Whether it’s weather, wildlife, crime or politics, there’s no doubt British Columbia was a domestic and international newsmaker in 2022.
The province made headlines around the world repeatedly throughout the year, advancing discussions on reconciliation, climate change, mental health and addictions, and more.
Here are just a few of the B.C.-based stories that were shared by global media outlets.
The world watched in shock and horror when Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc announced the presence of more than 200 suspected unmarked graves near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School last year. Since then, international media outlets have kept a closer watch on news from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, which are forcing Canada to confront the violence and racism of its colonization.
When Williams Lake First Nation announced the presence of 93 suspected unmarked burial sites on Jan. 25, Al Jazeera was one of many global outlets that spread the news far and wide. At the time, the nation was in the first phase of its geophysical search at the former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School.
On May 31, B.C. became the first province in Canada to remove criminal penalties for possession of some hard drugs for personal use. The province was granted an exemption under the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, making headlines in global publications like The Washington Post.
As of Jan. 31, 2023, The Post wrote, adults 18 and older in B.C. will be allowed to carry a cumulative total of up to 2.5 grams of certain illicit drugs, including opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA.
The exemption will be in effect until Jan. 31, 2026, throughout the province, as it continues to grapple with an overdose crisis.
New survey suggests British Columbians are divided over the decriminalization of hard drugs
When the long-awaited results of the Cullen Commission were released in B.C., The New York Times picked up on it, kicking off its June 15 article with these compelling findings:
“Self-professed students were buying multimillion-dollar homes in the Vancouver area, with dubious sources of income, or none at all … Loan sharks cleaned their dirty money by giving garbage bags and hockey bags full of illicit Canadian 20 dollar bills to gamblers who took it onto casino floors.”
While it concluded the B.C. government, police and federal anti-money laundering agency didn’t do enough to stop the crime, the 1,800-page report did not detect evidence of corruption.
Tigger made headlines in B.C. when he chased a black bear out of his owners’ driveway in North Vancouver, but the story of the fearless feline also made international news on June 27, when it was published by the U.S.-based United Press International.
The article quotes directly from Global BC, which reported on the driveway standoff at the home of Gavin and Cameron Sturrock. They said Tigger was known to deter dogs, spar with his feline brother Taz — and even steal chicken from the kitchen, but frightening a bear was something new.
“I saw the cat just chase after the bear and I was like no way,” Cameron told Global News at the time.
North Vancouver cat chases away bear
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If you’re one of more than 225,000 people around the world following IFLScience on Twitter, you may already know that British Columbia graced its timeline in 2022 for a rather unusual reason.
The U.K.-based science publication helped debunk an American YouTuber and wildlife presenter’s claim that he had found a “non-human primate” skull somewhere in B.C. over the summer. In a Facebook post, Coyote Peterson said he posted the pictures “before government/official try to cease our footage,” and that he had kept the skull secret for weeks before sharing it.
Peterson initially believed the skull to belong to a bear, but later said he could “100% guarantee” it did not, and titled his YouTube video, “Bigfoot Skull Found in Canada.” IFLScience picked up on the story on July 11, sharing comments from vertebrate paleontologist Darren Naish, who said it was “undoubtedly a gorilla skull,” based on “numerous anatomical details, and as verified by a list of experts.”
Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in the 1985 Air India terrorist bombings, was killed in a targeted shooting in a neighbourhood of Surrey, B.C., on July 14. That day, The Tribune of India wrote that Malik, 75, was a Sikh leader and businessman who had recently “heaped praise” on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a “commendable gesture” toward the Sikh community.
Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri were acquitted in 2005 of mass murder and conspiracy charges related to the pair of Air India bombings that killed 331 people, mostly from the Toronto and Vancouver areas. The attacks are the largest mass killing in Canadian history and set off an international investigation that ended in just one person being convicted, and heaps of criticism for the RCMP and federal agencies.
Malik was also known as a millionaire businessman, founder of the Khalsa Credit Union and head of the private, Sikh-faith-based Khalsa schools across the country.
Two men charged in shooting of Ripudaman Singh Malik
Like many parts of British Columbia, Australia has been gravely impacted by wildfires. The country’s bushfire season has grown by almost a month over 40 years, according to new research.
When Lytton was devastated by a deadly fire in June last year, Australians took note. More than a year later, as the southern B.C. village continues to rebuild, Reuters profiled its efforts to create a more environmentally-friendly, climate change-resilient and fireproof community.
“The wrangling over how to restore Lytton highlights the messy reality of climate adaptation, and what costs and delays people are willing to endure to cut carbon emissions and mitigate their fire risk,” reads the Aug. 8 article published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Fifteen-year-old B.C. teen Amanda Todd became an international symbol in the fight against online harassment when she published a YouTube video detailing her abuse, with help from cue cards, in the weeks before she took her own life.
Almost exactly 10 years after the tragedy, her name made headlines around the world when her tormenter, Dutch national Aydin Coban, was sentenced to 13 years behind bars. As BBC News wrote on Oct. 15, Coban was convicted of child luring, child pornography, extortion and harassment.
“We need to talk about it,” Todd’s mother Carol said at the time. “We need to make sure there is justice for Amanda.”
Possibility that Aydin Coban won’t see further jail time in Netherlands
Readers of The Guardian, a British daily publication, will know that the news outlet has paid close attention to B.C., particularly when it comes to climate change, wildlife, weather, and natural resources. This year was no exception, with a prolonged drought in the fall headlining an online article on Oct. 19.
“Now, the region has the opposite problem: months of drought have begun to take a toll on what was once dubbed Canada’s ‘wet coast,’” wrote author Leyland Cecco.
“The impact of the prolonged dry spell was underlined by recent footage showing some 65,000 dead salmon clogging a dried-up creek.”
When 27-year-old Ben Rowe of Whistler, B.C. ran a 42-kilometre mountain marathon to the peak of Mount Overlord, all before starting his evening bar shift, it was enough to make international headlines on Nov. 16.
An article published in the U.K. Edition of The Independent writes that Rowe enjoys coming up with “ridiculous” things to do before going to work at his cocktail bar. He completed this latest feat in just six hours and 45 minutes.