While this edition of The Oshawa Express looks back at some of the biggest stories of 2019, with the dawn of a new year and new decade, it’s time to move the focus forward.
For many of us, the rollover of the calendar year is almost a reset – new dreams, new hopes and those difficult-to-maintain New Year’s resolutions.
But for most municipalities, governments and other public organizations, the new year doesn’t mean issues are reset.
The City of Oshawa is in the midst of revamping its fire master plan, and a preliminary consultant’s report presented to council in December made it obvious there is a list of concerns that need to be addressed regarding the city’s fire service in 2020.
The retooling of the master plan has already fallen behind the original schedule, so council must walk a fine line between making sure it is approved expediently and not pushing it through too quickly.
The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) is currently investigating complaints against senior management of Durham Regional Police Service.
Durham Police Chief Paul Martin was temporarily relieved of some of his duties due to the investigation, with retired Toronto Police Deputy Chief Mike Federico overseeing the service as an administrator until the OCPC completes its investigation.
Along with the circulation of a racist cartoon in a closed Facebook group of retired Durham officers, 2019 was a challenging year for both Martin and the service as a whole.
While it will be some time until the results of the investigation of DRPS are released, the chief and the entire force have some work to do to repair the damage done to the organization’s reputation.
In terms of regaining the public’s faith, both Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with their respective governments, also face challenges this year.
Ford’s popularity has fallen to historic lows for a first-term premier as a number of Conservative decisions, such as changes to education and autism funding, have proven highly unpopular, even with some supporters.
Trudeau was able to survive scandals involving SNC-Lavalin and appearing in old photos in blackface to eek out a minority government in the 2019 election, but tensions across the country, particularly in western Canada, remain high.
2020 should be an interesting year across the nation to say the least.