Time magazine chose Vladimir Putin as its person of the year. The runner-ups were General Petraeus and Al Gore.
Maclean’s named Conrad Black as their newsmaker of the year. I don’t have much quarrel with that. Lord Black of Crossharbour dominated the news in the sense his Chicago trial and sentencing to six years in prison was a drama in which the protagonist, because of a fatal flaw, is thrown from the heights and brought low.
Other Canadian newsmakers included Robert Dzekankski (tasered to death in Vancouver), Robert Pickton (convicted of serial murder), Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber (both disbelieved), Robert Latimer (denied parole.)
You will have others.
My own person of the year is a politician who has made a tremendous comeback in 2007. I refer to the Liberal premier of Quebec, Jean Charest. This time a year ago Charest was written off as a poltitical has-been who would soon be forced out as Liberal leader.
Not any more. Charest (in addition to slimming down by 20 pounds), has brilliantly led the National Assembly to pass 34 government bills at the fall session, has reasserted his control of the party and has out-classed his opponents at every turn.
Mario Dumont and the ADQ are in free-fall. It is clear now that Dumont is not so much leading a government in waiting as he is leading an opposition to defeat. As for the PQ, leader Pauline Marois has her work cut out for her. The party is broke and has taken its main platform – independence – off the table for the foreseeable future.
If I were choosing a newsmaker in the U.S. I would have to go with Al Gore. He has done more than any other person on the face of the earth to alert the world to the imminent dangers of global warming and climate change.
Who would be one of your choices for a person in the year just ending who has influenced us for good or ill? Some might want to consider Benazir Bhutto who was tragically assassinated today in Pakistan.
Off to Kingston to visit family. Back on Friday. Neil