Yesterday as we said good-bye to 2013 and looked forward to 2014, it struck me that 2013 was a year of turmoil. There was the civil war in Syria that forced thousands from their homes to refugee camps in nearby Lebanon. There was the terrible typhoon Hiayan that caused catastrophic destruction to the Philippines. There was the death of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's father and revered Madiba.
Closer to home, the weather was increasingly erratic, causing tornadoes and huge storms south of the border and unbelievable floods in Southern Alberta. Now in the depths of winter, snow and freezing rain, ice storms and biting wind, sub-zero temperatures and flash freezing have made the Canadian winter a challenge from coast to coast. At home, in Alberta, Danielle Smith opined that there might be something to climate change after all. The bitumen bubble caused budget problems and the subsequent cuts to health care and education. Post-secondary institutions took a beating when Thomas Lukaszuk, slashed government funding.
It could have been worse. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford made Canada a laughing stock with his antics. He called reporters a bunch of maggots, he denied the existence of the video where he smoked crack and then when it was retrieved made the excuse that he was too drunk to remember. He made lewd, coarse remarks about a female staff member and then chivalrously reported he had enough oral sex at home with his wife. He seemed to revel in the ridicule that was heaped on him by American Talk show hosts. Rob Ford had no shame. The frightening thing is that none of this seemed to matter that much to Ford Nation. People lined up to buy Bobblehead dolls of the mayor. Toronto citizens who don't support Ford Nation live in fear that he will be re-elected...a kind of backlash to the elite and well-educated in our largest city.
The Senate Scandal and Prime Minister Steven Harper's denial of any knowledge about the famed cheque written by Michael Wright to cover Senator Mike Duffy's bogus expenses is just more incredible politics. Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and Marc Harb all had their own expense woes. The Canadian taxpayer has every right to feeling a bit used. Marc Harb resigned, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau are fighting in court to be reinstated and Mike Duffy cried on National TV because he could lose his health benefits. (He didn't.) All the while Prime Minister Harper is mostly mum replying with non-answers when asked about the PMO's involvement in Question Period. I could go on...
Instead- Happy New Year. May 2014 be better.
Yes, I'm of a certain age but I'm pretty spry and like to think still smart enough.