True North Initiative News Scan 03 26 18

TOP STORIES

Conservative whip orders MPs to stick close to Ottawa so party can step up pressure over India trip

Conservative MPs are being asked to cancel all travel plans to ensure they are in Ottawa this week so the party can keep up pressure on the government to make its national security adviser available to testify about Justin Trudeau's trip to India. In an email obtained by CBC News, Mark Strahl, the Conservative whip, informed members their travel authorizations were being rescinded. (CBC)

Liberal MP Ruby Sahota rips Conservatives for referring to Indian attire as ‘costumes’

Brampton, Ont. MP Ruby Sahota slammed Conservative MPs in the House of Commons for repeatedly referring to traditional Indian attire as “costumes” during their criticisms of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s troubled trip to India, branding their comments “incredibly offensive.” Opposition MP Dane Lloyd of the Sturgeon River—Parkland, Alta. riding took Trudeau to task over the Jaspal Atwal fiasco on Thursday afternoon, telling the House of Commons that it appeared that the only outcome of the state visit to India “was for the prime minister to show off his fancy costumes and dance moves.” (Global)

Family of Mississauga teen in NYC terror plot says FBI operated overzealous sting operation

There are two different stories about Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, the 20-year-old Mississauga man who faces life in prison for plotting to blow up New York’s Times Square and subway system. His family, friends and Canadian lawyer — who have broken their silence to plead for leniency — say El Bahnasawy was not a violent extremist, but a teenager struggling with mental illness and drug addictions when an undercover FBI informant set him up. It was not members of the so-called Islamic State who devised the bombing plot, they argue, but the FBI who operated an overzealous sting operation, a frequent criticism of the American police force since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. (Toronto Star)

Diverse mix of gangs a growing security challenge for federal prisons

Canada's prison system is struggling with a dangerous gang population that is becoming increasingly diverse and more difficult to manage. About 2,306 inmates are now known to belong to what Correctional Service Canada (CSC) calls "security threat groups," including Indigenous, Asian, motorcycle and street gangs, as well as cults and extremist, terrorist, white supremacist and other hate organizations. (CBC)

Fugitive mobster who hid in Canada was cousin of murder victim in brazen 2015 café attack

An accused Mafia fugitive who was hiding in Canada for seven years before his deportation to Italy was the cousin of one of two victims of a shocking double murder inside an Ontario café, the National Post has learned. Tito Figliomeni, 48, was also involved in a mob dispute over illicit gambling in Toronto-area bars and cafés before his arrest March 10, authorities say, raising questions of whether a Mafia feud played any role in the fatal 2015 shootings. (National Post)

Man’s Canadian citizenship in danger after his past as a killer in Serbia is revealed

A man from Bosnia who shot someone in the heart during a deadly brawl — and then covered up the killing to come to Canada and get Canadian citizenship — has had his secret past revealed. Bozidar Vujicic’s urge to start a new life in Canada came after his conviction for manslaughter but before starting his eight-year prison sentence. Now living in British Columbia, he faces losing his Canadian status after the Federal Court of Canada ruled he fraudulently obtained his residency by hiding his conviction for the killing when he applied to come to Canada. (Windsor Star)

Hero French police officer, 45, who was shot after he swapped himself for ISIS fanatic's female hostage, married his partner in hospital just hours before he died of his wounds

A French policeman who was shot by an ISIS fanatic in a supermarket siege was married on his deathbed just hours before he succumbed to his injuries. Arnaud Beltrame was gunned down after agreeing to take the place of a female hostage who was being held at the Super U store in the southern town of Trebes during a terrifying stand-off. (Daily Mail) (Global)

Generation Jihad: the British children brutalised by terror

A two-year-old boy who was taken to Syria to live under Isis has shown a marked interest in guns and “shooting people” on his return to Britain. In the first chilling insight into the impact of the terrorist group on children coming back to the UK, social workers assessed that the boy gets “overexcited” by the mention of weapons and “runs around mimicking shooting”. His case can be disclosed today as part of a Sunday Times investigation into British youngsters who have been exposed to extremism by their families. (Times.co.uk)

Christianity on the brink: Religion DECIMATED from birthplace - 'We NEED help'

Christianity, a leading Catholic charity has warned, could be reduced to a “token religion” in the country unless worshippers receive urgent aid. Islamic extremists have driven tens of thousands of Christians from their homes, with Islamic State (ISIS) destroying towns and churches. As the sick death cult retreats further and further in Iraq and Syria, some Christians are returning home to find devastation and destruction, with urgent funds needed to rebuild communities. (Express.co.uk)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Juno Awards ‘attractive’ terrorist target, government report says. But what isn’t these days?

Before last year’s Juno Awards, federal government terrorism analysts distributed a threat assessment report warning that, with its crowds and high-profile attendees, the event could be a target. “Events such as the Juno Awards, and other public events … present attractive targets for terrorist groups,” read the report by the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre and obtained by Global News. (Global News)

Andrew Scheer Hints He Doesn’t Want Private Briefing On Jaspal Atwal Affair

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer suggested Friday that he doesn't want to know any government intelligence related to a former attempted murderer's presence on the prime minister's trip to India unless all members of Parliament receive the same information. (Huffington Post)

Liberal backbenchers in safe rural ridings say they can sell Goodale’s gun bill, other Grits laying low

Liberal MPs from safe rural ridings say they can sell the government’s new gun safety bill to their constituents, while some country Grits who won by slim margins have kept quiet so far about the legislation that two weeks ago scared “the hell” out of the party’s rural caucus. The NDP will likely support the bill, but the Conservatives have treaded carefully so far in their responses. Only one Conservative MP had spoken out against the bill in the House as of mid-day Friday, the Conservatives didn’t ask any questions about it in Question Period the day it was tabled, and the party’s public safety critic declined to comment on the bill to The Hill Times. (Hill Times)

Conservatives, NDP say they’ve never accessed Facebook profiles to microtarget voters, Liberals point to privacy policy

Conservatives and New Democrats say they have never collected private information on Canadians without their permission, or asked to access their Facebook pages to gather information to microtarget voters, while the governing Liberals say they follow a privacy policy and don’t have access to any Facebook accounts beyond their own. The explosive fallout from the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal has swept from the U.K. and U.S. into Canada, with members of the House Ethics Committee agreeing to call whistleblower Christopher Wylie to testify on whether shady data collection and ad-targeting practices have spilled onto Canada’s political scene as well. (Hill Times)

Cab driver sues police for failing to protect him from suspected terrorist

An innocent cab driver caught up in a bomb blast as police closed in and killed a suspected terrorist in Strathroy, Ont., has filed a lawsuit against the RCMP and other authorities for the trauma he says was visited on him. In his unproven statement of claim, Terry Duffield asserts authorities were negligent in failing to warn or protect him from Aaron Driver, who was shot dead in August 2016 after setting off an explosive in the back of a cab. (CBC)

Justin Trudeau to exonerate Tsilhqot'in warriors hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to formally exonerate six First Nations war chiefs more than 150 years after they were hanged by British Columbia's colonial government following a deadly confrontation with a crew of white road builders. On Monday, Trudeau will absolve the Tsilhqot'in of guilt "in any way, shape or form" related to the killing of 14 construction workers in 1864, said Chief Joe Alphonse in a video posted on the Tsilhqot'in National Government's Facebook page. (CTV)

'Anti-fascists' clash with police in Hamilton, Ont.; no injuries

A group of protesters calling themselves “anti-fascists” clashed with police in Hamilton, Ont., on Sunday, as they marched in opposition to a demonstration that attracted members of the far-right. The demonstration, billed as the “Patriots Walk on Locke,” was advertised as a walk in support of businesses on Locke Street that were damaged earlier this month by a group of black-clad vandals who police described as “anarchists.” (CTV)

Doug Ford says he will cut red tape to revive Ontario manufacturing jobs

Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford talked about cutting red tape for business as he revved up supporters at a campaign office opening in Ajax on Saturday. “There’s no reason why we can’t have the manufacturing jobs back,” Ford told a cheering crowd at the office opening for Rod Phillips, the PC candidate in the redrawn riding of Ajax. Ford said 333,000 manufacturing jobs have left Ontario, and that as premier, he could attract investment by cutting red tape. (Toronto Star)

Why a U.S-China trade war could be a 'net negative' for Canada

A trade war between the United States and China could potentially provide benefits to a handful of industries in Canada but the overall impact would be negative for the Canadian economy, some experts warn. "Any Canadian businesses that are selling products that could be substituted for Chinese products that have the tariffs being applied could benefit from this," said Craig Alexander, senior vice-president and chief economist of the Conference Board of Canada. (CBC)

What are Canadian special forces still doing in Iraq?

Six months after it was suspended, Canada's advise and assist mission in northern Iraq remains in a state of limbo, with no immediate end in sight. The mission was suspended after fighting broke out between Iraqi and Kurdish forces following a controversial Kurdish independence referendum in September. The two groups had been working together to defeat ISIS, but long-held tensions boiled over after an overwhelming majority of Kurds voted to separate from Iraq. (CBC)

Halifax native to become national president of Liberal Party of Canada

Halifax native Suzanne Cowan will be the new national president of the Liberal Party of Canada. The party announced Friday that Cowan, the former vice-president, had been acclaimed, she’ll take over from current president Anna Gainey next month at the Liberal convention in Halifax. Speaking with The Chronicle Herald on Sunday, Cowan, the daughter of retired Nova Scotia Liberal Sen. Jim Cowan, said she’s excited about the opportunity and eager to get to work. (Chronicle Herald)

Liberal green energy projects eating up farmland, farmers say

At the end of 2016, the Ontario Liberals cancelled their seven-year Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program to encourage wind, solar, bioenergy and hydroelectric renewable energy projects. The tariff program, which paid small producers handsome, fixed premiums above market rates to produce small amounts of power, was intended to help offset the loss of coal power and make Ontario a leader in renewable energy. It was a costly failure. (Toronto Sun)

Russia fire: Children killed in Kemerovo shopping centre blaze

At least 64 people have died in a fire that engulfed a shopping and entertainment complex in the Siberian coal-mining city of Kemerovo. Many of the victims are children. Ten people are still listed as missing. The blaze started on an upper floor of the Winter Cherry complex during school holidays. The mall's shops, cinema and bowling alley were packed at the time. (BBC)

20 kids taken into UK state care over parents' ISIS links: Report

As many as 20 children, including a one-year-old boy, have been taken into state care in the UK over their parents' alleged links with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist network, a media report said today. The children were placed in foster care or with relatives and in some cases reunited with their families only on condition that the parents wear an electronic tag to deter them from fleeing to Syria, 'The Sunday Times' reported. (Times of India)

High-achieving teenager who is 'immune to brutality' and toddler with a 'marked interest in shooting people': Court papers reveal harrowing damage of British children returning from life with ISIS

A high-achieving teenager who is 'immune to brutality' and a toddler with a 'marked interest in shooting people' are just two disturbing examples of how British children taken to Syria to live under Isis have been affected by the terrorist group. Hundreds of pages from secretive family court hearings, relating to youngsters exposed to extremism by their families, reveal how one five-year-old boy yelled 'shame' whenever he saw a woman in a dress, rather than a full burqa. Another young girl from Yorkshire, whose mother's iPhone pin code was '0911', was taught a pro-Jihadist chant linked to Osama bin Laden by her family. (Daily Mail)

'ISIS kidnapper' leads police to a crocodile-infested river where ‘dumped the bodies of “infidel” British couple’ who went missing in South Africa

A crocodile-infested river is being searched by police divers looking for the bodies of a British botanist and his wife who were kidnapped by a gang with links to ISIS. The latest suspect arrested in connection with the disappearance of Rod and Rachel Saunders led officers to the banks of the Tugela River, in a remote corner of Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa, where he allegedly confessed to dumping their bodies. Malawian Ahmad 'Bazooka' Jackson Mussa told detectives he had helped dispose of the murdered plant enthusiasts, whom he had wrapped in their own sleeping bags at the mouth of the river, which has been swollen by heavy rain. The river is home to many crocodiles which are said to have hampered this weekend's search. (Daily Mail)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Candice Malcolm: Trudeau still owes us an explanation over Atwal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau owes Canadians an explanation as to how convicted Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal ended up in his entourage in India. Instead of being up front and honest, the Trudeau government has gone to great lengths to mislead Canadians at every twist and turn of this ongoing scandal. The theatrics in Ottawa over the past 24 hours shows us just how far Trudeau will go to cover for himself and to hide his troubling relationships with extremists. The Trudeau government has come up with the following excuses to justify this episode: that the invitation to Atwal was an honest mistake, that it was the doing of Canada’s High Commissioner to India, that it came from a backbench MP who acted alone, and finally, that “rogue political agents” within the Indian government “orchestrated” the affair to embarrass Trudeau. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: Green energy is Grits' mega-blunder

When it comes to the countless blunders Ontario’s Liberal government has committed on the energy file, its passage of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act in 2009 was its worst blunder of all. It facilitated the waste of billions of dollars of public money, as documented by two Ontario auditors general. It denied natural justice to the citizens of rural Ontario, by dictatorially usurping the planning powers of their municipal governments with regard to the location of industrial wind factories and solar farms. (Toronto Sun)

Lorrie Goldstein: How Wynne’s debt bomb derailed Ontario’s economy

Premier Kathleen Wynne treats her government’s massive debt as if she’s won the lottery. To her, runaway debt is a force for good, helping her to treat Ontarians “fairly,” with no economic consequences. But the premier’s belief she can spend Ontario rich is nonsense. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Trudeau's in need of a major reset

All is not well in Canada’s Camelot. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is suffering the mid-term blues and Liberals are wondering what the future has in store for them. The polls show they’d lose an election if one were held now. No wonder Liberal MPs manned the barricades for the recent all-night filibuster, which would have seen an election triggered had they lost even one of the 250 motion votes. (Toronto Sun)

Douglas Todd: Canadians are more happy than xenophobic

The Happiness Report reveals Canada is “the fourth most accepting country for migrants.” That’s out of 117 nations for which data is available, behind only Iceland, New Zealand and, surprisingly, Rwanda. It’s basically an A+ grade for Canadians. Despite the media frequently reporting on accusations that Canadians are inclined to be “xenophobic,” this imperfect but generally kind country has been a beacon of light, at least to a fraction of the 700 million people who say they want to permanently leave their homelands. (Vancouver Sun)

Licia Corbella: Trudeau's troubling tendency to elbow his views into the minds of Canadians

Remember Elbowgate? No, didn’t think so. While not profound as far as national events are concerned, Elbowgate does serve as an enlightening bit of drama that exposes the less-than-sunny ways of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. First, a little background. On May 18, 2016, Trudeau grabbed the arm of Conservative party whip Gord Brown as he was being deliberately, though playfully, blocked by NDP members of Parliament on the opposition side of the House of Commons in an attempt to delay a motion of closure on the final reading of Bill C-14, which amended the Criminal Code to allow physician-assisted killing of patients. (Calgary Herald)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

  • Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet tomorrow to study the Provision of Assistance to Canadians in Difficulty Abroad (Consular Affairs) (Partly Public)
  • Standing Committee on National Defence meet tomorrow to study Canada’s involvement in NATO (Public)
  • Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet tomorrow to study M-124, Automated External Defibrillators and Indigenous People in the Correctional System (Partly Public)
  • Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet tomorrow to study Immigration and Refugee Board’s Appointment, Training and Complaint Processes (Public)