Wednesday Night #1425

Written by  //  June 24, 2009  //  Economy, Emerging markets/economies, Guy Stanley, India, Montreal, Science & Technology, Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1425

Le Salon du mercredi soir #1425 , mercredi le 24 juin 2009  – la Fête nationale

Yes, we DO recognize that this Wednesday is what we prefer to call “La St-Jean”, which simply bolsters the prevailing wisdom that important events happen on Wednesday.

Given the occasion, we think it only appropriate to look first at some local issues including one that is dear to the hearts of Montreal, Quebec and Roch Carrier – the re-acquisition of Les Canadiens by the Molson family, this time Andrew, Justin and Geoffrey  . Tout le monde en parle and we have not heard a negative comment. As Jack Todd said:  “the sale of the Montreal Canadiens ended with the best of all possible results: the Molson family, once and future kings of the Habs.”    We also concur with Mr. Todd in his assessment that  “Better still, the Molson purchase protects us all from Pierre Karl Péladeau …  The possibility that the virulently anti-union Péladeau would have taken over in this staunchly pro-union province would have opened the door to a horror show with kitchy frosting, had Céline Dion and René Angélil also been involved.”

That said, we cannot neglect the ongoing  – and far less edifying – battles of the Montreal administration, y compris the latest SNAFU over the water meters (The city of Montreal is moving ahead with work to prepare the installation of water meters in non-residential buildings on the island even if the city’s $355.8-million water-management contract with the consortium Génieau is suspended more) but of more immediate interest to us is the fate of Marianopolis and whether, once again, we will see a piece of our patrimoine traded for – probably quite a large –  mess of pottage. On this topic, we have a new guest this week, Anushree Varma, who is courageously waging the battle against this and any future developments on the [unprotected] flanks of Mount Royal. Please read her scathing article in the Mirror , which was praised by the Montreal City Web Log (another treasure of our city) as “[doing] a better job of any … of skewering our municipal administration over its forked-tongue behaviour”. We are grateful to Nimi Menon for introducing Anushree to Wednesday Night.

Sheila Arnopoulos has recently returned from the microcredit summit in Cartagena, Colombia and will share her impressions. After her wonderful description of the Women’s World Banking conference a few weeks ago, we are looking forward to another intimate and entertaining account. She will also brief us on the talk last Wednesday by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Director and Economist of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, “The Global Economic Downturn, G-20 and India” – which should be of interest to Germain Bourgeois and other emerging market mavens, along with those who avidly follow events in India.

And at long last we again have Guy Stanley with us which will lead inevitably to discussion of Innovation, the dearth of scientific knowledge amongst Canada’s political class (Marc Garneau excepted, of course), leading to the lack of adequate public policy on science and technology issues, AECL and isotopes and Canada’s nuclear policy – or lack thereof   (a recurring theme at Wednesday Night these days), and all manner of related issues.

The economy never being far from our thoughts, we would call to your attention the article in the current edition of The Atlantic,  Dr. Doom Has Some Good News
“[Nouriel] Roubini believes that the Obama administration’s policy makers-and especially the much-maligned Tim Geithner-have gotten a lot right. Pitfalls may still abound, but he is now projecting an end to the recession, and he sees growth ahead.” To which one of our favourite economists retorts: “Roubini has had his ten minutes of fame. He is not stupid, and knows that the ten can be extended to twelve if he is early on the upturn bandwagon. A cycle is a cycle after all….” – this should please Ron Meisels.

Meanwhile, sounding more like Roubini than Roubini, the World Bank issued its Global Development Finance 2009: Charting a Global Recovery Here’s a jolly excerpt to give you the flavour: “Developing countries are expected to grow by only 1.2% this year, after 8.1% growth in 2007 and 5.9% growth in 2008. When China and India are excluded, GDP in the remaining developing countries is projected to fall by 1.6%, causing continued job losses and throwing more people into poverty. Global growth is also expected to be negative, with an expected 2.9% contraction of global GDP in 2009.”

John Evdokias has forwarded related reading on the Global economic crisis and the informal economy and introduced us to a new website of interest Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO).

And finally – as the world turns around Wednesday Night, it was inevitable that Iran‘s “Guardian Council of Iran is scheduled to certify or nullify the vote on Wednesday, or, some speculated, call for a run-off between the two top vote getters. It has so far appeared to pre-judge the race as fair and legitimate”.  Chatham House feels somewhat differently.  You can watch the updates on the Iran situation on our carefully monitored Iran pages  and on 

Do join us – unfortunately no bonfires allowed in Westmount gardens (a plot of les anglais, or more of Beryl’s ‘Nanny State’?), so we will have to derive our St-Jean light and warmth from your presence.

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