Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dec. 22: Bizarre

The Moncton Times has not followed up yet on the story of Moncton City Council's strange decision to give 750,000 to a church (Baptist) University. Couldn't they at least ask the Baptist leadership? Wouldn't they tell the truth? (Well,maybe not. Baptists are pretty selective about which Biblical instructions get them all excited, and which ones they prefer to ignore.)

Not only has the TandT not mentioned the grant since its first report, it has also done yet another editorial heaping praise on the City Council for its wisdom and foresight. And it gets even crazier.

The editorial writer practically wets his pants over talk of council planning for an improved soccer field to attract a women's world cup chanpionship game and, of course, additional seating for such an event and an events centre and a hockey arena and a Canadian Football League team. Yessirree. Greater Moncton's urban sprawl of 160,000 will be right up there with Montreal and Toronto and even New York. All on borrowed money.

The whole world is in financial crisis. The US economy is still collapsing - and that will certainly affect Canada. But we will borrow - who knows?  Two hundred million for all the above? We will outspend, on a per capita basis just about every city in the world as an entertainment hub for a maritime population whose total is far less than any big city. And there ain't no subway line from Halifax to Moncton.

This is the sense of priorities of a newspaper that has been saying for months we are facing tough times, that some programmes will have to be cut, that we all  have to make sacrifices, that our debt is overwhelming and critical.

And its sense of priorities is to run up even bigger debt for projects of very questionable worth. Montreal had a mayor like that. Jean Drapeau was going to make Montreal the centre of the world. What he left is a stadium good only for scrap, and a debt that took most of a lifetime to pay off.

Somebody has the muscle to tell the newspaper to shut up about the university grant. Somebody has the muscle to get it to praise city council for projects that will benefit mostly the rich.

Oh, and perhaps the editor should get a dictionary, and look up the word coalition. If the economic summiteers have, indeed, formed a coalition with goverment - as Mr. Irving wrote it has - then it has done something unconstitutional. Perhaps the editor could write a word or two explaining that.

He or she might also wonder why it was an unelected business leader and not the elected premier of the province who announced that. And perhaps the assignment editor could spare a reporter to ask Mr. Alward whether we do, indeed, now have a coalition government.

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