Wednesday Night #1854

Written by  //  September 19, 2017  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

HEADS UP! We have a treat in store for you.

Though much of media’s focus is on the opening of the UN General Assembly, North Korea and Myanmar, we will also be addressing more local issues this Wednesday.

Mark Roper will be with us to talk about the Queen Elizabeth –  Superclinic opens in NDG on Sept. 11 – and likely a mention of Minister ‘Diogenes’ Barrette’s  search for 10 honest persons to serve on the MUHC Board  (See Quebec healthcare for details)

The campaign for Mayor and municipal counselor in Westmount officially starts on Friday, 22 September, however some of you  (readers of the Senior Times and Facebook followers) may have noticed that Beryl Wajsman has been campaigning fast and furiously since last April and recently has chosen to attack Peter Trent’s record as allegedly one of non-involvement in matters outside Westmount’s borders (See http://www.theseniortimes.com/is-westmount-ready-for-beryl-wajsman-as-mayor/ ) Peter Trent will also be with us and no doubt will have comments on the Westmount races (some interesting young faces competing for seats on the Council).

There is lots of activity in other races throughout the island and, as mentioned last week, Tracey Ariel is running in Verdun under the Coderre banner.

Helen Fotopulos is also hoping to join us before she heads off to the Business & Professional Women’s International Congress in Cairo. We look forward to having her talk about her multiple activities in assorted groups of women in politics.

It cannot have escaped your attention that a number of Canadian cities are anxious to bid for the privilege of hosting Amazon’s HQ2.  Monday’s edition of The Current featured an interview with the mayor of Halifax about his city’s bid, which was followed by a down-to-earth review of the pros and cons of winning the bid from  James Thompson, former head of Amazon Services, co-author of the Amazon Marketplace Dilemma. He cautioned “will all of the incumbent businesses in that city also be excited to have Amazon showing up, because quite frankly a lot of these companies are going to get their employee base raided by Amazon or as soon as Amazon shows up. They can afford to pay more, they’re in a situation where they’re a world renowned brand. And so I ask the question if I were a business in Halifax for example, that had a large number of technology employees, how would I go about supporting an Amazon bid and doing it in a way where I’m excited to have another technology company there. Without being in a situation where it becomes that much harder for me to recruit my own employees knowing full well that there is a huge gorilla in the room called Amazon that’s going to attract more than its fair share of talent.” Worth thinking about. (Sorry, you’ll have to scroll down through the transcript, but it is worth it http://tinyurl.com/y7cvfep7)

Meantime, good news for Montreal and McGill as Facebook to open AI lab in Montreal headed by McGill professor — Facebook has opened an artificial intelligence research lab in Montreal. The lab will be headed by Joëlle Pineau, a McGill University professor.

Did you see Toronto to Montreal in 39 minutes? Futuristic people mover zips to next stage Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal ‘hyperloop’ sole Canadian pitch short-listed for development?  CBC reports thatThe Canadian route was brought forward by a team called HyperCan, which, according to Hyperloop’s website is led by AECOM, an American multinational engineering firm that has also been involved in the construction of Ottawa’s light rail system.” Wednesday Nighter Mario Iacobacci , VP Economics at AECOM Montreal, is “Thrilled to have been part of the AECOM team that fielded the team that won the Hyperloop One Global Challenge.”

The UNGA is underway and on both Monday and Tuesday, (the scripted) Donald Trump was on display. At Monday’s  event dedicated to U.N. reform, he stated  that “In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement.” It would be hard for any right-thinking person to disagree. There, it has finally happened, we have found a point of agreement with DJT!

On Tuesday, he also stayed on message (though exceeding the traditional time allocated) while  speaking to the Assembly. The message included threats to totally destroy  North Korea (referring to Kim by the derisory term  “Rocket man”) and condemnation of governments in Iran, Venezuela and Cuba.
Not surprisingly, the North Korean delegation, who had front-row seats, left the hall before he spoke – probably a good thing.
Whatever else, it was, the speech was harsh and we can be assured of a vast array of punditry in its wake. In a comprehensive breakdown, The Guardian comments that “the US president had clearly not come to the UN to placate foreign leaders but rather to speak over their heads to his own supporters”  and reports “The speech was greeted in the UN chamber mostly with silence and occasional outbreaks of disapproving murmurs, as Trump castigated a succession of hostile regimes.” The exception was Netanyahu’s statement: “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.”
P.S. – no mention of climate change!

As Maria (what happened to storms  K and L, how did we miss them?) wreaks havoc as a category 5 hurricane, Nadja Popovich of the NYT makes the case in From Heat Waves to Hurricanes: What We Know About Extreme Weather and Climate Change,  that climate change doesn’t cause hurricanes, but is expected to lead to stronger, wetter ones and is likely to increase the frequency of “very intense” storms.

Myanmar, the plight of the Rohingya and the persistent silence of Aung San Suu Kyi  were called out by a seemingly increasingly frustrated (“Myanmar has been completely deaf to our requests”) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday. He took issue with Aung San Suu Kyi ‘s earlier address  in which she avoided any condemnation of the violence perpetrated by the military. See  Aung San Suu Kyi, a Much-Changed Icon, Evades Rohingya Accusations
Wednesday Nighter Kyle Matthews on CTV discussed the current situation and what Canada can do – revoking Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary citizenship would send a strong message.

With the Canadian Parliament again in session, the return of the National Assembly, the start of the NDP Leadership vote, resumption of NAFTA talks in Ottawa on Saturday, elections in Germany, not to mention on-going political circus in Washington, there is ample fodder for more discussion, but we may leave that until next week.

In case there was ever any doubt, Diana is  a huge John le Carré fan for the quality of his prose, the complexity of his plots, but most of all, his ability to create distinctive voices for each of his characters.
His latest book: A Legacy of Spies, lives up to all the hype. AND poses troubling moral dilemmas.  The icing on the cake was the 60 Minutes interview with David Cornwall aka John le Carré Ex-British spy on leading a “double life” as a famous author on Sunday night 17 September.

In another vein, any of you with access to PBS and who have not already done so, should rush to watch/record the riveting series The Vietnam War from Ken Burns. Unfortunately, like so much that is good on PBS, you can’t watch it online.  We also highly recommend the in-depth piece in the Washington Post Unburying the Vietnam War about the making of the series.

Finally, on a sad note, we offer our deepest sympathy to Julius Grey on the death of his beloved and remarkable father. The service will be held on Sunday 10:30 at the Côte des Neiges funeral Centre.

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