True North Initiative News Scan 02 13 18

TOP STORIES

Federal government calls on Iran to investigate professor’s death

The Canadian government is calling on Iran to conduct an investigation into the death of an Iranian-Canadian professor, who died in a Tehran prison after his arrest on allegations of spying last month. Kavous Seyed-Emami, 64, recently died under suspicious circumstances. His family was told last Friday by Iranian authorities that he died by suicide – a claim the family rejects. It is not clear when exactly he died. (Globe and Mail)

Accused Edmonton TERRORIST to remain at Alberta Hospital to complete assessment

The man accused in a knife attack on an Edmonton police officer last September will remain in Alberta Hospital for another month while his mental health assessment is completed. On Monday, provincial court Judge Donna Valgardson adjourned the election and plea for 30 more days to complete the psychiatric evaluation of Abdulahi Sharif, 30, who is also accused of plowing into four pedestrians with a U-Haul van. (CBC)

CSIS ‘confident’ it will get advance notice of returning foreign fighters: official

When foreign fighters from conflicts abroad try to return to Canada, a senior official with the spy agency tasked with keeping Canadians safe says he is confident law enforcement will know about them and be able to prepare before they arrive back. Speaking before the Senate national security committee on Monday afternoon, Jeff Yaworski, deputy operations director at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), told senators during questioning about the committee’s study of Canadians kidnapped abroad and foreign threats. (Global)

Conservatives accuse Justin Trudeau of ‘waiting for the clock to run out’ on Kinder Morgan pipeline

As the feud over the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Western Canada continues, Conservatives in Ottawa kicked off debate on a motion calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to table his plans for getting the pipeline built by accusing him of “waiting for the clock to run out” so the project approval eventually dies. (Global)

Trump beefs about Canadian trade practices, threatens global tax

U.S. President Donald Trump is complaining about Canadian trade practices while threatening some as-yet-undefined international tax that has revived fears he might be contemplating new American import penalties. The president made the remarks at the White House on Monday while unveiling a long-awaited infrastructure plan. During a lengthy session with reporters, he complained about countries considered allies of the U.S. (Globe and Mail)

ISIS child soldier who ‘fought with jihadis in Raqqa’ is captured in Syria

The boy, who doesn’t even appear to have reached his teens, was filmed lying face-down after a surprise jihadi attack on the village of al-Khuwain, near Idlib. The unverified footage is thought to have been filmed by a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) after the lad was captured. It shows the boy remaining calm as he tells the anti-Assad rebels who captured him that he has been with ISIS for two years and fought in its former stronghold of Raqqa. (Sun.co.uk)

Environmentalists are latest targets for arrest in Iran; one has died in prison

Iranian academics and environmentalists are demanding answers from authorities after several colleagues were arrested on espionage charges and one, a prominent professor, died in prison. Kavous Seyed Emami, a sociology professor who also held Canadian citizenship, hanged himself while in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where political prisoners are usually held, Iranian judicial officials said over the weekend. (Gazette)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Ottawa orders national-security review of Aecon sale to Chinese state-owned firm

The Trudeau cabinet has issued a special order to prolong Ottawa's scrutiny of a $1.5-billion takeover of Canadian infrastructure giant Aecon Group Inc. by a Chinese state-owned firm, invoking a section of law used when the federal government believes an investment "could be injurious to national security." (Globe and Mail)

Emergency request made to stop deportation of Abdoul Abdi

The Federal Court will hear an emergency request Thursday in Halifax to stop the deportation of Abdoul Abdi, a 24-year-old former child refugee from Somalia. The request comes after the federal minister of public safety refused to pause a deportation hearing while the court hears a constitutional challenge to the minister's decision to deport. (CBC)

Border workers picket CBSA offices

Canada Border Services Agency officers have been without a contract for nearly four years and are unhappy with the situation. On Monday about a dozen workers from the Customs and Immigration Union, a division of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, held a lunch-hour march in front of CBSA’s offices on May Street, demanding the agency get a contract done. (TBNW)

PM says time to recognize anti-black racism exists

Justin Trudeau says it's time Canadians acknowledged that racism and unconscious bias against black people exist in this country. And the prime minister says it's time to take action to ensure equal opportunity and treatment of the more than one million black Canadians, including doing more to recruit and elect black members of Parliament. (CTV)

Resurgence of pro-Khalistan sentiment abroad: Should India be worried?

The ban on Indian diplomats entering gurdwaras abroad, that started with India's Consul General in Toronto, Dinesh Bhatia's visit to Dixie gurdwara in January 2017, has now spread across countries. A new version of Punjab's separatist movement of the 1980s, that demanded Khalistan, is emerging, with Canada as its epicenter. (Newsbytes)

Damascus warns Israel of "more surprises" in Syria

The Syrian government said on Tuesday that Israel would face "more surprises" in future attacks on Syria's territory, after Syrian air defences shot down an Israeli F-16 jet. Syrian anti-aircraft fire downed the F-16 as it returned from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria early on Saturday. Both Iran and Russia are supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's near seven-year civil war. (Reuters)

Iran accuses West of using lizards for nuclear spying

The former chief-of-staff of Iran’s armed forces said Tuesday that Western spies had used lizards to “attract atomic waves” and spy on his country’s nuclear program. It was the latest in a long line of incidents of Western countries, including Israel, being accused of deploying secret agents from the animal kingdom. (Times of Israel)

Venezuela oil production is plummeting

Venezuela's main source of cash is dwindling at a breathtaking pace. The country's oil output in January fell to its lowest level in nearly 30 years, not including a brief oil strike in 2003, according to S&P Global Platts. (CNN)

Human rights body warns of deteriorating conditions in Venezuela

Venezuela's democratic institutions and human rights situation have undergone "marked deterioration" over the past two years, a regional human rights body warned in a report documenting abuses under President Nicolas Maduro. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission said there were "serious obstacles" to political participation, increased repression and censorship, rising crime and insecurity and intensifying poverty. (Yahoo)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Mark Bonokoski: PM way out of line to castigate a verdict

One need not read too deeply between the lines to realize our prime minister, our justice minister, and the minister overseeing Indigenous relations believe Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley should have been found guilty of murder and on his way to a federal prison. Forget that a jury of his peers heard all the evidence first-hand, and then eventually acquitted him. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Trudeau has no business in jury box

The not-guilty verdict in the tragic death of Colten Boushie has resulted in calls for change to Canada’s justice system after a white farmer was acquitted of killing the Cree youth. Boushie, a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation, was 22 years old in August 2016 when he and four friends drove an SUV up the long, gravel driveway leading to Gerald Stanley’s farmhouse west of Saskatoon. (Toronto Sun)

Tarek Fatah: Is Canada home to anti-India Sikh extremists?

Is Canada home to Sikh extremists trying to pump fresh air into the dying embers of the so-called Khalistan movement that seeks the breaking up of India to create a separate Sikh country in Punjab? Are there such anti-India Sikhs in the federal cabinet and the Liberal Party and its Ontario wing? (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: Boushie didn't deserve to die, but activist responses aren't the answer

It’s a shame Colten Boushie is dead. He seemed like a decent kid. He’d trained as a wilderness firefighter and as a short-order cook. He was trying to better himself. He didn’t deserve to die that day in August 2016 when he and a group of friends drove onto Gerald Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask. But Stanley’s acquittal on second-degree murder charges in a Sask. courtroom on Friday is not a travesty of justice. (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet today for a Briefing on Resettlement Issues Related to Yazidi Women and Girls (In Camera)
  • 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 National Defence meet today to study Canada’s involvement in NATO (Partly Public)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet today to study Provision of Assistance to Canadians in Difficulty Abroad (Consular Affairs) (Public)