True North Initiative: News Scan 07 06 17

TOP STORIES

Legal battle could tie up payout to Omar Khadr

Ottawa’s plan to offer former child soldier Omar Khadr and his lawyers a $10.5-million compensation package is facing a complex international legal battle that threatens to delay any payout. The legal battle is set to be waged by Tabitha Speer, the widow of Sergeant Christopher Speer, an American soldier killed in Afghanistan in the 2002 battle that ended with Mr. Khadr’s capture, and Layne Morris, a former U.S. soldier partially blinded by a grenade in that fateful firefight. A Canadian lawyer acting for the pair filed a notice of application in Ontario Superior Court on June 8, seeking an injunction to block any payment of compensation to Mr. Khadr. (Globe and Mail)

Khadr lawyer upset by settlement reports

A lawyer for Omar Khadr says he's upset and disappointed somebody went public with the details of their mediation with the federal government. John Phillips wouldn't confirm any of the details of the mediation talks or the details of the reported $10.5 million settlement offer, but said it wasn't anyone from Khadr's team who spoke to the media about it. "I'm upset," he said in a brief interview with CTV's Kevin Gallagher. (CTV)

Canadian man indicted in officer's stabbing at Flint airport

A Tunisia native who lives in Canada repeated the Arabic phrase for "God is great" prior to his arraignment Wednesday in the stabbing of a police officer at an airport in Flint. Amor Ftouhi said "Allahu Akbar" before the proceeding started Wednesday in federal court in Flint, according to The Flint Journal. Ftouhi appeared in court shackled and wearing a white shirt and orange prison-issued pants, reports CBS Detroit. (CBS)

Advocates, community leaders react to investigation into ‘hugely flawed’ immigration system

Following a Global News investigation that revealed flaws with the way Canada evaluates immigration applications for persons with disabilities, community leaders, politicians and advocacy groups say it’s time the government changes its outdated and discriminatory immigration policies. (Global)

Border Patrol: Peace Road popular with people smugglers

Two Pacific Northwest men accused of smuggling Chinese nationals over the U.S.-Canada border have been charged with immigration crimes. Federal prosecutors in Seattle claim Shuai “Flash” Liu and Wei Xiong “Little Bear” Li transported illegal immigrants across the border at Blaine’s Peace Road, a dead-end street outside border town. Liu, a Canadian citizen, and Li, a U.S. visa holder from China, were arrested following a short investigation in June. (Seattle PI)

Terror-related acts committed by refugees widespread, according to new report (USA)

At least 61 people who came to the United States as refugees engaged in terrorist activities between 2002 and 2016, according to an explosive new report coming on the heels of the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of much of President Trump’s travel ban. (FOX News)

60% of Americans support limited travel ban on 6 Muslim-majority countries: poll

Six in 10 American voters support the new ban on people from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States unless they can show they have a close relative here, according to opinion poll results released on Wednesday. The Politico-Morning Consult poll found 37 percent of voters said they “strongly supported” the new U.S. State Department guidelines that would deny visas to citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen who do not have close relatives in the United States. Another 23 percent of voters said they “somewhat support” the guidelines. (Global)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Egyptian man deemed potential terrorist stuck with strict conditions

Mahjoub, 57, who has steadfastly denied any terror ties, came to Toronto in December 1995 and was granted refugee status almost a year later. However, he was slapped with a national-security certificate and arrested in June 2000, in part based on secret evidence supplied by foreign agencies linked to torture. (Toronto Sun)

Advocacy groups urge Federal Court to strike down Safe Third Country Agreement

A legal challenge is being launched against the Canada-U.S. agreement that governs where people can make asylum claims on either side of the border. Three advocacy groups are throwing their support behind a woman being named only as “E” in asking the Federal Court to strike down the so-called Safe Third Country Agreement. Under the deal, most people who make an asylum claim at the land border are denied entry; as a result, there’s been an influx of people crossing illegally into Canada in recent months to file asylum claims. (Toronto Star) (CBC)

Asylum Seekers’ B.C. legal aid cuts leave more families to fend for selves

After 15 years in California, where Soriano fled after being kidnapped and tortured, the parents said everything changed after President Donald Trump’s election, which brought with it an increase in racial harassment at work, their daughter taunted by white parents after she won a medal in a school track race for “taking their place,” and immigration authorities’ increased round ups of undocumented Mexicans — in some cases separating parents from children. (Metro)

Criminal trial delays drop dramatically in Quebec a year after Jordan ruling

The time it takes to complete a criminal trial in Quebec has been cut almost in half, according to one of the province's chief justices a year after the Supreme Court of Canada handed down the Jordan ruling, putting strict limits on delays. Superior Court of Quebec Chief Justice Jacques Fournier says that the timelines for criminal trials had dropped from 30 months to 17 months, over the last year. (CBC)

Trudeau delivers sunny message to Scottish students worried for their futures

When Hal Morrissey Gillman arrived at the University of Edinburgh for his graduation ceremony on Wednesday, he didn’t expect to see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “I was surprised to see him,” Mr. Morrissey Gillman said after the ceremony as he clutched his anthropology diploma. “There was no preannouncement about it.” (Globe and Mail)

Trudeau heads to summit marked by widening Trump-Merkel rift

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives today in Hamburg, Germany for the G20 Summit having already staked out firm positions on free trade, migration and climate change that are at odds with U.S. President Donald Trump. All three issues top an ambitious agenda set by the summit's host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (CBC)

Why are Albertans so mad? Everything you need to know about the federal equalization program

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau forgot to mention Alberta during his Canada Day speech on the weekend, some aggrieved westerners reached for a familiar response to a slight from the East. If you forget about us, tweet after tweet from Alberta read, perhaps we’ll “forget” about our payments to the equalization program. (National Post)

THREE IMMIGRATION OFFICERS HELD AFTER 53 PEOPLE FLY OUT ON FAKE PASSPORTS (India)

Fifty-three people with phoney names and passports — and motives that are not clear — walked past immigration counters at the Mumbai airport and flew out of the country, a severe lapse that has left security agencies scrambling for answers. The series of illegal exits were allegedly facilitated by three assistant investigation officers with the airport immigrant department over the past seven months, according to the Sahar police. (Mumbai Mirror)

Trump warns North Korea he's weighing a 'severe' response

U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea on Thursday that he's considering "some pretty severe things" in response to the isolated nation's unprecedented launch of a missile capable of reaching the U.S. He called on all nations to confront the North's "very, very bad behaviour." (CBC)

Government supporters attack Venezuelan congress, injure opposition lawmakers

Venezuelan lawmakers who oppose President Nicolás Maduro were beaten and bloodied in the halls of congress Wednesday as a pro-government mob stormed the building, apparently facing little or no resistance from security guards. The attack left at least 15 people injured, according to opposition leaders, including one lawmaker who was rushed to the hospital with broken ribs and a head wound. (Washington Post)

  

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Candice Malcolm: Khadr decision slap in the face to the U.S.

On the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day, news broke that the government of Canada would reportedly award $10.5 million to a convicted al-Qaida terrorist who murdered an American soldier in Afghanistan. An anonymous source, apparently from the Trudeau government, spoke to reporters at the Associated Press, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, choosing U.S. Independence Day to leak this story to the press. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Trudeau insulted the U.S. on July 4, but proud Canadians are grateful to America

Yesterday, on the Fourth of July, America’s national day, when they celebrate their veterans and remember their war dead — Trudeau leaked his plan to apologize and pay $10 million dollars to Omar Khadr, a terrorist who murdered a U.S. army medic named Christopher Speer. (Rebel)

Andrew Scheer: Free trade with China doesn’t put Canadian interests first

When it comes to trade, Canada’s Conservatives believe Canada’s strength has always been linked to opening trade with the world, and seeking out partners with whom we are most compatible. Not every country shares Canada’s commitment to a free-market economy, protections for workers and the environment, protection of intellectual property and transparent governance. (Globe and Mail)

Matthew Fisher: For Trudeau, a UN mission in Africa appears ever more daunting

The Trudeau government still famously cannot make up its mind where to send peacekeepers in Africa or explain what it hopes to achieve by deploying them there. Notwithstanding the delay, which has frustrated UN planners in New York who were counting on Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not been shaken from the idea that his government should undertake a UN peacekeeping mission in Africa. (National Post)

Mark Bonokoski: Omar Khadr, from bomb-making, convicted killer to multi-millionaire

In the bombed-out and bullet-riddled al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan where Omar Khadr was the only survivor, albeit shot up and near death, U.S. military personnel found a very telling video. It showed Khadr, 15 when captured, helping another al-Qaida bomb-maker put together improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the kind that killed so many of our Canadian soldiers during their deployment in the volatile eastern fringes of Afghanistan. (Toronto Sun)

Marc Montgomery: From accusation of terrorism, to multi-million dollar settlement

It’s a long and tragic tale on many accounts, Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen born in Toronto in 1986 but into a family closely associated with Islamic extremists. At age 15, while the family was living in Afghanistan and associated with Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, he was involved in a battle against U.S. soldiers in which he was severely wounded but also accused of throwing a grenade killing one soldier and wounding another. (Radio Canada)

John Ivison: Trudeau’s charm has created a niche for him on world stage

Justin Trudeau attempted a Scottish accent, as he accepted an honorary degree at the University of Edinburgh Wednesday. It was one of the best efforts at the dialect by a visiting North American politician in recent times — one that should be heard once, but not more often. His tale about his Scottish maternal great-grandfather being apprehended by the local constabulary for fishing illegally in the laird’s stream concluded with him quoting family folklore. “If I canna fish, I canna live,” he said. (National Post)

Colby Cosh: The problem for Omar Khadr isn’t the dodgy evidence, it’s that he exists at all

Nothing makes me feel that my lifetime is a cage, narrow and confining, so much as the occasional bubblings-up of the Omar Khadr saga. July 27 will mark the 15th anniversary of the Afghanistan firefight in which Khadr was shot to pieces and captured. Khadr is now 30, and still on bail: he has spent about half his life in various forms of U.S. and Canadian state custody. Yet the white heat of controversy over his debatable childhood treason, his penal treatment, and his ceaseless legal railroading has not dwindled one degree. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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