Wednesday Night #1944

Written by  //  June 19, 2019  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Thank you to all who made last week’s evening with Rick Barton such a stimulating success!
Obviously, we did not get to cover any of the other topics proposed in the “Prologue” and now, of course, there are new developments, almost all of which are discouraging.

On the Canadian front, the announcement that  the PM and cabinet have again approved the Trans Mountain expansion project, has been met with expected mixed reactions and there will surely be more. And, although the PM’s announcement included optimistic statements about commencing work this year,  there are still lots of regulatory hurdles to be overcome.  John Paul Tasker’s lengthy overview  Trudeau cabinet approves Trans Mountain expansion project gives a pretty complete picture, while Aaron Wherry states that Like it or not, Trans Mountain is what a pipeline ‘compromise’ looks like. Writing in the Globe & Mail, former ED of the Pembina Institut Ed Whittingham also approves (Balancing climate and energy policy, the Trans Mountain pipeline is the right decision for Canada).

The irony of the passing of the non-binding resolution on Climate Change emergency the day before the Trans Mountain announcement was not lost on many commentators. Nor was the absence from the House of all leaders except Elizabeth May.

Meanwhile, we are confused about the status of Bill 69  as it bounces back and forth from House to Senate.

On a happier note: Congratulations to Joyce Pillarella who has worked so hard to obtain an apology from the federal government to Italian Canadians for their treatment during WW II.

The passage of the odious Bill 21 over the weekend [ Quebec passes a terrible law, and for the worst reasons ] has not surprisingly been met immediately by a court challenge [Bill 21 challenged in court by the lawyer who faced down Bill 62 ] If you did not hear the Patrice Roy interview with Legault, read Jonathan Montpetit’s account [ To minorities worried about religious symbols law, Quebec premier says he ‘could have gone further’] – we find it chilling.
The only slightly less objectionable Immigration reform bill was also voted into law by CAQ  during the marathon session, despite opposition. It is already the subject of an injunction  [ As injunction takes hold, Quebec immigration applicants seek clarity ] – is there anything more that can be done?

I could not bear to watch or listen to the Trump 2020 campaign kick-off. Reports state that “Standing in front of a sea of people wearing his signature red “Make America Great Again” hats, Mr. Trump unleashed a torrent of attacks, falsehoods, exaggerations and resentments that were the trademark of his first campaign and have been on almost daily display during his time in the White House. His warning for his voters: The establishment will stop at nothing to rob you of another four years.”

Boris Johnson seems to be the unstoppable candidate to replace Theresa May. Martin Fletcher writes in The New Statesman: Repellent, chaotic and a serial liar, Boris Johnson would be a catastrophic prime minister

The situation with Iran becomes more worrisome every day (or with every tweet). Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas devoted their most recent CTV session to the topic and the Guardian’s David Wearing frets – with justification – that Donald Trump’s reckless Iran policy casts doubt on the US as global leader. Still more alarming: Tom Cotton wants to bomb Iran, and he has Trump’s ear.
Thomas Friedman adds Trump’s Only Consistent Foreign Policy Goal Is to One-Up ObamaHe talks big but without strategic plans, as shown with Iran and North Korea. For lucid analysis, we suggest What does the Trump administration want from Iran? by Noah Weisbord

Trade wars & tariffs
China Is Cutting Tariffs—For Everyone Else
As Trump focuses on disruption, Beijing is evidently operating on a higher level. Note the benefits to Canadian lobster fishermen.
Trump Accuses Europe of Bolstering Its Economy at America’s Expense
Mr. Trump directed his criticism at Mario Draghi, the bank’s president, who said in a speech on Tuesday that “additional stimulus will be required” to help Europe withstand the economic challenges it faced, including mounting protectionist threats stemming from Mr. Trump’s trade war.
Companies plead with Trump against new China tariffs
The howls of opposition coming from big and small businesses weakens Trump’s hand as he prepares for a possible showdown with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 leaders meeting in Osaka, Japan on June 28-29.

Good reads:
Why some people are fighting for the right to repair our broken products
Why is it that when cellphones, laptop computers, washing machines, printers — even large equipment like tractors — break down, it’s more expensive to repair them than to replace them?
According to the advocacy group OpenMedia, it’s because manufacturers want it that way.
The result is consumer frustration — and expense — and it’s creating an environmental nightmare. The world is littered with mountains of moribund products. But Canadian consumers want change, according to a recent Innovative Research Group poll. Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they had thrown out devices that could have been repaired. Seventy-five per cent of people surveyed said they support “right to repair” legislation that would make it easier to fix devices.
Andrew Caddell (Ottawa’s leaders don’t seem to understand that architecture matters) and Penny Collenette Who can save the Chateau Laurier from an eyesore addition? are vocal and articulate critics of the planned addition to the Chateau Laurier. Are you following this controversy? If not, you should.
As we follow events in Hong Kong, Why These Hong Kong Protests Are Different is of particular interest.
Demonstrations in 2014 brought people like Joshua Wong to the attention of the world. These latest rallies have significant differences … perhaps the most obvious of them being the lack of a clear leader.
Birthright Trips, a Rite of Passage for Many Jews, Are Now a Target of Protests
Over nearly two decades, a nonprofit organization called Birthright Israel has given nearly 700,000 young Jews an all-expense-paid trip to Israel, an effort to bolster a distinct Jewish identity and forge an emotional connection to Israel. The trips, which are partly funded by the Israeli government, have become a rite of passage for American Jews. Nearly 33,000 are set to travel this summer.

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