True North Initiative: News Scan 01 31 17


Quebec mosque attack: Student Alexandre Bissonnette charged

Canadian police have charged a French-Canadian student over the fatal shooting of six Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Quebec. Alexandre Bissonnette faces six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder. The 27-year-old briefly appeared in a Quebec City court over Sunday evening's attack, during evening prayers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre. Vigils have been held across Canada to commemorate those killed and injured. (BBC) (NBC) (Reuters)

Canadian leaders drop partisanship to denounce Quebec mosque attack

Canadian political leaders stood in the House of Commons Monday united first in words then silence to denounce violence and appeal for unity in the wake of Sunday’s Quebec City mosque massacre. As the Canadian flag on the Peace Tower flew at half mast, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the “despicable act of terror last night in Quebec City.” (Toronto Star)

Ottawa mum when pressed on Canada’s written exemption to Trump's ban

The federal government won’t say whether the Trump administration has provided written assurances that Canadian dual citizens and permanent residents from countries targeted in a presidential directive will be allowed to enter the United States. More than 35,000 Canadians hold dual citizenship from the seven Muslim-majority countries named by U.S. President Donald Trump: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. (Globe and Mail)

MPs to hold emergency debate on Trump travel ban Tuesday

MPs will hold an emergency debate in the House of Commons Tuesday on the impact of a travel and immigration crackdown in the U.S. House Speaker Geoff Regan granted the request from NDP MP Jenny Kwan, who said the executive order imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday will have "disastrous" implications for travellers around the world, including those fleeing persecution, conflict and war. "Canadians are staunch defenders of human rights, and they reject a ban based on race, religion or country of birth implemented by our closest ally and neighbour," she said, noting the matter needs the "immediate attention" of the House. The debate will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET Tuesday (CBC)

White House uses Quebec killings to defend own policies on Muslim-country travel

In the face of protests, lawsuits, internal grumbling, an international backlash and a partial climb-down, the Trump administration invoked Quebec City's mosque attack to defend its travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries. The controversial policy faced attacks on multiple fronts, capped late Monday by a surprise announcement: the acting attorney general appointed by former president Barack Obama questioned the order's legality, and announced she wouldn't defend it in court. Amid that barrage, the White House mounted an unanticipated line of defence. (CTV)

How does Trump’s immigration ban affect you? A Canadian guide

U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order has thrown citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries into confusion about who can travel to the U.S., and when – and that has broad consequences for Canada and the world. Check back here for details and links to resources that might help (Globe and Mail)

Jihadist groups praise Trump’s travel ban as a victory for their cause

Jihadist groups on Sunday celebrated the Trump administration’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying the new policy validates their claim that the United States is at war with Islam. Comments posted to pro-Islamic State social media accounts predicted that U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order would persuade American Muslims to side with the extremists. One posting hailed the president as “the best caller to Islam,” while others predicted that Trump would soon launch a new war in the Middle East. (Toronto Star)

Vignettes of some of the victims from Sunday night's mosque attack in Quebec

Details are emerging of some of the six victims of the Quebec City mosque attack on Sunday. Here is some information about them (Canadian Press)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

How Canadian politicians reacted to Donald Trump’s refugee ban

The world reacted—and almost universally recoiled—throughout the weekend over U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban prohibiting passport holders from seven Muslim-majority countries, including those with visas and green cards who had been living in the U.S., from entering the country. Protesters descended on airports, the White House and the streets, as ordinary citizens and political leaders alike denounced the drastic and chaotically implemented measures, which shut out citizens and dual nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—though notably, not those from other Muslim nations, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where Trump has business interests. (Macleans)

'I never expected such a thing in Quebec': Mourners hold vigil at scene of mosque attack

It's not a community known for violence. While Montreal has been the site of some of the country's worst mass murders in recent memory, be it the Polytechnique massacre or Dawson College, Quebec City has previously avoided violence on that scale. Last year in the city, there was only one homicide on record, and the murder before that came some 16 months prior, which might help explain why the people of Quebec City were so badly shaken Monday in the wake of the rampage at a mosque on Sunday. (CBC)

‘This shouldn’t happen here’: MP for Quebec riding where mosque attack took place

Joël Lightbound, the Liberal MP who represents the riding of Louis-Hébert, Que.—which is home to the mosque where Sunday night’s mass shooting took place—is calling on his colleagues and Canadians to be more conscious of the growing fear and division that is taking place across the country and North America. Late Sunday evening, the news broke that a gunman had entered the Islamic cultural centre of Quebec City in Ste-Foy, Que. and began firing, ultimately leaving six dead, 19 wounded, and one shooter in custody. (Hill Times)

Canada CEOs Urge Trudeau to Take Rejected U.S. Tech Workers

Canada’s technology community is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to snap up industry workers caught in U.S. President Donald Trump’s border crackdown, saying embracing diversity drives innovation and the economy. Amid chaos in U.S. airports after Trump signed an executive order barring citizens from seven mainly Muslim nations, dozens of Canada’s tech chief executive officers signed a letter asking Canada to offer immediate entry visas to those hit by the order. (Bloomberg)

Trump’s immigration ban ‘will affect our debate’: Tory leadership candidates

As backlash continues over a Trump administration immigration ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, some Conservative Party leadership candidates are suggesting the policy creates a new backdrop to their federal leadership race — with schisms on immigration coming under an even brighter spotlight. “Issues around immigration are ones that countries around the globe are focused on,” Kellie Leitch told the National Post Monday. “This is a very serious issue … I know that Canadians want to talk about this issue, and I know our party membership wants to talk about this issue.” (National Post)

Canadian searches for U.S. flights drop 43% in wake of Trump immigration ban

President Trump’s chaotic and sudden immigration ban threw into question the ability of some Canadians to travel to the United States at all, and made others wonder whether they should vacation elsewhere. It wasn’t just social media musing: Canadian searches for flights to American destinations dropped 43 per cent this weekend compared to the weekend of Jan. 27 to 29, according to the company “The findings we’re showing today are certainly noteworthy,” said Emily Fisher, head of North American communications for the company. “They’re not a seasonal swing, they’re not something that’s just driven by normal traffic patterns.” (Metro)

'It creates chaos': Winnipeg immigration lawyer on Trump's travel ban

The travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump Friday is leaving many people in the province uneasy and unsure about what the long-term implications will be. Winnipeg immigration lawyer Reis Pagtakhan said at first, it seemed the ban would suspend new visas for a 90-day review of the American process, but he said its bizarre rollout has entangled many and is leaving even more people confused. "It just takes the confidence that any individual or business has in the system and says to them 'I don't know what is going on' and that isn't good for anybody," said Pagtakhan. (CBC)

Defence minister downplays threat to troops in Iraq from Trump immigration order

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has expressed confidence about Canada's mission in Iraq, even as U.S. officials and others warn that the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant could be undermined by President Donald Trump's recent immigration ban. "Great progress is being made and there's no concern for the security of our troops," Sajjan told reporters on Monday. "It is a dangerous place, obviously, because we are fighting (ISIL). But nonetheless really good progress is being made." Trump signed an executive order Friday barring citizens from Iraq and six other predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days. He signed another order Saturday directing U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis to present a new strategy for fighting ISIL within 30 days. (Canadian Press)

NANOS: Gap between Liberals and Conservatives narrows to seven points in Nanos tracking

The latest Nanos ballot tracking has the Liberals at 39.1 per cent support while the Conservatives are at 32.1 percent, the NDP 16.3 per cent, the Greens 5.5 per cent and the BQ at 5.1 per cent. (Nanos)

Trump fires acting AG after she declines to defend travel ban

President Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates Monday night for "refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States," the White House said. "(Yates) has betrayed the Department of Justice," the White House statement said. Dana Boente, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, was sworn in at 9 p.m. ET, per an administration official. A few hours later, Boente issued a statement rescinding Yates' order, instructing DOJ lawyers to "defend the lawful orders of our President." (CNN)

Trump Replaces Acting Director of Immigration Enforcement

President Donald Trump replaced the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday night, shortly after he fired the acting attorney general, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed. Unlike the firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, the replacement of Acting ICE Director Daniel Ragsdale came with no explanation. Ragsdale was replaced by Thomas Homan, ICE's executive associate director of enforcement and removal operations since 2013. (NBC)

Immigration order playing well to Trump's fans around nation

President Donald Trump's order temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries is playing well in Trump Country, those places that propelled him to the White House. The New York businessman and reality TV star promised to put America first during the campaign, his supporters say, and he's doing it. That includes securing the nation's borders and doing everything possible to prevent terrorists from entering the U.S. (Canadian Press)



Eva Ferguson: Trump's ban could trigger refugee wave in Canada

After the success of last year's resettlements in Calgary, another wave of refugees could be on its way as the federal government and immigration services monitor the impact of Donald Trump's refugee ban. And while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already suggested Canada will welcome those the U.S. won't take, immigration advocates say funding for services will have to keep up with rising demand. (Calgary Sun)

Simon Pratt/Craig Smith: Banning refugees harms U.S. national security

U.S. President Donald Trump’s refugee ban can be easily condemned on moral and political grounds. The spontaneous protests around the U.S. and the world are a testament to people’s deep sense of the harm it inflicts on those immediately affected, but also its troubling implications for liberal democracy. Signed on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the order is a poignant betrayal of American values. Beyond these moral failings, the Trump regime’s ostensible security rationale is intellectually hollow. Admitting refugees improves national security for several reasons. Banning them undermines it. (Toronto Star)

Chris Hall: Trudeau's imminent meeting with Trump carries substantial political risk

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is preparing to meet as early as this week with U.S. President Donald Trump, a visit intended to underscore the deep economic and security ties between the two countries. But it also carries substantial political risk. While the date and location have yet to be confirmed, Canadian sources say the prime minister wants to sit down with Trump as soon as possible to explain the importance of the cross-border trade relationship that's worth more than $660 billion annually and supports millions of American jobs. (CBC)

Andrew Coyne: The common threads of intolerance behind anti-Muslim atrocities

It began just minutes after the first reports surfaced online. Though the killings had taken place at a Quebec City mosque, though the victims had all been Muslim, nevertheless it was asserted, with all the authority that anonymity confers, that the killers were Muslim. “Police reports” were disseminated claiming they were two Syrian refugees, just admitted the previous week. Fake news sites supplied fake names. The failure of the English-language news networks to go live with the story was attributed, not to a lack of resources or competence, but to their involvement in a cover-up. (National Post)

Chantal Hebert: In wake of mosque shootings, Trudeau silent on Trump’s ban on Muslims

Even as Canada’s leaders were addressing the House of Commons to express their solidarity with the country’s grieving Muslim community on Monday, the White House’s press secretary was arguing that the murderous attack on a Quebec City mosque was “a terrible reminder of why the president is taking steps to be proactive, not reactive” on national security. Little, of course, could be further from the truth. If one were to connect dots between the shooting that left six dead at the mosque and Donald Trump’s entry ban on citizens and refugees from a number of Muslim-majority countries, one would find a community that is having a target painted on its back by the world’s most powerful elected leader. (Toronto Star)

John Ivison: In wake of mosque shooting, parliament’s mood of solidarity one of its finest hours

It was reassuring, amid the maelstrom of bad news, that the House of Commons returned from its Christmas break to debate amendments to the Statistics Act. Sometimes this flawed but precious institution can make you very proud indeed. Canadians woke up to headlines about the shooting in Quebec City after a weekend of anxiety following Donald Trump’s executive order banning travellers from seven Muslim countries from crossing America’s borders. (National Post)

Martin Cohn: Making sense of the massacre in our midst

The Quebec massacre reminds us that terror can erupt anywhere, at any time. From anyone. And the public response has become a muscle reflex: Insistent demands that Muslims at home condemn, own and atone for the sins of their so-called co-religionists wherever they strike. Followed by the usual chorus insisting that society call it what it is — Islamic terrorism. Except when it isn’t. (Toronto Star)

Anthony Furey: The instant politicization of tragedy

The shooting deaths of six people at a Quebec City mosque Sunday evening is, of course, a despicable tragedy. Yet, the instant politicization of this attack was also a disturbing phenomenon to watch. It seemed too many people desperately wanted it to be something it wasn’t and watched each new development in the story like a sports fan gleefully cheers on scores and saves. (Edmonton Sun)

Chris Cillizza: Stop being so surprised Trump is doing EXACTLY what he said he’d do

Donald Trump is who we thought he was. The 45th president campaigned as a radical break from both politics and policy as usual in Washington, promising to restore strength to the White House and the country while ignoring all tradition and political correctness. He spent the first week of his presidency doing just that — beginning with an executive order triggering the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, continuing through a midweek executive order to begin the process of building a wall along our southern border and culminating Friday with Trump’s executive order temporarily halting refugees from entering the country and instituting a full entrance ban on visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. (National Post)

Ezra Levant: Attack on Canadian soil, while Trump shuts out terror hotbeds

On Friday night, Donald Trump signed an executive order limiting immigration to the United States for 90 days. This was immediately called a Muslim ban by Democrats and the media. But the order doesn’t mention Muslims. It simply singles out seven countries that could be called failed states, or are in the middle of a civil war. What’s really shocking is that people could travel from those places to America, or to Canada, until now. (Rebel)



  • Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities will meet today to discuss Poverty Reduction Strategies (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration will meet tomorrow to study the Modernization of Client Service Delivery (Public)
  • Standing Committee on National Defence will meet today to study Canada and the Defence of North America (Partly public)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development will meet on today to study Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act & Special Economic Measures Act (In Camera)