True North Initiative News Scan 03 07 2018

TOP STORIES

Liberal support sags as PM’s image softens. His India trip hurt.

The results of our latest survey (February 23rd to March 4th, sample of 4,023 across Canada) reveals that the Liberal Party has seen its support drop to 36%, the lowest we have measured since the election in 2015. The Conservatives are close behind with 33% followed by the NDP with 18%. Most of the slippage for the Liberals is centred in Ontario, where the Liberals and Conservatives are basically tied (39% CPC/38% LPC). (Abacus)

Will new security committee look into Atwal affair? So far, it's a secret

Pressed last week to explain a Trudeau government official's theory that elements within the Indian government were involved in the Jaspal Atwal affair, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale had a suggestion: bring it up before the new national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians. But if that committee — established last year with a mandate to review sensitive intelligence matters — is interested in figuring out how a man convicted of attempted murder ended up at the same event in Mumbai as the prime minister, it's not saying. Not yet, at least. (CBC)

Gregoire Trudeau calls Atwal incident 'shocking,' denies trip was a 'vacation'

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau said it was "shocking" to learn after the fact that she had taken a photo with attempted murderer Jaspal Atwal at an event during the government’s official trip to India in February. In an interview with Don Martin on CTV’s Power Play, she said the Mumbai reception was the first time she had ever seen Atwal, a B.C. Sikh convicted of trying to kill an Indian cabinet minister in 1986. (CTV)

Edmonton man pleads guilty to U.S. terror charges in New York court

Years after he was extradited to the United States, an Edmonton man pleaded guilty to U.S. terror charges in an alleged murder conspiracy Tuesday. Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, 50, pleaded guilty to charges that he sent money and provided support to Tunisian jihadists, who are believed to be responsible for a 2009 suicide attack in Iraq. That attack killed five American soldiers. The plea was part of a deal, one that could spare him a term of life behind bars. He instead faces a term of 26 years behind bars, followed by deportation. A judge still needs to sign off on his sentence. (CTV) (FOX)

11 European Illegal Immigrants Busted After Crossing Canadian Border to Vermont

U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Swanton Sector arrested a group of illegal immigrants from Europe shortly after they crossed from Canada into Vermont. The illegal immigrants came from France (4) and Romania (7). (Breitbart) (Washington Examiner)

Five things we learned about science (and other stuff) from Justin Trudeau and Bill Nye

Trudeau claimed that all infants start off as little scientists. “When you’re a baby, you are a scientist,” he said. “‘If I make this noise, wow, I get milk. If I push this button or knock this thing off the table, it lands on me and it hurts.’” The problem is that most of us become less science-y as we grow up, Trudeau said. “Being a kid is constantly testing, discovering, hypothesis, experiment, solution, learning. It’s as we grow older, we start to forget about being scientists.” (National Post)

Spike in gun and gang violence in Canada has experts worried

Politicians, law enforcement experts, academics and community members have gathered in Ottawa for the Summit on Gun and Gang Violence to discuss a troubling increase in gun-related incidents and gang activity in Canada. The summit is being hosted by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who in November announced the federal government would be spending $327.6 million over five years on anti-gun and gang initiatives, and $100 million annually thereafter. (CBC)

Protester breaks window at Queen's University, resists arrest — Kingston Police

A woman who protested a controversial lecture that took place at Queen’s University on Monday is facing numerous charges from Kingston Police. Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto psychology professor, stopped at Queen’s as part of a tour to support his bestselling book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. The lecture he gave was titled The Rising Tide of Compelled Speech in Canada. Peterson has been criticized for refusing direction to use nongender pronouns as well as opposing Bill C-16, which extends legal protections to transgender people. His critics have accused him of promoting far-right, racist, homophobic and Islamophobic ideas. (Kingston Whig)

RCMP watchdog to examine handling of Colten Boushie shooting

An independent investigation into the Colten Boushie case will take a closer look at the way RCMP dealt with the young man's shooting death. Boushie, 22, was shot by Gerald Stanley near Biggar, Sask., on Aug. 9, 2016, when he and four other young people from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation reserve drove onto Stanley's rural property in an SUV. (CBC)

Bernier rejects Liberal MP's apology after Twitter fight over race and identity politics

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is rejecting an olive branch from Liberal counterpart Celina Caesar-Chavannes after the pair exchanged barbs on Twitter over issues of race and identity politics. Bernier, Caesar-Chavannes and Liberal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen were going at each other over funding in the budget that Hussen described as historic for racialized Canadians. The budget included money for a national anti-racism plan, mental health supports for at-risk Black youth and funding to collect better data on race, gender and inclusion in Canada. (Toronto Star)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Abdoul Abdi supporters push for Nova Scotia to intervene in deportation case

Family and friends of a Somali refugee who came to Nova Scotia as a child 17 years ago were at Province House Tuesday morning trying to get the Nova Scotia government to intervene in his deportation case. Abdoul Abdi, 23, will be in Toronto on Wednesday for an Immigration and Review Board hearing where he could be ordered deported from Canada. (CBC)

Not if, but when: Trade lawyer says Canada will be exempted from U.S. tariffs

It’s a matter of time before U.S. President Donald Trump wakes up to the reality that Canada should not be slapped with hefty tariffs on the steel and aluminum it ships south of the border. But the opening salvos of a trade war may be fired before that happens. That’s the outlook of a prominent international trade and customs lawyer who specializes in Canada-U.S. relations. Daniel Ujczo told CTV’s Your Morning that he expects cooler heads will eventually prevail, especially if upward pressure on commodity prices cause job losses, and Canada starts to snipe at politically sensitive U.S. goods. (CTV)

Feds eye tougher screening of gun owners for mental health, violence concerns

The federal government has been eyeing changes that would allow authorities to more quickly identify people considered unfit to have guns for reasons such as mental instability or violent behaviour, an internal memo shows. The Liberals are planning to introduce legislation in coming weeks to fulfil platform promises on firearms — including a requirement for “enhanced background checks” for anyone seeking to buy a handgun or other restricted gun. (National Post)

Teen drawn to ISIS brought homemade bomb to Utah school, police say

A teenage student at a southern Utah high school has been charged with bringing a homemade bomb to the school that was discovered in a backpack emitting smoke and prompted an evacuation, police said Tuesday. The boy was arrested Monday night after Pine View High School in the city of St. George was evacuated for two hours that afternoon while the FBI and a bomb squad investigated. Police declined to identify the arrested teen or give his age. (NBC)

Kim Jong-un invites U.S. to table for Koreas summit

It had the look of a rather uncomfortable wedding reception; a mirrored banquet hall, giant floral arrangements, pink chairs and table cloths, and all sorts of awkward body language. But last night's strained dinner between North and South Korean officials in Pyongyang made history. It was the first time that Kim Jong-un, the North's dictator, had met publicly with representatives of the South's government. (CBC)

North Korea says it's willing to hold talks with US and halt nuclear pursuit while negotiations last: South Korea

North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States on denuclearization and will suspend nuclear tests while those talks are under way, the South said on Tuesday after a delegation returned from the North where it met leader Kim Jong Un. North and South Korea, still technically at war but enjoying a sharp easing in tension since the Winter Olympics in the South last month, will also hold their first summit in more than a decade next month at the border village of Panmunjom, the head of the delegation, Chung Eui-yong, told a media briefing. (CNBC)

Gary Cohn, Key Trump economic policy adviser, resigns

US President Donald Trump's top economic adviser Gary Cohn is resigning, the White House has said. It is the latest in a series of high-profile departures from President Trump's team. There has been speculation that Mr Cohn, a supporter of free trade, was angered by Mr Trump's plans to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel imports. (BBC)

Trump DOJ sues California over 'interference' with immigration enforcement

The Trump Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday night against California, saying three recently-passed state laws were deliberately interfering with federal immigration policies. It marked the latest legal and political confrontation with the nation's most populous state, which the federal government says has repeatedly stood in the way of its plans to step up enforcement actions in the workplace and against criminal aliens. (Fox)

Illegal immigrants with sex, robbery convictions among those who evaded capture after Dem mayor's warning

A Democratic mayor’s warning to illegal immigrants of an incoming ICE raid in northern California may have led to a number of illegal immigrants with violent and sex-related convictions evading capture and deportation. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tweeted out an impending warning of the four-day raid last week, alerting targeted individuals to the imminent arrests, and infuriating Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who say that many more could have been caught if they hadn't been warned. (Fox)

Linda Sarsour arrested at Paul Ryan's office

Muslim-American leaders have been arrested at the US Capitol while urging Congress to stand against President Donald Trump's effort to end a programme that protects certain young immigrants. Omar Suleiman, Dawud Walid, Mujahid Fletcher, Talib Shareef and Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Zahra Billoo, and Linda Sarsour advocated immigration reform before getting arrested on Monday. (Al Jazeera)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Tarek Fatah: Oh Canada, who stands on guard for thee?

Until Feb. 27, Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole and Manitoba MP Candice Bergen were expected to move a motion in the Commons asking the House to “value the contributions of Canadian Sikhs and Canadians of Indian origin in our national life,” but also to condemn all forms of terrorism “including Khalistani extremism and the glorification of any individuals who have committed acts of violence to advance the cause of an independent Khalistani state in India.”  (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Toxic 'privilege' debate rears its head on Parliament Hill

It’s the sort of antics you’d expect to witness on campus from first-year university students. The last place you’d hope to hear accusations of toxic terms like white privilege, male privilege and so on being tossed about is on Parliament Hill. Yet, that’s just what one Liberal MP did in a recent Twitter exchange with a Conservative counterpart, which she’s now apologizing for following public blowback. Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes took a run at Conservative MP Maxime Bernier over the weekend for comments he made about the budget. “Please check your privilege and be quiet,” Caesar-Chavannes posted after telling him he was contributing to racism. (Toronto Sun)

Christie Blatchford: Gatecrashers and a run on the Crown Royal: The other screw-ups on Trudeau’s India trip

As if the widely denigrated extended photo-op tour, and the inclusion of a convicted terrorist on some invitation lists wasn’t bad enough, the National Post has learned of a ruckus at the gates of the Canadian High Commissioner’s residence during the tour and further reports of MPs in the prime minister’s entourage posing with a former politician with unsavoury connections. Beyond that, the trip was a complete disappointment from the perspective of some of those keen to make business connections — “just a mess,” says a disappointed businessman who was there. (National Post)

Lorne Gunter: If you think journalism's bad now, just wait until the feds fund it

Among the worst aspects of last week’s federal budget (beyond its 358 references to “gender” and its failure to mention pipelines except in one tiny footnote) was the Liberals’ commitment to spend $50 million over five years to “support local journalism.” Newspapers may be struggling, at the moment. Our credibility with the public may be at risk and we don’t always have the resources we once did to dig deeper into stories. (Toronto Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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