True North Initiative News Scan 11 16 2017

TOP STORIES

Sen. Frum stands tall against Iran's apologists

The Islamic Republic of Iran is, without a doubt, a malign regime. If you think that’s a controversial statement, consider the following facts. Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world, directly funding jihadist organizations, including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban. Iran has had its hand in deadly terrorist attacks against civilians, including the bombing of a Jewish community centre in Argentina in 1994, that killed 86 people. (Toronto Sun)

War on the playground: when children act out divisions from battles left behind

The bullies were fellow Syrian refugee children, just like them, the boy answers. Children. Playing out old grudges. Acting out of wounds suffered by their parents from a war left far behind. Thousands of miles separate them from Syria, but psychologically, some tragedies followed them here. Both the victimized and the aggressors are still separated by invisible battle lines. Because of their young ages and the impact the story may have on them, National Observer is not identifying them here. But this is their story. (National Observer)

Asylum seekers ‘systematically’ turned away by U.S. border patrol – lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit blames President Donald Trump for draconian policies that have led to immigration officers turning away asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border. However, the UN also found similar practices during the Obama administration. Al Otro Lado, a Los Angeles-based immigrant rights group, filed a motion for class certification in their lawsuit against the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) on Monday, arguing that that the six plaintiffs in the case should be allowed to represent all asylum seekers subjected to the process. (RT)

8,238 people died due to terrorism between 2000 and 2016, says study

This is the sixth highest among the top 10 countries ranked as the most affected by terrorism in 2016, where India ranks eighth. Its position has improved slightly in the last two years: it was ranked between second and sixth during 2002-2015. Also, India has the lowest rate of deaths per attack (average of 0.4 deaths per attack) compared to an average of 2.7 deaths for nine other countries. Last year, 929 terror incidents were recorded in India, killing 340 and injuring 636; Maoists were responsible for over half the deaths. (Global Terrorism Index)

Man convicted in Toronto 18 terror plot denied parole

A member of the so-called Toronto 18 terrorist group has been denied parole after a panel found he needed to undergo more counselling for deradicalization. In a decision released Wednesday, the two-member Parole Board of Canada panel says Saad Khalid has "outstanding needs" that need to be addressed before he can be granted day or full parole. It noted, however, that deradicalization counselling sessions were not readily available for Khalid. (CP24)

Terror suspect Mohamed Harkat seeks relaxation of strict monitoring

Federal authorities are balking at terror suspect Mohamed Harkat’s desire for more leeway to use the internet and travel freely within Canada, saying he continues to pose a threat almost 15 years after being arrested. Harkat is asking the Federal Court of Canada to approve his application for less strict monitoring of his everyday activities by the Canada Border Services Agency as he awaits the outcome of his protracted legal saga. Harkat, 49, was taken into custody in Ottawa in December 2002 on suspicion of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent. (Global)

Canada offers helicopters, planes, trainers to UN, but no decision on where

Canada inched closer to a much-anticipated return to peacekeeping on Wednesday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered the UN badly needed soldiers, equipment and a fresh feminist perspective on peace missions. But while UN officials were effusive in their praise for Canada's commitments and leadership, two key questions remained: When and where will Canadian peacekeepers be deployed? (CTV) (CBC)

Canada's peacekeeping offer 'condescending': retired general

Canada's newly unveiled three-pronged peacekeeping contribution is 'condescending' and dances around the tough issues, says Retired Maj.-Gen Lewis MacKenzie. On Wednesday at the UN peacekeeping summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada is prepared to offer training, high-end military resources, and a pilot program aimed at helping countries train and deploy more female peacekeepers. However, the government was not able to offer locations for where Canadian peacekeeping efforts will be deployed, as that’s still being negotiated with the UN. (CTV)

Ottawa unlikely to send Quebec's face-covering law to top court

Ottawa is unlikely to pre-emptively refer Quebec's controversial face-covering law to the Supreme Court, where little evidence could be presented on Bill 62's actual impact on individual Muslim women, federal officials said. Senior government sources said all options are still on the table, but that Ottawa is likelier to intervene in a coming court challenge than refer the matter to the Supreme Court for an immediate ruling on the law's constitutionality. (Globe and Mail)

Canadians Give Trudeau Little Credit for Boom Amid Deficit Fears

Canada’s economy may be one of the strongest in the developed world this year, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government isn’t getting much credit. A Nanos Research poll conducted for Bloomberg News found just 25 percent of Canadians describe Trudeau’s performance as an economic manager as good or better -- fewer than other surveys suggest would currently vote for the Liberal Party leader. Some 36 percent rate his performance as poor or very poor, and another 36 percent mark it as average. (Bloomberg)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Liberals say they'll back prescription heroin, drug checking services to fight opioid crisis

The federal government will support new treatment options for drug addicts, including giving them prescription opioids or pharmaceutical grade heroin, backing quality testing of street drugs and helping provinces set up overdose prevention sites in emergencies. The federal health minister made the announcement in Calgary, where she was attending the Issues of Substance Conference being held by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. (CBC)

Andrew Scheer says he expects Trudeau to waffle on Trans Mountain pipeline

The leader of the federal Conservative party says he has “zero” confidence the Liberal government will back the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the finish line. Speaking to the Surrey Board of Trade on Wednesday, Andrew Scheer said he doubts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s commitment to the $6.8 billion project. (Global)

Their immigration applications were approved but Canadian visa officers won’t let them into the country

Marketa Wali Baraky met her future husband Adolf Gabco in a Toronto restaurant and the two started dating in 2009 when he was seeking asylum in Canada. Gabco, a Roma refugee, was deported back to his native Czech Republic in 2012 after his claim was rejected. The couple got married shortly after and Baraky applied to sponsor Gabco to Canada at the end of that year. (Toronto Star)

Immigrant picture book project gets federal funding

When asked about the importance of storytelling, arts educator April Mandrona punctuates her answer with questions of her own. “Why do we tell stories? How does art and text help us to communicate aspects of our shared culture, shared humanity . . . and how can that help when considering issues of difference?” Mandrona said in an interview Wednesday in her small office packed with books, miniature ceramic sculptures and prints at the NSCAD University in Halifax. (Chronicle Herald)

Labour leaders frustrated with McKenna for neglecting coal workers

To say that Canadian labour leader Hassan Yussuff was frustrated Wednesday would be putting it politely. “There are other adjectives I will not use," the Canadian Labour Congress president told National Observer. He was reacting to word from labour colleagues at the international climate change conference in Bonn that the federal government has no "just transition" policies in place, as promised, for coal industry workers who will lose their jobs in the move to a cleaner environment. Notices of layoffs in the industry have already started this week in Alberta. (National Observer)

Canada Will Not Send Peacekeepers to Mali in Near Future

Canada will not be sending hundreds of peacekeepers to support a United Nations mission in Mali in the near future, officials said on Wednesday, Nov. 15, a move likely to disappoint allies who want Canadians to play a role in the West African country. Last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to contribute up to 600 troops to peacekeeping operations and Canadian defense experts paid three trips to Mali, where soldiers under the U.N. are fighting Islamic terrorist. (Epoch Times)

Ivanka Trump says she believes Roy Moore's accusers

Ivanka Trump believes “there’s a special place in hell” for people who do the things that GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore is accused of. While the President ignored shouted questions from reporters about Moore on Wednesday, the First Daughter weighed in on the scandal surrounding the firebrand former Alabama judge, telling The Associated Press that she has seen no evidence discrediting his accusers. (NY Daily News)

Zimbabwe awaits news on Mugabe's future

Zimbabweans are waiting to see what steps the military will take next after seizing control of the country. President Robert Mugabe is under house arrest. A Roman Catholic priest known to him for years is trying to mediate a deal on his future with the military. (BBC)

New report shows how Mexican cartels are infiltrating Texas

Mexican cartels smuggle more drugs into the U.S. than any other criminal group, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration said in a new report. The 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment released in October lists six cartels as having major influences across the country and Texas. (Chron)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Lorrie Goldstein: McKenna should troll Canada, not U.S., on climate

While Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna trolls the U.S. at the United Nations’ climate summit in Bonn, authoritative figures released at the summit show that compared to the U.S., Canada is the climate laggard. Including under Justin Trudeau, compared to the U.S. under Donald Trump. (Toronto Sun).

Mark Bonokoski: Odious censuring of grad student worsened by Hitler reference

As for a university professor bringing in Hitler in order to censure a grad student over a lesson she gave to a first-year class on language surrounding gender-neutral pronouns, who the hell does “ze” think “ze” is, other than a sanctimonious tool? So, shame on Wilfrid Laurier University prof. Nathan Rambukkana for playing the Hitler card in order to turn what should have been no tempest whatsoever into a shitstorm. Hitler? Really? (Toronto Sun)

Petra Molnar and Stephanie J Silverman: Migrants are dying in detention centres: When will Canada act?

Since 2000, at least 16 people have died while incarcerated in Canada’s system of immigration detention, with a shocking four deaths since March 2016. The mounting death toll leads us to ask: Do certain deaths matter less than others? And for that matter, are some lives more imprisonable than others? (National Post)

Michelle Malkin: Silence on Sleaze-Bob Menendez

The verdict is in. I pronounce Democrat leaders, left-wing feminists and Beltway journalists guilty of gross negligence and hypocrisy over a dirty rotten sleazeball in their midst. For the past 11 weeks, Bob Menendez has been on trial for 18 counts of bribery, fraud and corruption involving nearly $1 million in gifts and donations. The jury remained deadlocked as of Tuesday. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Self-congratulatory Trudeau fails to live up to his UN peacekeeping commitment

For all the fine talk about the Liberal government “bringing Canada back to peacekeeping,” the calculation has always been how to minimize the commitment while still appearing to do something. A seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2020 is at risk, after all. The Prime Minster’s announcement at a peacekeeping conference in Vancouver was a typically self-congratulatory affair, but it is unlikely to have gone down as well with UN officials, who might have foolishly believed the 600 troops and 150 police pledged last year might end up bolstering an existing mission somewhere like Mali. (National Post)

Robyn Urback: Trudeau government's 'mandate tracker' is one mighty piece of propaganda

Before I dive in, I should let you know, dear reader, that I will be giving myself a report card on this column. It will be assessed for style, clarity and strength of argument — categories that I myself have decided to include. It doesn't really matter what you think of this column, even though without you, the reader, this column has no real purpose. It only matters what I think of it, as both the author and subject of this wholly unnecessary assessment. (CBC)

Chris Selley: By talking like a conservative, Jason Kenney goes where Patrick Brown fears to tread

There is some consternation that Alberta’s newly United Conservative Party opposes Bill 24, the NDP government legislation that would bar schools from informing parents whether or not their children are participating in extracurricular gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs. Certainly the party’s opposition might be unwise: the timing of the bill was an explicit attempt to flush out the intolerant elements in the reformed conservative coalition that so bedevilled the Wildrose Party. It was an obvious trap, as Jen Gerson argued here recently, and the UCP either fell into it or felt confident engaging the bill on its merits. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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