2013 leaves behind some major issues to conquer in 2014

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Oh, 2013, you were quite a year! We saw scandal after scandal for the Conservative government, Indigenous communities and supporters fight for justice, the sad passing of legendary activists, historic rulings and not to mention a few others things.

As we say goodbye to 2013, we'd like to look back on some of our great articles as well as some of the issues we think will rise to the forefront in 2014.

 

Corruption in Canadian politics

There isn't much to say about this one -- kidding! There's a lot.

What will become of Rob Ford the walking human spectacle? Will his illegal and bizarre behaviour, not to mention pro-austerity politics, finally knock him down or will he run for re-election? Sigh.

Harper continued to be the absolute worst this year, defunding seemingly everything in sight, layering scandal on scandal, making vague statements in his throne speech and, oh so much more. Will 2014 finally see the downfall of Harper, or at least the realization by everyone that he is no good, or will we have to wait until 2015 for an election (if he doesn't pro-rogue again that is)?

Harper's minions didn't do to well either: Jason Kenney tweeted he was anti-union (and apparently pro-making his staff work really late), Canada Post Corporation cut services and jobs drastically, James Moore claimed it's not his responsibility to feed hungry children, Patrick Brazaeu was kicked out of the Conservative caucus after numerous allegations of corruption, and the list goes on and on.

Will Conservative scandals continue to rock Canada in 2014, or can we oust this failing (and flailing) party to get something better?

 

Sex worker rights in Canada

Sex work is seemingly a divisive issue in feminism, especially in regards to the aspects of decriminalization, and even rabble was not immune to seeing both sides of the debate appear on our pages.

Tensions became high when controversial speaker Janice Raymond was invited to speak at a December 6 memorial event with many questioning the motives and the message of her presence. This division became glaringly obvious when we put together a remembrance piece for December 6 asking activists what they thought were the future steps toward ending violence against women.

This conversation was further exacerbated with the lead up to the Bedford hearing on December 20 about sex work in Canada and the December 17 National Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers and continued on when the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously voted to strike down Cnada's prostitution laws. With the government allowed one year to develop new legislation, sex work will no doubt continue to be on our radar as we bring a look into sex worker rights in Canada and the world.

 

Pipelines and defending our environment

Canada's commitment -- or lack thereof thanks to the Harper government -- to climate change goals and our environmental policies was awful in 2013. We saw Harper reverse any progress Canada had made in our climate change goals, continue to cater to big oil and big gas and, of course pipelinespipelines,pipelines.

On December 19, The National Energy Board ruled to approve the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, despite the fierce opposition in Canada.

Climate change continues to be a major issue both right here in Canada and around the world with the monstrous typhoon in the Philippines, devastating effects of Hurrican Sandy and of course the 2013 Ice Storm in Toronto that continues to leave people without power.

Our environmental integrity is at stake in 2014, and we need to continue to discuss the real implications of climate change and how to reverse it.

 

Indigenous activism

Indigenous nations stepped up, big time, to say 'no' to Canada's ever-falling environmental policies, encroachment on Native Communities and repeated acts of government ignorance. Grassy Narrows demanded justice for destructive logging and mercury poisoning, activists, families and friends continued to speak out about missing and murdered Indigenous women, Mi'kmaw and Elsipogtog Nations stood up against frack on their land and the list continues.

Fighting for Indigenous rights will continue to be a main focus for rabble in 2014, and of course, we'll trot out this guide for anyone who questions us.

 

Global human rights watch

We're keeping an eye on civil liberties around the word (and here at home too!). We saw the profound effects across the country when Tarek Loubani and John Greyson were released from Egyptian jail and sadly, when Nelson Mandela passed away. The outpouring of support and commitment to civil liberties was inspiring.

With the crisis in Gaza continuing -- though many thought it has been somewhat tempered -- our eyes will be on the Gaza's Ark project that will attempt to deliver goods to Palestinians in Gaza, the plight of Omar Khadr and his continued path to justice and freedom, Canadian mining companies around the world and their continued acts of atrocity and so much more.

 

Consumerism at a cost

2013, like most years, made us question our consumer habits and where we shop. With the impending holiday season, we saw store hours everywhere expand to serve the customer, and found that though profits absolutely skyrocket in December, seasonal and staff workers rarely see the effects of it.

On top of this, worker safety issues in garment factories came to light, especially since main offenders Gap and Wal-Mart continue to dodge safety standard.

With the conservatives continued attack on labour, and subsequent increase in precarious work, we're wondering how we can fight it and stand up for workers in Canada and beyond.

 

Happy New Year!

 

Photo: flickr/ItzaFineDay

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