True North Initiative: News Scan 12 29 16

TOP STORIES

Canadian politics 2016: The year in 12 chapters

John Geddes returns with his annual month-to-month look back at Canada’s national affairs (Macleans)

Ottawa scorecard 2016: The winners and losers under the Trudeau government

More than a year has passed since the Liberals rose to power in October 2015 – enough time to make some calls on the rising stars and falling ones on Parliament Hill, and the winners and losers under the Trudeau administration. And despite various distractions at home and beyond the borders, a theme has emerged that may ultimately define this government. (National Post)

Trudeau’s Liberals were told donor was China graft suspect, but kept taking his money and help

The Liberal Party of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was tipped off in 2013 that a wealthy party benefactor was wanted by China for corruption, long before the news became public, in an email that has been leaked to the South China Morning Post by a former party executive. The former executive said they were assured at the time that the anonymous email and its startling claims about Vancouver developer Michael Ching Mo Yeung had been “dealt with”. But the party kept quiet and continued to accept donations and support from Ching and a pro-Trudeau political organisation, Tru-Youths United Association, set up in his office. (South China Morning Post)

Lisa Raitt Calls UN Resolution On Israeli Settlements 'Disgusting,' Urges PM To Weigh In

Lisa Raitt wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step away from the sideline and deliver a “principled stance” on Israel. In a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday, the Conservative Party leadership candidate called last week’s United Nations Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements “disgusting.” “Canada needs a principled stance. One that singles out Israel for being the only civilized democracy in the Middle East constantly being showered with rockets by those who do not believe she should exist,” Riatt wrote. (Huffington Post) (IPolitics)

Kerry Rebukes Israel, Calling Settlements a Threat to Peace

Secretary of State John Kerry accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Wednesday of thwarting peace in the Middle East, speaking with a clarity and harshness almost never heard from American diplomats when discussing one of their closest and strongest allies. With only 23 days left in his four-year turn as secretary of state, during which he made the search for peace in the Middle East one of his driving missions, Mr. Kerry said the Israeli government was undermining any hope of a two-state solution to its decades-long conflict with the Palestinians. (New York Times)

Mood of Canada survey: Canadians positive about reputation abroad

The public’s views on Canada’s global reputation and on the functioning of the federation are emerging as the areas of greatest departure between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his predecessor Stephen Harper. The post-election enthusiasm we saw around the Liberals in late 2015 is now quite muted. The scores assigned to the Trudeau government’s performance are now comparable with those the Conservatives saw at the same time in their mandate. These are the key findings of year 10 of the Nanos–Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) Mood of Canada Survey and tracking study. (Policy Options)

Many Canadians have soured on Trudeau: Poll

A ”gut check” survey shows that a declining number of Canadians believe the Justin Trudeau government is headed in the right direction, pollster Nik Nanos says. According to a Nanos-IRPP Mood of Canada survey released this week, just 15% of people rate the performance of the federal Liberal government as “very good,” a plunge of 22% in just one year. Overall, 54% of Canadians believe Trudeau and his Liberal government are leading the country in the right direction, down 9% over the same time period (Toronto Sun)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Muslims and Indigenous People Face the Most Discrimination in Canada, According to Canadians

In our final survey of the year, we asked Canadians to tell us how much discrimination they see in our society, towards a variety of groups. To add context, we mimicked some questions that the Pew Research Center asked in the US recently. Here’s what we found. (Abacus Data)

At least 744 assisted-deaths in Canada since law passed: CTV News analysis

At least 744 gravely ill adults received a doctor’s help to end their lives since the medical procedure became legal across Canada in 2016, and experts say those numbers are expected to rise. CTV News surveyed provincial and territorial health ministries to gather the most comprehensive picture of the practice to date. The numbers show that, on average, two Canadians per day had medically assisted deaths between June 17 and December 16. (CTV)

Putin says Russia, Turkey reach deal on Syria ceasefire

Russian President Vladimir Putin says a Syrian ceasefire agreement has been reached with Turkey. Putin said Thursday that Russia and Turkey will guarantee the truce, which is set to begin at midnight, Dec. 30. He says it will be followed by peace talks between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and the opposition, and that the Syrian parties would take part in talks to be held in Kazakhstan, without specifying a date. (CBC)

Top Senate Democrat mocks Kerry after keynote Israel speech

Chuck Schumer, the senior US senator from New York likely to become the next Senate Minority Leader, issued a scathing statement on Wednesday night rebuking US Secretary of State John Kerry over his closing remarks on Middle East peace. Kerry delivered a speech earlier in the day that lasted over an hour, in which he warned that a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians was in grave jeopardy. Much of his speech focused on Israel's settlement activity in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem, which he characterized as creating an "irreversible one-state reality." (JPost)

Israeli defence minister urges Jews to leave France, lashing out at countries that backed UN resolution

Israel’s defence minister has urged French Jews to move to the Jewish state amid the fallout over a UN Security Council resolution which censured Jerusalem for building settlements on occupied territory. Last week, the U.S. abstained in the UN vote on West Bank settlements, which was backed by 14 countries including France. Since then, Jerusalem has lashed out at the international community in a heated rhetorical campaign, as well as cutting aid programmes. (National Post)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: The fall and rise of communism

This week marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the collapse of the USSR. On December 25, 1991, then Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, and the hammer and sickle flag was lowered over the Kremlin for the last time. It was a peaceful, subdued end to a terrifying chapter in human history. Communism was doomed to fail. Every iteration of it has ended in cruel and blatant failure. Communism, and its more fashionable younger brother, socialism, inevitably collapse because they are economically unviable. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: PM must condemn UN smear of Israel

We hope Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s quest for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council won’t silence him from criticizing the UN when it’s warranted. Because he should be criticizing the one-sided UN Security Council resolution unfairly slamming Israel that was passed last week with the tacit consent of lame-duck U.S. President Barack Obama. (Toronto Sun)

Terry Glavin: The UN is useless, America elected a gargoyle and Europe is splintering. 2016 was a filthy year

There’s no getting around it. The year 2016 was a dirty, filthy year. A look back over the annus horribilis reveals a bleak and broken corpse-strewn terrain. There were rays of light, and there is a case to be made for optimism in the long run. We’ll come to that. But first, the hard part. Never in its 71-year history has the United Nations proved so useless to the solemn declarations set out in its founding covenants. Vladimir Putin, a petty thug presiding over a decrepit kleptocracy with an economic footprint smaller than Italy’s, finally broke the UN’s back in 2016. He was aided and abetted at every turn by Xi Jinping, the princeling megalomaniac who oversees an increasingly dystopian Chinese police state. (National Post)

Paul Willcocks: Six Reasons Trudeau’s Cash-for-Access Fundraisers Are Wrong

Cash-for-access fundraisers undermine democracy and put Canada’s political inequality on display. The rich and powerful pay to advance their interests behind closed doors, while the rest of us stand outside. They let the party in power sell access — to the prime minister, cabinet ministers, senior officials — in a way that entrenches its political dominance. And they are inherently wrong, by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s own standards, and reinforce the view that politicians owe their allegiance to special interests, not citizens (Tyee)

Rona Ambrose: It’s time to park Prime Minister Trudeau’s failed electoral reform

The prime minister’s approach to electoral reform has not demonstrated the seriousness required when fundamental changes to the rules of democracy are being proposed. Few paid attention to Justin Trudeau when he first announced that “2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system” in the spring, before the last federal campaign. He was leader of the third-place party and in no position to implement the most significant change to our democracy since 1867. Fast-forward to present day, and the gravity of that promise begins to sink in. (National Post)

Mike Strobel: 2016 worst year ever?

2016 was ’orrible for Ontario, crappy for Canada, awful for America and woeful for the world, according to a survey of 5,128 Canadians. On the plus side, our countrymen say they had a magnificently mediocre year personally. Hallelujah. (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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