Editorial — A year of political upheavals

The HST took one premier down and is likely to take another, and her government, as well.

A new year is almost here, and it’s an appropriate time to take a look at the political happenings of 2011 and how they are likely to shape 2012.

On the federal scene, Canada finally has a majority government after almost seven years of minority governments. While the Conservatives have a comfortable majority, the government thus far hasn’t embarked on many bold initiatives. It is governing in challenging times, with the world economy precarious, and its caution is understandable.

In provincial politics, what a difference a year makes. The governing Liberals, NDP and Conservatives all have new leaders, but the government is in trouble at year end. While new premier Christy Clark has provided a fresh face, she has done little to distinguish herself from her unpopular predecessor. The Liberals are clearly a tired party.

The HST took one premier down and is likely to take another, and her government, as well.

The NDP, on the other hand, could have ended the year as deeply divided as it was in January. Instead, the party is ahead in the polls and new leader Adrian Dix appears to be on a roll. It looks like a government in waiting, although that will be up to the voters in May, 2013. Things could still change.

The long-dormant Conservatives have come to life under John Cummins, and a very recent  poll shows them tied with the Liberals. While that seems unlikely to last, the party has clearly attracted many disaffected former Liberal voters.

Locally, Langley Township has a new mayor although the council looks much the same. The tone in council chambers will be very different under Mayor Jack Froese, and he is likely to get more co-operation from council than his predecessor did. However, the Township has many challenges ahead of it, not the least of which is the taxes it assesses on residents.

Langley Board of Education has a new chair. Wendy Johnson will be setting a new direction, as she has solid backing on the board. The challenge it faces is to keep paying down its debt and not impacting services.

Langley City is likely to be going in a “business as usual” direction, with the only new face on council that of a longtime former councillor.

The City has had many successes in recent years, and Mayor Peter Fassbender’s leadership is an important factor.