Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14:New Brunswick Passenger Rail.....

A1 has a story well worth reading. It's about the decision to repair the passenger railway track in northern New Brunswick. In short, it's a statement by a national railway consultant who says this looks like just a band-aid. He says Via Rail made the decision almost certainly because we're into an election year - and a little largesse could swing some seats to the government.

What's needed,  he says, is a long term plan to boost ridership. Otherwise, the line will simply die, anyway, and the repair bill will be wasted.

He's being gentle.

The current federal government's planning (and not just the current government) is heavily opportunistic and based on re-election strategy. This, after all, is the government that is planning to boost oil consumption until every drop has been sucked out of our soil. It does that even as the Antarctic ice shelf is disappearing.

Despite years of warning, Canadian governments have ignored the threat of climate change. They have made no significant attempt to develop alternative sources of energy, or even to use the oil we have with greater efficiency.

The development of rail traffic is not a solution to the problem. But it is a hell of a lot better than our heavy reliance on roads, trucks, cars and aircraft. Alas! The only kind of long term planning of which Harper is capable is destroying environmental protections to attract more resource industries.

A4 has a story worth reading about. "More arts, culture programmes needed in province" I don't know whether it's the lack of such programmes, but New Brunswick has, in general, the intellectual life of a cheap bar at closing time. And that has a savage impact on the quality of public discussion of just about everything.

I think much of it is part of  a village mentality, a desire not to be different, a fear of being seen as different, that afflicts this province. But anything that can help to break that pattern would be useful - and arts and culture could play a role.

And then we wouldn't have any more Alward governments..

In NewsToday, nothing much happened anywhere in the world. So it could all be covered in one and a half pages of  which most are New Brunswick news.

In what is for the Irving press a hot and controversial story, the president of St. Thomas University told graduating students to be courageous and take risks.

I don't know. Being a coward and always wearing rubber boots on damp days has always worked for me.
The story also tells us who got awards - you know, all that grad stuff. And that story counts for one-fifth of all that is going on in the world.

In a slightly smaller story, we get largely incomprehensible and one-sided news of what is going on in Ukraine. Considerable space is given to those who blame Russia. For the cuter touches, read C1, paragraph 8 of "Ukraine soldiers killed in ambush."

According to it, the old, Ukraine government was "ousted". That's nice word. It could mean simply that they lost an election. So there was no coup, no violence. It was just "ousted".

And the new government is just a "caretaker" one.  That's a nice word,too. There is no hint it had anything to do with the violence and the coup. Why, no. They're caretakers. Just like nurses, really. Our news media play that game all the time.

Not much on editorial or op ed pages.

The editorial is, yet again, on the events centre and how profitable it will be. But that gives me an idea.

A prime user of the events centre would be the owner of the hockey team. In the spirit of entreprenurship, why don't we let him build and operat. the events centre?

I mean, we all know from the writings of the editor and Norbert that politicians are incompetent at running anything, and that entrepreneurs are much, much smarter.

And what a thrill for the owner of the team. Why, this will give him the chance to take the risks that entrepreneurs just love.  Looks like a win-win to me.

And Norbert has the answer (again) to deal with our provincial financial challenges. We must - and he is crystal clear on this - we must do something.

Clap! Clap!  Well said, sir.

And since Norbert still refuses to recognize the role of the super-rich who control this province, there's only one remedy he can think of. Cut services and raise taxes. In other words, make the poor pay.

You will note he has yet to give a single example of where that has been tried and has worked.

Think harder, Norbert.

Alec Bruce has an interesting column. The problem is that the writing is aimed at an intellectually more sophisticated audience than New Brunswick has.

On op ed page, Eric Lewis offers dieting advice. It's not useless - but surely specialist advice like this should be coming from a dietician, not from a reporter.

Brian Cormier writes on how there aren't enough women in politics. Alas! He doesn't seem to know a whole lot about the topic. Specifically, he needs to look more closely at why men seem to be highly combative and cave-man in politics than women are. He needs to think more - not about how women have a right to be in politics  (that, after all, should be a given), but what it is that keeps them out. That might explain why some of the women we do get in politics are remarkably similar to the men we get. (Margaret Thatcher springs to mind.)

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