Make no mistake. It was a challenging year for progressives and everyone working for a better world. There was a lot in 2016 to break our hearts, test our resolve — even turn our understanding of the world as we know it upside down. Fortunately, rabble’s columnists were there, every step of the way, to bring perspective to everything — the good, the bad, and the dumpster fire — that happened in 2016. Here, we look back at the year that was through the eyes of our columnists, who brought their collective wisdom and insight to the year’s events. From the fight against C-51, to climate justice, to electoral reform, to (shudder) the rise of Trump, rabble.ca columnists examined the issues that mattered to you. For a complete selection of our columns, check out our columns section.
- Moving call to bring Canada’s non-status refugee claimants out of the shadows: In January, five women, all wearing white masks, faced the media to read an open letter delivered to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office asking him to take a stand on undocumented refugee claimants in Canada. Jooneed Khan brought us an account of their powerfull call to action.
- The God that fails: C-51, review committees and the dangers of window dressing — Instead of questioning the mandates and core practices of secretive, unaccountable security agencies, efforts are underway to save the system by putting up some nice-looking window dressing. Matthew Behrens cast a sharp eye on them in his February column.
- Patients need real solutions to a health system in crisis — Patients don’t want sympathy, we want solidarity, wrote Julie Devaney in her column on the crisis in Canada’s health-care system.
- What the heck is a Stingray? And what does it have to do with my privacy? — The surveillance device nicknamed a “Stingray” is an invasive technology that threatens to undermine the privacy of anyone with a cell phone. In March’s Digital Freedom Update, Laura Tribe looked at a growing concern in the privacy world.
- After Brussels: How should Muslims respond to terrorist attacks? — Muslims living in the West are in an impossible position when reacting to terrorist attacks. In the aftermath of the attack in Brussels, Monia Mazigh explained what’s at stake.
- Democratic reform, Justin? Democracy, anyone? — There is much to be learned about how to do democracy better in Canada, Duncan Cameron argued in this column on electoral reform.
- How corporate rights protections are threatening farmers’ right to seed — Today’s farmers can no longer assume they will continue to have the right to store and save seed from one year to the next. Farming columnist Lois Ross walks us through the “copyrighting” of seed.
- We may finally be seeing the end of corporate globalization — Since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in 1988, promoters of investment protection agreements have held sway. But, as Murray Dobbin observes, 30 years after the first experiment, signs of resistance are growing.
- Media studies present charts of doom for news industry — June brought the release of new studies on media and media consumer behaviour. Unfortunately for the news business, the news was not good. Wayne MacPhail sorted through the data.
- Unrestrained resource extraction isn’t ancient history — it’s a crime still in progress — In 2016, we had a new federal government, and a new tone around First Nations and the environment. But, Naomi Klein argues, when it comes to concrete action on lowering emissions and respecting land rights, much remains the same.
- Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women brings hope and challenges — At the end of 2015, the federal government announced that it was launching a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. What can we expect from the process? Safia J. Lakhani considered the hopes and challenges that lie ahead in our Pro Bono column.
- Attawapiskat and the importance of community — In the wake of a state of emergency and suicide crisis in Attawapiskat, Rick Salutin asked: Why would people who are reeling from the near obliteration of their community be better off going somewhere that lacks even the shards of community left them?
- Fort McMurray fire brings climate refugees to Canada — Canada is only one of many countries dealing with climate refugees. Ole Hendrickson surveyed the damage around the world, beginning at home in Fort Mac following the region’s devastating wildfire.
- A matter of life and death: Legislating the right to die with dignity — There should be better access to palliative care for people in their final days, but some will want to end the inevitable progress of a disease or condition. In our Retiree Matters column, Pat Kerwin says that we should respect that decision.
- Why is Trudeau following Harper’s lead and giving special protections to powerful corporations? — Rather than accepting half-hearted revisions of Harper’s corporate-embracing policies, the Trudeau government should refuse to sign any trade deal with sweeping privileges for foreign investors, Linda McQuaig writes.
- Instagram project chronicles search for missing and murdered Indigenous women — There’s another story to the tragic saga of missing and murdered Indigenous women and, as June Chua explains, it’s coming to light through a project created by the National Film Board.
- What are the chances of a Canadian Trump? — Could a demagogue like Trump, arousing xenophobic passions, emerge in Canada? Public opinion say no. Marc Zwelling explains why.
Image: amy dame/flickr