Hamilton’s Newsmakers of the Year

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Published January 1, 2024 at 10:00 am

Andrea Horwath
Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath

1. Angela Horwath

Whether you like the job she’s done or not – she has her share of detractors – there’s no denying the former provincial leader of the NDP’s influence on the Steel City since she left Queen’s Park to run for Mayor in the fall of 2022.

The plight of the homeless, tent cities and the opioid crisis have dominated the headlines during Horwath’s first year in office, but she has also had to deal with a seven-day transit strike (resolved just days before the Grey Cup) and an Auditor General’s report that discovered $110,000 in fraud, including a city employee living in – and renovating, on the taxpayer’s dime – a city-owned apartment on the sly.

‘Sewergate’ was another headache for Horwath and council, with the City agreeing to pay $2.9 million in damages for nearly 24 billion litres of sewage spilling into Chedoke Creek – a valve was left open – during the previous two terms of council, from 2014-2019.

A trial by fire for Horwath in her first year in the chair, for sure. Perhaps 2024 will go a little smoother.

2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

A legit NBA star last season, Hamilton’s Gilgeous-Alexander has stepped up his game this year, leading his Oklahoma City Thunder to new heights in the Western Conference, while helping Team Canada to qualify for the 2024 Olympics with an all-world, MVP-calibre performance in the bronze medal game against the USA in the World Cup.

And oh yeah, the former Sir Allan McNab Secondary student was also named the Lionel Conacher Award winner as the CP Male Athlete of the Year in Canada, following his Northern Star Award as the top athlete – male or female – in the country.

3. Doug Ford

Ontario Premier Doug Ford with his former Housing Minister, Steve Clark

Not a Hamilton guy, but you couldn’t turn on your laptop or cell phone in 2023 without hearing about something newsy – usually negative – involving our embattled Premier.

Ford filled plenty of column inches in 2023 with boondoggles, public relations disasters and political missteps in an eventful year that had him in the news on a daily basis and most often for the wrong reasons.

The subject of several scathing reports alleging corruption or mismanagement that led to the exit of several key cabinet ministers and the reversal of the controversial Greenbelt swap and of a number of urban boundary expansions, including here in Hamilton, Ford is definitely hoping for a better 2024, though the odds are probably 50/50 at best.

4. Tim Horton’s Field

The home of the Tiger-Cats of the CFL and Forge FC of the CPL had a pretty big year in 2023. The football team didn’t fare so well but the field – and the city – was host to the biggest Canadian sports event of the year, the 2023 Grey Cup.

Three weeks earlier at the same Hamilton venue, Forge FC won their fourth Canadian Premier League soccer championship in five years, topping Cavalry FC of Calgary with a dramatic ‘Olimpico’ goal deep into extra time to win the title.

5. Sarah Jama

Elected in Hamilton Centre to replace Horwath at Queen’s Park, Jama lasted seven months on the job before the NDP kicked her out of caucus for her comments on the ongoing war in Gaza between Hamas militants and the Israeli government.

Jama criticized Israel for their occupation of Gaza and the resident Palestinians. Her comments, according to party leader Marit Stiles, “undermined our collective work and broke the trust of her colleagues.”

Jama now serves as an independent MPP.

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