True North Initiative: News Scan 03 13 17

TOP STORIES

8 people detained in Manitoba by Canada Border Services Agency under immigration holds

Manitoba Justice confirmed to Global News that eight people have been detained by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) under an immigration hold. The justice department said as of March 9, there were a total of 8 immigration holds in custody in Manitoba correctional facilities. According to CBSA, Canada’s immigration law permits the agency to detain permanent residents and foreign nationals under certain conditions. (Global News) (CBC)

Canada should worry about Russian interference in elections: former CSIS head

Canada would be “foolish” to ignore the possibility that Russia might seek to interfere in its electoral system, says Richard Fadden, former head of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service and former national security adviser to Stephen Harper. “I think it’s something we have to worry about,” he said in an interview with Vassy Kapelos on The West Block. (Global News)

National Defence struggling to cut hundreds of millions in waste, inefficiencies

While the Liberal government faces pressure to spend more on the military, National Defence has struggled to use the billions of dollars it already receives each year more efficiently. The defence renewal initiative was launched to much fanfare in 2013 and aimed to trim between $750 million and $1.2 billion in waste that could be redirected back into training, maintenance and other frontline activities. The five-year effort, which was to cut managers, centralize contracting and increase the use of simulators, was a direct result of then-prime minister Stephen Harper's call for "more teeth, less tail." (CTV)

Toronto needs expanded resources as refugee numbers swell

Toronto is woefully unprepared for a potential influx of migrants, critics say. The number of asylum seekers entering north into Canada this so far year - since President Donald Trump took power and put strict regulations on entering the U.S. - has doubled over the same time period in 2016 to about 1,700. In Jan., 2016, the number of refugees in Toronto shelters was 11%, but in Jan., 2017 that number had risen to 19%. That means there are now 810 refugees relying on the city’s shelter system, and the fear is the numbers will grow greatly. (Toronto Sun)

U.S., Canada 'perplexed' about migrant surge north: Kelly

Most of the migrants who recently made the difficult journey across the border into Canada were in the United States legally, making the trend hard to explain, says U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. The majority travelled to the United States with the necessary visas, Kelly said Friday after a meeting in Ottawa with cabinet members including his Canadian counterpart, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. “Everyone was perplexed,” Kelly said in an interview with The Canadian Press. (680 News)

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security said countless threats made against airlines

U.S. Homeland Secretary John Kelly said Friday the most significant security threat facing North America is a terrorist attack on aviation and that there have been countless threats to blow up Canadian and U.S. airlines’ planes. Speaking to CTV’s Power Play on Friday, Kelly said there are “dozens and dozens and dozens of ongoing plots to get to the United States or blow up airplanes” by terrorists. “That seems to be their Stanley Cup playoffs,” he said. “They want to knock down airplanes. They are trying to do it every day . . . . I can’t count the number of airplanes that have not been blown up in flight, whether they’re United (Airlines) or Air Canada.” (Toronto Star)

Air Canada denies U.S. claim it has been focus of terror plots

U.S. Homeland Secretary John Kelly says there have been countless attempts by terrorists to blow up passenger jets operated by Air Canada and U.S. airlines – plots that have been stopped because of U.S. and Canadian intelligence agencies. “The most significant threat is a terrorist attack I think on aviation. That seems to be their Stanley Cup playoff. They want to knock down airplanes and they are trying every day to do it,” Mr. Kelly told CTV’s Power Play on Friday after meeting with senior Trudeau cabinet ministers on Parliament Hill. (Globe and Mail) (CTV)

Money laundering watchdog scrutinizes Facebook, social media

Canadians who make large cash transactions, international wire transfers or win big at the casino could end up with a federal agency scrutinizing their Facebook pages and other social media posts, CBC News has learned. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), the federal government body charged with monitoring financial transactions to detect money laundering and terrorist financing, has been quietly scrutinizing the social media posts of Canadians whose transactions attract its attention.​ (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Why are so many Hungarians deported? A look at Canada’s ‘Unwelcome Index’

To understand who Canada deports, and why, The Globe and Mail requested data from CBSA showing total removals by year, broken out by citizenship, the destination to which the person was sent and justifications for these removals. The data shows Canada removed Hungarian citizens in disproportionate numbers over the past few years. The story of those thousands of unwelcome people contrasts with international perceptions of Canada’s warm embrace of foreigners. (Globe and Mail)

Ralph Goodale fires back at critics over border jumpers

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is taking on Conservative Party criticism that the government needs to do more at the border to prevent asylum seekers from crossing into Canada. A surge in illegal crossings since the end of 2016 has raised concerns over an influx of refugee claimants in small towns like Emerson, Man., and near the Lacolle border crossing in Quebec. Conservative MPs have urged the Liberal government to "enforce the law," but won't explain what further measures they want the government to take. (CTV)

Liberals buzzing about a summer cabinet shuffle, fall Throne Speech

Government backbenchers say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could conduct a major cabinet shuffle this summer followed by a Throne Speech in the fall as Liberals approach the midpoint of their four-year mandate before the next federal election in 2019 and after the Conservatives elect their new leader in May. (Hill Times)

Fearful U.S. immigrants offered anti-deportation training

Don't open the front door if immigration officials knock. If you are taken into custody, tell them your name and nothing else. Definitely don't sign anything. That is some of the advice being given in New York City and around the country at training sessions, put on by advocacy organizations, aimed at helping immigrants living in the country illegally get in as little trouble as possible if they encounter U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. (CBC)

Yemeni sisters stuck in bureaucratic limbo in Ottawa after ID document confiscated

Two Yemeni sisters who illegally crossed into Canada last month say they're caught in bureaucratic limbo in Ottawa after a government official confiscated their only piece of identification. The women, aged 20 and 18, crossed illegally from the U.S. on Feb. 22 with the hopes of avoiding being deported to Yemen — which is currently embroiled in a civil war — under an executive order from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. The two women are Yemeni citizens, but have lived their entire lives in the United Arab Emirates and have never been to the country, they said. (CBC)

How Ahmed Hussen rose to become Canada’s border man

As a young boy, Canada’s new immigration minister fled war-torn Somalia to forge a new life in Toronto. Now, with U.S. anti-Muslim rhetoric on the rise and Canada facing an influx of desperate refugees, Ahmed Hussen must balance his hard-won empathy for outsiders with a mandate to ensure the integrity of our borders. Erin Anderssen and Michelle Zilio report (Globe and Mail)

'Out of sight, out of mind': Humanitarian crisis worsens in Ukraine as world focuses on Syria, Iraq

Canada extended its military training mission in Ukraine this week, but the country needs more help to help ease the escalating humanitarian crisis, say an MP and a human rights advocate who just returned from the country. Ontario Conservative MP Tony Clement travelled to Kyiv last week to meet with government officials and others and was surprised to learn of the huge scale of the crisis caused by the four-year conflict. (CBC)

Fearing deportation, number of U.S. refugees seeking asylum in Canada is spiking

The warnings from Canadian police are mostly ignored. Towing her baby, video shows one woman struggling through the snow to claim asylum in Canada. She’s among the hundreds of U.S. refugees who have illegally entered Canada since President Trump’s first immigration order. U.S. refugees who cross at an unguarded part of the border are arrested, but once on Canadian soil, they are allowed to claim asylum. At an official border crossing they would be turned away. (CBS News)

NDP leader Tom Mulcair says denouncing Trump travel ban won’t affect Canada-U.S. relations

NDP leader Tom Mulcair is again calling on Justin Trudeau to denounce the U.S. travel ban, saying that it will not affect Canada’s relationship with its neighbour to the south. “Canada’s always been able to have different positions with regard to the United States and continue to be that very good neighbour. All you have to do is go back to the Vietnam War or go back to 2003 when we said we wouldn’t take part in the war in Iraq,” he said in an interview on The West Block. (Global News)

No Canadian compensation for families of Gurkhas killed in Kabul blast

Global Affairs Canada was left scrambling last year to find another private security firm to stand watch over the embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, after a suicide bombing claimed the lives of 13 Nepalese Gurkhas, federal documents show. The attack, which was believed to have been carried out by a shadowy group affiliated with ISIS, also left the Liberal government in an awkward position with Nepal when it turned down that country's request to compensate families of the victims. (CBC)

CBC IN IRAN: 'Far from perfect': Documents describe hectic final days of Canadian Embassy in Tehran

The only indication that 57 Shahid Sarafraz Street was once Canada's fabled embassy in Tehran is a no-parking sign that mentions it by name, and the distinctive shape of the Maple Leaf adorning the front windows. The first time the embassy went dark was in 1980 at the height of the U.S. hostage crisis. Canadian diplomats hid six American colleagues and then spirited them out of Iran using fake Canadian identities — and followed them out. The second time was Sept. 7, 2012. The Harper government was concerned about the safety of its diplomats and wanted to show disapproval of Iran's human rights record, its support for terrorist organizations and its policies concerning Syria and Israel. (CBC)

Battle to liberate Mosul from ISIS gains ground

It was finally Abu Fahad's time. The Iraqi army rolled up to his family's home in western Mosul on Sunday, giving the father of seven children and his wife their chance to escape ISIS. "We had to live under their rules. We lived in fear," Fahad said. "If we didn't do what they wanted, they would kill us." (CBC)

Intruder Arrested After Breaching White House Grounds: Secret Service

A California man wearing a backpack managed to scale the fence along the southern side of the White House before midnight Friday — the first such breach reported during Donald Trump's presidency, the Secret Service said. Trump would have been at the White House at the time, according to his schedule, but the intruder didn't manage to get very far. (NBC)

Chinese Communist Party officials harden rhetoric on Islam

China's ruling Communist Party is hardening its rhetoric on Islam, with top officials making repeated warnings about the specter of global religious extremism seeping into the country and the need to protect traditional Chinese identity. Shaerheti Ahan, a top political and legal affairs party official in Xinjiang, on Sunday became the latest official from a predominantly Muslim region to warn political leaders gathered in Beijing for this month's National People's Congress about China becoming destabilized by the "international anti-terror situation." (ABC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: The liberal narrative is in denial about Iran

The war of words coming out of the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to intensify.  New video footage of Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan further demonstrates Iran’s hostile attitude and intentions towards America and its allies.  Speaking with Iran’s state-broadcaster, the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Dehghan discusses his government’s strategy when it comes to dealing with its “enemies” in the West. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Illegal border crossings a 'crisis' – union head

Illegal migrants crossing Canada’s borders are hopping off planes in New York and busing directly north, says the head of Canada’s border agents union. “There is a trend right now,” said Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union. “People are leaving from different countries and flying into New York City and they’re taking a bus.” The bus lets them off at the northern most part of their route in upstate New York, Fortin said. Then they take a cab right up to the border and walk over. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: The truth about populism in Canada

There’s a change happening in the Western political landscape. And the Canadian establishment needs to stop misleading themselves about what it means for this country. Last month data confirmed what many of us suspected: that Canada is actually ripe for some version of a populist uprising. An authoritative report by Edelman revealed that “80% of [Canadians] think the elites who run institutions are out of touch with regular people” and “69% say we need to prioritize Canadian interests over the rest of the world.” (Toronto Sun)

Howard Anglin: The meaning of borders: Lessons from the last world war

The horrors of the immediate post-Second World War years, when the Soviet army consolidated the territorial gains it had made in Eastern and Central Europe during its march on Berlin, are understandably overshadowed by scale of the slaughter on the Eastern Front that preceded it — but they are of particular relevance to our current debate over irregular border crossings from the United States into Canada. In the years following the Allied victory, seven and a half million Germans fled or were driven out of the newly-redrawn borders of Poland. Three million more were deported from the still-democratic Czechoslovakia. In all, more than twenty-million Germans, Poles, Ukrainians and others were forcibly removed by the Soviets and their collaborators. More than one million died and many more were raped, tortured and starved. (IPolitics)

Ezra Levant: Israel’s greatest enemy isn’t Palestinians — it’s “the West’s political diplomatic culture”

Reporting from the Gaza area has been the most frustrating part of our mission to Israel. Gaza itself has been autonomous for years. It could be the Dubai of this region, but instead it is run by Hamas gangsters, who terrorize their own people and their Israeli neighbours. (Rebel)

Tom Brodbeck: PM’s inaction, lack of leadership on asylum seekers is grossly irresponsible

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should do the responsible thing and announce that the federal government is officially opposed to the illegal entry of asylum seekers into Canada. The fact he hasn’t done so is troubling, to say the least. Over 200 people have entered Manitoba illegally from the United States around the Emerson border since January 1. They have been arrested by the RCMP but they’re not charged with illegally entering the country, even though it is technically an offence. Instead, they are screened and processed to make application for refugee status. That’s how the legal process works in Canada (Winnipeg Sun)

Kyle Smith: Why Canada will come to regret its embrace of refugees

Pretty soon the US might not be the only North American country clamoring for tighter security on its southern border. Because suddenly, in the age of Trump, Canada has an illegal-immigrant problem. No, Barbra Streisand, Keegan-Michael Key and Bryan Cranston have not yet made good on their threats to pack up their stuff and slip into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s immigrant-loving Canada if Trump won. But at an almost-unguarded point just off Roxham Road in upstate Champlain, desperate people, many of them Muslims, are sneaking across the border from the US to Canada. Once arrested in Canuckland, they get a bus ticket to Montreal, a comfy room (the YMCA is a popular spot) and a hearing into their refugee status. (New York Post)

Lawrence Solomon: Trump might call for a wall on the northern border and demand Canada pay for it

Will Trump build a wall on the Canada-U.S. border and make Canada pay for it? Trump’s immigration policies appear to be working. That’s great for the majority of Americans who are opposed to open immigration, and for Trump’s re-election prospects, which depend on his delivering on his campaign promise to control illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. border. (National Post)

Michael Valpy: Populist anger is real, and Canada had better wake up

On Nov. 9, 2016, the day after the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, The New York Times posted a video by its media columnist, Jim Rutenberg, in which he declared that political journalism in America is broken. “Mainstream journalists who were covering this race and cover politics,” he said, “really didn’t understand the anger and … how many people held that anger toward the status quo – how widespread that was in the country. And it comes after we missed Brexit. It shows that the global media is having troubles keeping up with the changes in the world.” (Globe and Mail)

Lorrie Goldstein: The persecution of Kellie Leitch

In George Orwell’s 1984, doublethink was the ability to hold two contradictory views at the same time, which is the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals think about Canada’s immigration and refugee system. On the one hand, they tell us, the system is working fine and so any attempts to reform it – see Tory leadership contender Kellie Leitch’s call for interviewing would-be immigrants, refugees and visitors to screen them for anti-Canadian values – must be rooted in “Islamophobia” and racism. (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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