Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013: The Year Ahead

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
- T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
From the poem Little Gidding             
We are five days into a New Year and there is much ahead.  I am not superstitious about the number 13 at all and I am always hopeful that 2013 will be a better year.  It is sometimes undeniably difficult to feel that way but as Henry Beecher Ward wrote:

Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances, but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.



Although there will be no federal election until It will be an active year in politics here in Canada. The federal Liberal Party will choose a new leader on April 14, 2013 and the spotlight will be on MPs Justin Trudeau and Marc Garneau.  The Ontario Liberals will replace outgoing Dalton McGuinty and the province will have a new premier.  Their convention will be held at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto from January 27-27, 2013. A provincial election is scheduled for British Columbia on May 14, 2013.  Since Quebec and Ontario both have minority governments, there is the possibility that those two provinces could go to the polls this year.  A provincial election is more likely to take place in Ontario, though.

Keep an eye on the aboriginal people's Idle No More movement.  Aboriginal leaders are especially concerned about the Indian Act, the Navigation Act and the Environmental Assessment Act. Theresa Spence, Chief of the Attawapskat First Nation, is on a hunger strike and vows that she will continue it until she sees the results of an outcome of a meeting between aboriginal leaders and Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday, January 11, 2013.  Spence and her supporters have camped out on Victoria Island on the Ottawa River near Parliament Hill since December 11, 2012.


Italy will hold parliamentary elections on February 24-25, 2013.  Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is to lead a coalition into the election.

In December, disgraced former prime minister, Silivio Berlusconi, 76, announced his engagement to 28-year-old Francesca Pascale.  Pascale is a former shop assistant from Naples and she served as the provincial councillor in Berlesconi's centre-right PDL party until July of 2012.  This will be the flamboyant media tycoon's third marriage.


U..S. President Barack Obama's second inauguration will take place on January 21st, 2013. According the 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution (passed in 1933), the presidential inauguration must take place at noon on January 20th, provided that January 20th does not fall on a Sunday.  This year, January 20th falls on a Sunday so Obama will be sworn in on the 21st.  2013 marks the first time an inauguration day has fallen on the Sabbath since President James Monroe's second  swearing-in in 1821.

President Obama doesn't have to worry about being re-elected anymore.  He should stand up to the gun lobbyists and not be intimidated by the National Rifle Association.  It will be interesting to see how successful he will be in his attempt to ban semi-automatic weapons.

On foreign policy, Obama would be wise to concentrate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The situation in Gaza and the West Bank is at the core of much of the conflict in the world. Surprisingly, it was not discussed much during the 2102 presidential campaign.  Now that John Kerry is about to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, it will be interesting to see how he approaches the matter.

This year marks two important anniversaries in the American civil rights movement.  Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation 150 ago, on January 1, 1863.  It proclaimed freedom for all slaves in Confederate territory.  The 50th anniversary of the famous civil rights March on Washington on August 28, 1963 will be celebrated this year.

It's hard to believe but November 22, 1963 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.


There were over 500 murders in the Windy City last year.  According to police, up to 80 per cent of Chicago's murders and shootings are gang-related.  On January 3rd, Chicago Police Chief Gerry McCarthy stated that the "Chicago Police Department takes more guns off the street consistently, year after year, than any department in the country."  He reported that police confiscated more than 7,400 guns, including 300 assault weapons in Chicago in 2012.  Speaking at St. Sabina Church on Chicago's South Side, McCarthy called for five measures to put an end to such gun violence: restriction of of assault weapons; restriction of high capacity magazines; reporting of the loss, theft or transfer of a firearm; good background checks and mandatory minimums to prevent people from possessing illegal firearms.  Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, added his voice to the proceeding when he declared, "You do not need an AK-47  or an Uzi for the streets of Chicago, Joliet, Aurora, Rockford, Decatur or Springfield and everything in between.  And you don't need a high calibre magazine."  Thank goodness for some voices of sanity!


Parliamentary elections will be held in Israel on January 22.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to maintain power although his Likud Party has recently begun losing ground.


2012 was such an eventful year in the U.K.  The Queen celebrated her 60th anniversary on the throne. After the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, London hosted the Summer Olympic Games.  This year, the British await the birth of a royal baby who will be third in the line of succession.


iconic - This word is used so frequently that it has lost its meaning.

have your back - Enough already!

fiscal cliff  -  It's about time for the end of that term.


Canada's population surpassed 35 million in 2012, according to an estimate from Statistics Canada last month.  Back in 1967, our centennial year, the late Bobby Gimby wrote a patriotic song called CA-NA-DA which proclaims, "Now we are twenty million."  The population of this country has increased by about 15 million in 45 years.


For the first time in its history, Canada has five female premiers. These woman are the current leaders of the governing parties in four of its 10 provinces and in one of its three territories..  They are Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland, Pauline Marois of Quebec, Alison Redford of Alberta, Christy Clark of British Columbia and Eva Aariak of Nunavut.

Dunderdale of Newfoundland

Marois of Quebec

Aariak of Nunavut territory

Redford of Alberta
Clark of British Columbia


There will be no Olympic Games, no Commonwealth Games, FIFA World Cup of soccer (football) in 2013.


Canadian Football League

The 101st Grey Cup game will be hosted by the city of Regina, Saskatchewan.  It is scheduled to take place on November 24, 2013 at Mosaic Stadium at Talor Field.  Those Saskatchewan fans are the most enthusiastic fans I've ever seen.  They will be be outstanding Grey Cup hosts.


The 2013 Super Bowl will take place on February 3, 2013.  The game will be played in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Superdome.  (Americans like the word "super"). The event is being billed as Super Bowl XLVII and it will mark the first time championship game has been played at the dome since it was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


As of this writing, there has not been an agreement between the National Hockey League and its players' union.  If the two sides fail to agree to a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the season will be cancelled as will the Stanley Cup playoffs.  The New Year's Day outdoor Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs has already been cancelled. It was to have taken place at Michigan, Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Under-20 World Junior Hockey Championships ended today with a gold medal victory for Team USA over Team Sweden.  The final score was 3-1.  Team Canada finished a disappointing fourth and out of the medals.  Team Russia won the bronze medal.


The 84th edition of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field in Queen's, New York on July 16, 2013.  It will mark the first time that the New York Mets have hosted an All-Star Game since 1964, their inaugural season at Shea Stadium.

The major league teams to watch in 2013 are the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Blue Jays, they should win a wild card spot, at the very least.  Anything less than post-season play will be a big disappointment considering all the off season improvements GM Alex Anthopoulos has made.

The 2013 World Baseball Classic will be held from March 2, 2013 to March 19, 2013.  The international competition will be hosted by Japan, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and the United States. Japan is the two-time defending champion, having won the previous tournaments in 2006 and 2009.

- Joanne