I can’t believe it’s that time of year already. It seems like only yesterday that I was putting together a list of the biggest winners and losers of 2018, and here we are just 12 sort months later compiling the list for 2020.
We shared a lot of milestones this past year. In October I celebrated my 30th year covering the people and events in Orléans, both in the Orléans Star and on OrléansOnline.ca, and it’s been three years since I bought the paper. We also launched our new website, published the first ever Orléans Road Map and came away from the Ontario Community Newspaper Awards in March with a pair of plaques for Best Editorial Cartoon and Best Sports Action Photo.
Things are looking up. Readership is at an eight-year high. The number of visits to the website keeps growing as does the number of people who are reading the paper online at issuu.com.
The future is bright indeed. Too bad the same can’t be said for this year’s biggest losers and some of the infamous award winners. So without any further ado, here are this year’s Fredzees.
The year’s BIGGEST winners...
1) NDP leader Jagmeet Singh
(Although the NDP lost 15 seats in the federal election, they still hold the balance of power in parliament.)
2) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
(The much maligned PM wins re-elec-tion in a shocking landslide and a promise to make good on Brexit.)
The year’s BIGGEST losers...
(After two fatal crashes involving Boeing’s 737 MAX kill a total of 346 people, airlines around the world chose to ground the plane indefinitely, costing the American plane manufacturer more than $5 billion and counting.)
2) Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin
(The pair were charged as part of the U.S. college admissions scandal. Huffman pled guilty and served 11 days in jail, while Loughlin is still awaiting trial after pleading not guilty.)
3) Ottawa sports fans
(The Redblacks finished dead last in the CFL with a 3-15 record and the Senators have spent the first three months of the NHL season at or near the bottom of the standings.)
3) LRT riders
Three months after the long-awaited launch of Ottawa’s LRT system and riders are still experiencing long delays and service interruptions.)
Newsmaker of the Year (Also Over-achiever of the Year)
To 16-year-old Swedish climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg. From a lone protester sitting on a sidewalk outside the Swedish parliament to Time’s Person of the Year in less than 18 months.
Top Local Stories of 2019
1) The less than perfect launch of Ottawa’s long-awaited LRT system.
2) A tornado rips through the Riverwalk community in Orléans, uprooting dozens of trees and damaging several homes.
3) Orléans MP Andrew Leslie’s surpris-ing decision to leave politics after just one term in office, paving the way for Marie-France Lalonde to replace him.
The Biggest Story of the Year that turned out to be the Biggest Non-Story of the Year
The first ever meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. Yeah, it actually happened, Trump and Kim Jong Un actually met, shook hands, posed for the cameras and then returned to their delusional, self-aggrandized lives.
Strangest Story of the Year
The eviction and subsequent arrest of Julian Assange who was kicked out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after seven years. Among the reasons Ecuador gave for kicking Assange out was his propensity to ride a scooter around the cramped embassy hallways, insulting staff and smearing feces on the walls.
Biggest Sports Story of the Year
The Toronto Raptors win the NBA championship for the first time in franchise history.
Second Biggest Sports Story of the Year
Free agent Kawhi Leonard signs with the Los Angeles Clippers less than a month after leading the Raptors to the championship.
Most Heartbreaking Story of the Year
That Doesn’t Involve a Person
A catastrophic fire engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 14, destroying the 850-year-old building’s iconic spire and roof.
Continued global warming leads to
brush fires in the arctic, massive ice melt in Greenland and the Antarctic, and equally massive forest fires in California, Brazil and Australia.
The We-Hardly-Knew-Ya Award
To Andrew Scheer who announced his resignation as leader of the federal Conservative Party in December, 19 months after winning the job in May 2017.
Train Wreck of the Year Award
To Rudy Giuliani.
Like, seriously?!? In a word “wow”. You never know what he’s going to say, or do next, but you know darn well it’s going to be entertaining.
Fakest Fake News Story of 2019
Donald Trump’s description of his phone call with Ukraine president Volod-ymyr Zelensky as “perfect in every way”.
The Foot-In-Mouth-Disease Award
To Prince Andrew for his horrid BBC interview in which he tried to explain his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Close second to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was caught mocking Donald Trump on a hot mic at the NATO Summit in London earlier this month.
Seven words that should be retired from the human lexicon once Donald Trump is out of office... Witchhunt, hoax and quid pro quo.
What onomatopoeia wasn’t on the list?
To the Scripts Spelling Bee for declar-ing an eight-way tie in the National Spelling Bee Final after the judges ran out of words.
There’s a Special Place in Hell Award
To Jeffrey Epstein, Robert Mugabe and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
There’s a Special Place in Heaven Award
To Tim Conway, Elijah Cummings, Doris Day, Albert Finney, Nicki Lauda and Grumpy Cat.
Favourite Quote of the Year
“I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” – Greta Thunberg to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Jan. 14
(If you wish
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