Wednesday Night #2097

Written by  //  May 25, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

With the news of the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, we are yet again overwhelmed by feelings of distress, frustration and anger as we ask When will Americans stop loving their guns more than the safety of their families, neighbours and friends? Within 24 hours, right wing politicians in thrall to the NRA are distorting the issue, refusing to pass even rudimentary background check legislation as they claim that such mass shootings are due to mental health issues, and not gun ownership. (See The Conservative Playbook for Deflecting Anger After Mass Shootings). The fact is simply that the United States has dramatically more lax regulation of firearms than any peer nation, and as a result has far more gun ownership and, consequently, astronomical rates of gun violence.

24 May – Queen Victoria’s birthdate celebrated as the beginning of summer – plant-your- garden-day and now a date which will live in infamy for many of us as the date that Bill 96 was adopted.
Proud and happy that Julius Grey is riding to the rescue
Quebec lawyers ready to take Bill 96, the ‘most gratuitous use of power,’ to the UN
Julius Grey says he’s confident some sections of the law could be challenged despite notwithstanding clause
“I hope to be part of the challenge all the way to the UN as we did with Bill 178,” said Grey, who said the bill goes too far and violates constitutional and fundamental rights.
“This battle will not be over until the highest courts internationally have spoken.”
Andrew Caddell‘s weekly column in The Hill Times The decline of French in Quebec is a nationalist myth starts off ““Let us compare mythologies.” The title of Leonard Cohen’s first book of poetry seems pertinent in a new context: the introduction of the clumsy and fatuous Bill 96 by the CAQ government. The 100-page language law’s proposals are built on the mythology of the “decline” of French in Quebec. ”
See also Tom Mulcair: Bill 96’s passage to be followed by holy chaosLike Walt Disney’s sorcerer’s apprentice, Simon Jolin-Barrette may be about to find out he has unleashed forces beyond his control.
He cites (and skewers) Christopher Skeete’s CTV Question Period interview.
More on Quebec January 2022-

And then there was the Spring Storm of the Century. Happily, all Wednesday Nighters have now reported in and are safe and sound, albeit not necessarily living in comfort (Some Quebecers won’t have their power back until this weekend, Hydro-Québec says.) Sandy W, wrote on Monday “I’m feeling pretty grateful to the City of St. Agathe for providing me with a warm hockey arena to charge my phone, laptop, surf the web, read the last 20 pages of my novel, and imagine this — take a shower!” Today she has light again.
Helen Fotopulos writes that Power was out for 67 hrs. Managed to share a generator with our friends/neighbours and minimize spoilage. No internet yet. Eating up my Rogers gigs. Tree damage extensive. Luckily a downed poplar landed just beside (not on) our huge propane tank.

Fun fact – The KGB officer aboard the Red October was named Putin.
Are the stories about Putin’s poor health and inevitable decline in power reliable, or is it possible that they are the result of a very clever disinformation campaign designed to lull the allies?
Putin will be in a sanatorium and out of power by 2023, a former British intelligence chief predicts
Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove said Wednesday that Putin could be out of power by next year.
He said Putin will likely enter a long-term medical facility and not return to power once he is out.
His predictions line up with other reports of Putin losing power and receiving medical treatment.

With food prices climbing, the U.N. is warning of crippling global shortages,
Fears of a global food crisis are growing due to the shock of the war in Ukraine, climate change and rising inflation.
Kristalina Georgieva, the International Monetary Fund managing director, told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Monday that “the anxiety about access to food at a reasonable price globally is hitting the roof” as food prices continue “to go up up up”.
And at the same time, Satellite images appear to show Russian ships loading up with Ukrainian grain in Crimea
Two Russia-flagged bulk carrier ships are shown docking and loading up with what is believed to be stolen Ukrainian grain in the images. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of “gradually stealing” Ukrainian food products and trying to sell them. … Both ships have now left the port, according to the ship tracking site MarineTraffic.com, with the Matros Pozynich sailing through the Aegean Sea claiming to be on its way to Beirut and the Matros Koshka still in the Black Sea.

Cleo continues to follow the trail of China and the Solomon Islands, with a piece in the Sunday Guardian Is Chinese pressure making Solomon Islands stall Indian envoy’s visit?: “India makes China nervous in ways none of the other Quad countries do. So it’s not surprising that, according to sources, the Solomon Islands government is stalling the entry of the Indian High Commissioner into the country—an extremely unusual move in diplomatic circles. To put it mildly”. And as guest expert on The John Batchelor Show PRC looks to break out of the First Island Chain.

The World Economic Forum (Davos) meets this week May 23-26
Davos 2022: What to expect from the World Economic Forum’s most consequential meeting in 50 years
This Year at Davos: A Referendum on Davos Itself (long read)
Many values espoused by the World Economic Forum — globalization, liberalism, free market capitalism, representative democracy — are under attack.

Unrepentant Israel
In the firing zone: evictions begin in West Bank villages after court ruling
Earlier this month, Israel’s supreme court finally ruled in a two-decade-old legal case over the area’s fate: the land can be repurposed for military use, upholding the Israel Defence Forces’ (IDF) argument that Palestinians living here could not prove they were resident before the firing zone was established in 1981. The decision – one of the most significant on expulsions since the occupation began in 1967 – paved the way for the eviction of everyone living here.
Israel will not hold criminal inquiry into killing of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh
Military police say they are satisfied with assurances of Israeli troops over death of US-Palestinian despite international demands

Conservatives face-à-face tonight in the only French language debate of the leadership campaign. Judy Roberts plans to attend virtually and will report in.
“Poilievre vs. Charest, Round 3: Without any language hurdles to slow them down, expect Poilievre and Charest to square off once again and to command much of the floor. What will be interesting this time is how they go about it given their audience.
For starters, it will be home turf for Charest, who spent nearly a decade as Quebec premier. He comes into the event as a known quantity in the province — and he will likely argue that, as leader, he would make crucial gains in Quebec”. Politico expects Bill 21 to be on the agenda – and there’s always 96. …

In case you missed it, the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, 22-28 May and on Tuesday re-elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to serve a second five-year term as Director-General of the WHO. John Buchanan calls to our attention that Canada voted “No” against a report which calls for improving health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. The report’s recommendations call upon Israel to end arbitrary and discriminatory practices which impair and harm Palestinian patients, services, and health care staff.
Meanwhile, at home there’s a bizarre conspiracy theory about an imminent move to sign away Canada’s sovereignty to the World Health Organization. (See Conservative leadership contenders must quash the WHO conspiracy theory creeping its way into the mainstream)

Change in pace: a delightful piece from the archives of Radio Canada, Pierre D’Amour‘s reportage Les premières acrobaties du Cirque du Soleil featuuring a very young and engaging Guy Laliberté.

Cautionary tales that could affect our hopes for rebounding tourism.
Police called to Toronto’s Pearson airport as frustration flares amid delays, baggage-handling glitches
The GTAA, the agency that runs Pearson, is pointing to the airlines and Ottawa as bearing responsibility. Canada’s Transport Minister has pointed the finger at out-of-practice fliers.
This weekend, many travellers stranded during layovers had no choice but to spend the night sleeping on the floor of the airport or to shell out for hotel rooms. Several passengers told The Globe and Mail that airline staff declined to give them meal or accommodations vouchers.
Hoping to rent a car this summer? Good luck
Vehicle shortage, pent-up demand are forcing some travellers to alter their plans

Russian special forces Belgian Malinois dog switches sides after it was found abandoned and close to death by Ukrainian soldiers
He has now been redeployed as a minesweeping dog after being taught to understand Ukrainian commands.

Long read
Open Letter to Noam Chomsky (and other like-minded intellectuals) on the Russia-Ukraine war co-authors are a group of Ukrainian academic economists.

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