Time to bid adieu to 2017 and look ahead to next year

Well, it’s hard to believe that we are rapidly approaching the end of 2017. As they say, time flies when you are having fun!

This will be my last blog post until the new year, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to look back and touch upon what I consider to be my top 10 local, national and international stories – in no particular order.

10. Trudeau Gains Seats Through By-Elections: While there are many folks who say our PM’s honeymoon is long over, you’d never know it with the results of the most recent set of by-elections. Normally sitting governments do very poorly, but the federal Liberals took 3 out of of 4 seats including the once

Vancouver Sun reports that Gordie Hogg takes the once Conservative stronghold of Surrey-White Rock.

Conservative stronghold in South Surrey-White Rock.

9. Changing of the Guard at Local City Halls: We’re starting to see a growing trend of high profile city politicians calling it quits.

Late in the year Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer announced she wasn’t going to run in the 2018 civic election. That revelation was followed by two separate announcements by NPA councillor George Affleck and Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore who both declared they were calling it a day.

NPA Councillor George Affleck says he’s stepping away from politics in 2018

8. Vision Vancouver Loses Critical By-Election: After a decade in power, the once mighty Vision Vancouver “machine” seems to be misfiring. Case in point was their disastrous showing during the by-election to replace former councillor Geoff Meggs who resigned to take up a senior post with the NDP government in Victoria. Vision not only badly lost the by-election, it was clear the centre-left in Vancouver have lost faith in them – what else could explain why so many candidates chose to run with other parties.

7. Stock Market & Bitcoin rise: Can you say bubble? That’s one way to describe the meteoric rise of the New York Stock Exchange and Bitcoin this year. Day after day we see new record highs. Not surprisingly, President Donald Trump is taking credit for creating all of this new wealth, but what will he do when the market eventually corrects itself?

6. EcoDensity Now in Favour: It may have taken about a decade, but after first being introduced by the NPA and Mayor Sam Sullivan in 2006, the much maligned EcoDensity initiative is finally in vogue. NIMBY’s are being replaced by a new generation of millennials who are signing up to support YIMBY [Yes In My Back Yard]. It’s finally a matter of public discussion that in cities like Vancouver, implementing policies that severely restrict growth are impacting housing affordability in a big way.

5. Opioid Crisis: The number of deaths both in B.C. and across Canada is simply staggering. Politicians of all stripes seem at a loss as to what can be done to prevent even more deaths each day.  This is a crisis that has cut across socio-economic circles and is bound to continue well into next year.

4. President Donald Trump: There are so many things that could be written here, suffice to say I’ll just leave it at that.

3. Vegas Mass Shooting: With the amount of mass shootings in the US, it’s hard to think one could capture the public’s attention the manner in which it did in Las Vegas. A lone gunman, armed to the hilt managed to impact the lives of countless people doing nothing more than enjoying being at an outdoor concert. This was pure evil that one hopes won’t be repeated anytime soon.

2. Christy Clark Resigns: Who saw that one coming? After 16 years in power and riding on a wave of economic prosperity, the BC Liberals finally saw their government toppled in the spring – albeit by the slimmest of margins. It led to the eventual resignation of Premier Christy Clark and the end of her lengthy political career.

1. Green Party Supports NDP and Forms Minority Government: Who saw that one coming? After campaigning against each other during the spring election, the resignation of Premier Christy Clark allowed the BC NDP and the BC Greens to form a coalition minority government. Premier John Horgan surprises the pundits,

Andrew Weaver and Premier John Horgan catch a rugby match together – Source CBC

signs a political agreement with Green Leader Andrew Weaver.

On a personal note, I look back with fond memories on a few highlights for me which included our family holiday to Europe, attending the U2 reunion concert in Vancouver with old friends, starting up my new blog, launching the New West Progressive Electors Coalition and drumming up interest in getting a new rink built!

On the work side, I was thrilled to be on stage with former Health Minister Terry Lake when he announced the BC Government would be investing $500M to expand and strengthen seniors care in the province. It was a file I’d been working on for years and it was great to see the Hon. Adrian Dix maintain his support for this funding when he took over the health portfolio last summer.

Looking Ahead to 2018

What would a year-in-review be without a bit of political prognostication. I’m looking at my crystal ball…and here is what I see.

  • There will be increased speculation regarding a possible spring provincial election after a balanced budget sets a clear path toward an NDP majority government.
  • Dianne Watts comes out on top on the first ballot of BC Liberal Leadership –  only to eventually lose to Todd Stone on the 3rd ballot.

    Will Todd Stone become the new Leader of the Opposition?
  • Sam Sullivan will drop out of the BC Liberal race and throw his support behind…oh, my crystal ball isn’t that clear!
  • Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson announces he’s not running again and will head out on the speaking circuit. Raymond Louie is acclaimed as leader, but not after a bitter internal battle within Vision Vancouver which leaves him as a “wounded leader.”
  • Vancouver Councillor Hector Bremner announces he will run to become the NPA’s mayoral candidate. A grassroots movement emerges asking MLA Michael Lee to give serious consideration to running for mayor as the NPA’s candidate. This will all get a bit messier when former mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe and Wai Young jump into the race as well!
  • Burnaby Mayor Derick Corrigan will get more done to strengthen Translink as the new Chair of the Mayor’s Council…than his predecessor did during his entire term in office. But his “bull in china-shop” approach will ruffle many feathers both in Metro Vancouver and Victoria.
  • Long-time Vancouver city councillor and former NDP MLA & Cabinet Minister Tim Stevenson will announce he’s had a good run at it and will retire from politics after 20+ years in public life.
  • The winds of change will take hold at the municipal level in October with incumbents having a tough time getting re-elected with a number of high profile candidates losing their seats. The passage of Bill 15 [municipal campaign finance reform] and the recent change in government in Victoria will be credited with upsetting the apple cart.

On that note, let me advise you that my track record with political prognostications is about 43% accurate over the years!!

I want to wish you all the best of the season…have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Talk to you again in 2018.