True North Initiative: News Scan 02 07 17


Asylum seekers crossing into Canada from US on foot despite freezing temperatures

A growing number of asylum seekers are braving freezing cold temperatures to walk into Canada from the US, driven by fears of what Donald Trump’s presidency will mean for refugees, advocates say. Last week, amid the chaos and uncertainty triggered by Trump’s travel ban, one agency dedicated to resettling refugees opened an unprecedented 10 refugee claims in one day. Eight of the claimants had walked into Canada in order to avoid detection by border officials. (The Guardian) (CBC) (Global) (CTV)

Ralph Goodale: Around 200 People Have Lost Nexus Card Access

The federal public safety minister says about 200 people have been unable to use their Nexus cards to cross the American border since U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a temporary halt to immigration from certain countries. Ralph Goodale says none of the 200 are Canadian citizens and the government continues to work to make sure citizens are treated fairly at the border. (Huffington Post)

Canadians not so ‘exceptional’ when it comes to immigration and refugee views, new study finds

Canadians may not be as tolerant of refugees and immigrants as they might think, a new study concludes. The study, a project of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC), also found that while attitudes among Canadians towards refugees and immigrants range largely from positive to benign, those views are not necessarily strongly held. Study author Michael Donnelly, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, concludes that, as a result,  there is potential for intolerant, anti-immigrant, and anti-refugee sentiment to increase. (Ottawa Citizen)

U.S. court tosses case against Canadian government by mislabelled B.C. terrorist

A United States court has tossed out a lawsuit that accuses the Canadian government of ruining the life of a British Columbia woman for allegedly giving false information to American authorities that branded her a terrorist and an arms dealer. In a judgment issued last month, a Washington state district court in Seattle ruled that Perienne de Jaray cannot sue Canada over allegations of malicious prosecution or abuse of process because of an American law that grants immunity to foreign states. (CBC) (CTV)

Quebec City mosque shooter was a ‘criminal extremist’: RCMP Commissioner

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is warning about “non-classic” terrorism that feeds on hate and controversy on social media, blaming growing political polarization for the deadly shooting at a mosque in Quebec City. Speaking to a Senate committee, Mr. Paulson described the lone suspect in the Jan. 29 murder of six Muslims in Quebec City as a “criminal extremist.” He defined this category to include people such as Justin Bourque, who killed three Mounties in Moncton in 2014, and the Freeman-on-the-Land movement that challenges government’s authority across the country. (Globe and Mail) (CBC)

RCMP commissioner worries ‘caustic political discourse’ is radicalizing extremists

Canada’s top cop says he’s concerned that the “caustic tone” of “political discourse” in Canada may be a contributing factor in radicalizing “criminal extremists” like the shooter in Quebec City last week. RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson appeared Monday at the Senate standing committee on national security and defence and was asked for an update on the terrorism threat in Canada in the wake of the Quebec City massacre at the Ste-Foy mosque. (Metro)

White House offers list of terrorist attacks the press took lightly

The White House released on Monday a list of 78 terrorist attacks that the Trump administration claim were not sufficiently covered by the nation's press. The list, however, included some mass killings that were covered well enough to make their locales into symbols of anger and grief: Orlando and San Bernardino, Nice and Paris in France, and Brussels in Belgium. (Politico) (Boston Globe) (CTV)

‘Mad Dog’ U.S. defence secretary tells Sajjan he has a soft spot for Canadian troops

A first meeting between Donald Trump’s defence secretary and his Canadian counterpart began well on Monday — so well that, within just a few seconds, there was already talk of kissing and hugging. Newly sworn-in U.S. defence secretary James Mattis says he’s so grateful for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan he could have smooched them on sight. (National Post) (CTV)

More than half of Canadians say Justin Trudeau’s tour was a waste of money, attempt to distract: Ipsos poll

The vast majority of Canadians believe it’s important for the prime minister to talk directly to Canadians – but when it comes to the meetings Justin Trudeau held in cities and towns across the country this month, more than half said it was a waste of money and meant to distract, according to an Ipsos poll conducted for Global News. (Global)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Trump travel ban: Canada's tech firms see opportunity

As US tech giants take steps against President Donald Trump's travel ban, Canada's tech scene is hopeful the executive order will help bring much needed talent to the sector north of the border. Canadian firms see an opportunity to lure talent even as they struggle with the impact of the ban on their business, and are seeking a fast-track visa to help them bring top candidates to cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. (BBC)

What happens next as Trump's travel ban heads through the courts

Amid duelling legal maneuvres, the nationwide suspension of Donald Trump's controversial executive order remains in effect, keeping U.S. borders open to people from seven predominantly Muslim nations. For now. A federal appeals court has scheduled oral arguments for Tuesday on whether to restore the ban, which attorneys from Washington state and Minnesota argue would "unleash chaos again." The fate of the temporary block on Trump's decree will be determined by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, with a ruling expected this week. (CBC)

How do U.S. courts work? A map of the battlefield for Trump’s immigration ban

For Canadians following the legal saga of U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, this past weekend may have been a confusing cross-country journey. A judge in Seattle temporarily struck down a presidential executive order, then the White House appealed to a court in California to immediately strike that ruling down, and was denied. That same federal appeals court in California is now holding a crucial hearing on Tuesday. (Globe and Mail)

Dominic Barton, top economic adviser, encourages bold response to Trump

The chair of Finance Minister Bill Morneau's council of economic advisers is calling on the federal government to redouble its efforts to reinforce and reform the Canadian economy in the wake of Donald Trump's election in the United States. "We're a small trading nation. We've got to take more control of our own destiny," Dominic Barton told reporters on Monday when asked how his panel's recommendations should be viewed in the context of the Trump presidency. (CBC)

After two weeks of Trump, Canadian firms likely to push pause button on investment 

Two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump took his seat at the Oval Office, the mood among many Canadian businesses has largely shifted from cautious optimism to alarmed stand-by mode. Trump’s first few days in office have been “unprecedented in terms of the number and things that are now up in the air,” said Canadian entrepreneur Michael Serbinis. And that, he added, is bad for business. (Global News)

Becoming sanctuary cities being discussed in Saskatoon and Regina, but what does that mean?

The conversation has begun in both Regina and Saskatoon of whether to become sanctuary cities. Discussions began following an executive order signed by President Donald Trump which imposed a 120-day ban on refugees entering the U.S. and a 90-day ban on all entry to the U.S. for those from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. (CBC)

Feds' advisers call for higher retirement age and, possibly, national child care

The Trudeau government's economic advisory council is recommending Ottawa raise the age of retirement eligibility and explore a national child-care program to boost much-needed participation in the country's workforce. The proposals were among a collection of new suggestions released Monday by the government's hand-picked growth council. The ideas are widely expected to help the government frame parts of the upcoming federal budget. (CTV)

Israel passes law retroactively legalizing thousands of settlement homes

Israel’s parliament on Monday passed a contentious law meant to retroactively legalize thousands of West Bank settlement homes built unlawfully on private Palestinian land, a step that is expected to trigger international outrage and a flurry of lawsuits against the measure. The explosive law is the latest in a series of pro-settler steps taken by Israel’s hard-line government since the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. He is seen as more sympathetic to Israel’s settlement policies than his fiercely critical predecessor, and the Israeli government has approved plans to build thousands of new homes on occupied territory since Trump took office. (Toronto Star)



Anthony Furey: It’s time we talked about alt-left hate

Over the weekend a conference with attendees from all walks of life was disrupted by a group of angry young white people. No, they weren’t neo-Nazis or white supremacists. They were the storm troopers of the new activist left. The day-long conference held at University of Toronto was hosted by Generation Screwed, the student wing of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. The themes were debt and free speech. Hardly provocative stuff. Yet in the days leading up to it we were warned – I was a speaker – that security was being brought in due to threats of potentially violent protests. (Toronto Sun)

David Akin: Liberals know how much its carbon tax will cost consumers — but won’t tell you

Federal finance department officials have calculated how much more Canadian households could pay each year as a result of a pending federal carbon tax but neither the department nor Finance Minister Bill Morneau will share those details. Morneau is being challenged in Parliament by Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre to publish that information while Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who, like Poilievre, is an opponent of a federal carbon tax, has been challenging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do the same. (National Post)

Warren Kinsella: Canada Should Debate Immigration - But With Facts, Not Fear

"He's doing what he said he was going to do. Let them protest." The unlikely scene: a drinking establishment somewhere in the Dominican Republic. Two American men are perched on stools at the bar, watching a satellite TV report -- from Long Island, New York, of all places -- showing footage of multiple American protests about Donald Trump's Muslim ban. (Huffington Post)

John Ivison: Bill Morneau pledges to spend — but first he has to cut

On Monday, Bill Morneau indicated that his government, already on course to record a deficit of $25 billion, is set to splurge still more. “Our focus will be on helping those most vulnerable,” he said in Question Period, referring to “investments” he is planning to make in the next budget. It may be presumptuous to assume the Liberals care about how much red ink is swilling around. But let’s make the assumption they would prefer to ensure the deficit is only three times as bad as they said it would be when they got elected. If so, the finance minister needs to find some revenue from somewhere — anywhere. (National Post)

Colin Robertson: Why Trudeau’s ‘Goldilocks’ strategy with Trump is the best approach

Canada’s relationship with the United States is deep and profound. The Trump challenge is going to test Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sunny ways and then some. No other country, excepting Mexico, has such vital interests at stake. As President, Donald Trump has tempered neither his language nor his behaviour. His campaign punchlines on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NAFTA, Muslim refugees and the Mexican wall have become executive orders. (Globe and Mail)

Tasha Kheiriddin: Fake news or state news? It's a false choice.

Any negative polls are fake news.” That’s how Donald Trump reacted after CNN published a survey showing he now has the lowest approval rating of any newly-elected president in polling history. Just weeks into his presidency, only 44 per cent of Americans said they approve of the job he has done — making him the only president in recent history to hold a net-negative rating at this point in his tenure. (President Barack Obama, in contrast, won 76 per cent approval in 2009, while Ronald Reagan had 51 per cent approval in 1981.) (IPolitics)

Graham Thomson: Democracy takes a hit: More journalists spinning the news, fewer covering it

Forgive me if today’s column is a bit too much inside baseball. It’s about press secretaries and how Alberta’s NDP government has gone on something of a hiring spree for spin doctors since winning the 2015 election. My colleague Stuart Thomson wrote an interesting feature on the topic last Saturday, pointing out that a whack of the new press secretaries hired by the government are former journalists. There are almost a dozen. (Edmonton Journal)



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