True North Initiative: News Scan 12 22 16

TOP STORIES

 

Government’s plans aimed at preventing anti-globalization backlash, Trudeau says

Justin Trudeau says his government’s focus on bolstering the middle class is aimed at insulating Canada from the kind of populist rage that is fuelling political upheaval elsewhere around the globe. And affordable housing will be central to his approach in the coming year. In a year-end roundtable interview with The Canadian Press, the prime minister acknowledged that Canadians are not immune to the anxiety that is fuelling anti-globalization, anti-trade, anti-immigration and anti-government sentiment around the world. (Toronto Star) (Huffington Post) (Macleans)

Trudeau says if Trump takes step back on climate change, Canada will capitalize

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says if the United States takes a step back on fighting climate change under Donald Trump, Canada will capitalize. After a Calgary speech to business owners, Trudeau was asked whether he was committed to his climate plan, which includes a national price on carbon, even if it makes Canada less competitive with the U.S. under the incoming president, who has sent mixed messages on the climate issue. “Let’s see what the president actually does once he becomes president and what he says and let’s not overreact ahead of time. But the challenge of climate change isn’t a debate or linked to a political ideology. It’s a fact,” Trudeau responded Wednesday. (Toronto Star)

Latvian envoy defends Canadian-led NATO mission

Latvia’s ambassador to Canada is defending a NATO decision to send a Canadian-led battle group to his Baltic country in 2017, after a Russian diplomat suggested this act of deterrence aimed at Moscow was a waste of resources that would be better spent fighting terrorism. Karlis Eihenbaums said it’s Moscow’s aggression that has made the deployment necessary, including a buildup of Russian military assets on Russian territory adjoining Eastern and Central European countries. (Globe and Mail)

Trudeau pays back taxpayers about $38K for personal expenses

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reimbursed taxpayers at least $38,000 for personal and family expenses during his first year in office, with extra childcare for his three kids topping the list. CBC News has obtained financial records of more than two dozen reimbursements Trudeau made for food, internet service and caregivers since becoming prime minister on Nov. 4 last year, as well as his payments to National Defence and RCMP for personal and family use of government aircraft. (CBC) (CTV)

Cash-for-access organizers sought payments that exceeded federal contribution limits

Members of the Chinese community have been asked for payments of as much as $5,000 to attend private cash-for-access functions with the Prime Minister, amounts that exceed federal contribution limits. As part of an ongoing review of fundraising activities by the Liberal Party of Canada, The Globe and Mail spoke with invitees who described requests that suggest significant discrepancies between official ticket prices and the actual cost of entry. (Globe and Mail)

Bardish Chagger Downplays Suggestion Parliament Isn't Venue To Discuss Liberal Fundraisers

Government House Leader Bardish Chagger says she didn’t mean to imply the House of Commons is not the appropriate venue for opposition MPs to ask questions about the Liberals’ so-called cash-for-access fundraising. In an interview with The Huffington Post Canada published Tuesday, Chagger said: “You know, in that place [the House of Commons] is not where we talk about, I would say, political fundraising. (Huffington Post)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

How a B.C. congregation brought 30 Syrian refugee families to Canada

At 300 members, the congregation at St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church in Richmond is small. But over the past year, the church has sponsored 30 Syrian refugee families and brought more than 90 people to British Columbia. Church member Eddie Papazian and his wife co-sponsored a family of four who arrived at Vancouver International Airport last New Year’s Eve. Mr. Papazian spoke with The Globe and Mail about the sponsorship experience. (Globe and Mail)

How a Syrian refugee saved one Nova Scotia bakery

As Ruwad Al Badin deftly prepares Christmas gingerbread men, his employer in southwestern Nova Scotia looks on approvingly, knowing the skilled Syrian refugee is supporting a family, while also helping keep workers employed at the once struggling bakery. (Macleans)

How legalizing marijuana could change Canada-U.S. relations

Their position on marijuana is hardly the only difference between Canada’s Prime Minister and the president-elect of the United States. But when Justin Trudeau’s government introduces legislation to legalize cannabis this spring, it could spark problems between Canada and the United States, particularly since Donald Trump has indicated he will keep pot illegal at the federal level. Here’s a look at what could change in Canada-U.S. relations once Canadians start lighting up legally. (Globe and Mail)

History shows military stopgaps like the Super Hornets often get discarded

There is one question that remains stubbornly unanswered — or at least decidedly hazy — following all the coverage this year of the Liberal government's plan to replace the CF-18s. What happens to the 18 Super Hornet fighters — being acquired as a sole-source stopgap — when the new permanent fleet arrives? The short answer is: Wait and see. (CBC)

Year in review: a look at highs and lows of Trudeau’s first full year as PM

As Justin Trudeau's first full year as prime minister comes to a close, downtown roads in the nation's capital are clogged with snow and construction. It's an apt metaphor for the increasingly tough slogging Trudeau's Liberal government has experienced since the heady days last fall, when the fledgling prime minister was winning raves for appointing the first gender-equal cabinet, handing out winter parkas to newly arrived Syrian refugees, being greeted like a rock star by screaming fans and boldly declaring "Canada is back" on the international stage. (Canadian Press)

Brian Mulroney on Trump, Trudeau and trade: Don't panic

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney has known Donald Trump for more than a quarter century. They own homes near each other in Palm Beach, share numerous friends and business associates, and their wives — Mila Mulroney and Melania Trump — have a habit of speaking to each other in Serbo-Croatian. On Dec. 5, Mr. Mulroney sat down in his Montreal law office with Policy Magazine Editor L. Ian MacDonald, his biographer and former speechwriter. (IPolitics)

Fake Hate Crime Epidemic Peaks Just Days Before Christmas

Wednesday turned out to be a banner day for hate crime hoaxes, as a number of alleged "hate crimes" committed by white supremacists inspired by the election of Donald Trump turned out to be somewhat different than advertised. Adam Saleh, 23, a Muslim YouTube "star" with 1.6 million followers who is known for pulling off elaborate pranks, aka "hoaxes," appears to have pulled off one more today. Saleh was escorted off his flight to New York after he said an American female passenger heard him talking in Arabic to his mother and "felt uncomfortable." (PJ Media)

Accused in Amanda Lindhout kidnapping to face trial next October

Three weeks have been set aside for the trial of Ali Omar Ader, which will come more than two years after he was arrested and over nine years after the abduction. Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were seized by masked gunmen near strife-scarred Mogadishu in August 2008. Both were released on Nov. 25, 2009. Ader, a Somalian national, faces a criminal charge of hostage-taking for his purported role as a negotiator. He was arrested by the RCMP in Ottawa in June 2015. The Mounties said Ader, 39, had been in town for a few days but the national police force has not publicly confirmed how he arrived in Canada. (Canadian Press)

Trump appoints China critic Peter Navarro to trade post

US President-elect Donald Trump has appointed economist Peter Navarro, a fierce critic of China, as the head of a new national trade body. He will lead the White House National Trade Council, and serve as director of trade and industrial policy. Mr Navarro advised Mr Trump during the campaign. His books include The Coming China Wars and Death by China. (BBC)

German market attack suspect's brother urges him to surrender

Authorities across Europe scrambled Thursday to track down a Tunisian man suspected of driving a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin as one of his brothers urged him to surrender. Nearly three days after the deadly attack that killed 12 people and injured 48 others, the market in the centre of the capital was due to reopen. (CBC)

Trump: Deadly violence in Germany is 'attack on humanity'

President-elect Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Germany was "an attack on humanity and it's got to be stopped." He also suggested he might go forward with his campaign pledge to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from coming to the United States. "You know my plans. All along, I've been proven to be right, 100 per cent correct," Trump said when asked if the attack in Berlin had caused him to reevaluate the proposal. "What's happening is disgraceful." (Canadian Press)

 

EDITORIALS AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Are we close to global war?

Are we heading toward another World War? As tensions rise around the globe, from Europe to Syria to China, it’s starting to feel like we are on the cusp of an unstoppable catastrophe. In particular, there is reason to be concerned about the escalating tensions between Turkey and Russia. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: How the media blew 2016's biggest story

Looking back on 2016, one media story stands out above all the rest. It’s how we in the media spectacularly blew the call on the biggest political story of the year -- the U.S. presidential election race, where, to the shock of almost our entire industry, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. The first instinct of any pundit caught with his (or her) prediction pants down is to blame the pollsters. But the polls were reasonably accurate by the end. (Toronto Sun)

Andy Blatchford: In 2017, Canadian economy will get its first taste of the Trump era

The Canadian economy exits 2016 with bruises from the still-tough adjustment to weak crude prices and scars from the devastating wildfires that singed the oil patch. It enters 2017 with lingering challenges and a potential new obstacle that could attract more attention than the rest: the economic unknowns of a Donald Trump presidency. While it remains to be seen what will become of the U.S. president-elect's vows in areas like taxation, trade and investment, their implementation could have significant impacts for Canada. (Canadian Press)

Chantal Hebert: Parliamentary coverage has been changed by the times

Once a staple of the holiday news season, the televised prime ministerial fireside chats are well on the way to joining the ghosts of Christmases past. The CBC and Radio-Canada — among others — have opted out of the format, rightly concluding that the days when there was something special or — for that matter — newsworthy about deferentially serving up a prime minister to a festive nation had gone. (Toronto Star)

James Moore: 2016 Year in Review: Trump's election brings new American reality

The election of Donald Trump was, without question, the most important global event to happen in 2016. But it would be a monumental error for Canada’s political, business and public policy leaders to treat the election as just a uniquely ugly campaign with a surprise outcome that can be looked past. It was a historic event that should shift everyone’s thinking about the forces of resentment that resulted in the outcome, and what it means for the years ahead. This isn’t the first time a tectonic shift in thinking was forced upon us. (BIV)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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