GAY MARRIAGE Three years and eight days after an Ontario Superior Court first ruled gay marriage legal it became the law of the land. Following a brief if fractious debate in the Senate, the Liberal government’s bill to allow same-sex weddings became law on July 20. Canada is the fourth country in the world, after Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, to recognize the practice.
MURDERED Neighbours called them an ideal couple. And when Liana White, 29 and pregnant with her second child, went missing on July 12, supposedly on her way to her hospital job, Edmontonians joined the search en masse. Her body was found five days later on the outskirts of the city—by a volunteer search party headed by her husband Michael, 28. A mechanic and former soldier, he was charged with her murder, though police have offered no motive, nor any direct evidence to link him to the crime. Her body was so decomposed, police said they may never know exactly how she was killed.
SWIM LESSONS About 500 Canadians drown each year, the Red Cross says, and a new study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under 5, after auto accidents. The federal minister for public health, Carolyn Bennett, said she wanted to make swim lessons part of public school curricula and would talk to the provinces about help with funding.
NATIVE RIGHTS The Supreme Court of Canada rejected claims by Mi’kmaqs in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that they could cut and sell timber from Crown land without a government permit. More importantly, the court severely restricted the legal underpinnings of the claim—that friendship trading agreements signed with British colonial officials centuries ago form the basis of a full treaty right. These friendship agreements are being relied upon by many native groups across the country for land claims and also for the right to control natural resources like oil and gas that are found on native land.
NHL Fittingly, perhaps, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the draft rights to scoring phenom Sidney Crosby, probably the most hyped junior prospect since, well, Mario Lemieux, the Penguins captain and coowner. The much-delayed draft came after first the players, then the 30 club owners ratified a new six-year, salary-capping deal after a lost NHL season. The deal also ushers in a number of rule changes. Goalie equipment will be smaller, there will be no two-line offsides and a shootout will take place if the game is still tied after five minutes of four-against-four overtime.
Thousands of tourists, mostly Canadians and Americans, were forced to sleep in makeshift shelters and at airports after Hurricane Emily ripped into the popular Cancun resort area on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, tearing the roofs off some hotels and playing havoc with flight schedules.
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