True North Initiative: News Scan 06 01 17

TOP STORIES

New details emerge of Ghanaian woman found dead near Canadian border

More information is being learned about the Ghanaian woman who officials believe died trying to cross the border into Canada. Friends of Mavis Otuteye, 57, told CTV News that she was a religious woman and had been living in Delaware. Her friends say she did not tell them about any plans to move north, but it is believed she may have been planning to move to Toronto to live with her daughter. Officials say her body was found in a drainage ditch in Noyes, Minn., the closest American community to Emerson, Man. (CTV)

With asylum seeker’s reported death, Canada-U.S. crossing debate intensifies

When U.S. authorities found the body of Mavis Otuteye on Friday afternoon, she was in a ditch, about a kilometre from the Manitoba border. The 57-year-old Ghanaian woman had possibly succumbed to hypothermia since being reported missing in Kittson County, Minn., the day before. Authorities believe she was on her way to Canada. Her case, the first known death among a recent spate of asylum seekers entering Canada from the United States at unauthorized border crossings, has renewed calls for federal action to discourage migrants from making the dangerous journey. (Globe and Mail)

Asylum agreement with U.S. to blame for woman's death near border, lawyer says

An agreement between Canada and the United States is to blame for the recent death of Mavis Otuteye, a presumed asylum seeker found dead less than a kilometre from the Canadian border, a Winnipeg immigration lawyer says. "The Canada-U.S. Safe Third Countries Agreement, which took effect Dec. 29, 2004 … sealed her fate," said Bashir Khan on Wednesday. "I think Canadian law is to be held responsible for that woman's death — for that innocent woman's death." (CBC)

'It's just too dangerous': Death near the border was inevitable, U.S. patrol agent says

Scott Webster, a deputy patrol agent in charge of the Pembina Border Station, walks past a gravel road where he has parked his truck to a long, empty drainage ditch in Minnesota. The ditch is less than a kilometre from the Manitoba border and it's where 57-year-old Mavis Otuteye, who police believe was trying to cross into Canada, was found dead. "She was found in the ditch, in the water," Webster said. (CBC)

Ghanaian woman found dead near Manitoba border reportedly trying to reunite with daughter

It was the scenario that residents of Emerson, Man., had been fearing for months — that someone among the throngs who have been crossing the border illegally recently would wind up dead, either from the biting cold or from spring flooding. For it to happen this late in the season, however, caught everyone off guard. “We have a death in conditions we didn’t think were that serious. It’s a little bit unnerving,” said Greg Janzen, reeve of the small Manitoba border community. (National Post)

How Canada could share a million confidential files with expanded global spy network

Canada will screen more than a million visitors, refugee claimants and would-be immigrants per year using confidential files from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. The expansion of the so-called “Five Eyes” intelligence network was authorized under Canadian law earlier this month. It allows the five allies to automatically swap immigration information based on fingerprints or other biometric data. Details about how the new system will work were revealed this week. (National Observer)

Feds pay over $22,000 a day to jail non-dangerous immigration detainees in Ontario

Less than a quarter of the federal immigration detainees held in maximum-security Ontario jails pose a danger to public safety, a document released by the Canada Border Services Agency shows. Federal immigration authorities rent jail space in Ontario to incarcerate 113 detainees, the province’s correctional ministry told Global News Tuesday. But only 27 of them are seen as a danger to the public, the Canada Border Services Agency said this week in answers to written questions filed in April by Matthew Dubé, a Quebec MP. (Global)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Quebec plans to reopen constitutional debate, launch coast-to-coast discussion

Canada's Constitution has become a taboo topic among members of the political class in recent years — but it appears that's about to change. The Canadian Press has learned the Quebec government plans to reopen the constitutional debate and will launch a vast coast-to-coast discussion in the coming months in the hopes of having the province's distinct character officially recognized. (CBC)

Crisis in Venezuela hits Toronto

Amid ongoing mass protests and a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, local Venezuelans gathered at Queen’s Park Saturday, May 13, for what they thought would be a public discussion of ways expatriates could promote peace efforts back home. But officials from the Consulate of Venezuela in Toronto who called for the community gathering never showed. (NOW)

Liberals grow the ranks of permanently gagged public servants

The Liberal government has been expanding the number of public servants subject to lifetime gag orders, placing them under threat of hefty prison sentences should they spill any secrets before they die. Since December, the Privy Council Office has designated at least 94 individuals, some of whom no longer work for the federal government, as "persons permanently bound to secrecy" or PPBS — a binding legal order intended to enforce their silence. (CBC)

Liberals’ fundraising bill fails to quell cash-for-access charges

The Liberals have introduced a bill to increase the transparency around party fundraisers, but the opposition is still accusing the government of allowing cash-for-access events. The legislation, called Bill C-50, would apply to any fundraising event featuring the prime minister, cabinet, party leaders or leadership contenders. It would require all events that cost $200 or more to attend to be advertised five days in advance, including location and contact information for the person holding it, and for political parties to report the names of who attended to Elections Canada within a month. The information would later be posted online. (Globe and Mail)

Liberal Pot Bill Could See Kids Recruited As 'Drug Mules' By Dealers, Tories Argue

Marilyn Gladu made the charge in the House of Commons Tuesday while debating Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, tabled by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould last month. Gladu and other Conservatives argued that the bill will not achieve what Liberals have called its central purpose: to keep the drug out of the hands of children. In particular, Tories seized on how C-45 deals with children caught with under five grams of the drug, and a provision allowing adults over the age of 18 to grow up to four cannabis plants per residence, as long as they're under a metre high. (Huffington Post)

Homolka volunteered at Montreal elementary school; superintendent says no reason for concern

As Karla Homolka rushed past news cameras and photographers snapping pictures in front of her children’s private Christian school in Montreal, a woman was pacing behind her, screaming and clapping her hands. “In the name of Jesus, leave her alone,” she yelled at the throng of reporters. “It is written that everyone of us is sinful and we must forgive, because God is a forgiving God. Leave her alone.” (National Post)

Scores killed, Canadian embassy damaged in Kabul bombing

A powerful bomb hidden in a sewage tanker exploded in the morning rush hour in the center of Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least 80 people, wounding hundreds more and damaging embassy buildings, including Canada’s, in the Afghan capital’s unofficial “Green Zone.” The victims of the explosion at a busy intersection appeared mainly to have been Afghan civilians on their way to work or school, including office workers whose nearby buildings did not have the protection of the blast walls that fortify the zone. (Globe and Mail)

Toronto 18 Terrorist Says He Wants To Get Out Of Jail And Fight For ISIS

The leader of the notorious Toronto 18 terrorist group — who planned numerous terror attacks — won’t be getting parole. He told a psychiatrist that he plans to join ISIS when he gets out of jail. But parole or not, Fahim Ahmad is still scheduled to get out of prison in January 2018. The previous Conservative government stripped Ahmad of his Canadian citizenship, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have advanced legislation that is now before the Senate that would restore his citizenship. (Daily Caller)

Joe Biden to announce PAC, signals potential 2020 run for president

Former Vice President Joe Biden will announce on Thursday the formation of a political action committee (PAC), a signal that he is at least considering a possible run for president in 2020, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. Biden’s PAC will be called “American Possibilities” and run by his former aide Greg Schultz, who also worked on President Barack Obama‘s two White House campaigns, the paper said. (Global)

Global Peace Index 2017: World slightly more peaceful than last year/Terrorism on the rise

The number of countries seeing a record number of deaths from terrorism rose to 23. Among those were Denmark, Sweden, France and Turkey. Researchers found that 60% of countries now have a higher rate of terrorism than they did 10 years ago. (BBC)

Venezuela devalues currency in crisis dollar sale

Crisis-hit Venezuela devalued its currency by 64 percent in a dollar auction that aimed to stabilize its foreign exchange market, officials said Wednesday. Under an overhauled official exchange system, the government let investors bid for the dollars at a new higher rate in what President Nicolas Maduro said was an effort to undermine the black market. (Yahoo)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Candice Malcolm: Trudeau’s open border policy has a price

A woman is dead after trying to make the illegal trek into Canada along an unpatrolled part of the Canada – U.S. border. The 57-year-old woman from Ghana is believed to have died from hypothermia. Her body was found near Emerson, Manitoba — a popular destination for migrants looking to bypass Canadian immigration rules and take advantage of our generous landed asylum program. (Toronto Sun)

Sheila Gunn Reid: Trudeau's open border leads to illegal migrants death

A 57-year-old woman, originally from Ghana, has died after trying to illegally enter into Canada. Her body was found in a Minnesota ditch about 1 km from the town of Emerson, Manitoba. Initial reports say she succumbed to hypothermia.  For months now, Conservative Immigration critic Michelle Rempel, a former Manitoban herself, has been calling on the federal government to tell these illegal migrants that crossing the border this way is unsafe. (Rebel)

Anthony Furey: Kathy Griffin is a wake-up call to tone down the anti-Trump hysteria

Don’t lay all of the blame on Kathy Griffin. The shock comedian was simply following the lead of our broader anti-Trump culture. It was only a matter of time before it came to this. But before we dig in, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way. Nobody should gleefully pose for a picture with the pretend severed head of the president of the United States. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Bonokoski: Kathy Griffin rightly flushed down toilet for disturbing Donald Trump beheading

There is disgusting, and then there is Kathy Griffin. A C-lister in the pecking order of Hollywood and New York lefties, she is finally famous as the most degenerate of them all. Griffin thought it would be fun — even funny — to channel her inner ISIS, and hold up the head of a decapitated U.S. President Donald Trump, all gory and bloodied and frighteningly realistic. (Toronto Sun)

Azeezah Kanji: No 'us' and 'them' in the war on terror

The images of the aftermath of the Manchester attack have been devastating: families stricken with grief for children lost, a country’s sense of safety and security shattered. As Canadians, we are able to mourn the lives lost in Manchester last Monday because our media shows us their faces and tells us their stories — an attention hardly ever accorded to those living under the daily terror of the war on terror initiated by the United States. (Metro)

Michael Petrou: Canada should join its closest allies and return to Afghanistan

Last week, during the NATO summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ruled out sending Canadian troops back to Afghanistan — despite requests from NATO commanders that member states contribute more soldiers to an ongoing training mission. "Canada has always been recognized as one of the go-to partners in NATO," Trudeau said, while essentially suggesting the alliance "go to" some other partner because Canada has already done its share. This is a mistake. Afghanistan — a country that 158 Canadian soldiers died defending — is teetering on the edge of a dark abyss. (CBC)

Mark Mackinnon: Deadly Kabul bombing the latest in a raging Afghanistan war

The sewage tanker that exploded in the centre of Kabul on Wednesday – leaving at least 80 people dead and damaging several foreign embassies, including Canada’s – was a bloody reminder that the long war for Afghanistan is far from over. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States made plain why stability in Afghanistan matters to the rest of the world. Despite that – and despite all the blood and money spent there by Canada and other Western countries earlier this century – Afghanistan’s multisided war has become a forgotten conflict. (Globe and Mail)

Chuck Strahl: An insider’s view of the final week of Andrew Scheer’s campaign

To no one’s surprise, the Conservative Party’s leadership race went down to the wire, and Andrew Scheer’s win came on the final ballot by the narrowest of margins. The two frontrunners—Scheer and Maxime Bernier—were seated side-by-side on the convention floor, and observers could watch the two of them on a single TV shot throughout the day as the field narrowed and tensions increased. There was no horse-trading or deal-making because the votes were already in, and by Saturday it was simply a numbers game and a computer crunch. But it was a different mood on Friday, when tactics and strategy were still being played out, and the full week before. (Macleans)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security met yesterday for committee business (In Camera)

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met yesterday to study Immigration to Atlantic Canada (Public)

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet later today to study Canada and the Defence of North America (In Camera)