Year in Review 2015: Top news searches

Zach Harper

(Photo: Newzulu)

1. ISIS

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is the most searched query on Yahoo Canada for 2015.

ISIS made headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2015, from destroying ancient cities and monuments throughout Syria, to beheading hostages and launching terror attacks throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Canada became involved in the fight against ISIS in 2014 when it sent fighter jets to help with airstrikes against ISIS targets. After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected in October, he announced he would be bringing the jets home and Canada would help train troops against ISIS instead.

Several Canadian citizens made headlines through 2015 for travelling to Syria to fight with ISIS. Some of them were reportedly killed. Others travelled to the Middle East to embark on combat missions with Kurdish forces against ISIS and were also killed.

(Photo: Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press)

2. Migrant crisis

The war in Syria, along with the thousands of refugees fleeing its violence, was brought home for Canadians with the death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi in September.

Kurdi had been fleeing the Syrian crisis with his family when the vessel they were taking from Turkey to Europe sank. Images of his lifeless body washed up on a beach immediately went viral and became even more relevant for Canadians due to stories that his family had been seeking aslyum in Canada, but their application been rejected as incomplete, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The outrage over Kurdi's death propelled the Syrian refugee and migrant crises into the public eye in Canada, turning it into an election issue. Outrage at the Conservatives' handling of the issue soon vaulted the Liberals into first place in the polls, and is likely one of the reasons Justin Trudeau was elected a month later, since he promised to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada by Dec. 31. (This figure was later cut down to 10,000, with the rest to follow by February 2016.)

(Photo: Angelo Carconi, EPA)

3. Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo's offices were the centre of a shooting and terror attack that left 12 dead and another 11 people injured on Jan. 7.

The magazine was well-known for running controversial cartoons critiquing Islam. In 2006, it republished a series of drawings that Danish paper Jyllands-Posten published of the Prophet Muhammad, and ran another of the Muslim holy figure in 2011. Their publication prompted anger, considering Muslims do not reproduce images of the Prophet, and many criticized them as Islamophobic and racist.

This controversy, along with the shooting, ensuing manhunt and a hostage crisis that took place in a kosher grocery store and a warehouse near Paris' main airport, meant Canadians found themselves searching for a magazine they probably hadn't heard of until then, and were only just discovering under terrible circumstances. The attack spawned the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag and ensuing demonstrations in support of the magazine worldwide.

In the aftermath of the attacks, Charlie Hebdo made the news again when it published another image of the Prophet Muhammad, holding a sign saying 'tout est pardonné' (all is forgiven) just a week after the attacks.

 

(Photo: Sean Kilpatrick, The Canadian Press)

4. Elections Canada

The Oct. 19 federal election was arguably the most important Canadian event of 2015. It swept former prime minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives from office, installing Justin Trudeau's Liberals with an unexpected majority. The party had been devastated at the polls just four years earlier.

Our longest election campaign in Canadian history was a hot-searched topic from the get-go and remained relevant to Canadians over two months thanks to endless unfortunate gaffes by politicians on social media, the niqab controversy, and the possibility that the first ever federal NDP government would be elected when they held an early lead in the polls.

Elections Canada remained highly searched during advanced polling and the day of the election as Canadians looked for issues at the polls, and the days after Trudeau's victory as Canadians sorted through what this meant for the direction of the country.

 

(Photo: Duchess of Cambridge)

5. Royal baby

News broke in the second half of 2014 that the Duchess of Cambridge was expecting her second child, so Canadians found themselves searching for the royal baby yet again in 2015.

This hit a pitch right around the time of Kate's due date, along with the day Princess Charlotte was finally born on May 2, 2015.

In July, she was baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and portrait-style photos of the new princess that were taken by her mother went viral in late November.

While plenty of Canadians have criticized the monarchy and its place in a shifting, changing, much less British-influenced Canadian society, the interest around the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and the new prince and princess shows it seems we still can't resist our old ties to the royal family.

 

(Photo: Raymond Wae Tion/EPA)

 

6. MH370

Canadians love a good mystery and unexplained event, and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been just that since it disappeared in March 2014.

The missing jet resurfaced on Canadians' radars this year when debris from the Boeing 777 was discovered on Reunion island in the Indian Ocean on July 29.

Four days later, Malaysian officials confirmed the piece was indeed from a Boeing 777. A month later they were able to say "with certainty" that it belonged to the doomed jet.

The rest of the plane has yet to be found, but if it should happen in the New Year, it won't be surprising to find MH370 in the most-searched News items for 2016.

 

(Photo: ChinaFotoPress)

7. China explosion

On Aug. 31, Dongying, China was rocked by a massive explosion in a chemical plant. It was seen from miles away.

It wasn't the only such incident this year, though.

Two weeks earlier, a huge explosion ripped through another factory in Tianjin, killing over 100 people, injuring 720 and destroying dozens of buildings in the area. Nearly 100 firefighters went missing in that blast. In images taken over the next few days, the area surrounding that factory looked like a war zone that had been hit by countless bombs.

Accidents at factories in China are frequently of interest to Canadians in an era in which our economy imports many goods and products from the country.

 

(Photo: Christophe Ena/AP)

8. Paris attacks

Unfortunately, terror and Paris make two appearances on this list this year.

Canadians, many of whom often vacation in Paris, have relatives in France or are descended from French immigrants, were left shocked last month when ISIS conducted a series of attacks that claimed 130 lives throughout the City of Light, including one at a rock concert that killed 89 people. The rapidly-unfolding event meant many Canadians came online to find out what was happening in a country to which we still have many old connections.

The carnage made the violence the deadliest to hit France since the Second World War, and was even more difficult for France considering it had already dealt with terror attacks in January.

 

(Photo: Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

9. OVO shooting

Early on the morning of Aug. 4, two people were killed and three people were injured in gunfire outside the nightclub holding the official after-party for Drake's OVO Fest in Toronto.

The event would have been shocking enough to Torontonians, but considering Drake's popularity, 'OVO shooting' became a highly-searched item that was relevant to Canadians outside of Toronto, and ended up on this list.

It was the second year in a row a shooting has broken out at an OVO Fest afterparty outside the same club. Almost exactly a year later, a 28-year-old man was injured in a shooting at the same club, which was hosting a post-OVO Fest event at the time.

It took 10 days for Drake to respond to this year's shooting.

"I am plagued and pained by the violence that continues to escalate in our city," he wrote in a blog post on Aug. 14.

 

 (Photo: Nathan Denette, The Canadian Press)

10. Omar Khadr

On May 7, Khadr was freed from jail on strict bail conditions, which included living with his lawyer, Dennis Edney.

This was the latest development in a more-than-10-year saga which has seen him arrested as a child after a fire fight in Afghanistan, sentenced as an adult to spend time in Guantanamo Bay prison, and eventually moved back to Canada.

May wasn't the only time Canadians were searching for Khadr, though. In September, a bail condition stipulating he had to wear an electronic bracelet was lifted, and a judge ruled he would be allowed to travel to Toronto to visit his grandparents, which he did in October.