Wednesday Night #1898

Written by  //  July 25, 2018  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We are looking forward to welcoming Kent Hovey-Smith’s guest, Craig Ryan,  Director, Social Entrepreneurship at BDC, the only bank in Canada devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. He leads its efforts to grow the entrepreneurial movement of certified Beneficial corporations (B Corps). Craig has more than 20 years’ experience in the public, private and civil society sectors. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School. He is a guest lecturer at McGill University’s business school and a member of the board of directors of Rise Asset Development. Craig’s presence should ensure that at least part of the evening’s discussion will be positive!
Craig may wish to comment on the OECD’s  Economic Survey of Canada 2018 and the headlines Canada needs tax reform to boost competitiveness, OECD says

We also hope that the entrepreneur-in-chief of the Nicholson clan will not be too jetlagged (Marc arrives from Singapore in the afternoon) to join us for at last part of the evening. As mentioned last week, on Tuesday evening, Marc’s 1880 club hosted When Danger Calls for Help – cave encounters with Douglas Yeo [who] was the only Singaporean diver involved in the Thai cave rescue We are hoping for a first-hand report from Marc.

Wednesday’s election in Pakistan will certainly be at the top of the agenda.BBC’s Viewpoint describes it as Pakistan’s dirtiest election in years. According to Reuters, About 106 million people are registered to vote in polls due to close at 6 p.m (1300 GMT). Results will start trickling in within hours, and the likely winner should be known by around 2 a.m. on Thursday.

Tragic news from Greece of devastating wildfires in the coastal towns of Attica.In a 24-hour period ending Tuesday morning, 47 new fires broke out, though all but four were quickly extinguished … Government officials and others speculated that at least some of the fires had been set deliberately.
… Wildfires are an annual occurrence in Greece, but a drought and a recent heat wave, with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), have helped make this the country’s deadliest fire season in more than a decade.
It’s not going to get better. A hot July across much of western Europe will climb to another level this week as a heat wave builds from Spain to Scandinavia.
Anyone living in the core of this heat wave will be at a high risk for heat-related illnesses, especially the elderly and young children. (Intense heat wave to build across western Europe as wildfires rage in Sweden)
And in Japan, Record-Breaking Heatwave Declared Natural Disaster
Preliminary government data shows that the heatwave caused 65 deaths from July 16-22. Another 22,647 people were also sent to hospitals with heat stroke symptoms.

Kudos to Robin Wettlaufer, Ottawa’s special envoy to Syria, and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland for their starring role in the rescue of the White Helmets from Syria; How Canada’s woman in Istanbul began the daring rescue of Syria’s White Helmets tells a tale worthy of John le Carré. But, in our delight over this news,  let us not forget “There continue to be 3,900 White Helmets in Syria, distributed across 140 different points. It’s terrific that a number of people are now in a place of safety, but the rest of them continue to do whatever they can, wherever they can, under extraordinary levels of risk.”

Inevitably, the newsfeed is dominated by the Trump administration. This week Helsinki is replaced by tariffs, as Trump rejoices that ‘Tariffs Are the Greatest’ Maybe so, but American farmers are suffering to the point that the administration is set to announce what is essentially a $12 billion bailout for farmers And even the normally pusillanimous Speaker Paul Ryan has expressed reservations that tariffs are the best approach. In fairness, he has been doing so on-and-off for some time now.
And Mike Pence must be in a bit of a bind.:  Dependent on trade, Mike Pence’s hometown takes a hit due to Trump’s tariffs

Just in case tariffs were not a sufficient distraction from Robert Mueller and the Russia probe, Trump decided to heat up the Iran file with all-cap tweeted threats to the dismay of experts who say  [He] Is Pursuing A Totally Incoherent Iran Strategy. Writing in The Guardian, Ali Ansari points out that It’s not Trump Iranians are worried about – it’s their homegrown crises. Mahsa Kaviani recently posted the letter to Secretary Pompeo from the The National Iranian American Council that points out “The people of Iran have struggled to achieve democratic rule and independence for more than a century, and while this noble struggle has both made positive strides and suffered setbacks, outside interference has invariably undermined their efforts and strengthened Iran’s authoritarian rulers.”

As always it is entertaining – and informative – to watch Lawrence Haas and Jeremy Kinsman weigh in on the tariff issues, along with U.S. relations with Iran, and North Korea dismantling facilities at a nuclear site.

One of the more perceptive pieces we have read (Thank you, Sam Stein) is Trump’s foreign policy is perfectly coherent. The author, Danielle Allen, who is a political theorist at Harvard, argues that
“He didn’t get out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal because he disagreed with this or that detail of the agreements. He hasn’t started up deals with Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin and sought to force Xi Jinping to the bargaining table because he has refined views of what he seeks. He got out of the former deals because they were multilateral; he’s working on the latter deals because they are bilateral.
“The purpose of Trump’s bilateralist foreign policy is not some overarching vision about world peace or democracy’s role in global order. The purpose is simply to maximize Trump’s personal power, to make him personally great, by proving his dealmaking prowess and making himself necessary to the world’s economy. I think that he himself believes that when he is great on his own terms, America is great. That, with him in the White House, his interest is the national interest.”

Meanwhile, we are puzzled by Ambassador Nikki Haley’s recent actions. On Tuesday, she “slammed Arab and Islamic states for talking a lot about supporting the Palestinians but not giving more money to help, calling out countries like Egypt, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.” Washington, long the biggest donor to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which helps Palestinian refugees, cut its aid to $60 million from a promised $365 million this year, but we have never viewed the current administration as caring whether or not anyone else stepped up to the plate. Then, there is this report that she has warned “against ‘owning the libs.’ That’s basically Trump’s entire political strategy.”

Two items from June news of the UN you may have missed:
The UN’s human rights chief has had enough
Trump is guilty of “state-sponsored child abuse.” IS are creating a “harsh, mean-spirited, house of blood,” while the response from Arab regimes is “trying to put a fire out with gasoline.” The Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte “needs a psychiatrist.” The five permanent Security Council members “must answer to the victims” for the persistent use of the veto. Zeid has jettisoned quiet diplomacy. Most UN chiefs put themselves forward for a second term, but Zeid saw the writing on the wall. “To be re-elected in my job would be to fail,” because it would mean a series of punches pulled with member states. Now he is leaving, the last of the few global leaders willing to speak out about human rights abuses, what does that mean for the state of the world?
And this:
Not too surprising.
U.S. candidate loses race to lead U.N. migration agency
(swissinfo,ch) Ken Isaacs, the U.S. nominee to lead the U.N. migration agency, was knocked out of the race on Friday after coming third behind Portugal’s Antonio Vitorino and Costa Rica’s Laura Thompson in a secret ballot of member states in Geneva, delegates said.
Isaacs, vice president of U.S. evangelical charity Samaritan’s Purse, had caused controversy after being forced to apologise for tweets and social media posts in which he disparaged Muslims.

A good idea on so many different levels.  Montreal should emulate – seniors deserve more attention than cyclists!
The city wants to help Toronto seniors rent out their unused rooms to cash-strapped millennials
…  HomeShare, a new pilot project that looks to match seniors who live alone and have room to spare in their house or apartment for young students who are cash-strapped and in need of affordable housing. Starting in September, the project will pair at least 20 students from the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and York University with willing senior homeowners or renters in the city. The program aims to bridge an intergenerational gap, while addressing housing affordability for young people. Members of the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly, a Toronto non-profit organization that won a provincial grant to carry out the pilot project, hosted the information session at city hall to offer details on how the pilot will work.

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