True North Initiative: News Scan 01 20 17


Cheers and ceremony: Trump arrives for his big day

With fireworks heralding his big moment, Donald Trump swept into Washington Thursday on the eve of his presidential inauguration and pledged to unify a nation sorely divided and clamouring for change. The capital braced for an onslaught of crowds and demonstrators -- with all the attendant hoopla and hand-wringing. "It's a movement like we've never seen anywhere in the world," the president-elect declared at a celebratory evening concert Thursday night with the majestic Lincoln Memorial for a backdrop. To the unwavering supporters who were with him from the start, he promised: "You're not forgotten any more. You're not forgotten any more." "I'll see you tomorrow," he called out, and then fireworks exploded into the evening sky. (CTV)

Stephen Harper sees 'global uncertainty' under Trump presidency

Donald Trump's presidency will mark a landmark shift in U.S. foreign policy not seen since the end of the Second World War, says former prime minister Stephen Harper. "The Trump presidency is a major source of global uncertainty," Harper said Thursday in a speech in New Delhi, the speaking notes for which were obtained by The Canadian Press. "We do not have a clear idea of where the new president will head, but we do have some broad outlines." Harper said Trump is "going to reverse the cornerstone of seven decades of American foreign policy." Trump's foreign policy will scale back U.S. involvement in global affairs and be guided by narrow economic interests, while coming to view China as a "geopolitical adversary," Harper added. (CTV)

Monsef still working on citizenship paperwork that arose after she learned she was actually born in Iran

Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef has not yet finished the paperwork that arose after she learned last year -- through questions from the Globe and Mail -- that she was actually born in Iran, not in Afghanistan as she had been told by her mother. She said she would provide an update on that when she has one, but in the meantime, she said: "I am just as Canadian as you are." Monsef made the comment during a wide-ranging interview Wednesday with The Canadian Press about her new role in the federal cabinet as minister for the status of women. (Peterborough Examiner)

Richmond Hill Liberal MP Majid Jowhari sparks controversy over Iranian activities

Iranian-Canadians are expressing shock and concern over reports that Richmond Hill Liberal MP Majid Jowhari is lobbying for friendlier relations with the Iranian regime. Iranian expatriates say they are worried a terrorist organization is being welcomed into Canada and may even be infiltrating the country with “spies” with support from a local politician. “The fear is real. The threat is real,” said Richmond Hill resident Faramarz Shiravand. “The regime doesn’t joke around." Jowhari, however, says the petition he sponsored to push for re-opening the Iranian embassy and his recent meetings with Iranian parliamentarians are simply encouraging dialogue between nations. (York Region)

Canadian police hit by major computer network outage

The failure of a core computer network device prevented Mounties and other police agencies including the Toronto Police Service from accessing a critical computer program they need to do their jobs called the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. According to a statement from Shared Services Canada (SSC), the latest outage started around 11:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday and involved "routers supporting core IT networks and applications" for the RCMP. It also affected mobile computer workstations in RCMP police cruisers and two other crucial internal RCMP databases, sources told CBC News. (CBC)

Prior leaks of navy info were on RCMP's radar prior to vice-admiral's removal

The RCMP conducted at least two prior investigations into leaks of sensitive information involving naval projects before this week's suspension of the military's second-highest ranking officer, sources tell CBC News. The revelation comes at the same time the Trudeau government has quietly moved to reassure allies that no foreign intelligence data was compromised in relation to the controversy involving Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. A series of federal, defence and industry sources say the RCMP conducted inquiries about how the media got hold of a decision, in late 2015, that temporarily halted plans to lease a new military supply ship. The story was reported, at the time, by CBC News and The Canadian Press. (CBC)

Companies request warship fleet project be delayed in wake of vice-admiral’s removal

Two companies looking to bid on the multibillion-dollar project to build a new warship fleet for Canada have asked that the process be delayed as controversy swirls around the removal of a top military commander. And at least another two companies are also preparing to make similar requests to the Canadian government and its prime contractor, Irving Shipbuilding, industry sources have told the Ottawa Citizen. While the removal of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman from his command for allegedly leaking sensitive shipbuilding information has sent shock waves through the maritime industry, the main reason for the requested delay is because the Canadian Surface Combatant project is poorly structured and allows little time for firms to properly prepare bids, sources say. (National Post)

Trudeau's language flap puts access to English-language health services in Quebec under microscope

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to answer a question about access to mental health services in French at a town hall event in Sherbrooke, Que., pushed a thorny, longstanding concern of anglophone Quebecers back into the spotlight. Judy Ross, the woman who asked the question, wanted to know what was being done to ensure anglophones can get the services they require in their own language. She didn't get the reply she was hoping for. (CBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Treasury Board membership gets shuffled

There’s been a shake-up in the permanent membership of Canada’s Treasury Board. An order in council posted to the Privy Council of Canada’s website Jan. 10 adjusts the board’s ministerial membership, replacing the immigration minister with the international trade minister. The order-in-council was issued the day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his front bench. Former Immigration Minister John McCallum quit politics to become Canada’s ambassador to China. He was replaced by Toronto MP Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s first Somali-Canadian MP. The immigration minister’s Treasury Board position will now be filled by newly named International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who previously served as parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Bill Morneau. The finance minister is a permanent Treasury Board member. (IPolitics)

Brett Wilson endorses Kevin O'Leary after Arlene Dickinson's scathing column

One former Dragons' Den star is defending a second after an unflattering critique from a third. Brett Wilson says Arlene Dickinson's opinion column on Kevin O'Leary is unfair because it fails to draw a distinction between O'Leary as a reality TV show contributor and who the man really is. O'Leary announced he was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada on Wednesday. (CBC)

Kevin O'Leary is 'self-interested,' says former co-star Arlene Dickinson

Canadian investor Arlene Dickinson applauds her reality television co-star Kevin O’Leary for having the nerve to enter politics, but says that’s hardly enough to qualify him to be Canada’s next prime minister. In a sharply worded interview with CTV News Channel, Dickinson accused O’Leary of being too self-absorbed to hold the country’s highest political office. "Somebody who is as self-interested and opportunistic as Kevin is not somebody that I want to have run the country," Dickinson said Thursday evening. (CTV)

U.S. property inquiries surge after election

A new report from Royal LePage suggests many Americans who oppose incoming president Donald Trump continue showing a desire to purchase property in Canada. In a report released early Friday, the company says American web traffic on its website surged 329 per cent the day after the U.S. election on Nov. 8 and has climbed 210.1 per cent year-over-year the week after Trump's victory. For all of November, says Royal LePage, U.S. traffic to its site grew 73.7 per cent year-over-year compared to the same period in 2015 and rose 40.9 per cent annually in the fourth quarter. (Durham Region)

Eleven months later, B.C. woman finally gets work visa

Salma Sultana has been waiting for her work permit since she graduated from an MBA program in Canada last February. The identity document, which allows her to return to her job in Canada, was approved and issued, and then lost in the mail. It was reprinted twice upon requests for a replacement, but those replacements didn’t come either. Being unable to get that piece of paper prevented her from visiting her ill mother back in India, and she worries it has exposed her to the threat of identity theft. (Toronto Star)

From prisoner to honoured guest: Liberal MP Amarjeet Sohi’s return to India

Indian-born Canadian cabinet minister Amarjeet Sohi has returned from an unlikely journey: from prisoner to honoured guest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minister of Infrastructure and Communities last week made his first visit in an official capacity back to the country of his birth. He was in India — where he was once jailed and tortured as a terrorist suspect — to pitch Canadian investment at a large biennial trade conference. With Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance, he was met with loud applause from an audience that officials said numbered in the thousands, and cries of “Brother, brother!” He concluded on a few words in Hindi: “It’s always nice to come back.” (Toronto Star)

Free-trade agreement with India a ‘high priority’ for Canada

Federal Liberal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, fresh off a trade promotion trip to India, says a free-trade agreement with India “is high priority for our government.” But for all the talk, it’s clear that any free trade with India remains a long way off. Talks began with fanfare under the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper but quickly slowed as officials haggled over investor protections and thorny issues such as access for Indian temporary workers, skilled workers and visitors to Canada. (Toronto Star)

Trump has aimed his NAFTA criticism at Mexico. But Canada is now worried.

For Justin Trudeau, life is about to get a lot more complicated. After Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president, the Canadian prime minister will be entering uncharted territory with Canada’s most important economic, defense and political partner. Gone will be his brief, 15-month “bromance” with Barack Obama, in which the two like-minded leaders bonded over issues such as free trade, climate change and human rights. (Washington Post)

Executive Actions Ready To Go As Trump Prepares To Take Office

Donald Trump is preparing to sign executive actions on his first day in the White House on Friday to take the opening steps to crack down on immigration, build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and roll back outgoing President Barack Obama’s policies. Trump, a Republican elected on Nov. 8 to succeed Democrat Obama, arrived in Washington on a military plane with his family a day before he will be sworn in during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. (Huffington Post)

10 promises Trump made for his first day

Behind in the polls in late October, Donald Trump ventured to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to give American voters a "contract" detailing what he would achieve during his first day in office. Beneath a list of 18 major actions was the flourish of Trump's familiar signature and a blank space for voters to sign. But as Trump becomes president on Friday, it remains hazy as to which actions he will immediately take. (Canadian Press)

Britons aren't actually opposed to free movement. They just don't want it with the EU

For decades, the UK has discriminated in its immigration policies, depending upon where the immigrant was from. It has been easier to get into the UK if you were from, say, France than if you were from, say, Somalia. We thus have no deep-seated objection to discriminating between countries. We are now leaving the EU. There appear to be two broad schools of thought on how our post-Brexit immigration policies should work. According to one idea, we should take the opportunity of Brexit to be completely non-discriminating, treating immigrants from all countries in the same way. According to the other idea, we should continue to give favourable treatment to immigrants from the EU, just not as favourable, relative to other countries, as we have had up to now. (

Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said. (New York Times)



Faith Goldy: How Obama’s “press-titutes” will pervert his legacy

On the eve of Donald J Trump’s inauguration, I tell you why Barack Obama was one of the worst presidents in American history, and how the mainstream media will endeavour to alter his true legacy. Then MPP Monte McNaughton joins me to discuss his fight for doctors’ conscience rights which are dangerously under attack in Ontario in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize euthanasia. (Rebel)

Ezra Levant: You won’t believe Canada’s Environment Minister’s message to Trump!

The whole world is riveted on Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president. The global elite is watching Trump, too — with horror. Every January, the World Economic Forum gets together at the luxury ski village in Switzerland called Davos, the elites spend tens of thousands of dollars to hobnob with each other It’s where Justin Trudeau went for his international debut last year. This time he sent his Catherine McKenna, one of his affirmative action cabinet picks. (Rebel)

Lorne Gunter: Prime Minister's tune falls flat on national listening tour

It’s been a bad week for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Instead of flitting off to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trudeau is crisscrossing Liberal-friendly parts of the country on a “national listening tour.” That tour, of course, was a last-minute political decision made necessary by the controversy over Trudeau accepting a vacation trip to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas during the Christmas break. (Ottawa Sun)

Paul Wells: Stephen Harper looks at ‘glass half full’ in Trump’s victory

Well, look who’s talking. Mr. Optimist. “I know we are all worried about what this means,” Stephen Harper said on Thursday in New Delhi. “I’m trying to look at the glass half full for a second.” He always was a cheery sort. After his 2015 election defeat, Canada’s sixth-longest-serving prime minister took a long break from substantive public comment on current affairs. It took Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, to coax him into speaking at the second annual Raisina Dialogue, an attempt to put India onto the global circuit of foreign affairs talkfests. The specific “this” whose meaning has us all worried, of course, is the imminent arrival of Donald Trump as the next tenant of the White House. Most of Harper’s comments were about Trump, in one way or another. The broader “this” was the “unprecedented political uncertainty” that has swept the world since Harper’s own defeat, although he was careful not to list that event among the recent surprises. (Toronto Star)

John Ivison: In what will be a bumpy ride, Trudeau has to appease Trump to avoid falling off trade wagon

Storm clouds but not a hurricane. That’s the economic forecast for Canada from senior Canadian officials involved in negotiations with the incoming Trump administration. Canada will not be a target for new protectionist measures by the Trump government but Justin Trudeau may seek to accommodate Donald Trump by increasing defence spending and reviewing its United Nations mission to Africa, sources suggest. (National Post)

Jim Estill: ‘I paid for 58 Syrian families to come to Canada’

I’m not that plugged into the news, in all honesty. But when I saw what was happening in Syria, it bothered me. As time passed, that feeling kept building. Clearly it was a humanitarian crisis. I kept thinking that someone was going to step in and do something. But nobody seemed to be doing much at all. I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I started my company when I was at university, selling computer parts from the trunk of my car. I grew the business to $350m in sales, and then I ran Synnex, the company that bought mine, which had $2bn in sales. That’s how I learnt to scale a business. Today I’m CEO of Danby Appliances, based in Guelph, Canada. We’re very big in bar fridges, freezers, air conditioners, microwaves. . . (Financial Times)

Rosemary Barton: 'Embrace change': Canada cautioned to keep cool for Trump

Half a world away from the festivities and protests taking place in the United States of America, the former Canadian primer minister managed hit the nail on the head. "The U.S. under [Donald] Trump will focus squarely on America's vital interests, narrowly defined, especially its economic interests. This does not mean the U.S. will be unwilling to work with friends and allies, but only when such friends and allies are only ready to bring real assets to the table," Stephen Harper told a forum in New Delhi, India. Don't take just Harper's word for it. (CBC)

David Rider: A Rob-Ford-beat reporter’s advice to the scribes covering Donald Trump

To my U.S. media colleagues battening down the hatches for Hurricane Donald — some advice from a reporter who weathered the Toronto political tempest that was Rob Ford (Toronto Star)

Ilon Dougherty: O'Leary's right: Stop assuming all young Canadians lean left

In Kevin O’Leary’s first television interview after announcing his run for the Conservative party leadership, he made it clear that he’s chasing the 18- to 35-year-old demographic. He went so far as to call this generation — the ones who may have grown up watching ‘Mr. Wonderful’ on Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank, his “army of entrepreneurs.” So O’Leary has a shot at shifting the Canadian political landscape — maybe for the better. (IPolitics)

Adam Radwanski: Can Trudeau keep resisting calls to be the anti-Trump?

On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as his country’s 45th president, Justin’s Trudeau’s office was flagging a speech about Canada-U.S. relations that the Prime Minister made when he was the third-party leader back in June, 2015. Delivered to the Liberal-affiliated Canada 2020 think-tank shortly before the campaign that would bring Mr. Trudeau to power, the address criticized Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper for letting ideology get in the way of our country’s relationship with its most important trading partner. If his party were to be elected, Mr. Trudeau pledged, there would be no “hectoring” of whoever was in charge of the U.S. government; he would build on a proud history of setting aside differences in favour of pursuing shared interests. (Globe and Mail)