True North Initiative: News Scan 09 27 17

TOP STORIES

Nigerian asylum seekers follow well-trodden migrant route to Canada

Just before dawn, a Greyhound bus wheels into a gas station at Plattsburgh, N.Y. In the misty darkness, taxis circle, knowing they'll get fares. The passengers who are struggling off the bus, sleepy from the overnight ride from New York City, are eager to get to the border with Quebec 45 kilometres away. A couple of kids pull thin blue blankets around them to ward off the early morning chill. This group of Nigerians — about 12 of them — have made their way to the start of Plattsbugh's pipeline to Canada. It's a one way-route out of the U.S. at an unofficial border crossing that the Canadian government can't seem to plug. (CBC)

Acquitted ISIS supporter fights to stay in Canada

Days after being acquitted of terrorism charges, Othman Hamdan appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board on Tuesday to begin his fight to stay in Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency is investigating whether Hamdan should be allowed to remain here after Facebook posts supporting the Islamic State and an admission he was once involved in an international hashish smuggling ring. A Jordanian citizen, Hamdan came to B.C. from the U.S. in 2002 and made a successful refugee claim based on his conversion to Christianity. He later rejected his new religion. (Vancouver Sun)

‘The silence is deafening’: family of Canadian kidnapped in Afghanistan can’t get answers

Joshua Boyle was kidnapped five long years ago. The Canadian and his American born wife Caitlan Coleman had set out on a journey through central Asia when they were captured by a group associated with the Taliban near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Coleman was pregnant at the time, and she has now given birth to two children in captivity. (Global)

Over 80% of middle-class families face higher income taxes under the Liberals: report

Middle-income families face higher personal income taxes due to changes implemented by the Liberal government, finds a new report by the Fraser Institute. While the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reduced the marginal tax rates for income between $46,000 and $92,000, it also implemented other reforms that have resulted in most Canadians with children and middling incomes paying more, on net, in income taxes than they did before, according to the study. (Global)

Liberals walk out after Conservatives pick anti-abortion MP for status of women committee chair

Liberal MPs walked out on a status of women committee meeting Tuesday morning to oppose the Conservative pick for chair, Rachael Harder, a parliamentarian who has previously said she is anti-abortion. During the last federal election, Harder told the Campaign for Life Coalition that she would introduce and pass laws to protect "unborn children," while adding she believed life begins at the time of conception. (CBC) (CTV)

Donald Trump expected to set U.S. refugee cap at just 45,000

The Trump administration plans to cap the number of refugees admitted to the United States in the coming year at 45,000, two people with knowledge of the decision said on Tuesday, and advocates said this historically low level is insufficient in the face of growing humanitarian crises worldwide. That figure would be the lowest ceiling for refugee admissions since the U.S. Refugee Act was signed in 1980. Since then, the ceiling has never been set below 67,000 and in recent years has been around 70,000 to 80,000. (Global)

Saudi Arabia announces plan to allow female drivers by Summer 2018

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced that women will be allowed to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom next summer, fulfilling a key demand of women’s rights activists who faced detention for defying the ban. The kingdom was the only the country in the world to bar women from driving and for years had garnered negative publicity internationally for detaining women who defied the ban. (Toronto Sun) (BBC)

 

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Immigration detainee who has spent four years in jail says detention violates Canada’s charter of rights

A failed refugee claimant who has spent four-and-a-half years in a maximum security jail because the government has been unable to deport him argued in Ontario Superior Court on Tuesday that his ongoing detention violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Ebrahim Toure, who has been locked up at Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay since February 2013 despite not facing any criminal charges, is arguing that his detention is indefinite and arbitrary because there is no reasonable prospect he will be deported in the “foreseeable” future. (Toronto Star)

'Anywhere but Haiti': Asylum seeker retraces his 15,000-km odyssey to Canada

When Pierre left Cap-Haïtien for South America, he never imagined he'd wind up in the woods of upstate New York. But nine years and 10 countries later, he stepped into Canada and was arrested by the RCMP. He had survived a two-and-a-half-month, 15,000-kilometre odyssey from Brazil to Roxham Road with his wife and seven-year-old son, through some of the most dangerous territory in the Americas. (CBC)

Refugee children more vulnerable to injuries, Sick Kids study finds

Refugee children and youth have a higher rate of getting injured in accidents than their non-refugee immigrant counterparts, a new study has found. The added risks can be attributed to environmental, social and cultural differences, underlining the need for more targeted interventions to reduce injury risk, said the researchers with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Hospital for Sick Children. (Toronto Star)

NAFTA talks 'heated' and 'drama' lies ahead, Canada's U.S. ambassador says

Canada's ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, says NAFTA renegotiation talks have been "heated" at times and that while progress is being made, there is plenty of hard work ahead. MacNaughton gave his take on the North American Free Trade Agreement talks between Canada, the United States and Mexico during a lunchtime speech at the Canadian Club in Toronto on Tuesday. (CBC)

Trudeau government spent $13.6M on sponsored social media

Since coming to power the Trudeau government has spent more than $13.6 million on sponsored social media posts. A CTV analysis of more than 1,500 pages of documents tabled by the government in the House of Commons last week, reveals that 58 federal departments, Crown corporations, and government agencies have used sponsored posts to get their message out to Canadians, and beyond. The cost: more than $13,677,559.01 (CTV)

U.S. slaps 220% duty on Canada’s Bombardier jets

The U.S. Commerce Department says Canada unfairly subsidized Montreal-based aircraft manufacturer Bombardier and is calling for a nearly 220% duty to be slapped on every Bombardier C Series plane imported into the United States. The decision is a victory for Chicago-based aviation giant Boeing, which said Bombardier used the subsidies to sell its C Series jets at artificially low prices. (Toronto Sun)

Trudeau to visit Mexico, U.S. amid contentious NAFTA talks

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is heading to Mexico and the United States next month, at a time when NAFTA talks are growing more contentious. Trudeau will be meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during a stop in Mexico, as well as U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. Sources speaking to CBC News on background did not say if the trip involves a visit to the White House, or whether Trudeau will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump. (CBC)

Refugee claim unravelled after letter from 'executed' father found

The man's story unravelled when he was caught importing drugs and his fingerprints matched those of a refugee who had claimed asylum in Canada in 1992. But it appears his citizenship has not been rescinded. When he was convicted of importing drugs in 2004, the judge described him as a kingpin and a ringleader of the New Zealand end of a methamphetamine operation. It sparked an investigation by Immigration New Zealand, which found the man would have been in Canada at the time he was claiming to have been in Iran. (RNZ)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection sets up another immigration checkpoint in N.H

U.S. Customs and Border Protection have set up an immigration checkpoint along Interstate 93 in Woodstock, the second such stop in two months. The checkpoint, set up in the southbound traffic lane just north of Exit 30, is about 72 linear miles from the U.S.-Canada border. The traffic stop is scheduled to be in place through Thursday, according to Woodstock police Chief Ryan Oleson. Woodstock police were notified of the plan by Border Patrol on Monday, but the department is not actively participating in the checkpoint, Oleson said. (Concord Monitor)

Netanyahu blames Palestinian incitement for shooting attack as US, EU condemn

A chorus of condemnations came pouring in from across the Israeli political spectrum on Tuesday after a deadly shooting attack at the Har Adar settlement near Jerusalem, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others blaming the attack on "systematic incitement" among Palestinian political and religious leaders. (i24)

EU slams ‘reprehensible’ Hamas praise for Har Adar terror attack

The United States and European Union condemned Tuesday’s “horrific” terror attack in Har Adar, in which a Border Police officer and two security guards were shot dead by a Palestinian from a nearby village. Both Washington and the 28-nation bloc singled out Hamas for criticism, with the latter saying the terror organization’s praise for the deadly shooting was “reprehensible.” (Times of Israel)

US-Mexico border wall prototype construction starts

The US government has announced the start of construction on eight prototype barriers for the border with Mexico, a campaign promise of President Donald Trump. The Customs and Border Protection says four of the prototypes will be made from concrete, while the others are from "alternate or other materials". (BBC)

'We are totally prepared': Trump says the U.S. will attack North Korea if it has to and it 'will be devastating'

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the U.S. is 'totally prepared' for a war with North Korea. 'If we take that option, it will be devastating, I can tell you that, devastating for North Korea,' Trump said during a Rose Garden news conference. 'That's called the military option. If we have to take it we will,' he added. Kim Jong-un is 'acting very badly,' Trump charged, and 'saying things that should never, ever be said.' (Daily Mail)

Did £1 million Guantanamo Bay payout fund ISIS ringleader?

The Government's former terror watchdog has called for an inquiry into whether a ISIS ringleader from the UK was bankrolled by a Guantanamo Bay detainee. Raymond Matimba's senior role in ISIS was exposed after secret footage of him was captured with 'Jihadi John' and other British jihadis in the war-torn region. Matimba was part of a UK terror network that originated in Manchester and included Jamal al-Harith, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay who received a taxpayer-funded £1million compensation payout from the Government. (Daily Mail)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Tarek Fatah: Treatment by MPs at M-103 committee hearing nothing short of lousy

Leading up to my testimony at the House of Commons Heritage Committee last week, I had expected MPs to have some degree of interest in what a Muslim had to say about M-103 and the loaded word “Islamophobia”. Instead, I felt a tangible hostility from the phalanx of Liberal MPs, as well as the chair, MP Hedy Fry. Their body language, and refusal to address anything I had said as a witness made it evident to me this was not a “hearing”, but an exercise to rubber stamp a pre-determined outcome. This wasn’t the first time I had seen what appeared to me as a kangaroo court. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Trudeau milking the middle class

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s most-repeated boast has now been exposed as a lie. Despite his Zen-like mantra of dedicating his political life to bettering the lives of Canada’s middle class, a come-hither line bought by a gushing electorate in the 2015 election, the truth now has him milking the middle class as if it were a cash cow. And this is before his Liberal government ignores all pleas for reconsideration, and passes contentious legislation aimed at essentially taxing small business out of business. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Liberals’ rope-a-dope strategy might work, but tax reform affair has hurt them

Justin Trudeau has surprised us in the boxing ring before, so perhaps his question period strategy is rope-a-dope. Maybe the Conservatives will fatigue themselves swinging away and hitting nothing but fresh air on the tax reform issue. Still, on Tuesday it looked very much like the blows were landing on the prime minister and his Finance Minister, Bill Morneau. (National Post)

Andrew Coyne: In our modern version of class warfare, the middle class is the only one that matters

The thing you have to understand is that this is all about the middle class. The Liberals are proposing to limit the ability of owners of small private corporations to avoid tax because they are so determined to look out for the interests of the middle class — because, as Finance Minister Bill Morneau explained in Parliament the other day, “our system right now encourages the wealthiest Canadians to set up a private corporation so they can pay a lower tax rate than middle-class Canadians.” (National Post)

Ezra Levant: Canadian judge acquits pro-ISIS “refugee” on four terrorism charges

Otham Hamdan made 85 Facebook posts supporting ISIS, and praising the murder of two Canadian soldiers. But the judge decided Hamadan "didn't have the necessary intent to incite a terrorist attack". Meanwhile, an Oshawa man was sentenced by a Muslim judge to five months in jail for anti-Islam graffiti on a bus stop. Obviously, hateful vandalism is unacceptable, but there appears to be a double standard in sentencing. The sinister repercussions of M-103 are already appearing. (Rebel)

Toronto Sun: Canada making North Korea talks happen? Yes, let’s do it

It looks as if Canada is thinking up ways we can be a force for good in handling the troubling rise of a nuclear North Korea. Over the weekend our ambassador to China, John McCallum, who was a minister in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, mused on this theme during an appearance on CTV. (Toronto Sun)

Charles Adler: Justin Trudeau, a fake Superman

It’s fascinating to see how people react to a poll which shows Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are not a miracle of modern political science. The assumption in conventional wisdom land is that the Prime Minister is such a political rock star that Joe and Jill Six Pack just feel fortunate every day that he is our leader. There are too many reasons for this assumption to list here, and none of them matter because they are all based on charisma. (Global)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security met yesterday for a “Briefing on the Road to Mental Readiness Program” (Public)

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet tomorrow to study the Situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia 25 Years after the End of the Cold War and Canada’s Development Finance Initiative (In Camera/Partly Public)

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met yesterdayfor committee business (In Camera)