Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Jan.23: Big headline, front page.... we know it can't possibly be any big deal....

The provincial government paid over a million dollars for four houses. Well, the reasoning sounds sensible. Water control plans carried out by the government have put the houses in severe danger of flooding. So, of course, the government is responsible for taking action to protect the owners.

After all, we know that f this were a highly suspect deal (like the purchase of contaminated land for a hockey rink or the expensive purchase and servicing of a big chunk of a suburb to build a high school,well...there's not the slightest possibility the Moncton Times and Transcript would make a big deal of it. And if it were a transaction that involved the big boss...well, we'd never know, would we?

The only question I can see here is whether the province paid an unreasonable price for the properties and that, of course, is a question the reporter never asked. (It shouldn't have been hard to check property values in the area.)

There is quite a shocking story of a local school, Ecole Champlain, which some genius decided to build in an industrial zone. The quality of air in the school is so bad that classes often have to move to the gymn, and children frequently cannot go outside at recess and lunch. And this has been going on for thirty years or more.

Well,we'll look after it. Some day. Not right away, though. All the  money is tied up in moving Moncton High at very high cost, and raising a hundred million for a hockey rink. Hey, first things first.

Better news is a well-reported story on B6. "Music from the heart" is about two , music groups in the city - neither of which wears day-glo costumes or features guitarists who leap in the air while playing.  The Sussex Avenue Fiddlers (essentially down home music - but also happy to take a stab at the classics) will be performing this Saturday in company with the Mozart Children's Orchestra.

The children's group developed out of a programme in Venezuela to help the children of the poor learn to play a musical instrument. (In Venezuela, the children actually have to make their own instruments out of garbage in the local dump. And they do a great job of it.)

It's nice to read of something in Moncton that's social and cultural - and not just crassly commercial.
The lead editorial is not a bad one. In fact, by the standards of the TandT, it's brilliant. It criticizes the provincial government for withholding information about the sale of the houses that is covered in the front page headline.  It makes some good points - but also reinforces the impression this is all no big deal involving anybody of importance or influence. After all, if it did involve such people, that editorial would never appear. Remember - no editorial ever appeared about the very suspicious land deals involving Moncton High and the proposed hockey rink.
Poor Norbert. He has dreadful difficulty in writing without ranting and abuse.. As he (correctly) criticizes the use of energy saving light bulbs which produce a greater problem - the release of mercury - he has this line. this is all a sop to the "righteous, politically correct environmental crowd whose hearts are in absolutely the right place but whose heads are in LaLa land dreaming up simplistic solutions and ignoring logic,  facts and science."

Sound reasonable to you? Okay. Imagine him writing something like that about Mr. Irving. Get some you-know-what, Norbert.

For a start, what you might do is to tell those other editors to carry a story which they, for some reason, ignored. Environment Canada is concerned by oil spills and other damage caused by major oil firms (espcially in Alberta) and by pipeline companies -like the one that might be coming to us soon. It seems that the bosses in these industries have been ignoring government regulations, thus causing serious damage to land, lakes and rivers, damage which makes them liable to fines of a million dollars - and to three years in jail.  And you know what Environment Canada did?

It sent them warning notes. Way to get tough.

But don't worry the oil bosses. They'll be okay. They know that Harper would never let Environment Canada check to see if they're now sticking to the rules.

Still feel good about our tough, new, shale gas regulations? Dream on.

Norbert also comes down on the side of Health Minister Flemming against the province's medical profession. I won't pretend (as Norbert does) to be an expert on Emergency Room management. But that isn't the issue.

This issue is that Mr. Flemming has created a far bigger problem by his loutish statements to the press on the subject. His language has been accusatory, abusive, and sometimes so incoherent, that one wonders whether he can be entirely sober. That's the issue, Norbert. Wanna talk about that?
Alec Bruce has an amusing column; but that amusing part just sets you up. It has an ending to be taken very seriously indeed. It say a lot about the human beast that we all are.
On op-ed, Eric Lewis has a column that misses the point. He wants city councillors to be independent. So he admires the fact that they don't have parties, and thus have no party line to adhere to. But he's dead wrong.

There is a party line they have to follow - and most of them do follow it. A rare exception was coucillor Bourgeois who resigned from council because his questioning manner had made it difficult for him to get a job in this city.

There is a party. The party is made up of the business leaders of this city and province. And if you don't follow their party line, then you're out there all by yourself because the people of this city quietly accept being cheated and pushed around.
Brian Cormier still hasn't caught on to what an opinion column is. He still thinks it's a place for cutesie-poo stories of the sort that have less information value than today's Hollywood column bit on how Angeline Jolie loves to teach her children to go poo.
There are three letters that beat anything on the op-ed page, "The trouble with normal", "'Real food' promotes health, saves money", and  "PM's take on us is...educational".

Finally, a warning way in advance.Starting Thursday, Jan. 31, I'll be teaching a course for Tantramar Seniors on the bits of Canadian history you never learned in school. (It covers stuff like why governments sell liquor in Canada, why  football players usually have university educations while hockey players have high school, why the Grey Cup is for 'amateur' football, how booze created the women's liberaton movement, stuff like that.) It will run for six Thursdays, from 10 to 12 in the morning - so I'll be quite late on the blog those days.

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