True North Initiative: News Scan 03 06 17

TOP STORIES

Cabinet to map out scenarios for dealing with border-crossers

Federal cabinet ministers are set for an in-depth discussion of the practical and political pressures being placed on the Liberal government by a rising number of asylum seekers in Canada. Border security, RCMP and immigration officials have been running scenarios to prepare for the possibility that a relative winter trickle of crossings into Canada could turn into a spring flood. (CBC) (Macleans) (680)

More officers needed on Canada's 'Swiss cheese' border: Union

The union representing border officers says Canada should create a 300-person team to patrol the areas between official ports of entry, comparing the current situation to "swiss cheese." Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the Customs and Immigration Union, says he's hearing from his members that the number of illegal crossings is higher than what officials admit publicly. "The frontline officers are actually the ones giving me the numbers and they're slightly different. They're higher right now," he said in an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period. (CTV)

Federal ministers see the asylum seeker situation on the ground in Emerson, Man.

As the number of asylum seekers crossing into Canada surges, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale pledged cash for the small Manitoba town most affected by the influx and said the federal government will continue to watch the situation. "At this moment it's simply not physically possible to predict what that flow will be some weeks down the road," he said. (CBC)

Michelle Rempel Says Illegal Border-Crossers Should Be Charged

Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel says people who illegally enter Canada from a safe country where they are not "facing direct persecution" should be charged. And Rempel is calling on the Liberal government to state clearly if it believes the United States is a safe country. Rempel took to Facebook Friday to share her reaction to a report from The Globe and Mail that said the RCMP has yet to charge hundreds of asylum seekers who have come into Canada by foot in recent months to claim refugee status. (Huffington Post)

Supporters and critics of motion condemning Islamophobia clash in Montreal

There were some tense moments in the streets of Montreal on Saturday as there were some clashes between supporters and opponents of a Parliamentary motion condemning Islamophobia. There was a heavy police presence outside city hall keeping the two sides apart as a demonstration by critics of the motion was met by an equally large counter-protest. On one side, some protesters carried signs calling for free speech and waved the flags of right wing groups that have sprung up in Quebec recently, while their opponents chanted anti-fascist slogans and expressed support for immigrants and Muslims. (CTV) (CBC)

Canada Asylum Claims Rising Since Trudeau Election Win: Stats

Federal cabinet ministers are set for an in-depth discussion this week of the practical and political pressures being placed on the Liberal government by a rising number of asylum seekers in Canada. Border security, RCMP and immigration officials have been running scenarios to prepare for the possibility that a relative winter trickle of illegal immigration into Canada could turn into a spring flood. The results of their table-top exercises will help form options being put before cabinet Tuesday, The Canadian Press has learned. (Huffington Post)

Rejected refugee claimants in Canada not always sent back home

If an asylum seeker’s refugee claim is rejected, there’s a possibility they could still stay in Canada temporarily. It’s a long journey for asylum seekers from their countries of origin, to the U.S. and then to Canada on foot. However, that journey is just the beginning for an asylum seeker. When they reach Canada and the process starts to become a refugee claimant, there’s another waiting game. (Global)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Liberals look at making skilled immigrant loans pilot project permanent

A pilot Conservative project to loan money to help skilled immigrants land jobs in their field could be revived as a permanent program under the Liberal government. One of the biggest barriers for newly arrived doctors, dentists, engineers and high-tech professionals is coming up with the cash to pay for the required licensing fees, exams and training upgrades. Proponents say micro loans speed up the process and pay off big time for the federal treasury, yet they can't keep up with a demand that will likely grow with the Liberal government's plan to welcome more economic immigrants to the country in 2017. (CBC)

Newly arrived Yazidis who escaped sex slavery of ISIS eager to build better future in Canada

They're part of a group of 400 Yazidis the government pledged last October to bring to Canada after the House of Commons passed a Conservative motion declaring the violence perpetrated against the religious minority group in Iraq and Syria an act of genocide. Last month, the Trudeau government announced that it will bring in a total of 1,200 survivors of ISIS violence by the end of the year, the majority of whom are expected to be Yazidi. (CBC)

Ottawa weighs risks of child soldiers in Mali

The Trump administration has given the green light to Canada to dispatch up to 600 soldiers on a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Mali, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding back approval as he assesses the volatile risks of fighting Islamist rebels who use child soldiers. (Globe and Mail)

UN concerned about plight of asylum seekers walking into Manitoba

The United Nations says it is concerned about asylum seekers who are coming into Manitoba on foot from the U.S. in the bitter cold to make refugee claims. "They walk for hours and there's no exact marking to demonstrate where the border is, so that's a little concerning to us," said Azadeh Tamjeedi, a lawyer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Tamjeedi was in Winnipeg on a UN mission to Manitoba this week to observe the current migrant situation. (Yahoo)

Hemmingford holds town meeting to address influx of asylum seekers

Residents from Hemmingford, Que. came to an information session at the local community centre on Sunday to find out how they can help asylum seekers who have been crossing over the nearby U.S. border since January. The town has been dealing with a significant increase of asylum seekers since the beginning of the year. It’s putting increased pressure on locals who aren’t sure how to deal with the influx. (CTV)

Buying ‘political insulation’: Liberals to call for bids in 2019 for permanent fleet to replace CF-18s

The Liberal government plans to request bids for a new fleet of fighter jets as early as 2019, which would coincide with the next federal election. That move, along with the push by the Liberals to have the first of the interim Super Hornet fighter aircraft delivered by that year, could help blunt criticism about bungled military procurements and delays in buying a new jet, say military insiders and analysts. (National Post)

As Trump tightens border, U.S. Congress bill would allow snowbirds to stay for an extra two months

President Donald Trump has been single-minded when it comes to immigration, pledging to strengthen the United States’ borders and keep certain people out, especially if they happen to be from Mexico or some Muslim nations. But a bipartisan bill introduced in the House of Representatives last month would actually open the door wider to one group: older Canadians who winter south of the border. (National Post)

Brian Mulroney, Liberal government seek release of billionaire in China

Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and the federal Liberal government are both trying to win the release of Xiao Jianhua, a detained Chinese-Canadian billionaire whose dramatic disappearance has thrust Ottawa into the high-stakes machinations of Communist Party power struggles. A memo obtained by The Globe and Mail, sent from the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to an intermediary representing Mr. Xiao’s family, indicates that Mr. Mulroney is acting to win Mr. Xiao’s release and has succeeded in pushing the file high on the Global Affairs’ list of priorities. (Globe and Mail)

Canada has no immediate plans to deter people from crossing border illegally

Canada will not tighten security at its border to deter people crossing illegally from the U.S. because the numbers are not big enough to raise concerns, an official said Saturday. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the issue has not increased to a point where officials will be required to hamper the flow of goods and people moving across the world’s longest undefended border, Reuters reported. (FOX News)

Germany wanted to turn back refugees in Sept 2015: report

Germany planned to close its border with Austria and turn back asylum-seekers in September 2015, a move that could have dramatically changed the course of the European refugee crisis that was at its peak at the time, according to a German newspaper. The Welt am Sonntag reported Sunday that Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ministers agreed Sept. 12 to send thousands of police to the border, where they were to turn back migrants who didn't have documents entitling them to enter Germany -- "including in case of asylum request." (CTV)

Security services 'prevented 13 UK terror attacks since 2013'

Security services have prevented 13 potential terror attacks since June 2013, the UK's most senior counter-terrorism police officer has revealed. Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley also said there were 500 live counter-terror investigations at any time. He disclosed the figures as he launched an appeal, Action Counters Terrorism, for the public to report suspicions. Information from the public has helped police in a third of the most high-risk investigations, figures show. (BBC)

North Korea fires 4 ballistic missiles into ocean

North Korea on Monday fired four banned ballistic missiles that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), with three of them landing in waters that Japan claims as its exclusive economic zone, South Korean and Japanese officials said, in an apparent reaction to huge military drills by Washington and Seoul that Pyongyang insists are an invasion rehearsal. (ABC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Canadian sanctuary cities a “slap in the face” to law-abiding immigrants

In response to mass, uncontrolled illegal migration, many misguided leftist politicians have created a policy to shield the illegal immigrants from federal immigration laws and authority. Sanctuary policies are a slap in the face of every immigrant who diligently followed our laws, followed our rules, and came to Canada legally. (Rebel)

Candice Malcolm: Trudeau rewards a terrorist with citizenship

Trudeau didn’t mind throwing other campaign promises out the window – modest deficits, electoral reform, legalizing marijuana, and so on – he deemed it a priority to grant citizenship to this convicted terrorist. Trudeau’s agenda prioritized helping a man who hates Canada so much he wanted to wage war against it. Amara was so ungrateful to his host country that he plotted to mass murder civilians in a senseless and unprovoked attack. (Toronto Sun)

Chantal Hebert: It’s not just Donald Trump who shifts the truth, Canada’s politicians have been using alternative facts for years

Contrary to an increasingly popular Canadian belief, the Trump administration does not have a monopoly on so-called alternative facts. Nor did it invent the concept. Deliberate distortions of reality have been part and parcel of the Canadian political discourse for years and no party including the one that is currently in power at the national level is failing to propagate some. Two decades ago, former journalist André Pratte — who now sits in the Senate — filled a whole book with examples of what he called the Pinocchio syndrome and he did not have to travel further than the National Assembly and Canada’s Parliament to find them. (Toronto Star)

Matthew Fisher: Pressure for more Canadian defence spending will come from both the U.S. and Europe

First Barack Obama criticized NATO for being full of “free riders,” then Donald Trump called the organization “obsolete.” Now, Angela Merkel has promised that Germany will spend more on its military to meet the alliance’s target figure for defence expenditures for its member nations: at least two per cent of gross domestic product. Europe’s economic engine — which now spends just 1.2 per cent of GDP on defence — intends to expand the Bundeswehr by 20 per cent over the next few years and to invest $130 billion in new equipment. There is all-party agreement in France to spend a lot more on defence, too, while thanks to spending increases and some creative accounting Britain already claims to have met the two-per-cent goal. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet tomorrow to continue study on Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act & Special Economic Measures Act
  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to meet with Immigration Consultants and discuss the Modernization of Client Service Delivery (3:30PM EST) (Partly in Public/In Camera)