This Year In: News

Georgia Straight writers on the news that moved them

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      Can anyone really remember what happened in 2022? Russia declared war on Ukraine. The Queen finally kicked the bucket. Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated in Nara. Elon Musk bought Twitter and banned anyone who made fun of him too well. Canada finally ended its 44-year-long Whisky War with Denmark, Hurricane Fiona battered the Atlantic coast, and pugilistic populist Pierre Poilievre became leader of the federal opposition. Over 18,000 people in Canada died from COVID-19. Kennedy Stewart lost his mayoral re-election run. Vancouver decided not to bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics. Which of these did we remember without having to Google “What happened in 2022?” Yep, it was the goddamn brain-poisoned, doom-scrolling Twitter thing. Sorry. 

       

      The Freedom Convoy (January 22-February 23)

      The year’s biggest Canadian news story—and the biggest news story about Canada around the world—wasn’t local, exactly, but it certainly had local connections and implications. The convoy left Delta on Jan. 23, full of angry, vaccine-resistant and conspiracy-addled protesters, bent on stirring up enough shit to thrust Trudeau out of office… or whatever.

      But it’s the local implications and effects that make this such an annoyingly compelling story. The Freedom Convoy was Canada’s Trump-as-president moment—an event that polarized  and calcified our politics in a way we hadn’t seen like in the US when the orange guy came over. Suddenly, friends or family seem crazed conspiracy nuts or hypersensitive authoritarian wannabes, depending on what side you’re on. We’re of the firm opinion that the stupid bug had finally infected mass swaths of our population, and only heaven knows if they’ll be back again. -SS

      The so-called "Freedom Convoy" in Ottawa, ON harassed residents for several weeks in the name of protesting COVID-safety measures such as masks and vaccines.
      Shutterstock

      The Stoney Creek Contamination (August 2021-November 2022) 

      While protests were held along the Trans Mountain Pipeline and cops clashed with old-growth forest defenders on Vancouver Island throughout the year, I’d like to highlight one series of environmental coverage that epitomizes the constant struggle of keeping nature clean: Burnaby Beacon’s coverage of the contaminations of Stoney Creek. 

      The small creek that meanders its way along the border between Burnaby and Coquitlam was first highlighted by the publication after then 12-year-old activist Luka Kovacic and his father, George, found that the usually clear waters of their backyard stream had turned murky and fish were turning up dead. 

      It’s an ongoing story of how the environments around us are affected by human presence, the drawn out process of righting those wrongs through advocacy, and the importance of the ongoing monitoring by journalists and activists—even on a seemingly smaller scale than what usually makes the headlines. -CW

      Stoney Creek in Burnaby has seen contamination several times over the past year.
      Dustin Godfrey / Burnaby Beacon

      Threats against drag shows in Victoria and Vancouver (June 16, November 25, ongoing)

      Social progress is not linear. Enshrined rights can be revoked. And intolerance can grow from something fringe to something weaponized and wielded. 2022 has seen the worst attacks on LGBTQ2S+ folks in my memory—made all the more shocking by the fact that we were supposed to be past this. Hateful rhetoric from right-wingers that classed trans people as dangers to children, and trans children as dangers to themselves, created a movement of anti-trans legislation that has turned from a trickle just a few years ago into a full-on deluge now. 

      Not content with mauling one part of the LGBTQ2S+ community, calculated attacks by politicians like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and social media scumbags like “Libs of TikTok” Chaya Raichik moved into attacking all queer people. It isn’t hard to draw a line between this kind of rhetoric and November’s Club Q attack, where five people at Colorado Springs’ only gay club were murdered in a likely hate crime. All-ages drag events became the next target, as drag artists have been smeared as “groomers” or “pedophiles” for the temerity to read child-friendly books to kids while wearing silly outfits.

      Even BC has seen the fallout from these baseless attacks. This summer, a Victoria venue was forced to cancel an all-ages drag event after receiving a call threatening to shoot up the venue; and only a few weeks ago, a drag storytime at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House in Vancouver was harassed by anti-gay protestors. In the first week of December alone, two drag shows in the Okanagan were subject to the same kind of in-person vitriol. I can’t believe, in 2022, drag performers are having to come up with security plans because getting threatened or attacked is a real concern. Our province deserves better than importing manufactured bigotry. Fuck off.  -VW

      A drag queen and drag king take part in Drag Story Hour in Saint John, NB. Family-friendly drag performances have been subject to rising vitriol this year.
      Doug McLean / Shutterstock

      Snowpocalypse, 2022 edition (November 28, December 18-December 24)

      Even before the first flake fell, you pretty much knew what to expect. Standstill five-hour traffic jams that stretched from the Richmond Auto Mall to the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge. TransLink buses sliding down Surrey hills, honking furiously as they got ready to piledrive a human-centipede chain of already cracked-up cars. A ready-made excuse for the City of Vancouver’s contracted-out recycling crews to go not one, not two, but three weeks without picking up the cans, bottles, and paper mounded up in the alleys of East Van (and whatever those other less-cool neighbourhoods in the city are called). And you know how much snow fell? A whopping two centimeters. There’s a reason the rest of the country laughs at us. Which is fine, because, admit it, we laugh at the rest of the country for a good reason: we don’t need snowblowers. Even though, really, we kind of do. - MU

      Snow storms hit Vancouver twice this winter (so far), causing wide-spread disruption amid freezing temperatures.
      AlbertArt / Shutterstock

      The Cobalt Reopening (December 5)

      When the Cobalt closed in 2018, it was a huge loss for the music community. The venue was a great room and an unpretentious space where you could see PUP or the Halluci Nation one night and Phoebe Bridgers the next. Not to mention, there just aren’t that many spots in our city that strictly dedicate themselves to live music. In some of the best news of the year, the Cobalt recently announced that it’s finally reopening its doors on December 16 after completing some extensive renovations. The gig calendar is already stacked. See you there! -YS

      Cobalt re-opened its doors in December.

      Honorary Mentions go to the ongoing drug poisoning crisis and, of course, unabated disintegration of our ecosystem and all living things. Don’t forget about those this holiday season, friends!

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