The Ann plan – UPEI custodian speaks out to students on the importance of saving money

By Emily Acorn

Jan. 25, 2017

Ann Sheehan’s first job paid $3.25 an hour. She worked at a Georgetown fish plant pulling meat out of crab legs.

The 16-year-old worked hard and valued every penny she earned. But there was a problem. Sheehan was the fourth oldest in a family of 13 brothers and sisters. The family was supported by one income.

Her mother began to take part of her paycheques, eventually taking all of her money. The family started arguing. It turned nasty.

But Ann had a plan.

Carol, Sheehan’s friend and co-worker was heading to Charlottetown to visit her sister and niece. Ann told her parents she was at work and hopped in Carol’s car. They stayed with Carol’s sister.

Carol returned to Georgetown. Sheehan didn’t.

Sheehan started her journey to a better life at 16-years-old with zero dollars to her name. She babysat Carol’s niece and got two part-time jobs. She began a savings plan.

Today, at 57, Ann’s savings account continues to grow. She bought a house, had a son and was able to send him to school. She is currently UPEI business centre’s custodian and for the past three years she has been giving a lecture to students about her journey with saving and the tricks she has learned along the way.

Sheehan tells the students her biggest motivation for saving money is her dreams.

“I became a workaholic. It was my dream.”

Sheehan learned the value of a dollar at a young age, but it’s never too late.

Jamie Crawford and Brittany Stewart are expecting their first child. They have made some life changes to prepare for the life of parenthood.

“We’re cutting out all of the unnecessary spending,” said Stewart.

In just six weeks of no alcohol, cigarettes, or restaurants the couple has managed to save $800 each.

“I couldn’t believe how much money I was spending on crap,” said Crawford.

Jerrod Burgoyne is an insurance broker from Charlottetown. His best advice on saving is to rarely use your credit card.

“Don’t use it unless you plan on immediately paying it off.”

A big problem he sees at his branch is new clients being over-insured at previous branches, said the 23-year-old. People see the big money their beneficiaries will get and think it’s great, but then they’ll have a bad month and get behind on payments, he said.

“Then boom, there’s a couple thousand dollars down the drain they’ll never see again.”

After 25 years, AIDS PEI continues work to overcome misconceptions surrounding infection

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Rev. John Lacey delivers a presentation during AIDS PEI’s candlelight vigil on Feb. 1. Lacey was a founding member of the organization. Daniel Brown photo.

By Daniel Brown

Feb. 3, 2017

Rev. John Lacey remembers the 1980s, when his friend was diagnosed as HIV-positive.

Whenever Lacey visited his friend, he would avoid using the towels out of fear of becoming infected.

In 1989, Lacey’s friend died due to the infection. Because of this, Lacey aimed to better understand HIV-AIDS.

“It made me aware of this whole phenomenon.”

In 1991, he helped create a board on P.E.I. to educate people about HIV-AIDS.

Lacey is not on the AIDS PEI board anymore, but he was invited to speak at an event on Feb. 1 at the UPEI Chaplaincy Centre.

The event was to celebrate World AIDS Day and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week, which takes place in early December but was delayed due to inclement weather.

It consisted of presentations, a candlelight vigil for victims of HIV-AIDS, and music by the aboriginal drum group Lone Cry Singers.

While it still exists today, there used to be much more shame in being HIV-positive. People would hide their diagnosis due to the nature of the infection, especially from family, Lacey said.

“The big thing around that time too was the fear factor.”

HIV-AIDS only spreads if someone with it has sex or shares blood injection equipment. When Lacey first started the organization, the mandate was simply to tackle the many misconceptions surrounding it.

“Now it’s broader. Much broader.”

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Trenton Smith and Dresmond Cudmore of the Lone Cry Singers play a song midway through the event. The aboriginal community is heavily involved with AIDS PEI. Daniel Brown photo.

AIDS PEI has branched out, aiming to improve the lives of those with HIV-AIDS, those affected, and those at risk.

Cybelle Rieber is executive director of AIDS PEI. She provided a brief timeline of AIDS, noting advancements in medicine and its global effect.

In 2015, 1.1 million people died of AIDS, Rieber said.

“Our numbers are not going down. HIV did not go away, and we still have a lot of work to do.”

The organization is very involved with the aboriginal community, because HIV-AIDS has taken a huge toll on them. It is also doing more with the LGBTQ+ community by starting a youth group and holding workshops, Rieber said.

“[It’s] opportunity to reflect, create space for healthy dialogue, and overcome stigma.”

Throughout its 25-year history, AIDS PEI has had many HIV-positive individuals affiliated with its board, which helped them spread their message.

Troy Perrot-Sanderson was diagnosed as HIV-positive when he was 21-years-old. The P.E.I. local became used to others being uncomfortable around him due to the infection.

“Most of the time I used humour to get past that little bit.”

Perrot-Sanderson was originally thought to have only five years to live, which pushed him into a shell, he said.

Twenty-four years later, Perrot-Sanderson considers himself lucky, and is very grateful for the support he gets from his family, his friends, and AIDS PEI.

“It is what it is. You live with it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Little like a marriage” – MP, reporter have different views on nature of relationship between media, politicians

By Cassidy Jones

Jan. 26, 2017

Politicians and the media need each other.

At least that’s what P.E.I. MP Sean Casey told students at Holland College during his presentation on Jan. 23.

A common misconception about MPs is that they only work when they’re in Ottawa, and often the media don’t understand that, Casey said.

“My job in P.E.I. is to go where the people are and talk with them.”

One day a month, he spends his day knocking on doors, he said.

“I find it really important and appreciated to get out there.”

And when he finds something that the people want the government to know, Casey takes it with him to Ottawa, he said.

“I land it on the lap of someone who can do something about it.”

And sometimes that means standing up in the House of Commons, he said.

As for his relationship with the media, Casey carries along a card with him that he received after becoming an MP and completing his media training.

On the card is a list of nine or so beginnings to sentences, which is how an MP is instructed to answer a question from a journalist.

Teresa Wright, the Guardian’s chief political reporter, laughed when she heard about this card.

She always knew that politicians were sent to media training, Wright said.

“But to know they carry around crib notes in their wallets is something else.”

When it comes to question period in the House of Commons, Casey and Wright have differing opinions.

Nothing gets done in question period, Casey said.

“It’s theatre.”

Teresa Wright takes issue with that.

“That’s why the public has been becoming more cynical towards the government.”

Question period is the chance for the Opposition to get the answers, Wright said.

“How much better would it be if they gave real answers to these questions?”

When you’re on the government side, it’s your job to be accountable to the Opposition and to Canadians, she said.

“Politicians in power want to take credit. And the Opposition wants to criticize.”

And when it comes to working with the media, the Opposition tends to work with them a lot more, Wright said.

“We’re critical for them.”

The relationship between the media and the government is a lot like a marriage, Sean Casey said.

“You need each other but you don’t always get along.”

But politicians need the media a lot more than the media needs them, Wright said.

“They want to be able to get their message out. We’re critical for them.”

But sometimes, the news value doesn’t include a politicians quote, Wright said.

Late in 2016, P.E.I. government announced that they were looking at putting money towards buying new buses for the Stratford, Charlottetown and Cornwall loop.

However, when the budget was announced, it was clear that the only buses that Trius Transport could afford would be used buses.

Casey said the public was angry with the government, saying they were treating Islanders poorly and “screwing them over”.

The Guardian published an editorial on the story, but did not ask any politicians for a comment.

Casey wasn’t happy and wrote a letter to Wright, asking why she hadn’t asked for a comment so that they could explain to the public their decision.

Wright said she hadn’t requested a comment because the story wasn’t about the government, it was about the people and how the news of used buses affected actual Islanders.

“I found it to be a mental chess game,” Casey said.

But it’s all just a delicate balance, Wright said.

“Our job is to bear witness to what happens in our community.”

 

 

 

 

 

‘Mosque vandalism has happened on P.E.I.’

By Bradley Collins

Feb. 6, 2017

Hatred directed at Muslims doesn’t just happen in Quebec.

Richard Brown said a mosque on P.E.I. was vandalized about five years ago.

The recent massacre in Quebec City and the U.S. travel ban makes him worry about the safety of Muslims living on the Island, the Charlottetown MLA said.

“I’m quite concerned about it.”

Muslims are individuals. They have rights just like anyone else. Taking their rights away in the U.S scares him, Brown said.

“Who’s next? When will it be me?”

Brown’s not sure if this is just the tip of the iceberg or if there is something hidden underneath it.

It does concern him as an MLA, cabinet minister and an Islander. The Muslim community is a great community, he said.

“They have all the rights Islanders do.”

Mary Cowper-Smith was at a silent march in Charlottetown on Feb. 4. intended to show support and solidarity with the Muslim community.

She felt a great sadness about the shooting in Quebec City, she said.

In a world where so many terrible things happen, she has a strong feeling Canada must make its values known to the world, she said.

“We have to let refugees know they’re welcome here.”

Frank MacDonald was also at the march.

He has met a number of newcomers where he works. They are very motivated people, he said.

“They’re very enjoyable to work with.”

The shooting in Quebec was an act of hate and we can’t ignore it, he said.

“No one deserved to die like those people.”

MacDonald supports the idea of having newcomers to Canada.

It includes the right for them to preserve their traditions and meld into what we have here, he said.

“It’s about freedom in general.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Right on track’ – Charlottetown MP discusses marijuana legalization

By Grace Gormley

Jan. 24, 2017

Cannabis will soon be legal in Canada, as promised.

Headway in legalization is being made, Sean Casey told students at Holland College Jan 23.

Members of Parliament are committed to introducing legal marijuana in Canada by the middle of 2017 said Casey, the MP for Charlottetown.

“The foundation has been laid.”

The bill is expected to be introduced no later then June of this year, and will then be in the hands of provincial domains.

It will become more of a health issue and a drug and substance issue, said Casey.

“It’s all about how it’s going to be controlled.”

Many questions about the amendment still remain, including where the substance will be sold and what the appropriate legal age to purchase will be.

Johnathon McGrath thinks 19 years of age is appropriate.

“It should be right on par with the drinking age.”

McGrath, an officer with the Charlottetown police, also thinks it would be best to sell it in a section of the liquor stores.

“Marijuana isn’t a huge problem on the Island so far.”

Another positive thing that may come with legalization is a reduction in drug dealers, he said.

However legalization will most likely increase usage, and McGrath worries that more people will be driving while high.

The same steps and punishments are taken for impaired drivers, whether it be drinking alcohol or taking drugs, which many people are unaware of.

City police will be keeping a close eye when the time comes, McGrath said.

Chloe Roche, a nursing student at UPEI, thinks 19 is too young.

Taking marijuana in high school affects school performance, and brain development, Roche believes.

“Students are still immature at that age.”

Twenty-one would be more reasonable, she said.

As someone who was involved in a car accident while the driver was impaired by marijuana, Roche knows first-hand the affects that cannabis can have on a person.

“It’s still dangerous even if it’s not alcohol.”

There will have to be measurements put in place that can detect marijuana use, because as of right now it could be hard to prove that someone is high, she said.

“They should be able to test levels of weed in a person’s system.”

Otherwise, Roche says, P.E.I. roads will become more unsafe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rural residents march against proposed plan to close schools, despite cold weather

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Gary and Dorothy wait outside the Delta for more protesters to rally against the closure of five rural schools on Jan. 16. Haley MacLeod photo.

By Haley MacLeod

Jan. 20, 2017

The upset of closing five rural schools on Prince Edward Island played out Jan. 16 in front of the Delta Hotel in Charlottetown.

More than 50 people rallied outside in -18 weather to voice their concerns to the Liberal Government and premier Wade MacLauchlan.

Protesters began to arrive outside the Delta shortly after 5 p.m.

Gary and Dorothy Oulton were the first to arrive. They carried signs saying save our schools! Don’t close them!

“We’re here because we believe a closure of a school damages the community,” Dorothy said.

Inside, Delta staff were preparing for MacLauchlan to arrive and give his State of Province address.

As the crowd began to grow they were told by workers from the Delta they would have to stand on the other side if they were going to protest.

The crowd shuffled in the cold to the front of the parkade and waited for the premier.

Protesters wanted answers, many like Connie Stewart who has two sons at Belfast Consolidated.

“He promised he would pay attention to the rural communities. I want him to prove it.”

Children bundled up from their head to their toes began chanting, ‘Save our schools.’ Many others joined in.

The wind began blowing snow, but that didn’t stop protesters. Determined to do anything to save their schools.

After an hour in the cold, the crowd began to disperse.

MacLauchlan had avoided the crowd and was already inside, warm and preparing to give his speech.

‘Politicians require participation from citizens,’ says head of AIMS think-tank

By Sydney Warren

Jan. 20, 2017

Political participation is important in society and makes a difference in the decisions that are made in the country, the president of an economic think tank said in Charlottetown this morning.

Marco Navarro, of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) spoke to Journalism students at Holland College.

“Politicians require participation from citizens, there is no vote if you don’t vote.”

Journalists have an added responsibility to ask the question and get the information that the public can’t, he said.

“They expect you to gather the facts.”

AIMS does not accept any government funds and has an AIMS on Campus fellowship program that offers students the opportunity to get more involved in public policies.

“We want to bring questions into public consciousness, especially students,” said Alex Whalen, operations manager at AIMS.

Jackson Doughart, AIMS policy analyst said there is a lot to get involved in.

“There is a fellowship program, where you do research for AIMS and write for the blog. There are debates, writing and speaking opportunities and outreach events for students.”

Whalen said journalism is important for citizens and the success of journalism depends on the public markets.

“Markets are the reason journalism is down and up all the time. Journalism plays an important role in democracy.”

Jackson Doughart, AIMS policy analyst and Marco Nevarro, AIMS president speaking to Holland College Journalism students about their AIMS on Campus program. Photo by Sydney Warren