Wednesday Night #1782

Written by  //  April 27, 2016  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our exceptional friend Astri Reusch and know that all who knew her join us in offering our deepest sympathy to her devoted husband, Sam Stein. We will plan an appropriate tribute to Astri on a future Wednesday Night.

The community suffered another loss last week with the death of  Derek Speirs, whose participation in earlier Wednesday Nights and quiet commentary on business issues was highly valued.

Congratulations to John Buchanan and Joumane Chahine for the overflow CIC event  “The Middle East Today” at the University Club on Tuesday Night. Nadim Shehadi was engaging and launched some provocative ideas (some can be found in this interview) that run contrary to most western media analyses, especially with respect to  the current shift in U.S. policy away from former BFF Saudi Arabia and towards the former arch enemy Iran. His comparison of the differences between Shia and Sunni  to those between Catholicism and Protestantism was also highly persuasive. We look forward to John & Joumane’s further comments tonight.

In the on-going dialogue between the two Davids, David Jones believes that Arms Sale to Saudis [are] a Tempest in a Teapot while David Kilgour says that  By selling Canadian equipment for Saudi cash, Canada would help prop up the absolute monarchy and its authoritarian practices until the conclusion of the deal in 2028.

Meanwhile, Saudi deputy crown prince  Mohammed bin Salman, has announced  a broad-based economic reform plan, known as Vision 2030, revealing how the oil-reliant state plans to diversify its economy over the next 14 years. He also  said  in an interview that the Kingdom will sell shares in state oil giant Aramco and set up the world’s largest wealth fund – the Norwegian model, finally?

One of the more ironic headlines we have seen:
Rockefeller family charity to withdraw all investments in fossil fuel companies
Started by John D Rockefeller – who made his fortune from oil – the fund singled out ExxonMobil, calling the world’s largest oil company ‘morally reprehensible’.

Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet have been meeting at Kananaskis. While there is griping about the cost of moving cabinet retreats outside the Ottawa bubble, it seems to us that it sends a signal that the rest of the country is not being ignored. Everyone knows that Rachel Notley was there to pitch pipelines, but less covered is the presence of an intriguing trio of consulting gurus including Sir Michael Barber, best known for his concept of “deliverology”, the science (sic) of measuring a government’s progress on delivering what it told people it would.  Whoever coined that word should be sent to lexicon Siberia. It also sounds dangerously close to spin . Dan Gardner, author and former journalist, was another of the gurus. His expertise lies in improved decision-making and implementation. If their recommendations are followed, we should be in for some informative times.
We hope that some of the gurus and members of cabinet will also take time to read Hugh Segal’s book,  ‘Two Freedoms: Canada’s Global Future’, a call to action to focus on two priorities, freedom from fear and freedom from want.

Amidst all the policy wonking, Mr. Trudeau had to respond to the awful news of the beheading of John Ridsdel by Abu Sayyaf  in the Philippines and defend the policy of not paying ransom . If you missed it, we recommend Adrienne Arsenault’s report on Tuesday evening’s The National.

With 100 days to go, the Olympic flame was handed over to Brazil on Wednesday in the marble stadium that hosted the first modern Games in 1896. There is of course the usual conjecture about whether the venues will be ready and  Brazil’s  governance woes continue.  The Miami Herald offers this: Are Brazil politicians playing their own ‘House of Cards’?
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff may be impeached and suspended as early as May 12. She would be replaced by vice-president Michel Temer, who critics describe as “Brazil’s Frank Underwood”.  If you follow all the links to expert opinions, you will likely be immersed in this excellent synthesis The Brazil Syndrome for the rest of the day!

On the first anniversary of the Nepal earthquake, it is truly distressing to see how meagre the recovery is Nepal’s Earthquakes: One Year Later

Some of the debris has been cleared away, but very little reconstruction has taken place and thousands of people are still living in tents.

We feel no need to add to the massive coverage of Prince’s death, however wanted to share the comment by one wit who, noting Prince’s philanthropy, suggested that he left us one final gift – eradication of  front-page coverage of Donald Trump for almost three days.

That blessed relief is over with the results of the 5  primaries in the Northeast and The Mouth is at it again, now claiming that Hillary Clinton is only in contention for the presidency because she is a woman. The Republican frontrunner attacked Clinton as weak and crooked and warned that she would be a “horrible president” as he sought to frame the fight for the White House. If it ever was, this campaign is no longer funny.

Not much cheery news, so we offer this unusual view of a cuddly wombat to bring a smile, and this photo essay about  a jail where inmates bond with abandoned animals of all sorts and both find a second chance. We have long been advocating for similar programs in Canadian prisons, particularly those involving the training of service dogs.

 

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