In the earliest hours of January, 2015, we were routinely wishing each other a “Happy New Year.” Few could imagine the horror three days of terrorism, beginning in the morning of the seventh day of the year at the offices of Paris-based satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo would create.
Terror attacks would dominate the news for the balance of the year. You know the locations, details and grisly statistics as well as I.
So, writing these words during the final days of 2015 begs the question, what should be the focus of a column looking ahead at twelve calendar pages?
In other times I would have challenged the usefulness of a UN climate treaty which, according to international highly profiled environmentalist, economist, author and head of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre think tank, Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, accomplish a barely measurable, miniscule slowing of global temperature at eventual costs in the trillions of dollars. Dr. Lomborg told me $1.5 trillion would lift the entire world out of poverty and wondered whether children in desperately underdeveloped countries need solar panels or medicine, food and education.
I would have pointed to the arguably father of the human induced global warming alarm, former NASA scientist Dr. Michael Mann describing the UN climate treaty as ‘bovine excrement’, except Michael Mann used the more colloquial term.
In Canada, following the October federal vote, a January column reviewing the early days of the Trudeau government would have hoped for the best, but found it impossible to ignore highly questionable fiscal policies, as well the immediate and entirely predictable stumbles to fulfill a election commitment to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada within weeks of taking office, coupled with its reason-absent decision to remove six CF18 fighter aircraft from the coalition of international Canadian allies attacking ISIS. A decision directly challenged on air by Lt. Colonel Steve Day, retired former commanding officer of Canada’s elite special forces and national counterterrorism military unit Joint Taskforce Two.
I would have allocated significant space to a certain Ontario Premier who refused to do the honourable thing and resign from office following the provincial Auditor General’s condemning report of her government’s and that of her predecessor’s outrageous violation of public trust by unloading on provincial stakeholders an unnecessary $37 billion in costs by mismanagement (a far too benign term) of the province’s hydro establishment.
Not only did Kathleen Wynne refuse to entertain stepping down, but she through her Minister of Energy also decided to challenge the A.G.’s understanding of the issue, then walked away from any sense of responsibility.
Gone are the days an elected to public office individual would have faced such populous disdain she or he would have been left with little option but to step aside and perhaps even go to the people for a vote on the party’s right to fulfill its mandate.
Conventional issues for a year-starting column in a traditional manner are many. In more predictable times leading the list would be the economy. We would have given more than mere mention to the latest instalment of the Star Wars films The Force Awakens which will likely soon be the top grossing movie of all time. The most unusual U.S. election campaign of our lifetimes and its implications which range well beyond who will eventually sit at the desk in the Oval Office could alone be a kick off piece.
Instead, ask a group of Canadians at random (and I did) what the top of mind issue is. The answer, national security.
So, what will 2016 bring? That’s the question, isn’t it? I have a hunch I know what you’re thinking right now.
Written by: Roy Green