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


Published December 31, 2021 at 4:50 am

A look at news events in November 2021:

1 – The Royal Canadian Legion announced the name of this year’s Silver Cross mother. Quebecer Josee Simard would lay the wreath at the National War Memorial on Remembrance Day on behalf of all mothers who’ve lost children in service to Canada. Simard is the mom of 21-year-old army corporal Karine Blais, who was killed when a roadside bomb struck the armoured vehicle she was driving near Kandahar, Afghanistan, just two weeks into her first tour of duty in 2009.

1 – The world reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with a death toll that surpassed five million. The staggering figure was almost certainly an undercount because of limited testing and people dying at home without medical attention, especially in poor countries such as India.

1 – Biotechnology company Novavax said Indonesia had given the world’s first emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine. The two-dose vaccine uses a different technology than current mRNA shots such as Pfizer and Moderna. Novavax doesn’t require the extremely cold storage temperatures that some other vaccines need. Novavax also announced it had submitted its vaccine for approval in Canada.

1 – Thousands of medical appointments across Newfoundland and Labrador were cancelled after a suspected cyberattack on the province’s health system. Health Minister John Haggie says the so-called “brain” of the network’s data centre, operated by Bell, was damaged. Eastern Health CEO David Diamond said his agency lost everything from basic email to diagnostic images and lab results.

1 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the memory of Lytton, B.C., as he spoke at crucial United Nations climate talks in Scotland. Trudeau referenced the record-setting temperatures that set the stage for the devastating wildfire that swept through the village of Lytton in June, destroying much of the community. He called for global action in the fight against climate change. Trudeau also formally committed to a cap on emissions produced by Canada’s oil and gas sector.

2 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cast Canada as a world leader in fighting climate change. He said other countries were beginning to see that Canada’s carbon pricing plan is an extremely powerful weapon. On his final day at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, he challenged the world to follow Canada’s lead and have 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions covered by a price on pollution in 2030.

2 – The new premier of Manitoba was sworn into office. Heather Stefanson became premier after the governing Progressive Conservatives recently chose her as their new leader.

2 – U.S. health officials gave the final go-ahead to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for younger children. An advisory panel with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously decided Pfizer’s shots should be given to children ages five to 11.

2 – A teen found guilty of sexually assaulting another student at an all-boys Catholic school in Toronto avoided prison. Instead, he was given a two-year probationary sentence. A judge found the youth guilty in June of gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon. A teen was sodomized with a broom handle in a locker room at St. Michael’s College School in 2018.

2 – There was a new U.S. ambassador to Canada — David Cohen. The Senate just confirmed the tech executive who once served as chief of staff to the mayor of Philadelphia. Cohen was nominated in July by U.S. President Joe Biden.

2 – The Atlanta Braves won their first World Series since 1995, posting a 7-0 shellacking of the Houston Astros in Game 6. Jorge Soler hit his third home run of the Series, and Max Fried threw six innings in the signature pitching performance of the Series. The loss left Houston’s 72-year-old Dusty Baker — a fan favourite — still seeking his first title as a manager.

3 – The Newfoundland and Labrador government confirmed that a cyberattack crippled the provincial health network’s data centre. Officials were releasing few details, with Health Minister John Haggie saying those involved in the attack might have been monitoring what authorities were saying about the situation.

3 – Indigenous writers Katherena Vermette and Tomson Highway took home the top prizes at the Writers’ Trust Awards. Vermette, a Red River Métis author and poet in Winnipeg, won the $60,000 fiction award for “The Strangers.” Highway, based in Gatineau, Que., received the $60,000 non-fiction award for “Permanent Astonishment: A Memoir.”

4 – Canada joined the U.S., the U.K. and 21 other countries in a historic deal to stop new direct public finance for coal and oil and gas development by the end of 2022. The deal, signed at the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, also promised more emphasis on financing renewable energy.

4 – Britain became the first country to approve a potentially game-changing COVID-19 pill that can be taken from home. Drugmaker Merck’s coronavirus antiviral was the first pill shown to successfully treat COVID-19. The antiviral reduces symptoms and speeds recovery, which could ease caseloads on hospitals and help to curb outbreaks in poorer countries with fragile health systems.

5 – B.C. was phasing out all mink farms, with the provincial health officer saying the threat of COVID-19 outbreaks at the facilities was simply too great a health hazard. Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham announced that in addition to the breeding ban, live mink would not be allowed on the province’s nine farms by April 2023. All operations had to cease completely and have all their pelts sold by 2025.

5 – Pfizer said its experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90 per cent, and it would ask the FDA and international regulators to authorize its use as soon as possible.

5 – A British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled in favour of Edward Rogers in his family feud over who should be directors of Rogers Communications. Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick’s decision validated the changes made by Edward Rogers in opposition to the wishes of his mother and two sisters.

5 – Former Canadian Football League wide receiver Joshua Boden was found guilty of the second-degree murder of a Burnaby, B.C., mother. The B.C. Prosecution Service confirmed Boden was found guilty of the 2009 killing of Kimberly Hallgarth. Boden played for the Lions in 2007 but was released by the team in 2008 and signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats later that year, although he never played a regular-season game with them before he was cut.

6 – Premier Scott Moe survived a leadership review at the Saskatchewan Party’s convention in Saskatoon, with a majority of members showing strong support for the leader. Over 80 per cent of delegates backed Moe.

6 – Peter Aykroyd died at 66. In a brief statement Monday to The Associated Press, Dan Aykroyd said his brother succumbed to septicemia from an internal infection precipitated by an untreated abdominal hernia. Born in Ottawa, Peter Aykroyd was an Emmy-nominated actor and writer on “Saturday Night Live” for the 1979-80 season. He later worked with Dan on everything from a TV show about the paranormal to such films as ”Dragnet” and ”Coneheads.”

6 – Angelo Mosca, Canadian legend of the gridiron and the wrestling ring, died at the age of 84 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s. Mosca was diagnosed with the disease shortly after his 78th birthday in 2015. After a lengthy run in professional football, Mosca turned to pro wrestling and performed in main events at top venues like Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens and Madison Square Garden in New York.

7 – Canada’s flag was hoisted at federal buildings and the Peace Tower in Ottawa following the longest period in the country’s history that it had flown at half-mast. It was lowered to mark the finding of unmarked graves at former residential school sites and was being raised in time for Remembrance Day.

7 – Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor Dean Stockwell died of natural causes at his home at the age of 85. Stockwell was a top Hollywood child actor who gained new success in middle age in the sci-fi series “Quantum Leap” and in a string of movies, including “Blue Velvet,” “Paris, Texas” and “Married to the Mob.” In a career that spanned seven decades, Stockwell was considered a supreme character actor whose performances didn’t have to be lengthy to be mesmerizing.

8 – Non-essential traffic was once again moving in both directions across the Canada-U.S. land border. Shortly after midnight, fully vaccinated vacationers, visitors and day-trippers were cleared to drive into the United States for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

8 – Montrealers opted to stay the course and rewarded Valérie Plante another term as mayor of the island city. With most of the votes counted, Plante was on top with 52 per cent of the vote — compared to almost 38 per cent for her chief rival Denis Coderre. Plante became the first woman elected as mayor of Canada’s second-largest city when she defeated Coderre in 2017.

8 – Omar El Akkad was this year’s winner of the coveted $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize. The Egyptian-Canadian author and journalist received the honour for ”What Strange Paradise” at the gala in Toronto.

9 – The Yukon government declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19. The declaration came as the territory reported 80 new infections diagnosed over a three-day period, for a total of 169 active cases.

9 – Canada came in 61st on a review tracking the efforts of 64 countries to combat climate change. Thanks to its ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Denmark bumped Sweden off the top in the ranking published by Germanwatch and the New Climate Institute. But the two non-governmental organizations said none of the countries it reviewed met all of its conditions, so it left the top three spots on the list blank.

9 – Health Canada approved booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for people over the age of 18, to be administered at least six months after the first two doses.

9 – The Oklahoma Supreme Court overturned a $465-million opioid ruling against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson. The 5-1 decision found a lower court wrongly interpreted the state’s public nuisance law. The justices said they were not minimizing the suffering of thousands of Oklahomans because of opioids, but noted J&J no longer promoted any prescription opioids and had not done so for several years.

9 – Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said there was no possibility of a coalition between his party and the minority Liberals. Singh said Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s claim that the Liberals would spend millions to gain the NDP’s support was false.

10 – Elton John was now a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour — one of the highest awards the Queen can bestow on citizens of Britain and the Commonwealth. The award recognizes people who have made “a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time.”

10 – Green Party Leader Annamie Paul sent a formal resignation letter to the party and handed in her membership. Paul had first announced her intention to step down in September, saying following the federal election that leading the Greens had been the worst period of her life.

11 – Indigenous author Lee Maracle, who championed the stories of native women to change the face of Canadian literature, died. A family friend said the acclaimed author, poet and teacher died at a hospital in Vancouver at age 71. She was one of the first Indigenous authors to be published in Canada in the early 1970s. She held posts at a number of Canadian universities and won accolades.

11 – A subtype of the COVID-19 Delta variant was becoming predominant in Saskatchewan and spreading throughout Western Canada. But health officials said it was not considered a variant of concern.

11 – Police said a woman who was severely hurt in the 2018 Toronto van attack died of her injuries in hospital. Toronto police said in a release that Amaresh Tessamariam, who was 65, died on Oct. 28. She had been in hospital since April 23, 2018, after Alek Minassian drove a rental van down the sidewalk of Yonge Street killing 10 people and injuring another 16.

12 – Canada was temporarily withdrawing non-essential staff from its embassy in troubled Haiti. There was a spike in gang-related violence in the country and a severe fuel shortage.

12 – Health Canada approved the use of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine for booster shots for adults 18 and older, to be used at least six months after the second shot.

12 – Britney Spears was finally is free. A Los Angeles judge ended the conservatorship that had controlled her life and money for nearly 14 years. For the first time since 2008, she was free to make her own medical, financial and personal decisions without court oversight.

13 – Canada’s Ivanie Blondin, Valeri Maltais and Isabelle Weidemann won gold in women’s team pursuit at a World Cup speedskating event. The trio’s first podium-topping performance of the season came in a time of three minutes 0.280 seconds, just ahead of Japan and the Netherlands in Poland.

14 – Members of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation near Kamloops B.C., re-elected Rosanne Casimir to another three-year term as chief.

14 – A former Veteran Affairs Canada case manager spoke out about overwhelming caseloads. Lucy Hirayama said severely disabled veterans were being put at risk by the lack of support and toxic work environment. She said many case managers were burning out and quitting while trying to help veterans with complex needs.

15 – The death toll climbed again from the recent crowd surge at a Houston music festival. A nine-year-old Dallas boy died from injuries he received during rapper Travis Scott’s performance, bringing the death toll from his Astroworld festival to 10.

15 – Conservative Sen. Denise Batters launched an online petition calling for a review of Erin O’Toole’s leadership. Batters said a rift in the party was growing and that she believed O’Toole couldn’t lead it to victory in the next federal election.

15 – The federal government completed bilateral $10-a-day child-care deals with nine provinces and territories. Ontario, New Brunswick, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories had yet to sign on.

16 – The leader of the federal Conservatives dropped the hammer on Sen. Denise Batters, removing her from the Tory caucus. Erin O’Toole’s move came one day after Batters launched a petition aimed at forcing an early confidence vote on his leadership.

17 – This year’s Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction was given to an Inuk writer and academic from Edmonton. Norma Dunning received the $25,000 prize for her book of short stories, “Tainna: The Unseen Ones.” The book centres on the experiences of modern-day Inuit living outside their home territories.

17 – There was now an official state of emergency in B.C. because of the massive flooding of the Fraser Valley and southern region. Flooding and landslides devastated the province. Premier John Horgan said the emergency declaration would preserve basic access to service and supplies for communities.

18 – PJ Akeeagok became the new premier of Nunavut. Akeeagok, 37, is from Nunavut’s most northern community of Grise Fiord and represents an Iqaluit constituency in the legislative assembly. Akeeagok beat out incumbent premier Joe Savikataaq and former health minister Lorne Kusugak for the job.

18 – The winner of the 57th Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild was Helen Mirren. The Oscar-, BAFTA-, Tony- and SAG-winning stage and screen actor’s 50-year career has seen her play everything from a gangster’s girlfriend to the Queen.

19 – Conservative senators chose to keep expelled Sen. Denise Batters in their fold, despite party leader Erin O’Toole’s decision to kick her out of the national caucus after she challenged his leadership.

19 – Health Canada approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged five to 11.

19 – A Wisconsin jury acquitted 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges after close to three and a half days of deliberations. Rittenhouse had pleaded self-defence after shooting and killing two men and wounding another with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle during a night of protests over police violence in August 2020.

19 – The federal government confirmed that as of Nov. 30, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents visiting the United States for less than 72 hours wouldn’t need a costly molecular COVID-19 test in order to return home.

19 – Ontario Sen. Josee Forest-Niesing died following a battle with COVID-19. She was 56. The Sudbury senator returned home after being admitted to hospital with the virus but was considered vulnerable due to an autoimmune condition that had affected her lungs for the last 15 years and reduced her vaccine’s effectiveness. She had represented Ontario in the Senate since October 2018.

20 – British Columbia issued an order rationing gasoline for non-essential vehicles in southern parts of the province. B.C.’s public safety minister said the measure would ensure a steady fuel supply while crews worked to fix roadways and other critical infrastructure damaged by severe flooding and landslides.

21 – The International Olympic Committee said missing Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai told Olympic officials in a video call from Beijing that she was safe and well. The 30-minute call came amid growing global alarm over Peng after she accused a former leading Communist party official of sexual assault. It appeared to be Peng’s first direct contact with sports officials outside China since she disappeared from public view on Nov. 2.

21 – Two of 17 abducted members of a missionary group were freed in Haiti and were safe, “in good spirits and being cared for,” their Ohio-based church organization said. Christian Aid Ministries missionaries were kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang on Oct. 16.

21 – K-pop superstars BTS took home the big prize at the American Music Awards, beating out Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Olivia Rodrigo and Canadian artists Drake and The Weeknd for artist of the year.

22 – The fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Kashoggi wrote an open letter to Justin Bieber urging him to cancel next month’s concert in Saudi Arabia. Hatice Cengiz said it would send a powerful message that his name and talent would not be used to “restore the reputation of a regime that kills its critics.”

22 – Members of Parliament re-elected Liberal Anthony Rota as Speaker of the House of Commons. Rota defeated fellow Liberal Alexandra Mendes, as well as three Conservatives, a New Democrat and the Green Party’s Elizabeth May in the ranked-ballot vote.

22 – Blinkers Art and Project Space in Winnipeg won the $50,000 Lacey Prize. The prize, which is handed out every two years, recognizes the role that small arts organizations play in fostering Canadian creativity. Blinkers describes itself as a genre-non-specific, volunteer-run project space for the arts and beyond. Halifax’s Khyber Centre for the Arts and Vancouver’s UNIT/PITT Society for Art and Critical Awareness were runners-up for the award, and would each receive $20,000.

23 – Canadian diver Jennifer Abel announced her retirement at 30 years old. The Laval, Que., native is an Olympic silver and bronze medallist. Most recently, Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu won synchronized springboard silver at the Tokyo Olympics in August.

23 – The Writers’ Trust of Canada named University of Toronto professor Dan Breznitz the inaugural winner of the $60,000 Balsillie Prize for Public Policy. The new annual award, backed by former BlackBerry chief executive Jim Balsillie, recognizes a non-fiction book shaping Canadian discourse about public policy. The runners-up, who each received $5,000, included former MP Jody Wilson-Raybould for “‘Indian’ in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power.”

24 – Sweden’s parliament approved Magdalena Andersson as the country’s first female prime minister. Lawmakers recently tapped the finance minister to replace Stefan Lofven as Social Democratic party leader and PM — roles he relinquished earlier this year.

24 – A jury convicted the three white men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. He was the Black man who was chased and fatally shot while running through their Georgia neighbourhood. The convictions for Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and neighbour William “Roddie” Bryan came after jurors deliberated for about 10 hours. The men faced minimum sentences of life in prison.

24 – The town of Wiarton, Ont., fessed up that its prognosticating groundhog Wiarton Willie died of an abscessed tooth more than nine months ago.

25 – Astrophysicist Amita Kuttner was chosen as interim leader of the Green Party of Canada. Kuttner, an expert in black holes, was appointed by the Greens’ federal council to lead the party until a new leader is elected next year. Thirty-year-old Kuttner became the youngest person, the first trans person and first person of east Asian descent to lead a federal political party.

25 – The European Union’s drug regulator authorized Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for use on children aged five to 11 years old. It was the first time the European Medicines Agency had cleared a COVID-19 vaccine for use in young children.

26 – Canada’s borders were closed to visitors from southern Africa, following this week’s discovery of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. No Omicron cases had yet been detected in Canada.

27 – Britain became the latest country to report cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Both cases were linked and related to travel from southern Africa, where the variant is thought to have originated.

28 – Ontario had Canada’s first two known cases of Omicron, a new COVID-19 variant of concern. Provincial Health Minister Christine Elliott said both cases were found in the Ottawa area in people who had recently returned from Nigeria.

28 – The first Black golfer to play in the Masters died at the age of 87. Lee Elder developed his game while caddying during segregated times, and went on to make history in 1975 at Augusta National, which had been an all-white tournament until that point. Twenty-two years later, Tiger Woods became the first Black golfer to capture the green jacket.

29 – Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé confirmed the province’s first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

29 – The word “vaccine” was declared the 2021 word of the year by Merriam-Webster. The selection followed last year’s choice by the dictionary company of “pandemic” as tops in lookups on its online site.

30 – Canada had five confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant and researchers were investigating other potential infections.

30 – Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd, along with Americans Olivia Rodrigo and H.E.R., all won Apple Music Awards. The Weeknd was named global artist of the year, a step up from the category last year, which was mere artist of the year.

The Canadian Press

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