True North Initiative News Scan 11 09 2017

TOP STORIES

Candice Malcolm: Canadians leery of mass immigration

The Trudeau government introduced its 2018 immigration plan last week, and we were told the Liberals were ushering in “the most ambitious immigration levels in recent history.” The feds announced Canada would welcome one million newcomers in the next three years – and that’s just counting permanent residents who are on track to become citizens. The government will also issue hundreds of thousands of visas for guest workers, students, and other visitors to our country. (Toronto Sun)

MPs prepare to head south to dissuade asylum seekers in U.S. from heading north once protected status expires

Members of Parliament are planning trips to the U.S. in the coming weeks to try to stem a potential new flow of asylum seekers to Canada. Haitians who have been living in the U.S. under temporary protected status since the 2010 earthquake are facing potential deportation as of Nov. 22 unless the U.S. Department of Homeland Security renews their status, which it is not expected to do. "We don't know what the U.S. will do to remove those people so we are doing messaging and using social media," said Emmanuel Dubourg, Liberal member of Parliament for the Bourassa riding in Quebec. (CBC)

Apparent ISIS supporters hack Sask. police website

Police in Prince Albert, Sask., say their website has been hacked by apparent supporters of Islamic State militants. The police force’s website was completely altered Wednesday morning, to show a black screen with the message: "Hacked by Team System Dz. I Love Islamic state," with a non-English language audio track playing in the background. The hacked webpage was removed at approximately 10 a.m. CST on Wednesday. Prince Albert Police says theforce’s IT department is working to overcome the hack and get their site back up and running. (CTV) (Canoe)

With 650 Yazidis now in Canada, officials say target of 1,200 in sight

A promise to resettle 1,200 people who escaped torture and persecution at the hands of Islamic militants is within reach by the end of the year, immigration officials said Tuesday. A total of 807 people had arrived in Canada by the end of October out of the 1,383 who’ve been selected for resettlement, and the remaining files are being processed, officials told the House of Commons immigration committee. (National Post)

Federal government blocking social media users, quietly deleting posts

Canadian government departments have quietly blocked nearly 22,000 Facebook and Twitter users, with Global Affairs Canada accounting for nearly 20,000 of the blocked accounts, CBC News has learned. Moreover, nearly 1,500 posts — a combination of official messages and comments from readers — have been deleted from various government social media accounts since January 2016. However, there could be even more blocked accounts and deleted posts. In answer to questions tabled by Opposition MPs in the House of Commons, several departments said they don't keep track of how often they block users or delete posts. (CBC) (IPolitics)

Pressure builds on Trudeau government to launch Ukraine peacekeeping mission

The Trudeau government is facing increasing pressure to take a leadership role in war-torn eastern Ukraine by spearheading a UN peacekeeping mission to help stabilize the conflict between Kiev and Russian-backed belligerents. Growing support within Canada for such a deployment comes as the Liberals prepare to unveil a pledge to commit troops to United Nations peace support missions. Their plans are still confidential. (Globe and Mail)

Catherine McKenna accidentally praises Syria on Twitter, blames staff for error

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna blamed staff for a tweet issued from her ministerial account praising Syria for joining the Paris Climate Accord. The tweet, which was later deleted, read “Canada Salutes Nicaragua and Syria for joining on to the Paris Agreement!” Global #Climateaction #Cop23 (Global)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Similarities in Nigerian asylum claims based on sexual orientation have Legal Aid Ontario asking questions

Nigerian asylum seekers in Canada are making so many similar claims based on sexual orientation that Legal Aid Ontario is worried some claims may be fabricated. Jawad Kassab, who leads the refugee and immigration program at Legal Aid Ontario, said the agency has identified an "unusual" pattern in sexual orientation claims filed by Nigerian refugee seekers this year. He said the agency has written to five lawyers who represent a "high volume" of those cases and asked if they can help explain what's behind it. He would not name the lawyers. (CBC)

Roma refugees sue Toronto lawyers over failed asylum claims

Three Toronto lawyers who were found guilty of professional misconduct in handling Roma refugees’ asylum claims, are facing separate class-action lawsuits from their former clients. The proposed class-action members would comprise refugee claimants from Hungary who sought asylum in Canada from Jan. 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2013, were represented by Viktor Hohots, Joseph Farkas or Erzsebet Jaszi, and had their claims rejected due to the lawyers’ alleged negligence. (Toronto Star)

Russia bans dozens of Canadians, refuses to name names

Russia says it has blacklisted dozens of "Canadian political actors pursuing a toxic Russophobic agenda" in retaliation for Canada's decision to sanction 30 Russian officials, but is refusing to say who is on that list. A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Ottawa confirmed on Tuesday that a "large number" of Canadians had been targeted, defending Russia's right to not release a list of names. (Globe and Mail)

Liberals won't say whether CRA is investigating Bronfman

The Liberal government will not say whether the Canada Revenue Agency is investigating top Liberal fundraiser Stephen Bronfman, despite the fact that the government has vowed to take a closer look at Canadians connected to the so-called ‘Paradise Papers’. According to the papers — documents about offshore investments obtained by CBC/Radio-Canada and the Toronto Star — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s long-time friend and chief fundraiser Bronfman and his family’s Montreal-based investment company, Claridge Inc., were connected to an offshore trust in the Cayman Islands. (IPolitics)

Paradise Papers: Critics assail fact Trudeau 'satisfied' with Bronfman's answer

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday he's satisfied with the public explanation provided by a top Liberal fundraiser whose name surfaced in leaked documents that provide details on legal, offshore tax havens used by the wealthy (CTV)

Lack of ‘qualified’ candidates for watchdog jobs, says government

The Liberal government says it extended a year-long search for a new ethics watchdog last spring because it was unhappy with the result of a search that produced an insufficient “pool of qualified candidates,” according to a document filed in federal court. That search is ongoing, now into its 19th month, as Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson is in the midst of handling several sensitive cases that touch the government’s two most powerful officials: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau. (Toronto Star)

Despite outcry, committee makes few changes to Access to Information bill

A Liberal-dominated committee is sending the government's Access to Information bill back to the House of Commons with few changes, despite the deep concerns of transparency advocates and opposition MPs. Committee members rejected most of the amendments put forward Wednesday, including some from Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith. (CTV)

Speaker splits up Liberal omnibus budget bill, thanks to new Liberal rule

Speaker Geoff Regan made a bit of parliamentary history on Wednesday afternoon, ruling that the Liberal government's current budget bill was an example of omnibus legislation that should be split up for separate votes. Regan's move was the first use of a new rule for omnibus legislation — a rule the Liberals introduced this spring after complaining about their predecessor's use of budget bills (CBC)

Canadian government won't be rushed into signing TPP, Trudeau insists

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists he will not be pressed into signing an updated Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty too hastily, even if some of Canada's partners are keen to secure a quick agreement. Trudeau made the remarks Wednesday when asked whether he would walk away from the 11-country trade pact if the revised deal failed to include several new "progressive" chapters Canada has been pushing for. (Hamilton Spec)

Jim Carr explains why Ottawa won't intervene to speed up Kinder Morgan pipeline

After it dashed the hopes of Texas-based Kinder Morgan for a speedy resolution to pipeline construction delays, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says he has confidence the National Energy Board (NEB) will do the right thing. Carr made the comments after the NEB opted to stage a full hearing, with cross examination, following complaints about delayed permits from Kinder Morgan. The energy giant alleges that the city of Burnaby is using its bylaws to cause delays in the company's efforts to proceed with construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Burnaby says (National Observer)

Liberals to vote on amendments to tighten arms exports bill, restrict potential Saudi deals

The New Democrats will propose major changes Thursday to the government’s Arms Trade Treaty legislation, after critics warned of loopholes that would facilitate exports to human rights violators. The Liberal bill, currently being studied at the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, has been scorned by civil society organizations that say it doesn’t go far enough to put Canada into line with the United Nations treaty. Liberals introduced the bill in April after promising during the 2015 election campaign to join about 130 other UN signatories. (National Post)

Canadian geophysicists hunt for fresh water in Rohingya camp as reservoirs dwindle

In one of the world’s largest refugee camps, a team of Canadian geophysicists is scanning the ground in hopes of finding a reliable source of clean drinking water for hundreds of thousands of displaced Rohingya refugees before the dwindling reservoir runs dry. More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled into Bangladesh since an outbreak of violence that human rights officials have condemned as ethnic cleansing. (CTV)

Saudi purge demonstrates ruthlessness of crown prince

Big things are happening in Saudi Arabia. Princes, ministers and top businessmen are being arrested, detained in a luxury hotel, accused of corruption, their planes grounded and their assets seized. The driving force behind this is 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who also heads the newly formed anti-corruption committee. (BBC)

Brexit is 'getting dramatic', says EU

These days I'd call them a dance around a standstill. UK negotiators have long been frustrated with the format of the (so far) monthly rounds of talks. They feel that sitting in Brussels for days at a stretch doesn't allow them the opportunity to consult London when an impasse is reached in order to - maybe - come up with a plan B and - hopefully - move forward. (BBC)

Venezuela teeters on brink of default

Longstanding fears of a Venezuela debt default crystallized Wednesday, as the political crisis engulfing the sinking OPEC state deepened with a meeting set at the UN Security Council and the EU eyeing an arms embargo. Investors were bracing for what looked to be an inevitable "credit event" that analysts said could arrive within days -- before a "refinancing and restructuring" of the debt called for by President Nicolas Maduro. (Yahoo)

ISIS Group Issues Threat Before Paris Attack Anniversary, Vows to Kill Kids

A pro-ISIS group that threatened "more bitter and greater" Manhattan attacks after last week's deadly ramming on the West Side bike path urged more attacks on the West today with a propaganda poster showing the Eiffel Tower extending upward as a rifle. Monday is the two-year anniversary of coordinated attacks on Paris in which nine terrorists killed 130 people. (PJ Media)

  

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Toronto Sun: Khadr pay-out set troublesome precedent

An Algerian man formerly incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay is suing the Canadian government for alleged torture at the hands of U.S. security forces. Djamel Ameziane is seeking damages of $50 million on the grounds Canadian officials co-operated with American counterparts while knowing he was being abused. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Trudeau Liberals have lost control of their narrative

Poor Kate Purchase, director of communications in the Prime Minister’s Office of Justin Trudeau. Grey hairs must be popping out of her head like weeds in an untended garden as her team flails away trying to repair the irreparable damage of unforced errors and illusions. This, after all, is not the best of days for the Trudeau Liberals, in both reality and optics. (Toronto Sun)

Colin Kenny: Canada's RCMP needs new management. It won't be an easy job

The federal government is seeking a new commissioner for the RCMP. Canada’s national police force needs new management and, last June, former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna was tasked with developing a short list for the prime minister. Prospective candidates be warned: this will not be an easy job. Before accepting the position, any candidate should appreciate the issues they will have to address (National Post)

Andrew Coyne: If the ethics commissioner had done her job, Morneau wouldn’t be in this mess

For weeks, through the daily pounding in question period, Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau have clung grimly to the same lifeline: The finance minister was just following the advice of the ethics commissioner. No matter what the question — Why did the minister fail to divest his shares in Morneau Shepell? Why did he allow everyone to believe he had for two years? Did he recuse himself from discussions on Bill C-27, pension legislation that would potentially benefit Morneau Shepell? Why did he not report publicly on the two occasions when he says he did recuse himself, as the law requires? — the answer is always the same. (National Post)

Andy Semotiuk: How To Solve The Problem Of Illegal Immigration Under Trump

While a good majority, around 60 percent of Americans, are willing to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the United States, subject to some sort of provision to deal with their unlawful status, there are some Americans, those who support President Trump in particular, who are tired of illegal immigrants in this country and want them removed, pure and simple.  Which way is the right way to handle the problem? When considering this question it is important to distinguish between criminals and those immigrants who entered this country unlawfully, or who have overstayed their period of authorized stay. To be more specific, of the 11 million unlawful immigrants in the United States, about one million have committed some sort of criminal offense. Of those, 300,000 have committed felonies. There is virtually no sympathy for immigrant felons, and even criminal aliens with lessor offenses are not viewed with great sympathy. Assuming we exclude those immigrants from this discussion, that leaves 10 million unlawful immigrants that are the focus of this article.  Should these immigrants be deported or is there some other way to deal with the problem? (Forbes)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet today to get a Briefing on the Resettlement Issues related to Yezidi Women and Girls

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet today for Supplementary Estimates (B) 2017-18

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet today to study Bill C47: An Act to amend the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other amendments)