Ken Meaney, CanWest’s sole reporter east of Quebec City, has an article this weekend about new PEI license plates.
Actually, not exactly. The article is about anonymous comments left on the Charlottetown Guardian website about PEI’s license plates being available in French.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that any discussion of things like gun control, abortion, gay rights, religion, vegetarianism, immigration, and — in Canada — language rights on an open Internet forum is going to bring out people with strong opinions on the subject. Some of those people will have reasoned arguments and will listen to other points of view. Most will not.
The comments (and especially those of a second copy of the story posted the same day the previous one got national attention) mostly fall into the latter category, and quickly degenerate into Quebec-bashing, making rather outrageous claims about its language laws (Businesses are not allowed to have bilingual signs, people are not allowed to speak English in public, the Canadian government isn’t protecting the English language)
And yet somehow an entire article was written on this story and its 30 comments. One that wasn’t written about the original release of the new plates in April, which generated 76 comments on the Guardian’s website. But that one couldn’t easily be exploited with a stupid story to prod the populace with the language debate.
Is there no real news happening in PEI?
UPDATE: The Gazette has a short editorial about the issue Tuesday. It theorizes that anonymous commenters on web forums might not represent the moderate views of the populace.