True North Initiative: News Scan 06 12 17


Privately-sponsored Syrian refugees more likely to find work: Document

Syrian refugees sponsored by private groups such as churches and charities are five times more likely than those sponsored by the Trudeau government to have found work in Canada, the Toronto Sun has learned. According to a January 2017 ministerial briefing document from the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), all Syrian refugees face “barriers to employment” — but the outcomes for different programs is stark. (Toronto Sun)

Vancouver Island activists call out federal government over Canada’s refugee backlog

A Vancouver Island group is among many across the country upset because the Syrian families they’ve raised thousands of dollars to sponsor and bring to Canada are still stuck overseas. Last year, more than 40,000 Syrian refugees were welcomed to the country as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau encouraged Canadians to sponsor. Victoria residents Kristina Stevens and Christine Johnston are among the thousands across the country who responded to that call. (Global)

Liberals' citizenship bill to proceed with some Senate amendments

The Liberal government is prepared to adopt some of the Senate's proposed amendments to its citizenship bill, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Friday. Bill C-6 is designed to repeal many of the previous Conservative government's changes to how people become citizens — and how they can lose that status. (CBC)

Asylum seeker walked into Canada across farmer's field after entry denied at official crossing

A Liberian woman who walked into Canada through a farmer's field says she only took that route after being denied entry at a border crossing. On May 8, Watta Cephus came to Canada to claim asylum by walking through the field — something she says she was too afraid to do in March, after she first tried to enter Canada at an official crossing. (CBC)

Quebec murder suspect set free due to trial delays to be deported within weeks

Canada’s Immigration Department says a murder suspect who was set free after his trial exceeded the legal length limit is expected to be sent back to Sri Lanka in the next two weeks. Ewa Staszewicz, a lawyer for the department, is confirming steps are being taken to obtain the necessary travel documents for Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham. (Montreal Gazette)

‘It is a battle for hearts and minds’: Trudeau’s $35 million gamble to counter radicalization

That uncertainty now looms over the Canadian government as it prepares to unveil a new office aimed at thwarting radicalized violence, whether perpetuated by radical Islamists or far-right extremists. After a lengthy delay, the Liberals are expected to launch the new office — currently called the Office of the Community Engagement and Counter-Radicalization Coordinator — in the near future, pledging $35 million over five years to support intervention efforts, counter-narrative campaigns and research. (National Post)

B.C. man's Facebook page supported terror attacks in West, trial hears

A British Columbia man allegedly used his Facebook account to express support of "lone wolves" who committed violent terror attacks in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, his trial heard on Friday. Othman Hamdan of Fort St. John has pleaded not guilty to encouraging the commission of murder, assault and mischief, all for terrorist purposes, as well as inducing and instructing someone to carry out a terrorist act. (CBC)

ISIS propaganda machine is hit hard by deaths of key leaders and setbacks on the battlefields

The ISIS propaganda machine has been dealt a significant blow with the deaths of senior members involved in creating its slick videos. Western airstrikes have killed senior members of the ISIS propaganda machine, significantly reducing the number of videos published by the organisation.  Also, the production quality of the terror group's videos have been affected as the organisation is defeated on the battlefield. (Daily Mail)

Will the new defence policy survive a recession? ‘We can’t talk about hypothetical situations,’ says Sajjan

Asked if his government’s “fully costed” new defence policy would survive another major recession, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said he’s not willing to comment on hypotheticals. “We can’t talk about hypothetical situations but one thing that we can do as a government is commit to the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Sajjan in an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos. (Global)

Ottawa’s foreign policy pivot began before Liberals took office, documents show

When Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined the Liberal government’s new vision for foreign policy, it was received both as a shift in Ottawa’s approach to international relations and as a direct response to the political climate in the United States. Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Freeland reaffirmed the Canadian government’s commitment to multilateral institutions and to free trade and delivered the Liberals’ most direct words on U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to date. (Toronto Star)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canada launches visa program for hiring specialized foreign talent

Canadian technology companies are greeting a new federal blueprint for hiring foreign talent with open arms – and cautious optimism. The Canadian government’s global skills visa program – part of its Global Skills Strategy – officially opens for business June 12. The $7.8-million, 24-month pilot program is designed to allow high-growth firms to bring in international talent within two weeks, rather than up to a year, which is how long it now takes. (Globe and Mail)

Siblings & French: Fast lane to Canada permanent residency

With new norms of the Canada's express entry program coming into effect last week, TOI explains how those willing to migrate to the maple country can add up their score in the comprehensive ranking system Have a sibling in Canada that you want to join? It will now be easier. With the North American country trying to attract best of the talent from across the world, it has made changes in immigration system. Through the `Express Entry' system it will now be easier for people to get a permanent residency (PR) permit if meet certain conditions set by the country. (Times of India)

Program helps foreign-trained engineers find jobs in Calgary

The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society has graduated a new crop of engineers. The 15 immigrants have qualifications from their home countries, but couldn't find a job in Calgary because they lacked Canadian experience. One of the new graduates of the upgrading program is Bahar Soleimani, who was an industrial engineer in Iran, but sold furniture after she came to Canada in 2014. (CBC)

Body of Canadian killed fighting Daesh in Syria returned home, mother says

The mother of a Canadian killed while fighting Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, militants in Syria said her heart was heavy as she put her hands on a casket containing the body of her son. Tina Martino of Niagara Falls, Ont., says she has not yet been able to see the remains of her 24-year-old son, Nazzareno Tassone, because his casket was sealed when it arrived in Canada late Saturday night months after his death. (Toronto Star)

Another decade, another Trudeau, another stab at sovereignty in Alberta

On a sunny Sunday in Calgary, Alberta's separatists are on the move, pounding the pavement at the city's popular Lilac Festival on the hunt for signatures. Larry Smith is working the crowd, looking for support for his fledgling political movement, the Western Independence Party of Alberta (WIPA). (CBC)

Liberals look at ways to change youth employment programs, labour minister says

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says she is taking a sweeping look at the country's youth employment strategy to better target help to those who need it most. The review comes in the wake of a report from an expert panel the government struck last year that came up with 13 recommendations to help young Canadians get into and thrive in a changing labour market. (National Observer)

Liberals face tough questions on Afghanistan and interim fighter jets

Although the Trudeau government launched its long term plan for modernizing the military last week, more immediate realities are tugging for attention on the Liberals’ list of defence priorities. The government continues to grapple with two critical, short-term questions: what to do about “interim” fighter jets, and whether to take on a new role in Afghanistan? (National Post)

Trudeau could shuffle cabinet this summer, prorogue Parliament in fall, say insiders

With the summer break coming almost halfway through the Liberal government’s four-year mandate, speculation of a summer cabinet shuffle is swirling, along with the possibility of a fall prorogation, and sources say it could be a chance to hit the reset button and prep the front bench for the next election in 2019 (Hill Times)

Syrian refugees reunited with ‘grumpy cat’ they were forced to leave behind

They say cats have nine lives, but an agonizing choice for two pet owners threatened to jinx their one chance at a new life in Canada. Instead, a pair of Syrian refugees who had already faced four years of hardship had a uniquely heartwarming airport reunion on Sunday with the pet they’d reluctantly left behind. “It has been so stressful. He really is like a son to us,” said Nour Kaadan as she awaited the arrival of her cat at Pearson airport’s Terminal 1. (Toronto Star)

Canadians Latvia-bound to lead NATO battle group

Hundreds of Canadian troops will start arriving in Latvia on Saturday to lead a multinational battle group as part of its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The mission is designed to send a powerful message of deterrence to Russia, which borders Latvia, and show Moscow the combined strength of NATO forces. (CTV)

Merkel Says Immigration Better Solved by Opportunity, Not Walls

German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a shot at President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, telling an audience in Mexico that a physical barrier won’t resolve any country’s immigration issues. “We must fight against the causes that lead people to abandon their homes,” Merkel said at a Saturday business event at Mexico City’s Interactive Museum of Economics. “And constructing walls isn’t going to help.” (Bloomberg)

Immigration hardliner Jussi Halla-aho elected to lead Finland’s populist Finns Party

An immigration hardliner has been elected as leader of a euroskeptic group that sits in Finland’s three-party centre-right government. The Finns Party elected Jussi Halla-aho on Saturday as its chairman to replace Foreign Minister Timo Soini, who stepped down after two 10-year terms as chairman. A European Parliament member, the 46-year-old Halla-aho was convicted in 2012 for making racist statements. (National Post)

4 Syrians brothers face terrorism charges in Germany

German authorities say they’ve arrested four Syrian brothers on terrorism charges for allegedly fighting for an extremist group in their homeland five years ago. Mustafa K., 41, Abdullah K., 39, Sultan K., 44, and Ahmed K., 51, whose last names weren’t released according to privacy regulations, are accused of membership in a terrorist organization for fighting for the Nusra Front in the northern Syrian city Ras al-Ayn starting in late 2012. (News 1130)

Taking Action at This Critical Moment Against Iran's IRGC Is Crucial

Canada mulls putting Iran's Revolutionary Guards on its terror list The recent barbaric events in London, Paris, and Manchester highlighted the reality that the need for peace in the world is today greater than ever. Count the number of people killed in recent terrorist attacks, and plot the curve to get a clear and horrible picture of what has happened. Wrote Hassan Mahmoudi in the ‘American Thinker’ on June 9, the article continues as follows: (Iran Focus)



Candice Malcolm: Chrystia Freeland should blame Obama, not Trump

The Trudeau Liberals appear to be in denial about the world around them. Earlier this week, foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland delivered a lengthy speech about the many problems around the world, and Canada’s role in helping to fix some of them. (Toronto Sun)

Toronto Sun: Let’s tackle Canada’s terror funding problem

There’s one big “root cause” of terrorism that doesn’t get as much attention as it should in Canada. That’s money. As we embark on another round of conversations about tackling extremism and terrorism in the West – tragically spurred by a series of attacks on the occasion of Ramadan – we have to look at all the options on the table. (Toronto Sun)

Robert Fulford: If we’re to fight terrorism effectively we need to stop saying ‘Islamophobia’

In response to successive terror attacks on Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May said that things could not continue as they were. By “things” she meant the systems set up by democracies, particularly Britain, to prevent atrocities like those experienced recently in Manchester and at London Bridge. The systems of defence have proven inadequate. (National Post)

Lorne Gunter: Liberals playing partisan games with our immigration system

The federal Liberals are making a complete hash of Canada’s immigration system because they take neither our citizenship nor our national security seriously. Take for instance what is being called an “appalling” shortage of immigration appeal judges – adjudicators who hear the cases of immigrants whose applications to stay in Canada have been rejected. Some have criminal records, committed fraud on their application forms or are suspected of terrorist links. (Toronto Sun)

Ezra Levant: One of Trudeau’s Syrian refugees who beat his wife, didn't know it was against the law

Trudeau’s open-borders, mini-Merkel approach to Muslim migration gives him a special place in left-wing dreaminess and makes him the toast of the globalist, leftist jet-set. His announcement that he’d bring in 25,000 then 30,000 Muslim migrants from Syria in a single month was shocking, dangerous and logistically impossible. (Rebel)

Faith Goldy: Conservatives must campaign on free speech to win

Andrew Scheer, the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, put the defense of freedom of speech at the forefront of his campaign. If he wants to beat Justin Trudeau in 2019, he must place freedom of speech at the centerpiece of the Conservative platform. (Rebel)

Aaron Wherry: Why Canada will pay to help places like the Solomon Islands fight climate change

The recent U.S. commitment to international climate financing has been approximately $2.7 billion US per year. To the Green Climate Fund specifically, Barack Obama's administration had promised $3 billion. (Trump was conflating a general commitment by developed nations to raise $100 billion US and the Green Climate Fund, which is a specific initiative within that commitment.) (CBC)

Christine Sismondo: Canada’s break with America on foreign policy isn’t so novel

They called it the “Trudeau Doctrine.” “They” being the pundits, that is, not Minister Chrystia Freeland or her team, as she laid out Canada’s new direction for foreign policy in her address to the House earlier this week. One writer said that it was the first time in Canadian history that our foreign policy was “essentially opposed” to American foreign policy. (Macleans)

Joe Warmington: Canada sending aid to starving East Africans

It’s been a tough time for east Africa. And not only does Canada care but we are also there to help. In fact, Immigration Minister Ahmed D. Hussen himself was on hand to support a special announcement Saturday by the International Development Relief Foundation, GlobalMedic and the Canadian Somali Congress. (Toronto Sun)

Monique Scotti: Is Canada’s reputation as a safe haven for refugees deserved?

In late 2015, the newly-elected Liberal government announced an ambitious plan to get 25,000 Syrian refugees onto Canadian soil in the span of just a few months. Some — the most vulnerable and least educated — would be government sponsored, while others would rely on individuals or groups of Canadians to help get them here and assist them as they adjusted to life in Canada. (Global)

Andray Domise: Fit in, or be excluded: The root of immigrants’ impulse to assimilate

In the fall of 2015, Toronto radio station G98.7 hosted a call-in discussion against the backdrop of the newly minted Trudeau government sorting through its campaign promise to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada. The host and station manager, Fitzroy Gordon, facilitated the discussion by letting callers leave a message for Prime Minister Trudeau with their feelings on accepting so many applicants at once. (Macleans)

Jacinta Carroll: Terrorists are using encryption. Our laws need to keep up with the technology

As we learn details from investigations into recent terrorist attacks in Tehran, London, Jakarta and Manchester, a common theme is emerging of terrorists using commercial encrypted communications services to plan, support and commit terrorist attacks. (



-       Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meet later today to meet with Immigration Consultants (In Camera) (3:30pm EST)

-       Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs meet tomorrow to study Canada’s Development Finance Initiative (Public) (8:45AM EST)

-       Standing Committee on Public Safety meet later today to study Subject Matter of Supplementary Estimates (A) 2017-18 (Public) (3:30pm EST)