True North Initiative: News Scan 01 04 17


Immigrants peeved by federal government’s switch to sponsorship lottery

After failing to make the cut to sponsor his parents to Canada in January 2016, Daniel Dodero began compiling their 2017 application package early last summer. In November, in order to have a better chance at securing his parents a coveted spot in the first-come, first-serve system, he hired a courier to make sure the application would be hand-delivered to the Immigration Department’s Mississauga processing centre on Tuesday as soon as the office opened its door to accept applications. Then just before Christmas, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced an overhaul of the intake process for the 2017 parent and grandparent sponsorship program. (Toronto Star)

Kurdish forces announce Canadian died fighting ISIS in Syria, calling him a martyr and a hero

An Edmonton man has been killed in an ISIS attack while fighting for the YPG Kurdish forces in Syria, according to YPG officials. Nazzareno Tassone, 24, was killed Dec. 21 near Raqqa, Syria, his family and YPG officials say. Nazzareno Tassone's younger sister, Giustina Tassone, said leaders from the Kurdish community in Toronto, accompanied by police, delivered the news in person to their Niagara home Tuesday afternoon. (CBC) (National Post)

Fearing protectionism, Canada's Trudeau reaches out to U.S. Congress

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed his country’s existing strong relationship with the U.S. in a welcome message to congress amid questions about North American trade ties under the administration of Donald Trump. Trudeau and his ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, issued a video congratulating and welcoming members of the incoming U.S. Congress, stressing Canada has no bigger partner than its neighbor to the south. The video, posted Dec. 30 on YouTube, was tweeted by Canada’s U.S. Embassy account Tuesday. (Bloomberg) (Reuters)

IP address at Ontario power utility linked to alleged Russian hacking

U.S. Homeland Security and the FBI have warned that Ontario’s main electricity distributor may have been the target of malicious Russian cyber-activity. Russia has denied any wrongdoing. An IP address at Hydro One was among hundreds of malicious addresses identified in online scanning by the U.S. government as it investigated alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee. The discovery suggests Russia may have secretly downloaded malicious software onto computers at Hydro One, which runs most of the province’s transmission lines. (CTV)

Turkish ambassador to Canada calls for help fighting ISIS after Istanbul attack

The Turkish ambassador to Canada says the New Year's Day massacre at an Istanbul nightclub has only increased his country's resilience to fight the "international menace" that is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but they need more international help. "It's a heinous crime that everybody should condemn," Selçuk Ünal told CBC Ottawa. "But it's only increasing our resilience to fight against Daesh, or ISIL, terrorism, not only all over the world but particularly in Syria." (CBC)

Allies like Canada are failing Turkey in its fight against terror, says Istanbul MP

Since Sunday morning's attack, critics of the Turkish government have asked questions about country's security measures, particularly since a coup attempt in the summer led to mass firings of officers. Egemen Bağış is the former Minister of European Union Affairs in Turkey, and a member of Turkish Parliament with the ruling AK Party. He spoke to As It Happens guest host Helen Mann on Monday from Istanbul. (CBC)

Istanbul night club attacker still at large, but identified

Turkey has established the identity of the gunman who killed 39 people in an attack on an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Day, its foreign minister said, and further arrests were made on Wednesday, but the attacker himself remains at large. The gunman shot dead a police officer and a civilian at the entrance to the exclusive Reina nightclub on Sunday then opened fire with an automatic rifle inside, reloading his weapon half a dozen times and shooting the wounded as they lay on the ground. (Globe and Mail)



OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Just 3 employers fined or banned after overhaul of foreign worker program

A year after Ottawa rolled out a new scheme to crack down on employers violating the rules of the temporary foreign worker program, only three businesses have been fined or banned for non-compliance. Advocates and critics said the changes introduced by the former Conservative government were ineffective, and were put in place merely to convince the public something was being done to prevent employers from abusing the program. (Toronto Star)

'Thank God I'm here': Gay Syrian finds refuge in Winnipeg

First, his friend was beheaded. Then a transgender woman was raped, burned and mutilated. Adam knew he had to leave Turkey, the country that took him in after he had fled Syria. "I think I will be next," he said when he phoned the United Nations in Istanbul, begging for help. Adam, a gay Syrian man, recently arrived in Winnipeg. Because he fears for his safety and reprisal for speaking out, CBC News is not using his real name. (CBC)

Ontario firm’s social-media monitoring software linked to racial profiling by U.S. police

An investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has found that police used the London-made technology to monitor such hashtags as #BlackLivesMatter, #DontShoot, #ImUnarmed and #PoliceBrutality, to name a few. “Law enforcement should not be using tools that treat protesters like enemies,” the ACLU, which did not have a spokesperson available to comment directly, said in a blog entry about the issue that it sent to The London Free Press. (National Post)

Canadian Parliament's Kellie Leitch, Like Trump, Calls for Screening of Immigrants

Canadian Parliament member and Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is calling for the screening of immigrants to Canada, despite much criticism. “All I’m advocating for is that when you go back to what we used to do in this country, that we meet every immigrant coming to the country, have a face to face interview, and ask them about Canadian values. I don’t think that’s asking too much and two-thirds of Canadians, average Canadians, agree with me,” Leitch, who has been compared by some Canadian media outlets to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, told the FOX Business Network. (FOX News)

U.S. comes first, Trump official says about Canadian auto industry

Statements by U.S. transition officials and tweets by the president-elect Tuesday are bringing into question the future of jobs and exports from Canada’s auto industry, as Donald Trump warns that U.S. companies should not be allowed to sell internationally manufactured cars in the U.S. market without penalty. In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked by The Globe and Mail what the naming of a new trade official and Mr. Trump’s comments about the auto industry meant for Canadian manufacturers. (Globe and Mail)

Report: Trump looking into revamping aerial surveillance program at border

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team asked the Department of Homeland Security about an aerial surveillance program along the southern border that was scaled back by the Obama administration, Reuters is reporting. The program, Operation Phalanx, deployed as many as 6,000 National Guard airmen to monitor for drug trafficking and illegal immigration during President George W. Bush’s administration. (FOX News)

'I don't feel safe anymore': Turkish citizens react to attacks

"If I had a chance, I would not stay here, and I would not look back." These are the words of a woman living in Istanbul, Turkey. Jane (her real name has been withheld to protect her identity) talked to The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti about rising tensions in her country. "I don't feel safe being here. I try to avoid public transportation ... I try never to leave home." She is one of the 74 million people living in Turkey — a country seen not too long ago as an anchor of stability in the volatile Middle East, but whose violence in recent years has continued to escalate. (CBC)

Ford cancels Mexico plant. Will create 700 U.S. jobs in 'vote of confidence' in Trump

Ford is canceling plans to build a new plant in Mexico. It will invest $700 million in Michigan instead, creating 700 new U.S. jobs. Ford (F) CEO Mark Fields said the investment is a "vote of confidence" in the pro-business environment being created by Donald Trump. However, he stressed Ford did not do any sort of special deal with the president-elect. (CNN)

Trump's slim NKorea options: Diplomacy, sanctions, force

Donald Trump says he is confident North Korea won't develop a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the United States. But his options for stopping the reclusive communist country are slim: diplomacy that would reward Pyongyang, sanctions which haven't worked, and military action that no one wants. For more than two decades, Republican and Democratic administrations have tried carrots and sticks to steer North Korea away from nuclear weapons. Each has failed. And as Trump prepares to take office Jan. 20, the stakes are rising. (Canadian Press)

Donald Trump calls delay in security briefing on Russian hacking ‘very strange!’

President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday night to say that a planned intelligence briefing for him on “so-called ‘Russian-hacking'” had been delayed until Friday, a development he called ‘very strange!” (National Post)



John Ibbitson: Canada could end up caught in the crossfire of a Trump trade war

When Donald Trump rants against Mexico or China, he puts Canadian jobs at risk. Tuesday was particularly risky. By tweet-slagging GM for selling Mexican-made cars into the U.S., as the president-elect did Tuesday, and by appointing Robert Lighthizer, a China-basher, as United States trade representative, Mr. Trump reinforces his determination to bring American manufacturing jobs home, even at the risk of launching a global trade war that could damage both the American and Canadian economies. (Globe and Mail)

Aaron Wherry: Stakes high for Trudeau as world's last major progressive leader standing

If the next 12 months seem particularly pivotal for Justin Trudeau's leadership of Canada it's because of what happened everywhere else in the year of Brexit and Donald Trump. A month to the day after Trump's U.S. presidential victory, Democratic Vice-President Joe Biden came to Ottawa and anointed Justin Trudeau. (CBC)

Tarek Fatah: Security Council resolution reveals UN hypocrisy

Even though the impasse has partly been the fault of the Arab world’s intransigence, to the ordinary Palestinians, life under Israeli occupation shows no sign of ending. But there was more to the UN resolution than meets the eye. The target, it seems, was not Israel but US President-elect Donald Trump. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Trump's thumping of GM headed to Canada?

For Trump, who made his demand as usual Tuesday on his Twitter account, either Chevrolet makes its Cruze model in the United States, or it will suffer a hefty tax at the Mexican-U.S. border. Think no one was listening? It didn’t matter that Trump had his facts twisted. It didn’t matter that all Cruze sedans sold in the U.S. are made in Ohio, and that the Mexican-made Cruzes are destined for global markets, with only a paltry few sneaking into America. (Toronto Sun)

Chris Selley: It’s 2017. Do you know where your prime minister is?

On Boxing Day in an alternate universe, Justin Trudeau and family headed off on vacation to the Bahamas — just like in this universe, only they flew Air Canada and not on a government jet. To satisfy Canadians’ apparently bottomless appetite for shirtless photos and lifestyle pieces, a few enterprising reporters and photographers found themselves on the flight. Hacks left behind, working bitterly through the holidays, demanded to know why Trudeau had chosen to ring in Canada’s sesquicentennial new year in a foreign country and not here at home. (National Post)

Margaret Wente: Ontario’s plan: destroy jobs, save the planet

Here in clean, green Ontario, where the ambitions of our government know no bounds, a bright new year has dawned. Gasoline is likely to rise by 4.3 cents a litre. Your hydro bill is going up. You’ll pay more for natural gas, too. But don’t feel blue. You are helping save the planet. All of these higher costs are part of the government’s new cap-and-trade scheme, a vast multibillion-dollar enterprise that is designed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by redistributing tons of money to big emitters in California and subsidy-seekers here at home. Unfortunately, the timing is terrible – especially for an increasing number of small- and medium-sized business owners, who can’t figure out how to make a living here any more. (Globe and Mail)

Paul May: An American reality check on just how ‘welcoming’ Canada really is

A recent cover of the Economist put a maple leaf crown on the Statue of Liberty and proclaimed Canada "an example to the world." Famously, on election day, the Canadian immigration website crashed because of the number of Americans reportedly considering a move to their northern neighbour as Donald Trump won the presidency. Year after year, polls show that Canadians are, by far, more open and more optimistic about immigration than the citizens in any other Western country. But such optimism is perhaps easier to achieve in Canada than in other nations: For historical and geopolitical reasons, Canada does not have to cope with the same immigration challenges as the United States and Europe. (Hamilton Spectator)