True North Initiative News Scan 03 20 18

TOP STORIES

Justin Trudeau is less popular than Stephen Harper was at this point in his tenure as PM

Angus Reid is the latest polling company to find Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s popularity in precipitous decline in the wake of his widely criticized trip to India. Trudeau’s net approval rating of -16 is well below Stephen Harper’s rating of -1 at a similar point in his tenure. Fifty-six per cent of respondents say they disapprove of Trudeau at his government’s 29-month mark, while 40 per cent say they approve. At Harper’s 28-month mark, 47 per cent disapproved while 46 per cent approved. (National Post)

Scheer’s delight? If an election were held tomorrow, CPC could have a shot at majority government

The passage of time appears to have done nothing to soothe Canadian voters irritated with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau since his highly criticized passage to India last month. This, combined with a simmering unease among the electorate over the federal government’s deficit spending has, for the first time, driven Trudeau’s disapproval rating north of 50 per cent. All of this adds up to a ten-point gap between the Liberal and Conservative parties in vote intention. The latest polling analysis from the Angus Reid Institute shows that if an election were held tomorrow, the CPC – led by Andrew Scheer, would be in range to form a majority government. (Angus Reid)

NDP MP blasts idea that asylum seekers at U.S. border are ‘illegal’

NDP MP and immigration critic Jenny Kwan told Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen who was flanked by officials at the House of Commons immigration committee Monday that it’s wrong he and his officials used the term “illegal” to describe asylum seekers at the U.S.-Canada border. “It is not illegal. Just because the Conservative members are badgering does not mean you should capitulate,” said Kwan. “It’s the wrong term,” she said. (IPolitics)

Woman charged with helping 6 who illegally crossed into US

A North Carolina woman rented an SUV and picked up six Mexican citizens who illegally crossed into the United States at a remote border crossing in Vermont near the Canadian border, federal prosecutors said. Carmen Melari Ferrufino Perdomo, 31, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was charged Monday with transporting people into the United States who didn't have permission to be in the country. (KTSM) (CBC)

Canada is failing to deport criminals. Here’s why it can take years, sometimes decades

On Sept. 10, 2003, Faulino Deng beat up a Toronto roofing contractor and threatened to kill him. A lanky former Sudanese soldier, Deng had only been in Canada 10 months and already he’d committed an aggravated assault. Because he wasn’t a Canadian citizen, Deng was brought before the Immigration and Refugee Board, which ordered his deportation. (Global)

Rejection rates for Canada Summer Jobs funding up 12-fold from last year

Federal officials have rejected requests from more than 1,500 organizations for funding through the government's premier summer jobs program, a 12-fold increase since the Liberals added new funding criteria that have drawn the ire of faith-based groups. The government says rejections are up year-over-year to 1,561 this year compared with 126 in 2017. The rejections could be for multiple reasons, such as not meeting funding requirements, missing details on forms or objecting to the wording of a new declaration that the jobs to be funded, as well as the main activities of groups themselves, respect reproductive rights. (CTV)

Roughly 250 Canadians troops are heading to Mali — what dangers will they face?

On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan unveiled their plan to have Canadian soldiers deploy as part of an aviation task force to join the nearly five-year-old United Nations mission in the West African country, nearly three years after pledging during the 2015 election campaign that Canada would join on to a peacekeeping mission through the international body. The mission is the deadliest of any United Nations peace operation, with 162 fatalities since it began in 2014. (Global) (Globe and Mail) (CBC)

'Mali is a war zone': Conservatives want debate on 12-month UN peacekeeping mission

Given prior experience, the Canadian helicopter contingent bound for Mali will probably face greater danger from the risk of a mechanical failure and crash than it will from a terrorist attack, the chief of the defence staff suggested Monday. That's in part because Canada's contribution to support the United Nations peace force there will likely be based in a well-defended military base in the country's eastern city of Gao, Gen. Jonathan Vance told The Canadian Press. (Metro)

Former top Canadian security officials warn Ottawa to sever links with China’s Huawei

Ward Elcock, John Adams and Richard Fadden are weighing in on the matter after the heads of the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and the Defence Intelligence Agency recently told the U.S. Senate intelligence committee that Huawei poses a cybersecurity threat to American customers. U.S. spymasters say Huawei’s smartphones and networking equipment could be used to conduct undetected espionage, especially the next, advanced generation of 5G technology. (Globe and Mail)

Federal government won’t block Huawei’s business in Canada

The opposition parties have urged the federal government to re-evaluate the risks of allowing Chinese tech giant Huawei to sell smartphones and telecommunications equipment to Canadians over fears of cyberspying. But Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told Parliament on Monday that Ottawa will not block Huawei from doing business in Canada and insisted steps have been taken to protect Canadians from possible foreign espionage. Mr. Goodale faced questions in the Commons after The Globe and Mail reported Monday that three former directors of Canada’s key national security agencies want Ottawa to heed the advice of U.S. intelligence services and cut ties to Huawei. (Globe and Mail)

A reader’s guide to the Air India bombing and the bloody conflict that preceded it

The debate about NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s views on Talwinder Singh Parmar, the mastermind of the 1985 Air India bombing, as well as Singh’s appearance at Sikh independence events where extremist views were on display, continues to unfold. Yet to a whole generation the Air India bombing, and the deadly events that preceded it, happened too long ago to be even a distant memory. Here then, in reverse chronological order, are excerpts from the Maclean’s archives on the terror attack that claimed the lives of more than 300 people, the assassination of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards and the bloodbath that followed, as well as the Indian military’s storming of the Golden Temple in 1984 which left 500 dead. (Macleans)

Notorious Russian online troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

The same Russian online troll farm that meddled in the U.S. presidential election has also taken swipes at Canadian targets, including the country's oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Evidence is embedded in data made publicly available through investigations in the United States, where congressional probes have been examining Russian information campaigns following the 2016 presidential election. (CBC)

India confirms death of 39 men kidnapped by Isis in Iraq in 2014

India says 39 of its citizens who were kidnapped by Islamic State in Iraq in 2014 have been confirmed dead after their remains were tested in Baghdad. The Indian external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, told parliament that DNA tests on bodies recovered from a mass grave had shown a match with the construction workers, who disappeared in June 2014 when Mosul fell to Isis. (Guardian) (BBC)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Trump policies have caused turmoil within Canada’s immigration system: Aid agencies

According to reports from Reuters, 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. More than 20,000 people, including thousands of Haitians and Nigerians and hundreds of Turks, Syrians and Eritreans, have crossed the border into Canada illegally over the past year in search of asylum, many fleeing in fear that Trump would deport them to their home countries. (Globe and Mail)

Elections Canada prepares to fight fake news, foreign influence in 2019 vote

Democracies around the world are grappling with new threats to democracy in the digital age, from foreign actors tampering with voting systems to the viral spread of disinformation through social media. With the U.S., U.K. and various European countries still reeling over the explosion of fake news on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, acting Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault said he believes Canadians are better prepared than many others to spot fake political news after the high-profile 2011 "robocalls" scandal and the recent U.S. presidential election. (CBC)

Idea of getting firearms vendors to track sales revives old gun control debate

The Liberal government is expected to introduce legislation tomorrow that will further tighten firearms laws to reduce gun violence — a move welcomed by gun control advocates but opposed by lawful owners who say new restrictions will do little to prevent crime. In the last election, the Liberals promised the national long-gun registry — a program scrapped by the former Harper government — wouldn't be revived. They also pledged "pragmatic action to make it harder for criminals to get, and use, handguns and assault weapons." (CBC)

Trudeau could be barred from U.S. after he’s PM because he smoked pot: U.S. lawyer

A U.S. immigration lawyer says Justin Trudeau could be barred from travelling to the U.S. once he’s no longer prime minister because he once admitted to smoking pot. “He’s admitted to smoking marijuana as an MP,” Len Saunders, a lawyer for The Immigration Law Firm in Washington state, told Canadian senators Monday.  (IPolitics)

Environment minister Catherine McKenna says pipeline fight puts national climate plan in peril

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, faced with the threat of a growing number of Canadian provinces balking at her government’s climate action plan, is pleading for a truce in the pipeline dispute between the B.C. and Alberta governments. Continued support for Kinder Morgan Canada Inc.’s pipeline-expansion project was the trade-off Ottawa made to bring the Alberta NDP government on board for a national price on carbon. (Globe and Mail)

Canada's arms deal with Saudi Arabia includes 'heavy assault' vehicles

Canada's multi-billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia includes a substantial number of "heavy assault" armoured vehicles and a maintenance deal that would see the Ontario-based manufacturer embed teams at multiple locations throughout the kingdom (CBC)

Parcel containing 'nails and shrapnel' explodes at FedEx site in Texas as FBI probe link to Austin bomber

A package 'containing nails and shrapnel' has exploded inside a FedEx facility in a suburb of  San Antonio, Texas. At least one member of staff has reportedly been injured in the explosion, which took place at a distribution center in Schertz, northeast of the city. The package was reportedly destined for Austin, according to a tweet by San Antonio Fire Department. (Daily Mail)

Xi Jinping warns any attempt to split China is 'doomed to fail'

Chinese President Xi Jinping has delivered a fervently nationalistic closing speech to parliament, painting China as the rising global power. Mr Xi said "achieving total unity" was the "collective hope of all Chinese people" and any attempts to divide it were "doomed to fail". The speech was a strong warning against any attempt at separatism from places like Taiwan and Hong Kong. (BBC)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Gwyn Morgan: Turns out Justin Trudeau is more like Pierre than we feared

Like father, like son, the old adage goes. It’s rarely been truer than in the case of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and his son. Pierre was once asked for his views on democracy and communism, and stated that a one-party state would be the ideal government under certain conditions. That might sound familiar. Added Pierre: “I wouldn’t be prepared to think I would be successful in arguing that (communism) for Canada at the present time. But such times might come, who knows?” Five decades later, here’s his son, Justin Trudeau: “You know, there’s a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime.” (Financial Post)

Mark Bonokoski: If an election were held tomorrow, Justin Trudeau's gone as PM

For the first time since Justin Trudeau became prime minister, the majority of Canadians disapprove of him to such a degree that an election tomorrow would see the Conservatives within striking distance of a majority. This should rattle a few bars in the playpen. What happened between the effusive gushing of 2015 by progressives celebrating the defeat of the dreaded Harperites that such a political chill has descended upon the Liberals as the spring of 2018 dawns? (Calgary Sun)

Lorne Gunter: NDP's addiction to carbon tax will ensure death of Kenney's bill

Jason Kenney, the UCP leader, introduced a private member’s bill on Thursday that would force the Notley government to hold a referendum before it increases its carbon tax again. The NDP imposed a carbon tax of $20 a tonne back in 2017. Conveniently, during the 2015 provincial election, neither Rachel Notley nor her party mentioned the possibility of a tax on everything that moves or generates power using fossil fuels. (I guess they wanted it to be a surprise.) (Calgary Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: When in doubt, Trump makes it up and doubles-down

An eccentric has been described as someone too rich to be called crazy, but then up pops U.S. President Donald Trump, his one remaining marble seemingly well on its way to being lost. These are crazy times in America. At a private fundraising dinner Wednesday in Missouri — the Show Me State, ironically — Trump showed once again that he was nuttier than a five-kilo fruit cake, bragging that he made stuff up during a meeting with Justin Trudeau while the two were dialoguing about NAFTA and Canada-U.S. trade deficits. (Calgary Sun)

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)

Sheila Gunn Reid: Toronto taxpayers on the hook for Trudeau’s #WelcomeToCanada tweet

The social safety net that Canada’s most vulnerable citizens rely upon is being crushed by illegal immigrants to Canada. The inconvenient truth was buried in a Reuters article that blamed Canada’s recent immigration backlog and social safety net burdens on president Trump’s travel ban. After the illegal immigration crackdown, people in the U.S. illegally, began streaming across Canada’s southern border to avoid deportation to their countries of origin. (Rebel)

Arshy Mann: The complex history of Sikh trauma will make or break Jagmeet Singh

Hours after Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India, was killed by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984, India’s then-president Zail Singh rushed to the All Indian Medical Centre in Delhi where her body lay. As his vehicle got closer, torch-wielding mobs noticed the turbaned Sikhs in the car. They attacked, throwing stones and trying to break down the windshield. Singh and his entourage fled, but the Indian head of state almost became one of the first victims of what would become an orgy of bloodshed organized by a government that ostensibly answered to him. (Macleans)

Margaret Wente: The coming carbon tax showdown

Not so long ago, Justin Trudeau’s energy strategy looked so simple. It rested on a Grand Bargain. Canada would build a pipeline or two, and the citizens would do penance in the form of carbon taxes that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Everybody –environmentalists, the oil industry and right-thinking Canadians – would be happy.  (Globe and Mail)

Adel Al-Torafi: The Saudis Take On Radical Islam

The year 1979 was a watershed for the Middle East. Iranian revolutionaries overthrew the shah, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and Sunni Islamic extremists tried to take over the Grand Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holiest shrine. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hadn’t been born, but he is fighting the ghosts of 1979 as he dramatically reforms the kingdom. (WSJ)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today for Immigration and Refugee Board's Appointment, Training and Complaint Processes (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet today to study the Use of Ion Mobility Spectrometers by Correctional Service Canada (Public)
  • Standing Committee on National Defence meet today for Supplementary Estimates ©, 2017-2018 and Interim Estimates 2018-2019 (Public)
  • Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs and International Development meet today to study the Provision of Assistance to Canadians in Difficulty Abroad (Consular Affairs) (Partly Public)