Wednesday Night #974 – Politics & Globalization with updates

With our esteemed political science fiction commentator, Dr. Rick Schultz we were delighted to have a new media personality, Michael Fox, who has just taken up his post as BBC World News representative in Montreal. Pierre Marc Johnson, making one of his too-rare appearances, introduced Peter Holt Dunn, Chairman of Holdun Inc., Gestion de placements. Peter, from Québec City and, most especially, Ste Petronille on the Ile d’ Orléans, is a former Québec civil servant, notably in the Ministry of International Trade. Jonathan Jonas brought John Chapman Wilkinson, son of old friend Paul Wilkinson, and a practitioner of demographics at an international level.

WESTMOUNT WEB COMMUNICATIONS
As David Nicholson conducted his weekly tour of the Wednesday Night Website, Diana illustrated its broad appeal by reading a message received that evening from a community worker at the CLSC Metro.
“I was doing a research On (Mrs.) Hon. Lucienne Robillard regarding a meeting on Sunday next and I found your site. Curious as I am, I surf on your site and was very pleased with what I found. A lot of informations, well organized and I almost took too much time of my work going through all your site. Now I’m going home and as soon as my four years old daughter will be in bed I’ll go back to my holy computer and read some more. Thanks for the good deed
P.S. Forgive my writting, english was not very popular in my neighbourhood in Joliette when I was a kid.”
To which the Nicholsons replied:
“Bonjour et merci de votre charmant message! Ne vous inquietez pas pour votre anglais – il est excellent. Nous sommes très heureux que le site vous plait, vos commentaires seront toujours les bienvenus.”

And that kind of exchange is what Québec is – and should be – all about!

GLOBALIZATION
Is the world slowly warming to globalization? Globalization is nothing more than a recycled Marxian polarization, the most recent pole being the market economy. With the partial exception of agricultural goods, globalization relates to the free, unhindered circulation of goods. It has been argued that globalization has been the means of giving some nations a monopoly. Once done through colonization, what is new is that powered by the enormous advances in technology with a global reach, the consequences are now so vast. The same technology that has made this phenomenon possible has also empowered its opponents to demand consideration for environmental and social issues related to the exportation of manufacturing to countries to the detriment of their natural and human resources. Whether or not one agrees with the methods used, the size and importance of the protests have caused changes to take place in the thinking of the world’s trading nations. The G-20 countries, responsible for roughly ninety-five percent of the world’s production, include both technologically advanced and developing nations. Motivated by the very active anti free-trade lobby, the G-20 may well have the will and potential to promote global trade while safeguarding social and environmental concerns, to the benefit of all.

REFERENDA AND ELECTIONS
This year may very well be remembered as the year of referenda and elections. Although it is impossible to comment intelligently until the formulation of the law has been studied, it appears that with no credible motive as yet expressed, municipal amalgamation on the Island of Montréal will proceed. By March 2001, the law will be passed, the appointment will be made of the person whose mandate will be to integrate the cities and streamline that integration. By mid 2003, it will be complete. There will be a gradual erosion of sense of community, all for reasons not as yet apparent to the citizens of the affected communities. It is virtually a done deal and opposition is diminishing among some municipal politicians who, it would seem, have allowed themselves to be beguiled by promises of lucrative positions on regional committees.
In the United States, with the possible exception of the candidates, no one appears quite certain of the results. It is virtually certain however, that the next President of the United States, whoever that may be, may very well be remembered by historians as one of the more forgettable ones. [
Editor’s note: Cloudy crystal ball. Unfortunately, George W. Bush is not forgettable, and for all the wrong reasons]
In Canada, things may be a little more exciting. Although a Liberal government is a foregone conclusion, the extent of the victory is not. The New Democrats and Conservatives may be eliminated from the equation. The size of the Liberal victory may very well depend on whether or not Canadians prefer tax cuts of modest proportions to more money spent on health and education. Chrétien is betting that they do not. An experienced politician, he is adept at exploiting the subtleties of the preferences of Canadians to the detriment of his opponents. However, he may find that repatriating Brian Tobin to Ottawa does not bring the Maritimes back into the Liberal fold. The West will not support the Liberals and there may be a tough fight in Ontario.
The role of the apparently anachronistic Bloc is interesting. To really understand the apparent paradox of the Bloc’s existence, one must go back to the Quiet Revolution, when Quebeckers, along with the inhabitants of such other Catholic political entities as Ireland, Poland and Spain, turned away from religion. In Québec, we adopted as a substitute, the secular religion of sovereignty. Québec and its citizens have since then, increasingly traded this religion for the new technology, but the Bloc remains and is quite capable of mobilizing the public around popular issues.
The Bloc is a marginal party which can mobilize voters on a singe issue
Whatever the outcome, there will be a Liberal government, minority or majority in Ottawa in 2001. [Editor’s note: we got that right]

QUOTES OF THE EVENING

On Globalization
There is a real world of change today. Politicians are going to have a hard time selling more free trade. Riots are sometimes a sign of a deeper malaise that exists (Globalization is) Growing interdependence of trade and investment around the world…It’s a movement of ideas. It’s about consumption and wealth and comfort
The speed of globalization is above the ability of governments to control it, therefore people who depend on governments feel they are not in control

Because of the new technologies, people, especially young people, have the means of mobilizing and are no longer prepared to accept top-down directives

On Municipal Amalgamations

The sense of community will gradually erode
I’m not so much against one island, one city, what I object to is the way it’s being done

Lucien Bouchard does five years later, what Mike Harris does

On the Economy
Québec is the sixth richest country in the world. It just hasn’t been discovered yet
The only thing that is holding up the (U.S.) Dollar is European investors who are disappointed in their own economy
Going straight up with a little ripple here and there … too much money out there
When John was there and I was there (Québec City), we too had a lot of fun spending….

The strength of the UK economy these dies lies in the partnerships between young companies
On the U.S. presidential election
Two of the most incompetent people … getting ready to take over the number one position in the United States
When you look at the polls, sometimes you get the impression that the Americans prefer a consistent dunce to a sometimes erratic intelligent person
On the general philosophy of life
Some people don’t choose their own calling, it chooses them

Prologue

If you have survived last Sunday’s “October Fool” snowfall along with the goblins of Halloween, come and enjoy the wit and wisdom of Herr Doctor Daddy Professor Rick Schultz, Political Science Fiction commentator extraordinaire. And surely the elections, North and South of the border will provide ample fodder.
We are also pleased that Peter Gummer will join us again. Peter has over 30 years experience as a mining geologisti in North and South America and Australia. He is associated with Michael Judson in Forest Gate Resources Inc. of which Mike is President. Based in Calgary, Peter will bring us the viewpoint of the West.


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