True North Initiative News Scan 01 05 2018

TOP STORIES

Joshua Boyle claims Taliban-linked captors tried to recruit him

Joshua Boyle was offered a position within the Taliban-linked network that held him and his family for five years and at one point rebelled against and planned to kill his captors, he claims. This information came to light in exclusive correspondence Boyle sent to the Sun in the weeks following his return, shedding light on his experiences with his captors as well as his personal worldview. Boyle and his wife Caitlan Coleman were kidnapped in 2012 and held hostage by the Haqqani Network (HN), an offshoot of the Taliban, while travelling in Afghanistan. They were held captive for five years, during which time they had three children. (Toronto Sun)

Security review required after Boyle’s visit with the PM, say experts

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s meeting with Joshua Boyle presents serious security questions and needs to be reviewed, experts have told the Sun. The initial news that the Boyle family, newly returned from captivity in Afghanistan, had met with Trudeau in December raised red flags with the intelligence community and general public given lingering questions about Joshua Boyle’s motivations for travelling to Afghanistan with a pregnant wife, as well as his former marriage to Omar Khadr’s sister. (Toronto Sun)

What really happened to Joshua Boyle and his family

Joshua Boyle sauntered through a suburban Ottawa shopping centre and pulled up a chair at a Timothy’s. Wearing a blue winter coat, baggy khakis and a chinstrap beard, he was indistinguishable from the other shoppers making their way in and out of the mall’s mid-range shops. “I’m sorry I’m late,” he said, planting his feet and leaning forward. “I was checking out a potential apartment and the bus got stuck in traffic.” (Macleans)

1,000 Protesters Arrested in Iran as Unrest Continues and Prisons Fill

After six days of anti-government protests that have caught Islamic Republic authorities off-guard, a series of pro-regime (and regime-staged) demonstrations took place around Iran on Wednesday, while the arrests of hundreds of anti-regime protesters continued. The country’s top reformist politician, former President Mohammad Khatami, angered many when he presided over a meeting held by the reform-oriented Assembly of Militant Clerics. During the meeting, there was strong language condemning the anti-government protesters. (Daily Beast)

Iran's regional enemies watch unrest, searching for leverage

Iran's most fervent regional foes, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are both eagerly looking for signs of vulnerability and imminent change in their nemesis amid the past week of protests across the country. But they've taken vastly different approaches of how to engage with the upheaval. (ABC)

Liberal MP Majid Jowhari's Iran tweets roil his heavily Iranian riding

The Liberal MP for Richmond Hill is facing the ire of many of his Iranian-Canadian constituents after posting a tweet many see as an attempt to legitimize the theocratic government in Iran. Iranian-born Majid Jowhari was elected in the 2015 election to represent Canada's most Iranian riding. But his Iranian-Canadian constituents, many of whom strongly oppose Iran's regime, have become some of his fiercest critics. (CBC)

Feds Stop Smuggled Uzbek Nationals near Canadian Border

Shortly after midnight on December 30, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers encountered Habib Muhammed, 46, a U.S. citizen, as he crossed the border from Canada at the Mooers Port of Entry in New York, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from CBP officials. During a border crossing inspection, officers found two passports issued by Uzbekistan and a Canadian driver’s license application. (Breitbart)

Liberal MP Geng Tan acted as intermediary for businessman now accused of fraud

Liberal MP Geng Tan hand-delivered a letter to a top official at the Canadian embassy in Beijing and personally spoke to Chinese authorities on behalf of a Liberal Party donor who has been charged with money laundering and the fraudulent sale of hundreds of millions of dollars in securities to Chinese citizens. (Globe and Mail)

US cuts Pakistan security assistance over terror groups

The US government is cutting almost all security aid to Pakistan, saying it has failed to deal with terrorist networks operating on its soil. The state department said the freeze would remain in place until Islamabad took action against the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban. (BBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Andrew Scheer removes Sen. Lynn Beyak over ‘racist’ letters about Indigenous people

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer has removed Sen. Lynn Beyak from the Conservative National Caucus, in the wake of a Global News report which found Beyak’s website to have published several letters containing language that First Nations advocates call racist or offensive. (Global)

Conservatives demand Trudeau appear before ethics committee after Aga Khan vacation

The Conservatives are demanding the prime minister answer more questions about his ethics-code breaking vacation on the Aga Khan's island. A meeting will be held next Tuesday to discuss whether the government's ethics committee should invite Justin Trudeau to testify before its members. (CBC)

Tweaks to immigration program aim to increase efficiency

Changes to the application process of the federal immigration program for sponsoring parents and grandparents aim to streamline the process by preventing ineligible submissions. The government began accepting applications for the Parents and Grandparents Program on Tuesday. This year, applicants must fill out additional questions to determine their eligibility before they are entered into the lottery. (CTV)

As millions flee South Sudan, how is Canada helping?

When South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, Moses Moini hoped the family he left behind when he fled to Canada in 1992 would finally be safe. But fighting soon broke out between rival ethnic groups. In December 2013, President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, fired vice-president Riek Machar, a Nuer, and unleashed his Sudan People’s Liberation on Nuer villages. They killed and raped civilians and burned their homes. (CTV)

What to do with the gold? Divorce cases with Islamic marriage contracts pose challenge for courts

When they married in Lebanon in 1996, Nada Habli and Sean Akkawi entered into a traditional Islamic marriage contract, known as a maher. Under such an agreement, the husband agrees to pay the wife money or other gifts in the event their marriage breaks down. In this particular case, the written agreement obligated Akkawi to pay Habli one kilogram of gold. (National Post)

How Canadians are planting seeds of hope for girls in Afghanistan

Nine years ago, Shamsia Husseini was walking along a street in Kandahar when a man on a motorbike stopped to ask where she was going: “To school,” she replied. The man threw battery acid in her face. The acid splashed onto her cheeks and into her eyes. The attack sparked worldwide outrage. In response, Afghanistan’s then-president, Hamid Karzai, promised to arrest and execute the perpetrator. He didn’t. The man and other hoodlums who participated in similar attacks that day still walk free in the neighbourhood where Shamsia, now 24, lives with her family. (Toronto Star)

Military short thousands of personnel despite small increase in ranks

The Canadian military has reversed what had become a worrying trend by posting a small increase in the number of people in uniform last year -- though it still has a long way to go to fill all the holes in its ranks. New figures show that there were about 450 more military personnel at the end of March 2017 than the previous year, with about half being regular-force members and the other half reservists. (CTV)

Suicide bomber attacks Afghanistan capital leaving dozens of casualties

A suicide bomber in the Afghan capital caused dozens of casualties on Thursday after blowing himself up close to a group of security personnel who were carrying out an operation against illegal drugs and alcohol dealing, officials said. (CBC)

Israel Is Offering Illegal Immigrants $3,500 And A Plane Ticket To Leave

Preserving Israel’s uniquely Jewish character is one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top priorities. Now, in addition to marginalizing Arab-Israeli citizens and their representatives in the country’s parliament, Netanyahu is staging a crackdown on illegal immigration – offering refugees from Sudan, Eritrea and other African countries who illegally entered Israel via Egypt a relatively generous sum to relocate back to their home countries, or to move to a designated third-party country that has agreed to take in the migrants. (Zero Hedge)

Islamic State declares war on rival Hamas with video execution

The extremist Islamic State group’s branch in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has taken a simmering dispute with the Palestinian Hamas group based in nearby Gaza to new levels, releasing a 22-minute video in which it calls on its followers to attack the group and shows the execution of a man it said was a collaborator. (Washington Post)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: 'Deprogram' radical Islamists. How?

In the final weeks of 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS, saying his country was “completely liberated” from the Islamist terrorist army. The U.S.-led coalition decimated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, stopping its grisly campaign and regaining territory previously captured by ISIS militants. Many ISIS fighters were killed on the battlefield, but others managed to flee, some into rural sanctuaries, others to neighboring terrorist havens and still others by infiltrating the West. Tens of thousands of ISIS militants are now in Europe, some using European passports, others taking advantage of the chaos of open borders and mass migration. (Toronto Sun)

Farzana Hassan: Iranian protesters are shunning the hijab - let's join them

The recent Iranian protests are about a whole array of issues, including the hijab, the head covering which Iranian women have been forced to wear for decades. Some dismiss the debate on hijab, suggesting it is a lot of fuss about a mere piece of cloth. They are being evasive. The hijab is now established as a political tool used by Islamists to restrict freedom for women. They are generally deprived of equality under the law because the hijab is usually accompanied by other oppressive prescriptions for women. It means women cannot make their own decisions. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Screwing the middle class with faux Trudeau promises

The mantra of our prime minister, the majority of his continuing holidays spent in the non-middle-class-affordability of Lake Louise and Revelstoke, is that his government is fighting to better the middle class. This runs counter to his own personal life, of course, but what can one do if born of silver spoon and trust-fund comfort, and just happen to get elected as prime minister of your country? The leopard has its spots; Justin Trudeau has his own markings. (Toronto Sun)

Sheryl Saperia: How Canada should respond to the Iranian protests

While the media have tended to focus on economic grievances as the root of the demonstrations, consider some of the chants heard on the streets of Iran: “We will die to get our Iran back!” “We don’t want an Islamic Republic!” “The Clerics Act Like Gods!” Death or freedom!” “Death to Khamenei!” “Death to Rouhani!” “Leave Syria, think about us!” “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran!” In other words, Iranians’ fury and outrage are also about government corruption; foreign adventurism, including Tehran’s support of Assad’s murderous regime in Syria and its controlling of Lebanon through Hezbollah; providing billions of dollars to terrorist groups while ordinary Iranians are going hungry; domestic repression; and theocratic governance. (Hill Times)

Margaret Wente: Mr. Trudeau’s judgment, and the company he keeps

Among the hazards of public life are the photo ops that come back to haunt you. Our snap-happy Prime Minister is a case in point. Since the tropical vacation with his old friend, the Aga Khan, that cheery photo of the two of them on Parliament Hill has been rerun a thousand times. Whenever people see the picture they remember the private island, and thus it will ever be. (Globe and Mail)

Scott Thompson: Who is the real Joshua Boyle?

There are more questions than answers when it comes to the life and times of Joshua Boyle. He is the alleged hostage who was recently rescued (along with his wife and kids) from terrorists in Pakistan back in October. Something has not seemed right since we first heard of this case. (Global)

Robyn Urback: Of course businesses would act like businesses in wake of minimum wage hikes

Of course businesses were going to announce a reduction in hours in response to the news of Ontario's minimum wage hike. Of course prices were going to go up. Of course employers were going to claw back some staff benefits to make up for what will effectively be a 32 per cent wage hike over less than 18 months. (CBC)

Don Martin: Trudeau showed questionable judgment in meeting with Boyle

Every day like clockwork, even when he’s on vacation, the Prime Minister’s Office kicks out Justin Trudeau’s itinerary. But back on December 18, the itinerary listed Trudeau’s attendance at the new chief justice’s swearing-in ceremony and a chat with Quebec civic politicians, but nothing about meeting with freed hostage Joshua Boyle and his family, whose five-year ordeal while held captive by Taliban-linked hostage-takers in Afghanistan ended in October. (CTV)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • N/A