Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bartley gets it partly right, but mostly wrong

In his deep analysis of the OlyWest situation, Bartley Kives correctly points out the troubles of senior partner in the project, Olymel, which have been going on for months and that the company has been sending signals that it could opt out of the project long before the announcement of a provincial pause on new hog barns.

He also correctly points out it is odd that a moratorium is an issue at all for the proponents, as they said no new barns were needed.

He unfortunately decides to vamp his old music reviewer's cynicism-of-all-things by saying "The answer, OF COURSE, is it appears both OlyWest and the NDP government have been less than honest with Manitobans." (Our emphasis added.)

Of course? How so "of course" Bartley?

It seems odd for someone whose coverage over the past months made it clear he felt, as many city-dwellers do, that the pig industry is odious and there are too many barns in the province, to now swat with the backhand after the Doer government did the right thing.

Kives's naiveté shows through with his statement that the moratorium is simply a pre-election move, "balancing the wrath of hog producers against the support of green voters". Neither block is all that significant in an electoral sense, so this piece of analysis is complete nonsense.

What Winnipeg-based Kives -- who still produces his canoe-camping-cross-country-skiing column weekly -- misses is the risk Doer and co. are taking in alienating rural voters. NDP support in such seats as
Swan River, Dauphin, Interlake, Selkirk and Laverendrye could be significantly adversely affected by the move. A probably more serious thing than any benefit Doer may receive in Winnipeg from pro-environment voters. The Conservative-oriented rural media are in an uproar, but this would elude Kives from his Winnipeg City Hall office.

Politics, of course, plays a part in all government policy. However, Kives would go a lot further down the road to reinventing himself as a serious political journalist, and not just a former rock-and-roll reviewer, if his analyses were based a little more on knowledge, and less on inside-the-perimeter posing.