Wednesday Night #2098

Written by  //  June 1, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Coverage of Putin’s War and cheerleading for Ukraine’s valiant efforts has been sustained for more than 3 months, but as we mark 100 days since the invasion, there are noticeably increasing tones of pessimism, and important divisions in how the battle will -and should- end. As Andrew Exum writes in The Atlantic Western Support for Ukraine Has Peaked The honeymoon that Ukraine’s leaders have enjoyed with the West will not last.. Ian Bremmer concurs: The tide is turning in Russia’s war against Ukraine – Russia is not getting routed anytime soon, and the West is only able and willing to do so much more than it already has in support of Ukraine.

Whatever other geopolitical reasons, the overriding consideration is food security. With food prices climbing, the U.N. is warning of crippling global shortages While Ukraine and Russia together account for a modest 2.2% of global goods trade, according to WTO estimates, this figure understates their significance in grain and energy markets, and as suppliers of fertilizer, minerals, and other inputs critical for a wide range of downstream production activities. In 2020, for example, the two countries supplied 24% of globally traded wheat, and 73% of sunflower oil.

Let us (whether monarchist, anti-monarchist or indifferent observer), therefore take refuge for a few moments in the joyous celebration of the Queen’s platinum jubilee:
Check out key timings for official celebrations
The four-day weekend celebration starts on Thursday at 10am with the trooping of the colour
What is Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee? Here’s your royal guide.
And for a lighter moment: Corgis play a starring role in Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations

Meantime in Canada
All-powerful PMO, mistrust “destroying” the public service: Paul Tellier
Tellier made his comments after the release of a new report, Top of Mind, by two think tanks – the Ottawa-based Institute on Governance, and the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at St. Francis Xavier University
Did the report generate the sudden flurry of Ottawa activity?
Behind Joly’s plan to modernize Canadian diplomacy
The department will survey its staff for ideas and draw input from an external advisory board, which will be made up of former heads of mission and senior officials, Canadian business leaders and youth representatives.
Ottawa announces $247 million to create 25,000 apprenticeship positions across Canada
The federal government is announcing nearly $247 million to help create more than 25,000 apprenticeship positions in the skilled trades across Canada.
Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says the money will fund 13 programs to help small- and medium-sized employers offer apprenticeship training.
National handgun freeze key feature of new firearm-control bill
(CTV) A national freeze on importing, buying or selling handguns is a central feature of firearm-control legislation tabled [30 May] by the federal Liberals.

And in Québec, the most blatant vote-buying in recent memory If CAQ is re-elected, Quebecers will get a 2nd cheque this year, premier promises – perhaps in an attempt to divert our collective attention from how Bill 96 will be enforced – the CAQ government says it will be another year before all the details are worked out as to how the law will be enforced. Ha!
Less amusing: Legault adamant about repatriating immigration, as Quebec-Ottawa clash looms
Andrew Caddell‘s column in The Hill Times is devoted to Premier Legault’s failed Anglo charm offensive and notes “François Legault will soon have to come to grips with the fact large parts of the law will be ridiculed and struck down. Meanwhile, the Trudeau government and its MPs, who have been hiding their heads in the sand over Bill 96, must respond to the threat it represents to national unity and to minorities in Quebec.”

Doug Sweet‘s profile of Éric Lachance, president and CEO of Quebec/Vermont energy giant Énergir (formerly Gaz Métro), Not the CEO from central casting (and he sees that as a strength), reveals a CEO who is uncharacteristically an introvert.

Varia
At the memorial reception for Brian Morel last Friday, I spent some time with an old friend, the composer Donald Patriquin. (http://donaldpatriquin.com/Bio.html)
Naturally, I asked what he was working on  and he told me about his personal ‘contribution ‘ to the fundraising effort to support the Ukraine struggle.
“On The Mountain is a beautiful and compelling traditional Ukrainian love song. It is the focus of an unusual joint fund-raising project, SING FOR UKRAINE!!! between Earthsongs Choral Music (earthsongs) and A Tempo Music (Donald Patriquin).
The detailed explanation follows on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS5deCGOBf0

Cautious optimism
Monarch butterfly numbers skyrocket in Mexico
Mexican experts said Monday that 35% more monarch butterflies arrived this year to spend the winter in mountaintop forests, compared to the previous season.
Experts say the rise may reflect the butterflies’ ability to adapt to more extreme bouts of heat or drought by varying the date when they leave Mexico.

Can I talk to a human? Spain presents customer service bill
Tired of speaking to a machine when you call the bank or power company?
Spain’s government wants to end those nerve-shattering, one-sided conversations with a computerized answering service by making it obligatory for companies to offer a real, flesh-and-blood customer service worker when so requested by a caller.
That is one among a battery of measures included in a customer service bill presented by Spain’s left-wing coalition government on Tuesday.

Event
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Sustainable Agriculture
Technology and the future of food
A FREE EVENT that will bring farmers, climate and technology experts together to discuss the ideas, investments and policies needed to continue to modernize Canadian agriculture in view of sustainability and food supply.
Join in person at Evergreen Brickworks, Toronto, or virtually
12:15 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. ET

Long Reads and Listens
Global Shortages Demand Global Solutions
Despite recent hiccups, the march of globalization will not end. Policymakers must therefore try to establish minimal global conventions and agreements to deal with shortages of food and other essential commodities.
Europe reconsiders nuclear energy following Ukraine war (audio)
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year, many European countries are refocusing their energy independence efforts to nuclear power. The World’s host Marco Werman spoke with Caroline Kuzemko, an assistant professor at the University of Warwick, about the shift towards nuclear energy in Europe and what the continent needs to do to accomplish that goal.
When Shipping Containers Sink in the Drink
We’ve supersized our capacity to ship stuff across the seas. As our global supply chains grow, what can we gather from the junk that washes up on shore?
Things have been tumbling off boats into the ocean for as long as humans have been a seafaring species, which is to say, at least ten thousand and possibly more than a hundred thousand years. But the specific kind of tumbling off a boat that befell the nearly five million Lego pieces of the Tokio Express is part of a much more recent phenomenon, dating only to about the nineteen-fifties and known in the shipping industry as “container loss.”

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