By Mika Reka - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 0 Comments
A new NDP leader, a Liberal boxer, and a Canadian cycling champion grabbed headlines in 2012.
In October 2011, the bid was, at best, unlikely. Thomas Mulcair, a former Liberal Quebec cabinet minister, announced he would be running to replace the late Jack Layton at the helm of the NDP, a party that has clung to its social activism throughout its 50 years. Conservatives called Mulcair a political opportunist, and opponents within the NDP said he would betray the party’s social legacy, but by the spring of 2012, the MP from Outremont was the unshakable front-runner. He did not embrace every fringe social issue, nor did he make generous policy proposals at every campaign stop. Instead, Mulcair broadened his appeal by casting himself as the leader who could take on Stephen Harper and take the NDP to the government benches.
The son of Pierre Trudeau has yet to win the Liberal leadership, but Justin Trudeau proved he could be a contender. First there was the charity boxing match, where the wiry MP from Papineau defeated beefy Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau—the 3-1 favourite—in a third-round technical knockout. Soon after, people speculated Trudeau might capitalize on the moment with a Liberal run. After months courting support on the Hill and in the media, Trudeau entered the race in October with a commanding lead over his challengers.
Canadian cyclists don’t usually attract the adoring throng that is commonplace for their European peers. Then again, Canadians never had a champion to cheer for. In May, Ryder Hesjedal, 31, made history when he won the Giro d’Italia—a gruelling three-week race through the Dolomites and the Italian Alps—and became the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour. The Victoria, B.C., native entered the final stage of the race 31 seconds behind Spanish competitor Joaquim Rodríguez, but powered through the final ascent and tore through the streets of Milan to win by a razor-thin 16 seconds. He would later crash out of the Tour de France and post a lacklustre time at the London Olympics, but Hesjedal’s Italian job turned him into a bona fide hero. Continue…
By Nancy Macdonald - Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 7:40 AM - 0 Comments
The biggest buzz from the Communist Party’s meeting was around the yawns
Photos of bored Chinese Communist delegates at a pivotal party meeting went viral last week, before quickly disappearing from social media. Yawning party loyalists, after all, don’t fit with the official excitement surrounding Beijing’s once-in-a-decade leadership turnover.
In fairness, the 18th party congress, which ended Thursday, was hardly heady stuff. Decisions were made months in advance, and the names of the top leadership—including Xi Jinping, who replaces Hu Jintao as head of the Chinese Communist Party—have been known for years. Apparatchiks were just going through the motions.
But that didn’t stop an aura of paranoia from sweeping Beijing. Officials, spooked by falling growth rates, corruption scandals and the children of Communist politicians crashing Ferraris, ramped up security ahead of the handover. The sale of knives was banned in the capital. Buying a toy plane—which could have seditious messages attached to it—required a police chief’s permission. Cabbies were ordered to lock their back windows to prevent passengers from handing out political pamphlets. And in Tiananmen Square, guards carried fire extinguishers to stop Tibetan monks from lighting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule. Still, in places, dissidents did turn out to protest; scores of them were hauled off by security agents. Continue…