Wednesday Night #1967 with Peter Berezin

Written by  //  November 27, 2019  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We must note that WN #1967 evokes the memories of a magical year for Canada. Would that the future looked as bright and promising today -even though, admittedly, when the future became reality post 1967, it wasn’t all that great.

With Peter, global economics will take precedence over other topics. We particularly look forward to hearing about the trip he and Martin Barnes took to Singapore and Hong Kong at the end of October, followed by Peter’s visit to clients in Australia. We will be interested in his comments on the Guardian report As Hong Kong suffers, China risks losing its financial window on the world  and might also bring up the demise of the WTO’s highest dispute-resolution body (The end of world trade as we know it) as well as Mohamed A. El-Erian’s Project Syndicate musings on the IMF’s Gradual Irrelevance.
We may add to the mix Joseph Stiglitz’s recent piece It’s time to retire metrics like GDP. They don’t measure everything that matters in which he asserts that “The way we assess economic performance and social progress is fundamentally wrong, and the climate crisis has brought these concerns to the fore”, and for Canadian flavour: BCA alumnus Stephen Poloz’s comments that the Bank of Canada is developing new models to try and understand the significant consequences climate change could have on financial stability.

We have recently become fans of THIS DAY IN HISTORY and are frequently intrigued by the relevance of historical anniversaries to the news of the day. For example, on 27 November 1095, Pope Urban II ordered the first Crusade. Not the beginning of problems between the then-western world and what would become known as the Middle East, but certainly an important milestone.
So, today, we have turmoil in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and inevitably, Israel.

One by one, countries across Latin America are succumbing to unrest. It doesn’t matter if governments are from the left or right. People are tired of austerity, with some countries suffering years of stagnant economic growth and fed up with graft. The latest to face mass protests is Colombia. Perhaps having seen what has happened in places like Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia, unions and student groups are pressing President Ivan Duque to tackle a long list of problems. The movements might be taking energy from each other, though some could also be simply coincidence. A big question is where they might erupt next.

Lawrence Haas and Jeremy Kinsman comment on the protests (Jeremy points out that these are more appropriately referred to as riots) in Iran and whether the U.S. sanctions are the cause, then move on to the startling results of the local elections in Hong Kong and what this means for Beijing. A pity that the limitations of the  format did not allow for any reflections on either the Reuters report of the Iranian plot to attack Aramco facilities or the leaked files describing China’s crackdown in the Xinjiang region.

Thursday is U.S. Thanksgiving Day, a holiday that was proclaimed by FDR aka President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 26 November 1941, just days before Pearl Harbor.
Happy Thanksgiving (or as Art Buchwald would have it, le Jour de Merci Donnant)  to all American friends, friends and family of American friends! May you travel safely through what may be coast-to-coast storms  If you are too young to have known and loved Buchwald, perhaps you remember the wonderfully funny, and somehow profound turkey pardon segments of West Wing.

Even the annual turkey pardon did not give Impeachment Inquiry respite. Yes, this year, Trump pardoned Butter the turkey with a side of impeachment jokes. However, after the drama of last week’s Inquiry hearings, this week, the theatre is dark as politicians return to their constituencies for the Thanksgiving holiday. Next week, the House Intelligence Committee’s report will be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee (See: The First Round of Impeachment Hearings Are Over. Now What?) and The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled its first impeachment hearing for Dec. 4

The long-anticipated announcement on Sunday that Michael Bloomberg has thrown his hat into the democratic ring was not greeted with universal enthusiasm. One of his first challenges will be qualifying for the candidates’ debate in Los Angeles on December 19.

Meantime, Justin Trudeau and his colleagues have rolled up their respective -and sometimes virtual- sleeves. And on Tuesday, they had good news – The CN Rail strike has ended without any intervention by Ottawa, however, fallout continues for farmers, miners as rail-reliant industries still expect to be rattled by ripple effects as shippers deal with the backlog caused by the work stoppage.
While some of her new Cabinet colleagues are still finding their offices, Chrystia Freeland, in her new role as intergovernmental affairs minister, was meeting with Jason Kenney in Edmonton; then on to Regina to meet Premier Scott Moe. Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson may also be helpful in working with Saskatchewan. Wearing another of her multiple hats, she is off to Washington on Wednesday to negotiate an addendum to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that will help the Trump administration get Congress to ratify the trade deal, Mexican government sources say.
François-Philippe Champagne also has his work cut out for him as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs in light of the conclusions of the October conference convened by by the Canadian International Council (CIC) and Global Canada Canada as a middle power in an upended world: Time for a foreign policy reset?
At least these ministers have no trouble defining their job(s), unlike their unfortunate colleague Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity.

In brief
Mayor Valérie Plante and executive committee chairman Benoît Dorais have unveiled their 2020 $6.17-billion operating budget.
Meadowbrook developer loses appeal of lawsuit against Montreal
The court upheld a 2017 judgment by a Superior Court judge that had rejected a $44-million lawsuit against the city
Sandy Wolofsky comments “After 30 years, and a movement that started with my mum and various others, many of whom have passed away, the good guys won. CPR lost!” Congratulations to Julien Feldman, involved in this fight for over 10 years.
Quebec’s Bill 21 leads to ‘irreparable harm,’ civil liberties groups tell Court of Appeal
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) claim Bill 21, the province’s secularism law, harms minority groups in Quebec and limits employment opportunities.
Unions and education groups ask Quebec government to delay adoption of Bill 40
They say the proposed law, as it is, does not help improve the quality of education for students and would put too much pressure on parents

22 November is one of those dates that for many of us (of a certain age) brings back painful memories of exactly where we were in 1963 when we heard the news of JFK’s assassination. Even 56 years later, some media still mark the occasion, usually referencing the ‘Kennedy dynasty’. This year, New York‘s JFK’s Complicated Legacy, on the Anniversary of His Assassination concludes by pointing to JFK’s grand-nephew Joseph P. Kennedy III who is “challenging incumbent Democrat senator Ed Markey next year, seeking to renew a tradition whereby the Bay State was represented in the Senate by a Kennedy from 1952 until Ted’s death in 2009.”

The Canadian International Council (Montreal Branch) and the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales (CÉRIUM) are delighted to invite you to
“Canada is back, prise 2”

Wed, 4 December 2019
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM EST
1250 Rue Guy, FB804 (8th floor)
Montréal
Now leading a minority government, Trudeau has replaced the all-powerful Chrystia Freeland at the helm of Canadian diplomacy with François-Philippe Champagne, an MP from Quebec. Will foreign policy be reoriented? Will Canada finally be “back” on the international stage? What are the priorities or what should they be? And what are the main challenges and pitfalls?
Three Canadian foreign policy experts will speak on these issue: Aphrodite Salas, Jocelyn Coulon and Daniel Béaland
Please note that this event will be bilingual
Registration (mandatory). The event is free but donations to the CIC are welcomed.

Long Reads:
After the US-China Trade War
Stephen S. Roach
Trade truce or not, a protracted Cold War-like conflict between the United States and China has already begun. That should worry the US, which, unlike China, is devoid of a long-term strategic framework.
After Six Decades, Turkey Is Now a U.S. Ally in Name Only
Six ways to handle Trump’s impeachment during holiday dinners
After dominating the news this month, the impeachment inquiry is bound to be a popular topic at Thanksgiving dinner. Darrell West offers advice for getting through awkward political conversations with relatives and friends.
My Friend Mister Rogers
Tom Junod first met him 21 years ago, and their relationship is the subject of a new movie. He’s never been more revered—or more misunderstood.
What Joe Biden Can’t Bring Himself to Say
His verbal stumbles have voters worried about his mental fitness. Maybe they’d be more understanding if they knew he’s still fighting a stutter.

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