As summer winds down there’s a Quebec election in the air (and Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey on YouTube!)

Aug 23rd, 2022 | By | Category: In Brief
“Kerouac in Mexico” by prize-winning Toronto artist Michael Seward, August 2022.

COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. AUGUST 23, 2022. According to the Angus Reid Institute, 56% of Canadians across the country agree that “I can’t keep up with the cost of living,” and 39% disagree.

At the provincial level, Quebec has the smallest proportion agreeing with the statement (41%), and Saskatchewan the largest (71%).

Quebec election Oct 3 could be a lot like Ontario election June 2?

338Canada’s August 20 seat projection for October 3, 2022 Quebec provincial election in Canada : CAQ = Coalition Avenir Québec, LIB = Parti libéral du Québec. QS = Québec solidaire, PQ = Parti Québécois, QCP=Quebec Conservative Party.

Meanwhile, “Quebec Conservative Party becomes first to launch 2022 provincial election campaign … even though the official first day of campaigning has yet to be called.” The “election is scheduled for October 3, with a campaign required by law to last between 33 and 39 days.”

At the same time, the latest (August 20) numbers from 338Canada make clear (once more) that François Legault’s (rather conservative) Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is going to win a strong majority government on October 3 — 97 of 125 seats. The Parti conservateur du Québec led by Éric Duhaime is projected to take some 13% of the province-wide popular vote, but no seats at all in l’Assemblée nationale.

At the same time again, strongly reminiscent of what happened to the Doug Ford “Progressive” Conservatives in this past June 2’s election in Quebec’s anglophone sister province of Ontario, the 338Canada August 20 numbers show the CAQ with only 42% of the cross-province popular vote. (Ford had 41% in Ontario, and with four parties in a first past the post electoral system this gave him 83 of 124 seats!)

338Canada’s August 20 popular vote projection for October 3, 2022 Quebec provincial election in Canada : CAQ = Coalition Avenir Québec, LIB = Parti libéral du Québec. QS = Québec solidaire, PCQ = Parti conservateur du Québec, PQ = Parti Québécois, GRN = Parti vert du Québec.

Finally, in response to a query from the most beautiful feminist at our meeting on this subject, here are the leaders of the five Quebec provincial parties that won seats in l’Assemblée nationale in the 2018 election, and are likely to win seats (or at least a substantial chunk of the popular vote) in 2022, according to 338Canada : Coalition Avenir Québec, François Legault ; Parti libéral du Québec, Dominique Anglade ; Québec solidaire, Alejandra Zaga Mendez ; Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon ; Parti conservateur du Québec, Éric Duhaime.

New federal electoral districts proposed in Ontario

As recently reported by The Canadian Press, in the wake of the 2021 census the “commission responsible for redrawing Ontario’s federal electoral map is proposing an overhaul to account for changes in where people live … Toronto and northern Ontario would lose one riding each, with new districts created in the eastern and northern Greater Toronto Area., central Ontario, along with the Guelph and Brampton areas.”

The CP article by Sarah Ritchie goes on : “The Constitution calls for a review of electoral boundaries after each 10-year census … Ontario’s boundaries commission … tries to address overrepresentation in some areas — such as Toronto — and under-representation in others, including Durham, Dufferin and Caledon … The commission will now hold public hearings and collect feedback on the proposed 122-district map.”

CP Rail one step closer to connecting all of Canada, USA, and Mexico

“Forget Your Password?” by Michael Seward, August 2022.

According to CBC News, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (which finally gave the 1867 Canadian confederation a transcontinental transportation service in the late 19th century) “is one step closer to receiving the regulatory go-ahead for its acquisition of Kansas City Southern (KCS)”

As explained by CBC News : “The Calgary-based railway [formerly headquartered in Montreal] said …its purchase of KCS has received the required clearance from the US Committee on Foreign Investment … However, the deal — which would create the only single-line railroad linking the United States, Mexico and Canada — still requires approval by the US Surface Transportation Board (STB), which is currently reviewing the transaction.”

Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey lights up last days of summer in Toronto 2022

Emily Wilson at work.

More than three years ago now our esteemed colleague L. Frank Bunting alluded to the work of the University of Pennsylvania professor of classical studies Emily Wilson in “Taking time out from current madness to consider one woman’s brilliant writing more than 2500 years ago.”

As the summer fades (on the theory that it ends culturally on Labour Day, rather than at the solstice) we stumbled into Ms. Wilson again in a 4 August 2022 “Diary” contribution (“Artemis is with us”) to the London Review of Books. And with laptops on the beach at the foot of the street this led us to her recent striking translation of Homer’s ancient Greek long adventure poem The Odyssey — ranked among the “100 notable books of 2018” by The New York Times.

Reviews of her Odyssey confirm the point : “an amazing achievement, a thrill to read, and the best English translation” ; “Wilson’s quiet ambition provides an immediacy and clarity, blowing away the cobwebs of … epic pomposity” ; “Emily Wilson’s crisp and musical version is a cultural landmark. … This translation will change the way the poem is read in English.”

The applause continues : “Wilson’s project is basically a progressive one: to scrape away all the centuries of verbal and ideological buildup” ; “In her powerful new translation, Emily Wilson … has chosen immediacy and naturalism over majestic formality” ; “Wilson’s language is fresh, unpretentious and lean … she isn’t looking to gild the poetic lily.”

For Ms Wilson’s background the Wikipedia article on “Emily Wilson (classicist)” is enlightening enough. Born and raised in the UK, she “comes from a long line of academics.” Her “sister is the food writer Bee Wilson” (also once married to the Cambridge political scientist David Runciman, aka “4th Viscount Runciman of Doxford”).

Emily Wilson graduated from “Balliol College, Oxford, in 1994,” and completed a PhD in classical and comparative literature at Yale University in the USA in 2001. Along with “her critically acclaimed translation of The Odyssey (2017)”, she has written five other books, including The Death of Socrates and A Life of Seneca. She now lives in West Philadelphia with her three daughters and three cats.

It is finally a marvel of our age that along with reading Emily Wilson’s powerful new translation of Homer’s Odyssey we can also listen to her read passages from the book on YouTube. In keeping with the present-day lean and colloquial English of her translation from the ancient Greek, she adopts different voices for the different characters in the poem — and intermittently wears various hats and so forth to dramatize her reading.

Whatever else, at our regular editors’ meeting this past Monday we (almost) all agreed that Emily Wilson and her work had brightened our late summer days, which are inevitably always somewhat sad. (The wild abandon of summer will soon end!) For a sample of the lady at work on YouTube try : “Emily Wilson’s Odyssey translation, Book 1, read by Emily Wilson” ; “Odyssey 13 translated and read by Emily Wilson” ; and “Emily Wilson Odyssey Book 2, read by Emily Wilson.” She also has a somewhat informative website, (And this August 23 piece is dedicated to the late great “curator of cool,” 1971–2014, who would also have found Emily Wilson very interesting.)

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