True North Initiative News Scan 02 22 2018


Trudeau breaking bread with would-be assassin in India?

A gunman found guilty of attempting to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister visiting Canada in 1986 has been invited to attend an official state dinner reception during Justin Trudeau’s India visit. Jaspal Atwal was convicted of attempted murder in 1987, after shooting moderate Sikh politician Malkiat Singh Sidhu, who at the time was visiting family on Vancouver Island. He’s is a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), a militant group fighting to establish an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region of India that was banned in Canada and designated a terrorist organization in 2003. (Toronto Sun) (Vancouver Sun)

On India trip, Khalistan keeps returning to haunt Canadian PM Justin Trudeau

Things appear to be going from bad to worse for Justin Trudeau on his maiden trip to India as Canada's Prime Minister. He had barely dug himself out of a hole on the issue of supporting Khalistani separatists by proclaiming he was in favour of a united India, and by meeting with Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, when he landed in the midst of another controversy today over an invite to a convicted Khalistani terrorist for a dinner+ at the Canadian High Commissioner's in Delhi. The Canadian Prime Minister's Office (PMO) quickly cancelled that invite to the terrorist Jaspal Atwal. But the damage had been done, because not only was there the issue of the invite, turns out Atwal had also been photographed with Trudeau's wife Sophie at an event in Mumbai earlier this week. (Times of India)

India probing how Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal got visa, Justin Trudeau says he should never have been invited

India on Thursday was “ascertaining” details about how convicted Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal got a visa as Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said the Indo-Canadian businessman should never have received the invitation to the official dinner as the incident made headlines. “Let us not presume things and decide how he managed to come. This is something which we are trying to find out. In due course, we will be able to come up with a reason that how he managed to come in India,” the spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs Raveesh Kumar said. (Hindustan Times)

Who is Jaspal Atwal, the new thorn in Indo-Canadian ties?

Jaspal Atwal, an Indian-origin businessman with ties to the Khalistan movement, has become the new thorn in the relationship between India and Canada. Photographs of Mr. Atwal with Canadian Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rekindled the debate on Mr. Trudeau's stand on the pro-Khalistan movement. (The Hindu)

Is Trudeau ‘hobnobbing’ with terrorists? Why India doesn’t trust Canada all that much

It’s pretty clear by now that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not having the most productive time in India. His itinerary is unusually light and, according to Indian media, high profile politicians seem to be actively avoiding him. And that was before Sophie Gregoire Trudeau posed with a Surrey businessman, Jaspal Atwal, convicted in a 1986 terrorist shooting in B.C. during the family’s trip to India. It’s nothing new that Canada and India aren’t on good terms. Below, a brief summary of all the other signs of our strained relationship with the world’s largest democracy. (National Post)

Canadian PMO in damage control mode, brings Trudeau’s engagements back on track

As the initial phase of the eight-day visit of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attracted wonder and even ridicule in his country, the Prime Minister’s Office has taken control of the remaining engagements to bring the trip back on track. The original itinerary was decided with the advice of Indo-Canadian cabinet minister Navdeep Bains, who is Trudeau’s point person for the Indo-Canadian community and relations with India, and implemented by Canada’s high commissioner to New Delhi, Nadir Patel, people familiar with the developments said. (Hindustan Times)

Feds use taxpayer money to fly celebrity chef to India

Vancouver-based celebrity chef Vikram Vij, a vocal Liberal supporter, was flown to India on the government’s dime to cook for a group of top diplomats, CTV News has learned. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been travelling across India with his family in hopes of boosting business ties with the South Asian nation. The government flew Vij to India to help prepare Indian cuisine for a reception at the residence of the Canadian High Commissioner on Thursday. (CTV)

Canada’s refugee hearing board overwhelmed

This week Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)  admits it is being swamped by the increase in asylum claims.  It appears the Board has given up on trying to meet the regulations saying it must hear asylum claims within a specific time frame. (CBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Karina Gould wants to save democracy from fake news. How?

In the aftermath of the 2016 American presidential election, Western democracies awoke to an uncontrolled and potentially dangerous world of political disinformation, targeted ads, bots and foreign interference. How Justin Trudeau's government intends to respond to this new reality before the 2019 federal election should become clearer this spring. (CBC)

Canada can’t do much to stem fake news, according to government documents

The federal government doesn’t believe it can do much on its own to stem the growing tide of fake news in Canada, according to briefing notes prepared for Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly. The documents, obtained by The Canadian Press through an access-to-information request, highlight that even though the government recognizes that fake news could threaten Canada’s democratic institutions at a time when traditional news outlets are facing cutbacks and financial challenges, there’s not much they can do to stop it. (Global)

'The system is full of holes': Experts say young foreign students left vulnerable by unregulated industry

Tina Liu, 16,  moved to Toronto a year ago from China to attend high school as an international student. But soon after, she started experiencing problems with her host family and custodian. After living with her hosts for seven months, she told them she wanted to be closer to her Markham, Ont., school. After that, Tina said the family stopped calling her down for dinner, and a few times, she went to bed hungry. When Tina wasn't in class, she spent most of her time alone in her room, feeling isolated and lonely. "So many nights, I cried under my blanket." (CBC)

Canada lowers citizenship fee for minors applying on their own

The federal government has lowered the processing fees for minors applying for Canadian citizenship on their own from $530 to $100. This change brings the fee in line with what it costs for minors who apply at the same time as a parent or who already have a Canadian parent. In a statement announcing the change, the government said that this will make it easier for minors, including immigrant children in the welfare system or in foster care, to become citizens. (CTV)

Atlantic provinces adopting program to keep foreign students after graduation

A program that helps international students stay and work in Nova Scotia will be adopted by the three other Atlantic provinces as they try to grow their population. Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Atlantic Canada has a retention rate for skilled immigrants that "hovers at around 60 per cent," compared to rates of 90 per cent or higher in Ontario and Alberta. (CBC)

Ontarians trust PCs with key election issues: Ipsos poll

The top issues on Ontarians’ minds as an upcoming election looms are health care, the economy and lowering taxes and energy costs, according to a new poll. And we think the Progressive Conservative Party is the best party to tackle most of those issues, according to the Ipsos poll, which was conducted exclusively for Global News. (Global)

Patrick Brown passes vetting process, can seek Ontario PC leadership

Patrick Brown has passed the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario’s unique candidate-vetting process, meaning he can now can push ahead with his unlikely campaign to be party leader, a post he quit less than a month ago. Word on the screening came down from the Tories’ provincial nominations committee late Wednesday afternoon, ending a day of suspense and speculation that Brown might be denied even the chance to reclaim his old job. (National Post)

Iraq says handed over 4 women, 27 children suspected of ISIS ties to Russia

Iraq has handed over to Russia four women and 27 children suspected of having ties to the ISIS group, local television broadcaster Al-Sumaria quoted the foreign ministry as saying on Thursday. “Iraq has returned to Russia 27 children and four women who were tricked into joining Daesh,” the ministry spokesman told reporters, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. (Alarabiya)

Wannabe terrorist pleads guilty to providing support to ISIS

Sajmir Alimehmeti, 24, of The Bronx, admitted to charges of providing material support to ISIS and committing passport fraud in order to facilitate an act of international terrorism, for which he faces up to 45 years in federal prison at his sentencing. (NY Post)

Poll of Republican Voters: Reducing Immigration More Important than Replacing Obamacare, Destroying ISIS

A new poll by Harvard-Harris shows widespread support for President Trump’s “America First” immigration agenda, which strives to reduce legal and illegal immigration to raise the wages and quality of life for America’s working and middle class, who have suffered under decades of poor job growth, stagnant wages, and increased public costs to offset the importation of millions of low-skilled foreign nationals. (Breitbart)

Bahrain rights activist jailed for five years for "insulting" tweets

A Bahraini human rights activist was sentenced to five years in prison on Wednesday for criticising Saudi Arabia’s air strikes in Yemen and accusing Bahrain’s prison authorities of torture, his lawyer and fellow activists said. (Reuters)

Middle East military heavyweights Israel, Iran on collision course over Syria

Iran and Israel are on a collision course over Tehran’s expanding footprint in Syria, raising the odds of a direct clash between the region’s two military heavyweights that could quickly draw in other combatants. With Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, Iran’s most potent military ally, emboldened by their success in upholding Syrian President Bashar Assad, Israel is growing more and more wary of being attacked by missiles not just from southern Lebanon but also from inside Syria. (Washington Times)



Candice Malcolm: Trudeau's global sensation comes crashing down in India

The Liberal Party of Canada’s crass partisanship and dubious vote-seeking schemes are catching up with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his official state visit to India. Trudeau is used to being met with acclaim and international fanfare during his many trips abroad. But his reception in India has been strikingly different. He’s received a cold-shoulder from his counterparts in India’s central government. Prime Minister Narenda Modi, known for his gracious hospitality and warm bear hugs when greeting foreign dignitaries, has entirely ignored the Canadian PM. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Trudeau’s election-ready collection of excellent vacation photos

Justin Trudeau’s excellent family vacation, the entire country of India being their venue, has the Liberals with a treasure trove of photographs in the bag for the 2019 federal election. The prime minister’s entire family — wife Sophie, and the three kids — have been pictured in all sorts of traditional Indian garb as they toured various religious shrines, and without a single cry of “cultural appropriation’ being raised by the political correct crowd back home who track such perceived slights. (Toronto Sun)

Shivam Vij: Why India is being really rude to Justin Trudeau

Modi’s Canadian counterpart, Trudeau, is equally an ace at producing visuals of himself doing things. When Trudeau and his family landed in New Delhi on February 17 on the beginning of the Canadian prime minister’s week-long trip to the country, the Trudeaus came out of the plane with a namaste, the traditional Indian greeting. But Modi wasn’t there to receive them. No Modi hugs for Trudeau. Instead, Modi sent his junior minister for agriculture. Modi hasn’t even welcomed Trudeau to India on Twitter, instead busying himself campaigning for a state election in the south. (Toronto Sun)



  • NA