Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Horror of a New Brunswick Election

We have a provincial election coming. Think  of all the problems a new government will have to deal with. - heavy debt, probably a continuing recession, quite likely a significant rise in the price of oil fuel, a battered energy system....and it goes on.  And almost 50% of the voters will be people who cannot read or write adequately to do even a simple job. How on earth can they make an informed choice about who is to govern?

New Brunswickers are the friendliest and most courteous people I have ever met. But the intellectual life of New Brunswick in general and of Moncton in particular is abysmal. Serious discussion rarely gets beyond last night's hockey scores. There are plenty of places to exercise  your body - with a well equipped YMCA, several commercial spas,lots of rinks, and a hockey arena for people whose idea of phsyical exercise is sitting on a cold bench watching somebody else exercise.

But this is a city whose councillors decided what it needs most of all is an eighty million dollar arena so more people can sit on their well padded bottoms watching somebody else exercise. It seems to be unknown in this province that a mind needs exercise, too. And it really shows up on election day.

The only two parties in the running are the Liberals (who don't even know what the word Liberal means) and the Conservatives (who don't know what Conservative means). That is not an exaggeration. I would challenge any member of either party to respond to this with the definition of either of those words.

In fact, both paries are essentially the same, and both obey the wishes of their major contributors who are, in both cases, much the same people. It's rare to hear an intelligent statement from any of them. But most New Brunswick voters still haven't caught on despite a hundred and fifty years of experience. That may have something to do with the lack of any intellectual exercise in this province.

Mind you, the choices are limited. The NDP not only has no money (rich people and corporations are not big on the NDP); it is actually going to campaign on an issue as trivial as toll roads.  The Green Party, though admirable, is a one-trick pony. The new party being formed has a platform which is not workable within our government system. Anyway, they have even less money than the NDP.

The fundamental problems of New Brunswick are its astonishingly high rate of functional literacy, and its lack of decent news coverage, especially at the municipal and provincial level.  Some political idiot will suggest in the election that the schools should do a better job of teaching literacy and current events. Nonsense. It's not schools that cause illiteracy. It's living in homes that are illiterate, and living under a government that doesn't care. Nor will teaching current events in the schools help. There is no way our Minister of Education would allow children to learn the truth.

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