12/27/2012 12:46 EST

BC's Top News Stories Of 2012


A central theme connects many of B.C.'s top newsmakers in 2012: the willingness to rise up against larger forces.

There was the movement against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline as activists from all over British Columbia took a stand against a major oil corporation. They made clear their opposition to a project that may travel over thousands of kilometres of wilderness and pose a major environmental threat in the event of a spill.

There was RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, who came forward in 2011 with sexual harassment allegations that rocked the national police force. This year, she filed a lawsuit detailing several incidents during her 16 years with the Mounties. The RCMP has responded, with Comm. Bob Paulson pledging to root "dark-hearted behaviour" out of the force.

And there was Amanda Todd, the 15-year-old girl whose story of bullying and harassment went around the world. A YouTube video produced shortly before her suicide sparked a wide-ranging discussion on bullying and what adults can do to keep young people safe.

There were, of course, other stories with different themes, but there's little doubt that a little boldness and courage put British Columbians on the public radar in 2012.

Story continues after slideshow:

See our choices for Top B.C. News Stories Of 2012:

Top BC News Stories 2012

12. Prince George Sawmill Fire

The Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George turned into a "wall of orange" when the facility exploded, killing two and injuring 24 others. The mill was shut down indefinitely amid a fire investigation, leaving several workers out of a job.

11. Chinese Foreign Workers

B.C. unions hit the roof over HD Mining's decision to hire Chinese workers instead of Canadians at a mine near Tumbler Ridge. Labour complaints forced a federal review of the Temporary Foreign Worker program.

10. Johnson's Landing Mudslide

Four people were killed when a massive landslide in Johnson's Landing, B.C. destroyed at least four homes. The landslide area remained a disaster zone two months after the slide, leaving residents to wait to return to their homes.

9. B.C. Conservative Meltdown

B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins looked like a genuine challenger to the B.C. Liberal government until his party imploded. A Tory faction tried to call for a leadership review at an annual general meeting and Cummins now finds his party's support collapsing.

8. Mario Gutierrez And I'll Have Another

Vancouver-trained jockey Mario Gutierrez rode his horse I'll Have Another to victories at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, narrowly missing the Triple Crown. Gutierrez, 25, trained at Hastings Racecourse in East Vancouver.

7. Missing Women Inquiry

Wally Oppal, commissioner of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry issued his long-awaited report on how police handled the Downtown Eastside missing women cases between 1997 and 2002. Recommendations included a regional police force and compensation for the children of missing and murdered women.

6. Enbridge Northern Gateway Debate

Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline generated no shortage of debate in 2012. A very public disagreement happened when the company released a video that omitted islands in the Douglas Channel, showing clear sailing for tankers; opponents countered with a video of their own. The national panel reviewing the oil giant's application has been hearing concerns over environmental impact should there be a an oil spill.

5. Jenna Talackova in Miss Universe Canada

The first transgender participant in the Miss Universe Canada, Jenna Talackova was dropped when organizers learned about her gender. She was later reinstated. The advocate llater started a petition calling on the World Health Organization to change its definition of transsexualism as an illness.

4. Vancouver Housing Bubble Pops

Vancouver's housing market encountered nothing but bad news for much of the year. The value of homes listed on the Multiple Listing Service dropped 25 per cent in August from the previous year, while housing starts also fell from 2011 levels.

3. Catherine Galliford RCMP Lawsuit

RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford filed a lawsuit against the Mounties claiming she was sexually assaulted, harassed and bullied in her 16 years as an active officer. The allegations were denied, but hundreds of women later joined a class-action lawsuit against the Mounties for bullying, verbal abuse and sexual harassment.

2. Haida Gwaii Earthquake

A 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Haida Gwaii in October. It triggered tsunami warnings and heightened concerns about B.C.'s preparedness for the "big one," a powerful quake expected to hit the southwest coast one day. The quake even shut off a popular hot spring.

1. Amanda Todd

Amanda Todd's heartbreaking story of bullying and harassment struck a nerve around the world. Motivated by Todd's story, B.C. Premier Christy Clark organized a provincial forum and children's entertainer Raffi started a campaign to make social media safer for young users.