True North Initiative: News Scan 05 31 17


Ghanaian woman in U.S. likely died trying to enter Canada: police

A 57-year-old woman believed to be from Ghana was found dead near the U.S.-Manitoba border last week after officials say she likely attempted to cross into Canada. The Kittson County Sheriff’s Department says Mavis Korkor Larnyoh Otuteye was last seen in the northwestern Minnesota region on May 22. Otuteye was reported missing to police three days later, and her body was found near Noyes, Minnesota -- the closest American community to Emerson, Man. -- last Friday. (CTV) (Newsweek)

Canadian privacy commissioner 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. (CBC) (Radio Canada)

Toronto 18 terror leader denied parole after telling psychologist he wants to fight ISIS

The ringleader of the Toronto 18 terrorist group told a psychologist he wanted to fight ISIL, the Parole Board of Canada said Tuesday in a written decision denying his bid for release. In its ruling, the parole board told Fahim Ahmad, 32, the comment showed “that you are still very involved in the same mindset as you were when this began, noting simply that you have just changed sides.” (National Post)

Tory senator wants to close 'troubling' election loophole that leaves Canada vulnerable to foreign actors

Conservative Senator Linda Frum is determined to stop the flow of foreign money into Canada for fear the funding of third party groups is unfairly influencing federal election campaigns, and leaving the country vulnerable to election rigging. With the federal government expected to table legislation on party fundraisers today, the Ontario senator is pressing ahead with a private member's bill of her own that will make it an offence under the Canada Elections Act for a third party to accept foreign contributions for any election-related activity at any time. (CBC)

Liberals to introduce bill reforming cash-for-access fundraisers

The federal Liberals are set to introduce a long-awaited bill on Wednesday that addresses transparency in political financing, but the NDP is still pushing the government to reignite its abandoned electoral reform pledge. In the wake of the cash-for-access controversy, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould was asked to “significantly enhance transparency” in the political fundraising system for cabinet ministers, party leaders and leadership candidates. (Globe and Mail)

ISIS targets Gumtree, eBay users to kill

The latest issue of the extremist group's English language propaganda magazine Rumiyah suggests several ways IS followers can take as many people as possible hostage and slaughter them. It suggests posting fake ads for items for sale on Gumtree and Ebay to trick people into meeting them at a certain location so they can pay and collect the items. "Online sales by way of buy and sell websites such as Craigslist, Gumtree, eBay, the Loot, and others are an alternative means to luring one's victims," an article titled Just Terror Tactics suggests. (Yahoo)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

What new Canadians face when buying a home

Trying to buy a house in big cities such as Toronto or Vancouver is challenging for any young family, but is doubly so for newcomers to Canada. Prices in the housing market often come as a shock and then the process of qualifying for a Canadian mortgage can be complicated and confusing. However, once qualified, new immigrants are able to borrow at competitive market rates. (Globe and Mail)

New dual citizenship rules mean long delays for passports overseas

Recent changes to entry rules for Canadian dual passport holders has meant Canadian consulates in several countries are seeing an "unprecedented influx" of passport applications. That influx has led to weeks-long processing delays and stress for expats. (CBC)

Iraqi refugee family lands at Trudeau airport after 2-year wait

It was a moment years in the making. Raed and Juliette Barbar and their daughters Nadeem and Nardeen landed at Montreal's Trudeau airport Monday, nearly three years after fleeing their home in Qaraqosh, Iraq at gunpoint — and almost two years after the Hope Community Church in Lennoxville applied to bring them to Canada from their precarious existence in Amman, Jordan. (CBC)

Karla Homolka volunteered at Montreal elementary school: Report

Even Doug French admits news that Karla Homolka is allowed to volunteer with kids at a Montreal school should have been like a punch in the gut for him. But it wasn’t. “That’s who she is,” the father of slain Kristen French said sombrely from his St. Catharines home Tuesday night. (Toronto Sun)

Christy Clark to stay on as B.C. premier — for now

Christy Clark has announced she intends to try to stay on as British Columbia's premier, despite the province's NDP and Green Party leaders making a pact that would give the New Democrats the support of a majority of the MLAs in the legislature. But she also admitted she was likely to lose a confidence vote — and if so, would resign as premier. (CBC)

B.C. government shake-up puts federally-approved pipeline project in jeopardy

Federal Liberals are nervous about the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline project as a political shake-up in British Columbia seems likely to produce a provincial government that opposes the plan. Liberals waited anxiously throughout the day for details of a deal between B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and were greeted at day’s end by news the deal had not only been signed, but specifically included a plan to oppose the pipeline. (City News)

CSIS report on Trans Mountain describes ‘violent confrontations’ over resource development

A newly released intelligence assessment of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion describes “violent confrontations” that have occurred over recent resource development projects. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service produced the “secret” report 10 days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline between Alberta and B.C. (National Post)

Daughter of Canadians detained in China ‘hopeful’ for meeting with PM

The daughter of two Canadians detained in China over a customs dispute is keeping a vigil in Ottawa this week, waiting for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond to her request for a meeting on the plight of her parents. Signs are emerging, meanwhile, that the Trudeau government has stepped up its efforts on behalf of John Chang and Allison Lu, Canadian winery owners trapped in Shanghai since March, 2016, when the Chinese government accused them of failing to pay sufficient duties on wine shipments to China. (Globe and Mail)

Kabul explosion: Blast kills 80 near diplomatic area in Afghanistan

A suicide bomb was detonated near the German Embassy in Kabul during rush hour Wednesday morning, killing 80 people close to a highly secure diplomatic area, Afghan officials said. Another 300 people were injured, the health ministry said. (CNN)

U.S. proposes fining United $435,000 over 2014 flights

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday proposed fining United Airlines $435,000 for operating 23 flights in 2014 with a Boeing 787 that the government alleged was not in airworthy condition. The FAA alleged that in June 2014, United mechanics replaced a fuel pump pressure switch on the Boeing Co aircraft but failed to perform a required inspection before returning the aircraft to service. A United spokesman said, "The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority. We immediately took action after identifying the issue and are working closely with the FAA in their review." (KFGO)

Kathy Griffin Apologizes for Bloody Decapitated Trump Image

Comedian Kathy Griffin has apologized in a Twitter video after receiving backlash on social media Tuesday about photographs of her holding a bloody decapitated head resembling President Donald Trump. "I'm a comic. I crossed the line. I moved the line, then I crossed it. I went way too far," Griffin said. (NBC)

Iranian-backed forces amassing near U.S. training base in Syria

Hundreds of Iranian-backed militiamen, fighting alongside government troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, are amassing near a U.S.-training base located near the country’s border with Iraq, the Defense Department confirmed Tuesday. Pro-Assad fighters supported by Tehran have begun conducting patrols near the southern Syrian town of At Tanf, which is home to a U.S. training camp for moderate Syrian militias battling the Islamic State, said Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis. (Washington Times)

U.S. Missile Defense Test Over Pacific Ocean a Key Milestone

The Pentagon successfully tested a U.S. long-range interceptor missile over the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday in an exercise aimed at helping gauge American readiness to counter a potential threat from North Korea. During the test, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency launched an interceptor rocket from an underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The interceptor hit and destroyed an intercontinental-range missile fired from a test site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific, the Pentagon announced. (NBC)

Venezuelan opposition condemns Goldman for $2.8b bond deal

Goldman Sachs Group Inc's statement that it never transacted directly with the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro when it bought $2.8 billion of bonds for pennies on the dollar was dismissed by the country's opposition on Tuesday as an effort to "put lipstick on this pig." Goldman, in a statement late Monday confirming the purchase, said its asset-management arm acquired the bonds "on the secondary market from a broker and did not interact with the Venezuelan government." (Daily Star)

Goldman Sachs accused of 'funding immorality' in Venezuela debt deal

Goldman Sachs's statement that it never transacted directly with the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro when it bought $2.8 billion (£2.2 billion) of bonds for pennies on the dollar was dismissed by the country's opposition on Tuesday as an effort to "put lipstick on this pig." (Business Insider)



Anthony Furey: Canada’s foreign election financing is finally getting addressed

On Tuesday, Conservative Sen. Linda Frum introduced a bill in the Senate to get foreign money out of Canadian elections. For a bit of perspective on how this is long overdue and why it matters, think about what’s been happening in the United States the past couple of weeks: (Toronto Sun)

Sheema Khan: How the Muslim community can tackle the scourge of extremism

On Sept. 3, 2004, I had just finished speaking about the life of Mary – regarded as one of the best women in history – to a group of Muslim teens. Hours before, though, news of a violent end to the Beslan hostage crisis in southern Russia had broken, in which 186 children were killed. Armed Islamist groups had stormed a local school a few days before, held teachers and students captive without food or water and wired the gym with explosives. (Globe and Mail)

Matthew Fisher: Could Trudeau be key to bridging Trump-Europe impasse?

With Donald Trump and Germany’s Angela Merkel firing verbal poisonous darts at each other across the Atlantic, could Justin Trudeau emerge as the conciliator who can act as a bridge between the Old World and the New? The question arises because Trudeau appears to be the only Western leader who has been able to establish cordial — even friendly — relations with the often blunt, mercurial billionaire now presiding in the White House. (National Post)

John Ivison: ‘Escalator tax’ on beer could help put federal budget on ice

It was widely noted that Bill Morneau’s spring budget imposed a two per cent hike in beer taxes, adding 5¢ to a case of 24 bottles. Less widely noticed was that prices will increase on beer, wine and spirits every year thereafter at the rate of inflation. Let that sink in. (National Post)

Susan Delacourt: B.C. and Ontario are giving us glimpses of 2019

Four years ago, British Columbia served up a political surprise that turned out to be a sign of things to come in national politics. Defying all the polling and predictions, Christy Clark won another term in office in 2013 — likely to be her last, if (as seems likely) this new NDP-Green alliance can unseat her. Soon afterward, in 2014, Ontario also delivered the same kind of stunner — a Liberal majority victory that pretty much no one saw coming. And with the federal election of 2015, the “unexpected Liberal majority” headline became almost a meme. (IPolitics)

John Robson: The Pope is a lucky man. Not everyone gets a chance to be lectured on moral matters by Canada’s prime minister

Pope Francis is wiser, better and presumably grateful now that Justin Trudeau has bestowed a visit upon him. At least I gather as much from the Canadian media coverage. Before they even met Monday, I read much commentary about what our prime minister would tell the Pope, including calling him on the carpet over Canada’s legacy of residential schools. It struck me as odd that a congregant in a great, venerable and hierarchical faith would meet with its head in order not to learn but to instruct, to preach the sermon not listen to it. But apparently, I’m the weirdo. (National Post)



-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development met yesterday to study United States and Canadian Foreign Policy (Public)

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security meet later today to for committee business (In Camera)

-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to study Immigration to Atlantic Canada (Public) (4:45PM EST)

-       Standing Committee on National Defence met yesterday to study Canada and the Defence of North America (In Camera)