Year in review: A look at news events in September 2020

A look at news events in September 2020:

01 - The federal government recognized residential schools as a National Historic Event. Jonathan Wilkinson, minister responsible for historic sites and monuments, said history has to tackle tough subjects as well as happy events. Chief Dennis Meeches of the Long Plain First Nation said the band hopes to open a national residential school museum near Portage la Prairie, Man.

article continues below

02 - The German government said Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny had the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok in his system — the same one that was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain in 2018. Navalny's supporters insisted he was deliberately poisoned and pointed the finger at the Kremlin, which scoffed at the accusations.

02 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed any notion of replacing Gov. Gen. Julie Payette. During an interview in Vancouver, Trudeau said no one wants to add a constitutional crisis on top of the COVID-19 crisis. He called Payette an excellent representative for the Queen. Payette had become the focus of intense scrutiny after allegations surfaced of workplace harassment in her office, as well as reports of extraordinary spending since she was named governor general.

02 - Canadian sculptor Mark Prent died at the age of 72. Prent was known for his unsettling, otherworldly sculptures. Toronto police attempted to shut down his first solo show in 1973 in response to a complaint from a public morality organization. Prent's surreal vision won him several fans in the film scene, including directors Guillermo Del Toro, David Cronenberg and Harmony Korine.

03 - UNICEF Canada said the country ranked 30th out of 38 countries when it comes to the physical and mental well-being of children and youth. The UN agency said it is shocking that Canada ranks lower than most other nations on issues ranging from suicide rate to childhood obesity to infant mortality.

03 - The Brooklyn Nets named Canadian Steve Nash as the team's new head coach. During his playing career, the B.C. native was an eight-time NBA all-star and two-time most valuable player.

03 - The parliamentary budget officer said the federal government shortchanged provinces on their equalization payments over the past decade to the tune of $14.5 billion. The payments are required under the Constitution to make sure everyone has reasonably comparable public services.

03 - The Canadian Space Agency got its first permanent female president. Lisa Campbell took over at a time when countries around the world are racing for the stars. Campbell is a longtime federal public servant who previously managed billions of dollars in planned military equipment purchases. She told The Canadian Press that space funding by government and the private sector continued through the pandemic.

04 - U.S. President Donald Trump defended himself against accusations he mocked American war dead. The Associated Press said it had independently confirmed what anonymous sources told The Atlantic — that Trump referred to First World War dead at an American military cemetery in France as "losers" and "suckers" in 2018.

04 - Brad Regehr became the first Indigenous person to lead the Canadian Bar Association. The Manitoba lawyer and member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in Saskatchewan said it is time for more diversity in the group. He pointed out that his predecessor was the first Black lawyer to serve in the position.

05 - A makeshift memorial of flowers, candles and stuffed toys began piling up outside a home in Oshawa, Ont., that was the scene of a horrific mass shooting. Police said 48-year-old Mitchell Lapa shot and killed a man and three young people — two under 18 — before turning his gun on himself. A 50-year-old woman survived with non-life-threatening injuries. Investigators said Lapa was a relative of the victims and was an ''uninvited person'' to the residence.

07 - Taylor Swift tied a more than decade-old Billboard record when her album "folklore" earned a sixth week at No. 1 on the all-genre album chart. With that, Swift tied an 11-year-old record set by the late Whitney Houston. They've both now spent 46 weeks total topping that chart, more than any other female artist in history. The Beatles, with 132 weeks, have the most total time atop the Billboard 200.

07 - New Brunswick's Progressive Conservative leader dropped one of his candidates after learning the man had re-posted a Facebook message containing transphobic language. Blaine Higgs said he was disturbed by the re-posting of a transphobic meme by Roland Michaud. It suggested physical violence against transgender women when they use restrooms. Michaud apologized for circulating the meme, but said he didn't intend to withdraw his name from the race.

08 - Hundreds of thousands of children and teenagers across Canada re-entered classrooms for the first time in six months. Alberta and Quebec were among the first to report new cases of COVID-19 related to the reopening of schools. Experts said returning to class is important for social and academic development.

09 - WE Charity said it would close its Canadian operations, and co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger would step down once the transition to a new board of governors is complete. WE lost many of its corporate sponsors amid the controversy over the Liberal government's plans to have the youth organization run a multimillion-dollar student-volunteer program.

09 - A new book by journalist Bob Woodward said U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to understand the severity of the pandemic — even as he was downplaying the COVID-19 threat to Americans. Trump insisted earlier this year that the virus was no worse than the seasonal flu and that his government had it totally under control. But Woodward said that in interviews in February and March, the president stressed the deadly nature of the novel coronavirus and told Woodward he deliberately minimized the danger.

09 - Two men filed a lawsuit against actor Kevin Spacey, accusing him of sexual assaults in the 1980s when they were teens. One of the men, actor Anthony Rapp, first spoke out against Spacey in 2017. In the lawsuit, Rapp said the older actor made a sexual advance to him at a party.

10 - Canada's election watchdog said former finance minister Bill Morneau broke the law when he promoted Liberal candidates at government-funded events he attended as finance minister. Commissioner Yves Cote said Morneau broke a section of the Elections Act that prohibits anyone but individuals from donating to political parties. One candidate who appeared with Morneau at multiple events in 2019, Anita Anand, went on to become the federal procurement minister.

11 - The Mounties charged former Liberal MP Raj Grewal with fraud and breach of trust. They allege the former member for Brampton East took millions of dollars in personal loans without telling the federal ethics commissioner. Grewal was a rookie MP when he left the Liberal caucus in 2018 amid the beginning of the police investigation. Grewal cited personal and health reasons, and the Prime Minister's Office said at the time that he was seeking treatment for a gambling addiction.

12 - The North American West Coast was covered in a blanket of thick smoke from wildfires burning in the region in the U.S. Smoke from California and Oregon wafted into Canada, and Environment Canada issued a special air-quality statement for Metro Vancouver. The agency advised people with underlying medical conditions or serious infections such as COVID-19 to postpone or reduce activities outside.

12 - Aline Chretien, the wife of former prime minister Jean Chretien, died at home near Shawinigan, Que. She was 84. Longtime Chretien aide Eddie Goldenberg said the former prime minister would be the first to say that without Aline, he never would have been prime minister. He called her his "rock of Gibraltar."

13 - Chloe Zhao's "Nomadland,'' a road-trip drama starring Frances McDormand, won the Golden Lion for best film at the Venice Film Festival. Zhao and McDormand appeared by video to accept the award from the United States, where pandemic travel restrictions made reaching the Lido difficult if not impossible.

14 - Canadian author Margaret Atwood was honoured with a lifetime achievement award from the Dayton Literary Peace Prize celebrating literature's power to foster peace, social justice and global understanding. Her bestselling 1985 novel "The Handmaid's Tale" has drawn new readers in the wake of the award-winning television adaptation and comparisons to the current U.S. administration. The book takes place in a dystopian future in which women are subjugated after an overthrow of the U.S. government.

14 - The Bloc Quebecois caucus, including leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, entered self-isolation after a member of Blanchet's staff tested positive for COVID-19. The news came as the parties in the House of Commons continue debating amongst themselves how the chamber would work once business resumes. The Liberals proposed a hybrid system, with some MPs physically in the chamber and others participating via video conference.

14 - Sonia Furstenau became the new leader of British Columbia's Green party. The legislature member from Vancouver Island defeated candidates Cam Brewer and Kim Darwin after two ballots. She succeeded former Green leader Andrew Weaver, who stepped down in January to sit as an Independent.

14 - New Brunswick's Progressive Conservatives won a majority government, concluding a highly unusual election race — the first in Canada since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier Blaine Higgs delivered a victory speech to about 50 mask-wearing, physically distancing supporters. Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers announced he's stepping down, after losing his bid for a seat in the riding of Miramichi.

15 - The United States stood down in its tariff dispute with Canada, lifting a 10 per cent levy on Canadian raw aluminum. The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said it expects Canadian exports to "normalize" over the remainder of the year. The backpedal comes after the Trudeau government announced it was about to impose retaliatory tariffs. The U.S. imposed the tariffs last month at the request of two American manufacturers, prompting an outcry from Canadian producers.

16- Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said he, his family and some party workers were in self-isolation after an aide tested positive for COVID-19. O'Toole said he and his family were feeling well, but they take the virus very seriously. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet awaited the results of his own COVID-19 test, after both his spouse and an aide tested positive.

17 - In a surprise twist that fit an unexpected year of firsts, Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett tied for entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Underwood had won the prize twice before, and said she was more than happy to share it with first-time winner Rhett. The show had been delayed and moved to Nashville due to COVID-19 and was held in empty venues.

17 - Author Winston Groom, whose novel ''Forrest Gump'' was made into a six-Oscar winning 1994 movie that became a soaring pop-cultural phenomenon, died at 77.

17 - The smash Canadian comedy series "Schitt's Creek'' won its first Emmy Award. Actor Eugene Levy, one of the stars and co-creators of the show, congratulated John Comerford and Lisa Parasyn on Twitter for winning the Emmy for outstanding casting for a comedy series.

18 - Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus topped 30 million worldwide, with more than half of them from just three countries — the U.S., India and Brazil.

18 - Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced Canada would extend the partial closure of the border with the U.S. for another month. Recent polls suggested the majority of Canadians wanted the restrictions maintained.

18 - Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet tested positive for COVID-19, but said he felt fine. Blanchet's wife, Nancy, tested positive for the illness earlier in the week. The Bloc leader was already in self-isolation, along with much of his caucus and other aides, after a staff member contracted COVID-19. Hours later, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole also tested positive for COVID-19. Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he would get tested because he had met with O'Toole earlier in the week.

18 - The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada announced her intention to step down. As the country heads into a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tina Namiesniowski said in a letter to staff that after six months responding to the crisis, she needed a break. She thanked Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, for her support and said they'd made "an exceptional team."

18 - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87. The diminutive yet towering women's rights champion, who became the court's second female justice, died at her home in Washington of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Ginsburg announced in July that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer.

19 - Former Liberal prime minister John Turner died at the age of 91. Dubbed "Canada's Kennedy'' when he first arrived in Ottawa in the 1960s, Turner held the office of prime minister for just 79 days — the second shortest term in Canadian history. He gave up the leadership of the Liberal party in June 1990, to be succeeded by Jean Chretien.

19 - Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he tested negative for COVID-19. In a message posted to his Facebook page, Legault said he would remain in isolation until Sept. 28.

19 - The Mounties said an intercepted letter laced with the poison ricin, and meant for the White House, may have originated in Canada. American officials said there was no threat to the public.

19 - Nunavut reported its first confirmed cases of COVID-19. The territory's chief public health officer said there were two cases at the Hope Bay gold mine 125 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay. Dr. Michael Patterson said both miners were exposed in their home jurisdictions.

20 - The Toronto International Film Festival named the winner of this year's People's Choice award. The honour went to "Nomadland,'' a recession-era road trip drama starring Frances McDormand that tells the story of a woman travelling the American West alone in her van. Filmmaker Michelle Latimer had a double win for her documentary "Inconvenient Indian." The adaptation of Thomas King's non-fiction book picked up the People's Choice Documentary Award, as well an Amplify Voices Award. Latimer said she planned to divide the $10,000 cash prize between five emerging Indigenous artists.

20 - A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing ricin, addressed to White House, was arrested at a Canadian border crossing with New York state. Officials said the woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

20 - ''Schitt's Creek'' — the Canadian sitcom about a rich family left with nothing but a small town — swept the comedy categories at the Emmy Awards, winning seven trophies for its sixth and final season. Eugene Levy won best actor, Catherine O'Hara won best actress, Annie Murphy won best supporting actress, and Levy's son, Dan Levy, claimed three awards: for best supporting actor, writing and directing.

21 - B.C. premier John Horgan called a provincial election for Oct. 24. Horgan said he believed the vote should happen in the middle of a pandemic due to the health and economic challenges facing the province with an unstable minority government. Opposition leaders accused him of putting politics ahead of the province's response to the virus.

22 - The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. surpassed 200,000, based on the tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University. But experts said the true number is likely even higher, given that many COVID-19 deaths were likely attributed to other causes.

22 - The union representing Canadian autoworkers reached a deal with Ford Motor Company. Union president Jerry Dias says $1.95 billion will be invested in Ford's Canadian plants, including $1.8 billion toward the production of five electric vehicles in Oakville, Ont., and an engine contract that could yield new jobs in Windsor.

22 - Pop star Shawn Mendes made history at the SOCAN Awards. The Pickering, Ont.-raised singer-songwriter walked away with five trophies, making him the most-awarded creator in a single year.

22 - Rebecca O'Toole, the wife of federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, tested positive for COVID-19. The couple and their two children had been in self-isolation since the previous week, after an aide tested positive for COVID-19.

23 - Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, one of the best all-purpose running backs in NFL history, died at 77. Sayers was also celebrated for his enduring friendship with Chicago Bears teammate Brian Piccolo during Piccolo's battle with cancer. Their story was made famous in the 1971 movie "Brian's Song," starring Billy Dee Williams as Sayers and James Caan as Piccolo.

23 - The throne speech from the Liberal government promised to introduce or greatly expand COVID-19 benefit programs and supports for nearly every sector of society. Among them, extending the federal wage subsidy program into next year and targeted support for businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. The Conservatives said the plan has no measures to control government spending and they would not support it.

23 - In an address to the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the second wave of COVID-19 was already underway. He said families won't likely be able to gather for Thanksgiving, but it was not too late to save Christmas.

24 - China, Russia and the U.S. accused each other of mishandling and politicizing the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials traded allegations about who was responsible for the global pandemic in one of the few real-time exchanges among top officials at a virtual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. The arguments followed earlier criticism from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the lack of international co-operation in tackling the "out-of-control" virus.

25 - Some pharmacies across Ontario started offering appointment-only COVID-19 testing. Tougher COVID-19 restrictions were also reimposed in Winnipeg and in Ontario due to a spike in cases. In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said bars and restaurants would have to stop serving booze at 11 p.m. — and strip clubs must close entirely.

25 - The minority Liberal government made a deal with the NDP that averted a non-confidence vote — and a fall election.

26 - U.S. President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Trump's efforts to get Barrett confirmed was a ploy to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

27 - The Correctional Service of Canada suspended visits to federal prisons in Quebec due to rising COVID-19 cases in the province. The service reported no active cases among inmates in its 43 institutions across the country. Meanwhile, Canada's top public health official warned citizens — especially in hot spots — not to jeopardize freedoms earned in fighting COVID-19.

27 - The Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB, ended after paying out nearly $80 billion to 8.8 million people. In its place, the majority of recipients were placed on employment insurance.

27 - An explosive report in the New York Times said U.S. President Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years. The Times reported Trump paid just $750 in taxes to the federal government the year he was elected, and $750 again his first year in office.

28 - The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Game 6 of the NHL final to win the Stanley Cup. Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

28 - Brett Kissel was a big winner at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. The singer from Flat Lake, Alta., took home three trophies: male artist, fan's choice and album of the year for ''Now or Never.'' Other big winners included Dallas Smith as entertainer of the year and Tenille Townes as female artist for the second year in a row.

28 - A U.S. federal judge postponed a Trump administration order that would have banned the popular video-sharing app TikTok from American smartphone app stores. The ruling followed an emergency hearing in which lawyers for TikTok argued the ban would infringe on First Amendment rights and do irreparable harm to the business.

28 - Johns Hopkins University, a top research university in the U.S., said more than a million people had died from the global coronavirus pandemic.

29 - In a co-ordinated approach, both Canada and Britain imposed sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his government following the country's disputed presidential election that saw the re-election of the authoritarian leader. In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Canada and Britain acted together to ensure the sanctions had a greater impact.

30 - The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was heavy on interruptions and personal attacks. Trump also refused to condemn white supremacists who have supported him, telling one such group to "stand back and stand by."

30 - Burning the midnight oil, parliamentarians unanimously passed Bill C-4 to usher in a new batch of COVID-19 benefits. For Canadians left jobless or underemployed because of the pandemic, the legislation supplanted the now-defunct CERB support program with a more flexible and generous employment insurance regime.

30 - The Toronto Blue Jays were eliminated from the playoffs after dropping an 8-2 decision to Tampa Bay. The Rays won two straight games in the best-of-three wild-card series. It was the Jays' first post-season appearance since 2016.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2020.

© Copyright Weyburn Review

Community Event Calendar


Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.

Popular Weyburn News