True North Initiative: News Scan 08 02 17

TOP STORIES

Globally, People Point to ISIS and Climate Change as Leading Security Threats

People around the globe identify ISIS and climate change as the leading threats to national security, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The survey asked about eight possible threats. While the level and focus of concern varies by region and country, ISIS and climate change clearly emerge as the most frequently cited security risks across the 38 countries polled. (Pew Research Center)

Human-rights lawyer calls for end to Canadian arms sales to Saudi Arabia

A former federal Liberal cabinet minister and human-rights lawyer says Saudi Arabia’s apparent deployment of Canadian-made combat vehicles against Saudi citizens demonstrates why Canada should end all arms sales to the Islamic kingdom. “I am not saying we shouldn’t be trading with Saudi Arabia. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be engaging with Saudi Arabia. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be selling any more arms to Saudi Arabia,” Irwin Cotler, who served as justice minister under former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, told The Globe and Mail. (Globe and Mail)

Canada 'firmly condemns' detention of 2 Venezuelan opposition leaders

Canada "firmly condemns" the detention of two Venezuelan opposition leaders who were taken from their homes in the middle of the night by state security agents on Tuesday, says a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Canada commended the U.S. action but was not ready to follow U.S. sanctions yet, a Canadian official speaking on background said Monday. (CBC)

Venezuela crisis: Trump warns Maduro over jailed opponents

The US holds Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro "personally responsible" for the safety of two seized opposition leaders, President Donald Trump has warned. In a statement, Mr Trump also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, who had been under house arrest, were taken to a military prison on Tuesday. (BBC)

If the U.S. is alarmed about North Korea, 'we should be alarmed,' says MacKay

Former defence minister Peter MacKay says he laments not signing on to the U.S. ballistic missile defence program when he had the chance. The policy was a matter of intense debate for the former Conservative government, as it was for the previous Liberal administration. What has changed lately, says MacKay, is the threat from North Korea, which over the last month has demonstrated an increasingly sophisticated capability for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles. (CBC)

North Korea has ICBMs: Is it too late to do anything?

How do you solve a problem like North Korea? After a successful new test on Friday, the so-called hermit kingdom is boasting of a dramatic escalation in its capabilities when it comes to launching intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) aimed at the United States. Most North American cities may now be within range of a missile carrying a nuclear bomb, which means much of Canada is also vulnerable. (Global)

Free speech advocate Jordan Peterson suspects 'political reasons' might have been behind Google shutdown

Google shut down free speech advocate Jordan Peterson on Tuesday, blocking him from his popular YouTube channels and tens of thousands of e-mails. Later, after the issue attracted media attention, Google abruptly reversed its position and reinstated the Gmail account. Peterson said the reason was never made clear to him, and it could have been a technical issue with his newly-launched YouTube channel — Jordan Peterson Clips — or a mistake on Google’s part. (Toronto Sun)

Osama bin Laden's son criticises Saudi royal family in campaign to become new al-Qaeda leader and overtake ISIS as world's most feared terror group

Osama bin Laden's son Hamza has issued chilling messages aimed at the Saudi royal family. The 28-year-old, labelled the 'poster boy' for al Qaeda, is reportedly poised to lead the terror organisation in a bid to avenge his father's death. The first video message from Hamza released a year ago hailed lone-wolf terror attacks and called for an uprising in the kingdom, according to AlMonitor. The second accused Abdul-Aziz bin Rahman Al Saud - the first monarch and founder of Saudi Arabia - of being a British agent. (Daily Mail)

  

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Council refers ‘Access Without Fear’ policy to provincial, federal governments

During Monday night’s Regina City Council meeting, council referred the motion to implement the Access Without Fear policy to the provincial and federal governments. Access Without Fear is a policy which allows residents without full legal status to access municipal services, without the fear of deportation or detention. (Global)

A winning formula? China invests in Canadian dairy to help feed its baby boom

Donald Trump called Canada's supply-managed dairy sector a "disgrace." Indeed, Canada's strict system of production quotas, import restrictions and price and quality controls is a perennial target for free traders. But guess who likes it? The biggest market Canada is wooing right now: China. Supply management is a big reason why a Chinese corporation is investing an unprecedented $225 million in eastern Ontario. Feihe International, Inc. wants cows. Goats, too. Lots of them. (CBC)

Weak support for supply management in NAFTA talks: poll

A new survey shows most Canadians would accept a weakening of protections for domestic dairy, egg and poultry producers as part of a renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement. U.S. President Donald Trump has called Canada’s restrictions on dairy imports a “disgrace,” raising expectations that Canada’s policy of supply management will be under pressure when formal negotiations begin later this month to update North America’s trading regime. (Globe and Mail)

Meet the poker-faced top trade mind expected to lead Canada’s NAFTA negotiating team

There’s a long-standing joke among those who know Steve Verheul: you don’t want to play poker with the guy. At the table, no matter the subject, Canada’s former-CETA-now-expected-NAFTA chief negotiator doesn’t have a “tell.” “It’s the same reaction, whether it’s good, bad, or different, which makes being a negotiator against him or with him tricky,” said David Plunkett, who worked as Canada’s ambassador to the European Union while the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement was being negotiated. “You don’t know what you’re up against in many ways.” (Hill Times)

Canada carves out more European cheese for retailers after EU concerns

Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne has disappointed Canada's dairy industry with a revised plan for how nearly 18,000 tonnes of European cheeses will be imported once the Canada-EU trade deal takes effect in September. A much-anticipated announcement came Tuesday on how Canada will allocate tariff rate quota (TRQ) for 16,000 tonnes of fine cheese and 1,700 tonnes of industrial cheese. (CBC)

Canadians More Likely To Worry About America Than About Refugees

Canadians are more likely to worry about American power and influence than the mass exodus of refugees leaving the Middle East, suggests a new study. While 38 per cent of Canadians see the United States as a threat to their country, only 25 per cent say the same about refugees leaving Iraq and Syria. (Huffington Post)

China’s Gift For Canada 150 Project Not What It Seems, Expert Says

Canadian agencies showed naiveté in dealing with China as it inserted itself into a Canada 150 project, says a Canada-China expert. Brock University political scientist Charles Burton told HuffPost Canada that the "very dominant Chinese participation" in a horticulture exhibit in the national capital this summer is another example of the regime's "attempt to influence Canadian policy." (Huffington Post)

After Air Transat saga, passenger bill of rights aims to punish airlines into being good

A new air passenger bill of rights would punish airlines for keeping people on the tarmac longer than three hours, forcing them to compensate passengers. But it would not compel carriers to disembark a plane delayed for long periods. The bill is being crafted to instead deter airlines from treating people poorly by imposing strict punishments, according to Karen McCrimmon, parliamentary secretary to Transport Minister Marc Garneau. (CBC)

Meet The Canadian Who's Now Being Prosecuted For Self-Defense

A Canadian man defended himself during a home invasion, and now he's being prosecuted for doing so. The incident occurred on July 12th when a home in Nova Scotia was broken into by three men, all of whom were armed. Along with the help of another man in the residence, Kyle Earl Munroe was able to wrestle a gun out of the hands of one of the criminals and fired it at the men, prompting the three men to flee. (Daily Wire)

How Canada became an education superpower

When there are debates about the world's top performing education systems, the names that usually get mentioned are the Asian powerhouses such as Singapore and South Korea or the Nordic know-alls, such as Finland or Norway. But with much less recognition, Canada has climbed into the top tier of international rankings. (BBC)

Immigrant population hits new high in Germany

The number of people with an immigrant background in Germany rose 8.5 percent to a record 18.6 million in 2016, largely due to an increase in refugees, the Federal Statistics Office said on Tuesday. Just over a fifth of the population - 22.5 percent - were first or second generation immigrants with at least one parent born without German citizenship, the office said. (Reuters)

Venezuela is imploding. These citizens were desperate to escape.

Anacelis Alfaro’s troubles started late last year in the main plaza of Barquisimeto, the quiet capital of Venezuela’s Lara state, on the banks of the Turbio River. Alfaro, 51, was an event organizer for a private university there — and an activist for an opposition political party, Popular Will, in charge of organizing working-class neighborhoods throughout Lara. (Washington Post)

Venezuela's unrest risks creating a South American refugee crisis

Venezuela is in a tail spin. After four months of protest, more than 100 deaths, and thousands of people imprisoned, there appears to be no end in sight to the problems assailing the oil-rich country. The political unrest that has taken on a violent element, in combination with a scarcity of vital supplies, has sent Venezuelans running from their homeland. (NewStatesman)

North Korea: US not seeking regime change, says Rex Tillerson

The US government is not seeking a regime change in North Korea, the secretary of state says, amid tensions over Pyongyang's weapons programme. "We're not your enemy," Rex Tillerson said, adding that the US wanted a dialogue at some point. (BBC)

U.S. Test-Launches ICBM as Tensions Rise With North Korea

The U.S. military successfully test-launched an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from California early Wednesday, according to an Air Force spokesman — just days after North Korea’s second test of an ICBM. The unarmed Minuteman III missile was launched at 2:10 a.m. PT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles. (NBC)

Nearly 500 suspects on trial over Turkey's failed coup

Nearly 500 suspects, including a number of generals and military pilots, went on trial in Turkey on Tuesday accused of leading last year's failed coup attempt and carrying out attacks from an air base in Ankara. U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government blames for the coup, has been named as the main defendant in the case and will be tried in absentia. Former air force commander Akin Ozturk and other defendants stationed at Akinci air base, in the outskirts of the capital Ankara, are accused of directing the coup and bombing key government buildings, including the parliament. (CBC)

Saudi Arabia says there’s no proof it supported September 11 attack, asking to be dropped from lawsuit

Lawyers for Saudi Arabia made the request in papers filed in Manhattan federal court, saying lawyers for September 11 families and survivors of the 2001 attack had failed repeatedly for the last 14 years to generate sufficient evidence to subject the US ally to the US$100 billion lawsuit brought against numerous governmental and non-governmental defendants. Defendants Iran, the Taleban and al-Qaeda already have been found in default. (SCMP)

Australians see Islamic State terrorists as the biggest threat to the nation - while one third are concerned about taking too many refugees

Australians see Islamic State as the biggest threat to the nation, with one-third of people concerned about refugee hordes, global research shows. Terrorist atrocities concerned 59 per cent of Australian respondents who took part in a Pew Research study, taken before last Saturday's terror plot raids across Sydney. Refugee arrivals are also a major concern, with 33 per cent of those surveyed seeing it as a major risk to Australia. (Daily Mail)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Anthony Furey: J.K. Rowling, like so many others, let anti-Trump bias get in the way of facts

Let the J.K. Rowling story serve as a lesson for how the severe anti-Trump sentiment that’s still going strong in progressive culture can blind us to basic facts. The Harry Potter author has now apologized for tweets she issued criticizing the president for avoiding shaking the hand of a disabled boy in a wheelchair as he and his family visited the White House. (Toronto Sun)

Casey Babb: Canadian tax dollars shouldn't subsidize Palestinian terrorists

A Palestinian man who murdered a Jewish family is now entitled to a monthly reward of $3,100 from the government — and Canadian aid dollars might be helping cover that expense (National Post)

Lorne Gunter: Let the Warkentin family stay

If you drive north from the TransCanada in Western Manitoba and skirt around the Manitoba Escarpment and Riding Mountain National Park using Highway 5, then Highway 276, in a little more than two hours you’ll end up in the community of Waterhen, pop. 169 (when everyone’s home). Surrounded by places with names such as Camperville, Meadow Portage and Duck Bay, and sandwiched between Lake Winnipegosis to the west and Lake Manitoba to the east, Waterhen sits smack-dab under the Central waterfowl flyway of North America. It hosts some of the best duck and goose hunting anywhere. (Toronto Sun)

Phil Gurski: ISIL's demise is a reason to celebrate – but not too much

The news coming out of Iraq and Syria is slightly less bad for a change. While wars and violence continue to cause suffering in both nations, at least one terrorist group is on the decline. That group, of course, is Islamic State (ISIL or IS), a particularly barbaric group of violent extremists in the pantheon of terrorist entities. Whether it was the summary execution of thousands, or the rape of Yazidi girls, or any number of other atrocities, ISIL did seem to hit new lows in human depravity. (Ottawa Citizen)

Ezra Levant: MORE insane thought-policing by UK cops — and it’s coming to Canada

There are 23,000 jihadists at large in the UK according to the Times of London. But the Wiltshire police want you to call 911 if you saw something you don’t like on the Internet. The tweet backfired, though. It got over 6,500 comments, almost all of them mocking the Wiltshire Police. (Rebel)

Susan Delacourt: Trudeau's Scaramucci moment — and what it says about him now

Justin Trudeau is — appropriately — sorry for how he talked to Rolling Stone magazine about that famous boxing match with Senator Patrick Brazeau. Trudeau said his choice of words had eroded his goals of reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians, which requires “changing approaches and changing mindsets.” Actually, it’s the changed story that may be the most striking part of this little controversy — a possible sign of how Trudeau is becoming a different guy in power than the third-party backbencher who delivered the knockout punch to an indigenous senator in 2012. (IPolitics)

Christie Blatchford: Resistance is not futile when it comes to freedom of expression

It is, as the delightful John Carpay says, “a full frontal assault on the English language”, this insane revocation of a personalized licence plate by Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI). The plate in question belonged to Nicholas Troller, a Winnipeg resident and Star Trek devotee who in 2015 applied for a plate that read “ASIMIL8”, in honour of the iconic movie and TV series, paid the $100 fee, and proudly framed it in a border that used two famous Star Trek phrases, “We are The Borg” and “Resistance is futile”. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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