Wednesday Night #2172

Written by  //  November 1, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2172

Another star dimmed, but after a life well-led
‘Storytelling was her life’: Veteran CBC journalist Elizabeth Gray dead at 86
Gray was the former host of CBC Radio’s As It Happens and Cross Country Checkup
I think I know a few people who will identify with this quote from her daughter, Rachel: “I was an adult before I kind of finally understood that not everybody in the world actually talked about current events incessantly at every meal all the time.”
A tragic death at the age of 54. – the ravages of addiction
Matthew Perry, the one who mastered sarcasm with humor and pain
The “Friends” actor left a brutal record of his struggles and — in Chandler Bing — a stunning comedic legacy

Things Québec and Canadian
The Québec political follies continue. Although representatives of just about every group have expressed their objections, (see Quebecers say no to tuition fee hikes Weekly Update #34, November 1, 2023 Quebec Community Groups Network) Mme Déry remains unsurprisingly obtuse. Not quite sure what Premier Legault intends with his statement ‘I’ll listen to them’: Legault vows to meet with 3 English universities about tuition hike concerns, but not hopeful.
If, like everyone else, you find it hard to keep up with the coverage of the tuition hikes and other assaults on English-language community rights, we urge you to subscribe to the comprehensive (Quebec Community Groups Network) QCGN Daily Briefing.
We would like to salute the Hon. David Lametti, one of the rare LPC MPs who has raised their head to take issue with the tuition fee hike. His LinkedIn post concludes “It is hard to conceive of a worse piece of economic and social policy.”

Canadian economy – fiscal policy
When asked about the impact of fiscal policy — aka government spending — on inflation, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem: “What I would say is that governments are hearing from their constituents. They are thinking more about the impact of inflation, they’re thinking more about the impact of higher interest rates. And I think that’s a good thing. And in that regard, it would be helpful if governments considered the inflationary impact of their spending decisions when they’re making their spending plans. It’s gonna be easier to get inflation down if monetary and fiscal policy are rowing in the same direction.” – Ottawa Playbook

Mélanie Joly has given 2 speeches purporting to set new directions for Canadian foreign policy.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly delivers speech amid global conflicts and says Canada’s foreign policy will be guided by two principles: defending its sovereignty and pragmatic diplomacy.
Not everyone is unduly impressed.
Meanwhile, the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs of Carleton has Launched New Lester B. Pearson Paper Series which “promises to delve into the heart of contemporary global issues, offering insightful perspectives and thought-provoking analysis from NPSIA scholars and seasoned experts alike.”
The inaugural issue entitled “Canada and the United Nations: Rethinking and Rebuilding Canada’s Global Role” offers recommendations for reinvigorating Canada’s approach to the UN and multilateralism.

Have you been following the “Right to Repair”?
Did you know?
Quebec Tables Bill on Planned Obsolescence and Right to Repair
On June 1, 2023, the Government of Quebec tabled Bill 29 (Bill), an Act to protect consumers from planned obsolescence and to promote the durability, repairability and maintenance of goods
On October 18, the House of Commons unanimously passed Bill C-244, a private member’s bill aimed at supporting the right to repair. The bill seeks to do so by amending the Copyright Act to allow people to circumvent technological protection measures (TPM) when maintaining or repairing a product.
The debate has been going on for a while as consumers grow angrier and environmentalists deplore the throw-away society (Norton Rose Fulbright)
The right to repair means that consumer goods can be fixed and maintained by anyone.
Giving Canadians the ‘right to repair’ empowers consumers, supports competition and benefits the environment

Israel-Hamas war
Al Jazeera: If you’re just joining us
It’s just past 11pm (21:00 GMT) 1 November in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel. Here are the latest major events:
The UN Human Rights office has said Israeli strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza – and their heavy civilian toll – may represent a “disproportionate” attack that “could amount to war crimes”.
An Israeli military commander has said Israeli forces are at the “gates of Gaza City”, with a spokesperson saying soldiers had breached Hamas’s first line of defence in northern Gaza days after expanding their ground operation.
With Israel still blocking fuel from entering Gaza, the only remaining hospital serving cancer patients in the besieged enclave has been forced to shut down. Other hospitals say they are on the brink of running out of power.
The first foreign nationals and Palestinians in need of medical treatment have been allowed to leave Gaza via the Rafah border crossing to Egypt.
Several Latin American countries have grown increasingly critical of Israel, with Colombia and Chile recalling their ambassadors, Argentina condemning Israel’s attack on the Jabalia refugee camp, and Bolivia cutting ties completely.
The UN humanitarian affairs office has said the daily rate of settler violence in the occupied West Bank has more than doubled since October 7, with an average of seven attacks per day, up from three.
Cross-border fighting has continued between Israel and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.
Amnesty International has called for an arms embargo on “all parties in the conflict” after a Belgian transport union refused to ship weapons bound for Israel.
C Uday Bhaskar adds his voice to the debate about the Israel-Hamas war, specifically about the events of last Friday at the UN (UN, Reform & multilateralism August 2021-) and the logic behind India’s vote for the Canadian amendment, and abstention in the final vote on the UNGA resolution Gaza needs equitable, long-term solutionUN deliberations show that an intractable deadlock prevails in the global political arena.
A coalition of family members of hostages and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Hamas Hostage Task Force, led by Irwin Cotler, were in Ottawa on Monday representing nearly one hundred kidnapped individuals.
Alongside the families of hostages, we are advocating for adherence to international law by all parties and for the release of all hostages held by Hamas.
US political ramifications of Israel-Hamas war: The National Muslim Democratic Council, which includes Democratic Party leaders from hotly contested states likely to decide the election, such as Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, called on Biden to use his influence with Israel to broker a ceasefire by 5 p.m. ET (2100 GMT) on Tuesday. It did not happen

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken makes a strong argument Defending Israel is essential. So is aiding civilians in Gaza. In sum, protecting Palestinian civilians and facilitating humanitarian assistance are not only the right things for Israel to do — but they will also advance its long-term security

We are currently consumed with the news from Israel and Gaza, almost ignoring the ‘other war’ which is being bitterly fought. The UN says Russian strikes are inflicting ‘unimaginable suffering’; more than 18 million Ukrainians – 40% of them – need humanitarian assistance. Ramesh Rajasingham, director of coordination in the UN humanitarian office told the UN security council on Tuesday that thousands of civilians have been killed in strikes on homes, schools, fields and markets since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. The UN human rights office has formally verified 9,900 civilians killed, but he said “the actual number is certainly higher.”
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned on Tuesday against expecting success too quickly.
For Putin foe Alexey Navalny, Ukraine has long been a volatile issue
Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny, whose mother is Russian and whose father was born in Ukraine, has a complicated relationship with Ukraine.
(WaPo) …article adapted from The Dissident: Alexey Navalny, Profile of a Political Prisoner,  released by Twelve, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, on Oct. 31
Thanks to Judy Roberts for this story from Kyiv ‘This is our reality’: the Ukrainian artist putting bomb-blasted roads in a gallery
Some artists use paintbrushes. Zhanna Kadyrova uses an AK-47. And for her latest show, she braved unexploded mines to turn the shrapnel-hit roads of a formerly occupied town into astonishing art.

Reminding us to keep an eye on developments in the Pacific Islands, Cleo Paskal: The Pacific Games start in Solomons on November 19th. What happens after needs careful watching. The Games have been used as a excuse by PM Sogavare to delay elections, have his police get security training from China (and Australia) and secure Chinese crowd control gear including drones. PRC hands over 5M security equipment and materials to RSPIF

And speaking of Games, Canada has almost 500 athletes competing in the PanAm Games in Santiago, Chile 20 October–5 November. A recent medal count, Canada was third in medals count and in equestrian (personal favorite) – Canada to return to Olympic team show jumping with Pan American Games silver.

AI, Chatbots, Society & Technology
AI Safety Summit 1-2 November
Countries at a UK summit pledge to tackle AI’s potentially ‘catastrophic’ risks
Delegates from 28 nations, including the U.S. and China, agreed Wednesday to work together to contain the potentially “catastrophic” risks posed by galloping advances in artificial intelligence.
The first international AI Safety Summit, held at a former codebreaking spy base near London, focused on cutting-edge “frontier” AI that some scientists warn could pose a risk to humanity’s very existence.
Just in time for Halloween -or, more likely, the 2023 AI Summit-  came the launch of the new weekly GZERO AI newsletter

Last Wednesday, John Curtin shared the news that after five years of shooting, and more than 2,000 hours of editing, he has finally finished the long-anticipated documentary The Trials of Alan Dershowitz (trailer). “It’s been the toughest but most fascinating and intellectually stimulating project of my professional life”. It will have its premiere on November 9 at the 2023 DOC NYC
documentary film festival that takes place November 8-26 in New York City.
While we are eager to see the Dershowitz film, which we know will be controversial, we are also intrigued by another entry in the festival, THE COWBOY AND THE QUEEN about Monty Roberts, a California horse trainer who developed his own gentle approach to human interaction with horses in the hopes of someday transforming horse training standards worldwide. When his technique comes to the attention of Queen Elizabeth II, a friendship is sparked between the cowboy and the Queen that lasts until the end of her life, a friendship that inspires horse trainers around the world.
Still on the subject of documentaries, cannot wait to see the new documentary by filmmaker Errol Morris The Pigeon Tunnel, about the life of John le Carré.
‘The Pigeon Tunnel’ Review: Thinker, Player, Searcher, Spy
Two master performers, the filmmaker Errol Morris and the writer John le Carré, circle the truth in this mesmerizing biographical documentary

Graeme Campbell and his partner Erika Prevost are producing their first project together and would love our support in the actualization of it!
« Paral’elles » is a surreal psychological short film about a set of twins, Mika and Naomi, who have been separated their whole lives but share a paranormal connection. They explore possibilities of what their lives could be as different versions of themselves. In this short, we delve into our subconscious experiences, and how these experiences impact our mental health, identity and ultimately ourselves.
Graeme would really appreciate contributions in any form, whether it be monetary or sharing our indiegogo page (…/paral-elles-a…/x/35388626#) with friends and family.

According to the review by Nina Li Coomes in The Atlantic, Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher Really Understands Poe, This modern adaptation of the author’s work is a dramatic reimagining that’s faithful in the way that matters most. Sounds perfect for the Hallowe’en season.

Finally, the ideal subject for a naughty Netflix of national interest (maybe): Sophie Grégoire Trudeau ‘re-partnered’ with Ottawa doctor, ex-wife claims in divorce petition
The surgeon’s ex-wife cited ‘discomfort’ and security concerns over the ‘new relationship,’ months before announcement of Trudeau separation

Long reads
Not sure how I could have missed this when it was published in mid-August, but this excellent analysis by Jeremy Kinsman A US Election Like No Other deserves your attention.
In the two concluding paragraphs, he turns to Canada: “For Canadians, popular preference remains very much for Biden’s America. That ought to help Justin Trudeau, whose team parried Trump’s economic nationalism over NAFTA. But while Trudeau is now the dean of G-7 leaders, longevity in office hasn’t made him an international leader of consequence. Nor is longevity a winner domestically. Polls show less enthusiasm in Canada for his running again than there is in America for Biden.
He seems determined to, convinced he campaigns well — he does — and that his opponent, Pierre Poilievre, has enough Trumpish anti-elite populism about him and among his core Conservative supporters to be an easy target. That’s his gamble. It will be a raucous election cycle, on both sides of the border.”

A very long and instructive read from historian, author and television presenter  Simon Sebag Montefiore
The Decolonization Narrative Is Dangerous and False
It does not accurately describe either the foundation of Israel or the tragedy of the Palestinians.
So the war unfolds tragically. As I write this, the pounding of Gaza is killing Palestinian children every day, and that is unbearable. As Israel still grieves its losses and buries its children, we deplore the killing of Israeli civilians just as we deplore the killing of Palestinian civilians. We reject Hamas, evil and unfit to govern, but we do not mistake Hamas for the Palestinian people, whose losses we mourn as we mourn the death of all innocents.

Why the Israel-Gaza conflict is so hard to talk about
(The Conversation) A historian whose family was taken hostage by Hamas, and a geographer with family in the West Bank, get together to discuss a way forward in the Middle East.
Natalie Rothman is a professor of historical and cultural studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She grew up in Israel. She has friends and relatives in the region, including family members who have been taken hostage by Hamas.
Norma Rantisi is a professor of geography and urban planning at Concordia University who has done work in the region. She has family in the West Bank and is a member of the Academics for Palestine Concordia, and the Palestinian-Canadian Academics and Artists Network.

October 27, 2023 Heather Cox Richardson ties the public skepticism about the encouraging news of the health of the U.S. economy with the prevalence of blogs and sites flogging disinformation. She cites “Shayan Sardarizadeh of the BBC explained to Hanaa’ Tameez of Neiman Journalism Lab that social media posters on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, or Twitter can make significant sums of money from ‘engagement farming.’ Posting outrageous material that engages viewers pumps up a user’s brand, making them able to command high prices from marketers. Sardarizadeh notes that the Israel-Hamas war is a particularly attractive situation for engagement farmers, and rumors and fake videos are flying”.

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