Wednesday Night #2093

Written by  //  April 27, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

27 April is a date of bittersweet memories.
Four years ago, we gathered to celebrate David’s life – an unforgettable and amazingly joyful occasion reuniting so many faces and personalities from every era of his remarkable life.
Fifty-five years ago, the opening ceremonies for Expo 67 were presided over by then-Governor General Roland Michener and PM Lester B. Pearson in the presence of some 7,000 media and invited guests including 53 heads of state. That evening, David & Diana, along with thousands of other employees with their friends and family, celebrated throughout the site, enjoying visits that would not be replicated for the next six months once the islands opened the next morning to the public. Happy times, when Montreal was in its glory!
But it was only today that we learned that according to German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler,  the universe was created on April 27, 4977 B.C.
Putin’s War continues to dominate the news.
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas discuss the Secretary General’s meeting with Putin, pretty much agreeing that it was the right thing to do even though the outcome was inevitably fruitless, although there appears to be some progress on humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians from conflict zones. Neither commented on the long table separating the two men (Putin breaks out the Kremlin’s ridiculously long table to meet with the head of the UN).
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Chernobyl on Tuesday, the 36th anniversary of the nuclear disaster and expressed deep concern that while radiation levels are normal, the situation is still “not stable.” UN nuke chief wants Ukraine plant access
Our friend Uday Bhaskar writes Ukraine war a reminder to Asia to move past its old rivalries and insecurities
“The near future for Asia will be one of overcoming many global challenges which threaten to sink all boats. The current Covid-19 constraints and global warming are the tip of the iceberg. The political orientation of Asia’s major nation-states is also unlikely to undergo radical change.”
A worthwhile consideration of the troublesome aspect of the role of religion in the war:
Putin’s Unholy War
Religion has long been at the heart of the troubled relationship between the two countries, with the Russian Orthodox Church historically serving to strengthen Russia’s imperial authority over Ukraine. In recent years, religious ties played a central role in Putin’s efforts to prevent Ukraine from exiting the Russian sphere of influence.

Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is running a very close second to Putin’s War as newsmaker of the moment, with opinion sharply divided as to its merits – ‘People are either outraged or happy’ Possibly best headline so far is The New Yorker’s Elon Musk Thinks Social Media Isn’t Rocket Science. We understand Tristan has very strong feelings on the matter and look forward to his comments.

Shanghai Seethes in Covid Lockdown, Posing Test to China’s Leadership
Residents in Shanghai, China’s most populous and cosmopolitan city, responded to the government’s pursuit of zero Covid with a rare outpouring of criticism. Now, Beijing orders mass COVID testing; lockdown fears grow and Beijing residents ‘extremely nervous’ about a Shanghai-style lockdown as authorities order most of city’s 21 million people to undergo COVID testing.

Jeremy Kinsman: Macron Wins as France Shuns the Far Right
Given the dearth of great leaders in our democracies, circumstances now place Macron, whose ambitions can be Jupiterian, as the EU’s principal personality, in tandem no doubt with Germany’s Olaf Scholz.
We are all better off.

Biden Leads Tributes to Madeleine Albright
The former secretary of state, who died last month, is being honored [Wednesday] at a memorial service at Washington National Cathedral drawing much of nation’s top leadership.
Musical numbers will be offered by two performers she befriended: the trumpeter Chris Botti and the jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.

More on Bitcoin
Energy-thirsty Bitcoin miners seek ways to dump fossil fuels
For the past year a company that “mines” cryptocurrency had what seemed the ideal location for its thousands of power-thirsty computers working around the clock to verify bitcoin transactions: the grounds of a coal-fired power plant in rural Montana.
But with the cryptocurrency industry under increasing pressure to rein in the environmental impact of its massive electricity consumption, Marathon Digital Holdings made the decision to pack up its computers, called miners, and relocate them to a wind farm in Texas.

Quebec and Canada
New federalist Quebec party to focus on bilingualism, minority rights
The Canadian Party of Quebec aims to attract voters ‘betrayed’ by CAQ, Liberals – we count on Andrew Caddell for his views.
Meanwhile at the national level:
Nanos: Tories have opened noteworthy lead over Liberals (video)
Conservatives open ‘statistically significant’ lead over Liberals: Nanos poll
The Conservative Party of Canada has opened up a ‘statistically significant’ lead over the governing Liberals, the latest polling from Nanos Research shows. “It’s outside of the margin of error,” pollster Nik Nanos said Wednesday on the Trend Line podcast.
Who knew?
According to The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Happy English Language Day! 23 April
The English Presence in Quebec
44.5% of the population (3,586,410 people) can speak both English and French
English is the mother tongue of 8.1% of the population (657,078 people)
English is the first official language of 13.7% of the population (1,103,475 people)
Approximately 100,000 students are enrolled in 340 English-language public schools in Quebec.

Event
We hope that at least one Wednesday Nighter will attend and report back on what looks like a good agenda with great speakers including the panel with Joe Clark and Bob Rae.
10 May
The Canadian Global Affairs Institute presents
“After the War: What Kind of World for Canada?”
Rideau Club (15th Floor, 99 Bank Street, Ottawa).
Registration is now open on EventBrite. You can register here.
This conference intends to provoke discussion on the cataclysmic effect Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had on the world and what Canada can do to help stabilize the international order.
See agenda

Long reads
As Western Arms Pour Into Ukraine, Zelensky Promises Victory with many links to related stories

With Us or With Them? In a New Cold War, How About Neither
The geopolitical landscape following the Ukraine invasion has often been likened to that of a new Cold War. While the main antagonists may be the same — the United States, Russia and, increasingly, China — the roles played by much of the rest of the world have changed, reshaping a global order that held for more than three-quarters of a century.

How Far Does China’s Influence at U.S. Universities Go?
Views on Confucius Institutes (CIs) were mixed. Among U.S. government officials and academics, some saw them as helpful tools for learning Chinese language and culture, an antidote to rising tensions and distrust between countries. But other vocal bands of China watchers and lawmakers felt differently. They argued CIs expanded Chinese power and influence around the world, pushed pro-Party views, influenced American students and stifled academic freedom.

Varia
A delightful interlude whether or not you are a monarchist.
The Hon. Bob Rae, 21st Premier of Ontario (1990-1995), sings a special version of Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top” to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. Recorded Monday, May 16, 2016.

We need more creative recycling projects like this: 260,000 tossed masks recycled for furniture, playground surfacing — thanks to Mohawk College’s ingenuity

Dramatically long lines at passport offices across Canada, and many other problems for permanent residents renewing documents. If provinces can handle renewals of drivers licenses, etc. sending notices well in advance, why can’t the feds get their act together when services to citizens and residents are involved?

Plans underway for Boreal Wildlands Project, called the largest private conservation agreement in Canada
Nature Conservancy Canada reaches pact with Domtar for 1,500-square-km land parcel in Ontario’s north

New Rules Will End the Century-Long Run of Classic Light Bulbs
The administration set efficiency standards that will phase out sales of incandescent bulbs in favor of LEDs, reducing Americans’ electrical bills over time.

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