True North Initiative: News Scan 02 22 17

TOP STORIES

Canada to spend $28 million to give asylum to 1,200 more Yazidi refugees fleeing ISIL

Some 1,200 people considered to be among the most vulnerable refugees in the world are to be housed in Canada by the end of this year, the Trudeau government announced Tuesday — a move praised by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel as a message to the world that the persecuted Yazidi population needs to be a greater priority for safe-haven countries. Nearly 400 Yazidi refugees and other survivors of Islamist extremists have already been accepted over the last four months, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said in announcing the initiative, which is expected to cost $28 million. (National Post) (CBC) (Toronto Sun)

Government pressed on plan to deal with migrants illegally crossing into Canada

The Liberal government is closely tracking the influx of asylum seekers illegally crossing into Canada, but opposition critics say much more must be done to keep migrants safe and to protect the integrity of the immigration system. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said today the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency are rearranging resources to ensure they can "deal effectively with the situation." (CBC)

Liberals defeat Conservative counter-proposal to Islamophobia motion

With a Liberal call to study Islamophobia still on the table, Liberal MPs voted on Tuesday to defeat a Conservative motion that sought a general study of religious discrimination. The Conservative motion was brought forward last week, just as the House of Commons prepared to debate Motion 103, sponsored by Iqra Khalid, the Liberal MP for Mississauga–Erin Mills. (CBC) (Huffington Post)

Steven Blaney, Tory Leadership Candidate, Calls For Crackdown On Illegal Immigration

Canada must act immediately to stop illegal immigrants from entering the country, Conservative leadership candidate Steven Blaney said Tuesday. Amid a recent influx of people fleeing the United States after planned crackdowns on immigration in that country, Blaney has proposed a series of measures aimed at tightening the border. Blaney said he wants Canadian authorities to have the right to immediately return illegal immigrants to their American counterparts. (Huffington Post) (Toronto Star)

‘We look like amateur hour’: ex-diplomats, opposition decry Stéphane Dion’s dual appointment

Former Canadian diplomats and the official opposition Conservatives are critical of the government’s decision to appoint former foreign minister Stéphane Dion as ambassador to both the European Union and Germany. “We look like amateur hour,” Jeremy Kinsman wrote in an email to The Hill Times last week. Mr. Kinsman was in the foreign service for 40 years, and served as Canada’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom and as ambassador to the EU. (Hill Times)

Ottawa approves sale of B.C. retirement-home chain to Chinese group with murky ownership

The Trudeau government has green-lighted the sale of one of British Columbia’s biggest retirement home chains to a Beijing-based insurance titan with a murky ownership structure in a deal that gives China a foothold in Canada’s health-care sector. On paper, a majority stake in Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts – believed to exceed $1-billion in value – is being sold to a Chinese-owned company called Cedar Tree Investment Canada. That is the deal that federal officials in Ottawa announced they had approved this week. However, Cedar Tree is the company that China’s Anbang Insurance is using to make the acquisition. (Globe and Mail)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canada’s border agencies shift staff to deal with illegal crossings

Canada’s border agencies are moving staff around in response to a rise in illegal crossings, but Ottawa has yet to announce a formal plan to deal with the rush of people arriving on foot from the United States seeking refugee status. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Tuesday that the federal cabinet is eager to hear any suggestions the RCMP or the Canada Border Services Agency may have for what Ottawa should do next. (Globe and Mail)

Asylum Seekers face delays in attempts to seek status in Canada

For many asylum-seekers crossing from the United States into Canada, Roxham Road in the small Quebec town of Hemmingford represents the first steps of a potential new life. But their journey is just beginning as they start to navigate the complicated process of seeking status in Canada. (CTV)             

Asylum seekers’ cold crossings to Canada: A guide to the saga so far

Trump’s crackdown on immigration and a loophole in Canada’s asylum laws are prompting desperate refugees to make dangerous wilderness journeys from the U.S. Check back here for The Globe’s coverage of what’s happening, and the debate that the refugees’ arrival has provoked (Globe and Mail)

Amid refugee surge, Manitoba premier seeks federal, provincial co-ordination

The federal and provincial governments need to co-ordinate their approach to the growing number of asylum-seekers crossing the border because all signs from the United States suggest the issue is not going away, says Manitoba’s premier. “With the United States approach, and the United States new administration’s approach on issues related to refugees — and to immigration generally — there are conditions that would lead, I think, most people to conclude this will be an ongoing challenge,” Brian Pallister said Tuesday. (Toronto Star)

Tony Clement defends position after hanging up on radio interview

Tony Clement is still not explaining how he wants the Liberal government to amend its handling of an influx of refugee claimants entering Canada illegally. Clement hung up on a radio interview Tuesday morning when the interviewer pressed him for details on his desire for the government to come up with a plan to deal with the increase in asylum seekers jumping the border. In an interview with CTV Power Play host Don Martin, Clement repeated his call for a plan. (CTV)

Ontario PC leader says he'll support anti-Islamophobia motion

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says he will support an anti-Islamophobia motion that a Liberal MPP plans to introduce in the provincial legislature on Thursday. Brown said Tuesday that Islamophobia has no place in Ontario. "Whether it's hate against any faith, it's wrong. I will always stand in opposition to any form of hate," Brown told reporters at Queen's Park. (CBC)

Double agent for Israel and Iraq faces deportation from Canada — again

Hussein Ali Sumaida says Canada is the only safe haven for him even if he spends the rest of his life here without legal status. A former double agent for the Israeli intelligence service and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, the now 52-year-old Hamilton man said his life would be in danger if he was sent anywhere in the Middle East. Canadian officials have been trying to remove Sumaida ever since he arrived in Toronto in 1990 for asylum and was deemed inadmissible to the country a year later for his “espionage” activities that they said made him complicit in crimes against humanity. (Toronto Star)

Iranian Montrealer facing deportation held at Laval detention centre

Roghayeh Azizi Mirmahaleh, 60, told Canada Border Services Agency that returning to Iran would be a death sentence. Mirmahaleh spent three years in an Iranian prison for political activism before moving to Canada five years ago.  She says she and her husband distributed pamphlets in Iran printed by the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an exiled opposition group that backs the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. (CBC)

Migrants coming through Central American corridor wonder what's next as they dream of Canada

One of the world's busiest migrant corridors runs from Central America through Mexico. For decades, migrants from the northern triangle of that region — Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — have fled countries plagued by endemic levels of violence and crime in the hopes of crossing the Mexican border and eventually seeking asylum in the United States. But migration experts say the profile of those using that route is rapidly changing. (CBC)

Sanctuary cities, like Montreal, pose problems for police

When Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre introduced a motion Monday to get the city to join a handful of other Canadian municipalities in declaring themselves as sanctuary cities, he left it to a committee to deal with the most challenging aspect – figuring how it would affect the local police. The modern concept of municipal sanctuaries, which initially appeared in the United States as cities refused to co-operate with federal immigration authorities, has had different interpretations in Canada, mainly focusing on making it possible for undocumented migrants to receive services without fear of deportation. (Globe and Mail)

CRA's new fingerprinting policy could create travel problems for accused tax evaders

The Canada Revenue Agency has begun to record the fingerprints of every person charged with tax evasion, a move that could severely restrict foreign travel for anyone accused but not necessarily convicted of a criminal tax offence. "Introducing a mandatory fingerprinting policy would serve as a powerful deterrent to those considering committing a serious tax offence or those who may contemplate reoffending," says an internal memorandum justifying the new measure. (CBC)

Immigrant communities in the U.S. brace for deportations in wake of new crackdown

Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation — including people simply arrested for traffic violations — under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the Trump administration. Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offence, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Secretary John Kelly. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offences — or simply having crossed the border illegally. (CBC) (Globe and Mail) (National Post)

White House says mass deportation not goal of immigration memos despite fears among many

New memos unveiled by the Trump administration Tuesday outline a sweeping plan to detain and deport certain undocumented immigrants as well as add more than 15,000 immigration, border patrol and customs agents, but White House press secretary Sean Spicer said mass deportation is not the goal. (ABC)

Abe, Trudeau discuss TPP, North Korea in phone call: source

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau discussed how to respond to the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal in a telephone call Wednesday, according to a government source. (Japan times)

Canadian attacked with machete in Thailand in stable condition

Police in Thailand have arrested two men accused of slashing a Canadian man with a machete while trying to steal a gold necklace from his female companion last week. The Bangkok Post reported in its online edition that Canadian Philip Sullivan, 68, and King Kulkaew of Bangkok had left a restaurant on foot last Wednesday in the southern city of Chumphon when they were followed by a pickup truck. (Canadian Press)

Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart amid child sex comments

The professional provocateur has resigned as an editor at Breitbart News amid a firestorm over unearthed comments in which he seemed to endorse sex between "younger boys and older men." Yiannopoulos released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, minutes before he was scheduled to give a press conference in Manhattan. (CNN)

Israeli soldier gets 18 months for killing wounded Palestinian attacker

An Israeli soldier who killed a wounded Palestinian attacker in a high-profile case that split opinion across the country has been jailed for 18 months. Elor Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter for shooting dead 21-year-old Abdul Fatah al-Sharif in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, last March. (BBC)

France's Le Pen refuses headscarf to meet Lebanon's mufti

France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen refused to don a headscarf for a meeting with Lebanon's top Sunni Muslim cleric on Tuesday and walked away from the scheduled appointment after a brief squabble at the entrance. The debacle topped Le Pen's three-day visit to Lebanon, where she held her first campaign meeting with a head of state. It drew the focus to her strong support for secularism and a proposal in her presidential platform that promotes banishing headscarves and other obvious religious symbols in all public spaces. (CTV)

American Journalist Savagely Beaten In Sweden For Asking Questions About Muslim Refugees Raping European Women

President Trump’s false report about Sweden has caused the mainstream media to go into a frenzy. In article after article, liberal journalists have mocked the president for talking about a non-existent terror attack in Sweden. But are all the Trump jokes a distraction from the deteriorating security situation in Sweden? Let’s look at the facts. (Daily Wire)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Anthony Furey: Canadians want a light shone on radical Islam

Last year, I revealed news that the imam of a mosque that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited was publicly listed on the mosque’s very website as the member of a group that was designated a terrorist organization abroad and whose leader had been banned from entering the United Kingdom and France for his extremist views. While regular Canadians read the story with great interest, the mainstream surprisingly wanted nothing to do with it. (Toronto Sun)

Stephen Gordon: In Canada, the nationalism is as likely to form on the left as on the right

Political axes are being redrawn across the West. It used to be that the dominant schism was an interventionist, redistributive left against a laissez-faire, free market right, but the electoral success of Brexit and Donald Trump has changed the focus of the U.S. Republicans and of U.K. Conservatives. Right-wing parties in these countries — as in others — are now adopting nationalism as their defining cause. And parties that had already adopted nationalism as their defining characteristic — France’s National Front most prominent among them — are now serious contenders for power. (National Post)

Campbell Clark: A solution to Canada’s refugee surge is no easy feat

The Liberal government’s policy on asylum seekers crossing the U.S. border is incoherent, and now the Conservatives are fighting that incoherence with some nonsense of their own. The mess at the border, with asylum seekers entering Canada from the United States by crossing fields in Manitoba or jumping ditches in Quebec, is a serious dilemma, but a complex one, and easy political rhetoric won’t solve it. (Globe and Mail)

Andrew Coyne: A crisis is coming: If this many cross the U.S. border in February, how many will come by June?

I feel for Tony Clement. The Tory MP has been demanding the government “enforce the law” on the mounting numbers of asylum seekers who have been crossing the border from the United States, illegally, in recent weeks. But he found himself sputtering for air Tuesday when a CBC radio interviewer asked him what, specifically, he wanted the government to do, eventually hanging up in a snit. (National Post)

 

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 will meet tomorrow to study Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Armed Forces (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development met yesterday to study Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act and Special Economic Measures Act (In Camera