Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28: It don't change much from day to day - do it?

I always despair of finding anything to comment on (or even to read) in Section A. But today, there was a breath of hope with a report on the provincial Liberal convention. But it proved to be just a short breath. On A10

As usual, the convention put forward "neat" ideas on French immersion, abortion, and public pensions. But the value of a political party cannot rest on 3 (or 30) "neat" ideas. This sort of thing is the stuff of high school president elections. Any group that aspires to public office with control of  the lives of hundreds of thousands of people should have more than a few "neat" ideas to run on. They should stand for some set of values, of principles, of reasons they want to run.

We should know how a Liberal, for example, is different from a Conservative. And I don't mean the the usual "liberals tax and spend", "conservatives are careful with money" or any of those other vapid opinions that we so often hear. If their is any difference in philosophy, in values, principles between Liberals and Conservatives, I should dearly love to know what it is. Certainly, I have never seen any difference in their behaviour or in their subservience to corporate bosses.

We have yet two more big stories on the recognition of two popes as saints. Let's not overdo it - like that missing Malaysian airliner.

This is in NewsToday. There really is nothing new in the story. As in so many of these stories, what we really need is more background, more of t he general meaning - rather than simply more quotations that don't tell us much.  (

Oh, I have a relative, Reverend Zenon Decarie, who is up for sainthood. I look forward to several weeks of daily appearances of the story.)

On the same page is the story that Montreal is extending drinking hours at two, downtown bars until 5;30 a.m.

These non-stories continue to the last page of NewsToday, C4, where North Dakota is all excited about  building drones (unmanned aircraft). Then, last of all, two, real stories slip in. One is about tornadoes that struck the US, killing about 17 people.

Then there is the story of a Canadian soldier who served in Afghanistan, who suffers post traumatic stress disorder, and who wants to make the problem better understood. This is the first news story I have seen that gives a vivid picture of the true horror of PTSD. It is far the best news story in the paper.

Apparently, nothing is happening in most of the world. Not, at least, in the irving press.
Then there's Alec Bruce's column. It's a gem about Senator Linda Frum. Linda Frum is the sister of David Frum, a not-very-bright columnist for newspapers, and a man of the most extreme "conservative' views. Their mother was Barbara Frum, a long-time favourite on CBC. The article deals with her inane though forceful arguments on something or other (it's hard to be sure exactly what.)

This is a real, Stephen Harper idea of what a senator should be.

I had the honour to hear her speaking to a small group of fellow ranters when she was a student at McGill. One obvious characteristic of her was her utter contempt for anyone who wan't rich. (She was born rich, but seemed to assume it was due entirely to her own efforts.) She was arrogant, condescending, rude, and illogical. So, of course, she was just what Stephen Harper was looking for in a senator.

When she was unmarried (perhaps divorced) , she did an article for MacLean's on the trials facing a struggling working girl out in the world alone. Most of it was was a tear-jerking story about how hard it is to deal with an interior decorator all on your own.

She did, at first, try to follow her mother's footsteps as a broadcaster. I saw her perform once or twice, and saw no future for her. But now, she doesn't need a future. Now, she has a lifetime career with a seat in Senate from which she can sneer at anybody who isn't rich.

Lucky us to have Linda representing us. Let's all of us get behind her, and make this a country in which no women ever again has to deal with an interior decorator alone.

On op ed, Steve Malloy is in top form with his talent for taking everyday events, and seeing significance in them. This time he deals with the difficulties of raising a girl in a society that still puts them in second place. There is real anger in this column, real and angry enough to make anybody angry.

There's an extra column on the back page. "Is transportation bureaucracy's rail policy stuck in past?"
I think it's worse than that that. It's stuck in the present.

This province, this country have no sense of preparing for the future. Harper is ready to kill passenger rail traffic in the maritimes because he doesn't see a use for it now. The reality is that we are not going to be able to continue our reliance on cars for travel - or on trucks for transport.

Cars and trucks require extremely expensive road building and maintenance. They're dangerous. They use vast quantities of gasoline which is becoming prohibitively expensive and prohibitively polluting.

Looking at the future, we simply cannot afford to throw away rail transportation.

Closing down passenger rail is short-sighted. And short-sightedness is what you get when you have politicians with "neat" ideas, but no principles.

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