True North Initiative: News Scan 08 30 17

TOP STORIES

Montreal police officers saluted for accidentally catching one of America's most wanted fugitives

Two Montreal patrol officers on bikes are being lauded by their superior after their quick thinking resulted in the accidental capture of one of America's most-wanted fugitives. The officers, whose identities are not being released, were responsible for the arrest of alleged drug lord Katay-Khaophone Sychanta. "I'm very proud of these two officers," said Cmdr. Miguel Alston, head of the local police station. (CBC) (CTV)

Quebec to distribute over 3,000 welfare cheques to asylum seekers

Quebec is cancelling its plan to distribute welfare cheques to asylum seekers at Montreal's downtown convention centre. The province's Employment Department announced today it will instead hand out cheques to refugee applicants inside the temporary shelters that have been erected around the Montreal area. Quebec says about 3,000 cheques will be distributed in shelters and the rest mailed directly to the private residences into which asylum seekers have already moved. (CTV) (Toronto Star) (IPolitics)

Quebec relocates migrants’ aid distribution due to security concerns

Quebec cancelled a mass distribution of welfare cheques to asylum seekers at the Montreal convention centre this week after facing concerns the operation stigmatized the migrants and could raise security concerns. (Globe and Mail)

Haitian refugees leaving temporary shelter in Cornwall

Canadian immigration officials are processing the thousands of Haitians who crossed the border illegally this month seeking asylum. That means a temporary shelter set up for some of them in Cornwall, Ontario, just across the St. Lawrence River from Massena, is starting to empty out. Almost 300 Haitians have been staying in rooms at the Nav Centre conference facility on the outskirts of Cornwall for up to a week. The Canadian military set up rows of tents on the lawn for overflow, but so far, they haven’t been used. (NCPR)

In new Middle East aid package, Trudeau confirms switch in focus from ‘survival’ to ‘thrival’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new aid funding Tuesday for projects in Jordan and the Middle East, projects that confirm how Canada’s foreign aid focus has changed since his government took office compared to its Conservative predecessor. Both governments were and are remarkably consistent in their aid priorities to the region. A Global Affairs Canada database of foreign aid projects lists gender equality, protection of children, and environmental sustainability as the “policy markers” on just about all of the three dozen aid projects in Jordan most of which were approved or initiated by the government of Stephen Harper and which were continued by the Trudeau government. (Global)

$134-million claim against Khadr is based on false information and should be thrown out, lawyer argues

A multimillion-dollar claim seeking damages against Omar Khadr for the death of a U.S. special forces soldier should be dismissed because it relies on false information and a conviction before Guantanamo’s controversial military courts, documents filed Tuesday state. Nathan Whitling, Khadr’s lawyer, wrote in the statement of defence to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that the Utah claim for $134.1 million (U.S.) “would never have existed but for the unlawful detention, abuse, torture, and other mistreatment of (Khadr) in Bagram and GTMO.” (Toronto Star)

Next target Guam, North Korea says

North Korea's launch of a missile over Japan was a prelude to more military operations directed at the American territory of Guam, North Korean state media warned Wednesday. The country's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported leader Kim Jong Un presided over the dawn launch Tuesday of the "ultra-modern rocket system," the first missile ever fired from the capital Pyongyang. (CNN) (BBC)

New Hamas Chief: Relations Restored With Iran

Hamas and Iran have patched up relations, the Palestinian resistance group's new leader in Gaza said on Monday, and Tehran is again its biggest backer after years of estrangement over disagreements on the Syrian crisis. "Relations with Iran are excellent and Iran is the largest supporter of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades with money and arms," Yehya Sinwar, referring to Hamas's armed wing, told reporters, Reuters reported. (Financial Tribune) (Business Insider)

 

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

More data needed on asylum seekers at the border: Ontario immigration minister

Temporary shelters set up in Cornwall, Ont., to house asylum seekers will remain on standby until Oct. 1, but the province's immigration minister said Tuesday that, for now, it doesn't look like they'll be needed. But Laura Albanese said if there's one lesson to be learned from how the federal and provincial governments have dealt with thousands of people crossing over the border this summer, it's that Canada has to be ready at any moment to handle them. (CBC)

Canadian troops helping Jordan, Lebanon secure borders against Islamic State

Canadian soldiers have been quietly helping Jordan and Lebanon secure their borders amid fears of Islamic State fighters slipping from Iraq and Syria to launch attacks in Europe and North America. Military officials say the Canadians are not actually working on the borders, but otherwise won't say how many troops are in Jordan and Lebanon or where they are located, citing operational security. (Globe and Mail)

Liberals assess North Korea's threat daily, says Trudeau after shot over Japan

Canada is conducting daily threat assessments of North Korea's provocative missile tests, including its most recent blast over Japan, Justin Trudeau said Tuesday. But the prime minister steered clear of a divisive security issue that has long had domestic political ramifications: the U.S. missile shield for North America, which successive governments have avoided for more than a decade. (CBC)

Saudis to mount cultural showcase next month, amid human rights investigation

The Saudi Embassy is preparing a charm offensive in Ottawa next month, bringing dancers to the lawns of Parliament Hill and flying in schoolchildren to act as citizen ambassadors, while Ottawa investigates whether the Saudi government used Canadian-made armoured vehicles against its citizens. (Hill Times)

Defence minister’s ex-parliamentary secretary says Canada should join ballistic missile defence

“Canada wants to be in control of as much of its own sovereignty as it possibly can. I think the threat is real. I think the military experts need to be listened to,” said John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Ont.) of the danger North Korea’s nuclear program poses, which the House Defence Committee agreed to study before the House resumes at a rare summer meeting last week. (Hill Times)

Concern mounts over Morneau’s proposed tax changes affecting small businesses

Concern over proposed federal tax changes appears to be mounting as nearly 300 small business owners crammed a small briefing on the topic Tuesday in Calgary. Kim Moody, a tax expert with Moodys Gartner who hosted the free seminar at Mount Royal University, said that level of interest is unprecedented. "This is by far the biggest response we've ever seen," he said. The accountant presented a 158-page analysis of the changes and said some business owners were furious after learning more about the government's plans. (Globe and Mail)

Skyview MP Darshan Kang denies sexual harassment allegations, goes on medical leave

Facing calls for his expulsion from the federal Liberal caucus, Calgary Skyview MP Darshan Kang declared Tuesday that he was innocent of allegations of sexual harassment. In a statement issued Tuesday by his office, Kang said he has been put on medical leave from the stress caused since the allegations were made public. (National Post)

Andrew Scheer to keep leadership rivals close with shadow cabinet roles coming Wednesday

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will name his shadow cabinet Wednesday, giving top leadership rival Maxime Bernier a key role — just not the one he wanted, CBC News has learned. Bernier publicly campaigned for the role of finance critic, telling the Globe and Mail in July, "I hope that I can be the finance critic. That will be an interesting role for me and an important role. I'm ready to take that challenge." (CBC)

Doug Ford to reveal political plan at Ford Fest?

Always with a flair for the dramatic, Doug Ford insists he will finally come out of political retirement on Sept. 8. “There will be announcement,” he told the Toronto Sun on Tuesday. “You won’t want to miss it.” Ford earlier told Newstalk 1010 that he will reveal at the Ford Fest barbecue held in his mom’s backyard whether he’ll try to run next year provincially with the Progressive Conservatives and leader Patrick Brown, or against Mayor John Tory. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto 'Free Speech Comedy Show' cancelled amid backlash

The 'No Fascists In Our City! Free Speech Comedy Show' was cancelled Saturday after backlash to the event's perceived ties to far-right groups, but the organizer says it was really just about poking fun at these very types of controversies (National Post)

'Antifa' violence in Berkeley spurs soul-searching within leftist activist community

Of the dozens of organizations that turned out for Sunday’s mass protest against racism here, one group was impossible to miss. Its members dressed head to toe in black, with masked faces and some bearing pastel-painted riot shields that read “no hate.” These 100 or so militants billed themselves as a security force for progressive counter-protesters, vowing to protect them from far-right agitators. (LA Times)

'This was of epic proportion': President Donald Trump visits Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas

With flag-waving optimism, President Donald Trump answered Harvey’s wrath Tuesday by offering in-person assurances to those in the storm zone that his administration will work tirelessly to help the region recover from the massive flooding and storm-inflicted destruction. “We are going to get you back and operating immediately,” Trump told an impromptu crowd that gathered outside a Corpus Christi fire station about 30 miles from where the storm made landfall on Friday. (Toronto Sun)

'We're not done with this:' Harvey floodwaters continue to wreak havoc as forecast brightens

With its flood defences strained, the crippled city of Houston anxiously watched dams and levees Tuesday to see if they would hold until the rain stops, and meteorologists offered the first reason for hope — a forecast with less than a centimetre of rain and even a chance for sunshine. (CBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Anthony Furey: Khadr’s sister’s less than liberal online post a telling sign

Zaynab Khadr sure has a sense of timing.  It was on Monday that Canadians were reading about her brother Omar’s request to have his bail conditions changed so he could have unrestricted access to hang with his big sis. And it was on Monday that Zaynab took to Facebook to share this stern edict towards members of the ummah: (Toronto Sun)

Tarek Fatah: Jagmeet Singh should denounce the niqab

Had Singh read El Saadawi or any other progressive Muslim women among the world’s one billion Muslims - like Britain’s Yasmin Ali-Bhai Brown or Pakistan’s UN Rapporteur on Human Rights, Asma Jahangir - he would perhaps not have made the absurd claim that defending the niqab was, as he told the Toronto Star, showing “solidarity with Muslim Canadians who may feel targeted by legislation on religious clothing.” (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: The Liberals show a lack of seriousness dealing with the border crisis

The first thing that should strike Canadians about the Haitian asylum-seekers crisis taking place in Quebec and eastern Ontario is just how unserious the federal Liberal government has been in dealing with it. They’re doing nothing to stem the flow, and I suspect that’s just the way they like it. (Toronto Sun)

Howard Anglin: How Trudeau responds to Khadr's bail request will be a major test of his commitment to counter-radicalization

A German counter-radicalization program called "EXIT" has been studied by the RCMP as an initiative to model in Canada. Its key insight is that it is better for counter-terrorism officers to work through a radicalized individual's family than for the police deal with him directly. But what happens when it is the family that is the source of radicalization? (CBC)

John Ivison: Surprise! Doctors don't like being branded tax cheats

Jennifer Chan, a 44-year-old physician from Winnipeg, works in the most economically disadvantaged postal code in Canada. She doesn’t feel like a “fat cat,” yet she is about to bear the brunt of the Liberal government’s new small-business tax reforms, which it says are aimed at closing “unfair tax loopholes” being exploited by the top 1 per cent of earners. (National Post)

Barbara Kay: Quebec's niqab ban is progressive. The NDP apparently isn't

In their Sunday night French-language debate in Montreal, four NDP leadership aspirants gingerly navigated the minefield of Quebec’s Bill 62, nearing enactment, which will ban face coverings in the delivery and reception of publicly-funded services. As good leftists one and all, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron, Jagmeet Singh and Niki Ashton oppose any such ban in their multicultural hearts, but desperately want to avoid offending Quebec nationalists (and others, such as this columnist) who find such a ban perfectly reasonable. (National Post)

Douglas Todd: Can this thinker save moderate Islam?

A fellow with a slogan on his T-shirt got his 15 minutes of fame during last weekend’s Vancouver rally against opponents of mass immigration and Islamic practices. “Meet a Muslim & ask about Islam,” said the T-shirt of the smiling unidentified young man, who sported a black beard, sunglasses and blue baseball cap. (Vancouver Sun)

Martin Lukacs: Welcoming Haitian refugees to Canada isn’t about generosity but justice

The minders of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s brand are surely displeased. He’s spent two years cultivating an image of Canada’s refugee system as the political equivalent of airport hugs and teddy-bears. And now the pressure is on him to act like that were remotely the truth. The image of the country as a welcome haven was pitched to win the support of millions of people in Canada who rightly feel two things: compassion for the plight of refugees and disgust for the antics of Donald Trump. But refugee rights advocates had warned what would come to pass: desperate people would take Trudeau at his word. (Guardian)

Amarnath Amarasingam: Acknowledging that Canada’s hate groups exist

In other words, hate groups in Canada are generally unorganized and lack the ability to strategize and sustain themselves, and law enforcement officials who put pressure on these groups are generally successful at dismantling them. This is particularly the case when antiracist movements and communities work closely with law enforcement and share intelligence on hate groups or their adherents. (Policy Options)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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