What a slow day for the Moncton Times! Even the editorial (lots of self-praise) to made advertisers happy) was boring. At. least, The Times seems to be taking a break from those propaganda reports from Atlantic Instute of Market Studies and its brethren like The Fraser Insyisute. But with its minimal and uninformative coverage, it still has made the most crucial election in Canadian history just boring.
There were two reports on local debates. Unfortunately, there are few ways more useless than debates in getting out information to people. Given the short time, the many issues, and the constant shift from person to person, you cannot transmit ideas in a debate.
To explain a point of view, you need first to have an audience which understands to issue in the debate is. Very few news media anywhere in North America provide that understanding. You cannot explain even one of those issues, then explain the position you take on it, and reasons economically, socially, practically (and with luck, morally), then stop while an opponent interrupts with words that might provoke an audience to think but, more likely,will just cause confusion and leave prejudices intact.
Frequently, the politicians themselves don't know what all those words mean. I asked one what economic politicis his party stood for. He said, "We believe in sound economic policies that will make Canada a better country." (Well, there's flash for The Moncton Times. "Most Canadian political parties stand for unsound economic policies -also want Canada to be a worse country.") Donne-moi un break.
The result - an uninformed people, an uninforming news media across North America, a bored electorate which doesn't understand what's going one - and a turnout that drops in every election. All other issues aside - how long do you think democracy will survive in a country like that?
Or we can take a look at a specific issue. We're at war in two countries. Why? Were we attacked? Did the British monarchy order it like they used to in colonial days? Why isn't that an alection issue?
Oh. You've been told its to help Libyans win democracy? So why don't we support a no-fly zone over Bahraen where the dictators of Saudi Arabia are torturing and killing protesters who want democracy?
The reality is that the case of Libya has nothing to do with humanitarian aid or democracy. It has to do with setting up an African version of NATO which, like the western one will be dominated by the US. There will be at least a generation, probably more, of these wars in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Each like Iraq, will require an army of occuation troops (oh, sorry. I meant military advisors). This election may well decide how far we will be sucked into that swamp.
The Moncton T@T could do a real service in running a non-partisan commentary series on the parties, their principles, and the issues so that voters could at least have some sense of what's going on. It could stimulate people to think, and to vote. But it won't.
At the very least, the editorial writer could sign his or her name. Mind you, I understand the desire to remain anonymous. I understand and even symphathize becasue I used to wear a bag over my head when I had a ticket to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs.