Wednesday Night #1890

Written by  //  May 30, 2018  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

While the world frets about the on-again-off-again summit with North Korea and the next moves against  Iran, and Canadians debate the acquisition (or not) of the Kinder Morgan pipeline by the federal government, “in the Economy Festival Trento, economy scholars, Nobel Prize winners and managers from all over the world meet for discussing economic topics with the audience.” Although it has been in existence since 2006, we confess to being unaware that adherents of the dismal science had their very own festival. Brilliant nomenclature,  would we not all prefer to attend a festival rather than a conference or summit? What if the 2018 G7 were the Charlevoix Festival? Would that not portend a happier outcome?
In any event the Trento Festival, which starts this Friday, has as its theme the hardly festive topic of Technology and Jobs, and we will hope that our economists are following the results as they dance around the maypole (or whatever).

We would have continued in blissful ignorance had George Soros not mentioned it in his thoughtful, must-read analysis How to save Europe.

It does seem somewhat ironic that the Economy Festival is held in Italy at a time when the country is at risk of a new financial crisis in the wake of the coalition’s collapse, but then Italy’s strong suit has always been la dolce vita rather than governance.

On the subject of governance, we have been researching populism and nationalism and have found some excellent references. One of the most interesting is Europe’s Populist Challenge and its companion piece Drivers of Authoritarian Populism in the United States
What makes these particularly valuable is that they are the products of a collaboration between The Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute, two influential Washington think tanks with opposing political philosophies.
As to governance as practiced by The Populist in Washington, we recommend a long must-read from the New Yorker: Trump vs. the “Deep State” – How the Administration’s loyalists are quietly reshaping American governance. Chilling!

As Brookings posts an alarming piece, The West is ill-prepared for AI-powered disinformation, McGill is home to a wonderful initiative: How a Desautels professor is sensitizing students to fake news : Management prof. imparts information literacy to BComm students by getting them to distinguish fact from fallacy in the media. Would love to meet Elena Obukhova, the creative professor who introduced this project, which, incidentally, we believe should go viral.

Here is everything you need to know about Ottawa’s plan to (maybe) buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline
(Global) After months of trade wars, threats and backroom wrangling, Finance Minister Bill Morneau on Tuesday announced the government’s plan to get the Kinder Morgan pipeline built.
Or, to be more accurate, he announced part of the plan.
An hour later, senior officials tried to clarify the parts of the plan he left unanswered.
Morneau told a press conference of assembled journalists in the National Press Theatre that the government will spend $4.5 billion to buy Trans Mountain and core Canadian assets of Kinder Morgan related to the expansion project, including the terminal.
Kinder Morgan will, in exchange, use what Morneau described as a “loan” from Export Development Canada to immediately resume construction on its plan to twin the existing pipeline over the summer.
But what Morneau left out is that the plan to buy the pipeline project from Kinder Morgan is Plan B.
Bloomberg reacts: Kinder Morgan Suddenly Has a Fat Bank Account to Go Shopping

While people debate what the long-term political effect of the Kinder Morgan buyout will be (Nik Nanos says For the first time since 2015, the Nanos federal ballot tracking has the federal Conservative party in the lead, but that was before the KM announcement), it’s more fun to watch what is happening in these last days before the Ontario elections.
Paul Wells: With only nine days until the Ontario election, the NDP are continuing to expand their lead over the PCs and Liberals – The Maclean’s-Pollara Ontario election poll: The NDP lead keeps growing. However, bear in mind that Turning votes into seats is not easy. One of the best discussions of how the seat count can flip the fortunes of the parties is Steve Paikin’s interview with Erin Kelly of Advanced Symbolics, The Changing Minds of Ontario Voters

Michaëlle Jean is under fire over expenses as she heads into Francophonie election. The expenses do seem a bit exorbitant – even by Paris standards. Although Canada and Quebec will support Mme Jean, her rival for the post, Rwandan Louise Mushikiwabo, is backed by France, so it looks as though Mme Jean may be limited to a single term.

In the all-politics-is-local category Inspector general blasts Denis Coderre over Formula E race for ignoring legal advice, bypassing rules
‘I’m very disturbed by this,’ said Mayor Valérie Plante, but former mayor insists he did nothing wrong – wrong is presumably in the eye of the beholder and when the beholder is a taxpayer…

Our WN authors are busy as always. David T Jones sent us U.S. Department of State’s Human Rights Report Focuses on Labour Issues, Women, and Indigenous People, his commentary and assessment of the 2017 U.S. annual Human Rights Report with an analysis of the “Canada Chapter”, with the comment “Consequently, despite occasional warts, it would be a more humane world were there 198 other entities with Canadian attributes.”
And kudos to Wanda Potrykus for another beautifully researched and written chapter of the Seniors’ Living History Project at the Atwater Library Once upon a time in 1909… in Montreal, the TB Capital of Canada
In the latest edition of David vs. David , David Jones discusses the enigma posed by North Korea and the actors (and their desires) in anticipation of the 12 June (or whenever) session between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. In All Eyes Still on Korean Peninsula David Kilgour advocates A Helsinki approach, no nukes in exchange for trade favors from the West, and support for Korean reintegration, as the best way forward.

We are looking forward to welcoming Alex Weinstein’s guest, Michel Jutras, General Compliance Officer with Air Canada, and welcoming back Kitty Qiu. We look forward to asking Michel about Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s announcement that the government is launching consultations to get input on what obligations and standards should be placed on airlines when it comes to treating passengers humanely.

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