Wednesday Night #2118

Written by  //  October 19, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

No WN outcome is more rewarding than to see vigorous debate continued after the Zoom cameras have long-since been turned off. The past week has seen several such exchanges.

Petraeus: US would destroy Russia’s troops if Putin uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine, launched by John Curtin, attracted comments as to whether or not General Petraeus was a credible commentator, or should more attention be paid to Macron’s statement that France would not use nuclear weapons in response to a Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine. (He was immediately criticized for breaking with the tradition of ‘strategic ambiguity’). Conclusion: believe Petraeus and the White House.
Quebec’s stance on more control of immigration also attracted some strong arguments and the conclusion, supplied by Sandy W,  that the reality is, the papers you get when you work your way through the system are FEDERAL. They all say Canada on them – you never even have to step foot in Quebec if you don’t want to. And, it seems, the same goes for skilled workers. However, if you are an immigrant investor, you now have to actually get involved in something with some partners and some local people – but still do not have to be physically present!

Another hot topic was the column by Campbell Clark Chrystia Freeland issues a clarion call from Canada’s foreign-policy void. While at least one very well informed person said that Clark was completely off-base in describing the content of the speech, nobody disagreed with the final line of the article ” if you don’t [know] whether the Deputy Prime Minister’s speech is the government’s foreign policy, it could be because in the real world, it hasn’t really got one.”
We wonder how Minister Freeland is reacting to Wednesday’s announcement from Foreign Minister Joly that Many of the world’s female foreign ministers will discuss the “brutal” crackdown against protesters in Iran during a virtual meeting this week hosted by Canada.

The World Health Summit (WHS) 2022 16-18 October in Berlin
WHS 2022 aimed to strengthen exchange, stimulate innovative solutions to health challenges, position global health as a key political issue and promote a global health conversation in the spirit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. More
One Health Joint Plan of Action launched to address health threats to humans, animals, plants and environment
…a new One Health Joint Plan of Action was launched by the Quadripartite – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH, founded as OIE).
This first joint plan on One Health aims to create a framework to integrate systems and capacity so that we can collectively better prevent, predict, detect, and respond to health threats. Ultimately, this initiative seeks to improve the health of humans, animals, plants, and the environment, while contributing to sustainable development.

The pomp, pageantry and paranoia of China’s Communist Party Congress
On Sunday, Xi opened the 20th National Congress of the CCP, a political meeting held every five years that sets out the party’s broad priorities and the next batch of leaders. Xi is expected to break with tradition of leaders stepping down after a decade and continue his role as general secretary and head of the party’s Central Military Commission, the two most powerful positions.
Xi presents China as ‘new choice’ for humanity as he readies for next term Meanwhile, Beijing delays key economic figures as leaders meet
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas President Xi: What does he want from the world for China? A G-2 world?
Next week we should have extensive analysis of the Congress.

Britain, Brexit & Liz Truss
The trials and tribulations of Liz Truss would be laughable, if not so devastating for the country.
On Wednesday she was jeered in Parliament, while according to Reuters “a new YouGov opinion poll showed that even among Conservative Party members who backed her for prime minister, more than half of those polled said she should resign. A third wanted her predecessor, Boris Johnson, to return“. Words fail us!
Britain, Brexit & Liz Truss
Andrew Coyne: Liz Truss’s populism smashes headlong into reality, with results that are horrible to watch
“Ms. Truss won the Conservative leadership by telling the membership they could have tax cuts the country couldn’t afford and, in the bargain, stick it to those eggheads and scolds who told them it couldn’t be done. It was a fun thing to believe, for as long as it lasted.”
AND Lurking in the background is Brexit fallout.

We can be thankful that British humor never fails
Liz Truss or Lettuce: Who Will Wilt First?
The lettuce gag was inspired by The Economist, which noted on Oct. 11 that between a near-immediate political implosion at the beginning of her tenure and the 10 days of mourning after Queen Elizabeth II died, her grip on power amounted to seven days, or “roughly the shelf-life of a lettuce.” The Daily Star took The Economist’s joke and ran with it, plopping the lettuce on a table next to a framed photo of Ms. Truss. The lettuce was later given a glow-up, featuring a blonde wig, glasses and Mr. Potato Head-like feet and hands, while it was surrounded with crackers and a mug. At one point the lettuce wore an eye mask to get some rest, and on Tuesday the newspaper declared in a front-page headline: “Lettuce Liz on Leaf Support.”

News of Iran is now running on a dual, but intersecting, track. On the one hand, the month-long protests that show no sign of waning and, on the other Iran and Russia’s growing drone alliance which is in turn linked to Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

Reports of Haiti‘s perpetual crises have inured us to the decades-long, disastrous, and increasingly violent situation revealed by the recent joint human rights report published by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Sexual violence in Port-au-Prince: A weapon used by gangs to instill fear
After armoured vehicles from Canada land in Port-au-Prince, here’s a look at Haiti’s latest security crisis
Haiti’s government has appealed for military intervention from foreign troops to help quell the violence and end the fuel blockade. Last week, UN Secretary General António Guterres called for the establishment of an international force to assist Haiti’s police in tackling the gangs.

Canada
L. Ian MacDonald: Hockey Canada—From the Hall of Fame to a Hall of Shame
The puck stops here.
That’s what they should be telling themselves at Hockey Canada, now engulfed in a stunning scandal of lies, cover-ups and payoffs that have diminished their brand and brought discredit to our national game.
And it’s already a classic case study in Comms 101—How Not to Do Damage Control in a Crisis. It starts at the top, and it goes back years, if not decades, in an organization created to represent the best. And has ended up instead as symbol of the worst.
The Hockey Canada scandal happened to coincide with the culmination of a season of celebration of the 50th anniversary of the famed 1972 September Summit Series.
The celebration of one has been a striking contrast with the shame of the other.
There’s more to it than nostalgia, there’s a sense of yearning for the heroes of those days.

It’s not exactly the high drama of the January 6th hearings, but here are some tidbits as the blame game is well under way at the Emergencies Act Inquiry:
Ottawa, police were warned of plans to jam up the capital before convoy protesters arrived, email shows
Parliament security took issue with city moving convoy trucks near Parliament Hill
Ottawa Mayor Declined Call From Parliament Security Service During Freedom Convoy: Official
Residents forced to take action themselves during convoy crisis, councillors testify

Is Danielle Smith going to be Alberta’s Liz Truss?
A new poll paints a grim picture for Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party
a surprising new poll shows negative first impressions of Ms. Smith, days into the job, and much higher support for the NDP’s Rachel Notley.
Alberta Premier Smith apologizes for past comments on Russian invasion of Ukraine
Her remarks surfaced over the weekend, creating On a livestream chat on April 29, Smith said: “The only answer for Ukraine is neutrality,” adding she understands why Russia would have a concern with a western-aligned Ukraine armed with nuclear weapons on its doorstep.
Seems like she is walking back some of her Sovereignty Act rhetoric, but otherwise continues her Trudeau/Ottawa bashing to appeal to the rural population. (See Gary Mason The disappointing populism of Danielle Smith’s political plan)
And this: New Alberta premier says unvaccinated ‘most discriminated against group’ after swearing-in. She plans to replace Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and recruit a new team of advisers in public health that consider COVID-19 to be an endemic disease.

Andrew Caddell‘s op-ed Moving Bill 96 battle to the courts
We plan to fight this battle on several fronts, with plaintiffs from across Quebec society who will take on the law’s implications for them.
“we are joining forces to fight Bill 96 on several fronts. The Task Force on Linguistic Policy is bringing to bear its status as a non-profit organization with hundreds of members and thousands of supporters….we will need our community’s support. This is crucial to show our cause is important, progressive and representative of a huge cross-section of Quebec society. We will also need long-term funding, as these cases will more than likely end up in the Supreme Court of Canada. We plan to fight this battle on several fronts, with plaintiffs from across Quebec society who will take on the law’s implications for them. …we need people to come forward in this effort
Petty power tripping with low-wage workers doesn’t protect the French language in Quebec
by Toula Drimonis
On a lighter note:C’est effrayant à quel point votre génération utilise des mots en anglais.
— Ce n’est pas si pire que ça quand même !
— Vous ne vous en rendez pas compte. Vous avez passé la fin de semaine à parler de KPI, de templates, de process, de USP, de stakeholders, de forecasts… Ça me choque de voir que vous n’êtes pas capables de parler français !
Après deux jours de réunions internes, nous étions tous attablés lorsqu’un de nos directeurs, dans la soixantaine avancée, nous a reproché notre désengagement total envers la langue française.

Varia
Schools in Scotland, Uganda and Chile Among ‘World’s Best’ in New Prize
The five schools shared $250,000 in prize money for feats including saving mangroves and expanding classrooms in an area hit by war.
Why do we remember more by reading in print vs. on a screen?
As a professor of linguistics, I have been studying how electronic communication compares to traditional print when it comes to learning. Is comprehension the same whether a person reads a text onscreen or on paper? And are listening and viewing content as effective as reading the written word when covering the same material? The answers to both questions are often “no”

Additions to the WN Library
Ron Meisels and Nancy recommend:
Two books: everything you ever want to know about Trump
The Divider Trump in the White House, 2017-2021 by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser: anything you want to know while he was in the WH;
Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America by Maggie Haberman: anything you want to know since he was born.

An Opera in 3 Acts Starring Gino Quilico, published by Linda Leith Publishing

Long reads
Great analyses by The Atlantic Council experts of the CPC 20th Congress
Reading between the lines of Xi’s party congress speech and related articles
Analysis: Does China’s ‘palace diplomacy’ benefit Africa or Beijing?
China’s practice of gifting million-dollar buildings to governments across Africa is under renewed scrutiny.
The Beginning of the End of the Islamic Republic
The Islamic Republic rests on three ideological pillars: vehement opposition to the United States, obdurate antagonism toward Israel, and institutional misogyny, especially in the form of compulsory hijab rules requiring women to wear coverings in public spaces. If any of these pillars weakens, the whole edifice of the Islamic Republic falls down.
A career diplomat’s exhaustive examination of the decline of Russia’s foreign policy and diplomacy.
Boris Bondarev: The Sources of Russian MisconductA Diplomat Defects From the Kremlin
Don’t Blame Brexit
How tempting it is to trace Liz Truss’s economic fiasco to the decision to leave Europe. If only Britain’s malaise were that simple.

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