Wednesday Night #1798

Written by  //  August 17, 2016  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

YES, Wednesday Night is on at 2174, as sadly, we are unable to attend the wine tasting and BBQ event at the Beaconsfield Golf Club. We are doubly sorry as it is Tom Haslam-Jones’ 70th and we had so looked forward to celebrating there with him and Margaret. We hope they might join us on their way home.

We are saddened by the death of our long-time friend André Gervais, a distinguished member of the legal fraternity and great contributor to the community as, among other roles, President of the Canadian Bar Association, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Concordia, and Executive Vice President of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, not to mention Westmount municipal counsellor. We offer our deepest sympathy to his son Robert and all of the family.

Mauril Bélanger’s death is indeed sad, however expected, given his rapid deterioration. What a fine, brave person and MP he was and what a pity that the onset of ALS prevented him from being Speaker.  The statement from Anna Gainey, President of the LPC is a fitting tribute.

We hope you are enjoying the magical Olympic moments that erase all (or almost all) the doom and gloom, not to mention political furore, prevailing in the rest of the world. It is quite wonderful how the combination of impossible and improbable athletic feats, pathos and Olympic spirit -in all but a few cases- quickly overcome our misgivings about the award, finances and management of the Games. So far, our personal favorites have been the first Golds EVER for the Fiji  men’s rugby 7s (Fiji Wins Its First Olympic Gold And Immediately Declares Public Holiday) and Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling all the more significant given that he beat U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps, his icon. Pole vaulting was never one of our passions, but we could not resist the drama of Brazil’s Thiago Braz da Silva’s performance.  For pathos, it is hard to beat the withdrawal of Adelinde Cornelissen from dressage competition to protect her horse; while for demonstration of exemplary Olympic spirit, runners  Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino would share the Gold. Speaking of sharing, Michael Phelps’ three-way tie with  Chad Le Clos & László Cseh for Silver was certainly  involuntary, but definitely dramatic.

While viewers and competitors enjoy the Games, debate over the crippling financial and social costs of hosting the Olympics continues. Wednesday Night’s two Davids take up the discussion. While David Kilgour believes the Olympic Games Should Rotate From City to City and continent to continent  (although no African country has ever hosted), in The Olympics: Time for Some Rethinking, David Jones champions a permanent site in Athens . He is supported by John Rennie Short, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, in a cogent interview on Wednesday’s CBC radio program The Current. Professor Short argues that a permanent site could eliminate corruption and high environmental/socio-economic costs. It would be nice to think that the problem of corruption could be solved so easily, though unlikely in light of breaking  news that Ireland’s Patrick Hickey, a member of the IOC’s executive board, has been arrested for ticket scalping.

Every morning there seems to be a new development from the U.S. presidential campaign. Wednesday’s surprise is the shuffle in the executive suite of the Trump organization.  Donald Trump has brought in  Breitbart News chairman, Steven Bannon, to be  CEO for the remaining 82 days of  the campaign. Campaign chairman Paul Manafort has now been effectively demoted. We doubt that the shake-up had anything to do with Mr. Manafort’s dodgy past connections to the pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine. Nonetheless, as The New Republic says: Paul Manafort is having a terrible day. Couldn’t happen to a nicer fellow! Of course, the Clintons aren’t free from dodgy connections, but those seem to have been relegated to obscurity thanks to The Donald’s frequent ‘sarcastic’ statements.
On the plus side for Mrs Clinton is this interview with Mike Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, on Donald Trump and his [Morell’s] recent op-ed endorsing Hillary Clinton.
Adding to the intrigue are the juicy morsels of gossip about Ivanka Trump and Wendi Deng – could not resist including this item.

While we smugly observe from north of the border, it is time to turn to consideration of proposed reform of  Canada’s electoral system. We’ll be hearing a lot about the pros and cons of proportional representation and other alternatives when hearings resume next Monday. Quick quiz: what is the D’Hondt method? Okay, you can look it up on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%27Hondt_method

There are many who believe that Canada is overdoing the apologies. Céline Cooper’s view is that “A benefit of official apologies for past injustices is that they shine a light on the hidden stories some of us might not know about, or might not want to see. They require that we acknowledge Canada’s history of structural discrimination. In so doing, they invite us to reflect on our present-day structures and how they may be understood as just or unjust by future generations.” [Celine Cooper: What is the purpose of an official apology?] What do you think?

After 50 Years, Le Mas des Oliviers Will Shutter in October Another Montreal landmark disappearing – many happy memories of lunches and dinners there, but we should not begrudge owner Jacques Muller his retirement after 40 years.

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