True North Initiative News Scan 11 23 2017

TOP STORIES

Regina man arrested at Saskatoon airport, charged with human smuggling

A Regina man has been arrested and charged with human smuggling. Victor Omoruyi was taken into custody on a warrant by RCMP at Saskatoon International Airport after being deported from America yesterday. He's been charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with one count of human smuggling and one count of aiding or abetting.​ (CBC) (CTV)

Liberals to scrap policy that rejects sick, disabled immigrants

Canada is committed to ditching a policy that rejects immigrants because they're sick or disabled and could be a drag on the health system, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says. Calling it an "important and sensitive" issue, Hussen said the government will look at all options to revamp the 40-year-old policy, which bars entry to applicants when they could be costly to public health or social service systems. (CBC) (Global)

Federal government not tracking interventions with returning ISIS fighters

Turning radicalized individuals away from extreme ideologies and helping them rejoin Canadian society is a key goal of the federal government, but it has little data on how well that fight is going. The new Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence is supposed to be on the front line of this fight. It funds research and programs that "aim to prevent and counter radicalization to violence at the individual level." (CBC)

Teaching assistant who was sanctioned questions sincerity of Wilfrid Laurier University's apology

Lindsay Shepherd says she's glad her supervising professor and the president of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., have apologized. But she also says she doesn't think they had any other option. On Tuesday, Laurier's president Deborah MacLatchy issued an apology on behalf of the school to Shepherd. It came after Shepherd, a grad student and teaching assistant, was sanctioned by her supervising professor for showing a controversial video in a tutorial for a communications class. (CBC)

Monsef still waiting on citizenship paperwork after birthplace revelation

More than a year after Maryam Monsef revealed she was not actually born in Afghanistan, as she had previously believed, the Liberal cabinet minister is still waiting for the government to update her documents. "Just like everybody else, I'm waiting my turn," the status of women minister said in an interview with The Canadian Press last week. In September 2016, the Globe and Mail reported that Monsef, hailed by the Liberals as Canada's first Afghan-born MP, was actually born in Mashhad, Iran, a city about 200 kilometres away from the border with Afghanistan. (CTV)

Immigration Minister warns Haitian border-crossers that Canada will probably reject them

With another influx of Haitian refugees from the U.S. in sight, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is warning that Canada is not a viable option for them — and data released Wednesday by Ottawa backs him up on that. The federal government has been on high alert since the Trump administration announced this week it will end its temporary residency permit program that has allowed 60,000 Haitians to stay in the United States. Haitian migrants have until July 2019 to return to their country. (Toronto Star)

Nearly half of illegal border-crossers into Canada are from Haiti

There were 14,467 refugee claims made by people who crossed into Canada outside legal border points in a nine-month period this year, and nearly half of them were from Haiti. Data released by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) on Wednesday shows that 6,304 citizens of Haiti claimed refugee status after crossing illegally into Canada between February and October, about 44 per cent of the total number. Only 298 have had their claims finalized so far, and just 29 of them, or 10 per cent, have been accepted. (CBC)

Canada rejecting 90% of asylum claims filed by Haitians

The majority of asylum seekers who have crossed illegally into Canada so far this year were Haitian and so far, only 10 per cent of their claims have been accepted, newly released data showed Wednesday. Since February, the Immigration and Refugee Board has received 14,467 claims in total from what they call irregular border crossers, and the overall acceptance rate sits at 60 per cent. The fact that the number of successful Haitian claims is "very low" should serve as a cautionary tale for those still contemplating crossing into Canada illegally from the U.S. to seek asylum, said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen. (CTV) (IPolitics)

Chief Liberal Party fundraiser tied to $8M loan to offshore trust in Cayman Islands

Newly discovered documents from the Paradise Papers show the Liberal Party's top fundraiser, Stephen Bronfman, was directly linked to companies that were owed millions by an offshore Cayman Islands trust well into the 2000s — despite his strong denials he had any involvement in the trust after 1998. (CBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

High personal taxes a blemish on Canada’s appeal for international talent

If Canada is going to attract and retain the best and brightest from around the world to help drive its 21st-century economy, it might want to consider its priorities with its relatively high personal taxes, a new international report on talent-competitiveness suggests. If the country is going to demand more from from its elite earners, it needs to up its game on public educational investments to justify the cost. (Globe and Mail)

Flee to Canada? Brooklyn’s Haitians in flux after Trump cancels protected status

In the heart of Flatbush, Brooklyn, past the bright Haitian takeout corner spot, with its aroma of richly fried pork, and down the block from La Difference driving school, an anxious crowd packed the front waiting room of the district office for Councilman Mathieu Eugene. Older residents of Brooklyn and recent immigrants from Haiti all wanted to know: What now? (Toronto Star)

Refugee lawyers under 'major pressure' amid backlog of asylum claims

Even as politicians in Quebec and Ottawa maintain they are prepared for any influx in asylum seekers, immigration lawyers working on the front lines say they are already struggling to deal with a backlog of refugee claimants. The latest figures, released late Wednesday, suggest the delays are only getting longer as a result of last summer's surge of arrivals into Quebec from the U.S. (CBC)

Trudeau says housing is a human right — what does that mean exactly?

As part of its ambitious national housing strategy, the Liberal government is vowing to enshrine the right to adequate housing as a fundamental human right in Canadian law, a symbolic move that has practical considerations. For years there has been an international push to do just that, and Canada is already a signatory to the UN-backed International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognizes housing as a right. (CBC)

Syrian family grateful for new life in Winnipeg despite struggles

Fadel Ahmad has faced many struggles since his family came to Winnipeg as government-sponsored refugees almost two years ago, but the father of four refuses to complain. Speaking in Kurdish, translated by his daughter Yara, Ahmad, 42, has nothing but praise for what the Canadian government has done to help them resettle. (CBC)

Manitoba projects 167,700 job openings due to aging workforce

Manitoba’s Labour Market Occupational Forecast reports 167,700 new or replacement job openings could be up for grabs. The number comes from projected job growth and the number of people retiring or dying. The province says close to 15 per cent of Manitobans are 65 years and older and that number will increase by 43 per cent over the next 20 years. (CTV)

NEW COLD WAR? IRAN SENDS WARSHIPS TO GULF OF MEXICO

At a time when Iran is looking to expand and modernize its military in the face of what is seen as a growing U.S. threat, its newly appointed navy commander, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, held his first press conference Wednesday, announcing that a fleet of Iranian ships would soon depart for the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico en route to visits to a number of South American countries, Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim News Agency reported. The move is reportedly part of a push to project Iran’s military on a more global scale and establish international ties as President Donald Trump and his allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, seek to isolate the revolutionary Shiite Muslim power. (Newsweek)

Manus Island: Police enter former Australia-run asylum centre

Police in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have entered a former Australian-run detention centre in a bid to get asylum seekers who remain there to leave. Hundreds of men have refused to leave the Manus Island centre since it was closed on 31 October, citing fears for their safety in the local community. (BBC)

Myanmar Rohingya crisis: Deal to allow return of Muslim refugees

Bangladesh has signed a deal with Myanmar to return hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled a recent army crackdown. A statement from the Bangladesh foreign ministry said displaced people could begin to return within two months. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Wilfrid Laurier University reveals its true colours

It’s an open secret Canada’s public universities tilt to the left, and that this left-wing ideology is particularly evident among those who teach in the social sciences and humanities. A remarkable story out of Wilfrid Laurier University, however, exposes the far-reaching extent of this bias and the ugly repercussions of the new social justice dogma on university campuses. The story centres around a graduate student who was condemned and disciplined by her supervisors for showing students part of a TVO segment on the use of gender-neutral pronouns. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Liberals' count of 60 Canadian jihadists is a two-year-old number

The terrorist situation in Iraq and Syria is a continually evolving phenomenon. So why is the Liberal government using two-year-old data about terrorists and trying to pass it off as current? This has been an issue for several years now — the return of Canadian ISIS fighters to home soil. And during that time it’s taken a lot of guesswork to piece together just how many jihadists we’re talking about. It’s a tough slog, putting it all together. Not just for journalists and parliamentarians, but for the CSIS and RCMP officers assigned the task. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Liberals may be 'idiots' on terrorism but low prosecution rate is not their fault

The accusation that Liberal policies are creating a safe haven for returning jihadists seemed to light a fire under the normally unflappable Ralph Goodale. The public safety minister’s eyes blazed like the back end of the Batmobile, as he decried Conservative “innuendo and insinuation” that the government is not protecting Canadians. (National Post)

Toronto Sun: Apologies are great, indoctrination is not

Lindsay Shepherd finally got her much deserved apologies from Wilfrid Laurier University. If you can call it that. On Tuesday, both WLU president Deborah MacLatchy and Shepherd’s supervisor Nathan Rambukkana offered public apology letters to the bullied grad student who was hauled before a kangaroo court panel for the egregious sin of playing a few minutes of a public affairs debate show in her classroom. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: How universities killed free speech

Academic freedom — for conservatives — died a long time ago. So can we please end the pretence that universities today are bastions of free speech and that Wilfrid Laurier University’s appalling treatment of graduate student Lindsay Shepherd was an aberration? What happened to the 22-year-old Shepherd has been the norm in universities for at least two generations, where so-called “liberal” academics in the humanities and social sciences believe their mission is not to teach young people how to think, but what to think. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Star: Track Syrian refugees to ensure they prosper

When Basil Mahmoud, a Syrian refugee, attended a job fair in June 2016 he was at a distinct disadvantage. He didn’t speak English. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. Mahmoud was one of 1,800 Syrian refugees in Toronto who found their hopes for quick employment dashed when English classes they had been attending were put on hold for the summer. That was because COSTI, an organization that helps settle refugees in the city, had run out of federal funding. (Toronto Star)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to study the medical inadmissibility of immigrants

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet today to study Canada’s Engagement in Asia