Friday, August 19, 2011

August 19: the hot editorial page continues...

Another impressive editorial page for The Moncton Times and Transcript. A soundly reasoned editorial, a column by Alec Bruce worth paying attention to, and a fiery column (a very good one) by Norbert Cunningham. In the same section is Patricial Winans' column, historial glimpses. It's always good, but this week's, about the old meeting house (1821) that stands at the corner of Mountain Street, is a particularly charming and interesting one.

 Now, what I would like to see is the story of why Moncton got so many big churches and such a gem of a theatre as The Capitol between 1900 and 1920 or so when it was pretty small potatoes as a city. Where did that money come from?

That's the good part..

The NewsToday, always brief and spotty, was even briefer and spottier than its normal, wretched self. Once again, there was a big story about Libya - but still not a word of explanation of why we are killing people there.

There's not a word about the hundreds of thousands of Somalians dying of starvation - even though those closest to death are the tens of thousands of babies, children and elderly. Well, I mean, who gives a damn about Somalians? Anyway, they needed the space for a picture of two golfers looking happy  (p.C10)  Cut it out, and keep it in the bathroom for emergencies.

Interestingly, there is no mention that South Africa has joined those who say" fracking" for shale gas is too dangeous for humans and their environment. So it has banned it. Gee. How could a news editor not notice that story?

The A section does report on a an anti-fracking protest in Fredericton but, again, without telling us anything about what the process is doing and what the dangers are. Nor is Alward saying a word - and the T&T obviously isn't going to ask him. So let's think up something they might have considered.

It was a century ago that Canadian provinces decided it was bad for people and bad for business if any one group or consortium controlled an essential field like energy. Any such control would enable them to gouge customers, charge low rates for thir own companies, and make it up by overcharging their business competitors. That's why provinces created provincially owned utilities like Ontario Hydro and NBEnergy.

New Brunswickers recently agreed that public ownership was essential when they dumped the Shawn Graham Liberals, largely because they were going to sell NB Energy.

So now the big boys are trying the same game all over, this time with the compliant Mr. Alward playing the role of Shawn Graham.

If the shale gas project seems feasible, then a small group will control what is not only an energy source in its own right, but possibly an underpinning of NBEnergy. In other words, control of energy in New Brunwick (and Atlantic Canada and Maine and New Hampshire and Vermont would fall into the hands of a small group who would control most energy supplies. And that would have the same effect as the sale of NBEnergy would have. - well, except this is worse than the sale of NBEnergy because the latter would not, at least, poison the environment and us.

Does the owner of NBMedia support this scheme?

Can you seriously think that Alward and NBMedia would be pimping for it if he didn't?

If we must look at shale gas, a good newspaper might explore a better way to do it. If the development is done by a private business, then we have the old problems we used to have with hydro power.
1. Private control can and will be abused.
2. Private development is expensive since the developer must get back not only the cost, but a handsome profit.

It's our gas. Why should somebody else get the profit from it? Provinces have been building and effectively operating energy xources for a century. They've done it very efficiently. Why can't New Brunswick do its own esploring. and then it's own development?  Then we would keep the profits, maintain services, help all business to be competitive, and pay down our debt. Who would be stupid enough to just give the profits away?

Shale gas is a scam. It's not only dngerous and damaging. It's a replay of the scam Shawn Graham tried, the that we voted against.


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