Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12: Gee! There must be a municipal election coming....

Today's Times and Transcript features yet another Special (gasp, gasp) Report on the great plan for Moncton's future. Like the first two, only worse, this one isn't reporting of any sort. It's pure gush that reads as though it were written by a fly-by-night real estate developer. (Actually, I suspect some it was.)

It is, we are gushed, a plan for a city of 2012. Well, duh - buildings amd cities last quite a while. You don't plan them for now. You plan them for fifty years down the road. In fact, given the pace of change, 25 years might be wiser.

As you read this gush, it's obvious there is no plan. What we really have is a con game to sucker us into putting a couple of generations into debt for a hockey rink, now disguised as an events centre. It will, of course, require a massive parking lot. And this we are told, will revitalize downtown.

Bull shit it will. For a start, I have never even heard of such a structure that has had such an effect. The Montreal Forum was an even bigger "special events" centre. It has been where it now stands for at least eighty years. It never drew anything, not even a half-decent bar, to its end of a major street.

There is not a hint of any thought about conditions in Moncton even ten years from now. What will the price of gas be? Of heating? Is it viable to have private cars AND dense population AND an "events" centre AND boutiques AND restaurants AND entertainment places all in the same, small area?

Townhouses are dense population?

What will the apartments look like? The 1950s egg crates that we see all over Moncton? Has nobody on council given any thought to a design and outdoor space that a family needs? Or are we just going to get more instant slums?

What's really going on?

What's really going on is that there is a city council election coming up. The current members of city council aren't yet quite dumb enough for all to agree to this "plan". So the Times and Transcript wants to make sure we elect a solid row of blockheads.

The key to the plan - in fact, the only plan there really is - is for the events centre. And the key to that is a hockey arena. And the key to that is the owner of the hockey team. And the owner of the hockey team is a person looked on with favour by The Moncton Times and Transcript. Pointe finale!

Oh, yeah. There will be a dense population downtown. Okay. So how come we're moving Moncton High away from downtown? How does that fit into the plan? Was there any thought given to the question of school transportation when the price of gas heads for the sky?

Like so much in New Brunswick, this whole Special Report and the "plan" are about greed, public scavengers out to stuff themselves, politicians who are stupid or, possibly, venal,  newspapers designed to manipulate opinion and, alas, a population that year after year votes for more of the same.

Surprisingly, there was no mention of the permits given to carry out natual gas exploration (fracking) within city limits. Is the TandT holding off on that for a slack day? While you're waiting for that slack day, read the lead story in Section C about the global water crisis that is going to hit soon. Think of the millions upon millions of gallons of fresh water needed for fracking.

C8 has quite a story. It's about an American soldier who went out one night to kill 16 civilians in their homes, 9 of them children, and 3 women. It's not a bad report (for Reuters). But notice the tone of concern for how this creates problems for the US command.

You think that's reasonable?

Okay. Imagine a Moslem living in New York who went one night into a group of townhouses, and killed 16 Americans. Do you think Reuters would show a lot of sympathy for the problems this would create for Moslem leaders? Or would the line be "this is what them iggerant Moslems is like. It's their religion."

That war in Afghanistan, incidentally is lost. It was lost from the day it started. Nor is it at all clear why it started in the first place. (No. It was not 9/11. That was the excuse for a war that was planned much earlier.) Yet, we sent soldiers to die there for reasons that were never made clear.

And Harper shows signs now of being eager to send more Canadians to die in Iran and Syria. Why?

Norbert's column has his usual tone of self-righteous posturing. This time, he says that people who protest the privatizing of NB Power or the move of MHS are silly. They should have protested long ago because politicians need their opinions to do what's best.

Norbert, can even you believe that?

Politicians in this province don't give a damn about our opinions. Neither does that paper you write for. People have been protesting about fracking from the start. There is no sign it has had the slightest effect on the politicians. Nor is there any sign that your paper - or you - have paid the slightest attention to the objections - except to ridicule them.

In fairness, it's true that much of the blame goes to us. New Brunswickers are a passive people. So are most North Americans. I'm afraid. Fifty years ago, even twenty years ago, torture was carried out only by evil people.Ten years ago the abuse of election honesty by the use of robocalls would have been scandalous. The blatant control of whole governments by big money was possible to ignore. Just a few years ago, the idea that an American president had the power to assassinate anyone, including American citizens, and the power to imprison people with no trial or charge was unheard of.

Now, all of these things are accepted without a peep. I used to wonder how ordinary, decent Europeans could have accepted the rise of fascism and dictatorship, how the churches could participate by contributing chaplains for fascist armies, and by calling on God to be the dictator's commander-in-chief.

Now, I begin to understand as I watch it happen here. You can see the passivity at the bottom of p. 1. The robocalls scandal,, probably the worst blow to Canadian democracy we have yet seen (except for the 1917 federal election) has no significant effect on the support of any federal party. Heil!

Again, Alec Bruce provides an island of common sense (and good writing).

1 comment:

  1. In 1995 Saint John city council in its infinite wisdom blew down the old Saint John General Hospital. It had only been built in 1930, then expanded in 1957.

    It had been one of the largest, and most architecturally interesting buildings on the skyline. It stood regal, high on the hill greeting highway travelers as they neared the city with a sense that the city had something extra special to offer.

    Today, an ugly looking, low-slung building has taken its place. It's a sad joke. It's an insult actually, considering the magnificence of what had been there before. This new building looks the same as any other warehouse-stylized structure. It was built to house a few government offices. When it first went up, the locals referred to it as 'the box on the hill'.

    Moncton city council should watch this funny, sarcastically, insightful look at city planning and they might even learn something:

    ...and speaking of what we do to other's U.S Attorney General Ramsey Clark in an interview admitting America purposefully undermines the autonomy of other countries so the U.S can gain an upper hand in 'business'.