Wednesday Night #1818

Written by  //  January 11, 2017  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We have very special guests this week.

expo 67 multi logoEric Ruel and Guylaine Maroist, co-founders of Productions de la ruelle , will join us to talk about their latest project, a new documentary: POUR TOUJOURS EXPO 674Ever Expo67, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Expo, the event that, according to the Canadian encyclopedia “was the highlight of Canada’s Centennial celebrations in 1967”. Not incidentally, it also placed Montreal firmly on the map as an international city.

While they will, of course, share their experiences in putting this documentary together, Eric and Guylaine are also keen to explore ways in which we can help to promote the film to the Anglophone community (it is hoped that an English version will follow the initial French version).

In today’s world, ‘innovation’ is the key word – Expo67 was the ‘personification’ of innovation of its day, with innumerable ‘firsts’ ranging from the application of Critical Path methodology throughout every aspect of the project, to the experimental modular housing concept and pre-fab construction techniques employed for Habitat 67, to the vast and enriching Performing Arts programme. AND, unlike the ’76 Olympics, economists take note,  the ROI was healthy: Expo 67 cost Canada, Québec and Montréal $283 million to put together and to run. Independent economic studies indicated that the return to federal, provincial and municipal taxpayers was almost double that amount. For example, the increase in tourist revenues in 1967 directly related to Expo was calculated at $480 million.

POUR TOUJOURS EXPO 67 is a fresh new take on this important event. An inspiring journey with exclusive archives and characters larger than life. This story needs to be shared with the public as much as possible.

Amidst all of the hype for [email protected], honouring the 50th anniversary of this extraordinary event should be at the top of many lists, so we hope that you will join us to assist Eric and Guylaine in their invaluable contribution to bringing alive this extraordinary Canadian achievement.

It would not be Wednesday Night without references to political activity, including PM Trudeau’s Cabinet shuffle. Chrystia Freeland made her bones in the CETA negotiations and will no doubt do a fine job as Minister of Foreign (Global) Affairs. But there is considerable dismay in the social media over the treatment of Stéphane Dion who is now leaving politics.  Interesting choice of John McCallum as Canadian ambassador to China. Very glad that Marc Garneau retains his post as Minister of Transport where he is implementing his Transportation 2030 strategy after a thorough (and long overdue) review of the Canada Transportation Act. Maclean’s  John Geddes tells you what you need to know about the shuffle, while the Globe & Mail editorial signals approval.

What a contrast with the proposed cabinet to the South. With 10 days to go,  the transition is not going smoothly.  The U.S. Senate is forging ahead with hearings on the Trump cabinet nominees –however there are delays for the ‘undocumented’ ones. The inimitable (not a compliment) Kellyanne Conway has dismissed concerns over the lack of Ethics vetting of the latter, blithely stating that “of course, the process necessitates information and disclosure, and under oath, these men and women will be asking (sic) questions from these Senate committees who are overseeing the hearings.”
The point is, of course, that the Senators would not have the needed information on which to base their questions.
There is also mounting concern regarding the recent high-level security briefing that details allegations of  Russian influence over Donald Trump.
True to form, Trump has labelled the reports ‘fake news’.
Another troubling note is the role of Jared Kushner as a senior advisor to his father-in-law.

As President Obama delivered his farewell address on Tuesday night, we are reminded once again how much we will miss the Obama administration’s seriousness of purpose,  freedom from scandal and above all, grace under pressure. We share his worry that:
“For too many of us it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods, or on college campuses, or places of worship, or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. In the rise of naked partisanship and increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste, all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable.
And increasingly we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there.”

The death of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Sunday casts a pall over Iran’s moderates and may well influence the outcome of the presidential elections on May 19. We need also wonder – and worry – about the Trump administration’s actions, given that Donald Trump has promised to scrap the nuclear deal.

As always, there is much more (check out recent posts on www.dianaswednesday.com), but we really want to focus on our new guests and their project.

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