True North Initiative: News Scan 05 01 17

TOP STORIES

Manitobans still waiting for Ottawa’s assistance with Emerson border crossings

The Manitoba and federal governments have been unable to resolve a dispute over refugee funding because they cannot agree on how many claimants walking across the border stay in the province. The Progressive Conservative government asked for federal help in February to provide housing, education and other services for an influx of asylum-seekers entering the country near Emerson, Man. Education Minister Ian Wishart said there have been ongoing discussions but no firm commitments. (Global News) (Toronto Star) (Calgary Herald)

5 from B.C. on China's 'most wanted' list of 22 alleged criminals

China's anti-corruption agency has released the names and addresses of 22 alleged economic fugitives deemed "most wanted," but living free around the world — five of them listed  as living in B.C. The alleged criminals, wanted for a variety of corruption-related crimes from embezzlement to fraud, are described as living in the open in Canada, the U.S. and other countries, according to a statement from the the Central Committee for Discipline and Inspection (CCDI). (CBC) (SCMP)

Defence minister to face House of Commons after false claims about his role in Afghan war

Defense minister Harjit Sajjan will get a chance Monday to explain to Parliament why he tried to deceive an audience of Indian security experts by claiming that he was “the architect” of Canada’s biggest military operation in Afghanistan. Sajjan is expected to be in the House of Commons for Question Period when it reconvenes after a two-week break, having just returned to Canada from an around-the-world trip on government business that took him for six days to the country of his birth, India, as well as to Malaysia. (National Post) (Global News)

Conflicting accounts of Harjit Sajjan's role revive ex-MP's conflict of interest allegations

The unexpected, fiery political argument over Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's role during the Afghan war could breathe new life into an old complaint before the conflict-of-interest commissioner. At least that is what former New Democrat MP Craig Scott is hoping. An emotional debate was touched off last week when Sajjan, in an April 18 speech in India, described himself as the "architect of Operation Medusa," one of the biggest battles fought by Canadian troops during the Afghan war. (CBC)

Philippines says it has killed commander of Abu Sayyaf extremist group

The Philippine military chief says marines have killed an Abu Sayyaf extremist commander considered to be one of the most notorious kidnappers in the country's south. Military chief Gen. Eduardo Ano tells The Associated Press that Alhabsy Misaya was slain in a clash with marines late Friday in the jungles between the towns of Indanan and Parang in Sulu province. Misaya has been blamed for abductions of dozens of Malaysians and Indonesian hostages, including one who was beheaded. (CBC)

Trudeau Liberals Looking To Automatically Approve Some Refugees

Canada’s Liberal government is moving toward the sleeker but potentially catastrophic refugee screening process that could automatically approve refugee status for many asylum seekers and illegals that have been coming across the border. The Trudeau government plans to introduce legislation that allow refugee claimants to bypass some of the screening and vetting procedures — even if they are arriving from potentially dangerous and strife-ridden countries. (Daily Caller)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

B.C. Muslim women's shelter becomes asylum haven for U.S. border crossers

A transitional home for Muslim women fleeing domestic violence in B.C. has become a refugee haven as dozens of women and children who have walked across the U.S. border since November's presidential election seek refuge in Canada. "They come here because they have no option — the last option they have is to come here," said Yasmine Yousef, a social worker at Nisa Homes in Surrey. (CBC)

'It got pretty hostile': Manitoba Housing tells Gretna it will host reception centre for asylum seekers

Residents in the small border community of Gretna, Man. say they were taken by surprise when Manitoba Housing announced it was setting up a reception centre for asylum seekers in their backyard. About 80 people turned out for an April 26 meeting, hastily called by Manitoba Housing, in Gretna, a community of 550 on the U.S. border, about 120 kilometres south of Winnipeg. (CBC)

Advocates hail end to ‘conditional’ spousal visas

The announcement by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen on Friday was hailed by migrants’ advocates, who have said the requirement by the previous Conservative government placed sponsored newcomers, especially women, at increased risk of abuse. “Conditional permanent residence has had a devastating impact on women in abusive relationships, and its elimination can be celebrated by all who oppose violence against women,” said Loly Rico, president of the Canadian Council for Refugees. (Toronto Star)

How a scuttled U.S. trade deal helped lead to modern Canada

It was bound to happen. With his presidential approval ratings hovering at historic lows, Donald Trump needed to take a swipe at someone to shore up his base. And since a trade war with China is flirting with economic suicide, it was time to Blame Canada, specifically our dairy farmers, notwithstanding Justin Trudeau’s commanding handshake. (Macleans)

Mélanie Joly urges patience on long road toward cultural policy shakeup

“I’ve always been an impatient person,” said Mélanie Joly, the charismatic Minister of Canadian Heritage. The 38-year-old entered politics at a gallop, forming her own municipal party and narrowly losing Montreal’s mayoralty race in 2013, before entering the federal cabinet as a rookie MP two years later. But patience is the virtue Ms. Joly recommends to others, as she continues her long march towards a mandate-defining shakeup in cultural policy – due, she said this week in an interview, before the end of the year. While U.S. President Donald Trump is being judged on the achievements of his first 100 days, Ms. Joly says we should wait 700 to measure hers. (Globe and Mail)

Senator Don Meredith Harassed, Sexually Abused Staff For Years, Say Former Aides

Two sets of doors were always closed before Sen. Don Meredith felt comfortable starting any meeting in his office across Parliament Hill. The first leads to a shared hallway, the second to Meredith's desk. Shutting them both seemed to give him a sense of privacy and control. Staff members found it bizarre, but they did what their boss asked. “Constant paranoia” was a running theme in the office, one former female aide said. Behind those doors, they claim, the senator began inappropriately touching his female employees. (Huffington Post)

Mexico and Canada 'in this together' on NAFTA, amid Trump confusion

Misery loves company, so Mexicans could be forgiven for feeling relieved to learn this week that they are not alone in Donald Trump's sights. Canada's there now too, as disputes over dairy products and softwood lumber made us the bad neighbour. "Mexico had managed to stay under the radar for quite a few weeks," said Monica de Bolle, a senior fellow at Washington's Peterson Institute for International Economics. "They were pretty happy that they were no longer at front stage in all of this." (CBC)

Leaked draft order shows Trump blamed NAFTA for ‘massive’ wealth transfer, lost jobs, illegal immigration

published report says President Donald Trump planned to give Canada and Mexico five days notice that the U.S. intended to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Financial Times says it received a leaked draft executive order that Trump had originally planned to sign on Saturday before backtracking and agreeing to renegotiate the trade pact. A copy of the draft order posted online by the Financial Times says Canada has “continued to exploit the American dairy and lumber industries.” (Toronto Star)

London terrorism suspect was on Gaza flotilla ship in 2010

A man arrested on suspicion of planning a terrorist act on Thursday, carrying knives near Prime Minister Theresa May's office, was on a ship raided by Israeli soldiers in 2010, sources familiar with the investigation have told Reuters. The 27-year-old man was arrested by armed counter-terrorism officers during a stop-and-search as part of an ongoing security operation, British police said. (Reuters)

Russia’s Military Buildup in Arctic Has U.S. Watching Closely

An RPG whistles towards its target, exploding in a ball of fire just as a group of soldiers zip past on skis, bullets flying from their white rifles. It was all part of a training exercise by Russia's 80th Motor Rifle Arctic Brigade, which was established two years ago as part of the Kremlin's bid for dominance in the Arctic. (NBC)

POLL: Half of Muslims in French suburbs share ISIS values

A recent study meant to alleviate fears of Islamic immigration into France has done the opposite with shocking findings that a near majority of Muslims in the suburbs, have extremist Islamic views. (Rebel)

Trump invites Philippines' Duterte to the White House

President Donald Trump invited his polarizing Philippines counterpart to the White House during a phone call in which the two leaders discussed North Korea. Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte had a "friendly discussion" Saturday that also addressed regional security in Southeast Asia and the Philippines' drug war, the White House said in a statement. (CNN)

All 100 Senators Tell U.N. To Stop Anti-Semitic Bias

When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stood in front of the press following her first meeting with the U.N. Security Council last February, she offered a blistering critique of the international body's treatment of Israel: (Daily Wire)

Japan sends biggest warship to protect US supply vessel

Japan has dispatched its biggest warship, in the first such operation since it passed controversial laws expanding the role of its military. The helicopter carrier Izumo is escorting a US supply vessel within Japanese waters. The US ship is heading to refuel the naval fleet in the region, including the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group. (BBC)

Venezuela protests: Maduro hikes minimum wage by 60%

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a 60% increase in the country's minimum wage, effective from Monday. Including food subsidies, the worst-paid workers will now take home about 200,000 bolivars a month - less than $50 (£38) at the black market rate. The pay rise is the third this year from Mr Maduro, and aims to benefit government workers and the military. It comes a month after deadly protests erupted in the country. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Candice Malcolm: Now's not the time to cut corners in screening refugees

The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) is doubling down on its decision to bypass an important step in the determination process for landed asylum seekers in Canada. An exclusive story in the Sun papers revealed how the IRB is allowing individuals from some dangerous countries to skip a face-to-face hearing in front of an immigration judge. (Toronto Sun)

Colby Cosh: Britain’s foregone-conclusion election: boring, yet somehow compelling as Conservatives face an easy win

On June 8, the United Kingdom will hold a general election, and Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May will be returned to power with a greatly increased majority. Yes, yes, we have all been reminded many times lately that even the most confident political predictions can end up making us look like fools. This forecast might be different if the Labour opposition thought it could win the election, and was unified in wanting to win it. (National Post)

Davd Kilgour: Canadian Measures Aimed At Iran Can Help Build A More Peaceful World

In democratic nations, groups and individuals can normally pursue their beliefs and convictions as long as they do so peacefully. In recent years, such practices have been threatened by terrorist attacks, causing fear, insecurity, anxiety and distrust especially in the Middle East, Europe and North America. The need for peace in the world is today greater than ever. There are several initiatives which can help re-establish sustainable peace in our own countries and those around us, but the first and most important is to locate the sources of violence. Some analysts believe that ISIS, or any group that adopts terrorism as strategy and sheds innocents' blood to reach its goals, should be fought. ISIS has now proved its inhuman nature to the world repeatedly. (Huffington Post)

David Nakamura: Amid immigration setbacks, one Trump strategy seems to be working: Fear

In many ways, President Trump’s attempts to implement his hard-line immigration policies have not gone very well in his first three months. His travel ban aimed at some Muslim-majority countries has been blocked by the courts, his U.S.-Mexico border wall has gone nowhere in Congress, and he has retreated, at least for now, on his vow to target illegal immigrants brought here as children. (Washington Post)

Gordon Chong: Trudeau devalues citizenship

Foreigners will risk everything for Canadian citizenship. Yesterday’s Liberal giants like Paul Martin Sr. built it. Today’s Liberal midgets like Justin Trudeau bulldoze it. What exactly is the purpose of soliciting immigrants and refugees and then granting them citizenship? Unlike many Asian, European and African countries that now have a relatively homogeneous, native-born population after centuries of genetic mixing with invaders, outside of its urban areas Canada is a thinly-populated, heterogeneous country. (Toronto Sun)

Michael Harris: Harjit Sajjan must go

Justin Trudeau needs to fire Harjit Sajjan. That is the only way the prime minister can assert that the truth actually matters in this era of Trumpian mendacity and ‘alternative facts.’. Suffering from a bad case of Brian Williams Syndrome, Sajjan, Canada’s defence minister is now a card-carrying member of the Public Liar’s Club. You remember Williams. He was the NBC news anchor who claimed that he had been in a helicopter in 2003 that was downed by an enemy rocket propelled grenade during the Iraq War. In fact, he was not in the helicopter that was hit. Indeed, the aircraft he was aboard never came under any enemy fire. (IPolitics)

John Ibbitson: Two Tory leadership hopefuls could beat Bernier — if they don’t beat each other first

Erin O’Toole and Andrew Scheer stand the best chance of keeping Maxime Bernier from becoming leader of the Conservative Party on May 27. But since both these potential king-slayers seem determined to fight each other as well as the front-runner, neither might succeed. Mr. Bernier, the 54-year-old MP for Beauce, became the candidate to beat after television celebrity Kevin O’Leary dropped out of the race and threw his support behind the former foreign affairs minister. (Globe and Mail)

Evan Solomon: The anatomy of Harjit Sajjan’s Afghanistan operation apology

A day before he backtracked from his false claim that he was the “architect” of Operation Medusa, one of the biggest and most dangerous missions of the war in Afghanistan, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan inexplicably and stubbornly stood by them in correspondence with me. What happened over the last five days might be called the anatomy of an apology. (Macleans)

Katherine Moon: Trump can’t deter North Korea’s nuclear efforts. What’s the end game?

The United States has concentrated military hardware on and around the Korean peninsula as a means to deter North Korea from further testing nuclear devices and missiles, including a so-called armada to frighten North Korea into a stand-down. This t maneuver was a failure at the start because it lacks credibility as a deterrent force and a realistic military and political strategy as guide. Indeed, Pyongyang launched a land-based missile on Saturday in the midst of the Trump administration’s tough talk and actions. (Toronto Star)

Andrew MacDougall: There's an obvious way to influence U.S. policy — be the last one to talk to Trump

Hands up if you, like me, watch news of the Trump administration, mouth agape, from the comfort of the couch. More than once I've wondered whether my couch would be better qualified for the Oval Office. Now, I have a great couch (the best, the biggest, you've never seen anything like it, it's amazing), but I wouldn't want it running a country, which is where the United States has ended up under the stewardship of Donald Trump. (CBC)

Robin V. Sears: Canada and China, a rapidly evolving relationship

It’s often small signals that reveal massive changes taking place just beneath the surface in a community. On a whirlwind trip to China, several cues to developing trends stopped me in my tracks. Having been a visitor for almost 35 years, I have had my nose to the glass at China’s transformation from impoverished agricultural police state to global economic superstar on many occasions. (Toronto Star)

Toronto Star: Ottawa should guarantee press freedom

This coming Wednesday, May 3, marks World Press Freedom Day. But instead of celebrating it along with other progressive democracies, Canada should be hanging its head. That’s because this country, astonishingly, does not rank in the Top 10 or even the Top 20 countries in the world for freedom of the media. Instead, to our shame, it has dropped four places in the past year to 22nd, according to an annual index by Reporters Without Borders. That puts Canada behind Samoa and just ahead of the Czech Republic and Namibia. (Toronto Star)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs meet tomorrow for the Order in Council Appointments of Stephane Dion and John McCallum (8:45am) (Public)

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet tomorrow to continue study on Canada and the Defence of North America (3:30pm) (In Camera)

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship meet with Immigration Consultant today at 3:30pm (Public)