True North Initiative: News Scan 09 01 17

TOP STORIES

Fewer asylum seekers crossing into Quebec illegally, CBSA says; 50 – 100 per day

After an unprecedented spike in the number of asylum seekers crossing the border into Quebec illegally in early August, the Canada Border Services Agency says those numbers are now dropping. Border agents are now handing the claims of 50 to 100 asylum seekers per day. Compare that to the beginning of the month, when as many as 1,200 people were waiting to be processed at the border crossing in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que. (CBC)

No Canada job losses from asylum seekers, foreigners: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassured unionized workers in Quebec Thursday that a wave of asylum seekers and foreigners with temporary worker permits would not take jobs away from Canadians. Speaking to the United Food and Commercial Workers in Montreal, Trudeau outlined proposed changes to immigration rules that would provide temporary foreign workers a path to permanent residency. "We have put an end to the discriminatory rule that prevented people from working for more than four years in Canada," he said in a speech. (Sun Daily) (Sherbrook Times)

Cornwall, Ont. venue to stop housing migrants as illegal border crossings drop

A Cornwall, Ont., conference centre will not be housing any more asylum seekers as of Friday at midnight because the number of people illegally crossing into Quebec from the United States has dropped significantly over the past week. (Globe and Mail)

CBSA, RCMP raid Eastern Townships restaurants in hunt for illegal foreign workers

Authorities have arrested two people in a raid on Guacamole Y Tequila restaurants in the Eastern Townships, in an apparent crackdown on undocumented foreign workers. RCMP and Canadian Border Services agents descended on the restaurant's locations in Magog and Sherbrooke Thursday morning. Two homes in Sherbrooke were also raided. Neither the CBSA nor the RCMP have provided details of the arrests. (CBC)

Ottawa sharing info with U.S. Homeland Security on all Americans entering Canada

Canada's border agency has quietly begun sharing information with U.S. Homeland Security about the thousands of American citizens who cross into Canada each day. Before long, Washington is expected to provide Ottawa with similar information about Canadians entering the United States. The exchanges are intended to bolster security and help enforce laws, though advocates for privacy and civil liberties are concerned about the potential for abuse. (CBC)

Lakeside Church vandalized with Islamic State messaging

The Ontario Provincial Police says its Crime Unit and Forensic Identification Services are investigating Islamic State messaging spray-painted on the front of a Guelph-Eramosa Township church. The graffiti, which reads 'The Islamic State Will Rem—' before trailing off, was spray painted on the front of Lakeside Church facing Conservation Road, just metres away from the church’s outdoor daycare playground. (Guelph Today)

Omar Khadr's bid to ease bail conditions adjourned

The case of former Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr was expected to be back in an Edmonton courtroom on Thursday but was adjourned until mid-September The hearing would have seen Khadr seek to ease his bail conditions, including a prohibition on contacting his controversial older sister. However, on Thursday morning Khadr's lawyer Nate Whitling said the federal Crown wasn't ready to proceed. (Yahoo) (Toronto Star)

U.S., Canada aligned on NAFTA timeline, Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told U.S. President Donald Trump he wants to finish the renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement by the end of 2017, putting Canada on the same page as the United States on the timeline for talks. (Globe and Mail)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

"It made perfect sense for us to come to Canada," immigrant entrepreneurs say

It’s been a true globe-trotting entrepreneurial journey for Sharoon Thomas and Rituparna (Ritu) Panda. They’re the co-founders of Fulfil.io in Toronto, an AI-based platform that specializes in connecting sales, fulfilment and purchasing functions through a single source. (Financial Post)

U.S. and Canada want NAFTA deal by end of year, Trump says

U.S. President Donald Trump, who threatened to walk away from NAFTA after complaining Canada and Mexico were being “difficult” at the negotiating table, now says he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agree on one thing: they both want a new NAFTA deal quickly. The White House released a statement saying Trump and Trudeau spoke Thursday about the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the two leaders “stressed their hope to reach an agreement by the end of this year.” (Toronto Star)

Bill Morneau tries to soothe Liberal MPs’ fears over small business tax plan backlash

Bill Morneau is scrambling to calm the fears of nervous Liberal backbenchers who’ve been inundated with complaints about the finance minister’s plan eliminate loopholes that give some wealthy small business owners an unfair tax advantage. The finance minister hosted an hour-long conference call Thursday with Liberal MPs, aimed at listening to their concerns, giving them the tools to counter what he considers rampant misinformation about his plan and reassuring them that the government is open to adjusting the proposals to avoid any unintended consequences. (Global)

Canada to help U.S. by shipping supplies to Harvey victims

Canada has received an official request from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency for pediatric hygiene kits along with pediatric pillows, towels and other linens in response to needs arising from Hurricane Harvey's aftermath. The request came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the offer to U.S. President Donald Trump during a telephone call Thursday. (CBC)

Amid accusations of sexual harassment, Darshan Kang resigns from Liberal caucus

Embattled Alberta MP Darshan Kang, facing sexual harassment accusations from two different women, is resigning from the Liberal caucus. In a statement released Thursday evening, Mr. Kang (Calgary Skyview, Alta.) said he’s stepping down to focus on clearing his name. “Effective immediately, I am resigning from the federal Liberal Caucus,” Mr. Kang said in a statement to The Hill Times. “I wish to focus my efforts at this time on clearing my name.” (Hill Times)

Britain is home to up to 35,000 Islamic fanatics

Britain is home to up to 35,000 fanatical Islamists of whom 3,000 are 'worrying' for the security service MI5, Europe's top anti-terrorism official said today. EU counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove singled out the UK as having more radicalised Muslims than any other country in Europe. Mr de Kerchove also warned Islamic State will attempt a cyber-attack on nuclear power stations or air traffic control systems within five years. (Daily Mail)

Two dozen bodies wash up on Bangladesh shore as nearly 50,000 Rohingya Muslims flee violence in Burma

The bodies of two dozen refugees trying to flee the violence in Burma have washed up on the shores of Bangladesh in the last two days. Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims are making desperate attempts to flee the worst violence involving the Burma minority in at least five years. On Thursday, the bodies of 11 Rohingya children, and nine women washed up on the Bangladesh side of the river Naf after their boat overturned, local authorities said. (Daily Mail)

Rohingya exodus: 'They shot dead my husband'

Many thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh in the past week as the latest violence erupted. But not everyone made it alive. (BBC)

Life After ISIS Slavery for Yazidi Women and Children

This summer, Iraqi forces finally drove isis out of Mosul and most of northern Iraq. But for the Yazidis, a long persecuted religious and ethnic minority who practice a faith with pre-Zoroastrian roots and Islamic and Christian influences, stability is still a distant prospect. isis militants consider the Yazidis infidels and have subjected them to systematic killings, rape, and pillage. In the summer of 2014, isis killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yazidis; more than fifty thousand survivors fled to Sinjar Mountain, in the baking August heat. Three thousand Yazidis remain in isis captivity, but as isis has lost territory, international interest in them has faded. (New Yorker)

Court blocks Texas law punishing 'sanctuary cities'

A US federal judge has halted a new Texan immigration law on "sanctuary cities" just two days before it is scheduled to go into effect. The bill aimed to force local law enforcement to obey requests from immigration officers to hold illegal immigrants for deportation. "Sanctuary cities" came under fire from Donald Trump in an executive order during his first week as president. (BBC)

US hands out first contracts for border wall prototypes

Four companies have been chosen to build prototypes for Donald Trump's planned border wall, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said. The four concrete prototypes will be 30ft (9m) long and up to 30ft tall, and will be built in the coming months. (BBC)

Houston floods: White House seeks disaster aid from Congress

The White House says it will ask the US Congress for emergency funding to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. President Donald Trump is expected to propose an initial $5.9bn (£4.56bn). Texas authorities say the state might need more than $125bn. (BBC)

As Houston Begins Cleanup, Residents Face Up to Losses

Across this city, residents came out to assess the damage Hurricane Harvey wrought on homes, churches and businesses and started the difficult task of clearing out furnishings, carpeting and keepsakes ruined by the record rainfall. At the Norchester neighborhood in northwest Houston on Thursday, Beth Smith’s driveway was piled with ruined couches and end tables and carpeting soaked by the 4 feet of water that poured into her two-story home, the first time the 40-year-old house has flooded. (WSJ)

Trump to donate $1 million to Texas recovery

President Donald Trump will donate $1 million of his fortune to recovery efforts in Texas, though the White House says he hasn't determined which group or groups will receive the contribution. (CNN)

 

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Mark Bonokoski: As 50% of small business fail, Liberals plan to tax them more

If the Trudeau Liberals do not back down from their plan to basically tax small business owners out of business, based on the illusion they’re all rich and dodging taxes to make them richer, then Finance Minister Bill Morneau had best update his tetanus shot. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: How Justin Trudeau is governing like Harper

The Liberals were elected, in part, on their promise to end Stephen Harper’s evident contempt for Parliament. Harper, the Liberals argued, treated Canada as an executive, rather than a parliamentary democracy. Prime ministerial decisions were rubber-stamped using ruthless caucus discipline, eliminating the need for persuasion. The House of Commons was reduced to an arena of venomous sparring. (National Post)

Marc A. Thiessen: It's time for the left to really condemn antifa

Last weekend in Berkeley, California, a group of neo-communist antifa — “anti-fascist” — thugs attacked peaceful protesters at a “No to Marxism in America” rally, wielding sticks and pepper spray, and beating people with homemade shields that read (I kid you not) “No Hate.” The Washington Post reports how one peaceful protester “was attacked by five black-clad antifa members, each windmilling kicks and punches into a man desperately trying to protect himself.” Members of the Berkeley College Republicans were then stalked by antifa goons who followed them to a gas station and demanded they “get the (expletive) out” of their car, warning, “We are real hungry for supremacists and there is more of us.” (National Post)

Toronto Sun: Liberals failing our students

Remember when former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty wanted to be known as “the education premier”? Well, that hasn’t ended well. With the school year about to begin, the latest test scores from Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office show half the province’s Grade 6 students are failing to meet the provincial standard in math and student proficiency continues to decline year after year. (Toronto Sun)

Guy Dixon: The digital economy gets the buzz, but immigrants are needed elsewhere, too

Economics and immigration policy are typically wrapped together in delicate language. We see the language of progress, of an economy's need for the labour and foreign capital that immigration brings. And we encounter the language of preservation, the need to maintain the prosperity that came before. All too easily, the latter talk is used by those who see migration in crisis terms. (Globe and Mail)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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