True North Initiative: News Scan 12 21 16

TOP STORIES

 

ISIS claims responsibility for Jordan terror attack that killed retired Newfoundland teacher

In a communiqué issued Tuesday, ISIL claimed responsibility for a weekend terrorist attack in Jordan that left 10 dead, including a retired Canadian teacher. The statement described the victims as “citizens of Crusader coalition countries,” reflecting ISIL’s strategy of using terrorism to undermine the anti-ISIL coalition in Syria and Iraq. “We promise the coalition countries with what is worse and more severe, Allah permitting, until all the religion is for Allah,” read the communiqué, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. (National Post)

Berlin attack: ISIS claims it inspired truck assault at market

German authorities released a man and intensified their manhunt for the person who plowed a tractor-trailer truck into a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market, even as ISIS claimed Tuesday that it inspired the attack. Police said they didn't have enough evidence to hold a man they'd earlier described as a suspect in the Monday night truck assault that left 12 people dead and 48 injured. The dead include a man found shot inside the truck. There may be more than one suspect at large, armed and dangerous, Peter Frank, general prosecutor at Germany's Federal Court of Justice, told journalists. (CNN)

Russia urges Canada keep NATO soldiers out of Latvia

Russia’s ambassador to Canada says the upcoming NATO deployment in Latvia – that Canadian soldiers will lead to deter Moscow’s aggression in eastern Europe – will be bad for regional security and an unwise diversion of resources from fighting the biggest menace: terrorism. Alexander Darchiev’s comments follow high-profile terror attacks Monday in which an assassin killed Russia’s envoy to Turkey and a truck plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin. (Globe and Mail)

Berlin truck attack: Tunisian sought over market deaths – reports

German police are searching for a Tunisian over Monday's Berlin Christmas market attack, media reports say. According to a temporary-stay permit found in the cab of the lorry that ploughed into crowds, the man, named as Anis A, was born in 1992 in the city of Tataouine, the reports say. A police operation is said to be under way in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia where the permit was issued. Reports say the suspect may have been injured in a struggle with the driver. (BBC) (CTV)

PM Trudeau says he'll defend Canadian interests if Trump goes too far

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he would not hesitate to protect the interests -- and the values -- of Canadians if they clash with the agenda of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump. In a year-end interview with The Canadian Press, Trudeau was asked where he would draw a line in the sand between himself and Trump, who promises to be a less-than-ordinary president of the world's only superpower and Canada's most important trading partner. "I do not want to dive into the hypothetical, but you're asking me, 'where is the line?' The line, for me, is that I will act in a way that ensures that Canadians do not suffer and have all the benefits and opportunities that I can possibly give them," he said. (CTV)

Conservatives call on Trudeau Foundation to ban foreign donations after 10-fold increase in three years

The federal Conservatives are calling on the Trudeau Foundation to stop accepting foreign donations after a National Post analysis showed foreign donations increased ten-fold since Justin Trudeau won the Liberal leadership. “I think if the Prime Minister had the wisdom that I hope he does have, that he would tell his family foundation to stop taking the foreign donations until Canadians can be assured that there’s no dirty dealings happening,” said Conservative house leader Candice Bergen. (National Post)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

CRA spends millions but fails to stop tax workers from snooping on Canadians, documents show

Canada Revenue Agency workers continue to snoop on the confidential tax files of businesses, acquaintances and others, despite at least $10.5 million spent so far to try to stop them. CBC News has uncovered nine significant cases reported since Jan. 1 in which tax workers improperly poked around the government's electronic records to extract sensitive private information about income, deductions, benefits, payments and employment. (CBC)

Ottawa’s diplomats shocked by assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov

Ottawa’s diplomatic corps reacted with shock at Monday’s news that Andrei Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, had been shot dead at a photo exhibition sponsored by the Russian embassy at Ankara’s modern art centre. (Hill Times)

Security agencies must obey letter of law, Trudeau says amid surveillance fears

Justin Trudeau says his government will ensure security and spy agencies follow the "letter and spirit" of the law, amid mounting concerns they have trampled the privacy of journalists and other Canadians. In a roundtable interview this week with The Canadian Press, the prime minister stressed that national security agencies must protect Canadians but also safeguard the laws and values the public cherishes. (Metro)

Dion calls on Russia to join fight against 'bloody' ideology of terror

A Canadian tourist killed by Islamic extremists in Jordan. The assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey. The multiple killings of peaceful Berliners at a Christmas celebration. All of this is linked by an "extremely bloody" ideology spouted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, says Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion. And it is about time Russia starts pulling its weight in fighting it, instead of pursuing its "bitter" victories in Syria, says Canada's top diplomat. During a year-end interview, Dion linked this week's series of terror-related tragedies in Jordan, Turkey and Berlin to relentless recruiting efforts of ISIL. (CBC)

Lee Richardson considering Liberal run in Calgary Heritage

Longtime Conservative politician Lee Richardson says he’s “strongly considering” a run in ex-prime minister Stephen Harper’s former riding — for the federal Liberals. “I’ve been a Conservative for 40 years, so this is a big decision,” says Richardson.  “But this is the toughest time for my province in a great many years, and I think Albertans need more strong voices in the federal government.” (Calgary Herald)

Sorry, Ontario: Amazon Sets Up Shop In Montreal Because Of Hydro Prices

Ontario’s soaring electricity costs aren’t just a financial headache for the province’s residents, they are also a threat to the province’s long-term economic health. That’s not a new point — business leaders and economists have been warning for years that part of the reason Ontario has become a “new rust belt” is the rising cost of energy in the province. But the news that online retail giant Amazon chose Montreal as the site of its first Canadian cloud computing data centre has sparked speculation once again that Canada’s largest province is losing out on jobs and wealth because of runaway electricity costs. (Huffington Post)

After violence abroad, Trump meeting with security adviser

President-elect Donald Trump is planning to meet with his incoming national security adviser in the aftermath of a rattling day of violence around the world. Trump appeared to jump ahead of investigators in blaming Islamic terrorists for deadly incidents Monday in Turkey and Germany and vowing anew to eradicate their regional and global networks. He called the brazen shooting of Russia's ambassador to Turkey "a violation of all rules of civilized order." He added that a "radical Islamic terrorist" had assassinated the diplomat, Andrei Karlov. (Canadian Press)

 

EDITORIALS AND OPINION PIECES

Susan Delacourt: Why 2017 could be a do-or-die year for Canada's news media

But the looming prospect of Trump’s presidency is also generating some surprising side benefits for U.S. media — a record number of New York Times reporters at the White House, for instance, and a boost in new subscriptions for the Washington Post and Vanity Fair. In Canada, there’s no such Trump effect — not yet, at any rate, and probably not on the near horizon. As Beatrice Britneff has been telling us in her iPolitics analysis of parliamentary press gallery membership data, Ottawa’s political reporting pool is shrinking, down to levels we haven’t seen since the 1990s.(IPolitics)

Ardeshir Zarezadeh: Are Non-Syrian Refugees Facing Discriminatory Rejections In Canada?

On the 10th of December 2015, also known as International Human Rights Day, newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from the Liberal party was seen on national and international television stations welcoming a group of Syrian refugees to Canada, the land where human rights are of importance, and non-discrimination and freedom are elements valued and respected by all. The government further promised to take in additional refugees throughout the year. In fact, in 2016, more than 36,300 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. The world applauded the new government and citizens worldwide pushed their governments to follow in Canada's footsteps. However, the heroic story ended with the Syrian refugees as Canada has not extended its helping hand to other nationalities in the same way. (Huffington Post)

Tarek Fatah: The jihadi beat goes on, everywhere

This act of terror should serve as a reminder to all of us that Islamism has declared a war on civilization, one that cannot be fought as we did in the First and Second World Wars. Today’s war requires the traditional attribute of courage, but also the honesty to denounce the political correctness rampant in our societies that allows our enemies to operate inside our borders, and our neighbourhoods, with invisibility. (Toronto Sun)

Saada Branker: Minority groups are seeing one of their greatest fears come true — they're becoming targets at home

Our society is suffering from an alarming disconnect: minority groups in Canada and the U.S. are sharing their experiences of being targeted or intimidated by bigots, yet their testimonies in news reports are drawing the ire of critics. How on earth did we get here? It's in the comment sections of every online news source — people expressing their fatigue with stories about intolerance. Take this one, below a story about racist incidents in Canada following Donald Trump's election win: "Any time someone expresses there [sic] opinion about refugees and immigrants in this county [sic] you have to be a racist. I'm so sick of that card being played." (CBC)

Lawrence Martin: For Trudeau, a sour ending to a year of progress

In the past few weeks, the Liberals of Justin Trudeau have gone from skywalkers to stumblebums. They’ve strikingly mismanaged issues such as their fundraising ethics and a new electoral system, serving themselves up as punching bags for the media and opposition critics. But a few weeks do not a year make. If the work of the government is put in its broader time frame, Mr. Trudeau and company can find some comfort. (Globe and Mail)

Christian Leuprecht: After Berlin attack, the cracks in Germany’s security are showing

Every major Canadian city now has an Integrated National Security Enforcement Team that brings together security and intelligence elements from all levels of government and beyond. German authorities can only dream in Technicolor about such interagency collaboration. The Gemeinsames Terrorismusabwehrzentrum in Berlin supposedly co-ordinates domestic anti-terrorism in Germany. It is only staffed during working hours, Monday through Friday (and, as is common in Germany, on Friday afternoon they close up shop early). In part that is a function of extensive cuts to which German security and intelligence agencies have been subject for years; consequently, resources are at a premium. (Globe and Mail)

Kelly McParland: You could say Trudeau’s Liberals accomplished one thing this year — disappointing everyone

My favourite end-of-year review so far is one that ran in the Toronto Star under the guise of an editorial that wagged a worried finger at Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. The Star doesn’t like criticizing Liberals. It’s proud of its heritage as Canada’s leading purveyor of righteousness. But sometimes it recognizes the unpleasant need to scold wayward members, and Trudeau’s troops have definitely been wandering down some wayward paths of late. His poll ratings suggest Canadians have lost some of their infatuation with the Prime Minister and begun wondering when he’s going to start getting serious. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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