Five political stories to watch for in 2013

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Trudeau-mania 2.0; the F-35 debacle; mayors across the country getting into hot water: 2012 has been an eventful year in Canadian politics.

What will 2013 bring?

Here is our look at the year ahead:

1. A new premier for Ontario. A new one for British Columbia?

The New Year will kick-off with the Ontario Liberal leadership convention in Toronto in late January.

As of now, the common refrain is that former MPPs Gerard Kennedy and Sandra Pupatello are the front runners in the race to replace Dalton McGuinty as premier. Whoever wins will have a tough year ahead with a ballooning debt crisis, a teacher's dispute and dysfunctional minority legislature.

Meanwhile, British Columbians will head to the polls in May to elect their new provincial government — most likely to be led by NDP Leader Adrian Dix.

If the pro-oil pipeline crowd thought current Premier Christy Clark was a headache, just wait until they're forced to deal with premier Dix.

2. A new leader for the federal Liberals

Barring an epic continuation of his foot-in-mouth disease, Justin Trudeau will be elected leader of the federal Liberal party in April.

From now until April, however, it will be interesting to watch how the party re-invents itself and how its supporter-class category impacts the contest.

Post April, we'll see if Trudeau can maintain his strong polling numbers as leader.

Earlier this month a Forum Research poll suggested that a Trudeau led Liberal party would be ahead of the Tories by a whopping nine percentage points.

3. Idle No More

This year ended with Idle No More, a movement that started as a protest to the government's omnibus budget bill but grew into a national call-to-action with regard to the federal government's relationship with First Nations across the country.

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Ipsos pollster Darrell Bricker recently told Global News that Idle No More could become a major story in 2013 and evoked the memory of past native protests in Oka, Que., and Caldonia, Ont.

Will the Idle No More movement fizzle, or will it be 'to be continued' in 2013?

4. Rob Ford

It doesn't take a psychic to predict that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will be a news maker in 2013.

Aside from his apparent affinity for controversial comments, Ford and/or his legal counsel will appear before a judge on Jan. 7 to appeal another judge's decision to oust the mayor over a conflict of interest violation.

If Ford loses the appeal, there could be a mayoral by-election as early as March.

5. Will there finally be a federal cabinet shuffle?

Media types have been predicting a major federal cabinet shuffle since Fall 2011 but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pretty much stuck with the status quo.

But how about one in 2013?

"I will be watching for how the Prime Minister resets his government. A cabinet shuffle, a throne speech after the next budget to try and make his government a little newer and to go into the next election campaign," the CBC's national affairs editor Chris Hall said on CBC Radio's The House on Saturday.

"I say that...because as history has shown just this year alone nine years tends to be about the shelf life for political leaders in this country — both Jean Charest and Dalton McGuinty ran into trouble.

"By 2015, well that will be the ninth year for Stephen Harper so we'll see....what kind of image he wants to present to the country going forward."