Wednesday Night #1755

Written by  //  October 21, 2015  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

As there was a highly representative group gathered around the table, it was appropriate to have a tour de table regarding the election results.
General reaction was favorable although there was some skepticism regarding the ability of the Liberal government-elect to carry out all of its promises. There was also general agreement that the key Cabinet appointment will be Foreign Affairs, given that the  G20 meets mid-November in Turkey, followed by a summit of leaders from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group, as well as a Commonwealth summit in Malta. Topping it all off will be COP21, the Paris conference on climate change, at the end of November. Well-founded rumor has it that Marc Garneau will be named.[Who will be Trudeau’s Foreign Minister?Cleo Paskal, who seems to be the go-to person on the Canadian election results for a number of international media, took a few minutes away from Wednesday Night to do a live interview with the John Batchelor Show. The host quickly moved the topic to China and the nuclear deal signed by the UK with China [U.K., China Cement Growing Friendship With Big Nuclear Deal ] – that has left most of the world gasping in disbelief and horror – before coming back to Canada and what the new government’s attitude towards China may be.
The nuclear deal reminded Peter Frise of the supply by Britain of the RR Nene engine to the Soviet Union in 1947 [To Stalin’s amazement, the British Labour government and its pro-Soviet Minister of Trade, Sir Stafford Cripps were willing to provide technical information and a licence to manufacture the Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal-flow jet engine. This engine was reverse-engineered and produced in modified form as the Soviet Klimov VK-1 jet engine, later incorporated into the MiG-15] which could either be characterized as one of the stupidest acts by anyone in Britain between the end of the war and 1950, or an act of treason. Cleo pointed out that The City is in difficulty thanks to the consequences of the sanctions on Russia and the turmoil in the Middle East and Cameron wants to make London, the biggest global foreign exchange centre, into the dominant Western hub for trading, clearing and settlement of renminbi.

P R E A M B L E

One of the most enjoyable and informative newsletters we receive is the Quartz (http://qz.com/) Daily Brief which often starts with a variant of “while you were asleep …”. Not appropriate for Canadians on Tuesday morning – did anyone sleep on Monday night? However, now that the incredible 78-day campaign is over and the LPC success confirmed, there have been many other developments that we may have missed.

But first, Monday night’s unexpected election results (not even John Curtin predicted the extent of the changes wrought). The results are almost unbelievable and, sadly, some excellent people, who would have been healthy additions to the Loyal Opposition, have gone, along with Mr. Harper and members of his gang of compliant ministers and MPs. Too bad Pierre Poilievre was not among them.

Congratulations to those who have graced Wednesday Night including: Marc Garneau, Joyce Murray, Peter Schiefke. Special thoughts to Rachel Bendayan for her valiant campaign in Outremont. We also salute and extend our warmest thanks to candidates of all parties, notably, Anne Lagacé Dowson and Alison Turner.

No-one we have spoken with or watched/read can recall any other instance of the entire Maritimes region voting solidly for one party. Nor, can anyone remember such extensive coverage from foreign media Trudeau victory welcomed by foreign leaders, as Liberal win trends worldwide , while Canadian media did an outstanding job covering the election throughout. We would particularly commend CBC Television’s election night and The National’s Tuesday night post-election coverage. For those who would like to delve more deeply into the new face of Parliament, we recommend Maclean’s interactive exploration of the 42nd Parliament.

A final note on the campaign. What Canadian Voters Actually Care About occasional Wednesday Nighter Pascal Zamprelli writes about the real influence of on-line petitions: “In 2015, when an issue matters to a lot of people, they will mobilize using online tools that were unavailable even five years ago — everyday people can get organized to effect meaningful change around the big questions of the day. But things get even more interesting when we look at some the lower profile electoral issues that are gaining traction through petitions. If a problem isn’t getting much attention on the campaign trail, online petitions are proving to be an effective way to get a candidate’s attention.”

A new day is dawning – and on Tuesday in Montreal the sky was cloudy, but warm. Symbolic?

It will be fascinating to watch what happens in the Conservative Party and the selection of the new leader. Will some of the Old Boys (Baird, etc.) return? Will the Party revert to its earlier character, that of the Red Tories, e.g. Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney? In fact, according to some early speculation, Mark Mulroney (Ben’s less well known brother) might be in the running, so too might be Doug Ford.

Much now depends on who Justin Trudeau picks for his cabinet – and the PMO – and to whom he listens. He has a lot of talent to pick from, but many without any government experience, which can, of course, be good or bad. Fortunately, there are also a number of solid, experienced veterans. Key appointments will be in Foreign Affairs and International Trade, given the slew of  important international meetings where Prime Minister Trudeau will be making his first appearance: the G20 summit in Turkey, from Nov. 15-16. followed immediately by the leader’s summit for Pacific Rim countries, in the Philippines on Nov. 18 and 19. The Commonwealth heads of government summit is scheduled for Nov. 27-29 in Malta. And then there’s the United Nations climate change conference in Paris, Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

While we slept – or rather, were mesmerized by the final weeks of the campaign:
Russia’s role in Syria continues to be aimed at propping up President Assad rather than curbing ISIL, while thousands of miles away, it is building up its Arctic military infrastructure as part of a recently updated Naval Doctrine, which proclaims the region as a top priority due to its mineral riches and strategic importance. A worthwhile analysis is  Putin’s Imperial Adventure in Syria by Dr Simon Sebag Montefiore, who writes:
… this military showmanship concerns Mr. Putin’s political survival. In some ways, his defense of Syria’s autocrat is a defense of his own authority against rebellion.
Robert Fisk adds more in Everyone wrote off the Syrian army. Take another look now
Egypt has been holding parliamentary elections, but with very low turnout due no doubt to the absence of any credible opposition to Mr. Morsi
The Israel-Palestine conflict is reaching a state that is so alarming that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made a surprise visit to Jerusalem to meet with both sides in an attempt to calm matters.
Quartz trumpets : The last 30 years of global economic history are about to go out the window. For the last 30 years, global growth has been premised on a fast-growing China. The author explains how the coming Chinese slowdown will affect everything from emerging-market currencies to, possibly, US borrowing costs, showing just how closely it’s all interconnected.
As the US Republican aspiring nominee circus continues, there may be an end to the vacuum created by John Boehner’s resignation – Paul Ryan Says He’ll Run for Speaker, but Only on His Terms. Those terms are interesting and would certainly improve both the image and functionality of the GOP.

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