Wednesday Night #2198

Written by  //  May 1, 2024  //  Wednesday Nights  //  1 Comment

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit say many North Americans and Brits while elsewhere the world celebrates International Workers/Labour Day 2024 on May 1st. In Europe, many people are following a fragrant tradition dating back -it is said- to King Charles IX of France by giving a few sprigs of lily-of-the-valley to their loved ones to wish them luck, happiness, and friendship throughout the year.
Pro-Palestinian banners. Blazing Olympic rings. Workers’ May Day rallies confront turbulent times
— Workers and activists around the world marked May Day with largely peaceful protests Wednesday over rising prices, low wages and calls for greater labor rights. Pro- Palestinian sentiments were also on display.

Sunday was the 57th anniversary of the opening of Expo67 – every year, the number of people who participated in the marvelous summer of 67 dwindles. As Chris Goodfellow wrote recently: “Hard to believe a lifetime has passed and Montreal the once great world city, gateway to North America, the number 2 city in banking and finance in the British Empire, has receded into a backwater, a shadow of its former self, because the Quebec language separatists chased the best and brightest away. Toronto and Vancouver were backwaters in 1967 compared to the leading city in Canada. Its vivacity and strength actually lay in the interplay between the two great languages. Don’t forget Drapeau was a French Canadian who had a world vision not a parochial language centered vision for the growth of Montreal.”
How appropriate (!) that Quebec is “going on the offensive” to protect and promote French, Minister Jean-François Roberge said Sunday as he presented a $603-million plan to counter what he described as the language’s decline. – A decline that is challenged by many including the  new study by the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF)   Use of French in public spaces has remained stable in Quebec since 2007: new OQLF study
Nonetheless, Roberge, the Quebec cabinet minister responsible for the French language, said the government’s nine priorities include better monitoring of language trends, boosting the French cultural offering and improving students’ mastery of French. …

Andrew Caddell‘s column There’s a reason the Budget didn’t help the Liberals (pay wall) is a bit harsh, but then, most columnists and commentators are these days. – a sample: Canadians are tired of enormous deficits. Second, they don’t like being bribed with their own money. And third, there is fatigue with the bearer of the largesse, the PM himself.

Given the Government of Canada’s record with the Phoenix pay system and ArriveCAN, it’s probably not a good idea to suggest following the U.S. model
IRS Direct File Pilot Exceeds Usage Goal, Receiving Positive User Ratings and Saving Taxpayers Money
140,803 Taxpayers Filed Their Taxes Directly with the IRS for Free as users claimed more than $90 million in refunds and saved an estimated $5.6 million in tax preparation fees

We are reaching the point of exhaustion with respect to the Israel/Hamas/Gaza conflict.
The obtuseness of Netanyahu defies any logic except to conclude the man is evil Hopes for Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal take severe blow as Netanyahu vows to invade Rafah. We fail to understand why President Biden and Antony Blinken have not long-since given up. Supporting the regime is too great a price to pay to retain the traditional domestic Jewish support for the Democrats.

We cannot help but empathize with the student protesters who are now causing some mayhem in the U.S. (Chaos erupts overnight on US campuses. What’s next for student protesters?)- but we are fearful of the long-term effects on this year’s political campaign (How campus protests in the South could foreshadow the 2024 election) as more and more responsible and responsive politicians face similar political dilemmas to that of Mayor Abdullah Hammoud.
5,000 miles away, a Michigan mayor at the center of the Gaza storm
Navigating between residents’ rage over Gaza and Democrats’ fears of Trump, Abdullah Hammoud must decide whether to back Biden in the fall
Would that our politicians had the same sense of responsibility to their electorate(s)

Meanwhile a surge of optimism tonight as BNN/Bloomberg trumpet US and Saudis Near Defense Pact Aimed at Reshaping Middle East (See Long Reads below) “The US and Saudi Arabia are said to be nearing a historic pact that would offer the kingdom security guarantees and lay out a possible pathway to diplomatic ties with Israel. The agreement would amount to a new version of a framework that was scuttled by the Israel-Hamas war. Negotiations have sped up in recent weeks, and many officials are optimistic that Washington and Riyadh could reach a deal soon. Such an accord would potentially reshape the Middle East. Dare we hope?

More on Middle East – Saudi Arabia
28-29 April
WEF Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is hosting a high-level World Economic Forum (WEF) Special Meeting
The ongoing transformation of the global economy, propelled by the ascendancy of AI, a resurgence in industrial policy, the restructuring of supply chains and the energy transition, underscores a pivotal moment. In navigating this landscape, how can developed and developing economies work together to reignite the momentum on development and economic convergence?
Following the intense discussion last week with Marc N about potential business opportunities in Riyadh and/or Dubai, these two relevant items from Bloomberg popped up.
Saudi Capital to Cut Population Goal as City Reviews Strategy
Saudi Arabia’s capital is set to pull back on its target to double its population by 2030 as it reconfigures plans designed to support Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s multi-trillion dollar agenda to diversify the kingdom’s economy.
Russians Transform Dubai as They Flee Putin’s War: Photo Essay
Take a look at their culture at cafes, festivals and even a sailing school.

Tiktok
Kyle Matthews recently posted that MIGS, in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Canada, hosted an X/Twitter Spaces discussion titled “Is Tiktok a Security Threat?” featuring Charles Burton (Senior Fellow, Sinopsis), Conor Healy (Director of Government Research, IPVM), and Chung Ching Kwong (Senior Analyst, IPAC). We hope he will share the conclusions.
In The battle over TikTok’s future, explained Ian Bremmer argues in favour of the bill requiring that TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, sell the app to an American buyer within a year or face a ban in the United States. “As I wrote a little over a year ago, I think this is a close call but the right move” (see Long Reads below)

World Press Freedom Day 2024
Friday, 3 May
Global ConferenceJournalism in the face of the Environmental Crisis
…a new OECD report Facts not fakes: Tackling disinformation, strengthening information integrity offers the first baseline assessment of how OECD countries are upgrading their governance measures to support an environment where reliable information can thrive

Varia
Black and white and adored all over. China pledges pair of pandas for San Diego Zoo
A pair of giant pandas will soon make the journey from China to the US, where they will be cared for at the San Diego Zoo as part of an ongoing conservation partnership between the two nations, officials said Monday.

Shelagh Rogers named as next Queen’s Chancellor
University Council appoints esteemed Canadian broadcaster and Queen’s alumna as the university’s 16th Chancellor.

Must read: Shakespeare, The Man Who Pays the Rent
By Judi Dench with Brendan O’Hea
From The Guardian Review: Dame Judi may have conquered the peaks of stage, screen and TV, but the bard has always been the bedrock of her acting passion, and during her seven-decade career she’s played nearly all the great and not so great female roles. This book represents the distillation of a lifetime spent working for “the man who pays the rent”.

An interesting perspective on the mobility of couples
The rise of the remote husband
She goes out to work, he stays at home (and logs on)

A wonderful tribute to Marina. Can’t wait to learn what her next challenge will be.
Chez Doris grew on Marina Boulos-Winton’s watch. What comes next?
Helping vulnerable women in Montreal wasn’t just a job, it was a vocation: “We couldn’t have hired a better fighter.”

Cohen in the City Episode 150: World Famous Defence Lawyer Alan Dershowitz (video)
(The Suburban) The Canadian premiere of The Trials of Alan Dershowitz took place on Thursday, April 25 (7 pm) as part of the Blue Metropolis Festival. Shot during the most turbulent years of the world famous defence lawyer’s career, this film gives a rare behind- the-scenes view of his private life and insight into some of the highest profile cases of our time. From Claus von Bulow to OJ Simpson to Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump, Dershowitz has represented America’s most hated defendants and makes no apologies for it. Montreal filmmaker John Curtin spent five years on the project. Mike Cohen speaks with both of them.

Long reads/podcasts
The Red Passport. Louise Blais, Jeremy Kinsman and Peter Donolo (podcast)
What Would Pearson Do?
The world has changed dramatically since Lester Pearson accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo almost seven decades ago. The era of “Blue Helmets” may be long over (for Canadians, at least), but how can Canada apply the Pearsonian spirit of global engagement and bridge-building in the 2020s?

US and Saudis Near Defense Pact Aimed at Reshaping Middle East “The US and Saudi Arabia are said to be nearing a historic pact that would offer the kingdom security guarantees and lay out a possible pathway to diplomatic ties with Israel.

Ian Bremmer: The battle over TikTok’s future, explained

Dogs are our greatest creation. And we might be theirs.
nothing in human creation has been as essential and adaptable as the countless descendants of the ancient gray wolf
The Coming Arab Backlash
Middle Eastern Regimes—and America—Ignore Public Anger at Their Peril
U.S. foreign policymakers also have a long history of disregarding public opinion in the Middle East—the so-called Arab street. After all, if autocratic Arab leaders are calling the shots, then it is not necessary to put stock in what angry activists shout or in what ordinary citizens tell pollsters or the media.
AI is coming for the professional class. Expect outrage — and fear.
…as artificial intelligence starts coming for our jobs, I wonder how well the professional class will take its own medicine. Will we gracefully transition to lower-skilled service work, as we urged manufacturing workers to do? Or will we fight like hell to retain what we have, for our children as well as ourselves?
For I suspect AI is coming for a lot of professional class jobs, despite how many people I hear say a machine can never do what they do.

One Comment on "Wednesday Night #2198"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson May 1, 2024 at 8:20 pm ·

    Christopher Goodfellow
    Hard to believe a lifetime has passed and Montreal the once great world city, gateway to North America, the number 2 city in banking and finance in the British Empire, has receded into a backwater, a shadow of its former self, because the Quebec language separatists chased the best and brightest away. Toronto and Vancouver were backwaters in 1967 compared to the leading city in Canada. Its vivacity and strength actually lay in the interplay between the two great languages. Don’t forget Drapeau was a French Canadian who had a world vision not a parochial language centered vision for the growth of Montreal. I came back to Montreal at 21 with a newly minted MBA from Cornell full of enthusiasm for the future of Montreal. I founded a successful distribution business in 1972 with customers across Canada. Often in the 1970’s I would return in my own aircraft from business trips to Toronto, Boston, NYC being vectored for 24L at Dorval over the islands and the downtown off to my left and from the cockpit see the city lights spread out before me and the island in the St. Lawrence where all the magic took place. But by the end of the 70’s and the impending 1980 referendum my own enthusiasm waned as I saw and experienced the growing language prejudice and the growing departure of friends and family from my beloved city.
    It took me a further 30 years to end my love affair with Montreal in 2010 and physically leave but I had left mentally many years previous as I had and have no time for people of small vision and driven by hate for others’ language and religions. When the full poison had spread by the second referendum, Montreal had lost 500,000 of the best and brightest. The poison unfortunately continues to this day. Having come of age between 1964 and 1968 studying at McGill I feel I certainly experienced the best of Montreal.

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