True North Initiative News Scan 01 22 2018


New docs reveal CSIS foreign fighter concerns

The terrorism threat in Canada posed by jihadists is ever-changing, hard to pin down and requires continual monitoring, according to the upper brass at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. “The Service has never before faced a terrorist threat of the scope, scale and complexity of Sunni Islamist-inspired terrorism,” reads an unclassified committee briefing note prepared for an unidentified individual in October 2016. The document not only reveals troubling news about the severity of the threat in Canada, but appears to conflict with the tone of public statements previously made by both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. (Toronto Sun)

Less than half the people deported from Canada in 2017 paid their own way home

Less than half the foreign nationals forced to leave Canada last year did so voluntarily and paid their own way home, according to data from the border services agency. In 2017, there were 8,200 removals of failed refugee claimants, people who had outstayed their travel, work or student visa or were considered a risk to public safety. While 3,639 of them voluntarily complied with their removal order, the others were forced to leave with escorts or had transportation costs paid by the government. (CBC)

Yazidi boy who was reunited with family in Winnipeg after Daesh captivity wants to meet Trudeau

A Yazidi boy who was held captive for three years by Iraqi militants before being reunited with his family in Winnipeg last year is requesting a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In a video posted to Facebook by the Yazidi Association of Manitoba, 13-year-old Emad Mishko Tamo holds up a sign thanking Canada for helping him, followed by another sign stating that he wants to share his story and be a voice for other Yazidi children still in captivity. (Toronto Star) (CTV)

Push for free movement of Canadians, Kiwis, Britons and Australians gains momentum

Imagine jetting off to New Zealand for four months each winter without needing to apply for a visa. Or heading to the U.K. to work for a decade without having to sort through work permits and residency applications. That’s the future being proposed by CANZUK International, a non-profit organization advocating freedom of movement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. (Global)

Previously Deported Honduran Caught Crossing Canadian Border in Vermont

Agents nabbed 43-year-old Marco George-Torres right after he illegally crossed into the United States near Highgate, Vermont. His immigration history includes convictions for illegal entry and a conviction for the felony of illegal reentry. He also has a 2012 domestic violence conviction out of Michigan. The agents charged George-Torres with a new illegal reentry violation under 8 U.S.C. 1326. The new felony charge could land him in prison for up to 20 years. (Breitbart)

U.S. shutdown continues into workweek as Senate talks drag on

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said negotiations were still underway into the night, with a vote to break a Democratic filibuster on a short-term funding bill scheduled for noon Monday. Seeking to win over holdout votes, McConnell pledged Sunday that the Senate would take up legislation on some top Democratic priorities, including immigration, if they aren't already addressed by Feb. 8. (CBC) (BBC)

ISIS and how it continues to plague Iraq

It's more than a month since Iraq's prime minister declared victory in his country's fight against the militants of Islamic State. But in reality the battle is far from over, with attacks on Iraqi soldiers taking place on a daily basis. Much of the fighting occurs on the porous border with Syria, where IS fighters are able to take refuge. (BBC)

Canadian prime minister to bypass Trump in visit to U.S. to rally support for NAFTA

The prime minister of Canada is visiting three cities in the United States next month to drum up support for NAFTA, but Donald Trump’s Washington is conspicuously not one of them. Justin Trudeau plans to visit Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago from Feb. 7 to Feb. 10 in an effort to “further strengthen the deep bonds that unite Canada and the United States,” as his office put it. (Marketwatch)

Iran: Slain Detained Protesters Were Forced Fed Unknown Pills

Twenty-year-old protester Seyed Shahab Abtahi, who was arrested in recent protests in Arak was killed in prison. His body was left outside the door of his home after 10 days with bruises apparent all over his body. (Iran HRM)

Iran may try to loosen Guard’s grip on economy

Iran’s supreme leader has ordered the Revolutionary Guard to loosen its hold on the economy, the country’s defense minister said, raising the possibility that the paramilitary organization might privatize some of its vast holdings. The comments this weekend by Defense Minister Gen. Amir Hatami appear to be a trial balloon to test the reaction of the idea, long pushed by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate. (Daily Star)

Iran lawmakers granted access to prisoners detained in protests

Members of Iran's parliament have been granted access to prisoners who were detained in the wave of anti-government protests that rocked the country at the turn of the year. "Today our application was approved," Hassan Norouzi, spokesman for the judicial committee, was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying on Sunday. (Daily Sabah)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Trudeau would win majority if election held today

(Mainstreet Poll)

Rona Ambrose: Trump nixing NAFTA is just a matter of 'when'

Canada's trade insiders say they are preparing for the worst when it comes to the fate of NAFTA, with one top adviser saying it’s only a matter of time before U.S. President Donald Trump pulls out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (CTV)

Six-fold increase in Senate lobbying under Trudeau, with independents taking most meetings

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vision for a less-partisan Senate takes shape, independent senators are now the most likely to be lobbied by special interest groups. Lobbyists communicated with members of the upper chamber twice as often in 2017 as in 2016, and a full six times as often as in 2015, apparently a reflection of senators’ increasing influence. “I think that senators are being lobbied more because we’re being more active. We’re being very proactive,” Liberal Sen. Terry Mercer, the most-lobbied senator in 2017, told the National Post. (National Post)

ICE releases personal information of immigrant-crime hotline users

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released the private information of hundreds of people who called the agency’s Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE), The Arizona Republic reported Sunday. Call logs to the VOICE hotline were posted to the agency’s website, and ICE released some private information to The Arizona Republic through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the news outlet reported. (The Hill)

Britain's strategy to target smugglers sending migrant boats across Mediterranean doomed to fail, study suggests

Britain’s strategy to tackle people smugglers sending migrants across the Mediterranean is doomed to fail, a new Cambridge University study has suggested. Wiretapped telephone conversations between gangs show there are no “kingpins” who can be removed and that arrests only cause other groups to take control of the lucrative human market. The study, entitled Out of Africa: The organisation of migrant smuggling across the Mediterranean, concluded that UK-supported sea operations to push refugee boats back to Libya will be ineffective. (Independent)

'There were dozens of dead bodies lying around me': At least 18 die in Taliban siege of major Afghan hotel

It was sometime after 9 p.m. on Saturday, when a telecommunications employee left his room in Kabul’s largest and safest hotel to join a reception. Mumtaz Ahmad walked down the hall toward the elevator. When the doors opened, he said: “I saw two armed suicide bombers. People were escaping and the attackers were firing at them.” (National Post)

Two Canadians, two Americans who were kidnapped in Nigeria freed without ransom, police say

Two Canadians and two Americans who were kidnapped in Nigeria’s north-central Kaduna state on Tuesday have been freed and are in good condition, police said Saturday. Police and a special anti-kidnapping squad rescued the foreigners in the Kagarko local government area Friday night after a massive manhunt, state police commissioner Agyole Abeh said. (National Post)

Iraq sentences German woman to death for joining Isis, reports say

The woman, who was not identified, has 30 days to appeal, after which she could be executed. She admitted traveling to Syria and Iraq with her two daughters. The woman acknowledged joining Isis after travelling from Germany to Syria and then to Iraq along with her two daughters. An Iraqi court on Sunday condemned a German woman to death by hanging after finding her guilty of belonging to the Islamic State group. (10ThousandCouple)

Macron admits France would vote to LEAVE EU if country held referendum

Emmanuel Macron has sent shockwaves throughout Europe after he conceded that French voters would quit the EU if France held an in/out referendum on the Brussels-led bloc. No other European Union country has risked putting membership of the bloc to a public vote since Britain surprised member-states by voting to leave the bloc in 2016, (

Syria offensive: Turkish troops 'capture villages' in Afrin

Turkish forces have captured a number of villages in north-western Syria, on the third day of an offensive to oust Kurdish fighters, Turkish media report. Turkish troops, accompanied by allied Syrian rebels, reportedly seized control of several areas in the region of Afrin on Monday. (BBC)

Communist Purge Plays Out in Vietnam’s Trial of the Decade

The disappearance of a former Vietnamese official in Berlin last summer gave the outside world an early glimpse into an anticorruption drive captivating communist-run Vietnam. Germany said Vietnamese agents kidnapped Trinh Xuan Thanh, who had been seeking asylum there. But Vietnam said the former executive at state-owned oil-and-gas giant PetroVietnam returned home of his own accord to face corruption charges stemming from losses of $150 million. (WSJ)

Security fears spark crackdown on Chinese tech

The federal government is taking steps to reduce the presence of some Chinese technology firms in American markets. Earlier this month, AT&T scrapped a deal with Chinese phone maker Huawei, reportedly as a result of pressure from anonymous U.S. lawmakers who cited national security concerns. Reuters reported this week that lawmakers are now pressing AT&T to sever all of its commercial ties with Huawei. (Hill)



Candice Malcolm: A focus on integration is key to defeating Sharia

North America has long been a land of freedom and opportunity, and Canada has a proud history of welcoming newcomers and integrating them into our society. Integration is key, and it’s based on the idea that newcomers embrace our values and institutions while being free to pursue their own hopes and dreams. Newcomers enjoy all the rights and fundamental freedoms of Canadian citizenship, and in return, they are asked to embrace our way of life and adhere to Canadian laws. Immigration only works when it’s based on integration; it fails when integration is sacrificed to the doctrine of official multiculturalism. (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: Here's why we don't need a national Islamophobia day

When it was first reported last week that 11-year-old Toronto grade-school student Khawlah Noman had been followed to school by some whack job who wanted to cut off her hijab using scissors, the forces of political correctness were swift to condemn the incident. Local and national politicians expressed their shock and indignation. This kind of aggression is not what Canada is about and will not be tolerated, they huffed. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Trudeau edict ‘aborts’ missions to secure summer jobs

When a democratic government such as one led by a supposedly diversity-embracing prime minister begins punishing its citizens for their religious views, democracy inches closer and closer to totalitarianism. Make no mistake about it. Justin Trudeau and totalitarianism are not strangers. (Toronto Sun)

Rex Murphy: No summer jobs for you! And other decrees from Bishop Trudeau

Just because you vacation with an Aga Khan, however often, doesn’t make you one. You leave the idyllic island with no more religious authority than when you arrived. Come as a secular politician, leave as one. I think we may begin to wonder if Justin Trudeau understands this point. The prime minister has recently, speaking as one should say ex cathedra, declared a doctrinal test for any who wish to make application for student summer job grants. If any church, charity or club wishes to apply for one — successfully — it is insisted they endorse and declare in writing their agreement with the Liberal party’s understanding on (a) abortion and (b) a whole raft of other progressive doctrines and dogmas on other sexual and gender issues. (National Post)

Douglas Todd: Here's how to end migration scams by the global rich in Canada

Canada could crack down in many ways on the scams performed by “ghost immigrants” who avoid paying their share of Canadian taxes while driving up housing prices in Vancouver and Toronto. Immigration and tax specialists are pressing Ottawa to adopt numerous proposals they believe would put an end to widespread illegitimate migration schemes, such as those employed by two rich families from China, whose tactics were exposed this month in B.C. Supreme Court. (Vancouver Sun)

Melissa Lantsman: Canadians deserve answers about Trudeau's ethical breach

The House of Commons is almost back for another season and we still have questions about the Liberals, their ethics and the Prime Minister’s fancy vacation of a past Christmas. Justin Trudeau broke the rules.  And Canadians deserve answers. While most seasoned politicians in his position would be in hiding until the House of Commons resumed from its winter hibernation, Trudeau is out on a full-on charm offensive. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Ministers don't need paid social media staffers

It’s really not that hard to issue a handful of social media posts. Every single day, millions of Canadians manage to pull it off. They post on Facebook, they post on Twitter, they post on Instagram and other platforms. Businesses and institutions do it too – bringing news about products, events and more to their client base. It’s not rocket science. (Toronto Sun)

Robyn Urback: Perhaps the Liberals should change their motto to 'Diversity is our strength, sorta'

A humble suggestion for the good folks churning out the talking points in the Prime Minister's Office: one of your oldies could use an update. Instead of "Diversity is our strength," I'd suggest something more specific. Perhaps: "Visual diversity is our strength" or maybe "Diversity is our strength — sorta." The old slogan jibed well for a while, when the government could control its inclusivity narrative with big shows of gender parity in cabinet and the push for a gender-neutral national anthem. That kind of diversity is easy. (CBC)

John Ivison: Trudeau's stubbornness over summer jobs application defies common sense

Some unkind critics have questioned Justin Trudeau’s book smarts, but there can be few doubts about his practical intelligence – the ability to know what to say, when to say it and how to say it for maximum effect. As such, it’s mystifying why his government has not softened its position on the summer jobs funding program that subsidizes around 70,000 student jobs every year. (National Post)

Margaret Wente: Can Justin Trudeau tolerate real diversity?

Justin Trudeau is the world's biggest cheerleader for a diverse and inclusive society. Diversity is our strength, he repeats ad nauseam. Canada is strong because people of many diverse cultures, backgrounds and beliefs are welcome in our tolerant, multicultural country. But Mr. Trudeau's Canada evidently doesn't include people such as Rosemary Redshaw. (Globe and Mail)




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