Wednesday Night #2073

Written by  //  December 8, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

On Monday, Montreal and Quebec marked the 32nd anniversary of the mass shooting at the École Polytechnique.
Guy Versailles remembers “Je me souviens. C’était un mercredi soir. Nous en avons discuté, encore sous le choc.”
MPs held two moments of silence in the House of Commons to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women that was declared in 1991.
Tuesday was the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 3 Myths About Pearl Harbor, Rob Citino, senior historian at the National World War II Museum highlights a few common misconceptions about how, and where, Pearl Harbor fits in World War II history—and shares what they say about what America chooses to remember about the war.
Illustrating her point with a poignant story of individual gallantry, Heather Cox Richardson:
“But as the impulse of WWII pushed Americans toward a more just and inclusive society after it, those determined not to share power warned their supporters that including people of color and women as equals in society would threaten their own liberty. Those reactionary leaders rode that fear into control of our government, and gradually they chipped away the laws that protected equality. Now, once again, democracy is under attack by those who believe some people are better than others.”

Far too many other wars have been -and are being- fought in every corner of the globe. Alliances shift, often more than once, the United Nations, once viewed as the harbinger of peaceful dialogue, is mired in geopolitical squabbles and power struggles, and the U.S. confronts Russia in Europe and China‘s global expansionist policies.

Thus, Presidents Biden and Putin had a two-hour virtual tête à tête on Tuesday over the situation in Ukraine. Was it fruitful? Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas are hopeful that agreement to dedicate teams to work on areas of friction may reduce tensions.
On Wednesday, President Biden clarified that U.S. ground troops ‘not on the table’ for Ukraine a day after he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video call that Russia would face severe economic sanctions if he mounts an invasion.

Meanwhile, as expected, President Biden announced  a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics; and on Wednesday afternoon, PM Trudeau announced that Canada will join the U.S., U.K. and Australia — a collective attempt to send a message to China that its human rights abuses have not gone unnoticed. Ian Bremmer puts forward the pros and cons of the boycott for the U.S. Should the US boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing?
In other news of China, FOCAC 2021: China’s retrenchment from Africa? makes for interesting reading.

The end of an era
Germany’s Olaf Scholz takes over from Merkel as chancellor
Olaf Scholz was sworn in on Wednesday as Germany’s new chancellor, formally taking power after Angela Merkel’s historic 16 years as leader. His centre-left Social Democrats will govern alongside the Greens and the business-friendly Free Democrats.
Chris Neal highly recommends Doug Saunders’ Who is Germany’s next chancellor, Olaf Scholz? An international man of mystery, noting “an interesting observation about the influence of the new German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, whose Green Party is “hawkish” on China and Russia.” For those who do not have a subscription to the Globe & Mail, let me know and I can send you the text.

On Thursday and Friday, President Biden is hosting the first of two Summits for Democracy (see Long reads), which will bring together leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector to set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal and to tackle the greatest threats faced by democracies today through collective action.
That’s one official announcement, but the event is not lacking in controversy. See Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracy’ includes countries that hardly seem to qualify; however, it can’t be all bad if China and Russia attack Biden’s ‘so-called’ Summit of Democracy.

Canada-China matters
Canadian ambassador to China Dominic Barton is resigning, leaving Beijing for no doubt greener pastures. The Prime Minister praised him lavishly “As a defender of human rights and the rule of law, his top priority always remained securing the release of [the two Michaels]”; the National Post less so, quoting former ambassador David Mulroney and Erin O’Toole: “What we need to have is a principle-based approach that shows that our economic interests in China will not dominate our concerns about human rights, whether for the Uighurs, the situation in Hong Kong, tensions with respect to Taiwan,” he said.
Note that Erin O’Toole said it’s “high time for a professional diplomat to be in place — not a friend of the Liberal Party.”
And then there is Mélanie Joly, dubbed by John Ibbitson This year’s Foreign Affairs Minister in his acid-tinged (maybe drenched would be more appropriate) Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly shows precious little understanding of her department
In thanking Dominic Barton, who is stepping down as Canada’s ambassador to China, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly tweeted: “Ambassador Barton will be remembered throughout history as one of Canada’s great diplomats.” That’s sure to endear her to career diplomats.
Her parliamentary secretary, Maninder Sidhu, may be a very nice man, but is only 37 and seems short on international experience (aside from being a successful customs broker).
Will Canada bar Huawei from 5G mobile networks? Experts say it’s pretty clear Will Mme Joly be able to handle this file – without one of Canada’s great diplomats? Stay tuned.

Congratulations to Robert Landori-Hoffmann on the publication of his 9th book. He writes “I am happy to report that, after a five-year struggle with ideas and words and a year of trying to keep my cool as the process of getting my book published lurched forward ever so slowly, last week WHITEWASH joined the plethora of books available on the Internet.” We are looking forward to having Robert join us soon to talk about this epic.
Congratulations also to Graeme Campbell whose feel-good made-for-TV movie
Saying Yes to Christmas aired on Tuesday evening on City TV. We have not been able to view it, but perhaps Graeme will find a way for Wednesday Night to have a private showing??

Varia
£1.25 MILLION WINE HEIST
Someone had been into the cellar, and left with 45 bottles of wine worth more than £1 million: an unrivalled collection of Château d’Yquem, the most coveted white wine on earth — every one of the most ancient vintages, stretching back to the age of Napoleon
And they had done so without leaving a trace.

Amid shortage, Canada taps into emergency maple syrup reserves
Global supply shortages have hit toy shops in the US and coffee producers in Brazil. In Canada, the country’s liquid gold – maple syrup – is running low.
The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) – the so-called Opec of maple syrup – has released about 22m kg from its emergency larder, nearly half the total in reserve.
As covid persists, nurses [in the U.S.] are leaving staff jobs — and tripling their salaries as travelers
Wanderlust, and the money to fund it, made Alex Stow’s decision easy. After working a couple of years in an intensive care unit, he signed up to be a travel nurse, tripling his pay to about $95 an hour by agreeing to help short-staffed hospitals around the country for 13 weeks at a time.
An imaginative approach?
Endangered Wildlife Should Pay for Its Own Protection
The Great Apes, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos, are ideal early candidates for an “Interspecies Money” approach. Giving them a digital wallet linked to their identity and the ability to spend money on their own protection could improve their lives and increase their chances of survival.
Giant Study Finds Viagra Is Linked to Almost 70% Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s

Long reads
CAN BIDEN RALLY THE POWERFUL DEMOCRACIES?
By BRUCE JONES
Five things to watch for at Biden’s ‘Summit for Democracies’
Moldova’s Gas Crisis and Its Lessons for Europe
The Moldovan crisis has demonstrated that Gazprom’s price will not be higher than the price set by the European hubs, which makes Gazprom a supplier like any other, and may be lower, which could make Gazprom a preferred supplier in countries with weaker economies

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