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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at Rideau Cottage amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Monday, July 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

A look at news events in July 2020:

01 - Canada, the U.S. and Mexico officially enacted the new North American free-trade deal, after months of gruelling negotiations and several setbacks.

01 - The COVID-19 pandemic led to an unusual celebration of Canada's 153rd birthday, with backyard gatherings and digital events replacing large ceremonies. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent part of the morning with his family harvesting broccoli at a farm operated by the Ottawa Food Bank.

02 - The Supreme Court of Canada announced the dismissal of a new appeal from British Columbia First Nations over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The court dismissed the appeal from the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the Ts'elxweyeqw Tribes and Coldwater Indian Band, effectively ending the years-long legal battle over the project.

02 - Sources said a member of the Canadian Armed Forces was in custody after someone rammed a truck through the gates and drove up the path toward Rideau Hall, the official residences that house Gov. Gen. Julie Payette and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, before police intervened. Neither Trudeau nor Payette was in residence at the time. The Mounties said the man was armed.

02 - Officials in several Manitoba and Saskatchewan communities declared states of emergency after a rain-heavy weather system sloshed through the area causing flooding. The mayor of Humboldt, Sask., said much of the ground was already saturated due to earlier rainy weather when more rain hit on Tuesday night, leading to the latest trouble.

02 - FBI agents arrested British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in New Hampshire. Maxwell lived with Jeffrey Epstein for years and was his frequent travel companion on trips around the world. The indictment said she assisted, facilitated and contributed to Epstein's abuse of minor girls by — among other things — helping him recruit, groom and ultimately abuse girls under age 18.

03 - Youth Minister Bardish Chagger announced the WE organization wouldn't manage the federal government's $900-million program to pay students and fresh graduates for summer volunteer work. The sole-sourced deal had been criticized because of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's close relationship with the group.

03 - Canada suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong as part of a package of responses to a new security law China imposed on the territory. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said Canada would treat sensitive goods being exported to Hong Kong as if they were being sent to mainland China. That means an outright ban on some military-related goods being traded there.

03 - P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia began allowing their Atlantic neighbours to visit without self-isolating for 14 days after entering. The so-called "Atlantic bubble" is meant to boost struggling local economies.

05 - Hamilton-raised theatre star Nick Cordero, who had legions of supporters rallying for him on social media during his harrowing health battle with COVID-19, died in Los Angeles at the age of 41. His wife, dancer-turned-celebrity personal trainer Amanda Kloots, confirmed the news in an Instagram post.

05 - One of the first Black actors to perform in mainstream British films died. Earl Cameron was 102. He was best remembered for his starring role as a sailor in the 1951 drama "Pool of London," the first British film to feature an interracial relationship.

06 - Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who created the theme for the "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and produced more than 400 original scores for feature films, died at 91.

06 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replaced Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, just weeks after Canada lost its attempt to win a temporary seat on the Security Council. Former Ontario premier and federal interim Liberal leader Bob Rae replaced Marc-Andre Blanchard. The Prime Minister's Office said Blanchard notified Trudeau of his intention to leave the position earlier in the year.

06 - Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died at the age of 83. The singer, guitarist and fiddler got his start as a session musician and scored a hit in 1979 with "The Devil Went Down to Georgia.''

06 - The U.S. Supreme Court handed another blow to the disputed Keystone XL pipeline, keeping in place a lower court ruling that blocked a key permit for the project.

07 - Pioneering Black Nova Scotian playwright and journalist George Elroy Boyd died. He was 68. Boyd, who was born in Halifax, died peacefully at a hospice in Montreal. After working as a journalist and radio broadcaster, he became Canada's first Black national television news anchor in 1992 as a co-host of CBC Morning Newsworld. He eventually left broadcasting to pursue his first love of writing, and his "Consecrated Ground'' was nominated for a Governor General Literary Award for Drama in 2000.

08 - Via Rail announced the temporary layoffs of 1,000 unionized employees amid reduced demand for travel due to COVID-19. Chief executive Cynthia Garneau said she doesn't think ridership will return to pre-COVID levels in the foreseeable future, but the company will work to resume service as the pandemic evolves.

09 - The longest-serving mayor of South Korea's capital, a fierce critic of economic inequality who was seen as a potential presidential candidate, was found dead. Park Won-soon was 64. Police say Park's body was found near a restaurant nestled in wooded hills stretching across northern Seoul after he was reported missing by his daughter.

10 - The WE uproar spread to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, whose daughters have ties to the charity. Morneau's office would not say if he recused himself from the vote that awarded WE the $900-million, sole-sourced contract to pay students and fresh graduates for summer volunteer work.

12 - A report from Iran's Civil Aviation Organization detailed a series of moments where the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS-752 could have been avoided. The Revolutionary Guard shot down the passenger jet on Jan. 8, killing all 176 people on board — including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and dozens more with ties to Canada. The report said a misaligned missile battery, miscommunication between troops and their commanders and a decision to fire without authorization all led to the tragedy.

12 - A new U.S. study showed aerosol droplets thought to carry the novel coronavirus can hang around for almost 16 hours. Researchers said their data shows very clearly that wearing a mask can make a difference in containing the spread of COVID-19.

13 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an apology for not recusing himself from the government's decision to award a contract to WE Charity to manage a major student-volunteering program. He said his and his family's longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions.

13 - Actress Kelly Preston died at age 57. John Travolta, Preston's husband of 28 years, confirmed his wife had died after a two-year battle with breast cancer.

14 - One of the co-hosts of the popular Discovery channel show "Mythbusters'' died. Grant Imahara died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at the age of 49.

16 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal, provincial and territorial governments reached a deal on billions of dollars in transfers to continue reopening economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Trudeau said the federal government will contribute $19 billion to the effort.

17 - Civil rights activist and U.S. Congressman John Lewis died at the age of 80. Lewis was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

18 - The Blue Jays were denied approval to play in Toronto amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trudeau government turned down the request citing danger to Canada because of all the cross-border travel involved. Major League Baseball needed an exemption to a requirement that anyone entering Canada for non-essential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days.

18 - Quebec became the first province in Canada to require mask-wearing in all indoor public places.

19 - Three people were killed and many others badly injured after a tour bus crash at the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. Alberta Health Services said 24 people survived the crash.

19 - Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet denied he sexually assaulted a woman in 1999, telling reporters he's not capable of that kind of behaviour. An anonymous allegation on Facebook said Blanchet forced himself on the woman in the washroom of a Montreal bar.

20 - Scientists at Oxford University said their experimental vaccine produced a good immune response in its early trial on 1,000 people.

21 - The $60-million acquisition of the Torstar Corp. newspaper group by NordStar Capital LP was approved as expected, despite a last-minute revised proposal from a rival group. A preliminary count of votes tallied after a brief online meeting showed the deal recommended by Torstar's board received the necessary support from the company's shareholders.

22 - A federal judge has struck down a key agreement on refugees between Canada and the United States. In a ruling today, Federal Court Justice Ann Marie McDonald said elements of the law underpinning the Safe Third Country Agreement violate constitutional guarantees of life, liberty and security.

22 - Prince Philip made a rare public appearance at Windsor Castle to hand over his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles to his daughter-in-law Camilla. The Queen's 99-year-old husband has held the post since 2007. He retired from public duties in 2017.

22 - Finance Minister Bill Morneau said he had repaid WE Charity for the full cost of a 2017 trip to Ecuador, where he saw some of its humanitarian work. Morneau told the House of Commons finance committee he sent the charity a cheque for $41,266 after he couldn't account for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses the organization covered.

23 - Ottawa and Nova Scotia appointed a three-person panel to review the cause and circumstances of a mass shooting that left 22 victims dead in April. The panel's terms of reference said all documents and information collected in the preparation of its report would be kept "confidential.'' Family members of victims had called for a full public inquiry that would include a comprehensive look at how the RCMP handled the shootings.

23 - The Privy Council Office said it would launch an independent review of allegations that Gov. Gen. Julie Payette mistreated past and current employees at Rideau Hall. The CBC reported that Payette had yelled at, belittled and publicly humiliated employees, reducing some to tears or prompting them to quit. Payette said she is "deeply concerned" with the reports and welcomes an independent review.

24 - The Toronto Blue Jays announced they will play home games at their triple-A affiliate's stadium in Buffalo, N.Y., this season. Canada's lone Major League Baseball team was forced to find a new home for 2020 after the federal government rejected the club's proposal for the Jays and visiting teams to stay in the hotel inside Rogers Centre and never leave the facility during stints in Toronto.

24 - Legendary television personality Regis Philbin died at 88. According to a statement from his family, Philbin died of natural causes. The genial host shared his life with television viewers over morning coffee for decades and helped himself and some fans strike it rich with the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

26 - One of the NHL's most colourful players on and off the ice, Eddie Shack, died at 83. Known for his bruising style, distinctive skating stance and larger-than-life personality, Shack won four Stanley Cups with Toronto in the 1960s, including the franchise's most recent victory in 1967.

26 - One of the last great stars of Hollywood's golden age died. A spokesperson said two-time Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland died peacefully of natural causes in Paris. She was 104.

27 - The world's biggest COVID-19 vaccine study began in the U.S. The 30,000 volunteers weren't told if they were getting a dummy drug or an experimental vaccine developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and drug maker Moderna.

28 - Canadian rapper Drake attains the record for the most top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 singles. He had been tied with Madonna at 38, but two new singles debuted in the top 10, giving him 40. The Beatles are in third place with 34 top-10 singles.

28 - HMCS Fredericton returned home from its mission in the Mediterranean Sea. The frigate was about halfway through its six-month mission when six crew members died in a helicopter crash on April 29. It was the worst single-day loss of life for the Canadian Armed Forces since six soldiers died in a 2007 roadside bombing in Afghanistan.

28 - WE Charity co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger were grilled by members of the House of Commons finance committee about the cancelled deal to have WE run the Canada Student Service Grant. The brothers said their organization was not tapped to run Ottawa's student-volunteer program because of any close ties to Liberal cabinet ministers, and that there was no financial benefit in doing so.

28 - Remdesivir became the first drug to be approved by Health Canada for treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. The federal agency said the antiviral drug may be used to treat adults and adolescent patients with pneumonia who need extra oxygen to help them breathe.

28 - Following months of steadily mounting public pressure, the federal government announced it will proceed with a full public inquiry into April's deadly mass shooting in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey said he would be in favour of a federal-provincial public inquiry if Ottawa agreed to go along. Furey's comments were a reversal of his earlier position that a joint review into the tragedy that claimed 22 lives was sufficient.

29 - WE Charity announced it had "mutually agreed'' to suspend its partnerships after a flood of companies announced they were dropping their support for the embattled organization. Several companies, including Royal Bank of Canada, Loblaw Companies, GoodLife Fitness and KPMG, already announced they had ended their partnerships with the charity.

29 - Scientists said they'd figured out why some COVID-19 sufferers temporarily lose their sense of smell, something the doctors call anosmia. They said the virus attacks the cells that support neurons in the brain that control smell. There is good news, as researchers say once a patient recovers, those neurons recover as well — and ultimately the ability to smell comes back.

30 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when he first learned the public service had proposed WE Charity to run the Canada Student Service Grant, he pushed back, knowing it would come under scrutiny. At a rare prime ministerial appearance before the House of Commons finance committee, Trudeau said he first learned WE Charity had been selected by the public service on May 8, mere hours before a cabinet meeting where it was scheduled to be discussed.

30 - B.C. florist Norma Fitzsimmons, who started the Greater Victoria Flower Count 45 years ago, died at the age of 97. The campaign to count flower blossoms is held every year in early March, when much of the rest of the country is still in the grip of winter.

30 - Temperature screening stations were set up at airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Transport Canada said passengers with a temperature above 38 C wouldn't be allowed to travel and would be asked to re-book after two weeks.

30 - Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died of COVID-19. He was 74. Cain had been ill for several weeks and was hospitalized less than two weeks after attending President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., in June. The Trump campaign had named him co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.

31 - Statistics Canada said the economy grew by 4.5 per cent in May as businesses began to reopen after severe lockdowns in March and April.

31 - A voluntary smartphone app that can warn you if you've come into close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 became available to download. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he downloaded the "COVID Alert'' app. He said health experts believe that if enough people sign up, the app could help prevent future outbreaks of COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2020.


JONESIE: In defence of reporting from unnamed sources
  OPINION It’s always a risk as a journalist using information provided by unnamed sources. It’s asking readers to trust you and your work, and that’s a big ask in 2021. Most of what you read in
A pumpkin patch in a garden in Kamloops.
When to pick those pumpkins as nights get colder in Kamloops, Okanagan
Pumpkins are reaching maturity and turning orange in many backyards in Kamloops and the Okanagan as Halloween approaches but with reports of frosty nights coming, some residents are wondering if they should pull their pumpkins off the vine early.

Top News