POLITICS

Politics in 2014: 10 Notable Stories From Across Canada

12/22/2014 05:00 EST | Updated 02/20/2015 05:59 EST
The past year will be remembered for the death of long-serving finance minister Jim Flaherty, a heated political tussle over Toronto's mayoral seat and a string of ups and downs for provincial politicians. 

CBC News looks back at some notable political stories — and ahead at the one big story set to dominate the agenda in 2015.

Jim Flaherty dies

The former finance minister died in April, just weeks after stepping down from cabinet. Flaherty, who served as a provincial politician before being elected as an Ontario MP in 2006, spent nearly eight years at the helm of the Finance Ministry.

At a state funeral, Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised his close colleague and friend, saying, "as a human being, he was the complete package."

Rob Ford wins — a council seat

Rob Ford is still serving at Toronto City Hall, but his dreams of re-election as mayor were dashed by a rare cancer that forced him to drop out of the mayoral race. 

The political changes and medical problems came months after Ford checked into rehab to tackle addiction issues. "I hurt a lot of people — lying, conniving, hiding to cover up for this problem," Ford told CBC's Dwight Drummond.

Ford captured much of the attention, but John Tory's win of the top job in Toronto and Olivia Chow's weak results were huge stories in Canada's largest city.

Harassment on the Hill

Two major newsmakers of the year have chosen not to be publicly identified. In early November, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau suspended Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti after two unnamed NDP MPs alleged they were harassed by the Liberal MPs.

​The allegations, which came on the heels of sex assault allegations against former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi, have prompted broader discussions about harassment and how such allegations are handled on the Hill.

The federal Liberals hired a human rights lawyer to compile a fact-finding report about the harassment allegations, and additional processes through either the Speaker's office or outside parties could still happen. 

Alison Redford steps down

After facing questions over her conduct as leader and some of her expenses, Alison Redford was forced to step down, first as premier of Alberta, then as a Conservative member of the legislature. 

"On election night two years ago I pledged that we would govern with unity and build prosperity," Redford said in her resignation speech in March. "Well, at least we got the prosperity part right." 

Wildrose defections

The political turmoil in Alberta heightened again in December, when Danielle Smith and eight Wildrose members of the legislature stunned Albertans with their unprecedented decision to cross the floor and join Jim Prentice's governing Progressive Conservatives.

In the days since Smith's dramatic defection, some in her riding have called for her to resign her seat and face a byelection.

Kathleen Wynne's surprise Liberal majority

Kathleen Wynne went into the Ontario election in June with a minority government and lingering Liberal controversies that led many to predict her party would be booted out of office. Her surprise Liberal majority prompted her NDP rival to say people voted "out of fear" of the Conservative election plan under Tim Hudak. Whatever the reason, Wynne has a majority — but that hasn't ended her political problems.

Questions remain about the Liberal's handling of the cancelled gas plants and the Pan Am Games, among other issues, and some argue that Wynne's government isn't doing enough to deal with Ontario's troubled finances. Among Wynne's latest challenges? Repairing Ontario's relationship with the federal government and working with Toronto's new mayor.

Robocalls: Michael Sona gets 9 months

The "robocall scandal" unfolded years ago ahead of the 2011 federal election, but after a lengthy investigation the case finally headed to court in 2014.

In November, a judge sentenced former Conservative staffer Michael Sona to nine months in jail, saying his crime of misdirecting voters showed a "callous and blatant disregard for the right of people to vote."

Judge Gary Hearn said he doesn't doubt that Sona was involved — but he did note that questions remain as to whether the 26-year-old orchestrated the misleading robocalls on his own. 

Philippe Couillard's Liberals win Quebec

Voters in Quebec headed to the polls this year and sent the Parti Québécois government packing, leaving it with just 30 of 125 seats. In its place? Philippe Couillard's Liberals, who swept to power with 70 seats. 

The new premier said one of the first orders of business after the election was going back to the basics: "We need to re-establish the confidence of Quebecers in their government."

The poor PQ showing prompted leader Pauline Marois to quit her post. An interim leader is in place, but the party is still weighing its future as members prepare to select a new leader.

Greg Selinger caucus revolt in Manitoba 

Further west, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger faced a major backlash from his own cabinet ministers. The provincial NDP has long held power in Manitoba, but at least one analyst thinks Selinger's troubles may signal worse to come for his party. 

The 2015 election

The fixed federal election date is set for Oct. 19, 2015, but there's been speculation that it could come earlier. The question now is when the campaign will officially begin and which issues will draw the most attention from voters.

​​Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it's going ahead as scheduled and that his party is planning on a fall election "like everybody else."

"I won't say there's nothing that could change it, but there's nothing on the horizon that I see changing that," Harper said in his year-end interview with CBC.

Also on HuffPost

How Much Harper & Top Tories Have Aged