True North Initiative News Scan 01 29 18


Canadians don't want an anti-Islamophobia day: poll

Should Jan. 29 be set aside to combat Islamophobia?  That day — tomorrow —  is the first anniversary of the mass murder at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. Six Muslims were killed in this hate crime. Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders in Canada would like to take a stand against intolerance and see Jan. 29th declared a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia. A recent Forum Poll suggests that many Canadians are against this. (Toronto Sun)

Ex-hostage Joshua Boyle faces new set of charges, will be psychologically assessed

Former hostage Joshua Boyle, who faces a new set of 19 charges related to alleged incidents after he returned to Canada, will undergo a 60-day psychological assessment in Brockville, Ont., before his next court appearance. Boyle, 34, appeared in court Friday via a video link from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, where he has been held since his arrest in Ottawa on New Year's Day. (CBC)

RCMP intercepted over 20,000 asylum seekers in 2017

The RCMP intercepted a grand total of 20,593 asylum seekers crossing into Canada last year between legal border checkpoints, newly released numbers reveal. On Friday, Citizenship and Immigration Canada released its tally for the number of interceptions in December – which came in at 1,978— finally allowing the department to then add up the overall total for the entire year. (Global)

Fearing U.S. rejection, asylum seekers flee to Canada

Canadian officials intercepted an unprecedented 20,000 people trying to enter the country in 2017, many of whom were fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries and saw more hope for asylum there than the U.S. PBS NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Simon Ostrovsky talked to people on both sides of the border. (PBS)

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)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau target of 'hijab hoax' protest

A group of Asian protesters converged on Queen’s Park Sunday to demand an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his handling of the hijab hoax. The protesters say they feel insulted that a girl lied that she was assaulted by an Asian man and say Trudeau needs to make amends to their community.  “He needs to say sorry to Asian people,” said Zou Qian, one of about 30 people who showed up. “We need equality and justice.” (Toronto Sun)

A palace coup: the 48-hour struggle to win control of the Ontario PC Party

On Wednesday afternoon, Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown and his top advisors were in good spirits. They were all smiles and laughter as they met with a potential star candidate to discuss her prospects and whether she’d be able to take out a top Liberal cabinet minister in a GTA riding. It would have been one of the finishing pieces on a long-planned strategy to cautiously but decisively knock the Liberals off the top perch they’d held since 2003. (Toronto Sun)

Iran frees woman who took off headscarf – lawyer

An Iranian woman detained after defiantly taking off her headscarf and holding it on a stick in Tehran has been freed, a human rights lawyer says. The woman - whose name remains unknown - became the face of protests in the country in December, and images of her were widely shared on social media. (BBC)

'Halal' internet means more control in Iran after unrest

Guns drawn, Iranian intelligence agents rushed into the apartment of a Washington Post reporter and his journalist wife in Tehran. Threatening to kill Jason Rezaian in front of his wife, Yeganeh, the 20 agents in the July 2014 raid tore through their belongings and rifled through drawers, clothes and valuables for an hour. (Yahoo)

Iran spends billions on weapons programs, terrorism while ignoring Iranians' basic needs, report finds

Iran is spending billions of dollars on its weapons programs and supporting terrorism around the globe while it ignores the basic needs of its people, a new report asserts. The report, issued by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), states that this month’s uprising against the regime was due to what it states are the “grueling high prices and economic strains on an array of social sectors.” (FOX News)

Detainees Arrested in Iranian Protests Facing Charges That Carry Death Penalty

Some detainees arrested in the protests that broke out in Iran’s Hamadan and Khuzestan provinces in December 2017 are facing charges that are punishable by death, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. “Some of them have been investigated, interrogated and charged with ‘rebellion,’” said a legal source in the city of Izeh, Khuzestan Province, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. (IHRW)

Liberal MP Kent Hehr remains in caucus as second complaint filed

Liberal MP Kent Hehr is facing a second complaint, this time involving sexual misconduct, but remains a member of Justin Trudeau's caucus as an investigation into his alleged behaviour continues. Liberal whip Pablo Rodriguez told reporters at the party's caucus meeting in Ottawa on Sunday that a second complaint against Mr. Hehr has been sent to law firm Rubin Thomlinson, which is investigating the former cabinet minister's conduct. (Globe and Mail)

Lifeguard testifies in trial of refugee accused of assaulting teens at water park

A lifeguard testified that the West Edmonton Mall Water Park was about to close when a large group of teenage girls approached her to report that a man had touched them inappropriately in the water. Karley Cranford was one of four lifeguards on duty at the wave pool on the evening of Feb. 4 last year. She was called to testify Friday at Edmonton provincial court by prosecutor Laurie Trahan. (CBC)

Edmonton refugee group standing by man accused in water park assaults

An Edmonton refugee support group is standing by the man accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls inside the West Edmonton Mall water park. Soleiman Hajj Soleiman, 40, is on trial in Edmonton provincial court this week for six counts of sexual assault and six counts of sexual contact with a child. (CBC)

Venezuelan President Maduro to address U.N. Human Rights Council

President Nicolas Maduro, accused of trampling on human rights and democracy in Venezuela, is expected to address the opening day of a three-week U.N. Human Rights Council session on Sept. 11. (Yahoo)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Random, unprovoked shooting spree appalling, terrifying

The shattered glass from the shot-out window of a car carrying a four-year-old girl and her father is still scattered in the parking lot. A bullet hole is also still visible in one house window nearby. It’s chilling. It’s despicable. (Toronto Sun)

NAFTA: U.S. negotiators take Canadian proposals to political decision-makers

Important decisions about NAFTA's future are now in the hands of the Trump administration, as American negotiators turn to their political masters for guidance with a potentially pivotal round of talks set to conclude on Monday. After major discussions about autos, dispute resolution and a five-year review clause, which some hailed as the first signs of true bargaining on difficult issues, American negotiators have asked political decision-makers how to respond. (CTV)

Shocking massive losses revealed at ICBC, huge rate hikes feared

British Columbia’s public auto insurer has driven over a financial cliff and the damage is far worse than anyone had feared or predicted. On Monday, ICBC will announce a staggering projected operating loss of $1.3 billion for the current fiscal year. That’s more than $1 billion higher than projected just three months ago. (Province)

Doug Ford says he is considering Ontario PC leadership run

Toronto mayoral candidate Doug Ford says he is considering a run for the leadership of the Ontario PC Party. Sources tell CP24 that Ford will be meeting with possible donors, staff, and supporters today and speaking to CP24 on Sunday, Ford said he could have an answer as early as Monday. The news comes after Patrick Brown resigned as the party’s leader following sexual misconduct allegations, which Brown strongly denies. (CP24)

Ontario PC Party president Rick Dykstra resigns after sexual assault accusation

Senior Conservative campaign operatives discussed dropping MP Rick Dykstra as a candidate in the 2015 federal election when they became aware of allegations that he sexually assaulted a young staffer the previous year. The campaign decided to allow him to continue to run. He lost his St. Catharines riding and subsequently became president of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, a position he resigned on Sunday night, two hours after he received an email from Maclean’s outlining the allegations contained in this story. (Macleans)

Terrorism, Not Taxes, Is the Key Focus on Bitcoin, Canada Says

Canadians trading bitcoin shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for specific rules on how they’ll be taxed. Finance Minister Bill Morneau, speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, said Canada isn’t planning changes to existing tax code to deal with crypto-currencies. But some observers say the rules leave too much room for uncertainty about Bitcoin, which in Canada can essentially be treated as money, a commodity or even income. (Bloomberg)

Canada testing ‘digital ID’ system that uses blockchain, biometrics to screen travellers

The Canadian government is helping to test a new airport security and screening system that will allow travellers to digitize and share travel documents and biometric information with authorities in advance. Launched at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the “Known Traveller Digital Identity” system aims to exploit an array of emerging technologies including biometrics, blockchain and artificial intelligence to boost cross-border security, reduce the threat of cyber-terrorism and streamline international travel, according to the WEF. (Global)

One family’s struggle, one year after the Quebec City mosque shooting

On a sleepy Sunday evening late last January, Yousseff Cherif, a 44-year-old IT professional in Quebec City, was preparing to leave the house, hoping to catch isha, the final prayer of the day at the Grand Mosque, one of two mosques in the city run by the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec. It would take him 12 minutes or so to drive from his quiet suburban neighbourhood, a trip he made frequently, shuttling his nine-year-old son Ramy to the mosque for weekly Arabic classes, and catching up with friends after prayers. Yousseff’s wife, Mulka, was unable to go as often since she cared full-time for the couple’s six-year-old daughter Shayma, who has disabilities. (Macleans)

'We need to run': Survivor recalls Quebec mosque attack

Ahmed Ech-Chahedy first thought he was hearing fireworks. The father of six had just finished evening prayers at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec, Canada, and was chatting with his eight-year-old son and two of his son's friends. It was January 29, 2017, and Ech-Chahedy's back was to the main door of the mosque. (Al Jazeera)

Refugees unable to work due to ‘pointless’ mistakes on work permits

Eritrean refugees to Canada are going without valid work permits — in some cases for months — because their passports don't follow the Canadian format. Unlike the Canadian passport, which lists a person's last name followed by their first name on two separate lines, the Eritrean passport lists the first name followed by the last on one line. This is leading to work permits being issued with the names in the wrong order — last as first and first as last. (The Spec)

Canadians among foreigners charged in Cambodia for 'dancing pornographically'

Two Canadians are among 10 foreigners charged in Cambodia with producing pornographic pictures, after they were arrested at a party where they were dancing and rolling around on the floor with clothes on. According to a media release by Cambodian national police, the two Canadian nationals facing charges are 20-year-old Kazoleas Edensaran and 25-year-old Jessica Drolet. (Toronto Sun)

Hundreds of Kurds in Canada demand Ottawa breaks silence on Afrin attacks

At least 500 people gathered in front of the Canadian Parliament on Friday urging Canada to break its silence on Turkey’s ongoing military operation in Afrin, Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava). The demonstration was organized by the Greater Toronto Kurdish House (GTKH) and included other Kurdish groups in Canada like The Kurdish Association of Canada (KAC), the Toronto Kurdish Community and Information Centre (TKCIC), and the Kurdish Democratic Federation of Canada (KDFC). (Kurdistan 24)

Canadian bomb experts help Iraqis clean up after Daesh fight

A mission by Canadian military explosives experts in Iraq has been extended to help the country clean up the dangerous remnants of the battle against Daesh. Ottawa is weighing other military commitments as the Daesh fight enters a new stage but it’s already decided that the combat engineers who have been training Iraqi personnel in the safe disposal of explosives should remain in the country for several more months. (Toronto Star)

Hundreds gather in Thornhill to protest Iranian regime

More than 100 people came out to the Thornhill Community Centre Sunday, Jan. 28 to show their support for the people of Iran, who, according to organizers, are victims of state oppression. They also demanded the release of political prisoners languishing in the Islamic republic’s jail. (York Region)

No one denied flight because of no-fly list mistakes, government memo says

Despite persistent calls to reform Canada's no-fly list system, a briefing note prepared for the public safety minister last fall maintains no one has been denied the right to board a flight because their name falsely matches someone on the list. (CBC)

Green Party defends leader Elizabeth May after she's accused of bullying

The Green party is defending leader Elizabeth May amid allegations of bullying from former employees, arguing that she wouldn't be criticized for similar behaviour if she were a man. The allegations, which were first reported by The Toronto Star on Saturday, come from three former employees who accuse May of creating a hostile work environment by yelling at employees and putting them down in front of colleagues. (CTV)

Kabul mourns 100 dead after ambulance bomb

More than 100 people are now known to have been killed in a suicide bombing on Saturday in Kabul. Attackers drove an ambulance past a police checkpoint to get to a crowded street in a district full of government buildings and embassies. Afghanistan's government has declared a day of mourning for Sunday, as funerals take place and relatives search hospitals for survivors. (BBC)

New ISIS Video Sings to U.S. Jihadists: 'It is Now Time to Rise, Slit Their Throats, Watch Them Die'

The English-language nasheed, inspirational songs frequently released by terror groups, shows scenes of Western terrorists' handiwork -- including the March 2017 Westminster Bridge attack and the ISIS pledge video recorded by Berlin Christmas market terrorist Anis Amri -- mingled with ISIS battlefield scenes and beheadings in Syria. (PJ Media)



Candice Malcolm: Fight against radical Islamism is about saving our civilization

The West is facing an existential crisis: an insurgency of enemy citizens intent on bringing down our civilization. This threat is exacerbated by a governing class that denies every aspect of this crisis, including our ability to criticize the theocratic ideology driving it. In order to solve a problem, we must first define it. And to define what we’re up against, our society must be able to engage in a free and open discussion about the threat of Islamist extremism. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Nothing 'normal' about Joshua Boyle

It would appear that Justin Trudeau’s controversial buddy, ex-Afghanistan hostage Joshua Boyle, is being sent off to have his head read. Our prime minister should have done the same for himself before meeting at his Parliament Hill office last December with one of the ex-husbands of Guantanamo poster boy Omar Khadr’s sister. Boyle, who was taken into custody by police within two weeks of his meeting with Trudeau, was back in an Ottawa courtroom Friday to have the 15 charges he faced removed from the docket. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: When due process is missing, so is justice

The #MeToo movement began as a much needed reckoning against people alleged to have committed serious wrongdoings. But now the movement increasingly seems intent to blindly convict any accused of sexual impropriety, with little to no regard for the presumption of innocence. It is important for victims to be speak out and be heard. We must acknowledge their courage and support them. (Toronto Sun)

Sam Khanlari: We shouldn't mistake unrest in Iran for the desire for total upheaval

The Iranians that sparked the latest outbreak of demonstrations have long lacked representation in the Western imagination. Despite a long history of rule by sovereign, the plight of working class Iranians has propelled every major political movement in modern Iranian history. From the tobacco riots that sparked Iran's constitutional revolution in 1906, to the millions that overthrew the Shah's monarchy in 1979, the ordinary, working class Iranian has long been at the forefront of political reform. (CBC)

Adrienne Batra: Opportunity in chaos

Conservative politics in Ontario just got interesting again. With all the drama that unfolded late last week, the shocking allegations levelled against Patrick Brown, his middle-of-the-night resignation, a new interim leader and now internal squabbling about next steps, the Tories are in desperate need of some adult supervision. (Toronto Sun)



  • Standing Committee on National Defence meet tomorrow to study Canada’s involvement in NATO (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet tomorrow to study Bill C-59, an Act Respecting National Security matters (Public)