VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – From a suspected overdose death that rocked the Lower Mainland, to violent democratic protests overseas, and the biggest win for Canada’s only NBA team — this past year saw its fair share of important stories which have captivated B.C. and the world.
Here are NEWS 1130’s 10 biggest stories of 2019, in no particular order:
Carson Crimeni’s suspected drug overdose
Carson Crimeni’s suspected overdose death this past summer rocked the community of Langley and sparked investigations and petitions.
On Aug. 7, Carson, 14, slowly died in Walnut Grove Skatepark in front of older teens, who apparently gave him drugs and pulled out their phones to film him. They laughed, instead of calling for help when Carson showed signs of trouble.
More than two weeks after his death, flowers and lit candles remain at Walnut Grove Skatepark for 14-year-old Carson Crimeni.
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) August 22, 2019
The Langley RCMP officers sent to the skatepark that evening found no sign of Carson or the people he was with. It wasn’t until two hours after those officers had left that he was found and taken to the hospital by ambulance.
It was too late and he died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Shortly after, the skatepark was flooded with flowers, candles and stuffed toys. A GoFundMe page for Carson’s family raised over $40,000, and an emotional public funeral drew hundreds.
Both the Langley RCMP and the B.C.’s police watchdog launched investigations. A petition called for justice for the teen gained over 55,000 signatures while another asked the city to rename the skate park after Carson.
The officer who responded to the initial 911 call were recently cleared of any wrongdoing by B.C.’s Police Watchdog, but the Langley RCMP investigation continues.
- Mounties confirm Langley teen’s death may have involved drugs
- Friends, family devastated by video taken the night 14-year-old died at Langley skate park
- Heartbroken family of Langley teen who died from suspected overdose grateful donations pouring in
- Petition demanding justice, accountability in Langley teen’s death gathers thousands of signatures
- ‘He was the coolest kid I ever knew’: Langley father speaks at funeral of teen son
- IIO finds Langley RCMP did nothing wrong in Carson Crimeni case
Greta Thunberg’s climate crusade
A young girl from Sweden took the world by storm in 2019, inspiring millions of young people to take to the streets and demand action on climate change.
Greta Thunberg made an incendiary speech at the United Nations in September, asking a very simple, very direct question — “How dare you?”
The 16-year-old climate activist called out politicians for ignoring the threat of climate change and the future of young people around the world.
— Lasia Kretzel (@lkretzel1130) September 27, 2019
She had already inspired an international movement, dubbed Fridays for the Future, with young people marching to demand action and accountability from world leaders. After Thunberg’s fiery speech, millions more around the globe joined the cause.
In Vancouver, a late-September climate march attracted 100,000, predominantly young, people to the streets of downtown Vancouver.
Thunberg was chosen as TIME’s Person of the Year for starting and leading the movement.
- 100,000 climate strikers take over Vancouver streets
- Greta Thunberg named TIME’s 2019 Person of the Year
- Trump criticizes teen climate activist after magazine honour
- Teen activist says future has been stolen by climate change
Hong Kong protests
What started as a small dispute over an extradition bill, ultimately ballooned into a pro-democracy movement which continues to consume Hong Kong over six months later.
Since June, massive, and sometimes violent, protests have crippled various parts of the city, from a busy metro system, to the international airport, to the centrally-located Polytechnic University.
Even after Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam scrapped the contested bill, demonstrators and riot police continued to clash in the streets with one side wielding tear gas and rubber bullets, the other with umbrellas and Molotov cocktails.
As China’s influence on the world stage continues to grow, its unflinching opposition to the protests is a reminder that behind it all is a regime with little regard for democratic freedoms.
- Dueling Hong Kong protests face-off in Vancouver
- UBC urges exchange students in Hong Kong to return to B.C. due to violent protests
- UBC Hong Kong club worries for member on exchange at university under siege
- Hong Kong protesters mark 6 months since movement began
- Pro-democracy camp wins Hong Kong elections in landslide
Trudeau’s costume faux pas
Despite the backlash Justin Trudeau faced amid the embarrassing brownface scandal, he was still able to win this year’s federal election.
.@JustinTrudeau's office says he will not be wearing a costume when he goes trick or treating with his kids later. In previous years he has dressed up like Superman and Han Solo. The PMO gave no specific reason, but this follows the brownface scandal during the campaign. #cdnpoli
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) October 31, 2019
Less than a week on the campaign trail, a Time Magazine story broke showing Trudeau, a then-29-year-old private school teacher in Vancouver, dressed in a robe, turban, and brownface for an “Arabian Nights” themed party in 2001.
Within hours, Trudeau, said sorry but also admitted he had worn similar facepaint when he was in high school. Then, an old video surfaced depicting Trudeau in dark makeup on his face and possibly legs and arms, laughing, and making faces. He went on to describe it all as a mistake.
We also heard from the man who leaked the initial photo of Trudeau, who claimed he was not affiliated with any political party and received no payment for sharing the image.
Despite the anger and repeated calls for resignation, Trudeau’s Liberals went on to win a minority government on Oct. 21.
- Trudeau addresses multiple instances of blackface, brownface at Saskatoon town hall
- Man in photo with Trudeau in brownface says he’s not offended
- ‘Insulting,’ ‘shocking,’ troubling:’ Party leaders react to photo of Trudeau in brownface
- More trouble for Trudeau, Liberals as new video of leader wearing racist makeup comes to light
- It’s shaken the election campaign, but has Trudeau’s brownface image shaken the trust of voters?
Scandal shrouds the Vancouver Whitecaps
In a season the Vancouver Whitecaps had hoped would centre on the 40th anniversary of the club’s 1979 Soccer Bowl championship, a very different story emerged.
Former members of the now-defunct women’s team brought forward decade-old abuse allegations about coaches involved with the squad and the national program. Former player Ciara McCormack was the first to level claims of bullying, harassment, and sexually inappropriate behaviour in February, before she was eventually joined by 13 other women.
A coach sending sexual text messages to underage girls, a player pressured to sleep in same hotel room as a different coach & a culture of intimidation. Listen to @NEWS1130 as we hear those claims from a former Whitecaps women's player calling for changes to protect young players
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) February 28, 2019
It wouldn’t be until May that the Whitecaps finally issued an apology to the players, following months of protests by fan groups, season ticket holder threats to cancel, and extensive reporting by NEWS 1130 and other outlets.
The @Southsiders — the largest Whitecaps supporters group — tell me its members will once again lead a fan walkout, telling me "nothing has changed" since last home game.
Walkout will happen in 35th minute of tomorrow's match at BC Place. #VWFC
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) April 26, 2019
Sport Law & Strategy Group has completed a third party review of how the club handled the situation in 2008, finding that it handled the situation “reasonably,” although failed to communicate what it was doing properly to the players involved.
- Former Whitecaps women’s player claims abuse, calls for system overhaul
- Southsiders plan second walkout in response to Whitecaps misconduct allegations
- ‘We are sorry’: Whitecaps issue statement following abuse allegations
- Some Whitecaps season ticket holders cancel over response to abuse allegations
Toronto Raptors put Canada on top
The Toronto Raptors 2018-19 season began with a major gamble, as the perennial playoff team traded away its better player for a disgruntled superstar.
But as much as Raptors fans appreciate Demar Derozan, the move to acquire Kawhi Leonard proved to be an all-time great trade.
He led the team to the second-best record in the NBA, before creating one of the greatest moments in league history with his series winning shot against Philadelphia that hit the rim four times before dropping in.
Leonard and the Raptors went on to shock the world by upsetting first place Milwaukee, then ending the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty by taking home their first-ever NBA Championship.
- Raptors win first NBA championship, beat Warriors 114–110
- Kawhi Leonard’s Raptors tenure is over but historical season will live forever
- Toronto Raptors advance to NBA finals, first Canadian team in history
The arrest that strained Canada’s relation with China
It’s a case that’s grabbed international attention: the extradition hearings of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou.
More than a year after she was first taken into custody, Canadian courts are still trying to figure out if she should or can be sent to the U.S. to stand trial.
America claims she violated the country’s trade sanctions on Iran.
Her arrest is thought to have sparked retaliatory moves by China, including the detainment of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
- Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou pens letter thanking Canadians on anniversary of arrest
- Canadian held captive by China for the last year a ‘pawn in geo-political game,’ colleagues say
- Lawyers urge Canada to stop Chinese exec’s extradition to U.S. on fraud charges
- One year later, suspicious detention of two Canadians continues to strain relations with China
A city divided: Surrey’s push for a municipal police force
Surrey has had enough — enough gang violence, enough gun violence, and too many innocent lives lost. It was this belief the mayor and council members stood by as they planned for a new police force in the city that would replace the Surrey RCMP.
But support began to splinter when the report outlining the police transition was sent to the province without public consultation.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth comments following decision to greenlight Surrey Police transition process: pic.twitter.com/2cNLgzRSiN
— Martin MacMahon (@martinmacmahon) August 22, 2019
The move also caused three councillors to leave the Safe Surrey Coalition, to sit as independents.
Mayor Doug McCallum did not back down, insisting the police force would be approved. On Aug. 2, the province gave the plan the green light.
Since then, Surrey has grappled with the cost of a new police force, with council adopting a budget that froze the hiring of new police officers and firefighters to save money.
Tensions boiled over at the last council meeting of the year, with dueling rallies for and against a new police force, drawing hundreds of people to City Hall. Despite the yelling that filled council chambers on Monday, Dec. 16, the mayor stood firmly behind one belief: Surrey is not divided.
Councillor @guerra_laurie was explaining why she supported the budget when the entire chamber exploded with both sides screaming, and despite Mayor Doug McCallum asking for calm the yelling and arguing continued. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/1VnnrHiPB5
— Tarnjit Parmar (@Tarnjitkparmar) December 17, 2019
- B.C. gov’t approves Surrey police transition
- Surrey councillors left off police transition committee call on mayor for transparency
- ‘A real shame for the city’: Chaos erupts as Surrey council passes contentious budget without debate
- Head of Surrey police transition committee says mayor’s timeline is incorrect
- City Councillor Brenda Locke bolts from Safe Surrey Coalition
- ‘Phoney baloney’: Surrey group says city’s claims of sweeping support for municipal force are a farce
Cold and remorseless is how police describe two young men responsible for the summer-time murders of three people in northern B.C.
Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were childhood friends from Port Alberni who sparked a nation-wide manhunt in mid-July.
RCMP quickly determined the pair killed UBC botanist Leonard Dyck and a couple on vacation — Chynna Deese of North Carolina and Lucas Fowler from New South Wales, Australia.
Before carrying out their suicide pact, the 19-year-old and 18-year-old killers never explained why they did it.
- Australian man, U.S. woman killed in double homicide in northeastern B.C.: RCMP
- Series of unsolved homicides leaves people in northern B.C. on edge
- Deaths of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky ruled suicides
- A timeline of events in RCMP investigation of three homicides in northern B.C.
- Canada manhunt suspects recorded ‘last will and testament’ before taking their own lives: report
- No remorse, more murders planned: RCMP on B.C. homicides that sparked national manhunt
The impeachment of Donald Trump
Long ago, in an America quite different than the one we know today, the Framers feared the president — who had relatively few powers — could become the greatest threat to American liberty: a king. So they saw fit to make the president less like a regent by subjecting them to impeachment, should they commit high crimes or treason.
Fast forward to 2016, and not long after President Donald Trump spoke to the world for the first time as President of the United States of America, calls for his impeachment began in tiny corners.
The proverbial ball didn’t start rolling until a now infamous phone call, and an accusation from a whistleblower that President Trump had conditioned military aid to Ukraine on that country’s assistance in an investigation of the Biden family, in order to help his re-election bid.
On Dec. 18, after weeks of testimony and clashes, Trump was impeached on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
BREAKING: President Donald Trump has been impeached on Article 1 of the charges recommended, for abuse of power.
Vote on the second article should be coming up shortly. @NEWS1130
— Peter Wagner (@peterjontheair) December 19, 2019
Now, he joins the ranks of only two other U.S. presidents to face this process.
- Trump impeached on charges of abuse of power, obstruction
- Trump defiant after House impeaches him over Ukraine actions
- He’s still the U.S. president, so what does the impeachment of Donald Trump mean?
- Key dates in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump
- After vote, Pelosi stokes impeachment trial uncertainty