Wednesday Night #2049

Written by  //  June 23, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Canadiens 1 win away from Stanley Cup final after shutting down Golden Knights
What more could Montreal -and Quebec- hockey fans ask than Game 6 of the semifinals in Montreal on the Fête nationale? The Finals are within reach…
We don’t want to rain on the parade, but do worry about fans’ reaction at the end of the game. Please, no demonstrations, riots, or destruction in downtown Montreal. We are just opening up.
The news that Quebec is switching to green alert level on Monday [ and as of Friday, people who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to gather indoors without distancing or wearing masks has been greeted happily by the Montreal-area population, but still raises questions. All well and good for those who are all fully vaccinated, but what to do about those members of the family, or other group who are not vaccinated? How do you know? What about children? André Picard advocates that  Kids should get COVID-19 shots – and the sooner, the better. Yes!

The results of Iran’s elections on Friday, 18 June, were not surprising given the rampant repression of opposition, but no less worrying. Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raisi consolidates hard-line grip as reformers pushed aside.
Even though Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decreed voting a religious duty, and casting a blank ballot a sin, while his clerical allies condemned advocates of a boycott as heretics…according to the official results, 51% of eligible voters did not vote, and of those who did, more than four million cast a blank ballot.  See The End of the Islamic Republic below under Long reads.
Meanwhile:
Ethiopia elections 2021: Some 37 million people of Ethiopia’s about 110 million registered to cast ballots on Monday, although many will have to wait until September to vote due to logistical, legal and security-related challenges.
New York City’s experiment with ranked-choice voting obviously needs some fine tuning.
Adams has a sizable lead after chaotic New York primary
Ranked choice voting isn’t complicated — but you’d never know it from New York City’s mayoral race.
Under the new system, voters were asked to pick five candidates in order of preference. The city’s Board of Elections won’t tally those votes until next Tuesday, and Garcia and Wiley could pick up some steam, but Adams will also have second- and third-place votes that will bolster his current lead. Absentee ballots aren’t likely to be tabulated until early July.

GOP filibuster blocks Democrats’ big voting rights bill
The Democrats’ sweeping attempt to rewrite U.S. election and voting law suffered a major setback in the Senate Tuesday, blocked by a filibuster wall of Republican opposition to what would be the largest overhaul of the electoral system in a generation.
Democrats’ Voting Rights Push Stalled. It Was Still Worth It.
Heather Cox Richardson: June 22, 2021
the Republicans are defending the same principle that Senator Stephen A. Douglas advanced when he debated Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln in Illinois in 1858.

Speaking of elections: Trudeau tells Canadians Parliament is dysfunctional, fuelling speculation of possible election The Liberals have accused Parliament of becoming toxic to their minority agenda while the Opposition Conservatives say Canada’s institutions are broken under the Trudeau government. Time the kids went home – and maybe listen to their constituents? Montreal-area Liberal MPs may want to re-think their lack of support for the anglo community before enthusing about an election.
Andrew Caddell writes this week: The anglophone community in Quebec is furious. Given a million angry English speakers are concentrated in two-dozen Quebec ridings, if I were a  Liberal Party organizer or a PM obsessed with a majority, I would be very, very worried.
Quebec’s anglophones have been cast adrift by the Trudeau government
On June 16, virtually the entire House of Commons dropped any historical commitment to the anglophone minority in Quebec, as it supported a Bloc Québécois motion recognizing Quebec’s “right” to unilaterally amend its provincial Constitution. This was effectively an endorsement of Quebec’s plans to enshrine French as its official language in the Constitution, and to declare itself a “nation.”
While the motion in Parliament has no effect in law, just like the 2006 motion recognizing les Québécois as a nation, it carries some weight, by endorsing the core of Quebec’s egregious Bill 96, which takes a size 12 boot to the groin of English-speaking Quebecers.

We were somewhat surprised that Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas did not discuss the Iranian elections during their weekly appearance on Diplomatic Community. Instead, the topic was Facing up to China about the Uyghurs with praise for Trudeau’s leadership on this file.
Politico Canada:  Trudeau is no longer mincing words with the Chinese government. Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken credited Canada for leading a multilateral effort to condemn human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry responded with a sweeping condemnation of Canadian, American and British human rights records.
Jeremy was also a star this week in the Canadian Global Affairs Institute podcast Summit Season and the Return of Multilateralism

Afghanistan
The Taliban has captured Shir Khan Bandar, Afghanistan’s main border crossing with Tajikistan, the most significant gain for the Taliban since May 1 when the US began the final stages of its troop withdrawal.
Simon Tisdall writes in The Guardian: “Fighting is currently spreading like a bushfire from district to district. There is no peace deal in place, no power-sharing, no intra-Afghan ceasefire, and growing fear of nationwide conflagration – and yet still the Americans are leaving.” (Catastrophe stalks Afghanistan as the US and UK dash for the exit).

Varia
Concordia University to create School of Health
Concordia University has received the go-ahead to create an interdisciplinary School of Health that will start in the fall of 2022.
The School of Health will bring together several of the university’s research centres and faculties already working on health-related themes, from cell and molecular biology departments to engineering, psychology, humanities and community health faculties.
The case for (and against) vaccine passports
The road to a vaccine passport is fraught, says law professor and bioethicist Glenn Cohen.
Egerton Ryerson would be appalled
Columnist Sylvia Sutherland delves into the history of Ryerson, whose statue was recently torn down at a Toronto university that bears his namesake
Province launches Quebec-only music policy in government buildings, phone lines – “The move, which takes effect immediately, aims to promote local artists and channel more revenue their way.” REALLY? In any event, may well be an improvement over what is inflicted on us now.
What Will Become of the Pandemic Pets?
In a time of stress and isolation, we turned to them for comfort. Now it’s time to think about what owning animals really means.

Long reads
Abbas Milani: The End of the Islamic Republic
How Canadian-Lebanese architect Samir Saddi is trying to rebuild the Arab world
Melting Arctic Ice Pits Russia Against U.S. and China for Control of New Shipping Route
Warming in the Arctic is opening a shipping passage through Russia’s northern waters that could put the country at the center of new Asia-to-Europe trade routes
(WSJ paywall) Melting ice in the Arctic Ocean is bringing a centuries-old dream closer to reality for Russia: a shipping passage through its northern waters that could put it at the center of a new global trade shipping route.
After one of the warmest years on record, the Kremlin is near to realizing its controversial plans for a global shipping route in its high north—plans that have put Moscow at odds with the U.S. and could create friction with China, two countries that also have designs on the Arctic.
Warming in the Arctic is happening twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Last year, ice coverage reached some of the lowest levels ever recorded, and it is only expected to shrink further in 2021. That is pushing Moscow to build infrastructure along the route, which can cut the distance of trips between Europe and Asia by a third compared with shipping through the politically fraught South China Sea or congested Malacca Straits currently used for cargo.
How to deal with Russia: U.S. diplomat’s 5,000-word telegram still resonates 75 years later

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