Listen Up! Predictions for 2018



Hugh Mackenzie
Huntsville Doppler

A Pundit’s Look Ahead

Another year has flown by. It has had its highs and its lows and, in some ways, our world has changed dramatically in just 12 months. Year end pundits will write about this: what the major stories were, who rated top mention as newsmakers and so on. I want to take a different tack and write not about the past but of the future. Here are my predictions for 2018. Who knows how many of them will turn out to be accurate, but I am hoping to bat at least 500! Keep in mind, these are predictions, not yet statements of fact!

Starting with Huntsville, 2018 is election year and barring new health issues, Scott Aitchison will stand again for mayor. He will win but he may not be acclaimed to office. Tim Withey, a mayoral candidate in the 2014 municipal election will likely try again. He will see issues such as the Pipe Man, the hospital and the Waterloo building as a platform he could run on. He will run to win but will take the profile his expanded business will get during an election campaign as second prize.

There will be little turnover on Huntsville Council. Det Schumacher will call it a day after a long career in municipal politics. Brian Thompson will also consider retiring after many years on council, but at the end of the day he won’t be able to help himself and he will throw his hat into the ring once again. Bob Stone, presently councillor for Huntsville Ward, will seek one of the four District positions. Karin Terziano will seek re-election but she may give up her District seat and run as an area candidate. Debbie Kirwin will run against Jonathan Wiebe in Chaffey but Weibe will win. Most incumbents on council will be re-elected or proclaimed. One dark horse is Jason FitzGerald as he was appointed to council and has not been tested by the electorate. Helena Renwick will seek a seat on council but where she runs will depend on what Karin Terziano decides to do.

In Lake of Bays, Mayor Bob Young will not seek re-election.  Nancy Tapley, currently the Deputy Mayor, will run to fill his shoes.

The District Chair will now be elected across Muskoka. John Klinck, the current chair, will run and will only succeed if there is no substantive opposition to him. A qualified candidate, especially coming from one of the three Township municipalities who has support in at least one of the Towns, would defeat him and send a clear signal that the status quo is no longer acceptable at District. Either Tom Pinckard or Bob Young could fill that role.

Fairvern Nursing Home, at long last, will get provincial approval to proceed with their badly needed and long overdue expansion.

Muskoka Algonquin Health Care will issue a report abandoning their call for a single site hospital for Muskoka and propose two hospital sites, each offering different services. The fight will continue to ensure that both Huntsville and Bracebridge hospitals provide fully acute care services.

At the Provincial level, Patrick Brown and the Progressive Conservatives will win the most seats in the June election. However, they will not win a majority and the Liberals and NDP will combine forces to ensure the continuance of a left wing government for at least the next two years. In Muskoka, Norm Miller will be a shoe-in.

Justin Trudeau will continue to be Canada’s poster boy in 2018. He is pure Teflon. Nothing sticks to him. That cannot last.

Many world governments, including Canada, will continue to placate Donald Trump because they are afraid of him. Justin Trudeau will follow this path at least until the NAFTA agreement is renegotiated or more likely, dumped. This was evident when Canada abstained from a vote at the United Nations criticizing the United States for its decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Even Great Britain is afraid to invite Barack Obama to the Royal Wedding in May, in case it offends Trump.

In 2018, Donald Trump will pardon Canadian and British former media mogul Conrad Black who was convicted of Mail Fraud in the United States. The pardon will allow Black to travel freely and possibly retrieve his Order of Canada status.

Midterm elections in the United States will see the Democrats take control of the Senate but not the House of Representatives. Even so, the possibility of impeaching the President will take on new life.

These are my predictions for 2018. Time alone will tell how many I got right. In the meantime, later this week, Doppler will launch a series of commentaries from local politicians so they can tell you, in their own words, what is important to them, what bugs them and what makes them tick. This week, Lake of Bays Mayor Bob Young will kick off the series. Each week will feature a member of either the Huntsville or Lake of Bays Council. As we enter an election year, this is your opportunity to get a better picture of your elected politicians. Stay tuned!

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  1. Hugh, I think your predictions are well thought out. Just one comment. Tim Withey is a smart man, who has just paid a fair sum of cash for a new business , to connect in with his existing operation, which is also fairly new. These will require his full attention , which I think will be priority one for Tim and family.

    You are right, Tim would not win in my opinion. Having said that we could use his talents on council, so my advise to Tim is Run for 1 of the 3 District seats, get some more council experience at both levels, and if still interested run for Mayor in 2022. All the best in 2018 Hugh, Liz and team at the Doppler . PS Debbie mifgt give Mr, Wiebe a run for his seat in Chaffey as she will work hard and has the will and time. Perhaps Jonathon might seek to move up to the District level

  2. Hugh, some pretty safe predictions, nothing on North Korea, the economy or even the future of print media. I congratulate you on another year of putting questions to the people of Huntsville and Muskoka to keep interest in our respective communities. You have afforded a platform for citizens to praise each other or government, comfort each other or chastise government decisions at all levels. Mostly you do all of these things with great respect for those involved and for the process which decisions are made in this democracy. My prediction for 2018 is that your love of Huntsville and Muskoka will continue to place the interests of the people of Muskoka before us. May Huntsville Doppler continue to keep us informed and involved in 2018.
    P.S. I hope you give those brave souls who seek office next year the same opportunity to share their vision with your readers that you are going to afford those that are already there?

  3. How depressing!…..basically same ole….same ole…..and how many more young people will leave Huntsville in hopes of a future

    • Jamie Lockwood on

      Doppler should do a “report card” of exactly what the Mayor and council members have done since their term started. I think that would be very beneficial for the voting public to see “what have you done for me lately” results are.

  4. Cliff Edmonstone on

    Mr. Mackenzie, I suspect Norm Miller will be a shoo-in. His return will have nothing to do with his feet.

  5. Interesting speculation Hugh. While I have no plans that far into the future about a run for office, Ron House is correct that our recent business acquisition is top priority. I do take exception, however, that you imply that I would run for the benefit the profile might bring to the business. We have dedicated staff who work hard each and every day to win and keep satisfied clients. We are also dedicated to giving back to our great community as a truly locally owned business. One might argue that the ‘profile’ of a run for the Mayor’s chair may even be a detriment for the business. For the time being, my focus is on family, business and my position on the LHIN Board, in that order.

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