True North Initiative News Scan 10 31 2017

TOP STORIES

Many people who voted for the Trudeau Liberals have buyer's remorse: poll

It seems a large number of voters who cast their ballot for the Trudeau Liberals in the 2015 federal election are regretting their choice. More than a thousand people took part in an online poll exclusive to Maclean’s last week. Mario Canseco with Insights West says 24 per cent of people who say they voted Liberal in the last election now regret it. “You have essentially one out of four voters for the Liberal party having buyer’s remorse. Most of them are in Quebec.” (News 1130)

Prosecutor says Canadian who pleaded guilty to terrorism motivated by ‘prejudice and hate’

An Ontario man acknowledged Monday he travelled to Syria with the intention of joining the local Al Qaeda faction and that after he returned, he posted on social media about terrorist attacks in the West. An agreed statement of facts read in court at the sentencing of Kevin Omar Mohamed, 25, said he flew to Turkey in 2014 and crossed the border into Syria to join Jabhat Al-Nusrah (JAN). (Global)

Quebec immigration targets could give insight to coming federal announcement

A possible clue to how the federal Liberal government will arrive at its annual immigration targets for 2018, to be unveiled Wednesday, can be found in a similar provincial plan unveiled just last week. Quebec — which sets its own immigration targets in connection with the federal government — is aiming to bring in some 51,000 people, a target that is unchanged from 2017. That has observers saying they expect the federal numbers for next year to remain largely in line with the 2017 goal of 300,000 newcomers, though a slight bump is likely. (Globe and Mail)

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. (CBC)

Williston man extradited from Canada; bond set at $1M in January rape case

A man who was detained in Canada by immigration authorities shortly after Williston police began investigating a rape accusation against him is being held at the Williams County Correctional Center on $1 million bond.  Christian Desir, 23, appeared in Northwest District Court on Monday. He is charged with class A felony gross sexual imposition for allegedly having sex with a 19-year-old woman who was passed out from drinking alcohol in his apartment in January. (Williston Herald)

Canadian peacekeeping proposals out of line with UN priorities: sources

Canada has been discussing peacekeeping contribution ideas with the United Nations for months, but sources tell CBC News many of the proposals Ottawa has presented aren't considered by the UN to be operational priorities — or even necessary. The latest talks are being held just weeks before Canada hosts an international peacekeeping summit and more than a year after Ottawa first pledged up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces personnel and 150 police officers toward global peace operations. (CBC)

State-sponsored cyberattacks on Canada successful about once a week

The Canadian government's computer networks have been hit by state-sponsored cyberattacks about 50 times a week — and at least one of them usually succeeded. That acknowledgment from the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the secretive agency charged with preventing such attacks, is a rare glimpse into the scale and frequency of attempts by foreign powers to penetrate federal government systems. (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Freeland steps up diplomatic pressure on Venezuela, warns of refugee crisis

Canada is concerned that the political and economic turmoil in Venezuela will spark a refugee crisis for the South American country and its neighbours, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday. Freeland said that she and Peru's foreign minister would take that message to the United Nations in New York City on Monday, following her appearance at a business conference in Toronto. Canada and Peru co-chaired a meeting of ministers from the Lima Group of countries last week in Toronto. Freeland and Peru's foreign minister Ricardo Luna were delegated to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (CTV)

Religious groups urge MPs to keep Criminal Code prohibition on disrupting a worship service

Some of Canada’s major religious organizations are trying to convince MPs to back off removing a section of the Criminal Code that makes it a specific crime to disrupt a religious gathering, arguing it will erode the freedom to worship. The proposal is in Bill C-51, a wide-ranging piece of legislation that aims in part to scrap “zombie” laws — sections of the Criminal Code that are outdated or redundant. Most of the changes are uncontroversial, such as removing laws against challenging someone to a duel or fraudulently practicing witchcraft. (National Post)

Canadian soldiers to proceed with Niger training despite deadly ambush of U.S. commandos

A group of Canadian soldiers will carry on with its training of Nigerien forces despite a deadly ambush by an ISIS offshoot earlier this month that killed four U.S. Special Forces commandoes in the West African nation of Niger, the Canadian military said. A small contingent of Canadian soldiers from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group based in Valcartier, Quebec, is expected to proceed with training for the Nigerien military as part of a little-known capacity building mission codenamed Operation NABERIUS, said Capt. Vincent Bouchard, a spokesman for Canadian Joint Operations Command Headquarters. (Radio Canada)

Trudeau announces ‘police initiative’ in Colombia for training, advice

Colombia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning president thanked Canadians Monday for their support of his country’s peace process – support that was bolstered by what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “bilateral police initiative,” and the prospect of peacekeepers. “This (police) effort will support post-conflict policing efforts in Colombia and will see Canadian police providing training, capacity building and strategic advice to our Colombian friends,” Trudeau announced after meeting with Juan Manuel Santos in his Parliament Hill office. (Global)

Conflict screen used by Morneau in place for at least 3 other ministers

At least three other members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet have personal financial arrangements similar to the setup that has landed Finance Minister Bill Morneau in hot water, despite the blessing of the federal ethics commissioner. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi are using so-called conflict-of-interest screens, a step short of the blind-trust gold standard for politicians seeking to avoid the sort of controversy Morneau now finds himself in. (CBC)

Independent Senators Group now biggest contingent in the Senate

A collective of independent senators now holds a plurality of the seats in the Senate, surpassing the Conservative senators for the first time since the group's formation. With three senators recently switching their affiliation to become part of the Independent Senators Group, it now has 39 members, outpacing the Conservative Senate caucus, which currently has 36 members. (CTV)

Tony Podesta stepping down from lobbying giant amid Mueller probe

Democratic power lobbyist Tony Podesta, founder of the Podesta Group, is stepping down from the firm that bears his name after coming under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Podesta announced his decision during a firm-wide meeting Monday morning and is alerting clients of his impending departure. (Politico)

Donald Trump’s Obamacare cuts could lead to free health insurance for certain Americans

In an odd twist, low-income people in about half of U.S. counties will now be able to get a taxpayer-subsidized “Obamacare” policy for free, according to a new study that suggests some actions by President Donald Trump against the health law could backfire. Monday’s analysis of government data by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation runs counter to the perception of staggering across-the-board increases in costs for consumers under the Affordable Care Act. It could become a springboard for marketing pitches by insurers as they try to sign up more consumers when open enrolment starts Nov. 1. (Global)

Manus Island: Refugees refuse to leave Australian camp amid safety fears

Refugees held by Australia in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have barricaded themselves inside a detention centre and launched legal action to fight its closure. Detainees, fearing for their safety after crowds reportedly gathered chanting "don't come out", argue that closure will breach their human rights. (BBC)

Three former Trump campaign officials charged by special counsel

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Monday revealed charges against three former Trump campaign officials — including onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort — marking the first criminal allegations to come from probes into possible Russian influence in U.S. political affairs. The charges are striking for their breadth, touching all levels of the Trump campaign and exploring possible personal financial wrongdoing by those involved, as well as what appeared to be a concerted effort by one campaign official to arrange a meeting with Russian officials. (Washington Post)

North Korea nuclear base COLLAPSES killing at least 200 people, local reports claim, amid fears of massive radioactive leak

The disaster has prompted fears of a massive radioactive leak which could spark a Chernobyl- or Fukushima-style disaster. A North Korean official said the collapse happened during the construction of an underground tunnel, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports. Some 100 people are said to have been trapped by the initial tunnel collapse, with a further 100 lost in a second collapse during a rescue operation, Asahi reported Tuesday. (Sun.co.uk)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Lorrie Goldstein: How dare Stephen Harper attack Liberals!

The Trudeau Liberals are shocked, SHOCKED! that former prime minister Stephen Harper has dared to write a memo to his business clients accusing the Grits of “napping on NAFTA.” To hear them tell it, Harper has betrayed Canada by writing, “I fear that the NAFTA re-negotiation is going very badly.” According to Harper’s briefing note obtained by The Canadian Press, the former prime minister said Canada has been too quick to reject proposals by the Trump administration, foolish to insist on negotiating simultaneously with Mexico and naive in virtue signalling on labour, gender, aboriginal and environmental issues. (Winnipeg Sun)

Chantal Hebert: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will have to figure out how to deal with friendly fire

Few Parliament Hill insiders were surprised by Jason Kenney’s decisive Alberta leadership victory. The former federal Conservative immigration minister has long been considered in an organizational class of his own. He was the chief-architect of the federal party’s outreach in Canada’s diverse cultural communities. Kenney may have been less popular than his main rival Brian Jean overall but as former MP Patrick Brown’s own victory in the last Ontario Tory campaign demonstrated, the capacity to bring one’s supporters inside a party tent matters more to the outcome of a leadership vote than one’s standing in the outside world. That can of course be less true in a general election. (Toronto Star)

Margaret Wente: Who’s afraid of Jason Kenney?

Folks laughed when Jason Kenney launched his unite-the right campaign in Alberta 15 months ago. He hopped out of a shiny pickup truck – painted Tory blue – and told reporters that he was going to visit every constituency in the province. "I figured my Dodge Ram would do a better job than a Prius," he joked. A hundred thousand kilometres and 850 events later, no one is laughing anymore. He has achieved the near impossible: engineered a brand-new party from scratch, steamrollered his opponents and won the leadership by a decisive margin. Next stop: premier. Justin Trudeau isn't going to like it. (Globe and Mail)

Kelly McParland: Kenney's win will shift Western politics, while East shifts ambitions too

Perhaps it’s just coincidence, or an oddity of history, that threats to Canadian unity seem to arise disproportionately during Liberal governments. The seeds of the Quiet Revolution took root and flowered during decades of Liberal dominance in Ottawa. Both independence referendums were held when Liberals held power. Jean Chretien nearly fumbled away the second Quebec independence vote. Pierre Trudeau won praise for championing Canada’s cause during the first, but was meanwhile driving a deep wedge between the East and an increasingly resentful West. (National Post)

Colby Cosh: A win for democracy: letting poor, possibly frivolous candidates run for office

If you’re outside Edmonton you probably have not heard of new Ward 3 city councillor Jon Dziadyk. Not unless you’re a political professional with an eye for curiosities, anyway. Dziadyk defeated an incumbent Edmonton councillor, Dave Loken, in his local race. As the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples explained in an efficient little post-election profile of Dziadyk, this basically never happens. It’s the only time in the past 20 years that an incumbent has been beaten head-to-head in a council race here. And “Jon D for Ward 3” did this on a total budget of $5,500, including just $1,200 in donations. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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

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

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet tomorrow to study Canada’s involvement in NATO

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