Well, 2016 was certainly a very interesting year, wasn’t it? The word “interesting” got bandied about rather a lot in the last 12 months, often spoken in a tone that suggested it was an obscenity rather than a mild observation.
Internationally, there was Britain’s decision to leave the European Union—Brexit—as well as the surprise result of the U.S. election in November. The long-term ramifications of these decisions remain to be seen; but both events promise that “interesting” will continue to be applied to 2017 (and well beyond that).
Federally there were signs that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s honeymoon had come to an abrupt end, while the Conservative and NDP parties both started leadership races. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
Provincially, the Site C dam and the federal approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline twinning are proving controversial, with the latter looking set to dominate headlines for some time to come. And of course there is a provincial election in May; our riding, Fraser-Nicola, is seen as one to watch, so look for things to be interesting around here. Municipally, the communities of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Lytton all had by-elections for council.
A wave of celebrity deaths—from Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Gene Wilder to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds—hit a lot of people hard. I had the privilege of meeting Rickman in 1985, when he played the melancholy Jaques in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of As You Like It in Stratford-upon-Avon. I knew him from the BBC-TV series The Barchester Chronicles, in which he played the marvellously loathsome Obadiah Slope, so stood outside the stage door and got his autograph. He was exceedingly gracious and pleasant, in our brief interaction; it would be four more years before he appeared in his first movie, as the villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and catapulted to stardom.
On the personal front, 2016 saw my husband hospitalized—twice—for very serious issues, and our son moved to Prince George to start a new life: all occasions for varying amounts of worry, sorrow, and happiness. Interesting times indeed.
Recently, I was preparing four “Year in review” articles for the paper, going back over notable events and people in our area in 2016, and was struck by how many people in our small communities were honoured in 2016 for the contributions they make. Robin Fennell (Clinton); Clayton Cassidy, Delila Chenery, and Carmen Ranta (Cache Creek); Stefanie Walker and Gerry Wong (Ashcroft); and Jim Ryan (Spences Bridge): all were recognized by various bodies for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to their communities.
Their work—and the work of so many other volunteers—is done without thought of recognition or recompense. As an antidote to the bleakness that permeated so much of 2016, their actions stand out as shining lights. So as the events of 2017 play out—many of them undoubtedly difficult or painful—keep the actions of these people, and so many others who give of themselves to give to others, in mind. They are proof that goodness and decency will prevail, as I hope it does for all of us in the year ahead.