Wednesday Night #2045

Written by  //  May 26, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

In May 24, 2021 Heather Cox Richardson details the outrageous kidnapping of opposition journalist, Roman Protasevich (Raman Pratasevich) by the security forces of Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko after the plane on which he was a passenger was forced to land in Minsk. To capture Protasevich, Lukashenko has committed an act of state-sponsored piracy against two European Union countries, a European-registered airline, and passengers who are mostly European Union citizens. She notes that “As the U.S. lets Europe take the lead on the response, it is demonstrating definitively that the U.S. and European countries are united and that the divisions fostered under the former president are gone.”
CTV Diplomatic Community (video)
Jeremy Kinsman & Larry Haas react to news that Trudeau is considering further sanctions as Belarus regime announces Ottawa embassy closure, or, as Jeremy puts it in an email: the nutty president of Belarus hijacks a civil aircraft – what to do about it and him?

So far the Israel Hamas truce is holding. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has wrapped up a two-day visit to the Middle East, winning diplomatic support and hundreds of millions of dollars of pledges from Arab countries for the restoration of Palestine.

News of Myanmar is not good and to date there are no signs of improvement.

Has anyone noticed that Syria is having an election? Syrian President Bashar al-Assad voted on Wednesday in an election certain to extend his rule over a country ruined by war, casting his ballot in an ex-rebel bastion where a suspected chemical weapons attack in 2018 prompted Western air strikes.

Applause for Laurie Trautman, who is scathing about What, essentially, is going on with the Canada-U.S. border; she asks the question so many of us have been asking “Is there any reason why a vaccinated traveler with a negative Covid test should be restricted to essential travel purposes only or to a mandatory two-week quarantine?”
Is there really still no plan? Yes, there really is still no plan on how to move beyond the border restrictions.
“A year plus into the pandemic, the U.S. and Canada should, at the very least, have a bilaterally agreed upon plan to ease the restrictions when conditions permit, with clear parameters, metrics and procedures. This is not the case. …political fanfare overrides a science-based, data-driven approach, which would suggest that vaccinated travelers — with a negative Covid test — pose virtually no threat.”

Bill 96 continues to be front and center of our preoccupations.
In the latest development, on Wednesday afternoon, Bloc fails to muster unanimous support for Commons motion backing Quebec’s constitutional changes
In order to pass without debate, the motion needed to face no vocal opposition from MPs. Former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, now an independent MP, yelled out a “nay” after the motion was read out. The Bloc will now force MPs to record whether they agree with province’s proposals. And that sets the proverbial cat among the pigeons. Stay tuned
Julius Grey addresses The perils of ‘pensée unique’ “Those who consider the proposed Quebec constitutional amendment to be purely declaratory with no effect are confusing the content of the amendment with its insertion into the Constitution. Andrew Caddell‘s less measured approach The decline of French in Quebec is a nationalist myth in The Hill Times attacks “the introduction of the clumsy and fatuous Bill 96 by the CAQ government. The 100-page language law’s proposals are built on the mythology of the “decline” of French in Quebec.
The bill was introduced last week after a mind-numbing barrage from nationalist politicians, columnists and demographers over the past two years, who have taken statistics and twisted them to suit their narrow agenda.”
Christopher Neal has written an excellent letter to his MP, Marc Garneau and a similar one to his (and our) MLA Jennifer Maccarone. Short and to the point, he expresses the view that “the whole situation for protection of our rights and freedoms is made much worse by Prime Minister Trudeau’s apparently supine response, suggesting that Quebec is within its rights in doing this. I would have expected the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party of Canada to defend the inviolable nature of the Charter, wherever it is threatened, as it obviously is in this case. There should be a challenge of the pretension in Bill 96 that unilateral constitutional amendment is even possible, or at least a referral by the federal government of this question to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“I write this with great regret, not just as a constituent who voted for you but as a Liberal supporter and donor. I know many Quebec MPs are nervous with an election around the corner, but surely the defense of Canada’s constitution cannot be regarded as a partisan issue. My community and I need governments led by people who are ready to stand up and defend our rights when they are under attack, not just roll over and allow them to be trampled by a provincial government seemingly untroubled by cancelling our Charter protections.” Beyond the content of the letter, we particularly applaud the use of ‘supine’ – perfect!
We urge each and every one who shares the alarm, dismay and anger, to write similar letters to their MPs, MLAs and other politicians they may know. If you would like to see the full text, let me know.
If you have not seen it, Bill 96: message from the mayor of Westmount is worth consulting, as well.

Aren’t you glad our politicians have their priorities straight? A non-binding motion passed by the Quebec Legislature calls on the government to ask for an emoji of the Quebec flag from the Unicode Consortium, the non-profit organization that sets international standards for the exchange of text data.

On Tuesday, the anniversary of George Floyd’s death, Politico noted that one year later, Police are still killing people at the same rate as before
Through the first four months of 2021, there are less than a week’s worth of days in which police did not kill anyone, data shows., but, as Heather Cox Richardson reminded us the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has not become law.

We will leave other developments in the U.S. aside until next week, while joining Doug Sweet in recommending Is Wokeness ‘Kryptonite for Democrats’?. It is a long read and worth every minute.

Varia
Cryptocurrency‘s popularity is declining. Peter Berezin has taken aim in a recent report and will join us on Wednesday Night #2046, June 2; in preparation, you might like to read Five myths about cryptocurrency or some of the other opinions on Global economy April 2021-

Long Slide Looms for World Population, With Sweeping Ramifications
Fewer babies’ cries. More abandoned homes. Toward the middle of this century, as deaths start to exceed births, changes will come that are hard to fathom. A planet with fewer people could ease pressure on resources, slow the destructive impact of climate change and reduce household burdens for women. But … The strain of longer lives and low fertility, leading to fewer workers and more retirees, threatens to upend how societies are organized — around the notion that a surplus of young people will drive economies and help pay for the old.

Canada announces plans to land a rover on the moon
The Canadian Space Agency says the unmanned robotic vehicle will aim to gather imagery and measurements on the moon’s cratered surface, showcasing technologies from Canadian companies in a polar region of the earth’s only natural satellite.
Conducted in partnership with NASA, the mission hopes to have the rover make it through an entire lunar night, which lasts about two weeks and presents major technological challenges due to the extreme cold and dark.

Should the Summer Olympics be cancelled or postponed?
Japan’s Osaka city crumples under COVID-19 onslaught
The speed at which Osaka’s healthcare system was overwhelmed underscores the challenges of hosting a major global sports event in two months’ time, particularly as only about half of Japan’s medical staff have completed inoculations.

A heartbreaking review of the “sport of kings” in the wake of  Medina Spirit testing positive for a banned corticosteroid, after winning the Derby May 1. The Canadian connection: The Stronach Group
Can Horse Racing Survive?
Patrick Battuello, who runs the activist group Horseracing Wrongs, calls the idea of racing-as-sport “the Big Lie.” Its athletes are drugged, whipped, trained and raced too young, pushed to the breaking point and beyond; though they’re social animals, they spend most of their work lives in solitary confinement in a stall. Among those not killed by racing, a great many—PETA estimates ten thousand American thoroughbreds annually—will ultimately be slaughtered, nearly all of them in Canada and Mexico.

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