True North Initiative: News Scan 08 22 17

TOP STORIES

Canada looking into possible illicit causes behind asylum spike

The federal government  is investigating the misuse of U.S. travel documents, whether money has changed hands and the possibility that "certain people" have engaged in a misinformation campaign as possible contributing factors for the spike in asylum seekers crossing the border illegally into Canada. "There appears to be at least some evidence of a deliberate disinformation or misinformation campaign being undertaken by certain people," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told CBC News Network's Power & Politics. (CBC)

Cornwall, Ont., city council demands answers on future of Nav Centre refuge

Residents of Cornwall, Ont., packed into a special city council meeting Monday evening with hopes of learning more about what is happening with asylum seekers currently living on the grounds of a sprawling conference centre. Councillors said they couldn't answer questions about the hastily-built tent city housing hundreds of people who crossed the Canada-U.S. border illegally through Quebec as they enter the queue for refugee claimants. Cornwall Mayor Leslie O'Shaughnessy said the public needs accurate information so it can support the project. (CBC) (CTV) (Global)

Disparity in refugee claim approvals reflects subjectivity of IRB members, says prof

The rate at which refugee claims are accepted by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board varies widely depending on who hears the case, according to a professor who obtained data from the federal government. Sean Rehaag is an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto, who specializes in immigration and refugee law and human rights. Through an access to information request, he was able to obtain IRB decisions for refugee claims filed in 2016. (CBC)

Liberal ministers go to Canada-U.S. border to warn migrants against crossing

Two Liberal cabinet ministers travelled to the Canada-U.S. border on Monday to warn that people making irregular crossings on foot were not getting a free pass into the country as Ottawa attempts to stem the flow of migrants. “It’s very important … that people understand very clearly that Canadian law applies, and we will be assiduous in enforcing that law, and people should not think that border hopping is a desirable or productive thing to do,” said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who toured facilities at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle with Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen. (Globe and Mail) (Montreal Gazette)

Edmonton could become a 'sanctuary city' for undocumented immigrants

City councillors are looking at how they can help immigrants without proper permits still get access to city services. As councillors heard Monday, many of Edmonton's undocumented workers are scared to talk to government workers out of fear it could lead to their deportation. "They see government office space as where they can get deported," said Marco Luciano, executive director with immigrant advocacy group Migrante Alberta. (CBC) (CTV)

Woman facing terror charges forced to appear in court: 'You are all infidels'

A Toronto woman facing terror-related charges briefly appeared before a judge via video by force on Thursday, after she refused to attend court three times before. Rehab Dughmosh, 32, had been refusing to leave her cell to attend court for weeks. On Thursday, she was forced to stand in front of a camera for her court appearance, but she refused to co-operate and answer questions. Flanked by two officers who wore helmets and face shields, Dughmosh told the court through a translator, “You are all infidels. I do not worship what you worship. (CTV) (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Rate of illegal migrants slowing at Quebec border: federal officials

Canada’s immigration minister says police are intercepting fewer refugee claimants illegally crossing into Quebec as officials intensify their efforts to curb misinformation encouraging migrants to head north. “We’re talking about an average of 140 people per day. That is over the last three days,” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told reporters on Monday. That figure represents a marked decrease from the 250 per day that authorities said they intercepted last week. Almost 7,000 asylum seekers have been caught at the Quebec-U.S. border in the last six weeks, authorities said on Thursday. The RCMP intercepted more than 3,800 people between Aug. 1 and 15. The nearly 3,000 in July were almost quadruple the 781 from June. (CTV)

Haitian-Canadian MP headed to Miami to try to address would-be asylum seekers

Haitian-Canadian MP Emmanuel Dubourg will travel to Miami on Wednesday to try and counter misinformation which has driven thousands of Haitian asylum seekers to Canada in recent months. His trip comes as both the prime minister and Liberal cabinet ministers have sought in recent days to more forcefully address the major spike in illegal border crossings this summer, which has strained public resources and tested traditionally widespread support for Canada's immigration system. (CTV)

Is Ottawa’s tougher immigration message bearing fruit?

The number of asylum seekers crossing illegally the U.S.-Canada border in Quebec has “moderated” slightly from the 250 people a day to an average of 140 asylum seekers a day over the weekend, federal officials said Monday. Speaking to reporters at the St-Bernard-de-Lacolle border crossing, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said while it was too early to say whether the reduction in the numbers of asylum seekers was part of a new trend, federal officials were able to process more cases than there were new arrivals at a makeshift refugee camp on the border. (Radio Canada)

Syrian refugees in Edmonton struggle with basic needs, report shows

More than a year after arriving on Canadian soil, thousands of Syrian refugees are still struggling to make ends meet and provide for their families. Alberta welcomed nearly over 5,100 refugees between Nov. 26, 2015 and March 2017, with 2,100 settling in Edmonton. A report prepared by city staff and presented to the community and public services committee Monday shows the biggest challenges are in health, housing and employment. (CBC)

Anti-immigrant protests in Canada shaped by more than just U.S. events: experts

Vancouver and Quebec City were the locations of two anti-immigrant demonstrations and resulting counter-protests this past weekend. One expert says that while the events can be linked to recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., the issue is more nuanced than the rising tensions in the United States. (Global)

How Quebec's largest far-right group tries to win friends, influence people

Headquarters for La Meute, Quebec's largest and now most prominent far-right group, is a tin shed behind the home of co-founder Patrick Beaudry. It's not quite off-the-grid, but close to it. Though only 60 kilometres north of Quebec City, cellphone reception is spotty here and GPS unreliable. On Sunday morning, La Meute's leaders, all dressed in black, gathered at Beaudry's to finalize plans for that afternoon's anti-immigration rally in Quebec City. (CBC)

Brazilians attracted to Atlantic region by low cost of living

Relatively cheap college tuition and a reasonable cost of living are attracting Brazilians north of the border, a spokesperson for the community on the East Coast says. About 10 families have arrived to Moncton in recent weeks, said Karen Fernandez-Pearce, president of the Brazilian Association of Atlantic Canada. (CBC)

Gerald Butts defends new consul-general Rana Sarkar's salary

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s senior aide Gerald Butts took to Twitter to defend the appointment of his friend to a diplomatic post in San Francisco at a pay rate nearly double the official salary scale, arguing his compensation is in line with others the Liberals have recruited from outside the government – and that they took pay cuts to serve their country. (Globe and Mail)

Liberals face calls for transparency on ballistic missile defence

Federal opposition parties are demanding the Trudeau government come clean on whether Canada plans to embrace continental ballistic missile defence, as concerns about North Korea’s nuclear arsenal grow. Opposition parties have called for an emergency meeting of the House of Commons defence committee on Tuesday so they can be briefed on how Canada is responding to the threat posed by North Korea. (Globe and Mail)

DND uncertain how best to defend satellites

The Canadian military is looking for ways to prevent its satellites from being shot down or disabled, but is faced with an international legal vacuum that makes it tough to know how far the country can go to protect its property, government documents show. The Liberal government's recent defence policy review committed the country to "the peaceful use of space," but also acknowledges government satellites, both defence and civilian, have become "potential targets." (CBC)

‘We were cut to pieces’: First eyewitness account of how a Canadian died in Syria

Eight months after a Canadian anti-ISIS fighter and his British comrade were killed in northern Syria, a member of their unit who survived the deadly clash has come forward with the first eyewitness account of what happened. (Global)

Islamic State Graffiti Written on Canadian Church After Suspicious Fire

The blaze occurred early Wednesday morning and firefighters were called to the scene at around 1 am to Trinity Baptist Church in the northern part of Burlington, Ontario Canadian broadcaster Global News reports. The day after the blaze was put out vandals had written on the side of the burnt-out church “ISIS” and “ISIS will remain” fueling speculation over the cause of the fire. (Breitbart)

White House Petition To Recognize Antifa As A Terrorist Organization Hits 100k Signatures

Created by an individual going by the initials “M.A.” on August 17, 2017, the petition calls on the U.S. government to formally recognize the leftist extremist movement, Antifa, as a terrorist organization. The petition was created in response to last weekend’s bloody events in Charlottesville, and the rise of the “alt-left” on the national stage, as highlighted by President Trump. (Daily Caller)

Barcelona attack: Surviving suspects face judge

Four men accused of belonging to the cell behind the terror attacks in and around Barcelona last week are appearing at the high court in Madrid. The judge questioning them is deciding what charges to press over the vehicle attacks that left 15 people dead and more than 100 injured. (BBC)

Exact spot where Barcelona massacre driver was shot by cops as incredible story of how he was brought to justice by hero vineyard owner dubbed ‘Citizen X’ is revealed

THIS is the exact spot where Barcelona terrorist Younes Abouyaaqoub was killed by cops as the incredible story emerged of a hero dubbed “Citizen X” who helped bring him to justice. (Sun.co.uk)

Trump rules out Afghan troops withdrawal

President Donald Trump has said a hasty US withdrawal from Afghanistan would leave a vacuum for terrorists to fill. He said his original instinct was to pull US forces out, but had instead decided to stay and "fight to win" to avoid the mistakes made in Iraq. He said he wanted to shift from a time-based approach in Afghanistan to one based on conditions on the ground, adding he would not set deadlines. (BBC) (Reuters)

Australian terror plan to hide plane bomb in Barbie revealed

Lebanon's interior minister has claimed a terror cell attempted to blow up a flight from Australia with bombs hidden in a Barbie doll and a meat grinder. He said Amer Khayyat planned to detonate an improvised explosive device 20 minutes into an Abu-Dhabi bound flight with 400 passengers onboard. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Anthony Furey: It’s time we really took a look at Trudeau’s political philosophy

Does Justin Trudeau support open borders? I can’t answer that question. Neither can most Canadians, including his colleagues in the Liberal caucus. I’m guessing only his closest friends can, if that. This past weekend the prime minister once again sidestepped taking a firm stance against the illegal border crossings that have become precipitously worse in recent weeks. Social service agencies are strained, regular Canadians are losing their faith in the system and we now have a de facto open border. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: In Trudeauland, it literally ‘pays’ to have friends in high places

As Garth Brooks sang years ago, “I’ve got friends in low places.” Yes, “where the whiskey drowns, and the beer chases my blu-uuu-es away.” Perhaps that’s my problem. Unlike Rana Sarkar, I have never had many highfalutin friends, at least none like Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pal and his principal secretary in the PMO. In fact, I have never met Mr. Butts. I have seen him across rooms, et cetera, but we have never sat down to discuss career paths. (Toronto Sun)

Christie Blatchford: A team of guards, an interpreter, two prosecutors, a lawyer and a judge to get one alleged terrorist to court

Rehab Dughmosh appears for all the world to be the face of the modern new (alleged) terrorist – in the jargon of pop psychology, mad, bad, sad or an amalgam of all three. As a prosecutor remarked Monday at her latest court appearance, “The question is, is she unwilling or is she unable?” to participate in the Canadian justice system. Put another way, and this is one of the other issues the court may yet determine, is Dughmosh mentally fit to stand trial? (National Post)

Lorne Gunter: Edmonton being swept up in Access without Fear trend

On Monday, council heard submissions from illegal immigrants and those who advocate on their behalf about why city services should be provided by city taxpayers to those who are in Canada illegally and on the same basis as they are provided to citizens and permanent residents. While organizers of the Canadian Access without Fear (AWF) movement won’t say their goal is the establishment of sanctuary cities (because the concept of sanctuary cities has become very controversial in the United States), that is exactly what they are after. (Edmonton Sun)

Martin Patriquin: How Quebec became ground zero for immigration paranoia

In 2007, about a month after Christmas, André Drouin saw what was on the horizon and decided he’d had enough. A town councillor in Hérouxville, a community of about 1,300 located about 200 kms northeast of Montreal, Drouin believed his responsibilities extended well beyond the plowing of snow and the collecting of trash. (IPolitics)

Andrew Coyne: The answer to left-wing identity politics is not right-wing identity politics

Can it be that it was all so simple then, or has time rewritten every line? Was it only this spring we were all being told that populist nationalism, Trump style, was the wave of the future, that “the people” were fed up with [your pet grievance here] and the elite media just didn’t get it? How long ago it all seems. (National Post)

Kelly McParland: Andrew Scheer has one key task as he prepares for the next election

Andrew Scheer really has just one key task as he prepares his party, and himself, for the next election in 2019: he has to provide a positive answer to a single question. When Canadians begin to tire of the Liberals and look around for a viable alternative, they’ll eye the Conservatives and ask themselves, “Could we live with these people as a government?” The answer has to be yes. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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