Back in October I was asked to present some remarks at the opening of the "Living Lightly on the Earth" exhibition at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, celebrating 40 years since the Ark was built at Spry Point. As I look back on the year that was for me and the Island Green Party, and think about the future, these thoughts tie together many of the enduring ideas I find myself talking about repeatedly.Read more
Words are powerful, but they can also be slippery. Take the word “dog” for example. For some people, when they read that word it conjures up warm feelings of lovely walks on a beach with your favourite companion: for others it might make you feel anxious, or downright terrified. My “dog” could be a 10 pound fluff ball with pink ribbons in her hair: yours, a 150 pound beast who could knock your house down. Same word – very different interpretations.Read more
So much public debate these days is sparked by shock and scandal. The lines between news and entertainment have become ever-more blurred, and it’s almost impossible to get people to pay attention to a topic that isn’t lurid or dramatic – electoral reform for example. Is there a less sexy subject out there than democratic renewal?Read more
Astronomers go bananas when they discover a planet that has evidence of water, because they then know that life is possible on that orb. With water life is possible: without water, the possibilities are severely limited.
With this in mind, I was both surprised and horrified when I learned of a proposal that involved removing water from our Island aquifer and selling it abroad. Let’s put aside for a moment all the persuasive arguments why bottled water in and of itself is a terrible idea (use of oil, carbon footprint, plastic waste, health concerns, shipping something really heavy across the planet that is available locally, etc etc) and focus on what this might mean to Islanders and the water upon which our lives, our economy, and all living things with which we share this beautiful place depend.Read more
My last blog was about the problems associated with current agricultural practices on PEI, and because I never like to criticize or complain without offering a positive alternative, I promised to write my next blog on how farming might be done differently on PEI.
I’d like to start by outlining the principles from which I think the future of Island farming should be drawn.Read more
My generation has done a terrible job of living on this planet.
Collectively, we have created no end of enormous problems – social, environmental and economic. It was this that caused me to get involved in politics, and the consequences to future generations of our mismanagement remains my political inspiration today.Read more
Today I threw in the towel. It was clear that I couldn’t carry on indefinitely trying to juggle all these balls simultaneously. So I ran up the white flag: cashed in my chips: laid down my arms: packed it in: gave up the ghost: took the count: ate humble pie.
I have been a dentist for over 30 years, and it’s a job I love: I’ve even become quite good at it, if I do say so myself. But despite my best efforts to maintain my office in Hampton, and carry out my duties as MLA for district 17 and leader of the Island Green Party, I have decided to hang up my drills. On Thursday I sold my dental clinic.Read more
Politics is interesting. It has so many facets and you never quite know how each day will be shaped, and some days are a bit of a blur. However, one aspect of the job that I have found to be consistently positive is standing committee meetings. We have 8 standing committees and one special committee on democratic renewal. I have the privilege of sitting on them all, and it is where I, and all MLAs have an opportunity to further our knowledge on a wide variety of issues. Some of the most useful work we do as MLAs gets done in standing committees. Outside the politically charged environment of the Legislative Assembly, there is a certain freedom and collegiality which almost always makes for constructive discussion. In the last week we have had meetings on topics as varied as the Auditor General’s report, renewable energy, help for grandparents, and strategies for mental health.Read more
This week I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with a class of political science majors at UPEI. The discussion centered around democratic reform, but it also branched off in many interesting and provocative directions. Following an answer I gave on how different voting systems affect the behaviour of elected representatives – with some tending to promote antagonism and hostility, while others tend to collaboration and compromise – I was asked what the purpose of the opposition is in a parliament. Surely, the individual insisted, the opposition is there to oppose government and hold them to account?Read more
Valentine’s Day has got me in a soppy, romantic mood, and it is in this spirit that I offer these thoughts.
I got married almost 30 years ago. I’m a lucky man: I chose the kindest person I’ve ever met to be my wife, and though none of us can predict the future, it looks like we’ll be good for at least a few more years. If Ann were writing this blog, I hope she would say something similar. The years of courtship were special, and the energy and naivety of youth propelled us towards a memorable wedding in St. John’s where the Scottish and Newfoundland families met (and sang, danced, ate and drank together) for the first time. The whole episode from our first encounter (in a dental chair – hold the romance – “do you floss?”…. “I do”) to the wedding (in a spectacular Newfoundland church – bring on the romance - “do you take this woman”……”I do”) was a rollicking delight.Read more