Right in the centre - Sorting facts, evaluating decisions


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

One of my tasks and duties as an editor is to read a lot. I am fortunate that I can read a large number of documents each week, both online and hard copy. They number in the dozens, if not hundreds. With that in mind, I come across a lot of documents that claim to be factual. I am particularly drawn to ones that are often punted to the sidelines or ignored by the corporate media.

Anyone who knows me, or who has read my columns, knows that I have little patience with what becomes a pack mentality in the media. It’s too bad that many media people don’t do a lot of research, they simply pigeon-hole stories into a set of accepted narratives. Those narratives include such rigid ideas as all conservatives are bad, all liberals are good, all business people are evil. It includes such ideas that socialism and communism aren’t failures, they just haven’t tried hard enough. That last premise is coming pretty much unglued with the troubles in Cuba and Russia but a person who is stuck on certain narrative sometimes doesn’t let facts get in the way of their chosen story line.

In the past few weeks, the abortion issue has come the top of the news list again. In Canada, there is no law concerning abortion. Many people don’t realize that. In Canada, a person can obtain an abortion at any stage of pregnancy. Yes, you read that correctly, any stage of pregnancy if they can find a doctor to perform the abortion. Thankfully Canada has a low abortion rate overall compared to other countries, with approximately 74,000 abortions reported in 2020. Roughly half of abortions occur among women aged 18 to 29 years and roughly 90 per cent of abortions are performed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. That means 10 per cent are in later weeks,

But here’s  a quote from an article that runs against the “abortion is good’ narrative. It’s written by T.W. Shannon, an American banker and politician who served as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He was Oklahoma’s first African-American speaker of the house and is a current Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma.

Shannon’s article says,

“Consider: Most abortion clinics are within walking distance of minority neighbourhoods; more than 33 per cent of all abortions in America are done to Black babies, even though Black Americans only comprise 12 per cent of the overall population. Every single year since 1973, over 400,000 Black babies have been exterminated by the abortion industry. That’s more than 19 million boys and girls. And Planned Parenthood has received billions in taxpayer dollars from Democrats who control Congress and the White House.”

He goes on to say, ‘don’t tell me Black Lives Matter when the the abortion rate among Blacks is nearly three times the population rate.’

Another topic that needs some examination is the recent election in the Philippines. The Winnipeg Free Press said on Tuesday, “Filipino people living in Manitoba watched the son and namesake of ousted Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos take a commanding lead in an unofficial vote count in Monday’s presidential election, but many are divided on the prospect of his leading the country.

Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. led the unofficial vote count for most of the day on Monday in the country. Sara Duterte, the daughter of the current president, is running to be vice-president.”

I know many Filipino people and they are divided on this issue. From an outsider’s point of view, why would a country elect the son of a dictator to be president and the daughter of a very hard line president to be vice president? Some Filipinos are very scared about the future and what  the election results will hold for their country.

Before we Canadians become smug, consider that in the 1970s and ‘80s, we had Pierre Elliot Trudeau as prime minister. He was both loved and hated. In western Canada, Trudeau senior was despised. The reasons have been well documented. And yet Canada elected Trudeau’s son as prime minister. Trudeau junior led the Liberal Party in three general elections. He won three (2015, 2019 and 2021). He won a majority government in the 2015 election, and two minority governments in the 2019 and 2021 elections. That said, he is also not well liked by a majority of Canadians.

The point is that not everything is as it appears. There are always more facts to expose and it is my job, in a small way, to help do that. If every paper was locally owned and every editor helped people think for themselves, we “might” get better decisions. We certainly wouldn’t get worse ones.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.