If a government falls in a forest and nobody hears. . .
Wow, it looks like this whole minority government experiment is about to collapse. Too bad, I was looking forward to an entire session of all the parties denying that an election is looming while accomplishing nothing at all. Division of Powers 101: A primer on the Canadian constitution Sarah Schmidt reports today that the federal government is spending less on post-secondary education than in the past, despite surging enrollment. The story was all over the place (National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald and Regina Leader-Post) and you can almost hear the provincial governments and student lobby groups frantically copy-and-pasting this bad boy into e-mail listservs and placard-making machines. Only one problem, Ms. Schmidt. The federal government doesn't fund post-secondary education, the provinces do. Thanks to Paul Martin's spineless capitulation to the provinces in 1993, transfer payments are no longer earmarked, the provinces get a lump sum of money to spend as they see fit. Schmidt clearly understands this, as she points out "Ottawa estimates the provinces are spending $4.5-billion of the Canada social transfer for core funding for colleges and universities this year." She compares this as being "down from $6.18-billion provided for post-secondary education a decade ago, before the federal Liberals abolished the established financing programs and replaced it with the less generous Canada social transfer." However, despite this obvious understanding of the system, she fails to explain that a) the Liberals abolished the established financing programs because of provincial pressure and b) therefore, it's not the feds who aren't funding education. There are a lot of reasons to criticize the federal government's performance on post-secondary, but CanWest is clearly spinning this story to suit their provincial-rights agenda. And not very well. Is this supposed to make up for lost time? The Citizen ran an editorial welcoming a book on Rwanda by former UN special envoy to Rwanda Jacques-Roger Booh Booh. For those not up to speed on the Rwanda thing, Booh Booh was the ineffective, spineless jackass who fiddled while Rwandans got shot and hacked to bits. Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire had a few choice words for Mr. Booh Booh in his book, and evidently, Booh Booh's feelings got hurt. Thing is, the Citizen even acknowledges that his book is a crock of shit, but argues that "any new version of events, however biased, is a welcome addition to an all-too-thin oeuvre on the UN's handling of the worst mass murder in a half-century." This is right in line with the mind-boggling assertion that the free market theory can apply to intangible ideas such as truth. Perhaps the Citizen has a bit of a guilt complex going on - perhaps they welcome additions to the examination of the UN's handling of Rwanda because it takes the heat off of the media's equally shameful failure there. A biased recollection of events does not help paint a clearer picture. Booh Booh's book has already been slammed by independent watchdogs as being full of total lies (the editorial even admits this). Does he have the right to publish it? Sure. Should the Citizen blindly welcome it? No. Toronto Star, you break my heart Normally I love the Star. They tend to be reasonable in their coverage (see Gomery Inquiry: Waiting for actual news of). But Tim Harper's story on Yushchenko's visit to Washington opens with a horrible lead. "Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko made his first triumphant visit to the White House yesterday where he stood as both a symbol of George W. Bush's quest to spread freedom and the U.S. president's crumbling coalition in Iraq." Wow, he stood as a symbol of Bush's quest to spread freedom, did he? Was he wearing some sort of sandwich board? Did he have a cleverly-worded t-shirt? This sort of rhetoric is par for the course in American papers (like the National Post), but the Star usually avoids the journalistic-fellation of the Leader of the Free World. Makes me sad. Citizen continues to ignore Syria's pullout from Lebanon I was hoping that the Citizen would just be a day late on the story about Syria setting a deadline for withdrawal from Lebanon. No such luck. The story was bumped for such doozies as "Neil Young enjoys the Junos" and "Here's who's coming to the Pope's funeral." Interestingly enough, both the Syrian and Lebanese heads of state will be at the funeral, perhaps they'll chat there and the Citizen will finally notice. And as for the Neil Young story, the Ottawa Sun at least ran it in the entertainment section where it belongs. Not so for the Citizen, that's A7 material for them. Finally, anyone else sick of the bullshit posturing over Zhara Kazemi? Suddenly, Martin wants to protect the doctor who examined her so he can get to the bottom of the murder. Harper's pissed that the government has taken so long to expose the torture. The Post is mad at everyone for ignoring this for so long. Martin: It's your government. You want to get to the bottom of it, get in Iran's face. Harper: Torturing Canadians is bad. Torturing non-Canadians "suspected" of terrorist ties is okay? Fuck you, hypocrite. Post: See Harper.