We've unwrapped piles of Christmas editorials, navigated maddening crowds of Boxing Day editorials, and nursed a hangover from consuming more year-in-review editorials than any human should. All that's left is to plop a few wither-the-year-ahead editorials and we'll finally be done with this wretched holiday season altogether. Bring on the glass of water!
Obviously it's a bit tricky to predict the future (thanks for nothing, Mayans), but if the nation's editorial pages are any indication, a single word is gonna loom large in 2013 Canadian politics, and that word is federalism. Also oil.
Look, says the National Post editorial board, I know Canadians spent much of 2012 grinning giant smug Grinch grins over the fact that we're living in "a veritable Solla Sollew" compared to the rest of this loser planet, but we've still got a pretty big "economic and infrastructure challenge" facing us in aught-13. Namely, how to sell Alberta's oil to the Orient without getting bogged down in "bickering over revenue, opposition from aboriginal bands, and an anti-pipeline campaign mounted by British Columbia's powerful environmental lobby."
It's absolutely vital that we somehow plow though all these difficulties in the new year, say the Posties. Otherwise our oil exports will remain forever "hostage to the American energy market," which would be truly monstrous -- what with all the difficulties.
In any case, Alberta is undeniably 2013's province of "rising fortunes," notes the Globe and Mail. Which means maybe they'll finally stop whining about alienation. After all, the Globeos snark, "'The West Wants In' has a lot less resonance with people when the West is in."
While once everything to the left of Manitoba was a hegemonic heap of Hogtown-hating Harperites, Gilly notes that in recent years said heap's "facade of unity has fractured -- especially between the two most powerful western provinces, Alberta and British Columbia" as they squabble over pipelines.
(By the way, "especially" Alberta and British Columbia? I wanna hear about the lesser-known breakdown in B.C.-Saskatchewan relations!)
The Gillster figures that 2013 could easily be the year B.C. and Alberta finally emerge as Canada's "new Quebec and Ontario" and thereby our new "two solitudes" locked in a chronically dysfunctional marriage that constantly threatens to tear the nation asunder! 'Cause we could always use another one of those!
But what's gonna be 2013's big political fix to all this federalist frustration? Well, noted Sun columnist/Tory hack Monte Solberg figures the Conservatives should use their upcoming Calgary jamboree to "develop policies" about... the stuff, while L. Ian MacDonald in the Ottawa Citizen thinks Harps should convene "a First Ministers' Conference on energy" and lock all the catty premiers in a broom closest 'til they come up with some kinda mutually-agreeable national energy scheme.
Man, with such stellar media forecasting, it's like we barely even need to live through 2013 at all!
Which is good, cause the year sounds pretty sucky.
Last week I took some flak for running a snippy little summary of the aboriginal protest movement/revolution/guilt trip/hashtag known as Idle No More. Fans said I was over-generalizing, and fair enough. Ragtag protests are easy to mock, but too often we use this mockery as an excuse to avoid confronting the larger causes they clumsily represent -- in this case, the plight of Canada's First Nations.
So in the interest of fairness, let's look at some of the proposed solutions to this serious dilemma our nation's editorial pages have offered over the last couple of days.
And mock those.
Alright, so first thing the PM's gotta do, says former Harper advisor Keith Beardsley in the Post, is assemble an all-star team to address the Idlers' demands. Obvs It's gotta include Shawn Atleo (who, as we may recall, is the moderate head of the First Nations Assembly known for his moderate approach to moderation) and Joe Clark (whom Keith charitably calls a "former Prime Minister with a Conservative pedigree," as opposed to a more accurate title, like "Joe Clark"). I think we can all agree that it's hard to imagine a brain-trust that screams "taking this seriously" any louder.
Cameoing in the Globe, meanwhile, noted Liberal leadership also-ran Martha Hall Findlay thinks the real solution to native woe is money, and lots of it. Billions and billions of dollars, like the previous Liberal administration wanted to give aboriginals through the Kelowna Accord -- if only a certain helmet-hair hadn't won an election and ruined everything.
Harper's left a "complete vacuum of leadership" on native issues, says Martha, which obviously begs the question of who could possibly fill it. (It's Justin Trudeau, right?)
Even noted libertarian William Watson in the Ottawa Citizen, who thinks hunger strikes like that of beloved Idle mascot Theresa Spence are the furthest thing from "reasonable behaviour in a free and democratic society" is willing to concede that the time may be ripe for negotiated peace.
Yeah, it's unfair that a single Indian chief "has more purchasing-power in the political marketplace than you or me," he says, but that's just the way capitalism works -- celebs always get what they want.
In short, the pundits basically think whatever's eating the Idlers' is nothing a little cash, chatting, and politics can't fix.
Not exactly bold thinking -- but I'd hate to over-generalize.
Follow J.J. McCullough on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JJ_McCullough