True North Initiative: News Scan 10 23 17

TOP STORIES

Tories pile on Morneau after Bank of Canada contract revelation

The pressure on Finance Minister Bill Morneau continues to mount following the Sun’s report that the minister’s family company, Morneau Shepell, has a multi-million-dollar business contract with the federal government. Conservative Finance Critic Pierre Poilievre led off Question Period Friday with questions about the $8 million contract between Morneau Shepell and the Bank of Canada, uncovered exclusively by the Sun. (Toronto Sun)

Bill Morneau seems to resent even having to explain himself

Bill Morneau doesn’t seem to understand that the issue isn’t what he’s going to do now. No, the question is why he did what he did in the first place. And not only did Morneau not really answer the question, he even seemed somewhat indignant that he had to answer to the public in the first place. On Thursday the embattled finance minister announced he’d be putting all of his assets into a blind trust and eventually divesting all of his shares in the family firm Morneau Shepell to show he’s “completely free of conflict.” (Toronto Sun)

Trudeau’s red ink record

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on track to increase Canada’ federal debt at a record pace, says a new study by the Fraser Institute. “According to his own government’s projections,” the study concludes, Trudeau “will increase per person federal debt by 5% from 2015 to 2019 — the largest increase of any prime minister whose time in office didn’t include a world war or economic recession.” (Toronto Sun)

Liberals hitting diabetes patients with tax grab, Conservatives and health groups say

Health groups joined forces on Sunday with the Conservative opposition to accuse the Liberal government of trying to raise tax revenue on the backs of vulnerable diabetics. The accusation opened a new front in the ongoing opposition-waged war on government taxation policy, amid the backdrop of the conflict-of-interest controversy dogging Finance Minister Bill Morneau over whether he’s properly distanced himself from millions of dollars of private sector assets. (Global)

Canada giving refugee status to border-crossers at rising rates

Asylum seekers who illegally crossed the U.S. border into Canada this year are obtaining refugee status at higher rates, new data shows, as authorities accept claims from people who say they feared being deported by U.S. President Donald Trump‘s administration. (Global)

Edmonton Attack: Justin Trudeau Praises Const. Mike Chernyk Who Was Rammed By Car

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised an Edmonton police officer for his "exemplary'' actions during an attack in which he was run down and then stabbed. Trudeau met with Const. Mike Chernyk on Saturday during a visit to the Alberta capital and thanked the officer for his efforts, which the Prime Minister said helped save lives. (Huffington Post)

Trudeau appoints Bob Rae as special envoy to Myanmar

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is appointing Bob Rae as Canada's special envoy to Myanmar, two months into a growing crisis that has left 600,000 Rohingya Muslim people displaced. The move comes in response to growing public pressure to act in the face of what Canada and the United Nations have labeled ethnic cleansing of a long persecuted minority in Myanmar. As of Sunday, it's estimated 603,000 Rohingya, mostly from the troubled Rakhine state, have fled to shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh. (CBC)

Anti-Trudeau, anti-racism demonstrators clash in Toronto; four arrested

A group of anti-Trudeau protesters and anti-racism counter-demonstrators clashed in Toronto on Saturday. According to organizers, the anti-Trudeau protest was planned as a means of expressing displeasure with the Liberal government’s tax policies, spending and controversial multi-million dollar settlement with former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr. (CTV) (Toronto Star)

FBI agent who helped nab Via Rail plotters worries sleeper soldier in U.S. may have gotten away

The undercover FBI agent who stopped an al-Qaeda terrorist plot to derail a Via Rail train near Toronto has gone public, saying a Canadian decision to wrap up the investigation cost U.S. intelligence agencies the opportunity to catch a suspected terrorist sleeper agent in their country. The agent recently spoke to the CBC's The Fifth Estate in an exclusive Canadian television interview. The full interview will be broadcast this Friday on CBC Television. The agent has also written a book about the operation, American Radical, which will be published soon. (CBC) (680 News) (National Post)

FBI agent reveals life infiltrating extremist groups in America

An active FBI undercover agent has revealed details of his work infiltrating Islamic extremist groups. Tamer El-Noury - one of the agent's many false identities - talked to the BBC about his covert attempts to gain the trust of those planning attacks. He was instrumental in foiling the plot to derail the New York City to Toronto train route four years ago. (BBC)

American woman tortured and raped in captivity in Pakistan breaks her silence from hospital to reveal how thoughts of home got her through the 'dark days' as her three children adapt to their new lives in the West

The American woman who was raped and tortured and gave birth to three children in captivity has spoken out for the first time, as new photos show her children adapting to life in the West. Touching new photos show the three young children born in captivity being cuddled by their grandparents and readjusting to their new lives in Canada after their family’s traumatic ordeal. (Daily Mail)

British IS fighters 'must be killed', minister says

The "only way" to deal with British IS fighters in Syria is "in almost every case" to kill them, the minister for international development has said. Rory Stewart said converts to so-called Islamic State believed in an "extremely hateful doctrine" and had moved away from any allegiance to Britain. They can expect to be killed because of the "serious danger" they pose to the UK's security, he said. (BBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

4 parties vying for federal byelection win in battleground Quebec

Byelections rarely have the potential for much drama. Monday's vote in the Quebec riding of Lac-Saint-Jean does. Four parties have the potential to win the seat that former Conservative MP Denis Lebel took by a margin of just five points in 2015. The Conservatives and the New Democrats are contesting the riding with new leaders at the helm in a province that could play an important role for both parties in 2019. (CBC)

Bill Morneau says he doesn't 'report to journalists,' bristles at questions about personal finances

Finance Minister Bill Morneau dodged questions about his use of numbered companies to hold investments Friday, suggesting he does not have to defend his personal financial choices to journalists. After a week of questions about his own fortune, Morneau showed signs of exasperation during an event in Waterloo, Ont., where he was pitching the government's "step back" on proposed changes to the small business tax regime. (CBC)

Extreme far-right groups putting aside differences to keep out refugees, promote populism: study

Far-right groups are increasingly collaborating internationally to keep out refugees, fight hate speech laws and elect populist politicians, according to a report released Monday. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue study found that extreme right factions have been putting aside their differences and cooperating to increase their influence, reach and impact. The study cited the example of the Defend Europe campaign, which raised more than US$200,000 in Europe and the United States to charter a ship to stop migrants from crossing the Mediterranean from Libya (Global)

Two B.C. criminals facing deportation lose court challenges

Two B.C. residents convicted in separate cases linked to organized crime have lost court challenges aimed at heading off their deportations. On Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal rejected an application by Peter Gerard Coffey to allow him to withdraw a 2013 guilty plea for possession of the proceeds of crime. He had been arrested with more than $400,000 packed into vacuum-sealed bags three years earlier. (24 hrs)

Man raised in Halifax fights deportation to Somalia once prison sentence ends

Abdoul Abdi, 23, makes no excuses for the crime he committed but, facing deportation to a country so dangerous Canadian officials can’t even travel to some parts, he feels like he’s on death row. Abdi spoke with The Chronicle Herald from Dorchester Penitentiary, where he is serving out the last few months of his five-and-a-half-year prison sentence. Under normal circumstances, he would be getting released in January. Instead, he’s fighting to stay in the country he has called home almost his entire life. (Chronicle Herald)

Keep a 'wary eye' on U.S. travel visas, Goodale tells American counterpart

Canada's Public Safety Minister has told his American counter part to keep a "wary eye" on the travel visas it issues to the United States. In an interview Sunday with CBC News, Goodale said Canadian officials have identified trends where documents issued from certain U.S. embassies and consulates are being misused. (CBC)

International students face uncertainty over Ontario colleges strike

Tens of thousands of international students affected by a faculty strike at Ontario colleges are being reassured by immigration officials that they won’t be penalized for a delay that is beyond their control. But some international students say the work stoppage, which began last Monday, has them worrying about finances as well as their education and immigration status. (Toronto Star) (Global)

Police in Mississauga looking for victims of alleged immigration scam

Police in Mississauga are looking for more potential victims in an alleged immigration scam targeting people from Afghanistan. Peel Regional Police say a woman was charged in late August after several people reported that they paid large sums of money to the “Afghan Refugee Relief Organization” to help them sponsor family members to come to Canada. (680 News) (CBC)

‘Basic right’ in Punjab, Catalonia: Punjab political parties reject Canadian Sikh leader Jagmeet Singh’s self-determination remark

Political parties in Punjab on Monday rejected Canada’s New Democratic Party chief Jagmeet Singh’s statement that he considers self-determination to be “a basic right” in the state. Reacting to Jagmeet’s recent remark, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said that Canadian leaders should not meddle in India’s affairs. “They should mind their own affairs. We respect the sovereignty of our country. Punjab and our party are an unbreakable part of the Indian democratic and political system,” Cheema said. (Hindustan Times)

Afghan official: Suicide bombing at Kabul mosque kills 30

A suicide bomber targeted a Shiite mosque in a western Kabul neighbourhood during evening prayers on Friday, killing at least 30 people, Afghan officials. And in western Ghor province, a suicide blast struck a Sunni mosque, also during Friday prayers, killing 10 people. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings, the latest in what has been a particularly devastating week that saw Taliban attacks kill scores across the country. (CTV)

Devastation in Raqqa raises questions about cost of victory over ISIS

Kurdish-led forces on Friday declared victory over ISIS in Raqqa, the former "capital" of its self-proclaimed caliphate where militants had terrorized the population for four years — setting up a climactic last stand for the extremists in the last vestiges of territory they control. (CBC)

US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert

The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991. That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice. (Defense One)

North Korea is ‘mass producing biological weapons’ and could unleash smallpox, cholera, plague and anthrax on US troops

KIM Jong-un is feared to be secretly mass producing biological weapons to unleash nightmarish plagues on US troops, a report has found. Under the cover of a farm lab, it is claimed North Korean chemists could be weaponising some the world’s deadliest diseases such as smallpox, Black Death and cholera which could lay waste to millions of people if an epidemic was sparked. (Sun.co.uk)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Three years after Parliament Hill attacks, terror threat persists

Europe is dealing with a full-fledged insurgency, with thousands of known terrorists spread across every major city, and attacks so regular they barely make the news. Canada must be prepared and equipped to ensure the same doesn’t happen here. hree years ago, we learned the hard way that we are not immune to the threat of Islamist terrorism. Last month in Edmonton, we saw another ISIS-inspired terrorist strike. There is no freedom without security, and Canadians deserve to know that our government is working to protect our safety and stop extremists from terrorizing Canada. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Life’s too short to consume art injected with anti-Trump hysteria

There’s a music station I’d been listening to lately not so much because I enjoy the music but to get a reprieve from the politicization of everything. It was going so well for a while until one day the hammer fell and the lead host’s sidekick went on some inarticulate rant about the stupidity of all conservatives. Click. I’ve been playing The Eagles’ greatest hits on loop ever since. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Time to toss the ethics commissioner off the bus

During one of testier exchanges during the Morneau Affair -- capitalized here to designate an official scandal -- the NDP's ethics and deputy finance critic, Nathan Cullen, accused Justin Trudeau of throwing the ethics commissioner under the bus. He said the prime minister was blaming any lack of transparency regarding Finance Minister Bill Morneau's many assets on advice he received from Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Bill Morneau renewed $8M government contract with his family firm

On Friday's show, Candice Malcolm joined me to discuss her exclusive report on an $8 million contract the Bank of Canada had with Morneau-Shepell, a firm founded by the father of Finance Minister Bill Morneau. (Rebel)

Globe editorial: After two years, the real Justin Trudeau emerges

Remember when the federal government was run by a Machiavellian prime minister and his closest acolytes, who together pulled the levers of power from inside his office at the expense of Parliament? Who mercilessly enforced discipline on his cabinet, and used strict image and message control to present the leader as a man working hard for all the right causes? Remember that? You should, because it was last week. (Globe and Mail)

Toronto Sun: For starters, Morneau needs to say he's sorry

It was an awful week for embattled finance minister Bill Morneau. Not only is the poor guy so rich that he can’t keep track of his luxury real estate, but he’s now liquidating around a million stocks in a company – his own – that’s only gone up in value since when he was first supposed to sell them or put them in a blind trust two years ago. Talk about good problems to have. You’d think he’d be approaching all of this with a touch of humility. Even with a bit of remorse. But that’s not the case at all. (Toronto Sun)

Susan Levy: Death threats for refusing to hate Israel

Just a few years ago, Yahya Mohamid was living in a northern Israeli town controlled by the Islamic movement and like everyone else in Umm el-Fahm, had been indoctrinated to hate Israel. Today, the 20-year-old, calling himself a Muslim Zionist, has made his home in Jerusalem and is dedicated to getting the truth out about his life as an Arab Israeli and giving back to his country. (Canoe)

Lorne Gunter: Trudeau’s massive double standard on niqab bans

Back in 2015, the Harper Tories were pushing a niqab ban for Muslim women being sworn in as Canadian citizens and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was on a rampage. According to Trudeau, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was guilty of using people’s prejudices to create “political wedges” just to attract votes. (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet later today to study Canada and the Ukraine Crisis

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

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to study Medical Inadmissibility of Immigrants