Wednesday Night #2103

Written by  //  July 6, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Three towering figures have left us this week.
Canadian broadcasting legend Patrick Watson dead at 92
Man behind This Hour Has Seven Days, Heritage Minutes and more helped shape Canadian culture
(CBC) In 1964, Watson started work on one of the most influential shows of his career, This Hour Has Seven Days. The Sunday night program, which Watson hosted alongside Laurier LaPierre and co-created with Douglas Leiterman, was an innovative public affairs series that drew an audience of millions with its no-holds-barred, opinionated style.
A personal note:
Of all his oeuvre, our favorite was the Witness to Yesterday series, notably Zoe Caldwell as Catherine the Great, and Richard Dreyfuss as Billy the Kid, though all were a delight. Through our friendship with producer Arthur Voronka, we were privileged to screen the series privately in the ‘legendary’ basement at 33.

Historian Irving Abella dies after long illness
…the historian and Jewish community leader whose groundbreaking work was on Canada’s antisemitic immigration policy in the 1930s and 1940s and the resulting decision to shut the door to European Jews fleeing the Holocaust, has died after a long illness. Mr. Abella died Sunday, the day after his 82nd birthday.
None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933-1948, co-authored with Harold Troper, created a sensation when it was published in 1982, shattering the myth of Canadian openness to outsiders fleeing oppression. The book also served to influence contemporary Canadian immigration policy, when a new wave of refugees was seeking to escape persecution, this time from Vietnam.

Sheila Goldbloom dedicated her life to the community
“My mother’s story is of a young person who, quite early in her life, determined that she wanted to do something to make a better world. Not everyone carries that through: She carried it through for 96 years,” says her son Michael.

The not-so-glorious Fourth
Ten mass shootings on Independence Day including the horrific Highland Park shooting
David Ignatius: Nearly every American has a foreboding the country they love is losing its way
What does our national portrait look like on this Independence Day? Many of us see an angry, traumatized face, rather than the radiant glow of the Founders. That’s the odd thing about this hyperpartisan moment: Nearly every American, whatever their political perspective, has a foreboding that the country they love is losing its way.
… America is losing many of the seven attributes…necessary for competitive success: national ambition and will; unified national identity; shared opportunity; an active state; effective institutions; a learning and adaptive society; and competitive diversity and pluralism.
America Is Failing Refugees, and Itself
Alexander and Yevgeny Vindman, who fled Ukraine in 1979, argue for letting more refugees into America in a video by Ken Burns. Canadian politicians and policy makers should watch, learn, and then listen to Bob Rae’s thoughts
Bob Rae reflects on Canada’s role in an increasingly unstable world (audio)
(CBC Sunday Magazine) Looking back on two years in his role as Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bob Rae shares his thoughts on the limitations and successes of the UN, Canada’s commitment to fighting the war in Ukraine, how we can help the record number of displaced people around the world, and what Canadians can do to stave off despair in troubled times.

Whither Boris?
Boris Johnson’s downfall
(Politico) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fighting for his political life, again.
Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid quit within minutes Tuesday evening, citing Johnson’s lack of integrity. Another eight officials followed them out the door, More ultra loyalists jumped ship Wednesday morning, and a further five ministers resigned together that afternoon local time: for a total of 15 ministerial resignations.
Commenting on Tuesday evening (ET) Jeremy Kinsman & Larry Haas Diplomatic Community” Johnson kaput? And NATO goes Nordic already predicted an end to the chaotic reign of Boris, but it was still early days (hours), so the more interesting part of their discussion revolved around the role of Turkey’s Erdogan in the NATO ‘Nordic’ negotiations – neither believes that he has extracted all he wants. For the full story see Who are ‘terrorists’ Turkey wants from Sweden and Finland?
NB: Canada is 1st country to ratify requests from Sweden and Finland to join NATO

C. Uday Bhaskar: Taliban complicity impacts India’s Af policy
The terror attack by the IS-KP on the Karte Parwan gurdwara has resulted in Delhi putting on hold whatever initiatives had been envisaged by way of engaging with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, while reviewing the larger security implications of this revival of the terror footprint.
Despite the scale of the earthquake tragedy, the global isolation of the Taliban regime prevented a more robust international aid effort from reaching the victims and this remains the geopolitical cross that weighs down heavily on the people of Afghanistan.
The return of the Taliban to power in Kabul in August 2021 after the hasty US withdrawal has compelled many nations to review and rewire their Afghanistan policies and India is no exception.

Putin’s War
As Russia declares victory in Luhansk, Ukraine captures tanks and regains territory in neighbouring region
Assessing the Geopolitical Blast Radius of Putin’s War
(Policy) Veteran diplomat and foreign policy sage Jeremy Kinsman checks in on the geopolitical state of play.
G-20 meeting may lead to wider divisions over war in Ukraine

Air travel woes continue
Our thoughts are with Kyle, Céline and their family as they brave the return trip after an idyllic European holiday
Stuck bags add to tangles at Paris airports amid travel boom
Until now, French airports had been largely spared the chaos seen recently at airports in London, Amsterdam and some other European and U.S. cities. Airlines and airports that slashed jobs during the depths of the COVID-19 crisis are struggling to keep up with soaring demand as travel resurges after two years of virus restrictions.
A good round-up from CBC’s The Current Travellers continue to battle long wait times, delays and flight cancellations as they try to travel by plane this summer. Those challenges prompted Air Canada to cancel flights throughout the summer. Travel expert Scott Keyes gives a sympathetic assessment of the problems faced by airlines, airports and others in preparing for the sudden demand. Monette Pasher, president of the Canadian Airports Council, says global travel likely won’t get better anytime soon.
‘Be prepared for delays at any point’: Canada not flying alone in worldwide travel chaos
Cuts to air travel in Canada are an admission that this crisis won’t be over soon

Canada – politics
Is Quebec ready to give an anglo protest party seats in the assembly?
Polling shows conditions may be right for members of one of the new parties dedicated to minority language rights to be elected.
Quebec’s provincial Conservative Party surges as ‘protest vote’ against province’s heavy-handed government
[A]n Angus Reid poll published Tuesday put support for the Conservative Party of Quebec (CPQ) at 19 per cent, good enough for second place ahead of the Quebec Liberal Party (18 per cent)
Patrick Brown disqualified from Conservative party leadership race
The Brown campaign also accused the party of making this decision to favour Pierre Poilievre, the longtime Ottawa-area MP considered a front-runner in the race (scary thought – see Pierre Poilievre is hot for rough old wood — but not in weird way) — and the main rival to Brown.
Could this play out in Jean Charest’s favour?
A Conversation with Jean Charest
Policy Editor L. Ian MacDonald spoke with Charest in Montreal on June 16th.

While we know about the devastation of the Aral Sea – “the largest man-made environmental disaster in history, according to the United Nations”, the intricacies of the internal politics of Uzbekistan have certainly not been on our priority list recently
What’s behind Uzbekistan’s deadly unrest?
Last week’s unrest in the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan has an economic and a complicated political side.
Scientists discover a new giant waterlily that was hiding in plain sight for 177 years
The latest addition to the lily pad family has been named Victoria boliviana.
With leaves that can grow up to 10 feet wide and carry the distributed weight of a full-grown man, it may seem like a hard plant to overlook. But due to a lack of existing research on giant waterlilies, it took the team years of investigation to establish that a previously unidentified species had been living in Kew’s herbarium all along.

U.S. politics
(Politico) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker was supposed to be marching in a parade on Chicago’s South Side yesterday but instead found himself on the national stage in the middle of another gun tragedy.
Gavin Newsom goes on the air against Ron DeSantis as political rivalry grows
In what is seen as a preview of post-Trump, post-Biden politics, the California governor is running the following ad on Fox News in Florida….
For the California governor, this goes deeper than a personal grudge match, or political angling as he pushes legislation and lawsuits that spin away from the rightward trend of recent US Supreme Court decisions and further embrace the “California Republic” on the state flag. DeSantis isn’t Newsom’s only GOP target. The California governor joined Trump’s social media site purely for the sake of trolling the former President and his supporters.

Energy – nuclear and renewables
Following last week’s lively discussion, Gerald forwarded The Energy Revolution Must Be Nuclear by Wade Allison and published by Project Syndicate. “If the world is going to get the energy revolution it requires, it needs realistic energy policies that are scientifically sound and promote a fuel that provides plentiful energy on demand, while doing the least harm to nature. That fuel is nuclear.”
Chris Neal responded: “To clarify, my plea for renewables includes nuclear, which does not have the intermittency drawback and is virtually zero-carbon, and so I wish there were a lot more of it. The problem is the cost, and attendant risks of delay and cancellation in nuclear power plant construction. Really robust carbon pricing policies would help address this problem, as they would help make nuclear more attractive to investors, including governments. We’re not there yet, unfortunately, so we see a reversion to coal. LNG is much cleaner, of course, but it’s a fossil fuel, inferior to nuclear on the emissions front. Germany’s public opinion on nuclear power is an outlier, a vestigial Cold War hangover (Atomkraft Nein Danke!) in my opinion, and its post-Fukushima shutdown was irrational, especially as the country is unlikely to suffer a tidal wave. But there are plenty of countries and sub-national states (including in Canada) whose energy policies all but ignore the need for an energy transition, and that is a major reason that we find ourselves in a climate crisis.
Having now had a chance to read through the many articles in this past week’s Economist cover package on “The Right Way to Fix the Energy Crisis,” I would highly recommend all of them, notably the “briefing” on nuclear energy.
Ron Meisels joined the discussion with How Much Energy Will the World Need? presented by PragerU – an unfortunate source, in our view.

Long reads, audio, video
Canadian, American officials optimistic on democracy despite ‘concerning cocktail’ of threats (audio)
If you can bear it: Gunman Planned Shooting at Fourth of July Parade For Weeks, Police Say
The gunman who shot into a parade in Highland Park, Ill., fired more than 70 rounds and appeared to be shooting randomly, the police said.
Thinking About the Unthinkable in Ukraine
What Happens If Putin Goes Nuclear?

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