Wednesday Night #1978

Written by  //  February 12, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

No Best in Show (Siba wins at Westminster} in New Hampshire. Bernie Sanders tied with Mayor Pete in New Hampshire and the latter now leads -by one- in the delegate count.

The seemingly interminable run-up to the February 11 New Hampshire primary is over in a flurry of ‘aggression’ from the candidates. The 24 delegates up for grabs, is a relatively tiny number given that a candidate needs 1,991 delegates to win the party’s presidential nomination. But New Hampshire, the second nominating contest and first primary, can often provide a candidate with momentum before the Nevada caucuses and the South Carolina primary later this month, as well as the Super Tuesday states on March 3rd. The main problem, as Ronald Brownstein points out is that The 2020 Democrats All Have the Same Problem – They’re niche candidates.
In response to the news from New Hampshire and the recent Thomas Friedman article Paging Michael BloombergDemocrats need to nominate the right person to prevent Trump from winning a second term, John Curtin is making a new prediction of the 2020 outcome: “Next president of the USA…Klobuchar will be his VP”, certainly an interesting thought, but will horrify the Bernie supporters.

If you are suffering from poll and pundit fatigue, we suggest spending a few minutes at the infinitely more attractive -and competitive- world of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the Agility competition (delightful pictures, too).

February 11 marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Yalta Conference at which the Allied leaders, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met to plan the postwar reorganization of Germany and Europe. One wonders what they would say about Europe and the EU today.

According to the NYT, the  Merkel Succession Crisis in Germany Leaves Europe Leaderless, Too
With Brexit a fait accompli, focus will be on Britain (England)’s trade relations, which at this juncture do not look too promising, e.g. UK trade deal faces potential veto from every EU countryEven the smallest member country will be able to wield influence over the accord. To make matters worse, Donald Trump may be launching a new trade war with the EU as the global economy slows and he seeks re-election. Trump has called the EU’s position on trade “worse than China” and threatened to impose tariffs on its cars and other products.
If you were not paying attention, “A seismic election in Ireland has reshaped the traditional electoral landscape, with the left-wing nationalist party Sinn Féin surging into first place ahead of the traditionally dominant Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for the first time in the history of the republic.”

Another important election that was relegated by other events to the back burner concluded with the defeat of  Modi’s party in Delhi after polarising campaign “While the Delhi polls are always among the most closely contested elections in India, determining who will control India’s capital city of more than 20 million people, this year felt particularly heated due to the protests that have rocked Delhi and the rest of the country in response to Modi’s new citizenship law (CAA), which critics say is prejudicial against Muslims.”

February 11 is also the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from Prison in 1990. As Justin Trudeau campaigns in Africa for Canada’s seat on the UN Security Council, it is to be hoped that he will remember to invoke Brian Mulroney’s steadfast support for Mr. Mandela and opposition to apartheid.
An item of poignant timing: Tuesday’s announcement of the death of Joseph Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo Founder.

Coronavirus, now officially COVID-19, may be peaking in China, but WHO is worried about outbreaks in other countries, including Singapore. The MIT Technology Review notes coronavirus is the first true social media “infodemic” – Social media has zipped information and misinformation around the world at unprecedented speeds, fueling panic, racism… and hope.

Close to home
Last Friday, invoking closure, the Quebec Assembly passed Bill 40 60-35 despite fury over last-minute amendments. A last-minute amendment to the education reform bill will force municipalities to cede land to future school service centres without compensation. Mayor Plante and colleagues of the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ), which represents 390 municipalities across the province, are outraged. Bill 40 is not yet a done deal, as the EMSB will likely mount a court challenge.
In a welcome move, Environment Minister Benoit Charette has announced new measures to improve our recycling system by placing more responsibility on companies when it comes to the waste management of their products. In our opinion, this is a long overdue move to force companies to do away with useless nuisance packaging and should create a whole new industry around creative approaches to environmentally-friendly delivery of goods – could we please start with eliminating milk in plastic bags?
Andrew Cadell’s column in The Hill Times addresses The Conservatives’ Leadership Race, commenting that “Once Conservative chief Andrew Scheer gave up the ghost of a chance he had of staying on as leader, most of the news was about who had decided not to replace him.
First, Jean Charest backed out; then Rona Ambrose wisely decided to pursue business opportunities in Alberta; and finally, Pierre Poilievre realized home was where the heart was.” He raises the strongly rumored possibility that John Baird will enter the race and wonders why James Moore’s name is never mentioned.

Thanks to David Kilgour for this from the Wall Street Journal:
The Surprising Science Behind Friendship
New research shows how crucial friendship is not only for happiness and emotional well-being, but physical health too, a new book reveals. The book is Friendship by science journalist Lydia Denworth.

For your Calendar
Wednesday, 12 February
World premiere of Oscar Peterson’s Africa Suite is Sold Out.
Royal Conservatory, Toronto
Let us hope it will soon be performed in Montreal.
Jeudi 13 février à 17h00
Un Canada ambitieux sur la scène internationale: un rôle pour nos citoyens
organisé par le CIC Montreal et le Centre d’études et de recherches internationales (CÉRIUM) de l’Université de Montreal
Discussion avec Ben Rowswell qui donnera un aperçu du rôle que les Canadiens et Canadiennes ont joué dans le passé dans la formulation et le déploiement de la politique étrangère du Canada, et examinera les manières de remobiliser la population pour un engagement plus grand du pays sur la scène internationale.
Saturday 29 February @ 7pm
One night only
Porte Parole Productions in partnership with the McGill Office for Science and Society presents Seeds</strong>
Following the show, there will be a Q&A with Co-founder, Executive Director and Artistic Director, Annabel Soutar, Canadian actor and Member of the Order of Canada Eric Peterson, and Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Director of the McGill Office for Science and Society.

Must reads
Zhang Jun, Dean of the School of Economics at Fudan University and Director of the China Center for Economic Studies, a Shanghai-based think tank argues that The Coronavirus Will Not Cripple China’s Economy.
The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President
How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election
The Woman Shaking Up the Diamond Industry
[Canadian] Eira Thomas’s company has used radical new methods to find some of the biggest uncut gems in history.

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