...to which the Moncton Times and Transcript will not crawl in obedience to the the wishes of its master.
It was bad enough when it butchered a report of a talk by the province's chief medical officer, Dr. Cleary, on the severe damage likely from shale gas development. Then it featured, in gushing prose, a speech disputing her - by that outstanding expert on medical questions, and friend of anybody with deep pockets, Frank McKenna.
Check out the big stories for today. The lead is about Jackson the puppy, probably the third or fourth time we've had this story on page one. Then there are several stories on the new pope, none of which has anything to say. There is even one on Cardinal Ouelette of Quebec, who didn't make the cut. That one is headlined "Ouelette's mother relieved he wasn't chosen". With a headline like that, should it be on the same page as "Liam Hemsworth,Miley Cyrus split?"
Yesterday, there was a major conference sponsored by The Public Health Association of NB-PEI featuring a speech titled "The Chief Medical Officer of Health's Recommendations Concerning Shale Gas Development in New Brunswick". That must surely be more important than the story that no charges will be laid in the case of Jackson the puppy. But there is not a word about it in this whole, wretched paper.
(You can check the conference out for yourself at http://services.choruscall.ca/links/cphanbpei.html ).
Here is a case where the chief medical officer has said there is severe risk of danger to health and even to life - not to mention the danger to the environment for generations to come - in shale gas development. She is supported by most of the medical profession. The industry people, a big-time political hack, and a professor who used to teach something else say there's no problem. Tell you what, messrs. Irving and and McKenna et al, bring your families down here, and set up home in the shale gas fields or, perhaps, in the place they intend to dump billions of tons of toxic waste.
This incident proves once again that the Irving press is designed to keep New Brunswickers in ignorance of what is going on, and to encourage stupidity. The only possible excuse for the editors of these papers is that they are themselves, among the stupid. Well, it is not a possibility I would dismiss out of hand.
New Brunswick is dominated by people who don't give a damn whether we live or die. If we were all to die tomorrow, well, there would still be lots of places where people will work for peanuts and put up with abuse.
The case of the Chief Medical Officer highlights another aspect of the abuse. What it pleases the Irvings to call 'the private sector' (but which really means them and their friends). has mounted a major assault on our institutions - interfering with them by imposing administrative structures that are damaging to them, and interfering with their work.
The interfering comes from imposing Sigma Six business administration structures on health care, the civil service and schools. That's what the restructuring of our health care system is all about.
The interference with schools, which began with standardized testing (which not only interferes with the freedom of teachers to teach, but is also educational nonsense.) - and now we have a hopelessly unqualified son of one of the favoured who has no qualification whatever to teach reading (or anything else) who has now been given two and half million by our spineless government so he can interfere with real teachers who know how to teach reading.
All this is leading to two disasters.
One is the gradual privatization of health and of education. We already know about the privatization of health. In the US, it has produced the most expensive health system in the world - that is also one of the least effective health systems in the world.
The same has been true in the privatization of education in the US. American education is now probably the worst in the developed world. (Forget about saving Canadian universities. They've already been bought, and already are following business practices. The most notable result has been what we've seen in business - a stunning rise in the salaries and perks of university administrators with no noticeable improvement in teaching.)
The other effect is that of running health and education and the civil service as if they were business institutions. They aren't. Imposing business structures on them will demoralize them and destroy their effectiveness.
The leaders of the big business world are made stupid by greed. They design systems that reflect such stupidity. We should be very cautious about following their leadership in anything.
As always, Alec Bruce is good - though I can't help noticing his column today uses statistics to praise Canada. I think it was just yesterday he wrote a column that was critical of the use of statistics.
The editorial is much better than usual. It is so much improved that it might reasonably be called nothing worse than trivial. Norbert Cunningham and Beth Lyons both produce excellent columns on the treatment of women. Norbert's is a particularly gruesome read - but a very effective one.
Rod Allen continues to kid himself that he's a master of sophisticated humour. I recommend him to high school teachers who want their students to learn what awkward sentences and stilted language can do to writing.
I know I said I would write something on how reporters should be covering municipal affairs. I'm sorry. I simply felt I had to say all I did about the assaults of "the private sector" (meaning a few very rich and very greedy people) on our institutions. These are incompatible with democracy and, in fact, have already destroyed most democracy in New Brunswick. They are also profoundly damaging to our schools, our health, and to us.
We either face that very soon; or we write off New Brunswick as a place to live. And, no, I don't think electing the Liberals is the answer.
I also apologize for being late with the blog. I had to take my son for his last trip to the orthodontist for his braces. Just two more children to go, and then I get a free cookie from the orthodontist.