Wednesday Night #1729

Written by  //  April 21, 2015  //  Wednesday Nights  //  1 Comment

Wednesday, April 22nd is Earth Day 2015. Among the many events planned around the globe, Fulbright Canada will celebrate the launch of the Fulbright Arctic Initiative and Fulbright Canada’s 25th Anniversary in Ottawa with three events including a lunch and panel “Challenges of Conducting Research in the Arctic”

Westmount Magazine logoDelighted to have Wayne Larsen  and his colleagues,  Pat Dumais and Andrew Berlone, with us to unveil their new venture: Westmount Magazine (, discuss its mission, contributors and more. As of May 2015, it will offer a free online magazine addressing residents of Westmount and the surrounding communities of NDG, Hampstead, Côte-Saint-Luc, Snowdon, Verdun, Nuns Island, south-central Montreal and elsewhere, with a focus on urban lifestyles, the arts scene, home decor and design, real estate and business, fashion, leisure and travel, gastronomy and culture.
The site also includes a listing of Westmount merchants and service providers as well as a calendar of local events.
Wayne is  the Editor and we cannot think of a better one. Did you see his delightful piece My three car-free decades in Montreal in Friday’s Gazette?

Also, we are delighted share the wonderful news of Désirée McGraw’s appointment as (the first woman) President of Pearson College in Victoria, B.C.  – she will be assuming the post on August 1st.
See also

We are pleased to have two such good-news stories for Wednesday Night.

AND Cleo Paskal will be with us this Wednesday. We always look forward to her comments on almost any topic, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada, and perhaps more importantly this from The Times of India: Scripting a west side story: Modi’s visits to France, Germany and Canada adapt lessons learnt from China’s economic miracle, along with Xi visit to Pakistan: Strategic implications for India by her good friend the Commodore, C. Uday Bhaska.

The tragedy of the flood of migrants desperately trying to make their way from North Africa to Europe is simply overwhelming.The weekend news of as many as 900 deaths has finally prompted the EU to do something more than leave the problem up to Italy; according to Reuters the EU proposes doubling rescue effort. Of course, this not solving the root of the problem. And the human traffickers go free to commit the same awful crime another day. If any of them are ever caught, we trust that the authorities will condemn them to the same fate as their victims (set them adrift in a leaky dinghy on the high seas – preferably with sharks circling).

A few weeks ago, we called attention to the startling news that Finland was overhauling its highly successful education system. It seems that in relying on the initial story (Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with ‘topics’ as country reforms its education system.) in The Independent, we, like many others, were a bit hasty in drawing conclusions. As Finnish educator and scholar Pasi Sahlberg explains: “despite the reforms, Finnish schools will continue to teach mathematics, history, arts, music and other subjects in the future.But with the new basic school reform all children will also learn via periods looking at broader topics, such as the European Union, community and climate change, or 100 years of Finland’s independence, which would bring in multi-disciplinary modules on languages, geography, sciences and economics.” All of which makes great good sense, as we would expect of Finnish educators.
Have Finnish voters exhibited the same great good sense when on Sunday they elected the Centre Party which is likely to form a coalition with the Eurosceptic Finns party to form a government? (Pro-EU coalition loses in Finland election as Centre party wins 49 seats
Our favorite observer of events in that part of the world writes: “The result will be a government led by Center Party Sipilä and consisting also of True Finns and the Conservatives. The Swedish Party is probably included as it is a tradition. This means a conservative, left-of-center government with a disillusioned and bitter Social Democrats harassing it with all means including strikes in due time. A strong Green Party in the opposition is very good and absolutely necessary.”

Back to Education
Loved the comment from Nicholas Kristof “As Nicholas Kristof says “For all those readers who think it’s so difficult today to get into elite colleges, it actually turns out to be pretty easy. All you have to do is have a 4.5 GPA and a 2390 SAT, start a non-profit organization that goes national, and in your spare time develop an app to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease. Piece of cake” à propos the recent story about the students accepted to all 8 Ivy League schools, who are ALL children of immigrants.
Fareed Zakaria chimes in his new book In Defense of a Liberal Education A long and informative interview in the World Post We Need The Liberal Arts More Than Ever In Today’s Digital World quotes him: “The future of a country like the U.S. rests on our ability to master how technology interacts with how humans live, work and play … And that depends on skills fostered by the liberal arts, such as creativity, aesthetic sensibility and social, political and psychological insight.”
Meanwhile, while we bewail the state of education (and other important files) in Quebec, Terry Jones let us know that Ontario seems to be doing something right. A call to US educators: Learn from Canada praises Ontario for managing successful education reform initiatives that are equal parts cooperation and experimentation, according to a Boston College professor and authority on educational change. Terry adds: we know that [her daughter] Margaret gained greatly from her 3 years at Lisgar Collegiate in Ottawa. She was exposed to economics, law and accounting and ended up in the dual engineering-Wharton finance degree at the U of Penn. Since she was recently made a partner at her hedge fund and had excellent work experience at Merrill Lynch in investment banking and boutique hedge fund experience at ACI Capital–you can see the Canadian education did well by her.

We will of course, be discussing the long-awaited Federal budget, though everyone seems to already know what’s going to be in it and as it is a pre-election budget, there will be few surprises. See Michael Den Tandt: What to expect from a budget Harper hopes will convince Canadians he’s the best choice to govern ; Budget 2015: What you should and shouldn’t expect ; and Federal budget preview. What’s the symbolism of Joe Oliver’s new shoes? Meanwhile, if that’s not exciting enough for you, you can always resort to watching the seemingly never-ending Mike Duffy story.

Moments in time:
April 19 marks the 240th anniversary of the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. … what would have happened if the colonies had lost.
April 20, 1968 — Pierre Trudeau sworn in as prime minister for the first time
The BP Oil Spill Happened 5 Years Ago Today (20 April). We’re Still Paying the Price.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster, by the numbers.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago today, killing 11 men and sending nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the sea. After the well was finally plugged, the national media went home, but the story is still very much unfolding everywhere from federal courtrooms to Louisiana backyards.

Only in Canada? Updated Guide Dog and Service Dog Act targets fraudulent pooches – we don’t think the dogs are the fraudsters, wouldn’t that be their human companions?

One Comment on "Wednesday Night #1729"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson April 24, 2015 at 2:15 am ·

    Just a few words to thank you for receiving us at your Wednesday Night Salon.
    It was a most entertaining, thought-provoking and enjoyable evening and your kind words of encouragement mean a lot to us.
    The feed-back from your knowledgeable guests was also very much appreciated. will keep us quite busy for the next little while but we hope to return to the Salon soon enough to give you and your guests an update on the project.
    Best regards,
    Patricia & Andrew

    Patricia Dumais and Andrew Burlone
    publishers, Westmount Magazine

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