It’s hard to know what to write in these end-of-the-year columns. Do I want to reflect on the year that was, or do I want to cast a hopeful eye to the future?
Trying to sum up an entire year, or even cherry-pick the highlights and lowlights, seems a daunting task, one that in my present cold-ridden state I am unable — or unwilling — to fully commit myself to doing.
As for the year to come, well, that’s something I can safely say I’m looking forward to both professionally and personally. There are a myriad of issues both local, regional, provincial and federal that look to play themselves out in 2018, and as both a journalist and an engaged citizen, the next twelve months promise to be some of the most exciting in recent memory.
I’m a long-time politics junkie, and as such, I’m most excited by the prospect of electoral reform in B.C. Though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to abandon his campaign promise to change how we vote in federal elections, the conversation surrounding the shortcomings of our current first-past-the-post system has refused to die.
Electoral reform was a hot topic during the recent provincial election, and in October Attorney General David Eby announced the province would hold a referendum to determine whether residents are in favour of switching to proportional representation.
I could go on and on about why electoral reform is needed and what my preferred system of proportional representation is, but I’ll save that for another day.
The pending legalization of recreational marijuana, and its tangential benefits and complications, is going to be fascinating to see play out. There are so many unanswered questions as to how it’ll work and what effects it will have, and it’ll likely be years — maybe decades even — before all the legal and logistical challenges are worked out.
Closer to home, we have municipal elections coming up on Oct. 20, 2018. The race in Delta is going to be particularly interesting as there’s likely to be significant changes in the make up of council.
Mayor Lois Jackson and Coun. Ian Paton, elected MLA for Delta South in this year’s provincial election, will not be seeking re-election. It’s a safe bet that one or two current councillors will be vying for the big chair Jackson has occupied since 1999, meaning at least half of the seats on Delta council will likely be filled by new faces come Oct. 21.
The rumour mill is already hard at work, of course, with many familiar names being bandied about as considering a run for mayor, councillor or school trustee. More on that, too, in a future column.
As well, this will be the first municipal election under new campaign finance rules. It’ll be interesting to see what effect that has on the makeup of councils and school boards across Metro Vancouver, not just here in Delta.
And there are so many other stories that deserve mention — the ongoing opioid crisis, the Massey Tunnel replacement, TransLink’s plans for mobility pricing, the development of medium- and high-density housing in North Delta, a new casino in Ladner — it’s impossible to list them all, let alone give them their due attention.
Suffice to say, there’s a lot happening that will demand our attention in 2018, and, as always, we’ll do our best to keep you up to speed. Thanks for making 2017 a fantastic year for us, and keep your eyes peeled for exciting new features coming soon to these pages.
James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.