Wednesday Night #2166

Written by  //  September 20, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2166

While the Housing Crisis was top of the agenda as the Liberals emerged from their caucus retreat last Thursday, it was quickly overtaken by the serious problems in Canada-India relations. While much initial reaction (including ours) was to dismiss the first news -like that of the pause in trade talks-  it soon became evident that the accusations/allegations leveled against India were extremely serious. This is not a problem that will go away quickly, but we must hope that the authorities take to heart the advice from Deanna Horton Despite strained Indian ties, Canada must stay the course on Indo-Pacific strategy.

Although Bill C-18 (An Act Respecting Online Communications Platforms) has recently dropped down the priority list of Fed Lib policies and practices we must be concerned about, we believe everyone who cares about how and when they receive their news -especially local- should read and consider Paul Wells’ latest How Bill C-18 is threatening a local news empire. His guest is Jeff Elgie of Village Media.

The last few weeks have been filled with multilateral gatherings -ASEAN, BRICS, G20, G77+China -to name a few- and now the Mother of all Multilaterals, the UN General Assembly, where the posing and the squabbling, interspersed with odd moments of statesmanship and the occasional stirring speech (Zelensky Tells U.N. Security Council It’s Useless While Russia Has a Veto), are front and centre, while the real work goes on in more muffled encounters. One of the latter where we would have liked to be the proverbial fly, was Wednesday’s encounter between President Biden and Bibi. The NYT reports that “The president put aside his frustrations with the Israeli prime minister over his “extremist” government to focus on issues of mutual interest, like Iran and Saudi Arabia.” We hope he had read Thomas Friedman’s Tuesday column:
What Biden Should Ask Netanyahu
President Biden, you are meeting Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, for the first time since he returned to office in December. He’s formed the most extreme government in Israel’s history and yet your administration is considering forging a complex partnership with his coalition and Saudi Arabia.

North Korea
Kim Jong-un has returned to Pyongyang. State media said he received an “ardent” welcome home after wrapping up a week-long Russia tour. Kim’s tour of Russia’s far east included a summit with Vladimir Putin, which has fanned Western fears that isolated, nuclear-armed Pyongyang could provide Moscow with weapons for its drawn-out invasion of Ukraine. We have to wait and see, but nothing good is likely to result.

While nobody -or almost nobody- was looking, the Nagorno-Karabakh war flares again on Tuesday. A ceasefire has been agreed, but relations between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia are not particularly stable. See Europe & EU February 2023– for more.

Singapore’s clean image under scrutiny amid money laundering scandal
City-state’s anti-money laundering controls in spotlight after arrest of 10 foreigners and seizure of $736m in assets.

Causes for celebration
Congratulations to Doug and Marjo Sweet, on their new status as grandparents!
Quebec’s Anticosti Island named UNESCO World Heritage Site
Anticosti Island, a large island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The designation adds an additional layer of protection to the geologically unique, sparsely populated island that is part of a proposed biodiversity reserve
According to UNESCO’s website, Quebec’s largest island is the most complete and best-preserved paleontological record of the first mass extinction of animal life – 447 million to 437 million years ago.
Unifor and Ford reach tentative deal, averting strike that would have seen around 5,600 Canadian workers hit the picket lines, and providing a roadmap for an agreement for thousands of other autoworkers employed by General Motors and Stellantis.
Senate Confirms Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sidestepping Tuberville Blockade
The Senate voted to confirm Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. of the Air Force as the next chairman and planned to advance the nominations of two other high-ranking military officials, despite a blockade by Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
Georgetown Hosts Public Launch of State Dept. Program for Refugee Students
While Canadians ungraciously snipe at international students for adding to the housing crisis, The U.S. State Department has launched “A first-of-its kind program for refugee students; the Welcome Corps on Campus links higher education access to resettlement through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which provides a path to permanent legal status in the United States.

Andrew Caddell‘s column is a must-read.
“In case you missed it, Sept. 13 was National Official Languages Day. In Quebec, it was celebrated by politicians denouncing a Quebec City CEGEP (junior college) for promoting “English Week.”
CEGEP Garneau decided to inject pleasure into learning the other Canadian official language. The college’s Instagram page posted the message: “Don’t be surprised if your teacher includes some English in your class or that you hear people speaking English around you. What’s important is to have fun … in English!”
CEGEP Garneau was named for 19th century author, poet, and nationalist historian François-Xavier Garneau, who was himself fluently bilingual. Given the message and the week was promoted by the CEGEP’s languages department, no one should have been shocked. But this is Quebec, where it is hard to find a politician who will not strike out at anything English as if it’s a piñata.” …
“The “English Week” controversy was an opportunity for Legault to avoid addressing real issues: disasters in health care, a huge shortage of teachers, and a shrinking treasury, to name a few. He frequently uses the language law, Bill 96, as a shiny object to avoid the important issues of the day.
…in the last few months, as Bill 96 has taken hold, the language tensions have been exacerbated. Anglo children have been yelled at to speak French by bus drivers, Quebec public servants have refused to provide services in English, patients have been ignored when speaking English, and documents in English have been rejected. The denunciation of “English Week” is another symptom of a growing collective psychosis.
For the more than one million Quebec anglophones, being blamed for the global popularity of English is tiresome and disheartening. Quebec’s politicians need to stop it, now.

Saturday 23 September
2:00 p.m.
Special Event Stage Reading from Louise Penny’s book: Still Life. Tickets are $25/person and go on sale through this website This is an “In Person” and “Virtual” event. Please note there are a limited number of “In Person” tickets.
Many of you will know that Louise has her own Golden Retriever Angel, Muggins, who brings her love, laughter and goodness every day. So how fitting that the proceeds of this special event will be going to the organization: Golden Rescue.

Saturday, 30 September
7 pm
A literary soirée of readings
featuring Jonathan Kaplansky, Linda Leith, Chantal Ringuet, and Caroline Vu.
Westmount Public Library, 4574 Sherbrooke St west.

Long reads
Doug Sweet highly recommends
‘A Perfect Storm for the Ambitious, Extreme Ideologue’
with the comment: “Excellent, excellent piece by Thomas Edsall in the NYT about how the United States is more polarized than so many other countries, and why. This is a long read and an engrossing analysis, to which I would add one element he and the experts he quotes ignore: the lack of a single-payer public health-care system (or some version thereof, whether it be the Canadian or various European models).
You could have a week-long seminar devoted to the various aspects of U.S. society and politics based on this article alone.”

Cramping Our Soft Power: Why the Understanding Canada Program Needs Reviving
In the short term, the economic activity generated by cultural, scientific and education related activities is extremely important for the Canadian economy… in the medium and long term, a country that does not project a clearly defined image of what it is and it represents is doomed to anonymity on the international scene.

Excellent detailed analysis from BBC
How India-Canada ties descended into a public feud

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