Top 10 Blogs of 2020
By Grant Ainsley | Tips | [comments] | Posted [date]
With a little over two weeks left in a year that most of us don't want to remember, we won't forget 2020.
When we think back on the year, we'll think of COVID and the huge number of updates from politicians and health officials we watched on TV and read online and in the papers. We'll think about opposing political views, especially what happened during and after the US election and we'll think back to the Black Lives Matter protests both here and in other parts of the world.
There were other memorable stories too, many of them from the local level that were important to us. I know I wrote about some topics that mattered to you, judging by the number of people who read my weekly blog . Here are the most popular ones of 2020.
This blog was written just before the pandemic started and I certainly didn’t have any idea at the time how important our doctors and other health care professionals would soon become.
The Kenney government in Alberta was at odds with doctors saying that most of them were paid too much. I had recently received some excellent treatment from an eye specialist and wanted to defend him and other doctors from the government attacks.
This hasn’t been a great year for many people, especially Alberta’s Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.
In early August, she drew the ire of Albertans for announcing that children would go back to school in September, with few precautions despite the pandemic. She pulled off a rare monthly daily double when she also got in trouble at a news conference because she talked about the need to change the social studies curriculum, but then couldn’t provide an example of what’s wrong with it. The Education Minister spent the rest of the year in the penalty box and we’ve rarely heard from her since.
One of the themes of the year is politicians not answering questions, regardless whether the question came from a reporter, or a debate moderator. We saw examples on both sides of the 49th parallel.
This blog took a deep dive into questions the CBC’s Vassy Kapelos asked Science Minister Navdeep Bains about defective PPE from China in April. Months later, we’re still waiting for an answer.
Throughout the year, another theme in Alberta was the constant Twitter attacks from what are known as “Issues Managers” for the Alberta government.
These people used to advise government ministers what to say to the media and assist the media with requests to provide information. Now it seems they’re far more interested in using Twitter as a weapon to take a shot at critics.
I decided to do a blog last week to mark the 10th anniversary of the Stephen Duckett “cookie incident”. It was going to be a “look back” piece and suggest how the former President and CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS) could have done things differently that day with the media.
I then realized a couple of things. Duckett was one of the lead authors of a report in Australia that helped the Aussies flatten the COVID curve. There was also his work to amalgamate AHS and it might allow Alberta have a better rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. It made for an interesting blog.
This was a fun one. We’ve watched people being interviewed from their homes and home offices for months because of the pandemic.
I decided to do a Room Rater-type review of some of the best backgrounds used by sports reporters in Canada. I selected my three stars and all were from TSN. Two of them liked the blog and shared it, leading to a couple of hundred views in one day.
For several weeks last spring, as I drove down Ellerslie Road to golf, I kept passing a large Edmonton Transit park and ride lot.
Although construction on it was finished, it wasn’t being used. Nobody from the City or Edmonton Transit gave a good reason. With very little fanfare, the lot was finally opened a couple of weeks ago, about a year behind schedule. I still haven't heard why its opening was delayed.
The COVID19 pandemic was the story of the year and likely will be the story of our lifetimes. Newsmakers of the year in western Canada will be people we never heard of at the start of the year like Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Dr. Bonnie Henry.
The pandemic also gave us an interesting website in Alberta that tracked the number of COVID cases at over two thousand schools in Alberta -Save Our Students. It says there are now over 1,000 schools in Alberta where someone has tested positive.
When the pandemic started, Prime Minister Trudeau emerged from the house he was staying in to read a statement to reporters and then take questions every morning. Problem was, more often than not, he never really answered those questions.
The blog talked about how alternate media outlets have taken hold in Canada, because so many people are fed up with what they’re getting from mainstream media. This blog went viral and for perhaps the first time I can remember in well over 200 blogs, it got more people reading it on the second day it was released than the first.
This was the runaway #1 blog of the year, with about 1,200 readers on the first day and around 1,600 for two days.
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw appeared in several blogs throughout the year and this one looked at how her popularity plummeted in the late summer and examined why it happened. I felt sorry for her and the position she was in. She obviously wanted to do more to limit the spread of the virus, but had political bosses with other ideas.
This will be my last blog of 2020. I'll be back in January with my first candidate to make the Top 10 Blogs of 2021.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. My wife and I have three grown children who no longer live at home and one still at home. We will only be seeing the three who don't live at home over Zoom and I hope you will do the same, so more people can stay healthy.
We'll be able to celebrate (a lot) in 2021. Thanks for reading.