Let's face it: the best thing about being progressive is being right all the time. Let the right-wing ghouls have all the money, influence and power, we on the left will take moral superiority and an endless stream of I-told-you-sos any day of the week, am I right?
Well, 2016 was no different. As this year took the world on a slow, inexorable descent into a snake pit and then filled that snake pit with garbage and then lit the garbage on fire and then you realized that it wasn't a snake pit at all but actually your bed where you sleep every night only now it's covered with venemous serpents and flaming trash, our rabble writers took comfort in being right the whole time.
First, we should start with Svea Vikander's remarkable, moving, confessional series inspired by the Jian Ghomeshi trial in February: Jian Ghomeshi made me remember all the times I was sexually violated. If you read just one piece on the awful trial and its cultural impact, read this one. We said that rape culture is endemic in Canada and that justice, let alone healing, is simply out of reach for sexual assault survivors in Canada.
And guess what? Despite overwhelming evidence and dozens of women coming forward, he was acquitted. Isn't it fun being right? (For those less happy with moral certitude, read Lucia Lorenzi's essential guide, Four ways to deal with coverage of the Jian Ghomeshi trial.
2016 also witnessed our first full year under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- the man who saved Canada from Stephen Harper, just not yet. Saudi arms deals, backing out of UNDRIP, signing corporate-rights deals and walking back his promise to reform our electoral system don't even begin to scratch the surface. As Russ Diabo put it so pointedly, Justin Trudeau is simply continuing the proud Liberal tradition of betraying Indigenous peoples. Pam Palmater saw it coming in March when Trudeau tabled his first budget.
And, to cap off a disastrous year, Trudeau approved the carbon-busting Kinder Morgan pipeline, the final, cynical betrayal to Canadians who voted for real change.
Mainstream media: experts at getting it wrong
When Black Lives Matter - Toronto showed Canada the incredible power of civil disobedience when it halted the Toronto Pride Parade and held it accountable for its anti-Black racism and abandonment of its radical political roots, the tut-tutting from the national punditocracy was deafening. Leave it to Phillip Dwight Morgan to point out where Canada's racism was showing, and leave it to Nora Loreto to point out that there is no Pride in policing.
One of the most enduring questions of Canadian media that again reared its head in 2016 is: How in the holy heck does serial-plagiarist Margaret Wente still have a job? Journalism doc John Miller hazards a theory: she speaks to the one per cent, The Globe's key demographic. I guess if you only speak to a niche audience, that's the best one to target.
One of my favourite pieces from this year came from Liz Kessler, taking on the media's love affair with Canada's First Lady, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and her campaign against mental illness. Kessler rightly points out that Grégoire Trudeau's approach is simplistic and self-serving, and doesn't do any favours to people living with mental illness or the health care workers who support them. Danielle Landry made a similar case against Bell's inexplicably popular mental health advocacy/corporate advertising campaign, "Let's Talk": OK Bell, let's talk about mental illness initiatives and your corporate greed.
Canada's new Harper
With Stephen Harper aptly deposed (and Brad Wall going nowhere as Canada's most popular premier), B.C. Premier Christy Clark stepped up as the left's favourite supervillain. She plays the part well, with her teflon rhetoric and irrepressible smile. So when a puff piece lauded Clark as a great feminist who shattered glass ceilings, Sarah Beuhler and Nora Loreto were among the only pundits who just didn't buy it. Christy Clark, they argued, is the kind of feminist that makes women's lives worse.
It didn't help Clark that while she was cutting province education budgets to the bone and unilaterally firing democratically elected school board trustees who had the temerity to suggest children's futures might be a worthy investment, she was also giving suspicious handouts to well-connected leaders. As Sarah Miller pointed out, Christy Clark gave $150,000 to a Haida Gwaii chief in business with her brother then forgot all about it.
It's hard being right
To round out the list of always being right, it's worth looking back at almost everything the left has said about the corporate-rights deals like CETA and the TPP (what the mainstream press erroneously refers to as "trade" deals). Among the best is the CCPA's Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood observes, The TPP will cost Canada 58,000 jobs -- and won't grow the economy. If only we didn't need to wait for Donald Trump to get elected president to realize that ordinary North Americans don't believe the world's economic elite either.
And finally, we conclude with David Climenhaga, who has made a career of being right every day as he writes about Alberta politics -- finally vindicated when the rest of the province caught up to him in May of last year. Climenhaga pointed out the hypocrisy of Conservatives (and their attendant voiceboxes in the press) who went apoplectic over Trudeau's measured tribute to Fidel Castro's passing. Um, remember Harper's tribude to Saudi King Abdullah? He was no saint either, you know.
So in those holiday lulls when you find yourself pondering the unthinkable horrors consuming the world right now and the hardfought victories getting eroded at an alarming pace, before the chaos consumes you just remember this precious motto: "We were right, damn it."
14 times we were right when everyone else was wrong in 2016
1. Jian Ghomeshi made me remember all the times I was sexually violated -- Svea Vikander
2. Four ways to deal with coverage of the Jian Ghomeshi trial -- Lucia Lorenzi
6. Dear Canadian media: Your racism is showing -- Phillip Dwight Morgan
7. Black Lives Matter more than a police float -- Nora Loreto
8. Why Margaret Wente still has a job at The Globe and Mail -- John Miller
9. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau needs to stop talking about mental health -- Liz Kessler
10. OK Bell, let's talk about mental illness initiatives and your corporate greed -- Danielle Landry
11. Christy Clark is the kind of feminist that makes women's lives worse -- Sarah Beuhler and Nora Loreto
13. The TPP will cost Canada 58,000 jobs -- and won't grow the economy -- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
14. Conservative fury over Trudeau's condolences for Castro smacks of hypocrisy -- David Climenhaga
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Image: Wikimedia Commons
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