Wednesday Night #2119

Written by  //  October 26, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

China, Iran, UK, Ukraine & Putin’s War – where to begin?

China – government & governance
As the Twentieth Chinese Communist Party Congress wrapped up on Sunday, it was clear that President Xi Jinping had consolidated his power and will run the country while surrounded by yes men. What was far less clear to western observers was how this would benefit China. Analysts generally agreed with Jeremy Mark, nonresident senior fellow at the GeoEconomics Center that What Xi ignored on the economy will cost him While Xi’s speech declared economic development to be his “top priority,” there was no sign that he was concerned about—let alone prepared to ameliorate—the deep problems that have undermined China’s economy over the past two years. He gave no ground on the zero-COVID policies that have squelched domestic consumption and destroyed small businesses. There was no mention of soaring youth unemployment, which hovers near 20 percent in China’s cities. And he offered no hint of concerted policies that could ease the country’s deep property downturn and prevent that crisis from damaging the banking system.
Meanwhile, the China-Russia relationship remains of concern.
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas discuss the Congress outcome briefly, and noted the ousting of Former Chinese President Hu Jintao from Saturday’s closing ceremony as yet another indication of Xi’s will to control every aspect of the government.

However, the main topic of this week’s Diplomatic Community is the UK political drama, the new British PM, known as”Dishy Rishi” according to some of Jeremy’s sources, and the challenges he faces in uniting the party, restoring some economic stability, and addressing the Brexit file.
Jeremy also forwarded his recent piece for Policy Beleaguered Britain: Can Rishi Sunak Restore Sanity?, with the comment “The last piece on the UK melodrama”. Given the events of the last weeks, we wonder if the melodrama has really ended.
The Guardian notes that Rishi Sunak is the UK’s first prime minister of colour and the first Hindu prime minister, both milestones in Britain’s evolution as a multicultural and multi-faith society.
We wonder what, if any effect, the PM’s Hindu faith will have on relations with India (Modi was one of the first out of the gate with congratulations) and Pakistan.
He was named as the UK’s next leader on Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. It celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Let us all hope!

Despite the news that Iran’s security forces reportedly open fire as thousands mourn Mahsa Amini, there appears to be hope among commentators and analysts that the protests may succeed in toppling the government. We note particularly this from The Economist Will Iran’s women win?
Their uprising could be the beginning of the end of Iran’s theocracy
In 1978 Iran’s corrupt, brutal, unpopular regime was besieged by protesters and led by a sick old shah. The next year it was swept away. Today Iranian protesters are again calling for the overthrow of a corrupt, brutal regime; this time led by a sick old ayatollah, Ali Khamenei. As Ray Takeyh, a veteran Iran-watcher, put it, “History…is surely rhyming on the streets of Tehran.”
Pessimists caution that mass protests have rocked Iran’s theocracy before, notably in 2009 and 2019, and the regime has always snuffed them out by shooting, torturing and censoring. Yet there are reasons to think that this time may be different; that the foundations of the Islamic Republic really are wobbling.

Putin’s War continues unabated, with disquieting allegations from Putin of a ‘Dirty Bomb’ in Ukraine. Putin Repeats Unsupported ‘Dirty Bomb’ Claim, Fueling Fears of Escalation

Canadian news
Some intriguing policy issues should now be under consideration…
Population share of immigrants, permanent residents hits 23% record: census
Immigrants on track to account for up to 34% of population by 2041, StatsCan says in census release
Immigrants and permanent residents now make up a larger share of Canada’s population than they do in any other G7 country.
Canada’s population grew by 5.4 per cent from 2016 to 2021. New immigrants accounted for 71.1 per cent of that growth.
Statistics Canada says that recent immigrants are younger on average than the rest of the Canadian population and have been critical to filling many jobs in the Canadian labour market.
Premier Legault announced his cabinet last Thursday (Premier François Legault unveils 30 member Quebec cabinet after big election win  ) , with relatively little negative reaction (for the moment). We are waiting for Dominique Anglade’s shadow cabinet to be unveiled -and to know especially what roles Désirée and Brigitte Garceau will play. With only 21 Liberals elected, everyone will be carrying double loads.
Andrew Caddell‘s column this week addresses the by-now perennial post-election issue Proportional representation is the little engine that couldn’t, noting that “after the Oct. 3 provincial election. With 41 per cent of the votes, Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec received 90 seats, or 72 per cent of the total. Meanwhile, the three opposition parties each received 15 per cent or so, but their results varied wildly (Liberals 21 seats, Québec Solidaire 11 seats, Parti Québécois three seats). The Conservatives, with 13 per cent, got none.” But after an examination of the pros and cons, he concludes”the statistics abroad don’t show higher voter participation rates or greater satisfaction with politicians elected under a different system. They are, after all, still politicians, just like ours.”
and this
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says she distrusts World Economic Forum, province to cut ties

David Suzuki is retiring from The Nature of Things to focus on activism and calling out ‘BS’
World-renowned environmentalist and science broadcaster David Suzuki announces his retirement as host of The Nature of Things and talks to The National’s Ian Hanomansing about his sometimes controversial career and what comes next

For those who remember her and for those who need to learn about the critical role she and her husband, “Sandy”, played in the preservation of Old Montreal, the creation of the initial master plan for Expo67, the fending off of urban development follies, and the founding of Quebec’s professional corporation of urban planners in 1963.
Blanche Lemco van Ginkel, saviour of Old Montreal, dies at 98
The visionary Montreal architect is credited with quashing a plan to build a highway through one of Canada’s most important historic districts.

Oh dear!
This was in the news again on Wednesday
Mohawk Mothers demand investigation into potential unmarked graves at McGill University
In a statement to Global News, McGill University spokesperson Cynthia Lee writes: “In 2016, McGill commissioned a study on the archeological potential of the Royal Victoria hospital site. According to this study, it is unlikely that Indigenous remains will be found on the New Vic project site. However, should this be the case, it will be made public immediately.”
Additionally, the Mohawk Mothers insist work on the unceded Mohawk land should be halted until McGill has asked for their permission. The back story: Plans for old Royal Victoria Hospital get approval stamp despite opposition

Why Daylight Saving Could Exacerbate Europe’s Energy Crisis
Ending the practice of turning back the clocks one hour would generate financial and environmental savings for Europe just when the continent needs it most, according to new research.
… Getting rid of daylight saving could ease the continent’s energy crisis.With the war in Ukraine sending fuel prices soaring, campaigners and politicians in several countries have noticed that daylight saving could be making demand for fuel more acute.
As Winter Looms, Britons Bank on Warming Hubs
Rising energy prices are forcing UK authorities to assemble a network of “warm banks” to offer relief from costly home heating bills.
Thanks to Sandy W. for pointing us to this nostalgic item. Interesting that the only two in Canada were in Quebec.
The Futuro House was conceived by Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a “portable” ski chalet. It is an iconic piece of architecture and this site is devoted to documenting the history of the Futuro and the current status and whereabouts of the remaining examples.

Long reads
Subject is U.S. but highly relevant to Canada
Our Foreign Policy Leaders Are a Danger to the World
Political appointees have too little experience and too many delusions.
The current issue of Policy devoted to Free Trade: Then and Now (all available online)
on the 35th anniversary of the completion of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement in October 1987 and the 30th anniversary of its trilateral successor, the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, including Mexico, completed in October 1992.
Who’s drawn to fascism? Postwar study of authoritarianism makes a comeback
A very long, wide-ranging interview
Alan Alda Is Still Awesome – The actor and director talks about his podcast, the comedic chops of Volodymyr Zelensky, and being called an “honorary woman.”

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