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These were's most popular stories of 2019 – CTV News



At the end of each year, crunches the numbers to see which stories our readers clicked on the most. The topics from our top-10 list are typically eclectic and this year’s was no different – a mix of mystery, tragedy, a few public warnings, and controversies that put the institution of hockey under the spotlight.

Here our’s most popular stories of 2019, starting at number 10.

10. Death sentence for Canadian in China of extreme concern: PM

When Canadian Robert Schellenberg was sentenced to death in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian back in January, it marked what appeared to be another escalation in the diplomatic tension between Canada and China. Schellenberg, from Abbotsford, B.C., was convicted of being an accessory to a drug-smuggling operation. He has denied all charges and is still awaiting his fate after a Chinese court in May held an appeal hearing in his case, but did not issue a ruling. His sentence came weeks after the RCMP detained Huawei top executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition warrant.

9. Dashboard video captures moment 52-car train derails near Saskatoon

Dashcam captures CN train derailment

A dashboard camera captured the moment 29 CN train cars loaded with grain derailed at a rural intersection near Saskatoon in January. No one was injured in the incident. The woman who shot the video from a distance, as she sat in her car waiting for the train to pass, told CTV News she was able to feel the impact of the crash, and it was louder than what her recording was able to capture. The Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the derailment.

8. Ottawa woman badly beaten at Mexican resort

Ottawa woman badly beaten in Mexico

Alexandra ‘Lexie’ York was on a family vacation in Cancun in November when she was beaten severely by another guest at the Grand Bahia Principe Tulum resort. Her brother, Mathew York, told CTV News her injuries were so bad that she required nearly 10 hours of plastic surgery. A fundraiser was set up to cover the Ottawa flight attendant’s ongoing care. Mathew wrote on the fundraising site that the response has been “incredibly heartening and overwhelming.” A suspect was charged in the incident with attempted murder.

7. ‘I don’t regret a thing’: Don Cherry speaks out on his firing and Ron MacLean

Don Cherry poses for a photo in Toronto

Hockey culture has come under scrutiny in these final few months of 2019. Prominent coaches lost their jobs; former players came forward to speak about the bad treatment they suffered at the hands of their coaches. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman promised changes: “Inclusion and diversity are not simply buzz words,” he said on Dec 9. “Our message is unequivocal: We will not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind.” TSN’s senior hockey reporter Frank Seravelli called it hockey’s “moment of reckoning.” But the biggest hockey story of the year was Don Cherry being dismissed after 38 years on the air, for “offensive” and “discriminatory” comments he made during a Nov. 9 segment of Hockey Night in Canada.

6. Careful, Canada! This counterfeit cash could fool you

Counterfeit cash

No matter how many security enhancements are made to Canadian banknotes, it seems counterfeiters find ways to keep their fake bills circulating. One Toronto-area resident learned the lesson the hard way and decided to warn others about his experience. He’s hardly alone in being duped by a counterfeiter. It’s become a big enough problem that the central bank had to offer training guides on how to detect counterfeit bills.

5. 32 arrested at Indian call centre that targeted Canadians

Police in India arrested 32 people

Chances are you’ve gotten a phone call purporting to come from either Service Canada, the RCMP or a local courthouse, threatening arrest and imprisonment unless you called back. Unfortunately not everyone hangs up on these scam calls; some even fall victim. When New Delhi police moved in on a call centre they suspected of preying on people on Nov. 17, they say several scam calls were in progress – with associated computer screens displaying Canadian phone numbers. Thirty-two people were arrested and 55 computers were seized that day.

4. Family of 5 returning from Florida vacation killed in wrong way crash

Abbas family funeral

In the early morning hours on Jan. 6, the Abbas family from Michigan was killed in a crash on the I-75 highway as they drove home from a Disney World vacation in Florida. The driver of a pickup truck was travelling in the wrong lanes, striking the family’s SUV and killing all five of them inside. Authorities said the pickup driver, who also died in the crash, had a blood-alcohol level of .306 (anything above 0.08 is illegal). The crash resulted in both state and federal lawmakers working to increase fines and penalties for drunk driving, according to a local report, and to push for installing breathalyzers on new vehicles.

3. World’s cutest dog dies of a broken heart

Boo the Pomeranian

A Pomeranian named Boo with more than 16 million Facebook fans died of a “broken heart” in January, according to the pup’s owners. They believe Boo developed heart issues after his doggy friend Buddy, whom he lived with for 11 years, died in 2017. Boo met and was photographed with celebrities including Anderson Cooper and Seth Rogen, and he even released a book.

2. Election 2019 results and analysis

Liberal supporters

Our federal election live blog which gave readers real-time election updates, analysis and context throughout the night on October 21, was our second-most popular article of 2019. With nearly 1.1 million page views, it was part of a successful election night that saw a new single-day record for visits on

1. Hunter captures strange howl in northern Ontario woods

Beaver Pond in Northern Ontario

A hunter’s recording of a spooky howl deep in the northern Ontario woods captured our readers’ imaginations and propelled this story to number one on our list, with 1.2 million page views and more than 26,000 shares on Facebook. Opinions on what creature made the mournful sound ranged from a dying bear to a Sasquatch (according to commenters on the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization Facebook page, which shared a link to our story). 

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Canadians are feeling pandemic fatigue. Experts say ‘greater good’ message isn’t enough – Global News



COVID-weary. COVID-tired. COVID-fatigued.

No matter how you chop it up, the feeling likely resonates for many at this point in the coronavirus pandemic. Months of isolation, fears and lifestyle changes have taken its toll. In turn, following COVID-19 safety guidelines has begun to feel like more and more of a challenge.

A new poll puts into perspective just how fatigued Canadians are. The poll, conducted by Ipsos, found nearly half of Canadians are getting tired of following public health recommendations and rules related to the virus. The feeling of burnout was most prominent in Quebec (52 per cent) and Alberta (53 per cent) and less so in British Columbia (34 per cent).

Read more:
Coronavirus ‘fatigue’ is real, but we can’t give up, says World Health Organization

The challenge now — both for people and policymakers — is tackling it.

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Igor Grossmann, psychology professor and director of the Wisdom and Culture Lab at the University of Waterloo, said understanding the situation at hand might help strengthen our resolve.

“We often get this ‘hunker down and get through it’ message,” he said. “But if we start accepting that this is a marathon situation, the sooner we develop meaning out of the situation.”

Click to play video 'Riots in Italy, pushback in Spain over COVID-19 curfews and rules'

Riots in Italy, pushback in Spain over COVID-19 curfews and rules

Riots in Italy, pushback in Spain over COVID-19 curfews and rules

Falling off the bandwagon

Not only has the medley of measures imposed by countries plunged economies into a sharp contraction, it’s also had a profound impact on people’s psychological well-being. Nine months since the lockdown, rules and restrictions still keep many aspects of life fenced in. In a separate poll, 25 per cent of Canadians said their stress level is higher than during the first COVID-19 wave.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: How stress and fatigue is taking its toll in the pandemic'

Coronavirus: How stress and fatigue is taking its toll in the pandemic

Coronavirus: How stress and fatigue is taking its toll in the pandemic

Understandably, “we’re exhausted,” said Steven Joordens, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

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High-stress situations often elicit a “fight-or-flight” response, he said, but that reaction is “meant to be short term.”

“When there’s a predator in front of you, you either take on the predator or get the heck away from them. Either way, 15 or 20 minutes and it’s over, and you come out of that state,” he said.

“We’ve had this predator staring in our face for months.”

What’s followed is a collective burnout or exhaustion, and everyone experiences it differently. Some may feel restless, irritable, lack motivation or have difficulty concentrating on tasks. Some people may find themselves withdrawing from socializing, while others might feel physical symptoms like changes in eating and sleep habits. Young people are particularly susceptible, according to Joordens.

Read more:
As cases increase, are Montrealers suffering from ‘COVID-19 fatigue’?

Click to play video 'How ‘pandemic fatigue’ could be leading to case surge'

How ‘pandemic fatigue’ could be leading to case surge

How ‘pandemic fatigue’ could be leading to case surge

The age divide is reflected in the Ipsos poll. Pandemic fatigue was highest among Generation Z (57 per cent), Millennials (50 per cent), and Generation X (53 per cent).

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The burnout has become somewhat of an adversary for governments trying to quell a second wave of the virus.

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Canada’s top doctor has repeatedly urged Canadians “not to give into COVID-19 fatigue.” So has the WHO. Its researchers estimate that about half the population of Europe is experiencing “pandemic fatigue” as infections surge yet again.

But the “stay home” message has expired, and experts worry the “greater good” or “we’re all in this together” message designed to keep people engaged has too.

“It’s very abstract,” said Grossmann. “For some people, it might work. But for individuals facing economic hardships because of the crisis, or people who are more concerned about simply surviving the next day with kids running around, that doesn’t resonate anymore.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: WHO acknowledges pandemic fatigue, asks people not to give up'

Coronavirus: WHO acknowledges pandemic fatigue, asks people not to give up

Coronavirus: WHO acknowledges pandemic fatigue, asks people not to give up

What needs to change?

For one, we need to acknowledge “things are different now,” said Samantha Yammine, a neuroscientist and science communicator.

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Not only do we know far more about the virus than in March, we also have tools to make activities safer, said Yammine. She said too much of the focus has been the “no’s” and “you cant’s” despite the public appetite for wanting to do things, but do them safely.

“Fatigue comes from frustration.

“If we focus on what we can’t do rather than what we can, that’s why we fatigue. It feels very limiting.”

This is where adopting a harm reduction approach would be helpful, she said, both on an individual level and policy level.

“Every decision is a big task. … We’re at a point where should say, ‘Here’s how you reduce your risk as much as possible.’”

Read more:
What is the ‘Swiss cheese model’ and how can it apply to coronavirus?

Yammine said people need to feel empowered to make a choice through the right information.

“I think then they’ll feel less trapped and hopefully less fatigued,” she said.

According to the recent polling, 93 per cent of Canadians say they’re doing their best to abide by public health recommendations and rules. Support for safety measures also remains high. On masks, nearly 86 per cent of Canadians say they support the mandatory wearing of face masks when in public, with younger Canadians even more likely to be wearing them when out-and-about.

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“We’re in this process of modifying all of our habits, and it will get easier,” said Joordens.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Trudeau acknowledges COVID-19 fatigue setting in with ‘tough winter ahead’, says it ‘really sucks’'

Coronavirus: Trudeau acknowledges COVID-19 fatigue setting in with ‘tough winter ahead’, says it ‘really sucks’

Coronavirus: Trudeau acknowledges COVID-19 fatigue setting in with ‘tough winter ahead’, says it ‘really sucks’

He said it was trickiest when things first reopened, which might have sent out mixed signals. When governments opted to open bars, restaurants and gyms, even with new rules, he said some people might have interpreted that as these places being safe or safer.

“Habits are triggered by the environment. So as soon as you go back into that bar, everything about it triggers you to behave like you did the last time you were there,” he said.

“The hope is that we develop new habits over time to keep up with the changes.”

But it won’t be easy, said Grossmann. He said the vagueness in some of the ever-changing recommendations deviates from the core message — that “this won’t be over anytime soon.”

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“Not every situation is alike, but we need to figure out how to balance something that is challenging in different ways across different provinces and different municipalities,” he said.

“You don’t want a new rule to come in and have people say, ‘Well, that doesn’t apply to me.’”

Read more:
A Canadian coronavirus winter is looming — and it could ‘amplify loneliness’

What can you do personally?

A looming winter will provide an extra challenge, experts agree. Weariness over restrictions might grow as cold weather forces people indoors.

It comes down to arming yourself with the “basics,” said Joordens — a good night’s sleep, good nutrition and routine exercise.

“Leading a random life makes our body unhappy,” he said. “You have to find activities that bring you to a better place mentally.”

Before the snow piles up, think about ways to get outdoors in advance, he said. And once it does, make sure you stay connected socially.

Click to play video 'Winter blues setting in? How to cope during colder months'

Winter blues setting in? How to cope during colder months

Winter blues setting in? How to cope during colder months

“I recommend the phone because people actually pay attention when they’re talking to you on the phone,” he said with a laugh.

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It’s also good to remember that we’re not perfect, said Yammine.

“We’re still going to face tough decisions. It’s still going to feel exhausting,” she said. But keeping up with the twist-and-turns of pandemic rules and recommendations is “like any goal you can set.”

“A New Year’s resolution, even,” she said.

“People often say you give up on your resolution the first time you slip up — but that’s not the right thinking. Just because maybe you have more riskier encounter or you just don’t care one day, it doesn’t mean you can’t do better the next.”

“Risk is cumulative. It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. We can try again.”

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 23-26, 2020, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.


© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Trump signs proclamation formally exempting Canadian aluminum from tariffs, for now – CTV News



Donald Trump has officially let Canadian aluminum producers out of the national-security doghouse — for now.

The U.S. president formally signed a proclamation today exempting Canadian aluminum exports from punitive Section 232 tariffs.

But the proclamation reserves the right to reimpose the 10 per cent levies, ostensibly on national security grounds, if aluminum exports spike again before the end of the year.

The move makes official a commitment the Trump administration made last month, just hours before Canada was to impose retaliatory measures on U.S. products.

The tariffs, first imposed in 2018, were reinstated briefly in August in response to what the U.S. trade representative’s office said was an unauthorized increase in Canadian exports.

Producers in Canada disputed the claim, arguing that they were forced to retool their product lines as a result of a pandemic-related drop in demand for specialized components.

“I have determined that imports of aluminum from Canada will no longer threaten to impair the national security,” the proclamation reads.

“I may reimpose the tariff — in the event that the volume of imports of these articles from Canada in the remaining months of 2020 exceeds the quantities that the United States expects.”

The expected quantities are listed: 83 million kilograms in September and November, and 70 million in October and December.

The proclamation goes on to note the U.S. will be watching closely, and that the two countries will consult again in December to examine import levels and expected market conditions next year.

And it says tariffs could make a recurrence depending on the outcome of those meetings.

“I may also consider reimposing the tariff — based on the outcome of consultations between the United States and Canada in December 2020 and expected market conditions in 2021.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2020.

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Youth-led climate change lawsuit dismissed by Federal Court –



A Federal Court judge ruled Tuesday that the Canadian government won’t be going on trial for contributions to climate change — striking down a lawsuit brought by 15 young Canadians who argued the government was violating their charter rights.

Federal Court Justice Michael Manson rejected a lawsuit initiated by the youths aged 10 to 19 years old. Their case called on the court to compel Ottawa to develop a science-based climate recovery plan.

But Manson ruled the claims don’t have a reasonable cause of action or prospect of success, so the case cannot proceed to trial.

The lawsuit filed in 2019 says Canada’s failure to protect against climate change is a violation of the youths’ charter rights.

On Tuesday, Manson ruled the network of  government actions that contribute to climate change is too broad for the court to grapple with, and the court has no role in reviewing the country’s overall approach to climate change.

First and hardest hit

Plaintiff Haana Edenshaw, 17, of the Haida Nation, says despite her disappointment, she is refusing to get discouraged and plans to keep pushing to have the case heard, after seeing the effects of climate change in her village of Masset on Haida Gwaii off B.C.’s North Coast.

She said poverty rates and the location of communities leave Indigenous people at higher risk to the negative effects of climate change.

“Indigenous youth in Canada are often the first hit and the hardest hit,” she said.

Another plaintiff named Sophia said that it is “a big wake-up call for all Canadian and Indigenous youth. Canada has tried to silence our voice in court and block our calls for climate justice. We won’t be dissuaded.”

Haana Edenshaw, 17, from Haida Gwaii, B.C., says she is experiencing the effects of climate change on her doorstep in the village of Masset on Haida Gwaii. (Kwiadda McEvoy)

In September, government lawyers argued the lawsuit should be thrown out, as it was far too broad to be heard in court. In Tuesday’s ruling, Manson agreed the terms were too broad. Joe Arvay, the lead lawyer on the case, says it’s a disappointment, but he plans to push forward and appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The case, La Rose et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen, was initially filed on Oct. 25, 2019.

The lawsuit argued that the plaintiffs — 15 children and teens from across Canada — had their rights to life, liberty and security and equality violated by a government that had failed to do enough to protect against climate change.

In the government’s defence submission, federal lawyer Joseph Cheng said the drivers of climate changes are a global problem, and Canada can’t act alone to solve the issue. He also argued that the case fell beyond what courts can meaningfully adjudicate.

The statement of claim was filed the day teen climate activist Greta Thunberg visited Vancouver and led a climate strike rally attended by thousands. It says that “despite knowing for decades” that carbon emissions “cause climate change and disproportionately harm children,” the government continued to allow emissions to increase at a level “incompatible with a stable climate capable of sustaining human life and liberties.”

But there’s no explicit environmental right in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And, in his decision, the justice disagreed that right is implicit, as argued in the case.

Nine of the 15 activists suing the Canadian government over its alleged inaction on climate change stand on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Oct. 25, 2019, after filing their lawsuit in federal court. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“Of course it’s disappointing, but the journey is far from over,” said Brendan Glauser of the Suzuki Foundation. Glauser said the ruling acknowledged the negative impact of climate change as something that’s significant and pointed out the justice also said the “public trust” doctrine is a legal question that the court can resolve — which, he said, offers legal ground with which the group can attempt to move forward.

“We are proud of our plaintiffs. These brave young plaintiffs know we only have a decade to turn things around, and so far, we are not on track,” said Glauser.

For more on this story, tap here to listen to the Sept. 27 episode of What on Earth with Laura Lynch.

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