By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 21, 2013 - 0 Comments
Q And what’s your reaction to what you’ve seen so far?
A Personal circumstances will always be taken into consideration in determining someone’s eligibility. For example, if they don’t have transportation to another community where a job is, that will be taken into consideration. Child care responsibilities and costs will be taken into consideration because we want to make sure that when people work, they’re better off than when they don’t. That being said, Service Canada officials can only take into consideration the information that they have. If the claimant doesn’t provide all of the relevant individual circumstances, then Service Canada can only go with the information they have.
Q In this particular situation, do you know if the individual did provide that information to Service Canada?
A Service Canada has made multiple attempts to talk with her, to review her file, to go over the options, to get all of the information. But it had no success in reaching her and I really encourage her to get in touch with them.
Ms. Giersdorf, meanwhile, says she’s tried to contact Service Canada and also that she’s been protesting just outside a Service Canada office. And then there is bit of back-and-forth.
Last week, Queen said there were half a dozen jobs in Montague the woman could have applied for; however, Geirsdorf said they were all beyond her qualifications. Officials also say there is more to the EI case than meets the eye, but can’t discuss it.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:33 AM - 0 Comments
A single mother in Montague, Prince Edward Island has apparently been denied EI benefits because she can’t get to Charlottetown and her story has apparently struck a chord in PEI. The National Post talks to her.
Q: Why don’t you apply in Charlottetown?
A: I could probably make a living in Charlottetown, but due to the fact that I do only rely on family and close, close, close friends that I don’t have a lot of, I’d be ruined personally. And my child, I fought tooth and nail with my ex to have him go to Montague [Consolidated School]. If I relocated into Charlottetown, who’s going to drive all the way from Montague to drive me in the summertime, when my son’s not in school, to pick him up? You know, I have 50/50 custody. I would have no transportation whatsoever, I would have to rely on cabs.
Q: If you were to get a job in Charlottetown that paid well, would you be able to get a car?
A: No. I wouldn’t be able to even make it to the job to make enough money to get a car. And if I was hired on in Charlottetown I’d have to refuse the job because I wouldn’t be able to guarantee that I could get to my shifts everyday.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 5:08 PM - 0 Comments
A footnote to Mr. Mulcair’s official statement on the 30th anniversary of the Charter: Paper Dynamite digs up a speech Mr. Mulcair gave two years ago in the House during debate on representation in the House of Commons.
The biggest problem is the attitude the Liberal Party has had for the past 40 years. That has been the main problem with the Canadian federation since the time of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The Liberals pay lip service to the idea of recognizing Quebec, but when push comes to shove, they always vote against such recognition.
The sad fact is that the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, which were negotiated in good faith, were necessary because the Canadian Constitution that Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jean Chrétien repatriated includes the law passed in English only in England, with a bilingual schedule. The law begins with the words “Whereas Canada has requested”.
It is a bald-faced lie to say that Canada requested this, because Quebec was not included, unless the point was to show that to Pierre Elliott Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada, Canada did not include Quebec. That has been the problem since 1982. The Canadian Constitution, which was adopted despite both sovereignist and federalist opposition in Quebec City, still exists. In spite of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, which were negotiated in good faith, the government has never managed to accommodate Quebec to this day.
By Dave Bidini - Monday, February 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM - 0 Comments
Life is good, despite the Leafs
For the last handful of Maple Leafs games, I have found myself away from the hive: driving around the Maritimes doing gigs en route to what the Scotiabank and CBC potentates describe as a signature event in the Hockey Day in Canada proceedings: Stolen From a Hockey Card, a concert I have curated and played in for two years running. This year’s event took place in Charlottetown, PEI, a city that, in the winter, reccommends itself in small measures: some narrow colonial streets, an elegant shoreline, lively publicans, one great record store (Back Alley Music), and an amazing folk club, Marc’s Studio. Of course, there’s Anne of Green Gables this, Anne of Green Gables that, but if Charlottetown—at times, the sleepiest of east coast capitals—proves anything it’s that the Maritimes are the Maritimes no matter what province you’re in. Walk outside and you’ll find a good time hewn in the people, and, after three days, your holiday will be about escape rather than rest from early nights and long mornings.
We arrived on Wednesday for rehearsal in a meeting room in the corridors of Confederation Hall, a provincial theatrical monolith with Orange Crush coloured seats fanning wide to meet an enormous space. Here, we collected six performers, all commissioned to write original hockey songs for the event: the sleepy-faced Rustico balladeer and longstanding Acadian musical heavyweight Lennie Gallant; Sarah Harmer, the small giant with whom I’d played hockey two weeks earlier, at the Lake Ontario Cup on Wolfe Island; Chris Murphy, estranged for the weekend from his boyhood band, Sloan; fellow Morningstar, the Lowest of the Low’s Stephen Stanley; Maritime minor midget MVP runner up (to Sid Crosby) and songwriter Liam Corcoran; Carmen Townsend, the dynamo of Sydney, Cape Breton; and former New York Islander captain, Bryan Trottier, who vowed to play two songs with us before they soon morphed into three: Folsom Prison Blues, I Walk the Line and Truck Drivin’ Man. Halfway into the rehearsal, Lennie Gallant showed us how to play his original composition, When I Get My Name on the Cup, only to have the Hall of Fame’s Phil Pritchard appear with the Cup itself, presented on a cloth table in the middle of the room. We put down our weapons for a moment and posed for photos with the sparkling chalice, standing great and heavy in the once-noisy room. Continue…
By Anne Kingston - Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 12:00 PM - 3 Comments
What it was like inside an invite-only reception with Canada’s favourite couple
The invitation, issued by the press secretary of “TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,” was impossible to decline: a 7:10 p.m. drinks reception with the royal couple immediately after their arrival in Charlottetown on Sunday night. Just 200 or so journalists and provincial organizers for 40 minutes. The setting was shockingly intimate, given that royal tour coverage dictates the royals are always at least a three-metre remove from the ink- and digitally stained wretches. Following the couple around feels like being embedded in a military mission without any proximity: journalists wait hours in a slightly more privileged position than the hoi polloi for a glimpse of the couple, and are forever on the lookout for colourful crumbs with which to pad out reports.
The soiree had rules. It was to be casual, no cameras—which is like asking hunters who’ve been tracking big, exotic game to come face to face with their quarry stripped of their weapons.
The gathering was held on the second-storey deck of a casual restaurant overlooking the harbour. The night was gorgeous. Drinks flowed. Oysters were shucked, lobster rolls served and a fiddle band played. Before the newlyweds arrived, journalists were herded inside and divided by media type—Canadian, print, etc. Then the royals worked the reception line separately, each led by handlers. The prince came through first, shaking hands in a dark suit with a Canada flag pin, carrying a drink that looked like Coke, though he joked about wanting to have a couple of them. He’s an old pro at this—engaged, leaning in, making eye contact, quick to joke in a self-deprecating manner. Yet if you look closely, his jaw clenches; there’s tension there.
By Anne Kingston - Monday, July 4, 2011 at 10:50 AM - 1 Comment
The royal couple invites a pliant press corps for a drink
The invitation, issued by the press secretary to “TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,” was impossible to decline: a 7:10 p.m. drinks reception with the royal couple immediately after their arrival in Charlottetown Sunday night. Just 200 or so journalists and provincial organizers for 40 minutes. The setting was shockingly intimate given royal-tour coverage dictates the royals are always at least a three-metre remove from the ink- and digitally-stained wretches. Following the couple around feels like being embedded in a military mission without any proximity: journalists wait hours in a slightly more privileged position than the hoi polloi for a glimpse of the couple, and are forever on the lookout for colourful crumbs to pad out reports.
The soiree had rules. It was to be casual, off-the-record, no cameras—which is like asking hunters who’ve been tracking big, exotic game to come face to face with their quarry stripped of their weapons.
The gathering was held on the second storey deck of a casual restaurant overlooking the harbour. The night was gorgeous. Drinks flowed. Oysters were shucked, lobster rolls served and a fiddle band played. Continue…
By Richard Foot - Monday, February 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM - 1 Comment
A man accused of killing his brother sparks the first murder investigation on the Island in five years
Donna Dingwell faced a mother’s unthinkable nightmare last month. As she made funeral arrangements following the murder on Jan. 17 of her eldest son Kyle, 25, she was also looking for a lawyer for his accused killer—her 22-year-old son Dylan. “Everyone really felt for this mother,” says Charlottetown’s deputy police chief Gary McGuigan. “She buried one son on Saturday and would be in court on Monday with the other, who was charged with second-degree murder.”
Kyle Dingwell’s murder not only shocked his family, it caused a profound stir across Prince Edward Island, where homicides are almost unheard of. For five of the past six years, Canada’s smallest province has had the country’s lowest homicide rate—zero—according to Statistics Canada. Police on P.E.I. have not undertaken a murder investigation since 2006, when a dairy plant worker deliberately ran down a former colleague with his car.
Murder cases everywhere make headlines, but news of the Dingwell killing spread fear and anger across P.E.I., and sparked a rash of unseemly Internet gossip, before any details of the murder became known. Comments on a Charlottetown newspaper website suggested the crime might be linked to the drug trade, or caused by “immigrants.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 2:06 PM - 0 Comments
Liberal MP Shawn Murphy won’t run again in Charlottetown. The Liberals have held that riding since 1988, last winning by 3,000 votes.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 4:29 PM - 0 Comments
For those still scoring at home, the CEO of Alberta Health Services, Charlottetown City Council, the City of Greater Sudbury, Caledon town council, former chief statistician Sylvia Ostry, New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham, Spruce Grove City Council and the Planning Institute of British Columbia oppose the government’s changes to the census.
In such opposition, they join… Continue…
By Jaime Weinman - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 3:00 PM - 0 Comments
What Kevin Smith, Helena Guergis, Star Wars fans and Conan O’Brien all have in common
Kevin Smith vs. Southwest
The U.S. airline booted the cult filmmaker off a flight because he was too fat to fit into only one seat. The plane’s employees told the Cop Out director his girth might ruin the experience for his seatmate and prevent “a timely exit from the aircraft.” Smith, a self-proclaimed “fatty,” used his Twitter feed to stir up fan outrage, saying Southwest messed with “the wrong sedentary processed-foods eater!” After hearing from angry Smith fans, airline representatives apologized to him. But they’d never have treated Alfred Hitchcock this way.
White Stripes vs. u.s. Air Force
Rock stars are always protesting when politicians use their songs, but only the White Stripes have the guts to take on the U.S. military. Band members Meg and Jack White decried the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s Super Bowl commercial, which used music eerily similar to their song Fell in Love With a Girl “to encourage recruitment during a war that we do not support.” The air force pulled the ad from its website. Who knew such a powerful fighting force could be defeated by two musicians from Detroit?
Marcia vs. Jan
A planned reunion of the kids from The Brady Bunch was canceled due to sibling rivalry: Maureen McCormick (Marcia) and Eve Plumb (Jan) “did not want to be on the same show.” Plumb is still apparently angry that McCormick’s memoir, Here’s the Story, boosted its sales by implying the two actresses had a brief lesbian relationship. She should bear in mind that the last time she refused to do a Brady Bunch reunion, she was replaced by another actor: Geri Reischl, now known as the “fake Jan.”
Conan vs. NBC
Conan O’Brien’s brief stint as host of The Tonight Show ended with NBC giving him a big cash payment to end his contract, and several episodes featuring expensive props charged to NBC. The catch was, O’Brien could not make disparaging remarks about the people who fired him. But NBC neglected to make such a deal with his sidekick, Andy Richter, who went on Live! With Regis and Kelly to blast NBC’s “short-sighted” planning. Maybe on Conan’s upcoming comedy tour, he’ll be contractually obligated to let Richter do all the talking.
Eric Massa vs. Rahm Emanuel
U.S. Democratic congressman Eric Massa, who resigned his seat for “health reasons” before it came to light he had groped male staffers, claimed he was “set up” by Obama’s ruthless chief of staff. Massa, who voted against Obama’s health care plan, said a naked Emanuel threatened him in the showers at the congressional gym. But when he was invited on Glenn Beck’s show, Massa changed his story, saying he was not forced out. Which can only mean that the Emanuel conspiracy, which has produced so many obsessive articles about Emanuel, has gotten to Massa.
SRC vs. Italians
Radio-Canada aired a comedy sketch in which a stereotypical Italian family, the Jambonis, appears on a game show. The Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association complained to the CRTC and demanded an apology for the “racist” sketch, where the family threatens to put a hit on the host and talk about how influential they are in the Quebec construction industry. CIBPA’s vice-president, Giuliano D’Andrea, argued there must be “limits to freedom of expression.” But don’t take that as a threat.
Helena Guergis vs. Charlottetown
After the federal Tory cabinet minister swore at Charlottetown airport security personnel and said they’d cause her to be “stuck in this s–thole,” an anonymous resident got revenge for the city by publicizing her outburst in a letter, forcing her to apologize. Guergis had been in the P.E.I. capital announcing a federal initiative she claimed would help more women and girls in P.E.I. “reach their full potential.” Which apparently means getting out of there as quickly as possible.
The Fans VS. George Lucas
At last, a movie about how much Star Wars fans hate the Star Wars creator for Ewoks, Jar Jar Binks and more. Alexandre Philippe’s The People vs. George Lucas interviews many disappointed fans, including a band that sings George Lucas Raped Our Childhood. But Philippe, himself a big fan of the original movies, says he still loves Lucas and wants him to “return to his early experimental roots.” You know, like movies about space princesses and robots.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 4:38 PM - 59 Comments
“On February 19, I was rushing to catch a flight at the Charlottetown Airport and spoke emotionally to some staff members. Regardless of my workload and personal circumstances, it was not appropriate and I apologize to airport and Air Canada staff.
“It was certainly not my intention to create any additional stress for airport or Air Canada employees who already have a very difficult job.
“My father was born in Summerside and many of my relatives still live on the Island, which I love and visit almost every year. To me, it is a very special place that demonstrates the best Canada has to offer. I wish to express my appreciation to all the hard-working people who make it so welcoming.”
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 1:55 PM - 208 Comments
With 51 precincts reporting specific estimates—restricting the count to media-reported figures and, where available, police counts—it’s possible to account for approximately 21,000 anti-prorogation protestors at yesterday’s rallies. Continue…
By Brian Bethune - Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 2:50 PM - 1 Comment
The Good guys of the year, like Capt. Sully and Kate Winslet
The citizens of Charlottetown
When a P.E.I. landlord dropped an unzipped bag of cash on a windy day, money began swirling through the air. Passersby pitched in, reaching under parked cars and chasing down fluttering bills. When it was all over, Ian Walker had every one of the 10,300 dollars he started with.
Seven years of living homeless along Winnipeg’s Red River hasn’t blunted Hall’s humanity. In May, when a teenager fell into the freezing water 40 m away, Hall, a self-described “chronic alcoholic,” jumped in and brought him safely to shore. In August, Hall plunged in again, this time saving a drowning woman.
Chesley Sullenberger III
He may have a name better suited to a trust-fund brat, but Capt. “Sully” works for a living. He’s very, very good at his job. In January, he piloted his crippled Airbus A-320 to a near-impossible smooth landing on New York’s frigid Hudson River. All 155 on board escaped alive. Last man off the rapidly sinking jet, after searching it twice: Sully.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and James Cameron
If the Titanic trio weren’t rich before, the 1997 film took care of that. In May they gave some back, contributing $30,000 to the nursing-home fees of the ship’s last survivor. Millvina Dean, 97, died soon after, her final days free of financial concerns.
The Concordia University student spotted an Internet posting in which a British teen claimed he would burn down his high school within the hour. Neufeld alerted police in Norfolk, England, who arrested the suspect at the school.
The retired Ontario Superior Court judge knows that there are innocent people in prison and that those who would free them are woefully underfunded in comparison with the Ministry of Justice. So in January he gave $1 million of his own money to the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. Cartwright won’t even get a tax break for his generosity.
David and Penny Chapman
After their ice cream plant in Markdale, Ont., burned down, the Chapmans told their 350 workers they would rebuild in town. Salaried staff would receive full pay for a year, hourly employees for four months—and, if necessary, the Chapmans would “take care of them” beyond that. One worker told a reporter she didn’t know exactly what that meant, but the Chapmans’ word meant “we’re going to be fine.”
The University of California at Berkeley police specialist knew there was something not right about the man in her office seeking permission for a campus event. Rather than ignore the feeling, she set in motion the inquiry that saw Phillip Garrido arrested and Jaycee Dugard, the woman he had kidnapped 18 years before, set free.
When the Bollinger Insurance CEO sold half of his New Jersey firm, he picked up a US$500,000 bonus. Instead of keeping it, he gave each of his 434 employees US$1,000. His only request? “I like it when they spend it on themselves rather than pay bills.”
Someone is determined to see women succeed in higher education, and not just students. This year, an anonymous donor gave US$100 million to at least 15 U.S. post-secondary schools, with a portion earmarked for scholarships for women and minorities. The only link between the institutions: large or small, they all have female presidents.
By Katie Engelhart - Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 12:40 PM - 50 Comments
Muslims want the government to help fund a mosque for the Island
Call it Little Mosque on the Island. Last week, the CBC ran a news story about a Muslim doctor whose efforts to build the first mosque in P.E.I. have thus far come to naught. The “disappointed” doctor asked the province for financial assistance, only to be “turned down.”
The CBC story also suggested that there was reason to believe the city might step in. It quoted Charlottetown Coun. David MacDonald as saying he would be willing to meet with Muslims and “see if the city can assist in building a mosque.” But when Maclean’s spoke to MacDonald, he said, “We wouldn’t give any assistance to a religious group any more than we would to anybody else. We don’t provide financial assistance to any kind of developer.” The meeting, MacDonald says, will be little more than an “information session.” Continue…
By Martin Patriquin - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 10:50 PM - 12 Comments
Charlottetown’s not a bad place to live, but it could be run better
It is the quaint home of history and reverie, the centre of a tourism industry based largely on a girl with red pigtails and freckles, the place where, in 1864, 23 important men bickered, ate oysters and hashed out a plan that would become Canada. Yet Charlottetown, the picturesque capital of the country’s smallest province, has now earned a more dubious honour: it comes in dead last in the first-ever annual Maclean’s Best-Run Cities survey.
First, the good news. According to the survey, conducted for Maclean’s by the Halifax-based think tank AIMS, Charlottetown is the safest city in the country. The city of 32,000 has governance and finance indicators that are near peerless in the country, and it is one of the more environmentally healthy cities among the 31 surveyed. Translation: it’s a great place to live if safety, governance and environment are your thing. Indeed, when it comes to safety and environment, Charlottetown handily beats out its closest neighbours at the bottom of the best-run cities list: Barrie, Ont., Windsor, Ont., Fredericton and Kingston, Ont. Continue…
By Andrew Coyne - Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Get all the numbers behind our exclusive survey. And see where your city ranks.
The Maclean’s survey of Canada’s Best and Worst Run Cities, published in our July 27th issue, misstated the residential tax burden for the city of Longueuil, Quebec. The original figure, as compiled for Maclean’s by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, put the average tax burden per residence at $666. The city of Longueuil has now revealed its own estimate is $1241 per residence. The published figure was calculated using only those taxes directly assessed by the City of Longueuil and failed to include the taxes paid by city residents to cover services provided to the entire Longueuil Urban Agglomeration (of which the city forms a part).
The adjustment means Longueuil’s grade for taxation efficiency falls from an A+ to a C+, or from 1st to 14th among the municipal governments surveyed. Accordingly, it drops from fifth place to seventh in the overall rankings.
Maclean’s regrets the error.
This survey, the first of its kind in Canada, provides citizens in 31 cities across the country with comparative data on how well—or poorly—their city is run, measured by the cost and quality of the public services it delivers. (Why 31? We took the 30 largest cities in Canada, added whatever provincial capitals were not on the list, then subtracted a few cities from the Greater Toronto Area for better regional balance. Somehow that left 31.)
Though the overall results—Burnaby, Saskatoon and Surrey, B.C. lead the pack; Charlottetown, Kingston, Ont., and Fredericton trail—will be of particular interest, they are less important than the process this is intended to kick off. We aim not merely to start some good barroom arguments, but to help voters to hold their representatives to better account, and indeed to help city governments themselves. For without some sort of yardstick to measure their performance, either against other cities or against their own past record, how can they hope to know whether they are succeeding?
To compile the survey, Maclean’s commissioned the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, expanding on the institute’s earlier work measuring the performance of municipalities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Unlike other studies, this does not try to measure quality of life, or which city is the “best place to live.” Rather, it focuses on the contribution of local governments to this end.
This survey looks at a city’s efficiency—the cost of producing results—and the effectiveness of its services, including how well each city does when it comes to things like maintaining roads and parks, picking up garbage and putting out fires. Click below to see how the numbers break down. Continue…