By The Canadian Press on December 31, 2023.
A look at news events in March 2023:
1 ““ The government of Greece declares three days of national mourning after a deadly train crash in the northern part of the country the night before. The country’s prime minister and president both visit the crash site, where 57 people died after a passenger train and freight train collided.
2 ““ Geri Smith, whose voice became familiar to listeners across the country over nearly 35 years as a newscaster with The Canadian Press, dies at 60. Smith was on leave at the time of her death in Toronto.
6 ““ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asks two key security watchdogs to probe foreign interference and says he will appoint a “special rapporteur” to independently review their work. The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians is to launch a new study on foreign interference focused on elections. And the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency is to look at the work Canada’s intelligence agencies have done on foreign interference.
9 ““ A Federal Court judge approves a $2.8-billion settlement agreement for 325 First Nations whose members went to residential day schools. Justice Ann Marie McDonald says the settlement is intended to help take steps to reverse the losses of language, culture and heritage through an Indigenous-led not-for-profit body. The federal government originally reached the settlement with the plaintiffs in January, but the Federal Court also needed to approve the agreement.
10 ““ The federal government gives the green light to WestJet’s takeover of Sunwing. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says the decision “was not taken lightly.” He notes the travel chaos that erupted over the winter holidays and left Sunwing passengers stranded abroad for days.
10 ““ Bank regulators seize the assets of one of Silicon Valley’s top banks, marking the largest failure of a U.S. financial institution since the height of the financial crisis almost 15 years ago. Silicon Valley Bank was the country’s 16th-largest bank, and it failed after depositors hurried to withdraw money amid anxiety over the bank’s health. The bank served mostly technology workers and venture capital-backed companies, including some of the industry’s best-known brands.
11 ““ Meta promises to stop making news content available on Facebook and Instagram if Parliament passed the Online News Act without making any changes. Facebook blocked access to news in Australia after a similar law was discussed in 2021, but quickly backtracked after the government there made changes to an arbitration mechanism in the bill. Meta says the act will require it to pay publishers for links or content it doesn’t post. But the Trudeau government says it will help Canadian media companies compete with tech giants for advertising dollars.
12 ““ New York-based Signature Bank is shut down, two days after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
13 ““ The Jesuits of Canada release a list of 27 priests and brothers accused of sexually abusing minors over the past 70 years. The Jesuits say all but three of the men were dead. They say they reviewed documents going back to the 1950s, and that in most cases, the abuse came to light after the priest or brother died. The order says some cases never went to court.
13 ““ Two men die after a pickup truck driven by a 38-year-old man plowed into pedestrians who were walking beside a road in the eastern Quebec town of Amqui. A provincial police spokeswoman says nine other people are injured, including two whose injuries were considered serious. A third man dies on March 19.
15 ““ Canadian Pacific Railway’s takeover of Kansas City Southern Railway receives its final regulatory approval. Approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Safety Board clears the way for the $42.7-billion deal, which would create the only single-line rail network linking Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
15 ““ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces the appointment of former governor general David Johnston as special rapporteur on foreign interference. Johnston is tasked with looking into allegations of foreign meddling in Canada’s last two federal elections. He is also to make recommendations on what the Liberal government should do about it.
16 ““ Two Edmonton police officers are shot and killed while responding to a domestic dispute. Police Chief Dale McFee says 35-year-old Const. Travis Jordan and 30-year-old Const. Brett Ryan were shot when they arrived on the scene. McFee says it appeared neither officer had a chance to draw their weapons. Police say the shooter was a 16-year-old boy who also shot and wounded his mother before shooting and killing himself.
16 ““ Seven people are killed in a fire at a historic building in Old Montreal. Those killed in the fire included a long-term resident of the heritage building as well as people who had booked accommodation on short-term rental sites such as Airbnb, which are illegal to use in the part of Montreal where the building is located.
17 ““ American actor Lance Reddick dies. Reddick’s publicist says the 60-year-old died suddenly, and attributed his death to natural causes. The character actor specialized in intense and icy authority figures on TV and film. He was best known for his role as straitlaced Lt. Cedric Daniels on the hit HBO series “The Wire.” He also played hotel concierge Charon in the “John Wick” movies.
23 ““ Air Force 1 touches down in Ottawa as U.S. President Joe Biden kicks off a 27-hour visit to the national capital.
23 ““ Canada and the United States reach an agreement in principle to have asylum seekers turned back at irregular border crossings, including Roxham Road in Quebec.
25 ““ Migrants arriving at Roxham Road in Quebec start to face arrest if they try to illegally enter Canada. As part of a deal worked out during U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip to Canada, the Safe Third Country Agreement now applies along the entire border.
25 ““ Russian President Vladimir Putin announces plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus. Putin says it was in response to Britain’s recent decision to provide Ukraine with armour-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium. Russia had falsely claimed these rounds had nuclear components.
27 ““ At least 10 people are seriously injured after an explosion destroys a home in northeastern Calgary. Fire officials say the force of the explosion created a large debris field and caused several fires.
27 ““ Sgt. Maureen Breau, a veteran Quebec provincial police officer, is stabbed to death while trying to arrest a man for uttering threats. Breau and another officer went to a home in Louiseville, about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal. A 35-year-old man grabbed a knife and stabbed her. He was later shot and killed by other officers who arrived at the house.
28 ““ Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tables the government’s latest budget, with a $40-billion deficit. The budget promises $59.5 billion in new spending over the next five years — notably on the green economy and health care. It also offers up some affordability measures to help Canadians dealing with high prices from inflation.
30 ““ The Vatican formally repudiates the “Doctrine of Discovery,” the theory that legitimized the colonial-era seizure of Indigenous lands and forms the basis of some property law today. Indigenous groups had been demanding such a statement for decades. A statement from the Vatican says the 15th-century papal bulls, or decrees, “did not adequately reflect the equal dignity and rights of Indigenous Peoples” and had never been considered expressions of the Catholic faith. It adds that the documents had been “manipulated” for political purposes by colonial powers.
30 ““ The final report from the public inquiry into the 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia finds widespread failures in how the Mounties responded, and called for fundamental change in the RCMP. The commission describes red flags that police missed in the years leading up to the murders of 22 people, including the killer’s violence toward his spouse. The report says RCMP commanders ignored eyewitness accounts, failed to promptly warn residents of the danger and failed to use basic investigative steps. It also calls for a ban on all semi-automatic handguns and all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns that discharge centrefire ammunition.