Wednesday Night #1044

Written by  //  March 6, 2002  //  Canada, Economy, Guy Stanley, Herb Bercovitz, Media, Montreal, People Meta, Peter Trent, Québec, Reports, Wednesday Nights, Wednesday Nights Meta  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1044

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Susan Eyton-Jones makes a return engagement to 33 Rosemount this week, from her performance in Nabucco in Toronto “… Sunday’s performers, pride of place goes to Susan Eyton-Jones as Nabucco’s eldest daughter, Abigaille, a twisted, ambitious woman who becomes the centre of the evil in the opera, and its main antagonist. Although Eyton-Jones did not control the full range of her voice with equal precision, she provided some of the finest moments in the production, especially her recitative in Act 2. ”
Also her good friend and good agent, Mary Ingraham from Vancouver, whose skills as a pianist are well known. (She was with us on the 1001st Wednesday night.)


Despite weather in which we run the gamut from Spring (+12) to Winter (-13, or -29 with wind chill factor) in the space of 24 hours, Wednesday Night remains a constant. Consistent, too – warm welcome, sometimes heated debate and always Hot Topics.
Maintaining this consistency, we warmly welcome our OWN Peter Trent, always a Hot Topic and often part of a heated debate.
In addition, this Wednesday we have a Hot Diva, as Susan Eyton-Jones graces us with her presence and, for good measure, brings her talented agent and friend, Mary Ingraham.
The dismal science should be well represented by some decidedly undismal practitioners, including Dr. Guy Stanley and possibly Dr. Hans Black. Will they comment on Bernard Landry’s proposal to get rid of the Loonie in favor of the US Dollar?
And what about the advantages of belonging to NAFTA now that we find that Canada is exempt from the U.S. Steel tariffs? Is Wednesday Night bullish or bearish in the face of the recent Market gains? Is the rise in Japanese stocks truly a cause for optimism? Come find out.
One topic on which some of us are decidedly grumpy bears is the news that ABC wants to replace Nightline with David Letterman – read Maureen Dowd and Ted Koppel himself.
At the international level: Switzerland, the last holdout, on its way to becoming the 190th member of the U.N. – is this a good thing for the Swiss? Euro
The Middle East – a worse mess than ever. Now we have Saudi Arabia and Egypt fighting over which one is allowed to propose a peace plan? Really!

The Report

Montreal Media
Peter Trent , newly returned from his six-week sojourn in the UK, remarked that he had relished the scope of international news coverage in the British papers, particularly The Times and the Telegraph and noted that not once did he see anything about Canada – let alone Québec.
Meanwhile the Canadian papers and more particularly Montreal’s dismal offerings, pursue their parochial interests, ignoring the rest of the world.
Local policeman gets shot! That’s big local front-page news, completely masking if not obliterating the stories about thousands around the world who fear for their lives, our soldiers who risk their lives daily (only three policeman have been shot in Montreal in the last three years) and the innocent victims of wars, terrorism and reprisal. This is not a suggestion that the deliberate murder of a young man in uniform who is sworn to protect our lives and those of our family members is not a tragedy for our families as well as his, but the prominence the story has been given compared with the sparse treatment of world news good and bad gives rise to questions – questions as to the evolution of news and news reporting since the earlier glory days of the Montreal Gazette, of the infinitely superior Montreal Star in its many editions and the Montreal Herald. [remember the Police Gazette]
There are many hypotheses offered purporting to explain the phenomenon, the first being the shrinking Anglophone population, another, the concentration of ownership making the bottom line easier to achieve by eliminating bureaus around the world (But even before this trend, foreign bureaus for some French media meant Ottawa!). A third possibility is the acquisition of news media by companies whose main product is entertainment. Whatever the answer, there is less interest in our local English language newspapers and they respond by making their papers less newsworthy, less international in scope, but perhaps more entertaining. There is still good news coverage to be had for those with sufficient interest to search the Web for it, notably the BBC, CBC and electronic editions of the New York Times, but serious readers undoubtedly represent a small proportion of Web-niks. Furthermore, the Web is not designed for readers; the angle of the screen, the flickering images and text are not conducive to thoughtful absorption and analysis. Most people who do read their news on the Web, print out anything of interest, thus contributing to the rape of our forests.
[Editor’s note: It is reported in the Gazette of Sunday, March 10th that “More attention is paid to actual news….A third of U.S. adults are spending more time reading newspapers ….” This item not available in the electronic version of the Gazette!]
Whatever the answers to the Montreal dilemma, the report that reality war is coming to ABC elicited groans and derision.

# “In whose interest is it that people be well informed?”
# “We get the politicians we deserve. We get the news we deserve. People are lazy and don’t want to know what is going on in the world unless it affects them directly.”
# “There are newspapers where you can get the news you want but we’re lambish about it.”
# “I am … appalled by the way some people get all their news on TV. You can’t cover a story fully in50 seconds and you can’t fast forward (those items in which you are not interested).”
# “We’re the dummy adult population … emphasis on youth. We’re not in a print culture any more.”
# “I don’t fancy having breakfast with my computer.”

The Quebec Dollar
Our uncharacteristically calm Premier Bernard Landry has proclaimed his support for the national adoption of the U.S. dollar. While there are those who, trusting the motivation of some politicians even less than that of others, believe that faced with an inherent dislike of Canadian currency and a distaste for the problems of creating a Québec currency following separation, M.Landry has found this creative solution to his dilemma.
Nonetheless, there appears to be increasing support for following this path, mostly for reasons other than those attributed to M. Landry. Many professional and amateur Economists believe that we have not done that badly when compared with currencies other than the American dollar. These experts also point to many factors that have discounted the price but not the value of our dollar.

* The Canadian dollar traditionally trails commodity prices, currently at a low ebb.
* Increasing allowable foreign currency content in RRSP contributions has led to an export of the Canadian dollar.
* Our lower interest rate than that of the United States has diminished interest in investing in Canada.
* Foreign investors have lost money trading the Canadian dollar for the last decade and have moved away from that market.

We are however, wealthier, a spin-off of the low dollar.
Some experts decry the action of the Bank of Canada in suddenly announcing in 1977, that there would be no further intervention to defend the Canadian dollar. It is claimed that speculators and investors lost much money following this change in policy and are not eager to come back to this market and it is impossible for us to reverse this policy at this point.

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