Wednesday Night #1155

Almost fifty guests, including many of Harry Mayerovitch’s close friends, close relatives and classmates crowded into the Nicholsons’ dining room to pay tribute to Harry. Although the chair he occupied over the years was vacant, his presence was very much felt, contributing to the discussion. Harry may never return to Wednesday Night in the flesh but will surely continue to contribute his astute observations for many more years.


Global Governance

The Club of Athens, Athens being a metaphor for democracy, is moving ahead with its plans to move towards global governance. Fifty invited guests from around the world will meet in Athens, Greece in October after each having submitted a three-page statement, the first page identifying the five major government issues around the world, the second suggesting strategies to resolve them and the third, an action plan to move towards global governance.
Solution of the problem of global anarchy will come none too soon.
The suggestion of American world dominance is partly valid, partly assumed. The reasons for the war in Iraq remain unclear, but it has certainly resulted in inter-nation acrimony, increased world tension, possibly, increased world violence and certainly to many deaths of Americans and their friends and allies. Although there can be little objection to free trade which, if truly free, benefits all, but without equal free trade enforced by a supranational body, there continue to be accusations, although not universally held, that it is free trade that benefits the U.S. to the detriment of other nations.
A case in point is India, a democracy consisting of twenty-nine states and six centrally administered union territories. It attained its freedom in 1947 and its current constitution came into effect in 1950. With the largest electorate in the world, it is currently in the electoral process. There is no doubt that the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpauee and the National Democratic Alliance will be reelected over Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi. It is claimed by some Indians that it is through the influence of the United States rather than the needs of the electorate that this will occur. It is alleged that real progress and democracy were promoted during the regimes of Gandhi and Nehru, but that the current regime has promoted western values and technology above the needs of the people. We in the western world, look at the strides made in technology and film-making as being in the best interest of the Indian people, but the question inevitable arises as to who benefits most. It is also feared by some that moving towards western values will alienate India from the Muslim world, thus further contributing to its presumed problems.
Have we in Canada suffered as well as benefited from our proximity to the United States? Were our involvement in Yugoslavia, Colombia and the Congo genuinely philosophically motivated or the result of our reliance on friendship with our neighbors to the south?
These questions and claims are being raised. It is to be hoped that the Club of Athens will at some future date, provide us with both answers.

Robert Woodward‘s revelations and observations included a guarantee by Saudi Arabia that it would ensure that the price of crude oil would drop to the $35 to $ 37 per barrel range around November. The presumed reality of the situation is that there being a time lag between research and publication, Woodward probably received this information from government officials at the time that it appeared that Iraq would be a cake walk for the U.S. and Saudi being understandably under pressure. No explanation is required for the November target date.

Paul Martin stated that his plans for Medicare include a range of reforms such as more doctors and nurses, shorter wait times and better home care. It sounds great, but there are two major obstacles to the government succeeding, the most obvious of which being that the latest predictions indicate that our next prime minister will be called Stephen Harper leading a minority government, rather than Martin. Mr. Harper insists that Medicare is a provincial rather than federal responsibility.
Waiting lists (for medical treatment) are supply side control over costs
The second glitch is a court hearing on June 8 that will decide whether the prevention of insuring medical care is a violation of the charter of human rights. If the Supreme Court rules that it is, a two-tiered system is assured and Medicare will never be the same.

… juxtaposition of human nature and technology. What we have found is that the ban on nuclear arms has just about gone down the tubes. There are elements in our lives that we cannot control
Martin had all this preparation but he gets into power and doesn’t know what to do
Paul Martin has no program, no agenda
You are limiting it to Harper and Martin. There are other people running. You will see surprises in Québec and in the West and you will end up with a dog’s breakfast
Every minority government ends up with excessive government spending
Harper will be our next prime minister

The Prologue

While our dear Comrade Harry’s chair will be unoccupied, this is not an evening of tribute to him, although we are very pleased to welcome members of his family. Our tribute is in planning an evening that he would enjoy. We look forward to your help in making sure of that.

Kimon Valaskakis is back from Europe and prepared to update us on the progress of the plans of the Club of Athens and the Triple G/Global Governance Group. He will be accompanied by one or two surprise and surprising guests.
Having spent a good part of last Wednesday learning the background to the elections in South Africa, this week we will turn to another momentous election – the four-week marathon during which the world’s largest democracy – over 700 million Indians – will vote. India news
For those who are not as au fait with the issues as with the twists and turns of Canada’s sponsorship scandals, we commend you to the excellent BBC Q&A site
You will have noted that Spain is pulling its troops out of Iraq; did you also see that Honduras’ 370-man contingent is being withdrawn? It seems that the “coalition of the unwilling” is now more un than willing.
Thursday is Earth Day and on its eve, Rudolf Amenga-Etego, Ghanaian lawyer and human rights campaigner has won a 2004 Goldman environmental prize for his work to stop water being privatized in a scheme backed by the World Bank.
The Middle East
Who has followed the tortuous path of the last few days and can identify the strategic plan – any strategic plan? Has the Bush White House done a deal with the Saudis to ensure that oil prices come down just in time for the election? And speaking of Bush – what, if anything, will come from the Bush-Blair meeting?
Closer to home, we may indulge in some conjecture over what Chuck Guité will say in his appearance before the parliamentary inquiry into the sponsorship scandal on Thursday and Friday.
And certainly the flurry of activity on the part of the PM should give rise to some comments: His vision of Medicare speech last Friday followed by Monday’s summit on aboriginal affairs, said to be a success, agreeing on an action plan to improve quality of life for native people.
[New partnership Monday, April 19, 2004 — The 10-year plan outlined in Ottawa today calls for bold policy changes on health care, education, and housing. It also emphasizes economic development and job creation and it calls for the federal government to treat aboriginal leaders as equal partners in negotiations but only if those leaders agree to submit yearly progress reports to parliament.]
Finally, did anyone note what a Sports Day April 19 was in Boston? The Boston Marathon, a clean sweep for Kenya; the Red Sox versus the Yankees at Fenway Park, with happy results for Boston AND the Stanley Cup playoffs – a miracle, Montreal leaving the “Boston Ruins” behind as one headline has it….

 

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