True North Initiative: News Scan 05 25 17

TOP STORIES

Canada brings home 1 of 2 Aurora surveillance planes from anti-ISIS mission

One of the Canadian air force spy planes assigned to the campaign against the Islamic State has been quietly withdrawn and brought home, CBC News has learned. The CP-140 Aurora, with a suite of high-tech surveillance equipment, was one of two that had been flying missions over northern Iraq and Syria since the fall of 2014. The decision to bring one of the turboprop aircraft home was not announced by the Liberal government, which recently extended the deployment of the Canadian military, including special forces trainers on the ground, until the end of June. (CBC)

Justin Trudeau faces next Trump test at NATO and G7 meetings

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Canadian Forces jet touched down in Brussels last night, he landed on a continent poised to host the NATO and G7 summits and bracing for the chaos that flew here on Air Force One. The multi-summit agenda will focus on defence, terrorism, trade and climate change. But much of the conversation will centre around people seeking Canada's advice on how to deal with the world's biggest wild card — Donald Trump. (CBC)

Be alert but do not fear terrorism, advises security expert

While terrorist attacks are becoming more frequent, the chances of being killed in one are much less than drowning in your own bathtub. So says Phil Gurski, a former analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and now head of his own security consulting firm, Borealis Threat and Risk Consultants. (Radio Canada)

Canadians in ISIS: A threat when they return to Canada?

At a workshop organized by CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, in October 2015, the threat of foreign fighters returning to Canada was assessed in stark terms. Some believed the threat to be mitigated by the fact that Canadian foreign fighters disproportionately tend to die in combat — foreigners go first when it comes time to blow themselves up. Those who don’t die often choose to remain in Muslim countries post-combat, or come home disillusioned and wanting to lead a normal life. But the CSIS workshop, a report of which was obtained through access to information legislation, also heard from less optimistic analysts who said they believed the returnees represent “a major and unparalleled threat to the West.” (Montreal Gazette)

Canada deploys alternate numbers as secret weapon in defence-spending fight

The federal government has been using a secret weapon to fight back against pressure from NATO and some allies like the United States to increase Canadian defence spending. The weapon? New math. The Department of National Defence has compiled new figures to illustrate more directly how different countries calculate their defence spending compared to Canada. (CTV)

Multiple arrests across Manchester in wake of suicide bombing

A Libyan security spokesperson says another brother of the alleged Manchester suicide bomber has been arrested, along with his father, in connection with Monday night's attack at pop concert. Both arrests happened in Tripoli. Ahmed bin Salem, a spokesperson for a Libyan anti-terror force, said the younger brother of Salman Abedi, Hashim, was detained on Tuesday. Bin Salem gave no further details. (CBC) (CTV)

Iran has built third underground ballistic missile factory: Fars news agency

Iran has built a third underground ballistic missile production factory and will keep developing its missile program, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Thursday, in a development likely to fuel tension with Arab neighbors and Washington. "Iran's third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years ... We will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully," Fars quoted the head of the Republican Guard’s airspace division, Amirali Hajizadeh, as saying. (Reuters)

Daughter of winery owners facing trial in China pleads for Trudeau to intervene

The daughter of two Canadian winery owners who face a criminal trial on Friday in Shanghai for allegedly failing to pay sufficient duties on shipments to China is pleading for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene. Amy Chang says the Chinese government has criminalized a commercial dispute and that her parents’ treatment over the past 14 months should serve as a warning to people looking to do business in China, particularly because Mr. Trudeau’s government is trying to kick-start negotiations on a trade deal with Beijing. (Globe and Mail)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

After denying entry, Canada gives retd CRPF IG free ticket

A week after he was denied entry, the Canada government on Wednes day offered free air ticket to retired CRPF inspector general Tejinder Singh Dhillon. He was denied entry on May 19 at Vancouver airport on charges that he represented a "government that engages in human rights violation, genocide". (Times of India)

Canada considers giving UN funds for victims of peacekeeping sex abuse

Canada is in talks with the United Nations about donating money to a special trust fund set up for victims of sexual abuse by peacekeepers, a senior UN official revealed on Wednesday. Atul Khare, the under-secretary-general for peacekeeping field support, wouldn't say how much Canada is looking to provide for the Trust Fund in Support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. (Metro)

MP backs petition calling for government to do more for LGBT refugees

A formal petition is calling on the Liberals to do more to help LGBTQ refugees into Canada. Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel is sponsoring the petition, which demands that the government to condemn attacks against LGBTQ minorities in both Iran and Chechnya. Rempel said the Canadian government has to speak out on these issues. (Metro)

More than a million restricted, prohibited guns in Canada

A year and a half after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government came to office promising to tighten Canada's gun laws, there are now more than a million restricted and prohibited firearms across the country. The number of restricted firearms in Canada rose 5.5 per cent last year, reaching its highest point in more than a decade, according to the annual report from the RCMP's commissioner of firearms. There are now 839,295 restricted firearms, many of them handguns. (CBC)

Refugees 'in the crosshairs' as Legal Aid Ontario battles for government funding, advocates warn

Moves by Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) to slash services for refugees have immigration advocates sounding the alarm, saying the measures threaten to hold vulnerable asylum seekers hostage in the organization's fight for added government funding. The mounting concern comes as the arm's-length provincial agency launches a consultation process to look into what it calls the "difficult choice" to temporarily suspend some of the services, beginning July 1. (CBC)

'No one chooses to be a refugee': Manitoba refugees share stories, tackle misconceptions

People who now call Manitoba home but came to Canada as refugees shared their stories in Winnipeg on Tuesday night to expand the conversation around the recent increase in refugee claimants and asylum seekers.  Louise Simbandumwe, a volunteer with Amnesty International, said the event was "[To] talk about the need to ensure that we have a compassionate and human rights-based response." (CBC)

More money needed to support shelter services for refugees

City council approved a proposal Wednesday to allocate an additional $4.5 million to the shelter and housing office in order to extend services for homeless and destitute refugees until the end of 2017. Part of the new funding will also seek an agreement for COSTI Immigrant Services, a local group helping newcomers, to help manage shelter programs for refugees run out of various hotels. (Metro)

Military helicopters hover over Windsor in urban flight training

Canadian military helicopters drew plenty of attention in Windsor as they executed urban flight training exercises over the downtown Wednesday.  The choppers flew in along the Detroit River and hovered over the Chrysler building as they simulated dropping ground troops onto the roof. The exercise is designed to help train for hostile situations where the military is needed to secure a building. (CBC)

U.K. police stop sharing Manchester attack info with U.S. after leaks

British police have stopped sharing information on the suicide bombing in Manchester with the United States, a British counter-terrorism source told Reuters on Thursday after police said leaks to U.S. media risked hindering their investigation. Police are hunting for a possible bomb-maker after the 22-year-old attacker, British-born Salman Abedi, detonated a sophisticated device at a concert venue packed with children on Monday night, killing 22 people and injuring 64. (Globe and Mail)

Venezuela’s Secret Plot to Sell Banned Syrian Oil in U.S. Market

Syria and Venezuela plotted in recent years to evade international sanctions on Syria through a secret deal to transport its crude oil through Russia to the Caribbean. The previously undisclosed plan aimed to sell Syrian oil at a big discount to Venezuela through a Russian shell company, which would send it to Aruba for refining and distribution to gas stations in the U.S. and elsewhere, according to dozens of emails, documents and interviews. (Bloomberg)

On the frontline of Venezuela's punishing protests

It starts with a distant rumble, and then a chanted countdown from the demonstrators packed tight along the Caracas freeway. As the count reaches zero, the crowds briefly part, and a file of young protesters – faces covered by T-shirts or makeshift gas masks – rush forward to confront heavily armed riot police. (Guardian)

NGO: Dozens of Venezuelan Soldiers Detained for Plotting ‘Insurrection’

The Venezuelan Penal Forum (FPV), an NGO active in the South American country, reports that the military has arrested between 50 and 60 Venezuelan soldiers and changed them with insufficient loyalty to dictator Nicolás Maduro. (Breitbart)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Time to stand up for Western civilization

A jihadist terrorist targeted and murdered children and young adults enjoying a pop concert in Manchester.Among the 22 killed was eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos. According to a teacher at her school, “Saffie was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word. She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly.” (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Dozens of jihadists are walking free in Canada

Could a Manchester-style attack happen here in Canada? The answer, sadly, is a resounding "yes." Asking why it hasn’t happened yet is perhaps more to the point. That’s because we’ve already got jihadists like Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old behind the horrific concert attack, right here on home turf. Dozens of them. Perhaps over a hundred. (Toronto Sun)

Terry Glavin: We're shedding idiotic talk about terrorism

The most dramatic event that occurred in Britain this week may or may not have been the “huge bomb-like bang” that Ariana Grande concert-goers began to call in to Greater Manchester Police at 10:35 p.m. on Monday night, with eyewitness reports of dead and dismembered teenagers strewn around the foyer of the Manchester Arena. It may or may not have been even the most important thing that happened in Manchester. (Ottawa Citizen)

Elizabeth Renzetti: Why terror attacks on children are truly terrifying

The sound of shrieking in those videos from the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester was heartbreaking. Girls are supposed to scream at concerts. They are often mocked for it, but who cares? They are giddy and joyful, listening to their favourite pop stars with their moms or their friends by their side. It is a moment of liberation, a rite of passage. (Globe and Mail)

Susan Delacourt: The Liberals are hinting at new rules limiting 'foreign interference' in elections

It isn’t exactly an American-style brawl over “rigged campaigns” — not nearly as sexy as Russian dabbling in a U.S. presidential election — but Canada’s Conservatives increasingly seem to be spoiling for a fight over foreign interference in this country’s elections. Here’s the thing, though: They may not get the argument they’re anticipating from Justin Trudeau’s government. In fact, Conservatives and Liberals — perhaps even all parties — may soon end up on the same side when it comes to stricter controls on offshore influence in the next election. All-party unity on democratic reform — it’s been a while since we’ve heard that. (IPolitics)

Konrad Yakabuski: To burst Trudeau's bubble, Conservatives need a sharper edge

The best thing that can be said about the Conservative leadership race is that Kevin O’Leary dropped out. The Tories can thank their reality-TV stars that they won’t be led by a blustery Trump-lite populist with a political best-before date destined to expire well before 2019. The Conservatives need serious and substantive leadership and Canadians deserve an Official Opposition that can deliver it. Our current Liberal government seems to be already sliding toward mid-mandate aimlessness, such are the daily platitudes emerging from the mouth of the Prime Minister, who often seems to have grown bored of the inconveniences of governing. The latter involves making difficult arbitrages and offering a sense of direction to the country. Other than standing for some stock Liberal values, such as diversity and multilateralism, Justin Trudeau seeks to avoid tough decisions, lest making them burst the sunny bubble he lives in. (Globe and Mail)

Justin Ling: Discontent and skepticism

An ambitious plan to launch a nationwide consultation on Canada’s national security regime didn’t go over well, according to internal reports prepared by the federal government. Academics, experts, and businesses confided to Ottawa “discontent with how the questions are framed” and consistently expressed “skepticism of the need for new investigatory powers,” according to documents obtained by VICE News under the Access to Information Act. (VICE)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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