A year to re­mem­ber

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION -

It is with a sigh of re­lief that we bid farewell to 2016, a year mem­o­rable for its bleak­ness. It started off on a wor­ri­some note, with sus­pi­cions ( later con­firmed) that the pre­vi­ously in­nocu­ous Zika virus was caus­ing dev­as­tat­ing harm to ba­bies in Brazil whose moth­ers con­tracted it while preg­nant. It wound down with a Rus­sian diplo­mat be­ing as­sas­si­nated on cam­era in Turkey and a ter­ror­ist ram­ming a truck through a crowded Christmas mar­ket in Ber­lin.

Prince, David Bowie, Muham­mad Ali, Harper Lee, Shi­mon Peres, Gordie Howe and Leonard Co­hen are among the lu­mi­nar­ies who left us.

Sure, 2016 had its pos­i­tives. The per­for­mance of Cana­dian women at the Rio Olympics was in­spi­ra­tional. And the or­di­nary Cana­di­ans who wel­comed some 35,000 Syr­ian refugees within the last year or so merit spe­cial men­tion.

But events around the globe have left us rat­tled and un­cer­tain. Was 2016 an aber­ra­tion, or is the ex­ist­ing world or­der giv­ing way to some­thing un­set­tling?

There was the Brexit ref­er­en­dum, where Bri­tish vot­ers re­jected the rec­om­men­da­tions of main­stream politicians and de­cided to leave the Euro­pean Union.

Dur­ing the U.S. elec­tion, out­right lies, boast­ing about sex­ual as­sault, threats to jail his ri­val and de­nial of ba­sic po­lit­i­cal or­tho­dox­ies didn’t pre­vent Don­ald Trump from win­ning the pres­i­dency. His can­di­dacy might also have had help from un­likely sources: the di­rec­tor of the FBI and Rus­sia. It’s no won­der Ox­ford Dic­tio­nar­ies’ word of the year was “post-truth,” de­fined as “cir­cum­stances in which ob­jec­tive facts are less in­flu­en­tial in shap­ing pub­lic opin­ion than ap­peals to emo­tion and per­sonal be­lief.”

Rus­sia helped Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad’s forces re­cap­ture rebel-held parts of Aleppo. Civil­ians were slaugh­tered or left to die in the worst hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe of the early 21st cen­tury.

While Cana­di­ans can be grate­ful we live in peace, the year’s in­ter­na­tional events hold sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns for this coun­try. Canada’s trade and de­fence re­la­tion­ships with our big­gest part­ner have been thrown into ques­tion with Trump’s elec­tion as has the Paris Ac­cord on cli­mate change.

Canada has the po­ten­tial to be a bea­con of hope in a dark­en­ing world. This coun­try has re­mained a sup­porter of in­ter­na­tional trade while some oth­ers are turn­ing to pro­tec­tion­ism. And it has con­tin­ued to welcome new­com­ers while some oth­ers are blam­ing im­mi­grants for their prob­lems.

The year gone by was one to re­mem­ber for all the wrong rea­sons; bring on 2017.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.