Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30: The Moncton T&T calls minister of environment a liar?

 On p. A8, there's stunning report (well, stunning to see it covered in the T&T) which suggests our Minister of Natrual Resources, Bruce Northrup, is not always as truthful as a good boy should be. Isn't he the one who said just a couple of days ago that "protection of the environment in our number one prioty."?

If it is, God help any priorities lower on the list.

The story is that Global Watch Canada says New Brunswick has the second worst record for Canada (PEI beats us) in protction of the forests from industrialization. Gee! Is it possible Mr. Northrup is not being as truthful as he should be?

Another thought. How was it possible the editors of the T&T let that story slip in when their owner is the leading indsustrializer of our forcests?

Meanwhile, the big front page story is about - yes - bicycle lanes again. It's been a week now that Brent Mazerolle has devoted himself to this topic, and he is obviously looking the break the record of Moses in carrying on a sustained effort. Why is this happening for such a parchial interest?

Because it takes people's attention away from the real issues. That's an old game in hack news media.

There's an education story in the NewsToday section. That's usually bad because very, very few people in the news media know anything about  education. They wouldn't dream of covering a hockey game without a knowledgable reporter and, preferably, two or three.  But anybody can be assigned an education story.

In this case, the story is that Canadians are not learning enough social history or political history about Canada.  Hands up, quickly. What is social history? I'm willing to bet the Postmedia News reporter didn't know, either.

As for political history of Canada, the editors at the T&T have already given evidence of their crashing ignorance of the subject. (They thought coalition was illegal when, in fact, it is quite legal. Then, when Mr. Irving announced he had had formed a coalition with the government (which WAS illegal and a very serious threat to democracy), the editors said nothing.

So far, the editors' and the politicians' only suggestion for improving historical knowledge has been to make all students listen to scratchy playing of O Canada until they turn blue.

The source the reporter consults for this story is Jack Jedwab, of Association for Canadian Studies. Happens I know Jack. I taught him Canadian history. He was a good student, and was an excellent marker for me in his MA year. As well, I was several years on the national executive of Association for Canadian Studies.

I can assure you that, much as I respect Jack and the association, they know nothing about education.

Students learn very little from history courses that are based on feeding and memorizing information. That's true from kindergarten to at least the BA - and even beyond that. Anything learned that way is mostly forgotten.

Anyway, parents, business and the news media would never allow the truth to be told about any Canadian history. The history of NB, for example, is largely a history of how those with wealth and connections used their power to exploit those who didn't (and still don't) have power. What do you think would happen if the schools taught that?

The history of most of the news media is a history of corruption, lies and manipulation of public opinion.. How do you think Norbert's moustache would wiggle if they taught that?

People who have power in this country don't want people to know the truth about their history. So they keep on the pressure to ensure we will be told the nice parts like the triumph of building the CPR. They don't bother wasting time on the history of the immigrants who were worked to death at low wages to do it, or the giving of dangerous jobs to Chinese - with a resulting high death rate for them.

And they want social history to be channeled off into "cultural" differences - as though the real difference between people are cultural (and isn't it wonderful we can all live together.) Bullshit. Most people don't have the vaguest idea was culture means. And we tolerate "cultural' difference only when it's not a  big deal. The truth is that Canada had (and still has) a record of bigotry, eploitation and racism that most Canadians have never heard of.

The main difference between us is that very large numbers of us are very, very poor. And a tiny number of us are very, very rich, and the very rich run the country. But if you taught that in the schools, even the poor would rise up in protest against it.

On page C-3, we are assured the Royals will enjoy a to-notch meal. I'm so relieved to hear that. I was worried they don't get enouogh vitamins at Buckingham Palace. Too bad we don't care as much about what the poor are eating - if anything.

Really, most of the paper is fluff, and ignorant fluff at that. There's the usual excellent column by Jody Dallaire (Equality Time). On othe same page is the usual mindless trivia tarted up as philosophy (City Views) by one of the staff writers.

PS: contrary to what our minister of Natrual Resrouces and Giveaways says, there have been convicions for shale gas drilling - with a fine and damages. I believe he might check the state of Pennsylvania on this.
Incidently, there has never been a convicion of a Japanese nuclear power plant. Can you imagine a government so irresponsible as to build nuclear power plans in a region noted for severe earthquakes and tsunamis? And I'm sure the Japanese minister of energy assured everyone that it was all under faultless control.

An absence of convictions does no prove innocence. On the contrary, it can indicate power and corruption.

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