Media Beat: January 29, 2018

Joly’s jolly decision having read the news about her giveaways

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly has dished out hundreds of millions in cash over the past 24 months for a laundry bag of culturally important stuff such as “intercultural understanding,” and a museum that has 600 canoes, kayaks and "paddled watercraft" on display. Waiting rooms in hospitals are jammed. The borders are more porous than coffee filters, and drug abuse is now at epidemic proportion; but tax the rich, tax Netflix, put money into filling the potholes on the Highway of Heroes and its get in a line, bud. And that line is going to be longer than the Charter of Rights; just like any queue for services requiring simple servants.

But, our jolly minister of platitudes and gratitude does read the headlines, and the fact that the Globe and Mail, The Star, and a newsstand of other caffeinated and opinionated editorial scribblers have been squawking like crows at a Mariposa sing-along, has earned Goldilocks’ full attention.

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly’s spokesperson says there will be "an announcement in the coming weeks or months" concerning the $75M annual periodical fund, which The Canadian Press tells us, is currently under review. It's a bail-out of sorts meant to quiet alarmists, and readers who may vote in the next election.

The matter came up last week with representatives of the Federation nationale des communications, a Quebec union that represents 6,000 people who work in culture and communications and has the persuasive power to unseat Joly in her province, a landmass the Liberals consider ground zero for re-election.

Throwing more cash is the remedy for all ills with this government, even as the publisher of Canada’s largest circulation newspaper says policy fixes, not bail-outs, are the prescriptive remedy--a solution that has his Postmedia counterpart howling like a werewolf with a toothache on a long weekend.

The Star’s John Honderich is proposing a sort of bill of rights that requires the government to balance the game and not splash the cash like a kid with a borrowed credit card on the first day of holidays.

The truth is more complicated.

With so many town hall meetings to glad-hand and glam about at, and a destiny of charm offensives and chat confabs with posturing politicians around the globe, our man Justin time is ready to muffle dissenters in his headlining dash to be seen as a man of action. A sort of mamby-pamby pugilist with pacifist tendencies.

There's also the fact that our man Justin just doesn’t have the time here at home to make considered decisions.

His cheque-book dynasty rings like wedding bells with a segment of the electorate–and foreign debt holders who stand to scoop up desirable deals with Jr.’s in-house crew.  Think Nestle's and water, arms for corrupt states, IP and China, canoes for bus-tour tourists, cheap oil and gas for everyone (but us), and those pesky pipelines that Tourism Canada has to step around whenever it wants to snap pics for export consumption.

But real policy?  Nasty decisions? Go screw a lightbulb with a caucus of unionized or tenured government workers. Always remember, if out of work and no credentials, one has two choices: rock 'n' roll and Parliament. A small few, Justin excepted, has found a sweet home in both camps.

- John Honderich: We should all be very concerned by the crisis facing quality journalism – Opinion, The Star

 

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