True North Initiative News Scan 01 30 2018


Wealthy 'ghost immigrants' using empty homes to claim citizenship: tax expert

Some foreign investors, particularly those from China, are taking advantage of Canadian loopholes to become ghost immigrants, according to David Lesperance, a tax and immigration consultant with Lesperance & Associates. Lesperance cites one recent judge’s decision from a lawsuit in which the judge said Chinese millionaire Guoqing Fu bought multiple multi-million-dollar homes in Canada while claiming just $97 in worldwide income on his taxes. The judge’s 600-page ruling in the case was posted online earlier this month. (CTV) (Global)

Secret CSIS docs show terror remains a threat

The threat of terror is sadly alive and well in Canada. We can choose to put our heads in the sand about this, but it won’t change reality. Instead, we need to talk about solutions. In a recent three-part series in the Sun, top secret CSIS documents showed the efforts undertaken by our top spies to track the threat posed by homegrown terrorists returning from abroad. There was some alarming news revealed in these reports by Anthony Furey. Among them a memo prepared for upper brass at CSIS that explained “the Service has never before faced a terrorist threat of the scope, scale and complexity of Sunni Islamist-inspired terrorism”. This is the fight of their lives. (Toronto Sun)

Iranian women protest obligatory headscarf by removing and waving hijabs on sticks

Social media postings Monday showed at least five women in Iran protesting the obligatory Muslim headscarf by taking theirs off and waving them on sticks. The videos and photos showed individual women in separate locations in Tehran and Isfahan. Masoud Sarabi, who witnessed one of the protests, confirmed the authenticity of a video shot on Tehran’s Enghelab Street. The others appeared to be authentic, but The Associated Press could not independently verify them. (Toronto Sun) (Boston Globe)

Second woman arrested in Tehran for hijab protest

A second woman has been arrested in Iran for protesting against the country’s compulsory hijab rules after standing on a telecoms box on a Tehran street, taking off her headscarf and holding it aloft on a stick. The protest follows a similar action last month against the country’s requirement that women cover themselves from head to toe in public. Pictures posted on social media on Monday showed at least three other women standing on top of telecoms boxes in Tehran in apparent solidarity with the women, including one near Ferdowsi Square. (Guardian) (Toronto Star)

300 protesters reportedly remain in jail during Iran's massive pro-reform protests

The Iranian authorities have released most of the people arrested during December's anti-government protests but around 300 remain in jail facing charges, Iran's interior minister said on Tuesday. Judicial officials have said around 1,000 people were arrested during the week-long protests which spread to around 80 towns and cities across Iran. One lawmaker has put the figure at 3,700. (Business Insider)

Lawyers allege ‘sexist,’ ‘aggressive’ behaviour by powerful immigration, refugee judges

In court documents she is referred to as “the claimant.” A young Ukrainian woman who came to Canada in 2005 when she was just 18 years old with the hope of working as a caregiver. But soon after arriving in Toronto, those who brought her here stole her passport and forced her into the sex trade. She was alone in Canada, she didn’t know anyone, and her pimp said the police would never help her. (Global)

Anniversary vigil for mosque shooting victims draws more than 1,000 in Quebec City

More than a thousand people in Quebec City braved a bitter cold Monday night to stand in solidarity with the six Muslim men who were killed in a local mosque last year. The candlelight vigil came after four emotional days of commemoration events marking the first anniversary of the shooting. (CBC) (CTV)

Temporary foreign workers staying longer regardless of unemployment levels

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) are more likely to remain in Canada than they were in the past, according to a report published by Statistics Canada on Monday. And whether or not they stay appears to have little to do with unemployment levels in the regions where they are living and working, the research suggests. The number of TFWs present in Canada has increased from 52,000 in 1996 to 310,000 in 2015, according to StatCan. And while the majority of TFWs leave within two years, “the tendency to stay longer has increased among more recent arrivals,” write Elena Prokopenko and Feng Hou of the Social Analysis and Modelling Division at StatCan. (Global)

PC insiders tried to keep Ford out – and now he’s storming the barricades

Doug Ford is in and Ontario politics is about to go through its wildest rollercoaster ride yet. If you thought the past few days were exciting, then buckle up, because we haven’t seen anything yet. For the past few days, the Toronto Sun has been speaking to dozens of PC Party caucus members, staffers and strategists about the unfolding drama. Their energies have been spent on factions orchestrating their own power plays to fill the void left by former leader Patrick Brown’s sudden resignation. (Toronto Sun) (Toronto Star)

CIA chief says China 'as big a threat to US' as Russia

Chinese efforts to exert covert influence over the West are just as concerning as Russian subversion, the director of the CIA has said. Mike Pompeo told the BBC that the Chinese "have a much bigger footprint" to do this than the Russians do. (BBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Morneau flooded with more than 10,000 messages over controversial tax plan: memo

Finance Minister Bill Morneau was inundated with more than 10,000 missives last fall following the release of controversial tax-change proposals that infuriated the small-business community, says an internal federal document. The memo, obtained by The Canadian Press, says the flood of messages addressed directly to the minister came in addition to more than 21,000 email submissions his department received as part of a related public consultation process. (Financial Post)

Alberta’s new Opposition leader Jason Kenney sworn in at legislature

Alberta’s new Opposition leader has officially been sworn in during a ceremony at the provincial legislature. Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party, won a byelection last month to become the legislature member for the constituency of Calgary Lougheed. (Global)

Canada Ranks A Sad 17th On Economic Inclusiveness, World Economic Forum Finds

For a country that prides itself on ranking highly on best-countries lists, this is embarrassing. And a bit of a wake-up call. A new survey from the World Economic Forum shows Canada's economy is leaving many people out in the cold. The country underperformed on the World Economic Forum's Inclusive Development Index (IDI), ranking 17th out of 29 developed nations. (Huffington Post)

Employment opportunities directly linked to population growth, study finds

A new Statistics Canada report measures the impact of changes in the region's economy on its population. The result, according to one economist, is that New Brunswick should now have a better idea on where to focus its growth strategies. The study, titled The Effect of Labour Demand on Regional Demographics, quantifies the relationship between labour demand, defined as paid employment, and population growth or decline. (CBC)

Ontario PCs face deepening crisis amid pushback to cancel leadership race

Former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford is jumping into the race to lead the Progressive Conservatives in Ontario just as the party becomes mired in a deepening crisis over the sudden departures of its top two officials. Rick Dykstra resigned as president of the Ontario PC Party on Sunday night, shortly before Maclean's published allegations that he sexually assaulted a young Conservative staffer in 2014 when he was the MP for St. Catharines. His departure came three days after Patrick Brown stepped down as PC leader hours after the airing of a CTV News report alleging sexual misconduct involving two young women. (Globe and Mail)

Andrew Scheer says sexual assault allegations against ex-MP are 'disturbing'

Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer was forced to fend off questions Monday about how a former Conservative MP was allowed to run in the 2015 election despite allegations of sexual assault, saying candidates accused of misconduct would be barred from the party under his leadership. Rick Dykstra stepped down as president of the Ontario PC Party Sunday after Maclean's magazine contacted him about accusations he sexually assaulted a parliamentary staffer in Ottawa when he was a Conservative MP in 2014. (CBC)

Security bill will enable CSE to disable computers located abroad: memos

Newly released memos from the federal government's data-spying agency say that legislation now before Parliament will enable it to disable computers located abroad and potentially "corrupt information sitting on foreign servers." Within Canada, the agency hopes to better monitor what "hacktivists" are saying on internet forums and which hashtags are popular with terrorism suspects. (Globe and Mail)

Canada looking into Bitcoin’s risk factor, Bill Morneau 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 cryptocurrencies. 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. “We don’t have any specific Bitcoin or cryptocurrency overhaul” in the works, Morneau said. (Toronto Star)

Iraqi Christians in Jordan Are Being 'Neglected' by United Nations, Rights Activist Warns

Thousands of Iraqi Christians who fled their homes in fear of being killed by the Islamic State and have sought shelter in neighboring Jordan are being "neglected" by the United Nations in their quest for refugee status and resettlement, an Assyrian Christian human rights activist has warned. Earlier this month, Juliana Taimoorazy, a research fellow with the Philos Project and founder of the United States-based NGO Iraqi Christian Relief Council, traveled with others to Iraq and Jordan for a "fact finding" mission about the status of Christian refugees displaced from their homes due to the rise of the jihadi death cult in Northern Iraq in 2014. (Christian Post)

After killing of rebel cop, Maduro’s grip on Venezuela’s military may be loosening

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, hated by much of the country's population and sanctioned by a growing number of countries, is facing problems keeping the police and military happy as food shortages and hyperinflation start to hit their barracks. (Miami Herald)

US lifts ban on refugees from 11 countries

The United States announced Monday it was lifting its ban on refugees from 11 “high-risk” countries, but said those seeking to enter the US would come under much tougher scrutiny than in the past. Applicants from 11 countries, unnamed but understood to include 10 Muslim-majority nations plus North Korea, will face tougher “risk-based” assessments to be accepted. (Breitbart)

TV Ratings: 2018 Grammys Tumble to All-Time Demo Low, Pull 19.8 Million Viewers

The telecast, which ran a bloated three-and-a-half hours, was off by 24 percent from 2017 with adjusted numbers. With time zone adjustments taken into account, the telecast averaged 19.8 million viewers and a 5.9 rating among adults 18-49. The second stat marked a low for the show. Among total viewers, that number was down even more than overnight returns from Nielsen Media that it a 12.7 rating among households. It's the biggest drop for the Grammys since the 2013, the year after the show swelled following the death of Whitney Houston. (Hollywood Reporter)

North Korea Cancels Joint Cultural Event over ‘Biased,’ ‘Insulting’ South Korean Media

North Korea suddenly canceled an upcoming joint “cultural event” with South Korea on Monday while complaining about “biased” and “insulting” South Korean media coverage. The cancellation marks a significant setback in the highly touted “thawing” of relations with the outlaw Communist nation. (Breitbart)

Theresa May faces growing calls to quit

Discontent with Theresa May among the Conservatives’ financial backers boiled over at a fundraising event last Thursday, according to a donor. An account of the event — where about a quarter of the 50 donors present were said to have demanded her resignation — has been circulating among Brexit-supporting Tory MPs. (



Melissa Lantsman: Sex scandals aren't new to Canadian politics

Last Wednesday was the most stunning night in Ontario political history. There have been scandals resulting in ministerial resignations, public inquiries and irreversible damage leading into elections. But all of those pale in comparison to what we witnessed from Patrick Brown, who is accused of sexual misconduct. Make no mistake, this was not Canadian politics’ #MeToo moment everyone seemed to think it was. (Toronto Sun)

Christie Blatchford: For the accused men overtaken by the #MeToo tsunami, there is no recovery

Of the four prominent men who fell from grace at warp speed over the last few days, all are finished. They are former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown, who lost his job last Wednesday night; federal Sports and Disabilities Minister Kent Hehr, who resigned from cabinet Thursday afternoon; CTV anchor Paul Bliss, who was suspended last Friday; and Ontario PC party president Rick Dykstra, who resigned Sunday night. (National Post)

Chris Selley: Doug Ford makes everything worse for Ontario PC party 'elites'

“We have seen backroom politics at its worst — insiders trying to politically capitalize at the expense of the people, elites who are disconnected from the grassroots of the party,” he told reporters on Monday in the basement of the Ford homestead, where he announced his campaign for leader of the Progressive Conservatives (National Post)

Jeff Wilkinson: Canada’s refugee program spirals out of control

Canada’s refugee resettlement program is in turmoil. The Toronto Star reports thousands of refugee hearings scheduled for this year have been abruptly cancelled so the government can roll out a new system to sort out claims. The Immigration and Refugee Board is now saying recent asylum seekers can expect to wait between 12 and 24 months for a hearing. The refugee board used to have a 60-day limit to hear cases. (Debate Report)



  • Standing Committee on National Defence meet today to study Canada’s involvement in NATO (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet today to study Bill C-59, an Act Respecting National Security matters (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet on Thursday for a briefing on the International Organization for Migration (Partially Public)