Time to give 2013 a real good boot

By: By Sheelagh<br />Mathews

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 10:43 am

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You want to read a recap of the past year’s successes? Not from me you won’t. I say good riddance to a bad year, an unlucky 2013.

After all, who could possibly want to be the angel heralding the news of yet more species disappearing from the face of our little blue planet? Canada alone had 518 species listed as at risk in March 2013. And a fall 2013 Canada Auditor General’s report pointed out more troubles, including three-quarters of our outstanding species-at-risk recovery strategies were overdue by more than three years and only a few (seven out of 97) required action plans had been completed. Even our caribou, those magnificent creatures gracing our 25 cent coin, are at risk due to increasing pressure from our incessant need to develop, develop, develop Canada’s north country.

Oh, and who gets all these jobs from all this development of our home and native land? Canadians who need jobs? Not necessarily. There is this thing called insourcing, where jobs, instead of being outsourced to cheaper labour markets like China and Mexico, are given to lower paid workers brought in from foreign countries like China and Mexico. So much for the Canadian dream of jobs and prosperity, eh? Why would anyone want to ring out the news about the putting Canada’s Navigable Waters Protection Act under the jurisdiction of the National Energy Board, no doubt paving the way to ship the dangerous cargo of crude bitumen from the oil sands to China. (Ooops, pardon me, this was buried in a 2012 omnibus budget bill, not 2013; but it’s still something I’m concerned about.)

Unfortunately for Canadians who care about their country, the Harper Government seems to have made a habit of dumping everything but the kitchen sink into our annual national budgets. This results in mega-documents busy MPs would hardly have time to read — let alone fully understand — before having to vote on them. The 2013 version of our budget affects union rights, Supreme Court appointments and immigration policy, to name but a few “add-ons” that should merit separate debate and consideration. Throw those omnibus bills under the bus! They don’t belong in a democracy.

And who wants to be joyful about Russia hosting the Winter Olympics in 2014? With the cold bite of winter in their blood, the Russians gave 30 Greenpeacers, who were trying to raise awareness about oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean and all of its perils, a more than frosty welcome. These peaceful protestors were held at gunpoint, then loaded onto a ship and taken to a Russian prison where, if it weren’t for the world’s outcry and the bad PR for the Sochi Olympics, I’v m sure they would have been left to rot.

Let’s not forget the two incarcerated members of a Russian feminist punk band who had the audacity to sing out (yup, singing, now that’s scary stuff!) against their dictator leader, President Putin. They too were released from prison on the eve of the Sochi Olympics. Will releasing these people of good conscience redeem Russia’s tarnished human rights and anti-gay image? Or does imprisoning them in the first place simply make the world’s blood boil?

Then there was the unforgettable and unfathomable Alberta flood of 2013 that left so many people in dire straits, including without homes, jobs or even schools. Then the catastrophic December ice storm messed up travel plans all over the place at Christmas and had some 400,000 Ontario hydro customers left without power at the darkest time of the year before heading towards the Maritimes.

Can you say C-L-I-M-A-T-E C-H-A-N-G-E? Without choking? Perhaps it would be an easier term to swallow if Canada’s scientists weren’t so muzzled and were allowed to explain what climate change is truly all about. If you ask me, the horrific train disaster at Lac-Mégantic, the senate scandal, and Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford are all just more good reasons to say a hurried good-bye to the past year.

I hope we take a close and sober look at all that 2013 has revealed to us. It’s not a pretty picture, particularly if it foreshadows our future yet to come. Giving the boot to a bad year and resolving to make 2014 a better one —now that’s in our best interest.

For more in your best interest, follow Sheelagh on Twitter @sheesays.


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