True North Initiative News Scan 03 23 2018

TOP STORIES

Mob fugitive arrested in Rome after seven years hiding in Toronto area

After an Air Canada flight from Toronto touched down in Rome Thursday, a posse of Italian police officers gathered at its door, waiting for one passenger they knew was onboard. As Tito Figliomeni stepped forward, the officers surrounded him and led him from the plane. Figliomeni, 48, was calmly arrested, photographed and fingerprinted and Italian authorities then declared him to be a senior member of the Mafia who had been on the run and hiding in Canada for seven years. The arrest did not come as a surprise to Figliomeni. (National Post)

Quebec sends hefty bill to federal government for migrant asylum seekers

This week the province of Quebec sent a bill to Ottawa of some $146 million. This is the amount it says it has had to pay so far to accommodate thousands of migrants who crossed illegally into Canada at a point along the Quebec-U.S. border and who have made asylum claims. The Quebec immigration minister and the minister responsible for Canadian Relations have sent the bill to federal immigration minister Ahmed Hussein saying it’s the federal government’s responsibility to deal with asylum seekers and border issues. (“Il convient de rappeler que la gestion du mouvement des demandeurs d’asile et de la frontière canadienne relève de la responsabilité du gouvernement federal”) (Radio Canada)

Trudeau Government Admits It Is Failing To Deport Security Risks

Canada’s Liberal government admitted Wednesday that it is not having much success in deporting criminals or security risks who should never have been allowed into the country. After being stonewalled on Tuesday, the deputy leader of the official opposition Conservatives asked the government about the issue again during Question Period in the House of Commons. (Daily Caller)

Jamaica tops Canada’s list of countries refusing to take back its criminals

Jamaica tops the list of countries holding up Canada’s attempts to deport criminals to their home countries, according to data obtained by Global News. The figures show 50 Jamaican citizens under deportation orders for serious crimes are still in Canada because the Jamaican government won’t cooperate. The Canada Border Services Agency statistics say the sole impediment to their removals is that the Jamaican authorities have not issued travel documents to them. In one case, a Jamaican citizen being deported for ties to organized crime has not been removed for the same reason, the newly-released figures show. (Global)

Tories force all-night votes in bid to force testimony from PM's adviser

Conservatives are forcing MPs to stay up all night voting continuously on more than 250 motions — a filibuster launched in retaliation for the Liberals voting down a Tory motion to call Justin Trudeau's national security adviser to testify at a House of Commons committee about the prime minister's disastrous trip to India. Conservatives predicted the non-stop voting on all the motions, which started around dinner time Thursday, would take about 40 hours. (CBC) (Hindustan Times)

Spy agency chief says powers proposed by Trudeau government would help stop cyberattacks before they happen

The head of Canada’s cyberspy agency says new powers proposed by the Trudeau government would let her institution stop cyberattacks before they are launched — instead of having to sit back and wait for them to happen. Communications Security Establishment chief Greta Bossenmaier made the comments to a parliamentary committee in which she revealed the agency has been working overtime to block attacks on federal networks. The problem includes up to one billion attempts to compromise federal government information systems every day, which includes everything from poking to malware to dedicated hacking. (Toronto Star)

Iraq is holding more than 19,000 prisoners over ties to militant groups

Iraq has detained or imprisoned at least 19,000 people accused of connections to the ISIS or other terrorist-related offences, and sentenced more than 3,000 of them to death, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. The mass incarceration and speed of guilty verdicts raise concerns over potential miscarriages of justice — and worries that jailed militants are recruiting within the general prison population to build new extremist networks. (CBC)

Canada named 10th most friendly country for newcomers: survey

Itching to move abroad and start a new chapter in your life? Social butterflies looking to make new friends in foreign places will have more success in countries like Portugal, Taiwan and Mexico, which emerged the most welcoming countries for expats in a new survey. On the flip side, if you're headed to countries like Kuwait, Austria or Switzerland, brace yourself for a frosty welcome. According to the latest results of the Expat Insider survey, which is based on the insights of 13,000 expats from 188 countries and territories, Portugal can lay claim to being the friendliest country for newcomers: An overwhelming majority of 94 per cent of expats currently living in the country said locals have a friendly attitude towards expats. (CTV)

Afghan woman serving life term for honor killing loses Canadian residency

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRBC) has taken away permanent residence status from an Afghan-origin woman found guilty of murdering her three daughters and the first wife of her husband, with the help of her husband and elder son in an honor-based crime in 2009. (Daily Times)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Liberals’ $100,000 contract with Christopher Wylie one of several interactions between party, researcher

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Research Bureau awarded a $100,000 contract in 2016 to Christopher Wylie, the whistle-blower at the centre of a global controversy over the misuse of data from tens of millions of Facebook users. The contract for a short-lived pilot project was no one-off: It was among many interactions between Mr. Wylie, the data-driven political entrepreneur, and the federal Liberal Party stretching back nearly a decade. (Globe and Mail)

Kellie Leitch tears into rivals for her former riding, suggests they're not 'real' conservatives

She may have lost the Conservative leadership race and decided not to run in the next federal election, but it seems Kellie Leitch is still screening for values. This time, she's deciding who the "real conservatives" are among those trying to replace her. In a recent email to supporters, Leitch took the unusual step of making it clear she only thinks two of the four people running for the Conservative nomination in her former riding of Simcoe-Grey pass her test. (CBC)

Alberta budget 2018: Debt to skyrocket to $96 billion by 2023

Alberta faces five more years of deficits and billions of dollars in mounting debt before it sees its balance sheet back in the black. The 2018 provincial budget, tabled in the legislature Thursday afternoon by Finance Minister Joe Ceci, tells the story of an economy still recovering from a lingering oil price shock and struggling with market access problems for its crude. The spending plan forecasts debt ballooning from $54 billion this year to $96 billion by 2023 — a level of debt that is “what it will take” to make sure Albertans don’t go without the important programs and services they rely on, Ceci said. (Edmonton Sun)

More people leaving Sask. than coming in from other provinces, but population still grows: Stats Can

More people are moving from Saskatchewan to other provinces than there are people from other provinces moving here, according to the latest data released by Statistics Canada — but the province's population still grew last year. The data released Thursday, covering the last quarter of 2017, is reflective of what's happened with interprovincial migration during the last four years says an analyst with the agency. (CBC)

China Responds To Tariffs By Targeting These 128 U.S. Products

Early Friday morning, China responded to the Trump administration's tariffs by revealing that they are proposing tariffs on 128 U.S. products that had an import value of $3 billion in 2017. The proposed tariffs come in response to Trump signing "an executive memorandum on Thursday that would impose retaliatory tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports," CNBC reported. (Daily Wire)

Beijing warns of ‘people’s war’ against U.S.: Chinese consumers now global superpower

As China plots its response to a White House determined to extract blood on trade, Beijing’s leadership knows it cannot match U.S. military or economic might. But Chinese decision makers also know they now oversee the the world’s dominant marketplace. China’s retail sales are the highest on earth, worth US$7.5-trillion last year, 14-per-cent larger than the U.S. (Globe and Mail)

UK vows to crackdown on terrorist recruiters

The UK government today vowed to crackdown on recruiters of terrorism, saying all forms of terror need to be stamped out as Britain marked the first anniversary of an ISIS-inspired terror attack on Westminster Bridge, near Parliament.  Last year on March 22, a 52-year-old UK-born Muslim convert Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on the Bridge, over the River Thames in the heart of the London, before fatally stabbing a police officer on guard at New Palace Yard gates of the Pala (Economic Times)

Parsons Green Tube bomber Ahmed Hassan to be sentenced for terror attack - live updates

The Iraqi asylum seeker who attempted to bomb a London Tube train is to be sentenced for the Parsons Green attack. Ahmed Hassan, 18, packed his homemade device with 400g of explosives and metal shrapnel before leaving it to explode on the District Line on 15 September. Police failings caused evidence that the teenager was inspired by Isis to be missed until it was uncovered by an Independent investigation and submitted to the Old Bailey this week. (Independent)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Sue-Ann Levy:  Check your white privilege at the door, Missy

Just when you thought the affairs of an institute of higher learning couldn’t get more absurd, comes this soon-to-be-held event at Ryerson University, aka Social Justice U. On May 9, Ryerson will hold the first ever in Canada White Privilege conference, the focus of which will be: “Are Canadians too polite? Addressing global perspectivies on white privilege and oppression in Canada and beyond.” I have no idea what is meant by ” too polite” in this particular context, although I would venture to say that far too many Canadians bend over backwards to be too polite — that is, politically correct — and opt to endure this sort of narishkeit (Yiddish for nonsense) without speaking out. (Toronto Sun)

Farzana Hassan: Circumcision laws can be drafted that don't infringe upon religious rights

A recent bill in Iceland that aims to ban non-medically required circumcision, for both male and females, has once again ignited the debate on the limits of religious freedoms and universal human rights, and on how to strike a balance when the two collide. A degree of support for such a ban does exist here in Canada. But it’s unlikely such a law will ever be passed here, given Canada’s history of so generously accommodating the traditions of different cultures. (Toronto Sun)

Candice Malcolm: Politicians judged by company they keep

Many activists are angry over recent reports about NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his affiliations with Sikh separatists who advocate for violence in pursuit of an independent Sikh ethno-state. These activists claim there is a double standard, that Singh is being held to higher expectations than other federal party leaders and that Singh is getting lumped in with radicals because he shares the same faith. “More guilt-by-association in Canadian media against Sikhs. Getting ridiculous now,” wrote British journalist Sunny Hundal over the weekend. (Toronto Sun)

Rick Bell: The NDP budget really sucks. Go figure.

World-weary newshounds do a double-take when paper shufflers tell us the province’s deep-and-getting-deeper debt will be closing in on $100 billion by the time the Notley NDP feels they can balance the books in the budget of 2023. And that wow-how-did-it-get-that-flipping-high number is nowhere to be found in the Notley NDP budget. (Calgary Sun)

Lorne Gunter: NDP's attempt at 'restraint' laughable

You might not expect a good joke in a budget. Provincial Finance Minister Joe Ceci isn’t a stand-up comedian. He’s not known as “Just for Laughs” Joe. But his 2018-19 budget contained a real knee-slapper: The NDP will increase spending by only $200 million in the coming year. Hahahahaha! Oh god, Joe, please stop. Hahahahaha! It hurts so much. (Edmonton Sun)

Chantal Hebert: By linking abortion rights to jobs funding the Liberals have opened up a new front in a culture war

By requiring applicants for federal summer jobs grants to attest that their core mandate respects abortion rights, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals may have hoped to lead by example. Instead they have opened a new front in a culture war they may yet come to regret. Earlier this year, the Halton Catholic District School board passed a motion that bans funds raised through its schools from being donated to charities and organizations that “publicly support, either directly or indirectly, abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research.” (Toronto Star)

Don Martin: Trudeau's rush to unilaterally impose political correctness will generate backlash

It was a week the Liberals’ fixation with political correctness became politically incorrect. Amid a clear meltdown in Liberal government poll support, new moves on gender and tolerance issues were met by a head-shaking, eye-rolling, derision-snorting reaction from a public fed up with the excess of it all. The government’s proud plan to road-trip consultations on racism, with an eye to infusing every policy with anti-discrimination measures, was quickly put on ice. Quebec MPs in the Liberal caucus sounded the alarm about the perils of cross-Canada hearings whipping up Islamophobia or worse. (CTV)

Rosie Dimanno: With Mali mission, Canadian troops are entering a madhouse

Canadian troops deployed in UN peacekeeping missions, as of Feb. 28, 2018: 0. Canadian police deployed in UN peacekeeping missions as of Feb. 28, 2018: 19. Canadian staff officers deployed in UN peacekeeping missions as of Feb. 28, 2018: 12. In all, 22 actual soldiers — excluding some staff positions — are participating in four of the 16 international peacekeeping operations around the world sanctioned by the UN Security Council, according to National Defence figures. Lowest number ever. (Toronto Star)

Douglas Todd: Canadian Hindus struggling with Sikh activism

What do Canada’s more than 500,000 Hindus think about recent Sikh political activism in India and across this country? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s problem-prone trip with Sikh MPs to the world’s second most populous country, combined with revelations about federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s links to activists who want a separate Sikh homeland in India, have been front-and-centre in the news for almost two months. (Vancouver Sun)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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