They can do it. The front page of today's Moncton Times \&Transcript had real news (except, of course, for the mandatory free ad for the hockey business - set up to look like a news story). The editorial and op ed pages had four solid and eminently readable columns by Norbert Cunningham, Alec Bruce, Lynda MacGibbon, and Michel Blais. The editorial, alas, was the usual juvenilia in the service of the boss. But four out of five is better than most newspapers do.
The only serious disappointment was a Life&Times column that was essentially more free advertising, this time for the casino. It gives advice encouraging people to take up gambling. The extistence of a casino with all the social damage it does, and its exploitation of those who really can't afford it is a disgrace for any government. For a newspaper to encourage it is - well - it's something like a newspaper having an advice column to encourage drunk driving.
The only other dismaying point about today's paper wasn't the fault of the newspaper. It was the appalling speech by Premier Alward in which he made it clear his party has no policy on anything, and doesn't even understand what the problems are. Apparently, Mr. Alward's impression of democracy is that it's a system in which we elect people. Then, having become a government, the elected ones ask us what they should do.
Actually, the idea of democracy is that parties and individuals present their policies to us. We then vote for the ones whose policies we agree with. If government existed simply to ask us what to do, we wouldn't need a government. We could just hire one person at minimum wage to do that.
It was a terrible speech. But the story of it was well presented. There was even some attention paid to the Liberal leader, who used the opportunity to prove that he can be just as dozey as Mr. Alward.