Wednesday Night #1757

Written by  //  November 3, 2015  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #1757

Airbnb braces for the results of a key San Francisco voteOn the first night of the new government (Trudeau 2.0), of which more below, we welcome Guillaume Lavoie, Sauvé Fellow (Scholar 2008), founder of Mission Leadership, Lecturer at École nationale d’administration publique – ENAP, Montreal City Councillor (Projet Montreal) and the Official Opposition’s spokesperson for finance, government and international relations.
Guillaume has made a study of the shared economy, its impact on how the economy will transform itself and, most importantly, how it will impact and change the very role of governments.  He adds: “So far, I’d say I am one of the most vocal elected official on the issue (it’s so much more than Uber and Airbnb).”
The Shared/Sharing economy is defined as a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations. From the same source (The People Who Share):
“The Sharing Economy encompasses the following aspects: swapping, exchanging, collective purchasing, collaborative consumption, shared ownership, shared value, co-operatives, co-creation, recycling, upcycling, re-distribution, trading used goods, renting, borrowing, lending, subscription based models, peer-to-peer, collaborative economy, circular economy, pay-as-you-use economy, wikinomics, peer-to-peer lending, micro financing, micro-entrepreneurship, social media, the Mesh, social enterprise, futurology, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, cradle-to-cradle, open source, open data, user generated content (UGC).”
Note: Airbnb braces for the results of a key San Francisco vote
(PBS Newshour) San Franciscans are headed to the polls today [November 3] to decide on the hotly contested ballot measure Proposition F, also known as “the Airbnb initiative.”
Proposition F is perhaps the biggest electoral battle the so-called “sharing economy” has ever faced and would be a significant symbolic defeat for Airbnb if voted through.
Prop F would tighten regulations on short-term rentals for hosts and short-term rental platform providers like Airbnb through three main provisions. First, it would cap the number of nights a unit can be rented out to 75 nights a year. It would also require “hosts” and the short-term rental platform to submit a report to the San Francisco Planning Department every three months. Lastly, it would authorize neighbors — defined as anyone living within a 100 feet — to report any violation of the law.

Certainly, the shared economy is a consideration for governance at all levels and a component of Reinventing The West and we are delighted that Kimon Valaskakis will be with us to discuss the New School of Athens’ Strategic Plan which has only recently been published.

Russian plane crash in Sinai: Questions swirled as 224 aboard are mourned Another mysterious tragic plan crash and this time one with a possible ISIS connection, at least ISIS would like us to think so:  Islamic State claims responsibility for Russian plane crash in Egypt. Although experts are highly skeptical that ISIS has the missiles to bring down the flight from 31,000 feet, our friend C Uday Bhaskar argues Why IS Claims Aren’t Totally Misplaced.  Meanwhile, the Russian airline Kogalymavia has blamed “external influence” for the crash, with a senior airline official saying: “The only reasonable explanation is that it was [due to] external influence.” Supporting that statement, came new evidence from an infrared satellite that detected a flash near the site of the crash, suggesting that an on-board explosion may have downed the airliner. Kimon believes that “This is a prelude to an eventual admission that the Russian crash was a terrorist event. If it proves to be so, the geopolitical consequences will be quite high because it will lead to Putin doubling down in Syria… Or lose face which he does not like to do.” The suggestion has stirred the conversation pot among several WN friends on both sides of the Atlantic with at least one suggestion that if ISIS CLAIMS the credit we should accept it, true or not,  as  it gives an incentive for Putin to attack ISIS with vengeance.

Recommended listening/reading: How the Islamic State group justifies brutality with an apocalyptic vision
(PBS Newshour) The Islamic State militant group is taking advantage of chaos and upheaval in the Middle East to recruit fighters by prophesying the end of days, says William McCants, an early Islam historian. McCants joins chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner to discuss his new book The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State.

Certainly, for now, Russia is far more interested in propping up Assad and the Syrian Army and, as Reuters reports,  the talks between world powers in Vienna on Friday adjourned with calls for a nationwide ceasefire but with key differences remaining between the backers of the opposing sides.

Adding to the complexity of the situation are the results of Sunday’s snap election in Turkey in which the AK Party secured nearly 50 percent of the vote. Let us hope that the optimistic view expressed by Sinan Ülgen, Chairman of the Istanbul-based Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) proves to be accurate:
“Turkey’s new government has been provided with a broad enough mandate to address some of the country’s most difficult and imminent policy challenges – most notably the peace process with the Kurds. A previous effort had been suspended ahead of the election, as the PKK returned to violence and the AKP’s leadership adopted increasingly nationalist and hawkish rhetoric. With the election over, however, there is hope that the new government will restart the negotiations. If successful, the talks would have a major impact not only domestically, but also on the ongoing fight against the Islamic State.
The AKP’s majority will also enable it to continue to recalibrate the country’s foreign policy. Turkey’s policies following the Arab Spring had led to a loss of influence and friends in the region; but recently the country has begun to adapt its approach to the realities on the ground. For example, Turkey has lifted its objections to a role for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in negotiations to end the civil war in Syria. Similarly, a new commitment to the struggle against the Islamic State has eliminated a core point of friction with Turkey’s Western partners.”

Amidst the recent discussion of China‘s economy (China’s Economy at the Fifth Plenum), confrontations with the US Navy in the China Seas, and the socio-economic ramifications of lifting of the one-child policy, you may have missed this extraordinary piece of news: Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe awarded ‘China’s Nobel peace prize’ — The chairman of an award dubbed China’s Nobel peace prize has defended the decision to honour the Zimbabwean president, for supposedly “injecting fresh energy” into the global quest for harmony.
Another note on China: Is China the Next Mexico?
(Zócalo Public Square) Of course, it is hard to compare anywhere else to China given the sheer scale of the People’s Republic and its transformation. And yet, much like Mexico in the 1990s, China has long been ruled by a one-party dictatorship that has outgrown its ideological purity (all lip service aside) in favor of a widely acclaimed technocratic pragmatism.

Plenty of international issues – to add to domestic policy  initiatives – for the new Canadian government to tackle. Fortunately, political expert Eddie Goldenberg says,  Mr. Trudeau has an embarrassment of riches with which to put together a cabinet and get a government up and running.  There was lively debate on CBC’s Sunday Talk on The National concerning his promise that there would be an equal number of men and women in the cabinet – is this a form of quota? Does it imply that consideration of representation of other forms of diversity will be put aside?
Consider that nearly 200 rookie MPs were elected on Monday —  59 % of all men and women elected to the House of Commons. They could do worse than follow the advice offered in The class of 2015: What to expect when you’re an MP
During the run-up to the swearing-in of the new government, there has been no lack of comment and advice on the number of challenges that it must meet. In Trudeau’s First challenges, the Globe & Mail neatly packaged them into six categories
Legal reform || Environment || Foreign affairs
Governance || The economy || Health care
adding “The good news is that many of the Liberal promises, especially in the areas of public-service reform and social policy, don’t cost any real money.
For some issues, such as missing and murdered indigenous women, voting reform, and legalizing marijuana, appointing a task force or commission and giving it a deadline to deliver recommendations can buy the government time to manage its agenda.”
Jeffrey Simpson cautions that it “cannot do everything at once, let alone in the first year of a four-year mandate. If it tries to do too much, it risks implementing policies poorly, or so the Savoie thesis [What Is Government Good At? ] suggests. Picking a few “first things” to be done “first” won’t be easy. So many causes were mentioned in the platform that many interest groups are now convinced that their cause should be at the head of the line. Case in point? David McLaughlin, who was deputy minister to the New Brunswick Commission on Legislative Democracy says  Justin Trudeau’s electoral reform plan needs to ‘get going’ even though a change to Canada’s voting system does not necessarily require any constitutional considerations — only an amendment to the Canada Elections Act through Parliament.
Many of the promised reforms and new initiatives will depend on provincial acquiescence, but let’s also bear in mind the impact on the level of government closest to the citizenry. The one our friend Guillaume represents. For a thoughtful – but lighter – look at the serious issue of Cities and the Future of Canada , do listen to Mayors Nenshi and Iveson  speaking about the role of cities in our collective future.

Year-round DST?
For those of us who really, really dislike the early dark in the afternoon, Brookings presents New research that shows that the extra hour of light in the evening when many people are leaving work helps significantly reduce the number of robberies and crimes. If an extra hour of daylight makes us safer, why not have it year-round?

Looking for something to do before this Wednesday Night?
The 2015 Atwater Library Benefit Cocktail Party and Silent Auction. from 6 to 8:30 pm
This year’s Guest of Honour is Lionel J. Blanshay.  Dennis Trudeau will again be the emcee. Tickets priced at $150 (tax receipt for $125) are available at the Library from Tanya Mayhew at 514 935-7344 ext. 203 or by email at

Alternatively, Geoff Moore suggests watching Breakthrough! the New Science Series from GE and NatGeo Channel on GE Reports. It focuses on scientific progress and innovation and premiered on Sunday November 1st, but you can stream it.

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