As the days get shorter and we move toward winter solstice and the shortest day of the year, I always look forward with great excitement to the day we turn the corner. At long last, we are now at the point when we can officially celebrate that the days are once again getting longer!
For millennia, societies around the world have celebrated the return of the sun. This is not just a time, however, to celebrate renewal and the increasing length of our northern daylight. It’s also a time of celebration for many religions, including Christians celebrating the birth of Christ and Jews celebrating Hanukkah.
For me, this season is especially fulfilling as we witness the arrival of Syrian refugees and celebrate with them the beginning of a new stage in their lives. As Prime Minister Trudeau recently noted when comparing Syrian and Canadian culture, there are many more similarities than differences between us.
We all have a lot to be optimistic about as we look forward to 2016. While there’s an enormous amount of real work to be done, we may have turned the corner on global warming. It also looks as though peace will return to Syria in the next few months as a result of the peace accord announced just days ago. Relations between Havana and Washington continue to thaw. And Canadians can breathe a sigh of relief having brought one of our darkest chapters — the reign of Stephen Harper — to an end.
Ever an optimist, here’s my wish list for 2016: Bernie Saunders is elected President of the United States. Christy Clark decides to reallocate the $3.5 billion currently budgeted for the new toll bridge to replace Massey Tunnel to an at-grade light rail alternative. The Green Party of BC doubles its number of elected MLAs, with Pete Fry joining Andrew Weaver in the legislature. And Vision Vancouver finally sees the light and decides to go back to the tried-and-true definition of social housing — rents geared to 30 percent of income.
I hope all of your wishes for 2016 come true. Have a happy holiday season!