Editorial: Naughty and nice

Published on December 23, 2016

Who's been naughty, who's been nice?


After a two-month buildup of Christmas movies, sales, gift buying, meals and music, the big day is drawing near and the naughty and nice list has been finalized.

The past 12 months have had many memorable moments, dominated by the election next door of billionaire reality TV host Donald Trump as president of the United States.

Trump heads the naughty list for his many offensive comments and boorish behaviour. He’ll be getting three lumps of coal in his monogrammed stocking made in China.

Topping the nice list for 2016 are all those involved in arranging and welcoming thousands of refugees from Syria and other places who fled war and terror to find peace and hope in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s name pops up on the naughty list for promoting access for cash and discussing policy over dinner. He can’t see the conflict in that?

Trudeau gets a nice nod, though, for the appointment of Newfoundland and Labrador jurist Malcolm Rowe to the Supreme Court of Canada.

His government as a whole makes the nice list for introducing legislation on assisted death, transgender rights and protection for citizens against discrimination and violence. Also for legislation to amend several words of “O Canada” to make it gender-neutral and fully inclusive.

The federal government gets another mention on the nice list for its plan to legalize marijuana, ensuring that 2017 will be a mellow year. And it’s there, too, because of the federal-provincial agreement reached on climate change — minus Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We have an agreement to help save the planet and move towards green energy.

But Ottawa has been naughty in failing to reach a new national heath accord with the provinces. Thousands are unable to afford essential prescription drugs while politicians haggle.

Individually, a couple of politicians made the national naughty list —

Maryam Mosef, minister for Democratic Institutions, for backtracking on clear federal promises to move forward on electoral reform. And Kellie Leitch, one of 14 candidates seeking the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, who seems to think following the Donald Trump playbook will get her noticed and elected.
Atlantic Liberal MPs as a collective have been naughty for resting too long on their laurels and not going to bat harder for the region until late in the year.

But let’s end on a nice note. The overwhelming response of Canadians from coast to coast in coming to the aid of Fort McMurray following devastating forest fires there in May was very nice indeed.

And, Canadians in general must be doing something right. In 2016 Canada ranked No. 6 among the list of freest countries in the world, while the United States continues to decline — this year dropping to 23rd place — on the Human Freedom Index.