True North Initiative: News Scan 05 10 17

TOP STORIES

Alleged jihadist found guilty of providing false information to obtain passport

Habib, 29, was charged last year with attempting to leave Canada to participate in the activities of a terrorist group — ISIL — and with providing false information to obtain a passport. Before closing arguments began Tuesday, Habib’s lawyer, Charles Montpetit conceded he had nothing to say concerning the latter charge. Because of the concession, Quebec Court Judge Serge Délisle found Habib guilty of the charge related to a passport he tried to obtain, in Laval, in June 2014. The maximum sentence for the offence is two years. (Montreal Gazette)

No Iran polling stations in Canada for upcoming election: Feds

The federal government will not allow Iran to set up polling stations in Canada for its upcoming presidential election – a decision that comes as the countries quietly work to re-establish diplomatic relations. Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York sent a diplomatic note to Canadian officials around April 10 requesting that polling stations be established so that Iranians in Canada could vote in the May 19 election, according to the Iranian interests section at the Pakistani embassy in Washington. Members of the Iranian-Canadian community were also pressuring the government to allow them to cast their ballots in Canada. The request was denied by the Canadian government. (Globe and Mail)

U.S., Canada, UK warn citizens against travel to Palawan

The embassies of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have warned their citizens against travelling to Palawan following "credible information" that terrorist groups may be planning to kidnap foreign nationals in the province. In a travel advisory issued Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy recommended taking precautionary measures when travelling to parts of Palawan, including Puerto Princesa City and areas surrounding the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. (CNN)

DRAMATIC INCREASE IN HOLOCAUST DENIAL: B’NAI BRITH CANADA AUDIT

Anti-Semitism reached an unprecedented high in 2016, with significant increases in Holocaust denial and incidents on university campuses and in Arabic-language Canadian media, according to B’nai Brith Canada’s Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. Now in its 35th year, the audit, released May 9, recorded 1,728 incidents in 2016, a 26 per cent jump from the previous year, when 1,277 incidents were reported, and six per cent higher than 2014, which had previously been the highest year. (CJ News)

Feds spent almost $2,000 on 'vanity project' cut-outs of Trudeau

Life-size cut-outs of Justin are all the rage these days. And no, we're not talking about Bieber. On Tuesday it was revealed the federal government spent $1877.24 of taxpayer dollars on 14 celebrity-style cardboard cut-outs of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Toronto Sun)

Liberals spent more than $16,000 on Snapchat filters since coming to power

The Liberal government spent more than $16,000 on developing and placing Snapchat filters in both Canada and the United States to promote the federal government during special events, since its cabinet was sworn in on Nov. 4, 2015. Seven federal departments, agencies, and Crown corporations reported developing specialized filters for Snapchat—a popular social media platform that allows temporary photo-sharing—between Nov. 4, 2015 and the day the question was asked through an Order Paper on March 21, 2017, for a total cost of about $22,000 CAD. (Hill Times)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Canadian LGBT refugee groups ask federal government for permanent funding

Canadian groups that have brought dozens of LGBT refugees to safety since 2011 are asking the federal government to make their pilot program permanent. But the federal government might instead fold the program into a general private-sponsorship system. The Rainbow Refugee Assistance Program (RRAP) brings LGBT refugees to Canada with the help of volunteer groups across the country. Originally launched under the former Conservative government for three years, the program has been renewed twice, with Canada’s immigration department providing a total of $300,000 for refugees’ first three months of living expenses. (Daily Xtra)

Disgraced Senator Don Meredith to resign

Senator Don Meredith is resigning from the Red Chamber before his colleagues can vote on whether to expel him for having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl. But it remains unclear whether an investigation into allegations of workplace harassment against Mr. Meredith, a married 52-year-old Pentecostal pastor, will continue once he leaves the chamber. (Globe and Mail)

Fighting scourges of polio and terrorism of Boko Haram

In the northern Nigerian city of Katsina, the extraordinary tenacity of Ibrahim Musa seems emblematic of his country’s fight against the interrelated scourges of polio and the terrorism of Boko Haram. A public health officer who played dead one time to survive a gun attack on his clinic, Musa has helped stage many immunization drives against polio, which as recently as the 1980s crippled an estimated 350,000 children every year -- 75,000 of them in Africa. (National Observer)

Report: Medical woes at US immigrant detention centres

When Jose de Jesus Deniz-Sahagun entered US Border Patrol custody in May 2015, he told agents that he thought Mexican coyotes were going to kill him, and he wanted to kill himself. Inside a temporary holding room for immigration detainees, he launched himself from a concrete bench, head first, hoping to snap his own neck. (BBC)

Immigrants increasingly choosing suburbs over downtown Toronto

When Luis Bermejo immigrated to Canada in 2007, he landed in Mississauga and immediately fell in love with the city. It felt spacious, and it felt right. Ten years and a handful of job changes later, the Colombian has become a permanent suburbanite. “I would not even consider living in Toronto now. No,” said Bermejo, who later moved to Brampton with his wife and a child. “Busy city, too much traffic, the level of stress for people who live there and work there, you really get tired of that.” (Metro)

Russia brings out its big Arctic guns for show of strength

In its annual celebration of defeating Nazi Germany, Russia showcased military hardware designed for Arctic combat, as Moscow flexes its military muscle and vies for dominance in the North with Canada, the U.S. and Norway. Here’s a primer on what the Victory Day festivities mean (Globe and Mail)

German soldier arrested in terror plot to be blamed on refugees

German authorities have arrested a second soldier on allegations he was part of a far-right plot to assassinate prominent political figures and blame the attack on refugees. Federal prosecutor’s spokeswoman Frauke Koehler said that 27-year-old Maximilian T. was arrested in the southwestern city of Kehl on Tuesday on charges of preparing an act of violence. (Canoe.com)

In shock move, Trump fires FBI Director Comey

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey in the fallout over Comey's probe of Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails last year, saying Comey was no longer able to effectively lead the law enforcement agency. Comey had been leading an FBI investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible collusion with Trump's campaign. His dismissal will likely fuel concerns about the integrity of the probe and renew calls for an independent investigation. (MSN)

Syria war: US to arm Kurds in battle for Raqqa

US President Donald Trump has approved supplying weapons to Kurdish forces fighting so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria, the Pentagon says. Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would be equipped to help drive IS from its stronghold, Raqqa, a spokeswoman said. (BBC)

South Korea's Moon Jae-in sworn in vowing to address North

South Korea's new President Moon Jae-in has been sworn in, vowing to address the economy and relations with the North in his first speech as president. He said that he would even be willing to visit Pyongyang under the right circumstances. (BBC)

Trump’s immigration enforcement helps slow illegal border crossings by 76%

Illegal immigration across the southwestern border is down a stunning 76 percent since President Trump was elected, with the flow of children and families dropping even faster as analysts say the administration’s commitment to enforcing the law has changed the reality along the border. Overall apprehensions by the Border Patrol dropped to just 11,129 in April, according to numbers released Tuesday, marking the lowest monthly total for any month in decades. (Washington Times)

Mexico was second deadliest country in 2016

It was the second deadliest conflict in the world last year, but it hardly registered in the international headlines. As Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan dominated the news agenda, Mexico's drug wars claimed 23,000 lives during 2016 -- second only to Syria, where 50,000 people died as a result of the civil war. (CNN)

Infant mortality and malaria cases soar in Venezuela

Venezuela's infant mortality rose 30% last year, maternal mortality shot up 65% and cases of malaria jumped 76%, according to government data. The sharp increases reflect how the country's deep economic crisis has hammered at citizens' health. The statistics were issued on the ministry's website after nearly two years of data silence from President Nicolas Maduro's leftist government. (RTE)

Rocks, tear gas, petrol bombs… and poo? Venezuelan protests to take a messy turn

"They have gas; we have excrement," reads an image floating around social media to advertise Wednesday's 'Shit March'. With inflation in the high triple-digits, shortages of the most basic medicines, and millions suffering food scarcity, Venezuela has been rocked by weeks of violent clashes as hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets to vent their anger at the government of President Nicolas Maduro. (ABC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Ezra Levant: Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but its people are starving. Here’s why.

Imagine a country that is so poor, the average person has lost 19 pounds, not by choice, but by mass starvation. It’s not North Korea or Ethiopia. It’s what should be the richest country in the world, Venezuela. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on earth: 300 billion barrels. That’s more than Saudi Arabia. That’s nearly ten times the amount of oil reserves in the United States. Nearly double what we have in our oilsands. (Rebel)

Sue-Ann Levy: Holocaust denial a troubling trend in Canada: Organizations

The most pointed two revelations of the B’nai Brith’s annual report on hate targeting Jews did not relate to the sharp spike in anti-Semitism last year. Having reported on many incidents of anti-Semitism in 2016, I was not at all surprised to learn that there were 1,728 reported incidents, a 26% increase over the year before.) (Toronto Sun)

Tarek Fatah: Russian interference? What about U.S., Saudi Arabia?

On Monday, U.S. senators on the judiciary subcommittee investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 American election campaign, spent hours grilling ex-national intelligence director James Clapper and former acting attorney general Sally Yates. But there was one question they never asked: “Has the United States ever interfered in the election campaign of any foreign country?” (Toronto Sun)

Jack Posobiec: How Rebel Media broke #MacronLeaks — and what's really in them

It seems like everyone in the world is asking me to tell the story of how Rebel Media broke the story of the MacronLeaks scandal, so I decided to make a quick video about it, as well as the media response that I’ve received over the revelations. (Rebel)

Craig Alexander and Kareem El-Assal: How Canada can support immigration in the era of Brexit and Trump

As anti-immigrant tides spread globally, it’s important for us as Canadians to learn from the international context to ensure support for our immigration system remains strong. This is especially crucial as Canada looks to increase its immigration levels to help fill the void left by the millions of workers soon to retire. (Globe and Mail)

Toronto Sun:  Grow a spine and defund Pride, now

So, Black Lives Matter (BLM) hijacks the annual Pride parade last year and now city council is poised to punish gay and lesbian police officers for it. If the logic of this escapes you, welcome to City Hall. That’s where Mayor John Tory and a city committee have thrown their support behind giving Pride $260,000 this year, despite the fact it’s discriminating against gay and lesbian police officers, and all Toronto cops. (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs met yesterday with the Vice Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament (Public)

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

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to meet with Immigration Consultants (3:30PM EST) (Public)

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet later today to study Bill C-23, An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the US (3:30pm) (Public)