Even the Canadian Press gave me a Christmas present. From terrorism to Tasers, from pensions to the perils of solitary policing, the RCMP have been squarely in the public eye for the last 12 months - though not for the reasons the force might wish.
The troubled Mounties are the collective choice as Newsmaker of the Year for 2007 in the annual poll conducted by The Canadian Press among newsrooms across the country.
Voters cited a variety of reasons for their selection, but the bottom line was summed up by Jack Romanelli, editor of the Halifax Daily News: "The RCMP dominated Canadian news this year".
"Many of the stories they generated shook the traditional view of the 134-year-old force as a scarlet-clad symbol of national identity".
Going on to cite the Maher Arar affair, the death of a tazered Polish immigrant, the Air India inquiry, hinting at the problems in the administration, the government scandals and more, the historic national police force has taken its share of beatings this year in the press.
I have to reiterate how much respect I have for the RCMP. For all the scandals and problems of recent years, when you consider the number of cases, the number of arrests, the number of inquiries and the day in and day out service of loyal men and women who do us proud and risk their lives to make our streets safer, on the whole, we have a great national police force. Not perfect, and that's of course the problem. Canada, and our national police, share a goody-goody image and it's easy to highlight the flaws of something that's been upheld as perfect.
However, my genuine respect for the Mounties may become the chorus I have to keep singing as this year progresses, as WHAT BURNS WITHIN first (and THE FRAILTY OF FLESH later in the year) portray a less-than-perfect RCMP, with political and bureaucratic blunders contributing to mistakes on the job.
And honestly, it isn't because I just want to stand here pointing out their faults. It's because until we start acknowledging the problems with how something is run, we can never properly address how to fix them.
It's a quiet Christmas for me, which is good. I'd been feeling better but woke up hacking away again. The extended family always has the big turkey dinner on Christmas Eve, so I enjoyed being seated between my elder nephew Athaniel and my younger nephew, Dashiell, at the table. Dash thought my sweater could use some rice stuffing. Dinner was delicious, and my sister's father-in-law made Baked Alaska (Alaskan?) for dessert. OMG, and I don't even typically like meringue. Yum.
So I'm now wondering how to work off the ten pounds of Christmas, like everyone else...
A happy, healthy holiday season to you all.