Canada. In January, six men were shot to death during an evening prayer at a mosque in the city of Quebec. According to media, the attack was one of the worst against Muslims in a Western country. In addition to the deaths, 20 people were injured, five of them seriously. Shortly after the deed, 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette surrendered to the police, after which he was formally arrested on six murders and five attempted murders. Canadian police were outraged about the motive, but according to US security sources, Bissonnette was likely motivated by his hatred of Muslims. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the incident as a terrorist attack.
During the year, more and more refugees and migrants sought refuge in Canada. The increase began in February and, according to Canadian police, was partly due to the fact that many refugees felt fear of US tougher migration policy since Donald Trump took office. In the province of Quebec’s largest city Montreal, authorities opened the city’s Olympic Stadium in August to accommodate the rising number of asylum seekers. The same month, many Haitians came from the United States across the border to Quebec to seek asylum in Canada. About 60,000 Haitians were offered temporary sheltered status in the United States following the Great Haiti earthquake in 2010, but the United States has warned that the residence permit, which expires in 2018, may be revoked.
In April, a US-Canada trade dispute broke out. The quarrel was about a long-contested issue of Canadian timber, which the United States was considering imposing new duties on. Further, the United States threatened to change the rules for the importation of dairy products since Canada imposed tariffs on a product used for cheese production.
According to Countryaah.com, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Vatican in May to invite the Pope to visit Canada. The purpose was to get the Pope to make an apology from the Catholic Church to Canada’s indigenous people.
For over a century, around 30% of indigenous children were placed in boarding schools, many of which were administered by the Catholic Church – which would cause the children to abandon their language, culture and traditions. According to a report from the Canada Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015, children were subjected to sexual and physical abuse at boarding schools.
In July, around 25,000 people gathered for a big party in the capital, Ottawa, to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Media reported in September that the province of Ontario planned to open 40 marijuana stores by July 1, 2018. Sales would be from both stores and over the Internet. The decision was made since the Canadian Liberal government earlier this year presented a bill that legalizes marijuana for recreational purposes. According to plans, the law would come into force in mid-2018.
In August, a total of 1,840 forest fires were reported in the state of British Columbia in western Canada since April. Over 300 buildings had been destroyed by the fires and tens of thousands of people had to leave their homes. Of those who had moved, 6,000 people had still not been able to return in August. Firefighters were sent from both Australia and the United States and Mexico to help with the extinguishing work.
A policeman was stabbed outside a football stadium in Alberta’s capital, Edmonton, in October. After the attack, the perpetrator fled in a truck and injured another four people as he drove at full speed on pedestrians on a central street in the city. All of the victims were hospitalized for serious injuries, but none of them were life-threatening injuries. The offender could be arrested after accidentally overturning his truck, in which an IS flag was found. According to the Reuters news agency, the arrested man was a 30-year-old refugee from Somalia, who was on a list of extremists. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the incident as a terrorist attack.
The same month, the provincial parliament in Quebec passed a new law banning the face of both those working in the public sector and those in contact with the authorities. The new law would come into force on July 1, 2018.
At the initiative of US President Donald Trump, negotiations began on the NAFTA Free Trade Agreement in August. The agreement, which applies between Canada, Mexico and the United States, came into force in 1994. Since then, a gradual settlement of customs duties has taken place between the countries. The countries’ goal, after Donald Trump questioned the agreement he deemed unfair, was to reach agreement on a new treaty before the turn of the year. But when Donald Trump declared in October that it could be both possible and possibly impossible to reach an agreement, it looked increasingly difficult for the countries to reach the target at the appointed time. Some of the negotiating points concerned the environment, workers’ rights and Mexican wages. According to TT News Agency, 2.5 million Canadian jobs are affected by the NAFTA agreement, which was still in effect in November.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s campaign manager Stephen Bronfman was pointed out in November in the so-called paradise leak, where 13.4 million documents revealed business via tax havens. Bronfman was accused of placing multi-million dollars in a foundation in the Cayman Islands along with former Liberal Senator Leo Kolber.