last year.

Compare that to the nasty New Year’s Day storm a couple of years back that kept participants under a handful. Spectators also come out in larger numbers when the winter weather is favourable.

Lee cautions those who are considering to head into the water to consider if they are up to receiving the harsh, frigid slap-in-the-face. “It’s a pretty extreme event so if you have some health conditions you are better off just enjoying it from the bank,’’ he said.

For the hearty folk who plan to take part, Lee offers a quick Polar Bear Swimming 101 instructional guide.

“The No. 1 advice would be put something on your feet,’’ he advised. Rocks and shellfish (and often ice) can do some nasty cutting.

Acclimatize your body to the cold, he added. Gradually peel off clothes leading up to taking the plunge. A toque is a good idea for preserving heat. “It’s not easy to strip down to your bathing suit or what have you and run into what is icy, cold water,’’ said Lee.

He suggests bringing a large towel or bathrobe to help to get dry as fast as possible after darting out of the water. Then get into warm clothes as fast as you can. Have a warm drink (hot chocolate will be on hand) and head home to question what you just did.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"A Murder Of Crows"

There is already a stunning one hour documentary on crows called "A Murder Of Crows" that was done by David Suzuki on The Nature of Things and for those of you who haven't seen it then it's well worth taking the time to view it at as they are an incredibility smart species...

We've had three crows hanging around our cottage since the early eighties and on Sundays an additional crow would always show up, but at a distance... one of them (in the attached photo) was always ruffled and had the appearance of being quite old and this year I haven't seen him around and I'm guessing he didn't make it through the winter... but it appears the fourth crow is now part of the "murder" as there are three there all the time now... yes they "dump" all over your cars, but I kind of like them as they are quite intelligent and have interesting personalities... we should probably leave them alone...

I'm hoping these filmmakers interview our former Councillor Philip Brown for the shear entertainment to see how he's making out getting rid of them using that consultation process he always refers to...

Charlottetown crows star in documentary
Monday, December 27, 2010
CBC News
Charlottetown's crows are the subject of a documentary being made by two Prince Edward Island filmmakers.

Jeremy Larter and Jason Arsenault have received a grant from the Island Media Co-op to film the birds that many see as a nuisance.

The city has been trying to get rid of thousands of crows that roost near Victoria Park for years, including playing recordings of gunshots over loudspeakers.

Now the filmmakers are hanging around the park to interview Islanders.

"People feel like Charlottetown wouldn't be the same without them," Larter said. "Some people can't wait to get rid of them.

"The crows say something about the residents of Charlottetown and, I think, about small towns probably in general. I think in the end it may end up being a story about a small town, as opposed to being a story about crows."

Arsenault said the topic spins off into other topics, such as local politics and local art.

They wish the birds would be more a little more helpful, though.

Larter said: "I'll find a really great spot to get a great shot and then it seems like as soon as one crow sees me there, they communicate that I'm there and they're not really sure what the camera is and then, all of a sudden, they won't fly over my beautiful shot anymore."

The two filmmakers hope to be finished in time to submit the documentary to festivals in the spring.

the "peanut gallery"...

Seriously Olive the problem with our Legislature is politicians like yourself who keep wanting to "out" people in our business Community over the PNP so you can score a few points in the media, not unlike your partner in crime Jim Bagnall... maybe something positive for a change would be welcoming news and I'm sure that is why Regis and Kelly are so popular as they always have sometime positive to say... I on the other hand am not in a popularity contest so the dribble I spew is irrelevant but the advice I give could be true...

Here's my tip "on how to create a more effective and accountable legislative assembly" and that would be by cutting the number of seats in half (we only have 140,000 people) and increase the salaries for elected members so more creditable candidates will run for election... working for peanuts brings out the "peanut gallery" and I rest my case... hopefully Olive you will be true to your word and refer my idea to your Party...

We need a serious conversation about legislative accountability

By Olive Crane
The Guardian, Dec 27, 2010

As an elected MLA, and leader of the official Opposition, I have read with interest a paper prepared for the Canadian Study of Parliament Group by Wayne MacKinnon.

I thought the title, Muddling Through: the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly, was an interesting title, but not necessarily an accurate one. However, I do believe that Mr. MacKinnon raises some very important issues that are in need of public discussion.

The suggestion that the current legislative process is contributing to a growing lack of respect for the integrity of our politicians is worrisome to me. Frankly, it is disconcerting as an elected MLA to come to the realization that political ‘one-upmanship’ and the pressure to obtain that 30-second clip on television, has transformed our parliamentary process into a bit of a media show.

I have a strong belief that MLAs are elected to ‘serve the people’ to the very best of their abilities. Often, I leave our legislative assembly pondering why Regis and Kelly would receive more public comment than concerns about the lack of services available for parents of autistic children or cutbacks in Registered Nurses in our manors and hospitals.

Mr. MacKinnon makes reference to our legislative committee process and I agree that the committees are often dysfunctional. Further, the committee process is often stymied by a majority of government members for political reasons rather than acting in the best interest of Islanders.

For example, political observers can point to the legislative committee on public accounts, which is expected to be one of the most powerful committees in terms of holding government accountable. This is the committee that has the power to subpoena witnesses. Its role is to ensure that corruption and mismanagement of government programs and services do not occur. Yet, political partisanship continues to stifle this committee from calling witnesses involved in the mismanagement of the Provincial Nominee Program. Let’s not forget that it was the auditor general who raised major concerns about how this program was administered.

The inability of this committee to function properly is not only frustrating to the Opposition, but appears to be violating the rights of Prince Edward Islanders to learn the truth about how this program was manipulated and mismanaged to the benefit of certain individuals.

Generally, the legislative standing committee process does provide an important tool that allows our MLAs to hear from a broad range of Islanders, and to address their concerns.

Notwithstanding the role of this process, however, there are areas that need to be reviewed, revised and improved, to ensure they operate effectively.

Mr. MacKinnon also suggests that MLAs spend too much of their time dealing with often petty constituency matters rather than the broader issues of public concern.

Certainly, Mr. MacKinnon is correct to suggest that MLAs in this province do spend an inordinate amount of time looking after their constituencies as compared to those in provinces with much larger populations. Again, this is a subject that needs further exploration and review.

MLA constituency work may be perceived as work we do to get re-elected, or work that is necessary to help improve the lives of our constituents, both on an individual and community basis. I believe Island MLAs are much more in touch with the people they represent. Our MLAs are literally part of every small community and many of us truly do care about the people in our ridings. We want to help where we can, if we can. Does that undermine our role as MLAs? Again, a subject for discussion.

As for the role of our backbench MLAs, they are elected and should be given the right to speak freely in our legislative assembly and to question the policies of government. Is this achievable?

Overall, I found that I agreed with much that Mr. MacKinnon has written in his paper and I have gone one step further and referred it to our Progressive Conservative party for closer scrutiny as we begin to develop policy and a platform for next year’s provincial election. I would also encourage Islanders who may have positive suggestions for reform to refer their ideas to our party as well.

Finally, I do believe that a serious conversation needs to take place on how to create a more effective and accountable legislative assembly, and I look forward to taking part in that discussion.

Friday, December 17, 2010

No Gray Area Here... Denis Boy!!!

Now here's a must see video of my buddy Denis Ryan talking about the Irish Bankers and correct me if I'm wrong but there seems to be "no gray area here" on what he's thinking... don't let his little tyrant here turn you off as he's a great guy who continues to do a lot of great work in this world through his investments and charity causes... and if you don't think he's right then you should have been listening to me when I was suggesting that the Oran Group and their Irish Bankers were crazy when they bought and financed the Summerside Mall and they were going to put a seven storey high end condo development on the roof

Over the years Denis spent a lot of time here on PEI visiting his great friend and sidekick Jim MacNeill, the founding publisher of the Eastern Graphic and “fun” they had.....

Many moons ago Denis and I worked on a couple of projects together, during which time we shared a house down in Sydney N.S., and sometimes after some hard work and a late night I'd talk him into singing a few "solo" tunes like "Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary's"... but by far my favourite was when he had a few pops into him and he'd sing "Down on the Mira"...

Someone’s listening Denis Boy as you’ve got over a million hits on this YouTube video and I understand there is talk they might put your name up for Prime Minister of Ireland and I’m good with that....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

'Sometimes When We Touch'

Exciting to see the Music Awards coming back to PEI and I'm thinking April will be much better temperatures than February to be out buzzing around the City... in fact I tried to buy tickets today on their web site as there was talk at the "market" yesterday that they were selling fast.... but they don't even have a on-line sales site set up yet which seems a bit odd... but what's a little more odd to me is the Dan Hill headliner (see photo) as I'm wondering now that he's put on a few years and sporting my hairdo, if he's still going to drown us with "too much love" or has age caught up to him... Although I'm in full suspense to find if he’s “love bitter” why wouldn't they have a young Atlantic artist as a headliner???... Here's what a critic had to say about Hill...

Dan Hill: 'Sometimes When We Touch'

If the full beard and mustache don't give it away, then you're already in trouble. This commitment-phobe wants to love you and does, but it's just too much. There's too much love. I'm drowning. Translation: He or she is just not that into you.

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Hill, who wrote the song, may be in need of a serious therapist and has booked you for the job. Whose idea of a romantic date is sitting around talking about how they should, but can't be a couple while crying? Answer: the lonely person without a date on Valentine's.

Pity, party table for one, please.

ECMAs moving to April

The East Coast Music Association will hold its 2011 award ceremony in April, about three weeks later than was previously announced.

The five-day celebration of Atlantic region music will run April 13-17 in Charlottetown, instead of March 24-27. Organizers say they hope later spring weather will make travel easier.

The Confederation Centre of the Arts will be the main venue, which the association hopes will make for a more comfortable and intimate event than the ones held recently in more stadium-like buildings.

Dan Hill was announced Friday as a special guest performer.

Stages will be set up around Charlottetown with various themes: rock, rising star, roots, international export, discovery, and the ever-popular songwriters circle.

Artists billed to perform include Jimmy Rankin, Richard Wood, Lennie Gallant, Alex Madsen of the Divorcees, Mark Bragg and the Butchers, Erin Costello and Lennie Gallant.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This should do it..

Edna Reid, Gael MacEeachern and Elizabeth Rankin (wife of Captain Allan Rankin from the "Don't Get Ahead Gang") pretty much sums it up... and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure the rest out!!!!!

School trustees disruptive: superintendent

The behaviour of some of the trustees at P.E.I.'s Eastern School District is disruptive and disrespectful, says the board's acting superintendent.

Ricky Hood says he must protect his staff from the behaviour he saw at the school board meeting. (CBC)

Ricky Hood made the comments in a letter obtained by CBC News written to the Minister of Education and the board of trustees, and announced senior staff were being barred from attending school board meetings.

"I must and will protect my staff from being involved or being witness to events such as this," said Hood.

"Until I have assurance that the disruptive and disrespectful behavior is under control, I will not have them participate in or attend future public board meetings, committee of the whole meetings or committee meetings. We will have to find and implement a new way of conducting business."

Hood wrote the letter after a school board meeting last week. Home and School Federation president Owen Parkhouse described that meeting as a three and a half hour clash between the board chair and trustees.

"The actions of a few trustees who, in my mind continually showed disrespect to the board chairperson, showed disrespect to our board lawyer, and showed a lack of respect for parliamentary procedures, have caused me to be dismayed by their actions," Hood wrote.

Hood's letter appears to take a different side from Parkhouse, who described bullying tactics against a group of female trustees to prevent them from getting motions on the floor. Earlier this week the federation wrote to Education Minister Doug Currie to say it had lost confidence in the board.

Hood denied he was taking sides and said the letter speaks for itself.

Currie is promising legislation to allow him to intervene to fix problems at the school board. Chair Bob Clow has suspended meetings until the minister decides how to deal with the issue.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's hard to believe....

OMG... maybe we could put Province House on a set of wheels and move it down to Victoria Park and save it from this tragedy!!!

Surely Mr. MacNutt, Q.C. can't be serious here and I'm hoping Kathleen is just humouring us with her comments... hopefully some pictures with the Hotel in the background will get out there and confirm to rest of the people in Canada that we're making progress here on PEI... of course us mere lower class citizens couldn't appreciate the wisdom of Mr. MacNutt's license to own the franchisee on what's appropriate for the design in our City so maybe we should just accept his great wisdom...

Hotel dominates P.E.I.'s Province House: author
Charlottetown city officials made a mistake by allowing the new Homburg hotel to overshadow the historic view of Province House, says the author of a new book on legislatures in the Maritimes.

James Macnutt, author of Building for Democracy, wants the city to take steps to protect the remaining backdrop. The view coming up Great George Street from the waterfront to Province House has changed little since the Fathers of Confederation made the walk in 1864. The only backdrop was the sky.

But over the summer the new 10-storey Homburg hotel began to dominate the skyline behind Province House. It will be P.E.I.'s tallest building, and the only one visible behind the provincial legislature building.

"I'm deeply disappointed. I think the citizens of Charlottetown should be deeply disappointed that that building was allowed to go there," said Macnutt.

"It is inappropriate in the location: its scale, its mass, its overall appearance."

Mayor Clifford Lee is surprised people are raising this issue now. Lee said there were public meetings, and he believes the city has struck a balance between protecting heritage and moving forward. "Do I think Province House should be a special case, compared to what?" he asked.

"Province House is an important building in downtown Charlottetown but there are many other important buildings in downtown Charlottetown."

House Speaker Kathleen Casey has control over Province House but not outside the grounds. She hopes something will be done to prevent more high buildings from overshadowing the landmark.

"As one of the most prominent buildings in Prince Edward Island, some consideration should be taken in the future," said Casey.

For now, people looking for a picture of Province House with only sky in the background can still get it, but they will have to shoot from the southwest corner.

"It Soon Won't Cost Us Anything".... says Bernard

If we all subscribed to Councillor Bernard's notion that "The more you buy, the cheaper the price gets," then why wouldn't the City just buy more "so it wouldn't cost us anything"... well I agree that my statement is pretty silly but what I believe is even sillier is the notion that the City needs to buy any new snow removal equipment in the first place.

Simply put there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that it would ever make any financial or economic sense for the City to be doing their own snow removal in the first place... there are hundreds of small private contractors with equipment running idle in the winter who could easily be contracted to do the work much cheaper than the City trying to run their own snow removal operation.... Sobey's, Loblaw's, Canadian Tire, Sears, Rio-Can (Ch'town Mall), Plazacorp, etc... all large property owners, who can well afford to buy their own snow removal equipment, use private operators because it's cheaper and I can pretty much guarantee you that their lots are cleaned far ahead of our City Streets...

It's time the City started to manage their affairs as opposed to building some snow removal enterprise at the expense of our taxpayers.... the only "piggybacking" done here was Councillor Bernard getting his picture in the paper!!!

Charlottetown saves on snow clearing gear

The City of Charlottetown has saved a pile of money on clearing piles of snow by doing some bulk shopping with the provincial government.

A new payloader, snow blower and snowplow for the city were included in the deal, part of a tender that included heavy equipment for the province.

Coun. Terry Bernard, chair of the city's public works committee, told CBC News Monday he talked to Transportation Minister Ron MacKinley about joint projects that could save both levels of government money, and MacKinley suggested a joint tender.

It saved the city $65,000.

"The more you buy, the cheaper the price gets," said Bernard.

"We piggybacked off the province because the province was putting in orders also. Ron and I are discussing something else now that could save us thousands."

Bernard said the new equipment is ready for the next snowfall.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hooray there Olive...

Finally someone is cluing into the fact that most Islanders are in favour of Sunday Shopping and I've never really understood why our Government hasn't bought into this concept. I'm pleased to see Olive thinking about something other than PNP's as I thought she was going to ride that ghost into oblivion.... bottom line here is the Standing Committee heard lots of evidence in favour of Sunday Shopping and not allowing it is in keeping with a parochial way of thinking... allowing the stores to open Sunday doesn't force businesses to open as they can decide for themselves... and it doesn't force people to shop on Sunday if they don't want to as it's their choice to shop on Sunday or not... on a positive note if the stores were allowed to open it would provide some extra jobs into our economy and it will more than likely help lure some more National retailers to our Province... it will be interesting to see who votes in favour of staying open as my guess is it will be the more positive members...
Crane plans last-ditch bill on Sunday shopping

Published on November 22nd, 2010
The Guardian
Wayne Thibodeau

Opposition Leader Olive Crane is about to make one last-ditch attempt at stopping Premier Robert Ghiz from forcing the doors of private retailers to close on Sundays.

Crane will push ahead with a private member's bill on Tuesday that, if passed, will amend the Retail Business Holidays Act to allow for year-round Sunday shopping.

The current law allows Sunday shopping from Victoria Day in May to Christmas Day in December but prohibits larger retailers from opening in the months of January, February, March, April and most of May.

Similar laws in other provinces have been struck down as unconstitutional.

"We constantly hear from people across the province that governments shouldn't be telling the businesses when they can open and when they cannot open," Crane told The Guardian.

"(The private member's bill) will allow if businesses choose not to open, that's fine, and people will respect that but it just gives that freedom."

Earlier this month, the Island premier said he was not prepared to change the law, which means Sunday shopping will come to an end this year on Dec. 19, 2010.

Crane said an all-party committee of the P.E.I. legislature travelled the province to seek opinions on Sunday shopping. That committee recommended the province get out of the business of telling private business when they can open their doors.

"Let's not forget that this winter we have the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, we have the Jack Frost Festival, we have the ECMAs, not to mention that this is something that Islanders want," Crane said.

P.E.I. remains the last province not to allow Sunday shopping.

Ghiz said in a year-end interview last year that they were going to look at the revenue received from taxes to see whether the province is losing revenue when the stores remain shuttered in January, February, March, April and part of May.

That review has never been made public.

"If we discover that there are people that when it's not available are travelling to Moncton and we're losing out on dollars leaving our province we'll re-look at it," Ghiz said last December. "But for now, this seems to be a good compromise."

The Opposition leader she she'll be allowing a free vote on the Opposition side of the house and she is calling on the P.E.I. premier to allow his MLAs to vote how they want on the government-side of the house.

First reading of the private member's bill will be held on Tuesday.

Crane said the premier is calling for true debate on the floor of the P.E.I. legislature so this is his chance. She wants to hear why the premier has gone completely against his own standing committee's recommendations.

"All we're saying is the government shouldn't tell business when they can open and when they can't," said Crane.

"Before the house closes, we could have lot of people really happy about this act."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Not fair there.... Chief Bernard

So I guess the main question here is where was Chief Darlene Bernard and the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq Band members and rest of the Shareholders of the Company today????

I know where Bobby Jamieson and all the other hard working sub trades that built the project with "their" own money where... they were there looking for answers from Chief Bernard and the Band Council who should have been there themselves with some kind of a proposal in place for the small creditors or at the very least to explain themselves...

Surely the Band Council are going to come forward with something for the small creditors prior to any further production at that facility or is it just going to end up in the same hands at the cost of the small hard working sub contractor some of whom may not survive ... it doesn't seem fair!!!

If the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq Band doesn't have a legal responsibility to pay Minigoo's bills don't they have a moral one as I'm sure if the shoe was on the other foot they'd be at the front of the line.... and if you don't believe me just ask Jack MacAndrew!

Minigoo creditors find cupboard is bare

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
CBC News
Creditors of the failed Minigoo Fisheries in P.E.I. found out Tuesday there is virtually no money left to pay them the millions they are owed collectively.

Minigoo Fisheries, the only entirely native-owned lobster processing plant in the Maritimes, filed for bankruptcy in August after operating for just four months.

The company, owned by the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq band, owes creditors $5.8 million, according to documents received from the Superintendent of Bankruptcies in Halifax.

The Bank of Montreal is the largest creditor and is owed about $2.7 million. Even after the bank sells of Minigoo's assets, it will still be out approximately $1.6 million, according to trustee Grant Thornton's report.

Thornton staff met with the creditors behind closed doors Tuesday in Summerside.

Aaron Gallant, co-owner of Watertight Pumping and Heating, was responsible for the plumbing at Minigoo Fisheries. His unpaid bill is about $55,000.

"They told me what to do, I did it. I did what they said, I did what the managers said to the best of my ability," he told CBC News on Tuesday.

"I don't know what else we could have done different."

The lobster processing plant on Lennox Island, on the north coast of P.E.I., opened on May 1. The company was the pride of Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard, who said at the time it represented a prosperous future for her people.

Bernard was not at the creditors' meeting Tuesday.

In the months that it was open, Minigoo Fisheries operated at a loss of $1.2 million.

Danny Tweel, who represented several creditors at the meeting, said there was a litany of management problems at the plant. Tweel said one of his clients told him the plant threw out $85,000 worth of lobster on one occasion.

"They'd frozen it raw, didn't put it in proper saline solution and then, when they opened it up to process, it wasn't processable," he said. Minigoo Fisheries is owned by the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq band. (CBC)

"That sort of thing leads to a situation that shows that there's obviously a lack of planning or proper management."

The trustee acknowledged that creditors who are owed money will incur substantial losses because of Minigoo's bankruptcy and said it may have dire consequences on their businesses.

Bobby Jamieson, owner of Jamieson Electric and Refrigeration, installed the refrigeration units at the plant and is owed $182,000.

"We paid all our people for working up there. We paid all our suppliers and we're going to continue to do that," he said after the meeting.

"We're not like them. Our company is not like theirs, we're going to pay our bills. They don't pay theirs."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Love You, Man....

I had a "little chat" with my good friend Minister Vessey today about my previous post, which he was probably disappointed with, but like I said to him... "I Love You, Man"... in fact I don't know anyone who works harder at the job of representing their constituents than he does and he brings this same spirit to work as our Province's Tourism Minister... but please stop hanging around with those "spin doctors" in your Department....

"Everyone" knows your Department hit a home run with Regis and Kelly and that our Province got a "major bang for their buck" with this promo but whoever in your Department felt they should throw out a press release saying it was worth $22.6 million was only trying to stroke the Department’s ego...

I like how Businessman John Bragg reacted this week when the media were demanding he disclose the dollar amount he donated to UPEI in the name of our great Islander David Rodd... after a number of attempts Mr. Bragg's response was "well, it's more than $10."... Mr. Bragg really didn't have to throw out the amount to prove anything but he did prove to me that he's a class act and he didn't have to banter the amount of his donation around to prove it....

Minister Vessey is a class act “meat and potatoes type guy” and while I’m sure “they” would like to change him to a “foie gras and risotto type man”... I’m pretty sure he’ll stick to the “bread and butter” common sense that got him elected... Like I said in my previous post I'm always entertained when I see one of those press releases from our Tourism Department...

“I Love You, Man.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Smoke and Mirrors Show...

My God this is too funny... is there some kind of brain washing chair they put those new Tourism Ministers in or is it just dizziness from the travel to China but how do you get "$22.6 million and counting" out of a TV show unless you're counting with monopoly money... surely it had to be a "consultant" who came up with these figures as it couldn't be one of those geniuses who work in our Tourism Department briefing the Minister?

But on the other hand maybe we could merger the Department of Agriculture with Tourism as a way of getting more value out of our potato industry. Just think of it this way. The latest figures I could find on PEI’s Agriculture’s web site to show how many potatoes we produce is for the year 2003 when Island potato producers planted 106,000 acres of potatoes which produced 26 million hundredweights (cwts) of potatoes or 2.6 billion pounds. The report goes on to say that the farm value of the potato crop is subject to large fluctuations but in the last five years values have ranged from 139.9 to 218 million dollars. So if the Agriculture “lads” reported to Tourism then they could use the .80 cents a pound we pay for "new potatoes" in grocery stores as a base line and "poof" we'd have a $2 Billion dollar potato industry... and then all our farmers would have enough money to join our Provincial golf courses.... and so on an so on!!!!

No, seriously.... I shouldn't be poking fun at these "guys and gals" as they just found a solution to bail out Ch'town's Cirque show with the $22.6 they saved us... now if they took $5 million of that and had advertised "Kenny Rogers" for Basil in S'Side then we wouldn't have had a bust their either.... and how about bringing "Alanis" back....

It's always entertaining waiting for the latest spin from the "Smoke and Mirrors Show" at Tourism....

P.E.I. government says Regis and Kelly visit worth millions in economic impact

Published on November 5th, 2010

The Prince Edward Island government says the media and marketing value of Live! with Regis and Kelly this summer has reached $22.6 million and counting.

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa took their New York-based show to Charlottetown in July for four episodes.

The province spent $800,000 to attract the show, while the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency contributed another $200,000.

Tourism Minister Robert Vessey says the objective was to promote the Island as a culinary and vacation destination.

During the week the show aired, Prince Edward Island ranked number two in the top Google searches in the United States, and the number of visitors to the PEI Tourism website doubled.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Maybe it's just a full moon... or the media!

Just when I thought people were coming to their senses in Stratford with the election of a very capable David Dunphy out pops this foolishness of a "Downtown" again... hopefully not the one that was schemed up by the "clowns" from Ekistics Planning Design Group back in 2008 (see my earlier post ) or is it just the local CBC media with another silly story that has no legs...

I do believe the part where CADC is buying the land as I understand they were being forced into it from a previous agreement (involving CGI) with the owner that CADC signed back in Minister Mike Currie's day when he was "in charge"... but that’s no reason to proceed with the execution of the "Downtown" scheme unless it makes financial sense and that's where I can't imagine the new Mayor buying into such an elaborate scheme... I also find it strange that the CAO would be speaking about the development direction of the new Council when they haven't even been sworn in or have had their first meeting... I hope the COA's idea of a new skate board park the Mayor spoke about during his campaign is not this multi-million dollar roadway to nowhere.... maybe it's just a full moon...

Stratford looks to build downtown

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
CBC News

With seven hectares of land available for development on its waterfront, the mayor-elect of Stratford, P.E.I. wants to make sure the town gets it right.

The property, now occupied by the Southport Motel, is about to be purchased by the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation.

"It's probably the prime, in our view anyway, the prime piece of commercial development land in the greater Charlottetown area right now," Robert Hughes, the chief administrative officer for the town, told CBC News Tuesday.

The plans are to put in three roads, carving out three city blocks. The first road will be built off Stratford Road, beside the CGI building.

"It'll be a wider road with parking on both sides, there will be trees and benches, and underground wiring and street lights," said Hughes.

"You'll probably see something like townhouses on the left-hand side as you go down the new road, and on the right-hand side you'll see buildings that are a mix of residential and commercial."

Hughes said a boardwalk along the waterfront will give people a panoramic view of the harbour.

Mayor-elect David Dunphy, who won office Monday night, has yet to take office but Tuesday he was briefed on the plans. Dunphy said it is important to make the area attractive.

"I understand it's private property and they can develop it, but as a town [we] have to really ensure that we retain as much green space as possible because once it's developed, we can't get it back," he said.

Residents will have a say in the development, he promised. The design work for the first phase will likely be done over the winter, with construction starting in the spring.

Speaking of Crazies... and "Leo" comes to mind...

If you were wondering who the "crazy" was behind this disrespectful "white poppy" campaign and you guessed "Leo Broderick" then you would be 100% correct... I'm surprised one of our veteran's hasn't given him a "poppy" in the face...

I see this as a cheap publicity stunt on the backs of legitimate veterans and their very fragile institutions the Legions. The very few veterans, still alive, who have paid a huge price with great personal sacrifice should not be taken advantage of in such a cheap manner.

I have always visited a cenotaph on Remember Day, proudly wearing a Red Poppy, not because I am promoting war, but “to remember” the huge price veterans like my Dad have paid to defend our Country.

Leo is “The Grinch” that wants to steal our Veterans legitimate Honour and Pride on Remembrance Day. If he should be promoting anything in these “times of conflict” it should be to have our Remembrance Day declared a Canadian statutory holiday so everyone has an opportunity to remember and reflect on where we go in the future....

Legion threatens to sue P.E.I. distributor of white poppies

The Royal Canadian Legion is considering legal action following a controversial white poppy campaign in Prince Edward Island.

Jim Ross, provincial president for the Legion’s P.E.I. command, says the distribution of white poppies by the Island Peace Committee is not only disrespectful, but likely a breach of trademark.

“The use of the poppy for anything other than remembrance is not acceptable,” Ross said Tuesday of the white poppies, which are intended to represent non-violent conflict resolution.

“We don’t condone this. A poppy is a registered trademark of the Legion and it’s owned by Dominion Command.”

Legion spokesman Bob Butt said Tuesday that action has been taken to shut down the white poppies.

“We have sent the distributors of the white poppy an email saying cease and desist . . . and if they don’t, then we will consider further legal action because it is an infringement on our trademark,” Butt said. “The poppy itself is trademarked by the Legion - in all colours.”

Leo Broderick of the Island Peace Committee said he was “not familiar” with any trademark issues, adding that the program - which he sees as a compliment to the Legion’s annual efforts - is in its third year in P.E.I.

“We don’t mass produce them, we don’t have a trademark on the white poppy,” Broderick said. “We just produce them on white paper and distribute them and people like to wear them.”

Broderick said the white poppies are not a funding campaign.

“It began because local people wanted to have the option to wear a white poppy. It’s not a challenge to the red poppy.”

“Personally, it’s a slap in the face,” said John Yeo, president of the Charlottetown Legion

Yeo said he has no idea why the Island Peace Committee would use the poppy emblem.

“You ask any veteran if they rather be at war or at peace. 100 per cent would say peace.”

Broderick said white poppies are “a long tradition” that dates back to 1926 when women affected by war started to campaign to represent non-violent solutions.

The committee’s campaign will distribute white poppies throughout P.E.I in support of peace and non-violent resolutions. Donations received from the white poppies will be going towards the Island Peace Committee’s education purposes.

He said the high rate of civilian casualties are a big motivation behind the white poppies.

“I don’t think (it’s disrespectful),” Broderick said. “Most of the people I talk to believe the red poppy symbolizes the respect we need to pay for those (soldiers) who died (in war), but the white poppy goes beyond and asks that all people who have died as a result of war be remembered.”

Ross does not think the white poppies will have a negative impact on the Legion’s annual drive, noting he has yet to see a white poppy on anybody’s jacket.

Ross said the usage of the poppy was only used to create controversy.

“It’s the degradation of the remembrance symbol of our country and I just don’t have time for that.”

He said he didn’t have a problem with people wearing the white poppy even though he would consider it silly.

Broderick said it wasn’t a big issue to the Island Peace Committee.

“I’m not aware of the legal issues here. There is no copyright to what we produce.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Calling all "peelers"...

I remember a numbers of years ago when I was deep into the Superstore wars at IRAC and I had come up with some crazy idea to have a manure spreader painted in IRAC's corporate colours and have it hauled around the block where IRAC offices are located in Downtown Charlottetown. I went so far as buying the spreader, painting it green and ordering up some manure as a symbol of what IRAC dishes out. Unfortunately I was thwarted by my lawyer of the day Bill Lea who had up and left the hearings in the middle of the case because he was frustrated with IRAC's process... I always felt cheated out of this "stunt" as we had spent about $300,000 in professional fees in our attempt to open a simple Superstore in Charlottetown and I wanted at least get some “fun” out of it.

Sharon Labchuk is no stranger to stunts and most Islanders remember when she had the picture taken of her "nude" in the middle of a potato field... and I can also remember her at the opening of the Greenwich National Park when she organized a bunch of teenagers to dress up as ghosts implying the world was going to end with the opening of the Interpretive Centre.

Well Sharon Baby maybe it time to revert back to your "peeling" days as you're bang on that the boys at IRAC are "pastured out, political backroom boys" and the only way you're going to get their attention is "peel it all off" and if you do “I promise” I'll drive the manure spreader around the block myself....

P.S. Sharon, I think you're crazier than I am....

Shooting range 'rubber stamped,' residents complain

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

People in central P.E.I. made a passionate plea Tuesday morning to have a nearby shooting range shut down.

Sigrid Rolfe and Sharon Labchuk are appealing the government's approval of the Big Boot Gun Club in South Granville at a hearing of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.

They criticized the provincial government's approval process for the range, saying it was "rubber stamped" and their pleas for public hearings were ignored.

Labchuk and Rolfe told the hearing that residents are worried about bullets causing lead contamination of the area's water supply. They also don't like the noise of guns six days a week, and believe their properties have been devalued by the range.

Another concern is stray bullets hitting people or livestock.

Labchuk said she doesn't have much hope that the hearing will change anything. With her opening statement, she criticized the tribunal as "pastured out, political backroom boys" with no power or jurisdiction.

Peter Baker, who owns property next to the shooting range, testified on Tuesday. He said he wants to build cottages on his property but the noise is an issue.

"The noise is certainly going to compromise quiet enjoyment of our property," he said.

"When tourists come to the island, it's sold as a gentle island and I mean, I don't think the sound of gun fire in any case is something that people would expect if they came to a resort or a cottage for quiet enjoyment for their summer vacation."

Baker said an investor in his cottage project has questions and concerns about the shooting range.

The hearing continues Wednesday.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

PLEASE "don't do it"...

The following news story comes from "" and it casts our Province in shunning out Nova Scotia's businesses from bidding on PEI work and if we keep up this closed shop parochial type thinking then we're going to find PEI firms being shut out of Nova Scotia work... but I think there's even more to this story in that the PEI Tourism geniuses (well they do run our golf business) are thinking along some other lines...

Yes PEI Tourism hit a home run with Regis & Kelly by doing it "in-house" but let's hope they're not crazy enough to "open their own advertisng shop"... it's easy to think you're invincible once you're hit the "homer" but it only takes a "Cirque" project to strike out... I like the concept of working with the smaller firms but why they would want to preclude Halifax agencies like "Extreme or M-5" or other big agencies puzzles me... in my business the Government's construction tenders are public tenders and lots of times major firms like PCL and Bird show up and occasionally win some in our local market but lots of times we show up and win some in their markets... I can certainly understand why they want the "personalized" attention of a smaller firm on this kind of contract but they should at least accept proposals from anyone who shows up with an interest in bidding... if they don’t want to accept the lowest price then set up a open scoring system and at the very least openly "score" them on their abilities before they preclude them... and for our taxpayer's interests PLEASE don't get crazy enough to "Open your own Shop" as another way of creating jobs...

I’d hate to wake up tomorrow and find out the our Government “opened” their own advertising agency and they hired the folks from Tourism Charlottetown to run it... because that’s exactly what we've got in “Golf Links PEI” an unnecessary agency that’s costing our taxpayers millions of dollars every year!!!! PLEASE "Mr. Vessey" don't let them do it....

P.E.I. Shuns Big Halifax Ad Agencies
By Andrew Macdonald
Oct 18-10
Halifax ad agencies have lost an opportunity to gun for the P.E.I. government's tourism campaign -because they are too big. according to Brenda Gallant who directs the Tourism Department's marketing division on the Island.~
The news comes right on the heels of P.E.I.'s hugely successful hosting of the popular American
morning show Regis & Kelly.
Instead of canvassing among the full service ad agencies - like Extreme Group or M-5 - the Robert Ghiz government wants a smaller boutique operator, or an individual who would provide account services and then tender out for things like media buying and producing commercials and other ads.
Grey Worldwide, a Toronto outfit, has had held the circa $600,000 contract to manage P.E.I. multimillion dollar tourism campaign since 2005. Its contract was extended for one year and expires this month.
When Grey took over it replaced Cossette Atlantic.
Many observers believed Extreme or M-5 would be in a position to compete for a new contract.
That's because Colour would be in a conflict, as it runs the Nova Scotia tourism campaign, and
Target does the same job for Newfoundland.
Gallant said yesterday a decision on hiring a new outfit or person could be made by the end of next week. She previously said the tender disqualified firms like Extreme or M-5 and other full service firms.
She said a smaller operator will be able to work hands-on with P.E.I.'s Tourism Department. The move is not, however, expected to save money.
One model which was also considered, was taking the tourism campaign in-house - something that could possibly happen in Nova Scotia, given the Darrell Dexter government is cash-starved.
The N.S. contract runs until November, but there are renewal options with existing contract Colour.
Over at the Dartmouth office of M-5, Jim Megann, its Nova Scotia director, said P.E.I.'s decision to reject the ad agency model should not be a big concern to the industry.
"The agency model has certainly stood its test of time, and while I wish P.E.I. the best in that
endeavour, I don't think it signals anything negative towards agencies," he said in a recent interview.
Paul LeBlanc, founder and co-owner of Extreme, notes Grey was not involved with the Regis & Kelly show, which the "Gentle Island" hosted for a week or the Island's popular music festival. Those programs were drafted in-house.
"The kind of exposure they got from that - you can't buy. And I would suggest if they do it every year they should replicate that," said LeBlanc.
But he said it's a lesson that agencies have to respond to changing times, as marketers feel that
agencies don't or shouldn't have all the answers to growing brands.
"An agency absolutely must change. Agencies in the world must change given the change that
consumers have had (with things like social media)," said LeBlanc.
He added: "Agencies still need to be the custodian of the brand."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beating a "dead" horse...

We've all heard the old expression "you're beating a dead horse" and that is just exactly how I feel every time I ask the question "what is our government doing in the golf business?" and for the life of me I can't figure out why they want to continue losing millions of dollars in operating revenues each year... and why they can't see that every year they hold on to the courses the values continue to go down... my guest is the $30,000,000.00 they think the 4 Provincial courses are worth might fetch them about half that if they tossed in the financing or if it was just a straight cash sale I don't think they could get $10,000,000.00, but who cares anyway...

What's more troublesome is that the private golf operators in the Cavendish market were up by close to 15% this summer because of the good weather but I have it from a good authority that the Provincial courses were down at least 10%... these lousy Provincial course numbers reinforce my belief that Golf Links PEI squandered $1,500,000.00 on Big Break Mill River which gave us absolutely "no return".... visits this year by American golfers who they were targeting with this hair brain scheme were down by over 30%....

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that there's not much future in the current golf industry as there's very little interest in the game from our younger generation and if you don't believe me just ask the next teenager you meet... but on the other hand why should I be complaining when I can be golfing at Dundarave for $300.00 a year... there’s also the expression “why are you trying to beat a dead horse?” so I may as well enjoy the golf while I can at our taxpayer’s expense...

Golf no longer driving P.E.I. tourism
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
CBC News
There were fewer golfers on P.E.I. last summer, despite the fact there were more tourists and the province has been heavily promoting golf.
Good weather didn't help either. Golf rounds sold for the year up to the end of August were down one per cent.
"It is a little baffling as to why exactly the numbers are flat," John-Anthony Langdale, president of Rustico Resort, which includes both a hotel and golf course, told CBC News Tuesday.
"While we were up in the hotel, the numbers on the golf course didn't reflect the increase in occupancy."
Statistics gathered across the province show this to be the case across the Island. Perhaps even more odd is that golf rounds moved in the opposite direction of room nights sold. When compared to 2009, overnight stays by tourists were up in July and down in August, but up overall. For golf, the situation was reversed: numbers were down in July but up in August and down overall.
Barry MacLeod, chief operating officer for the marketing agency Golf PEI, blames economic conditions.
"It's been a year where we're still feeling the effects of the recession," said MacLeod, "especially from our bigger markets like Toronto and Ottawa, which have traditionally been really good strong markets for us."A look at where people were staying bears out this theory. Occupancy of hotels, inns, and B&Bs were flat, while campgrounds posted a 3.6% gain.
Some luxury services have also suffered. David Gibler of Maritime Luxury Limousine said a few years ago he spent a lot of time driving around large groups of Ontario golfers with money to spend.
"There has been a steady decline of these individuals," said Gibler.
"I'll generally get these guys for maybe four days in a row, and I pick them up for golf and bring them to dinner, and bring them out at night and put them to bed and do it all again the next day. And there's been a real lack of them this year."
Marketing not paying off
The underperformance of P.E.I.'s golf product is particularly disappointing in light of recent investment by the province. Two years ago the province spent close to $1 million marketing golf, promoting the Island on the Golf Channel to try and tap into the U.S. market.
MacLeod said while American golfers are now aware of P.E.I., the recession is still holding some of them back. In particular, the cost of airfare is keeping them closer to home.
"They're used to seeing a lot lower prices than we are used to seeing," he said.
"If we're offering a package for five nights, four rounds, which is $725, and they go online and the airfare price is like $920, they're paying more for airfare than they are for a package. So that presents a challenge."
MacLeod said Golf PEI is working on offering more golf packages that include airfare. He's also banking on the hope the economy will improve, allowing the province to cash in on its marketing investment.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Share the risk...

It's not very often I agree with Jim Bagnall but I must say here that I have to agree with him somewhat, particularly as it relates to how Tourism Charlottetown got themselves bound into a 3 year contract without having some type of escape clause based on the first year's results... on who's responsible I doubt if it was then in coming Minister Vessey as most of the negotiating would have been done long before the event, when he wasn't the Minister... it was probably a group of people, vented by the Board... and had I been a Board member I probably would have entertained something new like "Cirque" as they are very successful in other markets, but I don't know if I could have been sold on a three year deal without some performance check points. I also don't know if an audit will produce anything new other than confirm the actual amount of the loss and that it didn't work, but it would certainly help to recommend how to avoid getting "trapped" into these types of situations in the future...

Bottom line is the "promotion business" is a lot like the "development business" and you have to take risks to be successful... an example of that is back during the Development Plan our government supported start-ups like Benner Ski and Paderno... at the time they both seemed a little farfetched for most Islanders, that we could manufacture skis and pots here... well Benner Ski failed miserably and the government lost some money but on the other hand Paderno has flourished into a solid business enterprise and that investment has easily recouped the Benner losses through jobs and taxes, that still bring returns to all Islanders... you're not always going to have winners but if you don't try new events like "Cirque" then you're never going to keep consumer's attention and maintain or grow your enterprise....

The bigger issue with Tourism Charlottetown is why they want to be a business enterprise taking all the risk... I'm more for situations like the Cavendish Beach Music Festival (a private operator) where government gives them some seed money and they take the risk and if things don't work out then they're on the hook, not the taxpayer... and if they make some money good for them as they'll probably spend it back in our community anyway... so if we're going to have agencies like Tourism Charlottetown, wanting to promote different ideas and venues to attract people here, then why can't they find promoters to share the risks as opposed to always trying to run it themselves... if they can't find anyone private to "run" with their ideas then it's usually a good indication that it's a poor idea in the first place... governments and their agencies should stick to sponsoring and promoting ideas and let others take the risks in delivering them...

Bagnall slams Tourism Department for Cirque failure
Published on October 19th, 2010
Opposition Tourism critic Jim Bagnall is questioning the role of the Department of Tourism in the current financial challenge facing Tourism Charlottetown.
Bagnall wants to know why the organization is looking for a $1-million bailout to cover the losses from this summer’s Cirque du Soleil performances.
“I want to know what role Tourism Minister Robert Vessey and his deputy, Melissa MacEachern, played in the contract process which has already guzzled $250,000 of taxpayers’ dollars, plus $450,000 from ACOA and is likely to cost us another $1 million,’’ Bagnall said Monday.
The Opposition tourism critic noted that during the spring session of the legislature, he raised concerns in the house about “unanticipated costs’’ related to the production contract.
“We warned government then that we were hearing major concerns about the contract, that it had not been properly scrutinized before being signed, but minister Vessey got into a big huff, refused to look into our concerns and criticized me for having the audacity to even raise the issue.’’
Bagnall charged ticket sales have nothing to do with the current financial crisis facing Tourism Charlottetown.
“I’m just not buying that,’’ he said, noting that Myrtle Jenkins-Smith, executive director of Tourism Charlottetown, said in June that ticket sales were going well and the phone was ringing off the hook.
“This is about this government handing over money to a corporation and not bothering to read the contract. They did the same thing when they poured close to $1 million to prop up the Alanis Morissette concert the year before.’’
Bagnall said Vessey’s refusal to look into the Opposition’s concerns was a costly mistake.
“Not only will we end up paying the $1 million to bail them out but who knows how much it is going to cost Tourism Charlottetown to get out of the $6-million, three-year contract it made with Cirque du Soleil.’’
Bagnall wants to know who was responsible for signing the three-year deal.
“Why sign a three-year deal on a show that hasn’t even proved to be successful? I don’t know who was calling the shots but I do know that Island taxpayers will be paying for their mistakes.’’
Bagnall said the Opposition will be tackling the issue in the upcoming session of the provincial legislature.
“We will want to see who’s signatures are on that contract. We will be questioning the lack of oversight on the contract process and we will be calling for the results of the independent review into Tourism Charlottetown.’’

Monday, October 18, 2010

"OMG"... I can't wait for next year!!!!

"OMG"... for those of you who are not facebook followers or "text" freaks I'm sure that "OMG" stands for "OH MY GOD!!!!" and that's exactly what I thought when I read this story.... now I always like to be on the glass half full side but I'm thinking someone just threw my empty glass into the fireplace and although I don't know what the glass throwing tradition is all about (I think it comes from a "Greek" tradition).... why this story is just surfacing now seems "Greek" to me... now the Province is going to hire a Consultant from Halifax to figure this out and wasn't it just last week they fired a Advertising Agency from Halifax because they were too big... I have no idea where I'm going with this but Tourism has hired a number of consultants to give them advice on their golf course investments but they still continue to lose "millions" there every year... so I guess we'll all be waiting for another "big show" next year...
Cirque show has Tourism Charlottetown in debt
Group wants out of contract
Monday, October 18, 2010
CBC News
Tourism Charlottetown is asking for a million-dollar lifeline from the province, in part to cover losses from poor ticket sales to a new Cirque du Soleil show over the Canada Day weekend.
The group announced the show for Summerfest in March, and in the days leading up to the festival, the outlook was good.
"Ticket sales are going very well, phone ringing off the wall for the last number of weeks as people realize now we have this," said Tourism Charlottetown executive director Myrtle Jenkins Smith in June.
"It's just been building every day since Cirque du Soleil has arrived, so we're very, very optimistic."
The Cirque show was meant to revitalize a festival that had run into trouble. Under the name Festival of Lights, it had been a financial success for years, but also had a reputation for attracting drunken crowds to the downtown. In 2009 organizers began revamping the show with more family-friendly acts but ticket sales flopped both years.Cirque du Soleil was meant to revitalize Charlottetown's Canada Day festival. (CBC)
Traditionally, the Canada Day weekend event covers about half of the annual costs for Tourism Charlottetown. The organization is now looking for a loan from the province to pay its bills.
"That target is moving around. It will be in the $1 million range. It could be a little bit less, it could be a little bit more," president Doug Newson told CBC News Friday.
"If we get the short-term financing that we need, it will certainly go to meet some payables."
Tourism Charlottetown is now trying to escape from the three-year, $6-million deal with Cirque du Soleil.
"We've realized that the risk and the exposure with that type of event is something that we just can't continue," said Newson.
"At this point in time we are in negotiations with Cirque to probably get out of the next two years of the contract."
The province has hired a consultant from Halifax to do a review of Tourism Charlottetown. Newson hopes the recommendations from that review will put the organization on the path to financial stability.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Truth In Numbers....

Here's the most recent numbers on unemployment in Canada and PEI “leads the Nation” so I can only imagine how the spin doctors at Innovation PEI will respond to this news by trying to make it positive... they may need the help of their Tourism counterparts who released numbers today that showed golf was only down 1% year to date.... but if you dig deep into the Tourism numbers you would see that golf was up 373.3% in April (our unusual early spring) and April's numbers were factored into these "year to date figures" to make it sound better I guess?

Bottom line is golf was down about 6% on average and probably much higher at our Government owned courses and my guess is our unemployment figures are just catching up to our loss of the positive PNP program that our Tory Opposition has driven into the ground... here's a copy of the most recent PEI Tourism Indicators

Prince Edward Island hit with significant job losses in September
Published on October 12th, 2010
The Canadian Press
September unemployment by provinces
OTTAWA — Canada’s national unemployment rate was 8.0 per cent in September. Here’s what happened provincially (previous month in brackets):
— Newfoundland 13.5 (14.0)
— Prince Edward Island 13.6 (11.2)
— Nova Scotia 9.0 (9.0)
— New Brunswick 9.8 (9.6)
— Quebec 7.7 (8.2)
— Ontario 8.8 (8.8)
— Manitoba 5.4 (5.6)
— Saskatchewan 5.5 (4.8)
— Alberta 6.2 (6.5)
— British Columbia 7.5 (7.3)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Downe on Tax Evaders... and for good reason!

Pretty interesting story in the Financial Post today by Diane Francis and it shows just how hard our local Senator Downe is working on behalf of all Canadians... all monies recovered from this process, which will be a substantial sum, comes back into Government's general revenues and reduces our taxes. He makes a very valid point that if we are ever going to track these cheaters down then the Canada Revenue Agency are going to have to step up their efforts in doing so.... great work Senator Downe...

Canada: sucker nation for tax cheats

Diane Francis, Financial Post, October 7, 2010

In 2008, stories broke in the international media that a whistleblower in Liechtenstein had sold information in 2006 to various tax departments in the US, Australia and others about alleged tax evasion. Canadians were cited.

In question and answer period in the House of Commons, Canada’s government said it doesn’t pay for such information. But the US, Australia, Germany and others had already swung into action and have imposed jail sentences and huge fines.

It took a year for Canadian Senator Percy Downe to get answers, under Ottawa’s Access to Information Act, to make sure that even if the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) didn’t pay, they were pursuing evaders.

The answer in November 2009 was there was about C$100 million in Liechtenstein bank accounts related to 106 Canadian citizens and the “CRA anticipates that it will reassess approximately C$17 million in taxes, interest and penalties.”

Unsatisfied with the delay in action, the Senator sent another request in November 2009 and this week was told that as of June, 26 cases involving 68 individuals had been completed, including 20 residents of Canada who came forward under the Voluntary Disclosure Program; $5.2 million was assessed in back taxes and penalties but an undisclosed amount was unpaid due to appeals and that no one has been charged with tax evasion.

“Unlike the United States, Germany and other countries that moved aggressively and rapidly to recoup any unpaid taxes that were owed, Canada took another tactic: strong words promising action, but little effort to make recovery of unpaid taxes a priority,” wrote the Senator. “Other countries lay tax fraud charges against individuals for having undeclared bank accounts in tax havens, but not Canada.”

Also annoying is the use of the word “assessed”. “It is merely what the government claims it is owed. The account holders are free to appeal, and until their appeals are exhausted, they don’t have to pay a dime,” he said. “Canadians who use domestic banks pay taxes. Why should these people get a tax holiday?”

Most disturbing is the invocation of the Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP), a partial amnesty for cheaters. The use of the VDP is contrary to what then Revenue minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn pledged in the House in late 2009. He stated uncategorically that no one among the Canadian holders of Liechtenstein accounts had, or was eligible to come forward under the VDP. He also estimated that the CRA would collect $20 million in taxes, penalties and interest.

Senator Downe intends to pursue this scandal to find out exact details, why the CRA relaxed rules on VDPs and why it has taken so long. “Who is being protected?” he asks.

He is to be congratulated for his efforts. Canadians pay high tax rates and provide a high level of services. People who lie and cheat should be hunted down and punished as severely as other developed nations do. This is no way to run a country and smacks of corruption. Or of outright incompetence: “If the 1,785 Canadian-owned Swiss accounts that have recently been disclosed are reviewed as quickly as the 106 from Liechtenstein, it will take just over 274 years to go through them all based on 26 completed cases in four years.”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Great Improvements...

This is too funny, Richard digging out a wetland probably with no permit... the only thing missing in the pictures are the Province's gun totting conservation officers looking to have him charged!!! All things aside it is great to see improvements to this important watershed.

Watershed improvements restore trout population at Wright’s Creek
The Guardian
Published on October 6th, 2010
Watershed improvements to clear siltation from Wright’s Creek have restored a healthy population of young trout to the watercourse, says P.E.I. Environment, Energy and Forestry Minister Richard Brown.
He praised community watershed groups for playing a vital role protecting and preserving water quality and wildlife habitat on Prince Edward Island.
The minister than praised government for funding local watershed groups, like Wright’s Creek and Andrew’s Pond, to give them the tools and resources they need to enhance and restore the natural resources within their watersheds.
The Wright’s Creek Watershed Environmental Committee is completing its most ambitious year of watershed improvements. Much of the work carried out has been to address the problem of siltation.
Over the past few years, the watershed has been excavated to clean out springs and build silt traps. To date, five springs have been deepened and lined with Island stone and four silt traps have be en constructed.
John Andrew, a member of the Wright’s Creek Watershed Environmental Committee, said the committee is also participating in the City of Charlottetown’s engineering study examining the causes of siltation in Wright’s Creek and Andrew’s Pond. Stantec Consultants will hold a public meeting on the issue Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Malcolm Darrach Community Centre in East Royalty.
“We hope that this initiative will lead to further improvements and restoration of the watershed,” said Andrew.
Area residents are also enjoying the benefits of a new walking trail built along the north side of Andrew’s Pond.
The restoration of Wright’s Creek was funded by the province through the Watershed Management Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Fund.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let's hope for a better scheme than the last...

For the second time today I had a call from the local media asking who might be the buyer of the Summerside Waterfront Mall and for the life of me I couldn't imagine... About 15 years ago we offered $6,700,000.00 for this property as we were working on a deal to expand the former Towers space and convert it to a larger Zellers but the local Crown Agency weren’t interested in working with us... we moved on to buy the Met Mall which we converted into a strip mall... shortly thereafter the retail market moved to North Granville Street and the Waterfront Mall slowly lost its appeal for National tenants most of whom moved to the North of the City... in 2006 Richard Fitzgerald a Dentist from Ireland bought the mall and produced one of the biggest hair brain schemes that ever crossed the Northumberland Strait in the form of 7 storey condos on top of the mall

I took another tour of this property on September 10th as I heard they were looking at seriously discounting the price... I was shocked at the vacancy rate which was pretty scary and you'd pretty much have to add a magician's shop to the tattoo parlour that's already there to make any sort of retail mall operations work there... but what would I know so I'd like to be the first to wish them luck on their new proposed venture as it's always great to see new investment with fresh vision coming to PEI... let’s hope it’s a better scheme than the last one put forward and that the deal goes through... here’s what the realtors were asking and I'd suggest that it went for significantly less...
Deal reached for Waterfront Mall
Journal Pioneer
Published on September 28th, 2010
Mike Carson
SUMMERSIDE – An offer has been made and accepted for the purchase of the Waterfront Mall in downtown Summerside.
Michael Poczynek, Century 21 Northumberland, said the offer was made over the weekend.
“We have for the last month been working with a party who I’m not going to reveal for his privacy, but we finally have an offer on the table,” he said. “They viewed the mall for the first time on the weekend so it’s sold pending their due diligence period.”
The offer is from an off-Island firm.
Mall Operations Manager Tina Mundy said she is optimistic about the mall’s future.
“It’s all very exciting and it will be very, very good for Summerside,” she said. “What he has shared with me is that the deal came across his desk. He decided to come and see what it was all about and he was really impressed with the mall. He had some great vision and he loved the location.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

Who's on First? Ballem I think...

Well there were a couple of editorials in the Guardian on Saturday talking about the upcoming PC Leadership race and what I don't understand is why these writers just don't come out with their predictions... they seem to just want to skate around what they think will be the real outcome, which is sort of like how some of our politicians like to talk, in circles... what's wrong with just being out there and giving us their view, why be afraid to tony up as I don't think anyone is going to spank them? When the race first started I thought Olive had it locked up as Jamie Ballem was late off the mark but like I said on Twitter I'm now predicting that Ballem will win and just maybe on the first ballot...

Although I have no inside lane in the PC party (as I'm a big liberal) here's what I think the delegates will or should have on their minds.... the Party may not want to hear this but none of the 5 candidates will overcome Ghiz in the next election so they have to consider a leader who "may" (carefully used word here) have to step aside for Ghiz's third crack at it and anyone whose dealt with Olive knows she wouldn't... where on the other hand if Ballem lost to Ghiz the first time out it would be pretty easy to buy him off with an appointment and get a fresh dynamic face against what would then be a third term Premier... and the delegates just have to think back at to where they were with Pat Mella after the 89 election and it's not hard to let Ballem take this bullet

The other thing playing against Olive is the rumour that the PC Party “establishment” is against her and personally I think the idea that there is such a controlling crowd in any party is just nonsense at best... but she did annoy a lot of people over the PNP file which doesn’t even rear its head on top 10 issues facing Islanders and there are a lot of Tories who are now concerned that she won’t “listen” their way... Mike Currie supporting Ballem says a lot!!!

I also think that Ballem was smart to offer up an original “idea” on energy saving not that I think it will work but it sure sounds good, possible and positive, something I’ve not heard coming from the others....

I guess my last comments will be left with the rumour that Olive has all the others on the second ballot but my thinking is the other three are looking for something afterwards and they may get it from the Ballem style of politics but never from the Olive branch... so my bets on Ballem on the first and if there’s a second then he’ll still prevail... at least Ballem is a creditable known identity and if he can’t win a seat next October then it’s no big deal to start fresh for 2015! Who’s on First?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I'm Stunned... at this grasp for power!

I go away for a couple of days and POW... breaking news Buy Maritime Electric!!!! I'm still stunned at the headlined and obviously the Tory candidate that suggested this is "totally stunned" and in my thinking is one of the crazies ideas ever floated by a potential party leader here on PEI... I'm reckoning with these kind of promises Mr. McCardle should garner about 63 votes out of the potential 3,000 candidates... the sad thing is that there are a few in the Liberal party that are of the same mentality so thank God that they didn’t appoint Allan Rankin to a Commission that had control over Maritime Electric or we’d all be singing the “blues” with acoustical guitars... I’ll certainly have more to say on this subject but I’m off to the “Bush” to experience another well oiled public corporation at work losing money...
Buy Maritime Electric: Tory candidate
Thursday, September 16, 2010
CBC News
A candidate for P.E.I.'s Progressive Conservative leadership is calling for the province's privately owned electrical utility, Maritime Electric Co., to become a Crown corporation.
Fred McCardle says a provincially owned utility could keep power rates down.
"As leader of the Progressive Conservative party and as premier of P.E.I. after the election of 2011, the province of P.E.I. will purchase the shares of Maritime Electric and end this charade of rate hikes that's crippling our economy," McCardle said at a leaders' town hall meeting Tuesday night.
On Thursday, McCardle said he didn't know how much it would cost to buy the company from Fortis Inc. It is regulated by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.
He said he's confident government ownership would lower rates.
"We can't attract industry," he told CBC News. "These rates have people, senior people, they're threatened by losing their homes over this power rate."
The most recent rate hike from the utility happened over the summer, with monthly electricity bills for the average household increasing by $20 to $25.
Government purchase of Maritime Electric is not a new idea. In 1994, then-Liberal premier Catherine Callbeck tried to buy up all the company's shares and nearly succeeded.
McCardle's suggestion has reignited the debate among other leadership candidates.
"Electricity rates are too high," said Olive Crane, another leadership hopeful.
"To purchase the shares of Maritime Electric though, at this time, when you think the Ghiz government has us in a deficit situation … it's really not possible."
Leadership vote Oct. 2
Jamie Ballem, a former Tory energy minister, agreed the system needs to be changed, but not by buying the utility.
He said Maritime Electric should continue to distribute power, and the government-owned P.E.I. Energy Corporation should take over purchasing that power.
"The energy corporation could go out and be the agency that buys the power. Goes to the best market," said Ballem. "Let us, let the government or the public agency turn around and sell the power to Maritime Electric for the best rate."
At least 3,000 delegates are expected at the Progressive Conservative leadership convention on Oct. 2.