Monday, May 28, 2012


Something that occurs just once is mere happenstance; twice is a coincidence, and three or more times is part of a pattern. - Anonymous

Being able to detect patterns, whether in the lab or in the crucible of political behaviour, requires time, intelligence, and access to extensive sources of information. Few of us possess sufficient amounts of all three to be able to conduct such analysis in isolation; therefore collaboration would also seem to be a fourth requirement.

While the Internet has made it easier to detect such patterns, and indeed there are certain bloggers I read who are masterful in their capacity for pattern-detection (Dr. Dawg and The Sixth Estate come immediately to mind), there is still a vital role to be played by organizations that should have all four components in abundance - the mainstream media.

Sadly, however, many newspapers and television networks have degenerated into lazy, sycophantic and shallow promoters of government policy and celebrity gossip, affording little upon which the critical thinker can draw for nourishment. However, there is one paper who readers of this blog know I take a special interest and pride in, and that is The Toronto Star.

Canada's largest-circulation newspaper, The Star is often dismissed by the reactionary right as a 'leftist-rag', a derogation not surprising since nuanced thinking is not the extreme-right's forte. However, in my view it provides much-need information so sadly missing from Canada's self-proclaimed newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail, a journal I have occasionally written about on this blog.

The fact that The Star has such high circulation figures and healthy profits is a clear indication of the appetite that exists in this country for solid journalism. It is certainly why I subscribe to it.

A national debate on key issues affecting the lives of Canadians cannot take place in a vacuum. And while Harper Inc., probably the most secretive government in our history, sees openness and truth as an impediment to the implementation of its neo-conservative agenda, The Star continues to ensure that the vacuum is never absolute.

I therefore highly recommend perusal of this morning's editorial, in which The Star, while discussing the changes in the Employment Insurance appeals system, detects a larger pattern at work here, ending with this assertion:

What is emerging is a system that gives more power to the government and makes it more difficult for Canadians to challenge the way their tax dollars are being used, their rights are being eroded and their avenues of appeal are being shut down.

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