True North Initiative: News Scan 04 11 17


Canadians prioritize border security over aid to those crossing illegally

Will the slow-but-steady stream of asylum-seekers crossing the border illegally grow into a roaring flood this summer? Canadian officials have downplayed this possibility, but a new public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute finds a substantial portion of the Canadian public anticipating such a surge, and worried about the potential security risks that might be associated with it. (Angus Reid)

Ottawa tight-lipped on delay to improving no-fly list

The federal government has stalled without explanation a plan to create a system that would allow smooth travel for Canadian airline customers, including children, whose names closely match those on the no-fly list. Last November, The Globe and Mail reported that cabinet was presented with a proposal to allocate $78-million annually until 2022 and $12-million every year thereafter to set up an independent no-fly list controlled by Public Safety, Transport Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency. However, the money didn’t appear in the federal budget last month, leaving the parents of affected children disappointed and confused. (Globe and Mail)

Main suspect in Stockholm truck attack admits to terrorist crime – lawyer

Rakhmat Akilov, the main suspect in the truck attack in Stockholm that killed four people and injured 15, has admitted to committing a terrorist crime, his lawyer told a court on Tuesday. Police believe Akilov, a 39-year-old from the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan, was the driver of the hijacked beer truck that mowed down pedestrians on a busy street in the Swedish capital on Friday before crashing into a department store. (Reuters)

Thousands of Mounties sign union cards and remove the yellow stripes from their pants

The federal government doesn't appear to be willing to budge on RCMP wages, despite Mounties ripping the yellow stripes off their pants in increasing numbers to protest pay, staffing levels and working conditions. The movement started late last week in North Vancouver after the federal government announced a new pay package with a 4.8 per cent increase, which fell far below expectations. (CBC)

Attacks Shows ISIS’ New Plan: Divide Egypt by Killing Christians

Grief and rage flowed through Egypt’s Christian community on Monday as tear-streaked mourners buried the victims of the coordinated Palm Sunday church bombings that killed 45 people in two cities. The cabinet declared that a state of emergency was in effect. A newspaper was pulled off newsstands after it criticized the government. It was just the reaction the Islamic State wanted. (New York Times)

Trump orders military advisers to prepare plans to hit North Korea

President Trump has ordered his military advisers to be ready with a list of options to smash North Korea’s nuclear threat. One of the advisers, Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, confirmed his Commander-in-Chief has made the order as a U.S. carrier strike group heads for the region. It is believed that among the options are combined special forces raids and pre-emptive missile strikes. (


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Seeking Asylum: Once Asylum Seekers Arrive in Manitoba, What are the Costs Involved?

After asylum seekers make the trek over from the U.S. into Canada, there’s a whole new journey they still need to embark on. Crossing over on foot to a completely unknown world is only step one for asylum seekers as they begin their journey into Canada. Rita Chahal, Executive Director of Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, said once asylum seekers are processed at the border by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the next stop is Welcome Place in Winnipeg. (CJOB)

Program helps new immigrants find their footing in Canadian tech sector

When Rohum Azarmgin immigrated to Canada in April, 2015, he wasn’t fully prepared for the job hunt he would encounter. As an established and educated IT professional in Iran, he never had an issue finding work. But his new home was different, and he didn’t fully understand how the recruitment process worked. “I didn’t have trouble landing interviews, but I wasn’t able to secure a job,” says Mr. Azarmgin. That’s despite having both an IT degree and an MBA as well as 12 years’ experience as a project manager in his home country. It was a tough time, he recalls, and focusing all his attention on finding a job meant burning through much of his savings. (Globe and Mail)

Business owner survived bombings, bullets, to start new life in Thunder Bay

One Thunder Bay, Ont. business-owner's harrowing tale of dodging bombs and bullets in her homeland, then surviving the stinking confines of a Thai refugee camp, provides a window on the experience of some refugees who start new lives in the city.Kreesa Ro is the owner of the Knyaw Lucky Store on May Street, which sells Asian food and household items. (CBC)

Vancouver consultant accused of defrauding immigrants faces allegations in first day of hearing

A B.C. Securities Commission panel heard Monday that prominent immigration businessman Paul Oei was rubbing elbows with B.C. politicians while he impressed Chinese investors that he allegedly bilked out of $6.9 million. (Vancouver Sun)

Canada jumps on bandwagon of countries mulling tougher Russia sanctions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that he believes “Russia needs to be aware, made aware of its responsibility in the bloody actions last week by the Assad regime and therefore we are always open to working with our friends, allies and partners allies to send clear messages through sanctions and other means to Russia,” as quoted by Reuters. (

‘Everybody was kicking me’: Alleged beating by Canadian man at D.C. protest leads to condemnation of Jewish Defence League

Videos showing men in Jewish Defence League shirts beating a Palestinian-American college instructor in Washington, D.C., have led to renewed criticism of the controversial group and its links to violence. “Everybody was kicking me and punching me,” said Kamal Nayfeh, 55, who required 18 stitches around his eye following the March 26 assault. Among those arrested was a Toronto man affiliated with the JDL’s Canadian branch. (National Post)

Cost of Trudeau's Bahamas vacations mounts

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's vacation to the Aga Khan's private island in the Bahamas cost taxpayers more than the government revealed to Parliament, CBC News has learned. In addition to the initial $127,187 disclosed in documents tabled in the House of Commons, the government spent $6,695 to transport a Privy Council Office technician from Nassau to Bell Island by seaplane along with 400 pounds of equipment. (CBC)

'I was humiliated': Student believes racism behind expulsion from Trudeau event

A Nova Scotia Community College student wants an apology and an explanation after he said he was asked to leave a trade skills competition that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended last week. Dayton Goree, 54, is a second-year carpentry student at NSCC's Waterfront Campus in Dartmouth where the event was held. He said an RCMP officer working security for the prime minister came up and whispered to him that he needed to leave or he would be removed. "I was humiliated because there were a lot of people who were looking at what was going on," said Goree. (CBC)

Liberals set to table marijuana legislation, but key details need to be resolved

The federal government will table a bill to legalize recreational marijuana on Thursday that is expected to tightly control the ability of producers to market their products to the public, federal sources said. But key issues such as how to deal with drug-impaired driving have yet to be fully resolved. (Globe and Mail)

Canada, US warn of terror threats (in the Philippines)

American citizens were advised to carefully consider such an information as they make their travel plans, and to review personal security plans, avoid large crowds and gatherings, and remain vigilant at all times. Canada on Monday also issued a travel advisory to its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in traveling to the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao, due to the threat of terrorism and high level of crime. (The Standard)

North Korea issues warning as US strike group heads to Korean Peninsula

North Korea has issued a forceful response to the deployment of a US naval strike group to the region, saying it would counter "reckless acts of aggression" with "whatever methods the US wants to take." In a statement provided to CNN by officials in North Korea, Pyongyang said the "current grim situation" justified its "self-defensive and pre-emptive strike capabilities with the nuclear force at the core." (CNN)

China 'deploys 150,000 troops to deal with possible North Korean refugees over fears Trump may strike Kim Jong-un following missile attack on Syria'

The Chinese army has reportedly deployed 150,000 troops to the North Korean border to prepare for pre-emptive attacks after the United States dropped airstrikes on Syria. President Donald Trump's missile strike on Syria on Friday was widely interpreted as a warning to North Korea. And now China, left shocked by the air strikes, has deployed medical and backup units from the People's Liberation Army forces to the Yalu River, Korea's reported. (Daily Mail)

Russia knew in advance of Syrian chemical attack: U.S. official

The United States has made a preliminary conclusion that Russia knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week, but has no proof of Moscow's involvement, a senior U.S. official said Monday. The official said that a drone operated by Russians was flying over a hospital as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons. (CTV)

Syria war: G7 rejects sanctions on Russia after 'chemical attack'

The G7 group of nations has failed to reach agreement over threatening new sanctions against Russia and Syria. Foreign ministers were seeking a common position on the Syrian conflict, before the US secretary of state flies to Russia to try to persuade it to abandon its Syrian ally. The nations agreed there was no solution to the Syria crisis with President Assad in power. (BBC)

Chechnya ‘opens CONCENTRATION CAMP for homosexuals where prisoners are tortured to DEATH’

Up to 100 gay man have been detained and at least three killed in the past week in Chechnya, according to Russian newspaper Novoya Gazeta. Human rights organisation the Council of Europe branded the allegations “alarming” and ordered an investigation. It is believed inmates have been tortured with electric currents and beaten by guards trying to identify other members of the gay community in the region. (

How Terror Threatens to Transform Sweden Amid Calls for Unity

One of the world’s most generous refugee destinations is about to learn whether its worst peacetime attack will prove a tipping point in setting immigration policy. For now, Swedes are making a vocal show of defending their open and inclusive society following Friday’s terrorist attack, which police say was probably carried out by an Uzbek man sympathetic toward Islamic State and whose residency application had been rejected. (Bloomberg)

Trump administration 'to sell Nigeria planes' for Boko Haram fight

The Trump administration plans to sell fighter jets to Nigeria despite concerns over rights abuses and a botched air strike that killed scores of civilians in January, US media say. Up to a dozen A-29 Super Tucano aircraft would be sold to Nigeria to help fight Islamist militant group Boko Haram, unnamed US officials said. The deal, which is not yet official, will require approval from Congress. (BBC)



Anthony Furey: Trudeau and Trump will get along fine... until talk turns to refugees

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far got it right on Donald Trump every step of the way. The question now, as the PM voices approval for the wagons circling around Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, is how far it goes. Sooner than later there will be a time when Trudeau’s pressed to go along with Trump in a way that pulls him away from his progressive philosophy. That's where the relationship will strain and Trudeau will find himself – either by his choice or Trump’s – on the outside looking in. (Toronto Sun)

Joe Gunn: Canada's Flawed Refugee System Gives New Arrivals A Half Welcome

In the autumn of 2015, folks at my church got very excited about the opportunity to sponsor refugee families from Syria. The photo of Alan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach as his family attempted to flee across the Mediterranean created a groundswell of concern. The four or five usual members of the Refugee Support Committee at the parish were joined by over 80 others for an information evening -- and 20 more people who could not come that evening requested updates and offered to help. Plans were made, funds raised, paperwork submitted -- and at one point, an apartment was rented. And then, we waited... and waited. Finally, a Syrian family arrived that our parish could sponsor -- in March 2017. (Huffington Post)

George Abraham: Thanks, Hérouxville. You gave us the immigration debate we needed.

I come not to bury André Drouin’s legacy, but rather to praise him. In his way, he made a singular contribution to the debate about immigration in Canada. Drouin, a former city councillor in the Quebec town of Hérouxville, passed away at age 70 earlier this month. He was famous, after a fashion, for having been the co-author in 2007 of a peculiar (and highly controversial) ‘code of conduct’ for new immigrants that made his community a lightning rod in the debate over immigration and the so-called “reasonable accommodation” of minority cultures. (IPolitics)

Mohamed Fahmy: Qatar behind state-sponsorship of terrorism

Earlier this year U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis called Iran the world’s “biggest state sponsor of terrorism.” It may be time to include the little oil-rich Arab state of Qatar on the top of the list since it continues to house and protect wanted financiers of Al Qaeda, Daesh, Al Nusra Front, Taliban, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups designated as terrorists by many countries and the United Nations. (Toronto Star)

David Akin: Analysis: On the eve of Malala visit, it’s clear we could use more feminist prime ministers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a series of events in New York City last week promoting feminism, female entrepreneurs and a generally larger role for women in the world. One might think, as columnist Robyn Urback did, that “we get it,” that such symbolic showy displays by Canada’s feminist prime minister are no longer required. Because it’s 2017 and all. And yet…(Global News)

Michael Coren: There are no good options for Syria

For anyone who has spent time in Syria or — as in my case — has written about it extensively as a journalist and for a university thesis, it’s odd to see how the media throws up a cadre of alleged ‘experts’ on the region with every new twist in the crisis. All of these declared experts claim the same thing — that they know what is going on. That claim, as any experienced Syria-watcher knows, is suspect the moment someone makes it. The late Patrick Seale — biographer of Bashar al-Assad’s father Hafez and the most informed reporter on Syria working in the West — used to put it like this: “Syria is rather like prayer. As soon as you think you’ve worked it out, go back and start again.” (IPolitics)

Christie Blatchford: Accused killers go free as Supreme Court tackles ‘complacency’ in criminal justice system

It’s an alarming thing when an accused killer walks away free because the justice system couldn’t try him in time. But it’s now happened in Canada for a third time, with Quebec Superior Court Judge Alexandre Boucher last week staying a charge of second-degree murder against Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham, a Quebec first. He was charged in the Aug. 11, 2012, slaying of his young wife, Anuja Baskaran, found in her Montreal home that day with her throat slit. (National Post)



-       The Standing Committee on National Defence meet today to study Canada and the Defence of North America (3:30PM EST) (In Camera)

-       The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met yesterday to meet with Immigration Consultants (3:30PM EST) (Public)

-       The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development meet later today to discuss United States and Canadian Foreign Policy (Partly Public) (8:45am EST)