True North Initiative: News Scan 09 12 17

TOP STORIES

What happens when an ISIS member returns to Canada? The story of one Toronto-area man

He had been in Syria for almost six months, serving in the morality police of the so-called Islamic State, when he decided he’d seen enough. The recruiters had promised an Islamic utopia but it was just a cruel police state, one he wasn’t willing to die for. He was frightened and disillusioned. He wanted to go home to Canada. He left the city of Manbij during the night, taking a motorcycle north to Jarabulus and crossing into southern Turkey, where he was arrested and deported. (Global)

Young Canadian ISIS recruit says he saw violence on scale he could never have imagined

In early 2014, a young Toronto-area man who went by the jihadi nom de guerre "Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi" (Abu Huzaifa the Canadian) cleaned out his bank account and left to join the ranks of ISIS. He was 17 going on 18. His parents were kept in the dark about his intention to join the extremist organization, he said. Five months after serving as an ISIS enforcer in the Syrian city of Manbij, Abu Huzaifa said he realized it wasn't what he had signed up for and he decided to flee Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS] and head home. (CBC)

Letters from a Jihadi: inside the mind of a Canadian accused of joining al-Qaeda

Not long after disappearing from Winnipeg, the young man writes home with a mixture of regret and practicality. This is going to hurt the family, his letter states, but it is the path in which God has guided him. He apologizes to his mother for leaving the country without her blessing. And he asks his family to pay his student loans, one provincial and one federal. The next letter is different, a nine-page missive that is alternately hectoring and affectionate. In it, the former University of Manitoba student urges his family to leave Canada, a "filthy place" where the media tells nothing but lies about "Talibans, al-Qaeda and other groups fighting for the sake of Allah." He proceeds to give instructions to each relative: start wearing hijabs, stop watching Hollywood movies, begin praying, keep your children out of public school. (Globe and Mail)

Trudeau targets Tories in gender equality remarks, saying they don't get it

The strongest opposition to including issues such as gender equality in discussions over the North American Free Trade Agreement has come not from the United States but from within Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday. Speaking during a question and answer session at the first Toronto edition of the Women in the World conference, the prime minister said his government has faced hurdles in adding a gender chapter to NAFTA as it did in a free trade deal with Chile. (CBC)

Trudeau Calls Angela Merkel An 'Absolutely Extraordinary' Leader Weeks Before German Election

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has heaped praise on his German counterpart less than two weeks before Angela Merkel is set to face voters. During a question and answer session at the Women in the World conference in Toronto Monday, event founder Tina Brown asked the prime minister what it is like to work with Merkel. (Huffington Post)

Legalizing marijuana won't shut down black market: RCMP official

It would be “naïve” to think that marijuana legalization will shut down the black market for the drug, an RCMP official stated during the first day of the House of Commons health committee’s study of the federal cannabis bill. There are a number of issues that will need to be addressed to fight organized crime, including the possibility that the black market could undercut legal marijuana sales, Joanne Crampton, RCMP assistant commissioner of federal policing criminal operations, told the committee Monday morning. (National Post)

Planes rescue stranded Canadians in Irma-hit Saint Martin, Turks and Caicos

After Hurricane Irma's devastation of islands in the Caribbean, the federal government is marshalling aid and planes to rescue stranded Canadians. A WestJet Airlines plane has arrived in Saint Martin to collect some of those affected by the storm, including a limited number of non-ticketed passengers who are on the island, which is divided between French and Dutch (St. Maarten) control. Flight 4906 is scheduled to depart the island at approximately 5 p.m. ET and will arrive in Toronto later this evening. (CBC) (Global) (National Post)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Much of Quebec's systemic racism inquiry to be held behind closed doors

The Couillard government is defending its decision to conduct much of its inquiry into systemic racism behind closed doors, saying that privacy will ensure those testifying will feel open to relaying their experience. "The people who wish to be heard will be heard," Émilie Tremblay-Potvin, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, said in a statement. The province committed to holding an inquiry after a petition put forward by anti-racism activists gained traction last year. (CBC)

13 Manitobans could have obtained phoney degrees, according to CBC investigation

At least 13 Manitobans could have purchased bogus university degrees from fake institutions, according to a months-long CBC investigation which revealed more than 800 people in Canada are linked to purchasing fake degrees from diploma mills. The news has prompted one Winnipeg-based human resources consultant to say the HR profession needs to rethink how it vets potential employees' credentials. "We, in HR, have to start getting more cognizant of the variety of what is out there and what is credible," said Barbara Bowes, president at Legacy Bowes Group. (CBC)

Three interest rate hikes in a row? The Bank of Canada has plenty of precedent

The Bank of Canada has gone back to the future. For the past decade, traders have been conditioned to expect central banks to both telegraph policy tweaks ahead of time and offer a thorough rationalization of those shifts at the time of implementation. Canada’s central bank provided neither when hiking its benchmark rate to 1 per cent on Sept. 6. Monetary policy makers hadn’t spoken publicly since July 12, when they delivered their first increase in almost seven years, nor was the latest decision followed by a press conference. (Financial Post)

Top aides for Ontario ex-premier Dalton McGuinty plead not guilty in gas plants scandal

Two top political aides to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty pleaded not guilty Monday to charges over the destruction of internal emails about the Liberal government’s costly cancellation of two gas plants. Foreshadowing what is expected to be a bitterly fought case, the long-awaited trial of David Livingston and his deputy Laura Miller finally began with an attack on the prosecution over the information it had provided the defence, leading to a week-long delay in hearing evidence. (Global)

Liberals accused of trying to distract from trials with pot plan

Ontario’s opposition parties say the Liberal government rushed the release of the province’s marijuana plan in an attempt to distract from a pair of high-profile trials involving party workers. On the first day of the Ontario legislature’s fall sitting, Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says in their bid to distract, the government announced the marijuana plan before fully considering both public safety and public health issues. (Toronto Sun)

North Korea slapped with UN sanctions after nuclear test

The United Nations has imposed a fresh round of sanctions on North Korea after its sixth and largest nuclear test. The measures restrict oil imports and ban textile exports - an attempt to starve the North of fuel and income for its weapons programmes. The US had originally proposed harsher sanctions including a total ban on oil imports. (BBC) (Global)

Instead of launching a missile, North Korea throws a party

North Korea marked its government’s 69th anniversary not with another missile test, as many had feared, but with a gala party for the scientists involved in carrying out the country’s most powerful nuclear test yet last week, the state-run news media reported on Sunday. The country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, celebrated the national holiday on Saturday by bringing his nuclear scientists and engineers to Pyongyang, the capital, and holding a banquet. (National Post)

Police among 18 killed in ISIS-claimed attack in Egypt

Islamic State militants ambushed a police convoy in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Monday, killing 18 police and wounding seven others in one of the deadliest attacks this year in the restive region bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip. Police and military officials said roadside bombs destroyed and set ablaze four armoured vehicles and a fifth carrying signal-jamming equipment meant to neutralize roadside bombs that are remotely detonated. The gunmen later opened fire with machine guns and commandeered a police pickup truck (CBC)

May pleads with Trump to help save British jobs

Theresa May has asked President Trump to intervene in a trade dispute that threatens thousands of jobs in Belfast amid pressure from the Democratic Unionist Party, The Times can reveal. Boeing, the American aircraft manufacturer, has accused its Canadian rival Bombardier of receiving unfair state support, including a £113 million loan from the British government for its new C-series plane. Downing Street has been warned that a ruling against Bombardier in the US this month could doom the company’s Belfast factory, which makes aeroplane wings and employs 4,500 people. (Times.co.uk)

Bodies of 400 children from Scottish orphanage buried in mass grave: media reports

More than 400 children died at a Scottish orphanage run by Catholic nuns and were buried in a single unmarked grave, according to a joint investigation by the BBC and Scotland’s Sunday Post. The Smyllum Park Orphanage, run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, was home to more than 11,000 children between its opening in 1864 and its closing in 1981 in Lanarkshire, Scotland. (Global)

Report: Google Bias Against Leading Conservative Websites—Including PJM—Is Real

A new research paper from Leo Goldstein claims to have quantified Google's bias against leading conservative sites—including PJ Media—in search ranking, especially (but not exclusively) in the area of climate change. "Google Search is found to be biased in favor of left/liberal domains and against conservative domains with a confidence of 95%," Goldstein found. "Further, certain hard-Left domains have such a high [percentage of domain traffic, referred by Google Search, net of brand searches] that their standing raises suspicions that they have been hand-picked for prominent placement," he says, adding that "certain respected conservative domains are blacklisted." (PJ Media)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Anthony Furey: Canada joining ballistic missile defence now just seems like common sense

The world is already adjusting to the news of North Korea’s latest and most powerful nuclear test to date. And not just with condemnation and calls for more sanctions. But with action. The day after the Sept. 4th launch of what the rogue state claims is their first ever H-bomb, South Korea gave the all-clear to finalize the deployment of THAAD, a U.S. anti-missile defence system. Meanwhile, The Economist reports that American utilities are already placing greater focus on protecting the electrical grid after Kim Jong-un’s launch came with a statement threatening to launch an electromagnetic pulse attack that could shut off all power for months. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Small biz owners are once bitten, twice shy

Finance minister Bill Morneau has a strange way of going about damage control. “Trust me, you’ll be fine!” is the message he’s selling small business owners who have mobilized against the Liberals’ proposed changes to the tax rules. The government is attacking the legal ways mom and pop businesses, family doctors and other professionals use to lower tax rates – income splitting with family members, sheltering investment income within corporations and claiming regular business income as capital gains, which carry lower tax rates. (Calgary Sun)

Erin O’Toole: We should be championing small businesses, not hiking their taxes

The Liberals are attempting to frame their latest tax increases on small businesses as directed at big shot, rich, elites cheating the system and hurting the working class. The Liberals want you to roll your eyes and dismiss the whining of the guy who drives a car worth more than your house to the private jet getaway to some exotic destination. That’s why Justin Trudeau has mentioned the "wealthiest 1%" more than 65 times in the House of Commons and in all his stump speeches. But Canadians aren’t buying this Liberal narrative (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: After 9/11: Ten ways we’re losing the war

Imagine the Aztecs in central America first seeing Spanish ships landing 500 years ago. It was a sight impossible to comprehend or predict. Something that changed their lives. Something like that happened on September 11, 2001 — an event that few imagined, and even those who imagined it thought it was improbable. And then suddenly our world had changed forever. (Rebel)

Vince Wong: Canada Has Done Even Less For Its 'Dreamers' Than The U.S.

It has been a rough period for the estimated 800,000 "Dreamers" in the U.S. — young people who availed themselves of the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program over the past few years. DACA was implemented to give certain young, undocumented migrants, who were brought to the U.S. as minors, temporary protection from deportation action as well as the ability to work legally while in the States. After flip-flopping on the issue over the course of several months, President Trump finally brought down the hammer on Sept. 5, announcing formally that DACA would be axed, but deferring execution for six months, effectively passing the ball to Congress to deal with the messy aftermath. (Huffington Post)

Ottawa Citizen: How Canada can help those fleeing Myanmar

It’s hard to square the outpouring of sympathy Canadians have shown for Syrian refugees with their seeming apathy in the case of Myanmar’s Rohingya, who have been grappling with violence for years. In recent weeks, around 300,000 of them have fled their homes in the state of Rakhine. Yet there are similarities between both crises. Just as Syrian refugees chanced crossing the Mediterranean, Rohingya have been scrambling aboard boats to get to Bangladesh, and many, mostly women and children, have died. (Ottawa Citizen)

Sue-Ann Levy: NDP leadership hopeful Jagmeet Singh selective when protecting freedom of speech

I didn’t know whether to laugh at the sheer gall of would-be federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh or to cry at how easily the oppression handwringers rushed to condemn someone as racist for merely expressing her right to free speech. I’m talking about the woman, Jennifer Bush, who attended a recent Singh meet-and-greet where she dared question him about his support of Sharia law and M-103, the controversial federal motion passed in late March which condemns Islamophobia and all forms of systematic racism. Subsequent to that, Singh posted a response on social media that included these gems: (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Jagmeet Singh heckler video may be his Trudeau boxing match moment

The viral Jagmeet Singh heckler video has had 35 million views. That’s about 34.99 million more viewers than the average NDP leadership campaign event. For a contest that has chloroformed anyone watching, it was a rare moment of drama. There are some transformative moments in politics — Justin Trudeau’s boxing match; Jean Chrétien’s “Shawinigan Handshake” — that reverberate beyond the Ottawa bubble. (National Post)

Robyn Urback: Could the Ontario government actually lose money selling pot?

Is it possible that the Ontario government will be the only entity in the history of civilization to actually lose money selling drugs? Perhaps "only" is an exaggeration. We all knew that dealer in high school who smoked more than he sold, leaving him ultimately in the red. Or that guy whose mom found his stash and confiscated his product, compelling his frustrated customers to shop elsewhere. (CBC)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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