True North Initiative News Scan 02 01 2018

TOP STORIES

Trudeau again faces hecklers during town hall in Winnipeg

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Winnipeg stop in his cross-country town hall tour saw him again square off with a handful of hecklers, although one of them says she'd rather have had a more peaceful discussion. Michelle Micuda interrupted the prime minister during an answer to another participant at the Wednesday event to shout out a question about faith-based groups' funding through the Canada Summer Jobs grant. (CBC)

Trudeau Tackles Immigration Questions During Winnipeg Town Hall

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced questions on immigration, child welfare and other issues during a town hall meeting with some 1,800 people at the University of Manitoba. Trudeau was asked by some people about whether he would boost the number of immigrants accepted into Canada every year. Some people had personal questions, such as one woman who said a Nigerian friend was facing deportation and faced great danger if she returned to the African nation because she is a lesbian. (Huffington Post) (Globe and Mail)

Refugees crossing into B.C. on the rise, immigration group says

Friesen and other advocates are concerned that the spike in the number of asylum seekers could increase as the weather warms-up. Last summer, over 7,000 asylum seekers entered Quebec through irregular border crossings. The reason many asylum seekers are using irregular border crossings — through farmers fields or border parks — is because of the Safe Third Country agreement between Canada and the U.S. (Vancouver Sun)

Andrew Scheer orders investigation into Rick Dykstra candidacy

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer says he has instructed his party to launch an independent investigation into questions surrounding Rick Dykstra's federal candidacy in 2015. Dykstra, a former Conservative MP, resigned as president of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party on Sunday. Hours later, Maclean's magazine published a report saying Dykstra had been accused of sexual assault in 2014. (CBC) (Globe and Mail)

Senate passes bill to make O Canada lyrics gender neutral

The Senate passed a bill that renders the national anthem gender neutral Wednesday despite the entrenched opposition of some Conservative senators. The House of Commons overwhelmingly passed a private member's bill in 2016 that would alter the national anthem by replacing "in all thy sons command" with "in all of us command" as part of a push to strike gendered language from O Canada. (CBC)

Religious leaders say they'll challenge 'fascist' summer jobs form on charter grounds

Religious leaders say they will fight the government's new policy on anti-abortion groups and summer jobs grants, and will take it all the way to the country's top court if necessary. Charles McVety, president of the Canada Christian College, said a nationwide prayer protest is planned for this Friday, and petitions are being circulated across the country. They're mounting opposition to the Liberal government's application form for organizations applying for federal summer jobs funding, that now requires applicants to check a box affirming they respect the values set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including women's reproductive rights and LGBT rights. (CBC)

Holocaust denial article on Calgary Muslim website prompts anger, police complaint

Penned by a notorious white nationalist and posted to the website of a self-professed advocacy group for Calgary’s Muslim community, an article promoting Holocaust denial has sparked anger and prompted an investigation by city police. Posted Saturday to muslimsincalgary.ca, the article “Why “No Free Speech” on the Holocaust?” was originally written in February 2007 on the website of David Duke — noted American white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader. (Calgary Sun)

Iranian women risk arrest as they remove their veils for #WhiteWednesdays

Women in Iran are waving white clothes on the end of sticks — but it is an act of defiance, not surrender. During the protests that rocked Iran earlier this month, a powerful image emerged of an unveiled woman waving a white veil on the end of a stick. Vida Movahed, 31, was arrested for this act of protest. According to reports, she was detained and only released last Sunday. (CBC)

Iran’s mass protests beyond class boundaries

Iran’s recent protests have done more than bloodying the regimes’ nose. Most significantly, the protests stripped another layer of the regime’s already thin legitimacy, particularly amongst a constituency traditionally presumed to be the Islamic Republic’s backbone: low-income social strata and rural regions. But the protesters’ motivations are not exclusively economic and class-based. (Open Democracy)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Ontario Progressive Conservatives to announce new leader on March 10

The executive of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party will announce a new leader on March 10, president Jag Badwal said late Wednesday. "I am excited to announce that the Ontario PC Party has a path forward to selecting our next leader and future premier," Badwal said in a statement. "The new leader will have a united party behind them ready to fight and win the upcoming election," Badwal added. (CBC)

Conservative MP Erin O'Toole considering run for Ontario PC leadership

Ontario Conservative MP Erin O'Toole says he's not ruling out a run for leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. "I'm talking to a number of people. I'm not ruling out being a candidate," O'Toole told reporters Wednesday. O'Toole, first elected federally in a 2012 by-election, ran for leader of the federal party last spring. He placed third behind Andrew Scheer, the ultimate victor, and Quebec MP Maxime Bernier. (CBC)

Charged with attempted murder, fugitive historian sought by Interpol after slipping out of Canada

Sebastien Normandin has a PhD in history from McGill University and for three years was a visiting instructor at Michigan State University. A 2013 textbook he co-edited, “Vitalism and the Scientific Image in Post-Enlightenment Life Science, 1800-2010” has been downloaded more than 11,000 times. But recently Normandin’s public writing has been confined to Twitter and Facebook, and he’s not keeping any campus office hours. The former academic was last spotted en route to France, authorities say, fleeing charges that he attempted to murder his ex-girlfriend and her new partner in Victoria. (National Post)

Canadian financial agency tracking fentanyl-linked money laundering

Traffickers are exploiting Canadian money service businesses to buy deadly fentanyl from overseas and then launder the proceeds through banks and credit unions, warns the national financial intelligence agency. The federal Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre is issuing a detailed operational alert to help businesses detect and report suspicious dealings that may be linked to illicit fentanyl, an opioid that is wreaking havoc across Canada. (Metro)

Merit-based immigration necessary to match needs of US economy: White House

The flood of low-skilled immigrants into the US has suppressed wages, harmed American workers, and strained federal resources, the White House said as it defended President Donald Trump’s proposal for a merit- based immigration system. According to the White House countries like Canada and Australia use a merit-based immigration system that benefits both the immigrants and those nations. “A merit-based system would properly match the needs of the modern United States economy and protect vulnerable blue-collar American workers,” the White House said, a day after Trump in his first State of the Union address pushed for an immigration policy that attracts the best and the brightest to the US. (Livemint)

The State of the Union stats don’t lie: Americans are turning against Trump-hating celebrities and buying into the President’s American dream - THAT’S a nightmare for Democrats

Within minutes of President Donald Trump's first State of the Union speech, CBS News revealed their YouGov poll approval ratings on it. Unsurprisingly, 97% of Republican speech watchers liked it. More surprisingly, 72% of Independents liked it. Staggeringly, 43% of Democrats liked it. (Daily Mail)

5 Times Democrats Should Have Stood and Clapped During Trump's State of the Union — But Didn't

When President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address last night, Democrats weren't happy about it. It was a real shame, because Trump offered them many olive branches — libertarians would say he gave them too many. (PJ Media)

Vladimir Putin uses trained birds of prey to take down drones sent by spies or ISIS and guard his Kremlin HQ

The source told Russian news agency RIA Novosti: "There is already such an experience of use in Europe, but you need to understand that the female hawk weighs about 1.2-1.4 kilograms, the weight is not very big. "Therefore it will be difficult for her to intercept even small drones." (Sun.co.uk)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: The new rules are that anyone can now be randomly accused

We now live in a world where a man’s career and livelihood can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. Anonymous accusers can launch a hit piece about events that occurred over a decade ago, distorted by heavy alcohol consumption and the possible desire to unseat a powerful person. Before anyone can celebrate the shocking resignation of Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown — just months before an election he was favoured to win — consider how easily these accusations could be launched at anyone, at any time, for almost any reason. How would you feel if they were launched against your favourite politician? Or how about your son, your brother, your father, your husband, or you? (Toronto Sun)

Sheila Gunn Reid: Edmonton Mall sexual assault trial: Supporters of accused unmoved by graphic testimony (Day 8)

Hajj Soleiman is accused of six counts of sexual assault and six counts of sexual interference on girls all under the age of 16. The charges against him stem from a series of gropings and assaults that took place during the evening of February 4th, 2017 at Edmonton's World Waterpark wave pool. (Rebel)

Anthony Furey: Trudeau's male feminism isn't a get-out-of-jail-free card

You’d almost think Justin Trudeau invented feminism, the way he struts about touting his credentials. This was most shamelessly on display in words the prime minister said to CBC Radio in an interview that is airing on the weekend, but was excerpted on their website. “I’ve been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people’s space and people’s headspace as well,” the PM said. Then, according to the public broadcaster: “When asked if any of his past actions could be misconstrued, Trudeau said he didn’t think so.” (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Ottawa right to take assaults seriously

Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has instructed his party to commence an independent investigation into former federal MP Rick Dykstra and his 2015 candidacy. On Sunday, Dykstra resigned his latest position as president of the Ontario PC party shortly before a Maclean’s story broke alleging sexual misconduct by Dykstra. “A young Conservative staffer filed a report with Ottawa police in 2014 complaining that Dykstra sexually assaulted her after a party,” the story noted. (Toronto Sun)

Ian Young: Does Canada really have more in common with China than with the US? Democracy, the NHL and an 8,891km border suggest not

The former minister for immigration made his remarks on January 19, as he hosted Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. McCallum was opining on the election of US President Donald Trump and its implications for the China-Canada relationship. “In some important policy areas such as the environment, global warming, free trade, globalisation, the policies of the government of Canada are closer to the policies of the government of China than they are to US policies,” said McCallum, in remarks reported by the Globe and Mail. The election of Trump represented an opportunity for Canada, McCallum reportedly said, and “because of this political situation with Donald Trump, the Chinese are now more interested than before to do things with us”. (SCMP)

Father Raymond J. de Souza: Venezuela is a time capsule of Soviet dysfunction, despair

Venezuela is a poor country where starving people are rummaging through the garbage in order to eat. But it has not been afflicted by a tragedy, like Hurricane Maria overwhelming Puerto Rico. Indeed, Puerto Rico is better off; properties can be rebuilt and normality can return. In Venezuela it is the normality that is causing immense human suffering. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

 

  • Standing Committee on National Defence meet today to study Canada’s involvement in NATO (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet today for committee business and to study Canada’s Development Finance Initiative (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet today to study Bill C-59, an Act Respecting National Security matters (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet today for a briefing on the International Organization for Migration (Partially Public)