- BC Games
Top 5 stories in 2013 from across the country
Top 5 in Metro Vancouver
1. The premier vows a referendum will take place on any new funding sources for TransLink. It was an election promise of the BC Liberals but by year end there’s no indication what the question will be. Mayors want approval to levy a vehicle levy, a regional sales tax, or, eventually, regional road pricing. They fear a referendum defeat would be a major setback for the region.
2. Companies wanting to build a new garbage incinerator for Metro Vancouver unveil four proposed sites. Two would barge waste to Duke Point near Nanaimo or across Howe Sound to aboriginal land at Port Mellon. The other two sites are in south Vancouver and at Delta’s Lehigh Cement plant, which would burn processed garbage instead of coal.
3. TransLink delays the rollout of its new $194-million Compass card payment system. New faregates were to block SkyTrain fare evaders by this fall, but that’s pushed back to late 2014, with most users to be offered the cards next summer.
4. Metro Vancouver votes to oppose a coal export terminal that would bring coal via train through White Rock and South Surrey and send it by barge down the Fraser River. Several cities, including Surrey, oppose the project or express concern. Port Metro Vancouver orders an environmental assessment, which medical health officers reject as inadequate. A final decision by the port is expected soon.
5. Metro Vancouver’s board rejects a proposal to bring back stock car racing at the old Langley Speedway in Campbell Valley Regional Park. Park advocates and equestrians were strongly opposed.
Top 5 in B.C.
1. Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals are re-elected with a 49-seat majority government in the May provincial election, despite polls that for months gave the NDP a sizable lead. The NDP take 34 seats, while Independent Vicki Huntington is re-elected in Delta South and Andrew Weaver becomes B.C.’s first elected Green MLA.
2. Marijuana petitioners with Sensible BC fall short of the number of signatures needed to potentially force a referendum on pot decriminalization. Organizers vow to try again and seek new ways to convince government to enact pot reforms.
3. The province launches reviews of highway speed limits and also liquor policy, promising to explore ways to allow grocery stores to sell beer and wine. More public concern is voiced about potential changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve through the government’s core review.
4. The B.C. government orders a five-year freeze on further increases to the province’s carbon tax. Later in the year, the government announces BC Hydro rates will climb 28 per cent over five years. Significant cuts to BC Ferries service are also planned.
5. The province relents and allows an opt-out for smart meter resisters – they can keep their analog meters but only if they pay a monthly meter-reading surcharge. Opponents aim to fight on with a class-action lawsuit.
Top 5 in Canada
1. Toronto mayor Rob Ford becomes the subject of international ridicule after admitting to crack cocaine use. Video of the heavily intoxicated mayor that shows him making violent threats goes viral. A string of lies, false accusations, and bizarre behaviour continue to hound the first-term mayor of Canada’s largest city.
2. Ottawa is consumed by a Senate scandal over the claiming of improper expenses that triggers resignations in the Prime Minister’s office, accusations of a cover-up and a continuing RCMP investigation. The Senate votes to suspend the three senators in question – Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau.
3. Calgary was on the receiving end of all manner of extreme weather this year. In late June, heavy rains caused the worst flooding in Cow Town’s history, killing four people and displacing more than 100,000. Damage form the flood is estimated at $1.7 billion. In all, 32 municipal governments declared a state of emergency in southern Alberta as a result of the flooding. Winter brought no respite for Calgarians, who were buffeted by a blizzard in early December, closing highways and cancelling flights.
4. New federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau sparks debate with a call to legalize marijuana and his admission of past pot use – the last time being three years ago as MP. Tories highlight Trudeau’s admission in response to questions on the crack-smoking antics of Toronto mayor Rob Ford. By December, polls put the Liberals as much as 10 points ahead of the Conservatives as the Senate scandal continues to rock Ottawa.
5. The federal government makes overtures to build support for new oil pipelines through B.C. to Asian markets. Premier Christy Clark insists B.C. will hold fast to its five conditions. But industry optimism grows that more oil could yet flow west after Clark promises Alberta premier Alison Redford that B.C. won’t seek to benefit from Alberta’s royalites.