Wednesday Night #1519

Written by  //  April 13, 2011  //  Reports, Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Now that the Great Debate is over – what did everyone think?

Just to get the ball rolling, here is our take (or at least one-half of ‘our’ take)

Jack Layton came off best – not as a future PM, as that’s not in the cards, but as someone who ably defends the policies of his party and has both experience and commitment.  Disappointing that Michael Ignatieff didn’t wax more eloquent about his vision for Canada (we could have written it for him on the theme of Canada earning her right to again occupy her place as a highly influential international middle power because of her domestic programs that other countries would wish to emulate – again able to take a high moral ground because of what we do at home). Harper’s Johnny-one-note message was exceptionally annoying, but probably effective. Were others were as offended by his supercilious/condescending tone? Adam Radwanski pretty well sums it up, except with respect to Layton (we disagree and actually were amused by the crooks comment). For a range of opinions, Peter Mansbridge and his experts, including the At Issue panelists, give varied reactions.
Just remember, the election ain’t over till the voters sing.

Meantime, isn’t Sheila Fraser stirring the pot? We have visions of a trussed Stephen Harper sitting in a big pot while the other parties dance round and round. Unfortunately, at this time, the flames don’t seem to be growing higher and higher, but the longer the report remains unreleased, the more the flames are fanned. And then there’s the related issue – the misquote. How could they have thought they would get away with that?

On another note, Canada has received kudos from the IMF BUT NOT WITHOUT CALLING ATTENTION TO OUR GROWING DEBT – And nobody mentioned either point in the Great Debate. [Clarification regarding the GROWING DEBT: “the International Monetary Fund prefers broad canvasses to miniature portraits. When compiling its regular fiscal monitor reports, it calculates a country’s gross debt and deficits, which means adding state and federal burdens together. For Canada, this creates a less attractive picture.”]

And now that the Great Debate is over, can we possibly think about some other topics? The world does seem to revolve on its axis despite Canadian electioneering. But first, on the local front, WHAT is happening in Montreal (speaking of crooks – how many municipal employees/politicians can we get Mr. Harper to send to the Senate?). And has anyone been following the spat between Dessau and the Québec Ministry of Transport ?  Alice would feel right at home.

We are sure that everyone breathed a sigh of relief when at the very last minute the parties involved agreed not to shut down the government of the United States, but there will be more to come as Nate Silver warns in   Risks to Boehner in Debt-Ceiling Brinkmanship
Not so sure that everyone breathed the same sigh of relief when it was announced that the African Union leaders had decided to mid-wife a cease-fire in Libya. As it turned out, exhaling quickly was in order, as it didn’t work. But that’s okay, because there is yet another gathering of would-be peacemakers (in Qatar) and this time Moussa Koussa (how quickly some are rehabilitated) will be there to offer ‘insights’. Not everyone in Great Britain is enchanted by this development.

The unrest in North Africa has created another dilemma for Europe. Spiegel notes that North Africa Needs a Marshall Plan’ asking, what to do with the thousands of North African refugees arriving in Italy and Malta?

And in Egypt army sets new limits on free speech: HRW  we are seeing signs of ‘not a country with an army but an army with a country’ (quote generally attributed to Frederick II of Prussia); unfortunately a situation many have feared since the outset of the revolt.

News from Japan is not promising, however the Prime Minister is optimistic in the wake of a disaster that is being ranked alongside Chernobyl.  Japan says nuclear crisis stabilizing, time to rebuild

As we like to leave you with something light or something on a unusual topic to consider, tonight we opt for the second with this piece from Gwynne Dyer: American Civil War. What If?
How different would the world be now if the South had won the war?As it happens, we have a half-million-word answer to that question: The series of eleven “alternate history” books that Harry Turtledove has written about a world in which the Confederate States of America won its independence in 1863. It ends in 1945 with death camps in the C.S.A. and nuclear weapons on Philadelphia and Charleston, and it is plausible every step of the way.

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