True North Initiative: News Scan 03 14 17

TOP STORIES

Most Canadians favour values test for immigrants: poll

Three Canadians out of four believe immigrants to this country should be tested for “anti-Canadian” values, a survey conducted for Radio-Canada suggests. The findings of the survey, carried by the CROP polling for the French-language service of the CBC, indicate that despite criticism from the media and within political circles, the controversial position taken by Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch that immigrants be tested for an appreciation of “Canadian” values has traction with 74 per cent of Canadians. Inside Quebec, support for testing immigrants stood at 75 per cent. (Montreal Gazette) (Global News) (Yahoo) (Radio Canada) (National Post)

Quebec, rest of Canada divided over mosques and veils, survey suggests

Most Quebecers and Canadians don’t care if the January attack on a Quebec City mosque led to a drop in Muslim immigration to this country, a Radio-Canada survey suggests. However the online survey, conducted Jan. 27-30, also suggests there’s a split between this province and the rest of the country when it comes to certain perceptions of Muslim culture in Canadian daily life. (Montreal Gazette)

CSIS director Michel Coulombe to step down after three decades

Michel Coulombe, a career spy who joined the fledgling Canadian Security Intelligence Service more than 30 years ago before rising through the ranks to its top job, is retiring. Coulombe told CSIS employees Monday that he will leave as director of the country’s spy agency at the end of May in order to move on to the next stage of his life and spend more time with his family. (Toronto Star) (CBC)

Why refugees are choosing to cross over in Manitoba instead of Saskatchewan?

On Thursday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister once again called on the federal government for help to address the wave of asylum seekers who continue to enter through Manitoba. The province, which neighbours Saskatchewan, has seen a rising number of refugee claimants entering Manitoba through unofficial land crossings. More than 200 asylum seekers have illegally crossed into Canada near Emerson, Man. (Global News)

Trudeau gov't focuses on key American states ahead of NAFTA talks

The federal government is stepping up its diplomatic efforts in key American states over the next three months to make sure the Trump administration can't escape its message about the importance of trade with Canada, a senior government official tells CTV News. The intensive lobbying effort started last December with relationship-building meetings between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's top aides and U.S. President Donald Trump's most trusted advisers. Last week's visit to Texas, by Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, marks the start of a blitz that will see cabinet ministers meet with state legislators and governors in 11 states chosen for their political importance or business ties to Canada. (CTV)

Omar Khadr in intensive care following surgery for war wounds

Former child soldier Omar Khadr is in an intensive care unit at an Edmonton hospital following surgery to repair his shoulder, which was severely damaged more than a decade ago during a firefight with U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Mr. Khadr’s lawyer, Dennis Edney, said his 30-year-old client, who spent years in the United States’ notorious Guantanamo Bay prison, underwent a 19-hour operation last Friday and is now recovering in a critical-care unit. (Globe and Mail)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Disappointment, concern, but no surprise over immigration poll

It’s a poll that suggests most Canadians support Canada’s welcoming of Syrian refugees and believe other cultures add to Canadian society — yet three of four Canadians believe immigrants to this country should be tested for “anti-Canadian” values, a survey conducted for Radio-Canada suggests. But even if the CROP survey on our attitudes towards immigration contains some contradictions, it held no surprises for Haroun Bouazzi, director of the Association of Muslims and Arabs for a Secular Quebec. (Montreal Gazette)

Many asylum claimants might get to stay even if claims are rejected

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Monday crossing the border illegally is not a “free ticket” into Canada; however, it may be a long-term pass for those coming from a number of war-torn countries, including Somalia. Canada currently has a moratorium on deporting anyone to 12 countries and locations, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, because of a humanitarian crisis, war or an environmental disaster. It will only send people back to those countries if they are convicted of a crime or human rights infractions or are deemed to be a security risk. (Winnipeg Free Press)

'We really don't want to go back': Family caught crossing border now in legal limbo

An Iraqi family caught crossing the border into Surrey last month may not have faced a risk of deportation if they'd waited a few days before making the crossing. The family of four was caught crossing into Canada illegally at the end of February, just a short distance from the Peace Arch crossing. The family, which had moved from Iraq about a year before, said they were seeking asylum, scared of what the Donald Trump government would mean for them. (CTV)

Iranian immigrants divided by adoption regulations

A family of Iranian immigrants is being split up because different regulations apply to adopted children. Azam Jabbari, her husband and daughter have all been granted residency status to live in Canada. But her adopted ten-year-old son, Paiman, has been denied. "I'm hero to ask people in charge to help me to have my son," said Jabbari. (CTV)

Girl Guides of Canada suspend trips to U.S. citing border concerns

Girl Guides of Canada is cancelling any trips to the United States, citing concerns that some members could be turned away at the border. “It also has to do with safety,” Sarah Kiriliuk, the organization’s national manager of marketing and communication, said Monday. “We want to make sure that if our girls are travelling that they are not going to be in a risky or unsafe situation. . . . We can’t leave a girl behind.” (Toronto Star)

Caught at Canada’s border: What happens once asylum-seekers cross irregularly

In recent weeks, the sight of asylum-seekers irregularly crossing the border from the U.S. into Canada — some of them young children — has left an indelible impression. There are worries about a spring surge, but so far officials in Ottawa say it’s too early to know. The release of official numbers has been haphazard and incomplete, but one thing is clear: irregular border crossers represent just a fraction of the people seeking asylum in Canada every year. (National Post)

B.C. refugee advocates call for more resources to help border jumpers

Lawyers in B.C. are warning that the dramatic increase of people illegally crossing the border in to Canada is straining the refugee processing system. Mark Benton, the CEO of the Legal Services Society, says the number of people asking for help with immigration matters two years ago numbered less than 500. In the past year the number of people looking for help has dramatically risen to 900. (CTV)

How Prime Minister Trudeau fares in a pre-budget scorecard: Canada economy watch

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s March 22 budget, his second since taking power in late 2015, offers an opportunity to take stock of his government’s economic performance to date. Here is the state of play: (Financial Post)

The accidental takedown of the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair

A stunned silence blanketed the room at the Edmonton convention centre. Did they hear that right? The vote was 52 to 48 for a leadership review. Thomas Mulcair had lost his bid to lead the New Democrats into the 2019 election. A small group cheered, but mostly people just milled around, exchanging shocked glances, trying to make sense of what just happened. A visibly shaken Mulcair took the stage, flanked by the NDP caucus, and managed a few words. (Toronto Star)

People urged to join party to influence leadership choice

The opposition Conservative Party is in a campaign to choose a new leader and people from outside the party are trying to stop it from picking someone with populist or anti-immigrant views. There is a social media campaign urging people to join the party in order to enable them to vote for the new leader. “Some of the articles on social media basically highlight that pretty much all of the candidates are unacceptable to them except Michael Chong. So, a lot of these people are people who might even be traditional supporters of other parties or work very hard usually to stop conservatives from winning,” says Harold Jansen, professor of political science at the University of Lethbridge. (Radio Canada)

Hands off our Brexit, Nicola! Theresa May to insist new Scottish referendum must be held AFTER Britain leaves the EU

Theresa May is today poised to emphatically reject Nicola Sturgeon’s timetable for a second vote on Scottish independence, amid fears it could undermine Brexit. Scotland’s First Minister yesterday declared she will push for another referendum just before the UK leaves the EU. She insisted Scots deserved a ‘real choice’ over EU membership and threatened to throw a grenade into Brexit talks by holding the vote between autumn 2018 and spring 2019. (Daily Mail)

U.S. Navy SEALs to take part in joint drills in S. Korea

U.S. special operations forces, including the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, will take part in joint military drills in South Korea to practice incapacitating North Korean leadership in the case of conflict, a military official said Monday. The U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six will join the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises between the two allies for the first time, along with the Army's Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets. (Yonhap News)

Saudi Arabia launches girls' council - without any girls

It was an encouraging initiative for a country not known for giving women a platform in public life. But when Saudi Arabia wanted to show off its inaugural girls' council in al-Qassim province, they overlooked one thing: the women. Pictures released to mark the first Qassim Girls Council meeting showed 13 men on stage, and not a single female. (BBC)

The Marine Le Pen Story

Is France’s Marine Le Pen far-right? (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Iranian official vows to unleash “guerrilla movement” within U.S.

New video footage seems to confirm our very worst fears about terrorism and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and lends credibility to President Trump’s claim that the United States’ immigration system is being manipulated by terrorist states. (Rebel)

Lorrie Goldstein: Libs losing it when dealing with asylum seekers

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale appears to have gone off his political rocker when it comes to dealing with asylum seekers from the U.S. crossing our border illegally. Hyper-sensitive to criticism that the Trudeau government is doing nothing to secure Canada’s borders, Goodale told CTV’s Question Period Sunday: “I guess what the Conservatives are saying is maybe we should line up the RCMP at the border, they should all link arms and shoo people away, or maybe [use] fire hoses or whatever, to keep people from crossing at the border.” (Toronto Sun)

Chris Selley: Most Canadians support ‘values screening’ — which is neither surprising nor concerning

Monday’s headlines proclaimed “disappointment” and “concern” over a new CROP poll of Canadians’ attitudes toward immigration. “A majority of Canadians express concerns,” Société Radio-Canada declared on its home page. Notably, we learned that 74 per cent of respondents support implementing (as the pollsters put it) “a test of values to identify (potential immigrants) who have ‘anti-Canadian’ values.” (National Post)

John Geddes: Anxious about immigration? Here’s some food for thought

All those images of border-crossing migrants, and swaggering tough talk about what to do about them from some federal Conservative leadership aspirants, have prompted a lot of discussion about how Canada absorbs newcomers, and if we do it differently, maybe better, than other countries. (Macleans)

Tasha Kheiriddin: Guess what Canada: we're kinda racists, too

A new poll commissioned by CROP-Radio Canada examined Canadians’ attitudes towards different minority and immigrant groups, and found that despite priding ourselves on our tolerance and openness, it does not extend equally to all groups.   When it came to integration into Canadian society, only 12 per cent of respondents believe that Muslims and very well integrated into Canadian society, compared to 47 per cent who hold this opinion of Italians, 43 per cent of Jews, and 31 per cent of Asian Canadians.  The group considered second least-integrated was Haitians, at 14 per cent. (IPolitics)

Chantal Hebert: The NDP and Conservative leadership races are a study in contrast

To compare the leadership debates of the Conservatives and the New Democrats on the basis of the latter’s first all-candidates meeting is to engage in a study in contrast. The Conservative campaign features an overcrowded podium, essentially proving in the process that an abundance of candidates does not automatically translate into an abundance of riches. More than half of the 14 contenders for Stephen Harper’s succession would have no business in the race if party members were serious about treating the capacity to communicate efficiently in either official language as a prerequisite for national leadership. (Toronto Star)

William Watson: Every country has a tipping point on border crossers. Do we know Canada’s?

In The Scotch, his memoir of growing up in southwestern Ontario between the wars, John Kenneth Galbraith argued that to his Celtic kinsmen the value of Canada was about $5 a week. If the wage gap between London, Ont. and Detroit, Mich. got wider than that, people picked up and moved south, some temporarily, some permanently. In those days, the border was that permeable. It wasn’t really until the 1960s that both countries tightened their rules and migrating north-to-south became harder. (Financial Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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