Starting over in a Post-Journalism World, Part Thirteen

The Globe and Mail’s recent editorial is just melodramatic bitching. Nothing more.

That is not news. That is just, well, bitching.

The emofest begins in this melodramatic way:

Monday was a bleak day for Ontario. Virtually everyone implicated in the showdown over Bill 5, the province’s attempt to shrink Toronto City Council in the midst of a municipal election, emerged worse off: the judiciary, the Progressive Conservative government, candidates for city office and, above all, the people of Toronto.

No, it was not a “bleak day” for Ontario. It was a rude awakening for Toronto, a city that has rigged everything to its benefit at the expense of other cities for years. This was a long time coming, but Toronto, being Toronto, thought an arrogant attitude was going to psych peole out and they’d get their way.

What happened?

Toronto got cocky. They forgot how to vote strategically, thinking everyone else would be vote-shamed into picking the NDP. They overestimated their cunning, learned nothing from the 2016 US Presidential election, outsmarted themselves, and lost their critical protection as they ensured they would be shut out of the new government’s cabinet, and lost their special status, getting treated like everyone else in the province.

This last election proved that you do not need Toronto to form a majority. Toronto still has no clue that temper tantrums don’t go very far when you are expendable.

When Hamilton used to be a contender, they used to be very careful how they voted. The Eastern European immigrants used to all vote for the federal Liberal Party who were the reigning regime, they got results. Hamilton was the recipient of many perks and programs and they were a strong region. Once the old guard’s numbers dwindled, the voters got stupid, and always voted for the losing party, and its fortunes have reflected the mindless voting based on theoretical ideology rather than tangible pragmatism. Hamilton always gets shut out and for all the puffing about gentrification and rejuvenation, the results have been appalling at best.

Toronto, for the last 14 years, had the provincial Liberals doting on them like a favourite child and it always showed. Their strength did not come from anything innate about them, just the fact that they had clout with the provincial regime, and in the last couple of years, the federal one.

When that Grit doting wasn’t enough for them, they made a huge tactical error, and are now paying the price. They are in the exact same boat as Hamilton, a city that never learns from its mistakes. If you have actual governmental representation, you are in a position to make demands. If your representative is an opposition party, there isn’t much you are going to get.

Toronto got spoiled and still behaves like a spoiled child. They walked away from Mommy Wynne as they stuck a knife in her back, and now do not have anyone on the inside who lobbies on their collective behalf. This is one of the greatest colossal errors Hogtown has ever made.

They used resources from the rest of the province as they got more attention than the rest of the province, and now it is time to restore equilibrium, and it is eating the city alive.

The rest of Ontario has nothing to worry about, especially not the ones who have a cabinet minister who represents their riding.

As the Globe is a Toronto-based paper, they have no clue what’s happening in any other city around them for the exception of perhaps Ottawa, and even that is debatable.

But the Globe’s seething doesn’t stop there:

Unfortunately, the government is led by Doug Ford – as impetuous and demagogic a politician as we have in Canada. So instead of trusting in the judicial process, the Premier announced on Monday that he will reintroduce his bill and invoke the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to insulate it from the Superior Court decision.

In doing so, he is resorting to an extreme measure that has never been used in Ontario and should never be used to ram through a contentious partisan measure.

Even worse is the contempt for the judiciary he showed in attacking “appointed” judges. We live in a democracy but we also have a Constitution, and judges are empowered to strike down laws that violate it.

But Ford is right: he was elected. The judge was appointed. This is a statement of fact. He was elected on the mandate to make change. The judge overreached as he tried to keep a status quo, and there was one way to override it, and Ford took it.

The notwithstanding clause isn’t being used for mere political convenience: it is sending a message to Toronto to lose the attitude and sense of superiority and entitlement. The old rigs are not carved in stone, and it was a bold, but necessary maneuver to show the city what happens when you think you can hijack a process of governance just because you don’t like it.

What is happening to Toronto is simple: they are learning they are not the be all and end all of Ontario. Fortunes rise, fall, middle, take off, plummet, and so on.

They are not alone at running to the federal government to beg to get their own way, but life has no guarantees, and sometimes change happens regardless of the amount of grandstanding you do.

But journalism was never supposed to one of the grandstanders. They were never supposed to tell people what is good and what is bad: just what is. Fear-mongering through speculation isn’t their mandate as they are trying to prevent people from keeping a level head in order to determine how to best proceed.

The uppity blindness is not unique to the Globe. The CBC is having arrogance blinders on as well, but news is not the place for didactic fits and meddlesome wallowing from the peanut gallery of ultracrepidarians.

The alternative cannot speculate. It must inform. Not meddle or spew Hamlet-esque soliloquies that rarely ever align with the future.

Toronto became unwieldy with no Plan B if the new government didn’t align with their own political choice. It is akin to spending wildly fully expecting a lottery win and your numbers don’t come up.

This is called life. It isn’t fair. It isn’t predictable. It’s not your slave and servant, either.

Nor does it care if you are offended. It marches on with or without you.

Journalism’s alternative needs to consider the factors that make up reality and deal with them, not try to sweep it under the rug. We don’t need editorials lamenting about the world like a sheltered teenager.

We need facts. We need context. We need reason.

And we’re not getting any of it.