On this date, Dec. 2, in history:
In 1552, St. Francis Xavier, the founder of the Jesuits, died while on a missionary journey to China.
In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.
In 1805, the French army under Napoleon defeated the combined Austrian and Russian armies at the battle of Austerlitz, near Vienna.
In 1853, Gov. Douglas established the Supreme Court of Vancouver Island.
In 1878, a railway was completed from Winnipeg to the American border.
In 1902, James Hamilton Ross became the first member of Parliament for the Yukon, despite having a paralytic stroke which left him unable to campaign.
In 1927, Henry Ford unveiled his “Model A” car. The roadster was priced at $385.
In 1942, the atomic age was born with the first controlled nuclear chain reaction on a squash court at the University of Chicago.
In 1949, Britain empowered the Canadian Parliament to amend the British North America Act.
In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared that he was a Marxist-Leninist and would lead the country to Communism.
In 1961, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 21-14 in the first overtime Grey Cup game. Winnipeg quarterback Kenny Ploen scored the winning touchdown in the extra session at Toronto’s CNE Stadium.
In 1962, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers edged the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 28-27 in Toronto in the only Grey Cup game that stretched over two days. Fog at Toronto’s CNE Stadium forced play to be suspended in the fourth quarter the previous day. There was no fog, nor scoring, on the second day.
In 1963, a new transpacific telephone cable linking Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand was officially inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth. The prime ministers of the four countries talked via more than 24,000 kilometres of underwater cable.
In 1969, Vancouver and Buffalo were awarded National Hockey League franchises.
In 1969, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet got its first public preview as 191 people, most of them reporters and photographers, flew from Seattle to New York.
In 1973, millions of U.S. drivers kept their cars at home in response to President Nixon’s appeal to conserve gasoline.
In 1975, a bill to make wearing seat belts compulsory was given final reading in the Ontario legislature.
In 1981, the House of Commons passed a resolution to patriate Canada’s Constitution. The legislation, which led to the Constitution Act of 1982, included an amending formula and a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The resolution was passed 246-24 and was supported by all three parties and all provinces except Quebec. The Constitution took effect April 17, 1982.
In 1982, a surgical team at the University of Utah Medical Centre in Salt Lake City implanted the first permanent artificial heart in a human being. The patient — 61-year-old Barney Clark — a retired Seattle dentist, lived 112 days with the device but died on March 23, 1983.
In 1983, Fifi D’Orsay, the Montreal-born motion picture actress known as the “French Bombshell” in the 1930s, died in Los Angeles at age 79.
In 1984, more than 2,000 people died when poisonous cyanide gas leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India; 50,000 others were blinded or otherwise injured.
In 1985, the federal government agreed to sell Crown-owned de Haviland Aircraft of Canada to Boeing Commercial Aircraft Co. for $155 million.
In 1985, the Quebec Liberals ousted the Parti Quebecois from power, winning 99 seats in a provincial election. Liberal Leader Robert Bourassa lost in his own riding but won a later byelection.
In 1986, Desi Arnaz, the Cuban-born singer-bandleader who was best-known for his role as Ricky Ricardo in the television series I Love Lucy, died in Hollywood, Calif., at age 69.
In 1987, the earliest surviving version of Albert Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity,” was sold at Sotheby’s for $1,155,000, the highest price ever for a manuscript in the United States.
In 1988, Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan.
In 1989, Audrey McLaughlin became the first female leader of a national political party by defeating Dave Barrett in Winnipeg for the NDP leadership.
In 2001, Houston-based energy company Enron Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection — the largest such filing in U.S. history. The company was accused of using a complex web of partnerships to hide millions of dollars in debt.
In 2002, Rowan Williams became the leader of the world’s 70 million Anglicans as he was confirmed as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury. He replaced the Most Rev. George Carey.
In 2002, at a meeting of 32 donor countries, Canada pledged $11.3 million to help Afghanistan create a new national army and rebuild the legal system. The money was to come from $100 million that Canada had pledged to help rebuild Afghanistan over the next several years.
In 2002, Irwin Toy Ltd., one of the last remaining major Canadian toy companies, filed for protection from creditors, owing them about $72-million after failing to deliver products to retailers on time. The company cut a big chunk of its workforce.
In 2006, Liberal delegates chose Quebec MP Stephane Dion as their new federal leader at a Montreal convention.
In 2007, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez suffered a defeat as voters rejected sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 to 49 per cent.
Also in 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party swept 70 per cent of the seats for a new parliament in a vote whose fairness was called into question by European election monitors.
In 2008, Thailand’s prime minister Somchai Wongsawat resigned after weeks of protests closed the capital’s airports, stranding 300,000 travellers. The resignation came after the nation’s Constitutional Court dissolved Thailand’s top three ruling parties for electoral fraud and banned him from politics for five years.
In 2008, Canadian media magnate Ted Rogers, founder and CEO of Rogers Communications, died in Toronto at age 75. Rogers founded the business in 1960 when he bought Toronto radio station CHFI-FM at a time when it was the only FM station in Canada, and built it into Canada’s largest wireless, cable and media company, which owns the Toronto Blue Jays, five Citytv television stations across the country, as well as the Rogers cable TV, wireless, radio and magazine businesses, including Maclean’s and Chatelaine.
In 2009, Stephen Harper arrived in Beijing for his first visit to China since becoming prime minister four years earlier, and unveiled his fourth economic stimulus update, an action that opposition parties back home called “bizarre.”
In 2010, Ontario’s highest court ruled that prostitution laws would stay in place in Ontario as the federal government prepared an appeal of a landmark ruling in April that struck down key provisions of the legislation. (In March 2012, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled a ban on brothels puts prostitutes at risk and was therefore unconstitutional. In December 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the country’s prostitution laws in a unanimous 9-0 ruling. Parliament had one year to produce new legislation, which it did with Bill C-36. It was passed in November 2014 and took effect on Dec. 6, 2014, and criminalizes the purchase of sex, but provides legal immunity to those who sell it.)
In 2014, beloved Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau died at the age of 83. The classy centre scored 507 goals, won 10 Stanley Cups and was captain for 10 seasons before his retirement in 1971. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
In 2015, a radicalized married couple opened fire on a holiday gathering of the husband’s county co-workers at a social services centre in San Bernardino, Calif., killing 14 people and wounding 21 others. Hours later, they died in their getaway vehicle in a shootout with police just a few kilometres from their deadly rampage.
In 2016, fire tore through a cluttered illegally occupied Oakland warehouse during a late night dance party, killing 36 people.
In 2018, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced across-the-board oil production cuts would be imposed starting in January to reduce a glut of oil that had increased the price discount on the province’s oil compared with the North American benchmark. She ordered an 8.7 per cent reduction in oil production, reducing raw crude and bitumen production by roughly 325,000 barrels per day.
In 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine was granted permission for emergency use in the United Kingdom. Pfizer said it would immediately begin shipping limited supplies to the U.K. The vaccine was given the green light after results of clinical trials showed it was 95 per cent effective overall. Trials also showed it offered significant protection for older people.
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On this date, Dec. 2, in history: