Today's Moncton Times continues, like yesterday'sk, is boring and irrelevant - and that's quite a trick with a national election going on. It hasn't even picked up on the coalition scare tactic of Harper. I thought they'd be on that one like a shot. When the opposition did propose a coalition a year or two ago, the editorial was quite clear. A coalition was outside Canadian constitutional practice. It was illegal and unconstitutional. Since then, the Ottawa Sun has upped the ante by saying coalitions are immoral.
Interestingly, when Mr James Irving anncounced in the pages of the Moncton Times that he and his unelected friends were forming a coalition with the government (and that was certainly illegal), the editors hid under their desks and pretended not to notice it. So far, at least, we have not seen an editorial proclaiming Mr. Irving either criminal or immorall.
Incidentally, Harper's conservative party was formed in a coalition with most of the Progressive Conservatives. Does that mean Mr. Harper is immoral and criminal? I'm very open to suggestions.
For that matter, the Progressive-Conservative party itself is the product of a coalition of two parties -the Conservative Party, and the largely western Progressive Party. As well, the federal government of Canada was a coalition toward the end of World War I. Governments of many countries, Israel is a prime example, are commonly formed by coalitions. I look forward to the Moncton Times editorial calling the Conservative party of Canada, and the governments of Israel both illegal and immoral.
Generally, today's Times and Transcript is the usual product of editors who lack the integrity to report the news without bias and who, if they had integrity, still don't have enought brains to find their own bellybuttons using both hands.
But the shocker is on the op ed page. Elsie Hambrook chairs The New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Her columns are invariably well written, and among the very few intellectually stiumlating columns in a the paper. This particular column is a brief, clear, highly readable, and unflinching recognition of how far women have still to go to win equaliry in this province. But...
...the shocker is at the bottom of the first column. "If this is my last column (due to the government cutting the Advisory Council's funding), here is a list of of the work left to do..."
That's an astonishing statement. Usually, a newspaper pays for columnists. I've written a thousand or more of them. I have wrtten them free for charitable groups and for community groups. But I have never written a free one at the request of a newspaper and, indeed, have never heard of such a thing.
Columnists of a real newspaper are chosen by the editors. They are chosen for their expertise (like Gwynn Dyer) or for their broad knowledge and ability to communicate (like Alec Bruce) - and, I should have thought, for insight into community and wider needs (like Elsie Hambrook).
Has The Times been getting this as a freebie? Or because of her title? I should thnk the that a newspaper whose editors think the great need for Moncton is an eighty million dollar hockey rink badly needs an Elsie Hambrook to retain what shreds of intelligence and integrity it still has.
Why is it possible that Elsie Hambrook might have written her last column?