Year in review: A look at news events in July 2021

·14 min read

A look at news events in July 2021:

1 - The B.C. community of Lytton was essentially destroyed by a raging wildfire. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said most homes and buildings -- including the town ambulance station and RCMP detachment -- burned to the ground.

1 - Many of the special events normally associated with Canada Day were either cancelled or scaled back, after hundreds of unmarked graves were found at residential school sites in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. In his Canada Day message, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the horrific findings at the site of former residential schools have "rightfully pressed us to reflect on our country's historical failures'' and injustices that still exist for many.

2 - After nearly 20 years, the U.S. military left Afghanistan's Bagram Airfield. The facility was the epicentre of the war to oust the Taliban and hunt down the al-Qaida perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The airfield was handed over to the Afghan National Security and Defence Force in its entirety.

2 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie, joined the double dose club. The prime minister got a shot of Moderna COVID vaccine, following his first dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca In April. Sophie got her second shot a day earlier -- also Moderna. Trudeau said his wife had a reaction that caused her to have an uncomfortable night.

4 - Businesses in at least 17 countries, including Canada, were trying to contain a ransomware attack that paralyzed their computer networks. Some cybersecurity researchers predicted the attack targeting customers of software supplier Kaseya could be one of the broadest ransomware attacks on record.

5 - Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents no longer had to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arrival to Canada.

5 - Data obtained by The Canadian Press suggested the federal government's COVID Alert app produced disappointing results. Ottawa spent $20 million on the app, which was designed to alert users to possible COVID-19 exposures. The trouble was only about one-fifth of Canadians downloaded it.

6 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced Mary Simon, an Inuk leader and former Canadian diplomat, as the country's next governor general.

6 - The body of a Canadian was found at the site of a collapsed condo in southern Florida, bringing the death toll to 32.

6 - The Kahnawake Mohawk community south of Montreal elected its first female grand chief. Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer was also the first person who identifies as LGBTQ to be elected to the post.

7 - A Haitian official said President Jovenel Moise was assassinated after a group of unidentified people attacked his private residence. The killing came amid deepening economic, political and social woes, with gang violence spiking heavily in the capital Port-au-Prince.

7 - The global death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed four million. Estimates from the Peace Research Institute Oslo suggest it's about equal to the number of people killed in battle in all of the world's wars since 1982. However, it was widely believed to be an undercount because of overlooked cases or deliberate concealment.

7 - The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive season, ending the Montreal Canadiens' bid to secure their first Cup in 28 years. They beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 to wrap up the NHL championship series in five games -- and they did it before a hometown crowd of 18,000. The Habs were ranked 18th in the regular season and were the lowest-ranked team to make the playoffs in the pandemic-era, all-Canadian North Division.

8 - The Assembly of First Nations got its first female national chief. RoseAnne Archibald of Ontario secured victory after her rival, Reginald Bellerose of Saskatchewan, conceded. The election had gone to a fifth round of voting after neither Archibald nor Bellerose received 60 per cent of the vote.

8 - Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould announced she would not seek re-election. She said that Parliament had become "toxic and ineffective." Wilson-Raybould said she's not leaving to spend more time with family or other challenges. Instead, she said she's going because of what she calls the "disgraceful emphasis on partisan politics over real action.''

8 - Canada's chief public health officer said the latest variant of concern in the COVID-19 pandemic had popped up in Canada. The Lambda variant was first identified in Peru and had been spreading in South America.

10 - Yukon declared a state of emergency for the Southern Lakes region. The high water levels in the region surpassed those last seen there in 2007.

10 - Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and her G20 counterparts formally endorsed a plan for major changes to global taxation. The plan included a 15 per cent global minimum corporate levy to deter big companies from shopping around for lower tax rates. Freeland said a global corporate minimum tax rate was now supported by 132 countries.

10 - Global Affairs Canada said the remains of a second Canadian were pulled from the rubble of a condo building that collapsed near Miami more than two weeks earlier.

11 - Adventuring billionaire Richard Branson reached space aboard his own winged rocket ship. Branson and five crewmates from his Virgin Galactic space tourism company reached an altitude of about 88 kilometres over the New Mexico desert. They experienced three to four minutes of weightlessness and then safely glided back home to a runway landing.

12 - The World Health Organization issued new recommendations on human genome editing. It called for a global registry to track "any form of genetic manipulation'' and proposed a whistle-blowing mechanism to raise concerns about unethical or unsafe research. The UN health agency commissioned an expert group in late 2018 following a dramatic announcement from a Chinese scientist who created the world's first gene-edited babies.

13 - Saskatchewan's premier said Ottawa rejected his province's plan for replacing the federal carbon price with one of its own. Scott Moe called the federal government's decision arbitrary and political, noting Saskatchewan's plan was similar to other provincial programs already approved. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney agreed, and accused the Trudeau government of penalizing western Canadian resource-producing provinces.

13 - Green Party executives moved to freeze $250,000 in funding to leader Annamie Paul's campaign to win a downtown Toronto seat following layoffs of nearly half of the Greens' employees.

13 - Canada passed the halfway point in full vaccinations for people who were age 12 and up.

13 - The federal Conservatives said payments from the offices of Liberal MPs to Data Sciences -- a company founded by a friend of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- smacked of nepotism. The party was pushing for a parliamentary ethics committee probe.

14 - Researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto said alcohol was linked to thousands of cancer cases in Canada last year. Those findings were part of a modelling study from the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer.

14 - Chiefs in Manitoba re-elected Arlen Dumas as the head of the organization representing First Nations in the province. The Cree leader beat out Sheila North, a former grand chief of the large First Nations group MKO. Dumas was first elected as grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs in 2017.

15 - Retired general Jonathan Vance, the former chief of defence staff, was charged with obstruction of justice related to an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

15 - The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified up to 6,000 missing children. The researcher who used ground-penetrating radar to find what are believed to be the remains of children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School said they had much more ground to search.

16 - Environment Canada says the tornado that hit Barrie, Ont., the day before was an EF2, with maximum wind speeds of 210 kilometres per hour. It cut a path of destruction about five kilometres long and up to 100 metres wide, damaging homes and injuring eight people. Fire Chief Cory Mainprize said about 20 homes were left uninhabitable, and two or three others were completely destroyed.

16 - The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of northern Ontario's Lac Seul First Nation in a long legal battle for compensation. The community had been fighting to be properly compensated for the flooding of almost one-fifth of the best land on the reserve caused by construction of a dam in 1929. The justices set aside a $30-million award and sent the matter back to the Federal Court for reassessment.

16 - Global Affairs Canada said the body of a third Canadian citizen was recovered from the rubble of a condominium building that collapsed near Miami in late June.

17 - Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin called a provincial election for Aug. 17, seeking a full term as premier. He became premier only five months earlier by winning the Liberal leadership. He said his campaign would focus on rebuilding the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

17 - Dolores Claman, the composer behind the former "Hockey Night in Canada'' theme music, died at 94.

19 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that women's basketball player Miranda Ayim and men's rugby sevens player Nathan Hirayama would be Canada's flag-bearers for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.

20 - Billionaire Jeff Bezos made it into space, riding his own company's rocket. It was Blue Origin's first flight with people on board. The capsule touched down on the desert floor in remote West Texas after the 10-minute flight. After returning to Earth, Bezos said he got to see just how fragile the planet's atmosphere is. The Amazon founder blasted into space with his younger brother, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands -- the youngest person ever to go into space - and an 82-year-old aviation pioneer from Texas.

20 - A pair of young Montreal women vacationing together were identified as being among the dead and missing following the collapse of a condo building near Miami last month.

20 - Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks became NBA champions. Antetokounmpo scored 50 points and added 14 rebounds and five blocks as Milwaukee beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 to take the best-of-seven NBA Finals in six games. It was Milwaukee's first NBA championship since 1971. Antetokounmpo was also named Finals MVP for his performance.

21 - Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister appointed former cabinet minister Eileen Clarke to a powerful financial oversight committee, only to have Clarke reject the position. Clarke resigned from the Indigenous and northern relations portfolio earlier in the month, after Pallister stirred up controversy with remarks about Canadian history.

21 - U.S. President Joe Biden nominated David Cohen to be his ambassador to Canada. The lawyer, lobbyist and fundraiser was serving as a senior adviser to the head of U.S. communications giant Comcast.

22 - The bodies of all four Canadians killed when a beachfront condo partially collapsed in Surfside, Fla., had now all been recovered and identified.

22 - China rejected the World Health Organization's plan to further investigate the origins of COVID-19. A senior Chinese health official said Beijing was "rather taken aback'' that the plan included further investigation of the theory that the virus might have leaked from a government lab in Wuhan.

23 - The Queen conferred several honours on incoming Gov. Gen. Mary Simon. She and the Queen had a virtual meeting on Facebook. Simon was now an extraordinary companion of the Order of Canada, an extraordinary commander of the Order of Military Merit and a commander of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.

25 - Canada had made it onto the podium twice now in Tokyo, winning silver medals in two events. First was Canada's women's four-by-100 freestyle relay team, which saw Penny Oleksiak swim the anchor leg to pick up her fifth Olympic medal. That tied her for most Summer Games medals won by a Canadian athlete. The second silver was won by Canadian divers Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu in the women's three-metre synchronized springboard.

26 - Canada struck gold in the pool at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Twenty-one-year-old Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., swam a strong second length to finish first in the women's 100-metre butterfly. She did it in 55.59 seconds. Mac Neil becomes Canada's first multi-medallist in Tokyo following a silver in the women's 4x100 freestyle relay. Jessica Klimkait took home a bronze medal in judo.

26 - Mary Simon officially became Canada's 30th governor general, and the first Indigenous person to hold the role. A First Nations drumming circle greeted Simon as she arrived at the Senate for the ceremony.

27 - Canadian weightlifter Maude Charron earned Canada a second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Charron pushed to the top spot in the women's 64-kilogram competition. Canada also won its first-ever Olympic softball medal. Kelsey Harshman drove in the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning as the Canadians beat Mexico 3-2 for bronze at the Tokyo Games. Canada's Kylie Masse captured silver in the women's 100-metre backstroke. Quebec's Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard won bronze in women's judo in the under-63-kilogram division.

28 - Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak won a bronze medal in the women's 200-metre freestyle, with Australia's Ariarne Titmus taking gold. It was Oleksiak's second medal at the Tokyo Games, and her sixth overall -- making her Canada's most decorated summer Olympian. Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens took bronze in rowing, in the women's pair event -- posting a time of six minutes 52.10 seconds.

29 - A Los Angeles judge dismissed one of 11 sexual assault counts against Harvey Weinstein. Judge Lisa Lench said the prosecution could refile the charge in a different way. The 69-year-old Weinstein was in the courtroom for the hearing. He pleaded not guilty to all 11 counts in his first California court appearance the previous week.

29 - The Canadian women's eight rowing crew captured gold at the Tokyo Olympics. The eight rowers crossed the line first in the final in a time of five minutes 59.13 seconds at Sea Forest Waterway. It was Canada's first gold in the event since the 1992 Barcelona Games. New Zealand grabbed silver while China took bronze.

30 - Israel became the first country to offer a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to citizens on a wide scale. Israelis over the age of 60 started getting booster shots as part of the government's efforts to combat a recent spike in cases.

30 - An internal report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads like chickenpox and was being spread by both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The report was obtained by The Washington Post. Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said the report confirmed that Delta is an incredibly contagious version of the virus.

30 - Following a run-off election, Mandy Gull-Masty became the first woman to be elected grand chief of Quebec's Cree Nation, which represents more than 18,000 people in the northern part of the province. Gull-Masty campaigned on a platform of improving transparency and accountability and creating a strong financial plan for the Cree Nation.

30 - Kylie Masse of Windsor, Ont., took silver in the women's 200-metre backstroke at the Tokyo Olympics. It's the swimmer's second silver medal in Tokyo after she came second in the 100-metre backstroke.

31 - USA Gymnastics said Simone Biles had decided to withdraw from the Olympic event finals in the vault and uneven bars. Biles said she was putting her mental health first when she withdrew from the gymnastics team event after one rotation. She posted on Instagram that she had the twisties -- a mental block in which gymnasts lose track of their position in midair.

The Canadian Press

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