Wednesday Night #2168

Written by  //  October 4, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2168

Sad news
We have just learned of the death on 26 September of Hélène Audren, generous friend and indefatigable volunteer, especially for any and all Liberal causes. Obituary in La Presse of 4 October.

3 October -an unprecedented Day of the Speakers as the U.S. House of Representatives, led by the odious Matt Gaetz turfs Speaker Kevin McCarthy, leaving (in the words of CBC) the U.S. Congress headless.
Scalise, Jordan running to replace McCarthy as House speaker
(WaPo) In the wake of Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s unprecedented ouster as speaker, House Republicans are in uncharted territory Wednesday as they search for a replacement for their colleague from California.
The turbulence over the ousting of the Speaker was the most attention-grabbing news of the day, however Heather Cox Richardson summarizes and comments on a number of concurrent events including those of the Trump courtroom drama.

Following the Yaroslav Hunka affair, Canadian Parliamentarians with considerably less turmoil elect Greg Fergus to replace Anthony Rota as Speaker.
Liberal MP Fergus makes history, elected first Black Speaker of the House of Commons
‘You’re the first Black Canadian to become Speaker of this House,’ said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his congratulatory speech after the Speaker’s election. ‘This should be inspiring for all Canadians, especially younger generations who want to get involved in politics.’

Meantime, Manitoba voters delivered victory to the NDP. Wab Kinew, the leader of Manitoba’s New Democratic Party, is set to become Canada’s first First Nations provincial premier after winning a majority government in Tuesday’s election. The NDP victory breaks up the alliance of right-leaning provincial premiers spanning from Alberta to the Maritimes, and could give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau an ally in Western Canada. And Mr. Kinew’s path to the Premier’s Office marks a breakthrough for First Nations representation in Canadian politics.

Now everyone should go back to worrying about the deterioration in Canada-India relations and in Canada’s status in the international community. (See David McKinnon in long reads below.)
Plus domestic issues including how and where the budget cuts required by Treasury Board will be carried out. A propos, we remain unreassured by Defence Minister Bill Blair’s response when asked by Matt Galloway about the almost $1 billion the Feds want to cut from Canada’s defence budget over the next three years – what kind of impact that will have, and what message it sends to both new recruits and the wider world?
Andrew Caddell‘s Hill Times column Justin Trudeau can’t be taken for granted argues Anyone writing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s political obituary might want to pause and reassess. While the Liberals continue their dive to seeming oblivion, I think pundits predicting Pierre Poilievre will be the next prime minister should reconsider
We were glad to see that in the same edition of the Hill Times, Neil Moss has raised the matter that has been bothering us for some time: ‘Lack of direction’: delayed release of mandate letters raises questions over government’s plans
The more than two-month wait so far in publicly releasing mandate letters is the longest delay following a major cabinet shuffle since the Trudeau Liberals took power in 2015.

We have been so preoccupied with events of the past few days in North America that we have almost ignored what is happening in the rest of the world. A few items worthy of attention.

Ian Bremmer writes of the international ramifications of the U.S. Speaker crisis:
“Ukraine’s leaders now know the US isn’t a reliable long-term backer, even with a supportive president and the backing of most members of Congress. And they know they’ll have to fight their war differently now. They’ll have to keep more firepower in reserve to be sure they don’t run out of weapons and ammo at a time when new supplies aren’t coming.
They knew that was a risk tied to Trump and next November’s US election. But now, Kyiv must deal with this risk immediately.
Washington’s chaos is also ringing alarm bells across Europe, where leaders know that, particularly on the weapons front, they can’t backfill what will be lost if supplies from Washington begin to run dry.
And the Europeans have to think about their own security. What, they wonder, does all this mean for NATO if this is the future of the Republican Party in America?
In short, a lot of trust has been lost, and it takes much longer to rebuild trust than it does to lose it.”

The UN has approved Haiti security mission to fight gangs The United Nations Security Council on Monday authorized a foreign security mission to Haiti, a year after the country asked for help to fight violent gangs that have largely overrun its capital Port-au-Prince. The response to Haiti’s request for help was delayed due to a struggle to find a country willing to lead a security assistance mission. Kenya stepped forward in July with a pledge of 1,000 police. The Bahamas then committed 150 people, while Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda are also willing to help.
It is not much, and far too late, but it is something.

EU accession:
European Union leaders will discuss how to reform the 27-nation bloc to take in new members at a summit in Granada on Oct. 5-6, launching a long process to prepare the EU for enlargement by a tentative deadline of 2030.

In the South Caucasus, the Third war over Karabakh crystallizes a new balance of power. The final military episode of the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict over Karabakh seems to have ended. The third Karabakh war lasted only 24 hours, concluding on Sept. 20, with the separatist Armenian Karabakh military forces capitulating. Unlike in the previous two wars — of 1988-1994 and September-November 2020, respectively — this time the Republic of Armenia stayed out of the fighting. As Baku claimed victory, a large exodus quickly ensued. Over the next week, 100,000 ethnic Armenians from Karabakh, roughly 80% of the heretofore disputed territory’s total population, fled to Armenia. The social, political, demographic, and economic implications of this refugee wave will be felt across the region in the years to come.

Things not great in the Balkans, where Belgrade continues to use the Kosovo issue to take attention away from domestic problems; while Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic may be losing control over his Serb allies in northern Kosovo; and the momentum in the Kosovo-Serbia negotiations has been lost, which could result in more flare-ups. Are Kosovo and Serbia on the brink of war?
An escalation into a conflict in the Western Balkans was averted but the likelihood of future flare-ups remains high.

There have now been three announcements of 2023 Nobel Prizes including the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots”; it rewards the discovery and development of quantum dots, nanoparticles so tiny that their size determines their properties. These smallest components of nanotechnology now spread their light from televisions and LED lamps, and can also guide surgeons when they remove tumour tissue, among many other things.
The Prize in Literature will be announced on 5 October: the Peace Prize on 6 October; and on Monday 9 October, The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences.

Thank you to Ken Matziorinis and John Evdokias:
Naval Group Launches Greek Frigate Kimon
According to the Greek Reporter, the frigate is named for “an admiral in Alexander the Great‘s army who gained fame for his valor in the naval Battle of Salamis”. However, we prefer to think of our OWN Kimon.

Happy viewing!
‘LUPIN’ Netflix’s contemporary take on a classic French character, the turn-of-the-previous-century master thief Arsène Lupin, resurfaces more than two years after its last appearance. Omar Sy returns as the Lupin aficionado Assane Diop, who spent the show’s first two seasons clearing the name of his unjustly imprisoned father. (Netflix, Oct. 5)
‘ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE’ Steven Knight, creator of “Peaky Blinders,” developed this mini-series from Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer-winning World War II romantic thriller about a brave, blind French girl and a German boy whose technical skills pull him into the Nazi army. Marie-Laure, the blind heroine, is played by Aria Mia Loberti, a Fulbright scholar, disability advocate and first-time actor; Marie-Laure’s father and great-uncle are played by the more seasoned Mark Ruffalo and Hugh Laurie. (Netflix, Nov. 2)

The Bieler School of Environment presents:
Professor Gernot Wagner (see Long reads)
2023 Environment Public Lecture
“Climate Risks, Uncertainties, and Opportunities”
Thursday, October 5, 2023, 17:30
Moyse Hall Theatre, 853 Sherbrooke St. West
Arts Building, McGill University, Montreal, H3A 0G5
Free and open to the public!

Terry Mosher aka Aislin proudly announces that the Atwater Library is hosting the  GIGOT ART EXHIBITION -an exhibition of prints by his talented wife GIGOT aka Mary Hughson from now until the end of the year.

On 4 October Catholics and Anglicans -and likely a lot of nondenominational Italians and animal lovers- celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, who spent much of his time preaching about animals, and the brotherhood of all creatures. I learned recently that in 1979, Pope John Paul II declared St. Francis the Patron Saint of Ecologists.
4 October is a significant date for me. I was in a very bad car accident on October 4 at the beginning of my third university year – through a series of strange coincidences, the Franciscan community of Washington kept me in their prayers and I emerged after six months in a cast, without any long-term effects.

Long reads
McCarthy ouster exposes the Republican Party’s destructive tendencies
By voting to expel Kevin McCarthy as House speaker, Republicans ground the work of Congress to a halt and revealed the danger of governing by chaos
From the day they were all sworn in this January, their grip on power was tenuous, far more so than almost anyone was predicting a year ago when talk of a red-wave election was in vogue. They did win the majority in the 2022 midterm elections, but by the narrowest of margins in a surprising under-performance. To succeed as legislators, they needed cohesion, discipline and leadership. Instead, they produced chaos under a speaker who was so weakened after getting the job that he could not lead effectively.
The India debacle should prompt Canada to rethink the naive way we engage with the world
David McKinnon, former Canadian diplomat who has been posted to New Delhi, Canberra, Bangkok and, most recently, Colombo, where he served as Canada’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka.
Our governments – both politicians and officials – need to engage with Canadians about our national interests and international priorities, not just deliver pre-scripted sound bites or limit engagement to special interest groups or particular diaspora communities.
We follow Bloomberg’s CityLab and often find stimulating, creative, projects. Not everything in the Domino Sugar reinvention appeals to us, but we are impressed with the thoughtful planning of the Brooklyn waterfront revival. Lessons probably far too late for Montreal to learn.
This Brooklyn Waterfront Revival Aims for the Sweet Spot
Gernot Wagner: The Green Growth Mindset
Heated academic debates between proponents and opponents of traditional economic growth under capitalism might make for good television, but they offer little in the way of solutions. Climate change demands that we achieve both growth and degrowth, depending on the activity and economic sector in question.

Costco now sells gold bars. Are they a good investment?

Private jet service for rich dog owners condemned by climate campaigners
UK-based charter firm launches ‘ludicrous’ £8,166 Dubai-London route for clients who want to fly with The company, K9 Jets, which is run by a husband-and-wife couple from Birmingham, already operates services to New Jersey, Los Angeles, Frankfurt, Paris and Lisbon.pets

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