Column writing is hard. Not finding-a-cure-for-cancer hard but it’s at least harder than it looks. So I usually feel some sympathy when I read a dud column. But at a certain point there’s no excuse, and today I read two pieces so astoundingly thick that I’ve decided to share them for your enjoyment/frustration/schadenfreude.
The first is this post by the Sun’s Brian Lilley. I know, I know, picking on a Brian Lilley column is like criticizing a Ke$ha song for vapid lyrics, but this one really is a doozy. Lilley argues the auditor general et al are lying about the F35 costs because they insist on counting up the full life cycle costs, which include things like fuel and repairs.
My favourite line: “Can you imagine what the cost of your car would be if you calculated its cost over decades, including estimates of every brake job, oil change and fill-up?”
Uh, yeah Brian, it would be the actual total cost of your car.
Lilley: “We don’t do this for other government programs or purchases, yet the opposition and the media demand that this is the only true way to account for military purchases.”
Yeah sort of, except it’s actually the Treasury Board’s own policies that say that. From the AG’s report: “Treasury Board policies require consideration of all relevant costs over the useful life of equipment, not just the initial acquisition or basic contract cost.” Whoopsies.
My other favourite column of the day is this piece by Tasha Kheiriddin saying we should abolish the CRTC because we have social media now. Seriously.
It starts by discussing the recent Supreme Court decision that the CRTC cannot force cable companies to pay broadcasters a fee for carrying their signals. Opines Kheiriddin: “At the same time, why should the CRTC decide the issue, instead of Parliament — or better yet, the free market?”
But the…how would… ok what? I have no idea how she thinks the “free market” can somehow force cable companies to pay for picking up over-the-air signals and packaging them in cable bundles. I’m kinda betting she doesn’t either. But the best part is the ending:
“In a world where a Korean pop music video gets a billion views, a monkey in a Toronto IKEA parking lot becomes a global folk hero, and social media drives the Arab Spring, the CRTC and bodies like it have become anachronisms. As cable goes the way of the rooftop antenna, the most recent CRTC decision will become irrelevant.
Instead of spending endless hours reinventing the institution, only to see change outpace it once again, the government should end its game of regulatory ping-pong, and abolish the CRTC.”
I have no idea what Gangnam Style and the Arab Spring have to do with the CRTC. I’m also unclear on why we should do away with the sole public regulator of our nation’s airwaves – a public resource – because people are using the internet. Also, I guess updating rules is too much of a hassle so we should just not bother regulating things.
I’d like to point out the holes in her argument but I honestly can’t piece together her argument to begin with, so I’ll just call it a day. There may be a reasonable case for reforming or perhaps even doing away with the CRTC, but I doubt it has anything to do with the IKEA Monkey.