True North Initiative News Scan 12 26 2017

TOP STORIES

 

Trudeau 'sorry' for violating conflict laws with visits to Aga Khan's island

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized for his actions after the federal ethics watchdog found he violated some provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act when he vacationed on a private island owned by the Aga Khan last Christmas season and took a private helicopter to get there. He also promised to check with the ethics commissioner before booking holidays. "I'm sorry I didn't, and in the future I will be clearing all my family vacations with the commissioner," he told reporters on Wednesday. (CBC) (Globe and Mail)

Canada projecting deficits until 2040, finance report reveals

The federal government is projecting deficits until at least 2040, a finance report quietly released Friday reveals. The federal debt is also set to hit $1 trillion for the first time in 2035. These shocking figures are actually an improvement upon the long-term economic and fiscal projections released this time last year. The goal of such reports is to take current government spending trends and show what will happen if they continue in later years. (Toronto Sun)

CBSA to use GPS, check-ins to track immigration detainees instead of imprisoning them

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is moving ahead with a new system for monitoring people remotely using a phone system that can recognize individual voices and pinpoint their location using GPS, government documents reveal. The agency put out a call for tender for the equipment on Wednesday, taking one of the final steps in a broader effort to reduce the number of permanent residents and foreign nationals being detained by the CBSA in any given year. (Global)

Government Of Canada Claims Santa Claus Has Fled The North Pole Because Of Global Warming

Bad news, kids: when Santa finishes his appointed rounds this evening, he'll have nowhere to fly home to, according to the Government of Canada, because the North Pole has completely melted thanks to global Climate Change. (Daily Wire)

Fearing Deportation From U.S., Migrants Walk To Canada

The U.S. has ended a temporary residency program for almost 60,000 Haitians who had been allowed to legally enter the United States after an earthquake in 2010. The program, called temporary protected status, allows people from nations hit by conflict or natural disaster to remain legally but temporarily in the U.S. for up to 18 months. TPS has often been extended, allowing some people to remain in the U.S. legally for several years. (NPR)

Montreal couple cleared of terror charges, boyfriend guilty of explosives-related offence

Djermane was found not guilty on all three charges. Jamali was found guilty of possessing an explosive without a lawful excuse, which carries a maximum sentence of five years, compared to the 14 he faced under the original explosives charge. Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc David, the trial judge, ordered the couple released after reading the verdict. Both have been detained since April 2015. (CBC) (Independent)

Fewer asylum seekers entering Canada are being granted refugee status as case backlogs increase

Fewer asylum seekers who entered Canada illegally this year are being granted refugee status. As of the end of November, the Immigration and Refugee Board says 16,522 asylum claims were received from people who’ve crossed the border illegally and 2,198 of those have been completed. Of those finalized cases, updated data show 54 per cent were accepted — down from 60 per cent when the board last reported the data. (Toronto Star)

Quebec private refugee sponsorship applications on hold until next summer

Quebec residents won't be able to apply to sponsor a refugee until at least next summer, under a decision confirmed Thursday by the provincial government. A spokesperson for Immigration Minister David Heurtel said the province is extending its suspension of new applications until at least June 30, 2018. The program was originally suspended last January due to delays in processing the cases. (CBC)

Justin Trudeau: Returning Islamic State Jihadists Can Be ‘Extraordinarily Powerful Voice’ in Canada

Toronto Sun columnist Candice Malcolm protests that Trudeau’s plan “borders on the absurdity,” asking, “Why on earth would Canadian taxpayers seek to help members of a jihadist army that committed genocide, burned Christians alive, beheaded American journalists and aid workers, sold women into sex slavery and threw gay men off rooftops?” “These aren’t recovering alcoholics or teenagers on the verge of online radicalization. They aren’t people who have served their time, taken responsibility for their actions and are ready to start anew,” she notes. (BreitBart)

Queen praises U.K. terrorism survivors in Christmas message

Queen Elizabeth II marked her 60th anniversary as a self-described television host on Monday with an annual Christmas message that offered solace after Britain suffered five terrorist attacks in one year, reflected on the comforts of home and paid tribute to her husband after seven decades of marriage. The Queen said in her annual broadcast to Britain and the Commonwealth that she was thinking about London and Manchester, the two English cities attacked by terrorists this year, “whose powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months, in the face of appalling attacks.” (Toronto Star)

Former marine planned Christmas Day terror attack: FBI

The FBI said Friday that it found a martyrdom letter and several guns in the home of a former Marine who said he wanted to carry out a Christmas Day attack on a popular San Francisco tourist destination. Everitt Aaron Jameson, 26, a tow-truck driver from Modesto, Calif., was charged Friday with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. It was not clear if he had an attorney. (CBC) (SCMP)

Canada’s future role in Iraq being mulled after liberation from ISIS: Sajjan

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says military commanders are re-assessing Canada’s future role in Iraq following a declaration that the country has been completely liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIL earlier this month after the militant group was pushed from the last pockets of territory that it had occupied in the country. (Global)

Canada revokes Venezuelan diplomats' credentials

Canada is moving to expel a Venezuelan diplomat from the country and strip his credentials in retaliation after his Canadian counterpart was kicked out of the South American nation. The latest developments come after months of sanctions and criticism by Canada against Venezuela, which led to the crisis-ridden country declaring Canada's charge d'affaires -- the diplomat who leads an embassy in the absence of an ambassador -- persona non grata, stripping him of his diplomatic credentials and barring him from returning to the country. (CTV)

Trudeau’s Liberals still ahead of Tories, but support slipping: Ipsos poll

Justin Trudeau received a present from voters just in time for the holidays; his Liberals still hold a seven point lead over the Conservatives despite a string of negative headlines, according to a new Ipsos poll. The poll, conducted exclusively for Global News between Dec. 10-14, found 38 per cent of Canadians surveyed would vote for the Liberals if an election were held tomorrow, compared with 31 per cent who would support the Conservatives under Andrew Scheer. (Global)

Nikki Haley negotiates $285M cut in ‘bloated’ UN budget

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced Sunday that the United States negotiated a $285 million cut in the United Nations’ “bloated” budget for next year. “The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known,” Haley said in a statement from the US Mission. “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.” (NY Post)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

 

Court jails Ukraine PM's interpreter accused of spying for Russia

A Ukrainian court has ordered a government official accused of spying for Russia to remain in custody during an investigation. The court in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv ruled Friday that Stanislav Yezhov would be kept in jail through Feb. 17. His defence lawyer says Yezhov pleaded not guilty to the charges. Ukrainian media reports identified Yezhov as a senior aide and personal interpreter to Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. He was arrested Wednesday. (CBC)

Canadian tech could benefit if Trump ends work permits for visa holder spouses: experts

An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows American companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require expertise in specialized fields such as in science, engineering and information technology. An H4 visa is issued to dependent family members of H-1B visa holders. Before 2015, H4 Visa holders weren’t allowed to work or obtain a social security number in the United States. (Global)

Board member of anti-racism agency fired amid accusations of Islamophobic commentary

A board member with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, an arms-length federal government agency established to counteract racism, has been fired amid concerns over what Muslim advocacy groups describe as “Islamophobic commentary” and her “public association with purveyors of hateful propaganda.” Christine Douglass-Williams has been a board member since 2012 and her dismissal was confirmed on Wednesday to foundation chairperson Albert Lo. He said he was notified by the Department of Canadian Heritage, which is responsible for the foundation. (Toronto Star)

Immigrants providing a boost to declining church attendance in Canada

Eli Wu brought his wife and teenaged son to Vancouver this past summer, emigrating from China in search of a better education for his child. He wasn't searching for God, but after arriving in Canada he found himself drawn in an unexpected direction. In China, he said he didn't pay too much attention to Christianity, although some of his family members attended church. Organized religion was prohibited in China during the Cultural Revolution, but there was a revival of Christianity at the beginning of 1980s, when the government lifted restrictions on religion. Still, the Chinese government maintains some control over worship. (Globe and Mail)

B.C. firm says it has helped 100 tech clients duck U.S. travel bans and set up in Canada

With talk of travel bans spooking people who might otherwise want to work in the United States, a Vancouver-based firm claims to have helped more than 100 clients set employees up in Canada instead. True North is a company that works to help employees set up in Canada when they’ve been affected by immigration rules in the U.S. and the Great White North. (Global)

Secret CSIS files assess paid RCMP spy in Ottawa terror case as 'parasitic' and 'psychopathic'

If the big RCMP case against accused terrorism financier and star recruiter Awso Peshdary ever gets to trial, the credibility of the Mounties’ star witness — a paid agent — will be severely tested. And it should come as no surprise to the RCMP. That’s because the Canadian Security Intelligence Service assessed Abdullah Milton, the prized agent, two years before he was paid at least $700,000 to infiltrate an Ottawa terrorism network linked to Peshdary. (Ottawa Citizen)

Canada announces $15M humanitarian and development assistance in Kenya

Canada will provide $15 million to support refugees and drought-affected communities in Kenya, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced Wednesday following a visit to the Dadaab refugee camp in the arid eastern part of the country, near the border with Somalia. Hussen, who came to Canada as a Somali refugee, toured the cluster of camps in Dadaab that house more than 245,000 Somali refugees alongside Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to witness the work of the refugee agency. (Radio Canada)

Trump ban on Muslim refugees partially lifted by federal judge

A federal judge in Seattle on Saturday partially lifted a Trump administration ban on certain refugees after two groups argued that the policy prevented people from some mostly Muslim countries from reuniting with family living legally in the United States. U.S. District Judge James Robart heard arguments Thursday in lawsuits from the American Civil Liberties Union and Jewish Family Service, which say the ban causes irreparable harm and puts some people at risk. Government lawyers argued that the ban is needed to protect national security. (Global)

Pope compares Mary and Joseph's trek to today's migrations

Pope Francis in Christmas Eve remarks Sunday likened the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem to the migrations of millions of people today who are forced to leave homelands for a better life, or just for survival, and he expressed hope that no one will feel “there is no room for them on this Earth.” (Toronto Sun)

US, Canadian weapons sent to Ukraine may end up in Middle East terrorists’ hands – Moscow

American and Canadian lethal weapons intended for Ukraine may end up in the wrong hands because of a high level of corruption in the country, a senior Russian diplomat has said. First Canada and then the US announced that they had decided to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, purportedly for self-defense. But these countries should consider the risks associated with transferring advanced weapons to a country infamous for its high level of corruption, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told RIA Novosti. (RT)

Canada's rising star Jagmeet Singh reckons he could take on Justin Trudeau in a vote - or on a wrestling mat

Justin Trudeau has nearly another two years to prepare for the next general Canadian election. But one of his newest opponents is ready to take on the youthful 45-year-old Liberal prime minister in the political arena, or on a wrestling mat. “I don’t think it would be in his interests though,” joked New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Jagmeet Singh of a tussle. “It would just be too unfair for him.” (Telegraph)

Vice Media apologizes for 'boy's club' culture after New York Times report

Vice Media is apologizing for its "detrimental" workplace culture after a scathing investigation by the New York Times revealed pervasive allegations of sexual harassment. "We have failed as a company to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive," said a statement released Saturday from Canadian Vice founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi. (CBC)

Top general tells Marines to be prepared for a big fight

The Marine Corps commandant told about 300 Marines in Norway this week that they should be prepared for a “bigass fight” to come, remarks his spokesman later said were not in reference to any specific adversary but rather intended to inspire the troops. “I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,” Gen. Robert Neller told the Marines on Thursday, according to Military.com. “You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.” (Washington Post)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: This Christmas, reflect on the world's persecuted Christians

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. That is, it’s a wonderful time of year for us in North America, where we enjoy vast religious freedoms and the ability to observe religious holidays without fear, harassment or persecution. Sadly, this is not the case for millions of Christians around the world. Christians have become the most persecuted religious group on the planet, and we in the West are not doing enough to defend and protect Christians under attack in other parts of the world. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Trump's pivot in world affairs requires an open mind from Canada

Throughout the year, the 24-hour news cycle has unleashed upon its audience a constant stream of stories on alleged ineptitude on the part of U.S. President Donald Trump. This ranges from the breathless reporting about every special counsel tidbit to nonsense like the great Koi Fish scandal. It’s a bit of a shock-and-awe campaign that leads the public to think this is the only news coming out of the White House. Meanwhile, interesting stories go under-reported, such as Trump’s recent announcement to reinvigorate space exploration. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: UN key in Israel's creation but treats Jewish state with open contempt

That the United Nations General Assembly voted 128 to 9 Thursday to condemn U.S. President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was no surprise. Hatred of Israel, and Jew-hatred, run so deep at the UN that the real news was that 65 countries opposed (9), abstained (35), or skipped the vote (21), after the U.S. said it would remember how nations cast their ballots. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Honour our soldiers at Christmas

With the joy of Christmas once again filling our hearts, we should spare a moment or two to think about the people who, over the years, have done so much to protect all the things we hold dear. I mean the brave souls, the heroes, who sacrificed everything so we can rest, safe in the warmth of our homes and the arms of our families and friends. (Toronto Sun)

Tarek Fatah: How to integrate refugees into Canada

Instead of helping these women find work among the thousands of Canadian restaurants and fast-food outlets where they would mesh with Canadians and understand the culture, we are making investments so Syrian refugees can mentally remain in Syria. Contrast those examples with the experiences of two refugees from Balochistan, who have embraced Canada and assimilated into the fabric of the True North. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: Guidy Mamann on immigration, profiling and Canadian values

I like to say that Guidy Mamann has "a soft heart and a hard head"! He's a seasoned immigration lawyer whose first-hand expertise on official Canadian immigration and refugee policies (along with the messy realities on the ground) has brought unique perspectives to my program that you quite literally haven't heard anywhere else in Canadian media. (Rebel)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

 

  • N/A