True North Initiative: News Scan 01 27 17

TOP STORIES

How Donald Trump’s immigration policies could impact Canada

An immigration lawyer in Halifax says her office has been getting more and more calls from Americans and people in the U.S. seeking options to move out. Several of them work on both sides of the border by virtue of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), an agreement President Donald Trump has said he will renegotiate. She said there is concern over whether people with current work visas will lose their visas or face other difficulties. (Global News)

Tax on Mexican imports among a 'buffet of options' to fund border wall: White House

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has cancelled a planned meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. News of the cancellation comes on the same day that a Trump spokesman suggested the president will seek a 20 per cent tax on Mexican imports to pay for a proposed border wall. Thursday's events signalled a souring of relations between Washington and one of its most important international partners just days into the new administration. (CBC)

'The fun is over': Ambrose tells Trudeau to 'get serious' on economy

Interim Opposition leader Rona Ambrose dismissed what she called Justin Trudeau's "year of fun," saying the prime minister needs to get back to the House of Commons and change his priorities in the face of new threats from the Trump administration. In her opening remarks to a gathering of her Conservative caucus in Quebec City Thursday, Ambrose tried to inject a new urgency into issues she's prioritized for her party since taking the reins from Stephen Harper in 2015. (CBC)

Trudeau to end controversial cash-for-access fundraisers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will end the controversial practice of cash-for-access fundraising by passing legislation that lifts the veil of secrecy from these political events, requiring them to be transparent, open to public scrutiny and reported to Canadians, The Globe and Mail has learned. Mr. Trudeau will instruct Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould to work on legislation that would effectively ban elite fundraisers for cabinet ministers that are usually held in private homes, a senior government official said. (Globe and Mail)

Canada’s allies racing ahead on boosting cyber security, PM told

Canada’s closest allies are pumping billions into new cyber security plans as Ottawa ponders a new approach to defending the country’s vital cyber systems and networks. A 2016 briefing note prepared for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand have all updated their cyber security strategies, with the U.S. planning to spend $24 billion to bolster the country’s defences. (Toronto Star)

CSIS paid RCMP agent to spy on terror suspect: Court

The prized RCMP agent who infiltrated an ISIL network in Ottawa was also paid by CSIS to spy on one of the same terror targets years earlier. The new details in the RCMP case against accused terrorism financier and recruiter Awso Peshdary, 27, were revealed in court on Thursday when his defence team — Solomon Friedman and Michael Edelson — made arguments in its bid to get all the records from CSIS so it can properly defend its client. (Canoe)

Ottawa man who said he wanted to join ISIS signs terrorism peace bond, agrees to wear GPS ankle bracelet

An Ottawa man who had been talking about joining ISIS signed a terrorism peace bond on Thursday that requires him to wear a GPS ankle bracelet and not view online terrorist propaganda. Tevis Gonyou-McLean, 25, became the latest Canadian subject to a terrorism peace bond, which police have been using against those they believe have become supporters of ISIS or groups with a similar ideology. (National Post)

Opposition Readies to Hit Trudeau Hard on Ethics as Parliament Resumes

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau winds down a public relations tour aimed at mending his reputation with Canadians after a pre-Christmas ethics scandal, opposition parties say Trudeau can expect more pressure on the issue when the House starts again up next week. After his party wrapped up its strategy session for the next sitting in Ottawa, New Democrat leader Tom Mulcair said Thursday the NDP will be challenging the Trudeau government to “walk the walk” on ethical issues. (Tyee)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Trump's 1st week reshapes U.S. relationship with Canada – CBC Analysis

Donald Trump's been president for a week, but in those seven days he's already signed a dozen or so executive orders and memorandums that will fundamentally change relations with his nearest neighbours for years to come. With a single stroke of his pen Wednesday Trump began reshaping U.S. immigration policy, kick-starting his plans to build a wall on the border with Mexico while cutting off federal funding to cities — including some close to the Canadian border — that have been refusing to detain undocumented immigrants. The target, of course, is Mexico. (CBC)

TransCanada makes new application to U.S. for Keystone XL

The company behind the Keystone XL pipeline submitted a new presidential permit application to the U.S. Department of State for approval on Thursday. The project would move 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The application by TransCanada comes after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order earlier this week to expedite the project. (CTV)

Justin Trudeau to protesters: ‘Allow me to continue my answer’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lost his cool with a group of protesters that wouldn’t let him finish answering a question at a Winnipeg Town Hall on Thursday. Trudeau showed clear frustration after pipeline protesters repeatedly tried to talk over him. A video from the event shows him walking back and forth at the town hall as at least three protesters hold up signs objecting to his approvals of Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline expansion and Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline. (Global News)

Kevin O’Leary Conservatives could pose threat to Justin Trudeau Liberals in 2019: Ipsos poll

If the federal Conservatives want a shot at regaining power in 2019, their best bet would be with Kevin O’Leary as leader, a recent Ipsos poll results suggest. “Head-to-head, it’s competitive between [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau and O’Leary,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, which conducted the poll on behalf of Global News. The poll presented respondents with three hypothetical current candidates as leader. (Global)

Wildrose leader Brian Jean backs plan to unite Alberta’s right, would seek to helm new party

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean is endorsing a plan to unite Alberta’s political right and form a single conservative force. In a video message posted online to supporters Thursday, Jean says if his party members approve a unity agreement with Progressive Conservatives, he will stand down as leader of the Wildrose and seek leadership of a united conservative party this summer. (National Post) (Global)

Libs Who Want To Move To Canada Blocked By Its Strict Immigration Policies

Liberals seeking to move to Canada because they are unhappy with the election results are finding that Canada won’t take them because its immigration policies exclude those who won’t contribute to the economy. One of the policies of President Donald Trump that has some Democrats claiming they want to jump ship is his pledge to limit immigration from people whose lives in America would be dependent on welfare. Trump promises “extreme vetting” before accepting immigrants or refugees. (Daily Caller)

In wake of Sun Sea acquittals, calls to end refugee detentions

Refugee advocates say it’s time to scrap measures that were introduced in the wake of the arrival of hundreds of Tamil migrants on the MV Sun Sea, after the jury at a high-profile human smuggling trial failed earlier this week to convict any of the four men accused of organizing the voyage. (Globe and Mail)

Employers worry about potential changes to cross-border worker visas

Marc Adam’s web development company Nixa is in full growth mode. “I’m hiring!” he states at the top of his LinkedIn page. But the chief executive officer of the 27-employee Montreal-based firm is worried about how Donald Trump’s plans to renegotiate NAFTA will affect his expansion plans, which depend on the relatively free movement across the border of Canadians and Americans working in key sectors like high tech. “I need my management team to work where they need to work,” and that includes Canadian employees regularly visiting Nixa offices in New York and Philadelphia, he said. (Globe and Mail)

Public safety minister to unveil 'substantially different' firearms advisory committee

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is days away from unveiling an overhauled Canadian firearms advisory committee, led by a "distinguished Canadian jurist." The body that provides advice and expertise to the government on firearms issues has been vacant since the Liberals came to office in 2015. Although reluctant to name the new committee members before they've all received their security clearances, Goodale said the two vice-chairs are women. (CBC)

Torture 'counter to our values,' say Canadian military commanders

Canadian military commanders leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq say Canada's military remains steadfastly opposed to the use of torture. "Torture is against the code of Canadian Armed Forces conduct," said Brig.-Gen. Shane Brennan, commander of Joint Task Force Iraq. "It's against the Geneva Convention and so our Canadian Armed Forces members are trained that they will not be involved in any type of torture, of any detained personnel, or anyone else for that matter." (CBC)

Ottawa called on to spend $200 million to save Canadian journalism

Days after Canada’s largest newspaper chain announced a fresh round of layoffs, the federal government is being handed a dozen options today to help fix the ailing news media business in Canada — ranging from taking digital ads off the CBC to injecting funds into local, indigenous and investigative journalism. The recommendations come in a new report from the Public Policy Forum, tasked by the government to look into concrete measures to stem the sharp decline of the journalism industry. (IPolitics)

Canada, Netherlands discuss fund to counter Trump abortion order

Canada's minister for international development has spoken with her Dutch counterpart about a proposal by the Netherlands to fund abortions overseas in the wake of President Donald Trump's move to ban American funding for such services. (CBC)

U.S.-Mexico crisis deepens as Trump aide floats border tax idea

The White House on Thursday floated the idea of imposing a 20 percent tax on goods from Mexico to pay for a wall at the southern U.S. border, sending the peso tumbling and deepening a crisis between the two neighbors. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced on Twitter around midday on Thursday that he was scrapping a planned trip to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly demanded that Mexico pay for a wall on the U.S. border. Later in the day, White House spokesman Sean Spicer sent the Mexican peso falling to its low for the day when he told reporters that Trump wanted a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to pay for construction of the wall. (Reuters)

State Department reviewing last-minute decision to send Palestinians $221M

The State Department is reviewing a last-minute decision by former Secretary of State John Kerry to send $221 million to the Palestinians late last week over the objections of congressional Republicans. The department said Tuesday it would look at the payment and might make adjustments to ensure it comports with the Trump administration’s priorities. (New York Times)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Thomas Walkom: Justin Trudeau must be willing to walk away from Trump’s NAFTA

Surprise. Donald Trump means what he says.Those planning to deal with the new U.S. president, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, should keep that in mind. Yesterday, the Trump carnival continued apace. Yes he is going to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Trump tweeted. Just as he promised. And yes he is going to make the Mexicans pay for it. (Toronto Star)

Don Martin: Why the Liberals' electoral reform promise will be broken

It may be a challenge, but stay awake for the next few minutes if you can. Let’s talk electoral reformzzzz. C’mon, stay with me here. It’s more important than Justin Trudeau’s private helicopter rides to visit his billionaire buddy or the latest bizarre Kellie Leitchism. It’s a key Liberal election promise to change the way you vote and the future Parliaments that it will create – and it’s about to be broken. (CTV)

Paul Wells: Politicians guiding journalism? No, thanks

Here’s what happened to newspapers. In the early 1990s I worked at the Gazette in Montreal. In those days on a Saturday you’d pick up your Gazette, shake five sections of classified advertising and home and car ads onto the floor, and go straight to the City pages, which featured a loving summary of local restaurants’ health-code violations. The really good stories featured tales of city health inspectors encountering rodents or poo, or both in combination. Often the stories mentioned restaurants frequented by young Gazette reporters on a budget, which was always good for a frisson. (Toronto Star)

John Ivison: Trudeau’s political dominance wanes as bad news budget looms and electorate tires of bread and circuses

In his masterful biography of Benjamin Disraeli, former British foreign minister Douglas Hurd said that it is boredom, rather than cynicism, that most accurately explains the present disillusionment with politics. Disraeli, the 19th century British prime minister, with his glossy black curls, gold chains and fancy pantaloons, knew how to make politics exciting to people who otherwise find it dull. It is a lesson Justin Trudeau has heeded — hence the interminable photo opportunities of him kissing babies, balancing babies, and throwing babies in the air; jogging, boxing and canoeing; performing hand-stands, push ups and attempting the political alchemy of engaging young people in the electoral process. (National Post)

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Liberal MP): "Decriminalize all drug use"

We can and should treat drug abuse as a health issue, and not as a crime. Our Liberal government has committed to a sensible and evidence-based approach to drug policy. That’s what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked about when he campaigned on legalizing recreational marijuana, and it’s what has fueled federal support for supervised injection clinics, as cities grapple with an overdose epidemic. But that commitment to evidence demands that we go further. (VICE)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities will meet on Tuesday Jan 31, 2017 to discuss Poverty Reduction Strategies (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration will meet on Monday January 30th to study Family Reunification (In Camera)
  • Standing Committee on National Defence will meet on Tuesday Jan 31, 2017 to study Canada and the Defence of North America (Partly public)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development will meet on Tuesday January 31, 2017 to study Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act & Special Economic Measures Act, and receive a briefing with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj (In Camera)