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Blogs 2012: A Year in Review

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Our blog rail often feels like an eclectic dinner party where celebrities, politicians, students and any Canadian with an intelligent opinion gather around the same table.

Almost every day this year we have read about how different people view government, public figures, other cultures and their own lives.

Taken on their own, each blog might seem underwhelming. After all, it is just one person's opinion, and your crazy Aunt Edna has no shortage of those.

But when we publish these insights, arguments and confessions on our platform, often something special happens.

Often these blogs become fire crackers, igniting a national conversation.

This year our bloggers have broken news -- Arsen Ostrovosky was one of the first voices in the mainstream media to write about the Israel/Palestine bombings in his blog: "My Country is Under Attack. Do You Care?"

They have shattered stereotypes, as Alice Moran did when she wrote "Dear Krista Ford, I Was Sexually Assaulted, but Not Dressed Like a Whore."

They have delved into taboo topics, as director Erika Lust bravely proved with her blog: "How I Will Tell My Daughters I Work in Porn."

They have done investigative work, exemplified by Douglas Anthony Cooper's series titled "PETA's Death Cult."

And they have debated important issues, such as "Should Canada Ban Muslim Face Coverings?"

Before looking forward to the opinions of 2013, we wanted to bring our firecrackers of 2012 together for a grand finale.

Next year, please pull up a chair at our table.

2012: A Year in Blogs
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1. Arsen Ostrovsky: My Country is Under Attack. Do You Care?

"I'm angry. You see, as most Americans were waking up this morning, and those in Europe and elsewhere around the world were going about their daily routines, here in Israel -- over one million people were running for cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza." Read story...

2. Jim Harris: Harper Conquers Canada, One Robocall at a Time

"This robocall scandal is not just about some inconvenient phone calls, it's about subverting our democracy and altering the outcome of the election. And it's about Harper remaking Canada in his own image." Read story...

3. Alice Moran: Dear Krista Ford, I Was Sexually Assaulted, but Not Dressed Like a Whore

"Dear a lot of people, but specifically Ms. Krista Ford, I feel like you owe me a moment of your time, even though we've never met. The circumstance being you called me a whore. I should clarify: I'm one of the victims of the recent string of sexual assaults in the Annex. 'Sup? It's nice to make your acquaintance." Ready story...

4. Douglas Anthony Cooper: PETA's "Thank You" for Killing Shelter Pets

"When the no-kill shelter in Shelby County, Kentucky recently announced that they had run out of space -- and were hence going to have to start killing healthy dogs and cats -- officials received a nice basket of gourmet cookies, with a note signed from PETA: "Thank you for doing the right thing." Read story...

5. Rene Ross: A Night in the Life of a Sex Worker

"The date took a turn for the worst. He raped her, punched her repeatedly, and beat her to the head with a stray two-by-four he found in the alley. Abigail slipped in an out of consciousness, yet, she was able to scream loudly enough to alert someone in a nearby building who called 911." Read story...

6. Chelsea Vowel: I'm in a Life-Threatening Abusive Relationship...With My Government

"Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat did not launch a hunger strike over a single piece of legislation. In short, this is what we have always been talking about. Whether the particular focus has been on housing, or education or the environment, or whatever else. What lies at the heart of all these issues is our relationship with Canada. And Canada? This relationship is abusive." Read story...

7. Amanda Garbutt: The Top 10 Foods That Make You Bloat

"We all know that salt and sugar are recipes for disaster if you are trying to avoid bloating. What you may not realize is that junk food isn't the only culprit. That's right, even healthy, fibre-rich vegetables can cause painful bloating leaving you feeling like you've just wolfed down a Big Mac. Nix these 10 items from your diet and you'll be strutting a new slimmer and trimmer you in just two weeks!" Read story...

8. Emma Woolley: What It's Like Being Violated As a Teenage Girl

"I will never forget how excited I was to be invited to watch a movie with the popular boy I liked. I primped for hours. (I was, after all, a teenager grappling with my own new sexuality.) When I got there, he did not put on the movie we agreed to watch, but a porn film. I had never seen one before. He unzipped his pants, pushed and pulled at me. I cried the whole walk home." Read story...

9. Conrad Black: "One of the Dumbest, Most Futile Elections in History"

"Mitt Romney was never going to be a candidate for Mount Rushmore, but barely 40 years after he warned of it, America has become, in Richard Nixon's eerie phrase, "a pitiful, helpless, giant." It is almost irrelevant to the world, except as an engine of fiscal incontinence." Read story...

10. Josh D. Scheinert: Dear America: You Have a Gay Problem

"If you bothered to look North you'd realize we aren't all that concerned about gay people. There are still a few things to be worked out, but there's something different, something malicious about the debate in your country." Read story...

11. Justin Trudeau: We Need a New Generation of Canadian Leadership

"Our Canadian promise has never been too complicated. Work hard, we tell our kids, and you will have a better future than we did. Today, for too many, that promise rings hollow." Read story...

12. Change My Mind: Should Canada Ban Muslim Face Coverings?

"Welcome to our Change My Mind debate series, in which we challenge leading voices to debate an issue -- and allow you, the reader, to determine who wins. Today's topic is based on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's decision to ban Muslim face coverings from citizenship ceremonies." Read story...

13. Craig and Marc Kielburger: What We're Not Saying About Chris Brown's Tattoo

"The headline that caught our attention: Did Chris Brown tattoo a battered Rihanna on his neck? When we look behind this headline, the real issue is that no one is talking about the real issue. It's not just about Chris Brown or Rihanna. It's about domestic abuse. It's also about celebrity-issued get-out-of-jail-free cards." Read story...

14. Philip Demers: Why I Left Marineland, and My Beloved Walrus Smooshi

"In May of 2012, I made the difficult and desperate decision to leave Marineland after about eight years of being a trainer for Smooshi the walrus. I could no longer bear witness to the suffering, and could ill afford to waste any more time. I simply didn't have a choice anymore." Read story...

15. Jenna Em: 10 Holiday Items that Are Cheaper at the Dollar Store

"If you're looking to save some money this holiday season, did you know that there are some great deals to be found at the Dollar Store? Although some items on this list may not be found at your particular Dollar Store, many of them will be! Save dollars at a time when you shop the items from this list!" Read story...

16. Delaine Moore: I Made Out With a Married Man, and Told His Wife

"Last year I spent out eight hours with a handsome "urban cowboy" at a bar. A day and a make-out session later, I found out he was married. I told his wife what had happened. I don't know if I made the right decision, so after a year of not speaking to her, I got in contact with her, and here's what she had to say about knowing that her husband cheated on her." Read story...

17. Kathleen Rea: How My National Ballet Career Led to Bulimia

"At ten, I was accepted into the National Ballet School of Canada training program. In puberty I developed curves that were considered too fat for the ballet world. I decided to diet my curves away, as the accolades in ballet went to girls who looked deathly thin." Read story...

18. Supriya Dwivedi: Generation Y -- Politically Engaged and Enraged

"The right-of-centre movement risks losing this entire generation of voters if it does not compromise on social issues that my cohort considers basic human rights. Millennials are a politically engaged generation. We know what is important to us, and what isn't. Perhaps it's about time politicians listened." Read story...

19. Erika Lust: How I Will Tell My Daughters I Work in Porn

"When people around me learn of my profession in pornography, they immediately start asking morbid questions. I'm used to this: Society has always tried to control our sexuality. But I'm not so much concerned with society. I'm more concerned with what I'll say when my daughters ask: 'Mommy, what is your job?'" Ready story...

20. Chris Jancelewicz: Our Obsession With Kristen Stewart: Let's Move On, Shall We?

"Do I know Kristen Stewart? No, I can never claim that. But in the past 24 hours I've seen her three times, and spoken to her once -- not for an interview, but candidly, in a hallway at the InterContinental Hotel in Toronto. In that brief five minutes I learned more about Stewart than I ever could have from any interview or gossip mag." Read story...