True North Initiative News Scan 01 08 2018

TOP STORIES

Salvadoran asylum seekers could test Canada's immigration system

The federal government's contingency plans for a new surge of asylum seekers at the border this winter could be put to the test with the pending U.S. decision on the fate of as many as 200,000 Salvadorans. The Trump administration is on the cusp of announcing whether it will renew the temporary protected status that's allowed Salvadorans to live in the United States without fear of deportation since 2001. (CBC) (680)

Former Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle to appear in Ottawa court today

Boyle was arrested by Ottawa police late last month and made his first court appearance on New Year's Day facing 15 charges, including eight counts of assault, two of sexual assault, two of unlawful confinement and one count of causing someone to take a noxious thing. The charges against the 34-year-old relate to two alleged victims, but a court order prohibits the publication of any details that might identify them or any witnesses. (Globe and Mail)

Former hostage Joshua Boyle's brush with the law in 2003

Joshua Boyle’s lawyers proclaimed this week that their client had not been in trouble with the law before the current criminal complaints against him. “Mr. Boyle is presumed innocent of all charges,” read a statement from Ottawa lawyers Lawrence Greenspon and Eric Granger. “He has no criminal record and has never been in trouble with the police.” (Toronto Sun)

THE MANY WINDING PATHS OF JOSHUA BOYLE

What a collective exhale of I-told-you-so and I-knew-something-was-wrong. When Joshua Boyle was arrested New Year’s Day on charges of assault, sexual assault, forcible confinement, drugging, uttering death threats and misleading police, the news hit as an alarming coda to the strangest of stories. (National Post)

The puzzling case of a former Taliban hostage charged with sex assault

Canadian Joshua Boyle and his American-born wife Caitlan Coleman got the red carpet treatment when they were flown home after Pakistani security forces rescued them from the clutches of the Taliban in October. President Trump used the news to herald a new “positive moment in our country’s relationship with Pakistan.” (NY Post)

Liberals relaunch family reunification lottery despite angry backlash around 'immigration fiasco'

The Liberal government has relaunched a lottery system to reunite immigrant families, despite a backlash from frustrated sponsors who called its random selection process "cruel," "heartless" and a "fiasco." A one-month period opened this week inviting entries to an online draw that gives people a chance at one of 10,000 spots that allow them to apply to sponsor their parents or grandparents. (CBC)

Canadian Liberal MP Labels Anti-Islamic State Protesters ‘White Supremacists’

Liberal Party MP for St. Catherines Chris Bittle took to Facebook earlier this week to condemn a protest against Islamic State fighters returning from the Middle East to Canada in front of his office. For Mr Bittle, the four or so people who carried signs reading “Jail ISIS Fighters” were, in his words, “white supremacists”, using the issue of Islamic State fighters to “promote their hateful, racist views.” (Breitbart)

Iran’s Guard Declares Victory Over Protesters, but Signs of Dissent Remain

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps declared Sunday that the country’s unrest of recent days has been quelled. But even as the force made the declaration, there remained signs of protest on social media. Dozens of videos of the burning of government documents have shown up online in recent days, although they couldn’t be independently verified. The video footage showed what purported to be identification cards, or in some cases a utility bill from a state-owned company, being set aflame. (Reuters) (WSJ)

Iran warns world to prepare for US nuke deal withdrawal

Iran warned the world on Monday to prepare for the possible withdrawal of the United States from the landmark nuclear deal agreed in 2015. "The international community must be prepared for the US possibly pulling out of the JCPOA," said deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi, using the technical name for the nuclear deal. (Yahoo)

Iran bans the teaching of English in primary schools, official says

Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official has said, after Islamic leaders warned that early learning of the language opened the way to a western “cultural invasion”. “Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run high education council, told state television. (Guardian)

'Don’t step out of line': Confidential report reveals how Chinese officials harass activists in Canada

The product of a coalition led by Amnesty International Canada, the report catalogues harassment ranging from digital disinformation campaigns to direct threats. Targets include Canadian representatives of what the Chinese sometimes call the five “poisons”: the Uyghur Muslim minority, independence-minded Tibetans, Taiwanese, democracy advocates and, especially, the Falun Gong. (National Post)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

When it comes to cheque hand-outs, the Trudeau government easily tops Harper’s record

After just over two years in office, the Trudeau Liberals have made nearly 9,000 spending announcements, easily eclipsing the 7,300 spending announcements made during the four-year majority government of their predecessors, the Harper Conservatives. The combined value of all those Liberal announcements made in just over two years stands at $34.27 billion versus the combined value of four years of Harper announcements at $45.14 billion. (Global)

Iranian-Canadians rally to condemn violence, but clash over sanctions

Anti-government protests continue in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets, primarily over economic conditions. Since the unrest started Dec. 28, at least 21 people have been killed and hundreds more jailed. In Vancouver, two rallies overlapped — one started at 11 a.m. and the other at 1 p.m. —  as about 200 people showed solidarity with the Iranian protesters, with some calling for the ouster of Islamic Republic supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Vancouver Sun)

Man charged with killing ex-girlfriend extradited to Canada

Police say a Canadian man arrested in the U.S. and charged in the death of his ex-girlfriend last spring has been escorted back to southwestern Ontario. Ager Hasan, 24, is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Melinda Vasilije, 22, whose body was found with multiple stab wounds in her home in Kitchener, Ont., in April 2017. (Toronto Sun)

China ‘can’t stand’ Justin Trudeau’s talk of human rights, diversity: Ian Bremmer

The president of the world’s largest political risk consultancy firm says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can talk until he’s blue in the face about democracy and human rights, but it’s not going to make a lick of difference in China. (Global)

Canadian-Iranian refugees look to homeland protests with optimism

Iranian refugees in Canada feel optimistic about their home country’s future as protests continue to expand and intensify. Now in their 12th day, the demonstrations in Iran are said to have been sparked by the country’s slumping economy, high food prices and anger over corruption. “This is a grass-roots movement. This is the movement of people who are hungry, unemployed, educated, and ready to work. They are against the corruption of the totality of this regime. This is very very exciting for us. I am very optimistic,” Canadian-Iranian refugee Abbas Mandegar said. (News 1130)

Lithuania urges Canada to join long-term investment drive for Ukraine

Lithuania is urging Canada to sign on to a long-term package of support for Ukraine that would funnel more investment into the Eastern European country and strengthen its ties with the West as Kiev struggles to fight internal corruption and rebuild its economy despite a war with Moscow-backed militants. (Globe and Mail)

Somali migrant ‘sexually assaults a woman while she’s in LABOUR after disguising himself as a nurse on Italian hospital ward'

A woman was sexually assaulted while in labour at a hospital in Rome, by a man who had stolen a nurses uniform to sneak onto the delivery ward. The attacker, a 38-year-old Somali man reportedly walked into the delivery room, where he groped the woman's thighs and genitals and began masturbating, Italian media reports. (Daily Mail)

Venezuelans scour polluted river for lost treasure, survival

Angel Villanueva waded into the dirty brown water of the Guaire River, the putrid channel snaking through Venezuela’s capital, where he hoped to scavenge for a bit of treasure. He raked his hands across the bottom of the shallow waterway, turning his face away from the foul smell. Then he stood up, letting gravel and rocks fall through his fingers, scanning for an earring backing, lost rings or any other bits of precious metal to cash in for food. (AP)

5 Ways ISIS Is Evolving in the New Year

The Islamic State didn't have a great 2017. But even as their physical caliphate shriveled, ISIS was looking past their territorial loss. "While ISIS has been defeated as a conventional fighting force, we cannot forget their terrorist roots," Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon warned in December. "We know this enemy is as adaptive and savvy as it is cruel and evil." (PJ Media)

Court Orders Antifa Teacher To Pay Thousands In Damages

A California court ordered a prominent Antifa activist and teacher to pay thousands of dollars in damages to a former University of California, Berkeley student, according to a Friday report. (Daily Caller)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

 

Candice Malcolm: The reality is we're up against a global jihadist insurgency

The fall of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has shifted the parameters of the battlefield in the war against jihadist terrorism. This war is no longer focused on geographic territory; it has morphed into an ideological battle, as ISIS militants are scattering and taking up residence in countries all over the world. Here in the West, particularly in Europe but increasingly in North America, jihadists have formed a covert army. They quietly live among us, working alone or forming networks and local cells, while meticulously planning their next terrorist attack. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Trudeau doesn’t understand the nature of evil

Is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau so blinded by his naive belief that “diversity” and “inclusiveness” are Canada’s unique gifts to the world, that he’s undermining our safety and security? Does he understand the nature of evil, that ideologies of hatred exist that no amount of Canadian “niceness” can appease? (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Trudeau ethics committee appearance is much needed

Talk about dodging a bullet. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was caught tongue-tied in late December when outgoing ethics commissioner Mary Dawson released her report on the PM’s Aga Khan vacation. She found that he violated four provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act. It was a damning report. But Trudeau got off easy. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: We're owed answers on Trudeau's Boyle meeting

Canadians deserve to know more about why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with returned captive Joshua Boyle and his family and what was discussed during that meeting. For a PM who preached transparency before being elected, his office has been less than forthcoming about a controversial meeting with Boyle. (Toronto Sun)

Andrew Lawton: Joshua Boyle deserves no sympathy, but he owes answers

If the allegations against Joshua Boyle, charged with 15 offences by police in Ottawa, are true, we are reminded of what we should already know — this isn’t a man who deserves any sympathy. The charges against Boyle have not been proven in court, so I afford him his legally-guaranteed presumption of innocence. My standing issues with Boyle, however, stem from facts that aren’t disputed. (Global)

Mike Pence: Trump will not be silent on Iran

Eight-and-a-half years ago, Americans watched the people of Iran rise up to claim their birthright of freedom. In the “Green Revolution,” millions of courageous young men and women filled the streets of Tehran and Tabriz, Qazvin and Karaj, and what seemed like every city and village in between. They denounced a fraudulent election and, as the days went on, they began to demand that the unelected ayatollahs end their decades of repression and release their iron-fisted grip on Iran and her people. (Toronto Sun)

Rosie Dimanno: So much of the Joshua Boyle story just makes no sense

My skepticism long predates the latest twist in the couple’s saga — Boyle hit with a slew of criminal charges when he appeared in an Ottawa court on New Year’s Day: eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of unlawful confinement, one count each of uttering a death threat, administering a noxious substance and misleading police. (Toronto Star)

Mark Bonokoski: Jagmeet Singh, the Trudeau Liberals’ new best friend

With four recent byelections seeing federal NDP support sink even lower than the wading-pool depths of 2015, it is becoming more apparent that average Canadians are not quite ready yet to embrace the new NDP leader, even one as photogenic, flashy and fluently bilingual in both official languages as the non-MP from Toronto. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Donald Trump and his first Fakie Awards

The Golden Globe Awards are so predictable, very boozy affairs (unlike the Oscars) with the usual elitist Hollywood crowd (like the Oscars), and with only the rarest of upsets changing the natural course of cinematic and television history in the uber-saturated world of infotainment. (Toronto Sun)

John Parker: Canada's back?

Anyone born in Canada after Jan. 1980 has been raised on the story of the heroic role played by Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor, the Canadian diplomatic corps in Tehran, and the Canadian government in Ottawa during the political turmoil that brought about the theocratic regime that took Iran back to the stone age and which has ruled the country with an iron fist ever since. (Toronto Sun)

Bloomberg: Withholding Aid From Pakistan Isn't Enough

The U.S. decision last week to suspend military aid to Pakistan is not only defensible but justified. It’s also unlikely to affect Pakistan’s covert aid to Islamist militants unless it’s accompanied by a more comprehensive and determined strategy. (Bloomberg)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

 

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