True North Initiative: News Scan 02 06 17


Canada choosing 'the opposite approach' on refugees and immigration: Hussen

The new federal immigration, refugee and citizenship minister says Canada will continue to take "the opposite approach" of countries like the United States when it comes to managing its borders and travel policy. "As more and more countries are taking a different approach, of closing their borders, or not being open to new people or ideas, we've chosen the opposite approach, which is being open to ideas, being open to people, being open to talent, being open to skills and investments and we'll continue to have that tradition," Ahmed Hussen told CBC Radio's The House. (CBC)

Former top security boss says it's 'almost impossible' to trace defence leaks

A former top national security adviser says that during his career leaks of classified information at National Defence prompted him to call in the RCMP "a couple of times" in recent years. Richard Fadden, who served as head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, deputy minister of defence and national security adviser to two prime ministers, says he never thought that top secret information was being allowed to slip. (CBC)

Ottawa’s anti-radicalization centre to look at all forms of hate including alt-right: Goodale

Ottawa’s planned national counter-radicalization centre will help root out lone wolf and copycat attackers – no matter what kind of messaging inspires them, said Canada’s public safety minister, a week after one man was charged for shooting and killing six Muslim men at a mosque in Quebec City. The centre will investigate radicalization of all kinds with the goal “to be able to find a way to detect this behaviour better … and then to identify the right ways, with the right people at the right time to intervene in that behaviour, before it leads to tragedy,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in an interview on The West Block. (Global News)

Kellie Leitch's immigration policy could damage Conservative Party: Peter MacKay

Peter Mackay, one of the people who helped create the modern Conservative Party, says positions on immigration from one leadership candidate may damage the party's brand. MacKay was asked what he thought about Kellie Leitch's policy to screen immigrants for what she terms "Canadian values." The question of what are Canadian values is far from clear, MacKay said. "When you drill down into that type of discussion the first question that comes to mind is, who makes that decision? And what is that bar going to be? And how possibly could somebody coming from a country that has no understanding of what it means to be a Canadian meet that criteria?," MacKay told CBC. (CBC)

Conservative leadership candidates spar over jobs and taxes while taking aim at O'Leary

Kevin O'Leary says he feels he received a "warm welcome" in his first Conservative leadership debate, but that welcome came mostly in the form of attacks. It started early in the two-hour face-off during the first question on carbon emissions. Kellie Leitch took her first opportunity at the microphone to welcome O'Leary to the race — sarcastically. "First I'd like to welcome Kevin to the Conservative party and I'd like to welcome him back to Canada," she said hinting to questions about his past donation to the Liberal party and the amount of time O'Leary spends in the United States. (CBC)

Kevin O'Leary proposes 'fast-track' to citizenship for skilled immigrants

Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary has often drawn comparisons to U.S. President Donald Trump for his roots in reality television and business, as well as their shared lack of political experience. But the two are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to immigration and refugee policy. In an interview with CTV Atlantic ahead of his first leadership debate, O’Leary outlined his stance on immigration amid escalating tensions around the issue south of the border. (CTV)

Canada 'leading the free world' on immigration: New York Times

A New York Times columnist has suggested that famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty applies more to Canada than Donald Trump's America these days, as the U.S. president attempts to shut his country's doors to immigrants from several majority Muslim nations, while Canada welcomes tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. In the article titled "Canada, Leading the Free World," U.S. journalist Nicholas Kristof praises Canada for its inviting immigration policy, at a time when "all around the world, countries are slamming the doors shut." (CTV)

U.S. revokes all Nexus cards from Canadian permanent residents with citizenship in restricted countries: CBSA

Nexus memberships have been revoked from all Canadian permanent residents with citizenship in any one of the seven majority-Muslim countries affected by the U.S. travel ban, the Canada Border Services Agency has confirmed to CBC Toronto. Citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a CBSA spokesperson said in an email that FAST memberships have also been revoked from all such individuals. FAST is a program similar to Nexus that is meant to speed up commercial shipments across the border. (CBC)

Trudeau should ‘lift the cap’ on refugee sponsorships in wake of Trump immigration order: protesters

It’s unjust, it’s uncalled for, and it’s absolutely wrong,” said Sumaiya Zaman. She said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should revoke the so-called safe third country agreement, which makes it difficult for refugees to seek asylum in Canada if they come through the U.S. “They should also lift the cap on the number of private sponsorships so refugees can find safety here,” she said. It was a sentiment echoed by rally organizers. In a list of demands, they called for the government open the Canada-U.S. borders, granting permanent status to new immigrants. They also called on Trudeau to condemn Trump’s immigration ban. (Province)

Liberal MP ‘was not aware’ man he posed with is being deported for role in terror group

A Liberal MP said he had no idea he had posed at an event Friday beside a man the Canadian government is deporting for being a former member of a terrorist organization. Photos posted on the Facebook and Twitter pages of Michael Levitt, the Member of Parliament for York Centre, showed the politician outside the Imdadul Islamic Centre with Jason Pippin. (

Conservatives blast Sajjan for linking Syrian conflict to climate change

The Conservatives chastised the defence minister in question period Thursday for remarks he made in a speech last week linking the start of the Syrian civil war to climate change. Defence critic James Bezan said “the defence minister is blaming climate change for ISIS.” “Does the defence minister actually believe that climate change creates jihadi terrorists?” he asked. (CTV)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Liberals spent at least $4.1 million consulting Canadians on the electoral reform policy that would never be

The Liberals’ electoral reform exercise — which we learned last week won’t come to fruition — cost a minimum of $4.1 million, according to an analysis of government expenses. During the campaign, and after being elected, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeatedly stated 2015 would mark the last federal election to use the first-past-the-post voting system. The naming of a democratic institutions minister in November 2015 set off more than a year of work related to that promise. (National Post)

Federal deficit twice as large as Liberals promised during the election

The parliamentary budget officer says the federal deficit isn't as deep for now as the government expects, largely because the Liberals haven't been able to spend infrastructure money fast enough. The report released yesterday says the federal budget is on track to be $20.5 billion in the red this fiscal year, compared to the $25.1 billion deficit Finance Minister Bill Morneau projected in his November economic update. During the 2015 election campaign, Justin Trudeau promised that deficits would not exceed $10 billion. (News Hub Nation)

Nova Scotia boasts of immigration jump, but province still short of goals

Nova Scotia is trumpeting a significant jump in immigration thanks to an influx of refugees, but one business advocate says it's still falling short of what's needed. The province's Immigration Department says preliminary figures for last year to the end of October show 4,835 newcomers — including about 1,500 refugees — arrived in Nova Scotia, saying it's the highest number in decades. (CBC)

Canadian warship project a mess, as one of world’s largest shipbuilders threatens minister it won’t bid

Canada’s multibillion-dollar project to buy a replacement for its frigates is so poorly structured that one of the world’s largest shipbuilders has warned the Liberal government it won’t bid unless changes are made. A number of other ship designers are also considering backing out because of the problems plaguing the project to spend more than $26 billion on a new fleet of Canadian Surface Combatants. (National Post)

‘Be patient, don’t prejudge,’ Trump presidency ‘positive’ for Canada, says Bush-era U.S. ambassador

elations between Canada and the United States are off to a “positive” start under new U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a former U.S. ambassador to Canada who served under George W. Bush. “There’s certainly been some pluses,” David Wilkins said of the cross-border relationship so far. “President Trump gave the green light to the [Keystone] XL within days of taking office, as opposed to the train wreck that occurred during the Obama administration, where it was delayed, delayed, delayed for almost seven years before eventually rejected. (Hill Times)

Defence minister Harjit Sajjan to meet U.S. counterpart Monday

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will travel to Washington Monday to meet with U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, the first face-to-face meeting between top officials in the Liberal government and the new Trump administration. Sajjan will be joined by Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff, for the meeting at the Pentagon with Mattis and Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice-chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff. (Toronto Star)

Trade briefing for Trump's team flagged Canadian softwood, dairy

A confidential briefing for President Donald Trump's transition team flagged Canada's dairy policies and the "deeply rooted" softwood lumber dispute as trade issues to watch. Briefing notes from the U.S. Trade Representative's Office (USTR), obtained by CBC News under the United States Freedom of Information Act, outline 17 trade issues or disputes – four of which directly involve Canada. Others involve China, the European Union, Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia. (CBC)

An intro to Trump trade team: Three key actors, as NAFTA talks approach

Donald Trump promises major changes on U.S. trade policy, including the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which could begin as early as spring. Canadian officials have their eye on key members of the president's trade team: (CTV)

Trump travel ban has Iranian scientists looking for new places to do research

In a bio-technology lab at Harvard University's medical school an international group of highly skilled scientists are dreaming up new ways to engineer artificial human tissue with 3-D printers. Some of their brainpower these days, though, isn't focused on the science but instead on U.S. president Donald Trump's immigration ban and what it means to them and to their work. (CBC)

Trump immigration order revokes tens of thousands of visas

President Donald Trump's immigration executive order has led to the cancellation of tens of thousands of US visas, officials say. A US government lawyer told a Virginia court 100,000 visas had been revoked. But the State Department said it was 60,000, once diplomatic and expired visas were taken out of the equation. (BBC)

U.S. judge temporarily blocks Trump's travel ban

A U.S. judge has imposed a nationwide hold on Donald Trump's ban on travellers and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries, siding with two states that had challenged the executive order that has launched legal battles across the country. In Seattle, U.S. District Judge James Robart ruled that Washington state and Minnesota had standing to challenge Trump's order, which government lawyers disputed, and said they showed their case was likely to succeed. About 60,000 people from the affected countries had their visas cancelled. (CBC)

Court denies Trump request to immediately restore travel ban

A federal appeals court denied early Sunday the Justice Department's request for an immediate reinstatement of President Donald Trump's ban on accepting certain travellers and all refugees. The Trump administration appealed a temporary order restraining the ban nationwide, saying late Saturday night that the federal judge in Seattle overreached by "second-guessing" the president on a matter of national security. (CBC)

Trump gears up for lengthy legal battle over his immigration ban

Donald Trump is fighting to save one of his signature policies – closing U.S. borders to immigrants and travellers from seven majority-Muslim countries – in a court battle that represents the most concrete challenge so far to the President’s agenda. A federal judge on Friday blocked Mr. Trump’s week-old executive order and an appeals court Sunday turned down the government’s request to immediately reinstate it nationwide. The administration’s lawyers will pick up the fight on Monday, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle that could reach all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Globe and Mail)



Lorne Gunter: Trudeau needs help with Trump

To say the least, new U.S. President Donald Trump has been unpredictable. The swiftness of his moves to remake American politics, economy, health care, immigration and foreign relations have overwhelmed even some of his friends in Congress. I can recall nothing like his use of executive orders in the first two weeks of his term to close U.S. borders to travellers, immigrants and refugees from seven terror-incubating countries, to repeal financial regulations and to prevent the spread of the health care nightmare known as Obamacare. (Toronto Sun)

Peer MacKay: How we can make NAFTA great again

U.S. President Donald Trump has NAFTA in his sights. His daily decrees have friends and foes in an uncertain mindset. Yet we cannot risk being anything but active and agile in making Canada’s case for continued robust free trade between our three nations. Mexico enjoys a trade surplus through NAFTA and exports significantly more goods and services to the U.S. than it receives. That must change says Trump. But the opposite is true for Canada. (Toronto Sun)

Stephanie Levitz: Will the factors that led to Trump add up in Canada?

Kevin O’Leary is a businessman, reality TV star, photography buff and self-professed airplane geek. He is not, however, an Ottawa politician. And he’s banking on that to get him elected as leader of the federal Conservative party and then, prime minister of Canada. “I think the body politic in Canada is like the rest of the world. They’re tired of the B.S., they’re tired of the politicians B.S.-ing them and spinning them and they want an operator,” O’Leary said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press. Do we? (Macleans)

Mark Bonokoski: Once upon a time, terrorism wasn’t so complicated

Back in October of 1970, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father of a PM yet to be born, defiantly invoked the War Measures Act to deal with Canada’s first brush with contemporary terrorism. How far would he go? “Just watch me,” said Trudeau. Back then, the threat was easily identified. It came from a very vocal number of militant cells of Quebec separatists within the Front de liberation du Quebec (FLQ) who ended up murdering a Quebec cabinet minister and deputy premier named Pierre Laporte, and kidnapping (but later releasing) a British trade diplomat named James Cross. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bourrie: Is it too soon to assess Harper's legacy?

Jennifer Ditchburn and Graham Fox have edited The Harper Factor: Assessing a Prime Minister’s Legacy (MQUP 2016), a collection of essays written by journalists, former political staffers, senior public sector executives, academics and lawyers. They have tried to give, for the most part, a fair assessment of what Stephen Harper’s policies will mean to Canadian society and politics. The essays are thoughtful, fact-filled and elegantly written. The editing is flawless. In the main, however, the writers’ takes on the Harper legacy are unlikely to stand the test of time — not because of the thought and effort that went into their papers, but because it’s simply too soon to tell. (IPolitics)



  • Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities meet tomorrow to discuss Poverty Reduction Strategies (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today at 3:30pm (EST) to study Family Reunification (In Camera)
  • Standing Committee on National Defence meet tomorrow to continue study on Canada the Defence of North America (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet tomorrow for committee business (In Camera)