Battle of the Atlantic ceremony held in North Rustico

Story and photos by Jim Brown

Under sunny, blue skies a ceremony honouring Canada’s participation in the longest military campaign in World War 2 was held in North Rustico, on May 5. Members of HMCS Queen Charlotte led the 2019 Battle of the Atlantic Parade.

The Battle of the Atlantic started 80 years ago in 1939 and didn’t end until the war was over six years later.

“It was a no-fail mission upon which any victory in Europe depended upon,” said Captain Alan J. Offer, Deputy Commander Naval Reserve.

Canada embarked on an astonishing ship building campaign during the war, which saw more than 400 vessels built. At war’s end the Canadian navy was the fourth largest navy in the world.

“This victory came at a high price. Our bell tolls again today for 24 Canadian warships, 62 Canadian merchant ships, as well as the human cost of almost 2,000 sailors, 1,700 merchant navy lives and over 900 Royal Canadian Airforce aircrew,” said Captain Offer.

Several Canadian ships were sunk by German submarines in the Gulf of St Lawrence, well within Canada’s inland waters.

Every effort should be made to remember those “remarkable stories” and “remarkable achievements,” said Captain Offer. There are only a few veterans left who served during those terrible years when the world’s future was balanced on a knife’s edge.

Canada’s navy personnel have always been there when they were needed, whether overseas or close to home, helping flood victims and the victims of other natural disasters. Many paid the “ultimate sacrifice” during the navy’s more than century old history, said Captain Offer.

Among the Battle of the Atlantic’s fallen sailors were many who were born and raised on PEI, including North Rustico.

Every year members of HMCS Queen Charlotte hold the annual event at different communities across PEI. They also held ceremonies in Charlottetown on the May 5 weekend.

Among the dignitaries attending the North Rustico ceremony were PEI Lt Governor Antoinette Perry, HMCS Queen Charlotte Commanding Officer Rob Alain, HMCS Queen Charlotte Lieutenant Commander Greg Davis (the ship’s padre), Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter and Rustico-Emerald MLA Brad Trivers.

Share

80-year-old twins pull six trout from the Stanley River

Photos and story by Jim Brown

Not everyone was complaining about a bad start to the trout season. One day after the April 15 opening twin brothers from Ontario who grew up on PEI, Ron and Don Rayner, landed six large brook trout in Stanley Bridge. The 80-year-old anglers caught them at the bridge on the Rattenbury Road.

The two had been fishing since 6:30 am, using gudgeon as bait, and were still fishing at 3 pm when these photos were taken.

The brothers were joined by several other anglers who fished through a mix of rain, snow and heavy winds.

Share

Hundreds of jobs up for grabs at North Shore Job Fair

Story and photos by Jim Brown
Jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs. That was the theme of the 2019 TIAPEI North Shore Job Fair, held April 13 at the Stanley Bridge Country Resort.
A total of 495 jobs were available at 27 businesses, with Cavendish-based Maritime Fun Group alone hoping to fill 300 positions for the busy summer season. Needless to say anyone armed with a resume and a ready smile had a good shot at landing one.

Share

Stanley Bridge Centre renovations underway

Say goodbye to the porta-potty!

More than $80,000 worth of renovations are underway at the Stanley Bridge Centre, including two new washrooms, work on the front entrance, sewer and water connections and a new kitchen. Repairs to the roof are also planned. Adam Perry (in photo), owner of Big Dogs Construction in Freetown, along with his crew, began work on the site April 3. The renos should be done by the start of the farmer’s market season. The Stanley Bridge Memorial Society, the building’s operator, is in the midst of a major fundraising effort to help pay for the renos. Anyone who wants to contribute can contact Jim Brown at peijim@hotmail.com.


Photos by Jim Brown

Share

Groundhog Day in Ottawa

Justice committee could take a while to get to bottom of SNC-Lavalin scandal
Story and photos by Jim Brown

It’s Day 334 of the House of Commons Justice Committee’s hearing into the SNC-Lavalin affair.

There’s been a federal election since the committee started its work in February, of 2019 and the Liberal majority has been reduced to a thin minority, propped up by the Green Party’s 35 seats.

On this day yet another high-level bureaucrat has demanded an appearance before the committee. An earlier witness said he observed the bureaucrat putting milk in his coffee, to which the indignant bureaucrat responded: “It’s a bald-faced lie! Everyone knows I’m lactose intolerant!”

Day 335

RCMP officials are invited to present details on the progress of their investigation into the PMO and Justin Trudeau. Trudeau was visiting PEI during the hearing and was spotted on a lobster fishing boat hauling a trap. His little finger was crushed in a three pound lobster’s claw.

Day 378 The very same day SNC-Lavalin closes its doors for good a legislative aide tells the committee he overhead Chrystia Freeland say the Tim’s donuts served at a Liberal party fundraiser were stale. Heated debate ensues.

Day 382 Three school buses disgorge more than 100 students at the hearing. They were there as part of a class project on civics. One was overhead telling a teacher, “This blows big chunks.”

Day 392

A White House staffer was in the visitor’s gallery. The staffer was on a fact-finding mission to Ottawa and was due to report back to the GOP conference the next day. “I don’t get it,” said the aide. “Where’s the million dollar payoff? Was anyone even groped?”

Date 398 Green Party Leader Elizabeth May testifies. She apologizes for not preparing for her appearance, having believed it was an emergency meeting on safety measures to protect the North Atlantic right whale.

Day 412 Justice committee members vote to take the show on the road, scheduling sessions for Thunder Bay, O’Leary, PEI, a legion in Calgary and the Hooters in Ottawa.

Day 433 Justice committee discovers it has blown through its budget. No more Tims.

Day 455 The backlog of witnesses wanting to speak at the hearings has reached several hundred. Here’s how a frustrated committee member described the situation: “Someone says something that’s at odds with an earlier witness so a nose is going to get out of joint. So he or she is going to want to rebut the witness’s testimony, and then someone else will feel wronged in the process. Or maybe Andrew Scheer thinks something is still being covered up so the committee will call more witnesses and the cycle will continue like one of those Groundhog Day loops.”

The committee member says this will continue until everyone is exhausted or there’s another election. “It’s the Canadian way and a lot cheaper than throwing people in jail.”

Day 456 “I can’t take it anymore! Make it stop,” is the anguished cry from an unnamed committee member, that somehow gets on CBC Radio.

Day 457 Andrew Scheer says the government is determined to cover up one of Canada’s biggest political scandals. He wants the witness list expanded.

Several members phone in sick and the justice committee adjourns for an indefinite period.

Share

Black History Month

Viola Desmond

 
Black History on Prince Edward Island
By Dale Amundson, Editor, SeniorsPEI.ca, February 2, 2019

Again this year there is a paucity of events related to Black History Month. A few related events at public libraries – one at each of 5 libraries and a second event at the Confederation Centre Public Library. The only listing related to Black History Month on the PEI Government website is of these events. Even the Black Cultural Society of PEI facebook page has nothing more to offer.

One wonders if there is a belief that there is no black history on Prince Edward Island. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only is there a black history, there is also a history of slaves and slave ownership. Some of Prince Edward Island’s most prominent residents were slave owners.

Under French rule, it was legal to own slaves on Île St.-Jean. However, the first record of enslaved Africans was in 1784 when 16 “negro servants” arrived with the Loyalists; by 1785 there were almost 100. After 1799, when the name was changed to Prince Edward Island, there were enslaved Africans in Charlottetown and Summerside. In PEI, perhaps due to the small number, enslaved Africans were allowed to be baptized and to marry legally. The wealthy owned enslaved Africans, including businessman William Shurman and the Lieutenant-Governor Edmund Fanning.

Many people are not aware that there were black people on Prince Edward Island in the 19th century, but there were. A black community known as The Bog, developed around Euston and Rochford streets in Charlottetown, near Government Pond, in the 1800s.

Most of the descendants of these black Islanders have been assimilated into the population and are no longer a visible minority. There are black people in thousands of families, from one end of the Island to the other.

In 2014, as part of the celebration marking the 150 anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, a stage production called Tales from the Old Stock: Stories and Songs of P.E.I Black History was performed at the 2014 Celebration Zone. It chronicled some of the missing pieces of Island history through skits and storytelling, as reported in the Guardian at the time.

Historian Bruce Ziff maintains that the first “abolitionist statute” in the Empire was Prince Edward Island’s 1781 act regulating slavery. The only statute in the post-revolutionary, second British Empire to regulate slaves explicitly. A detailed academic analysis of slavery on Prince Edward Island in the article Slave Life and Slave Law in Colonial Prince Edward Island, 1769-1825 by Harvey Amani Whitfield provides some compelling information, along with detailed footnotes and a bibliography. A list of known slave names or identities exists in the appendix of the article.

The 1781 act regulating slavery was abolished in 1825 by an act of the Legislature. By that time there were no slaves remaining on the island.

Those of us who care that the history of Prince Edward Island is represented honestly and inclusively look forward to the time when the Government is willing to commit resources sufficient to bring awareness of the meaning and importance of Black History Month, and black history generally to everyone on the Island.

Share

Morrison cottage to be demolished on December 14

By Jim Brown
A mysterious building on Clark’s Lane in Cavendish that few Islanders ever get to see, but has been a favored haunt of visiting dignitaries and eight of the past 12 premiers, will be demolished on Dec 14.

Parks Canada officials made that decision some time ago, despite a letter from Resort Municipality Chair Matthew Jelley urging them to spare The Morrison Cottage.

According to Brenda MacDonald, the Resort Municipality’s CAO, Parks Canada staff have already been to the building several times removing items of importance and perhaps even the windows.

There has been significant interest by business and residential owners in the resort municipality in acquiring the building, including leasing it or moving it.

The three bedroom bungalow’s fate was brought up at the Resort Municipality’s planning board meeting on Dec 5. It will surface again at the monthly meeting of Resort Municipality Council on Monday, Dec 10.

The Morrison Cottage, built in the 1950s, is owned by Parks Canada but managed by the Province in a deal struck in the 1970s. The Province also handled bookings. Over the decades it’s served as an upscale bunk for visiting dignitaries as well as premiers.

According to a Charlottetown Guardian article in 2016: “Little has been done in the way of major upgrades to the property. It has a garage, hardwood wall interiors, a stone fireplace and chimney and typical cottage-style furniture.”

An internal Parks Canada report, prepared by KPMG, is investigating the feasibility of unloading “non-core” Parks Canada assets to earn hundreds of millions in revenues, perhaps more than a billion dollars.

Share

The most wonderful time of the year for shopping

There were lots of beaming smiles on the faces of vendors and holiday shoppers alike on Saturday, Dec 1 at the Christmas craft fair held at the Stanley Bridge Hall (Sterling Women’s Institute). Many lucky shoppers came away with the perfect gift to slide under the tree or into a Christmas stocking.
Jim Brown photos

Click on an image to view all images in a lightbox

Share