Press-Republican

Columns

December 30, 2011

Milestone year for Canada

It may be an admission of lack of imagination or narrowness to declare that the highlights of the waning year in Canada were mostly about politics.

In the case of 2011, though, there's little debate that it was an extraordinary year in the comings and goings of those who sought to govern the country, one that is likely to have an impact for many years to come.

There's a bit of a toss-up over what was the most momentous thing that arose out of the stunning result of the federal election in May. For the record, those main outcomes were: Prime Minister Stephen Harper winning a strong Conservative majority government; the left-wing New Democratic Party winning a huge number of seats in Quebec, enough to propel it to official Opposition status; the reduction of the once mighty Liberal Party to its worst showing ever; and the de facto obliteration of the separatist Bloc Quebecois, down to four seats.

As if this massive tectonic shift in the federal political firmament were not enough drama, there was the sudden, shocking and cruel death of New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, felled by an unspecified cancer at age 61.

Layton's death in August immediately forced a rethink of the longer-term prospects of the party he had brought to the doorstep of power, quite possibly forming an historic first New Democratic Party federal government come the next vote. The party's success was almost entirely based on the sudden affection Quebecers discovered for Layton's relentless optimism and socially progressive stance.

Whatever fate awaits the New Democratic Party, now in the midst of a leadership campaign, the fact remains Stephen Harper has a solid lock on power for four years, having already served as prime minister for five years in a minority situation. Based on actions taken so far, it's clear to political observers the prime minister fully intends to take the country in a new direction.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time