True North Initiative: News Scan 05 26 17


Protesters rally in downtown Edmonton over plan to move federal office out of Vegreville

Dozens of protesters gathered at Canada Place in downtown Edmonton on Thursday to voice their displeasure over the federal government’s plan to move an immigration processing centre from Vegreville to Alberta’s capital. Emotions continue to run high over the decision made late last year. Thursday’s rally was the the second protest over the issue in Edmonton this week. On Saturday, a group of angry Albertans voiced their concerns outside the TELUS World of Science as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a news conference inside. (Global) (Edmonton Sun)

Sanctuary city: Recommendations for London to adopt status coming in the fall, city staff say

It’s going to take a few more months and a few more meetings before London can consider becoming a sanctuary city. City staff hope to have recommendations “for the arrangements for the city of London to become a sanctuary city” this fall, a report heading to politicians Monday says. A sanctuary city adopts what are called "access without fear" policies for non-status migrants, people in Canada without permission of the federal government. (LF Press)

Manchester bomber linked to former radical Ottawa imam?

The bomber who attacked a Manchester pop concert has been linked to an extremist imam from Ottawa whom Canadian intelligence officials had warned was “promoting violent jihad” in Libya. Quoting a senior American official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, The New York Times reported that Salman Abedi “had links to a radical preacher in Libya identified as Abdul Baset Ghwela.” The report appeared to be referring to a Libyan-Canadian the Canadian government calls Abdu Albasset Egwilla. Formerly a cleric at an Ottawa mosque, Egwilla has been accused of inciting violence since returning to Libya. (

Donald Trump lectures Canada, other NATO members to up defence spending

With long-standing European alliances facing new strain, U.S. President Donald Trump chastised NATO member nations for not paying their fair share to protect the long-standing pact and declined to explicitly endorse its mutual defence agreement. That unprecedented one-two punch from a president in his first major speech in Europe further rattled a continent anxious about Trump’s commitment to their bonds and reeling from another deadly terror attack. (Global)

Liberals fork over another $30 million to keep Canada at F-35 table

Canada has quietly paid another $30 million toward development of the F-35 — money that could become insurance in the trade dispute between U.S. aerospace firm Boeing and Canadian rival Bombardier. The annual payment was made to the U.S. military at the end of April, the Department of National Defence says, and will keep Canada at the table as one of nine partners in the fighter jet project for the next year. (CBC)

Trudeau suggests defence review will invest more in troops than weaponry

When most people envision a defence policy, they think bullets, bombs and battleships, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government appears set to deliver something decidedly different early next month. Much of the advance publicity for the government's long-anticipated statement of military priorities is being run through the soft-focus filter of social issues and supporting troops. (CBC)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Trudeau insists no concerns over sharing intelligence with U.S. in spite of Trump leaks

Canada's deeply entrenched role in the fight against global extremism is more focused these days on intelligence-gathering — and sharing — than on putting more boots on the ground in the Middle East, Justin Trudeau suggested Thursday. "The track record has shown that collaboration and co-operation between allies, friends and partners has saved lives and keeps all of our citizens safe," Trudeau said at the outset of a day-long NATO meeting in Brussels. (Metro)

From Libertarian to Populist: Conservative leadership candidates lay down their economic cards

Most of the economic positions taken by Conservative leadership candidates won’t surprise you. Lower taxes and smaller government are popular themes. Deficits and red tape are bad, jobs and innovation are good. Still, several of the candidates have some ideas and policies that stand out. By Saturday night, when the ballot-by-ballot results are revealed at the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership convention in Toronto, we’ll know which vision goes before the country in the next election. (Financial Post)

Dissecting the paths to victory for the 13 Conservative leadership candidates

Of the 13 candidates still in the running to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, only a handful have a plausible path to victory on Saturday night. A few others have an outside chance of pulling off an upset, while the rest are the longest of long shots. All of the available data suggest that Maxime Bernier, Andrew Scheer and Erin O'Toole have the most realistic paths to victory. (CBC)

Mock trials help refugees plead case for asylum

Biruktawit arrived in Toronto from Ethiopia last October with two little boys, a plea for asylum and no idea how a courtroom worked. “I had all the facts. I was prepared with my lawyers. But I really didn’t know how to express the fear I had of going back to my country,” she said. (Metro has agreed not to print her last name in order to protect her privacy.) Like many refugees, Biruktawit had to plead her case for asylum before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). She had three months to prepare. (Metro)

New on-the-job training program targets newly arrived immigrants

A new employment program aims to train newly arrived immigrants to Montreal and get them hired in their fields of study. The program, launched by the city of Montreal and the provincial government as a pilot project, works with the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and four large corporations to help integrate immigrants into the workforce. (Montreal Gazette)

Canada’s big banks see mortgage growth slow and even shrink in wake of cooling measures

Canadian mortgage growth is slowing as the country’s policy makers step up efforts to cool overheated housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto. With four of Canada’s biggest banks reporting second-quarter results, the trend shows that growth in home loan portfolios is easing and in some cases shrinking. It’s a welcome sign for Canadian officials struggling to curb residential prices in two of the nation’s largest cities. The federal government tightened mortgage rules and added other measures in October while opening the door to shifting risks of defaulting home loans to lenders. (Financial Post)

Finance Minister Bill Morneau vows to close ’unfair’ tax loopholes

Canada’s finance minister denounced “unfair” tax loopholes on Thursday and put Bay St. on notice that the Liberal government is committed to addressing “blind spots” and exposing shadowy corporate finances to public scrutiny. “We don’t want to wait for the next Panama Papers to tell us whether or not someone may be trying to hide their income from taxation,” said Bill Morneau, referring to the massive leak of offshore tax haven documents the Toronto Star and the CBC/Radio-Canada revealed last year. (Toronto Star)

Malicious hackers say they demanded $50,000 ransom for stolen Bell data

A pair of malicious hackers say they demanded that Bell pay a $50,000 US ransom to prevent stolen customer data from being shared online, according to a person claiming responsibility for the theft. That person — who communicated with CBC News via encrypted chat using the handle "exodus" — says a ransom email was sent to Bell on May 5, detailing the extent of the breach and the thieves' terms. (CBC)

More funds expected to flow to NATO after Trump’s blunt rebuke to allied leaders

President Trump delivered a stern rebuke to NATO and European leaders to their faces Thursday, saying the security alliance would be fighting terrorism better if members were paying their fair share for the common defense. “NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism,” Mr. Trump said at the unveiling of a 9/11 memorial at NATO headquarters in Brussels. (Washington Times)

British investigators resume sharing Manchester bombing intel with U.S. after leaks

British authorities have resumed sharing intelligence with United States officials after receiving “fresh assurances” following multiple leaks of information to the media regarding the investigating the deadly Manchester suicide bombing. “While we do not usually comment on information sharing arrangements … having received fresh assurances, we are now working closely with our key partners around the world including all those in the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance,” Mark Rowley, Britain’s lead officer for counter-terrorism policing told Reuters. (Global)

Egypt Coptic Christians killed in bus attack

At least 23 people have been killed and 25 wounded after gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt, state media report. The incident occurred in Minya province, about 220km (140 miles) south of the capital Cairo, as the bus headed to the Monastery of St Samuel. There have been a number of attacks on Copts in recent months claimed by Islamic State (IS) militants. (BBC)

RAF crew write 'love from Manchester' on bomb destined for Islamic State target

A photograph has emerged of an RAF bomb with the message “love from Manchester” written on it after the Ariana Grande concert suicide bombing. The RAF confirmed the photograph, which has been widely shared on social media, was genuine and showed a message on a Paveway IV bomb loaded on a British jet carrying out air strikes from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. (

Growing Concern Over Brothers Arrested With Guns, Bomb-Making Materials

There are growing concerns about the arrest of two brothers with ties to the Middle East who authorities say had an arsenal with bomb-making materials, guns and ammunition in their car. Twenty-seven-year-old Abdullah Alrifahe and 26-year-old Majid Alrifahe were arrested on May 11 in north Minneapolis. Abdullah is being held in the Hennepin County Jail. His brother, Majid, has been released and is facing minor charges. (CBS)

‘Credible’ Islamic State propaganda video features short clip of Las Vegas Strip

A legitimate Islamic State group propaganda video posted on social media last week features brief footage of the Las Vegas Strip while calling for lone-wolf terrorist attacks, and Las Vegas police are treating it as a credible threat. The video is about 44 minutes long, which is unusual because Islamic State group propaganda videos are often much shorter, according to a representative with SITE Intelligence Group, a nongovernmental counterterrorism organization. (Review Journal)

Manchester bomber probably had ISIS training, US official says

Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi likely received some ISIS training in Syria in the months before the attack, according to information gathered in the preliminary investigation, a US official told CNN on Thursday. The US believes ISIS, through that training, set the stage for the 22-year old to carry out the deadly attack at the Manchester Arena on Monday night, which killed 22 people as they left a pop concert. (CNN)

NATO formally joins coalition against ISIS

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is lending its support to the U.S.-led coalition against the group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. “NATO joining the coalition to defeat (ISIL) is a strong political message of unity in the fight against terrorism,” Sec.-Gen. Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday. The decision came as NATO leaders are gathering in Brussels to discuss how they can better share the cost of defence and co-ordinate efforts in the fight against terrorism, which was once again thrust into the spotlight after the deadly attack on a concert arena in Manchester, England this week. (Macleans)

Death Toll from Venezuela Protests Rises to 60

he national newspaper, El National, published a list of alleged casualties that includes a National Guard and two police officers. The rest are civilians. Of those, nine are teenagers aged between 14 and 18. (Sputnik News)



John Robson: The obvious lesson about terrorists — they hate us for who we are, not what we do

Once again, we find ourselves aghast at a terrorist atrocity. Once again, we seek to console, rebuild and carry on. And once again, we wonder what it can all mean. Consolation is the first task. And we must carry on, seeking better security without shrinking into lives of fear. But we must also recognize, again, that these people hate us not for what we do but for who we are. (National Post)

Brian Lilley: Let’s get serious about foreign interference in Canadian elections

As the whole world reacts breathlessly to every accusation about Russian involvement in the American presidential election, here in Canada, claims of foreign interference in our own elections are largely being ignored. A new report filed with the Commissioner of Elections Canada alleges American money was pushed to Canadian groups who then used it to make sure their chosen candidates won the day in the last federal election. (Toronto Sun)

Farzana Hassan: We must never accept terror as the new normal

Months before the Manchester attack, London mayor Sadiq Khan had called the threat of terrorism “part and parcel” of living in a big city. Many are appalled that the mayor is insensitive enough to make such a statement. However, the context confirmed that he merely suggested that big cities must be prepared for any attacks that terrorists may be plotting. (Toronto Sun)

John Ibbitson: The new Conservative leader must look beyond the party’s rural roots

On Saturday, a surprisingly united Conservative Party will choose a new leader. Will that leader propel Conservatives to victory over Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the next federal election? That will depend on one thing above all: whether the party is willing to turn away from its rural roots and embrace the suburban. Stephen Harper expanded the Conservative Party beyond its Western and rural Ontario base, making it the party of suburbs, of immigrants, of contemporary Canada. To succeed, his successor must do likewise. (Globe and Mail)

Rosie Dimanno: What we shouldn’t ignore when we talk about Daesh

We are witnessing the death rattle of a death cult. But, oh, it can still sting. In Manchester on Monday night, the good times of a pop concert were brought to blood-drenched carnage by a suicide bomber whose terrorism has been claimed by the Islamic State. Daesh, as the pitiless organization is called by many media outlets in what is largely an attempt to avoid the I-word, is on its beat-back heels across the breadth of its mythical Caliphate in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. (Toronto Star)

Faith Goldy: The Truth About Trudeau’s Border Crisis (GUESTS: Caolan Robertson, Barbara Kay)

Tonight, I show you exclusive footage from on the ground in Emerson, Manitoba, the frontline of Trudeau's border crisis.  You will see the step-by-step process the hoards of fake refugees take to illegally gain access to Canada and live off of taxpayer funded benefits. Then, Rebel Commentator Caolan Robertson joins me with everything you need to know about the Manchester Islamic terrorist attack. (Rebel)

Robyn Urback: The media should know better but we keep falling for Trudeau's PR

There's an adage in politics that nothing happens by accident. While the current White House administration seems to be doing its damnedest to disprove that principle (Hold up — I *wasn't* supposed to tell the Russians about classified intel we got from Israel?), in normal political ecosystems it is still, by and large, true.  Leaks are often deliberate, calculated moves. "Spontaneous" run-ins are carefully set up. And public photobombs by politicians in their Sunday sweats usually involve some sort of prior co-ordination. (CBC)

Douglas Todd: Values of some immigrants contrast sharply with 'Canadian' values

Our discussion of “Canadian values” couldn’t be more hobbled. When Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch recommended screening immigrants for “Canadian values,” politicians and pundits mocked her. I understand their reaction, in part. Leitch may be playing rough politics, since polls show her idea is popular. And it could certainly be awkward, pragmatically, to screen newcomers on values. (Vancouver Sun)