True North Initiative News Scan 03 19 18

TOP STORIES

How Trump's policies made Canada spend $131 million more on border patrols after its refugee system was inundated

Buffered by three oceans and the United States to the south, Canada has for decades had the luxury of being able to pick and choose its newcomers. So few asylum seekers crossed the U.S. border illegally over the years that Canada didn't consistently track the numbers. That has changed dramatically over the past 14 months. U.S. President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration and his move to strip Haitians, Salvadorans and others of their temporary legal status have had a broad effect on Canada's refugee system, Reuters interviews with social service providers, government officials and a review of Canadian immigration data show. (Business Insider)

New federal gun control bill expected this week

The federal government is expected to introduce new legislation this week that would strengthen laws surrounding the selling of firearms in an effort to crack down on gun violence.  Changes could include expanded background checks of someone trying to purchase a non-restricted firearm. (CBC)

Canada struggles as it opens its arms to Yazidis victims of Daesh brutality

Canada’s immigration minister — who is also a former refugee — assured Canadians the program would address the “unimaginable trauma, both physical and emotional” that most of the victims carried with them. But a little over a year later, the Yazidis have proved a steep challenge to the country’s celebrated refugee settlement system, and to those who work in it like Birjandian. While safety and a new routine helped most other refugees recover, the Yazidis need more and different treatments; workers say they are the most traumatized group yet to be admitted. Counsellors, doctors and other workers are hearing such upsetting stories that they themselves need treatment. (Toronto Star)

Jagmeet Singh faces criticism for pushing Canada’s parliament to give ‘genocide’ tag to 1984 riots

Jagmeet Singh, the leader of New Democratic Party (NDP), has sought to get Canada’s parliament recognise the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in India as a “genocide”, leading to criticism from Indo-Canadians for propagating a divisive agenda. But Azad Kaushik, president of the National Alliance of Indo-Canadians (NAIC), hit out at Singh for painting events from 1984 in those terms. “Canadians, Indo-Canadians in particular, do not accept Jagmeet Singh's politics of hate and bigotry that has done more harm than good,” he said in a statement. (Hindustan Times) (Times of India)

NDP brain trust was unprepared to manage Sikh independence controversy

One of the first tasks of an opposition leader is to avoid providing a diversion from a government in trouble. Over the past week, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has failed rather spectacularly at that basic task. At a time when the prime minister is licking self-inflicted wounds from a poorly executed visit to India, Singh’s travails over his relationship with the Sikh separatist movement have conveniently shifted the spotlight away from the Liberals. (Toronto Star)

Drop in polls ‘a wake-up call’ for Trudeau’s Liberals who need to ‘work on their game,’ say leading pollsters

The recent drop in public opinion polls should be a “wake-up call” for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s governing Liberals who need to keep their eye on the ball and communicate what they’re doing to improve the lives of Canadians, say leading pollsters. “It’s a wake-up call for the Liberals, they need to work on their game,” said Greg Lyle, president of Innovative Research Group in an interview with The Hill Times. (Hill Times)

Footage of ‘Russian election rigging’ as Vladimir Putin wins biggest ever victory with 75 per cent of votes

In the clips, polling station officials appear to stash voting slips in ballot boxes and block a CCTV camera at one station with balloons, while a Mother Superior appears to check the votes cast by her order. It comes as Putin comfortably extended his rule of Russia for another six years this evening, winning 76.67 per cent of the vote - his highest score ever. (Sun.co.uk) (BBC)

North Korea to Meet for Talks With U.S., South Korean Delegations in Helsinki

A North Korean official will hold unofficial talks in Finland with a delegation from the U.S. and former South Korean government officials, Seoul’s foreign ministry said, amid a flurry of recent diplomatic activity before an expected U.S.-North Korean summit by the end of May. However, American officials said the meeting in Finland isn’t part of the process leading up to a planned meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but would be an informal discussion of the sort that have occurred periodically among former officials, academics and experts from the U.S., North Korea and South Korea. (WSJ)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canada contributes $10 million in emergency funding for Palestinian refugees

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Thursday the federal government will provide $10 million in emergency funding to the UN body UNRWA. “Palestinian refugees face a dire humanitarian situation,” said Bibeau in a release. “Today’s announcement of new and exceptional emergency funding will provide humanitarian assistance to help meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza.” (IPolitics)

Elections chief says lowering voting age to 16 is an idea 'worth considering'

Canada's elections chief says Parliament could look at lowering the voting age to 16 to boost Canadians' lifelong participation in the democratic process. Stéphane​ Perrault, acting chief electoral officer, told CBC News that changing the minimum legal age for casting a ballot is a "fundamental policy" change only Parliament can make — but he thinks it's "worth considering." (CBC)

Canadian troops to face uphill struggle in supporting Mali peacekeeping mission

For a decade, Canada has pumped more than $1-billion in foreign aid and military support into the West African nation of Mali, trying to rebuild a fragile and dysfunctional state. It has largely been a failed effort. Despite massive international support, Mali has fallen into turmoil, suffering first a military coup and then widening violence as its government steadily lost territory to northern separatists and Islamist militias. (Globe and Mail)

Catherine McKenna says Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will make B.C. coast safer

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says marine safety improvements associated with the Trans Mountain expansion project will make B.C.'s coast safer than it was before. Citing new safety efforts like the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan, McKenna said even though the project would lead to more tanker traffic, spill response would be heightened. (CBC)

Progressive Conservatives driving towards majority government, poll suggests

Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives appear well on the way to forming a majority government in June at Queen’s Park, if a recent poll holds true. “If an election were held tomorrow, there’s no doubt it would be a Doug Ford majority,” said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research Inc., in an interview. “This is basically Doug Ford’s to lose,” Yufest said. (Toronto Star)

After almost 30 years, ex-Iraqi/Israeli double agent's status in Canada remains in limbo

For the better part of three decades, Sumaida’s legal status in the country has remained in perpetual limbo. On the one hand, immigration authorities have found the one-time double agent for the Iraqi secret police and the Israeli intelligence service to be inadmissible to Canada because of his espionage activities. On the other hand, authorities say he faces the possibility of torture if he returns to his native Iraq or Tunisia, his father’s birthplace. (National Post)

Winnipeg relative says widow and baby in more limbo as they hide in Afghanistan

The sister-in-law of a widow, who has been hiding in Afghanistan with her baby following her late husband's violent death, says the mother has been told she must go to India to make her asylum plea — a place she is unable to get to. "Just leaving her to die is what I would say will happen," said the Winnipeg sister-in-law, who CBC has agreed not to name out of concerns it could reveal the identities of her loved ones who are in hiding. (CBC) (CTV)

Woman connected to bawdy-houses fights to stay in Canada

A Taiwanese woman who moved to Richmond, B.C., to marry is being connected to the running of a series of bawdy-houses and recruitment of foreign nationals to work in the Lower Mainland sex trade. According to documents filed in federal court, Canada Border Services Agency agents confronted Chun Tao Zhang after allegedly arranging to meet her for sex through a Chinese-language messaging service. (CBC)

Teller who admitted helping with heist not allowed to back out of guilty plea, judge rules

A former Calgary bank teller who regretted pleading guilty for her role in a heist because she didn't like the consequences will not be allowed to back out of her plea. "This was a very difficult question and I don't mind telling you I struggled with it," Justice David Gates said Friday before denying Kenza Belakziz's application to vacate her guilty plea. Sitting in the prisoner's box, Belakziz shook her head and wiped tears from her eyes. (CBC)

SAS sniper kills senior ISIS fighter with 'one in a million' night-time headshot from a mile away close to the Syrian border

An SAS sniper has killed a senior ISIS fighter with a 'one in a million' night-time shot from a mile away, it has been claimed. The marksman is said to have killed the terrorist with a 'head shot' close to the Syrian border having been given a window of just 15 seconds. He is understood to be a sergeant with the SAS G-Sqaudron and a veteran of operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where he is understood to have recorded as many as 100 kills. (Daily Mail)

British woman Anna Campbell killed after fighting Isis in Syria with all-female Kurdish group YPJ

A British woman fighting with a Kurdish armed unit has died in Syria, her father has said. Anna Campbell, from Lewes, East Sussex, died on March 15 in Afrin while with the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units, the YPJ, the BBC said. It is feared she was killed by Turkish air strikes. Ms Campbell is the first British woman to have been killed in Syria with the YPG or YPJ. Seven men have died in the country while fighting alongside the groups. (Yahoo)

80 Percent of Iran's Population Living Below Poverty Line

Despite the Iranian government claiming a 4.4 percent growth for the country’s economy, a member of parliament’s Economic Committee says that 80 percent of the country’s population live below poverty line. Meanwhile, an advisor to Iran’s president has also warned rivals, saying “we’re all aboard the same ship, and all of us will be hurt if this ship is going to sink.” (Iran Focus)

Amazon Deletes Reviews of Conservative Authors with No Explanation

Amazon frightened many conservative authors this week in a mass deletion of reviews. Some authors lost almost 100 reviews on their published works. Others lost all the reviews they had ever written on Amazon. Some lost both. Information about the purge began to trickle out in the closed Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA) Facebook group. Member after member began reporting the losses at the same time. Marina Fontaine, whose credits include the dystopian Chasing Freedom, the pro-Trump fiction anthology MAGA 2020, and moderating the CLFA page, reported many members experiencing losses. A coordinated effort was launched to contact Amazon for explanation. Jon Del Arroz, a science fiction author who was banned from Worldcon earlier this year, contacted Amazon directly asking for his reviews to be reinstated. (PJ Media)

Los Alamitos might challenge California over state’s sanctuary law

Los Alamitos might try to opt out of California’s new sanctuary law. The City Council in Orange County’s second-smallest city is scheduled to vote Monday, March 19 on an ordinance that calls for exempting itself from the California Values Act, SB54, a new law that limits cooperation between law enforcement and immigration authorities. (OC Register)

Fearing deportation under Trump, these immigrants prepare to become untraceable

A few months back, Lorena Jofre was planning to buy a condominium in Miami-Dade County to finally move into her own place with her 7-year-old daughter. Jofre, who has lived much of her life in uncertainty, also planned to exchange her old car for a new one, thanks to a better paying job. She even hoped to return to college to become a teacher or a social worker. (Miami Herald)

Israeli killed by Palestinian in Jerusalem Old City stabbing

A Palestinian stabbed an Israeli security guard to death in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday before being shot dead by a police officer, Israeli officials said. The stabbing came with concerns over the potential for an upsurge in unrest in the coming weeks as the United States prepares to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. (Yahoo)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Identity politics overtake feminist movement

When it comes to violence against women, not all victims are treated equally by our society. The most blatant example of this double standard comes via the bombshell of yet another child sex grooming scandal in the United Kingdom. Last time, it was Rotherham, and we learned that for four decades police and politicians had quietly looked the other way while more than 1,500 girls were abused by so-called grooming gangs in the northern English town. This time around, we’re learning of a potentially even bigger scandal in the town of Telford. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Wynne’s throne speech will be a fairy tale

Believing anything in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s throne speech on Monday will be the equivalent of believing that this time Lucy is going to hold the football in place for Charlie Brown. To believe Wynne’s election promises, we’ll have to practice “doublethink,” holding two contradictory ideas at the same time, as famously defined by George Orwell in his dystopian vision of the future, 1984. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: Pixie dust and the costumed roles of Justin Trudeau

 No longer is Justin Trudeau the dreamy heartthrob that had jaded bureaucrats swooning like teeny-boppers when he was first elected prime minister, and glossy magazines writing glowing but vacuous pap about him being the new face of world progressiveness. He has managed in little more than a half a term as head of the Liberal government to become a laughing stock and an embarrassment. International headlines are no longer kind to him. (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: Rural communities under the gun

The federal Liberals’ upcoming gun control legislation and the recent spike in rural crime are closely related. No, I don’t mean that if the Libs can just do something about getting guns under control, they will reduce the rural crime rate, which has risen by more than 20% in many rural parts of the country over the past five years. Nope. From that aspect, past Liberal gun control measures have actually made rural crime worse. (Toronto Sun)

NP View: Iran continues persecuting this Canadian family while Trudeau continues not helping

It was only a few weeks ago in this space that we noted with disgust the Canadian government’s apparent near apathy over the death of a Canadian while in Iranian government custody. Kavous Seyed-Emami, a Canadian citizen working in Iran as an environmentalist and professor, was arrested on uncorroborated charges of espionage and sent to Evin Prison, the regime’s infamous torture dungeon for political prisoners. A few weeks later, Iran announced that Seyed-Emami was dead. Officials dubiously claimed it was by his own hand. No independent medical examination was permitted, and his body was rapidly buried. A regime that routinely rapes, tortures and murders people for mere dissent expects Seyed-Emami’s family, and Canada, to simply take its word that it had nothing to do with him dying inside one of its most notorious death chambers. (National Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today for Supplementary Estimates ©, 2017-2018 and Interim Estimates 2018-2019 (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet tomorrow to study the Use of Ion Mobility Spectrometers by Correctional Service Canada (Public)
  • Standing Committee on National Defence meet tomorrow for Supplementary Estimates ©, 2017-2018 and Interim Estimates 2018-2019 (Public)