True North Initiative News Scan 11 24 2017

TOP STORIES

Internal government audit finds ‘gaps’ in security screening of Syrian refugees

Gaps in the security screening of Syrian refugees led to dozens being admitted to Canada without proper vetting, according to a government report obtained by Global News. The Canada Border Services Agency audit found that changes to screening procedures for Operation Syrian Refugee “introduced some gaps in the security screening process.” As a result, 39 Syrian refugees who should have undergone comprehensive security checks were not screened before arriving in Canada, although they were recorded as having been. (Global)

'Intimidation tactics' won't deter free speech rally near WLU: organizers

Organizers of a free speech rally near the campus of Wilfrid Laurier University say “intimidation tactics” from “militant” leftists won’t derail support for Lindsay Shepherd, the WLU teaching assistant wrongly sanctioned for showing students a debate surrounding the merits of genderless pronouns. Free speech advocates from WLU and nearby University of Waterloo are bracing for a possible counter-demonstration after members of Waterloo’s Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM) referred to Friday’s rally as hateful and discriminatory. (Toronto Sun)

Number of returned foreign fighters ‘essentially the same’ as 2 years ago: Ralph Goodale

The number of Canadians who have returned from fighting in foreign conflicts remains “essentially the same” as it was two years ago, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Thursday even as critics continued calls for the government to say exactly how many have come back from fighting specifically with ISIS. In response to questions from Conservative members in question period on Thursday, Goodale defended his use of data from 2015 over the past several days, saying that “about 60” foreign fighters have returned to Canada. That number raised eyebrows among national security experts and sparked calls for the government to clarify how it is dealing with individuals who return from having fought with the brutal terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. (Global)

Trudeau takes harder line on economic refugees

Would-be Canadians need more than just a desire for a better economic future if they expect to be granted refugee status in this country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday. Trudeau, speaking at an event in Charlottetown, pointed to the case of 6,300 Haitians who have crossed illegally into Canada from the U.S. in recent months to request asylum. Statistics released this week show that of the 298 Haitian cases that had been heard by the end of October, only 29 were granted protection. (IPolitics)

Refugee system isn't for those only seeking better economic life: Trudeau

Would-be Canadians need more than just a desire for a better economic future if they expect to be granted refugee status in this country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday. Trudeau, speaking at an event in Charlottetown, pointed to the case of 6,300 Haitians who have crossed illegally into Canada from the U.S. in recent months to request asylum. Statistics released this week show that of the 298 Haitian cases that had been heard by the end of October, only 29 were granted protection. "Refugee status means that you have nowhere to go, you can not be protected by your home state," the prime minister said. "It's not just a question of, 'I'm looking for an economic future, so I want to come to Canada."' (CTV) (Toronto Star)

U.S. getting better at informing Ottawa of immigration changes that impact Canada, Goodale says

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the U.S. is doing a better job of informing Canada of immigration changes that may prompt people living in the U.S. on special immigration status to try to cross the border into Canada illegally.  "The United States needs to be cognizant of the fact that when they take certain steps within their jurisdiction, those steps have consequences elsewhere," Goodale told reporters Thursday. "It would appear from the most recent announcements from Homeland Security that they are factoring that into the decision making." (CBC)

Maryam Monsef Waiting Her 'Turn' For Updated Citizenship Documents

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. (Huffington Post)

Most Parliament Hill security staff haven't had thorough background checks

A majority of the security personnel on Parliament Hill, some of whom are armed, have not had thorough background checks and routinely have access to sensitive information despite a lack of official clearance, federal officials say. The situation applies to two groups of non-police officers employed by the Parliamentary Protective Service (PPS): protective officers who carry guns and work mostly inside parliamentary buildings, and detection specialists who screen vehicles and visitors before they enter secure areas on the Hill. (Globe and Mail)

Canada commits $35M to help Rohingya women and girls in Bangladesh

Canada will spend $35 million over five years to help Bangladesh address the needs of women and girls as the country deals with a massive influx of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the new spending -- to be directed through United Nations agencies -- from Bangladesh, where she was getting a first-hand look at the crisis that has seen more than 620,000 Rohingya flee Myanmar since August. (CTV)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Trudeau laments about not being able to get a double-double at Timmies in peace

It’s the hard knock life for the PM. Justin Trudeau says one of the challenges of being prime minister is not being able to pop into a Canadian Tire for a screwdriver or grab a double-double at Tim Hortons without “causing a bit of a kerfuffle.” In an off-the-cuff radio interview in P.E.I. that touched on shopping, sports, fashion and TV dramas, Trudeau said it’ (Calgary Sun)

Bill who? Canadians might not know the finance minister's name, but they know what they think of him

In 2015's Canadian Election Study, an academic survey conducted during every federal election campaign, a handful of people asked to name the minister of finance said it was Mike Duffy. One respondent, with some apparent hesitation, said it was "Mulcair maybe." Another felt confident it was "a lady whose name I don't recall." Some guessed it was David Johnston, who was instead the governor general, or John Tory, the mayor of Toronto. (CBC)

'We didn't hire for diversity': Skilled immigrants fill needs of P.E.I. employers

When Doug Coles is looking for someone to fill a job, qualifications are at the top of his list. The vice president of architecture and engineering firm Coles Associates says what a potential employee can do for the company is more important than where they're from. (CBC)

Canada's focus on gender shows up in nutrition programs in troubled countries

The Liberal slogan about promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls around the world is lofty talk, for sure. But what does it look like in action, and more important, does the world care? This week, some of the answers to those questions came into clearer focus. (Toronto Star)

Myanmar, Bangladesh sign deal for potential return of displaced Rohingya Muslims

Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed an agreement covering the return of Rohingya Muslims who fled across their mutual border to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Myanmar announced the agreement on Thursday, but provided no details on how many Rohingya refugees would be allowed to return home or how soon that might happen. Bangladesh said the repatriations are to begin within two months. (CBC)

Bibeau expresses cautious support for deal on displaced Rohingya Muslims

The agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh covering the return of Rohingya Muslim refugees is a step in the right direction but needs to meet several conditions before it is implemented, says Canada's International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. Myanmar, also known as Burma, announced the agreement Thursday but didn't provide details on how many Rohingya refugees who have fled a brutal crackdown in the country's Rakhine state would be allowed to return home. (CBC)

North Korea digs DMZ trench after recent defection

North Korea appears to be fortifying its border in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) with the South, days after a soldier defected by running across. A US diplomat to South Korea has tweeted a picture showing workers digging a trench. (BBC)

Iran's supreme leader 'the new Hitler', says Saudi crown prince

Saudi Arabia's crown prince has called Iran's supreme leader "the new Hitler of the Middle East", amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Alluding to Iran's growing regional power, Mohammed bin Salman said it was important to avoid a repeat "of what happened in Europe in the Middle East". (BBC)

Islamic State beheads 15 of its own fighters: Afghan official

Islamic State beheaded 15 of its own fighters due to infighting in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar, officials said, while a separate suicide attack on Thursday tore into a crowd in the provincial capital, Jalalabad, killing at least eight. The two incidents underline the insecurity and lawlessness across Afghanistan, where thousands of civilians have been killed or wounded this year amid unrelenting violence involving militant groups including Islamic State and the Taliban. (Reuters)

 

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)

Ezra Levant: Liberals are “de-radicalizing” returning ISIS terrorists — with poetry classes

We showed you this clip from Question Period earlier this week: The Liberals' Minister for Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, admitting there are 60 ISIS terrorists in Canada. That’s 60 Paul Bernardos. But is that the true number? (Rebel)

Farzana Hassan: The unsettling truth that not all accusers tell the truth

There have been so many accusations recently against famous men that Harvey Weinstein almost seems like ancient history. When reinforced by numbers, most are likely true, but what seems valid enough to tarnish a reputation may not justify a courtroom conviction.  Girls star Lena Dunham recently tweeted that women lie about what they had for lunch, but they don’t lie about rape. Compelling, even memorable, but debatable. (Toronto Sun)

Don Martin: Parliament Hill skating rink a teeth-grinding waste of tax dollars

It’s been 25 years since a politician named Stockwell Day held up a loonie at his swearing in as Alberta finance minister and declared he would never forget each one was soaked with the sweat of a taxpayer and must be spent carefully. It was corny as hell and his eventual claim to fame was becoming the king of jet-ski and karate-kick photo ops before he imploded as Canadian Alliance leader, but it’s a pledge of frugality you don’t hear around Ottawa these days. (CTV)

Linda Mcquaig: Morneau and Trudeau are looking out for the rich

There’s lots of lamenting about the way the rich keep getting richer while ordinary folk struggle to keep their heads above water. Along with the lamenting, there’s usually some resigned muttering about how it’s all just part of today’s global economy. But there’s a much simpler explanation: our governments keep passing laws that make the rich richer and ordinary citizens poorer. (Toronto Star)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       NA