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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.

Photo : Ryan Ross February 11, 2015

Teresa Wright - Between the lines -- Teresa Wright

A plebiscite question already? - Are Islanders ready for a plebiscite question on electoral reform? Charlottetown MLA Jordan Brown, chair of the committee that has been canvassing opinions from Islanders on democratic renewal, says a draft plebiscite question, or possibly several optional plebiscite questions, will likely be included in a report to be tabled within the next week in the P.E.I. legislature. RELATED: P.E.I. electoral reform plebiscite question to be tabled next week But after delving into the work of this committee, I can’t help but wonder how they can possibly be ready to form a question yet. The committee held 10 public meetings and received over 70 submissions – which were opinions from individuals and organizations detailing what they like or don’t like about the way Islanders vote. The submissions were, to be honest, all over the map. Which is fine, the committee wanted to allow Islanders the opportunity to voice any and all views on this topic, as it is very important. But that’s just it. This is indeed a very important issue, one of the most important we will debate over the next year. We are talking about changes to the way we elect our lawmakers – changes to our very democracy. A number of Islanders have told the committee they feel the process is being rushed. Government has indicated we could be voting in a plebiscite as early as the spring. A committee held 10 meetings over a month-and-a-half period and now the chair of that committee says the question Islanders will be voting on will…

Photo : Teresa  Wright November 24, 2015