Thursday, May 26, 2011

May26: O Canada. O dear.

When they were in power, the NB Liberals enforced the daily playing of O Canada in our schools - on the theory this would make students patriotic/ If the Conservatives want to to rise from that level of idiocy, they should take a break from singing with their hands over their hearts, and so some reading. Amost any book on Canadian history would be a good start.

The distinction of our form of government is that our politicians are responsible to us for what they do. (If any politicians read this, I add a hint. That's why we call it responsiible govrnment.) The expectation is that the governing party works from some set information and of principles; that it enacts laws in accordance with those principles. No law should stand on its own. All laws should have a place within the general principles of the party.

To shuffle off that responsibility to the voters in the form of a referendum strikes at the very root of our system of government. It also doesn't work. In forty years of university teaching, I never met an authority on the subject of politics who thought referenda were a good idea. But there's another weakness even more terrible.

Voting in a referendum requires that the voters have information about it. The only print information available to most of us is The Moncton Times&Transcript, a sheet with a long record of bias, false information, and ignoting of  important information. It is not possible to have an informed public if it has to rely on Brunswick Press.

Private radio and TV in New Brunswick are minor branch offices. Most of their programming is trivial. In radio, it is commonly dominated by 50 year old men going on 16 who spend the day playing the hit parade from fortieth to first and back again. Even if the stations were not biased (and they are), they don't have either the staff or the skills to offer intelligent news for a referendum. The closest they come is phone-in hosts who don't know what they're talking about with phone in guests who don't know what they're talking about, either.

 CBC radio and TV are far better. But, again, New Brunswick is a branch operation, short on the reporting staff it needs. CBC also knows that Harper is eagerly waiting a chance to put an end to it.

So far, Alward has given every sign of being a weak leader. What he is telling us now is that he doesn't want to be a leader at all.

Watch for The Moncton T&T to come down heavily in favour of referenda.

Interesting, though,  to at last see some recognition that a search really is going on for shale gas in NB. It wasn't much of a story; (it showed no sign of reportorial research.) But one comment was revealing.
Councillor Allan Ayles said medi-fuelled paranoia was colouring  people's reactions...

What medi-fuelled paranoia? Is the good councillor referring to Brunswick press? Which has said scarcely a word? Or are all people who disagree with Mr. Ayles paranoid?

That sort of comment is the hallmark of the politicians who hasn't the vaguest idea what he's talking about. Remember the name of Allan Ayles. He looks like a prospect for leader of the Conservatives or the Lbierals. Maybe even editor of The Moncton Times&Transcript.

Finally, for an example of how the news can report an event without really saying anything is in NewsToday, "Can Jets Are Busy over Libya."

Canada, with NATO was authorized by the UN to impose a "no fly zone" over that country. It has long since gone past that role - without our news media seeming to notice it. We are now fighting essetnally a ground war, and taking one side in a civil war. Jack Layton says he's concerned NATO will soon have "boots and the ground". In fact, NATO has had boots on the ground in the form of "advisors' and  "special ops" for weeks. It is now sending in ground attack helicopters - which have nothing to do with no fly zones.

(And if we really care about freedom protesters, why are we not imposing no fly zones on Bahrain and Gaza?)

The reality is that, without any discussion, we have been pulled into another American war. We are now in two wars that have nothing to do with us - while,  at the same time, we're at peace. We don't even know what the rebels are fighting for.

Welcome to 1984.

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