True North Initiative: News Scan 06 07 17


Counter-terror unit probes Scarborough store attack

Within minutes of hearing allegations that the words “Allahu Akbar” were uttered during an armed attack at a Scarborough Canadian Tire, Canada’s counter-terrorism law enforcement unit was called in, the Toronto Sun has learned. “The protocols kicked in and were put in place immediately,” said a Toronto Police source. “It’s what should have happened and what is expected to happen.” (Toronto Sun) (

Woman accused of assault pledges allegiance to ISIS in Toronto courtroom

A 32-year-old woman accused of assault and threatening people with a knife in a Canadian Tire store in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough on the weekend swore allegiance to the leader of the so-called Islamic State during her court appearance today. “I am pledged to the leader of the believers, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” Rehab Dughmosh, is reported to have said in reference to the shadowy ISIS leader. Dughmosh made the statement without waiting for Justice of the Peace Alice Napier to begin proceedings in Toronto, reported CBC News reporter Stephanie Matteis. (Radio Canada)

Freeland rejects Trump's nationalist policies, says Canada will step up to lead on world stage

Canada will step up to play a leadership role on the world stage as the U.S. turns inward to focus on its own national interests, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a major policy speech today. While never mentioning Donald Trump by name, Freeland rejected many of the U.S. president's policies, including the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, imposing protectionist trade policies, and closing the nation's doors to refugees. (CBC)

Liberals set to unveil plan for defence policy

Almost 14 months in the making, the Liberal government is set to deliver what it claims will be a substantive defence policy that will guide the Canadian military for the next generation. It comes on the heels of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland's address to Parliament, which among other things laid out the case for a bigger defence budget. (CBC)

Canada supports a ‘values’ test. But not the values of the far right.

A whopping 84 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement, “New immigrants to Canada should be screened to ensure they share Canadian values.” Almost 50 per cent “strongly” agreed. That’s a higher register of strong feeling than the survey elicited in any other policy-related question. (Macleans)

Canada Ranked 8th Safest Country In The World By 2017 Global Peace Index

Canada is once, again, one of the safest countries in the world. According to the 2017 Global Peace Index (GPI), which was published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Canada is the eighth safest out of 163 countries. To determine this, 23 factors were used to rank countries based on how peaceful they are. These included homicide rates, violent crimes, the impact of terrorism and deaths from internal conflicts. The countries were then each given a peace score. The smaller the number, the more peaceful the country. (Huffington Post)

Twin attacks on Iran parliament, Khomeini shrine leave at least 2 dead, wound dozens

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed a pair of attacks Wednesday on Iran's parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which have killed two security guards and wounded more than 30 people, with the siege at the legislature still underway. It marks the first attack in Iran claimed by the extremist group, which is at war with Iranian-backed forces in Syria and Iraq. In a message posted through its Aamaq News Agency, ISIS claimed its fighters were behind the assaults. (CBC) (BBC)

Notre Dame: Attacker shouted that he was a soldier of ISIS as he attempted to strike police officer with hammer

French police shot a man outside Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on Tuesday after he tried to attack them with a hammer and shouted "This is for Syria" in a terror incident just two days after the London attacks. French media said the man, who claimed to be an Algerian "student", was also in possession of two kitchen knives and other unsophisticated weapons. One policeman, aged 22, was lightly injured in the neck. Paris prosecutors have opened a counterterrorism inquiry. (Telegraph)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Intervention before people become radicalized key to fighting terror: top RCMP counter-terrorism officer

Terrorist attacks have become fast-moving and harder to anticipate, underscoring the need to prevent Canadians from falling into violent extremism in the first place, the RCMP’s top counter-terrorism officer said Tuesday. While terrorist plots used to evolve over months of recruiting and planning, giving police opportunities to detect them and make arrests, recent attacks have unfolded quickly and made use of vehicles, knives and guns as weapons. (National Post)

Canada’s new defence spending must come quickly, experts say

Canada’s military is set for a big budget boost, but experts say the real question is whether there will be a quick infusion of cash to offset years of neglect. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will unveil a blueprint for the military’s future on Wednesday, including a long-term budget, as part of a defence policy review. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland raised expectations for the announcement when she promised Tuesday that there would be a “substantial investment” in the Canadian Armed Forces. Shortly after, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government would increase spending on military equipment but also on the services offered to Canadian troops. (Globe and Mail)

Autopsy report reveals Canadian killed fighting ISIS died from head injury: mother

An Ontario woman whose son was killed secretly fighting against Islamic State militants in northern Syria last year says she was devastated to finally learn the details of his death. Tina Martino says an autopsy report she received last week concluded her 24-year-old son, Nazzareno Tassone, died from a blow to the head, not a gunshot wound as she had previously been told. (Global)

What about China? Observers surprised Asia doesn't play more prominently in Freeland speech

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was surprisingly silent on China during her major foreign policy speech in the House of Commons Tuesday leaving Canada's evolving relationship with the Asian superpower unclear, says former Quebec premier Jean Charest.  Charest, now a partner in the law firm McCarthy Tétrault, has extensive business dealings in the region. He was reacting to Freeland's decision to mention China only once in her half hour speech laying out Canada's foreign policy priorities. (CBC)

Obama warns of illiberal threats to postwar global order in Montreal speech

It is decision time for a world order based on liberal values, former U.S. president Barack Obama said Tuesday in Montreal, where he issued a rousing call for citizens everywhere to defend its gains.  Obama painted a stark picture of the global upheaval wrought by globalization, technological advances and climate change. (CBC)

Trudeau remains resolute against reopening Constitution

Canada faces a lot of challenges that won't get addressed if the country gets "bogged down" in another round of constitutional haggling, Justin Trudeau said Monday. The prime minister was expanding on his blunt, immediate rejection last week of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard's plan to eventually secure recognition of his province's distinctiveness in the Constitution. (National Observer)

Barack Obama dines at Montreal eatery with Justin Trudeau

Former U.S. president Barack Obama made some time to have fun and take a break during his short visit to Montreal on Tuesday. The 44th President of the United States spoke to a crowd of about 6,000 people at the Palais des Congrès in the early evening. (Global)

Military brass purges items belonging to Vice Admiral Mark Norman from DND headquarters

Canada’s military leaders ordered the removal of items belonging to Vice Admiral Mark Norman from Defence headquarters in Ottawa even though the RCMP investigation into the senior officer has not resulted in any charges. Norman’s personal effects were stripped from his office and photographed by military personnel before being put in storage, sources told the Ottawa Citizen. (National Post)

Bernier affirms support for Scheer, despite questions around vote

Former Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier is offering his full support to the party's new leader, despite complaints by his supporters about the voting process. "As I stated on election night: I support our new leader Andrew Scheer. Unconditionally," Bernier wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening. While nobody has formally complained to the party or on the record in the media, some of Bernier's supporters say the numbers don't add up. While the party says 141,633 ballots were cast in choosing Scheer as the new leader, its Constituent Information Management System (CIMS) database lists only 133,896 members as having voted. (CTV)

Andrew Scheer, Trudeau Trade Zingers Over PM's Talk Show Appearance

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer used Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent appearance on a popular U.S. morning talk show as political ammunition on Tuesday. Scheer rose in the House of Commons during question period to point out comments Trudeau made on "Live with Kelly and Ryan" in Niagara Falls, Ont. on Monday about security and the fight against terrorism. (Huffington Post)

Australia pushes for tech giants to help fight terrorism at next spy meeting

Getting the world's global technology companies to hand over customers' data to help combat terrorism will be top of Australia's agenda at the next Five Eyes intelligence meeting. The Five Eyes countries are Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, and they regularly share security and intelligence information. (ABC)

Jeremy Corbyn said ISIS supporters should not be prosecuted for 'expressing a political point of view'

The Labour leader told MPs that Britain should not make "value judgements" and that holding a view was not in itself "an offence." Speaking during a parliamentary debate on temporary exclusion orders in 2014,  he questioned the creation of “legal obstacles” for fighters returning from to the UK from Syria. (Telegraph)

The mess in Venezuela didn't happen overnight. Here's how two successive presidents chipped away at democracy

The demonstrations started in late March after the Supreme Court, which is controlled by President Nicolas Maduro, ruled that it was taking over the powers of the legislature and intensified a week later when the government disqualified a leading member of the opposition from running for office for the next 15 years. (LA Times)


The UN understands that it cannot go on “bullying” Israel as it has in the past, Washington's ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Wednesday after meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Haley, who arrived early Wednesday morning for a three-day visit, said that she was “thrilled” by the reactions she has received since taking over her position for coming out squarely against the anti-Israel bias at the UN. (Jerusalem Post)



Chris Selley: If the Brits can handle terrorism properly, surely we sheltered Canadians can too

Brits are reacting to the latest terrorist attacks on their soil more or less as usual, though Thursday’s election adds an extra bit of urgency and drama. Conservatives, including Prime Minister Theresa May, are calling for ramped up anti-terror measures: more surveillance, more punishment, more online censorship. “Enough is enough,” May said Sunday. (National Post)

Mark Bonokoski: Terrorism always happens elsewhere, until it doesn’t

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, chief of our domestic guardians, claims there is no need to raise the terrorist threat level as Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations close in. Tens of thousands will jam Parliament Hill on July 1, and at other patriotic events across the country. But, don’t worry, be happy. (Toronto Sun)

Lorne Gunter: Striking security balance in age of terror

Here is a cold, unsettling fact in light of the recent terror attacks in England, the most recent one of which on Saturday killed 30-year-old Canadian Christine “Chrissy” Archibald: We cannot be completely safe so long as we wish to continue living in a free country. We in Western democracies can be made safer than we are. But the question a free people will always struggle with (even if, at times, it wears us out debating it) is how much security is enough and how much is too much? (Toronto Sun)

Tarek Fatah: The roots of Islamist terrorism

The 21st century began with a bloodbath of the innocent when Islamist terrorists declared a world war on non-Muslims in the name of jihad, Allah and Islam. From New York to New Delhi, Philadelphia to the Philippines, these terrorists have killed the “kufaar” with no mercy; justifying beheadings, slaughter and the rape of sexual slaves by referring to the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, as their equivalent of The Art of War. (Toronto Sun)

Anthony Furey: Keep calm and fight back

They say they’re doing everything they can. They tell us to just carry on. Some even try to tell us terrorism has become a part of everyday life. Looks like the Lion of London Bridge didn’t get that memo. Because when the three London terrorists charged into the pub Roy Larner was drinking at, the 47-year-old wasn’t just going to sit there and let it happen. (Toronto Sun)

John Ivison: Liberals’ vow to swap flower power for hard power hollow if they won’t spend on military

Chrystia Freeland signalled her government is set to forsake flower power in favour of hard power, in a major foreign policy speech in the House of Commons. What will become clear Wednesday, with the release of the defence policy review, is whether the promised investment in the Canadian military will go ahead in the lifetime of this Parliament — or even this prime minister. The fear in the ranks is that a “long-term” plan will be so back-end loaded as to be meaningless. (National Post)

Susan Delacourt: A foreign policy manifesto — and a finger in Donald Trump's eye

The speech never once mentioned the U.S. president by name. Still, today Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland may have delivered her strongest statement yet on why Justin Trudeau’s government stands diametrically opposed to Donald Trump, at home and in the world. Will Trump notice that the nice man in Canada, the guy who has his private cell number, actually thinks the president is a disaster for world order? We’ll see. (IPolitics)



-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet today to study M-39, Immigration to Atlantic Canada (3:30PM EST) ( Public)  

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs met yesterday to study the United States and Canadian Foreign Policy (Public) (845AM EST)

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety meet today to study Bill S-233, An Act to amend the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Public) (3:30PM EST)

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