True North Initiative News Scan 10 30 2017

TOP STORIES

68% of Canadians want Quebec’s face-coverings ban in their province

The majority of Canadians outside of Quebec would support having a similar ban on face-coverings in their province, a new survey has found. The survey, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for Global News, found that 68 per cent of Canadian adults would either strongly or somewhat back the religious neutrality law in their part of the country. (Global)

Majority of Canadians think Liberal tax plans are about new revenues, not tax fairness: Ipsos poll

Nearly six in 10 Canadians believe the Liberal government’s tax reform proposals are aimed at boosting the federal government coffers’s rather than making the tax system more fair, according to an Ipsos poll provided to Global News. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents — including 38 per cent of Liberal voters — said they thought the tax plans were designed to help the Liberals cover the cost of previous spending. Only four in 10 believe the government’s line that the changes will bring Canada a step closer towards a more equitable tax system. (Global)

Man accused of beating daughter who refused to wear hijab

Gatineau police have charged a man for allegedly beating his teenage daughter over the course of more than a year because she refused to wear a hijab.  The 35-year-old father is facing one count each of assault, assault with a weapon and uttering death threats, police said in a news release Thursday. (CBC)

Minister says 300,000 new immigrants a year is Canada's 'new normal'

Canada's immigration minister says Canada will welcome at least as many immigrants next year as it is in 2017. The government's plan for annual immigration levels, which was set at 300,000 for this year, is expected to be tabled in the House of Commons next week. Immigration minister Ahmed Hussen told The House that the government will not go below that level next year. (CBC)

Winterized trailers soon to provide shelter to asylum-seekers at Quebec border

Winterized trailers will soon be replacing the tents providing temporary shelter to asylum-seekers who have crossed the Quebec-U.S. border, even as the number of irregular border crossings continues to drop. A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says a contract has been awarded to a private company to provide heated accommodation for up to 200 people near the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle border station. Scott Bardsley says half of the trailers should be operational by mid-November, with the second group coming into service a month later. (CTV)

Ethics watchdog says other Trudeau ministers using same loophole as Morneau

A number of other Trudeau cabinet ministers are in the same situation as Finance Minister Bill Morneau and have managed to retain control of assets they would be required to divest if this wealth wasn't being held indirectly through a holding company or similar mechanism. Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson's office declines to identify the ministers, citing confidentiality rules, but confirms that a handful hold these assets indirectly and therefore aren't required to sell them or place them beyond reach. (Globe and Mail)

Bill Morneau: ‘No regrets’ about choice to pursue political career after another tense week

Bill Morneau says he has “no regrets” about entering politics in late 2015 and becoming Canada’s finance minister, in spite of another long week of turmoil surrounding his personal finances and alleged conflicts of interest. During an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos, Morneau stopped short of addressing possible regrets surrounding the decisions he made linked to his stock portfolio, registered companies and other personal financial matters. (Global)

Liberals can’t move cash fast enough out of federal treasury for infrastructure projects

The federal Liberals plan to shift just over $2 billion in planned infrastructure spending to future years, reflecting slower-than-anticipated spending on the file, The Canadian Press has learned. The money won’t come from planned spending in one specific year. Nor will it come from one specific program, but across multiple funds set up by the Liberals and the previous Conservative government, as well as large-scale projects overseen by Infrastructure Canada, such as the Champlain Bridge replacement in Montreal. (Global)

Canada suspending special forces operations in Iraq

Canadian Special Operation Forces soldiers are halting their “advise-and-assist” co-operation with Iraqi and Kurdish troops under Operation Impact, the U.S.-led multinational coalition that has recently made significant inroads against ISIS strongholds in the region. (CTV)

At Least 60 Islamic State Fighters Have Returned to Canada

Around 180 individuals, referred to as “extremist travellers” by the Canadian government, who have connections to Canada have travelled to various countries to fight for Islamic State and other radical Islamic terrorist groups. The Canadian government officials call the returning jihadists “extremist travellers” and are now worried that many of them may be a serious security risk to the safety of Canadians, broadcaster Global News reports. (Breitbart)

American who joined then fled Islamic State now heading to jail

The 27-year-old is the only American citizen to be convicted in a US jury trial of successfully joining Islamic State overseas, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Friday. Khweis, from Alexandria, Virginia, was convicted on terrorism charges earlier this year. He travelled to Islamic State-controlled territory in Iraq and Syria in December 2015, even obtaining an official membership card. But he found life there distasteful and escaped after a few months. He surrendered in northern Iraq to Kurdish forces, who broadcast his capture around the world. (SCMP)

'Jihadi Jack' charged with being IS member, Kurdish officials say

A 21-year-old man from Oxford has been charged with being a member of so-called Islamic State, officials from the Kurdish region of Syria have said. Jack Letts, dubbed "Jihadi Jack", travelled to Syria in 2014 and was later captured by the Kurdish-led YPG - the group fighting against IS - when he left IS territory. (BBC)

How a Muslim undercover FBI agent foiled Via Rail terror plot in Canada

An undercover FBI agent, who played the key role in exposing a plot to derail a Via Rail train outside of Toronto, says he has no qualms about his assignment, despite doctors saying one of the men involved in that investigation was psychotic and suffering from schizophrenia. Tamer Elnoury — the pseudonym for an Egyptian-American FBI agent — befriended a Tunisian science student in Montreal named Chiheb Esseghaier when the agency began to suspect that he had connections to al-Qaeda. The RCMP and CSIS would join the FBI in the investigation. (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Hateful poster campaign targets outspoken Prof. Jordan Peterson

In what is labelled a “Community Safety Bulletin,” controversial University of Toronto Prof. Jordan Peterson — now a household name for his free speech advocacy and his refusal to use genderless pronouns — is painted as someone to fear who has “open associations with neo-nazis and the alt-right” and has even been referred to as a “Nazi philosopher.” (Toronto Sun)

B.C. brewery harassed online after hanging flag linked to violent anti-fascist faction

A Kelowna craft brewery has had to shut down its Facebook page, after receiving hundreds of harassing and violent messages from both Canada and the U.S. following the brewery's online post of a flag linked to a violent anti-fascist faction. Boundary Brewing Company hung the flag in its tasting room weeks ago, following the violent marches in Charlottesville, Va. (CBC)

Strengthen immigrant integration strategy or risk public backlash, experts warn

As the Liberal government gets set to bring at least 300,000 immigrants to Canada next year, experts say a more robust integration strategy is needed to ensure their economic success and prevent a public backlash. This week Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen will unveil immigration levels for 2018, including targets for the number of economic migrants, family reunifications and refugees who will be permitted into the country. (CBC)

Immigration will continue to drive housing market, says CMHC

Investment in new housing in the Charlottetown area will remain strong over the next two years, according to the fall forecast from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The market will be held back not so much by demand, but by a shortage of skilled labour to build new housing, the agency says. That labour constraint will have the biggest impact on single-family home starts, says CMHC, as demand for apartment housing grows and building accelerates in that sector. Those factors will combine to drive up the average house price about 25 per cent over the three years of the forecast, from $226,868 in 2016 to about $285,000 in 2019. (CBC)

New UCP leader aiming for immediate byelection in Calgary

Calgary MLA Dave Rodney will quit Wednesday, opening the door for Jason Kenney to pursue a seat and go face to face with Premier Rachel Notley on the floor of the legislature. It’s an important move for Kenney, elected leader of the United Conservative Party Saturday. (Edmonton Journal)

It’s ‘too inflammatory,’ federal Liberals tread carefully on Quebec’s niqab law, eyes on 2019 election

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government was 'looking very carefully at what tools we have and what steps we have to make sure that we make this situation better for everyone.' At that point, he did not rule out participating in a legal challenge against Bill 62. (Hill Times)

'Napping on NAFTA': Harper blasts Trudeau government handling of negotiations

Stephen Harper has expressed alarm over his successor's handling of NAFTA negotiations with the United States, with the former prime minister declaring the negotiations in real peril in a memo titled, "Napping on NAFTA." The memo was obtained by The Canadian Press and it criticizes the Trudeau government in several areas: For too quickly rejecting U.S. proposals, for insisting on negotiating alongside Mexico, and for promoting progressive priorities like labour, gender, aboriginal and environmental issues. (CTV)

Trudeau dismisses concerns free trade with China will hurt Canada-U.S. relationship

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said strengthening trade ties with China does not put the Canada-U.S. relationship at risk, shrugging off concerns raised Thursday by a member of his NAFTA advisory council. Speaking in Quebec Friday, Trudeau said diversifying Canada's trading partnerships could actually help trade negotiators who are in the middle of difficult NAFTA talks. (CBC)

Trudeau government warned to be careful before approving Chinese takeover bid for Aecon construction

The Trudeau Liberals are facing warnings to proceed cautiously and in as transparent a manner as possible as they weigh a Chinese state-owned company’s bid to take over Aecon construction of Calgary. The warnings come in the face of strong affirmations by the Liberal government that Canada’s pursuit of deeper trade relations with China is full steam ahead despite suggestions that such enthusiasm could risk angering the Trump administration during the North American Free Trade renegotiations. (Global)

Liberals opt to keep combat hospital in Iraq until next year

The Liberal government has authorized the Canadian military to keep a combat hospital in northern Iraq until next spring, CBC News has learned. Originally deployed in the fall of 2016, the facility's mandate was up this month. It was anticipated the facility would pack up and come home following the battle for Mosul, which finished last summer. (CBC)

Canada accused of failing Iraq with 'laser-focus' on ISIS

A senior representative for Iraq's Kurdish government says Canada and its allies failed Iraq by ignoring the country's many political, religious and economic divisions while fighting the so-called Islamic State. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurds' top diplomat in Washington, says it was those long-standing issues that led to ISIS's rise more than three years ago -- and continue to tear the country apart. (CTV)

Time for Canada to speak out on Iraqi-Kurdish conflict, says U.S. envoy

With a tentative ceasefire established early Friday and both sides ready to sit down and talk, the envoy from Kurdistan’s regional government to the United States says now is the time for Canada to speak out and get involved. (Global)

Their caliphate in ruins, ISIS militants melt into the desert

Islamic State militants, routed from one urban stronghold after another in Syria, have recently been moving deeper into Syria’s remote desert, where experts say they are regrouping and preparing their next incarnation. The Sunni militants’ self-proclaimed “caliphate” with its contiguous stretch of land — linking major cities such as Syria’s Raqqa and Iraq’s Mosul — may have been vanquished, but many agree this territorial defeat will not mark the end of ISIS. (CTV)

Philippines’ Duterte looks forward to ‘righteous’ meeting with Donald Trump

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he would deal with U.S. President Donald Trump “in the most righteous way” when they meet next month to discuss regional security and Manila’s war on drugs. Trump will travel to Asia on Nov. 3-14 amid rising tensions over North Korea‘s nuclear and missile programmes. (Global)

Saudi Arabia to allow women into sports stadiums

Saudi Arabia will allow women to attend sports events in stadiums for the first time from next year, officials say. Families will be able to enter the stadiums in three major cities - Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. It is another move towards giving more freedom to Saudi women, who face strict gender segregation rules, and follows the historic lifting of a driving ban. (BBC)

Rouhani says Iran will keep producing missiles, state TV reports

Iran will continue to produce missiles for its defense and does not consider that a violation of international accords, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday in a speech broadcast on state television. (Reuters)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Trudeaunomics means no regard for the future

When we give politicians an inch, they take a mile. In the case of the Trudeau Liberals, we gave them permission to indulge in deficit spending – itsy-bitsy “modest deficits” we were assured – and they’ve instead plunged the country into an out-of-control debt spiral. Trudeau’s spending spree is projected to leave us with $1.5 trillion in federal debt by 2045. That’s the thing about a debt spiral. It starts off by just skipping one payment on your credit card – you can make up for it next month. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Progressive reaction to Bill 62 lets down vulnerable Muslim women

Police in Quebec are hoping more Muslims girls are going to have the courage to come forward when they’re being assaulted at home. Good luck with that. (Toronto Sun)

Tamer Elnoury: I'm an undercover agent for the FBI who infiltrated a terror cell in North America — this is the first time I met the terrorist I would eventually take down

My transformation started before I left my house. Like a batter getting ready to hit, I had a routine that always ended with me sitting on the beach watching the waves. It started with a shower. I washed my true identity away and got dressed in Tamer's clothes. I put on his watch, slid his wallet into my pocket, and charged up his phone. From my house, I drove out to the Jersey Shore. There was something about being near the sea. The natural rhythms of the waves helped me focus. I watched set after set of waves crash against the sand, each one clearing my head so I could fill it with Tamer. (Business Insider)

Douglas Todd: Surging temporary foreign resident numbers tighten Vancouver's rental squeeze

Metro Vancouver’s tight rental market is undergoing extra pressure from a tide of temporary residents, particularly international students and foreign workers. Statistics Canada data reveals the number of temporary residents in Canada, known as “non-permanent residents,” has doubled in more than a decade, coming close to one million — with roughly 140,000 residing in Metro Vancouver. (Vancouver Sun)

Rex Murphy: ‘White privilege’ on the march

I’ve seen the captious phrase “white privilege” — a camp neologism by my reading — very often lately. It emerges from the intellectual marshes of social justice “educators,” a typical pseudo-concept from that roiling pastiche of academic pursuit. At base this nonsense asserts that white people come equipped — habited as it were — with all sorts of advantage, opportunities, easy dealing, and in general a faster better reach for the good things of life than human beings less pale. The phrase has not surprisingly spawned a slogan — after all, what academic discipline doesn’t aspire to the abrupt short-thought of a bumper sticker? — Check Your Privilege. Which translates into a hectoring from social justice warriors, as they so deliriously style themselves, for white people to stand back and tabulate with tearful guilt the infinite advantages that result from their epidermal good luck. (National post)

Martin Cohn: The more equivocal the answers, the more persistent the questions for Jagmeet Singh

For Canadian politicians visiting India, it is a rite of passage: Circumambulating the Golden Temple to honour the holiest site in Sikhdom. Prime ministers, cabinet ministers, premiers — and anyone aspiring to those jobs — knows the importance to voters back in Canada of being photographed on the temple grounds in Amritsar, wearing a head-covering out of respect for the faithful. But it won’t be happening anytime soon for Jagmeet Singh — neither praying, nor paying his respects. That’s because the new NDP leader, who could one day be Canada’s first turbaned prime minister, was refused a visa when trying to visit India in 2013. (Toronto Star)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet tomorrow to study M-39, Immigration to Atlantic Canada

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet tomorrow to study Indigenous People in the Correctional System

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet today for Order in Council Appointments

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development receive a briefing tomorrow with the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Latvian Parliament and study Bill C-47