By Jamie Rieger
There are many colourful words that people could use to describe the year we are getting close to saying goodbye to and not many of those words are good ones. 2016 has been 12 months filled with uncertainty, divisiveness, and in some cases, anger.
The year did not start on a good note as Bill 6 had people from the agriculture industry and those who support our farmers and ranchers taking to the streets, protesting the controversial Bill.
Events south of the border had many of us glued to the TV as the US election campaigning continued to drone on. Some of us were fascinated just watching the convoluted American election process unfold, others watched to see how many times Donald Trump would put his foot in his mouth, while Hillary Clinton was remaining behind the scenes for more than 100 days, in hopes that Trump’s loose lips would mean an easy victory for her. Boy, was she wrong! Some people recognized the unsettled atmosphere and the need for change that was bubbling throughout North America over the past few years and saw a Trump victory coming. For others, when Trump won the election, it was a moment of shock and awe.
There was just as much discontent here in Canada, although a lot less colourful than what was unfolding south of the border. Disputes and protests over pipelines still continue and Albertans, who have been hit hard by low oil prices and a provincial government that is hell-bent on pushing its ideologies through legislature whether the majority of Albertans want it or not , are still frustrated and filled with just as much uncertainty as they were at the beginning of the year.
Still, the year was not filled with doom and gloom alone. There were some events that took place to make us all feel glad to live where we do and hopeful for the upcoming year.
The oil prices are making a long, slow climb upward as OPEC announced it would cut production by 1.2 barrels per day (bpd). The announcement is certainly a welcome one, but the cynicism in me says, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
As the year comes to a close, the County of Forty Mile is that much closer to learning whether or not a wind farm will be established in the area. The prospect of having new industry come to the region brings hopes of new jobs and revenue for our local municipalities and businesses.
Sometimes too, it is wise to just turn off the television set and computer and be hopeful and thankful for the things around us. Our youth are doing some amazing things in our communities and it is their drive, motivation, and enthusiasm that is needed for a bright and prosperous future. Our municipal leaders work tirelessly to ensure our communities are not forgotten, that we have all the necessities we need. Our business leaders work just as tirelessly making sure commerce is flowing and people are shopping local.
And, as sure as the sun rises in the east every morning, our farmers and ranchers will be out there toiling to ensure our commodities get to market.
It is very easy to say goodbye to 2016 and welcome the new year, but I for one, am very grateful to those who have ensured the past year was not a total write-off and kept things moving forward. I look forward to a bright, fresh new year filled with less divisiveness and more unity, less uncertainty and more hope, and more hope for all. Happy New Year!