This year, foresight is 2020!
It wouldn't be New Year's Eve without AlbertaPolitics.ca's top ten political predictions for 2020, so your blogger will gaze into his crystal ball one more time and tell you what's up next.
No one seems to have gone back and checked, then called me on the results, but it should be noted that past efforts at political prophecy here have been a mixed success.
Of my predictions for 2017, published on January 1, 2017, I call the results six right, or at least half right, to four wrong. The bluntest augury that time, although not strictly a 2017 prediction, was that: "U.S. President Donald Trump will commit the first of the unconstitutional and/or criminal acts that will lead to his impeachment in 2019."
As for my forecast for 2018, I call my results five right, three wrong, one that's not right yet but may be soon, and one joke for comedic effect. Last New Year's Eve, I seem to have looked back to the biggest stories of the previous year and not bothered with any predictions. What a chicken!
Well, whatever. In for a penny, in for a pound. Here are my top ten predictions of the biggest political news stories that will impact Alberta in 2020:
- The United Conservative Party's austerity program will push Alberta into recession. The UCP, naturally, will blame the NDP and Justin Trudeau, and many voters will believe them.
- For some reason -- which is sure to remain a mystery to the pundits of Canada's mainstream media -- the Prairie Wexit "movement" will mysteriously sink beneath next summer's amber waves of grain. The recommendations of Preston Manning's "fair deal" panel will go the same place the fizz from your flat beer went.
- An older and somewhat wiser Justin Trudeau will remain in power throughout the year, lending surprising stability to his supposedly fragile minority government.
- After one too many embarrassing messes, the leadership of the Alberta "war room" will be reshuffled and Tom Olsen will return to the Wreckage to resume his country music career.
- Now that we're reasonably sure Alberta Opposition leader Rachel Notley won't be named by Prime Minister Trudeau as the Canadian ambassador to Washington, former federal Opposition leader Rona Ambrose will be. This will eliminate, the Prime Minister may reason, not necessarily correctly, his most dangerous Conservative opponent in a position to replace Andrew Scheer.
- Speaking of Rachel Notley, now that it's clear she's effective in opposition and apparent she intends to stick around and contest the next provincial election, the hysterical, misogynist and often vicious attacks she endured as premier will return and intensify.
- And the new Canadian ambassador in Washington, whoever she is, will face a shifting political scene south of the 49th -- and, come what may, despite the gloom among the punditocracy and the fact the outcome of his trial in the Senate is a foregone conclusion, Trump will not be U.S. president after January 2021. Alberta Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen will be brokenhearted.
- Total chaos will return to Alberta's heath-care sector -- including long wait times, layoffs, labour disputes, and de facto de-listings of medically necessary procedures. The UCP will plead "necessity," and blame unions and "special interests."
- Kenney will take his time to ensure it doesn't look like he's running from the scene of a crime, but will tell us his troubled country is calling and he has a duty to answer. He'll slip out the door and dash back to Ottawa in hopes of reuniting the Conservative Party of Canada, UCP-style.
- Jason Nixon and Travis Toews will emerge as the front-runners to replace him.
Then there are a few things that won't happen:
Stephen Harper, the former Conservative prime minister, won't run to replace his replacement, Scheer. Brian Jean, the former Wildrose opposition leader, won't try to make a comeback either -- or, if he does, he won't succeed.
Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, wanted as a hostage by Washington in its trade negotiations with China, won't be released from house arrest -- so Alberta farmers' troubles exporting to China will continue. Alberta and Canada won't be impacted by Brexit -- but then, the real scary stuff won't happen till 2021.
And completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project still won't be a sure thing at this time next year.
Those are my predictions, anyway.
David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.
Image: Jeff Wallace/Flickr
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