The Steve Burgess Guide to 2017: G to L

From the ecstasy of the BC Greens to the continued folly of alternative facts.

By Steve Burgess 20 Dec 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

2017 is dying. It has left a “Do Not Resuscitate” order (as if anybody would want to try). Part two of our year-end alphabetical review:



Well, at least somebody had a good year. For the Green Party, the B.C. provincial election came through like a long-shot trifecta bet. Having Andrew Weaver seize the balance of power seemed about as plausible as Ser Davos the Onion Knight ending up on the Iron Throne. But Weaver did indeed end up the belle of the ball, and like Carrie on prom night he would ultimately wreak havoc. Premier Clark made a pilgrimage to the lieutenant-governor to plead for a stay of execution. But in vain. Not since the Belfast Agreement have Orange and Green made such a momentous deal.


Another big year! As of writing U.S. gun deaths are approaching 15,000 for 2017. But don’t worry, America — President Trump has banned the entry of Muslims from six countries. Rest easy.


John Horgan

Say hello to the Gradual Premier. The usual election night celebrations were on a rather slow fuse in 2017. First came the returns, then the deal with the Greens, then the Clark resignation, and at last the appointment of Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas as speaker of the legislature, an event that confirmed a solid NDP/Green voting majority. John Horgan’s steady solidification of power had almost as much drama as Octavian vs. Marc Antony and Cleopatra.


The Tyee is not concerned. As soon as we sell the movie rights to this series for seven figures, housing affordability will no longer be an issue chez nous.


Every hurricane season warm sea water and cyclonic energy introduce us to a rogue’s gallery of names we would really rather not know. This year’s gang included Irma, Harvey and Maria. But none of these giant circular storms were the equal of the bloviating blowhard in the Oval Office. George W. Bush may have botched his Katrina response, but before 2017 who could ever have imagined that a U.S. president could turn a massive natural disaster into a giant whine about how the victims didn’t kiss his ass hard enough? Months after Maria, Puerto Rico remains devastated. According to Trump, it’s their own fault. Coincidentally, the rest of he world feels the same way about the current state of America.



See below. And above.


Inauguration Day — Jan. 20, 2017 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It truly was an inauguration, not just for a presidency but for a whole new reality — one in which satire would struggle to keep pace with routine White House press conferences and black comedy mixed with near-paralyzing dread would become our daily bread.

Crowd size estimates ranged from 300,000 to 600,000. But that was before the inauguration of Alternative Fact World starring pugnacious penguin Sean Spicer and demonic action figure Kellyanne Conway. It was, Spicer declared at his first meeting with reporters, “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period.” The “period” he referred to was apparently a period of hypnotically induced delusion in which truth would be made to conform with the blinkered vision of the malignant narcissist in the Oval Office.

But hey, that was some epic performance by “The Piano Guys,” wasn’t it?


Jagmeet Singh

After running an excellent campaign Singh won a surprisingly decisive victory in the federal NDP leadership race. The selection of the first visible minority to lead a Canadian political party was cause for legitimate celebration. Of course, part of our national progress beyond the hegemony of white Christian privilege is judging every political candidate and leader on substance. Early returns suggest Singh still has some off-Broadway work to do before he gets his act together.


Colin Kaepernick

Adam “Pac Man” Jones has been involved in a list of violent incidents as long as his arm. He has been charged with beating up women more than once, and after a serious shooting in a Las Vegas strip club was charged with a felony and later paid out over $12 million in damages to the victims. He currently plays football for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. NFL quarterback Michael Vick did prison time for his involvement in a dog fighting ring before returning to play quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Colin Kaepernick found a peaceful means of registering a protest against police violence by kneeling during the anthem, a gesture that harmed no one and didn’t even delay the start of a single football game. Today he cannot get a job in the NFL. You have to draw the line somewhere.



Names can link destinies. Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin are both 1,000-point NHL players. Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. have matching IQs and may share a cell some day. But Liberals? In 2017 different types went in very different directions. While neither the federal nor B.C. branches of the party had banner years, at least the federal franchise was not deposed and decapitated like Macbeth.

Low point

Think you’ve seen it already, fool? Please. The massive Trump Shovel never sleeps.  [Tyee]

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