True North Initiative: News Scan 08 28 17

TOP STORIES

El Salvadorans could be next wave of border crossers into Canada

Officials in Canada and the U.S. are concerned that the next wave of asylum seekers at the border could be a population far bigger than the Haitians crossing now. More than 260,000 El Salvadorans are facing deportation from the United States if their temporary protected status there is lifted in March — four times the number of Haitians covered by the program. (Toronto Sun) (National Post)

Liberals Sending 'Obviously False’ Message To Would-Be Asylum Seekers: Canadian Council for Refugees

The federal government is transparently lying to potential asylum seekers by saying there are "no advantages" to coming across the border illegally, the Canadian Council for Refugees says. Emmanuel Dubourg, the Liberal MP who was sent to Miami to discourage Haitians from travelling to Canada to claim asylum, told reporters Friday that he has been telling them "there is no advantage" to coming to the country irregularly. (Huffington Post)

Trudeau envoy hits Miami to debunk Haitian migration myths

Emmanuel Dubourg says he has spent the past 24 hours in Miami doing media interviews, meeting with Haitian community groups and visiting churches to deliver a message: there is no "free pass" for asylum-seekers crossing into Canada illegally. Dubourg, a Liberal member of Parliament who represents the Montreal-area riding of Bourassa, has been in the southern Florida city since Wednesday in an attempt to dispel immigration myths that have driven thousands of Haitians to cross illegally into Quebec from its border with New York. (National Observer) (CBS)

Many people illegally crossing into Canada were fed wrong information about asylum system

Amid the federal government’s assurances it has everything under control at the Canada-U.S. border, where thousands of would-be refugees are crossing over in droves, is an aggressive campaign to combat one element seen to be behind the most recent wave: the viral spread of potentially deliberately misleading information about Canada’s refugee and asylum systems. The Liberal government has said it is aware of misinformation spreading via instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and through other social media platforms. (Global)

Omar Khadr wants unsupervised contact with his pro-al-Qaida sister, more freedom to travel

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr returns to court this week to ask that his bail conditions be eased, including allowing him unfettered contact with his controversial older sister, more freedom to move around Canada, and unrestricted internet access. In support of his request, Khadr notes the conditions originally imposed two years ago were necessary as a graduated integration plan following his 13 years in American and Canadian custody. No issues have arisen since his release and the various restrictions have been revised several times — most recently in May last year, he says. (Toronto Sun) (Global)

RCMP to develop own email system because of government delays

After years of email crashes and outages, the RCMP had decided it can't wait for a new harmonized email system for the entire federal government. The national police force was originally scheduled to be moved onto the long-delayed system in October 2014. Subsequent transition dates in October 2015, February 2016 and January 2017 have come and gone. (CBC)

Trump says Canada being 'very difficult' in NAFTA talks, suggests terminating

U.S. President Donald Trump again suggested the North American Free Trade Agreement be terminated, tweeting Sunday that both Canada and Mexico are being "very difficult," but observers and political leaders didn't appear to take the threat too seriously. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard brushed aside Trump's comment. (CTV)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

How asylum seekers make refugee claims, and why they take so long

Asylum seekers who come to Canada are often able to make their claim for refugee status on the same day they arrive. But in Quebec the process has been disrupted by the recent influx of asylum seekers from the U.S. Here's a closer look at how that process normally works and how it's been affected by the sudden increase in demand. (CBC)

‘Daddy, let’s go to Canada’: the fearful march from Trump to Canada

Their lives changed in an instant that July day when the government letter arrived telling them that her work permit was not being renewed. For five years, Sheila Francois lived, worked and paid her taxes in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to help support her three teenaged children. When she and husband, Frank, read that letter — no renewal and no explanation — they knew their life in the United States was over. (Macleans) (CP) (IPolitics)

Who is encouraging Haitians to cross the border? Canada wants to know.

The Facebook posts and WhatsApp messages promising safe haven in Canada claim to have the blessing of the Canadian government. Creole-language radio stations offer up consultants giving free and paid consultations for Haitians seeking residency across the U.S. border. Border cities such as Montreal are welcoming immigrants with open arms, or so the stories go. (Miami Herald)

In San Diego, Haitians watch community shrink as countrymen leave for Canada

Her best friend was one of the first to go. Then the two families she shared a three-bedroom house with headed north. Finally, the nanny. Over the course of three months, Josiane Valsaint watched fellow Haitians pull roots, pack and make for Canada. They traveled to Quebec, finding French speakers like themselves and a well-established Haitian community. (LA Times)

Flood of Haitian refugees making it difficult to find visas for orphaned students

A Windsor businessman believes the flood of Haitian immigrants pouring into Canada from the United States is causing roadblocks when it comes to getting visas for orphaned students. Jim Scott established a not-for-profit called Enable Haiti and wants to bring older children to North America to continue their education, but the immigration lawyer he hired in the U.S. told him to forget it — Haitians are illegally crossing the border in droves so the lawyer doesn't believe either country will let them in. (CBC)

2 arrested at anti-Islam rally in London, Ont.

Police arrested two people Saturday during the largest protest in recent memory in London, Ont., which pitted anti-Islam groups against counter-protesters. Up to 500 people gathered in front of City Hall during the two-hour event, police estimated. Emotions ran high, with shoving and yelling. A large police presence kept the sides apart. (CBC)

'Extreme examples' shouldn't undermine free-speech pledge, Scheer says

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said "extreme examples," like the University of Toronto's telling a white nationalist group it doesn't have permission to hold a rally on campus, shouldn't be used to detract from his promise to halt federal funding to universities that fail to uphold free speech. (CBC)

Kang expected to be tossed from Liberal caucus over sexual harassment allegations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to boot rookie Alberta MP Darshan Kang from the Liberal caucus in the coming days after an investigation into sexual harassment allegations levelled against him by a young staffer unearthed troubling findings, The Hill Times has learned. (Hill Times)

Invoking dead husband in online criticism crosses line, Denise Batters says

Sen. Denise Batters was minutes from boarding a flight home when she noticed two-day old Twitter posts that said she was only in the upper chamber because her husband killed himself. Twenty years earlier on the same night, she and her husband had been among the last people to leave their wedding reception. (Global)

Ottawa to students: We will pay companies to give you a work placement

The federal government is promising to create 10,000 paid student work placements in key industries over the next four years through a new $73-million program set to be unveiled Monday in Toronto. The funding was originally announced in the 2016 budget, but details of how the government plans to create these connections between students and employers haven’t been released until now, just in time for the 2017-18 school year. (Toronto Star)

Propaganda and provocation: Russia scoffs at Canada's Baltic war games

A high-level Russian official is unimpressed with Canada's war games in the Baltics. "There is no other way to interpret what's going on in the Baltic republics [than] as a very provocative action," Maria Zakharova, chief spokesperson for Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in an interview with CBC News. (CBC)

Donald Trump pardons Joe Arpaio, ex-Arizona sheriff who refused to stop patrols targeting immigrants

President Donald Trump spared his ally former Sheriff Joe Arpaio a possible jail sentence on Friday by pardoning his conviction, reversing what critics saw as a long-awaited comeuppance for a lawman who escaped accountability for headline-grabbing tactics during most of his 24 years as metropolitan Phoenix’s top law enforcer. The White House said the 85-year-old ex-sheriff was a “worthy candidate” for a presidential pardon. (National Post)

Canada Introduces Gender ‘X’ on Passports So Transgenders ‘Can Feel Safe’

Canadians who claim to be neither a man nor a woman will be able to identify their gender as “X” on their passports. The move from the department for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship is intended to “support LGBTQ2 rights” and advance the Canadian government’s “agenda on gender equality, diversity and inclusion”. (BreitBart)

‘Everything is overflowing’: Canadians in Texas grapple with Harvey’s wrath

Canadian expats living in Texas said they’ve gone days without sleep as the remnants of hurricane Harvey continue to deluge the southeast coast Sunday. Megan Giffin-Scheffers, who moved from Halifax to Houston four years ago, said “everything is overflowing” in the Texas city, which is the fourth-largest in the U.S., as rising waters force thousands of people out of their homes. (Global)

Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim believes he wasn't executed or tortured in North Korea because of Canadian citizenship

​Toronto-area Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim says holding Canadian citizenship was the reason he wasn't executed or tortured during his more than two years of detention in North Korea. "If I'm just Korean, maybe they kill me," Lim said during an interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton on Saturday. "I'm Canadian so they cannot, because they cannot kill the foreigners." (CBC)

Why western women are now the Islamists’ target of choice

There has been an unprecedented development this year in the Islamists’ war on the West. For the first time their foot soldiers are singling out women to kill. Women have been the victims of terrorism before, murdered by paramilitary organisations such as ETA, the Ulster Volunteer Force and the IRA, because of their uniform or their beliefs, or simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but never solely because of their sex. (Spectator)

Hunger eats away at Venezuela’s soul as its people struggle to survive

Hunger is gnawing at Venezuela, where a government that claims to rule for the poorest has left most of its 31 million people short of food, many desperately so. As night falls over Caracas, and most of the city’s residents lock their doors against its ever more violent streets, Adriana Velásquez gets ready for work, heading out into an uncertain darkness as she has done since hunger forced her into the only job she could find at 14. (Guardian)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Canada needs to secure its borders, before things get worse

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is starting to see the errors of his ways. He spent the past week in Montreal, doing damage control and trying to set the record straight about Canada’s immigration rules. Earlier this year, Trudeau made international headlines by proclaiming that Canada would welcome those fleeing war and persecution. His statement warmed the hearts of liberal journalists all over the world, and he received glowing coverage for his welcoming attitude towards refugees. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Is it time the Canadian Forces developed a full-service rapid response brigade?

The Canadian Forces should develop a new brigade that can take on sea, land and air roles all in one, a new paper recommends. A tri-service rapid response brigade, as it’s called, would be a groundbreaking endeavour that rolls in all the current and traditional capabilities of the Canadian Forces as well as new measures like attack helicopters, drones (both armed and unarmed), cyber warfare specialists and more. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: How much longer until government changes tune on border fiasco?

It’s hard to sum up all the frustrating news that’s come to light recently about the border fiasco all with one neat little bow. The mess really goes in every direction and covers all angles. We’ve learned the situation is extremely fluid. Back in the winter, we thought the hundreds a month who were crossing illegally was a high number. At that time, quite a few of them were Saudi nationals on U.S. visas. Now, that number is peanuts and we’re getting hundreds a day. Most of them are Haitians. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: If asylum-seeking is working, what does failure look like?

Our prime minister went to great pains this past week, with the best serious-looking face he could muster, to spin us the line that the refugee system is working. He must be wearing blinkers. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Masked thugs at core of 'Antifa'

Imagine if white supremacists had attacked Canadian journalists covering their demonstration in Quebec City last Sunday, pushing one of them down a flight of stairs and smashing the television camera of another. Imagine if, in the wake of that unprovoked assault, they threatened on social media to do it again, not just to those journalists, but to any journalists whose reporting angered them. (Toronto Sun)

Don Pittis: Politics not economics sets the limit on Canadian immigration

A well-know economic theory says that when it comes to people, you can get too much of a good thing. As thousands of asylum seekers come across the Canadian border to escape Trump's America, there are many Canadian voices, including mainstream Conservatives, who believe we may have reached that point. (CBC)

Chantal Hebert: PM’s words unlikely to stem flow of U.S. asylum seekers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled on Wednesday to Montreal—ground zero of the intense media coverage of the asylum-seeking issue—to try to unknit some of his own knitting. He met with the interprovincial task force set up to co-ordinate the logistics of the response to the influx of would-be asylum seekers who have been crossing the U.S. border into Quebec, as well as with leaders of the Haitian community. In between, the prime minister held a news conference. (Hill Times)

Kelly McParland: Liberals right to be nervous about Canada's migration crisis

The sudden influx of asylum-seekers entering Canada from the U.S. is a crisis for the Trudeau government. Not because Canada can’t handle a few thousand more arrivals, but because the Liberals have a halo to protect. The halo is in grave danger. When Canadians were desperate to be seen helping Syrians escape the madness in their home country, Candidate Trudeau made clear that the Liberals would welcome them with open arms. He made a show of turning up at Pearson airport in Toronto to be photographed with grateful families. The Liberals basked in the glow of approval their magnanimity attracted around the world. “We’re Canadian, and we’re here to help.” (National Post)

Globe editorial: Goodbye, Sir John A.? Goodbye Canada

The union representing teachers in Ontario’s public elementary schools last week passed a resolution calling on the province to rename buildings bearing the name of that noted historical villain, Sir John A. Macdonald. It’s an absurd idea – insulting to our history, and to the intelligence of Canadians. But given the temper of the times, you can expect many more such demands in the years to come. (Globe and Mail)

Mark Bonokoski: If John A. Macdonald has to go, why not Pierre Trudeau too?

While we are in the process of scrubbing our history clean, and exorcising all reminders of our former leaders’ ugly pasts — Sir John A. Macdonald, Edward Cornwallis, and all the other warts on our moral sensibilities — why not remove Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s name from the international airport in Montreal? (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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