True North Initiative News Scan 03 08 2018


Wife of Iranian-Canadian who died in jail barred from leaving Iran: son

The wife of an Iranian-Canadian environmental activist who died in prison in Tehran last month was barred from leaving Iran, one of her sons said, in an unexplained move that drew an angry response from Canada. Raam Emami said in an email to journalists that security forces had not allowed his mother Maryam Mombeini to get on a plane to Vancouver with him and his brother on Wednesday night. Mombeini is the widow of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an environmental activist and sociology professor who was arrested on Jan. 24 and died in prison. Iran's judiciary said Seyed-Emami, 63, had committed suicide. (Globe and Mail)

Iran sentences ‘Girl of Enghelab Street’ to 24 months for removing headscarf in public

A Tehran prosecutor says a woman who removed her obligatory Islamic headscarf in public in late December has been sentenced to 24 months in prison. Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency on Wednesday quoted prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying the unidentified woman took off her headscarf in Tehran’s Enghelab Street to “encourage corruption through the removal of the hijab in public.” In February, police detained 29 women who removed their headscarves as part of an anti-hijab campaign known as “White Wednesdays.” (National Post)

Atwal tired of being 'raked over the coals' in the media, says his lawyer

Jaspal Atwal — the man convicted of attempted murder whose appearance during Justin Trudeau's India tour led to global humiliation for the prime minister — had every legal right to be in India at the time and he's sick of being "raked over the coals" in the media, says his lawyer. (CBC)

Has Trudeau reached a tipping point? A new poll shows his support slipping.

In the latest edition of Abacus Data’s regular survey, 36 per cent of committed voters said they’d mark the box beside by their local Liberal candidate if e-day were tomorrow, down three percentage points from January. And the prime minister’s personal popularity has fallen even further, with his positive and negative ratings within the margin of error for the first time since the 2015 election that swept him into office. (Macleans)

Trudeau has been calling one of his ministers a Nobel Prize winner, but the claim isn't evidence-based

During an event in Ottawa Tuesday with science guy Bill Nye, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted one of his ministers as a “Nobel Prize winning scientist.” At another event on Wednesday he said it again. It’s a lofty claim, but subjecting it to the rigorous process of scientific inquiry — or, just some basic fact-checking — shows that it’s not exactly evidence-based. (National Post) (Global)

Scheer says Canada shouldn't pursue free trade with China — but maybe India, instead

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is doubling down on his opposition to a free trade deal with China, suggesting a government he leads could pursue deals with democracies such as India instead. In a phone call to the National Post from the United Kingdom, Scheer said he is trying to build ties with foreign governments ahead of the 2019 federal election out of a belief that he can and will win. “I always believe that I’ll win, in a non-arrogant way,” he said, calling himself “optimistic.” (National Post)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

White House hints at tariff relief, possibly temporary, for Canada and Mexico

Canada will get at least some temporary relief allowing it to avoid the immediate impact of U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial steel and aluminum tariffs, the White House suggested Wednesday. After days of drama and a last-minute diplomatic scramble, the White House is now hinting that the impending tariff announcement might have some form of national-security exception for the U.S.'s neighbours. (Canadian Press)

Deportation hearing for former Somali child refugee deferred for now

A former Somali child refugee will have to wait two weeks to find out whether his deportation hearing will proceed, an adjudicator ruled Wednesday. At an immigration hearing in Toronto, a lawyer for Abdoul Abdi argued that the hearing should be put on hold pending the outcome of a judicial review of the case. (CTV)


In September, John Greenwood was arrested and charged with attempted assault in the third degree as a hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree and criminal mischief after he allegedly punched a fellow student and called him the n-word. Prosecutors claim Greenwood, who is white, singled out Solomon Shewit, who is black, and punched him in the face. (Newsweek)

Border officers protest delays in talks

Canadian border officers staged a spirited demonstration here Wednesday to express their displeasure with stalled contract talks. Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, said the peaceful protest was part of a renewed union push to bring the federal government back to the bargaining table. (

Left-leaning budget ‘big problem’ for NDP, reveals Liberal fear of fleeing progressive voters, say pollsters

Last week's budget shows the Liberals are preparing to battle for left-leaning voters, trying to shore up gains made in 2015 from the NDP, who observers say should be worried as Grit policies leave little room for wedge issues to prove their progressive offer is any different. The budget is clearly aimed at taking a hold on the left as a way to cement 2015’s win, said pollster Greg Lyle (Hill Times)

DND needs an extra $54M — just to evaluate bids to build it a new fleet of warships

The Department of National Defence needs an extra $54 million just so it can examine the bids from companies hoping to build it a new fleet of warships — an indication of the growing expense of a program that has more than tripled in cost over the years. (Ottawa Citizen)

Sri Lanka state of emergency doesn't appear to be quelling sectarian violence

Religious violence flared anew in the hills of central Sri Lanka on Wednesday despite a state of emergency, with Buddhist mobs sweeping through towns and villages, burning Muslim homes and businesses and leaving victims barricaded inside mosques. The government ordered popular social media networks blocked in an attempt to stop the violence from spreading, and thousands of police and soldiers spread out across the worst-hit areas. (CBC)

IS leader's sister sentenced to death after being convicted of terror charges

The sister of Islamic State's leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has been convicted of terrorism charges and sentenced to death. A court in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad found her guilty of "offering logistic support and help to (IS militants) in carrying out criminal acts". Little is known about the woman, who was not named by the courts, but the spokesman of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council said she was also found guilty of "distributing money" to IS militants in Mosul. (Sky news)

California leaders rebuke Sessions as 'going to war' over state immigration policy

A long-simmering battle between the Trump administration and California over immigration boiled over Wednesday, with Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions deriding the state's "irrational, unfair and unconstitutional policies" and Gov. Jerry Brown accusing the federal government of launching "a reign of terror." (LA Times)

Russian spy: Attack was 'brazen and reckless', says Amber Rudd

The attempted murder of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, using a nerve agent was a "brazen and reckless attack", Amber Rudd has said. Both Col Skripal and his daughter are still critically ill after being found collapsed on a bench in Salisbury city centre on Sunday. (BBC)

US-backed Kurds go from battling ISIS to fighting US ally Turkey

A US-backed Kurdish militia is diverting 1,700 fighters from the battle against ISIS and redeploying them to northwest Syria to repel an offensive by US ally Turkey, in a development could hinder the fight against the terror group. Four branches of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), thus far tasked with defeating ISIS in Syria, have been transferred from east of the Euphrates Rivers to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali told CNN in a statement. (CNN)

ISIS-inspired Utah teen tried to blow up high school, police say

"Based on our investigation we can confirm this was a failed attempt to detonate a homemade explosive," St. George police said in a statement. "It was also determined that the male had been researching information and expressing interest in ISIS and promoting the organization." (FOX)

Arrested ISIS member confesses to using technology to brain-wash young girls

Imran aka Saif-ul-Islam was arrested from Karachi a few days ago. During investigation, he has revealed that they use applications like “Telegram” and incognito proxies to woo young girls and brain-wash them after WhatsApp began to be traced. He confessed to monitoring girls who show docility towards the caliphate’s ideology and then contacting them through surreptitious means to avoid detection. (Pakistan Observer)



Candice Malcolm: No second chances for convicted terrorists, no matter what Trudeau says

Should convicted terrorists get a “second chance” in Canada? We’re about to find out. A Mississauga, Ont., man is currently in the U.S., awaiting sentencing for his ISIS plot to mass murder civilians in New York City. Kuwait-born Abdulrahman El-Bahnasawy’s lawyers have asked for a shortened sentence for the 20-year-old, so he can come back to Canada and undergo mental health treatment and so-called religious counselling. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: McKenna’s pie-in-the-sky promise

Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna’s claim on Tuesday that Canada will meet its 2030 industrial greenhouse gas emission targets would have been more credible had she explained how. Particularly so since the Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper governments all made similar claims while failing to meet their emission targets. (Toronto Sun)

Yasmine Mohammed: On Women's Day, drop the doublethink on hijabs (especially you, cosmetic companies)

March 8 is International Women’s Day, the day we should be talking about women fighting for their rights around the world. From Iran to India, there are some big fights underway. In Saudi Arabia, women are battling their country’s archaic guardianship laws that deny women the basic freedoms we in the West take for granted, such as travelling overseas, going to work and leaving the house as we please. With no public outlet to raise their voices, Saudi women have turned to social media with the hashtag #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen. In Jaipur, India, Muslim women are this week marching against the unfair treatment they receive under Shariah divorce laws. (National Post)

Ezra Levant: Trudeau's “torturous” chat with Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” and more! (Guest host David Menzies)

Yesterday, Bill Nye, the (so-called) "Science Guy," sat down with Justin Trudeau — the Mr. Dress Up Guy. Thankfully, Justin wasn’t wearing a white lab coat, just regular business attire. I guess he learned something from his recent Indian fling and now seems to be trying to add some substance to his portfolio as... well, Prime Minister of Canada. (Rebel)

Terry Glavin: The Atwal affair is personal. People I've known have been killed

Every now and then a story will erupt out of nowhere that brings up horrible things we’ve all forgotten. The case of the former terrorist and convicted would-be assassin Jaspal Atwal showing up out of the blue on Team Trudeau invitation lists in India a couple of weeks ago is a story like that. For me, it’s a bit personal. Back in the 1980s, Jaspal Atwal was one of the nastier characters in the Sikh separatist Khalistan movement, which at the time was bullying and intimidating the Sikhs at their gurdwaras in Surrey, Vancouver and New Westminster. Atwal first came to my attention from conversations during visits with my friend Tara Singh Hayer. He was the editor of the Indo-Canadian Times in Surrey, and he’d developed a habit of bravely talking back to the Khalistanis. (National Post)

Toronto Sun: Privilege banter is academic nonsense, let's keep it that way

It’s not entirely clear what Celina Caesar-Chavannes, MP for the Ontario riding Whitby, meant when she told Conservative MP Maxime Bernier on social media to “please check your privilege and be quiet.” Did she mean white privilege? Male privilege? Both? Something else? It doesn’t really matter, because all are toxic and unacceptable suggestions coming from a federal MP. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Fiberals, Liberals and populist change

The political left is having trouble digesting the rise of populism around the world. They still can’t fathom how or why Donald Trump won office in 2016 and continue to not only discount the concerns of fellow Americans and Trump supporters, they bitterly and utterly reject them. And now Europe’s giving them more reason for moral panic. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Trudeau's blunder-filled India trip sinks Liberals in the polls

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom in Douglas Adams’ cult novel of the same name, had the words “Don’t Panic” inscribed in large, friendly letters on its cover. Justin Trudeau should perhaps distribute a facsimile to his MPs, after a string of recent polls that suggest a sea change in public opinion. (National Post)



  • NA