True North Initiative: News Scan 08 23 17

TOP STORIES

Immigration Minister denies that Canada was unprepared for surge of asylum seekers

Canada’s Immigration Minister denies his government was poorly prepared for the surge of asylum seekers streaming on foot into Quebec from the United States this summer, even as federal officials intensify efforts to try to curb the flow of those showing up at irregular border crossings. “We were prepared. We were always on top of this,” Ahmed Hussen said in an interview. (Globe and Mail) (National Review)

Montreal schools preparing for hundreds of asylum seekers

French school boards in greater Montreal are making plans to welcome between 800 and 1,000 new students whose parents have fled across Quebec’s border over the summer to seek asylum. Several dozen children of asylum seekers have already enrolled at the Commission Scolaire de Montréal, said board president Catherine Harel Bourdon. (Montreal Gazette)

New temporary shelter in Laval for asylum seekers

Another temporary shelter opened for asylum seekers Monday, this time in a former seniors’ residence in Laval. Nearly 4,000 people crossed illegally into Quebec in the first two weeks of August in hope of seeking asylum. The Manoir Chomedey, which closed down last year, will now temporarily house some of those people. (CTV)

Task force on Canada-U.S. border crossings to meet, review next steps for asylum seekers

The federal-provincial task force charged with managing an unprecedented flow of asylum seekers over the Canada-U.S. border will meet Wednesday in Montreal to review next steps in handling the surge. While officials said this week that the number of those crossing into Quebec has declined to about 140 a day from 250 a day last week, the federal government continues to ramp up its ability to process their claims for refugee status — and to be ready for a potential new spike in arrivals. (Toronto Star) (CBC)

Feds trying to stem tide of refugees flowing into Canada

For months, the federal government denied the influx of refugees from the United States was anything to worry about but now the Trudeau government appears to have changed its tune. In January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.” But the feds appear to have cooled their heels on that type of talk as cabinet ministers try to stem the tide of refugees flowing into Canada. (Global)

Canada puts pressure on allies to monitor far-right extremists

Canada recently asked U.S. and other top intelligence allies to keep a tight watch on far-right extremists, who are increasingly grabbing international attention with anti-immigration messages and violent attacks, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said. The federal government specifically raised the issue at a meeting in Ottawa in June attended by security and justice officials from the group known as Five Eyes, which is made up of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and the United States. (Globe and Mail)

Locals Demand Answers About Welcome Center For Illegals In Their City

Citizens of the border city of Cornwall, Ontario want to know why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has put a welcome center for illegal refugees in their backyard. Locals crowded a special city council meeting Monday night with questions about why a conference center is being used to accommodate some of the asylum seekers pouring across the New York-Quebec border, hoping to attain refugee status in Canada. (Daily Caller)

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Would Prefer You Not Enter His Country Illegally

Any leftists who are still contemplating a move to Canada in the wake of Donald Trump's election may soon find themselves out of luck completely. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is about to start cracking down on illegal immigration, and it's starting with border-jumpers. (Daily Wire)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Languages spoken in Canada: slow but steady change

The latest information from Canada’s official statistics agency shows continued change in Canada’s linguistic make-up. Statistics Canada says 93.4 per cent of Canada’s population indicate they speak either English of French ( Canada’s two official languages) on a regular basis. However, some 7.6 million Canadians now report speaking a language other than English or French at home, an increase of 14.5 per cent over 2011 for a total of just over 22 per cent of the population. (Radio Canada)

Far-right group posts anti-immigrant banners throughout Montreal

More anti-migrant banners have popped up in Quebec, this time in Montreal where many asylum seekers are being temporarily housed. The banners were posted at various sites either late Sunday or early Monday, including at the Olympic Stadium, where several hundred people who filtered across the border illegally are staying in a makeshift shelter. (Metro) (CBC)

Religious groups sound alarms as hate crimes appear to be on the rise

In one part of the GTA, three schools were plastered with anti-Semitic, anti-Black graffiti. In another, a Muslim woman’s car window smashed, with “derogatory” comments spray-painted on her property. Hate crimes are nothing new, but religious groups are sounding the alarms as they appear to be on the rise. “We continue to see a trend of a high level of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada going back to 2012,” said Aidan Fishman, the interim national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights. (Toronto Star)

Liberals misleading asylum seekers, NDP MP Jenny Kwan says

The Liberal government is misleading people when it says there's no advantage to crossing illegally into Canada to seek asylum, NDP MP Jenny Kwan says. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made those comments over the weekend as the Liberals have become more assertive in their efforts to tamp down the volume of asylum seekers. Nearly 7,000 have arrived in the last six weeks, mostly via Quebec. (CTV)

This year’s surge in asylum claimants to Canada isn’t unprecedented: U of C analysis

While this year’s influx of asylum-seekers jumping the Canada-U.S. border has highlighted many issues with Canada’s system, the sheer number of claimants is not unprecedented, according to the Social Policy Trends publication this week from the University of Calgary. “The recent crisis may have made many Canadians aware of asylum-seekers for the first time,” the article reads. “However, [asylum-seekers] have been arriving to Canada in significant numbers for many years.” (Global)

New data casts doubt on asylum-seeker 'crisis' but immigration lawyer disagrees

The onslaught of asylum-seekers at Canada’s border with the U.S. isn’t as great a crisis as some would think, says a member of a University of Calgary think tank. But a Calgary immigration lawyer said the analysis done by the U of C’s School of Public Policy is probably low-balling the size and impact of an influx of refugee status-seekers from the U.S. (Calgary Herald)

Quebec City mayhem: A look at the two sides of Sunday's protests

Some masked demonstrators — opponents of a group that planned a march against “illegal immigration” — clashed with police, throwing firecrackers and flares, setting a dumpster on fire and carrying out other vandalism.  One person was arrested and three police officers were treated after being exposed to a chemical irritant launched by counter-protesters. Both groups of protesters claimed victory. (Montreal Gazette)

Conservative supporters okay with warrantless electronic searches at border, while others disapprove: survey

The Forum Research survey, shared exclusively with The Hill Times before its public release and taken Aug. 16-17, found 46 per cent of respondents disapproved of having their laptops, cellphones, and other devices searched without judicial approval at the border, while another 37 per cent voiced support. Of that number, 30 per cent strongly disapproved, and 22 per cent strongly approved of the warrantless searches. (Hill Times)

Federal advertising 'blacklist' of websites includes far-right outlets

Right-wing outlets The Rebel and Breitbart, as well as the extreme-right website Daily Stormer are among more than 3,000 websites on an internal "blacklist" to ensure the federal government's digital advertisements do not appear on sites promoting hate, porn, gambling and other subjects deemed unacceptable. (CBC)

Tory, Liberal Senators join chorus opposing justice minister’s drunk-driving proposal

Senators point to an already backlogged court system that they see getting worse if the blood-alcohol threshold for criminal drunk-driving charges is lowered. But advocates say it would send a strong message and change drivers’ behaviours. (Hill Times)

Conservatives prepare to 'ramp up' campaign against Morneau's tax-reform plan

As protests grow from business groups over the government’s proposed tax crackdown on private corporations, the Conservatives are getting ready to launch their own campaign against it. Lisa Raitt, the Conservative Party’s deputy leader under Andrew Scheer, says she’s been deep in discussions with doctors and small business owners over the government’s tax plan, and is lining up roundtables across the country to help air concerns around it. (National Post)

Despite expected U.S. troop hike, no victory in sight to Afghan war: expert

While U.S. President Donald Trump opened the door on Monday to beefing up U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the best he can hope for is “no victory, no defeat” in America’s longest war, says a Canadian expert. Speaking before a crowd of hundreds of service members at Fort Myer in Virginia on Monday, Trump unveiled his new strategy to deal with the Afghan impasse. (Radio Canada)

One week into negotiations, Trump says he'll 'probably' cancel NAFTA

Donald Trump has threatened to blow up NAFTA less than one week into the renegotiation of the trade agreement, providing an early indication that the upcoming talks might occur under a cloud of menace. The president’s threat itself is no surprise. A common topic of hallway chatter at last week’s first round of talks last week was just when he might deploy that withdrawal threat, which many view as his principal source of negotiating leverage. (National Post)

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

The petition to the White House to formally classify Antifa as a terrorist organization has hit 100,000 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)

Teenager arrested for dancing Macarena on Saudi street

A 14-year-old boy who went viral on Twitter for dancing the Macarena in a busy Saudi Arabian street has been arrested by authorities. The teenager is being questioned after being accused of "improper public behaviour" in Jeddah, a statement said. (BBC)

Sixty migrants found locked in icy truck on US-Mexico border

Sixty undocumented migrants from Central America were discovered locked inside a food truck by US officials as they tried to cross the border. They were found "laying on and within pallets of broccoli lined with a thin sheet of ice", US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement. (BBC)

New ISIS Threat to Spain: 'War Has Not Been Fought and Gone'

A pro-ISIS media outlet that had threatened the "disbelievers" of Spain before last week's attack issued a fresh warning over the weekend that jihad there "has not been fought and gone" and cells remain in Barcelona and beyond. (PJ Media)

Taliban Vow Jihad with 'Lofty Spirits,' 'Graveyard for the American Empire' After Trump Speech

In unveiling an Afghanistan strategy at Fort Myer outside D.C. on Monday night, Trump said that "perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan," a continuation of the Obama-era policy that kept the door open to negotiations with the terror group and categorized them as armed insurgents. (PJ Media)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Robyn Urback: Trudeau must dispel the myth there's 'always a place' for refugees in Canada

The message needs to come from the top, using a forum that would-be asylum seekers might actually follow. Granted, it could ruin Trudeau's heartthrob progressive world leader cred, but it's just about the only immediate measure that could stymie the flow of migrants. Put it on Facebook, on Twitter, in a Snapchat story: You are not guaranteed a spot in Canada. Don't cross the border illegally. (CBC)

Philip Devoe: Trudeau Cracks Down on Illegal Immigration

Evidently, Trudeau is recognizing what any head of state who campaigns for radically loose immigration policies must at some point: Opening borders poses serious problems, both practical and political. Angela Merkel is facing pressure to accept an upper limit of refugees in Germany, and many see Britain’s exit from the European Union as a rebellion against the EU’s more liberal refugee policy. (National Review)

Chris Alexander: The world must finish its job—and protect its legacy—in Afghanistan

’ll be honest: watching a third U.S. President send more troops to Afghanistan is dispiriting. It’s not exactly Groundhog Day, but it definitely elicits a groan. Why? Sixteen years after 9/11, everyone knows U.S. strategy hasn’t worked. The situation today is dire: Most gave up on “winning” in Afghanistan long ago. And U.S. skepticism and skittishness are nothing new. When I arrived in Kabul as Canada’s ambassador 14 years ago this month, U.S. staying power was already ebbing away as the invasion of Iraq took centre stage in Washington—and we know how that ill-starred war of choice turned out. (Macleans)

John Ivison: Canada would be wise to steer clear of a return to ‘graveyard of empires’

Donald Trump’s about-face on Afghanistan raises questions about Canada’s new foreign policy statement — and whether this country might be drawn back into a war that haunts it still. The Trudeau government’s foreign policy, unveiled to much fanfare two months ago, was premised on the Trump Administration “shrugging off the burden of world leadership,” in the words of Chrystia Freeland, the Global Affairs Minister. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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