True North Initiative: News Scan 07 19 17

TOP STORIES

Khadr pay-out protest planned for Parliament Hill

While Canadians have been venting their frustrations about the Omar Khadr pay-out on social media and over the airwaves, they’ll now have a chance to take it right to Parliament Hill. A group of activists have secured a permit for Sunday, July 30 to voice their displeasure right on the east lawn of the parliament buildings. It will commence at 11 a.m. (Toronto Sun)

Two Canadian women among ISIS fighters captured in Mosul: reports

If two female ISIL fighters from Canada have been captured in the rubble of Mosul, as unconfirmed reports suggest, they would be part of a bizarre Canadian export to the terrorist organization. As many as 20 women from here have joined the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and most have given birth since arriving in Iraq or Syria, says one of Canada’s leading experts on radicalization. (National Post)

Ottawa probes reports of two Canadian women detained in Mosul

The Canadian government says it is looking into reports that two Canadian women were among a group of 20 Islamic State militants captured by Iraqi forces following the terrorist group’s defeat in Mosul last week. Global Affairs Canada said it is aware of reports citing an Iraqi counterterrorism official saying that 20 women – including two Canadians, five Germans, three Russians, three Turkish citizens, a Chechen and six from Libya and Syria – were detained by Iraqi counterterrorism units late last week. (Globe and Mail) (Toronto Star)

Conservatives mount campaign against Trudeau over Omar Khadr settlement

Federal Conservatives are mounting an aggressive cross-border campaign against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his government’s $10.5-million payment to Omar Khadr, appearing in U.S. media outlets and launching a website criticizing the Liberal government’s decision to compensate and apologize to the former child soldier and Guantanamo detainee. This week, Conservative MP and former journalist Peter Kent drew significant U.S. attention to the case after he wrote an opinion piece about the payment in the Wall Street Journal, calling it a “cynical subversion of Canadian principles,” while Conservative MP Michelle Rempel appeared on Fox News with host Tucker Carlson to lambaste the government. (Globe and Mail)

Michelle Rempel on Fox News: Canadians 'outraged' by Khadr settlement

Conservative Calgary MP Michelle Rempel slammed the Canadian government's multi-million dollar deal with Omar Khadr on Fox News. "Most Canadians, I think, are quite outraged and quite disappointed by this state of affairs," Rempel told host Tucker Carlson during the in-person interview on Monday, which included a graphic of Khadr that said "Terrorist Payday". (CBC)

Sgt. Layne Morris: Omar Khadr Doesn’t Keep Me Up At Night, Mr. Trudeau Is Keeping Me Up At Night

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Omar Khadr a big payout, but the terrorist's real victims may never see any of that money. Canada agreed to pay the former Guantanamo prisoner a reported $8 million in a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations. The settlement included an apology. The Canadian-born Khadr was 15 in 2002 when he tossed a grenade in a firefight that killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, a Special Forces medic. Tabitha Speer, the soldier's widow, and Sgt. Layne Morris, who was blinded in the firefight, won a $134 million wrongful-death default judgment against Khadr two years ago in Utah. Lawyers for the widow and Morris requested an order freezing Khadr's assets, but last week a Canadian judge threw out the request, calling it "extraordinary." Retired U.S. Special Forces sergeant Layne Morris joined the Todd Starnes Show today to discuss the outrageous decision made by Canada's liberal government and just how offensive it is to him. (FOX News)

U.S.-bound travellers to face 'enhanced security measures' at all Canadian airports

Airline passengers travelling from Canada to the United States will face a new battery of "enhanced security measures" now required by the Department of Homeland Security. The new measures will be enforced starting July 19 and include: (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Tories to blame for Khadr payment: Angus

MP Charlie Angus (NDP – Timmins-James Bay), says the Conservatives are in no position to be screaming blue murder about the Liberals payout to Omar Khadr when, in his view, the previous Tory government is most responsible for the payout having to be made in the first place. “They were in power at the time, they knew there were issues of torture going on in Guantanamo,” Angus told The Daily Press. “There were all manners of questions of the legality of what was happening but instead the Conservatives used Omar Khadr as their favourite whipping boy to raise funds among their base. (Sudbury)

Government kills its push to collect all departments under single Canada.ca domain

The federal government is pulling an about-face on plans to bring all of its various agency and departmental websites under the Canada.ca domain name. The concept for the massive website modernization project is quietly being killed as it’s suffered from delays and a ballooning budget. The government had intended to combine all of its 90 disparate department and agency websites under the domain. (Canoe)

American fugitive accused of millions in Medicaid fraud detained in Montreal

An American fugitive accused of defrauding Connecticut’s Medicaid program of $4 million was arrested at Montreal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport Thursday. Ramil Mansourov, 47, and his colleague Bharat Patel, who ran a private, family medical practice in Connecticut, were charged with writing prescriptions for such drugs as oxycodone outside the scope of legitimate medical practice, health care fraud, and money laundering. Patel remains in Connecticut, where he was arrested at his home. (Montreal Gazette)

First Nations cigarette maker suing the feds for billions

In an ironic twist, the biggest manufacturer of Native cigarettes in Canada is suing the federal government for $3 billion for failing to stop the proliferation of contraband tobacco producers. The lawsuit, filed in the Ontario Court of Appeal at the end of June by Grand River Enterprises’ Jerry Montour and three other principals in the company, accuses the Attorney General of Canada of “malfeasance in public office, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of aboriginal rights.” (Toronto Sun)

Thank the Canadians for Helping Boost U.S. Homebuying by Foreigners

Canadian homebuyers have complained for years about foreign investment driving up prices, but their own purchases south of the border helped push U.S. home acquisitions by international buyers to a record. Foreigners and recent immigrants bought $153 billion of U.S. residential real estate in the 12 months through March, a 49 percent jump from a year earlier, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors. International buyers now account for about 10 percent of all U.S. home purchases by dollar volume, led by China, Canada, the U.K., Mexico and India. Canadians more than doubled their acquisitions from a year earlier to $19 billion. (Bloomberg)

Foreigners buy record number of U.S. homes despite fears of immigration crackdown

Foreign home buyers scooped up a record number of residential properties in the United States in the last year, despite a rising dollar and political uncertainty, according to a survey released Tuesday. The National Assn. of Realtors said foreigners bought 284,455 properties in the 12 months that ended March 31, about a third more than a year earlier. Dollar volume surged nearly 50% to $153 billion, also a record for the survey first taken in 2009. (LA Times)

Venezuela rejects Trump sanctions threat, reviews relations with U.S.

Venezuela rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's call to halt a rewriting of the constitution that would consolidate the power of its socialist government, which said Tuesday that it was reviewing its relations with the United States in response to Trump's threat of sanctions. "No foreign government controls Venezuela," President Nicolas Maduro told a nationally televised meeting of his National Defence Council, an emergency body he convened in reaction to Trump's critiques. "Here in Venezuela, Venezuelans give the orders, not Trump." (CBC)

Trump had undisclosed hour-long meeting with Putin at G-20 summit

After his much-publicized two-and-a-quarter-hour meeting early this month with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Germany, President Trump chatted informally with the Russian leader for up to an additional hour later the same day. The second meeting, undisclosed at the time, took place at a dinner for G-20 leaders, a senior administration official said. At some point during the meal, Trump left his own seat to occupy a chair next to Putin. Trump approached alone, and Putin was attended only by his official interpreter. (Washington Post)

Australian senator resigns after learning she's also Canadian

An Australian senator has resigned after learning she was also a Canadian. Larissa Waters, who represented the Greens, said in a statement she was born in Winnipeg in 1977 to Australian parents who were briefly studying in Canada. "I have lived my life thinking that as a baby I was naturalized to be Australian and only Australian, and my parents told me that I had until age 21 to actively seek Canadian citizenship. At 21, I chose not to seek dual citizenship, and I have never even visited Canada since leaving at 11 months old," the statement read. (CBC)

French military head de Villiers quits over cuts

The head of the French armed forces has quit after a clash with President Emmanuel Macron over budget cuts. Gen Pierre de Villiers said in a statement he could no longer "guarantee the durability of the army model" that he considered necessary to ensure France's protection. France's government last week revealed major cuts to bring its budget deficit below the level of an EU cap. (BBC)

North Korea conducts public executions for theft, watching South Korea media: report

North Korea carries out public executions on river banks and at school grounds and marketplaces for charges such as stealing copper from factory machines, distributing media from South Korea and prostitution, a report issued on Wednesday said. The report, by a Seoul-based non-government group, said the often extra-judicial decisions for public executions are frequently influenced by "bad" family background or a government campaign to discourage certain behavior. (Reuters)

Cyberattacks targeting clinics in Ukraine draws concerns from experts

Dr. Lidiia Podkopaieva was about to click “send” on an order of new surgical instruments when her computer monitor suddenly went dark. She speed-dialed the clinic’s technician but didn’t even have time to tell him what was wrong. (Global)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Tarek Fatah: Muslim leaders must denounce ‘armed jihad’

A recent speech by Palestinian-American Islamist Linda Sarsour, invoking the word “jihad” against “fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House,” has created a political storm, involving the double meaning of the word “jihad”. While supporters of Donald Trump read it as a call for violence against the American president, Sarsour, who made the comment in a speech to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), was quick to clarify she was not calling for violence. (Toronto Sun)

Adam Radwanski: With Khadr saga, Conservatives have stopped trying to help Trudeau with Trump

It was too much to hope that the uncharacteristic spirit of cross-partisan co-operation would last. After Donald Trump’s election victory last November, the federal Liberals and Conservatives decided that just this once – in the face of an unusual threat to Canada’s relationship with its biggest trading partner – they would act like friends. (Globe and Mail)

Lawrence Martin: Stop fretting, Canada – NAFTA is safe

Initially, Donald Trump was going to abrogate the North American free-trade agreement. Throw it into the trash can. His knee-jerk harangues about every trade deal being a disaster spread fear and trepidation north of the border. But Canadians can stop the fretting. The deal is safe. Mr. Trump’s termination plan has become a middling modernization scheme. The Washington wish list for NAFTA changes, published Monday, is hardly radical. Throw out the dispute-resolution system? Existing panels haven’t always worked well. Come up with a better method. (Globe and Mail)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       N/A