Wednesday Night #1631

Written by  //  June 5, 2013  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1631

As promised, our good friends, former US diplomats, authors and keen Canada watchers David and Terry Jones will be with us this Wednesday Night for their annual fact-finding mission.
Earlier, from 5:30 to 7:30, David will be speaking at a CIC event at the Atwater Club, 3505 Atwater Avenue. His topic will be Alternative North Americas and he promises that it should stimulate considerable reaction. Click here for details and to register

Appropriately to David’s interest in using WN as a sounding board on developments in Canada, he and David Kilgour recently published their latest debate on Yahoo!News:
David Jones: Political confidence: Indiscretions by public officials are nothing new
David Kilgour: Political confidence: Canadian cities are too important to be left to buffoons

We might also remind you of their prescient February debate on Senate reform with David J’s memorable rejoinder to David K’s suggestion that Canada should adopt Australia’s Triple-E Senate, It may be better to keep all the turkeys in one cage – we would caution that one should first ensure that those turkeys are not bearing contagious disease.

There is indeed much Canadian content for debate and difference of opinion. Developments have been so rapid – and in so many different sectors, not to mention directions- that whatever we write today will no doubt have been overcome by tonight’s news and commentary.

Let’s start with the (only?) good news at our local level; Ericsson’s announcement that is opening a new high-tech research and development centre in Vaudreuil-Dorion. While we are delighted, we cannot hep wonder what are they thinking? Of course Mme Marois hails the move as a “sign of confidence” in Quebec’s economy, but there must have been HUGE inducements beyond what is published, or else Ericsson’s decision-makers know something we don’t about Quebec’s future.
As expected, Laval is being placed under trusteeship according to Jean François Lisée (who seems to have added Laval to his Montreal portfolio) until the November municipal elections. While Pauline Marois deplores the triste situation at least she can console herself with the thought that the mansion on Ile Bizard has finally sold – maybe she should have kept it to be closer to Ericsson?
Bill 14 is always good for lively discussion as we dissect every move and pronouncement of the CAQ, but now that second reading has passed, we will have to wait for fall for the real fight to resume. Meanwhile, we would draw your attention to Martin Patriquin’s sombre piece in Maclean’s on Quebec’s sad return to identity politics

Never mind; the twists and turns of Arthur Porter’s adventures with implications for the three levels of government will feed our daily cravings. As each revelation provokes a how could he/they? reaction, we have one question that no-one appears to have raised. How many citizenships does Dr. Porter have? We well remember the outcry over Stéphane Dion’s and Thomas Mulcair’s dual citizenship although no-one seemed concerned that John Turner is both a Canadian and a British citizen (British presumably doesn’t count in our list of worries, but French does). However, one might have thought that Dr. Porter’s Sierra Leone citizenship and his deep attachment to that country might have prompted someone to think that he might have divided loyalties at some point and therefore would not be the very best person to chair the CSIS oversight committee?

The Porter arrest could not have come at a worse time for Mr. Harper, adding to the seemingly unending list of unfortunate events overwhelming the vaunted controlling machine of the PMO and Harper government. Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin becoming trending topics and household villains instead of well-regarded (by most of the public) media figures – with the National Post (!) leading the way; Nigel Wright suddenly thrust into the limelight of trending news; Senate reform – a hitherto dry and wonky topic – widely debated in the social media (see Glen Pearson’s thoughtful series on HuffPost); the Leader of the Opposition turned impressively prosecutorial. Why we have almost forgotten the singularly unattractive and unqualified Patrick Brazeau where this all started.
Adding insult to injury, only 13% of Canadians polled believe Mr. Harper’s statement that he knew nothing about the $90,000 payment.

On the international trade front, some pundits are expressing scepticism about the conclusion of the Canada-EU agreement (Canada-EU trade talks at crucial stage)which Mr. Harper had wanted to have for signature when he goes to Europe for the G8 summit in two weeks, pointing out that like all trade negotiations, the most difficult concessions are left until last. Matching up the trade-offs each country is prepared to make has taken time. Newfoundland is apparently making life difficult for the negotiators and the absence of Nigel Wright, who handled many aspects of federal-provincial relations for the PMO is being felt.

B.C. has added to Ottawa’s woes by formally rejecting the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. The jury is still out on whether this may be a negotiating position for Christy Clark’s new government, but it is a setback and slows down the process at an ‘inconvenient’ moment.

And then there is Rob Ford … the original Toronto good ole boy; as the existence of the video tape may be in question, the crack attacks are at the least, premature, but he is SUCH an easy target!

Although we have limited proposed topics to Canadiana in view of our guests’ interests, we must not neglect the recent situation in Turkey. You will find a certain number of pertinent articles on the page Turkey 2012-2013

To end on a lighter, but still pertinent note, the exchange between Elizabeth May and John Baird over her ‘sexist remarks’ (video and text) – a rare gracious and entertaining moment in the House.

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