Wednesday Night #2026

Written by  //  January 13, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

I write in deep sorrow and shock that our friend and Wednesday Nighter Matthew Cope has died.
Montreal journalist, screenwriter Matthew Cope dies at age 74
Matthew and I became virtual friends first, then met up for coffee and from then on, he became a delightful ‘real’ friend – so erudite, entertaining, with a wealth of fascinating stories, well-founded opinions, and, as his friend Lenora mentioned, a short fuse for stupidity and prejudice.
RIP, dear Matthew, I shall miss you, your wit and wisdom, and our daily exchanges terribly.
Please haunt us and whisper in our ears.
With deepest sympathy to all who loved and admired him.

This sad news almost stopped me from writing the usual prologue, but then I realized that would be a poor tribute to our friend, given his insatiable appetite for current news and miscellaneous topics.

So here goes:
This afternoon, House lawmakers officially impeached President Trump for his role in last week’s deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, with multiple Republicans bucking party lines to support the decision. It makes Trump the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.
As one Facebook wit observed:
Congratulations to President Trump who has two more impeachment rulings than President Obama.
As we all became expert in parsing the 25th Amendment, we were confronted in the past days with the need to understand and argue for the 14th Amendment (Section 3) which offers, in the words of Cristian Farias “another constitutional option, sitting right at the heart of the Reconstruction amendments, that offers Congress a potent, and less fraught, political weapon to punish the president for unleashing the violent mob that disrupted a solemn step in the peaceful transfer of power.”
As everyone has their favorite sources of news and commentary, we won’t add multiple links on the subject. There are several pages on the Diana’s Wednesday website that will give you more than you want to know. Look for January 6 2021 tags.
Jeremy Kinsman writes: I apologize to friends who got a black screen last week. Our show was tough on President Trump. In the brouhaha that followed, the link got scrubbed. The next day, he went nuts, the mob went wild, and we saw the outcome we had anticipated. So, here’s the aftermath. He and Larry Haas are surprisingly optimistic about long-term outcomes following the events of January 6.

Gloria Calhoun writes ” I wanted to call your attention to this CNN piece regarding redistricting and its influence on partisanship and disincentives to compromise.  I think it speaks to Guy Stanley’s question from a couple of weeks ago about increased divisiveness.  Also, upon further reflection about his question, I think he was asking more about behaviour than about beliefs. So while my answer that we have always been divided is true in terms of opinions/beliefs, behaviour truly has deteriorated. As he missed the discussion last week, I would also want to recommend he take a look at the book I mentioned by Julian Zelizer Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party .

We warmly congratulate Friend of Wednesday Night, Honourable Marc Garneau, who becomes Foreign Affairs Minister with Tuesday’s Cabinet shuffle. In a laudatory piece, Maclean’s Sharon Proudfoot writes “Whether his new post is a prime opportunity or a headache in the waiting, Garneau’s surprise move to global affairs is a vote of confidence in his steadiness.” For sure, there will be turbulent air ahead in this portfolio.

He takes over from François-Philippe Champagne, who moves to Innovation, Science and Industry where “…the Prime Minister believes he can play a key role in rebuilding the economy when the pandemic subsides.” His immediate challenge is responsibility for building up domestic vaccine production and spurring medical research on COVID-19.
PM Trudeau announced this week an extra 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are set to arrive this year, putting the total number of coveted vaccines scheduled to land on Canadian soil at 80 million doses — more than enough to cover the entire population for two doses. BUT The federal government is looking to bring in an external public health consultant to advise on coronavirus vaccine distribution, amid growing scrutiny and questions over how the process is unfolding. Premiers, like Ontario’s Doug Ford (who has declared a state of emergency — the second since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic — and is issuing a stay-at-home order) , have said the federal government is not shipping doses to the provinces quickly enough, as public pressure and frustrations mount as cases rapidly spike. At the same time, Ontario is among jurisdictions where public health experts have criticized provincial leaders for partial and frequently unclear restrictions.

Meanwhile, as we endure the first days of Quebec’s lockdown,  Montreal is ‘once again the epicentre’ of COVID-19 crisis as city adds hundreds of hospital beds, while Environmental Health Specialist Michael Levy writes Quebec’s January back-to-school plan gets a failing grade. The only people who are relatively at ease with the Quebec lockdown are the dog owners who are exempt from the 8pm curfew. Nimble entrepreneurs are offering to rent their dogs to the dogless for late-night strolls (no, not really). Cats on leashes, we are informed, are not included in the exemption, but we wonder about the two pet pigs in Westmount.

As the Covid tally grows in the U.S. (United States sets record for most Covid-19 deaths reported in one day) there is a silver lining:
So many pets have been adopted during the pandemic that shelters are running out
Animal rescue operators said they worry that after the pandemic, some new pet owners might not have the time or want the responsibility and cost associated with an animal. That could lead to some being returned to shelters, but officials are advising new pet owners to prepare themselves — and their newly adopted pet — to the realities of “normal” life.

In case you missed this item: Anti-government website hosted in Montreal shut down after promoting armed protests in U.S. The website, Tree of Liberty, claimed to be the “press platform” for the Boogaloo movement, whose followers are radical pro-gun advocates who embrace the idea of a second American Civil War — which they call the boogaloo.Since September, Tree of Liberty was hosted by the Montreal servers of OVH, a multinational cloud computing company headquartered in France.

Preoccupation with January 6 and the aftermath has relegated two other tragic anniversaries to relatively minor status:

The downing of PS752 one year later
On January 8, 2020, Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 was gunned down by the Iranian military shortly after taking off from Tehran. One hundred and seventy-six people died, including 138 with ties to Canada. One year later, The Sunday Magazine reflects on the tragedy through the eyes of Javad Soleimani, a young man living in Edmonton who lost his wife in the crash. And we look ahead at the legal remedies available for securing answers and accountability with renowned international law expert Payam Akhavan.
and
The January 12, 2010 devastating earthquake in Haiti that left over 300,000 dead and over 200,000 buildings destroyed. More than one billion dollars were raised by some international organizations (NGOs) and the Haitian Government (PHTK) but still no progress in the country. Unfortunately, 11 years later, nothing has changed. The Haitian diaspora in Quebec was particularly hard hit with the most prominent loss that of Dominique Anglade’s parents

Long reads
An unusual topic for Kenneth Rogoff:
Fast and Slow in “The Queen’s Gambit”
Super-fast computer programs and massive databases have had a profound impact on professional chess in recent years. But, despite the threat of cheating, the game is currently in remarkable creative and economic health – not least because it is fantastically suited to the online world.
With thanks to Frank Chalk Breaking the Myth
On this week’s On The Media, journalists struggle to find the words to describe what happened at the capitol on Wednesday. Was it a riot? A mob? An insurrection? Plus, why supporters of the president’s baseless election fraud theories keep invoking the “lost cause” myth of the confederacy. And, taking a second look at “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” 1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] and Bob [@bobosphere] on the events at the Capitol on Wednesday. Listen. 2. Caroline Janney [@CarrieJanney], historian of the Civil War at University of Virginia, on the evolution of the post-Civil War Lost Cause mythology. Listen. 3. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw [@sandylocks], professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, on how post-Civil War appeasement allowed for the perpetuation of white supremacy in the United States. Listen. 4. Jack Hamilton [@jack_hamilton], associate professor of American studies and media studies at the University of Virginia, on the mixed and missed messages in the rock anthem “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band.
Nina Khrushcheva: Even a Squashed Coup Can Set the Course for Authoritarianism. Just Ask Russia
Americans must demand—and Republicans must deliver—accountability if they want to avoid the fate of other failed coups.
Unlearning an Answer: Charter schools deliver extraordinary results, but their political support among Democrats has collapsed.

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