True North Initiative: News Scan 01 10 17

TOP STORIES

Mexican refugee claims jump after visa requirement dropped

At least 70 Mexicans claimed refugee status in Canada the first month after the federal government lifted a visa requirement for travellers from Mexico. The one-month figure brings the total number of Mexican refugee claims for 2016 to 248, compared to 111 in 2015, according to figures provided by the Canada Border Services Agency. The policy change took effect on Dec. 1, 2016. (CBC)

Poll suggests Canadians favour spending tax dollars on traditional rather than high-tech infrastructure

A newly published poll commissioned by the government suggests Canadians aren't as keen on investing in the high-tech "new economy" as the Liberals and have mixed views on increasing immigration. The survey, conducted last summer, found most Canadians want the government to focus infrastructure spending on "traditional" projects like public transit. It also found many Canadians were concerned terrorism was more likely to increase than decrease, with some blaming that on higher levels of immigration and a perceived lack of screening of refugees. (CBC)

Justin Trudeau to shuffle his cabinet today

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make changes to his cabinet on Tuesday, including replacing Stéphane Dion as foreign affairs minister and John McCallum in immigration, CBC News has learned. The cabinet shuffle, first reported by The Canadian Press, comes as the prime minister prepares for a cross-Canada grassroots tour over the next few weeks. (CBC)

Manitoba teen who wanted to fight with ISIS will not be kept in custody

A Manitoba teenager who pleaded guilty to counselling terrorism will spend no more time in custody, but will have to live under strict curfew conditions and wear an electronic monitoring device for more than two years. The teen, who can't be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was 16 when he was charged with posting pro-terrorism comments on social media. (CTV) (CBC)

Quebec government to suspend refugee sponsorship requests due to backlog

The Couillard government will suspend new requests to sponsor refugees as of Jan. 27, citing a backlog in the number of cases already pending. The announcement was made on Monday in a statement released by Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion Kathleen Weil. The number of requests accepted by the provincial government and being processed with the federal government stands at 10,000, 7,500 of which are for Syrian refugees. (CTV)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Ethics watchdog 'considering' investigation into Trudeau's vacation with Aga Khan

The federal ethics commissioner is considering an investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent vacation in the Bahamas after receiving a complaint from Conservative leadership candidate Andrew Scheer. The Saskatchewan MP wrote a letter to Mary Dawson Monday asking her to rule on whether Trudeau's stay on the Aga Khan's private island is a gift that violates the Conflict of Interest Act. (CBC)

Liberals reverse Harper cabinet order to unwind Chinese takeover deal

The Trudeau government has cancelled a cabinet order by the previous Harper government that would have forced a Chinese electronics company to abandon its takeover of a Montreal-based high-tech firm because of concerns the deal could harm national security. Instead, in a decision that suggests a different approach to Chinese investment, the Liberal government has said federal officials will undertake a “fresh review” of this transaction. (Globe and Mail)

British couple gets eTA 19 days too late, Guelph relative says

A Guelph man is blasting the government for "horrendous" communication after his relatives were stuck in a Frankfurt airport for two days while they tried to acquire an eTA to travel to Toronto. "It's beyond belief why it even exists, this eTA. What's wrong with a passport?" said Robert Maier, who had paid for his wife's aunt and uncle to travel from England to Toronto in December, to attend his daughter's wedding reception. (CBC)

Private sponsors frustrated over long wait for refugee family

Whiile a refugee family waits a world away, a group from Saskatoon is trapped between good intentions and bureaucracy. Margi Corbett is a retired teacher and a member of refugee support group in the city. “We’re just a group of friends and neighbours trying to help,” Corbett said. (650 CKOM)

Canada sending police to Colombia to help with peacekeeping

Canada will contribute up to 10 police officers to the international effort to demobilize guerilla groups and monitor the ceasefire in Colombia, CBC News has learned. Some of the officers are expected to be under the United Nations flag, while others would be part of a bilateral deployment, working directly the South American country's national police force. (CBC)

Trudeau’s Arts Chief Heads to China in Pivot From Protectionism

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s culture chief is visiting China for the first time in over a decade as his government pivots from protectionism to promotion in the arts. Melanie Joly, who as heritage minister oversees the arts and media sectors, begins a five-day series of meetings in China on Tuesday. Her office said it’s the first such visit in 12 years and comes as Canada prepares a new cultural policy to roll out later this year. (Bloomberg)

Refugees Risk Freezing To Death In Serbian Warehouses

Thousands of refugees have found themselves trapped in Serbia, completely unprepared for winter storms, waiting at the hope that officials might let them through Hungary's closed border. Temperatures outside of Belgrade have dipped as low as minus 20 C in the past month. Over 6,400 refugees and migrants are in Serbia, according to the United Nations, and hundreds have taken to sheltering in abandoned warehouses outside of Belgrade, hoping to be one of 10 chosen every day to enter Hungary. (Huffington Post)

ExxonMobil and Iran did business under secretary of State nominee Tillerson

ExxonMobil did business with Iran, Syria and Sudan through a European subsidiary while President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of State was a top executive of the oil giant and those countries were under U.S. sanctions as state sponsors of terrorism, Securities and Exchange Commission filings show. (USA Today)

Iran Claims It Has Received More than $10 Billion in Cash from U.S. Since 2013

An Iranian official has confirmed that the U.S. has sent the Iranian central bank more than $10 billion in cash, gold, and other assets since 2013. Since the nuclear agreement, we have been sending Iran $700 million a month. That money includes the $1.7 billion paid in ransom for U.S. sailors being held hostage by the regime. (PJ Media)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Anthony Furey: Can the Liberals return to fiscal conservatism?

There was a time when the federal Liberals proudly considered fiscal conservatism a part of their identity.  If you asked a senior Liberal what it was his or her party stood for, the refrain was most often “fiscally conservative, socially liberal”. That was then. This is now. Justin Trudeau’s team aren’t your parents’ Liberals. (Ottawa Sun)

Tasha Kheiriddin: With Leitch and O'Leary, Conservatives are flirting with catastrophe

Two candidates in particular are being depicted as Trumps in canuck clothing — one by the punditocracy and rival CPC candidates, the other by both of those groups and by her own design. And while comparisons with the mercurial media magnet about to become the 45th president of the United States is winning both candidates a lot of free media attention, they may learn that the price is still too high — for themselves, for the party and for the conservative movement in Canada. (IPolitics)

Mustafa Farooq: Why Canadians should not leave to fight ISIL

For Canadians looking to fight back against Daesh, there are so many ways to help that do not create the same risks of harm. Lobby our government to take more serious action in combatting Daesh and rebuilding Iraq and Syria. Help local Syrian refugees, fleeing from Daesh, integrate better into Canada. (Edmonton Journal)

Jerry Agar: Let’s be honest about immigration

It is past time for the media, politicians and activists to start telling the truth about immigration screening in Canada. What is not acceptable is the knee-jerk accusation of racism and xenophobia against anyone who dares ask if we are safe. It is especially egregious coming from a Conservative politician vying to be Prime Minister of Canada. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Will Trump’s policies shut down American factories in Canada, too?

Something big is happening in the United States, even before Donald Trump has been sworn in as president: He’s bringing factories back, reversing a 30-year-trend. Already, he’s convinced Carrier, Ford and General Motor not to move plants to Mexico. But what does that mean for Canada, and our auto industry (or what’s left of it)? (Rebel)

Jason Markusoff: Justin Trudeau’s false Davos dichotomy

Rather than an extraordinary once-a-year opportunity to help nurture major Canadian investment deals and link arms with fellow world leaders troubled with the rise of anti-trade and anti-immigrant populism, Justin Trudeau will extend by a few days his previously planned tour to plaster his smile and winter scarf collection across as many small-town newspaper front pages as he can. (Macleans)

Maxime Bernier: Canada's Immigration Policy Must Fulfill Our Economic Needs

Immigration has become a very contentious issue in politics. We've seen in recent years the rise of anti-immigration parties in Europe. It featured prominently in the U.S. presidential election. And it has become part of the debate in the Conservative Party of Canada leadership race. Canada has always been a country largely open to immigration, because of its vastness and its relative youth. I believe that by and large, our immigration policy has been very successful. But we are not immune to the conflicts and social tensions happening elsewhere. (Huffington Post)

Stephan Goss: Immigrants Are Entrepreneurs; Let's Welcome Their Talents

As an avid follower of politics and with President-Elect Trump poised to take office, throughout my years in the U.S. I have noticed a common narrative: the notion that many immigrants are lazy and purely here to suck dry the social system. Speaking from my own experience, I believe the complete opposite. The President-Elect’s rhetoric while on the campaign trail appears to be dissipating as reality begins to set in. Evidence pointing to his recent meeting with some of the nation’s largest tech giants was a very encouraging sight. (Forbes)

Globe editorial: Terrorism, bulk data and privacy: Three things Canadians need to talk about

Here’s a simplistic but useful metaphor for fighting terrorism in the 21st century: To find a needle in a haystack, i.e., a suicide bomber planning an attack on innocent civilians, first you need a haystack. The haystack is bulk data – communications metadata, travel information, passport data, law enforcement wiretaps and arrest records, financial transactions, information harvested from social media, and so on. (Globe and Mail)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Liberals strongest but Conservative hit 12 month high on the Nanos Index

The latest Nanos weekly ballot tracking has the federal Liberals with 43.0 per cent support followed by the Conservatives at 28.5 per cent, the NDP at 16.2 per cent, the Greens at 5.4 per cent and the BQ at 5.2 per cent. (Nanos)