BY TAYLOR PACE
The new year has begun, putting 2017 in our rear view – a hard year to forget, but one many will happily leave behind.
In the United States, President Donald Trump made it through his first year of presidency, wreaking domestic and global havoc by implementing the travel ban on Muslim countries, pulling out of the Paris Agreement, cancelling the Trans-Pacific partnership and naming Jerusalem the capital of Israel, which, like everything else, caused outrage and controversy.
There were a total of 1,077 terrorist attacks worldwide with 7,396 fatalities, according to Esri Story Maps, an interactive website that tabulates terrorist attacks through crowd sourced data. These included the mass church shooting in Texas, the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the attack in Edmonton and the Quebec City mosque attack.
We saw Alberta, B.C. and California devastated by wildfires that displaced tens of thousands of people.
The world said goodbye to beloved musicians such as Gord Downie, Chris Cornell, Malcolm Young, Chester Bennington, Tom Petty and countless others.
Locally, there was seemingly endless construction on what felt like every corner of Waterloo Region.
The region’s paramedics responded to over 500 overdose calls, and the streets became increasingly littered with syringes.
But it hasn’t been entirely bad, and everything that happened this past year has sparked change that will hopefully shape this 2018.
The construction on Uptown Waterloo’s King Street has ended, giving local business owners and residents something to celebrate.
After a rally at the Cambridge City Hall, the region is addressing the opioid problem and is working to clean up the streets. In the meantime, safe injection sites are being considered for a more immediate solution.
Even the Toronto Maple Leafs, who haven’t won a championship since 1967, are finally doing well.
Canada passed a bill last year that bans airlines from removing passengers from overbooked flights, to prevent fiascoes like the man who was dragged off a United Airlines flight.
And in response to the sexual allegations involving men such as Trump and Harvey Weinstein, movements like the women’s march and #metoo have taken the world by storm, putting cracks in patriarchy and misogyny.
Time magazine even named their “person of the year” the “silence breakers,” the women who were involved with the #metoo movement and who took a stand against sexual assault and harassment.
Let’s make this year better than the last. From all of us at Spoke, we hope you have a happy and healthy 2018.
The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.