Friday, October 30, 2009

Government of Canada grants $133,540 in funding to the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders

Support for tourism development in Grosse-Île

Grosse-Île, Quebec, October 27, 2009 – The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for Canada Economic Development, today announced that the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders has been awarded $133,540 in non-repayable funding under the Community Economic Diversification Initiative – Vitality to establish a tourism development plan for Grosse-Île.

Every summer, a growing number of visitors make their way to picturesque Grosse-Île, drawn by the site’s unique character, the tree-covered points jutting out into the ocean and the warm hospitality of the small English-speaking community’s 550 or so inhabitants. To accommodate this increase in tourist traffic to the archipelago, improvements need to be made to the area’s reception infrastructure and new activities developed to meet the demands and expectations of the market.

“The Government of Canada is today reaffirming its commitment to support communities that, through projects like this one, are taking their future in hand and furthering the reach and reputation of their region. Through this plan, the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders is seeking to establish a framework for tourism initiatives on Grosse-Île and support local concerted efforts to develop the cruise industry by capitalizing on the many tourist attractions the area has to offer. The entire Îles-de-la-Madeleine economy, which depends heavily on the fishery industry, is sure to benefit from this diversification measure,” explained the Minister of State.

“Implementing the recommendations of this plan could result in the creation of seasonal employment and encourage more young Magdalen Islanders to remain in the region. This project is well in line with the strategy our government has put in place through Canada’s Economic Action Plan to support communities that, despite the current economic downturn, are stepping up their efforts to succeed. This project could lead to concrete business opportunities for the region and allow it to face the future with greater confidence and optimism,” Minister Lebel added.

Tourism is the second most important industry on the archipelago and a key development priority for Canada Economic Development’s Gaspésie and Îles-de-la-Madeleine business office. It is estimated that some $50 million in economic spinoffs is generated by the 52,000 or so tourists who visit the region every year.

For more on Canada’s Economic Action Plan, see

Magdalen Islands Drinking Water

A vast operation to dig for drinking water has been underway for two weeks now here on the Magdalen Islands. The objective of the work is to guarantee the provision of drinking water for the next 30 years.

Hydro-geologists, who are now here must dig 33 wells 200 feet deep between now and November. “What we want, is to determine the zones where we can dig the wells to connect to the [aqueduct] network already existing on the island of Grindstone with that on the island of House Harbour,” explained the Mayor of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine Municipality, Joël Arseneau.

Eleven wells will be put into production and branched to the aqueduct network over the course of the next year. The 22 other wells will serve for observation points, said engineer, Denis Richard, president of the firm, AGEOS. “We’re digging holes and we're measuring the evolution of the ground water, the depth and the pumping function that we can do from the production wells.”

The drinking water reserves of the ground water on the Islands, is precious and it must be managed with prudence. The pressure exercised on the aqueduct network and the production of the fish factories necessitates this additional production of potable water.

It is foreseen that in one well only, the island of Grindstone will need from 300 to 500 gallons of additional water per minute in 30 years. The contract of one million dollars for the work has been given to the consortium, Madelin’Eau.

It seems to me that, if anything, the municipality is destroying their own drinking water. How many times over the past few years have they say that the water table cannot take the drainage that 'we', the people of the Islands keep taking from it. The geologists have publicly said that there is a tender balance between the fresh water table and the salt water of the Gulf. That if we remove the ground water before it can replenish itself with melting snow, ice and rain, then the salt water will move it to take the place of the fresh water and eventually, we will be without drinking water.

Now I'm well aware of the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle and how the acid rain water gets filtered by the vegetation and layers of gravel it must go through to reach the water table. But if that water table turns salty then all but the most shallow vegetation, ie beach grass, will survive. It not hard to envision where that leaves the population of the Magdalen Islands.

Of course, that is enough doom and gloom. The Magdalen Islands has survived 50 million years, they can certainly survive the Municipality of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine. I hope the rest of us can.

Note: this is a blog and it is my personal opinion on the situation of the Magdalen Islands. It is not necessarily the news as it would be in a newspaper. I have never hidden the fact that I believe the Municipality of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, for the want of a better word, stinks.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Harper Accused of Inertia In Seal Hunt Dossier

The president of the sealers association for the Magdalen Islands, Denis Longuépée, denounced the immobilization of the Harper government in the seal hunt dossier.

Mr. Longuépée deplores the mutiny of Canada at a time where the anti-hunt campaigns are multiplying around the world.

As well, recently, the group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has added its voice to those of the International Funds for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and to the Humane Society of the United States. The organization is going to start a vast international campaign on the internet with the film star, Canadian actress, Pamela Anderson. “We hoped that the international sales of the white coats will continue to diminish” preached the PETA speaker, Michel McGraw.

For Denis Longuépée, Ottawa must reply. He noted that since the summer and the announcement of the boycott of the hunt products by members of the European Union, the government has not done anything more in the dossier. He doesn’t have the money to defend and save the hunt, deplored the Madelinot, who’s worried for the future of the industry.

“The Canadian government, and others, the seal hunt is nothing more than a grain of salt. This is not important. But if we speak of petrol, it would be somewhat more important, and Mr. Harper would be somewhat more interested to help us that he is presently doing.” - Denis Longuépée, president of the Seal Hunting Association of the Magdalen Islands.

Ottawa contested the European boycott internationally, as always, according to Mr. Longuépée, Canada must therefore launch a vast international campaign of information.

You know, I really don't understand the position of the animal humane groups. I'm not one who agrees with killing animals but killing a seal is of no greater value than killing a cow or a pig for food. People eat seal meat and sell the pelts. People eat beef and sell the pelts. I remember having the most beautiful pigskin jacket when I was younger and I still eat porkchops.

Also the fat from the seal is rendered into omega 3 oil, which is well known for it healthy qualities.

NOTE: In the seal hunters favor, the white coats are not taken for pelts or anything else. It is against the law to kill a white coat or a baby seal. Contrary to PETA and IFAW statements, white-coats are not killed.

The Voluntary Vaccination Campaign Countering the Swine Flu H1N1

At a press conference held on October 22, 2009, the representatives of the Regional Organization of Civil Security and the Health and Social Services Agency of the Gaspesia and the Magdalen Islands presented the actions taken to counter the feared H1N1 pandemic by giving general information on the important vaccine campaign which will be progressively deployed in the region starting October 26th, 2009.

The region will receive, in a gradual manner at regular intervals, sufficient quantities of doses of the vaccine to counter the struggle against H1N1. The first people who will receive the vaccine will be the health workers and some priority clients, such as women who are pregnant, children from six months to five years of age, and people under 65 years who are chronically ill.

In that this concerns vaccinations destined to the population, the region has identified seventeen vaccination sites in each of the territories with health and social services centers of hundreds of people at the same time, seeing that, in certain places, a thousand persons per day can be vaccinated. The agency indicated that it will have sufficient vaccinations for the entire population.

A vaccination exercise similar was unveiled in the region in 2006 and justly aimed at the preparation for an eventual pandemic. This type of operation necessarily mobilizes the numerous care resources of the health and social service centers of the region, that is to say with five hundred people in each of the vaccination sites.

The vaccination constitutes the best means of effectively countering the grippe and stays one of the more secure and efficient measures of prevention in the history of modern medicine.

The agency reminds everyone that the vaccination is voluntary. Each health and social service center is responsible of informing the residents of their territory and the vaccination logistics. The population is invited to watch the local medias for messages concerning the public interest which will be broadcast over the course of the next few days.

It is possible to obtain all the information linked with the vaccination at the website –
Starting Saturday, October 24th, 2009, the schedules and vaccination sites will be available in the section “In My Region – Gaspesie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine” at the government website.