True North Initiative: News Scan 02 20 17

TOP STORIES

A quarter of Canadians want Trump-style travel ban, poll shows

A significant minority of Canadians say Canada's 2017 refugee target of 40,000 is too high and one in four Canadians wants the Liberal government to impose its own Trump-style travel ban. Those are just two of the findings in a new Angus Reid Institute poll that looked at Canadian's attitudes toward the federal government's handling of refugees. Overall, 47 per cent of Canadians surveyed said Canada is taking in the right number of refugees. But 11 per cent say 40,000 is too low and Canada should take in more, while 41 per cent say the 2017 target is too high and that we should not be taking in anymore refugees. (CBC)

Critics are 'set for disappointment' with government's Yazidi resettlement plan

The Liberal government is set to unveil its resettlement plan for Yazidi victims of ISIS, but as a one-week deadline looms, critics are keeping expectations low. On Oct. 25, MPs unanimously adopted a Conservative motion to formally declare ISIS persecution of Yazidis a genocide and promised to bring refugees fleeing the violence to Canada within four months. With the days counting down, critics have little hope the federal government will deliver on that pledge in a significant way. (CBC)

Liberal MP says Quebec mosque shooting was ‘direct result’ of Tory, PQ policies

A Liberal MP Friday said the Quebec mosque murders were a “direct result” of the kinds of policies “championed” in recent elections by the federal Conservative party and the provincial Parti Quebecois. Chandra Arya’s accusation, made Friday in the House of Commons, was the latest attempt by federal Liberals to blame “elements” in the Conservative Party for a sharp rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in Canada. (National Post)

At least 22 more asylum seekers, baby, cross into Manitoba Sunday

Dozens more asylum seekers — including at least one baby — who fled the United States for Canada, made their way into Manitoba early Sunday morning, CBC News has learned. The asylum seekers are at the Emerson, Man., border right now and are waiting to be processed by agents with the Canada Border Services Agency. (CBC)

Two Tory MPs call on Ottawa to stop illegal Canada-U.S. border crossings

Two Conservative MPs are calling on the federal government to act to stop the flow of people illegally crossing the United States border into Canada. Michelle Rempel and Tony Clement tweeted on Sunday that illegal crossings are unsafe and place a burden on local law enforcement. "The government must respond to this situation in a way that keeps Canadians safe, and sends a strong message to those considering an illegal crossing that there are proper channels to do this," Rempel wrote. (CTV)

No longer bombing, Canadian planes identifying Islamic State targets in Syria

Canadian military aircraft are once again over the skies of Syria, helping to identify targets in the fight against the Islamic State months after the Liberals pulled fighter jets from the mission. It has been one year since Canadian CF-18 fighter jets flew their last mission over Syria after the Liberals withdrew the planes in favour of a mission to train local forces and help rebuild areas affected by fighting. (Globe and Mail)

Liberals hint at more defence spending in upcoming budget as U.S. demands more

The Canadian military could see a boost in their budget, the Liberals are hinting, days after the United States threatened to pull back on its NATO commitments if other countries don’t pony up. “We’ll have to see in the budget, but I have some confidence that the voices of those who want to see more of Canada and want to see us more involved militarily are actually going to be respected,” said parliamentary secretary for defence John McKay. (Global News)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

'Someone is going to slip through': Worry grows over influx of asylum seekers

Greg Janzen, the reeve of Emerson, Man., where dozens of would-be refugee claimants have recently crossed the porous Canada-U.S. border, says some area residents are beginning to express anxiety about the influx. The small border town of 671 has been galvanized to help asylum seekers, and the issue has certainly put the community on the map, attracting media attention from across the globe. Janzen said he's done 95 television interviews over the last two weeks. Before that he'd only done one, a dozen years ago. (CBC)

Conservatives spar over carbon tax at leadership debate in Vancouver

Conservative leadership hopefuls squared off Sunday afternoon for the second of two back-to-back leadership debates in British Columbia. The debate, which features nine of the 14 candidates, touched on a range of topics including job creation, health-care funding, Islamophobia and how best to deal with U.S. President Donald Trump's restrictions on immigration. (CBC)

Police investigate anti-Muslim rally outside Toronto mosque as possible hate crime

Police are looking into whether an anti-Islam rally held on the doorstep of a mosque in the heart of downtown Toronto Friday had any criminal element and whether it could be considered a hate crime. With signs of love and support plastered to its exterior, Masjid Toronto bore little sign on Saturday of the rally held there just a day before, during which more than a dozen people — with banners and loudspeakers in hand — called for a ban on Islam as Muslims prayed inside. (CBC) (Toronto Sun)

Police offer extra protection to MP Iqra Khalid following threatening messages

Police say they are offering increased protection to a Liberal MP and are investigating potentially threatening messages sent to her office after she put forward a motion in the House of Commons condemning Islamophobia. (CBC)

From the bloody cauldron of Somalia’s civil war to inner cabinet: The dazzling rise of Ahmed Hussen

In 1993, a 16-year-old boy raised in the bloody cauldron of Somalia’s civil war left Africa for good and arrived alone in Canada, a refugee in a very different land. If he experienced much culture shock, Ahmed Hussen hid it well. Even as his asylum claim was being processed, the tall, lanky youth finished high school, then worked his way through a history degree at Toronto’s York University (National Post)

Mulroney draws praise for Canada, Trudeau from Trump at Mar-a-Lago

U.S. President Donald Trump expressed effusive praise for Canada and Justin Trudeau Saturday night after Brian Mulroney got a standing ovation for singing When Irish Eyes are Smiling during a cancer benefit at the U.S. President’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. It’s the same song the former Progressive Conservative prime minister sang together with president Ronald Reagan at the so-called Shamrock Summit in 1985 in Quebec City that helped cement a friendship between the two leaders and led to the Canada-U.S. free-trade deal. (Globe and Mail)

Trump's security too lax: Former CSIS head

The former head of Canada's spy service says U.S. President Donald Trump needs to be more concerned about security, particularly when it comes to meetings and using his smart phone. Richard Fadden, who directed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service from 2009 to 2013 and served as national security adviser to former prime minister Stephen Harper, says Trump and his close associates don't seem very concerned about security. "If anybody did that sort of thing in Canada, showing the papers that you have in front of you that are top secret, that's a dismissable offence if they're top-secret material," he said in an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period. (CTV)

Turkish Airlines flight to Toronto evacuated after suspicious note seen in bathroom

A Turkish Airlines plane in Istanbul was evacuated Saturday after a suspicious note was discovered in one of its bathrooms. The Turkish Airlines cabin crew found the words "BOMB TO TORONTO" on the bathroom's wall on Flight TK-17 during its pushback from the gate, a Turkish Airlines press official told The Associated Press. The plane was leaving Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport for Toronto Pearson International Airport. (CBC)

White House denies report that Trump weighing use of National Guard for immigration roundups

The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press. The White House says the report is false. (CBC)

Pope Francis denies the existence of Islamic terrorism in speech to populist movements

In an impassioned defence of all faiths, the leader of the Catholic Church argued religion promotes peace and the danger of radicalisation exists in all religious beliefs. He said: “Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist. (Express.co.uk)

Trump's revised travel ban targets same countries: AP source

A draft of President Donald Trump's revised immigration ban targets the same seven countries listed in his original executive order and exempts travellers who already have a visa to travel to the U.S., even if they haven't used it yet. A senior administration official said the order, which Trump revised after federal courts held up his original immigration and refugee ban, will target only those same seven Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. (CTV)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: The Islamophobia motion is a political game for the Liberals

The Liberals are playing politics with a motion to condemn systemic racism and religious discrimination. The motion, M103, specifically aims to combat so-called Islamophobia – a vague and politicized term that is often used to silence those critical of the doctrine of Islam. The term ‘Islamophobia’ is not defined in the motion, put forward by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, which also calls for taxpayer resources to be used to study the issue and provide recommendations for government action by the end of 2017. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Canada's Islamophobia debacle is a prime example of liberal media bias

If you really want to burst the media narrative on Canada’s so-called anti-Islamophobia motion, take a look at how they covered a little something called M-312 in the last government. Back in 2012, the House of Commons voted on a motion by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth that called for the formation of a special committee to revisit a section of the Criminal Code that states a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth. It lost by a 2-1 margin but not before substantial media controversy. This was, we were told, the beginning of a plot to ban abortion in Canada. (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: The harassment of Khalid is wrong, but doesn’t justify M-103

For the most part, email and social media have been fantastic developments for keeping family, friends, citizens, colleagues, businesses and customers in touch, informed and connected – instantly. While apps such as Facebook and Twitter have hurt my business – newspapering – they have democratized the news, opening up information gathering and dissemination to nearly everyone with a smartphone. In the long run this is a positive, liberating information and reducing the number of filters between newsmakers and ordinary people. (Toronto Sun)

Chris Selley: As Trump’s refugees stream into Canada, will our immigration policies hold up?

It’s a phenomenon that has splintered the European Union, animated a surge in far-right politics across that continent and put German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s professional future at considerable risk: the uncontrolled flow of asylum-seekers from Middle Eastern and African nations. And for the first time in many years, Canadians are confronting it as well. (National Post)

Kelly McParland: Who will save the Conservative Party from self-destruction?

At some point pretty soon, some high-ranking, thoughtful Tory – if such a thing is out there – has to step back, survey the Conservative landscape and call a halt to the party’s self-destruction. As in: “Hold on, what are we doing here? This is nuts. Let’s try again, from the beginning. All together now: who are we, why are we here, and what do we stand for?” (National Post)

Paul Wells: On military spending, there’s more than one way for Canada to pull its weight

At the end of a week of high international diplomacy, it is only natural that Justin Trudeau would be stuck handling questions about who pays the bill. The prime minister spent Monday in Washington visiting Donald Trump. By mid-week he was in Strasbourg, doing a victory lap on Canada-EU trade as he addressed the European Parliament. Then on to Berlin to see German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he is sometimes lumped in the broad category of “world leaders who aren’t much like Trump.” (Toronto Star)

Jennifer Westacott and Norman Steinberg: For Canada and Australia, shared values are the greatest defence

In this turbulent era, it is becoming ever more important to stand up for the shared values that bind countries such as Australia and Canada together. The signs of the times are all around us, from rapid technological change to geopolitical instability, the dilemmas posed by mass migration, sluggish global economic growth and rising dissatisfaction with institutions. (Globe and Mail)

Garry Marr: Chasing the Canadian dream: The real force driving the housing boom in our big cities

The mayor of Caledon, a town of about 60,000 northwest of Toronto, says government can try all it wants, but the dream of owning a home will persevere. Allan Thompson should know. His town, like many others that ring around Ontario’s capital, has become a launching site for new communities as people priced out of the core look to the suburbs (or what was once rural) for slightly cheaper housing. (Financial 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 met on Wednesday to study Family Reunification (In Camera)
  • Standing Committee on National Defence will meet on Thursday to study Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Armed Forces (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet tomorrow to study Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act and Special Economic Measures Act (In Camera)