Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18: How to be pompous, self-righteous, irresponsible and ignorant - all in one column

The Moncton Times&Tribune for today is its usual , trivial self. Without a couple of columns and a shooting on Mountain Road, there would have been nothing in it at all. However, for collectors of the preachy and distasteful, the editorial remains a must read. This one is headed, " District 1 DEC must share the pain".

New Brunswick is not (yet) in recession - though I expect it will be as the global economy worsens. For now, it's problem is a massive debt. That meant budget cuts for education, social services, that sort of thing. Meanwhile, of course, corporations would continue to pay low, low taxes - and to get various free gifts fromo us taxpayers as always. No problem. This is a province that has been getting ripped off by its business leaders for a hundred and fifty years.

Accordinlgy, school budgets were cut. It wasn't much, just under one percent. But when you're trying to run schools that already are so underfunded as to require substantial charges for parents for school supplies and to sell chocolate bars to provide what should be normal school supplies and events, and when you have schools that are dangerously under-maintained, even a small cut is a paralyzing one.

The District Education Council (aka a school board) for District 1 said no. The editorial was furious. I was delighted to see a group in this province with brains and guts and integrity.

The schools must share the pain? In real talk, that means our children must share the pain. Corporations and wealthy individuals who have grown pretty fat in this province don't have to share the pain. They still pay the same, low taxes, get subisdized utilities that we pay for.

The excuse (which makes no economic sense) is that if we hand over bigger profits and make the rich richer, when then we'll all get richer. Yeah. It has never worked in human history.But that's the great Premier Alward plan which is not, now I think of it, any different from the Premier Graham plan.

Harper, Alward, Irving and friends are all on the same track. If things get tough, the poor and the middle class must share the pain. And we must all make sacrifices to make the rich richer because the rich are our hope for the future. Apparently, our children are not.

(Incidentally, this is a province has by far  the cheapest funding for pubic libraries in all of Canada. Then The Moncton Times blames illiteracy on the schools which don't get enough money, either.)

This is a province in which a dozen or so parents rallied to protest the closing of a school which was dangerous to their children. And the news media reported it as the big story of the month. (The news media also lied about it.) I can think of only two other challenges, until now, to this appalling treatment of the public schools. One was a public statement by the DEC of the District 2. The other was a commentary by the superintendent of District 2.

The Home and School, at any level, is useless. So is Parent-Teachers. Ditto for most of the parents. All of them accept this abuse of their children. Why? It's partly,I guess, because they are scared of the corporate leadership of this province. It's partly because they're so badly informed by their news media. And, of course, some just don't give a damn.

Thank you, District 1 DEC. Your critics do you honour.

"District 1 DEC must share the pain"?  Good boy. Now go to your master. He's bending over so you can kiss him.

While you're kissing, think over the next few years. Both Canada and the US are dealing with the global economic crisis by making the rich richer, and everybody else poorer. The world has been down that road many times, usually with the road ending in violence and social breakdown.

Too dramatic? Harper and Obama don't think so. That's why  the US has a full combat brigade permanently stationed in the US. That's why he and Harper have been carrying on talks to move American and Canadian troops to either country in case of civil disorder.

graeme

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