It is a tremendous understatement to say that 2017 was an unusual year. For most people in Canada I'm sure it was a relatively normal block of time. People carried on their usual lives, marching through the seasons of their life one day at a time. However, I think current events likely intruded on people's lives more than they often did in the past.
Last year as 2016 came to an end it was hard not to feel like the world was in a bad place. It is difficult to articulate, or summarize the feelings. Thinking back I feel the word might be dangerous, or unstable. As the year went on it was easy to feel uneasy as a person paying attention to the news of the world. Any number of natural or manmade disasters were present to hurt the confidence one might have in the future. Admittedly, I am a pretty cynical person so I'm sure those who reflect on 2016 as a wonderful time.
In contrast 2017 has felt quite different to me. It has felt like a time where we have bounced from crisis to crisis. Sometimes they are relatively minor ones, little embarrassments or missteps by governments, people, or corporations, but far too often they threatened something far larger. I'm sure most people reading this would naturally draw connections to the White House and the terrible year the United States has had, but it is easy to look to Europe, Asia, and elsewhere and feel worried for the future. Good news doesn't feel like victories, more like narrow avoidance of deeper defeats. The French and German elections, as an example, raised as many doubts as they salved. The chaos going on between Catalonia and Spain is worrying.
Within Canada things continue to go on fairly well. Sometimes when I think of Canada I cannot help that we are some real-life equivalent of the Shire: a tiny protected enclave in a world being consumed in disorder. We can blissfully ignore it for the most part, though we are under threat her as well at the forces present around the world. I think some incidents and reporting indicates we have to be aware that we are not immune from extremism and violence here either.
Within the country I'm not sure if it is disingenuous to say I've been disappointed by Justin Trudeau and his government because I never had high hopes for his government. The abandonment or betrayal of key promises and general mismanagement of some files has me questioning basic competence on more than one occasion. While the Liberals continue to poll well I have real questions on whether or not the voting coalition that elected them remains held together. Canadian politics will be shaped by key decision made this year, principally I mean the election of Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh to lead the Conservatives and NDP respectively. Barring unforeseen events these three men will lead the contest to form government in 2019.
Closer to home Ontario has struggled politically. Kathleen Wynne leads a tired, and unpopular Liberal government, but Ontarians have proven wary of change before. Ontarians, whether they like it or now, have spent the year in an election season. Next year is also the date for the next set of municipal elections, which will have important consequences for the people of this province. It will also provide some content for this blog.
Speaking of the blog, 2017 was not an easy year to keep writing. I addressed this directly in a post this year. I've considered hanging up my keyboard a couple of times. I know some people truly enjoy this blog and appreciate the time and effort I put into it. However, the last year (and couple of years before that) have been difficult and finding the motivation to write has been very challenging at times.
The human spirit relies on hope and a basic sense of optimism more than a cynical person like me probably naturally assumes. To have hope snuffed out is a very difficult thing, be that personal, local, national or international. With that said, I pray that 2018 is a more hopeful year. That light outshines the darkness and elevates us all as people rather than driving us into darkness in fear and despair. Individual actions make a difference, even more so when organized into group strength.
Thank you for reading in 2017 and my best wishes to you and yours for the coming year.