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Laughter and tears, beginnings, endings

The View from Here column by Alan Pickersgill:

It’s been an even dozen years since we journeyed, full of anticipation and optimism, into the 21st century. The hope we felt has been dashed by the reality we experienced.

We left a century marked by constant turmoil and warfare and fell into more of the same. We’ve had tragic wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and other places. Terrible disasters in Haiti, the Philippines, Japan.
The seven worst natural disasters of the young century killed over 800,000 people. At least as many died in the wars.

Yet the human spirit is resilient. We always hope better days will come. We want a future for our children. We want a world where they won’t be sent into a foreign land to kill or be killed. We want a country that provides work at a living wage to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. In short, we want peace, order and good government. Will we get it in 2013? As much as we hope we will, we probably won’t.

One thing we will get is a provincial election. Considering how they behaved in recent years, the Liberals do not deserve another term in office.

Proroguing the legislature while they choose a new leader should be the final nail in their coffin. Other governing parties have managed to face their oppositions while choosing new leaders. The Liberals could, and should, have also done so.

Tim Hudak is waiting on the sidelines, anxious to bring in American-style “right to work” laws. If he gets the chance to kill unions, he will enshrine poverty as government policy.

Electing a government led by him would be worse than a trip back to the dark years of Mike Harris. Will the people of Ontario have the courage and good sense to give Andrea Horwath a chance to govern? I hope they do, but fear they won’t.

Never mind the future. As John Lennon wrote, life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans. Think a bit about the past.

As happens every year, 2012 had its full share of births and deaths, weddings and divorces, anniversaries and graduations. We’ve had laughter and tears, beginnings and endings.

Among the things that are going out with this old year is this column in its present iteration. For the past 17 years I have had the enormous privilege of sharing my opinions with you. I have tried to be a voice for the ordinary people who get on with their lives, coping as well as possible despite the things governments and corporations do to them. I’m not the only voice you have. There’s one inside you that needs to be heard more often. Feel free to use it.

I want to thank all those who have told me they read and enjoy the columns, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not. They have thanked me in chance encounters on the street, in shops and at the Saturday morning market, and I always thank them for reading. I also want to thank the editor, Chris Clark, for his support and forbearance through the years. In turn, I have never missed a deadline. I’ve sent columns from Scotland, England, Tennessee and British Columbia. All good things come to an end sooner or later, and it is time for me to sign off on this phase of my writing addiction. I may be back on a less frequent basis. Right now, I’ll take a few weeks off while Chris recalibrates this space.

I hope you had as good a Christmas as I did. Take care of yourselves in the new year.

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