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2023 will see pushback on ‘woke-ism,’ a reckoning on trade with China and a Leafs Stanley Cup

Commentary

To close out the year, we’ve asked our contributors and staff to make a prediction about 2023. You would think, after last year, that we’d have learned our lesson about making predictions, but we couldn’t resist. Feel free to save these if you want to embarrass us with them later.


10 predictions about politics, trade, and the 2023 Stanley Cup

By Sean Speer

1. Federal politics will be marked by continuity in the coming year. We won’t have a federal election. Justin Trudeau will remain prime minister. And Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland will be passed over as NATO’s secretary general and therefore also stay in her role as federal finance minister.

2. There will however be changes at the provincial level. Most notably, the United Conservative Party will lose the Alberta election in May to the New Democrats along urban-rural lines. The outcome will not only put Danielle Smith’s leadership in jeopardy but also lead to renewed questions about the viability of the UCP as a stable and united party.

3. Pierre Poilievre will continue to advance his main messages about freedom and gatekeepers but we’ll also start to see him position himself and the party as more firmly opposed to the rise of so-called “wokeism” within companies and on university campuses. A greater emphasis on these issues will be mostly motivated by the Legault government’s positioning in Quebec as well as the success of Republicans such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in pushing back against its excesses.

4. The Legault government will also be the national leader on health-care reform in 2023. We’ll see growing progress in Quebec on incorporating private delivery into the Medicare model to address its pandemic-induced surgical backlogs. That these reforms will be achieved mostly within the single-payer model will contribute to growing support for further private (or non-profit) involvement in health-care systems across the country. Health-care reform, in other words, will come in the form of incremental improvements rather than a big bang but 2023 will be a key year along this gradual path.

5. The Ford government in Ontario will continue to lack a clear policy agenda or consistent sense of its own self. The result will be its usual mix of chaos, frequent policy reversals, and rare yet occasional wins. The one clear exception, however, will be Monte McNaughton, the minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development, who will continue to advance an innovative and exciting policy agenda rooted in a clear understanding of the so-called “political realignment.” The coming year will cement McNaughton’s status as the most interesting Conservative politician in the country.

6. The Trudeau government’s 2023 budget will do what its budgets have done since it was first elected: it will spend most of any revenue gains that it records and still aim to present itself as prudent and disciplined. The parliamentary press gallery will once again fall for it.

7. Claims about Twitter’s decline under Elon Musk’s leadership will be proven wrong. The company will grow in 2023 both in terms of its revenues but also its dominant place in our culture and politics.

8. The West’s relationship with China will continue to devolve into two economic and geopolitical camps in the coming year. In particular, we’ll see growing numbers of Western firms abandon their ambitions in the Chinese market in the face of growing expectations that they must choose sides. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s recent call that the U.S. has a “core interest in making sure that these [platform] technologies are designed, built, field and governed by democracies” will help to hasten this trend.

9. This won’t be the year that machine learning and artificial intelligence renders me professionally obsolete. But we’ll continue to see major progress in the abilities and applications of ChatGPT and other-related technologies to augment and disrupt a wide range of sectors and professional functions. The coming year will represent something of an eventual pivot point between the pre-ChatGPT and post-ChatGPT worlds—similar to the mid-1990s when I logged onto the internet for the first time.

10. The Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 56 years. I’ll have to take my kids to the parade since there’s a good chance that there won’t be another one until they’re close to retirement or replaced by robots.

Housing prices will fall in 2023, but not enough for young buyers

Commentary

To close out the year, we’ve asked our contributors and staff to make a prediction about 2023. You would think, after last year, that we’d have learned our lesson about making predictions, but we couldn’t resist. Feel free to save these if you want to embarrass us with them later.


Housing prices won’t meaningfully fall and the Liberals will win another byelection

By Geoff Russ

1. Housing prices will not meaningfully change for Canadians under the age of 35. Despite a noticeable drop in prices, it will not be enough to match the incomes of Millennials and Generation Z who will continue to wallow in mild misery. 

2. The Liberals will win the byelection to fill Jim Carr’s seat of Winnipeg South Centre. Like with Mississauga-Lakeshore, pundits will assert it means Pierre Poilievre cannot possibly win a majority despite abysmal turnout and a lack of effort and money devoted to the byelection by the Conservatives. 

3. The war in Ukraine will grind to a stalemate-like deadlock where the borders of Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine resemble the pre-invasion boundaries of 2021. Divisions between pragmatists and hardliners in both Russia and the West become more prominent, especially in the United States with the Republican-held House, and among EU member states. 

4. MAiD will not cease to be a hot-button topic, with the public growing more repulsed by reports of inappropriate offerings of MAiD as a solution to problems caused by the health-care system’s shortcomings. The Liberals will withdraw and redraft MAiD legislation by the year’s end. 

5. Doug Ford’s approval ratings will plummet to pre-pandemic nadirs. Talks will begin of potential replacements for Ford within the PCs, which will underscore the change of leadership within the Ontario Liberal Party as they select their own new leader. 

6. Danielle Smith wins a hair-thin majority due to retaining enough seats in suburban Calgary and rural Alberta. She will lose the popular vote, but due to Alberta’s current two-party system, also retain a majority. Emboldened UCP MLAs try to push Smith around with the threat of leaving the party and destroying her majority. 

7. The Manitoba PCs are blown out by Wab Kinew’s NDP. Heather Stefanson steps down. Shelly Glover enters the race to succeed Stefanson and is considered the frontrunner. Much of Canada is unaware the entire time. 

8. David Eby does not call an early election in B.C., and moves quickly to ram through heavy-handed, populist-tinged policies on housing and healthcare. It will be feted as bold and innovative, but the effects will not be felt until 2024. B.C. United/B.C. Liberal Opposition leader Kevin Falcon is interviewed by The Hub

9. John Tory learns to love being a “strong mayor” and uses his new powers with much more frequency than promised. Mark Sutcliffe breaks his promise not to use the new powers and does so infrequently. 

10. Frank Ocean releases his next album before headlining Coachella 2023.