True North Initiative: News Scan 05 30 17


Federal government pledges to match donations, create famine relief fund

The Canadian government is stepping up its efforts to counter the threat of famine. International Development minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Monday the launch of the Famine Relief Fund, an effort that will match donations made to registered Canadian charities for the same cause between March 17 and June 30 this year. The new commitment comes two months after Metro launched the Focus On Famine series, highlighting the growing hunger and famine in East Africa and the Middle East, and chronicling efforts of local immigrants to bring relief to desperate families. (Metro) (Winnipeg Free Press)

Politicians move closer to formally declaring London a sanctuary city, but not without criticism

Has the push to designate London a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants divided residents? Or exposed a divide that’s long been here? That question was part of a complex debate Monday when council, meeting as the strategic priorities and policy committee, moved closer to declaring that non-status residents can access municipal services, such as recreation centres or libraries, without fear of being reported by city employees to border officials. (LF Press)

How the Liberals’ alleged support of Sikh separatists is fuelling Canada-India tensions

When Prime Minister Trudeau headed to the stage at the Sikh-Canadian community’s annual Khalsa Day celebration last month, he was thronged by a cheering, photo-seeking crowd. It was little surprise, given the Liberal leader is not only a staunch supporter of multiculturalism but also has four MPs of Sikh origin in his cabinet. Thousands of kilometres away in New Delhi, however, Trudeau’s appearance struck a decidedly more sour note. The appearance was the latest irritation for an Indian government reportedly worried that the Liberals are too cozy with a peaceful but “growing” Sikh-separatist movement in Canada. (National Post)

Canada extends maritime security mission in Middle East to 2021

Canada is extending its commitment to an international maritime security mission in the waters off the Middle East for another four years, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced today. "It is a clear display of our solidarity with partners and allies in the global fight against terrorism," Sajjan said of Operation Artemis, Canada's contribution to a multinational maritime security force in the region. The federal government has approved up to $131.4 million to support the extension, which will see the deployment of up to 375 military personnel. (Yahoo)

U.S. laptop ban may expand to all international flights: ‘It is a real sophisticated threat’

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said he may ban laptop computers in the cabins of all international flights into and out of the U.S. amid continuing terrorist threats to bring down airplanes, but that a final decision hadn’t been made. “That’s really the thing that they’re obsessed with, the terrorists: the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of mostly U.S. folks,” Kelly said on “Fox News Sunday.” (National Post)

Andrew Scheer cites ‘new hope for Canada’ in first caucus address

Newly elected Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was greeted with a standing ovation by his leadership rivals and party caucus Monday in a display of unity after a deeply split vote on the weekend. Scheer, the 38-year-old MP and former Commons Speaker, was elected with 50.95 per cent of ballots cast in a leadership race that saw 13 candidates vie for the top job, and a ballot contest that ran right up to the 13th count. (Toronto Star)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Montreal man breaks down while apologizing for murder in front of victim’s wife and children

A Côte-des-Neiges resident who killed his neighbour and then downed a few beers before he was arrested broke down in tears on Monday while he apologized to the victim’s children for having taken away their father. “I never had an intention of killing your father. You know me,” Amalan Thandapanithesigar said after he broke down before Superior Court Justice Jean-François Buffoni. (National Post)

Canada’s privacy czar raises flag over planned U.S. border password searches

Canadian privacy could be imperilled by apparent U.S. plans to demand cellphone and social media passwords from foreign visitors, a federal watchdog says. In a letter to the House of Commons public safety committee, privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien warns the recent pronouncements from the Trump administration could mean intrusive searches — even at preclearance facilities in Canada. (Globe and Mail)

Canadian universities attract wave of foreign students

The University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George is joining other Canadian universities as they are about to welcome record-breaking numbers of international students this fall. Some institutions across the country are seeing significant increases of 25 per cent or more in admissions of students from abroad. About 10 per cent of the student population at UNBC is from out of country, but the university would like to see these numbers grow. "This year, we are really revving this up," said Dan Ryan, UNBC interim vice-president academic and provost. (Times Colonist)

Losing search plane bidder not aware of feds 'budget flexibility'

A new and crucial wrinkle has emerged in the Liberal government's first major military equipment purchase: the ongoing saga to replace the air force's fixed-wing search and rescue planes. The losing bidder in the $4.7-billion program has told CBC News that it was never informed there was flexibility within the federal government's proposed acquisition budget.  Leonardo S.p.A., an Italian aircraft maker, found itself on the outside of the deal last fall when the Liberal government chose to buy 16 new C-295W transports from rival Airbus Defence and Space. (CBC)

Ontario to kick off 150th anniversary celebration with replica of giant duck

In just over a month, the Ontario 150 Tour — a celebration of the province’s 150th anniversary — kicks off in Toronto with Royal Canadian Navy ships, competitive lumberjacks and an American replica of a 30,000-pound duck that’s been travelling the world since 2007. On June 30, the William Lyon Mackenzie fireboat will escort said giant duck to Toronto’s waterfront as part of a weekend-long celebration. After that, the duck departs for various points around Ontario: Midland, Brockville, Amherstburg and Sault Ste.Marie. (Ottawa Citizen)

Canada's Ambrose Says Trudeau Is Doing Good Job on Nafta

Former Conservative Interim Leader Rona Ambrose joins Bloomberg TV Canada's Lily Jamali to discuss the new Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, the party's new priorities ahead of the 2019 federal election, and the Trudeau government's approach to trade. (Bloomberg)

Pope appeared open to idea of a residential schools apology: Trudeau

Canadians are anxious to reconcile with Indigenous Peoples, Justin Trudeau described telling Pope Francis on Monday as he asked the pontiff to apologize for the role the Catholic Church played in the tragedy of residential schools. The Pope -- himself no stranger to the cause of social justice, he noted to Trudeau -- seemed open to the idea, the prime minister said as he related the broad strokes of their private conversation at the Vatican. (CTV)

ISIS in Southeast Asia: Philippines battles growing threat

The black flag of ISIS has been raised in the Philippines. At least 103 people have died in the city of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao in less than a week as fighters affiliated with the so-called Islamic State engaged in violent clashes with government forces, and martial law was declared over the entire island. (CNN)

'Trainee Libyan pilot', 23, is 16th suspect arrested in connection with Manchester concert bombing as mourners flock to St Ann's Square to mark a week since the tragedy

Police have arrested a commercial pilot as they begin to close in on the Manchester bomber's network of associates. A 23-year-old man from Libya was today taken into custody by detectives after he was arrested at a property in Shoreham-by-the-Sea, 270 miles from the scene of last week's fatal attack. The man has named locally as Alaedeen Zakry who describes himself as a 'commercial pilot and digital marketer', running an online market place for Libyans from his home in West Sussex. (Daily Mail)

Manuel Noriega, Panama ex-strongman, dies at 83

General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former military leader of Panama, has died aged 83, officials have announced. Noriega recently underwent an operation after suffering a haemorrhage following brain surgery. (BBC)

Iraq conflict: Baghdad ice cream parlour hit by suicide attack

Two car bomb attacks in the heart of the Iraqi capital Baghdad by so-called Islamic State have killed at least 26 people and wounded dozens, sources say. The first happened just after midnight (21:00 GMT on Monday) at an ice cream shop in the Karrada district, where a crowd had broken their Ramadan fasts. (BBC)

Venezuela opposition accuses Goldman Sachs of financing dictatorship

The president of Venezuela's opposition-run Congress on Monday accused Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs of "aiding and abetting the country's dictatorial regime" following a report that it had bought $2.8 billion in bonds from the cash-strapped country. The Wall Street Journal on Sunday said Goldman paid 31 cents on the dollar for bonds issued by state oil company PDVSA that mature in 2022, or around $865 million, citing five people familiar with the transaction. (Reuters)

Islam on Track to Overtake Christianity as World’s No. 1 Religion

Muslims will double their share of the population in the United States by 2050 and surpass Christianity as the world’s dominant religion by the end of the century, according to a Pew Research Center report released last week. The Pew study comes the same week that saw two acts of mass murder perpetrated by Muslim extremists — a suicide bombing outside a concert in Manchester, England, and a gun attack on a bus filled with Coptic Christians in Egypt. (Pew Research)



Anthony Furey: There's a new counterculture afoot and Andrew Scheer is one of its leaders

New Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has vowed to remove federal funding from post-secondary institutions if they don’t back freedom of speech on campus. At first blush it’s out of the blue. No major Canadian politician has ever before promised to do this. (Toronto Sun)

Thomas Walkom: Trudeau faces Trump pressure to return to Afghanistan

The pressure is on for Canada to return to Afghanistan. Can Prime Minister Justin Trudeau resist it? So far Trudeau seems to be holding firm. “We have no troops in Afghanistan at this time,” he said last week. “But we are happy to be supportive in other ways.” Canada’s problem, however, is that it is one of only two NATO countries that does not have troops in Afghanistan (the other is France). This is at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump wants NATO to do more in that country. (Toronto Star)

Mark Bonokoski: Left mockery of new Tory leader Andrew Scheer bunkum

Newly-elected federal Tory leader Andrew Scheer had yet to meet with his caucus Monday when factions within the sanctimonious left were already ramping up the vitriol. The media was all too willing to play along, of course, and not question the flame throwers about the basis for their pejorative language which not only mocked Scheer's religious beliefs but fell very close to calling him a liar. (Toronto Sun)

Douglas Todd: Almost 7 in 10 Metro residents will be non-white in two decades

Canada is experiencing the fastest rate of ethnic change of any country in the Western world, say international demographers. Almost seven of 10 Metro Vancouver residents will be visible minorities, or non-whites, in less than two decades, says Eric Kaufmann, a professor at University of London, Birkbeck, citing Statistics Canada projections. In addition, Kaufmann said, University of Laval professor Patrice Dion has worked with Statistics Canada officials to develop projections that suggest Canada as a whole, at the current rate of immigration, will be almost 80 per cent non-white in less than a century. (Vancouver Sun)

John Ivison: Scheer unveils his ‘first among equals’ approach on day one as Conservative leader

There have been 19 Conservative Party leaders since Confederation, and 13 of them served as prime minister. The only leaders of a united Conservative party who held the job for any length of time and didn’t win the top job were John Bracken, George Drew and Robert Stanfield. Against this backdrop, it was no surprise there was a sense of history in the making when Andrew Scheer met his caucus on Parliament Hill for the first time as leader. (National Post)

Gelek Badheystang: Immigrants in Canada, and the secrets some of us keep

When the Atlantic‘s June cover story “My Family’s Slave” first appeared online, there was—in what now seems commonplace for things that go viral—a predictable and self-actualizing spectrum of responses. The late Filipino-American journalist Alex Tizon’s story about his family’s servant was greeted by shock, then sadness, followed by anger and disgust, and then a mix of indignation and shame. The latter was especially true of Filipino voices attempting to add nuance to the conversation, and to contextualize these domestic service arrangements—variously known as utusan, or katulong, or kasambahay in Filipino parlance—within the medley of that country’s history and cultures. (Macleans)

Adam Radwanski: Bernier's premature victory lap gave Conservatives good reason to be glad he lost

The Conservatives may have just dodged a bullet. Andrew Scheer, the Saskatchewan MP and former House of Commons speaker they have chosen as their new leader, could struggle in all sorts of ways. It won’t be easy to reconcile the wishes of hardline social conservatives who helped put him over the top with those of everyone else, or marry his Western populism to the imperatives of winning over suburban voters, or match Justin Trudeau’s charisma and retail-politics skills. (Globe and Mail)



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

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security met yesterday to study Bill C-23 – An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the US (Public)

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration met yesterday to meet with Immigration Consultants and to study Immigration to Atlantic Canada (Public)

-       Standing Committee on National Defence meet later today to study Canada and the Defence of North America (In Camera)