Have your say: Top news stories of 2009
Published Monday, December 14, 2009 9:44AM PST
Bloody gang wars, murderer manhunts, raging wildfires, political milestones: No matter what the story was in B.C., we were there. As 2009 draws to a close, CTV British Columbia has selected its list of Top 10 news stories of the year.
In Pictures: 2009 Year in Review
Now it's your turn. Have your say and tell us what you think is the number one news story for 2009.
Metro Vancouver gang wars
The early months of 2009 saw at least 20 gang-related homicides in Metro Vancouver and more than four-dozen shootings in the turf war over drugs. Among the most high-profile killings was that of Nicki Alemy, a young mother gunned down while her son, 4, sat in the back seat of the car she was driving. The UN and Red Scorpion gangs suffered what some considered a mighty blow after leaders Dennis Karbavanec and Jamie Bacon were arrested in April in connection with the 2007 'Surrey Six' massacre.
2010 Olympic torch arrives
The famed Olympic torch relay started in Victoria on October 30, as first torchbearers Catriona Le May Doan and Simon Whitfield, both Olympic gold medallists, raised the white torch to the sky in front of the provincial legislature. The flame soon left for a 106-day, 45,000-kilometre relay that concludes Feb. 12 at BC Place to officially start the 2010 Winter Games.
Record hot and dry temperatures in July 2009 sparked a fierce wildfire season in B.C.'s Okanagan and across the province. The season, which prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents, saw more than 2,700 blazes and cost British Columbia almost $400 million - five times its original wildfire budget.
- Fire near Kelowna prompts 2,200 to evacuate
- Entire Lillooet District evacuated as blaze nears
- In Pictures: Lillooet Fire
In a case that grabbed worldwide headlines, retired Justice Thomas Braidwood headed a lengthy inquiry into the Taser death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport. The officers said they Tasered Dziekanski because they were threatened. However, witness video contradicted their version of events, sparking outrage. Crown prosecutors decided their actions were justified and no criminal charges were laid. A report released by the RCMP's independent watchdog said the use of the Taser was inappropriate.
- RCMP watchdog slams officers in Dziekanski case
- Inquiry recommends severe Taser restrictions
- In Pictures: Inquiry recommends severe Taser restrictions
Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)
The hotly contested Harmonized Sales Tax - or HST - became one step closer to reality after being overwhelmingly passed in the House of Commons in December. While many industries complained the combined tax would hurt their bottom line, Premier Gordon Campbell promised the HST would lower business costs and attract new investment to B.C. The tax takes effect July 1.
- House of Commons approves HST for B.C.
- Campbell not backing down on HST
- Support for Liberals drops because of HST
Surrey Six arrests
A year-and-a-half after six men were gunned down in a Surrey highrise, police charged six men in connection with 2007's Surrey Six massacre. Five Red Scorpions gang members were charged with murder in April, including leader Jamie Bacon and Dennis Karbovanec who was sentenced to life in prison. Two innocent bystanders were among the murder victims.
- B.C. poker champ arrested in Surrey Six slayings
- Karbovanec gets life for Surrey Six slayings
- Guilty plea in Surrey slayings, more arrests made
- In Pictures: Jamie Bacon arrested
Ryan Jenkins manhunt
After a massive international manhunt, former TV reality star and murder suspect Ryan Jenkins was found hanging dead in a motel room in Hope, B.C., August 23. The Calgary native fled to Canada after the mutilated and naked body of his ex-wife Jasmine Fiore, 28, was found in a suitcase in a California Dumpster. Police say Jenkins left a suicide note on his laptop saying he considered Fiore to be the love of his life but believed she was cheating on him.
- Ryan Jenkins left a suicide note
- TV star charged with ex's murder
In Pictures: Scene of reality star's death
H1N1 fears gripped B.C. as the pandemic spread across the world. Vaccine shortages across the province caused massive lineups at local clinics and shortages at doctor's offices. By early December, 47 British Columbians had died from H1N1. Vancouver Coastal Health vowed to reviews its procedures after Mae Mah, a 51-year-old Richmond resident, died from H1N1 after being turned away twice from hospital with breathing problems and sinus congestion.
- Latest information on H1N1 pandemic
- Flu clinics to close in B.C.
- More B.C. flu deaths expected as virus hits 2nd peak
Gordon Campbell wins historic third term
Liberal leader Gordon Campbell made British Columbia history in May by winning his third-straight victory against the opposition New Democrats. The close horse race decided who would lead the province through the 2010 Olympics and a worldwide economic downturn. The fight for votes was fierce in some key ridings, including the Vancouver suburb of Delta, where B.C. Attorney General and star candidate Wally Oppal was defeated - after he had declared victory --by Independent Vicki Huntington.
- BC Liberals focus on economy after third victory
- Stripping, speeding, drugs: B.C. election scandals
- Premier mum on Oppal blunder in Delta South
$2-billion Canada Line opens
The $2-billion Canada Line SkyTrain expansion linking Vancouver and suburban Richmond opened on August 17. The 19 kilometre run took four years to build and drew the ire of merchants whose businesses were disrupted during its construction, eventually resulting in a lawsuit against the developer that resulted in one shop owner being awarded $600,000.