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.