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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Cue Chicken Little

That's right ladies and germs, the government is falling! The government is falling! Oh wait, except that this isn't a confidence vote, no matter how much the Conservatives and CanWest want it to be. Depsite headlines like "Liberals' fate hinges on definition of confidence vote" (Ottawa Citizen), tonight's vote is most certainly not a confidence vote. It could, however, make the Liberals look so pitiful that they'll be forced to either hold a confidence vote themselves or move their budget vote up (money votes are always confidence matters) to prove they still have the authority to govern. Either way, I hope something happens. Nobody wins when the Commons is reduced to childish insults and stall tactics. We'll miss you Ed Broadbent. Ask and ye shall receive Well don't that beat all? Both the National Post and Toronto Star feature lengthy commentaries on Darfur today, complete with context and background! The Post does so in the form of a comment by a U.S.-based professor (it doesn't tell you what kind of prof) saying that Canada should be doing more and that the 150 troops we're sending won't make a difference. I have mixed feelings on that (yes, we should do more but the 150 will help), but he goes into quite a bit of the history of the region and the current situation. The Star gives a little less of the history, but does sum up the challenges facing the people of Darfur fairly well. I hope you're watching, Globe, you could take a lesson from all of this. Coverage spree Everyone takes their own little take on the government's pre-election spending spree, with the Post actually giving a blow-by-blow account of where the money is going. What every outlet is lacking, however, is some (wait for it. . . ) context. Pre-election spending is a staple of every government, it's disingenous to suggest otherwise. By reading the coverage today, you'd think Martin was the first one to think of this. It may very well be that this government is spending more than previous, or that the initiatives are more poorly conceived, but we'll never know because there's no context. It's the opposition's job to decry this sort of spending, but that doesn't mean journalists should dutifully take notes and report what they say verbatim. ASK A FUCKING QUESTION. DO SOME RESEARCH. The reporters know what Harper is going to be talking about, why can't they dig through the history books and find out what other governments have done in the lead up to an election? If this is truly the worst example of pre-election vote buying, report that. If not, challenge Harper. Either way, be armed with the information you need. Sgro? That name rings a bell This is one of those wait-and-see things I like to do. CBC is reporting that former Immigration Minister Judy Sgro is going to be cleared by the ethics commissioner in the case of the stripper she gave a permit to. According to the CBC, the stripper only worked on Sgro's campaign for one day, and Sgro had no idea who she was. Remember how much play this story got when it broke? Say what you will about the ethics lapdog. . . sorry, watchdog, he's all we've got right now. The media owes it to Sgro to give his ruling as much play as the initial allegations. The CBC report actually got picked up in a few papers already, we'll see what tomorrow brings. Hyperbo-whatnow? Oh man, the National Post ran a brutual editorial celebrating all things Bush today. Seriously, it's nuts. The website only gives access to it to subscribers so it's doubtful that many of you will get to read it, but allow me to quote: "Few contemporary leaders enjoy the clarity of purpose and the moral foundation of Mr. Bush, and fewer still have the ability to deliver their message with the plain language and eloquent idealism of the President." "After the address, a reporter suggested to Mr. Bush that the United States might be behind the 'revolutionary' change in Georgia and Ukraine, and might be 'inappropriately meddling in the neighbourhood.' Mr. Bush replied: 'Freedom is universal. Freedom is etched in everybody's soul. And the idea of countries helping others become free, I would hope that would be viewed as not revolutionary, but rational foreign policy, as decent foreign policy, as humane foreign policy.' Well said, Mr. Bush. The spread of freedom and democracy is more than decent, rational foreign policy. It is a human imperative." Wow! Does this smack of North Korean, all hail the leader bullshit to anyone else? He's not even our President! Plain language and eloquent idealism? Perhaps I misunderestimated Mr. Bush.

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