This is that time of year when we look back on the old year and look ahead to the new one. My sense is that, while the world is in a darker place at the end of this year, Canada's situation has improved. We have started to return to our vital centre, after turfing a government of which Ebeneezer Scrooge would have approved.
Like Scrooge, Stephen Harper approved of darkness and the cold. Dickens wrote that Scrooge was:
Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.
As a species, Canadians are not Scrooges. True, there are Scrooges among us. Mr. Harper was one of them. It's too early to tell which of Dickens' characters Justin Trudeau resembles -- although at the moment he appears to be Scrooge's nephew Fred, inviting us to spend Christmas dinner at his and his wife's table.
We'll have a better idea of who he is next Christmas. But for today -- and for this year -- Merry Christmas to all.