True North Initiative: News Scan 10 12 17

TOP STORIES

Immigrant smuggling operation broken up along U.S.-Canada border

Federal agents broke up an immigrant smuggling operation on the U.S.-Canada border in Vermont this week, exposing what appears to be a growing option for illegal immigrants desperate to get into the U.S. but worried about getting caught by stiffer security along the southwestern border. While illegal immigration across the northern border happens it’s usually migrants from outside the western hemisphere, analysts said. (Washington Times)

RCMP officers screened Quebec border crossers on religion and values, questionnaire shows

RCMP officers have been screening Muslim refugee claimants entering from the U.S. at Quebec’s Roxham Rd. crossing, asking how they feel about women who do not wear the hijab, how many times they pray, and their opinion about the Taliban and the Islamic State, a questionnaire obtained by the Star shows. The 41 questions appear to specifically target Muslims, as no other religious practices are mentioned, nor terrorist groups with non-Muslim members. Refugee lawyers representing the more than 12,000 men, women and children who have crossed from New York this year at the informal crossing on Roxham Rd., near the Quebec town of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, have heard stories of profiling, but it wasn’t until a client of Toronto lawyer Clifford McCarten was given his own questionnaire last month — seemingly by mistake — that there was proof of the practice. (Toronto Star)

Most international students leaving Canada after graduation

Most international students planning to make a new life in Canada after their graduation are instead returning home in frustration due to confusion about immigration programs and a lack of coordination between provincial and federal governments, experts say. That is as federal immigration officials are increasingly declaring students from abroad to be the country’s preferred stream of immigrants. (Vancouver Sun)

Alleged terrorist insists she doesn't want a trial

Alleged terrorist Rehab Dughmosh insisted during a court appearance Wednesday that she does not want a trial. However, Justice Michael Dambrot bluntly told the 32-year-old Scarborough woman that despite her comments, she will be tried on several terrorism-related charges. “Down with Canada,” said Dughmosh. “Add the charge of insulting the judiciary.” (Toronto Sun) (CBC)

U.K. government is interested in joining NAFTA, or whatever it becomes, Brexit leader says

A British politician who pushed for Brexit says he believes the U.K. government is interested in joining NAFTA, or whatever becomes of it. Daniel Hannan spoke to the Post in Brussels about the prospect of a cross-Atlantic free trade zone even as a fourth round of North American Free Trade Agreement talks ramps up in the United States. (National Post)

Stephen Harper offers a gloomy take on the state of international trade, NAFTA

Donald Trump could well decide to cancel NAFTA, former prime minister Stephen Harper warned Wednesday as he ended his public silence on current events by describing anti-trade sentiment in the U.S. as an intractable, long-term problem with no easy fix. Harper stepped into the role of political analyst during a panel discussion in Washington, a coincidence of timing that bordered on the surreal: at the very same moment, Harper's successor Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was a few blocks away at the White House, discussing the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. president himself. (CBC)

British IS recruiter Sally-Anne Jones 'killed by drone'

British IS recruiter Sally-Anne Jones was reportedly killed in a US drone strike in Syria in June. Jones, from Chatham in Kent, joined so-called Islamic State after converting to Islam and travelling to Syria in 2013. Her death was first reported by The Sun. (BBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Trudeau heads to Mexico after blunt talk about alternatives to NAFTA

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's visit to Mexico City today may include some uncomfortable moments, coming the day after a visit to Washington that included discussion about creating a new free trade deal without Mexico. During talks at the White House Wednesday, President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of replacing NAFTA with a new U.S.-Canada deal that would leave Mexico out in the cold. The proposal came during a meeting at the White House between the two leaders and eight of their most senior advisers. (CBC)

Justin Trudeau forced to comment on Donald Trump relationship as Ivanka listens

With Ivanka Trump looking on, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained why he’s hoping to get her father to include progressive ideas like protections for women, the environment, and labour in a new NAFTA agreement, while acknowledging that some provisions might be “aspirational” and non-binding. The prime minister found himself in the awkward position of being asked to comment on his relationship with Donald Trump on a stage at a Washington gala while the president’s daughter was seated at a front table, 15 metres away. (Global)

Trudeau talks gender equality (and a little about Trump) at Washington summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked politely about U.S. President Donald Trump and talked up gender equality at the first event of his second official trip to Trump’s Washington. Interviewed onstage Tuesday night at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, with Ivanka Trump sitting in the crowd nearby, Trudeau stuck to his usual script for discussing the president he will meet with on Wednesday: avoid controversy, emphasize common ground. (Toronto Star)

Trudeau still bullish on NAFTA, but says Canada is 'ready for anything'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emerged from a day of meetings in the U.S. capital Wednesday continuing to champion a continental trade deal that many around him suggest may be doomed. But even Trudeau finally acknowledged his enthusiasm for the North American Free Trade Agreement can only go so far and there exists the possibility the trilateral pact with the United States and Mexico is in trouble. (CTV)

Citizenship issue leaves Okotoks family stranded in India post-adoption

The Walker family from Okotoks is now a family of five following the adoption of a two-year-old girl from India but delays in their dealings with Canadian Immigration postponed her arrival on Canadian soil and extended the family’s time in Asia. The family had been looking to adopt for nearly three years and, in the summer of 2016, they fell for a little girl from Bhopal, India. (CTV)

Canada 'rudderless' in the face of economic 'headwinds': Rosenberg

Canada’s economy is heading for some “serious headwinds” that threaten to knock the country from its perch as the G7 growth leader, according to Gluskin Sheff Chief Economist David Rosenberg. Rosenberg outlined multiple risks that threaten to cloud Canada’s near-term outlook including NAFTA renegotiations, the federal tax reform plan, higher minimum wage rates at the provincial level and housing regulations. (BNN)

Warship designers scramble to assemble boatload of supporting documents for bids

Companies bidding to design Canada's new warships have to throw in specifications for everything — including the kitchen sink and the paperwork to prove it works. That is one of about 600 technical requirements in the design stage of the $60-billion frigate replacement program — the myriad tiny details that some of the 12 companies in the competition say are excessive. (CBC)

Canada urged to provide more aid for Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh

The United Nations refugee agency is urging Canada to provide it with more funding to respond to the needs of half a million Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh, as it anticipates another refugee influx in the coming days. Last week, the UNHCR issued an urgent global appeal for $84-million (U.S.) over the next six months to help the 520,000 Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August. Canada has provided $12.25-million (Canadian) in humanitarian assistance to partners in Myanmar and Bangladesh this year, including $1.2-million for the UNHCR in Bangladesh. (Globe and Mail)

Europeans see Canada as 'early warning system' on U.S. after Trump's election showed 'necessity' of relationship

Canada can be an “early warning system” on the United States for Europe, European Union parliamentarians were saying as the American president and Canadian prime minister met in Washington, D.C. Wednesday. And despite mixed views on a free trade agreement with Europe — though one MEP said he received more public input on rabbit welfare than on CETA — European officials seem ready to go full steam ahead. (National Post)

Dreams of separation: Hong Kong a mirror of Quebec

Are you thinking about Canada? Not surprising. You might already have connections there. Some 1.3 million Chinese immigrants form about 4% of the Canadian population and are 40% of the population of all Asian immigrants to Canada. They form significant voting blocks in the cities of Vancouver, Toronto and even in relatively insular Montreal in the province of Quebec (lots more about that region a bit later). Chinese investors in Canada, private and government-linked, are an important presence in many sectors: energy, foreign trade, real estate and small business. (Asia Times)

Inside my life as an ISIS sex slave

After being captured by ISIS, a group of young girls were forced to stand against a wall while men groped their chests. “If she had breasts, then she was OK to rape,” said a Yazidi survivor recounting the experience. “If she did not have breasts, they kept her there for another three months and came back to see if she had grown in the meantime; whether she was good for raping then.” (NY Post)

How Europe's far right fell in love with Australia's immigration policy

In October 2015, six weeks after Tony Abbott was deposed as Australia’s prime minister in a fit of intraparty backstabbing, he arrived in London to give the Margaret Thatcher memorial lecture at Guildhall. Standing before an audience of Conservative party luminaries, he praised the Iron Lady before launching into a spirited defence of Australia’s controversial immigration policy. According to Abbott, his government’s harsh measures – forcibly turning around refugee boats to prevent them landing, and sending asylum seekers to detention camps on remote Pacific islands – had ended the arrival of unwanted migrants in Australia. (Guardian)

What will Trump do about the Iran nuclear deal?

All the indications are that President Trump will refuse to recertify the present Iran nuclear deal some time before the due date of 15 October. This would light a fuse that could potentially explode the agreement. It raises questions about how Iran will respond. And it creates huge diplomatic difficulties between the US and many of its key European allies who wholeheartedly back the deal. (BBC)

Trump threatens broadcaster NBC after nuclear report

US President Donald Trump has raised the prospect of challenging media licences for NBC News and other news networks after unfavourable reports. He took aim at NBC, which made him a star on The Apprentice, after it reported he wanted to boost America's nuclear arsenal almost tenfold. (BBC)

US sends SECOND nuclear warship and 7,500 marines within strike range of North Korea

The USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, is en route to the western Pacific after leaving San Diego port last week. The Roosevelt will focus on maritime security operations in the Pacific and Middle East, the US military announced. But the £3.4billion ($4.5billion) warship, known as “the Big Stick”, has been sent to boost US defence on the Korean peninsula, according to South Korean media. (Daily Star)

Worker warned hotel before Las Vegas shooter opened fire on crowd

A maintenance worker said Wednesday he told hotel dispatchers to call police and report a gunman had opened fire with a rifle inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino hotel before the shooter began firing from his high-rise suite into a crowd at a nearby musical performance. (CBS)

Live updates: 23 dead in Wine Country Fires; parts of city of Napa warned

(SF Gate)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Our elites still weep for terrorists

Bahnasawy told an undercover FBI agent that he wanted it to be “the next 9/11.” He allegedly purchased 40 pounds of hydrogen peroxide, likely to be used as a component in an improvised explosive device, and later admitted to sending materials online and through the mail to advance his plot. It was only thanks to incredible police work that his attack was foiled. And yet, the typical crowd of Canadian elites are falling over themselves to defend this terrorist and justify his evil deeds. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Canucks believe middle-class dream replaced by nightmare: Poll

New data out from top pollster Ekos show Canadians are down on their own economic lot and feel their fortunes slipping. Back in 2002, just over a fifth of Canadians considered themselves working-class. Yet now, based on answers given over Sept. 15-Oct. 1, that number sits at 37%. Where has this growth come from? A dropoff in the middle-class cohort. Almost 70% put themselves in that bracket 15 years ago, but now it’s plummeted to 43%. Meanwhile, those who called themselves “poor” were previously in the single digits and now take up 13%. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Trudeau by the numbers: They're bad

Canadians cannot rely on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for even remotely accurate information about the state of federal finances. His wildly inconsistent and contradictory statements about government deficits before, during and after the 2015 election illustrate the point. In 2014, Trudeau made his infamous observation that budgets balance themselves, before repeatedly assuring Canadians in the run-up to the 2015 election his government would run balanced budgets. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Only Liberals, not sales clerks, are ‘entitled to entitlements’

The Trudeau Liberals have become shakedown artists. Going after the richest 1% is one thing, but making the middle class less middle class through more onerous small-business taxation, and chasing down retail staff for chump-change discounts is about as petty as a government can get. But this is where the cash-poor Liberals find themselves. (Toronto Sun)

RJ Hauman: Trump's new immigration priorities are the right solution to Obama's mess

Historically, the way controversial pieces of legislation have made it through Congress has been through garnering bipartisan support. Oftentimes, both parties will come with a list of top priorities and must-have provisions. But one thing generally holds true: the majority party will hold sway.  That is what has been so unusual about congressional Democrats’ all-or-nothing approach in the wake of President Trump’s decision to wind down his predecessor’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) kicked off negotiations by demanding the passage of the standalone DREAM Act bill, which would benefit millions of illegal aliens who could not qualify for DACA. (The Hill)

Michelle Malkin: Obama lied. My FOURTH health plan died

Cue the funeral bagpipes. My fourth health insurance plan is dead. Two weeks ago, my husband and I received yet another cancellation notice for our private, individual health insurance coverage. It's our fourth Obamacare-induced obituary in four years. (Toronto Sun)

William Watson: Why Canada’s ‘best’ health-care system just got ranked last — again

Because liberal Americans see us, in this age of Trump, as an oasis of sanity in a worldwide desert of populism, The New York Times is doing more reporting on Canada, presumably so its U.S. readers don’t lose all hope that saner choices could be available in an alternative world. (Financial Post)

Evan Solomon: Trudeaumania Two is starting to fade

On Oct. 1, 1972, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau joined 10,000 fans and greeted Team Canada as its players arrived home from the Soviet Union. The country was wallowing in Cold War pride in the wake of the miracle victory in the Summit Series. After a near-death experience—down 5-3 in the third period of the eighth game—Team Canada’s astonishing three-goal comeback was sealed by Paul Henderson’s iconic shot. What Trudeau didn’t know as he stood at Dorval airport was that, 29 days later, in the election of 1972, he would also have a near-death political experience followed by something of a miracle comeback. More than the Summit Series, this is the 1972 event the current Liberal government ought to remember right now, as the political landscape starts to shift and they look ahead to the next election. It can all slip away so fast. (Macleans)

Robert Tracinski: Signs Liberalism’s Slow Suicide Is Finally Complete

The far left, under the banner of Black Lives Matter, is protesting a campus speaker again. Who is it this time? Some neo-Nazi like Richard Spencer? An unscrupulous provocateur like Milo Yiannopoulos? Just a garden-variety scary conservative like Ben Shapiro? Nope, it’s the American Civil Liberties Union as represented by Claire Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia. (Federalist)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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