True North Initiative: News Scan 06 29 17

TOP STORIES

Ottawa urged to suspend refugee pact after U.S. court reinstates Trump’s travel ban

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court reinstating part of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, Canadian advocacy groups are calling on Ottawa to suspend a bilateral pact that bans refugees from seeking asylum in Canada if they’ve entered the country from the United States. “We are shocked and disappointed that the Canadian government continues to hold to the view that the U.S. is a safe partner for refugee protection,” said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada. “That was not true before President Trump took office and it has become abundantly clear that his presidency is characterized by utter disregard for the safety and rights of refugees and migrants.” (Toronto Star)

U.S. sets new visa rules for six mainly Muslim nations, refugees

The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a “close” family or business tie to the United States. The move came after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump’s executive order that was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims. Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the State Department Wednesday said that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible. The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations that are still awaiting approval for admission to the U.S. (Globe and Mail) (CTV) (BBC)

B.C. man says he used Facebook to express concerns, not support terrorists

A British Columbia man accused of using his Facebook account to express support of "lone wolf" terrorists in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant says he was on social media to "shine a light" on atrocities in the Middle East. Othman Hamdan testified in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday that his posts highlighted government clashes against citizens during the Arab Spring that started in Tunisia in late 2010 and spread to Syria and elsewhere. Hamdan, 36, told his trial that mainstream media did not initially report people's suffering, especially in Syria, where president Bashar Assad's forces "squashed" people trying to hold peaceful protests, resulting in a wave of refugees leaving the region. (CTV)

Toronto boosts Canada Day security amid ISIS threat

More than 500,000 revelers are expected to flock to Toronto Saturday to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, and heightened security will be in place across the city to ensure the party goes off without a hitch, officials say. We have various security arrangements in place and we will make adjustments accordingly with public safety being our number one priority,” said Toronto Police Services spokesperson Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook. Toronto police have been working with several international, federal and provincial intelligence agencies in preparation for nearly 20 Canada Day events taking place over four days throughout the city. (CTV)

Canadian special forces spy planes could monitor cell phone conversations over battlefields — and Canadian cities

A new fleet of surveillance aircraft to be purchased for Canada’s special forces will give the military the ability to monitor cell phone conversations and collect other data while flying over foreign locations — and, if needed, over Canadian towns and cities. That’s raising concern among some analysts about the potential lack of oversight for domestic missions, and the possibility the aircraft could be misused by government. (National Post)

Five Eyes alliance meets in Ottawa, stresses sharing intelligence to detect terrorists

Security and justice officials from the Five Eyes countries plan to explore “more timely and detailed” information sharing to detect terrorists and extremist fighters. The Islamic State and its affiliates will continue to attack soft targets in public spaces – underscoring a need for better data exchanges to address the threat, the partners said in a joint communique issued Wednesday. (Global)

Record-breaking sniper shot saved Iraqi lives, special forces general says

The sniper who shattered the record for the longest confirmed kill also saved lives, the deputy commander of Canadian special forces said. Brig.-Gen. Peter Dawe told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were gathering for an attack on an unsuspecting Iraqi military unit when the Canadian commando fired the 3.5-kilometre shot. The shot killed one fighter and sent the rest scattering for cover, effectively breaking up the attack. (Canadian Press)

Toronto Jihadi Renounces Canadian Citizenship: ‘I Only Believe in Islamic Sharia Law

Rehab Dughmosh, the 32-year-old mother of two who attacked the staff and customers at a Toronto tire shop around the time of the London Bridge terror attack in early June, appeared in court on Monday. Concealed beneath an Islamic robe and speaking through an Arabic interpreter, she renounced her Canadian citizenship and swore allegiance to the Islamic State in the courtroom, promising that she would attack again if she got the chance. (BreitBart)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canadians particularly trustful of their democracy, poll finds

anada is an “island of stability” amidst a Western world roiled by political discontent and populism, the country’s trust in democratic institutions steady in the face of upheavals such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, according to new polling from the Environics Institute. The Canadian portion of the latest AmericasBarometer study, carried out every two or three years to gauge attitudes toward democracy and governance in the region, found that Canadians’ trust in things such as the judicial system and the national economy has fluctuated little since 2010, even as other Western countries have seen that confidence waver. (Globe and Mail)

Europe learning how to deal with Trump ‘novelty’ from Canada: Italian President

Italy’s visiting president says Europe is learning much from Canada on how to engage with the “novelty” that is the Donald Trump administration. President Sergio Mattarella says Canada’s example of trying to find common ground with Trump can pave the way for good relations between Europe and the U.S. despite differences on refugees, climate change and free trade. (Globe and Mail)

Syrian doctor caught in U.S. immigration ban gives up, moves to Canada

A Syrian doctor says he won’t return to the United States to finish his studies at Brown University because of the Trump administration’s immigration ban. Khaled Almilaji said Wednesday there’s too much uncertainty, even though he possibly could get a student visa under the scaled-back version of the ban. The administration has given itself a Thursday deadline for implementing it. Almilaji, 35, moved to Canada this month to pursue his master’s degree at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He said it’s unfortunate he had to withdraw from Brown, but “bad things happen and you have to adapt.” (Globe and Mail)

Couillard defends remarks about Muslims and responsibility in wake of Flint attack

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard insists there is nothing shocking about his recent comments about Muslims having a responsibility in the fight against terrorism. Following the arrest of a Muslim Montrealer in the stabbing of a police officer at the Flint airport in Michigan last week, Couillard said terrorist events like it can't be disconnected "from Islam in general." Amor Ftouhi is charged in the attack on airport police Lt. Jeff Neville after someone yelled "Allahu akbar," the Arabic phrase for "God is great." (Metro)

Andrew Scheer says he will not appoint independent senators if elected prime minister

Newly minted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said that if he is elected prime minister he will abandon the notion of an independent Senate as pursued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Scheer said his Senate appointees "would be Conservative senators who would help implement a Conservative vision for Canada that would improve the quality of life for Canadians." (CBC)

Trudeau to have private audience with the Queen ahead of G20 summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet the prime minister of Ireland and will have a private audience with Queen Elizabeth at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh ahead of next week's G20 summit in Germany. The Prime Minister's Office announced details of Trudeau's trip in a statement Wednesday. (CBC)

28 months later, husband still can't join new wife in Canada

An Aylmer woman has tried for 28 months to get her Kurdish husband into Canada — a delay casting doubt on their whole future — just as the immigration department has been crowing about a speedier spousal unification process. Desperate for answers, Gholi Fathoullahnejad, 46, appealed to the Citizen and her MP for help after months of frustrating silence from officials at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. (Ottawa Citizen) (Ottawa Sun)

CBC Investigates: Cash-for-jobs immigration consultant under scrutiny by federal and provincial officials

The company at the centre of an undercover CBC News investigation, which unearthed evidence of a cash-for-jobs immigration scheme, is now being reviewed by federal and provincial officials. Last week, CBC revealed that a representative of Vancouver-based Vstar International offered $15,000 to businesswoman Barb Reid of Prince Albert, Sask., if she would offer a job to a Chinese national. (CBC)

US to seek more security on international flights

The Homeland Security Department is set to announce new security measures Wednesday for international flights bound to the United States, which could lead to a lifting of a ban on laptops and other electronics from passenger cabins from certain airports. Industry and U.S. officials briefed on the announcement said airlines flying directly to the United States will be required to implement the enhanced measures. If they don't, their passengers may be barred from carrying laptops and other large electronics in passenger cabins. (AP)

Venezuela bars attorney general from leaving country

Venezuela's Supreme Court has banned Attorney General Luisa Ortega from leaving the country, and has frozen her assets, ahead of a pre-trial hearing scheduled for July 4. The inquiry, which was requested by an ally of President Nicolas Maduro, will seek to determine if Ortega committed unspecified "grave errors while in her position." (CNN)

Venezuela hunts for helicopter pilot behind 'terrorist attack'

Oscar Perez is a cop, pilot, action movie star and dog trainer. He’s now also a fugitive, accused of strafing two key Venezuelan government buildings from a helicopter in a quixotic attempt to set off a revolt against President Nicolas Maduro. Authorities on Wednesday conducted a nationwide manhunt for Perez a day after the government charged that he stole the police chopper and directed grenades and gunfire against the Supreme Court and Interior Ministry in what Maduro called a "terrorist attack." (CTV)

China's Xi Jinping visits Hong Kong for handover anniversary

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Hong Kong to mark 20 years since the territory was handed back to China by Britain. The highly symbolic visit, Mr Xi's first since becoming leader in 2012, comes amid an increasingly tense political climate. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Candice Malcolm: Trudeau devalues the meaning of citizenship

A self-proclaimed follower of Islamic State pledged her allegiance to the terrorist army in a Toronto courtroom Monday. It was the second time Rehab Dughmosh told a Canadian courtroom she’s loyal to ISIS, not Canada. She’s charged with seven offences related to assault, weapons and uttering a death threat, but not with any terrorism crimes. The 32-year-old woman, believed to be from Syria, was charged by police after witnesses said she attacked people at a Canadian Tire with a golf club and then a long knife. (Toronto Sun)

Candice Malcolm: Canadian Forces combat ISIS — despite Trudeau's appeasement

Last week, a Canadian sniper broke the record for the longest kill in military history. This member of Joint Task Force 2 (a Canadian special forces unit) killed an ISIS fighter in Mosul at a distance of 3,540 meters. This is great news, but Justin Trudeau's congratulatory reaction reeks of hypocrisy. Upon being elected, Trudeau pledged to withdraw Canada from the combat mission in Iraq. He claimed Canada's role would be one of training and consulting with the Iraqi military. (Rebel)

Toronto Sun: Integration and vetting matters

As Canadians gear up to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday, they’ve been reflecting on what makes this country so great. Both those with generations of roots here and new immigrants celebrate Canada Day with verve. We do a great job of coming together as a society on these very occasions. (Toronto Sun)

Kady O’Malley: Justin Trudeau doesn't hate Parliament, and other revelations from his interview with iPolitics

By the time the curtain dropped on the spring parliamentary sitting, it had become conventional wisdom amongst certain circles of Hill punditerati. Despite a campaign pledge to treat the House with more respect than his predecessor, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had clearly come to despise the daily ordeal of submitting to interrogation by the opposition – why else, went the logic, would he be trying to cut down his appearances to once a week? (IPolitics)

Chantal Hebert: Trudeau’s popularity reveals more about the lacklustre standing of Canada’s premiers and the opposition he faces

As Justin Trudeau’s government approaches mid-mandate, he remains the most popular government leader in the country. But that says as much if not more about the lacklustre standing of the current set of premiers as about the staying power of the popularity of the prime minister. In three of the four larger provinces for instance, the incumbents face uncertain re-election prospects. And in British Columbia voters recently failed to make a definitive choice between the wannabe premiers on offer. (Toronto Star)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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