Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sept. 25: Missing the point....

All the comment I've seen on l'affaire Professor Lapierre has missed the point and only one group has reacted with any credit to itself.

The rector of UdeMoncton has expressed fears the behaviour of Professor Lapierre will damage the reputation of the university. It probably will - though not seriously or for long. It's unfortunate it should damage the reputation of the university at all because the rector of UdeM is the only individual who has reacted responsibly and intelligently to this affair.

He fired Lapierre. He gave and expected no excuses. He did exactly what he should have done. So has the teaching staff in rejecting Prof. Lapierre's behaviour completely, and with no excuses.

The government has switched the topic from his deception to the "fine work he has done". Here is a government which, like governments before it, assigned Lapierre to important tasks without taking the simple an obvious step of checking his credentials.

Here is a government which says Lapierre has done good work without having the slightest qualification to judge whether his work is good or not. The Irving Press has followed the same line though it, too, has nobody in it who has any expertise in ecology or has had the wit to ask any questions.

The real issue here is not Professor Lapierre.

The real issue is that over the years, he has been assigned to positions in which he made decisions that profoundly affect our environment. He raised allowances for how much our forests could be harvested without causing irreversible damage to wild life or to the forest itself. He made similar moves weakening protections for our streams. I haven't seen any credible statement on whether this has done serious damage.

Now, let's close our eyes really tight, and try to think hard. Who benefited from decisions like that?

For a possible answer, turn to Letters to the Editor and read the first one. It's from a Mr. James K. Irving of Rothesay.  He says that the measure of a man is not just by his degrees, but by a genuine passion to work with others and to move things forward.

That is far the silliest statement I have seen on this whole affair. Mr. Irving obviously needs some more skilled communications people. An honest one will tell thim that the last thing that would inspire confidence in this province is a recommendation from Mr. James K. Irving of Rothesay. The real message of his letter for any intelligent reader is, "Hide your wallets, folks."

Mr. Irving's letter has, if unintentionally, put a finger right on the real issue. What was it that Professor Lapierre did to this province and its people? And who stood to gain from what he did?

Mr. Irving is right on one point. The real issue is not his degrees. The real issue is what did he do
 to us, and for whom did he do it?

That is the real issue -and the one that has been avoided by the Irving press. Now, it has been put up front by Mr. Irving, himself. From the point of view of his own interests, that is one hell of an unwise letter. But not to worry. Nobody in the Irving press is going to run with that ball.

In more important news, a new Irving gas station and convenience store is opening in Dieppe; and some more people got hounoured for something.

In NewsToday, Harper is seeking an Iran solution - as if any in this whole world could care what Harper is seeking. He has made Canada irrelevant on the world stage, and an obvious stooge for the US and Israel.

However, some kind of important stories just didn't make it.

1. Privately-owned  prisons in the US (a move which has intrigued Harper) have been guaranteed 90% and sometimes 100% occupancy, with the government required to pay them at those rates even if they are empty.
This has had the result of putting pressure on legal authorities to jail even more people and to keep them in jail longer, even for minor offences. It also makes the private prisons far more costly to taxpayers than public prisons are. In fact, it gets worse. The private prisons don't accept prisoners who require medical treatment because that would cut into their profits. So the taxpayers get hit there, too.

Think about that next time you hear somebody babbling about Public/Private Partnerships, and how much more efficient private business is.

Think of it as you read about how our great business minds who now run our hospitals are going to improve care AND save money by firing staff.  Good idea. We could save a hell of a lot by firing super-expensive managers hired from the business world.

By the way, in a province suffering high unemployment, how do we improve things by creating more unemployed?

That's the trouble with business management practices. They're all about short term profits - with no consideration for needs or for the province as a whole.

2. American spying is running wildly out of control. American spy agencies are sharing all their information on American citizens (and Canadians and others) with Israel. Brazil has just discovered that the "national security" spy agency has also been spying on Brazil's industrial secrets. Gee. I wonder who gets those reports? And if Brazilian industry is being spied on, you can bet that Canadian and Venezualan - and, oh, lots of other countries are being spied on.

But who are we to point the finger? Our RCMP spies on environmentalists, and reports on them to big business. Way to protect our freedoms, gang.

3. Canadian Lt. General Charles Doucet, who commanded NATO in the bombing of Libya has retired from our military. And, lucky him, he just happened to land a job as the director of Canadian operations for Lockheed Martin, the company that builds us fighter planes we don't need (and that don't seem to work, anyway) at incredibly high prices.

Welcome, Canada, to the military-industrial complex that General Eisenhower warned the US about.


4. Syria has agreed to open its chemical weapons to inspection, and to destroy them.

The US promised years ago to destroy its chemical weapons. It has never done so. And it has never allowed inspection.

And everybody pretends that Israel doesn't have any.

Oh - yeah - and even US intelligence now admits there is no evidence whatever that the Syrian government used poison gas. The missiles fired in the attack were made in Russia, and supplied to Saudi Arabia and others who have been supplying - the "rebels".


The editorial is pure bullshit about how firing hospital staff improves service to patients.

Norbert is back to trivial - but harmless - columns.

Alec Bruce has a helluva good column. I don't understand the point of his last sentence. (But there's lots of t hings I don't understand.)

The op ed page is a waste of time.


But don't miss that letter from James K. Irving of Rothesay.

I think we could set it to the tune of O Canada - to be sung by children at the start of every school day and before hockey games.

"Dr. Louis Lapierre
Has been the subject of
Much cri-ti-cism
For a mistake he has acknowledged
And for which
he has sincerely apo- o -ologized"

....with a stirring conclusion.

"I a-am proud to ca-al him my friend.
I a-am proud to ca-al him my friend."


1 comment:

  1. Mark D'Arcy, FrederictonSeptember 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Thanks so much Graeme. I just posted it on Twitter:

    Mark D'Arcy ‏@markdarcycanada Sept. 25, 2013
    @TheIrvingdotcom Collusion between self-serving friends matters more than the truth? #LacMegantic #shalegas #nbpoli