Wednesday Night #2034

Written by  //  March 10, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2034

Sharpen your wits and virtual pencils. Peter Berezin is with us tonight. Yes, we know that the Market is not the economy, however, Markets rally as OECD hikes global growth forecasts, thanks to Covid-19 vaccine rollouts and Joe Biden’s stimulus package, and today’s Dow rose for a fourth straight session, climbing 1.5% to a record closing high. China, however is not having a great week.

Monday was International Women’s Day and attracted much attention, including some solid articles like
International Women’s Day reflections on leading for an equal future in a COVID-19 world, and The Guardian’s query Why do orchestras have so few women percussionists?
On the local scene, we were delighted to see the Susan Schwartz piece At Chez Doris, a joyful International Women’s Day for women who really need it with well-deserved praise for our remarkable friend Marina Boulos, who has accomplished so much.
However, for those who have not seen my ‘mini-rant’ on Facebook, here are my comments on the graphic portrayals of the movement.
Happy International Women’s Day?
Has anyone else noticed -been annoyed by- the pervasive images of young, well-dressed, energetic young women in the International Women’s Day celebrations?
I have seen none that honor the elderly, careworn, poor, disabled, or otherwise less fortunate women who also lead admirable lives of dignity and in many cases, through their example and sacrifice have enabled the next generation to become the extraordinary people they are.

I have been happily surprised by the supportive reactions.

The topic du jour for many was the Meghan & Harry (Sussex) revelations on Sunday of how miserable life is for a royal outsider. Whether you belong to the Meghan-as-heroine for calling out centuries of British racist policies camp, the pitiless Piers Morgan camp who see the imbroglio as a self-serving publicity stunt, or somewhere in between, it is undeniable that the fallout includes serious examination of the future role of the monarchy in countries such as Australia and Canada and other former colonies.
Jeremy Kinsman shared his thoughts on Tuesday’s Diplomatic Community.

While Trudeau says now is not the time to talk about scrapping the monarchy, a recent poll indicates that more and more Canadians would like to replace the British monarch as head of state. How to do so is another issue, given that Canada has “arguably has the most difficult to amend constitution in the world” in the words of University of Waterloo constitutional expert Emmett Macfarlane. However, it is a timely discussion as the country continues to be without a Governor General (why is that taking so long?). Worst suggestion to date comes from Carson Jerema of the National Post (where else?) Why Canada should make Prince Harry our king. So let the games begin!
At the other end of the spectrum of political commentary, the highly partisan and almost-always dismal Derek Burney writes that Canada is caught in a perfect storm of dysfunction.

Finally, filed under Entertainment by CBC: Jody Wilson-Raybould set to publish memoir of her time in cabinet and SNC-Lavalin affair. Don’t hold your breath, however, it’s not due until October.

In other news
We have not looked at Brazil for some time – partly a reflection of our distaste for Bolsonaro, but are now vastly cheered by the restoration of Lula’s political rights. No, he is not perfect, but so much better than the current regime.
The situation in Myanmar continues to deteriorate, as the UN calls for reversal of Myanmar coup and condemns violence – but how can the UN effect real change?
World must do more to support democracy in Myanmar: Bob Rae Suu Kyi came under heavy criticism for her failure to stop the military from its campaign of ethnic cleansing against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority — a failure that led Canada to strip her of honorary Canadian citizenship in 2018.
Rae, who served as Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar on the Rohingya crisis until 2018, was asked if that past makes it more difficult to organize international support for her.
“The short answer to that is, of course it does, but it doesn’t stop us from doing it,” he said. “The fact remains that she was democratically elected leader of a political party that won an election and that has to be recognized.”
UPDATE: Myanmar military hires PR agent to explain ‘real situation’ to westAri Ben-Menashe, who lives in Westmount

Our thoughts are with Joumane and John Buchanan:
Lebanon army chief berates politicians after president calls to clear protests
Since the Lebanese pound, which has lost 85% of its value, tumbled to a new low last week, protesters have blocked roads daily. But there have not been reports of violent confrontations between the security, army and protesters during the week.

Terry Jones directs our attention to
The Differences Between the Vaccines Matter
Yes, all of the COVID-19 vaccines are very good. No, they’re not all the same.
Several Wednesday Nighters report that so far, the vaccination process in Montreal seems to be going well. All, as far as we know, have received the Pfizer vaccine (there’s no choice in situ, if you don’t like what is on offer, you don’t get vaccinated). However, there is some consternation that Quebec to go against advice from national vaccine panel and give AstraZeneca to 65+. Good thing that Canada is now on track to receive 36.4 million COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna doses by July.

If you have not already done so, do read Julius Grey‘s How the university lost its sheen
“by far the most ominous product of this type of equalization was the obligatory ideology, first called political correctness and now woke. It consisted of fitting history, literature, indeed most disciplines to reflect the woke views. The more absurd the woke position was — on cultural appropriation, for instance — the more strident the call to conform. Indeed, preventing people from rebelling against woke positions requires that rebellion bear a heavy price. And it does!” So, is our Julius now in the same camp as Jordan Peterson? No, of course not.

Andrew Caddell takes a somewhat different route this week, honouring National Fraud Prevention Month with a column presenting a cautionary tale: “I let my guard down recently in making a purchase advertised online by a company called Noplum. As the Beatles once sang, I should have known better.”

It was, as always, a treat to have Cleo with us last week. While Chatham House rules prevail, much of what she said about her CPAC adventure is public on America cancelled: Conservative fears come to the fore at CPAC
Meanwhile, Gloria Calhoun writes “I am happy to say that, after last week, I ordered Cleo’s Global Warring book, and it just arrived!
This week, Cleo sent a link to her policy perspective Oceania and Canada: Building Bridges in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific published on Colin Robertson’s Global Affairs Institute.

Interview with Sauvé alumna Stephanie Jensen-Cormier, a biodiversity advocate living in Costa Rica.
In the episode, Steph discusses why we need to understand the urgency of reducing our emissions because it (sic) threatens our survival as a specifies. In addition, Steph explains why government-funded projects need to embed top-notch environmental, social and corporate governance into projects e.g. China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Local good news – the power of the people.
Beloved Mile End bookstore saved after landlord, store owner negotiate rental agreement
“Community organizing to support the bookstore speaks to the importance of preserving the diversity of our streets and our neighborhoods. It also shows a clear desire to see [building] owners more connected to the needs and reality of a neighborhood, by making their business strategies more flexible.”
And, don’t miss Wanda Potrykus’ What else is wrong with Westmount Park /3 – the series has attracted a lot of attention.

The talented Annabel Soutar is at it again:
by Télé-Québec, Porte Parole and Productions Déferlantes

L’Assemblée – Pièce de théâtre documentaire
Read about it at
À la télévision, en ligne et sur l’application Télé-Québec
Price: Free

31 March
CIC will host the Prime Minister of Greece at a virtual event.
Details to follow

While we usually link to NYT opinion pieces on political and geopolitical matters, in Covid times, it is worth consulting What to Watch, their coverage of movies and shows on Netflix and other streaming services.
Dog days for Biden: A presidential pet causes a ‘minor injury’ — and a public relations challenge

Lighter moments
One of Randy Rainbow’s best
MR. BIDEN (Bring My Vaccine)
To Be Or Not To Be, that is the question
HAMLET for Shakespeare’s 400th starring HRH the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), Dame Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Ian McKellen, Tim Minchin, Paapa Essiedu, David Tennant, Harriet Walter, Rory Kinnear and other theatre stars — “To Be Or Not To Be” that is the question! Quite brilliant…

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