True North Initiative: News Scan 04 21 17

TOP STORIES

ISIS group claims Champs-Elysees attack on police officers

A gunman opened fire on police on Paris’ iconic Champs-Elysees boulevard Thursday night, killing one officer and wounding three people before police shot and killed him. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, which hit just three days before a tense presidential election. Security already has been a dominant theme in the campaign, and the violence on the sparkling avenue threatened to weigh on voters’ decisions. Candidates cancelled or rescheduled final campaign events ahead of Sunday’s first round vote. (Toronto Sun) (Sun.co.uk) (Globe and Mail)

Latest attack in Paris would be the sixth terrorist strike on the French capital in three years

French police have said tonight's attack was 'probably a terrorist act', and if so it would be at least the sixth terror strike on Paris in three years. Most recently, on March 18, a convicted criminal with links to radical Islam shouted 'I am here to die for Allah, there will be deaths' seconds before he was shot dead during an attack at Orly airport. And a month earlier, on February 3, a man was shot five times outside the Louvre museum in the heart of Paris after attempting to storm the historic art gallery. (Daily Mail)

Champs-Elysees gunman was flagged as an extremist, police sources say

​France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by ISIS, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend. Investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in the car of the gunman who targeted police on the Champs-Elysees, and were working to determine whether he had accomplices. The gunman had earlier been flagged as an extremist, according to police sources. (CBC) (BBC) (Daily Mail

Update on number of asylum seekers only tells part of the story

Figuring out how many are actually getting in, where they are going and how many are ultimately getting to stay in Canada requires a much deeper dig. From a national perspective, many of the government departments involved say they are still processing the information, much of which won't be available for a few more months. But at least for Manitoba, some of it has been fast-tracked. You can't follow individuals, but you can follow the numbers. (CBC)

Refugee surge across U.S. border creates backlog at IRB

The number of refugee claimants crossing illegally from the U.S. into Quebec continues to rise dramatically – from 432 in February to 644 in March or an increase of 49 per cent – exacerbating the backlog at the Immigration and Refugee Board. The latest figures were supplied by the RCMP, which intercepts people crossing between official ports of entry – notably at Roxham Rd. near Hemmingford. For RCMP officers, now accustomed to warning would-be claimants that it is illegal to cross the border before lending them a hand with babies and luggage, it is “business as usual,” said Corporal François Gagnon. (Montreal Gazette)

Three more people arrested in connection to human smuggling case after investigation into asylum seekers crossing into Sask.

Three more people have been arrested in connection to a human smuggling case. U.S. border officials confirm two Canadians and a Nigerian were apprehended on Friday between the North Portal and Northgate ports along the U.S. Saskatchewan border. In addition, Michelle Omoruyi, 43, is facing human smuggling charges after she and nine foreign nationals were intercepted crossing into Saskatchewan at a remote location along the border on April 14. (Global) (CBC)

U.S. border officers not doing enough to slow asylum-seekers, Canadian union rep says

The union representing Canadian border officers says its American counterparts aren't doing their part to curb the influx of asylum seekers crossing illegally into Canada, an accusation U.S. Border Patrol believes is misplaced. "[Border officers] are convinced that Americans are ridding themselves of the problem by bringing asylum seekers to Roxham Road instead of driving them to the Lacolle border crossing," said union president Jean-Pierre Fortin. (CBC)

Federal government to test 'name-blind' hiring process

The federal government is testing a name-blind recruitment process in an attempt to knock down barriers for job-seekers from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Treasury Board President Scott Brison said the pilot project will make the hiring process more fair and inclusive, and lead to a more diverse and strengthened federal public service. (CBC) (Metro)

Number of asylum seekers fleeing to Canada from the US in the wake of Trump's immigration crackdown has tripled as the weather warms up

The number of asylum seekers fleeing to Canada from the US in the wake of Trump's immigration crackdown has soared since the weather turned warmer. In the first three months of this year, 3,605 people have crossed the border from south to north, which is more than the total for the whole of 2013. The figure has grown month-on-month from 920 in January to 1,465 in March and the number of those detained for entering the country illegally has tripled in that time. (Daily Mail) (Daily Caller)

Trump slams Canada as "disgrace" on dairy policy, while signing memo on foreign steel

As he signed an executive memo ordering an investigation into whether foreign steel hurts U.S. national security, President Trump took a moment to slam Canada. “I wasn’t going to do this,” he said, but referring to his trip to Wisconsin this week, Mr. Trump said that what Canada had done to U.S. dairy farm workers was a “disgrace.”  “The fact is, NAFTA, whether it’s Mexico or Canada, is a disaster for our country. It’s a disaster. It’s a trading disaster,” Mr. Trump said. “What happened to our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and New York State -- we’re not going to let it happen. We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they do to our workers and to our farmers.” (CBS)

Hundreds of Syrian refugees in Canada stuck with erroneous names

Syrian refugees who have recently settled in Canada have another hurdle in addition to learning a new language, finding a place to live and getting a job. They need to fix their names. Hundreds of Syrian families who fled to Canada with little or no documentation are upset with the versions of their names that wound up on Canadian immigration papers. (CBC)

CSIS use of personal data troubles privacy watchdog

The controversial data-crunching centre run by Canada’s spy agency has long been using personal details gleaned from security clearance forms to help with national security probes – a practice that worries the federal privacy watchdog, newly disclosed letters show. The correspondence reveals that for at least five years the Canadian Security Intelligence Service‘s Operational Data Analysis Centre has drawn upon private information – provided during security assessments for employment and immigration purposes – to assist with CSIS terrorism and espionage investigations. (Global) (CTV)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

CBC hosts fiery town hall on asylum seekers in Canada

Ali Saeed sits in a crowded atrium at the RBC Convention Centre Wednesday night, nodding his head up and down, agreeing with one of the speakers at a CBC-hosted town hall on the increase in asylum seekers crossing into Canada and the dollars and sense of accepting more refugees. Saeed, a refugee himself over 30 years ago when he came to Canada from Ethiopia, is listening to another refugee talk about the fears of being a refugee. They're fears Saeed knows all too well. (CBC)

'It is a very damning report': MHA reacts to child youth advocate criticism

Liberal MHA Gerry Byrne says there are lessons to be learned in a recently released report from the province's child and youth advocate about the way children were removed from an immigrant family. The minister of advanced education, skills and labour says the report is troubling, but informed. "It is a very damning report. It's very, very, very difficult to read it ... But what also is true is there's a resolve to fix it," Byrne told CBC's Here & Now. (CBC)

Judge grills government on how long is too long in immigration detention

How long is too long? That was the question with which Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer grilled government lawyers on Thursday regarding Kashif Ali, an immigration detainee who has been locked up in maximum-security jail for more than seven years because Canada has been unable to deport him. “It seems to me the fundamental question,” said Nordheimer, one of the province’s most respected judges, who wanted to know whether Canada believes it should have the right to hold someone in immigration detention indefinitely. (Toronto Star)

Using the ISIS 'brand' to attract recruits in Sinai

From a distance, the ISIS-inspired bloodshed in the Sinai Peninsula looks fresh and menacing, but the former Canadian commander of the multinational peacekeeping force in the region says the conflict looks awfully familiar. The violence, which flared up again last weekend near Rafah, along the border with Gaza, carries with it an echo of Afghanistan, said Maj.-Gen. Denis Thompson. Many of the social, economic and cultural conditions that fuel the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan are present in the increasingly troubled desert region between Egypt and Israel, Thompson said. (CBC)

Canada should offer emergency visas to gay men from Chechnya: LGBT group

Canada should open its doors to LGBT people from Chechnya where dozens of men have been reported to be imprisoned and tortured because they are believed to be gay, a Canadian advocacy group says. The call for emergency visas came from Rainbow Railroad which said it was working with a Russian non-profit group to help people flee Chechnya through a global network of safe routes. (Global)

Couple’s vacation ruined after passport ripped at Air Canada desk

A Toronto couple is accusing Air Canada of mistakenly ripping their passport thus ruining their much-awaited vacation. Stevi Newman and her husband Aman Kaushik were boarding an Air Canada flight to Cancun in early April at Pearson International Airport. “She scanned my passport, which was successful, and then scanned my husband’s, and as she was rubbing it on the machine, the back part of the booklet ripped off of his passport,” Newman said. (CTV)

'Appalling': Woman bumped from Air Canada flight misses $10,000 Galapagos cruise

With airline bumping a hot topic these days, CBC News has heard from many Canadians wanting to share their own sagas. Vicki Russell's story stood out. She missed a $10,000 dream cruise of the Galapagos Islands because she was bumped from an overbooked Air Canada flight. "I was so upset, I thought I was going to cry," Russell said from her home in Toronto. "Air Canada caused me to miss the trip of a lifetime." (CBC)

Federal Liberals' cannabis legalization package will face legal challenges, say experts

Ottawa is facing big questions as its move to legalize cannabis use for adults goes hand in hand with stricter laws on drunk and drugged driving and tough sentences for those providing marijuana to minors. While the Alberta government is supportive of new measures around roadside tests, a University of Calgary law school professor and a prominent city defence lawyer say many of the new federal laws go too far and will almost certainly be challenged as unconstitutional. (Calgary Herald)

How to boost Canadian economy? Match Trump, says Kevin O'Leary

Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O'Leary says the United States is out-competing Canada under President Donald Trump, and the country is going to have to ditch Liberal policies if it wants to get back on track. "Here's what we have to do as a country. We have to immediately find out, what is it going to take to be competitive?" O'Leary said during an interview on CBC Manitoba's Up to Speed Thursday. (CBC)

Chrystia Freeland renews call for Russia to withdraw support for Syria

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a renewed challenge to Russia on Thursday, suggesting that the country will be on the wrong side of history if it continues to back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the wake of a chemical-weapons attack against civilians earlier this month. Ms. Freeland said the attack, which prompted U.S. missile strikes in Syria, could be an opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin to reconsider his support for the Assad regime. (Globe and Mail)

US official: With eye on North Korea, China puts bombers on 'high alert'

Chinese air force land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers were put "on high alert" on Wednesday as the US sees evidence that the Chinese military is preparing to respond to a potential situation in North Korea, a US defense official tells CNN. The official said the US has also seen an extraordinary number of Chinese military aircraft being brought up to full readiness through intensified maintenance. (CNN)

LA airport failed to spot gun in hand luggage

An off-duty policewoman flew from Los Angeles international airport (LAX) to Taiwan with a gun in her hand luggage. The weapon was not detected during security screening and Noell Grant only realised she was carrying it as she changed planes in Taipei. She informed the local authorities and she has been barred from leaving Taiwan until the matter is resolved. (BBC)

Iran election: Ahmadinejad barred from running

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been barred from standing in next month's election by a government-controlled vetting body, state media report. Mr Ahmadinejad, a vocal critic of the West, served two terms as president between 2005 and 2013. President Hassan Rouhani and leading hardliner Ebrahim Raisi have both been approved by the Guardian Council. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Faith Goldy: Canada’s Border Crisis: Time for the RCMP to Break the Silence

Tonight, I ask what the RCMP is hiding who it comes to the illegal migrant crisis at Canada's southern border. Why haven’t they contacted us with a warrant for our explosive footage exposing a human trafficking ring profiteering off of fake refugees being smuggled into Canada through Plattsburg, New York? (Rebel)

John Ibbitson: Gay men are being persecuted in Chechnya – but Canada says it’s not our problem

Gay men fleeing the pogrom of arrests and beatings in Chechnya that have cost at least three lives should not look to Canada for help. Human-rights and LGBT-aid groups have been urging the Liberal government to offer emergency aid that would permit victimized Chechen homosexuals to apply for refugee status in Canada. But in a statement provided to The Globe and Mail, a spokesman for the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship indicated the men would not qualify because they were hiding out in Russia. (Globe and Mail)

John Lieblein: Is Canada’s Anti-Islamophobia Motion As Benign As It Seems?

When Motion 103, a non-binding proposal titled “Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination” was first introduced by MP Iqra Khalid, supporters claimed it was a thoroughly uncontroversial request to study religious discrimination – with a particular focus on Islamophobia – and develop a method of reducing its impact. (Daily Caller)

John Ivison: Radical U.S. environmentalist calls Trudeau ‘stunning hypocrite,’ targets museum’s links to oil

Bill McKibben, a radical U.S. environmentalist who would prefer to keep all carbon in the ground, has upset the Trudeau government by calling the prime minister “the brother” of Donald Trump on climate change. Now, McKibben is lobbying the Canadian Museum of History to cut ties with its sponsor, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, an organization he calls “sleazy oil lobbyists.” The Liberals are apparently concerned about the criticism denting support for their twin-track policy of approving pipelines and imposing a national carbon tax. They are encouraging more moderate environmental voices to disassociate themselves from the what one called McKibben’s “stratospheric hyperbole.” (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       N/A