Protests, Earthqaukes, Weddings and More

Well, it sure has been an exciting year so far, hasn’t it? Protests in the Middle East, an earthquake New Zealand and another one in Japan that has nearly lead to a serious nuclear event, more protest in the Middle East, the royal wedding in Britain, the death of Osama bin Laden (that means terrorism is over right? Yeah, I didn’t think so), and finally, a federal election here in Canada.

At the risk of sounding trite, the world really is a small place now. A century ago, many of these events would have barely registered up here in Canada. But, today all of these events resonate deeply with us. We raise money for the earthquake victims and worry about how the potential meltdown of a nuclear reactor on the opposite side of the globe will effect our air and water. We can view a satellite picture of Osama Bin Laden’s compound on Google Maps, and watch a video of President Obama watching the mission happen. And as for the royal wedding, if you missed any part of it, just head over to YouTube and watch it until your heart’s content. (Anyone else remember having to be awake to see Diana and Charles get married?) And, thanks to CCTV, we can even see the celebrations after the fact.

The federal election is a bit of a different animal. While our political parties did make some use of the Internet in their campaign, it seemed to be more of an afterthought rather than a fully realized plan. And, there are laws in Canada that make early reporting of poll results through services like Twitter and Facebook illegal. (Actually, all early reporting is illegal. This is partly because the amount of voters living in the middle of the country. Officials do not want the results of those votes to effect how voters further west, in different time zones, vote.)

Once polls are closed, though, the  Internet comes into its own. Results are shown, comments made, videos show up on all the news sites. And, we can see who was and wasn’t elected. And, the story of last night was the Conservative majority government and how the leader of the Liberal party, Michael Ignatieff, was not elected. (He was running in my riding, which is historically strongly Liberal. But this time around a Conservative was elected.)

It will be interesting to see what the remainder of the year brings. More protests in the Middle East, I’m sure. And, hopefully they will lead to more democratic reforms. And, with luck, we may hear about a royal pregnancy. And, I’m pretty sure there will be some brouhaha up here in Canada with regards to Internet pricing and surveillance. Hopefully the outcome of bin Laden’s death will only be positive, and hopefully things in Japan continue to improve. Most of all, hopefully we all end 2011 better than we began it.