What can I say, the early spring of 2014 has proven to be a rather exceptional moment in time.
I feel overwhelmed by the noise generated by the provincial election, especially as it contrasts with far more important and interesting developments elsewhere. There’s so much going on right now it’s hard to keep track of everything.
Russia has annexed Crimea after all and much to the chagrin of the nations aligned and not. The situation has some eerie similarities to how the last world war got started, and the world powers and traditional allies don’t quite know how to address the problem, leaving us all to wonder what happens next when this kind of power is left unchecked?
As of today, March 19th 2014, Ukraine has announced they will remove their forces from Crimea, conceding the region is lost. The United States has indicated there will be no American military action in Ukraine.
And if that weren’t bad enough, Russia is now sounding the alarm about the treatment of the Russian minority in parts of Estonia.
Welcome to Imperial Russia 2.0
And there’s still the case of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, missing now since March 8th. A fully loaded Boeing 777 simply vanished without a trace, and all the reconnaissance, search and rescue and sonar systems in South-East Asia and zipping through Low Earth Orbit can’t seem to find it.
MH370’s disappearance reminds me of how big this world still is, despite all humanity has accomplished trying to make it small and manageable. It amazes me that something so big, so obvious and apparent, could disappear so. While speculation abounds as to the cause of the disappearance, one Canadian pilot makes a compelling argument in favour of an on-board fire and various efforts that would have been made by the pilot to overcome it.
Unfortunately, thanks to a combination of Malaysian officials’ incompetence early on in the investigation, too much time was spent looking in the wrong places, and now there’s an over-focus on foul play on the part of the Muslim pilot.
And here I was thinking disappearances were a thing of the past. Every day that passes the humbling effect increases…
And on the national level the Premier of Alberta and the Federal Finance Minister both just resigned, just like that.
It always amazes me how common it has become for people apparently oozing leadership skills can just up an quit a difficult job without any real repercussions. It only serves to remind me politicians do not live in the real world of you or I. In our world quitting can be as bad as getting fired or laid off, worse considering there’s no employment insurance for quitters.
Fortunately for both Alison Redford and Jim Flaherty, their respective salaries were sufficiently high enough they won’t have to worry about feeding themselves and paying the bills for some time.
I wonder if it has anything to do with those fireballs seen in the Maritimes a couple days back. Two in fact, back to back. Maybe our nation’s elites know an omen when they seen one.
And wrapping things up on the local level, the Redpath Mansion was quickly demolished early this morning. There’s nothing left of it now so, problem solved?
Mayor Coderre gave the green light to demolish what remained of the former architectural gem back on Valentine’s Day of this year (what a sweetheart!) but his decision was quickly shot down by culture minister Maka Kotto who put a thirty-day moratorium on the planned demolition to study the house and it’s architectural and historical merit. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the province would also investigate how the structure could be integrated into the $1,000 per month ‘student condos’ project going up on the site.
Alas, such was apparently not part of the PQ’s mandate. Rather, they determined only that the house had no architectural nor historic value whatsoever, and then repealed the moratorium.
Local heritage activists had considerable evidence to the contrary, in addition to recommendations on how part of the remaining structure could be saved via integration into the new residence. Coderre’s statement from back in February was that the house’s structural integrity had degenerated to the point there wasn’t much left saving and what remained would be dangerous to work around.
Now it’s all a moot point.
That said, Mayor Coderre and Quebec City Mayor Régis Lebeaume have teamed up demanding special status for their respective cities and greater operational autonomy.
Not exactly city-state status, but a clear and consistent message from the mayors of Québec’s two largest cities that they require greater, in a word, sovereignty. It’s a fascinating turn of events, as these two mayors could change the power dynamic in Québec politics entirely. Whereas the needs of the cities are often overlooked during provincial elections, this time around the mayors have stated they will pursue operational autonomy regardless of who gets elected.
Fascinating times all around…