The Other Side of FOIPP Mountain

In a blog post this morning, Green Party of PEI leader Peter Bevan-Baker writes of his party’s struggles with trying to get information about freedom of information. He writes, in part:

Several months later, government tabled their amendments to the FOIPP Act. We felt the amendments fell far short of the promise of “modernizing” the Act.  So during Question Period, my colleague, Hannah Bell, asked the current Minister Responsible, Jordan Brown, how many submissions were received and he replied “The direct answer to that question was over 40 submissions and my recollection is that the good portion of them were similar or greater in length to the submission that was received by the third party.”  Well, that really impressed us, since our submission was 20 pages long and had 21 recommendations. So we asked him to table the responses, which he wouldn’t do, claiming that those who made the submissions did so with the expectation of confidentiality (Pro Tip: When the Office of the Third Party undertakes consultations we inform people in advance that their comments may be made public, and offer them the option to request confidentiality.)

You can probably guess what comes next.  We FOIPPed the submissions, we waited 30 days, we were told that third-party consultations were underway, we waited an additional 30 days, and we received the documents. Imagine our disappointment to discover that in reality none of the submissions “were similar or greater in length” than ours.  The closest was an eight page document that was entirely redacted under sec. 25(1) of the FOIPP Act, so I can’t tell you who it was from or what it was about.

As one of those who make a written submission with my comments about the modernizing of the FOIPP Act, I saw this process from the other side of the mountain; as I outlined here, on June 20, 2018 I received the “third party consultation letter,” to which I replied:

I have no objection to my submission being released.

It is already public and online at:

At the time I didn’t know that it was the Green Party that had submitted the FOIPP request; Mr. Bevan-Baker’s blog post closes the loop on this.

I think his suggestion, supported by Green Party practice, of including a “public by default; let us know if you need confidentiality” check for public consultations is a good one. While there are occasionally perfectly valid reasons for requesting to remain anonymous when making contributions to public policy, debate thrives best when it’s in the open, and this should be our default position.

Boulder Park Brochure Holders

After having 500 copies of the Charlottetown Boulder Park brochure printed, I needed places to put them.

I left about 50 with the office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly for placement inside the Hon. George Coles Building.

Which left me with needing a place for the remaining 450.

The food trucks surrounding the park were a logical place for some of them, but, as you can imagine, food trucks are already chock full of people, food, and supplies, and the last thing they need is something else squeezed in.

So I took matters into my own hands, and ordered a 3-pack of plexiglass outdoor tri-fold brochure holders with a lid from (exorbitant at $52 plus $20 shipping, but those were cheap compared to what else I found), and they arrived today, and I installed them on electric poles beside the food trucks, ideally located where patrons waiting for their orders can improve their geological knowledge.

Charlottetown Boulder Park Brochure Holder Number One

Charlottetown Boulder Park Brochure Holder Number Two

Please pick one up the next time you’re waiting for your burger, or your rolled ice cream, or that you’re looking for a shady spot to while away the hours.

Todo por América

Wayne Bernhardson, who splits his time between California and South America, writes about a happenstance encounter in Oakland with a couple driving overland from Ushuaia to Alaska:

Eduardo and Emilia, though, had car problems—the starter had given out on their 2012 vehicle and the Citroën itself is almost unknown in this country except, perhaps, for a few collectors. Parking outside, they had to leave the car running (and locked) because they could only start it on an incline. After a brief visit and a thermos of mate, drunk while Ona cavorted with my daughter’s boxer mix in the garden (my elderly and arthritic malamute could only observe), I accompanied them to our local mechanic, who told us they couldn’t work on the exotic French vehicle (Citroën have not been sold in the US since 1974).

Fortunately, using the mobile app iOverlander, they located a Guatemalan mechanic who managed to repair the starter, but their situation suggests a greater problem worth the attention of anyone who takes a Pan-American road trip.

Brings back memories of my old Datsun 510, which could only be started by judicious use of a screwdriver to perform the electrical functions that the malfunctioning ignition switch would normally perform. I recall finding myself in Ottawa once, unable to turn off the car lest I not be able to start it again, but in need of gasoline. In violation of many laws, and of common sense, I pulled up to a Canadian Tire gas bar in Kanata, to the pump farthest from the cashier, and gassed up without turning the car off.

It is worth a man’s life to see this place”

Leading up to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the Clyde River blog has started posting a series of letters home from the war from former Clyde River resident Lee Grant Darrach, under the title Letters from The Great War.

They posted the first one yesterday; here’s an excerpt:

We came up the canal from Liverpool to Manchester. It is 36 miles and, Jack, I never seen such a sight in my life. Some of the finest bridges and factories and old mansions that I ever seen or I ever expect to see. It is worth a man’s life to see this place. Right handy where I am boarding, there is a home for Belgians. I seen a little girl yesterday about 12 years old with both her hands cut off at the wrists, little children maimed in every manner you could think of, it would make any man cry to see them that had a heart, children that could not harm anyone.

It’s almost inconceivable to imagine the journey of a boy from Clyde River into the maelstrom of war; Darrach is a talented, breezy writer, and to see things through his eyes provides much insight. Kudos to his Clyde River ancestors for taking this on.

The Interconnectedness of Charlottetown Coffee and Tea

This is the kind of rabbit hole that Sunday afternoons in the office are very good for.

I started to think about Ampersand, Charlottetown’s prototypical third-wave coffee place; when Ampersand closed, the space was taken over by Youngfolk & The Kettle Black, which then opened a roastery on 142 Richmond Street. When Youngfolk decided to sell, they split in two: one branch begat ROW142, which begat Receiver Coffee, the other branch begat Kettle Black. And so on and so on.

In this diagram I’ve attempted to chart the locations of venerable coffee and tea places along with the business connections (ownership or sale) between them. It’s incomplete, and likely not completely accurate. But it’s a handy reference for me to keep history at least partially straight.

Interconnected Coffee and Tea

Here’s a larger version of the family tree should you wish to examine it more closely.

Corrections or additions welcomed in the comments.


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