True North Initiative: News Scan 01 18 17


About 1,400 immigrants a year ordered removed from Canada for residency non-compliance

An average of about 1,400 Canadian immigrants are intercepted at the border each year and ordered removed from the country for not fulfilling their residency obligations, the Star has learned. Although these newcomers can appeal to a tribunal to restore their permanent resident status under humanitarian considerations, only one in 10 succeeds in the process, according to government data. (Toronto Star)

Gloves come off in French-language Conservative leadership debate

The third debate of the Conservative leadership campaign held in Quebec City on Tuesday, the only official debate to be held entirely in French, featured some sharp exchanges between candidates, with much of the fire being directed at Quebec MP Maxime Bernier. The debate also proved to be a serious challenge to the French-language skills of some of the 13 contestants taking part. (CBC) (National Post) (CTV) (IPolitics) (Canadian Press)

Celebrity mogul Kevin O'Leary set to run for Conservative leadership

Former Dragon’s Den business mogul Kevin O’Leary is expected to join the battle for the leadership of the Conservative Party on Wednesday, the Toronto Sun has learned. Sources close to the campaign said the mogul was poised to launch his bid in Toronto after bowing out of the French-language debate in Quebec City Tuesday night. According to media reports — which also confirmed O’Leary will run for the leadership — the anticipated announcement comes a week after his campaign exploratory committee told the entrepreneur there was a “clear path to victory.” (Toronto Sun) (CBC)

Canada given advance notice of Trump’s NAFTA demands

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, chosen by U.S. president-elect Donald Trump to reshape U.S. trade policy, has informed Canada that rules of origin and independent dispute tribunals will be central to talks aimed at resetting the North American free-trade agreement. Canadian officials say the nominee for commerce secretary has indicated a formal-notification letter to open negotiations on NAFTA will be sent to Canada and Mexico within days of Friday’s presidential inauguration. (Globe and Mail)

Suspended vice-admiral being investigated for alleged leak of classified shipbuilding data

An allegation that Canada's second-highest ranked military commander leaked classified technical information related to the country's shipbuilding program is being investigated by the RCMP, CBC News has confirmed. Mystery still shrouds the sudden removal of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, but sources say the Mounties became involved after it was determined an investigation of the accusations by military police would constitute a conflict of interest. (CBC)

‘With all the talk of Canada being back,’ aid groups ‘alarmed,’ told to expect little from budget

In a matter of months, Canadian-based foreign aid groups have gone from being optimistic to deflated about the chances the government might boost flat aid spending. When the government launched a full review of Canada’s aid policy last spring, groups were hoping the idea that Canada was coming “back” on the world stage would translate into higher aid spending. They were willing to spend time and money participating in the review, with the expectation of a positive ending. (Hill Times)

Pressed for details about the history of his relationship with the Aga Khan, Trudeau stays silent

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau twice refused to answer questions Tuesday about whether he had ever before vacationed with the Aga Khan, the billionaire leader of the world’s Ismaili Muslims. Trudeau and his family spent about a week over the New Year’s break on what the prime minister has described as “a family vacation” on the private island in the Bahamas owned by the Aga Khan. He has also repeatedly said that the Aga Khan, 80, is a family friend who has known Trudeau since the prime minister was a toddler. (National Post)

Ottawa weeks away from starting free-trade talks with China

The Trudeau government is weeks away from an inaugural round of talks on a free-trade agreement with China as it presses ahead a central objective in its plan to deepen ties with the world’s second-largest economy. Next month, Canada and China will meet in Beijing for exploratory talks, the first concrete step toward a deal that could economically intertwine the two countries in an unprecedented way. The start of formal discussions is no guarantee of a final deal, which, in any case, could take years to complete. Exploratory talks provide an initial chance to decide whether it’s worth progressing to actual negotiations. (Globe and Mail)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Say that again? Unintended zingers from Trudeau’s national listening tour

In Dartmouth, N.S., Monday, Justin Trudeau said that because his maternal grandfather was born in Scotland, he understands the immigrant experience. In Kingston, Ont., last week, Trudeau was asked what to do if he got a spot on his tie — and he had a handy tip. And, of course, in Peterborough, Ont., he forced his aides into some damage control when he blurted out that the oilsands ought to be phased out. These are all part of what passes for the out-takes so far at the six town hall-style meetings Trudeau has held in Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on his national ‘listening’ tour. (National Post)

Team of Liberal ministers drop down in Davos

Six cabinet ministers are in Davos, Switzerland, this week for the World Economic Forum. That includes Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, Treasury Board President Scott Brison, newly-minted Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Finance Minister Bill Morneau. (Globe and Mail)

'The greatest loss': Family devastated after Hamilton man shot in Mexico

Kirk Wilson's family didn't love the trips he was taking to Mexico. Surging crime rates and stories about murders connected to drug cartels worried them. But the 49-year-old Hamilton man loved travelling, and his job working in event security, his mother says — so there was no talking him out of it. On Monday, Wilson was killed after someone walked into the BPM electronic music festival in Mexico and opened fire, killing five people and injuring several others. The father of two young children was working as a security supervisor at the Blue Parrot nightclub at the time. (CBC)

Trudeau promotes former general Andrew Leslie to forge closer ties with U.S.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will name retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie to the cabinet committee on Canada-U.S. relations in an effort to forge closer ties with former military commanders that are playing leading roles in president-elect Donald Trump’s administration. A senior official told The Globe and Mail that Mr. Trudeau is also reassigning some of his most trusted advisers to key positions on U.S. affairs as Ottawa prepares for Friday’s inauguration of Mr. Trump, who campaigned on an America-first trade policy and appears intent on jostling the pillars of postwar U.S. foreign policy. (Globe and Mail)

British envoy to Canada: Don’t compare Trump to Brexit

Britain’s envoy to Canada says it is lazy to equate the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S. to his country’s controversial decision to leave the European Union. High Commissioner Howard Drake said the British decision to stage a “Brexit” and leave the EU differs greatly from the so-called populist sentiment that propelled Trump to Washington and Friday’s presidential inauguration. “They’re not the same thing,” Drake said Tuesday in an interview with The Canadian Press. (Macleans)

U.S. tax authority: GOP plan would hit Canada less than other countries

An American tax authority who helped champion a reform now being considered by the U.S. Congress says Canada would not be among the countries hardest hit by the introduction of so-called border adjustments. Alan Auerbach is among the leading proponents of the push to restructure corporate taxes so that companies stay home and declare taxes there, instead of shifting profits abroad. The Berkeley economist has written papers over the years calling for destination-based taxation — that's to say, if a product gets sold to Americans, the corporate taxes should be paid in the U.S. That policy is now the favoured approach of Republicans as they prepare a once-in-a-generation tax reform in the U.S. Congress, though the idea crosses partisan lines — Auerbach laid it out six years ago in a paper for the left-leaning Center for American Progress. (Canadian Press)

Loonie rises against U.S. dollar following Trump's comments on greenback

The Canadian dollar climbed Tuesday against higher oil prices and a softening greenback following comments from president-elect Donald Trump that seem to suggest he favours a weaker U.S. dollar. The loonie gained 0.61 of a U.S. cent to 76.58 cents US, a day before a scheduled interest rate announcement by the Bank of Canada. It's highly anticipated that bank governor Stephen Poloz will hold its benchmark rate steady at 0.5 per cent. (Canadian Press)

President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who is serving 35 years for giving classified information to WikiLeaks, the White House announced Tuesday. The decision, made in the last days of Obama's presidency, means that Manning can be freed May 17, seven years into a prison term that has been marked by two suicide attempts and a hunger strike aimed at obtaining sex reassignment surgery. (NBC)

Brexit: UK to leave single market, says Theresa May

Theresa May has said the UK "cannot possibly" remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean "not leaving the EU at all". The PM promised to push for the "freest possible trade" with European countries and warned the EU that to try to "punish" the UK would be "an act of calamitous self-harm". She also said Parliament would vote on the final deal that is agreed. (BBC)



Paul Wells: As Trudeau tours, world rushes ahead

There’s an odd disconnect between Justin Trudeau’s industrious tour of small-town and mid-sized Canada this week and the events rattling the world outside. Politically the contrast is probably healthy. On Friday, Donald Trump will proclaim his faith in forgotten ordinary Americans. While he does that, Prime Minister Trudeau is wise to catch up with ordinary Canadians. Nor is Trudeau ignoring Brexit or the fate of Angela Merkel’s government while he takes questions from voters about military equipment contracts or soaring energy bills. Indeed, if Stéphane Dion comes out of his hole and sees his shadow, the ex-foreign minister — reluctantly recast as the likely ambassador to both the EU and Germany — could be on the next flight out of town to help deal, to the extent any Canadian can, with the fallout from Britain’s historic choice. (Toronto Star)

Tarek Fatah: Ahmed Hussen, my kind of Muslim

On Jan. 10, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a decision that made ripples throughout the world. From Singapore to India, to the BBC and beyond, the only news from Canada that made headlines was about Ahmed Hussen, a Somali-born refugee who arrived on our shores in 1993 and rose to become our Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. For spotting talent and lifting a backbencher into the Privy Council, I tip my hat to Trudeau. For hundreds of thousands of African-Canadian boys and girls, Ahmed Hussen’s story is a beacon of hope. (Toronto Sun)

Josh Wingrove: Trudeau Ditches Davos and Moderates His Message for Trump Era

Justin Trudeau swept to power in Canada as, among other things, a pro-trade feminist pledging an influx of refugees and a renewed global agenda. Now, with voter unrest upending the Western world and Donald Trump days away from power, the prime minister is changing tack. Trudeau has quietly and steadily refined his approach since the U.S. president-elect’s win. High-profile moves include changing his top diplomat -- replacing a climate wonk with a star trade minister and one-time New Yorker -- while pivoting inward by canceling a trip to Davos for a rural Canadian junket privately referred to by staff as his “cowbell tour.” (Bloomberg)

Tim Powers: Of politicians, vacations, and helicopters

Politicians, vacations, and helicopters do not make a comfortable threesome. Now get your mind out of the gutter if somehow you ventured there. Justin Trudeau’s vacation to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas is causing the prime minister and his government lots of grief. Most of it seems to be of their own making, based on the planning of the trip and the mangled communications of it. The prime minister probably is wishing he was like the rest of us poor sops whose Christmas travel troubles usually involve lost luggage, never-ending delayed flights and the ever-reliable passenger announcement: “We thank you for your patience.” As if there was some option. But the prime minister does have options most of us don’t. (Hill Times)

Michael Den Tandt: Nice-guy-in-chief needs to toughen up to stare down Trump, Brexit and global uncertainty

Thomas Mulcair was back to form. In an interview with CBC Radio Monday, the caretaker NDP Leader gamely alleged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent ride in the Aga Khan’s helicopter — possibly a violation, but also possibly not a violation, of the federal Conflict of Interest Act — is a very serious matter of law-breaking by a sitting prime minister. (In such cases the PM is always sitting, never standing or reclining.) (

Satyamoorthy Kabilan: Three issues we shouldn't forget in confronting terrorism

This weekend marks 15 years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 on the United States, resulting in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people. So much has changed since that day, but what is patently clear is that terrorism remains a global threat. What does this mean for Canada’s security today? (Ottawa Citizen)