Wednesday Night #2151

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

Timing is everything; first, Monday’s amazing Habs’ overtime win, and then Tuesday’s news that a new -and decidedly qualified- Governor General has been appointed.

Now, if only downpours would miraculously blanket BC, lower the temperature and extinguish the more-than 200 wildfires

The announcement that Inuk leader Mary Simon has been chosen as the next governor general — the first Indigenous person ever to be appointed as the Queen’s representative in Canada — has been greeted with generally favourable reaction, not to mention a certain relief that the long wait to replace Julie Payette is finally over.
Early reactions do not mention Mary Simon’s husband Whit Fraser, whose accomplishments as a story teller and chronicler of The North will be a welcome attribute at Rideau Hall.
However, he offers this delightful profile: ‘My darling wife’: Reflections on the life and work of Mary Simon, the next governor general, by her husband

Doug Sweet adds: “A lot of news reports aren’t mentioning that Mary Simon…served as Chancellor of Trent University (my alma mater) from 1995-99 and again in 2002 (filling in for the late Peter Gzowski).”
The National Post notes: Mary Simon is the new Governor General of Canada, becoming the first Indigenous person to occupy the post as rumours of an upcoming election increasingly heat up.
Monday’s announcement that the federal government is moving forward with a plan to build an all-new high frequency rail line connecting Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City would seem to validate the rumours. Infrastructure announcements have that electoral ring to them. Not that we are not fans of the train project which has been talked about for how many years?

Diplomatic Community: Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas discuss future roles of Russia and China in Afghanistan now that the U.S. is leaving, and conclude with Jeremy’s very strong endorsement of Mary Simon as Canada’s new GG.

In this week’s column The Kelowna Accord was a lost opportunity for Canada, Andrew Caddell writes: The greater Canadian public has at last been awakened to the tragedy of First Nations in Canada. Politicians of all stripes and in all jurisdictions have a window of opportunity to act. … It is astonishing that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not immediately come forward with a ‘Kelowna 2.0’ within weeks of his election in 2015.

The week-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (see China: government and governance 2020-) is now over. Wednesday Nighter C. Uday Bhaskar writes in SCMP What Xi Jinping’s speech marking the Communist Party centenary means for the world “ India and contemporary Russia find no mention in the Xi address. However, the triangular relationship among the three Eurasian powers will shape Beijing’s options in managing what it sees as the hegemony of the US and like-minded nations in the run-up to the 2049 centenary of the People’s Republic.
On July 1, the Baihetan Dam, located on the Jinsha River, on the southeastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau started operations – part of China’s massive dam-building with its enormous social and environmental cost. One Hundred Years of Devastation

The tragedy in Miami has long-range implications for seaside structures (and considerations for Canadian structures along flood-prone river banks)
What We Need to Learn from the Tragedy in Surfside
It is possible that South Florida, where climate change is a particularly acute problem, is nearing a point at which even the best-constructed buildings are under threat.
A poignant perspective, giving names, faces and stories to some of the victims and survivors The shattered lives of Champlain Towers SouthIn seconds, hundreds of lives changed forever. For many, the outcome hinged on their condo number.

Another Day, Another $30 Million Lost
Every year, our southern neighbours make 24 million trips to Canada, of which nearly 70% are via land borders. And so, for every day the Canada-US border remains closed, we are deprived of tens of thousands of travellers patronizing our businesses. Indeed, these tourists help support the 1.9 million jobs in tourism-dependent industries in Canada. Montreal Economic Institute economist Maria Lily Shaw – what about Canadians NOT spending in U.S., and increased domestic tourism in Canada?

Three aspects of free speech that have arisen this week:
1. The thoughtful analysis of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch’s 11-page dissent in which he argues that the court should have heard a challenge to its 1964 landmark holding in New York Times v. Sullivan. (See more: SCOTUS & the US courts December 2020-)
2. Wendy Mesley’s piece in the Globe & Mail about her ‘retirement’ from CBC
The Olympics are ‘on the wrong side of history’ when it comes to free speech
An important debate is brewing about free speech at the Olympics. After years of the International Olympic Committee restricting the free expression of athletes at the Games, some prominent athletes are calling for the unlimited right to speak freely — including the right to protest. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Olympic Advisory Committee takes a similar view.
In response, the IOC has relaxed its Rule 50 on “advertising, demonstrations and propaganda” to allow free speech in interviews and meetings, but has stood firm on the prohibitions against “political” statements on the field of play and during ceremonies. The IOC Athletes’ Commission supports Rule 50, saying it believes “the focus at the Olympic Games must remain on athletes’ performances, sport and the international unity and harmony that the Olympic Movement seeks to advance.”
The rules around the Olympics are simply confounding

Varia
Where Did That Cockatoo Come From?
Birds native to Australasia are being found in Renaissance paintings—and in medieval manuscripts. Their presence exposes the depth of ancient trade routes.
Mammoth journey ahead as elephants leave Kent zoo for the Kenyan savannah
All but one of the herd of 13 were born in captivity, but conservationists hope they can be ‘rewilded’
A herd of elephants born and raised in a Kent zoo are about to get on a plane to travel almost 4,500 miles (7,000km) to Kenya, in order to reintroduce them to the wild in a first-of-its kind operation.

Long reads
Why are states banning critical race theory?
Rashawn Ray and Alexandra Gibbons
(Brookings) Scholars and activists who discuss CRT are not arguing that white people living now are to blame for what people did in the past. They are saying that white people living now have a moral responsibility to do something about how racism still impacts all of our lives today. Policies attempting to suffocate this much-needed national conversation are an obstacle to the pursuit of an equitable democracy.
Biden’s Big Left Gamble
The president is overseeing a sea change in the world of economic policy, and so much hangs in the balance.

Will the Nursing Home of the Future be an Actual Home?
The Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating a movement aimed at completely rethinking how we age — and where.

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