My two younger sons - ages eight and ten, embraced and enjoyed Toronto, Canada, this past summer. Along with the hive of activities surrounding the Pan American Games and the celebratory Caribana Festival, it was the familiar good quality of life offered in Toronto that attracted my boys.
From the childish play, games and rides of Centre Island; to the history, education and culture of the Royal Ontario Museum(ROM); to the technology of the CN Tower; to the entertainment and shopping at Kensington Market; to the urban feel of streetcar transportation along Dundas Street; to the openness of calls of the wild at the Toronto Zoo in a suburb; and to the pampering of flyers by Porter Airlines at the new pedestrian accessible air terminal downtown, Toronto; as a measure of comfort and civil living for all of Canada, Toronto looked good.
In addition, the fact that one could close his/her eyes on any one Toronto street, then open them to a familiarity that is representative of any city in North America, speaks well about Canada.
With the election of the youthful Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister this fall, Canada appears stable, secure and flourishing by the count of high-rises and construction cranes dotting the cityscape over Toronto.
Trudeau has bragged about "a cabinet that looks like Canada", one of Canada's most diverse consisting of Sikhs, Aboriginal people, women and at least one cabinet member with a disability, yet missing are any Afro-Canadians and East Asians - rising demographics in Canada.
On assuming the helm in Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau served notice that his Canadian troops would no longer participate in the International Coalition's air strikes against the Islamic State(IS) in Syria. Recently, his government warmly welcomed scores of Syrian refugees to Canadian soil as it projected to receive another 50,000 in 2016.
A new neutral humanitarian role for Canada in 2016? The new administration in Ottawa seems to be projecting this stance. But would this stance guarantee Canada extremists-free events?
The number of Syrian refugees Canada admits will force some changes to Canadian-US travel accessibility in 2016. Moreover, while Canada appears stable and secure in 2016, explanations and accounting for omitting key minorities from Trudeau's cabinet will have some social impacts upon Canadian society in 2016 and beyond.
The abnormality of more people heading south across the United States(US)-Mexican border rather than heading north will not last in 2016.
Good economic tides in Mexico coupled with an acid-immigrant stance by right wingers in the US, have seen more Mexicans returning to their homeland than those trying to reach comfort in the US. But this condition will not last because narco-violence continues to poison a large swath of Mexico and it will eventual threatened more and more people sending many north.
While Mexico's economy could remain strong for a short while in 2016, prolonged falling oil prices could stall Mexico's boom from recent oil and gas deals. But putting all fiscal and economic issues aside, I opine that Mexico is caught in a developmental hold and will stay there until justice has given to the families of 43 students who went missing more than year ago.
The violence, corruption and lack of justice associated with the disappearance of the 43 students in Iguala, is indicative of the state of affairs in Mexico and until this ugly chapter of Mexican reality is fully addressed and justice served, Mexico will continue to witness the corruption and deaths associated with the drug trade.
The relatives of these 43 students have refused to allow the matter to be swept under a mat like many other deaths and disappearances in Mexico. They meet weekly, they continue to pressure the government for closure. The charging of a mayor and the jailing of 66 policemen in the region in connection with the disappearance of the students does not suffice justice to the families.
While a federal take over of police services in Iguala and the election of a new mayor might hold promise of change, the families of the 43 students are left with little hope of justice based upon the fact that in the first week in office of the new mayor, there were five murders and 25 murders in his first two months in office underscoring the reality that Mexico cannot move on in 2016 until justice is done and violence is reigned-in.