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Fw: [GreenYes] Threat to PEI Bottle Bill
The climate on PEI regarding the container regs is quite complex.  I would disagree strongly with the editorial claims that there is substantial opposition to the legislation.  I would suggest that there is a strong voice in opposition to the regs but that voice is not representative of the majority of Islanders. That voice has however now become quite sophisticated in attracting national media and communicating its message much more effectively.
Islanders have been bombarded by media and information that tries to position their province as being in the dark ages and behind the times as a result of their container regs.  Why is PEI the only province or state legislating refillables, Islanders are asked.  Is everyone else wrong and tiny little PEI right.
Recently a bridge has been built linking PEI with the Canadian mainland and this has aggravated the problem.  Islanders now have easy access to one way beverage containers from the mainland and are actually breaking the law if they put a case in the trunk of their car and bring it home.
Human nature, the quest for convenience and a much more effective voice against the regulations is the enemy here (not discounting the obvious strong influence of multi national commercial interests).  PEI has a population of 135,000 people.  The grassroots support of the status quo has been heard and continues to voice their opinions. PEI needs the support of those off island to counter the ever growing off island attack on the provincial ministry to compliment the pro regulation camp.
---- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 2:25 PM
Subject: Re: [GreenYes] Threat to PEI Bottle Bill

While "letters from outside of Canada congratulating the PEI government in maintaining the legislation and applauding their courage might help," it seems there is a fundamental issue that must be addressed if PEI is to maintain their forward-thinking ban on cans and non-refillable bottles: the residents of PEI must be brought on board in support of the ban.  The newspaper article implies that there is substantial opposition to the ban among PEI residents.  Accurate or not, no amount of congratulatory letters from outside will counter-balance a combination of citizen dissatisfaction and multinational corporate pressure.  If there is, in fact, grass roots support for the ban, then that support should be nurtured and expanded through public outreach and education.
Sharon Gates
Recycling Specialist
City of Long Beach, California
Phone: 562/570-4694
Fax: 562/570-2861

"Jed Goldberg" <>
Sent by:

03/06/2002 10:06 AM
Please respond to "Jed Goldberg"

        To:        <>
        Subject:        [GreenYes] Threat to PEI Bottle Bill

Request for Help
The Province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) on the east cost of Canada has the most stringent and forward thinking beverage container legislation in North America.
The legislation demands that all carbonated beverages and beer must be bottled in refillable glass.  It is illegal to sell canned soft drinks or beer on the island.  Needless to say, this tiny province's legislation is less than popular with the suits in Atlanta who regularly visit the island to tell the provincial environment minister that he needs to get with the program and start allowing consumers to choose the packaging they want.  They would also prefer if little was known about this legislation outside of PEI.
The heat has been on the Province for years to change the legislation but they have always stayed the course and maintained that this bill has strong environmental merit as well as eliminating litter.
Yesterday an editorial was published in the National Post (a right wing national newspaper) slamming the legislation and throwing more gasoline on the fire.  Copy Below.  There has been a lot of discussion on PEI questioning the need to continue this legislation and when a credible voice (?) issues a strong statement against the legislation, it carries a lot of weight on PEI.
That is precisely why your letter could help.  Letters from outside of Canada congratulating the PEI government in maintaining the legislation and applauding their courage might help.
Please take a few moments to write a letter to the editor of the National Post explaining why you feel the legislation is a ground breaker in North America and should be modelled not questioned.
Please copy me on your letter,
Much Thanks
Red sand, no cans

National Post - March 5, 2002

Anne of Green Gables never drank pop out of a can. And, according to the Prince Edward Island government, neither should anyone else on the island. Last month Chester Gillan, P.E.I.'s environment minister, announced he was maintaining his province's 18-year-old ban on pop and beer cans. Carbonated beverages can only be sold in refillable glass bottles in the province.

But that doesn't square with residents' views. Letters to the editor and editorials in P.E.I. have been solidly against the ban since Mr. Gillan made his announcement. A recent survey said three in four Islanders would buy soft drinks in cans or plastic bottles, if given the choice. And Terri Johnson of Milo, P.E.I., recently unveiled a Web site and petition as a focal point for popular opposition to the ban.

Mr. Gillan's weak argument is that Islanders must accept less choice in order to save the environment and promote tourism. But if the government is so concerned on this score, why is it only carbonated drinks such as pop and beer that are subject to the bottle requirement? Juice, milk, water and other unbubbly beverages can be sold however a consumer desires -- environment be damned. If Mr. Gillan is driven to keep cans out of ditches and off beaches, then why not ban all cans?

One reason stands out. Whenever the topic of the ban comes up, the management of Seaman's Beverages, the only bottler of soft drinks on the island, raise the spectre of 125 jobs that might be lost if "imported" pop were to flood P.E.I.'s shores. Indeed, the official explanation for the original 1984 ban reads: "Preserving a local bottling business and the associated jobs was also seen as paramount."

Setting aside the outrageous infringement on P.E.I. residents' right to choose how they quench their thirst and the higher prices they must pay, (as well as the indirect effects of the ban, which include the blocking of carbonated juice beverages that are distributed only in cans), even the alleged economic benefits of propping up a local business is illusory. A 1998 study by University of Prince Edward Island researchers found that provincial businesses lost $4-million in sales and the government $400,000 in taxes per year because of the can ban. The law hurts consumers, business and government. Free the cans!

Jed Goldberg
Earth Day Canada

296 Richmond Street West
Toronto  ON  M5V 1X2

v - 416.599.1991  ex 111
f - 416.599.3100

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