It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Editorial

CHARLES TWEED

My very first editorial.

The older and wiser I get — the second part is certainly open for argument — I realize I have fewer and fewer firsts. It seems, not that long ago, that everything I did was new and unchartered territory.

So, I am rather a little excited for my first editorial and maybe a little nervous — not unlike many other firsts in my life.

But what topic to discuss?

As a reporter I feel privileged that people trust me enough to tell their story, but in essence it is their story. I am merely applying my craft or putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

An editorial on the other hand allows me some freedoms. I can inject some of what I see, some of what I feel and some of the things I’d like to see changed into the piece.

So what to write about? (got back here fast enough)

There is the blatantly obvious — a federal election.

But why would I start talking about something that it appears to me no one seems all that interested in. Maybe it’s the fact that in this area the outcome is a foregone conclusion, maybe it’s the fact that nobody feels anything is going to change, or maybe, just maybe it has to do with the fact it seems like we have one of these election things every six months.

So the election is out.

If you’ve read the paper in the last four months — and I hope you have — you’ve probably noticed most weeks I fill up the sports pages.

Maybe I’ll write about that.

It is after all the greatest time of the year to be a sports fan. There is, as we speak, two of the four major sports leagues in the throes of playoffs. And better yet both are in the first round — which is always the best action. Teams are fresh, the games are lightning fast and the whole process doesn’t feel like it has been going for two months — which it will inevitably take.

Oh and I haven’t even mentioned that ball has started. Not only has ball started but for the first time there is an excitement and optimism around our national team, the Canada Blue Jays.

It’s not that I expect the Jays to win their division this year, quite the opposite but at least there feels like the team has been designed with purpose in mind. This group, which is young and athletic, will be given a chance to grow together and hopefully challenge for titles in the next three to four years.

That and Jays fans are still on an extended honeymoon with new G.M. Alex Anthopoulos.

I know what it was…what I was going to write about anyways — television on the Internet.

Being a reporter comes with its benefits. My job is constantly changing and I am constantly challenged as a result but like all jobs and excess of funds in the bank isn’t one of my problems.

So to save money I’ve done away with television or at least any form of television I have to pay a bill for. So I have taken to the Internet to watch hockey playoffs this year. The CBC’s coverage has been excellent. I’ve been able to see Vancouver crumble — they’ll figure it out, I think — and Montreal, well, crumble.

But it got me to thinking. I don’t see TSN games online? And it isn’t that I feel I should be able to watch Duthie and the gang from the comfort of my office chair but instead, maybe I shouldn’t be able to watch the CBC either.

Are they not at a serious competitive advantage — TSN that is? The CBC is publically funded by the taxpayer. Their hosts, anchors and reporters make far more than their peers at competitor networks.

I feel like the CBC is there to make sure every Canadian has the opportunity to know what is happening in the big bad world.

They can reach remote areas of Canada and inform the public on key issues.

I’m not sure I feel taxpayer dollars should be spent in a market that is self-sufficient and very competitive. I also fully understand that the CBC doesn’t lose money by having these games and if you believe that the government should be involved in the private sector in areas where they can turn a profit, well you win.

I don’t.

I think the exact opposite in fact. The government should be there to provide services where no one in the private sector is willing. If and when someone privately is willing the government should get out of the way — health care being the exception but if you want to argue taking care of the Canadian public and getting an NHL hockey game for free are equal, go ahead.

Now I certainly don’t want to lose my online games but something tells me I should. If I didn’t’ have the free online games I might have probably broken down and gotten cable by now. If I didn’t, I know at the very least every owner of a lounge with a TV in town would see a lot more of me.

A service, like any other, that has value should be paid for when it is used and I fully support the government spending money to offer essential services or recognize where there is a need and fill the void.

But in a market that seems to be quite healthy and full of competition, is it the CBC’s place to still cover hockey games?

I can’t believe I said that last part out loud.

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