Saturday, May 3, 2008

Government should bring people together

Marie-Claude Blais
On the issues -- Times and Transcript

Did you know that the term "silent majority" was first used by U.S. President Richard Nixon in a speech made on Nov. 3, 1969?

The term was created three days before I was born! Now that our premier is using it, we could say that it has transcended time.

I learned that the term was first used to refer to the Americans who did not join in the large demonstrations against the Vietnam War. "Silent majority" was also used to describe those who did not enthusiastically participate in public discourse or the media.

Some journalists claim that Nixon used the phrase to dismiss the obvious protests going on around the country, and Nixon's attempt to get other Americans to ignore the protests.

What is the relevance of it here in New Brunswick? I am of the opinion that Liberal governments, being provincial or federal, have always been very good at messaging or spinning, a term which I have used in some of my previous columns. I even heard from a reliable source that the powers in Fredericton today have reached out to individuals from Toronto to help them control the message.

Why have things in the province taken such a turn?

Why are people questioning certain decisions of this government?

Isn't that what we have the right to do in a democracy?

Maybe it is because our premier has responded on his government's decision to eliminate Early French Immersion by saying the following: a noisy, emotional minority won't stop changes to New Brunswick's education system. There is a silent majority of New Brunswick parents who want a quality bilingual education for their children that is not being afforded.

I truly believe than it is more that a silent majority of New Brunswick parents who want quality bilingual education for their children.

It is all of New Brunswick parents, being English-speaking or French-speaking. The problem with Mr. Graham's statement is that his decision to eliminate early immersion has not proven to be the solution to quality bilingual education.

I am of the opinion that allocation of resources is the solution.

I have also heard that the way the Graham Government has been acting is not in line with what you would call liberal values.

Maybe the Liberal Party of New Brunswick should now be branded as neo-Liberal?

Neo-Liberal is associated with the subversion of democratic process and government accountability; neo-liberal reforms remove economic control from elected officials and place it in the hands of bureaucrats, who may or may not share public interest.

Many neo-Liberal reforms were instituted against popular will, and often by outside coercion.

You decide if this description fits our government.

Government must let citizens debate ideas and express their points of view. We need to be open to all points of view.

To brand others who are not in accordance with the government's way of doing things as being closed minded, emotional and refusing change is not constructive and, frankly, it is offensive.

Leadership is about bringing people together, not tearing them apart.

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