True North Initiative: News Scan 04 20 17

TOP STORIES

RCMP stopped 887 asylum seekers from illegally entering Canada last month

The number of people stopped by the RCMP after illegally entering Canada rose in March. New figures released Wednesday by the federal government show the RCMP intercepted 887 people crossing between official border points, up from 658 in February and 315 in January. Of those stopped in March, 644 were picked up in Quebec, 170 in Manitoba and 71 in B.C., with lone crossers nabbed in Alberta and New Brunswick. (The Globe and Mail

Number of asylum seekers continues to rise, especially in Quebec

The number of asylum seekers crossing the Canadian border illegally continued to rise in March, according to new numbers released by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration on Wednesday. The numbers for March were a long time coming, but they show a steady increase of asylum seekers being intercepted by the RCMP in Quebec (from 432 in February to 644 in March) and Manitoba (from 142 in February to 170 in March). (Global)

3 out of 135 recent asylum seekers deemed danger to the public, detained in Manitoba

Over a recent one-month stretch, three people intercepted by RCMP while crossing into Canada on foot near Emerson, Man., were detained because they were found to be a danger to the public, Canada Border Services Agency officials say. Between March 20 and April 16, 135 asylum seekers were found illegally crossing the border near the small Manitoba town. Details released Wednesday show the number of asylum seekers crossing the border into the province is climbing. (Yahoo)

Regina woman charged with human smuggling after 9 asylum seekers intercepted at border

​A Regina woman is facing charges after a four-month investigation into human smuggling. On Friday, RCMP stopped nine foreign nationals on the Canadian border between the North Portal, N.D., and Northgate ports of entry. Police arrested Michelle Omoruyi, 43, who was driving a vehicle with the nine people in it. She has been charged with one count of human smuggling under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and one count of conspiracy to commit human smuggling. (CBC) (Metro) (Globe and Mail)

Asylum seekers crossing into Canada increase with warmer weather

Canadian authorities caught 887 asylum seekers crossing unlawfully into Canada from the United States in March, nearly triple the number in January, according to numbers released by the government Wednesday. This brings the total number of asylum seekers caught walking across the border to 1,860 so far this year. The new statistics suggest those numbers could rise further as the weather warms. (Reuters)

Government says there's no 'free ticket' to Canada as number of asylum seekers climbs

The number of asylum seekers illegally crossing the border from the U.S. into Canada continues to climb, but the government says they still represent only a fraction of the total new arrivals to the country. In March, the RCMP intercepted 887 people entering the country outside an official crossing point, up from 658 in February and 315 in January. That brings the total for the first three months of 2017 to 1,860. Most of the illegal crossings occurred in Quebec, where 644 people were intercepted by the RCMP. That's up from 432 in February and 245 in January, and brings the total for the three-month period to 1,321. (Yahoo) (CBC)

Three employees sentenced to 18 months in jail in B.C.'s biggest immigration scam

Three former immigration consultants have received 18-month sentences and will have to pay large fines for their roles in B.C.'s biggest-ever immigration fraud scheme. Jin (Fanny) Ma, Wen (Vivian)Jiang and Ming Kun (Makkie) Wu were sentenced under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Income Tax Act and the criminal code Tuesday afternoon in a Vancouver courtroom. (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

West African man spent 103 consecutive days in solitary awaiting deportation and his lawyer calls it ‘cruel and unusual’

A 51-year-old West African man, who has spent the last seven years in a maximum-security jail because the Canadian government has been unable to deport him, once spent 103 consecutive days in solitary confinement, court heard Wednesday. “And that wasn’t the only time he was in segregation,” said Jared Will, lawyer for Kashif Ali, an immigration detainee who is arguing in Ontario Superior Court that his detention is unlawful. (Toronto Star)

Trump’s latest immigration order met with mixed reaction from U.S. tech

Silicon Valley leaders have been locked in a tense standoff with U.S. President Donald Trump over his hard-line stance on immigration, but the tech industry appears to be embracing Mr. Trump’s latest efforts at immigration reform. An executive order dubbed “Buy American, Hire American” that Mr. Trump signed on Tuesday calls for federal agencies to review the H1-B program, which grants 65,000 temporary working visas to immigrants employed in select high-skilled fields such as technology and medicine, and another 20,000 to workers with graduate degrees from universities in the United States. (Globe and Mail)

More urgent than ever to stand against racism, advocates say

Organizers of an anti-racism forum in Surrey, B.C., Wednesday night say the event could not come at a more urgent time. In recent weeks, signs of some political candidates were defaced by swastikas in North Vancouver. The anti-immigrant Soldiers of Odin disrupted and were later arrested at an annual anti-racism event in Vancouver in March. In Abbostford, residents rallied together after KKK propoganda was distributed in the community in January. (CBC)

One man’s fight to stay in Canada

The sister of a man facing deportation to a dangerous country he fled at the age of six says he’s the victim of a system that set them up for failure, and experts agree they’re not alone. Abdoul Kadir Abdi, 23, is about halfway through a federal sentence for aggravated assault and assaulting a police officer, as well as subsequent infractions while incarcerated. Today, Abdi, who arrived in Nova Scotia as a refugee in 2000, is facing deportation back to his home country of Somalia where he doesn’t have any family, cannot speak the language, and fears he will be killed. (Chronicle Herald)

CBC IN IRAQ: 'I am a member of ISIS': 2 prisoners in Mosul explain why they joined the jihadists

The prisoners were marched from their makeshift jail down the street to a house that Mosul's police have turned into a temporary detachment. They were led into what used to be a family's living room, with the green curtains drawn shut. Officers brought the men, separately, to speak to CBC News, in what is a rare opportunity to gain insight into why Iraqis joined the world's most notorious militant group. The prisoners were blindfolded to prevent them from identifying their guards. (CBC)

Wynne to slap 15 per cent tax on foreign real estate speculators

Premier Kathleen Wynne is slapping a 15 per cent “non-resident speculation” tax on foreign investors to help cool down southern Ontario’s scorching real estate market, the Star has learned. Wynne will join Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Housing Minister Chris Ballard on Thursday against a backdrop of condo towers in booming Liberty Village to launch a massive plan to improve housing affordability. A key plank in that would be the 15 per cent surcharge on offshore speculators, who are estimated to make up just 5 per cent of the current market. (Toronto Star)

Take away federal funding if universities don’t protect free speech on campus, Andrew Scheer says

Conservative leadership candidate Andrew Scheer says universities should lose federal funding if they fail to protect freedom of speech on campus. A “troubling trend” has surfaced where small groups on campus can shut down events, prevent guest speakers from giving lecture and ban activities or clubs they disagree with, Scheer said in an interview Wednesday. “Campuses are no longer the bastions of free speech that they once were.” (National Post)

O’Leary backs marijuana legalization; other candidates split

Conservative leadership candidates are split over marijuana policy, with Kevin O’Leary the only serious contender voicing support for legalization and Maxime Bernier refusing to say whether he’ll vote in favour of the Liberal legislation to lift the prohibition on the recreational use of cannabis. (Globe and Mail)

Canadians have a right to be 'concerned' about 1984 Sikh massacre, Harjit Sajjan says

A recent motion by the Ontario Legislature condemning 1984 anti-Sikh riots in India as a "genocide" has led to some uncomfortable conversations for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan as he visits the country of his birth. In a conference call with reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday, Sajjan said the matter came up in meeting with the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (CBC)

Indian Politician Links Canadian Defence Minister To Sikh Separatists

India’s chief minister of Punjab is accusing Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan of being a supporter of a Sikh separatist organization that has used terrorism to advance its political agenda. Amarinder Singh called Sajjan a “Khalistani,” a term widely identfied with Sikh terrorism. He made the accusation on Indian TV in advance of the defence minister’s visit to India this week. (Daily Caller)

US accuses Iran of 'alarming provocations' amid nuclear tensions

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has accused Iran of "alarming ongoing provocations" aimed at destabilising the Middle East and undermining America's interests in the region. "An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and to take the world along with it," Mr Tillerson said. (BBC)

Venezuela crisis: Three killed at anti-government protests

At least three people have been killed in Venezuela in protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro. A teenager in the capital Caracas and a woman in San Cristobal, near the Colombian border, were shot dead. A national guardsman was killed south of the capital. (BBC)

Australia unveils major changes to citizenship process

Australia will make it more difficult to gain citizenship in a major overhaul of its migration process. Aspiring citizens will undergo tougher tests on their English language skills and ability to demonstrate "Australian values", PM Malcolm Turnbull said. Applicants must also have completed four years as a permanent resident - three years longer than at present. (BBC)

N.Korea warns of "super-mighty preemptive strike" as U.S. plans next move

North Korean state media warned the United States of a "super-mighty preemptive strike" after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear programme. U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a hard line with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has rebuffed admonitions from sole major ally China and proceeded with nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of U.N. Security Council sanctions. (Yahoo)

Russian bombers again fly near Alaska

For the second consecutive night, Russia flew two long-range bombers off the coast of Alaska on Tuesday, this time coming within 36 miles of the mainland while flying north of the Aleutian Islands, two U.S. officials told Fox News. The two nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers were spotted by U.S. military radar at 5 p.m. local time. (FOX)

Bill O’Reilly Is Forced Out at Fox News

Bill O’Reilly’s reign as the top-rated host in cable news came to an abrupt and embarrassing end on Wednesday as Fox News forced him out after the disclosure of a series of sexual harassment allegations against him and an internal investigation that turned up even more. (NY Times)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Trudeau in denial about border crossers

The Trudeau government is missing in action when it comes to combatting illegal immigration along the 49th parallel. The problem is getting worse, and we now have evidence — courtesy of investigative reporting by the Rebel Media — that human smuggling rings are aiding and facilitating these illegal crossings. And yet the Trudeau government has barely acknowledged the issue. Instead, unfortunately, the attitude of federal officials has been to ignore the problem and pretend it doesn’t exist. Worse, some are even trying to suppress the story. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Illegal crossings are increasing and feds still don't have a plan

The number of illegal border crossings into Canada has drastically increased from January to March, official data released by the federal government on Wednesday reveals. Let’s hope this finally spurs some government action on this brewing crisis. In March there were 877 of what’s referred to as RCMP interceptions -- when someone is caught crossing illegally at a spot that isn’t an official port of entry. That’s almost triple the 315 reported for January. And if the numbers have gone up that much from one cold month to another, you better believe they’ll keep going up as the temperature increases. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Trump was looking for a fight on NAFTA, so Trudeau gave him one

If you’re Justin Trudeau, is it a good idea to jack up tariffs on U.S. goods when you’ve got a U.S. president who loves picking fights with foreign countries over trade? Justin Trudeau did it anyway. So Donald Trump had a press conference yesterday. Talking about Trudeau’s tariff, Trump said: (Rebel)

Christopher Wilson: EXCLUSIVE: ATIP docs show Liberals tried to prohibit media access during Chinese visit

Chinese state influence is a significant issue facing people in Vancouver, but it seems it’s also creeping across Canada as Chinese soft power under President Xi is becoming status quo. Over the past year, I've reported a number of deals and events that show Chinese state influence is expanding and it appears, this is welcomed by Justin Trudeau. (Rebel)

John Ivison: Canada should avoid more protectionism in face of Trump’s trade criticism

Canada’s pitch to the world is that it is the Gateway to North America. Investors, the promotional literature promises, gain preferential access to a continental market of US$20 trillion with 480 million customers. But in light of President Donald Trump’s comments about the Canadian dairy industry — how it’s “very, very unfair” to American farmers — perhaps a caveat should be added to the preferential access clause: “May be subject to change.” Trump told Justin Trudeau in Washington in February that his protectionist policies would amount to mere “tweaking” with regard to Canada. (National Post)

Colby Cosh: Canada’s dairy cartel, the unkillable sacred cow made of other, literal cows

Married friend of mine comes home from a fancy American vacation. Did you all have a nice time, I ask. She had a nice time, husband had a nice time … and her four-year-old had the time of her life. The kid discovered Chobani brand Greek-style yogurt, you see. She is being raised mostly without the conveyor belt of candy our generation lived at one end of, so she gets excited by that kind of thing. They had Chobani at the resort and having a cup of it became the highlight of her day. (National Post)

Philip Cross: How Elizabeth May taught conservatives never to trust green activists

Released last year, the book The Canadian Federal Election of 2015 (edited by Carleton University professors Jon H. Pammett and Christopher Dornan) devotes a chapter to the total flop that was the Green party’s campaign. The Greens set out with the lofty goals of winning 12 seats and achieving official party status, to hold the balance of power in a divided Parliament. Instead, the Greens again returned with only May as a their sole MP. Just one Green candidate finished in second place, and only nine candidates managed to get the minimum 10-per-cent of the vote required to be reimbursed for campaign expenses (six of them were in B.C.). In total, the popular support for the Green party plunged from nearly one million votes in 2011 to 600,000 in 2015 despite a seven-percentage-point increase in voter turnout. (Financial Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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