Power & Politics Top 5 political newsmakers of 2017

Who created conversations, drove the agenda and set tongues wagging in the world of politics in 2017? Power & Politics went through the archives from the past year to count down the top five newsmakers.

The Power Panel counts down the political players who dominated headlines in 2017

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, left, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh are two newsmakers of 2017. (Canadian Press)

Who created conversations, drove the agenda and set tongues wagging in the world of politics in 2017?

CBC News Network's Power & Politics has combed through this year's archives to bring you some of the political highlights of 2017, from the most cringe-worthy blunders to the biggest players to watch.

Here, we turn our attention to the top political newsmakers of the year. The Power Panel — former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister Yolande James, iPolitics' Martin Patriquin, and Earnscliffe Strategy Group's Kathleen Monk and Geoff Norquay — helps the CBC's David Cochrane count down the can't-miss moments of 2017. 

5. Omar Khadr

Top 5 newsmakers: Omar Khadr 7:08

Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr's $10 million settlement put him back in the media spotlight this summer.  

It was that settlement — coupled with the federal government's apology to the man who has been branded a terrorist by some and a child soldier subjected to torture by others — that ignited conversation and debate across the country. The politically sensitive case also made headlines in the United States, while Khadr himself simply said he hopes the settlement helps 'restore a little bit' of his reputation in Canada.

4. Chrystia Freeland

Top 5 newsmakers: Chrystia Freeland 7:31

Chrystia Freeland was everywhere in 2017, from Washington to Vietnam to Ukraine (just don't look for her anytime soon in Moscow). 

The former trade minister was promoted to Canada's top diplomatic position at the beginning of the year, and quickly asserted herself on the world stage, taking on prickly NAFTA negotiations, rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, an aggressive Vladimir Putin, and increased instability in the Middle East.

How has Freeland handled these tough files? Is she Trudeau's star minister? The Power Panel breaks down her biggest moments of the year, and looks ahead to her political future.

3. Opposition leaders

Top 5 newsmakers: New Opposition leaders 8:21

Three of the five federal parties got new leaders in 2017 — Martine Ouellet was acclaimed Leader of the Bloc Québécois back in March, but it was the elections of Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh for the Conservative party and NDP respectively, that cast a spotlight on the two 38-year-old politicians.

Will Scheer and Singh prove they have the chops to take on Trudeau? Both leaders struggled with getting Canadians to know them by face and name, but with time to go before the next election, Scheer and Singh have some space to sell themselves as the future prime minister. 

2. Bill Morneau

Top 5 newsmakers: Bill Morneau 9:02

Finance Minister Bill Morneau's name — and his assets — received plenty of attention in 2017 after undergoing daily grilling by the opposition in question period over his personal finances and ethics

Despite the heat, Morneau stood firm, insisting accusations of of wrongdoing on his part were "absolutely absurd." Will Morneau continue to stay in Trudeau's good graces in 2018? The Power Panel dives into what was a very bumpy year for the finance minister.

1. Donald Trump

Top 5 newsmakers: Donald Trump 9:36

Could it be anyone else in 2017? The president of the United States spent his first year in office not just tweeting up a storm, but issuing an executive order banning visitors from Muslim-majority countries, engaging in a war of words with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, weighing in on the NFL's hiring practices, pulling out of the Paris climate deal, and firing, well, lots of people.

Then there's the probe into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election that resulted in Trump's victory. No matter what the topic, Trump continued to dominate headlines this year — a trend that looks set to continue into 2018.

Be sure to check in all week as Power & Politics counts down the Top 5 newsmakers, political blunders, issues to watch, and more of 2017.

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