True North Initiative: News Scan 03 09 17

TOP STORIES

Women's groups push for sanctuary city status for Ottawa

Women's groups are hoping to convince a divided city council that Ottawa should join the growing list of Canadian municipalities designated as sanctuary cities. Women's groups are hoping to convince a divided city council that Ottawa should join the growing list of Canadian municipalities designated as sanctuary cities. (CBC)

Refugee claims in Canada could jump as Europe tightens borders: CBSA report

Refugee claimants could increasingly migrate to Canada as a result of hardening immigration policies in the European Union, according to a declassified intelligence report obtained by the National Post. Canada could become a “preferred destination over the EU” for those seeking refugee status, as anti-immigration sentiment rises in Europe and the continent tightens its borders, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) report said. (National Post)

Border the big issue as a Trump official finally set to visit Ottawa

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is coming to Ottawa on Friday, the first member of President Donald Trump's inner circle to accept an invitation to head north for meetings with his Canadian counterparts. (CBC) (Toronto Star) (News 1130)

Pregnant woman, toddler among 19 asylum seekers rescued after crossing border in storm

Nineteen asylum seekers — two Tuesday night and 17 on Wednesday morning — were rescued while trying to cross the Canada-U.S. border during a winter storm near Emerson, Man., the town's reeve says. Greg Janzen said one person suffered a broken arm while making the trek through bitterly cold weather that brought snow and high winds to Manitoba. (CBC) (Washington Post) (Huffington Post)

Young Canadians could pay dearly for Liberals’ deficit-financed spending: report

A review of federal spending has found that Ottawa’s budget for skills and innovation is already approaching $23-billion a year and there is little reporting on what it achieves, a finding that raises questions about Liberal plans to spend more in this area in the 2017 budget. (CBC)

Trudeau: We have a problem with Islamophobia in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians have a right to know if a Parliamentary motion to condemn Islamophobia makes politicians and fellow citizens “uncomfortable,” so that “we can deal with it as a society.” Trudeau, speaking in the House of Commons Wednesday during the “Daughters of the Vote” event in support of International Women’s Day, was responding to a Muslim delegate who encouraged Canadian leaders to condemn Islamophobia. In relation to M-103, Trudeau said sometimes, it’s “useful” for some people to disagree. “To point out to the rest of us that there’s still a lot of work to do. (CTV)

Canadian group’s decision to honour Nazi pilot at women’s aviation event draws fire

A Canadian organization that promotes women in aviation is facing criticism from a Jewish rights group and questions from sponsors after deciding this year to honour a pioneering helicopter pilot who was also a notorious Nazi. “Let’s Swirl. 80 Years of Female Helicopter Pilots,” reads the theme for this year’s Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. “Hanna Reitsch, first woman to pilot a helicopter, 1937.” The short biography on the event’s website mentions that Reitsch, who died in 1979, became a test pilot in Germany in 1937, flew an Fa 61 helicopter that year, and in later life established gliding schools in India and Ghana. (Montreal Gazette)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Deportation of bipolar man who came to Canada as baby called 'heartless'

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is facing calls to reverse the deportation of a 59-year-old man with bipolar disorder who lived in Canada since he was eight months old. Len Van Heest of Courtenay, B.C., was deported to the Netherlands this week after a string of criminal convictions for uttering threats, mischief and assault that his lawyer says were linked to his mental illness. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto man’s dream of bringing parents to Canada dashed

A bureaucratic immigration backlog delayed the processing of his sponsorship application, which was not opened until 2013. After a long wait, it was rejected because of his father’s checkered immigration history and the decision-maker’s ruling that the family was separated “by choice.” The family’s subsequent appeal was recently denied. (Toronto Star)

Calgary man turned back at Montana border due to previous, and pardoned, criminal conviction

For years, Bill McLevin has been travelling to the U.S. on a regular basis to visit his brother-in-law. Until last week, the 66-year-old Calgarian had never encountered any issues at the border. McLevin was denied entry at the Sweetgrass border crossing in Montana because of something he did more than 40 years ago — a criminal conviction that was pardoned in Canada. McLevin was arrested in the 1970s on drug trafficking charges. He served his time in prison, including the 10 years he needed to be pardoned. "As far as I know, at that time [the conviction] was supposed to be taken off my criminal records," McLevin told the Calgary Eyeopener. (CBC)

Lengthy encounter with U.S. Immigration leaves Calgarian standing at gate

A Calgary man is looking for an explanation after he was detained for hours by U.S. Immigration causing him to miss not only his flight to Seattle but the wedding of his niece in his homeland of Pakistan. On Monday morning, Malik Khan arrived at Calgary International Airport three hours prior to his scheduled Alaskan Airlines flight. Khan was scheduled to fly to Seattle where he would have a two hour layover before boarding an Emirates Airline flight to Dubai. From Dubai, Khan would fly to his final destination of Lahore, Pakistan. (CTV)

Can illegal border crossers be charged? Canadian law says no

Some Conservative MPs are calling for charges to be laid against asylum seekers entering Canada from the U.S. at places other than official border crossings. But under existing Canadian law, that may not be possible even if the Liberal government or the RCMP decided to shift their approach. “International and Canadian law protect the right of refugees to flee to safety, including if necessary by entering a country in violation of immigration laws,” Janet Dench, spokeswoman for the Canadian Council for Refugees, told Yahoo Canada News. “This is based on the fundamental right, as expressed in article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to seek asylum from persecution in other countries.” (Yahoo)

Ralph Goodale Wants Answers From U.S. On Asylum Seekers Crossing Into Canada

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says he will use a meeting Friday with his U.S. counterpart to try to find out who is organizing the risky movement of would-be refugees into Canada in the dead of winter. The recent influx of asylum-seekers from the United States at remote border points — often in desperately cold weather — will be among the thorny issues on the agenda when new U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly visits Ottawa. (Huffington Post)

Canadian officials have made repeated trips to Mali to assess peace mission possibilities

Canadian aid and foreign affairs officials have made repeated visits to Mali — including one visit just last week — as politicians continue to consider a long-awaited peace operation, the Star has learned. While cabinet ministers insist that no location has been picked for the coming deployment, Mali has been the destination of choice for bureaucrats attempting to scout locations and determine how personnel, combined with millions of dollars in aid and development funding, can be best put to use. (Toronto Star)

Canada's special forces hand over Niger training mission to Quebec-based troops

As many as 25 Canadian soldiers, based out of Valcartier, Que., will soon take part in a revamped mission to train security forces in the troubled western African country of Niger. Last summer, CBC News reported that regular army troops would take over an ongoing deployment, known as Operation Naberius, from Canada's elite special forces. A handful of the highly-trained soldiers have since 2013 helped train the Niger Armed Forces in marksmanship, reconnaissance and other basic military skills. National Defence confirms troops from the French-speaking 1st Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment, will assume that responsibility and carry out "periodic" instruction of local forces from now on. (Yahoo)

Military SAR technician killed in training accident in Saskatchewan

A search and rescue technician with the Royal Canadian Air Force has died in a training accident near Yorkton, Sask. Master-Corporal Alfred Barr was a member of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 17 Wing based at CFB Winnipeg. On his Facebook page, he said he was from Lethbridge, Alta., and was engaged to be married. (Calgary Sun)

Dealing with child soldiers require specific training: Dallaire

Retired general Roméo Dallaire says he believes Canadian troops will be mentally and tactically prepared to handle encounters with child soldiers on future deployments – such as a Mali peacekeeping commitment Ottawa is considering – as long as pre-mission training reflects a new Forces directive on dealing with underage combatants. (Globe and Mail)

Government moves to formally scrub abortion law from Canada's Criminal Code

The federal government is stripping seven outdated sections from Canada's Criminal Code, including a provision banning abortion that was struck down nearly 30 years ago. The prohibition against abortion was found unconstitutional in the landmark Supreme Court ruling in favour of Dr. Henry Morgentaler in 1988, which determined the ban violated a woman's right to security of the person. But the text outlawing "forced miscarriage" was never removed from the books. (CBC)

CBC IN IRAN: Iran oil sector needs investment and Canadian technology — but the Trump effect fuels uncertainty

With China's help, a state-owned oil company constructed the facility while Iran was still under international sanctions. It is a model of international co-operation Iran is now looking to duplicate with Western outfits. "This is our future," said Reza Golhaki, the health, safety and environment supervisor at the site, and our guide for the day. "We'd be grateful working with the Canadians as well." More than a year after sanctions against Iran were lifted in exchange for putting its nuclear program on ice, the country has opened up to Western investment. (CBC)

Trump travel ban: Hawaii files first legal challenge

Hawaii has become the first US state to file a suit against President Donald Trump's revised travel order. Its attorney general says the new version is fundamentally the same as the first, calling it "Muslim Ban 2.0". The directive, which takes effect on 16 March, places a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim nations and a 120-day ban on all refugees. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Iranian official boasts of 'guerilla movement' within the US

New video footage appears to lend credibility to President Donald Trump’s claim that the United States’ immigration system is being manipulated by the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the video Hassan Abbasi, a high-ranking official with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is seen boasting about a “guerilla movement” of Iranian agents living and working in the United States. Abbasi claims there are over two million Iranians in the United States, and over 7,000 PhD holders. He says, in Farsi while speaking at an unknown location, that Iran is leading a clandestine army of potential martyrs within the US. (Toronto Sun)

Andrew Coyne: Assumptions behind immigration rage don’t stand up to scrutiny

Suddenly immigration is all the rage. And I do mean rage: sensing a boiling undercurrent among certain sections of the Tory base, Conservative leadership candidates have been rushing to tap it, from opposing an anodyne parliamentary motion denouncing hatred to demanding the RCMP physically block the U.S.-Canada border (“Company: link … arms!”). (National Post)

Lorrie Goldstein: Admit it, Canada, you're racist!

It has come to my attention that despite my best efforts to divert you from my disastrous economic record by playing the “Islamophobia” card, too many of you still aren’t getting the message. Why, just the other day I read the results of a Forum Research poll that said 44% of you believe that we should not allow asylum seekers who enter Canada illegally to seek asylum in Canada. That compares to only 36% of you who believe we should allow asylum seekers who enter Canada illegally to seek asylum in Canada, and 20% of you who are undecided. (Toronto Sun)

Chantal Hebert: Is Trudeau using the White House to hide the Liberal government’s money problems?

Over his first 15 months as a rookie MP and Canada’s finance minister, Bill Morneau has mastered the art of the platitude. That could come in handy when he presents his second budget later this month. It does not matter what curveballs his opposition critics throw at him in question period these days, his answers never stray from the generic talking points that usually pass for government responses in the House of Commons. Morneau is no more enlightening in his exchanges with the media. (Toronto Star)

Ezra Levant: Israel’s security wall: A model for America?

On assignment in Israel, I had a fascinating conversation with IDF Col. (Ret) Dany Tirza, who headed strategic development for Israel’s security wall. Construction began in 2002, and had reduced terror attacks originating in the West Bank by approximately 99 per cent. Tirza tells me that between three to five people still try to cross the barrier illegally every day. Most are criminals but he adds that others include (Rebel)

Robyn Urback: Social media users rage against Sophie, but the real feminism is something much quieter

I have a hard time mustering much of a reaction to Sophie Grégoire Trudeau's Instagram post for International Women's Day, which called on women to celebrate the male allies in their lives while showing a picture of her holding hands with Canada's Feminist-in-Chief. The photo captures the Trudeaus staring soberly into each other's eyes, as if they're observing a moment of silence to remember the lost wages of historically undervalued women's work. (CBC)

John Ibbitson: Trudeau's foreign policy vs. Harper's

What a splendid job Justin Trudeau is doing in carrying out Stephen Harper’s foreign policy. Both men should be so proud. There’s been a lot of Liberal rhetoric about Canada being back on the world stage after a decade of Conservative darkness. Some of us aren’t sure fighting wars in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq, or being in the front lines of delivering aid to quake victims in Haiti and Ebola victims in Africa, or joining trade negotiations in both the Atlantic and the Pacific constituted an absence. Whatever. Justin Trudeau promised that his Liberal government would revive Canada’s reputation as a caring nation committed to doing its share, and he’s kept his word. (Globe and Mail)

Ujjal Dosanjh: Dear Minister Hussen

Many of us cheered when you were recently made the Immigration Minister. We felt that as an immigrant Canadian you would surely bring to your position a new and hopefully more compassionate perspective on what it may mean to be Canadian. But our cheers were short lived. You have brought disappointments to some hearts, mine included. On Monday March 6, 2017 you deported Len Van Heest, a Canadian for the last 59 years. Yes, a Canadian but without the citizenship papers. At the age of seven months and in diapers, he legally landed in Canada with his family. At sixteen he was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder. He has several convictions for assault, mischief and uttering threats--all stemming from and related to his mental illness, the bipolar disorder. His last offence was in 2012. (News Hub Nation)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet later today to study the Situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia 25 Years after the End of the Cold War (8:45AM EST)
  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met yesterday to meet with Immigration Consultants and discuss the Modernization of Client Service Delivery (Public)