Mitch Joel WARNING... LONG RANT! It takes a lot for me to both get angry and publish about it. Canada’s…
West Wing of Wednesday Night is launched
We are delighted that, thanks to the initiative and determination of Alexandra Tcheremenska OWN and her husband James Greenhill, the West Wing (Vancouver) of Wednesday Night is to be up and running on April 2.
Congratulations, Best Wishes and enthusiastic cheerleading from us all!
The invitation to the inaugural session is below and indicates that the new WN will be in all of the finest traditions of the original, including topics of global interest and at least one local issue that might bring puzzled stares from those gathered in Montreal — who knew there was a campaign to rename the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Straight of Georgia? But then, we doubt that our Vancouver colleagues know or care about the development plan for Griffintown.
The existence of the West Wing will surely foster some exchanges between Wednesday Nighters travelling from one city to the other on business or pleasure and we look forward to welcoming the ‘delegates’ from Vancouver. Meanwhile, we are very happy that at least one representative of Wednesday Night Central will be in attendance at the inaugural West Wing session.
Finally, as the Vancouver session will start at 19:30, we envisage an electronic link in the very near future.
It is officially launched! It is very exciting and I hope it goes well!
Preparing for the launch, I spoke with Martin Barnes [Ah, but he is a cautious Scot] who actually did not sound very optimistic that we can pull it off on the west coast, but I remain, as I heard Gloria Steinem recently say at a fundraiser luncheon, hope-a-holic!
Dear friends/Chers amis!
As I have mentioned to all of you at various occasions, I would like to invite you to help start the “Wednesday Night Salon” series – west coast edition! So I am taking the plunge and starting the adventure – small but steady -on Wednesday, April 2nd!
Wednesday night in Montreal used to be my favourite time of the week as I could attend that fabulous gathering of “les grands esprits” whose mission is “… to entertain, inform and occasionally comment on a wide range of subjects of interest to us and to the many participants in and contributors to the Wednesday Night Salon and the Nicholson Files. Our goal is to promote understanding of and openness to different views. While we do not seek to convince, our hope is that each participant will gain new information and a new perspective, – an I-hadn’t-thought-about-it-that-way-before reaction.”
What I would love to see flourish in Vancouver is a monthly edition, which preserves some of the key success elements of the concept:
– you need to believe that it is fun to discuss, examine, challenge or poke fun at ideas, trends and events past, present and future
– what is said here, stays here
– amongst the people gathered, there will be full breadth of ages, perspectives and opinions and while they are all respected, they can and ought to be vigorously debated
– people arrive after they have had dinner -6h30PM or so, then the moderated conversation starts at 7h30 and ends at 9h30 sharp and that is the host’s commitment to you, as the next day we all work!
– there is no food served – just wine (bring a bottle of your favorite! or sample the ones we like) and candlelight (OK, OK, I will splurge on pretzels)
– while there are a few “regulars”- members of the Wednesday Night group who come as often as possible – many other guests attend only when topics of specific relevance to their professions or fields of expertise are to be discussed. Attendance is by invitation or “Wednesday Nighters” are encouraged to alert the hosts to the possibility of inviting special guests, visitors or new members of the community who may contribute expertise or a special viewpoint. If the guest “works”, the host would invite them to become regulars.
– the setting is private and informal – we would like to welcome you to our Vancouver home
You are all fabulous fascinating (and busy!) people who are passionate about the world we live in and the people who surround us.
The topics we could start on could include:
– the political “entertainment” news provided to us from south of the border (the audacity of hope that perhaps there are good news down there?) and from France! (where crisis may be pre-empted by some decisive but unpopular action) – and I can’t help but point out the fascinating parallels between Hillary-Obama and Ségolène Royal- Nicolas Sarkozy
– should we rename the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Straight of Georgia – the Salish Sea?
– the study on money and happiness published by UBC in Science magazine
– Caribbean affairs – Cuba post-Castro, Haiti-post disaster
– the future of books, music and copyright in a read-write and share-for-free society
– and if you all insist, yes, we can even talk about health care…
Of course, one never knows where the conversation goes, we may cover all or none, as you will all have things you are currently involved in or interested
in that you will bring to the roundtable!
Alexandra (and husband James Greenhill)
Quotes from the evening
On Canadian foreign policy:
“If you want to be respected you have to be a little bit bad – and Canada has a reputation of being way too nice!”
“Even in the oil sands of Alberta, environment is top one short-term concern for Canadians!”
On the combustible engine – Vaclav Smil
“Why are we still using century old technology to move us around? Why has no radical innovation occurred yet in that area? Because our values contribute to technology and technology contributes to our values! Cars are intensely meaningful in our society and the full meaning of the automobile has not yet worked its way through our collective consciousness”
On zones of conflict:
“Why do conflicts occur always in the same places? Because people are forced to be together that are too different – one has Sunday off, the other – rests on Friday, one doesn’t eat pigs – the other doesn’t drink wine.. See for example – Quebeckers and Ontarians have much in common – they all enjoy wine… you’ll never see them fight it out now, would you??”
On the real threat to Canada
Canada would never really be invaded nor does it need to be – we have allowed other nation’s “economic aggression” acts to go unchecked – our national ressources are being pilfered!”
On Canadian Society:
see Michael Adams – Unlikely Utopia
On “soft power”:
“It’s worth noting that Canada got its “right to speak independently” in 1931 – and women in Canada preceded that by two whole years – their right to vote was acquired in 1929.”