I notice the Globe & Mail is hosting a Thursday morning live discussion to examine Gordon Campbell’s $100,000 speech to the province. Or, was that a $568 million speech? Columnist Gary Mason leads the discussion, joined by newly rehabilitated Liberal shyster John Les. No doubt Mason and the Globe are trying to be fair and balanced, at least in Mr. Campbell’s eyes. I guess Carol James, Bruce Ralston and the remaining opposition politicians were unavailable, so we get one of Gordo’s boys to analyse Gordo’s performance. That will be a tough review.
The new Toronto Globe and Mail has stopped trying to be Canada’s national newspaper of record. Instead, it aims to become a daily magazine, loaded with photos, fluff and fiction aimed at the wealthy set. That will make life easier for Postmedia’s Vancouver flagship, whose work has not compared well with that of the Globe’s small Western Bureau. The Sun will continue offering sophisticated editorial styling of Fazil Mihlar and his Fraser Institute helpers, not least of whom are Niels Veldhuis and Charles Lammam, the pair responsible for a recent Sun Op-Ed that declared Gordon Campbell the finest Premier in the history of Canada, or perhaps in the history of democracy. I’m not sure.
I revel in the diversity of views on the Internet. How sad it would be if the web was confined to the narrow range of opinions published in Canadian newspapers. Gatekeepers at the Vancouver Sun have grown worse under its new ownership. Letters to the Editor never criticize the paper’s work. Reporters who do not conform with corporate editorial positions, are unwelcome. As a result, a few have retired. Even the most respected reporters are subject to substantial rewrites if they stray too much.
The Vancouver newspaper has always supported the strongest pro-business party (usually Liberal) but that support used to be grounded in principles. I recall that long ago Socred Flying Phil was jetting family and friends on personal junkets using public aircraft. The Sun complained vigorously. They also reported on real estate deals where land speculators favored by Socreds seemed to have advance knowledge of road plans wherever the Highways Department was building new community by-pass roads on arterial highways. I recall tough reporting of the Sun during NDP wobbles too, including Bingogate, fast ferries, casino licensing and deck building. Today, the newspaper has a libertarian economic and political agenda. It serves only that. Ethics and honesty matter little to the newspaper.
How marvelous it is that blogs provide access to all sorts of political opinions. There are places for anarchists, libertarians, neo-conservatives, neo-liberals, social conservatives, progressives, socialists, rhinos and more. Unfortunately, too many talk only to each other but, if one is brave enough to read all sides, those sides are available on the Internet.
To prepare material for this blog, I read widely and not everything I look at is enjoyed. I hope that I’m always prepared to listen to the arguments of others. After all, the point of learning is to gain new information and new insights. If we simply chew on the same old concepts year after year, we would not grow intellectually and would miss the joy of gaining knowledge.
By the way, at the suggestion of another blogger, I look regularly at Terrace Daily Online. It is interesting to read material that is not dictated from a corporate board room. This is small town communication with a difference. They still publish news about minor hockey, fire calls and bus schedules but they also offer provincial and national stories. They are fearless when it comes to talking about government, even though that precludes advertising contracts. Today, I read another piece by Merv Ritchie. It is thought provoking, worthy of further examination, and a point of view commonly held in the heartlands of BC:
Many moves have been made during Campbell’s decade long run with the reigns of power. His very first move was to close in his circle of control and authority. His office became the fortress of power with many unelected executive positions for influence and direction. Nothing happened without it first going through the Central Government Agency, the secretive Campbell Office.
Even many of his own cabinet ministers never knew what they were going to announce and handle before Campbell or ‘The Office of the Premier’ announced it. Then the moves came swiftly, so fast the public couldn’t keep up and the media ignored it all. The BC Rail sale was the most striking and public betrayal, however the break up of and the sale of the management of BC Hydro to an Enron subsidiary was almost as absurd.
Then we had the Gambling (gaming) expansion, the public private partnerships, the selling off of the power potential of our rivers to IPP’s, the ripping up of public contracts, the permission to build private medical facilities, the HST fiasco and the secret creation of new taxes still not discussed, the sale of BC gas, the medical record keeping in the USA for all British Columbians (hope you didn’t see a shrink) . . .