True North Initiative News Scan 11 30 2017

TOP STORIES

Tory leader Scheer calls for Morneau to resign finance post

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is calling for Finance Minister Bill Morneau to resign his cabinet post. "Bill Morneau has betrayed the trust of Canadians over and over," Scheer told reporters in the House of Commons foyer on Wednesday. The call for Morneau to step down comes amid continuing and contentious attacks from the opposition over his personal finances and alleged breach of federal ethics law. (CTV)

Canada’s spy agencies casting wider net on citizens’ electronic data, parliamentary report says

On the eve of a crucial new national-security debate, parliamentarians are being told that federal spy agencies are out to data-mine "bulk" amounts of electronic records about ordinary people as they seek to spot extraordinary terrorist threats. The Library of Parliament released a discussion paper this week on Bill C-59, an overhaul of the laws guiding Canada's intelligence agencies. Debate about it will begin in earnest in Ottawa on Thursday, when federal spymasters and police chiefs appear before a legislative committee beginning a review of the bill. (Globe and Mail)

More women, immigrants and seniors make up Canada’s work force: Census

More women and seniors are working than ever before as Canada’s labour market sees a rise in part-time employment over full-time jobs, Statistics Canada says. And immigrants are making up more and more of the workers, accounting for nearly one-quarter of Canada’s labour force in 2016, helping offset the impact of an aging population. That trend is most obvious in Toronto, where half the work force in 2016 was made up of immigrants— the highest proportion in Canada. (Metro)

Canada sets aside two bunkers at military bases amid global uncertainty, North Korean threat

They are nightmare scenarios ripped straight out of Hollywood thrillers. But rising global tension, notably over North Korea, has prompted federal officials to review and in some cases revise a series of critical contingency plans, including one that involves the evacuation of the federal cabinet to a secure military base outside of Ottawa. (CBC)

Canada, U.S. held joint exercises simulating nuclear attack on both sides of border

Canadian and U.S. officials quietly held exercises last spring to practise dealing with worst-case nuclear scenarios — running through simulated attacks on both sides of the border, CBC News has learned. The training took place against the backdrop of federal officials in this country discreetly revising contingency plans, including one to reconstitute the federal government outside of Ottawa should the capital become "unviable" in an attack or natural disaster. (CBC)

Toronto police probe 'anti-Semitic' music video played at Al Quds Day rally

Toronto police are investigating a video that shows music being played at this summer’s Al Quds Day rally at Queen’s Park that calls for Jews to be stabbed, attacked and beheaded. The video shows signs scattered on ground, men in reflective vests standing and walking around the grounds and, in the background, a song plays glorifying violence against Jews. The translated lyrics to the song, Declare It A Popular Revolution, in part say “With a Palestinian woman (armed with a knife) we defeated them”… “fill (the bottle) to the top with gasoline, and snatch from him the M-16”…“stab whoever you see, five, six, ten, twelve.” (Toronto Sun)

North Korea: US urges all nations to cut ties

The US has urged all nations to cut diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea after the country's latest ballistic missile test. Speaking at the UN Security Council, US envoy Nikki Haley said President Trump had asked his Chinese counterpart to cut off oil supplies to Pyongyang. She said the US did not seek conflict but that North Korea's regime would be "utterly destroyed" if war broke out. (BBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Morneau's counterpunches miss their mark, as Conservatives go for the kill

Andrew Scheer walked up to a podium outside the House of Commons on Wednesday and did what has seemed inevitable for months. After the drip, drip, drip of problems for the finance minister, Scheer called for Bill Morneau to go. "I am officially calling on Bill Morneau to resign as finance minister," Scheer told reporters. " And if he won't step down, it's Justin Trudeau's responsibility to remove Bill Morneau from his post." (CBC)

Jagmeet Singh changes position on court language requirement after blowback

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was forced Wednesday to claw back a suggestion bilingualism requirements for Supreme Court justices be waived to encourage Indigenous candidates. Singh had made the suggestion earlier in the day after judge and educator Sheilah Martin was nominated to fill an upcoming vacancy on the top court, disappointing some who had hoped an Indigenous candidate would be chosen. (CTV)

Former envoy David Mulroney says official warning needed for Canadians doing business in China

A former Canadian ambassador to China says Ottawa should issue a prominent and official warning to Canadian business people that commercial disputes in China could result in their being detained and having their passports seized. David Mulroney, who was this country's envoy to China from 2009 to 2012, says the case of two Canadian wine merchants held captive in Shanghai is a troubling sign of a bigger problem. (Globe and Mail)

Doubts cast on Canadian citizenship of Mulroney's billionaire friend

On a cool spring day in 2015, Antigonish, N.S., welcomed two unusual guests: a former prime minister who once called the university town home, and a Syrian-British billionaire known for his sizable donations to higher-learning institutions but also for his role in one of the U.K.'s biggest corruption scandals. The billionaire, globe-trotting Wafic Said was there to receive an honorary doctorate at St. Francis Xavier University, and the politician, Brian Mulroney, was back at his alma mater as Said's "good friend." (CBC)

Billionaire got Canadian citizenship after renting a Montreal basement

Among the most curious revelations contained in the Paradise Papers is the question of Wafic Said’s Canadian citizenship, and how he obtained it, given his tenuous ties to this country. Said, a Syrian-born, Monaco-based billionaire, was the broker of the 1985 Al-Yamamah arms deal to sell British warplanes to Saudi Arabia, in which £6 billion in “corrupt commissions” were allegedly paid to members of the Saudi royal family. The longtime friend of Brian Mulroney also donated $4 million to the soon-to-open Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at St. Francis Xavier University, where he received an honorary degree in 2015 and was announced as a Canadian citizen. (Toronto Star)

Almost half of Canadians want to delay pot legalization: poll

Canadians across the country aren’t sure provincial governments will be ready to legalize pot in time. An Angus Reid poll indicates that, despite two-thirds support for legalization, more than half of Canadians across several provinces aren’t sure their governments will be prepared for the upcoming July 1, 2018, goal. (Global)

Immigrant wages rising, but gaps with Canadian-born earners persist

Recent immigrants to Canada are earning more money than ever, according to new Statistics Canada figures. The median income of people who arrived in Canada in 2014 was $24,000 a year later, the highest on record for landed immigrants since 1981. This increase is partly due to the so-called Canadian Experience Class — a centrepiece of the previous Conservative government's economic immigration reforms, which fast-tracks permanent residency for newcomers who already have work experience in Canada. (CBC)

Prominent Filipino Winnipegger collected $91K as unlicensed immigration consultant: court documents

A prominent member of Winnipeg's Filipino community, charged with working as an unlicensed immigration consultant, allegedly received approximately $91,000 over the past 10 years from people trying to come to Canada, according to search warrant documents obtained by CBC News. The documents allege that payments were made through 114 Western Union money transfers to Alfredo (Fred) Arrojado. (Yahoo)

Alberta's workforce reshaped by migration, aging employees

Immigrants and seniors are transforming Alberta’s workforce, mainly due to higher life expectancy and interprovincial migration to Alberta. According to recent data released by Statistics Canada, 28 per cent of Albertans 65 and over are working, compared to 20 per cent nationwide. Furthermore, more than one in four Edmonton workers is an immigrant, with the city recording a 26.2 per cent immigrant workforce, compared to a national average of 23.8. Alberta’s average is the same as the national average. (Metro)

ISIS Teases Vegas in Upcoming Sequel to Original Film Threatening America

The Islamic State is promoting a forthcoming sequel to its most infamous movie that threatened America at the beginning of the caliphate, with the new trailer showing fire raining down on several U.S. cities before America is engulfed in a fireball. ISIS' official al-Hayat Media Foundation didn't give a release date for "Flames of War II: Until the Final Hour," but distributed the trailer extensively across many open media platforms including YouTube and Google Drive. (PJ Media)

May Holds Her Ground Against Trump

After a lashing by Donald Trump, Prime Minister Theresa May is holding her ground and insisting the U.S. president was wrong to retweet unverified posts by a far-right British activist. The prime minister has shown “absolute clarity” in her criticism of Trump, her spokesman James Slack told reporters in London. May was “very clear that it was wrong to tweet these videos but as we’ve also said, the United States is one of our closest most special allies. The offer of a state visit has been extended and accepted and we’ll set out more details in due course.” (Bloomberg)

Six Minutes to Counterattack: South Korea Shows Plan to Strike Back at North’s Missiles

In the dead of night, at 3:17 a.m., a South Korean air force Boeing 737 early-warning aircraft detected the first missile launch from North Korea in more than two months. Six minutes later, the army’s ground-based launchers, navy Aegis destroyers and air force F-16 jets began firing missiles into the waters off eastern Korea, in what was meant as a demonstration of Seoul’s readiness for conflict and its ability to hit back. (WSJ)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: 'Chill out' about jihadists? Nonsense

Islamic State terrorists are back in Canada, and the Trudeau government doesn’t seem to have a clue how to handle the situation. This cluelessness was on display in Question Period last week when Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau how many ISIS jihadists were back in Canada. In one of his worst performances in the House of Commons (and that’s a low bar), Trudeau responded by reading a prepared statement. Since his words were likely written by someone with expertise on the file, you would expect a thoughtful and coherent response. (Toronto Sun) (Province)

Anthony Furey: Surely Morneau’s days as minister are numbered

The other week, a prominent Bay Street insider told me he couldn’t imagine Bill Morneau being the guy to table the next budget in 2018. There’s just too much dogging the beleaguered finance minister to have him stand up in the House of Commons and command the confidence of the nation’s various sectors that look to his post as a source of stability. (Toronto Sun)

Tarek Fatah: Pakistan surrenders to the mob

Ten years ago, on Oct. 21, 2007, the cover of Newsweek declared: “The most dangerous nation in the world isn’t Iraq, it’s Pakistan.”  Today, Pakistan is in a worse situation. A group of Islamists, from the Sufi Islamic orders, took the country’s capital hostage. Many believe this was done with the not-so-covert backing of the Pakistan army, triggering the elected civilian government’s surrender. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: 'Town that fun forgot' lives on with Rink of Rules

Back in the late 20th century, celebrated Macleans columnist Allan Fotheringham dubbed Ottawa the “town that fun forgot.” It stuck like gum on a shoe. In the intervening years, however, not much has changed. Compared to Toronto, Ottawa is a quiet enclave, although emergency and police services appear to love their sirens. Perhaps it’s a way of creating the essence of vibrancy. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Liberal green agenda needs a little humility

Before the Ottawa Santa Claus parade got underway on Saturday, Liberal cabinet minister and downtown Ottawa’s local MP Catherine McKenna posted to social media: “It’s starting to snow just in time for the parade! As the Minister responsible for weather, I’m either a hero or a zero… depends how you feel about winter.” (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Liberals stand by beleaguered Morneau in face of Conservative calls for his head

The House of Commons echoed with the sound of antlers crashing Wednesday, after the Conservatives called for the head of the finance minister for “betraying the trust of Canadians.” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called a press conference before question period to demand Justin Trudeau fire Bill Morneau over his refusal to answer questions on the sale of shares in his family firm, Morneau Shepell, just days before he introduced tax changes that coincided with a drop in the company’s share price. (National Post)

Salma Ataullahjan: Canada Has The Tools, Now It Needs The Will To End The Rohingya Crisis

How many tragedies must come and go before a lesson is learned? From the Holocaust, to the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur — and now the Rohingya of Myanmar — it seems like déjà vu every time innocent civilians are targeted by ethno-centric, militaristic governments. Big words and no action. (Huffington Post)

John Ibbitson: Scheer’s support for Trudeau’s LGBTQ apology highlights a deepening consensus

After Justin Trudeau finished apologizing on Tuesday for the wrongs committed by the federal government against sexual minorities, Andrew Scheer rose to second that apology. This is remarkable. Remarkable in showing how the Conservative Party has evolved in recent years, and remarkable in showing how Canada has evolved as well. The progressive and conservative movements in the United States have polarized to the point where the country is becoming ungovernable. Similar gulfs plague countries in Europe. (Globe and Mail)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet today to study Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters

Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet today for a Briefing on the Resettlement Issues Related to Yezidi Women and Girls