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Harper v. Canada and Koch bros in Canada: top Vancouver Observer stories of 2012

The year 2012 has been a turbulent one for news, filled with soaring highs and abysmal lows. Below is a list of our top stories of the year. They aren't just the high-traffic stories, but ones that provoked thought and reflection. The stories are local, national and global, and all worth reading twice. Here they are: 

Harper v. Canada: 2011 election scandal brings scrutiny to PM's controversial past

by David P. Ball

Before becoming Prime Minister, Stephen Harper spent years mired in a court case titled "Harper v. Canada" to challenge the country's election regulations. David P. Ball's article, which digs deep into Harper's past, provides intriguing background to issues such as the robocall scandal. Ball also reported on the Conservative party's use of U.S. Republican strategists in the lead up to the 2011 federal election.

North American Muslim response to Libya attacks and anti-Islam video

by Massoud Hayoun

As seen in the recent subway murder in New York (in which a woman pushed a man onto the tracks, claiming she 'hated Muslims'), Muslims in North America have grappled with Islamophobia since 9/11. In this insightful and touching article, Massoud Hayoun tells the story of Canadian and U.S. Muslims who want to use culture to carve out their place in North American culture, just like their Jewish and African counterparts. 

“Charitable” Fraser Institute accepted $500k in foreign funding from Koch oil billionaires

by Alexis Stoymenoff

Federal government went on an all-out attack against Canadian environmentalists and charities in 2012, accusing them of being backed by "foreign radicals". But was the same true of pro-oil, right-wing movement in Canada? Reporter Alexis Stoymenoff and Vancouver Observer researchers exposed how the right-wing Fraser Institute was receiving funds from U.S. oil billionaires who were the driving force behind the Tea Party movement. 

Thirteen arrested blocking BNSF coal train in White Rock

 by Carrie Saxifrage


What would drive a Nobel Peace Prize winner and respected citizens to risk arrest and personal safety to protest a coal train? The story, written with clarity by environmental writer Carrie Saxifrage, shatters stereotypes and gives voice to citizens taking action amid the federal government's increasing detachment toward environmental protection.   

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