Ups and Downs, What has been 2003 and what might be 2004


Ups and Downs, What has been 2003 and what might be 2004

FTLComm - Qu' Appelle Valley - Saturday, December 13, 2003


This past week I spent three full days away from my screens and it gave me a chance to think about what we have been up to and what the heck is going on.

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Each year I work out my New Year's predictions and post them and indeed I will do that again this year, but looking back on the outlook for the year 2003 things didn't look all that bad. We had a descent shot at making a good year of the time given us and it would require some deep searching in history to find a year where so many things went so out of control.

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Most people have little difficulty in remembering the main crisis of 2003; the SARs medical epidemic in Toronto, the single case of BSE (mad cow disease) in Alberta that shut down cattle marketing for the year and then to put the icing on the cake we had the fires in Kelowna and the flood in Pemberton. Along the way there was a hurricane that was not suppose to be a problem to Halifax that knocked down 25% of their trees while Ontario was smacked with the biggest most widespread power outage in history.


But through all of that we kept our sense of humour and our dignity. Our Prime Minister kept our country out of an unjust and unjustifiable war in Iraq and our American neighbours continue to reward our country with import duties and trade embargoes all in the spirit and nature of the country to which they belong.


But now we have reached a pivotal point in history. The Canadian political landscape is at one of those curious moments when there is a confluence of change. All but a few of Canada's ten provinces and two territories have held their elections and there have been changes.


Here in Saskatchewan, even though the NDP has been re-elected, the premier has promised to make a new beginning, having left behind him the format of the former premier's government and he is setting out on his own. The provincial opposition are a bunch of losers, twice they have charge out before the public and twice they have failed and so it is time for them to select new leadership in March.


The Alberta Separatist party also known as the Canadian Alliance realised that it would be in trouble with a new leader who's reputation in business and in government would take the wind out of the sails of the pro-American bunch lead by Stephen Harper made the spineless Peter MacKay an offer of power he could not refuse and with a few tricks, the Old Progressive Conservative party has been destroyed, taken over by Harper and his Alberta band. They will select Harper in March as their new leader, but the real question is what will happen to the tens of thousands of Canadians who reject both the tendency for Harpers supporters to be bigots, fundamentalist Christians and dumb rednecks, and those people who are equally turned off by the Martin take over of the Liberal party. These people will be looking for some hope and I suspect even though Layton and the NDP is enjoying a second place position right now in the polls, the NDP is not going to be comfortable for the majority of Canadians who are just plain simple "moderates."


This past week Paul Martin succeeded where his father failed time after time and is at last Prime Minister of Canada. He has assembled a really huge government, ticked off a lot of high ranking Liberals as he has formed his government and is about to do government differently.


The other day Lindy Thorsen on his noon hour CBC radio show was discussing the new government of Paul Martin and my contribution was my personal problem of what to do about my 2004 New Years predictions.


The future, no doubt with unfold as it should, but I do not recall a time in history when there has been more potential for real change to take place.


By the way, though this seems to be a political discussion, it really isn't, because the way things are done and what is done, will have a direct impact on our day to day lives. For indeed the most important element in human life is our expectation of the way things will go. We most often predetermine the future by the perceptions we have of that future. This process becomes most powerful when the same perceptions are shared by a large number of people. If we come to believe that things are going to change, then it is unlikely that anything will be able to resist the overwhelming force of dramatic and significant alteration.

Timothy W. Shire



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