A look back at 2010 with its ups and downs – Editorial

Here we are at the end of another year, one which had its ups and downs, with more ups at the community, and sadly, more downs at the provincial and national levels.

The biggest plus of the year 2010 for the communities in central Alberta is probably the outcome of October’s municipal elections.

In almost all municipalities and school divisions in the area, many new faces entered the electoral races and a good number of the first-time candidates made a respectable showing, winning seats in councils and boards.

Given the fresh ideas and enthusiasm brought into the meeting chambers of municipal and school board buildings by new councilors and board members, there is no reason why one should not be looking to the future with hope and confidence, at least as far as the local services are concerned.

The state of affairs at the provincial level, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter.

The clumsiness on the part of the provincial government in managing one of the most fundamental services that the citizens expect from their government was exposed by one of the governing party’s own MLAs.

Raj Sherman’s justifiable outburst at the length of wait times in emergency rooms, and the farce that followed with the dismissal of Stephen Duckett, former chief executive officer Alberta Health Services, have helped demonstrate the indifference on the part of the Stelmach government in the approach to health care sector.

On top of it, the recent report by the Royal Society of Canada, on the state of environmental negligence by the provincial government in development of oil sands, has just added another stroke to the picture of an incompetent government.

At the national level, while the Winter Olympics in Vancouver rallied the country and made every Canadian proud of both athletic and organizational achievements, 2010 has also been the year when Canada was, for the first time in its history, denied the privilege of a rotating membership in the United Nations Security Council.

That result was, in no small measure, owed to the policies of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who, with his pro big business and pro-hydrocarbon practices, dented Canada’s international image as a caring and gentle nation.

At the global level, 2010 did not bring any deterioration in terms of international conflicts, but there was not much of a breakthrough in solving any problems that were inherited from 2009, either.

All indicators now point to a general election in Canada sometime in 2011 and it is likely to be a closely fought race. With the Liberals failing to come up with sound alternative policies, Harper’s Conservatives may end up winning again.

Although it may be wishful thinking, an election in the province looks much more necessary than a federal one.