True North Initiative: News Scan 04 18 17

TOP STORIES

REPORT: True North Initiative calls on the Trudeau government to designate illegal crossings as Irregular Arrivals:

The Trudeau government already has the tools needed to stop the surge in illegal immigration. It must declare these crossings as Irregular Arrivals under the Immigration and Refugee Act so officials can hold individual migrants until their identification and admissibility can be verified. It must, at the same time, provide the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) with more resources in order to send front-line officers to border hot spots to meet asylum seekers entering Canada. We must set up impromptu border stations in response to the impromptu crossings. If the Trudeau government were to take these two steps, illegal immigration would fall drastically and our security and immigration officials could better deal with the task of screening, vetting and admitting asylum seekers. (True North Initiative)

Guatemalan massacre suspect will be stripped of Canadian citizenship

Canada is moving to strip citizenship from a man accused of slaughtering villagers in Guatemala using a grenade, gun and sledgehammer during the country's civil war. The federal government said in newly filed court documents that Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes concealed his role in a 1982 massacre by the Guatemalan military when he obtained Canadian citizenship a decade later. He's one of four former soldiers arrested by U.S. authorities in 2010 on allegations of participating in the killing of more than 200 people in the village of Las Dos Erres. (CBC)

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan courts controversy on visit to India

Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s first visit to India as a member of cabinet is being overshadowed by controversy after a high-ranking Indian state official refused to meet him and accused Sajjan of being a sympathiser of a Sikh separatist movement. Sajjan, who immigrated to Canada from India with his family when he was five years old, arrived in India today on a seven-day official visit to discuss defence and security cooperation, trade culture and innovation. (Radio Canada) (Macleans)

Trudeau Government Hasn't Ruled Out Military Role In Syria: Parliamentary Secretary

The Liberal government isn’t ruling out a military contribution in Syria, a government spokesman told Follow-Up, The Huffington Post Canada’s political podcast, this week. And it won’t say whether it will back further unilateral action in the region by the United States to help remove Bashar al-Assad. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland repeated last week that the Syrian president “has to go.” (Huffington Post)

Image Of Mock IED Seized At Pearson Airport Released By US Customs

Officials with U.S. Customs have released an image of a “mock IED” (improvised explosive device) seized earlier this month from a passenger’s luggage at Toronto’s Pearson Airport. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) tweeted a photo of the mock device with the hashtag #catchoftheday Monday morning. A spokesperson for the agency said CBP agents discovered the mock IED during an inspection of a traveller’s suitcase at the airport’s pre-clearance area on April 6. (Canadify.com)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Program allows Nova Scotia to bring in foreign workers and graduates

The world seems to be in chaos. Repeated unproductive self-pinching has proven that Donald Trump’s election was not just a bad dream. The groundhog’s promise of an early spring has been exposed as a cruel lie. Amidst this gloom, however, there is good news. New population estimates show that Halifax grew by more than 8,000 people from 2015 to 2016. That is the biggest increase in a very long time. To put the number in recent context, since the turn of the millennium, the best we have done for an annual increase is a little more than 6,000. (Chronicle Herald)

Journalist believes Canadian government helped sisters flee Nigeria before fraud trial

The glamorous Instagrammers from Toronto disappeared in Lagos, Nigeria, failing to show up in court to face criminal charges of blackmailing Nigerian billionaires. Now, the editor of an online newspaper that first broke the story about the charges, says the Canadian government may have intervened and helped Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo flee Nigeria. “I went to the prosecutor’s office and I got a lot of information. First off the sisters left Nigeria without their international passports,” said Dumebi Ifeanyi, publisher of Politics Nigeria. “What I was able to discover … the Canadian High Commission gave a document to the girls which would aid them to travel without their passports.” (City News)

Trudeau sends more ministers to U.S. amid NAFTA and border tax worries

Three more ministers from Justin Trudeau's cabinet will be in the United States this week, as the federal government continues to lobby American leaders and lawmakers about the importance of maintaining unfettered trade between the two countries. With U.S. President Donald Trump hoping to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and others suggesting the imposition of a border adjustment tax on imports to the United States, the Trudeau government has been at pains to stress how the American economy benefits from access to Canadian companies and consumers. (CBC)

Trump to crack down on exemptions to ‘Buy American’ policies

President Donald Trump is planning to sign an executive order on Tuesday that will crack down on exemptions to federal “Buy American” policies, a move that could hurt Canadian companies. The administration’s new policy is to “minimize the granting of waivers,” an official who insisted on anonymity said in a briefing on Monday. “The message here is clear: Buy American is the Trump administration’s highest priority,” the official said. “When it comes to spending taxpayer dollars, agencies have their clear marching orders, and they will be held strictly accountable for any failure to fulfil the Buy American vision.” (Toronto Star)

Justin Trudeau A 'Stunning Hypocrite,' Top Environmentalist Says

Justin Trudeau’s support for more pipelines and oilsands drilling is at loggerheads with his image as Canada’s progressive heartthrob prime minister, according to a top environmentalist. In an op-ed published Monday in The Guardian, 350.org founder Bill McKibben called Trudeau a “stunning hypocrite” on global warming. (Below) (Huffington Post)

‘Canadians were not impressed’ by federal budget: survey

Most Canadians are giving the Liberal government’s second budget a thumbs down, according to a new survey for The Globe and Mail by Nanos Research. Canadians are also expressing a strong desire for Ottawa to lay out a plan for eliminating the deficit after the budget made no mention of when the federal books will be balanced. Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a budget March 22 that quickly disappeared from the headlines, as the largely status-quo document contained few new measures that attracted strong controversy or praise. (Globe and Mail)

‘If my family come, they will kill me’: A Saudi woman’s plea exposes risks women take to flee the country

A young Saudi woman’s plea for help after she was stopped in an airport in the Philippines en route to Australia where she planned to seek asylum has triggered a firestorm on social media and drawn attention to the plight of female runaways. For runaway Saudi women, fleeing can be a matter of life and death, and they are almost always doing so to escape male relatives. (National Post)

May to seek snap (UK) election for 8 June

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June. She said Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum. Explaining the decision, Mrs May said: "The country is coming together but Westminster is not." (BBC)

French election: Le Pen pledges to suspend immigration

One of the frontrunners in the French presidential election, far-right leader Marine Le Pen, says she would suspend all legal immigration to France. The National Front (FN) leader told a rally that she wanted to stop "a mad, uncontrolled situation". Polls suggest she is neck and neck with centrist Emmanuel Macron, ahead of Sunday's first round of voting. Mr Macron warned voters that choosing far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon would be like Cuba without the sun. (BBC)

North Korean envoy at UN warns of nuclear war possibility

Only at a North Korean press conference at the United Nations, can you hear a diplomat say he hoped journalists had a good holiday weekend and then warn of possible thermonuclear war. North Korea has consistently issued threats of war toward the United States in recent decades, but the Trump administration's announced end of a "strategic patience" policy with Pyongyang has upped the ante in terms of warnings and bellicose rhetoric. North Korea's UN deputy representative, Kim In Ryong, on Monday unleashed at a hastily called UN press conference a torrent of threats, war scenarios and rhetoric aimed at the United States. (CNN) (BBC)

Donald Trump warns North Korea it has 'gotta behave'

Donald Trump has warned North Korea it has "gotta behave" as the US agreed to the early deployment of a missile defence system in the region. Asked about his next move after Pyongyang's failed missile launch on Sunday, the President said: "You'll see". Expanding on Mr Trump's remarks, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the President would not be "drawing lines in the sand" over rising tensions in the Korean peninsula. (SkyNews)

H-1B (US) Visa Applications Drop

The number of applications for the H-1B visas used by high-tech companies and others to bring highly skilled workers to the U.S. dropped this year after years on the rise, the government said Monday. It is unclear exactly why, but experts pointed to Trump administration promises to crack down on the abuses in the program, discussion of tougher vetting of foreigners and business decisions by the Indian outsourcing firms that are heavy users of the program. (Wall Street Journal)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Trudeau needs to act now on Canada’s border crisis

The crisis at Canada’s southern border is getting worse, and it’s time for the Trudeau government to take action over the sudden and significant influx of illegal migration. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has, thus far, not done anything to stop the flow of illegal crossings. But he can no longer ignore the problem. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: North Korea now a problem for Canada too

Over the weekend, North Korea signalled to the world that they may be in possession of missiles capable of striking the United States and, in turn, Canada. There is no downplaying the seriousness of the current situation. Two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were on show Saturday during a military parade for the anniversary of the birth 105 years ago of the rogue state’s founder, Kim Il Sung. (Calgary Sun)

Toronto Sun: Time to up Canada’s defence spending

The world is becoming a more dangerous place. Yet Canada’s defence spending is on the decline. This doesn’t add up and it has to change. The Senate committee on national security and defence last week released an alarming report revealing our defence spending is lower as a percentage of GDP than it’s ever been. (Toronto Sun)

Colby Cosh: Terror in a mirror — the evolving mystery of the BVB bus blast

Suppose that, during the first round of the NHL playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens’ team bus was bombed by terrorists outside the Bell Centre. Suppose that an important Habs player, say Jeff Petry, got his arm badly mangled in the blast. And suppose the police had no earthly idea who did it. I like to think Canada would keep a cool head under such circumstances — that it would avoid overreacting with security theatre, and would refuse to indulge in misplaced, obtrusive displays of ultrapatriotic sentimentality, such as the “two U.S. national anthems” habit that now prevails at ballgames. (National Post)

John Ibbitson: Trudeau’s Liberals: A midterm report card

By now, you should have seen enough to decide whether you’re inclined to vote for Justin Trudeau in the next election. With the arrival Thursday of legislation to legalize marijuana use, with two of their four budgets behind them, and with most of the agenda implemented, imminent or abandoned, the Liberals’ first term has largely taken shape. Should it also be their last? Let’s take a look at how the government has performed thus far. Consider this one observer’s midterm report card. (Globe and Mail)

Jesse Brown: Justin Trudeau Is Not the Leader of the Free World

My prime minister, Justin Trudeau, enjoys a public image as the anti–Donald Trump. A young, sensitive, feminist, environmentalist with a progressive stance on marijuana; a welcoming attitude toward foreigners; and a glorious head of natural hair, he seems in every way the opposite of the U.S. president. (Slate)

John Ivison: Whoops! Liberals might have peaked too early on the economy

An economy that grew at a scorching 3.8 per cent in the first quarter of the year. Job numbers that are moving in the right direction. A young couple who sell their house in Toronto for $1 million, buy twice the house in Ottawa and now live mortgage-free. Canadians have never had it so good — at least if you believe the political spin. “We’re on track to have the second fastest growing economy in the G7 this year and next. Needless to say, our plan is working,” said Justin Trudeau when the second Liberal budget was tabled last month. (National Post)

Paul Adams: Are journalists going easy on Trudeau?

I was struck by something Andrew MacDougall wrote about reporters the other day as he grappled with something that seemed strange to him: the fact that, despite Justin Trudeau’s many misfires and outright fails, his popularity is undiminished. MacDougall offered many explanations, including the enduring power of Trudeau’s “sunny ways” narrative and his good looks (though he overlooked the absence of permanent leaders in the opposition parties, which I think may be a factor). (IPolitics)

Andrew MacDougall: How a new Tory leader can beat Justin Trudeau

The memberships have been sold, the ballots are about to be mailed out, and the Conservative faithful are only weeks away from knowing their new leader. If polling is to be believed, it’s a two-man race between political neophyte Kevin O’Leary and Maxime Bernier, a former cabinet minister. Depending on how the preferred ballots fall, there is a chance a consensus candidate like Andrew Scheer or Erin O’Toole could overtake the leaders in later rounds. (Macleans)

Bill McKibben: Stop swooning over Justin Trudeau. The man is a disaster for the planet

Donald Trump is so spectacularly horrible that it’s hard to look away – especially now that he’s discovered bombs. But precisely because everyone’s staring gape-mouthed in his direction, other world leaders are able to get away with almost anything. Don’t believe me? Look one country north, at Justin Trudeau. (The Guardian)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       N/A