Wednesday Night #1835 with Peter Trent OWN

Written by  //  May 10, 2017  //  Wednesday Nights  //  1 Comment

Our hearts go out to the residents of Hudson, Rigaud and all the other municipalities and regions battling with the worst floods (in eastern Canada) in recent memory. While the tragedy is in our mind’s eye – and that of our politicians – it’s high time to consider how to mitigate such disasters in the future. Are there any municipal or regional urban and/or rural planning codes and/or regulatory models ANYWHERE that should be emulated? What is the role of the other levels of government in enforcing adoption? How do we (citizens and tax payers) ensure that politicians actively seek solutions? It seems to us that in other years, when the flooding has not been so severe, there is annual wringing of hands, but little else.
The current disaster has brought out the best in most of the political representatives of the afflicted areas. Our friend Peter Schiefke, MP for Vaudreuil—Soulanges, has been an exemplary worker and an encouraging social media presence. Perhaps we can hope that he and some of his colleagues whose ridings have been equally hard-hit will insist on a thorough review of what can and should be done.

While we all rejoice in Emmanuel Macron’s defeat of Marine Le Pen, the hard part is only beginning. As the Washington Post’s Griff Witte put it: “He must figure out how to translate the poetry of a campaign built on borrowing the best ideas from either end of the political spectrum into the prose of governing in a way that doesn’t alienate everyone.”
South Korea’s election outcome also appears to be a cause for celebration. The new liberal President, Moon Jae-in, was sworn in on Wednesday and vowed to immediately address North Korea’s advancing nuclear ambitions, begin efforts to defuse security tensions on the Korean peninsula and negotiate with Washington and Beijing to ease the row over a U.S. missile defense system being deployed in the South. We wish him well.
Meanwhile, the BC election results are in the cliff-hanger category. As of early Wednesday morning, the Liberals had won a minority government, elected in 43 of B.C.’s 87 ridings, compared to 41 for the NDP and three for the Green Party. It takes 44 seats to form a majority in B.C. But several ridings will have recounts and absentee ballots have not been counted. A lot of breath-holding until the final count by Elections BC between May 22 and 24.

Dystopia – not a word we used often in the past – only when referring to 1984 or A Clockwork Orange. Today, however, not only is there a growing literary genre (dystopian fiction), but it is hard to pick up any modestly literate article without encountering  the word, usually in reference to the U.S. under the Trump administration. According to its definition, the term refers to “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives” whereas today’s pundits are applying it to a real situation. Be that as it may, the latest evocation – the television series “The Handmaid’s Tale”- is sending shivers down the spines of those who fear the worst from the Trump administration and its political allies. The past days’ events would seem to support those fears.

The White House centipede dropped yet another shoe with the firing on Tuesday evening of FBI Director James Comey which took everyone by surprise. The reasons offered are laughable. The timing is suspect: right after Sally Yates’ devastating testimony and right before Mr. Trump’s Wednesday meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Syria (we hope DJT can remember which country) and other international issues  Some prominent Republicans are uncomfortable. David Frum’s reaction was swift and takes us back to those fears of dystopia: “Perhaps the worst fears for the integrity of the U.S. government and U.S. institutions are being fulfilled. If this firing stands—and if Trump dares to announce a pliable replacement—the rule of law begins to shake and break. The law will answer to the president, not the president to the law.”

Not as sudden (nor, sadly, as surprising) are several other recent developments:
— The dismissal of scientists from an EPA 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC), which advises EPA’s prime scientific arm on whether the research it does has sufficient rigor and integrity and their replacement with representatives of the regulated industries. At the same time, the Department of the Interior has frozen the work of the Bureau of Land Management’s 38 resource advisory councils, along with other panels focused on a sweep of issues, from one assessing the threat of invasive species to the science technical advisory panel for Alaska’s North Slope.
Republicans start literally deleting their health care promises
Remember this online Q&A published on the House Republican leadership’s website?
The day after 217 House Republicans voted for their party’s health care plan, the website was changed – and these promises, which Republicans broke, were replaced with new text.
In other words, instead of keeping their promises, Ryan and the House GOP leadership quietly – and literally – deleted some of their promises.
— But that pales beside the news that All of Trump’s campaign statements just vanished from his website.
Kushner Family Stands to Gain From Visa Rules in Trump’s First Major Law
(NYT) It was the first major piece of legislation that President Trump signed into law, and buried on Page 734 was one sentence that brought a potential benefit to the president’s extended family: renewal of a program offering permanent residence in the United States to affluent foreigners investing money in real estate projects here.
–And now we learn that amidst squabbling about whether or not to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,  Ivanka Trump has been tasked by her father with reviewing the issue. We are sure that makes all environmentalists supremely confident.

When no less a conservative voice than George Will condemns DJT in the epic phrase: “His fathomless lack of interest in America’s path to the present and his limitless gullibility leave him susceptible to being blown about by gusts of factoids that cling like lint to a disorderly mind., we know we have cause to worry. Perhaps Dystopia is not an exaggeration?

Time to change the subject.

A provocative piece brought to our attention by Hosein Maleki
The meaning of life in a world without work
As technology renders jobs obsolete, what will keep us busy?

The two WN Davids, Jones and Kilgour, write respectively on International Trade and the Trump Administration, and Trade Challenges: United States, Canada, and China. As always, an interesting dialogue.

Kyle Matthews reminds us
‘We can turn the tide of fear and hate’
MAY 26-27: Join Concordia’s Montreal Institute of Genocide and Human Rights Studies in recognizing the city’s role in sheltering the oppressed
To acknowledge the city’s role in advancing human rights, Concordia’s Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) has joined forces with Amnesty International Canada, the United Committee of Armenian Organizations in Quebec and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights to organize Rights City/Montréal, ville des droits humains, a major event on May 26 and 27. Details

Also, don’t forget the exciting  “Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific”  course that Cleo Paskal is leading at CERIUM from 29 May to 3 June.

One Comment on "Wednesday Night #1835 with Peter Trent OWN"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson May 10, 2017 at 3:20 pm · Reply

    Desmond Morton: “A letter in the Globe today recalls that a federal government in the mid-1990s had a program of flood-control spending but it was severed from public funding. There is no policy when there is no funding. Hence the policy.”

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