Wednesday Night #1859

Written by  //  October 25, 2017  //  Wednesday Nights, Wednesday Nights Meta  //  No comments

It seems that Mercury is not retrograde at present, but our computer has not been so advised and neither, it seems, has the world.

Charitably, we would characterize the past week’s events as a series of missteps with, close to home, the introduction of Bill 62, probably one of the worst pieces of legislation in recent memory. If in doubt, check out Breaking down Bill 62: What you can and can’t do while wearing a niqab in Quebec which clarifies that “You can walk into a public library, but you can’t take out a book” and even better, “You can drop off your children at public daycare, but you can’t pick them up.” We are no fans of the niqab, but surely, there was a better way of handling this?

Ottawa – read Minister of Finance Bill Morneau – is having its own problems. It’s difficult to sort out the he said/she said of his discussions with the ethics commissioner, but the optics aren’t good. Maclean’s is becoming increasingly snarky on the subject: Bill Morneau, Canada’s very expensive finance minister
As there is increasing Liberal disarray, the death of Michael Pittfield serves as a reminder of the need for discipline enforced by the PCO.

We are not impressed by the news of the sale by auction of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Matthew, the last inshore coastal surveyor ship. With no replacement, Canada risks not only domestic maritime safety, such as for cruise ships in the Northwest Passage, but also its geopolitical credibility in disputes over sovereignty in the Arctic Ocean. Maybe the provisions in the new fiscal update — $1.4 billion over six years for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Coast Guard to maintain its fleet — will answer the needs?

The new US Ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft, made her début with the profound statement that when it comes to climate change she believes in “both sides of the science.” She also said she will work to promote strong economic relationship and collaboration on security at the border, while making cross-border trade and travel easier. Not an easy task with the incumbent in the White House. Let’s hope that the U.S. Congress will weigh in on the increasingly unpromising NAFTA talks. On that topic, there is perhaps a glimmer of hope ‘Army’ of Lobbyists Hits Capitol Hill to Preserve Nafta

The Republicans in Washington are Feudin’, Fussin’ and A-Fightin’ as Senator Jeff Flake announces that he will not seek re-election for Senate and the irrepressible Bob Corker is waging all-out war with Donald Trump

WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had a bad few days after naming Robert Mugabe – yes, that Robert Mugabe – a WHO goodwill ambassador.The outraged response was global and the appointment was rescinded. One has to question Mr. Ghebreyesus’ judgement.

The plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar continues to worsen. AP reports that a US declaration of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar on way, but we fail to see how that will help the refugees as long as Across Myanmar, Denial of Ethnic Cleansing and Loathing of Rohingya prevail.

The situation in Spain/Catalonia remains fraught.Over the weekend, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced he would invoke a never-used provision of the Spanish constitution to remove the elected leaders of Catalonia from office because of their support for Catalan independence. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera asks (and answers) Which other regions want to secede from Spain?

No Mercury retrograde for  China’s President Xi Jinping
The 19th Party Congress has concluded and Mr. Xi is on the top of the heap, after a leadership reshuffle. The South China Morning Post has blanket coverage

Nor for Shinzo Abe whose decision to call a snap election has paid off.
Abe’s ruling coalition has won a clear majority with more than two-thirds of Parliament’s 465 seats, with the Liberal Democratic Party holding a majority

The bidding for Amazon HQ2 has closed. There were apparently  238 proposals from 54 states, provinces, and districts across North America. But, as for so many others, This Wasn’t Actually a Great Week for Amazon

A sign of the times, The New Yorker profiles Kleptocrat, a new strategy game that operates on the premise that the Player is a bad guy trying to launder ill-gotten riches while evading the Investigator, a relentless exemplar of all the anti-corruption killjoys out there.The hide-and-seek scenarios in Kleptocrat are extrapolated from the behaviors of real kleptocrats around the world. Rendered as a map of the world, the database depicts, to scale and in deepening shades of red, the bribe-susceptibility of industries within a given country, as well as details of successful prosecutions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Not to be missed:
An Evening with Jeremy Kinsman,
Former Canadian Ambassador to Russia
Were the revolution and its aftermath due to something “in” Russia that persists? What are their effects today? Did terrible decades that followed harm the ability of Russians to adapt to opportunities for change, like a collective PTSD? Is Vladimir Putin’s search for Russian greatness a salve or a device to legitimize his assertion of unbridled power?
On November 9th, join Jeremy Kinsman to discuss these and many other important questions about the Russian revolution’s meaning, 100 years later.
November 9, 2017, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
NB The anniversary of the “October Revolution” falls on November 7 by the Gregorian calendar used today, but it fell on October 25 by the old Julian
calendar used in Russia at the time.

This looks like a fun read
Terry Milewski: Living and loving the Cold War: The wild ride of a Canadian diplomat and spy
From spying for the CIA and dodging the KGB, to rallying Afghan warlords, Bill Warden’s life was an adventure
More good reads. From The New Yorker 16 October issue Trump’s Trips to Puerto Rico and Las Vegas
The first revealed the cost of a lack of political representation; the second showed the consequences of a lack of political courage.
From the same issue, David Remnick’s tribute to Samuel I. Newhouse, Jr., the Longtime Owner of The New Yorker and Chairman of Condé Nast.

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