EDITORIAL: Looking forward in 2017

Was 2016 a good year or worse than the previous one?

Of course, that depends on whom you ask, and in what context the question is placed.

A recent national poll found two-thirds of Canadians glad to see the end of ’16, particularly on a global scale.

The election of Donald Trump in the U.S. has created a degree of trepidation among many Canadians, including concerns about American isolationism and the new leader’s seemingly reactionary, less diplomatic approach to foreign relations.

Around the world, the continued presence of terrorism embodied by ISIS, exporting ultra-violence beyond the Middle East and into Europe, is deeply disconcerting.

On the upside, at home, Canada remained imminently peaceful, and very stable, economically and socially, and there is little reason to predict otherwise in 2017.

For that, we can all be wholeheartedly thankful.

Ditto in B.C., and the Lower Mainland, which despite a rocketing real estate market that makes home ownership even more of a challenge for many, saw a year of mild economic growth while other provinces such as Alberta suffered mightily.

It wasn’t roses for all, by any stretch, especially the homeless, which has become one of the highest-profile social issues in the region.

Abbotsford is high on that radar, even though the year saw a new shelter filled to capacity on a daily basis. Makeshift homeless camps remain visible throughout the city. That challenge continues into the new year, as do many others.

Nevertheless, in this city, 2016 did see bright points, if one cares to look and remember. Hosting a highly successful B.C. Summer Games comes to mind as an example. And generally, the local economy was supportive of growth and employment.

Certainly, we can also recall dark moments for the city. Yet, how one chooses to reflect on the past can set the tone for the future.

Here’s looking up and forward in 2017.

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