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The day before the day before we turn a fresh page on a new calendar.
2012 is almost done.
It had its ups and downs. We saw the best - and worst - of humanity.
We wept with pride as our athletes entered the Olympic Stadium in London. We were awed by the grace and determination of people like classy Canadian women's soccer captain Christine Sinclair.
And our hearts were broken when a crazed gunman destroyed the lives of 26 children and their teachers in Connecticut.
We raged at the Taliban for attempting to silence the young voice of a little girl who simply wanted to go to school.
As a girl, she wanted the simple right of an education.
In surviving an assassination attempt, Malala Yousafzai, 15, inspired all of us that despite her injuries, despite her pain, that good sometimes triumphs over evil.
Here in smug Canada, we tend to take our freedoms for granted. We look at the world from the comfort of our well-padded armchairs. We lecture others about democracy, yet we have allowed our own provincial Legislature to be shut down for months - on the political whim of a governing party that did not receive a majority of votes in the last election.
The vacuum in leadership isn't unique to this province.
The world holds its breath as the U.S. teeters on the edge of the fiscal cliff.
So who - or what - brought us to the brink?
Foolish policies, unadulterated greed - and weak leaders, paralyzed by infighting and indecision. Leaders who won't - or can't - do the right thing.
Just like Ontario, where politicians kept spending when the coffers are empty.
As we tiptoe cautiously into the great unknown of 2013, wary of what's ahead, let's hope for this: Let's demand accountability from our governments. Tell them to park their egos and work to bring us back to fiscal health.
This is no time for chest bumps and posturing.
Above all, though, let us keep in mind the agonized words of Nelba Márquez-Greene.
Her daughter, Ana, died in the Newtown rampage. Her Christmas message for the world was a plea for a "better America." She asked for leaders to work to protect our children.
It's a message that resonated around the world.
Let's work for a better world. A better Canada. A better Ontario.
Let's hope that we can all have the courage of Malala, so that we can fearlessly speak out for what's right and not what's expedient - no matter what the consequences.
Let's protect our children and build a world where they can go to school in peace and safety - whether they fear the crazed Taliban in Pakistan, or a maniac with an assault weapon in Connecticut.
One where leaders show the grace and heart of our Olympic athletes, the bravery of Malala. One that's worthy for us to pass along to our children.
Give us a world we're proud to call home.
And give us leaders who inspire to build that brave, new world.