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A former journalist, broadcaster, political staffer and policy adviser, Peter has studied political science, journalism, public administration and Canadian politics. He has grown weary of partisan politics but remains engaged in public policy issues and community activism. Father to three teenage boys,he is committed to teaching them the values of cooperation, volunteering and caring for each other. All I want is for my children to be respectful and successful.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


What a crazy and draining week.  

As VOCM Nightline host Johnathan Richler reminded me earlier this week - political and partisan are not the same. 

As a student of political science, I should not have needed the lecture. The idea of discussing and working towards the public good in the marketplace of ideas very much appeals to me. The black and white of partisanship, where we target constituencies and fragment voters rather than debate ideas leaves me intellectually unfulfilled. 

Frankly, my days as a blind partisan hack are in past. I consider myself post-partisan political - I am a social democrat first. I believe in the well being of the of society and the state with a strong grasp on the reality of the economic realities. The greed of individuals can not go unmanaged nor can we displace ingenuity and hard work with  society must be governed by progressive rules to ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed and be treated fairly.

When it comes right down to it, I like the middle of-the-road, pragmatic middle. Here dogma does not rule supreme, the center can shift as the economic realities dictate.  Hence my flirt with the federal NDP when Jack Layton was leader and the Liberals were too weak to mount a challenge to the Harper'  Conservatives. 

I had been a life-long supporter, volunteer and contributor to the Liberal Party, in particular the strong federalist approach of Pearson, Trudeau and Jean Chretien. I identify as a Liberal because the left wing of the NDP makes me almost as uncomfortable as the right wing of the Conservative Party.  Yet, despite my believe in a strong federalist approach, I can not help but think engaging in local politics creates a spirit of empowerment which can trickle upwards. 

School councils, sharing local gardens for growing food, recycling programs, good environmental stewardship, fighting library closures as examples -  all provide the opportunity to reconnect to politics based an ideal that is bigger than self.

That ideal will embolden us to check the power of politicians and corporations and revive our democracy and the sense of the public good.

Monday, September 19, 2016



A modest proposal, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador should simply trade Labrador to Quebec in exchange for energy security!

That suggestion from F. Pierre Gingras, a retired industrial engineer with Hydro-Qu├ębec in La Presse on Saturday  should ignite nationalist sentiments  in Labrador and in Newfoundland today.

Gingras speaks to the inexperience of Nalcor, cost overruns on the Muskrat Falls Project, poor project planning, the province's desperate financial state and a redress of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Labrador Boundary Decision of 1927 which Quebec has never accepted.

"Once again, only the intervention of Quebec could resolve the complexity of the disastrous situation current at the greater benefit of all Canadians since such a new line of 1200 km (at a cost of 3 to 4 billion dollars including positions) would however be profitable if we realized at the same time the last project available in this region, the Gull Island, with a capacity of 1711 MW."

He suggests the logical proposal is:

"That Quebec makes a gift of a production of energy of 1000 MW in Newfoundland in exchange for Labrador. 
It would correct to the advantage of all parties this catastrophic error of Her Majesty's Privy Council. 
What we say at first, this proposal is yet perfectly fair. In addition, it would free the eventual achievement of a dozen of major projects and would provide First Nations with a future much more positive than that offered to them by the Government of Newfoundland."

It looks as if the Canadian Wolf smells opportunity.

Ironically, in 1925, the Newfoundland government had offered to sell Labrador to Quebec in order to pay down the public debt, but the Quebec premier turned the offer down.

It should be a mad scramble on the talk shows today!

Here is my response


Ryan didn’t defend everything that the RNC did. way the circumstances surrounding the shooting look bad — a plainclothes officer in an unmarked, big black SUV, showing up at a government critic’s home on Easter Sunday all reeks of a certain “intimidation factor.” - THE TELEGRAM 

The retired RNC Inspector that established the RNC Protective Services Unit for the office of the premier has shed some light on Intelligence-led policing and the task of anticipating and preventing criminal incidents before they happen.

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Logo.svgThe Telegram reporter James McLeod's story provides insights into the process of assessing potential threats. Retired since 2012, Sean Ryan was instrumental in developing the procedures and policies followed by the Protective Services Unit.

The RCMP announced last week that no charges will be laid in the RNC killing of Donald Dunphy. The Alberta  Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has ruled that the investigation was impartial and unbiased. 

However, the RCMP refused to release it's file on the investigation, the ASIRT Report, or the 23-page independent report of retired judge David Riche which raises concerns about the shooting incident itself

Riche told The Telegram that he expected his report would be made public; the reason he was hired was to provide oversight and public assurance that there was no bias in the police investigation.

There is also the issue of "missing evidence"

Ryan's concern about the "intimidation factor" underscore the importance of the planned public inquiry which will review the policies and procedures that led RNC officer Joseph Smyth to Dunphy's house in Mitchell's Brook on that tragic Easter Sunday in 2015.


France is taking leadership in fighting the scourge of plastic but may face a test to it's sovereignty because of it.

The French have ruled to ban disposable plastic plates, cutlery and cups. They want at least 50 percent of the material going in to plastic disposable items such as summer drinking glasses, coffee cups, plates and cutlery to be organic by 2020 by 2025, 60 percent.

I would be really pleased to see rules in Canada that address the issue of non-compostable plastics, particularly in the packaging industry. While the ban will not come into place for another four years, it should stimulate the development of more environmentally friendly organic disposable substitutes.

Perhaps other companies can learn from the example of Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Fla. who have released edible six-pack rings, a brand-new approach to sustainable beer packaging. These six-pack rings are 100 percent biodegradable and edible—constructed of barley and wheat ribbons from the brewing process. This packaging can actually be safely eaten by animals that may come into contact with the refuse. Would it not be nice if the big breweries and pop companies acted with the same environmental consciousness? 

Wouldn't it be nice if Tim Hortons, MacDonald's and others would develop and utilize biodegradable cups, lids, straws & cutlery to limit the impact of their products on the environment? 

In the meantime, could Costco require suppliers to use more eco-friendly packaging, and or develop a collection process for collection and reuse of plastic packaging?

The amount of plastic in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean is astounding. I have often used this blog to highlight the environmental nightmare of plastic trash in the ocean through a number of posts about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and more recently the Atlantic Garbage Patches.  

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ocean-borne plastic waste causes the deaths of “as many as 100,000 marine mammals” yearly. Nearly 80 percent of plastic ocean waste comes from land as well, says the United Nations Environmental Program.

Plastics are devastating the environment across the world. We use the longest lasting materials for the shortest time. Wherever possible, we must challenge a throwaway culture that uses non-biodegradable materials for disposable products.