Wednesday Night #1647

Written by  //  September 25, 2013  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our neighbours, the table at Wednesday Night was a virtual groaning board of wonderful amuse gueules/tapas We could have only wished for more and hungrier guests to join in the feast.
Discussion proved equally varied.

Montreal seeks a mayor
The participants in the Montreal civic elections (November 3rd) hardly offer a clear-cut choice. Each party has drawbacks, some more than others. Our friends who live in The Plateau complain of the bully-boy tactics of [‘eco-facist’] Richard Bergeron’s poster-boy mayor Luc Ferrandez  Trouble in the Plateau . It is hard to ignore the baggage that comes with Denis Coderre  despite the loyalty of our friends Helen Fotopulos and Ginette Sauvé-Frankel; Marcel Coté, described in an early, effusive piece as the Bloomberg of Montreal, has promised a ‘quiet revolution’ at City Hall, but many are nervous about his alliance with Louise Harel, especially in view of his disdain of municipal political parties (with which we agree). Finally, the youngest (and only female) mayoralty candidate offers a fresh face, a young and apparently clean-cut team [“they aren’t old enough to have collected the baggage of the others”], but not too much in the way of platform.

T H E  P R O L O G U E

Congratulations to Kyle Matthews and the CIC Montreal team for organizing an outstanding half-day conference on Canada and Free Trade with Asia – the experts were informative, frank, entertaining, even sometimes funny.  Pierre Marc Johnson’s keynote wrap-up offered important insights into the importance of the role of the provinces in trade negotiations reminding the audience that the federal government may sign an agreement, but elements come under provincial jurisdiction and implementation may be awkward.  Too bad for those who were not there that Chatham House rules prevailed and no  texts of  the talks will  be posted. However, the panelists were unanimous in suggesting that Canada should look to Australia as a model of strategic development of trade agreements and establish its priorities regarding the many negotiations under way,e.g. Europe, Japan, South Korea, China and ASEAN.
Meanwhile, in Ottawa, Mr Harper was meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for talks on security and trade.
Birthday wishes to all our September celebrants including John Curtin, Catherine Gillbert, Margaret Lefebvre, Susanna Eyton-Jones, Joumane Chahine, Kimon Valaskakis  – the list goes on!
Warmest congratulations to Peter Trent on the successful completion of the Westmount ice rink and new arena complex – it has been a long haul!
Westmount’s underground hockey arena inaugurated
$40-million sports complex expected to open in late October
Video: Quebec underground ice rink leaves room for green space
(Yahoo! News) A Montreal-area town has found a way to build more hockey facilities and create green space at the same time — by constructing an arena underground. Westmount’s mayor says the technique saves room in densely populated places.
MP Marc Garneau and Désirée McGrawDésirée McGraw announces candidacy for new federal riding of Ville-Marie — Marc Garneau, MP for Westmount Ville-Marie, endorses McGraw
(23 September) Today, Désirée McGraw, a Montreal executive with a strong record of public service, announced that she will seek the federal Liberal nomination in the new riding of Ville-Marie.
The Ville-Marie riding, as announced by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission, includes downtown Montréal along with Griffintown, Nuns’ Island, St-Henri, The Golden Square Mile and The Old Port of Montréal as well as McGill and Concordia campuses.*
“I am tremendously excited about running in Ville-Marie,” said Ms. McGraw. “The new riding is the heart of our great city, and I am determined to provide a strong and effective voice for our diverse communities in the House of Commons.”
“Désirée is a born and bred Montrealer with strong roots in the riding; she would be an exceptional representative for the new Ville-Marie riding and that’s why I’m fully endorsing her candidacy,” said Marc Garneau, Member of Parliament for the current riding of Westmount-Ville Marie. “She represents the dynamic future of our party, and I am keen to work with her in the House of Commons.”
The Jamie Anderson Parliamentary Internship  – Julia Deutsch was  a beneficiary and her experience is documented.
Angela Merkel’s re-election
See Roger Cohen: Merkel The Great
(NYT) Henry Kissinger famously asked what Europe’s phone number is. Well, now he knows: Dial Angela Merkel.
After eight years in office spanning an economic crisis that has shaken nations from the United States to Greece, Merkel lifted her Christian Democratic party to a share of the vote not seen for two decades. In an election devoid of a theme, she was the subject matter. Her slogan was “The Chancellor.” It was a personal triumph, this near-absolute majority, and it was that alone.
The UN meetings this week – focus on Iran? are all President Hassan Rouhan’s friendly noises to be taken at face value? There are a number of skeptics.
Iranian leader says he is open to meeting Obama at a later date
“We need a plan” to establish better relations after more than 30 years of estrangement, Rouhani said. “In principle, we were not opposed to meeting at all.”
Iran President Rouhani’s English-language message to the American people
(CNN) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday delivered his first English-language TV message to the American people in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Terrorism and the latest atrocities in Pakistan and Kenya – in the latter case, international terrorism on the march.
Kenya shopping mall attack: Who are al-Shabaab, the multinational force of terror at the heart of the Nairobi shopping centre massacre?
International jihad emerges from terrorist ‘spectacular’ with which al-Shabaab sought to demonstrate that it was not confined to Somalia
(The Independent) As the Kenyan government declared that its forces were close to achieving success after three days of carnage which has left 62 dead and more than 100 injured, a lethal and grim threat was emerging from the fires of the Westland shopping complex – that of international jihad.

U.S. Congress and possible shut-down of government
Once again Congress and The White House are on collision course and only the American people will suffer.
Global Economy
‘If China Breathes Easier, the World Will Too’
China: A Vital Partner in Combating Climate Change
(World Bank) President Jim Yong Kim says the World Bank Group will expand cooperation with China in the areas of climate change, clean energy, reduction of traffic jams and air pollution, and improved flood risk management.
China gets stake in Russian potash giant to secure supply
(Reuters) – China acquired a 12.5 percent stake in Russian potash producer Uralkali (URKA.MM) in a deal that could help Beijing secure stable supplies of the soil nutrient, put new pressure on prices and reduce the chances of a Russia-Belarus cartel being revived.
Heads-up for IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings
The Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) each year bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. Also featured are seminars, regional briefings, press conferences, and many other events focused on the global economy, international development, and the world’s financial system. This year’s Annual Meetings events will take place in Washington, D.C., October 11-13, 2013.

Blackberry, Fairfax, RIM – a chance for a new life or drifting towards the Nortel nightmare?
BlackBerry to be sold to group led by Fairfax Financial
Deal still subject to due diligence, regulatory approval

Municipal politics
Mayoralty race – will recent revelations/allegations about Denis Coderre have any effect on the outcome?
Coderre denies secret deal
Montreal mayoral candidate, Denis Coderre, has rejected allegations of negotiating a secret agreement brokered by a man with linked to the Mafia, to cancel a union demonstration at the office of then-prime minister, Jean Chrétien.
The accusations are made in a new book entitled Syndicalistes ou voyous? — Unionists or Thugs? in English — written by former top union officials, Jocelyn Dupuis and Richard Goyette.
Special status for Montreal – an old idea whose time may have come?  Beryl Wajsman thinks so.
Montreal should have ‘special status’ within Quebec, CRITIQ says
Proposal by rights group would exempt island from French language charter and Charter of Quebec Values
Barbara Kay: The case for the City-State of Montreal
(National Post) Today there will be a press conference at a downtown Montreal hotel. There, strategic consultant Michel David will make his long-researched case for Montreal as a city-state, a place in which counter-productive “values” charters and language laws would not apply, and where conditions favouring entrepreneurship, economic investment and skills recruitment would.
Entertaining – and instructive viewing –
Secrets of Modern Spies
From James Bond to Jason Bourne, the fictional world of spying is a world of danger and deception, glamour and lies. As the world prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, The Passionate Eye presents a 2 part series of revealing documentaries investigating the 21st century world of espionage. It features rare interviews with current British intelligence officers and key figures from the CIA, FBI, and Israeli intelligence. How does the world of agent 007 compare with reality?

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