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2010 predictions: Year of Fire 

Bruce Wark assesses his 2009 predictions, and makes brave new forecasts for 2010.

As 2009, the year of the ox (solid, stolid and steady) gives way to 2010, the year of the tiger (fiery, ferocious and fearless), it's time to review last year's predictions, then gaze into my crystal ball once again. I hate to brag, but all of my 2009 predictions were 100 percent bang on. Remember how I forecast that Tories would win big in the Nova Scotia election? Sure enough, on June 9, Darrell Dexter, the self-described "conservative progressive," led the NDP to a majority government. A viewer's email read on TV summed it up neatly: "I've waited all my life to see a socialist government in Nova Scotia. [pause] I'm still waiting."

True to form, the new Dexter government kept nearly every Tory deputy minister on the government payroll and even re-introduced the Tory budget complete with corporate tax cuts. Dex was forced to rescind his hysterical, right-wing pledge to balance the budget in 2010, but continued to warble his inane "living within our means" jingle---music and lyrics supplied by the Tories.

I predict, however, that in 2010, the NDP will take a fiery feline leap to the left. Watch for much needed tax increases including a 30-percent provincial surtax on incomes over $150,000. The added revenues will make it possible to double Nova Scotia's miserly welfare rates. Yippee!

In 2010, the NDP will remove the shameful $2,500 cap on payouts to car accident victims deemed to be suffering only "minor injuries" even if they're barely able to walk. The new government will also warn the big, fat insurance companies that if they continue to gouge Nova Scotia drivers, the NDP will honour its promise to bring in cheaper, driver-friendly public auto insurance. Finally, I predict our new premier will install climate-change crusader Howie Epstein as minister of the environment. Yes folks, you can bet on the fearless and ferocious NDP to do the right thing every time in the fiery year of the tiger.

Last year I predicted that in 2009, the ultra right-wing Stephen Harper would embrace socialism and pacifism. Many readers recommended I seek emergency psychiatric help, but we now know I was right. Harper, the fanatical advocate of lean and mean government, embarked on massive stimulus spending to help Canadian families and workers hit hard by recession. And then there was Harper on CNN pointing out that foreign troops would never defeat the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

"If we think that we are going to govern Afghanistan for Afghans, or over the long-term be responsible for day-to-day security in Afghanistan and see that country improve, we are mistaken," Harper added, echoing Ursula Franklin's pacifist declaration that "war does not work, not even for the warriors."

I predict Harper will continue on this courageous, principled path in the year of the tiger. True, there were howls of outrage when our PM shut down Parliament for two months, but Harper wasn't merely dodging the Afghan detainee torture issue as many suspected. He needs time off to study the ins and outs of international law. Then he'll apologize publicly for his government's complicity in Afghan torture; its suppression of Haitian democracy; its wretched support for Israel's indiscriminate and murderous attacks on Gaza and the continuing illegal Israeli economic blockade of the one million Palestinians imprisoned there.

Finally, I predicted that in 2009, the year of the ox, pigs would fly. And, thanks to overwhelming media hype, I was right. "Swine flu" was in the headlines all year long, scaring people shitless even though the disease itself turned out to be far less deadly than predicted. In 2010, watch for the mainstream media to fearlessly track the swine flu outbreak to a giant US-owned hog farm in Mexico. Then I predict, corporate journalism will warn us that industrial farming is a direct threat to everyone's health.

Yes, I'm quite sure that in the year of the tiger, pigs will continue to fly. Happy New Year!

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