True North Initiative News Scan 01 10 2018

TOP STORIES

'We are not being complacent': Liberals don't expect sudden surge of Salvadoran asylum-seekers

The Liberal government has a contingency plan for a potential flood of Salvadoran asylum seekers, but it is not expecting a sudden surge of people crossing the border from the United States. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the government has been "engaging intensely" with the El Salvador diaspora, among others, and believes they are deeply embedded in their American communities with children, jobs and mortgages and not likely to abruptly flee. U.S. President Donald Trump's administration announced Monday that 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants now allowed to live and work in the U.S. with temporary protected status will lose their right to remain in the country in September 2019. (CBC) (Globe and Mail) (Winnipeg Free Press)

Rempel calls on Trudeau again to close Safe Third Country ‘loophole’

The Conservative opposition is repeating its demand that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau close a loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered 200,000 Salvadorans to leave the country by September. On Monday, Trump announced that his administration is ending a humanitarian program called Temporary Protected Status [TPS] for Salvadorans who have been allowed to live and work in the U.S. since horrific earthquakes rocked their country in 2001. (IPolitics)

Trudeau asked how it feels to be first PM to ‘commit a crime’ at town hall

At Tuesday’s town hall in Nova Scotia, the audience pulled no punches when asking questions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as he kicked off his town hall tour across Canada. One woman in the audience even asked him how it felt to be found guilty of a federal crime. Decked out in a white T-shirt with the Canadian flag across her chest and a matching baseball cap, the woman asked Trudeau, “I was just curious as to how you feel about being the first prime minister being found guilty of a federal crime.” (Global) (CBC)

Justin Trudeau not saying if he has regrets over Joshua Boyle meeting

In an interview with Halifax radio station 95.7 FM on Tuesday, Trudeau was asked whether he had any second thoughts about meeting with a man now facing a serious list of charges ranging from assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement and uttering death threats to misleading a peace officer and forcing someone to ingest a noxious substance – in this case, the sleep-inducing antidepressant trazodone. (Global)

No red flags raised over meeting with freed hostage Boyle, Trudeau suggests

Justin Trudeau is suggesting that security officials raised no red flags when his office arranged last month for him to meet freed hostage Joshua Boyle and his family. The prime minister says his office follows all the advice it's given by security officials and did exactly that in the case of the Boyle family. (CTV)

Trudeau ducks question on talking to ethics committee about his trip to Aga Khan’s island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wouldn’t commit Tuesday to testifying at a special meeting of the House of Commons ethics committee about his controversial trip to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas. During an appearance on CBC Radio’s Information Morning in Halifax, Trudeau was asked directly whether he’d be willing to appear before the committee. He ducked the question, largely dismissing the idea as little more than an Opposition effort to score political points. (Toronto Star)

Trudeau defends slow pace of his government’s legislative activity

The Trudeau government‘s fall legislative activity last year was the slowest of any government going back to at least 2001 with just eight bills introduced between September and December of 2017, according to a Global News analysis of a database published by the Library of Parliament. On top of that, the Trudeau government, just over halfway through its mandate, has turned just 34 pieces of legislation into law while its predecessor, the Stephen Harper majority government, had turned 61 pieces of legislation into law at its halfway point. (Global)

Mother tells Trudeau autism care is a 'human rights issue'

A Nova Scotia activist and mother of a nine-year-old boy with severe autism asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his government's stance on setting up a national autism strategy during his town hall meeting in Lower Sackville, N.S., Tuesday evening. (CBC) (CTV)

US Congress supports Iranian protests

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill supporting the protests in Iran. By an overwhelming majority of 415 to 2, the House approved legislation “supporting the rights of the people of Iran to free expression” and “condemning the Iranian regime.” (Kurdistan 24)

At least five protesters died in Iran police custody, says Amnesty International

At least five protesters arrested during recent anti-government demonstrations in Iran have died in police custody, Amnesty International said on Tuesday. A brutal crackdown by security forces led to at least 22 protesters but more deaths might have taken place in prison cells, where reports of torture are frequent, the human rights group claimed. (Alaraby.co.uk)

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei claims foreign plot to overthrow system has failed

Comments on his Twitter feed and in Iranian media underscored the establishment's confidence that it has extinguished the unrest that spread to more than 80 cities in which at least 22 people died since late December. The Revolutionary Guards, the military force loyal to Mr Khamenei, said on Sunday security forces had put an end to the unrest that it said had been whipped up by foreign enemies. (ABC)

Hundreds of churches, camps and charities protest abortion clause in Canada Summer Jobs grant application

Churches and religious groups across the country are struggling over what to do with a confusing clause in the Canada Summer Jobs application that seems to require them to endorse access to abortions in order to get funding. The new “attestation” on the grant application is aimed at anti-abortion groups who have received the federal grants in the past. It requires stating that your organization’s core mandate respects “reproductive rights,” along with other human rights, and the online application can’t be submitted unless the box is checked. (National Post)

US judge protects ‘dreamers’ from deportation, blocking Trump’s decision to end young immigrant programme

US District Judge William Alsup granted a request by California and other plaintiffs to temporarily prevent US President Donald Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme while their lawsuits play out in court. Alsup said lawyers in favour of DACA clearly demonstrated that the young immigrants “were likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm” without court action. The judge also said the lawyers have a strong chance of succeeding at trial. (SCMP)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Exiled Iranian prince throws support behind protests

Reza Pahlavi concentrates intently on the little cellphone in his hand, scrolling through clips of chanting Iranians and explaining why the protests unsettling his homeland are different this time. Even as the latest reports suggest the unrest may be ebbing, the scion of Persia's 2,500-year-old monarchy believes Iran's people are writing a new future for themselves, and perhaps for their exiled son. (CTV)

Court rejects Ottawa's bid to halt Saudi arms deal lawsuit

A Federal Court judge has rejected the Trudeau government's attempt to sink a fresh legal challenge of the $15-billion sale of weaponized armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, saying evidence last summer showing Canadian-made machines being deployed in a Saudi neighbourhood has breathed life into the matter. This means a new lawsuit to block these arms exports will be allowed to proceed and Ottawa will be forced to shed light on what happened in the summer of 2017 when Canadian-made armoured vehicles were filmed and photographed taking part in a fight between Riyadh and residents of the Saudi kingdom's Eastern Province. (Globe and Mail)

N.S. says it can't help former child refugee facing deportation to Somalia

Abdoul Abdi was a wide-eyed six-year-old when he arrived in Canada as a child refugee from a war-torn country. At 24, he's now facing deportation to Somalia — a country so dangerous Canada has imposed sweeping travel restrictions and which he has no connection to. His case has become a rallying point for advocates of immigration reform, with calls to halt his deportation hearing and a protest planned Tuesday night outside a Halifax-area town hall being held by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Halifax Today)

Salvadoran asylum seekers could have claim, group says

In an interview with CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning, Miguel Callejas pointed out that with one of the world's highest homicide rates and rampant gang activity, El Salvador remains too unstable for many to return. "The country is not secure, there is a lot of violence going on and it's been like that for so many years." (CBC)

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer going to Washington in support of Canada's trade agenda

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is bringing a delegation to Washington next week to help extend a “united Canadian front” against American protectionism, his office says. Spokesman Jake Enwright confirmed Scheer will travel with several members of his caucus next Tuesday and Wednesday, including deputy leader Lisa Raitt, trade critic Dean Allison, agriculture critic Luc Berthold and MP Colin Carrie. (National Post)

Files cast doubt on GG vetting process

The Canada Revenue Agency and the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy say they have no records they were ever asked to do a background check on Governor General Julie Payette prior to her appointment. These are two of the four federal agencies responsible for vetting candidates for top government jobs. (IPolitics)

Salvadoran migrants dread deportation after Trump White House ends protection

Three decades after fleeing civil war in his native El Salvador, Luis Munoz has built a life for himself in the New Jersey coastal town of Red Bank, working as a mechanic and raising three children with his wife. Bow Munoz and his adult kids may face deportation in 2019 along with around 200,000 other Salvadorans, after the Trump administration said on Monday they would no longer have legal protection under a programme known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS). (SCMP)

Kingston pub changes name to remove reference to Sir John A. Macdonald

A downtown Kingston pub has changed its name to remove reference to Canada’s first prime minister over the role Sir John A. Macdonald played in residential schools. Sir John’s Public House has been renamed the Public House, owner Paul Fortier said. “We decided to make the change because we are a hospitality venue,” Fortier told the Star. “And many customers indicated that because of the name, that they were unable to patronize the pub, that they felt unsafe.” (Toronto Star)

Trump: 'Yeah I'll beat Oprah. Oprah would be a lot of fun'

President Donald Trump says it would be "fun" to run against former chat show doyenne Oprah Winfrey, amid calls for her to launch a White House bid. "Yeah, I'll beat Oprah," Mr Trump told reporters during a meeting to discuss immigration reform with US senators. His daughter Ivanka Trump joined a wave of praise for the media mogul's speech at Sunday's Golden Globe awards. (BBC)

Britain braced for renewed terrorist attacks in 2018

Almost two-thirds of Britons expect the UK to be the target of a terror attack in 2018, revealing a higher level of anticipation than in any other nation. Sixty-five per cent of Britons interviewed by pollsters thought it likely that the UK would be victim of "a terrorist attack on home soil" this year, according to research by data group Ipos Mori. (IBI Times)

Couple guilty of homemade bomb terror attack plot

A man and woman have been found guilty of plotting a "devastating" terror attack in the UK using a homemade bomb. Food factory worker Munir Mohammed, 36, from Derby, and pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan, 33, from north-west London, also exchanged messages about ricin. (BBC)

ANOTHER IMAM IN U.S. CALLS FOR KILLING JEWS

A third Muslim imam in the United States has been recorded citing an Islamic text that prophesies the killing of Jews by Muslims. As with the other two imams, Abdullah Khadra, speaking at a mosque Dec. 8 in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area, was responding to President Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (WND)

‘Trump Effect’ Wears Off as Migrants Resume Their Northward Push

Just months after border apprehensions hit a 17-year low, which administration officials proudly celebrated as a “Trump effect,” the number of migrants trying to enter the United States has been surging, surpassing 40,000 along the Southwest border last month, more than double the springtime numbers, according to new data from the Homeland Security Department. (NY Times)

At least 13 dead as heavy rains trigger flooding, mudflows and freeway closures across Southern California

The deluge that washed over Santa Barbara County early Tuesday was devastating for a community that was ravaged by the Thomas fire only a few weeks earlier. In just a matter of minutes, pounding rain overwhelmed the south-facing slopes above Montecito and flooded a creek that leads to the ocean, sending mud and massive boulders rolling into residential neighborhoods, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Department spokesman Mike Eliason. (LA Times)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

 

Anthony Furey: Too many of Trudeau’s errors in judgment have a common thread - radical Islam

A consensus is forming on Joshua Boyle: The guy appeared off from the get-go. While Canadians were shocked to learn Boyle faces 15 criminal charges, all untested in court, they certainly didn’t feel it came out of left field. Forget the charges. So much of Boyle’s story before that never sat well with them – a refrain I’ve heard across the spectrum, from both regular folks and politicos alike. They don’t like that he was previously married to Omar Khadr’s sister. They don’t like that he took a pregnant wife to Afghanistan. And they definitely didn’t like that Justin Trudeau clandestinely welcomed him into the Prime Minister’s Office before Christmas, refusing to comment on what went down during their tete-a-tete. (Toronto Sun)

Tarek Fatah: The protests in Iran aren't over

If one were to believe the mainstream media, the uprising against Iran’s Islamic dictatorship has run its course and is on its last breath. But news from the streets is different and indicates this revolt is not going to die simply because commentators sitting in far away news studios, acting as “experts,” say so. While the regime has clamped down on information-sharing social media apps and maintains only 22 protesters have been killed by security forces, reports from inside Iran put the death toll at 50 as of Friday. (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: So much for Trudeau's pledge: Middle-class families now pay more taxes

Despite his rhetorical devotion to the middle-class, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has turned out to be no friend of ordinary, working Canadians. According to data published by Vancouver’s Fraser Institute in a year-end analysis, “81% of middle-class families in Canada are paying higher federal income taxes” under the Liberals than under the Harper Tories. And the increase under the Liberals has been substantial, too, “about $840 more a year,” according to Fraser Institute. (Toronto Sun)

Thomas Juneau: Iran protests point to the need for a Canadian embassy in Tehran

The protests that erupted throughout Iran in December sparked renewed debate about the virtues of the Liberal government's pledge to re-establish diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic, which had been severed by the Conservative government in 2012. Yet recent events underscore the costs of not having a diplomatic presence in Tehran. (Globe and Mail)

Tim Powers: PMO must open up more about Boyle affair, Trudeau’s judgment rightly questioned

The oddity of Joshua Boyle and his lived experience has been well chronicled by others. Being odd is not a crime or many of us would be permanently incarcerated. But many of Boyle’s choices, from backpacking in a war-ravaged region of Afghanistan to refusing to take a United States military flight after being freed from captivity, should give even the most open-minded person pause for thought. Never mind his connection to the Khadr family, having previously been married to Zaynab, the sister of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr. (Hill Times)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

 

  • N/A