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When Ottawa gets quiet in the days around the holidays, it's a good chance to look back on the year that was. The Globe will undoubtedly be doing much of that in the coming days - December 2009 marks not just the end of a year but a decade.

But, for now, let's take a look at what two other news outlets say were the biggest news stories of the past 12 months.

The Hill Times surveyed 114 "politicos" - 56 Conservatives, 40 Liberals, 16 NDP, two Bloc Québécois - about the highs and lows of the year in federal politics - and published the findings in its Monday edition.

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Among other things, the respondents said Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the most valuable politician and made the biggest political comeback.

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau was voted the favourite up-and-comer.

And the nods for weakest cabinet minister went to Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt followed by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq who tied with and Helena Guergis, the Minister of State (Status of Women), and Bev Oda, the Minister for International Co-operation who placed third.

NDP MP Megan Leslie told the Hill Times that there is something very "telling" about the fact that the four ministers judged to be the weakest are women. It's tough to be a female politician, says Ms. Leslie, because colleagues are less likely to perceive women to be leaders, or powerful, or in possession of the "chutzpa to get something done.

The Hill Times poll also lists the top three political news stories of the year as being, in order, the economy, the issues around Afghan detainees, and the H1N1 pandemic.

Meanwhile, CTV came out with its own list of the top news stories of 2011 and they seem to be in sync with the Hill Times' survey.

The national news network said the top three stories of the year were the recession, the H1N1 swine flu, and the Afghan mission.

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