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Year in review: A look at news events in May 2023

A look at news events in May 2023: 1 – Legendary Canadian folk singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot dies of natural causes at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital at the age of 84.
A dog named Taurus lies by the casket at the public visitation for singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot at St. Paul's United Church, in his hometown of Orillia, Ont., Sunday, May 7, 2023. The dog, owned by a close friend of Lightfoot's, toured with him and would wait backstage for Lightfoot to finish his shows. The legendary Canadian artist died May 1, at the age of 84 from natural causes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill

A look at news events in May 2023:

1 – Legendary Canadian folk singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot dies of natural causes at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital at the age of 84. 

1 – The largest public servant strike in Canadian history ends for most of the more than 120,000 federal public servants who spent 12 days on picket lines. The Public Service Alliance of Canada reaches a tentative contract agreement with the government. About 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency employees remain on strike as negotiations over a separate collective agreement continued.  

2 – For the first time in 15 years, TV and movie writers launch an industry-wide strike. The Writers Guild of America says its 11,500 unionized screenwriters headed to the picket lines after negotiations between studios and the writers failed to reach a new contract before the current deal expired at midnight.

2 –The House of Commons unanimously backs a motion to declare the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls a Canada-wide emergency. The motion will also fund a new system to alert the public when an Indigenous woman is missing.

3 – Two Manitoba lawyers already facing criminal charges also face charges by the Law Society of Manitoba for allegedly hiring a private investigator to watch a judge hearing a case about COVID-19 public health orders. John Carpay and Randal Jay Cameron both represented several churches that tried to overturn public health orders blocking in-person religious services at the height of the pandemic.

4 – King Charles meets with a delegation of Indigenous leaders at Buckingham Palace and received an invitation to Canada to continue the work of reconciliation. The delegation includes Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, as well as Metis and Inuit leaders. The three say the meeting was about establishing a relationship with the King, and that the tougher conversations about Canada's colonial history will come later.  

5 – The World Health Organization says COVID-19 no longer qualifies as a global emergency, but is still a global health threat. The declaration marks a symbolic end to a phase of the pandemic that triggered lockdowns, upended the global economy and killed at least seven million people worldwide.

6 – King Charles is crowned at London's Westminster Abbey, with plenty of pomp and pageantry. His coronation features 4,000 troops marching to Buckingham Palace in the post-ceremony procession from Westminster Abbey. It's Britain's biggest military parade in 70 years.

6 – Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says the province has declared a state of emergency due to the threat of wildfires, with nearly 110 wildfires burning in the province.

6 – Quebec public security officials say 89 municipalities are dealing with spring flooding with more than 660 people across the province forced to leave their homes. 

8 – The federal government says it is expanding a project it launched during the pandemic to offer temporary workers in the agriculture and food sector a pathway to permanent residency. Family members of workers who make it into the program will be given open work permits so they can earn a living while they're in Canada. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says the project will keep operating until 2025.

8 – Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government passes a health reform bill that's designed to cut long wait lists and a surgical backlog of more than 200,000 cases.

8 – Canada expellees a Toronto-based Chinese diplomatwho Canada's spy agency alleges was involved in a plot to intimidate Conservative MP Michael Chong and his relatives in Hong Kong. 

9 – Canada announces that it will be contending for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

10 – Firefighters from Yukon, B.C., Ontario and Quebec arrive in Alberta to help crews battling 81 wildfires. The province says crews are also expected from New Brunswick, Oregon and Alaska. 

10 – Federally regulated workplaces are expected to begin offering free menstrual products to workers in mid-December. The federal Liberals change the Canada Labour Code to ensure access to the products, delivering on a 2021 election campaign promise. 

11 – Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair says Ottawa agreed to help with what he calls the "unprecedented wildfire situation" in Alberta. Blair says Canadian Forces personnel are being deployed to the Grande Prairie, Fox Creek and Drayton Valley areas. 

11 – Police in India want two Vancouver residents extradited to face charges after four members of the same family froze to death while trying to cross from southern Manitoba into the U.S. in January, 2022.  Investigators say they believe the deaths of the couple and their 11-year-old daughter and three-year-old son are linked to a human smuggling operation.

12 – It's announced that the search of a Winnipeg-area landfill for the remains of two First Nations women could take up to three years and cost $184 million. A report commissioned by an Indigenous-led committee says a search of the Prairie Green Landfill is feasible, but there are considerable risks -- namely, exposure to toxic chemicals and asbestos and no guarantee the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran will be found. The report ultimately finds that forgoing a search could be more harmful to the families of the two women.

12 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau becomes the first sitting prime minister to visit Labrador's Inuit region. He visits Nain for a meeting of the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee.

13 – For the first time in 44 years – and only the third time in history – a woman will sit in the Speaker's chair in the Senate. Manitoba Sen. Raymonde Gagne is appointed to replace retiring George Furey.

16 – It is announced that Martha Stewart will make history. The 81-year-old will be the oldest model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.

16 – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the province has no plans to end its use of natural gas and coal in the coming decades, despite Ottawa's net-zero target for 2035. Moe says the province's existing and soon-to-be built natural gas plants are to be used until their end of life. The premier says it's not possible for Saskatchewan to meet the federal target because it would cost $46 billion and would more than double utility bills.

18 – The federal government's new gun control bill is on its way to the Senate, almost a year after its introduction. MPs pass the gun-control bill that would cement restrictions on handguns, increase penalties for firearm trafficking and try to curb homemade ghost guns. The legislation also includes a ban on assault-style firearms.

19 – Princess Anne starts a visit to New Brunswick to mark the 175 years of service of the 8th Canadian Hussars. She has been colonel-in-chief of the regiment since June, 1972. Members of the reserve regiment have served in Afghanistan, and have helped Maritimers after ice storms, floods and hurricanes.

19 – Parks Canada says it is rewriting more than 200 historical plaques to reflect the fact many historical figures held and acted on beliefs that are now found to be unacceptable. Director of Heritage Pat Kell says the texts reflect outdated assumptions and the changes are being partly driven by the 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

19 – After a bitter, nearly six-week standoff, Newfoundland and Labrador's snow crab fishery starts up. The Fish Food and Allied Workers Union sign a deal with the province's seafood processors that guarantees crab fishers $2.20 a pound for their catch, and price hikes up to $2.75 a pound if the market improves.

23 – The RCMP turns 150 years old. The federal police service marks the occasion with events countrywide.

23 – The federal government's special rapporteur, former governor general David Johnston, says a formal inquiry into foreign interference is not needed. Johnston says he will hold his own public hearings about the issue sometime this year, as an inquiry cannot be undertaken in public because of the sensitivity of the intelligence involved. 

24 – Iconic, chart-topping singer Tina Turner dies at age 83 at her home in Switzerland after a long illness. She sold more than 150 million records worldwide and won 11 Grammys.

25 – Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announces more than $12 million in funding over the next five years to help the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory fight organized crime. The new money comes after the deaths of eight migrants who tried to cross into the U.S. by boat over the St. Lawrence River in late March. Authorities have described Akwesasne as a popular spot for human smuggling because it straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York state.  

25 – The United Nations marks the 75th anniversary of UN peacekeeping.

26 – The National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association file a motion seeking a judicial review of the Quebec government's decree banning prayer rooms in public schools. Education Minister Bernard Drainville says that he can't ban prayer altogether and that students who want to pray should do so discreetly and silently. 

28 – A rapidly spreading wildfire, fed by strong winds and tinder-dry woods, destroys homes and forced the evacuation of several suburban communities northwest of Halifax.

29 – Quebec and the federal government pledge $300 million in funding for a factory that will make components for electric vehicle batteries in Becancour. The joint project between automaker General Motors and South Korean industrial materials maker POSCO Future M was first announced by the companies last year. The factory is expected to employ around 200 people when it opens in 2025.

29 – Danielle Smith is re-elected as premier in Alberta after the United Conservative Party wins a majority government.

31 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government will send in the Armed Forces to help battle out-of-control forest fires in Nova Scotia. 

31 - Several Grade 5 students in Winnipeg are treated for broken bones and other injuries after an accident during a school trip to a popular tourist attraction. Seventeen schoolchildren and one adult were taken to hospital after falling four-and-a-half to six metres at Fort Gibraltar. The kids from the private St. John's-Ravenscourt School fell from a wooden structure within the Winnipeg venue that hosts functions and historical re-enactments.

31 – The U.S. House has approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package, sending the deal off to the Senate. The approval comes as President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans against fierce conservative blowback and progressive dissent.

The Canadian Press