Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 1: Starting all over...

Page A1 has a story "New Canadians ready to celebrate first Canada Day." Typically, the story isn't about new Canadians. It's about how wonderful Moncton has been to them. In short, this is old-fashioned, small-town boosterism.

The reality is that new Canadians are close to invisible in Moncton. In fact, in this story, they aren't even mentioned after the first, few paragraphs. They're invisible in other ways, too. They really don't exist on the Faith page on Saturday. To make that page, you pretty much have to be white, Protestant - and fundamentalist Protestant at that.  (You know - the real Jesus Jumpers.)  There are no Jews, no Muslims, no Hindus, no Confucists, not even any Catholics.

How many "new Canadians" are there in Moncton? What reception do they get? For example, across Canada, anyone who isn't white has a tougher time getting a job, and gets lower pay. Is Moncton a shining exception to that rule? Or are we as narrow and bigoted as the pages of the Irving press suggest we are?

How does it feel to live as a member of a visible minority in Moncton? Is it really just like being one of the gang? (If so, this is  the only city I've ever seen like that.)  It's very nice of the Irving press to have a (very brief and superficial) story about them once a year. But if we really do accept them, then why aren't they more visible in our news media and our lives?

In a related issue, Why does the Faith page specialize in Halleluja fundamentalists? Why does it never have a column by a Catholic? Presbyterian? Anglican? United Church? and never someone from outside the Christian circle? How can we know and accept and understand and appreciate others if we don't know anything about them?

Or is there something about the New Brunswick pecking order that I don't understand?      

For that matter, even native peoples are outsiders. We get no news about them unless there's a demonstration. We know nothing about their religious principles, how they govern, what conditions they live in....

Related to that are Opinion and Commentary pages which are, to say the least, pretty shallow stuff for the most part. The editorial is a sort of  1950s speech  in which Canada is seen as a model for the world.  Actually, the days when we were a model for the world are long past. The world today knows us for what we are - a colony of the U.S. empire.  We send up interceptors if Russian aircraft come within some hundreds of miles of our Arctic claims. But the US freely sends ships through our northern waters deliberately without asking the legal permission to do so. And we do nothing. U.S. billionaires are already preparing to drill for oil in the Canadian Arctic, though that will drastically speed the rate of ice cap melting and of climate change. And so far, not a peep from Canada.

Nations are not friends with each other.   The biggest, perhaps the only, threat to Canadian independence is the U.S. But we just pretend none of this is happening.

Then the editorial has a sort of Bible-thumping part in which it says the leaders "of this great nation" need "all the wisdom God and humanity can provide to  protect a "way of life, of freedom,of a culture  that welcomes people from  anywhere, every where."

The immigrants "want the same things as we who are already here. They are just like us."

This is just drivel that would be an embarassment even as a high school graduation speech.  

In the first place, Canada does not welcome people from everywhere. It never has. We refused to accept Jews before, during, and after World War 2. In fact, there was a strong movement to expel the Jews who were here early in the 20th century.     We don't accept Romanys.  Harper is quite firm on that.   We didn't accept Chinese until we needed them for cheap and expendable labour on the railways. Then we wouldn't help them to get home again  And we wouldn't let them bring over their wives and children. We have not extended any significant help to the tens of millions of middle east refugees that we have a hand in creating. We imprisoned Canadian Ukrainians in World War 1 for reasons that have never been clear. We imprisoned Japanese Canadians, including those born in Canada and their children in World War Two. Then our government stole all their possessions, and sold them at bargain rates to friends. From the start, this country has discriminated heavily against African-Canadians. It still does. We just don't talk about it, and our news media never mention it.

How many Black mps and mlas have been elected in the whole history of this province?  How many non-whites are on the staff of the Irving press? How many native peoples?  In over 400 years, what have we done for our native  children but abuse them - and put a high proportion in jail.

We have secret police to investigate native peoples, Muslims, and anybody who disagrees with Harper. The police report to Harper and to big business.

An oil train closely attached to the Irvings kills 47 people. Where was the big invesigation there? And, if there was one, how come we never heard about it?  Native people may well protest the Sisson's mine as a threat to their environment. If they do, they will face police with riot gear and, probably, a sort of military police with combat rifles and camouflage. And people will be arrested and jailed. And if Sissons just barges in? Well, when was the last time you heard of the riot squad being called out to deal with business execs? When was the last time you heard of the secret police investigating them - and reporting to us.

The editorial says we need to protect a "way of life, of  freedom, , of culture."

If you need to protect a way of life, then you cannot allow people in who will change it. The foundation stones of  "protecting a way of life" are manifested in bigotry, hatred and racism.
Personally, I have usually found that the immigrants who made changes in our way of life vastly improved it. ( Anyway, you might have a tough time finding anybody with a brain who actually knows what our "way of life" is.)

Harper doesn't think that way, though. He humiliated a Muslim woman in front of the nation by refusing to let her take the oath of citizenship because she was dressed as a Muslim instead of a Christian.

Freedom?  We're governed by puppets paid off by big business. We have secret police who invade our privacy. We have a new law that effectively takes away most of our rights.

We are, says the editor, a mosaic of  peoples. He also writes, "The immigrants are just like us."

Mr. editor, do you know what a mosaic is? It's a picture made of small stones of different sizes, shapes and colours. The pieces are different from each other. If the immigrants are just like us, how the hell can we be a mosaic? This is just mindless, grad speech ranting.

Oh, and this is a nation that embraces peace, justice, and prosperity for all. This really generates an urge to "fwow up"

Peace? In the last century we have fought a good twenty years of war, and we're now cooperating with war in Ukraine, and have pilots killing people in Iraq and Syria - for reason we don't know - but because the U.S. wants us to. That's what a colony does.

Justice? This is a country, like the U.S,, in which disproportionate numbers of  visible minorities and native peoples are in prison. A country in which a train operated on the cheap and with lots of faults in its condition and its use can kill 47 people. And nobody of real importance in this crime even gets investigated. It's a country in which the heir of a beer empire can be charged with killing his father, and still spend at couple of years ( maybe more) a free man.

Prosperity for all? This is a country in which the government is encouraging the wealthiest to get even wealthier at the expense of everybody else. It's a country in which we are told that the poor have to pay taxes and lose services so the rich won't have to pay for the recesssion caused by the rich. Read "Off the cliff" for a sample of that kind of thinking.

All this is a long time to spend on just one, admittedly stinking, editorial. But an editorial is supposed to represent the opinion of all the editorial staff. And this editorial is so stunningly ignorant of Canada that I really wonder whether the Brunswick press is really lying so much as it seems to. Maybe it's not lying. Maybe it's run by really ignorant and incompetent people.                          

Norbert's column is passable. Brian Cormier, as usual, has nothing to say. and "Canada's Tax czar has done well addressing business concerns" is the usual freebie propaganda piece for a business group.

Alec Bruce is excellent on Harper's crusade to build monuments to himself.
Section B,   "Canada&World" is its usual trivial and sloppy self.

The story that Greece has defaulted on its loan from the International Monetary Fund is important. But it's hard to tell why it's important from the news report. Other than that most of the stories are trivial. The only one worth readiing is B3 "Brazil plans massive reforestation as contribution to global climate treaty."

That's good news. Too bad it won't balance the damage done to global climate by New Brunswick's clear cutting of trees, and it's use of various poisons on them. (Mr. Irving is so good to us. And he's a man of God with a chapel named after him and "special music' with the service, and coffee and fellowship in the barn. Life doesn't get better than that.)

....though, might, instead, want to drop by the Catholic cemetery in Bouctouche to see the grave of Raoul Leger. He was a lay missionary serving in Guatemala when he was tortured to death by the Guatemala military who were working with the US government, the CIA, Israeli intelligence and with American and Canadian mining companies to murder some quarter of a million Guatemalan men, women and children who objected to starvation wages and gross pollution. Clergy of all faiths who supported the Guatemalans were also murdered.

So far as I can tell, the story never made the Irving press. Well, who knows. It might have embarrassed some Christian New Brunswickers who had heavy investment in those mining companies.

Anyway, Leger's grave is in Bouctouche, not far from the Irving Chapel (though not nearly so famous as the chapel. I mean, the chapel is so important it's mentioned every week in the Bruswick news, and Mr. Irving is famous for being in the Philanthropic Hall of Fame, while all Raoul Leger did was to get killed helping others.)

Who knows? A visit to the grave might give you something to think about while you listen to the Irving Chapel's "special" music, and sip your coffee in the barn.

There is never much news in the Irving press. And that which is there really tells us little, and doesn't really explain anything.

Look. People get news from radio and TV (both of which to a poor job of explaining it). Why should newspapers print stories that are at least a day old? Wouldn't it make more sense to use newspapers for analysis of the news? That would give people something to understand and to discuss.

Very few people on the staff of Irving press are capable of doing that. The closest approach to top rate analysis by highly specialized and honest people like Gwynne Dyer and  David Suzuki. But we rarely see either of them. Why not scrap Canada&World - which usually has nothing, anyway -and rebuild it as pages of commentary from free-lancers like Dyer and Suzuki?

The whole Irving press could unite to produce the same section B for all its papers. That would keep costs down.

Section A is always trivial and pretty worthless. But I know there's no hope of changing that. So all news stories could go there, local and world. Just trim the local part because it's usually a zero, anyway.


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