Thursday, February 12, 2009

Help they're being repressed!

[as originally posted 12/17/08 on my formerly free thinking blog ]

Looks like the Freep brain trust has discovered the mythical "Other" of Manitoba society. The Aboriginal population? Nope - of all things, they stumbled upon the plight of the peasantry.

Following Jen Skerritt's trenchant analysis of the latest Probe poll (it's a "dead heat," - except that everything is exactly the same because it does not matter one itty-bitty bit), the Freep's editors managed to crap this gem:

...a majority of Manitobans live within or around the city's limits. The other, the rest of Manitoba except for the sparsely populated North, endures under the tyranny of the urban majority
Are they serious? Where have these dingbats been for the last half century? Did they sleep through History 101 and miss all that industrial revolution stuff, the Enlightenment thingy and the inexorable march of progress that our (white, male) forefathers started us on? The Freep goes on to say we should be worried about this, what with the: urban-rural split....[and] deep malaise which Mr. Doer's government appears unwilling to address
What exactly is the malaise that the Freep is lamenting - the sad fortunes of the Tory party? Or are we being asked to pine for a simpler time of the early prairie pastoral farmer marked by sweat & toil, a shorter life-expectancy, illiteracy and outhouses? Is our bastion of the fourth estate really bemoaning the shift from a rural to urban society? Really, is that what their doing? That's like fretting over the end of slavery, grieving over the success of the suffragists, and decrying the advent of modern communication devices (especially that thing called a computer - that sounds pure evil).

And what exactly is the Premier supposed to "address"? This thing called history? By doing what exactly?

Perhaps the pointy foreheads at the Freep have been brushing up on their Maoism and have dreams of reversing this whole urbanization fad through some kind of
rural industrialization scheme?

Or, does the Freep simply want a return to the days before 1969's Electoral Divisions Act abolished "the old seven-to-four urban-rural ratio"[1.] that gave the small town peasantry a disproportionate voice in the Legislature? Would they have us believe that turning back the clock is the solution to today's "sharp rural-urban split"? Are they counselling wee-genius-Hughie to introduce the private members bill that will make it so? Guess that would save him the bother of trying to expand his narrow base!

Dear Freep editors, your lament is laughable, please meet history's dustbin - clearly you two have never met.

[1.] see Winnipeg Free Press, "Bills: Some Pass Many Don't", May 23, 1969; Nelson Wiseman, Social Democracy in Manitoba, (1983) p.121. Also see a young Gord Mackintosh's article where he noted: " Representation in the Assembly used to reflect a significant rural bias. In 1952, some members cited the example of six urban votes in Kildonan-Transcona equalling one rural vote in St. George. Even after Manitoba pioneered an independent electoral boundaries commission in 1955, a 7 to 4 rural voter advantage was established as a parameter for the commission's redistribution. The CCF leader, Lloyd Stinson, once asked the House, "Why should four housewives in Portage la Prairie be equal to seven in Brandon?'''

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