Friday, December 7, 2012

Dec. 7: Hurray for Alward!

Yessirree. Our premier has been named the second best fiscal manager in Canada by - wait for it - the Fraser Institute. Yes, the Fraser Institute, a propaganda front for big business just loves Alward.  The Liberals have been critical. But that's not fair. What we should be doing is opening another Hall of Fame. We could call it the New Brunswick Hall of Corporate Boot-Licking Fame; and it would have pictures of the inductees surrounded by photos of them at work - on members of the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame. Maybe they could even do live shows at the events centre.

The editorial is back to its old, inane style. This time, it praises public consultation by government. That shows a fundamental failure to understand democracy. The idea of democracy is not that we elect people to listen to us. After all, the average New Brunswicker like average people around the world has no special insights into fiscal policy, social programmes or the other challenges. If they did, we wouldn't need elections or politicians. We could simply hire a few people to do what we tell them to do.

But that doesn't work very well. So we have democracy. The idea is that candidates appear before us to explain their basic principles, to say what they plan to do, and why they plan to do it. If we agree to that, we vote for them. If we don't, we vote for somebody else.

In the last election, neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives had anything that could be called a platform. Mr. Alward was the farthest out to lunch with his promise to listen to us. If we wanted a good listener, we'd elect a dog. (Yes, I know we elected a dog. But we might have chosen a more intelligent breed.)

As it is, this province simply holds phony consultations, ignores the advice it doesn't want to hear  (Dr. Cleary's report comes to mind), picks stooges to write the kind of reports it wants to hear; and then does whatever corporate bosses tell it to do.

This is a government (Liberal or Conservative) that runs on propaganda and lies. No wonder the Fraser Institute loves Mr. Alward.
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Norbert sees signs of hope in Justin Trudeau. Norbert must be very easy to please. He also repeats an old myth that Liberal-haters love - that Pierre Trudeau was stunningly arrogant. In fact, he was a shy man, almost to a painful degree. He was an introvert. But he could become an extrovert for the occasion. That sort of behaviour is called extroverted introvert. He could appear to be confident and arrogant. If he had to. You cannot politically survive as a political leader if you stand shyly in front of crowds of reporters, each convinced of his or her own brilliance - or in front of opposition members. Trudeau  adopted a pretend-arrogance as a defence against people who really were arrogant - like newspaper columnists.

Poor Justin, though, has so far shown nothing except for a confused view of gun regulation. But that's enough to impress Norbert.
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David Suzuki has an important column. I don't think the dangers of the events we face - and soon - have begun to sink in. When you hand over the kind of power that we have handed over to big business, we throw away our democracy and our own futures. Under Harper, Canada is becoming a colony again; even less than a colony, we are becoming something just to be used, then thrown away.

You want arrogance, Norbert?  Harper has the real thing, and to a degree we have never before seen in a prime minister.  You don't notice it because, like Trudeau - and even more so - he is an introvert, dreadfully tied up inside himself. He can't break out to be an extrovert. But such tight introverts can also be very, very arrogant, an arrogance that makes up for their lack of extroversion.  And Harper is supremely arrogant. Next time you see a photo of him, look at the tight, forced smile. Think about it. What does a smile like that tell you about a person? (Our instincts often beat our logic.)
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As for the foofaraw over the new bus system, we'll see. Meanwhile, it should be a simple matter to get a story on just how much the lockout cost us. There's the lost revenues. It should be possible to measure the increased spending on taxis.  What did it cost us? What did we save by the settled wage? Did we save as much as it cost us? Was the lockout worth it?

I find it interesting that city council has not given such figures to justify its handling of the negotiations. Why are the councillors so shy? And where are the inquiring minds of our journalists?
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The TandT seems to be unaware that Canada is on the edge of signing a trade deal with China which will surrender Canadian control over our own resources, our own environment, even our own jobs. Even if the deal utterly poisons even the air we breathe (and it may well do so) we cannot change the regulations to protect Canadians without paying financial settlements in the billions. Quebec is fighting such a case in the courts right now.

As well, the news treaty gives China the right to import  cheap labour (chosen from the cheapest countries in the world) to supply labour for those resources. Now, it just happens that making such a deal with China would mean any company in a free deal with Canada could then legally demand the right to import its own labour, too.

In other words, there aren't going to be any jobs in shale gas development. Not for you. We're about to get one hell of lesson in the full meaning of free trade and globalization. It's not just goods that can be moved freely. It's people, too. Canada has resources. But why on earth would any developer, even big-hearted Mr. Irving, pay high salaries to work those resources when he could easily bring in cheap labour from some of the most destitute countries in the world?

Think of that next time somebody tells you that shale gas is good because it will produce jobs. It will produce jobs, of course. But not for New Brunswick.

Free trade has been put together as a system to benefit big business. And it has done so. That's why most people are getting poorer while big business is getting richer. In the US, it has largely destroyed manufacturing, driven up the rate of poverty, and created a real unemployment rate of 22%.

Big business has only one purpose - to make a profit. Producing  wealth for the nation and its people is something that happens by necessity. And developments of the last thirty years have erased that necessity. For couldn't care less where its cars are made or who makes them or who buys them. All it cares is that they get built somewhere by somebody cheap, and that somebody buys them. Big business has no nationality, no loyalty to any country or any people.
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The TandT hasn't bothered to mention that we are on the edge of at least three, new wars, possibly more. But I'll save that for another day.

Oh, and it didn't bother mentioning that a UN body, the International Telecommunications Union, is close to getting agreement to a law for all of us that will allow governments to inspect our computer files at any time, and without warrant. It's already being done, of course, by the big 'democracies' like China and the US.
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I have long followed a good source for news opinion called Truthout.org. It's easy to find. Just use google.

1 comment:

  1. BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We have some "new and improved" bus routes! For some reason they are still fixated on shopping and seem to want to use the Champlain Mall and Highfield Square as transfer points. Did no one tell them Highfield Square is closed, as in: locked up..... even Tim's on Main moved away?

    To the route planners at Codiac Transpo I say "share those drugs".

    (I still can't reasonably expected to take a bus to work..... I can walk there faster!)

    ReplyDelete