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Mary MacKay - Viking Voyage

A first for everything - A furry-faced friend on the wharf at Straitsview, N.L., peeked around the Be Faithful 2 sailboat’s awning, followed by a smiling face of the human kind. “I hear someone wants a shower here,” spoke the latter, which happened to be Barbara Blake, whose home was just a jaunt down the road from the Parks Canada National Historic Site of L’Anse aux Meadows. Charlottetown sailors Geoff and Jane Ralling and I had been in this northern Newfoundland community for a few days visiting the Viking archeological site before it was time to set sail for the Gulf of St. Lawrence and our Prince Edward Island home, following a route that could have been taken by the Norse explorers 1,000 years ago. “I’ve left the door open. Towels and facecloths are by the sink,” my generous host offered, after giving me rudimentary directions to her house in Straitsview where the Blakes and Hedderson mailboxes rule the roads. To be sure and to avoid any lurid B&E shower-stealing charges on my part, I checked the route carefully to avoid accidentally taking a surprise advantage of any other local resident’s open door policy. The Rallings tell me that’s what happens in Newfoundland – you land at the wharf, tell them what you need and help usually arrives: fuel, fish, a friendly offer of the use of a vehicle. Well for me, that gift of a shower was a first and it was one of many for this Viking Voyage. I’d never really even been to sea before, let alone…

Photo : Mary MacKay August 15, 2014

Ryan Ross - Between the lines -- Ryan Ross

Where will Wade MacLauchlan run? - With an early election a near certainty the nominations for Liberal candidates in ridings across the province are filling up fast. Leader in waiting Wade MacLauchlan’s name is notably absent from the list. As of Feb. 21 MacLauchlan will officially become the Liberal leader and by default the premier. He also won’t have a seat in the legislature and hasn’t declared where he plans to run. If he were to run in his home riding MacLauchlan would seek a seat in York-Oyster Bed, but the problem is that district already has a nominated candidate. Transportation Minister Robert Vessey, who is also one of MacLauchlan’s campaign chairs, holds the seat and received the nomination way back in May 2014. He was the first candidate the party nominated for the next election. That means MacLauchlan would lose a prominent cabinet minister as a candidate if he wants to run in his home riding. So what are his other options? Unless more MLAs say they won’t run again the only district without a candidate is Cornwall-Meadowbank, thanks to Fisheries Minister Ron MacKinley deciding not to re-offer. MacLauchlan has been playing his cards close to his chest so we’ll all have to wait and see what he wants to do. But with a spring election likely on the horizon we’ll probably find out sooner rather than later.

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Photo : Ryan Ross February 11, 2015

Teresa Wright - Between the lines -- Teresa Wright

MLAs debate leaks in public, issues in private - It was a meeting like no other. I’ve covered a lot of standing committee meetings in my years as a political journalist in P.E.I., and a few of them do stand out as being contentious and fiery. The meeting on Friday of the Standing Committee on Rules, Regulations, Private Bills and Privileges has definitely made it into the top five in that category. It was supposed to deal with concerns that have been raised about Speaker Buck Watts and whether he has retained the appropriate level of neutrality as the speaker of the legislative assembly. Opposition Leader Jamie Fox originally raised the concerns about Watts’ impartiality, on behalf of his Opposition caucus, in a letter to the very same rules committee based on the fact Watts openly attends Liberal caucus meetings and Liberal party events. That letter was leaked to The Guardian, and I wrote a story outlining its contents, which was published on April 19. Watts then ruled Fox’s letter to the committee and The Guardian’s coverage of it a “clear form of intimidation and thus a prima facie breach of privilege” and sent it to the rules committee for a full review. I listened incredulously during the meeting on Friday as government MLAs, both in cabinet and on the backbench, said they believed the heart of the issue was to find out how “the media” obtained the leaked copy of Fox’s letter to the committee. Chair Kathleen Casey fanned that flame, pointing out she hadn’t even seen the letter before finding out from…

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Photo : Teresa  Wright May 09, 2016