Free trip abroad

Bambi read a recent article by Ms. Amelia Fleming with much interest:

From this article, she learned that some members of the university expressed concerns over a visit of a couple of plain-clothes RCMP officers to a public event (i.e., a visiting author’s talk about the mining industry in Canada).

First, bravo to the talented author of this article. Bambi is a faithful reader of Ms. Fleming.

Second, she has three comments or rather questions to the concerned members of the university:

  1. Aren’t police officers (especially out of uniform) allowed to attend a public event?
  2. Will Dr. Thomas share with us what he will learn from his request of access to information regarding the described incident?
  3. Are the concerned members of the university interested in a gift from Bambi: a free ticket to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, China, or even Russia? Perhaps upon returning from such a trip they will tell her if they still consider Canada to be a police state ??

How sad to see the Middle East issues once again migrating to Canada

Bambi just read the news and watched the video below.

See for yourself:

Today, this happened at York University (Toronto).

Yesterday and decades before yesterday, it used to happen at Concordia University (Montreal) or elsewhere.

Bambi is writing this post, without caring about people’s opinions (each has one and she has hers).

She is just sick and tired of seeing conflicts from abroad disturbing our beautiful campuses or cities. This regardless of whom is (more) wrong or right.

Before reading Global news and watching the video, she has considered writing an initial post about Mr. Trudeau’s change of vote on the UN.

Last December, when she travelled to Beirut, all the Middle East Airline (MEA) planes played a famous song by Feiruz, a Lebanese singer, for Jerusalem following landing in all capitals they stopped in (this came as a reaction to Trump’s unilateral decision to move the American embassy there). The song’s piece was about a prayer for peace in this so-called holy city. It was a nice gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Bambi is and has always been for peace and justice, that is for a two-state-solution to this endless conflict in the Middle East. In all honesty, despite faith in her heart, she does not care much about the spiritual/religious part of the issue related to Jerusalem. She cares more about human and citizen rights, let’s say.

This is why, she applauded Trudeau’s change of vote 2-3 days ago.

Some say Canada did this just to win a seat on the UN. Maybe? Some say he could not do it before because of the NAFTA negotiations. Maybe? Some say it is odd to be appearing to side with the dictators of the world on this issue. Maybe?

Regardless, it is a position that is more congruent with a two-state-solution (if at all realistically possible, given the level of deep hurt or hatred). It is also a position that appears to be more “Canadian”, so to speak. This, even if Bambi also respects earlier decisions. In the end, the problem is too deep. She even doubts it will be solved before the death of her grandchildren (OK, she is saying this because she does not have kids).

More seriously, Bambi will say: Thank you Mr. Trudeau, even if she did not vote for you a second time.  

Yes, the Palestinians suffer under occupation and further continuous colonization. Yes, it breaks Bambi’s heart. However, her heart also breaks to read about Israeli kids (or any kids!) worried about safety, for real (violence of some sort) or not (perceived fear). So, everyone deserves a solution to this problem. Mind you, so does Lebanon that has directly suffered from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (triangulated into civil war).

To the people fighting in the Middle East and to the overzealous students at York University, she will say:

Enough violence. Enough extremism (ideological or religious or whatever else). Enough stupidity, please… and not in our peaceful Canada.

Let’s listen to each other, even if we do not like what the other will say.

It is only with continuous, and of course respectful, open channels of communication that trust can be re-built on day.

Without trust, there can be no hope for peace.

Peace starts in our hearts, between our ears (there is brain there, let’s use it!), in our relationships, in our cities or countries, established ones or countries yet to be built.

From Québec to Lebanon with love: A video by the “Consulat Général du Liban à Montréal” (on Independence Day)

The Consulate invited the Lebanese-Canadian community of Montreal to participate in this video, featuring citizens singing the Lebanese anthem.

We can see in it students of all ages, construction workers, taxi drivers, lawyers, scientists, healthcare providers, hockey players, dancers, cooks, etc. A productive diaspora, proud to be both Canadians (+ Québeckers) and Lebanese.

Thank you for this moving initiative.

Best wishes to Lebanon and to the Lebanese people, united in their dream for a better future.

Orient Le Jour: 900-1000 Parisians of Lebanese origins rally again in support of Lebanese protestors

From L’Orient Le Jour, November 17, 2019
French content

It is impressive that between 900 and 1000 Parisians of Lebanese origins rallied once again in support of Lebanese protestors in less than a month.

Like everyone else, Bambi does not know how the Lebanese revolution will end.

Anything is realistically possible for sure. The best case scenario would be a much needed change of a system that has clearly failed. The worse case scenario can of course be violence… or even chaos.

This being said, at least the people of Lebanon woke up from their apathy (they use the term “coma” there). They are courageously demanding, for the first time ever, an end of the “metastatic” corruption. They want transparency. They want a real functional country. How? Through a government composed of independent technocrats who will have the legislative executive power to draft a new electoral law (in order to hold elections).

Mind you, Lebanon does not seem to be showing any sign of a forthcoming government (not even with those same politicians, that is minus any technocrats). In the meantime, the financial crisis is deepening.

Maybe the President of Lebanon should hire a head-hunting firm to find those technocrats (just like Sackville is doing now to search for its new CAO :); ).

That was a joke, obviously. More seriously, what is Lebanon waiting for? Not for Godot, Bambi hopes.

Is it waiting for a bailout from this or that country or external entity?

Who will dare to help Lebanon once again? Will any financial support work and for how long? Until a next crisis, if serious reforms are not undertaken? Will any external help come with strings attached? Why do political solutions seem be paralyzed or totally absent, even after a month of protests?

Too many questions. No clear answers. Just the hope for a better tomorrow.

What happened in Beirut today?

Lebanese protesters blocked an unconstitutional parliamentary session (France 24):

Lebanese physicians and patients are worried about potential medical supply shortage (France 24: “‘Like a Rolls Royce without fuel’: Dollar-strapped Lebanon hospitals faced with closure”):

“North Korea to play World Cup qualifier against Lebanon behind closed doors in Beirut on security concerns” (Euronews by Reuters):

Why is our Mayor apologizing? An again what is this story of “false claims” or “fake news”?

As a comment to the following article, Bambi will resort to some sarcasm, just for some fun:

While apologizing to Mr. Burke (for whatever hidden reasons, genuine or not), why doesn’t our Mayor take the opportunity to apologize to all the former Heritage Board members, and especially to Bambi’s spouse, Mr. Louis Béliveau. The latter was wrongly accused of misconduct by a town wanting to badly hide its own legal misconduct.

If the Mayor (or Councillor Black earlier), will say she is fabricating facts, well the whole story is documented in several past articles on the New Wark Times where Mr. Wark cleverly shared the “secret” Lordon Report, which ended being not too secret, we learned from the Supreme Court of Canada (

Following the above, Bambi has expressed her hope for our town’s public apologies to Louis and to the other Heritage Board volunteers at two opportunities, if her memory is accurate, on the New Wark Times’ blog platform. She then quickly realized that not everyone is capable of introspection to generate authentic apologies. Who cares about apologies when we know the truth and we stand by our values? Plus, life is way too short. We preferred to move on and keep enjoying our daily lives.

Anyhow, according to Bambi, our Mayor takes good decisions sometimes and, when this happens, she is the first to write in appreciation. For instance, she can think of decisions for the Industrial park, bringing more businesses (mind you, even Louis wrote something positive about it), of the beautiful decorations for Remembrance Day, minus of course the rather odd management of the Memorial Park saga over the summer.

All the above being said, our town is notoriously known for overspending, especially on this highly expensive pond project (is it really needed?) and also on the Sackville Arts Wall that has cost us $43K (Bambi has called it in the past the “Wall of China” ?), or more recently the idea of an $80K dog park. Of course, Bambi adores dogs but is this project a good use of public funds, as Councillor O’Neil recently wondered (

Regardless, our Mayor is free if he wants to apologize or to defend a town’s specific staff member, but Bambi does not agree with him on the way he is telling this story or this truth (or should she say “his” truth, to borrow a famous word we heard from a famous Canadian working in Ottawa).

Specifically, she is talking about the word “fabrication” used by our Mayor, which seems to insinuate that Mr. Percy Best is not reporting the evidence or the truth accurately. Mr. Percy Best is one of the most decent men Bambi has met. Or was it meant as a shot against Mr. Estabrooks (former Deputy Mayor) rather?

Our Mayor’s choice of words also seems to insinuate that Mr. Wark is not honest or accurate, as a reporter. Mr. Wark is one of the most professional and decent journalists she has ever met (see earlier post, reply to Councillor Black:

Bambi does not understand, or care to understand, all the internal politics of our town. However, she cannot help not to wonder: Why this comment, this apology, and why now?

Bambi recalls only one encounter with Mr. Burke that was not particularly pleasant, and she is usually someone who naturally tends to see the good side of folks first and fast.

Mr. Burke may have not noticed that she has witnessed this interaction, between him and her spouse, that occurred at the Champlain Mall in Moncton where they had company with them. The incident happened during the saga of the Heritage Board before the legal action. It was the first time she met this Mr. Burke actually.

Anyhow, Mr. Burke’s attitude was more “childish” than anything else, if she may use the term. It made everyone smile ?. Perhaps this was his way of reacting when triggered. Maybe Louis “triggered” him when he politely greeted him. Luckily, she has seen him acting much more professionally on the town’s social media.

Because there is hope for more noble behaviour, she hopes Mr. Burke will have the decency to apologize to Mr. Best and Mr. Estabrooks. Whether he meant to be rude to them or not in the incident involving Crandall Engineering company, his action spoke volumes about the state of democracy in our small town.

If he apologizes (just like his/our Mayor did), despite overspending issues in this project or despite any error (mistakes do happen, we are human), like Bambi, Sackville citizens would appreciate his politeness. Perhaps they would also become more convinced/impressed by our Mayor’s recent public comment and apologies.

A short video of reflections on Remembrance Day: Thanks to the Marshview Middle School students and to Ms. Katie Tower for giving them a platform

A picture taken by Bambi (first post on this blog)

“We can’t take it anymore”: As Lebanon economy skids, jobs in firing line (Reuters)

A picture by Reuters, November 17, 2019

Above is the link to the article in question (a 2 min read).

The picture above shows the Bank of Beirut.

Bambi is now thinking of her dearest cousin and her spouse who work there.

Bambi is also thinking of all her other relatives and friends, also bankers elsewhere.

Sadly, “S&P Global Ratings said on Friday that it lowered Lebanon’s long-term and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings to ‘CCC/C’ from ‘B-/B’, citing rising financial and monetary risks”:

If Bambi understands well, “a sovereign credit rating” refers to the credit rating of a “sovereign” entity (national governments). It is an indicator of the risk level of the investing context of this sovereign jurisdiction’s debt. Investors usually use such indicators before deciding to invest in a jurisdiction. Obviously, this indicator also takes into account political risk.

Keeping this in mind, it seems that three top Lebanese banks (Bank Audi, Blom Bank, & Bankmed) were downgraded by S&P Global Ratings, as reported by both Reuters (please see above) and Bloomberg (

Bambi hopes that this VERY dark financial cloud will be managed as wisely as possible.

Clearly, tough management decisions will have to be taken by businesses (small or large), especially but not only by banks, as well as maybe by hospitals, other organizations, and/or by citizens at large, in the days, weeks, or even years ahead.

By the way, in the picture above, the sign in Arabic on the wall reads as: “The return of the stolen money“.

Bambi is unsure if those public funds have been stolen in the true sense or just very badly (i.e., criminally) mismanaged by politicians… or both? In either case, the consequence on citizens is tragic.

One thing is also sure: The country’s financial situation seems to remain a total mess.

At the time being, whether for geopolitical reasons or pure incompetence, there seems to be an incapacity of the government (or what is left of it?) to solve this deep financial crisis.

“Bon courage” to all the citizens of Lebanon! Hang on, please.

France 24 Special Report: “Megaphone, the independent news platform giving voice to Lebanon’s uprising”

Above is an interesting English report by Ms. Nadia Massih and Mr. Mohamed Farhat (France 24; published on November 16, 2019).

Bambi discovered “Megaphone“, which is a news platform that gives voices to Lebanon’s uprising. Thank you France 24.

First, it is somehow ironic, and even amusing, to see the smiling faces of the police officers. I guess it is not every day that they see so many people happily waiting for citizens to be released from their police station :).

Second, and more alarmingly, it is Bambi’s hope that Lebanese people’s right to freedom of expression will keep on being protected, now more than ever.

“Lebanon in political stalemate” (by Sybille Rizk, Le Figaro)

To the right, we can see the President of Lebanon. Under his picture, the article goes like:
“The President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, aroused the popular anger by suggesting to the dissatisfied citizens the path of emigration”. – / AFP

First, here is the original French article:

Second, this article, by Sybille Rizk, sheds light on the tragic situation in Lebanon.

Big issues for such as small country.

Below is a translation from French to English, if you have the time or if you care to read:

In Beirut

If Ubu had been multi-headed, he could have symbolized the Lebanese political class. As a “solution” to the unprecedented crisis in the country since the end of the war, the name of Mohammad Safadi was leaked in the media: an agreement was found to succeed him to Saad Hariri at the head of the government. The mere fact of pretending to consider this way out of the crisis is a testimony about the extent of the gap that divides the political class from the street. Not to mention the context in which the decision would have been taken: an informal meeting, outside any institutional framework. The constitution requires the prime minister to be appointed by the President of the Republic after formal consultations of deputies.

As soon as the news spread in the middle of night, the slogans flourished to discredit this former minister, a billionaire whose name is associated with a complex accused of encroaching on the public property of the waterfront of Beirut and trade of Saudi armament.

Oligarchic regime

Analysts hesitate between two readings. Either the announcement involves maneuvers to “grill” an option in order to “sell” then another. Either it shows a flagrant inability of the authorities to take on the reality. In both cases, it signals the extent of the crisis -some of the collapse-of the oligarchic political regime that began at the end of the 1975-1990 war.

One after the other, the poles of this system have shown their extreme vulnerability. The Prime Minister threw in the towel on October 29. His 72-hour rescue plan, in response to the popular uprising, was deemed as unreliable as inadequate. Its main “measure” was the zeroing of the budget deficit, while it has been two years since the authorities were able to reduce it to 7% of GDP.

It was then the irremovable president of Parliament, Nabih Berri, who was forced to postpone a parliamentary session whose appearance was perceived as an affront to popular demands. Ditto for the agenda: a general amnesty law, comparable to that which had absolved all warlords in 1991. Under the excuse of pardon to people who suffer from a denial of justice (because of a criminal justice system plagued by years of political interference), the proposed amnesty also concerns an impressive array of financial and fiscal crimes.

Popular revolt is carried by its geographical, social and confessional transversality.

Finally, during a televised interview, the President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, aroused the popular anger by suggesting to the dissatisfied citizens the path of emigration. A flagrant clumsiness in a country whose youth, the main driving force of the revolt, is overwhelmingly forced to expatriate failing to find work.

Although flickering, these different components of power refuse to give way. They are supported by Hezbollah, which, although shaken as well, remains the main organized force of the country, with an armament whose power exceeds that of the regular army. Iran’s Allied Shiite party fears the emergence of a new political configuration that would directly target it, transposing the conflict between Washington and Tehran to Lebanon, while it has managed to protect itself from it.

In front of them, the popular revolt is anchored in its demands, and carried by its geographic, social and confessional transversality. But it is not yet catalyzed around a political project carried by one or more opposition movements. Hence the risk that the timing of the current political transition is not fast enough compared to that of the economic and financial crisis whose social consequences are potentially devastating”.