True North Initiative News Scan 02 09 18

TOP STORIES

Maryam Monsef travelled to Davos, but it's unclear if she has a new passport

Toronto Sun columnist Candice Malcolm wrote on Sunday that it means Monsef is travelling on a passport containing false information, and she called on Monsef or her government to “clarify the situation.” Malcolm wrote that while it’s possible Monsef is travelling on a diplomatic passport, even those contain information such as nationality, date of birth and place of birth. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will not comment on individual cases for privacy reasons, states an email to The Examiner from a spokesperson. (National Post)

Alleged ISIS operative 'Jihadi Jack' begs Canada to let him come here

Canadian diplomats have made contact with a British-Canadian man who allegedly joined ISIS in Syria — and who is now pleading with the government to secure his release from prison and allow him to come to Canada, CBC News has learned. Jack Letts, a British-Canadian man dubbed "Jihadi Jack" by the U.K. media, is being held by Kurdish authorities on suspicion of being a member of the extremist organization. (CBC)

Sikh nationalism will overshadow Justin Trudeau’s trip to India: expert

As politicians downplay the existence of Sikh extremism in Canada, one Indo-Canadian expert says the topic can’t be downplayed during the prime minister’s upcoming trip to India. “I think that there’s no question that the whole Khalistan question will overshadow this trip,” said Vivek Dehejia, an associate professor at Carleton University who is also a fellow at the IDFC Institute think-tank in Mumbai. (Global)

Immigration activists decry citizenship checks on buses, trains

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents in the far north do far more than keep watch over the country's frigid border with Canada. At a bus station in Bangor, Maine, where people often hop on rides to bigger cities, agents recently asked boarding passengers if they were U.S. citizens. One of those questioned reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. Lawyers for the organization find the practice troubling. (FOX)

Final two jihadists of ‘the Beatles’ ISIS terrorist cell captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces

Two British jihadists, members of the ISIS cell known as ‘the Beatles,’ have reportedly been captured by Syrian Kurdish fighters allied to the US. The Britons are known for the murder and torture of two dozen hostages. London born Alexanda Kotey, 34, and El Shafee Elsheikh, 29, whose family fled Sudan in the 1990s, were the only remaining members of the group that were still at large. (RT) (Sky News)

Isis fighters in migrant influx ‘pose fresh threat to Europe’

Spain warned of a new threat from jihadist fighters this morning, who could exploit the movement of north African workers into Europe. Alfonso Dastis, the Spanish foreign minister, said Madrid was mounting a surveillance operation to prevent Isis or al-Qaeda operatives entering mainland Europe to mount terrorist strikes. Every summer thousands of people drive from France, Germany and other countries through Spain to visit their families in north Africa then return to work when the holiday is over. (The Times)

Amnesty International Urges Iran To Release Hunger Striking Human Rights Defenders

In a statement released on February 7, Amnesty International urged Iran to immediately and unconditionally release human rights activists Atena Daemi, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and her husband Arash Sadeghi, who have begun a hunger strike to protest the unlawful transfer of Atena Daemi and Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee to the dangerous Shahr-e Rey prison in Varamin outside Tehran. (Iran Human Rights Watch)

'We're going to ensure that pipeline gets built,' Trudeau says on San Francisco visit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Thursday to do whatever it takes to get the Kinder Morgan pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia built. "We're going to ensure that pipeline gets built because it is in the national interest," Trudeau told reporters in San Francisco, California during the second day of his Western U.S. tour. (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Trudeau pitches Toronto for HQ2 in meeting with Amazon's Bezos

The Canadian leader zigzagged through the city for a series of tech meetings, hailed the benefits of immigrants to an industry thirsty for talent, had a private chat with Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, pitching Toronto for the retail giant’s second headquarters, and even picked up investments from Salesforce.com Inc. and AppDirect Inc. It’s in keeping with Trudeau’s aspiration to remake Canada as a tech leader -- with mixed results so far. (BNN)

Trudeau to Facebook: Fix your fake news problem or face stricter regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned social networking giant Facebook it needs to fix its “fake news” problems or face stronger regulation from Ottawa. Trudeau told Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg in November he was concerned the company wasn’t doing enough to stop the spread of misleading information on their platform, a source with direct knowledge of the conversation told the Star. (Toronto Star)

Ottawa to toughen scrutiny of arms exports despite findings of Saudi probe

The federal government says it has concluded there is no definitive evidence Canadian-made combat vehicles were used to commit human-rights violations in Saudi Arabia last summer, but nevertheless plans to enshrine in law a "substantial risk" clause it promises will apply tougher scrutiny to future arms exports. (Globe and Mail)

Former NDP MP Peter Stoffer denies sexual misconduct allegations

The wide corridors that run along two sides of the House of Commons are a secure area in the Centre Block of Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings, restricted to Members of Parliament and staff. One afternoon in 2009 during parliament’s fall session, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, a young female staffer for then-New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, was standing in the opposition lobby at the desk of the whip’s assistant when Peter Stoffer, the NDP member for a suburban Halifax riding and one of the most popular MPs, started asking her questions. (National Post)

Elliott, Ford, Mulroney sound death knell for People’s Guarantee by opposing carbon tax

All three Progressive Conservative leadership candidates have abandoned the carbon tax that generates the revenues to pay for promises in the party’s People’s Guarantee platform. That effectively means a $4-billion-a-year reduction in revenues for mental health spending, income tax cuts, child-care breaks and other key planks in ex-leader Patrick Brown’s carefully crafted 78-page election program. (Toronto Star)

Ontario Tories to review questionable candidate nominations

The Progressive Conservatives are reviewing several questionable candidate nomination elections with an eye toward overturning contentious results, the Star has learned. A senior party official said late Thursday they have “uncovered new information on some nominations.” (Toronto Star)

Conservatives' Scheer to commit to seeking free trade deal with U.K. if elected

Andrew Scheer is expected to promise today that a Conservative government would pursue a free trade deal with the United Kingdom. A pledge to negotiate a bilateral deal with the U.K. was part of Scheer's leadership campaign platform and he's expected to repeat that vow today in a speech to a gathering of conservatives. (CTV)

Venezuela crisis has neighbours fearing influx of more refugees

Colombia and Brazil tightened border controls with Venezuela on Thursday as both nations grapple with a mounting influx of hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants fleeing a worsening economic crisis. In a visit to the border region, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he would impose stricter migratory controls, suspend new daily entry cards for Venezuelans and deploy 3,000 new security personnel along the frontier, including 2,120 more soldiers. (CBC)

ISIS Deploys Wheelchair-Bound Suicide Bomber

A new ISIS video shows a wheelchair-bound jihadist being loaded into a bomb-outfitted pickup before he drives off and detonates the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. ISIS also shows what it claims to be women jihadists fighting alongside men in battle and claims their fight in Syria is now "the battle to avenge chaste women" as the "deceitful, atheist Kurds" have women commanders on the front lines defeating the terror group. (PJ Media)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Peoplekind a joke? No, a glimpse into Trudeau's mind

On a good day, it’s difficult to take Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seriously. The man — or should I say, the person — has a long track record of saying really stupid and embarrassing things. Trudeau’s best excuse for his habit of sticking his foot in his mouth is to later say he wasn’t being serious. He simply shrugs it off and insists he was telling a “bad joke.” Trudeau was just kidding, for instance, when he said he admired China’s “basic dictatorship.” Sure, someone posed a serious question — what country do you admire most? — and it appeared like Trudeau was sincerely responding. But given how stupid his answer was, he must have been kidding, right? (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Canadian acceptance of "asylum seekers" reaches concerning level

Migrants entering Canada illegally face few consequences, and our immigration vetting is so backed up that they are able to stay in Canada for months before being properly screened. (Rebel)

Mark Bonokoski: Influential American eyes dimming on Trudeau liberalism

While our prime minister continued in the United States Thursday with his NAFTA love tour, this time in the progressive commune of San Francisco, the contradictions in his schtick are finally getting noticed by some influential U.S. media. And what they see is also what more Canadians need to see. (Toronto Sun)

Farzana Hassan: Make no mistake, the M103 report still focuses on Islamophobia

The eagerly anticipated M103 report seems to signal victory for citizens who sought to protect free speech. The wording of the report certainly appears to accede to their demand that Islamophobia not be treated as a special case. Twenty-nine out of the 30 recommendations in the report even avoid the nebulous and troublesome word. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: NDP's Singh straddling the fence on Israel, but at least that's an improvement

The NDP’s socialist caucus is an unofficial left-wing faction within the party that seems to immature with age. It has consistently adopted resolutions that range from the preposterous to the unworkable. Ahead of the convention that will be held in Ottawa, Feb. 16-18, it has come up with some belters. (National Post)

Don Martin: Great pipeline divide fracturing the national interest

The Great Divide forms the southern stretch of Rocky Mountain border between Alberta and British Columbia. Rain falling on the western side flows toward the Pacific. On the eastern slope, it gurgles toward the Atlantic or Arctic oceans. (CTV)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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