A few nights ago, I suddenly woke at 3 a.m. with a sense of horror. I had forgotten to move my car off the street when I parked it. that's a serious business in Moncton. Parking on the street in winter is forbidden because it might interfere with snow removal. You can drill for shale gas, pump poisons into the earth and dump it all into streams and lakes and household water supplies. But you cannot park on the street overnight in winter.
Terrified, but alert and with the courage that runs in my family, I hurriedly dressed and ran out to the car. Too late.
There was a ticket on my car. It demanded forty-five big ones in payment. There was also a subtle warning that if I don't pay on time, I shall have to wear a dunce's cap in public, and my children will be auctioned off to an unnamed African war zone.
Not a big news story? Well, it is if you put it in combination with another story the TandT didn't have.
Gas and oil developers have, for years, being ignoring regulations for their industry. The environmental damage is uncountable, the human damage something the government prefers not to talk about. It's not as if the regulations are all that tough. In fact, Harper just got rid of a whole bunch of them. But there are regulations. They have been ignored. And there are heavy fines for that - even heavier than the $45 ticket on my windshield. But when the billionaire gas and oil developers woke up one morning, there were no tickets on their windshields.
No. There was just a letter from the federal government gently warning them that they were being naughty, and they really should obey the law. And it is well understood on both sides that the government is not going to check to make sure they do anything at all.
Funny that didn't appear in the TandT. I mean, didn't it promise over a year ago to keep us informed about developments in the shale gas energy? And have you, as a result, read many articles pointing out problems with it?
I hear lots of good news from government hacks like Health Minister Flemming. There will be oh so strict regulations so that it will be perfectly safe. Right. Just like the Ottawa regulations. And if a developer breaks the law, he will certainly get a letter.
(Of course, it will be a little tough to set clear regulations when the government doesn't know what toxic chemicals are being used or in what quantities - and the developers refuse to tell them.)
But watch out, Mr. Irving. You could be getting a tough letter from Mr. Alward. Then you'll be sorry.
Of course, some citizens might protest about being poisoned. But we can use the police if they get difficult. Damn protesters. It's all their fault.
A letter to the editor suggests Harper is putting pressure on the New Brunswick government to take it very, very easy on enforcing environmental regulation- or he'll cut back on equalizaton payments. I don't know about that. In the years I have lived here, I have not seen any New Brunswick government that needed any pressure to be submissive dog.
Oh, another missing story. Did you know the RCMP has spy drones to look at you and me? Yes, they do. And they're going to buy some more from the US. Of course, they'll only be used to look for criminals. You know, like environmentalists who are worried about pollution and climate change. You trust the police, don't you?
Of course, there is this business of the RCMP and CSIS spying on environmentalists and other critics of big business so they can give full reports to big business on who those awful people are, and what they're doing. But the TandT didn't report that, either.
We are, as expected, following the US to become a police state. No, that 's not an exaggeration. Domestic spying like that, without warrant or cause, then using it not to enforce law but to give ammunition to the rich and powerful is what's called a police state.
As for the Moncton Times and Transcript for today, what can I say? There's nothing in it worth reading but two, good letters to the editor. The news section gives sense of the utter chaos in Africa, much of it caused by our side in a desparate attempt to keep control of the resources of the continent - and to make sure the locals get as little profit as possible out of them. This is a return to what we never stopped, keeping Africa in poverty so our billionairs can loot it.
The difference this time is that Africa is far more militant in its resistance - and there are other countries like Russia and China which want to get into the game. That's why we face decades of war like the one we're being sucked into in Mali - but this time with lots and lots of nuclear weapons on both sides. At best, Africans can expect nothing but more poverty, starvationg, sickness, violence...
That could be a subject for a Sunday sermon.
Nah. People don't want to hear that. Let's go with the slide show on how beautiful God's flowers are.
Why don't the editors publish more information on what's going on? I don't know. I thought for a long time they were just lazy and sloppy. But it's quite possible they are so ignorant of foreign affairs, they don't know what's important to publish.
There's a story on C1, "Commons back in session today" that gives the common impression that Harper is a strong and confident prime minister. I think that's a pretty superficial impression. Any man who's as secretive and controlling as Harper, who surounds himself with incompetent ministers (Peter MacKay, Minister of Defence springs to mind), seems to me more likely to be a terribly insecure man. And I would guess much of that insecurity has to to with New Brunswick. Must do a note on that some day.
The editorial (sigh). It starts with the awareness that we are facing an even bigger world economic crisis than we had thought. Quite true. Britain is already worse off than in the great depression. Greece and Spain face severe violence. And the really important aspect of all this in the eyes of the editorial writer?
We gotta guild an events centre. You know, with a hockey rink. Then, while the rest of world collapses, Moncton will rise ---
---with customers from----?