Society

Some of the best Maclean's reads of 2019

2019 saw our journalists cover political scandal, domestic violence, the housing crisis, multiple harrowing tales of rescue, climate change, Indigenous issues, one of the biggest sports wins of the decade and much more

(Linh Pham/Getty Images)

Into the dark

The inside story of an improbable team of divers, a near-impossible plan and the rescue of 12 boys from a Thai cave

Read the gripping feature by Shannon Gormley.


Tighter mortgage rules, combined with rising interest rates, means it’s getting harder for people to obtain the large mortgages necessary to get into the market. (Photo Illustration by Ed Freeman/Getty Images)

This is how Canada’s housing correction begins

Canadians are finally getting a taste of what a world with rising interest rates will look like, and one thing is painfully clear: we’re not ready for what happens next

Read the full feature by Jason Kirby.


Several times a week, Ashley Sakanee would haul bottles down to the local hotel’s reverse-osmosis machine, just so his family could drink and bathe. (Photograph by Chris Donovan)

Not a drop to drink

Members of the Neskantaga First Nation are set to take their first sips of safe tap water in 25 years. Many refer to it as ‘the moment,’ and it’s a matter of life and death

Read the full feature by Kyle Edwards.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks to volunteers and supporters during a community barbecue at Chinguacousy Park in Brampton, Ont. on Saturday, September 15, 2018. (Tijana Martin/CP)

This is what’s wrong with Canada’s Left

The Liberals are losing their hold on the centre, increasingly willing to alienate and inflame.

Read the full feature by John Geddes.


Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou leaves a Vancouver courthouse on Jan. 29, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou: The world’s most wanted woman

Inside the high-stakes extradition fight for a top Huawei executive—and why Canada’s relationship with China may never recover

Read the full story by Shannon Proudfoot, John Geddes, Paul Wells, Claire Brownell, Aaron Hutchins and Jason Markusoff


Jody Wilson-Raybould appears at the House of Commons Justice Committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 27, 2019. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

How a core member of Team Trudeau became the PM’s greatest threat

Jody Wilson-Raybould was once one of Justin Trudeau’s star political prospects. Now, a thorn in his side.

Read the full feature by John Geddes.


Prime Minister Trudeau in his Centre Block office in Ottawa on Dec. 8, 2016. (Adam Scotti/PMO)

Justin Trudeau, imposter

The phoniness of the Prime Minister’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin file is a trait he shows the Canadian people all too often

Read the full cover story by Paul Wells


Kaleb Dahlgren now plays for the York University Lions hockey team. (Mark Blinch)

Humboldt and its Broncos received a nation’s grief. Now it’s their turn to heal.

One year after the crash, both city and team are as resolved as ever to get past their cataclysmic moment. They just need a moment to take a breath.

Read the story by Aaron Hutchins.


Boxes start to pile up at Canada Post’s Gateway Plant at Eglington and Dixie (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star/Getty Images)

For fentanyl importers, Canada Post is the shipping method of choice

Most fentanyl enters Canada via the mail, thanks to an antiquated law. Why hasn’t the government acted?

Read the full investigation by Claire Brownell


Aerial view of Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) and cub in rocky hills along Hudson Bay near Repulse Bay, Nunavut Territory, Canada. (Paul Souders/Alamy)

To kill a polar bear

The fate and ferocity of the North’s greatest predator has pitted the Inuit against southern scientists, leading to an extraordinary moment in a Nunavut court

Read the full story by Aaron Hutchins


A work camp in Chetwynd, British Columbia on Sunday, April 28, 2019. (Photograph by Amber Bracken)

‘How we treat women’

Worker camps make it possible to build infrastructure in remote locations in Canada. Is it worth the human cost?

Read the full investigation by Kyle Edwards


A photograph of the NZ PM embracing a Muslim woman reproduced by artist Loretta Lizzio as an 18-metre mural on a silo in Melbourne (Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The world is broken—and human kindness is the only solution

From politics to health care to economics, a rising movement is calling for compassion as a remedy for systems on the brink

Read the full story by Anne Kingston


From sea to sea to sea, Canadians face destructive and mercurial weather, including storm surges like this one clobbering P.E.I.’s Oyster Bed Bridge (Don Jardine)

The climate crisis: “Yes, we should be scared.”

What will it take for popular opinion to catch up with the terrifying science? We talk to Canada’s top climate change experts.

Read the full story by John Geddes.


In the post-carbon future, downtown Calgary could boast green tech like hyperloops, wind farms and sustainable architecture (Photo illustration by Lauren Cattermole and Drew Maynard)

Yes, climate change can be beaten by 2050. Here’s how.

A carbon-free world can be a reality. What would that mean for our jobs, homes and lives?

Read the full story by Alanna Mitchell.


Nearly 100 gay rights activists demonstrate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Aug. 29, 1971, marching past the Peace Tower carrying signs that read “Canada: True, North, Strong and Gay” and “Homosexuals are Human Beings.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Bregg

Marching brave

To mark the 50th anniversary of Bill C-150—which amended Canada’s Criminal Code and represented a significant step forward for gay rights—Maclean’s looks back on five historic images from the past five decades, each of which highlights a key moment for the LGBQ community.

View the full photo essay.


The front lawn of the headquarters of SNC Lavalin is seen on Nov. 6, 2014 in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

How a bill becomes law—when SNC-Lavalin pulls the strings

The powerful engineering giant had two former Supreme Court justices, a former Privy Council clerk and the PMO on its side. It got everything it wanted—except a deal to escape a court fight

Read the full story by Nick Taylor-Vaisey


Shannon Proudfoot with her parents, Mike Proudfoot and Molly Mislan, at her 2003 graduation from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont

What does it mean to be working class in Canada?

Socio-economic lines are often erased or ignored in Canada. Here’s how I came to see my working class roots clearly.

Read the full story by Shannon Proudfoot


Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates his teams win over the Golden State Warriors in Game Six to win the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Journey to glory

The sublime joy of the Raptors championship capped a 26-year project to build a winner from scratch—overcoming reluctant athletes, snarky purists and a market short on basketball tradition. Mission accomplished.

Read the full story by Aaron Hutchins


Thousands of Albertans at a Canada Action rally for the oil and gas industry, which is deeply entwined with their collective identity (Photograph by Guillaume Nolet)

The rise of Alberta’s unapologetic petro-patriots

Legions of Albertans are showing their allegiance to oil by wearing their hearts on their sleeves (and caps and T-shirts and hoodies). Is it a defensive posture?

Read the full story by Jason Markusoff


The women and girls pictured represent a tiny sample of those killed recently in Canada in confirmed or suspected incidents of domestic violence by men. Some of these cases are still before the courts.

We are the dead

A months’-long Maclean’s investigation into intimate-partner violence reveals how systems, politicians and people have failed women and girls

Read the full story by Anne Kingston


Trudeau accepted his minor victory: ‘Let us all work hard to bring our country together.’
(Adam Scotti/Liberal Party of Canada)

How Justin Trudeau held on: The story of a gruelling, messy campaign

The path to a Liberal minority was paved with low points and sloppy moments. In this election, there were no undiluted victories.

Read the full story John Geddes, Shannon Proudfoot, Anne Kingston, Jason Markusoff and Paul Wells.


Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) GLACE BAY approaches the British S/V Makena in an attempt to assist the sailors onboard the Makena. (Courtesy of the Canadian Armed Forces)

Plucked from peril

The Makena set out for Halifax in fine weather under the steady hand of a respected skipper. It would be the yacht’s last voyage—and only the heroics of Canadian rescuers would spare its crew from tragedy.

Read the full feature by Nick Taylor-Vaisey