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Year in review: A look at news events in July 2023

A look at news events in July 2023: 1 – Scores of forest fires burn in Ontario and Quebec, and the smoke drifts hundreds of kilometres into the southern reaches of the provinces and into the central and northeastern U.S.
Striking International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada workers picket at a port entrance in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, July 4, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A look at news events in July 2023:

1 – Scores of forest fires burn in Ontario and Quebec, and the smoke drifts hundreds of kilometres into the southern reaches of the provinces and into the central and northeastern U.S. Environment Canada issues smog warnings for northern and western Quebec, and parts of eastern and southern Ontario.  

1 – Port workers across British Columbia go on strike. Negotiations supported by federal mediators fail to come up with a deal throughout the night to keep more than 7,000 employees on the job. The union says contracting out, port automation and cost of living are key issues in the dispute.

4 – Roughly half of all Air Canada trips are delayed or cancelled over the Canada Day long weekend. The issues affect nearly 2,000 flights, including with Air Canada Rouge and regional partner Jazz Aviation. Photos of snaking lines and bulging terminals at airports in Toronto and Montreal pop up on social media, as passengers vent their frustration over late takeoffs and poor customer service. 

5 – Canada, the U.K., Sweden and Ukraine ask the United Nations' highest court to rule that Iran illegally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet in January 2020, killing all 176 people aboard. They want the International Court of Justice to order Tehran to apologize and pay compensation to the families of the victims. 

5 – The federal government announces it is stopping advertising on Facebook and Instagram after parent company Meta promised to block Canadian news content there. Meta's decision to block Canadian news was in response to Canadian legislation that will require tech giants to pay media outlets for content they share or otherwise repurpose on their platforms.

5 – Stellantis and LG Energy Solution announce that their electric vehicle battery plant in Windsor is back on track after reaching a "binding'' financing deal with the governments of Canada and Ontario. 

6 – Residents of Lac-Mégantic, Que., mark the 10-year anniversary of the deadliest rail disaster in modern Canadian history. A silent march begins at 1:14 a.m., marking the moment an unattended train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the heart of town, killing 47 people. More than 100 people don star-shaped LED lights in memory of the victims. 

8 – The City of Winnipeg orders protesters who are blocking access to a landfill in support of a search for the remains of two Indigenous women to leave. The city says it issued an order to vacate in accordance with the Emergency Management Bylaw, demanding the protesters restore full access to the Brady Road landfill.

9 – In a legal decision described as the first of its kind in Canada, a Halifax sex worker successfully sues a client for nonpayment of services. 

9 – Hundreds of people gather for a rally in support of striking British Columbia port workers in Vancouver as their job action stretches into its second week. Representatives from labour groups as far away as Australia and New Zealand speak in support of the strikers at the rally. 

10 – The Assembly of First Nations appoint regional Chief Joanna Bernard to act as interim chief until a new leader is elected in December. Chiefs gathered in Halifax for the AFN's annual meeting. 

10 – Gordon Reid, the Canadian businessman who founded discount store chain Giant Tiger, dies at age 89. Reid opened the first Giant Tiger store in 1961 in Ottawa's ByWard Market. The chain now has more than 265 locations across Canada and employs more than 10,000 people. 

10 – Canada's premiers kick off their annual conference in Winnipeg by meeting with Indigenous leaders. 

12 – Olivia Chow officially takes office as mayor of Toronto. She becomes the first person of colour to lead Canada's most populous city. She beat out more than 100 other candidates in a June byelection to replace John Tory.

12 – The Bank of Canada raises its key interest rate by a quarter point to five per cent. The central bank says it is raising the rate because of elevated demand in the economy and strong underlying inflation pressures.  

12 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other NATO leaders wrap up a two-day summit in Lithuania. 

13 – Work resumes at British Columbia ports after a tentative deal is reached to end the strike that had halted cargo movements for 13 days.

14 – Hydro-Quebec crews work to restore power to about 170,000 customers after severe thunderstorms, and at least one tornado, hit the province the day before. An entire month's worth of rain fell in just two hours, flooding underpasses and more than 130 homes, while winds gusting to almost 100 kilometres an hour knocked down trees and power lines.

15 – The entire province of Alberta, parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories are covered in air quality alerts due to wildfire smoke. 

15 – The North American Indigenous Games get underway in Nova Scotia. 

16 – Smoke from Canadian wildfires creates unhealthy conditions south of the border and prompts the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to post air quality alerts for several states from Montana to Ohio. 

18 – The BC Wildfire Service reports the province set a record for the total area burned in a year. Fires have scorched almost 14,000 square kilometres since April 1, surpassing the previous record of 13,543 square kilometres set in 2018.

18 – A stick that Wayne Gretzky used during the Edmonton Oilers' Stanley Cup-clinching win over the Boston Bruins in 1988 is expected to sell for more than US$500,000 in an auction at Sotheby's. 

18 – Port workers in British Columbia resume their strike at about 30 B.C. ports. Their union leaders announce they rejected the tentative contract terms drawn up by a federal mediator in a bid to end the labour dispute with the B.C. Maritime Employers Association. 

19 – A Quebec Superior Court judge approves a $14.8-million sex abuse class-action settlement involving the Montreal archdiocese. It's the first time a diocese in Quebec has settled a class action. 

19 – The B.C. government directs the City of Surrey to move forward with an independent police service and not the RCMP. 

20 – Correctional Service Canada Commissioner Anne Kelly says serial killer Paul Bernardo will remain in the Quebec medium-security prison he was transferred to earlier this year. Kelly tells an Ottawa news conference that Canada's correction system is based on the rehabilitation of offenders, even if they are to be incarcerated for the rest of their lives.

21 – Singer Tony Bennett dies at the age of 96 in New York City. Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016. His decades-long career saw him release more than 70 albums. He won 19 Grammy Awards – 17 of them after he reached his 60s.  

23 – Warner Brothers' movie “Barbie” breaks this year's opening weekend record, and also shatters the first-weekend record for a film directed by a woman, Greta Gerwig. Studio totals show the film made $162 million in North American ticket sales. 

24 – Elon Musk posts on Twitter that he will change the site's logo from the famous blue bird to the letter "X" in the latest shakeup since he bought the social media platform for $44 billion last year.

24 – The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan encourages crop farmers to help neighbouring cattle producers by converting crops to livestock feed. The association says it will be a solution as some farmers write off drought-afflicted crops and cattle producers complain of feed shortages. 

24 – The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health gets $156 million from the federal government over three years to launch and operate a new three-digit suicide-prevention hotline. Anyone in crisis will be able to dial 988 anywhere in the country to be connected with trained responders beginning at the end of November. The 24-hour service is free and will be offered in English and French.

25 – Pat Carney, who pioneered roles for women in Canadian politics and journalism, dies at the age of 88. The former MP and senator was the first female Conservative member of Parliament elected in B.C. and the first female Conservative appointed from the province to the Senate.

26 – Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor dies at age 56. O'Connor, who was known for her fierce, expressive voice, became an international sensation with her cover of Prince's ballad "Nothing Compares 2 U." Rolling Stone magazine named her Artist of the Year in 1991. 

26 – A partial settlement is reached in a lawsuit against the Calgary Stampede over the sexual abuse of young boys. The class-action suit alleged the organization allowed Phillip Heerema to abuse six boys dating back to the 1990s when he was a staffer with The Young Canadians, which performs each year in the Stampede's grandstand show. 

26 – The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal approves a $23.4-billion First Nations child welfare settlement that revolved around allegations that Ottawa's underfunding of on-reserve child welfare services amounted to discrimination and that First Nations children were denied equal access to various supports.

31 – Actor and comedian Paul Reubens,  who starred as Pee-wee Herman on TV and in movies, dies after a six-year battle with cancer.

The Canadian Press