Wednesday Night #1526

Written by  //  June 1, 2011  //  Wednesday Nights  //  1 Comment

It seems to us that news arrives in pyrotechnic bursts. This was certainly the case in May – THE WEDDING; Osama; the (to most) unexpected Canadian election outcome; DSK and the subsequent extraordinary interest in the IMF succession; the stepping down of Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew; devastating tornadoes in the U.S., floods and wildfires in Canada; escalating situations in Yemen, Syria, Libya; the arrest of Ratko Mladic  and the far less publicized one of Rwanda’s equally evil Bernard Munyagishari; and the never-ending war of words over Israel and the Peace Process, including Mr. Netanyahu’s dramatic – and intransigent – appearance before the U.S. Congress (on this last item, we read with considerable relish Yuri Averny’s Bibi and the Yo-Yos and will refrain from comment on Mr. Harper’s stance at the G8).

How can one possibly have an informed opinion about all of these topics – or any of them – given the torrent of information and interpretation that is unleashed every day? That is why we rely on you, our experts, to thoughtfully dissect subjects one at a time and guide our debates and thinking.

Thus, this week we are extremely pleased to have Peter Berezin with us again – this time the topic is likely to be the outlook for commodity prices, a logical follow-on from last week’s excellent evening with Peter Perkins and the discussion of “The Dutch Disease”

We hope that Pater B. will address the question of commodities, including the medium and long-term outlook – does he agree with Ron Meisels’ 40-year cycle for commodities?  What are the long-term effects of  the expansion of the emerging economies: China, India, etc. What is the outlook for agriculture – and food production – given evolving demand from populations whose income has not only increased, but become more sophisticated? And do estimates take into account the impact of the increasing number of natural disasters on agricultural production?

The serendipitous appearance of The Economist report on Australia fits right in with the topic of commodities and the aspects of governance raised last week. The excerpt below – and in fact the entire special report in the Economist – might just as easily apply to Canada. Political parties, take heed!

Though government should not seek to direct the chemistry, it should create the conditions for it. That means ensuring that the economy remains open, flexible and resilient, capable, in other words, of getting through harder times when the boom is over (a sovereign-wealth fund would help). It means maintaining a high rate of immigration (which started to fall two years ago). It means, above all, fostering a sense of self-confidence among the people at large to bring about the mix of civic pride, philanthropy and financial investment that so often underpins the success of places like California.

This Wednesday is unique in that there will be three parallel Wednesday night sessions. In addition to the Vancouver West Wing’s monthly gathering , an unusual Wednesday Night Southwest is planned in Houston featuring Rick Sindelar, Jeremy Jonas and Judith Patterson. We look forward to feedback from both.

We also wish to draw your attention to the McGill Chamber Orchestra Gala Concert on Sunday, June 5th at Place des Arts. Hans Black, who is Chairman of the MCO advises that this is a  once-in-a-lifetime event … headlined by the
Rosenberg Trio and their Djangologist* friends.
*Djangologist, as in Django Reinhardt. If you have never heard of him, don’t stop now,
read about Django
The gathering of exceptional musicians includes internationally-renowned
Bireli Lagrene (gypsy guitar player),
Koen De Cauter (multi-instrumentalist) and
Tim Kliphuis (violinist),
plus local artists: Denis Chang and Dorothée Berryman
More and ticket information
We hope there will be an impressive representation from Wednesday Night to support Hans and his generosity to the MCO.

A few notes on some of those pyrotechnic items listed at the outset …
Royal itinerary includes Ottawa on Canada Day, the Calgary Stampede and PEI – it would be nice if someone thought of arranging a meeting with some of Canada’s Search & Rescue pilots … or is that asking too much of the harpergovernment?
Let’s not dwell on the sordid DSK story, but rather on the coronation of Mme Lagarde – Lagarde, on Visit to Brazil, Vows Speedy IMF Reforms “It’s difficult to see any scenario where Lagarde doesn’t get the job,” said Eswar Prashad, an economist at Cornell University and a former IMF official. …
With Parliament returning on Thursday, we are all free to conjecture who will be the new Speaker and what happens next
Libya: South African president: Gadhafi ready for truce – more of the same old from Gadhafi but Al Jazeera reports that ‘Scores defect’ from Gaddafi’s army
The Syrian government appears to be losing support every day (The Guardian)

And for entertainment value, follow Sarah Palin and the other Republican hopefuls as they jostle and joust – our greatest regret is that we won’t have a face-off at the Republican Convention between Palin and The Donald.

On that happy note, we look forward to having you join us on Wednesday.

One Comment on "Wednesday Night #1526"

  1. Rick Sindelar June 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm · Reply

    Dear Diana and sidekick (ol’ Texas term for sidewinders),
    New and great friends made tonight, and old ones connected with again (we did all raise our hands to interject, but each time they all held wine glasses).
    We have begun planning a WN SW wednesday trip to a baseball game….and with David’s love of technical equipment, Skype should be a natural addition, so we’ll plan on connecting from Minute Maid Field.

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