CHEERS: To voters in Charlottetown-Parkdale who seem heavily engaged in the provincial byelection taking place today. At the end of the third and final advance polling day Friday, 33.65 per cent of the 3,548 eligible voters - or 1,194 people - had cast ballots. If that trend continues today, the turnout should equal numbers usually seen in a general election. All four parties have strong candidates seeking to replace former Liberal cabinet minister Doug Currie. The October 2016 byelection in Summerside-Wilmot saw just over a 60 per cent turn out.
JEERS: To decision-makers at Confederation Centre for excluding the centre’s Youth Chorus from the Symons Medal and Lecture ceremony honouring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday. The chorus has traditionally sung O Canada, The Island Hymn and other selections prior to the guest speaker’s appearance. The choir was replaced by the centre’s Young Company’s production of The Dream Catchers who turned in a thrilling and powerful performance - a celebration of reconciliation in Canada. There was no reason why the chorus – who performed earlier this year at the Vatican – couldn’t have shortened its appearance to sing the national and provincial anthems - and then let The Dream Catchers take the stage. There was time and opportunity for both.
CHEERS: To the four new inductees into the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame on Friday night. The newest members include the 1964-65 St. Dunstan’s Saints hockey team, figure skating executive member Debbie MacMurdo, curler Kim Dolan and baseball-hockey builder Ken (Trixie) Dunn. The induction of Dunn was one of the more emotional moments in recent memory. The Morell native died in late September, just several hours after the hall of fame selection committee voted to induct him. An estimated 50 Dunn family members and friends were on hand for the event.
JEERS: To CBC for airing a national newscast early Sunday, which said the Grey Cup was taking place the next day. The 6 a.m. item out of Toronto repeated the error later in the same voice clip. It’s like saying Canada Day is moving to July 2 or Christmas has shifted to Boxing Day. The highlight of the CFL season was televised Sunday night on TSN but seems to receive short-shrift from our national broadcaster.
CHEERS: Basel Al Rashdan, a young Charlottetown resident and recent immigrant refugee from Syria, who delivered a powerful message of wishing a peaceful future for all children, when he appeared before the United Nations in New York City last week. The 12-year-old, his father, Amjad, and a member of the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada travelled to the UN to give a speech for World Children’s Day on Monday. He told representatives from member states that they “ . . . need need to stop war and focus on education. We need to educate as many children as we can. They are the future leaders, which is why our wish for every child is peace.”
CHEERS: To Pat Robinson of Charlottetown who is marking her 20th year making Christmas plum puddings in support of local charities. Robinson’s Sherwood home has been busy in recent weeks producing scores of the traditional holiday desserts, which have raised approximately $17,000 for the P.E.I. Humane Society, $10,000 for the P.E.I. Community Legal Information Association and $5,000 for other non-profit groups and needy individuals over the past 19 years. The puddings are $15 each and are made from a traditional wartime Newfoundland family recipe - vegetarian friendly and low in fat and sugar.