True North Initiative: News Scan 10 24 17

TOP STORIES

Niqab will become bigger problem in years to come

The niqab conversation in Canada isn’t going away anytime soon. Don’t think that whatever happens with Quebec’s Bill 62, whether it lives or dies, is going to neatly solve the issue and put it to bed for good. How could it, with the number of Muslims in Canada increasing and the extent of their religiosity showing no signs of abating? (Toronto Sun)

Liberals score upset in Quebec byelection; Tories hang on in Edmonton

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have pulled off a stunning byelection upset, snatching the federal riding of Lac-Saint-Jean away from the Conservatives. A Liberal victory in Quebec’s nationalist heartland — where the party hasn’t won since 1980 and where it posted its worst result in the province in 2015 — would have been remarkable at any time. (Toronto Sun) (CBC)

Liberals to announce smaller deficits amid Bill Morneau scandal

The Trudeau government will release fresh projections Tuesday pointing to smaller-than-anticipated deficits as part of a crowd-pleasing economic update the Liberals are likely counting on to draw attention away from their embattled finance minister. But despite the economy’s surprisingly strong performance in early 2017, the government still isn’t expected to provide a timeline to bring the federal books back to balance. (Global)

'Still using 19th century techniques': RCMP recruitment video shows outdated teaching methods, critics say

A new RCMP recruitment video that shows cadets being barked at by a drill instructor and made to adhere to a strict hierarchical command structure is evidence that the force is still steeped in antiquated ways of doing things, some observers say. Many assessments have knocked the RCMP’s paramilitary style of training and governance, which emphasizes deference to authority and discipline, as a hindrance to modernizing the force. (Toronto Sun)

FBI agent in Via terror plot busts fears sleeper agent on loose

An undercover FBI agent who helped convict two men of plotting to derail a Via passenger train in Canada did not see the arrests as a triumph, because he feared another extremist had eluded his grasp. In a new book published under his cover name from the operation, Tamer Elnoury reveals how gaining the confidence of the would-be rail saboteurs led to knowledge of an apparent al-Qaida sleeper terrorist in the United States. (Toronto Sun)

Military fills first new 'cyber operator' jobs, with more to come

The first of Canada’s new military ‘cyber operators’ are now in position — but members of the public who want to apply will have to wait until 2019. In June, the government released a new defence policy that focused on building up cyber capabilities that will let the Canadian Forces move from defensive to offensive cyber operations against enemies who might try to use such technologies against them. As part of that effort, the government announced it would create a new role — ‘cyber operator’ — to be specially trained to conduct more assertive military cyber operations. (IPolitics)

Diabetics losing disability tax credit because of 'advances in technology': minister

According to a letter obtained by CTV News, “advances in technology” is the reason that most adult diabetics now don’t qualify for a disability credit that can reduce their tax bills by as much as $1,500 a year. In the July 31, 2017 letter, Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier explained that in order to receive a disability tax credit under the Income Tax Act, one must “require life-sustaining therapy (LST) at least three times each week for a total period averaging at least 14 hours a week to sustain a vital function.” (CTV)

Miami man inspired by ISIS arrested on charge of trying to blow up a bomb at Dolphin Mall

A Miami man suspected of being inspired by Islamic extremists was arrested Friday night on a charge of attempting to blow up a bomb at the Dolphin Mall by FBI counter-terrorism agents in an undercover operation. Vicente Solano, who acted alone, was communicating with a confidential informant who tipped off the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force about his alleged plot to carry out a weapons of mass destruction attack on the sprawling mall in Sweetwater, according to authorities. (Miami Herald)

Dolphin Mall bomb suspect made ISIS-inspired videos before FBI sting

This fall, a Miami man was trashing the U.S. government and its anti-terrorist actions around the world while a confidential informant listened to his every word. Vicente A. Solano told the informant that he wanted to carry out a terrorist attack at a crowded Miami-Dade mall on Black Friday, the big Christmas shopping day after Thanksgiving, according to federal authorities. The informant said he could introduce Solano to someone who could assist him but he needed proof that his intentions were for real. (Miami Herald)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Bill Morneau Says Opposition MPs Are ‘Obsessed’ With His Personal Finances

The opposition continued to hammer Finance Minister Bill Morneau Monday over his apparent conflicts of interest — his failure to divest himself of millions of dollars of stock in his family's company, his failure to avoid tabling legislation that furthered his company's interests, and his failure to uphold the ethical standard the Liberal government had set. (Huffington Post)

Pressure mounts on Morneau to ditch Canadian pension proposal

Canadian labor groups are calling on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to kill a proposed law allowing so-called target benefit pension plans amid a deepening outcry over his personal finances. The finance minister introduced Bill C-27 a year ago to allow creation of the plans, which he advocated for as head of Morneau Shepell Inc., a human resources company his family founded. The proposed law hasn’t advanced at all in parliament since then. (Toronto Sun)

NDP, Conservatives seek to rewrite law that let Morneau keep shares in family firm

The Trudeau government is facing pressure to close a conflict-of-interest loophole that allowed Finance Minister Bill Morneau to retain close control over a significant stake in his family company even as he ran a department with significant power to affect the fortunes of Morneau Shepell. The opposition NDP and Conservative parties are uniting to press a motion that would censure Mr. Morneau and urge Ottawa to rewrite conflict-of-interest law to eliminate this exception. (Globe and Mail)

New U.S. ambassador has no high-level diplomatic experience but promises 'old-school manners'

By her own admission, Kelly Craft doesn’t yet know much about Canada. The new U.S. ambassador arrived in Ottawa last Saturday and her acquaintance with the capital has been limited to a jog along the canal and a short trip to Rideau Hall Monday to present her credentials to Governor General Julie Payette. The walls of Lornado, the grand official residence overlooking the Ottawa River, are as bare as they were when her predecessor Bruce Heyman moved out after Donald Trump’s inauguration last January. (National Post)

Federal government tight-lipped about 'serious flaw' in Wi-Fi security protocol

The federal government is being tight-lipped about how a recent security flaw found in virtually all Wi-Fi devices is affecting its departments, but public servants bringing their work home with them could be at the most risk. A security hole in the most common Wi-Fi security protocol — dubbed KRACK and described as a “serious weaknesses” by the researchers who discovered it — set off a flurry of activity in the tech world, with device and software makers rushing to release fixes. (National Post)

'An issue that pulls at the heartstrings': MPs review rules that reject immigrants on medical grounds

Members of Parliament begin a review today of rules that reject immigrants because they could be a drain on Canada's social services and health-care system. As it stands, applicants can be refused if their condition is a potential danger to public health or safety, or if immigration officers believe they could cause "excessive demand" on the system. (CBC)

Chelsea Manning should be allowed into Canada despite federal crimes: advocates

A U.S. soldier convicted of leaking thousands of classified documents poses no security threat to Canada and ought to be allowed into the country, advocates said Monday. Chelsea Manning tried to enter Canada last month to travel to Montreal and Vancouver, but was turned away at the Canada-U.S. land border when officials determined her crimes were akin to a violation of Canadian treason laws and made her inadmissible. (Global)

‘Appalling’ privacy breach as Canadian officials share sensitive info of Brazil woman with man in Ontario

Nathan Mills wants one thing: to provide for his family and take care of his 11-year-old son who has been diagnosed with leukemia. The 39-year-old Iraq war veteran moved to Canada from Michigan in 2007. He lives in Port Hope, Ont. — just over 100 kilometres from Toronto— with his wife Amanda and two sons, who are all Canadian citizens. (Global)

Some 600,000 refugees later, Ottawa digs in on dealing with Myanmar on Rohingya crisis

As a growing number of Canadians demanded action on the Rohingya crisis — many calling for Ottawa to revoke the Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi's honorary Canadian citizenship — Karen MacArthur was flying over Northern Rakhine state, ground zero for the Rohingya's plight. Canada's ambassador to Myanmar is one of very few Canadians, or foreigners from anywhere, who have seen that troubled strip of land since the violence and displacement started, prompting many, including the UN and Canada, to describe it as ethnic cleansing. (CBC)

Hillary Clinton tells Montreal audience ‘wave of activism’ can defeat forces trying to destroy democracies

Citizens in the West must continue standing up for minority rights in order to help fight off the forces trying to destabilize democracies around the world, Hillary Clinton said Monday on the second Canadian leg of her book tour. Clinton used her oft-repeated line since her book came out, “clear and present danger,” to describe the threat against democracies posed by dark forces such as Russian agents, whom she claimed were partly responsible for her 2016 election loss to Donald Trump. (Toronto Star)

Germany has set up a website to debunk the lies traffickers tell refugees

The German government wants refugees to know the truth about coming to Germany by dispelling the lies they’ve heard from people traffickers. The Federal Foreign Office today (Oct. 23) launched the RumoursAboutGermany.info website in French, English, and Arabic. It’s part of the government’s ongoing #RumoursAboutGermany public awareness campaign that’s been running in places such as Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2015. (Quartz)

Kate Steinle trial starts with opening statements, emotional testimony from father

The undocumented immigrant accused of shooting and killing Pleasanton native Kate Steinle was aiming toward her and knew what he was doing, a prosecutor argued Monday at the start of a politically charged murder case that sparked a nationwide debate over immigration policy. But a defense attorney said Steinle’s death was the result of an accidental gunshot and a “freakish ricochet” of the bullet that struck her. (Mercury News)

Xi Jinping 'most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong'

China's ruling Communist Party has voted to enshrine Xi Jinping's name and ideology in its constitution, elevating him to the level of founder Mao Zedong. The unanimous vote to incorporate "Xi Jinping Thought" happened at the end of the Communist Party congress, China's most important political meeting. (BBC)

IS-fighting British man Jac Holmes killed in Syria

A British man who has been fighting so-called Islamic State in Syria has been killed while clearing landmines in Raqqa, the BBC understands. Jac Holmes had been fighting with Kurdish militia the YPG since 2015. Kurdish representatives in the UK said they had been told by YPG officials the former IT worker from Bournemouth was killed while he was clearing an area to make it safe for civilians. (BBC)

Border wall prototypes a first small step on Trump campaign promise

A couple of miles (km) from the bustling Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego, eight towering chunks of concrete and steel stand as high as 30 feet (9 meters) tall against the sky, possible models for what Trump has promised will one day be a solid wall extending the full length of the southern border, from California to Texas. Whether any of the eight different prototypes, constructed over the last month, become part of an actual wall remains highly uncertain. (Reuters)

'We can't perform our mission if we're not aggressive': CIA expanding its Taliban hunt in Afghanistan

The CIA is expanding its covert operations in Afghanistan, sending small teams of highly experienced officers and contractors alongside Afghan forces to hunt and kill Taliban militants across the country, according to two senior U.S. officials, the latest sign of the agency’s increasingly integral role in U.S. President Donald Trump’s counterterrorism strategy. The assignment marks a shift for the CIA in the country, where it had primarily been focused on defeating al-Qaida and helping the Afghan intelligence service. The CIA has traditionally been resistant to an open-ended campaign against the Taliban, the primary militant group in Afghanistan, believing it was a waste of the agency’s time and money and would put officers at greater risk as they embark more frequently on missions. (National Post)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Toronto Sun: Bill Morneau, fanning the flames, still doesn't get it

Journalists typically ask questions to inform the public about what their government – and public servants like Morneau – are doing. It’s beyond smugness for Morneau to think this line was appropriate. That came the same day as a Postmedia report by Candice Malcolm revealed Morneau Shepell had renewed a multi-million dollar contract earlier this year with the Bank of Canada. You’d think Morneau would be a bit more contrite given this news of a relationship could suggest the appearance of a possible conflict, regardless of his conversation with the ethics commissioner. (Toronto Sun)

Tarek Fatah: How Pakistan fooled America and Islamists fooled Canada

As much as the liberal media is painting a picture of Joshua Boyle and his American wife Caitlin Coleman as victims who suffered years of torment, torture, and rape and murder of their child at the hands of the Taliban, there is something in that story that raises additional questions that do not add up. Non-Muslim journalists today are so scared of being labelled racist, simply for asking the right question that it seems the most obvious loopholes in a story are avoided. (New Delhi Times)

Ezra Levant: Europe votes against open borders again — while Soros funds Canada’s “refugee” policy

The other day I made the case that Austria and Poland — two countries that were the most dangerous to Jews 75 years ago — are now the safest. Because after the twin dangers of Communism and Nazism, those countries are on guard against Islamism. (Rebel)

Jerry Agar: Beware the cruelty of Bob the Bureaucrat

Last week, Toronto Sun columnist Candice Malcolm reported that: “New details … show that Morneau Shepell — the firm founded by the father of Finance Minister Bill Morneau — has a contract with the Bank of Canada worth over $8 million.” Last Thursday, Morneau announced he will divest himself from his shares in his family company and place his other assets in a blind trust. (Toronto Sun)

Margaret Wente: Banning the niqab is bigoted and sexist. Or is it?

If you're a liberal thinker, you probably know where you stand on Quebec's controversial religious neutrality bill. You hate it. Banning women in face veils from receiving public services (such as, potentially, riding the bus) is cruel, intolerant, unworkable, discriminatory, sexist, divisive, and an attack on religious freedom. The bill has been denounced by Rachel Notley, Kathleen Wynne, human-rights lawyers, Muslim groups, and nearly every opinion writer in English-speaking Canada. "Quebec's niqab ban is a shameful sop to nativist voters," thundered the Toronto Star. (The Globe's editorialists oppose it, too.) (Globe and Mail)

Houssem Ben Lazreg: How terrorists use propaganda to recruit lone wolves

It was a pleasant night in September and many Edmonton residents, knowing the long winter was just around the corner, didn’t want to miss a chance to enjoy a beautiful evening. The fun came to a tragic halt when five people, including a policeman, were injured following a terrorist attack that played out across the city. (Business Standard)

Tom Parkin: Morneau Shepell, Sears and more — they’ve all forgotten about the little guy

Most Canadians spend years working for an income and trying to save enough for a secure retirement. That’s called middle class Canada. Then there are those who make their money at the expense of undermining middle class security — and get rewarded with villas and yachts. There’s a name for them, too. Scott Duvall, Hamilton Mountain MP and NDP Pension Critic, knows them both. The former employee at a division of Stelco Steel was an up-close witness to a bankruptcy that left workers with a $620 million pension plan deficit. (Toronto Sun)

Michael Mostyn: BDS is a dismal failure

In a  guest editorial, Stephen Ellis claimed Monday that the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement was an “anti-racist” campaign that would “gain momentum.” Nothing could be further from the truth. As a self-proclaimed BDS officer in Toronto, Ellis surely knows that the movement has entered a critical downward spiral in Canada, although he is understandably reluctant to admit it. During the past two years, BDS has been forcefully rejected by students at the University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of British Columbia. (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 today 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