True North Initiative: News Scan 06 13 17

TOP STORIES

Refugee background checks may have been flawed: Memo

Justin Trudeau’s fast-tracked Syrian refugee program may not have conducted proper background checks in some cases, a government memo obtained by the Toronto Sun reveals. The memo — dated November 2015 and compiled by civil servants in the department of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) — raises serious questions about the screening and vetting Syrian refugees received before coming to Canada. (Toronto Sun)

Starting today, some Canadian companies can bring in foreign workers in as little as 2 weeks

A federal program to allow Canadian companies to bring in foreign workers within two weeks officially started June 12. The plan, which was fleshed out in the federal budget, is part of Ottawa’s so-called Global Skills Strategy, an effort to help Canadian employers attract the world’s best and brightest. Today marks the start of a $7.8-million, two-year pilot run that will be a test case for whether the program should be made a mainstay of Canada’s immigration policy (Global)

'My life has totally changed': Asylum seeker who lost fingers to frostbite appearing before refugee board

Razak Iyal hopes Tuesday will mark the end of an arduous, five-year journey to Canada. The 34-year-old Ghanaian asylum seeker has a hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board scheduled for Tuesday afternoon where an IRB member will decide his refugee status. (Metro) (CBC)

Here’s why Canadians often aren’t told about bomb threats, according to security experts

The subway system shuttling people through Canada’s largest city has received 34 bomb threats since the beginning of 2014 — but the public didn’t hear about most of them. “In Canada, we’ve been very low-key in our communications about threat and how to manage it. We tend to keep it quieter rather than talk up what the threat will be,” said crime specialist Ross McLean. (Global)

U.S. rebukes Canada over Chinese takeover of Norsat

The Trudeau government’s decision to greenlight a Chinese takeover of a Canadian high-tech firm that sells satellite-communication systems to the American military jeopardizes U.S. national security, a congressional commission warned Monday and urged the Pentagon to “immediately review” its dealings with Vancouver-based Norsat International. (Globe and Mail)

ISLAMIC STATE CALLS FOR RAMADAN ATTACKS IN US, EUROPE

The Islamic State group is calling on supporters to carry out attacks in the United States and Europe during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that began two weeks ago. In an audiotape circulated online Monday, spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer praised last week's attacks in Iran's capital, saying the country is "weaker than a spider's web" and calling for more assaults. (Associated Press)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Immigration officers held for illegally sending 53 Indians to Canada

The Sahar police have busted an immigrants-transporting racket, which was operating with the help of two immigration officers at the Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport. The officers, who were arrested on Sunday, have confessed to helping illegally transport 53 Indians to Canada over two years, while working with three agents. (Mid-day)

Government to speed up permit processing for foreign high-skilled workers

A federal government initiative promises to make it easier and faster for companies to bring high-skilled, temporary workers to Canada, but one expert on innovation policy says the measure doesn't provide the long-term recruitment solutions Canadian businesses need. The Global Talent Stream, part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, is available to employers who meet one of two criteria. (CBC)

Newcomers to Canada have better cancer survival rates than non-immigrants. Here’s why

Do Canadian-born cancer patients fare better than recent newcomers to the country? That’s what Toronto doctors guessed, but their research proved them wrong. Recent immigrants to Canada are 14 per cent less likely to die of their cancer than non-immigrants, according to a new study published Monday out of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. (Global)

How Americans see Trudeau: Poll says it's mostly positive, with caveats

A new poll offers some insight into how American respondents see foreign leaders, including Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Americans have a more favourable than unfavourable view of Trudeau, according to the survey by Public Policy Polling. It says he's viewed positively by 31 per cent of Americans, negatively by 20 per cent, and is unknown to almost half of respondents. (Times Colonist)

Canada considering NATO request for police trainers in Afghanistan, Sajjan says

The federal government is considering a NATO request to send police trainers to Afghanistan, but Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Canada’s military focus remains in Iraq. “As any good allied partner does, we will look at that request,” Sajjan said Monday after a news conference highlighting the Defence Department’s new, 10-year defence policy, which was rolled out last week. (Toronto Star)

Canada and U.S. remain 'quite far apart' on softwood lumber, Freeland says

Canada and the United States remain "quite far apart" on negotiating a softwood lumber settlement, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday, suggesting that any hopes for a swift resolution may be dashed. Freeland offered the blunt assessment before meeting members of Quebec's forestry sector, who for nearly two months have been charged duties for shipping softwood south of the border. (CBC)

Minister says pricey defence strategy needed after 'under-investment' in Forces

Canada's defence minister is defending an ambitious and expensive strategy for the future of the Canadian Armed Forces, despite criticism from one Halifax-based military analyst that it invests in the wrong areas.  Harjit Sajjan is in Halifax today to promote the Liberal government's new long-term strategy, which aims to increase defence spending by over 70 per cent to $32.7 billion by 2027. (CBC)

Malcolm Turnbull to stamp authority on national security

Mr Turnbull will use the national security update in Federal Parliament to shift the focus away from former prime minister Tony Abbott and climate change, and lay the foundation for tougher laws that try to insulate the country from terror attacks. The move comes as security fences have been erected around Parliament House after protracted meetings and negotiations with key MPs and security agencies. (Courier Mail)

Malcolm Turnbull To Push Citizenship Changes For Australia's 'New Reality'

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is to press controversial citizenship proposals in a national security statement to federal parliament on Tuesday which also assures Australians that authorities are keeping ahead of Islamist terrorism while defining a "new reality" in a time of "global instability". (Huffington Post)

Norway to ban full-face Muslim veil in all schools

The Norwegian government on Monday proposed a bill to ban the full-face Muslim veil in all schools, from nurseries to universities, saying it hinders communication between students and teachers. Norway's ruling coalition of conservative and anti-immigration rightwing parties had promised the ban last year, targeting the full-face veil called the niqab as well as burqas, balaclavas and masks. (Yahoo)

Mosul displaced hit by food poisoning in Iraqi camp

Hundreds of people have fallen ill and a child has died of suspected food poisoning at a camp for displaced people near the Iraqi city of Mosul. People were said to be vomiting and suffering dehydration after an iftar meal, to break the daily Ramadan fast. (BBC)

Panama cuts ties with Taiwan in favour of China

Panama has cut long-standing diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established relations with China, in a diplomatic coup for Beijing. The Panamanian government said it recognised there was "only one China" and considered Taiwan part of it. Taiwan expressed "anger and regret", and accused Panama of "bullying". (BBC)

Israel approves Palestinian move to pressure Hamas with electricity cuts

Israel has approved a request by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to cut by roughly a third the electricity it provides to the Gaza Strip. The move is aimed at undermining the Islamic militant group Hamas, which has controlled Gaza for the last decade. (LA Times)

North Korea 'most urgent' threat to security: Mattis

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday that North Korea's advancing missile and nuclear programs were the "most urgent" threat to national security and that its means to deliver them had increased in speed and scope. (Reuters)

North Korea is now ‘only one step away’ from launching a nuclear missile which can hit America, US expert warns

A TOP expert has claimed North Korea’s military is just one step away from launching a nuclear–tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US. Jeffrey Lewis, an American expert on Kim’s Jong-un’s military, believes the only hurdle left is to develop a warhead capable of handling the extreme heat encountered during re-entry into our atmosphere. (The Sun.co.uk)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Anthony Furey: A whole lot of people owe Kellie Leitch an apology

Before Canadian politics gets into the summer doldrums and everyone moves on from discussing the Conservative leadership race, there’s a bit of unfinished business to cover off. We’ve now learned from the liberal media that Andrew Scheer is an evil man who harbours secret, extreme socially conservative ideas to harm Canada. You know, like a "hidden agenda”. Don’t let the smile and dimples fool you. (Toronto Sun)

Jerry Agar: Treat ISIS videos like child porn

What can we do to fight terrorism? The answer is different depending on our responsibility. The military has one task, different from each city’s police force, while politicians have authority and responsibility in both those areas. We, as citizens, are asked to be vigilant and forthcoming as in: “If you see something, say something.” (Toronto Sun)

Barbara Kay: The West’s willful blindness to the threat of Islamist terrorism knows no bounds

In January 2016, a 24-year-old woman in Mannheim, Germany was reportedly raped by three migrants. At first, she identified them to police as German nationals, later explaining her lie as reluctance to “help fuel aggressive racism.” Then, astonishingly, she wrote a letter of apology to her attackers in which she blamed her society for their crime, saying “I wanted an open Europe, a friendly one … You, you aren’t safe here, because we live in a racist society. … You are not the problem. You are not a problem at all.”  (National Post)

Campbell Clark: Trudeau’s hard line on foreign aid won’t help re-elect him

Billions for the military and a lump of coal for foreign aid. Justin Trudeau has turned out to be hard-nosed enough to make Liberal foreign policy more hard-nosed when he had to – in the dog-eat-dog world of 2017. But politically, that’s not where he wants to be when he heads for re-election in 2019. (Globe and Mail)

Andrew Coyne: Our unelected Senate has no business rewriting federal budgets

At time of writing, Bill C-44, legislation enacting the federal budget, had yet to come to a vote in the House of Commons. Its passage was nevertheless assured: a formality, in fact, for any government with a majority. On the other hand the bill is reported to be in some jeopardy in the Senate, where senators are threatening to rewrite it, specifically to split off the controversial infrastructure bank for separate consideration. (National Post)

John Ivison: Liberal child-care plan smacks of ticking boxes as opposed to meaningful reform

The mental image conjured up by the government’s deal with the provinces and territories on day-care was of a friend’s jet-ski that somehow managed to burst into flames and sink at the same time. In this case, the odd juxtaposition is of a government that is, at the same time, spending too little and too much on child care. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs meet today to study Canada’s Development Finance Initiative (Public) (8:45AM EST)

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety met yesterday to study Subject Matter of Supplementary Estimates (A) 2017-18 (Public)

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet today for committee business (Partly in Public) (3:30PM EST)