Friday, February 25, 2011

Feb. 25: Wow! Superb editorial and op ed pages in the Moncton T&T

Credit where credit is due. And more than due. Today's editorial and op ed  pages are not only the best I have ever seen in The Moncton Times and Tribune; they would do well in any comparison with some pretty fine newspapers. Everything on those two pages is first rate - the editorials, Alec Bruce, Norbert Cunningham, Janet Keeping of the Sheldon Chumir Foundation For Leadership Ethics (though her commentary would have been better without an anti-Moslem slur), and Lynda Gibbon. All are well worth a read; but I'll concentrate on Norbert Cunningham partly because it shows what he can do when he really clicks on the afterburners; and because  every New Brunswicker should read what he has to say.

Using several reputable sources, Mr. Cunningham makes several points that we need to understand. He does it by squarely attacking myths, and facing realities that don't often get faced. He begins by citing a New York Times statement that the American empire is in decline. Most North Americans don't even realize there is an American empire. But there is. It is the successor of a long line of western empires (Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and Britain.) The only modification I would make to the statement that the American Empire is declining would be to scratch declining, and replace it with collapsing.

Among 33 advanced economies, Canada comes out as among the best in five of nine categories, and is never among the worst.  The US has three worst of the worst, a simple worst, and some middlings.

Canada is among the best countries in democracy. The US is middling; (and that is kind.) In poverty, Canada is middling. The US is worst of the worst.

Then - the lines I never expected to see in The Times and Tribune. In public education, Canada ranks among the best in the world. The US ranks among the worst of the worst. That's important because the US system with its school rankings and standardized testing is the one AIMS has been urging us to adopt - with full support from the Moncton Times and Tribune editorial writers.

Everything on those two pages was solid commentary and first-rate writing. For the first time, I'm not sorry I have a subscription. I happily applaud five people who did a great job.

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