True North Initiative: News Scan 02 13 17

TOP STORIES

Canadian prime minister makes first visit to Trump's White House

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the White House Monday, becoming the third world leader to meet with President Donald Trump face to face. The two leaders couldn't be more different. Trudeau, 45, is the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. He began his career as a school teacher and advocate for youth and environmental issues before entering politics. Trump made his fortune as a real estate and media mogul. (ABC) (CNN) (Canadian Press)

Canadian citizenship applications decline after processing fees triple

A sharp fee increase has helped fuel a dramatic drop in the number of immigrants applying to become Canadian citizens, according to immigration advocates. In the first nine months of 2016, there were 56,446 applications filed for citizenship, a decrease of nearly 50 per cent from the same period a year earlier, when 111,993 applications were submitted (CBC)

Dramatic increase in people having Canadian citizenship revoked since Trudeau elected

At least 236 people have been served notice of Canadian citizenship revocation since the Liberals came into federal office — a dramatic increase over previous years that is the result of Harper-era legislation, according to Canada’s immigration department. Controversy still reigns over a Liberal election promise to repeal a measure that lets the government revoke the citizenship of dual nationals convicted of serious crimes. It was the headline policy contained in Bill C-24 or the “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act,” which took effect in May 2015. (National Post)

Canada-U.S. treaty has hundreds of asylum seekers crossing Quebec border illegally

Through back roads and in taxis, hundreds of immigrants are making their way across the border between Quebec and the United States illegally, according to Canadian Border Services Agency statistics. The numbers show an explosion in the amount of asylum claims being made at CBSA land border ports of entry within the province, with 452 claims being made in January. That’s more than three times the amount made during that time period the year before and almost 10 times as many as were made in 2014 or 2015. (CTV)

21 asylum seekers crossed into Manitoba Saturday

Emergency workers in Emerson, Man., were called to help at least 21 refugees who crossed the Canada-U.S. border in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Refugees entering from the U.S. are walking through open farmers' fields to pass through the border into Manitoba near the town. (CBC)

Many Somalis in Minnesota 'willing to take the risk' to sneak into Canada

Somalis in Minneapolis like to congregate in places such as Karmel Square and Suuqq, a Somali mall where they can eat goat meat and drink sweet tea — and where many have been gathering to negotiate a ride to the Canadian border. Mohamud Noor, executive director of the Confederation of Somali Communities in Minnesota, says Somalis have the highest rate of asylum rejections and deportation orders in the U.S. As a result, he says they're undaunted by the prospect of a potentially perilous journey to Canada. (CBC)

Asylum seekers fleeing U.S. face further hurdles here

Asylum seekers crossing into Canada from the United States face further hurdles trying to attain refugee status here, according to an Ottawa immigration lawyer. Last weekend, 22 asylum seekers arrived in Emerson, Man., after sneaking across the Canada-U.S. border. (CBC)

Concern expressed about release of man who killed Greyhound bus passenger

The federal Opposition leader and the mother of a man who was beheaded and cannibalized on a Greyhound bus are criticizing a decision to grant complete freedom to the man who committed the gruesome act. Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said in a Facebook post that the release of Will Baker – who was formerly Vince Li – doesn’t seem right and that Justin Trudeau must put the rights of victims first. (IPolitics)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Mulcair implores Trudeau to stand up for Canadians affected by Trump order

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is urging the Prime Minister to tell Donald Trump to allow all Canadians to cross the U.S. border when he sits down with the new President at the White House on Monday. Mr. Mulcair has written a letter to Justin Trudeau, obtained by The Globe and Mail, that also makes the case for the PM to stand up for Canadians “who are resoundingly opposed to Mr. Trump’s travel ban.” (Globe and Mail)

Trudeau's China trip most expensive by a PM in past decade

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trip to China last year was the most expensive trip by a Canadian prime minister in a decade. According to figures obtained by CBC News, Trudeau's 10-day trip to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Hong Kong to attend the G20 summit and meet Chinese business and political leaders cost Canadian taxpayers $1.8 million. (CBC)

Liberal MPs concerned about PMO’s handling of electoral reform and cash-for-access issues, say Grit sources

Liberal MPs are generally not worried about the effects of the broken electoral-reform campaign promise on their re-election chances by itself, and most are glad the “divisive” issue has now been put aside, but some are concerned about how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his top advisers have handled this and other recent controversies, such as the cash-for-access issue, sources told The Hill Times. (Hill Times)

Protesters rally across Canada over Liberals' broken electoral reform promise

Protesters staged demonstrations across Canada Saturday to attack the governing Liberals' decision to abandon their promise of electoral reform. Hundreds of people turned out to the Toronto protest, some holding signs critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and demanding proportional representation. (CTV)

Pre-clearance bill would give U.S. border agents in Canada new powers

U.S. border guards would get new powers to question, search and even detain Canadian citizens on Canadian soil under a bill proposed by the Liberal government. Legal experts say Bill C-23, introduced by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and likely to pass in the current sitting of Parliament, could also erode the standing of Canadian permanent residents by threatening their automatic right to enter Canada. (CBC)

How Western Canada is trying to capitalize on whatever a Trump immigration policy brings

Vancouver long has sought a share of Silicon Valley’s magic. With President Trump moving to curb immigration and the U.S. tech industry in open revolt, it may finally get its wish. Tech companies that keep satellite offices in Vancouver, just a two-hour flight from San Francisco, are exploring whether to move more jobs over the border. Immigration lawyers are reporting a steep uptick in inquiries. And a new start-up is offering to smooth the way, for $6,000 a person, for foreign-born tech workers worried their U.S. visas may disappear. (Financial Post)

U.S. needs to be 'much more vigilant' to stem flow of asylum seekers: security expert

Canadian and U.S. officials need to co-ordinate their efforts to help stem the flow of would-be refugee claimants sneaking into Canada, which includes beefing up patrols on roads heading north to the border, says one security expert. "Basically we need to make sure we work with U.S. border patrol and state troopers to try to intercept suspicious vehicles long before they make it to the border," said Christian Leuprecht, a political science professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen's University. (CBC)

White House official calls court's travel ban ruling a 'judicial usurpation of power'

A top U.S. White House aide renewed support for President Donald Trump's embattled immigration order and praised a surge in deportations Sunday, as the new president faces a new provocation in the form of an apparent missile test by North Korea. The White House continues to weigh its options following a legal blow last week to Trump's immigration order suspending the nation's refugee program and barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. (CBC)

FBI terrorism taskforce investigating Standing Rock activists

The FBI is investigating political activists campaigning against the Dakota Access pipeline, diverting agents charged with preventing terrorist attacks to instead focus their attention on indigenous activists and environmentalists. The Guardian has established that multiple officers within the FBI’s joint terrorism taskforce have attempted to contact at least three people tied to the Standing Rock “water protector” movement in North Dakota. (Guardian)

Trump, Trudeau to discuss women in workforce

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will participate in a roundtable discussion about women in the workforce Monday, showing the rising policy influence of the first daughter who has stressed her commitment to issues like child care. (Canadian Press)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: There’s no such thing as refugees from the United States

Canada is a welcoming country with a proud history of accepting and resettling some of the world’s most vulnerable and persecuted people. There are refugee success stories all around us, and we should always have space in our country to protect those fleeing violence and oppression. We should have no patience, however, for those who take advantage of our generosity by purposely thwarting our immigration and national security laws. The recent surge in asylum claims being filed in rural Manitoba is one such example. (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: Yes, Canada’s anti-Islamophobia motion poses a problem

There are two fundamental problems with Liberal MP Iqra Khalid’s Motion 103 calling on the federal government to battle Islamophobia that will likely come up for debate in the House of Commons this coming week. One concern is practical, the other stems from a dusty old philosophical belief that words can affect ideas and concepts. Used incorrectly for long enough, the wrong words give us bad ideas. M-103 is mostly politically correct gobbledygook – airy, ill-defined concepts that are hard to disagree with. Indeed, the motion is expected to pass nearly unanimously with all-party support. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Clash of the zodiac, Trudeau's first date with Trump

Given the Obama bromance was short-lived and one-off, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s meeting Monday with U.S. President Donald Trump is the most important first date of his political life. It will certainly put to the test the theory that opposites attract. Donald Trump, born on June 24, is a Gemini. Justin Trudeau, born on Christmas Day, is a Capricorn. This does not bode well if you believe the stargazers. (Canoe)

Campbell Clark: Justin Trudeau will tread carefully on global security in Trump meeting

Justin Trudeau was going to bring Canada back into UN peacekeeping. Now, that’s on hold as he waits to understand Donald Trump’s global priorities. As Mr. Trudeau travels to Washington to meet the President on Monday, those global security issues are a critical part of the strategy to revamp relations now that Mr. Trump is in the White House. The question is whether Mr. Trudeau will feel forced to backtrack on key symbols of his Liberal internationalism. (Globe and Mail)

Toronto Star: Is Trump’s refugee crackdown threat pushing asylum seekers into Canada?

The Star watched as three groups of people walked across the border into Quebec. Despite RCMP officers warning they would be arrested all very willingly allowed themselves to be taken away. (Toronto Star)

Neil Macdonald: How the word 'terrorism' lost its meaning

On Feb. 3, President Donald Trump tweeted that "a new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris." The United States, he added, needed to "GET SMART" and, presumably, get behind his ban on travel from several Muslim-majority, ostensibly terrorist-producing countries. (CBC)

Robert Fulford: Can Islam be reformed? Who will, or even can be, a Muslim Martin Luther?

“I was a Muslim refugee once,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared this week in her response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban. “I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to fear rejection, deportation and the dangers that await you back home.” (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities meet tomorrow to discuss Poverty Reduction Strategies (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to study Family Reunification (In Camera)
  • Standing Committee on National Defence met on Thursday to continue study on Canada the Defence of North America (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet tomorrow to study the Situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia 25 Years after the End of the Cold War (Public)