I decided to save my ‘Heroes’ list for December 31 and, for all intents and purposes, end the year on what I feel would be a positive note.
Despite a miserable curmudgeon of a leader, Canada had some moments that made me proud. Despite deplorable international events, I felt there were some people in the world that showed that there are reasons to have faith in humanity.
So … here goes.
#20: The Internet
I know … this is as basic as TIME Magazine saying ‘You’ were the most important person in 2008, but I think there’s something to be said here for capturing all of us who use the web to our convenience, entertainment and (for me) political activism.
As the Internet cruises into its second decade of existence, everything got a little faster, a little more open and a lot more exciting.
We couldn’t have pulled that off if we were all sitting watching X Factor pablum on the tube.
Late 2009 was when I was forced to embrace open (open source, open technology, open standards, open products, etc) and practice what I had come into.
2010 will be the year in which I preach it.
#18 Google (sometimes)
Google continues to be an enigma to me. It is a large corporation that is hell-bent on corraling all of the world’s information and knowledge.
However, it’s because of Google (particularly Google Apps) that I’m much more nimble in the online world. I won’t be signing up with Blogger any time soon, but they saved my ass in 2009 and they honestly help a wide array of small businesses get more visibility online with their products.
#17: George Galloway
Early in 2009, George Galloway was denied entry to Canada, but presented to thousands of viewers anyways.
We may not all agree with his politics, but if we have to suffer with Ezra Levant, Katie Shaidle and a host of other Right-wing dunces, then we should have someone on our side as well.
#16: Ubuntu Developers
I have seen the light and have converted one of my computers to the Ubuntu operating system. The dedicated programmers, marketers, administrators and other folks that make this miracle happen have my praise. It’s likely that in 2010, they’ll also have my money (as donations from an admiring member of their community).
#15: The Camino Chocolate Coop
These people have assembled a vision, they’ve acted on a desire to fill the world with the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted and they support large, personal buys that I did through the year to raise money for local charities.
Bravo for making it real.
#14: The Wildrose Party of Alberta
The ‘Left’ or ‘Progressive’ vote in Canada is an embarassment, so with any luck, the Wildrose Party of Alberta will go federal and fracture the Conservative vote in 2010.
#13: One Week (and everyone behind this project)
There were so many things about this movie that moved me.
Buy it or rent it, but try to get some time in to watch if you haven’t already. I guarantee you there’s a slice for every Canadian (unless you live east of Toronto and then you’ll be pissed with this list item).
#12: Michael Geist
Ditto for Michael Geist. He pushes forward when other withdraw. Anything on his site is well worth the read.
If I weren’t a stubborn old fart, I’d quit what I was doing, move to Ottawa and sign up for all of his classes.
#11: Barack Obama (kind of)
He doesn’t make the top 10, but in 2009, Barack proved that he would not cave in on his health plan for 30 million Americans that can’t get one. Yes, it’s likely full of holes, but it’s a start.
He also snubbed Stephen Harper on more than one occasion, proving that (a) our leader is a putz and (b) Canada needs new leadership in order to be invited to the big tables.
#10: Wind Wireless
‘Kick them in the junk, Wind Wireless!!’
Canadian wireless companies need to get a little ‘winded’ by some competition. Let’s hope they have an impact and we aren’t just cornered by yet another monopolistic pricing scam/scheme.
I have invested more time reading all of the updates and efforts of people and affiliates with ProgressiveBloggers.ca. Congrats on all of your hard work in 2009! I look forward to reading what all of you have to say in 2010.
On occasion, I read a few blogs that try to take the piss out of hackers, but they’re never successful.
Hackers are a vital part of the digital community. Without a little anarchy, we don’t improve product, we don’t get better and we are forced to swallow garbage like Vista.
#7: Cory Doctorow
I read Cory’s contributions to the blogosphere every day. I admire his courage to speak his mind and to keep doing what he does every single day.
I also envy his energy. I wish I had a fraction of what he does 🙂
#6: Great Lakes Swimmers
I could listen to the song ‘Palmistry’ one hundred times and not get sick of it. Tom Dekker and crew proved that being Canadian is a damn cool thing and that music doesn’t need a big machine to be the best on the planet.
#5: David Eaves
David Eaves (www.eaves.ca) helped open my world to the idea of ‘open’. His writing is exceptional. His knowledge base is profound.
#4: The Keilburger Kids and Everyone With Me to We
For shining a little light on a dark world and being optimists throughout everything.
Anyone that saved money in 2009 – and that number is likely very small – is a hero in my books.
The economic problems that we encountered in 2008 were a result of a mass awakening. The world’s consumers started to realize that as we devour everything on this planet, we’ll be the most shamed and humiliated generation of selfish morons that the planet ever produced.
As we slowed down, the machine ground to a rapid halt. Unfortunately, the machine has always got a ‘poison pill’, be it a bailout or massive spending stimulus, to save its ass. At our expense.
But don’t let that deter you. Every time you put money into your own interest and you don’t spend it on crap, you send a big FU to the machine.
Keep filling the mattress in 2010!!
#2: Rodney Stafford
I don’t want to say much about this man except this: as a father, I have my doubts that he wants any limelight at all. I think it’s safe to say that he just wants his daughter back.
That said, he took his pain and raised a lot of awareness for ChildFind.
#1: Richard Colvin
Richard Colvin wins my vote as the year’s most deserving hero in 2009.
He did his job by showing that Canadians MUST take the moral high ground if they’re involved with something as ugly as Afghanistan.
My hope is that the millions of other public servants out there are inspired by his cold opposition to the big Con machine.