True North Initiative: News Scan 07 04 17

2017 07 04



Ottawa to offer Omar Khadr apology, compensation package

The Trudeau government is poised to offer an apology and a $10-million compensation package to former child soldier Omar Khadr for abuses he suffered while detained in the U.S. military prison for captured and suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2010 that the actions of federal officials who participated in U.S. interrogations of Mr. Khadr had offended "the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects." (Globe and Mail) (Toronto Star)

Canada rejects hundreds of immigrants based on incomplete data, Global News investigation finds

Global News has learned a part of Canada’s immigration system uses incomplete and inaccurate information to turn away hundreds of applicants every year. Benitez applied for permanent residency for herself, her husband, Romeo, their oldest son Bill and their 18-year-old son, Harold, in 2010. Five years later, she was told her application could be denied because her son might be deemed “inadmissible” by Canadian immigration officials because of an intellectual disability that would place “excessive demand” upon the country’s publicly funded health and social services. (Global)

Ontario court upholds $1.7B judgment against Iran, ruling in favour of American victims of terrorism

Ontario’s Court of Appeal upheld a US$1.7-billion judgment against the government of Iran in favour of American victims of terrorism, rejecting the state’s immunity and accusing Tehran of trying to derail Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act. The appeal court’s resounding rejection of Iran’s appeal is another victory for victims of terrorism holding Iran accountable for its support of Hamas and Hezbollah during terror campaigns from the 1980s through to 2002. (National Post)

Soldier's death 'should never have happened,' sister says

Her brother paid the ultimate price for the failings of mental health services, says the sister of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, a veteran soldier who was run down and killed in a Montreal-area parking lot in what officials deemed an act of terror. But a 14-page coroner's report released in April illustrates how many times warning signs about the mental health of Martin Couture-Rouleau were ignored. He was the driver of the car that struck Patrice Vincent and a colleague who was injured on Oct. 20, 2014 in a plaza parking lot in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal. (CTV)

ISIS sends female bombers amid citizens

With the fight for Mosul in its final stage Monday, Islamic State militants sent female suicide bombers hidden among fleeing civilians, while Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition unleashed punishing airstrikes and artillery fire that set dozens of buildings ablaze. At least one Iraqi soldier was killed and five were wounded in the two separate suicide attacks, the military said. On Sunday, a bomber in women's clothing killed 14 people at a camp for displaced residents in Anbar province, a provincial official said. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. (Hamilton Spectator)

Nanos survey: 54% of Canadians open to concessions in NAFTA talks

Just over half of Canadians are either open or somewhat open to Ottawa making concessions in order to preserve free trade ties with the U.S. and Mexico, according to the latest data from a Nanos Research survey for CTV News. The marginal preference for a dovish approach on Canada’s part precedes the start of formal talks to modernize the now 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade czar Robert Lighthizer delivered a letter to congressional leaders in May, triggering the required 90-day notification to open new trade negotiations, which could begin as soon as August. (CTV)

Beloved teacher from Canada found dead in New Mexico along with husband, say state police

Police in New Mexico are investigating after a woman they say is originally from Canada was found dead, along with her husband, inside a vehicle parked on the shoulder of an interstate highway. The bodies of Ursula Tammy Kokotkiewicz, 32, and Jacob Kokotkiewicz, 31, were found in a blue Dodge pickup last Thursday. Officers spotted the vehicle while responding to an unrelated incident, New Mexico State Police told CBC News. (CBC)

63,000 Canadians left the country for medical treatment last year: Fraser Institute

A new report from the Fraser Institute estimates that more than 63,000 Canadians travelled abroad for medical care in 2016. The think-tank says that's a nearly 40-per-cent increase over the previous year, and may be related to long wait times for medical procedures in Canada. But one professor warns the data is based only on estimates, making it highly questionable. (CTV)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International)

Canada’s immigration system discriminates against children with disabilities, say families

Immigration Canada has told the couple they need to move Sebastian from the school he currently attends in the Toronto District School Board, just a five-minute walk from their home to a private school roughly one hour’s drive from their home to reduce the “burden” the government says he puts on Canada’s social services. Sharp said they have the financial ability to cover the costs but feel their son is being discriminated against because of his disability. (Global)

Asylum seeker's three-year trek ends in tragedy

After a harrowing three-year journey from Ghana to Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, the U.S. and then Winnipeg, in the end, Mohammed Antwi got to call Canada home — but not the way he'd wanted. The stomach pains his fellow asylum seekers assumed were stress-related stomach ulcers turned out to be liver cancer. The 48-year-old mechanic from Ghana died on Canada Day at St. Boniface Hospital. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Possible legal aid cuts would jeopardize refugee claims

Legal Aid Ontario is considering making big cuts to its refugee and immigration law services later this summer, a move that would jeopardize that vast majority of claimants whose cases are ongoing in Waterloo Region. The independent, publicly funded organization provides people earning low or no income legal advice and representation. It was going to cut its refugee and immigration law services by 40 per cent July 1, saving about $13.1 million, but has since pushed its decision to September in the hopes it will secure more government funding this summer. (Waterloo Chronicle)

Montreal police want festivals better prepared for terrorist attacks

Recent terrorist attacks in Europe involving vehicles slamming through crowds prompted Montreal police to draft a guide to better prepare the city's popular festivals for similar attacks. The 25-page document, which was obtained by Radio-Canada, contains recommendations that include the strategic placement concrete blocks in pedestrian-heavy areas. (Yahoo)

Upper, middle and low-income Canadians worried about housing prices: poll

Feel like a house in your city is unaffordable? Apparently, you're not alone. A new poll suggests that just over two in five Canadians believe housing in this country is not affordable for them, a finding that cuts almost evenly across income levels. The poll by EKOS Research appears even more bleak in some of Canada's hottest housing markets, where only a small sliver of respondents said they believe homes are affordable. (CBC)

EU holds crisis talks about migrant influx after Italy threatens to block rescue ships

European ministers are holding emergency talks on the migrant crisis, after Italy threatened to block rescue ships due to the “unsustainable” flows of people. Interior ministers from Germany, France, Spain and Italy will discuss the situation in Paris on Sunday, and consider the request from Rome for rescue ships with foreign flags to disembark in other countries. (

Austrian troops may stop Italy migrants at Brenner Pass

Austria is ready to deploy troops and armour at the Brenner Pass - a border crossing with Italy - if the influx of migrants to Italy continues to grow. Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil announced the measures in an interview with Austria's Kronen Zeitung daily. He said four Pandur armoured personnel carriers had been sent to the Tyrol region and 750 troops were on standby. (BBC)

North Korea claims to have launched missile able to hit U.S.

North Korea on Tuesday claimed it successfully test-launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, a potential game-changing development in what may be the world's most dangerous nuclear standoff and, if true, a direct rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump's earlier declaration that such a test "won't happen!" The launch appeared to be North Korea's most successful missile test yet. A U.S. scientist examining the height and distance said the missile could potentially be powerful enough to reach Alaska. (CTV) (CNBC)

Targeted immigration arrests in San Diego area have more than doubled under Trump

The number of targeted immigration arrests in San Diego has returned to levels from before former President Barack Obama changed enforcement priorities in late 2014. That’s in large part because of the broadened priorities mandated by President Donald Trump in a January executive order, according to Greg Archambeault, San Diego field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations. (San Diego Tribune)

Where is 'Islamic State' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

Three years ago, video emerged of the leader of so-called Islamic State (IS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, commanding allegiance in a sermon at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul. The Iraqi city had been freshly captured by the jihadist group and a "caliphate" declared. At the time, IS controlled a region the size of the United Kingdom - but since then a global war against the jihadists has sent them into retreat, and the whereabouts of Baghdadi - a man with a $25m US bounty on his head - are a mystery. (BBC)



Anthony Furey: Canada 150 sadly exposed just how toxic identity politics has become

One of the main narratives about our nation over the past few weeks has been how Canada is some sort of cesspool of racism and intolerance, with a past hardly worth celebrating. It’s impossible to overstate just how sad and unnecessary this tone was, on this of all occasions, to say nothing of factually wrong. (Toronto Sun)

Syed Badiuzzaman: Thank you, Canada, for giving us a home

Canada celebrated its 150th birthday on Saturday. It was indeed a milestone in the long march of this peace-loving, beautiful country since it earned independence 150 years ago. Along the way, Canada has made its mark as one of the most important nations on Earth, significantly contributing to promoting world peace, eradicating poverty and participating in development activities around the globe. (Toronto Sun)

Globe and Mail: The Trudeau government is failing refugee claimants, and Canadians

Our neighbour to the south has taken a pronounced nativist turn in recent months, and the government of Canada’s response has been to throw the doors open – rhetorically, at least. Last January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to social media and proclaimed, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.” As political marketing goes, it was nicely timed. But to be completely insulated from truth-in-advertising complaints, it should have included a disclaimer – “Offer available only to genuine refugees, as defined by law. As we are experiencing an unusually high number of claimants at this time, it could take many years for our government to decide whether you are legally entitled to welcome, or removal.” (Globe and Mail)

Tristin Hopper: Your revolution was dumb and it filled us with refugees: A Canadian take on the American Revolutionary War

To be clear; Canada loves you, United States. You buy our oil, you made Drake a superstar and you haven’t invaded us for 205 years. As Poland and Ukraine keep reminding us, we really couldn’t ask for a better superpower neighbour. However, just because it all worked out doesn’t mean that starting a brutal war over a tax dispute wasn’t a bit of an overreaction. As the National Post’s own Conrad Black wrote in a 2013 history of the United States, the Founding Fathers “do not deserve the hallelujah chorus ululated to them incessantly for 235 years.” (National Post)

Christie Blatchford: The dangers of Canada shaming on the day of our birthday

And so, on the 150th anniversary of the birth of a pretty splendid country, did it come to this. Canada Day was indistinguishable from the CBC itself, the state celebrating the state broadcaster with hours of bloviating self-congratulation, cloying interviews with hapless children and adults terrifyingly well-schooled in correct answering (Reporter: “What do you love about Canada?” Child: “I just love Canada!”, or, Adult: “The diversity!”), and reporters, equally well-schooled, each thanking the retiring Peter Mansbridge for, as one put it without a trace of irony, “all your years of service.” (National Post)



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