A 2019 inventory of mea culpas, reflections and 2020 predictions

A column is one part reflection, one part conclusion, one part prediction, one part contrition. At times I thought, decided, anticipated and erred in 2019. Here are some mistakes:

1. I assumed that a national leader discovered to have dressed in blackface at any point in his life couldn’t get elected any longer at any point in his life. But I guess we either forgive and forget or shrug and subsist.

2. I am well past presuming Donald Trump is down for the count – those were 2017 and 2018 mistakes – but I thought Boris Johnson would never make it to an election.

3. I thought that, no matter the mind-numbing delays and puck-ragging of the Horgan government, we would have ride-hailing and not just cab-hailing before holiday shopping season.

4. I expected headwinds to hit the province’s economy, but the sky hasn’t fallen and the only marching in the street seems to be demanding faster action on the change in climate that the unfallen sky will eventually deliver.

5. I predicted a Grey Cup and a sale for the BC Lions. Won’t get out on that limb again easily.

6. I thought we would have sorted out the Meng Wanzhou, Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor, Huawei-5G and China-U.S.-Canada trade disputes by now. Nothing snappy or witty to say about this. A true shambles.

7. I was positive the only movie of the eight nominated that wouldn’t win the best-picture Oscar was Green Book.

8. I predicted we would understand by year’s end what a “digital technology supercluster” means, but 2019 prompted us to also understand what a “transatlantic cluster collaboration” means, and frankly, I think that’s just too much to fathom for a country that elects people who wore blackface.

9. I was confident Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon would face some sort of corporate income tax reckoning in Canada. They were saved by the election bell.

10. I was certain Surrey would not replace its police force, change its transit plan or get serious about building canals. But I’ve never seen the likes of Doug McCallum, nor have I particularly sought the opportunity.

That being sadly said, I have some predictions and hope the worst ones will be forgotten by this time next year:

1. Our province will run a deficit by year’s end and people will not much care.

2. We will experience a recession, but it will be mild compared with what other continents, other countries and other provinces experience.

3. The federal Liberals will propose to raise the capital gains inclusion rate to 75% from 50% in order to win NDP support of its budget, pay for recent increases in the basic exemption and mitigate its deficit.

4. The next president of the United States will be neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden, but then again, I didn’t believe in Green Book.

5. We will get neither $10-a-day child care, nor ample affordable housing, nor the Massey tunnel replacement, nor a fixed ICBC, nor make a dent in homelessness, conquer the opioid crisis or systematically contend with mental health challenges. Taxes will grow, services and support will shrink. Our ride-hailing regime will be lightweight. Yet the provincial government’s popularity will improve.

6. The Canucks, Whitecaps and Lions will make the playoffs, and the province will reverse its decision that turned down the 2026 World Cup in Vancouver. Apart from women in the pool at the Summer Olympics, there will be only one Canadian champion on the world sports stage: Bianca Andreescu will win Wimbledon.

7. Of the Meng, Kovrig, Spavor, Huawei-5G and China trade matters, only Huawei’s quest to bring 5G to Canada will be resolved and only to offer the company’s technology part-entry into the country. No Meng release, no trade or prisoner relief. Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, will be replaced.

8. One and possibly two municipal parties will launch in Vancouver.

9. In keeping with the awarding of the best picture for not the best picture, The Irishman will win the Oscar.

10. Between the time I first predicted this and the time it was edited, Andrew Scheer lost his job. Andrew Weaver will get a big new job. Andrew Wilkinson will keep his job. 

Kirk LaPointe is editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and vice-president, editorial, at Glacier Media.