2018 in the rear view mirror

2018 ends in a few days and it’s time to look in the rear-view mirror on some events that shaped the past 12 months and a few that we should be looking out for in 2019.  35 posts (so far – including this one were posted on this blog, and a good portion, 9 were focused on the Ottawa Municipal elections.  I wrote five posts that were oriented to Ontario politics and the elections there. Six books were reviewed and the remainder of the posts were single topic posts from BC referendum on election reform, South Africa’s day zero of water availability, the #MeToo movement and there were a couple of music posts earlier this month.

In one of my first posts of the year I declared I was living a political year.  The promise I made to myself was to engage in debate and be better educated in my surroundings.  I reviewed three books last year one talked about our political system (On The House by Rob Walsh, posted in January) another was about our ancient societies and how we should always be listening to our past (The Wayfinders by Wade Davis, posted in April) and a third (No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein, posted January) was about a new political way that claimed the NDP Leadership of Thomas Mulcair, that sadly Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis the key authors of the Leap Manifesto chose not to claim.  Now the NDP have Jagmeet Singh as leader and the party’s hopes of a comeback seem dimmer because of it as he doesn’t seem to have grabbed the imagination of the left.

The results of the Ottawa and Ontario elections were not that much of a surprise, Jim Watson walked back to this office as mayor of Ottawa the day after the election with another huge win.  Doug Ford won not once but twice within 4 months and he moved from the Office of the Leader of Opposition on the 3rdfloor of Queens Park to the Premiers Office one floor below.  Both Doug Ford and Jim Watson face new challenges based solely on how they govern.  Watson’s governance model was challenged with his “nominations” for the selection of committee chairs and committee members.  The choices were seen as autocratic and bypassed the nominations committee at city hall.  None of the Watson named committee chairs were denied the nominations given to them by the Mayor.  

While no one should have been surprised by the actions of Premier Ford, everyone acted like there were.  I guess 15 years of Liberal rule in Ontario gave voters a blind spot when it came to his actions, all he claimed, were campaign promises. Those who didn’t vote for the Ontario PCs went on the warpath and protested.  A former Ontario cabinet minister told me once that if there were no groups protesting on the front lawn of Queen’s Park they were doing something wrong.  I believe it would be a true statement for any party in power to make.

Social media and politics provided much to ponder as our political landscape changed.  Elected politicians were challenged by those for the most part that did not vote for them went online and on social media to vent.  In the past year social media became a live debate between voters and our elected officials.  Until recently politicians who blocked those who did not agree with them did so with out any pushback.  In the 2018 Ottawa elections Mayor Watson was challenged for blocking those who oppose his views on social media.  A court challenge was launched and he relented, the Mayor unblocked all Twitter users he had previously blocked.  

The public discussion in the media (and on Social Media) on politicians using publicly paid devices for social media but limiting who could see them online didn’t provide much sympathy from voters. What resulted was the suggestion that politicians should grow a thicker skin rather shut people out.  Those who opposed the mayor’s actions cited the May decision in US Federal court that President Trump could not block twitter users. Once Mayor Watson relented, other local Ottawa elected officials followed suit. 

As Parliament rose for the Christmas/Winter break we saw in most polls a gap between the Liberals and Conservative party narrowing where it could be toss up between Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau. This does not shine well on Trudeau who for most of his term he has had a good lead above the CPC.  However government missteps, bad legislation and the move of the Liberals to a virtue signalling style of governing has Canadians thinking, “I voted Liberal, but I did not vote for this”.  

In 2015 the election was all about Stephan Harper, if Justin Trudeau has his way the 2019 election will be all about Stephen Harper as well.  You only have to go back to the Liberal convention in July held in Ottawa. There, Trudeau spent his entire keynote address attacking Stephen Harper – yep, he was going after the former Prime Minister as if he was still the leader of the conservatives.  Too bad the room was filled with Liberals so they took the whole 26oz of Liberal Kool-Aid without a pause for a breath.  In the last weeks leading to Parliament rising, Trudeau and his Ministers were answering questions in the house as if Harper was across the aisle looking at them.  Canadians must be confused by now.

As 2018 turns to 2019, I look forward to writing about more politics, writing more about books I’ve read and music I’ve been listening to.  Thank you for reading and providing comments about #RedHeartBlueSign, I hope you’ll continue to read along as post here.  

I’ve thought about expanding how I might talk about the things that interest me.  I have set up a new website, www.robertdekker.cawhich has some content, but I hope to use that for posting #RedHeartBlueSign posts and perhaps video content – I hope you’ll like what I will be bringing to 2019 and to you.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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