True North Initiative: News Scan 05 11 17

TOP STORIES

New York taxi companies fined for overcharging refugees fleeing to Canada

Three Plattsburgh, New York, taxi cab companies will pay financial penalties for taking advantage of illegal immigrants fleeing the United States for Canada through practices including price gouging, the New York Attorney General’s office said on Wednesday. It said in a statement the fines came as part of a settlement after the three companies, Northern Taxi, Town Taxi and C & L Taxi, “admitted to not posting rates as required by law.” (Global News) (New York Times)

Number of asylum seekers from Mexico down for first time since visa lift

The number of asylum claims from Mexico dropped last month, halting the ongoing increase in claims that had coincided with the lifting of visa requirements for that country. Statistics from the Immigration and Refugee Board reveal 89 people filed claims last month, down from 110 in March, 85 in February and 71 in January. The Liberal government removed a requirement for Mexicans to get a visa to enter Canada in December and had been bracing for a corresponding rise in asylum seekers as a result. (CBC) (CTV)

Judge rules feds can’t strip citizenship without ‘independent’ hearing

In a rebuke of Ottawa's expedited citizenship revocation process, the Federal Court has ruled that a citizen deserves a fair hearing by an independent decision-maker before the government can strip a person's citizenship. In a decision released Wednesday, Justice Jocelyne Gagne not only quashed the citizenship revocations against eight Canadian citizens who were alleged to have obtained their citizenship by fraud or misrepresentation, but ordered the federal government to pay each of the litigants $5,000 for costs. (Toronto Star) (Global) (Globe and Mail)

Arab-Language Media Promotes Holocaust Denial In Canada

Arab-language media in Canada is promoting Holocaust denial while it spreads other anti-Semitic information, says Amanda Hohmann, national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights. B’nai Brith Canad is part of an international Jewish human rights organization that tracks anti-Semitism. (Daily Caller)

A Trump supporter, and his cab, play unexpected role in escape to Canada

Cab driver Curtis Seymour got the call at 3:30 a.m. to pick up a passenger at the Greyhound bus station in Plattsburgh, New York, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Canadian border. An older Haitian woman wearing a purple and yellow headwrap, mauve lipstick and big gold earrings descended from the bus with two handbags, a backpack and a suitcase. Seymour placed her luggage in the car, and asked where she was headed. "Canada," the woman, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Cilotte, said in broken English. "No police," she added. Seymour, 62, who has driven the same streets in upstate New York for more than a decade, voted for Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 presidential election, partly because of his tough stance on immigration. (Reuters)

Canada's no-ransom policy is flawed, hypocritical: ex-CSIS official

A former federal intelligence official argues that the Canadian government’s no-ransoms-for-hostages stand is an outdated and even hypocritical posture that needs to be reconsidered for the sake of citizens held abroad. Andy Ellis, a top Canadian Security Intelligence Service official until last year, makes this argument in a essay published Thursday in The Globe and Mail. He urges Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do more to facilitate the release of Joshua Boyle, a Canadian citizen held in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region since 2012, along with his American wife and their two sons, who were born in captivity. (Globe and Mail)

Opposition asks 18 times, but Trudeau won't answer on ethics commissioner meetings

Opposition MPs repeatedly asked the prime minister on Wednesday to detail his interactions with the ethics commissioner, making a concerted effort to demonstrate Justin Trudeau's unwillingness to answer the question and using his own desire for a prime minister's question period against him. (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Off-target airstrikes in Iraq buried behind wall of secrecy

Canadian bombs missed their targets 17 times during the air campaign in Iraq, according to new figures released by the Department of National Defence. CBC News has obtained details of one of those missions, and the documents raise troubling questions about not only the Royal Canadian Air Force's guided munitions but how forthcoming DND is prepared to be about the sensitive issue.​ (CBC)

Gujarati woman deported from Canada for travelling on fake passport, brought to Mumbai airport

A 24-year-old woman from Gujarat was recently deported from Canada for allegedly travelling on a fake Indian passport. She has been arrested by local police who are interrogating her to find out how she committed the crime, and who aided her. According to the Sahar police, the accused, identified as one Komelben Dabgar, is a native of Mehsana, Gujarat. She left for Canada on May 5 from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Andheri (East). She used a student visa and a fake Indian passport, and somehow managed to cheat the authorities at the Indian airport. (Hindustan Times)

Concordia president calls on Canada to open doors and take advantage of Trump effect

The so-called Trump effect is real when it comes to Canadian universities and Ottawa needs to take full advantage by making immigration easier, Concordia University's president said Wednesday. In a speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, Alan Shepard said a wave of "regressive nationalism" has manifested itself in parts of the western world, leading students and academics to consider relocating to Canada. "I am deeply surprised by what's happening in the U.S.," he told reporters after his speech. "I grew up there and spent my first 40 years there and it's pretty difficult to watch." (CTV)

Vancouver couple caught in 'absurd' immigration law limbo launches Supreme Court appeal

Taxi driver Nisreen Ahamed Mohamed Nilam fled Sri Lanka almost a decade ago and successfully claimed refugee status, but he's still waiting to become a full Canadian citizen because his case is snarled in a changes to immigration policy. Nilam, 36, came to Vancouver during a raging civil war in his home country in 2008. His lawyer says he followed the rules when he made two return trips home, but now that Canada's immigration laws have changed, he's caught in a legal limbo. (CBC)

Jagmeet Singh to announce bid for NDP leadership: sources

Jagmeet Singh, the deputy leader of the Ontario NDP, will seek the leadership of the federal New Democrats, CBC News has learned. Multiple sources close to Singh said he will officially announce his candidacy at an event next Monday evening in Brampton, Ont., with the promise of a campaign launch unlike any in the NDP leadership race so far.  (CBC)

Air Canada leaves teen 'trapped' alone overnight at Toronto's Pearson airport

Air Canada cannot use construction at Toronto's Pearson airport as an excuse for forcing a 15-year-old boy to spend a long, scary night alone, says the boy's mother. Derrin Espinola was flying alone on May 1 from Denver to Thunder Bay, with a stopover in Toronto, when a flight delay leaving Denver caused the teen to miss his connecting flight. (CBC)

Ontario’s probation system ‘a joke,’ say offenders

Kyle McLauchlan was convicted of child luring in 2013. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail, three years of probation, and 20 years on the sex offender registry. But just two years later, he committed the same crime. According to sources, not once did a probation or police officer check in on him in the community, to make sure he was following the rules of his release. (Global)

Senate committee calls for Liberals to kill interim Super Hornet purchase

The Senate defence committee released a report Monday blasting the Trudeau government's "political decision" to purchase Super Hornet fighter jets, while all but endorsing the F-35 stealth fighter. The report was the second in a series published by the committee over the last month, the first of which called on the government to double defence spending to two per cent of GDP over the next decade. (CTV)

Science: Liberals Are Less Tolerant Than They Think

Liberals often consider themselves less prejudiced than conservatives, especially compared to those pesky religious fundamentalists! But a great deal of social science research should disabuse them of that notion, if recent events at the University of California-Berkley didn't already. In a stellar Politico article, Matthew Hutson summarized multiple reports suggesting that conservatives, liberals, religious fundamentalists, and anti-religious people all have prejudices against those with opposing vies. "Surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced," Hutson wrote. (PJ Media)

White House defending James Comey sacking and hunts for new FBI chief

The Trump administration began its search for a replacement for ousted FBI director James Comey while fending off questions about the President's abrupt decision to fire the nation's top law enforcement officer. President Donald Trump planned to meet Wednesday with acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, a deputy who took over the agency after Comey's firing, a White House spokeswoman said, as Attorney-General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein spent most of the day interviewing other contenders to hold the job on an interim basis. (AFR)

UK man held near May's office appears in court on terrorism charge

A man arrested near Prime Minister Theresa May's office in London last month appeared in court on Wednesday and was remanded in custody after being charged with terrorism and explosives offences. Khalid Mohammed Omar Ali, 27, of north London, was detained by counter-terrorism officers on Parliament Street, near the parliament building and May's Downing Street office on April 27. (Yahoo)

Islamic terrorists are plotting to kidnap foreigners in tourist hotspots across the Philippines, US Embassy warns

ISIS-linked terrorists are planning to kidnap foreigners in two of the Philippines most popular tourist spots, the US Embassy has warned. The city of Puerto Princesa and the nearby underground river, both located on the island of Palawan and visited by thousands of tourists every day, were named as likely targets. (Daily Mail)

Philippines steps up security after foreign governments warn of kidnap threat

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered his security forces to shoot terrorists on sight after the US, the UK and Canada issued warnings against travel to certain tourist hotspots amid credible information that the Abu Sayyaf and other groups were planning to kidnap foreign nationals. "My order to the security forces is to shoot them on sight; kill them ... expend your bullet to finish the problem, because it is really a problem," the president told reporters before leaving for working visits to Cambodia, Hong Kong and China. (IB Times)

Suspect in California drink-drive crash 'deported 15 times'

A man charged in a drink-driving crash that seriously injured a California boy had been deported to Mexico 15 times in as many years, US officials say. Constantino Banda-Acosta, 38, drove his truck through a stop sign and hit a car carrying a family of three on their way home from a trip to Disneyland. They said they were one block from home when the collision occurred. The six-year-old boy suffered brain trauma and is said to be in a serious condition. The suspect fled but was arrested. (BBC)

Austria convicts asylum seeker of Syria war crimes

An asylum seeker has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Austria after being found guilty of killing 20 people in Syria. The 27-year-old man was accused of shooting unarmed or wounded soldiers following a battle in the city of Homs. The man, who has not been named, had denied the charges. He was arrested in western Austria in June. (BBC)

Inside Venezuela's anti-government protests

Venezuelans angry with the government of President Nicolas Maduro have been taking to the streets almost daily since the beginning of April. Despite dozens of people being killed in protest-related violence, the demonstrations show little sign of abating. Here, demonstrators explain their reasons for protesting, and what they hope will come out of their efforts. (BBC)

Death toll nears 40 as Venezuela protesters hurl feces

Dozens of people were injured and a 27-year-old man killed Wednesday during another day of violent clashes in Venezuela's capital as angry demonstrators demanded elections. National guardsmen launched tear gas and a group of armed pro-government militiamen harassed protesters as they tried to march to the Supreme Court. One masked militia member fired several shots into the air. The militia later dispersed after officers intervened. (CBS)

Far fewer refugees entering US despite travel ban setbacks

Somali refugee Mohamoud Saed was elated when he learned that his wife and eight children had completed the lengthy refugee application process that would allow them to join him in the U.S., reuniting the family for the first time in seven years. But the Saeds never made the trip to the Atlanta suburbs because their travel documents expired during the legal wrangling over President Donald Trump's executive orders to limit the refugee program and ban travel from several countries, including Somalia. They are now living in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, desperate for a permanent, peaceful home. (Yahoo)

Kansas man arrested in Egypt suspected of 'jihadist activities', lied on his passport application and wiped his internet history

A Kansas City man is being held by federal authorities over passport fraud after he returned from Egypt where he was arrested and is now suspected of 'jihadist activities'. Isse Aweis Mohamud, 21, was first reported missing to authorities on April 25 by his family who expressed concerns about why they believed Mohamud left, The Kansas City Star reported. (Daily Mail

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Candice Malcolm: Good news for Canada’s Conservatives

Conservatives in Canada have a lot to be optimistic about. This may seem counter-intuitive, given the recent string of electoral loses that saw conservatives defeated by far-left candidates in Alberta, Ontario and in the federal campaign. Despite these setbacks, Conservative Party faithful can hold their heads high going into their federal party convention later this month. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Tommy Robinson jailed for “attempted journalism”: The latest

Late last night, our UK team member Tommy Robinson tweeted a live video of himself being arrested at 4am London time.  As you probably know, Tommy has been covering the trials of alleged Muslim rape gangs in the UK. Today, police took him away over the filming of one of those reports, one we haven’t even aired yet. (Rebel)

Lorrie Goldstein: Thirty uses for Justin Trudeau’s cardboard cut-outs

So, as it turns out, there are Canadian values! We know this because Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has now explained that the Liberals spent $1,877.24 of our money on 14 life-size cardboard cuts-out of Justin Trudeau for use in Canadian diplomatic missions around the world, “to champion the values that Canadians hold dear”. (Toronto Sun)

Jared Lindzon: As U.S. closes its doors, Canada has chance to attract top tech talent

Silicon Valley is, and is likely to remain, the epicentre of the global tech industry. But with anti-immigration sentiment spreading across the United States – as President Donald Trump seeks to impose travel bans on citizens of other countries and to restrict the use of the H1B visas that allow foreigners to work in the United States – international talent has reason to feel unwanted. That provides an opportunity for other countries, and especially Canada, to attract the best and brightest minds. (Globe and Mail)

John Ivison: Trudeau’s B.C. election intervention may come at a price

Did Justin Trudeau just hand the B.C. election to Christy Clark? In trying to do so, has he risked the wrath of Donald Trump? Those are just two of the questions unanswered after an election in which all three major B.C. parties were able to claim a victory of sorts. Clark’s Liberals were reduced to a minority, but the NDP could soon form government, in coalition with the Greens, who now hold the balance of power. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs meet later today to get a briefing by the Parliamentary Budget Office, Library of Parliament, and Justin Forsyth (8:45am EST) (Partly in Public)

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

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met yesterday to meet with Immigration Consultants (Public)

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