True North Initiative: News Scan 09 21 17

TOP STORIES

Accused ISIS terrorist to face trial by judge and jury

The accused ISIS terrorist doesn’t recognize our legal system. She refuses to stand before the judge. She declines to engage in the proceedings against her. In fact, Rehab Dughmosh, 32, doesn’t consider herself a Canadian at all. But she will face Canadian justice all the same. Dressed in a prison-issued green sweatsuit and all but her eyes covered by a black headscarf, Dughmosh was indicted Wednesday on 14 serious terrorism-related charges, including attempting to travel to Syria in 2016 to join ISIS and four counts of attempted murder with a golf club and knife inside a Scarborough Canadian Tire store this past June. None of the charges have been proven in court. (Toronto Sun) (CP24)

Entitled terror suspect pleads not guilty, re-affirms love for ISIS and pledges attacks

Ontario Court Judge Kimberley Crosbie on Wednesday asked Dughmosh how, now that she’s been pronounced mentally fit, she wanted to proceed — an Ontario Court trial, a Superior Court trial before a judge or a Superior Court trial before a judge and jury. “Not even one,” Dughmosh said through an Arabic interpreter. “Is it my time to speak?” “Say oh you non-believers, I do not believe what you believe.” Then, with a haughty nod to Crosbie, Dughmosh said, “Tell her I am still a supporter of the Islamic State and I am not guilty.” (National Post) (Toronto Star)

Woman accused in Canadian Tire terror threat offers to renounce Canadian citizenship

A woman facing terror offences in relation to bizarre golf club and knife attack inside a Scarborough Canadian Tire store will face a judge and jury trial after offering to renounce her Canadian citizenship and questioning ISIS’ designation as a terror group in a Scarborough courtroom on Wednesday. Appearing in person for the first time in months, 32-year-old Rehab Dughmosh also indicated her intent to plead not guilty, contradicting statements she made in earlier appearances. Through an Arabic interpreter, she urged the judge not to refer to ISIS as a terror group when listing charges against her, but to instead call them the Islamic State. (CTV)

The law says refugee claims must be heard in 60 days. So why are people waiting 16 months?

A skyrocketing backlog is pushing the wait time for refugee hearings dramatically beyond the federally stipulated 60 days, with recent asylum seekers now waiting 16 months to have their claims determined. According to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the backlog has been growing at a rate of approximately 1,400 cases a month since January, with the largest increase so far in August with a sudden surge of 3,000 claims. (Toronto Star)

Refugee claimants continue to pour into Canada with no end in sight

Much of the world saw the photos last summer of Haitian people seeking asylum in Canada being “housed” at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. The last left last weekend, but Canadian officials are bracing–and preparing–for more claimants between now and the end of the year as the number of those seeking refuge reaches the highest in Canada in over eight years. New figures released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada show that the number of asylum seekers in Canada this year–through August–has reached 27,440 persons, the most since 2009. (Radio Canada)

Liberal MP warns against 'class warfare' rhetoric on proposed tax changes

Not everyone is on board with the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been going after the rich as he defends his Liberal government's controversial tax proposals -- and that includes some members of his own caucus. The prime minister has been sounding defiant as he makes the case for eliminating tax provisions used by a growing number of small businesses, saying the system should not allow wealthy Canadians to pay lower taxes than the middle class. Montreal MP Nicola Di Iorio said his fellow Liberals would do well to remember that they campaigned for everyone, not just the vote-rich middle class. (CTV)

Prime Minister Says Joseph Gordon-Levitt Convinced Him To Call Himself A Feminist

Known internationally as a self-proclaimed feminist, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it was a video by Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt that convinced him the moniker was OK for men to use. Speaking with Melinda Gates, who praised him effusively for his "passionate belief of empowering women" and his "transformative" gender-balanced cabinet, Trudeau recalled being told by a fellow student at McGill University that he couldn't call himself a feminist. (Huffington Post)

Trudeau to make pitch for Canada’s seat on the UN Security Council

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in campaign mode Wednesday as he promotes Canada's bid for a United Nations Security Council seat on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York City. Mr. Trudeau will hold a series of bilateral meetings with the leaders of seven nations: Indonesia, Uganda, Netherlands, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica and Tajikistan. He will "work to advance" Canada's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council during his discussions, according to the Prime Minister's Office. (Globe and Mail)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Immigrants having trouble adjusting in small B.C. towns: UBCO study

They’ve just packed up everything to move to a brand new country – as you can imagine, it’s a life-changing experience for new immigrants. Finding a sense of belonging plays a huge role in how well a new immigrant’s transition will go, UBC Okanagan (UBCO) associate professor Susana Caxaj said. A new UBCO study has found it’s even harder to adjust for those who’ve moved to a small or rural town. According to the study that sense of belonging, or lack thereof, can have huge impacts on mental health and well-being. (Global)

‘It’s getting worse’: Former refugee speaks about racism faced almost daily in Winnipeg

A Syrian refugee family was greeted by hateful words written on the fence outside their home on Tuesday. They said this isn’t the first time their family had been targeted and it’s not the first time for other refugee families in Winnipeg either. Omar Rahimi is a former refugee who fled to Winnipeg 16 years ago. He said his family still faces racism almost every day. (Global) (CTV)

Could migrants be the solution to Quebec's growing labour shortage?

A Latino-looking woman and a black man, both smiling ear to ear, advertise the 200 jobs available at the Olymel plant in St-Esprit, a municipality about 60 kilometres north of Montreal. “Daily transportation from Montreal.” “Between $14 and $20.85 an hour.” “Continuous training.” The poster didn’t say what, exactly, the work involved: slaughtering and cutting up pigs, 30,000 of them per week, on an assembly line for one of Canada’s largest pork producers. (Montreal Gazette)

Rights group loses battle to help former child refugee

A federal court judge has rejected a child rights organization’s bid to intervene in the case of a Nova Scotian facing deportation to Somalia. Though Abdoul Kadir Abdi — now 23 and the father of a little girl — was an adult in 2014 when he committed an assault that landed him a five-and-a-half year federal prison sentence, the circumstances surrounding the case prompted lawyers from Justice for Children and Youth to get involved. (Chronicle Herald)

Smoked pot? What happens to travellers at the U.S. border

Canada is about to legalise marijuana for recreational use.   That means that by summer 2018, vast numbers of Canadians will openly smoke cannabis and no longer be involved in a criminal activity.   Many will cross into the U.S on vacation. Whether for business, or pleasure, what will happen at the border if the agent asks if you’ve smoked pot? Guidy Mamann is an immigration expert at the law offices of Mamann, Sandaluk, & Kingwell LLP in Toronto Ontario. (Radio Canada)

Vice urges RCMP to drop demand for materials after reports stating accused terrorist is dead

A Canadian news outlet at the centre of a closely watched media-freedom case is calling on the RCMP to drop its demand for a journalist’s background materials used for stories on a suspected terrorist in light of reports that the man is in fact long dead. In a letter to federal prosecutors this week, lawyers for Vice Media say they would abandon their attempt to fight the demand at the Supreme Court of Canada if the RCMP were to drop its production order, which two courts have upheld. (Toronto Star)

With second United Nations speech, Justin Trudeau goes where no Liberal PM has gone before

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York City Thursday morning, and, in doing so, will be a perfect two-for-two at the UN. That is to say, Trudeau has been Canada’s prime minister for the opening ‘leaders week’ for two United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) sessions and he has given a speech to the UNGA each time. (Global)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer won’t post details of private fundraisers

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, whose party attacked the Liberal government for months for holding cash-for-access fundraisers, says he won't post details of his own private fundraising events. Mr. Scheer held at least one private fundraiser with real estate and business executives in the Toronto area this spring, around the time he was campaigning for party leadership. Elections Canada donation records suggest he may have held others but the Conservative Party has been unwilling to confirm these events. (Globe and Mail)

'Join the confused club': Dion's dual appointment sent diplomatic staff scrambling

Senior officials at the Canadian embassies in Brussels and Berlin appear to have had no idea how a thorny dual ambassadorial posting for then-Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion would work, and the announcement left staff in Canada and Europe scrambling to figure out what to do next. iPolitics obtained nearly 100 pages of emails between diplomatic staff in Brussels, Berlin and Ottawa between January 31 and April 28 of this year through an access to information request. They paint a picture of mounting confusion and frustration as officials tried to sort out the political tangle over how the dual appointment would work. (IPolitics)

'Climate Barbie' tweet demonstrates how women are treated in politics: McKenna

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says "sexist, misogynistic comments" like those from Tory MP Gerry Ritz describing her as a "climate Barbie" demonstrate the need for an attitude change toward women in politics. Speaking to reporters at the United Nations in New York Wednesday, Ms. McKenna said she would have rather been talking about her climate change meetings earlier in the day. She was instead forced to address a controversial remark made on Twitter by Mr. Ritz on Tuesday, where he described Ms. McKenna as "climate Barbie." (Globe and Mail)

Year-end deadline for new NAFTA looking impossible, trade experts say

NAFTA negotiators appear to have adopted the lament of the White Rabbit: "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." Battalions of negotiators for Canada, Mexico and the United States have been working at a breakneck pace trying to reach agreement on a revamped North American free trade pact by the end of the year but so far they have little to show for it. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer seemed to concede as much earlier this week when he offered an assessment of the progress thus far that could have come straight out of "Alice in Wonderland" (Metro)

China to Donald Trump: Your North Korea speech was really unhelpful

China rebuked U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday after he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary, a warning that may have undermined the chances of peace but also gave Beijing an easy opportunity to seize the moral high ground. Beijing has consistently blamed not just Pyongyang but also Washington for what it sees as its hostile policies toward the regime. It argues that U.S. hostility has helped to pushed North Korea’s rulers into a corner and talk of total destruction only reinforces that narrative. (Toronto Star)

Netanyahu Praises Trump For Most 'Courageous' United Nations Speech In 'Over 30 Years'

The president’s speech was incredibly bold. The most critical portions for Israel, and likely the portions Netanyahu is praising, came when Trump spoke of Iran, terror funding, and “rogue regimes” that sit within the U.N. body (transcript via Vox). (Daily Wire)

College Student Poll: Is It OK To Use Violence To Shut Down Speakers? The Results Are Alarming.

With the explosion of anti-free speech disruption and violence by social justice and Antifa activists on campuses across the country over the last year, ​the Brookings Institution decided it was a good time to gauge college students' opinions on the crucial topics of the First Amendment and "hate speech." The results are very troubling. (Daily Wire)

Life under Kim Jong Un: Executions by anti-aircraft gun, sex slaves serving caviar

North Korean crackpot Kim Jong Un appears to have stolen a page out of the ISIS execution manual. A North Korean defector, whose father was a senior official in the hermit country’s regime, told the UK Mirror that she watched 11 musicians get “blown to bits” when they were executed with high powered anti-aircraft guns. The gruesome deaths, watched by 10,000 North Koreans, were ordered by Kim soon after he took over for his late father, Kim Jong-Il. (Calgary Sun)

Iran nuclear deal: US 'sunset clause' concern remains – Tillerson

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said Washington continues to have "significant issues" with the Iran nuclear deal, after his first talks with his Iranian counterpart. But Mr Tillerson said the talks were "very matter of fact", and acknowledged Iran was complying with the deal. Wednesday's talks at the UN, involving all seven parties that negotiated the deal, focused on its implementation. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: M-103 weaponizes what a ‘phobia’ is

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by an excessive and irrational fear of an object or situation. It’s a medical condition, and clinical psychologists study the impact of this persistent and often debilitating illness. But what was once a scientific term of measurable phenomenon, has now been manipulated for political purposes. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: M-103 talk turns to prosecution, censorship

After the first M-103 hearing on Monday, I wrote that we were perhaps facing a less adversarial process than expected. Liberal MP Iqra Khalid was conciliatory as the initial witness, emphasizing that her motion to tackle discrimination was equally about all religions and races. She hardly mentioned the ill-defined phrase Islamophobia. How quickly things change. Wednesday’s hearing confirmed some of Canadians’ worst suspicions about the process and its effects on free speech. (Toronto Sun)

Barbara Kay: This could destroy our civilization, but we don't talk about it

Menace of war is the “hermit kingdom’s” stock in trade. For the first time, two weeks ago, North Korea threatened an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on North America that could cause disaster on a scale we can barely imagine—yet a disaster that, unlike an actual nuclear strike, would not directly kill a single human being. In its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, North Korea has, according to leader Kim Jong-Un, “a multi-functional thermomonuclear nuke … which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack according to strategic goals.” (National Post)

John Ivison: Resurrected TPP could get done this year and Canada is better off without U.S. in it

The biggest trade deal in history — the Trans-Pacific Partnership — was assumed to be dead when the United States pulled out last January. But it has been quietly resurrected by the 11 other signatories, including Canada, and officials in a number of partner countries say an agreement-in-principle could be signed by leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting in Vietnam in November. (National Post)

Lorrie Goldstein: Trudeau's strange ideas about small business

Where on earth does Prime Minister Justin Trudeau get his information about small businesses from? When he first raised the issue of proposed Liberal tax reforms for small businesses during the 2015 federal election, he told the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge on Sept. 8 that:  “We have to know that a large percentage of small businesses are actually just ways for wealthier Canadians to save on their taxes and we want to reward the people who are actually creating jobs, and contributing in concrete ways.” (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs meets today to study the Situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia 25 Years after the End of the Cold War (In Camera)

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet today to elect a Chair (Public)

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet today to elect a Chair (Public)

-       Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage continued study on Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination (M103) met yesterday (Notice of Meeting - audio)