Wednesday Night #1786

Written by  //  May 25, 2016  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Somehow we have avoided a constitutional crisis over “Elbowgate” (see Canada: Liberals 2016 if you missed any of the coverage of this unfortunate display of childishness by all parties) and Mr. Trudeau is now on the other side of the world preparing for the G7.

The only good thing to come out of the fracas was the withdrawal of Motion six – a very clumsy attempt to accelerate passage of Bill C-14,  the medically-assisted dying  legislation. And, of course, the fodder it provided John Oliver!

The events of the last week and the media coverage may, or may not, be raised next Monday, 30 May, when the Montreal Press Club hosts  A conversation with Jennifer Ditchburn: Montrealers, The Parliamentary Press Gallery, and the Canadian Media. Jennifer Ditchburn has recently returned to Montreal and is  Editor-in-chief of IRPP’s  Policy Options.

We have been somewhat surprised by the news coming from the PM’s attempt to make nice with the Japanese automakers. Generally, when such meetings are planned , there is already an agreed positive announcement. Instead, we have the PM saying “”I am very much in the relationship-building mode, where we’re talking about the kinds of challenges and opportunities that companies are facing,” Not only was the statement weak, but we noted that those dreadful “uhs” were more than usually apparent.

As to the G7 summit, John Ibbitson pretty well summarized the outlook:   “[it] is darkened by stalled trade agreements, a rising tide of insurgent populism and the possibility that a President Donald J. Trump could attend next year.” However, there are some positive elements suggested in the same column by John Manley and Colin Robertson. Worth reading.

A major cloud hanging over the G7 and a good share of the developed world is the Brexit vote of June 23. As the date approaches, everyone is weighing in. Today it is 300 historians and last week it was Conrad Black. CB sees some opportunities for Canada should the vote favor an exit: “Canada could play a role in leading the development of an alternative bloc, though one associated with both the European Union and the United States. The U.K., the old dominions of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and Singapore and India, as an economic group, would be as great as China” (Conrad Black: If Britain leaves the EU, where will it turn?)
Canada may not be able to do much to influence the vote, but one Canadian is making himself heard. Mark Carney has incurred the wrath of the Leave side for purported interference. The Economist points out, however, that in his official capacity he is obligated to reflect the views of the monetary-policy committee which  thinks the referendum is currently the biggest threat to financial stability.

We remind you that on
Thursday, 16 June, the CIC is hosting a talk by Marko Papic, BCA’s Chief Strategist,  “BREXIT: Can We Work It Out?” Please reserve the date. Details to follow.  

Brazil and Venezuela are both in dire economic and governance straits – not that Canada seems to be paying much attention (but when has Canada paid attention to Latin America, other than Mexico and Cuba?). The new government in Brazil has already shown its colors Brazil minister ousted after secret tape reveals plot to topple President Rousseff

Climate change is always newsworthy – and often the subject of debate – however, The business case for fighting climate change offers an unusually upbeat  perspective

A good interview with Cleo Paskal was published in Le Devoir on Tuesday Les îles qui disparaissent, un enjeu stratégique and (a very serious) Jaime Webbe appears in the video of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) being held in Nairobi, May 23-27.

On a related note is the fascinating story of following the trail of “Baltimore” a Snowy Owl, from Maryland to Ontario. Snowy Owls are migrating further and further south. Baltimore started his trek home from Assateague Island (which, oddly, was mentioned recently on a Wednesday Night).

Very rarely do we mention sports, but could not resist this item from one of our faithful European correspondents: Hockey & Politics – sore loser department
The day after the World Hockey semi-final in which Finland beat Russia and the Finnish player Patrik Laine was named Best and Most Valuable Player, Russia quite unexpectedly advised that the import of animal foodstuffs (fodder) from Finland is prohibited effective immediately. The reason given was, that they are GMO.  As everybody knows, this is strictly forbidden in Finland. Putin also put in a surprise appearance at the final and was pictured warmly congratulating Canada (no doubt because of their victory over Finland).

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