True North Initiative: News Scan 03 30 17

TOP STORIES

Conservatives urge closer look at Montreal airport radicalization reports

One day after a report from French-language television station TVA found four individuals at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport have had their security credentials revoked over radicalization concerns, Conservative MPs are calling on the government to take action. Public safety critic Tony Clement and CPC leadership candidate Erin O’Toole issued statements Tuesday afternoon saying the report has them worried, and they’re urging the government to ensure security is maintained at the airport. (IPolitics) (News Hub Nation)

Police probe report of radicalized Montreal airport employees

Federal and provincial elected officials sought to reassure the public Wednesday after a report suggested some workers at Montreal’s airport may have been radicalized. Quebec’s public security minister said Montreal police, the Quebec provincial force and the RCMP were working together to monitor the situation. “The first thing I did was to assure myself that police services were following the situation closely, and that was confirmed to me,” Martin Coiteux said in Quebec City. (Globe and Mail)

Authorities say Trudeau airport safe after reports of security flaws

Airport officials confirm at least four employees have lost their security clearance because of their apparent sympathies towards ISIS. This comes after a TVA investigation that shows people with employee cards were easily able to board airplanes without anyone being searched. The TVA investigation aired Tuesday, and said that four employees at the airport have recently had their security clearances scaled back. (CTV) (CBC)

Overwhelming majority of Canadians say refugee rules must change: Ipsos poll

Over 90 per cent of Canadians think the government’s current approach to dealing with asylum seekers in Canada needs to change, a new poll from Ipsos reveals. While respondents to the survey were sharply divided on exactly how the rules should be adjusted, just 8 per cent said they were content with the status quo as more and more asylum seekers make their way across the border illegally. (Global News)

Safe Third Country Agreement to stay, pledges immigration minister

As the debate over the future of asylum seekers in Canada continues, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has once again rejected calls to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, a pact which considers asylum-seekers to be safe in both Canada and the U.S. "[The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] supports our position and they've said very clearly the U.S. domestic asylum system provides due process both in Canada and the U.S.," said Hussen while at a citizenship ceremony in Vancouver. (Yahoo)

‘We have capacity to deal with asylum seekers,’ says immigration minister

As hundreds of asylum seekers continue to slip across the American border into B.C., the federal immigration minister is promising that Canada has the resources to handle all of the new arrivals. Ahmed Hussen was on hand to watch 30 new Canadians take the oath of citizenship Wednesday at the Immigrant Services Society of B.C.’s Welcome Centre in east Vancouver. The freshly minted citizens hailed from 16 countries and included several former refugee claimants. (Province)

Federal Court orders public safety minister to make decision in immigration case

The decision from Chief Justice Paul Crampton also makes it clear the minister is obliged to make decisions in a reasonable time frame, no matter how busy he is. The case in question pertains to an application for permanent residency made in 1994 by Morteza Momenzadeh Tameh, an Iranian man who was admitted to Canada as a refugee. In 2001, officials deemed him inadmissible due to his past involvement in an organization in his home country that until 2012 was on Canada's list of terrorist entities. (Yahoo)

Reeve of Emerson urges Trudeau to visit, suspend Safe Third Country Agreement

After Justin Trudeau made a quick stop in Winnipeg Wednesday to reiterate childcare promises, the reeve of Emerson-Franklin said he wished the prime minister would have also swung by his municipality to discuss border security. At a morning press conference, Trudeau briefly restated the government’s position to remain firm on the Safe Third Country Agreement, which is meant to prevent asylum seekers from filing multiple refugee claims between Canada and the U.S. (Metro)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Americans increasingly refused entry to Canada, documents show

While many Canadians are concerned about having problems at the United States border, it is Americans who are having difficulties visiting Canada with the number turned away rising by 31 per cent last year, La Presse has learned. According to federal documents, 30,233 Americans were turned away when attempting to enter Canada in 2016. In 2015, 23,052 people were turned back, representing an increase of 31 per cent in one year. (Toronto Star)

What is a sanctuary city anyway?

Since Donald Trump’s inauguration in January — and his first attempt at implementing a Muslim travel ban shortly thereafter — a number of municipalities across Canada have considered declaring themselves so-called sanctuary cities. London’s and Montreal’s councils both passed motions in favour of the idea in the early months of 2017. Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath has even called for Ontario to become a “sanctuary province,” an idea she connected directly to Trump’s controversial policies and the resultant increase in refugees crossing into Canada. Federal Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, conversely, has vowed to withhold transit funding from sanctuary cities if she becomes prime minister. (TVO)

Seeking Asylum: Canada a ‘dreamland’ for Somalis in Minneapolis

A better life and an easier path to full citizenship are what most Somalis living in Minneapolis associate with Canada. “Canada is the dreamland. The paradise for Somalis right now,” Saciido Shaie, a Somali-American living in Minneapolis, said. She had no idea her friend was planning to walk across the border until he called her from Winnipeg last month. (Global)

Why Somalis are fleeing their country and seeking refuge in Canada

In the wake of a catastrophic famine and wide-spread drought, Somalis are fleeing their country in order to seek refuge in places like Canada and the United States. Many are also making a risky trek from the U.S. to the Canadian border in attempt flee President Donald Trump’s proposed travel ban and immigration crackdown. (Global)

Laval police raid home, bar, arrest 7 in Project Domino drug investigation

Laval police raided the Bistro Bar Patriote on Boulevard Saint-Elzéar Ouest and a home in Vimont as part of a drug investigation Tuesday night. The drug bust led to the arrest of seven men aged 20-60. One of the men was transferred to Immigration Canada under the suspicion of being in the country illegally. (Global)

Smuggled Brazilian asylum seeker recounts boat journey to Cornwall, Ont.

The high-speed boat ride across the St. Lawrence River to Cornwall, Ont., was the last leg in a seven-hour journey "John" hoped would lead to a new life of safety in Canada. Carrying only a backpack stuffed with a change of clothes, underwear, cologne and thousands of dollars in cash, the 32-year-old Brazilian refugee last month bet his future on a masked smuggler and strangers with unknown names. (CBC)

Human rights on the table in any China free trade deal: John McCallum

John McCallum, Canada’s new ambassador to China, says human rights and labour standards will form part of any potential free trade agreement between the two countries. Formal trade negotiations have yet to begin and Ottawa is conducting a round of exploratory consultations. But if Canada and China do enter into talks, Canada wants a “progressive” deal that would including chapters on both those areas, McCallum said Wednesday. (Macleans)

China hack cost Ottawa ‘hundreds of millions’: Documents

China’s state-sponsored cyberattack on the National Research Council’s computer infrastructure cost Ottawa hundreds of millions of dollars, according to federal documents that shed light on fallout from the 2014 breach. In a PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Globe and Mail, Ottawa officials highlighted this estimate last year as a cautionary tale about the cost of compromised computer systems. The presentation, released in response to an Access to Information request, gives a dollars-and-cents dimension to a 2014 data breach known mostly for its diplomatic fallout. (Globe and Mail)

Conservative drop-off deadline approaches — but does anyone want out?

If any of the 14 candidates running for the Conservative leadership are thinking of dropping out and keeping their name off the ballot, they will soon need to make up their minds. But with a midnight deadline looming on Friday, it doesn't seem that anyone is throwing in the towel just yet. The ballot that will be sent out on April 28 will give members the option of ranking up to 10 candidates. The party may have been hoping that the current list of 14 would have already been whittled down before the upcoming deadline. (CBC)

Winnipeg Heckler Calls Trudeau 'An Absolute Scumbag'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he's still committed to a carbon tax despite U.S. President Donald Trump's move to eliminate many restrictions on fossil fuel production and roll back measures to combat climate change. "Canadian economic and environmental policy will be determined in Ottawa, not in Washington, D.C.," Trudeau said in a CBC news interview Wednesday in Saskatoon. (Huffington Post)

‘Build that wall?’ Some Canadians are calling for more border control, too

Candidates for leadership of Canada’s opposition Conservative Party are calling for drastic measures to halt the flow of asylum seekers fleeing the United States into Canada, including deployment of the Canadian army to detain would-be refugees as they cross the border. This get-tough approach reflects public opinion surveys that show a hardening of attitudes among some Canadians toward the asylum seekers and immigration in general, placing political pressure on the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Washington Post)

Canadian found guilty of insulting Turkey’s president, released from prison as lawyer appeals

A Canadian woman detained in Turkey has been found guilty of insulting the country’s president, but said she has been released from prison as her lawyer pursues an appeal of the case. Ece Heper said she is happy to be out of prison, where she had been held since late December after being charged for comments she wrote about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on social media. (Toronto Star)

Trump to meet China's Xi in Florida next week

China has confirmed the dates of President Xi Jinping's trip to the US to meet his counterpart Donald Trump. They will meet at Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on 6 and 7 April. Trade will be a major issue for the leaders of the world's two biggest economies, as will the thorny matter of North Korea. (BBC)

Trump-Russia ties: Senate pledges thorough inquiry

The Republican and Democrat leaders of a Senate panel investigating alleged Russian interference in the US election have vowed a thorough inquiry. The pledge comes as a similar inquiry in the House remains mired in acrimony. The Senate hearing begins on Thursday. Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, is set to appear next week. (BBC)

Italian police in Venice arrest three Jihadists

Three adults and a girl have been detained in the centre of Venice as suspects in an alleged jihadist cell. Police had been monitoring the group from Kosovo for months amid concerns they were planning to join Islamist militants in Syria, reports said. But police moved in at dawn on Thursday amid fears of a potential attack in the wake of the last week's murder of four people in London, reports said. Twelve addresses were raided including 10 in the city's historic centre. (BBC)

Seattle Files Lawsuit Over ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Funding Threat

"Let me be clear about the facts: We are not breaking any laws and we are prioritizing safety," Murray said. President Donald Trump on Jan. 25 signed an executive order directing the federal government to ensure that jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with immigration officials are not eligible to receive some federal grants. (NBC)

North Korea threatens WAR with the US after Senator John McCain called despot Kim Jong-un a ‘crazy fat kid’

In an interview on MSNBC, McCain called for action against cheese and wine-loving Kim before it is too late. He said: “China is the only one that can control Kim Jong-un, this crazy fat kid that’s running North Korea. They could stop North Korea’s economy in a week. “They haven’t, because the Chinese have to understand there’s a penalty… imposed by us if they don’t reign in an individual that can literally start a world war, and more importantly, perhaps in the short term, strike the United States of America.” (The Sun.co.uk)

Fears Grow of Terror in U.S. With Weaponized Civilian Drones

The successful use of small drones as weapons by terrorists in Middle Eastern war zones is raising concerns among U.S. security agencies that homegrown extremists will utilize them for domestic attacks. As millions of light-weight drones flood the consumer market and the federal government struggles with monitoring the devices, counter-terror agencies now see a possibility that they could be used in the U.S. to carry explosives or as surveillance platforms, according to officials at a security conference in Washington on Wednesday. (Bloomberg)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: ‘Fundamental flaw’ in our national security

How safe are our airports and can we trust the integrity of our national security institutions? These, and many questions are being raised after a stunning report out of Quebec found that a handful of employees at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport were ISIS supporters. The report highlighted four individuals who were flagged as radicals and eventually stripped of their airport security clearance. One reportedly had extensive knowledge and documentation of homemade explosives and assault weapons. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Border, airport security needs attention

The security of our country is at risk because the Liberals are more interested in playing politics than doing what’s right. This much is clear after a number of news stories emerged over the past few days concerning border and airport security issues. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Canadians fed up with being asylum-seekers’ patsies

As a reluctant spring eventually kicks out the last vestiges of winter, the number of asylum seekers entering Canada illegally from the United States will ramp up considerably. Only a fool—or the Trudeau Liberals who thus far appear to lack any plan—would think otherwise. Gone will be the emotive images of queue-jumping refugee claimants with legal status in the U.S.—Turks, Somalis, Syrians, Yemenis—trudging through the snow as they hand their bundled-up child into the waiting arms of the RCMP. (Toronto Sun)

Christian Leuprecht: More border resources for migrants is not a solution

Desperate asylum seekers are crossing the Canadian border, and did so in the dead of winter. This has precipitated an emotionally charged, political debate. Simplistic solutions abound, notably loud calls to deploy more resources at Canada’s land border. But there are serious limits to what throwing money at the border can accomplish. Migrants have been crossing illegally in full view of Canadian authorities, even after being warned they would be arrested. And enhanced enforcement at the border will hardly deter those intent on crossing. So what can we do? (Globe and Mail)

Andrew MacDougall: Conservative leadership race: The beginning of the end—but for whom?

The closing of Conservative Party membership sales at midnight on Tuesday signalled the beginning of the end of the party’s leadership race. With two months to go until voting day, everyone with a say is now logged safely within CPC HQ servers. With no additional support to muster, leadership hopefuls must now convince members they are in possession of the only metric that still matters: momentum. But how to do this in a 14-person race with a ranked ballot and no leadership convention? The run-up to the membership cut-off offers some clues. (Macleans)

Neil Macdonald: The budget's gender-based analysis forgot to look at one thing — men

In last week's federal budget, which brimmed with worthiness, the Trudeau government announced its determination to identify how its spending "affect(s) men and women differently." Utterly sensible, on the face of it. While some, particularly in academia, regard gender as a "cisnormative" construct, the human race is in fact binary, and, as the budget's authors acknowledge, government policies have different impacts on men and women. (CBC)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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