From a dusty little corner of the collective psyche come the annual predictions of what is to unfold in 2011. After the numerous difficulties of 2010, everyone wishes for a more benevolent year. However, there should be no doubt that we will continue to experience strong weather patterns during the coming months. Looking to the southern sector of the city, specifically in the region of City Hall, we can expect a lot of hot air as the old guard of ‘lefty pinkos’ learn to maneuver their way around the new mayor.
While the mayor will continue to maintain his girth, the absence of a gravy train means a leaner, meaner City Council will be running on the tracks.
And on the subject of tracks, despite all the puffing and blowing, the Eglinton Light Rail Transit line will go ahead, because it is going to be mostly underground – which pleases hizzoner, the mayor – and, there isn’t a person around who can think of one good reason it should not be built.
Public transit workers will be more cordial to passengers, but tensions will increase as news build about the Toronto Transit Commission becoming an essential service. Expect at least one limited wildcat strike.
Still on the weather, there will be more snow this winter than anyone has seen since the winter of ’08, prompting a rush on snow shovel purchases and a mini boom in employment for those willing to take on the job of clearing neighbourhood sidewalks and walkways. This will have a direct effect, lowering Toronto’s 10 per cent unemployment rate, for which at least one overly ambitious politician will try to take credit.
For those who are frustrated with paying five cents for plastic supermarket grocery bags, the frustration will continue because supermarkets will not stop charging for them in 2011. This will lead to more people taking their own reusable bags along with them when they go shopping to avoid the cost, which could fundamentally resolve the problem.
Even though the gravy train will be stopped at City Hall, ordinary people will begin to revolt against too much information being pushed at them regarding healthy eating. The crystal ball shows that people will stop reading labels, stop counting calories and generally stop considering the nutritional value of all foods. The new food revolt will result in greater consumption of bacon, French fries and butter. However, oddly enough, the consumption of sugary drinks will decline. Although, Tim Horton’s hot chocolate will defy that trend.
The federal government will keep people guessing when the next election will be called. The crystal ball predicts along with everyone else that it will be in the spring or fall. Another minority government will be elected, but the results will be so close that, as happened in the U.S. 10 years ago, it will take days before we are clear on which party will head the next minority government. In any case, the Green Party will finally occupy a seat on Parliament Hill. Expect a number of party leadership changes.
The crystal ball sees that Stephen Harper will continue to employ vituperatives when referring to the Opposition party, which will drive some voters away from his party but leave them confused about whom to give their support to.
The Canadian dollar will continue to rise above the U.S. dollar, making cross border shopping a weekend sport. Unfortunately, this will have a negative effect on retail sales on this side of the border. In response, the government will employ an information campaign to get Canadians to buy Canadian and talk up tax incentives for those purchasing Canadian goods. America will react with charges of protectionism, but will have to be restrained for fear of being called hypocritical.
Finally, the crystal ball tirelessly holds to the vision that this will be the season the Toronto Maple Leafs wins the Stanley Cup. Buoyed by the Chicago Black Hawks’ win after 49 years, the Leafs feel their time has come. Amazingly, just as in the 1967 finals, they beat the Montreal Canadiens four games to two.
A note on serendipity…
Just when they thought they could not only imagine the freedom, but live it, fortune throws a wrench in those 19 Bell Canada employees’ $50 million lottery celebration. Imagine the annoyance.