True North Initiative: News Scan 04 25 17


Canada admits record number of refugees in 2016

Canada has admitted the largest number of refugees in a single year in nearly four decades, according to the United Nations refugee agency. A record 46,700 refugees arrived in Canada for resettlement in 2016, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This is the largest amount of refugees admitted in a year since the implementation of the 1976 Immigration Act, the agency said. (Radio Canada) (Ottawa Citizen)

Chrystia Freeland: Israel's Security At Core Of Canada's Middle East Strategy

Ensuring the security of Israel is a core component of Canada's Middle East strategy, including the fight against the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Part of that strategy, Freeland said Monday, is shoring up Lebanon and Jordan — countries facing a massive influx of refugees from Syria displaced by fighting between various factions in that country's long civil war. (Huffington Post) (Globe and Mail) (Global)

Michelle Rempel: Trudeau Should Decry Saudi Arabia's Election To UN Women's Rights Commission

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to speak out against the election of Saudi Arabia to a United Nations commission dedicated to women’s equality. Rempel took to Facebook Sunday with a video responding to the news that Saudi Arabia was one of 13 countries to win a four-year term on the 45-member UN Commission on the Status of Women in a secret vote last week. “That’s crazy,” Rempel said in the clip. “This is a country where women can’t drive. I don’t understand how this happened.” (Huffington Post)

Oliver shooting suspect has lengthy criminal past, ordered deported from Canada

It was a dramatic end to a three-day long manhunt for attempted murder suspect Afshin Maleki Ighani in Princeton. Ighani was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for allegedly shooting another man in Oliver last week. Now he is also accused of hijacking a vehicle on Saturday and kidnapping a woman who he knew before fleeing towards Manning Park on Highway 3. The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada tells Global News Ighani was issued a deportation order in July of 2002. (Global) (Global 2)

Trump threatens tariff on Canadian lumber

President Donald Trump is telling reporters he'll slap a 20 percent tariff on softwood lumber entering the United States from Canada. The president made the comments during a gathering with conservative media outlets at the White House Monday evening. The comments were relayed by four people who were in the room and confirmed by an administration official. One person in the room said Trump threatened that dairy products could be next. (Boston Herald) (Global News)

Terrorism concerns lead to security changes at passport offices

The federal government has been quietly making changes to passport offices in a bid to improve security and address concerns that the facilities could be easy targets for a terrorist attack. Civil servants in passport and other government offices have for years faced bomb threats, and hostility from individuals who are disgruntled, drunk or suffering mental illnesses. (CBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Sex selection in Indian community persists despite years spent in Canada, researchers find

Contrary to what researchers expected, the length of time Indian immigrants have lived in Canada has no effect whatsoever on the practice of sex selection in favour of boys. The lead author of an upcoming study, Marcelo Urquia, said his team's findings show Indian mothers are more than twice as likely to have a male third child, if a couple has already had two daughters. "Families prefer to have boys rather than girls," said Urquia, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. "Or, if they already have daughters, they want to have at least one male in the family." (CBC) (Times of India) (Radio Canada)

Toronto lawyer suspended over handling of Roma refugee cases

A Toronto lawyer who has been found guilty of professional misconduct in representing Roma refugee claimants will be suspended for six months and placed under supervision for at least one year if he is to continue practising refugee law. The professional disciplinary action against Joseph Stephen Farkas followed similar penalties handed out earlier by the Law Society Tribunal against lawyers Viktor Hohots and Elizabeth Jaszi. (Toronto Star)

Federal government urged to help Roma refugee clients of disciplined lawyers

Ottawa is being urged to offer redress to the Roma refugees who were the clients of three disciplined Toronto lawyers and subsequently had their asylum claims rejected by Canada. Now that the last of the three lawyers has been slapped with penalties for professional misconduct over their handling of Roma refugee cases, a community coalition has asked Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to create a special program to grant permanent residency to their affected clients. (Toronto Star)

Despite struggles, many Syrian refugees’ businesses are gaining traction

Across Canada, Syrian newcomers-turned-business owners are finding their footing. Some entrepreneurs, like Mr. Alftih, have opened storefront businesses, while others continue to build them out of their basements or local markets. Between November, 2015, and January, 2017, 40,081 Syrians arrived in Canada. Entrepreneurship can be the path of least resistance for those newcomers, says Alex LeBlanc, managing director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council, which has overseen the province’s resettlement efforts of government-assisted refugees. (Globe and Mail)

Some Canadian bank record information being sent directly to IRS

Thousands of reports containing confidential Canadian banking information records have been sent directly to the U.S Internal Revenue Service, without the Canadian government's knowledge. According to information obtained by CBC News under a U.S. Freedom of Information Act request, 31,574 such reports have been sent directly to Internal Revenue Service over the past two years under the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). (CBC)

Trudeau sought RCMP probe of cabinet leaks on navy supply ship

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed for the RCMP to investigate leaks of classified cabinet deliberations regarding a $667-million naval supply ship project that eventually led the police to accuse Vice-Admiral Mark Norman of breach of trust, according to an insider. The decision to ask the Mounties to probe the matter was made at the highest level of the government after an internal investigation by Security Operations at the Privy Council Office failed to discover the source of the cabinet leaks. (Globe and Mail)

Trudeau says his dad went to bat for son Michel when he was charged with pot possession

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that when his late brother Michel was charged with pot possession, his father's resources, legal network and connections helped make the charge "go away," and that he will introduce a "process" to help other Canadians with pot-related charges after recreational marijuana becomes legal. Trudeau made the comments at a town hall hosted by Vice Media, during which the prime minister was asked by a member of the audience who had been charged with pot possession what Trudeau would say to someone in his position. (CBC)

Ontario to launch guaranteed minimum income pilot program in Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay

Ontario will launch a guaranteed annual income pilot project in three Ontario cities beginning this spring. Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Monday that the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP) will give up to 4,000 low-income earners in Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay a basic annual income of $17,000. Couples would earn $24,000 and people with disabilities would earn up to $6,000 on top of the basic amount. (Financial Post)

Canada pursues possible trade deal with China as softwood lumber dispute with U.S. heats up

Exploratory free trade talks are underway this week as Canadian and Chinese officials visit one another's countries to discuss what a potential agreement might look like. Chinese officials are gathering at the offices at Global Affairs Canada, while two federal ministers, International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, are in China. (CBC)

North Korea tensions: US submarine arrives in South Korea

A US submarine has arrived in South Korea, amid worries of another North Korean missile or nuclear test. The missile-armed USS Michigan is set to join an incoming group of warships led by aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. North Korea is celebrating its army's 85th founding anniversary on Tuesday. It marked the event with a large-scale firing drill, South Korea said. (BBC)

Marine Le Pen steps down as head of France's National Front party

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen announced Monday she is temporarily stepping down as head of her National Front party with less than two weeks ago before the country chooses its leader in a runoff vote. The move appears to be a way for Le Pen to embrace a wide range of potential voters ahead of the vote pitting her against Emmanuel Macron, the independent centrist who came in first in Sunday's first round, The Associated Press reported. (MSN) (BBC)



Chantal Hebert: Trudeau and Trump are watching the vote in France, but for different reasons

It is a sign of the times that a Canadian prime minister and an American president are cheering for different candidates in the upcoming second round of France’s presidential election — and that their contrary preferences are so transparent. Donald Trump has all but given Marine Le Pen a formal endorsement. In an interview with The Associated Press just ahead of Sunday’s first-round vote, he described the leader of France’s far right party as the “strongest on borders, and the strongest on what’s been going on in France.” Their history is one of reciprocal admiration. (Toronto Star)

Tasha Kheiriddin: It's probably too late for a crackdown on border-hoppers

It’s not a flood — yet — but the river of refugees coming to Canada continues to rise. Since January 1, the RCMP has intercepted 1,860 migrants crossing illegally into Canada from the United States: 315 in January, 658 in Feburary and 887 in March. Most of those have crossed into Quebec, near Lacolle, and Manitoba, near Emerson. Last Friday, Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch visited Emerson and pledged to take a much harder line on the issue should she become Tory leader. (IPolitics)

John Ivison: New Liberal defence plan looks likely to leave military short-changed

Justin Trudeau will head to Sicily next month for a NATO meeting with Donald Trump and other allies. The defence department hopes to release its major policy review before then, but perhaps it would be just as well if the Prime Minister goes empty-handed. The Americans want Canada to live up to its commitment to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence, but new figures suggest this year the country will hit a post-war spending low of just 0.88 per cent. Last month’s federal budget said the defence policy review will put the Armed Forces on a “sustainable footing,” but there was no money in that budget — in fact, $933 million earmarked for capital spending was pulled out of the defence budget over a six-year period. (National Post)

Evan Solomon: For a troubled Trump, Canada is easy pickings

In the wasteland of Washington’s political swamp April may not be the cruellest month, but it is turning out to be the craziest, especially for Canada, as President Trump desperately hunts for some cheap political wins. In trying to validate his shambolic first 100 days in office, a time where palace intrigue has over-shadowed his anemic policy accomplishments, Trump first decided that rounding on Canadian dairy farmers is easy fodder. Now he’s gone further. Late Monday night the U.S. Department of Commerce  hit Canada with tariffs or “counter veiling duties” of up to 24 per cent per cent on some softwood lumber. The Canadian response was immediate. “The Government of Canada disagrees strongly with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty,” Ministers Jim Carr and Chrystia Freeland said. “The accusations are baseless and unfounded.” (Macleans)



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