Wednesday Night #2116

Written by  //  October 5, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

G’mar chatima tovah to our Jewish friends and Wednesday Nighters as Yom Kippur ends

CONGRATULATIONS Désirée McGraw and Brigitte Garceau on your respective elections as MNAs, and Bon courage in meeting the challenges ahead.

Quebec elections dominate newsfeeds here.
Andrew Coyne makes the case for electoral reform
Quebec’s election offers fresh evidence of how broken our electoral system is
Parliaments are supposed to represent us. But in our system, they don’t represent us – they represent the part of us, typically a minority, that supports the frontrunner in each riding. If it weren’t possible to fix this – if single-member ridings were the only kind there was – then all of this would be pointless. But as it is possible, why on earth don’t we fix it?
BUT
When a reporter asked François Legault on Tuesday about his 2018 promise to reform Quebec’s electoral system – a pledge he has since broken – the province’s Premier turned the question on its head. He pointed out that during this year’s election campaign he had made the opposite promise: not to reform the electoral system. This time, he said, he planned to “respect that promise.”
The problem is that a party that is elected with a majority under the current system has absolutely no interest in reforming it.
Moreover, so far, proposals all have flaws – how would you design a reformed system?
Andrew Caddell‘s column Francois Legault, the New Duplessis is a dark reflection on the power of Legault to prey on the insecurities of his regional/rural base “while hell-bent on making the Quebec ‘nation’ an ethnocentric nation-state.” He concludes ” he is a greater threat to Canadian unity than any of his predecessors, because what they failed to do in the open, he is accomplishing by stealth. Who will have the courage to stop him?”

For those with a more international bent, check out the results of elections in Brazil . Despite encouraging news that Lula was well ahead before election day, he failed to receive a majority, so the two candidates for the presidency will face off in a second round on October 30.
In Latvia, Latvian premier’s center-right party wins national election, while none of the parties catering to Latvia’s ethnic Russian minority, which makes up more than 25% of the country’s 1.9 million people, managed to secure a seat in Parliament.
Bosnia Elects New Leaders as OHR Imposes New Election Rules

Every analyst and commentator seems to have a slightly different take on the recent developments in Putin’s War, including the annexation process carried out in Moscow while Ukrainian forces are making rapid advances in retaking territory from demoralized Russian forces. Pronouncements from Putin range between surreal (Kremlin says annexation and retreat are not a contradiction amid Ukrainian successes) to deeply worrisome.
Much conjecture focuses on how seriously to take Putin’s threat of nuclear force, i.e. Ian Bremmer: Putin is becoming more desperate. Could he use a nuclear weapon?
In an aside, we are still wondering about the three-day abduction of the head of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant who has now been released. What was the point of that exercise?
Kerry Buck, former Canadian ambassador to NATO joins Jeremy Kinsman on this week’s Diplomatic Community to consider
Is Putin getting desperate? Now what?

The crisis in Iran continues unabated. CNN headlines Wednesday’s story: A barrier of fear has been broken in Iran. The regime may be at a point of no return

First Lisa Laflamme and now CTV is losing Evan Solomon, who is headed to Eurasia Group’s GZero. NB Vice Chair of Eurasia Group is Gerry Butts.

Cleo writes that US moves on Pacific islands, but barely
The last two weeks have seen some of the most frantic US activity related to the Pacific Islands since the end of World War II. Key events included the September 13th Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders in Hawaii, the release of the US Institute of Peace’s report on China’s Influence on the Freely Associated States of the Northern Pacific, the publication of America’s first Pacific Islands Partnership Strategy, and a two-day summit in D.C. for over a dozen Pacific nations that culminated in a dinner with President Joe Biden and a joint declaration.
At the same time, Amid rising seas, island nations push for legal protections

The 3rd was the first Monday of October and so As New Term Starts, Supreme Court Is Poised to Resume Rightward Push
You can read this fine -and very depressing- round-up of what lies behind and ahead by Adam Liptak
AND/OR you can watch First Monday in October, one of the most delightful movies. Sadly, none of the current justices resemble the fictional ones. We only wish that confrontations between staunch liberals and conservatives could be as grumpily but eloquently endearing as those between Walter Matthau and Jill Clayburgh. The world would be a much better place.

On Wednesday, SpaceX launched new crew to the International Space Station. Pedro Gregorio comments: 6th SpaceX mission delivering astronauts to the International Space Station just delivered the capsule to earth orbit. Amazing contrast to NASA’s Artemis program which continues to be mired in delays and cost overruns. Meanwhile, Luc Sirois visited Reaction Dynamics of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu , a rocket manufacturing company with a mission to enable routine access to space by launching one of the most eco-friendly, safe and affordable launch vehicle ever created – “une startup exemplaire qui se positionne pour devenir le SpaceX Canadien, rien de moins!”

The devastation caused by Hurricanes Fiona and Ian is being assessed, though it will be many months -if not years- before we have a complete picture. President Biden has visited Puerto Rico and promised $60M in aid, but will that be enough and will it be delivered in a timely fashion? Biden shows Puerto Rico he cares. The territory’s residents want reliable electricity, a functioning healthcare system and long-promised recovery aid from their 2017 hurricane disaster. On Wednesday, some 101,000 were still without power in Puerto Rico
Prime Minister Trudeau has announced the creation of the Hurricane Fiona Recovery Fund. The Fund will provide up to an additional $300 million over two years, starting this year, to help those impacted by the storm and to support long-term recovery efforts. Will that be enough? Photos: The Aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Eastern Canada
How do you react to the statement from former national security adviser Richard Fadden that the military can’t be the first line of defence in domestic (natural) disasters, domestic emergency operations — such as cleaning up after storms and fighting forest fires — distract the military from the training it needs in an increasingly unstable world.
Hurricane Ian damage: the death toll keeps rising as crews in Florida go door to door in search for survivors in decimated neighborhoods

We have never been a fan of McKinsey, for multiple reasons, and therefore are deeply suspicious of the recently revealed contract awarded by the CAQ government to said firm for strategies on managing the COVID-19 pandemic to the tune of $35,000 a day for a total of $6.6 million. CAQ leader defends paying millions to U.S. consulting firm during pandemic.
Not reassuring when read in tandem with McKinsey has been criminally charged in South Africa over its role in the country’s biggest post-apartheid corruption scandal, as the fallout continues for global consultancies that were embroiled in the saga.

Varia
A delightful, heartwarming, -true- story that illustrates how much our world has changed. No parent in their right mind would allow this today.
Two Kids. One Pony. Hundreds of Miles to Montreal’s Expo 67.
Two brothers from the Boston suburbs set out on an improbable journey to Montreal’s Expo 67 by hoof.
True for Canada as well? Maybe at last, (some) trades will receive the respect they should.
Want a career saving the planet? Become an electrician.
To ‘electrify everything’ the country is going to need a lot more electrical experts.
…installing all of that electrical stuff — the solar panels, the heat pumps, the transmission lines — will require something that the United States doesn’t have: lots and lots of electricians.
According to the nonprofit group Rewiring America, which focuses on electrification, shifting the economy away from fossil fuels will require no fewer than 1 billion new electrical appliances, cars and other items in American households alone.
The demand for nurses around the world presents financial benefits to qualified individuals from The Philippines, India, etc., but poses ethical problems. See Long reads below for Nursing Shortage Sparks Bidding War as Countries Vie for Talent

Marie Cormier suggests that we share the titles of books we are reading and enjoying (!) – or on our wish list. No pressure, but whenever  you send one  to me (links to review and/or where to purchase always helpful), I will be happy to include under a new heading in the WN Prologue.
Meanwhile, though I despise promotion of any Christmas items before at least the end of October, this might appeal to the bookworms and librarians among us: the Advent calendar Library — The 24 most famous books in the world. Who knows them all?
From Karl May’s “Winnetou” to J.K.Rowling’s “Harry Potter” to Bram Stoker’s “Grad Dracula”, well-known novels from all over the world are hiding behind the door.

Long reads
War has come home to Russia
A week ago, Putin could have declared victory, proposed a peace plan and split Ukraine’s supporters. But with mobilisation sparking protests in hitherto loyal places such as Dagestan, he’s made regime change a real possibility.
Ukrainian Troops Hunt Demoralized Russian Stragglers in Seized City
Ukrainian forces on Sunday hunted Russian stragglers in the key city of Lyman, which was taken back from Russia after its demoralized troops, according to a major Russian newspaper, fled with “empty eyes,” and despite Moscow’s baseless claim it had annexed the region surrounding the city.
Islamic finance provides an alternative to debt-based systems
For years, Muslims in North America have struggled to find ways to purchase homes while complying with Islamic law, or shariah.
Nursing Shortage Sparks Bidding War as Countries Vie for Talent
World Health Organization warns of risk to developing nations
The scandals and hypocrisy behind McKinsey’s sterling reputation
In their new book, investigative reporters Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe shatter the luminous image of McKinsey & Co. that has long attached to the consulting giant.

For fans of Louise Penny and Three Pines:
October Newsletter
Book tour for A WORLD OF CURIOSITIES to be published November 29th – Just in time for Christmas!
I’ll be going on a limited tour. …
Sunday, Dec. 4th, – BROME LAKE BOOKS – Knowlton, Québec 2PM
Tickets go on sale October 11th, 2022 at 10 am. through Eventbrite. Seating is limited, so we encourage people to register with Eventbrite in advance of October 11th. click here for more info

One month until the U.S. mid-terms, so expect much more on U.S. politics in the coming weeks. We look forward to input from Chris Goodfellow on Florida, Gloria Calhoun from Atlanta and Byron Haskins on Michigan. Happy to have other on-the-ground contributors.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ONE AND ALL

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