True North Initiative: News Scan 03 15 17

TOP STORIES

Manitoba Premier Pallister calls on Trudeau to raise asylum issue with Trump

Worried that asylum seekers enduring sub-zero temperatures to find sanctuary in Canada could die on their journey, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to have a stern chat with U.S. President Donald Trump about the net effect of his immigration policies. Mr. Pallister said the new U.S. administration needs to understand that what it is doing is a radical departure from its history and tradition and a gross violation of the very terms inscribed on the country’s most visible symbol of freedom – the Statue of Liberty. (Globe and Mail) (CBC)

Majority of CPC members favour Leitch's values test

The majority of Conservative Party of Canada members who have decided who they intend to vote for in May’s leadership race are in favour of leadership candidate Kellie Leitch’s proposal to screen new immigrants for “anti-Canadian” values, according to the latest iPolitics CPC Leadership Tracker, powered by Mainstreet Research. From March 6 to March 11, Mainstreet reached 1607 Conservative Party of Canada members and found – with a margin of error +/- 2.26, 19 times out of 20 — that 65.46 per cent of decided voters are in favour of Leitch’s screening proposal. That number decreased to 46.24 per cent of members when it included “undecided” voters. (IPolitics)

Near-fatal border crossing in Quebec prompts calls for immigration reform

An asylum seeker's desperate and nearly fatal trek across the U.S.-Quebec border is being held out as an example of all that is wrong with the Safe Third Country Agreement.  Mamadou — an Ivorian who had been living in New York City for the past 10 years — was found barely conscious in the woods near the Lacolle border station earlier this month. CBC is withholding his family name for his own protection. He made the illegal crossing after first applying for asylum at the Lacolle crossing, only to be rejected because of the agreement. (Yahoo) (CBC)

Maxime Bernier wants to close loophole in Safe Third Country Agreement, send refugees back to US

Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier said Canada should close the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement and send those who cross illegally back to the United States. The loophole currently prevents refugees who cross the Canada-U.S. border illegally to be turned away – instead, they are arrested and able to start a claims process to stay in Canada. (Global News)

DND leak investigation started under Tories, expanded under Liberals

The RCMP has been conducting a secret, wide-ranging investigation for many months into a series of leaks involving classified cabinet papers, decisions and other sensitive information — a high-stakes probe that's not only targeted the country's second-highest military commander, but additional unnamed suspects, CBC News has learned. Multiple sources tell CBC News the hunt for informants began under the former Conservative government, but gained a renewed intensity in November 2015 under the newly elected Liberals following at least three sensitive breaches that were splashed across the media. (CBC)

CSIS reneged on pledge to brief judges about secret data centre

When Canadian intelligence analysts launched a program to warehouse telecommunications data, the top spymaster of his time reassured his minister in a memo that judges would be told about it “at an appropriate juncture.” Over the next decade, that juncture never materialized. This omission set the stage for a scathing court ruling last fall that shook the credibility of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. (Globe and Mail)

Liberals put Super Hornet purchase plan in writing

The Trudeau government has formally asked Washington to facilitate the sole-source purchase of a handful of Super Hornet jet fighters for the air force. Public Works and Procurement Services, in a statement, said a letter of request was submitted to the U.S. Department of Defence on Monday that outlined Canada's requirements, capabilities, schedule and expected economic benefits. (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Senate Liberal, MPs slamming feds for not living up to transparency promises

The government isn’t living up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to make its information “open by default,” say a handful of Parliamentarians from different parties. MPs and a Senate Liberal are crying foul after being denied information they had requested from Global Affairs Canada; the Canada Revenue Agency; Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada; and Finance Canada in recent months. (Hill Times)

Dion’s primary residence to be in Berlin, EU ambassador to stay on, sources say

The government plans to keep the current Canadian ambassador to the European Union in his position and have former foreign minister Stéphane Dion act as a kind of “senior ambassador” to him, while making his new home in Berlin, say two former Canadian ambassadors. Mr. Dion is planning to leave for his new posting as dual ambassador to both the European Union and Germany this May, and he will make Berlin his permanent residence, said a former Canadian ambassador who spoke on condition of anonymity. (Hill Times)

Raindrops cost B.C. man his passport

Wen Sheng Li says he had no idea Canadian passports were so fragile — and that the plasticized page protecting the colour I.D. photo isn't all that protective. He's learned that lesson the hard way, and says his costly mistake should serve as a warning to many other Canadians. Li's passport sustained water damage on a dark and rainy night at the Aldergrove, B.C. border crossing as he returned from a Boxing Day shopping trip to the U.S. (CBC)

Trained immigrants needed for B.C.'s tech industry, CEO says

The B.C. Tech summit is in full swing at the Vancouver Convention Centre, and a lot of discussion this year has been around the demand for trained workers. This is the second year the provincial government has funded the summit, and Premier Clark has delivered a keynote speech both years. During this year's speech the Premier called on Ottawa to lower barriers for tech savvy immigrants trying to move to B.C. (CBC)

Vancouver tops quality of life ranking in North America, survey finds

Don’t tell Toronto, New York or Los Angeles, but Vancouver was the only North American city to crack a European-dominated top 10 quality of living ranking of global cities. The B.C. metropolis came in at No. 5 in human resources consultant Mercer’s 19th such ranking, one of only two cities outside Western Europe to reach the top 10. Toronto ranked 16th, Ottawa was 18th and Montreal was 23rd. (CTV)

Number of medical marijuana users has quadrupled since Liberals won election

Data obtained by CTV News shows the number of Canadians registered to use medical marijuana has soared from 30,000 to nearly 130,000 since Justin Trudeau became prime minister, after campaigning on a promise to legalize the drug. In the month before the October 2015 election, 30,357 people had prescriptions to use the drug, according to figures from Health Canada. That number more than quadrupled to 129,876 by December 2016. (CTV)

Most Asylum Seekers Will Stay In Canada Even If Asylum Rejected

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale continued to be everything but clear on the status of illegals flowing across the U.S.-Canadian border. On Monday he suggested that asylum seekers don’t have a “free ticket” to Canadian citizenship — but that may be irrelevant if it is impossible to deport them out of the country, the Winnipeg Free Press reports. (Daily Caller)

CNN, Daily Caller seek press gallery membership amid growing global interest in Canadian politics

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s global advocacy for liberal pluralism in an era of growing right-wing populism is sparking renewed interest among international news outlets in covering Canadian politics, says columnist Andrew Cohen, as CNN rejoins the Parliamentary Press Gallery for the first time in two decades. (Hill Times)

Dutch election a test case for Europe's appetite for populist disruptors

"We are the dress rehearsal," said the young security guard with a nervous laugh standing in one of the grand halls of Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, home to some of the great treasures of the Dutch Golden Age. Although he admitted that in terms of their size, "France and Germany could swallow the Netherlands up," those countries are closely watching the Dutch vote, as it may set the tone for this election season in Europe. "We have to go first," the guard said. (CBC)

Russian maker of AK-47 shrugs off Canada-U.S. sanctions as sales grow

It may be the only place in the world that will sell you guns at the airport instead of taking them away. Travellers killing time at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport are curious as they duck into a shop with a gun rack on the wall and a cabinet full of pistols near the cash register. Next to that are racks of kids' T-shirts printed with "I Love AK." (CBC)

Why Republicans' support for Donald Trump is sky-high

He's fallen out with judges, journalists and intelligence agents, and his approval rate is a measly 41% among all adults in the US. But there's one group of people with whom President Donald Trump is still hugely popular. After his first weeks in office, his approval rate among Republicans of 86% is second only to that of George W Bush among all of the party's presidents elected in the last 65 years. (BBC)

Number of sanctuary cities nears 500

Nearly 500 jurisdictions are now sanctuary cities, according to a group that’s tracked the issue for more than a decade, and who said there’s been a massive surge in the number of places trying to thwart federal immigration agents since President Trump’s election. The Ohio Jobs & Justice Political Action Committee has added more than three dozen new cities and counties to its list in 2017 alone, as jurisdictions rush to try to shield illegal immigrants from what they expect to be a new push for deportations under Mr. Trump. (Washington Times)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Macleans: ‘Sanctuary cities’ import dysfunction into Canadian politics

Canada is a sanctuary country. Our long history of generosity and openness toward the world’s most vulnerable peoples stands as a model for other countries. It is also a source of great national pride. This year, Canadians will welcome 300,000 new immigrants, including 40,000 refugees displaced by civil war in Syria. Having established our national bona fides offering sanctuary to desperate immigrants and refugees, it is pointless—and reckless—to duplicate these efforts at the municipal level. The recent fad of sanctuary city declarations may offer civic politicians a symbolic thrill, but it threatens real damage to the broad public support currently enjoyed by Canada’s federal immigration system. (Macleans)

Toronto Sun: The high cost of illegal migrants

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch says she will withdraw federal funding for public transit from cities like Toronto that declare themselves sanctuaries for illegal migrants. “One law for all is a Canadian value,” Leitch tweeted last week. “‘Sanctuary cities’ will be ineligible for transit funding if I am PM.” Under sanctuary city policies — also adopted by Montreal, Hamilton and London in Canada — municipal governments provide services to illegal migrants, regardless of their immigration status. Under the “don’t ask” policy of sanctuary cities, they make no effort to ascertain anyone’s immigration status. (Toronto Sun)

Brian Lilley: Immigration, elites and the disconnect: “Silent majority” speak up in recent polls

Since last summer, you’ve been hearing that Kellie Leitch is controversial, a racist, a xenophobe because of her proposal to screen immigrants and refugees for anti-Canadian values. Leitch and her supporters have been denounced in every corner of the media, and they’ve been called divisive. Turns out if that’s true then an awful lot of Canadians are united around what the media and political elites consider awful instead of down right normal. (Rebel)

Neil Macdonald: Forget populism — where are the big ideas from Canadian leadership candidates?

A populist blast, we are told, is building in the intestines of the Canadian polity. It's like attitudinal fracking; economic despair and class resentment is cracking open dormant pockets of inflammable anger-gas, and the coming blowout threatens the very order of things. My old colleague-turned-academic Michael Valpy, an earnestly sober left-leaning intellectual, wrote recently in the Globe and Mail under the headline: "Populist anger is real, and Canada had better wake up." (CBC)

Campbell Clark: Trudeau front and centre in Privy Council's running poll

For the first time, the federal government is commissioning a running poll of Canadians to be fed to the central department that advises Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Privy Council Office issued the $312,603 polling contract last month for Forum Research to conduct a telephone poll that samples 500 Canadians every week, a total of 26,000 a year, on issues of the day – or any question that interests the government. According to the tender documents, the continuous polling is scheduled to begin in early April, a week after Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivers his 2017 budget. (Globe and Mail)

Thomas Walkom: Chrystia Freeland and the Russian disinformation bogeyman

The controversy over whether Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator says a little about her. It says more about the West’s current fascination with Russian disinformation. The basic facts about Michael Chomiak’s activities during the Second World War are now well known. A Ukrainian nationalist living in what was soon to become part of the Soviet Union, Chomiak and his wife fled into the German-controlled part of Poland after the 1939 Hitler-Stalin pact was signed. (Toronto Star)

Kelly McParland: Why do Canadians allow Liberals to get away with these stunts?

One of the many great advantages of being a member of the Liberal party is that you can get away with stuff other parties can’t. For example, you can decry the Tories as scheming manipulators — remember the uproar over the nefarious “in and out scandal?” ($10 if you recall what it was about) — then, once in office, you can merrily parachute in preferred candidates over local protests, strong-arm local favourites into taking a hike, sell access to preferred ministers and squeeze every nickel possible from supplicants foolish enough to approach the government in hope of assistance. All while posing as reformers dedicating to eradicating the evil habits practiced by predecessors. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

 

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