This year has been a turbulent one for Canada thanks in part to tense trade negotiations with the U.S. and Mexico, high-stakes elections in Quebec and Ontario, and deadly attacks on home soil.
Below is a list of some of the most-searched news events on Yahoo Canada in 2018, which includes a mix of moments from Canada and around the world.
Canadian politicians have never had to deal with a U.S. president like Donald Trump before, and treading carefully has proven problematic at times. U.S. President Trump wanted a new, trilateral free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico after dedicating much of his 2016 campaign bashing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for its impact on U.S. jobs and manufacturing.
The U.S. president’s eagerness for a new agreement didn’t stop him from angering his allies by slapping them with tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The move caused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond to them publicly, saying Canadians wouldn’t be pushed around, and when U.S. President Trump caught wind of those comments, he called Trudeau “dishonest and weak.”
Trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S. went down to the wire after Mexico agreed to terms with the U.S., putting the pressure on Canada. After 14 months of tense negotiations, the new NAFTA deal, now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), was officially signed by the three heads of government in Argentina on Nov. 30.
A gunman opened fire on civilians in Toronto’s Danforth area, the city’s Greektown neighbourhood that is known for its popular restaurants, on July 22. Two people were killed and 13 others were injured in the attack. The victims were identified as Julianna Kozis, 10, and 18-year-old Reese Fallon. Faisal Hussain, 29, was identified as the suspected gunman after he was found dead near the crime scene.
“Our son had severe mental health challenges, struggling with psychosis and depression his entire life,” Hussain’s family said in a public statement following the incident. The family went on to say they tried to treat their son with medications and therapy, but nothing worked. “We could never imagine that this would be his devastating and destructive end,” they concluded.
It’s unclear why this attack took place and police have been tight-lipped with their investigation. Regardless, the incident highlighted the growing issue of gun violence in the city. Toronto set a new record for homicides in 2018, prompting the city’s mayor to ask why anyone in the city needs a gun.
The year started off with North Korea on rocky ground with the threat of war looming. In an attempt to prevent further escalations, the leaders of North and South Korea met in bid to reduce tensions, which were successful. In fact, relations between these two countries improved so much that North Korean athletes participated in the PyeongChang Olympics in February, hosted by South Korea.
In June, a memorable moment took place in Singapore when U.S. President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a high-stakes summit. This marked the first time heads of government for these two countries met face to face. The U.S. president sounded upbeat about relations after the meeting, suggesting North Korea was committed to denuclearization.
There have been mixed reports regarding the fate of North Korea’s weapons program, including some suggesting the country has continued to work on new missiles while enriching uranium. North Korea’s failure to live up to their commitments has made the U.S. president believe a second summit would be necessary to make further progress, according to U.S. national security adviser John Bolton.
A whirlwind series of events in 2018 was all part of the changing of the guard in Ontario politics. It all started when Patrick Brown resigned as leader of the Progressive Conservatives (PC) amid sexual assault allegations. Doug Ford emerged victorious in the subsequent PC leadership race, which took place just three months before the provincial election.
After 15 years in power, the Liberals quickly found themselves as the third option in a two-horse race between the New Democrats (NDP) and the PCs. In dire straights, then Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne admitted her party wouldn’t win the election days before the vote, but urged Ontarians to support Liberal candidates anyway.
Ford led the PCs to a majority government mandate in the June election, declaring new day had dawned in Ontario. The NDP finished second to form the official opposition at Queen’s Park. Since the election, a series of political moves have shaken up the province’s political scene.
Toronto van attack
On April 23, a van attack on the streets of Toronto left 10 people dead and 14 injured. The vehicle rammed into pedestrians on a busy section of Yonge Street in broad daylight. The victims ranged in age from 22 to 94, and the majority were female.
Police quickly arrested Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old man from Richmond Hill, Ont., who is believed to be the driver of the van. He was apprehended without any gunshots fired. It’s not entirely clear what motivated the attack. However, a Facebook post suggests the alleged killer may have been inspired by the “incel” movement, the same ideology behind a deadly 2014 attack in California.
Minassian was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. His court case isn’t expected to take place until 2020.
Thai soccer team
In what was perhaps the most remarkable story of the year, 12 members of a Thai youth soccer team, plus their coach, were rescued during a three-day mission in northern Thailand. The boys and their coach wandered into a cave on June 23 and found themselves trapped after water levels rose. It wasn’t clear if they were still alive until two British divers found them on July 2. The boys and their coach survived without food for 10 days, only drinking water that dripped from the cave.
The discovery triggered an international operation, which included Thai Navy SEALs, to extract the boys and their coach from the cave. Located a kilometre under the surface, none of those trapped had any diving experience.
A former Thai Navy diver, Saman Guan, lost consciousness and died on July 6. His death highlighted the dangers of the operation. Two days later, the rescue began and over the course of three days, everyone trapped was successfully removed from the cave.
Canada Post strike
The union representing some 50,000 postal workers has been fighting for a new contract to address a pay gap, job security and working conditions. They began labour action on Oct. 22 with rotating strikes at various locations across the country to try and put pressure on the federal government.
The walkouts caused massive backlogs of unsorted mail and delayed deliveries just before the holidays. In response, the federal government unveiled back-to-work legislation to force the postal workers to end their disruptive tactics. Mediators were also assigned to help reach a new deal, which hasn’t been successful.
Canada Post announced in December that they were cancelling its holiday delivery guarantee. They’ve also warned that deliveries could be delayed until 2019 due to the backlog.
There was a changing of the guard in Quebec politics, too. The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) marched its way to a majority government win in October, marking the first time a party other than the Liberals or Parti Quebecois won in the province since 1966.
François Legault led the CAQ to victory by offering Quebecers a vision that included lower taxes, smaller government, larger allowances for for low-income seniors, tax relief for large families and a controversial ban on public-sector workers wearing religious symbols at work.
While the election was big news for Quebec, it also had an impact on politics in Ottawa. Three provinces (Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick) started the year with Liberal governments, and have since shifted over to the political right.
Terror attacks are not new to France, and another deadly incident caught Paris by surprise. In May, a knife-wielding man went on a stabbing spree, killing one person and injuring four others. The 20-year-old Frenchman carried out the attack on a busy Saturday night before he was shot dead by police.
The parents and a friend of the knifeman, identified by police as Chechen-born Khamzat Azimov, were taken into custody after the incident. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.
It event marked a new chapter in France’s fight against domestic terrorism. “France has once again paid the price in blood but will not give an inch to the enemies of freedom,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted in response.
Humboldt Broncos crash
On April 6, a bus carrying a junior hockey team collided with a tractor-trailer near Tisdale, Sask. The collision left 16 people dead, many of them teenagers, and 13 others injured while sparking an outpouring of emotion from across the country and the hockey world.
The small community of Humboldt was devastated by the crash. Two of the hockey players were misidentified; one thought to be alive was actually dead, and another believed to be dead was alive. The coroner’s office apologized for the mistake.
An outpouring of support from all over the world led to one of the most successful campaigns on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe. More than $15 million was raised from donors from more than 80 countries. The driver of the truck has since been charged with 29 offences, including 16 charges of dangerous driving of a motor vehicle causing death.