Our year-in-review special looks back at the wacky, weird, and wondrous stories of 2012.
“In spite of all the very important deals and the billions of dollars of contracts we signed this week, more people in Canada will notice the pandas than anything else.”
—Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Chongqing Communist Party bigwig Bo Xilai during his February five-day trade mission to China. Harper wangled a 10-year “loan” of two giant pandas—for $1 million per year—at the close of his visit
Then the wheels fell off
“Would you buy a used bicycle from him? I wouldn’t.…He can go to hell as far as I’m concerned. You call him a mayor?”
—Former anticorruption chief Jacques Duchesneau, on Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay in June. Tremblay later resigned as mayor amid accusations of corruption involving organized crime
Leading by example
Shirish Chotalia, chair of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, quit her post in November following disputes with her own staff, a quarter of whom—according to the Public Service Alliance—filed harassment-related complaints against her. An investigator, Philip Chodos, who upheld two 2011 harassment complaints against Chotalia by former employees, described the Stephen Harper appointee’s work behaviour as “baffling if not bizarre”.
Where do you think Detroit came from?
“Could the Earth’s rectum be Windsor? I don’t know, it could just as easily be Winnipeg.”
—Comedian Stephen Colbert, referencing Windsorites’ outrage over his reference to the city in a chapter from his recent book, America Again. Colbert’s “feud” with Windsor started five years ago, when he called the city “the worst place on Earth”
“I’ve never read that before.”
—Toronto mayor Rob Ford on the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, which he was found guilty of violating in November. Ford was ordered out of office but is appealing the decision
Looking for loopholes
In August, Rob Ford was caught by a photographer reading behind the wheel of his car, proving that he does, indeed, know how to read.