True North Initiative: News Scan 10 26 17

TOP STORIES

Morneau Shepell has multiple contracts with government departments

Bank of Canada is not the only government agency using the services of Morneau Shepell, the Sun has learned. At least four other federal departments and agencies have ongoing contracts with Morneau Shepell, the human resources firm formerly run by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. The accumulated value of these various contracts is about $14 million. (Toronto Sun)

Feds pay $31.3M settlement to 3 men unjustly imprisoned in Syria

The federal government has paid a total of $31.3 million in settlements to three men wrongfully accused of links to terrorism and tortured in a Syrian prison, CTV News has learned. The lump sum was split between Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin. Officials won't confirm how much of the total $31.3 million each man received. The three men filed $100 million lawsuits over the federal government’s role in their imprisonment, claiming that their reputations were destroyed and they were left psychologically and physically shattered after the ordeal. (CTV)

Joshua Boyle says, for non-believers, 'no explanation is possible'

Joshua Boyle and his family have been in Canada for nearly two weeks since being rescued from kidnappers in Pakistan and on Tuesday, he offered an explanation why he travelled to Afghanistan in the first place. In a letter sent exclusively to CTV Ottawa, Boyle writes that people who aren’t devoutly religious will never understand why he and his wife, Caitlan Coleman, went to Afghanistan in 2012. “The simple truth is that no pious Muslim and no pious Christian and no pious Jew has actually questioned our actions at all,” Boyle wrote. (CTV)

Canada 'on track' to resettle 1,200 victims of ISIS genocide, sexual slavery

Canada is on track to resettle 1,200 survivors of ISIS atrocities by year's end, and the vast majority of those who have arrived so far are Yazidis. Critics have accused the Liberal government of hiding details about the special program. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen recently announced that 800 survivors had been brought to Canada but did not specify at the time how many of them were Yazidi. (CBC)

Woman hospitalized in cube van terrorist attack thanks city for support

A 30-year-old mother critically injured when she was run down by a cube van last month says she is stunned by the outpouring of support. "Thank you to everyone," she wrote in a message to CBC News. "My heart feels so big I can't believe it." Kimberly O'Hara was one of four pedestrians struck by a cube van as it tore through downtown Edmonton just before midnight on Sept. 30. (CBC)

Liberals earmark an extra $760 million for Canadian embassy security

Canada’s foreign embassies and diplomatic outposts are getting new funds to bolster their security and some analysts say it is badly needed. The money is earmarked in Tuesday’s economic update. The need for increased embassy security was highlighted in briefing material for the Trudeau government when it first assumed power in 2015. (Global)

Terror trial: Sabrine Djermane was curious about ISIL's presence in Syria, friend testifies

Sabrine Djermane was deeply curious about what ISIL was doing in Syria before she and her boyfriend, El Mahdi Jamali, were arrested on terror-related charges, a jury was told on Wednesday.  One of Djermane’s friends was called as a witness with the trial in its seventh week at the Montreal courthouse. Superior Court Justice Marc David placed a publication ban on the young woman’s name before she began to testify. The couple were arrested in April 2015. (Montreal Gazette)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

One in five Canadians is immigrant, highest in 95 years

Canada is growing increasingly diverse and its share of immigrants is the highest in almost a century. New census figures show over one in five Canadians report being immigrant, some with permanent residency. Over 1.2m people settled permanently in Canada between 2011 and 2016, most coming in as skilled economic immigrants. (BBC) (CBC) (Globe and Mail) (Global)

India the second-largest source nation for immigrants in Canada

In its table for the top 10 countries of birth of recent immigrants in 2016, those from India - at 147,190 - account for 12.1% of total number of 1212075. India was the second-largest largest source nation, trailing only the Philippines. China completes the list of the top three nations sending immigrants to Canada. (Hindustan Times)

Percentage of immigrants settling in B.C. still falling, census says

The percentage of new immigrants settling in British Columbia has decreased for the fourth consecutive census, with Statistics Canada saying economic factors play a significant role in where recent arrivals end up. Census data released on Wednesday by Statistics Canada found the percentage of recent immigrants settling in the Prairies has more than doubled since 2001. But the percentage in B.C. has dipped considerably over the same period. In 2001, B.C.'s share of recently settled immigrants was 20.8 per cent, second behind Ontario's 55.9 per cent. (Globe and Mail)

More immigrants choosing western provinces: Census

Calgary and other western Canadian cities are beginning to accept a greater share of the nation's newcomers, according to the latest census numbers released by Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada released its portrait of Canadian society Wednesday as part of the 2016 census. It shows 22.3 per cent of Canadians identified themselves as part of a visible minority. In 1981, when the agency first began collecting the information, only 4.7 per cent of Canadians identified themselves as part of a visible minority. (Metro) (CTV) (Huffington Post)

Alberta surpasses B.C. as immigration destination

For the first time in decades, Alberta has surpassed British Columbia as a destination for recent immigrants. That's according to the latest census data, released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, which shows how immigration patterns have shifted toward the Prairie provinces in general — and Alberta, in particular. (CBC)

Census 2016: More than half of Torontonians identify as visible minorities

The majority of people living in Toronto identify themselves as visible minorities, newly-released data from Canada's 2016 census shows. More than half of respondents — 51.5 per cent — said they belong to a visible minority. That is up from 47 per cent back in 2011. In Canada, visible minority groups represent 22.3 per cent of the population. (CBC)

P.E.I. immigration growing at fastest rate in the country

The census measured how many immigrants were on the Island and in every province in Canada, and when they arrived. It recorded that there were 555 immigrants on P.E.I. who arrived between 2001 and 2005, and 3,360 who arrived between 2011-16, a 505 per cent increase. Nationally, the increase was 30 per cent. The next highest rate was in Saskatchewan at 453 per cent. (CBC)

Newcomers, especially women, face challenges beyond language, says Dalhousie prof

A Dalhousie University professor will be speaking on P.E.I. Sunday about how newcomers, particularly women, face unique challenges when coming to Canada. Sara Torres, an assistant professor of social work at the Halifax university, said challenges newcomers face go beyond learning a new language. Finding a job, even taking their children to school can also add stress for newcomers, she said. (CBC)

Ontario provides $1M to humanitarian aid groups assisting Myanmar’s Rohingya

Ontario is giving $1 million to organizations providing humanitarian assistance to Myanmar’s Rohingya. Myanmar’s security forces’ attacks on Rohingya villages have been labelled as ethnic cleansing by the United Nations and roundly denounced by many countries, including Canada. (Global)

Morneau urged to enact stronger ethical screen to prevent conflicts of interest

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is facing calls for stricter ethical oversight of government actions affecting his financial interests as he prepares to sit down on Thursday with the federal ethics czar and discuss his belated decision to put substantial personal holdings in a blind trust. Deputy Conservative leader Lisa Raitt told The Globe and Mail that Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson should not allow a situation to continue in which the Finance Minister's chief of staff is the sole monitor of the ethical screen to prevent conflicts of interest arising from his connection to giant human-resource and pension-planning firm Morneau Shepell. (Globe and Mail)

NDP Closer To Overturning Decision That Could Cost MPs Millions

The NDP is one step closer to reversing a controversial decision by a once-secretive committee of MPs that put its former and current members on the hook for millions of dollars. Tuesday, a Federal Court judge dismissed efforts by the Board of Internal Economy — the mulitparty committee that governs the administration of the House of Commons — as well as the federal government and House Speaker, to toss out the NDP's case. (Huffington Post)

Head of spy agency CSIS admits ‘retribution, favouritism, bullying’ in workplace

The director of Canada’s spy service publicly acknowledged Wednesday that his agency suffers from a workplace climate of “retribution, favouritism, bullying and other problems,” which he said is “categorically unacceptable in a high-functioning, professional organization.” David Vigneault’s statement was accompanied by an executive summary of a “workplace climate assessment” conducted at the Toronto office of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which uncovered low morale and a possible exodus of employees who said they felt “disillusioned and disheartened.” (Toronto Star)

Brit tourists warned over ISIS attacks on Trinidad & Tobago as Caribbean island becomes new breeding ground for jihadis

FEARS are growing that the idyllic tourist destination of Trinidad and Tobago could face a new wave of terror attacks from returning ISIS jihadis. Incredibly, the beautiful Caribbean nation, home to just 1.3 million people, has the highest rate of ISIS foreign recruitment in the Western hemisphere. (Sun.co.uk)

Returning ISIS Militants May Plan Terror Attacks on Caribbean Tourists, Officials Warn

Western tourists spending their vacation on Caribbean islands may be targeted by returning Islamic State (ISIS) militants, officials warned. A vast majority of Westerners fighting with ISIS hail from Trinidad and Tobago, and the country has struggled with radical Islam in the past. As ISIS loses ground in the Middle East, threats across the world are expected to increase. (PJ Media)

Boko Haram strapped suicide bombs to them. Somehow these teenage girls survived.

The girls didn’t want to kill anyone. They walked in silence for a while, the weight of the explosives around their waists pulling down on them as they fingered the detonators and tried to think of a way out. “I don’t know how to get this thing off me,” Hadiza, 16, recalled saying as she headed out on her mission. (NY Times)

Donald Trump notes Xi Jinping's 'extraordinary' rise

US President Donald Trump has congratulated Chinese leader Xi Jinping on his "extraordinary elevation" after this week's Communist Party congress. Mr Trump also praised Mr Xi in a TV interview in the US, and said "some might call him king of China". (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Lorne Gunter: A new round of broken promises shatter Trudeau's Sunny Ways

As if Canadians needed any additional reminders that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just isn’t very good at his job, a new handful of broken promises and failed attempts at policy implementation were on display this week. Not to mention ethical lapses by Finance Minister Bill Morneau that would have brought down a minister in any other government. (Toronto Sun)

Holly Nicholas: Morneau Shepell scored $11M in government contracts since Liberals took power

Canada’s embattled Finance Minister Bill Morneau has been wrapped up in controversy ever since his Liberal government’s proposed tax changes infuriated small business owners across the country. Honest taxpayers felt an insinuation in those changes that suggested they were tax cheats, yet now it appears Morneau himself was exploiting government loopholes by shielding assets in numbered companies. (Rebel)

Toronto Sun: National politicians quiet on niqab ban

At most, only a few thousand women in Quebec wear the niqab, the veil that covers facial features except for the eyes, and some estimates say the number is even lower – only a few hundred. Yet these women are considered such a threat to social cohesion that the National Assembly has passed a law that could prevent them from participating in many basic activities unless they expose their faces. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Morneau saga proves ministers can't be lawmakers and shareholders

The problem with telling the truth but not the whole truth is that it foments suspicion and more snooping. Bill Morneau might believe he doesn’t report to journalists and that his personal finances are none of their business. But as soon as he entered public life, and particularly when he became finance minister, his financial affairs ceased to be his own. (National Post)

Andrew Coyne: Bloated, glossy $212,000 federal budget cover a fitting symbol of modern government

Like many of you I read that Blacklocks Reporter scoop on the $212,000 the Liberals paid an advertising agency to produce a cover and related materials for last spring’s federal budget with an appreciative shiver of disdain, pausing at various points to gag pleasurably on the details: the $89,500 for models hired to depict middle class Canadians; the weighty email conversations between officials at Finance and the agency over whether the boy holding a cartoon bridge (symbolizing “infrastructure”) should be wearing glasses or not; the urgent queries as to which “ethnicities” to feature (“Asian? Native? Indian? Latino?”); and so on. (National Post)

Douglas Todd: “Visible minority” now meaningless term in Metro Vancouver

New Canadian census data reveals the term “visible minority” has become virtually meaningless across Metro Vancouver. The region’s five largest municipalities now have fewer whites than people of colour, which means Caucasians are the “visible minority” in Richmond, Surrey, Burnaby, Coquitlam and the city of Vancouver. (Vancouver Sun)

George Abraham: Canadian media have a blind spot when it comes to so-called ethnic issues

Critics decried Milewski's line of questioning as unfair — even racist — asking if non-Punjabi leaders would've been subjected to the same treatment. But the questions were absolutely necessary — an attempt to bridge the gap between ethnic and mainstream media — and a way to bring an issue of great importance in the Sikh community to the attention of a wider audience. The Air India tragedy continues to be a test case for Canada, and Singh shouldn't expect to get a free pass on questions about it either as NDP leader, or as the prime minister of Canada. (CBC)

Shaden Abusaleh: The Successful Economic Integration Of Refugees

Taking two buses from Corydon Avenue, Rasha Kossad leaves her home on Saturday mornings to head to the Polo Park Hearing Centre where she works as an administrative professional. “At Polo Park, I work from Wednesday till Saturday,” she said. “And I have another job at a physiotherapy clinic, it’s Monday and Tuesday.” According to Kossad, working two jobs is interesting – it keeps her busy, it is manageable, and she likes it that way. (Manitoban)

ABDILLAHI MOHAMED SANBALOOSHE: Somalia Doesn’t Need Tears. Help Us Fight Terrorism.

On Oct. 14, a truck carrying about two tons of homemade explosives blew up near Zoobe Junction, one of the busiest streets in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. The blast sent shock waves for miles. More than 400 people were killed — nearly 150 of them burned beyond recognition — and hundreds wounded. Families wandered for hours searching for their loved ones in the rubble. (NY Times)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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