Now that spring is here: British election, Canadian deadlines, US supports EU

May 7th, 2010 | By | Category: In Brief
Mishal Husain arrives for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards at Hilton Park Lane Hotel on May 20, 2009 in London, England. Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images.  On the morning of May 7, 2010 she also made the BBC TV news on the British election seem especially interesting to viewers throughout the global village.

Mishal Husain arrives for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards at Hilton Park Lane Hotel on May 20, 2009 in London, England. Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images. On the morning of May 7, 2010 she also made the BBC TV news on the British election seem especially interesting to viewers throughout the global village.

British election: I can’t remember a British election that has won so much attention this side of the Atlantic, in both Canada and the United States. The national results show Conservatives with 36.1% of the popular vote and 306 seats, Labour with 29.0% and 258 seats, Liberal Democrats 23.0% and only 57 seats, and Others 11.9% and 28 seats. No party has won a parliamentary majority of 326 seats or more. And so Conservative leader “David Cameron opens talks with Lib Dems after election ends with hung parliament.”

Canadian polls: David Cameron’s appearance on BBC TV today suggested he is not like Canada’s Conservative minority prime minister Stephen Harper at all. But the latest Canadian opinion polls do have intriguing similarities with the British election results. In the four latest Canadian polls released on May 3 and May 6 you get: Conservatives — 33%, 35%, 36%, 37% ; Liberals — 25%, 26%, 28%, 33% ; New Democrats — 16%, 16%, 19%, 20% ; with others (the Green Party and the BQ) picking up the remainders. Of course, the Canadian Liberals and New Democrats are in reverse positions from the British Labour party and Liberal Democrats — which puts Cameron in a different position from Harper too.

Jodie Emery: say what you like about her “Prince of Pot” husband Marc; any older guy with a wife like this must know something about something.

Jodie Emery: say what you like about her “Prince of Pot” husband Marc; any older guy with a wife like this must know something about something.

Emery extradition: Meanwhile, the week ahead has two somewhat interesting potential deadlines in Canadian government and politics, that could have some impact on yet another Canadian federal election in some not too distant future. The first is one you don’t hear all that much about, for obvious enough reasons. This coming Monday, May 10, in any case, would appear to be the day when the Honourable Robert Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, must finally decide whether or not to extradite Canada’s “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery to the United States, to go to jail for violating US drug laws while resident in Canada. Mr. Emery’s cute young wife Jodie is still asking whoever may be interested to “contact the Canadian Justice Minister with this message: ‘Please do NOT extradite Marc Emery to the United States. If he broke the law in Canada, he should be charged in Canada, not a foreign country. Don’t extradite Marc Emery, or the Conservative Party will be punished in the next election!’”

Afghan detainee documents: In theory, the next day, Tuesday, May 11, is Canadian House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken’s deadline for all four parties to come up with mutually acceptable arrangements for having at least some MPs in all parties view controversial “Afghan detainee documents” in their entirety. If this is not possible the Speaker will or could be forced into a decision that would almost certainly precipitate yet another Canadian federal election very soon. As matters stand, “Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale said today that talks are still going well, but added more time could be required … He said parties might end up asking the Speaker for a time extension past May 11 … ‘If we all say to the Speaker that progress is being made [on this] serious topic …. let’s take some additional time to deal to make further progress, I suspect the Speaker would respond constructively.’”

Rob in flight, in his later years ... he proved Toronto could swing.

Rob in flight, in his later years ... he proved Toronto could swing.

Rob McConnell RIP: Meanwhile again, a Canadian musical leader has met the kind of ultimate deadline that none of us will be able to escape, eventually — whether we are Members of Parliament or not. I was personally saddened to hear that “Canadian jazz great Rob McConnell, a trombonist and band leader of the Boss Brass … passed away in a Toronto hospital” last Saturday, May 1, 2010, after a long battle with cancer, at the age of 75. McConnell “was raised in Toronto” (though born in London, Ontario, others point out), but “began his career in 1954 in Edmonton with the band of saxophonist Don Thompson … He worked in Toronto with Alex Lazaroff’s Rhythm Rockets and Bobby Gimby before moving to New York in 1964 to play with Maynard Ferguson’s big band … His leadership of the Boss Brass, a 16-piece band he formed in 1968 [back in Toronto], catapulted McConnell and Canadian jazz onto the world stage.” Over its intermittent career of several decades the Boss Brass “earned multiple Grammys [in the US], as well as Canadian Jazz Awards.” You can check it out in a California concert, some years ago now, on the CBC website.

Mr. And Mrs. Obama, at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner last Saturday. Yuri Gripas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

Mr. And Mrs. Obama, at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner last Saturday. Yuri Gripas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

Obama and Merkel talk: Finally, readers of yesterday’s post on Angela Merkel by the counterweights editors (CLICK HERE or see below) might be interested to hear that President Barack Obama “spoke Friday [ie today, May 7, 2010] with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the economic situation in Europe … Obama said he and Merkel agreed on the importance of a strong policy response by the affected countries as well as a strong financial response from the international community, including the US … ‘I made clear that the United States supports these efforts and will continue to co-operate with European authorities and the (International Monetary Fund) during this critical period,’ Obama said.” Which is good news, I think, for a weekend in which — up in the northern North American wilderness at any rate — the lilacs last in the dooryard are starting to bloom, now that spring is clearly here.

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