Politics

Power & Politics: Top 5 newsmakers of 2016

Who were the biggest newsmakers of the year? CBC News Network's Power & Politics counts down the political players who dominated headlines in 2016.

CBC News Network's Power & Politics counts down the political players who dominated headlines in 2016

Who stirred discussion, drove the agenda and set tongues wagging in the world of politics in 2016?

CBC News Network's Power & Politics has combed through this year's archives to bring you some of the political highlights of 2016, from the most cringe-worthy blunders to the biggest players to watch.

Today, we turn our attention to the top political newsmakers of the year.

The Power Panel — former Conservative cabinet minister Stockwell Day, former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister Yolande James, Maclean's Marty Patriquin and Robin MacLachlan of Summa Strategies — helps host Rosemary Barton count down the list of politicians in the spotlight in the past year.

5. Tom Mulcair

Top 5 newsmakers: Tom Mulcair 6:57

2015 wasn't the greatest year for Tom Mulcair — who went from Leader of the Official Opposition to leader of the third party following the election — but 2016 was arguably worse, after he was rejected by his own party at a leadership review vote in April.

Mulcair has vowed to stay at the helm of the party until a new leader is chosen in fall 2017, but despite a continued presence in the House of Commons, concerns over party unity and his low profile over the summer have raised questions about what's next for Mulcair — and the party.

4. Rona Ambrose

Top 5 newsmakers: Rona Ambrose 7:03

Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose stands out from her Conservative colleagues for being one of the few who's actually not running to lead the party.

But don't dismiss Ambrose as a mere political placeholder. Outspoken on issues ranging from electoral reform to pipelines and carbon taxes, the interim leader has carved out a formidable role for herself as an opponent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

3. Rachel Notley

Top 5 newsmakers: Rachel Notley 8:17

The Alberta premier's first full year in power was dominated by the fires in Fort McMurray, a sluggish economy, low oil prices and pitched political pipeline battles. 

Then there was her announcement of a carbon tax for Alberta, a move the prime minister credited as the reason why Ottawa was able to justify greenlighting two major pipeline projects.

Not everyone in the province was pleased. Notley was the target of "lock her up!" chants at a rally against the carbon tax, and she's come under criticism for her efforts in balancing the economy and the environment.

But there may be hope on the horizon for Notley in 2017 — Alberta is poised to emerge from one of the worst recessions in recent history and return to economic growth in 2017, says the Conference Board of Canada.

2. Justin Trudeau

Top 5 newsmakers: Justin Trudeau 9:47

The prime minister made a lot of headlines both at home and abroad in 2016, his first full year in power. 

There were tough decisions, most notably to stand firm on a no-ransom policy around the deaths of Canadian hostages in the Philippines. Trudeau also began the difficult task of delivering on campaign promises, from the inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women to legalization of marijuana

Then there were the controversies — questions over cash-for-access and Liberal fundraising seem likely to continue dogging Trudeau into the new year, and his comments after the death of Fidel Castro garnered him worldwide attention and criticism. 

1. Donald Trump

Top 5 newsmakers: Donald Trump 9:24

Could it be anyone else?

2016 belongs, for better or worse, to U.S. president-elect Donald Trump. After dominating the Republican primaries in the spring, the former businessman blazed a trail to the White House that few predicted. 

It's still to be determined whether Trump will "make America great again," but with his inauguration coming up Jan. 20, it's almost guaranteed the incoming president will continue to be a top newsmaker through 2017.

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