Commentary – A year to plan

Jeff Burgar

I enjoyed the CBC television news report on Edmonton’s New Year’s Eve fireworks.

In case you missed this job of on-the-spot reporting, the CBC story all had to do with the City of Edmonton rescheduling its annual fireworks show.

Instead of being at midnight, the witching hour of traditional Auld Lang Syne, holding hands, singing and toasts, Edmonton decided to have festivities at 9:00 P.M. We are officially impressed.

It’s a bold move and very likely will continue in coming years. Some people unwrap Christmas presents Christmas Eve.

Some people wait until morning. If we might borrow from Alan Jackson, it’s midnight somewhere. Nine is fine.

There will still be the usual boot skooting boogies and whoop-ups as the old year rings out and the new year rings in across time zones.

It’s an honoured tradition. Clubs, bars, fund raising groups and just about anybody who wants to party will carry on at the stroke of twelve.

The truth is, there’s a whole class of people falling asleep much earlier than midnight. Youngsters. Seniors.

People who have a job that starts at 5:00 A.M. and aren’t interested in breaking the rhythm of early to bed and early to rise. And all those who will celebrate at 9:00, again at 10:00, and probably keep going until Hawaii time.

December 31, 2018, you might be watching television, enjoying an evening with the family or just catching up on Big Bang Theory or Walking Dead marathons.

During the evening, you might have flipped over to see what was on mainstream networks. We found not much at all.

Our national public broadcaster, the above mentioned CBC, funded to the tune of some $1.3 billion taxpayer dollars, had some kind of mish-mash of reports from Newfoundland and Niagara Falls.

I think that’s where the reporting came from. I possibly went through every CBC channel from coast to coast. Most were the same.

By the time midnight rolled around in northern Alberta, the Royal Canadian Air Farce was tickling the airwaves in Toronto and points east.

Vancouver was still at Niagara Falls. CTV was no better. American channels were also as bad. Except for the big falling ball in Times Square, one would think nothing happens in the rest of the States.

Maybe there was something on the West coast. Maybe we missed something. No matter. We were already done with channel surfing.

We think all could do better. CBC, which gets about $15 million from northern Alberta population wise, should do better for sure. Just for the north, that cash is over $40,000 per day.

That should be enough to cover New Year’s in both Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray, even at the bloated costs of CBC.

And yes, do celebrations at 9:00 P.M. That will cover anybody who cares. Plus save on overtime too. It also won’t cut into the bar business.

They can actually celebrate twice! Best of all, it will save all that clicking channels, looking for something to identify with. Niagara Falls, no matter how well-meaning, isn’t making the grade.


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