True North Initiative News Scan 01 26 18


Joshua Boyle to return to court today

No coverage in mainstream media except brief mention in this article on January 15 (Globe and Mail)

Canada’s refugee board abruptly changes its scheduling system amid surging backlog

Thousands of refugee hearings that had been scheduled for this year have been abruptly cancelled so officials can roll out a “first-in, first-out” scheduling system amid a backlog that has been growing with no end in sight, the Star has learned. In a form letter, the Immigration and Refugee Board told recent asylum-seekers that they should expect their cases to be heard in between 12 and 24 months as the board prioritizes hearings based on the date they are referred by immigration and border enforcement officers, affecting both those who cross the land border and those who arrive by air.) (Toronto Star)

Trump plan offers citizenship path to 1.8 million immigrants

The White House has unveiled a proposal that provides a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, in exchange for new restrictions on legal immigration and $25 billion in border security. The plan, announced Thursday, was applauded by some in Congress, but blasted by conservative activists as "amnesty" and slammed by a slew of Democrats, who accused President Donald Trump of holding "Dreamers" hostage to his hard-line immigration agenda. (CBC) (BBC) (Reuters)

Taxpayer-Funded Canadian Group Hires Accused Terrorists as ‘Anti-Radicalism Consultants’

It is always nice to hire people with expertise for delicate work, but Ezra Levant at the Rebel Media thinks Canada’s Center for Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence (CPRLV) went a bit overboard by hiring two accused terrorists as “anti-radicalism consultants.” (Breitbart)

Judge dismisses RCMP peace bond against B.C. man accused of wanting to join ISIS to behead Canadians

A British Columbia man accused of threatening to join the so-called Islamic State and behead Canadians has fended off the RCMP’s attempts to subject him to a terrorism peace bond. Khalid Ahmad Ibrahim was arrested in 2016 on the grounds the RCMP feared he would engage in terrorism for ISIS but a judge dismissed the case in a decision handed down this week. In her ruling, Judge Therese Alexander of the Provincial Court in New Westminster, B.C., said the 41-year-old Iraqi-Canadian suffered from mental illness and the police evidence was not reliable. (Global)

ISIS claims responsibility for deadly attack on Save the Children office in Afghanistan

Gunmen stormed an office of the Save the Children aid agency in Afghanistan‘s eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, leaving at least five dead and 25 wounded in a daylong battle with security forces before the attack was finally suppressed. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the assault, which began with a suicide car bomb outside the office in the morning and continued as gunmen entered the compound where they resisted Afghan security forces for about 10 hours. (Global)

Canadian political scene shaken by sexual misconduct allegations

Within the past 24 hours, allegations of sexual misconduct have been levelled against Ontario MPP Patrick Brown and Calgary MP Kent Hehr, while former Nova Scotia PC leader Jamie Baillie has resigned amid accusations of inappropriate behaviour. All three men have stepped back from their high-profile positions. Brown resigned as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives after a conference call with his fellow party members, after CTV News reported the exclusive and serious allegations from two women. (CTV

NDP MP apologizes for comments on abortion-rights requirement in jobs program

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen has apologized for criticizing the Trudeau government’s decision to force groups applying for summer-job grants to affirm their respect for a woman’s right to have an abortion. The apology came hours after Cullen criticized the way the Liberals added the new requirement to the Canada Summer Jobs program, which helps employers subsidize the cost of hiring students for summer work. (National Post)

Over 80 religious leaders call on Trudeau to end rights-based job program funding

Religious leaders are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reverse a policy requiring organizations to pledge their respect for abortion rights and the rights of LGBTQ Canadians before receiving federal funding to create summer jobs for youth. Representatives of nearly 90 Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups issued a letter to Trudeau, urging him to accommodate the “diversity of values and beliefs” in Canadian society. (Whig)

Trudeau defends decision to not seek meeting with Trump in Davos

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he didn't seek a one-on-one meeting with Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos to allow other world leaders an opportunity to press their issues with the U.S. President. Mr. Trump – the first U.S. President in nearly 20 years to attend the annual gathering of the wealthy and powerful held in the Swiss Alps – arrived Thursday with a mission to espouse his America First trade policy that has impacted Canada and the world. (Globe and Mail)

Iran: Young Protester Tortured In Golpayegan Intelligence Detention Center

On January 30, at least six young people were arrested in Golpayegan by intelligence and security agents oncharges of participating in protests. According to reliable sources, one of the detainees identified as Hossein Fayazi, is currently under torture at the Golpayegan Intelligence Detention Center. (Iran HRM)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Keeping Canada 150 rink open will cost taxpayers an additional $2.5M

The rink was originally slated to be taken down after New Year’s Eve, but Heritage Minister Melanie Joly opted to extend that term in November, prior to its opening. The cost of running the rink from Jan. 1-Feb. 28 has been pegged at $2.5 million, bringing the overall price tag for the rink to $8.1 million. That amount includes the $2.4 million spent to actually build the facility, as well as $1.3 million to cover all the costs of running a youth hockey tournament with players from around the country. The tournament was ultimately moved indoors due to extreme cold, but players were still granted a chance to skate on the rink, Joly’s office said. (CTV)

Brown’s down, who’s up? 7 potential successors to lead Ontario PCs

The abrupt resignation of Ontario’s opposition leader amid allegations of sexual misconduct has many speculating who could take Patrick Brown’s place. Here are seven potential successors: (Toronto Sun) (Toronto Star)

Jagmeet Singh: Presumption Of Innocence Is ‘Strictly’ For Courts

The presumption of innocence is "strictly" a legal construct that shouldn't stop Canadians from believing women who come forward with allegations of assault, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Thursday. While some members of his caucus stood behind him with incredulous looks, Singh told reporters there are "different issues" at play when women step forward with accusations. (Huffington Post)

Woman says Liberal party hasn't contacted her about allegations she was groped by MP Darshan Kang

A woman who came forward last year with allegations of misconduct against Calgary Skyview MP Darshan Kang stemming from his time as an MLA says the provincial Liberal party never contacted her, despite its promises of an internal investigation. Kirstin Morrell said she’s also never spoken to investigators from the ongoing House of Commons inquiry into Kang’s conduct. (Calgary Herald)

Ontario PCs in turmoil amid sexual-misconduct allegations against Patrick Brown

Senior party officials and caucus members debated next steps and struggled to gain consensus on Thursday after Mr. Brown was forced to step down. An interim leader is expected to be chosen by caucus members Friday morning, however it has not been decided whether the party will opt for a formal leadership race before the election given the tight timeline, party president Rick Dykstra told The Globe and Mail after a meeting of the party executive Thursday night. (Globe and Mail)

Trudeau announces Canada doubling money for girls’ education fund at Davos

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the stage at the World Economic Forum to announce that Canada is doubling the money it gives to an international fund that helps educate girls in developing countries. During a panel discussion on women's empowerment on Thursday, alongside Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Prime Minister said Canada will provide an additional $180-million to the Global Partnership Education Fund (GPE) in 2018-2021. (Globe and Mail)

IRB warns asylum seekers about iTunes, bitcoin scam

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) is warning asylum seekers not to fall for an extortion scam that demands payment in iTunes cards or bitcoin. The IRB has printed posters in six languages warning refugees about the scammers, who threaten their targets with deportation if they don't pay up. (CBC)

Hezbollah is a clearly a terror organisation. Parliament should treat it as one

An international network of shell corporations, criminal enterprises, and phantom charities fund these global terrorist activities to the tune of more than $1 billion a year. For years, Hezbollah has gained freedom to operate this network in Europe and elsewhere by separating itself – on paper – into “political” and “military” wings. The military wing carries out the murder and violence. The political wing funds and supports this work. (Telegraph)

The Tax Law, Just One Month Old, Is Roaring Through U.S. Companies

Just weeks after the federal government adopted the biggest tax overhaul in three decades, the effects are rippling through corner offices and boardrooms, with companies large and small dusting off once-shelved plans, re-evaluating existing projects and exploring new investment in factories and equipment. (WSJ)

Analysts Fear Bigger Iran Military Budget Could Mean More Proxy Wars

An Iranian official has announced the allocation of $2.5 billion more for the country's military to increase what the regime terms the country's "military capabilities." Ali Asghar Yousefnejad, a member of Iranian Parliament and the spokesperson for Iran's special parliamentary committee that deals with the country's budget, told the country's official news agency IRNA on Tuesday that the $2.5 billion is in addition to what the military will receive once the regime's fiscal year begins in March. (VOA)

'No one told me' jihadists rented my flat, Paris defendant says

The main defendant in the first trial stemming from the November 2015 Paris terror attacks on Wednesday denied knowing that he took in two of the jihadists at his suburban apartment in the aftermath of the carnage. "No one told me that I was sheltering terrorists," a tearful Jawad Bendaoud told the packed Paris court. "I swear on the head of my son that I didn't know they were terrorists." (Yahoo)



Anthony Furey: Ontario PCs will benefit from an early leadership race

Right now everyone in Ontario politics is poring over the Progressive Conservative party’s constitution to figure out what it says about picking a new leader. The key element is Article 25.1, which says that within 18 months of the death or resignation of a leader the executive shall call a leadership election. That’s a maximum time frame. There is no minimum. So when will it happen? The Ontario PC caucus meets Friday morning to select a new interim leader. There is no rule that states the interim leader can’t later become the permanent leader, but this would defy typical standards. (Toronto Sun)

Farzana Hassan: New CSIS docs raise fresh questions about terror

The Sun’s three-part series on the terrorist threat to Canada written by Anthony Furey and based on several secret CSIS reports has raised appropriate questions about the severity of the problem and what can be done about it. Disturbingly, CSIS concludes that the threat is far more severe than the public is usually led to believe from another report – the annual one released by the Public Safety Minister. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: A new puzzle to Where's Waldo: Where's Trudeau?

It can now be written in stone that our prime minister loves getting the hell out of Dodge to the point of it being relentless. Ottawa in January is an actual hell, of course, but it has always been thus — a frigid capital that suddenly pops up after miles of driving through what appears to be nothing but bush and tundra. The dew is off Justin Trudeau’s rose in our nation’s capital, but in posh places like Switzerland’s Davos, where our much-travelled leader is today, he is treated as a rock star by the same mega-wealthy plutocrats his Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland used to savage when she was being paid comparative pennies a word as a journalist. (Toronto Sun)

Candice Malcolm: Don't let them tell you it's wrong to criticize radical Islam

In 2011, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper said “Islamicism” posed the greatest threat to Canada’s national security. In the seven years since, we’ve experienced a tidal wave of unpredictable and grossly inhumane jihadist terrorist attacks across the West, including here at home. Harper was right about the rising threat of jihadists armies and emboldened Islamists. And yet, Harper’s comment was met with scorn and ridicule by Canadian elites – particularly Liberal Party politicians and leftist members of the mainstream media. (Toronto Sun)

Christie Blatchford: What happened to Brown is fundamentally wrong. Every man in the world is now vulnerable

For all the other moments #MeToo has wrought, the Patrick Brown story is seminal: A political leader is cut down like a sapling in the forest in a matter of hours, and none of his colleagues, in and outside of the Ontario Conservative party, and including the Ontario premier and the prime minister of Canada, have one word to say in the defence of fair play or the presumption of innocence. This — not the anonymous allegations of Brown’s accusers from the shadows — is what is shocking and disgraceful about this story. (National Post)



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