True North Initiative: News Scan 03 27 17

TOP STORIES

Despite Trump policies, fewer Canadians blocked at U.S. border

Fewer Canadians are being turned away at the U.S. land border in recent months despite mounting concerns that Donald Trump's immigration policies are making it much harder to cross, The Canadian Press has learned. Refusals of Canadians at American land crossings dropped 8.5 per cent between October and the end of February compared with the same five-month period a year earlier, according to U.S. government statistics. (Metro News) (CBC)

Canadians Adopted Refugee Families for a Year. Then Came ‘Month 13.’

One year after Canada embraced Syrian refugees like no other country, a reckoning was underway. Ordinary Canadians had essentially adopted thousands of Syrian families, donating a year of their time and money to guide them into new lives just as many other countries shunned them. Some citizens already considered the project a humanitarian triumph; others believed the Syrians would end up isolated and adrift, stuck on welfare or worse. As 2016 turned to 2017 and the yearlong commitments began to expire, the question of how the newcomers would fare acquired a national nickname: Month 13, when the Syrians would try to stand on their own. (New York Times)

Calgary-based petition opposing changes to House of Commons rules gets signatures from coast to coast

Thousands of Canadians have put their names on a petition launched by a Calgary woman calling for the Liberal government to scrap proposed changes to the way business is handled in the House of Commons. On March 10, the Liberals put forward a discussion paper outlining possible changes to Standing Orders in the House of Commons, including eliminating Friday sittings and reducing the number of days the prime minister is available to answer questions. (Calgary Herald)

Canada must make tough decisions on defence spending: former NATO envoy

Canada’s former ambassador to NATO says Ottawa has “to make some decisions” on defence spending given the global security situation and a recent budget that pledged almost no new money for the military. Speaking with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos this weekend, Yves Brodeur emphasized that Canada is hardly the biggest laggard in the 28-member alliance, contributing to international missions like the one in Latvia. (Global)

Trudeau's popularity takes hit

The Justin Trudeau Liberals are now trailing the Conservatives slightly after delivering a widely unpopular budget this week, a Forum Research poll shows. Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research, said there were several items that drew a strong negative response in Thursday’s budget and that added up to a drop in popular support for the government. (Ottawa Sun)

Conservative Party urged to trace fake memberships

Conservative leadership contenders Maxime Bernier and Lisa Raitt want their party to keep probing who was behind 1,351 fake memberships the party cancelled a week ago. The Conservatives cut the memberships, which belonged to people who hadn't paid for them, after leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary accused another unnamed campaign of buying memberships for people using prepaid credit cards. Under the rules, those who join the party must pay for their own memberships. (CTV)

Trudeau minister hopes budget will help 'aggressive' push to woo foreign brains

A Trudeau cabinet minister entrusted with bringing high-level talent to Canada hopes new budgetary measures will help his determined efforts to recruit brains from abroad. Following last week's federal budget, Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains feels he has even more to offer top-notch workers, scientists and scholars who might consider a move from the United States across the northern frontier. (CTV)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Trudeau returns to by-election campaign trail

Advance voting began Friday in five federal by-elections and the prime minister was back on the stump, appearing at an event for the Liberal candidate in an Ottawa-area riding. Justin Trudeau’s late afternoon visit to Ottawa-Vanier followed an event Thursday night in a Toronto riding with the Liberal candidate there, the former director of appointments in his office. (Macleans) (National Post)

Liberals to announce marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018

The Liberal government will announce legislation next month that will legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018. CBC News has learned that the legislation will be announced during the week of April 10 and will broadly follow the recommendation of a federally appointed task force that was chaired by former liberal Justice Minister Anne McLellan. (CBC)

Bains most lobbied cabinet minister since Trudeau won power in 2015, hands down

Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, is, hands down, the most lobbied member of the Trudeau cabinet since the government came to office in 2015. (Hill Times)

McGill principal defends necessity of Andrew Potter’s resignation

The principal of McGill University is strongly defending how the university has handled the resignation of a high-profile director of one of its institutes, arguing that the article he wrote was not protected by academic freedom. “We have an institute that is there to promote discussions between people who come to the table with very different perspectives,” Suzanne Fortier said in an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail. “It is not a role to provoke, but to promote good discussion.” (Globe and Mail)

Did last year’s budget create 100,000 jobs? Bill Morneau can’t really say

Last year, the Liberal government said its inaugural budget would help spur the creation of 100,000 jobs in Canada. But 12 months later, Finance Minister Bill Morneau is having trouble proving that it worked. In an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos, Morneau was pressed about the promise in the wake of the government’s second federal budget, tabled last Wednesday. (Global)

‘I’ll be in Canada': More students are looking to head north

After a federal judge froze President Trump’s executive order on immigration this month, Almilaji had more hope of getting back to his wife. But he understands his new reality as a Syrian trying to study in the United States: “I have to accept being lost between orders and anti-orders.” Suddenly, Canada is looking like a really good option. (Washington Post)

Job program for immigrants aims to fill labour gaps outside GTA

Apoorvya Kapoor started applying for jobs in Canada even before she arrived from India last May, but none of the 200-plus resumes she sent out to GTA employers yielded a response. Frustrated with the grim employment prospects, the new immigrant attended a job fair in Mississauga in November put on by the Peel Newcomer Centre and a staff member asked if she would consider relocating outside of Greater Toronto. (Toronto Star)

Group wants Canada to bring in 20,000 African refugees

A Halifax-based group wants the federal government to begin working to bring 20,000 African refugees to Canada, applying the same settlement efforts it used to assist Syrian refugees last year. The African Diaspora Association of the Maritimes says it contacted Ahmed D. Hussen, federal minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship on Friday as well as Nova Scotia Immigration Minister Lena Diab. (CBC)

Groups clash outside Concordia University during 'resist far-right' event

Several scuffles broke out after opposing protests met face-to-face near Concordia University's downtown campus on Saturday morning. Montreal police were called to the campus to keep a close watch over the confrontation. One of the groups, led by QPIRG Concordia, was at the university for the first day of an event they organized called "Learn to Resist". On Facebook the event is described as a "teach-in and conference about resisting the far-right." (CBC)

'We are ready': Canada-Europe trade deal set to kick in, mostly, by July 1

Proponents of Canada's trade deal with the European Union will soon find out if eight years of negotiations and lobbying were worth it. Canada is preparing to provisionally apply the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) by July 1. "We are ready on the European side," the EU's trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on a visit to Ottawa last Tuesday to promote the deal. (CBC)

Canada may yet have peacekeeping boots on the ground in 2017

The Liberal government has yet to formally serve notice to the United Nations that it's ready to join international peacekeeping operations — something Prime Minister Justin Trudeau downplayed on Saturday. He insisted Canada might still have boots on the ground in 2017, which would head off a major embarrassment given that Canada is hosting a major gathering of peacekeeping nations later this year. (CBC)

WhatsApp accused of giving terrorists 'a secret place to hide' as it refuses to hand over London attacker's messages

The Home Secretary said it was “completely unacceptable” that Whats App – which is owned by Facebook – was enabling terrorists to communicate “in secret”, knowing the police and security services will not be able to read their encrypted communications. She has summoned WhatsApp, Facebook, Google and a host of other online firms to showdown talks at the Home Office on Thursday, where she says she will “call time” on extremists “using social media as their platform”. (Telegraph)

Secret text message ordered the 'lone wolf' to carry out London terror attack

ISIS fanatics used the secretive messaging site Telegram to call for a “lone wolf” attack on Parliament just weeks before Khalid Masood struck. A Sunday Mirror probe has uncovered chilling messages in which jihadi masterminds urged terrorists to mount atrocities in the UK. They shared an image of an IS fighter dressed like executioner Jihadi John, wielding a sword in front of Big Ben. (Mirror.co.uk)

3rd time not a charm: White House fence jumper busted again

A woman who had tried to jump the White House fence but got tripped up by her shoelaces last week, and was arrested days later for violating a “Stay Away” order, was busted yet again early Sunday by Secret Service officers. (WTOP)

Egypt's last Jews aim to keep alive heritage

Once a flourishing community, only a handful of Egyptian Jews, mostly elderly women, remain in the Arab world's most populous country, aiming at least to preserve their heritage. Egypt still has about a dozen synagogues, but like many of the country's monuments they need restoration. Part of the roof of a synagogue in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria caved in last year. (Yahoo)

Trump administration weighs deeper involvement in Yemen war

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has asked the White House to lift Obama-era restrictions on U.S. military support for Persian Gulf states engaged in a protracted civil war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to senior Trump administration officials. (Washington Post)

Hong Kong protests: Nine activists 'to be charged'

Nine pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong say police have told them they will be charged over the 2014 protests, a day after new leader Carrie Lam vowed to heal divisions in the territory.

The nine include the three organisers of Occupy Central, which evolved into the "umbrella" protest mass movement. (BBC)

Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner to lead US federal overhaul

President Donald Trump is expected to unveil a new unit aimed at overhauling the US federal bureaucracy, and headed by his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The Washington Post, which has reported the move, describes the Office of Innovation as a "Swat team" of former private-sector executives. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: The politically correct mob is trampling free speech

Freedom of speech is a core principle of our free society. But everywhere we look, there are signs this freedom is being suppressed. Our Parliament just passed a controversial Liberal motion to condemn the loosely defined “Islamophobia,” despite a lack of consensus amongst Canadians about what the term even means. One of Canada’s top universities caved to the perpetually-offended mob and accepted the resignation from one of its scholars. The reason? Professor and former journalist Andrew Potter wrote an article that was too critical of Quebec. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Toronto’s ‘sanctuary city’ policy is dangerous

Of all the bizarre ideas Toronto council gets into its head, putting pressure on Toronto police not to report illegal migrants to federal immigration authorities is one of the dumbest. It’s reckless. It’s irresponsible. It’s potentially dangerous. One of the most important methods of insuring public safety is that municipal, provincial and federal authorities co-operate with one another to protect Canadians. (Toronto Sun)

Reis Pagtakhan: Pathway to Canadian citizenship needed for all temporary foreign workers

In this week's federal budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau provided more details on the government's previously-announced Global Skills Strategy, which is designed to attract top global talent to Canada. But as the rules around foreign workers evolve, Canada risks leaving behind some potential citizens. (CBC)

David Krayden: Krayden: Trudeau's budget will not grow the middle class and will shrink the military

When I first saw the Liberal government’s budget this week, I thought the title, “Building a Strong Middle Class” was the sort of pan-ideological commitment that you receive from U.S. President Donald Trump’s populist revolution. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has, after all, compared his own self-proclaimed devotion to the middle class to that of Trump. (Toronto Sun)

Campbell Clark: Hidden dangers lie in Liberals’ proposed parliamentary rule changes

When opposition MPs used procedural tactics to delay last Wednesday’s budget for half an hour, it was the parliamentary way of jumping up and down and screaming to get attention. They did it because they want people to notice that the Liberal government might be trying to take away the tools they use to scream for attention. (Globe and Mail)

Lorrie Goldstein: 10 key promises Trudeau has broken since becoming PM

Given that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once said budgets balance themselves, it’s perhaps not surprising his major broken election promises to date are in the areas of tax cuts and government spending. Indeed, after 16 months in office, Canadians have cause to be concerned about where his government is headed, financially. (Toronto Sun)

Rex Murphy: M-103 has passed. And what today has changed for the better?

The basic question to ask the supporters of the contentious anti-Islamophobic motion is has it any utility? Will it do anything? Will it change attitudes for the better? If there is a stock of genuine Islamophobia in Canada, will recording this motion decrease it, or move to decrease it? That, I presume, was the priority consideration in the minds that brought it forth. Obviously, they must have thought it would, for otherwise there would be no point in issuing it, arguing for it, and stirring the quite considerable debate it already has. (National Post)

Howard Anglin: Good news: Trudeau's caving on another campaign promise

When University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist learned that the Liberal government had postponed indefinitely its promise to expand the Access to Information Act to cover documents generated in ministers’ offices and the Prime Minister’s Office, he went looking online for the original campaign document. As he reported via Twitter on Tuesday morning, his search for the document generated a ‘404 error’ — meaning its contents had been removed. (IPolitics)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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