Wednesday Night #1604

Written by  //  November 27, 2012  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

NOTE: Wednesday Night is honoured that two Wednesday Night guests are candidates for the LPC Leadership (B.C. MP Joyce Murray enters Liberal leadership race — Montreal MP and former astronaut Marc Garneau expected to join race next Wednesday). Marc’s announcement is scheduled for 9:30 Wednesday morning at the Holiday Inn – 420 Sherbrooke St. West). As we discussed during her recent appearance at Wednesday Night, Joyce “says she believes Liberals, New Democrats and Greens should have the option of conducting run-off nominations to choose a single candidate in tightly contested ridings where a united progressive front would guarantee defeat of the ruling Tories.” This is a timely position given the results of Monday’s by-elections: Calgary by-election a primer for vote splitting. The closely fought federal by-election in Calgary Centre, as well as the Greens’ close second in the Victoria by-election, suggests the so-called progressive vote is now split three ways.
We welcome these two excellent candidates who will contribute thoughtful policy debate to the campaign.
At the absolute opposite of the political spectrum: our favorite headline of the week (so far) Toronto Mayor Rob Ford blames left-wing conspiracy for ousting

At the top of economic and financial news: Mark Carney leaves the Bank of Canada for the Bank of England.
One Wednesday Nighter comments: I expect that Carney will do very well in the new environment and that the Brits will find him both enigmatic and driven by his own agenda, which style has served us well over the past 4 years. His other major asset for his new role is his history with the US banking system and the pressures on it from the inside. I think he will do very well indeed.
Another Friend of Wednesday Night has this to say:
… attracting someone with CV and  his personal reputation intact after 13 years at Goldman Sachs is akin to finding an honest poacher to hire as a game keeper (this is particularly apt  at this stage since the Bank is about to get major new supervisory cum regulatory responsibilities). … Going by his track record in Canada, the market expects him to be more hawkish, more creative and innovative, and more open to new ideas, less tradition-bound than his predecessor and  to preside over a major remake of the Bank, the way it thinks and  the way it operates (here’s hoping he can live up to all those expectations).
Who will be the next head of the Bank of Canada? Bets? The FP floats several names including “Jean Boivin, who was recently appointed deputy finance minister following a stint as deputy governor of the central bank, might be an interesting choice. Notably, Mr. Boivin studied at Princeton with Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.”
There is always the U.S. cliff-hanger. We knew someone had to do it – Slate’s worthwhile analysis that asks Would House Republicans actually vote for a “fiscal cliff” deal that would raise tax rates? is titled “Cliff Notes” (see CliffsNotes for explanation if you are that far away from academic years).
Meantime, good news from Europe: Euro zone, IMF secure deal on cutting Greek debt – but for how long?
Turning to Asia, Cleo forwards the thoughts of M.D. Nalapat on the Sino-Indian trade prospective gold mine which outlines a win-win for the two countries (if they listen).

It often happens that major events transpire on Wednesdays and last week’s WN was no exception as the Israeli/Gaza ceasefire, brokered by Egypt (with no doubt, a little help from its friends) was announced. So far, so relatively good in that quarter, but no sooner was Mohammed Morsi basking in the back-slapping glow of its success than he took it into his head to claim sweeping presidential powers, described by Mohamed El Baradei and others, as making himself a “pharaoh”. Inevitable turmoil ensued and it appears that President Morsi may be backing off, however unrest continues

Climate change talks in Doha – this is the annual two-week gathering, described by The Guardian as providing “little in the way of spectacle, but sometimes stray[ing] into bad pantomime.” Negotiators spend their days and long stretches of the night locked in technical discussions over such arcana as LULUCF (land use, land use change and forestry, since you ask) and the CDM (clean development mechanism, a form of carbon trading) … Last year, in Durban, the talks ran on past the final Friday night deadline, through Saturday and only finished as dawn broke on Sunday. All that achieved was an agreement to keep talking, setting a deadline of 2015 for drafting a potential treaty. Already, one day into the talks, there are reports that Tensions emerge at UN climate talks as delegates debate extending Kyoto Protocol Canada’s contribution is likely to be the usual negligible – if not negative – one. The pattern under the Harper government is well established.

Steven Lightfoot informs us that his latest energy policy article, Hope is not enough: Inspiring better energy policy, will be published shortly by the Council for Clean and Reliable Electricity (CCRE). Details will follow when it is published.

This would appear to be a good point at which to remind you that the Montreal Branch of The Canadian International Council is presenting an event on December 4 that is highly relevant to the many Wednesday Night discussions of Environment and Energy policy. Discussion of “The 9 Habits of Highly Effective Resource Economies” with its author, Madelaine Drohan, will be held at the Atwater Club from 6pm to 8:30pm. For more information and to register

We are always happy to celebrate the Wednesday Night stable of prolific authors. This time it is news from former (and we hope returning) Wednesday Nighter Dr. Anne Andermann whose bookEvidence for Health — From Patient Choice to Global Policy is to be published in December by Cambridge University Press. Anne writes from Berlin, where she is on parental leave, that by ordering from the website, there is a 20% discount. From the description of the book’s contents, this will be a valuable and welcome addition to intelligent patient care policy.

Speaking of healthcare, you may have missed this good-news item: Grand Challenges Canada: Funding for inventive health projects in developing countries
The government funded body awards $100,000 financial seed grants to innovators around the world, and will be looking for more ideas in the next few months.
Grand Challenges Canada announces 68 grants awarded to 17 innovators in Canada and 51 innovators in the developing world for their bold and creative ideas to tackle health conditions in poor countries. We had not heard of this initiative of the Government, which we applaud, and are curious to know whether anyone has any direct knowledge of it.

We had proposed last week that Education be one focus of the evening, however given events beyond our control (yes, there are some – in fact, many, these days) and the fortuitous arrival of Chuck Cogan in our midst, we never addressed the topic. We would like to try again this week.

A reprise of last week’s message: A number of recent items on education matters have triggered entertaining and thoughtful exchanges among some Wednesday Nighters. The topics range from the development of online courses for credit by some of the most prestigious academic institutions, to the woefully discordant attitudes of Departments of Education and administrators of schools and universities with respect to marking of student papers, exams and the maintenance of civility in classrooms. Most striking, of course, is the contrast between a certain pampered element of North American students vis à vis the respect and thirst for knowledge and education exhibited by those in far less favoured environments, whether the incredibly brave and invincible Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, students of the Khan Academy and Barefoot College of India, or the extraordinary 15-year-old Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone, the youngest person ever invited to MIT’s Visiting Practitioner’s Program.
With all of the choices confronting today’s students, how to ensure that academic credentials from formal institutions and informal platforms are accurately measured and validated? … San Francisco startup Degreed aims to do just.
These are a few of a number of items on Education: demographics and trends which should ignite a worthy discussion.
An intriguing addition to the debate comes in the above-mentioned piece by M.D. Nalapat:
“Another field where India can expand its commercial operations in China is education.
Within India, nearly 300 million people speak one or the other variant of the English language, and rather than turn to high-cost and faraway locations such as the UK or Australia to get education in the international link language, India can be depended upon to provide an expanding number of teachers of the language, at a cost far below that charged by those from the UK, the US or Australia.
India has several world class institutes and universities that can set up operations in China by imparting training in engineering, medicine and management in the English language.
This would enable those Chinese youngsters who lack the funds to study in Western countries to get an equivalent education in their own country.”

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