Now that summer’s here 2020 — Canada and China, Wente and Trotz, sort-of better-behaved Canadian politicians, Dylan’s new “Rough and Rowdy Ways”

Jun 20th, 2020 | By | Category: In Brief
The city today in photos of prize-winning Toronto artist Michael Seward, June 2020.

GETTING SUBTLY MORE AGGRESSIVE WITH CHINA IN TRUE NORTH

Along with the disturbing case of “the two Michaels,” headlines like “New nationwide polling conducted for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute reveals that 4-in-5 Canadians believe Ottawa must speak up about China’s human rights abuses” are telling us that it is time for even the Canada that is just David with a slingshot to get (a lot) tougher with the giant Goliath that is China today.

(And see also : “’They are applying pressure,’ Bains says of China’s push for Canada to adopt Huawei’s 5G tech.”)

Our growing sense is that over the past half century Canada has been a better friend to the People’s Republic of China than China has been to Canada. It’s time to stop being quite so naive.

We don’t think that having the Prime Minister publicly attack the present government but not the people of China will do much good. (We are just David with a slingshot — and what is the slingshot anyway?) But far beyond Huawei, China today has many particular interests in Canada and Canadian-based projects. Someone in Ottawa should be drawing up a list, with notes on quiet ways the government of Canada might use this list to signal that it doesn’t intend to be kicked around by a newly resurgent China, anymore than anyone else.

ADVENTURES OF MARGARET WENTE IN OUR TIMES

Alissa Trotz, Professor of Women & Gender Studies and Caribbean Studies at New College, University of Toronto.

We aren’t sure just what to make of “Massey College’s only Black governing board member resigns over Margaret Wente appointment.”

Unless it’s just more hard data on why we usually try to avoid Ms Wente’s writing — even though it is intermittently clever, often reflective of old upper middle class white suburbia, and often enough replete with “good copy” that attracts impressive numbers of readers.

Kudos as well to “award-winning University of Toronto academic Alissa Trotz,” aka “Professor of Women & Gender Studies and Caribbean Studies at New College, University of Toronto.”

And tks to the Georgia Straight on Canada’s Pacific Coast for Charlie Smith’s reporting on all this!

HOW LONG CAN BETTER FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS IN CANADA LAST?

Longtime Liberal strategist and Hill + Knowlton VP John Delacourt has an intriguing piece in the latest issue of Policy magazine. It’s nicely entitled “Crisis is the Mother of Collaboration: Federalism and COVID-19.”

The city today in photos of Toronto artist Michael Seward, June 2020.

The piece points out that, to the great surprise of students of Canadian federal-provincial politics in allegedly more normal times : “Despite all the systemic weaknesses revealed by the COVID-19 crisis, its public health and economic exigencies have proven that Canada’s governments are capable of working together.”

Some would say that just among the federal politicians in Ottawa, or the provincial party members in Any Province, Canada, politics is already going back to the normal many of us were hoping to escape. Can the constructive good manners last longer between federal and provincial (and territorial) governments? Mr. Delacourt has some thoughts worth thinking about.

YAY BOB DYLAN’S BACK … MORE MARCHING MUSIC ON THE STILL LONG ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE (AND THE SENATE) 2020 ??

Yesterday the Daily Beast caught our attention with “Bob Dylan Emerges from Lockdown with a New Modern Masterpiece.” (Or as the tweet we saw right at the start put it, the “humor and lyricism of Dylan’s latest album ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ … shines a light on our times.”)

After all present here listened to the first two tracks in the office boardroom (“I Contain Multitudes” and “False Prophet”) someone from the group posted the lame but at least deeply felt tweet: “On a quick listen to first 2 tracks this does make us very old guys think it’s great to have Bob Dylan back — a real American voice that answers false prophets then and now.”

What we can say with utter confidence at this exact moment (especially those of us who much admired “Nashville Skyline” way back in 1969) is that if Bob Dylan’s idea is to convince Canadians to vote for Joe Biden on November 3, “Rough and Rowdy Ways” succeeds without any doubt. What we are never too sure of up here in the reputed icebox (83 F just now) is whether enough turned-out voters in the USA will be like the “Canadians who mostly vote Democratic in American elections” to count on election day. (As so sadly did not happen in 2016, eg, or 2004, 2000, 1988, 1984, 1980, 1972, and 1968 etc.)

Of course, Canadians do not actually vote in American elections. That is the way US Republicans like it. And so do we here. We will nonetheless keep wondering a little, right down to November 3. What stiffens our hopes most are the two Obama-Biden victories of 2008 and 2012. And Bob Dylan’s take on the latest “Rough and Rowdy Ways” in the USA can’t hurt the diverse democratic good guys’ still long enough journey ahead, to put Biden-?????? in office and “Make a Democrat President Again (M-A-D-P-A)” — 158 years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862.

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