True North Initiative: News Scan 06 15 17

TOP STORIES

Liberal national security bill to boost federal border agency accountability

The Liberal government plans to introduce wide-ranging national security legislation next week that will include more robust oversight of Canada's border agency. In addition to new eyes looking over the shoulder of the Canada Border Services Agency, the package will propose changes to ensure existing security watchdogs can exchange information and collaborate more easily on reviews, The Canadian Press has learned. (Metro) (VICE)

Shoddy Processing And No Background Checks For Refugees, Says Memo

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put speed ahead of thoroughness when bringing Syrian refuges in the country, the Toronto Sun reports. A memo obtained by the paper suggests the screening process used to do background checks on the refugees was rushed and replete with errors. The document is from November 2015 when the Trudeau government, flush with its recent electoral triumph, decided to follow-through on its promise to open up the borders to Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war in that country. (Daily Caller

Liberal MPs to call for broadband Internet tax to fund Canadian media

A Liberal-dominated committee will be calling for a 5-per-cent tax on broadband Internet services to fund Canada’s media industries, which are struggling to adapt to technological changes and evolving consumer habits, sources said. The move would add hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to the Canadian Media Fund, which already receives a levy on cable bills to finance the production of Canadian content. However, it would open up the government to accusations that it is once again raising taxes on consumers. (Globe and Mail)

Problems brewing for budget bill as senators take aim at annual alcohol tax hikes

The Liberal government's budget bill is facing sustained resistance in the Red Chamber from all sides, with a cross-partisan group of senators taking issue with provisions that would automatically raise taxes on alcohol each year in Canada. (CBC)

Trudeau mum on what U.S. said about Chinese takeover of Norsat

Canada’s top envoy to Washington says he doesn’t personally know whether the United States objected to a Chinese investor’s takeover of a Vancouver company that sells sensitive satellite technology to the American military. Ambassador David MacNaughton told a Senate committee in Ottawa on Wednesday that he thought the Americans “were consulted and they did not ask us to conduct a full review.” (Globe and Mail)

Six bills to watch as Parliament winds down

The House can rise any day now, with MPs returning to their ridings to kick off the summer barbecue circuit. But before they flee the capital, there are a handful of bills that are so close to passing they may just see them to the end. On others, they'll want to see significant progress before leaving town. Here are six bills to watch as Parliament wraps up this month. (CTV)

Scalise in critical condition after gunman opens fire at congressional baseball practice in Virginia

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, the House majority whip, is in critical condition, hospital officials said Wednesday evening, after he and three others were shot by a gunman this morning while members of Congress were practicing for a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia. Officers returned fire at the suspect, who has since died, authorities said. (ABC)

Republican fundraiser Kelly Knight Craft to be new U.S. ambassador to Canada

Kelly Knight Craft will be nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump as the next ambassador to Canada, according to a statement from the White House. The White House has reached out to officials at the Canadian embassy in Washington to make their intentions known. (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Give cities bigger role in immigration, N.B. advocate tells MPs

Municipalities need more power to make decisions about immigration, the head of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council told a Commons committee on Wednesday. "Where immigration is controlled at a federal level, integration happens at a local level," Alex LeBlanc, the executive director of the council, said in a presentation to the standing committee on citizenship and immigration. (CBC)

Family faced with deportation: ‘Returning to Guatemala is returning to death’

A family of seven living in Edmonton is desperate for help and says a deportation order will tear their tight-knit family apart. Through an interpreter, the parents of five children told Global News a border agent confirmed flights out of the country have been booked for July. “I’ve never been apart from my children,” Yolanda Duarte Martinez said through tears. “I’ve always been with them.” (Global)

Modernized military will put more emphasis on cyber attacks, defence minister says

To modernize for warfare in the 21st century the Canadian Armed Forces will put increased emphasis on training to deal with cyber attacks, and plans to recruit more cyber specialists, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Wednesday in Edmonton. (CBC)

PMO says it can't reveal staff salaries over 'privacy considerations'

The Liberal government says it would violate privacy law to reveal the salary details of top aides to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who are earning at least $150,000 annually. A spokesman for the Privy Council Office said Wednesday evening that fewer than 10 PMO staff earn more than 150,000 but refused to name them or even provide an exact number. (CTV)

Ottawa to unveil details of $2B carbon fund to most, not all, provinces

Eight provinces and all three territories will share $2 billion in federal funds to help them cut their greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has scheduled a news conference Thursday in Ottawa, where she will finally unveil details of how the Liberal government’s promised Low Carbon Economy Fund will work. (Global)

Durham University Islamic Society hands out booklets ‘encouraging terrorism’ written by radical preacher banned from UK

Copies of the extremist’s ‘Answers to Non-Muslims’ Common Questions About Islam’ were available from one of the stalls in March, The Tab reports. The booklet states ‘every Muslim should be a terrorist to anti-social elements in society’. MPs reacted with fury to the gaffe, with Tory MP Andrew Bridgen storming: “These young people are supposed to be among our brightest and best. It is deeply concerning. (The Sun.co.uk)

Sanders condemns shooter who 'apparently' volunteered on campaign

Sen. Bernie Sanders took to the Senate floor Wednesday to condemn the suspect in the GOP baseball practice shooting whom the Vermont senator said "apparently volunteered" for his presidential campaign. (CNN)

London fire: Twelve dead in Grenfell Tower blaze

Twelve people have died in a west London tower block fire and the number of deaths is expected to rise, police have said. Firefighters rescued 65 people from Grenfell Tower in north Kensington, after they were called at 00:54 BST. Witnesses said people were trapped in the tower block, and that some jumped from windows in an effort to escape. (BBC)

More than 12,000 tweets have called for Trump's assassination since the inauguration

More than 12,000 tweets have called for President Donald Trump's assassination since he was inaugurated two weeks ago, according to Dataminr statistics.  Social media users like Zachary Benton, 24, of Ohio have already been charged with threatening the president, while Madonna came under fire for saying she wanted to 'blow up' the White House during the Women's March in Washington DC. (Daily Mail)

Venezuela's child malnutrition crisis grows

Despite being an oil-rich country, Venezuela is facing record levels of child malnutrition as it experiences severe shortages of food and an inflation rate of over 700%. The Venezuelan Health Ministry says child mortality has also jumped 30% in the last year. The BBC’s Vladimir Hernandez met some of the families struggling to cope. (BBC)

Turkey jails UN judge in 'breach of diplomatic immunity'

The United Nations says Turkey's decision to convict one its judges is a breach of both diplomatic immunity and a binding legal order. Judge Aydin Sefa Akay, from the UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, was convicted of being a member of a designated terrorist group. He faces more than seven years in prison if an appeal fails. (BBC)

ISIS drones are attacking U.S. troops and disrupting airstrikes in Raqqa, officials say

Islamic State drones are attacking U.S. Special Operations forces located around the group’s de-facto capital of Raqqa in Syria, U.S. officials and Syrian fighters said, sometimes disrupting the ability of American troops to call in airstrikes. The Pentagon, in response, is looking to send additional anti-drone equipment and troops into Syria, according to one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss planning. (Washington Post)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Candice Malcolm: Syrian refugee process bungled by Trudeau

New details emerged this week revealing the chaos surrounding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2015 pledge to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees on a fast-tracked timeline. As reported exclusively in the Sun, an internal government memo suggests the Trudeau government did not conduct proper background checks and security screening on some Syrian refugees coming into Canada. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Focus more on privately sponsored refugees

We’ve learned some alarming news from a series of stories by Candice Malcolm concerning Canada’s recent Syrian refugee intake. Internal government documents revealed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise to admit 25,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees (and another 25,000 privately-sponsored refugees) caused profound headaches for social services across the country and set up many who came here seeking a new life for failure. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Today's extreme vilification of the right paves the way for violence

An important reaction to Wednesday morning’s shooting of Republican politicians playing baseball in Virginia came from Congressman Rodney Davis: “We can have policy differences but when you see rhetoric and stories about how policies are killing people, this could be a result of that,” he said on television. Davis, a Republican from Illinois, was there on the field when it happened, appearing as a first-hand witness on Fox News. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Shooting politicians, America's 'first act' of political terrorism

Out of the roiling partisan vitriol that presently divides the United States has emerged what can only be described as political terrorism. It now appears to be open season on politicians. What happened Wednesday when a rifle-wielding gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice for a charity match would have been a lot worse if not for the presence of GOP Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: The unbearable smugness of Chrystia Freeland

Properly funding our military is a legitimate goal of the federal government. So why do the Trudeau Liberals feel the need to dress it up in the form of smug criticism of President Donald Trump and our American neighbours, as they did last week? (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Liberals’ foreign policy statement not a sign relationship with U.S. has soured, ambassador says

Canada’s ambassador in Washington says that, even though the Americans “can act like bullies,” the Trudeau government’s recent foreign policy statement is a “recognition of reality,” not a sign the relationship is breaking up. (National Post)

Jonathan Manthorpe: Australia's not ready to trust China. Why are we?

Australians have been warned by two of their most senior security officials that their country is the target of Chinese espionage and influence-buying “on an unprecedented scale.” “This has the potential to cause serious harm to the nation’s sovereignty, the integrity of our political system, our national security capabilities and other interests,” Duncan Lewis, the director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), said last month. (IPolitics)

Andrew Coyne: Rush to sell Norsat raises troubling questions about Trudeau’s approach to China

Since coming to power, the Trudeau Liberals have made a point of seeking closer relations with the People’s Republic of China. It would be hard to be more distant, certainly, than the relations that sometimes prevailed during the Harper era. But the Liberals seem determined to err in the other direction. (National Post)

Thomas Walkom: Is Canada ready for a return to Afghanistan?

A return to the Afghan War is one step closer. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has confirmed that NATO has asked Canada to send police trainers to assist Afghanistan's struggling government in the fight against Taliban insurgents. He said Ottawa is seriously considering the request. The trainers, if sent, could be either soldiers or police officers. (The Spec)

Chantal Hebert: Is this Stephen Harper or Justin Trudeau running things on Parliament Hill?

A stalled appointment process, a botched attempt at installing a member of the Liberal family in a post that requires total independence from the government, a unilateral bid to change the rules of the House of Commons. If Stephen Harper, and not Justin Trudeau, were running things on Parliament Hill, he would stand accused of institutional malevolence. (Toronto Star)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met yesterday to study M-39, Immigration to Atlantic Canada and to meet with Immigration Consultants (Partly in Public)

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

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety met yesterday for committee business and to study Bill C-23, an Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the USA (Partly in Public)

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet today to study Canada’s involvement in NATO (In Camera)