True North Initiative: News Scan 10 17 17

TOP STORIES

NYC terror case records unsealed after Canadian man's plea for help from Omar Khadr's lawyer

Court records for the case of a 19-year-old Canadian man who pleaded guilty to terrorism charges were unsealed after he asked a judge, in a handwritten letter, to allow him to hire the former counsel for Omar Khadr. The note was among documents released last week that shed light on why the file on the alleged plot to detonate bombs in Times Square and the New York subway system and target concertgoers at various venues, in support of ISIS, was made public earlier this month. (CBC)

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau wishes ‘Diwali Mubarak’, Twitter is not pleased

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to wish everyone a happy Diwali. He, however, managed to come in the line of fire of several users for his choice of words. ‘Diwali Mubarak’, Trudeau greeted his 3.71 million followers, with a picture of himself in a black sherwani, lighting a lamp. (Hindustan Times)

Quebec to vote on bill that would bar face-coverings for those receiving public services

After a decade-long debate about the place of religion in a secular society, Quebec is set to pass a law that would bar public servants from wearing face coverings and oblige ordinary citizens to unveil when seeking access to government services. The proposed law has been vigorously opposed by Muslim advocacy groups in the province who say that it will unfairly target women who wear Islamic face coverings such as the niqab, which leaves only the eyes uncovered. (Toronto Star)

Toronto may spend $20M more on settling rising number of asylum seekers in local hotels

The number of refugees coming to Toronto keeps rising — and city staff say they need to spend another $20 million to keep a roof over their heads. In February 2016, the average number of beds used by refugees every night was roughly 450, according to a city report on refugee flows released this month. By September this year, this number had increased close to three times to roughly 1,270. (CBC)

Freed hostage Joshua Boyle on why he went to Afghanistan and what his kidnappers wanted

They are free and safe, but the scars from five years held hostage by a ruthless group linked to the Taliban run deep and raw. Joshua Boyle, his wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three children are now sheltered in Boyle's parents' home in Smiths Falls, Ont. In an interview on Sunday, Boyle described their kidnappers' apparent motives, the conditions of their confinement and the final moments of their rescue last Wednesday. (CBC) (Huffington Post)

Taliban denies Canadian’s claim its fighters raped his wife and killed his baby

A spokesman for the Taliban is denying the allegations of a freed Canadian hostage who says his wife was raped and his daughter killed by their abductors. Upon his return to Canada Friday, Joshua Boyle told reporters that during his five years in captivity, held by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network in Afghanistan, his wife’s rape was assisted by the captain of the guard and supervised by the commandant of the network. (National Post)

Behind the dramatic rescue of American-Canadian couple from Haqqani captivity

Armed with information from U.S. intelligence, Pakistani soldiers staged a dramatic but successful rescue operation last week to free American Caitlan Coleman, 31, and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, 34, and their three young children after five years in Haqqani network captivity. According to multiple U.S. sources with close connections to the operation, no prisoners were exchanged and ransom money was not paid. The Canadian government also asserted that their longstanding policy of not fulfilling ransom demands remains, and no money was dished out. (FOX)

Liberals trimming small-business tax rate amid uproar over tax-reform proposals

The Trudeau government took the first of several steps Monday to stanch the bleeding from a self-inflicted political wound, resurrecting a campaign promise to cut taxes for small businesses outraged by its controversial tax-reform proposals. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to gradually trim the small-business tax rate to nine per cent by 2019, down from its current level of 10.5 per cent, and also to make further changes to the plan that triggered the angry backlash from entrepreneurs in the first place. (Montreal Gazette)

Iran's hardliners say Trump has done them 'great favors'

Tehran is a city that wears its political colors on its sleeve. The sprawling Iranian capital nestles between barren mountain ranges, its streets packed with high rises, leafy parks and markets. A major boulevard slices through the metropolis, from the working class south to the more affluent north; a journey along this road highlights the many political views of its population. (CNN)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

NAFTA rounds to last longer, plans in the works to negotiate past new year deadline, source says

North America Free Trade Agreement talks are now expected to blow past the new year deadline that the United States and Mexican negotiators had hoped they would be able to meet. Schedulers are looking to book additional talks in February 2018, while stretching the rounds of talks already planned. (CBC)

Morneau's credibility on the line as Liberals hit reset button on tax reforms

Justin Trudeau hit the reset button on his government’s controversial small-business tax reforms Monday but the awkward spectacle of the prime minister sidelining his finance minister, along with mushrooming questions about Bill Morneau’s personal financial arrangements, suggests the political crisis roiling Liberal ranks isn’t over just yet. (Financial Post)

After chaotic election night, Naheed Nenshi emerges as winner

After a tumultuous municipal campaign and a chaotic election day on Monday, Naheed Nenshi was returned for a third term as Calgary’s mayor. While the city website was replete with glitches and agonizingly slow in posting results due to unknown technical difficulties, Nenshi’s main challenger, Bill Smith, conceded just before midnight. (Calgary Herald)

Ottawa academic Hassan Diab still in legal limbo in Paris prison

As he approaches the beginning of his fourth year in a maximum-security Paris prison, former Ottawa professor Hassan Diab remains in legal limbo more than two months after a judge closed his investigation into the case. Diab, a 63-year-old Canadian citizen, is the only suspect in the October 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue in which four people died and more than 40 others were injured. He denies being in Paris at the time of the bombing and says he is a victim of mistaken identity. (Ottawa Sun)

Canadian troops safe after allied Iraqi, Kurdish forces open fire on each other near Kirkuk

All Canadian military personnel in Iraq are safe, defence officials confirmed Monday after allied Iraqi and Kurdish forces opened fire on each other near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Some Canadian troops had been operating in the area earlier this month, but a military spokesman said they left nearly two weeks ago after the region was liberated from Daesh, also known as ISIL or ISIS. “No Canadian Armed Forces were caught in any crossfires in Iraq,” Capt. Vincent Bouchard said in an email. “All Canadian Armed Forces personnel are safe and accounted for.” (Toronto Star)

Dangerous countries: Canada’s list of risky travel spots

Travelling to Iraq or Afghanistan may be obvious places to avoid for many Canadian globetrotters because of the high risk of terrorism, violent crimes and kidnappings in the region. But then there are the not-so-obvious tourist hot spots like England, France and Thailand that come with travel cautions. (Global)

Passports for purchase: Open citizenship doors around the world

Turns out money doesn't just buy a glamorous vacation in the Caribbean or a killer suite in Quebec -- it can buy residency too. While British citizens are rushing to claim Irish passports post-Brexit vote, the world's most elite travelers don't bother standing in line at immigration counters. Instead, they enlist in citizenship by investment programs (CIPs), where investing in a country's economy can grant easy access to more powerful passports. (CNN)

Driver of deadly immigrant smuggling run pleads guilty

The driver of a semitrailer packed with at least 39 immigrants, 10 of whom died, pleaded guilty Monday to making the deadly smuggling run. James Matthew Bradley Jr., 61, pleaded Monday in federal court in San Antonio to one conspiracy count and a count of transporting the immigrants resulting in death. He faces up to life imprisonment when he's sentenced on Jan. 22. The Clearwater, Florida, man could have faced the death penalty had he gone to trial. (Chronicle Herald)

Death toll rises to over 300 after deadliest single attack in Somalia history

More than 300 people were killed in the weekend truck bombing in Somalia’s capital and scores remained missing, authorities said Monday, as the fragile Horn of Africa nation reeled from one of the world’s worst attacks in years. As funerals continued, the government said the death toll was expected to rise. (Toronto Star)

US urges calm as Kirkuk crisis escalates

The US has called for "calm" after Iraqi government forces seized the northern city of Kirkuk and key installations from Kurdish control. State department spokeswoman Heather Nauert urged all parties to "avoid further clashes". Iraqi soldiers moved into Kirkuk three weeks after the Kurdistan Region held a controversial independence referendum. (BBC)

Las Vegas guard Jesus Campos vanished after visiting urgent-care clinic, union leader says

The Mandalay Bay security guard who disappeared last week moments before he was scheduled to break his silence in television interviews has not been seen since he went to a walk-in health clinic, his union president said. David Hickey of the Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) told reporters Friday that he got a text the night before saying Jesus Campos was taken to a UMC Quick Care facility, though he did not specify where or whom the text came from. (FOX)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Anthony Furey: Those suddenly disaffected by Trudeau can't say they weren't warned

When a liberal politician loses The Economist, that’s when they’ve got to start worrying. “Justin Trudeau’s flying unicorn hits a storm,” reads a headline of the establishment’s favourite magazine, one that has never before presented the PM so poorly. The accompanying cartoon shows him on a horse, dressed as royalty-turned-buffoon, sadly trudging through the rain. Yikes. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Trudeau’s tax flip, flops

Even when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does the right thing, he has to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing it. Take his hasty resurrection Monday of his previously broken election promise to cut the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% by 2019. The fact Trudeau now intends, albeit belatedly, to keep this promise that he made to voters in 2015 is a good thing. (Toronto Sun)

Michael Mostyn: By discouraging criticism of Islam, M103 could make it harder to combat anti-Semitism

The House of Commons has recently been hearing testimony on M-103, MP Iqra Khalid’s private member’s motion, which is aimed at combatting Islamophobia and other unnamed forms of religious discrimination. ‎Disturbingly, some who have endorsed M-103 publicly have asserted that anti-Semitism in Canada is limited to the edges of society, in supposed contrast to Islamaphobia. (National Post)

John Ivison: Trudeau's tax-reform surrender is served with extra cheese

Rarely has total capitulation been celebrated as triumphantly as it was Monday by the Prime Minister and his finance minister in a Stouffville, Ont., pizza restaurant. Justin Trudeau attempted to convince the nation that it was always the government’s intention to menace small businesses with the prospect of hefty tax increases, then turn around and offer an across-the-board tax-cut sweetener. (National Post)

Mark Bonokoski: Liberals limit Remembrance Day wreaths for MPs

If there is any more needed to know how low the Trudeau Liberals will go, it was their plan this November to limit the number of Remembrance Day wreaths provided to parliamentarians to lay before cenotaphs across this country. There was never a limit placed on wreaths before, but the federal Liberals nickel-and-diming of Canadians, including the annual honoring of the sacrifices our armed forces, now has the number pared down to two. (Toronto Sun)

Shaver: Morneau's tax plan poses risks for doctors and dentists

In the interest of perceived “fairness,” the Liberals have proposed corporate tax changes. Sadly, these may adversely affect the availability of physician care, as well as certain dental and legal services, especially to low-income groups. The current uncertainty for small businesses will jeopardize new job creation just when the economy is finally growing at a record rate of 4.5 per cent per year. (Ottawa Citizen)

Chantal Hebert: Trudeau and Morneau’s efforts to sugar-coat tax reforms turns into comedy of errors

As the crow flies — or in this instance a government jet backed up by a string of chauffeur-driven vehicles — it is doable to travel from Parliament Hill to the town of Stouffville, northeast of Toronto, in about 90 minutes. A person using more conventional means of transportation on the other hand would take at least double that time. In either case, the travel there and back will use up most of a normal day’s work. (Toronto Star)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet today to study Bill C-47: An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet today for committee business

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to study Bill M-39: Immigration to Atlantic Canada

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet later today to study Bill C-21: An Act to amend the Customs Act