Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nov29:Good - Bad - and suggestions.

This begins with a reminder. My current events group meets at the Moncton Library at 7 pm on the first Tuesday of each month. So that means this Tuesday, Nov. 1.  The TandT, as usual, did not mention the group in its weekly list of library events.

I'd be delighted to see you there.

I've been without a car for a month. That's quite an experience in a city whose core was designed for horses, and the rest of it for cars. Public transport is haphazard. That's a powerful reminder of what we should be planning for but aren't.

I thought of that as I looked through a section A of the paper that had nothing worth reading in it.

We are approaching the end of the age of the automobile. It makes enormous demands on space, whether moving or parked, the cost of gas will soon make it prohibitive for commuting. -as well as for the safety of this planet.

Yet here is a city that was planned for the nineteenth century, modified for the late twentieth, and seems to hav no thought whatever for the century are now in. The only ideas that have been floated are hare-brained ones like building a new hockey rink (I would presume with a big parking lot.)

Let's face some realities.
1. The suburban house with its lawn (and its need for a car and for huge cost in the extra miles of sidewalk and sewage and snow-clearing it requires) is already too expensive. It will soon be unustainable.
2. The future lies in more compact cities, ones in which a car is unnecessary. That means higher-rise apartments and condos. (But not, I would hope, those ghastly boxes that most apartment buildings in Moncton resemble.) Expo 67 showed it was possible to build apartments with a garden/sitting area for each apartment.
3. While living in Hong Kong (very densely populated), I found it a pleasure and convenient to walk almost everywhere.. It was especially convenient because all the shopping services I needed were at street or basement level of most of the apartments/condos.  Shopping for dinner or looking for a restaurant or buying a coat could be as near as an elevator ride.

4. Moncton should be looking for a public transportation system that is convenient, scheduled, and environmentally friendly. The best on all points is a subway - though I cannot pretend to estimate the cost of this for Moncton. Second best would be electric tram busses with a strict time schedule - and connected to parking areas where visitors could leave their cars. In my experience, nothing builds a downtown core faster than good public transit - and people who already live there.

At present, Moncton prides itself on its forward-looking approach. In fact, Moncton is extremely short-sighted. A project like a hockey rink or a CFL team has nothing to do with how we will live in a city that is both attractive and affordable. The hockey rink and the CFL team will simply make a pile of big money for a very few people while the needs of the rest of us are overlooked.

You pay one hell of a price when you allow your provincial government and city council to be run by billionaires instead of the people you elect.

Frankly, I would find this sort of examination more attractive on a front page than yet another free ad for wine expo.

NewsToday leads with a surprisingly good story "Harperization" in full swing: critics". There are three parts to Harperization. One is the appeal to certain groups of Harper supporters such as those frightened of a cime war that doesn't exist, those wholong for the old days of monarchy, pictures of the Queen, and the return of Royal to our armed forces.

There is the determination to eliminate the social gains made by Canadians over the past sixty years - union rights, medicare, public broadcasting, regulation of big businesss...

And there is the determination to tie us more tightly to the US and Israel than ever we were tied to Britain, even at the peak of the British Empire. In short, Harper will make Canada into a US colony.
Roughly, the Harper policy is to serve American corporations, and honour the Queen.

I was surprised to see such an article because it came from Postmedia - which would usually say these are great ideas.

The business page remains, as always, close to useless.

There is a worthwhile article by Bill Belliveau on the editorial page. On the op ed page, there is an excellent one on protection of the Codiac river.

The letters to the editor section has a hilarious letter on how we should send our champion bootlicker and apologist, Donald Savoie of UdeMoncton, to build democracy in Libya.  Sounds good to me. If we can get people like  him out of the province, tt would give us a chance to built democracy in New Brunswick - maybe even in Canada.

For my favourite section,"Whatever", all the columns are good. I was particularly drawn to three - Isabelle Agnew on feminism, Jana Giles on teasing and bullying, and Aurelie Pare on the need for exercise. All of the student columns are consistently better than the ones on the op ed page by staff writers (Cityview).

Among the missing news, is the revelation that Pakistan civilians killed by US drones and other military actions since 1901 now amount to some 35,000. That's not bad for a country the US isn't at war with.

Oh, why do some Conservatives call themselves Progressive Conservatives? It has nothing to do with being progressive in any sense. In 1942, the Conservative Party was desparate for a leader, but coudn't find one in it's own ranks. So it asked a the premier of Manitoba, John Bracken, to become leader.

Bracken agreed, on one condition. they would have to add the name of his party to the name of the Conservative party. Bracken's party was called the Progressive Party.

1 comment:

  1. Item 4 re a subway in Moncton. Moncton is built on a marsh and floods at the traffic circle can be bad. Imagine the mess in a subway system. Could be a good make work project though!