True North Initiative News Scan 03 30 18

TOP STORIES

Canada's love affair with Justin Trudeau may be over as his polls 'suddenly' drop for the first time ever

Justin Trudeau has seen his lead in the polls fall with his disastrous trip to India and focus on gender being blamed. According to CBC's poll tracker the opposition Conservative Party is now in the lead with 37.7 percent of voting intentions ahead of Trudeau's Liberals on 33.7 percent and the left-wing New Democratic Party on 18.5 percent. The 46-year-old Trudeau's good looks, progressive policies and youthful quirkiness, compared to traditional politicians, saw him ride high in the polls after his unexpected win in the 2015 election. (Daily Mail) (SCMP)

Feds post deficit of $8.4B through first 10 months of '17-18: estimate

A preliminary analysis of the federal books says the government ran a budgetary deficit of $8.4 billion through the first 10 months of the fiscal year, compared with a shortfall of $12.8 billion for the same period last year. The Finance Department's latest monthly fiscal monitor shows overall revenues were up $11.6 billion, or 4.9 per cent, compared with the same period last year, thanks to an increase in tax revenues that was only partially offset by a decline in incoming employment insurance premiums. The government's recent budget predicted a shortfall in 2017-18 of $19.4 billion, which is $1 billion more than the deficit projection in its fall fiscal update. (CTV)

He was deported for ‘serious criminality.’ Now the federal Liberals disagree on whether he can return

An immigration case that involves a Vaughan man deported to Italy in 2010 after he was deemed inadmissible to Canada on the grounds of “serious criminality” and “organized criminality” is causing a dispute between the federal Liberal government and members of the party’s old guard. At the centre of the fight is Carlo Figliomeni, 50, who was convicted of weapons possession in Italy in 1989 and of having ties to the Mafia a few years later. He was subsequently exonerated of the Mafia association charge by an Italian court. In late 2016, after an assessment of the case, then immigration minister John McCallum issued instructions to the visa office in Rome to grant Figliomeni an authorization to return to Canada and a temporary resident permit to reunite with his Canadian wife and two children in Vaughan. (Toronto Star)

Liberals table massive piece of legislation to overhaul the Canadian justice system

The federal Liberals have tabled a massive piece of legislation that will aim to overhaul the Canadian justice system. At more than 300 pages, the new legislation proposes a number of major changes that Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says fit with the goal of making the system more fair and more just, both for victims of crimes and those from communities that are over-represented in jails and prisons. (Global)

Liberals set to reform jury selection process after Boushie case

The federal government has introduced legislation aimed at overhauling the criminal justice system, a measure that makes good on a Liberal promise to change the way juries are selected. A number of visibly Indigenous people were excluded from the jury that last month acquitted Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley, 56, in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, 22, a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould tabled a massive bill Thursday that, if passed, would eliminate the use of peremptory challenges, which allow lawyers to reject jury candidates during the selection process (Toronto Sun)

Lawyers say post-Boushie justice reforms could actually make juries less diverse

Defence lawyers are sounding the alarm about sweeping changes to the criminal justice system unveiled Thursday by the Liberal government, warning the proposals will further stack the deck against those accused of a crime while doing little to promote a more equitable justice system. Bill C-75, introduced Thursday by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, will remove sections of the Criminal Code that allow for peremptory challenges — which allow lawyers to remove a potential juror without giving reasons — in an effort to reform jury selection so the panels are "more representative of the Canadian population." (CBC)

Rich immigrants use Quebec to obtain their passports

Nine out of 10 immigrant-investors do not ultimately settle in Quebec even if they use a Quebec provincial program in order to obtain their Canadian passport. Quebec’s immigrant-investor program falls quite short of generating significant economic benefits in Quebec since 90% of its participants leave the province to choose a home elsewhere in the country, data compiled by Statistics Canada for Le Journal reveal. Their revenues in this country are below the Canadian average, which leads experts to believe that most of their wealth remains in their countries of origin, escaping the Canadian tax system. (True North Initiative)

Iranians in Canada frustrated by delays in permanent residency application process

Hundreds of Iranians living in Canada have united in their effort to pressure the federal government into addressing what they say are inexplicable delays with their permanent residency applications. According to participants in the #DelayedIranianApplications movement, there are at least 200 Iranians currently awaiting word on their application and their wait times have been considerably longer than those of applicants from other countries. The inexplicable delay has them facing an uncertain future and questioning whether they are being discriminated against. (CTV)

Russian spies aimed to discredit WADA, spread disinformation about Canada with cyber campaigns

Three of the four Russian intelligence operatives expelled from Canada on Monday were conducting cyberactivities out of the Montreal consulate aimed at discrediting the World Anti-Doping Agency and spreading disinformation about Canada and its closest allies, a source has told The Globe and Mail. A senior federal official who was not authorized to speak on the record said Russian spies targeted the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency after the International Olympic Committee barred Russia’s team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea as punishment for alleged state-backed doping at the 2014 Games in Sochi. (Globe and Mail)

 

OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Tories cut ties with Scheer's B.C. South Asian community organizer after Post reveals accusations of past 'cheque kiting' scheme

The federal Conservative Party has cut ties with one of its key South Asian community organizers in B.C. after the National Post revealed his past legal troubles. Businessman Raj Bhela has been photographed frequently with Andrew Scheer, and on social media has described the Conservative leader as his “best friend.” In an interview with an Indo-Canadian newspaper in late 2016, Scheer said he was “excited that Raj has taken a leadership role in my campaign.” (National Post)

Tory MP Mark Strahl Accuses Ralph Goodale Of 'Muzzling Journalists' In Jaspal Atwal Affair

A week of heated debate over a government official's briefing to the media ended with federal Conservatives accusing the Liberal government of "muzzling journalists." Tory MP Mark Strahl made the charge in question period Thursday while pressing Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on the Liberals' refusal to let Daniel Jean testify at committee on the Jaspal Atwal affair. (Huffington Post)

Conservatives join NDP in asking ethics commissioner to open investigation into Liberal MP over India trip

Conservatives have joined the NDP in asking the federal ethics commissioner to investigate Liberal MP Raj Grewal after revelations he helped a business affiliate gain access to senior government officials in India last month. The Post first reported Tuesday that Grewal’s office invited Yusuf Yenilmez, the CEO of a company from which Grewal profits, to receptions in India attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his delegation. (National Post)

Yazidi family cheers for new arrivals at Winnipeg airport

Members of a Yazidi family brought to Winnipeg as refugees last year cheered as more members of their family stepped off a plane at the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport on Thursday. Eight members of the family came to Winnipeg after spending the last three years in a refugee camp in Turkey, after fleeing the Sinjar region in Iraq when they were attacked by ISIS. (CBC)

Two coalition personnel killed in Syria as Trump signals possible U.S. withdrawal

The U.S.-led coalition said Friday that two of its personnel had been killed and another five wounded in Syria by an improvised explosive device. Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the coalition, declined to identify the nationalities of the servicemen, or to specify where in Syria the attack took place Thursday night. The coalition said in a statement that the wounded were being evacuated for medical treatment, and that the dead would be named at the discretion of their home authorities. (Washington Post)

US wants social media details, email addresses and phone numbers from all visa applicants

The US State Department wants to demand social media usernames, previous email addresses and telephone numbers from all visa applicants, vastly expanding the Trump administration’s enhanced vetting of potential immigrants and visitors. In documents to be published in Friday’s Federal Register, the department said it wants the public to comment on the proposed new requirements, which would affect nearly 15 million travellers who apply for visas to enter the US each year.  (SCMP)

ICE Arrests Over 250 Immigrants In Florida Sweep

The arrests took place in 23 Florida counties, including 76 in Miami Dade, 65 in Broward, 27 in Duval, 17 in Palm Beach, 14 in Hillsborough, 10 in Orange, seven in Seminole, five in Manatee, five in Lee, four in Pinellas, four in Brevard, three in Polk, three in Indian River, two in Volusia, two in Bay, two in Martin, one in Escambia, one in Gadsden, one in Lake, one in Osceola, one in Sarasota, one in St. Lucie, one in Suwannee, 11 in Puerto Rico, and seven in the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Brevard Times)

Militant leader, ex-bin Laden ally roams freely in Pakistan

He is crisscrossing Pakistan championing a fatwa, or Islamic religious decree, forbidding militant violence inside the country. But the mere fact that Fazlur Rehman Khalil, veteran leader of an organization designated as a terror group by the U.S., is free has experts questioning Pakistan’s willingness to fight extremism (Lethbridge Herald)

5 Gazans said killed, 370 wounded amid massive border protests

Four Palestinians were killed and some 370 were wounded by Israeli rubber bullet and live fire in the Gaza Strip on Friday, as a series of massive protests kicked off along the security fence surrounding the enclave, Palestinian sources said. (Times of Israel)

26 Arrested In Major Protest By Arab Nationality Residents In Ahwaz, Iran

Security forces on March 29, arrested 26 of Arab nationality residents peacefully protesting insult by the state TV in Ahwaz, capital of Khuzistan Province in south west Iran. Thousands of people staged extensive protests in Ahwaz, on March 28 and 29, 2018, against racist presentation in the state-run television. (Iran HRM)

Women Sentenced To One Year Behind Bars For Protesting Compulsory Hijab

Branch 1091 of the 2nd Penal Court of Tehran, sentenced Maryam Shariatmadari, who protested the mandatory veil by publicly taking off her scarf, to one year of prison. Judicial officials announced the verdict to her lawyer, Nasrin Sotudeh, on March 25. This is the second sentence issued for a woman who protested compulsory hijab by intentionally taking off her scarf in public. (Iran HRM)

REPORT: ISRAELI STEALTH FIGHTERS FLY OVER IRAN

Two Israeli F-35 fighter jets entered Iranian airspace over the past month, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Thursday. The act is a signal of heightened regional tensions, especially in light of recent Israeli military attacks in Syria, including against Iranian bases in the country. Sources quoted in Al-Jarida stated that two stealth fighters flew over Syrian and Iraqi airspace to reach Iran, and even targeted locations in the Iranian cities Bandar Abbas, Esfahan and Shiraz. (JPost)

Malala Yousafzai's emotional return to Pakistan

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has returned to Pakistan for the first time since being shot by Taliban militants. (BBC)

Vatican: Don’t trust report that Pope Francis denied reality of hell

On Thursday the Holy See stated that a reported interview between Pope Francis and an Italian journalist, which claims the Pope denied the existence of hell, should not be considered an accurate depiction of Francis’ words, but the author’s own “reconstruction.” A recent meeting between Pope Francis and Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, was a “private meeting for the occasion of Easter, however without giving him any interview,” the March 29 communique stated. (Catholic News Agency)

 

EDITORIAL AND OPINION PIECES

Anthony Furey: 'Roseanne' revival is just what we all need right now

Roseanne Conner and her sister Jackie had been almost inseparable for the nine seasons of Roseanne. They laughed, schemed, cried, bickered and fought. But whatever it was, good or bad, they did it together, as a team and as family. Not so at the beginning of season ten, the first time we’ve seen the Conner family on TV since 1997. The two haven’t spoken to each other for over a year. A major gulf stands between them: Roseanne supported Trump and Jackie backed Hillary. By the end of the first episode though they’ve come together, after some coaxing from Roseanne’s daughter Darlene. Did they resolve their political differences? Not at all. But they realized how ridiculous it was to let something like that come between family and they got on with life. (Toronto Sun)

Candice Malcolm: Real women aren't fooled by Trudeau's fake feminism

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a proud feminist. He tells us over and over and over again. But Canadian women aren’t impressed. A recent Ipsos poll revealed that more women plan to vote for Conservatives than Liberals in the 2019 election. It’s a surprising revelation given how much Trudeau goes out of his way to cater to so-called women’s issues. In 2015, women made up 27% of elected Liberal Members of Parliament, and yet, Trudeau appointed 50% to his cabinet. His reason? “Because it’s 2015,” he said with a smirk. (Toronto Sun)

Farzana Hassan: Be wary of Muslim causes that don't represent the faith's moderates

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR, promoted March 27th as Muslim Women’s Day. While created by MuslimGirl.com, the day is being used by CAIR to highlight the issues and controversies affecting Muslim women in America. Many Muslim women are truly oppressed, often by their husbands, fathers and brothers, as seen in the wearing of the hijab. Some don it to make a political statement, but many do so from obligation. Of course, nothing excuses the verbal and physical assaults some Muslim women have suffered. Such bigotry is a stain on our normally tolerant society. (Toronto Sun)

Karen Staughan: Political Correctness Run Amok: Nazi Pugs?

A precedent-setting decision came down in a court in Scotland this week. “Count Dankula", a once obscure, self-described YouTube “shitposter” whose real name is Marcus Meechan, has been convicted under the Communications Act of being “grossly offensive.” He will be sentenced next month, and faces up to a year in prison. His criminal act? Uploading a joke video in which he, over the course of a week or two, turned his girlfriend’s pug Buddha into a certified, card carrying Nazi. To piss her off. Because she’s always bragging about “how cute and adorable her wee dog is,” and he wanted to turn it into the “least cute thing [he] could think of.” (True North Initiative)

Marc Thiessen: There’s nothing wrong with a census question about citizenship

The Trump administration is being sued over its plans to include a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census, which California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) says “is not just a bad idea — it is illegal.” No, it’s not. There is nothing wrong with asking about citizenship. Canada asks a citizenship question on its census. So do Australia and many other U.S. allies. The U.S. government asked about citizenship for 130 years — from 1820 to 1950 — as part of the decennial “short form” census and continued to do so in the “long form” survey — distributed to 1 in 6 people — through 2000, when the long form was replaced by the annual American Community Survey. The ACS goes to about 2.6 percent of the population each year and asks about citizenship to this day. (Washington Post)

 

REPORTS, COMMITTEE HEARINGS, LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

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