True North Initiative: News Scan 06 23 17

TOP STORIES

Michigan airport stabbing probed as "lone wolf" terrorist attack, FBI says

A Canadian man from Tunisia accused of shouting "Allahu akbar" before stabbing a Michigan airport police officer remains in custody after appearing in federal court. The attack Wednesday at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, is being investigated as an act of terrorism, but authorities have no indication at this time that the suspect was involved in a "wider plot," said FBI Special Agent in Charge David Gelios. (CBS)

Montreal man suspected of Flint airport stabbing tried to buy gun: FBI

A Montreal man accused of stabbing a police officer at the airport in Flint, Michigan tried unsuccessfully to buy a gun while in the U.S., according to a top FBI agent. The investigation into what’s being called a terrorist attack in the United States continues in Montreal and south of the border after 49-year-old Amor Ftouhi was charged with stabbing a police officer. (CTV)

Ftouhi says he has no mental problems: court hearing

The Quebecer charged in the stabbing of a police officer at a Michigan airport says he has no mental or physical problems and does not use alcohol or drugs. Audio from Amor Ftouhi's court hearing was released Thursday and indicates the accused has been working on and off as a truck driver and last worked about two weeks ago. The court was told at Wednesday's hearing in Flint, Mich., that the married father of three, who has dual Canadian-Tunisian citizenship, has three sisters and two brothers in Tunisia and another sister in Switzerland. (Metro)

Philippe Couillard: Michigan Airport Attack Cannot Be Disconnected 'From Islam In General'

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says Muslims also have a responsibility in the fight against terrorism. Couillard says the stabbing of a police officer at the Flint airport in Michigan is the kind of terrorist event that cannot be disconnected "from Islam in general." The premier was speaking a day after a Montreal man from Tunisia was charged after someone shouted in Arabic before stabbing the officer in the neck. (Huffington Post) (CBC)

Justin Trudeau says no need for 'Plan B' to NAFTA

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there is no "Plan B" in the event that talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement break down, insisting the trade pact is too beneficial to the Canadian and U.S. economies for it to be terminated. During a question-and-answer session on Canada-U.S. relations in the Trump era during an interview with The New York Times, Trudeau said Canada is diversifying its trade ties with other countries, but stressed that the U.S. is its most important partner. (CBC)

ISIS militants destroy famed 12th century mosque in Iraq's historic city of Mosul

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant blew up a historic landmark in Mosul — the city’s famed 12th century al-Nuri mosque with its iconic leaning minaret known as al-Hadba, from where the ISIL leader proclaimed the militant group’s self-styled caliphate nearly three years ago. The explosion destroyed another piece of priceless Iraqi cultural heritage but also sent a strong message to U.S.-led coalition forces and Iraqi troops closing in on the last stronghold of ISIL, in Mosul’s Old City neighbourhood. (National Post)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Moosomin, Sask. family rejoices after receiving extension to stay in Canada

Just days before being deported to Honduras, Victor Santos his wife Lesi Hernandez and their two boys have been given a life line. They found out their deportation order was cancelled during a rally where hundreds of people in Moosomin, Sask. came out to support them. “I believe in life now,” Victor Santos said. (Global)

Widower of London Free Press carrier pens emotional statement read in court Thursday

“This punk not only killed my wife, he destroyed my life,” wrote Chris Chivers, the husband of Gloria Chivers, in an emotional victim impact read in a London courtroom Thursday. Jinghao Zou, a 24-year-old Chinese national who pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and immigration charges earlier this year, was expecting to hear a judge’s sentencing decision after a head-on crash last November that killed the 60-year-old London Free Press carrier. (Global) (CBC)

Senator Daniel Lang, who tackled terror, announces resignation

A Canadian Senator known for being tough on terror and working to end the gun registry announced his resignation Thursday. Senator Daniel Lang, a Conservative who represents Yukon, announced he plans to retire on Aug. 15. “It seems like yesterday when I arrived and one of my first orders of business was to sponsor in the Senate, the repeal of the long gun registry which was so detested in rural and Northern Canada,” Lang said in the Senate Thursday morning. (Toronto Sun)

Scheer missed a chance to censure Leitch over refugee tweet, say strategists

Sooner or later, say Conservative strategists, Andrew Scheer is going to have to draw a line on former Conservative leadership rival Kellie Leitch’s highly controversial rhetoric about refugees in Canada — which was making headlines again this week. On Wednesday, reporters asked the new Conservative leader to address Leitch’s latest attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Syrian refugee program. Leitch recently issued the following tweet: “A battered wife and a bloodied hockey stick. That’s the legacy of Trudeau’s Syrian refugee program.” The tweet included a link to a column that appeared in the Toronto Sun. (IPolitics)

Cracking terror’s codes is becoming increasingly difficult for governments

Who wasn’t moved by the story of Alan Turing, the brilliant English mathematician whose dedicated team cracked the Nazi Enigma code and saved countless lives during World War II? Fast forward more than 70 years and the ability of terrorist groups such as Islamic State and al-Qa’ida to harness ­encryption methods on the internet has created its own Turing doomsday imperative. Either we crack the codes or our law enforcement agencies will remain in the dark about terrorist plans for more carnage. (Australian)

Grenfell Tower: Fire started in Hotpoint fridge freezer, say police

The Grenfell Tower fire in London started in a fridge freezer, and outside cladding failed safety tests, police say. Insulation on the building also failed tests and the Metropolitan Police will consider manslaughter charges. Seventy-nine people are feared dead after the blaze destroyed 151 homes in the Kensington tower block. (BBC)

As ISIS Caliphate Crumbles, al-Qaeda Coaxing Western Recruits to Syria

A new English-language al-Qaeda magazine encourages westerners to leave their lands of "pointless TV shows, massive dance parties and endless fast-food restaurants" and come to Syria to fight for the terror group. The call to action comes as the Islamic State's declared caliphate is seeing its territory crumble, and the 50,000-strong Syrian Democratic Forces -- an anti-ISIS, anti-Qaeda, anti-Assad coalition of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian etc. men and women fighters -- has entered the ISIS capital of Raqqa after a lengthy drive to retake the city. (PJ Media)

Venezuela’s Shortages Spur Perilous Sea Journeys

Struggling to find basic staples in her own country, Mariana Revilla and five neighbors here took to crossing a treacherous 60-mile gulf under the cover of night to the island of Trinidad. On her last trip, they made a good haul, securing seven tons of flour, sugar and cooking oil from the former British colony in exchange for fresh shrimp from home. But on the way back their rickety 46-foot boat capsized, leaving Ms. Revilla and her companions clinging to the wreckage for nearly two days before she and two others ran out of strength and drowned, according to survivors. Her stepfather says her 3-year-old daughter, Isabel, keeps asking, “Where is my mama?” (Wall Street Journal)

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Farzana Hassan: Muslim women need to challenge the patriarchy in their own faith

An international forum on women’s rights recently organized a two-day conference in Mississauga to address the status of women in various segments of the South Asian community in Canada. Disha, or the Association of Punjabi Canadian Women, invited local as well as international guests to address these women’s achievements and some of the continuing hurdles they face in their daily lives. Kellie Leitch’s recent tweet - quoting from a Candice Malcolm column - that a Syrian refugee recently beat up his wife with a hockey stick provoked an online skirmish. The refugee in the story professed an innocent ignorance of Canadian laws. (Toronto Sun)

Geoffrey Johnston: Name the threat: Islamism

The multicultural liberal democracies of the world face a pernicious threat within their borders, an insidious ideology that seeks to turn citizens against their own countries and replace liberty with tyranny. As the death toll from jihadist strikes in Europe continues to rise and extremists openly peddle hate on social media and in some mosques, it is time to dispense with political correctness and have frank, rational discussions about radical or militant Islam, also known as Islamism. (Kingston Whig)

Mark Bonokoski: Justin Trudeau pulls teeth of our terrorist watchdogs

At a time when it is now a veritable summer’s walk in the park for illegals to enter our country through unmanned border crossings -- “Come one, come all,” invites our prime minister -- the Trudeau Liberals are taking the teeth out of our security watchdogs. They claim the reverse is true, of course, but it’s not. (Toronto Sun)

Terry Glavin: The Liberal government has become a pro-China propaganda machine

It’s also rarely recalled that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were strangely quiet on the hustings about their intentions to radically remodel Canada’s China policy to the purposes of slavishness, palm-greasing and a full-bore free trade deal. But that is exactly what Trudeau’s “sunny ways” government set about doing. You will often hear it said that the Liberals are behaving in this reckless way because they’re all naive. Don’t believe it. (Vancouver Sun)

Joe Warmington: Trudeau must step up to the plate for pastor jailed in North Korea

There seems to be time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to playfully crash weddings and school graduations, attend political parades as well as sometimes surf, kayak, run, bike and climb. But can he find a minute to call North Korea’s dictator to talk about imprisoned Canadian Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim? (Toronto Sun)

Faith Goldy: Liberal Immigration Minister: Tweeting about wife-beating refugee is just as “disgraceful as domestic violence"

After having spent 14 months in Canada, Mohamad Rafia pleaded guilty to counts of assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats. Mohamad had been threatening to kill his wife, pulling her hair, slapping her and beating her. And, since he’s a new Canadian, his wife-beating weapon of choice wasn’t a “miswak” (that small stick that Mohammed described as ideal to beat you’re wife with). (Rebel)

Faith Goldy: A Terrorist From Canada — and No Comment From Trudeau?

A Canadian man yelled “Allahu akbar!” before stabbing a uniformed police officer at the Flint, Michigan airport while the FBI is now investigating it as a terrorist act and the RCMP say they will be working closely with key partners. Currently in police custody, 50 year old Montreal resident Amor Ftouhi has been charged with violence at an international airport and could face up to 20 years in prison. (Rebel)

Christie McLeod: Canada is seen as a global human rights beacon—but not so much, at home

“#WelcomeToCanada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau famously tweeted to fleeing refugees this past January—a widely praised response to the Syrian refugee crisis that, for many, reflected Canada’s role as a beacon for human rights in this troubled world. Canada has sought to champion human rights in the international community. We’re not perfect—in 1939, we turned away a boat carrying 907 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, and today, Canada’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia may or may not be aiding war in Yemen. But we’ve also played a leading role in creating the Mine Ban Treaty (often referred to as the Ottawa Treaty) that aims to eliminate landmines, launched the Muskoka Initiative to encourage donor countries to fund maternal health initiatives, and supported countless other efforts to protect the rights of marginalized populations around the world. It is from these shining moments that our peacekeeping reputation has emerged. (Macleans)

Vince Wong: Legal Aid Cuts Leave Immigrants And Refugees High And Dry

It has been a bittersweet month for our clinic. On June 16, 2017, our clinic, the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (CSALC), launched a new name, new logo, and a new Ontario-wide hotline that will help expand our services beyond the Greater Toronto Area to clients in every corner of the province. (Huffington Post)

Robyn Urback: Don't change O Canada. Just replace it with the theme song from Cheers

This is a plea, of sorts, to end the most insignificant and simultaneously overblown debate to occupy both houses of Canada's Parliament in recent memory. For over a year (actually, it's been longer than that, but over a year for this round of debate), the stewards of our democracy — the great leaders of our nation — have grappled with the question of whether to change two words in our national anthem, a modification that will have precisely zero effect on the lives of the people for whom the decision is ostensibly being made. (CBC)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development met yesterday to study Bill S-226 (Public