With all due respect to the Canadian soldier, I think the environment is the newsmaker of the year. This year has seen the afterthought issue rise to central prominence, that now dominates the political landscape. Would anyone have guessed that the environment would be the make or break issue for the new government? Would you have believed in March that come December the Liberal leadership convention would be awash in green? If I told you a Green would finish a strong second in a London by-election, would you have laughed?
Flashback a mere eleven months and remember the last election, where the environment was met with mostly apathetic disinterest. The environment was a "oh by the way" issue that rarely garned a mention in coverage. Contrast that reality with the looming election and the rise to prominence is striking. Arguably, the environment may well be the election issue. That fact is staggering, if relativity is your guide.
Criticism of the government aside, it is reasonable to see how they under-estimated the environment politically. Afterall, the Conservatives only had a few, weak platitudes, in their election platform and that didn't seem to hurt their fortunes. The Conservatives were elected, yet they had no plan other than criticism. If you presented that mirage to Canadians today, their seat total would have been in the teens.
In my mind, 2006 is the year the Canadian public and media acknowledged the abstract issue and brought it too mainstreet, politicians in tow.