True North Initiative News Scan 12 04 2017

TOP STORIES

Canada redoubling diplomatic efforts on North Korea

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Ottawa is uncertain about North Korea's ability to hit North America with a long-range nuclear-tipped missile, but it is redoubling diplomatic efforts to discourage Pyongyang's "dangerously destabilizing" ambitions. Despite the growing nuclear threat, Ms. Freeland would not say whether it's now time for Canada to join the U.S. missile-defence program, something the Conservative Party has been demanding. (Globe and Mail)

Liberals plan to reduce permanent resident backlog for caregivers

Saying the government is committed “first and foremost” to family reunification, Liberal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced Sunday that his department will process 80 per cent of the backlogged permanent resident applications from those who came to Canada through the former Live-in Caregiver Program by the end of next year. “While many live-in caregiver applicants have faced long delays and family separation, they can rest assured that they will soon receive a positive decision on their application,” Hussen said at a news conference at Christina’s Panciteria, a Filipino restaurant in North York. (Toronto Star)

Sri Lankan refugee family, set to be deported, makes final plea from Montreal

A Sri Lankan family in Montreal that is set to be deported tonight is hoping for a last-minute reprieve from Ottawa. The Lawrence family arrived five years ago as refugee claimants and have since found either jobs or academic success. But the family members’ refugee claims were not approved and they’re scheduled to be flown back to their home country Sunday evening. (Toronto Star)

Conservatives playing long game on daily Morneau attacks, Liberals accuse Tories, NDP of an ‘unholy alliance’

The federal Conservatives will keep hammering away at the ethical controversy surrounding Finance Minister Bill Morneau in the coming weeks as part of a long-term strategy, planting seeds for the next election campaign and taking the Liberals off message, say Conservatives. (Hill Times)

Free trade talks with China will not yet begin

Canada will not begin formal free trade talks with China — at least not yet.  Prime Minister Trudeau met Monday with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. A joint statement indicating talks would begin had been widely expected.  But the first clues that it might not happen emerged late in the day. (CBC)

Trade, not human rights, is top of mind as Trudeau visits China

As the prime minister departed British Columbia for Beijing on Saturday, the official itinerary of his visit to China was conspicuously free of events on human rights or scheduled meetings with advocates there. The same was true for the high-ranking staffers and cabinet ministers along for the journey, government officials said on the eve of the trip. (Toronto Star)

Canada's top general says cost will have bearing on selection of peacekeeping missions

Canada's top general says he is not in a rush to start sending Canadian peacekeepers out the door, and he indicated that money will a key consideration when officials sit down to look at potential missions. Chief of defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance's comments come a few weeks after the Trudeau government took another step closer to peacekeeping by offering helicopters, aircraft, troops and trainers to the UN. (CTV)

Trudeau’s China Trade Mission Risks Upending Canadian Alliances

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting China in an effort to boost Canadian trade ties, opening a door his predecessor largely kept shut as a standoff festers with Japan over a rival pact. Trudeau arrived Sunday for a five-day tour during which he’s expected to launch talks toward a free trade agreement despite unease among Canadian business. He’ll be joined by four cabinet ministers for his second trip in as many years but has stopped short of confirming Canada will begin FTA negotiations. (Bloomberg)

Germany offers to pay migrants who go back home

Germany wants to support rejected asylum-seekers who voluntarily move back to their home countries with a one-time payment of 3,000 euros ($4,527). The Interior Ministry says those who qualify can apply by a Feb. 28 deadline and they would get the money once they return home. Migrants who agree to go back even before their asylum request is rejected have already been offered 1,200 euros per adult and 600 euros per child under a different program for almost a year. They are now eligible to apply for both programs. (CTV)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Does the law prevent Canada from killing its 'terrorist travellers'?

The rules of engagement governing the Canadian military do not prevent it from targeting and killing ISIS fighters holding Canadian passports, according to military experts and the Department of National Defence. But one constitutional expert believes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadian enemy combatants from being specifically targeted by the military, with some exceptions. (CBC)

Girl hit and killed by BC Transit bus was Syrian refugee

Members of Abbotsford's Muslim community paid their last respects to a nine-year-old Syrian refugee who died after being hit by a transit bus on Friday. The girl's name was Hala Albarhoum, and she and her family came to Canada just over a year ago as government-sponsored refugees from Syria. She was laid to rest on Saturday following a funeral ceremony at the Abbotsford Islamic Centre. (CTV)

The Chinese public give their verdict on Justin Trudeau

During the visit, his second to China since taking power, Trudeau will meet Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing. He will also travel to Guangdong to meet Li Xi, a protégé of the president who was recently appointed party chief of the province, the industrial powerhouse of China. (SCMP)

Saudi-Iran tensions put Lebanon, Hezbollah back in regional spotlight

In a fluorescent-lit, indoor cemetery on the edge of Beirut's southern suburbs, Batool Zein al-Din touches her forehead to the stone-cold marble of the grave of her friend, Ali — a Hezbollah fighter. He was killed in Syria three years ago, age 24 — one of an untold number fighting on Bashar al-Assad's side for Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group better known for its battles with Israel. (CBC)

U.S. drills in South Korea trigger ‘nuclear war’ warning from North

Two dozen U.S. stealth jets were among hundreds of aircraft involved in war games intended as a show of strength to neighboring North Korea on Monday. Dubbed Vigilant Ace, the annual military drills come amid heightened tensions in the region triggered by Kim Jong Un's missile and nuclear tests and ratcheting rhetoric from both sides. (NBC) (Daily Star)

Jerusalem: Opposition to mooted Trump Israel announcement grows

Opposition is growing in the Arab world to an expected announcement by Donald Trump that the US will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Reports say the president will make the statement this week but will further delay acting on a campaign pledge to move the US embassy to the city. (BBC)

Mexican man convicted of kidnapping and sexually abusing two Oregon women GRINS in court and tells their families he'll 'see you in Hell' - as it emerges he'd already been deported TWENTY times before

A Mexican man who was deported from the US 20 times has been convicted of 10 counts including sexual assault in Oregon. On Friday, Sergio Jose Martinez, 31, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in a Portland courtroom after pleading guilty to kidnapping, sexual assault, sodomy and several other counts, KOIN reported. (Daily Mail)

Like the Cubans Before Them, Venezuelan Exiles Are Transforming Florida Politics

One August day, hundreds of Venezuelans packed the pews at a local church to hear Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Marco Rubio preach against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and pledge to help restore democracy in the oil-rich nation. “We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles,” said Mr. Pence. “Libertad! Libertad!” many in the crowd shouted, waving tricolor Venezuelan yellow, blue and red flags, and giving the Republican officials standing ovations. (WSJ)

Venezuela creating digital currency amid financing crisis

Venezuela is creating a digital currency to combat a financial blockade by the United States, President Nicolas Maduro announced Sunday. The Petro will be backed by Venezuela's oil and gas reserves and its gold and diamond holdings, the president said in his weekly television program. (Yahoo)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Trudeau's odd statements on female genital mutilation continue

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s hypocrisy was on full display this week in the House of Commons, as he was answering question on the topic of female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is the brutal cultural practice that mutilates a young woman’s genitals and has been carried out on an estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide — most prominently in North Africa and the Middle East. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Trudeau labels legit terrorism questions as 'Islamophobia'

There’s an old joke in political circles that says a racist is what you call someone who is winning an argument against a leftist. The idea of course being that if you’re using logic and facts to box your political opponent into a corner, they’ll turn around and randomly call you racist or reach for some other below the belt tactic to malign your character and sneak away from having to deal with the actual issue at hand. (Toronto Sun)

Sheila Gunn Reid: Trudeau scrubs condemnations of FGM, honour killings from new citizenship guide

Justin Trudeau's new version of the Discover Canada citizenship guide will no longer contain a warning to newcomers that honour killings and female genital mutilation (FGM) are not Canadian values. None of this should really come as any surprise: In 2011, Justin Trudeau, in his role as immigration critic, took exception with the Conservatives labeling female genital mutilation and honour killings as "barbaric cultural practices." (Rebel)

Blake Richards: No compassion for victims of ISIS

Imagine this scenario: a Canadian voluntarily flies overseas to join ISIS, actively engaging in combat against our soldiers and allies. The ISIS fighter comes back to Canada and the top priority of this Liberal government is to “reintegrate” the individual. This is what the Liberal government is making a priority. This plan is a serious slap in the face to our men and women in uniform and to our allies. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Our universities need free speech principles

Wilfrid Laurier University grad student Lindsay Shepherd was guilty before she was even tried. We’re not referring to the disturbing kangaroo court process between Shepherd and her supervisor that she wisely caught on tape. Although that was obviously a sham from the get go. (Toronto Sun)

Tom Parkin: Morneau scandal shows middle class was never Liberals' top concern

It was always incredible that just over two years ago 39% of Canadians fell to the hope that the Liberal Party’s top concern was the middle class. Perhaps it’s less surprising that, for two years, voters have kept their eyes shut tight to maintain the trance. After all, if the eyes were opened, the terrifying visage of Stephen Harper might reappear — or so Canadians were repeatedly told. Take two doses of sunny ways and go back to sleep. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Chinese 'standing at altar' of trade deal with Canada, former ambassador says

As Ottawa’s former ambassador to China, Guy Saint-Jacques held no illusions about the authoritarian nature of the regime with which he was dealing. But he says the time is now right to launch free trade talks with the Communist government. And he predicts a deal can be reached successfully within three years, much quicker than the decade it took the Australians to conclude an agreement. (National Post)

Lorrie Goldstein: Hypocrisy defines university safe space argument

When Canadian universities claim to strive to create “safe learning environments” for their students, they overlook the obvious. That is, the seriousness with which they carry out this task often depends on the views of the students who feel unsafe. And whether those views fit ideologically with the left-wing and politically correct attitudes that typically dominate among the faculty teaching in the humanities and social sciences. (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet tomorrow to get a Briefing on the Resettlement Issues Related to Yezidi Women and girls

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

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet later today to study Canada and the Ukraine Crisis