Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6: Tonight, tonight....

Won't be just any night.
Tonight there will be
Current Events...

Moncton Library, 7 p.m.
(with apologies to West Side Story)

And now to my proper heading - ...to talk of many things.
                                                         of plans and mayors
                                                         of cabbages and kings...

I was delighted today to see that The Moncton Times and Transcript had a real news story on p. A1.---
I was delighted....until I read it.

The Moncton City Council Planning Committee has come up with a plan.  However, the story tells nothing about what the plan is - with one exception. Alas! The exception is not one to inspire confidence. The story gives a hint of the genius of the plan by saying that the recent decision to allow street parking on Main St. (in order to revive Main St.) is a part of the greater plan that council approved last night.

Lord love a duck. What are they smoking?

The automobile is what destroyed downtowns all over the world. How is bringing even more cars in going to change that? You might as well talk about reviving Hiroshima by dropping another nuclear bomb on it.  Here is a part of the plan, the only clear part the TandT presents; and it's a part that no major city in the world is even considering. If you want to revive a downtown, the automobile is the problem, not the answer.

Another element, a kind of important one, was completely missing from the newspaper report. - the world of the future, of the next fifty years.

You know, you go to a travel agent to ask for a holiday package in the sun. Okay. The agent does not immediately lay out a package. In instead, the agent says "when?" And if you say next January, he does not go to his Fundy Park file; instead, he pulls out Jamaica. The agent asks when because you can't plan something without some idea of what the environment will be like as the plan takes effect.

We can't forecast the future. But we do have to make some informed guesses. What will be the role, cost, availability if fossil fuels in 20 years? 40 years? What implications does that have for mass transportation? for suburbs? for housing? How do we make all of this fit both the environment and the people who have to live in it? What are the implications of rising costs and environmental effects of home heating? What does that mean about the type of housing we need. (Hint - isolated, single houses can be much more costly to heat, far more demanding of infrastructure, and ill-suited to mass transportation.)

Perhaps questions like this were considered - though there is no hint of it in the story. Nor is there any hint of how the move of Moncton High, for example, fits into this or any other plan.

There is, apparently, a site that one can check to see the plan.I shall certainly look it up - though the story does not say where the site is. (If it had been a concert at Magnetic Hill or an autobiography of a Irving editor, there would have been complete instructions in large print on how to get to it.)

I think I remember a recent editorial saying it was important to have a lawyer for mayor because they're good at this sort of thing. This new story does nothing to support that view.

Most news stories in the TandT are about nothing. This one is an improvement over the usual one because it is about something. Alas! It tells us nothing about the something.

Netanyahu has openly said many times in recent days that he doesn't give a damn what the American president or anybody else says. It the US won't go to war with Iran, Israel will. Harper completely and publicly supported Netanyahu in this.

Nobody can foretell the consequences of this, though it's a safe guess this is the most dangerous course of action of the past century. But if you're a TandT reader, you don't have worry about it. The TandT has never bothered to mention it.

Section C2 features a long, boring (for most readers) , and poorly edited interview by the Telegraph-Irving of various heavyweights from Enbridge Gas about the government's proposal to alter franchise plans. The questions are, to say the least, soft. It's rather like watching a group men play patty cake.

Then there's Norbert. I think he was on to a good insight in today's column. But, oh, it gets dreadfully confused and lost in a rant that strays all over.

He main point,I think, is that Liberals need to forget the political squabbling, and tell us what they stand for. And that surely is a good idea.

But Norbert can't help bringing all his own prejudices and contradictions into it. He refers to Liberals as ideologues - whether they are small l or big L. I have no idea what that means. The most ideological liberal (small l) in Canada in Stephen Harper. His economic policies are exactly what liberals advocated a couple of centuries ago. They are still what the world liberal means.

Nor do I thinkk there is much about big L Libeals that is ideological. They are pretty much like Conservatives.

Am I a Liberal? No. Am I a liberal? Sometimes.
Am I a Conservative? Am I a conservative? Sometmes.
And in that, I'm pretty much like everybody else.

In any case, not one person in a thousand knows what the words liberal and conservative actually mean. And Norbert, I am afraid, is among the nine hundred and ninety-nine.

Oh, and I doubt whether Norbert understands the meaning of ideologue. If he did, he would be more careful in using it to criticize other people.

Norbert begins with a sensible idea. But he destroys it with almost incoherent rant. Why did he do that?

Gee! Could it have something to do with smothering the national anger over robocalls?

For comic relief, read the editorial on how we could stop illegal cigarette smuggling by raising taxes on legal cigarettes.

Thankfully, Alec Bruce is back in form.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I, too was excited to see the news story about Moncton's planning, until I read it. I'm tired of reading news, that isn't.