Wednesday Night #2013

Written by  //  October 14, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2013

We have apparently survived the mystical 10-10-2020 as unscathed as is possible in today’s Covodian Trumpian world. Which, of course, does not mean that much -if anything- has improved.

The weather did, allowing us to revel in the glorious Sunday and Monday of Canadian Thanksgiving/US Columbus Day weekend. Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful Fall day in eastern North America?

The good weather encourages positive thinking , so this week we revert, for a while, to the tradition of highlighting accomplishments and projects of Wednesday Nighters who will present two engaging topics.

Kent Hovey-Smith and Robert Sinclair,  respectively Vice President Corporate Affairs and CIO of Carrera Development Company, will give us a foretaste of Carrera’s highly innovative community development in Gatineau.

Luc Sirois, Executive director of Prompt, was appointed in August strategic advisor to the Quebec minister of the Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon. We look forward to catching up with Luc wearing his multiple hats and a briefing on Wednesday morning’s webinar “Le Québec à la vitesse QUANTIQUE 〉Photonique, cryptographie et algorithmes

We hope that Kyle Matthews will also brief us on The Canadian Coalition to Counter COVID Digital Disinformation, the newly-launched MIGS project. A propos: Facebook greatest source of Covid-19 disinformation, journalists say – International survey nominates social media giant as worst offender, ahead of elected officials.

From his comfortable Kamouraska refuge, Andrew Caddell tackles Access to Information and Privacy requests, known as ATIPs, in his weekly column, he notes that “The demand for information has increased enormously in the past decade, as journalists and individuals have sought greater insight into decision-making. Naturally, there have been recent backlogs, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic: when no one is in the office, paper can’t be processed, and confidential documents can’t be viewed on home e-mails.” He points out reasonably that “there have to be reasonable amendments [to the Act] that protect speculative discussions and open policy making, but do not permit cover-ups of embarrassing information. This would mean careful paring of the exemptions. There also has to be a computerized system of processing documents, to reduce paper and the gap between request and delivery.”

Jeremy Kinsman has been busy this week. On Tuesday’s edition of The Current: “it’s been 50 years since Canada established relations with the People’s Republic of China, we talk to Jeremy Kinsman, who was a young diplomat during those negotiations, about where the relationship goes next. And we discuss China’s human rights abuses and detention of two Canadians with Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, senior fellow at the University of Ottawa and with the China Institute at the University of Alberta.” On Tuesday evening, he and Larry Haas discussed the Amy Coney Barrett nomination and developments in the last weeks of the presidential campaign. Interesting, as always, but we prefer their usual moderator and the emphasis on international policy issues.

On China: we had hoped there might be a sliver of light at the end of the dark tunnel that envelops the Two Michaels when it was announced that Detained Canadians in China get rare consular access. However, marking the 50th anniversary of relations between Canada and the People’s Republic of China, the PM “spoke more strongly than ever before about Beijing’s increasingly repressive and aggressive actions at home and abroad, calling attention to the arrests of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the crackdown on civil rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong, as well as the treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, where more than one million are being held in so-called re-education camps.”

Meanwhile François-Philippe Champagne is in Europe, offering Canada as a mediator/peacemaker in the current dispute between Greece and Turkey. He is in Greece for the first leg of his week-long tour of European capitals to discuss with allies the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, the war between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh (The conflict we can’t ignore) and the situation in Belarus.

We hardly dare hope and are fearful of jinxing the election outcome, but The Hill says: “No challenger to an incumbent president since Bill Clinton almost 30 years ago has been in such a strong position as Biden with such a short period of time until Election Day. Still, even Democrats are reluctant to talk out loud about a Biden landslide for fear of jinxing a monumental election or encouraging complacency. Many pundits are also hedging their bets, mindful of the 2016 experience.” (The Memo: Biden landslide creeps into view)
So, we continue to worry about the effects of Misinformation [that] Stokes Calls for Violence on Election DayBaseless claims are circulating online about a Democrat-led coup, inflaming tensions in an already turbulent election season and the aftermath of Election Day. The Wolverine Watchmen’s plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Whitmer and Trump’s  encouragement of militias “to stand back and stand by,”  is a frightening glimpse of what could happen. As John E. Finn writes in The Conversation “The U.S. militia movement has long been steeped in a peculiar – and unquestionably mistaken – interpretation of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and civil liberties” and we should “Expect more Michigans.”
Moreover, there continues to be the question mark around Trump’s reaction to a loss. During the 2½ months of interregnum he could -and likely would-  wreak havoc with executive orders and a complicit, compliant Senate.
Are there any constitutional experts exploring how a lame-duck Executive and Senate could be reined in?

Which leads inevitably to the Amy Coney Barrett nomination (SCOTUS, Trump & the US courts May 2020 –) who flatly refused on Tuesday to pledge that she would recuse herself if a dispute over the Nov. 3 election came before the Supreme Court, insisting that despite her nomination by President Trump, she would not “allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide this election for the American people.”
Barring some extraordinary event, she will be confirmed in time to hear oral argument in California v. Texas, the case in which the Trump Administration and a group of Attorneys General are challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Maybe Trump could be provoked to say something outrageous like “but she promised me she would…” – Hope the Biden team is working on this!
Update: Barrett, Vowing Independence, Is Haunted by Trump’s Demands
Judge Amy Coney Barrett is not the first Supreme Court nominee to profess her independence, but her task has been made far more complicated by the president who nominated her.

Maybe not so funny? Amy Coney Barrett Supports Health Care Available in Year Constitution Was Written

Can you imagine if this had happened in Montreal under the humourless Plante regime?
Anonymous prank bench plaques re-installed by city after public outcry
Mayor Nenshi says the prank plaques are witty and increase Calgarians’ enjoyment of parks Good for him!
Check our Mayor Nenshi’s full interview on As It Happens where he explains the decision to re-install the fake bench plaques.

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