TRUE NORTH INITIATIVE NEWS SCAN 03 29 17

TOP STORIES

Canadian airport employees ID’d as ISIS supporters: Report

A troubling new report suggests that Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport has been infiltrated by radicalized individuals. According to an investigative journalism report from the public affairs program JE, aired on the Quebec-based French-language station TVA, several employees at the airport were stripped of their security clearance due to radicalization and support for the Islamic State. (Toronto Sun)

Employees at Montreal's Trudeau airport potentially radicalized: reports

Four employees at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport had their access levels scaled back for precautionary reasons as officials looked into the possibility they had been radicalized, according to a report by the Journal de Montréal. (Montreal Gazette) (Global News)

Senate motion aims to restore ‘due process’ to Liberal citizenship bill

Bill C-6was introduced by the Liberals to fulfil a campaign promise to repeal what the party said were “unfair elements” of its predecessor’s rules, including allowing citizenship revocation for dual citizens convicted of serious crimes such as terrorism, arguing it created two classes of citizens. Among other changes, the Liberal bill would remove the requirement that a citizenship applicant “intend” to continue to live in Canada, reduce the residency requirement for citizenship eligibility to three years out of four (versus four out of six) and restrict the citizenship exam and language test to applicants between 18 and 54 (versus 14 and 64). (Toronto Star)

Watch asylum-seekers get arrested at the Canada-U.S. border

A cab on Roxham Road means only one thing. Car after car unloads group after group, each surreptitiously approaching a sign that reads, “Road closed.” “This is an international border,” hollers a man standing guard. “You can’t cross. If you cross, you’ll be arrested.” But it happens day after day at this juncture in Plattsburgh, N.Y., where the land changes from America’s to Canada’s in a patch not much larger than the average sidewalk. (Macleans)

Border Runners: A by-the-numbers look at refugees crossing into Canada

It’s day two of CityNews reporter Avery Haines’ trip to Plattsburgh, N.Y., to find asylum-seekers on a literal run for the Canadian border. Those who cross that border on foot are called the Roxham Road Refugees, named after the road that skirts Champlain, N.Y., and then turns into Chemin Roxham on the Quebec side of the border. But just how many people are coming into Canada? CityNews reporter Avery Haines was on Facebook live as a family of asylum-seekers was arrested at the crossing. (680 News)

Border-crosser arrests drop steeply in B.C., rise elsewhere

The number of people who were arrested after illegally crossing the U.S. border into British Columbia dropped significantly in February, but refugee advocates say the totals are still higher than normal. Statistics recently released by the federal government say 207 asylum seekers were apprehended by the B.C. RCMP in January, compared with 245 arrests in Quebec and 19 in Manitoba. (Globe and Mail)

Canada’s 150th birthday makes Parliament Hill a terror target in wake of Westminster attack

Parliaments and other seats of government are also — as Ottawans know all too well — attractive targets for terrorists intent on a twisted symbolism of their own. Last week, Khalid Masood drove a car over the Westminster Bridge in London, striking numerous people, then tried to enter the Palace of Westminster with a knife. By the time his rampage had ended, he had killed four people, including a police officer, injured more than three dozen others and been fatally shot by police. (National Post)

Former CSIS directors question Canada’s pursuit of extradition treaty with China

Two former Canadian spymasters are questioning the wisdom of pursuing an extradition treaty with China, an undertaking the Liberal government announced shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his first official visit to the Asian power. Australia paused efforts to enact a similar accord with China this week in the face of opposition, even from within Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s own party. (Globe and Mail)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Asylum seeker, who spent years in B.C. church to avoid deportation, loses fight to clear his name

An El Salvadoran asylum seeker who was granted permanent residency after spending two years in sanctuary in a British Columbia church to avoid deportation has again lost a fight to clear his name. The Federal Court of Appeal rejected Jose Figueroa’s request for a certificate from the minister of foreign affairs declaring that the man is not a terrorist. Writing for the three-member panel, Justice Mark Noel says the original judge made no error in siding with the federal government. (Toronto Star)

Trudeau government's vacant appointments backlog up 80%

An analysis by CBC News reveals that one in three governor in council positions — ranging from directors of government agencies to members of tribunals that hear appeals of employment insurance or pension disputes — is currently vacant or occupied by an appointee whose term is past its expiry date. (CBC)

Trudeau Foundation sponsors Liberal MP’s travel, raising conflict of interest concerns for PM

The foundation spent $2,760.12 to send Liberal MP Arif Virani, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, to the conference from Feb. 29 to March 1, 2016. This was the first time in its 16-year history that the foundation, an educational charity established in memory of Justin Trudeau’s late father, Pierre Trudeau, had sponsored the travel of a sitting Member of Parliament. (Canada.com)

Parliament’s budget nearing $700-million, up almost 18 per cent in Trudeau era

The Trudeau government is planning to increase funding for Parliament again this year, bringing it close to $100-million higher than when the Liberals first took office, as costs for salaries, offices, and benefits grow along with membership in the expanded House and revamped Senate. (Hill Times)

BC Government’s Facebook page compromised

For a short period of time, the page’s profile and background picture showed a man’s legs with his arms in the picture holding a walkie-talkie. Arabic writing also appeared in the picture. When CKNW put the writing into google translator, it translated to ‘My father is here.’ (CKNW)

Bank of Canada governor Poloz recalls ebb and flow of Canadian access to U.S. market

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz used a history lesson Tuesday to make a case for a policy mix frequently promoted by the federal government — an openness to more foreign investment, immigration and free trade. In a prepared speech, Poloz said Canada has seen these ingredients produce positive economic results in its past, including the freer-market colonial times, the early 1900s and the post-Second World War era. (Global News) (Macleans)

Outlook still uncertain despite positive data, says Bank of Canada's Poloz

The head of the Bank of Canada says he is still keeping a close eye on risks to the economy even after a string of healthier-than-expected numbers. The remarks by Governor Stephen Poloz on Tuesday followed a speech in Oshawa, Ont., where he made the case for a policy mix frequently promoted by the federal government — an openness to more foreign investment, immigration and free trade. (660 News)

As Conservative leadership race moves to home stretch everyone’s trying to look like they have momentum

Until Tuesday, much of the leadership campaigns’ focus was on building support by signing up new Conservative Party members. But with members who join the party after Tuesday ineligible to vote for for party leader — and , in a ranked-ballot race, with down-ballot support from members whose first-choice candidates prove to be also-rans potentially vital to deciding the winner — each campaign will now try to signal however it can that its candidate has momentum. (National Post)

Federal government called ‘irresponsible’ for skipping upcoming nuclear disarmament talks

A former Canadian ambassador for nuclear disarmament is accusing the Trudeau government of “irresponsible leadership” as Canada skips out on “historic” talks at the United Nations this week. Douglas Roche, also a former parliamentarian, said in an interview Tuesday that if Canada wants a seat on the UN Security Council, it shouldn’t be so “fearful” of the United States. He also said the issue should be debated in the House of Commons, a sentiment echoed by an NDP MP who is in New York for the proceedings. (National Post)

Liberals won’t commit to meeting platform promises on transparency by next election

The government’s lead on Access to Information Act reform isn’t making any promises to change the law before Canadians go to the polls again in 2019. Treasury Board President Scott Brison (Kings-Hants, N.S.) wouldn’t commit to completing before the next election the changes to Canada’s access to information regime that the government has promised—including opening up ministers’ offices to access to information requests and completing a review of the Access to Information Act—in a brief interview with The Hill Times on March 26. (Hill Times)

Canada still studying U.S., U.K. bans on in-flight electronics

Canadian security experts are puzzled about why the federal government has yet to announce whether it will follow the United States and United Kingdom in banning most electronic devices from the cabin on certain international flights. Washington moved last week to bar passengers arriving from eight countries from bringing anything larger than a mobile phone aboard a plane in their carry-on luggage. The ban applies to direct flights from 10 airports in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. (CBC)

Liberal green light for Chinese takeover deal a turning point for Canada: experts

The Trudeau government’s decision to approve a Chinese takeover deal originally rejected in 2015 as too risky for national security marks a significant shift in Canada’s approach to Beijing, and may encourage China to invest more heavily in cutting-edge Canadian firms that might have been considered off-limits before, experts say. (Globe and Mail)

Canadian schools abandoning U.S. trips because of Trump ban

Faced with the prospect of having to leave behind four Iranian classmates at the U.S. border due to travel restrictions proposed by President Donald Trump, the graduating students at Montreal’s Westmount High School had a decision to make: Should they take their chances or sacrifice their planned class trip? Their original itinerary was going to take them on a tour through Washington and Philadelphia this spring. But the border issue led to a debate and, ultimately, to a change of plans – the class will now be travelling to Toronto and Niagara Falls, instead. (Globe and Mail)

White U.S. Army veteran charged with act of terrorism in killing of black man

A white racist accused of fatally stabbing a 66-year-old stranger on a Manhattan street because he was black says he'd intended it as "a practice run" in a mission to deter interracial relationships. James Harris Jackson, 28, spoke with a reporter for the Daily News at New York City's Rikers Island jail complex. He said he envisioned a white woman thinking: "Well, if that guy feels so strongly about it, maybe I shouldn't do it." (CBC)

Article 50: UK set to formally trigger Brexit process

Theresa May has signed the letter that will formally begin the UK's departure from the European Union. Giving official notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, it will be delivered to European Council president Donald Tusk later. In a statement in the Commons, the prime minister will then tell MPs this marks "the moment for the country to come together". (BBC)

Trump signs order dismantling Obama-era climate policies

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an order to undo Obama-era climate change regulations, keeping a campaign promise to support the coal industry and calling into question U.S. support for an international deal to fight global warming. Flanked by coal miners and coal company executives, Trump proclaimed his "Energy Independence" executive order at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. (Reuters)

LA mayor vows to fight Trump administration attempt to strip ‘sanctuary city’ funding

Responding to the latest warnings by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Department of Justice funds will be withheld from sanctuary cities, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday he will fight efforts by the Trump administration to take away federal funding needed for law enforcement in Los Angeles. (Daily News)

North Korea could be in final stages of nuclear test preparations: report

Satellite imagery of North Korea's main nuclear test site taken over the weekend indicates that Pyongyang could be in the final stages of preparations for a sixth nuclear test, a U.S. think tank reported on Tuesday. Washington-based 38 North, a website that monitors North Korea, said the images from Saturday showed the continued presence of vehicles and trailers at the Punggye-ri test site and signs that communications cables may have been laid to a test tunnel. (Yahoo)

White House bomb scare evacuation ‘after man approaches building claiming to have explosives’

A suspect was arrested as Secret Service agents cleared all media and visitors from the North Lawn and eagle-eyed snipers were spotted roaming the Presidential property. The man reportedly approached an officer half a block from the White House and made a ‘suspicious’ comment while holding a package. (The Sun.co.uk)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Tarek Fatah: If I'm Islamophobic, what's my punishment?

Coincidences may only be in the mind of the beholder and sometimes, they are just that. But on some occasions coincidences cannot be dismissed as mere quirks or chance happenings. Such a coincidence took place on Mar. 23, 2017, when the House of Commons passed the so-called “anti-Islamophobia” motion M-103, introduced by Mississauga Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, who was born in Pakistan. (Toronto Sun)

Ricky Leong: Press freedoms are not negotiable

Journalists talk with people for a living. Sometimes, the people we speak with are of the shadowy, unsavoury sort. A few years ago, Vice reporter Ben Makuch used a messaging app to track down someone who claimed to be Farah Mohamed Shirdon, a former Calgary man among the thousands of Westerners who've gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State. (Calgary Sun)

Gary Mason: Kevin O’Leary: Rebel without a (notwithstanding) clause

Of the many messages embedded in the humiliating health-care defeat suffered by Donald Trump, perhaps none was more significant than this one: as U.S. President, you’re not as all-powerful as you think. It was quite the comeuppance for a demagogue not used to being put in his place so publicly. If nothing else, it showed that all the tough talk he was famous for on the campaign trail doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the real body politic of Washington. It was a vivid illustration of just how ignorant Mr. Trump and his advisers were about the way in which things actually work, at least in practical political terms. (Globe and Mail)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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