Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feb. 21: "Roll Up The Rim.......

returns... to a Tim's shop near you." That is front page news for today's The Moncton Times and Transcript.

It's a story that was schockingly downplayed, even ignored, in newspapers across Canada. It's just one example of how the rest of Canada is uninformed on the important items of the day. Luckily, the Irving newspapers keep us on top of breaking news. That's sort of insightful reporting is why New Brunswickers had the foresight to elect David Alward as premier.

You wouldn't see any other province electing him. But New Brunswickers know what's going on.

The front page also strikes a spiritual note with a non-story about the local basketball team, the Miracles. The story isn't about anything, really. It's just that the coach gave a speech in which he suggested God sent him here.

Wondrous are thy ways, O Lord.

The front page also has a story on the city's interest in encouraging building over a parking lot. As usual, there was no mention of where this fits in to council's visionary plan for the future of Moncton. So far, the only apparent plan is to have a permanent planning committee.

The only story worth reading in on p. A4, "Group calls for tax bracket for rich NBers."  The group is called Common Front for Social Justice. Actually tax bracket for rich NBers is not quite what the group called for. But it's closer than the TandT usually gets. I'm surprised the TandT published it at all. It's intelligent. It's well expressed. And Mr. Irving wouldn't agree with.

Not to worry, though. The finance minister who decides on taxes is an ex-Irving executive; and he's officially advised by a group of Irving buddies.

In a radical departure from normal practice, there is actually news in the NewsToday section. There is a very important report on how oilsands development in Alberta is highly polluting, and may well cause irreversible damage to the province. It is particularly surprising that the TandT should run this story  -  at a time when it is ignoring stories about environmental problems coming from shale gas.

There's also a story about Syria, at last. Too bad it says almost nothing. However, it does have the usual loaded language from Reuters. It refers, for example, to People's Daily as a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party.

The description is, of course, quite true. But have you ever seen a Reuters report that described Fox news as a mouthpiece for the American far right? Or The Moncton Times and Transcript as a mouthpiece for the Irving interests?

There's another Reuters story that is misleading, too. This one is on a municipal election in the Libyan city of Misrata. It's all about how Libya is becoming democratic, thanks (one can assume) to us. In fact, Misrata is just about the only place that can hold an election because it's the only city that is safely under the control of one, rebel group. Most of the country has no functioning government democratic or otherwise.

Then we have Norbert Cunningham's daily commentary. Lord love a duck.

but et me begin with praise for three of the commentaries. The one by Alec Bruce is a must read, both insightful and disturbing. Gwynne Dyer, as always, is solid on foreign affair -  in this case, Syria. It comes down heavily against the government of Syria - as it should. Its only weakness is it sees the Syrian government as behaving badly. The reality is that the West, notably Britain and the US (with Canada as a gofer) are behaving at least as badly,and lie behind the whole mess that is Africa and the Middle East.

Even the staff-written column, this time by Alan Cochrane is a good read. It's about the return of World War I medals to New Brunswick. I regret the article is a little heavy on unthinking patriotism. That means this sort of article is one gives a boost to our largely phoney sentiment on November 11. Far from remembering its veterans, Canada has a reputation for being cheap on its services to them, and for being damned casual in deciding which wars to send them to in the first place. Still, it's a good column.

Then there's Norbert.

His column is a quite vicious attack on Justin Trudeau for saying that Harper was so destructive of Canada that he (Trudeau) might someday be better off to live in a Quebec state. Norbert dismissed Pierre Trudeau as an arrogant egoist. .

First - I was caught by the tone of this vicious and ignorant attack. It strengthened a feeling I've had for over a year. Cunningham is, I think, the one who wrote a serious of vicious, ignorant and unethcial editorials about New Brunswick public schools.

Secondly - I have never met Justin Trudeau, and have no opinion of him one way or the other. I am not a Liberal. I did know Pierre Trudeau, well enough to say we were on friendly terms. As to Quebec and separatism, I was for at least a dozen years on the provincial executive of the English rights group in Quebec - with several years as Vice-President, and one year as Chairman. (In other words, I was never a separatist, and never a supporter of Quebec's language legislation.)

I moved to New Brunswick largely because I wanted my children to have the experience of a bilingual society; but I didn't want them to grow up in the mutual bigotry I had lived most of my life in. New Brunswick isn't perfect. But it's pretty good, and certainly the best n Canada. With that background in mind -

Pierre Trudea was not, as Cunningham says, arrogant. He could put on a show of arrogance when he had to deal with half-wit journalists who thought they knew everything. But his natural attitude was a shyness. Yes, That suprised me, too.

Justin Trudeau was being critical of Harper and what he was doing to Canada. Cunningham said that to do that was to insult all those who voted for Harper. (It does not seem to occur that if it is insulting to those who voted for Harper if one criticizes him - then isn't it insulting to those who voted for Justin Trudeau if Cunningham criticizes Trudeau?)

This columnn is a rant which, like the ones on our schools, lacks basic information and even simple logic.

Trudeau's point was that Harper's policies are destroying Canada. He is saying that if Harper does more damage, that it might be better to live even in a Quebec state. I have no love for what Quebec has become. But I think Trudeau is right.

Harper is methodically destroying democracy and free speech; he runs the country entirely for the benefit of the super rich; he toadies to the US; he shows contempt for the constitution and for our constitutional practices. It is possible and even likely that at the end of his term, what we call Canada will no longer exist except as a vague, geographic term.

And if Conservative voters are insulted by that, I can live with it. Perhaps some day I'll explain to them how, in a free society, we are supposed to criticize the government.

In summary - today's TandT has a couple of news items worth reading, three good commentaries, one stinking commentary. Most of the rest a waste of time.

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit I'm a little fuzzy too when it comes to historical origins as to who was left or right leaning in their political ideologies.

    In our contemporary era I understand Harper is an extreme right-wing neo-con almost similar to the more extremest elements of the Republican party, but better spoken and much more cautious.

    But, I think I understand what you mean when you referred to Harper as a Liberal from a historical point of view. I will have to educate myself on the finer points of the above historical references and symbolism.

    BTW, you inspired me and I reopened another blog I left suspended for a couple of years. Its my 'lefty' blog at http://johnackerson2.blogspot.com/ titled 'Looking for a Future'.

    Have a look if you wish.

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