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Biggest hope for year ahead is politician with some guts

Well, 2012 is here and still no flying cars, "fountain of youth" pills or colonies on the moon. Manhattan remains a thriving burrow, not a walled-in prison facility.

Well, 2012 is here and still no flying cars, "fountain of youth" pills or colonies on the moon. Manhattan remains a thriving burrow, not a walled-in prison facility. We're still eating animals and produce, rather than our fellow humans, in wafer form, and robots are still just machines that help assemble cars, and not our oppressive overlords.

The future is never quite as wondrous, or as bleak, as predicted. That's why I don't have lofty expectations, or dire predictions, for 2012. I do, though, have some hopes for the new year.

I hope that in 2012 drivers will re-discover that great innovation known as "turn signals." I also hope a few well-placed government officials will take it upon themselves to investigate exactly how some of the passenger vehicle and commercial truck drivers in Metro Vancouver are acquiring their licenses.

Twice recently, while heading south off the Oak Street Bridge, I had drivers in front of me stop dead in the left lane of the highway and sit there until they could cross over to the Shell Road exit. Granted, both used their turn signals. Notwithstanding, how does someone like that legitimately get a license? I ask myself the same question every time a commercial truck driver crashes in some bizarre and inexplicable way at the tunnel, an event that seemed to be a daily occurrence in 2011.

I hope this is the year people stop talking about "ending poverty." The very methods we use to measure poverty make it an impossibility. People in B.C. can earn well over the national average but, if they take on a mortgage beyond their means, will be classified as "living in poverty." Besides, freeloaders are like birds: feed a few and soon you have an entire flock arrive. Mitigate poverty? Sure. End it? Not going to happen.

I hope in 2012 we'll see the return of pragmatism and civility. Last year marked the rise of activists who attack every political and social issue with the ecclesiastical zeal of a 17th-century Jesuit missionary. Using logic, facts and figures to sway public opinion has been replaced with emotionally charged ad hominem attacks and bullying tactics. The sooner we put a stop to it, the better.

I hope this is the year environmentalists will stop telling us that we only have "five years to radically change our way of living before our planet is doomed." I first heard this claim back in 1992, and it's been thrown out there every year since. I'll never understand how organizations and individuals who have worse prediction accuracy rates than National Enquirer psychics remain credible in the eyes of the media.

Perhaps my biggest hope for the year is that someone will rise to prominence on the B.C. political scene who has the guts to focus our tax dollars on core government responsibilities, rather than appeasing interest groups - at least to the point that our school boards can afford to adequately heat our schools. Is John Cummins that person? I hope so.