True North Initiative: News Scan 07 11 17

TOP STORIES

Khadr’s Compensation: 71% of Canadians say government made wrong call by settling out of court

The vast majority of Canadians say the federal government made the wrong decision in settling a lawsuit with former child soldier Omar Khadr and instead apologizing and paying him $10.5 million in compensation for his treatment as a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A new survey from the Angus Reid Institute indicates more than seven-in-ten (71%) are of the opinion the Trudeau government should have fought the case and left it to the courts to decide whether Khadr was wrongfully imprisoned. Further, most Canadians reject the notion that government officials had “no choice” but to settle – but money appears to be the main source of opposition to the deal. Canadians are slightly more inclined to have said sorry to Khadr than offer compensation, had the decision been in their own hands. (Angus Reid)

Freeze Omar Khadr’s settlement funds, widow’s lawyer argues

A lawyer for the widow of the U.S. soldier allegedly killed by Omar Khadr is arguing that the former child soldier’s controversial $10.5-million settlement from Ottawa should be frozen, so it will not disappear or be given to his “extremist” family. Written arguments were filed on Monday with the Ontario Superior Court by lawyer David Winer on behalf of his client Tabitha Speer, the widow of Sergeant Christopher Speer. Sgt. Speer was killed by a grenade in the 2002 firefight in Afghanistan that ended with Mr. Khadr’s capture, at the age of 15. Also among the plaintiffs is Layne Morris, a U.S. soldier partly blinded in that battle. (Globe and Mail)

Canadian accused in Guatemala village massacre fights to keep citizenship

A man accused of slaughtering villagers in Guatemala using a grenade, gun and sledgehammer is fighting Canada’s attempt to revoke his citizenship. Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes denies he concealed participation in a 1982 massacre by the Guatemalan military when he obtained Canadian citizenship a decade later. In documents filed in the Federal Court of Canada, Sosa Orantes says he was not even in the village of Las Dos Erres when the events took place. (Global) (Canoe)

Sporadic clashes continue in Mosul after victory declared

Sporadic clashes continued on Tuesday in Mosul, even after Iraq's prime minister declared a "total victory" over ISIS in the city and at least one airstrike hit the Old City neighbourhood that was the scene of the fierce battle's final days. A plume of smoke rose into the air from the strike. ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) mortar shells landed near Iraqi positions and heavy gunfire could be heard on the western edge of the Old City. (CBC) (NY Times)

Former U.S. special forces soldier calls Justin Trudeau an Omar Khadr 'groupie'

Retired U.S. special forces sergeant Layne Morris says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is an Omar Khadr "groupie" and that the prime minister "jumped at the opportunity" to apologize and pay the former Guantanamo Bay detainee $10.5 million in compensation. Morris was blinded in one eye during the 2002 firefight in Afghanistan involving Khadr. U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Christopher Speer was killed in the same battle. (CBC)

10,000 evacuees and counting: How B.C.'s wildfire fight took a turn for the worse

You can have as many firefighters as you want and the best technology possible, but on a dry day, there are three simple words that can dramatically change any wildfire situation for the worse. "The wind changed," said Al Richmond. The chair of Cariboo's Regional District, Richmond has been watching over the majority of wildfires being fought across the Interior of British Columbia. (CBC) (LA Times)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Macleans: Down on the border

Twenty-four hours. Four provinces. Seven towns. What one day on the Canada-U.S. line says about refugees, Canadian tolerance and Trump’s America (Macleans)

Edmonton father who fled Turkey leaves on overseas mission to rescue family

An Edmonton father who fled the political turmoil in Turkey is putting his life in danger to return to the region to rescue his wife and young children — and he's pleading for help from the Canadian government. "My family is in danger," he told CBC News through a translator.  "I have no worries about myself. I just want to save my family." CBC is not identifying the family or sharing certain details about his travels that could reveal their identities because of the life-threatening circumstances. (CBC)

INFOGRAPHIC: Survey results say Nova Scotia grads want to stay, but can’t

Most recent graduates from post-secondary institutions in Atlantic Canada would like to stay and contribute, but the region continues to have trouble keeping them. According to a Corporate Research Associates survey of 102 international 2016 graduates of Atlantic Canadian institutions, 65 per cent hoped to stay in Atlantic Canada immediately following graduation and 77 per cent said they wanted to ultimately live and work in the region, presenting an opportunity to replace an aging population with young, educated and motivated newcomers. (Chronicle Herald)

Canada’s development aid in Africa driven by compassion and self-interest: minister

Canada’s re-engagement with Africa is driven as much by compassion and the great need for humanitarian assistance in the region as by self-interest, says International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. On her most recent trip to the region last week, Bibeau visited Canadian-funded projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ghana, and pledged more than $240 million for various development projects. That came on top of an $86 million funding announcement Bibeau made during her visit to war-torn South Sudan on June 18. (Radio Canada)

B'nai Brith Canada demands correction of school textbook suggesting Israel kids used as child soldiers

It would seem that $10.5-million terrorist Omar Khadr and Israeli children have something in common. Both are not child soldiers, or was not in the case of the 30-year-old confessed murderer Khadr, who has been painted as a child soldier at the age of 15 when he came under the spell of al-Qaeda and tossed the grenade that killed U.S. Sgt. Christopher Speer. (Toronto Sun)

Why Europe has a greater terror problem than the United States

Recent terror attacks in the United States are far less common than in Europe, and Americans can thank geography and assimilation for that. There were 100 attacks that killed 97 people in the U.S. in 2015-2016, compared to 604 attacks that claimed 383 victims in Western Europe during the same time period, according to the University of Maryland's Global Terrorism Database. (USA Today)

French police officer charged with helping jihadists join Isis

A French police officer who is suspected of being an Isis supporter has been charged for allegedly helping jihadists travel to the Middle East and join terrorist organisations. The policeman was arrested on 27 June in the Parisian suburb of Kremlin-Bicêtre, where he was stationed, and has been charged with "conspiracy and fraud in connection with a terrorist group". (IB Times)

Russia 'ready to expel 30 US diplomats' in sanctions row

Russia is ready to expel about 30 US diplomats and seize US state property in retaliation for Washington's sanctions, Russian officials say. The threat came from Russian foreign ministry sources, quoted by the daily Izvestia. Other Russian officials have made similar statements recently. In December the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two intelligence compounds. (BBC)

Mississippi crash: Sixteen dead in Marines Corps plane incident

At least 16 people have died after a US military plane crashed in the southern state of Mississippi at around 16:00 local time (21:00 GMT) on Monday. The crash happened in LeFlore County, about 100 miles (160km) north of Jackson, the state capital. All 16 victims were on the Marine Corps aircraft and there were no survivors, Leflore County emergency management director Fred Randle said. (BBC)

U.S. carrier group leads biggest yet drills with India and Japan

A U.S. aircraft carrier strike group began naval exercises with India and Japan on Monday that the U.S. navy said would help the three countries tackle maritime threats in the Asia-Pacific region. The annual exercises named Malabar are being held off India. They are the largest since India and the United States launched the exercise in 1992. Japan was later included. (Reuters)

Israel backs Hungary, says financier Soros is a threat

Israel's foreign ministry has issued a statement denouncing U.S. billionaire George Soros, a move that appeared designed to align Israel more closely with Hungary ahead of a visit to Budapest next week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew who has spent a large part of his fortune funding pro-democracy and human rights groups, has repeatedly been targeted by Hungary's right-wing government, in particular over his support for more open immigration. (Reuters)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

John Ivison: 71% of Canadians say Liberals were wrong to settle with Omar Khadr

The first opinion poll carried out since the government apologized and paid $10.5 million in compensation to former child soldier Omar Khadr suggests the Liberals will pay a political price for the decision. Seven out of 10 Canadians say the government made the wrong call by settling out of court, according to an online survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute over the weekend. The poll suggested 71 per cent of Canadians are of the opinion the Trudeau government should have fought Khadr’s lawsuit and left it to the courts to decide whether he deserved compensation and an apology. (National Post)

Anthony Furey: The numbers are in, and even Trudeau's own supporters reject the Khadr deal

The Omar Khadr payout is so unpopular with Canadians that even a majority of Liberal supporters say the party they voted for made the wrong choice. Poll numbers released Monday by the Angus Reid Institute reveal that 71% of people believe the Trudeau government did the wrong thing and should have fought Khadr’s civil suit in court. This is all the more impressive considering that the public has been on the receiving end of an onslaught of lecturing this past week from those in the media and establishment circles who worked overtime to spin this deal in the best possible light. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Trudeau says we’re disorganized — by blood

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done it again. During a friendly interview with Germany’s second-largest newspaper, BILD, last week, Trudeau, in Hamburg for the G20 meeting, was asked by the popular tabloid: “Just very briefly, what is your view on Germany?” Trudeau starts off well enough, describing Germans as “wonderful, thoughtful people” adding, “my stepfather was born in East Germany. I was raised to love German culture and German food – even the red cabbage. It’s something I feel a tremendous kinship to.” (Toronto Sun)

Kelly McParland: If Khadr has changed, he'll give the money to the kids he orphaned

The case of Omar Khadr has fallen into that area of public opinion that is both grey and distinct at the same time. No one — with the possible exception of Khadr himself, who now says he can’t remember — can be 100 per cent certain what happened during that firefight in Afghanistan. Did the 15-year-old Khadr toss the grenade that killed U.S. Army medic Sgt. Christopher Speer? Unless some definitive proof suddenly appears, we’ll probably never know one way or another. Yet opinion has divided sharply down the middle: Khadr is either a killer who got away with it, or he’s the victim of a vicious upbringing, a hate-filled father and governments that failed him when he needed the protection of a just state. (National Post)

Stuart Thomson: The Canadian government brought Omar Khadr home from Guantanamo Bay. Was that enough?

Does Omar Khadr deserve $10.5 million? Not according to Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who said Friday the reported amount of the federal government’s settlement with the former Guantanamo Bay detainee was “a slap in the face” and insisted that simply bringing Khadr back to Canada was compensation enough. Scheer’s argument could prove a winner with voters, but would it hold up in court? (National Post)

Lorrie Goldstein: Ralph Goodale our own 'Comical Ali'

Listening to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale blame Stephen Harper for the fact the Liberals just gave an apology and $10.5 million to Omar Khadr reminds me of listening to Baghdad Bob during the Iraq war. Baghdad Bob (aka “Comical Ali”) was the Iraqi information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, who became globally infamous for his daily summations of the war, which had no basis in reality, and which provoked international ridicule every time he spoke. (Toronto Sun)

Joe Oliver: Trudeau plays dangerous game of identity politics

Here is our Prime Minister’s latest unscripted verbal eruption: “Anytime I meet people who got to make the deliberate choice, whose parents chose Canada, I’m jealous. Because I think being able to choose it, rather than being Canadian by default, is an amazing statement of attachment to Canada ... This is your country more than it is for others because we take it for granted.” Justin Trudeau’s defenders may claim he was merely extending a compliment to immigrants on our 150th anniversary. But it is impossible to ignore his plain words, especially because they are part of a pattern. (Toronto Sun)

Cam Cooper: Reasons for Omar Khadr's $10-million payout are pure nonsense

Let’s hope Omar Khadr’s $10-million government gratuity ends up with Tabitha Speer, the woman whose medic-husband was killed by Khadr or his terrorist companion that day in Afghanistan. (Leader Post)

Julie Cazzin: Should I buy terrorism insurance for my next trip?

If you listen to the nightly news you know how prominent terrorism attacks are around the world. If you want to be prepared in case the worst happens to you, you might want to see it get included in your trip cancellation travel insurance. It won’t help you in the event you’re kidnapped, but it will cover the cost of trip rescheduling to avoid unexpected actions by the likes of Al Qaeda, ISIS or Boko Haram. (Moneysense)

Mark Bonokoski: Throw in a Russian and it’s an immediate Trump card

The New York Times and CNN seems to think it is wrong for a political candidate’s senior team member to answer a knock on the door from someone who purports to have dirt on the main opponent. Politics is a dirty game, and it is often played dirty. (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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