Wednesday Night #2038

Written by  //  April 7, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We have survived our second Easter-like-no-other and note that the eggs did not not hatch much in the way of good news. The pandemic continues and while in the U.S. there is reason to cheer the vaccination figures, despite the opposition of white evangelicals,  Canada’s rocky performance (Ontario notably) is nothing to be proud of. See also Vaccine passports could be our ticket to normalcy. But Canada isn’t ready. With the scan of a code you may eventually be able to board a plane, or get into a bar. But vaccine passports are also an ethically fraught, logistical nightmare.
Andrew Caddell tackles Canada’s failings in this week’s Hill Times column Chaotic management of the pandemic is bringing government into disrepute

Brazil
is undergoing a ‘biological Fukushima’ while Australia and New Zealand have announced two-way, quarantine-free travel from April 19.
Concern remains that developing countries still need greater access to vaccines while the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines within countries presents challenges unprecedented in scale and speed, especially in poor countries.

As  progress was reported on the first day of talks to revive American participation in the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers, Israel which is opposed to the deal, unhelpfully launched a mine attack against an Iranian military vessel stationed in the Red Sea. Meanwhile in Iran, recorded cases of coronavirus infections soared to 20,954 following the Nowruz holiday.

We can’t really expect much good behavior from Israel given the fraught political situation. The headline from an NYT story sums it up: Defendant No. 1 or Next Prime Minister? Netanyahu Divides Israel. Israeli president Reuven Rivlin has picked Netanyahu to try to form a new government, but sounds less than enthusiastic: “I know the position held by many, that the president should not give the role to a candidate that is facing criminal charges,” Rivlin said. But the law says he must.

As news spreads of Alexei Navalny’s serious health problems Russia and Ukraine are back in the news: Are Russia and Ukraine Sliding Into War?. A distraction from domestic problems?

In the April edition of the World Economic Outlook, the IMF states that it expects the global economy to expand 6% in 2021, up from the 5.5% it had forecast in January. It would be the fastest expansion for the global economy in IMF records dating back to 1980.
Janet Yellen’s calls for global minimum corporate tax has been taken up by the G20
Mario commented approvingly of Janet Yellen’s initiative: Good example of post-COVID policy priorities. and noting correctly An issue that we will hear more about in G7/G20 policy circles; and also raised by Larry Summers when speaking in Montreal on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the G20.

(Some of?) Corporate America seems anxious to improve its post-Trump image, and not only in the fight over repression of voting rights by Republicans in Georgia and other states.
Amazon backs corporate tax hike to pay for infrastructure
Inside Corporate America’s Frantic Response to the Georgia Voting Law
Companies like Delta are caught between Democrats focused on social justice and populist Republicans. They face major political consequences no matter what they do.

Politico Canada features guest host David Herle who presents not only his thoughts, but a number of others in An insider’s guide to election timing. Maybe we’ll have more clues after this weekend’s Liberal Convention (see Events below).

Wanda Potrykus has been following Radical Resthomes. Conceived by Janet Torge the concept is an alternative form of seniors’ residence where the seniors themselves run the residence instead of a profit-making company. Wanda is attending a Zoom meeting on Wednesday and will report on the progress of the project, now that they have identified a first residence in Lachine.

Graeme Campbell, having completed his latest project, is in Panama until mid-May -presumably in search of warm weather that we are now enjoying here. Wishing him a wonderful stay and trust they will stay away from The Most Dangerous Jungle In The World.

Events
QCGN
8 April 5:00-6:00pm ET
English-speaking Quebecers and the Charter of the French Language
Webinar will be presented by retired veteran political reporter and broadcaster Bernard St-Laurent, who has covered the ups and downs of provincial and language politics since he landed his first reporting job at the National Assembly in 1976 just before the Parti Québécois was elected.
MIGS
8 April 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
Canadian Women Leaders’ Digital Defence Initiative – Atlantic Canada
The Initiative will examine the impact of disinformation and online harms targeting Canadian women leaders
8-10 April
2021 Liberal National Convention
Of note Friday evening’s In Conversation with Mark Carney and In Conversation with Ben Rhodes – Hosted by the Hon. Marc Garneau
9-11 April
NDP 2021 Convention
Singh rejects more extreme NDP policy resolutions ahead of weekend convention
20-23 April
2021 AI and Human Rights Forum
From surveillance and misinformation to facial recognition and foreign influence, advances in Artificial Intelligence have been rapid, raising questions about potential and impact on the rights of people around the globe. Join the AI and Human Rights Forum to hear from some of the world’s top experts on disinformation, online hate and freedom of speech, authoritarian tech, AI ethics and governance, and global cooperation.

Long reads
Thank you to Sam Stein for
The Death of a Grand Strategist
Charles Hill taught a style of statecraft and thinking that is almost lost to the world. We could all learn something from him.
I was recently introduced to JustOttawa,  a webpage newspaper featuring articles primarily by retirees and other friends living in Ottawa. The content ranges from whimsical to serious policy reviews. Among the latter is Jeremy Kinsman‘s ANOTHER RUSSIAN REVOLUTION?
Although there are no publications dates for the contributions (an annoying omission), by the references to Navalny’s sentencing to a penal colony, it appears quite recent.
An obviously much earlier overview of Conservative foreign policy under Harper HOW DID HARPER’S FOREIGN POLICY STACK UP?, contrasted with that of Mulroney, by Paul Heinbecker is a reminder of the damage Harper did to Canada’s international image and role. This was previously published (October 2015) in the Literary Review of Canada under the title Foreign Posturing

Good listening:
Il Volo
I find them far more engaging than the Three Tenors and cannot wait for their forthcoming tribute to Morricone (I know, not opera, but I love his music).

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