Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 28: The Moncton T&T - a two speed triciycle

The Moncton Times and Transcript has two sppeds - standing still and grovelling. Today's is mostly standing still, perhaps resting before a sprint of grovelling.

The front page continues its dreary series of non-stories that keep us breathlessly informed of progress in borrowing a hundred million or more for a hockey rink which is, of course, the number one "need" of this community.

There is also a story of an R.B. Bennett Day at Albert Country Museum. They're stayiing away from anything he did as prime  minister of Canada in the 1930s. Instead, visitors will eat ice cream, plsy hopscotch and marbles. People will also be able to get their pictures taken wearing funny hats and standing beside an old car. Admission will be free - which sounds like a bit of an overcharge for what will be there. Too bad.

They could have had a pretty good day if they had really made it about Bennett instead of about brainless trivia. Bennet what a rare type, a very wealthy and arrogant conservative businessman (no. that isn't the rare part.) But as he grew in wealth, he never forgot where he came from, and what poverty meant. He was a man of social conscience, giving very substantial sums to Canadians in need during the great depression. In today's money, it would come to a good quarter billion dollars. Can you, offhand, think of a businessman and/or politician today who would do that?

Bennet also had brains to so with his social conscience. He established the outline for the  big government and regulation and social programmes that made the prosperity of the fifties into the 70s and 80s possible. That's the prosperity that began to collapse after the rise of business-funded "think tanks", and the business push for less regulations, less government, and less taxes for the rich.

He also founded the CBC to remind us in a world of American radio that Canada was not a part of the US, that it had different interests and needs and goals - an idea that Canadian business killed from the age of Mulroney to today.

So we are invited to celebrate the prime minister who did more to make Canada a livable place than any other. And we'll do it by ignoring what he did. And we'll all play marbles and get our pictures taken wearing funny hats while standing beside an old car.

Is making us all dumb a coordinated cmpaign by The Moncton T&T and governments at all levels?

The edtorial, on handing out money to new business, deserves a close read. Why oppose handing out money to business, but specify only new business? Why not include old business? Why not tell us how much has been given away to new business int he last, say twenty uears, and how much has been given to old business in the form of cheap electricity, low taxes, "public" works, grants, sweetheart contracts, etc.

And why specify we need to continue giving tax breaks to the rich? How is that different from giving away money?

There's another big slip. The eidtorial says that money has been given away for fifty years. Gee! Did it occur to the writer that both Liberals and Conservatives have been in power in those years? Did it occur to the writer that both parties must dance to the same music?

The T&T is the only newspaper I have ever seen in shich the editorial cartoon is almost always on the same topic as the editorial, and it takes the same view. (The only difference is that today's cartoon places all the blame on the Liberals. That should please the owners, of course. The Liberals are temporarily of no importance to them, while the Conservatives are still useful grovellers.) That sort of cartooning servility means a lifetime of working for the NB News Media; but never for a good newspaper.

There's a good column, as always, by Alec Bruce. But I would idffer just a little with him. There is evidence of fracking causing problems. And his only evidence for saying otherwise is from the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency whose record of protecting the environment is somewhat weaker than it should be.

Still,  his point about the shady economics of shale gas is an important one. There's also a useful opinion column on the subject. writtem by Denis Landry. Too bad he forgets to mention that the Liberals were in power for the years fracking was going on - and they didn't lift a finger.  Perhaps, like Saul on the road to Damascus, the Liberals  have seen the light.

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