Wednesday Night #2089

Written by  //  March 30, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We are very pleased that Peter Frise will join us this Wednesday, having been unable to do so last week. (see Wednesday Night #2088)
On the topic of last week’s announcement, Peter writes “This factory ‘changes the conversation’ about Canada’s manufacturing sector and our auto industry in particular from one of slow but steady decline to back in the game. It will help to secure Canada’s auto industry for decades to come – its importance cannot be over-stated from that standpoint.
I have now done about five interviews on the new plant including print (Toronto Star and Windsor Star, CTV-TV and CBC Radio ONE … It is so nice to have a happy story upon which to comment.”

Happy Birthday and Covid-commiseration to Andrew Caddell, who despite -or perhaps because of his enforced incarceration- has chosen to write about Bill 96 an ugly piece of legislation, now it’s even uglier Just when anglophone Quebecers thought Bill 96 could not get any worse, it did.
“The controversial legislation was ostensibly put forward last year by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government of Premier François Legault to stop the decline of French in Quebec. In fact, the only decline of French is in numbers of white, Catholic “old stock” francophones. Although 95 per cent of Quebecers speak French and half the “allophones” are assimilated into the francophone majority, nationalist demographers and media have colluded to create a nightmare scenario that Quebec is the next Louisiana.” If you do not subscribe to The Hill Times, befriend Andrew on Facebook to see the full text.

Other Canada/Quebec items of interest this week:
Federal Budget to be tabled April 7
Budget expected to account for new uncertainties following the Russian invasion of Ukraine – watch for defense spending.
Quebec’s 50-point health-care reform plan
Dare we say that it is being met with as much scepticism as the peace talks in Istanbul? [Hanes: Health reform places Quebecers between skepticism and necessity Just about every government in the last two decades has attempted some kind of health reform in Quebec. Will it be any different this time, after the pandemic almost broke the system?] We await our Dr. Mark Roper’s assessment.
No surprise:
INSPQ considers Quebec to be in 6th wave as hospitalizations climb
Hospitalizations jump by 18% as Quebec reports more than 3,000 new cases of COVID-19

Putin’s War
Ukraine: Where we are
a month of Putin’s stalemated war – Biden’s provocative speech
Jeremy Kinsman‘s review of the diplomatic and military aspects of Putin’s War as it enters its 2nd month.
and on Tuesday’s Diplomatic Community with Larry Haas discussion of Russia’s peace talk promises, the implications/ realistic chances of a guarantee of Ukraine neutrality, the effectiveness of sanctions and progress (?) in Istanbul.
About the peace talks in Istanbul The key word – scepticism as Russia bombards areas where it pledged to scale back

Cleo Paskal: India-China Power Struggle Could Determine Russia’s Future (video)
A revealing analysis of the complexities of the political warfare over Putin’s War. A MUST LISTEN! Russia and China are close allies, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown that India is leaning toward Russia and away from the West. Not only does Cleo discuss India’s position between Russia and China, economic fallout from sanctions, effects on The Quad … but she also touches briefly on similarities with Middle East actions in the UN.
A somewhat different view from C Uday Bhaskar in Ukraine war: how India-China cooperation can help remove nuclear threat and ease tensions between US and Russia
Even as border disputes and other issues remain unresolved, Asia’s two major powers have a mutual interest in bringing about a ceasefire in Ukraine and ending the threat of nuclear war
The unannounced visit of Foreign Minister Wang Yi to New Delhi last Friday was the first visit by a senior Chinese minister since the tense military stand-off between India and China in mid-2020 along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas.

While so many pundits are defining and analysing Putin’s objectives, Michael Ignatieff asks a very good question: What Is the West’s Objective in Ukraine?
His conclusion? “The West’s strategic objective in this war ought to be to preserve the Zelensky government. By saving the government, the West can save Ukraine. Any Russian effort to finish off the Zelensky government should be the West’s red line: the moment at which it sends a message to Putin that if he does not stop, it will respond with force”.

Gwynne Dyer writes about the forthcoming (Sunday) elections in Hungary Has Hungary’s despot Orbán pulled the political wool over his people’s eyes again?
“Russian President Vladimir Putin may not be able to save himself, but he may already have saved another despot, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. There’s an election in Hungary next Sunday and it looks like Orbán may actually win it.”

Good/long reads
Thank you to Christopher Goodfellow who highly recommends Price Wars by Rupert Russell [Price Wars is a fascinating, original, and groundbreaking exposé of the power of the commodities markets to disrupt the world.]. He cites the chapter on Ukraine and in particular discussion of the natural gas reserves under the Black Sea, and comments “if anything this explains Donbas and getting the ring around from Donbas to Odessa to get Control of the Black Sea oil there.” See also Harvard International Review The Forgotten Potential of Ukraine’s Energy Reserves (October 2020)
Hanes: Health reform places Quebecers between skepticism and necessity – the dismal history of Quebec’s attempts at reform
Hanes: Tightening the screws on anglos, one clause at a time
If the original version of the bill to strengthen the French language wasn’t pitiless enough — amendment after amendment is making it even more punitive.

Events
Thursday, April 7 – 12:30 to 1:30 pm EDT
Montreal journalist Christopher Neal will discuss The Rebel Scribe, his new biography of American foreign correspondent Carleton Beals (1893 – 1979) with a focus on his coverage of US intervention in Latin America.
By Zoom: For the Atwater Library Lunchtime Series,
Everyone is welcome and admission is free.
To REGISTER and get the Zoom link, click here.
9-10 April
For those of us who cannot resist buying ever-more books:
The Westmount Library‘s first sale in two years
10am-4pm
Victoria Hall

Varia
Moral Distress
Feeling overwhelmed with the non-stop news? You’re not alone.
Cynthia Wallace is an English professor at St. Thomas More College, at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. She spoke to Tapestry‘s Mary Hynes about the concept of moral distress, and finding respite and beauty in the mundane activities of life.
On the one hand, I think it’s important for us to recognize that people at the front lines are probably experiencing a more acute degree of moral distress or even moral injury. But I think all of us are familiar with this experience of looking up at the world around us right now and saying so much is wrong, and … I don’t have the power to fix it. But I see things that could make it better, and the people who do have the power aren’t doing it. And that leaves us in this place of feeling a kind of powerlessness, that takes a toll on our minds and on our bodies.

How fairy tales shape fighting spirit: Ukraine’s children hear bedtime stories of underdog heroes, while Russian children hear tales of magical success
Folklore is important for understanding people’s cultural narratives – story lines that describe something unique to the culture’s history and its people. They help to define a cultural identity and, in subtle ways, shape future choices. The master narratives that Ukrainian children grow up with – which serve as the dominant cultural script – are radically different from the ones Russian children absorb.

Montreal filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s Dune wins six Academy Awards but all in behind-the-scenes categories From October 20, 2021:
Dune director Denis Villeneuve on adapting Frank Herbert’s notoriously unfilmable sci-fi epic

Just imagine the redecorating required to go from Trump to Waldorf!
GSA approves sale of Trump’s D.C. hotel lease
The hotel, which was a center of controversy during Trump’s presidency, will become a Waldorf Astoria under the nearly completed deal

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