the current

A journalistic journey through the big and memorable stories of 2017

CBC’s Chris Hall, Nahlah Ayed, and the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale look at the big news and newsmakers of 2017.
From the Women's March on Washington, to the #MeToo movement, solidarity and political resistance among women is one of the watershed stories of 2017.

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2017 has been a year of extremes — from instability on the political front, to mass political mobilization. From record-breaking climate events, to rapid technological change.

Amid a flood of headlines — who stood out? Who was unduly forgotten?

In this special double-feature segment, CBC's Chris Hall, Nahlah Ayed, and the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale offer their take on the important news and newsmakers of the year gone by.

Chris Hall, CBC's national affairs editor and host of The House. ( CBC News)

The CBC's national affairs editor, Chris Hall, weighed in on the home-front. He crowned Finance Minister Bill Morneau Canada's "person of the year" for being unable to stay out of the press for all the wrong reasons.

"Canada is still expected to lead all G7 countries in economic growth this year. Unemployment is down, the deficit is coming in less than forecast. The economy therefore is in pretty good shape  — but that hasn't been the story. It's about backtracking on proposals to increase taxes on some small businesses. It comes from [Morneau's] own personal finances —  his failure to disclose."

It's killed more than 8000 people, put nearly 10 million people at risk of famine and yet it's barely cracked the headlines- Nahlah   Ayed

In turn, Hall found the Liberal government's failure to make significant movements on promises to deliver more transparency to be Canada's most unreported story of the year.

"Despite the efforts, despite the openness that they have claimed, it really hasn't changed much since the days of Stephen Harper and he was widely criticized for running a government that was prone to secrecy."

Nahlah Ayed says the war in Yemen is being under-reported, possibly because “it is the poorest country in the world … [It] essentially does not have any strategic value to anybody, as far as anyone could tell, and that made it an unimportant place.” (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)

On the international stage, CBC's foreign correspondent Nahlah Ayed, believes strongly the most neglected story to be the war in Yemen between forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.

"It's killed more than 8000 people, put nearly 10 million people at risk of famine and yet it's barely cracked the headlines."

Nahlah Ayed, a CBC foreign correspondent. (CBC NEWS)

One person who did make headlines was Chinese president  Xi Jinping, who Ayed names the "big winner" in international news. 

Consolidating power domestically, China's ruling Communist Party voted to enshrine Jinping's name and ideology in its constitution, "[making] him the most powerful leader since Mao," says Ayed.

She also points to China's growing influence on the international stage. Compared to Trump, Ayed says the Chinese president presented himself as a more progressive leader in advocating for the Paris Climate agreement, free-trade and international participation.

"They've been spending to the tune of 350 to 400 billion dollars in the past 15 years on helping countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia and beyond, [to] build infrastructure and in return —  build influence."

The Chinese president Xi Jinping has presented himself as a more progressive leader than U.S. President Donald Trump this year. (Andy Wong/AP) (Andy Wong/Associated Press)

The Toronto Star's Washington correspondent Daniel Dale chose Barack Obama as his "big winner in the U.S.", believing the first year of Trump's presidency cast a whole new light on the "personal behaviour" of Obama during his term.   

"I think it's caused a lot of people to look back at the previous eight years and come to appreciate having a presidency that you didn't have to think about all the time."

In terms of a memorable journalistic moment of 2017, Dale recalled the time Trump reacted to one of his tweets, after one of Dale's daily Trump-fact-check tweets went viral.

"[Trump] tweeted something like 'everyone has been nice to Rocket Man' — his term for Kim Jong-un — 'for 25 years and nothing has changed, so we have to get tough'. So I just tweeted '25 years ago, Kim Jong-un was eight.'"

"It got like 80,000 re-tweets or something. It was my most successful tweet ever. I've no idea why. And the next day, I woke up, and literally the first thing I do every day is hold up my phone to my face before I put my glasses on and see what Trump has tweeted. So I did that  —  and I was blocked."

"I thought I had clicked the wrong link or something. But no — the president had blocked me."

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.