True North Initiative: News Scan 02 15 17

TOP STORIES

Terrorism, organized crime prompt millions more for border

As U.S. President Donald Trump eyes border security, the Trudeau government is investing millions to offset growing pressures along the Canada-U.S. border, including organized crime and the threat of terrorism. According to supplementary estimates tabled Tuesday in the House of Commons, the federal government is giving the Canada Border Services Agency an additional $85.5 million. (CBC)

Quebec sees biggest increase in illegal crossings from U.S., RCMP says

Quebec is dealing with Canada's largest increase in the number of asylum seekers crossing illegally into the country from the U.S., law enforcement officials said Monday. It is an increase that refugee lawyers are attributing to uncertainty over immigration policies in the U.S., which have become a hallmark of the young administration of President Donald Trump. (CBC)

Air India bomb maker released from halfway house

The only man convicted in the 1985 Air India bombings has been granted additional freedom, despite his refusal to identify his associates. Inderjit Singh Reyat, who provided bomb parts used in the notorious terror attacks, is no longer required to live in a halfway house, according to a Parole Board of Canada decision delivered late last month. The board credited Reyat for embracing an anti-violence perspective since the bombings, which ended the lives of 331 people, even though psychologists have warned that view could disappear under the wrong circumstances. (CTV) (CBC)

Conservatives divided on anti-Islamophobia motion

A push to condemn Islamophobia in the House of Commons has created a wedge in the Conservative leadership race, driven by far-right blogs claiming it’s an attack on freedom of expression. The motion, scheduled to be debated in Parliament on Wednesday, asks MPs to recognize the need to “quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear” against Muslims and condemn “all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” It further asks the Common’s heritage committee to examine the issues of racism and religious discrimination, including Islamophobia , and to collect more data on hate crimes in Canada. (Toronto Star)

Liberal MP keen to allay ‘fear and anxiety’ on anti-Islamophobia motion but will not change it in face of ‘hatred’

In an exclusive interview Tuesday with the National Post, Khalid, a Pakistan-born first-time MP from Mississauga, Ont., said she is not willing to alter her  motion, which has been given the parliamentary designation M-103, even though some Conservative MPs have suggested she do so and even though she says she has been subjected to “a lot of hatred” and abuse since she first proposed the motion last December. (National Post)

Goodale to address border tensions with U.S. homeland secretary

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says he will soon talk face-to-face with his U.S. counterpart about the difficulties some Canadians are experiencing at the border. Goodale said Tuesday he will have a chance in coming weeks — no date has been set — to discuss any border “issues or tensions” with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. (Globe and Mail)

After Trump, Trudeau to push free trade in Europe with Germany's Merkel

Justin Trudeau arrives in Europe on Thursday and plans to talk more openly about one of the things he didn't discuss with Donald Trump — the merits of free trade in the face of increasingly hostile, populist opposition. The prime minister is to deliver his pro-trade message in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on Thursday — a first for a Canadian leader — and to top business leaders a day later in Germany. (Metro)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Vegreville could lose 420 residents if immigration centre closes, report says

Closing one of Vegreville's largest employers would mean not only 236 lost jobs for the town but also have major impacts on the town's social fabric, a new report shows. A socio-economic report prepared by Nichols Applied Management Inc. for the Town of Vegreville shows approximately 420 people, mostly adults aged 30 to 50 and their young families, could move out of town if the federal immigrant and refugee processing centre is relocated to Edmonton. (CBC)

Minnesota churches offer sanctuary as alternative to crossing border on foot

A multi-faith group in Minnesota is offering up their buildings as sanctuary for people whose asylum claims have been rejected in the United States — and who may be fearing immigration raids or considering crossing the international border on foot to apply for refugee status in Canada. (CBC)

Premier says Manitoba will 'absolutely' help refugees

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says "Yes, absolutely" in response to the call for help from organizations helping refugees coming into the province, though he wasn't specific about what form that assistance might take. Pallister says his government not only has to help the refugees, but also reassure residents near the U.S. border. (CBC)

Poll suggests Canadians more optimistic about the economy

Canadians remain uneasy about the nation’s overall economic prospects even as they are more optimistic about their own personal fortunes, a new survey suggests. Pollara Strategic Insights’ 22nd annual outlook poll reveals 57 per cent believe the country is in recession. But that is lower than the 76 per cent that felt that way in last year’s survey. (Toronto Star)

O'Leary, Chong, Bernier, Raitt most appealing Conservative leadership candidates to Canadians: Nanos survey

Kevin O’Leary, Michael Chong, Maxime Bernier and Lisa Raitt are the most politically appealing Conservative Party leadership candidates to Canadians, according to a new Nanos survey.Nearly 15 per cent of those surveyed said they found O’Leary most appealing. He was followed by Chong (9.2 per cent), Bernier (8.5 per cent), and Raitt (7.1 per cent). Kellie Leitch, Erin O’Toole, Steven Blaney and Andrew Scheer were each preferred by only about two per cent of survey responders. One per cent or less said they preferred Chris Alexander, Deepak Obhrai, Pierre Lemieux and Brad Trost. (CTV)

Saskatchewan man guilty of threatening Justin Trudeau in Facebook rants

Saskatchewan man has been found guilty of uttering threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after posting expletive-laden posts on Facebook saying Trudeau should be shot. Christopher Hayes, 41, was fined $500 and given nine months of probation, which includes a ban on attending events with Trudeau. He is also prohibited from owning firearms for three years. (Regina Leader Post)

EU parliament votes in favour of landmark trade deal with Canada

The European Parliament approved a landmark free-trade agreement with Canada, shoring up Europe’s market-opening clout in the face of a populist surge across the continent and U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist tilt. The European Union assembly’s endorsement of the first EU commercial deal with a fellow member of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations paves the way for it to take provisional effect once the Canadian Senate gives its green light, expected within weeks. EU governments and Canada’s House of Commons have already given their approval. (Financial Post)

Look who’s going to Washington: MPs planning blitz to meet and greet new Congress

Dozens of MPs will descend upon Washington over the next few months to get face time with members of Congress and be briefed by government and non-government institutions, as Canada’s federal politicians try to build ties with the new American government. (Hill Times)

Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign

High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN. (CNN)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Lorne Gunter: The real threat behind M-103 is 'mission creep'

“Mission creep,” that’s the real threat of M-103, the anti-Islamophobia motion proposed by Mississauga Liberal MP Iqra Khalid that is likely to be debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday. There are fundamental problems with the wording of the motion, of course. As currently written, the motion singles out Islam for special protection. (Calgary Sun)

Faith Goldy: Trudeau Sucks at Feminism

If Canada’s Prime Minister were to show up to his next international event in a pussy hat, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised. Is it just me or is feminism is the only legacy Justin Trudeau is working towards? (Rebel)

Susan Delacourt: The centre cannot hold: Canada faces a populist eruption

Now that Justin Trudeau has taken the first steps into President Donald Trump’s circle of trust, he may want to turn his attention back to serious trust issues back here in Canada. A new, international “trust index” released today contained some troubling news for the prime minister and his Liberal brand: Canadians’ trust in government has eroded profoundly since Trudeau took power 15 months ago. Edelman, the public-relations firm that compiles the annual index, has put Canada into the “distruster” nation category for the first time in the 17-year history of the global survey. “Distrusters” are nations in which most people express distrust in their civic institutions. (IPolitics)

Leah McLaren: In rush to appease Trump, Trudeau is abandoning his values

I know what you’re thinking: Justin had to do it. He had no other option. Our economy depended upon it. Jobs depended upon it. Obviously Justin loathes the Donald – just look at his body language, the rictus grin during all that talk of “shared values,” the way he refused to be jerked forward by Donald Trump’s weird handshake-domination move. Or the way he paused, for one split second during the press conference, and regarded Trump’s limp little hand before doing the required thing and giving it a hearty squeeze. These memes were passed around obsessively on social media Monday as if they proved something apart from the obvious: That our self-declared feminist leader, a man who has stood weeping and embracing refugees in airports as the cameras clicked and whirred, is also happy – or at least entirely willing – to shelve all his high-minded political principles when necessary and dance with the devil. (Globe and Mail)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities met yesterday 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 yesterday to continue study on Canada the Defence of North America (In Camera)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development met yesterday to study the Situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia 25 Years after the End of the Cold War (Public