Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13: once again...front page....

You'ld think that fracking within city limits would make the front page - or maybe the  hint that maybe, quite possibly if not likely, perhaps the Alward government will have new regulations on fracking and (even less likely) some indication they will be enforced. But not a word on the front page. In fact, not a word about the issue anywhere in that whole, wretched paper.

However, the big story for the day, yet again and at least fourth day in a row, is about the city 'plan'. This time, though, it's a little more honest. It pretty well admits this is really all about an "events" centre. And the clear implication of the article is that the "events" centre is really all about a hockey arena for a team owned by somebody named Irving.

There is no plan, suckers. This is a con game, another welfare scheme for those great 'philanthropists' who have done so much for this province.There is no plan. There never was a plan. There's just a page or so of gush and vague statements.

At the end of it, all we will really find is a hockey arena surrounded by acres of parking lot - and generations of debt to pay for it.

It's front page day after day because  there's a city election coming up - and the people who run this province would really like to see a council made up of people just like the mayor.  Wouldn't that be something to look forward to?

In NewsToday, Professor Donald Savoie was interviewed for his predictable views on the provincial budget. Listening to him is as predictable as listening to a parrot that has has been trained to say, "polly want a cracker. Squawk!"

Professor Savoie says we have to cut frills like education and health. We have to raise taxes - but not on the rich. He didn't comment on the wisdom of choosing this time to spend a couple of hundred million on a hockey rink - but I can guess what he would say, "Polly want a cracker. Squawk!'

Above a story about the shooting of 16 Afghan civilians, including babies, by at least one American soldier,  is a picture of a couple of Taliban militants handing in their weapons.

What on earth does that have to do with a story about an American soldier killing 16 civilians? There are pictures available showing the scene of the shootings. They show the bodies of women and babies that had been shot, sprinkled with chemicals by American soldiers, and afire. So why did the news editor choose a picture that had nothing to do with the story?

The editorial is the usual Coloney Bogey piece of huffing and puffing, this time over the threatened Air Canada strike. It says union members are always demanding pay raises way above those that are offered in the private sector.  You mean those union members are already getting more than the million dollar pay cheques with more millions in stock options and bonuses that are paid to the people whose rear ends the editorialist kisses every day? Damn. Al those union members really belong to the one percent... Who would have guessed...?

Oh, yes, the paper forgot to mention that a Repblican congressman has introduced a bill saying President Obama should be impeached for going to war without the approval of Congress (as required by the US constitution.) The Congressman is quite right. The wars in Vietnam and Libya were quite illegal under the American constitution. And that's only the tip of the iceberg.

American have used drones to kill people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. It is also using special ops for assassinations, etc. in something like one hundred countries. That's called war. But the American constitution says only Congress can make war.

Several days ago, the US Attorney General made a statement that the president with the consent of any international body like the UN or NATO can go to war. Not according to the US consitution, he can't.

This is a pretty serious matter. There has been, in reality, a revolution in the powers of the president. He can now assassinate, imprison, go to war without legal sanction. In a trend that has become marked under Bush and Obama, the presidency is moving toward dictatorship. You'ld think a news editor might notice that.

The most exciting thing in today's paper is that a full page of letters to the editor has been added. Well, it's cheaper than buying news stories.

It's troubling in those letters to see the occasional one that stirs up language hatrred.

Let me declare myself from the top. I grew up English-speaking in a district that was heavily French-speaking in Montreal. I know very well what it means to be a member of a minority under an intolerant majority.

I was many nasty and exhausting years on the provincial executive of Alliance Quebec, the English language rights group, three of those years as Vice-President and Chairman. Does that mean I am anti-French?

No. I've been a member of a minority. I know what intolerance and bigotry mean. I'm not anti-French. But I am anti-intolerance and bigotry. And I'm saddened to see that in New Brunswick, the intolerance and bigotry are so often on the English side - this despite what seems to be generally the best approach to bilingualism in Canada. It is threatened by English intolerance.

I regret to say it is also threatened by a sort of Quebec militancy and intolerance that has crept into the Acadian side. Dieppe's decision to dictate the language of business signs is - well - either dumb or a very clever attempt to stir up friction and hatred.

It will do nothing whateer to improve the status of the French language. It will be abrasive and annoying, stirring up a war that neither side can win. It could well force an out migration on the scale that Quebec saw when at least a quarter million anglos left the province - taking their skills and taxes with them.

In New Brunswick, a serious language fight would mean the outmigration of Acadians - and the loss of all that they bring to this province.

I've seen how it has damaged my own life. As an anglo, I hate the French of Quebec for what they have done to my community. However, as a person of French and Scottish descent, I hate the English for what they did the both the French and Scots. Mind you, as an English person, I also hate the French for the conquest of England in 1066 and, as a Scot hate the resulting French-English aristocracy for their intrusions into Scotland. At the same time, I feel friendly toward France for its long alliance with Scotland. I also feel guilty about both anglo and franco treatment of native peoples - but that guilt is appeased because I have some native blood. I'm not big on Scandanavians because their Vikings raped and sometimes murdered my Scottish ancestors. On the other hand, since I almost certainly have some Viking blood as a result of the rapes, I feel a certain pride in their exploits. It's very confusing. I never know whether I should love or hate myself.

New Brunswickers should avoid fighting with each other. Their are plenty of reasons for people of this world to hate everyone on every side for what they've done in the past. It's time for both sides in New Brunswick to grow up and think of the future.

Celebrate the past, by all means. But let's not waste our lives reliving it.


  1. I grew up in Montreal and experienced grown adults fighting on my street over language as well. (French and English) My family also was part of the exodus from Quebec when Bill 101 was passed.

    One thing hopefully to come out of the occupy movement this coming spring and summer is a recognition that big business continuing to own news media including newspapers is most often a major problem.

    News editors regurgitate the interests of their big business masters. Period. Big business remains in power, and if a man-made climate change is still in question as the news editor opines on the op-ed page, then it must be so.

    What's truly important for big business is to have a vehicle such as a newspaper by which to social engineer local and political consent towards their current and future designs.

  2. I am francophone, and don't necessarily agree with you, however, I must admit that your comment: "As an anglo, I hate the French of Quebec for what they have done to my community. However, as a person of French and Scottish descent...." is genius

  3. If you hated the English for being rich, then believe me, nobody hated the rich English more than the poor English did. I still do. Curiously, though, our French neighbours often referred to us, quite seriously, as "les riches anglaise", though we were the poorest family on the block.

    But there are strange alliances that live on in folk memory.
    One day, when I was about ten, I was walking down a street, and a French gang of five or so, much bigger than me, blocked my way.
    "Es tu francais ou anglais"
    Now - if I said ge suisse fran-say, I was going to get hammered.
    In my desperation I remembered my Scottish mother telling me that the French and the Scots were traditional allies, and both hated the English, I stammered, "ge suisse aycosse"
    There was a dead silence as they stared at me. then, without a word, they went past.