Monday, September 3, 2012


It was, I guess, a special Labour Day gesture by The Moncton Times and Transcript -

A boy, a child, had worked for over a year delivering the TandT every morning. He never missed a day.Then he decided he couldn't carry on, and so he informed them.

But he didn't give two weeks notice. So they withheld his last week's pay. Okay. Not unreasonable I mean, you have to get tough with kids.

Then they pulled another week's pay out of his bank account.
________  (on the dotted line, write in the word that best describes the management at The Times and Transcript. I have provided room for eight letters.)

Following the same tone, most of the paper contains not a word about the meaning of Labour Day, what its origins were, what things used to be like in the labour world. The only mention of it, a brief one, is in Alec Bruce's column.

Oh, I know. Labour unions are unreasonable. Workers ask too much. etc.etc. May I suggest you take a look at what things were like before labour unions? - at things like child labour, fifteen hour days, no pay for holidays, no pensions, no safety measures.... In a Canadian city in the 1880s, a child labourer was working on a machine which had no protective shields. He lost his arm. The company immediately fired him, stopped his pay, and sent him home. So far as the company was concerned, it had no more responsibility.

Nor do you have to go back to the 1880s.

It happened all over again in the 1930s. It's happening again now; and we're going to see a lot more of it.

For an idea of our future without unions, read Terry Copp "The Anatomy of Poverty". Also check to see if the library has "Report on the Royal Commission of Price Spreads and Mass Buying". That was published in 1935. Read it, and you'll understand how Canadians suffered in the great depression while the rich (just like today) were taking home their biggest profits in history.

But don't expect to learn anything about that in a newspaper chain owned by Irving. He doesn't approve of workers banding together and taking action unless they are respectable workers, like corporation presidents.Then they're allowed to become official budget advisors to the provincial government. Can you imagine the storm if union leaders appointed themselves to be official budget advisors to the government?

There is a bizarre story about a giant cross going up at Moncton Prayer Garden. Though it is not mentioned, I should be most curious to know whether this is public ground.

Now, I am a Christian. And I take that very seriously.But I would not assume a right to put up my religious symbol on public property. You would? Okay. How about a thirty foot  high Star of David? Or a thirty foot high Crescent of Islam?

People of all faiths are invited to the Prayer Garden - though with its very ornate cross and its stations of the cross, it is clearly Roman Catholic. (I confess to a bias here. I am not big on ritual of any sort, or fancy crosses with angels, etc.)

The writing of the report is a little on the bizarre side, too. It is, we are told, a "glorified" cross. Well - uh - is there another kind of cross? If so,could we be told where to find an unglorified one?

And, it seems, the new cross is even more "symbolic" than the old one. I have no idea what that means. Perhaps it refers to the ornate metal decoration, the 36 carved flowers, and the five, imitation angels that were so sadly lacking at Calvary. As just plain wood, that one was hardly symbolic at all, I guess.

The article also thanks the city for its constant support. Oh? And what constant support would that be referring to? Was any of it financial or some other material form of support? After all, this is a city that picks up some tabs for a religious university.

The big attraction is to be found as the final note in a website for Prayer Garden. Nearby, it says, are wonders like a zoo, a MacDonald's and the unique Atlantic (sound of trumpets) Irving Big Stop. Halleluja!

I am happy to see that all faiths are welcome. And I'm happy to see other Moncton churches cooperating in this effort. But a prayer place to which all faiths are welcome should look like one in which all faiths - Protestants, Jews, Moslem, Hindus, Taoists.....can be at home, where we all can meet and share the great deal we have in common. The Moncton Prayer Garden does not look like such a place.

And, no, I am not anti-RC. Indeed, my experience in Montreal was that the Roman Catholic church was admirably active in social gospel work -and I have no reason to doubt the same is true in Moncton. And I have had Roman Catholic connections in the social gospel movement. I was also interviewed by a papal examiner for the recent elevation of St. Andre.  I even have a relative, Reverend Zenon Decarie, who is now under consideration for sainthood. (And, boy, do I intend to make the most of that.) But I think there are a lot of questions that should be asked about the Garden of Prayer.

 (I'm surprised the story didn't mention that there was an Irving's Big Stop nearby. After all, the connection to faith should be obvious.)

The drought in the US is going to cause mass hunger and starvation all over the world. The Moncton Times and Transcript captures the full horror this in the Your Investments page, C2.

"Drought could drive up price of popcorn"

And that's really the only story worth reading in NewsToday.

They don't mention that Obama has drastically cut US participation in a joint military exercise with Israel. What does that mean? Well, don't worry about it. It has something to do with a possible world war. But who has time for that when the price of popcorn is going up?

The editorial is mostly of the SOMETHING MUST BE DONE variety - vague and uninformed.

Norbert has a good point to make. But he seems incapable of writing anything without some ignorant rant slipping in. He writes in favour of a catastrophic drug programme for the province. It's expensive, but necessary. No quarrel there.

Then he blames the civil service for it! Why? Because the civil service is bloated,he says. What does he know about the civil service and whether it's bloated? Nothing. But it seems impossible for him to write a column without saying that.

Then, for some reason, he says that if the Harper government were to do something illegal, the papers would be full of it - but they would ignore it if the NDP did it. In fact, half of his column on drugs is really attacks on civil servants, the NDP, "liberal" conspiracies, and general paranoia.

Norbert - you are full of it. The Harper government has done a number of things illegally and/or improperly. And they have not received attention in the press. Certainly, they have not received attention in the BrunswickMedia or the Cunningham column. Remember Brian Mulroney, the pm who accepted bribes while in office? What has Harper done about that case? Where is the big investigation on robocalls that the Conservatives were accused of using? What about wild spending on international conferences? Where are the stories about lavish contracts for friends of the government?

And the media ignored the case of the NDP? Bullshit, Norbert. I read it in papers all over Canada. You, Norbert, are our Clint Eastwood, with a paranoia about the "liberalism" of the news media. Norbert, look at your own paper. Is it "liberal" in any sense but being in favour of the provincial Liberal Party when it's the bought one of the year? Who the hell do you think owns virtually all the news media in Canada? It's bosses like your own - who hire only hacks like you.

Tell you what, Norbert, you want to look at bloated services that really  drain money out of this province so we can't afford catastrophic drug programs. Okay,  Look at the lavish pay of corporate directors. Look at the bloated salaries of corporate executives. Look at the scandalously low taxes they pay. Look at the favours, grants and loans they get. Look at the cost of private/public partnerships. Look at the bonuses they hand out to each other for ripping us off.

Look at former leaders of government who become wealthy in the private sector. (Nor is it just in New Brunswick. "Socialist" UK premier, Tony Blair now earns millions a year for his cooperation with oil companies in setting up the Iraq war. Bishop Tutu, who was to speak for free at a conference, withdrew because Tony Blair would be a speaker, and he believed Blair should be tried as a war criminal. Blair conscientiously spoke, anyway - for a fee of some $200,000.)

Look at a newspaper chain, the one you work for, that deliberately keeps us ignorant of all that's going on.

But you won't do that, will you, Norbert. No. It's easier to pick on civil servants who have no power to pull your strings, and at bus drivers who would like to earn a living wage - and who can't get a cushy, one hour a day job like yours writing ignorant and abusive crap.

Forget the op ed page. It's two articles by people who get well paid to write about nothing. And who never, never write anything critical about the boss.  What the hell. It's better than driving a bus.

Tomorrow evening, Tuesday at the Moncton Library. 7 pm. Current events - and we're talking about language in New Brunswick. And culture. and what words mean.

Oh, I'll also be at City Hall to protest in favour of the bus drivers  -   and to pick up a freedom of information form so we can find out what's under Highgate Square. The demo is on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 4 pm.

1 comment:

  1. When an agnostic died God asked, "Why didn't you believe in me?"

    The agnostic replied, "If you're truly a god, why didn't you offer real proof?"