True North Initiative: News Scan 10 19 17

TOP STORIES

Al-Qaida set to gain as Islamic State disintegrates

Over several nights in September, some 10,000 men, women and children fled areas under Islamic State control, hurrying through fields in northern Syria and risking fire from government troops to reach a province held by an al-Qaida-linked group. For an untold number of battle-hardened jihadis fleeing with the civilians, the escape to Idlib province marked a homecoming of sorts, an opportunity to continue waging war alongside an extremist group that shares much of the Islamic State's ideology — and has benefited from its prolonged downfall. (Associated Press)

Some fears of Islam justified, human rights lawyer tells M103 committee

A celebrated Canadian human rights lawyer urged MPs to be careful in their use of the term Islamophobia, saying “fear of some elements of Islam is mere prudence.” David Matas, an Order of Canada recipient who began his career as a clerk for the Chief Justice of Canada in the 1960s, delivered testimony Wednesday before the M-103 committee hearings in his capacity as senior counsel to B’nai Brith Canada. (Toronto Sun)

Quebec passes Bill 62 forcing public to uncover faces to give or receive services

Calling it a North American first, the Quebec government passed legislation Wednesday forbidding anyone from receiving or giving a public service with their face covered — and even while riding the bus. The opposition said the law doesn’t go far enough, while members of the province’s Islamic community said it targets Muslim women and violates their fundamental right to express their religion as they see fit. (Toronto Sun) (BBC)

'I should see your face, and you should see mine,' Quebec premier says of new religious neutrality law

A new law that would effectively force Muslim women who wear a niqab or burka to uncover their faces to use public services is based on a principle "the vast majority of Canadians, and not just Quebecers" can agree on, Premier Philippe Couillard said. The Liberal government's Bill 62 on religious neutrality was passed Wednesday in Quebec's National Assembly. (CBC)

Group protests Toronto District School Board's Islamic Heritage Month guide

While a handful of counter-protesters (in favour of the guide) looked on, Jewish Defence League (JDL) head Meir Weinstein said after they exposed that the manual had links to articles about radical Islam — one in particular from the Islamophobic Research and Documentation Project (IRDP) that compared Zionism to Nazi-like atrocities — TDSB officials agreed to remove them. (Toronto Sun)

Down, but not defeated: What is the future of ISIS after Raqqa?

The militia tanks and armoured vehicles that paraded through the streets of Raqqa on Tuesday marked the symbolic demise of ISIS rule in the Syrian city where militants had established their de facto capital.  Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) held a victory parade of sorts in Raqqa's central Paradise Square, a space that for three years looked more like hell, as it was where ISIS carried out public beheadings. "This is a historic victory, not only for us, but the entire world," said Jihan Ahmed of the SDF. (CBC)

ISIS fanatics are 'plotting new 9/11' and plan to 'bring down planes to cause maximum devastation'

ISIS is plotting a 'new 9/11' and will bring down planes to cause maximum devastation, according to Trump's Homeland Security chief. What's more, the terror group is currently using van attacks - like the one at London Bridge - to keep their members engaged while they raise funds for a 'big explosion'. Elaine Duke, acting Secretary of Homeland Security says the plan is to recreate the 2001 atrocities where four planes were hijacked by al-Qaeda - two of which were crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center. (Mirror.co.uk) (Daily Mail)

ISIS Puts Out Call for Supporters to 'Fulfill the Call' as Social Media Jihadists

ISIS supporters renewed a call for online operatives to become cyber jihadists ASAP if they're unable to fight for the Islamic State in the traditional sense. A posting distributed in English, Arabic and French by the Ashhad Media Foundation shows a hooded figure in front of a laptop computer branded with the ISIS insignia and icons of social media sites in the background, including Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram and YouTube. They also included the employment networking site LinkedIn. (PJ Media)

Morneau told former company he would use blind trust

Finance Minister Bill Morneau told the company he once helmed that he would be placing his substantial holdings of Morneau Shepell in a blind trust – a mechanism used by cabinet members in office to insulate themselves from conflict-of-interest accusations. Ultimately, he changed his mind and instead indirectly kept his holdings – a decision that only came to light this week when The Globe and Mail reported that Mr. Morneau had not used a blind trust, as Justin Trudeau did for his family fortune. (Globe and Mail)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Costa Rica 'cult' facing deportation, Canadian man safely leaves group

An alleged cult in Costa Rica may have met its end, after local police detained the group following a traffic stop and held 11 of them for deportation. The group, dubbed Melanation by its leader Eligio Bishop, has a large online following and follows a back-to-nature philosophy promoted through social media. (CBC)

Quebec changes hearings into racism, new forum will tackle 'discrimination'

Quebec's immigration minister announced Wednesday the government would be changing its widely criticized plan to hold public consultations on so-called systemic discrimination. Instead, minister David Heurtel said Quebec would hold a forum in December on the importance of diversity in society and the fight against discrimination, especially in the workplace. Quebec's opposition parties said there was no such thing as systemic discrimination in society and accused the government of wanting to put citizens on trial. (CTV)

Tories balk at Grit plans to discipline MP

Liberal backbench MP Wayne Long may “respect and understand” his party’s decision to remove him from two House committees after he voted with the opposition on a motion calling for the government to extend the public consultation period on its plan to tighten the tax rules that govern private corporations, but his Conservative colleagues aren’t of the same mind. (IPolitics)

As more LGBTQ refugees arrive in Edmonton, groups supporting them say government funding is needed

The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers has seen a significant increase in the number of refugee claimants seeking asylum because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, prompting the organization to increase supports for this unique population. (Edmonton Examiner)

What's going on with Stéphane Dion, anyway? We found out in Brussels

The former foreign minister was shuffled across the pond to Europe this spring for a dual role that had everyone confused: ambassador to Germany, but also ambassador — no, wait, “special envoy” — to the European Union. After the news broke that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was planning to create a dual ambassadorship for Dion, criticisms emerged over whether one representative could really take up both mantles. (National Post)

Foiled Terror Plot Raises Number of Plots, Attacks to 98 Since 9/11

The Justice Department unsealed criminal charges earlier this month against three men for plotting to attack New York City in 2016. The plotters were arrested at different times in 2016 and 2017, in different parts of the world. Since this plot occurred in the past and the first plotter was arrested in May of last year, it will be inserted into The Heritage Foundation timeline as the 87th Islamist terror plot against the U.S. since 9/11. This brings the total number of such plots to 98 since. (Daily Signal)

Man convicted in plot to behead blogger over cartoon contest

A man who authorities say fell under the influence of the Islamic State group was convicted Wednesday of plotting to behead a conservative American blogger for organizing a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest. Jurors found David Wright guilty of all charges, including conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries. (Chronicle Herald)

Mandalay Bay security guard breaks silence after surviving Las Vegas massacre

A hotel security guard wounded by the Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 people told a U.S. television talk show on Wednesday that he heard drilling before the shooter began spraying a hallway with hundreds of rapid-fire rounds. Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos, the first person to confront gunman Stephen Paddock, gave “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” his first public account of how he responded to the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. (Global)

Dow Jones hits record high, continues surge since Donald Trump was elected

While the Dow Jones has been on an upward tick for years now, it has been soaring since U.S. President Donald Trump won the election as evidenced by Wednesday’s record-breaking finish above 23,000. Since last fall’s election, the number has climbed by over 4,500 points. (Global)

Afghan army base destroyed by Taliban suicide bombers

At least 43 Afghan soldiers have been killed after two suicide bombers in Humvee trucks targeted a military base in the southern province of Kandahar. Nine others were wounded and six were missing, the defence ministry said. Ten militants were also said to have died. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES 

Candice Malcolm: Biometric system failed to detect terror suspect

New information reveals how an alleged terrorist manipulated our immigration system to gain entry and remain in North America. Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, the Somali national being detained after the recent Edmonton terror attack, managed to slip into Canada despite a complicated system of biometric checks designed to stop people just like him. In 2011, Canada implemented a biometric screening program designed to stop criminals and other dangerous individuals from entering Canada. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Jagmeet Singh plays the race card

Thanks to the CBC’s Terry Milewski, we now know federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh doesn’t think it’s his job to denounce Canadian Sikhs who glorify suspected Air India bomber, and fellow Sikh, Talwinder Singh Parmar. Why we know this -- with Singh absurdly accusing Milewski of racism for asking him the question -- is a case study in Canadian political correctness run amok. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Debunking Liberal claims about RCMP “refugee” screening questionnaire

On last night's show, immigration and refugee lawyer Guidy Mamman joined me to discuss the "refugee" screening questionnaire the Liberals forced the RCMP to stop using. The questionnaire asked migrants crossing the border illegally about their views on gender equality, having a female boss, and how they feel about women who don't wear hijabs, burqas, or niqabs. You would expect a government led by a PM who never passes up a chance to flaunt his "feminism" would agree that these are important questions to ask. (Rebel)

Globe editorial: With Bill 62, Quebec attacks religious freedom

The Quebec National Assembly passed a law on Wednesday that is a direct attack on religious freedom. It targets the small number of Muslim women who wear a face covering, and promises to expose them to discrimination, public humiliation and abuse. Bill 62 bans government employees, from the provincial to the municipal level, from wearing a face-covering on the job – and also bans face-coverings for anyone receiving government services. (Globe and Mail)

Chantal Hebert: Two years in, Trudeau’s rookie ministers have accounted for much of the government’s grief

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrates the second anniversary of his election victory this week with his finance minister in a self-imposed exile from the House of Commons that the opposition parties would gladly make permanent. Three parliamentary sitting days have elapsed in the ethical storm that has engulfed Bill Morneau over his decision to keep control, albeit indirectly, of his shares in his family’s pension services company, and he has yet to show up in the House to face down his opposition critics. (Toronto Star)

Robyn Urback: Please, no questions for the finance minister

Indeed, there he was: available to be stared at in a pizzeria in Stouffville, Ont., Monday (but please direct your questions to the prime minister); and for a brief statement during a news conference in Montreal Tuesday (sorry, couldn't make it back for question period); and to again be stared at in the House of Commons Wednesday (when it's the "prime minister's question period," meaning Justin Trudeau is supposed to field all of the questions). (CBC)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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

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