We can hardly believe that 2012 is almost over. The past 12 months have seen protests in Quebec, rumblings of an electoral scandal, a political sea change in two of Canada's biggest provinces and plenty of bad behaviour from mayors in two of Canada's cities.
Over the next few weeks we'll be looking back at 2012 and highlighting the moments, stories and people that made the year memorable and probably a few that we really would rather forget.
But first we want to throw it over to you, dear reader. We want to know what you think is the biggest Canadian story of 2012. We've included a shortlist below. You can vote in our poll, tell us what we've missed in the comments or send us a tweet with the #News2012 tag.
Full text below slideshow:
You can blame billionaire owners or the millionaire players, but at the end of the day, Canada has now been without hockey for almost three months. No Hockey Night In Canada, no office pools, no bonding with your friends over an overtime goal.
What’s worse, the lockout came just months after an unlikely Stanley Cup win for the Los Angeles Kings, based in the second largest TV market in the U.S. Add the fact that the New York Rangers, in America’s largest market, also made a long playoff run and the NHL could’ve actually made inroads into the United States this season. Sigh.
If you lived in Canada’s two largest cities, Montreal and Toronto, what you learned in 2012 is that your mayors are not exactly shining beacons of civic leadership. In Quebec, a massive anti-corruption inquest has brought down mayors in Montreal and Laval and paints a picture of provincial and municipal governments in bed with organized crime.
Torontonians have had to deal with Mayor Rob Ford ditching important council votes for high school football practices, incidents involving reporters and more than one court case. Then again, it’s not all bad. Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi remains beloved in Calgary and Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson hasn’t had a bad year. Montrealers and Torontonians can only sit back in envy.
Could a movement of angry young Canadians get the government to reverse its stance on tuition hikes? Absolutely. Could that same movement paralyze a whole province and mortally wound a government at the ballot box. Definitely.
Quebec’s student movement was, arguably, one of the most influential mass movements in recent years. Thousands of students took to the streets of Montreal not just once but repeatedly over a period of weeks and months. More surprisingly, it was led by young Canadians, a group that many thought were apathetic and politically disengaged. The Quebec movement proved them wrong.
Mark Carney is something of a walking paradox: He’s a superstar central banker. And he attained this status by being the man in charge of Canada’s fiscal policy when the financial crisis hit. As U.S. banks neared collapse and needed hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts, Canada’s banks hummed along relatively well, requiring only a smaller bailout package that — unlike in the U.S. — didn’t require taxpayers’ money.
Canada’s stability during the crisis didn’t go unnoticed around the world, and soon the buzz around Carney began to build, until it reached its apex this fall when U.K. chancellor George Osborne tapped him to be the Bank of England’s governor — the first time a foreigner was ever given that position. Some observers question whether Carney really deserves the accolades he’s received; after all, the banking policies that kept Canada’s financial institutions above water during the crisis were in place for years and decades when Carney took the reins at the Bank of Canada in 2007. As Carney takes up the BoE job next year, all eyes will be on the former Goldman Sachs banker to see if he can repeat his success on the other side of the pond.
Fall of the Premiers
Jean Charest is the Canadian political equivalent of the Road Runner. He dodged political scandals and attacks like the speedy cartoon character avoided anvils and crafty traps. But in the end, a combination of Quebec’s corruption inquiry, a massive student uprising and general voter fatigue brought down Charest.
In Ontario, it was a similar story. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals fought off a resurgent Progressive Conservative party to take a minority government at Queen’s Park. Who knew that in a few short months of scandal would bring down the premier of Canada’s largest province?
Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was about as ubiquitous this summer as patio beers and sunscreen. The 27-year-old Vancouverite’s poppy anthem to unrequited love got a huge boost when Justin Bieber talked up the song earlier this year. For this, we’ve got to thank young Mr. Bieber.
We’re a pretty, jaded and crotchety bunch here at HuffPost Canada but we’ll bop along to “Call Me, Maybe.” And judging from the literally hundreds of mash-ups and versions of the song, it looks like the whole world did too.
The Robocalls Scandal
In February, Postmedia reporters Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher broke what was arguably the biggest political story of 2012. It appeared that voters in a hotly-contested riding in Guelph, Ontario received phone calls that misinformed them about their polling locations.
Their story would result in serious questions about whether the Tories or staff for Conservative campaigns engaged in electoral fraud. The revelations haven’t brought down the government or any senior leaders but it has hung around like a cloud over the entire year in politics.
Kevin Page is a civil servant, watchdog, persistent thorn in the side of the governing Tories, and perhaps the best opposition member never elected to Parliament.
In 2012, the parliamentary budget officer challenged the government on its cost estimates regarding everything from F-35 fighter jets to Old Age Security and launched a legal battle with the Tories’ over their unwillingness to reveal details about cuts being made to the public service. The Conservatives, who appointed Page in the first place as part of their landmark accountability legislation in 2006, have maintained Page is operating outside his mandate. That question remains before the courts, but one thing is certain: Page has made an indelible mark on the Canadian political landscape.