True North Initiative News Scan 02 15 18

TOP STORIES

Canada is shortening wait times to bring spouses from abroad: Immigration minster

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says the government has met its goal of shortening wait times for those hoping to sponsor their spouse from abroad. Hussen says the backlog of applications now sits at 15,000, down from 75,000 in 2016. (Global)

Mentally ill or time-bomb terrorist? Restrictions rejected for accused ISIS sympathizer

Everyone agrees Khalid Ahmad Ibrahim is a deeply troubled man. But is he a potential terrorist — or mentally ill? A ticking time-bomb — or a misunderstood immigrant with an obsession with Middle Eastern violence and a police file full of unsettling incidents? A man who deserves to have his liberty restricted for the safety of all — or one who deserves treatment for pretty much the same reason? Those questions were at the heart of the dilemma facing New Westminster Provincial Court Judge Therese Alexander as she wrestled with a Crown application to place Ibrahim under a peace bond on the grounds that he may commit a terrorism offence for the benefit of ISIS. (Yahoo)

Patrick Brown rips CTV, challenges accusers to press charges

Patrick Brown has stepped up his campaign to defend himself against sexual misconduct allegations, challenging his accusers to take their complaints to police and lashing out at CTV News as the broadcaster reported one of the women quoted in its original story has now changed a key detail in her account. (Toronto Sun) (National Post)

Witnesses contradict key allegations from Patrick Brown accusers

Key aspects of a CTV News story that made damning sexual misconduct allegations against former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown appear to be unravelling. Brown resigned as party leader in late January after the news broadcaster published claims Brown tried to pressure two young women, one a high school student and the other an intern in his office, into unwanted sex in his home. (Toronto Sun) (CBC)

Patrick Brown says he is the victim of a ‘fabricated political assassination’

Former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown says he has proof the sexual misconduct accusations against him – that he plied two women with drinks before advancing on them – are false. And now one of his accusers has changed part of her story. (Global)

Iran urged by UN to respect environment activists after wildlife campaigner death

UN officials have urged the Iranian government to respect the work of environmental activists following the death in custody last week of wildlife campaigner, Kavous Seyed Emami. Emami was buried on Monday, but several members of the organisation he founded, the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, remain in jail and the deputy head of the Environmental Protection Organisation, Kaveh Madani, was detained for 72 hours over the weekend. (Guardian)

Scene from shooting inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Just before the shooting broke out, some students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School thought they were having another fire drill. Such an exercise had forced them to leave their classrooms hours earlier. So when the alarm went off Wednesday afternoon shortly before they were to be dismissed, they once again filed out into the hallways. (Toronto Sun) (Miami Herald) (BBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Boushie family meets with Liberal, NDP leaders in Ottawa, Conservative leader Scheer out of town

A lawyer representing the family of slain Indigenous man Colten Boushie says he has had no communication with the office of Conservative leader Andrew Scheer during the family’s ongoing visit to Ottawa, but the family has held meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Mr. Scheer’s (Regina-Qu’Appelle, Sask.) social media channels indicate he hasn’t been in Ottawa this past week, with the Conservative leader posting about attending events in Saskatchewan, including a meeting on Monday in Regina with local business owners. (Hill Times)

Emergency hearing into Abdoul Abdi deportation case set for this morning

An emergency hearing to determine whether deportation proceedings should be halted against a former child refugee from Somalia is expected to begin this morning in a Halifax courtroom. The request follows the refusal by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to pause a deportation hearing — scheduled for next month — while the Federal Court hears a constitutional challenge to the decision to deport 24-year-old Abdoul Abdi. (CBC)

Why Caroline Mulroney has the most at stake in PC leadership debate

There is much more on the line in today's Ontario PC leadership debate than there typically is for such an event. Caroline Mulroney, Doug Ford and Christine Elliott will go head-to-head Thursday afternoon, in the first of only two debates scheduled before Progressive Conservatives begin voting for their new leader on March 2. (CBC)

Ottawa rescues military disability insurance plan with $622 million bailout

The Liberal government is spending more than $622 million to bail out the Canadian military's long-term disability insurance plan, newly tabled federal budget documents reveal. The enormous infusion of cash comes almost five years after the former Conservative government settled a class-action lawsuit with disgruntled veterans who were angry that their payments were being clawed back. (CBC)

The Conservatives wished everyone a Happy Valentine's Day... while also taking a shot at Justin Trudeau (Ottawa Citizen)

Justin Trudeau touts CBC spending as remedy to financial woes facing news outlets

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is touting Ottawa's investments in the CBC as one remedy to the financial crisis that has hit Canadian news organizations, forcing newspaper closures and newsroom cutbacks. In question period Wednesday, NDP MP Tracey Ramsey pointblank asked the prime minister about cuts announced earlier this week at the Toronto Star that included suspension of an intern program that has helped hundreds of young journalists get their start. (Toronto Star)

Immigrants warned about Florida travel as arrests soar

More than a dozen advocacy groups issued a warning about traveling in Florida on Wednesday saying immigration arrests there have soared more rapidly in the past year than in any other area of the country. Leaders from immigrant rights and nonprofit organizations said new cooperation between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and 17 Florida sheriffs is also spreading fear in the state. (Yahoo)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: The fight again carbon taxes is the policy fight of our lives

The fight against a national carbon tax is the policy fight of our lifetime. Every taxpayer in the country, and especially every conservative who believes in the principle of limited government, should do everything they can to stop this devastating tax grab. Make no mistake, the carbon tax initiative is not about protecting the planet. It isn’t designed to lower pollution levels, enable so-called green innovation or even to curb carbon emissions. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: And just like that, Patrick Brown has turned the tables

The Patrick Brown story is perhaps the wildest reversal of fortune the #MeToo phenomenon has seen to date. And it’s not over yet. In the early hours of Jan. 25, Brown resigned as leader of the Ontario PC Party after his caucus told him he had to go following a CTV News report of two women coming forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Brown was adamant he’d done no wrong, that the stories were bogus. But in the days following, the man polls had tipped off to become the next premier of Ontario went away, keeping a low profile. All of a sudden the premier-in-waiting was persona non grata. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: White and black(ish) people need not apply

If there is a God, pray that “Ze” — as in a gender-neutral deity — will look after the poor young souls who are having the misfortune of graduating today from our universities and colleges. They appear to be a doomed lot. They are not taught how to think, but how to obey. They are not taught how to argue, but how to acquiesce. (Toronto Sun)

Christie Blatchford: Threats typed to Canadian skater Kim Boutin pale next to plight of Otto Warmbier

If it’s disheartening that a 23-year-old Canadian short-track speed skater drew the online ire of South Koreans bitter at the disqualification in the same race of their country’s athlete, it’s best to seek a little perspective. Sherbrooke’s Kim Boutin actually crossed the finish line of the 500 metres, held Tuesday, in fourth spot. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet today to study Canada’s 2018 Immigration Levels Plan (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 National Defence meet today to study Canada’s involvement in NATO (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet today to meet on Provision of Assistance to Canadians in Difficulty Abroad (Public)