True North Initiative: News Scan 06 20 17

TOP STORIES

Quebec man who dreamed of joining ISIS convicted of terrorism charge

Ismaël Habib wanted the court to believe he was an accidental jihadi who travelled to Syria in 2013 out of “curiosity” and took no part in the fighting. He never heard a single gunshot while there, he testified, comparing the experience to summer camp. And when Habib began arranging for a return trip in 2016, he said it was because he was worried about the security of his wife and two small children there. (National Post) (CTV)

Liberals set to table bill to revamp national security measures

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale plans to introduce a bill today to upgrade a list of Conservative anti-terrorism measures. It will include more robust oversight of the Canada Border Services Agency along with changes to ensure existing security watchdogs can exchange information and collaborate more easily on reviews. The extensive package of legislation will also follow through on Liberal campaign promises to repeal some elements of omnibus security legislation brought in by the Conservatives after a gunman stormed Parliament Hill in 2014. (Global)

Liberals to introduce bills to reform Access to Information and national security laws

The Trudeau government plans to cap the spring sitting of Parliament with long-awaited legislation on Access to Information and national security — bills unlikely to be debated by MPs in a serious way until the fall. With just days left before MPs are slated to retreat to their ridings for the summer, the bills will — at the very least — signal the government's intention to fulfil key promises. (CBC)

Kellie Leitch criticized over tweet attacking Syrian refugee program

Conservative MP Kellie Leitch is facing new criticism after she issued a tweet portraying the legacy of the Liberals’ Syrian refugee program as a lone domestic violence case involving a Syrian refugee in Fredericton. Social media erupted after Ms. Leitch tweeted Sunday: “A battered wife and a bloodied hockey stick. That’s the legacy of Trudeau’s Syrian refugee program,” quoting and including a link to a Toronto Sun column about a Syrian refugee in Fredericton who beat his wife with a hockey stick. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Ms. Leitch’s tweet is as disgraceful as domestic violence itself. (Globe and Mail)

Canada raises asylum seekers influx with Minnesota governor

Canada's public safety minister raised concerns on Monday with Minnesota's state governor about an unauthorized influx of thousands of asylum seekers into Canada this year. Nearly 3,500 people have walked into Canada from the United States from January through May, according to government data, crossing the border through fields, forests and ditches to avoid official ports of entry where they would be turned back under a bilateral agreement. Once on Canadian soil, asylum seekers, many of whom are of Somali and Ghanaian origin, are each entitled to a hearing. (Reuters)

National Defence mum on Russian threat to shoot down planes in Syria

There are fears Canadian military aircraft operating over Syria could be caught in the middle of a new and potentially explosive dispute between the U.S. and Russia. Moscow is warning that it will target allied aircraft operating west of the Euphrates River in Syria in retaliation for the U.S. shooting down a Syrian government warplane on Sunday. American officials say the Syrian jet dropped bombs near U.S.-backed forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant -- a claim the Syrian government and Russia both dispute. (CTV)

Champs-Elysees attack car 'had guns and gas' - Paris police

A car deliberately hit a police van before bursting into flames on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in central Paris, police officials say. The driver, who was on a security watchlist, died in the incident. Police found a Kalashnikov rifle, handguns and gas bottles in the car. "Security forces have been targeted in France once again," Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said, calling it an "attempted attack". (BBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canada launches fast-track visa program to lure top talent

Canada launched a fast-track visa program for highly-skilled workers on Monday, as it seeks to take advantage of a tougher immigration environment in the United States. The move comes at a critical time for Canadian technology companies, who are looking to lure top global talent who otherwise flock to Silicon Valley, a major employer of foreign workers. (Financial Post)

Manitoba town woos investment, immigration from Chinese cities

Pinawa is putting the moves on a handful of cities in China to encourage business partnerships, tourism and immigration. The Manitoba community, 110 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg at the western boundary of Whiteshell Provincial Park, is home to about 1,500 people but Mayor Blair Skinner said that doesn't mean it can't relate to much larger cities like, say, Wenzhou, China — home to around 10 million people. (CBC)

Liberals 38, Conservatives 31, NDP 17, Green 7: Nanos

Nanos Weekly Tracking, ending June 16th, 2017 (Nanos)

Canada contributes $86M more to South Sudan, epicentre of refugee crisis

The woman appeared content for the moment, waiting under a tree for a little bit of salvation to fall — quite literally — from the sky. International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau recalled seeing the woman in a northern remote region of South Sudan during a four-day visit that wrapped up Monday. (National Post)

Governor general apologizes for calling indigenous people ‘immigrants’ after interview backlash

Governor General David Johnston apologized Monday after backlash erupted over his calling indigenous people “immigrants” on a recent radio show. “We’re a country based on immigration going right back to our, quote, indigenous people, unquote, who were immigrants as well, 10, 12, 14 thousand years ago,” Johnston told CBC’s The House in a clip posted online Thursday. (National Post)

Vietnamese-Canadian family's refugee story inspires new Heritage Minute

For Sam and Rebecca Trinh, 1979 was the year they ran out of choices. After the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War, Sam, a soldier, was slated for re-education at a labour camp in the Vietnamese countryside. Inevitably, that would have meant hard labour and indoctrination into the ideology of the communist regime. Quite possibly, it could have meant starvation, torture, even death. (CBC)

Despite risk of cyber attacks, political parties still handle Canadians’ data with no rules in place

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould says it’s not the time to implement basic privacy and security rules for political parties’ collection of Canadians’ personal data, despite warning that those parties are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Speaking with the Star on Friday, Gould said she decided on a voluntary approach for parties to meet and discuss vulnerabilities with the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s electronic spying and cyber defence agency. (Toronto Star)

Liberal ministers meet Lockheed Martin at Paris Air Show, snub Boeing

The Trudeau government appears to have given aerospace giant Boeing the cold shoulder in Paris — the latest sign that the Liberal government's plan to buy Super Hornet fighter jets could be on the rocks. Three cabinet ministers are in the French capital this week to promote Canada's aerospace sector and meet various companies at the Paris Air Show, one of the largest such exhibitions in the world. Those meetings included discussions with Lockheed Martin, which is hoping its F-35 stealth fighter will replace Canada's aging fleet of CF-18s whenever a competition is launched. Meetings between Canadian officials and three other fighter-jet makers — French firm Dassault, Sweden's Saab and European consortium Eurofighter — were also scheduled. (Canadian Press)

Li Keqiang, Trudeau discuss Sino-Canada free trade zone

Premier Li Keqiang and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a telephone conversation yesterday to discuss relations and international and regional issues. Li said that the third round of feasibility studies on the establishment of a free trade zone is about to be held. (The Standard)

EXCLUSIVE: Author Explains How Electromagnetic Pulse Attack Can Destroy North America

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon detonated over North America’s atmosphere could strike everything within its line of vision, overheating vital transformers and ultimately taking out that region’s electric grid, leaving the population vulnerable to cyber and physical attacks and threatening the very lives of large portions the population. The United States and Canada are apparently doing nothing to prepare for such an attack, argues author Anthony Furey. (Breitbart)

Trump condemns 'brutal' N Korea as student dies

US President Donald Trump has called North Korea a "brutal regime" after the death of a US student who had been jailed there for more than 15 months. North Korea returned Otto Warmbier, 22, to the US last week, saying he had been in a coma for a year and that it was acting on humanitarian grounds. His parents said he had been subjected to "awful torturous mistreatment". (BBC)

Tensions rise in Syria as Russia, Iran send US warnings

Russia on Monday threatened aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition in Syrian-controlled airspace and suspended a hotline intended to avoid collisions in retaliation for the U.S. military shooting down a Syrian warplane. The U.S. said it had downed the Syrian jet a day earlier after it dropped bombs near the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces conducting operations against the Islamic State group, adding that was something it would not tolerate. (Associated Press)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Anthony Furey: In the age of Trump, artists risk losing their way

During the Bosnian War, American author Susan Sontag travelled to Sarajevo to direct a production of Waiting for Godot. “I was not under the illusion that going to Sarajevo to direct a play would make me useful in the way I could be if I were a doctor or a water systems engineer,” Sontag later wrote in The New York Review of Books. But she hoped that her production, rehearsed by candlelight and performed to the background sounds of guns firing, would at least help people in that city under siege somehow make sense of the world crumbling around them. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Mob outrage over Governor General’s misspoken indigenous comment is misplaced

The Governor General is a man of circumspection — an expert at never taking sides in anything. As such, it was surprising to see him the subject of online vitriol, the result of his use of the ill-chosen word “immigrants” in relation to Canada’s indigenous people. The reaction was typical of Twitter, where inhibitions are shed and rude, aggressive behaviour flourishes, without consequence. (National Post)

Mark Bonokoski: Left washes its hands as tit-for-tat terrorism sets in

Welcome to the new world order where murderous retaliation begins to settle in as the norm. All it needs now is a catchphrase. The Summer of the Counterattack Crazies, for example. Or the Summer of Tit-for-Tat Terrorism. (Toronto Sun)

Chantal Hebert: Departure of former Conservative minister Denis Lebel sets up intriguing Quebec byelection

With the resignation on Monday of former Conservative minister Denis Lebel, all is in place for a mid-mandate testing of the federal waters in Quebec. With three of the four opposition parties featuring new leaders, the byelection to be held in the riding of Lac-Saint-Jean — possibly before the end of the year — will be a must-watch. But first a word on the departing Lebel: Prior to serving as deputy leader to Rona Ambrose over the interim period that led to Andrew Scheer’s election as leader, Lebel was Stephen Harper’s last Quebec lieutenant. His early departure from the federal scene had been expected. Opposition politics was not his cup of tea. Nor for that matter would playing second fiddle to the new leader’s lieutenant have been. (Toronto Star)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met yesterday to study M-39, Immigration to Atlantic Canada and the 2011 LGBTQ Refugee Pilot Project (Partly Public)

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety met yesterday to study Bill S-231 (Public)

-       Standing Committee on National Defence later today to study Canada’s Defence Policy Review (Public) (3:30PM EST)